Mayaro virus fever in French Guiana: isolation, identification, and seroprevalence. (25/27)

This paper reports the first isolation of Mayaro (MAY) virus from a patient infected in French Guiana. The identification was initially performed using immunofluorescent antibody testing with specific mouse antibody, and confirmed by plaque-reduction neutralization testing and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. To determine if MAY virus infection is widespread in French Guiana, a serosurvey was performed to determine the prevalence of antibody to this virus in various ethnic groups and areas of French Guiana. Human sera (n = 1,962) were screened using the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) test. To determine whether MAY virus circulates in the rain forest, a serosurvey in monkey populations was performed. Monkey sera (n = 150) were also screened for antibody to MAY virus using HI testing. Of the human sera tested, 6.3% were positive for anti-MAY virus antibodies. Significant differences in MAY virus seroprevalence between different age groups were observed. Seroprevalence rates increased with age, with a large increase in people 10-19 years of age in comparison with those less than 10 years of age. After adjustment for age, significant differences were also found between places of residence. The prevalence of anti-MAY virus antibody was higher in people living in contact with the forest, especially in the Haut Oyapock area (odds ratio [OR] = 97.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 48.2-197.9) and along the Maroni River (OR = 39.7, 95% CI = 20.6-76.6). The ethnic differences observed in this study were probably due to differences in residence. Among monkeys, higher seroprevalence rates were found in Alouatta seniculus (66.0%) than in Saguinus midas (18.2%). Among Alouatta, the seroprevalence increased significantly with weight (and therefore with age). This study indicates that MAY virus is present in French Guiana, and human infections occur in areas where people live near the tropical rain forest.  (+info)

Molecular evolution of trichromacy in primates. (26/27)

Although trichromacy in Old and New World primates is based on three visual pigments with spectral peaks in the violet (SW, shortwave), green (MW, middlewave) and yellow-green (LW, longwave) regions of the spectrum, the underlying genetic mechanisms differ. The SW pigment is encoded in both cases by an autosomal gene and, in Old World primates, the MW and LW pigments by separate genes on the X chromosome. In contrast, there is a single polymorphic X-linked gene in most New World primates with three alleles coding for spectrally distinct pigments. The one reported exception to this rule is the New World howler monkey that follows the Old World system of separate LW and MW genes. A comparison of gene sequences in these different genetic systems indicates that the duplication that gave rise to the separate MW and LW genes of Old World primates is more ancient than that in the howler monkey. In addition, the amino acid sequences of the two howler monkey pigments show similarities to the pigments encoded by the polymorphic gene of other New World primates. It would appear therefore that the howler monkey gene duplication arose after the split between New and Old World primates and was generated by an unequal crossover that placed two different forms of the New World polymorphic gene on to a single chromosome. In contrast, the lack of identity at variable sites within the New and Old World systems argues for the origin of the separate genes in Old World primates by the duplication of a single form of the gene followed by divergence to give spectrally distinct LW and MW pigments. In contrast, the similarity in amino acid variation across the tri-allelic system of New World primates indicates that this polymorphism had a single origin in New World primates. A striking feature of all these pigments is the use of a common set of substitutions at three amino acid sites to achieve the spectral shift from MW at around 530 nm to LW at around 560 nm. The separate origin of the trichromacy in New and Old World primates would indicate that the selection of these three sites is the result of convergent evolution, perhaps as a consequence of visual adaptation in both cases to foraging for yellow and orange fruits against a green foliage.  (+info)

Frugivory and colour vision in Alouatta seniculus, a trichromatic platyrrhine monkey. (27/27)

It is a long-standing hypothesis that primate trichromacy evolved to help fruit-eating primates find fruits amongst leaves. We measured the reflectance spectra of fruits eaten by a trichromatic primate, Alouatta seniculus, in the rainforest of French Guiana, as well as those of the leaves that form the natural background to fruits. We develop a method of specifying these natural colour signals in a chromaticity diagram appropriate for A. seniculus. By treating the task facing frugivorous monkeys as a signal detection task, we show that the spectral tuning of the L and M cone pigments in A. seniculus is optimal for detecting fruits amongst leaves.  (+info)