ResearchPad - sucrose Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The role of the C<sub>2</sub>A domain of synaptotagmin 1 in asynchronous neurotransmitter release]]> Following nerve stimulation, there are two distinct phases of Ca2+-dependent neurotransmitter release: a fast, synchronous release phase, and a prolonged, asynchronous release phase. Each of these phases is tightly regulated and mediated by distinct mechanisms. Synaptotagmin 1 is the major Ca2+ sensor that triggers fast, synchronous neurotransmitter release upon Ca2+ binding by its C2A and C2B domains. It has also been implicated in the inhibition of asynchronous neurotransmitter release, as blocking Ca2+ binding by the C2A domain of synaptotagmin 1 results in increased asynchronous release. However, the mutation used to block Ca2+ binding in the previous experiments (aspartate to asparagine mutations, sytD-N) had the unintended side effect of mimicking Ca2+ binding, raising the possibility that the increase in asynchronous release was directly caused by ostensibly constitutive Ca2+ binding. Thus, rather than modulating an asynchronous sensor, sytD-N may be mimicking one. To directly test the C2A inhibition hypothesis, we utilized an alternate C2A mutation that we designed to block Ca2+ binding without mimicking it (an aspartate to glutamate mutation, sytD-E). Analysis of both the original sytD-N mutation and our alternate sytD-E mutation at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction showed differential effects on asynchronous release, as well as on synchronous release and the frequency of spontaneous release. Importantly, we found that asynchronous release is not increased in the sytD-E mutant. Thus, our work provides new mechanistic insight into synaptotagmin 1 function during Ca2+-evoked synaptic transmission and demonstrates that Ca2+ binding by the C2A domain of synaptotagmin 1 does not inhibit asynchronous neurotransmitter release in vivo.

<![CDATA[Observation and quantification of the morphological effect of trypan blue rupturing dead or dying cells]]>

Trypan blue has long been the gold standard for staining dead cell to determine cell viability. The dye is excluded from membrane-intact live cells, but can enter and concentrate in membrane-compromised dead cells, rendering the cells dark blue. Over the years, there has been an understanding that trypan blue is inaccurate for cell viability under 80% without scientific support. We previously showed that trypan blue can alter the morphology of dead cells to a diffuse shape, which can lead to over-estimation of viability. Here, we investigate the origin of the dim and diffuse objects after trypan blue staining. Utilizing image and video acquisition, we show real-time transformation of cells into diffuse objects when stained with trypan blue. The same phenomenon was not observed when staining cells with propidium iodide. We also demonstrate the co-localization of trypan blue and propidium iodide, confirming these diffuse objects as cells that contain nuclei. The videos clearly show immediate cell rupturing after trypan blue contact. The formation of these diffuse objects was monitored and counted over time as cells die outside of the incubator. We hypothesize and demonstrate that rapid water influx may have caused the cells to rupture and disappear. Since some dead cells disappear after trypan blue staining, the total can be under-counted, leading to over-estimation of cell viability. This inaccuracy could affect the outcomes of cellular therapies, which require accurate measurements of immune cells that will be infused back into patients.

<![CDATA[Sugar, amino acid and inorganic ion profiling of the honeydew from different hemipteran species feeding on Abies alba and Picea abies]]>

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.

<![CDATA[Sleeping through anything: The effects of unpredictable disruptions on mouse sleep, healing, and affect]]>

