Aedes mosquitoes can efficiently transmit many pathogenic arboviruses, placing a great burden on public health worldwide. In addition, they also carry a number of insect-specific viruses (ISVs), and it was recently suggested that some of these ISVs might form a stable species-specific "core virome" in mosquito populations. However, little is known about such a core virome in laboratory colonies and if it is present across different developmental stages. In this study, we compared the viromes in eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults of Aedes albopictus mosquitoes collected from a lab colony and compared each to the virome of different developmental stages collected in the field. The virome in lab-derived A. albopictus was very stable across all stages, consistent with a vertical transmission route of these viruses, and formed a possible "vertically transmitted core virome." The different stages of field-collected A. albopictus mosquitoes also contained this stable vertically transmitted core virome, as well as another set of viruses (e.g., viruses distantly related to Guadeloupe mosquito virus, Hubei virga-like virus 2, and Sarawak virus) shared by mosquitoes across different stages, which might represent an "environment-derived core virome." To further study this core set of ISVs, we screened 48 publicly available SRA viral metagenomic data sets of mosquitoes belonging to the genus Aedes, showing that some of the identified ISVs were identified in the majority of SRAs and providing further evidence supporting the core-virome concept.IMPORTANCE Our study revealed that the virome was very stable across all developmental stages of both lab-derived and field-collected Aedes albopictus The data representing the core virome in lab A. albopictus proved the vertical transmission route of these viruses, forming a "vertically transmitted core virome." Field mosquitoes also contained this stable vertically transmitted core virome as well as additional viruses, which probably represented "environment-derived core virome" and which therefore were less stable over time and geography. By further screening publicly available SRA viral metagenomic data sets from mosquitoes belonging to the genus Aedes, some of the identified core ISVs were shown to be present in the majority of SRAs, such as Phasi Charoen-like phasivirus and Guadeloupe mosquito virus. How these core ISVs influence the biology of the mosquito host and arbovirus infection and evolution deserves to be further explored.
Nipah disease is listed as one of the WHO priority diseases that pose the greatest public health risk due to their epidemic potential. More than 200 experts from around the world convened in Singapore last year to mark the 20th anniversary of the first Nipah virus outbreaks in Malaysia and Singapore. Most of these experts are now involved in responding to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Here, members of the Organizing Committee of the 2019 Nipah Virus International Conference review highlights from the Nipah@20 Conference and reflect on key lessons learned from Nipah that could be applied to the understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic and to preparedness against future emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) of pandemic potential.
The mobile colistin resistance gene mcr-1 has attracted global attention, as it heralds the breach of polymyxins, one of the last-resort antibiotics for the treatment of severe clinical infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. To date, six slightly different variants of mcr-1, and a second mobile colistin resistance gene, mcr-2, have been reported or annotated in the GenBank database. Here, we characterized a third mobile colistin resistance gene, mcr-3 The gene coexisted with 18 additional resistance determinants in the 261-kb IncHI2-type plasmid pWJ1 from porcine Escherichia colimcr-3 showed 45.0% and 47.0% nucleotide sequence identity to mcr-1 and mcr-2, respectively, while the deduced amino acid sequence of MCR-3 showed 99.8 to 100% and 75.6 to 94.8% identity to phosphoethanolamine transferases found in other Enterobacteriaceae species and in 10 Aeromonas species, respectively. pWJ1 was mobilized to an E. coli recipient by conjugation and contained a plasmid backbone similar to those of other mcr-1-carrying plasmids, such as pHNSHP45-2 from the original mcr-1-harboring E. coli strain. Moreover, a truncated transposon element, TnAs2, which was characterized only in Aeromonas salmonicida, was located upstream of mcr-3 in pWJ1. This ΔTnAs2-mcr-3 element was also identified in a shotgun genome sequence of a porcine E. coli isolate from Malaysia, a human Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate from Thailand, and a human Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium isolate from the United States. These results suggest the likelihood of a wide dissemination of the novel mobile colistin resistance gene mcr-3 among Enterobacteriaceae and aeromonads; the latter may act as a potential reservoir for mcr-3IMPORTANCE The emergence of the plasmid-mediated colistin resistance gene mcr-1 has attracted substantial attention worldwide. Here, we examined a colistin-resistant Escherichia coli isolate that was negative for both mcr-1 and mcr-2 and discovered a novel mobile colistin resistance gene, mcr-3 The amino acid sequence of MCR-3 aligned closely with phosphoethanolamine transferases from Enterobacteriaceae and Aeromonas species originating from both clinical infections and environmental samples collected in 12 countries on four continents. Due to the ubiquitous profile of aeromonads in the environment and the potential transfer of mcr-3 between Enterobacteriaceae and Aeromonas species, the wide spread of mcr-3 may be largely underestimated. As colistin has been and still is widely used in veterinary medicine and used at increasing frequencies in human medicine, the continuous monitoring of mobile colistin resistance determinants in colistin-resistant Gram-negative bacteria is imperative for understanding and tackling the dissemination of mcr genes in both the agricultural and health care sectors.
Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) is a major cause of urinary tract and bloodstream infections and possesses an array of virulence factors for colonization, survival, and persistence. One such factor is the polysaccharide K capsule. Among the different K capsule types, the K1 serotype is strongly associated with UPEC infection. In this study, we completely sequenced the K1 UPEC urosepsis strain PA45B and employed a novel combination of a lytic K1 capsule-specific phage, saturated Tn5 transposon mutagenesis, and high-throughput transposon-directed insertion site sequencing (TraDIS) to identify the complement of genes required for capsule production. Our analysis identified known genes involved in capsule biosynthesis, as well as two additional regulatory genes (mprA and lrhA) that we characterized at the molecular level. Mutation of mprA resulted in protection against K1 phage-mediated killing, a phenotype restored by complementation. We also identified a significantly increased unidirectional Tn5 insertion frequency upstream of the lrhA gene and showed that strong expression of LrhA induced by a constitutive Pcl promoter led to loss of capsule production. Further analysis revealed loss of MprA or overexpression of LrhA affected the transcription of capsule biosynthesis genes in PA45B and increased sensitivity to killing in whole blood. Similar phenotypes were also observed in UPEC strains UTI89 (K1) and CFT073 (K2), demonstrating that the effects were neither strain nor capsule type specific. Overall, this study defined the genome of a UPEC urosepsis isolate and identified and characterized two new regulatory factors that affect UPEC capsule production.IMPORTANCE Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common bacterial infections in humans and are primarily caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC). Many UPEC strains express a polysaccharide K capsule that provides protection against host innate immune factors and contributes to survival and persistence during infection. The K1 serotype is one example of a polysaccharide capsule type and is strongly associated with UPEC strains that cause UTIs, bloodstream infections, and meningitis. The number of UTIs caused by antibiotic-resistant UPEC is steadily increasing, highlighting the need to better understand factors (e.g., the capsule) that contribute to UPEC pathogenesis. This study describes the original and novel application of lytic capsule-specific phage killing, saturated Tn5 transposon mutagenesis, and high-throughput transposon-directed insertion site sequencing to define the entire complement of genes required for capsule production in UPEC. Our comprehensive approach uncovered new genes involved in the regulation of this key virulence determinant.
Despite being nearly 10 months into the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, the definitive animal host for SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), the causal agent of COVID-19, remains unknown. Unfortunately, similar problems exist for other betacoronaviruses, and no vouchered specimens exist to corroborate host species identification for most of these pathogens. This most basic information is critical to the full understanding and mitigation of emerging zoonotic diseases. To overcome this hurdle, we recommend that host-pathogen researchers adopt vouchering practices and collaborate with natural history collections to permanently archive microbiological samples and host specimens. Vouchered specimens and associated samples provide both repeatability and extension to host-pathogen studies, and using them mobilizes a large workforce (i.e., biodiversity scientists) to assist in pandemic preparedness. We review several well-known examples that successfully integrate host-pathogen research with natural history collections (e.g., yellow fever, hantaviruses, helminths). However, vouchering remains an underutilized practice in such studies. Using an online survey, we assessed vouchering practices used by microbiologists (e.g., bacteriologists, parasitologists, virologists) in host-pathogen research. A much greater number of respondents permanently archive microbiological samples than archive host specimens, and less than half of respondents voucher host specimens from which microbiological samples were lethally collected. To foster collaborations between microbiologists and natural history collections, we provide recommendations for integrating vouchering techniques and archiving of microbiological samples into host-pathogen studies. This integrative approach exemplifies the premise underlying One Health initiatives, providing critical infrastructure for addressing related issues ranging from public health to global climate change and the biodiversity crisis.
