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Sample records for armadillo chaetophractus vellerosus

  1. Genetic structuring in a relictual population of screaming hairy armadillo (Chaetophractus vellerosus) in Argentina revealed by a set of novel microsatellite loci.

    PubMed

    Nardelli, Maximiliano; Ibáñez, Ezequiel Alejandro; Dobler, Dara; Justy, Fabienne; Delsuc, Frédéric; Abba, Agustín Manuel; Cassini, Marcelo Hernán; Túnez, Juan Ignacio

    2016-08-01

    The screaming hairy armadillo (Chaetophractus vellerosus) is a mammal species containing disjunct and isolated populations. In order to assess the effect of habitat fragmentation and geographic isolation, we developed seven new microsatellite loci isolated from low-coverage genome shotgun sequencing data for this species. Among these loci, six microsatellites were found to be polymorphic with 8-26 alleles per locus detected across 69 samples analyzed from a relictual population of the species located in the northeast of the Buenos Aires Province (Argentina). Mean allelic richness and polymorphic information content were 15 and 0.75, with observed and expected heterozygosities ranging from 0.40 to 0.67 and 0.58 to 0.90, respectively. All loci showed departures from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. The analysis of population structure in this relictual population revealed three groups of individuals that are genetically differentiated. These newly developed microsatellites will constitute a very useful tool for the estimation of genetic diversity and structure, population dynamics, social structure, parentage and mating system in this little-studied armadillo species. Such genetic data will be particularly helpful for the development of conservation strategies for this isolated population and also for the endangered Bolivian populations previously recognized as a distinct species (Chaetophractus nationi).

  2. A new species of Cyclobulura (Nematoda: Subuluridae) from Zaedyus pichiy and Chaetophractus vellerosus (Xenarthra: Dasypodidae) in Argentina.

    PubMed

    Navone, Graciela T; Ezquiaga, María C; Notarnicola, Juliana; Jiménez, F Agustín

    2010-12-01

    Cyclobulura superinae n. sp. collected from Zaedyus pichiy and Chaetophractus vellerosus is herein described as the second species in Cyclobulura Quentin, 1977, and the first subulurid in armadillos. The species is unique in the spur-like structures present at the tip of both spicules, yet they conform to the description of Cyclobulura in the structure of the buccal parts. Specimens of the new species show longer chordal lobes and more conspicuous radial lobes and are smaller than specimens of C. lainsoni. In addition, males of C. superinae exhibit a spur-like process in the distal end of the spicules and a shorter tail (170 vs. 300 µm) with no spine. Finally, the eggs of C. superinae are smaller (60-89 × 45-71 vs. 95-100 × 80-85). To our knowledge, the new species is the first subulurid nematode found in an armadillo.

  3. Brucella suis in armadillos (Chaetophractus villosus) from La Pampa, Argentina.

    PubMed

    Kin, Marta S; Fort, Marcelo; de Echaide, Susana T; Casanave, Emma B

    2014-06-04

    Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease transmitted from an animal reservoir to humans. Both, wildlife and domestic animals, contribute to the spreading of these zoonosis. The surveillance of the animal health status is strictly regulated for domestic animals, whereas disease monitoring in wildlife does not exist. The aim of the present study was to provide data on the prevalence of anti-Brucella antibodies in Chaetophractus villosus from a region of La Pampa, Argentina to assess public health risks. The C. villosus is endemic to South America, and in Argentina it represents a food resource for human consumption. A total of 150 sera of armadillos bleeding between 2007 and 2010 were tested using buffered plate antigen test (BPAT), serum agglutination test (SAT), 2-mercaptoethanol (2-ME) and complement fixation test (CFT), for the detection of anti-Brucella antibodies. Antibodies to Brucella sp. were found in 16% (24:150) of the armadillos tested using the BPAT test. All 24 positive samples were confirmed by the SAT, 2-ME and CFT tests. Strain isolation was attempted from liver and spleen samples of two animals with positive serology. Isolates were characterized by conventional biotyping and identification of specific DNA using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). A total of 2 isolates were recovered from spleen and liver. Both of them were identified as Brucella suis biovar 1. This preliminary study provides the first report on the seroprevalence of brucellosis and describes the first isolate of B. suis biovar 1 in C. villosus in Argentina.

  4. Spermatogenesis is seasonal in the large hairy armadillo, Chaetophractus villosus (Dasypodidae, Xenarthra, Mammalia).

    PubMed

    Luaces, Juan P; Rossi, Luis F; Merico, Valeria; Zuccotti, Maurizio; Redi, Carlo A; Solari, Alberto J; Merani, Maria S; Garagna, Silvia

    2013-01-01

    Very little is known about the distinct reproductive biology of armadillos. Very few studies have investigated armadillo spermatogenesis, with data available only for Euphractus sexcinctus and Dasypus novemcinctus. In the present study, we analysed male germ cell differentiation in the large hairy armadillo Chaetophractus villosus throughout the year, describing a cycle of the seminiferous epithelium made of eight different stages. Evaluation of the testis/body mass ratio, analysis of the architecture of the seminiferous epithelium and the frequency of defective seminiferous tubules allowed identification of a temporal interruption of spermatogenesis during the period between mid-May to July (mid-end autumn) in correlation with very low testosterone levels. Overall, these results suggest that spermatogenesis is seasonal in C. villosus.

  5. Trichostrongylina parasites of Dasypodidae (Xenarthra) from Argentina; a new species of Macielia (Molineidae: Anoplostrongylinae) in Chaetophractus vellerosus and redescription of Trichohelix tuberculata.

    PubMed

    Ezquiaga, María C; Navone, Graciela T

    2013-10-01

    Macielia jorgei n. sp. is described from Chaetophractus vellerosus from La Rioja, Argentina. Also Trichohelix tuberculata is redescribed in detail. The new species is characterized by parasitizing the small intestine, possessing a bursal membrane and telamon, having complex and sclerotized spicules distally divided into 2 processes, a simple, poorly sclerotized gubernaculum, and synlophe with bilateral symmetry and 12 cuticular ridges. This is the second report of a species of Macielia in Argentina. The synlophe of Trichohelix tuberculata is asymmetric and is characterized by 3 ventral ridges, oriented to the left. The size of these ridges decreases until they disappear at midbody.

  6. Characterisation of glycoconjugate sugar residues in the vomeronasal organ of the armadillo Chaetophractus villosus (Mammalia, xenarthra)

    PubMed Central

    CARMANCHAHI, P. D.; FERRARI, C. C.; ALDANA MARCOS, H. J.; AFFANNI, J. M.; SONEZ, C. A.; PAZ, D. A.

    2000-01-01

    Conventional carbohydrate histochemistry and the binding patterns of 21 lectins were analysed to characterise the glycoconjugate content in the components of the vomeronasal organ of the armadillo Chaetophractus villosus. The mucomicrovillous complex of the sensory epithelium bound most of the lectins studied. No reaction was observed with Con A, PSA, S-Con A and SBA, and the sustentacular cells were stained with UEA-I, DSL, LEL, STL and Con A. The vomeronasal receptor neurons were labelled with S-WGA, WGA, PNA, UEA-I, STL, Con A, S-Con A, ECL and RCA120. The basal cell layer reacted with S-WGA, WGA, LCA, UEA-I, DSL, LEL, STL, Con A, JAC and VVA. The nonsensory epithelium exhibited a differential staining in relation to the different components. The mucociliary complex stained with ECL, DBA, JAC, RCA120, STL, LCA, PHA-E, PHA-L, LEL, BSL-I and VVA. However, SJA and UEA-I stained the mucus complex lining a subpopulation of columnar cells. The cytoplasm and cell membranes of columnar cells was labelled with DBA, DSL and LCA. The apical region of these cells exhibited moderate reactivity with LEL and SJA. None of the lectins bound specifically to secretory granules of the nonsecretory cells. Basal cells of the nonsensory epithelium were labelled with DSL, LEL, LCA, BSL-I and STL. The vomeronasal glands showed a positive reaction with WGA, DSL, LEL, LCA, DBA, PNA, RCA120 and SBA. Subpopulations of acinar cells were observed with ECL, S-WGA, Con A, S-Con A and DBA. PNA and RCA120 stained the cells lining the glandular ducts. In comparison with previous results obtained in the olfactory mucosa of the same group of armadillos, the carbohydrate composition of the vomeronasal organ sensory epithelium differed from the olfactory sensory epithelium. This is probably related to the different nature of molecules involved in the perireceptor processes. PMID:10853958

  7. Ontogenetic variation in the stratum granulosum of the epidermis of Chaetophractus vellerosus (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae) in relation to the development of cornified scales.

    PubMed

    Krmpotic, Cecilia M; Carlini, Alfredo A; Galliari, Fernando C; Favaron, Phelipe; Miglino, María A; Scarano, Alejo C; Barbeito, Claudio G

    2014-12-01

    The epidermis of mammals is characterized by having a stratum granulosum that produces an orthokeratotic stratum corneum, different from the typical reptilian parakeratotic stratum. Nonetheless, some mammals show distinct degrees of parakeratosis in epidermal regions with few or no pilose follicles (e.g., areas subjacent to cornified scales). With respect to the epidermis and the development of cornified scales in the Dasypodidae, previous studies have supported the presence of a continuous stratum granulosum without any variations during ontogeny. This condition, in which the cornified scales develop without a loss of the stratum granulosum, was interpreted as primitive for eutherians. The present contribution expands the knowledge on the epidermis of Chaetophractus vellerosus in distinct ontogenetic stages in order to determine whether the cornified scales show the same developmental pattern as in other eutherians. The presence of a stratum granulosum in C. vellerosus neonates and its reduction in more advanced ontogenetic stages, in direct relationship with cornified scale development, supports the hypothesis that the partial parakeratosis in the xenarthran integument is secondary, as in other eutherians, and can be interpreted as a derived character state.

  8. Identification and localisation of glycoconjugates in the olfactory mucosa of the armadillo Chaetophractus villosus

    PubMed Central

    FERRARI, C. C.; CARMANCHAHI, P. D.; ALDANA MARCOS, H. J.; MUGNAINI, M. T.; AFFANNI, J. M.; PAZ, D. A.

    1999-01-01

    Conventional histochemistry and the binding patterns of 22 biotinylated lectins were examined for characterisation of glycoconjugates in the components of the olfactory mucosa of the armadillo Chaetophractus villosus. The mucous lining the olfactory epithelium showed binding sites for DSL, WGA, STL, LEL, PHA-E and JAC. Only the basilar processes of the supporting cells stained for Con-A and S-Con A. The olfactory receptor neurons stained with LEL, LCA, Con A, S-Con A, JAC and PNA. The layer of basal cells did not react with any of the lectins studied. Bowman's glands in the lamina propria showed subpopulations of acinar cells reacting with SBA, S-WGA, WGA, STL, Con A, PSA, PNA, SJA, VVA, JAC and S-Con A, but in our optical studies with lectins we were unable to differentiate between mucous and serous cells in the way that is possible on electron microscopy. The ducts of Bowman's glands were labelled with S-WGA, STL, LEL, PHA-E, BSL-I and JAC. This histochemical study on the glycoconjugates of the olfactory mucosa in the order Xenarthra provides a basis for further experimental investigations. PMID:10386777

  9. Loss of helminth species diversity in the large hairy armadillo Chaetophractus villosus on the Tierra del Fuego Island, Argentina.

    PubMed

    Ezquiaga, M C; Abba, A M; Navone, G T

    2016-03-01

    The aim of this work is to compare the taxonomic diversity of parasite species of the large hairy armadillo Chaetophractus villosus in its native range and in another recently introduced population (Tierra del Fuego island), and to evaluate whether the isolation of the latter determines a decrease in its parasitic diversity. Forty specimens from Buenos Aires and Tierra del Fuego Provinces were collected and examined for helminths. Eleven parasite species were found in the native population, and only one species was present in Tierra del Fuego (Trichohelix tuberculata). This may be explained because isolation and climatic conditions prevent encounters between potential host species and infective forms of parasites. Further sampling will be needed throughout the entire Patagonia steppe to confirm how the characteristic parasitic fauna of C. villosus behaves across the armadillo's southern distribution.

  10. Histology, histochemistry and fine structure of the lacrimal and nictitans gland in the South American armadillo Chaetophractus villosus (Xenarthra, Mammalia).

    PubMed

    Aldana Marcos, Hernán Javier; Cintia Ferrari, Carina; Cervino, Claudio; Affanni, Jorge Mario

    2002-12-01

    The anatomical, histological, histochemical and ultrastructural characteristics of the lacrimal gland (LG) and nictitans gland (NG) of the armadillo Chaetophractus villosus were described. The histochemical and histological features of both glands in male and female adult animals were compared. The tissues were processed with conventional techniques for light and transmission electron microscopy. Fixed specimens were submitted to a battery of tests for glycans, glycosaminglycans, glycoconjugates, proteins, and lipids. The LG of the armadillo may be considered within the set of glandulae lacrimales superior in which primates, carnivores, perisodactyls and artiodactyls are included. The localization of the NG was similar to that of other mammals. Lacrimal and NG were histologically and histochemically identical. The secretory endpieces consisted of three cell types: (1) Mucous cells (MC) with different types of mucous secretory granules with neutral and sialic acid-containing glycoconjugates (GCs). (2)Seromucous cells (SMC) showing a variety of moderately electron dense secretory granules with flocculent material with carboxylated acidic, neutral, and sialic acid-containing GCs. Intercellular canaliculi with junctional complexes and basolateral intercellular spaces were frequent. (3) Serous cells (SC) with electron dense secretory granules. Histochemically, they showed the strongest reaction for proteins and neutral, weakly acid and carboxylated acidic GCs. The epithelium of the intra- and inter-lobular excretory ducts showed secretory activity, junctional complexes, and wide basolateral intercellular spaces with lateral folds. The endpieces and ducts were surrounded by myoepithelial cells. The stroma was characterized by fenestrated endothelium, unmyelinated axons, and abundant plasma cells. MC, SMC, and the duct system were richly innervated by hypolemmal nerve terminals.

  11. Anatomy, histology, histochemistry and fine structure of the Harderian gland in the South American armadillo Chaetophractus villosus (Xenarthra, Mammalia).

    PubMed

    Aldana Marcos, Hernán Javier; Affanni, Jorge Mario

    2005-06-01

    The anatomical, histological, histochemical and ultrastructural characteristics of the Harderian gland of the armadillo Chaetophractus villosus were described. The gland is the largest structure in the bony orbit. It is situated in the anteroventral region of the orbit. Obvious structural differences are not observed between males and females. The gland is compound-branched tubulo-alveolar, being characterized by a single layer of columnar cells surrounded by myoepithelial cells. It possesses a single excretory duct opened into the inner canthus. All glandular cells show yellow-green autofluorescence and additionally some glandular lumen may contain dense autofluorescent solid accretions. There are two peculiar and outstanding cytoplasmic features. One is represented by the smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER), forming a closely woven meshwork. The other one is represented by "membranous bodies" apparently derived from the SER, RER and cytoskeleton with a "Star of David" configuration situated in the supranuclear region. Three types of vesicles are detected in the cytoplasm. Histochemical staining methods reveal lipids, proteins, neutral and acidic containing glycoconjugates in secretory vesicles. The mechanism of secretion appears either merocrine or apocrine. The epithelium of the intra- and inter-lobular excretory ducts suggests secretory activity. Tubulo-acinar glands similar to those seen in the lacrimal gland and nictitans glands are found related to the intralobular and main excretory ducts. The capillary network is characterized by fenestrated endothelium. The stroma possesses unmyelinated axons and plasma cells. The normal secretion of the secretory endpieces, particularly lipids, proteins and glycoconjugates, is complemented by mucous and serous secretions released by ductal cells and glands associated to the ducts.

  12. A study of platelets in the armadillo chaetophractus villosus (xenarthra, dasypodidae).

    PubMed

    Bermúdez, Paula Mariela; Polini, Nélida Nora; Casanave, Emma Beatriz

    2004-08-01

    Nothing is known about haemostasis in Xenarthra, a widely distributed Order of American mammalians. Chaetophractus villosus, a member of the Dasypodidae family of this group, which is easily adapted to captivity, is of growing interest for biomedical research. In this work, we studied platelet number, MPV, ultrastructure of the platelets by SEM and TEM, and aggregation responses to ADP and ristocetin in this species. Blood samples were obtained by cardiac puncture in 20 anaesthetised animals. Platelet count and MPV were evaluated at the beginning and at the end of a 3-year experimental period, to detect possible variations related to time of captivity. SEM and TEM were done by routine methods adapted to the material, and aggregation response to ADP and ristocetin were evaluated by the Born method. The parameters studied did not show any sex-related differences, nor did the platelet count change during captivity. Nevertheless, MPV decreased during this period. Platelets were ultrastructurally similar to those of other mammals and human beings and responded to proven agonists. Data provided in this study will contribute to the understanding of the haemostatic process in this species.

  13. Chromosomal localization of the telomeric (TTAGGG)n sequence in four species of Armadillo (Dasypodidae) from Argentina: an approach to explaining karyotype evolution in the Xenarthra.

    PubMed

    Lizarralde, M S; Bolzán, A D; Poljak, S; Pigozzi, M I; Bustos, J; Merani, M S

    2005-01-01

    The distribution of the vertebrate telomeric sequence (TTAGGG)(n) in four species of armadillos (Dasypodidae, Xenarthra), i.e. Chaetophractus villosus (2n = 60), Chaetophractus vellerosus (2n = 62), Dasypus hybridus (2n = 64) and Zaedyus pichiy (2n = 62) was examined by FISH with a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probe. Besides the expected telomeric hybridization, interstitial (centromeric) locations of the (TTAGGG)n sequence were observed in one chromosome pair of Chaetophractus vellerosus and Zaedyus pichiy, suggesting chromosome fusion of ancestral chromosomes occurring during the evolution of Dasypodidae. In addition, all the species analysed showed one to four apparently telocentric chromosomes, exhibiting only two telomeric signals. However, the immunodetection study of kinetochore proteins on synaptonemal complex spreads from C. villosus showed that the apparently telocentric chromosomes have a tiny short arm that can be resolved only in the more elongated pachytene bivalents. This finding suggests that none of the species of armadillos possess true telocentric chromosomes. Our present results support a reduction in the diploid number by fusion of acrocentrics with loss of chromosome material as a tendency in Dasypodidae.

  14. Phylogeography of the armadillo Chaetophractus villosus (Dasypodidae Xenarthra): post-glacial range expansion from Pampas to Patagonia (Argentina).

    PubMed

    Poljak, Sebastián; Confalonieri, Viviana; Fasanella, Mariana; Gabrielli, Magalí; Lizarralde, Marta Susana

    2010-04-01

    We report a phylogeographic study of Chaetophractus villosus populations in Argentina. Control Region (CR) sequences (484 bp) were obtained for 76 C. villosus from 20 locations across the species whole distribution range. Seventeen new haplotypes were identified. The highest genetic variation and the earliest fossils were found in the Pampean Region, thus appearing as the most probable area of origin of the species. A general pattern of Contiguous Range Expansion (CRE) was revealed by Nested Clade Analysis (NCA) supported by mismatch analysis and Fu's test. The Pampean Region would have been the pre-expansion area, while Patagonia would have been the main dispersal route of contiguous expansion, possibly after the Pleistocenic glaciations.

  15. Synaptonemal complexes and XY behavior in two species of Argentinian armadillos: Chaetophractus villosus and Dasypus hybridus (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae).

    PubMed

    Sciurano, R B; Merani, M S; Bustos, Jimena; Solari, A J

    2006-04-01

    Spermatocytes from the two armadillo species, C. villosus and D. hybridus were studied in microspreads for synaptonemal complexes (SCs) and in thin sections for electron microscopy (EM). The complete SC karyotype generally agrees with previous reports on mitotic chromosomes, except for the sex chromosomes. The X chromosome is submetacentric in both species and the Y is the shortest one in C. villosus and the second shortest in D. hybridus, and an extremely acrocentric one. A SC is formed along the total length of the Y chromosome, and this SC persists along all the pachytene substages. A single recombination nodule (RN) is located in the region of the SC nearest to the attachment to the nuclear envelope. The lateral element (LE) of the X axis in the SC shows a wavy aspect in most of the SC length distant from the nuclear envelope. Nucleoli are attached to acrocentric or submetacentric bivalents, are visibly double in some cells, and in thin sections show an elaborate nucleolonema. Some differences in the XY are species-specific, as the higher degree of tangling and stronger heteropycnosis in D. hybridus. The effective, single crossover of the XY pair is highly localized, despite the permanence of a long tract of SC.

  16. A new species of Moennigia (Trichostrongylina: Molineidae) a parasite of Chaetophractus spp. (Xenarthra: Dasypodidae) from Argentina.

    PubMed

    Ezquiaga, María C; Navone, Graciela T

    2014-08-01

    Moennigia celinae n. sp. collected from the small intestine of Chaetophractus vellerosus and Chaetophractus villosus (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae) from Argentina is herein described. This new species belongs to the genus Moennigia because it possesses a short uterus with few eggs, atrophied distal branch of the ovejector, vulva near the anus, and a conical tail. The new species has a synlophe with 17 symmetrical ridges and slight ventro-dorsal orientation. The spicule length:body length ratio is similar to that of the other species parasitic of Dasypodidae; however, Moennigia celinae n. sp. differs from Moennigia pintoi and Moennigia lutzi because the latter lack a gubernaculum, and from Moennigia complexus, Moennigia moennigi, Moennigia filamentosus, Moennigia intrusa, Moennigia littlei, Moennigia pulchra and Moennigia dessetae by the latter having very complex spicules with 2 or 3 points at the distal extremity. Moreover, Moennigia celinae n. sp. differs from Moennigia virilis by the length and shape of its spicules. Moennigia celinae n. sp. can be distinguished from Moennigia travassosi by the shape of the dorsal ray of the caudal bursa. Moennigia celinae n. sp. resembles Moennigia pseudopulchra but the gubernaculum of the latter is V-shaped. This is the second report of a species of Moennigia in Argentina and the first for the genus Chaetophractus.

  17. Ultrastructural characterisation of the olfactory mucosa of the armadillo Dasypus hybridus (Dasypodidae, Xenarthra)

    PubMed Central

    FERRARI, C. C.; CARMANCHAHI, P. D.; ALDANA MARCOS, H. J.; AFFANNI, J. M.

    2000-01-01

    The ultrastructure of the olfactory mucosa of the armadillo Dasypus hybridus was studied. A comparison with the olfactory mucosa of another armadillo (Chaetophractus villosus) was made. The olfactory mucosa of D. hybridus shows many features which are similar to those of other mammals. Interestingly, it differs from the olfactory mucosa of the armadillo C. villosus. A suggestion is made that these differences may be due to differences in the digging habits of these species. In Dasypus, the supporting cells (SCs) showed dense vacuoles, multivesicular bodies and lysosome-like bodies probably related with the endocytotic system. The SCs show a dense network of SER presumably associated with xenobiotic mechanisms. The olfactory receptor neurons exhibit lysosome-like bodies and multivesicular bodies in their perikarya. These organelles suggest the presence of an endocytotic system. Duct cells of Bowman's glands exhibit secretory activities. Bowman's glands are compound-branched tubulo-acinar mixed glands with merocrine secretory mechanisms. PMID:10739023

  18. Learning with "Armadillo Ray"

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hubbard, Kathy; Terrell, Chelsea

    2009-01-01

    "Armadillo Ray," by John Beifuss, is the tale of a young, curious armadillo who wants to know what the moon is. He is joined in his quest by snakes, prairie dogs, sage grouse, and owls. The beauty of the book is its simplicity, illustrations and landscapes, and its potential links to reading, geography, science, and mathematics. In this…

  19. Synapsis, recombination, and chromatin remodeling in the XY body of armadillos.

    PubMed

    Sciurano, Roberta B; Rahn, Mónica I; Rossi, Luis; Luaces, Juan Pablo; Merani, María Susana; Solari, Alberto J

    2012-02-01

    Three xenarthrans species Chaetophractus villosus, Chaetophractus vellerosus, and Zaedyus pichiy have been used for the analysis of the structure, behavior, and immunochemical features of the XY body during pachytene. In all these species, the sex chromosomes form an XY body easily identifiable in thin sections by the special and regular packing of the chromatin fibers of the internal region of the XY body ("differential" regions) and those of the peripheral region (synaptic region). Spermatocyte spreads show a complete synapsis between the X- and the Y-axis, which lasts up to the end of pachytene. From the early pachytene substages to the late ones, the X-axis develops prominent branches, which in late pachytene span the synaptic region. Synapsis is regular as shown by SYCP1 labeling. Axial development is followed by SYCP3 labeling and in the asynaptic region of the X-axis by BRCA1. Gamma-H2AX labels exclusively the differential (asynaptic) region of the X chromosome. A single focus is labeled by MLH1 in the synaptic region. The location of this MLH1 focus spans from 0.3 to 1.6 μm from the telomere in the analyzed xenarthrans, covering approximately half of the Y-axis length. It is concluded that xenarthrans, as basal placental mammals, harbor the largest pseudoautosomal regions of presently analyzed mammals, and shows the typical features of meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI).

  20. Molecular systematics of armadillos (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae): contribution of maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear genes.

    PubMed

    Delsuc, Frédéric; Stanhope, Michael J; Douzery, Emmanuel J P

    2003-08-01

    The 30 living species of armadillos, anteaters, and sloths (Mammalia: Xenarthra) represent one of the three major clades of placentals. Armadillos (Cingulata: Dasypodidae) are the earliest and most speciose xenarthran lineage with 21 described species. The question of their tricky phylogeny was here studied by adding two mitochondrial genes (NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 [ND1] and 12S ribosomal RNA [12S rRNA]) to the three protein-coding nuclear genes (alpha2B adrenergic receptor [ADRA2B], breast cancer susceptibility exon 11 [BRCA1], and von Willebrand factor exon 28 [VWF]) yielding a total of 6869 aligned nucleotide sites for thirteen xenarthran species. The two mitochondrial genes were characterized by marked excesses of transitions over transversions-with a strong bias toward CT transitions for the 12S rRNA-and exhibited two- to fivefold faster evolutionary rates than the fastest nuclear gene (ADRA2B). Maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses supported the monophyly of Dasypodinae, Tolypeutinae, and Euphractinae, with the latter two armadillo subfamilies strongly clustering together. Conflicting branching points between individual genes involved relationships within the subfamilies Tolypeutinae and Euphractinae. Owing to a greater number of informative sites, the overall concatenation favored the mitochondrial topology with the classical grouping of Cabassous and Priodontes within Tolypeutinae, and a close relationship between Euphractus and Chaetophractus within Euphractinae. However, low statistical support values associated with almost equal distributions of apomorphies among alternatives suggested that two parallel events of rapid speciation occurred within these two armadillo subfamilies.

  1. Chaetophractus villosus as a sentinel organism: Baseline values of mitotic index, chromosome aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges.

    PubMed

    Rossi, Luis Francisco; Luaces, Juan Pablo; Browne, Melanie; Chirino, Mónica Gabriela; Merani, María Susana; Mudry, Marta Dolores

    2016-01-15

    Sentinel species are useful tools for studying the deleterious effects of xenobiotics on wildlife. The large hairy armadillo (Chaetophractus villosus) is the most abundant and widely distributed mammal in Argentina. It is a long-lived, omnivorous, burrowing species, with fairly restricted home ranges. To evaluate the level of spontaneous genetic damage in this mammal, we determined the baseline values of several genotoxicity biomarkers. The study included 20 C. villosus adults of both sexes from eight pristine localities within its geographic distribution range. Genotoxicity analysis was performed on 72-h lymphocyte cultures, using mitomycin C as positive control. We obtained the baseline values of mitotic index (MI=10.52±0.30 metaphases/total cells, n=20), chromosome aberrations (CA=0.13±0.22, n=20), sister chromatid exchanges (SCE)=6.55±0.26, n=6) and replication index (RI=1.66, n=6). MI and CA did not show significant differences (P>0.05) among localities or between sexes. No significant differences in MI, CA, SCE, and RI (P>0.05) were found between values from the pristine localities and historical data. There were significant differences in CA, SCE, and RI (P<0.05) between lymphocyte cultures from pristine localities and those exposed to mitomycin C. We propose the large hairy armadillo as a sentinel organism for environmental biomonitoring of genotoxic chemicals due to its abundance, easy manipulation, well-known biology, the fact that it is usually exposed to different mixtures and concentrations of environmental contaminants, and the baseline values of genetic damage characterized by MI, CA, SCE and RI as biomarkers.

  2. Retroposed elements and their flanking regions resolve the evolutionary history of xenarthran mammals (armadillos, anteaters, and sloths).

    PubMed

    Möller-Krull, Maren; Delsuc, Frédéric; Churakov, Gennady; Marker, Claudia; Superina, Mariella; Brosius, Jürgen; Douzery, Emmanuel J P; Schmitz, Jürgen

    2007-11-01

    Armadillos, anteaters, and sloths (Order Xenarthra) comprise 1 of the 4 major clades of placental mammals. Isolated in South America from the other continental landmasses, xenarthrans diverged over a period of about 65 Myr, leaving more than 200 extinct genera and only 31 living species. The presence of both ancestral and highly derived anatomical features has made morphoanatomical analyses of the xenarthran evolutionary history difficult, and previous molecular analyses failed to resolve the relationships within armadillo subfamilies. We investigated the presence/absence patterns of retroposons from approximately 7,400 genomic loci, identifying 35 phylogenetically informative elements and an additional 39 informative rare genomic changes (RGCs). DAS-short interspersed elements (SINEs), previously described only in the Dasypus novemcinctus genome, were found in all living armadillo genera, including the previously unsampled Chlamyphorus, but were noticeably absent in sloths. The presence/absence patterns of the phylogenetically informative retroposed elements and other RGCs were then compared with data from the DNA sequences of the more than 12-kb flanking regions of these retroposons. Together, these data provide the first fully resolved genus tree of xenarthrans. Interestingly, multiple evidence supports the grouping of Chaetophractus and Zaedyus as a sister group to Euphractus within Euphractinae, an association that was not previously demonstrated. Also, flanking sequence analyses favor a close phylogenetic relationship between Cabassous and Tolypeutes within Tolypeutinae. Finally, the phylogenetic position of the subfamily Chlamyphorinae is resolved by the noncoding sequence data set as the sister group of Tolypeutinae. The data provide a stable phylogenetic framework for further evolutionary investigations of xenarthrans and important information for defining conservation priorities to save the diversity of one of the most curious groups of mammals.

  3. The type locality of Pan troglodytes vellerosus (Gray, 1862), and implications for the nomenclature of West African chimpanzees.

    PubMed

    Oates, John F; Groves, Colin P; Jenkins, Paulina D

    2009-01-01

    We show that, in 1862, Richard Burton collected the type specimen of Pan troglodytes vellerosus not on Mount Cameroon, as has been generally assumed, but in Gabon. Therefore, P. t. vellerosus is not the correct name for the chimpanzee population of western Cameroon and southern Nigeria, if that population is taxonomically distinct. As First Reviser, we choose the name Pan troglodytes ellioti for this population of chimpanzees, based on Anthropopithecus ellioti named by Matschie [Matschie P (1914) Neue Affen aus Mittelafrika. Sitzungsber Ges Naturforsch Freunde Berlin 1914:323-342] from a specimen in the Humboldt Museum, Berlin, collected in Bascho (=Basho), Cameroon, and given to the museum in 1905.

  4. The Armadillo as a Model for Peripheral Neuropathy in Leprosy

    PubMed Central

    Truman, Richard W.; Ebenezer, Gigi J.; Pena, Maria T.; Sharma, Rahul; Balamayooran, Gayathriy; Gillingwater, Thomas H.; Scollard, David M.; McArthur, Justin C.; Rambukkana, Anura

    2014-01-01

    Leprosy (also known as Hansen's Disease) is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae that primarily targets the peripheral nervous system; skin, muscle, and other tissues are also affected. Other than humans, nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) are the only natural hosts of M. leprae, and they are the only laboratory animals that develop extensive neurological involvement with this bacterium. Infection in the armadillo closely recapitulates many of the structural, physiological, and functional aspects of leprosy seen in humans. Armadillos can be useful models of leprosy for basic scientific investigations into the pathogenesis of leprosy neuropathy and its associated myopathies, as well as for translational research studies in piloting new diagnostic methods or therapeutic interventions. Practical and ethical constraints often limit investigation into human neuropathies, but armadillos are an abundant source of leprotic neurologic fibers. Studies with these animals may provide new insights into the mechanisms involved in leprosy that also might benefit the understanding of other demyelinating neuropathies. Although there is only a limited supply of armadillo-specific reagents, the armadillo whole genomic sequence has been completed, and gene expression studies can be employed. Clinical procedures, such as electrophysiological nerve conduction testing, provide a functional assessment of armadillo nerves. A variety of standard histopathological and immunopathological procedures including Epidermal Nerve Fiber Density (ENFD) analysis, Schwann Cell Density, and analysis for other conserved cellular markers can be used effectively with armadillos and will be briefly reviewed in this text. PMID:24615444

  5. Hormonal correlates of life history characteristics in wild female Colobus vellerosus.

    PubMed

    Vayro, J V; Fedigan, L M; Ziegler, T E; Crotty, A; Ataman, R; Clendenning, R; Potvin-Rosselet, E; Wikberg, E C; Sicotte, P

    2016-10-01

    Documenting primate life history characteristics is important because it provides information about traits that affect the timing and rate of reproduction in these long-lived species. This study describes the hormonal correlates of female reproductive events and quantifies for the first time key life history variables for Colobus vellerosus, using hormonal and observational data. This study also biologically validates that the reproductive events determined in the hormone profiles correspond to observed reproductive events for each female. We collected behavioural data on 18 females in our four study groups during 12 months (May 2012-2013) at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, using 10-min continuous focal and ad libitum sampling. We concurrently collected faecal samples (n = 1866) every 2-3 days from these 18 females (prepubescent n = 2, cycling n = 2, lactating n = 12, pregnant, n = 7, and post-reproductive n = 1) and extracted oestrogen (E2) and progesterone (P) metabolites in the field using solid-phase extraction cartridges. We created a hormone profile for each female by analyzing 1586 of our samples for E2 using radio-immuno assays, and P using enzyme-immunoassays at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. Mean ovarian cycle length was 24 days ± 1 (n = 2 cycles). Mean gestation length was 23 weeks (range = 21-25 weeks, n = 2 complete pregnancies). For females whose infants survived to nutritional independence, the mean inter-birth interval (IBI) was significantly longer than for females whose infants died prior to reaching nutritional independence (Mann-Whitney U Test; U = 14.5, p = 0.006; IBI surviving infants: 17.75 months, range = 8-20.75 months, n = 11 vs. IBI infant death: 11.89 months, range = 8-18.5 months, n = 9). The values for most life history traits reported in this study are similar to those documented in other similarly sized colobine species. Some values are on the lower end of the range for

  6. The influence of male takeovers on female dispersal in Colobus vellerosus.

    PubMed

    Sicotte, Pascale; Teichroeb, Julie A; Vayro, Josie V; Fox, Stephanie A; Bădescu, Iulia; Wikberg, Eva C

    2015-06-26

    Male takeovers affect male tenure, female mate choice and ultimately, individual reproductive success in group-living primates. In social systems with female philopatry and high male reproductive skew, male takeovers largely determine female mate choice, whereas in species with female dispersal, females have the option of deserting a new male. We focused on a species with facultative female dispersal to investigate which factors promote female desertion of males after takeover, using 15 cases (12 for which we have complete data on the takeover process and the female dispersal outcome). These cases took place in nine groups of Colobus vellerosus between 2001 and 2013 at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Ghana. Quick takeovers were usually achieved by single adult males and were never followed by female dispersal. Slow takeovers involved several males, and these takeovers were regularly accompanied by female emigration. Infant attacks and infanticide by males occurred during both kinds of takeovers, but females with dependent offspring never dispersed, regardless of whether their infant was attacked or killed by the new male(s). Subadult females, who were not constrained by the presence of infants, dispersed more often after slow takeovers than after quick takeovers. Whether female dispersal post-takeover is an expression of female mate choice, or occurs to avoid the social upheaval surrounding slow takeovers, remains to be investigated. Am. J. Primatol. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  7. Human-armadillo interaction in Ceará, Brazil: Potential for transmission of Mycobacterium leprae.

    PubMed

    Kerr, Ligia; Kendall, Carl; Sousa, Cesar Augusto Barros de; Frota, Cristiane Cunha; Graham, Jove; Rodrigues, Laura; Fernandes, Rafael Lima; Barreto, Maurício Lima

    2015-12-01

    Several factors suggest that armadillos present an important risk for human leprosy infection. This study uses semi-structured interviews to better illustrate how human interaction with armadillos may increase the risk of leprosy transmission. The participants were all residents of the state of Ceará, in northeastern Brazil, all acknowledged contact with armadillos either through hunting, through cooking, or through consumption of its meat. This study raises important issues about contact between human beings and armadillos. The interviews provide evidence of numerous situations in which leprosy transmission via the armadillo is possible. At a minimum, people who hunt armadillos need to be made aware of the risk of infection.

  8. New Sylvatic Hosts of Trypanosoma cruzi and Their Reservoir Competence in the Humid Chaco of Argentina: A Longitudinal Study

    PubMed Central

    Orozco, M. Marcela; Enriquez, Gustavo F.; Alvarado-Otegui, Julián A.; Cardinal, M. Victoria; Schijman, Alejandro G.; Kitron, Uriel; Gürtler, Ricardo E.

    2013-01-01

    A four-year longitudinal study of the structure of sylvatic transmission cycles of Trypanosoma cruzi, reservoir host competence and parasite discrete typing units was conducted in a disturbed rural area of the humid Chaco in Argentina. Among 190 mammals examined by xenodiagnosis and polymerase chain reaction amplification, the composite prevalence of infection was substantially higher in Dasypus novemcinctus armadillos (57.7%) and Didelphis albiventris opossums (38.1%) than in Euphractus sexcinctus (20.0%), Tolypeutes matacus (12.5%), and Chaetophractus vellerosus (6.3%) armadillos. Trypanosoma cruzi was detected for the first time in Thylamys pusilla small opossums and in two unidentified small rodents. Infection was spatially aggregated only in armadillos. All Didelphis were infected with T. cruzi I and all armadillo species were infected with T. cruzi III, implying two distinct sylvatic cycles with no inputs from the domestic cycle. Dasypus armadillos and Didelphis opossums were much more infectious to vectors than other armadillos, small opossums, or rodents. PMID:23530075

  9. Armadillo/Pangolin regulates PCNA and DREF promoter activities.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Eunjeong; Hayashi, Yuko; Otsuki, Kyoko; Hirose, Fumiko; Nishida, Yasuyoshi; Yoo, Mi-Ae; Yamaguchi, Masamitsu

    2004-09-17

    Here we show that Armadillo and Pangolin (dTCF), downstream effectors of the Wingless (Wg) signal transduction pathway, activate transcription of the important DNA replication-related genes encoding Drosophila proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and DNA replication-related element-binding factor (DREF). By transient luciferase expression assays and band mobility shift assays, we demonstrated the PCNA gene to be a direct target gene for the Armadillo/Pangolin complex. Using a GAL4-UAS system, stimulation of the PCNA gene by Armadillo/Pangolin was confirmed in adult females. From the published reports of an inhibitory role, we expected that Drosophila CREB-binding protein (dCBP) would interfere with activation. However, effects were only observed with the DREF but not the PCNA gene. In the latter case, as in mammals, dCBP could potentiate Armadillo-mediated activation. These results suggest that first, PCNA and DREF genes are targets of the Armadillo/Pangolin complex and second, dCBP modulates Wg signaling in a gene-specific manner.

  10. Presence of antibodies against Leptospira serovars in Chaetophractus villosus (Mammalia, Dasypodidae), La Pampa province, Argentina.

    PubMed

    Kin, Marta S; Brihuega, Bibiana; Fort, Marcelo; Delgado, Fernando; Bedotti, Daniel; Casanave, Emma B

    2015-01-01

    Leptospirosis is a zoonosis of worldwide distribution. The aim of this study was to examine the presence of antibodies against 21 Leptospira reactive serovars in Chaetophractus villosus in La Pampa province, Argentina, using the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). Pathologic changes compatible with leptospirosis and in situ detection of the agent by immunohistochemistry were studied in 24 and 3 individuals respectively. Only 35/150 (23.3%) serum samples had antibodies against Leptospira sp. Six percent of the samples reacted with serovar Canicola, 4.7% with serovar Castellonis, 1.3% with serovar Icterohemorrhagieae and 0.7% with serovar Hardjo. Sixteen (10.6%) serum samples agglutinated with Castellonis-Icterohemorrhagiae and Canicola-Castellonis serovars, both with 4.7%, and Canicola-Hardjo and Castellonis-Canicola-Icterohemorrhagiae both with 0.6%. Fourteen animals had variable degrees of lesions, which were more severe in animals with higher serological titers (3200), and Leptospira sp. was detected in 3 animals by immunohistochemistry. These results represent the first record of the presence of Leptospira in C. villosus in La Pampa.

  11. Thorns in armadillo ears and noses and their role in the transmission of leprosy.

    PubMed

    Job, C K; Harris, E B; Allen, J L; Hastings, R C

    1986-11-01

    Both ears from 494 wild nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) and nose specimens from 224 animals were collected and histopathologically studied. Lepromatous granulomas were present in the ear specimens of ten of 494 animals. There were thorns in the ears of 22.5% of animals, and in 36.6% of the nose specimens. In one armadillo, there was evidence to suggest that Mycobacterium leprae entered the tissue through the thorn pricks. In the normal habitat of the armadillo in Louisiana there are thorny bushes consisting mostly of the green briar and the southern dewberry. Thorn pricks as a means of transmission of leprosy in the wild armadillos is suggested.

  12. Identification of an attractant for the nine-banded armadillo, dasypus novemcinctus

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The nine-banded armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus, is considered by many to be one of the greatest nuisance wildlife species in the Southeastern U.S. Exclusion is laborious because armadillos are adept at both burrowing and climbing, no repellents, toxicants, or fumigants are currently registered for...

  13. The armadillo as an animal model and reservoir host for Mycobacterium leprae.

    PubMed

    Balamayooran, Gayathriy; Pena, Maria; Sharma, Rahul; Truman, Richard W

    2015-01-01

    Apart from humans, armadillos are the only known natural hosts of Mycobacterium leprae. They are well developed as hosts for in vivo propagation of M leprae and are advancing as models for studying the pathogenesis of leprosy and translational research. Armadillos are immunologically intact. They exhibit the full Ridley-Jopling spectrum of histopathologic responses to M leprae and uniquely manifest extensive neurological involvement that closely recapitulates human leprosy. In addition, free-ranging armadillos in some regions are known to harbor a naturally occurring infection with M leprae, and zoonotic transmission between armadillos and humans has been implicated in a large number of new case presentations. We review the role of the armadillo as a model for leprosy and reservoir for human infection.

  14. Kinship and similarity in residency status structure female social networks in black-and-white colobus monkeys (Colobus vellerosus).

    PubMed

    Wikberg, Eva C; Ting, Nelson; Sicotte, Pascale

    2014-03-01

    Kinship shapes female social networks in many primate populations in which females remain in their natal group to breed. In contrast, it is unclear to which extent kinship affects the social networks in populations with female dispersal. Female Colobus vellerosus show routine facultative dispersal (i.e., some females remain philopatric and others disperse). This dispersal pattern allowed us to evaluate if facultative dispersed females form social networks shaped by an attraction to kin, to social partners with a high resource holding potential, or to similar social partners in terms of maturational stage, dominance rank, and residency status. During 2008 and 2009, we collected behavioral data via focal and ad libitum sampling of 61 females residing in eight groups at Boabeng-Fiema, Ghana. We determined kinship based on partial pedigrees and genotypes at 17 short tandem repeat loci. Kinship influenced coalition and affiliation networks in three groups consisting of long-term resident females with access to a relatively high number of female kin. In contrast, similar residency status was more important than kinship in structuring the affiliation network in one of two groups that contained recent female immigrants. In populations with female dispersal, the occurrence of kin structured social networks may not only depend on the kin composition of groups but also on how long the female kin have resided together. We found no consistent support for females biasing affiliation toward partners with high resource holding potential, possibly due to low levels of contest competition and small inter-individual differences in resource holding potential.

  15. Female parity, maternal kinship, infant age and sex influence natal attraction and infant handling in a wild colobine (Colobus vellerosus).

    PubMed

    Bădescu, Iulia; Sicotte, Pascale; Ting, Nelson; Wikberg, Eva C

    2015-04-01

    Primate females often inspect, touch and groom others' infants (natal attraction) and they may hold and carry these infants in a manner resembling maternal care (infant handling). While natal attraction and infant handling occur in most wild colobines, little is known about the factors influencing the expression of these behaviors. We examined the effects of female parity, kinship, and dominance rank, as well as infant age and sex in wild Colobus vellerosus at Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Ghana. We collected data via focal sampling of females in 2008 and 2009 (N = 61) and of infants in 2010 (N = 12). Accounting for the individuals who interacted with our focal subjects, this study includes 74 females and 66 infants in 8 groups. We recorded female agonistic interactions ad libitum to determine dominance ranks. We used partial pedigree information and genotypes at 17 short tandem repeat loci to determine kinship. We knew female parity, infant age and sex from demographic records. Nulliparous females showed more natal attraction and infant handling than parous females, which may suggest that interactions with infants are more adaptive for nulliparous females because they learn mothering skills through these behaviors. Compared to non-kin, maternal kin were more likely to handle infants. Maternal kin may be permitted greater access to infants because mothers are most familiar with them. Handlers may incur inclusive fitness benefits from infant handling. Dominance rank did not affect female interactions with infants. The youngest infants received the most natal attraction and infant handling, and male infants were handled more than female infants. The potential benefits of learning to mother and inclusive fitness, in combination with the relatively low costs of natal attraction and infant handling, may explain the high rates of these behaviors in many colobines.

  16. The effect of iron supplementation in the diet of Dasypus novemcinctus (Linnaeus, 1758) armadillos in captivity.

    PubMed

    Rosa, P S; Pinke, C A E; Pedrini, S C B; Silva, E A

    2009-02-01

    Armadillos of the species Dasypus novemcinctus have been used as an experimental model of leprosy. Besides non-human primates, they are the only species naturally infected with Mycobacterium leprae and when experimentally inoculated, reproduce the lepromatous form of the disease producing large quantities of bacilli. This species has been maintained in captivity by numerous researchers and specific housing and feeding requirements have been developed to guarantee their survival during long experimental periods. In the 'Lauro de Souza Lima' Institute, armadillos receive dog food, ground beef, boiled eggs and vitamin C. However, despite the balanced diet, anemia has been observed in some captive animals, especially in armadillos inoculated with M. leprae in advanced stages of infection. Thus, the objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of iron sulfate supplementation in the feed provided for armadillos, both inoculated and non-inoculated with M. leprae, by means of the evaluation of their hematological profile. Fourteen armadillos received 10 mg/animal of iron sulfate (Hematofer(R)) diluted in sterile water mixed with their daily feed for 50 days. Hemograms and serum iron dosages for each armadillo were performed before and after supplementation. The hematocrit values increased significantly after iron supplementation, both in armadillos inoculated and non-inoculated with M. leprae. It is possible that the amount of iron in the feed is insufficient for the formation of hemoglobin, leading to microcytic anemia. Dietary supplementation with iron sulfate reversed this state, showing the importance of understanding the metabolism of exotic species for their maintenance in captivity, and thus ensuring their well-being.

  17. The armadillo: a model for the neuropathy of leprosy and potentially other neurodegenerative diseases.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Rahul; Lahiri, Ramanuj; Scollard, David M; Pena, Maria; Williams, Diana L; Adams, Linda B; Figarola, John; Truman, Richard W

    2013-01-01

    Leprosy (also known as Hansen's disease) is an infectious peripheral neurological disorder caused by Mycobacterium leprae that even today leaves millions of individuals worldwide with life-long disabilities. The specific mechanisms by which this bacterium induces nerve injury remain largely unknown, mainly owing to ethical and practical limitations in obtaining affected human nerve samples. In addition to humans, nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) are the only other natural host of M. leprae, and they develop a systemically disseminated disease with extensive neurological involvement. M. leprae is an obligate intracellular parasite that cannot be cultivated in vitro. Because of the heavy burdens of bacilli they harbor, nine-banded armadillos have become the organism of choice for propagating large quantities of M. leprae, and they are now advancing as models of leprosy pathogenesis and nerve damage. Although armadillos are exotic laboratory animals, the recently completed whole genome sequence for this animal is enabling researchers to undertake more sophisticated molecular studies and to develop armadillo-specific reagents. These advances will facilitate the use of armadillos in piloting new therapies and diagnostic regimens, and will provide new insights into the oldest known infectious neurodegenerative disorder.

  18. The armadillo: a model for the neuropathy of leprosy and potentially other neurodegenerative diseases

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Rahul; Lahiri, Ramanuj; Scollard, David M.; Pena, Maria; Williams, Diana L.; Adams, Linda B.; Figarola, John; Truman, Richard W.

    2013-01-01

    Leprosy (also known as Hansen’s disease) is an infectious peripheral neurological disorder caused by Mycobacterium leprae that even today leaves millions of individuals worldwide with life-long disabilities. The specific mechanisms by which this bacterium induces nerve injury remain largely unknown, mainly owing to ethical and practical limitations in obtaining affected human nerve samples. In addition to humans, nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) are the only other natural host of M. leprae, and they develop a systemically disseminated disease with extensive neurological involvement. M. leprae is an obligate intracellular parasite that cannot be cultivated in vitro. Because of the heavy burdens of bacilli they harbor, nine-banded armadillos have become the organism of choice for propagating large quantities of M. leprae, and they are now advancing as models of leprosy pathogenesis and nerve damage. Although armadillos are exotic laboratory animals, the recently completed whole genome sequence for this animal is enabling researchers to undertake more sophisticated molecular studies and to develop armadillo-specific reagents. These advances will facilitate the use of armadillos in piloting new therapies and diagnostic regimens, and will provide new insights into the oldest known infectious neurodegenerative disorder. PMID:23223615

  19. Mycobacterium leprae in six-banded (Euphractus sexcinctus) and nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) in Northeast Brazil.

    PubMed

    Frota, Cristiane Cunha; Lima, Luana Nepomuceno Costa; Rocha, Adalgiza da Silva; Suffys, Philip Noel; Rolim, Benedito Neilson; Rodrigues, Laura Cunha; Barreto, Maurício Lima; Kendall, Carl; Kerr, Ligia Regina Sansigolo

    2012-12-01

    Human beings are the main reservoir of the causative agent of leprosy, Mycobacterium leprae. In the Americas, nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) also act as a reservoir for the bacillus. In the state of Ceará (CE), which is located in Northeast Brazil and is an endemic area of leprosy, there are several species of armadillos, including D. novemcinctus and Euphractus sexcinctus (six-banded armadillo). Contact between humans and armadillos occur mainly through hunting, cleaning, preparing, cooking and eating. This study identified M. leprae DNA in the two main species of armadillos found in Northeast Brazil. A total of 29 wild armadillos (27 D. novemcinctus and 2 E. sexcinctus) were captured in different environments of CE countryside. Samples from the ear, nose, liver and spleen from each of these animals were tested by a nested M. leprae-specific repetitive element polymerase chain reaction assay. The samples that tested positive were confirmed by DNA sequencing. M. leprae was detected in 21% (6/29) of the animals, including five D. novemcinctus and one E. sexcinctus. This is the first Brazilian study to identify the presence of a biomarker of M. leprae in wild armadillos (D. novemcinctus and E. sexcinctus) in a leprosy hyperendemic area where there is continuous contact between humans and armadillos.

  20. Intestinal parasites of Tolypeutes matacus, the most frequently consumed armadillo in the Chaco region.

    PubMed

    Ríos, T A; Ezquiaga, M C; Abba, A M; Navone, G T

    2016-12-01

    The southern three-banded armadillo Tolypeutes matacus (Desmarest, 1804) is distributed from eastern Bolivia, south-west Brazil, the Gran Chaco of Paraguay and Argentina, and lives in areas with dry vegetation. This armadillo is one of the most frequently consumed species by people in this area. The objective of this work was test for zoonotic species among helminths in 12 intestinal tracts of T. matacus in a locality from the Argentinean Chaco (Chamical, La Rioja province). The parasites were studied with conventional parasite morphology and morphometrics, and prevalence, mean intensity and mean abundance were calculated for each species encountered. In the small intestine, seven species of nematodes and two species of cestodes were identified. In the large intestine, two species of nematodes were recorded. We did not find zoonotic species but have added new host records. This study in the Chaco region thus contributes to growing knowledge of the parasite fauna associated with armadillo species in this region.

  1. Simian T cell leukaemia virus type I subtype B in a wild-caught gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes vellerosus) from Cameroon.

    PubMed

    Nerrienet, Eric; Meertens, Laurent; Kfutwah, Anfumbom; Foupouapouognigni, Yacouba; Ayouba, Ahidjo; Gessain, Antoine

    2004-01-01

    A serological survey for human T cell leukaemia virus (HTLV)/simian T cell leukaemia virus (STLV) antibodies was performed in 61 wild-caught African apes, including five gorillas and 56 chimpanzees originating from south Cameroon. Two young animals, a gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes vellerosus), exhibited a pattern of complete HTLV-I seroreactivity. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analyses using the complete LTR (750 bp) and a 522 bp fragment of the env gene indicated the existence of two novel STLV-I strains, both of which belonged to HTLV-I/STLV-I molecular clade subtype B, specific to central Africa. These first STLV-I strains to be characterized in gorilla and chimpanzee were closely related to each other as well as to several HTLV-I strains originating from inhabitants of south Cameroon, including pygmies. Such findings reinforce the hypothesis of interspecies transmission of STLV-I to humans, leading to the present day distribution of HTLV-I in central African inhabitants.

  2. Genomic evidence for rod monochromacy in sloths and armadillos suggests early subterranean history for Xenarthra

    PubMed Central

    Emerling, Christopher A.; Springer, Mark S.

    2015-01-01

    Rod monochromacy is a rare condition in vertebrates characterized by the absence of cone photoreceptor cells. The resulting phenotype is colourblindness and low acuity vision in dim-light and blindness in bright-light conditions. Early reports of xenarthrans (armadillos, sloths and anteaters) suggest that they are rod monochromats, but this has not been tested with genomic data. We searched the genomes of Dasypus novemcinctus (nine-banded armadillo), Choloepus hoffmanni (Hoffmann's two-toed sloth) and Mylodon darwinii (extinct ground sloth) for retinal photoreceptor genes and examined them for inactivating mutations. We performed PCR and Sanger sequencing on cone phototransduction genes of 10 additional xenarthrans to test for shared inactivating mutations and estimated the timing of inactivation for photoreceptor pseudogenes. We concluded that a stem xenarthran became an long-wavelength sensitive-cone monochromat following a missense mutation at a critical residue in SWS1, and a stem cingulate (armadillos, glyptodonts and pampatheres) and stem pilosan (sloths and anteaters) independently acquired rod monochromacy early in their evolutionary history following the inactivation of LWS and PDE6C, respectively. We hypothesize that rod monochromacy in armadillos and pilosans evolved as an adaptation to a subterranean habitat in the early history of Xenarthra. The presence of rod monochromacy has major implications for understanding xenarthran behavioural ecology and evolution. PMID:25540280

  3. Genomic evidence for rod monochromacy in sloths and armadillos suggests early subterranean history for Xenarthra.

    PubMed

    Emerling, Christopher A; Springer, Mark S

    2015-02-07

    Rod monochromacy is a rare condition in vertebrates characterized by the absence of cone photoreceptor cells. The resulting phenotype is colourblindness and low acuity vision in dim-light and blindness in bright-light conditions. Early reports of xenarthrans (armadillos, sloths and anteaters) suggest that they are rod monochromats, but this has not been tested with genomic data. We searched the genomes of Dasypus novemcinctus (nine-banded armadillo), Choloepus hoffmanni (Hoffmann's two-toed sloth) and Mylodon darwinii (extinct ground sloth) for retinal photoreceptor genes and examined them for inactivating mutations. We performed PCR and Sanger sequencing on cone phototransduction genes of 10 additional xenarthrans to test for shared inactivating mutations and estimated the timing of inactivation for photoreceptor pseudogenes. We concluded that a stem xenarthran became an long-wavelength sensitive-cone monochromat following a missense mutation at a critical residue in SWS1, and a stem cingulate (armadillos, glyptodonts and pampatheres) and stem pilosan (sloths and anteaters) independently acquired rod monochromacy early in their evolutionary history following the inactivation of LWS and PDE6C, respectively. We hypothesize that rod monochromacy in armadillos and pilosans evolved as an adaptation to a subterranean habitat in the early history of Xenarthra. The presence of rod monochromacy has major implications for understanding xenarthran behavioural ecology and evolution.

  4. Behavioral responses of three armadillo species (Mammalia: Xenarthra) to an environmental enrichment program in Villavicencio, Colombia.

    PubMed

    Cortés Duarte, Alexandra; Trujillo, Fernando; Superina, Mariella

    2016-07-01

    Enrichment is a powerful tool to improve the welfare of animals under human care. Stress-related health and behavioral problems, as well as reproductive failure, are frequent in armadillos (Xenarthra, Cingulata, Dasypodidae) under human care, which hinders the development of successful ex situ conservation programs. Nevertheless, scientific studies on the effect of enrichment programs on armadillos are virtually non-existent. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of an enrichment program on the behavior of armadillos under human care. The behavior of 12 individuals of three species (Dasypus novemcinctus, D. sabanicola, and Cabassous unicinctus) maintained at Finca El Turpial, Villavicencio, Colombia, was recorded using scan sampling during three daily time blocks of 2 hr each before (4 weeks) and after (4 weeks) implementing an enrichment program. Enrichment did not stimulate the armadillos to change or extend their activity period. In general, activity levels were low during the entire study, and virtually no activity was recorded in the morning in any species, neither without nor with enrichment. The latter did, however, improve welfare by reducing abnormal and increasing natural foraging behaviors. All species were attracted by artificial termite mounds. Dasypus spp. showed special interest in cardboard boxes with food, while Cabassous was mainly attracted to hollow plastic balls filled with food. Our results suggest that separate enrichment programs need to be developed for different armadillo species, and that they should be applied during the time of day at which they are most active. Zoo Biol. 35:304-312, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  5. Between-group variation in female dispersal, kin composition of groups, and proximity patterns in a black-and-white colobus monkey (Colobus vellerosus).

    PubMed

    Wikberg, Eva C; Sicotte, Pascale; Campos, Fernando A; Ting, Nelson

    2012-01-01

    A growing body of evidence shows within-population variation in natal dispersal, but the effects of such variation on social relationships and the kin composition of groups remain poorly understood. We investigate the link between dispersal, the kin composition of groups, and proximity patterns in a population of black-and-white colobus (Colobus vellerosus) that shows variation in female dispersal. From 2006 to 2011, we collected behavioral data, demographic data, and fecal samples of 77 males and 92 females residing in eight groups at Boabeng-Fiema, Ghana. A combination of demographic data and a genetic network analysis showed that although philopatry was female-biased, only about half of the females resided in their natal groups. Only one group contained female-female dyads with higher average relatedness than randomly drawn animals of both sexes from the same group. Despite between-group variation in female dispersal and kin composition, female-female dyads in most of the study groups had higher proximity scores than randomly drawn dyads from the same group. We conclude that groups fall along a continuum from female dispersed, not kin-based, and not bonded to female philopatric, kin-based, and bonded. We found only partial support for the predicted link between dispersal, kin composition, and social relationships. In contrast to most mammals where the kin composition of groups is a good predictor of the quality of female-female relationships, this study provides further support for the notion that kinship is not necessary for the development and maintenance of social bonds in some gregarious species.

  6. Gudu, an Armadillo repeat-containing protein, is required for spermatogenesis in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Wei; Ip, Y Tony; Xu, Zuoshang

    2013-12-01

    The Drosophila annotated gene CG5155 encodes a protein that contains 10 Armadillo-repeats and has an unknown function. To fill this gap, we performed loss-of-function studies using RNAi. By analysis of four independent Drosophila RNAi lines targeting two non-overlapping regions of the CG5155 transcript, we demonstrate that this gene is required for male fertility. Therefore, we have named this gene Gudu. The transcript of Gudu is highly enriched in adult testes. Knockdown of Gudu by a ubiquitous driver leads to defects in the formation of the individualization complex that is required for spermatid maturation, thereby impairing spermatogenesis. Furthermore, testis-specific knockdown of Gudu by crossing the RNAi lines with the bam-Gal4 driver is sufficient to cause the infertility and defective spermatogenesis. Since Gudu is highly homologous to vertebrate ARMC4, also an Armadillo-repeat-containing protein enriched in testes, our results suggest that Gudu and ARMC4 are a subfamily of Armadillo-repeat containing proteins that may have an evolutionarily conserved function in spermatogenesis.

  7. PATTERNS OF MYCOBACTERIUM LEPRAE INFECTION IN WILD NINE-BANDED ARMADILLOS (DASYPUS NOVEMCINCTUS) IN MISSISSIPPI, USA.

    PubMed

    Perez-Heydrich, Carolina; Loughry, W J; Anderson, Corey Devin; Oli, Madan K

    2016-07-01

    The nine-banded armadillo ( Dasypus novemcinctus ) is the only known nonhuman reservoir of Mycobacterium leprae , the causative agent of Hansen's disease or leprosy. We conducted a 6-yr study on a wild population of armadillos in western Mississippi that was exposed to M. leprae to evaluate the importance of demographic and spatial risk factors on individual antibody status. We found that spatially derived covariates were not predictive of antibody status. Furthermore, analyses revealed no evidence of clustering by antibody-positive individuals. Lactating females and adult males had higher odds of being antibody positive than did nonlactating females. No juveniles or yearlings were antibody positive. Results of these analyses support the hypothesis that M. leprae infection patterns are spatially homogeneous within this armadillo population. Further research related to movement patterns, contact among individuals, antibody status, and environmental factors could help address hypotheses related to the role of environmental transmission on M. leprae infection and the mechanisms underlying the differential infection patterns among demographic groups.

  8. Expression and characterization of recombinant interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) from the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) and its effect on Mycobacterium leprae-infected macrophages.

    PubMed

    Peña, M T; Adams, J E; Adams, L B; Gillis, T P; Williams, D L; Spencer, J S; Krahenbuhl, J L; Truman, R W

    2008-08-01

    Armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) manifest the full histopathological spectrum of leprosy, and are hosts of choice for in vivo propagation of Mycobacterium leprae. Though potentially useful as a model of leprosy pathogenesis, few armadillo-specific reagents exist. We have identified a region of high homology to the interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) of other mammals within the recently published armadillo whole genomic sequence. cDNA was made from ConA-stimulated armadillo peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), amplified, and cloned into a pET expression vector for transformation and over-expression in Escherichia coli. The recombinant protein (rDnIFN-gamma) was characterized by western blot and its biological function confirmed with bioassays including intracellular killing of Toxoplasma gondii and induction of indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenase activity. In using rIFN-gamma to activate macrophages from mice, humans or armadillos, similar to humans, rIFN-gamma-activated armadillo MPhi did not produce nitrite and or inhibit the viability of M. leprae in vitro. Conversely, murine rIFN-gamma-activated mouse MPhi produced high levels of nitrite and killed intracellular M. leprae in vitro. These data indicate that the response of armadillo MPhi to rDnIFN-gamma is similar to that which occurs in humans, and demonstrates a potentially important value of the armadillo as a model in leprosy research.

  9. Association of the "IUCN vulnerable" spiny rat Clyomys bishopi (Rodentia: Echimyidae) with palm trees and armadillo burrows in southeastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Bueno, Adriana A; Lapenta, Marina J; Oliveira, Fátima; Motta-Junior, José C

    2004-12-01

    The globally vulnerable Clyomys bishopi, a semi-fossorial and colonial rodent, is apparently limited to cerrado (savannah-like vegetation) physiognomies in São Paulo State, Brazil. The aim of the study was to verify whether the presence of C. bishopi is associated to the occurrence of palm trees (Attalea gearensis, Syagrus loefgrenii) and armadillo burrows. Thirty six quadrats were placed in different physiognomies of cerrado vegetation at Itirapina Ecological Station, southeastern Brazil to survey the number of C. bishopi burrows of individuals of palm trees and burrows of armadillos. There was a strong dependence and association between the number of C. bishopi burrows and all measured variables (Contingency tables and Spearman rank correlations). It is suggested that this rodent can be found in great numbers where palm trees are abundant. The use of armadillo burrows possibly makes the movement of the rodents easier inside their own galleries.

  10. Ontogenetic criteria to distinguish vertebral types on the debated xenarthran synsacrum.

    PubMed

    Galliari, Fernando C; Carlini, Alfredo A

    2015-05-01

    The presence of a synsacrum formed by the fusion of vertebrae that come into closed contact with the ilium and ischium is a feature that characterizes the clade Xenarthra. Nevertheless, the proper identity of each vertebral element that forms it is a matter of discussion. In this article, we provide ontogenetic information about skeletal ossification of the xenarthran synsacrum and define the position of the sacrocaudal limit within it. We analyzed the synsacrum of 25 specimens of nonadult and 101 adult armadillos and anteaters: Dasypus hybridus, D. novemcinctus, Chaetophractus vellerosus, C. villosus, Tamandua tetradactyla, and Myrmecophaga tridactyla. Two sets of vertebrae were identified: an anterior set, often attached to the iliac bones, in which transverse processes are originated mainly from an expansion of the base of the neural arches, and secondarily from a lateroventral ossification center. A posterior set is characterized by a series of vertebrae along which extra lateral ossifications (described here for the first time) are developed and form exclusively the transverse processes. Among armadillos, the sacrocaudal limit is set between the last vertebrae attached to the iliac bones and the first vertebrae that form the dorsal border of the sacroischial fenestra. In addition, anterior free caudals also showed extra lateral ossifications forming exclusively the transverse processes, supporting the notion that more posterior synsacrals are in fact caudal vertebrae that were incorporated to the synsacrum. In pilosans, the sacrocaudal limit is set between the first vertebrae that come into contact with the ischial bones and the immediately anterior one. However, the pattern of homologies is obscured by the low resolution in the ontogenetic sequence when compared to that of armadillos.

