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#29049925   2017/10/19 Save this To Up

Omics tools: New challenges in aquatic nanotoxicology?

In recent years, the implication of genomics into ecotoxicological studies has been studied closely to allow a better understanding of organism's responses to environmental contaminants including engineering nanomaterials (ENMs). ENMs are increasingly produced for various applications including cosmetics, electronics, sports equipment, biomedicine and agriculture. Because of their small size, ENMs possess chemical or physical characteristics improved compared to the corresponding macro-sized material. As their application expend, the release of manufactured ENMs into the environment is likely to increase and concern over impacts for the aquatic ecosystem is growing. Several studies reported deleterious effect of ENMs to aquatic organisms, but there is little information about the molecular mechanisms of toxicity. The development of ecotoxicogenomic approaches will improve the characterization of cellular and molecular modes of action of ENMs to aquatic organisms and allow a better prediction of contaminants toxicity. This paper presents an overview of transciptomic/proteomic studies in freshwater and marine organisms exposed to ENMs. Overall, induction of gene expression in relations to defense mechanisms, immune responses, growth and reproduction were measured after ENMs exposures of organisms, but with different patterns depending on exposure duration and concentrations used. In addition, some studies reported a positive correlation between gene expression and cellular modifications, but not at the individual level.

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#29049842   2017/10/19 Save this To Up

Acid digestion on river influenced shelf sediment organic matter: Carbon and Nitrogen contents and isotopic ratios.

Natural stable isotopes ratios (d(13) Corg and (15) N vales) and associated elemental concentrations (i.e. total organic carbon and total nitrogen contents) preserved in marine sediments are frequently used for the determination of paleoenvironmental processes such as the origin of organic matter. Previous studies highlighted biases in the determination of such geochemical proxies due to pre-analysis acid treatment methods. This study is the first systematic comparison of the effect of acid treatment methods on bulk organic matter using a unique sedimentary system, under two contrasting climatic contexts (i.e. glacial vs interglacial).

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#29048594   2017/10/19 Save this To Up

Neptune: a bioinformatics tool for rapid discovery of genomic variation in bacterial populations.

The ready availability of vast amounts of genomic sequence data has created the need to rethink comparative genomics algorithms using 'big data' approaches. Neptune is an efficient system for rapidly locating differentially abundant genomic content in bacterial populations using an exact k-mer matching strategy, while accommodating k-mer mismatches. Neptune's loci discovery process identifies sequences that are sufficiently common to a group of target sequences and sufficiently absent from non-targets using probabilistic models. Neptune uses parallel computing to efficiently identify and extract these loci from draft genome assemblies without requiring multiple sequence alignments or other computationally expensive comparative sequence analyses. Tests on simulated and real datasets showed that Neptune rapidly identifies regions that are both sensitive and specific. We demonstrate that this system can identify trait-specific loci from different bacterial lineages. Neptune is broadly applicable for comparative bacterial analyses, yet will particularly benefit pathogenomic applications, owing to efficient and sensitive discovery of differentially abundant genomic loci. The software is available for download at: http://github.com/phac-nml/neptune.

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#29045613   2017/10/18 Save this To Up

Genome structure of Rosa multiflora, a wild ancestor of cultivated roses.

The draft genome sequence of a wild rose (Rosa multiflora Thunb.) was determined using Illumina MiSeq and HiSeq platforms. The total length of the scaffolds was 739,637,845 bp, consisting of 83,189 scaffolds, which was close to the 711 Mbp length estimated by k-mer analysis. N50 length of the scaffolds was 90,830 bp, and extent of the longest was 1,133,259 bp. The average GC content of the scaffolds was 38.9%. After gene prediction, 67,380 candidates exhibiting sequence homology to known genes and domains were extracted, which included complete and partial gene structures. This large number of genes for a diploid plant may reflect heterogeneity of the genome originating from self-incompatibility in R. multiflora. According to CEGMA analysis, 91.9% and 98.0% of the core eukaryotic genes were completely and partially conserved in the scaffolds, respectively. Genes presumably involved in flower color, scent and flowering are assigned. The results of this study will serve as a valuable resource for fundamental and applied research in the rose, including breeding and phylogenetic study of cultivated roses.

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#29045489   2017/10/18 Save this To Up

Ciguatoxicity of Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa species from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

Dinoflagellate species belonging to the genera Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa produce ciguatoxins (CTXs), potent neurotoxins that concentrate in fish causing ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in humans. While the structures and toxicities of ciguatoxins isolated from fish in the Pacific and Caribbean are known, there are few data on the variation in toxicity between and among species of Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa. Quantifying the differences in species-specific toxicity is especially important to developing an effective cell-based risk assessment strategy for CFP. This study analyzed the ciguatoxicity of 33 strains representing seven Gambierdiscus and one Fukuyoa species using a cell based Neuro-2a cytotoxicity assay. All strains were isolated from either the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico. The average toxicity of each species was inversely proportional to growth rate, suggesting an evolutionary trade-off between an investment in growth versus the production of defensive compounds. While there is 2- to 27-fold variation in toxicity within species, there was a 1740-fold difference between the least and most toxic species. Consequently, production of CTX or CTX-like compounds is more dependent on the species present than on the random occurrence of high or low toxicity strains. Seven of the eight species tested (G. belizeanus, G. caribaeus, G. carolinianus, G. carpenteri, Gambierdiscus ribotype 2, G. silvae and F. ruetzleri) exhibited low toxicities, ranging from 0 to 24.5 fg CTX3C equivalents cell-1, relative to G. excentricus, which had a toxicity of 469 fg CTX3C eq. cell-1. Isolates of G. excentricus from other regions have shown similarly high toxicities. If the hypothesis that G. excentricus is the primary source of ciguatoxins in the Atlantic is confirmed, it should be possible to identify areas where CFP risk is greatest by monitoring only G. excentricus abundance using species-specific molecular assays.

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#29043074   2017/10/18 Save this To Up

Recent advances in eosinophilic esophagitis.

Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic, antigen-driven, eosinophil-predominant inflammatory disease of the esophagus and affects both children and adults. Cutting-edge technologies, such as genome-wide association studies, have advanced our understanding of the disease pathogenesis at a remarkable rate. Recent insights from genetic and mechanistic studies have concluded that a complex interplay between genetic and environmental risk factors, allergic sensitization, and esophageal-specific pathways leads to disease pathogenesis. Importantly, recent epidemiologic studies have found that the incidence and prevalence of eosinophilic esophagitis continue to rise. New guidelines have advocated the elimination of the term proton pump inhibitor (PPI)-responsive esophageal eosinophilia and have recommended using PPIs as a first-line treatment modality. Systemic reviews and meta-analyses confirm the efficacy of PPIs, topical corticosteroids, and empiric food elimination diets. Unmet needs include the development of birth cohort studies, validated diagnostic scoring systems, minimally invasive disease-monitoring methods, and the development of new therapies.

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#29043032   2017/10/18 Save this To Up

Tracing coco de mer's reproductive history: Pollen and nutrient limitations reduce fecundity.

Habitat degradation can reduce or even prevent the reproduction of previously abundant plant species. To develop appropriate management strategies, we need to understand the reasons for reduced recruitment in degraded ecosystems. The dioecious coco de mer palm (Lodoicea maldivica) produces by far the largest seeds of any plant. It is a keystone species in an ancient palm forest that occurs only on two small islands in the Seychelles, yet contemporary rates of seed production are low, especially in fragmented populations. We developed a method to infer the recent reproductive history of female trees from morphological evidence present on their inflorescences. We then applied this method to investigate the effects of habitat disturbance and soil nutrient conditions on flower and fruit production. The 57 female trees in our sample showed a 19.5-fold variation in flower production among individuals over a seven-year period. Only 77.2% of trees bore developing fruits (or had recently shed fruits), with the number per tree ranging from zero to 43. Flower production was positively correlated with concentrations of available soil nitrogen and potassium and did not differ significantly between closed and degraded habitat. Fruiting success was positively correlated with pollen availability, as measured by numbers and distance of neighboring male trees. Fruit set was lower in degraded habitat than in closed forest, while the proportion of abnormal fruits that failed to develop was higher in degraded habitat. Seed size recorded for a large sample of seeds collected by forest wardens varied widely, with fresh weights ranging from 1 to 18 kg. Synthesis: Shortages of both nutrients and pollen appear to limit seed production of Lodoicea in its natural habitat, with these factors affecting different stages of the reproductive process. Flower production varies widely amongst trees, while seed production is especially low in degraded habitat. The size of seeds is also very variable. We discuss the implications of these findings for managing this ecologically and economically important species.

