The round goby, one of the most common invasive freshwater fish in the world, boasts a particularly robust immune system, which could be one of the reasons for its excellent adaptability. This is the result of genome research by an international team of biologists, coordinated at the University of Basel and published in the journal BMC Biology.
With its stocky, spotted body, big eyes and large mouth, the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) may not be the most attractive of aquatic creatures, but it is one of the most successful invasive species of fish. Within a few years, it has spread rapidly around the world.
Usually introduced via the ballast water from ships, the fish has now become the dominant species in terms of numbers in various fresh and salt waters. Its marked ability to adapt to new environments is apparently related to its immune system, as the researchers report based on their genome analysis.
Up to 30 times more inflammation genes
For this analysis, the researchers read and assembled particularly long genome fragments from a round goby originating in Basel. Because of their length, these fragments produced an exceptionally complete genome, which was used to analyze gene families that were thought to relate to the fish’s ability to deal with new environments.
Here, the researchers described expansions in specific enzymes known as cytochrome P450.
Furthermore, the zoologists found that all the genes deployed in inflammatory immune responses are present in the fish – and, in some cases, up to 30 times more than in comparable species.
This may help the round goby to deal with pathogens, thus favoring its successful colonization of waters around the world. But there is still one aspect that has the specialists puzzled: although round gobies are also found in highly polluted water – in ports, for example – they do not differ from other species in terms of detoxification.
Colder water than in their natural habitat
Furthermore, the researchers came across the genetic basis that allows the round goby not only to produce but also to accumulate osmolytes – substances that affect the osmotic state. These help the fish to deal not only with fluctuations in salinity but also with desiccation and cold. This could also explain why round gobies are also found in the Baltic Sea – that is, in water temperatures far below those of their original habitat.
The lead author of this international study, which involved about 20 researchers from Europe and North America, is Dr. Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser from the Man-Society-Environment MSE program at the University of Basel. In addition to Switzerland, the study also involved scientists from Sweden, Germany, the Czechia, Norway, Austria and Canada.
Dr. Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser, University of Basel, Program Man-Society-Environment, phone +41 31 631 24 41, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser, Anders Blomberg, Tomas Larsson, Zuzana Musilova, Claire R. Peart, Martin Pippel, Monica Hongroe Solbakken, Jaanus Suurväli, Jean-Claude Walser, Joanna Yvonne Wilson, Magnus Alm Rosenblad, Demian Burguera, Silvia Gutnik, Nico Michiels, Mats Töpel, Kirill Pankov, Siegfried Schloissnig & Sylke Winkler
The round goby genome provides insights into mechanisms that may facilitate biological invasions
BMC Biology (2020), doi: 10.1186/s12915-019-0731-8
lic. phil. Christoph Dieffenbacher | Universität Basel
When Genetic Material Is ‘Smuggled’ into the Next Plant Generation
10.02.2020 | Universität Bremen
Statins: Researchers uncover how cholesterol-lowering drugs cause muscle pain
10.02.2020 | Universität des Saarlandes
At the end of December 2019, the first cases of pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus were reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Since then, infections...
A team of researchers from Switzerland, the US and Poland have found evidence of a uniquely high density of hydrogen atoms in a metal hydride. The smaller spacings between the atoms might enable packing significantly more hydrogen into the material to a point where it could begin to superconduct at room temperature and ambient pressure.
The scientists conducted neutron scattering experiments at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the US on samples of zirconium vanadium hydride at...
An international research group with Dr. Longjian Xie from the Bavarian Research Institute of Experimental Geochemistry & Geophysics (BGI) of the University of Bayreuth has succeeded for the first time in measuring the viscosity that molten solids exhibit under the pressure and temperature conditions found in the lower earth mantle. The data obtained support the assumption that a bridgmanite-enriched rock layer was formed during the early history of the earth at a depth of around 1,000 kilometres – at the border to the upper mantle.
In addition, the data also provides indications that the lower mantle contains larger reservoirs of materials that originated in an early magma ocean and have...
According to Einstein's general relativity, the rotation of a massive object produces a dragging of space-time in its vicinity. This effect has been measured, in the case of the Earth’s rotation, with satellite experiments. With the help of a radio pulsar, an international team of scientists (with important contributions from scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany) were able to detect the swirling of the space-time around its fast-rotating white dwarf-companion star, and thus confirm the theory behind the formation of this unique binary star system.
In 1999, a unique binary system was discovered with the Australian Parkes Radio Telescope in the constellation Musca (the Fly), close to the famous Southern...
Scientists from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) have carried out pioneering optical measurements of highly charged ions with unprecedented precision. To do this, they isolated a single Ar¹³⁺ ion from an extremely hot plasma and brought it practically to rest inside an ion trap together with a laser-cooled, singly charged ion. Employing quantum logic spectroscopy on the ion pair, they have increased the relative precision by a factor of a hundred million over previous methods. This opens up the multitude of highly charged ions for novel atomic clocks and further avenues in the search for new physics. [Nature, 29.01.2020]
Highly charged ions are—although seemingly exotic—a very natural form of visible matter. All the matter in our sun and in all other stars is highly ionized,...
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
07.01.2020 | Event News
11.02.2020 | Life Sciences
11.02.2020 | Trade Fair News
10.02.2020 | Life Sciences