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  • Salminen, Tiina S.; Cannino, Giuseppe; Oliveira, Marcos T.; Lillsunde, Päivi; Jacobs, Howard T.; Kaguni, Laurie S. (2019)
    Drosophila melanogaster, like most animal species, displays considerable genetic variation in both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Here we tested whether any of four natural mtDNA variants was able to modify the effect of the phenotypically mild, nuclear tko(25t) mutation, affecting mitochondrial protein synthesis. When combined with tko(25t), the mtDNA from wild strain KSA2 produced pupal lethality, accompanied by the presence of melanotic nodules in L3 larvae. KSA2 mtDNA, which carries a substitution at a conserved residue of cytochrome b that is predicted to be involved in subunit interactions within respiratory complex III, conferred drastically decreased respiratory capacity and complex III activity in the tko(25t) but not a wild-type nuclear background. The complex III inhibitor antimycin A was able to phenocopy effects of the tko(25t) mutation in the KSA2 mtDNA background. This is the first report of a lethal, nuclear-mitochondrial interaction within a metazoan species, representing a paradigm for understanding genetic interactions between nuclear and mitochondrial genotype relevant to human health and disease.
  • Nordenstedt, Noora; Marcenaro, Delfia; Chilagane, Daudi; Mwaipopo, Beatrice; Rajamaki, Minna-Liisa; Nchimbi-Msolla, Susan; Njau, Paul J. R.; Mbanzibwa, Deusdedith R.; Valkonen, Jari P. T. (2017)
    Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is an annual grain legume that was domesticated in Mesoamerica (Central America) and the Andes. It is currently grown widely also on other continents including Africa. We surveyed seedborne viruses in new common bean varieties introduced to Nicaragua (Central America) and in landraces and improved varieties grown in Tanzania (eastern Africa). Bean seeds, harvested from Nicaragua and Tanzania, were grown in insect-controlled greenhouse or screenhouse, respectively, to obtain leaf material for virus testing. Equal amounts of total RNA from different samples were pooled (30-36 samples per pool), and small RNAs were deep-sequenced (Illumina). Assembly of the reads (21-24 nt) to contiguous sequences and searches for homologous viral sequences in data-bases revealed Phaseolus vulgaris endornavirus 1 (PvEV-1) and PvEV-2 in the bean varieties in Nicaragua and Tanzania. These viruses are not known to cause symptoms in common bean and are considered non-pathogenic. The small-RNA reads from each pool of samples were mapped to the previously characterized complete PvEV-1 and PvEV-2 sequences (genome lengths ca. 14 kb and 15 kb, respectively). Coverage of the viral genomes was 87.9-99.9%, depending on the pool. Coverage per nucleotide ranged from 5 to 471, confirming virus identification. PvEV-1 and PvEV-2 are known to occur in Phaseolus spp. in Central America, but there is little previous information about their occurrence in Nicaragua, and no information about occurrence in Africa. Aside from Cowpea mild mosaic virus detected in bean plants grown from been seeds harvested from one region in Tanzania, no other pathogenic seedborne viruses were detected. The low incidence of infections caused by pathogenic viruses transmitted via bean seeds may be attributable to new, virus-resistant CB varieties released by breeding programs in Nicaragua and Tanzania.