Rxivist combines preprints from bioRxiv with data from Twitter to help you find the papers being discussed in your field. Currently indexing 94,912 bioRxiv papers from 404,161 authors.
Most downloaded bioRxiv papers, since beginning of last month
93,099 results found. For more information, click each entry to expand.
1 download ecology
Microbial diversity is one of the most important drivers on the ecosystem to maintain the simultaneous performance of functions (multifunctionality, MF) under climatic oscillation. However, existing studies typically consider taxonomic richness or Shannon index at the community level in which relations between diversity and functioning are not highly consistent. To disentangle the underlying linkages in real-world ecosystems, we conducted field investigation on biological soil crusts of Tibetan Plateau and evaluated multiple diversity facets (i.e., richness, evenness, and phylogeny-related trait dissimilarity) of carbon- and nitrogen-fixing functional groups (FGs). Seven crucial variables of soil functioning were also identified to calculate MF. We found that the integrated index, invoking multiple diversity components, was a stronger predictor on MF than richness. Moreover, the divergent performance of different diversity facets determined the idiosyncratic diversity effect of each FG on the MF. Namely, richness was the dominant factor for diazotrophs to maximize MF, whereas phylogenetic dissimilarity was the most important one for phototrophs. The heterogeneity among the focal FGs derived from the significant differentiation of the extent of multifunctional redundancy. Collectively, we speculated that the multifaceted diversity pattern depicts the response-ability of crucial FGs by which biocrusts stabilize MF under environmental perturbation. Taken together, our results provided a perspective to bridge the gap between taxonomic and trait-based approaches for elucidating the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship, and could ultimately help to boost the practices of dryland management against global change.
1 download genomics
Activation of retrotransposons and their insertions into new genomic locations, i.e., retrotranspositions (RTs), have been identified in about 50% of tumors. However, the landscape of RTs in different, normal somatic cell types in humans remains largely unknown. Using single-cell whole-genome sequencing we identified 528 RT events, including LINE-1 (L1), and Alu, in 164 single cells and clones of fibroblasts, neurons, B lymphocytes, hepatocytes and liver stem cells, of 29 healthy human subjects aged from 0 to 106 years. The frequency of RTs was found to vary from <1 on average per cell in primary fibroblasts to 7.8 per cell in hepatocytes. Somewhat surprisingly, RT frequency does not increase with age, which is in contrast to other types of spontaneous mutation. RTs were found significantly more likely to insert in or close to target genes of the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2), which represses most of the genes encoding developmental regulators through H3K27me3 histone modification in embryonic stem cells. Indeed, when directly comparing RT frequency between differentiated liver hepatocytes with liver stem cells, the latter were almost devoid of RTs. These results indicate that spontaneous RTs are associated with cellular differentiation and occur, possibly, as a consequence of the transient chromatin transition of differentiation-specific genes from a transcriptionally repressed to activated state during the differentiation process.
1 download developmental biology
The roundworm C. elegans transiently arrests larval development to survive extended starvation (1), but such early-life starvation reduces reproductive success (2, 3). Maternal dietary restriction (DR) buffers progeny from starvation, increasing reproductive success (4). It is unknown why early-life starvation decreases reproductive success and how maternal diet modifies this process. We show here that extended starvation in first-stage (L1) larvae followed by unrestricted feeding results in a variety of abnormalities in the reproductive system, including glp-1/Notch-sensitive germ-cell tumors and uterine masses that express neuronal and epidermal markers. We found that maternal DR reduces the penetrance of starvation-induced abnormalities, including tumors. Furthermore, we show that maternal DR reduces insulin/IGF signaling (IIS) in progeny, and that daf-16/FoxO and skn-1/Nrf, transcriptional effectors of IIS, are required in progeny for maternal DR to suppress abnormalities. daf-16/FoxO activity in somatic tissues is sufficient to suppress starvation-induced abnormalities, suggesting cell-nonautonomous regulation of reproductive system development. This work reveals complex inter- and intra-generational effects of nutrient availability mediated by IIS with consequences on developmental integrity and reproductive success.
