ResearchPad - osteichthyes https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Early cell-autonomous accumulation of neutral lipids during infection promotes mycobacterial growth]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14614 Lipids represent an important source of nutrition for infecting mycobacteria, accumulating within the necrotic core of granulomas and present in foamy macrophages associated with mycobacterial infection. In order to better understand the timing, process and importance of lipid accumulation, we developed methods for direct in vivo visualization and quantification of this process using the zebrafish-M. marinum larval model of infection. We find that neutral lipids accumulate cell-autonomously in mycobacterium-infected macrophages in vivo during early infection, with detectable levels of accumulation by two days post-infection. Treatment with ezetimibe, an FDA-approved drug, resulted in decreased levels of free cholesterol and neutral lipids, and a reduction of bacterial growth in vivo. The effect of ezetimibe in reducing bacterial growth was dependent on the mce4 operon, a key bacterial determinant of lipid utilization. Thus, in vivo, lipid accumulation can occur cell-autonomously at early timepoints of mycobacterial infection, and limitation of this process results in decreased bacterial burden.

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<![CDATA[Aging-associated sinus arrest and sick sinus syndrome in adult zebrafish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13853 Because of its powerful genetics, the adult zebrafish has been increasingly used for studying cardiovascular diseases. Considering its heart rate of ~100 beats per minute at ambient temperature, which is very close to human, we assessed the use of this vertebrate animal for modeling heart rhythm disorders such as sinus arrest (SA) and sick sinus syndrome (SSS). We firstly optimized a protocol to measure electrocardiogram in adult zebrafish. We determined the location of the probes, implemented an open-chest microsurgery procedure, measured the effects of temperature, and determined appropriate anesthesia dose and time. We then proposed an PP interval of more than 1.5 seconds as an arbitrary criterion to define an SA episode in an adult fish at ambient temperature, based on comparison between the current definition of an SA episode in humans and our studies of candidate SA episodes in aged wild-type fish and Tg(SCN5A-D1275N) fish (a fish model for inherited SSS). With this criterion, a subpopulation of about 5% wild-type fish can be considered to have SA episodes, and this percentage significantly increases to about 25% in 3-year-old fish. In response to atropine, this subpopulation has both common SSS phenotypic traits that are shared with the Tg(SCN5A-D1275N) model, such as bradycardia; and unique SSS phenotypic traits, such as increased QRS/P ratio and chronotropic incompetence. In summary, this study defined baseline SA and SSS in adult zebrafish and underscored use of the zebrafish as an alternative model to study aging-associated SSS.

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<![CDATA[Accelerated brain aging towards transcriptional inversion in a zebrafish model of the K115fs mutation of human PSEN2]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N35618ab8-cca5-47c4-ba7f-8d3941adbaaf

Background

The molecular changes involved in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progression remain unclear since we cannot easily access antemortem human brains. Some non-mammalian vertebrates such as the zebrafish preserve AD-relevant transcript isoforms of the PRESENILIN genes lost from mice and rats. One example is PS2V, the alternative transcript isoform of the PSEN2 gene. PS2V is induced by hypoxia/oxidative stress and shows increased expression in late onset, sporadic AD brains. A unique, early onset familial AD mutation of PSEN2, K115fs, mimics the PS2V coding sequence suggesting that forced, early expression of PS2V-like isoforms may contribute to AD pathogenesis. Here we use zebrafish to model the K115fs mutation to investigate the effects of forced PS2V-like expression on the transcriptomes of young adult and aged adult brains.

Methods

We edited the zebrafish genome to model the K115fs mutation. To explore its effects at the molecular level, we analysed the brain transcriptome and proteome of young (6-month-old) and aged (24-month-old) wild type and heterozygous mutant female sibling zebrafish. Finally, we used gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) to compare molecular changes in the brains of these fish to human AD.

