ResearchPad - protists https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Single-cell amplicon sequencing reveals community structures and transmission trends of protist-associated bacteria in a termite host]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14746 The hindgut protists of wood-feeding termites are usually colonized by prokaryotic symbionts. Many of the hurdles that have prevented a better understanding of these symbionts arise from variation among protist and termite host species and the inability to maintain prominent community members in culture. These issues have made it difficult to study the fidelity, acquisition, and differences in colonization of protists by bacterial symbionts. In this study, we use high throughput amplicon sequencing of the V4 region of 16S rRNA genes to determine the composition of bacterial communities associated with single protist cells of six protist species, from the genera Pyrsonympha, Dinenympha, and Trichonympha that are present in the hindgut of the termite Reticulitermes flavipes. By analyzing amplicon sequence variants (ASVs), the diversity and distribution of protist-associated bacteria was compared within and across these six different protist species. ASV analysis showed that, in general, each protist genus associated with a distinct community of bacterial symbionts which were conserved across different termite colonies. However, some ASVs corresponding to ectosymbionts (Spirochaetes) were shared between different Dinenympha species and to a lesser extent with Pyrsonympha and Trichonympha hosts. This suggested that certain bacterial symbionts may be cosmopolitan to some degree and perhaps acquired by horizontal transmission. Using a fluorescence-based cell assay, we could observe the horizontal acquisition of surface-bound bacteria. This acquisition was shown to be time-dependent, involve active processes, and was non-random with respect to binding locations on some protists.

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<![CDATA[Specific clones of Trichomonas tenax are associated with periodontitis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c900d3bd5eed0c48407e3b6

Trichomonas tenax, an anaerobic protist difficult to cultivate with an unreliable molecular identification, has been suspected of involvement in periodontitis, a multifactorial inflammatory dental disease affecting the soft tissue and bone of periodontium. A cohort of 106 periodontitis patients classified by stages of severity and 85 healthy adult control patients was constituted. An efficient culture protocol, a new identification tool by real-time qPCR of T. tenax and a Multi-Locus Sequence Typing system (MLST) based on T. tenax NIH4 reference strain were created. Fifty-three strains of Trichomonas sp. were obtained from periodontal samples. 37/106 (34.90%) T. tenax from patients with periodontitis and 16/85 (18.80%°) T. tenax from control patients were detected by culture (p = 0.018). Sixty of the 191 samples were tested positive for T. tenax by qPCR, 24/85 (28%) controls and 36/106 (34%) periodontitis patients (p = 0.089). By combining both results, 45/106 (42.5%) patients were positive by culture and/or PCR, as compared to 24/85 (28.2%) controls (p = 0.042). A link was established between the carriage in patients of Trichomonas tenax and the severity of the disease. Genotyping demonstrates the presence of strain diversity with three major different clusters and a relation between disease strains and the periodontitis severity (p<0.05). More frequently detected in periodontal cases, T. tenax is likely to be related to the onset or/and evolution of periodontal diseases.

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<![CDATA[Transcriptomic analysis of polyketide synthases in a highly ciguatoxic dinoflagellate, Gambierdiscus polynesiensis and low toxicity Gambierdiscus pacificus, from French Polynesia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nca210627-69b7-4a50-96ce-ecb4ce1a2ae1

