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Gabaldon T.,The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology | Gabaldon T.,University Pompeu Fabra | Gabaldon T.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies | Ginger M.L.,University of Huddersfield | Michels P.A.M.,University of Los Andes, Venezuela
Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology | Year: 2016

Representatives of all major lineages of eukaryotes contain peroxisomes with similar morphology and mode of biogenesis, indicating a monophyletic origin of the organelles within the common ancestor of all eukaryotes. Peroxisomes originated from the endoplasmic reticulum, but despite a common origin and shared morphological features, peroxisomes from different organisms show a remarkable diversity of enzyme content and the metabolic processes present can vary dependent on nutritional or developmental conditions. A common characteristic and probable evolutionary driver for the origin of the organelle is an involvement in lipid metabolism, notably H2O2-dependent fatty-acid oxidation. Subsequent evolution of the organelle in different lineages involved multiple acquisitions of metabolic processes-often involving retargeting enzymes from other cell compartments-and losses. Information about peroxisomes in protists is still scarce, but available evidence, including new bioinformatics data reported here, indicate striking diversity amongst free-living and parasitic protists from different phylogenetic supergroups. Peroxisomes in only some protists show major involvement in H2O2-dependent metabolism, as in peroxisomes of mammalian, plant and fungal cells. Compartmentalization of glycolytic and gluconeogenic enzymes inside peroxisomes is characteristic of kinetoplastids and diplonemids, where the organelles are hence called glycosomes, whereas several other excavate parasites (Giardia, Trichomonas) have lost peroxisomes. Amongst alveolates and amoebozoans patterns of peroxisome loss are more complicated. Often, a link is apparent between the niches occupied by the parasitic protists, nutrient availability, and the absence of the organelles or their presence with a specific enzymatic content. In trypanosomatids, essentiality of peroxisomes may be considered for use in anti-parasite drug discovery. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Cerulus B.,Catholic University of Leuven | Cerulus B.,VIB Laboratory of Systems Biology | New A.,Catholic University of Leuven | New A.,VIB Laboratory of Systems Biology | And 6 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2016

The fitness effect of biological noise remains unclear. For example, even within clonal microbial populations, individual cells grow at different speeds. Although it is known that the individuals' mean growth speed can affect population-level fitness, it is unclear how or whether growth speed heterogeneity itself is subject to natural selection. Here, we show that noisy single-cell division times can significantly affect population-level growth rate. Using time-lapse microscopy to measure the division times of thousands of individual S. cerevisiae cells across different genetic and environmental backgrounds, we find that the length of individual cells' division times can vary substantially between clonal individuals and that sublineages often show epigenetic inheritance of division times. By combining these experimental measurements with mathematical modeling, we find that, for a given mean division time, increasing heterogeneity and epigenetic inheritance of division times increases the population growth rate. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the heterogeneity and epigenetic inheritance of single-cell division times can be linked with variation in the expression of catabolic genes. Taken together, our results reveal how a change in noisy single-cell behaviors can directly influence fitness through dynamics that operate independently of effects caused by changes to the mean. These results not only allow a better understanding of microbial fitness but also help to more accurately predict fitness in other clonal populations, such as tumors. The fitness effect of growth noise is poorly understood. Cerulus et al. show that certain yeast populations can show high variability and epigenetic inheritance of division times. Mathematical modeling shows that, for a given mean, increasing these traits increases the population growth rate. These traits are linked to catabolic gene expression. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Davies A.,University of Edinburgh | Louis M.,The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology | Louis M.,University Pompeu Fabra | Webb B.,University of Edinburgh
PLoS Computational Biology | Year: 2015

Detailed observations of larval Drosophila chemotaxis have characterised the relationship between the odour gradient and the runs, head casts and turns made by the animal. We use a computational model to test whether hypothesised sensorimotor control mechanisms are sufficient to account for larval behaviour. The model combines three mechanisms based on simple transformations of the recent history of odour intensity at the head location. The first is an increased probability of terminating runs in response to gradually decreasing concentration, the second an increased probability of terminating head casts in response to rapidly increasing concentration, and the third a biasing of run directions up concentration gradients through modulation of small head casts. We show that this model can be tuned to produce behavioural statistics comparable to those reported for the larva, and that this tuning results in similar chemotaxis performance to the larva. We demonstrate that each mechanism can enable odour approach but the combination of mechanisms is most effective, and investigate how these low-level control mechanisms relate to behavioural measures such as the preference indices used to investigate larval learning behaviour in group assays. © 2015 Davies et al.

Bartesaghi R.,University of Bologna | Haydar T.F.,Boston University | Delabar J.M.,University Paris Diderot | Dierssen M.,The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Down syndrome (DS) is a relatively common genetic condition caused by the triplication of human chromosome 21. No therapies currently exist for the rescue of neurocognitive impairment in DS. This review presents exciting findings showing that it is possible to restore brain development and cognitive performance in mouse models of DS with therapies that can also apply to humans. This knowledge provides a potential breakthrough for the prevention of intellectual disability in DS. © 2015 the authors.

Pasini D.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Di Croce L.,The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology | Di Croce L.,University Pompeu Fabra | Di Croce L.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies
Current Opinion in Genetics and Development | Year: 2016

The activities of the heterogeneous Polycomb (PcG) group of proteins ensure that the developmental processes of proliferation and cellular identity establishment are carried out correctly. PcG proteins assemble stable multiprotein complexes that, together with additional factors, maintain their target genes in a transcriptionally repressive state. The biochemical and functional features of PcG proteins have been extensively investigated over the years. Here we analyse the biochemical and mechanistic proprieties of PcG proteins with respect to recent advances that link the genetic alterations of PcG activity to cancer development. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

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