Displaying all 10 publications

  1. Gan HM, Austin C, Linton S
    Mar Biotechnol (NY), 2018 Oct;20(5):654-665.
    PMID: 29995174 DOI: 10.1007/s10126-018-9836-2
    The Christmas Island red crab, Gecarcoidea natalis, is an herbivorous land crab that consumes mostly fallen leaf litter. In order to subsist, G. natalis would need to have developed specialised digestive enzymes capable of supplying significant amounts of metabolisable sugars from this diet. To gain insights into the carbohydrate metabolism of G. natalis, a transcriptome assembly was performed, with a specific focus on identifying transcripts coding for carbohydrate active enzyme (CAZy) using in silico approaches. Transcriptome sequencing of the midgut gland identified 70 CAZy-coding transcripts with varying expression values. At least three newly discovered putative GH9 endo-β-1,4-glucanase ("classic cellulase") transcripts were highly expressed in the midgut gland in addition to the previously characterised GH9 and GH16 (β-1,3-glucanase) transcripts, and underscoring the utility of whole transcriptome in uncovering new CAZy-coding transcripts. A highly expressed transcript coding for GH5_10 previously missed by conventional screening of cellulase activity was inferred to be a novel endo-β-1,4-mannase in G. natalis with in silico support from homology modelling and amino acid alignment with other functionally validated GH5_10 proteins. Maximum likelihood tree reconstruction of the GH5_10 proteins demonstrates the phylogenetic affiliation of the G. natalis GH5_10 transcript to that of other decapods, supporting endogenous expression. Surprisingly, crustacean-derived GH5_10 transcripts were near absent in the current CAZy database and yet mining of the transcriptome shotgun assembly (TSA) recovered more than 100 crustacean GH5_10s in addition to several other biotechnological relevant CAZys, underscoring the unappreciated potential of the TSA database as a valuable resource for crustacean CAZys.
  2. Wong YM, Juan JC, Gan HM, Austin CM
    Genome Announc, 2014;2(2).
    PMID: 24604639 DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.00077-14
    Clostridium bifermentans strain WYM is an effective biohydrogen producer isolated from landfill leachate sludge. Here, we present the assembly and annotation of its genome, which may provide further insights into the metabolic pathways involved in efficient biohydrogen production.
  3. Wong YM, Juan JC, Gan HM, Austin CM
    Genome Announc, 2014;2(2).
    PMID: 24604637 DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.00064-14
    Clostridium perfringens strain JJC is an effective biohydrogen and biochemical producer that was isolated from landfill leachate sludge. Here, we present the assembly and annotation of its genome, which may provide further insights into the gene interactions involved in efficient biohydrogen production.
  4. Harrisson K, Pavlova A, Gan HM, Lee YP, Austin CM, Sunnucks P
    Heredity (Edinb), 2016 Jun;116(6):506-15.
    PMID: 26883183 DOI: 10.1038/hdy.2016.8
    Climatic differences across a taxon's range may be associated with specific bioenergetic demands and may result in genetics-based metabolic adaptation, particularly in aquatic ectothermic organisms that rely on heat exchange with the environment to regulate key physiological processes. Extending down the east coast of Australia, the Great Dividing Range (GDR) has a strong influence on climate and the evolutionary history of freshwater fish species. Despite the GDR acting as a strong contemporary barrier to fish movement, many species, and species with shared ancestries, are found on both sides of the GDR, indicative of historical dispersal events. We sequenced complete mitogenomes from the four extant species of the freshwater cod genus Maccullochella, two of which occur on the semi-arid, inland side of the GDR, and two on the mesic coastal side. We constructed a dated phylogeny and explored the relative influences of purifying and positive selection in the evolution of mitogenome divergence among species. Results supported mid- to late-Pleistocene divergence of Maccullochella across the GDR (220-710 thousand years ago), bringing forward previously reported dates. Against a background of pervasive purifying selection, we detected potentially functionally relevant fixed amino acid differences across the GDR. Although many amino acid differences between inland and coastal species may have become fixed under relaxed purifying selection in coastal environments rather than positive selection, there was evidence of episodic positive selection acting on specific codons in the Mary River coastal lineage, which has consistently experienced the warmest and least extreme climate in the genus.