Marine dinoflagellates produce a diversity of polyketide toxins that are accumulated in marine food webs and are responsible for a variety of seafood poisonings. Reef-associated dinoflagellates of the genus Gambierdiscus produce toxins responsible for ciguatera poisoning (CP), which causes over 50,000 cases of illness annually worldwide. The biosynthetic machinery for dinoflagellate polyketides remains poorly understood. Recent transcriptomic and genomic sequencing projects have revealed the presence of Type I modular polyketide synthases in dinoflagellates, as well as a plethora of single domain transcripts with Type I sequence homology. The current transcriptome analysis compares polyketide synthase (PKS) gene transcripts expressed in two species of Gambierdiscus from French Polynesia: a highly toxic ciguatoxin producer, G. polynesiensis, versus a non-ciguatoxic species G. pacificus, each assembled from approximately 180 million Illumina 125 nt reads using Trinity, and compares their PKS content with previously published data from other Gambierdiscus species and more distantly related dinoflagellates. Both modular and single-domain PKS transcripts were present. Single domain β-ketoacyl synthase (KS) transcripts were highly amplified in both species (98 in G. polynesiensis, 99 in G. pacificus), with smaller numbers of standalone acyl transferase (AT), ketoacyl reductase (KR), dehydratase (DH), enoyl reductase (ER), and thioesterase (TE) domains. G. polynesiensis expressed both a larger number of multidomain PKSs, and larger numbers of modules per transcript, than the non-ciguatoxic G. pacificus. The largest PKS transcript in G. polynesiensis encoded a 10,516 aa, 7 module protein, predicted to synthesize part of the polyether backbone. Transcripts and gene models representing portions of this PKS are present in other species, suggesting that its function may be performed in those species by multiple interacting proteins. This study contributes to the building consensus that dinoflagellates utilize a combination of Type I modular and single domain PKS proteins, in an as yet undefined manner, to synthesize polyketides.

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<![CDATA[Advanced approach to analyzing calcareous protists for present and past pelagic ecology: Comprehensive analysis of 3D-morphology, stable isotopes, and genes of planktic foraminifers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acce4d5eed0c484990244

Marine protists play an important role in oceanic ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles. However, the difficulties in culturing pelagic protists indicate that their ecology and behavior remain poorly understood; phylogeographic studies based on single-cell genetic analyses have often shown that they are highly divergent at the biological species level, with variable geographic distributions. This indicates that their ecology could be complex. On the other hand, the biomineral (calcareous) shells of planktic foraminifers are widely used in geochemical analyses to estimate marine paleoenvironmental characteristics (i.e., temperature), because the shell chemical composition reflects ambient seawater conditions. Among the pelagic protists, planktic foraminifers are ideal study candidates to develop a combined approach of genetic, morphological, and geochemical methods, thus reflecting environmental and ecological characteristics. The present study precisely tested whether the DNA extraction process physically and chemically affects the shells of the planktic foraminifer Globigerinoides ruber. We used a nondestructive method for analyzing physical changes (micro-focus X-ray computed tomography (MXCT) scanning) to compare specimens at the pre- and post-DNA extraction stages. Our results demonstrate that DNA extraction has no significant effect on shell density and thickness. We measured stable carbon and oxygen isotopes on the shell of each individual in a negative control or one of two DNA-extracted groups and detected no significant differences in isotopic values among the three groups. Moreover, we evaluated isotopic variations at the biological species level with regard to their ecological characteristics such as depth habitat, life stages, and symbionts. Thus, our examination of the physiochemical effects on biomineral shells through DNA extraction shows that morphological and isotopic analyses of foraminifers can be combined with genetic analysis. These analytical methods are applicable to other shell-forming protists and microorganisms. In this study, we developed a powerful analytical tool for use in ecological and environmental studies of modern and past oceans.

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<![CDATA[Advances in geometric techniques for analyzing blebbing in chemotaxing Dictyostelium cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f1522d5eed0c48467ae3b

We present a technical platform that allows us to monitor and measure cortex and membrane dynamics during bleb-based chemotaxis. Using D. discoideum cells expressing LifeAct-GFP and crawling under agarose containing RITC-dextran, we were able to simultaneously visualize the actin cortex and the cell membrane throughout bleb formation. Using these images, we then applied edge detect to generate points on the cell boundary with coordinates in a coordinate plane. Then we fitted these points to a curve with known x and y coordinate functions. The result was to parameterize the cell outline. With the parameterization, we demonstrate how to compute data for geometric features such as cell area, bleb area and edge curvature. This allows us to collect vital data for the analysis of blebbing.

