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Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Stange D.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Sieratowicz A.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Horres R.,GenXPro GmbH | Oehlmann J.,Goethe University Frankfurt
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety | Year: 2012

Molluscs are raising attention as ecotoxicological test organisms due to their high diversity and ecological importance. The ovoviviparous prosobranch gastropod Potamopyrgus antipodarum (freshwater mudsnail) responds very sensitively to xenobiotics and has therefore been proposed as OECD standard test organism. Endocrine disrupting chemicals influence the reproduction of P. antipodarum, which can be assessed by embryo numbers in the brood pouch. However, the knowledge about the endocrine system of P. antipodarum is rather limited. The aim of this study was to identify an estrogen receptor in the endocrine system of P. antipodarum and to investigate if this receptor is differentially expressed under exposure to (xeno-)hormones (17α-ethinylestradiol, bisphenol A and 17α-methyltestosterone).The DNA-binding domain of the identified ER-like transcript has an amino acid identity of 92 percent compared to the ER of the gastropod Nucella lapillus (84 percent to human ERα) and 83 percent in the ligand binding domain (38 percent to human ERα). Furthermore, the P. antipodarum ER is transcriptionally regulated as shown by quantitative real-time PCRs of (xeno-)hormone exposed snails. 17α-ethinylestradiol and bisphenol A exposure resulted in a transitory ER-mRNA increase while17α-methyltestosterone caused a transitory reduction of ER-mRNA. In addition the solvent dimethyl sulfoxide had also a modulating effect on the receptor. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. Source

Bokszczanin K.L.,GenXPro GmbH | Fragkostefanakis S.,Goethe University Frankfurt
Frontiers in Plant Science | Year: 2013

Global warming is a major threat for agriculture and food safety and in many cases the negative effects are already apparent. The current challenge of basic and applied plant science is to decipher the molecular mechanisms of heat stress response (HSR) and thermotolerance in detail and use this information to identify genotypes that will withstand unfavorable environmental conditions. Nowadays X-omics approaches complement the findings of previous targeted studies and highlight the complexity of HSR mechanisms giving information for so far unrecognized genes, proteins and metabolites as potential key players of thermotolerance. Even more, roles of epigenetic mechanisms and the involvement of small RNAs in thermotolerance are currently emerging and thus open new directions of yet unexplored areas of plant HSR. In parallel it is emerging that although the whole plant is vulnerable to heat, specific organs are particularly sensitive to elevated temperatures. This has redirected research from the vegetative to generative tissues. The sexual reproduction phase is considered as the most sensitive to heat and specifically pollen exhibits the highest sensitivity and frequently an elevation of the temperature just a few degrees above the optimum during pollen development can have detrimental effects for crop production. Compared to our knowledge on HSR of vegetative tissues, the information on pollen is still scarce. Nowadays, several techniques for high-throughput X-omics approaches provide major tools to explore the principles of pollen HSR and thermotolerance mechanisms in specific genotypes. The collection of such information will provide an excellent support for improvement of breeding programs to facilitate the development of tolerant cultivars. The review aims at describing the current knowledge of thermotolerance mechanisms and the technical advances which will foster new insights into this process. © 2013 Bokszczanin, Solanaceae Pollen Thermotolerance Initial Training Network (SPOT-ITN) Consortium and Fragkostefanakis. Source

Nybom H.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Weising K.,University of Kassel | Rotter B.,GenXPro GmbH
Investigative Genetics | Year: 2014

