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Bibliography on: Origin of Multicellular Eukaryotes

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ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 22 May 2024 at 01:51 Created: 

Origin of Multicellular Eukaryotes

Created with PubMed® Query: ( (origin OR evolution) AND (eukaryotes OR eukaryota) AND (multicelluarity OR multicellular) NOT 33634751[PMID] ) NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2024-05-21
CmpDate: 2024-05-21

MacDonald N, Raven N, Diep W, et al (2024)

The molecular evolution of cancer associated genes in mammals.

Scientific reports, 14(1):11650.

Cancer is a disease that many multicellular organisms have faced for millions of years, and species have evolved various tumour suppression mechanisms to control oncogenesis. Although cancer occurs across the tree of life, cancer related mortality risks vary across mammalian orders, with Carnivorans particularly affected. Evolutionary theory predicts different selection pressures on genes associated with cancer progression and suppression, including oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes and immune genes. Therefore, we investigated the evolutionary history of cancer associated gene sequences across 384 mammalian taxa, to detect signatures of selection across categories of oncogenes (GRB2, FGL2 and CDC42), tumour suppressors (LITAF, Casp8 and BRCA2) and immune genes (IL2, CD274 and B2M). This approach allowed us to conduct a fine scale analysis of gene wide and site-specific signatures of selection across mammalian lineages under the lens of cancer susceptibility. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that for most species the evolution of cancer associated genes follows the species' evolution. The gene wide selection analyses revealed oncogenes being the most conserved, tumour suppressor and immune genes having similar amounts of episodic diversifying selection. Despite BRCA2's status as a key caretaker gene, episodic diversifying selection was detected across mammals. The site-specific selection analyses revealed that the two apoptosis associated domains of the Casp8 gene of bats (Chiroptera) are under opposing forces of selection (positive and negative respectively), highlighting the importance of site-specific selection analyses to understand the evolution of highly complex gene families. Our results highlighted the need to critically assess different types of selection pressure on cancer associated genes when investigating evolutionary adaptations to cancer across the tree of life. This study provides an extensive assessment of cancer associated genes in mammals with highly representative, and substantially large sample size for a comparative genomic analysis in the field and identifies various avenues for future research into the mechanisms of cancer resistance and susceptibility in mammals.

RevDate: 2024-05-21
CmpDate: 2024-05-21

Lenz G (2024)

Heterogeneity generating capacity in tumorigenesis and cancer therapeutics.

Biochimica et biophysica acta. Molecular basis of disease, 1870(5):167226.

Cells of multicellular organisms generate heterogeneity in a controlled and transient fashion during embryogenesis, which can be reactivated in pathologies such as cancer. Although genomic heterogeneity is an important part of tumorigenesis, continuous generation of phenotypic heterogeneity is central for the adaptation of cancer cells to the challenges of tumorigenesis and response to therapy. Here I discuss the capacity of generating heterogeneity, hereafter called cell hetness, in cancer cells both as the activation of hetness oncogenes and inactivation of hetness tumor suppressor genes, which increase the generation of heterogeneity, ultimately producing an increase in adaptability and cell fitness. Transcriptomic high hetness states in therapy-tolerant cell states denote its importance in cancer resistance to therapy. The definition of the concept of hetness will allow the understanding of its origins, its control during embryogenesis, its loss of control in tumorigenesis and cancer therapeutics and its active targeting.

RevDate: 2024-05-17
CmpDate: 2024-05-17

Oszoli I, I Zachar (2024)

Group-selection via aggregative propagule-formation enables cooperative multicellularity in an individual based, spatial model.

PLoS computational biology, 20(5):e1012107 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-23-01729.

The emergence of multicellularity is one of the major transitions in evolution that happened multiple times independently. During aggregative multicellularity, genetically potentially unrelated lineages cooperate to form transient multicellular groups. Unlike clonal multicellularity, aggregative multicellular organisms do not rely on kin selection instead other mechanisms maintain cooperation against cheater phenotypes that benefit from cooperators but do not contribute to groups. Spatiality with limited diffusion can facilitate group selection, as interactions among individuals are restricted to local neighbourhoods only. Selection for larger size (e.g. avoiding predation) may facilitate the emergence of aggregation, though it is unknown, whether and how much role such selection played during the evolution of aggregative multicellularity. We have investigated the effect of spatiality and the necessity of predation on the stability of aggregative multicellularity via individual-based modelling on the ecological timescale. We have examined whether aggregation facilitates the survival of cooperators in a temporally heterogeneous environment against cheaters, where only a subset of the population is allowed to periodically colonize a new, resource-rich habitat. Cooperators constitutively produce adhesive molecules to promote aggregation and propagule-formation while cheaters spare this expense to grow faster but cannot aggregate on their own, hence depending on cooperators for long-term survival. We have compared different population-level reproduction modes with and without individual selection (predation) to evaluate the different hypotheses. In a temporally homogeneous environment without propagule-based colonization, cheaters always win. Predation can benefit cooperators, but it is not enough to maintain the necessary cooperator amount in successive dispersals, either randomly or by fragmentation. Aggregation-based propagation however can ensure the adequate ratio of cooperators-to-cheaters in the propagule and is sufficient to do so even without predation. Spatiality combined with temporal heterogeneity helps cooperators via group selection, thus facilitating aggregative multicellularity. External stress selecting for larger size (e.g. predation) may facilitate aggregation, however, according to our results, it is neither necessary nor sufficient for aggregative multicellularity to be maintained when there is effective group-selection.

RevDate: 2024-05-17
CmpDate: 2024-05-17

Chen C, Chen H, Wang P, et al (2024)

Reactive Oxygen Species Activate a Ferritin-Linked TRPV4 Channel under a Static Magnetic Field.

ACS chemical biology, 19(5):1151-1160.

Magnetogenetics has shown great potential for cell function and neuromodulation using heat or force effects under different magnetic fields; however, there is still a contradiction between experimental effects and underlying mechanisms by theoretical computation. In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mechanical force-dependent regulation from a physicochemical perspective. The transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) cation channels fused to ferritin (T4F) were overexpressed in HEK293T cells and exposed to static magnetic fields (sMF, 1.4-5.0 mT; gradient: 1.62 mT/cm). An elevation of ROS levels was found under sMF in T4F-overexpressing cells, which could lead to lipid oxidation. Compared with the overexpression of TRPV4, ferritin in T4F promoted the generation of ROS under the stimulation of sMF, probably related to the release of iron ions from ferritin. Then, the resulting ROS regulated the opening of the TRPV4 channel, which was attenuated by the direct addition of ROS inhibitors or an iron ion chelator, highlighting a close relationship among iron release, ROS production, and TRPV4 channel activation. Taken together, these findings indicate that the produced ROS under sMF act on the TRPV4 channel, regulating the influx of calcium ions. The study would provide a scientific basis for the application of magnetic regulation in cellular or neural regulation and disease treatment and contribute to the development of the more sensitive regulatory technology.

RevDate: 2024-05-15
CmpDate: 2024-05-15

Feng X, Zheng J, Irisarri I, et al (2024)

Genomes of multicellular algal sisters to land plants illuminate signaling network evolution.

Nature genetics, 56(5):1018-1031.

Zygnematophyceae are the algal sisters of land plants. Here we sequenced four genomes of filamentous Zygnematophyceae, including chromosome-scale assemblies for three strains of Zygnema circumcarinatum. We inferred traits in the ancestor of Zygnematophyceae and land plants that might have ushered in the conquest of land by plants: expanded genes for signaling cascades, environmental response, and multicellular growth. Zygnematophyceae and land plants share all the major enzymes for cell wall synthesis and remodifications, and gene gains shaped this toolkit. Co-expression network analyses uncover gene cohorts that unite environmental signaling with multicellular developmental programs. Our data shed light on a molecular chassis that balances environmental response and growth modulation across more than 600 million years of streptophyte evolution.

RevDate: 2024-05-14
CmpDate: 2024-05-14

Anonymous (2024)

Multicellularity drives ecological diversity in a long-term evolution experiment.

Nature ecology & evolution, 8(5):856-857.

RevDate: 2024-05-14
CmpDate: 2024-05-14

Pineau RM, Libby E, Demory D, et al (2024)

Emergence and maintenance of stable coexistence during a long-term multicellular evolution experiment.

Nature ecology & evolution, 8(5):1010-1020.

The evolution of multicellular life spurred evolutionary radiations, fundamentally changing many of Earth's ecosystems. Yet little is known about how early steps in the evolution of multicellularity affect eco-evolutionary dynamics. Through long-term experimental evolution, we observed niche partitioning and the adaptive divergence of two specialized lineages from a single multicellular ancestor. Over 715 daily transfers, snowflake yeast were subjected to selection for rapid growth, followed by selection favouring larger group size. Small and large cluster-forming lineages evolved from a monomorphic ancestor, coexisting for over ~4,300 generations, specializing on divergent aspects of a trade-off between growth rate and survival. Through modelling and experimentation, we demonstrate that coexistence is maintained by a trade-off between organismal size and competitiveness for dissolved oxygen. Taken together, this work shows how the evolution of a new level of biological individuality can rapidly drive adaptive diversification and the expansion of a nascent multicellular niche, one of the most historically impactful emergent properties of this evolutionary transition.

RevDate: 2024-05-13
CmpDate: 2024-05-13

Chen C, Chen H, Wang P, et al (2024)

Ca[2+] Overload Decreased Cellular Viability in Magnetic Hyperthermia without a Macroscopic Temperature Rise.

ACS biomaterials science & engineering, 10(5):2995-3005.

Magnetic hyperthermia is a crucial medical engineering technique for treating diseases, which usually uses alternating magnetic fields (AMF) to interplay with magnetic substances to generate heat. Recently, it has been found that in some cases, there is no detectable temperature increment after applying an AMF, which caused corresponding effects surprisingly. The mechanisms involved in this phenomenon are not yet fully understood. In this study, we aimed to explore the role of Ca[2+] overload in the magnetic hyperthermia effect without a perceptible temperature rise. A cellular system expressing the fusion proteins TRPV1 and ferritin was prepared. The application of an AMF (518 kHz, 16 kA/m) could induce the fusion protein to release a large amount of iron ions, which then participates in the production of massive reactive oxygen radicals (ROS). Both ROS and its induced lipid oxidation enticed the opening of ion channels, causing intracellular Ca[2+] overload, which further led to decreased cellular viability. Taken together, Ca[2+] overload triggered by elevated ROS and the induced oxidation of lipids contributes to the magnetic hyperthermia effect without a perceptible temperature rise. These findings would be beneficial for expanding the application of temperature-free magnetic hyperthermia, such as in cellular and neural regulation, design of new cancer treatment methods.

RevDate: 2024-05-12
CmpDate: 2024-05-12

Aprile D, Patrone D, Peluso G, et al (2024)

Multipotent/pluripotent stem cell populations in stromal tissues and peripheral blood: exploring diversity, potential, and therapeutic applications.

Stem cell research & therapy, 15(1):139.

The concept of "stemness" incorporates the molecular mechanisms that regulate the unlimited self-regenerative potential typical of undifferentiated primitive cells. These cells possess the unique ability to navigate the cell cycle, transitioning in and out of the quiescent G0 phase, and hold the capacity to generate diverse cell phenotypes. Stem cells, as undifferentiated precursors endow with extraordinary regenerative capabilities, exhibit a heterogeneous and tissue-specific distribution throughout the human body. The identification and characterization of distinct stem cell populations across various tissues have revolutionized our understanding of tissue homeostasis and regeneration. From the hematopoietic to the nervous and musculoskeletal systems, the presence of tissue-specific stem cells underlines the complex adaptability of multicellular organisms. Recent investigations have revealed a diverse cohort of non-hematopoietic stem cells (non-HSC), primarily within bone marrow and other stromal tissue, alongside established hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Among these non-HSC, a rare subset exhibits pluripotent characteristics. In vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the remarkable differentiation potential of these putative stem cells, known by various names including multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPC), marrow-isolated adult multilineage inducible cells (MIAMI), small blood stem cells (SBSC), very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs), and multilineage differentiating stress enduring cells (MUSE). The diverse nomenclatures assigned to these primitive stem cell populations may arise from different origins or varied experimental methodologies. This review aims to present a comprehensive comparison of various subpopulations of multipotent/pluripotent stem cells derived from stromal tissues. By analysing isolation techniques and surface marker expression associated with these populations, we aim to delineate the similarities and distinctions among stromal tissue-derived stem cells. Understanding the nuances of these tissue-specific stem cells is critical for unlocking their therapeutic potential and advancing regenerative medicine. The future of stem cells research should prioritize the standardization of methodologies and collaborative investigations in shared laboratory environments. This approach could mitigate variability in research outcomes and foster scientific partnerships to fully exploit the therapeutic potential of pluripotent stem cells.

RevDate: 2024-05-09
CmpDate: 2024-05-09

Wang H, Marucci G, Munke A, et al (2024)

High-resolution comparative atomic structures of two Giardiavirus prototypes infecting G. duodenalis parasite.

PLoS pathogens, 20(4):e1012140 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-23-01960.

The Giardia lamblia virus (GLV) is a non-enveloped icosahedral dsRNA and endosymbiont virus that infects the zoonotic protozoan parasite Giardia duodenalis (syn. G. lamblia, G. intestinalis), which is a pathogen of mammals, including humans. Elucidating the transmission mechanism of GLV is crucial for gaining an in-depth understanding of the virulence of the virus in G. duodenalis. GLV belongs to the family Totiviridae, which infects yeast and protozoa intracellularly; however, it also transmits extracellularly, similar to the phylogenetically, distantly related toti-like viruses that infect multicellular hosts. The GLV capsid structure is extensively involved in the longstanding discussion concerning extracellular transmission in Totiviridae and toti-like viruses. Hence, this study constructed the first high-resolution comparative atomic models of two GLV strains, namely GLV-HP and GLV-CAT, which showed different intracellular localization and virulence phenotypes, using cryogenic electron microscopy single-particle analysis. The atomic models of the GLV capsids presented swapped C-terminal extensions, extra surface loops, and a lack of cap-snatching pockets, similar to those of toti-like viruses. However, their open pores and absence of the extra crown protein resemble those of other yeast and protozoan Totiviridae viruses, demonstrating the essential structures for extracellular cell-to-cell transmission. The structural comparison between GLV-HP and GLV-CAT indicates the first evidence of critical structural motifs for the transmission and virulence of GLV in G. duodenalis.

RevDate: 2024-05-08

Yaron-Barir TM, Joughin BA, Huntsman EM, et al (2024)

The intrinsic substrate specificity of the human tyrosine kinome.

Nature [Epub ahead of print].

Phosphorylation of proteins on tyrosine (Tyr) residues evolved in metazoan organisms as a mechanism of coordinating tissue growth[1]. Multicellular eukaryotes typically have more than 50 distinct protein Tyr kinases that catalyse the phosphorylation of thousands of Tyr residues throughout the proteome[1-3]. How a given Tyr kinase can phosphorylate a specific subset of proteins at unique Tyr sites is only partially understood[4-7]. Here we used combinatorial peptide arrays to profile the substrate sequence specificity of all human Tyr kinases. Globally, the Tyr kinases demonstrate considerable diversity in optimal patterns of residues surrounding the site of phosphorylation, revealing the functional organization of the human Tyr kinome by substrate motif preference. Using this information, Tyr kinases that are most compatible with phosphorylating any Tyr site can be identified. Analysis of mass spectrometry phosphoproteomic datasets using this compendium of kinase specificities accurately identifies specific Tyr kinases that are dysregulated in cells after stimulation with growth factors, treatment with anti-cancer drugs or expression of oncogenic variants. Furthermore, the topology of known Tyr signalling networks naturally emerged from a comparison of the sequence specificities of the Tyr kinases and the SH2 phosphotyrosine (pTyr)-binding domains. Finally we show that the intrinsic substrate specificity of Tyr kinases has remained fundamentally unchanged from worms to humans, suggesting that the fidelity between Tyr kinases and their protein substrate sequences has been maintained across hundreds of millions of years of evolution.

RevDate: 2024-05-07
CmpDate: 2024-05-07

Brown AL, Meiborg AB, Franz-Wachtel M, et al (2024)

Characterization of the Pristionchus pacificus "epigenetic toolkit" reveals the evolutionary loss of the histone methyltransferase complex PRC2.

Genetics, 227(1):.

Comparative approaches have revealed both divergent and convergent paths to achieving shared developmental outcomes. Thus, only through assembling multiple case studies can we understand biological principles. Yet, despite appreciating the conservation-or lack thereof-of developmental networks, the conservation of epigenetic mechanisms regulating these networks is poorly understood. The nematode Pristionchus pacificus has emerged as a model system of plasticity and epigenetic regulation as it exhibits a bacterivorous or omnivorous morph depending on its environment. Here, we determined the "epigenetic toolkit" available to P. pacificus as a resource for future functional work on plasticity, and as a comparison with Caenorhabditis elegans to investigate the conservation of epigenetic mechanisms. Broadly, we observed a similar cast of genes with putative epigenetic function between C. elegans and P. pacificus. However, we also found striking differences. Most notably, the histone methyltransferase complex PRC2 appears to be missing in P. pacificus. We described the deletion/pseudogenization of the PRC2 genes mes-2 and mes-6 and concluded that both were lost in the last common ancestor of P. pacificus and a related species P. arcanus. Interestingly, we observed the enzymatic product of PRC2 (H3K27me3) by mass spectrometry and immunofluorescence, suggesting that a currently unknown methyltransferase has been co-opted for heterochromatin silencing. Altogether, we have provided an inventory of epigenetic genes in P. pacificus to compare with C. elegans. This inventory will enable reverse-genetic experiments related to plasticity and has revealed the first loss of PRC2 in a multicellular organism.

RevDate: 2024-05-03
CmpDate: 2024-05-03

Maloney KM, Halverson GP, Lechte M, et al (2024)

The paleoredox context of early eukaryotic evolution: insights from the Tonian Mackenzie Mountains Supergroup, Canada.

