ResumoEsse artigo apresenta uma revisão dos tipos vegetacionais do estado do Ceará a partir de sua diversidade paisagística, centrando-se, notadamente, nas condições climáticas e unidades geomorfológicas. Com base em levantamentos de campo, literatura especializada e mapas das unidades fitoecológicas e geomorfológicas, pretendemos expor, de forma didática, a caracterização, distribuição e principais ameaças antr ópicas concernentes a cada vegetação. Por fim, utilizamos métodos de análise multivariada para comparar a similaridade de espécies entre os diferentes levantamentos florísticos disponíveis para o estado e discutimos os padrões biogeográficos observados.
Fungus-growing termites rely on mutualistic fungi of the genus Termitomyces and gut microbes for plant biomass degradation. Due to a certain degree of symbiont complementarity, this tripartite symbiosis has evolved as a complex bioreactor, enabling decomposition of nearly any plant polymer, likely contributing to the success of the termites as one of the main plant decomposers in the Old World. In this study, we evaluated which plant polymers are decomposed and which enzymes are active during the decomposition process in two major genera of fungus-growing termites. We found a diversity of active enzymes at different stages of decomposition and a consistent decrease in plant components during the decomposition process. Furthermore, our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that termites transport enzymes from the older mature parts of the fungus comb through young worker guts to freshly inoculated plant substrate. However, preliminary fungal RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analyses suggest that this likely transport is supplemented with enzymes produced in situ. Our findings support that the maintenance of an external fungus comb, inoculated with an optimal mixture of plant material, fungal spores, and enzymes, is likely the key to the extraordinarily efficient plant decomposition in fungus-growing termites.IMPORTANCE Fungus-growing termites have a substantial ecological footprint in the Old World (sub)tropics due to their ability to decompose dead plant material. Through the establishment of an elaborate plant biomass inoculation strategy and through fungal and bacterial enzyme contributions, this farming symbiosis has become an efficient and versatile aerobic bioreactor for plant substrate conversion. Since little is known about what enzymes are expressed and where they are active at different stages of the decomposition process, we used enzyme assays, transcriptomics, and plant content measurements to shed light on how this decomposition of plant substrate is so effectively accomplished.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSEObesity is associated with structural and functional changes in perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT), favouring release of reactive oxygen species (ROS), vasoconstrictor and proinflammatory factors. The cytokine TNF-α induces vascular dysfunction and is produced by PVAT. We tested the hypothesis that obesity-associated PVAT dysfunction was mediated by augmented mitochondrial ROS (mROS) generation due to increased TNF-α production in this tissue. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACHC57Bl/6J and TNF-α receptor-deficient mice received control or high fat diet (HFD) for 18 weeks. We used pharmacological tools to determine the participation of mROS in PVAT dysfunction. Superoxide anion (O 2 .-) and H 2 O 2 were assayed in PVAT and aortic rings were used to assess vascular function. KEY RESULTSAortae from HFD-fed obese mice displayed increased contractions to phenylephrine and loss of PVAT anti-contractile effect. Inactivation of O 2 .-, dismutation of mitochondria-derived H 2 O 2 , uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation and Rho kinase inhibition, decreased phenylephrine-induced contractions in aortae with PVAT from HFD-fed mice. O 2 .-and H 2 O 2 were increased in PVAT from HFD-fed mice. Mitochondrial respiration analysis revealed decreased O 2 consumption rates in PVAT from HFD-fed mice. TNF-α inhibition reduced H 2 O 2 levels in PVAT from HFD-fed mice. PVAT dysfunction, i.e. increased contraction to phenylephrine in PVAT-intact aortae, was not observed in HFD-obese mice lacking TNF-α receptors. Generation of H 2 O 2 was prevented in PVAT from TNF-α receptor deficient obese mice. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONSTNF-α-induced mitochondrial oxidative stress is a key and novel mechanism involved in obesity-associated PVAT dysfunction. These findings elucidate molecular mechanisms whereby oxidative stress in PVAT could affect vascular function.
