(1/1132) The RD114/simian type D retrovirus receptor is a neutral amino acid transporter.

The RD114/simian type D retroviruses, which include the feline endogenous retrovirus RD114, all strains of simian immunosuppressive type D retroviruses, the avian reticuloendotheliosis group including spleen necrosis virus, and baboon endogenous virus, use a common cell-surface receptor for cell entry. We have used a retroviral cDNA library approach, involving transfer and expression of cDNAs from highly infectable HeLa cells to nonpermissive NIH 3T3 mouse cells, to clone and identify this receptor. The cloned cDNA, denoted RDR, is an allele of the previously cloned neutral amino acid transporter ATB0 (SLC1A5). Both RDR and ATB0 serve as retrovirus receptors and both show specific transport of neutral amino acids. We have localized the receptor by radiation hybrid mapping to a region of about 500-kb pairs on the long arm of human chromosome 19 at q13.3. Infection of cells with RD114/type D retroviruses results in impaired amino acid transport, suggesting a mechanism for virus toxicity and immunosuppression. The identification and functional characterization of this retrovirus receptor provide insight into the retrovirus life cycle and pathogenesis and will be an important tool for optimization of gene therapy using vectors derived from RD114/type D retroviruses.  (+info)

(2/1132) Spontaneous heterosis in larval life-history traits of hemiclonal frog hybrids.

European water frog hybrids Rana esculenta (Rana ridibunda x Rana lessonae) reproduce hemiclonally, transmitting only their ridibunda genome to gametes. We compared fitness-related larval life-history traits of natural R. esculenta from Poland with those of the two sympatric parental species and of newly generated F1 hybrids. Compared with either parental species, F1 hybrid offspring had higher survival, higher early growth rates, a more advanced developmental stage by day 49, and earlier metamorphosis, but similar mass at metamorphosis. R. esculenta from natural lineages had trait values intermediate between those of F1 offspring and of the two parental species. The data support earlier observations on natural R. esculenta that had faster larval growth, earlier metamorphosis, and higher resistance to hypoxic conditions compared with either parental species. Observing larval heterosis in F1 hybrids in survival, growth rate, and time to metamorphosis, however, at an even higher degree than in hybrids from natural lineages, demonstrates that heterosis is spontaneous and results from hybridity per se rather than from subsequent interclonal selection; in natural lineages the effects of hybridity and of clonal history are confounded. This is compelling evidence for spontaneous heterosis in hybrid clonals. Results on hemiclonal fish hybrids (Poeciliopsis) showed no spontaneous heterosis; thus, our frog data are not applicable to all hybrid clonals. Our data do show, however, that heterosis is an important potential source for the extensively observed ecological success of hybrid clonals. We suggest that heterosis and interclonal selection together shape fitness of natural R. esculenta lineages.  (+info)

(3/1132) Evaluation of life-cycle herd efficiency in cow-calf systems of beef production.

A deterministic beef efficiency model (BEM) was used to evaluate life-cycle herd efficiency (LCHE) in cow-calf beef production systems using four breed groups of beef cattle. The breed groups were Beef Synthetic #1 (SY1), Beef Synthetic #2 (SY2), Dairy Synthetic (DS), and purebred Hereford (HE). The LCHE was defined over the lifetime of the herd as the ratio of total output (lean meat equivalent) to total input (feed equivalent). Breed differences in LCHE were predicted with the larger/slower maturing DS being most efficient at each age of herd disposal and reproductive rate. This was mainly because, at any average age at culling, the dams of DS breed group were less mature and so had been carrying relatively lower maintenance loads for shorter periods and positively influencing LCHE. Higher LCHE was predicted with improvement in reproductive performance if there were no associated extra costs. However, this declined markedly if there was a delay in marketing of offspring. As average age at culling increased from 4 to 6 yr, efficiency declined sharply, but it began to recover beyond this age in most breed groups. We concluded that the slower maturing DS breed group may be more efficient on a herd basis in cow-calf systems and that improvements in reproductive rate not associated with extra costs improve life-cycle efficiency. Culling cows soon after their replacements are produced seems efficient.  (+info)

(4/1132) Population biology of human onchocerciasis.

Human onchocerciasis (river blindness) is the filarial infection caused by Onchocerca volvulus and transmitted among people through the bites of the Simulium vector. Some 86 million people around the world are at risk of acquiring the nematode, with 18 million people infected and 600,000 visually impaired, half of them partially or totally blind. 99% of cases occur in tropical Africa; scattered foci exist in Latin America. Until recently control programmes, in operation since 1975, have consisted of antivectorial measures. With the introduction of ivermectin in 1988, safe and effective chemotherapy is now available. With the original Onchocerciasis Control Programme of West Africa coming to an end, both the new African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control and the Onchocerciasis Elimination Programme for the Americas, rely heavily on ivermectin self-sustained mass delivery. In consequence, the need for understanding the processes regulating parasite abundance in human and simuliid populations is of utmost importance. We present a simple mathematical framework built around recent analyses of exposure- and density-dependent processes operating, respectively, within the human and vector hosts. An expression for the basic reproductive ratio, R0, is derived and related to the minimum vector density required for parasite persistence in localities of West Africa in general and northern Cameroon in particular. Model outputs suggest that constraints acting against parasite establishment in both humans and vectors are necessary to reproduce field observations, but those in humans may not fully protect against reinfection. Analyses of host age-profiles of infection prevalence, intensity, and aggregation for increasing levels of endemicity and intensity of transmission in the Vina valley of northern Cameroon are in agreement with these results and discussed in light of novel work on onchocerciasis immunology.  (+info)

(5/1132) Infection status of dragonflies with Plagiorchis muris metacercariae in Korea.