Geobiology, 22(3):e12598.

Tonian (ca. 1000-720 Ma) marine environments are hypothesised to have experienced major redox changes coinciding with the evolution and diversification of multicellular eukaryotes. In particular, the earliest Tonian stratigraphic record features the colonisation of benthic habitats by multicellular macroscopic algae, which would have been powerful ecosystem engineers that contributed to the oxygenation of the oceans and the reorganisation of biogeochemical cycles. However, the paleoredox context of this expansion of macroalgal habitats in Tonian nearshore marine environments remains uncertain due to limited well-preserved fossils and stratigraphy. As such, the interdependent relationship between early complex life and ocean redox state is unclear. An assemblage of macrofossils including the chlorophyte macroalga Archaeochaeta guncho was recently discovered in the lower Mackenzie Mountains Supergroup in Yukon (Canada), which archives marine sedimentation from ca. 950-775 Ma, permitting investigation into environmental evolution coincident with eukaryotic ecosystem evolution and expansion. Here we present multi-proxy geochemical data from the lower Mackenzie Mountains Supergroup to constrain the paleoredox environment within which these large benthic macroalgae thrived. Two transects show evidence for basin-wide anoxic (ferruginous) oceanic conditions (i.e., high FeHR/FeT, low Fepy/FeHR), with muted redox-sensitive trace metal enrichments and possible seasonal variability. However, the weathering of sulfide minerals in the studied samples may obscure geochemical signatures of euxinic conditions. These results suggest that macroalgae colonized shallow environments in an ocean that remained dominantly anoxic with limited evidence for oxygenation until ca. 850 Ma. Collectively, these geochemical results provide novel insights into the environmental conditions surrounding the evolution and expansion of benthic macroalgae and the eventual dominance of oxygenated oceanic conditions required for the later emergence of animals.

RevDate: 2024-05-01
CmpDate: 2024-05-01

Yu P, Li Y, Fang W, et al (2024)

Mechanochemical dynamics of collective cells and hierarchical topological defects in multicellular lumens.

Science advances, 10(18):eadn0172.

Collective cell dynamics is essential for tissue morphogenesis and various biological functions. However, it remains incompletely understood how mechanical forces and chemical signaling are integrated to direct collective cell behaviors underlying tissue morphogenesis. Here, we propose a three-dimensional (3D) mechanochemical theory accounting for biochemical reaction-diffusion and cellular mechanotransduction to investigate the dynamics of multicellular lumens. We show that the interplay between biochemical signaling and mechanics can trigger either pitchfork or Hopf bifurcation to induce diverse static mechanochemical patterns or generate oscillations with multiple modes both involving marked mechanical deformations in lumens. We uncover the crucial role of mechanochemical feedback in emerging morphodynamics and identify the evolution and morphogenetic functions of hierarchical topological defects including cell-level hexatic defects and tissue-level orientational defects. Our theory captures the common mechanochemical traits of collective dynamics observed in experiments and could provide a mechanistic context for understanding morphological symmetry breaking in 3D lumen-like tissues.

RevDate: 2024-05-01
CmpDate: 2024-05-01

Anonymous (2024)

Transitions in development - an interview with Thibaut Brunet.

Development (Cambridge, England), 151(9):.

Thibaut Brunet is a group leader at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, where he works on choanoflagellates (known as 'choanos' for short). These unicellular organisms are close relatives of animals that have the potential to form multicellular assemblies under certain conditions, and Thibaut's lab are leveraging them to gain insights into how animal morphogenesis evolved. We met with Thibaut over Zoom to discuss his career path so far, and learnt how an early interest in dinosaurs contributed to his life-long fascination with evolutionary biology.

RevDate: 2024-04-29
CmpDate: 2024-04-30

Trigos AS, Bongiovanni F, Zhang Y, et al (2024)

Disruption of metazoan gene regulatory networks in cancer alters the balance of co-expression between genes of unicellular and multicellular origins.

Genome biology, 25(1):110.

BACKGROUND: Metazoans inherited genes from unicellular ancestors that perform essential biological processes such as cell division, metabolism, and protein translation. Multicellularity requires careful control and coordination of these unicellular genes to maintain tissue integrity and homeostasis. Gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that arose during metazoan evolution are frequently altered in cancer, resulting in over-expression of unicellular genes. We propose that an imbalance in co-expression of unicellular (UC) and multicellular (MC) genes is a driving force in cancer.

RESULTS: We combine gene co-expression analysis to infer changes to GRNs in cancer with protein sequence conservation data to distinguish genes with UC and MC origins. Co-expression networks created using RNA sequencing data from 31 tumor types and normal tissue samples are divided into modules enriched for UC genes, MC genes, or mixed UC-MC modules. The greatest differences between tumor and normal tissue co-expression networks occur within mixed UC-MC modules. MC and UC genes not commonly co-expressed in normal tissues form distinct co-expression modules seen only in tumors. The degree of rewiring of genes within mixed UC-MC modules increases with tumor grade and stage. Mixed UC-MC modules are enriched for somatic mutations in cancer genes, particularly amplifications, suggesting an important driver of the rewiring observed in tumors is copy number changes.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows the greatest changes to gene co-expression patterns during tumor progression occur between genes of MC and UC origins, implicating the breakdown and rewiring of metazoan gene regulatory networks in cancer development and progression.

RevDate: 2024-04-27
CmpDate: 2024-04-27

Schuster CD, Salvatore F, Moens L, et al (2024)

Globin phylogeny, evolution and function, the newest update.

Proteins, 92(6):720-734.

Our globin census update allows us to refine our vision of globin origin, evolution, and structure to function relationship in the context of the currently accepted tree of life. The modern globin domain originates as a single domain, three-over-three α-helical folded structure before the diversification of the kingdoms of life (Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya). Together with the diversification of prokaryotes, three monophyletic globin families (M, S, and T) emerged, most likely in Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria, displaying specific sequence and structural features, and spread by vertical and horizontal gene transfer, most probably already present in the last universal common ancestor (LUCA). Non-globin domains were added, and eventually lost again, creating multi-domain structures in key branches of M- (FHb and Adgb) and the vast majority of S globins, which with their coevolved multi-domain architectures, have predominantly "sensor" functions. Single domain T-family globins diverged into four major groups and most likely display functions related to reactive nitrogen and oxygen species (RNOS) chemistry, as well as oxygen storage/transport which drives the evolution of its major branches with their characteristic key distal residues (B10, E11, E7, and G8). M-family evolution also lead to distinctive major types (FHb and Fgb, Ngb, Adgb, GbX vertebrate Gbs), and shows the shift from high oxygen affinity controlled by TyrB10-Gln/AsnE11 likely related to RNOS chemistry in microorganisms, to a moderate oxygen affinity storage/transport function controlled by hydrophobic B10/E11-HisE7 in multicellular animals.

RevDate: 2024-04-25

Singleton MD, MB Eisen (2024)

Evolutionary analyses of intrinsically disordered regions reveal widespread signals of conservation.

PLoS computational biology, 20(4):e1012028 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-24-00042 [Epub ahead of print].

Intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) are segments of proteins without stable three-dimensional structures. As this flexibility allows them to interact with diverse binding partners, IDRs play key roles in cell signaling and gene expression. Despite the prevalence and importance of IDRs in eukaryotic proteomes and various biological processes, associating them with specific molecular functions remains a significant challenge due to their high rates of sequence evolution. However, by comparing the observed values of various IDR-associated properties against those generated under a simulated model of evolution, a recent study found most IDRs across the entire yeast proteome contain conserved features. Furthermore, it showed clusters of IDRs with common "evolutionary signatures," i.e. patterns of conserved features, were associated with specific biological functions. To determine if similar patterns of conservation are found in the IDRs of other systems, in this work we applied a series of phylogenetic models to over 7,500 orthologous IDRs identified in the Drosophila genome to dissect the forces driving their evolution. By comparing models of constrained and unconstrained continuous trait evolution using the Brownian motion and Ornstein-Uhlenbeck models, respectively, we identified signals of widespread constraint, indicating conservation of distributed features is mechanism of IDR evolution common to multiple biological systems. In contrast to the previous study in yeast, however, we observed limited evidence of IDR clusters with specific biological functions, which suggests a more complex relationship between evolutionary constraints and function in the IDRs of multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2024-04-25

Tong K, Datta S, Cheng V, et al (2024)

Whole-genome duplication in the Multicellularity Long Term Evolution Experiment.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.04.18.588554.

Whole-genome duplication (WGD) is widespread across eukaryotes and can promote adaptive evolution [1-4] . However, given the instability of newly-formed polyploid genomes [5-7] , understanding how WGDs arise in a population, persist, and underpin adaptations remains a challenge. Using our ongoing Multicellularity Long Term Evolution Experiment (MuLTEE) [8] , we show that diploid snowflake yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) under selection for larger multicellular size rapidly undergo spontaneous WGD. From its origin within the first 50 days of the experiment, tetraploids persist for the next 950 days (nearly 5,000 generations, the current leading edge of our experiment) in ten replicate populations, despite being genomically unstable. Using synthetic reconstruction, biophysical modeling, and counter-selection experiments, we found that tetraploidy evolved because it confers immediate fitness benefits in this environment, by producing larger, longer cells that yield larger clusters. The same selective benefit also maintained tetraploidy over long evolutionary timescales, inhibiting the reversion to diploidy that is typically seen in laboratory evolution experiments. Once established, tetraploidy facilitated novel genetic routes for adaptation, playing a key role in the evolution of macroscopic multicellular size via the origin of evolutionarily conserved aneuploidy. These results provide unique empirical insights into the evolutionary dynamics and impacts of WGD, showing how it can initially arise due to its immediate adaptive benefits, be maintained by selection, and fuel long-term innovations by creating additional dimensions of heritable genetic variation.

RevDate: 2024-04-25
CmpDate: 2024-04-25

Reis-Cunha JL, Pimenta-Carvalho SA, Almeida LV, et al (2024)

Ancestral aneuploidy and stable chromosomal duplication resulting in differential genome structure and gene expression control in trypanosomatid parasites.

Genome research, 34(3):441-453 pii:gr.278550.123.

Aneuploidy is widely observed in both unicellular and multicellular eukaryotes, usually associated with adaptation to stress conditions. Chromosomal duplication stability is a tradeoff between the fitness cost of having unbalanced gene copies and the potential fitness gained from increased dosage of specific advantageous genes. Trypanosomatids, a family of protozoans that include species that cause neglected tropical diseases, are a relevant group to study aneuploidies. Their life cycle has several stressors that could select for different patterns of chromosomal duplications and/or losses, and their nearly universal use of polycistronic transcription increases their reliance on gene expansion/contraction, as well as post-transcriptional control as mechanisms for gene expression regulation. By evaluating the data from 866 isolates covering seven trypanosomatid genera, we have revealed that aneuploidy tolerance is an ancestral characteristic of trypanosomatids but has a reduced occurrence in a specific monophyletic clade that has undergone large genomic reorganization and chromosomal fusions. We have also identified an ancient chromosomal duplication that was maintained across these parasite's speciation, named collectively as the trypanosomatid ancestral supernumerary chromosome (TASC). TASC has most genes in the same coding strand, is expressed as a disomic chromosome (even having four copies), and has increased potential for functional variation, but it purges highly deleterious mutations more efficiently than other chromosomes. The evidence of stringent control over gene expression in this chromosome suggests that these parasites have adapted to mitigate the fitness cost associated with this ancient chromosomal duplication.

RevDate: 2024-04-24
CmpDate: 2024-04-24

Thomas F, Ujvari B, AM Dujon (2024)

[Evolution of cancer resistance in the animal kingdom].

Medecine sciences : M/S, 40(4):343-350.

Cancer is an inevitable collateral problem inherent in the evolution of multicellular organisms, which appeared at the end of the Precambrian. Faced to this constraint, a range of diverse anticancer defenses has evolved across the animal kingdom. Today, investigating how animal organisms, especially those of large size and long lifespan, manage cancer-related issues has both fundamental and applied outcomes, as it could inspire strategies for preventing or treating human cancers. In this article, we begin by presenting the conceptual framework for understanding evolutionary theories regarding the development of anti-cancer defenses. We then present a number of examples that have been extensively studied in recent years, including naked mole rats, elephants, whales, placozoa, xenarthras (such as sloths, armadillos and anteaters) and bats. The contributions of comparative genomics to understanding evolutionary convergences are also discussed. Finally, we emphasize that natural selection has also favored anti-cancer adaptations aimed at avoiding mutagenic environments, for example by maximizing immediate reproductive efforts in the event of cancer. Exploring these adaptive solutions holds promise for identifying novel approaches to improve human health.

RevDate: 2024-04-24
CmpDate: 2024-04-24

Egorova KS, Kibardin AV, Posvyatenko AV, et al (2024)

Mechanisms of Biological Effects of Ionic Liquids: From Single Cells to Multicellular Organisms.

Chemical reviews, 124(8):4679-4733.

The review presents a detailed discussion of the evolving field studying interactions between ionic liquids (ILs) and biological systems. Originating from molten salt electrolytes to present multiapplication substances, ILs have found usage across various fields due to their exceptional physicochemical properties, including excellent tunability. However, their interactions with biological systems and potential influence on living organisms remain largely unexplored. This review examines the cytotoxic effects of ILs on cell cultures, biomolecules, and vertebrate and invertebrate organisms. Our understanding of IL toxicity, while growing in recent years, is yet nascent. The established findings include correlations between harmful effects of ILs and their ability to disturb cellular membranes, their potential to trigger oxidative stress in cells, and their ability to cause cell death via apoptosis. Future research directions proposed in the review include studying the distribution of various ILs within cellular compartments and organelles, investigating metabolic transformations of ILs in cells and organisms, detailed analysis of IL effects on proteins involved in oxidative stress and apoptosis, correlation studies between IL doses, exposure times and resulting adverse effects, and examination of effects of subtoxic concentrations of ILs on various biological objects. This review aims to serve as a critical analysis of the current body of knowledge on IL-related toxicity mechanisms. Furthermore, it can guide researchers toward the design of less toxic ILs and the informed use of ILs in drug development and medicine.

RevDate: 2024-04-23

Xin H, Wang Y, Zhang W, et al (2024)

Celine, a long interspersed nuclear element retrotransposon, colonizes in the centromeres of poplar chromosomes.

Plant physiology pii:7656883 [Epub ahead of print].

Centromeres in most multicellular eukaryotes are composed of long arrays of repetitive DNA sequences. Interestingly, several transposable elements, including the well-known long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposon CRM (centromeric retrotransposon of maize), were found to be enriched in functional centromeres marked by the centromeric histone H3 (CENH3). Here we report a centromeric long interspersed nuclear element (LINE), Celine, in Populus species. Celine has colonized preferentially in the CENH3-associated chromatin of every poplar chromosome, with 84% of the Celine elements localized in the CENH3-binding domains. By contrast, only 51% of the CRM elements were bound to CENH3 domains in Populus trichocarpa. These results suggest different centromere targeting mechanisms employed by Celine and CRM elements. Nevertheless, the high target specificity seems to be detrimental to further amplification of the Celine elements, leading to a shorter life span and patchy distribution among plant species compared to the CRM elements. Using a phylogenetically guided approach we were able to identify Celine-like LINE elements in tea plant (Camellia sinensis) and green ash tree (Fraxinus pennsylvanica). The centromeric localization of these Celine-like LINEs was confirmed in both species. We demonstrate that the centromere targeting property of Celine-like LINEs is of primitive origin and has been conserved among distantly related plant species.

RevDate: 2024-04-23
CmpDate: 2024-04-23

Iwaï H, Beyer HM, Johansson JEM, et al (2024)

The three-dimensional structure of the Vint domain from Tetrahymena thermophila suggests a ligand-regulated cleavage mechanism by the HINT fold.

FEBS letters, 598(8):864-874.

Vint proteins have been identified in unicellular metazoans as a novel hedgehog-related gene family, merging the von Willebrand factor type A domain and the Hedgehog/INTein (HINT) domains. We present the first three-dimensional structure of the Vint domain from Tetrahymena thermophila corresponding to the auto-processing domain of hedgehog proteins, shedding light on the unique features, including an adduct recognition region (ARR). Our results suggest a potential binding between the ARR and sulfated glycosaminoglycans like heparin sulfate. Moreover, we uncover a possible regulatory role of the ARR in the auto-processing by Vint domains, expanding our understanding of the HINT domain evolution and their use in biotechnological applications. Vint domains might have played a crucial role in the transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2024-04-22
CmpDate: 2024-04-22

Park S, SW Cho (2024)

Bioengineering toolkits for potentiating organoid therapeutics.

Advanced drug delivery reviews, 208:115238.

Organoids are three-dimensional, multicellular constructs that recapitulate the structural and functional features of specific organs. Because of these characteristics, organoids have been widely applied in biomedical research in recent decades. Remarkable advancements in organoid technology have positioned them as promising candidates for regenerative medicine. However, current organoids still have limitations, such as the absence of internal vasculature, limited functionality, and a small size that is not commensurate with that of actual organs. These limitations hinder their survival and regenerative effects after transplantation. Another significant concern is the reliance on mouse tumor-derived matrix in organoid culture, which is unsuitable for clinical translation due to its tumor origin and safety issues. Therefore, our aim is to describe engineering strategies and alternative biocompatible materials that can facilitate the practical applications of organoids in regenerative medicine. Furthermore, we highlight meaningful progress in organoid transplantation, with a particular emphasis on the functional restoration of various organs.

RevDate: 2024-04-19
CmpDate: 2024-04-19

Deng Y, Xia L, Zhang J, et al (2024)

Multicellular ecotypes shape progression of lung adenocarcinoma from ground-glass opacity toward advanced stages.

Cell reports. Medicine, 5(4):101489.