  5. Treasure T, Austin C, Kenny LA, Pepper J
    Curr Opin Cardiol, 2022 Nov 01;37(6):454-458.
    PMID: 36094493 DOI: 10.1097/HCO.0000000000000990
    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To bring together and annotate publications about personalised external aortic root support reported in the 18 months preceding submission.

    RECENT FINDINGS: The total number of personalised external aortic root support (PEARS) operations is now approaching 700 in 30 centres in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland and Slovakia. There are continued reports of stability of aortic dimensions and aortic valve function with the only exceptions known being where the surgeon has deviated from the instructions for use of the device. The median root diameter of Marfan patients having PEARS was 47 mm suggesting that the existing criterion of 50 mm is due for reconsideration. The peri-operative mortality currently estimated to be less than 0.3%. The first recipient remains alive and well after 18 years. The use of PEARS as an adjunct to the Ross operation to support the pulmonary autograft is being explored in several centres.

    SUMMARY: The operation requires proctoring and adherence to a strict operative protocol and with those precautions excellent results are attained. The evidence and opinions provided in the cited publications indicate that PEARS is a proven and successful prophylactic operation for aortic root aneurysm.

  6. Wong YM, Juan JC, Ting A, Wu TY, Gan HM, Austin CM
    Genome Announc, 2014;2(2).
    PMID: 24604640 DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.00078-14
    Clostridium sp. strain Ade.TY is potentially a new biohydrogen-producing species isolated from landfill leachate sludge. Here we present the assembly and annotation of its genome, which may provide further insights into its gene interactions for efficient biohydrogen production.
  7. Heng HS, Lim M, Absoud M, Austin C, Clarke D, Wraige E, et al.
    Neuromuscul Disord, 2014 Jan;24(1):25-30.
    PMID: 24239058 DOI: 10.1016/j.nmd.2013.09.013
    Most evidence supporting the benefit of thymectomy in juvenile myasthenia gravis (JMG) is extrapolated from adult studies, with only little data concerning paediatric populations. Here we evaluate the outcome of children with generalized JMG who underwent thymectomy between 1996 and 2010 at 2 tertiary paediatric neurology referral centres in the United Kingdom. Twenty patients (15 female, 5 male), aged 13months to 15.5years (median 10.4years) at disease onset, were identified. Prior to thymectomy, disease severity was graded as IIb in 3, III in 11, and IV in 6 patients according to the Osserman classification. All demonstrated positive anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibody titres. All patients received pyridostigmine and 14 received additional steroid therapy. Transternal thymectomy was performed at the age of 2.7-16.6years (median 11.1years). At the last follow-up (10months to 10.9years, median 2.7years, after thymectomy), the majority of children demonstrated substantial improvement, although some had required additional immune-modulatory therapies. About one third achieved complete remission. The postoperative morbidity was low. No benefit was observed in one patient with thymoma. We conclude that thymectomy should be considered as a treatment option early in the course of generalised AChR antibody-positive JMG.
  8. Pavlova A, Gan HM, Lee YP, Austin CM, Gilligan DM, Lintermans M, et al.
    Heredity (Edinb), 2017 05;118(5):466-476.
    PMID: 28051058 DOI: 10.1038/hdy.2016.120
    Genetic variation in mitochondrial genes could underlie metabolic adaptations because mitochondrially encoded proteins are directly involved in a pathway supplying energy to metabolism. Macquarie perch from river basins exposed to different climates differ in size and growth rate, suggesting potential presence of adaptive metabolic differences. We used complete mitochondrial genome sequences to build a phylogeny, estimate lineage divergence times and identify signatures of purifying and positive selection acting on mitochondrial genes for 25 Macquarie perch from three basins: Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), Hawkesbury-Nepean Basin (HNB) and Shoalhaven Basin (SB). Phylogenetic analysis resolved basin-level clades, supporting incipient speciation previously inferred from differentiation in allozymes, microsatellites and mitochondrial control region. The estimated time of lineage divergence suggested an early- to mid-Pleistocene split between SB and the common ancestor of HNB+MDB, followed by mid-to-late Pleistocene splitting between HNB and MDB. These divergence estimates are more recent than previous ones. Our analyses suggested that evolutionary drivers differed between inland MDB and coastal HNB. In the cooler and more climatically variable MDB, mitogenomes evolved under strong purifying selection, whereas in the warmer and more climatically stable HNB, purifying selection was relaxed. Evidence for relaxed selection in the HNB includes elevated transfer RNA and 16S ribosomal RNA polymorphism, presence of potentially mildly deleterious mutations and a codon (ATP6113) displaying signatures of positive selection (ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution rates (dN/dS) >1, radical change of an amino-acid property and phylogenetic conservation across the Percichthyidae). In addition, the difference could be because of stronger genetic drift in the smaller and historically more subdivided HNB with low per-population effective population sizes.
  9. Vucić M, Jelić M, Klobučar G, Jelić D, Gan HM, Austin C, et al.
    J Fish Biol, 2022 Nov;101(5):1225-1234.
    PMID: 36054289 DOI: 10.1111/jfb.15194
    Minnows of the genus Phoxinus are common and an often highly abundant fish species in Palearctic freshwater habitats. Phoxinus species have a complex evolutionary history, phylogenetic relationships are not well understood and there are a number of unresolved taxonomic problems. There are currently 23 different mitochondrial genetic lineages identified in the genus Phoxinus, 13 of which are recognized as valid species. The taxonomic status of these lineages requires resolution, including the degree to which they can interbreed. Suitable nuclear molecular markers for studies of population divergence and interbreeding between morphotypes and mitochondrial lineages are lacking for Phoxinus species. Therefore, the authors developed a set of microsatellite markers using genomic information from Phoxinus lumaireul and tested their suitability for this and two related species, Phoxinus krkae and Phoxinus marsilii. Out of 16 microsatellite candidate loci isolated, 12 were found to be in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium when tested on two P. lumaireul senso lato populations. Seven loci amplified across the three species, enabling the study of intraspecific genetic diversity and population structure within P. marsilii and P. krkae. The markers were able to clearly resolve differences among the three tested species, including the recently described P. krkae, and are therefore suitable for the detection of introgression and hybridization among populations consisting of mixtures of two or more of P. lumaireul s. l., P. marsilii and P. krkae.
  10. Smith TM, Arora M, Austin C, Nunes Ávila J, Duval M, Lim TT, et al.
    Elife, 2024 Mar 08;12.
    PMID: 38457350 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.90217
    Studies of climate variation commonly rely on chemical and isotopic changes recorded in sequentially produced growth layers, such as in corals, shells, and tree rings, as well as in accretionary deposits-ice and sediment cores, and speleothems. Oxygen isotopic compositions (δ18O) of tooth enamel are a direct method of reconstructing environmental variation experienced by an individual animal. Here, we utilize long-forming orangutan dentitions (Pongo spp.) to probe recent and ancient rainfall trends on a weekly basis over ~3-11 years per individual. We first demonstrate the lack of any consistent isotopic enrichment effect during exclusive nursing, supporting the use of primate first molar teeth as environmental proxies. Comparisons of δ18O values (n=2016) in twelve molars from six modern Bornean and Sumatran orangutans reveal a high degree of overlap, with more consistent annual and bimodal rainfall patterns in the Sumatran individuals. Comparisons with fossil orangutan δ18O values (n=955 measurements from six molars) reveal similarities between modern and late Pleistocene fossil Sumatran individuals, but differences between modern and late Pleistocene/early Holocene Bornean orangutans. These suggest drier and more open environments with reduced monsoon intensity during this earlier period in northern Borneo, consistent with other Niah Caves studies and long-term speleothem δ18O records in the broader region. This approach can be extended to test hypotheses about the paleoenvironments that early humans encountered in southeast Asia.
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