Many aspects of the laboratory environment are not tailored to the needs of rodents, which may cause stress. Unpredictable stressors can cause ulcers, prolonged pituitary-adrenal activation, and anhedonia. Similarly, pain has been demonstrated to slow wound healing, and mice experiencing pain exhibit altered behavior. However it is unknown how husbandry, which occurs when the mice are inactive, and lack of analgesia, specifically in a punch biopsy procedure, effects animal physiology, behavior, and welfare, particularly as it relates to sleep fragmentation. We hypothesized that sleep fragmentation, induced by unpredictable husbandry and lack of pain management will slow wound healing. Two main treatments were tested in a factorial design in C57BL/6 mice of both sexes (64 mice total); 1) analgesia (carprofen and saline) and 2) sleep disruptions (random and predictable). Mice were singly housed in a non-invasive sleep monitoring apparatus on arrival (Day -4). Disruption treatments were applied from Day -3 to 2. All mice received a punch biopsy surgery (Day 0) with topical lidocaine gel and their analgesic treatment prior to recovery, and on Days 1 and 2. Nesting behavior was assessed daily and a sugar cereal consumption test, as a measure of anhedonia, was conducted on Days -1 to 2. On Day 3, mice were euthanized and wound tissue and adrenal glands were collected. We found that the disruption predictability had no effect on mouse sleep, wound healing, or adrenal cortex:medulla ratio. It’s possible that the disruption period was not long enough to induce chronic stress. However, male mice who received analgesia slept more than their female counterparts; this may be related to sex differences in pain perception. Overall, it does not appear that the predictability of disturbance effects sleep fragmentation or stress responses, indicating that husbandry activities do not need to occur at set predictable times to improve welfare.

<![CDATA[Functional composition has stronger impact than species richness on carbon gain and allocation in experimental grasslands]]>

Numerous experiments have shown positive diversity effects on plant productivity, but little is known about related processes of carbon gain and allocation. We investigated these processes in a controlled environment (Montpellier European Ecotron) applying a continuous 13CO2 label for three weeks to 12 soil-vegetation monoliths originating from a grassland biodiversity experiment (Jena Experiment) and representing two diversity levels (4 and 16 sown species). Plant species richness did not affect community- and species-level 13C abundances neither in total biomass nor in non-structural carbohydrates (NSC). Community-level 13C excess tended to be higher in the 16-species than in the 4-species mixtures. Community-level 13C excess was positively related to canopy leaf nitrogen (N), i.e. leaf N per unit soil surface. At the species level, shoot 13C abundances varied among plant functional groups and were larger in legumes and tall herbs than in grasses and small herbs, and correlated positively with traits as leaf N concentrations, stomatal conductance and shoot height. The 13C abundances in NSC were larger in transport sugars (sucrose, raffinose-family oligosaccharides) than in free glucose, fructose and compounds of the storage pool (starch) suggesting that newly assimilated carbon is to a small portion allocated to storage. Our results emphasize that the functional composition of communities is key in explaining carbon assimilation in grasslands.

<![CDATA[Cannabinoid and nicotine exposure during adolescence induces sex-specific effects on anxiety- and reward-related behaviors during adulthood]]>

Nicotine and cannabis use during adolescence has the potential to induce long lasting changes on affective and cognitive function. Here, we examined whether adolescent exposure to nicotine, the cannabinoid agonist WIN55-212,2 (WIN), or co-exposure to both would alter operant learning, locomotion, and anxiety- and reward-related behaviors in male and female mice during adulthood. Males exposed to a moderate dose of WIN (2 mg/kg) or co-exposed to nicotine and the moderate dose of WIN exhibited decreased anxiety-associated behaviors and increased cognitive flexibility, but did not differ in operant learning or generalized locomotion. In contrast, differences were not found among the females in these measures at the moderate WIN dose or in both sexes with exposure to a low WIN dose (0.2 mg/kg). Furthermore, a sex-dependent dissociative effect was found in natural reward consumption. Males exposed to the moderate dose of WIN or co-exposed to nicotine and the moderate dose of WIN demonstrated increased sucrose consumption. In contrast, females exposed to the moderate dose of WIN exhibited a decrease in sucrose consumption, which was ameliorated with co-administration of nicotine. Together, these novel findings demonstrate that adolescent exposure to cannabinoids in the presence or absence of nicotine results in altered affective and reward-related behaviors during adulthood.