1 download ecology
Every year, 100 hectares of saltmarsh in the United Kingdom are lost due to sea level rise. The remaining areas are threatened by land conversion, agricultural activities, and climate change. There are important economic consequences to saltmarsh loss, as saltmarsh provides valuable ecosystem services including flood protection, carbon sequestration, and nursery habitat for commercially fished species. Quantifying the economic value of these ecosystem services can help target policies for saltmarsh restoration, or 'managed realignment', of new saltmarsh areas. In this study, we quantify the economic value of saltmarsh as a habitat for commercially fished species by developing a residency index. The residency index weights the relative importance of saltmarsh along a species' lifecycle by explicitly incorporating the target species' life histories and the estimated proportion of time it spends in saltmarsh at juvenile and adult life stages. Using this index, we estimate the value of saltmarsh to UK commercial fisheries landings. We find that UK saltmarsh contributes annually between 16.7% and 18.2% of total UK commercial landings for European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax), European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa), and Common sole (Solea solea). Our findings highlight the importance of saltmarsh protection and restoration. Furthermore, our approach provides a general framework that integrates population ecology methods and economic analyses to assess the value of saltmarsh and other coastal habitats for fisheries worldwide.
1 download microbiology
To meet the ever-growing demand of antibiotic discovery, new chemical matter and antibiotic targets are urgently needed. Many potent natural product antibiotics which were previously discarded can also provide lead molecules and drug targets. One such example is the structurally unique beta-lactone obafluorin, produced by Pseudomonas fluorescens ATCC 39502. Obafluorin is active against both Gram-positive and -negative pathogens, however the biological target was unknown. We now report that obafluorin targets threonyl-tRNA-synthetase and we identify a homologue, ObaO, which confers self-immunity to the obafluorin producer. Disruption of obaO in P. fluorescens ATCC 39502 results in obafluorin sensitivity, whereas expression in sensitive E. coli strains confers resistance. Enzyme assays demonstrate that E. coli threonyl-tRNA synthetase is fully inhibited by obafluorin, whereas ObaO is only partly susceptible, exhibiting a very unusual partial inhibition mechanism. Altogether, our data highlight the utility of a self-immunity guided approach for the identification of an antibiotic target de novo and will ultimately enable the generation of improved obafluorin variants.
1 download evolutionary biology
Environmental heterogeneity on spatial and temporal scale fosters organism's capacity to plastically alter coloration. Predation risk might favour the evolution of phenotypic plasticity in colour patterns, as individuals, which change colour throughout the year, could be able to improve their fitness. Here we explored the change in dorsal pigmentation of the Italian wall lizard (Podarcis siculus campestris) along three time points (March, July and October) during the period of activity. Lizard dorsal pictures were collected on the field, with the support of a reference chart to quantitatively estimate chromatic variables (hue, saturation and value, HSV). At the same time, pictures of grassy coverings (the most representative portion of the environment subjected to normal seasonal change), were collected. Our findings show that lizards are capable of altering dorsal coloration during seasonal change. They vary from green, at the onset of spring, to brownish in the middle of summer, and greyish colour in October. This modification closely followed environmental background colour variation and enhanced lizard crypsis during each season.
1 download genetics
Current knowledge indicates TEs have been shaping the evolution of genomes and host species, contributing to the creation of new genes and promoting rearrangements frequently associated with new regulatory networks. Support for these hypothesis frequently result from studies with model species, and Drosophila detaches as a great model organism to the study of TEs. Micropia belongs to the Ty3/Gypsy group of LTR retroelements, and comprises one of the least studied Drosophila transposable elements. In this study, we assessed the evolutionary history of Micropia within Drosophilidae, while trying to assist in the classification of this TE. At first, we analyzed its presence in the genome of several species from natural populations and then, based on searches within genomic databases, we retrieved Micropia-like sequences from distinct Drosophilidae species genomes. We expanded the knowledge of Micropia distribution within Drosophila, and detected an array of divergent sequences, which allowed subdividing this retroelement in 20 subfamilies. Even so, a patchy distribution of Micropia sequences within the Drosophilidae phylogeny could be identified combined with incongruences of the species and the Micropia phylogenies. Comparing dS values between Micropia and host nuclear sequences, we found several cases of unexpected high levels of similarity between Micropia sequences found in divergent species. All these findings propose a hypothesis to the evolution of Micropia within Drosophilidae, including several VTTs and HTTs events, associated to ancestral polymorphisms and recurrent Micropia sequences diversification.
