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Masakazu Asahara, Masahiro Koizumi, Thomas E Macrini, Suzanne J Hand, Michael Archer
The modern platypus, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, has an eye structure similar to aquatic mammals; however, platypuses also have a "sixth sense" associated with the bill electro- and mechanoreception that they use without opening their eyes underwater. We hypothesize that Ornithorhynchus and the Miocene taxon Obdurodon have different sensory capacities, which may have resulted from differences in foraging behavior. To estimate differences in foraging, sensory systems, and anatomical divergence between these monotremes, we compared their skull morphologies...
October 2016: Science Advances
Katrina M Morris, Denis O'Meally, Thiri Zaw, Xiaomin Song, Amber Gillett, Mark P Molloy, Adam Polkinghorne, Katherine Belov
Production of milk is a key characteristic of mammals, but the features of lactation vary greatly between monotreme, marsupial and eutherian mammals. Marsupials have a short gestation followed by a long lactation period, and milk constituents vary greatly across lactation. Marsupials are born immunologically naïve and rely on their mother's milk for immunological protection. Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are an iconic Australian species that are increasingly threatened by disease. Here we use a mammary transcriptome, two milk proteomes and the koala genome to comprehensively characterise the protein components of koala milk across lactation, with a focus on immune constituents...
October 7, 2016: Scientific Reports
Héctor E Ramírez-Chaves, Vera Weisbecker, Stephen Wroe, Matthew J Phillips
BACKGROUND: The minute, finely-tuned ear ossicles of mammals arose through a spectacular evolutionary transformation from their origins as a load-bearing jaw joint. This involved detachment from the postdentary trough of the mandible, and final separation from the dentary through resorption of Meckel's cartilage. Recent parsimony analyses of modern and fossil mammals imply up to seven independent postdentary trough losses or even reversals, which is unexpected given the complexity of these transformations...
2016: Frontiers in Zoology
Brett Nixon, Heath Ecroyd, Jean-Louis Dacheux, Francoise Dacheux, Valerie Labas, Steve D Johnston, Russell C Jones
As monotremes are the earliest offshoot of the mammalian lineage, the platypus and short-beaked echidna were studied as model animals to assess the origin and biological significance of adaptations considered unique to therian mammals: epididymal maturation and subsequent capacitation. We show that spermatozoa from both species assemble into bundles of approximately 100 cells during passage through the epididymis and that an epididymal protein, secreted protein, acidic, cysteine-rich (osteonectin) (SPARC), is involved in bundle formation...
August 24, 2016: Biology of Reproduction
Hai Yu, Jie Zeng, Yanhong Li, Vireak Thon, Baojun Shi, Xi Chen
A facile one-pot two-enzyme chemoenzymatic approach has been established for the gram (Neu4,5Ac2α3Lac, 1.33 g) and preparative scale (Neu4,5Ac2α3LNnT) synthesis of monotreme milk oligosaccharides. Other O-acetyl-5-N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu4,5Ac2)- or 4-O-acetyl-5-N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu4Ac5Gc) -containing α2-3-sialosides have also been synthesized in the preparative scale. Used as an effective probe, Neu4,5Ac2α3GalβpNP was found to be a suitable substrate by human influenza A viruses but not bacterial sialidases...
September 28, 2016: Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry
David M Spratt, Ian Beveridge
This work includes all published records, to April 2015, of the helminths occurring in Australasian monotremes and marsupials, with due regard for synonymy and an attempt to include life history studies, pathological observations and epidemiology. It also contains all unpublished records known to us and referrable, by accession numbers, to curated collections in Australia and overseas. Information is presented by host family, genus, species, sub-species or chromosome race and includes the names of all host species from which no parasites have been recorded...
2016: Zootaxa
Sojeong Ka, Hyeonju Ahn, Minseok Seo, Heebal Kim, Jin Nam Kim, Hyun-Jeong Lee
Dosage compensation system with X chromosome upregulation and inactivation have evolved to overcome the genetic imbalance between sex chromosomes in both male and female of mammals. Although recent development of chromosome-wide technologies has allowed us to test X upregulation, discrete data processing and analysis methods draw disparate conclusions. A series of expression studies revealed status of dosage compensation in some species belonging to monotremes, marsupials, rodents and primates. However, X upregulation in the Artiodactyla order including cattle have not been studied yet...
