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  • Woronik, Alyssa; Tunstrom, Kalle; Perry, Michael W.; Neethiraj, Ramprasad; Stefanescu, Constanti; Celorio-Mancera, Maria de la Paz; Brattstrom, Oskar; Hill, Jason; Lehmann, Philipp; Käkelä, Reijo; Wheat, Christopher W. (2019)
    Tradeoffs affect resource allocation during development and result in fitness consequences that drive the evolution of life history strategies. Yet despite their importance, we know little about the mechanisms underlying life history tradeoffs. Many species of Colias butterflies exhibit an alternative life history strategy (ALHS) where females divert resources from wing pigment synthesis to reproductive and somatic development. Due to this reallocation, a wing color polymorphism is associated with the ALHS: either yellow/orange or white. Here we map the locus associated with this ALHS in Colias crocea to a transposable element insertion located downstream of the Colias homolog of BarH-1, a homeobox transcription factor. Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, antibody staining, and electron microscopy we find white-specific expression of BarH-1 suppresses the formation of pigment granules in wing scales and gives rise to white wing color. Lipid and transcriptome analyses reveal physiological differences associated with the ALHS. Together, these findings characterize a mechanism for a female-limited ALHS.
  • Tubic, Natasa Kocis; Stahls, Gunilla; Acanski, Jelena; Djan, Mihajla; Vidakovic, Dragana Obreht; Hayat, Rüstem; Khaghaninia, Samad; Vujic, Ante; Radenkovic, Snezana (2018)
    The Merodon nanus group (Diptera, Syrphidae) is a small group of closely related species with high morphological similarity. Until now, based on morphological characters, this group consisted of five species: M. nanus Sack, 1931; M. telmateia Hurkmans, 1987; M. kopensis Vuji et Hayat, 2015; M. neonanus Vuji et Taylor, 2015; and M. rasicus Vuji et Radenkovi, 2015. Here, using an integrative approach based on molecular characters (sequences of the D2-3 region of the nuclear 28S rRNA gene and the mitochondrial COI gene) and data obtained from geometric morphometry of wing shape, we distinguish all five previously morphologically defined species of the group. Additionally, we identify one species as being new to science, M. vladimiri Vuji et Koi Tubi sp. n. We emphasize the separation of this newly described species according to the sequences obtained from the slowly evolving 28S rRNA gene, which demonstrated four to five mutation positions between this species and morphologically the most similar M. neonanus species. Also, our results show a clear division of M. telmateia into at least three population groups that we designate as the subspecies: M. telmateia mediterraneus Aanski et Koi Tubi subsp. n. and M. telmateia samosensis Aanski et Koi Tubi subsp. n. exhibiting western distributions (western Anatolia and the Greek island of Samos, respectively) and the nominative subspecies M. telmateia telmateia with an eastern Anatolian distribution.
  • Guo, Lishu; Carraro, Michela; Sartori, Geppo; Minervini, Giovanni; Eriksson, Ove; Petronilli, Valeria; Bernardi, Paolo (2018)
    Modification with arginine-specific glyoxals modulates the permeability transition (PT) of rat liver mitochondria, with inhibitory or inducing effects that depend on the net charge of the adduct(s). Here, we show that phenylglyoxal (PGO) affects the PT in a species-specific manner (inhibition in mouse and yeast, induction in human and Drosophila mitochondria). Following the hypotheses (i) that the effects are mediated by conserved arginine(s) and (ii) that the PT is mediated by the F-ATP synthase, we have narrowed the search to 60 arginines. Most of these residues are located in subunits alpha, beta, gamma, epsilon, a, and c and were excluded because PGO modification did not significantly affect enzyme catalysis. On the other hand, yeast mitochondria lacking subunit g or bearing a subunit g R107A mutation were totally resistant to PT inhibition by PGO. Thus, the effect of PGO on the PT is specifically mediated by Arg-107, the only subunit g arginine that has been conserved across species. These findings are evidence that the PT is mediated by F-ATP synthase.
  • Euro, Liliya; Haapanen, Outi; Rog, Tomasz; Vattulainen, Ilpo; Suomalainen, Anu; Sharma, Vivek (2017)
    DNA polymerase gamma (Pol gamma) is a key component of the mitochondrial DNA replisome and an important cause of neurological diseases. Despite the availability of its crystal structures, the molecular mechanism of DNA replication, the switch between polymerase and exonuclease activities, the site of replisomal interactions, and functional effects of patient mutations that do not affect direct catalysis have remained elusive. Here we report the first atomistic classical molecular dynamics simulations of the human Pol gamma replicative complex. Our simulation data show that DNA binding triggers remarkable changes in the enzyme structure, including (1) completion of the DNA-binding channel via a dynamic subdomain, which in the apo form blocks the catalytic site, (2) stabilization of the structure through the distal accessory beta-subunit, and (3) formation of a putative transient replisome-binding platform in the "intrinsic processivity" subdomain of the enzyme. Our data indicate that noncatalytic mutations may disrupt replisomal interactions, thereby causing Pol gamma-associated neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Ahola, Virpi; Wahlberg, Niklas; Frilander, Mikko J. (2017)
    The first lepidopteran genome (Bombyx mori) was published in 2004. Ten years later the genome of Melitaea cinxia came out as the third butterfly genome published, and the first eukaryotic genome sequenced in Finland. Owing to Ilkka Hanski, the M. cinxia system in the angstrom land Islands has become a famous model for metapopulation biology. More than 20 years of research on this system provides a strong ecological basis upon which a genetic framework could be built. Genetic knowledge is an essential addition for understanding eco-evolutionary dynamics and the genetic basis of variability in life history traits. Here we review the process of the M. cinxia genome project, its implications for lepidopteran genome evolution, and describe how the genome has been used for gene expression studies to identify genetic consequences of habitat fragmentation. Finally, we introduce some future possibilities and challenges for genomic research in M. cinxia and other Lepidoptera.
  • Smith, Chris R; Morandin, Claire Marthe; Noureddine, M; Pant, S (2018)
    Much of the variation among insects is derived from the different ways that chitin has been moulded to form rigid structures, both internal and external. In this study, we identify a highly conserved expression pattern in an insect-only gene family, the Osiris genes, that is essential for development, but also plays a significant role in phenotypic plasticity and in immunity/toxicity responses. The majority of Osiris genes exist in a highly syntenic cluster, and the cluster itself appears to have arisen very early in the evolution of insects. We used developmental gene expression in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, the bumble bee, Bombus terrestris, the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, and the wood ant, Formica exsecta, to compare patterns of Osiris gene expression both during development and between alternate caste phenotypes in the polymorphic social insects. Developmental gene expression of Osiris genes is highly conserved across species and correlated with gene location and evolutionary history. The social insect castes are highly divergent in pupal Osiris gene expression. Sets of co-expressed genes that include Osiris genes are enriched in gene ontology terms related to chitin/cuticle and peptidase activity. Osiris genes are essential for cuticle formation in both embryos and pupae, and genes co-expressed with Osiris genes affect wing development. Additionally, Osiris genes and those co-expressed seem to play a conserved role in insect toxicology defences and digestion. Given their role in development, plasticity, and protection, we propose that the Osiris genes play a central role in insect adaptive evolution.
  • Radenkovic, Snezana; Zoric, Ljiljana Sasic; Djan, Mihajla; Vidakovic, Dragana Obreht; Acanski, Jelena; Ståhls, Gunilla; Velickovic, Nevena; Markov, Zlata; Petanidou, Theodora; Tubic, Natasa Kocis; Vujic, Ante (2018)
    The Merodon aureus group is characterized by high endemism and the presence of morphologically cryptic species. Within one of its subgroups, M.bessarabicus, seven species and four more species complexes have been described to date. One of these complexes, the M.luteomaculatus, comprises new taxa that are the subject of the present study. Its members have allopatric ranges restricted to the Balkan Peninsula and Aegean islands. This complex exhibits morphological variability that could not be characterized using a traditional morphological approach. Thus, we used integrative taxonomy with independent character sets (molecular, geometric morphometric, distributional) to delimit species boundaries. Data on three molecular markers (COI, 28S rRNA, and ISSR) and geometric morphometry of the wing and male genitalia, together with distributional data, enabled recognition of six cryptic species within the complex: M.andriotes sp. n., M.euri sp. n., M.erymanthius sp. n., M.luteomaculatus sp. n., M.naxius sp. n., and M.peloponnesius sp. n. We discuss the possible influence of Aegean paleogeographical history on the speciation of this complex.
  • Scifo, Enzo; Szwajda, Agnieszka; Debski, Janusz; Uusi-Rauva, Kristiina; Kesti, Tapio; Dadlez, Michal; Gingras, Anne-Claude; Tyynelä, Jaana; Baumann, Marc H.; Jalanko, Anu; Lalowski, Maciej (2013)
  • Niitepõld, Kristjan; Boggs, Carol L. (2015)
    Movement uses resources that may otherwise be allocated to somatic maintenance or reproduction. How does increased energy expenditure affect resource allocation? Using the butterfly Speyeria mormonia, we tested whether experimentally increased flight affects fecundity, lifespan or flight capacity. We measured body mass (storage), resting metabolic rate and lifespan (repair and maintenance), flight metabolic rate (flight capacity), egg number and composition (reproduction), and food intake across the adult lifespan. The flight treatment did not affect body mass or lifespan. Food intake increased sufficiently to offset the increased energy expenditure. Total egg number did not change, but flown females had higher early-life fecundity and higher egg dry mass than control females. Egg dry mass decreased with age in both treatments. Egg protein, triglyceride or glycogen content did not change with flight or age, but some components tracked egg dry mass. Flight elevated resting metabolic rate, indicating increased maintenance costs. Flight metabolism decreased with age, with a steeper slope for flown females. This may reflect accelerated metabolic senescence from detrimental effects of flight. These effects of a drawdown of nutrients via flight contrast with studies restricting adult nutrient input. There, fecundity was reduced, but flight capacity and lifespan were unchanged. The current study showed that when food resources were abundant, wing-monomorphic butterflies living in a continuous meadow landscape resisted flight-induced stress, exhibiting no evidence of a flight-fecundity or flight-longevity trade-off. Instead, flight changed the dynamics of energy use and reproduction as butterflies adopted a faster lifestyle in early life. High investment in early reproduction may have positive fitness effects in the wild, as long as food is available. Our results help to predict the effect of stressful conditions on the life history of insects living in a changing world.
  • de Jong, M. A.; Saastamoinen, Marjo (2018)
    Thermal tolerance has a major effect on individual fitness and species distributions and can be determined by genetic variation and phenotypic plasticity. We investigate the effects of developmental and adult thermal conditions on cold tolerance, measured as chill coma recovery (CCR) time, during the early and late adult stage in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. We also investigate the genetic basis of cold tolerance by associating CCR variation with polymorphisms in candidate genes that have a known role in insect physiology. Our results demonstrate that a cooler developmental temperature leads to reduced cold tolerance in the early adult stage, whereas cooler conditions during the adult stage lead to increased cold tolerance. This suggests that adult acclimation, but not developmental plasticity, of adult cold tolerance is adaptive. This could be explained by the ecological conditions the Glanville fritillary experiences in the field, where temperature during early summer, but not spring, is predictive of thermal conditions during the butterfly's flight season. In addition, an amino acid polymorphism (Ala-Glu) in the gene flightin, which has a known function in insect flight and locomotion, was associated with CCR. These amino acids have distinct biochemical properties and may thus affect protein function and/or structure. To our knowledge, our study is the first to link genetic variation in flightin to cold tolerance, or thermal adaptation in general.
  • Nene, Nuno R.; Mustonen, Ville; Illingworth, Christopher J. R. (2018)
    The Wright-Fisher model is the most popular population model for describing the behaviour of evolutionary systems with a finite population size. Approximations have commonly been used but the model itself has rarely been tested against time-resolved genomic data. Here, we evaluate the extent to which it can be inferred as the correct model under a likelihood framework. Given genome-wide data from an evolutionary experiment, we validate the Wright-Fisher drift model as the better option for describing evolutionary trajectories in a finite population. This was found by evaluating its performance against a Gaussian model of allele frequency propagation. However, we note a range of circumstances under which standard Wright-Fisher drift cannot be correctly identified. (C) 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Klein, Antonia; Schultner, Eva; Lowak, Helena; Schrader, Lukas; Heinze, Juergen; Holman, Luke; Oettler, Jan (2016)
    The major transition to eusociality required the evolution of a switch to canalize development into either a reproductive or a helper, the nature of which is currently unknown. Following predictions from the 'theory of facilitated variation', we identify sex differentiation pathways as promising candidates because of their pre-adaptation to regulating development of complex phenotypes. We show that conserved core genes, including the juvenile hormone-sensitive master sex differentiation gene doublesex (dsx) and a kruppel homolog 2 (kr-h2) with putative regulatory function, exhibit both sex and morph-specific expression across life stages in the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior. We hypothesize that genes in the sex differentiation cascade evolved perception of alternative input signals for caste differentiation (i.e. environmental or genetic cues), and that their inherent switch-like and epistatic behavior facilitated signal transfer to downstream targets, thus allowing them to control differential development into morphological castes.
