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Small mammals

Peter Rotwein
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), a small, secreted peptide growth factor, is involved in a variety of physiological and patho-physiological processes, including somatic growth, tissue repair, and metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. IGF1 gene expression appears to be controlled by several different signaling cascades in the few species in which it has been evaluated, with growth hormone playing a major role by activating a pathway involving the Stat5b transcription factor. Here, genes encoding IGF1 have been evaluated in 25 different mammalian species representing 15 different orders and ranging over ~180 million years of evolutionary diversification...
2017: PloS One
Alan T Branco, Rute M Brito, Bernardo Lemos
Y chromosomes typically harbour a small number of genes and an abundance of repetitive sequences. In Drosophila, the Y chromosome comprises multimegabase long segments of repetitive DNA and a handful of protein-coding genes. In mammals, the Y chromosome also harbours a disproportionally high abundance of repeats. Here, we built on a Drosophila melanogaster model in which the Y chromosome is decoupled from sexual determination. Genotypes were genetically identical for the autosomes, X chromosome, and mitochondria, but differ by the presence or dose of the Y chromosome...
December 20, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Dezemon Zingue, Amar Bouam, Roger B D Tian, Michel Drancourt
Buruli ulcer is a noncontagious disabling cutaneous and subcutaneous mycobacteriosis reported by 33 countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and South America. The causative agent, Mycobacterium ulcerans, derives from Mycobacterium marinum by genomic reduction and acquisition of a plasmid-borne, nonribosomal cytotoxin mycolactone, the major virulence factor. M. ulcerans-specific sequences have been readily detected in aquatic environments in food chains involving small mammals. Skin contamination combined with any type of puncture, including insect bites, is the most plausible route of transmission, and skin temperature of <30°C significantly correlates with the topography of lesions...
January 2018: Clinical Microbiology Reviews
E S Neves, I H Mendenhall, S A Borthwick, Y C F Su, G J D Smith
Bartonella species are arthropod-borne bacterial pathogens that infect numerous mammalian species. Small mammals play an important role as natural reservoirs of many Bartonella species, maintaining the greatest diversity of Bartonella described to date. Although Bartonella research has been conducted in Southeast Asia, no studies have been undertaken on small mammals in Singapore. Here, we report the detection and description of Bartonella in small mammals in Singapore during the period of November 2011 to May 2014...
December 12, 2017: Zoonoses and Public Health
Zhen Liu, Jianzhi Zhang
Methylation of the adenosine base at the nitrogen-6 position (m6A) is the most prevalent internal posttranscriptional modification of mRNAs in many eukaryotes. Despite the rapid progress in the transcriptome-wide mapping of m6As, identification of proteins responsible for writing, reading, and erasing m6As, and elucidation of m6A functions in splicing, RNA stability, translation, and other processes, it is unknown whether most observed m6A modifications are functional. To address this question, we respectively analyze the evolutionary conservation of yeast and human m6As in protein-coding regions...
December 8, 2017: Molecular Biology and Evolution
Edgard David Mason-Romo, Ariel A Farías, Gerardo Ceballos
Understanding the effects of global climate disruption on biodiversity is important to future conservation efforts. While taxonomic diversity is widely studied, functional diversity of plants, and recently animals, is receiving increasing attention. Most studies of mammals are short-term, focus on temperate habitats, and rely on traits described in the literature rather than generating traits from observations. Unlike previous studies, this long-term field study assessed the factors driving the functional and taxonomic diversity of small-mammal assemblages in dry tropical forests using both traits recorded from literature and a demographic database...
2017: PloS One
Li-Qun Ren, Meng Chen, Hans Hultborn, Sen Guo, Yifan Zhang, Mengliang Zhang
Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) is an essential enzyme in the synthesis of serotonin, dopamine, and certain trace amines and is present in a variety of organs including the brain and spinal cord. It is previously reported that in mammalian spinal cord AADC cells (called D-cells) were largely confined to a region around the central canal and that they do not produce monoamines. To date, there has not been a detailed description of their distribution and morphology in mammals. In the present study this issue is systematically investigated using immunohistochemistry...
