Publications by authors named "Jeremy Owens"

19 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Globally distributed iridium layer preserved within the Chicxulub impact structure.

Sci Adv 2021 Feb 24;7(9). Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK.

The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction is marked globally by elevated concentrations of iridium, emplaced by a hypervelocity impact event 66 million years ago. Here, we report new data from four independent laboratories that reveal a positive iridium anomaly within the peak-ring sequence of the Chicxulub impact structure, in drill core recovered by IODP-ICDP Expedition 364. The highest concentration of ultrafine meteoritic matter occurs in the post-impact sediments that cover the crater peak ring, just below the lowermost Danian pelagic limestone. Within years to decades after the impact event, this part of the Chicxulub impact basin returned to a relatively low-energy depositional environment, recording in unprecedented detail the recovery of life during the succeeding millennia. The iridium layer provides a key temporal horizon precisely linking Chicxulub to K-Pg boundary sections worldwide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abe3647DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7904271PMC
February 2021

Constraining oceanic oxygenation during the Shuram excursion in South China using thallium isotopes.

Geobiology 2020 05 3;18(3):348-365. Epub 2020 Feb 3.

State Key Laboratory of Ore Deposit Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang, China.

Ediacaran sediments record an unusual global carbon cycle perturbation that has been linked to widespread oceanic oxygenation, the Shuram negative C isotope excursion (NCIE). However, proxy-based estimates of global ocean redox conditions during this event have been limited largely due to proxy specificity (e.g., euxinic sediments for Mo and U isotopes). Modern global seawater documents a homogenous Tl isotope composition (ε Tl = -6.0) due to significant manganese oxide burial, which is recorded in modern euxinic sediments. Here, we provide new data documenting that sediments deposited beneath reducing but a non-sulfidic water column from the Santa Barbara Basin (ε Tl = -5.6 ± 0.1) also faithfully capture global seawater Tl isotope values. Thus, the proxy utilization of Tl isotopes can extend beyond strictly euxinic settings. Second, to better constrain the global redox conditions during the Shuram NCIE, we measured Tl isotopes of locally euxinic and ferruginous shales of the upper Doushantuo Formation, South China. The ε Tl values of these shales exhibit a decreasing trend from ≈-3 to ≈-8, broadly coinciding with the onset of Shuram NCIE. There are ε Tl values (-5.1 to -7.8) during the main Shuram NCIE interval that approach values more negative than modern global seawater. These results suggest that manganese oxide burial was near or even greater than modern burial fluxes, which is likely linked to an expansion of oxic conditions. This ocean oxygenation may have been an important trigger for the Shuram NCIE and evolution of Ediacaran-type biota. Subsequently, Tl isotopes show an increasing trend from the modern ocean value to values near the modern global inputs or even heavier (ε Tl ≈ -2.5 ~ 0.4), occurring prior to recovery from the NCIE. These records may suggest that there was a decrease in the extent of oxygenated conditions in the global oceans during the late stage of the Shuram NCIE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gbi.12379DOI Listing
May 2020

Fully oxygenated water columns over continental shelves before the Great Oxidation Event.

Nat Geosci 2019 ;12:186-191

School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA.

Late Archaean sedimentary rocks contain compelling geochemical evidence for episodic accumulation of dissolved oxygen in the oceans along continental margins before the Great Oxidation Event. However, the extent of this oxygenation remains poorly constrained. Here we present thallium and molybdenum isotope compositions for anoxic organic-rich shales of the 2.5 billion-year-old Mount McRae Shale from Western Australia, which previously yielded geochemical evidence of a transient oxygenation event. During this event, we observe an anti-correlation between thalium and molybdenum isotope data, including two shifts to higher molybdenum and lower thalium isotope compositions. Our data indicate pronounced burial of manganese oxides in sediments elsewhere in the ocean at these times, which requires that water columns above portions of the ocean floor were fully oxygenated: all the way from the air-sea interface to well below the sediment-water interface. Well-oxygenated continental shelves were likely the most important sites of manganese oxide burial and mass-balance modeling results suggest that fully oxygenated water columns were at least a regional-scale feature of early-Earth's oceans 2.5 billion years ago.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0309-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6398953PMC
January 2019

Absence of biomarker evidence for early eukaryotic life from the Mesoproterozoic Roper Group: Searching across a marine redox gradient in mid-Proterozoic habitability.

Geobiology 2019 05 10;17(3):247-260. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

Department of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside, California.