Lung adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that exhibits a wide range of clinical radiological manifestations, from ground-glass opacity (GGO) to pure solid nodules, which vary greatly in terms of their biological characteristics. Our current understanding of this heterogeneity is limited. To address this gap, we analyze 58 lung adenocarcinoma patients via machine learning, single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), and whole-exome sequencing, and we identify six lung multicellular ecotypes (LMEs) correlating with distinct radiological patterns and cancer cell states. Notably, GGO-associated neoantigens in early-stage cancers are recognized by CD8[+] T cells, indicating an immune-active environment, while solid nodules feature an immune-suppressive LME with exhausted CD8[+] T cells, driven by specific stromal cells such as CTHCR1[+] fibroblasts. This study also highlights EGFR(L858R) neoantigens in GGO samples, suggesting potential CD8[+] T cell activation. Our findings offer valuable insights into lung adenocarcinoma heterogeneity, suggesting avenues for targeted therapies in early-stage disease.

RevDate: 2024-04-15
CmpDate: 2024-04-15

Deng S, Gong H, Zhang D, et al (2024)

A statistical method for quantifying progenitor cells reveals incipient cell fate commitments.

Nature methods, 21(4):597-608.

Quantifying the number of progenitor cells that found an organ, tissue or cell population is of fundamental importance for understanding the development and homeostasis of a multicellular organism. Previous efforts rely on marker genes that are specifically expressed in progenitors. This strategy is, however, often hindered by the lack of ideal markers. Here we propose a general statistical method to quantify the progenitors of any tissues or cell populations in an organism, even in the absence of progenitor-specific markers, by exploring the cell phylogenetic tree that records the cell division history during development. The method, termed targeting coalescent analysis (TarCA), computes the probability that two randomly sampled cells of a tissue coalesce within the tissue-specific monophyletic clades. The inverse of this probability then serves as a measure of the progenitor number of the tissue. Both mathematic modeling and computer simulations demonstrated the high accuracy of TarCA, which was then validated using real data from nematode, fruit fly and mouse, all with related cell phylogenetic trees. We further showed that TarCA can be used to identify lineage-specific upregulated genes during embryogenesis, revealing incipient cell fate commitments in mouse embryos.

RevDate: 2024-04-12
CmpDate: 2024-04-12

Lindsey CR, Knoll AH, Herron MD, et al (2024)

Fossil-calibrated molecular clock data enable reconstruction of steps leading to differentiated multicellularity and anisogamy in the Volvocine algae.

BMC biology, 22(1):79.

BACKGROUND: Throughout its nearly four-billion-year history, life has undergone evolutionary transitions in which simpler subunits have become integrated to form a more complex whole. Many of these transitions opened the door to innovations that resulted in increased biodiversity and/or organismal efficiency. The evolution of multicellularity from unicellular forms represents one such transition, one that paved the way for cellular differentiation, including differentiation of male and female gametes. A useful model for studying the evolution of multicellularity and cellular differentiation is the volvocine algae, a clade of freshwater green algae whose members range from unicellular to colonial, from undifferentiated to completely differentiated, and whose gamete types can be isogamous, anisogamous, or oogamous. To better understand how multicellularity, differentiation, and gametes evolved in this group, we used comparative genomics and fossil data to establish a geologically calibrated roadmap of when these innovations occurred.

RESULTS: Our ancestral-state reconstructions, show that multicellularity arose independently twice in the volvocine algae. Our chronograms indicate multicellularity evolved during the Carboniferous-Triassic periods in Goniaceae + Volvocaceae, and possibly as early as the Cretaceous in Tetrabaenaceae. Using divergence time estimates we inferred when, and in what order, specific developmental changes occurred that led to differentiated multicellularity and oogamy. We find that in the volvocine algae the temporal sequence of developmental changes leading to differentiated multicellularity is much as proposed by David Kirk, and that multicellularity is correlated with the acquisition of anisogamy and oogamy. Lastly, morphological, molecular, and divergence time data suggest the possibility of cryptic species in Tetrabaenaceae.

CONCLUSIONS: Large molecular datasets and robust phylogenetic methods are bringing the evolutionary history of the volvocine algae more sharply into focus. Mounting evidence suggests that extant species in this group are the result of two independent origins of multicellularity and multiple independent origins of cell differentiation. Also, the origin of the Tetrabaenaceae-Goniaceae-Volvocaceae clade may be much older than previously thought. Finally, the possibility of cryptic species in the Tetrabaenaceae provides an exciting opportunity to study the recent divergence of lineages adapted to live in very different thermal environments.

RevDate: 2024-04-09
CmpDate: 2024-04-09

Shao S, Liu K, Du J, et al (2024)

Functional characterization of serine proteinase inhibitor Kazal-Type in the red claw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus.

Fish & shellfish immunology, 148:109525.

Serine protease inhibitors Kazal type (SPINKs) function in physiological and immunological processes across multicellular organisms. In the present study, we identified a SPINK gene, designated as CqSPINK, in the red claw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus, which is the ortholog of human SPINK5. The deduced CqSPINK contains two Kazal domains consisting of 45 amino acid residues with a typical signature motif C-X3-C-X5-PVCG-X5-Y-X3-C-X6-C-X12-14-C. Each Kazal domain contains six conserved cysteine residues forming three pairs of disulfide bonds, segmenting the structure into three rings. Phylogenetic analysis revealed CqSPINK as a homolog of human SPINK5. CqSPINK expression was detected exclusively in hepatopancreas and epithelium, with rapid up-regulation in hepatopancreas upon Vibrio parahaemolyticus E1 challenge. Recombinant CqSPINK protein (rCqSPINK) was heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli and purified for further study. Proteinase inhibition assays demonstrated that rCqSPINK could potently inhibit proteinase K and subtilisin A, weakly inhibit α-chymotrypsin and elastase, but extremely weak inhibit trypsin. Furthermore, CqSPINK inhibited bacterial secretory proteinase activity from Bacillus subtilis, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus, and inhibited B. subtilis growth. These findings suggest CqSPINK's involvement in antibacterial immunity through direct inhibition of bacterial proteases, contributing to resistance against pathogen invasion.

RevDate: 2024-04-08
CmpDate: 2024-04-08

Wang H, Guan Z, L Zheng (2024)

Single-cell RNA sequencing explores the evolution of the ecosystem from leukoplakia to head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Scientific reports, 14(1):8097.

It has been found that progression from leukoplakia to head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a long-term process that may involve changes in the multicellular ecosystem. We acquired scRNA-seq samples information from gene expression omnibus and UCSC Xena database. The BEAM function was used to construct the pseudotime trajectory and analyze the differentially expressed genes in different branches. We used the ssGSEA method to explore the correlation between each cell subgroup and survival time, and obtained the cell subgroup related to prognosis. During the progression from leukoplakia to HNSCC, we found several prognostic cell subgroups, such as AURKB + epithelial cells, SFRP1 + fibroblasts, SLC7A8 + macrophages, FCER1A + CD1C + dendritic cells, and TRGC2 + NK/T cells. All cell subgroups had two different fates, one tending to cell proliferation, migration, and enhancement of angiogenesis capacity, and the other tending to inflammatory immune response, leukocyte chemotaxis, and T cell activation. Tumor-promoting genes such as CD163 and CD209 were highly expressed in the myeloid cells, and depletion marker genes such as TIGIT, LAG3 were highly expressed in NK/T cells. Our study may provide a reference for the molecular mechanism of HNSCC and theoretical basis for the development of new therapeutic strategies.

RevDate: 2024-04-08
CmpDate: 2024-04-08

Ratajczak MZ, J Ratajczak (2024)

Leukemogenesis occurs in a microenvironment enriched by extracellular microvesicles/exosomes: recent discoveries and questions to be answered.

Leukemia, 38(4):692-698.

In single-cell organisms, extracellular microvesicles (ExMVs) were one of the first cell-cell communication platforms that emerged very early during evolution. Multicellular organisms subsequently adapted this mechanism. Evidence indicates that all types of cells secrete these small circular structures surrounded by a lipid membrane that may be encrusted by ligands and receptors interacting with target cells and harboring inside a cargo comprising RNA species, proteins, bioactive lipids, signaling nucleotides, and even entire organelles "hijacked" from the cells of origin. ExMVs are secreted by normal cells and at higher levels by malignant cells, and there are some differences in their cargo. On the one hand, ExMVs secreted from malignant cells interact with cells in the microenvironment, and in return, they are exposed by a "two-way mechanism" to ExMVs secreted by non-leukemic cells. Therefore, leukemogenesis occurs and progresses in ExMVs enriched microenvironments, and this biological fact has pathologic, diagnostic, and therapeutic implications. We are still trying to decipher this intriguing cell-cell communication language better. We will present a current point of view on this topic and review some selected most recent discoveries and papers.

RevDate: 2024-04-08
CmpDate: 2024-04-08

Arnoux-Courseaux M, Y Coudert (2024)

Re-examining meristems through the lens of evo-devo.

Trends in plant science, 29(4):413-427.

The concept of the meristem was introduced in 1858 to characterize multicellular, formative, and proliferative tissues that give rise to the entire plant body, based on observations of vascular plants. Although its original definition did not encompass bryophytes, this concept has been used and continuously refined over the past 165 years to describe the diverse apices of all land plants. Here, we re-examine this matter in light of recent evo-devo research and show that, despite displaying high anatomical diversity, land plant meristems are unified by shared genetic control. We also propose a modular view of meristem function and highlight multiple evolutionary mechanisms that are likely to have contributed to the assembly and diversification of the varied meristems during the course of plant evolution.

RevDate: 2024-04-01
CmpDate: 2024-04-01

Kapsetaki SE, Cisneros LH, CC Maley (2024)

Cell-in-cell phenomena across the tree of life.

Scientific reports, 14(1):7535.

Cells in obligately multicellular organisms by definition have aligned fitness interests, minimum conflict, and cannot reproduce independently. However, some cells eat other cells within the same body, sometimes called cell cannibalism. Such cell-in-cell events have not been thoroughly discussed in the framework of major transitions to multicellularity. We performed a systematic screening of 508 articles, from which we chose 115 relevant articles in a search for cell-in-cell events across the tree of life, the age of cell-in-cell-related genes, and whether cell-in-cell events are associated with normal multicellular development or cancer. Cell-in-cell events are found across the tree of life, from some unicellular to many multicellular organisms, including non-neoplastic and neoplastic tissue. Additionally, out of the 38 cell-in-cell-related genes found in the literature, 14 genes were over 2.2 billion years old, i.e., older than the common ancestor of some facultatively multicellular taxa. All of this suggests that cell-in-cell events may have originated before the origins of obligate multicellularity. Thus, our results show that cell-in-cell events exist in obligate multicellular organisms, but are not a defining feature of them. The idea of eradicating cell-in-cell events from obligate multicellular organisms as a way of treating cancer, without considering that cell-in-cell events are also part of normal development, should be abandoned.

RevDate: 2024-03-28

Odelgard A, Hägglund E, Guy L, et al (2024)

Phylogeny and Expansion of Serine/Threonine Kinases in Phagocytotic Bacteria in the Phylum Planctomycetota.

Genome biology and evolution pii:7637138 [Epub ahead of print].

The recently isolated bacterium "Candidatus Uabimicrobium amorphum" is the only known prokaryote that can engulf other bacterial cells. Its proteome contains a high fraction of proteins involved in signal transduction systems, which is a feature normally associated with multicellularity in eukaryotes. Here, we present a protein-based phylogeny which shows that "Ca. Uabimicrobium amorphum" represents an early diverging lineage that clusters with the Saltatorellus clade within the phylum Planctomycetota. A gene flux analysis indicated a gain of 126 protein families for signal transduction functions in "Ca. Uabimicrobium amorphum", of which 66 families contained eukaryotic-like Serine/Threonine kinases (STKs) with Pkinase domains. In total, we predicted 525 functional STKs in "Ca. Uabimicrobium amorphum", which represent 8% of the proteome and is the highest fraction of STKs in a bacterial proteome. The majority of STKs in this species are membrane proteins and 30% contain long, tandem arrays of WD40 or TPR domains. The pKinase domain was predicted to be located in the cytoplasm, while the WD40 and TPR domains were predicted to be located in the periplasm. Such domain combinations were also identified in the STKs of other species in the Planctomycetota, although in much lower abundances. A phylogenetic analysis of the STKs in the Planctomycetota inferred from the Pkinase domain alone provided support for lineage-specific expansions of the STKs in "Ca. Uabimicrobium amorphum". The results imply that expansions of eukaryotic-like signal transduction systems are not restricted to multicellular organisms, but have occurred in parallel in prokaryotes with predatory lifestyles and phagocytotic-like behaviors.

RevDate: 2024-03-28
CmpDate: 2024-03-28

Domazet-Lošo M, Široki T, Šimičević K, et al (2024)

Macroevolutionary dynamics of gene family gain and loss along multicellular eukaryotic lineages.

Nature communications, 15(1):2663.

The gain and loss of genes fluctuate over evolutionary time in major eukaryotic clades. However, the full profile of these macroevolutionary trajectories is still missing. To give a more inclusive view on the changes in genome complexity across the tree of life, here we recovered the evolutionary dynamics of gene family gain and loss ranging from the ancestor of cellular organisms to 352 eukaryotic species. We show that in all considered lineages the gene family content follows a common evolutionary pattern, where the number of gene families reaches the highest value at a major evolutionary and ecological transition, and then gradually decreases towards extant organisms. This supports theoretical predictions and suggests that the genome complexity is often decoupled from commonly perceived organismal complexity. We conclude that simplification by gene family loss is a dominant force in Phanerozoic genomes of various lineages, probably underpinned by intense ecological specializations and functional outsourcing.

RevDate: 2024-03-25
CmpDate: 2024-03-25

Phillips JE, D Pan (2024)

The Hippo kinase cascade regulates a contractile cell behavior and cell density in a close unicellular relative of animals.

eLife, 12:.

The genomes of close unicellular relatives of animals encode orthologs of many genes that regulate animal development. However, little is known about the function of such genes in unicellular organisms or the evolutionary process by which these genes came to function in multicellular development. The Hippo pathway, which regulates cell proliferation and tissue size in animals, is present in some of the closest unicellular relatives of animals, including the amoeboid organism Capsaspora owczarzaki. We previously showed that the Capsaspora ortholog of the Hippo pathway nuclear effector Yorkie/YAP/TAZ (coYki) regulates actin dynamics and the three-dimensional morphology of Capsaspora cell aggregates, but is dispensable for cell proliferation control (Phillips et al., 2022). However, the function of upstream Hippo pathway components, and whether and how they regulate coYki in Capsaspora, remained unknown. Here, we analyze the function of the upstream Hippo pathway kinases coHpo and coWts in Capsaspora by generating mutant lines for each gene. Loss of either kinase results in increased nuclear localization of coYki, indicating an ancient, premetazoan origin of this Hippo pathway regulatory mechanism. Strikingly, we find that loss of either kinase causes a contractile cell behavior and increased density of cell packing within Capsaspora aggregates. We further show that this increased cell density is not due to differences in proliferation, but rather actomyosin-dependent changes in the multicellular architecture of aggregates. Given its well-established role in cell density-regulated proliferation in animals, the increased density of cell packing in coHpo and coWts mutants suggests a shared and possibly ancient and conserved function of the Hippo pathway in cell density control. Together, these results implicate cytoskeletal regulation but not proliferation as an ancestral function of the Hippo pathway kinase cascade and uncover a novel role for Hippo signaling in regulating cell density in a proliferation-independent manner.

RevDate: 2024-03-25
CmpDate: 2024-03-25

Carreira de Paula J, García Olmedo P, Gómez-Moracho T, et al (2024)

Promastigote EPS secretion and haptomonad biofilm formation as evolutionary adaptations of trypanosomatid parasites for colonizing honeybee hosts.

NPJ biofilms and microbiomes, 10(1):27.

Bees are major pollinators involved in the maintenance of all terrestrial ecosystems. Biotic and abiotic factors placing these insects at risk is a research priority for ecological and agricultural sustainability. Parasites are one of the key players of this global decline and the study of their mechanisms of action is essential to control honeybee colony losses. Trypanosomatid parasites and particularly the Lotmaria passim are widely spread in honeybees, however their lifestyle is poorly understood. In this work, we show how these parasites are able to differentiate into a new parasitic lifestyle: the trypanosomatid biofilms. Using different microscopic techniques, we demonstrated that the secretion of Extracellular Polymeric Substances by free-swimming unicellular promastigote forms is a prerequisite for the generation and adherence of multicellular biofilms to solid surfaces in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, compared to human-infective trypanosomatid parasites our study shows how trypanosomatid parasites of honeybees increases their resistance and thus resilience to drastic changes in environmental conditions such as ultralow temperatures and hypoosmotic shock, which would explain their success thriving within or outside their hosts. These results set up the basis for the understanding of the success of this group of parasites in nature and to unveil the impact of such pathogens in honeybees, a keystones species in most terrestrial ecosystems.

RevDate: 2024-03-21

Luthringer R, Raphalen M, Guerra C, et al (2024)

Repeated co-option of HMG-box genes for sex determination in brown algae and animals.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 383(6689):eadk5466.

In many eukaryotes, genetic sex determination is not governed by XX/XY or ZW/ZZ systems but by a specialized region on the poorly studied U (female) or V (male) sex chromosomes. Previous studies have hinted at the existence of a dominant male-sex factor on the V chromosome in brown algae, a group of multicellular eukaryotes distantly related to animals and plants. The nature of this factor has remained elusive. Here, we demonstrate that an HMG-box gene acts as the male-determining factor in brown algae, mirroring the role HMG-box genes play in sex determination in animals. Over a billion-year evolutionary timeline, these lineages have independently co-opted the HMG box for male determination, representing a paradigm for evolution's ability to recurrently use the same genetic "toolkit" to accomplish similar tasks.