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#29042106   2017/10/18 Save this To Up

Seasonal variability of picophytoplankton under contrasting environments in northern Tunisian coasts, southwestern Mediterranean Sea.

We investigated at the single cell level during 16months (June 2012 to September 2013) the temporal distribution of picophytoplankton (picoeukaryotes, Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus) communities in two contrasted ecosystems: the Bay of Bizerte characterised by an oligotrophic regime typical of the Mediterranean Sea and the Bizerte Lagoon that exhibits a mesotrophic/eutrophic state. We aimed at depicting seasonal variations and quantifying the relationships between the environmental factors and the structure and abundance of picophytoplankton communities. Results showed that picophytoplankton groups were able to grow under a wide range of environmental conditions varying seasonally, although their abundances and contributions to the total chlorophyll biomass significantly varied and showed importance in the Bay of Bizerte. Synechococcus was the most abundant group reaching 225∗10(3)cells·cm(-3) in the Bay and 278∗10(3)cells·cm(-3) in the lagoon. This group was present all over the year in both ecosystems. Structural equation model results pointed out a different configuration regarding the picophytoplankton environmental drivers. The complexity of the configuration, i.e. number of significant links within the system, decreased under enhanced eutrophication conditions. The less exposure to anthropogenic stress, i.e. in the Bay of Bizerte, highlight a larger role of nutrient and hydrological conditions on the seasonal variations of picophytoplankton, whereas a negative effect of eutrophication on picophytoplankton communities was unveiled in the Bizerte Lagoon. We stress that such influence may be exacerbated under expected scenarios of Mediterranean warming conditions and nutrient release in coastal ecosystems.

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#29038808   2017/10/17 Save this To Up

Decoration of trastuzumab with short oligonucleotides: synthesis and detailed characterization.

Trastuzumab (Herceptin®) is an FDA-approved therapeutic antibody currently employed in the treatment of metastatic stages of breast cancer. Herein, we propose a simple, fast and cost-effective methodology to conjugate trastuzumab with 22-mer 5' thiol-modified oligonucleotides using a bifunctional crosslinker. The conjugates were successfully characterized by MALDI-ToF MS and SDS-PAGE, obviating the need for enzymatic digestion and difficult chromatographic separations. Furthermore, ELISA was performed to ensure that trastuzumab activity is not affected by oligonucleotide conjugation.

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#29037570   2017/10/17 Save this To Up

Trace elements and arsenic speciation in tissues of tube dwelling polychaetes from hydrothermal vent ecosystems (East Pacific Rise): An ecological role as antipredatory strategy?

Hydrothermal vent systems are inhabited by dense benthic communities adapted to extreme conditions such as high temperature, hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and elevated fluxes of metals. In the present work, a wide range of trace elements (Ag, Al, As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, V and Zn) were measured in tissues of three tube dwelling annelids, Alvinella pompejana, Alvinella caudata and Riftia pachyptila, which colonize distinct habitats of the East Pacific Rise (EPR) at 2500 m depth. Metals concentrations in alvinellids were often 2-4 orders of magnitude higher than those commonly found in marine organisms, while much lower values were observed in the vestimentiferan polychaete. Mobility of trace elements was further characterized in tissues of A. pompejana where metals appeared mostly in insoluble forms, i.e. associated with hydrated oxides and sulphides. Arsenic was mainly present in a weakly insoluble form and with concentrations in the branchial tentacles of alvinellids, approximately 5-15 fold higher than those measured in the thorax. Chemical speciation of this element in tissues of the three polychaete species revealed a major contribution of methylated arsenic compounds, like dimethylarsinate (DMA) and, to a lower extent, monomethylarsonate (MMA) and trimethylarsine oxide (TMAO). Although the biotransformation of inorganic arsenic might represent a detoxification mechanism in polychaetes from hydrothermal vents, the elevated levels of methylated forms of arsenic in branchial tissues also suggest an ecological role of this element as an antipredatory strategy for more vulnerable tissues toward generalist consumers.

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