  11. Cytokine responses to Mycobacterium leprae unique proteins differentiate between Mycobacterium leprae infected and naive armadillos.

    PubMed

    Pena, Maria; Geluk, Annemieke; Van Der Ploeg-Van Schip, Jolien J; Franken, Kees L M C; Sharma, Rahul; Truman, Richard

    2011-12-01

    New diagnostic tools for early detection of leprosy are necessary to help reduce its transmission and severity. M. leprae unique proteins have been used to assess differences in human T-cell responses in leprosy patients, household contacts and endemic controls. In this study, we examined the response of M. leprae-infected armadillos to a variety of M. leprae recombinant antigen candidates currently being examined for diagnostic efficacy in humans. Among recently M. leprae infected armadillos, IFN-gamma expression was enhanced after stimulation of PBMC with all M. leprae recombinant proteins except for ML2283 (mean: 2.65 Relative Quantification (RQ)). The group mean stimulation index for M. leprae proteins ML0009, ML1601, ML2478 and ML2531 averaged 35.2 RQ and was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than that measured among the non-infected, naive group (mean 6.2 RQ). Although ML0840 tended to enhance IFN-gamma levels, the mean IFN-gamma transcript levels of the currently experimentally inoculated group (20.1 RQ) was not significantly different statistically (P = 0.10) from the mean of the naive group (7.5 RQ). Also no statistically significant differences were observed in IFN-gamma transcript levels between the resistant and currently experimentally inoculated group (P > 0.05) or between the resistant and the naive group (P > 0.05) after stimulation of PBMCs with all M. leprae recombinant proteins. Only low levels of TNF-alpha were observed across all groups after in vitro stimulation with all the antigens examined. These data suggest that armadillos can be used effectively to help identify M. leprae specific proteins that may be applied for monitoring T-cell responses in M. leprae infected hosts as their disease progresses as well as for the early diagnosis of leprosy.

  12. Structures of designed armadillo-repeat proteins show propagation of inter-repeat interface effects

    PubMed Central

    Reichen, Christian; Madhurantakam, Chaithanya; Hansen, Simon; Grütter, Markus G.; Plückthun, Andreas; Mittl, Peer R. E.

    2016-01-01

    The armadillo repeat serves as a scaffold for the development of modular peptide-recognition modules. In order to develop such a system, three crystal structures of designed armadillo-repeat proteins with third-generation N-caps (YIII-type), four or five internal repeats (M-type) and second-generation C-caps (AII-type) were determined at 1.8 Å (His-YIIIM4AII), 2.0 Å (His-YIIIM5AII) and 1.95 Å (YIIIM5AII) resolution and compared with those of variants with third-generation C-caps. All constructs are full consensus designs in which the internal repeats have exactly the same sequence, and hence identical conformations of the internal repeats are expected. The N-cap and internal repeats M1 to M3 are indeed extremely similar, but the comparison reveals structural differences in internal repeats M4 and M5 and the C-cap. These differences are caused by long-range effects of the C-cap, contacting molecules in the crystal, and the intrinsic design of the repeat. Unfortunately, the rigid-body movement of the C-terminal part impairs the regular arrangement of internal repeats that forms the putative peptide-binding site. The second-generation C-cap improves the packing of buried residues and thereby the stability of the protein. These considerations are useful for future improvements of an armadillo-repeat-based peptide-recognition system. PMID:26894544

  13. Coccidioidomycosis in armadillo hunters from the state of Ceará, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Brillhante, Raimunda Sâmia Nogueira; Moreira Filho, Renato Evando; Rocha, Marcos Fábio Gadelha; Castelo-Branco, Débora de Souza Collares Maia; Fechine, Maria Auxiliadora Bezerra; Lima, Rita Amanda Chaves de; Picanço, Yuri Vieira Cunha; Cordeiro, Rossana de Aguiar; Camargo, Zoilo Pires de; Queiroz, José Ajax Nogueira; Araujo, Roberto Wagner Bezerra de; Mesquita, Jacó Ricarte Lima de; Sidrim, José Júlio Costa

    2012-09-01

    Coccidioidomycosis is a systemic mycosis with a variable clinical presentation. Misdiagnosis of coccidioidomycosis as bacterial pneumopathy leads to inappropriate prescription of antibiotics and delayed diagnosis. This report describes an outbreak among armadillo hunters in northeastern Brazil in which an initial diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia was later confirmed as coccidioidomycosis caused by Coccidioides posadasii. Thus, this mycosis should be considered as an alternative diagnosis in patients reporting symptoms of pneumonia, even if these symptoms are only presented for a short period, who are from areas considered endemic for this disease.

  14. Osteoderm morphology and development in the nine-banded armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus (Mammalia, Xenarthra, Cingulata).

    PubMed

    Vickaryous, Matthew K; Hall, Brian K

    2006-11-01

    Among modern mammals, armadillos (Xenarthra, Cingulata) are the only group that possesses osteoderms, bony inclusions within the integument. Along the body, osteoderms are organized into five discrete assemblages: the head, pectoral, banded, pelvic, and tail shields. The pectoral, banded, and pelvic shields articulate to form the carapace. We examined osteoderm skeletogenesis in the armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus using serial and whole-mount histochemistry. Compared with the rest of the skeleton, osteoderms have a delayed onset of development. Skeletogenesis begins as condensations of osteoblasts secreting osteoid, localized within the papillary layer of the dermis. Osteoderm formation is asynchronous both within each shield and across the body. The first osteoderms to mineralize are situated within the pectoral shield of the carapace, followed by elements within the banded, head, pelvic, and tail shields. In general, within each shield ossification begins craniomedially and proceeds caudally and laterally, except over the head, where the earliest elements form over the frontal and parietal bones. The absence of cartilage precursors indicates that osteoderms are dermal elements, possibly related to the all-encompassing vertebrate dermal skeleton (exoskeleton). The mode of development of D. novemcinctus osteoderms is unlike that described for squamate osteoderms, which arise via bone metaplasia, and instead is comparable with intramembranously derived elements of the skull.

  15. Pelvic peritoneum in male armadillo and anteater (Xenarthra, Mammalia): a comparative survey.

    PubMed

    Rezende, Lorenna Cardoso; Ferreira, Jussara Rocha

    2013-01-01

    The literature supports the hypothesis that the pelvic excavation is the bottom of the abdominal cavity, which is covered by the peritoneal serous membrane in order to promote visceral dynamics. We studied the peritoneum in eight specimens of Xenarthra (Euphractus sexcinctus, Myrmecophaga tridactyla and Tamandua tetradactyla). The animals were fixed in formaldehyde (10%). For description and analyzes of the pelvic peritoneum, dissection and photo documentation were performed. We saw that the parietal serous membrane reflected, involving the pelvic viscera. The urorectal septum is the floor of the higher pelvis as a serosa reflection between the bladder and the rectum. The bladder and gonads are completely peritonized in adult armadillo. In anteaters and young armadillos, the testicles are in a position analogous to the uterus, joined by the conjunctive septum at the midline and along with the bladder, they partially project to the higher and lower pelvis. In Myrmecophagidae, vesicogenital, rectogenital and sacrorectal recesses were observed. In Dasypodidae, the recesses are similar to those of other recent vertebrates.

  16. Finite Element Analysis of the Cingulata Jaw: An Ecomorphological Approach to Armadillo's Diets.

    PubMed

    Serrano-Fochs, Sílvia; De Esteban-Trivigno, Soledad; Marcé-Nogué, Jordi; Fortuny, Josep; Fariña, Richard A

    2014-01-01

    Finite element analyses (FEA) were applied to assess the lower jaw biomechanics of cingulate xenarthrans: 14 species of armadillos as well as one Pleistocene pampathere (11 extant taxa and the extinct forms Vassallia, Eutatus and Macroeuphractus). The principal goal of this work is to comparatively assess the biomechanical capabilities of the mandible based on FEA and to relate the obtained stress patterns with diet preferences and variability, in extant and extinct species through an ecomorphology approach. The results of FEA showed that omnivorous species have stronger mandibles than insectivorous species. Moreover, this latter group of species showed high variability, including some similar biomechanical features of the insectivorous Tolypeutes matacus and Chlamyphorus truncatus to those of omnivorous species, in agreement with reported diets that include items other than insects. It remains unclear the reasons behind the stronger than expected lower jaw of Dasypus kappleri. On the other hand, the very strong mandible of the fossil taxon Vassallia maxima agrees well with the proposed herbivorous diet. Moreover, Eutatus seguini yielded a stress pattern similar to Vassalia in the posterior part of the lower jaw, but resembling that of the stoutly built Macroeuphractus outesi in the anterior part. The results highlight the need for more detailed studies on the natural history of extant armadillos. FEA proved a powerful tool for biomechanical studies in a comparative framework.

  17. An armadillo-like sphagesaurid crocodyliform from the Late Cretaceous of Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marinho, Thiago S.; Carvalho, Ismar S.

    2009-02-01

    The Sphagesauridae is a family of Crocodyliformes exclusively known for the Brazilian Late Cretaceous Bauru Basin. This lineage reveals how diverse was the morphology and ecology of terrestrial Crocodyliformes during the Late Cretaceous of Gondwana. Here is described Armadillosuchus arrudai gen. et sp. nov., a sphagesaurid that presents some mammal-like morphological features, such as propalinal and alternate unilateral jaw occlusion pattern and heavy body armor, composed of a rigid shield and mobile-banded section as in extant armadillos (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae). These unusual morphological features contrast to the double row of osteoderms observed on the closest relatives of A. arrudai. As its mammal analogs, A. arrudai presents some evidence of fossoriality and an exclusive terrestrial life style in contrast to the extant alligatorids and crocodylids.

  18. Evidence that Armadillo transduces wingless by mediating nuclear export or cytosolic activation of Pangolin.

    PubMed

    Chan, Siu-Kwong; Struhl, Gary

    2002-10-18

    Secreted proteins of the Wnt family have profound organizing roles during animal development and are transduced via the activities of the Frizzled (Fz) class of transmembrane receptors and the TCF/LEF/Pangolin class of transcription factors. beta-catenins, including Drosophila Armadillo (Arm), link activation of Fz at the cell surface to transcriptional regulation by TCF in the nucleus. The consensus view is that Wnt signaling induces beta-catenin to enter the nucleus and combine with TCF to form a transcription factor complex in which TCF binds DNA and the C-terminal domain of beta-catenin activates transcription. Here, we present findings, which challenge this view and suggest instead that beta-catenin may transduce Wnt signals by exporting TCF from the nucleus or activating it in the cytoplasm.

  19. Gross Osteology, Radiographic and Computed Tomographic Morphology of the Axial Skeleton of the Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus).

    PubMed

    Alves, L S; Midon, M; Filadelpho, A L; Vulcano, L C

    2017-04-01

    This study used 20 nine-banded armadillo, four in vivo and 16 cadavers, to describe the osteoarticular anatomy of the axial skeleton by means of digital radiography and computed tomography. Vertebral formula obtained in this sample specimens was seven cervical, 10 thoracic, five lumbar, nine vertebrae related to the synsacrum and 20-27 free caudal vertebrae. Peculiar features of this species were noted as the presence of xenarthrous processes in the caudal thoracic vertebra to the last lumbar vertebra, with prominent mammillary processes in the thoracolumbar segment, fused cervical vertebra from the second to fourth vertebra and the presence of synsacrum related to sacral and caudal vertebra fused to the pelvis. They are homodont animals presenting only molariform teeth with formula of 8/8, totalling 32 teeth. There was no complexity in the execution of radiographic and tomographic examinations, concluding that execution can be carried out in nine-banded armadillos during the clinical routine for wild animals.

  20. Reassessment of the hairy long-nosed armadillo "Dasypus" pilosus (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae) and revalidation of the genus Cryptophractus Fitzinger, 1856.

    PubMed

    Castro, Mariela C; Ciancio, Martín R; Pacheco, Víctor; Salas-Gismondi, Rodolfo M; Bostelmann, J Enrique; Carlini, Alfredo A

    2015-04-14

    The hairy long-nosed armadillo, currently referred as Dasypus (Cryptophractus) pilosus, is an enigmatic species endemic to montane cloud forests and subparamo of Peruvian Andes. Its strikingly different external features, which include the carapace concealed by abundant hair, the presence of more movable bands, and a slender skull, have raised questions regarding its taxonomic status as subgenus or as genus. This paper assesses this issue based on a cladistic study and provides a detailed comparative description of the species, including the first account on the distinctive ornamentation of its osteoderms. Based on several unique characters in the carapace, skull, mandible, and teeth, as well as on the external phylogenetic position relative to other Dasypus, we favor the assignment of the hairy long-nosed armadillo to other genus. As result, we revalidate the original generic epithet, so that the valid name of the species is Cryptophractus pilosus Fitzinger, 1856.

  1. Ancient DNA from the extinct South American giant glyptodont Doedicurus sp. (Xenarthra: Glyptodontidae) reveals that glyptodonts evolved from Eocene armadillos.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Kieren J; Scanferla, Agustin; Soibelzon, Esteban; Bonini, Ricardo; Ochoa, Javier; Cooper, Alan

    2016-07-01

    Glyptodonts were giant (some of them up to ~2400 kg), heavily armoured relatives of living armadillos, which became extinct during the Late Pleistocene/early Holocene alongside much of the South American megafauna. Although glyptodonts were an important component of Cenozoic South American faunas, their early evolution and phylogenetic affinities within the order Cingulata (armoured New World placental mammals) remain controversial. In this study, we used hybridization enrichment and high-throughput sequencing to obtain a partial mitochondrial genome from Doedicurus sp., the largest (1.5 m tall, and 4 m long) and one of the last surviving glyptodonts. Our molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed that glyptodonts fall within the diversity of living armadillos. Reanalysis of morphological data using a molecular 'backbone constraint' revealed several morphological characters that supported a close relationship between glyptodonts and the tiny extant fairy armadillos (Chlamyphorinae). This is surprising as these taxa are among the most derived cingulates: glyptodonts were generally large-bodied and heavily armoured, while the fairy armadillos are tiny (~9-17 cm) and adapted for burrowing. Calibration of our phylogeny with the first appearance of glyptodonts in the Eocene resulted in a more precise timeline for xenarthran evolution. The osteological novelties of glyptodonts and their specialization for grazing appear to have evolved rapidly during the Late Eocene to Early Miocene, coincident with global temperature decreases and a shift from wet closed forest towards drier open woodland and grassland across much of South America. This environmental change may have driven the evolution of glyptodonts, culminating in the bizarre giant forms of the Pleistocene.

  2. When xenarthrans had enamel: insights on the evolution of their hypsodonty and paleontological support for independent evolution in armadillos

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ciancio, Martín R.; Vieytes, Emma C.; Carlini, Alfredo A.

    2014-09-01

    All xenarthrans known to date are characterized by having permanent teeth that are both high crowned and open rooted, i.e., euhypsodont, and with a type of hypsodonty different from that of the rest of Placentalia: dentine hypsodonty. Also, most xenarthrans lack enamel; however, its presence has been reported in the fossil armadillo Utaetus buccatus and in living Dasypus. Considering the divergence of Xenarthra from other eutherians that possessed enameled teeth, the absence of enamel is a derived character. Diverse specializations are known in the dentition of xenarthrans, but the primitive pattern of their teeth and dentitions is still unknown. Here, we describe the mandible and teeth of a fossil armadillo, Astegotherium dichotomus (Astegotheriini, Dasypodidae), from the early Middle Eocene of Argentine Patagonia, with teeth showing both true enamel and closed roots. It is the oldest xenarthran with mandibular remains exhibiting protohypsodonty and is therefore likely representative of ancestral cingulates and xenarthrans generally. Astegotherium supports a recent hypothesis based on molecular data that enamel loss occurred independently not only within xenarthrans but also within dasypodid armadillos.

  3. Oldest cingulate skulls provide congruence between morphological and molecular scenarios of armadillo evolution.

    PubMed

    Billet, Guillaume; Hautier, Lionel; de Muizon, Christian; Valentin, Xavier

    2011-09-22

    The cingulates of the mammalian order Xenarthra present a typical case of disagreement between molecular and morphological phylogenetic studies. We report here the discovery of two new skulls from the Late Oligocene Salla Beds of Bolivia (approx. 26 Ma), which are the oldest known well-preserved cranial remains of the group. A new taxon is described: Kuntinaru boliviensis gen. et sp. nov. A phylogenetic analysis clusters K. boliviensis together with the armadillo subfamily Tolypeutinae. These skulls document an early spotty occurrence for the Tolypeutinae at 26 Ma, in agreement with the temporal predictions of previous molecular studies. The fossil record of tolypeutines is now characterized by a unique occurrence in the Late Oligocene, and a subsequent 12 Myr lack in the fossil record. It is noteworthy that the tolypeutines remain decidedly marginal in the Late Palaeogene and Early Neogene deposits, whereas other cingulate groups diversify. Also, the anatomical phylogenetic analysis herein, which includes K. boliviensis, is congruent with recent molecular phylogenetic analyses. Kuntinaru boliviensis is the oldest confident calibration point available for the whole Cingulata.

  4. Case study: ancient DNA recovered from pleistocene-age remains of a Florida armadillo.

    PubMed

    Letts, Brandon; Shapiro, Beth

    2012-01-01

    Warm, humid regions are not ideal for long-term DNA preservation. Consequently, little ancient DNA research has been carried out involving taxa that lived in, for example, tropical and subtropical regions. Those studies that have isolated ancient DNA from warm environments have mostly been limited to the most recent several thousand years. Here, we discuss an ancient DNA experiment in which we attempt to amplify mitochondrial DNA from remains of armadillo, glyptodont, and pampathere from sites in Florida, USA, all believed to be around 10,000-12,000 years old. We were successful in recovering DNA from only one of these samples. However, based on the amount and distribution of DNA damage, the ancient DNA recovered was well-preserved despite the age and preservation environment. In this case study chapter, we discuss the experimental procedure we used to characterize the DNA from the Floridian samples, focusing on challenges of working with ancient specimens from warm environments and steps taken to confirm the authenticity of the recovered sequence.

  5. Protection of Armadillo/β-Catenin by Armless, a Novel Positive Regulator of Wingless Signaling

    PubMed Central

    Reim, Gerlinde; Hruzova, Martina; Goetze, Sandra; Basler, Konrad

    2014-01-01

    The Wingless (Wg/Wnt) signaling pathway is essential for metazoan development, where it is central to tissue growth and cellular differentiation. Deregulated Wg pathway activation underlies severe developmental abnormalities, as well as carcinogenesis. Armadillo/β-Catenin plays a key role in the Wg transduction cascade; its cytoplasmic and nuclear levels directly determine the output activity of Wg signaling and are thus tightly controlled. In all current models, once Arm is targeted for degradation by the Arm/β-Catenin destruction complex, its fate is viewed as set. We identified a novel Wg/Wnt pathway component, Armless (Als), which is required for Wg target gene expression in a cell-autonomous manner. We found by genetic and biochemical analyses that Als functions downstream of the destruction complex, at the level of the SCF/Slimb/βTRCP E3 Ub ligase. In the absence of Als, Arm levels are severely reduced. We show by biochemical and in vivo studies that Als interacts directly with Ter94, an AAA ATPase known to associate with E3 ligases and to drive protein turnover. We suggest that Als antagonizes Ter94's positive effect on E3 ligase function and propose that Als promotes Wg signaling by rescuing Arm from proteolytic degradation, spotlighting an unexpected step where the Wg pathway signal is modulated. PMID:25369031

  6. Spontaneous self-assembly of engineered armadillo repeat protein fragments into a folded structure.

    PubMed

    Watson, Randall P; Christen, Martin T; Ewald, Christina; Bumbak, Fabian; Reichen, Christian; Mihajlovic, Maja; Schmidt, Elena; Güntert, Peter; Caflisch, Amedeo; Plückthun, Andreas; Zerbe, Oliver

    2014-07-08

    Repeat proteins are built of modules, each of which constitutes a structural motif. We have investigated whether fragments of a designed consensus armadillo repeat protein (ArmRP) recognize each other. We examined a split ArmRP consisting of an N-capping repeat (denoted Y), three internal repeats (M), and a C-capping repeat (A). We demonstrate that the C-terminal MA fragment adopts a fold similar to the corresponding part of the entire protein. In contrast, the N-terminal YM2 fragment constitutes a molten globule. The two fragments form a 1:1 YM2:MA complex with a nanomolar dissociation constant essentially identical to the crystal structure of the continuous YM3A protein. Molecular dynamics simulations show that the complex is structurally stable over a 1 μs timescale and reveal the importance of hydrophobic contacts across the interface. We propose that the existence of a stable complex recapitulates possible intermediates in the early evolution of these repeat proteins.

  7. Trypanosoma cruzi III from armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus novemcinctus) from Northeastern Venezuela and its biological behavior in murine model. Risk of emergency of Chagas' disease.

    PubMed

    Morocoima, Antonio; Carrasco, Hernán J; Boadas, Johanna; Chique, José David; Herrera, Leidi; Urdaneta-Morales, Servio

    2012-11-01

    Trypanosoma cruzi, etiological agent of Chagas' disease, was isolated from armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus novemcinctus) captured in rural communities Northeastern Venezuela from Nueva Esparta State (no endemic for Chagas' disease), Monagas and Anzoátegui States (endemics). The isolates, genetically typed by PCR-RFLP as belonging to the TcIII DTU, have demonstrated in murine model heterogenic parasitemia, mortality and histotropism with marked parasitism in cardiac, skeletal, and smooth myocytes that showed correlation with lymphobasophilic inflammatory infiltrates. Our finding of T. cruzi infected armadillos in Isla Margarita (Nueva Esparta State), together with reports of triatomine vectors in this region, the accentuated synanthropy of armadillos, intense economic activity, migration due to tourism and the lack of environmental education programs all of them represent risks that could cause the emergence of Chagas' disease in this area. This is the first report of the TcIII DTU in Northeastern Venezuela, thus widening the geographic distribution of this DTU.

  8. Brain tumor specifies intermediate progenitor cell identity by attenuating β-catenin/Armadillo activity.

    PubMed

    Komori, Hideyuki; Xiao, Qi; McCartney, Brooke M; Lee, Cheng-Yu

    2014-01-01

    During asymmetric stem cell division, both the daughter stem cell and the presumptive intermediate progenitor cell inherit cytoplasm from their parental stem cell. Thus, proper specification of intermediate progenitor cell identity requires an efficient mechanism to rapidly extinguish the activity of self-renewal factors, but the mechanisms remain unknown in most stem cell lineages. During asymmetric division of a type II neural stem cell (neuroblast) in the Drosophila larval brain, the Brain tumor (Brat) protein segregates unequally into the immature intermediate neural progenitor (INP), where it specifies INP identity by attenuating the function of the self-renewal factor Klumpfuss (Klu), but the mechanisms are not understood. Here, we report that Brat specifies INP identity through its N-terminal B-boxes via a novel mechanism that is independent of asymmetric protein segregation. Brat-mediated specification of INP identity is critically dependent on the function of the Wnt destruction complex, which attenuates the activity of β-catenin/Armadillo (Arm) in immature INPs. Aberrantly increasing Arm activity in immature INPs further exacerbates the defects in the specification of INP identity and enhances the supernumerary neuroblast mutant phenotype in brat mutant brains. By contrast, reducing Arm activity in immature INPs suppresses supernumerary neuroblast formation in brat mutant brains. Finally, reducing Arm activity also strongly suppresses supernumerary neuroblasts induced by overexpression of klu. Thus, the Brat-dependent mechanism extinguishes the function of the self-renewal factor Klu in the presumptive intermediate progenitor cell by attenuating Arm activity, balancing stem cell maintenance and progenitor cell specification.

  9. Brain tumor specifies intermediate progenitor cell identity by attenuating β-catenin/Armadillo activity

    PubMed Central

    Komori, Hideyuki; Xiao, Qi; McCartney, Brooke M.; Lee, Cheng-Yu

    2014-01-01

    During asymmetric stem cell division, both the daughter stem cell and the presumptive intermediate progenitor cell inherit cytoplasm from their parental stem cell. Thus, proper specification of intermediate progenitor cell identity requires an efficient mechanism to rapidly extinguish the activity of self-renewal factors, but the mechanisms remain unknown in most stem cell lineages. During asymmetric division of a type II neural stem cell (neuroblast) in the Drosophila larval brain, the Brain tumor (Brat) protein segregates unequally into the immature intermediate neural progenitor (INP), where it specifies INP identity by attenuating the function of the self-renewal factor Klumpfuss (Klu), but the mechanisms are not understood. Here, we report that Brat specifies INP identity through its N-terminal B-boxes via a novel mechanism that is independent of asymmetric protein segregation. Brat-mediated specification of INP identity is critically dependent on the function of the Wnt destruction complex, which attenuates the activity of β-catenin/Armadillo (Arm) in immature INPs. Aberrantly increasing Arm activity in immature INPs further exacerbates the defects in the specification of INP identity and enhances the supernumerary neuroblast mutant phenotype in brat mutant brains. By contrast, reducing Arm activity in immature INPs suppresses supernumerary neuroblast formation in brat mutant brains. Finally, reducing Arm activity also strongly suppresses supernumerary neuroblasts induced by overexpression of klu. Thus, the Brat-dependent mechanism extinguishes the function of the self-renewal factor Klu in the presumptive intermediate progenitor cell by attenuating Arm activity, balancing stem cell maintenance and progenitor cell specification. PMID:24257623

  10. Microscopic features of tick-bite lesions in anteaters and armadillos: Emas National Park and the Pantanal region of Brazil.

    PubMed

    Lima e Silva, M F; Szabó, M P J; Bechara, G H

    2004-10-01

    The naturally occurring wildlife host associations between ticks and tick-borne pathogens found in the neotropics are poorly described. Understanding tick-bite lesions is important as these are the site of host reaction to and pathogen delivery by ticks. As part of a comprehensive study concerning established and emerging tick-host relationships. the present work describes some aspects of tick-bite lesions in anteaters and armadillos captured at the Emas National Park and the Pantanal region of Brazil. Biopsies were of skin were taken and examine. Tick feeding sites of all animals displayed an eosinophilic homogeneous mass, the cement cone, and, occasionally, a feeding cavity underneath the tick attachment site. At these locations the epidermis was usually thickened due to keratinocyte hyperplasia. The main dermal changes included tissue infiltration with a varying number of inflammatory cells, edema, hemorrhage. and vascular dilatation. Cellular infiltration of the dermis was predominantly composed of mononuclear cells, neutrophils. and eosinophils. Mast cells were also seen in both non-parasitized and parasitized skin but were found in higher numbers at perivascular sites and in parasitized skin. Basophils were not seen at tick attachment sites of anteaters or armadillos.

  11. pangolin encodes a Lef-1 homologue that acts downstream of Armadillo to transduce the Wingless signal in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Brunner, E; Peter, O; Schweizer, L; Basler, K

    1997-02-27

    Members of the Wnt/Wingless (Wg) family of signalling proteins organize many aspects of animal development by regulating the expression of particular target genes in responding cells. Recent biochemical studies indicate that the vertebrate HMG-domain proteins Lef-1 and XTcf-3 can physically interact with beta-catenin, a homologue of Drosophila Armadillo (Arm), the most downstream component known in the Wnt signal transduction pathway. However, these studies do not address whether the endogenous Lef/Tcf family members are required in vivo to transduce Wnt signals. Using genetic methods in Drosophila, we define a new segment polarity gene, pangolin (pan), and show that its product is required in vivo for Wg signal transduction in embryos and in developing adult tissues. In addition, we show that pan encodes a Lef/Tcf homologue and provide evidence that its protein product binds to the beta-catenin homologue Armadillo in vivo. Finally, we demonstrate that Pan functions downstream of Arm to transduce the Wg signal. Thus, our results indicate that Pan is an essential component of the Wg transduction pathway and suggest that it acts directly to regulate gene transcription in response to Wg signalling.

  12. Anatomy of Shoulder Girdle Muscle Modifications and Walking Adaptation in the Scaly Chinese Pangolin (Manis Pentadactyla Pentadactyla: Pholidota) Compared with the Partially Osteoderm-Clad Armadillos (Dasypodidae).

    PubMed

    Kawashima, Tomokazu; Thorington, Richard W; Bohaska, Paula W; Chen, Yen-Jean; Sato, Fumi

    2015-07-01

    Because pangolins are unique mammals with a body and limbs almost entirely sheathed in hard keratinous overlapping scales and with digging and climbing abilities, the shoulder girdle muscles may differ significantly from those of other mammals including the partially osteoderm-clad armadillos. Therefore, we conducted a functional anatomical study of the shoulder girdle muscles in Chinese pangolins (Manis pentadactyla pentadactyla, Pholidota) and some armadillo species (Dasypodidae). Our CT scans revealed that the pangolin's overlapping scales are hard structures completely encasing the limbs. The armadillo's limbs, however, are covered with small relatively soft non-overlapping scales embedded in the skin, and articulate completely free of the hard osteodermal carapace. The attachments of some shoulder girdle muscles in the pangolin have moved from the surrounding edges of the scapula to the spine, and they, therefore, fully cover the scapula. In addition, some pangolin shoulder girdle muscles cross the shoulder joint to insert on the distal humerus, but this does not occur in armadillos. We cannot rule out the possibility that these muscle modifications represent adaptations for digging and/or climbing in pangolins. Our results and previous literature do not establish specific links between them and locomotive modes. However, we propose that the Chinese pangolin may use its derived muscular features when walking to move its armor-restricted forelimbs more effectively by swinging its head from side to side.

  13. [Local species, the market, and transportation in embryological research: the study of polyembryony in armadillos in the early twentieth century].

    PubMed

    García, Susana V

    2008-01-01

    The article examines the general affirmation that communication networks and mobility are important to science by examining how these factors played a relevant role in one specific case, that is, research on the embryology of certain species of armadillos in the early twentieth century. As we show, access to pregnant females of the species and transport time from the wild to the laboratory were significant issues in the early days of such research. The strategies used to obtain field samples, the temporality of certain phenomena, the commercial circuits of which the organisms under study were a part, and the transformations they underwent in the laboratory all afford a glimpse at some aspects of how these scientists approached their work and what problems they faced in producing new knowledge.

  14. The evolution of armadillos, anteaters and sloths depicted by nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenies: implications for the status of the enigmatic fossil Eurotamandua.

    PubMed

    Delsuc, F; Catzeflis, F M; Stanhope, M J; Douzery, E J

    2001-08-07

    The mammalian order Xenarthra (armadillos, anteaters and sloths) is one of the four major clades of placentals, but it remains poorly studied from the molecular phylogenetics perspective. We present here a study encompassing most of the order's diversity in order to establish xenarthrans' intra-ordinal relationships, discuss the evolution of their morphological characters, search for their extant sister group and specify the timing of their radiation with special emphasis on the status of the controversial fossil Eurotamandua. Sequences of three genes (nuclear exon 28 of the Von Willebrand factor and mitochondrial 12S and 16S rRNAs) are compared for eight of the 13 living genera. Phylogenetic analyses confirm the order's monophyly and that of its three major lineages: armadillos (Cingulata), anteaters (Vermilingua) and sloths ('Tardigrada', renamed in 'Folivora'), and our results strongly support the grouping of hairy xenarthrans (anteaters and sloths) into Pilosa. Within placentals, Afrotheria might be the first lineage to branch off, followed by Xenarthra. The morphological adaptative convergence between New World xenarthrans and Old World pangolins is confirmed. Molecular datings place the early emergence of armadillos around the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary, followed by the divergence between anteaters and sloths in the Early Eocene era. These Tertiary dates contradict the concept of a very ancient origin of modern xenarthran lineages. They also question the placement of the purported fossil anteater (Eurotamandua) from the Middle Eocene period of Europe with the Vermilingua and instead suggest the independent and convergent evolution of this enigmatic taxon.

  15. The microtubule plus-end tracking protein ARMADILLO-REPEAT KINESIN1 promotes microtubule catastrophe in Arabidopsis.

    PubMed

    Eng, Ryan Christopher; Wasteneys, Geoffrey O

    2014-08-01

    Microtubule dynamics are critically important for plant cell development. Here, we show that Arabidopsis thaliana ARMADILLO-REPEAT KINESIN1 (ARK1) plays a key role in root hair tip growth by promoting microtubule catastrophe events. This destabilizing activity appears to maintain adequate free tubulin concentrations in order to permit rapid microtubule growth, which in turn is correlated with uniform tip growth. Microtubules in ark1-1 root hairs exhibited reduced catastrophe frequency and slower growth velocities, both of which were restored by low concentrations of the microtubule-destabilizing drug oryzalin. An ARK1-GFP (green fluorescent protein) fusion protein expressed under its endogenous promoter localized to growing microtubule plus ends and rescued the ark1-1 root hair phenotype. Transient overexpression of ARK1-RFP (red fluorescent protein) increased microtubule catastrophe frequency. ARK1-fusion protein constructs lacking the N-terminal motor domain still labeled microtubules, suggesting the existence of a second microtubule binding domain at the C terminus of ARK1. ARK1-GFP was broadly expressed in seedlings, but mutant phenotypes were restricted to root hairs, indicating that ARK1's function is redundant in cells other than those forming root hairs.

  16. A new Dasypodini armadillo (Xenarthra: Cingulata) from San Gregorio Formation, Pliocene of Venezuela: affinities and biogeographic interpretations.

    PubMed

    Castro, Mariela C; Carlini, Alfredo A; Sánchez, Rodolfo; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2014-02-01

    We describe Pliodasypus vergelianus gen. et sp. nov., a Dasypodini armadillo from the middle Pliocene of Venezuela (Vergel Member, San Gregorio Formation). Although scarce, the remains are remarkable because of their geochronologic proximity to the main phase of Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI). The cladistic analysis conducted reveals that Pliodasypus groups with Dasypus and both are sister taxa of Propraopus, whereas Anadasypus is at a basal position. With respect to the records of tribe Dasypodini, after its oldest representative (Anadasypus, middle and late Miocene), the chronologically subsequent form is Pl. vergelianus (middle Pliocene), followed by Dasypus bellus in higher northern latitudes (late Pliocene), and then by widespread occurrences in the Pleistocene of North America (D. bellus) and South America (Propraopus, Dasypus punctatus, and Dasypus novemcinctus). Thus, we infer that Dasypus differentiated in the late Pliocene at low latitudes in the northern South America. It leads to two alternative hypotheses of dispersal: (a) some early Dasypus remained cryptically in South America until the Pleistocene, whereas others dispersed to North America between 2.2 and 2.7 Ma, or (b) they dispersed to North America subsequently to the emersion of the Panamanian isthmus and D. bellus differentiated there; later, during the Pleistocene, D. bellus entered South America and experienced speciation. The same process of re-ingression has been proposed to other xenarthrans, breaking with the traditional assumption that the GABI was unidirectional.

  17. A new Dasypodini armadillo (Xenarthra: Cingulata) from San Gregorio Formation, Pliocene of Venezuela: affinities and biogeographic interpretations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Castro, Mariela C.; Carlini, Alfredo A.; Sánchez, Rodolfo; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.

    2014-02-01

    We describe Pliodasypus vergelianus gen. et sp. nov., a Dasypodini armadillo from the middle Pliocene of Venezuela (Vergel Member, San Gregorio Formation). Although scarce, the remains are remarkable because of their geochronologic proximity to the main phase of Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI). The cladistic analysis conducted reveals that Pliodasypus groups with Dasypus and both are sister taxa of Propraopus, whereas Anadasypus is at a basal position. With respect to the records of tribe Dasypodini, after its oldest representative ( Anadasypus, middle and late Miocene), the chronologically subsequent form is Pl. vergelianus (middle Pliocene), followed by Dasypus bellus in higher northern latitudes (late Pliocene), and then by widespread occurrences in the Pleistocene of North America ( D. bellus) and South America ( Propraopus, Dasypus punctatus, and Dasypus novemcinctus). Thus, we infer that Dasypus differentiated in the late Pliocene at low latitudes in the northern South America. It leads to two alternative hypotheses of dispersal: (a) some early Dasypus remained cryptically in South America until the Pleistocene, whereas others dispersed to North America between 2.2 and 2.7 Ma, or (b) they dispersed to North America subsequently to the emersion of the Panamanian isthmus and D. bellus differentiated there; later, during the Pleistocene, D. bellus entered South America and experienced speciation. The same process of re-ingression has been proposed to other xenarthrans, breaking with the traditional assumption that the GABI was unidirectional.

  18. 3D model for Cancerous Inhibitor of Protein Phosphatase 2A armadillo domain unveils highly conserved protein-protein interaction characteristics.

    PubMed

    Dahlström, Käthe M; Salminen, Tiina A

    2015-12-07

    Cancerous Inhibitor of Protein Phosphatase 2A (CIP2A) is a human oncoprotein, which exerts its cancer-promoting function through interaction with other proteins, for example Protein Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and MYC. The lack of structural information for CIP2A significantly prevents the design of anti-cancer therapeutics targeting this protein. In an attempt to counteract this fact, we modeled the three-dimensional structure of the N-terminal domain (CIP2A-ArmRP), analyzed key areas and amino acids, and coupled the results to the existing literature. The model reliably shows a stable armadillo repeat fold with a positively charged groove. The fact that this conserved groove highly likely binds peptides is corroborated by the presence of a conserved polar ladder, which is essential for the proper peptide-binding mode of armadillo repeat proteins and, according to our results, several known CIP2A interaction partners appropriately possess an ArmRP-binding consensus motif. Moreover, we show that Arg229Gln, which has been linked to the development of cancer, causes a significant change in charge and surface properties of CIP2A-ArmRP. In conclusion, our results reveal that CIP2A-ArmRP shares the typical fold, protein-protein interaction site and interaction patterns with other natural armadillo proteins and that, presumably, several interaction partners bind into the central groove of the modeled CIP2A-ArmRP. By providing essential structural characteristics of CIP2A, the present study significantly increases our knowledge on how CIP2A interacts with other proteins in cancer progression and how to develop new therapeutics targeting CIP2A.

  19. Macronodular Adrenal Hyperplasia due to Mutations in an Armadillo Repeat Containing 5 (ARMC5) Gene: A Clinical and Genetic Investigation

    PubMed Central

    Faucz, Fabio R.; Zilbermint, Mihail; Lodish, Maya B.; Szarek, Eva; Trivellin, Giampaolo; Sinaii, Ninet; Berthon, Annabel; Libé, Rossella; Assié, Guillaume; Espiard, Stéphanie; Drougat, Ludivine; Ragazzon, Bruno; Bertherat, Jerome

    2014-01-01

    Context: Inactivating germline mutations of the probable tumor suppressor gene, armadillo repeat containing 5 (ARMC5), have recently been identified as a genetic cause of macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (MAH). Objective: We searched for ARMC5 mutations in a large cohort of patients with MAH. The clinical phenotype of patients with and without ARMC5 mutations was compared. Methods: Blood DNA from 34 MAH patients was genotyped using Sanger sequencing. Diurnal serum cortisol measurements, plasma ACTH levels, urinary steroids, 6-day Liddle's test, adrenal computed tomography, and weight of adrenal glands at adrenalectomy were assessed. Results: Germline ARMC5 mutations were found in 15 of 34 patients (44.1%). In silico analysis of the mutations indicated that seven (20.6%) predicted major implications for gene function. Late-night cortisol levels were higher in patients with ARMC5-damaging mutations compared with those without and/or with nonpathogenic mutations (14.5 ± 5.6 vs 6.7 ± 4.3, P < .001). All patients carrying a pathogenic ARMC5 mutation had clinical Cushing's syndrome (seven of seven, 100%) compared with 14 of 27 (52%) of those without or with mutations that were predicted to be benign (P = .029). Repeated-measures analysis showed overall higher urinary 17-hydroxycorticosteroids and free cortisol values in the patients with ARMC5-damaging mutations during the 6-day Liddle's test (P = .0002). Conclusions: ARMC5 mutations are implicated in clinically severe Cushing's syndrome associated with MAH. Knowledge of a patient's ARMC5 status has important clinical implications for the diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome and genetic counseling of patients and their families. PMID:24601692

  20. Btk29A-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of armadillo/β-catenin promotes ring canal growth in Drosophila oogenesis.

    PubMed

    Hamada-Kawaguchi, Noriko; Nishida, Yasuyoshi; Yamamoto, Daisuke

    2015-01-01

    Drosophila Btk29A is the ortholog of mammalian Btk, a Tec family nonreceptor tyrosine kinase whose deficit causes X-linked agammaglobulinemia in humans. The Btk29AficP mutation induces multiple abnormalities in oogenesis, including the growth arrest of ring canals, large intercellular bridges that allow the flow of cytoplasm carrying maternal products essential for embryonic development from the nurse cells to the oocyte during oogenesis. In this study, inactivation of Parcas, a negative regulator of Btk29A, was found to promote Btk29A accumulation on ring canals with a concomitant increase in the ring canal diameter, counteracting the Btk29AficP mutation. This mutation markedly reduced the accumulation of phosphotyrosine on ring canals and in the regions of cell-cell contact, where adhesion-supporting proteins such as DE-cadherin and β-catenin ortholog Armadillo (Arm) are located. Our previous in vitro and in vivo analyses revealed that Btk29A directly phosphorylates Arm, leading to its release from DE-cadherin. In the present experiments, immunohistological analysis revealed that phosphorylation at tyrosine 150 (Y150) and Y667 of Arm was diminished in Btk29AficP mutant ring canals. Overexpression of an Arm mutant with unphosphorylatable Y150 inhibited ring canal growth. Thus Btk29A-induced Y150 phosphorylation is necessary for the normal growth of ring canals. We suggest that the dissociation of tyrosine-phosphorylated Arm from DE-cadherin allows dynamic actin to reorganize, leading to ring canal expansion and cell shape changes during the course of oogenesis.

  1. ND9P, a novel protein with armadillo-like repeats involved in exocytosis: physiological studies using allelic mutants in paramecium.

    PubMed Central

    Froissard, M; Keller, A M; Cohen, J

    2001-01-01

    In Paramecium, a number of mutants affected in the exocytotic membrane fusion step of the regulated secretory pathway have been obtained. Here, we report the isolation of one of the corresponding genes, ND9, previously suspected to encode a soluble protein interacting with both plasma and trichocyst membranes. Nd9p is a novel polypeptide that contains C-terminal Armadillo-like repeats. Point mutations were found in the first N-terminal quarter of the molecule and in the last putative Armadillo repeat, respectively, for the two thermosensitive mutants, nd9-1 and nd9-2. The different behaviors of these mutants in recovery experiments upon temperature shifts suggest that the N-terminal domain of the molecule may be involved in membrane binding activity, whereas the C-terminal domain is a candidate for protein-protein interactions. The nonsense nd9-3 mutation that produces a short N-terminal peptide has a dominant negative effect on the nd9-1 allele. We show here that, when overexpressed, the dominant negative effect can be produced even on the wild-type allele, suggesting competition for a common target. We suggest that Nd9p could act, like some SNARE proteins, at the membrane-cytosol interface to promote membrane fusion. PMID:11156983

  2. Genome-Wide Screening of Retroviral Envelope Genes in the Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus, Xenarthra) Reveals an Unfixed Chimeric Endogenous Betaretrovirus Using the ASCT2 Receptor

    PubMed Central

    Malicorne, Sébastien; Vernochet, Cécile; Cornelis, Guillaume; Mulot, Baptiste; Delsuc, Frédéric; Heidmann, Odile

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Retroviruses enter host cells through the interaction of their envelope (Env) protein with a cell surface receptor, which triggers the fusion of viral and cellular membranes. The sodium-dependent neutral amino acid transporter ASCT2 is the common receptor of the large RD114 retrovirus interference group, whose members display frequent env recombination events. Germ line retrovirus infections have led to numerous inherited endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) in vertebrate genomes, which provide useful insights into the coevolutionary history of retroviruses and their hosts. Rare ERV-derived genes display conserved viral functions, as illustrated by the fusogenic syncytin env genes involved in placentation. Here, we searched for functional env genes in the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) genome and identified dasy-env1.1, which clusters with RD114 interference group env genes and with two syncytin genes sharing ASCT2 receptor usage. Using ex vivo pseudotyping and cell-cell fusion assays, we demonstrated that the Dasy-Env1.1 protein is fusogenic and can use both human and armadillo ASCT2s as receptors. This gammaretroviral env gene belongs to a provirus with betaretrovirus-like features, suggesting acquisition through recombination. Provirus insertion was found in several Dasypus species, where it has not reached fixation, whereas related family members integrated before diversification of the genus Dasypus >12 million years ago (Mya). This newly described ERV lineage is potentially useful as a population genetic marker. Our results extend the usage of ASCT2 as a retrovirus receptor to the mammalian clade Xenarthra and suggest that the acquisition of an ASCT2-interacting env gene is a major selective force driving the emergence of numerous chimeric viruses in vertebrates. IMPORTANCE Retroviral infection is initiated by the binding of the viral envelope glycoprotein to a host cell receptor(s), triggering membrane fusion. Ancient germ line infections

  3. Armadillos, Boatbills & Crocodiles.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Berkovits, Annette; Greenblatt, Esther

    1980-01-01

    Recounts the unique partnership in science instruction developed between Nassau and Suffolk County (New York) schools and the Bronx Zoo to provide educational experiences for handicapped and mentally retarded students. Discussion focuses on a five-phase program developed for 200 elementary secondary students from Rosemary Kennedy Center through…

  4. Crystal structures of the armadillo repeat domain of adenomatous polyposis coli and its complex with the tyrosine-rich domain of Sam68.

    PubMed

    Morishita, Ella Czarina; Murayama, Kazutaka; Kato-Murayama, Miyuki; Ishizuka-Katsura, Yoshiko; Tomabechi, Yuri; Hayashi, Tomoatsu; Terada, Takaho; Handa, Noriko; Shirouzu, Mikako; Akiyama, Tetsu; Yokoyama, Shigeyuki

    2011-10-12

    Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is a tumor suppressor protein commonly mutated in colorectal tumors. APC plays important roles in Wnt signaling and other cellular processes. Here, we present the crystal structure of the armadillo repeat (Arm) domain of APC, which facilitates the binding of APC to various proteins. APC-Arm forms a superhelix with a positively charged groove. We also determined the structure of the complex of APC-Arm with the tyrosine-rich (YY) domain of the Src-associated in mitosis, 68 kDa protein (Sam68), which regulates TCF-1 alternative splicing. Sam68-YY forms numerous interactions with the residues on the groove and is thereby fixed in a bent conformation. We assessed the effects of mutations and phosphorylation on complex formation between APC-Arm and Sam68-YY. Structural comparisons revealed different modes of ligand recognition between the Arm domains of APC and other Arm-containing proteins.

  5. Validation of Armadillo officinalis Dumèril, 1816 (Crustacea, Isopoda, Oniscidea) as a bioindicator: in vivo study of air benzene exposure.

    PubMed

    Agodi, A; Oliveri Conti, G; Barchitta, M; Quattrocchi, A; Lombardo, B M; Montesanto, G; Messina, G; Fiore, M; Ferrante, M

    2015-04-01

    This study tests the potential for using Armadillo officinalis as a bioindicator of exposure to and activation of benzene metabolic pathways using an in vivo model. A. officinalis specimens collected in a natural reserve were divided into a control and three test groups exposed to 2.00, 5.32 or 9.09 µg/m(3) benzene for 24h. Three independent tests were performed to assess model reproducibility. Animals were dissected to obtain three pooled tissue samples per group: hepatopancreas (HEP), other organs and tissues (OOT), and exoskeleton (EXO). Muconic acid (MA), S-phenylmercapturic acid (S-PMA), two human metabolites of benzene, and changes in mtDNA copy number, a human biomarker of benzene exposure, were determined in each sample; benzene was determined only in EXO. MA was measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with ultraviolet (UV) detection, S-PMA by triple quadrupole mass spectrometer liquid chromatography with electro spray ionization (LC-MS-ESI-TQD), mtDNA by real-time quantitative PCR and end-point PCR, and benzene by quadrupole mass spectrometer head-space gas chromatography (HSGC-MS). MA and S-PMA levels rose both in HEP and OOT; EXO exhibited increasing benzene concentrations; and mtDNA copy number rose in HEP but not in OOT samples. Overall, our findings demonstrate that A. officinalis is a sensitive bioindicator of air benzene exposure and show for the first time its ability to reproduce human metabolic dynamics.

  6. Rapid Identification of a Natural Knockout Allele of ARMADILLO REPEAT-CONTAINING KINESIN1 That Causes Root Hair Branching by Mapping-By-Sequencing1[C][W

    PubMed Central

    Rishmawi, Louai; Sun, Hequan; Schneeberger, Korbinian; Hülskamp, Martin; Schrader, Andrea

    2014-01-01

    In Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), branched root hairs are an indicator of defects in root hair tip growth. Among 62 accessions, one accession (Heiligkreuztal2 [HKT2.4]) displayed branched root hairs, suggesting that this accession carries a mutation in a gene of importance for tip growth. We determined 200- to 300-kb mapping intervals using a mapping-by-sequencing approach of F2 pools from crossings of HKT2.4 with three different accessions. The intersection of these mapping intervals was 80 kb in size featuring not more than 36 HKT2.4-specific single nucleotide polymorphisms, only two of which changed the coding potential of genes. Among them, we identified the causative single nucleotide polymorphism changing a splicing site in ARMADILLO REPEAT-CONTAINING KINESIN1. The applied strategies have the potential to complement statistical methods in high-throughput phenotyping studies using different natural accessions to identify causative genes for distinct phenotypes represented by only one or a few accessions. PMID:25248719

  7. Litopenaeus vannamei sterile-alpha and armadillo motif containing protein (LvSARM) is involved in regulation of Penaeidins and antilipopolysaccharide factors.

    PubMed

    Wang, Pei-Hui; Gu, Zhi-Hua; Wan, Ding-Hui; Zhu, Wei-Bin; Qiu, Wei; Weng, Shao-Ping; Yu, Xiao-Qiang; He, Jian-Guo

    2013-01-01

    The Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated NF-κB pathway is tightly controlled because overactivation may result in severe damage to the host, such as in the case of chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer. In mammals, sterile-alpha and armadillo motif-containing protein (SARM) plays an important role in negatively regulating this pathway. While Caenorhabditis elegans SARM is crucial for an efficient immune response against bacterial and fungal infections, it is still unknown whether Drosophila SARM participates in immune responses. Here, Litopenaeus vannamei SARM (LvSARM) was cloned and functionally characterized. LvSARM shared signature domains with and exhibited significant similarities to mammalian SARM. Real-time quantitative PCR analysis indicated that the expression of LvSARM was responsive to Vibrio alginolyticus and white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) infections in the hemocyte, gill, hepatopancreas and intestine. In Drosophila S2 cells, LvSARM was widely distributed in the cytoplasm and could significantly inhibit the promoters of the NF-κB pathway-controlled antimicrobial peptide genes (AMPs). Silencing of LvSARM using dsRNA-mediated RNA interference increased the expression levels of Penaeidins and antilipopolysaccharide factors, which are L.vannamei AMPs, and increased the mortality rate after V. alginolyticus infection. Taken together, our results reveal that LvSARM may be a novel component of the shrimp Toll pathway that negatively regulates shrimp AMPs, particularly Penaeidins and antilipopolysaccharide factors.

  8. The Armadillo Repeat Gene ZAK IXIK Promotes Arabidopsis Early Embryo and Endosperm Development through a Distinctive Gametophytic Maternal Effect[C][W][OA

    PubMed Central

    Ngo, Quy A.; Baroux, Celia; Guthörl, Daniela; Mozerov, Peter; Collinge, Margaret A.; Sundaresan, Venkatesan; Grossniklaus, Ueli

    2012-01-01

    The proper balance of parental genomic contributions to the fertilized embryo and endosperm is essential for their normal growth and development. The characterization of many gametophytic maternal effect (GME) mutants affecting seed development indicates that there are certain classes of genes with a predominant maternal contribution. We present a detailed analysis of the GME mutant zak ixik (zix), which displays delayed and arrested growth at the earliest stages of embryo and endosperm development. ZIX encodes an Armadillo repeat (Arm) protein highly conserved across eukaryotes. Expression studies revealed that ZIX manifests a GME through preferential maternal expression in the early embryo and endosperm. This parent-of-origin–dependent expression is regulated by neither the histone and DNA methylation nor the DNA demethylation pathways known to regulate some other GME mutants. The ZIX protein is localized in the cytoplasm and nucleus of cells in reproductive tissues and actively dividing root zones. The maternal ZIX allele is required for the maternal expression of MINISEED3. Collectively, our results reveal a reproductive function of plant Arm proteins in promoting early seed growth, which is achieved through a distinct GME of ZIX that involves mechanisms for maternal allele-specific expression that are independent of the well-established pathways. PMID:23064319

  9. A novel human gene (SARM) at chromosome 17q11 encodes a protein with a SAM motif and structural similarity to Armadillo/beta-catenin that is conserved in mouse, Drosophila, and Caenorhabditis elegans.

    PubMed

    Mink, M; Fogelgren, B; Olszewski, K; Maroy, P; Csiszar, K

    2001-06-01

    A novel human gene, SARM, encodes the orthologue of a Drosophila protein (CG7915) and contains a unique combination of the sterile alpha (SAM) and the HEAT/Armadillo motifs. The SARM gene was identified on chromosome 17q11, between markers D17S783 and D17S841 on BAC clone AC002094, which also included a HERV repeat and keratin-18-like, MAC30, TNFAIP1, HSPC017, and vitronectin genes in addition to three unknown genes. The mouse SARM gene was located on a mouse chromosome 11 BAC clone (AC002324). The SARM gene is 1.8 kb centromeric to the vitronectin gene, and the two genes share a promoter region that directs a high level of liver-specific expression of both the SARM and the vitronectin genes. In addition to the liver, the SARM gene was highly expressed in the kidney. A 0.4-kb antisense transcript was coordinately expressed with the SARM gene in the kidney and liver, while in the brain and malignant cell lines, it appeared independent of SARM gene transcription. The SARM gene encodes a protein of 690 amino acids. Based on amino acid sequence homology, we have identified a SAM motif within this derived protein. Structure modeling and protein folding recognition studies confirmed the presence of alpha-alpha right-handed superhelix-like folds consistent with the structure of the Armadillo and HEAT repeats of the beta-catenin and importin protein families. Both motifs are known to be involved in protein-protein interactions promoting the formation of diverse protein complexes. We have identified the same conserved SAM/Armadillo motif combination in the mouse, Drosophila, and Caenorhabditis elegans SARM proteins.

  10. Burkholderia pseudomallei-induced expression of a negative regulator, sterile-alpha and Armadillo motif-containing protein, in mouse macrophages: a possible mechanism for suppression of the MyD88-independent pathway.

    PubMed

    Pudla, M; Limposuwan, K; Utaisincharoen, P

    2011-07-01

    Burkholderia pseudomallei, a causative agent of melioidosis, is a Gram-negative facultative intracellular bacterium that can survive and multiply in macrophages. Previously, we demonstrated that B. pseudomallei failed to activate gene expression downstream of the MyD88-independent pathway, particularly the expression of beta interferon (IFN-β) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), leading to the inability of macrophages to kill this bacterium. In the present report, we extended our study to show that B. pseudomallei was able to activate sterile-α and Armadillo motif (SARM)-containing protein, a known negative regulator of the MyD88-independent pathway. Both live B. pseudomallei and heat-killed B. pseudomallei were able to upregulate SARM expression in a time-dependent manner in mouse macrophage cell line RAW 264.7. The expression of SARM required bacterial internalization, as it could be inhibited by cytochalasin D. In addition, the intracellular survival of B. pseudomallei was suppressed in SARM-deficient macrophages. Increased expression of IFN-β and iNOS and degradation of IκBα correlated with enhanced macrophage killing capability. These results demonstrated that B. pseudomallei modulated macrophage defense mechanisms by upregulating SARM, thus leading to the suppression of IFN-β and iNOS needed for bacterial elimination.

  11. Evaluation of a rapid immunochromatographic dipstick test for detection of antibodies to Trypanosoma cruzi in dogs experimentally infected with isolates obtained from opossums (Didelphis virginiana), armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus), and dogs (Canis familiaris) from the United States.

    PubMed

    Rosypal, Alexa C; Hill, Roderick; Lewis, Samantha; Barr, Stephen C; Valadas, Samantha; Gennari, Solange Maria; Lindsay, David S

    2011-02-01

    Dogs are reservoir hosts for Trypanosoma cruzi , the causative agent of American trypanosomiasis. A rapid immunochromatographic dipstick test (ICT) is available commercially for canine serological testing. The ICT was developed with the use of sera from South American dogs, but it is not routinely used in the United States. We evaluated the utility of the ICT in detecting anti-T. cruzi antibodies in dogs from the United States. Dogs (N  =  64) were experimentally infected with United States' isolates of T. cruzi from an opossum (Didelphis virginiana), an armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), and a domestic dog (Canis familiaris), and were tested after experimental infection. Sera from uninfected United States dogs (n  =  79; hemaculture negative) were used as negative controls. In a blind study, sera were tested by the ICT and compared to the indirect immunofluorescent antibody test with the use of Brazil-strain epimastigotes as antigen. The sensitivity of the ICT was 91% and the specificity was 98% in dogs experimentally infected with United States isolates. Our study indicates that the ICT could be a useful screening tool for serological surveillance of canine T. cruzi exposure in the United States.

  12. Sterile-α- and armadillo motif-containing protein inhibits the TRIF-dependent downregulation of signal regulatory protein α to interfere with intracellular bacterial elimination in Burkholderia pseudomallei-infected mouse macrophages.

    PubMed

    Baral, Pankaj; Utaisincharoen, Pongsak

    2013-09-01

    Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, evades macrophage killing by suppressing the TRIF-dependent pathway, leading to inhibition of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression. We previously demonstrated that virulent wild-type B. pseudomallei inhibits the TRIF-dependent pathway by upregulating sterile-α- and armadillo motif-containing protein (SARM) and by inhibiting downregulation of signal regulatory protein α (SIRPα); both molecules are negative regulators of Toll-like receptor signaling. In contrast, the less virulent lipopolysaccharide (LPS) mutant of B. pseudomallei is unable to exhibit these features and is susceptible to macrophage killing. However, the functional relationship of these two negative regulators in the evasion of macrophage defense has not been elucidated. We demonstrated here that SIRPα downregulation was observed after inhibition of SARM expression by small interfering RNA in wild-type-infected macrophages, indicating that SIRPα downregulation is regulated by SARM. Furthermore, this downregulation requires activation of the TRIF signaling pathway, as we observed abrogation of SIRPα downregulation as well as restricted bacterial growth in LPS mutant-infected TRIF-depleted macrophages. Although inhibition of SARM expression is correlated to SIRPα downregulation and iNOS upregulation in gamma interferon-activated wild-type-infected macrophages, these phenomena appear to bypass the TRIF-dependent pathway. Similar to live bacteria, the wild-type LPS is able to upregulate SARM and to prevent SIRPα downregulation, implying that the LPS of B. pseudomallei may play a crucial role in regulating the expression of these two negative regulators. Altogether, our findings show a previously unrecognized role of B. pseudomallei-induced SARM in inhibiting SIRPα downregulation-mediated iNOS upregulation, facilitating the ability of the bacterium to multiply in macrophages.

  13. The S-Domain Receptor Kinase Arabidopsis Receptor Kinase2 and the U Box/Armadillo Repeat-Containing E3 Ubiquitin Ligase9 Module Mediates Lateral Root Development under Phosphate Starvation in Arabidopsis.

    PubMed

    Deb, Srijani; Sankaranarayanan, Subramanian; Wewala, Gayathri; Widdup, Ellen; Samuel, Marcus A

    2014-08-01

    When plants encounter nutrient-limiting conditions in the soil, the root architecture is redesigned to generate numerous lateral roots (LRs) that increase the surface area of roots, promoting efficient uptake of these deficient nutrients. Of the many essential nutrients, reduced availability of inorganic phosphate has a major impact on plant growth because of the requirement of inorganic phosphate for synthesis of organic molecules, such as nucleic acids, ATP, and phospholipids, that function in various crucial metabolic activities. In our screens to identify a potential role for the S-domain receptor kinase1-6 and its interacting downstream signaling partner, the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plant U box/armadillo repeat-containing E3 ligase9 (AtPUB9), we identified a role for this module in regulating LR development under phosphate-starved conditions. Our results show that Arabidopsis double mutant plants lacking AtPUB9 and Arabidopsis Receptor Kinase2 (AtARK2; ark2-1/pub9-1) display severely reduced LRs when grown under phosphate-starved conditions. Under these starvation conditions, these plants accumulated very low to no auxin in their primary root and LR tips as observed through expression of the auxin reporter DR5::uidA transgene. Exogenous auxin was sufficient to rescue the LR developmental defects in the ark2-1/pub9-1 lines, indicating a requirement of auxin accumulation for this process. Our subcellular localization studies with tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) suspension-cultured cells indicate that interaction between ARK2 and AtPUB9 results in accumulation of AtPUB9 in the autophagosomes. Inhibition of autophagy in wild-type plants resulted in reduction of LR development and auxin accumulation under phosphate-starved conditions, suggesting a role for autophagy in regulating LR development. Thus, our study has uncovered a previously unknown signaling module (ARK2-PUB9) that is required for auxin-mediated LR development under phosphate-starved conditions.

  14. Trichinella infection in wild animals from endemic regions of Argentina.

    PubMed

    Ribicich, Mabel; Gamble, H R; Bolpe, Jorge; Scialfa, Exequiel; Krivokapich, Silvio; Cardillo, Natalia; Betti, Adriana; Holzmann, Maria Laura Cambiaggi; Pasqualetti, Mariana; Fariña, Fernando; Rosa, Adriana

    2010-07-01

    Natural infection with Trichinella has been described in more than 150 mammalian species. However, few reports of Trichinella infection in wild animals have come from Argentina. In this study, muscle tissue was obtained from wild animals in Argentina with the aim of evaluating the presence of Trichinella. A total of 169 muscle samples were collected to determine the presence of Trichinella larvae by artificial digestion. The 169 muscle samples originated from 12 species including 36 opossums (Didelphis albiventris), 19 armadillos (Chaetophractus villosus), 9 capybaras (Hydrocaeris hydrocaeris), 1 puma (Puma concolor), 3 grey fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus), 6 coypus (Myocastor coypus), 6 skunks (Conepatus chinga), 2 ferrets (Galictis cuja), 66 rats (Rattus norvegicus), 6 mice (Mus musculus), 12 wild boars (Sus scrofa), and 3 wild cats (Felis geoffroyi). Trichinella infection was detected in 1 puma [2 larvae per gram (LPG)], 3 wild boars (8-420 LPG), 3 armadillos (0.04-0.08 LPG), and 9 rats (0.1 to 150 LPG). Only 3 Trichinella isolates, of 1 rat and 2 wild boars from Neuquén, were identified as Trichinella spiralis by nested PCR. The presence of Trichinella infection among wild animal populations suggests a sylvatic cycle of transmission in Argentina, which can serve as a reservoir for humans and domestic animals. Further, evidence of high prevalence in rats emphasizes the need to improve pig management, mainly in small individual farms without adequate technology, to enhance the quality of feeds, and to improve veterinary services to avoid exposure of pigs to Trichinella.

  15. First isolation of Leptospira interrogans from Lycalopex griseus (South American gray fox) in Argentina shows new MLVA genotype.

    PubMed

    Scialfa, Exequiel; Brihuega, Bibiana; Venzano, Agustín; Morris, Winston Eduardo; Bolpe, Jorge; Schettino, Mateo

    2013-01-01

    To identify carriers of Leptospira spp. in Argentina, wild animals were trapped in Buenos Aires Province during three nights, capturing 12 Didelphis albiventris (white-eared opossum), six Chaetophractus villosus (big hairy armadillo), five Lycalopex griseus (South American gray fox), and two Conepatus chinga (Molina's hog-nosed skunk). All were tested by microscopic agglutination test, and five (two gray foxes, two armadillos, and one skunk) were positive for Leptospira interrogans serovars Canicola and Icterohaemorrhagiae, L. borgpetersenii serovar Castellonis, and L. kirschneri serovar Grippotyphosa, at titers of 1:50 and 1:100. Kidney tissue from all animals was cultured, and one isolate of L. interrogans from a gray fox was obtained. Hamsters inoculated with the isolate died after 6 days with no macroscopic lesions at necropsy. However, histologic examination revealed glomerulonephritis, interstitial nephritis, and pneumonia. The Leptospira strain from the South American gray fox was analyzed serologically and its pathogenicity was established. Genotyping through multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis showed that the strain was a new genotype related to the L. interrogans serogroup Icterohaemorrhagiae.

  16. Trophic ecology of the armadillo ant, Tatuidris tatusia, assessed by stable isotopes and behavioral observations.

    PubMed

    Jacquemin, Justine; Delsinne, Thibaut; Maraun, Mark; Leponce, Maurice

    2014-01-01

    Ants of the genus Tatuidris Brown and Kempf (Formicidae: Agroecomyrmecinae) generally occur at low abundances in forests of Central and South America. Their morphological peculiarities, such as mandibular brushes, are presumably linked with specialized predatory habits. Our aims were to (1) assess the Tatuidris abundance in an evergreen premontane forest of Ecuador; (2) detail morphological characteristics and feeding behavior of Tatuidris; and (3) define the position of Tatuidris in the food web. A total of 465 litter samples were collected. For the first time, live Tatuidris individuals were observed. Various potential food sources were offered to them. A nitrogen stable isotope ratio analysis ((15)N/(14)N) was conducted on Tatuidris tatusia, other ants, and common organisms from the leaf-litter mesofauna. We found a relatively high abundance of T. tatusia in the site. Live individuals did not feed on any of the food sources offered, as usually observed with diet specialist ants. The isotope analysis revealed that T. tatusia is one of the top predators of the leaf-litter food web.

