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Nobuyuki Kawai, Hongshen He
Humans and non-human primates are extremely sensitive to snakes as exemplified by their ability to detect pictures of snakes more quickly than those of other animals. These findings are consistent with the Snake Detection Theory, which hypothesizes that as predators, snakes were a major source of evolutionary selection that favored expansion of the visual system of primates for rapid snake detection. Many snakes use camouflage to conceal themselves from both prey and their own predators, making it very challenging to detect them...
2016: PloS One
José María Gutiérrez, Teresa Escalante, Alexandra Rucavado, Cristina Herrera, Jay W Fox
Snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs) affect the extracellular matrix (ECM) in multiple and complex ways. Previously, the combination of various methodological platforms, including electron microscopy, histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and Western blot, has allowed a partial understanding of such complex pathology. In recent years, the proteomics analysis of exudates collected in the vicinity of tissues affected by SVMPs has provided novel and exciting information on SVMP-induced ECM alterations. The presence of fragments of an array of ECM proteins, including those of the basement membrane, has revealed a complex pathological scenario caused by the direct action of SVMPs...
October 22, 2016: Toxins
KathyJo Ann Jackson
Klebsiella oxytoca is a gram-negative bacterium that can be found throughout the environment as well as on mucosal membranes of mammals including humans. This bacterium is responsible for a variety of infections in humans including nosocomial infections resulting in hospital outbreaks. Reptiles including snakes, tuataras, and turtles have been shown to harbor this bacterium, and previous studies have shown that pet reptiles are a potential source for dissemination of pathogenic bacteria. Green anoles (Anolis carolensis) are a common lizard found in the southeastern part of the United States...
October 25, 2016: Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Der-Shan Sun, Pei-Hsun Ho, Hsin-Hou Chang
Venomous snakebites are lethal and occur frequently worldwide each year, and receiving the antivenom antibody is currently the most effective treatment. However, the specific antivenom might be unavailable in remote areas. Snakebites by Viperidae usually lead to hemorrhage and mortality if untreated. In the present study, challenges of rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) venom markedly increased the circulating soluble P-selectin (sP-sel) level, but not P-selectin (P-sel, Selp(-/-)) mutants, in wild-type mice. Because sP-sel enhances coagulation through the P-selectin ligand 1 (PSGL-1, Selplg) pathway to produce tissue factor-positive microparticles, we hypothesized that increasing the plasma sP-sel level can be a self-rescue response in hosts against snake venom-mediated suppression of the coagulation system...
October 25, 2016: Scientific Reports
Ariel F Kahrl, Christian L Cox, Robert M Cox
Sexual selection reflects the joint contributions of precopulatory selection, which arises from variance in mating success, and postcopulatory selection, which arises from variance in fertilization success. The relative importance of each episode of selection is variable among species, and comparative evidence suggests that traits targeted by precopulatory selection often covary in expression with those targeted by postcopulatory selection when assessed across species, although the strength and direction of this association varies considerably among taxa...
September 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Leila Sabrina Ullmann, Ramiro das Neves Dias-Neto, Didier Quevedo Cagnini, Ricardo Seiti Yamatogi, Jose Paes Oliveira-Filho, Viviane Nemer, Rodrigo Hidalgo Friciello Teixeira, Alexander Welker Biondo, João Pessoa Araújo
BACKGROUND: Mycobacterium is an important zoonotic agent with companion, livestock and wildlife animals reportedly playing a role as reservoirs. Although its association with reptiles has been described, the disease cycle remains to be fully established, particularly in snakes. Accordingly, this study aimed to report the occurrence of mycobacteriosis with clinical pneumonia in one exotic python snake (Python molurus) and one native green snake (Philodryas olfersii) from the Sorocaba Zoo, São Paulo state, Brazil...
2016: Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases
Davinia Pla, Libia Sanz, Mahmood Sasa, Manuel E Acevedo, Quetzal Dwyer, Jordi Durban, Alicia Pérez, Yania Rodriguez, Bruno Lomonte, Juan J Calvete
: Bothriechis is a genus of eleven currently recognized slender and arboreal venomous snakes, commonly called palm-pitvipers that range from southern Mexico to northern South America. Despite dietary studies suggesting that palm-pitvipers are generalists with an ontogenetic shift toward endothermic prey, venom proteomic analyses have revealed remarkable divergence between the venoms of the Costa Rican species, B. lateralis, B. schlegelii, B. supraciliaris, and B. nigroviridis. To achieve a more complete picture of the venomic landscape across Bothriechis, the venom proteomes of biodiversity of the northern Middle American highland palm-pitvipers, B...
October 21, 2016: Journal of Proteomics
Qing Hong, Jieping Feng, Haijuan Liu, Xiaomin Li, Lirong Gong, Zhen Yang, Weiming Yang, Xiongfa Liang, Rujiang Zheng, Zhicai Cui, Weiliang Wang, Daixiong Chen
Sparganosis is an important parasitic disease in Guangzhou and is mainly acquired by consumption of frog meat or contact with fresh frogs infected by larval stages (spargana) of the tapeworm species Spirometra mansoni (S. mansoni). In this study we assessed the prevalence of intestinal S. mansoni infections (with adult parasites) in dogs and cats on one hand and of extraintestinal S. mansoni infections (with spargana) in frogs on the other. In Addition, a questinnaire survey among residents in Guangzhou City was carried out in order to evaluate the awareness of autochthonous people about the medical and epidemiological relevance of Spirometra and sparganosis...
October 21, 2016: International Journal of Infectious Diseases: IJID
Jörg Fischer, Bernadette Eberlein, Christiane Hilger, Florian Eyer, Stephanie Eyerich, Markus Ollert, Tilo Biedermann
BACKGROUND: Antivenoms are mammalian immunoglobulins with the ability to neutralize snake venom components and to mitigate the progression of toxic effects. Immediate hypersensitivity to antivenoms often occurs during the first administration of these heterologous antibodies. A comparable clinical situation occurred after introduction of cetuximab, a chimeric mouse-human antibody, for cancer treatment. The carbohydrate epitope galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, located on the Fab region of cetuximab, was identified as the target responsible for IgE reactivity...
October 24, 2016: Allergy
Rui Zhang, Shiping Zhu, Qin Zhou
Infrared image segmentation is a challenging topic because infrared images are characterized by high noise, low contrast, and weak edges. Active contour models, especially gradient vector flow, have several advantages in terms of infrared image segmentation. However, the GVF (Gradient Vector Flow) model also has some drawbacks including a dilemma between noise smoothing and weak edge protection, which decrease the effect of infrared image segmentation significantly. In order to solve this problem, we propose a novel generalized gradient vector flow snakes model combining GGVF (Generic Gradient Vector Flow) and NBGVF (Normally Biased Gradient Vector Flow) models...
October 21, 2016: Sensors
Aleksandra Bocian, Małgorzata Urbanik, Konrad Hus, Andrzej Łyskowski, Vladimír Petrilla, Zuzana Andrejčáková, Monika Petrillová, Jaroslav Legath
Snake venom is a rich source of peptides and proteins with a wide range of actions. Many of the venom components are currently being tested for their usefulness in the treatment of many diseases ranging from neurological and cardiovascular to cancer. It is also important to constantly search for new proteins and peptides with properties not yet described. The venom of Vipera berus berus has hemolytic, proteolytic and cytotoxic properties, but its exact composition and the factors responsible for these properties are not known...
October 19, 2016: Molecules: a Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry
Morné A Strydom, Janette Bester, Sthembile Mbotwe, Etheresia Pretorius
A significant burden of illness is caused globally by snakebites particularly by the puff adder, Bitis arietans. Presently there is no reliable and rapid method to confirm envenomation on blood chemistry; although coagulation parameters like prothrombin time, partial thromboplastin time, international normalized ratio and also serum electrolytes are tested. Here, we found that direct in vitro exposure of physiological relevant whole venom levels to human healthy blood (N = 32), caused significant physiological changes to platelet activity using a hematology analyzer, and measuring occlusion time, as well as lyses time, with the global thrombosis test (GTT)...
October 24, 2016: Scientific Reports
Md Nazmul Hasan, Nur Kabidul Azam, Md Nasir Ahmed, Akinori Hirashima
Snakebite is the single most important toxin-related injury, causing substantial mortality in many parts of the Africa, Asia and the Americas. Incidence of snakebite is usually recorded in young people engaged in active physical work in rural areas. The various plant parts used to treat snakebite included whole plant, leaves, barks, roots and seeds. Most bites in Bangladesh are recorded between May and October with highest number in June. Lower and upper limbs are most common sites of snakebite, but it may happen in other sites as well...
October 2016: Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine
Francisca Leal, Martin J Cohn
Limb reduction and loss are hallmarks of snake evolution. Although advanced snakes are completely limbless, basal and intermediate snakes retain pelvic girdles and small rudiments of the femur. Moreover, legs may have re-emerged in extinct snake lineages [1-5], suggesting that the mechanisms of limb development were not completely lost in snakes. Here we report that hindlimb development arrests in python embryos as a result of mutations that abolish essential transcription factor binding sites in the limb-specific enhancer of Sonic hedgehog (SHH)...
October 19, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Evgeny Z Kvon, Olga K Kamneva, Uirá S Melo, Iros Barozzi, Marco Osterwalder, Brandon J Mannion, Virginie Tissières, Catherine S Pickle, Ingrid Plajzer-Frick, Elizabeth A Lee, Momoe Kato, Tyler H Garvin, Jennifer A Akiyama, Veena Afzal, Javier Lopez-Rios, Edward M Rubin, Diane E Dickel, Len A Pennacchio, Axel Visel
The evolution of body shape is thought to be tightly coupled to changes in regulatory sequences, but specific molecular events associated with major morphological transitions in vertebrates have remained elusive. We identified snake-specific sequence changes within an otherwise highly conserved long-range limb enhancer of Sonic hedgehog (Shh). Transgenic mouse reporter assays revealed that the in vivo activity pattern of the enhancer is conserved across a wide range of vertebrates, including fish, but not in snakes...
October 20, 2016: Cell
Diego Villar, Duncan T Odom
The molecular mechanisms underpinning vertebrate body plan evolution are beginning to be unravelled. In this issue of Cell, Kvon et al. spectacularly demonstrate how transplanting snake-specific genetic changes found uniquely in serpent enhancers leads to limb loss in mice.
October 20, 2016: Cell
Yukio Ozaki, Shogo Tamura, Katsue Suzuki-Inoue
Platelets play a key role in the pathophysiological processes of hemostasis and thrombus formation. However, platelet functions beyond thrombosis and hemostasis have been increasingly identified in recent years. A large body of evidence now exists which suggests that platelets also play a key role in inflammation, immunity, malignancy, and furthermore in organ development and regeneration, such as the liver. We have recently identified CLEC-2 on the platelet membrane, which induces intracellular activation signals upon interaction of a snake venom, rhodocytin...
2016: Thrombosis Journal
Tur-Fu Huang, Chun-Chieh Hsu, Yu-Ju Kuo
Snake venoms affect blood coagulation and platelet function in a complex manner. However, two classes of venom proteins, snaclecs and disintegrins have been shown to specifically target receptors including GPIb, α2β1, GPVI, CLEC-2 and integrins αIIbβ3, αvβ3, α5β1 expressed on platelets, endothelial cells, phagocytes, tumor cells, thus affecting cell-matrices and cell-cell interactions. Here, we focus on disintegrins, a class of low molecular mass Arg-Gly-Asp(RGD)/Lys-Gly-Asp(KGD)-containing, cysteine-rich polypeptide derived from various viper snake venoms...
2016: Thrombosis Journal
Michail Rovatsos, Martina Johnson Pokorná, Marie Altmanová, Lukáš Kratochvíl
Geckos in general show extensive variability in sex determining systems, but only male heterogamety has been demonstrated in the members of their legless family Pygopodidae. In the pioneering study published more than 45 years ago, multiple sex chromosomes of the type X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y were described in Burton's legless lizard (Lialisburtonis) based on conventional cytogenetic techniques. We conducted cytogenetic analyses including comparative genomic hybridization and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with selected cytogenetic markers in this species and the previously cytogenetically unstudied Papua snake lizard (Lialis jicari) to better understand the nature of these sex chromosomes and their differentiation...
October 21, 2016: Cytogenetic and Genome Research
Daryl C Yang, Jennifer R Deuis, Daniel Dashevsky, James Dobson, Timothy N W Jackson, Andreas Brust, Bing Xie, Ivan Koludarov, Jordan Debono, Iwan Hendrikx, Wayne C Hodgson, Peter Josh, Amanda Nouwens, Gregory J Baillie, Timothy J C Bruxner, Paul F Alewood, Kelvin Kok Peng Lim, Nathaniel Frank, Irina Vetter, Bryan G Fry
Millions of years of evolution have fine-tuned the ability of venom peptides to rapidly incapacitate both prey and potential predators. Toxicofera reptiles are characterized by serous-secreting mandibular or maxillary glands with heightened levels of protein expression. These glands are the core anatomical components of the toxicoferan venom system, which exists in myriad points along an evolutionary continuum. Neofunctionalisation of toxins is facilitated by positive selection at functional hotspots on the ancestral protein and venom proteins have undergone dynamic diversification in helodermatid and varanid lizards as well as advanced snakes...
October 18, 2016: Toxins
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