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.
Coral reefs are some of the most important and ecologically diverse marine environments. At the base of the reef ecosystem are dinoflagellate algae, which live symbiotically within coral cells. Efforts to understand the relationship between alga and coral have been greatly hampered by the lack of an appropriate dinoflagellate genetic transformation technology. By making use of the plasmid-like fragmented chloroplast genome, we have introduced novel genetic material into the dinoflagellate chloroplast genome. We have shown that the introduced genes are expressed and confer the expected phenotypes. Genetically modified cultures have been grown for 1 year with subculturing, maintaining the introduced genes and phenotypes. This indicates that cells continue to divide after transformation and that the transformation is stable. This is the first report of stable chloroplast transformation in dinoflagellate algae.
Matched MeSH terms: Dinoflagellida/growth & development
Donald Henry Colless (24 August 1922–16 February 2012) was a taxonomist at the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) from 1960 until his retirement in 1987. He continued working in ANIC as an Honorary Fellow until his death in 2012. Don’s main scientific interests were in the taxonomy and biology of true flies, and in the theory of phylogenetic reconstruction and classification. Don was trained in entomology at the University of Sydney, and spent nearly two decades of his early career in Asia studying mosquitoes and disease transmission, first in the Army during the Second World War in New Guinea and Borneo (1942–45), then after the war in North Borneo (1947–1952) and as a lecturer in the Department of Parasitology at the University of Malaya (1952–1960) in Singapore. We list the 127 scientific papers and book chapters that Don published during his scientific career that spanned 64 years. Six of these papers were published in the prestigious international journal Nature, and he was Chief Curator of the ANIC from 1971–1977. Don had extremely broad taxonomic interests, publishing on the taxonomy of 18 families of Diptera that spanned the phylogenetic breadth of the order. He described as new to science the fly families Perissommatidae and Axiniidae, thirteen new genera and over 120 species and, with David McAlpine, authored the Diptera chapters in both editions of The Insects of Australia (Melbourne University Press, 1970 and 1991). He published a number of influential critiques of cladistic theory in the 1960's and 1970's, and advocated a phenetic approach to the discovery of taxonomic groups, and phylogenetic reconstruction.
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Diptera/growth & development
Two new monotypic spittlebug genera and their type species in the family Machaerotidae, subfamily Enderleiniinae, are described and illustrated: Labramachaerota korupa gen. & sp. n. (with type locality in Cameroon) and Kyphomachaerota maaia gen. & sp. n. (with type locality in Sarawak, Malaysia).
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Hemiptera/growth & development
A new species of lowland karst dwelling Cnemaspis Strauch 1887, C. grismeri sp. nov. is described from the southeastern base of the Banjaran Bintang in northern Peninsular Malaysia. It is differentiated from its congeners by a unique combination of characters including size, coloration and scalation. Cnemapis grismeri sp. nov. is most closely related to C. mcguirei, an upland species endemic to the Banjaran Bintang. This phylogeographic pattern is also seen in the upland and lowland Banjaran Bintang species of Cyrtodactylus bintangtinggi and C. bintangrendah, respectively (Grismer et al. 2012). The discovery of yet another endemic gekkonid in the poorly explored karst regions of Peninsular Malaysia underscores the necessity for concentrated collecting efforts in these unique landscapes.
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Lizards/growth & development
One new species of Gryllotalpa from Bukit Fraser, Pahang of Malay Peninsula is described: Gryllotalpafraser sp. n. Pho tographs of Gryllotalpa hirsuta Burmeister, 1838 were examined and some remarks are made here, including a compari son with Gryllotalpafraser sp. n. and Gyllotalpa nymphicus Tan, 2012.
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Gryllidae/growth & development
A new gall-inducing genus and species of felt scales (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Eriococcidae) found on the leaves and twigs of Matayba guianensis (Sapindaceae) in Brazil is described: Bystracoccus Hodgson gen n. and B. mataybae Hodgson, Isaias & Oliveira sp. n. This is the first record of an eriococcid inducing leaf and stem galls on Sapindaceae and is only the second example of a member of the Eriococcidae to induce stem galls in which the insects diapause during the dry (winter) season. Only the adult female, second-instar female and crawler are known. The species overwinters as the first-instar nymph in pit galls on the twigs but spends the rest of the year associated with two-chambered galls on the leaves. It has recently become clear that South America has a rich felt-scale insect fauna many of which induce galls. It has proved very difficult to place this new genus in a family as it appears to fall between the Eriococcidae and Beesoniidae but is here placed in the eriococcids based on the similarity of the first-instar nymphs and the abundance of this family in the Neotropics. However, the dorsum of the abdomen of the mature adult female becomes heavily sclerotised, forming a round plug-like structure that completely fills the gall orifice. This structure shows remarkable morphological similarities to that of the beesoniid Danumococcus parashoreae Takagi & Hodgson found on Parashorea tomentella (Dipterocarpaceae) in Sabah, Malaysia, with which it is compared along with other eriococcid genera known from South America.