Results

Young heterozygous mutant fish show transcriptional changes suggesting accelerated brain aging and increased glucocorticoid signalling. These early changes precede a transcriptional ‘inversion’ that leads to glucocorticoid resistance and other likely pathological changes in aged heterozygous mutant fish. Notably, microglia-associated immune responses regulated by the ETS transcription factor family are altered in both our zebrafish mutant model and in human AD. The molecular changes we observe in aged heterozygous mutant fish occur without obvious histopathology and possibly in the absence of Aβ.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that forced expression of a PS2V-like isoform contributes to immune and stress responses favouring AD pathogenesis. This highlights the value of our zebrafish genetic model for exploring molecular mechanisms involved in AD pathogenesis.

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<![CDATA[Microglia exit the CNS in spinal root avulsion]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c79a3e5d5eed0c4841d1bf2

Microglia are central nervous system (CNS)-resident cells. Their ability to migrate outside of the CNS, however, is not understood. Using time-lapse imaging in an obstetrical brachial plexus injury (OBPI) model, we show that microglia squeeze through the spinal boundary and emigrate to peripheral spinal roots. Although both macrophages and microglia respond, microglia are the debris-clearing cell. Once outside the CNS, microglia re-enter the spinal cord in an altered state. These peripheral nervous system (PNS)-experienced microglia can travel to distal CNS areas from the injury site, including the brain, with debris. This emigration is balanced by two mechanisms—induced emigration via N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA) dependence and restriction via contact-dependent cellular repulsion with macrophages. These discoveries open the possibility that microglia can migrate outside of their textbook-defined regions in disease states.

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<![CDATA[Swift Large-scale Examination of Directed Genome Editing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823fad5eed0c484639487

In the era of CRISPR gene editing and genetic screening, there is an increasing demand for quick and reliable nucleic acid extraction pipelines for rapid genotyping of large and diverse sample sets. Despite continuous improvements of current workflows, the handling-time and material costs per sample remain major limiting factors. Here we present a robust method for low-cost DIY-pipet tips addressing these needs; i.e. using a cellulose filter disc inserted into a regular pipet tip. These filter-in-tips allow for a rapid, stand-alone four-step genotyping workflow by simply binding the DNA contained in the primary lysate to the cellulose filter, washing it in water and eluting it directly into the buffer for the downstream application (e.g. PCR). This drastically cuts down processing time to maximum 30 seconds per sample, with the potential for parallelizing and automation. We show the ease and sensitivity of our procedure by genotyping genetically modified medaka (Oryzias latipes) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos (targeted by CRISPR/Cas9 knock-out and knock-in) in a 96-well plate format. The robust isolation and detection of multiple alleles of various abundancies in a mosaic genetic background allows phenotype-genotype correlation already in the injected generation, demonstrating the reliability and sensitivity of the protocol. Our method is applicable across kingdoms to samples ranging from cells to tissues i. e. plant seedlings, adult flies, mouse cell culture and tissue as well as adult fish fin-clips.

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<![CDATA[Enhanced in vivo-imaging in medaka by optimized anaesthesia, fluorescent protein selection and removal of pigmentation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c9902e5d5eed0c484b98849

Fish are ideally suited for in vivo-imaging due to their transparency at early stages combined with a large genetic toolbox. Key challenges to further advance imaging are fluorophore selection, immobilization of the specimen and approaches to eliminate pigmentation. We addressed all three and identified the fluorophores and anaesthesia of choice by high throughput time-lapse imaging. Our results indicate that eGFP and mCherry are the best conservative choices for in vivo-fluorescence experiments, when availability of well-established antibodies and nanobodies matters. Still, mVenusNB and mGFPmut2 delivered highest absolute fluorescence intensities in vivo. Immobilization is of key importance during extended in vivo imaging. Here, traditional approaches are outperformed by mRNA injection of α-Bungarotoxin which allows a complete and reversible, transient immobilization. In combination with fully transparent juvenile and adult fish established by the targeted inactivation of both, oca2 and pnp4a via CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in medaka we could dramatically improve the state-of-the art imaging conditions in post-embryonic fish, now enabling light-sheet microscopy of the growing retina, brain, gills and inner organs in the absence of side effects caused by anaesthetic drugs or pigmentation.

