Browsing by Subject "RESISTANCE"

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  • Papaevgeniou, Nikoletta; Sakellari, Marianthi; Jha, Sweta; Tavernarakis, Nektarios; Holmberg, Carina I.; Gonos, Efstathios S.; Chondrogianni, Niki (2016)
    Aims: Proteasomes are constituents of the cellular proteolytic networks that maintain protein homeostasis through regulated proteolysis of normal and abnormal (in any way) proteins. Genetically mediated proteasome activation in multicellular organisms has been shown to promote longevity and to exert protein antiaggregation activity. In this study, we investigate whether compound-mediated proteasome activation is feasible in a multicellular organism and we dissect the effects of such approach in aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD) progression. Results: Feeding of wild-type Caenorhabditis elegans with 18 alpha-glycyrrhetinic acid (18 alpha-GA; a previously shown proteasome activator in cell culture) results in enhanced levels of proteasome activities that lead to a skinhead-1- and proteasomeactivation-dependent life span extension. The elevated proteasome function confers lower paralysis rates in various AD nematode models accompanied by decreased A beta deposits, thus ultimately decelerating the progression of AD phenotype. More importantly, similar positive results are also delivered when human and murine cells of nervous origin are subjected to 18 alpha-GA treatment. Innovation: This is the first report of the use of 18 alpha-GA, a diet-derived compound as prolongevity and antiaggregation factor in the context of a multicellular organism. Conclusion: Our results suggest that proteasome activation with downstream positive outcomes on aging and AD, an aggregation-related disease, is feasible in a nongenetic manipulation manner in a multicellular organism. Moreover, they unveil the need for identification of antiaging and antiamyloidogenic compounds among the nutrients found in our normal diet.
  • Zhou, Kecheng; Dichlberger, Andrea; Martinez-Seara, Hector; Nyholm, Thomas K. M.; Li, Shiqian; Kim, Young Ah; Vattulainen, Ilpo; Ikonen, Elina; Blom, Tomas (2018)
    Membrane proteins are functionally regulated by the composition of the surrounding lipid bilayer. The late endosomal compartment is a central site for the generation of ceramide, a bioactive sphingolipid, which regulates responses to cell stress. The molecular interactions between ceramide and late endosomal transmembrane proteins are unknown. Here, we uncover in atomistic detail the ceramide interaction of Lysosome Associated Protein Transmembrane 4B (LAPTM4B), implicated in ceramide-dependent cell death and autophagy, and its functional relevance in lysosomal nutrient signaling. The ceramide-mediated regulation of LAPTM4B depends on a sphingolipid interaction motif and an adjacent aspartate residue in the protein's third transmembrane (TM3) helix. The interaction motif provides the preferred contact points for ceramide while the neighboring membrane-embedded acidic residue confers flexibility that is subject to ceramide-induced conformational changes, reducing TM3 bending. This facilitates the interaction between LAPTM4B and the amino acid transporter heavy chain 4F2hc, thereby controlling mTORC signaling. These findings provide mechanistic insights into how transmembrane proteins sense and respond to ceramide.
  • Luoma, Emilia; Laurila-Pant, Mirka; Altarriba, Elias; Nevalainen, Lauri; Helle, Inari; Granhag, Lena; Lehtiniemi, Maiju; Srebaliene, Greta; Olenin, Sergej; Lehikoinen, Annukka (2022)
    Biofouling of ship hulls form a vector for the introduction of non-indigenous organisms worldwide. Through in-creasing friction, the organisms attached to ships' hulls increase the fuel consumption, leading to both higher fuel costs and air emissions. At the same time, ship biofouling management causes both ecological risks and monetary costs. All these aspects should be considered case-specifically in the search of sustainable management strate-gies. Applying Bayesian networks, we developed a multi-criteria decision analysis model to compare biofouling management strategies in the Baltic Sea, given the characteristics of a ship, its operating profile and operational environment, considering the comprehensive environmental impact and the monetary costs. The model is dem-onstrated for three scenarios (SC1-3) and sub-scenarios (A-C), comparing the alternative biofouling management strategies in relation to NIS (non-indigenous species) introduction risk, e co-toxicological risk due to biocidal coating, carbon dioxide emissions and costs related to fuel consumption, in-water cleaning and hull coating. The scenarios demonstrate that by the careful consideration of the hull fouling management strategy, both money and environment can be saved.
