50 results found
Davies SK, Bundy JG, Leroi AM, et al., 2015, Metabolic Youth in Middle Age: Predicting Aging in Caenorhabditis elegans Using Metabolomics, JOURNAL OF PROTEOME RESEARCH, Vol: 14, Pages: 4603-4609, ISSN: 1535-3893
Many mutations and allelic variants are known that influence the rate at which animals age, but when in life do such variants diverge from normal patterns of aging? Is this divergence visible in their physiologies? To investigate these questions, we have used (1)H NMR spectroscopy to study how the metabolome of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans changes as it grows older. We identify a series of metabolic changes that, collectively, predict the age of wild-type worms. We then show that long-lived mutant daf-2(m41) worms are metabolically youthful compared to wild-type worms, but that this relative youth only appears in middle age. Finally, we show that metabolic age predicts the timing and magnitude of differences in age-specific mortality between these strains. Thus, the future mortality of these two genotypes can be predicted long before most of the worms die.
In modern societies, cultural change seems ceaseless. The flux of fashion is especially obvious for popular music. While much has been written about the origin and evolution of pop, most claims about its history are anecdotal rather than scientific in nature. To rectify this, we investigate the US Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 2010. Using music information retrieval and text-mining tools, we analyse the musical properties of approximately 17 000 recordings that appeared in the charts and demonstrate quantitative trends in their harmonic and timbral properties. We then use these properties to produce an audio-based classification of musical styles and study the evolution of musical diversity and disparity, testing, and rejecting, several classical theories of cultural change. Finally, we investigate whether pop musical evolution has been gradual or punctuated. We show that, although pop music has evolved continuously, it did so with particular rapidity during three stylistic 'revolutions' around 1964, 1983 and 1991. We conclude by discussing how our study points the way to a quantitative science of cultural change.
Leroi AM, 2014, The Lagoon How Aristotle Invented Science, Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN: 9781408836217
And then, in another dozen books, he explained it all. In The Lagoon, acclaimed biologist Armand Marie Leroi recovers Aristotle's science.
Aging is a complex process, which involves changes in different cellular functions that all can be integrated on the metabolite level. This means that different gene regulation pathways that affect aging might lead to similar changes in metabolism and result in a metabolic signature of senescence. In this chapter, we describe how to establish a metabolic signature of senescence by analyzing the metabolome of various longevity mutants of the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Since longevity-associated genes exist for other model organisms and humans, this analysis could be universally applied to body fluids or whole tissue samples for studing the relationship between senescence and metabolism.
Davies SK, Leroi AM, Bundy JG, et al., 2012, Fluorodeoxyuridine affects the identification of metabolic responses to daf-2 status in Caenorhabditis elegans, MECHANISMS OF AGEING AND DEVELOPMENT, Vol: 133, Pages: 46-49, ISSN: 0047-6374
Fluorodeoxyuridine (FUdR) is often used to help maintain synchronous populations of Caenorhabditis elegans adults, for instance as would typically be the case in studying age-related effects. However, given that FUdR inhibits DNA synthesis and therefore reproduction, it will clearly have significant wide-ranging biological effects. It is often assumed that these can be compensated for using appropriate controls. We show here that this is not the case for a metabolomic analysis of a long-lived daf-2 mutant strain: not only were the effects of FUdR much greater than the effects of the mutation, there were clear interactions between FUdR and genotype, such that identification of daf-2-dependent metabolites would have been compromised on FUdR plates. This indicates that FUdR should only be used with caution for C. elegans ageing experiments, and should not be assumed to be independent of other factors being studied.
MacCallum RM, Mauch M, Burt A, et al., 2012, Evolution of music by public choice, PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Vol: 109, Pages: 12081-12086, ISSN: 0027-8424
Music evolves as composers, performers, and consumers favor some musical variants over others. To investigate the role of consumer selection, we constructed a Darwinian music engine consisting of a population of short audio loops that sexually reproduce and mutate. This population evolved for 2,513 generations under the selective influence of 6,931 consumers who rated the loops' aesthetic qualities. We found that the loops quickly evolved into music attributable, in part, to the evolution of aesthetically pleasing chords and rhythms. Later, however, evolution slowed. Applying the Price equation, a general description of evolutionary processes, we found that this stasis was mostly attributable to a decrease in the fidelity of transmission. Our experiment shows how cultural dynamics can be explained in terms of competing evolutionary forces.
Casadevall i Solvas X, Geier FM, Leroi AM, et al., 2011, High-throughput age synchronisation of Caenorhabditis elegans, CHEMICAL COMMUNICATIONS, Vol: 47, Pages: 9801-9803, ISSN: 1359-7345
We present a passive microfluidic strategy for sorting adult C. elegans nematodes on the basis of age and size. The separation mechanism takes advantage of phenotypic differences between 'adult' and 'juvenile' organisms and their behaviour in microfluidic architectures. In brief, the microfluidic device allows worms to sort themselves in a passive manner.
Geier FM, Want EJ, Leroi AM, et al., 2011, Cross-Platform Comparison of Caenorhabditis elegans Tissue Extraction Strategies for Comprehensive Metabolome Coverage, ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY, Vol: 83, Pages: 3730-3736, ISSN: 0003-2700
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is widely used as a model organism in many areas of the life sciences. Metabolite profiling (metabolomics/metabonomics) is a powerful means of assigning phenotypes to experimentally perturbed C. elegans samples (e.g., mutants, RNAi, or chemical treatments). Tissue extraction is a key step, and high-quality and reproducible extractions are essential to the success of metabolomics studies. We have performed an extensive comparison of different tissue extraction techniques with C. elegans, comparing two different solvent systems (chloroform/methanol and aqueous methanol) and six different tissue disruption techniques (including manual grinding in a cooled mortar, homogenization, and various grinding media in both reciprocating and orbital tissue mills). All twelve combinations were then compared by GC/MS, (1)H NMR spectroscopy, and UPLC-MS, and the results were evaluated by both overall multivariate clustering approaches as well as distributions over individual metabolites/metabolite features of coefficient of variation and yield. The choice of solvent had more influence than the disruption method used, although the homogenizer results were clearly outliers. Overall, we concluded that bead-beating with 80% methanol solution was a good trade-off, although it is important to note that the definition of the apparent "best" method depended on which analytical platform was used to evaluate the results.
Canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT) is an infectious cell line circulating in many feral dog populations. It originated once, about 10,000 years ago. Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial sequences from dogs, wolves, and a geographically diverse collection of CTVT samples indicate that the cancer has periodically acquired mitochondria from its host. We suggest that this may be because the cancer's own mitochondria have a tendency to degenerate, due to high mutation rates and relaxed selection, resulting in host mitochondria being more fit.
Fuchs S, Bundy JG, Davies SK, et al., 2010, A metabolic signature of long life in Caenorhabditis elegans, BMC BIOLOGY, Vol: 8, Pages: 14-14, ISSN: 1741-7007
BACKGROUND: Many Caenorhabditis elegans mutations increase longevity and much evidence suggests that they do so at least partly via changes in metabolism. However, up until now there has been no systematic investigation of how the metabolic networks of long-lived mutants differ from those of normal worms. Metabolomic technologies, that permit the analysis of many untargeted metabolites in parallel, now make this possible. Here we use one of these, 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, to investigate what makes long-lived worms metabolically distinctive. RESULTS: We examined three classes of long-lived worms: dauer larvae, adult Insulin/IGF-1 signalling (IIS)-defective mutants, and a translation-defective mutant. Surprisingly, these ostensibly different long-lived worms share a common metabolic signature, dominated by shifts in carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism. In addition the dauer larvae, uniquely, had elevated levels of modified amino acids (hydroxyproline and phosphoserine). We interrogated existing gene expression data in order to integrate functional (metabolite-level) changes with transcriptional changes at a pathway level. CONCLUSIONS: The observed metabolic responses could be explained to a large degree by upregulation of gluconeogenesis and the glyoxylate shunt as well as changes in amino acid catabolism. These responses point to new possible mechanisms of longevity assurance in worms. The metabolic changes observed in dauer larvae can be explained by the existence of high levels of autophagy leading to recycling of cellular components.See associated minireview: http://jbiol.com/content/9/1/7.
Canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT) is an infectious disease of dogs. Remarkably, the infectious agent is the cancerous cell itself. To investigate its origin and spread, we collected 37 tumor samples from four continents and determined their evolutionary relationships using microsatellite length differences and microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH). The different tumors show very little microsatellite variation, and the pattern of variation that does exist is consistent with a purely asexual mode of transmission. Approximately one quarter of the loci scored by aCGH show copy number variation relative to normal dogs, again with little variation among different tumor samples. Sequence analysis of the RPPH1 gene indicates an origin from either dogs or wolves, and microsatellite analysis indicates that the tumor is more than 6000 years old, and perhaps originated when dogs were first domesticated. By contrast, the common ancestor of extant tumors lived within the last few hundred years, long after the first tumor. The genetic and genomic patterns we observe are typical of those expected of asexual pathogens, and the extended time since first origin may explain the many remarkable adaptations that have enabled this mammalian cell lineage to live as a unicellular pathogen.
