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1.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(27): e2123516119, 2022 07 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35759668

RESUMO

Sterkfontein is the most prolific single source of Australopithecus fossils, the vast majority of which were recovered from Member 4, a cave breccia now exposed by erosion and weathering at the landscape surface. A few other Australopithecus fossils, including the StW 573 skeleton, come from subterranean deposits [T. C. Partridge et al., Science 300, 607-612 (2003); R. J. Clarke, K. Kuman, J. Hum. Evol. 134, 102634 (2019)]. Here, we report a cosmogenic nuclide isochron burial date of 3.41 ± 0.11 million years (My) within the lower middle part of Member 4, and simple burial dates of 3.49 ± 0.19 My in the upper middle part of Member 4 and 3.61 ± 0.09 My in Jacovec Cavern. Together with a previously published isochron burial date of 3.67 ± 0.16 My for StW 573 [D. E. Granger et al., Nature 522, 85-88 (2015)], these results place nearly the entire Australopithecus assemblage at Sterkfontein in the mid-Pliocene, contemporaneous with Australopithecus afarensis in East Africa. Our ages for the fossil-bearing breccia in Member 4 are considerably older than the previous ages of ca. 2.1 to 2.6 My interpreted from flowstones associated with the same deposit. We show that these previously dated flowstones are stratigraphically intrusive within Member 4 and that they therefore underestimate the true age of the fossils.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Hominidae , Animais , Cavernas , Radiação Cósmica , Fósseis , Esqueleto , África do Sul
5.
Faraday Discuss ; 232(0): 172-187, 2021 12 24.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34549220

RESUMO

Membrane protein structure and function are modulated via interactions with their lipid environment. This is particularly true for integral membrane pumps, the P-type ATPases. These ATPases play vital roles in cell physiology, where they are associated with the transport of cations and lipids, thereby generating and maintaining crucial (electro-)chemical potential gradients across the membrane. Several pumps (Na+, K+-ATPase, H+, K+-ATPase and the plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase) which are located in the asymmetric animal plasma membrane have been found to possess polybasic (lysine-rich) domains on their cytoplasmic surfaces, which are thought to act as phosphatidylserine (PS) binding domains. In contrast, the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase, located within an intracellular organelle membrane, does not possess such a domain. Here we focus on the lysine-rich N-termini of the plasma-membrane-bound Na+, K+- and H+, K+-ATPases. Synthetic peptides corresponding to the N-termini of these proteins were found, via quartz crystal microbalance and circular dichroism measurements, to interact via an electrostatic interaction with PS-containing membranes, thereby undergoing an increase in helical or other secondary structure content. As well as influencing ion pumping activity, it is proposed that this interaction could provide a mechanism for sensing the lipid asymmetry of the plasma membrane, which changes drastically when a cell undergoes apoptosis, i.e. programmed cell death. Thus, polybasic regions of plasma membrane-bound ion pumps could potentially perform the function of a "death sensor", signalling to a cell to reduce pumping activity and save energy.


Assuntos
ATPases do Tipo-P , Animais , Membrana Celular , Estrutura Secundária de Proteína , Sódio
6.
J Hum Evol ; 156: 103000, 2021 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34020297

RESUMO

The Early Pleistocene site of Swartkrans in South Africa's Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site has been significant for our understanding of the evolution of both early Homo and Paranthropus, as well as the earliest archaeology of southern Africa. Previous attempts to improve a faunal age estimate of the earliest deposit, Member 1, had produced results obtained with uranium-lead dating (U-Pb) on flowstones and cosmogenic burial dating of quartz, which placed the entire member in the range of >1.7/1.8 Ma and <2.3 Ma. In 2014, two simple burial dates for the Lower Bank, the earliest unit within Member 1, narrowed its age to between ca. 1.8 Ma and 2.2 Ma. A new dating program using the isochron method for burial dating has established an absolute age of 2.22 ± 0.09 Ma for a large portion of the Lower Bank, which can now be identified as containing the earliest Oldowan stone tools and fossils of Paranthropus robustus in South Africa. This date agrees within one sigma with the U-Pb age of 2.25 ± 0.08 Ma previously published for the flowstone underlying the Lower Bank and confirms a relatively rapid rate of accumulation for a large portion of the talus.


Assuntos
Arqueologia , Cavernas , Fósseis , Hominidae , Comportamento de Utilização de Ferramentas , Animais , História Antiga , África do Sul
7.
J Hum Evol ; 158: 102983, 2021 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33888323

RESUMO

The ca. 3.67 Ma adult skeleton known as 'Little Foot' (StW 573), recovered from Sterkfontein Member 2 breccia in the Silberberg Grotto, is remarkable for its morphology and completeness. Preservation of clavicles and scapulae, including essentially complete right-side elements, offers opportunities to assess morphological and functional aspects of a nearly complete Australopithecus pectoral girdle. Here we describe the StW 573 pectoral girdle and offer quantitative comparisons to those of extant hominoids and selected homininans. The StW 573 pectoral girdle combines features intermediate between those of humans and other apes: a long and curved clavicle, suggesting a relatively dorsally positioned scapula; an enlarged and uniquely proportioned supraspinous fossa; a relatively cranially oriented glenoid fossa; and ape-like reinforcement of the axillary margin by a stout ventral bar. StW 573 scapulae are as follows: smaller than those of some homininans (i.e., KSD-VP-1/1 and KNM-ER 47000A), larger than others (i.e., A.L. 288-1, Sts 7, and MH2), and most similar in size to another australopith from Sterkfontein, StW 431. Moreover, StW 573 and StW 431 exhibit similar structural features along their axillary margins and inferior angles. As the StW 573 pectoral girdle (e.g., scapular configuration) has a greater affinity to that of apes-Gorilla in particular-rather than modern humans, we suggest that the StW 573 morphological pattern appears to reflect adaptations to arboreal behaviors, especially those with the hand positioned above the head, more than human-like manipulatory capabilities. When compared with less complete pectoral girdles from middle/late Miocene apes and that of the penecontemporaneous KSD-VP-1/1 (Australopithecus afarensis), and mindful of consensus views on the adaptiveness of arboreal positional behaviors soliciting abducted glenohumeral joints in early Pliocene taxa, we propose that the StW 573 pectoral girdle is a reasonable model for hypothesizing pectoral girdle configuration of the crown hominin last common ancestor.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Fósseis , Hominidae/anatomia & histologia , Ombro/anatomia & histologia , Animais , Feminino , Gorilla gorilla/anatomia & histologia , Humanos , Masculino , Escápula/anatomia & histologia
8.
Soft Matter ; 17(10): 2688-2694, 2021 Mar 18.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33533359

RESUMO

Ionic liquids (ILs) have exhibited enormous potential as electrolytes, designer solvents and reaction media, as well as being surprisingly effective platforms for amphiphile self-assembly and for preserving structure of complex biomolecules. This has led to their exploration as media for long-term biopreservation and in biosensors, for which their viability depends on their ability to sustain both structure and function within complex, multicomponent nanoscale compartments and assemblies. Here we show that a tethered lipid bilayer can be assembled directly in a purely IL environment that retains its structure upon exchange between IL and aqueous buffer, and that the membrane transporter valinomycin can be incorporated so as to retain its functionality and cation selectivity. This paves the way for the development of long-lived, non-aqueous microreactors and sensor assemblies, and demonstrates the potential for complex proteins to retain functionality in non-aqueous, ionic liquid solvents.