Curli are bacterial surface-associated amyloid fibers that bind to the dye Congo red (CR) and facilitate uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) biofilm formation and protection against host innate defenses. Here we sequenced the genome of the curli-producing UPEC pyelonephritis strain MS7163 and showed it belongs to the highly virulent O45:K1:H7 neonatal meningitis-associated clone. MS7163 produced curli at human physiological temperature, and this correlated with biofilm growth, resistance of sessile cells to the human cationic peptide cathelicidin, and enhanced colonization of the mouse bladder. We devised a forward genetic screen using CR staining as a proxy for curli production and identified 41 genes that were required for optimal CR binding, of which 19 genes were essential for curli synthesis. Ten of these genes were novel or poorly characterized with respect to curli synthesis and included genes involved in purine de novo biosynthesis, a regulator that controls the Rcs phosphorelay system, and a novel repressor of curli production (referred to as rcpA). The involvement of these genes in curli production was confirmed by the construction of defined mutants and their complementation. The mutants did not express the curli major subunit CsgA and failed to produce curli based on CR binding. Mutation of purF (the first gene in the purine biosynthesis pathway) and rcpA also led to attenuated colonization of the mouse bladder. Overall, this work has provided new insight into the regulation of curli and the role of these amyloid fibers in UPEC biofilm formation and pathogenesis.IMPORTANCE Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) strains are the most common cause of urinary tract infection, a disease increasingly associated with escalating antibiotic resistance. UPEC strains possess multiple surface-associated factors that enable their colonization of the urinary tract, including fimbriae, curli, and autotransporters. Curli are extracellular amyloid fibers that enhance UPEC virulence and promote biofilm formation. Here we examined the function and regulation of curli in a UPEC pyelonephritis strain belonging to the highly virulent O45:K1:H7 neonatal meningitis-associated clone. Curli expression at human physiological temperature led to increased biofilm formation, resistance of sessile cells to the human cationic peptide LL-37, and enhanced bladder colonization. Using a comprehensive genetic screen, we identified multiple genes involved in curli production, including several that were novel or poorly characterized with respect to curli synthesis. In total, this study demonstrates an important role for curli as a UPEC virulence factor that promotes biofilm formation, resistance, and pathogenesis.
The Japanese or Honshū wolf was one the most distinct gray wolf subspecies due to its small stature and endemicity to the islands of Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū. Long revered as a guardian of farmers and travellers, it was persecuted from the 17th century following a rabies epidemic, which led to its extinction in the early 20th century. To better understand its evolutionary history, we sequenced the nuclear genome of a 19th century Honshū wolf specimen to an average depth of coverage of 3.7✕. We find Honshū wolves were closely related to a lineage of Siberian wolves that were previously believed to have gone extinct in the Late Pleistocene, thereby extending the survival of this ancient lineage until the early 20th century. We also detected significant gene flow between Japanese dogs and the Honshū wolf, corroborating previous reports on Honshū wolf dog interbreeding.
Our understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of learning and behavior relies on the use of invasive techniques, which necessitate the use of animal models. However, when different species learn the same task, to what degree are they actually producing the same behavior and engaging homologous neural circuitry? This question has received virtually no recent attention, even as the most powerful new methodologies for measuring and perturbing the nervous system have become increasingly dependent on the use of murine species. Here, we test humans, rats, monkeys, and an evolutionarily intermediate species, tree shrews, on a three alternative, forced choice, visual contrast discrimination task. As anticipated, learning rate, peak performance, and transfer across contrasts was lower in the rat compared to the other species. More interestingly, rats exhibited two major behavioral peculiarities: while monkeys and tree shrews based their choices largely on visual information, rats tended to base their choices on past reward history. Furthermore, as the task became more difficult, rats largely disengaged from the visual stimulus, reverting to innate spatial predispositions in order to collect rewards near chance probability. Our findings highlight the limitation of muridae as models for translational research, at least in the area of visually based decision making.
