Biological Communications 2019-08-27T23:44:53+03:00 Pavel P. Skutschas Open Journal Systems <p>Biological Communications is a rebranded new title of the former journal «Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Series 3. Biology». The journal was founded as «Vestnik of Leningrad University» in 1946.&nbsp;Since 1953, it was published under several series. In 1956 the series «Biology» was first established.&nbsp;As its predecessors, Biological Communications is published at a quarterly&nbsp;basis.</p> The 100<sup>th</sup> Anniversary of the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, St. Petersburg State University 2019-08-27T14:10:27+03:00 Sergey Inge-Vechtomov Galina Zhouravleva Elena Golubkova <p>At least twice in its history, the Department of Genetics of the St. Petersburg University played a key role in the development of the field of genetics in Russia: first, at the outset of the origins of genetics in the country; and then once again during its comeback after Lysenkoism. At the beginning of the 20<sup>th</sup> century, the study of genetics in Russia was lagging significantly behind Europe and the United States. The first Russian paper on genetics, “Mendelism or the Theory of Breeding,” was published by Professor Yelly Bogdanov only in 1914 (Bogdanov, 1914), years after Thomas Hunt Morgan and his students had laid the foundation for the chromosome theory of inheritance. This publication is a summary of key achievements and events in science and education that have taken place at the Department of Genetics of the St. Petersburg University over the course of the past 100 years.</p> 2019-08-27T00:00:00+03:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## From past to future: suppressor mutations in yeast genes encoding translation termination factors 2019-08-27T14:10:28+03:00 Nina Trubitsina Olga Zemlyanko Svetlana Moskalenko Galina Zhouravleva <p>The study of the <em>SUP45</em> and <em>SUP35</em> genes of yeast <em>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</em> in the laboratory of Physiological Genetics of St. Petersburg State University began in 1964 when the first omnipotent nonsense suppressor mutations were obtained. During the following 55 years, a lot of information about these genes has been gained through the research efforts of various laboratories. Now we know that <em>SUP45</em> and <em>SUP35</em> encode translation termination factors eRF1 and eRF3, respectively. Both genes are essential, and <em>sup45</em> and <em>sup35</em> mutations lead not only to impaired translation but also to multiple pleiotropic effects. The aim of this review is to summarize known data about suppressor mutations in <em>SUP45</em> or <em>SUP35</em> genes.</p> 2019-08-27T00:00:00+03:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Contribution of cytosine desaminases of AID/APOBEC family to carcinogenesis 2019-08-27T14:10:29+03:00 Irina Zotova Elena Stepchenkova Youri Pavlov <p>Cytosine deaminases of the AID/APOBEC family have a weighty influence on human health. These enzymes are part of the innate and humoral immunity; they participate in lipid metabolism and muscle development, protect cells from viruses and regulate retrotransposition. If the activity of AID/APOBEC deaminases is misregulated, they can become “weapons of mass destruction,” causing deaminations in unprotected single-stranded DNA regions leading to genome-wide mutagenesis. Ultimately, mutations contribute to cell malignancy and rapid evolution of cancer cells, helping them to evade the organism’s defense. Also, hypermutable tumor cells develop resistance to anti-cancer drugs. Here we overview current understanding of the structure, functions, and regulation of AID/APOBEC cytosine deaminases in connection to carcinogenesis.</p> 2019-08-27T00:00:00+03:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Genetic control of regeneration processes of radish plants <em>in vitro</em>: from phenotype to genotype 2019-08-27T14:10:29+03:00 Ludmila Lutova Irina Dodueva <p>This review highlights the years of research on the genetics of in vitro regeneration in higher plants conducted at the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology of Saint Petersburg State University. The genetic collection of radish (<em>Raphanus sativus</em>) created at the department by selfing of individual plants from three cultivars was used as a model in these studies. Some radish inbred lines from the genetic collection form spontaneous tumors in the roots and are also used to study mechanisms of tumor growth in higher plants. It was revealed that radish lines that differed in the ability to form tumors also contrastingly differed in the reaction of their explants to auxin and cytokinin in vitro, which reflects a difference in the levels of these hormones in the tissues of related tumorous and non-tumorous radish lines. Moreover, high concentrations of cytokinins in cultural medium induced tumor formation in the regenerated plants of tumorous radish lines. The presence of meristematic zones in spontaneous tumors in radish lines, as well as in crown gall tumors induced by <em>Agrobacterium tumefaciens</em> and cytokinin-induced tumors made it possible to reveal the role of the main meristem regulators, such as KNOX and WOX family transcription factors and the CLAVATA system, in both the process of tumor growth and regeneration in plants. Analysis of the expression of meristem-specific genes during the development of spontaneous and induced tumors in radish as well as in regenerated radish plants confirmed this assumption.