Professor Nick Provart is awarded Genome Canada Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Grant

Congratulations to Professor Nick Provart for his successful Genome Canada Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Competition grant. Nick’s grant was one of only eight proposals to Ontario researchers funded this round.

ePlants Pipeline and Navigator for Accessing and Integrating Multi-Level ‘Omics Data for 15 Agronomically Important Species for Hypothesis Generation
Project leader: Nicholas Provart, University of Toronto
Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics
Total funding: $250,000

In the past five years alone, huge amounts of data have been generated for 15 plant species important for Canada, including poplar, maize, rice, barley, wheat, soybeans and tomatoes. Being able to efficiently use these data will be key to improving and managing these crops to feed, shelter and power a world of 9 billion people by the year 2050.

The ePlant Framework, developed under a previous Genome Canada grant, permits researchers to easily see where and when a gene is “active” and whether there are natural genetic variants that might allow it to do its “job” better; populated only with one species, it now needs data from more species. Lead researcher Dr. Nicholas Provart (University of Toronto) plans to develop an ePlant Pipeline to facilitate the ability to create any ePlant, based on genomic or exome sequence data. The ePlant Navigator will permit cross-cultivar and cross-species comparisons, supporting robust hypothesis generation. Easy access to these data sets will enable researchers to explore genetic diversity, gene expression, and other data for important genes towards crop improvement.

Yeast two-hybrid interactions between Arabidopsis lyrata S Receptor Kinase and the ARC1 E3 ligase

Indriolo E, Goring DR

Plant Signal Behav 2016 May;

PMID: 27175603


Here we describe protein-protein interactions between signaling components in the conserved self-incompatibility pathway from Brassica spp. and Arabidopsis lyrata. Previously, we had demonstrated that ARC1 is necessary in A. lyrata for the rejection of self-pollen by the self-incompatibility pathway. The results described here demonstrate that A. lyrata ARC1 interacts with A. lyrata S Receptor Kinase (SRK1) in the yeast two-hybrid system. A. lyrata ARC1 also interacted with B. napus SRK910 illustrating that interactions in this pathway are conserved across species. Finally, we discuss how the more widely occurring interactions between SRK and ARC1-related family members may be modulated in vivo by expression and subcellular localization patterns resulting in a particular response.

Monoamine Release during Unihemispheric Sleep and Unihemispheric Waking in the Fur Seal

Lyamin OI, Lapierre JL, Kosenko PO, Kodama T, Bhagwandin A, Korneva SM, Peever JH, Mukhametov LM, Siegel JM

Sleep 2016;39(3):625-36

PMID: 26715233


STUDY OBJECTIVES: Our understanding of the role of neurotransmitters in the control of the electroencephalogram (EEG) has been entirely based on studies of animals with bilateral sleep. The study of animals with unihemispheric sleep presents the opportunity of separating the neurochemical substrates of waking and sleep EEG from the systemic, bilateral correlates of sleep and waking states.

METHODS: The release of histamine (HI), norepinephrine (NE), and serotonin (5HT) in cortical and subcortical areas (hypothalamus, thalamus and caudate nucleus) was measured in unrestrained northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) using in vivo microdialysis, in combination with, polygraphic recording of EEG, electrooculogram, and neck electromyogram.

RESULTS: The pattern of cortical and subcortical HI, NE, and 5HT release in fur seals is similar during bilaterally symmetrical states: highest in active waking, reduced in quiet waking and bilateral slow wave sleep, and lowest in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Cortical and subcortical HI, NE, and 5HT release in seals is highly elevated during certain waking stimuli and behaviors, such as being sprayed with water and feeding. However, in contrast to acetylcholine (ACh), which we have previously studied, the release of HI, NE, and 5HT during unihemispheric sleep is not lateralized in the fur seal.

CONCLUSIONS: Among the studied neurotransmitters most strongly implicated in waking control, only ACh release is asymmetric in unihemispheric sleep and waking, being greatly increased on the activated side of the brain.

COMMENTARY: A commentary on this article appears in this issue on page 491.