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<![CDATA[The genetic intractability of Symbiodinium microadriaticum to standard algal transformation methods]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac68d5eed0c484d08712

Modern transformation and genome editing techniques have shown great success across a broad variety of organisms. However, no study of successfully applied genome editing has been reported in a dinoflagellate despite the first genetic transformation of Symbiodinium being published about 20 years ago. Using an array of different available transformation techniques, we attempted to transform Symbiodinium microadriaticum (CCMP2467), a dinoflagellate symbiont of reef-building corals, with the view to performing subsequent CRISPR-Cas9 mediated genome editing. Plasmid vectors designed for nuclear transformation containing the chloramphenicol resistance gene under the control of the CaMV p35S promoter as well as several putative endogenous promoters were used to test a variety of transformation techniques including biolistics, electroporation and agitation with silicon carbide whiskers. Chloroplast-targeted transformation was attempted using an engineered Symbiodinium chloroplast minicircle encoding a modified PsbA protein expected to confer atrazine resistance. We report that we have been unable to confer chloramphenicol or atrazine resistance on Symbiodinium microadriaticum strain CCMP2467.

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<![CDATA[Historical observations of algal blooms in Mazatlan Bay, Sinaloa, Mexico (1979-2014)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b529ad5eed0c4842bcc8c

A 35-year record of algal blooms in Mazatlan Bay is reviewed in order to register bloom-forming species and their seasonal presence, duration, degree of toxicity and environmental impact. A total of 202 algal blooms have been recorded and 25 dominant species identified: 6 toxic, 5 harmful and 14 harmless species. A harmless species, Myrionecta rubra, tended to decrease in frequency, while toxic species Gymnodinium catenatum and Margalefidinium polykrikoides showed a clear trend towards an increase in frequency. The number of discoloration days attributable to blooms was highly variable in each year, but a decadal analysis revealed a tendency to increase. The monthly distribution of algal blooms for decades showed two peaks of high frequency, the larger from February to May and the smaller from September to November. The duration of blooms varied from a few days to more than three months; the ephemeral blooms were the most frequent, but in the last decade, the frequency of the longer-lasting blooms has increased. An absence of blooms in 1983–4 and 1992–3 coincided with strong El Niño events, but this pattern was not consistent in subsequent El Niño years. Years with more or fewer discolorations days appear to be associated with cold or warm phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

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<![CDATA[The ESCRT and autophagy machineries cooperate to repair ESX-1-dependent damage at the Mycobacterium-containing vacuole but have opposite impact on containing the infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6059d0d5eed0c4847cbf91

Phagocytic cells capture and kill most invader microbes within the bactericidal phagosome, but some pathogens subvert killing by damaging the compartment and escaping to the cytosol. To prevent the leakage of pathogen virulence and host defence factors, as well as bacteria escape, host cells have to contain and repair the membrane damage, or finally eliminate the cytosolic bacteria. All eukaryotic cells engage various repair mechanisms to ensure plasma membrane integrity and proper compartmentalization of organelles, including the Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport (ESCRT) and autophagy machineries. We show that during infection of Dictyostelium discoideum with Mycobacterium marinum, the ESCRT-I component Tsg101, the ESCRT-III protein Snf7/Chmp4/Vps32 and the AAA-ATPase Vps4 are recruited to sites of damage at the Mycobacterium-containing vacuole. Interestingly, damage separately recruits the ESCRT and the autophagy machineries. In addition, the recruitment of Vps32 and Vps4 to repair sterile membrane damage depends on Tsg101 but appears independent of Ca2+. Finally, in absence of Tsg101, M. marinum accesses prematurely the cytosol, where the autophagy machinery restricts its growth. We propose that ESCRT has an evolutionary conserved function to repair small membrane damage and to contain intracellular pathogens in intact compartments.

