Vertebrate Systems (vertebrate + system)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Targeted gene expression by the Gal4-UAS system in zebrafish

Kazuhide Asakawa
Targeted gene expression by the Gal4-UAS system is a powerful methodology for analyzing function of genes and cells in vivo and has been extensively used in genetic studies in Drosophila. On the other hand, the Gal4-UAS system had not been applied effectively to vertebrate systems for a long time mainly due to the lack of an efficient transgenesis method. Recently, a highly efficient transgenesis method using the medaka fish Tol2 transposable element was developed in zebrafish. Taking advantage of the Tol2 transposon system, we and other groups developed the Gal4 gene trap and enhancer trap methods and established various transgenic fish expressing Gal4 in specific cells. By crossing such Gal4 lines with transgenic fish lines harboring various reporter genes and effector genes downstream of UAS (upstream activating sequence), specific cells can be visualized and manipulated in vivo by targeted gene expression. Thus, the Gal4 gene trap and enhancer trap approaches together with various UAS lines should be important tools for investigating roles of genes and cells in vertebrates. [source]

Mechanisms of Hedgehog gradient formation and interpretation

Carlos Torroja
Abstract Morphogens are molecules that spread from localized sites of production, specifying distinct cell outcomes at different concentrations. Members of the Hedgehog (Hh) family of signaling molecules act as morphogens in different developmental systems. If we are to understand how Hh elicits multiple responses in a temporally and spatially specific manner, the molecular mechanism of Hh gradient formation needs to be established. Moreover, understanding the mechanisms of Hh signaling is a central issue in biology, not only because of the role of Hh in morphogenesis, but also because of its involvement in a wide range of human diseases. Here, we review the mechanisms affecting the dynamics of Hh gradient formation, mostly in the context of Drosophila wing development, although parallel findings in vertebrate systems are also discussed. 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Neurobiol 64: 334,356, 2005 [source]

State-dependency in C. elegans

J. C. Bettinger
Memory and the expression of learned behaviors by an organism are often triggered by contextual cues that resemble those that were present when the initial learning occurred. In state-dependent learning, the cue eliciting a learned behavior is a neuroactive drug; behaviors initially learned during exposure to centrally acting compounds such as ethanol are subsequently recalled better if the drug stimulus is again present during testing. Although state-dependent learning is well documented in many vertebrate systems, the molecular mechanisms underlying state-dependent learning and other forms of contextual learning are not understood. Here we demonstrate and present a genetic analysis of state- dependent adaptation in Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans normally exhibits adaptation, or reduced behavioral response, to an olfactory stimulus after prior exposure to the stimulus. If the adaptation to the olfactory stimulus is acquired during ethanol administration, the adaptation is subsequently displayed only if the ethanol stimulus is again present. cat-1 and cat-2 mutant animals are defective in dopaminergic neuron signaling and are impaired in state dependency, indicating that dopamine functions in state-dependent adaptation in C. elegans. [source]

Matrix models for a changeable world: the importance of transient dynamics in population management

Thomas H. G. Ezard
Summary 1.,Matrix population models are tools for elucidating the association between demographic processes and population dynamics. A large amount of useful theory pivots on the assumption of equilibrium dynamics. The preceding transient is, however, of genuine conservation concern as it encompasses the short-term impact of natural or anthropogenic disturbance on the population. 2.,We review recent theoretical advances in deterministic transient analysis of matrix projection models, considering how disturbance can alter population dynamics by provoking a new population trajectory. 3.,We illustrate these impacts using plant and vertebrate systems across contiguous and fragmented landscapes. 4.,Short-term responses are of fundamental relevance for applied ecology, because the time-scale of transient effects is often similar to the length of many conservation projects. Investigation of the immediate, post-disturbance phase is vital for understanding how population processes respond to widespread disturbance in the short- and into the long term. 5.,Synthesis and applications.,Transient analysis is critical for understanding and predicting the consequences of management activities. By considering short-term population responses to perturbations, especially in long-lived species, managers can develop more informed strategies for species harvesting or controlling of invasive species. [source]

Structural and biochemical advances in mammalian RNAi

Robert E. Collins
Abstract RNAi is a collection of processes mediated by small RNAs that silence gene expression in a sequence-specific manner. Studies of processes as divergent as post-transcriptional gene silencing, transcriptional silencing through RNA-directed DNA methylation, or heterochromatin formation, and even RNA-guided DNA elimination have converged on a core pathway. This review will highlight recent structural and mechanistic studies illustrating siRNA and miRNA processing, RISC formation, the execution of RNAi by RISC, and the regulation of these pathways, with a specific focus on vertebrate systems. J. Cell. Biochem. 99: 1251,1266, 2006. 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Conservation genetics of the endangered depressed river mussel, Pseudanodonta complanata, using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers

Richard Skidmore
Abstract 1.Genetic analysis is increasingly recognized as a key tool for understanding demography, and is particularly useful for describing patterns of gene flow between putative populations. Most effort has been directed towards vertebrate systems, where any one study often benefits from marker development in related species. The greater diversity of invertebrate taxa presents a challenge, but amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers offer a solution, yielding high levels of polymorphism and no prior knowledge of a species' genome. 2.AFLP markers have been used to analyse an unusual metapopulation of an invertebrate, the endangered freshwater mussel, Pseudanodonta complanata, sampled from river systems across the UK. This was done to assess the extent to which individual river systems were genetically isolated from one another. 3.The results show patterns of weak genetic differentiation across the UK, with one hydrologically isolated population in the south west showing clear genetic differentiation from the rest of the country. However, the UK population as a whole exhibits significant isolation by distance, particularly when one population subject to fish stocking is removed, this population probably being seeded with mussel glochidia larvae which use fish as vectors. Genetic estimates of inbreeding reveal a complicated pattern in which inbreeding peaks at intermediate densities. High-density populations may be genetically diverse due to their size, while the lowest density populations may represent transient groups of emigrants from other, larger populations. 4.The findings show that limited gene flow does exist between some but not all river systems. The isolation of the south-west population indicates that dispersal is variable and should not be assumed to be present. Waterways that remain hydrologically isolated may require special attention in conservation programmes as they can harbour genetically distinct populations. The balance between river management activities and conservation priorities therefore needs careful consideration. Copyright 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]