1 download molecular biology
Submental muscles (i.e. mylohyoid and geniohyoid) play a vital role during swallowing, protecting the airway from ingested material. To design therapies to reduce the functional deficits associated with radiation treatment relies in part on our understanding of the changes in the cytokine and growth factor response that can impact muscle function. The purpose of this study is to quantify changes in the inflammatory, pro-fibrotic, and pro-angiogenic factors following 48Gy of fractionated radiation to the mylohyoid muscle. We hypothesized that (1) irradiation will provoke increases in TGF-1β and MMP-2 mRNA in the mylohyoid muscle; and (2) muscles surrounding the target location (i.e. geniohyoid and digastric muscles) will exhibit similar alterations in their gene expression profiles. Rats were exposed to 6 fractions of 8Gy using a 6MeV electron beam on a clinical linear accelerator. The highest dose curve was focused at the mylohyoid muscle. After 2- and 4-weeks post-radiation, the mylohyoid, geniohyoid, and digastric muscles were harvested. Expression of TNF-α, IFNγ, IL-1β, IL-6, TGF-1β, VEGF, MMP-2, and MMP-9 mRNA was analyzed via PCR and/or RT-PCR. TGF-1β, MMP-2, and IL-6 expression was upregulated in the irradiated mylohyoid compared to non-irradiated controls. No notable changes in TNF-α, IFNγ, and IL-1β mRNA expression was observed in irradiated muscles. Differing expression profiles were found in the surrounding muscles post-radiation. Results demonstrated that irradiation provokes molecular signals involved in the regulation of the extracellular matrix, which could lead to fibrosis or atrophy in the swallowing muscle after radiation.
1 download microbiology
We report the analysis of a complex enveloped human virus, herpes simplex virus (HSV), assembled after in vivo incorporation of bio-orthogonal methionine analogues homopropargylglycine (HPG) or azidohomoalanine (AHA). We optimised protocols for the production of virions incorporating AHA (termed HSVAHA), identifying conditions which resulted in normal yields of HSV and normal particle/pfu ratios. Moreover we show that essentially every single HSVAHA capsid-containing particle was detectable at the individual particle level by chemical ligation of azide-linked fluorochromes to AHA-containing structural proteins. This was a completely specific chemical ligation, with no capsids assembled under normal methionine-containing conditions detected in parallel. We demonstrate by quantitative mass spectrometric analysis that HSVAHA virions exhibit no qualitative or quantitative differences in the repertoires of structural proteins compared to virions assembled under normal conditions. Individual proteins and AHA incorporation sites were identified in capsid, tegument and envelope compartments, including major essential structural proteins. Finally we revealing novel aspects of entry pathways using HSVAHA and chemical fluorochrome ligation that were not apparent from conventional immunofluorescence. Since ligation targets total AHA-containing protein and peptides, our results demonstrate the presence of abundant AHA-labelled products in cytoplasmic macrodomains and tubules which no longer contain intact particles detectable by immunofluorescence. Although these do not co-localise with lysosomal markers, we propose they may represent sites of proteolytic virion processing. Analysis of HSVAHA also enabled the discrimination or primary entering from secondary assembling, demonstrating assembly and second round infection within 6 hrs of initial infection and dual infections of primary and secondary virus in spatially restricted cytoplasmic areas of the same cell. Together with other demonstrated applications e.g., in genome biology, lipid and protein trafficking, the work further exemplifies the utility and potential of bio-orthogonal chemistry for studies in many aspects of virus-host interactions.