  17. Sitting Swimmers and Stuffed Armadillos in Sundresses: Reader-Response and Classroom Creativity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Danis, M. Francine

    Literature instructors become frustrated as they read poorly written student essays. The problem is partly the students' lack of experience: they have not read a lot or written a lot. Literature classes can be more interesting and effective if teachers coordinate two kinds of emphases: allowing for discovery and moving toward productivity. In…

  18. Sitting Swimmers and Stuffed Armadillos in Sundresses: Reader Response and Classroom Creativity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Danis, M. Francine

    1992-01-01

    Argues that literature classes will grow more interesting and more effective if educators coordinate two kinds of emphases: allowing for discovery and moving toward productivity. Offers four principles for developing assignments: respect the process; nourish the participants; aim for a variety of products; and reflect together on process,…

  19. Trophic ecology of the armadillo ant,Tatuidris tatusia, assessed by stable isotopes and behavioral observations

    PubMed Central

    Jacquemin, Justine; Delsinne, Thibaut; Maraun, Mark; Leponce, Maurice

    2014-01-01

    Ants of the genus Tatuidris Brown and Kempf (Formicidae: Agroecomyrmecinae) generally occur at low abundances in forests of Central and South America. Their morphological peculiarities, such as mandibular brushes, are presumably linked with specialized predatory habits. Our aims were to (1) assess the Tatuidris abundance in an evergreen premontane forest of Ecuador; (2) detail morphological characteristics and feeding behavior of Tatuidris; and (3) define the position of Tatuidris in the food web. A total of 465 litter samples were collected. For the first time, live Tatuidris individuals were observed. Various potential food sources were offered to them. A nitrogen stable isotope ratio analysis (15N/14N) was conducted on Tatuidris tatusia, other ants, and common organisms from the leaf-litter mesofauna. We found a relatively high abundance of T. tatusia in the site. Live individuals did not feed on any of the food sources offered, as usually observed with diet specialist ants. The isotope analysis revealed that T. tatusia is one of the top predators of the leaf-litter food web. PMID:25199767

  20. Inhibitors of endocytosis prevent Wnt/Wingless signalling by reducing the level of basal β-catenin/Armadillo.

    PubMed

    Gagliardi, Maria; Hernandez, Ana; McGough, Ian J; Vincent, Jean-Paul

    2014-11-15

    A key step in the canonical Wnt signalling pathway is the inhibition of GSK3β, which results in the accumulation of nuclear β-catenin (also known as CTNNB1), and hence regulation of target genes. Evidence suggests that endocytosis is required for signalling, yet its role and the molecular understanding remains unclear. A recent and controversial model suggests that endocytosis contributes to Wnt signalling by causing the sequestration of the ligand-receptor complex, including LRP6 and GSK3 to multivesicular bodies (MVBs), thus preventing GSK3β from accessing β-catenin. Here, we use specific inhibitors (Dynasore and Dyngo-4a) to confirm the essential role of endocytosis in Wnt/Wingless signalling in human and Drosophila cells. However, we find no evidence that, in Drosophila cells or wing imaginal discs, LRP6/Arrow traffics to MVBs or that MVBs are required for Wnt/Wingless signalling. Moreover, we show that activation of signalling through chemical blockade of GSK3β is prevented by endocytosis inhibitors, suggesting that endocytosis impacts on Wnt/Wingless signalling downstream of the ligand-receptor complex. We propose that, through an unknown mechanism, endocytosis boosts the resting pool of β-catenin upon which GSK3β normally acts.

  1. Inhibitors of endocytosis prevent Wnt/Wingless signalling by reducing the level of basal β-catenin/Armadillo

    PubMed Central

    Gagliardi, Maria; Hernandez, Ana; McGough, Ian J.; Vincent, Jean-Paul

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT A key step in the canonical Wnt signalling pathway is the inhibition of GSK3β, which results in the accumulation of nuclear β-catenin (also known as CTNNB1), and hence regulation of target genes. Evidence suggests that endocytosis is required for signalling, yet its role and the molecular understanding remains unclear. A recent and controversial model suggests that endocytosis contributes to Wnt signalling by causing the sequestration of the ligand–receptor complex, including LRP6 and GSK3 to multivesicular bodies (MVBs), thus preventing GSK3β from accessing β-catenin. Here, we use specific inhibitors (Dynasore and Dyngo-4a) to confirm the essential role of endocytosis in Wnt/Wingless signalling in human and Drosophila cells. However, we find no evidence that, in Drosophila cells or wing imaginal discs, LRP6/Arrow traffics to MVBs or that MVBs are required for Wnt/Wingless signalling. Moreover, we show that activation of signalling through chemical blockade of GSK3β is prevented by endocytosis inhibitors, suggesting that endocytosis impacts on Wnt/Wingless signalling downstream of the ligand–receptor complex. We propose that, through an unknown mechanism, endocytosis boosts the resting pool of β-catenin upon which GSK3β normally acts. PMID:25236598

  2. I Feel Like an Armadillo: A Look at College Seniors and Recent Graduates Using Erik Erikson's Model of "Identity Versus Role-Diffusion."

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jaurigue, Rebecca

    Developmental psychologist Erik Erikson observed that achieving a sense of self, an identity, was the important psychosocial task facing adolescents. The conflict lies in discovering and defining that identity despite parental and societal demands, changing values and opportunities, the influence of friends, and lovers, education, and finances.…

  3. [Record of Dasypus novemcinctus (Mammalia: Xenarthra) parasited by Tunga terasma (Siphonaptera: Tungidae) in Alegre, State of Espírito Santo, Brazil].

    PubMed

    Antunes, João Marcelo A P; Demoner, Larissa de C; Martins, Isabella V F; Zanini, Marcos S; Deps, Patrícia D; Pujol-Luz, José R

    2006-01-01

    During a survey of Mycobacterium leprae in wild armadillos in the State of Espírito Santo, thirty-four armadillos were captured in the municipality of Alegre (20 degrees 45'S, 41 degrees 29'W, 150m). The armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus were examined by clinical and macroscopic examination. In four armadillos (11.7%), were found nodes in the abdomen. The nodules were identified as Tunga terasma. This is the first report of T. terasma in D. novemcinctus armadillos in the State of Espírito Santo, Brazil.

  4. Three indigenous cases of leprosy in the Mississippi delta.

    PubMed

    Abide, John M; Webb, Risa M; Jones, Harriet L; Young, LaFarra

    2008-06-01

    Three native-born patients from the Mississippi Delta presented with leprosy over a 13-month period. None had a history of foreign travel, contact with each other, or known leprosy patients. Two patients' lesions lacked anesthesia, and all had a history of armadillo exposure. These cases add to the association of armadillo exposure and the subsequent development of leprosy.

  5. Zoonotic Leprosy in the Southeastern United States

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Rahul; Singh, Pushpendra; Loughry, W.J.; Lockhart, J. Mitchell; Inman, W. Barry; Duthie, Malcolm S.; Pena, Maria T.; Marcos, Luis A.; Scollard, David M.; Cole, Stewart T.

    2015-01-01

    Nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) are naturally infected with Mycobacterium leprae and have been implicated in zoonotic transmission of leprosy. Early studies found this disease mainly in Texas and Louisiana, but armadillos in the southeastern United States appeared to be free of infection. We screened 645 armadillos from 8 locations in the southeastern United States not known to harbor enzootic leprosy for M. leprae DNA and antibodies. We found M. leprae–infected armadillos at each location, and 106 (16.4%) animals had serologic/PCR evidence of infection. Using single-nucleotide polymorphism variable number tandem repeat genotyping/genome sequencing, we detected M. leprae genotype 3I-2-v1 among 35 armadillos. Seven armadillos harbored a newly identified genotype (3I-2-v15). In comparison, 52 human patients from the same region were infected with 31 M. leprae types. However, 42.3% (22/52) of patients were infected with 1 of the 2 M. leprae genotype strains associated with armadillos. The geographic range and complexity of zoonotic leprosy is expanding. PMID:26583204

  6. Coop functions as a corepressor of Pangolin and antagonizes Wingless signaling.

    PubMed

    Song, Haiyun; Goetze, Sandra; Bischof, Johannes; Spichiger-Haeusermann, Chloe; Kuster, Marco; Brunner, Erich; Basler, Konrad

    2010-05-01

    Wingless (Wg) signaling regulates expression of its target genes via Pangolin and Armadillo, and their interacting cofactors. In the absence of Wg, Pangolin mediates transcriptional repression. In the presence of Wg, Pangolin, Armadillo, and a cohort of coactivators mediate transcriptional activation. Here we uncover Coop (corepressor of Pan) as a Pangolin-interacting protein. Coop and Pangolin form a complex on DNA containing a Pangolin/TCF-binding motif. Overexpression of Coop specifically represses Wg target genes, while loss of Coop function causes derepression. Finally, we show that Coop antagonizes the binding of Armadillo to Pangolin, providing a mechanism for Coop-mediated repression of Wg target gene transcription.

  7. Archaeology and History of the Ray Roberts Lake Area of Northcentral Texas, 1850-1950

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1995-07-01

    rodent - 1 Canidae (dog/coyote) -1 * medium mammal - 1 Sus scrofa (domestic pig) - 27 Ws tauru (domestic cattle) - I large mammal - 7 Unidentified bone...armadillo) 1 Svlvilagus floridanus (cottontail) 4 Leus f (jack rabbit) 1 Sciurus niger (fox squirrel) 1 Sciurs sp. (squirrel) 2 Canidae (dog/coyote) 6 S...armadillo) - 3 Sylvilayus floridanus (cottontail) - 4 Leous californicus (jack rabbit) - I sin I1 rnanunal - 2 Canidae (dogicoyote) - I Urocyon

  8. The ISWI-containing NURF complex regulates the output of the canonical Wingless pathway.

    PubMed

    Song, Haiyun; Spichiger-Haeusermann, Chloe; Basler, Konrad

    2009-10-01

    Wingless (Wg) signalling regulates the expression of its target genes through Pangolin, Armadillo and their interacting co-factors. In a genetic screen for Wg signalling components, we found that imitation switch (ISWI), a chromatin-remodelling ATPase, had a positive role in transducing the canonical Wg signal, promoting the expression of the Wg target senseless. ISWI is found in several chromatin-remodelling complexes, including nucleosome remodelling factor (NURF). The effect of interfering with the function of other components of the NURF complex in vivo mimics that of ISWI. The NURF complex is also required for the efficient expression of other Wg target genes. Armadillo interacts directly with the NURF complex in vitro and recruits it to Wg targets in cultured cells. Together, our results suggest that the ISWI-containing NURF complex functions as a co-activator of Armadillo to promote Wg-mediated transcription.

  9. Environmental Mapping of Paracoccidioides spp. in Brazil Reveals New Clues into Genetic Diversity, Biogeography and Wild Host Association

    PubMed Central

    Arantes, Thales Domingos; Theodoro, Raquel Cordeiro; Teixeira, Marcus de Melo; Bosco, Sandra de Moraes Gimenes; Bagagli, Eduardo

    2016-01-01

    Background Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and Paracoccidioides lutzii are the etiological agents of Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), and are easily isolated from human patients. However, due to human migration and a long latency period, clinical isolates do not reflect the spatial distribution of these pathogens. Molecular detection of P. brasiliensis and P. lutzii from soil, as well as their isolation from wild animals such as armadillos, are important for monitoring their environmental and geographical distribution. This study aimed to detect and, for the first time, evaluate the genetic diversity of P. brasiliensis and P. lutzii for Paracoccidioidomycosis in endemic and non-endemic areas of the environment, by using Nested PCR and in situ hybridization techniques. Methods/Principal Findings Aerosol (n = 16) and soil (n = 34) samples from armadillo burrows, as well as armadillos (n = 7) were collected in endemic and non-endemic areas of PCM in the Southeastern, Midwestern and Northern regions of Brazil. Both P. brasiliensis and P. lutzii were detected in soil (67.5%) and aerosols (81%) by PCR of Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region (60%), and also by in situ hybridization (83%). Fungal isolation from armadillo tissues was not possible. Sequences from both species of P. brasiliensis and P. lutzii were detected in all regions. In addition, we identified genetic Paracoccidioides variants in soil and aerosol samples which have never been reported before in clinical or armadillo samples, suggesting greater genetic variability in the environment than in vertebrate hosts. Conclusions/Significance Data may reflect the actual occurrence of Paracoccidioides species in their saprobic habitat, despite their absence/non-detection in seven armadillos evaluated in regions with high prevalence of PCM infection by P. lutzii. These results may indicate a possible ecological difference between P. brasiliensis and P. lutzii concerning their wild hosts. PMID:27045486

  10. Harry S. Truman Dam and Reservoir, Missouri: Ice Age Climates: Plants and Animals of Western Missouri: A 50,000 Year Records of Change.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1983-01-01

    Fossils9A rersnigtoidvdasaeefudi oe pig Legho niiul.hw s1 et I- r - - .4 Mammals Order Edentata Living anteaters , tree sloths and armadillos belong to the...order Edenta- ta, meaning without teeth, though this feature only characterizes the anteat - er. Rather, most of the edentates have simple, peg-like teeth

  11. Odds 'N' Ends.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Naturescope, 1986

    1986-01-01

    Presents information on some of the unusual mammal groups, such as platypuses, kangaroos, anteaters, and armadillos. Characteristics of these animals are given and teaching activities are described, including "Oddball Options,""Pocket Pals," and "Fact and Fancy." A reproducible handout for "Oddball Options" is included. (TW)

  12. The recovery of ancient DNA from Dasypus bellus provides new possibilities for investigating late Pleistocene mammal response to climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Letts, Brandon; Shapiro, Beth

    2010-05-01

    Dasypus bellus, the 'beautiful armadillo,' is well known as a casualty of the Pleistocene megafaunal mass extinction event. Appearing in the fossil record about 2.5 Mya, D. bellus was widespread throughout the mid to southern United States and Mexico until it went extinct by about 10 kya. It was replaced by D. novemcinctus, the nine-banded armadillo, which is morphologically identical but smaller. The exact taxonomic status of D. bellus and its phylogenetic relationship with D. novemcinctus has been a subject of debate. In particular, it remains unresolved whether D. bellus was more closely related to North American than South American D. novemcinctus. To address this, we extracted and sequenced fragments of ancient mitochondrial DNA from surprisingly well-preserved remains of D. bellus recovered from Mefford Cave in Florida. Our results reveal a surprisingly close relationship between the extinct D. bellus and North American D. novemcinctus. Although southern climates have been considered inhospitable for the preservation of ancient DNA, thousands of bones per individual and the propensity of the armadillo to seek out shelter in caves makes preservation more likely than for other organisms. The armadillo may therefore make an excellent proxy organism for investigating the influence of climate change on animal populations south of the cold permafrost regions.

  13. Spenito and Split ends act redundantly to promote Wingless signaling.

    PubMed

    Chang, Jinhee L; Lin, Hua V; Blauwkamp, Timothy A; Cadigan, Ken M

    2008-02-01

    Wingless (Wg)/Wnt signaling directs a variety of cellular processes during animal development by promoting the association of Armadillo/beta-catenin with TCFs on Wg-regulated enhancers (WREs). Split ends (Spen), a nuclear protein containing RNA recognition motifs (RRMs) and a SPOC domain, is required for optimal Wg signaling in several fly tissues. In this report, we demonstrate that Spenito (Nito), the only other fly protein containing RRMs and a SPOC domain, acts together with Spen to positively regulate Wg signaling. The partial defect in Wg signaling observed with spen RNAi was enhanced by simultaneous knockdown of nito while it was rescued by expression of nito in wing imaginal discs. In cell culture, depletion of both factors causes a greater defect in the activation of several Wg targets than RNAi of either spen or nito alone. These nuclear proteins are not required for Armadillo stabilization or the recruitment of TCF and Armadillo to a WRE. Loss of Wg target gene activation in cells depleted for spen and nito was not dependent on the transcriptional repressor Yan or Suppressor of Hairless, two previously identified targets of Spen. We propose that Spen and Nito act redundantly downstream of TCF/Armadillo to activate many Wg transcriptional targets.

  14. The sylvatic transmission cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi in a rural area in the humid Chaco of Argentina

    PubMed Central

    Alvarado-Otegui, J.A.; Ceballos, L.A.; Orozco, M.M.; Enriquez, G.F.; Cardinal, M.V.; Cura, C.; Schijman, A.G.; Kitron, U.; Gürtler, R.E.

    2012-01-01

    Little is known about the sylvatic transmission cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi in the Gran Chaco ecoregion. We conducted surveys to identify the main sylvatic hosts of T. cruzi, parasite discrete typing units and vector species involved in Pampa del Indio, a rural area in the humid Argentinean Chaco. A total of 44 mammals from 14 species was captured and examined for infection by xenodiagnosis and polymerase chain reaction amplification of the hyper-variable region of kinetoplast DNA minicircles of T. cruzi (kDNA-PCR). Ten (22.7%) mammals were positive by xenodiagnosis or kDNA-PCR. Four of 11 (36%) Didelphis albiventris (white-eared opossums) and six of nine (67%) Dasypus novemcinctus (nine-banded armadillos) were positive by xenodiagnosis and or kDNA-PCR. Rodents, other armadillo species, felids, crab-eating raccoons, hares and rabbits were not infected. Positive animals were highly infectious to the bugs that fed upon them as determined by xenodiagnosis. All positive opossums were infected with T. cruzi I and all positive nine-banded armadillos with T. cruzi III. Extensive searches in sylvatic habitats using 718 Noireau trap-nights only yielded Triatoma sordida whereas no bug was collected in 26 light-trap nights. Four armadillos or opossums fitted with a spool-and-line device were successfully tracked to their refuges; only one Panstrongylus geniculatus was found in an armadillo burrow. No sylvatic triatomine was infected with T. cruzi by microscopical examination or kDNA-PCR. Our results indicate that two independent sylvatic transmission cycles of T. cruzi occur in the humid Chaco. The putative vectors of both cycles need to be identified conclusively. PMID:22771688

  15. The sylvatic transmission cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi in a rural area in the humid Chaco of Argentina.

    PubMed

    Alvarado-Otegui, J A; Ceballos, L A; Orozco, M M; Enriquez, G F; Cardinal, M V; Cura, C; Schijman, A G; Kitron, U; Gürtler, R E

    2012-10-01

    Little is known about the sylvatic transmission cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi in the Gran Chaco ecoregion. We conducted surveys to identify the main sylvatic hosts of T. cruzi, parasite discrete typing units and vector species involved in Pampa del Indio, a rural area in the humid Argentinean Chaco. A total of 44 mammals from 14 species were captured and examined for infection by xenodiagnosis and polymerase chain reaction amplification of the hyper-variable region of kinetoplast DNA minicircles of T. cruzi (kDNA-PCR). Ten (22.7%) mammals were positive by xenodiagnosis or kDNA-PCR. Four of 11 (36%) Didelphis albiventris (white-eared opossums) and six of nine (67%) Dasypus novemcinctus (nine-banded armadillos) were positive by xenodiagnosis and or kDNA-PCR. Rodents, other armadillo species, felids, crab-eating raccoons, hares and rabbits were not infected. Positive animals were highly infectious to the bugs that fed upon them as determined by xenodiagnosis. All positive opossums were infected with T. cruzi I and all positive nine-banded armadillos with T. cruzi III. Extensive searches in sylvatic habitats using 718 Noireau trap-nights only yielded Triatoma sordida whereas no bug was collected in 26 light-trap nights. Four armadillos or opossums fitted with a spool-and-line device were successfully tracked to their refuges; only one Panstrongylus geniculatus was found in an armadillo burrow. No sylvatic triatomine was infected with T. cruzi by microscopical examination or kDNA-PCR. Our results indicate that two independent sylvatic transmission cycles of T. cruzi occur in the humid Chaco. The putative vectors of both cycles need to be identified conclusively.

  16. Induction of delayed-type hypersensitivity in human volunteers immunized with a candidate leprosy vaccine consisting of killed Mycobacterium leprae

    PubMed Central

    Gill, H. K.; Mustafa, A. S.; Godal, T.

    1986-01-01

    A killed armadillo-derived Mycobacterium leprae vaccine was examined for its ability to induce a delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response in purified protein derivative (PPD)-positive human volunteers living in a leprosy non-endemic country. Four groups of individuals aged between 23 and 28 years were given 1.5 × 107, 5 × 107, 1.5 × 108 and 5 × 108 M. leprae intradermally. A marked increase in reactivity to the M. leprae-derived skin test antigen (MLSA) was observed in the vaccinated groups receiving the three highest doses of vaccine while there was very little change observed in their PPD reactivity. No unacceptable side-effects attributable to the vaccine were observed. The killed armadillo-derived M. leprae vaccine thus appears to be able to induce a DTH response in man at doses which do not cause unacceptable side-effects. PMID:3524883

  17. Isolation of fungi from nature in the region of Botucatu, state of São Paulo, Brazil, an endemic area of paracoccidioidomycosis.

    PubMed

    Montenegro, M R; Miyaji, M; Franco, M; Nishimura, K; Coelho, K I; Horie, Y; Mendes, R P; Sano, A; Fukushima, K; Fecchio, D

    1996-01-01

    In an attempt to isolate Paracoccidioides brasiliensis from nature 887 samples of soil from Botucatu, SP, Brazil, were collected cultured in brain heart infusion agar supplemented with dextrose, in potato dextrose agar and in yeast extract starch dextrose agar, all with antibiotics, at 25 degrees and 37 degrees C. Five thermo-dependent dimorphic fungi morphologically resembling P. brasiliensis were isolated; two from armadillo holes; further studies of the biology, antigenicity and genetic features of the five dimorphic fungi are necessary to clarify their taxonomy and their possible relation to P. brasiliensis. In addition, 98 dematiaceous fungi and 581 different species of Aspergillus spp. were also isolated. Our findings emphasize that armadillos and their environment are associated with thermo-dimorphic fungi and confirm the ubiquity of pathogenic dematiaceous fungi and Aspergillus spp.

  18. E-cadherin and APC compete for the interaction with beta-catenin and the cytoskeleton

    PubMed Central

    1994-01-01

    beta-Catenin is involved in the formation of adherens junctions of mammalian epithelia. It interacts with the cell adhesion molecule E- cadherin and also with the tumor suppressor gene product APC, and the Drosophila homologue of beta-catenin, armadillo, mediates morphogenetic signals. We demonstrate here that E-cadherin and APC directly compete for binding to the internal, armadillo-like repeats of beta-catenin; the NH2-terminal domain of beta-catenin mediates the interaction of the alternative E-cadherin and APC complexes to the cytoskeleton by binding to alpha-catenin. Plakoglobin (gamma-catenin), which is structurally related to beta-catenin, mediates identical interactions. We thus show that the APC tumor suppressor gene product forms strikingly similar associations as found in cell junctions and suggest that beta-catenin and plakoglobin are central regulators of cell adhesion, cytoskeletal interaction, and tumor suppression. PMID:7806582

  19. Priodontes maximus (Cingulata: Chlamyphoridae)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carter, Tracy S.; Superina, Mariella; Leslie,, David M.

    2016-01-01

    Priodontes maximus (Kerr, 1792), called the giant armadillo, is monotypic and by far the largest extant armadillo. Average adult weight is about 30kg (in captivity, as high as 80kg). Its carapace extends about halfway down its sides, making it impossible to curl up tightly. It is dark brown to black dorsally, with a broad light band around the lower part of its carapace. It primarily digs to escape, enhanced by its 20-cm, sickle-shaped nail on its 3rd forefingers. P. maximus is widely distributed in South America but nowhere abundant. It is affected by habitat loss and fragmentation, agriculture, hunting, collection for museum specimens, and illegal animal trafficking. P. maximus is listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

  20. Lack of Sarcocystis neurona antibody response in Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) fed Sarcocystis neurona-infected muscle tissue.

    PubMed

    Cheadle, M A; Lindsay, D S; Greiner, E C

    2006-06-01

    Serum was collected from laboratory-reared Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) to determine whether experimentally infected opossums shedding Sarcocystis neurona sporocysts develop serum antibodies to S. neurona merozoite antigens. Three opossums were fed muscles from nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus), and 5 were fed muscles from striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis). Serum was also collected from 26 automobile-killed opossums to determine whether antibodies to S. neurona were present in these opossums. Serum was analyzed using the S. neurona direct agglutination test (SAT). The SAT was modified for use with a filter paper collection system. Antibodies to S. neurona were not detected in any of the serum samples from opossums, indicating that infection in the opossum is localized in the small intestine. Antibodies to S. neurona were detected in filter-paper-processed serum samples from 2 armadillos naturally infected with S. neurona.

  1. Once upon a time there was beta-catenin in cadherin-mediated signalling.

    PubMed

    Gavard, Julie; Mège, René-Marc

    2005-12-01

    beta-Catenin was initially characterized as a protein interacting with the cadherin cytoplasmic tail and regulating cell-cell contacts and actin cytoskeleton interactions. Moreover, the gene coding for the Drosophila orthologue of beta-catenin, armadillo, was independently identified downstream of wingless in the segment-polarity signalling pathway. In fact, beta-catenin/Armadillo turned out to be key mediators of the Wnt/Wingless pathways in vertebrates and invertebrates. beta-Catenin participates in both adhesion and signalling functions in a mutually exclusive manner; bound to cadherins at the plasma membrane or 'unbound' in cytosolic or nuclear complexes. This model had placed beta-catenin at the crossroads between cadherin and Wnt signalling, leading to the dogma of inhibition of beta-catenin signalling by cadherins.

  2. Leishmaniasis in Texas: Isolation of Leishmania mexicana from Neotoma Micropus

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1990-01-01

    leishmaniasis cases in Texas, 2) Lutzomyia anthophora, a sand fly which has transmitted Leishmania mexicana under laboratory conditions (Endris et al., 1984... temperatures > 37 C are all suggestive of L. mexicana. Isozyme characterization determined that the parasite isolated from N. micropus collected in Texas is L...Addis, 1945). Other vertebrates such as opossums, hispid cotton rats, and armadillos and other sand flies such as Lutzomyia diabolica and Lutzomyia texana

  3. β catenin in health: A review

    PubMed Central

    Prakash, Sharada; Swaminathan, Uma

    2015-01-01

    β catenin belongs to the armadillo family of proteins. It plays a crucial role in developmental and homeostatic processes. Wnts are a family of 19 secreted glycoproteins that transduce multiple signaling cascades, including the canonical Wnt/β catenin pathway, Wnt/Ca2+ pathway and the Wnt/polarity pathway. This is a review on β catenin, Wnt proteins and their secretion, the signaling pathway, the associated factors and the crucial role of β catenin in odontogenesis. PMID:26604501

  4. Final Environmental Assessment: For the Construction of the Satellite Operations Support Facility on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-02-01

    include the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, eastern coachwhip, ghost crabs , box turtle, cotton mouse, and armadillo. Nesting occurs from late April...significant. Biological Resources Native habitat currently exists on the proposed site of construction. The construction of the facility will require...the permanent removal of approximately 0.6 acres of overgrown oak scrub habitat , and the potential to impact the federally threatened Florida Scrub-Jay

  5. A Study on the Bionomics of Anopheles darlingi Root (Diptera: Culicidae) in Belize, Central America

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2004-03-01

    Plantation (Figure 11). An observational census of terrestrial animals includes: coral and fer-de-lance snakes; iguana; koatomundi; deer; tapir ...terrestrial animals includes: coral and fer-de-lance snakes; iguana; koatomundi; deer; tapir ; porcupine; opossum; gibnut; yellow-headed parrots; toucans...each distance buffer zone, other wildlife (i.e., tapir , monkey, porcupine, gibnut, armadillos, koatamundi, etc.) abounded in this area and

  6. International Conference on Environmental Ergonomics (4th) Held in Austin, Texas on 1-5 October 1990

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1991-01-15

    with elevated trait anxiety. This testing was followed by a pulmonary function test, resting 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), and an exercise ECG...folk musicians . The Armadillo will begin return trips to the Four Seasons at 2100 hours. Banquet The banquet on Thursday evening will be preceded by a...0 Rinck, H. Lampe, H. i 110 Van Liew, Hugh D. A system of equations for computations about 128 pulmonary mechanics 0 10 0 Session 6: International

  7. Functional responses of cougars (Puma concolor) in a multiple prey-species system.

    PubMed

    Soria-Díaz, Leroy; Fowler, Mike S; Monroy-Vilchis, Octavio; Oro, Daniel

    2017-03-06

    The study of predator-prey interactions is commonly analyzed using functional responses to gain an understanding of predation patterns and the impact they have on prey populations. Despite this, little is known about predator-prey systems with multiple prey species in sites near the equator. Here we studied the functional response of cougars (Puma concolor) in Sierra Nanchititla Natural Reserve (Mexico), in relation to their main prey, armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), coati (Nasua narica) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Between 2004 and 2010, cougar scats were collected along five transects to estimate the consumption of different prey species. A relative abundance index (RAI) was calculated for each prey species and cougar using 18 camera traps. We compared Holling type I, II and III functional response models to determine patterns in prey consumption based on the relative abundance and biomass of each prey species consumed. The three main prey species comprised 55% (armadillo), 17% (coati) and 8% (white-tailed deer) of the diet. Type I and II functional responses described consumption of the two most common prey species armadillos and coati similarly well, while a type I response best characterized consumption of white-tailed deer. A negative correlation between the proportions of armadillo versus coati and white-tailed deer biomass in cougar scats suggests switching to consume alternative prey, confirming high foraging plasticity of this carnivore. This work represents one of the few studies to compare functional responses across multiple prey species, combined with evidence for prey-switching at low densities of preferred prey. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  8. Shotgun Mitogenomics Provides a Reference Phylogenetic Framework and Timescale for Living Xenarthrans

    PubMed Central

    Gibb, Gillian C.; Condamine, Fabien L.; Kuch, Melanie; Enk, Jacob; Moraes-Barros, Nadia; Superina, Mariella; Poinar, Hendrik N.; Delsuc, Frédéric

    2016-01-01

    Xenarthra (armadillos, sloths, and anteaters) constitutes one of the four major clades of placental mammals. Despite their phylogenetic distinctiveness in mammals, a reference phylogeny is still lacking for the 31 described species. Here we used Illumina shotgun sequencing to assemble 33 new complete mitochondrial genomes, establishing Xenarthra as the first major placental clade to be fully sequenced at the species level for mitogenomes. The resulting data set allowed the reconstruction of a robust phylogenetic framework and timescale that are consistent with previous studies conducted at the genus level using nuclear genes. Incorporating the full species diversity of extant xenarthrans points to a number of inconsistencies in xenarthran systematics and species definition. We propose to split armadillos into two distinct families Dasypodidae (dasypodines) and Chlamyphoridae (euphractines, chlamyphorines, and tolypeutines) to better reflect their ancient divergence, estimated around 42 Ma. Species delimitation within long-nosed armadillos (genus Dasypus) appeared more complex than anticipated, with the discovery of a divergent lineage in French Guiana. Diversification analyses showed Xenarthra to be an ancient clade with a constant diversification rate through time with a species turnover driven by high but constant extinction. We also detected a significant negative correlation between speciation rate and past temperature fluctuations with an increase in speciation rate corresponding to the general cooling observed during the last 15 My. Biogeographic reconstructions identified the tropical rainforest biome of Amazonia and the Guiana Shield as the cradle of xenarthran evolutionary history with subsequent dispersions into more open and dry habitats. PMID:26556496

  9. Shotgun Mitogenomics Provides a Reference Phylogenetic Framework and Timescale for Living Xenarthrans.

    PubMed

    Gibb, Gillian C; Condamine, Fabien L; Kuch, Melanie; Enk, Jacob; Moraes-Barros, Nadia; Superina, Mariella; Poinar, Hendrik N; Delsuc, Frédéric

    2016-03-01

    Xenarthra (armadillos, sloths, and anteaters) constitutes one of the four major clades of placental mammals. Despite their phylogenetic distinctiveness in mammals, a reference phylogeny is still lacking for the 31 described species. Here we used Illumina shotgun sequencing to assemble 33 new complete mitochondrial genomes, establishing Xenarthra as the first major placental clade to be fully sequenced at the species level for mitogenomes. The resulting data set allowed the reconstruction of a robust phylogenetic framework and timescale that are consistent with previous studies conducted at the genus level using nuclear genes. Incorporating the full species diversity of extant xenarthrans points to a number of inconsistencies in xenarthran systematics and species definition. We propose to split armadillos into two distinct families Dasypodidae (dasypodines) and Chlamyphoridae (euphractines, chlamyphorines, and tolypeutines) to better reflect their ancient divergence, estimated around 42 Ma. Species delimitation within long-nosed armadillos (genus Dasypus) appeared more complex than anticipated, with the discovery of a divergent lineage in French Guiana. Diversification analyses showed Xenarthra to be an ancient clade with a constant diversification rate through time with a species turnover driven by high but constant extinction. We also detected a significant negative correlation between speciation rate and past temperature fluctuations with an increase in speciation rate corresponding to the general cooling observed during the last 15 My. Biogeographic reconstructions identified the tropical rainforest biome of Amazonia and the Guiana Shield as the cradle of xenarthran evolutionary history with subsequent dispersions into more open and dry habitats.

  10. Reducing canonical Wingless/Wnt signaling pathway confers protection against mutant Huntingtin toxicity in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Dupont, Pascale; Besson, Marie-Thérèse; Devaux, Jérôme; Liévens, Jean-Charles

    2012-08-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a genetic neurodegenerative disease characterized by movement disorders, cognitive decline and neuropsychiatric symptoms. HD is caused by expanded CAG tract within the coding region of Huntingtin protein. Despite major insights into the molecular mechanisms leading to HD, no effective cure is yet available. Mutant Huntingtin (mHtt) has been reported to alter the stability and levels of β-Catenin, a key molecule in cell adhesion and signal transduction in Wingless (Wg)/Wnt pathway. However it remains to establish whether manipulation of Wg/Wnt signaling can impact HD pathology. We here investigated the phenotypic interactions between mHtt and Wg/Wnt signaling by using the power of Drosophila genetics. We provide compelling evidence that reducing Armadillo/β-Catenin levels confers protection and that this beneficial effect is correlated with the inactivation of the canonical Wg/Wnt signaling pathway. Knockdowns of Wnt ligands or of the downstream transcription factor Pangolin/TCF both ameliorate the survival of HD flies. Similarly, overexpression of one Armadillo/β-Catenin destruction complex component (Axin, APC2 or Shaggy/GSK-3β) increases the lifespan of HD flies. Loss of functional Armadillo/β-Catenin not only abolishes neuronal intrinsic but also glia-induced alterations in HD flies. Our findings highlight that restoring canonical Wg/Wnt signaling may be of therapeutic value.

  11. The head domain of plakophilin-1 binds to desmoplakin and enhances its recruitment to desmosomes. Implications for cutaneous disease.

    PubMed

    Kowalczyk, A P; Hatzfeld, M; Bornslaeger, E A; Kopp, D S; Borgwardt, J E; Corcoran, C M; Settler, A; Green, K J

    1999-06-25

    The contribution of desmosomes to epidermal integrity is evident in the inherited blistering disorder associated with the absence of a functional gene for plakophilin-1. To define the function of plakophilin-1 in desmosome assembly, interactions among the desmosomal cadherins, desmoplakin, and the armadillo family members plakoglobin and plakophilin-1 were examined. In transient expression assays, plakophilin-1 formed complexes with a desmoplakin amino-terminal domain and enhanced its recruitment to cell-cell borders; this recruitment was not dependent on the equimolar expression of desmosomal cadherins. In contrast to desmoplakin-plakoglobin interactions, the interaction between desmoplakin and plakophilin-1 was not mediated by the armadillo repeat domain of plakophilin-1 but by the non-armadillo head domain, as assessed by yeast two-hybrid and recruitment assays. We propose a model whereby plakoglobin serves as a linker between the cadherins and desmoplakin, whereas plakophilin-1 enhances lateral interactions between desmoplakin molecules. This model suggests that epidermal lesions in patients lacking plakophilin-1 are a consequence of the loss of integrity resulting from a decrease in binding sites for desmoplakin and intermediate filaments at desmosomes.

  12. Comparative anatomy and histology of xenarthran osteoderms.

    PubMed

    Hill, Robert V

    2006-12-01

    Reconstruction of soft tissues in fossil vertebrates is an enduring challenge for paleontologists. Because inferences must be based on evidence from hard tissues (typically bones or teeth), even the most complete fossils provide only limited information about certain organ systems. Osteoderms ("dermal armor") are integumentary bones with high fossilization potential that hold information about the anatomy of the skin in many extant and fossil amniotes. Their importance for functional morphology and phylogenetic research has recently been recognized, but studies have focused largely upon reptiles, in which osteoderms are most common. Among mammals, osteoderms occur only in members of the clade Xenarthra, which includes armadillos and their extinct relatives: glyptodonts, pampatheres, and, more distantly, ground sloths. Here, I present new information on the comparative morphology and histology of osteoderms and their associated soft tissues in 11 extant and fossil xenarthrans. Extinct mylodontid sloths possessed simple, isolated ossicles, the presence of which is likely plesiomorphic for Xenarthra. More highly derived osteoderms of glyptodonts, pampatheres, and armadillos feature complex articulations and surface ornamentation. Osteoderms of modern armadillos are physically associated with a variety of soft tissues, including nerve, muscle, gland, and connective tissue. In some cases, similar osteological features may be caused by two or more different tissue types, rendering soft-tissue inferences for fossil osteoderms equivocal. Certain osteological structures, however, are consistently associated with specific soft-tissue complexes and therefore represent a relatively robust foundation upon which to base soft-tissue reconstructions of extinct xenarthrans.

  13. [Seasonal evaluation of mammal species richness and abundance in the "Mário Viana" municipal reserve, Mato Grosso, Brasil].

    PubMed

    Rocha, Ednaldo Cândido; Silva, Elias; Martins, Sebastião Venâncio; Barreto, Francisco Cândido Cardoso

    2006-09-01

    We evaluated seasonal species presence and richness, and abundance of medium and large sized mammalian terrestrial fauna in the "Mário Viana" Municipal Biological Reserve, Nova Xavantina, Mato Grosso, Brazil. During 2001, two monthly visits were made to an established transect, 2,820 m in length. Records of 22 mammal species were obtained and individual footprint sequences quantified for seasonal calculation of species richness and relative abundance index (x footprints/km traveled). All 22 species occurred during the rainy season, but only 18 during the dry season. Pseudalopex vetulus (Lund, 1842) (hoary fox), Eira barbara (Linnaeus, 1758) (tayra), Puma concolor (Linnaeus, 1771) (cougar) and Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris (Linnaeus, 1766) (capybara) were only registered during the rainy season. The species diversity estimated using the Jackknife procedure in the dry season (19.83, CI = 2.73) was smaller than in the rainy season (25.67, CI = 3.43). Among the 18 species common in the two seasons, only four presented significantly different abundance indexes: Dasypus novemcinctus Linnaeus, 1758 (nine-banded armadillo), Euphractus sexcinctus (Linnaeus, 1758) (six-banded armadillo), Dasyprocta azarae Lichtenstein, 1823 (Azara's Agouti) and Tapirus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758) (tapir). On the other hand, Priodontes maximus (Kerr, 1792) (giant armadillo) and Leopardus pardalis (Linnaeus, 1758) (ocelot) had identical abundance index over the two seasons. Distribution of species abundance in the sampled area followed the expected pattern for communities in equilibrium, especially in the rainy season, suggesting that the environment still maintains good characteristics for mammal conservation. The present study shows that the reserve, although only 470 ha in size, plays an important role for conservation of mastofauna of the area as a refuge in an environment full of anthropic influence (mainly cattle breeding in exotic pasture).

  14. Resource Selection and Its Implications for Wide-Ranging Mammals of the Brazilian Cerrado

    PubMed Central

    Vynne, Carly; Keim, Jonah L.; Machado, Ricardo B.; Marinho-Filho, Jader; Silveira, Leandro; Groom, Martha J.; Wasser, Samuel K.

    2011-01-01

    Conserving animals beyond protected areas is critical because even the largest reserves may be too small to maintain viable populations for many wide-ranging species. Identification of landscape features that will promote persistence of a diverse array of species is a high priority, particularly, for protected areas that reside in regions of otherwise extensive habitat loss. This is the case for Emas National Park, a small but important protected area located in the Brazilian Cerrado, the world's most biologically diverse savanna. Emas Park is a large-mammal global conservation priority area but is too small to protect wide-ranging mammals for the long-term and conserving these populations will depend on the landscape surrounding the park. We employed novel, noninvasive methods to determine the relative importance of resources found within the park, as well as identify landscape features that promote persistence of wide-ranging mammals outside reserve borders. We used scat detection dogs to survey for five large mammals of conservation concern: giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), jaguar (Panthera onca), and puma (Puma concolor). We estimated resource selection probability functions for each species from 1,572 scat locations and 434 giant armadillo burrow locations. Results indicate that giant armadillos and jaguars are highly selective of natural habitats, which makes both species sensitive to landscape change from agricultural development. Due to the high amount of such development outside of the Emas Park boundary, the park provides rare resource conditions that are particularly important for these two species. We also reveal that both woodland and forest vegetation remnants enable use of the agricultural landscape as a whole for maned wolves, pumas, and giant anteaters. We identify those features and their landscape compositions that should be prioritized for conservation, arguing

  15. Resource selection and its implications for wide-ranging mammals of the brazilian cerrado.

    PubMed

    Vynne, Carly; Keim, Jonah L; Machado, Ricardo B; Marinho-Filho, Jader; Silveira, Leandro; Groom, Martha J; Wasser, Samuel K

    2011-01-01

    Conserving animals beyond protected areas is critical because even the largest reserves may be too small to maintain viable populations for many wide-ranging species. Identification of landscape features that will promote persistence of a diverse array of species is a high priority, particularly, for protected areas that reside in regions of otherwise extensive habitat loss. This is the case for Emas National Park, a small but important protected area located in the Brazilian Cerrado, the world's most biologically diverse savanna. Emas Park is a large-mammal global conservation priority area but is too small to protect wide-ranging mammals for the long-term and conserving these populations will depend on the landscape surrounding the park. We employed novel, noninvasive methods to determine the relative importance of resources found within the park, as well as identify landscape features that promote persistence of wide-ranging mammals outside reserve borders. We used scat detection dogs to survey for five large mammals of conservation concern: giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), jaguar (Panthera onca), and puma (Puma concolor). We estimated resource selection probability functions for each species from 1,572 scat locations and 434 giant armadillo burrow locations. Results indicate that giant armadillos and jaguars are highly selective of natural habitats, which makes both species sensitive to landscape change from agricultural development. Due to the high amount of such development outside of the Emas Park boundary, the park provides rare resource conditions that are particularly important for these two species. We also reveal that both woodland and forest vegetation remnants enable use of the agricultural landscape as a whole for maned wolves, pumas, and giant anteaters. We identify those features and their landscape compositions that should be prioritized for conservation, arguing

  16. Environmental enrichment for a mixed-species nocturnal mammal exhibit.

    PubMed

    Clark, Fay E; Melfi, Vicky A

    2012-01-01

    Environmental enrichment (EE) is an integral aspect of modern zoo animal management but, empirical evaluation of it is biased toward species housed in single-species groups. Nocturnal houses, where several nocturnal species are housed together, are particularly overlooked. This study investigated whether three species (nine-banded armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus; Senegal bush babies, Galago senegalensis; two-toed sloths, Choloepus didactylus) in the nocturnal house at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, UK could be enriched using food-based and sensory EE. Subjects were an adult male and female of each species. EE was deemed effective if it promoted target species-typical behaviors, behavioral diversity, and increased use of enriched exhibit zones. Results from generalized linear mixed models demonstrated that food-based EE elicited the most positive behavioral effects across species. One set of food-based EEs (Kong®, termite mound and hanging food) presented together was associated with a significant increase in species-typical behaviors, increased behavioral diversity, and increased use of enriched exhibit zones in armadillos and bush babies. Although one type of sensory EE (scented pine cones) increased overall exhibit use in all species, the other (rainforest sounds) was linked to a significant decrease in species-typical behavior in bush babies and sloths. There were no intra or interspecies conflicts over EE, and commensalism occurred between armadillos and bush babies. Our data demonstrate that simple food-based and sensory EE can promote positive behavioral changes in a mixed-species nocturnal mammal exhibit. We suggest that both food and sensory EE presented concurrently will maximize opportunities for naturalistic activity in all species.

  17. Dasypodidae Borner, 1919 (Insecta, Hymenoptera): Proposed emendation of spelling to Dasypodaidae, so removing the homonymy with Dasypodidae Gray, 1821 (Mammalia, Xenarthra)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Alexander, B.A.; Michener, C.D.; Gardner, A.L.

    1998-01-01

    The family-group name DASYPODIDAE Borner, 1919 (Insecta, Hymenoptera) is a junior homonym Of DASYPODIDAE Gray, 1821 (Mammalia, Xenarthra). It is proposed that the homonymy between the two names, which relate to short-tongued bees and armadillos respectively, should be removed by emending the stem of the generic name Dasypoda Latreille, 1802, on which the insect familygroup name is based, to give DASYPODAIDAE, while leaving the mammalian name (based on Dasypus Linnaeus, 1758) unchanged. Dasypus novemcinctus Linnaeus, 1758, the type species of Dasypus, has a wide distribution in the southern United States, Central and South America. The genus Dasypoda ranges throughout most of the Palearctic region.

  18. Radiocarbon dating of extinct fauna in the Americas recovered from tar pits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jull, A. J. T.; Iturralde-Vinent, M.; O'Malley, J. M.; MacPhee, R. D. E.; McDonald, H. G.; Martin, P. S.; Moody, J.; Rincón, A.

    2004-08-01

    We have obtained radiocarbon dates by accelerator mass spectrometry on bones of extinct large mammals from tar pits. Results on some samples of Glyptodon and Holmesina (extinct large mammals similar to armadillos) yielded ages of >25 and >21 ka, respectively. We also studied the radiocarbon ages of three different samples of bones from the extinct Cuban ground sloth, Parocnus bownii, which yielded dates ranging from 4960 ± 280 to 11 880 ± 420 yr BP. In order to remove the tar component pretreat the samples sufficiently to obtain reliable dates, we cleaned the samples by Soxhlet extraction in benzene. Resulting samples of collagenous material were often small.

  19. Flexible Dermal Armor in Nature

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Wen; Chen, Irene H.; Mckittrick, Joanna; Meyers, Marc A.

    2012-04-01

    Many animals possess dermal armor, which acts primarily as protection against predators. We illustrate this through examples from both our research and the literature: alligator, fish (alligator gar, arapaima, and Senegal bichir), armadillo, leatherback turtle, and a lizard, the Gila monster. The dermal armor in these animals is flexible and has a hierarchical structure with collagen fibers joining mineralized units (scales, tiles, or plates). This combination significantly increases the strength and flexibility in comparison with a simple monolithic mineral composite or rigid dermal armor. This dermal armor is being studied for future bioinspired armor applications providing increased mobility.

  20. OpenMP for 3D potential boundary value problems solved by PIES

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    KuŻelewski, Andrzej; Zieniuk, Eugeniusz

    2016-06-01

    The main purpose of this paper is examination of an application of modern parallel computing technique OpenMP to speed up the calculation in the numerical solution of parametric integral equations systems (PIES). The authors noticed, that solving more complex boundary problems by PIES sometimes requires large computing time. This paper presents the use of OpenMP and fast C++ linear algebra library Armadillo for boundary value problems modelled by 3D Laplace's equation and solved using PIES. The testing example shows that the use of mentioned technologies significantly increases speed of calculations in PIES.

  1. env Sequences of Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses from Chimpanzees in Cameroon Are Strongly Related to Those of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Group N from the Same Geographic Area

    PubMed Central

    Corbet, Sylvie; Müller-Trutwin, Michaela C.; Versmisse, Pierre; Delarue, Severine; Ayouba, Ahidjo; Lewis, John; Brunak, Soren; Martin, Paul; Brun-Vezinet, Françoise; Simon, François; Barre-Sinoussi, Françoise; Mauclere, Philippe

    2000-01-01

    Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) group N from Cameroon is phylogenetically close, in env, to the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) cpz-gab from Gabon and SIVcpz-US of unknown geographic origin. We screened 29 wild-born Cameroonian chimpanzees and found that three (Cam3, Cam4, and Cam5) were positive for HIV-1 by Western blotting. Mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis demonstrated that Cam3 and Cam5 belonged to Pan troglodytes troglodytes and that Cam4 belonged to P. t. vellerosus. Genetic analyses of the viruses together with serological data demonstrated that at least one of the two P. t. troglodytes chimpanzees (Cam5) was infected in the wild, and revealed a horizontal transmission between Cam3 and Cam4. These data confirm that P. t. troglodytes is a natural host for HIV-1-related viruses. Furthermore, they show that SIVcpz can be transmitted in captivity, from one chimpanzee subspecies to another. All three SIVcpz-cam viruses clustered with HIV-1 N in env. The full Cam3 SIVcpz genome sequence showed a very close phylogenetic relationship with SIVcpz-US, a virus identified in a P. t. troglodytes chimpanzee captured nearly 40 years earlier. Like SIVcpz-US, SIVcpz-cam3 was closely related to HIV-1 N in env, but not in pol, supporting the hypothesis that HIV-1 N results from a recombination event. SIVcpz from chimpanzees born in the wild in Cameroon are thus strongly related in env to HIV-1 N from Cameroon, demonstrating the geographic coincidence of these human and simian viruses and providing a further strong argument in favor of the origin of HIV-1 being in chimpanzees. PMID:10590144

  2. Leaf swallowing and parasite expulsion in Khao Yai white-handed gibbons (Hylobates lar), the first report in an Asian ape species.

    PubMed

    Barelli, Claudia; Huffman, Michael A

    2017-03-01

    Leaf swallowing behavior, known as a form of self-medication for the control of nematode and tapeworm infection, occurs widely in all the African great apes (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii, P. t. troglodytes, P. t. verus, P. t. vellerosus, Pan paniscus, Gorilla gorilla graueri), except mountain gorillas. It is also reported to occur in a similar context across a wide array of other animal taxa including, domestic dogs, wolves, brown bears, and civets. Despite long-term research on Asian great and small apes, this is the first report of leaf swallowing in an Asian species, the white-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar) in Khao Yai National Park, central Thailand. We present the first evidence of leaf swallowing (Gironniera nervosa Planch CANNABACEA) behavior (N = 5 cases) and parasite (Streptopharagus pigmentatus) expulsion (N = 4 cases), recorded during 4,300 hr of direct animal observations during two distinct research projects. We recovered 4-18 rough, hairy, and hispid surfaced leaves from each sample, undigested and folded, from the freshly evacuated feces of five different individuals (2 males, 3 females, 5 to 34+ years old) living in three different social groups, between the hours of 06:00 to 10:30. Based on close inspection of the leaves, as observed in chimpanzees, it was clear that they were taken into the mouth, one at a time, folded and detached from the stem with the teeth before swallowing them whole. All instances occurred during the rainy season, the time when nematode worms were also found in the feces, although they were not found together with leaves in the same feces. These striking similarities in the details of leaf swallowing between white-handed gibbons and African great apes, and other animal species, suggest a similar self-medicative function.

  3. Ecological study of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis in soil: growth ability, conidia production and molecular detection

    PubMed Central

    Terçarioli, Gisela Ramos; Bagagli, Eduardo; Reis, Gabriela Martins; Theodoro, Raquel Cordeiro; Bosco, Sandra De Moraes Gimenes; Macoris, Severino Assis da Graça; Richini-Pereira, Virgínia Bodelão

    2007-01-01

    Background Paracoccidioides brasiliensis ecology is not completely understood, although several pieces of evidence point to the soil as its most probable habitat. The present study aimed to investigate the fungal growth, conidia production and molecular pathogen detection in different soil conditions. Methods Soils samples of clayey, sandy and medium textures were collected from ground surface and the interior of armadillo burrows in a hyperendemic area of Paracoccidioidomycosis. P. brasiliensis was inoculated in soil with controlled humidity and in culture medium containing soil extracts. The molecular detection was carried out by Nested PCR, using panfungal and species specific primers from the ITS-5.8S rDNA region. Results The soil texture does not affect fungus development and the growth is more abundant on/in soil saturated with water. Some soil samples inhibited the development of P. brasiliensis, especially those that contain high values of Exchangeable Aluminum (H+Al) in their composition. Some isolates produced a large number of conidia, mainly in soil-extract agar medium. The molecular detection was positive only in samples collected from armadillo burrows, both in sandy and clayey soil. Conclusion P. brasiliensis may grow and produce the infectious conidia in sandy and clayey soil, containing high water content, mainly in wild animal burrows, but without high values of H+Al. PMID:17953742

  4. Analysis of LRRK2 accessory repeat domains: prediction of repeat length, number and sites of Parkinson's disease mutations.

    PubMed

    Mills, Ryan D; Mulhern, Terrence D; Cheng, Heung-Chin; Culvenor, Janetta G

    2012-10-01

    Various investigators have identified the major domain organization of LRRK2 (leucine-rich repeat kinase 2), which includes a GTPase ROC (Ras of complex proteins) domain followed by a COR (C-terminal of ROC) domain and a protein kinase domain. In addition, there are four domains composed of structural repeat motifs likely to be involved in regulation and localization of this complex protein. In the present paper, we report our bioinformatic analyses of the human LRRK2 amino acid sequence to predict the repeat size, number and likely boundaries for the armadillo repeat, ankyrin repeat, the leucine-rich repeat and WD40 repeat regions of LRRK2. Homology modelling using known protein structures with similar domains was used to predict structures, exposed residues and location of mutations for these repeat regions. We predict that the armadillo repeats, ankyrin repeats and leucine-rich repeats together form an extended N-terminal flexible 'solenoid'-like structure composed of tandem repeat modules likely to be important in anchoring to the membrane and cytoskeletal structures as well as binding to other protein ligands. Near the C-terminus of LRRK2, the WD40 repeat region is predicted to form a closed propeller structure that is important for protein complex formation.

  5. Finite Element Analysis of the Cingulata Jaw: An Ecomorphological Approach to Armadillo’s Diets

    PubMed Central

    Serrano-Fochs, Sílvia; De Esteban-Trivigno, Soledad; Marcé-Nogué, Jordi; Fortuny, Josep; Fariña, Richard A.

    2015-01-01

    Finite element analyses (FEA) were applied to assess the lower jaw biomechanics of cingulate xenarthrans: 14 species of armadillos as well as one Pleistocene pampathere (11 extant taxa and the extinct forms Vassallia, Eutatus and Macroeuphractus). The principal goal of this work is to comparatively assess the biomechanical capabilities of the mandible based on FEA and to relate the obtained stress patterns with diet preferences and variability, in extant and extinct species through an ecomorphology approach. The results of FEA showed that omnivorous species have stronger mandibles than insectivorous species. Moreover, this latter group of species showed high variability, including some similar biomechanical features of the insectivorous Tolypeutes matacus and Chlamyphorus truncatus to those of omnivorous species, in agreement with reported diets that include items other than insects. It remains unclear the reasons behind the stronger than expected lower jaw of Dasypus kappleri. On the other hand, the very strong mandible of the fossil taxon Vassallia maxima agrees well with the proposed herbivorous diet. Moreover, Eutatus seguini yielded a stress pattern similar to Vassalia in the posterior part of the lower jaw, but resembling that of the stoutly built Macroeuphractus outesi in the anterior part. The results highlight the need for more detailed studies on the natural history of extant armadillos. FEA proved a powerful tool for biomechanical studies in a comparative framework. PMID:25919313

  6. Low rate of genomic repatterning in Xenarthra inferred from chromosome painting data.

    PubMed

    Dobigny, G; Yang, F; O'Brien, P C M; Volobouev, V; Kovács, A; Pieczarka, J C; Ferguson-Smith, M A; Robinson, T J

    2005-01-01

    Comparative cytogenetic studies on Xenarthra, one of the most basal mammalian clades in the Placentalia, are virtually absent, being restricted largely to descriptions of conventional karyotypes and diploid numbers. We present a molecular cytogenetic comparison of chromosomes from the two-toed (Choloepus didactylus, 2n = 65) and three-toed sloth species (Bradypus tridactylus, 2n = 52), an anteater (Tamandua tetradactyla, 2n = 54) which, together with some data on the six-banded armadillo (Euphractus sexcinctus, 2n = 58), collectively represent all the major xenarthran lineages. Our results, based on interspecific chromosome painting using flow-sorted two-toed sloth chromosomes as painting probes, show the sloth species to be karyotypically closely related but markedly different from the anteater. We also test the synteny disruptions and segmental associations identified within Pilosa (anteaters and sloths) against the chromosomes of the six-banded armadillo as outgroup taxon. We could thus polarize the 35 non-ambiguously identified chromosomal changes characterizing the evolution of the anteater and sloth genomes and map these to a published sequence-based phylogeny for the group. These data suggest a low rate of genomic repatterning when placed in the context of divergence estimates based on molecular and fossil data. Finally, our results provide a glimpse of a likely ancestral karyotype for the extant Xenarthra, a pivotal group for understanding eutherian genome evolution.

  7. Distribution of tolypeutes illiger, 1811 (xenarthra: cingulata) with comments on its biogeography and conservation.

    PubMed

    Feijó, Anderson; Garbino, Guilherme S T; Campos, Bruno A T P; Rocha, Patrício A; Ferrari, Stephen F; Langguth, Alfredo

    2015-01-01

    This study reviews the data available on the distribution of three-banded armadillos of the genus Tolypeutes, identifying potential geographic barriers and evaluating possible biogeographic processes that may account for the present-day distribution of the species and its conservation status. The database was derived from published records, interviews, and voucher specimens, over a timescale ranging from the fossil record to specimens collected in 2013. A total of 236 localities were recorded, with 68 attributed to Tolypeutes matacus and 168 to Tolypeutes tricinctus. The vegetation within the range of the genus is predominantly a xerophytic mosaic of grassland, savannas, open woodland, and xeric thorn forest. The marine transgressions of the Miocene and the uplifting of the Brazilian Shield may have contributed to the vicariant separation of the ancestral populations of T. matacus, to the west and south, and T. tricinctus, to the north and east. The three-banded armadillo is possibly one of the most threatened of Brazilian mammals, considering the low number of recent records and the fact that it is hunted intensively throughout its range.

  8. Cephalic arterial pattern in New World edentates and Old World pangolins with special reference to their phylogenetic relationships and taxonomy.

    PubMed

    Bugge, J

    1979-01-01

    The cephalic arterial pattern in edentates and pangolins is described on the basis of 9 corrosion specimens, representing all the classical superfamilies, with special reference to their phylogenetic relationship and taxonomy. In this respect, the importance of the manner in which the external carotid artery system annexes the stepedial area of supply and of the course of the internal carotid artery in relation to the tympanic cavity is emphasized. The investigation does not indicate any special relationship between the New World edentates and the Old World pangolins, whereas the marked difference in the course of the internal carotid artery in recent edentates stresses the independent development of the South American anteaters compared with that of the two other edentate groups (armadillos and tree sloths). Most probably the edentates were divided very early into two main lines which have evolved independently since the early Tertiary, i.e. one for the anteaters and one for the tree sloths and armadillos, indicating a probable subdivision of the true edentates into two suborders. This subdivision is markedly different from the classical two-fold division of the edentates.

  9. The innate immunity adaptor SARM translocates to the nucleus to stabilize lamins and prevent DNA fragmentation in response to pro-apoptotic signaling.

    PubMed

    Sethman, Chad R; Hawiger, Jacek

    2013-01-01

    Sterile alpha and armadillo-motif containing protein (SARM), a highly conserved and structurally unique member of the MyD88 family of Toll-like receptor adaptors, plays an important role in innate immunity signaling and apoptosis. Its exact mechanism of intracellular action remains unclear. Apoptosis is an ancient and ubiquitous process of programmed cell death that results in disruption of the nuclear lamina and, ultimately, dismantling of the nucleus. In addition to supporting the nuclear membrane, lamins serve important roles in chromatin organization, epigenetic regulation, transcription, nuclear transport, and mitosis. Mutations and other damage that destabilize nuclear lamins (laminopathies) underlie a number of intractable human diseases. Here, we report that SARM translocates to the nucleus of human embryonic kidney cells by using its amino-terminal Armadillo repeat region. Within the nucleus, SARM forms a previously unreported lattice akin to the nuclear lamina scaffold. Moreover, we show that SARM protects lamins from apoptotic degradation and reduces internucleosomal DNA fragmentation in response to signaling induced by the proinflammatory cytokine Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha. These findings indicate an important link between the innate immunity adaptor SARM and stabilization of nuclear lamins during inflammation-driven apoptosis in human cells.

  10. Discrete typing units of Trypanosoma cruzi identified in rural dogs and cats in the humid Argentinean Chaco.

    PubMed

    Enriquez, G F; Cardinal, M V; Orozco, M M; Lanati, L; Schijman, A G; Gürtler, R E

    2013-03-01

    The discrete typing units (DTUs) of Trypanosoma cruzi that infect domestic dogs and cats have rarely been studied. With this purpose we conducted a cross-sectional xenodiagnostic survey of dog and cat populations residing in 2 infested rural villages in Pampa del Indio, in the humid Argentine Chaco. Parasites were isolated by culture from 44 dogs and 12 cats with a positive xenodiagnosis. DTUs were identified from parasite culture samples using a strategy based on multiple polymerase-chain reactions. TcVI was identified in 37 of 44 dogs and in 10 of 12 cats, whereas TcV was identified in 5 dogs and in 2 cats -a new finding for cats. No mixed infections were detected. The occurrence of 2 dogs infected with TcIII -classically found in armadillos- suggests a probable link with the local sylvatic transmission cycle involving Dasypus novemcinctus armadillos and a potential risk of human infection with TcIII. Our study reinforces the importance of dogs and cats as domestic reservoir hosts and sources of various DTUs infecting humans, and suggests a link between dogs and the sylvatic transmission cycle of TcIII.

  11. Four events of host switching in Aspidoderidae (Nematoda) involve convergent lineages of mammals.

    PubMed

    Jiménez, F Agustín; Gardner, Scott L; Navone, Graciela; Ortí, Guillermo

    2012-12-01

    The Great American Interchange resulted in the mixing of faunistic groups with different origins and evolutionary trajectories that underwent rapid diversification in North and South America. As a result, groups of animals of recent arrival converged into similar habits and formed ecological guilds with some of the endemics. We present a reconstruction of the evolutionary events in Aspidoderidae, a family of nematodes that infect mammals that are part of this interchange, i.e., dasypodids, opossums, and sigmodontine, geomyid, and hystricognath rodents. By treating hosts as discrete states of character and using parsimony and Bayesian inferences to optimize these traits into the phylogeny of Aspidoderidae, we reconstructed Dasypodidae (armadillos) as the synapomorphic host for the family. In addition, 4 events of host switching were detected. One consisted of the switch from dasypodids to hystricognath rodents, and subsequently to geomyid rodents. The remaining set of events consisted of a switch from dasypodids to didelphid marsupials and then to sigmodontine rodents. The reconstruction of the ancestral distribution suggests 3 events of dispersal into the Nearctic. Two of these invasions would suggest that 2 different lineages of dasypodid parasites entered the Northern Hemisphere at different times, which is consistent with the presence of 2 lineages of armadillos in Mexico.

  12. Methods for extracting climate indicator data from social media.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fuka, M. Z.; Fuka, D. R.

    2011-12-01

    This paper shows how we've used the R software suite to extract climate indicator data from Twitter. In the course of this research we've collected extensive data sets of unsolicited observations ("tweets") for hundreds of climate-related phenological, biological, epidemiological and meteorological effects. R has proved itself in our work as a useful tool for manipulating those large data sets. Our experience from this effort has yielded a variety of insights on using R to extract geophysics-specific information from publicly accessible social media sources. We illustrate our methodology by mapping tweeted US armadillo sightings to explore the impact of climate variability on the extent of the animal's range. This example usefully demonstrates R's technical capabilities in collecting, time-stamping, geolocating, analyzing, visualizing and otherwise processing climate-related data derived from unsolicited social media postings. We also "mash-up" the data sets with those acquired by more traditional means, for example, temperature and precipitation data across the armadillo's US range. Our data-handling practice is extendable to social sharing services other than Twitter, providing the environmental modeling community an opportunity to access largely untapped resources of non-traditional climate indicator data to better understand the effects of climate change at local, regional and global scales.

  13. A molecular phylogeny of two extinct sloths.

    PubMed

    Greenwood, A D; Castresana, J; Feldmaier-Fuchs, G; Pääbo, S

    2001-01-01

    Xenarthra (Edentata) is an extremely diverse mammalian order whose modern representatives are the armadillos, anteaters, and sloths. The phylogeny of these groups is poorly resolved. This is particularly true for the sloths (phyllophagans), originally a large and diverse group now reduced to two genera in two different families. Both morphological analyses and molecular analyses of rDNA genes of living and extinct sloths have been used with limited success to elucidate their phylogeny. In an attempt to clarify relationships among the sloths, DNA was extracted and mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences were determined from representatives of two extinct groups of sloths (Mylodontidae and Megatheriidae), their two living relatives (two-toed sloths [Megalonychidae], three-toed sloths [Bradypodidae]), anteaters and armadillos. A consistent feature of the latter two species was the nuclear copies of cytochrome b gene sequences. Several methods of phylogenetic reconstruction were applied to the sequences determined, and the results were compared with 12S rDNA sequences obtained in previous studies. The cytochrome b gene exhibited a phylogenetic resolving power similar to that of the 12S rDNA sequences. When both data sets were combined, they tended to support the grouping of two-toed sloths with mylodontids and three-toed sloths with megatheriids. The results strengthen the view that the two families of living sloths adapted independently to an arboreal life-style.

  14. Amblyomma auricularium (Ixodida: Ixodidae) in Florida: New Hosts and Distribution Records.

    PubMed

    Mertins, James W; Vigil, Stacey L; Corn, Joseph L

    2017-01-01

    Previous published evidence for the occurrence of an exotic armadillo tick, Amblyomma auricularium (Conil), in Florida is scant, but we found it is fully established and integrated into the state's tick fauna. We collected 11,192 specimens of this tick from naturalized nine-banded armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus L., and 14 other species of wild native mammals and birds in Florida, while sampling statewide during 2004 through 2007. In all, we document its specific presence only in 14 contiguous South Florida counties. Moreover, we report the first collections of A. auricularium from the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana Kerr), common raccoon [Procyon lotor (L.)], cotton deermouse [Peromyscus gossypinus (Le Conte)], gray fox [Urocyon cinereoargenteus (Schreber)], eastern spotted skunk [Spilogale putorius (L.)], and white-tailed deer [Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmerman)]. For the first time on birds, we report the collection of this tick from the broad-winged hawk [Buteo platypterus (Vieillot)], northern cardinal [Cardinalis cardinalis (L.)], Carolina wren [Thryothorus ludovicianus (Latham)], gray catbird [Dumetella carolinensis (L.)], and yellow-rumped warbler [Setophaga coronata (L.)]. In addition, we report unattached A. auricularium collected from humans for the first time, and additional new collections from domestic dogs, Canis lupus familiaris L.

