In ecotoxicology, the state of the art for effect assessment of chemical mixtures is through multiple dose-response analysis of single compounds and their combinations. Investigating whether such data deviate from the reference models of concentration addition and/or independent action to identify overall synergism or antagonism is becoming routine. However, recent data show that more complex deviation patterns, such as dose ratio-dependent deviation and dose level-dependent deviation, need to be addressed. For concentration addition, methods to detect such deviation patterns exist, but they are stand-alone methods developed separately in literature, and conclusions derived from these analyses are therefore difficult to compare. For independent action, hardly any methods to detect such deviations from this reference model exist. This paper describes how these well-established mixture toxicity principles have been incorporated in a coherent data analysis procedure enabling detection and quantification of dose level-and dose ratio-specific synergism or antagonism from both the concentration addition and the independent action models. Significance testing of which deviation pattern describes the data best is carried out through maximum likelihood analysis. This analysis procedure is demonstrated through various data sets, and its applicability and limitations in mixture research are discussed.
Bacteria can become dormant or form spores when they are starved for nutrients. Here, we find that non-sporulating Bacillus subtilis cells can survive deep starvation conditions for many months. During this period, cells adopt an almost coccoid shape and become tolerant to antibiotics. Unexpectedly, these cells appear to be metabolically active and show a transcriptome profile very different from that of stationary phase cells. We show that these starved cells are not dormant but are growing and dividing, albeit with a doubling time close to 4 days. Very low nutrient levels, comparable to 10,000-fold diluted lysogeny broth (LB), are sufficient to sustain this growth. This extreme slow growth, which we propose to call ‘oligotrophic growth state’, provides an alternative strategy for B. subtilis to endure nutrient depletion and environmental stresses. Further work is warranted to test whether this state can be found in other bacterial species to survive deep starvation conditions.
There is mounting evidence that the ribosome is not a static translation machinery, but a cell-specific, adaptive system. Ribosomal variations have mostly been studied at the protein level, even though the essential transcriptional functions are primarily performed by rRNAs. At the RNA level, oocyte-specific 5S rRNAs are long known for Xenopus. Recently, we described for zebrafish a similar system in which the sole maternal-type 5S rRNA present in eggs is replaced completely during embryonic development by a somatic-type. Here, we report the discovery of an analogous system for the 45S rDNA elements: 5.8S, 18S, and 28S. The maternal-type 5.8S, 18S, and 28S rRNA sequences differ substantially from those of the somatic-type, plus the maternal-type rRNAs are also replaced by the somatic-type rRNAs during embryogenesis. We discuss the structural and functional implications of the observed sequence differences with respect to the translational functions of the 5.8S, 18S, and 28S rRNA elements. Finally, in silico evidence suggests that expansion segments (ES) in 18S rRNA, previously implicated in ribosome-mRNA interaction, may have a preference for interacting with specific mRNA genes. Taken together, our findings indicate that two distinct types of ribosomes exist in zebrafish during development, each likely conducting the translation machinery in a unique way.
BackgroundNatural contamination and anthropogenic pollution of soils are likely to be major determinants of functioning and survival of keystone invertebrate taxa. Soil animals will have both evolutionary adaptation and genetically programmed responses to these toxic chemicals, but mechanistic understanding of such is sparse. The clitellate annelid Lumbricus rubellus is a model organism for soil health testing, but genetic data have been lacking.ResultsWe generated a 17,000 sequence expressed sequence tag dataset, defining ~8,100 different putative genes, and built an 8,000-element transcriptome microarray for L. rubellus. Strikingly, less than half the putative genes (43%) were assigned annotations from the gene ontology (GO) system; this reflects the phylogenetic uniqueness of earthworms compared to the well-annotated model animals. The microarray was used to identify adult- and juvenile-specific transcript profiles in untreated animals and to determine dose-response transcription profiles following exposure to three xenobiotics from different chemical classes: inorganic (the metal cadmium), organic (the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon fluoranthene), and agrochemical (the herbicide atrazine). Analysis of these profiles revealed compound-specific fingerprints which identify the molecular responses of this annelid to each contaminant. The data and analyses are available in an integrated database, LumbriBASE.ConclusionL. rubellus has a complex response to contaminant exposure, but this can be efficiently analysed using molecular methods, revealing unique response profiles for different classes of effector. These profiles may assist in the development of novel monitoring or bioremediation protocols, as well as in understanding the ecosystem effects of exposure.