Almost three decades ago Alec Jeffreys published his seminal Nature papers on the use of minisatellite probes for DNA fingerprinting of humans (Jeffreys and colleagues Nature 1985, 314:67-73 and Nature 1985, 316:76-79). The new technology was soon adopted for many other organisms including plants, and when Hilde Nybom, Kurt Weising and Alec Jeffreys first met at the very First International Conference on DNA Fingerprinting in Berne, Switzerland, in 1990, everybody was enthusiastic about the novel method that allowed us for the first time to discriminate between humans, animals, plants and fungi on the individual level using DNA markers. A newsletter coined " Fingerprint News" was launched, T-shirts were sold, and the proceedings of the Berne conference filled a first book on " DNA fingerprinting: approaches and applications" Four more conferences were about to follow, one on each continent, and Alec Jeffreys of course was invited to all of them. Since these early days, methodologies have undergone a rapid evolution and diversification. A multitude of techniques have been developed, optimized, and eventually abandoned when novel and more efficient and/or more reliable methods appeared. Despite some overlap between the lifetimes of the different technologies, three phases can be defined that coincide with major technological advances. Whereas the first phase of DNA fingerprinting (" the past" ) was dominated by restriction fragment analysis in conjunction with Southern blot hybridization, the advent of the PCR in the late 1980s gave way to the development of PCR-based single- or multi-locus profiling techniques in the second phase. Given that many routine applications of plant DNA fingerprinting still rely on PCR-based markers, we here refer to these methods as " DNA fingerprinting in the present" , and include numerous examples in the present review. The beginning of the third phase actually dates back to 2005, when several novel, highly parallel DNA sequencing strategies were developed that increased the throughput over current Sanger sequencing technology 1000-fold and more. High-speed DNA sequencing was soon also exploited for DNA fingerprinting in plants, either in terms of facilitated marker development, or directly in the sense of " genotyping-by-sequencing" Whereas these novel approaches are applied at an ever increasing rate also in non-model species, they are still far from routine, and we therefore treat them here as " DNA fingerprinting in the future" © 2014 Nybom et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2011.1.1-02 | Award Amount: 3.94M | Year: 2012

ABSTRESS applies combined, integrated systems biology and comparative genomics approaches to conduct a comprehensive study of the gene networks implicated in the interaction of drought stress and Fusarium infection in legumes. It uses Medicago truncatula as a model to rapidly identify characteristics for introgression into elite pea varieties and a field test of their performance against existing commercial varieties. The project will demonstrate the advantages of applying advanced phenotyping methods for the generation of improved varieties of a commercial crop. Legumes have been chosen as the preferred study crop because they are susceptible to a combination of abiotic and biotic stresses. By increasing their cultivation, they offer the greatest opportunity to reduce the generation of greenhouse gases from agriculture and hence contribute to the efforts to control climate change. Therefore ABSTRESS aligns with the European Strategic Research Agenda 2025. ABSTRESS will achieve a step change in sustainability in agriculture by undertaking breeding research that seeks to develop varieties having improved resistance to a combination of biotic and abiotic stresses. The novelty of the project is demonstrated by the generation, identification and understanding new genetic materials; addressing commercial requirements for the development of a successful new crop variety by using SME expertise; testing new in a range of growing conditions; addressing impact on Fusarium in other crops; have application to crop breeding generally; incorporating drought stress which is likely to be a major factor for climate change; developing high throughput molecular phenotyping, to gain a step change in the speed of the breeding cycle. Thus, this well structured, innovative research can lead to ground breaking achievements in plant breeding. These will help to ameliorate climate change and develop the tools to mitigate their effects on a sustainable food /feed supply chain.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN | Award Amount: 2.83M | Year: 2012

The Marie Curie Initial Training Network SPOT-ITN will establish a multi-site network of early stage and experienced researchers at 9 partner institutions - including 3 from the private sector - in 4 European member countries and Israel to investigate fundamental and applied aspects of thermotolerance mechanisms contributing to the protection of pollen development at increased ambient temperatures. The envisioned joint research program is of broad commercial interest and will be an important contribution to the efforts undertaken world-wide to ensure future stability of food production in view of the prognosticated global climate change. Although the initial focus will be on tomato as an important agricultural crop, the results are expected to become applicable to other cultivated plants in the long run. Based on individual research projects of the young researchers, the main focus of the network will be to perform common, multidisciplinary experiments on a broad variety of heat-sensitive and heat-tolerant tomato genotypes and mutant lines at the molecular, cellular and organismic level with two major objectives: i) to describe the molecular basis of the striking sensitivity of pollen development at higher temperatures and regulation of pollen-specific heat stress response and thermotolerance mechanisms; and ii) to develop BIOMARKERS of POLLEN THERMOTOLERANCE usable in future screening programs to improve breeding of new heat-tolerant cultivars. Besides training of specific research tasks, the multi-disciplinary research program includes advanced methods and high-throughput technologies in plant genetics, molecular and cell biology, physiology, and bioinformatics. In addition, a multitude of opportunities are provided for training complementary skills to broaden the knowledge of the young researchers for developing their future career with comprehensive possibilities in a wide field of research areas in Life Sciences in both, the public and the private sector.

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