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Total Articles 46 - 54 of 173 | |

External Pressure on Alliances: What Does the Prisoners’ Dilemma Reveal?

Author(s):Jane M. Binner -- Leslie R. Fletcher -- Vassili Kolokoltsov -- Francesco Ciardiello
Journal: Games
Publisher:
Abstract
| Pages: 754-775
Prompted by a real-life observation in the UK retail market, a two-player Prisoners’ Dilemma model of an alliance between two firms is adapted to include the response of a rival firm, resulting in a version of a three-player Prisoners’ Dilemma. We use this to analyse the impact on the stability of the alliance of the rival’s competition, either with the alliance or with the individual partners. We show that, while strong external pressure on both partners can cause Ally-Ally to become a Nash equilibrium for the two-player Prisoners’ Dilemma, weak or asymmetric pressure that plays on the partners’ differing objectives can undermine the alliance. As well as providing new insights into how allies should respond if the alliance is to continue, this also illustrates how a third party can most effectively cause the alliance to become unsustainable. We create a new game theoretic framework, adding value to existing theory and the practice of alliance formation and sustainability.

Feature-Based Choice and Similarity Perception in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study

Author(s):Sibilla Di Guida -- Giovanna Devetag
Journal: Games
Publisher:
Abstract
| Pages: 776-794
In this paper, we claim that agents confronting with new interactive situations apply behavioral heuristics that drastically reduce the problem complexity either by neglecting the other players’ incentives, or by restricting attention to subsets of “salient” outcomes. We postulate that these heuristics are sensitive to the manipulation of those features that can be modified without altering the (Nash) equilibrium structure of the game. We call these features “descriptive”. We test experimentally the effect of these descriptive features on both choice behavior and cross-game similarity perception. Analysis of individual choices confirms our hypotheses, and suggests that non-equilibrium choices may derive from simplified mental models of the game structure, rather than from heterogeneous beliefs or limited iterative thinking. In addition, subjects tend to behave similarly in games sharing similar descriptive features, regardless of their strategic structure.

The Function of Gas Vesicles in Halophilic Archaea and Bacteria: Theories and Experimental Evidence

Author(s):Aharon Oren
Journal: Life
Publisher:
Abstract
| Pages: 1-20
A few extremely halophilic Archaea (Halobacterium salinarum, Haloquadratum walsbyi, Haloferax mediterranei, Halorubrumvacuolatum, Halogeometricum borinquense, Haloplanus spp.) possess gas vesicles that bestow buoyancy on the cells. Gas vesicles are also produced by the anaerobic endospore-forming halophilic Bacteria Sporohalobacter lortetii and Orenia sivashensis. We have extensive information on the properties of gas vesicles in Hbt. salinarum and Hfx. mediterranei and the regulation of their formation. Different functions were suggested for gas vesicle synthesis: buoying cells towards oxygen-rich surface layers in hypersaline water bodies to prevent oxygen limitation, reaching higher light intensities for the light-driven proton pump bacteriorhodopsin, positioning the cells optimally for light absorption, light shielding, reducing the cytoplasmic volume leading to a higher surface-area-to-volume ratio (for the Archaea) and dispersal of endospores (for the anaerobic spore-forming Bacteria). Except for Hqr. walsbyi which abounds in saltern crystallizer brines, gas-vacuolate halophiles are not among the dominant life forms in hypersaline environments. There only has been little research on gas vesicles in natural communities of halophilic microorganisms, and the few existing studies failed to provide clear evidence for their possible function. This paper summarizes the current status of the different theories why gas vesicles may provide a selective advantage to some halophilic microorganisms.

Pavilion Lake Microbialites: Morphological, Molecular and Biochemical Evidence for a Cold-Water Transition to Colonial Aggregates

Author(s):Dirk Schulze-Makuch -- Darlene Lim -- Bernard Laval -- Carol Turse -- Marina Resendes de Sousa António -- Olivia Chan -- Stephen B. Pointing -- Allyson Brady -- Donnie Reid -- Louis N. Irwin
Journal: Life
Publisher:
Abstract
| Pages: 21-37
The presence of microbialite structures in a freshwater, dimictic mid-latitudelake and their establishment after the last ice age about 10,000 years ago is puzzling.Freshwater calcite microbialites at Pavilion Lake, British Columbia, Canada, consist of acomplex community of microorganisms that collectively form large, ordered structuredaggregates. This distinctive assemblage of freshwater calcite microbialites was studied through standard microbial methods, morphological observations, phospholipid fatty acid(PLFA) analysis, DNA sequencing and the identification of quorum sensing molecules.Our results suggest that the microbialites may represent a transitional form from theexclusively prokaryotic colonial precursors of stromatolites to the multicellular organismicaggregates that give rise to coral reefs.

Halophilic Bacteria as a Source of Novel Hydrolytic Enzymes

Author(s):María de Lourdes Moreno -- Dolores Pérez -- María Teresa García -- Encarnación Mellado
Journal: Life
Publisher:
Abstract
| Pages: 38-51
Hydrolases constitute a class of enzymes widely distributed in nature from bacteria to higher eukaryotes. The halotolerance of many enzymes derived from halophilic bacteria can be exploited wherever enzymatic transformations are required to function under physical and chemical conditions, such as in the presence of organic solvents and extremes in temperature and salt content. In recent years, different screening programs have been performed in saline habitats in order to isolate and characterize novel enzymatic activities with different properties to those of conventional enzymes. Several halophilic hydrolases have been described, including amylases, lipases and proteases, and then used for biotechnological applications. Moreover, the discovery of biopolymer-degrading enzymes offers a new solution for the treatment of oilfield waste, where high temperature and salinity are typically found, while providing valuable information about heterotrophic processes in saline environments. In this work, we describe the results obtained in different screening programs specially focused on the diversity of halophiles showing hydrolytic activities in saline and hypersaline habitats, including the description of enzymes with special biochemical properties. The intracellular lipolytic enzyme LipBL, produced by the moderately halophilic bacterium Marinobacter lipolyticus, showed advantages over other lipases, being an enzyme active over a wide range of pH values and temperatures. The immobilized LipBL derivatives obtained and tested in regio- and enantioselective reactions, showed an excellent behavior in the production of free polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). On the other hand, the extremely halophilic bacterium, Salicola marasensis sp. IC10 showing lipase and protease activities, was studied for its ability to produce promising enzymes in terms of its resistance to temperature and salinity.

Biohydrogen Production by the Thermophilic Bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus: Current Status and Perspectives

Author(s):Abraham A. M. Bielen -- Marcel R. A. Verhaart -- John van der Oost -- Servé W. M. Kengen
Journal: Life
Publisher:
Abstract
| Pages: 52-85
Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus is one of the most thermophilic cellulolytic organisms known to date. This Gram-positive anaerobic bacterium ferments a broad spectrum of mono-, di- and polysaccharides to mainly acetate, CO2 and hydrogen. With hydrogen yields approaching the theoretical limit for dark fermentation of 4 mol hydrogen per mol hexose, this organism has proven itself to be an excellent candidate for biological hydrogen production. This review provides an overview of the research on C. saccharolyticus with respect to the hydrolytic capability, sugar metabolism, hydrogen formation, mechanisms involved in hydrogen inhibition, and the regulation of the redox and carbon metabolism. Analysis of currently available fermentation data reveal decreased hydrogen yields under non-ideal cultivation conditions, which are mainly associated with the accumulation of hydrogen in the liquid phase. Thermodynamic considerations concerning the reactions involved in hydrogen formation are discussed with respect to the dissolved hydrogen concentration. Novel cultivation data demonstrate the sensitivity of C. saccharolyticus to increased hydrogen levels regarding substrate load and nitrogen limitation. In addition, special attention is given to the rhamnose metabolism, which represents an unusual type of redox balancing. Finally, several approaches are suggested to improve biohydrogen production by C. saccharolyticus.