Matched MeSH terms: Hemiptera/growth & development; Nymph/growth & development
A new cavernicolous, arachnophilous thread-legged bug (Phasmatocoris labyrinthicus sp. nov.; Reduviidae: Emesini) is described from Kartchner Caverns, a limestone cavern in Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson, Arizona, USA. Cavernicolous emesines are recorded from caves in many parts of the world and are distributed across several genera, but are generally uncommon. P. labyrinthicus shows no obvious troglomorphy but ecological evidence suggests it is, at minimum, a cave-limited troglophile. The species seems to be low-humidity intolerant, due to its occurrence in a cave within a desert region, effectively confines the population to the cave, and the species may thus actually be troglobitic by default. Arachnophily in emesines is more common, including in Phasmatocoris Breddin, but has been previously documented in only a single cavernicolous species, Bagauda cavernicola Paiva, reported from India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. However, unlike P. labyrinthicus, B. cavernicola is apparently not morphologically adapted for its arachnophilous association. P. labyrinthicus is the only known troglophilic emesine that is also a morphologically adapted and behaviorally functional arachnophile. The only other known cavernicolous Phasmatocoris (P. xavieri Gil-Santana, Alves, Barrett and Costa) is recorded from a sandstone cave in Brazil. P. xavieri exhibits morphological features indicative of a potentially arachnophilous habit, but its ecology has not been studied. Adults of P. labyrinthicus share characteristics with the species Phasmatocoris praecellens Bergroth, P. minor McAtee and Malloch, P. xavieri, P. spectrum Breddin, and P. rapax McAtee and Malloch. Phasmatocoris is primarily a Neotropical genus and the discovery of P. labyrinthicus represents a significant range extension for the genus, being the first Nearctic species identified, with its geographically nearest relative an undescribed species from Mazatlan, Mexico, over 1,000 km to the south.
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Reduviidae/growth & development
We describe a new species of Leptolalax from Gunung Mulu National Park in eastern Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. The new species had been assigned to Leptolalax dringi and Leptolalax gracilis in the past. It is shown to differ from both these species and from all other species of the genus by a unique combination of morphological characters including large body size, rounded snout, interorbital distance being smaller than width of upper eyelid, bipartite subgular vocal sac in males, basal toe webbing, shagreened skin with tiny tubercles on dorsum and dorsal side of head, angled supratympanic fold, small pectoral glands, absence of supraaxillary glands and ventrolateral glandular ridges, spotted venter, advertisement call consisting of long series of 8-289 notes, each composed of three or four pulses, and dominant frequency at 7225-9190 Hz, with prominent frequency modulation.
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Anura/growth & development
A review of the taxonomic status of the Asian Slug Snake, Asthenodipsas vertebralis (Boulenger, 1900) based on an integrative taxonomic approach using molecular, morphological, color pattern, and ecological data indicate it is composed of three well supported monophyletic lineages: (1) Pulau Tioman and Fraser's Hill, Pahang and Bukit Larut, Perak; Peninsular Malaysia; (2) its sister lineage from Northern Sumatra; and (3) the remaining basal lineage from Peninsular Malaysia. Furthermore, we consider the high sequence divergence (6.3%-10.2%) between these lineages (especially in areas of sympatry) and discrete differences in their morphology, color pattern, and microhabitat preference as evidence they are not conspecific. As such, we resurrect the name A. tropidonotus (Lidth de Jeude, 1923) for the Sumatra populations, restrict the name A. vertebralis to the populations from Pulau Tioman, Genting Highlands, Fraser's Hill, Gunung Benom, and Bukit Larut that contain terrestrial, banded adults; and consider A. lasgalenensis sp. nov. to be restricted to the populations from Fraser's Hill, Cameron Highlands, and Bukit Larut that contain arboreal, unbanded adults.
