Michael Melkonian

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Optogenetic tools enable examination of how specific cell types contribute to brain circuit functions. A long-standing question is whether it is possible to independently activate two distinct neural populations in mammalian brain tissue. Such a capability would enable the study of how different synapses or pathways interact to encode information in the(More)
BACKGROUND It is commonly accepted that a single primary endosymbiosis gave rise to the photosynthetic organelles of plants, the plastids. Recently, we presented evidence that photosynthetic inclusions, termed "chromatophores," present in the filose thecamoeba Paulinella chromatophora originated from an independent, more recent primary endosymbiotic event.(More)
The terrestrial habitat was colonized by the ancestors of modern land plants about 500 to 470 million years ago. Today it is widely accepted that land plants (embryophytes) evolved from streptophyte algae, also referred to as charophycean algae. The streptophyte algae are a paraphyletic group of green algae, ranging from unicellular flagellates to(More)
The Rhizopoda comprise a diverse assemblage of protists which depend on lobose or filose pseudopodia for locomotion. The biochemical and morphological diversity of rhizopods has led to an uncertain taxonomy. Ribosomal RNA sequence comparisons offer a measure of evolutionary relatedness that is independent of morphology and has been used to demonstrate a(More)
The biflagellate unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a classic model organism for the analysis of flagella and their organizers, the basal bodies. In this cell, the two flagella-bearing basal bodies, along with two probasal bodies and an array of fibers and microtubules, form a complex organelle called the basal apparatus. The ultrastructure(More)
Molecular phylogenetic analyses of the Mamiellophyceae classis nova, a ubiquitous group of largely picoplanktonic green algae comprising scaly and non-scaly prasinophyte unicells, were performed using single and concatenated gene sequence comparisons of the nuclear- and plastid-encoded rRNA operons. The study resolved all major clades within the class,(More)
Complete nuclear-encoded SSU rRNA sequences have been obtained from three taxa of streptophyte green algae (Klebsormidium nitens, Nitella capillaris, Chaetosphaeridium globosum) and two strains of the scaly green flagellate Mesostigma viride. Phylogenetic analyses of 70 taxa of Viridiplantae (Chlorophyta and Streptophyta) and 57 taxa of streptophyte green(More)
Nuclear-encoded SSU rDNA sequences have been obtained from 64 strains of conjugating green algae (Zygnemophyceae, Streptophyta, Viridiplantae). Molecular phylogenetic analyses of 90 SSU rDNA sequences of Viridiplantae (inciuding 78 from the Zygnemophyceae) were performed using complex evolutionary models and maximum likelihood, distance, and maximum(More)
One of the major steps in the evolution of life was the origin of photosynthesis in nucleated cells underpinning the evolution of plants. It is well accepted that this evolutionary process was initiated when a photosynthetic bacterium (a cyanobacterium) was taken up by a colorless host cell, probably more than a billion years ago, and transformed into a(More)
The Cryptophyta comprise photoautotrophic protists with complex plastids which harbor a remnant eukaryotic nucleus (nucleomorph) and a few heterotrophic taxa which either lack a plastid (Goniomonas) or contain a complex plastid devoid of pigments (Ieucoplast; Chilomonas). To resolve the phylogenetic relationships between photosynthetic,(More)