2017: Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
Hannes A Schraft, Colin Goodman, Rulon W Clark
Rattlesnakes use infrared radiation to detect prey animals such as small mammals and lizards. Because ectotherm locomotor performance depends on temperature, rattlesnakes could use prey temperature to evaluate the potential of lizards to evade attacks. Here, we tested whether hunting rattlesnakes use infrared information to (1) detect and (2) evaluate prey before attack. We expected thermal contrast between prey and background to be the best predictor of predatory behaviour under the prey detection hypothesis, and absolute prey temperature under the prey evaluation hypothesis...
December 7, 2017: Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Mareike C Janiak, Morgan E Chaney, Anthony J Tosi
Insects are an important food resource for many primates, but the chitinous exoskeletons of arthropods have long been considered to be indigestible by the digestive enzymes of most mammals. However, recently mice and insectivorous bats were found to produce the enzyme acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase) to digest insect exoskeletons. Here, we report on the gene CHIA and its paralogs, which encode AMCase, in a comparative sample of nonhuman primates. Our results show that early primates likely had three CHIA genes, suggesting that insects were an important component of the ancestral primate diet...
December 5, 2017: Molecular Biology and Evolution
Verena M Prade, Heidrun Gundlach, Sven Twardziok, Brett Chapman, Cong Tan, Peter Langridge, Alan H Schulman, Nils Stein, Robbie Waugh, Guoping Zhang, Matthias Platzer, Chengdao Li, Manuel Spannagl, Klaus F X Mayer
Pseudogenes have a reputation of being 'evolutionary relics' or 'junk DNA'. While they are well characterized in mammals, studies in more complex plant genomes were so far hampered by the absence of reference genome sequences. Barley is one of the economically most important cereals and has a genome size of 5.1 Gb. With the first high-quality genome reference assembly available for a Triticeae crop, we conducted a whole genome assessment of pseudogenes on the barley genome. We identified, characterized, and classified 89,440 gene fragments and pseudogenes, scattered along the chromosomes with occasional hotspots and higher densities at the chromosome ends...
December 5, 2017: Plant Journal: for Cell and Molecular Biology
Nicky Staes, Chet C Sherwood, Katharine Wright, Marc de Manuel, Elaine E Guevara, Tomas Marques-Bonet, Michael Krützen, Michael Massiah, William D Hopkins, John J Ely, Brenda J Bradley
The gene coding for the forkhead box protein P2 (FOXP2) is associated with human language disorders. Evolutionary changes in this gene are hypothesized to have contributed to the emergence of speech and language in the human lineage. Although FOXP2 is highly conserved across most mammals, humans differ at two functional amino acid substitutions from chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas, with an additional fixed substitution found in orangutans. However, FOXP2 has been characterized in only a small number of apes and no publication to date has examined the degree of natural variation in large samples of unrelated great apes...
December 4, 2017: Scientific Reports
Jianguang Wang, Baiyan Gong, Fengkun Yang, Weizhe Zhang, Yuhan Zheng, Aiqin Liu
Blastocystis is a common protozoan found in the surveys of human and animal fecal specimens. Extensive genetic diversity has been observed within the genus Blastocystis. At least 17 subtypes (ST) have been identified in mammals and birds, nine of which (ST1 to ST9) have been identified in humans. In China, although there have been a few reports on Blastocystis infection in humans and many animal species, no epidemiological data are available in either humans or animals in northeastern China's Heilongjiang Province...
November 28, 2017: Infection, Genetics and Evolution
Samuel A Watson, Martina Scigliano, Ifigeneia Bardi, Raimondo Ascione, Cesare M Terracciano, Filippo Perbellini
This protocol describes the preparation of highly viable adult ventricular myocardial slices from the hearts of small and large mammals, including rodents, pigs, dogs and humans. Adult ventricular myocardial slices are 100- to 400-μm-thick slices of living myocardium that retain the native multicellularity, architecture and physiology of the heart. This protocol provides a list of the equipment and reagents required alongside a detailed description of the methodology for heart explantation, tissue preparation, slicing with a vibratome and handling of myocardial slices...