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<![CDATA[Endothelin receptor Aa regulates proliferation and differentiation of Erb-dependent pigment progenitors in zebrafish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c803c68d5eed0c484ad88f6

Skin pigment patterns are important, being under strong selection for multiple roles including camouflage and UV protection. Pigment cells underlying these patterns form from adult pigment stem cells (APSCs). In zebrafish, APSCs derive from embryonic neural crest cells, but sit dormant until activated to produce pigment cells during metamorphosis. The APSCs are set-aside in an ErbB signaling dependent manner, but the mechanism maintaining quiescence until metamorphosis remains unknown. Mutants for a pigment pattern gene, parade, exhibit ectopic pigment cells localised to the ventral trunk, but also supernumerary cells restricted to the Ventral Stripe. Contrary to expectations, these melanocytes and iridophores are discrete cells, but closely apposed. We show that parade encodes Endothelin receptor Aa, expressed in the blood vessels, most prominently in the medial blood vessels, consistent with the ventral trunk phenotype. We provide evidence that neuronal fates are not affected in parade mutants, arguing against transdifferentiation of sympathetic neurons to pigment cells. We show that inhibition of BMP signaling prevents specification of sympathetic neurons, indicating conservation of this molecular mechanism with chick and mouse. However, inhibition of sympathetic neuron differentiation does not enhance the parade phenotype. Instead, we pinpoint ventral trunk-restricted proliferation of neural crest cells as an early feature of the parade phenotype. Importantly, using a chemical genetic screen for rescue of the ectopic pigment cell phenotype of parade mutants (whilst leaving the embryonic pattern untouched), we identify ErbB inhibitors as a key hit. The time-window of sensitivity to these inhibitors mirrors precisely the window defined previously as crucial for the setting aside of APSCs in the embryo, strongly implicating adult pigment stem cells as the source of the ectopic pigment cells. We propose that a novel population of APSCs exists in association with medial blood vessels, and that their quiescence is dependent upon Endothelin-dependent factors expressed by the blood vessels.

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<![CDATA[Subunits of the mechano-electrical transduction channel, Tmc1/2b, require Tmie to localize in zebrafish sensory hair cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d15d5eed0c484c81f40

Mutations in transmembrane inner ear (TMIE) cause deafness in humans; previous studies suggest involvement in the mechano-electrical transduction (MET) complex in sensory hair cells, but TMIE’s precise role is unclear. In tmie zebrafish mutants, we observed that GFP-tagged Tmc1 and Tmc2b, which are subunits of the MET channel, fail to target to the hair bundle. In contrast, overexpression of Tmie strongly enhances the targeting of Tmc1-GFP and Tmc2b-GFP to stereocilia. To identify the motifs of Tmie underlying the regulation of the Tmcs, we systematically deleted or replaced peptide segments. We then assessed localization and functional rescue of each mutated/chimeric form of Tmie in tmie mutants. We determined that the first putative helix was dispensable and identified a novel critical region of Tmie, the extracellular region and transmembrane domain, which is required for both mechanosensitivity and Tmc2b-GFP expression in bundles. Collectively, our results suggest that Tmie’s role in sensory hair cells is to target and stabilize Tmc channel subunits to the site of MET.

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<![CDATA[Temperature preference of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) juveniles induces spontaneous sex reversal]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f14fcd5eed0c48467ac14

Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) is an African freshwater fish that displays a genetic sex determination system (XX|XY) where high temperatures (above 32°C to 36.5°C) induce masculinization. In Nile tilapia, the thermosensitive period was reported from 10 to 30 days post fertilization. In their natural environment, juveniles may encounter high temperatures that are above the optimal temperature for growth (27–30°C). The relevance of the thermal sex reversal mechanism in a natural context remains unclear. The main objective of our study is to determine whether sexually undifferentiated juveniles spontaneously prefer higher, unfavorable temperatures and whether this choice skews the sex ratio toward males. Five full-sib progenies (from 100% XX crosses) were subjected to (1) a horizontal three-compartment thermal step gradient (thermal continuum 28°C– 32°C– 36.5°C) during the thermosensitive period, (2) a control continuum (28°C– 28°C– 28°C) and (3) a thermal control tank (36.5°C). During the first days of the treatment, up to an average of 20% of the population preferred the masculinizing compartment of the thermal continuum (36.5°C) compared to the control continuum. During the second part of the treatment, juveniles preferred the lower, nonmasculinizing 32°C temperature. This short exposure to higher temperatures was sufficient to significantly skew the sex ratio toward males, compared to congeners raised at 28°C (from 5.0 ± 6.7% to 15.6 ± 16.5% of males). The proportion of males was significantly different in the thermal continuum, thermal control tank and control continuum, and it was positively correlated among populations. Our study shows for the first time that Nile tilapia juveniles can choose a masculinizing temperature during a short period of time. This preference is sufficient to induce sex reversal to males within a population. For the first time, behavior is reported as a potential player in the sex determination mechanism of this species.

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<![CDATA[Normalization of large-scale behavioural data collected from zebrafish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c706738d5eed0c4847c6c63

Many contemporary neuroscience experiments utilize high-throughput approaches to simultaneously collect behavioural data from many animals. The resulting data are often complex in structure and are subjected to systematic biases, which require new approaches for analysis and normalization. This study addressed the normalization need by establishing an approach based on linear-regression modeling. The model was established using a dataset of visual motor response (VMR) obtained from several strains of wild-type (WT) zebrafish collected at multiple stages of development. The VMR is a locomotor response triggered by drastic light change, and is commonly measured repeatedly from multiple larvae arrayed in 96-well plates. This assay is subjected to several systematic variations. For example, the light emitted by the machine varies slightly from well to well. In addition to the light-intensity variation, biological replication also created batch-batch variation. These systematic variations may result in differences in the VMR and must be normalized. Our normalization approach explicitly modeled the effect of these systematic variations on VMR. It also normalized the activity profiles of different conditions to a common baseline. Our approach is versatile, as it can incorporate different normalization needs as separate factors. The versatility was demonstrated by an integrated normalization of three factors: light-intensity variation, batch-batch variation and baseline. After normalization, new biological insights were revealed from the data. For example, we found larvae of TL strain at 6 days post-fertilization (dpf) responded to light onset much stronger than the 9-dpf larvae, whereas previous analysis without normalization shows that their responses were relatively comparable. By removing systematic variations, our model-based normalization can facilitate downstream statistical comparisons and aid detecting true biological differences in high-throughput studies of neurobehaviour.

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<![CDATA[Gamma radiation induces locus specific changes to histone modification enrichment in zebrafish and Atlantic salmon]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9d7d5eed0c48452a2d3

Ionizing radiation is a recognized genotoxic agent, however, little is known about the role of the functional form of DNA in these processes. Post translational modifications on histone proteins control the organization of chromatin and hence control transcriptional responses that ultimately affect the phenotype. The purpose of this study was to investigate effects on chromatin caused by ionizing radiation in fish. Direct exposure of zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos to gamma radiation (10.9 mGy/h for 3h) induced hyper-enrichment of H3K4me3 at the genes hnf4a, gmnn and vegfab. A similar relative hyper-enrichment was seen at the hnf4a loci of irradiated Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) embryos (30 mGy/h for 10 days). At the selected genes in ovaries of adult zebrafish irradiated during gametogenesis (8.7 and 53 mGy/h for 27 days), a reduced enrichment of H3K4me3 was observed, which was correlated with reduced levels of histone H3 was observed. F1 embryos of the exposed parents showed hyper-methylation of H3K4me3, H3K9me3 and H3K27me3 on the same three loci, while these differences were almost negligible in F2 embryos. Our results from three selected loci suggest that ionizing radiation can affect chromatin structure and organization, and that these changes can be detected in F1 offspring, but not in subsequent generations.

