avad: (Default)

Thinking more about the CKDu (Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Cause) epidemics in Latin America and India amongst agricultural workers...and possible causes.

I find myself deeply wondering about currently understudied yet important symbionts and beneficial kidney bacteria that may be inadvertantly affected and disabled by increased heat AND environmental toxin exposure (similar to the bleaching of corals by the exodus of symbiotic dinoflagellates which provided them their food).

The Role of Coral Reefs, Photosynthesis, and Predators on the Origin of Parasitism by Patrick J. Keeling,University of British Columbia

Apicomplexans..such as the parasitic Plasmodium Falciparum (which causes malaria), and  Toxiplasma Gondii (T.Gondii) which is estimated to non-fatally infect fully one third of the human population(!?) contain apicoplasts...vestigial nonphotosynthetic chloroplasts...plastids which originated from an alga through secondary endosymbiosis.

Scientists have been trying to target these apicoplasts for new anti-malarial drugs. The Apicoplast is necessary for the survival of the Plasmodium Falciparum "but no one yet is sure exactly what it does". Biosynthesis of lipids?
Please read: LifeScientist: ASM: Plasmodium's newest cousin
Returning to CKDu....(and as referenced in the above LifeScience article) certain herbicides have been proven to kill P. falicparum through disrupting a chloroplast-based shikimate pathway, which synthesises the amino acids tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine...(!)
Think about that, coral reefs and the ecosystems of our own kidneys and their possible symbionts for a long moment.

After processing...My nagging/urgent thought: instead of trying to kill the Plasmodium Falciparum...wouldn't the hugely better Win-Win scenario be somehow figuring out what could coax apicomplexans to engage in mutualistic instead of parasitic behaviors?

Lest you feel this could never happen...:
Some interesting and relevant information on just this sort of surprisingly hopeful Beneficial association of another apicomplexan within the renal sac (akin to the human kidney) of the marine organism called the Sea Grape (Molgula manhattensis).
Malaria, Sea Grapes, and Kidney Stones: A Tale of Parasites Lost
article by Carl Zimmer 2010

"..Mary Beth Saffo has been studying this strange association for 20 years (here’s a 1994 profile in the New York Times), and she thinks it’s an intimate partnership. The sea grapes give Nephromyces a shelter and a never-ending buffet: its kidney stones. In exchange, Nephromyces produces nutritious compounds from the stones that the sea grapes can use. Actually, Saffo suspects, it’s a three-way partnership, because Nephromyces harbors bacteria that helps it break down the stones."

"Saffo is not the first biologist to discover a parasite turned mutualist. But it’s hard to think of another case in which a species has turned its back on such a huge legacy of death and disease. How it made such a massive swing is left for Saffo and others still to figure out. It’s possible that once Nephromyces picked up its bacterial passengers, it could thrive inside sea grapes without making them sick. Perhaps in order to put its old ways behind, a parasite just needs a little help from its friends..."

Reference: Saffo et al, “Nephromyces, a beneficial apicomplexan symbiont in marine animals.” PNAS. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1002335107

Adding to the discussion, Please read: Could 'Probiotic Epidemics' Influence Evolution? article by Moises Velasquez-Manoff

Why are the kidneys seemingly understudied within the Human Microbiome Project? I'm having trouble finding good information... Help and thoughts appreciated.
avad: (door)

This above is an image of Stemonitis axifera, a species of slime mold.

And here we have the hair cells (stereocilia) within the inner ear (in this case of a chicken).

And another image of the slime mold Stemonitis axifera.

Process. Deeply.

When considering the elaborate and amazing life cycles and signaling of slime molds....and the exquisite processing of our auditory systems.... a thought/question is now stuck in my head.
As with microbiologist Lynn Margulis' theories of the coevolution of much of our sensory system through symbiosis with bacteria....could animal auditory systems have their beginnings in a symbiosis with fungus?

Consider the widespread symbiosis of mycorrhizae in plant roots...fungal hyphae penetrate into the cells of the root cortex, producing characteristic branched structures called arbuscules...the plant benefits as does the fungus. "In these associations, the fungi derive photosynthetic sugars from the plants, and they assist the plant by facilitating the uptake of mineral nutrients and water. Approximately 70-80% of all plants have mycorrhizae. Mycorrhizae have evolved repeatedly in different groups of fungi." (http://www.clarku.edu/faculty/dhibbett/tftol/content/3folder/symbiotic.html)

related notes: "The molecular biology of hair cells has seen considerable progress in recent years, with the identification of the motor protein (prestin) that underlies somatic electromotility in the outer hair cells. Santos-Sacchi et al. have shown that prestin's function is dependent on chloride channel signalling and that it is compromised by the common marine pesticide tributyltin (TBT). Because this class of pollutant bioconcentrates up the food chain, the effect is pronounced in top marine predators such as orcas and toothed whales.
(- Santos-Sacchi Joseph, Song Lei, Zheng Jiefu, Nuttall Alfred L (2006-04-12)."Control of mammalian cochlear amplification by chloride anions". Journal of Neuroscience 26)

Biofilms, Biofouling , Epibiosis

Please hold for image credits- I have been searching for the right images and finding them with credits to the original photographers has not been easy. If you by chance know whose photographs these are and can link me to name and/or original site I will be sure to credit.
This post to be continued/expanded. Just sharing some thoughts in progress.

more on slime molds: 'Slime Molds Show Surprising Degree of Intelligence
A creature with no brain can learn from and even anticipate events'.: http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jan/071
avad: (door)

Darlene Charneco “CoHabitat”
Oct. 9 – Nov. 7, 2014
McCarthy Art Gallery- Saint Michael's College
Colchester, Vermont
Artist's Talk on Thurs.Oct 9th 4-5pm followed by reception.
From release/announcement: "Darlene Charneco’s layered mixed media models and tactile maps explore ways of seeing our human settlements, communication networks and communities through a biological lens and as part of a larger organism’s growth stage. Clusters of houses sharing or sequestering resources and shorelines are pondered as sustainability experiments within imaginary laboratory or field observations. With playful shifts in scale perception, she strives to surprise and re-orient herself and the viewer into contemplation of the various interactions and types of symbiosis (parasitic, predatory or mutually beneficial) that we are continually co-evolving with other species and the living surface systems around and below us."
This exhibition is generously funded by the The Marc and Dana vanderHeyden Endowment in Fine Arts and hosted by the Fine Arts Department at Saint Michael’s College
shown: 'Collaboration on Substrate'
24" tondo. resin and mixed media.
avad: (Default)
My friend Verena sent me this link and Ok now I reeeeeaaaally want to visit The Bead Museum in Arizona one day. ~!!

"The Bead Museum serves the public through exhibitions and programs designed to heighten awareness of peoples' ideas about themselves and their world through the study of beads. Used all over the world, these small, perforated objects speak of ancient links with people, places, and diverse community expressions."

For a highlight please go see this picture in the link and click on the bottom right corner of it to expand it to FULL SIZE. only then will you see the wonder of Cuttlefish Containing Forest of Fungi
by: Akiko Isono


anyone know why this particular one gives me quivers (ok beSIDES it being incredibly ridiculously indescribably amazing and made by aliens)?
answer can be found here in the inspiration part.

so..um...wow. *sigh*. wow. then enjoy the rest of the site.

The Bead Museum is located
One block north of Glendale Avenue at 58th Avenue, next to the Glendale Civic Center.
5754 West Glenn Drive
Glendale, Arizona 85301

you still here? well you might as well obsess with me then. here let's see a coveted cuttlefish bead stroll through a park.
more on Akiko Isono cached from Mark Newell's blog.

February 2017

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