1,014 research outputs found

    Defensive properties of pyrrolizidine alkaloids against microorganisms

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    The understanding of the selection factors that drive chemical diversification of secondary metabolites of constitutive defence systems in plants, such as pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), is still incomplete. Historically, plants always have been confronted with microorganisms. Long before herbivores existed on this planet, plants had to cope with microbial pathogens. Therefore, plant pathogenic microorganisms may have played an important role in the early evolution of the secondary metabolite diversity. In this review, we discuss the impact that plant-produced PAs have on plant-associated microorganisms. The objective of the review is to present the current knowledge on PAs with respect to anti-microbial activities, adaptation and detoxification by microorganisms, pathogenic fungi, root protection and PA induction. Many in vitro experiments showed effects of PAs on microorganisms. These results point to the potential of microorganisms to be important for the evolution of PAs. However, only a few in vivo studies have been published and support the results of the in vitro studies. In conclusion, the topics pointed out in this review need further exploration by carrying out ecological experiments and field studies

    Attract and deter: a dual role for pyrrolizidine alkaloids in plant–insect interactions

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    Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are the major defense compounds of plants in the Senecio genus. Here I will review the effects of PAs in Senecio on the preference and performance of specialist and generalist insect herbivores. Specialist herbivores have evolved adaptation to PAs in their host plant. They can use the alkaloids as cue to find their host plant and often they sequester PAs for their own defense against predators. Generalists, on the other hand, can be deterred by PAs. PAs can also affect survival of generalist herbivores. Usually generalist insects avoid feeding on young Senecio leaves, which contain a high concentration of alkaloids. Structurally related PAs can differ in their effects on insect herbivores, some are more toxic than others. The differences in effects of PAs on specialist and generalists could lead to opposing selection on PAs, which may maintain the genetic diversity in PA concentration and composition in Senecio species

    Species by Environment Interactions Affect Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid Expression in Senecio jacobaea, Senecio aquaticus, and Their Hybrids

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    We examined the effects of water and nutrient availability on the expression of the defense pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) in Senecio jacobaea and S. aquaticus. Senecio jacobaea, and S. aquaticus are adapted to different natural habitats, characterized by differing abiotic conditions and different selection pressures from natural enemies. We tested if PA concentration and diversity are plastic over a range of water and nutrient treatments, and also whether such plasticity is dependent on plant species. We also tested the hypothesis that hybridization may contribute to PA diversity within plants, by comparing PA expression in parental species to that in artificially generated F1 hybrids, and also in later generation natural hybrids between S. jacobaea and S. aquaticus. We showed that total PA concentration in roots and shoots is not dependent on species, but that species determines the pattern of PA diversification. Pyrrolizidine alkaloid diversity and concentration are both dependent on environmental factors. Hybrids produce a putatively novel PA, and this PA is conserved in natural hybrids, that are backcrossed to S. jacobaea. Natural hybrids that are backcrossed several times to S. jacobaea are with regard to PA diversity significantly different from S. jacobaea but not from S. aquaticus, while F1 hybrids are in all cases more similar to S. jacobaea. These results collectively suggest that PA diversity is under the influence of natural selection

    Borrelia recurrentis employs a novel multifunctional surface protein with anti-complement, anti-opsonic and invasive potential to escape innate immunity

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    Borrelia recurrentis, the etiologic agent of louse-borne relapsing fever in humans, has evolved strategies, including antigenic variation, to evade immune defence, thereby causing severe diseases with high mortality rates. Here we identify for the first time a multifunctional surface lipoprotein of B. recurrentis, termed HcpA, and demonstrate that it binds human complement regulators, Factor H, CFHR-1, and simultaneously, the host protease plasminogen. Cell surface bound factor H was found to retain its activity and to confer resistance to complement attack. Moreover, ectopic expression of HcpA in a B. burgdorferi B313 strain, deficient in Factor H binding proteins, protected the transformed spirochetes from complement-mediated killing. Furthermore, HcpA-bound plasminogen/plasmin endows B. recurrentis with the potential to resist opsonization and to degrade extracellular matrix components. Together, the present study underscores the high virulence potential of B. recurrentis. The elucidation of the molecular basis underlying the versatile strategies of B. recurrentis to escape innate immunity and to persist in human tissues, including the brain, may help to understand the pathological processes underlying louse-borne relapsing fever

    Understanding the Sequence-Dependence of DNA Groove Dimensions: Implications for DNA Interactions