<![CDATA[Optimization of Ralstonia solanacearum cell growth using a central composite rotational design for the P(3HB) production: Effect of agitation and aeration]]>

The intracellular accumulation of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) normally occurs after cell growth, during the second fermentation stage and under nutrient-limited conditions in the presence of a carbon excess. However, some microorganisms are able to accumulate PHAs as poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) [P(3HB)] during the first fermentation stage, the cell growth phase, without nutrient limitation, once they have been reported to utilize type II metabolism during the polymer accumulation phase. This study evaluated the effect of aeration and agitation on cell growth and P(3HB) accumulation in Ralstonia solanacearum RS, performed in a bioreactor for 24h at 32°C. A 22 central composite rotational design (CCRD) was used, with agitation (150 to 250 rpm) and aeration (0.3 to 1 vvm) as independent variables and optical density (OD600nm), dry cell weight (DCW), and P(3HB) yield as dependent variables. A significant polymer accumulation, until 70% of P(3HB), was observed, proving that R. solanacearum RS exhibited metabolism type II, regardless of the aeration process. The best results were obtained for 1 vvm and 250 rpm (+1, +1), with values of OD600nm (18.04) and DCW (4.82 g.L-1).

<![CDATA[GPI-anchor signal sequence influences PrPC sorting, shedding and signalling, and impacts on different pathomechanistic aspects of prion disease in mice]]>

The cellular prion protein (PrPC) is a cell surface glycoprotein attached to the membrane by a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchor and plays a critical role in transmissible, neurodegenerative and fatal prion diseases. Alterations in membrane attachment influence PrPC-associated signaling, and the development of prion disease, yet our knowledge of the role of the GPI-anchor in localization, processing, and function of PrPC in vivo is limited We exchanged the PrPC GPI-anchor signal sequence of for that of Thy-1 (PrPCGPIThy-1) in cells and mice. We show that this modifies the GPI-anchor composition, which then lacks sialic acid, and that PrPCGPIThy-1 is preferentially localized in axons and is less prone to proteolytic shedding when compared to PrPC. Interestingly, after prion infection, mice expressing PrPCGPIThy-1 show a significant delay to terminal disease, a decrease of microglia/astrocyte activation, and altered MAPK signaling when compared to wild-type mice. Our results are the first to demonstrate in vivo, that the GPI-anchor signal sequence plays a fundamental role in the GPI-anchor composition, dictating the subcellular localization of a given protein and, in the case of PrPC, influencing the development of prion disease.

<![CDATA[Combining multi-scale modelling methods to decipher molecular motions of a branching sucrase from glycoside-hydrolase family 70]]>

Among α-transglucosylases from Glycoside-Hydrolase family 70, the ΔN123-GB-CD2 enzyme derived from the bifunctional DSR-E from L. citreum NRRL B-1299 is particularly interesting as it was the first described engineered Branching Sucrase, not able to elongate glucan polymers from sucrose substrate. The previously reported overall structural organization of this multi-domain enzyme is an intricate U-shape fold conserved among GH70 enzymes which showed a certain conformational variability of the so-called domain V, assumed to play a role in the control of product structures, in available X-ray structures. Understanding the role of functional dynamics on enzyme reaction and substrate recognition is of utmost interest although it remains a challenge for biophysical methods. By combining long molecular dynamics simulation (1μs) and multiple analyses (NMA, PCA, Morelet Continuous Wavelet Transform and Cross Correlations Dynamics), we investigated here the dynamics of ΔN123-GB-CD2 alone and in interaction with sucrose substrate. Overall, our results provide the detailed picture at atomic level of the hierarchy of motions occurring along different timescales and how they are correlated, in agreement with experimental structural data. In particular, detailed analysis of the different structural domains revealed cooperative dynamic behaviors such as twisting, bending and wobbling through anti- and correlated motions, and also two structural hinge regions, of which one was unreported. Several highly flexible loops surrounding the catalytic pocket were also highlighted, suggesting a potential role in the acceptor promiscuity of ΔN123-GBD-CD2. Normal modes and essential dynamics underlined an interesting two-fold dynamic of the catalytic domain A, pivoting about an axis splitting the catalytic gorge in two parts. The comparison of the conformational free energy landscapes using principal component analysis of the enzyme in absence or in presence of sucrose, also revealed a more harmonic basin when sucrose is bound with a shift population of the bending mode, consistent with the substrate binding event.