Swire J, Fuchs S, Bundy JG, et al., 2009, The cellular geometry of growth drives the amino acid economy of Caenorhabditis elegans, PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, Vol: 276, Pages: 2747-2754, ISSN: 0962-8452
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans grows largely by increases in cell size. As a consequence of this, the surface: volume ratio of its cells must decline in the course of postembryonic growth. Here we use transcriptomic and metabolomic data to show that this change in geometry can explain a variety of phenomena during growth, including: (i) changes in the relative expression levels of cytoplasmic and membrane proteins; (ii) changes in the relative usage of the twenty amino acids in expressed proteins, as estimated by changes in the transcriptome; and (iii) changes in metabolite pools of free amino acids. We expect these relations to be universal in single cells and in whole multicellular organisms that grow largely by increases in cell size, but not those that grow by cell proliferation.
Thomas R, Rebbeck C, Leroi AM, et al., 2009, Extensive conservation of genomic imbalances in canine transmissible venereal tumors (CTVT) detected by microarray-based CGH analysis, CHROMOSOME RESEARCH, Vol: 17, Pages: 927-934, ISSN: 0967-3849
Canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT) is an intriguing cancer that is transmitted naturally as an allograft by transplantation of viable tumor cells from affected to susceptible dogs. At least initially, the tumor is able to evade the host's immune response; thus, CTVT has potential to provide novel insights into tumor immunobiology. The nature of CTVT as a "contagious" cancer, originating from a common ancestral source of infection, has been demonstrated previously by a series of studies comparing geographically distinct tumors at the molecular level. While these studies have revealed that apparently unrelated tumors share a striking degree of karyotypic conservation, technological restraints have limited the ability to investigate the chromosome composition of CTVTs in any detail. We present characterization of a strategically selected panel of CTVT cases using microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization analysis at ~one-megabase resolution. These data show for the first time that the tumor presents with an extensive range of non-random chromosome copy number aberrations that are distributed widely throughout the dog genome. The majority of abnormalities detected were imbalances of small subchromosomal regions, often involving centromeric and telomeric sequences. All cases also showed the sex chromosome complement XO. There was remarkable conservation in the cytogenetic profiles of the tumors analyzed, with only minor variation observed between different cases. These data suggest that the CTVT genome demonstrates a vast degree of both structural and numerical reorganization that is maintained during transmission among the domestic dog population.
Leroi AM, Leroi AM, Leroi AM, 2008, Creationism and its critics in antiquity, NATURE, Vol: 452, Pages: 153-153, ISSN: 0028-0836
Tain LS, Lozano E, Saez AG, et al., 2008, Dietary regulation of hypodermal polyploidization in C-elegans, BMC DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, Vol: 8, Pages: 28-28, ISSN: 1471-213X
BACKGROUND: Dietary restriction (DR) results in increased longevity, reduced fecundity and reduced growth in many organisms. Though many studies have examined the effects of DR on longevity and fecundity, few have investigated the effects on growth. RESULTS: Here we use Caenorhabditis elegans to determine the mechanisms that regulate growth under DR. We show that rather than a reduction in cell number, decreased growth in wild type C. elegans under DR is correlated with lower levels of hypodermal polyploidization. We also show that mutants lacking wild type sensory ciliated neurons are small, exhibit hypo-polyploidization and more importantly, when grown under DR, reduce their levels of endoreduplication to a lesser extent than wild type, suggesting that these neurons are required for the regulation of hypodermal polyploidization in response to DR. Similarly, we also show that the cGMP-dependent protein kinase EGL-4 and the SMA/MAB signalling pathway regulate polyploidization under DR. CONCLUSION: We show C. elegans is capable of actively responding to food levels to regulate adult ploidy. We suggest this response is dependent on the SMA/MAB signalling pathway.
Leroi AM, Swire J, 2006, The recovery of the past, WORLD OF MUSIC, Vol: 48, Pages: 43-54, ISSN: 0043-8774
Lozano E, Saez AG, Flemming AJ, et al., 2006, Regulation of growth by ploidy in Caenorhabditis elegans, CURRENT BIOLOGY, Vol: 16, Pages: 493-498, ISSN: 0960-9822
Some animals, such as the larvae of Drosophila melanogaster, the larvae of the Appendicularian chordate Oikopleura, and the adults of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, are unusual in that they grow largely by increases in cell size. The giant cells of such species are highly polyploid, having undergone repeated rounds of endoreduplication. Since germline polyploid strains tend to have large cells, it is often assumed that endoreduplication drives cell growth, but this remains controversial. We have previously shown that adult growth in C. elegans is associated with the endoreduplication of nuclei in the epidermal syncitium, hyp 7. We show here that this relationship is causal. Manipulation of somatic ploidy both upwards and downwards increases and decreases, respectively, adult body size. We also establish a quantitative relationship between ploidy and body size. Finally, we find that TGF-beta (DBL-1) and cyclin E (CYE-1) regulate body size via endoreduplication. To our knowledge, this is the first experimental evidence establishing a cause-and-effect relationship between somatic polyploidization and body size in a metazoan.
Developmental processes are thought to be highly complex, but there have been few attempts to measure and compare such complexity across different groups of organisms. Here we introduce a measure of biological complexity based on the similarity between developmental and computer programs. We define the algorithmic complexity of a cell lineage as the length of the shortest description of the lineage based on its constituent sublineages. We then use this measure to estimate the complexity of the embryonic lineages of four metazoan species from two different phyla. We find that these cell lineages are significantly simpler than would be expected by chance. Furthermore, evolutionary simulations show that the complexity of the embryonic lineages surveyed is near that of the simplest lineages evolvable, assuming strong developmental constraints on the spatial positions of cells and stabilizing selection on cell number. We propose that selection for decreased complexity has played a major role in moulding metazoan cell lineages.
Leroi AM, Bartke A, De Benedictis G, et al., 2005, What evidence is there for the existence of individual genes with antagonistic pleiotropic effects?, MECHANISMS OF AGEING AND DEVELOPMENT, Vol: 126, Pages: 421-429, ISSN: 0047-6374
Classical evolutionary theory predicts the existence of genes with antagonistic effects on longevity and various components of early-life fitness. Quantitative genetic studies have provided convincing evidence that such genes exist. However, antagonistic pleiotropic effects have rarely been attributed to individual loci. We examine several classes of longevity-assurance genes: those involved in regulation of the gonad; the insulin-like growth factor pathway; free-radical scavenging; heat shock proteins and apoptosis. We find initial evidence that antagonistic pleiotropic effects are pervasive in each of these classes of genes and in various model systems--although most studies lack explicit studies of fitness components. This is particularly true of human studies. Very little is known about the early-life fitness effects of longevity loci. Given the possible medical importance of such effects we urge their future study.
Leroi AM, Leroi AM, 2005, On human diversity, SCIENTIST, Vol: 19, Pages: 16-17, ISSN: 0890-3670
The past 50 years have seen the scientific community shun any discussion of the causes of normal physical variety in humans. This is primarily because scientists have attempted to remove the concept of race from scientific study. Despite the mass of knowledge regarding the diversity of blood types, allozymes, mitochondrial DNA, the Y chromosome and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs),we know little about what causes of normal physical variety. We know very little about why the Dinka of the Sudan are so tall and African pygmies so small,why the Yakut of Siberia have such high basal metabolic rates, why the Sea Gypsies of Indonesia can see so well underwater, why the Yoruba of Nigeria have so many dizygotic twins, or even why the colors of our skin, eyes, and hair vary across the globe.
Leroi AM, 2004, Biased embryos and evolution, NATURE, Vol: 430, Pages: 294-294, ISSN: 0028-0836
Braun V, Azevedo RBR, Gumbel M, et al., 2003, ALES: cell lineage analysis and mapping of developmental events, BIOINFORMATICS, Vol: 19, Pages: 851-858, ISSN: 1367-4803
MOTIVATION: Animals build their bodies by altering the fates of cells. The way in which they do so is reflected in the topology of cell lineages and the fates of terminal cells. Cell lineages should, therefore, contain information about the molecular events that determined them. Here we introduce new tools for visualizing, manipulating, and extracting the information contained in cell lineages. Our tools enable us to analyze very large cell lineages, where previously analyses have only been carried out on cell lineages no larger than a few dozen cells. RESULTS: Ales (A Lineage Evaluation System) allows the display, evaluation and comparison of cell lineages with the aim of identifying molecular and cellular events underlying development. Ales introduces a series of algorithms that locate putative developmental events. The distribution of these predicted events can then be compared to gene expression patterns or other cellular characteristics. In addition, artificial lineages can be generated, or existing lineages modified, according to a range of models, in order to test hypotheses about lineage evolution. AVAILABILITY: The program can run on any operating system with a compliant Java 2 environment. Ales is free for academic use and can be downloaded from http://mbi.dkfz-heidelberg.de/mbi/research/cellsim/ales.
