Browsing by Subject "LIFE-SPAN"

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  • Kvist, Jouni; Athanasio, Camila Goncalves; Pfrender, Michael E.; Brown, James B.; Colbourne, John K.; Mirbahai, Leda (2020)
    Background Daphnia species reproduce by cyclic parthenogenesis involving both sexual and asexual reproduction. The sex of the offspring is environmentally determined and mediated via endocrine signalling by the mother. Interestingly, male and female Daphnia can be genetically identical, yet display large differences in behaviour, morphology, lifespan and metabolic activity. Our goal was to integrate multiple omics datasets, including gene expression, splicing, histone modification and DNA methylation data generated from genetically identical female and male Daphnia pulex under controlled laboratory settings with the aim of achieving a better understanding of the underlying epigenetic factors that may contribute to the phenotypic differences observed between the two genders. Results In this study we demonstrate that gene expression level is positively correlated with increased DNA methylation, and histone H3 trimethylation at lysine 4 (H3K4me3) at predicted promoter regions. Conversely, elevated histone H3 trimethylation at lysine 27 (H3K27me3), distributed across the entire transcript length, is negatively correlated with gene expression level. Interestingly, male Daphnia are dominated with epigenetic modifications that globally promote elevated gene expression, while female Daphnia are dominated with epigenetic modifications that reduce gene expression globally. For examples, CpG methylation (positively correlated with gene expression level) is significantly higher in almost all differentially methylated sites in male compared to female Daphnia. Furthermore, H3K4me3 modifications are higher in male compared to female Daphnia in more than 3/4 of the differentially regulated promoters. On the other hand, H3K27me3 is higher in female compared to male Daphnia in more than 5/6 of differentially modified sites. However, both sexes demonstrate roughly equal number of genes that are up-regulated in one gender compared to the other sex. Since, gene expression analyses typically assume that most genes are expressed at equal level among samples and different conditions, and thus cannot detect global changes affecting most genes. Conclusions The epigenetic differences between male and female in Daphnia pulex are vast and dominated by changes that promote elevated gene expression in male Daphnia. Furthermore, the differences observed in both gene expression changes and epigenetic modifications between the genders relate to pathways that are physiologically relevant to the observed phenotypic differences.
  • Burunat, Iballa; Brattico, Elvira; Puoliväli, Tuomas; Ristaniemi, Tapani; Sams, Mikko; Toiviainen, Petri (2015)
    Musical training leads to sensory and motor neuroplastic changes in the human brain. Motivated by findings on enlarged corpus callosum in musicians and asymmetric somatomotor representation in string players, we investigated the relationship between musical training, callosal anatomy, and interhemispheric functional symmetry during music listening. Functional symmetry was increased in musicians compared to nonmusicians, and in keyboardists compared to string players. This increased functional symmetry was prominent in visual and motor brain networks. Callosal size did not significantly differ between groups except for the posterior callosum in musicians compared to nonmusicians. We conclude that the distinctive postural and kinematic symmetry in instrument playing cross-modally shapes information processing in sensory-motor cortical areas during music listening. This cross-modal plasticity suggests that motor training affects music perception.
  • Arczewska, Katarzyna D.; Tomazella, Gisele G.; Lindvall, Jessica M.; Kassahun, Henok; Maglioni, Silvia; Torgovnick, Alessandro; Henriksson, Johan; Matilainen, Olli; Marquis, Bryce J.; Nelson, Bryant C.; Jaruga, Pawel; Babaie, Eshrat; Holmberg, Carina; Burglin, Thomas R.; Ventura, Natascia; Thiede, Bernd; Nilsen, Hilde (2013)
  • Noreikiene, Kristina; Kuparinen, Anna; Merilae, Juha (2017)
    Telomeres are highly conserved nucleoprotein structures which protect genome integrity. The length of telomeres is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, but relatively little is known about how different hereditary and environmental factors interact in determining telomere length. We manipulated growth rates and timing of maturation by exposing full-sib nine-spined sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius) to two different temperature treatments and quantified the effects of temperature treatments, sex, timing of maturation, growth rate and family (genetic influences) on telomere length. We did not find the overall effect of temperature treatment on the relative telomere length. However, we found that variation in telomere length was related to timing of maturation in a sex- and temperature-dependent manner. Telomere length was negatively related to age at maturation in elevated temperature and early maturing males and females differed in telomere length. Variation in growth rate did not explain any variation in telomere length. The broad sense heritability (h(2)) of telomere length was estimated at h(2) = 0.31 - 0.47, suggesting predominance of environmental over genetic determinants of telomere length variability. This study provides the first evidence that age at maturation together with factors associated with it are influencing telomere length in an ectotherm. Future studies are encouraged to identify the extent to which these results can be replicated in other ectotherms.