The supraoptic nucleus (SON) is a group of neurons in the hypothalamus responsible for the synthesis and secretion of the peptide hormones vasopressin and oxytocin. Following physiological cues, such as dehydration, salt-loading and lactation, the SON undergoes a function related plasticity that we have previously described in the rat at the transcriptome level. Using the unsupervised graphical lasso (Glasso) algorithm, we reconstructed a putative network from 500 plastic SON genes in which genes are the nodes and the edges are the inferred interactions. The most active nodal gene identified within the network was Caprin2. Caprin2 encodes an RNA-binding protein that we have previously shown to be vital for the functioning of osmoregulatory neuroendocrine neurons in the SON of the rat hypothalamus. To test the validity of the Glasso network, we either overexpressed or knocked down Caprin2 transcripts in differentiated rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells and showed that these manipulations had significant opposite effects on the levels of putative target mRNAs. These studies suggest that the predicative power of the Glasso algorithm within an in vivo system is accurate, and identifies biological targets that may be important to the functional plasticity of the SON.
Human movement into insect vector and wildlife reservoir habitats determines zoonotic disease risks; however, few data are available to quantify the impact of land use on pathogen transmission. Here, we utilise GPS tracking devices and novel applications of ecological methods to develop fine-scale models of human space use relative to land cover to assess exposure to the zoonotic malaria Plasmodium knowlesi in Malaysian Borneo. Combining data with spatially explicit models of mosquito biting rates, we demonstrate the role of individual heterogeneities in local space use in disease exposure. At a community level, our data indicate that areas close to both secondary forest and houses have the highest probability of human P. knowlesi exposure, providing quantitative evidence for the importance of ecotones. Despite higher biting rates in forests, incorporating human movement and space use into exposure estimates illustrates the importance of intensified interactions between pathogens, insect vectors and people around habitat edges.
Contact repulsion of growing axons is an essential mechanism for spinal nerve patterning. In birds and mammals the embryonic somites generate a linear series of impenetrable barriers, forcing axon growth cones to traverse one half of each somite as they extend towards their body targets. This study shows that protein disulphide isomerase provides a key component of these barriers, mediating contact repulsion at the cell surface in chick half-somites. Repulsion is reduced both in vivo and in vitro by a range of methods that inhibit enzyme activity. The activity is critical in initiating a nitric oxide/S-nitrosylation-dependent signal transduction pathway that regulates the growth cone cytoskeleton. Rat forebrain grey matter extracts contain a similar activity, and the enzyme is expressed at the surface of cultured human astrocytic cells and rat cortical astrocytes. We suggest this system is co-opted in the brain to counteract and regulate aberrant nerve terminal growth.
ING2 (inhibitor of growth protein-2) is a member of the ING-gene family and participates in diverse cellular processes involving tumor suppression, DNA repair, cell cycle regulation, and cellular senescence. As a subunit of the Sin3 histone deacetylase complex co-repressor complex, ING2 binds to H3K4me3 to regulate chromatin modification and gene expression. Additionally, ING2 recruits histone methyltransferase (HMT) activity for gene repression, which is independent of the HDAC class I or II pathway. However, the physiological function of ING2 in mouse preimplantation embryo development has not yet been characterized previously. The expression, localization and function of ING2 during preimplantation development were investigated in this study. We showed increasing expression of ING2 within the nucleus from the 4-cell embryo stage onwards; and that down-regulation of ING2 expression by endoribonuclease-prepared small interfering RNA (esiRNA) microinjection results in developmental arrest during the morula to blastocyst transition. Embryonic cells microinjected with ING2-specific esiRNA exhibited decreased blastulation rate compared to the negative control. Further investigation of the underlying mechanism indicated that down-regulation of ING2 significantly increased expression of p21, whilst decreasing expression of HDAC1. These results suggest that ING2 may play a crucial role in the process of preimplantation embryo development through chromatin regulation.