  • Gonzalez-Ortiz, Gemma; Bronsoms, Silvia; Van Ufford, H. C. Quarles; Halkes, S. Bart A.; Virkola, Ritva; Liskamp, Rob M. J.; Beukelman, Cees J.; Pieters, Roland J.; Francisco Perez, Jose; Maria Martin-Orue, Susana (2014)
  • Pascual, Jesus; Rahikainen, Moona; Angeleri, Martina; Alegre, Sara; Gossens, Richard; Shapiguzov, Alexey; Heinonen, Arttu; Trotta, Andrea; Durian, Guido; Winter, Zsofia; Sinkkonen, Jari; Kangasjarvi, Jaakko; Whelan, James; Kangasjärvi, Saijaliisa (2021)
    Mitochondria are tightly embedded within metabolic and regulatory networks that optimize plant performance in response to environmental challenges. The best-known mitochondrial retrograde signaling pathway involves stress-induced activation of the transcription factor NAC DOMAIN CONTAINING PROTEIN 17 (ANAC017), which initiates protective responses to stress-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Posttranslational control of the elicited responses, however, remains poorly understood. Previous studies linked protein phosphatase 2A subunit PP2A-B'gamma, a key negative regulator of stress responses, with reversible phosphorylation of ACONITASE 3 (ACO3). Here we report on ACO3 and its phosphorylation at Ser91 as key components of stress regulation that are induced by mitochondrial dysfunction. Targeted mass spectrometry-based proteomics revealed that the abundance and phosphorylation of ACO3 increased under stress, which required signaling through ANAC017. Phosphomimetic mutation at ACO3-Ser91 and accumulation of ACO3(S91D)-YFP promoted the expression of genes related to mitochondrial dysfunction. Furthermore, ACO3 contributed to plant tolerance against ultraviolet B (UV-B) or antimycin A-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. These findings demonstrate that ACO3 is both a target and mediator of mitochondrial dysfunction signaling, and critical for achieving stress tolerance in Arabidopsis leaves.
  • Kokko, Eeva; Nevalainen, Pasi; Choudhary, Manoj Kumar; Koskela, Jenni; Tikkakoski, Antti; Huhtala, Heini; Niemelä, Onni; Viukari, Marianna; Mustonen, Jukka; Matikainen, Niina; Pörsti, Ilkka (2020)
    Aldosterone-to-renin ratio (ARR) is a screening tool for primary aldosteronism (PA), but the significance of ARR when the PA criteria are not met remains largely unknown. In this cross-sectional study we investigated the association of ARR with haemodynamic variables in 545 normotensive and never-medicated hypertensive subjects (267 men, 278 women, age range 19-72 years) without suspicion of PA. Supine haemodynamic data was recorded using whole-body impedance cardiography and radial tonometric pulse wave analysis. In sex-adjusted quartiles of ARR, determined as serum aldosterone to plasma renin activity ratio, the mean values were 282, 504, 744 and 1467 pmol/mu g of angiotensin I/h, respectively. The only difference in haemodynamic variables between the ARR quartiles was higher pulse wave velocity (PWV) in the highest quartile versus other quartiles (p=0.004), while no differences in blood pressure (BP), heart rate, wave reflections, cardiac output or systemic vascular resistance were observed between the quartiles. In linear regression analysis with stepwise elimination, ARR was an independent explanatory factor for PWV (beta =0.146, p
  • Friman, Mari; Kakko, Leila; Constantin, Camelia; Simojoki, Heli; Andersson, Maria A.; Nagy, Szabolcs; Salonen, Heidi; Andersson, Magnus (2019)
    Bacillus anthracis infecting cattle is usually identified based on the typical symptom: sudden death. Bacillus anthracis causing atypical symptoms may remain undiagnosed and represent a potential occupational health hazard for, that is veterinarians and producers, butchers and tanners. In the year 2004, one case of sudden death in a dairy farm in southern Finland was diagnosed as bovine anthrax. Four years later 2008, an atypical case of anthrax was diagnosed in the same holding. The bull was taken to the Production Animal Hospital of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki because of fever, loss of appetite and a symmetrically swollen scrotal sac. Penicillin treatment cured the fever but not the swollen scrotum. Before the intended therapeutic castration, a punctuate consisting of 10 ml fluid collected into a syringe from the scrotal sac was cultivated on blood agar at 37 degrees C. After 24 hr, an almost pure culture of a completely non-hemolytic Bacillus cereus-like bacteria was obtained. The strain was identified as B. anthracis using Ba-specific primers by the Finnish Food Safety Authority (RUOKAVIRASTO). After the diagnosis, the bull was euthanized and destroyed, the personnel were treated with prophylactic antibiotics and the clinic was disinfected. In this particular case, treatment with water, Virkon S and lime seemed to be effective to eliminate endospores and vegetative cells since no relapses of anthrax have occurred in 10 years. This case is the last reported anthrax case in Finland.
