(1/5680) A survey of serum and dietary carotenoids in captive wild animals.

Accumulation of carotenoids varies greatly among animal species and is not fully characterized. Circulating carotenoid concentration data in captive wild animals are limited and may be useful for their management. Serum carotenoid concentrations and dietary intakes were surveyed and the extent of accumulation categorized for 76 species of captive wild animals at Brookfield Zoo. Blood samples were obtained opportunistically from 275 individual animals immobilized for a variety of reasons; serum was analyzed for alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein + zeaxanthin, lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin and canthaxanthin. Total carotenoid content of diets was calculated from tables and chemical analyses of commonly consumed dietary components. Diets were categorized as low, moderate or high in carotenoid content as were total serum carotenoid concentrations. Animals were classified as unknown, high, moderate or low (non-) accumulators of dietary cartenoids. Nonaccumulators had total serum carotenoid concentrations of 0-101 nmol/L, whereas accumulators had concentrations that ranged widely, from 225 to 35,351 nmol/L. Primates were uniquely distinguished by the widest range of type and concentration of carotenoids in their sera. Most were classified as high to moderate accumulators. Felids had high accumulation of beta-carotene regardless of dietary intake, whereas a wide range of exotic birds accumulated only the xanthophylls, lutein + zeaxanthin, canthaxanthin or cryptoxanthin. The exotic ungulates, with the exception of the bovids, had negligible or nondetectable carotenoid serum concentrations despite moderate intakes. Bovids accumulated only beta-carotene despite moderately high lutein + zeaxanthin intakes. Wild captive species demonstrated a wide variety of carotenoid accumulation patterns, which could be exploited to answer remaining questions concerning carotenoid metabolism and function.  (+info)

(2/5680) Evidence for a correlation between the number of marginal band microtubules and the size of vertebrate erthrocytes.

In 23 species of vertebrates the dimensions of erythrocytes and the number of their marginal band microtubules were examined. A positive correlation was found between the size of erythrocytes and the number of microtubules. The absence of microtubules in diskoid erythrocytes of mammals-Camelidae-is discussed.  (+info)

(3/5680) Isolation of novel GRO genes and a phylogenetic analysis of the CXC chemokine subfamily in mammals.

Approximately 15 different alpha, or CXC, chemokines have thus far been isolated from 11 species of mammals. Among the best studied chemokines are the 12 human proteins that are encoded by 11 paralogous genes. In order to better understand the evolution and function of this group of genes, we isolated and characterized six novel GRO and GRO-related cDNA sequences from the cow (Bos taurus), the sheep (Ovis aries), the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), and the guinea pig (Cavia porcellus). The amino acid sequence of the diverged guinea pig GRO or KC gene is only 50%-60% similar to presumed orthologs from other species, while the sheep and cow GRO proteins are 90%-99% similar to each other. The presence of multiple GRO genes in the cow, the rabbit, and the sheep is consistent with what has been observed for humans. Phylogenetic analyses of amino acid sequences from 44 proteins indicate that genes orthologous to many of the 11 known from humans exist in other species. One such gene, interleukin 8, or IL8, has been isolated from nine species, including the rodent guinea pig; however, this gene is absent in the rat and the mouse, indicating a unique gene loss event in the rat/mouse (muroid rodent) lineage. The KC (or MIP2) gene of rodents appears to be orthologous to the GRO gene found in other taxonomic orders. Combined evidence from different sources suggests that IP10 and MIG share sister taxon relationships on the evolutionary tree, while the remaining paralogous genes represent independent lineages, with limited evidence for kinship between them. This observation indicates that these genes originated nearly contemporaneously via a series of gene duplication events. Relative-rate tests for synonymous and nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions in the KC and IL8 genes did not detect rate heterogeneity; however, there are several notable features regarding the IL8 genes. For example, the IL8 proteins from two Old World monkeys are as similar to one another as they are to the IL8 protein from humans, and all observed nucleotide differences between the IL8 genes of the two monkeys cause amino acid changes; in other words, there are no synonymous differences between them.  (+info)

(4/5680) Evolutionary and preservational constraints on origins of biologic groups: divergence times of eutherian mammals.

Some molecular clock estimates of divergence times of taxonomic groups undergoing evolutionary radiation are much older than the groups' first observed fossil record. Mathematical models of branching evolution are used to estimate the maximal rate of fossil preservation consistent with a postulated missing history, given the sum of species durations implied by early origins under a range of species origination and extinction rates. The plausibility of postulated divergence times depends on origination, extinction, and preservation rates estimated from the fossil record. For eutherian mammals, this approach suggests that it is unlikely that many modern orders arose much earlier than their oldest fossil records.  (+info)

(5/5680) Sequence analysis of cDNA and genomic DNA, and mRNA expression of the medaka fish homolog of mammalian guanylyl cyclase C.