Cancers are often thought to be selectively neutral. This is because most of the individuals that they kill are post-reproductive. Some cancers, however, kill the young and so select for anticancer adaptations that reduce the chance of death. These adaptations could reduce the somatic mutation rate or the selective value of a mutant clone of cells, or increase the number of stages required for neoplasia. New theory predicts that cancer selection--selection to prevent or postpone deaths due to cancer--should be especially important as animals evolve new morphologies or larger, longer-lived bodies, and might account for some of the differences in the causes of cancer between mice and men.
Leroi AM, 2003, Mutants: on the form, variety and errors of the the Human body, New York, Publisher: Viking Penguin
Azevedo RBR, Keightley PD, Lauren-Maatta C, et al., 2002, Spontaneous mutational variation for body size in Caenorhabditis elegans, GENETICS, Vol: 162, Pages: 755-765, ISSN: 0016-6731
We measured the impact of new mutations on genetic variation for body size in two independent sets of C. elegans spontaneous mutation-accumulation (MA) lines, derived from the N2 strain, that had been maintained by selfing for 60 or 152 generations. The two sets of lines gave broadly consistent results. The change of among-line genetic variation between cryopreserved controls and the MA lines implied that broad sense heritability increased by 0.4% per generation. Overall, MA reduced mean body size by approximately 0.1% per generation. The genome-wide rate for mutations with detectable effects on size was estimated to be approximately 0.0025 per haploid genome per generation, and their mean effects were approximately 20%. The proportion of mutations that increase body size was estimated by maximum likelihood to be no more than 20%, suggesting that the amount of mutational variation available for selection for increased size could be quite small. This hypothesis was supported by an artificial selection experiment on adult body size, started from a single highly inbred N2 individual. We observed a strongly asymmetrical response to selection of a magnitude consistent with the input of mutational variance observed in the MA experiment.
Knight CG, Patel MN, Azevedo RBR, et al., 2002, A novel mode of ecdysozoan growth in Caenorhabditis elegans, EVOLUTION & DEVELOPMENT, Vol: 4, Pages: 16-27, ISSN: 1520-541X
Whereas growth in many ecdysozoa is associated with only molting, larval growth in nematodes, specifically Caenorhabditis elegans, is thought to be continuous and exponential. However, this has never been closely investigated. Here we report several detailed studies of growth in wild-type and dwarf C. elegans strains. We find that apparent exponential growth between hatching and adulthood comprises a series of linear phases, one per larval stage, with the linear growth rate increasing at successive molts. Although most structures grow continuously, the buccal cavity does not; instead, it grows saltationally at molts, like arthropod structures. We speculate that these saltational changes in mouth size permit changes in growth rate and that molting exists in nematodes to facilitate rapid growth. We study the cellular basis of this growth in the hypodermis. At each larval stage, lateral seam cells produce daughters that fuse with hyp7, a syncytium covering most of the worm. We find that seam cells and fusing daughter cells obtain larger sizes in successive molts. The total seam cell volume remains constant relative to the size of the worm. However, fusing daughter cells contributes only a very small amount directly to hypodermal growth, suggesting that most hyp7 growth must be intrinsic. Thus, dwarfism mutations studied principally act via adult syncytial growth, with cell size being near normal in both dbl-1 and dpy-2 mutant worms. We speculate that the main function of seam cell proliferation may be to supply the hypodermis with additional genomes for the purpose of growth.
Morita K, Flemming AJ, Sugihara Y, et al., 2002, A Caenorhabditis elegans TGF-beta, DBL-1, controls the expression of LON-1, a PR-related protein, that regulates polyploidization and body length, EMBO JOURNAL, Vol: 21, Pages: 1063-1073, ISSN: 0261-4189
Using cDNA-based array analysis combined with double-stranded RNA interference (dsRNAi), we have identified yk298h6 as a target gene of Caenorhabditis elegans TGF-beta signaling. Worms overexpressing dbl-1, a TGF-beta ligand, are 16% longer than wild type. Array analysis shows yk298h6 to be one of several genes suppressed in such worms. Disruption of yk298h6 function by dsRNAi also resulted in long worms, suggesting that it is a negative regulator of body length. yk298h6 was then mapped to, and shown to be identical to, lon-1, a known gene that affects body length. lon-1 encodes a 312 amino acid protein with a motif sequence that is conserved from plants to humans. Expression studies confirm that LON-1 is repressed by DBL-1, suggesting that LON-1 is a novel downstream component of the C.elegans TGF-beta growth regulation pathway. Consistent with this, LON-1 is expressed mainly in the larval and adult hypodermis and has dose-dependent effects on body length associated with changes in hypodermal ploidy, but not hypodermal cell proliferation.
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