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<![CDATA[Triplet-pore structure of a highly divergent TOM complex of hydrogenosomes in Trichomonas vaginalis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390bb5d5eed0c48491df0f

Mitochondria originated from proteobacterial endosymbionts, and their transition to organelles was tightly linked to establishment of the protein import pathways. The initial import of most proteins is mediated by the translocase of the outer membrane (TOM). Although TOM is common to all forms of mitochondria, an unexpected diversity of subunits between eukaryotic lineages has been predicted. However, experimental knowledge is limited to a few organisms, and so far, it remains unsettled whether the triplet-pore or the twin-pore structure is the generic form of TOM complex. Here, we analysed the TOM complex in hydrogenosomes, a metabolically specialised anaerobic form of mitochondria found in the excavate Trichomonas vaginalis. We demonstrate that the highly divergent β-barrel T. vaginalis TOM (TvTom)40-2 forms a translocation channel to conduct hydrogenosomal protein import. TvTom40-2 is present in high molecular weight complexes, and their analysis revealed the presence of four tail-anchored (TA) proteins. Two of them, Tom36 and Tom46, with heat shock protein (Hsp)20 and tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domains, can bind hydrogenosomal preproteins and most likely function as receptors. A third subunit, Tom22-like protein, has a short cis domain and a conserved Tom22 transmembrane segment but lacks a trans domain. The fourth protein, hydrogenosomal outer membrane protein 19 (Homp19) has no known homology. Furthermore, our data indicate that TvTOM is associated with sorting and assembly machinery (Sam)50 that is involved in β-barrel assembly. Visualisation of TvTOM by electron microscopy revealed that it forms three pores and has an unconventional skull-like shape. Although TvTOM seems to lack Tom7, our phylogenetic profiling predicted Tom7 in free-living excavates. Collectively, our results suggest that the triplet-pore TOM complex, composed of three conserved subunits, was present in the last common eukaryotic ancestor (LECA), while receptors responsible for substrate binding evolved independently in different eukaryotic lineages.

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<![CDATA[A secreted Heat shock protein 90 of Trichomonas vaginalis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b079d49463d7e75962e790c

Trichomonas vaginalis is a causative agent of Trichomoniasis, a leading non-viral sexually transmitted disease worldwide. In the current study, we show Heat shock protein 90 is essential for its growth. Upon genomic analysis of the parasite, it was found to possess seven ORFs which could potentially encode Hsp90 isoforms. We identified a cytosolic Hsp90 homolog, four homologs which can align to truncated cytosolic Hsp90 gene products along with two Grp94 homologs (ER isoform of Hsp90). However, both Grp94 orthologs lacked an ER retention motif. In cancer cells, it is very well established that Hsp90 is secreted and regulates key clients involved in metastases, migration, and invasion. Since Trichomonas Grp94 lacks ER retention motif, we examined the possibility of its secretion. By using cell biology and biochemical approaches we show that the Grp94 isoform of Hsp90 is secreted by the parasite by the classical ER-Golgi pathway. This is the first report of a genome encoded secreted Hsp90 in a clinically important parasitic protozoan.

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<![CDATA[Safety of a silicone elastomer vaginal ring as potential microbicide delivery method in African women: A Phase 1 randomized trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b28b140463d7e116be9c9a9

Background

Women in sub-Saharan Africa are in urgent need of female-initiated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) preventative methods. Vaginal rings are one dosage form in development for delivery of HIV microbicides. However, African women have limited experience with vaginal rings.

Objectives

This Phase I, randomized, crossover trial assessed and compared the safety, acceptability and adherence of a silicone elastomer placebo vaginal ring, intended as a microbicide delivery method, inserted for a 12-week period in healthy, HIV-negative, sexually active women in South Africa and Tanzania.