<![CDATA[A subset of octopaminergic neurons that promotes feeding initiation in Drosophila melanogaster]]>

Octopamine regulates feeding behavioral responses in Drosophila melanogaster, however the molecular and circuit mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. Here, we investigated the role of a subset of octopaminergic neurons, the OA-VPM4 cluster, in sucrose acceptance behavior. Thermogenetic activation of Gal4 lines containing OA-VPM4 promoted proboscis extension to sucrose, while optogenetic inactivation reduced extension. Anatomically, the presynaptic terminals of OA-VPM4 are in close proximity to the axons of sugar-responsive gustatory sensory neurons. Moreover, RNAi knockdown of a specific class of octopamine receptor, OAMB, selectively in sugar-sensing gustatory neurons decreased the behavioral response to sucrose. By calcium imaging experiments, we found that application of octopamine potentiates sensory responses to sucrose in satiated flies. Taken together, these findings suggest a model by which OA-VPM4 promotes feeding behavior by modulating the activity of sensory neurons.

<![CDATA[Effects of Supplementation of the Synbiotic Ecologic® 825/FOS P6 on Intestinal Barrier Function in Healthy Humans: A Randomized Controlled Trial]]>

Background and Aims

Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics have been suggested as dietary strategies to improve intestinal barrier function. This study aimed to assess the effect of two weeks synbiotic supplementation on intestinal permeability under basal and stressed conditions. Secondary aims were the assessment of two weeks synbiotic supplementation on systemic immune function and gastrointestinal symptoms including defecation pattern.


Twenty healthy adults completed a double-blind, controlled, randomized, parallel design study.


Groups either received synbiotic (1.5 × 1010 CFU Ecologic® 825 + 10 g fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS P6) per day) or control supplements for two weeks.


Intestinal segment specific permeability was assessed non-invasively by oral administration of multiple sugar probes and, subsequently, assessing the excretion of these probes in urine. This test was conducted at baseline and at the end of intervention, in the absence and in the presence of an indomethacin challenge. Indomethacin was applied to induce a compromised gut state. Plasma zonulin, cytokines and chemokines were measured at baseline and at the end of intervention. Gastrointestinal symptoms and stool frequency were recorded at baseline and daily during intervention.


Significantly more male subjects were in the synbiotic group compared to the control group (P = 0.025). Indomethacin significantly increased urinary lactulose/rhamnose ratio versus without indomethacin, both in the control group (P = 0.005) and in the synbiotic group (P = 0.017). Urinary sugar recoveries and ratios, plasma levels of zonulin, cytokines and chemokines, and gastrointestinal symptom scores were not significantly different after control or synbiotic intervention. Stool frequency within the synbiotic group was significantly increased during synbiotic intervention compared to baseline (P = 0.039) and higher compared to control intervention (P = 0.045).


Two weeks Ecologic® 825/FOS P6 supplementation increased stool frequency, but did not affect intestinal permeability neither under basal nor under indomethacin-induced stressed conditions, immune function or gastrointestinal symptoms in healthy adults.

<![CDATA[Nitric Oxide Induces Cardiac Protection by Preventing Extracellular Matrix Degradation through the Complex Caveolin-3/EMMPRIN in Cardiac Myocytes]]>

Inhibition of Extracellular Matrix degradation by nitric oxide (NO) induces cardiac protection against coronary ischemia/reperfusion (IR). Glycosylation of Extracellular Matrix Metalloproteinase Inducer (EMMPRIN) stimulates enzymatic activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the heart, although the mechanisms leading to EMMPRIN glycosylation are poorly understood. We sought to determine if NO may induce cardiac protection by preventing glycosylation of EMMPRIN in a mouse model of IR. Here we found that Caveolin-3 binds to low glycosylated EMMPRIN (LG-EMMPRIN) in cardiac cells and in the hearts of healthy mice, whereas IR disrupted the complex in nitric oxide synthase 2 (NOS2) knockout (KO) mice. By contrast, the binding was partially restored when mice were fed with an NO donor (DEA-NO) in the drinking water, showing a significant reduction on infarct size (NOS2KO: 34.6±5 vs NOS2KO+DEA-NO: 20.7±9), in expression of matrix metalloproteinases, and cardiac performance was improved (left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). NOS2KO: 31±4 vs NOS2KO+DEA-NO: 46±6). The role of Caveolin-3/EMMPRIN in NO-mediated cardiac protection was further assayed in Caveolin-3 KO mice, showing no significant improvement on infarct size (Caveolin-3 KO: 34.8±3 vs Caveolin-3 KO+DEA-NO:33.7±5), or in the expression of MMPs, suggesting that stabilization of the complex Caveolin-3/LG-EMMPRIN may play a significant role in the cardioprotective effect of NO against IR.

<![CDATA[Genome-Wide Analysis of the Expression of WRKY Family Genes in Different Developmental Stages of Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) Fruit]]>

WRKY proteins play important regulatory roles in plant developmental processes such as senescence, trichome initiation and embryo morphogenesis. In strawberry, only FaWRKY1 (Fragaria × ananassa) has been characterized, leaving numerous WRKY genes to be identified and their function characterized. The publication of the draft genome sequence of the strawberry genome allowed us to conduct a genome-wide search for WRKY proteins in Fragaria vesca, and to compare the identified proteins with their homologs in model plants. Fifty-nine FvWRKY genes were identified and annotated from the F. vesca genome. Detailed analysis, including gene classification, annotation, phylogenetic evaluation, conserved motif determination and expression profiling, based on RNA-seq data, were performed on all members of the family. Additionally, the expression patterns of the WRKY genes in different fruit developmental stages were further investigated using qRT-PCR, to provide a foundation for further comparative genomics and functional studies of this important class of transcriptional regulators in strawberry.

<![CDATA[Enhancing the Thermostability of Serratia plymuthica Sucrose Isomerase Using B-Factor-Directed Mutagenesis]]>

The sucrose isomerase of Serratia plymuthica AS9 (AS9 PalI) was expressed in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) and characterized. The half-life of AS9 PalI was 20 min at 45°C, indicating that it was unstable. In order to improve its thermostability, six amino acid residues with higher B-factors were selected as targets for site-directed mutagenesis, and six mutants (E175N, K576D, K174D, G176D, S575D and N577K) were designed using the RosettaDesign server. The E175N and K576D mutants exhibited improved thermostability in preliminary experiments, so the double mutant E175N/K576D was constructed. These three mutants (E175N, K576D, E175N/K576D) were characterized in detail. The results indicate that the three mutants exhibit a slightly increased optimal temperature (35°C), compared with that of the wild-type enzyme (30°C). The mutants also share an identical pH optimum of 6.0, which is similar to that of the wild-type enzyme. The half-lives of the E175N, K576D and E175N/K576D mutants were 2.30, 1.78 and 7.65 times greater than that of the wild-type enzyme at 45°C, respectively. Kinetic studies showed that the Km values for the E175N, K576D and E175N/K576D mutants decreased by 6.6%, 2.0% and 11.0%, respectively, and their kcat/Km values increased by 38.2%, 4.2% and 19.4%, respectively, compared with those of the wild-type enzyme. After optimizing the conditions for isomaltulose production at 45°C, we found that the E175N, K576D and E175N/K576D mutants displayed slightly improved isomaltulose yields, compared with the wild-type enzyme. Therefore, the mutants produced in this study would be more suitable for industrial biosynthesis of isomaltulose.

