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2024-06-11
  • Research Findings
  • Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology
Earthquakes shake up Kueishan Island: spatiotemporal uncovering the secrets of shallow-water vent discharge and its interplay with surrounding marine habitats

Hydrothermal vent systems are thought to be the most like the sites on Earth where life began. The shallow-water hydrothermal vent system on Kueishan Island offers marine biologists an exceptional research possibility. Dr. Yung-Che Tseng (Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology) and Dr. Tzu-Hao Lin (Biodiversity Research Center) took advantage of the Marine Research Station to establish comprehensive research tactics that included marine physicochemical, biological, and soundscape aspects of the hydrothermal vent systems. For the first time, they carefully tracked, over a two-year period and across multiple habitats (including the venting system and surrounding coral reef ecosystems). The research team's findings reveal that shallow earthquakes in close proximity to the vent sites trigger periodic changes in hydrothermal discharge, resulting in significant fluctuations in pH levels, dissolved inorganic carbon, and sulfide concentrations during active venting periods. These variations in physicochemical conditions, in turn, influence the soundscapes of the surrounding marine habitats. Remarkably, the environmental characteristics exhibit notable differences between various geologically active periods, underscoring the complexity of hydrothermal vent impacts. Furthermore, the study suggests that even distant coral ecosystems may be indirectly affected by hydrothermal activity through seasonal changes in soundscapes. These discoveries provide insight into the origins of life and the evolution of early Earth settings facilitated by hydrothermal vent systems, as well as novel perspectives on monitoring and conserving extreme marine ecosystems. The study report was published in Limnology and Oceanography Letters in May 2024, with the co-first author being Ling Chiu (Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University) and Dr. Min-Chen Wang (Institute of Physiology, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel). The Academia Sinica's Development Award Project, the Marine Research Station, and the National Science and Technology Council provided funding for the study.

2024-06-07
  • Research Findings
  • Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology
Whole-body replacement mechanism generates adult muscle tissues in the zebrafish model

Certain insects, like beetles and butterflies, can undergo massive tissue replacement during their development, a transformation process considered unique to insects. Compared to insects, vertebrates exhibit relatively limited changes in appearance during post-embryonic development. Nonetheless, at the cellular level, whether similar drastic changes occur akin to those observed in insect development remains an unexplored research topic. Dr. Chen-Hui Chen and his team at the Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology (ICOB) created the palmuscle myofiber tagging and tracking system for in toto monitoring of the growth and fates of ~5000 fast myofibers in developing zebrafish larvae. They found that zebrafish, as a vertebrate model, can similarly undergo complete muscle elimination and replacement during post-embryonic development. Due to limitations in research tools, past studies on vertebrate muscle cells have primarily focused on cell culture models or histological investigations. This study may represent the first instance of simultaneously and continuously observing all muscle cells within an individual at both the organismal and cellular levels. This study finding challenges the current understanding of vertebrate development. This unexpected finding was published in June this year in the EMBO J. The first author, Uday Kumar, is affiliated with the Taiwan International Graduate Program, jointly administered by Academia Sinica and National Chung-Hsing University. Other team members include Chun-Yi Fang, Hsiao-Yuh Roan, Shao-Chun Hsu, Chung-Han Wang, and Chen-Hui Chen. This study is supported by funding from the Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology and grants from Academia Sinica to C.-H.C. (AS-CDA-109-L03 and AS-GCS-112-L01); and grants from National Science and Technology Council, Taiwan, to C.-H.C. (NSTC 110-2628-B-001-016, and NSTC 111-2628-B-001-026).

2024-04-26
  • Research Findings
  • Institute of Molecular Biology
Unraveling how a predatory fungus sense its nematode prey

The capability to sense and respond to the environment is essential for survival and fitness in all organisms. Recent studies have shown organisms from different kingdoms, such as fungi, plants, and mammals can recognize and respond to conserved nematode pheromones, named ascarosides. However, the mechanisms underlying cross kingdom perception of nematode pheromones remain unclear. A research team led by Dr. Yen-Ping Hsueh at the Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, revealed that two families of GPCRs are responsible for ascarosides detection, leading to the activation of the cAMP-PKA pathway for trap development in nematode-trapping fungus Arthrobotrys oligospora. The expansion of GPCRs in A. oligospora may have been advantageous for recognizing diverse nematode-derived signals to ensure robust prey recognition during co-evolution. Moreover, the identification of ascarosides receptors in a fungal species sheds light on the molecular mechanisms of ascaroside-mediated cross-kingdom communication. This research has been published on April 22, 2024 in Nature Microbiology. The lead author of this research, Chih-Yen Kuo, is a TIGP-MCB student at Academia Sinica, and collaborators of this research includes Dr. Frank Schroeder at Cornell University and Dr. Yu-Chu Chang at Taipei Medical University. Funding was provided by Academia Sinica and the National Science and Technology Council.

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