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Fire ant

Yi-Xiang Qi, Tian Zeng, Lei Wang, Yong-Yue Lu
The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, is a dangerous invasive pest in the United States, China and other countries. Efficient division of labor is one of the main reasons for the success of this social insect. Biogenic amines are important regulators of worker division of labor in this eusocial insect, but the related molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. In this study, we identified 10 candidate biogenic amine synthetic enzyme genes and 17 candidate biogenic amine receptor genes in the genome of S...
March 8, 2018: General and Comparative Endocrinology
Eduardo G P Fox, Xu Meng, Lei Wang, Li Chen, YongYue Lu
A straightforward method for extracting aculeate arthropod venoms by centrifugation is described, based on adapting a glass insert containing metal mesh or glass wool in a centrifuge tube. Venom apparatuses are centrifuged for 30 s intervals at ≈2000-6000 g, materials being dislodged between cycles. Venom from fire ants, honeybees, and a social wasp were extracted within minutes. The method is suited for small-scale bioassays and allows for faithful descriptions of unmodified toxin cocktails.
March 3, 2018: Toxicon: Official Journal of the International Society on Toxinology
Steven M Valles, Sanford D Porter, Luis A Calcaterra
Metagenomics and next generation sequencing were employed to discover new virus natural enemies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren in its native range (i.e., Formosa, Argentina) with the ultimate goal of testing and releasing new viral pathogens into U.S. S. invicta populations to provide natural, sustainable control of this ant. RNA was purified from worker ants from 182 S. invicta colonies, which was pooled into 4 groups according to location. A library was created from each group and sequenced using Illumina Miseq technology...
2018: PloS One
Jim Sellmeijer, Victor Mathis, Sylvain Hugel, Xu-Hui Li, Qian Song, Qi-Yu Chen, Florent Barthas, Pierre-Eric Lutz, Meltem Karatas, Andreas Luthi, Pierre Veinante, Michel Barrot, Min Zhuo, Ipek Yalcin
Pain associates both sensory and emotional aversive components, and often leads to anxiety and depression when it becomes chronic. Here, we characterized, in a mouse model, the long-term development of these sensory and aversive components as well as anxiodepressive-like consequences of neuropathic pain and determined their electrophysiological impact on the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC, cortical areas 24a/24b). We show that these symptoms of neuropathic pain evolve and recover in different time courses following nerve injury in male mice...
February 20, 2018: Journal of Neuroscience: the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Leah B Gerrard, Malinda L S Tantirigama, John M Bekkers
The piriform cortex (PC), like other cortical regions, normally operates in a state of dynamic equilibrium between excitation and inhibition. Here we examined the roles played by pre- and postsynaptic GABAB receptors in maintaining this equilibrium in the PC. Using whole-cell recordings in brain slices from the anterior PC of mice, we found that synaptic activation of postsynaptic GABAB receptors hyperpolarized the two major classes of layer 2 principal neurons and reduced the intrinsic electrical excitability of these neurons...
2018: Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Xinyue Wang, Tianbang Li, Makiko Kashio, Yijuan Xu, Makoto Tominaga, Tatsuhiko Kadowaki
Solenopsis invicta , the red imported fire ant, represents one of the most devastating invasive species. To understand their sensory physiology, we identified and characterized their Hymenoptera-specific (Hs) TRPA channel, SiHsTRPA. Consistent with the sensory functions of SiHsTRPA, it is activated by heat, an electrophile, and an insect repellent. Nevertheless, SiHsTRPA does not respond to most of the honey bee ortholog (AmHsTRPA)-activating compounds. The jewel wasp ortholog (NvHsTRPA) is activated by these compounds even though it outgroups both AmHsTRPA and SiHsTRPA...
January 2018: ENeuro
Yu Zeng, Sarah Crews
Many ambush predators attack prey using rapid strikes, but these strikes are typically only anteriorly directed. However, a predator may attack laterally- and posteriorly-oriented prey if it can couple the strikes with rapid body reorientation. Here, we examined omnidirectional strikes in flattie spiders (Selenopidae), a group of sit-and-wait ambush predators found on open surfaces. These spiders attack prey throughout their entire peripheral range using rapid strikes that consist of rapid translation and rotation toward the prey...
February 12, 2018: Journal of Experimental Biology
Daniel W Bryden, Adam T Brockett, Elyse Blume, Kendall Heatley, Adam Zhao, Matthew R Roesch
Several human imaging studies have suggested that anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is highly active when participants receive competing inputs, and that these signals may be important for influencing the downstream planning of actions. Despite increasing evidence from several neuroimaging studies, no study has examined ACC activity at the level of the single neuron in rodents performing similar tasks. To fill this gap, we recorded from single neurons in ACC while rats performed a stop-change task. We found higher firing on trials with competing inputs (STOP trials), and that firing rates were positively correlated with accuracy and movement speed, suggesting that when ACC was engaged, rats tended to slow down and perform better...
February 3, 2018: Cerebral Cortex
Jukka Törrönen, Christoffer Tigerstedt
The article applies actor network theory (ANT) to autobiographical data on alcohol dependence to explore what ANT can offer to the analysis of 'addiction stories'. By defining 'addiction' as a relational achievement, as the effect of elements acting together as a configuration of human and non-human actors, the article demonstrates how the moving and changing attachments of addiction can be dynamically analyzed with concepts of 'assemblage', 'mediator', 'tendency', 'translation', 'trajectory', 'immutable mobile', 'fluid' and 'bush fire'...
January 30, 2018: International Journal on Drug Policy
Robert K Needleman, Isabelle P Neylan, Timothy Erickson
INTRODUCTION: Climate change has been scientifically documented, and its effects on wildlife have been prognosticated. We sought to predict the overall impact of climate change on venomous terrestrial species. We hypothesize that given the close relationship between terrestrial venomous species and climate, a changing global environment may result in increased species migration, geographical redistribution, and longer seasons for envenomation, which would have repercussions on human health...
January 29, 2018: Wilderness & Environmental Medicine
Samantha Ann Setterfield, Alan Neil Andersen
Seed predation can cause substantial seed losses and influence plant population dynamics, but the impact depends on the extent to which populations are limited by seed availability or favorable microsites for recruitment. Harvester ants are the dominant post-dispersal seed predators in Australia's tropical savannas, and their abundance and foraging efficiency, as well as the availability of seed and microsites, are affected by fire history. We undertook a predator-exclusion experiment to examine the interactive effects of fire history (no fire compared with annual burning over 5 years) and seed predation by ants on seedling establishment of the dominant savanna tree, Eucalyptus miniata, in northern Australia...
January 22, 2018: Oecologia
Michael Tennenbaum, Alberto Fernandez-Nieves
Fire ant aggregations are active materials composed of individual constituents that are able to transform internal energy into work. We find using rheology and direct visualization that the aggregation undergoes activity cycles that affect the mechanical properties of the system. When the activity is high, the aggregation approximately equally stores and dissipates energy, it is more homogeneous, and exerts a high outward force. When the activity is low, the aggregation is predominantly elastic, it is more heterogeneous, and it exerts a small outward force...
November 2017: Physical Review. E
Ariba Siddiqi, Sridhar Poosapadi Arjunan, Dinesh Kant Kumar
This study describes a new model of the force generated by tibialis anterior muscle with three new features: single-fiber action potential, twitch force, and pennation angle. This model was used to investigate the relative effects and interaction of ten age-associated neuromuscular parameters. Regression analysis (significance level of 0.05) between the neuromuscular properties and corresponding simulated force produced at the footplate was performed. Standardized slope coefficients were computed to rank the effect of the parameters...
January 16, 2018: Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing
Stéphanie Ratté, Sergei Karnup, Steven A Prescott
Persistent spiking - the continuation of spiking after a stimulus ends - is thought to support working memory. Muscarinic receptor activation enables persistent spiking among synaptically isolated pyramidal neurons in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) but a detailed characterization of that spiking is lacking and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we show that the rate of persistent spiking in ACC neurons is insensitive to the intensity and number of triggers but can be modulated by injected current, and that persistent spiking can resume after several seconds of hyperpolarization-imposed quiescence...