  • Sauna-aho, Oili; BjelogrlicLaakso, Nina; Rautava, Päivi; Arvio, Maria (2020)
    Background Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability. The aim of our longitudinal study was to describe ageing-related cognitive changes in men with FXS. Method A neuropsychologist determined the raw scores (RSs) of 19 men with FXS twice with the Leiter International Performance Scale at an average interval of 22 years. The ages of the participants at baseline ranged from 16 to 50 (mean 27) years. Results At follow-up, the RSs improved in two men, remained the same in two men and declined in 15 men. Overall, the RS of the study group deteriorated by an average 4 points in RSs (p <.001). Conclusion Cognitive ageing in men with FXS started earlier than that in men in the general population; in many cases, cognitive ageing in men with FXS began before middle age, usually without any medical or other underlying cause.
  • Saari, Sina; Garcia, Geovana S.; Bremer, Katharina; Chioda, Marina M.; Andjelković, Ana; Debes, Paul V.; Nikinmaa, Mikko; Szibor, Marten; Dufour, Eric; Rustin, Pierre; Oliveira, Marcos T.; Jacobs, Howard T. (2019)
    The alternative respiratory chain (aRC), comprising the alternative NADH dehydrogenases (NDX) and quinone oxidases (AOX), is found in microbes, fungi and plants, where it buffers stresses arising from restrictions on electron flow in the oxidative phosphorylation system. The aRC enzymes are also found in species belonging to most metazoan phyla, including some chordates and arthropods species, although not in vertebrates or in Drosophila. We postulated that the aRC enzymes might be deployed to alleviate pathological stresses arising from mitochondrial dysfunction in a wide variety of disease states. However, before such therapies can be contemplated, it is essential to understand the effects of aRC enzymes on cell metabolism and organismal physiology. Here we report and discuss new findings that shed light on the functions of the aRC enzymes in animals, and the unexpected benefits and detriments that they confer on model organisms. In Ciona intestinalis, the aRC is induced by hypoxia and by sulfide, but is unresponsive to other environmental stressors. When expressed in Drosophila, AOX results in impaired survival under restricted nutrition, in addition to the previously reported male reproductive anomalies. In contrast, it confers cold resistance to developing and adult flies, and counteracts cell signaling defects that underlie developmental dysmorphologies. The aRC enzymes may also influence lifespan and stress resistance more generally, by eliciting or interfering with hormetic mechanisms. In sum, their judicious use may lead to major benefits in medicine, but this will require a thorough characterization of their properties and physiological effects.
  • Katajisto, Pekka; Doehla, Julia; Chaffer, Christine L.; Pentinmikko, Nalle; Marjanovic, Nemanja; Iqbal, Md Sharif; Zoncu, Roberto; Chen, Walter; Weinberg, Robert A.; Sabatini, David M. (2015)
    By dividing asymmetrically, stem cells can generate two daughter cells with distinct fates. However, evidence is limited in mammalian systems for the selective apportioning of subcellular contents between daughters. We followed the fates of old and young organelles during the division of human mammary stemlike cells and found that such cells apportion aged mitochondria asymmetrically between daughter cells. Daughter cells that received fewer old mitochondria maintained stem cell traits. Inhibition of mitochondrial fission disrupted both the age-dependent subcellular localization and segregation of mitochondria and caused loss of stem cell properties in the progeny cells. Hence, mechanisms exist for mammalian stemlike cells to asymmetrically sort aged and young mitochondria, and these are important for maintaining stemness properties.
