Unicellular Organisms (unicellular + organism)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Structure, regulation and evolution of Nox-family NADPH oxidases that produce reactive oxygen species

FEBS JOURNAL, Issue 13 2008
Hideki Sumimoto
NADPH oxidases of the Nox family exist in various supergroups of eukaryotes but not in prokaryotes, and play crucial roles in a variety of biological processes, such as host defense, signal transduction, and hormone synthesis. In conjunction with NADPH oxidation, Nox enzymes reduce molecular oxygen to superoxide as a primary product, and this is further converted to various reactive oxygen species. The electron-transferring system in Nox is composed of the C-terminal cytoplasmic region homologous to the prokaryotic (and organelle) enzyme ferredoxin reductase and the N-terminal six transmembrane segments containing two hemes, a structure similar to that of cytochrome b of the mitochondrial bc1 complex. During the course of eukaryote evolution, Nox enzymes have developed regulatory mechanisms, depending on their functions, by inserting a regulatory domain (or motif) into their own sequences or by obtaining a tightly associated protein as a regulatory subunit. For example, one to four Ca2+ -binding EF-hand motifs are present at the N-termini in several subfamilies, such as the respiratory burst oxidase homolog (Rboh) subfamily in land plants (the supergroup Plantae), the NoxC subfamily in social amoebae (the Amoebozoa), and the Nox5 and dual oxidase (Duox) subfamilies in animals (the Opisthokonta), whereas an SH3 domain is inserted into the ferredoxin,NADP+ reductase region of two Nox enzymes in Naegleria gruberi, a unicellular organism that belongs to the supergroup Excavata. Members of the Nox1,4 subfamily in animals form a stable heterodimer with the membrane protein p22phox, which functions as a docking site for the SH3 domain-containing regulatory proteins p47phox, p67phox, and p40phox; the small GTPase Rac binds to p67phox (or its homologous protein), which serves as a switch for Nox activation. Similarly, Rac activates the fungal NoxA via binding to the p67phox -like protein Nox regulator (NoxR). In plants, on the other hand, this GTPase directly interacts with the N-terminus of Rboh, leading to superoxide production. Here I describe the regulation of Nox-family oxidases on the basis of three-dimensional structures and evolutionary conservation. [source]

Arsenic induces caspase- and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Li Du
Abstract In recent years, it has been shown that yeast, a unicellular organism, undergoes apoptosis in response to various factors. Here we demonstrate that the highly effective anticancer agent arsenic induces apoptotic process in yeast cells. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was observed in the process. Moreover, mitochondrial membrane potential decreased after arsenic treatment. Resistance of the rho0 mutant strain (lacking mtDNA) to arsenic provides further evidence that this death process involves mitochondria. In addition, hypersensitivity of ,sod1 to arsenic suggests the critical role of ROS. Cell death and DNA fragmentation decreased in a ,yca1 deletion mutant, indicating the participation of yeast caspase-1 protein in apoptosis. The implications of these findings for arsenic-induced apoptosis are discussed. [source]

Effects of isoflurane on measurements of delayed lumininescence in Acetabularia acetabulum

Wen Li Chen
Abstract The volatile halogenated methyl ethyl ether, isoflurane, used as an anaesthetic, inhibits actin-based dynamics directly or indirectly in animal cells. In plant cells, most intracellular movements are related to actin pathways. We have used isoflurane in a unicellular alga, Acetabularia acetabulum, to test the dynamics of choloroplast organization. By measuring the delayed luminescence, we found that isoflurane worked efficiently in the unicellular organism and showed dose- and time-course-dependent actin-inhibition patterns. When A. acetabulum was treated with saturated solutions of isoflurane in artificial seawater (defined as 100% isoflurane) for 3 or 6 min, the delayed luminescence (DL) was decreased and was never recovered. In contrast, if treated with 75% diluted isoflurane, the DL was firstly inhibited and then recovered several hours later, and if treated with 50% diluted isoflurane, the change of DL was small. Our work proved that isoflurane can affect actin-related pathways in both animals and plants. Copyright Š 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Assembly rules and community models for unicellular organisms: patterns in diatoms of boreal streams

Summary 1. Many studies have addressed either community models (e.g. Clementsian versus Gleasonian gradients) or assembly rules (e.g. nestedness, checkerboards) for higher plant and animal communities, but very few studies have examined different non-random distribution patterns simultaneously with the same data set. Even fewer studies have addressed generalities in the distribution patterns of unicellular organisms, such as diatoms. 2. We studied non-randomness in the spatial distribution and community composition of stream diatoms. Our data consisted of diatom surveys from 47 boreal headwater streams and small rivers in northern Finland. Our analytical approaches included ordinations, cluster analysis, null model analyses, and associated randomisation tests. 3. Stream diatom communities did not follow discrete Clementsian community types, where multiple species occur exclusively in a single community type. Rather, diatom species showed rather individualistic responses, leading to continuous Gleasonian variability in community composition. 4. Although continuous variability was the dominating pattern in the data, diatoms also showed significant nestedness and less overlap in species distribution than expected by chance. However, these patterns were probably only secondary signals from species' individualistic responses to the environment. 5. Although unicellular organisms, such as diatoms, differ from multicellular organisms in several biological characteristics, they nevertheless appear to show largely similar non-random distribution patterns previously found for higher plants and metazoans. [source]

The Biological Path to Reunification

GERMAN RESEARCH, Issue 2-3 2002
William Martin Prof.
The familiar form of the family tree is not applicable to all living organisms. Evolutionary history entails not only the divergence of lineages, but also mergers of distinct unicellular organisms (prokaryotes and protists) to form new cell types [source]

Life Cycle, Feeding and Production of Isoptena serricornis(Pictet, 1841) (Plecoptera, Chloroperlidae)

Abstract Some aspects of the biology and ecology (life cycle, feeding and production) of a population of Isoptena serricornis in the Rudava River (Slovakia) are studied, reported and discussed. The life cycle is annual, with slow growth in autumn-winter and fast growth in late summer and spring. The growth decreased two weeks before the Fall Equinox and increased two weeks after the Spring Equinox. The flight period spans from the end of May to the beginning of July. The presence of large sand particles in the gut of all studied nymphs is of note, and indicates that I. serricornis acts as a deposit-collector species. Nymphal food is principally composed of detritus, unicellular organisms and, in nymphs of intermediate or large size, Chironomidae larvae. Adult food is composed fundamentally of different types of pollen grains. Males usually have lower food content than females. Annual production of this species (,694,750 mg ˇ m,2) is very high in relation to other previously studied Chloroperlidae. This is probably largely responsible for I. serricornis being one of the most abundant components of the macroinvertebrate community in its habitat in the Rudava River. A negative correlation between production and temperature was observed. [source]

Atomic force microscopy study of living diatoms in ambient conditions

I. C. Gebeshuber
Summary We present the first in vivo study of diatoms using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Three chain-forming, benthic freshwater species ,Eunotia sudetica, Navicula seminulum and a yet unidentified species , are directly imaged while growing on glass slides. Using the AFM, we imaged the topography of the diatom frustules at the nanometre range scale and we determined the thickness of the organic case enveloping the siliceous skeleton of the cell (10 nm). Imaging proved to be stable for several hours, thereby offering the possibility to study long-term dynamic changes, such as biomineralization or cell movement, as they occur. We also focused on the natural adhesives produced by these unicellular organisms to adhere to other cells or the substratum. Most man-made adhesives fail in wet conditions, owing to chemical modification of the adhesive or its substrate. Diatoms produce adhesives that are extremely strong and robust both in fresh- and in seawater environments. Our phase-imaging and force-pulling experiments reveal the characteristics of these natural adhesives that might be of use in designing man-made analogues that function in wet environments. Engineering stable underwater adhesives currently poses a major technical challenge. [source]

Multicellular-like compartmentalization of cytoplast in fossil larger foraminifera

LETHAIA, Issue 2 2002
Foraminifera are usually between 0.1 and 1 mm in size, thus falling within the range of the largest eukaryotic cells. However, some fossil and extant foraminiferal species reach diameters of more than 100 mm. One hypothesis of how these gigantic sizes could have been attained by these unicellular organisms is the temporary compartmentalization of cytoplasm into smaller volumes of effective metabolism, as reported for several recent species. Evidence of this phenomenon is shown in fossil genera of larger foraminifera belonging to five families of Cretaceous to Oligocene age. Alternative interpretations are discussed. [source]

Cathepsin L occupies a vacuolar compartment and is a protein maturase within the endo/exocytic system of Toxoplasma gondii

Fabiola Parussini
Summary Regulated exocytosis allows the timely delivery of proteins and other macromolecules precisely when they are needed to fulfil their functions. The intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii has one of the most extensive regulated exocytic systems among all unicellular organisms, yet the basis of protein trafficking and proteolytic modification in this system is poorly understood. We demonstrate that a parasite cathepsin protease, TgCPL, occupies a newly recognized vacuolar compartment (VAC) that undergoes dynamic fragmentation during T. gondii replication. We also provide evidence that within the VAC or late endosome this protease mediates the proteolytic maturation of proproteins targeted to micronemes, regulated secretory organelles that deliver adhesive proteins to the parasite surface during cell invasion. Our findings suggest that processing of microneme precursors occurs within intermediate endocytic compartments within the exocytic system, indicating an extensive convergence of the endocytic and exocytic pathways in this human parasite. [source]

New food sources of essential trace elements produced by biotechnology facilities

Vladimir K. Mazo
Abstract Population satiety with trace elements (TE) is a problem that is widely discussed in nutrition science. For optimal nutrition, the form of TE eaten in food is very important. Organic forms of TE in nutrition are appropriate as human metabolism has adapted to these kinds of nutrients during species evolution. This is now considered a reason for the beneficial use of biotechnologically produced TE sources in human food. Advanced matrixes for TE incorporation are unicellular organisms such as yeast, lactobacilli and Spirulina. Addition of inorganic salts at certain concentrations into cultivation media enables the mineral ions to incorporate into the microbial biomass. As a consequence, the biomass becomes enriched with organic forms of incorporated TE, which are presented by their complexes with amino acids, proteins and probably lipids and polysaccharides. In addition, a new direction of research has made good advances, in which technology has been developed for production of organic forms of TE through complex formation between transition metals (zinc, copper, manganese, chromium, iron) with amino acids and peptides formed during enzymatic hydrolysis of food protein. This brief review discusses the results demonstrating the advances in the biotechnological production of new TE sources, to obtain food components destined for wide prophylaxis of TE deficiency or for dietary treatment of the adverse consequences of these deficiencies. [source]