Assuntos
Líquidos Iônicos , Cátions , Transporte de Íons , Bicamadas Lipídicas , Solventes
9.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 4285, 2020 03 16.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32179760

RESUMO

Functional morphology of the atlas reflects multiple aspects of an organism's biology. More specifically, its shape indicates patterns of head mobility, while the size of its vascular foramina reflects blood flow to the brain. Anatomy and function of the early hominin atlas, and thus, its evolutionary history, are poorly documented because of a paucity of fossilized material. Meticulous excavation, cleaning and high-resolution micro-CT scanning of the StW 573 ('Little Foot') skull has revealed the most complete early hominin atlas yet found, having been cemented by breccia in its displaced and flipped over position on the cranial base anterolateral to the foramen magnum. Description and landmark-free morphometric analyses of the StW 573 atlas, along with other less complete hominin atlases from Sterkfontein (StW 679) and Hadar (AL 333-83), confirm the presence of an arboreal component in the positional repertoire of Australopithecus. Finally, assessment of the cross-sectional areas of the transverse foramina of the atlas and the left carotid canal in StW 573 further suggests there may have been lower metabolic costs for cerebral tissues in this hominin than have been attributed to extant humans and may support the idea that blood perfusion of these tissues increased over the course of hominin evolution.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Encéfalo/metabolismo , Cabeça/fisiologia , Hominidae/anatomia & histologia , Crânio/anatomia & histologia , Animais , Fósseis , Hominidae/classificação , Humanos , África do Sul
10.
Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr ; 1862(2): 183128, 2020 02 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31734310

RESUMO

Clusters of positively-charged basic amino acid residues, particularly lysine, are known to promote the interaction of many peripheral membrane proteins with the cytoplasmic surface of the plasma membrane via electrostatic interactions. In this work, cholesterol's effects on the interaction between lysine residues and membranes have been studied. Using poly-l-lysine (PLL) and vesicles as models to mimic the interaction between lysine-rich protein domains and the plasma membrane, light scattering measurements indicated cholesterol enhanced the electrostatic interaction through indirectly affecting the negatively charged phospholipid dioleoylphosphatidylserine, DOPS. Addition of PLL to lipid vesicles containing DOPS showed an initial increase in static light scattering (SLS), attributed to binding of PLL to the vesicle surface, followed by a slower continuously declining SLS signal, which, from comparison with fluorescent dye leakage studies could be attributed to vesicle lysis. Although electrostatic interactions between PLL and the membrane were not necessary for penetration to occur, cholesterol promoted membrane disruption of negatively charged vesicles, possibly by increasing the electrostatic interactions between PLL and the membrane. In contrast, cholesterol lowered the susceptibility of uncharged vesicles (formed using dioleoylphosphatidylcholine, DOPC) to PLL penetration. This can be explained by the absence of electrostatic interactions and cholesterol's known ability to increase membrane thickness and mechanical strength. Thus, the ability of cationic peptides to penetrate membranes including cholesterol is likely to depend on the membrane's PS:PC ratio.


Assuntos
Colesterol/química , Bicamadas Lipídicas/química , Fosfatidilserinas/química , Polilisina/química , Permeabilidade da Membrana Celular , Bicamadas Lipídicas/metabolismo , Polilisina/metabolismo
11.
J Am Chem Soc ; 142(2): 1090-1100, 2020 01 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31840988

RESUMO

Peptide ligation chemistry has revolutionized protein science by providing access to homogeneously modified peptides and proteins. However, lipidated polypeptides and integral membrane proteins-an important class of biomolecules-remain enormously challenging to access synthetically owing to poor aqueous solubility of one or more of the fragments under typical ligation conditions. Herein we describe the advent of a reductive diselenide-selenoester ligation (rDSL) method that enables efficient ligation of peptide fragments down to low nanomolar concentrations, without resorting to solubility tags or hybridizing templates. The power of rDSL is highlighted in the efficient synthesis of the FDA-approved therapeutic lipopeptide tesamorelin and palmitylated variants of the transmembrane lipoprotein phospholemman (FXYD1). Lipidation of FXYD1 was shown to critically modulate inhibitory activity against the Na+/K+ pump.