  • Alyodawi, Khalid; Vermeij, Wilbert P.; Omairi, Saleh; Kretz, Oliver; Hopkinson, Mark; Solagna, Francesca; Joch, Barbara; Brandt, Renata M. C.; Barnhoorn, Sander; van Vliet, Nicole; Ridwan, Yanto; Essers, Jeroen; Mitchell, Robert; Morash, Taryn; Pasternack, Arja; Ritvos, Olli; Matsakas, Antonios; Collins-Hooper, Henry; Huber, Tobias B.; Hoeijmakers, Jan H. J.; Patel, Ketan (2019)
    Background One of the principles underpinning our understanding of ageing is that DNA damage induces a stress response that shifts cellular resources from growth towards maintenance. A contrasting and seemingly irreconcilable view is that prompting growth of, for example, skeletal muscle confers systemic benefit. Methods To investigate the robustness of these axioms, we induced muscle growth in a murine progeroid model through the use of activin receptor IIB ligand trap that dampens myostatin/activin signalling. Progeric mice were then investigated for neurological and muscle function as well as cellular profiling of the muscle, kidney, liver, and bone. Results We show that muscle of Ercc1(Delta/-) progeroid mice undergoes severe wasting (decreases in hind limb muscle mass of 40-60% compared with normal mass), which is largely protected by attenuating myostatin/activin signalling using soluble activin receptor type IIB (sActRIIB) (increase of 30-62% compared with untreated progeric). sActRIIB-treated progeroid mice maintained muscle activity (distance travel per hour: 5.6 m in untreated mice vs. 13.7 m in treated) and increased specific force (19.3 mN/mg in untreated vs. 24.0 mN/mg in treated). sActRIIb treatment of progeroid mice also improved satellite cell function especially their ability to proliferate on their native substrate (2.5 cells per fibre in untreated progeroids vs. 5.4 in sActRIIB-treated progeroids after 72 h in culture). Besides direct protective effects on muscle, we show systemic improvements to other organs including the structure and function of the kidneys; there was a major decrease in the protein content in urine (albumin/creatinine of 4.9 sActRIIB treated vs. 15.7 in untreated), which is likely to be a result in the normalization of podocyte foot processes, which constitute the filtration apparatus (glomerular basement membrane thickness reduced from 224 to 177 nm following sActRIIB treatment). Treatment of the progeric mice with the activin ligand trap protected against the development of liver abnormalities including polyploidy (18.3% untreated vs. 8.1% treated) and osteoporosis (trabecular bone volume; 0.30 mm(3) in treated progeroid mice vs. 0.14 mm(3) in untreated mice, cortical bone volume; 0.30 mm(3) in treated progeroid mice vs. 0.22 mm(3) in untreated mice). The onset of neurological abnormalities was delayed (by similar to 5 weeks) and their severity reduced, overall sustaining health without affecting lifespan. Conclusions This study questions the notion that tissue growth and maintaining tissue function during ageing are incompatible mechanisms. It highlights the need for future investigations to assess the potential of therapies based on myostatin/activin blockade to compress morbidity and promote healthy ageing.
  • Andjelkovic, Ana; Oliveira, Marcos T.; Cannino, Giuseppe; Yalgin, Cagri; Dhandapani, Praveen K.; Dufour, Eric; Rustin, Pierre; Szibor, Marten; Jacobs, Howard T. (2015)
    The mitochondrial alternative oxidase, AOX, carries out the non proton-motive re-oxidation of ubiquinol by oxygen in lower eukaryotes, plants and some animals. Here we created a modified version of AOX from Ciona instestinalis, carrying mutations at conserved residues predicted to be required for chelation of the diiron prosthetic group. The modified protein was stably expressed in mammalian cells or flies, but lacked enzymatic activity and was unable to rescue the phenotypes of flies knocked down for a subunit of cytochrome oxidase. The mutated AOX transgene is thus a potentially useful tool in studies of the physiological effects of AOX expression.
  • Andjelkovic, Ana; Mordas, Amelia; Bruinsma, Lyon; Ketola, Annika; Cannino, Giuseppe; Giordano, Luca; Dhandapani, Praveen K.; Szibor, Marten; Dufour, Eric; Jacobs, Howard T. (2018)
    Downregulation of Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling inhibits cell migration in diverse model systems. In Drosophila pupal development, attenuated JNK signaling in the thoracic dorsal epithelium leads to defective midline closure, resulting in cleft thorax. Here we report that concomitant expression of the Ciona intestinalis alternative oxidase (AOX) was able to compensate for JNK pathway downregulation, substantially correcting the cleft thorax phenotype. AOX expression also promoted wound-healing behavior and single-cell migration in immortalized mouse embryonic fibroblasts (iMEFs), counteracting the effect of JNK pathway inhibition. However, AOX was not able to rescue developmental phenotypes resulting from knockdown of the AP-1 transcription factor, the canonical target of JNK, nor its targets and had no effect on AP-1-dependent transcription. The migration of AOX-expressing iMEFs in the wound-healing assay was differentially stimulated by antimycin A, which redirects respiratory electron flow through AOX, altering the balance between mitochondrial ATP and heat production. Since other treatments affecting mitochondrial ATP did not stimulate wound healing, we propose increased mitochondrial heat production as the most likely primary mechanism of action of AOX in promoting cell migration in these various contexts.
