The snowshoe hare, also commonly called the snowshoe rabbit, is found throughout North America and plays an integral part in the food chain. Understanding the mechanism by which chemical defenses in trees and plants deter snowshoe hares and other herbivores can help explain diet selection and habitat use.
The researchers found that birch inhibits a certain enzyme – succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) – and therefore interferes with cellular energy production. Although it is well documented that the chemicals in birch are harmful to snowshoe hares and other herbivores, the mechanism for toxicity was not known until now.
The study appears online in the Journal of Chemical Ecology and is the first to specifically show how birch’s toxicity affects snowshoe hares.
“If we know diet selection and habitat use, it could lead to better management and conservation of both wildlife and the plants they eat,” said study coauthor Jennifer Forbey, assistant professor of biological sciences. “This work represents a novel discovery and also helps explain the evolution and distribution of chemicals in trees and plants that was made possible by integrating expertise from ecology, pharmacology and chemistry. These chemicals can be toxic to both wildlife and domestic animals and can therefore influence the health of these animals.”
To conduct the study, researchers measured the inhibition of SDH isolated from snowshoe hares using in vitro enzyme kinetics studies. They then used computer generated structures of the enzyme and toxin to see if they have the right “shape” to bind together. They confirmed binding of the birch toxin to SDH, which interferes with cellular energy production, showing how birch affects the snowshoe hare.
Also collaborating on the project are Dong Xu, assistant professor of chemistry; Xinzhu Pu, research assistant professor of biology; Knut Kielland, an associate professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; and John Bryant, professor emeritus at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Matt Pene | Newswise Science News
Unique genome architectures after fertilisation in single-cell embryos
30.03.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering