While the biogenesis of microRNAs (miRNAs) in both animals and plants depends on the RNase III Dicer, its partner proteins are considered distinct for each kingdom. Nevertheless, recent discovery of homologs of Hyponastic Leaves1 (HYL1), a 'plant-specific' Dicer partner, in the metazoan phylum Cnidaria, challenges the view that miRNAs evolved convergently in animals and plants. Here we show that the HYL1 homolog Hyl1-like a (Hyl1La) is crucial for development and miRNA biogenesis in the cnidarian model Nematostella vectensis. Inhibition of Hyl1La by morpholinos resulted in metamorphosis arrest in Nematostella embryos and a significant reduction in levels of most miRNAs. Further, meta-analysis of morphants of miRNA biogenesis components, like Dicer1, shows clustering of their miRNA profiles with Hyl1La morphants. Strikingly, immunoprecipitation of Hyl1La followed by quantitative PCR revealed that in contrast to the plant HYL1, Hyl1La interacts only with precursor miRNAs and not with primary miRNAs. This was complemented by an in vitro binding assay of Hyl1La to synthetic precursor miRNA. Altogether, these results suggest that the last common ancestor of animals and plants carried a HYL1 homolog that took essential part in miRNA biogenesis and indicate early emergence of the miRNA system before plants and animals separated.
RNA sequencing data are available at NCBI-SRA under BioProject ID PRJNA630340.
- Yehu Moran
- Yehu Moran
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- René Ketting, IMB Mainz, Germany
© 2022, Tripathi et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The evolution of human right-handedness has been intensively debated for decades. Manual lateralization patterns in non-human primates have the potential to elucidate evolutionary determinants of human handedness, but restricted species samples and inconsistent methodologies have so far limited comparative phylogenetic studies. By combining original data with published literature reports, we assembled data on hand preferences for standardized object manipulation in 1786 individuals from 38 species of anthropoid primates, including monkeys, apes, and humans. Based on that, we employ quantitative phylogenetic methods to test prevalent hypotheses on the roles of ecology, brain size, and tool use in primate handedness evolution. We confirm that human right-handedness represents an unparalleled extreme among anthropoids and found taxa displaying population-level handedness to be rare. Species-level direction of manual lateralization was largely uniform among non-human primates and did not strongly correlate with any of the selected biological predictors, nor with phylogeny. In contrast, we recovered highly variable patterns of hand preference strength, which show signatures of both ecology and phylogeny. In particular, terrestrial primates tend to display weaker hand preferences than arboreal species. These results challenge popular ideas on primate handedness evolution, including the postural origins hypothesis. Furthermore, they point to a potential adaptive benefit of disparate lateralization strength in primates, a measure of hand preference that has often been overlooked in the past. Finally, our data show that human lateralization patterns do not align with trends found among other anthropoids, suggesting that unique selective pressures gave rise to the unusual hand preferences of our species.
A predominantly fish-eating diet was envisioned for the sail-backed theropod dinosaur Spinosaurus aegyptiacus when its elongate jaws with subconical teeth were unearthed a century ago in Egypt. Recent discovery of the high-spined tail of that skeleton, however, led to a bolder conjecture that S. aegyptiacus was the first fully aquatic dinosaur. The ‘aquatic hypothesis’ posits that S. aegyptiacus was a slow quadruped on land but a capable pursuit predator in coastal waters, powered by an expanded tail. We test these functional claims with skeletal and flesh models of S. aegyptiacus. We assembled a CT-based skeletal reconstruction based on the fossils, to which we added internal air and muscle to create a posable flesh model. That model shows that on land S. aegyptiacus was bipedal and in deep water was an unstable, slow-surface swimmer (<1 m/s) too buoyant to dive. Living reptiles with similar spine-supported sails over trunk and tail are used for display rather than aquatic propulsion, and nearly all extant secondary swimmers have reduced limbs and fleshy tail flukes. New fossils also show that Spinosaurus ranged far inland. Two stages are clarified in the evolution of Spinosaurus, which is best understood as a semiaquatic bipedal ambush piscivore that frequented the margins of coastal and inland waterways.