RevDate: 2024-03-21
CmpDate: 2024-03-21

Wang R, Meng Q, Wang X, et al (2024)

Comparative genomic analysis of symbiotic and free-living Fluviibacter phosphoraccumulans strains provides insights into the evolutionary origins of obligate Euplotes-bacterial endosymbioses.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 90(3):e0190023.

UNLABELLED: Endosymbiosis is a widespread and important phenomenon requiring diverse model systems. Ciliates are a widespread group of protists that often form symbioses with diverse microorganisms. Endosymbioses between the ciliate Euplotes and heritable bacterial symbionts are common in nature, and four essential symbionts were described: Polynucleobacter necessarius, "Candidatus Protistobacter heckmanni," "Ca. Devosia symbiotica," and "Ca. Devosia euplotis." Among them, only the genus Polynucleobacter comprises very close free-living and symbiotic representatives, which makes it an excellent model for investigating symbiont replacements and recent symbioses. In this article, we characterized a novel endosymbiont inhabiting the cytoplasm of Euplotes octocarinatus and found that it is a close relative of the free-living bacterium Fluviibacter phosphoraccumulans (Betaproteobacteria and Rhodocyclales). We present the complete genome sequence and annotation of the symbiotic Fluviibacter. Comparative analyses indicate that the genome of symbiotic Fluviibacter is small in size and rich in pseudogenes when compared with free-living strains, which seems to fit the prediction for recently established endosymbionts undergoing genome erosion. Further comparative analysis revealed reduced metabolic capacities in symbiotic Fluviibacter, which implies that the symbiont relies on the host Euplotes for carbon sources, organic nitrogen and sulfur, and some cofactors. We also estimated substitution rates between symbiotic and free-living Fluviibacter pairs for 233 genes; the results showed that symbiotic Fluviibacter displays higher dN/dS mean value than free-living relatives, which suggested that genetic drift is the main driving force behind molecular evolution in endosymbionts.

IMPORTANCE: In the long history of symbiosis research, most studies focused mainly on organelles or bacteria within multicellular hosts. The single-celled protists receive little attention despite harboring an immense diversity of symbiotic associations with bacteria and archaea. One subgroup of the ciliate Euplotes species is strictly dependent on essential symbionts for survival and has emerged as a valuable model for understanding symbiont replacements and recent symbioses. However, almost all of our knowledge about the evolution and functions of Euplotes symbioses comes from the Euplotes-Polynucleobacter system. In this article, we report a novel essential symbiont, which also has very close free-living relatives. Genome analysis indicated that it is a recently established endosymbiont undergoing genome erosion and relies on the Euplotes host for many essential molecules. Our results provide support for the notion that essential symbionts of the ciliate Euplotes evolve from free-living progenitors in the natural water environment.

RevDate: 2024-03-20
CmpDate: 2024-03-20

Földi C, Merényi Z, Balázs B, et al (2024)

Snowball: a novel gene family required for developmental patterning of fruiting bodies of mushroom-forming fungi (Agaricomycetes).

mSystems, 9(3):e0120823.

UNLABELLED: The morphogenesis of sexual fruiting bodies of fungi is a complex process determined by a genetically encoded program. Fruiting bodies reached the highest complexity levels in the Agaricomycetes; yet, the underlying genetics is currently poorly known. In this work, we functionally characterized a highly conserved gene termed snb1, whose expression level increases rapidly during fruiting body initiation. According to phylogenetic analyses, orthologs of snb1 are present in almost all agaricomycetes and may represent a novel conserved gene family that plays a substantial role in fruiting body development. We disrupted snb1 using CRISPR/Cas9 in the agaricomycete model organism Coprinopsis cinerea. snb1 deletion mutants formed unique, snowball-shaped, rudimentary fruiting bodies that could not differentiate caps, stipes, and lamellae. We took advantage of this phenotype to study fruiting body differentiation using RNA-Seq analyses. This revealed differentially regulated genes and gene families that, based on wild-type RNA-Seq data, were upregulated early during development and showed tissue-specific expression, suggesting a potential role in differentiation. Taken together, the novel gene family of snb1 and the differentially expressed genes in the snb1 mutants provide valuable insights into the complex mechanisms underlying developmental patterning in the Agaricomycetes.

IMPORTANCE: Fruiting bodies of mushroom-forming fungi (Agaricomycetes) are complex multicellular structures, with a spatially and temporally integrated developmental program that is, however, currently poorly known. In this study, we present a novel, conserved gene family, Snowball (snb), termed after the unique, differentiation-less fruiting body morphology of snb1 knockout strains in the model mushroom Coprinopsis cinerea. snb is a gene of unknown function that is highly conserved among agaricomycetes and encodes a protein of unknown function. A comparative transcriptomic analysis of the early developmental stages of differentiated wild-type and non-differentiated mutant fruiting bodies revealed conserved differentially expressed genes which may be related to tissue differentiation and developmental patterning fruiting body development.

RevDate: 2024-03-20
CmpDate: 2024-03-20

Rossi SA, García-Barbazán I, Chamorro-Herrero I, et al (2024)

Use of 2D minilungs from human embryonic stem cells to study the interaction of Cryptococcus neoformans with the respiratory tract.

Microbes and infection, 26(3):105260.

Organoids can meet the needs between the use of cell culture and in vivo work, bringing together aspects of multicellular tissues, providing a more similar in vitro system for the study of various components, including host-interactions with pathogens and drug response. Organoids are structures that resemble organs in vivo, originating from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) or adult stem cells (ASCs). There is great interest in deepening the understanding of the use of this technology to produce information about fungal infections and their treatments. This work aims the use 2D human lung organoid derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), to investigate Cryptococcus neoformans-host interactions. C. neoformans is an opportunistic fungus acquired by inhalation that causes systemic mycosis mainly in immunocompromised individuals. Our work highlights the suitability of human minilungs for the study of C. neoformans infection (adhesion, invasion and replication), the interaction with the surfactant and induction of the host's alveolar pro-inflammatory response.

RevDate: 2024-03-18

Bozdag GO, Szeinbaum N, Conlin PL, et al (2024)

Chapter 5: Major Biological Innovations in the History of Life on Earth.

Astrobiology, 24(S1):S107-S123.

All organisms living on Earth descended from a single, common ancestral population of cells, known as LUCA-the last universal common ancestor. Since its emergence, the diversity and complexity of life have increased dramatically. This chapter focuses on four key biological innovations throughout Earth's history that had a significant impact on the expansion of phylogenetic diversity, organismal complexity, and ecospace habitation. First is the emergence of the last universal common ancestor, LUCA, which laid the foundation for all life-forms on Earth. Second is the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis, which resulted in global geochemical and biological transformations. Third is the appearance of a new type of cell-the eukaryotic cell-which led to the origin of a new domain of life and the basis for complex multicellularity. Fourth is the multiple independent origins of multicellularity, resulting in the emergence of a new level of complex individuality. A discussion of these four key events will improve our understanding of the intertwined history of our planet and its inhabitants and better inform the extent to which we can expect life at different degrees of diversity and complexity elsewhere.

RevDate: 2024-03-18

Hörandl E (2024)

Apomixis and the paradox of sex in plants.

Annals of botany pii:7630939 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The predominance of sex in eukaryotes, despite the high costs of meiosis and mating, is still an evolutionary enigma. Many theories have been proposed, none of them being conclusive on its own, and they are partly not well applicable to land plants. Sexual reproduction is obligate in embryophytes for the great majority of species.

SCOPE: This review will compare the main forms of sexual and asexual reproduction in ferns and angiosperms, based on the generation cycling of sporophyte and gametophyte (leaving vegetative propagation aside). The benefits of sexual reproduction for maintenance of genomic integrity compared to asexuality will be discussed in the light of developmental, evolutionary, genetic and phylogenetic studies.

CONCLUSIONS: Asexual reproduction represents modifications of the sexual pathway, with various forms of facultative sexuality. For sexual land plants, meiosis provides direct DNA repair mechanisms of oxidative damage in reproductive tissues. The ploidy alternations of meiosis-syngamy cycles, and prolonged, multicellular stages in the haploid phase in the gametophytes provide a high efficiency of purifying selection against recessive deleterious mutations. Asexual lineages might buffer effects of such mutations via polyploidy, and can purge the mutational load via facultative sexuality. The role of organelle-nuclear genome compatibility for maintenance of genome integrity is still not well understood. The costs of mating are in plants in general low because of predominant hermaphroditism. Phylogenetic patterns in the Archaeplastid clade suggest that high frequencies of sexuality in land plants are concomitant with a stepwise increase of intrinsic and extrinsic stress factors. Furthermore, expansion of genome size in land plants would increase the potential mutational load. Sexual reproduction appears to be essential for keeping long term genomic integrity, and only rare combinations of extrinsic and intrinsic factors allow for shifts to asexuality.

RevDate: 2024-03-18
CmpDate: 2024-03-18

Bing J, Guan Z, Zheng T, et al (2024)

Rapid evolution of an adaptive multicellular morphology of Candida auris during systemic infection.

Nature communications, 15(1):2381.

Candida auris has become a serious threat to public health. The mechanisms of how this fungal pathogen adapts to the mammalian host are poorly understood. Here we report the rapid evolution of an adaptive C. auris multicellular aggregative morphology in the murine host during systemic infection. C. auris aggregative cells accumulate in the brain and exhibit obvious advantages over the single-celled yeast-form cells during systemic infection. Genetic mutations, specifically de novo point mutations in genes associated with cell division or budding processes, underlie the rapid evolution of this aggregative phenotype. Most mutated C. auris genes are associated with the regulation of cell wall integrity, cytokinesis, cytoskeletal properties, and cellular polarization. Moreover, the multicellular aggregates are notably more recalcitrant to the host antimicrobial peptides LL-37 and PACAP relative to the single-celled yeast-form cells. Overall, to survive in the host, C. auris can rapidly evolve a multicellular aggregative morphology via genetic mutations.

RevDate: 2024-03-15
CmpDate: 2024-03-15

Wu Z, Liu D, Ou Y, et al (2024)

Mechanism and endoscopic-treatment-induced evolution of biliary non-anastomotic stricture after liver transplantation revealed by single-cell RNA sequencing.

Clinical and translational medicine, 14(3):e1622.

BACKGROUND: Biliary complications, especially non-anastomotic stricture (NAS), are the main complications after liver transplantation. Insufficient sampling and no recognized animal models obstruct the investigation. Thus, the mechanisms and alterations that occur during endoscopic treatment (ET) of NAS remain unclear.

METHODS: Samples were obtained with endoscopic forceps from the hilar bile ducts of NAS patients receiving continuous biliary stent implantation after diagnosis. Retrospective analysis of multiple studies indicated that the duration of ET for NAS was approximately 1-2 years. Thus, we divided the patients into short-term treatment (STT) and long-term treatment (LTT) groups based on durations of less or more than 1 year. Samples were subjected to single-cell RNA sequencing. Transcriptomic differences between STT and normal groups were defined as the NAS mechanism. Similarly, alterations from STT to LTT groups were regarded as endoscopic-treatment-induced evolution.

RESULTS: In NAS, inflammation and immune-related pathways were upregulated in different cell types, with nonimmune cells showing hypoxia pathway upregulation and immune cells showing ATP metabolism pathway upregulation, indicating heterogeneity. We confirmed a reduction in bile acid metabolism-related SPP1[+] epithelial cells in NAS. Increases in proinflammatory and profibrotic fibroblast subclusters indicated fibrotic progression in NAS. Furthermore, immune disorders in NAS were exacerbated by an increase in plasma cells and dysfunction of NK and NKT cells. ET downregulated multicellular immune and inflammatory responses and restored epithelial and endothelial cell proportions.

CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals the pathophysiological and genetic mechanisms and evolution of NAS induced by ET, thereby providing preventive and therapeutic insights into NAS.

HIGHLIGHTS: For the first time, single-cell transcriptome sequencing was performed on the bile ducts of patients with biliary complications. scRNA-seq analysis revealed distinct changes in the proportion and phenotype of multiple cell types during Nonanastomotic stricture (NAS) and endoscopic treatment. A reduction in bile acid metabolism-related SPP1+ epithelial cells and VEGFA+ endothelial cells, along with explosive infiltration of plasma cells and dysfunction of T and NK cells in NAS patients. SPP1+ macrophages and BST2+ T cells might serve as a surrogate marker for predicting endoscopic treatment.

RevDate: 2024-03-15
CmpDate: 2024-03-15

Roggenbuck EC, Hall EA, Hanson IB, et al (2024)

Let's talk about sex: Mechanisms of neural sexual differentiation in Bilateria.

WIREs mechanisms of disease, 16(2):e1636.

In multicellular organisms, sexed gonads have evolved that facilitate release of sperm versus eggs, and bilaterian animals purposefully combine their gametes via mating behaviors. Distinct neural circuits have evolved that control these physically different mating events for animals producing eggs from ovaries versus sperm from testis. In this review, we will describe the developmental mechanisms that sexually differentiate neural circuits across three major clades of bilaterian animals-Ecdysozoa, Deuterosomia, and Lophotrochozoa. While many of the mechanisms inducing somatic and neuronal sex differentiation across these diverse organisms are clade-specific rather than evolutionarily conserved, we develop a common framework for considering the developmental logic of these events and the types of neuronal differences that produce sex-differentiated behaviors. This article is categorized under: Congenital Diseases > Stem Cells and Development Neurological Diseases > Stem Cells and Development.

RevDate: 2024-03-14
CmpDate: 2024-03-14

Jiménez-López D, Xoconostle-Cázares B, Calderón-Pérez B, et al (2024)

Evolutionary and Structural Analysis of PP16 in Viridiplantae.

International journal of molecular sciences, 25(5):.

Members of the phloem protein 16 (PP16) gene family are induced by elicitors in rice and the corresponding proteins from cucurbits, which display RNA binding and intercellular transport activities, are accumulated in phloem sap. These proteins facilitate the movement of protein complexes through the phloem translocation flow and may be involved in the response to water deficit, among other functions. However, there is scant information regarding their function in other plants, including the identification of paralog genes in non-vascular plants and chlorophytes. In the present work, an evolutionary and structural analysis of the PP16 family in green plants (Viridiplantae) was carried out. Data mining in different databases indicated that PP16 likely originated from a larger gene present in an ancestral lineage that gave rise to chlorophytes and multicellular plants. This gene encodes a protein related to synaptotagmin, which is involved in vesicular transport in animal systems, although other members of this family play a role in lipid turnover in endomembranes and organelles. These proteins contain a membrane-binding C2 domain shared with PP16 proteins in vascular plants. In silico analysis of the predicted structure of the PP16 protein family identified several β-sheets, one α-helix, and intrinsically disordered regions. PP16 may have been originally involved in vesicular trafficking and/or membrane maintenance but specialized in long-distance signaling during the emergence of the plant vascular system.

RevDate: 2024-03-14
CmpDate: 2024-03-14

Jung J, Loschko T, Reich S, et al (2024)

Newly identified nematodes from the Great Salt Lake are associated with microbialites and specially adapted to hypersaline conditions.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 291(2018):20232653.

Extreme environments enable the study of simplified food-webs and serve as models for evolutionary bottlenecks and early Earth ecology. We investigated the biodiversity of invertebrate meiofauna in the benthic zone of the Great Salt Lake (GSL), Utah, USA, one of the most hypersaline lake systems in the world. The hypersaline bays within the GSL are currently thought to support only two multicellular animals: brine fly larvae and brine shrimp. Here, we report the presence, habitat, and microbial interactions of novel free-living nematodes. Nematode diversity drops dramatically along a salinity gradient from a freshwater river into the south arm of the lake. In Gilbert Bay, nematodes primarily inhabit reef-like organosedimentary structures built by bacteria called microbialites. These structures likely provide a protective barrier to UV and aridity, and bacterial associations within them may support life in hypersaline environments. Notably, sampling from Owens Lake, another terminal lake in the Great Basin that lacks microbialites, did not recover nematodes from similar salinities. Phylogenetic divergence suggests that GSL nematodes represent previously undescribed members of the family Monhysteridae-one of the dominant fauna of the abyssal zone and deep-sea hydrothermal vents. These findings update our understanding of halophile ecosystems and the habitable limit of animals.

RevDate: 2024-03-11
CmpDate: 2024-03-11

Stanojković A, Skoupý S, Johannesson H, et al (2024)

The global speciation continuum of the cyanobacterium Microcoleus.

Nature communications, 15(1):2122.

Speciation is a continuous process driven by genetic, geographic, and ecological barriers to gene flow. It is widely investigated in multicellular eukaryotes, yet we are only beginning to comprehend the relative importance of mechanisms driving the emergence of barriers to gene flow in microbial populations. Here, we explored the diversification of the nearly ubiquitous soil cyanobacterium Microcoleus. Our dataset consisted of 291 genomes, of which 202 strains and eight herbarium specimens were sequenced for this study. We found that Microcoleus represents a global speciation continuum of at least 12 lineages, which radiated during Eocene/Oligocene aridification and exhibit varying degrees of divergence and gene flow. The lineage divergence has been driven by selection, geographical distance, and the environment. Evidence of genetic divergence and selection was widespread across the genome, but we identified regions of exceptional differentiation containing candidate genes associated with stress response and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites.

RevDate: 2024-03-10

Libertini G (2023)

Phenoptosis and the Various Types of Natural Selection.

Biochemistry. Biokhimiia, 88(12):2007-2022.

In the first description of evolution, the fundamental mechanism is the natural selection favoring the individuals best suited for survival and reproduction (selection at the individual level or classical Darwinian selection). However, this is a very reductive description of natural selection that does not consider or explain a long series of known phenomena, including those in which an individual sacrifices or jeopardizes his life on the basis of genetically determined mechanisms (i.e., phenoptosis). In fact, in addition to (i) selection at the individual level, it is essential to consider other types of natural selection such as those concerning: (ii) kin selection and some related forms of group selection; (iii) the interactions between the innumerable species that constitute a holobiont; (iv) the origin of the eukaryotic cell from prokaryotic organisms; (v) the origin of multicellular eukaryotic organisms from unicellular organisms; (vi) eusociality (e.g., in many species of ants, bees, termites); (vii) selection at the level of single genes, or groups of genes; (viii) the interactions between individuals (or more precisely their holobionts) of the innumerable species that make up an ecosystem. These forms of natural selection, which are all effects and not violations of the classical Darwinian selection, also show how concepts as life, species, individual, and phenoptosis are somewhat not entirely defined and somehow arbitrary. Furthermore, the idea of organisms selected on the basis of their survival and reproduction capabilities is intertwined with that of organisms also selected on the basis of their ability to cooperate and interact, even by losing their lives or their distinct identities.

RevDate: 2024-03-05
CmpDate: 2024-03-05

Matsumoto H, M Ueda (2024)

Polarity establishment in the plant zygote at a glance.

Journal of cell science, 137(5):.

The complex structures of multicellular organisms originate from a unicellular zygote. In most angiosperms, including Arabidopsis thaliana, the zygote is distinctly polar and divides asymmetrically to produce an apical cell, which generates the aboveground part of the plant body, and a basal cell, which generates the root tip and extraembryonic suspensor. Thus, zygote polarity is pivotal for establishing the apical-basal axis running from the shoot apex to the root tip of the plant body. The molecular mechanisms and spatiotemporal dynamics behind zygote polarization remain elusive. However, advances in live-cell imaging of plant zygotes have recently made significant insights possible. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster, we summarize our understanding of the early steps in apical-basal axis formation in Arabidopsis, with a focus on de novo transcriptional activation after fertilization and the intracellular dynamics leading to the first asymmetric division of the zygote.

RevDate: 2024-03-04
CmpDate: 2024-03-04

Nino Barreat JG, A Katzourakis (2024)

Ecological and evolutionary dynamics of cell-virus-virophage systems.

PLoS computational biology, 20(2):e1010925.

Microbial eukaryotes, giant viruses and virophages form a unique hyperparasitic system. Virophages are parasites of the virus transcription machinery and can interfere with virus replication, resulting in a benefit to the eukaryotic host population. Surprisingly, virophages can integrate into the genomes of their cell or virus hosts, and have been shown to reactivate during coinfection. This raises questions about the role of integration in the dynamics of cell-virus-virophage systems. We use mathematical models and computational simulations to understand the effect of virophage integration on populations of cells and viruses. We also investigate multicellularity and programmed cell-death (PCD) as potential antiviral defence strategies used by cells. We found that virophages which enter the cell independently of the host virus, such as Mavirus, are expected to integrate commonly into the genomes of their cell hosts. Our models suggest that integrations from virophages without an independent mode of entry like Sputnik, are less likely to become fixed in the cell host population. Alternatively, we found that Sputnik virophages can stably persist integrated in the virus population, as long as they do not completely inhibit virus replication. We also show that increasing virophage inhibition can stabilise oscillatory dynamics, which may explain the long-term persistence of viruses and virophages in the environment. Our results demonstrate that inhibition by virophages and multicellularity are effective antiviral strategies that may act in synergy against viral infection in microbial species.

RevDate: 2024-03-04
CmpDate: 2024-03-04

Paloschi V, Pauli J, Winski G, et al (2024)

Utilization of an Artery-on-a-Chip to Unravel Novel Regulators and Therapeutic Targets in Vascular Diseases.

Advanced healthcare materials, 13(6):e2302907.

In this study, organ-on-chip technology is used to develop an in vitro model of medium-to-large size arteries, the artery-on-a-chip (AoC), with the objective to recapitulate the structure of the arterial wall and the relevant hemodynamic forces affecting luminal cells. AoCs exposed either to in vivo-like shear stress values or kept in static conditions are assessed to generate a panel of novel genes modulated by shear stress. Considering the crucial role played by shear stress alterations in carotid arteries affected by atherosclerosis (CAD) and abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) disease development/progression, a patient cohort of hemodynamically relevant specimens is utilized, consisting of diseased and non-diseased (internal control) vessel regions from the same patient. Genes activated by shear stress follow the same expression pattern in non-diseased segments of human vessels. Single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) enables to discriminate the unique cell subpopulations between non-diseased and diseased vessel portions, revealing an enrichment of flow activated genes in structural cells originating from non-diseased specimens. Furthermore, the AoC served as a platform for drug-testing. It reproduced the effects of a therapeutic agent (lenvatinib) previously used in preclinical AAA studies, therefore extending the understanding of its therapeutic effect through a multicellular structure.

RevDate: 2024-03-01
CmpDate: 2024-03-01

Mihalič F, Arcila D, Pettersson ME, et al (2024)

Conservation of Affinity Rather Than Sequence Underlies a Dynamic Evolution of the Motif-Mediated p53/MDM2 Interaction in Ray-Finned Fishes.

Molecular biology and evolution, 41(2):.

The transcription factor and cell cycle regulator p53 is marked for degradation by the ubiquitin ligase MDM2. The interaction between these 2 proteins is mediated by a conserved binding motif in the disordered p53 transactivation domain (p53TAD) and the folded SWIB domain in MDM2. The conserved motif in p53TAD from zebrafish displays a 20-fold weaker interaction with MDM2, compared to the interaction in human and chicken. To investigate this apparent difference, we tracked the molecular evolution of the p53TAD/MDM2 interaction among ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii), the largest vertebrate clade. Intriguingly, phylogenetic analyses, ancestral sequence reconstructions, and binding experiments showed that different loss-of-affinity changes in the canonical binding motif within p53TAD have occurred repeatedly and convergently in different fish lineages, resulting in relatively low extant affinities (KD = 0.5 to 5 μM). However, for 11 different fish p53TAD/MDM2 interactions, nonconserved regions flanking the canonical motif increased the affinity 4- to 73-fold to be on par with the human interaction. Our findings suggest that compensating changes at conserved and nonconserved positions within the motif, as well as in flanking regions of low conservation, underlie a stabilizing selection of "functional affinity" in the p53TAD/MDM2 interaction. Such interplay complicates bioinformatic prediction of binding and calls for experimental validation. Motif-mediated protein-protein interactions involving short binding motifs and folded interaction domains are very common across multicellular life. It is likely that the evolution of affinity in motif-mediated interactions often involves an interplay between specific interactions made by conserved motif residues and nonspecific interactions by nonconserved disordered regions.

RevDate: 2024-02-29
CmpDate: 2024-02-29

Choi SW, Graf L, Choi JW, et al (2024)

Ordovician origin and subsequent diversification of the brown algae.

Current biology : CB, 34(4):740-754.e4.

Brown algae are the only group of heterokont protists exhibiting complex multicellularity. Since their origin, brown algae have adapted to various marine habitats, evolving diverse thallus morphologies and gamete types. However, the evolutionary processes behind these transitions remain unclear due to a lack of a robust phylogenetic framework and problems with time estimation. To address these issues, we employed plastid genome data from 138 species, including heterokont algae, red algae, and other red-derived algae. Based on a robust phylogeny and new interpretations of algal fossils, we estimated the geological times for brown algal origin and diversification. The results reveal that brown algae first evolved true multicellularity, with plasmodesmata and reproductive cell differentiation, during the late Ordovician Period (ca. 450 Ma), coinciding with a major diversification of marine fauna (the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event) and a proliferation of multicellular green algae. Despite its early Paleozoic origin, the diversification of major orders within this brown algal clade accelerated only during the Mesozoic Era, coincident with both Pangea rifting and the diversification of other heterokont algae (e.g., diatoms), coccolithophores, and dinoflagellates, with their red algal-derived plastids. The transition from ancestral isogamy to oogamy was followed by three simultaneous reappearances of isogamy during the Cretaceous Period. These are concordant with a positive character correlation between parthenogenesis and isogamy. Our new brown algal timeline, combined with a knowledge of past environmental conditions, shed new light on brown algal diversification and the intertwined evolution of multicellularity and sexual reproduction.

RevDate: 2024-02-28
CmpDate: 2024-02-28

Bowles AMC, Williamson CJ, Williams TA, et al (2024)

Cryogenian Origins of Multicellularity in Archaeplastida.

Genome biology and evolution, 16(2):.

Earth was impacted by global glaciations during the Cryogenian (720 to 635 million years ago; Ma), events invoked to explain both the origins of multicellularity in Archaeplastida and radiation of the first land plants. However, the temporal relationship between these environmental and biological events is poorly established, due to a paucity of molecular and fossil data, precluding resolution of the phylogeny and timescale of archaeplastid evolution. We infer a time-calibrated phylogeny of early archaeplastid evolution based on a revised molecular dataset and reappraisal of the fossil record. Phylogenetic topology testing resolves deep archaeplastid relationships, identifying two clades of Viridiplantae and placing Bryopsidales as sister to the Chlorophyceae. Our molecular clock analysis infers an origin of Archaeplastida in the late-Paleoproterozoic to early-Mesoproterozoic (1712 to 1387 Ma). Ancestral state reconstruction of cytomorphological traits on this time-calibrated tree reveals many of the independent origins of multicellularity span the Cryogenian, consistent with the Cryogenian multicellularity hypothesis. Multicellular rhodophytes emerged 902 to 655 Ma while crown-Anydrophyta (Zygnematophyceae and Embryophyta) originated 796 to 671 Ma, broadly compatible with the Cryogenian plant terrestrialization hypothesis. Our analyses resolve the timetree of Archaeplastida with age estimates for ancestral multicellular archaeplastids coinciding with the Cryogenian, compatible with hypotheses that propose a role of Snowball Earth in plant evolution.

RevDate: 2024-02-27
CmpDate: 2024-02-27

Zou Y, Sabljić I, Horbach N, et al (2024)

Thermoprotection by a cell membrane-localized metacaspase in a green alga.

The Plant cell, 36(3):665-687.

Caspases are restricted to animals, while other organisms, including plants, possess metacaspases (MCAs), a more ancient and broader class of structurally related yet biochemically distinct proteases. Our current understanding of plant MCAs is derived from studies in streptophytes, and mostly in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) with 9 MCAs with partially redundant activities. In contrast to streptophytes, most chlorophytes contain only 1 or 2 uncharacterized MCAs, providing an excellent platform for MCA research. Here we investigated CrMCA-II, the single type-II MCA from the model chlorophyte Chlamydomonas (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii). Surprisingly, unlike other studied MCAs and similar to caspases, CrMCA-II dimerizes both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, activation of CrMCA-II in vivo correlated with its dimerization. Most of CrMCA-II in the cell was present as a proenzyme (zymogen) attached to the plasma membrane (PM). Deletion of CrMCA-II by genome editing compromised thermotolerance, leading to increased cell death under heat stress. Adding back either wild-type or catalytically dead CrMCA-II restored thermoprotection, suggesting that its proteolytic activity is dispensable for this effect. Finally, we connected the non-proteolytic role of CrMCA-II in thermotolerance to the ability to modulate PM fluidity. Our study reveals an ancient, MCA-dependent thermotolerance mechanism retained by Chlamydomonas and probably lost during the evolution of multicellularity.

RevDate: 2024-02-23
CmpDate: 2024-02-23

Hesse E, S O'Brien (2024)

Ecological dependencies and the illusion of cooperation in microbial communities.

Microbiology (Reading, England), 170(2):.

Ecological dependencies - where organisms rely on other organisms for survival - are a ubiquitous feature of life on earth. Multicellular hosts rely on symbionts to provide essential vitamins and amino acids. Legume plants similarly rely on nitrogen-fixing rhizobia to convert atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia. In some cases, dependencies can arise via loss-of-function mutations that allow one partner to benefit from the actions of another. It is common in microbiology to label ecological dependencies between species as cooperation - making it necessary to invoke cooperation-specific frameworks to explain the phenomenon. However, in many cases, such traits are not (at least initially) cooperative, because they are not selected for because of the benefits they confer on a partner species. In contrast, dependencies in microbial communities may originate from fitness benefits gained from genomic-streamlining (i.e. Black Queen Dynamics). Here, we outline how the Black Queen Hypothesis predicts the formation of metabolic dependencies via loss-of-function mutations in microbial communities, without needing to invoke any cooperation-specific explanations. Furthermore we outline how the Black Queen Hypothesis can act as a blueprint for true cooperation as well as discuss key outstanding questions in the field. The nature of interactions in microbial communities can predict the ability of natural communities to withstand and recover from disturbances. Hence, it is vital to gain a deeper understanding of the factors driving these dynamic interactions over evolutionary time.

RevDate: 2024-02-22

Ilker E, M Hinczewski (2024)

Bioenergetic costs and the evolution of noise regulation by microRNAs.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(9):e2308796121.

Noise control, together with other regulatory functions facilitated by microRNAs (miRNAs), is believed to have played important roles in the evolution of multicellular eukaryotic organisms. miRNAs can dampen protein fluctuations via enhanced degradation of messenger RNA (mRNA), but this requires compensation by increased mRNA transcription to maintain the same expression levels. The overall mechanism is metabolically expensive, leading to questions about how it might have evolved in the first place. We develop a stochastic model of miRNA noise regulation, coupled with a detailed analysis of the associated metabolic costs. Additionally, we calculate binding free energies for a range of miRNA seeds, the short sequences which govern target recognition. We argue that natural selection may have fine-tuned the Michaelis-Menten constant [Formula: see text] describing miRNA-mRNA affinity and show supporting evidence from analysis of experimental data. [Formula: see text] is constrained by seed length, and optimal noise control (minimum protein variance at a given energy cost) is achievable for seeds of 6 to 7 nucleotides in length, the most commonly observed types. Moreover, at optimality, the degree of noise reduction approaches the theoretical bound set by the Wiener-Kolmogorov linear filter. The results illustrate how selective pressure toward energy efficiency has potentially shaped a crucial regulatory pathway in eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2024-02-22

Kidner RQ, Goldstone EB, Laidemitt MR, et al (2024)

Host lipids regulate multicellular behavior of a predator of a human pathogen.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology.

As symbionts of animals, microbial eukaryotes benefit and harm their hosts in myriad ways. A model microeukaryote (Capsaspora owczarzaki) is a symbiont of Biomphalaria glabrata snails and may prevent transmission of parasitic schistosomes from snails to humans. However, it is unclear which host factors determine Capsaspora's ability to colonize snails. Here, we discovered that Capsaspora forms multicellular aggregates when exposed to snail hemolymph. We identified a molecular cue for aggregation: a hemolymph-derived phosphatidylcholine, which becomes elevated in schistosome-infected snails. Therefore, Capsaspora aggregation may be a response to the physiological state of its host, and it may determine its ability to colonize snails and exclude parasitic schistosomes. Furthermore, Capsaspora is an evolutionary model organism whose aggregation may be ancestral to animals. This discovery, that a prevalent lipid induces Capsaspora multicellularity, suggests that this aggregation phenotype may be ancient. Additionally, the specific lipid will be a useful tool for further aggregation studies.

RevDate: 2024-02-21

Mikhailovsky GE (2024)

Life, its definition, origin, evolution, and four-dimensional hierarchical structure.

Bio Systems pii:S0303-2647(24)00043-1 [Epub ahead of print].

The main unique features of biological systems are reviewed, and four necessary and sufficient attributes of life are formulated, based on the ideas of Ervin Bauer. The possibility of the occurrence of each of these attributes during the origin of life is analyzed. As a result, different scenarios for the origin of life are presented, with all their pros and cons. Next, the mainstream of biological evolution is discussed, considering it as a special case of general complexification, and structuredness is defined as a quantitative measure of structural complexity. By introducing the concepts of post-dissipative structure and ratcheting process based on "frozen" patterns, their role in the generation of biological structures underlying biological evolution is demonstrated. Furthermore, it is proposed that all living things can be divided into micro- (unicellular) and macro- (multicellular) creatures, which differ from each other even more radically than the difference between prokaryotes and unicellular eukaryotes. Then the fifth, sufficient, but not necessary attribute of life, hierarchicality, is formulated, which is fully applicable only to macrolife. It is also shown that living organisms are primarily chemodynamic rather than thermodynamic systems, and three basic laws of biochemodynamics are formulated. Finally, fifteen basic features of living beings, grouped into four basic blocks, are summarized.

RevDate: 2024-02-20

Edelbroek B, Kjellin J, Biryukova I, et al (2024)

Evolution of microRNAs in Amoebozoa and implications for the origin of multicellularity.

Nucleic acids research pii:7611030 [Epub ahead of print].

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important and ubiquitous regulators of gene expression in both plants and animals. They are thought to have evolved convergently in these lineages and hypothesized to have played a role in the evolution of multicellularity. In line with this hypothesis, miRNAs have so far only been described in few unicellular eukaryotes. Here, we investigate the presence and evolution of miRNAs in Amoebozoa, focusing on species belonging to Acanthamoeba, Physarum and dictyostelid taxonomic groups, representing a range of unicellular and multicellular lifestyles. miRNAs that adhere to both the stringent plant and animal miRNA criteria were identified in all examined amoebae, expanding the total number of protists harbouring miRNAs from 7 to 15. We found conserved miRNAs between closely related species, but the majority of species feature only unique miRNAs. This shows rapid gain and/or loss of miRNAs in Amoebozoa, further illustrated by a detailed comparison between two evolutionary closely related dictyostelids. Additionally, loss of miRNAs in the Dictyostelium discoideum drnB mutant did not seem to affect multicellular development and, hence, demonstrates that the presence of miRNAs does not appear to be a strict requirement for the transition from uni- to multicellular life.

RevDate: 2024-02-14
CmpDate: 2024-02-14

Zhang C, Zhu Z, Jiang A, et al (2023)

Genome-wide identification of the mitogen-activated kinase gene family from Limonium bicolor and functional characterization of LbMAPK2 under salt stress.

BMC plant biology, 23(1):565.