  • 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.
  • Mihaylova, Maria M.; Cheng, Chia-Wei; Cao, Amanda Q.; Tripathi, Surya; Mana, Miyeko D.; Bauer-Rowe, Khristian E.; Abu-Remaileh, Monther; Clavain, Laura; Erdemir, Aysegul; Lewis, Caroline A.; Freinkman, Elizaveta; Dickey, Audrey S.; La Spada, Albert R.; Huang, Yanmei; Bell, George W.; Deshpande, Vikram; Carmeliet, Peter; Katajisto, Pekka; Sabatini, David M.; Yilmaz, Ömer H. (2018)
    Diet has a profound effect on tissue regeneration in diverse organisms, and low caloric states such as intermittent fasting have beneficial effects on organismal health and age-associated loss of tissue function. The role of adult stem and progenitor cells in responding to short-term fasting and whether such responses improve regeneration are not well studied. Here we show that a 24 hr fast augments intestinal stem cell (ISC) function in young and aged mice by inducing a fatty acid oxidation (FAO) program and that pharmacological activation of this program mimics many effects of fasting. Acute genetic disruption of Cpt1a, the rate-limiting enzyme in FAO, abrogates ISC-enhancing effects of fasting, but long-term Cpt1a deletion decreases ISC numbers and function, implicating a role for FAO in ISC maintenance. These findings highlight a role for FAO in mediating pro-regenerative effects of fasting in intestinal biology, and they may represent a viable strategy for enhancing intestinal regeneration.
  • Ding, Yiyang; Leppälammi-Kujansuu, Jaana; Helmisaari, Heljä-Sisko (2019)
    Abstract 1. Fine root turnover plays a critical role in carbon and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems. In this study, we focused on the most abundant deciduous species in Nordic countries, silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) and its fine root dynamics, including the amount of litter produced by fine roots as well as by aboveground vegetation. 2. The minirhizotron method was used to quantify fine root longevity of silver birch and understory fine roots and rhizomes in northern Finland. Fine root biomass per basal area and ectomycorrhizal short root numbers per mg were also quantified. The fine root litter production was estimated by fine root biomass and longevity, and then compared with the aboveground litter collected with litter traps. 3. Birch fine root biomass was 1.4-fold higher than that of understory fine roots and rhizomes (234 ± 22, 171 ± 19 g m−2 respectively). Fine root longevity of birch (372 days) was significantly (P < 0.05) shorter than that of understory vegetation (643 days). The birch fine root longevity was positively related to root diameter and soil depth. Hazard analysis showed that thicker roots, long roots, roots produced late in the growing season, and roots growing deeper in the soil had relatively lower mortality hazard compared to the reference data. The total annual soil C input, including both birch and understory, was 283 g C m−2 yr−1. The proportion of understory annual C input was 35% of the total. Total annual belowground C input was 1.4-fold greater than that of aboveground. 4. Our study indicated that the total annual belowground litter production was greater than that of the aboveground litter in a boreal deciduous forest stand. Therefore, more emphasis should be put to quantify the C cycling of both above- and belowground parts of different tree species as well as understory in boreal forests.
