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evolution of placental invasion and cancer metastasis are causally linked
Citation: Kshitiz, Afzal, J., Maziarz, J.D., Hamizadeh, A., Liang, C., Erkenbrack, E. M., Nam, H., Haeger J., Pfarrer, C., Hoang, T., Ott, T., Spencer, T., Pavlicev, M., Antczak, D.F., Levchenko, A., Wagner G.P. (2019). Evolution of placental invasion and cancer metastasis are causally linked. Nature Ecology and Evolution (2019).
Among mammals, placental invasion is correlated with vulnerability to malignancy. Animals with more invasive placentation (for example, humans) are more vulnerable to malignancy. To explain this correlation, we propose the hypothesis of ‘Evolved Levels of Invasibility’ proposing that the evolution of invasibility of stromal tissue affects both placental and cancer invasion. We provide evidence for this using an in vitro model. We find that bovine endometrial and skin fibroblasts are more resistant to invasion than are their human counterparts. Gene expression profiling identified genes with high expression in human but not in bovine fibroblasts. Knocking down a subset of them in human fibroblasts leads to stronger resistance to cancer cell invasion. Identifying the evolutionary determinants of stromal invasibility can provide important insights to develop rational antimetastatic therapeutics.

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Divergence of ectodermal and mesodermal gene regulatory network linkages in early development of sea urchins

Developmental gene regulatory networks (GRNs) are assemblages of gene regulatory interactions that direct ontogeny of animal body plans. Studies of GRNs operating in the early development of euechinoid sea urchins have revealed that little appreciable change has occurred since their divergence ∼90 million years ago (mya). These observations suggest that strong conservation of GRN architecture was maintained in early development of the sea urchin lineage. Testing whether this holds for all sea urchins necessitates comparative analyses of echinoid taxa that diverged deeper in geological time. Recent studies highlighted extensive divergence of skeletogenic mesoderm specification in the sister clade of euechinoids, the cidaroids, suggesting that comparative analyses of cidaroid GRN architecture may confer a greater understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of developmental GRNs. Here I report spatiotemporal patterning of 55 regulatory genes and perturbation analyses of key regulatory genes involved in euechinoid oral–aboral patterning of nonskeletogenic mesodermal and ectodermal domains in early development of the cidaroid Eucidaris tribuloides. These results indicate that developmental GRNs directing mesodermal and ectodermal specification have undergone marked alterations since the divergence of cidaroids and euechinoids. Notably, statistical and clustering analyses of echinoid temporal gene expression datasets indicate that regulation of mesodermal genes has diverged more markedly than regulation of ectodermal genes. Although research on indirect-developing euechinoid sea urchins suggests strong conservation of GRN circuitry during early embryogenesis, this study indicates that since the divergence of cidaroids and euechinoids, developmental GRNs have undergone significant, cell type–biased alterations.

Production of fungal and bacterial growth modulating secondary metabolites is widespread among mycorrhiza-associated streptomycetes

Studies on mycorrhiza associated bacteria suggest that bacterial-fungal interactions play important roles during mycorrhiza formation and affect plant health. We surveyed Streptomyces Actinobacteria, known as antibiotic producers and antagonists of fungi, from Norway spruce mycorrhizas with predominantlyPiloderma species as the fungal partner. Mycorrhiza associated streptomycetes appear to have an important role in inhibiting the growth of fungi and bacteria. Additionally, our study indicates that the Streptomyces strains, which are not general antagonists of fungi, may produce still un-described metabolites.
© 2016 Eric M Erkenbrack and SpringerNature. All rights reserved.