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    BACKGROUND: The B-DNA major and minor groove dimensions are crucial for DNA-protein interactions. It has long been thought that the groove dimensions depend on the DNA sequence, however this relationship has remained elusive. Here, our aim is to elucidate how the DNA sequence intrinsically shapes the grooves. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The present study is based on the analysis of datasets of free and protein-bound DNA crystal structures, and from a compilation of NMR (31)P chemical shifts measured on free DNA in solution on a broad range of representative sequences. The (31)P chemical shifts can be interpreted in terms of the BI↔BII backbone conformations and dynamics. The grooves width and depth of free and protein-bound DNA are found to be clearly related to the BI/BII backbone conformational states. The DNA propensity to undergo BI↔BII backbone transitions is highly sequence-dependent and can be quantified at the dinucleotide level. This dual relationship, between DNA sequence and backbone behavior on one hand, and backbone behavior and groove dimensions on the other hand, allows to decipher the link between DNA sequence and groove dimensions. It also firmly establishes that proteins take advantage of the intrinsic DNA groove properties. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The study provides a general framework explaining how the DNA sequence shapes the groove dimensions in free and protein-bound DNA, with far-reaching implications for DNA-protein indirect readout in both specific and non specific interactions

    Search for a Technicolor omega_T Particle in Events with a Photon and a b-quark Jet at CDF

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    If the Technicolor omega_T particle exists, a likely decay mode is omega_T -> gamma pi_T, followed by pi_T -> bb-bar, yielding the signature gamma bb-bar. We have searched 85 pb^-1 of data collected by the CDF experiment at the Fermilab Tevatron for events with a photon and two jets, where one of the jets must contain a secondary vertex implying the presence of a b quark. We find no excess of events above standard model expectations. We express the result of an exclusion region in the M_omega_T - M_pi_T mass plane.Comment: 14 pages, 2 figures. Available from the CDF server (PS with figs): http://www-cdf.fnal.gov/physics/pub98/cdf4674_omega_t_prl_4.ps FERMILAB-PUB-98/321-

    Consensus guidelines for the diagnosis and management of pyridoxine-dependent epilepsy due to α-aminoadipic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency

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    Pyridoxine-dependent epilepsy (PDE-ALDH7A1) is an autosomal recessive condition due to a deficiency of α-aminoadipic semialdehyde dehydrogenase, which is a key enzyme in lysine oxidation. PDE-ALDH7A1 is a developmental and epileptic encephalopathy that was historically and empirically treated with pharmacologic doses of pyridoxine. Despite adequate seizure control, most patients with PDE-ALDH7A1 were reported to have developmental delay and intellectual disability. To improve outcome, a lysine-restricted diet and competitive inhibition of lysine transport through the use of pharmacologic doses of arginine have been recommended as an adjunct therapy. These lysine-reduction therapies have resulted in improved biochemical parameters and cognitive development in many but not all patients. The goal of these consensus guidelines is to re-evaluate and update the two previously published recommendations for diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of patients with PDE-ALDH7A1. Members of the International PDE Consortium initiated evidence and consensus-based process to review previous recommendations, new research findings, and relevant clinical aspects of PDE-ALDH7A1. The guideline development group included pediatric neurologists, biochemical geneticists, clinical geneticists, laboratory scientists, and metabolic dieticians representing 29 institutions from 16 countries. Consensus guidelines for the diagnosis and management of patients with PDE-ALDH7A1 are provided. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

    The effect of nutrients on pyrrolizidine alkaloids in Senecio plants and their interactions with herbivores and pathogens

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    The aim of this review is to combine the knowledge of studies on effects of nutrients on pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) in Senecio with those studies of effects of PAs on herbivores and pathogens in order to predict the effects that nutrients may have on herbivores and pathogens via changes in PAs. We discuss whether these predictions match with the outcome of studies where the effect of nutrients on herbivores and insects were measured. PA concentrations in S. jacobaea, S. vulgaris and S. aquaticus were mostly reduced by NPK fertilization, with genotype-specific effects occurring. Plant organs varied in their response to increased fertilization; PA concentrations in flowers remained constant, while shoot and roots were mostly negatively affected. Biomass change is probably largely responsible for the change in concentrations. Nutrients affect both the variety and the levels of PAs in the plant. The reduced PA concentrations after NPK fertilization was expected to benefit herbivores, but no or negative responses from insect herbivores were observed. Apparently other changes in the plant after fertilization are overriding the effect of PAs. Pathogens do seem to benefit from the lower PA concentrations after fertilization; they were more detrimental to fertilized plants than to unfertilized control plants. Future studies should include the effect of each element of nutrients separately and in combinations in order to gain more insight in the effect of specific nutrients on PA content in Senecio plants
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