skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Kenzior, Alexander"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Cell lines have become an integral resource and tool for conducting biological experiments ever since the Hela cell line was first developed (Scherer et al. in J Exp Med 97:695–710, 1953). They not only allow detailed investigation of molecular pathways but are faster and more cost-effective than most in vivo approaches. The last decade saw many emerging model systems strengthening basic science research. However, lack of genetic and molecular tools in these newer systems pose many obstacles.Astyanax mexicanusis proving to be an interesting new model system for understanding metabolic adaptation. To further enhance the utility of this system, we developed liver-derived cell lines from both surface-dwelling and cave-dwelling morphotypes. In this study, we provide detailed methodology of the derivation process along with comprehensive biochemical and molecular characterization of the cell lines, which reflect key metabolic traits of cavefish adaptation. We anticipate these cell lines to become a useful resource for theAstyanaxcommunity as well as researchers investigating fish biology, comparative physiology, and metabolism.

  2. Abstract Identifying the genetic factors that underlie complex traits is central to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of evolution. Cave-dwelling Astyanax mexicanus populations are well adapted to subterranean life and many populations appear to have evolved troglomorphic traits independently, while the surface-dwelling populations can be used as a proxy for the ancestral form. Here we present a high-resolution, chromosome-level surface fish genome, enabling the first genome-wide comparison between surface fish and cavefish populations. Using this resource, we performed quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping analyses and found new candidate genes for eye loss such as dusp26 . We used CRISPR gene editing in A. mexicanus to confirm the essential role of a gene within an eye size QTL, rx3 , in eye formation. We also generated the first genome-wide evaluation of deletion variability across cavefish populations to gain insight into this potential source of cave adaptation. The surface fish genome reference now provides a more complete resource for comparative, functional and genetic studies of drastic trait differences within a species.
  3. Reduced parasitic infection rates in the developed world are suspected to underlie the rising prevalence of autoimmune disorders. However, the long-term evolutionary consequences of decreased parasite exposure on an immune system are not well understood. We used the Mexican tetra Astyanax mexicanus to understand how loss of parasite diversity influences the evolutionary trajectory of the vertebrate immune system, by comparing river with cave morphotypes. Here, we present field data affirming a strong reduction in parasite diversity in the cave ecosystem, and show that cavefish immune cells display a more sensitive pro-inflammatory response towards bacterial endotoxins. Surprisingly, other innate cellular immune responses, such as phagocytosis, are drastically decreased in cavefish. Using two independent single-cell approaches, we identified a shift in the overall immune cell composition in cavefish as the underlying cellular mechanism, indicating strong differences in the immune investment strategy. While surface fish invest evenly into the innate and adaptive immune systems, cavefish shifted immune investment to the adaptive immune system, and here, mainly towards specific T-cell populations that promote homeostasis. Additionally, inflammatory responses and immunopathological phenotypes in visceral adipose tissue are drastically reduced in cavefish. Our data indicate that long-term adaptation to low parasite diversity coincides with a more sensitivemore »immune system in cavefish, which is accompanied by a reduction in the immune cells that play a role in mediating the pro-inflammatory response.« less
  4. Abstract

    Studying how different genotypes respond to environmental variation is essential to understand the genetic basis of adaptation. The Mexican tetra,Astyanax mexicanus, has cave and surface‐dwelling morphotypes that have adapted to entirely different environments in the wild, and are now successfully maintained in lab conditions. While this has enabled the identification of genetic adaptations underlying a variety of physiological processes, few studies have directly compared morphotypes between lab‐reared and natural populations. Such comparative approaches could help dissect the varying effects of environment and morphotype, and determine the extent to which phenomena observed in the lab are generalizable to conditions in the field. To this end, we take a transcriptomic approach to compare the Pachón cavefish and their surface fish counterparts in their natural habitats and the lab environment. We identify key changes in expression of genes implicated in metabolism and physiology between groups of fish, suggesting that morphotype (surface or cave) and environment (natural or lab) both alter gene expression. We find gene expression differences between cave and surface fish in their natural habitats are much larger than differences in expression between morphotypes in the lab environment. However, lab‐raised cave and surface fish still exhibit numerous gene expression changes, supportingmore »genetically encoded changes in livers of this species. From this, we conclude that a controlled laboratory environment may serve as an ideal setting to study the genetic underpinnings of metabolic and physiological differences between the cavefish and surface fish.

    « less
  5. Abstract Background

    Astyanax mexicanusis a well‐established fish model system for evolutionary and developmental biology research. These fish exist as surface forms that inhabit rivers and 30 different populations of cavefish. Despite important progress in the deployment of new technologies, deep mechanistic insights into the genetic basis of evolution, development, and behavior have been limited by a lack of transgenic lines commonly used in genetic model systems.


    Here, we expand the toolkit of transgenesis by characterizing two novel stable transgenic lines that were generated using the highly efficientTol2system, commonly used to generate transgenic zebrafish. A stable transgenic line consisting of the zebrafish ubiquitin promoter expresses enhanced green fluorescent protein ubiquitously throughout development in a surface population ofAstyanax. To define specific cell‐types, a Cntnap2‐mCherry construct labels lateral line mechanosensory neurons in zebrafish. Strikingly, both constructs appear to label the predicted cell types, suggesting many genetic tools and defined promoter regions in zebrafish are directly transferrable to cavefish.


    The lines provide proof‐of‐principle for the application ofTol2transgenic technology inA. mexicanus. Expansion on these initial transgenic lines will provide a platform to address broadly important problems in the quest to bridge the genotype‐phenotype gap.