Assuntos
Peptídeos/química , Compostos de Selênio/química , Ésteres/química , Luz , Oxirredução
12.
J Hum Evol ; 134: 102634, 2019 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31446970

RESUMO

Here we present the first full anatomical description of the 3.67 million-year-old Australopithecus skull StW 573 that was recovered with its skeleton from the Sterkfontein Member 2 breccia in the Silberberg Grotto. Analysis demonstrates that it is most similar in multiple key morphological characters to a group of fossils from Sterkfontein Member 4 and Makapansgat that are here distinguished taxonomically as Australopithecus prometheus. This taxon contrasts with another group of fossils from those sites assigned to Australopithecus africanus. The anatomical reasons for why these groupings should not be lumped together (as is frequently done for the South African fossils) are discussed in detail. In support of this taxonomy, we also present for the first time a newly reconstructed palate of A. africanus (StW 576 from Sterkfontein Member 4), which has a uniquely complete permanent dentition. The StW 573 skull also has certain similarities with other earlier Australopithecus fossils in East Africa, assigned to Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus anamensis, which are discussed. One of its most interesting features is a pattern of very heavy anterior dental wear unlike that found in A. africanus but resembling that found in A. anamensis at 4.17 Ma. Because the StW 573 skull is associated with a near-complete skeleton that is also described for the first time in this special issue, we are now able to use this individual to improve our understanding of more fragmentary finds in the South African fossil record of Australopithecus.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Fósseis/anatomia & histologia , Hominidae/anatomia & histologia , Crânio/anatomia & histologia , Animais , Cavernas , África do Sul
13.
ACS Omega ; 4(1): 518-527, 2019 Jan 31.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31459346

RESUMO

Conformational changes of membrane proteins are accompanied by deformation in the surrounding lipid bilayer. To gain insight into the energetics of membrane deformation, the phase behavior of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) membranes in the presence of the dipole potential, ψd, modifiers was investigated by differential scanning calorimetry. 7-Ketocholesterol, which weakens ψd and reduces membrane-perpendicular dipole-dipole repulsion, causes a discrete second peak on the high-temperature side of the main transition, whereas 6-ketocholestanol, which strengthens ψd and increases membrane-perpendicular dipole-dipole repulsion, merely produces a shoulder. Measurements on pure DMPC vesicles showed that the observed temperature profile could not be explained by a single endothermic process, that is, breaking of van der Waals forces between hydrocarbon chains alone. Removal of NaCl from the buffer caused an increase in the main transition temperature and the appearance of an obvious shoulder, implicating polar interactions. Consideration of the phosphatidylcholine (PC) head group dipole moment indicates direct interactions between PC dipoles that are unlikely to account for the additional process. It seems more likely that the breaking of an in-plane hydrogen-bonded network consisting of hydrating water dipoles together with zwitterionic lipid head groups is responsible. The evidence presented supports the idea that the breaking of van der Waals forces between lipid tails required for the main phase transition of PC membranes is coupled to partial breaking of a hydrogen-bonded network at the membrane surface.

14.
Langmuir ; 35(30): 9944-9953, 2019 07 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31291108

RESUMO

ATP is a fundamental intracellular molecule and is thought to diffuse freely throughout the cytosol. Evidence obtained from nucleotide-sensing sarcolemmal ion channels and red blood cells, however, suggest that ATP is compartmentalized or buffered, especially beneath the sarcolemma, but no definitive mechanism for restricted diffusion or potential buffering system has been postulated. In this study, we provide evidence from alterations to membrane dipole potential, membrane conductance, changes in enthalpy of phospholipid phase transition, and from free energy calculations that ATP associates with phospholipid bilayers. Furthermore, all-atom molecular dynamics simulations show that ATP can form aggregates in the aqueous phase at high concentrations. ATP interaction with membranes provides a new model to understand the diffusion of ATP through the cell. Coupled with previous reports of diffusion restriction in the subsarcolemmal space, these findings support the existence of compartmentalized or buffered pools of ATP.


Assuntos
Trifosfato de Adenosina/metabolismo , Bicamadas Lipídicas/metabolismo , Simulação de Dinâmica Molecular , Fosfatidilcolinas/metabolismo , Concentração de Íons de Hidrogênio , Bicamadas Lipídicas/química , Conformação Molecular , Fosfatidilcolinas/química , Termodinâmica
15.
Am J Phys Anthropol ; 170(4): 479-481, 2019 12.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31268174

Assuntos
Antropologia , Nomes
16.
J Hum Evol ; 133: 167-197, 2019 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31358179

RESUMO

Due to its completeness, the A.L. 288-1 ('Lucy') skeleton has long served as the archetypal bipedal Australopithecus. However, there remains considerable debate about its limb proportions. There are three competing, but not necessarily mutually exclusive, explanations for the high humerofemoral index of A.L. 288-1: (1) a retention of proportions from an Ardipithecus-like chimp/human last common ancestor (CLCA); (2) indication of some degree of climbing ability; (3) allometry. Recent discoveries of other partial skeletons of Australopithecus, such as those of Australopithecus sediba (MH1 and MH2) and Australopithecus afarensis (KSD-VP-1/1 and DIK-1/1), have provided new opportunities to test hypotheses of early hominin body size and limb proportions. Yet, no early hominin is as complete (>90%), as is the ∼3.67 Ma 'Little Foot' (StW 573) skeleton from Sterkfontein Member 2. Here, we provide the first descriptions of its upper and lower long limb bones, as well as a comparative context of its limb proportions. We found that StW 573 possesses absolutely longer limb lengths than A.L. 288-1, but both skeletons show similar limb proportions. This finding seems to argue against a purely allometric explanation for A.L. 288-1 limb proportions. In fact, our multivariate allometric analysis suggests that limb lengths of Australopithecus, as represented by StW 573 and A.L. 288-1, exhibit a significantly different (p < 0.001) allometric pattern than that which typifies modern humans and African apes. Like some previous analyses, our results also suggest that hominin limb evolution occurred in two stages with: first, a modest increase in lower limb length and a concurrent shortening of the antebrachium between Ardipithecus and Australopithecus, followed by a considerable lengthening of the lower limb along with a decrease of both upper limb elements occurring between Australopithecus and Homo sapiens.


Assuntos
Ossos do Braço/anatomia & histologia , Fêmur/anatomia & histologia , Fósseis/anatomia & histologia , Hominidae/anatomia & histologia , Ossos da Perna/anatomia & histologia , Animais , Arqueologia , África do Sul
17.
J Hum Evol ; 133: 78-98, 2019 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31358185

RESUMO

The Sterkfontein Caves is currently the world's richest Australopithecus-bearing site. Included in Sterkfontein's hominin assemblage is StW 573 ('Little Foot'), a near-complete Australopithecus skeleton discovered in Member 2 in the Silberberg Grotto. Because of its importance to the fossil hominin record, the geological age of StW 573 has been the subject of significant debate. Three main hypotheses have been proposed regarding the formation and age of Member 2 and by association StW 573. The first proposes that Member 2 (as originally defined in the type section in the Silberberg Grotto) started to accumulate at around 2.58 Ma and that the unit is contained within the Silberberg Grotto. The second proposes that Member 2 started forming before 3.67 ± 0.16 Ma and that the deposit extends into the Milner Hall and close to the base of the cave system. The third proposes a 'two-stage burial scenario', in which some sediments and StW 573 represent a secondary and mixed-age accumulation reworked from a higher cave. The stratigraphic and sedimentological implications of these hypotheses are tested here through the application of a multiscale investigation of Member 2, with reference to the taphonomy of the StW 573 skeleton. The complete infilling sequence of Member 2 is described across all exposures of the deposit in the Silberberg Grotto and into the Milner Hall. Sediments are generally stratified and conformably deposited in a sequence of silty sands eroded from well-developed lateritic soils on the landscape surface. Voids, clasts and bioclasts are organized consistently across and through Member 2 conforming with the underlying deposit geometry, indicating gradual deposit accretion with no distinct collapse facies evident and only localized intra-unit postdepositional modification. The stratigraphy and sedimentology of Member 2 support a simple single-stage accumulation process of Member 2 and a primary association between the sediments of Member 2 and the StW 573 'Little Foot' skeleton.