</p> 2019-08-27T00:00:00+03:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The genes determining synthesis of pigments in cotton 2019-08-27T23:44:53+03:00 Aleksandra Mikhailova Ksenia Strygina Elena Khlestkina <p>Naturally coloured cotton is environmentally friendly, since bleaching and chemical dyeing are not needed during textile production. Studying molecular-genetic mechanisms underpinning pigment production may facilitate breeding cotton with coloured fibre. In the current review we summarize the known data on structural and regulatory genes involved in biosynthesis of flavonoid pigments proanthocyanidins (PAs) in brown and caffeic acid (CA) in green fibre. The first chapter considers the first studies on fibre cotton inheritance, from the beginning of the last century. Then, we briefly review the biochemical and physico-chemical methods proving the presence of PAs in brown fibre and derivatives of CA in green cotton fibre. The biochemical analysis of coloured cotton fibre was followed by genetic studies of structural genes coding for enzymes participating in PA and CA biosynthesis, transport and oxidation processes. We summarize the data on the genes coding for transcription factors from the MBW (MYB-bHLH-WD40) regulatory complex, which controls flavonoid biosynthesis in coloured cotton fibre. The regulatory gene most interesting as a target for markers-assisted breeding and genome editing is <em>GhTT2-3A</em>.</p> 2019-08-27T00:00:00+03:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Organ-specific transcripts as a source of gene multifunctionality: lessons learned from the <em>Drosophila melanogaster sbr</em> (<em>Dm nxf1</em>) gene 2019-08-27T14:10:30+03:00 Ludmila Mamon Viktoria Ginanova Sergey Kliver Mariya Toropko Elena Golubkova <p>Analysis of the transcriptomes of different organisms has demonstrated that a single gene can have multiple transcripts. The sources of transcriptional variability are the alternative promoters, polyadenylation sites, splicing, and RNA editing. A comparison of the organisms of different taxa has demonstrated that the complexity of organization during evolution arises not due to an increase in the number of protein-coding genes. The greatest variability of transcripts is specific to the nervous and germinal systems. A variety of mechanisms providing for the complexity of the transcriptome ensures a precise and coordinated regulation of organ-specific functions through a combination of cis-acting elements and trans-acting factors. The <em>D. melanogaster sbr</em> (<em>Dm nxf1</em>) gene has proven to be an excellent model for investigating mechanisms potentially leading to the emergence of multiple products with various functions.</p> 2019-08-27T00:00:00+03:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Pheromonal effects on germ cells of house mouse males: possible evolutionary consequences 2019-08-27T14:10:28+03:00 Eugene Daev <p>It is well known that in mice some pheromones modify reproductively important features. But the genetic mechanisms underlying such changes remain insufficiently studied. Here we show that in laboratory mice (<em>Mus musculus</em> L.), volatile signal 2,5-dimethylpyrazine excreted by donor stressed females increases the level of structural chromosome aberrations and other meiotic disturbances in spermatocytes of recipient males after nasal contact with the volatiles via sniffing. These chemosignals (i.e. pheromones) also induce abnormalities of sperm heads in the recipient mice. We assume that visible macro-damages at the chromosome level in meiotic cells are marks of a more widely disturbing effect (not only macro- but also micro-damages) of some olfactory signals in meiotic cells. It is most probable that the effects of volatile cues are mediated by the nervous system of the recipient organism. While gross chromosomal aberrations lead mainly to death of damaged cells, some of them (micro-damages of the chromosomes) might reach spermatozoa, and we detected part of them as anomalous sperm heads. Such abnormalities can reduce the fertilizing capacity of sperm. Moreover, some of the mutations induced by density-dependent volatile chemosignals can reach the progeny and influence the quantity and genetic quality of future generations. Possible microevolutionary consequences are discussed.</p> 2019-08-27T00:00:00+03:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement##