Eugene Bell Center

East Falmouth, MA, United States

Eugene Bell Center

East Falmouth, MA, United States
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Liscovitch-Brauer N.,Tel Aviv University | Alon S.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Porath H.T.,Bar - Ilan University | Elstein B.,Bar - Ilan University | And 7 more authors.
Cell | Year: 2017

RNA editing, a post-transcriptional process, allows the diversification of proteomes beyond the genomic blueprint; however it is infrequently used among animals for this purpose. Recent reports suggesting increased levels of RNA editing in squids thus raise the question of the nature and effects of these events. We here show that RNA editing is particularly common in behaviorally sophisticated coleoid cephalopods, with tens of thousands of evolutionarily conserved sites. Editing is enriched in the nervous system, affecting molecules pertinent for excitability and neuronal morphology. The genomic sequence flanking editing sites is highly conserved, suggesting that the process confers a selective advantage. Due to the large number of sites, the surrounding conservation greatly reduces the number of mutations and genomic polymorphisms in protein-coding regions. This trade-off between genome evolution and transcriptome plasticity highlights the importance of RNA recoding as a strategy for diversifying proteins, particularly those associated with neural function. PaperClip © 2017 Elsevier Inc.


Thomason R.T.,University of Virginia | Pettiglio M.A.,Brown University | Herrera C.,Brown University | Kao C.,Eugene Bell Center | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2017

Trace metals are essential for health but toxic when present in excess. The maintenance of trace metals at physiologic levels reflects both import and export by cells and absorption and excretion by organs. The mechanism by which this maintenance is achieved in vertebrate organisms is incompletely understood. To explore this, we chose zebrafish as our model organism, as they are amenable to both pharmacologic and genetic manipulation and comprise an ideal system for genetic screens and toxicological studies. To characterize trace metal content in developing zebrafish, we measured levels of three trace elements, copper, zinc, and manganese, from the oocyte stage to 30 days post-fertilization using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Our results indicate that metal levels are stable until zebrafish can acquire metals from the environment and imply that the early embryo relies on maternal contribution of metals to the oocyte. We also measured metal levels in bodies and yolks of embryos reared in presence and absence of the copper chelator neocuproine. All three metals exhibited different relative abundances between yolks and bodies of embryos. While neocuproine treatment led to an expected phenotype of copper deficiency, total copper levels were unaffected, indicating that measurement of total metal levels does not equate with measurement of biologically active metal levels. Overall, our data not only can be used in the design and execution of genetic, physiologic, and toxicologic studies but also has implications for the understanding of vertebrate metal homeostasis. © 2017 Thomason et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Costello J.H.,Eugene Bell Center | Costello J.H.,Providence College | Colin S.P.,Eugene Bell Center | Colin S.P.,Roger Williams University | And 4 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2015

Physonect siphonophores are colonial cnidarians that are pervasive predators in many neritic and oceanic ecosystems. Physonects employ multiple, clonal medusan individuals, termed nectophores, to propel an aggregate colony. Here we show that developmental differences between clonal nectophores of the physonect Nanomia bijuga produce a division of labour in thrust and torque production that controls direction and magnitude of whole-colony swimming. Although smaller and less powerful, the position of young nectophores near the apex of the nectosome allows them to dominate torque production for turning, whereas older, larger and more powerful individuals near the base of the nectosome contribute predominantly to forward thrust production. The patterns we describe offer insight into the biomechanical success of an ecologically important and widespread colonial animal group, but, more broadly, provide basic physical understanding of a natural solution to multi-engine organization that may contribute to the expanding field of underwater-distributed propulsion vehicle design. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


PubMed | University of Oregon, Stanford University and Eugene Bell Center
Type: | Journal: Nature communications | Year: 2015

Physonect siphonophores are colonial cnidarians that are pervasive predators in many neritic and oceanic ecosystems. Physonects employ multiple, clonal medusan individuals, termed nectophores, to propel an aggregate colony. Here we show that developmental differences between clonal nectophores of the physonect Nanomia bijuga produce a division of labour in thrust and torque production that controls direction and magnitude of whole-colony swimming. Although smaller and less powerful, the position of young nectophores near the apex of the nectosome allows them to dominate torque production for turning, whereas older, larger and more powerful individuals near the base of the nectosome contribute predominantly to forward thrust production. The patterns we describe offer insight into the biomechanical success of an ecologically important and widespread colonial animal group, but, more broadly, provide basic physical understanding of a natural solution to multi-engine organization that may contribute to the expanding field of underwater-distributed propulsion vehicle design.


Gemmell B.J.,University of South Florida | Gemmell B.J.,Eugene Bell Center | Colin S.P.,Eugene Bell Center | Colin S.P.,Roger Williams University | And 3 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2015

A central and long-standing tenet in the conceptualization of animal swimming is the idea that propulsive thrust is generated by pushing the surrounding water rearward. Inherent in this perspective is the assumption that locomotion involves the generation of locally elevated pressures in the fluid to achieve the expected downstream push of the surrounding water mass. Here we show that rather than pushing against the surrounding fluid, efficient swimming animals primarily pull themselves through the water via suction. This distinction is manifested in dominant low-pressure regions generated in the fluid surrounding the animal body, which are observed by using particle image velocimetry and a pressure calculation algorithm applied to freely swimming lampreys and jellyfish. These results suggest a rethinking of the evolutionary adaptations observed in swimming animals as well as the mechanistic basis for bio-inspired and biomimetic engineered vehicles. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Gemmell B.J.,Eugene Bell Center | Gemmell B.J.,Providence College | Gemmell B.J.,University of South Florida | Troolin D.R.,TSI Incorporated | And 5 more authors.
Journal of the Royal Society Interface | Year: 2015

Manoeuvrability is critical to the success of many species. Selective forces acting over millions of years have resulted in a range of capabilities currently unmatched by machines. Thus, understanding animal control of fluids for manoeuvring has both biological and engineering applications. Within inertial fluid regimes, propulsion involves the formation and interaction of vortices to generate thrust.We use both volumetric and planar imaging techniques to quantify how jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) modulate vortex rings during turning behaviour. Our results show that these animals distort individual vortex rings during turns to alter the force balance across the animal, primarily through kinematicmodulation of the bellmargin.We find that only a portion of the vortex ring separates from the body during turns, which may increase torque. Using a fluorescent actin staining method,we demonstrate the presence of radial muscle fibres lining the bell along the margin. The presence of radial muscles provides a mechanistic explanation for the ability of scyphomedusae to alter their bell kinematics to generate non-symmetric thrust for manoeuvring. These results illustrate the advantage of combining imaging methods and provide new insights into the modulation and control of vorticity for low-speed animal manoeuvring. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


PubMed | Stanford University, University of South Florida and Eugene Bell Center
Type: | Journal: Nature communications | Year: 2015

A central and long-standing tenet in the conceptualization of animal swimming is the idea that propulsive thrust is generated by pushing the surrounding water rearward. Inherent in this perspective is the assumption that locomotion involves the generation of locally elevated pressures in the fluid to achieve the expected downstream push of the surrounding water mass. Here we show that rather than pushing against the surrounding fluid, efficient swimming animals primarily pull themselves through the water via suction. This distinction is manifested in dominant low-pressure regions generated in the fluid surrounding the animal body, which are observed by using particle image velocimetry and a pressure calculation algorithm applied to freely swimming lampreys and jellyfish. These results suggest a rethinking of the evolutionary adaptations observed in swimming animals as well as the mechanistic basis for bio-inspired and biomimetic engineered vehicles.

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