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<![CDATA[A novel nonosteocytic regulatory mechanism of bone modeling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df343d5eed0c484581048

Osteocytes, cells forming an elaborate network within the bones of most vertebrate taxa, are thought to be the master regulators of bone modeling, a process of coordinated, local bone-tissue deposition and removal that keeps bone strains at safe levels throughout life. Neoteleost fish, however, lack osteocytes and yet are known to be capable of bone modeling, although no osteocyte-independent modeling regulatory mechanism has so far been described. Here, we characterize a novel, to our knowledge, bone-modeling regulatory mechanism in a fish species (medaka), showing that although lacking osteocytes (i.e., internal mechanosensors), when loaded, medaka bones model in mechanically directed ways, successfully reducing high tissue strains. We establish that as in mammals, modeling in medaka is regulated by the SOST gene, demonstrating a mechanistic link between skeletal loading, SOST down-regulation, and intense bone deposition. However, whereas mammalian SOST is expressed almost exclusively by osteocytes, in both medaka and zebrafish (a species with osteocytic bones), SOST is expressed by a variety of nonosteocytic cells, none of which reside within the bone bulk. These findings argue that in fishes (and perhaps other vertebrates), nonosteocytic skeletal cells are both sensors and responders, shouldering duties believed exclusive to osteocytes. This previously unrecognized, SOST-dependent, osteocyte-independent mechanism challenges current paradigms of osteocyte exclusivity in bone-modeling regulation, suggesting the existence of multivariate feedback networks in bone modeling—perhaps also in mammalian bones—and thus arguing for the possibility of untapped potential for cell targets in bone therapeutics.

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<![CDATA[Nr2f-dependent allocation of ventricular cardiomyocyte and pharyngeal muscle progenitors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c63393fd5eed0c484ae6300

Multiple syndromes share congenital heart and craniofacial muscle defects, indicating there is an intimate relationship between the adjacent cardiac and pharyngeal muscle (PM) progenitor fields. However, mechanisms that direct antagonistic lineage decisions of the cardiac and PM progenitors within the anterior mesoderm of vertebrates are not understood. Here, we identify that retinoic acid (RA) signaling directly promotes the expression of the transcription factor Nr2f1a within the anterior lateral plate mesoderm. Using zebrafish nr2f1a and nr2f2 mutants, we find that Nr2f1a and Nr2f2 have redundant requirements restricting ventricular cardiomyocyte (CM) number and promoting development of the posterior PMs. Cre-mediated genetic lineage tracing in nr2f1a; nr2f2 double mutants reveals that tcf21+ progenitor cells, which can give rise to ventricular CMs and PM, more frequently become ventricular CMs potentially at the expense of posterior PMs in nr2f1a; nr2f2 mutants. Our studies reveal insights into the molecular etiology that may underlie developmental syndromes that share heart, neck and facial defects as well as the phenotypic variability of congenital heart defects associated with NR2F mutations in humans.

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<![CDATA[Experimental evolution reveals microbial traits for association with the host gut]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8f7d5eed0c48496f520

Understanding how microbes adapt to their host is an enduring problem in microbiome ecology, and understanding the microbial traits that allow colonization of the host and increase adaptation to the host environment is of particular interest. In this study, Robinson and colleagues use experimental evolution to demonstrate adaptation of a commensal bacterium to its zebrafish host and describe the changes in phenotype that emerge during this evolutionary process. These results provide insight into the evolutionary problem of host adaptation and demonstrate the utility of simple models for understanding host–microbiome dynamics.