  15. Female reproductive tract of the lesser anteater (Tamandua tetradactyla, myrmecophagidae, Xenarthra). Anatomy and histology.

    PubMed

    Rossi, L F; Luaces, J P; Marcos, H J Aldana; Cetica, P D; Gachen, G; Jimeno, G Pérez; Merani, M S

    2011-11-01

    The morphological and histological features of the unusual reproductive tract of the female lesser anteater, Tamandua tetradactyla (Myrmecophagidae, Xenarthra), are described for the first time. The present study aimed to establish the main similarities and differences between this species and other xenarthrans. The populations of this species are declining rapidly for a number of reasons and our study is relevant to diverse programs related to its conservation. Studies were carried out on five female genital tracts of adult specimens. Ovaries were ovoid, presenting a medulla completely surrounded by the cortex, differently from that described in other xenarthans. Like in Dasypus but different from all other armadillos studied, single oocyte follicles were observed and a simple the uterus. The uterovaginal canal connects the uterus with the urogenital sinus. The simple columnar epithelium of the uterovaginal canal ends abruptly at a septum which resembles a hymen, where the transitional epithelium of the urogenital sinus appears. This ancestral feature is shared with that of other armadillos, except Tolypeutes matacus, which has a true vagina. Characteristics of the reproductive tract and sperm morphology of other Xenarthra are comparatively discussed. These observations suggest that important reproductive features are shared between the family Myrmecophagidae and the genus Dasypus, a basal group in the phylogeny of Xenarthra.

  16. Probing for gene specificity in epithelial development.

    PubMed

    Schüpbach, T; Wieschaus, E

    1998-01-01

    We surveyed a total of 228 random insertions of a P[GawB] element to determine the fraction of regulatory regions in the Drosophila genome that activate gene expression specifically in follicle cells versus producing more complex patterns of expression. We monitored the GAL4 expression encoded by this construct in the ovarian follicle cells by crossing the lines to a strain containing a lacZ reporter construct. Sixty four per cent of the insertions showed ovarian expression. To assess the specificity of this expression, 124 of the 228 lines were crossed to strains containing either an activated form of Armadillo, the Drosophila homolog of beta-catenin, or an activated form of Torpedo/Egfr, the Drosophila homolog of the Epidermal Growth Factor receptor, under the control of GAL4 target sites. The lethality and imaginal disc phenotypes observed in these crosses suggest that most random insertions cause GAL4 expression in a variety of tissues. Very few insertions appear to drive expression only in follicle cells. Although the activated form of Armadillo produced higher frequencies of lethality and disk phenotypes, expression in the follicle cell epithelium at later stages of oogenesis did not lead to a visible phenotype. This contrasts with the dorsalized phenotypes observed in the combination of the same GAL4 lines with the activated Torpedo construct.

  17. Identification of a new human catenin gene family member (ARVCF) from the region deleted in velo-cardio-facial syndrome.

    PubMed

    Sirotkin, H; O'Donnell, H; DasGupta, R; Halford, S; St Jore, B; Puech, A; Parimoo, S; Morrow, B; Skoultchi, A; Weissman, S M; Scambler, P; Kucherlapati, R

    1997-04-01

    Velo-cardio-facial syndrome (VCFS) and DiGeorge syndrome (DGS) are characterized by a wide spectrum of phenotypes, including conotruncal heart defects, cleft palate, and facial dysmorphology. Hemizygosity for a portion of chromosome 22q11 has been detected in 80-85% of VCFS/DGS patients. Both syndromes are thought to be the result of a developmental field defect. Using two independent gene-isolation procedures, we isolated a new catenin family member termed ARVCF (armadillo repeat gene deleted in VCFS) from the interval deleted in VCFS. ARVCF encodes a protein of 962 amino acids that contains a coiled coil domain and 10 tandem armadillo repeats. The primary structure of the protein is most closely related to the murine catenin p120CAS, which suggests a role for ARVCF in protein-protein interactions at adherens junctions. ARVCF is expressed ubiquitously in all fetal and adult tissues examined. This gene is hemizygous in all VCFS patients with interstitial deletions. Based on the physical location and potential functions of ARVCF, we suggest that hemizygosity at this locus may play a role in the etiology of some of the phenotypes associated with VCFS.

  18. Evolution of the placenta and fetal membranes seen in the light of molecular phylogenetics.

    PubMed

    Carter, A M

    2001-11-01

    Recent analyses of nucleotide sequence data suggest that living placental mammals belong to one of four superorders. The early divergence of these groups was followed by long periods of geographical isolation, due to the break up of continental land masses, allowing for convergent evolution of similar traits in different superorders. As an example, the transition from epitheliochorial to haemochorial placentation occurred independently in bats, rodents, anthropoid primates, armadillos and others. A group of ancient African mammals is suggested by the molecular data, but is not fully supported by morphological evidence. The hypothesis is, however, consistent with some of the data on fetal membranes, suggesting that it would be worthwhile to study the early development of tenrecs, golden moles and elephant shrews. Analyses of fetal membrane traits that group the tarsiers with anthropoid primates, and separate them from the lemurs, are challenged by the molecular data. Other relatives of the primates seem to include tree shrews and flying lemurs, and little is known about the fetal membranes of the latter group. Comparative studies of placental function normally are confined to primates, rodents, lagomorphs and domestic animals: the biological diversity represented by mammals that evolved in ancient Africa and South America is not represented. Therefore, future comparative studies should strive to include species such as the rock hyrax and the armadillo.

  19. Investigating the Potential Role of North American Animals as Hosts for Zika Virus.

    PubMed

    Ragan, Izabela K; Blizzard, Emily L; Gordy, Paul; Bowen, Richard A

    2017-03-01

    The recent emergence of the mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Americas has become a global public health concern. We describe a series of experimental infections designed to investigate whether animals within certain taxonomic groups in North America have the potential to serve as ZIKV amplifying or maintenance hosts. Species investigated included armadillos, cottontail rabbits, goats, mink, chickens, pigeons, ground hogs, deer mice, cattle, raccoons, ducks, Syrian Golden hamsters, garter snakes, leopard frogs, house sparrows, and pigs. Infectious virus was isolated from blood only in frogs and armadillos; however, the magnitude of viremia was low. In addition, neutralizing antibodies were detected after infection in goats, rabbits, ducks, frogs, and pigs. This study indicates that the animals tested to date are unlikely to act as animal reservoirs for ZIKV, but that rabbits and pigs could potentially serve as sentinel species. Understanding the transmission cycle and maintenance of ZIKV in animals will help in developing effective surveillance programs and preventative measures for future outbreaks.

  20. Effectiveness of scat-detection dogs in determining species presence in a tropical savanna landscape.

    PubMed

    Vynne, Carly; Skalski, John R; Machado, Ricardo B; Groom, Martha J; Jácomo, Anah T A; Marinho-Filho, Jader; Ramos Neto, Mario B; Pomilla, Cristina; Silveira, Leandro; Smith, Heath; Wasser, Samuel K

    2011-02-01

    Most protected areas are too small to sustain populations of wide-ranging mammals; thus, identification and conservation of high-quality habitat for those animals outside parks is often a high priority, particularly for regions where extensive land conversion is occurring. This is the case in the vicinity of Emas National Park, a small protected area in the Brazilian Cerrado. Over the last 40 years the native vegetation surrounding the park has been converted to agriculture, but the region still supports virtually all of the animals native to the area. We determined the effectiveness of scat-detection dogs in detecting presence of five species of mammals threatened with extinction by habitat loss: maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), puma (Puma concolor), jaguar (Panthera onca), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), and giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus). The probability of scat detection varied among the five species and among survey quadrats of different size, but was consistent across team, season, and year. The probability of occurrence, determined from the presence of scat, in a randomly selected site within the study area ranged from 0.14 for jaguars, which occur primarily in the forested areas of the park, to 0.91 for maned wolves, the most widely distributed species in our study area. Most occurrences of giant armadillos in the park were in open grasslands, but in the agricultural matrix they tended to occur in riparian woodlands. At least one target species occurred in every survey quadrat, and giant armadillos, jaguars, and maned wolves were more likely to be present in quadrats located inside than outside the park. The effort required for detection of scats was highest for the two felids. We were able to detect the presence for each of five wide-ranging species inside and outside the park and to assign occurrence probabilities to specific survey sites. Thus, scat dogs provide an effective survey tool for rare species even when accurate detection

  1. Ensembl 2007.

    PubMed

    Hubbard, T J P; Aken, B L; Beal, K; Ballester, B; Caccamo, M; Chen, Y; Clarke, L; Coates, G; Cunningham, F; Cutts, T; Down, T; Dyer, S C; Fitzgerald, S; Fernandez-Banet, J; Graf, S; Haider, S; Hammond, M; Herrero, J; Holland, R; Howe, K; Howe, K; Johnson, N; Kahari, A; Keefe, D; Kokocinski, F; Kulesha, E; Lawson, D; Longden, I; Melsopp, C; Megy, K; Meidl, P; Ouverdin, B; Parker, A; Prlic, A; Rice, S; Rios, D; Schuster, M; Sealy, I; Severin, J; Slater, G; Smedley, D; Spudich, G; Trevanion, S; Vilella, A; Vogel, J; White, S; Wood, M; Cox, T; Curwen, V; Durbin, R; Fernandez-Suarez, X M; Flicek, P; Kasprzyk, A; Proctor, G; Searle, S; Smith, J; Ureta-Vidal, A; Birney, E

    2007-01-01

    The Ensembl (http://www.ensembl.org/) project provides a comprehensive and integrated source of annotation of chordate genome sequences. Over the past year the number of genomes available from Ensembl has increased from 15 to 33, with the addition of sites for the mammalian genomes of elephant, rabbit, armadillo, tenrec, platypus, pig, cat, bush baby, common shrew, microbat and european hedgehog; the fish genomes of stickleback and medaka and the second example of the genomes of the sea squirt (Ciona savignyi) and the mosquito (Aedes aegypti). Some of the major features added during the year include the first complete gene sets for genomes with low-sequence coverage, the introduction of new strain variation data and the introduction of new orthology/paralog annotations based on gene trees.

  2. Mammals of South America, Volume 1, Marsupials, Xenarthrans, Shrews, and Bats

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gardner, A.L.

    2007-01-01

    The vast terrain between Panama and Tierra del Fuego contains some of the world?s richest mammalian fauna, but until now it has lacked a comprehensive systematic reference to the identification, distribution, and taxonomy of its mammals. The first such book of its kind and the inaugural volume in a three-part series, Mammals of South America both summarizes existing information and encourages further research of the mammals indigenous to the region. Containing identification keys and brief descriptions of each order, family, and genus, the first volume of Mammals of South America covers marsupials, shrews, armadillos, sloths, anteaters, and bats. Species accounts include taxonomic descriptions, synonymies, keys to identification, distributions with maps and a gazetteer of marginal localities, lists of recognized subspecies, brief summaries of natural history information, and discussions of issues related to taxonomic interpretations. Highly anticipated and much needed, this book will be a landmark contribution to mammalogy, zoology, tropical biology, and conservation biology.

  3. Plant microtubule cytoskeleton complexity: microtubule arrays as fractals.

    PubMed

    Gardiner, John; Overall, Robyn; Marc, Jan

    2012-01-01

    Biological systems are by nature complex and this complexity has been shown to be important in maintaining homeostasis. The plant microtubule cytoskeleton is a highly complex system, with contributing factors through interactions with microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs), expression of multiple tubulin isoforms, and post-translational modification of tubulin and MAPs. Some of this complexity is specific to microtubules, such as a redundancy in factors that regulate microtubule depolymerization. Plant microtubules form partial helical fractals that play a key role in development. It is suggested that, under certain cellular conditions, other categories of microtubule fractals may form including isotropic fractals, triangular fractals, and branched fractals. Helical fractal proteins including coiled-coil and armadillo/beta-catenin repeat proteins and the actin cytoskeleton are important here too. Either alone, or in combination, these fractals may drive much of plant development.

  4. Factors associated with Paracoccidiodes brasiliensis infection among permanent residents of three endemic areas in Colombia.

    PubMed Central

    Cadavid, D.; Restrepo, A.

    1993-01-01

    The natural habitat of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, the aetiologic agent of paracoccidioidomycosis, has not been determined. Consequently, the events leading to the acquisition of infection remain controversial. To identify factors associated with infection in endemic areas we conducted a survey in three rural communities in Colombia where we had previously diagnosed paracoccidioidomycosis in children. Permanent residents were surveyed taking into consideration environmental and occupational variables. Skin tests were used to classify subjects as infected or non-infected. Variables found associated with infection were: (i) community A: previous residence around Porce river and agriculture in vegetable gardens; (ii) community C: frequent use of specific water sources; (iii) community V: housekeeping activities, and (iv) total group: age > 25 years and contact with bats. Residents in communities with higher prevalence of infection were older, had more complex residence history, and referred more contact with armadillos than residents of communities with lower infection. PMID:8348926

  5. Factors associated with Paracoccidiodes brasiliensis infection among permanent residents of three endemic areas in Colombia.

    PubMed

    Cadavid, D; Restrepo, A

    1993-08-01

    The natural habitat of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, the aetiologic agent of paracoccidioidomycosis, has not been determined. Consequently, the events leading to the acquisition of infection remain controversial. To identify factors associated with infection in endemic areas we conducted a survey in three rural communities in Colombia where we had previously diagnosed paracoccidioidomycosis in children. Permanent residents were surveyed taking into consideration environmental and occupational variables. Skin tests were used to classify subjects as infected or non-infected. Variables found associated with infection were: (i) community A: previous residence around Porce river and agriculture in vegetable gardens; (ii) community C: frequent use of specific water sources; (iii) community V: housekeeping activities, and (iv) total group: age > 25 years and contact with bats. Residents in communities with higher prevalence of infection were older, had more complex residence history, and referred more contact with armadillos than residents of communities with lower infection.

  6. Detection of Rickettsia bellii and Rickettsia amblyommii in Amblyomma longirostre (Acari: Ixodidae) from Bahia state, Northeast Brazil

    PubMed Central

    McIntosh, Douglas; Bezerra, Rodrigo Alves; Luz, Hermes Ribeiro; Faccini, João Luiz Horacio; Gaiotto, Fernanda Amato; Giné, Gastón Andrés Fernandez; Albuquerque, George Rego

    2015-01-01

    Studies investigating rickettsial infections in ticks parasitizing wild animals in the Northeast region of Brazil have been confined to the detection of Rickettsia amblyommii in immature stages of Amblyomma longirostre collected from birds in the state of Bahia, and in immatures and females of Amblyomma auriculariumcollected from the striped hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus semistriatus) and armadillos (Euphractus sexcinctus) in the state of Pernambuco. The current study extends the distribution of R. amblyommii (strain Aranha), which was detected in A. longirostre collected from the thin-spined porcupine Chaetomys subspinosus and the hairy dwarf porcupine Coendou insidiosus. In addition, we report the first detection of Rickettsia bellii in adults of A. longirostre collected from C. insidiosus in the state of Bahia. PMID:26413074

  7. A new molineid (Nematoda: Trichostrongylina) parasite of Dasypus hybridus (Xenarthra: Dasypodidae) from Argentina.

    PubMed

    Ezquiaga, María C; Digiani, María C; Navone, Graciela T

    2012-12-01

    Delicata abbai n. sp. collected from the small intestine of the southern long-nosed armadillo, Dasypus hybridus, from Argentina is herein described. This new species is characterized by vulvar opening within second half of body length, female tail conical, ending bluntly with a terminal spine, complex spicules, presence of a bursal membrane supported by 2 small rays, and a synlophe with bilateral symmetry and 26 cuticular ridges. By the morphology of the caudal bursa, caudal end of female, and shape of spicules, the new species resembles Delicata cameroni Travassos, 1935 and Delicata variabilis Travassos, 1935 . However, it differs from D. cameroni by having rays 5 and 6 diverging more proximally, rays 8 shorter than the dorsal ray, and spicules with a different shape. Delicata abbai n. sp. is distinguished from D. variabilis mainly by the spicules, which have a different shape and proportion of their constitutive parts. This is the first report of a species of Delicata in Argentina.

  8. Multidisciplinary study of radionuclides and heavy-metal concentrations in wildlife on phosphate-mined and reclaimed lands. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Pritchard, P.C.H.; Bloodwell, J.M.

    1986-11-01

    The phosphate-rich mineral deposits of central Florida tend to exhibit background radiation levels that are elevated due to the uranium and its decay products found in association with the ore. The report documents radioactivity levels in two groups of animals that had heretofore not been examined by other investigators -- aquatic reptiles (American alligators, softshell turtles, and Florida cooter turtles) and terrestrial mammals (armadillos), based on the criterion that these species have significant proportions of their mass comprised of bony tissue likely to show elevated concentrations of radium. The alligator bones contained only low concentrations of radium, and there were no significant differences between alligators collected from mined, mineralized-unmined, or unmineralized land. Whether the levels of radium in the bones of the turtles represents a hazard to the health of these long-lived animals or to humans who may consume their flesh is unclear.

  9. Molecular phylogenetics and the origins of placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Murphy, W J; Eizirik, E; Johnson, W E; Zhang, Y P; Ryder, O A; O'Brien, S J

    2001-02-01

    The precise hierarchy of ancient divergence events that led to the present assemblage of modern placental mammals has been an area of controversy among morphologists, palaeontologists and molecular evolutionists. Here we address the potential weaknesses of limited character and taxon sampling in a comprehensive molecular phylogenetic analysis of 64 species sampled across all extant orders of placental mammals. We examined sequence variation in 18 homologous gene segments (including nearly 10,000 base pairs) that were selected for maximal phylogenetic informativeness in resolving the hierarchy of early mammalian divergence. Phylogenetic analyses identify four primary superordinal clades: (I) Afrotheria (elephants, manatees, hyraxes, tenrecs, aardvark and elephant shrews); (II) Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters and armadillos); (III) Glires (rodents and lagomorphs), as a sister taxon to primates, flying lemurs and tree shrews; and (IV) the remaining orders of placental mammals (cetaceans, artiodactyls, perissodactyls, carnivores, pangolins, bats and core insectivores). Our results provide new insight into the pattern of the early placental mammal radiation.

  10. UXT plays dual opposing roles on SARM-induced apoptosis.

    PubMed

    Sethurathinam, Shalini; Singh, Laishram Pradeepkumar; Panneerselvam, Porkodi; Byrne, Bernadette; Ding, Jeak Ling

    2013-10-11

    Apoptosis is a vital defense mechanism for the clearance of infected cells. Ubiquitously expressed transcript (UXT), which exists in two isoforms (V1 and V2), interact with both apoptotic and cellular proteins. By yeast two-hybrid analysis, we found that UXT interacts with SARM (sterile α and HEAT armadillo motif-containing protein). Since SARM is a TLR adaptor which induces intrinsic apoptosis following immune activation, we were prompted to query whether UXT and SARM might co-regulate apoptosis. We found that the UXT isoforms elicit dual opposing regulatory effects on SARM-induced apoptosis; while UXT V1, co-expressed with SARM, caused a reduction in caspase 8 activity, UXT V2 strongly increased caspase 8 activity and enhanced SARM-induced apoptosis by activating the extrinsic pathway and depolarizing the mitochondria.

  11. Reduced Expression of SARM in Mouse Spleen during Polymicrobial Sepsis.

    PubMed

    Gong, Yu; Zou, Lin; Cen, Dongzhi; Chao, Wei; Chen, Dunjin

    2016-12-01

    Objective Immune dysfunction, including prominent apoptosis of immune cells and decreased functioning of the remaining immune cells, plays a central role in the pathogenesis of sepsis. Sterile α and HEAT/armadillo motif-containing protein (SARM) is implicated in the regulation of immune cell apoptosis. This study aimed to elucidate SARM contributes to sepsis-induced immune cell death and immunosuppression. Methods A mouse model of polymicrobial sepsis was generated by cecum ligation and puncture (CLP). SARM gene and protein expression, caspase 3 cleavage and intracellular ATP production were measured in the mouse spleens. Results CLP-induced polymicrobial sepsis specifically attenuated both the gene and protein expression of SARM in the spleens. Moreover, the attenuation of SARM expression synchronized with splenocyte apoptosis, as evidenced by increased caspase 3 cleavage and ATP depletion. Conclusions These findings suggest that SARM is a potential regulator of sepsis-induced splenocyte apoptosis.

  12. Epidemiological survey of Trichinella infection in domestic, synanthropic and sylvatic animals from Argentina.

    PubMed

    Krivokapich, S J; Molina, V; Bergagna, H F J; Guarnera, E A

    2006-09-01

    The presence of Trichinella larvae was investigated in 247 samples taken from domestic, synanthropic and sylvatic animals, collected during 1996 to 2005 in 12 endemic provinces of Trichinella infection in Argentina. Muscle larvae of Trichinella from 65 infected animals were identified at the species level by single larva nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique based on the variability within the expansion segment V (ESV) region of the ribosomal DNA. Trichinella infections were found in 97 of 164 pigs, 38 of 56 pork products, two domestic dogs, one domestic cat, 7 of 11 armadillos and 3 of 9 synanthropic rats. All Trichinella isolates were identified as Trichinella spiralis by nested PCR. These findings add new data on the epidemiology of trichinellosis and should be considered when implementing new strategies to control this zoonosis.

  13. Structural and Functional Analysis of the Globular Head Domain of p115 Provides Insight into Membrane Tethering

    PubMed Central

    An, Yu; Chen, Christine Y.; Moyer, Bryan; Rotkiewicz, Piotr; Elsliger, Marc-André; Godzik, Adam; Wilson, Ian A.; Balch, William E.

    2009-01-01

    Molecular tethers play a central role in the organization of the complex membrane architecture of eukaryotic cells. p115 is a ubiquitous, essential tether involved in vesicle transport and the structural organization of the exocytic pathway. We describe two crystal structures of the N-terminal domain of p115 at 2.0 Å resolution. The p115 structures show a novel α-solenoid architecture constructed of 12 armadillo-like, tether-repeat (TR), α-helical tripod motifs. We find that the H1 TR binds the Rab1 GTPase involved in ER to Golgi transport. Mutation of the H1 motif results in the dominant negative inhibition of ER to Golgi trafficking. We propose that the H1 helical tripod contributes to the assembly of Rab-dependent complexes responsible for the tether and SNARE-dependent fusion of membranes. PMID:19414022

  14. Optimization conditions of samples saponification for tocopherol analysis.

    PubMed

    Souza, Aloisio Henrique Pereira; Gohara, Aline Kirie; Rodrigues, Ângela Claudia; Ströher, Gisely Luzia; Silva, Danielle Cristina; Visentainer, Jesuí Vergílio; Souza, Nilson Evelázio; Matsushita, Makoto

    2014-09-01

    A full factorial design 2(2) (two factors at two levels) with duplicates was performed to investigate the influence of the factors agitation time (2 and 4 h) and the percentage of KOH (60% and 80% w/v) in the saponification of samples for the determination of α, β and γ+δ-tocopherols. The study used samples of peanuts (cultivar armadillo), produced and marketed in Maringá, PR. The factors % KOH and agitation time were significant, and an increase in their values contributed negatively to the responses. The interaction effect was not significant for the response δ-tocopherol, and the contribution of this effect to the other responses was positive, but less than 10%. The ANOVA and response surfaces analysis showed that the most efficient saponification procedure was obtained using a 60% (w/v) solution of KOH and with an agitation time of 2 h.

  15. Phosphorylation of Mad controls competition between wingless and BMP signaling.

    PubMed

    Eivers, Edward; Demagny, Hadrien; Choi, Renee H; De Robertis, Edward M

    2011-10-11

    Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and Wnts are growth factors that provide essential patterning signals for cell proliferation and differentiation. Here, we describe a molecular mechanism by which the phosphorylation state of the Drosophila transcription factor Mad determines its ability to transduce either BMP or Wingless (Wg) signals. Previously, Mad was thought to function in gene transcription only when phosphorylated by BMP receptors. We found that the unphosphorylated form of Mad was required for canonical Wg signaling by interacting with the Pangolin-Armadillo transcriptional complex. Phosphorylation of the carboxyl terminus of Mad by BMP receptor directed Mad toward BMP signaling, thereby preventing Mad from functioning in the Wg pathway. The results show that Mad has distinct signal transduction roles in the BMP and Wnt pathways depending on its phosphorylation state.

  16. Validation of qPCR Methods for the Detection of Mycobacterium in New World Animal Reservoirs.

    PubMed

    Housman, Genevieve; Malukiewicz, Joanna; Boere, Vanner; Grativol, Adriana D; Pereira, Luiz Cezar M; Silva, Ita de Oliveira; Ruiz-Miranda, Carlos R; Truman, Richard; Stone, Anne C

    2015-11-01

    Zoonotic pathogens that cause leprosy (Mycobacterium leprae) and tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, MTBC) continue to impact modern human populations. Therefore, methods able to survey mycobacterial infection in potential animal hosts are necessary for proper evaluation of human exposure threats. Here we tested for mycobacterial-specific single- and multi-copy loci using qPCR. In a trial study in which armadillos were artificially infected with M. leprae, these techniques were specific and sensitive to pathogen detection, while more traditional ELISAs were only specific. These assays were then employed in a case study to detect M. leprae as well as MTBC in wild marmosets. All marmosets were negative for M. leprae DNA, but 14 were positive for the mycobacterial rpoB gene assay. Targeted capture and sequencing of rpoB and other MTBC genes validated the presence of mycobacterial DNA in these samples and revealed that qPCR is useful for identifying mycobacterial-infected animal hosts.

  17. Armc5 deletion causes developmental defects and compromises T-cell immune responses

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Yan; Lao, Linjiang; Mao, Jianning; Jin, Wei; Luo, Hongyu; Charpentier, Tania; Qi, Shijie; Peng, Junzheng; Hu, Bing; Marcinkiewicz, Mieczyslaw Martin; Lamarre, Alain; Wu, Jiangping

    2017-01-01

    Armadillo repeat containing 5 (ARMC5) is a cytosolic protein with no enzymatic activities. Little is known about its function and mechanisms of action, except that gene mutations are associated with risks of primary macronodular adrenal gland hyperplasia. Here we map Armc5 expression by in situ hybridization, and generate Armc5 knockout mice, which are small in body size. Armc5 knockout mice have compromised T-cell proliferation and differentiation into Th1 and Th17 cells, increased T-cell apoptosis, reduced severity of experimental autoimmune encephalitis, and defective immune responses to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection. These mice also develop adrenal gland hyperplasia in old age. Yeast 2-hybrid assays identify 16 ARMC5-binding partners. Together these data indicate that ARMC5 is crucial in fetal development, T-cell function and adrenal gland growth homeostasis, and that the functions of ARMC5 probably depend on interaction with multiple signalling pathways. PMID:28169274

  18. Detection of Rickettsia bellii and Rickettsia amblyommii in Amblyomma longirostre (Acari: Ixodidae) from Bahia state, Northeast Brazil.

    PubMed

    McIntosh, Douglas; Bezerra, Rodrigo Alves; Luz, Hermes Ribeiro; Faccini, João Luiz Horacio; Gaiotto, Fernanda Amato; Giné, Gastón Andrés Fernandez; Albuquerque, George Rego

    2015-01-01

    Studies investigating rickettsial infections in ticks parasitizing wild animals in the Northeast region of Brazil have been confined to the detection of Rickettsia amblyommii in immature stages of Amblyomma longirostre collected from birds in the state of Bahia, and in immatures and females of Amblyomma auricularium collected from the striped hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus semistriatus) and armadillos (Euphractus sexcinctus) in the state of Pernambuco. The current study extends the distribution of R. amblyommii (strain Aranha), which was detected in A. longirostre collected from the thin-spined porcupine Chaetomys subspinosus and the hairy dwarf porcupine Coendou insidiosus. In addition, we report the first detection of Rickettsia bellii in adults of A. longirostre collected from C. insidiosus in the state of Bahia.

  19. Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase (Hipk) phosphorylates the small SPOC family protein Spenito.

    PubMed

    Dewald, D N; Steinmetz, E L; Walldorf, U

    2014-12-01

    The Drosophila homeodomain-interacting protein kinase (Hipk) is a versatile regulator involved in a variety of pathways, such as Notch and Wingless signalling, thereby acting in processes including the promotion of eye development or control of cell numbers in the nervous system. In vertebrates, extensive studies have related its homologue HIPK2 to important roles in the control of p53-mediated apoptosis and tumour suppression. Spenito (Nito) belongs to the group of small SPOC family proteins and has a role, amongst others, as a regulator of Wingless signalling downstream of Armadillo. In the present study, we show that both proteins have an enzyme-substrate relationship, adding a new interesting component to the broad range of Hipk interactions, and we map several phosphorylation sites of Nito. Furthermore, we were able to define a preliminary consensus motif for Hipk target sites, which will simplify the identification of new substrates of this kinase.

  20. Mammal madness: is the mammal tree of life not yet resolved?

    PubMed

    Foley, Nicole M; Springer, Mark S; Teeling, Emma C

    2016-07-19

    Most molecular phylogenetic studies place all placental mammals into four superordinal groups, Laurasiatheria (e.g. dogs, bats, whales), Euarchontoglires (e.g. humans, rodents, colugos), Xenarthra (e.g. armadillos, anteaters) and Afrotheria (e.g. elephants, sea cows, tenrecs), and estimate that these clades last shared a common ancestor 90-110 million years ago. This phylogeny has provided a framework for numerous functional and comparative studies. Despite the high level of congruence among most molecular studies, questions still remain regarding the position and divergence time of the root of placental mammals, and certain 'hard nodes' such as the Laurasiatheria polytomy and Paenungulata that seem impossible to resolve. Here, we explore recent consensus and conflict among mammalian phylogenetic studies and explore the reasons for the remaining conflicts. The question of whether the mammal tree of life is or can be ever resolved is also addressed.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using rocks and clocks'.

  1. Radiometric macrophage culture assay for rapid evaluation of antileprosy activity of rifampin

    SciTech Connect

    Mittal, A.; Seshadri, P.S.; Prasad, H.K.; Sathish, M.; Nath, I.

    1983-10-01

    The antileprosy effect of rifampin was evaluated by a newly developed rapid in vitro assay wherein 31 human-derived strains and 1 armadillo-derived strain of Mycobacterium leprae were maintained for 2 and 3 weeks, respectively, in murine and human macrophages in the presence of (3H)thymidine. Of these strains, 27 showed significant incorporation of the radiolabel in cultures of live bacilli as compared with control cultures of heat-killed bacilli of the same strain. Consistent and significant inhibition of (3H)thymidine uptake was observed in M. leprae resident cultures with 3 to 200 ng of rifampin per ml as compared with similar cultures without the drug. In general, an increase in percent inhibition was seen from 3 to 20 ng/ml, with marginal increases at 40, 50, and 100 ng/ml. M. leprae strains appear to be remarkably susceptible to this drug in the in vitro assay.

  2. GENIE Flight Test Results and System Overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brady, Tye; Paschall, Stephen, II; Crain, Timothy P., II; Demars, Kyle; Bishop, Robert

    2011-01-01

    NASA has envisioned a suite of lander test vehicles that will be flown in Earth s atmosphere to incrementally demonstrate applicable lunar lander performance in the terrestrial environment. As each terrestrial rocket progresses in maturity, relevant space flight technology matures to a higher technology readiness level, preparing it for inclusion on a future lunar lander design.. NASA s "Project M" lunar mission concept flew its first terrestrial rocket, RR1, in June 2010 in Caddo Mills, Texas. The Draper Laboratory built GENIE (Guidance Embedded Navigator Integration Environment) successfully demonstrated accurate, real time, embedded performance of Project M navigation and guidance algorithms in a highly dynamic environment. The RR1 vehicle, built by Armadillo Aerospace, performed a successful 60 second free flight and gave the team great confidence in Project M s highly reliable and robust GNC system design and implementation. This paper provides an overview of the GENIE system and describes recent flight performance test results onboard the RR1 terrestrial rocket.

  3. Kinase active Misshapen regulates Notch signaling in Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Mishra, Abhinava K; Sachan, Nalani; Mutsuddi, Mousumi; Mukherjee, Ashim

    2015-11-15

    Notch signaling pathway represents a principal cellular communication system that plays a pivotal role during development of metazoans. Drosophila misshapen (msn) encodes a protein kinase, which is related to the budding yeast Ste20p (sterile 20 protein) kinase. In a genetic screen, using candidate gene approach to identify novel kinases involved in Notch signaling, we identified msn as a novel regulator of Notch signaling. Data presented here suggest that overexpression of kinase active form of Msn exhibits phenotypes similar to Notch loss-of-function condition and msn genetically interacts with components of Notch signaling pathway. Kinase active form of Msn associates with Notch receptor and regulate its signaling activity. We further show that kinase active Misshapen leads to accumulation of membrane-tethered form of Notch. Moreover, activated Msn also depletes Armadillo and DE-Cadherin from adherens junctions. Thus, this study provides a yet unknown mode of regulation of Notch signaling by Misshapen.

  4. [American cutaneous leishmaniasis in municipalities in the northwestern region of Paraná State: use of remote sensing for analysis of vegetation types and places with disease occurrence].

    PubMed

    Arraes, Sandra Mara Alessi Aristides; Veit, Renata Tonon; Bernal, Marcos Vinícius Zandonadi; Becker, Tânia Cristina Alexandrino; Nanni, Marcos Rafael

    2008-01-01

    American cutaneous leishmaniasis, an endemic disease in the northwestern region of Paraná, Brazil, is transmitted by phlebotomines to man and animals like dogs, armadillos, opossums and wild rodents. This disease has been occurring in places where forests have been felled and on the banks of rivers and lakes with arboreal vegetation, where man comes into contact with infected insects. This disease is a public health problem because of the occurrence of epidemic outbreaks throughout Paraná. Because of the importance of finding out about endemic areas, this study used epidemiological file data on patients attended between 1999 and 2004. These data were correlated with areas of forest felling that were identified by means of satellite remote sensing techniques and products. The results showed that the occurrences of cases in the municipalities of this region coincided with the presumed likely areas for patient infection.

  5. Gene flow in wild chimpanzee populations: what genetic data tell us about chimpanzee movement over space and time.

    PubMed

    Gagneux, P; Gonder, M K; Goldberg, T L; Morin, P A

    2001-06-29

    The isolation of phylogenetically distinct primate immunodeficiency viruses from at least seven wild-born, captive chimpanzees indicates that viruses closely related to HIV-1 may be endemic in some wild chimpanzee populations. The search for the chimpanzee population or populations harbouring these viruses is therefore on. This paper attempts to answer the question of whether or not such populations of chimpanzees are likely to exist at all, and, if so, where they are likely to be found. We summarize what is known about gene flow in wild populations of chimpanzees, both between major phylogeographical subdivisions of the species, and within these subdivisions. Our analysis indicates that hitherto undocumented reproductively isolated chimpanzee populations may in fact exist. This conclusion is based on the observation that, despite limited geographical sampling and limited numbers of genetic loci, conventional notions of the nature and extent of chimpanzee gene flow have recently been substantially revised. Molecular genetic studies using mitochondrial DNA sequences and hypervariable nuclear microsatellite markers have indicated the existence of heretofore undocumented barriers to chimpanzee gene flow. These studies have identified at least one population of chimpanzees genetically distinct enough to be classified into a new subspecies (Pan troglodytes vellerosus). At the same time, they have called into question the long-accepted genetic distinction between eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) and western equatorial chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes). The same studies have further indicated that gene flow between local populations is more extensive than was previously thought, and follows patterns sometimes inconsistent with those documented through direct behavioural observation. Given the apparently incomplete nature of the current understanding of chimpanzee gene flow in equatorial Africa, it seems reasonable to speculate that a chimpanzee

  6. CTNNBL1 is a novel nuclear localization sequence-binding protein that recognizes RNA-splicing factors CDC5L and Prp31.

    PubMed

    Ganesh, Karuna; Adam, Salome; Taylor, Benjamin; Simpson, Paul; Rada, Cristina; Neuberger, Michael

    2011-05-13

    Nuclear proteins typically contain short stretches of basic amino acids (nuclear localization sequences; NLSs) that bind karyopherin α family members, directing nuclear import. Here, we identify CTNNBL1 (catenin-β-like 1), an armadillo motif-containing nuclear protein that exhibits no detectable primary sequence homology to karyopherin α, as a novel, selective NLS-binding protein. CTNNBL1 (a single-copy gene conserved from fission yeast to man) was previously found associated with Prp19-containing RNA-splicing complexes as well as with the antibody-diversifying enzyme AID. We find that CTNNBL1 association with the Prp19 complex is mediated by recognition of the NLS of the CDC5L component of the complex and show that CTNNBL1 also interacts with Prp31 (another U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP-associated splicing factor) through its NLS. As with karyopherin αs, CTNNBL1 binds NLSs via its armadillo (ARM) domain, but displays a separate, more selective NLS binding specificity. Furthermore, the CTNNBL1/AID interaction depends on amino acids forming the AID conformational NLS with CTNNBL1-deficient cells showing a partial defect in AID nuclear accumulation. However, in further contrast to karyopherin αs, the CTNNBL1 N-terminal region itself binds karyopherin αs (rather than karyopherin β), suggesting a function divergent from canonical nuclear transport. Thus, CTNNBL1 is a novel NLS-binding protein, distinct from karyopherin αs, with the results suggesting a possible role in the selective intranuclear targeting or interactions of some splicing-associated complexes.

  7. Probing formation of cargo/importin-α transport complexes in plant cells using a pathogen effector

    PubMed Central

    Wirthmueller, Lennart; Roth, Charlotte; Fabro, Georgina; Caillaud, Marie-Cécile; Rallapalli, Ghanasyam; Asai, Shuta; Sklenar, Jan; Jones, Alexandra M E; Wiermer, Marcel; Jones, Jonathan D G; Banfield, Mark J

    2015-01-01

    Importin-αs are essential adapter proteins that recruit cytoplasmic proteins destined for active nuclear import to the nuclear transport machinery. Cargo proteins interact with the importin-α armadillo repeat domain via nuclear localization sequences (NLSs), short amino acids motifs enriched in Lys and Arg residues. Plant genomes typically encode several importin-α paralogs that can have both specific and partially redundant functions. Although some cargos are preferentially imported by a distinct importin-α it remains unknown how this specificity is generated and to what extent cargos compete for binding to nuclear transport receptors. Here we report that the effector protein HaRxL106 from the oomycete pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis co-opts the host cell's nuclear import machinery. We use HaRxL106 as a probe to determine redundant and specific functions of importin-α paralogs from Arabidopsis thaliana. A crystal structure of the importin-α3/MOS6 armadillo repeat domain suggests that five of the six Arabidopsis importin-αs expressed in rosette leaves have an almost identical NLS-binding site. Comparison of the importin-α binding affinities of HaRxL106 and other cargos in vitro and in plant cells suggests that relatively small affinity differences in vitro affect the rate of transport complex formation in vivo. Our results suggest that cargo affinity for importin-α, sequence variation at the importin-α NLS-binding sites and tissue-specific expression levels of importin-αs determine formation of cargo/importin-α transport complexes in plant cells. PMID:25284001

  8. Sea-Level Flight Demonstration and Altitude Characterization of a LO2/LCH4 Based Accent Propulsion Lander

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Collins, Jacob; Hurlbert, Eric; Romig, Kris; Melcher, John; Hobson, Aaron; Eaton, Phil

    2009-01-01

    A 1,500 lbf thrust-class liquid oxygen (LO2)/Liquid Methane (LCH4) rocket engine was developed and tested at both sea-level and simulated altitude conditions. The engine was fabricated by Armadillo Aerospace (AA) in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center. Sea level testing was conducted at Armadillo Aerospace facilities at Caddo Mills, TX. Sea-level tests were conducted using both a static horizontal test bed and a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) test bed capable of lift-off and hover-flight in low atmosphere conditions. The vertical test bed configuration is capable of throttling the engine valves to enable liftoff and hover-flight. Simulated altitude vacuum testing was conducted at NASA Johnson Space Center White Sands Test Facility (WSTF), which is capable of providing altitude simulation greater than 120,000 ft equivalent. The engine tests demonstrated ignition using two different methods, a gas-torch and a pyrotechnic igniter. Both gas torch and pyrotechnic ignition were demonstrated at both sea-level and vacuum conditions. The rocket engine was designed to be configured with three different nozzle configurations, including a dual-bell nozzle geometry. Dual-bell nozzle tests were conducted at WSTF and engine performance data was achieved at both ambient pressure and simulated altitude conditions. Dual-bell nozzle performance data was achieved over a range of altitude conditions from 90,000 ft to 50,000 ft altitude. Thrust and propellant mass flow rates were measured in the tests for specific impulse (Isp) and C* calculations.

  9. Molecular characterization and expression of interferon-gamma of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Sreekumar, E; Janki, M B V; Arathy, D S; Hariharan, R; Premraj, C Avinash; Rasool, T J

    2007-07-15

    Tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterial organisms has emerged as one of the major diseases in captive elephants. In vitro Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) assay is being used as an ancillary test for early detection of TB in domestic and captive wild animals. In the present study, basic sequence information and immunological cross-reactivity of this major cytokine of Asian elephants were explored. At predicted amino acid level, IFN-gamma of Asian elephant showed maximum identity to that of horse (73%). Other IFN-gamma amino acid sequences that showed high level identity were that of giant panda (72%), dog (71%), nine-banded armadillo (69%), cattle (63%) and human (62%). IFN-gamma promoter sequences of Asian elephant, human, cattle and mouse showed high level conservation of the putative transcription factor binding sites, TATA box and transcriptional start site. The functionally important human IFN-gamma promoter elements, such as AP-2IRE-BE, YY1-gammaIFN-BED, ATFCS and AP-1gammaINF binding sites, were absolutely conserved in the corresponding elephant sequence. There was only a single nucleotide variation in the other two important elements, NFAT-gammaINF and IFN-gammaPE, indicating the highly conserved regulation of IFN-gamma expression across different species. Phylogenetic analysis based on IFN-gamma protein sequences revealed a closer relation of Asian elephants and nine-banded armadillo. This shows a closer evolution of these members of Afrotheria and Xenarthra, respectively; and supports the previous reports based on mitochondrial DNA studies. In Western blot analysis, IFN-gamma of Asian elephant expressed in Escherichia coli was detected using an anti-bovine IFN-gamma monoclonal antibody, indicating immunological cross-reactivity.

  10. Evolutionary patterns of bone histology and bone compactness in xenarthran mammal long bones.

    PubMed

    Straehl, Fiona R; Scheyer, Torsten M; Forasiepi, Analía M; MacPhee, Ross D; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2013-01-01

    Bone microstructure reflects physiological characteristics and has been shown to contain phylogenetic and ecological signals. Although mammalian long bone histology is receiving increasing attention, systematic examination of the main clades has not yet been performed. Here we describe the long bone microstructure of Xenarthra based on thin sections representing twenty-two species. Additionally, patterns in bone compactness of humeri and femora are investigated. The primary bone tissue of xenarthran long bones is composed of a mixture of woven, parallel-fibered and lamellar bone. The vascular canals have a longitudinal, reticular or radial orientation and are mostly arranged in an irregular manner. Concentric rows of vascular canals and laminar organization of the tissue are only found in anteater bones. The long bones of adult specimens are marked by dense Haversian bone, a feature that has been noted for most groups of mammals. In the long bones of armadillos, secondary osteons have an oblique orientation within the three-dimensional bone tissue, thus resulting in their irregular shape when the bones are sectioned transversely. Secondary remodeling is generally more extensive in large taxa than in small taxa, and this could be caused by increased loading. Lines of arrested growth are assumed to be present in all specimens, but they are restricted to the outermost layer in bones of armadillos and are often masked by secondary remodeling in large taxa. Parameters of bone compactness show a pattern in the femur that separates Cingulata and Pilosa (Folivora and Vermilingua), with cingulates having a lower compactness than pilosans. In addition, cingulates show an allometric relationship between humeral and femoral bone compactness.

  11. Orientation of the lateral semicircular canal in Xenarthra and its links with head posture and phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Coutier, Florence; Hautier, Lionel; Cornette, Raphaël; Amson, Eli; Billet, Guillaume

    2017-02-10

    The orientation of the semicircular canals of the inner ear in the skull of vertebrates is one of the determinants of the capacity of this system to detect a given rotational movement of the head. Past functional studies on the spatial orientation of the semicircular canals essentially focused on the lateral semicircular canal (LSC), which is supposedly held close to horizontal during rest and/or alert behaviors. However, they generally investigated this feature in only a few and distantly related taxa. Based on 3D-models reconstructed from µCT-scans of skulls, we examined the diversity of orientations of the LSC within one of the four major clades of placental mammals, that is, the superorder Xenarthra, with a data set that includes almost all extant genera and two extinct taxa. We observed a wide diversity of LSC orientations relative to the basicranium at both intraspecific and interspecific scales. The estimated phylogenetic imprint on the orientation of the LSC was significant but rather low within the superorder, though some phylogenetic conservatism was detected for armadillos that were characterized by a strongly tilted LSC. A convergence between extant suspensory sloths was also detected, both genera showing a weakly tilted LSC. Our preliminary analysis of usual head posture in extant xenarthrans based on photographs of living animals further revealed that the LSC orientation in armadillos is congruent with a strongly nose-down head posture. It also portrayed a more complex situation for sloths and anteaters. Finally, we also demonstrate that the conformation of the cranial vault and nuchal crests as well as the orientation of the posterior part of the petrosal may covary with the LSC orientation in Xenarthra. Possible inferences for the head postures of extinct xenarthrans such as giant ground sloths are discussed in the light of these results.

  12. Molecular phylogeny of living xenarthrans and the impact of character and taxon sampling on the placental tree rooting.

    PubMed

    Delsuc, Frédéric; Scally, Mark; Madsen, Ole; Stanhope, Michael J; de Jong, Wilfried W; Catzeflis, François M; Springer, Mark S; Douzery, Emmanuel J P

    2002-10-01

    Extant xenarthrans (armadillos, anteaters and sloths) are among the most derived placental mammals ever evolved. South America was the cradle of their evolutionary history. During the Tertiary, xenarthrans experienced an extraordinary radiation, whereas South America remained isolated from other continents. The 13 living genera are relics of this earlier diversification and represent one of the four major clades of placental mammals. Sequences of the three independent protein-coding nuclear markers alpha2B adrenergic receptor (ADRA2B), breast cancer susceptibility (BRCA1), and von Willebrand Factor (VWF) were determined for 12 of the 13 living xenarthran genera. Comparative evolutionary dynamics of these nuclear exons using a likelihood framework revealed contrasting patterns of molecular evolution. All codon positions of BRCA1 were shown to evolve in a strikingly similar manner, and third codon positions appeared less saturated within placentals than those of ADRA2B and VWF. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses of a 47 placental taxa data set rooted by three marsupial outgroups resolved the phylogeny of Xenarthra with some evidence for two radiation events in armadillos and provided a strongly supported picture of placental interordinal relationships. This topology was fully compatible with recent studies, dividing placentals into the Southern Hemisphere clades Afrotheria and Xenarthra and a monophyletic Northern Hemisphere clade (Boreoeutheria) composed of Laurasiatheria and Euarchontoglires. Partitioned likelihood statistical tests of the position of the root, under different character partition schemes, identified three almost equally likely hypotheses for early placental divergences: a basal Afrotheria, an Afrotheria + Xenarthra clade, or a basal Xenarthra (Epitheria hypothesis). We took advantage of the extensive sampling realized within Xenarthra to assess its impact on the location of the root on the placental tree. By resampling taxa

  13. beta-Catenin associates with the actin-bundling protein fascin in a noncadherin complex

    PubMed Central

    1996-01-01

    Catenins were first characterized as linking the cytoplasmic domains of cadherin cell-cell adhesion molecules to the cortical actin cytoskeleton. In addition to their essential role in modulating cadherin adhesivity, catenins have more recently been indicated to participate in cell and developmental signaling pathways. beta-Catenin, for example, associates directly with at least two receptor tyrosine kinases and transduces developmental signals within the Wnt pathway. Catenins also complex with the tumor suppressor protein adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), which appears to have a role in regulating cell proliferation. We have used the yeast two-hybrid method to reveal that fascin, a bundler of actin filaments, binds to beta-catenin's central Armadillo repeat domain. Western blotting of immunoprecipitates from cell line and mouse and rat brain extracts indicate that this interaction exists in vivo. Fascin and beta-catenin's association was further substantiated in vitro using purified proteins isolated from recombinant bacterial and baculoviral sources. Immunoprecipitation analysis indicates that fascin additionally binds to plakoglobin, which is highly homologous to beta-catenin but not to p120cas, a newly described catenin which contains a more divergent Armadillo-repeat domain. Immunoprecipitation, in vitro competition, and domain-mapping experiments demonstrate that fascin and E-cadherin utilize a similar binding site within beta-catenin, such that they form mutually exclusive complexes with beta-catenin. Immunofluorescence microscopy reveals that fascin and beta-catenin colocalize at cell-cell borders and dynamic cell leading edges of epithelial and endothelial cells. In addition to cell-cell borders, cadherins were unexpectedly observed to colocalize with fascin and beta-catenin at cell leading edges. It is conceivable that beta-catenin participates in modulating cytoskeletal dynamics in association with the microfilament-bundling protein fascin, perhaps in a

  14. Evolutionary Patterns of Bone Histology and Bone Compactness in Xenarthran Mammal Long Bones

    PubMed Central

    Straehl, Fiona R.; Scheyer, Torsten M.; Forasiepi, Analía M.; MacPhee, Ross D.; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.

    2013-01-01

    Bone microstructure reflects physiological characteristics and has been shown to contain phylogenetic and ecological signals. Although mammalian long bone histology is receiving increasing attention, systematic examination of the main clades has not yet been performed. Here we describe the long bone microstructure of Xenarthra based on thin sections representing twenty-two species. Additionally, patterns in bone compactness of humeri and femora are investigated. The primary bone tissue of xenarthran long bones is composed of a mixture of woven, parallel-fibered and lamellar bone. The vascular canals have a longitudinal, reticular or radial orientation and are mostly arranged in an irregular manner. Concentric rows of vascular canals and laminar organization of the tissue are only found in anteater bones. The long bones of adult specimens are marked by dense Haversian bone, a feature that has been noted for most groups of mammals. In the long bones of armadillos, secondary osteons have an oblique orientation within the three-dimensional bone tissue, thus resulting in their irregular shape when the bones are sectioned transversely. Secondary remodeling is generally more extensive in large taxa than in small taxa, and this could be caused by increased loading. Lines of arrested growth are assumed to be present in all specimens, but they are restricted to the outermost layer in bones of armadillos and are often masked by secondary remodeling in large taxa. Parameters of bone compactness show a pattern in the femur that separates Cingulata and Pilosa (Folivora and Vermilingua), with cingulates having a lower compactness than pilosans. In addition, cingulates show an allometric relationship between humeral and femoral bone compactness. PMID:23874932

  15. DNA Fingerprinting of Mycobacterium leprae Strains Using Variable Number Tandem Repeat (VNTR) - Fragment Length Analysis (FLA)

    PubMed Central

    Jensen, Ronald W.; Rivest, Jason; Li, Wei; Vissa, Varalakshmi

    2011-01-01

    The study of the transmission of leprosy is particularly difficult since the causative agent, Mycobacterium leprae, cannot be cultured in the laboratory. The only sources of the bacteria are leprosy patients, and experimentally infected armadillos and nude mice. Thus, many of the methods used in modern epidemiology are not available for the study of leprosy. Despite an extensive global drug treatment program for leprosy implemented by the WHO1, leprosy remains endemic in many countries with approximately 250,000 new cases each year.2 The entire M. leprae genome has been mapped3,4 and many loci have been identified that have repeated segments of 2 or more base pairs (called micro- and minisatellites).5 Clinical strains of M. leprae may vary in the number of tandem repeated segments (short tandem repeats, STR) at many of these loci.5,6,7 Variable number tandem repeat (VNTR)5 analysis has been used to distinguish different strains of the leprosy bacilli. Some of the loci appear to be more stable than others, showing less variation in repeat numbers, while others seem to change more rapidly, sometimes in the same patient. While the variability of certain VNTRs has brought up questions regarding their suitability for strain typing7,8,9, the emerging data suggest that analyzing multiple loci, which are diverse in their stability, can be used as a valuable epidemiological tool. Multiple locus VNTR analysis (MLVA)10 has been used to study leprosy evolution and transmission in several countries including China11,12, Malawi8, the Philippines10,13, and Brazil14. MLVA involves multiple steps. First, bacterial DNA is extracted along with host tissue DNA from clinical biopsies or slit skin smears (SSS).10 The desired loci are then amplified from the extracted DNA via polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Fluorescently-labeled primers for 4-5 different loci are used per reaction, with 18 loci being amplified in a total of four reactions.10 The PCR products may be subjected to agarose

  16. Diversity, Seasonality, and Context of Mammalian Roadkills in the Southern Great Plains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith-Patten, Brenda D.; Patten, Michael A.

    2008-06-01

    Thousands of mammals are killed annually from vehicle collisions, making the issue an important one for conservation biologists and environmental managers. We recorded all readily identifiable kills on or immediately adjacent to roads in the southern Great Plains from March 2004-March 2007. We also recorded distance traveled, whether a road was paved or divided, the number of lanes, and prevailing habitat. Surveys were opportunistic and were conducted by car during conditions of good visibility. Over our 239 surveys and >16,500 km traveled, we recorded 1412 roadkills from 18 different mammal species (size ranged from Sciurus squirrels to the white-tailed deer, Odocolieus virginianus). The overall kill rate was 8.50 / 100 km. Four species were prone to collisions: the Virginia opossum ( Didelphis virginiana), nine-banded armadillo ( Dasypus novemcinctus), striped skunk ( Mephitis mephitis), and northern raccoon ( Procyon lotor). Together they accounted for approximately 85% (1198) of all roadkills. Mortality rate differed significantly between 2- and 4-lane roads (8.39 versus 7.79 / 100 km). Kill rates were significantly higher on paved versus unpaved roads (8.60 versus 3.65 / 100 km), but did not depend on whether a road was divided. Roadkills were higher in spring than in fall (1.5×), winter (1.4×), or summer (1.3×). The spring peak (in kills / 100 km) was driven chiefly by the armadillo (2.76 in spring/summer versus 0.73 in autumn/winter) and opossum (2.65 versus 1.47). By contrast, seasonality was dampened by a late winter/early spring peak in skunk mortalities, for which 41% occurred in the 6-week period of mid-February through March. The raccoon did not exhibit a strong seasonal pattern. Our data are consistent with dispersal patterns of these species. Our results underscore the high rate of highway mortality in the southern plains, as well as differences in seasonality and road type that contribute to mortality. Conservation and management efforts should

  17. DNA fingerprinting of Mycobacterium leprae strains using variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) - fragment length analysis (FLA).

    PubMed

    Jensen, Ronald W; Rivest, Jason; Li, Wei; Vissa, Varalakshmi

    2011-07-15

    The study of the transmission of leprosy is particularly difficult since the causative agent, Mycobacterium leprae, cannot be cultured in the laboratory. The only sources of the bacteria are leprosy patients, and experimentally infected armadillos and nude mice. Thus, many of the methods used in modern epidemiology are not available for the study of leprosy. Despite an extensive global drug treatment program for leprosy implemented by the WHO, leprosy remains endemic in many countries with approximately 250,000 new cases each year. The entire M. leprae genome has been mapped and many loci have been identified that have repeated segments of 2 or more base pairs (called micro- and minisatellites). Clinical strains of M. leprae may vary in the number of tandem repeated segments (short tandem repeats, STR) at many of these loci. Variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis has been used to distinguish different strains of the leprosy bacilli. Some of the loci appear to be more stable than others, showing less variation in repeat numbers, while others seem to change more rapidly, sometimes in the same patient. While the variability of certain VNTRs has brought up questions regarding their suitability for strain typing, the emerging data suggest that analyzing multiple loci, which are diverse in their stability, can be used as a valuable epidemiological tool. Multiple locus VNTR analysis (MLVA) has been used to study leprosy evolution and transmission in several countries including China, Malawi, the Philippines, and Brazil. MLVA involves multiple steps. First, bacterial DNA is extracted along with host tissue DNA from clinical biopsies or slit skin smears (SSS). The desired loci are then amplified from the extracted DNA via polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Fluorescently-labeled primers for 4-5 different loci are used per reaction, with 18 loci being amplified in a total of four reactions. The PCR products may be subjected to agarose gel electrophoresis to verify the

  18. Camera trap records of animal activity prior to a M=7 earthquake in Northern Peru

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grant, R.; Raulin, J.; Freund, F.

    2013-12-01

    Earthquake (EQ) preparation is associated with geophysical changes occurring over many scales. Some pre-earthquake (pre-EQ) processes affect the ionosphere, others leave their mark on biota. We report (i) on ionospheric anomalies recorded prior to the M=7 Contamana EQ [1] in North-Eastern Peru, 134 km deep, associated with the subduction of the Nazca plate underneath the Northern Andes, (ii) on changes in animal activity recorded in the Yanachaga National Park, about 320 km from the EQ epicentre, over a 30 day period leading up to the M=7 seismic event. Night-time Very Low Frequency (VLF) phase data were analyzed for the period 01 June to 31 Oct. 2011 using propagation paths passing close to the Yanachaga Park from the NAA emitter (USA) to receivers PIU in Piura and PLO in Lima (Peru). Ionospheric phase perturbations were observed starting 2 weeks before the EQ with periodicities from few tens of secs to few minutes. Animal activity data were obtained by evaluating the images of a cluster of 10 motion-triggered cameras of the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network www.teamnetwork.org. We analyzed 1359 photographic records for the pre-EQ period and 1491 photographic records for a control period with low seismicity. Animal activity started to noticeably decline 3 weeks before the EQ. Different animal species were found to react differently. The number of rodents declined to zero about one week before the EQ and so did the number of tapirs. Armadillos, a burrowing animal, were recorded in larger numbers. Though the armadillos were presumably also flushed out of their holes, they apparently did not hide like the rodents. We discuss the results in the context of recent advances in solid state physics, which provide plausible mechanisms for pre-EQ ionospheric anomalies and for changes in animal behavior. [1] Tavera, H. (2012), Report on the 24 Aug. 2011 M 7.0 Contamana, Peru, Intermediate Depth Earthquake Seismological Research Letters, 83, 1007-1013, doi: 10.1785/0220120005

  19. Structural basis for the regulation of nuclear import of Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) by phosphorylation of the nuclear localization signal.

    PubMed

    Nakada, Ryohei; Hirano, Hidemi; Matsuura, Yoshiyuki

    2017-02-26

    Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) is expressed in every EBV-positive tumor and is essential for the maintenance, replication, and transcription of the EBV genome in the nucleus of host cells. EBNA1 is a serine phosphoprotein, and it has been shown that phosphorylation of S385 in the nuclear localization signal (NLS) of EBNA1 increases the binding affinity to the nuclear import adaptor importin-α1 as well as importin-α5, and stimulates nuclear import of EBNA1. To gain insights into how phosphorylation of the EBNA1 NLS regulates nuclear import, we have determined the crystal structures of two peptide complexes of importin-α1: one with S385-phosphorylated EBNA1 NLS peptide, determined at 2.0 Å resolution, and one with non-phosphorylated EBNA1 NLS peptide, determined at 2.2 Å resolution. The structures show that EBNA1 NLS binds to the major and minor NLS-binding sites of importin-α1, and indicate that the binding affinity of the EBNA1 NLS to the minor NLS-binding site could be enhanced by phosphorylation of S385 through electrostatic interaction between the phosphate group of phospho-S385 and K392 of importin-α1 (corresponding to R395 of importin-α5) on armadillo repeat 8.

  20. Ecology of Triatoma brasiliensis in northeastern Brazil: seasonal distribution, feeding resources, and Trypanosoma cruzi infection in a sylvatic population.

    PubMed

    Sarquis, Otilia; Carvalho-Costa, Filipe A; Oliveira, Lívia Silva; Duarte, Rosemere; D Andrea, Paulo Sergio; de Oliveira, Tiago Guedes; Lima, Marli Maria

    2010-12-01

    We assessed some ecological parameters of Triatoma brasiliensis in rock piles in the state of Ceará during the rainy and dry seasons. The greatest density was in April (median = 12.5 triatomines/site). The greatest abundance was in December, when the insects were more dispersed and the density per site was lower (6 triatomines/site). The nutritional status of females and 5th instar nymphs was increased in July. The rate of T. cruzi infection reached its highest peak in July (10.9%). ELISA revealed that the principal food sources were birds (33.1%), followed by armadillos (18.8%). Food sources were more frequently identified during the rainy season. T. brasiliensis specimens collected in the drought tended to: i) present lower rates of T. cruzi infection and gut content reactivity to tested antisera, ii) have a poorer nutritional status, iii) exhibit lower fecundity, iv) be more dispersed among the studied collection sites, and v) be more abundant and easily collected in the surface of the rocks, possibly reflecting an increased searching for blood meals. Such findings underscore epidemiological concerns and allow inferences about the season when triatomines can more frequently invade the peridomestic environment in search of food and recolonize artificial structures.

  1. Discrete typing units of Trypanosoma cruzi identified in rural dogs and cats in the humid Argentinean Chaco

    PubMed Central

    ENRIQUEZ, G.F.; CARDINAL, M.V.; OROZCO, M.M.; LANATI, L.; SCHIJMAN, A.G.; GÜRTLER, R.E.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY The discrete typing units (DTUs) of Trypanosoma cruzi that infect domestic dogs and cats have rarely been studied. With this purpose we conducted a cross-sectional xenodiagnostic survey of dog and cat populations residing in two infested rural villages in Pampa del Indio, in the humid Argentine Chaco. Parasites were isolated by culture from 44 dogs and 12 cats with a positive xenodiagnosis. DTUs were identified from parasite culture samples using a strategy based on multiple polymerase-chain reactions. TcVI was identified in 37 of 44 dogs and in 10 of 12 cats, whereas TcV was identified in five dogs and in two cats –a new finding for cats. No mixed infections were detected. The occurrence of two dogs infected with TcIII –classically found in armadillos– suggests a probable link with the local sylvatic transmission cycle involving Dasypus novemcinctus armadillos and a potential risk of human infection with TcIII. Our study reinforces the importance of dogs and cats as domestic reservoir hosts and sources of various DTUs infecting humans, and suggests a link between dogs and the sylvatic transmission cycle of TcIII. PMID:23058180

  2. Structural basis of coactivation of liver receptor homolog-1 by β-catenin

    PubMed Central

    Yumoto, Fumiaki; Nguyen, Phuong; Sablin, Elena P.; Baxter, John D.; Webb, Paul; Fletterick, Robert J.

    2012-01-01

    We report the three-dimensional structure of a β-catenin armadillo repeat in complex with the liver receptor homolog-1 (LRH-1) ligand binding domain at 2.8 Å resolution as the first structure of β-catenin in complex with any nuclear receptor. The surface of β-catenin that binds LRH-1 partly overlaps defined contact sites for peptide segments of β-catenin partners, including T-cell factor-4. The surface of LRH-1 that engages β-catenin is comprised of helices 1, 9, and 10 and is distinct from known interaction surfaces of LRH-1, including corepressor and coactivator binding sites. Targeted mutagenesis of amino acids forming both sides of the LRH-1/β-catenin interface reveals that they are essential for stable interactions between these proteins in solution. The LRH-1 binding site in β-catenin is also required for association with androgen receptor, providing evidence that the observed LRH-1/β-catenin interaction may be prototypic. PMID:22187462

  3. Feeding preferences of Lutzomyia longipalpis (Diptera: Psychodidae), the sand fly vector, for Leishmania infantum (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae).

    PubMed

    Macedo-Silva, Virgínia P; Martins, Daniella R A; De Queiroz, Paula Vivianne Souza; Pinheiro, Marcos Paulo G; Freire, Caio C M; Queiroz, José W; Dupnik, Kathryn M; Pearson, Richard D; Wilson, Mary E; Jeronimo, Selma M B; Ximenes, Maria De Fátima F M

    2014-01-01

    Leishmania infantum, the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Brazil, is spread mostly by the bite of the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva). We trapped sand flies in endemic neighborhoods near Natal, Brazil, where cases of human and dog VL were documented. Amplification of species-specific cytochrome b (Cyt b) genes by polymerase chain reaction revealed that sand flies from rural and periurban areas harbored blood from different sources. The most common source ofbloodmeal was human, but blood from dog, chicken, and armadillo was also present. We tested the preference for a source of bloodmeal experimentally by feeding L. longipalpis F1 with blood from different animals. There were significant differences between the proportion of flies engorged and number of eggs laid among flies fed on different sources, varying from 8.4 to 19 (P < 0.0001). Blood from guinea pig or horse was best to support sand fly oviposition, but human blood also supported sand fly oviposition well. No sand flies fed on cats, and sand flies feeding on the opossum Monodelphis domestica Wagner produced no eggs. These data support the hypothesis that L. longipalpis is an eclectic feeder, and humans are an important source of blood for this sand fly species in periurban areas of Brazil.

  4. Enumeration of Mycobacterium leprae Using Real-Time PCR

    PubMed Central

    Truman, Richard W.; Andrews, P. Kyle; Robbins, Naoko Y.; Adams, Linda B.; Krahenbuhl, James L.; Gillis, Thomas P.

