A recent study discovered a fungus named A. oligospora, which is typically a vegan, feeding on decaying matter that suddenly shifts into a meat-eating carnivore mode in nutrient-poor environments or when it detects nearby fleshy worms.

Scanning electron microscopy (Magnification=1800x) of nematode-trapping loops of fungi imperfecti (Arthrobotrys oligospora), nematophagous fungi. Close-up of hyphae with adhesive matrix.

Scientists observed the fungus’s interaction with the nematode Caenorhabiditis elegans under nutrient scarcity. They found a surge in DNA replication within the fungus upon sensing the worm.

This increased DNA replication led to extra genome copies in the trap cells, located in the fungus’s hyphae. These cells produce a unique adhesive to capture the worm.

Crucially, ribosome biogenesis, vital for protein synthesis and cell growth, was identified as a key genetic process in trap formation.

Furthermore, researchers discovered Trap Enriched Proteins (TEPs), which are predominantly produced in trap cells and aid in trap functionality.

Other genes remained unchanged until the worm was trapped.

Once the worm was caught in the sticky net of hyphae set by A. oligospora, the production of proteins that weaken prey increased. These proteins can manipulate the prey’s cells, causing them to function differently and potentially allowing the pathogen to invade.

The fungus then uses proteases to digest the nematodes trapped in its hyphae. A. oligospora has more than 400 genes that control its interactions with other organisms, and when a nematode is introduced, over half of these genes behave differently.

These proteins weaken C. elegans through various mechanisms, such as fighting off antimicrobial peptides produced by the nematode.

The adhesive produced by the fungus, which is closely associated with TEP proteins it bends and folds, acting as a superglue for worms, binding them to the hyphae.

Worms have no means of escaping being eaten alive.

In humans, ribosome biogenesis dysregulation is a complex and intriguing area of scientific study that has garnered significant attention in recent years.

Ribosomes, the cellular machinery responsible for protein synthesis, play a vital role in maintaining cellular homeostasis and ensuring proper functioning of all biological processes.

Ribosome biogenesis is a complex and highly regulated process that is fundamental to cellular function in which the circadian clock exerts a major influence.

Circadian rhythms in behavior and physiology are a result of organisms adapting to daily light-dark cycles.

These rhythms control most aspects of metabolism and behavior.

The genes responsible for these rhythms are regulated by interconnected transcriptional and translational feedback loops.

In all life, rhythms or sound waves in the form of oscillation, also known as biological rhythms play a critical role in the physiology and behavior of most living organisms. All matter, energy and chemicals have a unique sound wave that it emits creating interactions and feedback loops with other stimuli and organisms.

When this rhythm is interrupted or hacked, dysregulation or impairment of ribosome biogenesis has been linked to various human diseases, including cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and developmental abnormalities.

One of the key implications of ribosome biogenesis dysregulation is its association with various genetic disorders and serious diseases.

It has been implicated in the pathogenesis of cancer.

Cancer cells are known to exhibit altered ribosome biogenesis to support their high proliferation rates. Mutations in ribosomal protein genes, including those involved in ribosome assembly and maturation, have been identified in various types of cancer.

Dysregulated ribosome biogenesis not only fuels abnormal protein synthesis but also contributes to oncogenic signaling, genomic instability, and resistance to therapy.

Beyond genetic disorders and cancer, ribosome biogenesis dysregulation has been linked to other diseases and conditions. Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, have shown disruptions in ribosome biogenesis, suggesting a potential role in disease progression.

Furthermore, emerging evidence suggests that ribosome biogenesis dysregulation may contribute to aging and age-related diseases, where compromised protein synthesis capacity can impact cellular functions and tissue maintenance.

SOURCES:

PLOS Biology, 2023. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3002400

Henras AK, Soudet J, Gerus M, Lebaron S, Caizergues-Ferrer M, Mougin A, et al. The post-transcriptional steps of eukaryotic ribosome biogenesis. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 Jan;65(15):2334-59.

https://actaneurocomms.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40478-021-01208-4

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