BACKGROUND: Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are ubiquitous signal transduction components in eukaryotes. In plants, MAPKs play an essential role in growth and development, phytohormone regulation, and abiotic stress responses. The typical recretohalophyte Limonium bicolor (Bunge) Kuntze has multicellular salt glands on its stems and leaves; these glands secrete excess salt ions from its cells to mitigate salt damage. The number, type, and biological function of L. bicolor MAPK genes are unknown.

RESULTS: We identified 20 candidate L. bicolor MAPK genes, which can be divided into four groups. Of these 20 genes, 17 were anchored to 7 chromosomes, while LbMAPK18, LbMAPK19, and LbMAPK20 mapped to distinct scaffolds. Structure analysis showed that the predicted protein LbMAPK19 contains the special structural motif TNY in its activation loop, whereas the other LbMAPK members harbor the conserved TEY or TDY motif. The promoters of most LbMAPK genes carry cis-acting elements related to growth and development, phytohormones, and abiotic stress. LbMAPK1, LbMAPK2, LbMAPK16, and LbMAPK20 are highly expressed in the early stages of salt gland development, whereas LbMAPK4, LbMAPK5, LbMAPK6, LbMAPK7, LbMAPK11, LbMAPK14, and LbMAPK15 are highly expressed during the late stages. These 20 LbMAPK genes all responded to salt, drought and ABA stress. We explored the function of LbMAPK2 via virus-induced gene silencing: knocking down LbMAPK2 transcript levels in L. bicolor resulted in fewer salt glands, lower salt secretion ability from leaves, and decreased salt tolerance. The expression of several genes [LbTTG1 (TRANSPARENT TESTA OF GL1), LbCPC (CAPRICE), and LbGL2 (GLABRA2)] related to salt gland development was significantly upregulated in LbMAPK2 knockdown lines, while the expression of LbEGL3 (ENHANCER OF GL3) was significantly downregulated.

CONCLUSION: These findings increase our understanding of the LbMAPK gene family and will be useful for in-depth studies of the molecular mechanisms behind salt gland development and salt secretion in L. bicolor. In addition, our analysis lays the foundation for exploring the biological functions of MAPKs in an extreme halophyte.

RevDate: 2024-02-08
CmpDate: 2024-02-08

Donoghue PCJ, JW Clark (2024)

Plant evolution: Streptophyte multicellularity, ecology, and the acclimatisation of plants to life on land.

Current biology : CB, 34(3):R86-R89.

Land plants are celebrated as one of the three great instances of complex multicellularity, but new phylogenomic and phenotypic analyses are revealing deep evolutionary roots of multicellularity among algal relatives, prompting questions about the causal basis of this major evolutionary transition.

RevDate: 2024-02-08
CmpDate: 2024-02-08

Bierenbroodspot MJ, Darienko T, de Vries S, et al (2024)

Phylogenomic insights into the first multicellular streptophyte.

Current biology : CB, 34(3):670-681.e7.

Streptophytes are best known as the clade containing the teeming diversity of embryophytes (land plants).[1][,][2][,][3][,][4] Next to embryophytes are however a range of freshwater and terrestrial algae that bear important information on the emergence of key traits of land plants. Among these, the Klebsormidiophyceae stand out. Thriving in diverse environments-from mundane (ubiquitous occurrence on tree barks and rocks) to extreme (from the Atacama Desert to the Antarctic)-Klebsormidiophyceae can exhibit filamentous body plans and display remarkable resilience as colonizers of terrestrial habitats.[5][,][6] Currently, the lack of a robust phylogenetic framework for the Klebsormidiophyceae hampers our understanding of the evolutionary history of these key traits. Here, we conducted a phylogenomic analysis utilizing advanced models that can counteract systematic biases. We sequenced 24 new transcriptomes of Klebsormidiophyceae and combined them with 14 previously published genomic and transcriptomic datasets. Using an analysis built on 845 loci and sophisticated mixture models, we establish a phylogenomic framework, dividing the six distinct genera of Klebsormidiophyceae in a novel three-order system, with a deep divergence more than 830 million years ago. Our reconstructions of ancestral states suggest (1) an evolutionary history of multiple transitions between terrestrial-aquatic habitats, with stem Klebsormidiales having conquered land earlier than embryophytes, and (2) that the body plan of the last common ancestor of Klebsormidiophyceae was multicellular, with a high probability that it was filamentous whereas the sarcinoids and unicells in Klebsormidiophyceae are likely derived states. We provide evidence that the first multicellular streptophytes likely lived about a billion years ago.

RevDate: 2024-02-08
CmpDate: 2024-02-08

Corrales J, Ramos-Alonso L, González-Sabín J, et al (2024)

Characterization of a selective, iron-chelating antifungal compound that disrupts fungal metabolism and synergizes with fluconazole.

Microbiology spectrum, 12(2):e0259423.

Fungal infections are a growing global health concern due to the limited number of available antifungal therapies as well as the emergence of fungi that are resistant to first-line antimicrobials, particularly azoles and echinocandins. Development of novel, selective antifungal therapies is challenging due to similarities between fungal and mammalian cells. An attractive source of potential antifungal treatments is provided by ecological niches co-inhabited by bacteria, fungi, and multicellular organisms, where complex relationships between multiple organisms have resulted in evolution of a wide variety of selective antimicrobials. Here, we characterized several analogs of one such natural compound, collismycin A. We show that NR-6226C has antifungal activity against several pathogenic Candida species, including C. albicans and C. glabrata, whereas it only has little toxicity against mammalian cells. Mechanistically, NR-6226C selectively chelates iron, which is a limiting factor for pathogenic fungi during infection. As a result, NR-6226C treatment causes severe mitochondrial dysfunction, leading to formation of reactive oxygen species, metabolic reprogramming, and a severe reduction in ATP levels. Using an in vivo model for fungal infections, we show that NR-6226C significantly increases survival of Candida-infected Galleria mellonella larvae. Finally, our data indicate that NR-6226C synergizes strongly with fluconazole in inhibition of C. albicans. Taken together, NR-6226C is a promising antifungal compound that acts by chelating iron and disrupting mitochondrial functions.IMPORTANCEDrug-resistant fungal infections are an emerging global threat, and pan-resistance to current antifungal therapies is an increasing problem. Clearly, there is a need for new antifungal drugs. In this study, we characterized a novel antifungal agent, the collismycin analog NR-6226C. NR-6226C has a favorable toxicity profile for human cells, which is essential for further clinical development. We unraveled the mechanism of action of NR-6226C and found that it disrupts iron homeostasis and thereby depletes fungal cells of energy. Importantly, NR-6226C strongly potentiates the antifungal activity of fluconazole, thereby providing inroads for combination therapy that may reduce or prevent azole resistance. Thus, NR-6226C is a promising compound for further development into antifungal treatment.

RevDate: 2024-02-05

Bingham EP, WC Ratcliff (2024)

A nonadaptive explanation for macroevolutionary patterns in the evolution of complex multicellularity.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(7):e2319840121.

"Complex multicellularity," conventionally defined as large organisms with many specialized cell types, has evolved five times independently in eukaryotes, but never within prokaryotes. A number of hypotheses have been proposed to explain this phenomenon, most of which posit that eukaryotes evolved key traits (e.g., dynamic cytoskeletons, alternative mechanisms of gene regulation, or subcellular compartments) which were a necessary prerequisite for the evolution of complex multicellularity. Here, we propose an alternative, nonadaptive hypothesis for this broad macroevolutionary pattern. By binning cells into groups with finite genetic bottlenecks between generations, the evolution of multicellularity greatly reduces the effective population size (Ne) of cellular populations, increasing the role of genetic drift in evolutionary change. While both prokaryotes and eukaryotes experience this phenomenon, they have opposite responses to drift: eukaryotes tend to undergo genomic expansion, providing additional raw genetic material for subsequent multicellular innovation, while prokaryotes generally face genomic erosion. Taken together, we hypothesize that these idiosyncratic lineage-specific evolutionary dynamics play a fundamental role in the long-term divergent evolution of complex multicellularity across the tree of life.

RevDate: 2024-02-05
CmpDate: 2024-02-05

Siljestam M, I Martinossi-Allibert (2024)

Anisogamy Does Not Always Promote the Evolution of Mating Competition Traits in Males.

The American naturalist, 203(2):230-253.

AbstractAnisogamy has evolved in most sexually reproducing multicellular organisms allowing the definition of male and female sexes, producing small and large gametes. Anisogamy, as the initial sexual dimorphism, is a good starting point to understand the evolution of further sexual dimorphisms. For instance, it is generally accepted that anisogamy sets the stage for more intense mating competition in males than in females. We argue that this idea stems from a restrictive assumption on the conditions under which anisogamy evolved in the first place: the absence of sperm limitation (assuming that all female gametes are fertilized). Here, we relax this assumption and present a model that considers the coevolution of gamete size with a mating competition trait, starting in a population without dimorphism. We vary gamete density to produce different scenarios of gamete limitation. We show that while at high gamete density the evolution of anisogamy always results in male investment in competition, gamete limitation at intermediate gamete densities allows for either females or males to invest more into mating competition. Our results thus suggest that anisogamy does not always promote mating competition among males. The conditions under which anisogamy evolves matter, as does the competition trait.

RevDate: 2024-02-01
CmpDate: 2024-02-01

Dadras N, Hasanpur K, Razeghi J, et al (2024)

Different transcription of novel, functional long non-coding RNA genes by UV-B in green algae, Volvox carteri.

International microbiology : the official journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology, 27(1):213-225.

Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are identified as important regulatory molecules related to diverse biological processes. In recent years, benefiting from the rapid development of high-throughput sequencing technology, RNA-seq, and analysis methods, more lncRNAs have been identified and discovered in various plant and algal species. However, so far, only limited studies related to algal lncRNAs are available. Volvox carteri f. nagariensis is the best multicellular model organism to study in developmental and evolutionary biology; therefore, studying and increasing information about this species is important. This study identified lncRNAs in the multicellular green algae Volvox carteri and 1457 lncRNAs were reported, using RNA-seq data and with the help of bioinformatics tools and software. This study investigated the effect of low-dose UV-B radiation on changes in the expression profile of lncRNAs in gonidial and somatic cells. The differential expression of lncRNAs was analyzed between the treatment (UV-B) and the control (WL) groups in gonidial and somatic cells. A total of 37 and 26 lncRNAs with significant differential expression in gonidial and somatic cells, respectively, were reported. Co-expression analysis between the lncRNAs and their neighbor protein-coding genes (in the interval of ± 10 Kb) was accomplished. In gonidial cells, 184 genes with a positive correlation and 13 genes with a negative correlation (greater than 0.95), and in somatic cells, 174 genes with a positive correlation, and 18 genes with a negative correlation were detected. Functional analysis of neighboring coding genes was also performed based on gene ontology. The results of the current work may help gain deeper insight into the regulation of gene expression in the studied model organism, Volvox carteri.

RevDate: 2024-01-29
CmpDate: 2024-01-29

Pennisi E (2024)

Tiny fossils upend timeline of multicellular life.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 383(6681):352-353.

Eukaryotes organized into multicellular forms 1.6 billion years ago.

RevDate: 2024-01-26
CmpDate: 2024-01-26

Chapman H, Hsiung KC, Rawlinson I, et al (2024)

Colony level fitness analysis identifies a trade-off between population growth rate and dauer yield in Caenorhabditis elegans.

BMC ecology and evolution, 24(1):13.

BACKGROUND: In the evolution from unicellular to multicellular life forms, natural selection favored reduced cell proliferation and even programmed cell death if this increased organismal fitness. Could reduced individual fertility or even programmed organismal death similarly increase the fitness of colonies of closely-related metazoan organisms? This possibility is at least consistent with evolutionary theory, and has been supported by computer modelling. Caenorhabditis elegans has a boom and bust life history, where populations of nematodes that are sometimes near clonal subsist on and consume food patches, and then generate dauer larva dispersal propagules. A recent study of an in silico model of C. elegans predicted that one determinant of colony fitness (measured as dauer yield) is minimization of futile food consumption (i.e. that which does not contribute to dauer yield). One way to achieve this is to optimize colony population structure by adjustment of individual fertility.

RESULTS: Here we describe development of a C. elegans colony fitness assay, and its use to investigate the effect of altering population structure on colony fitness after population bust. Fitness metrics measured were speed of dauer production, and dauer yield, an indirect measure of efficiency of resource utilization (i.e. conversion of food into dauers). We find that with increasing founder number, speed of dauer production increases (due to earlier bust) but dauer yield rises and falls. In addition, some dauer recovery was detected soon after the post-colony bust peak of dauer yield, suggesting possible bet hedging among dauers.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest the presence of a fitness trade-off at colony level between speed and efficiency of resource utilization in C. elegans. They also provide indirect evidence that population structure is a determinant of colony level fitness, potentially by affecting level of futile food consumption.

RevDate: 2024-01-24
CmpDate: 2024-01-24

Gazzellone A, E Sangiorgi (2024)

From Churchill to Elephants: The Role of Protective Genes against Cancer.

Genes, 15(1): pii:genes15010118.

Richard Peto's paradox, first described in 1975 from an epidemiological perspective, established an inverse correlation between the probability of developing cancer in multicellular organisms and the number of cells. Larger animals exhibit fewer tumors compared to smaller ones, though exceptions exist. Mice are more susceptible to cancer than humans, while elephants and whales demonstrate significantly lower cancer prevalence rates than humans. How nature and evolution have addressed the issue of cancer in the animal kingdom remains largely unexplored. In the field of medicine, much attention has been devoted to cancer-predisposing genes, as they offer avenues for intervention, including blocking, downregulating, early diagnosis, and targeted treatment. Predisposing genes also tend to manifest clinically earlier and more aggressively, making them easier to identify. However, despite significant strides in modern medicine, the role of protective genes lags behind. Identifying genes with a mild predisposing effect poses a significant challenge. Consequently, comprehending the protective function conferred by genes becomes even more elusive, and their very existence is subject to questioning. While the role of variable expressivity and penetrance defects of the same variant in a family is well-documented for many hereditary cancer syndromes, attempts to delineate the function of protective/modifier alleles have been restricted to a few instances. In this review, we endeavor to elucidate the role of protective genes observed in the animal kingdom, within certain genetic syndromes that appear to act as cancer-resistant/repressor alleles. Additionally, we explore the role of protective alleles in conditions predisposing to cancer. The ultimate goal is to discern why individuals, like Winston Churchill, managed to live up to 91 years of age, despite engaging in minimal physical activity, consuming large quantities of alcohol daily, and not abstaining from smoking.

RevDate: 2024-01-22
CmpDate: 2024-01-22

Sarabia-Sánchez MA, M Robles-Flores (2024)

WNT Signaling in Stem Cells: A Look into the Non-Canonical Pathway.

Stem cell reviews and reports, 20(1):52-66.

Tissue homeostasis is crucial for multicellular organisms, wherein the loss of cells is compensated by generating new cells with the capacity for proliferation and differentiation. At the origin of these populations are the stem cells, which have the potential to give rise to cells with both capabilities, and persevere for a long time through the self-renewal and quiescence. Since the discovery of stem cells, an enormous effort has been focused on learning about their functions and the molecular regulation behind them. Wnt signaling is widely recognized as essential for normal and cancer stem cell. Moreover, β-catenin-dependent Wnt pathway, referred to as canonical, has gained attention, while β-catenin-independent Wnt pathways, known as non-canonical, have remained conspicuously less explored. However, recent evidence about non-canonical Wnt pathways in stem cells begins to lay the foundations of a conceivably vast field, and on which we aim to explain this in the present review. In this regard, we addressed the different aspects in which non-canonical Wnt pathways impact the properties of stem cells, both under normal conditions and also under disease, specifically in cancer.

RevDate: 2024-01-16
CmpDate: 2024-01-16

Kotarska K, Gąsior Ł, Rudnicka J, et al (2024)

Long-run real-time PCR analysis of repetitive nuclear elements as a novel tool for DNA damage quantification in single cells: an approach validated on mouse oocytes and fibroblasts.

Journal of applied genetics, 65(1):181-190.

Since DNA damage is of great importance in various biological processes, its rate is frequently assessed both in research studies and in medical diagnostics. The most precise methods of quantifying DNA damage are based on real-time PCR. However, in the conventional version, they require a large amount of genetic material and therefore their usefulness is limited to multicellular samples. Here, we present a novel approach to long-run real-time PCR-based DNA-damage quantification (L1-LORD-Q), which consists in amplification of long interspersed nuclear elements (L1) and allows for analysis of single-cell genomes. The L1-LORD-Q was compared with alternative methods of measuring DNA breaks (Bioanalyzer system, γ-H2AX foci staining), which confirmed its accuracy. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the L1-LORD-Q is sensitive enough to distinguish between different levels of UV-induced DNA damage. The method was validated on mouse oocytes and fibroblasts, but the general idea is universal and can be applied to various types of cells and species.

RevDate: 2024-01-11
CmpDate: 2024-01-11

Howe J, Cornwallis CK, AS Griffin (2024)

Conflict-reducing innovations in development enable increased multicellular complexity.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 291(2014):20232466.

Obligately multicellular organisms, where cells can only reproduce as part of the group, have evolved multiple times across the tree of life. Obligate multicellularity has only evolved when clonal groups form by cell division, rather than by cells aggregating, as clonality prevents internal conflict. Yet obligately multicellular organisms still vary greatly in 'multicellular complexity' (the number of cells and cell types): some comprise a few cells and cell types, while others have billions of cells and thousands of types. Here, we test whether variation in multicellular complexity is explained by two conflict-suppressing mechanisms, namely a single-cell bottleneck at the start of development, and a strict separation of germline and somatic cells. Examining the life cycles of 129 lineages of plants, animals, fungi and algae, we show using phylogenetic comparative analyses that an early segregation of the germline stem-cell lineage is key to the evolution of more cell types, driven by a strong correlation in the Metazoa. By contrast, the presence of a strict single-cell bottleneck was not related to either the number of cells or the number of cell types, but was associated with early germline segregation. Our results suggest that segregating the germline earlier in development enabled greater evolutionary innovation, although whether this is a consequence of conflict reduction or other non-conflict effects, such as developmental flexibility, is unclear.