    2008-01-01

    Mycobacterium leprae is not cultivable in axenic media, and direct microscopic enumeration of the bacilli is complex, labor intensive, and suffers from limited sensitivity and specificity. We have developed a real-time PCR assay for quantifying M. leprae DNA in biological samples. Primers were identified to amplify a shared region of the multicopy repeat sequence (RLEP) specific to M. leprae and tested for sensitivity and specificity in the TaqMan format. The assay was specific for M. leprae and able to detect 10 fg of purified M. leprae DNA, or approximately 300 bacteria in infected tissues. We used the RLEP TaqMan PCR to assess the short and long-term growth results of M. leprae in foot pad tissues obtained from conventional mice, a gene knock-out mouse strain, athymic nude mice, as well as from reticuloendothelial tissues of M. leprae–infected nine-banded armadillos. We found excellent correlative results between estimates from RLEP TaqMan PCR and direct microscopic counting (combined r = 0.98). The RLEP TaqMan PCR permitted rapid analysis of batch samples with high reproducibility and is especially valuable for detection of low numbers of bacilli. Molecular enumeration is a rapid, objective and highly reproducible means to estimate the numbers of M. leprae in tissues, and application of the technique can facilitate work with this agent in many laboratories. PMID:18982056

  5. Discovery of alpha-defensins in basal mammals.

    PubMed

    Lynn, David J; Bradley, Daniel G

    2007-01-01

    Alpha-defensins are essential molecules of the innate immune system that have broad spectrum antimicrobial activity against a range of bacteria and viruses. To date, alpha-defensins have only been identified in the Euarchontoglires branch of the mammals. This has led to speculation that alpha-defensins may be specific to this group, a somewhat surprising finding, given their importance in the immune system. The mammalian genome project provided us with the opportunity to search for alpha-defensins in previously unexamined mammalian superorders. Using hidden Markov model (HMM) profile searching, we report the discovery of alpha-defensins in the African savanna elephant, the lesser hedgehog tenrec, and the nine-banded armadillo genomes representing two of the most basal mammalian superorders, Afrotheria and Xenarthra. Furthermore, we identify an alpha-defensin-like gene in the gray short-tailed opossum, suggesting that alpha-defensins may have evolved much earlier than previously thought, before the divergence of placental mammals and marsupials approximately 130 mya.

  6. Molecular evolution of the neurohypophysial hormone precursors in mammals: Comparative genomics reveals novel mammalian oxytocin and vasopressin analogues.

    PubMed

    Wallis, Michael

    2012-11-01

    Among vertebrates the neurohypophysial hormones show considerable variation. However, in eutherian mammals they have been considered rather conserved, with arginine vasopressin (AVP) and oxytocin (OT) in all species except pig and some relatives, where lysine vasopressin replaces AVP. The availability of genomic data for a wide range of mammals makes it possible to assess whether these peptides and their precursors may be more variable in Eutheria than previously suspected. A survey of these data confirms that AVP and OT occur in most eutherians, but with exceptions. In a New-World monkey (marmoset, Callithrix jacchus) and in tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri), Pro(8)OT replaces OT, confirming a recent report for these species. In armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) Leu(3)OT replaces OT, while in tenrec (Echinops telfairi) Thr(4)AVP replaces AVP. In these two species there is also evidence for additional genes/pseudogenes, encoding much-modified forms of AVP, but in most other eutherian species there is no evidence for additional neurohypophysial hormone genes. Evolutionary analysis shows that sequences of eutherian neurohypophysial hormone precursors are generally strongly conserved, particularly those regions encoding active peptide and neurophysin. The close association between OT and VP genes has led to frequent gene conversion of sequences encoding neurophysins. A monotreme, platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) has genes for OT and AVP, organized tail-to-tail as in eutherians, but in marsupials 3-4 genes are present for neurohypophysial hormones, organized tail-to-head as in lower vertebrates.

  7. Development and embryonic staging in non-model organisms: the case of an afrotherian mammal.

    PubMed

    Werneburg, Ingmar; Tzika, Athanasia C; Hautier, Lionel; Asher, Robert J; Milinkovitch, Michel C; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2013-01-01

    Studies of evolutionary developmental biology commonly use 'model organisms' such as fruit flies or mice, and questions are often functional or epigenetic. Phylogenetic investigations, in contrast, typically use species that are less common and mostly deal with broad scale analyses in the tree of life. However, important evolutionary transformations have taken place at all taxonomic levels, resulting in such diverse forms as elephants and shrews. To understand the mechanisms underlying morphological diversification, broader sampling and comparative approaches are paramount. Using a simple, standardized protocol, we describe for the first time the development of soft tissues and some parts of the skeleton, using μCT-imaging of developmental series of Echinops telfairi and Tenrec ecaudatus, two tenrecid afrotherian mammals. The developmental timing of soft tissue and skeletal characters described for the tenrecids is briefly compared with that of other mammals, including mouse, echidna, and the opossum. We found relatively few heterochronic differences in development in the armadillo vs. tenrec, consistent with a close relationship of Xenarthra and Afrotheria. Ossification in T. ecaudatus continues well into the second half of overall gestation, resembling the pattern seen in other small mammals and differing markedly from the advanced state of ossification evident early in the gestation of elephants, sheep, and humans.

  8. Stability of hard plates on soft substrates and application to the design of bioinspired segmented armor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martini, R.; Barthelat, F.

    2016-07-01

    Flexible natural armors from fish, alligators or armadillo are attracting an increasing amount of attention from their unique and attractive combinations of hardness, flexibility and light weight. In particular, the extreme contrast of stiffness between hard plates and surrounding soft tissues give rise to unusual and attractive mechanisms, which now serve as model for the design of bio-inspired armors. Despite a growing interest in bio-inspired flexible protection, there is little guidelines as to the choice of materials, optimum thickness, size, shape and arrangement for the protective plates. In this work, we focus on a failure mode we recently observed on natural and bio-inspired scaled armors: the unstable tilting of individual scales subjected to off-centered point forces. We first present a series of experiments on this system, followed by a model based on contact mechanics and friction. We condense the result into a single stability diagram which capture the key parameters that govern the onset of plate tilting from a localized force. We found that the stability of individual plates is governed by the location of the point force on the plate, by the friction at the surface of the plate, by the size of the plate and by the stiffness of the substrate. We finally discuss how some of these parameters can be optimized at the design stage to produce bio-inspired protective systems with desired combination of surface hardness, stability and flexural compliance.

  9. Influence of Tertiary paleoenvironmental changes on the diversification of South American mammals: a relaxed molecular clock study within xenarthrans

    PubMed Central

    Delsuc, Frédéric; Vizcaíno, Sergio F; Douzery, Emmanuel JP

    2004-01-01

    Background Comparative genomic data among organisms allow the reconstruction of their phylogenies and evolutionary time scales. Molecular timings have been recently used to suggest that environmental global change have shaped the evolutionary history of diverse terrestrial organisms. Living xenarthrans (armadillos, anteaters and sloths) constitute an ideal model for studying the influence of past environmental changes on species diversification. Indeed, extant xenarthran species are relicts from an evolutionary radiation enhanced by their isolation in South America during the Tertiary era, a period for which major climate variations and tectonic events are relatively well documented. Results We applied a Bayesian approach to three nuclear genes in order to relax the molecular clock assumption while accounting for differences in evolutionary dynamics among genes and incorporating paleontological uncertainties. We obtained a molecular time scale for the evolution of extant xenarthrans and other placental mammals. Divergence time estimates provide substantial evidence for contemporaneous diversification events among independent xenarthran lineages. This correlated pattern of diversification might possibly relate to major environmental changes that occurred in South America during the Cenozoic. Conclusions The observed synchronicity between planetary and biological events suggests that global change played a crucial role in shaping the evolutionary history of extant xenarthrans. Our findings open ways to test this hypothesis further in other South American mammalian endemics like hystricognath rodents, platyrrhine primates, and didelphid marsupials. PMID:15115541

  10. Pauci- and Multibacillary Leprosy: Two Distinct, Genetically Neglected Diseases

    PubMed Central

    Gaschignard, Jean; Grant, Audrey Virginia; Thuc, Nguyen Van; Orlova, Marianna; Cobat, Aurélie; Huong, Nguyen Thu; Ba, Nguyen Ngoc; Thai, Vu Hong; Abel, Laurent; Schurr, Erwin; Alcaïs, Alexandre

    2016-01-01

    After sustained exposure to Mycobacterium leprae, only a subset of exposed individuals develops clinical leprosy. Moreover, leprosy patients show a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations that extend from the paucibacillary (PB) to the multibacillary (MB) form of the disease. This “polarization” of leprosy has long been a major focus of investigation for immunologists because of the different immune response in these two forms. But while leprosy per se has been shown to be under tight human genetic control, few epidemiological or genetic studies have focused on leprosy subtypes. Using PubMed, we collected available data in English on the epidemiology of leprosy polarization and the possible role of human genetics in its pathophysiology until September 2015. At the genetic level, we assembled a list of 28 genes from the literature that are associated with leprosy subtypes or implicated in the polarization process. Our bibliographical search revealed that improved study designs are needed to identify genes associated with leprosy polarization. Future investigations should not be restricted to a subanalysis of leprosy per se studies but should instead contrast MB to PB individuals. We show the latter approach to be the most powerful design for the identification of genetic polarization determinants. Finally, we bring to light the important resource represented by the nine-banded armadillo model, a unique animal model for leprosy. PMID:27219008

  11. A Large Complement of the Predicted Arabidopsis ARM Repeat Proteins Are Members of the U-Box E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Family1[w

    PubMed Central

    Mudgil, Yashwanti; Shiu, Shin-Han; Stone, Sophia L.; Salt, Jennifer N.; Goring, Daphne R.

    2004-01-01

    The Arabidopsis genome was searched to identify predicted proteins containing armadillo (ARM) repeats, a motif known to mediate protein-protein interactions in a number of different animal proteins. Using domain database predictions and models generated in this study, 108 Arabidopsis proteins were identified that contained a minimum of two ARM repeats with the majority of proteins containing four to eight ARM repeats. Clustering analysis showed that the 108 predicted Arabidopsis ARM repeat proteins could be divided into multiple groups with wide differences in their domain compositions and organizations. Interestingly, 41 of the 108 Arabidopsis ARM repeat proteins contained a U-box, a motif present in a family of E3 ligases, and these proteins represented the largest class of Arabidopsis ARM repeat proteins. In 14 of these U-box/ARM repeat proteins, there was also a novel conserved domain identified in the N-terminal region. Based on the phylogenetic tree, representative U-box/ARM repeat proteins were selected for further study. RNA-blot analyses revealed that these U-box/ARM proteins are expressed in a variety of tissues in Arabidopsis. In addition, the selected U-box/ARM proteins were found to be functional E3 ubiquitin ligases. Thus, these U-box/ARM proteins represent a new family of E3 ligases in Arabidopsis. PMID:14657406

  12. Plakophilin 3 mediates Rap1-dependent desmosome assembly and adherens junction maturation

    PubMed Central

    Todorovic´, Viktor; Koetsier, Jennifer L.; Godsel, Lisa M.; Green, Kathleen J.

    2014-01-01

    The pathways driving desmosome and adherens junction assembly are temporally and spatially coordinated, but how they are functionally coupled is poorly understood. Here we show that the Armadillo protein plakophilin 3 (Pkp3) mediates both desmosome assembly and E-cadherin maturation through Rap1 GTPase, thus functioning in a manner distinct from the closely related plakophilin 2 (Pkp2). Whereas Pkp2 and Pkp3 share the ability to mediate the initial phase of desmoplakin (DP) accumulation at sites of cell–cell contact, they play distinct roles in later steps: Pkp3 is required for assembly of a cytoplasmic population of DP-enriched junction precursors, whereas Pkp2 is required for transfer of the precursors to the membrane. Moreover, Pkp3 forms a complex with Rap1 GTPase, promoting its activation and facilitating desmosome assembly. We show further that Pkp3 deficiency causes disruption of an E-cadherin/Rap1 complex required for adherens junction sealing. These findings reveal Pkp3 as a coordinator of desmosome and adherens junction assembly and maturation through its functional association with Rap1. PMID:25208567

  13. Third target of rapamycin complex negatively regulates development of quiescence in Trypanosoma brucei

    PubMed Central

    Barquilla, Antonio; Saldivia, Manuel; Diaz, Rosario; Bart, Jean-Mathieu; Vidal, Isabel; Calvo, Enrique; Hall, Michael N.; Navarro, Miguel

    2012-01-01

    African trypanosomes are protozoan parasites transmitted by a tsetse fly vector to a mammalian host. The life cycle includes highly proliferative forms and quiescent forms, the latter being adapted to host transmission. The signaling pathways controlling the developmental switch between the two forms remain unknown. Trypanosoma brucei contains two target of rapamycin (TOR) kinases, TbTOR1 and TbTOR2, and two TOR complexes, TbTORC1 and TbTORC2. Surprisingly, two additional TOR kinases are encoded in the T. brucei genome. We report that TbTOR4 associates with an Armadillo domain-containing protein (TbArmtor), a major vault protein, and LST8 to form a unique TOR complex, TbTORC4. Depletion of TbTOR4 caused irreversible differentiation of the parasite into the quiescent form. AMP and hydrolysable analogs of cAMP inhibited TbTOR4 expression and induced the stumpy quiescent form. Our results reveal unexpected complexity in TOR signaling and show that TbTORC4 negatively regulates differentiation of the proliferative form into the quiescent form. PMID:22908264

  14. Functional analyses in the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus (Hemiptera) support a role for Wnt signaling in body segmentation but not appendage development.

    PubMed

    Angelini, David R; Kaufman, Thomas C

    2005-07-15

    Specification of the proximal-distal (PD) axis of insect appendages is best understood in Drosophila melanogaster, where conserved signaling molecules encoded by the genes decapentaplegic (dpp) and wingless (wg) play key roles. However, the development of appendages from imaginal discs as in Drosophila is a derived state, while more basal insects produce appendages from embryonic limb buds. Therefore, the universality of the Drosophila limb PD axis specification mechanism has been debated since dpp expression in more basal insect species differs dramatically from Drosophila. Here, we test the function of Wnt signaling in the development of the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus, a species with the basal state of appendage development from limb buds. RNA interference of wg and pangolin (pan) produce defects in the germband and eyes, but not in the appendages. Distal-less and dachshund, two genes regulated by Wg signaling in Drosophila and expressed in specific PD domains along the limbs of both species, are expressed normally in the limbs of pan-depleted Oncopeltus embryos. Despite these apparently paradoxical results, Armadillo protein, the transducer of Wnt signaling, does not accumulate properly in the nuclei of cells in the legs of pan-depleted embryos. In contrast, engrailed RNAi in Oncopeltus produces cuticular and appendage defects similar to Drosophila. Therefore, our data suggest that Wg signaling is functionally conserved in the development of the germband, while it is not essential in the specification of the limb PD axis in Oncopeltus and perhaps basal insects.

  15. Trypanosoma cruzi and Chagas' Disease in the United States

    PubMed Central

    Bern, Caryn; Kjos, Sonia; Yabsley, Michael J.; Montgomery, Susan P.

    2011-01-01

    Summary: Chagas' disease is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and causes potentially life-threatening disease of the heart and gastrointestinal tract. The southern half of the United States contains enzootic cycles of T. cruzi, involving 11 recognized triatomine vector species. The greatest vector diversity and density occur in the western United States, where woodrats are the most common reservoir; other rodents, raccoons, skunks, and coyotes are also infected with T. cruzi. In the eastern United States, the prevalence of T. cruzi is highest in raccoons, opossums, armadillos, and skunks. A total of 7 autochthonous vector-borne human infections have been reported in Texas, California, Tennessee, and Louisiana; many others are thought to go unrecognized. Nevertheless, most T. cruzi-infected individuals in the United States are immigrants from areas of endemicity in Latin America. Seven transfusion-associated and 6 organ donor-derived T. cruzi infections have been documented in the United States and Canada. As improved control of vector- and blood-borne T. cruzi transmission decreases the burden in countries where the disease is historically endemic and imported Chagas' disease is increasingly recognized outside Latin America, the United States can play an important role in addressing the altered epidemiology of Chagas' disease in the 21st century. PMID:21976603

  16. Modeling, construction and experimental validation of actuated rolling dynamics of the cylindrical Transforming Roving-Rolling Explorer (TRREx)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwin, L.; Mazzoleni, A.; Gemmer, T.; Ferguson, S.

    2017-03-01

    Planetary surface exploration technology over the past few years has seen significant advancements on multiple fronts. Robotic exploration platforms are becoming more sophisticated and capable of embarking on more challenging missions. More unconventional designs, particularly transforming architectures that have multiple modes of locomotion, are being studied. This work explores the capabilities of one such novel transforming rover called the Transforming Roving-Rolling Explorer (TRREx). Biologically inspired by the armadillo and the golden-wheel spider, the TRREx has two modes of locomotion: it can traverse on six wheels like a conventional rover on benign terrain, but can transform into a sphere when necessary to negotiate steep rugged slopes. The ability to self-propel in the spherical configuration, even in the absence of a negative gradient, increases the TRREx's versatility and its concept value. This paper describes construction and testing of a prototype cylindrical TRREx that demonstrates that "actuated rolling" can be achieved, and also presents a dynamic model of this prototype version of the TRREx that can be used to investigate the feasibility and value of such self-propelled locomotion. Finally, we present results that validate our dynamic model by comparing results from computer simulations made using the dynamic model to experimental results acquired from test runs using the prototype.

  17. Condensin HEAT Subunits Required for DNA Repair, Kinetochore/Centromere Function and Ploidy Maintenance in Fission Yeast

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Xingya; Nakazawa, Norihiko; Yanagida, Mitsuhiro

    2015-01-01

    Condensin, a central player in eukaryotic chromosomal dynamics, contains five evolutionarily-conserved subunits. Two SMC (structural maintenance of chromosomes) subunits contain ATPase, hinge, and coiled-coil domains. One non-SMC subunit is similar to bacterial kleisin, and two other non-SMC subunits contain HEAT (similar to armadillo) repeats. Here we report isolation and characterization of 21 fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) mutants for three non-SMC subunits, created using error-prone mutagenesis that resulted in single-amino acid substitutions. Beside condensation, segregation, and DNA repair defects, similar to those observed in previously isolated SMC and cnd2 mutants, novel phenotypes were observed for mutants of HEAT-repeats containing Cnd1 and Cnd3 subunits. cnd3-L269P is hypersensitive to the microtubule poison, thiabendazole, revealing defects in kinetochore/centromere and spindle assembly checkpoints. Three cnd1 and three cnd3 mutants increased cell size and doubled DNA content, thereby eliminating the haploid state. Five of these mutations reside in helix B of HEAT repeats. Two non-SMC condensin subunits, Cnd1 and Cnd3, are thus implicated in ploidy maintenance. PMID:25764183

  18. Development and embryonic staging in non-model organisms: the case of an afrotherian mammal

    PubMed Central

    Werneburg, Ingmar; Tzika, Athanasia C; Hautier, Lionel; Asher, Robert J; Milinkovitch, Michel C; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2013-01-01

    Studies of evolutionary developmental biology commonly use ‘model organisms’ such as fruit flies or mice, and questions are often functional or epigenetic. Phylogenetic investigations, in contrast, typically use species that are less common and mostly deal with broad scale analyses in the tree of life. However, important evolutionary transformations have taken place at all taxonomic levels, resulting in such diverse forms as elephants and shrews. To understand the mechanisms underlying morphological diversification, broader sampling and comparative approaches are paramount. Using a simple, standardized protocol, we describe for the first time the development of soft tissues and some parts of the skeleton, using μCT-imaging of developmental series of Echinops telfairi and Tenrec ecaudatus, two tenrecid afrotherian mammals. The developmental timing of soft tissue and skeletal characters described for the tenrecids is briefly compared with that of other mammals, including mouse, echidna, and the opossum. We found relatively few heterochronic differences in development in the armadillo vs. tenrec, consistent with a close relationship of Xenarthra and Afrotheria. Ossification in T. ecaudatus continues well into the second half of overall gestation, resembling the pattern seen in other small mammals and differing markedly from the advanced state of ossification evident early in the gestation of elephants, sheep, and humans. PMID:22537021

  19. Do apprehended saffron finches know how to survive predators? A careful look at reintroduction candidates.

    PubMed

    Dutra, Luisa Mascarenhas Ladeia; Young, Robert John; Galdino, Conrado Aleksander Barbosa; Vasconcellos, Angélica da Silva

    2016-04-01

    Wildlife trafficking is a major factor contributing to the reduction of biological diversity. In Brazil, trafficked animals are apprehended by environmental agencies and released in the wild. The maintenance of wild animals in captivity may jeopardize their survival in the wild, for example, by reducing their ability to recognize a predator. Saffron finches (Sicalis flaveola) are among the most trafficked Brazilian birds. Twenty-eight apprehended saffron finches were submitted to Temperament and Predator-recognition tests, with presentation of predator and non-predator models: a live and a taxidermised hawk, a taxidermised armadillo and a Lego cube. The captive saffron finches have retained general anti-predator responses, such as increasing alertness, avoiding back-facing and keeping distance when presented with potential predators. The birds responded more strongly to the live hawk than to the cube. Although some responses to the other stimuli were not statistically different from each other, a decrease in intensity of response with the decrease in threat level was remarkable. We found no relationship between temperament traits and responses to predators: a possible consequence of husbandry practices in captivity. Our results indicate saffron finches may retain basic anti-predator responses in captivity, which favours release and reintroduction programmes: information relevant for conservation management.

  20. A new function of rapid eye movement sleep: improvement of muscular efficiency.

    PubMed

    Cai, Zi-Jian

    2015-05-15

    Previously I demonstrated that the slow wave sleep (SWS) functioned to adjust the emotional balance disrupted by emotional memories randomly accumulated during waking, while the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep played the opposite role. Many experimental results have unambiguously shown that various emotional memories are processed during REM sleep. In this article, it is attempted to combine this confirmed function of REM sleep with the atonic state unique to REM sleep, and to integrate a new theory suggesting that improvement of muscular efficiency be a new function of REM sleep. This new function of REM sleep is more advantageous than the function of REM sleep in emotional memories and disinhibited drives to account for the phylogenetic variations of REM sleep, especially the absence of REM sleep in dolphins and short duration of REM sleep in birds in contrary to that in humans and rodents, the absence of penile erections in REM sleep in armadillo, as well as the higher voltage in EEG during REM sleep in platypus and ostrich. Besides, this new function of REM sleep is also advantageous to explain the association of REM sleep with the atonic episodes in SWS, the absence of drastic menopausal change in duration of REM sleep, and the effects of ambient temperature on the duration of REM sleep. These comparative and experimental evidences support the improvement of muscular efficiency as a new and major function of REM sleep.

  1. The structure of FMNL2-Cdc42 yields insights into the mechanism of lamellipodia and filopodia formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kühn, Sonja; Erdmann, Constanze; Kage, Frieda; Block, Jennifer; Schwenkmezger, Lisa; Steffen, Anika; Rottner, Klemens; Geyer, Matthias

    2015-05-01

    Formins are actin polymerization factors that elongate unbranched actin filaments at the barbed end. Rho family GTPases activate Diaphanous-related formins through the relief of an autoregulatory interaction. The crystal structures of the N-terminal domains of human FMNL1 and FMNL2 in complex with active Cdc42 show that Cdc42 mediates contacts with all five armadillo repeats of the formin with specific interactions formed by the Rho-GTPase insert helix. Mutation of three residues within Rac1 results in a gain-of-function mutation for FMNL2 binding and reconstitution of the Cdc42 phenotype in vivo. Dimerization of FMNL1 through a parallel coiled coil segment leads to formation of an umbrella-shaped structure that--together with Cdc42--spans more than 15 nm in diameter. The two interacting FMNL-Cdc42 heterodimers expose six membrane interaction motifs on a convex protein surface, the assembly of which may facilitate actin filament elongation at the leading edge of lamellipodia and filopodia.

  2. Osteoderm histology of the Pampatheriidae (Cingulata, Xenarthra, Mammalia): Implications for systematics, osteoderm growth, and biomechanical adaptation.

    PubMed

    Wolf, Dominik; Kalthoff, Daniela C; Sander, P Martin

    2012-04-01

    Pampatheres are extinct, large-bodied cingulates, which share morphological characters with both armadillos and glyptodonts but are considered to be more closely related to the latter. The osteoderm histology of six pampathere taxa was examined and compared to the histology of other cingulate osteoderms. This study investigates the development and functional adaptation of pampathere osteoderms as well as the phylogenetic relationships of the Pampatheriidae within the Cingulata. We found that pampathere osteoderms share a uniform histological organization based on a basic diploe-like structure. After initial stages of intramembranous growth, metaplastic ossification, that is, the direct incorporation and mineralization of pre-existing protein fibers, plays an important role in osteoderm development and provides information on various kinds of soft tissue otherwise not preserved. The latest stages of osteoderm growth are dominated by periosteal bone formation especially in the superficial cortex. Movable band osteoderms show regular arrangements of incorporated fibers that may increase the resistance of particularly weak areas against strain. The histological composition of pampathere osteoderms is plesiomorphic in its basic structure but shows a number of derived features. A unique array of Sharpey's fibers that are incorporated into the bone matrix at sutured osteoderm margins is interpreted as a synapomorphy of pampatheres. The arrangement of dermal fibers in the deep and superficial cortexes supports the close relationship between pampatheres and glyptodonts.

  3. The Interrelationships of Placental Mammals and the Limits of Phylogenetic Inference

    PubMed Central

    Tarver, James E.; dos Reis, Mario; Mirarab, Siavash; Moran, Raymond J.; Parker, Sean; O’Reilly, Joseph E.; King, Benjamin L.; O’Connell, Mary J.; Asher, Robert J.; Warnow, Tandy; Peterson, Kevin J.; Donoghue, Philip C.J.; Pisani, Davide

    2016-01-01

    Placental mammals comprise three principal clades: Afrotheria (e.g., elephants and tenrecs), Xenarthra (e.g., armadillos and sloths), and Boreoeutheria (all other placental mammals), the relationships among which are the subject of controversy and a touchstone for debate on the limits of phylogenetic inference. Previous analyses have found support for all three hypotheses, leading some to conclude that this phylogenetic problem might be impossible to resolve due to the compounded effects of incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) and a rapid radiation. Here we show, using a genome scale nucleotide data set, microRNAs, and the reanalysis of the three largest previously published amino acid data sets, that the root of Placentalia lies between Atlantogenata and Boreoeutheria. Although we found evidence for ILS in early placental evolution, we are able to reject previous conclusions that the placental root is a hard polytomy that cannot be resolved. Reanalyses of previous data sets recover Atlantogenata + Boreoeutheria and show that contradictory results are a consequence of poorly fitting evolutionary models; instead, when the evolutionary process is better-modeled, all data sets converge on Atlantogenata. Our Bayesian molecular clock analysis estimates that marsupials diverged from placentals 157–170 Ma, crown Placentalia diverged 86–100 Ma, and crown Atlantogenata diverged 84–97 Ma. Our results are compatible with placental diversification being driven by dispersal rather than vicariance mechanisms, postdating early phases in the protracted opening of the Atlantic Ocean. PMID:26733575

  4. Skeletal ossification and sequence heterochrony in xenarthran evolution.

    PubMed

    Hautier, Lionel; Weisbecker, Vera; Goswami, Anjali; Knight, Frank; Kardjilov, Nikolay; Asher, Robert J

    2011-01-01

    Previous analyses of how mammals vary in their ossification sequences have focused on monotremes, marsupials, and boreoeutherian placentals. Here, we focus on the sequence of cranial and postcranial ossification events during growth in the xenarthran skull and skeleton, including armadillos, anteaters, and sloths. We use two different methods to quantify sequence heterochrony: sequence analysis of variance (ANOVA) and event-paring/Parsimov. Our results indicate that Parsimov is conservative and does not detect clear heterochronic shifts between xenarthran and boreoeutherian placentals. Sequence-ANOVA performs better, but both methods exhibit sensitivity to the artifactual accumulation of ties. By controlling for ties and taking into account results that the methods have in common, our analysis suggests that xenarthrans significantly differ from other placentals by a late ossification of the sternum and an early ossification of the phalanges and pubis. We interpret these differences as showing that heterochrony plays a role in the skeletal development of xenarthrans, a change from previous studies that have emphasized the developmental homogeneity of the skeleton across placental mammals.

  5. Muscular reconstruction and functional morphology of the hind limb of santacrucian (Early Miocene) sloths (Xenarthra, Folivora) of Patagonia.

    PubMed

    Toledo, Néstor; Bargo, M Susana; Vizcaíno, Sergio F

    2015-05-01

    This article presents a morphofunctional analysis of the hind limb of Santacrucian (Early Miocene) sloths from southernmost Patagonia (Argentina). These fossil sloths were mid sized to large animals, ranging from 40 to 120 kg, and their postcranial skeleton was markedly different in shape compared with that of extant tree sloths, which vary from 2 to 10 kg. The functional anatomy of the hind limb of Santacrucian sloths was compared with that of living xenarthrans (tree sloths, anteaters, and armadillos), which involved reconstruction of the hind limb musculature and comparative and qualitative morphofunctional analyses, and hypotheses on the biological role of the hind limb in terms of preferences in substrate, posture, and strategies of locomotion were formulated. The hind limb of Santacrucian sloths bears strong resemblances to that of living South American anteaters in stoutness of skeletal elements, form of the characteristics related to muscular and ligamentous attachments, and conservative, pentadactylous strong-clawed pes. The musculature was very well developed, allowing powerful forces, principally in entire limb adduction, crus flexion and extension, pes extension, and toe prehension. These functional features, together with those of the forelimb, are congruent with climbing behavior, and support the hypothesis that Santacrucian sloths were good but slow climbing mammals. However, their climbing strategies were limited, owing principally to their comparatively large body size, and they relied to a large extent on their powerful musculature and curved manual and pedal unguals for both moving and standing on the arboreal supports.

  6. Seasonal reproduction in male pichis Zaedyus pichiy (Xenarthra: Dasypodidae) estimated by fecal androgen metabolites and testicular histology.

    PubMed

    Superina, Mariella; Jahn, Graciela A

    2009-06-01

    Poaching poses a threat to a wide variety of wildlife, and basic information about the biology of hunted species needs to be collected before their populations decline to the extent that requires drastic human intervention. As the survival of a species is related to its ability to reproduce, data on its reproductive cycle are necessary for the development of management strategies. The hypothesis was tested that the reproductive season of pichis (Zaedyus pichiy), small hibernating armadillos that inhabit arid environments in Argentina and Chile, is limited to spring months. Gonadal competence of semi-captive and wild-caught male pichis of Mendoza Province, Argentina was studied, by measuring fecal immunoreactive testosterone concentrations and evaluating spermatogenic activity. Results suggest that Z. pichiy is a seasonal breeder that regulates reproduction through photoperiodic cues. Gonadal competence was limited to a period of 3-5 months in spring and early summer and was reflected in enlarged testes, increased spermatogenesis, and significantly elevated fecal immunoreactive testosterone concentrations. The reproductive season for males from southern Mendoza was almost 6 weeks shorter than in the north. This fact, along with significant morphological differences between both groups, suggests that northern and southern pichis belong to two distinct populations. It is concluded that prolonged breeding seasons and more favorable environmental conditions in northern Mendoza favor a prolongation of the reproductive season that may allow pichis to breed later in the year, thus maximizing reproductive opportunities.

  7. Cognitive Function Related to the Sirh11/Zcchc16 Gene Acquired from an LTR Retrotransposon in Eutherians

    PubMed Central

    Irie, Masahito; Yoshikawa, Masanobu; Ono, Ryuichi; Iwafune, Hirotaka; Furuse, Tamio; Yamada, Ikuko; Wakana, Shigeharu; Yamashita, Yui; Abe, Takaya; Ishino, Fumitoshi; Kaneko-Ishino, Tomoko

    2015-01-01

    Gene targeting of mouse S ushi- i chi-related r etrotransposon h omologue 11 / Z inc finger CCHC domain-containing 16 (Sirh11/Zcchc16) causes abnormal behaviors related to cognition, including attention, impulsivity and working memory. Sirh11/Zcchc16 encodes a CCHC type of zinc-finger protein that exhibits high homology to an LTR retrotransposon Gag protein. Upon microdialysis analysis of the prefrontal cortex region, the recovery rate of noradrenaline (NA) was reduced compared with dopamine (DA) after perfusion of high potassium-containing artificial cerebrospinal fluid in knockout (KO) mice. These data indicate that Sirh11/Zcchc16 is involved in cognitive function in the brain, possibly via the noradrenergic system, in the contemporary mouse developmental systems. Interestingly, it is highly conserved in three out of the four major groups of the eutherians, euarchontoglires, laurasiatheria and afrotheria, but is heavily mutated in xenarthran species such as the sloth and armadillo, suggesting that it has contributed to brain evolution in the three major eutherian lineages, including humans and mice. Sirh11/Zcchc16 is the first SIRH gene to be involved in brain function, instead of just the placenta, as seen in the case of Peg10, Peg11/Rtl1 and Sirh7/Ldoc1. PMID:26402067

  8. Genome sizes in afrotheria, xenarthra, euarchontoglires, and laurasiatheria.

    PubMed

    Redi, C A; Zacharias, H; Merani, S; Oliveira-Miranda, M; Aguilera, M; Zuccotti, M; Garagna, S; Capanna, E

    2005-01-01

    Topical literature and Web site databases provide genome sizes for approximately 4,000 animal species, invertebrates and vertebrates, 330 of which are mammals. We provide the genome size for 67 mammalian species, including 51 never reported before. Knowledge of genome size facilitates sequencing projects. The data presented here encompassed 5 Metatheria (order Didelphimorphia) and 62 Eutheria: 15 Xenarthra, 24 Euarchontoglires (Rodentia), as well as 23 Laurasiatheria (22 Chiroptera and 1 species from Perissodactyla). Already available karyotypes supplement the haploid nuclear DNA contents of the respective species. Thus, we established the first comprehensive set of genome size measurements for 15 Xenarthra species (armadillos) and for 12 house-mouse species; each group was previously represented by only one species. The Xenarthra exhibited much larger genomes than the modal 3 pg DNA known for mammals. Within the genus Mus, genome sizes varied between 2.98 pg and 3.68 pg. The 22 bat species we measured support the low 2.63 pg modal value for Chiroptera. In general, the genomes of Euarchontoglires and Laurasiatheria were found being smaller than those of (Afrotheria and) Xenarthra. Interspecific variation in genome sizes is discussed with particular attention to repetitive elements, which probably promoted the adaptation of extant mammals to their environment.

  9. Collagen Sequence Analysis of the Extinct Giant Ground Sloths Lestodon and Megatherium

    PubMed Central

    Buckley, Michael; Fariña, Richard A.; Lawless, Craig; Tambusso, P. Sebastián; Varela, Luciano; Carlini, Alfredo A.; Powell, Jaime E.; Martinez, Jorge G.

    2015-01-01

    For over 200 years, fossils of bizarre extinct creatures have been described from the Americas that have ranged from giant ground sloths to the ‘native’ South American ungulates, groups of mammals that evolved in relative isolation on South America. Ground sloths belong to the South American xenarthrans, a group with modern although morphologically and ecologically very different representatives (anteaters, armadillos and sloths), which has been proposed to be one of the four main eutherian clades. Recently, proteomics analyses of bone collagen have recently been used to yield a molecular phylogeny for a range of mammals including the unusual ‘Malagasy aardvark’ shown to be most closely related to the afrotherian tenrecs, and the south American ungulates supporting their morphological association with condylarths. However, proteomics results generate partial sequence information that could impact upon the phylogenetic placement that has not been appropriately tested. For comparison, this paper examines the phylogenetic potential of proteomics-based sequencing through the analysis of collagen extracted from two extinct giant ground sloths, Lestodon and Megatherium. The ground sloths were placed as sister taxa to extant sloths, but with a closer relationship between Lestodon and the extant sloths than the basal Megatherium. These results highlight that proteomics methods could yield plausible phylogenies that share similarities with other methods, but have the potential to be more useful in fossils beyond the limits of ancient DNA survival. PMID:26540101

  10. The inner ear of Megatherium and the evolution of the vestibular system in sloths.

    PubMed

    Billet, G; Germain, D; Ruf, I; de Muizon, C; Hautier, L

    2013-12-01

    Extant tree sloths are uniquely slow mammals with a very specialized suspensory behavior. To improve our understanding of their peculiar evolution, we investigated the inner ear morphology of one of the largest and most popular fossil ground sloths, Megatherium americanum. We first address the predicted agility of this animal from the scaling of its semicircular canals (SC) relative to body mass, based on recent work that provided evidence that the size of the SC in mammals correlates with body mass and levels of agility. Our analyses predict intermediate levels of agility for Megatherium, contrasting with the extreme slowness of extant sloths. Secondly, we focus on the morphology of the SC at the inner ear scale and investigate the shape and proportions of these structures in Megatherium and in a large diversity of extant xenarthrans represented in our database. Our morphometric analyses demonstrate that the giant ground sloth clearly departs from the SC morphology of both extant sloth genera (Choloepus, Bradypus) and is in some aspects closer to that of armadillos and anteaters. Given the close phylogenetic relationships of Megatherium with the extant genus Choloepus, these results are evidence of substantial homoplasy of the SC anatomy in sloths. This homoplasy most likely corresponds to an outstanding convergent evolution between extant suspensory sloth genera.

  11. Hansen's disease (Leprosy): current and future pharmacotherapy and treatment of disease-related immunologic reactions.

    PubMed

    Legendre, Davey P; Muzny, Christina A; Swiatlo, Edwin

    2012-01-01

    Hansen's disease, also known as leprosy, remains an important public health problem throughout the world, including North America. The causative microbe in Hansen's disease is Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast organism that is difficult to grow in vitro. The nine-banded armadillo is the major animal reservoir in the United States. Manifestations of disease vary based on host immune response and can range from tuberculoid to lepromatous leprosy (paucibacillary to multibacillary disease). Hansen's disease typically affects the skin, nerves, and eyes, and patients may present with skin lesions, weakness, numbness, eye pain, or loss of vision. Definitive diagnosis is based on a combination of physical examination findings and skin biopsy and/or smear. Modern antibacterial therapy typically consists of combinations of dapsone and rifampin with or without clofazimine. Clofazimine is available only as an investigational drug through the National Hansen's Disease Program. Other options include moxifloxacin, ofloxacin, minocycline, and clarithromycin. Hansen's disease is associated with type 1 (reversal) and type 2 (erythema nodosum leprosum) immunologic reactions, during which the disease process appears to worsen dramatically. These reactions may occur at any time before, during, or after treatment. Antibacterial therapy should usually be continued during these reactions. Treatment options for these reactions differ based on clinical manifestations and include corticosteroids, thalidomide, pentoxiphylline, tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, and T cell inhibitors. Prompt diagnosis, antimicrobial therapy, and treatment of reactions dramatically reduce complications of the disease.

  12. Molecular Decay of the Tooth Gene Enamelin (ENAM) Mirrors the Loss of Enamel in the Fossil Record of Placental Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Meredith, Robert W.; Gatesy, John; Murphy, William J.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Springer, Mark S.

    2009-01-01

    Vestigial structures occur at both the anatomical and molecular levels, but studies documenting the co-occurrence of morphological degeneration in the fossil record and molecular decay in the genome are rare. Here, we use morphology, the fossil record, and phylogenetics to predict the occurrence of “molecular fossils” of the enamelin (ENAM) gene in four different orders of placental mammals (Tubulidentata, Pholidota, Cetacea, Xenarthra) with toothless and/or enamelless taxa. Our results support the “molecular fossil” hypothesis and demonstrate the occurrence of frameshift mutations and/or stop codons in all toothless and enamelless taxa. We then use a novel method based on selection intensity estimates for codons (ω) to calculate the timing of iterated enamel loss in the fossil record of aardvarks and pangolins, and further show that the molecular evolutionary history of ENAM predicts the occurrence of enamel in basal representatives of Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters, armadillos) even though frameshift mutations are ubiquitous in ENAM sequences of living xenarthrans. The molecular decay of ENAM parallels the morphological degeneration of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals and provides manifest evidence for the predictive power of Darwin's theory. PMID:19730686

  13. Using genomic data to unravel the root of the placental mammal phylogeny

    PubMed Central

    Murphy, William J.; Pringle, Thomas H.; Crider, Tess A.; Springer, Mark S.; Miller, Webb

    2007-01-01

    The phylogeny of placental mammals is a critical framework for choosing future genome sequencing targets and for resolving the ancestral mammalian genome at the nucleotide level. Despite considerable recent progress defining superordinal relationships, several branches remain poorly resolved, including the root of the placental tree. Here we analyzed the genome sequence assemblies of human, armadillo, elephant, and opossum to identify informative coding indels that would serve as rare genomic changes to infer early events in placental mammal phylogeny. We also expanded our species sampling by including sequence data from >30 ongoing genome projects, followed by PCR and sequencing validation of each indel in additional taxa. Our data provide support for a sister-group relationship between Afrotheria and Xenarthra (the Atlantogenata hypothesis), which is in turn the sister-taxon to Boreoeutheria. We failed to recover any indels in support of a basal position for Xenarthra (Epitheria), which is suggested by morphology and a recent retroposon analysis, or a hypothesis with Afrotheria basal (Exafricoplacentalia), which is favored by phylogenetic analysis of large nuclear gene data sets. In addition, we identified two retroposon insertions that also support Atlantogenata and none for the alternative hypotheses. A revised molecular timescale based on these phylogenetic inferences suggests Afrotheria and Xenarthra diverged from other placental mammals ∼103 (95–114) million years ago. We discuss the impacts of this topology on earlier phylogenetic reconstructions and repeat-based inferences of phylogeny. PMID:17322288

  14. The alterations in the extracellular matrix composition guide the repair of damaged liver tissue.

    PubMed

    Klaas, Mariliis; Kangur, Triin; Viil, Janeli; Mäemets-Allas, Kristina; Minajeva, Ave; Vadi, Krista; Antsov, Mikk; Lapidus, Natalia; Järvekülg, Martin; Jaks, Viljar

    2016-06-06

    While the cellular mechanisms of liver regeneration have been thoroughly studied, the role of extracellular matrix (ECM) in liver regeneration is still poorly understood. We utilized a proteomics-based approach to identify the shifts in ECM composition after CCl4 or DDC treatment and studied their effect on the proliferation of liver cells by combining biophysical and cell culture methods. We identified notable alterations in the ECM structural components (eg collagens I, IV, V, fibronectin, elastin) as well as in non-structural proteins (eg olfactomedin-4, thrombospondin-4, armadillo repeat-containing x-linked protein 2 (Armcx2)). Comparable alterations in ECM composition were seen in damaged human livers. The increase in collagen content and decrease in elastic fibers resulted in rearrangement and increased stiffness of damaged liver ECM. Interestingly, the alterations in ECM components were nonhomogenous and differed between periportal and pericentral areas and thus our experiments demonstrated the differential ability of selected ECM components to regulate the proliferation of hepatocytes and biliary cells. We define for the first time the alterations in the ECM composition of livers recovering from damage and present functional evidence for a coordinated ECM remodelling that ensures an efficient restoration of liver tissue.

  15. Ubiquitin Ligase HUWE1 Regulates Axon Branching through the Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway in a Drosophila Model for Intellectual Disability

    PubMed Central

    Vandewalle, Joke; Langen, Marion; Zschaetzsch, Marlen; Nijhof, Bonnie; Kramer, Jamie M.; Brems, Hilde; Bauters, Marijke; Lauwers, Elsa; Srahna, Mohammed; Marynen, Peter; Verstreken, Patrik; Schenck, Annette; Hassan, Bassem A.; Froyen, Guy

    2013-01-01

    We recently reported that duplication of the E3 ubiquitin ligase HUWE1 results in intellectual disability (ID) in male patients. However, the underlying molecular mechanism remains unknown. We used Drosophila melanogaster as a model to investigate the effect of increased HUWE1 levels on the developing nervous system. Similar to the observed levels in patients we overexpressed the HUWE1 mRNA about 2-fold in the fly. The development of the mushroom body and neuromuscular junctions were not altered, and basal neurotransmission was unaffected. These data are in agreement with normal learning and memory in the courtship conditioning paradigm. However, a disturbed branching phenotype at the axon terminals of the dorsal cluster neurons (DCN) was detected. Interestingly, overexpression of HUWE1 was found to decrease the protein levels of dishevelled (dsh) by 50%. As dsh as well as Fz2 mutant flies showed the same disturbed DCN branching phenotype, and the constitutive active homolog of β-catenin, armadillo, could partially rescue this phenotype, our data strongly suggest that increased dosage of HUWE1 compromises the Wnt/β-catenin pathway possibly by enhancing the degradation of dsh. PMID:24303071

  16. Clinicopathological correlates of adrenal Cushing's syndrome.

    PubMed

    Duan, Kai; Gomez Hernandez, Karen; Mete, Ozgur

    2015-03-01

    Endogenous Cushing's syndrome is a rare endocrine disorder that incurs significant cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, due to glucocorticoid excess. It comprises adrenal (20%) and non-adrenal (80%) aetiologies. While the majority of cases are attributed to pituitary or ectopic corticotropin (ACTH) overproduction, primary cortisol-producing adrenal cortical lesions are increasingly recognised in the pathophysiology of Cushing's syndrome. Our understanding of this disease has progressed substantially over the past decade. Recently, important mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of adrenal hypercortisolism have been elucidated with the discovery of mutations in cyclic AMP signalling (PRKACA, PRKAR1A, GNAS, PDE11A, PDE8B), armadillo repeat containing 5 gene (ARMC5) a putative tumour suppressor gene, aberrant G-protein-coupled receptors, and intra-adrenal secretion of ACTH. Accurate subtyping of Cushing's syndrome is crucial for treatment decision-making and requires a complete integration of clinical, biochemical, imaging and pathology findings. Pathological correlates in the adrenal glands include hyperplasia, adenoma and carcinoma. While the most common presentation is diffuse adrenocortical hyperplasia secondary to excess ACTH production, this entity is usually treated with pituitary or ectopic tumour resection. Therefore, when confronted with adrenalectomy specimens in the setting of Cushing's syndrome, surgical pathologists are most commonly exposed to adrenocortical adenomas, carcinomas and primary macronodular or micronodular hyperplasia. This review provides an update on the rapidly evolving knowledge of adrenal Cushing's syndrome and discusses the clinicopathological correlations of this important disease.

  17. Structural and biophysical properties of h-FANCI ARM repeat protein.

    PubMed

    Siddiqui, Mohd Quadir; Choudhary, Rajan Kumar; Thapa, Pankaj; Kulkarni, Neha; Rajpurohit, Yogendra S; Misra, Hari S; Gadewal, Nikhil; Kumar, Satish; Hasan, Syed K; Varma, Ashok K

    2016-11-10

    Fanconi anemia complementation groups - I (FANCI) protein facilitates DNA ICL (Inter-Cross-link) repair and plays a crucial role in genomic integrity. FANCI is a 1328 amino acids protein which contains armadillo (ARM) repeats and EDGE motif at the C-terminus. ARM repeats are functionally diverse and evolutionarily conserved domain that plays a pivotal role in protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions. Considering the importance of ARM repeats, we have explored comprehensive in silico and in vitro approach to examine folding pattern. Size exclusion chromatography, dynamic light scattering (DLS) and glutaraldehyde crosslinking studies suggest that FANCI ARM repeat exist as monomer as well as in oligomeric forms. Circular dichroism (CD) and fluorescence spectroscopy results demonstrate that protein has predominantly α- helices and well-folded tertiary structure. DNA binding was analysed using electrophoretic mobility shift assay by autoradiography. Temperature-dependent CD, Fluorescence spectroscopy and DLS studies concluded that protein unfolds and start forming oligomer from 30°C. The existence of stable portion within FANCI ARM repeat was examined using limited proteolysis and mass spectrometry. The normal mode analysis, molecular dynamics and principal component analysis demonstrated that helix-turn-helix (HTH) motif present in ARM repeat is highly dynamic and has anti-correlated motion. Furthermore, FANCI ARM repeat has HTH structural motif which binds to double-stranded DNA.

  18. Monitoring the Status and Trends of Tropical Forest Terrestrial Vertebrate Communities from Camera Trap Data: A Tool for Conservation

    PubMed Central

    Ahumada, Jorge A.; Hurtado, Johanna; Lizcano, Diego

    2013-01-01

    Reducing the loss of biodiversity is key to ensure the future well being of the planet. Indicators to measure the state of biodiversity should come from primary data that are collected using consistent field methods across several sites, longitudinal, and derived using sound statistical methods that correct for observation/detection bias. In this paper we analyze camera trap data collected between 2008 and 2012 at a site in Costa Rica (Volcan Barva transect) as part of an ongoing tropical forest global monitoring network (Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network). We estimated occupancy dynamics for 13 species of mammals, using a hierarchical modeling approach. We calculated detection-corrected species richness and the Wildlife Picture Index, a promising new indicator derived from camera trap data that measures changes in biodiversity from the occupancy estimates of individual species. Our results show that 3 out of 13 species showed significant declines in occupancy over 5 years (lowland paca, Central American agouti, nine-banded armadillo). We hypothesize that hunting, competition and/or increased predation for paca and agouti might explain these patterns. Species richness and the Wildlife Picture Index are relatively stable at the site, but small herbivores that are hunted showed a decline in diversity of about 25%. We demonstrate the usefulness of longitudinal camera trap deployments coupled with modern statistical methods and advocate for the use of this approach in monitoring and developing global and national indicators for biodiversity change. PMID:24023898

  19. SARM inhibits both TRIF- and MyD88-mediated AP-1 activation.

    PubMed

    Peng, Jun; Yuan, Quan; Lin, Bin; Panneerselvam, Porkodi; Wang, Xiaowei; Luan, Xiao Lei; Lim, Soon Kok; Leung, Bernard P; Ho, Bow; Ding, Jeak Ling

    2010-06-01

    SARM (sterile alpha- and armadillo-motif-containing protein), the fifth identified TIR (Toll-interleukin 1 receptor (IL-1R)) domain-containing adaptors in humans, downregulates NF-kappaB and IRF3 (interferon-regulatory factor 3)-mediated TLR3 and TLR4 signaling. SARM was characterized as a negative regulator of the TRIF (TIR-domain-containing adaptor protein inducing IFN-beta)-dependent pathway via its interaction with TRIF. However, the precise mechanism of action of SARM remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that SARM inhibits MAPK activation in human embryonic kidney 293 cells, and U937 cells. Both the TRIF- and MyD88-mediated, as well as basal MAPK activity, were repressed, indicating that SARM-mediated inhibition may not be exclusively directed at TRIF or MyD88, but that SARM may also directly inhibit MAPK phosphorylation. The MAPK inhibition effect was verified by RNAi, which increased the basal level of AP-1. Furthermore, LPS challenge upregulated SARM at both the mRNA and protein levels. Finally, we provide evidence to show that truncated SARM changes its subcellular localization, suggesting the importance of the N-terminal and sterile alpha motif domains in the autoregulation of SARM activity.

  20. Beyond TLR Signaling—The Role of SARM in Antiviral Immune Defense, Apoptosis & Development.

    PubMed

    Panneerselvam, Porkodi; Ding, Jeak Ling

    2015-01-01

    SARM (Sterile alpha and armadillo motif-containing protein) is the recently identified TIR domain-containing cytosolic protein. Classified as a member of the TLR adaptor family, the multiple locations and functions of SARM (sometimes playing opposing roles), provoke an enigma on its biology. Although originally assumed to be a member of the TLR adaptor family (functioning as a negative regulator of TLR signaling pathway), latest findings indicate that SARM regulates signaling differently from other TLR adaptor proteins. Recent studies have highlighted the significant functional role of SARM in mediating apoptosis and antiviral innate immune response. In this review, we provide an update on the evolutionary conservation, spatial distribution, and regulated expression of SARM to highlight its diverse functional roles. The review will summarize findings on the known interacting partners of SARM and provide analogy on how they add new dimensions to the current understanding on the multifaceted roles of SARM in antiviral activities and apoptotic functions. In addition, we provide a future perspective on the roles of SARM in differentiation and development, with substantial emphasis on the molecular insights to its mechanisms of action.

  1. Ubiquitination by SAG regulates macrophage survival/death and immune response during infection.

    PubMed

    Chang, S C; Ding, J L

    2014-09-01

    The checkpoint between the life and death of macrophages is crucial for the host's frontline immune defense during acute phase infection. However, the mechanism as to how the immune cell equilibrates between apoptosis and immune response is unclear. Using in vitro and ex vivo approaches, we showed that macrophage survival is synchronized by SAG (sensitive to apoptosis gene), which is a key member of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). When challenged by pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), we observed a reciprocal expression profile of pro- and antiapoptotic factors in macrophages. However, SAG knockdown disrupted this balance. Further analysis revealed that ubiquitination of Bax and SARM (sterile α- and HEAT/armadillo-motif-containing protein) by SAG-UPS confers survival advantage to infected macrophages. SAG knockdown caused the accumulation of proapoptotic Bax and SARM, imbalance of Bcl-2/Bax in the mitochondria, induction of cytosolic cytochrome c and activation of caspase-9 and -3, all of which led to disequilibrium between life and death of macrophages. In contrast, SAG-overexpressing macrophages challenged with PAMPs exhibited upregulation of protumorigenic cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α), and downregulation of antitumorigenic cytokine (IL-12p40) and anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10). This suggests that SAG-dependent UPS is a key switch between immune defense and apoptosis or immune overactivation and tumorigenesis. Altogether, our results indicate that SAG-UPS facilitates a timely and appropriate level of immune response, prompting future development of potential immunomodulators of SAG-UPS.

  2. SARM modulates MyD88-mediated TLR activation through BB-loop dependent TIR-TIR interactions.

    PubMed

    Carlsson, Emil; Ding, Jeak Ling; Byrne, Bernadette

    2016-02-01

    Toll-like receptors (TLRs) recognise invading pathogens and initiate an innate immune response by recruiting intracellular adaptor proteins via heterotypic Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domain interactions. Of the five TIR domain-containing adaptor proteins identified, Sterile α- and armadillo-motif-containing protein (SARM) is functionally unique; suppressing immune signalling instead of promoting it. Here we demonstrate that the recombinantly expressed and purified SARM TIR domain interacts with both the major human TLR adaptors, MyD88 and TRIF. A single glycine residue located in the BB-loop of the SARM TIR domain, G601, was identified as essential for interaction. A short peptide derived from this motif was also found to interact with MyD88 in vitro. SARM expression in HEK293 cells was found to significantly suppress lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated upregulation of inflammatory cytokines, IL-8 and TNF-α, an effect lost in the G601A mutant. The same result was observed with cytokine activation initiated by MyD88 expression and stimulation of TLR2 with lipoteichoic acid (LTA), suggesting that SARM is capable of suppressing both TRIF- and MyD88- dependent TLR signalling. Our findings indicate that SARM acts on a broader set of target proteins than previously thought, and that the BB-loop motif is functionally important, giving further insight into the endogenous mechanisms used to suppress inflammation in immune cells.

  3. SARM regulates CCL5 production in macrophages by promoting the recruitment of transcription factors and RNA polymerase II to the Ccl5 promoter.

    PubMed

    Gürtler, Claudia; Carty, Michael; Kearney, Jay; Schattgen, Stefan A; Ding, Aihao; Fitzgerald, Katherine A; Bowie, Andrew G

    2014-05-15

    The four Toll/IL-1R domain-containing adaptor proteins MyD88, MAL, TRIF, and TRAM are well established as essential mediators of TLR signaling and gene induction following microbial detection. In contrast, the function of the fifth, most evolutionarily conserved Toll/IL-1R adaptor, sterile α and HEAT/Armadillo motif-containing protein (SARM), has remained more elusive. Recent studies of Sarm(-/-) mice have highlighted a role for SARM in stress-induced neuronal cell death and immune responses in the CNS. However, whether SARM has a role in immune responses in peripheral myeloid immune cells is less clear. Thus, we characterized TLR-induced cytokine responses in SARM-deficient murine macrophages and discovered a requirement for SARM in CCL5 production, whereas gene induction of TNF, IL-1β, CCL2, and CXCL10 were SARM-independent. SARM was not required for TLR-induced activation of MAPKs or of transcription factors implicated in CCL5 induction, namely NF-κB and IFN regulatory factors, nor for Ccl5 mRNA stability or splicing. However, SARM was critical for the recruitment of transcription factors and of RNA polymerase II to the Ccl5 promoter. Strikingly, the requirement of SARM for CCL5 induction was not restricted to TLR pathways, as it was also apparent in cytosolic RNA and DNA responses. Thus, this study identifies a new role for SARM in CCL5 expression in macrophages.

  4. SARM: a novel Toll-like receptor adaptor, is functionally conserved from arthropod to human.

    PubMed

    Belinda, Loh Wei-Ching; Wei, Wang Xiao; Hanh, Bui Thi Hong; Lei, Luan Xiao; Bow, Ho; Ling, Ding Jeak

    2008-03-01

    Sterile-alpha and Armadillo motif containing protein (SARM) was recently identified as the fifth member of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) adaptor family. Whilst the Caenorhabditis elegans SARM homologue, TIR-1, is crucial for efficient immune responses against bacterial infections, human SARM was demonstrated to function as a specific inhibitor of TRIF-dependent TLR signaling. The opposing role of SARM in C. elegans and human is intriguing, prompting us to seek clarification on the enigmatic function of SARM in an ancient species which relies solely on innate immunity for survival. Here, we report the discovery of a primitive but functional SARM (CrSARM) in the immune defense of a "living fossil", the horseshoe crab, Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda. CrSARM shares numerous signature motifs and displays significant homology with vertebrate and invertebrate SARM homologues. CrSARM downregulates TRIF-dependent TLR signaling suggesting the conservation of SARM function from horseshoe crab to human. During infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, CrSARM is rapidly upregulated within 3h and strongly repressed at 6h, coinciding with the timing of bacterial clearance, thus demonstrating its dynamic role in innate immunity. Furthermore, yeast-two-hybrid screening revealed several potential interaction partners of CrSARM implying the role of SARM in downregulating TLR signaling events. Altogether, our study shows that, although C. elegans SARM upregulates immune signaling, its disparate role as a suppressor of TLR signaling, specifically via TRIF and not MyD88, is well-conserved from horseshoe crab to human.

  5. Targeting of pro-apoptotic TLR adaptor SARM to mitochondria: definition of the critical region and residues in the signal sequence.

    PubMed

    Panneerselvam, Porkodi; Singh, Laishram Pradeepkumar; Ho, Bow; Chen, Jianzhu; Ding, Jeak Ling

    2012-03-01

    The fifth and the most well-conserved member of the TLR (Toll-like receptor) adaptor, SARM (sterile α- and HEAT/armadillo-motif-containing protein), has been reported to be an important mediator of apoptosis. However, the exact cellular localization of SARM with respect to its role is unclear. In the present study we show that SARM specifically co-localizes with mitochondria. Endogenous SARM is mainly found in the mitochondria. We demonstrate that the N-terminal 27 amino acids (S27) of SARM, which is hydrophobic and polybasic, acts as a mitochondria-targeting signal sequence, associating SARM to the mitochondria. The S27 peptide has an inherent ability to bind to lipids and mitochondria. This sequence effectively translocates the soluble EGFP (enhanced green fluorescence protein) reporter into the mitochondria. Positioning S27 downstream of the EGFP abrogates its mitochondria-targeting ability. Transmission electron microscopy confirms the ability of S27 to import EGFP into the mitochondria. Importantly, by mutagenesis study, we delineated the specificity of the mitochondria-targeting ability to the arginine residue at the 14th position. The R14A SARM mutant also showed reduced apoptotic potential when compared with the wild-type. Taken together, S27, which is a bona fide signal sequence that targets SARM to the mitochondria, explains the pro-apoptotic activity of SARM.

  6. The immune adaptor molecule SARM modulates tumor necrosis factor alpha production and microglia activation in the brainstem and restricts West Nile Virus pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Szretter, Kristy J; Samuel, Melanie A; Gilfillan, Susan; Fuchs, Anja; Colonna, Marco; Diamond, Michael S

    2009-09-01

    Sterile alpha and HEAT/Armadillo motif (SARM) is a highly conserved Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR)-containing adaptor protein that is believed to negatively regulate signaling of the pathogen recognition receptors Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) and TLR4. To test its physiological function in the context of a microbial infection, we generated SARM(-/-) mice and evaluated the impact of this deficiency on the pathogenesis of West Nile virus (WNV), a neurotropic flavivirus that requires TLR signaling to restrict infection. Although SARM was preferentially expressed in cells of the central nervous system (CNS), studies with primary macrophages, neurons, or astrocytes showed no difference in viral growth kinetics. In contrast, viral replication was increased specifically in the brainstem of SARM(-/-) mice, and this was associated with enhanced mortality after inoculation with a virulent WNV strain. A deficiency of SARM was also linked to reduced levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), decreased microglia activation, and increased neuronal death in the brainstem after WNV infection. Thus, SARM appears to be unique among the TIR adaptor molecules, since it functions to restrict viral infection and neuronal injury in a brain region-specific manner, possibly by modulating the activation of resident CNS inflammatory cells.

  7. SARM1, not MyD88, mediates TLR7/TLR9-induced apoptosis in neurons1

    PubMed Central

    Mukherjee, Piyali; Winkler, Clayton W.; Taylor, Katherine G.; Woods, Tyson A.; Nair, Vinod; Khan, Burhan A.; Peterson, Karin E.

    2015-01-01

    Neuronal apoptosis is a key aspect of many different neurological diseases, but the mechanisms remain unresolved. Recent studies have suggested a mechanism of innate immune-induced neuronal apoptosis that may act through the stimulation of toll-like receptors (TLR) in neurons. TLRs are stimulated both by pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) as well as by damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), including micro-RNAs released by damaged neurons. In the current study, we identified the mechanism responsible for TLR7/TLR9-mediated neuronal apoptosis. TLR-induced apoptosis required endosomal localization of TLRs but was independent of MyD88 signaling. Instead, apoptosis required the TLR adaptor molecule, sterile alpha armadillo motif (SARM1), which localized to the mitochondria following TLR activation and was associated with mitochondrial accumulation in neurites. Deficiency in SARM1 inhibited both mitochondrial accumulation in neurites and TLR-induced apoptosis. These studies identify a non-MyD88 pathway of TLR7/TLR9 signaling in neurons and provide a mechanism for how innate immune responses in the CNS directly induce neuronal damage. PMID:26423149

  8. Genetic characterization of Toxoplasma gondii from Brazilian wildlife revealed abundant new genotypes.

    PubMed

    Vitaliano, S N; Soares, H S; Minervino, A H H; Santos, A L Q; Werther, K; Marvulo, M F V; Siqueira, D B; Pena, H F J; Soares, R M; Su, C; Gennari, S M

    2014-12-01

    This study aimed to isolate and genotype T. gondii from Brazilian wildlife. For this purpose, 226 samples were submitted to mice bioassay and screened by PCR based on 18S rRNA sequences. A total of 15 T. gondii isolates were obtained, including samples from four armadillos (three Dasypus novemcinctus, one Euphractus sexcinctus), three collared anteaters (Tamandua tetradactyla), three whited-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari), one spotted paca (Cuniculus paca), one oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus), one hoary fox (Pseudalopex vetulus), one lineated woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) and one maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). DNA from the isolates, originated from mice bioassay, and from the tissues of the wild animal, designated as "primary samples", were genotyped by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR/RFLP), using 12 genetic markers (SAG1, SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L258, PK1, CS3 and Apico). A total of 17 genotypes were identified, with 13 identified for the first time and four already reported in published literature. Results herein obtained corroborate previous studies in Brazil, confirming high diversity and revealing unique genotypes in this region. Given most of genotypes here identified are different from previous studies in domestic animals, future studies on T. gondii from wildlife is of interest to understand population genetics and structure of this parasite.

  9. Rooting the eutherian tree: the power and pitfalls of phylogenomics

    PubMed Central

    Nishihara, Hidenori; Okada, Norihiro; Hasegawa, Masami

    2007-01-01

    Background Ongoing genome sequencing projects have led to a phylogenetic approach based on genome-scale data (phylogenomics), which is beginning to shed light on longstanding unresolved phylogenetic issues. The use of large datasets in phylogenomic analysis results in a global increase in resolution due to a decrease in sampling error. However, a fully resolved tree can still be wrong if the phylogenetic inference is biased. Results Here, in an attempt to root the eutherian tree using genome-scale data with the maximum likelihood method, we demonstrate a case in which a concatenate analysis strongly supports a putatively wrong tree, whereas the total evaluation of separate analyses of different genes grossly reduced the bias of the phylogenetic inference. A conventional method of concatenate analysis of nucleotide sequences from our dataset, which includes a more than 1 megabase alignment of 2,789 nuclear genes, suggests a misled monophyly of Afrotheria (for example, elephant) and Xenarthra (for example, armadillo) with 100% bootstrap probability. However, this tree is not supported by our 'separate method', which takes into account the different tempos and modes of evolution among genes, and instead the basal Afrotheria tree is favored. Conclusion Our analysis demonstrates that in cases in which there is great variation in evolutionary features among different genes, the separate model, rather than the concatenate model, should be used for phylogenetic inference, especially in genome-scale data. PMID:17883877

  10. Review: The evolving placenta: different developmental paths to a hemochorial relationship.

    PubMed

    Enders, A C; Carter, A M

    2012-02-01

    The way in which maternal blood is associated with trophoblast prior to the formation of the different types of hemochorial placenta may be conveniently grouped into four main patterns: a transitory endotheliochorial condition; maternal blood released into a mass of trophoblast; maternal blood confined to lacunae; and fetal villi entering preexisting maternal blood sinuses. Although it might be considered logical that developing placentas would pass through an endotheliochorial stage to become hemochorial, this developmental pattern is seen only as a transient stage in several species of bats and sciuromorph rodents. More commonly a mass of trophoblast at the junction with the endometrium serves as a meshwork through which maternal blood passes, with subsequent organization of a labyrinth when the fetal vascular component is organized. The initial trophoblast meshwork may be cellular or syncytial, often leading to a similar relationship in the spongy zone and labyrinth. Old World monkeys, apes and humans have a lacunar stage prior to establishing a villous hemochorial condition. New World monkeys lack a true lacunar stage, retaining portions of maternal vessels for some time and initially forming a trabecular arrangement similar to though differently arrived at than that in the tarsier. In armadillos, preexisting maternal venous sinuses are converted into an intervillous blood space by intruding fetal villi. Variations from the major patterns of development also occur. The way in which the definitive placental form is achieved developmentally should be considered when using placental structure to extrapolate evolution of placentation.