August 2016: Genetica
Jennifer A M Graves
Comparative mapping and sequencing show that turnover of sex determining genes and chromosomes, and sex chromosome rearrangements, accompany speciation in many vertebrates. Here I review the evidence and propose that the evolution of therian mammals was precipitated by evolution of the male-determining SRY gene, defining a novel XY sex chromosome pair, and interposing a reproductive barrier with the ancestral population of synapsid reptiles 190 million years ago (MYA). Divergence was reinforced by multiple translocations in monotreme sex chromosomes, the first of which supplied a novel sex determining gene...
August 2016: BioEssays: News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Siew-May Loh, Alexander W Gofton, Nathan Lo, Amber Gillett, Una M Ryan, Peter J Irwin, Charlotte L Oskam
BACKGROUND: To date, little has been documented about microorganisms harboured within Australian native ticks or their pathogenic potential. Recently, a Borrelia sp. related to the Relapsing Fever (RF) group was identified in a single tick removed from a wild echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus). The present study investigated the presence of Borrelia in 97 Bothriocroton concolor ticks parasitizing echidnas in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, Australia, using nested PCR with Borrelia-specific primers targeting the 16S rRNA (16S) and flaB genes...
2016: Parasites & Vectors
John A Long
Australasia has a unique fauna of living vertebrates, which include the oldest known species on the planet (the lungfish Neoceratodus) as well as many diverse, highly endemic families of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The origin of most of the Australian vertebrate fauna has developed from two phases. Firstly, when Australia was subsumed within the greater Gondwana landmass, migration of animals from one region to another was possible by a land connection. Many of our most primitive forms of reptiles and mammals probably entered the country at this time, such as varanids, madtsooid snakes, monotremes and basal marsupials...
June 3, 2016: General and Comparative Endocrinology
D Craig Ayre, Nikitha K Pallegar, Nicholas A Fairbridge, Marta Canuti, Andrew S Lang, Sherri L Christian
BACKGROUND: CD24 is a small, glycophosphatidylinositol-anchored cell surface receptor, expressed in a variety of cells types and tissues. CD24 gene and protein expression is highly dynamic in response to cellular differentiation and stimulation in a cell-specific manner. Furthermore, CD24 interacts with a diverse collection of ligands, including cell adhesion molecules such as P-selectin, and the immune-associated siglec family of transmembrane proteins. While much is known regarding the biological roles of CD24 in regulating cell survival, death and differentiation, little is known about the evolution and organization of CD24 across species or the relationship between CD24 expression and its known ligands...
September 30, 2016: Gene
Jin Meng, Shundong Bi, Xiaoting Zheng, Xiaoli Wang
The middle ear bones of Mesozoic mammals are rarely preserved as fossils and the morphology of these ossicles in the earliest mammals remains poorly known. Here, we report the stapes and incus of the euharamiyidan Arboroharamiya from the lower Upper Jurassic (∼160 Ma) of northern China, which represent the earliest known mammalian middle ear ossicles. Both bones are miniscule in relation to those in non-mammalian cynodonts. The skull length/stapedial footplate diameter ratio is estimated as 51.74 and the stapes length as the percentage of the skull length is 4%; both numbers fall into the stapes size ranges of mammals...
May 26, 2016: Journal of Morphology
Amer Mitchelle, Charles Watson
The motor neurons in the spinal cord of an echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) have been mapped in Nissl-stained sections from spinal cord segments defined by spinal nerve anatomy. A medial motor column of motor neurons is found at all spinal cord levels, and a hypaxial column is found at most levels. The organization of the motor neuron clusters in the lateral motor column of the brachial (C5 to T3) and crural (L2 to S3) limb enlargements is very similar to the pattern previously revealed by retrograde tracing in placental mammals, and the motor neuron clusters have been tentatively identified according to the muscle groups they are likely to supply...