Methods

170 women, aged 18 to 35 years were enrolled with 88 women randomized to Group A, using a placebo vaginal ring for 12 weeks followed by a 12-week safety observation period. 82 women were randomized to Group B and observed for safety first, followed by a placebo vaginal ring for 12 weeks. Safety was assessed by clinical laboratory assessments, pelvic/colposcopy examinations and adverse events. Possible carry-over effect was addressed by ensuring no signs or symptoms of genital irritation at crossover.

Results

No safety concerns were identified for any safety variables assessed during the trial. No serious adverse events were reported considered related to the placebo vaginal ring. Vaginal candidiasis was the most common adverse event occurring in 11% of participants during each trial period. Vaginal discharge (2%), vaginal odour (2%), and bacterial vaginitis (2%) were assessed as possibly or probably related to the vaginal ring. Thirty-four percent of participants had sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at screening, compared to 12% of participants who tested positive for STIs at crossover and the final trial visit. Three participants (2%) tested HIV positive during the trial.

Conclusions

The silicone elastomer vaginal ring had no safety concerns, demonstrating a profile favorable for further development for topical release of antiretroviral-based microbicides.

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<![CDATA[Evolution of Pentameric Ligand-Gated Ion Channels: Pro-Loop Receptors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db42ab0ee8fa60bd701b

Pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGICs) are ubiquitous neurotransmitter receptors in Bilateria, with a small number of known prokaryotic homologues. Here we describe a new inventory and phylogenetic analysis of pLGIC genes across all kingdoms of life. Our main finding is a set of pLGIC genes in unicellular eukaryotes, some of which are metazoan-like Cys-loop receptors, and others devoid of Cys-loop cysteines, like their prokaryotic relatives. A number of such “Cys-less” receptors also appears in invertebrate metazoans. Together, those findings draw a new distribution of pLGICs in eukaryotes. A broader distribution of prokaryotic channels also emerges, including a major new archaeal taxon, Thaumarchaeota. More generally, pLGICs now appear nearly ubiquitous in major taxonomic groups except multicellular plants and fungi. However, pLGICs are sparsely present in unicellular taxa, suggesting a high rate of gene loss and a non-essential character, contrasting with their essential role as synaptic receptors of the bilaterian nervous system. Multiple alignments of these highly divergent sequences reveal a small number of conserved residues clustered at the interface between the extracellular and transmembrane domains. Only the “Cys-loop” proline is absolutely conserved, suggesting the more fitting name “Pro loop” for that motif, and “Pro-loop receptors” for the superfamily. The infered molecular phylogeny shows a Cys-loop and a Cys-less clade in eukaryotes, both containing metazoans and unicellular members. This suggests new hypotheses on the evolutionary history of the superfamily, such as a possible origin of the Cys-loop cysteines in an ancient unicellular eukaryote. Deeper phylogenetic relationships remain uncertain, particularly around the split between bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes.

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<![CDATA[Phytoplankton Distribution in Relation to Environmental Drivers on the North West European Shelf Sea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da36ab0ee8fa60b863ff

The edge of the North West European Shelf (NWES) is characterised by a steep continental slope and a northward flowing slope current. These topographic/hydrographic features separate oceanic water and shelf water masses hence potentially separate phytoplankton communities. The slope current may facilitate the advective transport of phytoplankton, with mixing at the shelf edge supporting nutrient supply and therefore phytoplankton production. On the west Scottish shelf in particular, little is known about the phytoplankton communities in and around the shelf break and adjacent waters. Hence, to improve our understanding of environmental drivers of phytoplankton communities, biological and environmental data were collected on seven cross-shelf transects across the Malin and Hebridean Shelves during autumn 2014. Density profiles indicated that shelf break and oceanic stations had a 100 m deep mixed surface layer while stations on the shelf were generally well mixed. Analysis of similarity and multidimensional scaling of phytoplankton counts revealed that phytoplankton communities on the shelf were significantly different to those found at the shelf break and at oceanic stations. Shelf stations were dominated by dinoflagellates, with diatoms contributing a maximum of 37% of cells. Shelf break and oceanic stations were also dinoflagellate dominated but displayed a lower species diversity. Significant difference between shelf and shelf break stations suggested that the continental slope limited cross shelf phytoplankton exchange. Northern and southern phytoplankton communities on the shelf were approximately 15% dissimilar while there was no latitudinal gradient for stations along the slope current, suggesting this current provided south to north connectivity. Fitting environmental data to phytoplankton ordination showed a significant relationship between phytoplankton community dissimilarities and nutrient concentrations and light availability on the shelf compared to shelf break and oceanic stations in the study area.

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<![CDATA[Evolutionary transition towards permanent chloroplasts? - Division of kleptochloroplasts in starved cells of two species of Dinophysis (Dinophyceae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf705

Species within the marine toxic dinoflagellate genus Dinophysis are phagotrophic organisms that exploit chloroplasts (kleptochloroplasts) from other protists to perform photosynthesis. Dinophysis spp. acquire the kleptochloroplasts from the ciliate Mesodinium rubrum, which in turn acquires the chloroplasts from a unique clade of cryptophytes. Dinophysis spp. digest the prey nuclei and all other cell organelles upon ingestion (except the kleptochloroplasts) and they are therefore believed to constantly acquire new chloroplasts as the populations grow. Previous studies have, however, indicated that Dinophysis can keep the kleptochloroplasts active during long term starvation and are able to produce photosynthetic pigments when exposed to prey starvation. This indicates a considerable control over the kleptochloroplasts and the ability of Dinophysis to replicate its kleptochloroplasts was therefore re-investigated in detail in this study. The kleptochloroplasts of Dinophysis acuta and Dinophysis acuminata were analyzed using confocal microscopy and 3D bioimaging software during long term starvation experiments. The cell concentrations were monitored to confirm cell divisions and samples were withdrawn each time a doubling had occurred. The results show direct evidence of kleptochloroplastidic division and that the decreases in total kleptochloroplast volume, number of kleptochloroplasts and number of kleptochloroplast centers were not caused by dilution due to cell divisions. This is the first report of division of kleptochloroplasts in any protist without the associated prey nuclei. This indicates that Dinophysis spp. may be in a transitional phase towards possessing permanent chloroplasts, which thereby potentially makes it a key organism to understand the evolution of phototrophic protists.

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<![CDATA[Cell Blebbing in Confined Microfluidic Environments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da06ab0ee8fa60b75e6c

Migrating cells can extend their leading edge by forming myosin-driven blebs and F-actin-driven pseudopods. When coerced to migrate in resistive environments, Dictyostelium cells switch from using predominately pseudopods to blebs. Bleb formation has been shown to be chemotactic and can be influenced by the direction of the chemotactic gradient. In this study, we determine the blebbing responses of developed cells of Dictyostelium discoideum to cAMP gradients of varying steepness produced in microfluidic channels with different confining heights, ranging between 1.7 μm and 3.8 μm. We show that microfluidic confinement height, gradient steepness, buffer osmolarity and Myosin II activity are important factors in determining whether cells migrate with blebs or with pseudopods. Dictyostelium cells were observed migrating within the confines of microfluidic gradient channels. When the cAMP gradient steepness is increased from 0.7 nM/μm to 20 nM/μm, cells switch from moving with a mixture of blebs and pseudopods to moving only using blebs when chemotaxing in channels with confinement heights less than 2.4 μm. Furthermore, the size of the blebs increases with gradient steepness and correlates with increases in myosin-II localization at the cell cortex. Reduction of intracellular pressure by high osmolarity buffer or inhibition of myosin-II by blebbistatin leads to a decrease in bleb formation and bleb size. Together, our data reveal that the protrusion type formed by migrating cells can be influenced by the channel height and the steepness of the cAMP gradient, and suggests that a combination of confinement-induced myosin-II localization and cAMP-regulated cortical contraction leads to increased intracellular fluid pressure and bleb formation.

