Channeling of carbamoyl phosphate to the pyrimidine and arginine biosynthetic pathways in the deep sea hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus abyssi.
The kinetics of the coupled reactions between carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase (CPSase) and both aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) and ornithine transcarbamoylase (OTCase) from the deep sea hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus abyssi demonstrate the existence of carbamoyl phosphate channeling in both the pyrimidine and arginine biosynthetic pathways. Isotopic dilution experiments and coupled reaction kinetics analyzed within the context of the formalism proposed by Ovadi et al. (Ovadi, J., Tompa, P., Vertessy, B., Orosz, F., Keleti, T., and Welch, G. R. (1989) Biochem. J. 257, 187-190) are consistent with a partial channeling of the intermediate at 37 degrees C, but channeling efficiency increases dramatically at elevated temperatures. There is no preferential partitioning of carbamoyl phosphate between the arginine and pyrimidine biosynthetic pathways. Gel filtration chromatography at high and low temperature and in the presence and absence of substrates did not reveal stable complexes between P. abyssi CPSase and either ATCase or OTCase. Thus, channeling must occur during the dynamic association of coupled enzymes pairs. The interaction of CPSase-ATCase was further demonstrated by the unexpectedly weak inhibition of the coupled reaction by the bisubstrate analog, N-(phosphonacetyl)-L-aspartate (PALA). The anomalous effect of PALA suggests that, in the coupled reaction, the effective concentration of carbamoyl phosphate in the vicinity of the ATCase active site is 96-fold higher than the concentration in the bulk phase. Channeling probably plays an essential role in protecting this very unstable intermediate of metabolic pathways performing at extreme temperatures. (+info)
Sex-biased dispersal in sperm whales: contrasting mitochondrial and nuclear genetic structure of global populations.
The social organization of most mammals is characterized by female philopatry and male dispersal. Such sex-biased dispersal can cause the genetic structure of populations to differ between the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the bi-parental nuclear genome. Here we report on the global genetic structure of oceanic populations of the sperm whale, one of the most widely distributed mammalian species. Groups of females and juveniles are mainly found at low latitudes, while males reach polar waters, returning to tropical and subtropical waters to breed. In comparisons between oceans, we did not find significant heterogeneity in allele frequencies of microsatellite loci (exact test; p = 0.23). Estimates of GST = 0.001 and RST = 0.005 also indicated negligible if any nuclear DNA differentiation. We have previously reported significant differentiation between oceans in mtDNA sequences. These contrasting patterns suggest that interoceanic movements have been more prevalent among males than among females, consistent with observations of females being the philopatric sex and having a more limited latitudinal distribution than males. Consequently, the typical mammalian dispersal pattern may have operated on a global scale in sperm whales. (+info)
RecD function is required for high-pressure growth of a deep-sea bacterium.
A genomic library derived from the deep-sea bacterium Photobacterium profundum SS9 was conjugally delivered into a previously isolated pressure-sensitive SS9 mutant, designated EC1002 (E. Chi and D. H. Bartlett, J. Bacteriol. 175:7533-7540, 1993), and exconjugants were screened for the ability to grow at 280-atm hydrostatic pressure. Several clones were identified that had restored high-pressure growth. The complementing DNA was localized and in all cases found to possess strong homology to recD, a DNA recombination and repair gene. EC1002 was found to be deficient in plasmid stability, a phenotype also seen in Escherichia coli recD mutants. The defect in EC1002 was localized to a point mutation that created a stop codon within the recD gene. Two additional recD mutants were constructed by gene disruption and were both found to possess a pressure-sensitive growth phenotype, although the magnitude of the defect depended on the extent of 3' truncation of the recD coding sequence. Surprisingly, the introduction of the SS9 recD gene into an E. coli recD mutant had two dramatic effects. At high pressure, SS9 recD enabled growth in the E. coli mutant strain under conditions of plasmid antibiotic resistance selection and prevented cell filamentation. Both of these effects were recessive to wild-type E. coli recD. These results suggest that the SS9 recD gene plays an essential role in SS9 growth at high pressure and that it may be possible to identify additional aspects of RecD function through the characterization of this activity. (+info)
Bacillus marismortui sp. nov., a new moderately halophilic species from the Dead Sea.