RevDate: 2024-01-11
CmpDate: 2024-01-11

Pequeno PACL (2024)

Resource adaptation drives the size-complexity rule in termites.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 291(2014):20232363.

The size-complexity rule posits that the evolution of larger cooperative groups should favour more division of labour. Examples include more cell types in larger multicellular organisms, and more polymorphic castes in larger eusocial colonies. However, a correlation between division of labour and group size may reflect a shared response of both traits to resource availability and/or profitability. Here, this possibility was addressed by investigating the evolution of sterile caste number (worker and soldier morphotypes) in termites, a major clade of eusocial insects in which the drivers of caste polymorphism are poorly understood. A novel dataset on 90 termite species was compiled from the published literature. The analysis showed that sterile caste number did increase markedly with colony size. However, after controlling for resource adaptations and phylogeny, there was no evidence for this relationship. Rather, sterile caste number increased with increasing nest-food separation and decreased with soil-feeding, through changes in worker (but not soldier) morphotype number. Further, colony size increased with nest-food separation, thus driving the false correlation between sterile caste number and colony size. These findings support adaptation to higher energy acquisition as key to the rise of complex insect societies, with larger size being a by-product.

RevDate: 2024-01-10
CmpDate: 2024-01-10

Kong Z, Zhu L, Liu Y, et al (2024)

Effects of azithromycin exposure during pregnancy at different stages, doses and courses on testicular development in fetal mice.

Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie, 170:116063.

Azithromycin is a commonly used antibiotic during pregnancy, but some studies have suggested its potential developmental toxicity. Currently, the effects and mechanisms of prenatal azithromycin exposure (PAzE) on fetal testicular development are still unclear. The effects of prenatal exposure to the same drug on fetal testicular development could vary depending on different stages, doses, and courses. Hence, in this study, based on clinical medication characteristics, Kunming mice was administered intragastrically with azithromycin at different stages (mid-/late-pregnancy), doses (50, 100, 200 mg/kg·d), and courses (single-/multi-course). Fetal blood and testicular samples were collected on GD18 for relevant assessments. The results indicated that PAzE led to changes in fetal testicular morphology, reduced cell proliferation, increased apoptosis, and decreased expression of markers related to Leydig cells (Star), Sertoli cells (Wt1), and spermatogonia (Plzf). Further investigation revealed that the effects of PAzE on fetal testicular development were characterized by mid-pregnancy, high dose (clinical dose), and single course having more pronounced effects. Additionally, the TGFβ/Smad and Nrf2 signaling pathways may be involved in the changes in fetal testicular development induced by PAzE. In summary, this study confirmed that PAzE influences fetal testicular morphological development and multicellular function. It provided theoretical and experimental evidence for guiding the rational use of azithromycin during pregnancy and further exploring the mechanisms underlying its developmental toxicity on fetal testicles.

RevDate: 2024-01-08
CmpDate: 2024-01-08

Qi Z, Lu P, Long X, et al (2024)

Adaptive advantages of restorative RNA editing in fungi for resolving survival-reproduction trade-offs.

Science advances, 10(1):eadk6130.

RNA editing in various organisms commonly restores RNA sequences to their ancestral state, but its adaptive advantages are debated. In fungi, restorative editing corrects premature stop codons in pseudogenes specifically during sexual reproduction. We characterized 71 pseudogenes and their restorative editing in Fusarium graminearum, demonstrating that restorative editing of 16 pseudogenes is crucial for germ tissue development in fruiting bodies. Our results also revealed that the emergence of premature stop codons is facilitated by restorative editing and that premature stop codons corrected by restorative editing are selectively favored over ancestral amino acid codons. Furthermore, we found that ancestral versions of pseudogenes have antagonistic effects on reproduction and survival. Restorative editing eliminates the survival costs of reproduction caused by antagonistic pleiotropy and provides a selective advantage in fungi. Our findings highlight the importance of restorative editing in the evolution of fungal complex multicellularity and provide empirical evidence that restorative editing serves as an adaptive mechanism enabling the resolution of genetic trade-offs.

RevDate: 2024-01-08
CmpDate: 2024-01-08

Ma Q, Li Q, Zheng X, et al (2024)

CellCommuNet: an atlas of cell-cell communication networks from single-cell RNA sequencing of human and mouse tissues in normal and disease states.

Nucleic acids research, 52(D1):D597-D606.

Cell-cell communication, as a basic feature of multicellular organisms, is crucial for maintaining the biological functions and microenvironmental homeostasis of cells, organs, and whole organisms. Alterations in cell-cell communication contribute to many diseases, including cancers. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) provides a powerful method for studying cell-cell communication by enabling the analysis of ligand-receptor interactions. Here, we introduce CellCommuNet (, a comprehensive data resource for exploring cell-cell communication networks in scRNA-seq data from human and mouse tissues in normal and disease states. CellCommuNet currently includes 376 single datasets from multiple sources, and 118 comparison datasets between disease and normal samples originating from the same study. CellCommuNet provides information on the strength of communication between cells and related signalling pathways and facilitates the exploration of differences in cell-cell communication between healthy and disease states. Users can also search for specific signalling pathways, ligand-receptor pairs, and cell types of interest. CellCommuNet provides interactive graphics illustrating cell-cell communication in different states, enabling differential analysis of communication strength between disease and control samples. This comprehensive database aims to be a valuable resource for biologists studying cell-cell communication networks.

RevDate: 2024-01-08
CmpDate: 2024-01-08

Ros-Rocher N, T Brunet (2023)

What is it like to be a choanoflagellate? Sensation, processing and behavior in the closest unicellular relatives of animals.

Animal cognition, 26(6):1767-1782.

All animals evolved from a single lineage of unicellular precursors more than 600 million years ago. Thus, the biological and genetic foundations for animal sensation, cognition and behavior must necessarily have arisen by modifications of pre-existing features in their unicellular ancestors. Given that the single-celled ancestors of the animal kingdom are extinct, the only way to reconstruct how these features evolved is by comparing the biology and genomic content of extant animals to their closest living relatives. Here, we reconstruct the Umwelt (the subjective, perceptive world) inhabited by choanoflagellates, a group of unicellular (or facultatively multicellular) aquatic microeukaryotes that are the closest living relatives of animals. Although behavioral research on choanoflagellates remains patchy, existing evidence shows that they are capable of chemosensation, photosensation and mechanosensation. These processes often involve specialized sensorimotor cellular appendages (cilia, microvilli, and/or filopodia) that resemble those that underlie perception in most animal sensory cells. Furthermore, comparative genomics predicts an extensive "sensory molecular toolkit" in choanoflagellates, which both provides a potential basis for known behaviors and suggests the existence of a largely undescribed behavioral complexity that presents exciting avenues for future research. Finally, we discuss how facultative multicellularity in choanoflagellates might help us understand how evolution displaced the locus of decision-making from a single cell to a collective, and how a new space of behavioral complexity might have become accessible in the process.

RevDate: 2024-01-04
CmpDate: 2024-01-04

Ekdahl LI, Salcedo JA, Dungan MM, et al (2023)

Selection on plastic adherence leads to hyper-multicellular strains and incidental virulence in the budding yeast.

eLife, 12:.

Many disease-causing microbes are not obligate pathogens; rather, they are environmental microbes taking advantage of an ecological opportunity. The existence of microbes whose life cycle does not require a host and are not normally pathogenic, yet are well-suited to host exploitation, is an evolutionary puzzle. One hypothesis posits that selection in the environment may favor traits that incidentally lead to pathogenicity and virulence, or serve as pre-adaptations for survival in a host. An example of such a trait is surface adherence. To experimentally test the idea of 'accidental virulence', replicate populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae were evolved to attach to a plastic bead for hundreds of generations. Along with plastic adherence, two multicellular phenotypes- biofilm formation and flor formation- increased; another phenotype, pseudohyphal growth, responded to the nutrient limitation. Thus, experimental selection led to the evolution of highly-adherent, hyper-multicellular strains. Wax moth larvae injected with evolved hyper-multicellular strains were significantly more likely to die than those injected with evolved non-multicellular strains. Hence, selection on plastic adherence incidentally led to the evolution of enhanced multicellularity and increased virulence. Our results support the idea that selection for a trait beneficial in the open environment can inadvertently generate opportunistic, 'accidental' pathogens.

RevDate: 2024-01-01
CmpDate: 2024-01-01

Walker LM, Sherpa RN, Ivaturi S, et al (2023)

Parallel evolution of the G protein-coupled receptor GrlG and the loss of fruiting body formation in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum evolved under low relatedness.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.), 14(1):.

Aggregative multicellularity relies on cooperation among formerly independent cells to form a multicellular body. Previous work with Dictyostelium discoideum showed that experimental evolution under low relatedness profoundly decreased cooperation, as indicated by the loss of fruiting body formation in many clones and an increase of cheaters that contribute proportionally more to spores than to the dead stalk. Using whole-genome sequencing and variant analysis of these lines, we identified 38 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 29 genes. Each gene had 1 variant except for grlG (encoding a G protein-coupled receptor), which had 10 unique SNPs and 5 structural variants. Variants in the 5' half of grlG-the region encoding the signal peptide and the extracellular binding domain-were significantly associated with the loss of fruiting body formation; the association was not significant in the 3' half of the gene. These results suggest that the loss of grlG was adaptive under low relatedness and that at least the 5' half of the gene is important for cooperation and multicellular development. This is surprising given some previous evidence that grlG encodes a folate receptor involved in predation, which occurs only during the single-celled stage. However, non-fruiting mutants showed little increase in a parallel evolution experiment where the multicellular stage was prevented from happening. This shows that non-fruiting mutants are not generally selected by any predation advantage but rather by something-likely cheating-during the multicellular stage.

RevDate: 2024-01-01
CmpDate: 2024-01-01

Wang S, Chan SY, Deng Y, et al (2024)

Oxidative stress induced by Etoposide anti-cancer chemotherapy drives the emergence of tumor-associated bacteria resistance to fluoroquinolones.

Journal of advanced research, 55:33-44.

INTRODUCTION: Antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, are prevalent in lung cancer patients, resulting in poor clinical outcomes and high mortality. Etoposide (ETO) is an FDA-approved chemotherapy drug that kills cancer cells by damaging DNA through oxidative stress. However, it is unclear if ETO can cause unintentional side effects on tumor-associated microbial pathogens, such as inducing antibiotic resistance.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to show that prolonged ETO treatment could unintendedly confer fluoroquinolone antibiotic resistance to P. aeruginosa, and evaluate the effect of tumor-associated P. aeruginosa on tumor progression.

METHODS: We employed experimental evolution assay to treat P. aeruginosa with prolonged ETO exposure, evaluated the ciprofloxacin resistance, and elucidated the gene mutations by DNA sequencing. We also established a lung tumor-P. aeruginosa bacterial model to study the role of ETO-evolved intra-tumoral bacteria in tumor progression using immunostaining and confocal microscopy.

RESULTS: ETO could generate oxidative stress and lead to gene mutations in P. aeruginosa, especially the gyrase (gyrA) gene, resulting in acquired fluoroquinolone resistance. We further demonstrated using a microfluidic-based lung tumor-P. aeruginosa coculture model that bacteria can evolve ciprofloxacin (CIP) resistance in a tumor microenvironment. Moreover, ETO-induced CIP-resistant (EICR) mutants could form multicellular biofilms which protected tumor cells from ETO killing and enabled tumor progression.

CONCLUSION: Overall, our preclinical proof-of-concept provides insights into how anti-cancer chemotherapy could inadvertently allow tumor-associated bacteria to acquire antibiotic resistance mutations and shed new light on the development of novel anti-cancer treatments based on anti-bacterial strategies.

RevDate: 2024-01-01
CmpDate: 2024-01-01

Niklas KJ, BH Tiffney (2023)

Viridiplantae Body Plans Viewed Through the Lens of the Fossil Record and Molecular Biology.

Integrative and comparative biology, 63(6):1316-1330.

A review of the fossil record coupled with insights gained from molecular and developmental biology reveal a series of body plan transformations that gave rise to the first land plants. Across diverse algal clades, including the green algae and their descendants, the plant body plan underwent a unicellular $\to $ colonial $\to $ simple multicellular → complex multicellular transformation series. The colonization of land involved increasing body size and associated cell specialization, including cells capable of hydraulic transport. The evolution of the life-cycle that characterizes all known land plant species involved a divergence in body plan phenotypes between the haploid and diploid generations, one adapted to facilitate sexual reproduction (a free-water dependent gametophyte) and another adapted to the dissemination of spores (a more water-independent sporophyte). The amplification of this phenotypic divergence, combined with indeterminate growth in body size, resulted in a desiccation-adapted branched sporophyte with a cuticularized epidermis, stomates, and vascular tissues. Throughout the evolution of the land plants, the body plans of the sporophyte generation involved "axiation," i.e., the acquisition of a cylindrical geometry and subsequent organographic specializations.

RevDate: 2023-12-29
CmpDate: 2023-12-29

Bich L (2023)

Integrating Multicellular Systems: Physiological Control and Degrees of Biological Individuality.

Acta biotheoretica, 72(1):1.

This paper focuses on physiological integration in multicellular systems, a notion often associated with biological individuality, but which has not received enough attention and needs a thorough theoretical treatment. Broadly speaking, physiological integration consists in how different components come together into a cohesive unit in which they are dependent on one another for their existence and activity. This paper argues that physiological integration can be understood by considering how the components of a biological multicellular system are controlled and coordinated in such a way that their activities can contribute to the maintenance of the system. The main implication of this perspective is that different ways of controlling their parts may give rise to multicellular organizations with different degrees of integration. After defining control, this paper analyses how control is realized in two examples of multicellular systems located at different ends of the spectrum of multicellularity: biofilms and animals. It focuses on differences in control ranges, and it argues that a high degree of integration implies control exerted at both medium and long ranges, and that insofar as biofilms lack long-range control (relative to their size) they can be considered as less integrated than other multicellular systems. It then discusses the implication of this account for the debate on physiological individuality and the idea that degrees of physiological integration imply degrees of individuality.

RevDate: 2023-12-28
CmpDate: 2023-12-28

Pinion AK, Britz R, Kubicek KM, et al (2023)

The larval attachment organ of the bowfin Amia ocellicauda Richardson, 1836 (Amiiformes: Amiidae) and its phylogenetic significance.

Journal of fish biology, 103(6):1300-1311.

Larval attachment organs (LAOs) are unicellular or multicellular organs that enable the larvae of many actinopterygian fishes to adhere to a substrate before yolk-sac absorption and the free-swimming stage. Bowfins (Amiiformes) exhibit a sizable LAO on the snout, which was first described in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In this study, we document the LAO of Amia ocellicauda (Richardson, 1836) using a combination of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and light microscopy, and histochemistry. We examined material representing three stages with SEM ranging in size from 5.8 to 11.2 mm in notochord length and one stage histochemically. We compare the LAO of A. ocellicauda to that of the lepisosteid Atractosteus tropicus Gill, 1863 and show that although the LAOs of A. ocellicauda and A. tropicus are both super-organs, the two differ in the ultrastructure of the entire organ. A. ocellicauda possesses two distinct lobes, with the organs arranged on the periphery with none in the middle, whereas A. tropicus also possesses two lobes, but with the organs scattered evenly across the super-organ. The individual organs of A. ocellicauda possess adhesive cells set deep to support cells with the adhesive substance released through a pore, whereas A. tropicus possesses both support cells and adhesive cells sitting at a similar level, with the adhesive substance released directly onto the surface of the organ. We additionally provide a table summarizing vertebrate genera in which attachment organs have been documented and discuss the implications of our study for hypotheses of the homology of attachment organs in the Holostei.

RevDate: 2023-12-16

Yu Y, Li YP, Ren K, et al (2023)

A brief history of metal recruitment in protozoan predation.

Trends in microbiology pii:S0966-842X(23)00326-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Metals and metalloids are used as weapons for predatory feeding by unicellular eukaryotes on prokaryotes. This review emphasizes the role of metal(loid) bioavailability over the course of Earth's history, coupled with eukaryogenesis and the evolution of the mitochondrion to trace the emergence and use of the metal(loid) prey-killing phagosome as a feeding strategy. Members of the genera Acanthamoeba and Dictyostelium use metals such as zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu), and possibly metalloids, to kill their bacterial prey after phagocytosis. We provide a potential timeline on when these capacities first evolved and how they correlate with perceived changes in metal(loid) bioavailability through Earth's history. The origin of phagotrophic eukaryotes must have postdated the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) in agreement with redox-dependent modification of metal(loid) bioavailability for phagotrophic poisoning. However, this predatory mechanism is predicted to have evolved much later - closer to the origin of the multicellular metazoans and the evolutionary development of the immune systems.

RevDate: 2023-12-21
CmpDate: 2023-12-21

Romei M, Carpentier M, Chomilier J, et al (2023)

Origins and Functional Significance of Eukaryotic Protein Folds.

Journal of molecular evolution, 91(6):854-864.