  11. Molecular phylogeny of the extinct ground sloth Mylodon darwinii.

    PubMed Central

    Höss, M; Dilling, A; Currant, A; Pääbo, S

    1996-01-01

    DNA was extracted from the remains of 35 ground sloths from various parts of North and South America. Two specimens of Mylodon darwinii, a species that went extinct at the end of the last glaciation, yielded amplifiable DNA. However, of the total DNA extracted, only approximately 1/1000 originated from the sloth, whereas a substantial part of the remainder was of bacterial and fungal origin. In spite of this, > 1100 bp of sloth mitochondrial rDNA sequences could be reconstructed from short amplification products. Phylogenetic analyses using homologous sequences from all extant edentate groups suggest that Mylodon darwinii was more closely related to the two-toed than the three-toed sloths and, thus, that an arboreal life-style has evolved at least twice among sloths. The divergence of Mylodon and the two-toed sloth furthermore allows a date for the radiation of armadillos, anteaters, and sloths to be estimated. This result shows that the edentates differ from other mammalian orders in that they contain lineages that diverged before the end of the Cretaceous Period. Images Fig. 2 PMID:8552600

  12. Pathogenic effect of entomopathogenic nematode-bacterium complexes on terrestrial isopods.

    PubMed

    Sicard, Mathieu; Raimond, Maryline; Prats, Olivier; Lafitte, Alexandra; Braquart-Varnier, Christine

    2008-09-01

    In this study, we evaluated the effect of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) Steinernema carpocapsae, Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, symbiotically associated with bacteria of the genera Xenorhabdus or Photorhabdus, on the survival of eight terrestrial isopod species. The EPN species S. carpocapsae and H. bacteriophora reduced the survival of six isopod species while S. feltiae reduced survival for two species. Two terrestrial isopod species tested (Armadillidium vulgare and Armadillo officinalis) were found not to be affected by treatment with EPNs while the six other isopod species showed survival reduction with at least one EPN species. By using aposymbiotic S. carpocapsae (i.e. without Xenorhabdus symbionts), we showed that nematodes can be isopod pathogens on their own. Nevertheless, symbiotic nematodes were more pathogenic for isopods than aposymbiotic ones showing that bacteria acted synergistically with their nematodes to kill isopods. By direct injection of entomopathogenic bacteria into isopod hemolymph, we showed that bacteria had a pathogenic effect on terrestrial isopods even if they appeared unable to multiply within isopod hemolymphs. A developmental study of EPNs in isopods showed that two of them (S. carpocapsae and H. bacteriophora) were able to develop while S. feltiae could not. No EPN species were able to produce offspring emerging from isopods. We conclude that EPN and their bacteria can be pathogens for terrestrial isopods but that such hosts represent a reproductive dead-end for them. Thus, terrestrial isopods appear not to be alternative hosts for EPN populations maintained in the absence of insects.

  13. Characterization of bbtTICAM from amphioxus suggests the emergence of a MyD88-independent pathway in basal chordates.

    PubMed

    Yang, Manyi; Yuan, Shaochun; Huang, Shengfeng; Li, Jun; Xu, Liqun; Huang, Huiqing; Tao, Xin; Peng, Jian; Xu, Anlong

    2011-10-01

    The MyD88-independent pathway, one of the two crucial TLR signaling routes, is thought to be a vertebrate innovation. However, a novel Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) adaptor, designated bbtTICAM, which was identified in the basal chordate amphioxus, links this pathway to invertebrates. The protein architecture of bbtTICAM is similar to that of vertebrate TICAM1 (TIR-containing adaptor molecule-1, also known as TRIF), while phylogenetic analysis based on the TIR domain indicated that bbtTICAM is the oldest ortholog of vertebrate TICAM1 and TICAM2 (TIR-containing adaptor molecule-2, also known as TRAM). Similar to human TICAM1, bbtTICAM activates NF-κB in a MyD88-independent manner by interacting with receptor interacting protein (RIP) via its RHIM motif. Such activation requires bbtTICAM to form homodimers in endosomes, and it may be negatively regulated by amphioxus SARM (sterile α and armadillo motif-containing protein) and TRAF2. However, bbtTICAM did not induce the production of type I interferon. Thus, our study not only presents the ancestral features of vertebrate TICAM1 and TICAM2, but also reveals the evolutionary origin of the MyD88-independent pathway from basal chordates, which will aid in understanding the development of the vertebrate TLR network.

  14. Recognition of mycobacterial antigens by sera from patients with leprosy.

    PubMed Central

    Vega-Lopez, F; Stoker, N G; Locniskar, M F; Dockrell, H M; Grant, K A; McAdam, K P

    1988-01-01

    Mycobacterium leprae sonic extracts prepared from armadillo-derived bacteria were subjected to sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western blotting (immunoblotting) procedures and probed with serum or plasma samples from 20 patients with lepromatous leprosy and 14 healthy endemic controls. Five proteins of 33, 25, 18, 15, and 12 kilodaltons (kDa) were frequently recognized; the 33- and 15-kDa proteins were, respectively, recognized with high intensity by 16 and 13 of the 20 samples from patients with leprosy, whereas only one healthy donor had antibodies that recognized the 15-kDa protein. By the use of M. leprae-specific murine monoclonal antibodies it was demonstrated that the 33-, 25-, and 15-kDa antigens were different from those bound by the available murine monoclonal antibodies. The 18- and 12-kDa proteins detected had molecular masses similar to those detected by the corresponding murine monoclonal antibodies. The serum and plasma samples from patients with leprosy were also used to probe Western blots of a soluble extract of M. tuberculosis. They recognized, among others, antigens with molecular weights similar to those detected in the M. leprae antigenic preparations, although with less intensity and at a lower frequency. Images PMID:3068245

  15. The PCP pathway regulates Baz planar distribution in epithelial cells

    PubMed Central

    Aigouy, Benoit; Le Bivic, André

    2016-01-01

    The localisation of apico-basal polarity proteins along the Z-axis of epithelial cells is well understood while their distribution in the plane of the epithelium is poorly characterised. Here we provide a systematic description of the planar localisation of apico-basal polarity proteins in the Drosophila ommatidial epithelium. We show that the adherens junction proteins Shotgun and Armadillo, as well as the baso-lateral complexes, are bilateral, i.e. present on both sides of cell interfaces. In contrast, we report that other key adherens junction proteins, Bazooka and the myosin regulatory light chain (Spaghetti squash) are unilateral, i.e. present on one side of cell interfaces. Furthermore, we demonstrate that planar cell polarity (PCP) and not the apical determinants Crumbs and Par-6 control Bazooka unilaterality in cone cells. Altogether, our work unravels an unexpected organisation and combination of apico-basal, cytoskeletal and planar polarity proteins that is different on either side of cell-cell interfaces and unique for the different contacts of the same cell. PMID:27624969

  16. The Interrelationships of Placental Mammals and the Limits of Phylogenetic Inference.

    PubMed

    Tarver, James E; Dos Reis, Mario; Mirarab, Siavash; Moran, Raymond J; Parker, Sean; O'Reilly, Joseph E; King, Benjamin L; O'Connell, Mary J; Asher, Robert J; Warnow, Tandy; Peterson, Kevin J; Donoghue, Philip C J; Pisani, Davide

    2016-01-05

    Placental mammals comprise three principal clades: Afrotheria (e.g., elephants and tenrecs), Xenarthra (e.g., armadillos and sloths), and Boreoeutheria (all other placental mammals), the relationships among which are the subject of controversy and a touchstone for debate on the limits of phylogenetic inference. Previous analyses have found support for all three hypotheses, leading some to conclude that this phylogenetic problem might be impossible to resolve due to the compounded effects of incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) and a rapid radiation. Here we show, using a genome scale nucleotide data set, microRNAs, and the reanalysis of the three largest previously published amino acid data sets, that the root of Placentalia lies between Atlantogenata and Boreoeutheria. Although we found evidence for ILS in early placental evolution, we are able to reject previous conclusions that the placental root is a hard polytomy that cannot be resolved. Reanalyses of previous data sets recover Atlantogenata + Boreoeutheria and show that contradictory results are a consequence of poorly fitting evolutionary models; instead, when the evolutionary process is better-modeled, all data sets converge on Atlantogenata. Our Bayesian molecular clock analysis estimates that marsupials diverged from placentals 157-170 Ma, crown Placentalia diverged 86-100 Ma, and crown Atlantogenata diverged 84-97 Ma. Our results are compatible with placental diversification being driven by dispersal rather than vicariance mechanisms, postdating early phases in the protracted opening of the Atlantic Ocean.

  17. The miR-310/13 cluster antagonizes β-catenin function in the regulation of germ and somatic cell differentiation in the Drosophila testis.

    PubMed

    Pancratov, Raluca; Peng, Felix; Smibert, Peter; Yang, Shiuan; Olson, Emily Ruth; Guha-Gilford, Ciaran; Kapoor, Amol J; Liang, Feng-Xia; Lai, Eric C; Flaherty, Maria Sol; DasgGupta, Ramanuj

    2013-07-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are regulators of global gene expression and function in a broad range of biological processes. Recent studies have suggested that miRNAs can function as tumor suppressors or oncogenes by modulating the activities of evolutionarily conserved signaling pathways that are commonly dysregulated in cancer. We report the identification of the miR-310 to miR-313 (miR-310/13) cluster as a novel antagonist of Wingless (Drosophila Wnt) pathway activity in a functional screen for Drosophila miRNAs. We demonstrate that miR-310/13 can modulate Armadillo (Arm; Drosophila β-catenin) expression and activity by directly targeting the 3'-UTRs of arm and pangolin (Drosophila TCF) in vivo. Notably, the miR-310/13-deficient flies exhibit abnormal germ and somatic cell differentiation in the male gonad, which can be rescued by reducing Arm protein levels or activity. Our results implicate a previously unrecognized function for miR-310/13 in dampening the activity of Arm in early somatic and germline progenitor cells, whereby inappropriate/sustained activation of Arm-mediated signaling or cell adhesion may impact normal differentiation in the Drosophila male gonad.

  18. Dissecting nuclear Wingless signalling: recruitment of the transcriptional co-activator Pygopus by a chain of adaptor proteins.

    PubMed

    Städeli, Reto; Basler, Konrad

    2005-11-01

    Members of the Wingless (Wg)/Wnt family of secreted glycoproteins control cell fate during embryonic development and adult homeostasis. Wnt signals regulate the expression of target genes by activating a conserved signal transduction pathway. Upon receptor activation, the signal is transmitted intracellularly by stabilization of Armadillo (Arm)/beta-catenin. Arm/beta-catenin translocates to the nucleus, interacts with DNA-binding factors of the Pangolin (Pan)/TCF/LEF class and activates transcription of target genes in cooperation with the recently identified proteins Legless/BCL9 (Lgs) and Pygopus (Pygo). Here, we analyse the mode of action of Pan, Arm, Lgs, and Pygo in Drosophila cultured cells. We provide evidence that together these four proteins form a 'chain of adaptors' linking the NH2-terminal homology domain (NHD) of Pygo to the DNA-binding domain of Pan. We show that the NHD has potent transcriptional activation capacity, which differs from that of acidic activator domains and depends on a conserved NPF tripeptide. A single point mutation within this NPF motif abolishes the transcriptional activity of the Pygo NHD in vitro and strongly reduces Wg signalling in vivo. Together, our results suggest that the transcriptional output of Wg pathway activity largely relies on a 'chain of adaptors' design to direct the Pygo NHD to Wg target promoters in an Arm-dependent manner.

  19. Wingless signaling and the control of cell shape in Drosophila wing imaginal discs.

    PubMed

    Widmann, Thomas J; Dahmann, Christian

    2009-10-01

    The control of cell morphology is important for shaping animals during development. Here we address the role of the Wnt/Wingless signal transduction pathway and two of its target genes, vestigial and shotgun (encoding E-cadherin), in controlling the columnar shape of Drosophila wing disc cells. We show that clones of cells mutant for arrow (encoding an essential component of the Wingless signal transduction pathway), vestigial or shotgun undergo profound cell shape changes and are extruded towards the basal side of the epithelium. Compartment-wide expression of a dominant-negative form of the Wingless transducer T-cell factor (TCF/Pangolin), or double-stranded RNA targeting vestigial or shotgun, leads to abnormally short cells throughout this region, indicating that these genes act cell autonomously to maintain normal columnar cell shape. Conversely, overexpression of Wingless, a constitutively-active form of the Wingless transducer beta-catenin/Armadillo, or Vestigial, results in precocious cell elongation. Co-expression of Vestigial partially suppresses the abnormal cell shape induced by dominant-negative TCF. We conclude that Wingless signal transduction plays a cell-autonomous role in promoting and maintaining the columnar shape of wing disc cells. Furthermore, our data suggest that Wingless controls cell shape, in part, through maintaining vestigial expression.

  20. Requirement for Pangolin/dTCF in Drosophila Wingless signaling.

    PubMed

    Schweizer, Liang; Nellen, Denise; Basler, Konrad

    2003-05-13

    The Wingless (Wg) protein is a secreted glycoprotein involved in intercellular signaling. On activation of the Wg signaling pathway, Armadillo is stabilized, causing target genes to be activated by the transcription factor Pangolin (Pan). This study investigated the roles of Pan in the developing wing of Drosophila by clonal analysis. Three different aspects of wing development were examined: cell proliferation, wing margin specification, and wg self-refinement. Our results indicate that Pan function is critically required for all three of these processes. Consequently, lack of pan causes a severe reduction in the activity of the Wg target genes Distalless and vestigial within their normal domain of expression. Loss of pan function does not, however, lead to a derepression of these genes outside this domain. Thus, although Pan is positively required for the induction of Wg targets in the wing imaginal disk, it does not appear to play a default repressor function in the absence of Wg input. In contrast, lack of zygotic pan function causes a milder phenotype than that caused by the lack of wg function in the embryo. We show that this difference cannot be attributed to maternally provided pan product, indicating that a Pan repressor function usually prevents the expression of embryonic Wg targets. Together, our results suggest that for embryonic patterning the activator as well as repressor forms of Pan play important roles, while for wing development Pan operates primarily in the activator mode.

  1. Collagen Sequence Analysis of the Extinct Giant Ground Sloths Lestodon and Megatherium.

    PubMed

    Buckley, Michael; Fariña, Richard A; Lawless, Craig; Tambusso, P Sebastián; Varela, Luciano; Carlini, Alfredo A; Powell, Jaime E; Martinez, Jorge G

    2015-01-01

    For over 200 years, fossils of bizarre extinct creatures have been described from the Americas that have ranged from giant ground sloths to the 'native' South American ungulates, groups of mammals that evolved in relative isolation on South America. Ground sloths belong to the South American xenarthrans, a group with modern although morphologically and ecologically very different representatives (anteaters, armadillos and sloths), which has been proposed to be one of the four main eutherian clades. Recently, proteomics analyses of bone collagen have recently been used to yield a molecular phylogeny for a range of mammals including the unusual 'Malagasy aardvark' shown to be most closely related to the afrotherian tenrecs, and the south American ungulates supporting their morphological association with condylarths. However, proteomics results generate partial sequence information that could impact upon the phylogenetic placement that has not been appropriately tested. For comparison, this paper examines the phylogenetic potential of proteomics-based sequencing through the analysis of collagen extracted from two extinct giant ground sloths, Lestodon and Megatherium. The ground sloths were placed as sister taxa to extant sloths, but with a closer relationship between Lestodon and the extant sloths than the basal Megatherium. These results highlight that proteomics methods could yield plausible phylogenies that share similarities with other methods, but have the potential to be more useful in fossils beyond the limits of ancient DNA survival.

  2. Deciphering the function of canonical Wnt signals in development and disease: conditional loss- and gain-of-function mutations of beta-catenin in mice.

    PubMed

    Grigoryan, Tamara; Wend, Peter; Klaus, Alexandra; Birchmeier, Walter

    2008-09-01

    Wnt signaling is one of a handful of powerful signaling pathways that play crucial roles in the animal life by controlling the genetic programs of embryonic development and adult homeostasis. When disrupted, these signaling pathways cause developmental defects, or diseases, among them cancer. The gateway of the canonical Wnt pathway, which contains >100 genes, is an essential molecule called beta-catenin (Armadillo in Drosophila). Conditional loss- and gain-of-function mutations of beta-catenin in mice provided powerful tools for the functional analysis of canonical Wnt signaling in many tissues and organs. Such studies revealed roles of Wnt signaling that were previously not accessible to genetic analysis due to the early embryonic lethality of conventional beta-catenin knockout mice, as well as the redundancy of Wnt ligands, receptors, and transcription factors. Analysis of conditional beta-catenin loss- and gain-of-function mutant mice demonstrated that canonical Wnt signals control progenitor cell expansion and lineage decisions both in the early embryo and in many organs. Canonical Wnt signaling also plays important roles in the maintenance of various embryonic or adult stem cells, and as recent findings demonstrated, in cancer stem cell types. This has opened new opportunities to model numerous human diseases, which have been associated with deregulated Wnt signaling. Our review summarizes what has been learned from genetic studies of the Wnt pathway by the analysis of conditional beta-catenin loss- and gain-of-function mice.

  3. The alterations in the extracellular matrix composition guide the repair of damaged liver tissue

    PubMed Central

    Klaas, Mariliis; Kangur, Triin; Viil, Janeli; Mäemets-Allas, Kristina; Minajeva, Ave; Vadi, Krista; Antsov, Mikk; Lapidus, Natalia; Järvekülg, Martin; Jaks, Viljar

    2016-01-01

    While the cellular mechanisms of liver regeneration have been thoroughly studied, the role of extracellular matrix (ECM) in liver regeneration is still poorly understood. We utilized a proteomics-based approach to identify the shifts in ECM composition after CCl4 or DDC treatment and studied their effect on the proliferation of liver cells by combining biophysical and cell culture methods. We identified notable alterations in the ECM structural components (eg collagens I, IV, V, fibronectin, elastin) as well as in non-structural proteins (eg olfactomedin-4, thrombospondin-4, armadillo repeat-containing x-linked protein 2 (Armcx2)). Comparable alterations in ECM composition were seen in damaged human livers. The increase in collagen content and decrease in elastic fibers resulted in rearrangement and increased stiffness of damaged liver ECM. Interestingly, the alterations in ECM components were nonhomogenous and differed between periportal and pericentral areas and thus our experiments demonstrated the differential ability of selected ECM components to regulate the proliferation of hepatocytes and biliary cells. We define for the first time the alterations in the ECM composition of livers recovering from damage and present functional evidence for a coordinated ECM remodelling that ensures an efficient restoration of liver tissue. PMID:27264108

  4. Desmosomes and extradesmosomal adhesive signaling contacts in pemphigus.

    PubMed

    Waschke, Jens; Spindler, Volker

    2014-11-01

    Desmosomes are adhering junctions present in all cells of simple and complex epithelia. They are most abundant in cells of tissues subjected to extensive mechanical stress such as keratinocytes and cardiomyocytes. The core of desmosomes is built up of desmosomal cadherins, cadherin-type adhesion molecules that are tethered to intermediate filaments via adaptor proteins of the armadillo and the plakin family. In addition, desmosomal cadherins are present outside of desmosomes. Recent investigations indicate that these molecules are involved in adhesion-dependent and adhesion-independent signaling and thus have functions different from the adhesive properties of their counterparts within desmosomes. Impaired adhesion of desmosomal cadherins both within and outside of desmosomes is the cause of the blistering skin disease pemphigus. Autoantibodies interfere with the binding of desmosomal cadherins and alter intracellular signaling pathways, the latter of which is necessary for loss of cell adhesion. Among the plethora of signaling molecules reported, altered activities of p38MAPK, protein kinase C, and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are most relevant. This review highlights the recent data on signaling by desmosomal cadherins and the mechanisms involved in pemphigus skin blistering.

  5. The desmosome and pemphigus.

    PubMed

    Waschke, Jens

    2008-07-01

    Desmosomes are patch-like intercellular adhering junctions ("maculae adherentes"), which, in concert with the related adherens junctions, provide the mechanical strength to intercellular adhesion. Therefore, it is not surprising that desmosomes are abundant in tissues subjected to significant mechanical stress such as stratified epithelia and myocardium. Desmosomal adhesion is based on the Ca(2+)-dependent, homo- and heterophilic transinteraction of cadherin-type adhesion molecules. Desmosomal cadherins are anchored to the intermediate filament cytoskeleton by adaptor proteins of the armadillo and plakin families. Desmosomes are dynamic structures subjected to regulation and are therefore targets of signalling pathways, which control their molecular composition and adhesive properties. Moreover, evidence is emerging that desmosomal components themselves take part in outside-in signalling under physiologic and pathologic conditions. Disturbed desmosomal adhesion contributes to the pathogenesis of a number of diseases such as pemphigus, which is caused by autoantibodies against desmosomal cadherins. Beside pemphigus, desmosome-associated diseases are caused by other mechanisms such as genetic defects or bacterial toxins. Because most of these diseases affect the skin, desmosomes are interesting not only for cell biologists who are inspired by their complex structure and molecular composition, but also for clinical physicians who are confronted with patients suffering from severe blistering skin diseases such as pemphigus. To develop disease-specific therapeutic approaches, more insights into the molecular composition and regulation of desmosomes are required.

  6. Plakophilin-1 protects keratinocytes from pemphigus vulgaris IgG by forming calcium-independent desmosomes.

    PubMed

    Tucker, Dana K; Stahley, Sara N; Kowalczyk, Andrew P

    2014-04-01

    Plakophilin-1 (PKP-1) is an armadillo family protein critical for desmosomal adhesion and epidermal integrity. In the autoimmune skin-blistering disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV), autoantibodies (IgG) target the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) and compromise keratinocyte cell-cell adhesion. Here, we report that enhanced expression of PKP-1 protects keratinocytes from PV IgG-induced loss of cell-cell adhesion. PKP-1 prevents loss of Dsg3 and other desmosomal proteins from cell-cell borders and prevents alterations in desmosome ultrastructure in keratinocytes treated with PV IgG. Using a series of Dsg3 chimeras and deletion constructs, we find that PKP-1 clusters Dsg3 with the desmosomal plaque protein desmoplakin in a manner dependent on the plakoglobin-binding domain of the Dsg3 tail. Furthermore, PKP-1 expression transforms desmosome adhesion from a calcium-dependent to a calcium-independent and hyperadhesive state. These results demonstrate that manipulating the expression of a single desmosomal plaque protein can block the pathogenic effects of PV IgG on keratinocyte adhesion.

  7. Detailed Structural and Quantitative Analysis Reveals the Spatial Organization of the Cell Walls of in Vivo Grown Mycobacterium leprae and in Vitro Grown Mycobacterium tuberculosis*

    PubMed Central

    Bhamidi, Suresh; Scherman, Michael S.; Jones, Victoria; Crick, Dean C.; Belisle, John T.; Brennan, Patrick J.; McNeil, Michael R.

    2011-01-01

    The cell wall of mycobacteria consists of an outer membrane, analogous to that of Gram-negative bacteria, attached to the peptidoglycan (PG) via a connecting polysaccharide arabinogalactan (AG). Although the primary structure of these components is fairly well deciphered, issues such as the coverage of the PG layer by covalently attached mycolates in the outer membrane and the spatial details of the mycolic acid attachment to the arabinan have remained unknown. It is also not understood how these components work together to lead to the classical acid-fast staining of mycobacteria. Because the majority of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria in established experimental animal infections are acid-fast negative, clearly cell wall changes are occurring. To address both the spatial properties of mycobacterial cell walls and to begin to study the differences between bacteria grown in animals and cultures, the cell walls of Mycobacterium leprae grown in armadillos was characterized and compared with that of M. tuberculosis grown in culture. Most fundamentally, it was determined that the cell wall of M. leprae contained significantly more mycolic acids attached to PG than that of in vitro grown M. tuberculosis (mycolate:PG ratios of 21:10 versus 16:10, respectively). In keeping with this difference, more arabinogalactan (AG) molecules, linking the mycolic acids to PG, were found. Differences in the structures of the AG were also found; the AG of M. leprae is smaller than that of M. tuberculosis, although the same basic structural motifs are retained. PMID:21555513

  8. Molecular identification of Coccidioides spp. in soil samples from Brazil

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Since 1991 several outbreaks of acute coccidioidomycosis (CM) were diagnosed in the semi-arid Northeast of Brazil, mainly related to disturbance of armadillo burrows caused by hunters while digging them for the capture of these animals. This activity causes dust contaminated with arthroconidia of Coccidioides posadasii, which, once inhaled, cause the mycosis. We report on the identification of C. posadasii in soil samples related to outbreaks of CM. Results Twenty four soil samples had their DNA extracted and subsequently submitted to a semi-nested PCR technique using specific primers. While only 6 (25%) soil samples were positive for C. posadasii by mice inoculation, all (100%) were positive by the molecular tool. Conclusion This methodology represents a simple, sensitive and specific molecular technique to determine the environmental distribution of Coccidioides spp. in endemic areas, but cannot distinguish the species. Moreover, it may be useful to identify culture isolates. Key-words: 1. Coccidioidomycosis. 2. Coccidioides spp. 3. C. posadasii. 4. Semi-arid. 5. Semi-nested PCR PMID:21575248

  9. Dicotyledon Weed Quantification Algorithm for Selective Herbicide Application in Maize Crops

    PubMed Central

    Laursen, Morten Stigaard; Jørgensen, Rasmus Nyholm; Midtiby, Henrik Skov; Jensen, Kjeld; Christiansen, Martin Peter; Giselsson, Thomas Mosgaard; Mortensen, Anders Krogh; Jensen, Peter Kryger

    2016-01-01

    The stricter legislation within the European Union for the regulation of herbicides that are prone to leaching causes a greater economic burden on the agricultural industry through taxation. Owing to the increased economic burden, research in reducing herbicide usage has been prompted. High-resolution images from digital cameras support the studying of plant characteristics. These images can also be utilized to analyze shape and texture characteristics for weed identification. Instead of detecting weed patches, weed density can be estimated at a sub-patch level, through which even the identification of a single plant is possible. The aim of this study is to adapt the monocot and dicot coverage ratio vision (MoDiCoVi) algorithm to estimate dicotyledon leaf cover, perform grid spraying in real time, and present initial results in terms of potential herbicide savings in maize. The authors designed and executed an automated, large-scale field trial supported by the Armadillo autonomous tool carrier robot. The field trial consisted of 299 maize plots. Half of the plots (parcels) were planned with additional seeded weeds; the other half were planned with naturally occurring weeds. The in-situ evaluation showed that, compared to conventional broadcast spraying, the proposed method can reduce herbicide usage by 65% without measurable loss in biological effect. PMID:27827908

  10. Sarcocystis neurona infections in raccoons (Procyon lotor): evidence for natural infection with sarcocysts, transmission of infection to opossums (Didelphis virginiana), and experimental induction of neurologic disease in raccoons.

    PubMed

    Dubey, J P; Saville, W J; Stanek, J F; Lindsay, D S; Rosenthal, B M; Oglesbee, M J; Rosypal, A C; Njoku, C J; Stich, R W; Kwok, O C; Shen, S K; Hamir, A N; Reed, S M

    2001-10-24

    Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a serious neurologic disease of horses in the Americas and Sarcocystis neurona is the most common etiologic agent. The distribution of S. neurona infections follows the geographical distributions of its definitive hosts, opossums (Didelphis virginiana, Didelphis albiventris). Recently, cats and skunks were reported as experimental and armadillos as natural intermediate hosts of S. neurona. In the present report, raccoons (Procyon lotor) were identified as a natural intermediate host of S. neurona. Two laboratory-raised opossums were found to shed S. neurona-like sporocysts after ingesting tongues of naturally-infected raccoons. Interferon-gamma gene knockout (KO) mice fed raccoon-opossum-derived sporocysts developed neurologic signs. S. neurona was identified immunohistochemically in tissues of KO mice fed sporocysts and the parasite was isolated in cell cultures inoculated with infected KO mouse tissues. The DNA obtained from the tongue of a naturally-infected raccoon, brains of KO mice that had neurological signs, and from the organisms recovered in cell cultures inoculated with brains of neurologic KO mice, corresponded to that of S. neurona. Two raccoons fed mature S. neurona sarcocysts did not shed sporocysts in their feces, indicating raccoons are not likely to be its definitive host. Two raccoons fed sporocysts from opossum feces developed clinical illness and S. neurona-associated encephalomyelitis was found in raccoons killed 14 and 22 days after feeding sporocysts; schizonts and merozoites were seen in encephalitic lesions.

  11. Genetic characterization of Toxoplasma gondii from Brazilian wildlife revealed abundant new genotypes

    PubMed Central

    Vitaliano, S.N.; Soares, H.S.; Minervino, A.H.H.; Santos, A.L.Q.; Werther, K.; Marvulo, M.F.V.; Siqueira, D.B.; Pena, H.F.J.; Soares, R.M.; Su, C.; Gennari, S.M.

    2014-01-01

    This study aimed to isolate and genotype T. gondii from Brazilian wildlife. For this purpose, 226 samples were submitted to mice bioassay and screened by PCR based on 18S rRNA sequences. A total of 15 T. gondii isolates were obtained, including samples from four armadillos (three Dasypus novemcinctus, one Euphractus sexcinctus), three collared anteaters (Tamandua tetradactyla), three whited-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari), one spotted paca (Cuniculus paca), one oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus), one hoary fox (Pseudalopex vetulus), one lineated woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) and one maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). DNA from the isolates, originated from mice bioassay, and from the tissues of the wild animal, designated as “primary samples”, were genotyped by PCR–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR/RFLP), using 12 genetic markers (SAG1, SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L258, PK1, CS3 and Apico). A total of 17 genotypes were identified, with 13 identified for the first time and four already reported in published literature. Results herein obtained corroborate previous studies in Brazil, confirming high diversity and revealing unique genotypes in this region. Given most of genotypes here identified are different from previous studies in domestic animals, future studies on T. gondii from wildlife is of interest to understand population genetics and structure of this parasite. PMID:25426424

  12. The Troll in Toll: Mal and Tram as bridges for TLR2 and TLR4 signaling.

    PubMed

    Sheedy, Frederick J; O'Neill, Luke A J

    2007-08-01

    Signaling by two of the most important bacteria-sensing TLRs, TLR2 and TLR4, involves two adaptor proteins, MyD88 adaptor-like (Mal) and Toll/IL-1 receptor (TIR) domain-containing adaptor-inducing IFN-beta (Trif)-related adaptor molecule (TRAM). Recently, new insights into the functioning of these two adapters have emerged. Mal is required by both TLRs to act as a bridge to recruit the adaptor MyD88, leading ultimately to NF-kappaB activation. Similarly, TRAM acts as a bridge to recruit TRIF to the TLR4 complex, leading to activation of the transcription factor IFN regulatory factor 3. Consistent with Mal and TRAM being key points of control, recent evidence suggests that they are subject to regulation by phosphorylation. Further, a variant in Mal in humans has been found to protect against multiple infectious diseases. Finally, another TIR domain-containing adaptor, sterile alpha and HEAT/armadillo motif protein (SARM), has been shown to act as an inhibitor of TRIF-dependent signaling. These recent discoveries add to the complexity of TLR signaling and highlight specific control mechanisms for TLR2 and TLR4 signaling.

  13. Forces driven by morphogenesis modulate Twist Expression to determine Anterior Mid-gut Differentiation in Drosophila embryos

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farge, Emmanuel

    2008-03-01

    By combining magnetic tweezers to in vivo laser ablation, we locally manipulate Drosophila embryonic tissues with physiologically relevant forces. We demonstrate that high level of Twist expression in the stomodeal primordium is mechanically induced in response to compression by the 60±20 nN force developed during germ-band extension (GBE). We find that this force triggers the junctional release and nuclear translocation of Armadillo involved in Twist mechanical induction in the stomodeum in a Src42A dependent way. Finally, stomodeal-specific RNAi-mediated silencing of Twist during compression impairs the differentiation of midgut cells, as revealed by strong defects in Dve expression and abnormal larval lethality. Thus, mechanical induction of Twist overexpression in stomodeal cells is necessary for subsequent midgut differentiation. In collaboration with Nicolas Desprat, Willy Supatto, and Philippe-Alexandre Pouille, MGDET, UMR168 CNRS, Institut Curie11 rue Pierre et Marie Curie, F-75005, Paris, France; and Emmanuel Beaurepaire, LOB, Ecole Polytechnique, CNRS and INSERM U 696, 91128 Palaiseau, France.

  14. The inner ear of Megatherium and the evolution of the vestibular system in sloths

    PubMed Central

    Billet, G; Germain, D; Ruf, I; de Muizon, C; Hautier, L

    2013-01-01

    Extant tree sloths are uniquely slow mammals with a very specialized suspensory behavior. To improve our understanding of their peculiar evolution, we investigated the inner ear morphology of one of the largest and most popular fossil ground sloths, Megatherium americanum. We first address the predicted agility of this animal from the scaling of its semicircular canals (SC) relative to body mass, based on recent work that provided evidence that the size of the SC in mammals correlates with body mass and levels of agility. Our analyses predict intermediate levels of agility for Megatherium, contrasting with the extreme slowness of extant sloths. Secondly, we focus on the morphology of the SC at the inner ear scale and investigate the shape and proportions of these structures in Megatherium and in a large diversity of extant xenarthrans represented in our database. Our morphometric analyses demonstrate that the giant ground sloth clearly departs from the SC morphology of both extant sloth genera (Choloepus, Bradypus) and is in some aspects closer to that of armadillos and anteaters. Given the close phylogenetic relationships of Megatherium with the extant genus Choloepus, these results are evidence of substantial homoplasy of the SC anatomy in sloths. This homoplasy most likely corresponds to an outstanding convergent evolution between extant suspensory sloth genera. PMID:24111879

  15. The Continuing Challenges of Leprosy

    PubMed Central

    Scollard, D. M.; Adams, L. B.; Gillis, T. P.; Krahenbuhl, J. L.; Truman, R. W.; Williams, D. L.

    2006-01-01

    Leprosy is best understood as two conjoined diseases. The first is a chronic mycobacterial infection that elicits an extraordinary range of cellular immune responses in humans. The second is a peripheral neuropathy that is initiated by the infection and the accompanying immunological events. The infection is curable but not preventable, and leprosy remains a major global health problem, especially in the developing world, publicity to the contrary notwithstanding. Mycobacterium leprae remains noncultivable, and for over a century leprosy has presented major challenges in the fields of microbiology, pathology, immunology, and genetics; it continues to do so today. This review focuses on recent advances in our understanding of M. leprae and the host response to it, especially concerning molecular identification of M. leprae, knowledge of its genome, transcriptome, and proteome, its mechanisms of microbial resistance, and recognition of strains by variable-number tandem repeat analysis. Advances in experimental models include studies in gene knockout mice and the development of molecular techniques to explore the armadillo model. In clinical studies, notable progress has been made concerning the immunology and immunopathology of leprosy, the genetics of human resistance, mechanisms of nerve injury, and chemotherapy. In nearly all of these areas, however, leprosy remains poorly understood compared to other major bacterial diseases. PMID:16614253

  16. Toll-8/Tollo negatively regulates antimicrobial response in the Drosophila respiratory epithelium.

    PubMed

    Akhouayri, Idir; Turc, Claire; Royet, Julien; Charroux, Bernard

    2011-10-01

    Barrier epithelia that are persistently exposed to microbes have evolved potent immune tools to eliminate such pathogens. If mechanisms that control Drosophila systemic responses are well-characterized, the epithelial immune responses remain poorly understood. Here, we performed a genetic dissection of the cascades activated during the immune response of the Drosophila airway epithelium i.e. trachea. We present evidence that bacteria induced-antimicrobial peptide (AMP) production in the trachea is controlled by two signalling cascades. AMP gene transcription is activated by the inducible IMD pathway that acts non-cell autonomously in trachea. This IMD-dependent AMP activation is antagonized by a constitutively active signalling module involving the receptor Toll-8/Tollo, the ligand Spätzle2/DNT1 and Ect-4, the Drosophila ortholog of the human Sterile alpha and HEAT/ARMadillo motif (SARM). Our data show that, in addition to Toll-1 whose function is essential during the systemic immune response, Drosophila relies on another Toll family member to control the immune response in the respiratory epithelium.

  17. Regulation of Wingless and Vestigial expression in wing and haltere discs of Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Prasad, Mohit; Bajpai, Ruchi; Shashidhara, L S

    2003-04-01

    In the third thoracic segment of Drosophila, wing development is suppressed by the homeotic selector gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx) in order to mediate haltere development. Previously, we have shown that Ubx represses dorsoventral (DV) signaling to specify haltere fate. Here we examine the mechanism of Ubx-mediated downregulation of DV signaling. We show that Wingless (Wg) and Vestigial (Vg) are differentially regulated in wing and haltere discs. In wing discs, although Vg expression in non-DV cells is dependent on DV boundary function of Wg, it maintains its expression by autoregulation. Thus, overexpression of Vg in non-DV cells can bypass the requirement for Wg signaling from the DV boundary. Ubx functions, at least, at two levels to repress Vestigial expression in non-DV cells of haltere discs. At the DV boundary, it functions downstream of Shaggy/GSK3 beta to enhance the degradation of Armadillo (Arm), which causes downregulation of Wg signaling. In non-DV cells, Ubx inhibits event(s) downstream of Arm, but upstream of Vg autoregulation. Repression of Vg at multiple levels appears to be crucial for Ubx-mediated specification of the haltere fate. Overexpression of Vg in haltere discs is enough to override Ubx function and cause haltere-to-wing homeotic transformations.

  18. Molecular decay of the tooth gene Enamelin (ENAM) mirrors the loss of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Meredith, Robert W; Gatesy, John; Murphy, William J; Ryder, Oliver A; Springer, Mark S

    2009-09-01

    Vestigial structures occur at both the anatomical and molecular levels, but studies documenting the co-occurrence of morphological degeneration in the fossil record and molecular decay in the genome are rare. Here, we use morphology, the fossil record, and phylogenetics to predict the occurrence of "molecular fossils" of the enamelin (ENAM) gene in four different orders of placental mammals (Tubulidentata, Pholidota, Cetacea, Xenarthra) with toothless and/or enamelless taxa. Our results support the "molecular fossil" hypothesis and demonstrate the occurrence of frameshift mutations and/or stop codons in all toothless and enamelless taxa. We then use a novel method based on selection intensity estimates for codons (omega) to calculate the timing of iterated enamel loss in the fossil record of aardvarks and pangolins, and further show that the molecular evolutionary history of ENAM predicts the occurrence of enamel in basal representatives of Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters, armadillos) even though frameshift mutations are ubiquitous in ENAM sequences of living xenarthrans. The molecular decay of ENAM parallels the morphological degeneration of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals and provides manifest evidence for the predictive power of Darwin's theory.

  19. A comparative study of bio-inspired protective scales using 3D printing and mechanical testing.

    PubMed

    Martini, Roberto; Balit, Yanis; Barthelat, Francois

    2017-03-16

    Flexible natural armors from fish, alligators or armadillo are attracting an increasing amount of attention for their unique combinations of hardness, flexibility and light weight. The extreme contrast of stiffness between hard scales and surrounding soft tissues gives rise to unusual and attractive mechanisms, which now serve as models for the design of bio-inspired armors. Despite this growing interest, there is little guideline for the choice of materials, optimum thickness, size, shape and arrangement for the protective scales. In this work, we explore how the geometry and arrangement of hard scales can be tailored to promote scale-scale interactions. We use 3D printing to fabricate arrays of scales with increasingly complex geometries and arrangements, from simple squares with no overlap to complex ganoid-scales with overlaps and interlocking features. We performed puncture tests and flexural tests on each of the 3D printed materials, and we report the puncture resistance - compliance characteristics of each design on an Ashby chart. The interactions between the scales can significantly increase the resistance to puncture, and these interactions can be maximized by tuning the geometry and arrangement of the scales. Interestingly, the designs that offer the best combinations of puncture resistance and flexural compliance are similar to the geometry and arrangement of natural teleost and ganoid scales, which suggests that natural evolution has shaped these systems to maximize flexible protection. This study yields new insights into the mechanisms of natural dermal armor, and also suggests new designs for personal protective systems.

  20. Adherens junction remodeling by the Notch pathway in Drosophila melanogaster oogenesis.

    PubMed

    Grammont, Muriel

    2007-04-09

    Identifying genes involved in the control of adherens junction (AJ) remodeling is essential to understanding epithelial morphogenesis. During follicular epithelium development in Drosophila melanogaster, the main body follicular cells (MBFCs) are displaced toward the oocyte and become columnar. Concomitantly, the stretched cells (StCs) become squamous and flatten around the nurse cells. By monitoring the expression of epithelial cadherin and Armadillo, I have discovered that the rate of AJ disassembly between the StCs is affected in follicles with somatic clones mutant for fringe or Delta and Serrate. This results in abnormal StC flattening and delayed MBFC displacement. Additionally, accumulation of the myosin II heavy chain Zipper is delayed at the AJs that require disassembly. Together, my results demonstrate that the Notch pathway controls AJ remodeling between the StCs and that this role is crucial for the timing of MBFC displacement and StC flattening. This provides new evidence that Notch, besides playing a key role in cell differentiation, also controls cell morphogenesis.

  1. Aristaless Related Homeobox (ARX) Interacts with β-Catenin, BCL9, and P300 to Regulate Canonical Wnt Signaling

    PubMed Central

    Cho, Il-Taeg; Lim, Youngshin

    2017-01-01

    Mutations in the Aristaless Related Homeobox (ARX) gene are associated with a spectrum of structural (lissencephaly) and functional (epilepsy and intellectual disabilities) neurodevelopmental disorders. How mutations in this single transcription factor can result in such a broad range of phenotypes remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that ARX functions through distinct interactions with specific transcription factors/cofactors to regulate unique target genes in different cell types. To identify ARX interacting proteins, we performed an unbiased proteomics screen and identified several components of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, including β-catenin (CTNNB1), B-cell CLL/lymphoma 9 (BCL9) and leucine rich repeat flightless interacting protein 2 (LRRFIP2), in cortical progenitor cells. Our data show that ARX positively regulates Wnt/ β-catenin signaling and that the C-terminal domain of ARX interacts with the armadillo repeats in β-catenin to promote Wnt/β-catenin signaling. In addition, we found BCL9 and P300 also interact with ARX to modulate Wnt/β-catenin signaling. These data provide new insights into how ARX can uniquely regulate cortical neurogenesis, and connect the function of ARX with Wnt/β-catenin signaling. PMID:28103279

  2. Applications of ultrasound to veterinary diagnostics in a veterinary teaching hospital.

    PubMed

    Miller, C W; Wingfield, W E; Boon, J A

    1982-01-01

    Animal patients at Colorado State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital as well as beagles at the Collaborative Radiological Health Laboratory (CRHL) have been routinely evaluated using a variety of ultrasonic procedures that are commonplace in human medicine. The results from these clinical investigations have provided diagnostic information which in many cases has not been available using other clinical testing methods. Dogs, cats, horses, and cattle have been the primary animals evaluated, but more exotic subjects such as rabbits, ferrets, goats, and armadillos have also been examined. Standard M mode echocardiographic and classic contact scanning have been used to evaluate the heart and abdominal-pelvic areas respectively. Recently, real time scanning has been added to our capabilities for evaluating animal subjects. These clinical studies, while obviously adding to veterinary diagnostics have also become an exciting new area in the veterinary teaching program. Ultrasound has shown potential in a variety of studies employing animal models, i.e., aging effects on the heart in beagles and anthracycline-induced myocardial dysfunction in rabbits.

  3. Cognitive Function Related to the Sirh11/Zcchc16 Gene Acquired from an LTR Retrotransposon in Eutherians.

    PubMed

    Irie, Masahito; Yoshikawa, Masanobu; Ono, Ryuichi; Iwafune, Hirotaka; Furuse, Tamio; Yamada, Ikuko; Wakana, Shigeharu; Yamashita, Yui; Abe, Takaya; Ishino, Fumitoshi; Kaneko-Ishino, Tomoko

    2015-09-01

    Gene targeting of mouse Sushi-ichi-related retrotransposon homologue 11/Zinc finger CCHC domain-containing 16 (Sirh11/Zcchc16) causes abnormal behaviors related to cognition, including attention, impulsivity and working memory. Sirh11/Zcchc16 encodes a CCHC type of zinc-finger protein that exhibits high homology to an LTR retrotransposon Gag protein. Upon microdialysis analysis of the prefrontal cortex region, the recovery rate of noradrenaline (NA) was reduced compared with dopamine (DA) after perfusion of high potassium-containing artificial cerebrospinal fluid in knockout (KO) mice. These data indicate that Sirh11/Zcchc16 is involved in cognitive function in the brain, possibly via the noradrenergic system, in the contemporary mouse developmental systems. Interestingly, it is highly conserved in three out of the four major groups of the eutherians, euarchontoglires, laurasiatheria and afrotheria, but is heavily mutated in xenarthran species such as the sloth and armadillo, suggesting that it has contributed to brain evolution in the three major eutherian lineages, including humans and mice. Sirh11/Zcchc16 is the first SIRH gene to be involved in brain function, instead of just the placenta, as seen in the case of Peg10, Peg11/Rtl1 and Sirh7/Ldoc1.

  4. Molecular identification of trypanosomatids in wild animals.

    PubMed

    Tenório, M S; Oliveira e Sousa, L; Alves-Martin, M F; Paixão, M S; Rodrigues, M V; Starke-Buzetti, W A; Araújo Junior, J P; Lucheis, S B

    2014-06-16

    Diverse wild animal species can be reservoirs of zoonotic flagellate parasites, which can cause pathologic Chagas disease. The present study aimed to detect the natural occurrence of flagellate parasites through direct microscopic examination of the parasites in blood samples and through PCR of whole blood and blood culture (haemoculture) samples from 38 captive and 65 free-living wild animals in the Centre for Conservation of Wild Fauna (CCWF), an area endemic for leishmaniasis. For this study, PCR was accomplished using primers for the ribosomal region (ITS-1) of the flagellate parasites. The amplified fragments were cloned and sequenced to identify DNA of the Trypanosomatid parasite species, observed in blood cultures from 3.9% (04/103) of the animals. Through these techniques, Trypanosoma cruzi was identified in haemoculture samples of the following three free-living species: common agouti (Dasyprocta aguti), white-eared opossum (Didelphis albiventris), and nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). Furthermore, Trypanosoma minasense was identified in whole blood samples from 01 (0.9%) captive animal (black howler monkey-Alouatta caraya). These results demonstrated the first report of T. cruzi isolation in wild species from the CCWF using blood culture, which can be applied in addition to molecular tools for epidemiological studies and to identify trypanosomatids in wild animals.

  5. Structure of the rabbit ryanodine receptor RyR1 at near-atomic resolution.

    PubMed

    Yan, Zhen; Bai, Xiao-chen; Yan, Chuangye; Wu, Jianping; Li, Zhangqiang; Xie, Tian; Peng, Wei; Yin, Chang-cheng; Li, Xueming; Scheres, Sjors H W; Shi, Yigong; Yan, Nieng

    2015-01-01

    The ryanodine receptors (RyRs) are high-conductance intracellular Ca(2+) channels that play a pivotal role in the excitation-contraction coupling of skeletal and cardiac muscles. RyRs are the largest known ion channels, with a homotetrameric organization and approximately 5,000 residues in each protomer. Here we report the structure of the rabbit RyR1 in complex with its modulator FKBP12 at an overall resolution of 3.8 Å, determined by single-particle electron cryomicroscopy. Three previously uncharacterized domains, named central, handle and helical domains, display the armadillo repeat fold. These domains, together with the amino-terminal domain, constitute a network of superhelical scaffold for binding and propagation of conformational changes. The channel domain exhibits the voltage-gated ion channel superfamily fold with distinct features. A negative-charge-enriched hairpin loop connecting S5 and the pore helix is positioned above the entrance to the selectivity-filter vestibule. The four elongated S6 segments form a right-handed helical bundle that closes the pore at the cytoplasmic border of the membrane. Allosteric regulation of the pore by the cytoplasmic domains is mediated through extensive interactions between the central domains and the channel domain. These structural features explain high ion conductance by RyRs and the long-range allosteric regulation of channel activities.

  6. Aristaless Related Homeobox (ARX) Interacts with β-Catenin, BCL9, and P300 to Regulate Canonical Wnt Signaling.

    PubMed

    Cho, Il-Taeg; Lim, Youngshin; Golden, Jeffrey A; Cho, Ginam

    2017-01-01

    Mutations in the Aristaless Related Homeobox (ARX) gene are associated with a spectrum of structural (lissencephaly) and functional (epilepsy and intellectual disabilities) neurodevelopmental disorders. How mutations in this single transcription factor can result in such a broad range of phenotypes remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that ARX functions through distinct interactions with specific transcription factors/cofactors to regulate unique target genes in different cell types. To identify ARX interacting proteins, we performed an unbiased proteomics screen and identified several components of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, including β-catenin (CTNNB1), B-cell CLL/lymphoma 9 (BCL9) and leucine rich repeat flightless interacting protein 2 (LRRFIP2), in cortical progenitor cells. Our data show that ARX positively regulates Wnt/ β-catenin signaling and that the C-terminal domain of ARX interacts with the armadillo repeats in β-catenin to promote Wnt/β-catenin signaling. In addition, we found BCL9 and P300 also interact with ARX to modulate Wnt/β-catenin signaling. These data provide new insights into how ARX can uniquely regulate cortical neurogenesis, and connect the function of ARX with Wnt/β-catenin signaling.

  7. Expansion and Function of Repeat Domain Proteins During Stress and Development in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Manisha; Pandey, Girdhar K.

    2016-01-01

    The recurrent repeats having conserved stretches of amino acids exists across all domains of life. Subsequent repetition of single sequence motif and the number and length of the minimal repeating motifs are essential characteristics innate to these proteins. The proteins with tandem peptide repeats are essential for providing surface to mediate protein–protein interactions for fundamental biological functions. Plants are enriched in tandem repeat containing proteins typically distributed into various families. This has been assumed that the occurrence of multigene repeats families in plants enable them to cope up with adverse environmental conditions and allow them to rapidly acclimatize to these conditions. The evolution, structure, and function of repeat proteins have been studied in all kingdoms of life. The presence of repeat proteins is particularly profuse in multicellular organisms in comparison to prokaryotes. The precipitous expansion of repeat proteins in plants is presumed to be through internal tandem duplications. Several repeat protein gene families have been identified in plants. Such as Armadillo (ARM), Ankyrin (ANK), HEAT, Kelch-like repeats, Tetratricopeptide (TPR), Leucine rich repeats (LRR), WD40, and Pentatricopeptide repeats (PPR). The structure and functions of these repeat proteins have been extensively studied in plants suggesting a critical role of these repeating peptides in plant cell physiology, stress and development. In this review, we illustrate the structural, functional, and evolutionary prospects of prolific repeat proteins in plants. PMID:26793205

  8. Detailed structural and quantitative analysis reveals the spatial organization of the cell walls of in vivo grown Mycobacterium leprae and in vitro grown Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

    PubMed

    Bhamidi, Suresh; Scherman, Michael S; Jones, Victoria; Crick, Dean C; Belisle, John T; Brennan, Patrick J; McNeil, Michael R

    2011-07-01

    The cell wall of mycobacteria consists of an outer membrane, analogous to that of gram-negative bacteria, attached to the peptidoglycan (PG) via a connecting polysaccharide arabinogalactan (AG). Although the primary structure of these components is fairly well deciphered, issues such as the coverage of the PG layer by covalently attached mycolates in the outer membrane and the spatial details of the mycolic acid attachment to the arabinan have remained unknown. It is also not understood how these components work together to lead to the classical acid-fast staining of mycobacteria. Because the majority of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria in established experimental animal infections are acid-fast negative, clearly cell wall changes are occurring. To address both the spatial properties of mycobacterial cell walls and to begin to study the differences between bacteria grown in animals and cultures, the cell walls of Mycobacterium leprae grown in armadillos was characterized and compared with that of M. tuberculosis grown in culture. Most fundamentally, it was determined that the cell wall of M. leprae contained significantly more mycolic acids attached to PG than that of in vitro grown M. tuberculosis (mycolate:PG ratios of 21:10 versus 16:10, respectively). In keeping with this difference, more arabinogalactan (AG) molecules, linking the mycolic acids to PG, were found. Differences in the structures of the AG were also found; the AG of M. leprae is smaller than that of M. tuberculosis, although the same basic structural motifs are retained.

  9. Dicotyledon Weed Quantification Algorithm for Selective Herbicide Application in Maize Crops.

    PubMed

    Laursen, Morten Stigaard; Jørgensen, Rasmus Nyholm; Midtiby, Henrik Skov; Jensen, Kjeld; Christiansen, Martin Peter; Giselsson, Thomas Mosgaard; Mortensen, Anders Krogh; Jensen, Peter Kryger

    2016-11-04

    The stricter legislation within the European Union for the regulation of herbicides that are prone to leaching causes a greater economic burden on the agricultural industry through taxation. Owing to the increased economic burden, research in reducing herbicide usage has been prompted. High-resolution images from digital cameras support the studying of plant characteristics. These images can also be utilized to analyze shape and texture characteristics for weed identification. Instead of detecting weed patches, weed density can be estimated at a sub-patch level, through which even the identification of a single plant is possible. The aim of this study is to adapt the monocot and dicot coverage ratio vision (MoDiCoVi) algorithm to estimate dicotyledon leaf cover, perform grid spraying in real time, and present initial results in terms of potential herbicide savings in maize. The authors designed and executed an automated, large-scale field trial supported by the Armadillo autonomous tool carrier robot. The field trial consisted of 299 maize plots. Half of the plots (parcels) were planned with additional seeded weeds; the other half were planned with naturally occurring weeds. The in-situ evaluation showed that, compared to conventional broadcast spraying, the proposed method can reduce herbicide usage by 65% without measurable loss in biological effect.

  10. All repeats are not equal: a module-based approach to guide repeat protein design.

    PubMed

    Sawyer, Nicholas; Chen, Jieming; Regan, Lynne

    2013-05-27

    Repeat proteins composed of tandem arrays of a short structural motif often mediate protein-protein interactions. Past efforts to design repeat protein-based molecular recognition tools have focused on the creation of templates from the consensus of individual repeats, regardless of their natural context. Such an approach assumes that all repeats are essentially equivalent. In this study, we present the results of a "module-based" approach in which modules composed of tandem repeats are aligned to identify repeat-specific features. Using this approach to analyze tetratricopeptide repeat modules that contain three tandem repeats (3TPRs), we identify two classes of 3TPR modules with distinct structural signatures that are correlated with different sets of functional residues. Our analyses also reveal a high degree of correlation between positions across the entire ligand-binding surface, indicative of a coordinated, coevolving binding surface. Extension of our analyses to different repeat protein modules reveals more examples of repeat-specific features, especially in armadillo repeat modules. In summary, the module-based analyses that we present effectively capture key repeat-specific features that will be important to include in future repeat protein design templates.

  11. A gamma-2 herpesvirus nucleocytoplasmic shuttle protein interacts with importin alpha 1 and alpha 5.

    PubMed

    Goodwin, D J; Whitehouse, A

    2001-06-08

    Herpesvirus saimiri (HVS) is the prototype gamma-2 herpesvirus. This is an increasing important subfamily of herpesviruses due to the identification of the first human gamma-2 herpesvirus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. The HVS open reading frame (ORF) 57 protein is a multifunctional trans-regulatory protein homologous to genes identified in all classes of herpesviruses. Recent analysis has demonstrated that ORF 57 has the ability to bind viral RNA and to shuttle between the nucleus and cytoplasm, and is required for efficient nuclear export of viral transcripts. Here we have investigated the nucleocytoplasmic shuttling mechanism utilized by the ORF 57 protein. The yeast two-hybrid system was employed to identify interacting cellular proteins using ORF 57 as bait. We demonstrate that ORF 57 interacts with importin alpha isoforms 1 and 5. In addition, the binding of ORF 57 to importin alpha was mediated by the importin alpha hydrophobic internal armadillo repeats. An ORF 57 amino-terminal arginine-rich sequence, which functions as a nuclear localization sequence, was also required for this interaction. Furthermore, the ORF 57 protein is responsible for the redistribution of importin alpha into the nucleoli. These results identify novel cellular interactions essential for the functioning of this important herpesvirus regulatory protein.

  12. Dynamic and Static Interactions between p120 Catenin and E-Cadherin Regulate the Stability of Cell-Cell Adhesion

    SciTech Connect

    Ishiyama, Noboru; Lee, Seung-Hye; Liu, Shuang; Li, Guang-Yao; Smith, Matthew J.; Reichardt, Louis F.; Ikura, Mitsuhiko

    2010-04-26

    The association of p120 catenin (p120) with the juxtamembrane domain (JMD) of the cadherin cytoplasmic tail is critical for the surface stability of cadherin-catenin cell-cell adhesion complexes. Here, we present the crystal structure of p120 isoform 4A in complex with the JMD core region (JMD{sub core}) of E-cadherin. The p120 armadillo repeat domain contains modular binding pockets that are complementary to electrostatic and hydrophobic properties of the JMD{sub core}. Single-residue mutations within the JMD{sub core}-binding site of p120 abolished its interaction with E- and N-cadherins in vitro and in cultured cells. These mutations of p120 enabled us to clearly differentiate between N-cadherin-dependent and -independent steps of neuronal dendritic spine morphogenesis crucial for synapse development. NMR studies revealed that p120 regulates the stability of cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion by associating with the majority of the JMD, including residues implicated in clathrin-mediated endocytosis and Hakai-dependent ubiquitination of E-cadherin, through its discrete dynamic and static binding sites.

  13. The many faces and functions of β-catenin

    PubMed Central

    Valenta, Tomas; Hausmann, George; Basler, Konrad

    2012-01-01

    β-Catenin (Armadillo in Drosophila) is a multitasking and evolutionary conserved molecule that in metazoans exerts a crucial role in a multitude of developmental and homeostatic processes. More specifically, β-catenin is an integral structural component of cadherin-based adherens junctions, and the key nuclear effector of canonical Wnt signalling in the nucleus. Imbalance in the structural and signalling properties of β-catenin often results in disease and deregulated growth connected to cancer and metastasis. Intense research into the life of β-catenin has revealed a complex picture. Here, we try to capture the state of the art: we try to summarize and make some sense of the processes that regulate β-catenin, as well as the plethora of β-catenin binding partners. One focus will be the interaction of β-catenin with different transcription factors and the potential implications of these interactions for direct cross-talk between β-catenin and non-Wnt signalling pathways. PMID:22617422

  14. Apical Organelle Secretion by Toxoplasma Controls Innate and Adaptive Immunity and Mediates Long-Term Protection.

    PubMed

    Sloves, Pierre-Julien; Mouveaux, Thomas; Ait-Yahia, Saliha; Vorng, Han; Everaere, Laetitia; Sangare, Lamba Omar; Tsicopoulos, Anne; Tomavo, Stanislas

    2015-11-01

    Apicomplexan parasites have unique apical rhoptry and microneme secretory organelles that are crucial for host infection, although their role in protection against Toxoplasma gondii infection is not thoroughly understood. Here, we report a novel function of the endolysosomal T. gondii sortilin-like receptor (TgSORTLR), which mediates trafficking to functional apical organelles and their subsequent secretion of virulence factors that are critical to the induction of sterile immunity against parasite reinfection. We further demonstrate that the T. gondii armadillo repeats-only protein (TgARO) mutant, which is deficient only in apical secretion of rhoptries, is also critical in mounting protective immunity. The lack of TgSORTLR and TgARO proteins completely inhibited T-helper 1-dependent adaptive immunity and compromised the function of natural killer T-cell-mediated innate immunity. Our findings reveal an essential role for apical secretion in promoting sterile protection against T. gondii and provide strong evidence for rhoptry-regulated discharge of antigens as a key effector for inducing protective immunity.

  15. Absence of the articular disc in the tasmanian devil temporomandibular joint.

    PubMed

    Hayashi, K; Sugisaki, M; Kino, K; Ishikawa, T; Sugisaki, M; Abe, S

    2013-12-01

    The articular disc of the temporomandibular joint is a constant structure in mammals. According to Parsons' report in 1900, however, it is absent in four animals: the armadillo, two kinds of monotremes and the Tasmanian devil. Thereafter, no research was performed to confirm this observation. The aim of this study was to determine by anatomical and histological examination whether the Tasmanian devil has an articular disc in its temporomandibular joint. Six fresh frozen corpses and one dry skull of Tasmanian devils were obtained from the School of Zoology, University of Tasmania. The corpses were dissected and the morphology of the temporomandibular joint was carefully observed by gross anatomical and histological examination. The structure of the temporomandibular joint of the dry skull was examined macroscopically and by micro-computed tomography. In all cases, absence of the articular disc in the Tasmanian devil temporomandibular joint was morphologically confirmed. The surface layer of both the condyle and the glenoid fossa comprised a thick fibrous tissue. Micro-computed tomography revealed dense and fine trabecular bone in the condyle. The thick fibrous tissue covering the condyle and high-density trabecular bone in the condyle might play a role in absorption against powerful mastication and heavy loading of the Tasmanian devil temporomandibular joint.

  16. Interaction of Sp1 zinc finger with transport factor in the nuclear localization of transcription factor Sp1

    SciTech Connect

    Ito, Tatsuo; Kitamura, Haruka; Uwatoko, Chisana; Azumano, Makiko; Itoh, Kohji; Kuwahara, Jun

    2010-12-10

    Research highlights: {yields} Sp1 zinc fingers themselves interact with importin {alpha}. {yields} Sp1 zinc finger domains play an essential role as a nuclear localization signal. {yields} Sp1 can be transported into the nucleus in an importin-dependent manner. -- Abstract: Transcription factor Sp1 is localized in the nucleus and regulates the expression of many cellular genes, but the nuclear transport mechanism of Sp1 is not well understood. In this study, we revealed that GST-fused Sp1 protein bound to endogenous importin {alpha} in HeLa cells via the Sp1 zinc finger domains, which comprise the DNA binding domain of Sp1. It was found that the Sp1 zinc finger domains directly interacted with a wide range of importin {alpha} including the armadillo (arm) repeat domain and the C-terminal acidic domain. Furthermore, it turned out that all three zinc fingers of Sp1 are essential for binding to importin {alpha}. Taken together, these results suggest that the Sp1 zinc finger domains play an essential role as a NLS and Sp1 can be transported into the nucleus in an importin-dependent manner even though it possesses no classical NLSs.

  17. From lanosterol to cholesterol: structural evolution and differential effects on lipid bilayers.

    PubMed Central

    Miao, Ling; Nielsen, Morten; Thewalt, Jenifer; Ipsen, John H; Bloom, Myer; Zuckermann, Martin J; Mouritsen, Ole G

    2002-01-01

    Cholesterol is an important molecular component of the plasma membranes of mammalian cells. Its precursor in the sterol biosynthetic pathway, lanosterol, has been argued by Konrad Bloch (Bloch, K. 1965. Science. 150:19-28; 1983. CRC Crit. Rev. Biochem. 14:47-92; 1994. Blonds in Venetian Paintings, the Nine-Banded Armadillo, and Other Essays in Biochemistry. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.) to also be a precursor in the molecular evolution of cholesterol. We present a comparative study of the effects of cholesterol and lanosterol on molecular conformational order and phase equilibria of lipid-bilayer membranes. By using deuterium NMR spectroscopy on multilamellar lipid-sterol systems in combination with Monte Carlo simulations of microscopic models of lipid-sterol interactions, we demonstrate that the evolution in the molecular chemistry from lanosterol to cholesterol is manifested in the model lipid-sterol membranes by an increase in the ability of the sterols to promote and stabilize a particular membrane phase, the liquid-ordered phase, and to induce collective order in the acyl-chain conformations of lipid molecules. We also discuss the biological relevance of our results, in particular in the context of membrane domains and rafts. PMID:11867458

  18. Mesenchymal-epithelial transitions: spontaneous and cumulative syntheses of epithelial marker molecules and their assemblies to novel cell junctions connecting human hematopoietic tumor cells to carcinomatoid tissue structures.

    PubMed

    Franke, Werner W; Rickelt, Steffen

    2011-12-01

    Using biochemical as well as light- and electron-microscopic immunolocalization methods, in cultures of unicellular human blood tumor cells, we have studied the phenomenon of spontaneous and cumulative syntheses of certain epithelial proteins and glycoproteins and their assemblies to two major kinds of novel cell-cell junctions, adhering junctions (AJs) and junctions based on the epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM). More than two decades, we have selected and characterized clonal sublines of multipotential hematopoietic K562 cells, which are enriched in newly formed AJs based on cis-clusters of desmoglein Dsg2, in some sublines accompanied by desmocollin Dsc2. Both desmosomal cadherins can be anchored in a submembranous plaque containing plakoglobin and plakophilins Pkp2 and Pkp3, with or without other armadillo proteins and desmoplakin. Also, these cells are often connected by an additional, extended junction system, in which the transmembrane epithelial glycoprotein EpCAM is associated with a cytoplasmic plaque rich in several actin-binding proteins such as afadin, α-actinin, ezrin and vinculin. Both kinds of junctions contribute to connections of K562 cells into epithelioid monolayers or even three-dimensional, tissue-like structures, thus markedly changing the cell biological nature and behavior of the resulting tumor subforms (mesenchymal-epithelial transitions). We discuss molecular mechanisms involved in the formation and function of these junctions, also with respect to tumor spread and metastasis, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic consequences.

  19. Plakophilin-1, a Novel Wnt Signaling Regulator, Is Critical for Tooth Development and Ameloblast Differentiation

    PubMed Central

    Arai, Chieko; Yamada, Aya; Saito, Kan; Ishikawa, Masaki; Xue, Han; Funada, Keita; Haruyama, Naoto; Yamada, Yoshihiko; Fukumoto, Satoshi; Takahashi, Ichiro

    2016-01-01

    Tooth morphogenesis is initiated by reciprocal interactions between the ectoderm and neural crest-derived mesenchyme, and the Wnt signaling pathway is involved in this process. We found that Plakophilin (PKP)1, which is associated with diseases such as ectodermal dysplasia/skin fragility syndrome, was highly expressed in teeth and skin, and was upregulated during tooth development. We hypothesized that PKP1 regulates Wnt signaling via its armadillo repeat domain in a manner similar to β-catenin. To determine its role in tooth development, we performed Pkp1 knockdown experiments using ex vivo organ cultures and cell cultures. Loss of Pkp1 reduced the size of tooth germs and inhibited dental epithelial cell proliferation, which was stimulated by Wnt3a. Furthermore, transfected PKP1-emerald green fluorescent protein was translocated from the plasma membrane to the nucleus upon stimulation with Wnt3a and LiCl, which required the PKP1 N terminus (amino acids 161 to 270). Localization of PKP1, which is known as an adhesion-related desmosome component, shifted to the plasma membrane during ameloblast differentiation. In addition, Pkp1 knockdown disrupted the localization of Zona occludens 1 in tight junctions and inhibited ameloblast differentiation; the two proteins were shown to directly interact by immunoprecipitation. These results implicate the participation of PKP1 in early tooth morphogenesis as an effector of canonical Wnt signaling that controls ameloblast differentiation via regulation of the cell adhesion complex. PMID:27015268

  20. The structure of FMNL2–Cdc42 yields insights into the mechanism of lamellipodia and filopodia formation

    PubMed Central

    Kühn, Sonja; Erdmann, Constanze; Kage, Frieda; Block, Jennifer; Schwenkmezger, Lisa; Steffen, Anika; Rottner, Klemens; Geyer, Matthias

    2015-01-01

    Formins are actin polymerization factors that elongate unbranched actin filaments at the barbed end. Rho family GTPases activate Diaphanous-related formins through the relief of an autoregulatory interaction. The crystal structures of the N-terminal domains of human FMNL1 and FMNL2 in complex with active Cdc42 show that Cdc42 mediates contacts with all five armadillo repeats of the formin with specific interactions formed by the Rho-GTPase insert helix. Mutation of three residues within Rac1 results in a gain-of-function mutation for FMNL2 binding and reconstitution of the Cdc42 phenotype in vivo. Dimerization of FMNL1 through a parallel coiled coil segment leads to formation of an umbrella-shaped structure that—together with Cdc42—spans more than 15 nm in diameter. The two interacting FMNL–Cdc42 heterodimers expose six membrane interaction motifs on a convex protein surface, the assembly of which may facilitate actin filament elongation at the leading edge of lamellipodia and filopodia. PMID:25963737

  1. Ancient collagen reveals evolutionary history of the endemic South American ‘ungulates’

    PubMed Central

    Buckley, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Since the late eighteenth century, fossils of bizarre extinct creatures have been described from the Americas, revealing a previously unimagined chapter in the history of mammals. The most bizarre of these are the ‘native’ South American ungulates thought to represent a group of mammals that evolved in relative isolation on South America, but with an uncertain affinity to any particular placental lineage. Many authors have considered them descended from Laurasian ‘condylarths’, which also includes the probable ancestors of perissodactyls and artiodactyls, whereas others have placed them either closer to the uniquely South American xenarthrans (anteaters, armadillos and sloths) or the basal afrotherians (e.g. elephants and hyraxes). These hypotheses have been debated owing to conflicting morphological characteristics and the hitherto inability to retrieve molecular information. Of the ‘native’ South American mammals, only the toxodonts and litopterns persisted until the Late Pleistocene–Early Holocene. Owing to known difficulties in retrieving ancient DNA (aDNA) from specimens from warm climates, this research presents a molecular phylogeny for both Macrauchenia patachonica (Litopterna) and Toxodon platensis (Notoungulata) recovered using proteomics-based (liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry) sequencing analyses of bone collagen. The results place both taxa in a clade that is monophyletic with the perissodactyls, which today are represented by horses, rhinoceroses and tapirs. PMID:25833851

  2. Pebble/ECT2 RhoGEF negatively regulates the Wingless/Wnt signaling pathway.

    PubMed

    Greer, Elisabeth R; Chao, Anna T; Bejsovec, Amy

    2013-12-01

    Wingless (Wg)/Wnt signaling is essential for patterning invertebrate and vertebrate embryos, and inappropriate Wnt activity is associated with a variety of human cancers. Despite intensive study, Wnt pathway mechanisms are not fully understood. We have discovered a new mechanism for regulating the Wnt pathway: activity of a Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) encoded by pebble (pbl) in Drosophila and ECT2 in humans. This RhoGEF has an essential role in cytokinesis, but also plays an unexpected, conserved role in inhibiting Wg/Wnt activity. Loss and gain of pbl function in Drosophila embryos cause pattern defects that indicate altered Wg activity. Both Pbl and ECT2 repress Wg/Wnt target gene expression in cultured Drosophila and human cells. The GEF activity is required for Wnt regulation, whereas other protein domains important for cytokinesis are not. Unlike most negative regulators of Wnt activity, Pbl/ECT2 functions downstream of Armadillo (Arm)/beta-catenin stabilization. Our results indicate GTPase regulation at a novel point in Wg/Wnt signal transduction, and provide new insight into the categorization of ECT2 as a human proto-oncogene.

  3. Plakophilin-2 loss promotes TGF-β1/p38 MAPK-dependent fibrotic gene expression in cardiomyocytes

    PubMed Central

    Dubash, Adi D.; Kam, Chen Y.; Aguado, Brian A.; Patel, Dipal M.; Delmar, Mario; Shea, Lonnie D.

    2016-01-01

    Members of the desmosome protein family are integral components of the cardiac area composita, a mixed junctional complex responsible for electromechanical coupling between cardiomyocytes. In this study, we provide evidence that loss of the desmosomal armadillo protein Plakophilin-2 (PKP2) in cardiomyocytes elevates transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling, which together coordinate a transcriptional program that results in increased expression of profibrotic genes. Importantly, we demonstrate that expression of Desmoplakin (DP) is lost upon PKP2 knockdown and that restoration of DP expression rescues the activation of this TGF-β1/p38 MAPK transcriptional cascade. Tissues from PKP2 heterozygous and DP conditional knockout mouse models also exhibit elevated TGF-β1/p38 MAPK signaling and induction of fibrotic gene expression in vivo. These data therefore identify PKP2 and DP as central players in coordination of desmosome-dependent TGF-β1/p38 MAPK signaling in cardiomyocytes, pathways known to play a role in different types of cardiac disease, such as arrhythmogenic or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. PMID:26858265

  4. Evolutionary analysis suggests that AMTN is enamel-specific and a candidate for AI.

    PubMed

    Gasse, B; Silvent, J; Sire, J-Y

    2012-11-01

    Molecular evolutionary analysis is an efficient method to predict and/or validate amino acid substitutions that could lead to a genetic disease and to highlight residues and motifs that could play an important role in the protein structure and/or function. We have applied such analysis to amelotin (AMTN), a recently identified enamel protein in the rat, mouse, and humans. An in silico search for AMTN provided 42 new mammalian sequences that were added to the 3 published sequences with which we performed the analysis using a dataset representative of all lineages (circa 220 million years of evolution), including 2 enamel-less species, sloth and armadillo. During evolution, of the 209 residues of human AMTN, 17 were unchanged and 34 had conserved their chemical properties. Substituting these important residues could lead to amelogenesis imperfecta (AI). Also, AMTN possesses a well-conserved signal peptide, 2 conserved motifs whose function is certainly important but unknown, and a putative phosphorylation site (SXE). In addition, the sequences of the 2 enamel-less species display mutations revealing that AMTN underwent pseudogenization, which suggests that AMTN is an enamel-specific protein.

  5. Diversification of importin-α isoforms in cellular trafficking and disease states

    PubMed Central

    Pumroy, Ruth A.; Cingolani, Gino

    2015-01-01

    The human genome encodes seven isoforms of importin α which are grouped into three subfamilies known as α1, α2 and α3. All isoforms share a fundamentally conserved architecture that consists of an N-terminal, autoinhibitory, importin-β-binding (IBB) domain and a C-terminal Arm (Armadillo)-core that associates with nuclear localization signal (NLS) cargoes. Despite striking similarity in amino acid sequence and 3D structure, importin-α isoforms display remarkable substrate specificity in vivo. In the present review, we look at key differences among importin-α isoforms and provide a comprehensive inventory of known viral and cellular cargoes that have been shown to associate preferentially with specific isoforms. We illustrate how the diversification of the adaptor importin α into seven isoforms expands the dynamic range and regulatory control of nucleocytoplasmic transport, offering unexpected opportunities for pharmacological intervention. The emerging view of importin α is that of a key signalling molecule, with isoforms that confer preferential nuclear entry and spatiotemporal specificity on viral and cellular cargoes directly linked to human diseases. PMID:25656054

  6. P120-catenin isoforms 1A and 3A differently affect invasion and proliferation of lung cancer cells

    SciTech Connect

    Liu Yang; Dong Qianze; Zhao Yue; Dong Xinjun; Miao Yuan; Dai Shundong; Yang Zhiqiang; Zhang Di; Wang Yan; Li Qingchang; Zhao Chen; Wang Enhua

    2009-03-10

    Different isoforms of p120-catenin (p120ctn), a member of the Armadillo gene family, are variably expressed in different tissues as a result of alternative splicing and the use of multiple translation initiation codons. When expressed in cancer cells, these isoforms may confer different properties with respect to cell adhesion and invasion. We have previously reported that the p120ctn isoforms 1 and 3 were the most highly expressed isoforms in normal lung tissues, and their expression level was reduced in lung tumor cells. To precisely define their biological roles, we transfected p120ctn isoforms 1A and 3A into the lung cancer cell lines A549 and NCI-H460. Enhanced expression of p120ctn isoform 1A not only upregulated E-cadherin and {beta}-catenin, but also downregulated the Rac1 activity, and as a result, inhibited the ability of cells to invade. In contrast, overexpression of p120ctn isoform 3A led to the inactivation of Cdc42 and the activation of RhoA, and had a smaller influence on invasion. However, we found that isoform 3A had a greater ability than isoform 1A in both inhibiting the cell cycle and reducing tumor cell proliferation. The present study revealed that p120ctn isoforms 1A and 3A differently regulated the adhesive, proliferative, and invasive properties of lung cancer cells through distinct mechanisms.

  7. Structure of the rabbit ryanodine receptor RyR1 at near-atomic resolution

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Jianping; Li, Zhangqiang; Xie, Tian; Peng, Wei; Yin, Changcheng; Li, Xueming; Scheres, Sjors H.W.; Shi, Yigong; Yan, Nieng

    2014-01-01

    The ryanodine receptors (RyRs) are high-conductance intracellular Ca2+ channels that play a pivotal role in the excitation-contraction coupling of skeletal and cardiac muscles. RyRs are the largest known ion channels, with a homotetrameric organization and approximately 5000 residues in each protomer. Here we report the structure of the rabbit RyR1 in complex with its modulator FKBP12 at an overall resolution of 3.8 Å, determined by single-particle electron cryo-microscopy. Three previously uncharacterized domains, named Central, Handle, and Helical domains, display the armadillo repeat fold. These domains, together with the amino-terminal domain, constitute a network of superhelical scaffold for binding and propagation of conformational changes. The channel domain exhibits the voltage-gated ion channel superfamily fold with distinct features. A negative charge-enriched hairpin loop connecting S5 and the pore helix is positioned above the entrance to the selectivity filter vestibule. The four elongated S6 segments form a right-handed helical bundle that closes the pore at the cytoplasmic border of the membrane. Allosteric regulation of the pore by the cytoplasmic domains is mediated through extensive interactions between the Central domains and the channel domain. These structural features explain high ion conductance by RyRs and the long-range allosteric regulation of channel activities. PMID:25517095

  8. Characterization of bbtTICAM from amphioxus suggests the emergence of a MyD88-independent pathway in basal chordates

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Manyi; Yuan, Shaochun; Huang, Shengfeng; Li, Jun; Xu, Liqun; Huang, Huiqing; Tao, Xin; Peng, Jian; Xu, Anlong

    2011-01-01

    The MyD88-independent pathway, one of the two crucial TLR signaling routes, is thought to be a vertebrate innovation. However, a novel Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) adaptor, designated bbtTICAM, which was identified in the basal chordate amphioxus, links this pathway to invertebrates. The protein architecture of bbtTICAM is similar to that of vertebrate TICAM1 (TIR-containing adaptor molecule-1, also known as TRIF), while phylogenetic analysis based on the TIR domain indicated that bbtTICAM is the oldest ortholog of vertebrate TICAM1 and TICAM2 (TIR-containing adaptor molecule-2, also known as TRAM). Similar to human TICAM1, bbtTICAM activates NF-κB in a MyD88-independent manner by interacting with receptor interacting protein (RIP) via its RHIM motif. Such activation requires bbtTICAM to form homodimers in endosomes, and it may be negatively regulated by amphioxus SARM (sterile α and armadillo motif-containing protein) and TRAF2. However, bbtTICAM did not induce the production of type I interferon. Thus, our study not only presents the ancestral features of vertebrate TICAM1 and TICAM2, but also reveals the evolutionary origin of the MyD88-independent pathway from basal chordates, which will aid in understanding the development of the vertebrate TLR network. PMID:21931360

  9. Paracoccidioidomycosis in a dog: case report of generalized lymphadenomegaly.

    PubMed

    de Farias, Marconi Rodrigues; Condas, Larissa Anuska Zeni; Ribeiro, Márcio Garcia; Bosco, Sandra de Moraes Gimenes; Muro, Marisol Dominguez; Werner, Juliana; Theodoro, Raquel Cordeiro; Bagagli, Eduardo; Marques, Sílvio Alencar; Franco, Marcello

    2011-08-01

    Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a severe systemic mycosis, endemic in Latin America and highly prevalent in Brazil, where it ranks eighth as a mortality cause among infectious and parasitic diseases in humans. The disease in animals has been little explored. It is observed that armadillos can harbor the fungus at high frequencies, although the active disease has not been well documented in this wild mammal. Dogs are susceptible to experimental infection, and the naturally acquired PCM-disease was reported only recently in a dog from Brazil. The present work reports the second case of naturally acquired PCM in a 6-year-old female dog that presented emaciation, lymphadenomegaly, and hepatosplenomegaly. Biochemical and pulmonary radiographic evaluation did not reveal any abnormalities. PCM was diagnosed by clinical findings, culturing, immunohistochemistry, and histopathology of popliteal lymph node. The fungus was recovered from popliteal lymph node, and the molecular analysis showed respective sequencing similarities of 99 and 100% for 803 nucleotides of the Gp43 gene and 592 nucleotides from the ITS-5.8S region of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Immunohistochemistry revealed severe lymphadenitis and presented numerous yeasts, which reacted against the gp43 antibody. Histopathology revealed a severe granulomatous lymphadenitis associated with numerous single or multiple budding yeasts. After diagnosis, the dog was successfully treated with itraconazol for 2 years. Veterinarians should be aware of the importance of considering PCM for differential diagnosis, especially in dogs from PCM-endemic areas, whose monophagocytic system involvement is evident.

  10. Transcription factor AP-2β suppresses cervical cancer cell proliferation by promoting the degradation of its interaction partner β-catenin.

    PubMed

    Wang, Fangmei; Huang, Wenhuan; Hu, Xiang; Chen, Cheng; Li, Xinxin; Qiu, Junlu; Liang, Zhongheng; Zhang, Jianmei; Li, Limin; Wang, Xiaoqing; Ding, Xiaofeng; Xiang, Shuanglin; Zhang, Jian

    2017-03-09

    Transcription factor AP-2β mediates the transcription of a number of genes implicated in mammalian development, cell proliferation and carcinogenesis. Although the expression pattern of AP-2β has been analyzed in cervical cancer cell lines, the functions and molecular mechanism of AP-2β are unknown. Here, we found that AP-2β significantly inhibits TCF/LEF reporter activity. Moreover, AP-2β and β-catenin interact both in vitro through GST pull-down assays and in vivo by co-immunoprecipitation. We further identified the interaction regions to the DNA-binding domain of AP-2β and the 1-9 Armadillo repeats of β-catenin. Moreover, AP-2β binds with β-TrCP and promotes the degradation of endogenous β-catenin via the proteasomal degradation pathway. Immunohistochemistry analysis revealed a negative correlation between the two proteins in cervical cancer tissues and cell lines. Finally, functional analysis showed that AP-2β suppresses cervical cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo by inhibiting the expression of Wnt downstream genes. Taken together, these findings demonstrated that AP-2β functions as a novel inhibitor of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in cervical cancer. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  11. Molecular detection of Leishmania spp. in road-killed wild mammals in the Central Western area of the State of São Paulo, Brazil

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Road-killed wild animals have been classified as sentinels for detecting such zoonotic pathogens as Leishmania spp., offering new opportunities for epidemiological studies of this infection. Methods This study aimed to evaluate the presence of Leishmania spp. and Leishmania chagasi DNA by PCR in tissue samples (lung, liver, spleen, kidney, heart, mesenteric lymph node and adrenal gland) from 70 road-killed wild animals. Results DNA was detected in tissues of one Cavia aperea (Brazilian guinea pig), five Cerdocyon thous (crab-eating fox), one Dasypus septemcinctus (seven-banded armadillo), two Didelphis albiventris (white-eared opossum), one Hydrochoerus hydrochoeris (capybara), two Myrmecophaga tridactyla (giant anteater), one Procyon cancrivorus (crab-eating raccoon), two Sphiggurus spinosus (porcupine) and one Tamandua tetradactyla (lesser anteater) from different locations in the Central Western part of São Paulo state. The Leishmania chagasi DNA were confirmed in mesenteric lymph node of one Cerdocyon thous. Results indicated common infection in wild animals. Conclusions The approach employed herein proved useful for detecting the environmental occurrence of Leishmania spp. and L. chagasi, as well as determining natural wild reservoirs and contributing to understand the host-parasite interaction. PMID:24963288

  12. Non-legalized commerce in game meat in the Brazilian Amazon: a case study.

    PubMed

    Baía Jr, Pedro Chaves; Guimarães, Diva Anelie; Le Pendu, Yvonnick

    2010-09-01

    In tropical forests, wild game meat represents an option or the only protein source for some human populations. This study analyzed the wildlife meat trade destined to human consumption in an open market of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil. Wildlife meat trade was monitored during 2005 through interviews to vendors and consumers in order to evaluate the socioeconomic profile of the sellers, the main species and byproducts sold, their geographical origin, commercial value, frequency of sale and product demand. Data indicated that vendors were financially highly dependant of this activity, getting a monthly income up to US$271.49. During the survey, the amount of wildlife meat on sale added a total of 5 970kg, as follows: 63.2% capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), 34.4% cayman (Melanosuchus niger and/or Caiman crocodilus crocodilus), 1.1% paca (Cuniculus paca); 0.6% armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), 0.5% deer (Mazama americana), 0.2% matamata (Chelus fimbriatus), and 0.1% opossum (Didelphis marsupialis). Most of the commercialized species were not slaughtered locally. The consumption of wildlife meat was admitted by 94% of the interviewed, consisting of 27 ethno-species: 19 mammals, 6 reptiles, and 2 birds. The same percentage of the interviewed (94%) already bought wildlife meat of 18 species: 12 mammals and 6 reptiles. The great amount of wildlife meat traded and the important demand for these products by the local population, point out the necessity to adopt policies for a sustainable management of cinegetic species, guaranteeing the conservation of the environment, the improvement of living standards, and the maintenance of the local culture.

  13. Vertical stratification and development aspects of phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) in an area of Atlantic Forest tree species in a metropolitan region in northeastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Cortez, A M; Silva, V P M; Queiroz, P V S; Andrade, H T A; Loiola, M I B; Ximenes, M F F M

    2007-12-01

    In the state of Rio Grande do Norte in northeast Brazil, cases of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) occur mainly in the periurban areas of the city of Natal. Lutzomyia longipalpis Lutz & Neiva 1912 (Diptera: Psychodidae), a vector of Leishmania chagasi (Protozoa: Trypanosomatidae) to humans, is found throughout the state. Flora and fauna influence the distribution of sand fly species, whose horizontal or vertical stratification can be used as a parameter for identifying potential vectors, considering the presence of vertebrate hosts in the area. The purpose of this study was to obtain information about the vertical stratification of phlebotomine sand flies in an endemic area of leishmaniasis in Rio Grande do Norte, and associate it with the presence of other animals in the peridomiciliary environment as well as to analyze, under laboratory conditions, aspects of L. longipalpis reproduction in wild females. The sand flies were captured with light traps hung at different heights in species of Atlantic Forest trees and in a peridomiciliary environment in animal shelters. The traps were placed between 17:30 and 6:00 of the following day, in a peridomiciliary and extradomiciliary area of a forest fragment in both dry and rainy months. In the extradomiciliary environment, the traps were installed at 1, 3 and 5 m above the ground. The biological cycle of L. longipalpis was followed from the eggs of 200 wild females. Specimens of L. lenti, L. walkeri, and L. migonei were captured. The comparison and statistical analysis showed that L. longipalpis is more abundant at a height of 3 m and L. evandroi at 1 m. In the animal shelters (chickens, horses, and armadillos), we captured mainly specimens of L. longipalpis and L. evandroi. The duration of the biological cycle of L. longipalpis was approximately 38 days at a temperature of 28 degrees C.

  14. PONS2train: tool for testing the MLP architecture and local traning methods for runoff forecast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maca, P.; Pavlasek, J.; Pech, P.

    2012-04-01

    The purpose of presented poster is to introduce the PONS2train developed for runoff prediction via multilayer perceptron - MLP. The software application enables the implementation of 12 different MLP's transfer functions, comparison of 9 local training algorithms and finally the evaluation the MLP performance via 17 selected model evaluation metrics. The PONS2train software is written in C++ programing language. Its implementation consists of 4 classes. The NEURAL_NET and NEURON classes implement the MLP, the CRITERIA class estimates model evaluation metrics and for model performance evaluation via testing and validation datasets. The DATA_PATTERN class prepares the validation, testing and calibration datasets. The software application uses the LAPACK, BLAS and ARMADILLO C++ linear algebra libraries. The PONS2train implements the first order local optimization algorithms: standard on-line and batch back-propagation with learning rate combined with momentum and its variants with the regularization term, Rprop and standard batch back-propagation with variable momentum and learning rate. The second order local training algorithms represents: the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm with and without regularization and four variants of scaled conjugate gradients. The other important PONS2train features are: the multi-run, the weight saturation control, early stopping of trainings, and the MLP weights analysis. The weights initialization is done via two different methods: random sampling from uniform distribution on open interval or Nguyen Widrow method. The data patterns can be transformed via linear and nonlinear transformation. The runoff forecast case study focuses on PONS2train implementation and shows the different aspects of the MLP training, the MLP architecture estimation, the neural network weights analysis and model uncertainty estimation.

  15. Glycosylation at the fetomaternal interface in hemomonochorial placentae from five widely separated species of mammal: is there evidence for convergent evolution?

    PubMed

    Jones, Carolyn J P; Carter, Anthony M; Aplin, John D; Enders, Allen C

    2007-01-01

    Hemomonochorial placentation occurs in diverse species. We have examined placental glycosylation in five widely separated mammals with this type of placentation--lesser hedgehog tenrec (Echinops telfairi), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), human (Homo sapiens) and guinea pig (Cavia porcellus)--in order to assess whether evolutionary convergence to the hemomonochorial state is accompanied by a similar convergence of glycan expression. Placentae from 2 E. telfairi, 3 C. crocuta, 1 D. novemcinctus, 4 womenand 1 C. porcellus were fixed and processed into epoxy resin. Binding of twenty-three lectins was assessed using a semiquantitative ranking system. The trophoblast apical/microvillous membrane of all five species showed marked similarities in glycosylation. In the N-linked series, there were abundant bi/tri-antennary complex chains, while the non-bisected variants were much scarcer. All species had plentiful N-acetyl lactosamine sequences; at chain termini, binding to Galbeta1,4GlcNAc and Galbeta1,3GalNAc sequences was greatly enhanced after neuraminidase treatment. In all species, terminal NeuNAcalpha2,3 residues were detected. The tenrec had unusually abundant terminal N-acetyl galactosamine. The basal plasma membrane/basal lamina showed glycosylation patterns distinct from the microvillous membrane in each case, indicating chemical diversity of the two opposite faces of trophoblast. Similar classes of glycan at the hemochorial interface suggest conservation of function. The observed lectin binding patterns suggest broad similarities of glycosylation that may have arisen by convergent evolution.

  16. Animal models of human placentation--a review.

    PubMed

    Carter, A M

    2007-04-01

    This review examines the strengths and weaknesses of animal models of human placentation and pays particular attention to the mouse and non-human primates. Analogies can be drawn between mouse and human in placental cell types and genes controlling placental development. There are, however, substantive differences, including a different mode of implantation, a prominent yolk sac placenta, and fewer placental hormones in the mouse. Crucially, trophoblast invasion is very limited in the mouse and transformation of uterine arteries depends on maternal factors. The mouse also has a short gestation and delivers poorly developed young. Guinea pig is a good alternative rodent model and among the few species known to develop pregnancy toxaemia. The sheep is well established as a model in fetal physiology but is of limited value for placental research. The ovine placenta is epitheliochorial, there is no trophoblast invasion of uterine vessels, and the immunology of pregnancy may be quite different. We conclude that continued research on non-human primates is needed to clarify embryonic-endometrial interactions. The interstitial implantation of human is unusual, but the initial interaction between trophoblast and endometrium is similar in macaques and baboons, as is the subsequent lacunar stage. The absence of interstitial trophoblast cells in the monkey is an important difference from human placentation. However, there is a strong resemblance in the way spiral arteries are invaded and transformed in the macaque, baboon and human. Non-human primates are therefore important models for understanding the dysfunction that has been linked to pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restriction. Models that are likely to be established in the wake of comparative genomics include the marmoset, tree shrew, hedgehog tenrec and nine-banded armadillo.

  17. Cloning, Characteristics, and Functional Analysis of Rabbit NADPH Oxidase 5

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Feng; Yin, Caiyong; Dimitropoulou, Christiana; Fulton, David J. R.

    2016-01-01

    Background: Nox5 was the last member of the Nox enzyme family to be identified. Functionally distinct from the other Nox isoforms, our understanding of its physiological significance has been hampered by the absence of Nox5 in mouse and rat genomes. Nox5 is present in the genomes of other species such as the rabbit that have broad utility as models of cardiovascular disease. However, the mRNA sequence, characteristics, and functional analysis of rabbit Nox5 has not been fully defined and were the goals of the current study. Methods: Rabbit Nox5 was amplified from rabbit tissue, cloned, and sequenced. COS-7 cells were employed for expression and functional analysis via Western blotting and measurements of superoxide. We designed and synthesized miRNAs selectively targeting rabbit Nox5. The nucleotide and amino acid sequences of rabbit Nox5 were aligned with those of putative rabbit isoforms (X1, X2, X3, and X4). A phylogenetic tree was generated based on the mRNA sequence for Nox5 from rabbit and other species. Results: Sequence alignment revealed that the identified rabbit Nox5 was highly conserved with the predicted sequence of rabbit Nox5. Cell based experiments reveal that rabbit Nox5 was robustly expressed and produced superoxide at rest and in a calcium and PMA-dependent manner that was susceptible to superoxide dismutase and the flavoprotein inhibitor, DPI. miRNA-1 was shown to be most effective in down-regulating the expression of rabbit Nox5. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a close relationship between rabbit and armadillo Nox5. Rabbit Nox5 was relatively closely related to human Nox5, but lies in a distinct cluster. Conclusion: Our study establishes the suitability of the rabbit as a model organism to further our understanding of the role of Nox5 in cardiovascular and other diseases and provides new information on the genetic relationship of Nox5 genes in different species. PMID:27486403

  18. Structure-based mutational analysis of ICAT residues mediating negative regulation of β-catenin co-transcriptional activity

    PubMed Central

    Domingues, Mélanie J.; Martinez-Sanz, Juan; Papon, Laura; Larue, Lionel; Mouawad, Liliane

    2017-01-01

    ICAT (Inhibitor of β-CAtenin and TCF) is a small acidic protein that negatively regulates β-catenin co-transcriptional activity by competing with TCF/LEF factors in their binding to β-catenin superhelical core. In melanoma cells, ICAT competes with LEF1 to negatively regulate the M-MITF and NEDD9 target genes. The structure of ICAT consists of two domains: the 3-helix bundle N-terminal domain binds to β-catenin Armadillo (Arm) repeats 10–12 and the C-terminal tail binds to Arm repeats 5–9. To elucidate the structural mechanisms governing ICAT/β-catenin interactions in melanoma cells, three ICAT residues Y15, K19 and V22 in the N-terminal domain, contacting hydrophobic β-catenin residue F660, were mutated and interaction was assessed by immunoprecipitation. Despite the moderate hydrophobicity of the contact, its removal completely abolished the interaction. In the ICAT C-terminal tail consensus sequence, neutralization of the electrostatic interactions between residues D66, E75 and β-catenin residues K435, K312, coupled to deletion of the hydrophobic contact between F71 and β-catenin R386, markedly reduced, but failed to abolish the ICAT-mediated negative regulation of M-MITF and NEDD9 promoters. We conclude that in melanoma cells, anchoring of ICAT N-terminal domain to β-catenin through the hook made by residue F660, trapped in the pincers formed by ICAT residues Y15 and V22, is crucial for stabilizing the ICAT/β-catenin complex. This is a prerequisite for binding of the consensus peptide to Arm repeats 5–9 and competition with LEF1. Differences between ICAT and LEF1 in their affinity for β-catenin may rely on the absence in ICAT of hydrophilic residues between D66 and F71. PMID:28273108

  19. Nuclear Localization of the Autism Candidate Gene Neurobeachin and Functional Interaction with the NOTCH1 Intracellular Domain Indicate a Role in Regulating Transcription

    PubMed Central

    Tuand, Krizia; Stijnen, Pieter; Volders, Karolien; Declercq, Jeroen; Nuytens, Kim; Meulemans, Sandra; Creemers, John

    2016-01-01

    Background Neurobeachin (NBEA) is an autism spectrum disorders (ASD) candidate gene. NBEA deficiency affects regulated secretion, receptor trafficking, synaptic architecture and protein kinase A (PKA)-mediated phosphorylation. NBEA is a large multidomain scaffolding protein. From N- to C-terminus, NBEA has a concanavalin A-like lectin domain flanked by armadillo repeats (ACA), an A-kinase anchoring protein domain that can bind to PKA, a domain of unknown function (DUF1088) and a BEACH domain, preceded by a pleckstrin homology-like domain and followed by WD40 repeats (PBW). Although most of these domains mediate protein-protein interactions, no interaction screen has yet been performed. Methods Yeast two-hybrid screens with the ACA and PBW domain modules of NBEA gave a list of interaction partners, which were analyzed for Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment. Neuro-2a cells were used for confocal microscopy and nuclear extraction analysis. NOTCH-mediated transcription was studied with luciferase reporter assays and qRT-PCR, combined with NBEA knockdown or overexpression. Results Both domain modules showed a GO enrichment for the nucleus. PBW almost exclusively interacted with transcription regulators, while ACA interacted with a number of PKA substrates. NBEA was partially localized in the nucleus of Neuro-2a cells, albeit much less than in the cytoplasm. A nuclear localization signal was found in the DUF1088 domain, which was shown to contribute to the nuclear localization of an EGFP-DPBW fusion protein. Yeast two-hybrid identified the Notch1 intracellular domain as a physical interactor of the PBW domain and a role for NBEA as a negative regulator in Notch-mediated transcription was demonstrated. Conclusion Defining novel interaction partners of conserved NBEA domain modules identified a role for NBEA as transcriptional regulator in the nucleus. The physical interaction of NBEA with NOTCH1 is most relevant for ASD pathogenesis because NOTCH signaling is essential for

  20. Convergence of gut microbiomes in myrmecophagous mammals.

    PubMed

    Delsuc, Frédéric; Metcalf, Jessica L; Wegener Parfrey, Laura; Song, Se Jin; González, Antonio; Knight, Rob

    2014-03-01

    Mammals have diversified into many dietary niches. Specialized myrmecophagous (ant- and termite-eating) placental mammals represent a textbook example of evolutionary convergence driven by extreme diet specialization. Armadillos, anteaters, aardvarks, pangolins and aardwolves thus provide a model system for understanding the potential role of gut microbiota in the convergent adaptation to myrmecophagy. Here, we expand upon previous mammalian gut microbiome studies by using high-throughput barcoded Illumina sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to characterize the composition of gut microbiota in 15 species representing all placental myrmecophagous lineages and their close relatives from zoo- and field-collected samples. We confirm that both diet and phylogeny drive the evolution of mammalian gut microbiota, with cases of convergence in global composition, but also examples of phylogenetic inertia. Our results reveal specialized placental myrmecophages as a spectacular case of large-scale convergence in gut microbiome composition. Indeed, neighbour-net networks and beta-diversity plots based on UniFrac distances show significant clustering of myrmecophagous species (anteaters, aardvarks and aardwolves), even though they belong to phylogenetically distant lineages representing different orders. The aardwolf, which diverged from carnivorous hyenas only in the last 10 million years, experienced a convergent shift in the composition of its gut microbiome to become more similar to other myrmecophages. These results confirm diet adaptation to be a major driving factor of convergence in gut microbiome composition over evolutionary timescales. This study sets the scene for future metagenomic studies aiming at evaluating potential convergence in functional gene content in the microbiomes of specialized mammalian myrmecophages.

  1. Characterization of seasonal reproduction patterns in female pichis Zaedyus pichiy (Xenarthra: Dasypodidae) estimated by fecal sex steroid metabolites and ovarian histology.

    PubMed

    Superina, Mariella; Carreño, Norma; Jahn, Graciela A

    2009-12-01

    Reproductive strategies vary considerably among species, but most studies have focused on a very limited number of mammalian species. Knowledge of the reproductive cycle and behavior is essential for developing and implementing in situ and ex situ conservation strategies for threatened and endangered species. This study aimed at characterizing the seasonal reproductive pattern of female pichis Zaedyus pichiy, a threatened small armadillo native to arid regions of Argentina and Chile, through direct observations, histological studies, and by measuring fecal immunoreactive estrogens, progestagens and glucocorticoids in 10 wild-born, captive pichis and in free-ranging individuals. Results suggest that pichis are seasonal breeders that give birth to one yearly litter of 1-2 offspring, which do not leave the burrow until they are weaned at approximately 37 days. Ovarian follicular growth seems to occur throughout the year. Fecal progestagen, estrogen and glucocorticoid concentrations were minimal during the first half of pregnancy, increased to peak concentrations of up to 3500, 200 and 200ng/g dry feces, respectively, and decreased before parturition. Postpartum progestagen concentrations were greater in lactating females than females that aborted or did not raise their offspring (p<0.0001), which is probably related to an elevated corticosteroid synthesis that contributes to maintain lactation, given that fecal glucocorticoid concentrations were of similar pattern. Observations of a second pregnancy after late abortion or death of the newborn litter and sustained follicular growth during pregnancy and lactation suggest that female pichis can become receptive briefly after having lost their litter. Fecal estrogen and progestagen concentrations of non-pregnant, non-lactating females did not have a well-defined hormonal cyclic pattern, and corpora lutea were only observed in pregnant females.

  2. Restricting nonclassical MHC genes coevolve with TRAV genes used by innate-like T cells in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Boudinot, Pierre; Mondot, Stanislas; Jouneau, Luc; Teyton, Luc; Lefranc, Marie-Paule; Lantz, Olivier

    2016-01-01

    Whereas major histocompatibility class-1 (MH1) proteins present peptides to T cells displaying a large T-cell receptor (TR) repertoire, MH1Like proteins, such as CD1D and MR1, present glycolipids and microbial riboflavin precursor derivatives, respectively, to T cells expressing invariant TR-α (iTRA) chains. The groove of such MH1Like, as well as iTRA chains used by mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) and natural killer T (NKT) cells, respectively, may result from a coevolution under particular selection pressures. Herein, we investigated the evolutionary patterns of the iTRA of MAIT and NKT cells and restricting MH1Like proteins: MR1 appeared 170 Mya and is highly conserved across mammals, evolving more slowly than other MH1Like. It has been pseudogenized or independently lost three times in carnivores, the armadillo, and lagomorphs. The corresponding TRAV1 gene also evolved slowly and harbors highly conserved complementarity determining regions 1 and 2. TRAV1 is absent exclusively from species in which MR1 is lacking, suggesting that its loss released the purifying selection on MR1. In the rabbit, which has very few NKT and no MAIT cells, a previously unrecognized iTRA was identified by sequencing leukocyte RNA. This iTRA uses TRAV41, which is highly conserved across several groups of mammals. A rabbit MH1Like gene was found that appeared with mammals and is highly conserved. It was independently lost in a few groups in which MR1 is present, like primates and Muridae, illustrating compensatory emergences of new MH1Like/Invariant T-cell combinations during evolution. Deciphering their role is warranted to search similar effector functions in humans. PMID:27170188

  3. Body mass estimation in xenarthra: a predictive equation suitable for all quadrupedal terrestrial placentals?

    PubMed

    De Esteban-Trivigno, Soledad; Mendoza, Manuel; De Renzi, Miquel

    2008-10-01

    The Magnorder Xenarthra includes strange extinct groups, like glyptodonts, similar to large armadillos, and ground sloths, terrestrial relatives of the extant tree sloths. They have created considerable paleobiological interest in the last decades; however, the ecology of most of these species is still controversial or unknown. The body mass estimation of extinct species has great importance for paleobiological reconstructions. The commonest way to estimate body mass from fossils is through linear regression. However, if the studied species does not have similar extant relatives, the allometric pattern described by the regression could differ from those shown by the extinct group. That is the case for glyptodonts and ground sloths. Thus, stepwise multiple regression were developed including extant xenarthrans (their taxonomic relatives) and ungulates (their size and ecological relatives). Cases were weighted to maximize the taxonomic evenness. Twenty-eight equations were obtained. The distribution of the percent of prediction error (%PE) was analyzed between taxonomic groups (Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, and Xenarthra) and size groups (0-20 kg, 20-300 kg, and more than 300 kg). To assess the predictive power of the functions, equations were applied to species not included in the regression development [test set cross validation, (TSCV)]. Only five equations had a homogeneous %PE between the aforementioned groups. These were applied to five extinct species. A mean body mass of 80 kg was estimated for Propalaehoplophorus australis (Cingulata: Glyptodontidae), 594 kg for Scelidotherium leptocephalum (Phyllophaga: Mylodontidae), and 3,550.7 kg for Lestodon armatus (Phyllophaga: Mylodontidae). The high scatter of the body mass estimations obtained for Catonyx tarijensis (Phyllophaga: Mylodontidae) and Thalassocnus natans (Phyllophaga: Megatheriidae), probably due to different specializations, prevented us from predicting its body mass. Surprisingly, although obtained

  4. [Trypanosoma cruzi in French Guinea: review of accumulated data since 1940].

    PubMed

    Raccurt, C P

    1996-01-01

    Between 1939 and 1994, nine cases of Chagas disease have been reported in French Guiana: seven in the acute phase including two that were fatal and two in the chronic phase with cardiac sequellae. A tenth case of transient parasitemia was described but the patient's clinical status was not mentioned. Screening by xenodiagnosis revealed one subclinical infection. Heart disease is a highly specific manifestation of Trypanosoma cruzi infection, this being consistent with the known presence of zymodeme 1 in the sylvatic reservoir and reduviid vectors. The low incidence of positive serology (0.7% in a group of 740 subjects in whom serum samples were tested by indirect immunofluorescence) indicates that the disease is not currently becoming endemic. The main animal reservoirs for infection are small land marsupials (Didelphis marsupialis being the most frequently infected) and edentata especially armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus). A peridomestic cycle, implicating D. marsupialis and Philander oppossum, plant-eating marsupials, with Rhodnius pictipes as the vector is highly active. Further study is necessary to ascertain another mechanism involving R. prolixus as a vector in dwellings in urban areas. Outbreaks require careful epidemiologic surveillance. French Guiana should no longer be considered as an enzootic area but as an area of risk for sporadic Chagas disease with epidemiologic features similar to those of the disease in dense Amazon forest areas. Appropriate measures must be taken to screen and promptly manage Chagas disease in the population. Special care is needed for concurrent HIV-T. cruzi infection due to the severity of this combination. Preventive measures are also needed to preclude transfusional infection.

  5. Comparative aspects of trophoblast development and placentation.

    PubMed

    Carter, Anthony M; Enders, Allen C

    2004-07-05

    Based on the number of tissues separating maternal from fetal blood, placentas are classified as epitheliochorial, endotheliochorial or hemochorial. We review the occurrence of these placental types in the various orders of eutherian mammals within the framework of the four superorders identified by the techniques of molecular phylogenetics. The superorder Afrotheria diversified in ancient Africa and its living representatives include elephants, sea cows, hyraxes, aardvark, elephant shrews and tenrecs. Xenarthra, comprising armadillos, anteaters and sloths, diversified in South America. All placentas examined from members of these two oldest superorders are either endotheliochorial or hemochorial. The superorder Euarchontoglires includes two sister groups, Glires and Euarchonta. The former comprises rodents and lagomorphs, which typically have hemochorial placentas. The most primitive members of Euarchonta, the tree shrews, have endotheliochorial placentation. Flying lemurs and all higher primates have hemochorial placentas. However, the lemurs and lorises are exceptional among primates in having epitheliochorial placentation. Laurasiatheria, the last superorder to arise, includes several orders with epitheliochorial placentation. These comprise whales, camels, pigs, ruminants, horses and pangolins. In contrast, nearly all carnivores have endotheliochorial placentation, whilst bats have endotheliochorial or hemochorial placentas. Also included in Laurasiatheria are a number of insectivores that have many conserved morphological characters; none of these has epitheliochorial placentation. Consideration of placental type in relation to the findings of molecular phylogenetics suggests that the likely path of evolution in Afrotheria was from endotheliochorial to hemochorial placentation. This is also a likely scenario for Xenarthra and the bats. We argue that a definitive epitheliochorial placenta is a secondary specialization and that it evolved twice, once in the

  6. Loss of teeth and enamel in tetrapods: fossil record, genetic data and morphological adaptations.

    PubMed

    Davit-Béal, Tiphaine; Tucker, Abigail S; Sire, Jean-Yves

    2009-04-01

    Since their recruitment in the oral cavity, approximately 450 million years ago, teeth have been subjected to strong selective constraints due to the crucial role that they play in species survival. It is therefore quite surprising that the ability to develop functional teeth has subsequently been lost several times, independently, in various lineages. In this review, we concentrate our attention on tetrapods, the only vertebrate lineage in which several clades lack functional teeth from birth to adulthood. Indeed, in other lineages, teeth can be absent in adults but be functionally present in larvae and juveniles, can be absent in the oral cavity but exist in the pharyngeal region, or can develop on the upper jaw but be absent on the lower jaw. Here, we analyse the current data on toothless (edentate) tetrapod taxa, including information available on enamel-less species. Firstly, we provide an analysis of the dispersed and fragmentary morphological data published on the various living taxa concerned (and their extinct relatives) with the aim of tracing the origin of tooth or enamel loss, i.e. toads in Lissamphibia, turtles and birds in Sauropsida, and baleen whales, pangolins, anteaters, sloths, armadillos and aardvark in Mammalia. Secondly, we present current hypotheses on the genetic basis of tooth loss in the chicken and thirdly, we try to answer the question of how these taxa have survived tooth loss given the crucial importance of this tool. The loss of teeth (or only enamel) in all of these taxa was not lethal because it was always preceded in evolution by the pre-adaptation of a secondary tool (beak, baleens, elongated adhesive tongues or hypselodonty) useful for improving efficiency in food uptake. The positive selection of such secondary tools would have led to relaxed functional constraints on teeth and would have later compensated for the loss of teeth. These hypotheses raise numerous questions that will hopefully be answered in the near future.

  7. p120 Catenin-Mediated Stabilization of E-Cadherin Is Essential for Primitive Endoderm Specification

    PubMed Central

    Haenebalcke, Lieven; Stryjewska, Agata; De Rycke, Riet; Lemeire, Kelly; Huylebroeck, Danny; Stemmler, Marc P.; Wirth, Dagmar; Haigh, Jody J.; van Hengel, Jolanda; van Roy, Frans

    2016-01-01

    E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion is critical for naive pluripotency of cultured mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). E-cadherin-depleted mESC fail to downregulate their pluripotency program and are unable to initiate lineage commitment. To further explore the roles of cell adhesion molecules during mESC differentiation, we focused on p120 catenin (p120ctn). Although one key function of p120ctn is to stabilize and regulate cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion, it has many additional functions, including regulation of transcription and Rho GTPase activity. Here, we investigated the role of mouse p120ctn in early embryogenesis, mESC pluripotency and early fate determination. In contrast to the E-cadherin-null phenotype, p120ctn-null mESCs remained pluripotent, but their in vitro differentiation was incomplete. In particular, they failed to form cystic embryoid bodies and showed defects in primitive endoderm formation. To pinpoint the underlying mechanism, we undertook a structure-function approach. Rescue of p120ctn-null mESCs with different p120ctn wild-type and mutant expression constructs revealed that the long N-terminal domain of p120ctn and its regulatory domain for RhoA were dispensable, whereas its armadillo domain and interaction with E-cadherin were crucial for primitive endoderm formation. We conclude that p120ctn is not only an adaptor and regulator of E-cadherin, but is also indispensable for proper lineage commitment. PMID:27556156

  8. T-cell death following immune activation is mediated by mitochondria-localized SARM.

    PubMed

    Panneerselvam, P; Singh, L P; Selvarajan, V; Chng, W J; Ng, S B; Tan, N S; Ho, B; Chen, J; Ding, J L

    2013-03-01

    Following acute-phase infection, activated T cells are terminated to achieve immune homeostasis, failure of which results in lymphoproliferative and autoimmune diseases. We report that sterile α- and heat armadillo-motif-containing protein (SARM), the most conserved Toll-like receptors adaptor, is proapoptotic during T-cell immune response. SARM expression is significantly reduced in natural killer (NK)/T lymphoma patients compared with healthy individuals, suggesting that decreased SARM supports NK/T-cell proliferation. T cells knocked down of SARM survived and proliferated more significantly compared with wild-type T cells following influenza infection in vivo. During activation of cytotoxic T cells, the SARM level fell before rising, correlating inversely with cell proliferation and subsequent T-cell clearance. SARM knockdown rescued T cells from both activation- and neglect-induced cell deaths. The mitochondria-localized SARM triggers intrinsic apoptosis by generating reactive oxygen species and depolarizing the mitochondrial potential. The proapoptotic function is attributable to the C-terminal sterile alpha motif and Toll/interleukin-1 receptor domains. Mechanistically, SARM mediates intrinsic apoptosis via B cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) family members. SARM suppresses B cell lymphoma-extra large (Bcl-xL) and downregulates extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation, which are cell survival effectors. Overexpression of Bcl-xL and double knockout of Bcl-2 associated X protein and Bcl-2 homologous antagonist killer substantially reduced SARM-induced apoptosis. Collectively, we have shown how T-cell death following infection is mediated by SARM-induced intrinsic apoptosis, which is crucial for T-cell homeostasis.

  9. Sarm1-mediated axon degeneration requires both SAM and TIR interactions.

    PubMed

    Gerdts, Josiah; Summers, Daniel W; Sasaki, Yo; DiAntonio, Aaron; Milbrandt, Jeffrey

    2013-08-14

    Axon degeneration is an evolutionarily conserved pathway that eliminates damaged or unneeded axons. Manipulation of this poorly understood pathway may allow treatment of a wide range of neurological disorders. In an RNAi-based screen performed in cultured mouse DRG neurons, we observed strong suppression of injury-induced axon degeneration upon knockdown of Sarm1 [SARM (sterile α-motif-containing and armadillo-motif containing protein)]. We find that a SARM-dependent degeneration program is engaged by disparate neuronal insults: SARM ablation blocks axon degeneration induced by axotomy or vincristine treatment, while SARM acts in parallel with a soma-derived caspase-dependent pathway following trophic withdrawal. SARM is a multidomain protein that associates with neuronal mitochondria. Deletion of the N-terminal mitochondrial localization sequence disrupts SARM mitochondrial localization in neurons but does not alter its ability to promote axon degeneration. In contrast, mutation of either the SAM (sterile α motif) or TIR (Toll-interleukin-1 receptor) domains abolishes the ability of SARM to promote axonal degeneration, while a SARM mutant containing only these domains elicits axon degeneration and nonapoptotic neuronal death even in the absence of injury. Protein-protein interaction studies demonstrate that the SAM domains are necessary and sufficient to mediate SARM-SARM binding. SARM mutants lacking a TIR domain bind full-length SARM and exhibit strong dominant-negative activity. These results indicate that SARM plays an integral role in the dismantling of injured axons and support a model in which SAM-mediated multimerization is necessary for TIR-dependent engagement of a downstream destruction pathway. These findings suggest that inhibitors of SAM and TIR interactions represent therapeutic candidates for blocking pathological axon loss and neuronal cell death.

  10. Metal accumulation in wild-caught opossum.

    PubMed

    Lockhart, J Mitchell; Siddiqui, Samreen; Loughry, W J; Bielmyer-Fraser, Gretchen K

    2016-06-01

    The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is widespread in the USA, ranging south through Latin America. The ecology of opossums is such that they are in frequent contact with soils, suggesting that they may function as a valuable bioindicator for chemical contamination in terrestrial environments. Surprisingly, there have been virtually no toxicology studies on opossums. Here, we provide the first analysis of metal contaminants in opossum liver tissues. Liver samples were obtained from 471 opossums, collected from 2003 to 2006, at four sites in North Florida and South Georgia, USA, and concentrations of copper, lead, nickel, selenium, and zinc were measured. We found little evidence of age differences in the concentration of any of the metals. However, there were at least some significant differences between years, males and females, and between sites for each metal, although the pattern of these differences was not always consistent across metals. Concentrations of metals in liver tissue were positively correlated with one another, primarily of each metal (except Pb) with zinc. Reference levels of metal contaminants are not available for opossums, but concentrations of Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn in our samples were for the most part significantly higher than those reported from liver tissues of nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) collected at the same sites and in the same years. Data from other small mammals studied elsewhere further indicate that metal concentrations in opossums were high, but at this time, it is not possible to determine if these elevated levels generated toxicity. The substantial temporal and spatial variation we found in metal concentrations suggests that determination of baseline levels for opossums may not be straightforward. Nonetheless, this is the first study quantifying metal accumulation in the livers of Didelphis virginiana and, as such, provides an important starting point for future research.

  11. Experimental infection with Trichinella T12 in domestic cats.

    PubMed

    Ribicich, M; Krivokapich, S; Pasqualetti, M; Gonzalez Prous, C L; Gatti, G M; Falzoni, E; Aronowicz, T; Arbusti, P; Fariña, F; Rosa, A

    2013-05-20

    Trichinella spiralis has been documented in wild animals in Argentina, including puma, armadillos, rats and wild boars. In 2008, molecular analysis identified Trichinella T12 from a naturally infected puma (Puma concolor) from Patagonia. The aim of the present work was to study the relationship between the infectivity and pathology of Trichinella T12 in the puma and in domestic cats, and the possible risks that may be present for transmission among these animals. Two cats (A and B) were orally-infected with 3300 and 1850 Trichinella T12 muscle larvae, respectively; one additional cat was used as a control. During the 54 days post-infection, a daily examination was performed which included monitoring body temperature, and cardiac and respiration rates; the animals were then euthanized. Hematological studies included hematocrit (%), hemoglobin (g/dl), and white cell, neutrophil, lymphocyte and eosinophil counts. Blood biochemistry included urea, creatinine, AST, ALT, CK, LDH and ALP. An ELISA assay was also performed. At necropsy, organs (liver, spleen, brain, cerebellum and kidney), nails and muscle samples were obtained for histopathology studies and artificial digestion. The muscles that were studied included the diaphragm, massetter, cutaneous, temporal, intercostals, lumbar, tongue, limbs, neck and tail. Clinical signs, such as anorexia, diarrhea, vomiting, shaggy hair, decay and muscle pain, were observed in both cats. The eosinophil counts were elevated in both cats A and B. Trichinella larvae were recovered from all of the muscles analyzed where the histopathology showed larvae in several muscles without degenerative reaction. Neither larvae nor lesions were observed in non-muscular organs. Cat A had a maximum of 246 larvae per gram (lpg) in the temporal muscle and a minimum of 80 lpg in the tongue, while cat B had a maximum of 65 lpg in muscles of the leg and a minimum of 10 lpg in tail muscles. This study represents the first record of experimental

  12. Attenuated traumatic axonal injury and improved functional outcome after traumatic brain injury in mice lacking Sarm1.

    PubMed

    Henninger, Nils; Bouley, James; Sikoglu, Elif M; An, Jiyan; Moore, Constance M; King, Jean A; Bowser, Robert; Freeman, Marc R; Brown, Robert H

    2016-04-01

    Axonal degeneration is a critical, early event in many acute and chronic neurological disorders. It has been consistently observed after traumatic brain injury, but whether axon degeneration is a driver of traumatic brain injury remains unclear. Molecular pathways underlying the pathology of traumatic brain injury have not been defined, and there is no efficacious treatment for traumatic brain injury. Here we show that mice lacking the mouse Toll receptor adaptor Sarm1 (sterile α/Armadillo/Toll-Interleukin receptor homology domain protein) gene, a key mediator of Wallerian degeneration, demonstrate multiple improved traumatic brain injury-associated phenotypes after injury in a closed-head mild traumatic brain injury model. Sarm1(-/-) mice developed fewer β-amyloid precursor protein aggregates in axons of the corpus callosum after traumatic brain injury as compared to Sarm1(+/+) mice. Furthermore, mice lacking Sarm1 had reduced plasma concentrations of the phophorylated axonal neurofilament subunit H, indicating that axonal integrity is maintained after traumatic brain injury. Strikingly, whereas wild-type mice exibited a number of behavioural deficits after traumatic brain injury, we observed a strong, early preservation of neurological function in Sarm1(-/-) animals. Finally, using in vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy we found tissue signatures consistent with substantially preserved neuronal energy metabolism in Sarm1(-/-) mice compared to controls immediately following traumatic brain injury. Our results indicate that the SARM1-mediated prodegenerative pathway promotes pathogenesis in traumatic brain injury and suggest that anti-SARM1 therapeutics are a viable approach for preserving neurological function after traumatic brain injury.

  13. Different APC genotypes in proximal and distal sporadic colorectal cancers suggest distinct WNT/β-catenin signalling thresholds for tumourigenesis.

    PubMed

    Christie, M; Jorissen, R N; Mouradov, D; Sakthianandeswaren, A; Li, S; Day, F; Tsui, C; Lipton, L; Desai, J; Jones, I T; McLaughlin, S; Ward, R L; Hawkins, N J; Ruszkiewicz, A R; Moore, J; Burgess, A W; Busam, D; Zhao, Q; Strausberg, R L; Simpson, A J; Tomlinson, I P M; Gibbs, P; Sieber, O M

    2013-09-26

    Biallelic protein-truncating mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene are prevalent in sporadic colorectal cancer (CRC). Mutations may not be fully inactivating, instead producing WNT/β-catenin signalling levels 'just-right' for tumourigenesis. However, the spectrum of optimal APC genotypes accounting for both hits, and the influence of clinicopathological features on genotype selection remain undefined. We analysed 630 sporadic CRCs for APC mutations and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) using sequencing and single-nucleotide polymorphism microarrays, respectively. Truncating APC mutations and/or LOH were detected in 75% of CRCs. Most truncating mutations occurred within a mutation cluster region (MCR; codons 1282-1581) leaving 1-3 intact 20 amino-acid repeats (20AARs) and abolishing all Ser-Ala-Met-Pro (SAMP) repeats. Cancers commonly had one MCR mutation plus either LOH or another mutation 5' to the MCR. LOH was associated with mutations leaving 1 intact 20AAR. MCR mutations leaving 1 vs 2-3 intact 20AARs were associated with 5' mutations disrupting or leaving intact the armadillo-repeat domain, respectively. Cancers with three hits had an over-representation of mutations upstream of codon 184, in the alternatively spliced region of exon 9, and 3' to the MCR. Microsatellite unstable cancers showed hyper-mutation at MCR mono- and di-nucleotide repeats, leaving 2-3 intact 20AARs. Proximal and distal cancers exhibited different preferred APC genotypes, leaving a total of 2 or 3 and 0 to 2 intact 20AARs, respectively. In conclusion, APC genotypes in sporadic CRCs demonstrate 'fine-tuned' interdependence of hits by type and location, consistent with selection for particular residual levels of WNT/β-catenin signalling, with different 'optimal' thresholds for proximal and distal cancers.

  14. Drosophila ciD encodes a hybrid Pangolin/Cubitus interruptus protein that diverts the Wingless into the Hedgehog signaling pathway.

    PubMed

    Schweizer, L; Basler, K

    1998-11-01

    The Hedgehog (Hh) and Wingless (Wg) signaling pathways play important roles in animal development. The activities of the two pathways depend on each other during Drosophila embryogenesis. In the embryonic segment, Wg is required in anterior cells to sustain Hh secretion in adjacent posterior cells. Hh input in turn is necessary for anterior cells to maintain wg expression. The Hh and Wg pathways are mediated by the transcription factors Cubitus interruptus (Ci) and Pangolin/TCF (Pan), respectively. Coincidentally, pan and ci are adjacent genes on the fourth chromosome in a head-to-head orientation. Our genetic and in situ hybridization data indicate that ciD is a mutation affecting both ci and pan. Molecular analysis revealed that the ciD allele is caused by an inversion event that swapped the promoter regions and the first exons of the two genes. The ci gene in ciD is controlled by the ubiquitous pan promoter and encodes a hybrid Ci protein that carries the N-terminal region of Pan. This domain has previously been shown to bind to the b-catenin homolog Armadillo (Arm), raising the possibility that Wg input, in addition to Hh input, modulates the activity of the hybrid CiD protein. Indeed, we found that Wg signaling induces the expression of the Hh target gene patched (ptc) in ciD animals. We provide evidence that this effect depends on the ability of the CiD protein to bind Arm. Genetic and molecular data indicate that wild-type Pan and CiD compete for binding to Arm, leading to a compromised transduction of the Wg signal in heterozygous ciD/+ animals and to a dramatic enhancement of the gain-of-function activity of CiD in homozygous mutants. Thus, the Hh and the Wg pathways are affected by the ciD mutation, and the CiD fusion protein integrates the activities of both.

  15. A novel role for the tumour suppressor Nitrilase1 modulating the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway

    PubMed Central

    Mittag, Sonnhild; Valenta, Tomas; Weiske, Jörg; Bloch, Laura; Klingel, Susanne; Gradl, Dietmar; Wetzel, Franziska; Chen, Yuan; Petersen, Iver; Basler, Konrad; Huber, Otmar

    2016-01-01

    Nitrilase1 was classified as a tumour suppressor in association with the fragile histidine-triad protein Fhit. However, knowledge about nitrilase1 and its tumour suppressor function is still limited. Whereas nitrilase1 and Fhit are discrete proteins in mammals, they are merged in Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. According to the Rosetta-Stone hypothesis, proteins encoded as fusion proteins in one organism and as separate proteins in another organism may act in the same signalling pathway. Although a direct interaction of human nitrilase1 and Fhit has not been shown, our previous finding that Fhit interacts with β-catenin and represses its transcriptional activity in the canonical Wnt pathway suggested that human nitrilase1 also modulates Wnt signalling. In fact, human nitrilase1 forms a complex with β-catenin and LEF-1/TCF-4, represses β-catenin-mediated transcription and shows an additive effect together with Fhit. Knockdown of human nitrilase1 enhances Wnt target gene expression. Moreover, our experiments show that β-catenin competes away human nitrilase1 from LEF-1/TCF and thereby contributes to the activation of Wnt-target gene transcription. Inhibitory activity of human nitrilase1 on vertebrate Wnt signalling was confirmed by repression of Wnt-induced double axis formation in Xenopus embryogenesis. In line with this finding, the Drosophila fusion protein Drosophila NitFhit directly binds to Armadillo and represses the Wingless pathway in reporter gene assays. Genetic experiments confirmed the repressive activity of Drosophila NitFhit on Wingless signalling in the Drosophila wing imaginal disc. In addition, colorectal tumour microarray analysis revealed a significantly reduced expression of human nitrilase1 in poorly differentiated tumours. Taken together, repression of the canonical Wnt pathway represents a new mechanism for the human nitrilase1 tumour suppressor function. PMID:27462437

  16. The evolutionary history of the catenin gene family during metazoan evolution

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Catenin is a gene family composed of three subfamilies; p120, beta and alpha. Beta and p120 are homologous subfamilies based on sequence and structural comparisons, and are members of the armadillo repeat protein superfamily. Alpha does not appear to be homologous to either beta or p120 based on the lack of sequence and structural similarity, and the alpha subfamily belongs to the vinculin superfamily. Catenins link the transmembrane protein cadherin to the cytoskeleton and thus function in cell-cell adhesion. To date, only the beta subfamily has been evolutionarily analyzed and experimentally studied for its functions in signaling pathways, development and human diseases such as cancer. We present a detailed evolutionary study of the whole catenin family to provide a better understanding of how this family has evolved in metazoans, and by extension, the evolution of cell-cell adhesion. Results All three catenin subfamilies have been detected in metazoans used in the present study by searching public databases and applying species-specific BLAST searches. Two monophyletic clades are formed between beta and p120 subfamilies using Bayesian phylogenetic inference. Phylogenetic analyses also reveal an array of duplication events throughout metazoan history. Furthermore, numerous annotation issues for the catenin family have been detected by our computational analyses. Conclusions Delta2/ARVCF catenin in the p120 subfamily, beta catenin in the beta subfamily, and alpha2 catenin in the alpha subfamily are present in all metazoans analyzed. This implies that the last common ancestor of metazoans had these three catenin subfamilies. However, not all members within each subfamily were detected in all metazoan species. Each subfamily has undergone duplications at different levels (species-specific, subphylum-specific or phylum-specific) and to different extents (in the case of the number of homologs). Extensive annotation problems have been resolved in each of the

  17. Isoform- and Dose-sensitive Feedback Interactions between Paired Box 6 gene and δ-Catenin in Cell Differentiation and Death

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Jiao; Lu, Jian-Ping; Suter, David M.; Krause, Karl-Heinz; Fini, M. Elizabeth; Chen, Baoan; Lu, Qun

    2010-01-01

    Pax6, a mammalian homolog of the Drosophila paired box gene family member expressed in stem and progenitor cells, resides at the top of the genetic hierarchy in controlling cell fates and morphogenesis. While Pax6 activation can lead to mitotic arrest, premature neurogenesis, and apoptosis, the underlying molecular mechanisms have not been resolved. Here we report that either Pax6(+5a) or Pax6(−5a) was sufficient to promote, whereas their knockdown reduced the expression of δ-catenin (CTNND2), a neural specific member of the armadillo/β-catenin superfamily. Pax6(+5a) elicited stronger effects on δ-catenin than Pax6(−5a). Inducible Pax6(+5a) expression demonstrated a biphasic and dose-dependent regulation of δ-catenin expression and cell fates. A moderate upregulation of Pax6(+5a) promoted δ-catenin expression and induced neurite-like cellular protrusions, but increasing expression of Pax6(+5a) reversed these processes. Furthermore, sustained high expression of Pax6(+5a) triggered apoptosis as determined by the reduction of phospho-Bad, Bcl-2, survivin and procaspases, as well as the increases in Bax and cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. Importantly, re-introducing δ-catenin by ectopic expression elicited a feedback suppression on Pax6(+5a) expression and reduced Pax6(+5a) induced apoptosis. Therefore, δ-catenin expression is not only controlled by Pax6, but it also provides a feedback suppression mechanism for their functional interactions with important implications in cellular morphogenesis, apoptosis, and cancer. PMID:20074565

  18. Arm-Gal4 inheritance influences development and lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Slade, F A; Staveley, B E

    2015-10-19

    The UAS-Gal4 ectopic expression system is a widely used and highly valued tool that allows specific gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster. Yeast transcription factor Gal4 can be directed using D. melanogaster transcriptional control elements, and is often assumed to have little effect on the organism. By evaluation of the consequences of maternal and paternal inheritance of a Gal4 transgene under the transcriptional regulation of armadillo control elements (arm-Gal4), we demonstrated that Gal4 expression could be detrimental to development and longevity. Male progeny expressing arm-Gal4 in the presence of UAS-lacZ transgene had reduced numbers and size of ommatidia, compared to flies expressing UAS-lacZ transgene under the control of other Gal4 transgenes. Aged at 25°C, the median life span of male flies with maternally inherited elav-Gal4 was 70 days, without a responding transgene or with UAS-lacZ. The median life span of maternally inherited arm-Gal4 male flies without a responding transgene was 48 days, and 40 days with the UAS-lacZ transgene. A partial rescue of this phenotype was observed with the expression of UAS-lacZ under paternal arm-Gal4 control, having an average median lifespan of 60 days. This data suggests that arm-Gal4 has detrimental effects on Drosophila development and lifespan that are directly dependent upon parental inheritance, and that the benign responder and reporter gene UAS-lacZ may influence D. melanogaster development. These findings should be taken into consideration during the design and execution of UAS-Gal4 expression experiments.

  19. A novel role for the tumour suppressor Nitrilase1 modulating the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway.