By about 2.0 billion years ago (Ga), there is evidence for a period best known for its extended, apparent geochemical stability expressed famously in the carbonate-carbon isotope data. Despite the first appearance and early innovation among eukaryotic organisms, this period is also known for a rarity of eukaryotic fossils and an absence of organic biomarker fingerprints for those organisms, suggesting low diversity and relatively small populations compared to the Neoproterozoic era. Nevertheless, the search for diagnostic biomarkers has not been performed with guidance from paleoenvironmental redox constrains from inorganic geochemistry that should reveal the facies that were most likely hospitable to these organisms. Siltstones and shales obtained from drill core of the ca. 1.3-1.4 Ga Roper Group from the McArthur Basin of northern Australia provide one of our best windows into the mid-Proterozoic redox landscape. The group is well dated and minimally metamorphosed (of oil window maturity), and previous geochemical data suggest a relatively strong connection to the open ocean compared to other mid-Proterozoic records. Here, we present one of the first integrated investigations of Mesoproterozoic biomarker records performed in parallel with established inorganic redox proxy indicators. Results reveal a temporally variable paleoredox structure through the Velkerri Formation as gauged from iron mineral speciation and trace-metal geochemistry, vacillating between oxic and anoxic. Our combined lipid biomarker and inorganic geochemical records indicate at least episodic euxinic conditions sustained predominantly below the photic zone during the deposition of organic-rich shales found in the middle Velkerri Formation. The most striking result is an absence of eukaryotic steranes (4-desmethylsteranes) and only traces of gammacerane in some samples-despite our search across oxic, as well as anoxic, facies that should favor eukaryotic habitability and in low maturity rocks that allow the preservation of biomarker alkanes. The dearth of Mesoproterozoic eukaryotic sterane biomarkers, even within the more oxic facies, is somewhat surprising but suggests that controls such as the long-term nutrient balance and other environmental factors may have throttled the abundances and diversity of early eukaryotic life relative to bacteria within marine microbial communities. Given that molecular clocks predict that sterol synthesis evolved early in eukaryotic history, and (bacterial) fossil steroids have been found previously in 1.64 Ga rocks, then a very low environmental abundance of eukaryotes relative to bacteria is our preferred explanation for the lack of regular steranes and only traces of gammacerane in a few samples. It is also possible that early eukaryotes adapted to Mesoproterozoic marine environments did not make abundant steroid lipids or tetrahymanol in their cell membranes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gbi.12329DOI Listing
May 2019

Thallium isotopes reveal protracted anoxia during the Toarcian (Early Jurassic) associated with volcanism, carbon burial, and mass extinction.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 06 11;115(26):6596-6601. Epub 2018 Jun 11.

Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306.

For this study, we generated thallium (Tl) isotope records from two anoxic basins to track the earliest changes in global bottom water oxygen contents over the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE; ∼183 Ma) of the Early Jurassic. The T-OAE, like other Mesozoic OAEs, has been interpreted as an expansion of marine oxygen depletion based on indirect methods such as organic-rich facies, carbon isotope excursions, and biological turnover. Our Tl isotope data, however, reveal explicit evidence for earlier global marine deoxygenation of ocean water, some 600 ka before the classically defined T-OAE. This antecedent deoxygenation occurs at the Pliensbachian/Toarcian boundary and is coeval with the onset of initial large igneous province (LIP) volcanism and the initiation of a marine mass extinction. Thallium isotopes are also perturbed during the T-OAE interval, as defined by carbon isotopes, reflecting a second deoxygenation event that coincides with the acme of elevated marine mass extinctions and the main phase of LIP volcanism. This suggests that the duration of widespread anoxic bottom waters was at least 1 million years in duration and spanned early to middle Toarcian time. Thus, the Tl data reveal a more nuanced record of marine oxygen depletion and its links to biological change during a period of climatic warming in Earth's past and highlight the role of oxygen depletion on past biological evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1803478115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6042096PMC
June 2018

Tracking the rise of eukaryotes to ecological dominance with zinc isotopes.

Geobiology 2018 07 5;16(4):341-352. Epub 2018 Jun 5.

Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

The biogeochemical cycling of zinc (Zn) is intimately coupled with organic carbon in the ocean. Based on an extensive new sedimentary Zn isotope record across Earth's history, we provide evidence for a fundamental shift in the marine Zn cycle ~800 million years ago. We discuss a wide range of potential drivers for this transition and propose that, within available constraints, a restructuring of marine ecosystems is the most parsimonious explanation for this shift. Using a global isotope mass balance approach, we show that a change in the organic Zn/C ratio is required to account for observed Zn isotope trends through time. Given the higher affinity of eukaryotes for Zn relative to prokaryotes, we suggest that a shift toward a more eukaryote-rich ecosystem could have provided a means of more efficiently sequestering organic-derived Zn. Despite the much earlier appearance of eukaryotes in the microfossil record (~1700 to 1600 million years ago), our data suggest a delayed rise to ecological prominence during the Neoproterozoic, consistent with the currently accepted organic biomarker records.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gbi.12289DOI Listing
July 2018

Rapid recovery of life at ground zero of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

Nature 2018 06 30;558(7709):288-291. Epub 2018 May 30.

Ocean Resources Research Center for Next Generation, Chiba Institute of Technology, Chiba, Japan.

The Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction eradicated 76% of species on Earth. It was caused by the impact of an asteroid on the Yucatán carbonate platform in the southern Gulf of Mexico 66 million years ago , forming the Chicxulub impact crater. After the mass extinction, the recovery of the global marine ecosystem-measured as primary productivity-was geographically heterogeneous ; export production in the Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic-western Tethys was slower than in most other regions, taking 300 thousand years (kyr) to return to levels similar to those of the Late Cretaceous period. Delayed recovery of marine productivity closer to the crater implies an impact-related environmental control, such as toxic metal poisoning , on recovery times. If no such geographic pattern exists, the best explanation for the observed heterogeneity is a combination of ecological factors-trophic interactions , species incumbency and competitive exclusion by opportunists -and 'chance'. The question of whether the post-impact recovery of marine productivity was delayed closer to the crater has a bearing on the predictability of future patterns of recovery in anthropogenically perturbed ecosystems. If there is a relationship between the distance from the impact and the recovery of marine productivity, we would expect recovery rates to be slowest in the crater itself. Here we present a record of foraminifera, calcareous nannoplankton, trace fossils and elemental abundance data from within the Chicxulub crater, dated to approximately the first 200 kyr of the Palaeocene. We show that life reappeared in the basin just years after the impact and a high-productivity ecosystem was established within 30 kyr, which indicates that proximity to the impact did not delay recovery and that there was therefore no impact-related environmental control on recovery. Ecological processes probably controlled the recovery of productivity after the Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction and are therefore likely to be important for the response of the ocean ecosystem to other rapid extinction events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0163-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6058194PMC
June 2018

Nutritional Assessment of Snacks and Beverages in Southeastern Virginia Daycare Centers.

Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2018 04 8;57(4):410-416. Epub 2017 Sep 8.

1 Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA.

This study sought to determine the nutritional quality of snacks and beverages provided at licensed daycare centers of variable sizes in Southeastern Virginia. This cross-sectional study employed self-report surveys about snack offerings administered at each daycare site that agreed to participate. In addition, researchers completed an observation survey on the day of visit to observe and document the food and beverages actually served at snack time. Although many daycare directors reported serving fresh fruit and vegetables for snacks, there was a poor correlation on the offering of these healthy snacks between researchers and directors ( P < .05). Researchers observed salty, caloric dense foods for snack time more frequently than fresh fruits and vegetables. These findings demonstrate the importance of improving and perhaps regulating the quality and diversity of snacks and beverages offered in childcare, as dietary amendments may prevent the development of childhood obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0009922817730342DOI Listing
April 2018

Constraining the rate of oceanic deoxygenation leading up to a Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE-2: ~94 Ma).

Sci Adv 2017 08 9;3(8):e1701020. Epub 2017 Aug 9.

NIRVANA (Non-traditional Isotope Research on Various Advanced Novel Applications) Laboratories, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA.

The rates of marine deoxygenation leading to Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Events are poorly recognized and constrained. If increases in primary productivity are the primary driver of these episodes, progressive oxygen loss from global waters should predate enhanced carbon burial in underlying sediments-the diagnostic Oceanic Anoxic Event relic. Thallium isotope analysis of organic-rich black shales from Demerara Rise across Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 reveals evidence of expanded sediment-water interface deoxygenation ~43 ± 11 thousand years before the globally recognized carbon cycle perturbation. This evidence for rapid oxygen loss leading to an extreme ancient climatic event has timely implications for the modern ocean, which is already experiencing large-scale deoxygenation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1701020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5550229PMC
August 2017

Evidence for rapid weathering response to climatic warming during the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event.

Sci Rep 2017 07 10;7(1):5003. Epub 2017 Jul 10.

Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science & National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32306, USA.

Chemical weathering consumes atmospheric carbon dioxide through the breakdown of silicate minerals and is thought to stabilize Earth's long-term climate. However, the potential influence of silicate weathering on atmospheric pCO levels on geologically short timescales (10-10 years) remains poorly constrained. Here we focus on the record of a transient interval of severe climatic warming across the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event or T-OAE from an open ocean sedimentary succession from western North America. Paired osmium isotope data and numerical modelling results suggest that weathering rates may have increased by 215% and potentially up to 530% compared to the pre-event baseline, which would have resulted in the sequestration of significant amounts of atmospheric CO. This process would have also led to increased delivery of nutrients to the oceans and lakes stimulating bioproductivity and leading to the subsequent development of shallow-water anoxia, the hallmark of the T-OAE. This enhanced bioproductivity and anoxia would have resulted in elevated rates of organic matter burial that would have acted as an additional negative feedback on atmospheric pCO levels. Therefore, the enhanced weathering modulated by initially increased pCO levels would have operated as both a direct and indirect negative feedback to end the T-OAE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-05307-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5504049PMC
July 2017

Sulfur isotopes track the global extent and dynamics of euxinia during Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event 2.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2013 Nov 29;110(46):18407-12. Epub 2013 Oct 29.

Department of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521.

The Mesozoic Era is characterized by numerous oceanic anoxic events (OAEs) that are diagnostically expressed by widespread marine organic-carbon burial and coeval carbon-isotope excursions. Here we present coupled high-resolution carbon- and sulfur-isotope data from four European OAE 2 sections spanning the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary that show roughly parallel positive excursions. Significantly, however, the interval of peak magnitude for carbon isotopes precedes that of sulfur isotopes with an estimated offset of a few hundred thousand years. Based on geochemical box modeling of organic-carbon and pyrite burial, the sulfur-isotope excursion can be generated by transiently increasing the marine burial rate of pyrite precipitated under euxinic (i.e., anoxic and sulfidic) water-column conditions. To replicate the observed isotopic offset, the model requires that enhanced levels of organic-carbon and pyrite burial continued a few hundred thousand years after peak organic-carbon burial, but that their isotope records responded differently due to dramatically different residence times for dissolved inorganic carbon and sulfate in seawater. The significant inference is that euxinia persisted post-OAE, but with its global extent dwindling over this time period. The model further suggests that only ~5% of the global seafloor area was overlain by euxinic bottom waters during OAE 2. Although this figure is ~30× greater than the small euxinic fraction present today (~0.15%), the result challenges previous suggestions that one of the best-documented OAEs was defined by globally pervasive euxinic deep waters. Our results place important controls instead on local conditions and point to the difficulty in sustaining whole-ocean euxinia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1305304110DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3831968PMC
November 2013

Sulfur record of rising and falling marine oxygen and sulfate levels during the Lomagundi event.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012 Nov 22;109(45):18300-5. Epub 2012 Oct 22.

Department of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.

Carbonates from approximately 2.3-2.1 billion years ago show markedly positive δ(13)C values commonly reaching and sometimes exceeding +10‰. Traditional interpretation of these positive δ(13)C values favors greatly enhanced organic carbon burial on a global scale, although other researchers have invoked widespread methanogenesis within the sediments. To resolve between these competing models and, more generally, among the mechanisms behind Earth's most dramatic carbon isotope event, we obtained coupled stable isotope data for carbonate carbon and carbonate-associated sulfate (CAS). CAS from the Lomagundi interval shows a narrow range of δ(34)S values and concentrations much like those of Phanerozoic and modern marine carbonate rocks. The δ(34)S values are a close match to those of coeval sulfate evaporites and likely reflect seawater composition. These observations are inconsistent with the idea of diagenetic carbonate formation in the methanic zone. Toward the end of the carbon isotope excursion there is an increase in the δ(34)S values of CAS. We propose that these trends in C and S isotope values track the isotopic evolution of seawater sulfate and reflect an increase in pyrite burial and a crash in the marine sulfate reservoir during ocean deoxygenation in the waning stages of the positive carbon isotope excursion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1120387109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3494920PMC
November 2012

Combing DNAzyme with single-walled carbon nanotubes for detection of Pb(II) in water.

Analyst 2011 Feb 13;136(4):764-8. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Department of Chemistry, University of California, Riverside, 92507, USA.

A sensitive and simple assay for the detection of Pb(2+) in aqueous solutions is reported. It takes advantage of the high affinity between single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) as well as the capability of SWCNT in fluorescence quenching. Lead(II) catalyzes the cleavage of a fluorescently labeled DNA substrate by a DNAzyme, which releases the single-stranded product to be adsorbed onto a SWCNT. The decrease in fluorescence is proportional to the Pb(2+) concentration. Concentrations as low as 1 nM Pb(2+) in water could be detected and the detection range spans over 5 orders of magnitude. The unique combination of Pb-specific DNAzyme with SWCNT produces a universal, facile and cost-effective sensing platform for lead ions. The concept can be applied to the design of detection assays for other metal ions or small molecules.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c0an00709aDOI Listing
February 2011

Alpha 4 beta 2* nicotinic acetylcholine receptors modulate the effects of ethanol and nicotine on the acoustic startle response.

Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2003 Dec;27(12):1867-75

Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309-0447, USA.

Background: Ethanol modulates the functional activity of alpha4beta2 neuronal nicotinic cholinergic receptors (nAChR) when measured in vitro, but the potential role of alpha4beta2 nAChRs in regulating behavioral effects of ethanol is unknown. Recently, Tritto et al. (Tritto T, Stitzel JA, Marks MJ, Romm E, Collins AC (2002) Variability in response to nicotine in the LSxSS RI strains: potential role of polymorphisms in alpha4 and alpha6 nicotinic receptor genes. Pharmacogenetics 12:197-208) reported that a polymorphism (A529T) in the alpha4 nAChR subunit gene is associated with variability in nicotine's effects on startle in the LSxSS recombinant inbred (RI) strains. Ethanol also alters the acoustic startle response. Thus, we evaluated the potential role of alpha4beta2 nAChRs in modulating ethanol's effects on acoustic startle.

Methods: The effects of ethanol on acoustic startle were determined in the LSxSS RI strains. In addition, the effects of ethanol and nicotine were also measured in alpha4 gain of function and beta2 null mutant mice. The beta2 mutants do not express the major variant of alpha4 nAChRs, alpha4beta2.

Results: An association between the alpha4 A529T polymorphism and ethanol's effects on startle was found in the LSxSS RI strains; those strains that express the A529 variant of alpha4 were more sensitive to ethanol-induced depression of startle. The alpha4 gain of function mutants were more sensitive to the effects of both nicotine and ethanol and the beta2 null mutants were less sensitive to both drugs.

Conclusions: alpha4beta2-containing nAChRs may play important roles in modulating the effects of both ethanol and nicotine on the acoustic startle response. We suggest that nAChR subunit genes should be evaluated as potential contributors to both alcoholism and tobacco abuse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.ALC.0000102700.72447.0FDOI Listing
December 2003

Hypersensitive knockin mouse strains identify receptors and pathways for nicotine action.

Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel 2003 Sep;6(5):633-9

California Institute of Technology, Division of Biology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.

Two series of knockin mouse strains have been constructed with point mutations that result in hypersensitive neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors containing alpha 4- or alpha 7-subunits. The full expression of the stronger alleles produces neonatal excitotoxic lethality; however, mice with attenuated expression or milder alleles are viable, and display a range of hypersensitive responses to nicotine. To date, measurements have been made on nicotine-induced seizures, Straub tail, hypothermia, antinociception, electroencephalograms and cellular electrophysiological responses. These strains are helping to define the occurrence of these important receptor subtypes, and their role in the acute and chronic actions of nicotine. The hypersensitive strains may be useful for the development of nicotinic drug therapy.
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September 2003

A polymorphism in the alpha4 nicotinic receptor gene (Chrna4) modulates enhancement of nicotinic receptor function by ethanol.

Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2003 May;27(5):733-42

Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0447, USA.

Background: Several studies indicate that ethanol enhances the activity of alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR). Our laboratory has identified a polymorphism in the alpha4 gene that results in the substitution of an alanine (A) for threonine (T) at amino acid position 529 in the second intracellular loop of the alpha4 protein. Mouse strains expressing the A variant have, in general, greater nAChR-mediated 86Rb+ efflux in response to nicotine than strains with the T variant. However, the possibility of the polymorphism modulating the effects of ethanol on the 86Rb+ efflux response has not been investigated.

Methods: We have used the 86Rb+ efflux method to study the acute effects of ethanol on the function of the alpha4beta2 nAChR in the thalamus in six different mouse strains. Experiments were also performed on tissue samples taken from F2 intercross animals. The F2 animals were derived from A/J mice crossed with a substrain of C57BL/6J mice that carried a null mutation for the gene encoding the beta2 nAChR subunit.

Results: In strains carrying the A polymorphism (A/J, AKR/J, C3H/Ibg), coapplication of ethanol (10-100 mM) with nicotine (0.03-300 microM) increased maximal ion flux when compared with nicotine alone with no effect on agonist potency. In contrast, ethanol had little effect on the nicotine concentration-response curve in tissue prepared from strains carrying the T polymorphism (Balb/Ibg, C57BL/6J, C58/J). Experiments with the F2 hybrids demonstrated that one copy of the A polymorphism was sufficient to produce a significant enhancement of nAChR function by ethanol (50 mM) in animals that were also beta2 +/+. Ethanol had no effect on nicotine concentration-response curves in T/T beta2 +/+ animals.

Conclusions: The results suggest that the A/T polymorphism influences the initial sensitivity of the alpha4beta2 nAChR to ethanol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.ALC.0000067973.41153.BCDOI Listing
May 2003

Animal models as a tool for studying mechanisms of co-abuse of alcohol and tobacco.

Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2002 Dec;26(12):1911-4

University of Colorado, Institute for Behavioral Genetics, Boulder 80309-0447, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.ALC.0000040847.98115.6DDOI Listing
December 2002

Possible pleiotropic effects of genes specifying sedative/hypnotic sensitivity to ethanol on other alcohol-related traits.

Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2002 Oct;26(10):1461-7

Institute for Behavioral Genetics, and the Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0447, USA.

Background: Initial sensitivity to ethanol is a predictor of alcohol abuse that has been studied extensively in both human and animal populations. Selection for initial sensitivity to the sedative/hypnotic effects of ethanol resulted in the long-sleep and short-sleep lines of mice. Some of the genes selected in these lines could also specify differential responses in other ethanol-related phenotypes and, perhaps, for other drugs of abuse. We assessed congenic mice carrying a single quantitative trait locus (QTL) from the inbred long-sleep (ILS) or inbred short-sleep (ISS) strain on the reciprocal background for a number of ethanol- and pentobarbital-related phenotypes.

Methods: Each congenic strain was tested for ethanol elimination rates at 4.1 g/kg, ethanol-induced ataxia at 2.0 g/kg, ethanol-induced hypothermia at 4.1 g/kg, and pentobarbital-induced loss of righting reflex (LORR) at 60 mg/kg. Additionally, the ILS.ISS congenics were tested for low-dose ethanol-induced activation (LDA) at five doses ranging from 0.6 to 1.2 g/kg ethanol, and the ISS.ILS congenics were tested for LDA at 1.8 g/kg of ethanol.

Results: There was little difference in the ethanol elimination rate between congenics and background strains, although a modest sex effect was found, with the females eliminating ethanol more rapidly than the males. We were unable to replicate previous differences found in LDA for the congenic on the ISS background, because none of the congenics differed from controls for LDA. congenics showed a differential effect of pentobarbital-induced LORR in the expected directions. The congenics on the ISS background showed more ethanol-induced ataxia than the ISS controls. Additionally, the hypothermic response seems affected by and and maybe others.

Conclusions: At least two regions carrying a QTL specifying sensitivity to high doses of ethanol cospecify altered sensitivity in other measures of alcohol action. Specifically, these QTLs clearly affect ethanol-induced hypothermia and pentobarbital-induced LORR and possibly ethanol-induced ataxia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.ALC.0000034454.62890.A2DOI Listing
October 2002

Genetic analysis of low-dose ethanol-induced activation (LDA) in inbred long sleep (ILS) and inbred short sleep (ISS) mice.

Behav Genet 2002 May;32(3):163-71

Institute for Behavioral Genetics and the Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309-0447, USA.

Ethanol-induced activation (LDA) is a measure of alcohol action on behavior and a predictor of future human alcoholism. Previous studies have shown that the long sleep (LS) and short sleep (SS) selected lines of mice differ in LDA and that two to five genes specify this phenotypic difference. The current study examines the genetic components of LDA in the ILS and ISS mice that are inbred derivatives of LS and SS and examines the effects of inbreeding on LDA. We provide estimates of heritability and number of loci that are consistent with those found in previous studies of the LS and SS. We conclude that LDA is a polygenic trait, specified by two to six loci, which have not been affected by inbreeding or genetic drift in the ILS and ISS populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/a:1016018411202DOI Listing
May 2002