  • El-Khoury, Riyad; Kaulio, Eveliina; Lassila, Katariina A.; Crowther, Damian C.; Jacobs, Howard T.; Rustin, Pierre (2016)
    Mitochondrial dysfunction has been widely associated with the pathology of Alzheimer's disease, but there is no consensus on whether it is a cause or consequence of disease, nor on the precise mechanism(s). We addressed these issues by testing the effects of expressing the alternative oxidase AOX from Ciona intestinalis, in different models of AD pathology. AOX can restore respiratory electron flow when the cytochrome segment of the mitochondrial respiratory chain is inhibited, supporting ATP synthesis, maintaining cellular redox homeostasis and mitigating excess superoxide production at respiratory complexes I and III. In human HEK293-derived cells, AOX expression decreased the production of beta-amyloid peptide resulting from antimycin inhibition of respiratory complex III. Because hydrogen peroxide was neither a direct product nor substrate of AOX, the ability of AOX to mimic antioxidants in this assay must be indirect. In addition, AOX expression was able to partially alleviate the short lifespan of Drosophila models neuronally expressing human beta-amyloid peptides, whilst abrogating the induction of markers of oxidative stress. Our findings support the idea of respiratory chain dysfunction and excess ROS production as both an early step and as a pathologically meaningful target in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis, supporting the concept of a mitochondrial vicious cycle underlying the disease. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Loehr, John; Leinonen, Tuomas; Herczeg, Gabor; O'Hara, Robert B.; Merilä, Juha (2012)
  • Salvador-Martinez, Irepan; Salazar-Ciudad, Isaac (2017)
    The increase in complexity in an embryo over developmental time is perhaps one of the most intuitive processes of animal development. It is also intuitive that the embryo becomes progressively compartmentalized over time and space. In spite of this intuitiveness, there are no systematic attempts to quantify how this occurs. Here, we present a quantitative analysis of the compartmentalization and spatial complexity of Ciona intestinalis over developmental time by analyzing thousands of gene expression spatial patterns from the ANISEED database. We measure compartmentalization in two ways: as the relative volume of expression of genes and as the disparity in gene expression between body parts. We also use a measure of the curvature of each gene expression pattern in 3D space. These measures show a similar increase over time, with the most dramatic change occurring from the 112-cell stage to the early tailbud stage. Combined, these measures point to a global pattern of increase in complexity in the Ciona embryo. Finally, we cluster the different regions of the embryo depending on their gene expression similarity, within and between stages. Results from this clustering analysis, which partially correspond to known fate maps, provide a global quantitative overview about differentiation and compartmentalization between body parts at each developmental stage. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Dickel, Franziska; Munch, Daniel; Amdam, Gro Vang; Mappes, Johanna; Freitak, Dalial (2018)
    Recent studies of honeybees and bumblebees have examined combinatory effects of different stressors, as insect pollinators are naturally exposed to multiple stressors. At the same time the potential influences of simultaneously occurring agricultural agents on insect pollinator health remain largely unknown. Due to different farming methods, and the drift of applied agents and manure, pollinators are most probably exposed to insecticides but also bacteria from organic fertilizers at the same time. We orally exposed honeybee workers to sub-lethal doses of the insecticide thiacloprid and two strains of the bacterium Enterococcus faecalis, which can occur in manure from farming animals. Our results show that under laboratory conditions the bees simultaneously exposed to the a bacterium and the pesticide thiacloprid thiacloprid had significant higher survival rates 11 days post exposure than the controls, which surprisingly showed the lowest survival. Bees that were exposed to diet containing thiacloprid showed decreased food intake. General antibacterial activity is increased by the insecticide and the bacteria, resulting in a higher immune response observed in treated individuals compared to control individuals. We thus propose that caloric restriction through behavioural and physiological adaptations may have mediated an improved survival and stress resistance in our tests. However, the decreased food consumption could in long-term also result in possible negative effects at colony level. Our study does not show an additive negative impact of sub-lethal insecticide and bacteria doses, when tested under laboratory conditions. In contrast, we report seemingly beneficial effects of simultaneous exposure of bees to agricultural agents, which might demonstrate a surprising biological capacity for coping with stressors, possibly through hormetic regulation.