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<![CDATA[Sensitivity of the Norwegian and Barents Sea Atlantis end-to-end ecosystem model to parameter perturbations of key species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c673075d5eed0c484f37b80

Using end-to-end models for ecosystem-based management requires knowledge of the structure, uncertainty and sensitivity of the model. The Norwegian and Barents Seas (NoBa) Atlantis model was implemented for use in ‘what if’ scenarios, combining fisheries management strategies with the influences of climate change and climate variability. Before being used for this purpose, we wanted to evaluate and identify sensitive parameters and whether the species position in the foodweb influenced their sensitivity to parameter perturbation. Perturbing recruitment, mortality, prey consumption and growth by +/- 25% for nine biomass-dominating key species in the Barents Sea, while keeping the physical climate constant, proved the growth rate to be the most sensitive parameter in the model. Their trophic position in the ecosystem (lower trophic level, mid trophic level, top predators) influenced their responses to the perturbations. Top-predators, being generalists, responded mostly to perturbations on their individual life-history parameters. Mid-level species were the most vulnerable to perturbations, not only to their own individual life-history parameters, but also to perturbations on other trophic levels (higher or lower). Perturbations on the lower trophic levels had by far the strongest impact on the system, resulting in biomass changes for nearly all components in the system. Combined perturbations often resulted in non-additive model responses, including both dampened effects and increased impact of combined perturbations. Identifying sensitive parameters and species in end-to-end models will not only provide insights about the structure and functioning of the ecosystem in the model, but also highlight areas where more information and research would be useful—both for model parameterization, but also for constraining or quantifying model uncertainty.

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<![CDATA[Regeneration of the zebrafish retinal pigment epithelium after widespread genetic ablation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fefbd5eed0c484135888

The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a specialized monolayer of pigmented cells within the eye that is critical for maintaining visual system function. Diseases affecting the RPE have dire consequences for vision, and the most prevalent of these is atrophic (dry) age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is thought to result from RPE dysfunction and degeneration. An intriguing possibility for treating RPE degenerative diseases like atrophic AMD is the stimulation of endogenous RPE regeneration; however, very little is known about the mechanisms driving successful RPE regeneration in vivo. Here, we developed a zebrafish transgenic model (rpe65a:nfsB-eGFP) that enabled ablation of large swathes of mature RPE. RPE ablation resulted in rapid RPE degeneration, as well as degeneration of Bruch’s membrane and underlying photoreceptors. Using this model, we demonstrate for the first time that zebrafish are capable of regenerating a functional RPE monolayer after RPE ablation. Regenerated RPE cells first appear at the periphery of the RPE, and regeneration proceeds in a peripheral-to-central fashion. RPE ablation elicits a robust proliferative response in the remaining RPE. Subsequently, proliferative cells move into the injury site and differentiate into RPE. BrdU incorporation assays demonstrate that the regenerated RPE is likely derived from remaining peripheral RPE cells. Pharmacological disruption using IWR-1, a Wnt signaling antagonist, significantly reduces cell proliferation in the RPE and impairs overall RPE recovery. These data demonstrate that the zebrafish RPE possesses a robust capacity for regeneration and highlight a potential mechanism through which endogenous RPE regenerate in vivo.

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<![CDATA[Loose social organisation of AB strain zebrafish groups in a two-patch environment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730a8d5eed0c484f37e66

We study the collective behaviour of zebrafish shoals of different numbers of individuals (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10 and 20 AB zebrafish Danio rerio) in a constraint environment composed of two identical square rooms connected by a corridor. This simple set-up is similar to a natural patchy environment. We track the positions and the identities of the fish and compute the metrics at the group and at the individual levels. First, we show that the number of fish affects the behaviour of each individual in a group, the cohesion of the groups, the preferential interactions and the transition dynamics between the two rooms. Second, during collective departures, we show that the rankings of exit correspond to the topological organisations of the fish prior to their collective departure. This spatial organisation appears in the group a few seconds before a collective departure. These results provide new evidences on the spatial organisation of the groups and the effect of the number of fish on individual and collective behaviours in a patchy environment.