Cryopreservation is a technique used to preserve cells for long-time storage. It is widely used in agriculture to store male gametes in liquid nitrogen. The aim of this study was to determine the optimum thawing temperature and time for samples subjected to annexin V magnetic-activated cell sorting (AnMACS) as the sperm preparation technique. Pooled semen samples from three ejaculates were divided into two groups. The treatment group was subjected both to AnMACS and to being cryopreserved, whilst the control group was cryopreserved directly without MACS. Post-thaw analysis was carried out for samples thawed at either 20°C for 13 s, 37°C for 30 s, 40°C for 7 s, 60°C for 6 s or 80°C for 5 s. Sperm kinematics, viability and capacitation status were determined for samples subjected to all thawing temperatures described. Results showed that thawing at 37°C for 13 s for MACS-processed samples was a superior option compared with other thawing procedures; there was a significant difference in P < 0.05 values for curvilinear velocity (VCL μm/s) and sperm straightness (STR %) when samples were thawed at 40°C for 7 s, with fewer capacitated spermatozoa (P < 0.05) when samples were thawed at 37°C for 30 s, 40°C for 7 s or 60°C for 6 s. Hence, we can speculate that the use of AnMACS as the sperm preparation technique can somehow enhance sperm cryosurvival rate after cryopreservation, however the fertilization potential of these cells has yet to be determined.
Breeding and larval performance of novel hybrids from reciprocal crosses of Asian catfish Pangasianodon hypophthalmus (Sauvage, 1878) and African catfish Clarias gariepinus (Burchell, 1822) were investigated in this study. Spawning was by hormonal injection of brood fish, artificial fertilization, and incubation in triplicate aquarium tanks (0.5 × 0.5 × 0.5 m3) with continuous aeration. Reciprocal crosses (♀C. gariepinus × ♂P. hypophthalmus and ♀P. hypophthalmus × ♂C. gariepinus) had lower hatchability (≤50%) than their pure siblings (≥75%). Fish from all crosses survived until the juvenile stage but survival at 35 days post hatching (dph) was higher for pure C. gariepinus sib. ♀C. gariepinus × ♂P. hypophthalmus was observed to be less resistant to degradation of water quality than the other crosses, however it had higher body weight compared with the other crosses that showed similar performance. Morphological comparison of surviving juvenile at 35 dph, showed that all ♀P. hypophthalmus × ♂C. gariepinus and 13% of the ♀C. gariepinus × ♂P. hypophthalmus exhibited the very same morphology as that of their maternal parent species, while the other portion of the ♀C. gariepinus × ♂P. hypophthalmus cross exhibited morphological traits that were intermediate between those of both parent species. This study been the first successful attempt to hybridize both species and therefore, laid the groundwork for further studies on the aquaculture potentials of the novel hybrids.
SummaryThis study investigated the breeding parameters and embryogenic development of diploid and heat shock-induced triploid eggs of Anabas testudineus (Bloch, 1792). To this effect, broodstocks of A. testudineus were induced to spawn using the Ovaprim® hormone. After fertilization, the eggs were divided into two groups and one portion heat shocked at 41°C (for 3 min), at approximately 4 min after fertilization. Results of fertilization, hatchability, as well as the sequence and timing of embryogenic development were collated from three breeding trials. Fertilization percentages were similar in both treatments (≈90%) while hatchability was higher in the diploid eggs (79.56%) than the triploid induced eggs (50.04%). Both treatments had the same sequence of embryogenetic stages; however, the timing of development was significantly delayed in the triploids (i.e. beyond the 2-cell stages) as compared with the observations in the control group (diploid eggs). Consequently, hatching time was 5 h faster in the diploid eggs [i.e. 18 hours post fertilization (hpf)] compared with the triploid induced eggs (23 hpf). The most critical stage of embryonic development in which mass mortality occurred in the different treatments was the somite stage. The status of triploid hatchlings was affirmed using erythrocyte morphology in 2-month-old fingerlings.
