Biology Direct

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List of Papers (Total 419)

Stable coevolutionary regimes for genetic parasites and their hosts: you must differ to coevolve

Genetic parasites are ubiquitous satellites of cellular life forms most of which host a variety of mobile genetic elements including transposons, plasmids and viruses. Theoretical considerations and computer simulations suggest that emergence of genetic parasites is intrinsic to evolving replicator systems. Using methods of bifurcation analysis, we investigated the stability of...

Response to Martin and colleagues: mitochondria do not boost the bioenergetic capacity of eukaryotic cells

A recent paper by (Gerlitz et al., Biol Direct 13:21, 2018) questions the validity of the data underlying prior analyses on the bioenergetics capacities of cells, and continues to promote the idea that the mitochondrion endowed eukaryotic cells with energetic superiority over prokaryotes. The former point has been addressed previously, with no resultant changes in the conclusions...

Darwinian selection of host and bacteria supports emergence of Lamarckian-like adaptation of the system as a whole

The relatively fast selection of symbiotic bacteria within hosts and the potential transmission of these bacteria across generations of hosts raise the question of whether interactions between host and bacteria support emergent adaptive capabilities beyond those of germ-free hosts. To investigate possibilities for emergent adaptations that may distinguish composite host...

Sense-antisense gene overlap is probably a cause for retaining the few introns in Giardia genome and the implications

It is widely accepted that the last eukaryotic common ancestor and early eukaryotes were intron-rich and intron loss dominated subsequent evolution, thus the presence of only very few introns in some modern eukaryotes must be the consequence of massive loss. But it is striking that few eukaryotes were found to have completely lost introns. Despite extensive research, the causes...

Assessment of urban microbiome assemblies with the help of targeted in silico gold standards

Microbial communities play a crucial role in our environment and may influence human health tremendously. Despite being the place where human interaction is most abundant we still know little about the urban microbiome. This is highlighted by the large amount of unclassified DNA reads found in urban metagenome samples. The only in silico approach that allows us to find unknown...

Molecular mechanisms of the juvenile form of Batten disease: important role of MAPK signaling pathways (ERK1/ERK2, JNK and p38) in pathogenesis of the malady

Mutations in the CLN3 gene lead to so far an incurable juvenile-onset neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (JNCL) or Batten disease that starts at the age of 4–6 years with a progressive retinopathy leading to blindness. Motor disturbances, epilepsy and dementia manifest during several following years. Most JNCL patients carry the same 1.02-kb deletion in the CLN3 gene, encoding an...

Is pre-Darwinian evolution plausible?

This essay highlights critical aspects of the plausibility of pre-Darwinian evolution. It is based on a critical review of some better-known open, far-from-equilibrium system-based scenarios supposed to explain processes that took place before Darwinian evolution had emerged and that resulted in the origin of the first systems capable of Darwinian evolution. The researchers...

Integration of multiple types of genetic markers for neuroblastoma may contribute to improved prediction of the overall survival

Modern experimental techniques deliver data sets containing profiles of tens of thousands of potential molecular and genetic markers that can be used to improve medical diagnostics. Previous studies performed with three different experimental methods for the same set of neuroblastoma patients create opportunity to examine whether augmenting gene expression profiles with...

Models of cell signaling uncover molecular mechanisms of high-risk neuroblastoma and predict disease outcome

Despite the progress in neuroblastoma therapies the mortality of high-risk patients is still high (40–50%) and the molecular basis of the disease remains poorly known. Recently, a mathematical model was used to demonstrate that the network regulating stress signaling by the c-Jun N-terminal kinase pathway played a crucial role in survival of patients with neuroblastoma...

MetaBinG2: a fast and accurate metagenomic sequence classification system for samples with many unknown organisms

Many methods have been developed for metagenomic sequence classification, and most of them depend heavily on genome sequences of the known organisms. A large portion of sequencing sequences may be classified as unknown, which greatly impairs our understanding of the whole sample. Here we present MetaBinG2, a fast method for metagenomic sequence classification, especially for...

Modeling protein folding in vivo

A half century of studying protein folding in vitro and modeling it in silico has not provided us with a reliable computational method to predict the native conformations of proteins de novo, let alone identify the intermediates on their folding pathways. In this Opinion article, we suggest that the reason for this impasse is the over-reliance on current physical models of...

Predicting clinical outcome of neuroblastoma patients using an integrative network-based approach

One of the main current challenges in computational biology is to make sense of the huge amounts of multidimensional experimental data that are being produced. For instance, large cohorts of patients are often screened using different high-throughput technologies, effectively producing multiple patient-specific molecular profiles for hundreds or thousands of patients. We propose...

COGNAT: a web server for comparative analysis of genomic neighborhoods

In prokaryotic genomes, functionally coupled genes can be organized in conserved gene clusters enabling their coordinated regulation. Such clusters could contain one or several operons, which are groups of co-transcribed genes. Those genes that evolved from a common ancestral gene by speciation (i.e. orthologs) are expected to have similar genomic neighborhoods in different...

Sugar Lego: gene composition of bacterial carbohydrate metabolism genomic loci

Bacterial carbohydrate metabolism is extremely diverse, since carbohydrates serve as a major energy source and are involved in a variety of cellular processes. Bacterial genes belonging to same metabolic pathway are often co-localized in the chromosome, but it is not a strict rule. Gene co-localization in linked to co-evolution and co-regulation. This study focuses on a large...

Over-expression of miR-146b and its regulatory role in intestinal epithelial cell viability, proliferation, and apoptosis in piglets

Weaning stress affects the small intestine of piglets. MiR-146b is differentially expressed in suckling and weaned piglets. In this study, we evaluated the effects of miR-146b on cell viability, proliferation, and apoptosis in IPEC-J2 cells. Transfection with miR-146b mimics successfully increased miR-146b levels by 1000× (P < 0.001). The over-expression of miR-146b significantly...

Cellular origin of the viral capsid-like bacterial microcompartments

Bacterial microcompartments (BMC) are proteinaceous organelles that structurally resemble viral capsids, but encapsulate enzymes that perform various specialized biochemical reactions in the cell cytoplasm. The BMC are constructed from two major shell proteins, BMC-H and BMC-P, which form the facets and vertices of the icosahedral assembly, and are functionally equivalent to the...

ASXL gain-of-function truncation mutants: defective and dysregulated forms of a natural ribosomal frameshifting product?

Programmed ribosomal frameshifting (PRF) is a gene expression mechanism which enables the translation of two N-terminally coincident, C-terminally distinct protein products from a single mRNA. Many viruses utilize PRF to control or regulate gene expression, but very few phylogenetically conserved examples are known in vertebrate genes. Additional sex combs-like (ASXL) genes 1 and...

Why we don’t want another “Synthesis”

High-level debates in evolutionary biology often treat the Modern Synthesis as a framework of population genetics, or as an intellectual lineage with a changing distribution of beliefs. Unfortunately, these flexible notions, used to negotiate decades of innovations, are now thoroughly detached from their historical roots in the original Modern Synthesis (OMS), a falsifiable...

Differential signal sensitivities can contribute to the stability of multispecies bacterial communities

Bacterial species present in multispecies microbial communities often react to the same chemical signal but at vastly different concentrations. The existence of different response thresholds with respect to the same signal molecule has been well documented in quorum sensing which is one of the best studied inter-cellular signalling mechanisms in bacteria. The biological...

Cell adhesion heterogeneity reinforces tumour cell dissemination: novel insights from a mathematical model

Cancer cell invasion, dissemination, and metastasis have been linked to an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of individual tumour cells. During EMT, adhesion molecules like E-cadherin are downregulated and the decrease of cell-cell adhesion allows tumour cells to dissociate from the primary tumour mass. This complex process depends on intracellular cues that are subject to...