ResearchPad - invertebrates https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A model for the assessment of bluetongue virus serotype 1 persistence in Spain]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11225 Bluetongue virus (BTV) is an arbovirus of ruminants that has been circulating in Europe continuously for more than two decades and has become endemic in some countries such as Spain. Spain is ideal for BTV epidemiological studies since BTV outbreaks from different sources and serotypes have occurred continuously there since 2000; BTV-1 has been reported there from 2007 to 2017. Here we develop a model for BTV-1 endemic scenario to estimate the risk of an area becoming endemic, as well as to identify the most influential factors for BTV-1 persistence. We created abundance maps at 1-km2 spatial resolution for the main vectors in Spain, Culicoides imicola and Obsoletus and Pulicaris complexes, by combining environmental satellite data with occurrence models and a random forest machine learning algorithm. The endemic model included vector abundance and host-related variables (farm density). The three most relevant variables in the endemic model were the abundance of C. imicola and Obsoletus complex and density of goat farms (AUC 0.86); this model suggests that BTV-1 is more likely to become endemic in central and southwestern regions of Spain. It only requires host- and vector-related variables to identify areas at greater risk of becoming endemic for bluetongue. Our results highlight the importance of suitable Culicoides spp. prediction maps for bluetongue epidemiological studies and decision-making about control and eradication measures.

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<![CDATA[Active Notch signaling is required for arm regeneration in a brittle star]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7845 Cell signaling pathways play key roles in coordinating cellular events in development. The Notch signaling pathway is highly conserved across all multicellular animals and is known to coordinate a multitude of diverse cellular events, including proliferation, differentiation, fate specification, and cell death. Specific functions of the pathway are, however, highly context-dependent and are not well characterized in post-traumatic regeneration. Here, we use a small-molecule inhibitor of the pathway (DAPT) to demonstrate that Notch signaling is required for proper arm regeneration in the brittle star Ophioderma brevispina, a highly regenerative member of the phylum Echinodermata. We also employ a transcriptome-wide gene expression analysis (RNA-seq) to characterize the downstream genes controlled by the Notch pathway in the brittle star regeneration. We demonstrate that arm regeneration involves an extensive cross-talk between the Notch pathway and other cell signaling pathways. In the regrowing arm, Notch regulates the composition of the extracellular matrix, cell migration, proliferation, and apoptosis, as well as components of the innate immune response. We also show for the first time that Notch signaling regulates the activity of several transposable elements. Our data also suggests that one of the possible mechanisms through which Notch sustains its activity in the regenerating tissues is via suppression of Neuralized1.

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<![CDATA[Juvenile hormone suppresses aggregation behavior through influencing antennal gene expression in locusts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7742 A behavioral change from shy solitarious individuals to highly social gregarious individuals is critical to the formation of disastrous swarms of locusts. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of behavioral plasticity regulated by hormones is still largely unknown. Here, we investigated the effect of juvenile hormone (JH) on the behavioral transition in fourth-instar gregarious and solitarious locusts. We found that JH induced the behavioral shift of the gregarious locust from attraction to repulsion to the volatiles of gregarious locusts. The solitarious locust significantly decreased repulsion behavior after deprivation of JH by precocene or knockdown of JHAMT, a key enzyme to synthesize JH. JH application on gregarious locusts caused significant expression alteration of genes, especially the olfactory genes TO and CSP in the antennae. We further demonstrated that the JH signaling pathway suppressed aggregation behavior in gregarious locusts by increasing TO1 expression and decreasing CSP3 expression at the same time. Our results suggested that internal physiological factors can directly modulate periphery olfactory system to produce behavioral plasticity.

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<![CDATA[Confocal Raman microscopy to identify bacteria in oral subgingival biofilm models]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7675 The study of oral disease progression, in relation to the accumulation of subgingival biofilm in gingivitis and periodontitis is limited, due to either the ability to monitor plaque in vitro. When compared, optical spectroscopic techniques offer advantages over traditional destructive or biofilm staining approaches, making it a suitable alternative for the analysis and continued development of three-dimensional structures. In this work, we have developed a confocal Raman spectroscopy analysis approach towards in vitro subgingival plaque models. The main objective of this study was to develop a method for differentiating multiple oral subgingival bacterial species in planktonic and biofilm conditions, using confocal Raman microscopy. Five common subgingival bacteria (Fusobacterium nucleatum, Streptococcus mutans, Veillonella dispar, Actinomyces naeslundii and Prevotella nigrescens) were used and differentiated using a 2-way orthogonal Partial Least Square with Discriminant Analysis (O2PLS-DA) for the collected spectral data. In addition to planktonic growth, mono-species biofilms cultured using the ‘Zürich Model’ were also analyzed. The developed method was successfully used to predict planktonic and mono-species biofilm species in a cross validation setup. The results show differences in the presence and absence of chemical bands within the Raman spectra. The O2PLS-DA model was able to successfully predict 100% of all tested planktonic samples and 90% of all mono-species biofilm samples. Using this approach we have shown that Confocal Raman microscopy can analyse and predict the identity of planktonic and mono-species biofilm species, thus enabling its potential as a technique to map oral multi-species biofilm models.

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<![CDATA[The 2015-2016 El Niño increased infection parameters of copepods on Eastern Tropical Pacific dolphinfish populations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7672 The oceanographic conditions of the Pacific Ocean are largely modified by El Niño (EN), affecting several ecological processes. Parasites and other marine organisms respond to environmental variation, but the influence of the EN cycle on the seasonal variation of parasitic copepods has not been yet evaluated. We analysed the relation between infection parameters (prevalence and mean intensity) of the widespread parasitic copepods Caligus bonito and Charopinopsis quaternia in the dolphinfish Coryphaena hippurus and oceanography during the strong 2015–16 EN. Fish were collected from capture fisheries on the Ecuadorian coast (Tropical Eastern Pacific) over a 2-year period. Variations of sea surface temperature (SST), salinity, chlorophyll a (Chl-a), Oceanic Niño Index (ONI), total host length (TL) and monthly infection parameters of both copepod species were analysed using time series and cross-correlations. We used the generalised additive models for determine the relationship between environmental variables and infection parameters. The total body length of the ovigerous females and the length of the eggs of C. bonito were measured in both periods. Infection parameters of both C. bonito and Ch. quaternia showed seasonal and annual patterns associated with the variation of environmental variables examined (SST, salinity, Chl-a and ONI 1+2). Infection parameters of both copepod species were significantly correlated with ONI 1+2, SST, TL and Chl-a throughout the GAMLSS model, and the explained deviance contribution ranged from 16%-36%. Our results suggest than an anomaly higher than +0.5°C triggers a risen in infection parameters of both parasitic copepods. This risen could be related to increases in egg length, female numbers and the total length of the ovigerous females in EN period. This study provides the first evidence showing that tropical parasitic copepods are sensitive to the influence of EN event, especially from SST variations. The observed behaviour of parasitic copepods likely affects the host populations and structure of the marine ecosystem at different scales.

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<![CDATA[SNP Identification by Transcriptome Sequencing and Candidate Gene-Based Association Analysis for Heat Tolerance in the Bay Scallop Argopecten irradians]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da90ab0ee8fa60b9fe9f

The northern bay scallop Argopecten irradians irradians (Lamarck) and the southern bay scallop Argopecten irradians concentricus (Say) were introduced into China in the 1980s and 1990s, and are now major aquaculture molluscs in China. Here, we report the transcriptome sequencing of the two subspecies and the subsequent association analysis on candidate gene on the trait of heat tolerance. In total, RNA from six tissues of 67 and 42 individuals of northern and southern bay scallops, respectively, were used and 55.5 and 34.9 million raw reads were generated, respectively. There were 82,267 unigenes produced in total, of which 32,595 were annotated. Altogether, 32,206 and 23,312 high-quality SNPs were identified for northern and southern bay scallops, respectively. For case-control analysis, two intercrossed populations were heat stress treated, and both heat-susceptible and heat-resistant individuals were collected. According to annotation and SNP allele frequency analysis, 476 unigenes were selected, and 399 pairs of primers were designed. Genotyping was conducted using the high-resolution melting method, and Fisher’s exact test was performed for allele frequency comparison between the heat-susceptible and heat-resistant groups. SNP all-53308-760 T/C showed a significant difference in allele frequency between the heat-susceptible and heat-resistant groups. Notably, considerable difference in allele frequency at this locus was also observed between the sequenced natural populations. These results suggest that SNP all-53308-760 T/C may be related to the heat tolerance of the bay scallop. Moreover, quantitative expression analysis revealed that the expression level of all-53308 was negatively correlated with heat tolerance of the bay scallop.

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<![CDATA[Disruption of genes associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 lead to common behavioural, cellular and molecular defects in Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5d50b5cf-e057-490e-9c44-60569e9f28d4

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is an inherited peripheral motor and sensory neuropathy. The disease is divided into demyelinating (CMT1) and axonal (CMT2) neuropathies, and although we have gained molecular information into the details of CMT1 pathology, much less is known about CMT2. Due to its clinical and genetic heterogeneity, coupled with a lack of animal models, common underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In order to gain an understanding of the normal function of genes associated with CMT2, and to draw direct comparisons between them, we have studied the behavioural, cellular and molecular consequences of mutating nine different genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (lin-41/TRIM2, dyn-1/DNM2, unc-116/KIF5A, fzo-1/MFN2, osm-9/TRPV4, cua-1/ATP7A, hsp-25/HSPB1, hint-1/HINT1, nep-2/MME). We show that C. elegans defective for these genes display debilitated movement in crawling and swimming assays. Severe morphological defects in cholinergic motors neurons are also evident in two of the mutants (dyn-1 and unc-116). Furthermore, we establish methods for quantifying muscle morphology and use these to demonstrate that loss of muscle structure occurs in the majority of mutants studied. Finally, using electrophysiological recordings of neuromuscular junction (NMJ) activity, we uncover reductions in spontaneous postsynaptic current frequency in lin-41, dyn-1, unc-116 and fzo-1 mutants. By comparing the consequences of mutating numerous CMT2-related genes, this study reveals common deficits in muscle structure and function, as well as NMJ signalling when these genes are disrupted.

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<![CDATA[Impact of confinement in vehicle trunks on decomposition and entomological colonization of carcasses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nffbdbe54-85a9-48b9-9e05-57433aec6303

In order to investigate the impact of confinement in a car trunk on decomposition and insect colonization of carcasses, three freshly killed pig (Sus scrofa domesticus Erxleben) carcasses were placed individually in the trunks of older model cars and deployed in a forested area in the southwestern region of British Columbia, Canada, together with three freshly killed carcasses which were exposed in insect-accessible protective cages in the same forest. Decomposition rate and insect colonization of all carcasses were examined twice a week for four weeks. The exposed carcasses were colonized immediately by Calliphora latifrons Hough and Calliphora vomitoria (L.) followed by Lucilia illustris (Meigen), Phormia regina (Meigen) and Protophormia terraenovae (R.-D.) (Diptera: Calliphoridae). There was a delay of three to six days before the confined carcasses were colonized, first by P. regina, followed by Pr. terraenovae. These species represented the vast majority of blow fly species on the confined carcasses. Despite the delay in colonization, decomposition progressed much more rapidly in two of the confined carcasses in comparison with the exposed carcasses due to the greatly increased temperatures inside the vehicles, with the complete skeletonization of two of the confined carcasses ocurring between nine and 13 days after death. One confined carcass was an anomaly, attracting much fewer insects, supporting fewer larval calliphorids and decomposing much more slowly than other carcasses, despite similarly increased temperatures. It was later discovered that the vehicle in which this carcass was confined had a solid metal fire wall between the passenger area and the trunk, which served to reduce insect access and release of odors. These data may be extremely valuable when analyzing cadavers found inside vehicle trunks.

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<![CDATA[Effects of sea-level rise on physiological ecology of populations of a ground-dwelling ant]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N7f89605c-5421-4b76-a019-ba0e7ddd5b34

Introduction

Sea-level rise is a consequence of climate change that can impact the ecological and physiological changes of coastal, ground-dwelling species. Sea-level rise has a potential to inundate birds, rodents, spiders, and insects that live on the ground in coastal areas. Yet, there is still much to be learned concerning the specifics of these impacts. The red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Buren) excavates soil for its home and is capable of surviving flooding. Because of their ground-dwelling life history and rapid reproduction, fire ants make an ideal model for discovery and prediction of changes that may be due to sea-level rise. There are up to 500,000 individuals in a colony, and these invasive ants naturally have a painful sting. However, observations suggest that colonies of fire ants that dwell in tidally-influenced areas are more aggressive with more frequent stings and more venom injected per sting (behavioral and physiological changes) than those located inland. This may be an adaption to sea-level rise. Therefore, the objective of this study is to elucidate differences in inland and coastal defensiveness via micro-dissection and comparison of head width, head length, stinger length, and venom sac volume. But first because fire ants’ ability to raft on brackish tidal water is unknown, it had to be determined if fire ants could indeed raft in brackish water and examine the behavior differences between those flooded with freshwater vs. saltwater.

Methods

To test the coastal-aggression hypothesis, inland colonies and coastal colonies, which experience relatively greater amounts of flooding, specifically regular tidal and windblown water and oscillations (i.e. El Nińo Southern Oscillation) from the Gulf of Mexico, were collected. To mimic sea-level rise, the colonies were flooded in salinities that correspond to both their collection site and conditions found in a variety of locales and situations (such as storm surge from a tropical storm). Individual ants were immediately taken from each colony for dissection before flooding, 1-hour into flooding, and 24-hours into flooding.

Results and discussion

Fire ants use their venom to defend themselves and to communicate alarm or aggression. Dissections and measurement of heads, venom sacs, and stingers revealed both coastal and inland colonies experience an increase in venom sac volume after 24 hours; in fact coastal colonies increased their venom volume by 75% after 24 h of flooding Whether this venom sac enlargement is due to diffusion of water or venom sac production is unknown. These ground-dwelling ants exhibit physiological and behavioral adaptations to ongoing sea-level rise possibly indicating that they are responding to increased flooding. Fire ants will raft on high-salinity water; and sea-level rise may cause stings by flooded ants to be more severe because of increased venom volume.

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<![CDATA[Evidence for both sequential mutations and recombination in the evolution of kdr alleles in Aedes aegypti]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N8479e8f6-b6ad-4aa7-91b1-bf6bde90184a

Background

Aedes aegypti is a globally distributed vector of human diseases including dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and Zika. Pyrethroid insecticides are the primary means of controlling adult A. aegypti populations to suppress arbovirus outbreaks, but resistance to pyrethroid insecticides has become a global problem. Mutations in the voltage-sensitive sodium channel (Vssc) gene are a major mechanism of pyrethroid resistance in A. aegypti. Vssc resistance alleles in A. aegypti commonly have more than one mutation. However, our understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of how alleles with multiple mutations arose is poorly understood.

Methodology/Principal findings

We examined the geographic distribution and association between the common Vssc mutations (V410L, S989P, V1016G/I and F1534C) in A. aegypti by analyzing the relevant Vssc fragments in 25 collections, mainly from Asia and the Americas. Our results showed all 11 Asian populations had two types of resistance alleles: 1534C and 989P+1016G. The 1534C allele was more common with frequencies ranging from 0.31 to 0.88, while the 989P+1016G frequency ranged from 0.13 to 0.50. Four distinct alleles (410L, 1534C, 410L+1534C and 410L+1016I+1534C) were detected in populations from the Americas. The most common was 410L+1016I+1534C with frequencies ranging from 0.50 to 1.00, followed by 1534C with frequencies ranging from 0.13 to 0.50. Our phylogenetic analysis of Vssc supported multiple independent origins of the F1534C mutation. Our results indicated the 410L+1534C allele may have arisen by addition of the V410L mutation to the 1534C allele, or by a crossover event. The 410L+1016I+1534C allele was the result of one or two mutational steps from a 1534C background.

Conclusions/Significance

Our data corroborated previous geographic distributions of resistance mutations and provided evidence for both recombination and sequential accumulation of mutations contributing to the molecular evolution of resistance alleles in A. aegypti.

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<![CDATA[Perceived socio-economic impacts of the marbled crayfish invasion in Madagascar]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N7a6c5db8-4016-4d26-87a6-87422e70e8c1

The negative environmental and economic impacts of many invasive species are well known. However, given the increased homogenization of global biota, and the difficulty of eradicating species once established, a balanced approach to considering the impacts of invasive species is needed. The marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) is a parthenogenetic freshwater crayfish that was first observed in Madagascar around 2005 and has spread rapidly. We present the results of a socio-economic survey (n = 385) in three regions of Madagascar that vary in terms of when the marbled crayfish first arrived. Respondents generally considered marbled crayfish to have a negative impact on rice agriculture and fishing, however the animals were seen as making a positive contribution to household economy and food security. Regression modeling showed that respondents in regions with longer experience of marbled crayfish have more positive perceptions. Unsurprisingly, considering the perception that crayfish negatively impact rice agriculture, those not involved in crayfish harvesting and trading had more negative views towards the crayfish than those involved in crayfish-related activities. Food preference ranking and market surveys revealed the acceptance of marbled crayfish as a cheap source of animal protein; a clear positive in a country with widespread malnutrition. While data on biodiversity impacts of the marbled crayfish invasion in Madagascar are still completely lacking, this study provides insight into the socio-economic impacts of the dramatic spread of this unique invasive species. Biby kely tsy fantam-piaviana, mahavelona fianakaviana” (a small animal coming from who knows where which supports the needs of the family). Government worker Analamanga, Madagascar.

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<![CDATA[Lake-depth related pattern of genetic and morphological diatom diversity in boreal Lake Bolshoe Toko, Eastern Siberia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3e538c26-938b-46fc-81d6-ffac689cc377

Large, old and heterogenous lake systems are valuable sources of biodiversity. The analysis of current spatial variability within such lakes increases our understanding of the origin and establishment of biodiversity. The environmental sensitivity and the high taxonomic richness of diatoms make them ideal organisms to investigate intra-lake variability. We investigated modern intra-lake diatom diversity in the large and old sub-arctic Lake Bolshoe Toko in Siberia. Our study uses diatom-specific metabarcoding, applying a short rbcL marker combined with next-generation sequencing and morphological identification to analyse the diatom diversity in modern sediment samples of 17 intra-lake sites. We analysed abundance-based compositional taxonomic diversity and generic phylogenetic diversity to investigate the relationship of diatom diversity changes with water depth. The two approaches show differences in taxonomic identification and alpha diversity, revealing a generally higher diversity with the genetic approach. With respect to beta diversity and ordination analyses, both approaches result in similar patterns. Water depth or related lake environmental conditions are significant factors influencing intra-lake diatom patterns, showing many significant negative correlations between alpha and beta diversity and water depth. Further, one near-shore and two lagoon lake sites characterized by low (0-10m) and medium (10-30m) water depth are unusual with unique taxonomic compositions. At deeper (>30m) water sites we identified strongest phylogenetic clustering in Aulacoseira, but generally much less in Staurosira, which supports that water depth is a strong environmental filter on the Aulacoseira communities. Our study demonstrates the utility of combining analyses of genetic and morphological as well as phylogenetic diversity to decipher compositional and generic phylogenetic patterns, which are relevant in understanding intra-lake heterogeneity as a source of biodiversity in the sub-arctic glacial Lake Bolshoe Toko.

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<![CDATA[Origin of the natural variation in the storage of dietary carotenoids in freshwater amphipod crustaceans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N905bc2f7-7243-429f-9b99-7855ae079227

Carotenoids are diverse lipophilic natural pigments which are stored in variable amounts by animals. Given the multiple biological functions of carotenoids, such variation may have strong implications in evolutionary biology. Crustaceans such as Gammarus amphipods store large amounts of these pigments and inter-population variation occurs. While differences in parasite selective pressure have been proposed to explain this variation, the contribution of other factors such as genetic differences in the gammarid ability to assimilate and/or store pigments, and the environmental availability of carotenoids cannot be dismissed. This study investigates the relative contributions of the gammarid genotype and of the environmental availability of carotenoids in the natural variability in carotenoid storage. It further explores the link of this natural variability in carotenoid storage with major crustacean immune parameters. We addressed these aspects using the cryptic diversity in the amphipod crustacean Gammarus fossarum and a diet supplementation protocol in the laboratory. Our results suggest that natural variation in G. fossarum storage of dietary carotenoids results from both the availability of the pigments in the environment and the genetically-based ability of the gammarids to assimilate and/or store them, which is associated to levels of stimulation of cellular immune defences. While our results may support the hypothesis that carotenoids storage in this crustacean may evolve in response to parasitic pressure, a better understanding of the specific roles of this large pigment storage in the crustacean physiology is needed.

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<![CDATA[Ivermectin as an adjuvant to anti-epileptic treatment in persons with onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy: A randomized proof-of-concept clinical trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N2a703e18-6320-408f-bd4d-1f677396d877

Introduction

Recent findings from onchocerciasis-endemic foci uphold that increasing ivermectin coverage reduces the epilepsy incidence, and anecdotal evidence suggests seizure frequency reduction in persons with onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy, when treated with ivermectin. We conducted a randomized clinical trial to assess whether ivermectin treatment decreases seizure frequency.

Methods

A proof-of-concept randomized clinical trial was conducted in the Logo health zone in the Ituri province, Democratic Republic of Congo, to compare seizure frequencies in onchocerciasis-infected persons with epilepsy (PWE) randomized to one of two treatment arms: the anti-epileptic drug phenobarbital supplemented with ivermectin, versus phenobarbital alone. The primary endpoint was defined as the probability of being seizure-free at month 4. A secondary endpoint was defined as >50% reduction in seizure frequency at month 4, compared to baseline. Both endpoints were analyzed using multiple logistic regression. In longitudinal analysis, the probability of seizure freedom during the follow-up period was assessed for both treatment arms by fitting a logistic regression model using generalized estimating equations (GEE).

Results

Ninety PWE enrolled between October and November 2017 were eligible for analysis. A multiple logistic regression analysis showed a borderline association between ivermectin treatment and being seizure-free at month 4 (OR: 1.652, 95% CI 0.975–2.799; p = 0.062). There was no significant difference in the probability of experiencing >50% reduction of the seizure frequency at month 4 between the two treatment arms. Also, treatment with ivermectin did not significantly increase the odds of being seizure-free during the individual follow-up visits.

Conclusion

Whether ivermectin has an added value in reducing the frequency of seizures in PWE treated with AED remains to be determined. A larger study in persons with OAE on a stable AED regimen and in persons with recent epilepsy onset should be considered to further investigate the potential beneficial effect of ivermectin treatment in persons with OAE.

Trial registration

Registration: www.clinicaltrials.gov; NCT03052998.

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<![CDATA[Crystal structures of Triosephosphate Isomerases from Taenia solium and Schistosoma mansoni provide insights for vaccine rationale and drug design against helminth parasites]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N340e3046-cb91-4c84-8d1b-fb2a65cf4cdb

Triosephosphate isomerases (TPIs) from Taenia solium (TsTPI) and Schistosoma mansoni (SmTPI) are potential vaccine and drug targets against cysticercosis and schistosomiasis, respectively. This is due to the dependence of parasitic helminths on glycolysis and because those proteins elicit an immune response, presumably due to their surface localization. Here we report the crystal structures of TsTPI and SmTPI in complex with 2-phosphoglyceric acid (2-PGA). Both TPIs fold into a dimeric (β-α)8 barrel in which the dimer interface consists of α-helices 2, 3, and 4, and swapping of loop 3. TPIs from parasitic helminths harbor a region of three amino acids knows as the SXD/E insert (S155 to E157 and S157 to D159 in TsTPI and SmTPI, respectively). This insert is located between α5 and β6 and is proposed to be the main TPI epitope. This region is part of a solvent-exposed 310–helix that folds into a hook-like structure. The crystal structures of TsTPI and SmTPI predicted conformational epitopes that could be used for vaccine design. Surprisingly, the epitopes corresponding to the SXD/E inserts are not the ones with the greatest immunological potential. SmTPI, but not TsTPI, habors a sole solvent exposed cysteine (SmTPI-S230) and alterations in this residue decrease catalysis. The latter suggests that thiol-conjugating agents could be used to target SmTPI. In sum, the crystal structures of SmTPI and TsTPI are a blueprint for targeted schistosomiasis and cysticercosis drug and vaccine development.

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<![CDATA[Sugar, amino acid and inorganic ion profiling of the honeydew from different hemipteran species feeding on Abies alba and Picea abies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Neb889307-c28f-4dcd-8ba6-6ff5a5f28e34

Several hemipteran species feed on the phloem sap of plants and produce large amounts of honeydew that is collected by bees to produce honeydew honey. Therefore, it is important to know whether it is predominantly the hemipteran species or the host plant to influence the honeydew composition. This is particularly relevant for those botanical and zoological species from which the majority of honeydew honey originates. To investigate this issue, honeydew from two Cinara species located on Abies alba as well as from two Cinara and two Physokermes species located on Picea abies were collected. Phloem exudates of the host plants were also analyzed. Honeydew of all species contained different proportions of hexoses, sucrose, melezitose, erlose, and further di- and trisaccharides, whereas the phloem exudates of the host trees contained no trisaccharides. Moreover, the proportions of sugars differed significantly between hemipteran species feeding on the same tree species. Sucrose hydrolysis and oligosaccharide formation was shown in whole-body homogenates of aphids. The type of the produced oligosaccharides in the aphid-extracts correlated with the oligosaccharide composition in the honeydew of the different aphid species. The total contents of amino acids and inorganic ions in the honeydew were much lower than the sugar content. Glutamine and glutamate were predominant amino acids in the honeydew of all six hemipteran species and also in the phloem exudates of both tree species. Potassium was the dominant inorganic ion in all honeydew samples and also in the phloem exudate. Statistical analyses reveal that the sugar composition of honeydew is determined more by the hemipteran species than by the host plant. Consequently, it can be assumed that the sugar composition of honeydew honey is also more influenced by the hemipteran species than by the host tree.

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<![CDATA[A mathematical model for assessing the effectiveness of controlling relapse in Plasmodium vivax malaria endemic in the Republic of Korea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf3d8dda1-10e2-4286-9776-07d534017a03

Malaria has persisted as an endemic near the Demilitarized Zone in the Republic of Korea since the re-emergence of Plasmodium vivax malaria in 1993. The number of patients affected by malaria has increased recently despite many controls tools, one of the reasons behind which is the relapse of malaria via liver hypnozoites. Tafenoquine, a new drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2018, is expected to reduce the rate of relapse of malaria hypnozoites and thereby decrease the prevalence of malaria among the population. In this work, we have developed a new transmission model for Plasmodium vivax that takes into account a more realistic intrinsic distribution from existing literature to quantify the current values of relapse parameters and to evaluate the effectiveness of the anti-relapse therapy. The model is especially suitable for estimating parameters near the Demilitarized Zone in Korea, in which the disease follows a distinguishable seasonality. Results were shown that radical cure could significantly reduce the prevalence level of malaria. However, eradication would still take a long time (over 10 years) even if the high-level treatment were to persist. In addition, considering that the vector’s behavior is manipulated by the malaria parasite, relapse repression through vector control at the current level may result in a negative effect in containing the disease. We conclude that the use of effective drugs should be considered together with the increased level of the vector control to reduce malaria prevalence.

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<![CDATA[Increasing sika deer population density may change resource use by larval dung beetles]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N8cd3ee58-c057-4e17-9e0d-6a1ba00b0cfd

Because animal feces contain organic matter and plant seeds, dung beetles (Scarabaeinae) are important for the circulation of materials and secondary seed dispersal through burying feces. Dung beetles are usually generalists and use the feces of various mammals. Additionally, the larval stages have access to feces from only one mammal species leaving them susceptible to changes in animal fauna and variations in animal populations. Here, we explain the effects of resource availability changes associated with sika deer (Cervus nippon) overabundance on dung beetle larvae feeding habits in Japan. δ15N values were notably higher in raccoon dog and badger dung than in that of other mammals. A dung beetle breeding experiment revealed that the δ15N values of dung beetle exoskeletons that had fed on deer feces during their larval stage were significantly lower than those of beetles that had fed on raccoon dog feces. The δ15N values of the adult exoskeleton were significantly lower in a deer high-density area than in a low-density area in large dung beetles only. It is possible that the high-quality feces, such as those of omnivores, preferred by the large beetles decrease in availability with an increase in deer dung; large beetles may therefore be unable to obtain sufficient high-quality feces and resort to using large amounts of low-quality deer feces. Small dung beetles may use the easily obtained feces that is in high abundance and they may also use deer feces more frequently with increases in deer density. These findings suggest that a larval resource shift associated with deer overabundance may affect ecosystem functions such as soil nutrient cycling and seed dispersal.

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<![CDATA[Prediction model for dengue fever based on interactive effects between multiple meteorological factors in Guangdong, China (2008–2016)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nfe4e2064-ca0a-4d6d-a8b7-4f75eb296e9a

Introduction

In order to improve the prediction accuracy of dengue fever incidence, we constructed a prediction model with interactive effects between meteorological factors, based on weekly dengue fever cases in Guangdong, China from 2008 to 2016.

Methods

Dengue fever data were derived from statistical data from the China National Notifiable Infectious Disease Reporting Information System. Daily meteorological data were obtained from the China Integrated Meteorological Information Sharing System. The minimum temperature for transmission was identified using data fitting and the Ross-Macdonald model. Correlations and interactive effects were examined using Spearman’s rank correlation and multivariate analysis of variance. A probit regression model to describe the incidence of dengue fever from 2008 to 2016 and forecast the 2017 incidence was constructed, based on key meteorological factors, interactive effects, mosquito-vector factors, and other important factors.

Results

We found the minimum temperature suitable for dengue transmission was ≥18°C, and as 97.91% of cases occurred when the minimum temperature was above 18 °C, the data were used for model training and construction. Epidemics of dengue are related to mean temperature, maximum/minimum and mean atmospheric pressure, and mean relative humidity. Moreover, interactions occur between mean temperature, minimum atmospheric pressure, and mean relative humidity. Our weekly probit regression prediction model is 0.72. Prediction of dengue cases for the first 41 weeks of 2017 exhibited goodness of fit of 0.60.

Conclusion

Our model was accurate and timely, with consideration of interactive effects between meteorological factors.

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<![CDATA[Drosophila melanogaster tPlus3a and tPlus3b ensure full male fertility by regulating transcription of Y-chromosomal, seminal fluid, and heat shock genes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8accf0d5eed0c48499037d

Spermatogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster is characterized by a specific transcriptional program during the spermatocyte stage. Transcription of thousands of genes is regulated by the interaction of several proteins or complexes, including a tTAF-containing TFIID variant, tMAC, Mediator, and chromatin interactors, e.g., bromodomain proteins. We addressed how distinct subsets of target genes are selected. We characterized the highly similar proteins tPlus3a and tPlus3b, which contain a Plus3 domain and are enriched in the testis, mainly in spermatocytes. In tPlus3a and tplus3b deletion mutants generated using the CRISPR/Cas9 system, fertility was severely reduced and sperm showed defects during individualization. tPlus3a and tPlus3b heterodimerized with the bromodomain protein tBRD-1. To elucidate the role of the tPlus3a and tPlus3b proteins in transcriptional regulation, we determined the transcriptomes of tplus3a-tplus3b and tbrd-1 deletion mutants using next-generation sequencing (RNA-seq) and compared them to that of the wild-type. tPlus3a and tPlus3b positively or negatively regulated the expression of nearly 400 genes; tBRD-1 regulated 1,500 genes. Nearly 200 genes were regulated by both tPlus3a and tPlus3b and tBRD-1. tPlus3a and tPlus3b activated the Y-chromosomal genes kl-3 and kl-5, which indicates that tPlus3a and tPlus3b proteins are required for the function of distinct classes of genes. tPlus3a and tPlus3b and tBRD-1 repress genes relevant for seminal fluid and heat shock. We hypothesize that tPlus3a and tPlus3b proteins are required to specify the general transcriptional program in spermatocytes.

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