1 download epidemiology
Arboviral disease transmission by Aedes mosquitoes poses a major challenge to public health systems in Ecuador, where constraints on health services and resource allocation call for spatially informed management decisions. Employing a unique dataset of larval occurrence records provided by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health, we used ecological niche models (ENMs) to estimate the current geographic distribution of Aedes aegypti in Ecuador, using mosquito presence as a proxy for risk of disease transmission. ENMs built with the Genetic Algorithm for Rule-Set Production (GARP) algorithm and a suite of environmental variables were assessed for agreement and accuracy. The top model of larval mosquito presence was projected to the year 2050 under various combinations of greenhouse gas emissions scenarios and models of climate change. Under current climatic conditions, larval mosquitoes were not predicted in areas of high elevation in Ecuador, such as the Andes mountain range, as well as the eastern portion of the Amazon basin. However, all models projected to scenarios of future climate change demonstrated potential shifts in mosquito distribution, wherein range contractions were seen throughout most of eastern Ecuador, and areas of transitional elevation became suitable for mosquito presence. Encroachment of Ae. aegypti into mountainous terrain was estimated to affect up to 4,215 km2 under the most extreme scenario of climate change, an area which would put over 12,000 people currently living in transitional areas at risk. This distributional shift into communities at higher elevations indicates an area of concern for public health agencies, as targeted interventions may be needed to protect vulnerable populations with limited prior exposure to mosquito-borne diseases. Ultimately, the results of this study serve as a tool for informing public health policy and mosquito abatement strategies in Ecuador.
1 download evolutionary biology
We propose a new method for estimating the coalescent age of phylogenetically related sequences that takes into account the observed time dependency of molecular rate estimates. Applying this method to human mitochondrial DNA data we have obtained significantly older ages for the main events of human evolution than in previous estimates. These ages are in close agreement with the most recent archaeological and paleontological records.
1 download ecology
The onslaught of opportunistic data offers new opportunities to examine biodiversity patterns at large scales. However, the techniques for tracking abundance trends with such data are new and require careful consideration to ensure that variations in sampling effort do not lead to biased estimates. The analysis by Boyle et al. (2019) showing a mid-century increase in monarch abundance followed by a decrease starting in the 1960s used an inappropriate correction with respect to three dimensions of sampling effort: taxonomy, place, and time. When the data presentenced by Boyle et al. (2019) are corrected to account for biases in the collection process, the results of their analyses do not hold. The paucity of data that remain after accounting for spatial and temporal biases suggests that analyses of monarch trends back to the beginning of the 20th are currently not possible. Continued digitization of museum records is needed to provide a firm data basis to estimate population trends.
1 download bioengineering
Nanoparticles often only exploit the upregulation of a receptor on cancer cells to enhance intratumoral deposition of therapeutic and imaging agents. However, a single targeting moiety assumes that a tumor is homogenous and static. Tumoral microenvironments are both heterogenous and dynamic, often displaying variable spatial and temporal expression of targetable receptors throughout disease progression. Here, we evaluated the in vivo performance of an iron oxide nanoparticle in terms of targeting and imaging of orthotropic mouse models of aggressive breast tumors. The nanoparticle, a multi-component nanochain, was comprised of 3-5 iron oxide nanoparticles chemically linked in a linear chain. The nanoparticle’s surface was decorated with two types of ligands each targeting two different upregulated biomarkers on the tumor endothelium, P-selectin and fibronectin. The nanochain exhibited improved tumor deposition not only through vascular targeting but also through its elongated structure. A single-ligand nanochain exhibited a ~2.5-fold higher intratumoral deposition than a spherical nanoparticle variant. Furthermore, the dual-ligand nanochain exhibited higher consistency in generating detectable MR signals compared to a single-ligand nanochain. Using a 7T MRI, the dual-ligand nanochains exhibited highly detectable MR signal within 3h after injection in two different animal models of breast cancer.
1 download evolutionary biology
Background: The replication programme of vertebrate genomes is driven by the chromosomal distribution and timing of activation of tens of thousands of replication origins. Genome-wide studies have shown the frequent association of origins with promoters and CpG islands, and their enrichment in G-quadruplex sequence motifs (G4). However, the genetic determinants driving their activity remain poorly understood. To gain insight on the functional constraints operating on replication origins and their spatial distribution, we conducted the first evolutionary comparison of genome-wide origins maps across vertebrates. Results: We generated a high resolution genome-wide map of chicken replication origins (the first of a bird genome), and performed an extensive comparison with human and mouse maps. The analysis of intra-species polymorphism revealed a strong depletion of genetic diversity on an ~ 40 bp region centred on the replication initiation loci. Surprisingly, this depletion in genetic diversity was not linked to the presence of G4 motifs, nor to the association with promoters or CpG islands. In contrast, we also showed that origins experienced a rapid turnover during vertebrates evolution, since pairwise comparisons of origin maps revealed that only 4 to 24% of them were conserved between any two species. Conclusions: This study unravels the existence of a novel genetic determinant of replication origins, the precise functional role of which remains to be determined. Despite the importance of replication initiation activity for the fitness of organisms, the distribution of replication origins along vertebrate chromosomes is highly flexible.
1 download neuroscience
Group decision-making is required in early life in educational settings and central to a well-functioning society. However, there is little research on group decision-making in adolescence, despite the significant neuro-cognitive changes during this period. Researchers have studied adolescent decision-making in 'static' social contexts, such as risk-taking in the presence of peers, and largely deemed adolescent decision-making 'sub-optimal'. It is not clear whether these findings generalise to more dynamic social contexts, such as the discussions required to reach a group decision. Here we test the optimality of group decision-making at different stages of adolescence. Pairs of male pre-to-early adolescents (8 to 13 years of age) and mid-to-late adolescents (14 to 17 years of age) together performed a low-level, perceptual decision-making task. Whenever their individual decisions differed, they were required to negotiate a joint decision. While there were developmental differences in individual performance, the joint performance of both adolescent groups was at adult levels (data obtained from a previous study). Both adolescent groups achieved a level of joint performance expected under optimal integration of their individual information into a joint decision. Young adolescents' joint, but not individual, performance deteriorated over time. The results are consistent with recent findings attesting to the competencies, rather than the shortcomings, of adolescent social behaviour.
1 download microbiology
Meningococcal surface lipoprotein, Factor H binding protein (FHbp), is the sole antigen of the Trumenba vaccine (Pfizer) and one of four antigens of the Bexsero vaccine (GSK) targeting Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B isolates. Lipidation of FHbp is assumed to occur for all isolates and its surface localisation is conducted by surface lipoprotein assembly modulator, Slam. We show in 91% of a collection of UK isolates (1742/1895) non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the signal peptide of FHbp. A single SNP, common to all, alters a polar amino acid that abolishes processing, including lipidation and signal peptide cleavage. Rather than the toxic accumulation of the precursor in the periplasm as expected from disrupting the canonical processing pathway, remarkably the FHbp precursor is translocated to the outer membrane and surface-localised by Slam. Thus we show Slam is not lipoprotein-specific. In a panel of isolates expressing precursor FHbp at the surface, we investigated their binding to human factor H and their susceptibility to antibody-mediated killing. Our findings have implications for Trumenba and Bexsero and provide key insights for lipoprotein-based vaccines in development.
1 download microbiology
Avika Dixit, Luca Freschi, Roger Vargas, Roger Calderon, James Sacchettini, Francis Drobniewski, Jerome T. Galea, Carmen Contreras, Rosa Yataco, Zibiao Zhang, Leonid Lecca, Sergios-Orestis Kolokotronis, Barun Mathema, Maha R. Farhat
Background: Whole genome sequencing (WGS) can elucidate Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) transmission patterns but more data is needed to guide its use in high-burden settings. In a household-based transmissibility study of 4,000 TB patients in Lima, Peru, we identified a large MIRU-VNTR Mtb cluster with a range of resistance phenotypes and studied host and bacterial factors contributing to its spread. Methods: WGS was performed on 61 of 148 isolates in the cluster. We compared transmission link inference using epidemiological or genomic data with and without the inclusion of controversial variants, and estimated the dates of emergence of the cluster and antimicrobial drug resistance acquisition events by generating a time-calibrated phylogeny. We validated our findings in genomic data from an outbreak of 325 TB cases in London. Using a larger set of 12,032 public Mtb genomes, we determined bacterial factors characterizing this cluster and under positive selection in other Mtb lineages. Findings: Four isolates were distantly related and the remaining 57 isolates diverged ca. 1968 (95% HPD: 1945-1985). Isoniazid resistance arose once, whereas rifampicin resistance emerged subsequently at least three times. Amplification of other drug resistance occurred as recently as within the last year of sampling. High quality PE/PPE variants and indels added information for transmission inference. We identified five cluster-defining SNPs, including esxV S23L to be potentially contributing to transmissibility. Interpretation: Clusters defined by MIRU-VNTR typing, could be circulating for decades in a high-burden setting. WGS allows for an improved understanding of transmission, as well as bacterial resistance and fitness factors. Funding: The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (Peru Epi study U19-AI076217 and K01-ES026835 to MRF). The funding sources had no role in any aspect of the study, manuscript or decision to submit it for publication.
1 download neuroscience
In functional connectivity analyses in BOLD (blood oxygenation level dependent) fMRI data, there is an ongoing debate on whether to correct global signals in fMRI time series data. Although the discussion has been ongoing in the fMRI community since the early days of fMRI data analyses, this subject has gained renewed attention in recent years due to the surging popularity of functional connectivity analyses, in particular graph theory-based network analyses. However, the impact of correcting (or not correcting) for global signals has not been systematically characterized in the context of network analyses. Thus, in this work, I examined the effect of global signal correction on an fMRI network analysis. In particular, voxel-based resting-state fMRI networks were constructed with and without global signal correction. The resulting functional connectivity networks were compared. Without global signal correction, the distributions of the correlation coefficients were positively biased. I also found that, without global signal correction, nodes along the interhemisphic fissure were highly connected whereas some nodes and subgraphs around white-matter tracts became disconnected from the rest of the network. These results from this study show differences between the networks with or without global signal correction.
1 download cell biology
Ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation is harmful for living organisms but in low doses may stimulate cell proliferation. Our aim was to examine the relationships between exposure to different low UVA doses, cellular proliferation, and changes in cellular reactive oxygen species levels. In human colon cancer (HCT116) and melanoma (Me45) cells exposed to UVA doses comparable to environmental, the highest doses (30-50 kJ/m2) reduced clonogenic potential but some lower doses (1 and 10 kJ/m2) induced proliferation. This effect was cell type and dose specific. In both cell lines the levels of reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide fluctuated with dynamics which were influenced differently by UVA; in Me45 cells decreased proliferation accompanied the changes in the dynamics of H2O2 while in HCT116 cells those of superoxide. Genes coding for proteins engaged in redox systems were expressed differently in each cell line; transcripts for thioredoxin, peroxiredoxin and glutathione peroxidase showed higher expression in HCT116 cells whereas those for glutathione transferases and copper chaperone were more abundant in Me45 cells. We conclude that these two cell types utilize different pathways for regulating their redox status. Many mechanisms engaged in maintaining cellular redox balance have been described. Here we show that the different cellular responses to a stimulus such as a specific dose of UVA may be consequences of the use of different redox control pathways. Assays of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide level changes after exposure to UVA may clarify mechanisms of cellular redox regulation and help in understanding responses to stressing factors.
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