  • Mgbeahuruike, Eunice Ego; Holm, Yvonne; Vuorela, Heikki; Amandikwa, Chinyere; Fyhrquist, Pia (2019)
    Ethnobotanical relevance: Piper guineense occurs commonly in West Africa where it is used for fungal infections instead of the costly and not always accessible conventional antifungals. Fungal, yeast-based diseases are common in West-Africa especially among those living with HIV/AIDS, and thus this study was performed in Imo state, South-Eastern Nigeria, where P. guineense is predominantly used for the treatment of fungal diseases, such as skin rashes, oral thrush and vaginosis. Aim of study: The scarce number of previous studies on the documentation of the traditional uses of P. guineense extracts for the treatment of fungal infections in Nigeria prompted this survey. The investigation focused on how traditional healers recognize and diagnose fungal infections, how P. guineense is collected, on the various parts used for the treatments, methods of preparations, administrations and treatments. In addition, an in vitro anti fungal screening of P. guineense fruit and leaf extracts of various polarities, and piperine and piperlongumine, representing the main constituents in these extracts, were performed. Methods: A house to house ethnobotanical survey was conducted using questionnaires. Twenty traditional medical practitioners (TMP) and herb sellers from ten villages were interviewed. Four human pathogenic strains of yeast and Cryptococcus neoformans, a yeast-like basidiomycete causing meningitis in immunocompromised individuals, were used for the antifungal screening. Results: The traditional medical practitioners (TMP) and herb sellers explained that the leaves and fruits are the most commonly used plant parts for the treatments. The oral intake of the extracts in locally produced bamboo alcohol (Kai-kai) is the most common method of administration. In accordance with these recorded traditional uses, we found that extracts of P. guineense were growth inhibitory against the fungal strains with MIC values ranging from 39 to 2500 g/mL. The lowest MIC value of 39 g/mL was recorded for a methanol fruit extract against Candida albicans, C. glabrata and C. tropicalis. In addition, ethanol and hexane fruit extracts were effective against the growth of C. albicans and C. glabrata, respectively, with a MIC of 78 g/mL. Piperlongumine and piperine were active against C. albicans with MIC values of 39 and 78 g/mL respectively. Conclusion: P. guineense fruit and leaf extracts, as well as their piperamide alkaloid constituents piperine and piperlongumine, have interesting antifungal properties and could have potential as new antifungal scaffolds. Our results warrant further in-depth investigations to isolate and characterize piperamide alkaloids and other compounds responsible for the antifungal activity in the extracts.
  • Shishido, Tania K.; Humisto, Anu; Jokela, Jouni; Liu, Liwei; Wahlsten, Matti; Tamrakar, Anisha; Fewer, David P.; Permi, Perttu; Andreote, Ana P. D.; Fiore, Marli F.; Sivonen, Kaarina (2015)
    Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic prokaryotes found in a range of environments. They are infamous for the production of toxins, as well as bioactive compounds, which exhibit anticancer, antimicrobial and protease inhibition activities. Cyanobacteria produce a broad range of antifungals belonging to structural classes, such as peptides, polyketides and alkaloids. Here, we tested cyanobacteria from a wide variety of environments for antifungal activity. The potent antifungal macrolide scytophycin was detected in Anabaena sp. HAN21/1, Anabaena cf. cylindrica PH133, Nostoc sp. HAN11/1 and Scytonema sp. HAN3/2. To our knowledge, this is the first description of Anabaena strains that produce scytophycins. We detected antifungal glycolipopeptide hassallidin production in Anabaena spp. BIR JV1 and HAN7/1 and in Nostoc spp. 6sf Calc and CENA 219. These strains were isolated from brackish and freshwater samples collected in Brazil, the Czech Republic and Finland. In addition, three cyanobacterial strains, Fischerella sp. CENA 298, Scytonema hofmanni PCC 7110 and Nostoc sp. N107.3, produced unidentified antifungal compounds that warrant further characterization. Interestingly, all of the strains shown to produce antifungal compounds in this study belong to Nostocales or Stigonematales cyanobacterial orders.