Assuntos
Cavernas , Sedimentos Geológicos/análise , Hominidae , Animais , Arqueologia , Fósseis , Paleontologia , África do Sul
18.
Biophys Rev ; 11(3): 353-364, 2019 Jun.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31073955

RESUMO

Protein structure and function are modulated via interactions with their environment, representing both the surrounding aqueous media and lipid membranes that have an active role in shaping the structural topology of membrane proteins. Compared to a decade ago, there is now an abundance of crystal structural data on membrane proteins, which together with their functional studies have enhanced our understanding of the salient features of lipid-protein interactions. It is now important to recognize that membrane proteins are regulated by both (1) general lipid-protein interactions, where the general physicochemical properties of the lipid environment affect the conformational flexibility of a membrane protein, and (2) by specific lipid-protein interactions, where lipid molecules directly interact via chemical interactions with specific lipid-binding sites located on the protein. However, due to local differences in membrane composition, thickness, and lipid packing, local membrane physical properties and hence the associated lipid-protein interactions also differ due to membrane location, even for the same protein. Such a phenomenon has been shown to be true for one family of integral membrane ion pumps, the P2-type adenosine triphosphatases (ATPases). Despite being highly homologous, individual members of this family have distinct structural and functional activity and are an excellent candidate to highlight how the local membrane physical properties and specific lipid-protein interactions play a vital role in facilitating the structural rearrangements of these proteins necessary for their activity. Hence in this review, we focus on both the general and specific lipid-protein interactions and will mostly discuss the structure-function relationships of the following P2-type ATPases, Na+,K+-ATPase (NKA), gastric H+,K+-ATPase (HKA), and sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA), in concurrence with their lipid environment.

20.
J Hum Evol ; 127: 67-80, 2019 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30777359

RESUMO

Because of its exceptional degree of preservation and its geological age of ∼3.67 Ma, StW 573 makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of early hominin evolution and paleobiology. The morphology of the bony labyrinth has the potential to provide information about extinct primate taxonomic diversity, phylogenetic relationships and locomotor behaviour. In this context, we virtually reconstruct and comparatively assess the bony labyrinth morphology in StW 573. As comparative material, we investigate 17 southern African hominin specimens from Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Makapansgat (plus published data from two specimens from Kromdraai B), attributed to Australopithecus, early Homo or Paranthropus, as well as 10 extant human and 10 extant chimpanzee specimens. We apply a landmark-based geometric morphometric method for quantitatively assessing labyrinthine morphology. Morphology of the inner ear in StW 573 most closely resembles that of another Australopithecus individual from Sterkfontein, StW 578, recovered from the Jacovec Cavern. Within the limits of our sample, we observe a certain degree of morphological variation in the Australopithecus assemblage of Sterkfontein Member 4. Cochlear morphology in StW 573 is similar to that of other Australopithecus as well as to Paranthropus specimens included in this study, but it is substantially different from early Homo. Interestingly, the configuration of semicircular canals in Paranthropus specimens from Swartkrans differs from other fossil hominins, including StW 573. Given the role of the cochlea in the sensory-driven interactions with the surrounding environment, our results offer new perspectives for interpreting early hominin behaviour and ecology. Finally, our study provides additional evidence for discussing the phylogenetic polarity of labyrinthine traits in southern African hominins.


Assuntos
Orelha Interna/anatomia & histologia , Fósseis/anatomia & histologia , Hominidae/anatomia & histologia , Animais , Evolução Biológica , Traços de História de Vida , África do Sul
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