To test whether the flora is organized in discrete or continuous units along a topographic gradient, three physiognomies were assessed on different soil classes in a semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil: caatinga (xeric shrubland) at altitudes from 300 to 500 m, deciduous forest at altitudes from 500 to 700 m and carrasco (deciduous shrubland) at 700 m. In each physiognomy a species inventory was carried out, and plants were classified according to life- and growth-forms. Species richness was higher in the deciduous forest (250) than in the carrasco (136) and caatinga (137). The caatinga shared only a few species with the carrasco (6 species) and the deciduous forest (18 species). The highest species overlap was between the deciduous forest and the carrasco (62 species). One hundred and four species occurred only in the caatinga, 161 only in the deciduous forest and 59 only in the carrasco. Woody species predominated in physiognomies on sedimentary soils with latosol and arenosol: 124 species occurred in the deciduous forest and 68 in the carrasco. In the caatinga on crystalline basement relief with predominance of planosol, herbs showed the highest species richness (69). Comparing the biological spectrum of Brazilian plant life-forms, the caatinga stood out with higher proportion of therophytes and chamaephytes. Considering the flora of the three phytophysiognomies studied here, we can affirm that the caatinga is a discrete floristic unit.
SummarySocial insects owe their ecological success to the division of labour between castes, but associations between microbial community compositions and castes with different tasks and diets have not been extensively explored. Fungus‐growing termites associate with fungi to degrade plant material, complemented by diverse gut microbial communities. Here, we explore whether division of labour and accompanying dietary differences between fungus‐growing termite castes are linked to gut bacterial community structure. Using amplicon sequencing, we characterize community compositions in sterile (worker and soldier) and reproductive (queen and king) termites and combine this with gut enzyme activities and microscopy to hypothesise sterile caste‐specific microbiota roles. Gut bacterial communities are structured primarily according to termite caste and genus and, in contrast to the observed rich and diverse sterile caste microbiotas, royal pair guts are dominated by few bacterial taxa, potentially reflecting their specialized uniform diet and unique lifestyle.
Termites forage on a range of substrates, and it has been suggested that diet shapes the composition and function of termite gut bacterial communities. Through comparative analyses of gut metagenomes in nine termite species with distinct diets, we characterize bacterial community compositions and use peptide-based functional annotation method to determine biomass-degrading enzymes and the bacterial taxa that encode them. We find that fungus-growing termite guts have relatively more fungal cell wall-degrading enzyme genes, while wood-feeding termite gut communities have relatively more plant cell wall-degrading enzyme genes. Interestingly, wood-feeding termite gut bacterial genes code for abundant chitinolytic enzymes, suggesting that fungal biomass within the decaying wood likely contributes to gut bacterial or termite host nutrition. Across diets, the dominant biomass-degrading enzymes are predominantly coded for by the most abundant bacterial taxa, suggesting tight links between diet and gut community composition, with the most marked difference being the communities coding for the mycolytic capacity of the fungus-growing termite gut. IMPORTANCE Understanding functional capacities of gut microbiomes is important to improve our understanding of symbiotic associations. Here, we use peptide-based functional annotation to show that the gut microbiomes of fungus-farming termites code for a wealth of enzymes that likely target the fungal diet the termites eat. Comparisons to other termites showed that fungus-growing termite guts have relatively more fungal cell wall-degrading enzyme genes, whereas wood-feeding termite gut communities have relatively more plant cell wall-degrading enzyme genes. Across termites with different diets, the dominant biomass-degrading enzymes are predominantly coded for by the most abundant bacterial taxa, suggesting tight links between diet and gut community compositions.
BackgroundHigh fat diet (HFD) induces insulin resistance in various tissues, including the vasculature. HFD also increases plasma levels of TNF-α, a cytokine that contributes to insulin resistance and vascular dysfunction. Considering that the enzyme phosphatase and tension homologue (PTEN), whose expression is increased by TNF-α, reduces Akt signaling and, consequently, nitric oxide (NO) production, we hypothesized that PTEN contributes to TNF-α-mediated vascular resistance to insulin induced by HFD. Mechanisms underlying PTEN effects were determined.MethodsMesenteric vascular beds were isolated from C57Bl/6J and TNF-α KO mice submitted to control or HFD diet for 18 weeks to assess molecular mechanisms by which TNF-α and PTEN contribute to vascular dysfunction.ResultsVasodilation in response to insulin was decreased in HFD-fed mice and in ex vivo control arteries incubated with TNF-α. TNF-α receptors deficiency and TNF-α blockade with infliximab abolished the effects of HFD and TNF-α on insulin-induced vasodilation. PTEN vascular expression (total and phosphorylated isoforms) was increased in HFD-fed mice. Treatment with a PTEN inhibitor improved insulin-induced vasodilation in HFD-fed mice. TNF-α receptor deletion restored PTEN expression/activity and Akt/eNOS/NO signaling in HFD-fed mice.ConclusionTNF-α induces vascular insulin resistance by mechanisms that involve positive modulation of PTEN and inhibition of Akt/eNOS/NO signaling. Our findings highlight TNF-α and PTEN as potential targets to limit insulin resistance and vascular complications associated with obesity-related conditions.
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