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1404 Publications

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    03/27/97 | The evolution of sociality in aphids: a clone’s-eye view
    David L. Stern , William A. Foster
    The evolution of social behavior in insects and arachnids.. 03/1997:150-165. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511721953.008

    A number of aphid species produce individuals, termed soldiers, that defend the colony by attacking predators. Soldiers have either reduced or zero direct reproductive fitness. Their behavior is therefore altruistic in the classical sense: an individual is behaving in a way that incurs reproductive costs on itself and confers reproductive benefits on another. However, comparison with the better–known eusocial insects (Hymenoptera, Isoptera) indicates that there are important differences between clonal and sexual social animals.

    Here we take a clone's–eye view and conclude that many facets of aphid sociality are best thought of in terms of resource allocation: for example, the choice between investment in defense and reproduction. This view considerably simplifies some aspects of the problem and highlights the qualitatively different nature of genetic heterogeneity in colonies of aphids and of other social insects. In sexually reproducing social insects, each individual usually has a different genome, which leads to genetic conflicts of interest between individuals. In social aphids, all members of a clone have identical genomes, barring new mutations, and there should be no disagreement among clonemates about investment decisions. Genetic heterogeneity within colonies can arise, but principally through clonal mixing, and this means that investment decisions will vary between different clones rather than among all individuals.

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    03/20/97 | Action potential initiation and backpropagation in neurons of the mammalian CNS.
    Stuart G, Spruston N, Sakmann B, Häusser M
    Trends Neurosci. 1997 Mar;20(3):125-31

    Most neurons in the mammalian CNS encode and transmit information via action potentials. Knowledge of where these electrical events are initiated and how they propagate within neurons is therefore fundamental to an understanding of neuronal function. While work from the 1950s suggested that action potentials are initiated in the axon, many subsequent investigations have suggested that action potentials can also be initiated in the dendrites. Recently, experiments using simultaneous patch-pipette recordings from different locations on the same neuron have been used to address this issue directly. These studies show that the site of action potential initiation is in the axon, even when synaptic activation is powerful enough to elicit dendritic electrogenesis. Furthermore, these and other studies also show that following initiation, action potentials actively backpropagate into the dendrites of many neuronal types, providing a retrograde signal of neuronal output to the dendritic tree.

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    03/01/97 | RNase MRP correctly cleaves a novel R loop at the mitochondrial DNA leading-strand origin of replication.
    Clayton DA, Lee DY
    Genes & Development. 1997 Mar;11(5):582-92

    The precursor primer RNA for mammalian mitochondrial DNA leading-strand replication remains as a persistent R loop formed during transcription through the mitochondrial DNA control region. We have examined model R loops, which exist in a novel and physiologically accurate preprimer conformation, as potential substrates for mammalian RNase mitochondrial RNA processing (MRP). Mouse RNase MRP accurately cleaves an R loop containing the mouse mitochondrial DNA origin. The multiple cleavage sites on the R-loop substrate match the priming sites observed in vivo, suggesting that RNase MRP alone is capable of generating virtually all of the leading-strand replication primers.

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    01/01/97 | Determining aphid taxonomic affinities and life cycles with molecular data: a case study of the tribe Cerataphidini (Hormaphididae: Aphidoidea: Hemiptera)
    David Stern , Shigeyuki Aoki , Shigeyuki Kurosu
    Systematic Entomology. 01/1997;22(1):81-96. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3113.1997.d01-20.x

    Aphid taxonomy is often frustrated by the host alternation and extensive polyphenism displayed by many species. Here we examine the utility of using molecular data to assist in life cycle and taxonomic determination. We found that a relatively small amount of DNA sequence data can greatly assist in these tasks. Molecular data have identified the synonymy of five species: Tuberaphis plicator (Noordam) is a junior synonym of T.takenouchii (Takahashi), T.taiwana (Takahashi) is a junior synonym of T.coreana Takahashi, Hamiltonaphis styraci (Matsumura) is transferred to Tuberaphis Takahashi, Astegopteryx roepkei Hille Ris Lambers is transferred to Ceratoglyphina van der Goot, and A.vandermeermohri Hille Ris Lambers is transferred to Cerataphis Lichtenstein. We have elucidated the complete life cycles of five species: A.basalis (van der Goot) alternates between Styrax benzoin and bamboos, Ceratoglyphina bambusae van der Goot alternates between S.benzoin and bamboos, Pseudoregma sundanica (van der Goot) alternates between S.paralleloneura and Zingiberaceae, T.coreana alternates between S.formosana and Loranthaceae, and T.takenouchii alternates between S.japonica and Loranthaceae. In all cases the molecular data agreed with available morphological data. This analysis demonstrates the utility of DNA sequence comparisons for elucidating complex life cycles and the taxonomy of difficult insect groups.

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    01/01/97 | Retinal morphogenesis in Drosophila: hints from an eye-specific decapentaplegic allele.
    Chanut F, Heberlein U
    Developmental Genetics. 1997;20(3):197-207. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6408(1997)20:3<197::AID-DVG3>3.0.CO;2-2

    Decapentaplegic (dpp) regulates many aspects of imaginal disc growth and patterning in Drosophila. We have analyzed the phenotype of an eye-specific dpp allele, dppblk, which causes a reduction in the size of the retina due to a loss of ventral ommatidia. Prior to the onset of differentiation, dppblk eye discs are normal regarding size, shape, and ability to express dorsal and ventral markers. However, expression of a dpp-lacZ reporter is reduced at the ventral margin. Additional dorsoventral asymmetry appears during retinal differentiation: the morphogenetic furrow (MF) initiates normally at the posterior tip of the disc, but fails to propagate into the ventral epithelium. This defect can be rescued by increasing dpp expression along the ventral margin by local removal of patched function. We propose that the primary defect in dppblk is an inability to activate dpp expression properly at the ventral margin. This has two consequences: it prevents initiation from the ventral margin, and it renders the ventral epithelium unresponsive to differentiation signals emanating from the MF.