    PubMed

    Mittag, Sonnhild; Valenta, Tomas; Weiske, Jörg; Bloch, Laura; Klingel, Susanne; Gradl, Dietmar; Wetzel, Franziska; Chen, Yuan; Petersen, Iver; Basler, Konrad; Huber, Otmar

    2016-01-01

    Nitrilase1 was classified as a tumour suppressor in association with the fragile histidine-triad protein Fhit. However, knowledge about nitrilase1 and its tumour suppressor function is still limited. Whereas nitrilase1 and Fhit are discrete proteins in mammals, they are merged in Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. According to the Rosetta-Stone hypothesis, proteins encoded as fusion proteins in one organism and as separate proteins in another organism may act in the same signalling pathway. Although a direct interaction of human nitrilase1 and Fhit has not been shown, our previous finding that Fhit interacts with β-catenin and represses its transcriptional activity in the canonical Wnt pathway suggested that human nitrilase1 also modulates Wnt signalling. In fact, human nitrilase1 forms a complex with β-catenin and LEF-1/TCF-4, represses β-catenin-mediated transcription and shows an additive effect together with Fhit. Knockdown of human nitrilase1 enhances Wnt target gene expression. Moreover, our experiments show that β-catenin competes away human nitrilase1 from LEF-1/TCF and thereby contributes to the activation of Wnt-target gene transcription. Inhibitory activity of human nitrilase1 on vertebrate Wnt signalling was confirmed by repression of Wnt-induced double axis formation in Xenopus embryogenesis. In line with this finding, the Drosophila fusion protein Drosophila NitFhit directly binds to Armadillo and represses the Wingless pathway in reporter gene assays. Genetic experiments confirmed the repressive activity of Drosophila NitFhit on Wingless signalling in the Drosophila wing imaginal disc. In addition, colorectal tumour microarray analysis revealed a significantly reduced expression of human nitrilase1 in poorly differentiated tumours. Taken together, repression of the canonical Wnt pathway represents a new mechanism for the human nitrilase1 tumour suppressor function.

  20. Loss of teeth and enamel in tetrapods: fossil record, genetic data and morphological adaptations

    PubMed Central

    Davit-Béal, Tiphaine; Tucker, Abigail S; Sire, Jean-Yves

    2009-01-01

    Since their recruitment in the oral cavity, approximately 450 million years ago, teeth have been subjected to strong selective constraints due to the crucial role that they play in species survival. It is therefore quite surprising that the ability to develop functional teeth has subsequently been lost several times, independently, in various lineages. In this review, we concentrate our attention on tetrapods, the only vertebrate lineage in which several clades lack functional teeth from birth to adulthood. Indeed, in other lineages, teeth can be absent in adults but be functionally present in larvae and juveniles, can be absent in the oral cavity but exist in the pharyngeal region, or can develop on the upper jaw but be absent on the lower jaw. Here, we analyse the current data on toothless (edentate) tetrapod taxa, including information available on enamel-less species. Firstly, we provide an analysis of the dispersed and fragmentary morphological data published on the various living taxa concerned (and their extinct relatives) with the aim of tracing the origin of tooth or enamel loss, i.e. toads in Lissamphibia, turtles and birds in Sauropsida, and baleen whales, pangolins, anteaters, sloths, armadillos and aardvark in Mammalia. Secondly, we present current hypotheses on the genetic basis of tooth loss in the chicken and thirdly, we try to answer the question of how these taxa have survived tooth loss given the crucial importance of this tool. The loss of teeth (or only enamel) in all of these taxa was not lethal because it was always preceded in evolution by the pre-adaptation of a secondary tool (beak, baleens, elongated adhesive tongues or hypselodonty) useful for improving efficiency in food uptake. The positive selection of such secondary tools would have led to relaxed functional constraints on teeth and would have later compensated for the loss of teeth. These hypotheses raise numerous questions that will hopefully be answered in the near future. PMID

  1. Kpna7 interacts with egg-specific nuclear factors in the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

    PubMed

    Wang, Lei; Ma, Hao; Fu, Liyuan; Yao, Jianbo

    2014-12-01

    Nuclear proteins are required for the initiation of transcription in early embryos before embryonic genome activation. The regulated transport of nuclear proteins is mediated by factors known as importins (karyopherins). Kpna7, a newly discovered member of the importin α family, is critical for early development in mammals. In this study, we characterize rainbow trout Kpna7. The cDNA for rainbow trout Kpna7 encodes a 519 amino acid protein that contains a conserved importin β binding (IBB) domain and seven armadillo/beta-catenin-like repeat (ARM) motifs. Reverse-transcriptase PCR and Western blot analyses revealed that Kpna7 is specifically expressed in eggs/ovary. Real-time PCR analysis demonstrated that expression of Kpna7 mRNA is high in unfertilized eggs, gradually decreases in early-stage embryos until 3 days post-fertilization, and declines sharply thereafter, reaching a level that is barely detectable in 4-day-old embryos. Using a yeast two-hybrid screening system, we identified two Kpna7-interacting proteins from a rainbow trout egg cDNA library: Stl3 (rhamnose-binding lectin 3) and an uncharacterized protein. Both genes appear to be expressed specifically in eggs/testis. Co-immunoprecipitation assays confirmed the interaction between Kpna7 and Stl3, and co-transfection experiments using EGFP-tagged Stl3 showed that Kpna7 facilitates the nuclear transport of Stl3 through an interaction with the predicted nuclear-localization signal cluster at the carboxy-terminus of Stl3. Our data suggest that Kpna7 may function in early embryonic development as a unique nuclear transporter for egg-specific proteins.

  2. Rickettsia amblyommii infecting Amblyomma auricularium ticks in Pernambuco, northeastern Brazil: isolation, transovarial transmission, and transstadial perpetuation.

    PubMed

    Saraiva, Danilo G; Nieri-Bastos, Fernanda A; Horta, Maurício C; Soares, Herbert S; Nicola, Patricia A; Pereira, Luiz Cezar M; Labruna, Marcelo B

    2013-09-01

    This study investigated rickettsial infection in Amblyomma auricularium ticks from the state of Pernambuco, northeastern Brazil. An engorged female of A. auricularium collected from a skunk (Conepatus semistriatus) was sent alive to the laboratory, where the female was found through molecular analysis to be infected by Rickettsia amblyommii. This engorged female oviposited, and its offspring was reared through three consecutive generations, always using tick-naïve rabbits to feed the ticks. PCR performed on five egg pools, 10 larvae, 10 nymphs, and 10 adults of each of the three generations always yielded rickettsial DNA, indicating maintenance of rickettsial infection in the ticks by transstadial and transovarial passages. DNA sequences of random PCR products from eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults were identified as R. amblyommii. All infested rabbits seroconverted to R. amblyommii antigens at the 21(st) day after infestation, indicating that larvae, nymphs, and adults transmitted R. amblyommii through parasitism. However, no infested rabbit presented fever or any clinical alteration during the experimental period. Rickettsiae were successfully isolated from the two A. auricularium females, and the isolates were established in Vero cell culture. Molecular characterization of the isolates confirmed R. amblyommii by sequencing partial gltA, ompA, and ompB genes. From another sample of 15 A. auricularium adult ticks collected from two armadillos (Euphractus sexcinctus), eight (53.3%) were infected by R. amblyommii. This study reports R. amblyommii infecting the tick A. auricularium for the first time. This is also the first report of rickettsia infecting ticks in the northeastern region of Brazil.

  3. Flagellate infections of Brazilian sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae): isolation in vitro and biochemical identification of Endotrypanum and Leishmania.

    PubMed

    Arias, J R; Miles, M A; Naiff, R D; Povoa, M M; de Freitas, R A; Biancardi, C B; Castellon, E G

    1985-11-01

    Flagellate infections were found in 1,063 of 18,895 sand flies collected in the states of Amazonas, Pará, Rondonia and Acre, Brazil. Infection rates were 13.4% (species group Shannoni); 7.5% (subgenus Nyssomyia); 6.7% (subgenus Lutzomyia series Cruciata); 0.5% (genus Psychodopygus) and 3.1% for other sand flies (various subgenera). Leishmania braziliensis guyanensis and L. mexicana amazonensis were isolated, respectively, from the known vectors, Lutzomyia umbratilis and L. flaviscutellata. Single stocks of L. braziliensis-like and L. mexicana-like organisms were isolated, respectively, from L. whitmani and L. yuilli. Thirty-eight flagellate stocks, isolated by direct culture from sand flies were characterized in detail by morphology in culture, behavior in hamsters and mice and by enzyme profiles. Sixteen stocks from Lutzomyia sp. (Shannoni group) were identified as Endotrypanum schaudinni; 8 stocks from Lutzomyia sp. (Shannoni group) were identified as Endotrypanum sp.; 7 stocks from Psychodopygus ayrozai and P. paraensis were identified as Leishmania sp. previously isolated from the armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus; 2 stocks of Trypanosoma rangeli were isolated from recently fed Lutzomyia sp. (Shannoni group) sand flies; the remaining 5 stocks from L. umbratilis and L. yuilli could not be identified. Observations suggested that Shannoni group sand flies were the natural vectors of Endotrypanum. Leishmania sp. infections in the man-biting flies P. ayrozai and P. paraensis were restricted to the midgut and associated with recent bloodmeals. Unidentified flagellates in L. umbratilis and L. yuilli were distributed throughout the digestive tract with no trace of bloodmeals.

  4. Neural System Antigens Are Recognized by Autoantibodies from Patients Affected by a New Variant of Endemic Pemphigus Foliaceus in Colombia

    PubMed Central

    Howard, Michael S.; Yi, Hong; Gao, Weiqing; Hashimoto, Takashi; Grossniklaus, Hans E.

    2015-01-01

    Background Endemic pemphigus foliaceus (EPF), is also known as “fogo selvagem” or “wild fire,” reflecting the intense burning sensation of the skin reported by patients with this disease. Based on this finding, we tested for neural autoreactivity in patients affected by a new variant of EPF (El Bagre-EPF). Methods We tested 20 El Bagre-EPF patients, 20 normal controls from the endemic area, and 20 age- and sex-matched normal controls from outside the endemic area. We tested for autoreactivity to several immunoglobulins and complement. Both human skin and bovine tail were used as antigens. Results We detected autoreactivity to neural structures, mechanoreceptors, nerves, perineural cell layers of the arachnoid envelope around the optic nerve, brain structures, and to neuromuscular spindles; these structures colocalized with several neural markers. The patient antibodies also colocalized with desmoplakins 1 and 2, with the armadillo repeat protein deleted in velo-cardio-facial syndrome and with p0071 antibodies. Autoreactivity was also found associated with neurovascular bundles innervating the skin, and immunoelectron microscopy using protein A gold against patient antibodies was positive against the nerve axons. Paucicellularity of the intraepidermal nerve endings and defragmentation of the neural plexus were seen in 70% of the cases and not in the controls from the endemic area (p<0.005). Neuropsychological and/or behavioral symptoms were detected in individuals from the endemic area, including sensorimotor axonal neuropathy. Conclusions Our findings may explain for the first time the “pose of pemphigus,” representing a dorsiflexural posture seen in EPF patients vis-a-vis the weakness of the extensor nerves, and furthermore, the autoreactivity to nerves in EPF could explain the “burning sensation” encountered in EPF disease. PMID:21210298

  5. Dynamics of Mycobacterium leprae transmission in environmental context: deciphering the role of environment as a potential reservoir.

    PubMed

    Turankar, Ravindra P; Lavania, Mallika; Singh, Mradula; Siva Sai, Krovvidi S R; Jadhav, Rupendra S

    2012-01-01

    Leprosy is a disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. Various modes of transmission have been suggested for this disease. Transmission and risk of the infection is perhaps related to presence of the infectious cases and is controlled by environmental factors. Evidence suggests that humidity may favor survival of M. leprae in the environment. Several reports show that non-human sources like 'naturally' infected armadillos or monkeys could act as reservoir for M. leprae. Inanimate objects or fomites like articles used by infectious patients may theoretically spread infection. However, it is only through detailed knowledge of the biodiversity and ecology that the importance of this mode of transmission can be fully assessed. Our study focuses here to decipher the role of environment in the transmission of the disease. Two hundred and seven soil samples were collected from a village in endemic area where active cases also resided at the time of sample collection. Slit skin smears were collected from 13 multibacillary (MB) leprosy patients and 12 household contacts of the patients suspected to be hidden cases. DNA and RNA of M. leprae were extracted and amplified using M. leprae specific primers. Seventy-one soil samples showed presence of M. leprae DNA whereas 16S rRNA could be detected in twenty-eight of these samples. Samples, both from the environment and the patients, exhibited the same genotype when tested by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing. Genotype of M. leprae found in the soil and the patients residing in the same area could help in understanding the transmission link in leprosy.

  6. An RNAi Screen for Genes Involved in Nanoscale Protrusion Formation on Corneal Lens in Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Minami, Ryunosuke; Sato, Chiaki; Yamahama, Yumi; Kubo, Hideo; Hariyama, Takahiko; Kimura, Ken-Ichi

    2016-12-01

    The "moth-eye" structure, which is observed on the surface of corneal lens in several insects, supports anti-reflective and self-cleaning functions due to nanoscale protrusions known as corneal nipples. Although the morphology and function of the "moth-eye" structure, are relatively well studied, the mechanism of protrusion formation from cell-secreted substances is unknown. In Drosophila melanogaster, a compound eye consists of approximately 800 facets, the surface of which is formed by the corneal lens with nanoscale protrusions. In the present study, we sought to identify genes involved in "moth-eye" structure, formation in order to elucidate the developmental mechanism of the protrusions in Drosophila. We re-examined the aberrant patterns in classical glossy-eye mutants by scanning electron microscope and classified the aberrant patterns into groups. Next, we screened genes encoding putative structural cuticular proteins and genes involved in cuticular formation using eye specific RNAi silencing methods combined with the Gal4/UAS expression system. We identified 12 of 100 candidate genes, such as cuticular proteins family genes (Cuticular protein 23B and Cuticular protein 49Ah), cuticle secretion-related genes (Syntaxin 1A and Sec61 ββ subunit), ecdysone signaling and biosynthesis-related genes (Ecdysone receptor, Blimp-1, and shroud), and genes involved in cell polarity/cell architecture (Actin 5C, shotgun, armadillo, discs large1, and coracle). Although some of the genes we identified may affect corneal protrusion formation indirectly through general patterning defects in eye formation, these initial findings have encouraged us to more systematically explore the precise mechanisms underlying the formation of nanoscale protrusions in Drosophila.

  7. A comparative study of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in sylvatic mammals from a protected and a disturbed area in the Argentine Chaco.

    PubMed

    Orozco, M M; Enriquez, G F; Cardinal, M V; Piccinali, R V; Gürtler, R E

    2016-03-01

    Understanding the complex epidemiology of Trypanosoma cruzi transmission cycles requires comparative studies in widely different environments. We assessed the occurrence of T. cruzi infection in sylvatic mammals, their infectiousness to the vector, and parasite genotypes in a protected area of the Argentine Chaco, and compared them with information obtained similarly in a nearby disturbed area. A total of 278 mammals from >23 species in the protected area were diagnosed for T. cruzi infection using xenodiagnosis, kDNA-PCR and nuclear satellite DNA-PCR (SAT) from blood samples. The relative abundance and species composition differed substantially between areas. Didelphis albiventris opossums were less abundant in the protected area; had a significantly lower body mass index, and a stage structure biased toward earlier stages. The capture of armadillos was lower in the protected area. The composite prevalence of T. cruzi infection across host species was significantly lower in the protected area (11.1%) than in the disturbed area (22.1%), and heterogeneous across species groups. The prevalence of infection in D. albiventris and Thylamys pusilla opossums was significantly lower in the protected area (nil for D. albiventris), whereas infection in sigmodontine rodents was three times higher in the protected area (17.5 versus 5.7%). Parasite isolates from the two xenodiagnosis-positive mammals (1 Dasypus novemcinctus and 1 Conepatus chinga) were typed as TcIII; both specimens were highly infectious to Triatoma infestans. Fat-tailed opossums, bats and rodents were kDNA-PCR-positive and xenodiagnosis-negative. Desmodus rotundus and Myotis bats were found infected with T. cruzi for the first time in the Gran Chaco.

  8. Phylogenetic analysis of the ecology and evolution of mammalian sleep.

    PubMed

    Capellini, Isabella; Barton, Robert A; McNamara, Patrick; Preston, Brian T; Nunn, Charles L

    2008-07-01

    The amount of time asleep varies greatly in mammals, from 3 h in the donkey to 20 h in the armadillo. Previous comparative studies have suggested several functional explanations for interspecific variation in both the total time spent asleep and in rapid-eye movement (REM) or "quiet" (non-REM) sleep. In support of specific functional benefits of sleep, these studies reported correlations between time in specific sleep states (NREM or REM) and brain size, metabolic rate, and developmental variables. Here we show that estimates of sleep duration are significantly influenced by the laboratory conditions under which data are collected and that, when analyses are limited to data collected under more standardized procedures, traditional functional explanations for interspecific variation in sleep durations are no longer supported. Specifically, we find that basal metabolic rate correlates negatively rather than positively with sleep quotas, and that neither adult nor neonatal brain mass correlates positively with REM or NREM sleep times. These results contradict hypotheses that invoke energy conservation, cognition, and development as drivers of sleep variation. Instead, the negative correlations of both sleep states with basal metabolic rate and diet are consistent with trade-offs between sleep and foraging time. In terms of predation risk, both REM and NREM sleep quotas are reduced when animals sleep in more exposed sites, whereas species that sleep socially sleep less. Together with the fact that REM and NREM sleep quotas correlate strongly with each other, these results suggest that variation in sleep primarily reflects ecological constraints acting on total sleep time, rather than the independent responses of each sleep state to specific selection pressures. We propose that, within this ecological framework, interspecific variation in sleep duration might be compensated by variation in the physiological intensity of sleep.

  9. Peltephilidae and Mesotheriidae (Mammalia) from late Miocene strata of Northern Chilean Andes, Caragua

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montoya-Sanhueza, Germán; Moreno, Karen; Bobe, René; Carrano, Matthew T.; García, Marcelo; Corgne, Alexandre

    2017-04-01

    Until now, only one Cenozoic fossil mammal from the Chilean Precordillera (Arica and Parinacota Region) has been reported, Caraguatypotherium munozi (Mesotheriidae: Notoungulata). In this study, we describe a fourth specimen of C. munozi and a new armadillo species, Epipeltephilus caraguensis (Peltephilidae: Cingulata), both collected from a new site closer to the fossiliferous outcrops of the Caragua area (Serravallian - Tortonian). E. caraguensis differs from other members of the family in having: two sulci in the articular surface of the mobile osteoderm; having a tubular, rough and raised anterior edge; a conspicuous transverse depression; and four widely spaced foramina. This taxon represents the youngest known peltephilid from intermediate latitudes and indicates a wide geographic distribution (Patagonia to Central Andes) of the family just prior to its extinction. The new mesothere specimen is 19% larger than previous records. The revision of the dental features of C. munozi allowed the identification of an ambiguous trait in its original diagnosis, i.e. an enamel fracture was misinterpreted with the presence of a posterior sulcus on the talonid of the m3, suggesting that further taxonomic and systematic revision for the Caragua mesothere is necessary. Although the fossil record from the Caragua area is still scarce, mesotheriines seem to be abundant at this latitude, just as has been observed at several early to late Miocene sites such as Chucal (Chile), Cerdas and Nazareno (Bolivia), as well as in southern regions such as Arroyo Chasicó and Mendoza (Argentina). The presence of a new peltephilid species in Caragua sustains the hypothesis of provincialism during the Miocene in intermediate latitudes. Our findings also provide further support for probable faunal movements between intermediate and higher latitudes rather than to lower ones.

  10. Molecular Evolution of PTEN Pseudogenes in Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Jingsi; Ning, Ruihong; Zeng, Bo; Li, Ying

    2016-01-01

    Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a tumor-suppressor gene. PTEN pseudogene (PTENp) acts as an endogenous RNA, which regulates its parental gene by competitively binding to the 3’ UTR of PTEN gene in the human. Despite the importance of this pseudogene, little is known about the molecular evolution of PTENp in mammals. In this study, we identified 37 pseudogenes from 65 mammalian genomes. Among them, 32 were from rodents or primates. Phylogenetic analyse showed a complex evolutionary history of this gene family. Some PTENps were shared both in primates and rodents. However, some PTENps were shown to be species-specific, such as the tasmanian devil PTENp1, nine banded armadillo PTENp1 and gibbon PTENp1. Most interestingly, the naked mole rat (NMR), an anticancer model organism, possessed 17 copies of PTENps, which were classified into four clades based on the phylogenetic analyses. Furthermore, we found that all the 3’UTR of PTEN and PTENps shared common microRNA (MicroRNA) binding sites in NMR, based on our prediction of specific MicroRNA binding sites. Our findings suggested that multiple gene duplications have occurred in the formation of PTEN/PTENp gene family during the evolution of mammals. Some PTENps were relatively ancient and were shared by primates and rodents; others were newly originated through species- specific gene duplications. PTENps in NMR may function as competitive endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) to regulate their counterpart genes by competing for common MicroRNAs, which may be one of the interpretations for the cancer resistance in NMR. PMID:27936183

  11. Cloning, identification and functional analysis of a β-catenin homologue from Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Shuang; Shi, Lili; L, Kai; Li, Haoyang; Wang, Sheng; He, Jianguo; Li, Chaozheng

    2016-07-01

    Wnt signaling is known to control multiple of cellular processes such as cell differentiation, communication, apoptosis and proliferation, and is also reported to play a role during microbial infection. β-catenin is a key regulator of the Wnt signaling cascade. In the present study, we cloned and identified a β-catenin homologue from Litopenaeus vannamei termed Lvβ-catenin. The full-length of Lvβ-catenin transcript was 2797 bp in length within a 2451 bp open reading frame (ORF) that encoded a protein of 816 amino acids. Lvβ-catenin protein was comprised of several characteristic domains such as an N-terminal region of GSK-β consensus phosphorylation site and Coed coil section, a central region of 12 continuous Armadillo/β-Catenin-like repeat (ARM) domains and a C-terminal region. Real-time PCR showed Lvβ-catenin expression was responsive to Vibrio parahaemolyticus and white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) infection. Dual-reporter analysis showed that over-expression of Lvβ-catenin could induce activation of the promoter activities of several antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) such as shrimp PEN4, suggesting that Lvβ-catenin could play a role in regulating the production of AMPs. Knockdown of Lvβ-catenin enhanced the sensitivity of shrimps to V. parahaemolyticus and WSSV challenge, suggesting Lvβ-catenin could play a positive role against bacterial and viral pathogens. In summary, the results presented in this study provided some insights into the function of Wnt/β-catenin of shrimp in regulating AMPs and the host defense against invading pathogens.

  12. Indigenous Cases of Leprosy (Hansen's Disease) in Southern Mississippi.

    PubMed

    Marcos, Luis A; Dobbs, Thomas; Walker, Sue; Waller, William; Stryjewska, Barbara M

    2015-07-01

    Hansen's disease or leprosy is a chronic infection of the skin and peripheral nerves caused by Mycobacterium leprae. In the U.S., leprosy is mainly reported in immigrants, but indigenous leprosy cases have been also reported in this country, especially in semitropical southern states (i.e., Texas, Louisiana). The objective of this series of cases is to describe indigenous leprosy cases reported in southern Mississippi (MS) during the period 2012-2014. Information was collected from medical records at Hattiesburg Clinic and the MS Department of Health. Four cases were reported during the period of study (3 Caucasian males, 1 African-American woman). Non of visited endemic leprosy country. The age ranged from 60 to 83 years (median: 75.5 years). Of the four cases, three presented with a slowly progressive erythematous rash disseminated mainly on the thorax and abdomen, with a lesser degree on the extremities. The time between onset of rash until the diagnosis ranged from 5 to 16 months (median: 7 months). Only one case had direct contact with armadillos (blood exposure). Non of these patients had a history of immunosuppression. The most common symptoms were neuropathic pain (n=2), generalized pruritus (n=2) and loss of sensation in extremities (n=2). One case had severe peripheral neuropathy with muscle weakness, atrophy in left arm, and wasting on left hand. Skin biopsies showed diffuse granulomatous infiltrate with foamy histiocytes along with acid fast bacilli by Fite stain. By Ridley-Jopling classification system, three cases were diagnosis as lepromatous leprosy, and one, borderline lepromatous. Treatment included clofazimine, dapsone and rifampin that was offered free of charge by the National Hansen's Diseases Program, Baton Rouge, L.A. One patient did not tolerate therapy. In conclusion, a slowly progressive disseminated erythematous skin rash on the trunk should raise suspicion for leprosy in the elderly population in south MS.

  13. p120, a p120-related protein (p100), and the cadherin/catenin complex

    PubMed Central

    1995-01-01

    Cadherins and catenins play an important role in cell-cell adhesion. Two of the catenins, beta and gamma, are members of a group of proteins that contains a repeating amino acid motif originally described for the Drosophila segment polarity gene armadillo. Another member of this group is a 120-kD protein termed p120, originally identified as a substrate of the tyrosine kinase pp60src. In this paper, we show that endothelial and epithelial cells express p120 and p100, a 100-kD, p120- related protein. Peptide sequencing of p100 establishes it as highly related to p120. p120 and p100 both appear associated with the cadherin/catenin complex, but independent p120/catenin and p100/catenin complexes can be isolated. This association is shown by coimmunoprecipitation of cadherins and catenins with an anti-p120/p100 antibody, and of p120/p100 with cadherin or catenin antibodies. Immunocytochemical analysis with a p120-specific antibody reveals junctional colocalization of p120 and beta-catenin in epithelial cells. Catenins and p120/p100 also colocalize in endothelial and epithelial cells in culture and in tissue sections. The cellular content of p120/p100 and beta-catenin is similar in MDCK cells, but only approximately 20% of the p120/p100 pool associates with the cadherin/catenin complex. Our data provide further evidence for interactions among the different arm proteins and suggest that p120/p100 may participate in regulating the function of cadherins and, thereby, other processes influenced by cell-cell adhesion. PMID:7615637

  14. Dynamic modeling and mobility analysis of the transforming roving-rolling explorer (TRREx) as it Traverses Rugged Martian Terrain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwin, Lionel E.; Mazzoleni, Andre P.

    2016-03-01

    All planetary surface exploration missions thus far have employed traditional rovers with a rocker-bogie suspension. These rovers can navigate moderately rough and flat terrain, but are not designed to traverse rugged terrain with steep slopes. The fact is, however, that the most scientifically interesting missions require exploration platforms with capabilities for navigating such types of rugged terrain. This issue motivates the development of new kinds of rovers that take advantage of the latest advances in robotic technologies to traverse rugged terrain efficiently. This work analyzes one such rover concept called the Transforming Roving-Rolling Explorer (TRREx) that is principally aimed at addressing the above issue. Biologically inspired by the way the armadillo curls up into a ball when threatened, and the way the golden wheel spider uses the dynamic advantages of a sphere to roll down hills when escaping danger, the TRREx rover can traverse like a traditional 6-wheeled rover over conventional terrain, but can also transform itself into a sphere, when necessary, to travel down steep inclines, or navigate rough terrain. This paper investigates the mobility of the TRREx when it is in its rolling mode, i.e. when it is a sphere and can steer itself through actuations that shift its center of mass to achieve the desired direction of roll. A mathematical model describing the dynamics of the rover in this spherical configuration is presented, and actuated rolling is demonstrated through computer simulation. Parametric analyzes that investigate the rover's mobility as a function of its design parameters are also presented. This work highlights the contribution of the spherical rolling mode to the enhanced mobility of the TRREx rover and how it could enable challenging surface exploration missions in the future.

  15. Genetic and biochemical dissection of protein linkages in the cadherin-catenin complex.

    PubMed Central

    Jou, T S; Stewart, D B; Stappert, J; Nelson, W J; Marrs, J A

    1995-01-01

    The cadherin-catenin complex is important for mediating homotypic, calcium-dependent cell-cell interactions in diverse tissue types. Although proteins of this complex have been identified, little is known about their interactions. Using a genetic assay in yeast and an in vitro protein-binding assay, we demonstrate that beta-catenin is the linker protein between E-cadherin and alpha-catenin and that E-cadherin does not bind directly to alpha-catenin. We show that a 25-amino acid sequence in the cytoplasmic domain of E-cadherin and the amino-terminal domain of alpha-catenin are independent binding sites for beta-catenin. In addition to beta-catenin and plakoglobin, another member of the armadillo family, p120 binds to E-cadherin. However, unlike beta-catenin, p120 does not bind alpha-catenin in vitro, although a complex of p120 and endogenous alpha-catenin could be immunoprecipitated from cell extracts. In vitro protein-binding assays using recombinant E-cadherin cytoplasmic domain and alpha-catenin revealed two catenin pools in cell lysates: an approximately 1000- to approximately 2000-kDa complex bound to E-cadherin and an approximately 220-kDa pool that did not contain E-cadherin. Only beta-catenin in the approximately 220-kDa pool bound exogenous E-cadherin. Delineation of these molecular linkages and the demonstration of separate pools of catenins in different cell lines provide a foundation for examining regulatory mechanisms involved in the assembly and function of the cadherin-catenin complex. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 Fig. 5 PMID:7761449

  16. Plasmodium coatneyi in the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) as a model of malaria in pregnancy.

    PubMed

    Davison, B B; Cogswell, F B; Baskin, G B; Falkenstein, K P; Henson, E W; Tarantal, A F; Krogstad, D J

    1998-08-01

    Pregnant women with Plasmodium falciparum infection are at increased risk for complications such as anemia and cerebral malaria. In addition, the infants of these women suffer intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), low birth weight (LBW), congenital infection, and high infant mortality. Although much has been learned from studies of malaria during human pregnancy, progress has been limited by the lack of a suitable animal model. Nonhuman primates are of particular interest because, other than the armadillo, they are the only animals with a discoidal, villous, hemochorial placenta like that of humans. We have established a model of malaria during human pregnancy by inoculating pregnant rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) with Plasmodium coatneyi (a sequestering parasite) during the first trimester. In our initial experiment, four monkeys were inoculated with a fresh inoculum containing 10(8) viable parasites from an infected donor monkey. All four monkeys became parasitemic seven days postinoculation (PI) and three monkeys aborted 7-10 days PI coincident with high peak parasitemias (41,088-374,325 parasites/mm3). Although abortion is one of the outcomes observed in Plasmodium-infected women, the intent of this study was to examine the effects of Plasmodium infection throughout gestation. Since the rapid onset of high parasitemia may have been responsible for the abortions, a decision was made to reduce the size of the effective inoculum. Six additional pregnant monkeys were inoculated with a frozen isolate taken from the same donor containing 10(6) parasites. These six animals became parasitemic by 14 days PI and, along with monkey E412, carried their infants to term. These seven infants weighed significantly less at term than the infants of uninfected mothers (P = 0.0355). Symmetrical IUGR was detected by ultrasound in one fetus with an LBW of 334 g. Another LBW infant (300 g) had asymmetrical growth retardation, which has been associated with uteroplacental

  17. Agent-based modeling for the landuse change of hunter-gather societies and the impacts on biodiversity in Guyana

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iwamura, T.; Fragoso, J.; Lambin, E.

    2012-12-01

    The interactions with animals are vital to the Amerindian, indigenous people, of Rupunini savannah-forest in Guyana. Their connections extend from basic energy and protein resource to spiritual bonding through "paring" to a certain animal in the forest. We collected extensive dataset of 23 indigenous communities for 3.5 years, consisting 9900 individuals from 1307 households, as well as animal observation data in 8 transects per communities (47,000 data entries). In this presentation, our research interest is to model the driver of land use change of the indigenous communities and its impacts on the ecosystem in the Rupunini area under global change. Overarching question we would like to answer with this program is to find how and why "tipping-point" from hunting gathering society to the agricultural society occurs in the future. Secondary question is what is the implication of the change to agricultural society in terms of biodiversity and carbon stock in the area, and eventually the well-being of Rupunini people. To answer the questions regarding the society shift in agriculture activities, we built as simulation with Agent-Based Modeling (Multi Agents Simulation). We developed this simulation by using Netlogo, the programming environment specialized for spatially explicit agent-based modeling (ABM). This simulation consists of four different process in the Rupunini landscape; forest succession, animal population growth, hunting of animals, and land clearing for agriculture. All of these processes are carried out by a set of computational unit, called "agents". In this program, there are four types of agents - patches, villages, households, and animals. Here, we describe the impacts of hunting on the biodiversity based on actual demographic data from one village named Crush Water. Animal population within the hunting territory of the village stabilized but Agouti/Paca dominates the landscape with little population of armadillos and peccaries. White-tailed deers

  18. Local and scientific knowledge for assessing the use of fallows and mature forest by large mammals in SE Brazil: identifying singularities in folkecology

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Local ecological knowledge (LEK) has been discussed in terms of its similarities to and its potential to complement normative scientific knowledge. In this study, we compared the knowledge of a Brazilian quilombola population regarding the habitat use and life habits of large mammals with in situ recordings of the species. We also tested the hypothesis that quilombola LEK has a special focus on the anthropogenic portion of the landscape. Methods The habitats investigated were anthropogenic secondary forests and mature forests in the southeastern Atlantic coast of Brazil. We conducted the faunal survey using the camera-trap method. The sampling effort consisted of deploying 1,217 cameras/day in the mature forests and 1,189 cameras/day in the secondary forests. Statistical comparisons regarding the habitat use of the species were based on the randomization procedure. We interviewed 36 men who were more than 40 years old in the three communities studied. Informal, semi-structured and structured interviews were used. Two variables were considered in the LEK analyses: level of internal agreement and level of convergence with the scientific data. Results The camera trap sampling resulted in a total of 981 records. Animals such as opossums, tayras, armadillos and deer showed a non-selective pattern in the use of habitats. In contrast, the coati was more common in mature forests. We found that nearly 40% of the interviewees’ responses converged with the scientific data on the use of habitats. However, the LEK on the species’ life habits was highly convergent with the scientific data. The hypothesis that secondary forests would have a greater relevance for local knowledge was validated for four of the five analyzed species. Conclusions We suggest two principal considerations of ecological and ethnoecological interest: (1) In the Atlantic Forest of the Ribeira Valley, the secondary forests resulting from shifting cultivation were as attractive to the species

  19. Molecular decay of enamel matrix protein genes in turtles and other edentulous amniotes

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Secondary edentulism (toothlessness) has evolved on multiple occasions in amniotes including several mammalian lineages (pangolins, anteaters, baleen whales), birds, and turtles. All edentulous amniote clades have evolved from ancestors with enamel-capped teeth. Previous studies have documented the molecular decay of tooth-specific genes in edentulous mammals, all of which lost their teeth in the Cenozoic, and birds, which lost their teeth in the Cretaceous. By contrast with mammals and birds, tooth loss in turtles occurred in the Jurassic (201.6-145.5 Ma), providing an extended time window for tooth gene degradation in this clade. The release of the painted turtle and Chinese softshell turtle genomes provides an opportunity to recover the decayed remains of tooth-specific genes in Testudines. Results We queried available genomes of Testudines (Chrysemys picta [painted turtle], Pelodiscus sinensis [Chinese softshell turtle]), Aves (Anas platyrhynchos [duck], Gallus gallus [chicken], Meleagris gallopavo [turkey], Melopsittacus undulatus [budgerigar], Taeniopygia guttata [zebra finch]), and enamelless mammals (Orycteropus afer [aardvark], Choloepus hoffmanni [Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth], Dasypus novemcinctus [nine-banded armadillo]) for remnants of three enamel matrix protein (EMP) genes with putative enamel-specific functions. Remnants of the AMBN and ENAM genes were recovered in Chrysemys and retain their original synteny. Remnants of AMEL were recovered in both testudines, although there are no shared frameshifts. We also show that there are inactivated copies of AMBN, AMEL and ENAM in representatives of divergent avian lineages including Galloanserae, Passeriformes, and Psittaciformes, and that there are shared frameshift mutations in all three genes that predate the basal split in Neognathae. Among enamelless mammals, all three EMP genes exhibit inactivating mutations in Orycteropus and Choloepus. Conclusions Our results highlight the power of

  20. Differential gene expression profile of the hepatopancreas of white spot syndrome virus infected Fenneropenaeus indicus by suppression subtractive hybridization.

    PubMed

    James, Roswin; Thampuran, Nirmala; Lalitha, K V; Rajan, Lawrance Anbu; Joseph, Toms C

    2010-11-01

    Suppression Subtractive Hybridization was employed in order to identify the differentially expressed genes in the hepatopancreas of white spot syndrome virus infected Fenneropenaeus indicus. A forward subtracted cDNA library generated 356 clones following a white spot syndrome virus infection. A total of 345 clones with more than 100 nucleotides were selected for further analysis using bioinformatics tools after vector screening. Twenty-three contigs and 111 singletons were generated from a total of 134 consensuses. The consensuses, on a sequence homology search using BLASTX (NCBI), revealed that 74 (55%) of them had no significant match to reported sequences in the database, suggesting that they were found for the first time and are probably associated with shrimp immune function. Out of the remaining 60 (45%) consensuses, 43 had significant homology to known protein sequences in the database while 17 consensuses are homologous to unknown proteins in the database which are considered novel. The most abundant genes in the subtracted library were antimicrobial peptides accounting for 56 clones; among which one is a member of SNF2 family of proteins and another belonged to PfP1 family of proteins on analysis using Antimicrobial peptide predictor software. The other predicted genes in the subtracted library include signal transduction molecules (GTPase, Serine threonine kinase, Armadillo repeats etc), antioxidant enzymes (Cytochrome oxidase, Monomeric sarcosine oxidase and Catalase), active transporters (Nuclear Localization Signal [NLS], calcium ATPase, sodium glutamate symporter, Store-Operated Calcium Entry [SOCE] and ribonucleoprotein [RNP]) contributing to 19, 14 and 5 clones respectively. Three clones are homologous to reverse transcriptase; a first time report in shrimp and one each belong to cell adhesion molecule and Proteinase. InterProScan at EMBL, when used for an integrated search at PROSITE predicted; signal sequences and transmembrane regions for 13

  1. Convergent evolution of endometrial prolactin expression in primates, mice, and elephants through the independent recruitment of transposable elements.

    PubMed

    Emera, Deena; Casola, Claudio; Lynch, Vincent J; Wildman, Derek E; Agnew, Dalen; Wagner, Günter P

    2012-01-01

    Prolactin (PRL) is a multifunctional signaling molecule best known for its role in regulating lactation in mammals. Systemic PRL is produced by the anterior pituitary, but extrapituitary PRL has also been detected in many tissues including the human endometrium. Prolactin is essential for pregnancy in rodents and one of the most dramatically induced genes in the endometrium during human pregnancy. The promoter for human endometrial Prl is located about 5.8 kb upstream of the pituitary promoter and is derived from a transposable element called MER39. Although it has been shown that prolactin is expressed in the pregnant endometrium of a few mammals other than humans, MER39 has been described as primate specific. Thus, in an effort to understand mechanisms of prolactin regulatory evolution, we sought to determine how uterine prolactin is transcribed in species that lack MER39. Using a variety of complementary strategies, including reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends, and whole-transcriptome sequencing, we show that endometrial Prl expression is not a shared character of all placental mammals, as it is not expressed in rabbits, pigs, dogs, or armadillos. We show that in primates, mice, and elephants, prolactin mRNA is transcribed in the pregnant endometrium from alternative promoters, different from the pituitary promoter and different from each other. Moreover, we demonstrate that the spider monkey promoter derives from the long terminal repeat (LTR) element MER39 as in humans, the mouse promoter derives from the LTR element MER77, and the elephant promoter derives from the lineage-specific LINE retrotransposon L1-2_LA. We also find surprising variation of transcriptional start sites within these transposable elements and of Prl splice variants, suggesting a high degree of flexibility in the promoter architecture even among closely related species. Finally, the three groups shown here to express endometrial prolactin

  2. An LTR Retrotransposon-Derived Gene Displays Lineage-Specific Structural and Putative Species-Specific Functional Variations in Eutherians

    PubMed Central

    Irie, Masahito; Koga, Akihiko; Kaneko-Ishino, Tomoko; Ishino, Fumitoshi

    2016-01-01

    Amongst the 11 eutherian-specific genes acquired from a sushi-ichi retrotransposon is the CCHC type zinc-finger protein-encoding gene SIRH11/ZCCHC16. Its contribution to eutherian brain evolution is implied because of its involvement in cognitive function in mice, possibly via the noradrenergic system. Although, the possibility that Sirh11/Zcchc16 functions as a non-coding RNA still remains, dN/dS ratios in pairwise comparisons between its orthologs have provided supportive evidence that it acts as a protein. It became a pseudogene in armadillos (Cingulata) and sloths (Pilosa), the only two extant orders of xenarthra, which prompted us to examine the lineage-specific variations of SIRH11/ZCCHC16 in eutherians. We examined the predicted SIRH11/ZCCHC16 open reading frame (ORF) in 95 eutherian species based on the genomic DNA information in GenBank. A large variation in the SIRH11/ZCCHC16 ORF was detected in several lineages. These include a lack of a CCHC RNA-binding domain in its C-terminus, observed in gibbons (Hylobatidae: Primates) and megabats (Megachiroptera: Chiroptera). A lack of the N-terminal half, on the other hand, was observed in New World monkeys (Platyrrhini: Primates) and species belonging to New World and African Hystricognaths (Caviomorpha and Bathyergidae: Rodents) along with Cetacea and Ruminantia (Cetartiodactyla). Among the hominoids, interestingly, three out of four genera of gibbons have lost normal SIRH11/ZCCHC16 function by deletion or the lack of the CCHC RNA-binding domain. Our extensive dN/dS analysis suggests that such truncated SIRH11/ZCCHC16 ORFs are functionally diversified even within lineages. Combined, our results show that SIRH11/ZCCHC16 may contribute to the diversification of eutherians by lineage-specific structural changes after its domestication in the common eutherian ancestor, followed by putative species-specific functional changes that enhanced fitness and occurred as a consequence of complex natural selection events

  3. Changing dietary habits among Akwen Xerente.

    PubMed

    Rocha, Tatiana Evangelista da Silva; Silva, Reijane Pinheiro da; Nascimento, Maira Messias do

    2016-06-01

    The research aimed to identify the current feed of Xerente people in Indian villages Porteira and Funil in the city of Tocantinia / TO. It was used a qualitative ethnographic approach. Conducted from September 2013 to August 2014. The data were presented in a diary, through participant observation of food practices with the guidance of a script. A process of dietary change that permeates the culture of this people is taking place. Factors such as the deficit in the planting gardens, the recent arrival of energy, and therefore the technology has allowed access to processed foods. But some families still maintain the farming of cassava, yam, and beans. The main animals that are hunted in the village are peccary, deer and armadillo. It was possible to point which foods are inserted in the Xerente feed and factors related to this situation. A pesquisa objetivou identificar a alimentação atual do povo Xerente, nas aldeias indígenas Porteira e Funil, no município de Tocantínia / TO. Utilizou-se uma abordagem etnográfica qualitativa. Realizada entre setembro de 2013 a agosto de 2014. Os dados foram descritos através de um diário de campo, por meio da observação das práticas alimentares com a orientação de um roteiro. Está ocorrendo um processo de mudança alimentar na cultura deste povo. Fatores como o déficit no plantio das roças, a chegada da energia, e consequentemente a tecnologia, permitiu o acesso a alimentos industrializados. Mas algumas famílias ainda mantem o cultivo de mandioca, inhame, feijão andu. Os principais animais que são caçados na aldeia são caititu, veado e tatu. Foi possível encontrar a presença de alimentos industrializados inseridos na alimentação do Xerente e isso tem provocado alterações nos hábitos desse povo.

  4. Inactivation of C4orf26 in toothless placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Springer, Mark S; Starrett, James; Morin, Phillip A; Lanzetti, Agnese; Hayashi, Cheryl; Gatesy, John

    2016-02-01

    Previous studies have reported inactivated copies of six enamel-related genes (AMBN, AMEL, AMTN, ENAM, KLK4, MMP20) and one dentin-related gene (DSPP) in one or more toothless vertebrates and/or vertebrates with enamelless teeth, thereby providing evidence that these genes are enamel or tooth-specific with respect to their critical functions that are maintained by natural selection. Here, we employ available genome sequences for edentulous and enamelless mammals to evaluate the enamel specificity of four genes (WDR72, SLC24A4, FAM83H, C4orf26) that have been implicated in amelogenesis imperfecta, a condition in which proper enamel formation is abrogated during tooth development. Coding sequences for WDR72, SCL24A4, and FAM83H are intact in four edentulous taxa (Chinese pangolin, three baleen whales) and three taxa (aardvark, nine-banded armadillo, Hoffmann's two-toed sloth) with enamelless teeth, suggesting that these genes have critical functions beyond their involvement in tooth development. By contrast, genomic data for C4orf26 reveal inactivating mutations in pangolin and bowhead whale as well as evidence for deletion of this gene in two minke whale species. Hybridization capture of exonic regions and PCR screens provide evidence for inactivation of C4orf26 in eight additional baleen whale species. However, C4orf26 is intact in all three species with enamelless teeth that were surveyed, as well as in 95 additional mammalian species with enamel-capped teeth. Estimates of selection intensity suggest that dN/dS ratios on branches leading to taxa with enamelless teeth are similar to the dN/dS ratio on branches leading to taxa with enamel-capped teeth. Based on these results, we conclude that C4orf26 is tooth-specific, but not enamel-specific, with respect to its essential functions that are maintained by natural selection. A caveat is that an alternative splice site variant, which translates exon 3 in a different reading frame, is putatively functional in

  5. Shifting species ranges and changing phenology: A new approach to mining social media for ecosystems observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fuka, M. Z.; Osborne-Gowey, J. D.; Fuka, D. R.

    2013-12-01

    Geoscientists & ecologists are increasingly using social media to solicit 'citizen scientists' to participate in the data collection process. However, social media users are also a largely untapped resource of spontaneous, unsolicited observations of the natural world. Of particular interest are observations of species phenology & range to better develop a predictive understanding of how ecosystems are affected by a changing climate and human-mediated influences. Social media users' observations include information on phenological & biological phenomena such as flowers blooming, native & invasive species sightings, unusual behaviors, animal tracks, droppings, damage, feeding, nesting, etc. Our AGU2011 pilot study on the North American armadillo suggests that useful observational data can be extracted from Twitter to map current species ranges to compare with past ranges. We have expanded that work by mining Twitter for a number of North American species and ecosystem observations to determine usefulness for environmental applications such as: 1) supplementing existing databases, 2) identifying outlier phenomena, 3) guiding additional crowd-sourced studies and data collection efforts, 4) recruiting citizen scientists, 5) gauging sentiment about the observations and 6) informing ecosystems policy-making and education. We present the results for our evaluation of a representative sample from a list of 200+ species for which we've collected data since August 2011. Our results include frequency of reports and sightings by day, week and month, where the number of observations range from a few per month to ten or more per day. We discuss challenges, best practices and tools for distilling information from crowd-sourced observations gathered via Twitter in the form of 140-character 'tweets'. For example, geolocation is a critical issue. Despite the prevalence of smart phones, specific latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates are included in fewer than 10% of the

  6. Evidence to support horses as natural intermediate hosts for Sarcocystis neurona.

    PubMed

    Mullaney, Thomas; Murphy, Alice J; Kiupel, Matti; Bell, Julia A; Rossano, Mary G; Mansfield, Linda S

    2005-10-10

    Opossums (Didelphis spp.) are the definitive host for the protozoan parasite Sarcocystis neurona, the causative agent of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM). Opossums shed sporocysts in feces that can be ingested by true intermediate hosts (cats, raccoons, skunks, armadillos and sea otters). Horses acquire the parasite by ingestion of feed or water contaminated by opossum feces. However, horses have been classified as aberrant intermediate hosts because the terminal asexual sarcocyst stage that is required for transmission to the definitive host has not been found in their tissues despite extensive efforts to search for them [Dubey, J.P., Lindsay, D.S., Saville, W.J., Reed, S.M., Granstrom, D.E., Speer, C.A., 2001b. A review of Sarcocystis neurona and equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM). Vet. Parasitol. 95, 89-131]. In a 4-month-old filly with neurological disease consistent with EPM, we demonstrate schizonts in the brain and spinal cord and mature sarcocysts in the tongue and skeletal muscle, both with genetic and morphological characteristics of S. neurona. The histological and electron microscopic morphology of the schizonts and sarcocysts were identical to published features of S. neurona [Stanek, J.F., Dubey, J.P., Oglesbee, M.J., Reed, S.M., Lindsay, D.S., Capitini, L.A., Njoku, C.J., Vittitow, K.L., Saville, W.J., 2002. Life cycle of Sarcocystis neurona in its natural intermediate host, the raccoon, Procyon lotor. J. Parasitol. 88, 1151-1158]. DNA from schizonts and sarcocysts from this horse produced Sarcocystis specific 334bp PCR products [Tanhauser, S.M., Yowell, C.A., Cutler, T.J., Greiner, E.C., MacKay, R.J., Dame, J.B., 1999. Multiple DNA markers differentiate Sarcocystis neurona and Sarcocystis falcatula. J. Parasitol. 85, 221-228]. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of these PCR products showed banding patterns characteristic of S. neurona. Sequencing, alignment and comparison of both schizont and sarcocyst DNA

  7. Estimates of soil ingestion by wildlife

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Beyer, W.N.; Connor, E.E.; Gerould, S.

    1994-01-01

    Many wildlife species ingest soil while feeding, but ingestion rates are known for only a few species. Knowing ingestion rates may be important for studies of environmental contaminants. Wildlife may ingest soil deliberately, or incidentally, when they ingest soil-laden forage or animals that contain soil. We fed white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) diets containing 0-15% soil to relate the dietary soil content to the acid-insoluble ash content of scat collected from the mice. The relation was described by an equation that required estimates of the percent acid-insoluble ash content of the diet, digestibility of the diet, and mineral content of soil. We collected scat from 28 wildlife species by capturing animals, searching appropriate habitats for scat, or removing material from the intestines of animals collected for other purposes. We measured the acid-insoluble ash content of the scat and estimated the soil content of the diets by using the soil-ingestion equation. Soil ingestion estimates should be considered only approximate because they depend on estimated rather than measured digestibility values and because animals collected from local populations at one time of the year may not represent the species as a whole. Sandpipers (Calidris spp.), which probe or peck for invertebrates in mud or shallow water, consumed sediments at a rate of 7-30% of their diets. Nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus, soil = 17% of diet), American woodcock (Scolopax minor, 10%), and raccoon (Procyon lotor, 9%) had high rates of soil ingestion, presumably because they ate soil organisms. Bison (Bison bison, 7%), black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus, 8%), and Canada geese (Branta canadensis, 8%) consumed soil at the highest rates among the herbivores studied, and various browsers studied consumed little soil. Box turtle (Terrapene carolina, 4%), opossum (Didelphis virginiana, 5%), red fox (Vulpes vulpes, 3%), and wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo, 9%) consumed soil

  8. Wildlife effects of DDT dust used for tick control on a Texas prairie

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    George, J.L.; Stickel, W.H.

    1949-01-01

    armadillos, striped skunks, and rabbits gave no indication of pronounced damage to these forms. No mammals of any kind were found dead or affected in or near the DDT area. Four rough green snakes and one Texan spiny lizard were found dead in the DDT area. Mortality was probably high among insectivorous reptiles.

  9. Lake Erie walleyes--again on the upswing?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Seldon, Charles P.; Van Meter, Harry D.

    1960-01-01

    armadillos, striped skunks, and rabbits gave no indication of pronounced damage to these forms. No mammals of any kind were found dead or affected in or near the DDT area. Four rough green snakes and one Texan spiny lizard were found dead in the DDT area. Mortality was probably high among insectivorous reptiles.

  10. Transforming Roving-Rolling Explorer (TRREx) for Planetary Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwin, Lionel Ernest

    All planetary surface exploration missions thus far have employed traditional rovers with a rocker-bogie suspension. These rovers can navigate moderately rough and flat terrain, but are not designed to traverse rugged terrain with steep slopes. The fact is, however, that many scientifically interesting missions require exploration platforms with capabilities for navigating such types of chaotic terrain. This issue motivates the development of new kinds of rovers that take advantage of the latest advances in robotic technologies to traverse rugged terrain efficiently. This dissertation proposes and analyses one such rover concept called the Transforming Roving-Rolling Explorer (TRREx) that is principally aimed at addressing the above issue. Biologically inspired by the way the armadillo curls up into a ball when threatened, and the way the golden wheel spider uses the dynamic advantages of a sphere to roll down hills when escaping danger, the novel TRREx rover can traverse like a traditional 6-wheeled rover over conventional terrain, but can also transform itself into a sphere, when necessary, to travel down steep inclines, or navigate rough terrain. This work presents the proposed design architecture and capabilities followed by the development of mathematical models and experiments that facilitate the mobility analysis of the TRREx in the rolling mode. The ability of the rover to self-propel in the rolling mode in the absence of a negative gradient increases its versatility and concept value. Therefore, a dynamic model of a planar version of the problem is first used to investigate the feasibility and value of such self-propelled locomotion - 'actuated rolling'. Construction and testing of a prototype Planar/Cylindrical TRREx that is capable of demonstrating actuated rolling is presented, and the results from the planar dynamic model are experimentally validated. This planar model is then built upon to develop a mathematical model of the spherical TRREx in the

  11. Mechanisms of pulmonary cyst pathogenesis in Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome: The stretch hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Kennedy, John C; Khabibullin, Damir; Henske, Elizabeth P

    2016-04-01

    Loss-of-function mutations in the folliculin gene (FLCN) on chromosome 17p cause Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome (BHD), which is associated with cystic lung disease. The risk of lung collapse (pneumothorax) in BHD patients is 50-fold higher than in the general population. The cystic lung disease in BHD is distinctive because the cysts tend to be basilar, subpleural and lentiform, differentiating BHD from most other cystic lung diseases. Recently, major advances in elucidating the primary functions of the folliculin protein have been made, including roles in mTOR and AMPK signaling via the interaction of FLCN with FNIP1/2, and cell-cell adhesion via the physical interaction of FLCN with plakophilin 4 (PKP4), an armadillo-repeat containing protein that interacts with E-cadherin and is a component of the adherens junctions. In addition, in just the last three years, the pulmonary impact of FLCN deficiency has been examined for the first time. In mouse models, evidence has emerged that AMPK signaling and cell-cell adhesion are involved in alveolar enlargement. In addition, the pathologic features of human BHD cysts have been recently comprehensively characterized. The "stretch hypothesis" proposes that cysts in BHD arise because of fundamental defects in cell-cell adhesion, leading to repeated respiration-induced physical stretch-induced stress and, over time, expansion of alveolar spaces particularly in regions of the lung with larger changes in alveolar volume and at weaker "anchor points" to the pleura. This hypothesis ties together many of the new data from cellular and mouse models of BHD and from the human pathologic studies. Critical questions remain. These include whether the consequences of stretch-induced cyst formation arise through a destructive/inflammatory program or a proliferative program (or both), whether cyst initiation involves a "second hit" genetic event inactivating the remaining wild-type copy of FLCN (as is known to occur in BHD-associated renal cell

  12. Lectinochemical studies on the glyco-recognition factors of a Tn (GalNAcalpha1-->Ser/Thr) specific lectin isolated from the seeds of Salvia sclarea.

    PubMed

    Wu, Albert M

    2005-01-01

    The lectin extracted from the seeds of Salvia sclarea (SSL) recognizes the Tn antigen (GalNAc alpha1-->Ser/Thr) expressed in certain human carcinomas. In previous studies, knowledge of the binding properties of SSL was restricted to GalNAcalpha1--> related oligosaccharides and glycopeptides. Thus, the requirements of functional groups in monosaccharide and high-density polyvalent carbohydrate structural units for SSL binding and an updated affinity profile were further evaluated by enzyme-linked lectinosorbent (ELLSA) and inhibition assays. Among the glycoproteins (gps) tested for interaction, a high density of exposed Tn-containing glycoproteins such as in the armadillo salivary Tn glycoprotein and asialo ovine salivary glycoprotein reacted best with SSL. When the gps were tested for inhibition of SSL binding, which was expressed as 50% nanogram inhibition, the high density polyvalent Tn present in macromolecules was the most potent inhibitor. Among the monosaccharide and carbohydrate structural units studied, which were expressed as nanomole inhibition, GalNAc alpha1-->3GalNAc beta1-->3Gal alpha1-->4Gal beta1-->4Glc (Fp), GalNAc alpha1-->3Gal beta1-->4Glc (A(L)), GalNAc alpha1-->3GalNAc beta1-->Me (F beta), GalNAc alpha1-->3GalNAc alpha1-->Me (F alpha) and GalNAc alpha1--> Ser/Thr (Tn) were the most active ligands, being 2.5-5.0 x 10(3) and 1.25-2.5 times more active than Gal and GalNAc, respectively. From the results, it is suggested that the combining site of SSL is a shallow groove type, recognizing the monosaccharide of GalNAc as the major binding site or Tn up to the Forssman pentasaccharide (Fp). It can be concluded that the three critical factors for SSL binding are the -NH CH(3)CO at carbon-2 in Gal, the configuration of carbon-3 in GalNAc, and the polyvalent Tn (GalNAc alpha1-->Ser/Thr) present in macromolecules. These results should assist in understanding the glyco-recognition factors involved in carbohydrate-lectin interactions in biological processes

  13. Variation among species in the endocrine control of mammary growth and function: the roles of prolactin, growth hormone, and placental lactogen.

    PubMed

    Forsyth, I A

    1986-03-01

    Prolactin, growth hormone, and placental lactogen form a family of structurally related hormones, which may have evolved from a common ancestral peptide. Prolactin and growth hormone are present in all mammals, but the biological activity associated with placental lactogen has been detected in only some groups. Attempts to detect placental lactogen using bioassay and radioreceptor assay are reported and have been unsuccessful in an insectivore (the shrew), a bat, an edentate (the armadillo), a lagomorph (the rabbit), several carnivores (dog, cat, ferret), perissodactyls (horse, zebra, rhino), and, within the artiodactyls, pigs. Placental lactogenic activity has been detected in primates (chimpanzee, orangutan), rodents (voles, Pinon mouse, guinea-pig, mara), and in numerous artiodactyls (llama, giraffe, several species of deer, antelope, gnu, gazelle, musk ox, cape buffalo, Barbary sheep, several sheep of the genus Ovis, goat, and cow). These results confirm and extend the work of others and are discussed in relation to the evolution of these hormones. In synergism with steroid and thyroid hormones, protein hormones of the prolactin and growth hormone family play a crucial role in stimulating the development of the mammary gland, the differentiation and function of mammary cells to secrete milk, and in the systemic adjustments in maternal metabolism in pregnancy and lactation. Studies in vitro have shown that mammary tissues from several species synthesize milk components in response to insulin plus adrenal corticoid plus prolactin. However, there are also species differences in minimal hormonal requirements for lactogenesis. In vivo, for example, rabbits will initiate or sustain lactation in response to prolactin alone, whereas sheep and goats require prolactin plus growth hormone plus adrenal corticoid plus thyroid hormone. Measurement of hormone concentrations in the plasma of pregnant animals shows considerable differences among species in the pattern of

  14. Are we headed towards the defaunation of the last large Atlantic Forest remnants? Poaching activities in one of the largest remnants of the Tabuleiro forests in southeastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Sousa, José Adelson C; Srbek-Araujo, Ana C

    2017-03-01

    Hunting is a problem to animal conservation in different parts of the world and it has caused the local extinction of several species. The aim of this study was to characterize the poaching activities in one of the main tabuleiro forest remnants of Brazil, the Linhares-Sooretama Block (LSB). Poaching records from 2010 to 2013 were gathered from the agencies responsible for monitoring and combating environmental crimes in the LSB. A total of 693 records (mean = 173 events/year) were collected involving direct (hunted animals, firearms, handmade firearms, traps, poachers, and various hunting supplies) and indirect (tree stands, baits, and poacher signs) evidences of poaching. No differences in the monthly cumulative number of records were found among years, but the distribution of records differed according to the type of evidence. A total of 40 animal seizure events were recorded involving a total of at least 15 taxa directly affected by poaching (reptiles = 2, birds = 6, mammals = 7) and 75 individuals seized (19 individuals/year). Five of the poached species are threatened. Lowland paca (Cuniculus paca) and armadillos were the most poached mammals in the region. Most of the poachers conduct such activities for fun (entertainment) and/or professionally (commercial hunting). The collected data show an approximately 32% increase in the number of poaching events in the region compared with the historical data available for LSB. It may have resulted from a gradual decrease in protection, both in terms of the number of agents deployed and the levels of effort of the teams, which began in 2009. The data demonstrate that poaching is a significant threat to the conservation of the LSB fauna, as it is in other Atlantic Forest remnants and in other regions of the world. Protection activities must be intensified to effectively combat the impacts of poaching in the LSB region, thereby contributing to the conservation of species in one of the few Atlantic Forest

  15. The Wilkes subglacial basin eastern margin electrical conductivity anomaly

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rizzello, Daniele; Armadillo, Egidio; Ferraccioli, Fausto; Caneva, Giorgio

    2014-05-01

    allowed for a new processing of a wide dataset acquired during three different international Antarctic campaigns supported by the Italian Antarctic Project: the BACKTAM, WIBEM and WISE expeditions. The qualitative analysis of the induction arrows, in the period range 20-170 s, reveals an approximately 2D regional electrical conductivity pattern with a clear differentiation between the three Terrains crossed by the GDS transect we have re-analized: the Robertson Bay, the Bowers and the Wilson Terrain. Bi-dimensional conductivity models, jointly with magnetic and gravimetric profiles, suggest a differentiation of the investigated area in three crustal sectors separated by the Daniels Range and the Bowers Mts., in close relation with main known structural lineaments; to the West, a deep conductivity anomaly is associated with the transition to the Wilkes Subglagial Basin. We deem that such anomaly, together with the magnetic and gravimetric signatures, is compatible with an extensional regime in the eastern margin of the WSB. References Rizzello, D., Armadillo, E., Manzella, A."Statistical analysis of the polar electrojet influence on geomagnetic transfer functions estimates, over wide time and space scales". EGU 2013 General Assembly, Wien - poster presentation.

  16. Elimination of Leprosy as a public health problem by 2000 AD: an epidemiological perspective

    PubMed Central

    Nsagha, Dickson Shey; Bamgboye, Elijah Afolabi; Assob, Jules Clement Nguedia; Njunda, Anna Longdoh; Kamga, Henri Lucien Foumou; Zoung-Kanyi Bissek, Anne-Cécile; Tabah, Earnest Nji; Oyediran, Alain Bankole OO; Njamnshi, Alfred Kongnyu

    2011-01-01

    the Nippon Foundation that supplies free multi-drug therapy) opportunities. Elimination created the unrealistic expectation that the leprosy problem could be solved by 2000. First, the elimination goal was not feasible in several areas which had high incidence of leprosy. Even if elimination was to be attained, significant numbers of new cases of leprosy would continue to occur and many people with physical imperfections, severe psychological, economic and social problems caused by leprosy would need continuous assistance. Extra-human reservoirs of Mycobacterium leprae, the relationship between leprosy and poverty, prevention of disabilities, lack of a reliable laboratory test to detect subclinical infection and a vaccine are also challenging issues. Conclusion The evidence base available to inform on leprosy elimination is highly positive with the availability of multi-drug therapy blister packs. There are concerns that leprosy was not the right disease to be targeted for elimination as there are no reliable diagnostic tests to detect subclinical infection including the lack of a vaccine, extra-human reservoirs (monkeys and armadillos), increase in the burden of child cases, no good epidemiological indicator as prevalence instead of incidence is used to measure elimination. Multi-drug therapy treats leprosy very well but there is no proof that it concurrently interrupts transmission. The high social stigma, prevention of disabilities, and the relationship between leprosy and poverty are still major concerns. PMID:22145052

  17. Assessment and validation of a suite of reverse transcription-quantitative PCR reference genes for analyses of density-dependent behavioural plasticity in the Australian plague locust

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The Australian plague locust, Chortoicetes terminifera, is among the most promising species to unravel the suites of genes underling the density-dependent shift from shy and cryptic solitarious behaviour to the highly active and aggregating gregarious behaviour that is characteristic of locusts. This is because it lacks many of the major phenotypic changes in colour and morphology that accompany phase change in other locust species. Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is the most sensitive method available for determining changes in gene expression. However, to accurately monitor the expression of target genes, it is essential to select an appropriate normalization strategy to control for non-specific variation between samples. Here we identify eight potential reference genes and examine their expression stability at different rearing density treatments in neural tissue of the Australian plague locust. Results Taking advantage of the new orthologous DNA sequences available in locusts, we developed primers for genes encoding 18SrRNA, ribosomal protein L32 (RpL32), armadillo (Arm), actin 5C (Actin), succinate dehydrogenase (SDHa), glyceraldehyde-3P-dehydrogenase (GAPDH), elongation factor 1 alpha (EF1a) and annexin IX (AnnIX). The relative transcription levels of these eight genes were then analyzed in three treatment groups differing in rearing density (isolated, short- and long-term crowded), each made up of five pools of four neural tissue samples from 5th instar nymphs. SDHa and GAPDH, which are both involved in metabolic pathways, were identified as the least stable in expression levels, challenging their usefulness in normalization. Based on calculations performed with the geNorm and NormFinder programs, the best combination of two genes for normalization of gene expression data following crowding in the Australian plague locust was EF1a and Arm. We applied their use to studying a target gene that encodes a Ca2

  18. Evolutionary ethics from Darwin to Moore.

    PubMed

    Allhoff, Fritz

    2003-01-01

    Evolutionary ethics has a long history, dating all the way back to Charles Darwin. Almost immediately after the publication of the Origin, an immense interest arose in the moral implications of Darwinism and whether the truth of Darwinism would undermine traditional ethics. Though the biological thesis was certainly exciting, nobody suspected that the impact of the Origin would be confined to the scientific arena. As one historian wrote, 'whether or not ancient populations of armadillos were transformed into the species that currently inhabit the new world was certainly a topic about which zoologists could disagree. But it was in discussing the broader implications of the theory...that tempers flared and statements were made which could transform what otherwise would have been a quiet scholarly meeting into a social scandal' (Farber 1994, 22). Some resistance to the biological thesis of Darwinism sprung from the thought that it was incompatible with traditional morality and, since one of them had to go, many thought that Darwinism should be rejected. However, some people did realize that a secular ethics was possible so, even if Darwinism did undermine traditional religious beliefs, it need not have any effects on moral thought. Before I begin my discussion of evolutionary ethics from Darwin to Moore, I would like to make some more general remarks about its development. There are three key events during this history of evolutionary ethics. First, Charles Darwin published On the Origin of the Species (Darwin 1859). Since one did not have a fully developed theory of evolution until 1859, there exists little work on evolutionary ethics until then. Shortly thereafter, Herbert Spencer (1898) penned the first systematic theory of evolutionary ethics, which was promptly attacked by T.H. Huxley (Huxley 1894). Second, at about the turn of the century, moral philosophers entered the fray and attempted to demonstrate logical errors in Spencer's work; such errors were alluded