Folds are the architecture and topology of a protein domain. Categories of folds are very few compared to the astronomical number of sequences. Eukaryotes have more protein folds than Archaea and Bacteria. These folds are of two types: shared with Archaea and/or Bacteria on one hand and specific to eukaryotic clades on the other hand. The first kind of folds is inherited from the first endosymbiosis and confirms the mixed origin of eukaryotes. In a dataset of 1073 folds whose presence or absence has been evidenced among 210 species equally distributed in the three super-kingdoms, we have identified 28 eukaryotic folds unambiguously inherited from Bacteria and 40 eukaryotic folds unambiguously inherited from Archaea. Compared to previous studies, the repartition of informational function is higher than expected for folds originated from Bacteria and as high as expected for folds inherited from Archaea. The second type of folds is specifically eukaryotic and associated with an increase of new folds within eukaryotes distributed in particular clades. Reconstructed ancestral states coupled with dating of each node on the tree of life provided fold appearance rates. The rate is on average twice higher within Eukaryota than within Bacteria or Archaea. The highest rates are found in the origins of eukaryotes, holozoans, metazoans, metazoans stricto sensu, and vertebrates: the roots of these clades correspond to bursts of fold evolution. We could correlate the functions of some of the fold synapomorphies within eukaryotes with significant evolutionary events. Among them, we find evidence for the rise of multicellularity, adaptive immune system, or virus folds which could be linked to an ecological shift made by tetrapods.

RevDate: 2023-12-21
CmpDate: 2023-12-21

Mulvey H, L Dolan (2023)

RHO of plant signaling was established early in streptophyte evolution.

Current biology : CB, 33(24):5515-5525.e4.

The algal ancestors of land plants underwent a transition from a unicellular to a multicellular body plan.[1] This transition likely took place early in streptophyte evolution, sometime after the divergence of the Chlorokybophyceae/Mesostigmatophyceae lineage, but before the divergence of the Klebsormidiophyceae lineage.[2] How this transition was brought about is unknown; however, it was likely facilitated by the evolution of novel mechanisms to spatially regulate morphogenesis. In land plants, RHO of plant (ROP) signaling plays a conserved role in regulating polarized cell growth and cell division orientation to orchestrate morphogenesis.[3][,][4][,][5][,][6][,][7][,][8] ROP constitutes a plant-specific subfamily of the RHO GTPases, which are more widely conserved throughout eukaryotes.[9][,][10] Although the RHO family originated in early eukaryotes,[11][,][12] how and when the ROP subfamily originated had remained elusive. Here, we demonstrate that ROP signaling was established early in the streptophyte lineage, sometime after the divergence of the Chlorokybophyceae/Mesostigmatophyceae lineage, but before the divergence of the Klebsormidiophyceae lineage. This period corresponds to when the unicellular-to-multicellular transition likely took place in the streptophytes. In addition to being critical for the complex morphogenesis of extant land plants, we speculate that ROP signaling contributed to morphological evolution in early streptophytes.

RevDate: 2023-12-14

Bingham EP, WC Ratcliff (2023)

A non-adaptive explanation for macroevolutionary patterns in the evolution of complex multicellularity.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology.

"Complex multicellularity", conventionally defined as large organisms with many specialized cell types, has evolved five times independently in eukaryotes, but never within prokaryotes. A number hypotheses have been proposed to explain this phenomenon, most of which posit that eukaryotes evolved key traits (e.g., dynamic cytoskeletons, alternative mechanisms of gene regulation, or subcellular compartments) which were a necessary prerequisite for the evolution of complex multicellularity. Here we propose an alternative, non-adaptive hypothesis for this broad macroevolutionary pattern. By binning cells into groups with finite genetic bottlenecks between generations, the evolution of multicellularity greatly reduces the effective population size (Ne) of cellular populations, increasing the role of genetic drift in evolutionary change. While both prokaryotes and eukaryotes experience this phenomenon, they have opposite responses to drift: mutational biases in eukaryotes tend to drive genomic expansion, providing additional raw genetic material for subsequent multicellular innovation, while prokaryotes generally face genomic erosion. These effects become more severe as organisms evolve larger size and more stringent genetic bottlenecks between generations- both of which are hallmarks of complex multicellularity. Taken together, we hypothesize that it is these idiosyncratic lineage-specific mutational biases, rather than cell-biological innovations within eukaryotes, that underpins the long-term divergent evolution of complex multicellularity across the tree of life.

RevDate: 2023-11-29
CmpDate: 2023-11-27

Toch K, Buczek M, MK Labocha (2023)

Genetic Interactions in Various Environmental Conditions in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Genes, 14(11):.

Although it is well known that epistasis plays an important role in many evolutionary processes (e.g., speciation, evolution of sex), our knowledge on the frequency and prevalent sign of epistatic interactions is mainly limited to unicellular organisms or cell cultures of multicellular organisms. This is even more pronounced in regard to how the environment can influence genetic interactions. To broaden our knowledge in that respect we studied gene-gene interactions in a whole multicellular organism, Caenorhabditis elegans. We screened over one thousand gene interactions, each one in standard laboratory conditions, and under three different stressors: heat shock, oxidative stress, and genotoxic stress. Depending on the condition, between 7% and 22% of gene pairs showed significant genetic interactions and an overall sign of epistasis changed depending on the condition. Sign epistasis was quite common, but reciprocal sign epistasis was extremally rare. One interaction was common to all conditions, whereas 78% of interactions were specific to only one environment. Although epistatic interactions are quite common, their impact on evolutionary processes will strongly depend on environmental factors.

RevDate: 2023-11-27
CmpDate: 2023-11-27

Spradling AC (2024)

The Ancient Origin and Function of Germline Cysts.

Results and problems in cell differentiation, 71:3-21.

Gamete production in most animal species is initiated within an evolutionarily ancient multicellular germline structure, the germline cyst, whose interconnected premeiotic cells synchronously develop from a single progenitor arising just downstream from a stem cell. Cysts in mice, Drosophila, and many other animals protect developing sperm, while in females, cysts generate nurse cells that guard sister oocytes from transposons (TEs) and help them grow and build a Balbiani body. However, the origin and extreme evolutionary conservation of germline cysts remains a mystery. We suggest that cysts arose in ancestral animals like Hydra and Planaria whose multipotent somatic and germline stem cells (neoblasts) express genes conserved in all animal germ cells and frequently begin differentiation in cysts. A syncytial state is proposed to help multipotent stem cell chromatin transition to an epigenetic state with heterochromatic domains suitable for TE repression and specialized function. Most modern animals now lack neoblasts but have retained stem cells and cysts in their early germlines, which continue to function using this ancient epigenetic strategy.

RevDate: 2023-11-25
CmpDate: 2023-11-24

Nicolas E, Simion P, Guérineau M, et al (2023)

Horizontal acquisition of a DNA ligase improves DNA damage tolerance in eukaryotes.

Nature communications, 14(1):7638.

Bdelloid rotifers are part of the restricted circle of multicellular animals that can withstand a wide range of genotoxic stresses at any stage of their life cycle. In this study, bdelloid rotifer Adineta vaga is used as a model to decipher the molecular basis of their extreme tolerance. Proteomic analysis shows that a specific DNA ligase, different from those usually involved in DNA repair in eukaryotes, is strongly over-represented upon ionizing radiation. A phylogenetic analysis reveals its orthology to prokaryotic DNA ligase E, and its horizontal acquisition by bdelloid rotifers and plausibly other eukaryotes. The fungus Mortierella verticillata, having a single copy of this DNA Ligase E homolog, also exhibits an increased radiation tolerance with an over-expression of this DNA ligase E following X-ray exposure. We also provide evidence that A. vaga ligase E is a major contributor of DNA breaks ligation activity, which is a common step of all important DNA repair pathways. Consistently, its heterologous expression in human cell lines significantly improves their radio-tolerance. Overall, this study highlights the potential of horizontal gene transfers in eukaryotes, and their contribution to the adaptation to extreme conditions.

RevDate: 2023-11-24
CmpDate: 2023-11-23

Jin H, Zhang W, Liu H, et al (2023)

Genome-wide identification and characteristic analysis of ETS gene family in blood clam Tegillarca granosa.

BMC genomics, 24(1):700.

BACKGROUND: ETS transcription factors, known as the E26 transformation-specific factors, assume a critical role in the regulation of various vital biological processes in animals, including cell differentiation, the cell cycle, and cell apoptosis. However, their characterization in mollusks is currently lacking.

RESULTS: The current study focused on a comprehensive analysis of the ETS genes in blood clam Tegillarca granosa and other mollusk genomes. Our phylogenetic analysis revealed the absence of the SPI and ETV subfamilies in mollusks compared to humans. Additionally, several ETS genes in mollusks were found to lack the PNT domain, potentially resulting in a diminished ability of ETS proteins to bind target genes. Interestingly, the bivalve ETS1 genes exhibited significantly high expression levels during the multicellular proliferation stage and in gill tissues. Furthermore, qRT-PCR results showed that Tg-ETS-14 (ETS1) is upregulated in the high total hemocyte counts (THC) population of T. granosa, suggesting it plays a significant role in stimulating hemocyte proliferation.

CONCLUSION: Our study significantly contributes to the comprehension of the evolutionary aspects concerning the ETS gene family, while also providing valuable insights into its role in fostering hemocyte proliferation across mollusks.

RevDate: 2023-12-22
CmpDate: 2023-12-22

Tissot S, Guimard L, Meliani J, et al (2023)

The impact of food availability on tumorigenesis is evolutionarily conserved.

Scientific reports, 13(1):19825.

The inability to control cell proliferation results in the formation of tumors in many multicellular lineages. Nonetheless, little is known about the extent of conservation of the biological traits and ecological factors that promote or inhibit tumorigenesis across the metazoan tree. Particularly, changes in food availability have been linked to increased cancer incidence in humans, as an outcome of evolutionary mismatch. Here, we apply evolutionary oncology principles to test whether food availability, regardless of the multicellular lineage considered, has an impact on tumorigenesis. We used two phylogenetically unrelated model systems, the cnidarian Hydra oligactis and the fish Danio rerio, to investigate the impact of resource availability on tumor occurrence and progression. Individuals from healthy and tumor-prone lines were placed on four diets that differed in feeding frequency and quantity. For both models, frequent overfeeding favored tumor emergence, while lean diets appeared more protective. In terms of tumor progression, high food availability promoted it, whereas low resources controlled it, but without having a curative effect. We discuss our results in light of current ideas about the possible conservation of basic processes governing cancer in metazoans (including ancestral life history trade-offs at the cell level) and in the framework of evolutionary medicine.

RevDate: 2023-12-17
CmpDate: 2023-12-07

Liu D, Vargas-García CA, Singh A, et al (2023)

A cell-based model for size control in the multiple fission alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

Current biology : CB, 33(23):5215-5224.e5.

Understanding how population-size homeostasis emerges from stochastic individual cell behaviors remains a challenge in biology.[1][,][2][,][3][,][4][,][5][,][6][,][7] The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Chlamydomonas) proliferates using a multiple fission cell cycle, where a prolonged G1 phase is followed by n rounds of alternating division cycles (S/M) to produce 2[n] daughters. A "Commitment" sizer in mid-G1 phase ensures sufficient cell growth before completing the cell cycle. A mitotic sizer couples mother-cell size to division number (n) such that daughter size distributions are uniform regardless of mother size distributions. Although daughter size distributions were highly robust to altered growth conditions, ∼40% of daughter cells fell outside of the 2-fold range expected from a "perfect" multiple fission sizer.[7][,][8] A simple intuitive power law model with stochastic noise failed to reproduce individual division behaviors of tracked single cells. Through additional iterative modeling, we identified an alternative modified threshold (MT) model, where cells need to cross a threshold greater than 2-fold their median starting size to become division-competent (i.e., Committed), after which their behaviors followed a power law model. The Commitment versus mitotic size threshold uncoupling in the MT model was likely a key pre-adaptation in the evolution of volvocine algal multicellularity. A similar experimental approach was used in size mutants mat3/rbr and dp1 that are, respectively, missing repressor or activator subunits of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor complex (RBC). Both mutants showed altered relationships between Commitment and mitotic sizer, suggesting that RBC functions to decouple the two sizers.

RevDate: 2023-11-17
CmpDate: 2023-11-13

Wang X, Xu X, Z Wang (2023)

The Post-Translational Role of UFMylation in Physiology and Disease.

Cells, 12(21):.

Ubiquitin-fold modifier 1 (UFM1) is a newly identified ubiquitin-like protein that has been conserved during the evolution of multicellular organisms. In a similar manner to ubiquitin, UFM1 can become covalently linked to the lysine residue of a substrate via a dedicated enzymatic cascade. Although a limited number of substrates have been identified so far, UFM1 modification (UFMylation) has been demonstrated to play a vital role in a variety of cellular activities, including mammalian development, ribosome biogenesis, the DNA damage response, endoplasmic reticulum stress responses, immune responses, and tumorigenesis. In this review, we summarize what is known about the UFM1 enzymatic cascade and its biological functions, and discuss its recently identified substrates. We also explore the pathological role of UFMylation in human disease and the corresponding potential therapeutic targets and strategies.

RevDate: 2023-11-28
CmpDate: 2023-11-28

Dupouy G, Cashell R, Brychkova G, et al (2023)

PICKLE RELATED 2 is a Neofunctionalized Gene Duplicate Under Positive Selection With Antagonistic Effects to the Ancestral PICKLE Gene on the Seed Transcriptome.

Genome biology and evolution, 15(11):.

The evolution and diversification of proteins capable of remodeling domains has been critical for transcriptional reprogramming during cell fate determination in multicellular eukaryotes. Chromatin remodeling proteins of the CHD3 family have been shown to have important and antagonistic impacts on seed development in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, yet the basis of this functional divergence remains unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that genes encoding the CHD3 proteins PICKLE (PKL) and PICKLE-RELATED 2 (PKR2) originated from a duplication event during the diversification of crown Brassicaceae, and that these homologs have undergone distinct evolutionary trajectories since this duplication, with PKR2 fast evolving under positive selection, while PKL is subject to purifying selection. We find that the rapid evolution of PKR2 under positive selection reduces the encoded protein's intrinsic disorder, possibly suggesting a tertiary structure configuration which differs from that of PKL. Our whole genome transcriptome analysis in seeds of pkr2 and pkl mutants reveals that they act antagonistically on the expression of specific sets of genes, providing a basis for their differing roles in seed development. Our results provide insights into how gene duplication and neofunctionalization can lead to differing and antagonistic selective pressures on transcriptomes during plant reproduction, as well as on the evolutionary diversification of the CHD3 family within seed plants.

RevDate: 2023-11-07
CmpDate: 2023-11-07

Fung L, Konkol A, Ishikawa T, et al (2023)

Swimming, Feeding, and Inversion of Multicellular Choanoflagellate Sheets.

Physical review letters, 131(16):168401.

The recent discovery of the striking sheetlike multicellular choanoflagellate species Choanoeca flexa that dynamically interconverts between two hemispherical forms of opposite orientation raises fundamental questions in cell and evolutionary biology, as choanoflagellates are the closest living relatives of animals. It similarly motivates questions in fluid and solid mechanics concerning the differential swimming speeds in the two states and the mechanism of curvature inversion triggered by changes in the geometry of microvilli emanating from each cell. Here we develop fluid dynamical and mechanical models to address these observations and show that they capture the main features of the swimming, feeding, and inversion of C. flexa colonies, which can be viewed as active, shape-shifting polymerized membranes.

RevDate: 2023-11-02
CmpDate: 2023-11-01

Balasubramanian RN, Gao M, J Umen (2023)

Identification of cell-type specific alternative transcripts in the multicellular alga Volvox carteri.

BMC genomics, 24(1):654.

BACKGROUND: Cell type specialization is a hallmark of complex multicellular organisms and is usually established through implementation of cell-type-specific gene expression programs. The multicellular green alga Volvox carteri has just two cell types, germ and soma, that have previously been shown to have very different transcriptome compositions which match their specialized roles. Here we interrogated another potential mechanism for differentiation in V. carteri, cell type specific alternative transcript isoforms (CTSAI).

METHODS: We used pre-existing predictions of alternative transcripts and de novo transcript assembly with HISAT2 and Ballgown software to compile a list of loci with two or more transcript isoforms, identified a small subset that were candidates for CTSAI, and manually curated this subset of genes to remove false positives. We experimentally verified three candidates using semi-quantitative RT-PCR to assess relative isoform abundance in each cell type.

RESULTS: Of the 1978 loci with two or more predicted transcript isoforms 67 of these also showed cell type isoform expression biases. After curation 15 strong candidates for CTSAI were identified, three of which were experimentally verified, and their predicted gene product functions were evaluated in light of potential cell type specific roles. A comparison of genes with predicted alternative splicing from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular relative of V. carteri, identified little overlap between ortholog pairs with alternative splicing in both species. Finally, we interrogated cell type expression patterns of 126 V. carteri predicted RNA binding protein (RBP) encoding genes and found 40 that showed either somatic or germ cell expression bias. These RBPs are potential mediators of CTSAI in V. carteri and suggest possible pre-adaptation for cell type specific RNA processing and a potential path for generating CTSAI in the early ancestors of metazoans and plants.

CONCLUSIONS: We predicted numerous instances of alternative transcript isoforms in Volvox, only a small subset of which showed cell type specific isoform expression bias. However, the validated examples of CTSAI supported existing hypotheses about cell type specialization in V. carteri, and also suggested new hypotheses about mechanisms of functional specialization for their gene products. Our data imply that CTSAI operates as a minor but important component of V. carteri cellular differentiation and could be used as a model for how alternative isoforms emerge and co-evolve with cell type specialization.


ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Support

In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.

Electronic Scholarly Publishing
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Bellingham, WA 98226

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Papers in Classical Genetics

The ESP began as an effort to share a handful of key papers from the early days of classical genetics. Now the collection has grown to include hundreds of papers, in full-text format.

Digital Books

Along with papers on classical genetics, ESP offers a collection of full-text digital books, including many works by Darwin and even a collection of poetry — Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg.


ESP now offers a large collection of user-selected side-by-side timelines (e.g., all science vs. all other categories, or arts and culture vs. world history), designed to provide a comparative context for appreciating world events.


Biographical information about many key scientists (e.g., Walter Sutton).

Selected Bibliographies

Bibliographies on several topics of potential interest to the ESP community are automatically maintained and generated on the ESP site.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 07 JUL 2018 )