December 2017: Nature Protocols
Saritha Kosarussavadi, Zachary T Pennington, Jeremy Covell, Aaron P Blaisdell, Barney A Schlinger
Age-related decrements in cognitive ability have been proposed to stem from deteriorating function of the hippocampus. Many birds are long lived, especially for their relatively small body mass and elevated metabolism, making them a unique model of resilience to aging. Nevertheless, little is known about avian age-related changes in cognition and hippocampal physiology. We studied spatial cognition and hippocampal expression of the age-related gene, Apolipoprotein D (ApoD), and the immediate early gene Egr-1 in zebra finches at various developmental time points...
December 2017: Behavioral Neuroscience
Yiya Wang, Qiuyue Chen, Zemin Liu, Xiaoli Guo, Yanzhi Du, Zhenjie Yuan, Miao Guo, Li Kang, Yi Sun, Yunliang Jiang
Ovarian follicle selection is an important process impacting the laying performance and fecundity of hens, and is regulated by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) through binding to its receptor [follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR)]. In laying hens, the small yellow follicle (6-8 mm in diameter) with the highest expression of FSHR will be recruited into the preovulatory hierarchy during ovarian follicle development. The study of molecular mechanism of chicken follicle selection is helpful for the identification of genes underlying egg-laying traits in chicken and other poultry species...
2017: Frontiers in Endocrinology
Daniel Fernandez-Perez, Miguel Angel Brieño-Enriquez, Javier Isoler-Alcaraz, Eduardo Larriba, Jesus Del Mazo
IIn mammals, commitment and specification of germ cell lines implies involves complex programs that include sex differentiation, control of proliferation and meiotic initiation. Regulation of these processes is genetically controlled by fine-tuned mechanisms of gene regulation in which microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved. We have characterized, by small-RNAseq and bioinformatics analyses, the miRNA expression patterns of male and female mouse Primordial Germ Cells (PGCs) and gonadal somatic cells at embryonic stages: E11...
November 29, 2017: RNA
Federico T Bianchi, Marta Gai, Gaia E Berto, Ferdinando Di Cunto
The Citron protein was originally identified for its capability to specifically bind the active form of RhoA small GTPase, leading to the simplistic hypothesis that it may work as a RhoA downstream effector in actin remodeling. More than two decades later, a much more complex picture has emerged. In particular, it has become clear that in animals, and especially in mammals, the functions of the Citron gene (CIT) are intimately linked to many aspects of central nervous system (CNS) development and function, although the gene is broadly expressed...
November 29, 2017: Small GTPases
F M Calabrese, D L Balacco, R Preste, M A Diroma, R Forino, M Ventura, M Attimonelli
The colonization of the nuclear genome by mitochondrial DNA is an ongoing process in eukaryotes and plays an important role in genomic variability. Notwithstanding the DNA sequence availability of about 100 complete eukaryotic genomes, up to now NumtS distribution has been fully reported for a small number of sequenced eukaryotic species. With the aim to clarify the time and way of NumtS evolution, we explored the genomic distribution of NumtS in 23 eukaryotic species using an intra/interspecies in silico approach based on a cross-species similarity search and deeply investigate the evolution of NumtS in mammals...
November 27, 2017: Scientific Reports
Andreas Berghänel, Michael Heistermann, Oliver Schülke, Julia Ostner
Across mammals, prenatal maternal stress (PREMS) affects many aspects of offspring development, including offspring growth. However, how PREMS translates to offspring growth is inconsistent, even within species. To explain the full range of reported effects of prenatal adversity on offspring growth, we propose an integrative hypothesis: developmental constraints and a counteracting adaptive growth plasticity work in opposition to drive PREMS effects on growth. Mothers experiencing adversity reduce maternal investment leading to stunted growth (developmental constraints)...
November 27, 2017: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
L F Böswald, B Dobenecker, M Clauss, E Kienzle
To investigate the relationship between faecal calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) excretion in different mammalian species, a meta-analysis on digestibility data derived from the literature was conducted. Seventy-three studies on carnivores, omnivores, large and small hindgut fermenters, ruminants and hippos (a total of 21 mammalian species, precondition for inclusion dietary Ca/P ratio 1.5/1 - 3.0/1) were analysed for Ca and P digestibility. Dietary Ca/P ratios were lower than faecal Ca/P ratios in carnivores, omnivores, ruminants and hippos...
November 26, 2017: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
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