Increased ambient temperature is inhibitory to plant immunity including auto-immunity. SNC1-dependent auto-immunity is, for example, fully suppressed at 28°C. We found that the Arabidopsis sumoylation mutant siz1 displays SNC1-dependent auto-immunity at 22°C but also at 28°C, which was EDS1 dependent at both temperatures. This siz1 auto-immune phenotype provided enhanced resistance to Pseudomonas at both temperatures. Moreover, the rosette size of siz1 recovered only weakly at 28°C, while this temperature fully rescues the growth defects of other SNC1-dependent auto-immune mutants. This thermo-insensitivity of siz1 correlated with a compromised thermosensory growth response, which was independent of the immune regulators PAD4 or SNC1. Our data reveal that this high temperature induced growth response strongly depends on COP1, while SIZ1 controls the amplitude of this growth response. This latter notion is supported by transcriptomics data, i.e. SIZ1 controls the amplitude and timing of high temperature transcriptional changes including a subset of the PIF4/BZR1 gene targets. Combined our data signify that SIZ1 suppresses an SNC1-dependent resistance response at both normal and high temperatures. At the same time, SIZ1 amplifies the dark and high temperature growth response, likely via COP1 and upstream of gene regulation by PIF4 and BRZ1.
cPseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that causes considerable morbidity and mortality, specifically during intensive care. Antibiotic-resistant variants of this organism are more difficult to treat and cause substantial extra costs compared to susceptible strains. In the laboratory, P. aeruginosa rapidly developed resistance to five medically relevant antibiotics upon exposure to stepwise increasing concentrations. At several time points during the acquisition of resistance, samples were taken for whole-genome sequencing. The increase in the MIC of ciprofloxacin was linked to specific mutations in gyrA, parC, and gyrB, appearing sequentially. In the case of tobramycin, mutations in fusA, HP02880, rplB, and capD were induced. The MICs of the beta-lactam compounds meropenem and ceftazidime and the combination of piperacillin and tazobactam correlated linearly with beta-lactamase activity but not always with individual mutations. The genes that were mutated during the development of beta-lactam resistance differed for each antibiotic. A quantitative relationship between the frequency of mutations and the increase in resistance could not be established for any of the antibiotics. When the adapted strains are grown in the absence of the antibiotic, some mutations remained and others were reversed, but this reversal did not necessarily lower the MIC. The increased MIC came at the cost of moderately reduced cellular functions or a somewhat lower growth rate. In all cases except ciprofloxacin, the increase in resistance seems to be the result of complex interactions among several cellular systems rather than individual mutations.T he medical consequences of antibiotic resistance, such as fewer options for and increased costs of treating infectious diseases, are well recognized. The pathway to resistance consists of sequential mutations or acquisition of resistance genes driven by the selective pressure caused by antibiotic exposure (1). Once resistance has been acquired, the cell rarely reverses to become sensitive again, compensating for the metabolic costs instead (2, 3). The increased level of resistance caused by an antibiotic treatment typically prescribed by primary care physicians is very noticeable when subsequent further treatment is necessary (4). Hence, in order to limit the development of resistance when antibiotics have to be used, treatment protocols need to be devised to prevent this side effect. Rational design of such protocols requires knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that cause resistance. One of the central questions is whether similar mechanisms are operational for all drugs or whether resistance to each drug is induced in a distinct manner. Other basic questions center on evolutionary pathways to clinically significant resistance and the persistence of molecular changes after treatment.Molecular changes that cause the development and persistence of drug resistance can be identified by combining experimental evolution and whole-genome sequencing (WGS), provided that the proper c...
Single cell profiling was performed to assess differences in RNA accumulation in neighboring hyphae of the fungus Aspergillus niger. A protocol was developed to isolate and amplify RNA from single hyphae or parts thereof. Microarray analysis resulted in a present call for 4 to 7% of the A. niger genes, of which 12% showed heterogeneous RNA levels. These genes belonged to a wide range of gene categories.
Summary Aging and age-related pathology is a result of a still incompletely-understood intricate web of molecular and cellular processes. We present a C57BL/6J female mice in vivo aging study of five organs (liver, kidney, spleen, lung and brain), in which we compare genome-wide gene expression profiles during chronological aging with pathological changes throughout the entire murine lifespan (13, 26, 52, 78, 104 and 130 weeks). Relating gene expression changes to chronological aging revealed many differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and altered gene-sets (AGSs) were found in most organs, indicative of intra-organ generic aging processes. However, only ≤ 1% of these DEGs are found in all organs. For each organ, at least one of 18 tested pathological parameters showed a good age-predictive value, albeit with much inter- and intra-individual (organ) variation. Relating gene expression changes to pathology-related aging revealed correlated genes and gene-sets, which made it possible to characterize the difference between biological and chronological aging. In liver, kidney and brain, a limited number of overlapping pathology-related AGSs were found. Immune responses appeared to be common, yet the changes were specific in most organs. Furthermore, changes were observed in energy homeostasis, reactive oxygen species, cell cycle, cell motility and DNA damage. Comparison of chronological and pathology-related AGSs revealed substantial overlap and interesting differences. For example, the presence of immune processes in liver pathology-related AGSs which were not detected in chronological aging. The many cellular processes that are only found employing aging–related pathology could provide important new insights into the progress of aging.
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