  • Leppälammi-Kujansuu, Jaana; Aro, Lasse; Salemaa, Maija; Hansson, Karna; Kleja, Dan Berggren; Helmisaari, Heljä-Sisko (2014)
  • Pessa, Heli K. J.; Greco, Dario; Kvist, Jouni; Wahlström, Gudrun Margareta; Heino, Tapio I.; Auvinen, Petri; Frilander, Mikko J. (2010)
    Background The U12-type spliceosome is responsible for the removal of a subset of introns from eukaryotic mRNAs. U12-type introns are spliced less efficiently than normal U2-type introns, which suggests a rate-limiting role in gene expression. The Drosophila genome contains about 20 U12-type introns, many of them in essential genes, and the U12-type spliceosome has previously been shown to be essential in the fly Methodology/Principal Findings We have used a Drosophila line with a P-element insertion in U6atac snRNA, an essential component of the U12-type spliceosome, to investigate the impact of U12-type introns on gene expression at the organismal level during fly development. This line exhibits progressive accumulation of unspliced U12-type introns during larval development and the death of larvae at the third instar stage. Surprisingly, microarray and RT-PCR analyses revealed that most genes containing U12-type introns showed only mild perturbations in the splicing of U12-type introns. In contrast, we detected widespread downstream effects on genes that do not contain U12-type introns, with genes related to various metabolic pathways constituting the largest group. Conclusions/Significance U12-type intron-containing genes exhibited variable gene-specific responses to the splicing defect, with some genes showing up- or downregulation, while most did not change significantly. The observed residual U12-type splicing activity could be explained with the mutant U6atac allele having a low level of catalytic activity. Detailed analysis of all genes suggested that a defect in the splicing of the U12-type intron of the mitochondrial prohibitin gene may be the primary cause of the various downstream effects detected in the microarray analysis.
  • Hatton, Sean N.; Panizzon, Matthew S.; Vuoksimaa, Eero; Hagler, Donald J.; Fennema-Notestine, Christine; Rinker, Daniel; Eyler, Lisa T.; Franz, Carol E.; Lyons, Michael J.; Neale, Michael C.; Tsuang, Ming T.; Dale, Anders M.; Kremen, William S. (2018)
    Two basic neuroimaging-based characterizations of white matter tracts are the magnitude of water diffusion along the principal tract orientation (axial diffusivity, AD) and water diffusion perpendicular to the principal orientation (radial diffusivity, RD). It is generally accepted that decreases in AD reflect disorganization, damage, or loss of axons, whereas increases in RD are indicative of disruptions to the myelin sheath. Previous reports have detailed the heritability of individual AD and RD measures, but have not examined the extent to which the same or different genetic or environmental factors influence these two phenotypes (except for corpus callosum). We implemented bivariate twin analyses to examine the shared and independent genetic influences on AD and RD. In the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging, 393 men (mean age = 61.8 years, SD = 2.6) underwent diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. We derived fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), AD, and RD estimates for 11 major bilateral white matter tracts and the mid-hemispheric corpus callosum, forceps major, and forceps minor. Separately, AD and RD were each highly heritable. In about three-quarters of the tracts, genetic correlations between AD and RD were >.50 (median = .67) and showed both unique and common variance. Genetic variance of FA and MD were predominately explained by RD over AD. These findings are important for informing genetic association studies of axonal coherence/damage and myelination/demyelination. Thus, genetic studies would benefit from examining the shared and unique contributions of AD and RD.
  • Francis, Deanne; Ghazanfar, Shila; Havula, Essi; Krycer, James R.; Strbenac, Dario; Senior, Alistair; Minard, Annabel Y.; Geddes, Thomas; Nelson, Marin E.; Weiss, Fiona; Stöckli, Jacqueline; Yang, Jean Y.H.; James, David E. (2021)
    Genetic and environmental factors play a major role in metabolic health. However, they do not act in isolation, as a change in an environmental factor such as diet may exert different effects based on an individual's genotype. Here, we sought to understand how such gene-diet interactions influenced nutrient storage and utilization, a major determinant of metabolic disease. We subjected 178 inbred strains from the Drosophila genetic reference panel (DGRP) to diets varying in sugar, fat, and protein. We assessed starvation resistance, a holistic phenotype of nutrient storage and utilization that can be robustly measured. Diet influenced the starvation resistance of most strains, but the effect varied markedly between strains such that some displayed better survival on a high carbohydrate diet (HCD) compared to a high-fat diet while others had opposing responses, illustrating a considerable gene x diet interaction. This demonstrates that genetics plays a major role in diet responses. Furthermore, heritability analysis revealed that the greatest genetic variability arose from diets either high in sugar or high in protein. To uncover the genetic variants that contribute to the heterogeneity in starvation resistance, we mapped 566 diet-responsive SNPs in 293 genes, 174 of which have human orthologs. Using whole-body knockdown, we identified two genes that were required for glucose tolerance, storage, and utilization. Strikingly, flies in which the expression of one of these genes, CG4607 a putative homolog of a mammalian glucose transporter, was reduced at the whole-body level, displayed lethality on a HCD. This study provides evidence that there is a strong interplay between diet and genetics in governing survival in response to starvation, a surrogate measure of nutrient storage efficiency and obesity. It is likely that a similar principle applies to higher organisms thus supporting the case for nutrigenomics as an important health strategy.