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Colubridae/growth & development
Three species of the genus Amphiesma Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 have long been confused in the literature, with each other and with other species of the genus. Amphiesma khasiense (Boulenger, 1890) has been considered to inhabit a large geographical region, extending from north-eastern India, east to Vietnam and southern Thailand. Amphiesma boulengeri (Gressitt, 1937) has been regarded as a species endemic to south-eastern China. Amphiesma inas (Laidlaw, 1901) has been recorded from West Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia (Sumatra). A multivariate analysis of morphometric and meristic characters shows that these three species can be separated by combinations of characters in the scalation and pattern, the most obvious being the structure of the postocular streak. On the basis of our analysis and after comparison with name-bearing type specimens, Amphiesma khasiense is restricted to north-eastern India, Myanmar, western Yunnan Province of China, northern Laos and northern and western Thailand. Other populations from south-eastern China, Vietnam, other parts of Laos, Cambodia and central Thailand, which have been recorded in the literature as A. khasiense, A.johannis or Amphiesma modestum (Günther, 1875), should be referred to Amphiesma boulengeri. Amphiesma inas (Laidlaw, 1901) is a valid species endemic to mountain ranges of southern Peninsular Thailand and West Malaysia. The mention of Amphiesma inas in Sumatra is erroneous, being based on the second known specimen of Amphiesma kerinciense David & Das, 2003, which is here redescribed. A key to species of the Amphiesma khasiense group and other species sharing a greyish-brown background without conspicuous dark and pale stripes, is provided.
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Colubridae/growth & development
Simulium (Nevermannia) khunklangense sp. nov. is described from females, males, pupae and larvae collected in Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand. This new species is placed in the vernum species-group of the subgenus Nevermannia and is similar to S. (N.) chomthongense Takaoka & Srisuka described from Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand, but is distinguished in the male by the number of enlarged upper-eye facets and the relative width of the hind basitarsus against the hind tibia and femur, and in the pupa by the short common basal stalk of the gill and the cocoon with an anterodorsal bulge or a short anterodorsal projection. Taxonomic notes are provided to separate this new species from five other known species of the vernum species-group, which share an accessory sclerite on the larval abdomen, a rare characteristics in this species-group.
The apparently rare chelonine wasp genus Wushenia Zettel was previously known only from a single species Wushenia nana Zettel, collected by Townes at 1150 m from Wushe, Taiwan in 1983. Here we describe a second species, Wushenia australiensis sp. nov. from coastal New South Wales, Australia. This second species extends the known distribution of the genus from the Oriental into the Australasian region, indicating either an extreme disjunct distribution or that Wushenia may also occur on the landmasses inbetween, e.g. the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and/or Papua New Guinea. In addition to a detailed description of the new species, a re-diagnosis of the genus and type species, and a key to species are presented.
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Wasps/growth & development
A sponge-associated species of the genus Nippontonia new to science is described from Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia. The only other species in the genus is also known to be a sponge-dweller. The new species can be distinguished from its con- gener by a suite of characters mainly of the anterior appendages.
Tmesiphodimerus Coulon and Yin, new genus (Pselaphitae: Tmesiphorini) is proposed for T. sinensis Yin and Coulon, new species from Hainan, South China (type species), and T. malaysianus Coulon and Yin, new species from Perak, West Malaysia. The new taxa are described, with their major diagnostic features illustrated. The taxonomic placement of Tmesiphodimerus is discussed.
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Beetles/growth & development
Pandanothrips gen. n. is described, with three new species inhabiting Pandanus: P. ryukyuensis sp. n. from Japan, P. wangi sp. n. from Malaysia, and P. hallingi sp. n. from Australia. This new genus shows no relationship to Projectothrips Moulton, the only other Thripinae genus known to be associated with Pandanus. Pandanothrips is superficially similar to Danothrips Bhatti, a genus of leaf feeding thrips. The morphological relationships among these genera are discussed, and an illustrated key to the species of Pandanothrips is provided.
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Thysanoptera/growth & development
A new species of terrestrial sesarmid crab, Scandarma raymondi, is described from Sabah, Malaysia. This is the third species in the genus; others are from Taiwan, Japan and Sarawak, Borneo. The new species differs from congeners in the live coloration, proportions of the carapace and ambulatory legs and morphologies of the male abdomen, chela and male first gonopod.
Matched MeSH terms: Animal Structures/growth & development; Brachyura/growth & development