A group of 91 moderately halophilic, Gram-positive, rod-shaped strains were isolated from enrichments prepared from Dead Sea water samples collected 57 years ago. These strains were examined for 117 morphological, physiological, biochemical, nutritional and antibiotic susceptibility characteristics. All strains formed endospores and were motile, strictly aerobic and positive for catalase and oxidase. They grew in media containing 5-25% (w/v) total salts, showing optimal growth at 10% (w/v). Eighteen strains were chosen as representative isolates and were studied in more detail. All these strains had mesodiaminopimelic acid in the cell wall and a DNA G + C content of 39.0-42.8 mol%; they constitute a group with levels of DNA-DNA similarity of 70-100%. The sequences of the 16S rRNA genes of three representative strains (strains 123T, 557 and 832) were almost identical (99.9%), and placed the strains in the low G + C content Gram-positive bacteria. On the basis of their features, these isolates should be regarded as members of a new species of the genus Bacillus, for which the name Bacillus marismortui sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is strain 123T (= DSM 12325T = ATCC 700626T = CIP 105609T = CECT 5066T). (+info)
Climate and satellite indicators to forecast Rift Valley fever epidemics in Kenya.
All known Rift Valley fever virus outbreaks in East Africa from 1950 to May 1998, and probably earlier, followed periods of abnormally high rainfall. Analysis of this record and Pacific and Indian Ocean sea surface temperature anomalies, coupled with satellite normalized difference vegetation index data, shows that prediction of Rift Valley fever outbreaks may be made up to 5 months in advance of outbreaks in East Africa. Concurrent near-real-time monitoring with satellite normalized difference vegetation data may identify actual affected areas. (+info)
The diving physiology of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). I. Balancing the demands of exercise for energy conservation at depth.
During diving, marine mammals must rely on the efficient utilization of a limited oxygen reserve sequestered in the lungs, blood and muscles. To determine the effects of exercise and apnea on the use of these reserves, we examined the physiological responses of adult bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) trained to breath-hold on the water surface or to dive to submerged targets at depths between 60 and 210 m. Changes in blood lactate levels, in partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide and in heart rate were assessed while the dolphins performed sedentary breath-holds. The effects of exercise on breath-hold capacity were examined by measuring heart rate and post-dive respiration rate and blood lactate concentration for dolphins diving in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. Ascent and descent rates, stroke frequency and swimming patterns were monitored during the dives. The results showed that lactate concentration was 1.1+/-0.1 mmol l(-1) at rest and increased non-linearly with the duration of the sedentary breath-hold or dive. Lactate concentration was consistently higher for the diving animals at all comparable periods of apnea. Breakpoints in plots of lactate concentration and blood gas levels against breath-hold duration (P(O2), P(CO2)) for sedentary breath-holding dolphins occurred between 200 and 240 s. In comparison, the calculated aerobic dive limit for adult dolphins was 268 s. Descent and ascent rates ranged from 1.5 to 2.5 m s(-1) during 210 m dives and were often outside the predicted range for swimming at low energetic cost. Rather than constant propulsion, diving dolphins used interrupted modes of swimming, with more than 75 % of the final ascent spent gliding. Physiological and behavioral measurements from this study indicate that superimposing swimming exercise on apnea was energetically costly for the diving dolphin but was circumvented in part by modifying the mode of swimming. (+info)
Bacterial swimming strategies and turbulence.
Most bacteria in the ocean can be motile. Chemotaxis allows bacteria to detect nutrient gradients, and hence motility is believed to serve as a method of approaching sources of food. This picture is well established in a stagnant environment. In the ocean a shear microenvironment is associated with turbulence. This shear flow prevents clustering of bacteria around local nutrient sources if they swim in the commonly assumed "run-and-tumble" strategy. Recent observations, however, indicate a "back-and-forth" swimming behavior for marine bacteria. In a theoretical study we compare the two bacterial swimming strategies in a realistic ocean environment. The "back-and-forth" strategy is found to enable the bacteria to stay close to a nutrient source even under high shear. Furthermore, rotational diffusion driven by thermal noise can significantly enhance the efficiency of this strategy. The superiority of the "back-and-forth" strategy suggests that bacterial motility has a control function rather than an approach function under turbulent conditions. (+info)
Are there mechanical limits to size in wave-swept organisms?
Hydrodynamic forces imposed by ocean waves are thought to limit the size of nearshore plants and animals, but it has proved difficult to determine the mechanism. Explanations based on the scaling mismatch between hydrodynamic accelerational forces and the strength of organisms do not work. Mechanisms that incorporate the allometry of drag and strength accurately predict the maximal size of intertidal algae but not of animals, and internally imposed inertial forces may explain the limits to size in large kelps. The general question of size in wave-swept organisms remains open and intriguing. (+info)