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    Morphogenesis in the Drosophila retina initiates at the posterior margin of the eye imaginal disc by an unknown mechanism. Upon initiation, a wave of differentiation, its forward edge marked by the morphogenetic furrow (MF), proceeds anteriorly across the disc. Progression of the MF is driven by hedgehog (hh), expressed by differentiating photoreceptor cells. The TGF-beta homolog encoded by decapentaplegic (dpp) is expressed at the disc's posterior margin prior to initiation and in the furrow, under the control of hh, during MF progression. While dpp has been implicated in eye disc growth and morphogenesis, its precise role in retinal differentiation has not been determined. To address the role of dpp in initiation and progression of retinal differentiation we analyzed the consequences of reduced and increased dpp function during eye development. We find that dpp is not only required for normal MF initiation, but is sufficient to induce ectopic initiation of differentiation. Inappropriate initiation is normally inhibited by wingless (wg). Loss of dpp function is accompanied by expansion of wg expression, while increased dpp function leads to loss of wg transcription. In addition, dpp is required to maintain, and sufficient to induce, its own expression along the disc's margins. We postulate that dpp autoregulation and dpp-mediated inhibition of wg expression are required for the coordinated regulation of furrow initiation and progression. Finally, we show that in the later stages of retinal differentiation, reduction of dpp function leads to an arrest in MF progression.

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    Baker Lab
    12/13/96 | Control of male sexual behavior and sexual orientation in Drosophila by the fruitless gene.
    Baker B, Ryner L, Goodwin S, Castrillon D, Anand A, Villella A, Hall J, Taylor B, Wasserman S
    Cell. 1996 Dec 13;87(6):1079-89

    Sexual orientation and courtship behavior in Drosophila are regulated by fruitless (fru), the first gene in a branch of the sex-determination hierarchy functioning specifically in the central nervous system (CNS). The phenotypes of new fru mutants encompass nearly all aspects of male sexual behavior. Alternative splicing of fru transcripts produces sex-specific proteins belonging to the BTB-ZF family of transcriptional regulators. The sex-specific fru products are produced in only about 500 of the 10(5) neurons that comprise the CNS. The properties of neurons expressing these fru products suggest that fru specifies the fates or activities of neurons that carry out higher order control functions to elicit and coordinate the activities comprising male courtship behavior.

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    12/01/96 | GFP tagging of budding yeast chromosomes reveals that protein-protein interactions can mediate sister chromatid cohesion.
    Straight AF, Belmont AS, Robinett CC, Murray AW
    Current Biology. 1996 Dec 1;6(12):1599-608

    Precise control of sister chromatid separation is essential for the accurate transmission of genetic information. Sister chromatids must remain linked to each other from the time of DNA replication until the onset of chromosome segregation, when the linkage must be promptly dissolved. Recent studies suggest that the machinery that is responsible for the destruction of mitotic cyclins also degrades proteins that play a role in maintaining sister chromatid linkage, and that this machinery is regulated by the spindle-assembly checkpoint. Studies on these problems in budding yeast are hampered by the inability to resolve its chromosomes by light or electron microscopy.

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    12/01/96 | In vivo localization of DNA sequences and visualization of large-scale chromatin organization using lac operator/repressor recognition.
    Robinett CC, Straight A, Li G, Willhelm C, Sudlow G, Murray A, Belmont AS
    The Journal of Cell Biology. 1996 Dec;135(6 Pt 2):1685-700

    We report a new method for in situ localization of DNA sequences that allows excellent preservation of nuclear and chromosomal ultrastructure and direct, in vivo observations. 256 direct repeats of the lac operator were added to vector constructs used for transfection and served as a tag for labeling by lac repressor. This system was first characterized by visualization of chromosome homogeneously staining regions (HSRs) produced by gene amplification using a dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) expression vector with methotrexate selection. Using electron microscopy, most HSRs showed approximately 100-nm fibers, as described previously for the bulk, large-scale chromatin organization in these cells, and by light microscopy, distinct, large-scale chromatin fibers could be traced in vivo up to 5 microns in length. Subsequent experiments demonstrated the potential for more general applications of this labeling technology. Single and multiple copies of the integrated vector could be detected in living CHO cells before gene amplification, and detection of a single 256 lac operator repeat and its stability during mitosis was demonstrated by its targeted insertion into budding yeast cells by homologous recombination. In both CHO cells and yeast, use of the green fluorescent protein-lac repressor protein allowed extended, in vivo observations of the operator-tagged chromosomal DNA. Future applications of this technology should facilitate structural, functional, and genetic analysis of chromatin organization, chromosome dynamics, and nuclear architecture.

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    Many developing insect neurones pass through a phase when they respond to nitric oxide (NO) by producing cyclic GMP. Studies on identified grasshopper motoneurones show that this NO sensitivity appears after the growth cone has arrived at its target but before it has started to send out branches. NO sensitivity typically ends as synaptogenesis is nearing completion. Data from interneurones and sensory neurones are also consistent with the hypothesis that NO sensitivity appears as a developing neurone changes from axonal outgrowth to maturation and synaptogenesis. Cyclic GMP likely constitutes part of a retrograde signalling pathway between a neurone and its synaptic partner. NO sensitivity also appears in some mature neurones at times when they may be undergoing synaptic rearrangement. Comparative studies on other insects indicate that the association between an NO-sensitive guanylate cyclase and synaptogenesis is an ancient one, as evidenced by its presence in both ancient and more recently evolved insect groups.

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