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Raquel Tonello, Camilla Fusi, Serena Materazzi, Ilaria M Marone, Francesco De Logu, Silvia Benemei, Muryel C Gonçalves, Elisabetta Coppi, Celio J Castro-Junior, Marcus Vinicius Gomez, Pierangelo Geppetti, Juliano Ferreira, Romina Nassini
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Peptides from venomous animals have long been important tools for understanding pain mechanisms and for the discovery of pain treatments. Here, we hypothesized that Phα1β, a peptide purified from the armed spider Phoneutria nigriventer venom, produces analgesia by blocking the transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) channel. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Cultured rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, human IMR90 fibroblasts or HEK293 cells expressing the human TRPA1 (hTRPA1-HEK293), TRPV1 (hTRPV1-HEK293) or TRPV4 (hTRPV4-HEK293), were used for calcium imaging and electrophysiology...
October 19, 2016: British Journal of Pharmacology
Jonas O Wolff, Michael Seiter, Stanislav N Gorb
The cuticle of arthropods is usually composed of layers of a chitin-protein-microcomposite, a proteinacous epicuticle and a thin lipid coating. However, in some instances a thick cement layer (cerotegument) covers the cuticle and may produce elaborate microstructures. This has previously been described for millipedes and mites. Here we report the previously unknown presence of a superhydrophobic cerotegument in whip-spiders (Ambypygi) and reveal its variation in ultrastructure and water-repellence between species...
October 14, 2016: Arthropod Structure & Development
Ronelle E Welton, David J Williams, Danny Liew
BACKGROUND: This study provides the first contemporary epidemiological insight into venomous injuries based on demographics and geography in Australia in the timeframe 2000-2013. METHODS: Analysis of national hospitalisation and mortality data to examine the incidence of injury and death due to envenoming in Australia. Rates were calculated using the intercensal population for all Australian age groups. RESULTS: Over the study period, deaths were due to an anaphylactic event (0...
October 17, 2016: Internal Medicine Journal
Heike Hevekerl, Johan Tornmalm, Jerker Widengren
Tryptophan fluorescence is extensively used for label-free protein characterization. Here, we show that by analyzing how the average tryptophan fluorescence intensity varies with excitation modulation, kinetics of tryptophan dark transient states can be determined in a simple, robust and reliable manner. Thereby, highly environment-, protein conformation- and interaction-sensitive information can be recorded, inaccessible via traditional protein fluorescence readouts. For verification, tryptophan transient state kinetics were determined under different environmental conditions, and compared to literature data...
October 17, 2016: Scientific Reports
Paul S Shamble, Gil Menda, James R Golden, Eyal I Nitzany, Katherine Walden, Tsevi Beatus, Damian O Elias, Itai Cohen, Ronald N Miles, Ronald R Hoy
Jumping spiders (Salticidae) are famous for their visually driven behaviors [1]. Here, however, we present behavioral and neurophysiological evidence that these animals also perceive and respond to airborne acoustic stimuli, even when the distance between the animal and the sound source is relatively large (∼3 m) and with stimulus amplitudes at the position of the spider of ∼65 dB sound pressure level (SPL). Behavioral experiments with the jumping spider Phidippus audax reveal that these animals respond to low-frequency sounds (80 Hz; 65 dB SPL) by freezing-a common anti-predatory behavior characteristic of an acoustic startle response...
October 6, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Zhifeng Xu, Qiong Wu, Qiang Xu, Lin He
The carmine spider mite, Tetranychus cinnabarinus (Boisduval), is one of the most important pests in the agricultural industry. Avermectins, as efficient acaricides, have been extensively used in the mite control. The targets for avermectins in mammals, nematodes and insects had already been identified as γ-amino butyric acid and glutamate chloride channels. However, the targets for avermectins in mites are still not clear. Here we report the cloning of five full-length glutamate chloride channel genes (TcGluCls) and three γ-amino butyric acid chloride channel genes (TcGABACls) and their expression levels in different developmental stages in T...
October 13, 2016: Toxicological Sciences: An Official Journal of the Society of Toxicology
Xue-Qin Wang, Guang-Hua Wang, Zeng-Rong Zhu, Qi-Yi Tang, Yang Hu, Fei Qiao, Kong Luen Heong, Jia-An Cheng
BACKGROUND: Spiders are effective biological control agents in rice ecosystems, but the comparative study of predations among main spider species under field conditions have not been fully explored since lack of practical methodology. In this study, more than 6000 spiders of dominant species were collected from subtropical rice ecosystems to compare their predations on Sogatella furcifera (Horváth) using DNA based gut content analysis. RESULTS: The positive rates for all spider taxa were closely related to prey densities, as well as their behaviors and niches...
October 14, 2016: Pest Management Science
Dong Su Im, Min Hee Kim, Young Il Yoon, Won Ho Park
Silk fibroin (SF) is a typical fibrous protein that is secreted by silkworms and spiders. It has been used in a variety of areas, and especially for tissue-engineering scaffolds, due to its sound processability, mechanical properties, biodegradability, and biocompatibility. With respect to gelation, the SF gelation time is long in aqueous solutions, so a novel approach is needed to shorten this time. The solubility of regenerated SF is sound in formic acid (FA), which is a carboxylic acid of the simplest structure...
October 10, 2016: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
René Heppner, Nicola Weichert, Angelika Schierhorn, Udo Conrad, Markus Pietzsch
Spider dragline is used by many members of the Araneae family not only as a proteinogenic safety thread but also for web construction. Spider dragline has been shown to possess high tensile strength in combination with elastic behavior. This high tensile strength can be attributed to the presence of antiparallel β-sheets within the thread; these antiparallel β-sheets are why the protein is classified as a silk. Due to the properties of spider silk and its technical and medical uses, including its use as a suture material and as a scaffold for tissue regeneration, spider dragline is a focus of the biotechnology industry...
October 9, 2016: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Jingyu Lin, Dan Wang, Xinlu Chen, Tobias G Köllner, Mitra Mazarei, Hong Guo, Vincent R Pantalone, Prakash Arelli, Charles Neal Stewart, Ningning Wang, Feng Chen
Plant terpene synthase genes (TPSs) have roles in diverse biological processes. Here we report the functional characterization of one member of the soybean TPS gene family, which was designated GmAFS. Recombinant GmAFS produced in Escherichia coli catalyzed the formation of a sesquiterpene (E,E)-α-farnesene. GmAFS is closely related to (E,E)-α-farnesene synthase gene from apple, both phylogenetically and structurally. GmAFS was further investigated for its biological role in defense against nematodes and insects...
October 13, 2016: Plant Biotechnology Journal
Chris A Hamilton, Alan R Lemmon, Emily Moriarty Lemmon, Jason E Bond
BACKGROUND: Despite considerable effort, progress in spider molecular systematics has lagged behind many other comparable arthropod groups, thereby hindering family-level resolution, classification, and testing of important macroevolutionary hypotheses. Recently, alternative targeted sequence capture techniques have provided molecular systematics a powerful tool for resolving relationships across the Tree of Life. One of these approaches, Anchored Hybrid Enrichment (AHE), is designed to recover hundreds of unique orthologous loci from across the genome, for resolving both shallow and deep-scale evolutionary relationships within non-model systems...
October 13, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
F Sara Ceccarelli, Brent D Opell, Charles R Haddad, Robert J Raven, Eduardo M Soto, Martín J Ramírez
Closely related organisms with transoceanic distributions have long been the focus of historical biogeography, prompting the question of whether long-distance dispersal, or tectonic-driven vicariance shaped their current distribution. Regarding the Southern Hemisphere continents, this question deals with the break-up of the Gondwanan landmass, which has also affected global wind and oceanic current patterns since the Miocene. With the advent of phylogenetic node age estimation and parametric bioinformatic advances, researchers have been able to disentangle historical evolutionary processes of taxa with greater accuracy...
2016: PloS One
Philipp Homan, Daniela Schiller
Long-term memories of fear have been notoriously difficult to alter. A new study finds access through the window of reconsolidation.
October 10, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Guadalupe Corcobado, Marie E Herberstein, Stano Pekár
The use of ultraviolet (UV) cues for intra- and inter-specific communication is common in many animal species. Still, the role of UV signals under some predator-prey contexts, such as Batesian mimicry, is not clear. Batesian mimicry is a defensive strategy by which a palatable species (the mimic) resembles an unpalatable or noxious species (the model) to avoid predation. This strategy has evolved independently in many different taxa that are predated by species capable of UV perception. Moreover, there is considerable variation in how accurately Batesian mimics resemble their models across species...
December 2016: Die Naturwissenschaften
Steven K Schwartz, William E Wagner, Eileen A Hebets
In a number of species, males are cannibalized by females after mating (reviewed in [1, 2]), and some males actually appear to facilitate their own cannibalism (reviewed in [3]). Such self-sacrifice can evolve if being eaten sufficiently enhances either fertilization success (mating effort) or offspring number or fitness (paternal effort). While there is some support for the mating-effort hypothesis, few studies have found support for paternal effort. We used two experiments to test the paternal-effort hypothesis in the dark fishing spider, Dolomedes tenebrosus...
October 4, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Annemarie Heiduk, Irina Brake, Michael von Tschirnhaus, Matthias Göhl, Andreas Jürgens, Steven D Johnson, Ulrich Meve, Stefan Dötterl
Four to six percent of plants, distributed over different angiosperm families, entice pollinators by deception [1]. In these systems, chemical mimicry is often used as an efficient way to exploit the olfactory preferences of animals for the purpose of attracting them as pollinators [2,3]. Here, we report a very specific type of chemical mimicry of a food source. Ceropegia sandersonii (Apocynaceae), a deceptive South African plant with pitfall flowers, mimics attacked honeybees. We identified kleptoparasitic Desmometopa flies (Milichiidae) as the main pollinators of C...
September 27, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Livia M S Ataide, Maria L Pappas, Bernardus C J Schimmel, Antonio Lopez-Orenes, Juan M Alba, Marcus V A Duarte, Angelo Pallini, Robert C Schuurink, Merijn R Kant
Inducible anti-herbivore defenses in plants are predominantly regulated by jasmonic acid (JA). On tomato plants, most genotypes of the herbivorous generalist spider mite Tetranychus urticae induce JA defenses and perform poorly on it, whereas the Solanaceae specialist Tetranychus evansi, who suppresses JA defenses, performs well on it. We asked to which extent these spider mites and the predatory mite Phytoseiulus longipes preying on these spider mites eggs are affected by induced JA-defenses. By artificially inducing the JA-response of the tomato JA-biosynthesis mutant def-1 using exogenous JA and isoleucine (Ile), we first established the relationship between endogenous JA-Ile-levels and the reproductive performance of spider mites...
November 2016: Plant Science: An International Journal of Experimental Plant Biology
Nan Qin, Shaoqing Zhang, Jianjuan Jiang, Stephanie Gilbert Corder, Zhigang Qian, Zhitao Zhou, Woonsoo Lee, Keyin Liu, Xiaohan Wang, Xinxin Li, Zhifeng Shi, Ying Mao, Hans A Bechtel, Michael C Martin, Xiaoxia Xia, Benedetto Marelli, David L Kaplan, Fiorenzo G Omenetto, Mengkun Liu, Tiger H Tao
Silk protein fibres produced by silkworms and spiders are renowned for their unparalleled mechanical strength and extensibility arising from their high-β-sheet crystal contents as natural materials. Investigation of β-sheet-oriented conformational transitions in silk proteins at the nanoscale remains a challenge using conventional imaging techniques given their limitations in chemical sensitivity or limited spatial resolution. Here, we report on electron-regulated nanoscale polymorphic transitions in silk proteins revealed by near-field infrared imaging and nano-spectroscopy at resolutions approaching the molecular level...
October 7, 2016: Nature Communications
Ana Margarida Pereira, Raul Machado, André da Costa, Artur Ribeiro, Tony Collins, Andreia C Gomes, Isabel B Leonor, David L Kaplan, Rui L Reis, Margarida Casal
The objective of this work was to exploit the fibronectin type II (FNII) module from human matrix metalloproteinase-2 as a functional domain for the development of silk-based biopolymer blends that display enhanced cell adhesion properties. The DNA sequence of spider dragline silk protein (6mer) was genetically fused with the FNII coding sequence and expressed in Escherichia coli. The chimeric protein 6mer+FNII was purified by non-chromatographic methods. Films prepared from 6mer+FNII by solvent casting promoted only limited cell adhesion of human skin fibroblasts...
October 3, 2016: Acta Biomaterialia
Stella Li, Bronwyn M Graham
The first-line psychological treatment for anxiety disorders is exposure therapy, which can be modeled in the laboratory using fear extinction. In healthy women, estradiol levels predict return of fear following extinction, whereas low levels are associated with greater return of fear. Investigating whether estradiol is similarly associated with extinction in clinically anxious women may provide insight to mechanisms underlying symptom relapse following exposure therapy. In the present study, women with spider phobia and healthy women participated in a 2-day fear conditioning and extinction procedure during a period of high or low estradiol levels...
October 6, 2016: Behavioral Neuroscience
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