  • Kowalczyk, Joanna E.; Saha, Shreya; Mäkelä, Miia R. (2021)
    Dichomitus squalens is an emerging reference species that can be used to investigate white-rot fungal plant biomass degradation, as it has flexible physiology to utilize different types of biomass as sources of carbon and energy. Recent comparative (post-) genomic studies on D. squalens resulted in an increasingly detailed knowledge of the genes and enzymes involved in the lignocellulose breakdown in this fungus and showed a complex transcriptional response in the presence of lignocellulose-derived compounds. To fully utilize this increasing amount of data, efficient and reliable genetic manipulation tools are needed, e.g., to characterize the function of certain proteins in vivo and facilitate the construction of strains with enhanced lignocellulolytic capabilities. However, precise genome alterations are often very difficult in wild-type basidiomycetes partially due to extremely low frequencies of homology directed recombination (HDR) and limited availability of selectable markers. To overcome these obstacles, we assessed various Cas9-single guide RNA (sgRNA) ribonucleoprotein (RNP) -based strategies for selectable homology and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) -based gene editing in D. squalens. We also showed an induction of HDR-based genetic modifications by using single-stranded oligodeoxynucleotides (ssODNs) in a basidiomycete fungus for the first time. This paper provides directions for the application of targeted CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing in D. squalens and other wild-type (basidiomycete) fungi.
  • Kukli, Kaupo; Kemell, Marianna; Vehkamäki, Marko; Heikkilä, Mikko J.; Mizohata, Kenichiro; Kalam, Kristjan; Ritala, Mikko; Leskelä, Markku; Kundrata, Ivan; Frohlich, Karol (2017)
    Thin solid films consisting of ZrO2 and Ta2O5 were grown by atomic layer deposition at 300 degrees C. Ta2O5 films doped with ZrO2, TaZr2.75O8 ternary phase, or ZrO2 doped with Ta2O5 were grown to thickness and composition depending on the number and ratio of alternating ZrO2 and Ta2O5 deposition cycles. All the films grown exhibited resistive switching characteristics between TiN and Pt electrodes, expressed by repetitive current-voltage loops. The most reliable windows between high and low resistive states were observed in Ta2O5 films mixed with relatively low amounts of ZrO2, providing Zr to Ta cation ratio of 0.2. (C) 2017 Author(s).
  • Ren, Wenzi; Penttilä, Reijo; Kasanen, Risto; Asiegbu, Fred (2022)
    The microbiome of Heterobasidion-induced wood decay of living trees has been previously studied; however, less is known about the bacteria biota of its perennial fruiting body and the adhering wood tissue. In this study, we investigated the bacteria biota of the Heterobasidion fruiting body and its adhering deadwood. Out of 7,462 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), about 5,918 OTUs were obtained from the fruiting body and 5,469 OTUs were obtained from the associated dead wood. Interestingly, an average of 52.6% of bacteria biota in the fruiting body was shared with the associated dead wood. The overall and unique OTUs had trends of decreasing from decay classes 1 to 3 but increasing in decay class 4. The fruiting body had the highest overall and unique OTUs number in the fourth decay class, whereas wood had the highest OTU in decay class 1. Sphingomonas spp. was significantly higher in the fruiting body, and phylum Firmicutes was more dominant in wood tissue. The FAPROTAX functional structure analysis revealed nutrition, energy, degradation, and plant-pathogen-related functions of the communities. Our results also showed that bacteria communities in both substrates experienced a process of a new community reconstruction through the various decay stages. The process was not synchronic in the two substrates, but the community structures and functions were well-differentiated in the final decay class. The bacteria community was highly dynamic; the microbiota activeness, community stability, and functions changed with the decay process. The third decay class was an important turning point for community restructuring. Host properties, environmental factors, and microbial interactions jointly influenced the final community structure. Bacteria community in the fruiting body attached to the living standing tree was suppressed compared with those associated with dead wood. Bacteria appear to spread from wood tissue of the standing living tree to the fruiting body, but after the tree is killed, bacteria moved from fruiting body to wood. It is most likely that some of the resident endophytic bacteria within the fruiting body are either parasitic, depending on it for their nutrition, or are mutualistic symbionts.