Plagiorchis muris has been found in both house and field rats as well as in humans. The infection status of the second intermediate hosts of P. muris is prerequisite in understanding their biological features in an ecosystem. Six species of dragonflies were caught in a wide range of areas in Korea; and they were Sympetrum darwinianum, S. eroticum, S. pedomontanum, S. infuscatum, Pantala flavoscens, Calopteryx atrata, and Orthetrum albistylum speciosum. The occurrence of P. muris metacercariae in dragonflies was nationwide with various infection rates. The metacercarial burden of P. muris in the surveyed areas was the highest in S. eroticum followed by S. darwinianum, S. pedomontanum, and C. atrata. The highest infection rate by P. muris metacercariae was found in S. darwinianum followed by S. eroticum. The metacercarial burden was particularly heavy in the dragonflies found in Hamyang-gun and Kosong-gun, Kyongsangnam-do. It is, therefore, likely that dragonflies play a significant role as the second intermediate host in the life cycle of P. muris in Korea.  (+info)

(6/1132) The effect of Plasmodium yoelii nigeriensis infection on the feeding persistence of Anopheles stephensi Liston throughout the sporogonic cycle.

Vector-borne parasites such as malaria have been shown to modify the feeding behaviour of their invertebrate hosts so as to increase the probability of transmission. However, evolutionary consideration of developmental changes in malaria within Anopheles mosquitoes suggests that the nature of altered feeding by mosquitoes should differ depending on the developmental stage of the parasite. We present laboratory evidence that the feeding persistence of female Anopheles stephensi towards a human host is decreased in the presence of Plasmodium yoelii nigeriensis oocysts (which cannot be transmitted), but increased when the malaria has developed into transmissible sporozoites in the salivary glands. In ten-minute trials, 33% of uninfected mosquitoes gave up their feeding attempt before the test period had ended, 53% of those harbouring oocysts had given up, but only 20% of those infected with sporozoites gave up by this time. We conclude that changes in feeding behaviour of mosquitoes mediated by parasite infection are sensitive to the developmental stage of the parasite and that these changes have important implications for malaria epidemiology.  (+info)

(7/1132) Stage-specific expression of a Schistosoma mansoni polypeptide similar to the vertebrate regulatory protein stathmin.

The ubiquitous vertebrate protein stathmin is expressed and phosphorylated in response to a variety of external and internal signals. Stathmin, in turn, controls cell growth and differentiation through its capacity to regulate microtubule assembly dynamics. This is the first report on the molecular cloning and characterization of a stathmin-like protein (SmSLP) in an invertebrate, the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni. SmSLP is first synthesized at high levels in the intermediate molluscan host and completely disappears 48 h after penetration into the mammalian host. The protein is preferentially iodinated in intact immature parasites using the Bolton-Hunter reagent, can be quantitatively extracted in high salt buffers, and remains soluble after boiling. Native SmSLP was partially sequenced, and its complete structure was derived from the cloning and sequencing of its cDNA. The sequence is up to 26% identical to vertebrate stathmin sequences and contains two potential phosphorylation sites. Native SmSLP is indeed phosphorylated because phosphatase digestion shifts its mobility in electrofocusing gels. SmSLP associates with tubulin, as suggested by immune co-precipitation results. In vitro experiments demonstrated that SmSLP inhibits tubulin assembly and causes the depolymerization of preassembled microtubules, thus probably fulfilling regulatory roles in critical steps of schistosome development.  (+info)

(8/1132) Biology of Triatoma pallidipennis stal 1945 (Hemiptera: Reduviidae:Triatominae) under laboratory conditions.

Aspects related to hatching, life time, mortality, feeding behaviour and fecundity for each stage of Triatoma pallidipennis life-cycle were evaluated. The hatching rate observed for 200 eggs was 60% and the average time of hatching was 18 days. Eighty nymphs (N) (40%) completed the cycle and the average time from NI to adult was 168. 7+/-11.7days. The average span in days for each stage was 18.0 for NI, 18.5 for NII, 30.0 for NIII, 35.7 for NIV and 50.1 for NV. The number of bloodmeals at each nymphal stage varied from 1 to 5. The mortality rate was 9.17 for NI, 5.5 for NII, 6.8 for NIII 4.17 for NIV and 13.04 for NV nymphs. The average number of eggs laid per female in a 9-month period was 498.6. The survival rates of adults were 357+/-217.9 and 262.53+/-167.7 for males and females respectively.  (+info)