Surface Appendages of Archaea: Structure, Function, Genetics and Assembly

Author(s):Ken F. Jarrell -- Yan Ding -- Divya B. Nair -- Sarah Siu
Journal: Life
Publisher:
Abstract
| Pages: 86-117
Organisms representing diverse subgroupings of the Domain Archaea are known to possess unusual surface structures. These can include ones unique to Archaea such as cannulae and hami as well as archaella (archaeal flagella) and various types of pili that superficially resemble their namesakes in Bacteria, although with significant differences. Major advances have occurred particularly in the study of archaella and pili using model organisms with recently developed advanced genetic tools. There is common use of a type IV pili-model of assembly for several archaeal surface structures including archaella, certain pili and sugar binding structures termed bindosomes. In addition, there are widespread posttranslational modifications of archaellins and pilins with N-linked glycans, with some containing novel sugars. Archaeal surface structures are involved in such diverse functions as swimming, attachment to surfaces, cell to cell contact resulting in genetic transfer, biofilm formation, and possible intercellular communication. Sometimes functions are co-dependent on other surface structures. These structures and the regulation of their assembly are important features that allow various Archaea, including thermoacidophilic, hyperthermophilic, halophilic, and anaerobic ones, to survive and thrive in the extreme environments that are commonly inhabited by members of this domain.

A Survey of Protein Structures from Archaeal Viruses

Author(s):Nikki Dellas -- C. Martin Lawrence -- Mark J. Young
Journal: Life
Publisher:
Abstract
| Pages: 118-130
Viruses that infect the third domain of life, Archaea, are a newly emerging field of interest. To date, all characterized archaeal viruses infect archaea that thrive in extreme conditions, such as halophilic, hyperthermophilic, and methanogenic environments. Viruses in general, especially those replicating in extreme environments, contain highly mosaic genomes with open reading frames (ORFs) whose sequences are often dissimilar to all other known ORFs. It has been estimated that approximately 85% of virally encoded ORFs do not match known sequences in the nucleic acid databases, and this percentage is even higher for archaeal viruses (typically 90%–100%). This statistic suggests that either virus genomes represent a larger segment of sequence space and/or that viruses encode genes of novel fold and/or function. Because the overall three-dimensional fold of a protein evolves more slowly than its sequence, efforts have been geared toward structural characterization of proteins encoded by archaeal viruses in order to gain insight into their potential functions. In this short review, we provide multiple examples where structural characterization of archaeal viral proteins has indeed provided significant functional and evolutionary insight.

Quorum Sensing in Extreme Environments

Author(s):Kate Montgomery -- James C. Charlesworth -- Rebecca LeBard -- Pieter T. Visscher -- Brendan P. Burns
Journal: Life
Publisher:
Abstract
| Pages: 131-148
Microbial communication, particularly that of quorum sensing, plays an important role in regulating gene expression in a range of organisms. Although this phenomenon has been well studied in relation to, for example, virulence gene regulation, the focus of this article is to review our understanding of the role of microbial communication in extreme environments. Cell signaling regulates many important microbial processes and may play a pivotal role in driving microbial functional diversity and ultimately ecosystem function in extreme environments. Several recent studies have characterized cell signaling in modern analogs to early Earth communities (microbial mats), and characterization of cell signaling systems in these communities may provide unique insights in understanding the microbial interactions involved in function and survival in extreme environments. Cell signaling is a fundamental process that may have co-evolved with communities and environmental conditions on the early Earth. Without cell signaling, evolutionary pressures may have even resulted in the extinction rather than evolution of certain microbial groups. One of the biggest challenges in extremophile biology is understanding how and why some microbial functional groups are located where logically they would not be expected to survive, and tightly regulated communication may be key. Finally, quorum sensing has been recently identified for the first time in archaea, and thus communication at multiple levels (potentially even inter-domain) may be fundamental in extreme environments.
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