  • Ritzel, Robert; Roussel, Ronan; Giaccari, Andrea; Vora, Jiten; Brulle-Wohlhueter, Claire; Yki-Järvinen, Hannele (2018)
    AimsTo investigate the efficacy and safety of insulin glargine 300U/mL (Gla-300) vs insulin glargine 100U/mL (Gla-100) over 12months in a patient-level meta-analysis, using data from the EDITION studies in people with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Methods EDITION 1, 2 and 3 were multicentre, randomized, open-label, 2-arm, parallel-group, treat-to-target phase IIIa studies. Similar study designs and endpoints enabled a meta-analysis to be conducted. ResultsReductions in glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) were better sustained over 12months with Gla-300 than with Gla-100 (least squares [LS] mean difference in change from baseline: -0.10 % [95% confidence interval {CI} -0.18 to -0.02] or -1.09mmol/mol [95% CI -2.01 to -0.20]; P=.0174). Risk of confirmed (3.9mmol/L) or severe hypoglycaemia was 15% lower with Gla-300 vs Gla-100 at night (relative risk 0.85 [95% CI 0.77-0.92]) and 6% lower at any time of day (relative risk 0.94 [95% CI 0.90-0.98]). Rates of hypoglycaemia were 18% lower with Gla-300 vs Gla-100 at night (rate ratio 0.82 [95% CI 0.67-0.99]), but comparable at any time of day. HbA1c ConclusionsIn a broad population of people with T2DM over 12months, use of Gla-300 provided more sustained glycaemic control and significantly lower hypoglycaemia risk at night and at any time of day compared with Gla-100.
  • Nowak, Jessika; Visnovsky, Sandra B.; Pitman, Andrew R.; Cruz, Cristina D.; Palmer, Jon; Fletcher, Graham C.; Flint, Steve (2021)
    Listeria monocytogenes is a ubiquitous foodborne pathogen that results in a high rate of mortality in sensitive and immunocompromised people. Contamination of food with L. monocytogenes is thought to occur during food processing, most often as a result of the pathogen producing a biofilm that persists in the environment and acting as the source for subsequent dispersal of cells onto food. A survey of seafoodprocessing plants in New Zealand identified the persistent strain 15G01, which has a high capacity to form biofilms. In this study, a transposon library of L. monocytogenes 15G01 was screened for mutants with altered biofilm formation, assessed by a crystal violet assay, to identify genes involved in biofilm formation. This screen identified 36 transposants that showed a significant change in biofilm formation compared to the wild type. The insertion sites were in 27 genes, 20 of which led to decreased biofilm formation and seven to an increase. Two insertions were in intergenic regions. Annotation of the genes suggested that they are involved in diverse cellular processes, including stress response, autolysis, transporter systems, and cell wall/membrane synthesis. Analysis of the biofilms produced by the transposants using scanning electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy showed notable differences in the structure of the biofilms compared to the wild type. In particular, inactivation of uvrB and mltD produced coccoid-shaped cells and elongated cells in long chains, respectively, and the mgtB mutant produced a unique biofilm with a sandwich structure which was reversed to the wild-type level upon magnesium addition. The mltD transposant was successfully complemented with the wild-type gene, whereas the phenotypes were not or only partially restored for the remaining mutants. IMPORTANCE The major source of contamination of food with Listeria monocytogenes is thought to be due to biofilm formation and/or persistence in food-processing plants. By establishing as a biofilm, L. monocytogenes cells become harder to eradicate due to their increased resistance to environmental threats. Understanding the genes involved in biofilm formation and their influence on biofilm structure will help identify new ways to eliminate harmful biofilms in food processing environments. To date, multiple genes have been identified as being involved in biofilm formation by L. monocytogenes; however, the exact mechanism remains unclear. This study identified four genes associated with biofilm formation by a persistent strain. Extensive microscopic analysis illustrated the effect of the disruption of mgtB, clsA, uvrB, and mltD and the influence of magnesium on the biofilm structure. The results strongly suggest an involvement in biofilm formation for the four genes and provide a basis for further studies to analyze gene regulation to assess the specific role of these biofilm-associated genes.
  • Oduor, Joseph M. Ochieng; Kadija, Ermir; Nyachieo, Atunga; Mureithi, Marianne W.; Skurnik, Mikael (2020)
    Emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a serious threat to the public health. This is also true for Staphylococcus aureus and other staphylococci. Staphylococcus phages Stab20, Stab21, Stab22, and Stab23, were isolated in Albania. Based on genomic and phylogenetic analysis, they were classified to genus Kayvirus of the subfamily Twortvirinae. In this work, we describe the in-depth characterization of the phages that electron microscopy confirmed to be myoviruses. These phages showed tolerance to pH range of 5.4 to 9.4, to maximum UV radiation energy of 25 mu J/cm(2), to temperatures up to 45 degrees C, and to ethanol concentrations up to 25%, and complete resistance to chloroform. The adsorption rate constants of the phages ranged between 1.0 x 10(-9) mL/min and 4.7 x 10(-9) mL/min, and the burst size was from 42 to 130 plaque-forming units. The phages Stab20, 21, 22, and 23, originally isolated using Staphylococcus xylosus as a host, demonstrated varied host ranges among different Staphylococcus strains suggesting that they could be included in cocktail formulations for therapeutic or bio-control purpose. Phage particle proteomes, consisting on average of ca 60-70 gene products, revealed, in addition to straight-forward structural proteins, also the presence of enzymes such DNA polymerase, helicases, recombinases, exonucleases, and RNA ligase polymer. They are likely to be injected into the bacteria along with the genomic DNA to take over the host metabolism as soon as possible after infection.
  • Ylikauma, Laura Anneli; Ohtonen, Pasi Petteri; Erkinaro, Tiina Mari; Vakkala, Merja Annika; Liisanantti, Janne Henrik; Satta, Jari Uolevi; Juvonen, Tatu Sakari; Kaakinen, Timo Ilari (2022)
    The pulmonary artery catheter (PAC) is considered the gold standard for cardiac index monitoring. Recently new and less invasive methods to assess cardiac performance have been developed. The aim of our study was to assess the reliability of a non-invasive monitor utilizing bioreactance (Starling SV) and a non-calibrated mini-invasive pulse contour device (FloTrac/EV1000, fourth-generation software) compared to bolus thermodilution technique with PAC (TDCO) during off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery (OPCAB). In this prospective study, 579 simultaneous intra- and postoperative cardiac index measurements obtained with Starling SV, FloTrac/EV1000 and TDCO were compared in 20 patients undergoing OPCAB. The agreement of data was investigated by Bland-Altman plots, while trending ability was assessed by four-quadrant plots with error grids. In comparison with TDCO, Starling SV was associated with a bias of 0.13 L min(-1) m(-2) (95% confidence interval, 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.18), wide limits of agreement (LOA, - 1.23 to 1.51 L min(-1) m(-2)), a percentage error (PE) of 60.7%, and poor trending ability. In comparison with TDCO, FloTrac was associated with a bias of 0.01 L min(-1) m(-2) (95% CI - 0.05 to 0.06), wide LOA (- 1.27 to 1.29 L min(-1) m(-2)), a PE of 56.8% and poor trending ability. Both Starling SV and fourth-generation FloTrac showed acceptable mean bias but imprecision due to wide LOA and high PE, and poor trending ability. These findings indicate limited reliability in monitoring cardiac index in patients undergoing OPCAB.
  • Walde, Manuel; Allan, Eric; Cappelli, Seraina L.; Didion-Gency, Margaux; Gessler, Arthur; Lehmann, Marco M.; Pichon, Noemie A.; Grossiord, Charlotte (2021)
    Many experiments have shown that biodiversity promotes ecosystem functioning and stability and that this relationship varies with resource availability. However, we still have a poor understanding of the underlying physiological and ecological mechanisms driving diversity effects and how they may interact with soil nutrient availability. We collected data in a grassland experiment factorially manipulating fertilization, species richness (SR), functional composition (slow-growing vs. fast-growing species) and functional diversity in resource economic traits. We measured above-ground productivity (AP), nitrogen (N) uptake, photosynthesis and water use efficiency by combining a N-15 labelling approach with productivity, gas exchange and stable isotope measurements in 3 years differing in rainfall. We found that sown SR increased AP, N uptake and photosynthesis, suggesting that SR is the most important driver of ecosystem productivity and nutrient cycling. Similarly, photosynthesis was affected by functional composition but not by functional diversity. Water use efficiency was reduced by sown SR for communities dominated by slow-growing species but not for communities dominated by fast-growing species. Fertilization increased productivity, N uptake and water use efficiency. The positive effects of high SR on ecosystem functions were independent of fertility levels. Synthesis. Our results provide evidence that high species richness in temperate grasslands could enhance productivity and reduce the negative impacts of drought events. Multiple factors and community characteristics are important in driving enhanced ecosystem functioning in biodiverse grasslands and seem to affect functioning and stability through different mechanisms.
  • Kindler, Oliver; Pulkkinen, Otto; Cherstvy, Andrey G.; Metzler, Ralf (2019)
    Quorum-sensing bacteria in a growing colony of cells send out signalling molecules (so-called "autoinducers") and themselves sense the autoinducer concentration in their vicinity. Once-due to increased local cell density inside a "cluster" of the growing colony-the concentration of autoinducers exceeds a threshold value, cells in this clusters get "induced" into a communal, multi-cell biofilm-forming mode in a cluster-wide burst event. We analyse quantitatively the influence of spatial disorder, the local heterogeneity of the spatial distribution of cells in the colony, and additional physical parameters such as the autoinducer signal range on the induction dynamics of the cell colony. Spatial inhomogeneity with higher local cell concentrations in clusters leads to earlier but more localised induction events, while homogeneous distributions lead to comparatively delayed but more concerted induction of the cell colony, and, thus, a behaviour close to the mean-field dynamics. We quantify the induction dynamics with quantifiers such as the time series of induction events and burst sizes, the grouping into induction families, and the mean autoinducer concentration levels. Consequences for different scenarios of biofilm growth are discussed, providing possible cues for biofilm control in both health care and biotechnology.
  • Ghimire, Rajendra P.; Silfver, Tarja; Myller, Kristiina; Oksanen, Elina; Holopainen, Jarmo K.; Mikola, Juha (2022)
    The biogenic volatile organic compounds, BVOCs have a central role in ecosystem-atmosphere interactions. High-latitude ecosystems are facing increasing temperatures and insect herbivore pressure, which may affect their BVOC emission rates, but evidence and predictions of changes remain scattered. We studied the long-term effects of + 3 degrees C warming and reduced insect herbivory (achieved through insecticide sprayings) on mid- and late summer BVOC emissions from field layer vegetation, supplemented with birch saplings, and the underlying soil in Subarctic mountain birch forest in Finland in 2017-2018. Reduced insect herbivory decreased leaf damage by 58-67% and total ecosystem BVOC emissions by 44-72%. Of the BVOC groups, total sesquiterpenes had 70-80% lower emissions with reduced herbivory, and in 2017 the decrease was greater in warmed plots (89% decrease) than in ambient plots (34% decrease). While non-standardized total BVOC, monoterpene, sesquiterpene and GLV emissions showed instant positive responses to increasing chamber air temperature in midsummer samplings, the long-term warming treatment effects on standardized emissions mainly appeared as changes in the compound structure of BVOC blends and varied with compounds and sampling times. Our results suggest that the effects of climate warming on the total quantity of BVOC emissions will in Subarctic ecosystems be, over and above the instant temperature effects, mediated through changes in insect herbivore pressure rather than plant growth. If insect herbivore numbers will increase as predicted under climate warming, our results forecast herbivory-induced increases in the quantity of Subarctic BVOC emissions.
  • Najumudeen, A. K.; Jaiswal, A.; Lectez, B.; Oetken-Lindholm, C.; Guzman, C.; Siljamaki, E.; Posada, I. M. D.; Lacey, E.; Aittokallio, T.; Abankwa, D. (2016)
    Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are considered to be responsible for treatment relapse and have therefore become a major target in cancer research. Salinomycin is the most established CSC inhibitor. However, its primary mechanistic target is still unclear, impeding the discovery of compounds with similar anti-CSC activity. Here, we show that salinomycin very specifically interferes with the activity of K-ras4B, but not H-ras, by disrupting its nanoscale membrane organization. We found that caveolae negatively regulate the sensitivity to this drug. On the basis of this novel mechanistic insight, we defined a K-ras-associated and stem cell-derived gene expression signature that predicts the drug response of cancer cells to salinomycin. Consistent with therapy resistance of CSC, 8% of tumor samples in the TCGA-database displayed our signature and were associated with a significantly higher mortality. Using our K-ras-specific screening platform, we identified several new candidate CSC drugs. Two of these, ophiobolin A and conglobatin A, possessed a similar or higher potency than salinomycin. Finally, we established that the most potent compound, ophiobolin A, exerts its K-ras4B-specific activity through inactivation of calmodulin. Our data suggest that specific interference with the K-ras4B/calmodulin interaction selectively inhibits CSC.