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<![CDATA[Effect of Mycoplasma hominis and cytomegalovirus infection on pregnancy outcome: A prospective study of 200 Mongolian women and their newborns]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdbc24

In Mongolia, diagnostic tests for the detection of the sexually transmitted mycoplasmas, ureaplasmas, Herpes simplex virus (HSV), and cytomegalovirus (CMV) are currently not routinely used in clinical settings and the frequency of these STIs are enigmatic. The prevalence of these STI pathogens were prospectively evaluated among 200 Mongolian pregnant women and their newborns and correlated with pregnancy outcome. TaqMan PCRs were used to detect bacterial and viral STI pathogens in pre-birth vaginal swabs of the pregnant women and in oral swabs of their newborns. A standardized questionnaire concerning former and present pregnancies was developed and linear regression analysis was used to correlate pathogen detection with pregnancy outcome. Ureaplasmas were the most prevalent of the tested pathogens (positive in 90.5% positive women and 47.5% newborns), followed by mycoplasmas (32.5% and 7.5%), chlamydia (14.5% and 7.5%), trichomonas (8.5% and 4.0%) and gonococcus (0.5% and 0%). CMV was found in 46.5% of the pregnant women and in 10.5% of their newborns, whereas HSV-2 was detected in only two mothers. Multiple regression analyses indicate that colonization of the mothers with U. urealyticum, M. hominis, T. vaginalis or CMV is associated with transmission to newborns and that transmission of M. hominis or CMV from Mongolian pregnant women to offspring is associated with reduced neonatal length and gestational age. Thus, diagnostic tests for their detection should be implemented in the clinical settings in Mongolia.

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<![CDATA[Combined Effects of Ocean Acidification and Light or Nitrogen Availabilities on 13C Fractionation in Marine Dinoflagellates]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da37ab0ee8fa60b86ad2

Along with increasing oceanic CO2 concentrations, enhanced stratification constrains phytoplankton to shallower upper mixed layers with altered light regimes and nutrient concentrations. Here, we investigate the effects of elevated pCO2 in combination with light or nitrogen-limitation on 13C fractionation (εp) in four dinoflagellate species. We cultured Gonyaulax spinifera and Protoceratium reticulatum in dilute batches under low-light (‘LL’) and high-light (‘HL’) conditions, and grew Alexandrium fundyense and Scrippsiella trochoidea in nitrogen-limited continuous cultures (‘LN’) and nitrogen-replete batches (‘HN’). The observed CO2-dependency of εp remained unaffected by the availability of light for both G. spinifera and P. reticulatum, though at HL εp was consistently lower by about 2.7‰ over the tested CO2 range for P. reticulatum. This may reflect increased uptake of (13C-enriched) bicarbonate fueled by increased ATP production under HL conditions. The observed CO2-dependency of εp disappeared under LN conditions in both A. fundyense and S. trochoidea. The generally higher εp under LN may be associated with lower organic carbon production rates and/or higher ATP:NADPH ratios. CO2-dependent εp under non-limiting conditions has been observed in several dinoflagellate species, showing potential for a new CO2-proxy. Our results however demonstrate that light- and nitrogen-limitation also affect εp, thereby illustrating the need to carefully consider prevailing environmental conditions.

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<![CDATA[The Dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedrum Responds to N Depletion by a Polarized Deposition of Starch and Lipid Bodies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da6dab0ee8fa60b9386a

