Browsing UA Faculty Research by Subjects
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Abundance and Activity of 16S rRNA, AmoA and NifH Bacterial Genes During Assisted Phytostabilization of Mine TailingsMine tailings in semiarid regions are highly susceptible to erosion and are sources of dust pollution and potential avenues of human exposure to toxic metals. One constraint to revegetation of tailings by phytostabilization is the absence of microbial communities critical for biogeochemical cycling of plant nutrients. The objective of this study was to evaluate specific genes as in situ indicators of biological soil response during phytoremediation. The abundance and activity of 16S rRNA, nifH, and amoA were monitored during a nine month phytostabilization study using buffalo grass and quailbush grown in compost-amended, metalliferous tailings. The compost amendment provided a greater than 5-log increase in bacterial abundance, and survival of this compost-inoculum was more stable in planted treatments. Despite increased abundance, the activity of the introduced community was low, and significant increases were not detected until six and nine months in quailbush, and unplanted compost and buffalo grass treatments, respectively. In addition, increased abundances of nitrogen-fixation (nifH) and ammonia-oxidizing (amoA) genes were observed in rhizospheres of buffalo grass and quailbush, respectively. Thus, plant establishment facilitated the short term stabilization of introduced bacterial biomass and supported the growth of two key nitrogen-cycling populations in compost-amended tailings.
Human rDNA copy number is unstable in metastatic breast cancersChromatin-mediated silencing, including the formation of heterochromatin, silent chromosome territories, and repressed gene promoters, acts to stabilize patterns of gene regulation and the physical structure of the genome. Reduction of chromatin-mediated silencing can result in genome rearrangements, particularly at intrinsically unstable regions of the genome such as transposons, satellite repeats, and repetitive gene clusters including the rRNA gene clusters (rDNA). It is thus expected that mutational or environmental conditions that compromise heterochromatin function might cause genome instability, and diseases associated with decreased epigenetic stability might exhibit genome changes as part of their aetiology. We find the support of this hypothesis in invasive ductal breast carcinoma, in which reduced epigenetic silencing has been previously described, by using a facile method to quantify rDNA copy number in biopsied breast tumours and pair-matched healthy tissue. We found that rDNA and satellite DNA sequences had significant copy number variation - both losses and gains of copies - compared to healthy tissue, arguing that these genome rearrangements are common in developing breast cancer. Thus, any proposed aetiology onset or progression of breast cancer should consider alterations to the epigenome, but must also accommodate concomitant changes to genome sequence at heterochromatic loci.