September 2016: Journal of Anatomy
J M Barker, C E Cooper, P C Withers, S C Nicol
The early divergence of monotremes and therian mammals has resulted in considerable interest in the comparative physiology of the short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), the most common and widespread living monotreme. However, there are many and varied interpretations of its physiology, reflecting the many and varied studies, limitations and uncertainties of aspects of some previous studies, and potential differences between the various subspecies. Consequently, we thoroughly examine here the standardized physiology of the most widely distributed subspecies of short-beaked echidna (T...
May 2016: Physiological and Biochemical Zoology: PBZ
Troy Camarata, Alexis Howard, Ruth M Elsey, Sarah Raza, Alice O'Connor, Brian Beatty, Jack Conrad, Nikos Solounias, Priscilla Chow, Saima Mukta, Aleksandr Vasilyev
New nephron formation (nephrogenesis) ceases in mammals around birth and is completely absent in adults. In contrast, postembryonic nephrogenesis is well documented in the mesonephric kidneys of fishes and amphibians. The transient mesonephros in reptiles (including birds) and mammals is replaced by the metanephros during embryogenesis. Thus, one may speculate that postembryonic nephrogenesis is restricted to the mesonephric kidney. Previous reports have suggested the metanephros of non-avian reptiles (hereafter reptiles) may continually form nephrons throughout life...
2016: PloS One
Richard H Adams, Heath Blackmon, Jacobo Reyes-Velasco, Drew R Schield, Daren C Card, Audra L Andrew, Nyimah Waynewood, Todd A Castoe
The evolutionary dynamics of simple sequence repeats (SSRs or microsatellites) across the vertebrate tree of life remain largely undocumented and poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed patterns of genomic microsatellite abundance and evolution across 71 vertebrate genomes. The highest abundances of microsatellites exist in the genomes of ray-finned fishes, squamate reptiles, and mammals, while crocodilian, turtle, and avian genomes exhibit reduced microsatellite landscapes. We used comparative methods to infer evolutionary rates of change in microsatellite abundance across vertebrates and to highlight particular lineages that have experienced unusually high or low rates of change in genomic microsatellite abundance...
May 2016: Genome Génome / Conseil National de Recherches Canada
T F Scheelings
OBJECTIVE: The medical records of individual monotremes admitted to the Australian Wildlife Health Centre from 2000 to 2014 were reviewed to determine the causes of morbidity and mortality. RESULTS: During this period, a total of 38 platypus (Ornithorhyncus anatanus) and 273 short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) were examined. Trauma was the most significant reason for monotreme admissions, accounting for 73.7% of platypus cases and 90.1% of short-beaked echidna cases...
April 2016: Australian Veterinary Journal
Ken W S Ashwell
Mammals rely on two major pathways to transfer information between the two hemispheres of the brain: the anterior commissure and the corpus callosum. Metatheria and monotremes rely exclusively on the anterior commissure for interhemispheric transfer between the isocortices and olfactory allocortices of each side, whereas Eutheria use a combination of the anterior commissure and an additional pathway exclusive to Eutheria, the corpus callosum. Midline cross-sectional area of the anterior commissure and corpus callosum were measured in a range of mammals from all three infraclasses and plotted against brain volume to determine how midline anterior commissure area and its size relative to the corpus callosum vary with brain size and taxon...
April 2016: Zoology: Analysis of Complex Systems, ZACS
Deanne J Whitworth, Andrew J Pask
Marsupials and monotremes represent evolutionarily divergent lineages from the majority of extant mammals which are eutherian, or placental, mammals. Monotremes possess multiple X and Y chromosomes that appear to have arisen independently of eutherian and marsupial sex chromosomes. Dosage compensation of X-linked genes occurs in monotremes on a gene-by-gene basis, rather than through chromosome-wide silencing, as is the case in eutherians and marsupials. Specifically, studies in the platypus have shown that for any given X-linked gene, a specific proportion of nuclei within a cell population will silence one locus, with the percentage of cells undergoing inactivation at that locus being highly gene-specific...
August 2016: Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology
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