<![CDATA[Impact of Environmental Enrichment on Perineuronal Nets in the Prefrontal Cortex following Early and Late Abstinence from Sucrose Self-Administration in Rats]]>

Perineuronal nets (PNNs) are aggregates of extracellular matrix that form structures surrounding a subset of GABAergic interneurons. The staining intensity of PNNs appears to be related to plasticity. Environmental enrichment (EE) influences plasticity during adulthood: EE decreases the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse and diminishes both drug- and sucrose-seeking behavior. We determined the impact of EE on PNN intensity in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in rats trained to self-administer sucrose. We examined the number and intensity of PNNs within the prelimbic (PL), infralimbic (IL), and orbitofrontal (OF) regions of the mPFC of adult Long-Evans rats that were trained for sucrose self-administration followed by acute or chronic EE during abstinence and a cue-induced reinstatement test. Rats exposed to EE prior to a cue-induced reinstatement of sucrose seeking had an increase in PNN staining compared with rats in standard housing. Conversely, naïve rats given 1 day of EE had a decrease in PNN intensity in the PL, no change in the IL, and an increase in the OF. Our findings demonstrate that EE increases PNN intensity in the mPFC after sucrose training, suggesting that training enhances the ability of EE to increase PNN intensity. We further demonstrate an interaction between time of abstinence, duration of EE exposure, and cue-induced reinstatement. Our results suggest that increased PNN intensity after EE may alter the excitatory/inhibitory balance of mPFC neurons such that rats are less responsive to a sucrose cue.

<![CDATA[Effects of Soil Salinity on Sucrose Metabolism in Cotton Leaves]]>

This study investigated sucrose metabolism of the youngest fully expanded main-stem leaf (MSL) and the subtending leaf of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) boll (LSCB) of salt-tolerant (CCRI-79) and salt-sensitive (Simian 3) cultivars and its relationship to boll weight under low, medium and high soil salinity stress in Dafeng, China, in 2013 and 2014. The results showed that with increased soil salinity, 1) both the chlorophyll content and net photosynthetic rate (Pn) decreased, while the internal CO2 concentration firstly declined, and then increased in the MSL and LSCB; 2) carbohydrate contents in the MSL reduced significantly, while sucrose and starch contents in the LSCB increased, as did the activities of sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) and sucrose synthase (SuSy) in both the MSL and LSCB; 3) but invertase activity in both the MSL and LSCB did not change significantly. Our study also showed that the LSCB was more sensitive to soil salinity than was the MSL. Of the measured physiological indices, higher SPS activity, mainly controlled by sps3, may contribute to adaption of the LSCB to soil salinity stress because SPS is beneficial for efficiently sucrose synthesis, reduction of cellular osmotic potential and combined actions of Pn, and sucrose transformation rate and SPS may contribute to the reduction in boll weight under soil salinity stress.

<![CDATA[GABAA receptor-expressing neurons promote consumption in Drosophila melanogaster]]>

Feeding decisions are highly plastic and bidirectionally regulated by neurons that either promote or inhibit feeding. In Drosophila melanogaster, recent studies have identified four GABAergic interneurons that act as critical brakes to prevent incessant feeding. These GABAergic neurons may inhibit target neurons that drive consumption. Here, we tested this hypothesis by examining GABA receptors and neurons that promote consumption. We find that Resistance to dieldrin (RDL), a GABAA type receptor, is required for proper control of ingestion. Knockdown of Rdl in a subset of neurons causes overconsumption of tastants. Acute activation of these neurons is sufficient to drive consumption of appetitive substances and non-appetitive substances and acute silencing of these neurons decreases consumption. Taken together, these studies identify GABAA receptor-expressing neurons that promote Drosophila ingestive behavior and provide insight into feeding regulation.