  • Kemppainen, Esko; George, Jack; Garipler, Görkem; Tuomela, Tea; Kiviranta, Essi; Soga, Tomoyoshi; Dunn, Cory D.; Jacobs, Howard T. (2016)
    The Drosophila mutant tko(25t) exhibits a deficiency ofmitochondrial protein synthesis, leading to a global insufficiency of respiration and oxidative phosphorylation. This entrains an organismal phenotype of developmental delay and sensitivity to seizures induced bymechanical stress. We found that the mutant phenotype is exacerbated in a dose-dependent fashion by high dietary sugar levels. tko(25t) larvae were found to exhibit severe metabolic abnormalities that were further accentuated by high-sugar diet. These include elevated pyruvate and lactate, decreased ATP and NADPH. Dietary pyruvate or lactate supplementation phenocopied the effects of high sugar. Based on tissue-specific rescue, the crucial tissue in which this metabolic crisis initiates is the gut. It is accompanied by down-regulation of the apparatus of cytosolic protein synthesis and secretion at both the RNA and post-translational levels, including a novel regulation of S6 kinase at the protein level.
  • Joers, Priit; Lewis, Samantha C.; Fukuoh, Atsushi; Parhiala, Mikael; Ellila, Simo; Holt, Ian J.; Jacobs, Howard T. (2013)
  • Mattila, Jaakko; Havula, Essi; Suominen, Erja; Teesalu, Mari; Surakka, Ida; Hynynen, Riikka; Kilpinen, Helena; Vaananen, Juho; Hovatta, Iiris; Kakela, Reijo; Ripatti, Samuli; Sandmann, Thomas; Hietakangas, Ville (2015)
    The ChREBP/Mondo-Mlx transcription factors are activated by sugars and are essential for sugar tolerance. They promote the conversion of sugars to lipids, but beyond this, their physiological roles are insufficiently understood. Here, we demonstrate that in an organism-wide setting in Drosophila, Mondo-Mlx controls the majority of sugar-regulated genes involved in nutrient digestion and transport as well as carbohydrate, amino acid, and lipid metabolism. Furthermore, human orthologs of the Mondo-Mlx targets display enrichment among gene variants associated with high circulating triglycerides. In addition to direct regulation of metabolic genes, Mondo-Mlx maintains metabolic homeostasis through downstream effectors, including the Activin ligand Dawdle and the Gli-similar transcription factor Sugarbabe. Sugarbabe controls a subset of Mondo-Mlx-dependent processes, including de novo lipogenesis and fatty acid desaturation. In sum, Mondo-Mlx is a master regulator of other sugar-responsive pathways essential for adaptation to a high-sugar diet.
  • Melvin, Richard G.; Lamichane, Nicole; Havula, Essi; Kokki, Krista; Soeder, Charles; Jones, Corbin D.; Hietakangas, Ville (2018)
    How dietary selection affects genome evolution to define the optimal range of nutrient intake is a poorly understood question with medical relevance. We have addressed this question by analyzing Drosophila simulans and sechellia, recently diverged species with differential diet choice. D. sechellia larvae, specialized to a nutrient scarce diet, did not survive on sugar-rich conditions, while the generalist species D. simulans was sugar tolerant. Sugar tolerance in D. simulans was a tradeoff for performance on low-energy diet and was associated with global reprogramming of metabolic gene expression. Hybridization and phenotype-based introgression revealed the genomic regions of D. simulans that were sufficient for sugar tolerance. These regions included genes that are involved in mitochondrial ribosome biogenesis and intracellular signaling, such as PPP1R15/Gadd34 and SERCA, which contributed to sugar tolerance. In conclusion, genomic variation affecting genes involved in global metabolic control defines the optimal range for dietary macronutrient composition.