January 15, 2018: Journal of Neuroscience: the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Ivan Monteiro, Arleu Barbosa Viana-Junior, Ricardo Ribeiro de Castro Solar, Frederico de Siqueira Neves, Og DeSouza
Symbiosis, the living-together of unlike organisms, underlies every major transition in evolution and pervades most ecological dynamics. Among examples of symbioses, the simultaneous occupation of a termite nest by its builder termites and intruding invertebrate species (so-called termitophily) provides suitable macroscopic scenarios for the study of species coexistence in confined environments. Current evidence on termitophily abounds for dynamics occurring at the interindividual level within the termitarium, but is insufficient for broader scales such as the community and the landscape...
December 2017: Ecology and Evolution
Charles F Stevens
A recent paper demonstrated that the pattern of firing rates across ∼100 neurons in the anterior medial face patch is closely related to which human face (of 2,000) had been presented to a monkey [Chang L, Tsao DY (2017) Cell 169:1013-1028]. In addition, the firing rates for these neurons can be predicted for a novel human face. Although it is clear from this work that the firing rates of these face patch neurons encode faces, the properties of the face code have not yet been fully described. Based on an analysis of 98 neurons responding to 2,000 faces, I conclude that the anterior medial face patch uses a combinatorial rate code, one with an exponential distribution of neuron rates that has a mean rate conserved across faces...
January 2, 2018: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Roberta Sellaro, Beatrice de Gelder, Alessandra Finisguerra, Lorenza S Colzato
The polyvagal theory suggests that the vagus nerve is the key phylogenetic substrate enabling optimal social interactions, a crucial aspect of which is emotion recognition. A previous study showed that the vagus nerve plays a causal role in mediating people's ability to recognize emotions based on images of the eye region. The aim of this study is to verify whether the previously reported causal link between vagal activity and emotion recognition can be generalized to situations in which emotions must be inferred from images of whole faces and bodies...
November 23, 2017: Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior
Xu-Hui Li, Qian Song, Qi-Yu Chen, Jing-Shan Lu, Tao Chen, Min Zhuo
The tree shrew, as a primate-like animal model, has been used for studying high brain functions such as social emotion and spatial learning memory. However, little is known about the excitatory synaptic transmission in cortical brain areas of the tree shrew. In the present study, we have characterized the excitatory synaptic transmission and intrinsic properties of pyramidal neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of the adult tree shrew, a key cortical region for pain perception and emotion. We found that glutamate is the major excitatory transmitter for fast synaptic transmission...
December 18, 2017: Molecular Brain
L Hu, R R Balusu, W-Q Zhang, O S Ajayi, Y-Y Lu, R-S Zeng, H Y Fadamiro, L Chen
Some fire ants of the genus Solenopsis have become invasive species in the southern United States displacing native species by competition. Although the displacement pattern seems clear, the mechanisms underlying competitive advantage remain unclear. The ability of ant workers to produce relatively larger amount of alarm pheromone may correspond to relative greater fitness among sympatric fire ant species. Here we report on quantitative intra-specific (i.e. inter-caste) and inter-specific differences of alarm pheromone component, 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine (2E36DMP), for several fire ant species...
December 10, 2017: Bulletin of Entomological Research
Matthew J Ballinger, Logan D Moore, Steve J Perlman
Microbial partners play important roles in the biology and ecology of animals. In insects, maternally transmitted symbionts are especially common and can have host effects ranging from reproductive manipulation to nutrient provisioning and defense against natural enemies. In this study, we report a genus-wide association of Myrmica ants with the inherited bacterial symbiont Spiroplasma We screen Myrmica ants collected from the wild, including the invasive European fire ant, Myrmica rubra , and find an extraordinarily high prevalence of this symbiont-8 of 9 species, 42 of 43 colonies, and 250 of 276 individual workers harbored Spiroplasma -only one host species was uninfected...
February 15, 2018: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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