<![CDATA[The potential for flower nectar to allow mosquito to mosquito transmission of Francisella tularensis]]>

Francisella tularensis is disseminated in nature by biting arthropods such as mosquitoes. The relationship between mosquitoes and F. tularensis in nature is highly ambiguous, due in part to the fact that mosquitoes have caused significant tularemia outbreaks despite being classified as a mechanical vector of F. tularensis. One possible explanation for mosquitoes being a prominent, yet mechanical vector is that these insects feed on flower nectar between blood meals, allowing for transmission of F. tularensis between mosquitoes. Here, we aimed to assess whether F. tularensis could survive in flower nectar. Moreover, we examined if mosquitoes could interact with or ingest and transmit F. tularensis from one source of nectar to another. F. tularensis exhibited robust survivability in flower nectar with concentrations of viable bacteria remaining consistent with the rich growth medium. Furthermore, F. tularensis was able to survive (albeit to a lesser extent) in 30% sucrose (a nectar surrogate) over a period of time consistent with that of a typical flower bloom. Although we observed diminished bacterial survival in the nectar surrogate, mosquitoes that fed on this material became colonized with F. tularensis. Finally, colonized mosquitoes were capable of transferring F. tularensis to a sterile nectar surrogate. These data suggest that flower nectar may be capable of serving as a temporary source of F. tularensis that could contribute to the amplification of outbreaks. Mosquitoes that feed on an infected mammalian host and subsequently feed on flower nectar could deposit some F. tularensis bacteria into the nectar in the process. Mosquitoes subsequently feeding on this nectar source could potentially become colonized by F. tularensis. Thus, the possibility exists that flower nectar may allow for vector-vector transmission of F. tularensis.

<![CDATA[The Production of a Stable Infliximab Powder: The Evaluation of Spray and Freeze-Drying for Production]]>

In prospect of developing an oral dosage form of Infliximab, for treatment of Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis, freeze-drying (vial vs Lyoguard trays) and spray-drying were investigated as production method for stable powders. Dextran and inulin were used in combination with sucrose as stabilizing excipients. The drying processes did not affect Infliximab in these formulations, i.e. both the physical integrity and biological activity (TNF binding) were retained. Accelerated stability studies (1 month at 60°C) showed that the TNF binding ability of Infliximab was conserved in the freeze-dried formulations, whereas the liquid counterpart lost all TNF binding. After thermal treatment, the dried formulations showed some chemical modification of the IgG in the dextran-sucrose formulation, probably due to Maillard reaction products. This study indicates that, with the appropriate formulation, both spray-drying and freeze-drying may be useful for (bulk) powder production of Infliximab.

<![CDATA[Neuronal substrates underlying stress resilience and susceptibility in rats]]>


Stress and stressful life events have repeatedly been shown as causally related to depression. The Chronic Mild Stress rat model is a valid model of stress-induced depression. Like humans, rats display great heterogeneity in their response to stress and adversity. Hence some individuals are stress-sensitive and prone to develop depression-like behaviour in response to modest stressors, while others are stress-resilient and remain essentially symptom free.


Compared to the large body of research, which describes stress-induced maladaptive neurobiological changes, relatively little attention has been devoted to understand resiliency to stress. The aim of the present study was to identify changes in neuronal activity, associated with stress-resilient and stress-susceptible chronic mild stress endophenotypes, by examining c-Fos expression in 13 different brain areas. Changes in c-Fos expression have been reported as associated to stressful conditions.


Stress-induced modulation of neuronal activation patterns in response to the chronic mild stress paradigm was mapped using the immediate early gene expression c-Fos as a marker. Quantification of the c-Fos-like immunoreactivity responses was done by semi-automated profile counting procedures and design-based stereology.


Exposure to chronic mild stress significantly altered c-Fos expression in a total of 6 out of 13 investigated areas. Chronic mild stress was found to suppress the c-Fos response within the magnocellular ventral lateral geniculate nucleus of both stress subgroups. In the the lateral and ventral orbital cortices of stress-resilient rats, the c-Fos like immunoreactivity response was also repressed by stress exposure. On the contrary the c-Fos response within the amygdala, medial habenula, and infralimbic cortex was increased selectively for the stress-susceptible rats.


The study was initiated to characterize neuronal substrates associated with stress-coping mechanisms. Six areas, all of which represents limbic structures, were found to be sensitive to stress exposure. The effects within these areas associate to the hedonic status of the rats. Hence, these areas might be associated to stress-coping mechanisms underlying the chronic mild stress induced segregation into stress-susceptible and stress-resilient endophenotypes.