The optimum distance and duration of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation for the complete inactivation of African catfish Clarias gariepinus egg nucleus was investigated in this study. The UV light was suspended above the unfertilized eggs at four distances (5, 10, 20 and 30 cm) and for five durations (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 min). Then, the irradiated eggs were activated with sperm from diploid C. gariepinus and cold shocked at 5°C for 5 min just moments before cell cleavage. Ploidy analysis was performed using karyotype chromosome counting. The results obtained suggested that the further the distance, the better the hatchability rate, however prolonged duration seemed to significantly reduced hatchability. All treatments with surviving progenies at the end of the study showed evidence of successfully diploid gynogen (2n = 56) induction at different percentages. However, the optimal protocol that gave a moderately high hatchability/survival rate and completely induced gynogens was exposure of the eggs to UV irradiation at 20 cm for 1 min. It was concluded that the distance and duration of UV irradiation affects gynogenetic induction in African catfish C. gariepinus.
A new species of the genus Sabellaria Lamarck, 1818 (Annelida: Polychaeta: Sabellariidae) is described from the intertidal zone of Jeram, Selangor, Malaysia. Sabellaria jeramae n. sp. is a gregarious species that constructs large reefs several hundreds of meters long and 50-200 m wide. The new species is distinguished from other congeners by the character combination of the presence of a single kind of middle paleae with conspicuous morphology, and outer paleae with long frayed teeth. Morphological features of the species are described and compared to those of all congeneric species. We also compare the reef structure and geographical distribution of the new species to those of the members of the family Sabellariidae around the world, demonstrating the ecological traits of the reefs.
The following nine elongate unpatterned muraenid species of the subfamily Muraeninae, including one new species, are recognized from Taiwan and adjacent waters: Gymnothorax albimarginatus (Temminck & Schlegel), G. dorsalis Seale, G. melanosomatus Loh, Shao & Chen, G. phasmatodes (Smith), G. prolatus Sasaki & Amaoka, G. sagmacephalus Böhlke, Pseudechidna brummeri (Bleeker), Strophidon sathete (Hamilton) and G. pseudomelanosomatus new species, described from two specimens. This new moray eel is distinguished from its similar species, G. melanosomatus, by the following features: grey brown body (vs. black), snout length 20.5% (vs. 17.8%) of head length, smaller eye diameter 8.2% (vs. 10.0%) of head length; preanal length 49.5% (vs. 58.5%) total length, and preanal vertebrae 89-89 (vs. 105-109). Phylogenetic relationships of the nine species were examined using nucleotide sequence data from partial sequences of mitochondrial ND5 gene (600 bp), and seven species form COI (600 bp). The genetic analyses suggest that G. pseudomelanosomatus is distinct from G. melanosomatus and the other six species of Gymnothorax. Morphological features and mitogenetic affinities strongly suggest that "G." dorsalis should be placed in Strophidon rather than in Gymnothorax. The results also suggest that employment of ND5 and COI gene sequences are rather useful for identification of species and for obtaining reasonable insights into the phylogeny of the muraenid species.
The taxonomy of poorly known Mesagraecia Ingrisch, 1998 is reviewed. A new species of Mesagraecia spine-headed katydid (Conocephalinae: Agraeciini) is described from Bukit Larut, Perak, Peninsular Malaysia: Mesagraecia larutensis sp. n. A key to species is also presented.
An annotated checklist of eels, orders Anguilliformes and Saccopharyngiformes, occurring in Taiwanese waters is presented. The checklist is the result of a series of systematic studies conducted by the authors in the past few years. The eel fauna of Taiwan is one of the richest in the world with a total of 206 species in 74 genera and 13 families in Anguilliformes and a single species in Saccopharyngiformes. The most species-rich families are the Muraenidae with 71 species, followed by the Ophichthidae with 60 species, the Congridae with 29 species, and the Synaphobranchidae with 17 species. Moreover, three genera and 42 species have been described based on at least one type specimen collected from Taiwan. Of these, 36 species are recognized as valid and 23 species are known only from Taiwanese waters at present. Historical records of all Taiwanese eel species are reviewed by examining the original descriptions and figures, vouchers, as well as the recently collected specimens, where available. This represents the first detailed checklist of eels from Taiwanese waters.