We isolated the cDNA and genomic DNA encoding a membrane guanylyl cyclase of medaka fish (designated as OlGC6), and determined their complete nucleotide sequences. The open reading frame for OlGC6 cDNA predicted a protein of 1,075 amino acids. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that OlGC6 is a member of the enterotoxin/guanylin receptor family. We also determined the partial genomic structure of the gene of another membrane guanylyl cyclase of medaka fish, OlGC2, which is a member of the natriuretic peptide receptor family. The intron positions relative to the protein-coding sequence are highly conserved in the intracellular domains of OlGC6, OlGC2, mammalian GC-A, and GC-E. Despite their divergent primary structures, some intron positions also seem to be conserved in the extracellular domains of different membrane guanylyl cyclase genes. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that an OlGC6 transcript of 3.9 kb is only present in the intestine, while reverse transcription (RT)-PCR analysis demonstrated that the OlGC6 transcript is present in the kidney, spleen, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, ovary, testis, brain, and eye. RT-PCR also demonstrated that OlGC6 is only expressed zygotically and that transcripts are present from 1 day after fertilization, i.e. long before the intestinal tissues begin to develop.  (+info)

(6/5680) Differences in the actions of some blockers of the calcium-activated potassium permeability in mammalian red cells.

1. The actions of some inhibitors of the Ca2+-activated K+ permeability in mammalian red cells have been compared. 2. Block of the permeability was assessed from the reduction in the net loss of K+ that followed the application of the Ca2+ ionophore A23187 (2 microM) to rabbit red cells suspended at a haematocrit of 1% in a low potassium solution ([K]0 0.12-0.17 mM) at 37 degrees C. Net movement of K+ was measured using a K+-sensitive electrode placed in the suspension. 3. The concentrations (microM +/- s.d.) of the compounds tested causing 50% inhibition of K+ loss were: quinine, 37 +/- 3; cetiedil, 26 +/- 1; the cetiedil congeners UCL 1269, UCL 1274 and UCL 1495, approximately 150, 8.2 +/- 0.1, 0.92 +/- 0.03 respectively; clotrimazole, 1.2 +/- 0.1; nitrendipine, 3.6 +/- 0.5 and charybdotoxin, 0.015 +/- 0.002. 4. The characteristics of the block suggested that compounds could be placed in two groups. For one set (quinine, cetiedil, and the UCL congeners), the concentration-inhibition curves were steeper (Hill coefficient, nH, > or = 2.7) than for the other (clotrimazole, nitrendipine, charybdotoxin) for which nH approximately 1. 5. Compounds in the first set alone became less active on raising the concentration of K+ in the external solution to 5.4 mM. 6. The rate of K+ loss induced by A23187 slowed in the presence of high concentrations of cetiedil and its analogues, suggesting a use-dependent component to the inhibitory action. This was not seen with clotrimazole. 7. The blocking action of the cetiedil analogue UCL 1274 could not be overcome by an increase in external Ca2+ and its potency was unaltered when K+ loss was induced by the application of Pb2+ (10 microM) rather than by A23187. 8. These results, taken with the findings of others, suggest that agents that block the red cell Ca2+-activated K+ permeability can be placed in two groups with different mechanisms of action. The differences can be explained by supposing that clotrimazole and charybdotoxin act at the outer face of the channel whereas cetiedil and its congeners may block within it, either at or near the K+ binding site that determines the flow of K+.  (+info)

(7/5680) Proteasome-dependent degradation of the human estrogen receptor.

In eukaryotic cells, the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway is the major mechanism for the targeted degradation of proteins with short half-lives. The covalent attachment of ubiquitin to lysine residues of targeted proteins is a signal for the recognition and rapid degradation by the proteasome, a large multi-subunit protease. In this report, we demonstrate that the human estrogen receptor (ER) protein is rapidly degraded in mammalian cells in an estradiol-dependent manner. The treatment of mammalian cells with the proteasome inhibitor MG132 inhibits activity of the proteasome and blocks ER degradation, suggesting that ER protein is turned over through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. In addition, we show that in vitro ER degradation depends on ubiquitin-activating E1 enzyme (UBA) and ubiquitin-conjugating E2 enzymes (UBCs), and the proteasome inhibitors MG132 and lactacystin block ER protein degradation in vitro. Furthermore, the UBA/UBCs and proteasome inhibitors promote the accumulation of higher molecular weight forms of ER. The UBA and UBCs, which promote ER degradation in vitro, have no significant effect on human progesterone receptor and human thyroid hormone receptor beta proteins.  (+info)

(8/5680) tRNAVal-heterodimeric maxizymes with high potential as geneinactivating agents: simultaneous cleavage at two sites in HIV-1 Tat mRNA in cultured cells.

It has been demonstrated that shortened forms of (stem II-deleted) hammerhead ribozymes with low intrinsic activity form very active dimers with a common stem II (very active short ribozymes capable of forming dimers were designated maxizymes). Intracellular activities of heterodimeric maxizymes and conventional ribozymes, under the control of a human tRNAVal-promoter, were compared against the cleavage of HIV-1 tat mRNA. The pol III-driven maxizymes formed very active heterodimers, and they successfully cleaved HIV-1 tat mRNA in mammalian cells at two sites simultaneously. The cleaved fragments were identified directly by Northern blotting analysis. Despite the initial concerns that a complicated dimerization process and formation of inactive homodimers were involved in addition to the process of association with the target, the overall intracellular activities of tRNAVal-driven maxizymes were significantly higher in mammalian cells than those of two sets of independent, conventional hammerhead ribozymes that were targeted at the same two sites within HIV-1 tat mRNA. Because the tRNAVal-driven maxizymes tested to date have been more effective than tRNAVal-driven "standard" hammerhead ribozymes, the tRNAVal-driven heterodimeric maxizymes appear to have potential utility as gene-inactivating agents.  (+info)