Dinoflagellates are important contributors to the marine phytoplankton and global carbon fixation, but are also infamous for their ability to form the spectacular harmful algal blooms called red tides. While blooms are often associated with high available nitrogen, there are instances where they are observed in oligotrophic environments. In order to maintain their massive population in conditions of nitrogen limitation, dinoflagellates must have evolved efficient adaptive mechanisms. Here we report the physiological responses to nitrogen deprivation in Lingulodinium polyedrum. We find that this species reacts to nitrogen stress, as do most plants and microalgae, by stopping cell growth and diminishing levels of internal nitrogen, in particular in the form of protein and chlorophyll. Photosynthesis is maintained at high levels for roughly a week following nitrate depletion, resulting in accumulated photosynthetic products in the form of starch. During the second week, photosynthesis rates decrease due to a reduction in the number of chloroplasts and the accumulation of neutral lipid droplets. Surprisingly, the starch granules and lipid droplets are seen to accumulate at opposite poles of the cell. Lastly, we observe that cells acclimated to nitrogen-depleted conditions resume normal growth after addition of inorganic nitrogen, but are able to maintain high cell densities far longer than cells grown continuously in nitrogen-replete conditions.

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<![CDATA[DNA extraction replicates improve diversity and compositional dissimilarity in metabarcoding of eukaryotes in marine sediments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be1113

Human impact on marine benthic communities has traditionally been assessed using visible morphological traits and has focused on the macrobenthos, whereas the ecologically important organisms of the meio- and microbenthos have received less attention. DNA metabarcoding offers an alternative to this approach and enables a larger fraction of the biodiversity in marine sediments to be monitored in a cost-efficient manner. Although this methodology remains poorly standardised and challenged by biases inherent to rRNA copy number variation, DNA extraction, PCR, and limitations related to taxonomic identification, it has been shown to be semi-quantitative and useful for comparing taxon abundances between samples. Here, we evaluate the effect of replicating genomic DNA extraction in order to counteract small scale spatial heterogeneity and improve diversity and community structure estimates in metabarcoding-based monitoring. For this purpose, we used ten technical replicates from three different marine sediment samples. The effect of sequence depth was also assessed, and in silico pooling of DNA extraction replicates carried out in order to maintain the number of reads constant. Our analyses demonstrated that both sequencing depth and DNA extraction replicates could improve diversity estimates as well as the ability to separate samples with different characteristics. We could not identify a “sufficient” replicate number or sequence depth, where further improvements had a less significant effect. Based on these results, we consider replication an attractive alternative to directly increasing the amount of sample used for DNA extraction and strongly recommend it for future metabarcoding studies and routine assessments of sediment biodiversity.

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<![CDATA[The prevalence of trichomoniasis and associated factors among women treated at a university hospital in southern Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdc9d1

Background

Trichomoniasis is the most prevalent non-viral sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the world; however, it remains a neglected parasitic disease. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of trichomoniasis and its associated epidemiological factors among women treated at a hospital in southern Brazil.

Methodology/Principal findings

A cross-sectional study was performed to determine the prevalence of this infection in women treated at Hospital Universitário (HU) in Rio Grande, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, between January 2012 and January 2015. This study consisted a self-administered questionnaire regarding demographic, clinical, and behavioural data and a molecular diagnosis with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the TVK3/7 primer set, which was confirmed with sequence analysis. Of the 345 women surveyed, the overall prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis (T. vaginalis) was 4.1% (14/345). The prevalence rates were 5.9% among pregnant women, 8.5% among HIV-positive women, and 10.1% among HIV-positive pregnant women. The rates for groups with other significant demographic and clinical features were as follows: 6.6% among women with white skin, 12.3% among women with an income below the minimum monthly wage, 7.4% among women with a vaginal pH greater than or equal to 4.6, and 7.9% among women with a comorbid STD. The multivariate analysis confirmed that pregnant women who were HIV-positive (p = 0.001) and had low incomes (p = 0.026) were the most likely to have this infection.

Conclusions

A multivariate analysis confirmed that HIV-positive pregnant women with low incomes were the participants most likely to have trichomoniasis. These results are important because this Brazilian region presents a high prevalence of HIV-1 subtype C, which is associated with greater transmissibility. Additionally, low family income reveals a socioeconomic fragility that might favour the transmission of this STD.

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