  • McCrory, Cathal; Fiorito, Giovanni; Cheallaigh, Cliona Ni; Polidoro, Silvia; Karisola, Piia; Alenius, Harri; Layte, Richard; Seeman, Teresa; Vineis, Paolo; Kenny, Rose Anne (2019)
    Individuals of lower socio-economic position (SEP) carry a heavier burden of disease and morbidity and live shorter lives on average compared with their more advantaged counterparts. This has sparked research interest in the processes and mechanisms via which social adversity gets biologically embedded. The present study directly compares the empirical worth of two candidate mechanisms: Allostatic Load (AL) and the Epigenetic Clock(s) for advancing our understanding of embodiment using a sub-sample of 490 individuals from the Irish Longitudinal Study (TILDA) who were explicitly selected for this purpose based on their inter-generational life course social class trajectory. A battery of 14 biomarkers representing the activity of 4 different physiological systems: Immunological, Cardiovascular, Metabolic, and Renal was used to construct the AL score. Biomarkers were dichotomised into high and low risk groups according to sex-specific quartiles of risk and summed to create a count ranging from 0-14. Three measures of epigenetic age acceleration were computed according to three sets of age-associated Cytosine-phosphate-Guanine (CpG) sites described by Horvath, Hannum and Levine. AL was strongly socially patterned across a number of measures of SEP, while the epigenetic clocks were not. AL partially mediated the association between measures of SEP and an objective measure of physiological functioning: performance on the Timed Up and Go (TUG test). We conclude that AL may represent the more promising candidate for understanding the pervasive link between SEP and health.
  • Mikola, Juha; Silfver, Tarja; Paaso, Ulla; Possen, Boy J. M. H.; Rousi, Matti (2018)
    Plants enhance N use efficiency by resorbing N from senescing leaves. This can affect litter N mineralization rate due to the C:N-ratio requirements of microbial growth. We examined genotypic links between leaf N resorption and litter mineralization by collecting leaves and litter from 19 Betula pendula genotypes and following the N release of litter patches on forest ground. We found significant genotypic variation for N resorption efficiency, litter N concentration, cumulative three-year patch N-input and litter N release with high broad-sense heritabilities (H-2 = 0.28-0.65). The genotype means of N resorption efficiency varied from 46% to 65% and correlated negatively with the genotype means of litter N concentration, cumulative patch N-input and litter N release. NH4+ yield under patches had a positive genotypic correlation with the cumulative patch N-input. During the first year of litter decomposition, genotypes varied from N immobilization (max 2.71 mg/g dry litter) to N release (max 1.41 mg/g dry litter), creating a genotypic tradeoff between the N conserved by resorption and the N available for root uptake during the growing season. We speculate that this tradeoff is one likely reason for the remarkably wide genotypic range of N resorption efficiencies in our birch population.
  • Andjelkovic, Ana; Kemppainen, Kia K.; Jacobs, Howard T. (2016)
    Culture of Drosophila expressing the steroid-dependent GeneSwitch transcriptional activator under the control of the ubiquitous -tubulin promoter was found to produce extensive pupal lethality, as well as a range of dysmorphic adult phenotypes, in the presence of high concentrations of the inducing drug RU486. Prominent among these was cleft thorax, seen previously in flies bearing mutant alleles of the nuclear receptor Ultraspiracle and many other mutants, as well as notched wings, leg malformations, and bristle abnormalities. Neither the -tubulin-GeneSwitch driver nor the inducing drug on their own produced any of these effects. A second GeneSwitch driver, under the control of the daughterless promoter, which gave much lower and more tissue-restricted transgene expression, exhibited only mild bristle abnormalities in the presence of high levels of RU486. Coexpression of the alternative oxidase (AOX) from Ciona intestinalis produced a substantial shift in the developmental outcome toward a wild-type phenotype, which was dependent on the AOX expression level. Neither an enzymatically inactivated variant of AOX, nor GFP, or the alternative NADH dehydrogenase Ndi1 from yeast gave any such rescue. Users of the GeneSwitch system should be aware of the potential confounding effects of its application in developmental studies.