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<![CDATA[Noise-resistant developmental reproducibility in vertebrate somite formation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8e7d5eed0c48496f391

The reproducibility of embryonic development is remarkable, although molecular processes are intrinsically stochastic at the single-cell level. How the multicellular system resists the inevitable noise to acquire developmental reproducibility constitutes a fundamental question in developmental biology. Toward this end, we focused on vertebrate somitogenesis as a representative system, because somites are repeatedly reproduced within a single embryo whereas such reproducibility is lost in segmentation clock gene-deficient embryos. However, the effect of noise on developmental reproducibility has not been fully investigated, because of the technical difficulty in manipulating the noise intensity in experiments. In this study, we developed a computational model of ERK-mediated somitogenesis, in which bistable ERK activity is regulated by an FGF gradient, cell-cell communication, and the segmentation clock, subject to the intrinsic noise. The model simulation generated our previous in vivo observation that the ERK activity was distributed in a step-like gradient in the presomitic mesoderm, and its boundary was posteriorly shifted by the clock in a stepwise manner, leading to regular somite formation. Here, we showed that this somite regularity was robustly maintained against the noise. Removing the clock from the model predicted that the stepwise shift of the ERK activity occurs at irregular timing with irregular distance owing to the noise, resulting in somite size variation. This model prediction was recently confirmed by live imaging of ERK activity in zebrafish embryos. Through theoretical analysis, we presented a mechanism by which the clock reduces the inherent somite irregularity observed in clock-deficient embryos. Therefore, this study indicates a novel role of the segmentation clock in noise-resistant developmental reproducibility.

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<![CDATA[Soybean isoflavones improve the health benefits, flavour quality indicators and physical properties of grass carp (Ctenopharygodon idella)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b5246d5eed0c4842bc5d5

Health benefits, flavour quality indicators and physical properties were analysed after feeding grass carp graded concentrations of soybean isoflavones (SIF) (0, 25, 50, 75, 100 and 125 mg/kg) for 60 days. The results demonstrated that optimal dietary SIF supplementation improved the protein and total PUFA content, especially healthcare n-3 PUFA (C18: 3n-3, EPA and DHA), and increased the flavour-related free amino acid [especially umami amino acid] and 5'-inosine monophosphate content, improving the health benefits and flavour quality indicators in the muscle of grass carp. In addition, optimal dietary SIF supplementation (25 or 50 mg SIF/kg diet) enhanced some physical properties [water-holding capacity and tenderness] and increased the collagen content; however, it reduced cathepsin activity and apoptosis. SIF supplementation enhanced the glutathione content and the activity of antioxidant enzymes (except CuZnSOD) by regulating their gene expression. The gene expression could be regulated by NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) signalling in the muscle of grass carp. We demonstrated that optimal dietary SIF supplementation elevated the health benefits, flavour quality indicators and physical properties of fish muscle.

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<![CDATA[Development and validation of probe-based multiplex real-time PCR assays for the rapid and accurate detection of freshwater fish species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52d9d5eed0c4842bd127

Reliable species identification methods are important for industrial environmental monitoring programs. Probe based real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) provides an accurate, cost-effective and high-throughput method for species identification. Here we present the development and validation of species-specific primers and probes for the cytochrome c oxidase (COI) gene for the identification of eight ecologically and economically important freshwater fish species: lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), yellow perch (Perca flavescens), rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), round whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum), spottail shiner (Notropis hudsonius) and deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsonii). In order to identify novel primer-probe sets with maximum species-specificity, two separate primer-probe design criteria were employed. Highest ranked primer-probe sets from both methods were assayed to identify sequences that demonstrated highest specificity. Specificity was determined using control species from same genus and non-target species from different genus. Selected primer-probe sets were optimized for annealing temperature and primer-probe concentrations to identify minimum reagent parameters. The selected primer-probe sets were highly sensitive, with DNA concentrations as low as 1 ng adequate for positive species identification. A decoder algorithm was developed based on the cumulative qPCR results that allowed for full automation of species identification. Blinded experiments revealed that the combination of the species-specific primer/probes sets with the automated species decoder resulted in target species identification with 100% accuracy. We also conducted a cost/time comparison analysis between the qPCR assays established in this study with other species identification methods. The qPCR technique was the most cost-effective and least time consuming method of species identification. In summary, probe-based multiplex qPCR assays provide a rapid and accurate method for freshwater fish species identification, and the methodology established in this study can be utilized for various other species identification initiatives.

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