Journals

Structure of TBC1D23 N-terminus reveals a novel role for rhodanese domain

PLOS Biology (new articles) - 14 hours 57 min ago

by Dingdong Liu, Fan Yang, Zhe Liu, Jinrui Wang, Wenjie Huang, Wentong Meng, Daniel D. Billadeau, Qingxiang Sun, Xianming Mo, Da Jia

Members of the Tre2-Bub2-Cdc16 (TBC) family often function to regulate membrane trafficking and to control signaling transductions pathways. As a member of the TBC family, TBC1D23 is critical for endosome-to-Golgi cargo trafficking by serving as a bridge between Golgi-bound golgin-97/245 and the WASH/FAM21 complex on endosomal vesicles. However, the exact mechanisms by which TBC1D23 regulates cargo transport are poorly understood. Here, we present the crystal structure of the N-terminus of TBC1D23 (D23N), which consists of both the TBC and rhodanese domains. We show that the rhodanese domain is unlikely to be an active sulfurtransferase or phosphatase, despite containing a putative catalytic site. Instead, it packs against the TBC domain and forms part of the platform to interact with golgin-97/245. Using the zebrafish model, we show that impacting golgin-97/245-binding, but not the putative catalytic site, impairs neuronal growth and brain development. Altogether, our studies provide structural and functional insights into an essential protein that is required for organelle-specific trafficking and brain development.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Anticipation-induced delta phase reset improves human olfactory perception

PLOS Biology (new articles) - 14 hours 57 min ago

by Ghazaleh Arabkheradmand, Guangyu Zhou, Torben Noto, Qiaohan Yang, Stephan U. Schuele, Josef Parvizi, Jay A. Gottfried, Shasha Wu, Joshua M. Rosenow, Mohamad Z. Koubeissi, Gregory Lane, Christina Zelano

Anticipating an odor improves detection and perception, yet the underlying neural mechanisms of olfactory anticipation are not well understood. In this study, we used human intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) to show that anticipation resets the phase of delta oscillations in piriform cortex prior to odor arrival. Anticipatory phase reset correlates with ensuing odor-evoked theta power and improvements in perceptual accuracy. These effects were consistently present in each individual subject and were not driven by potential confounds of pre-inhale motor preparation or power changes. Together, these findings suggest that states of anticipation enhance olfactory perception through phase resetting of delta oscillations in piriform cortex.
Categories: Biology, Journals

The evolution of the type VI secretion system as a disintegration weapon

PLOS Biology (new articles) - 14 hours 57 min ago

by William P. J. Smith, Andrea Vettiger, Julius Winter, Till Ryser, Laurie E. Comstock, Marek Basler, Kevin R. Foster

The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a nanomachine used by many bacteria to drive a toxin-laden needle into other bacterial cells. Although the potential to influence bacterial competition is clear, the fitness impacts of wielding a T6SS are not well understood. Here we present a new agent-based model that enables detailed study of the evolutionary costs and benefits of T6SS weaponry during competition with other bacteria. Our model identifies a key problem with the T6SS. Because of its short range, T6SS activity becomes self-limiting, as dead cells accumulate in its way, forming “corpse barriers” that block further attacks. However, further exploration with the model presented a solution to this problem: if injected toxins can quickly lyse target cells in addition to killing them, the T6SS becomes a more effective weapon. We tested this prediction with single-cell analysis of combat between T6SS-wielding Acinetobacter baylyi and T6SS-sensitive Escherichia coli. As predicted, delivery of lytic toxins is highly effective, whereas nonlytic toxins leave large patches of E. coli alive. We then analyzed hundreds of bacterial species using published genomic data, which suggest that the great majority of T6SS-wielding species do indeed use lytic toxins, indicative of a general principle underlying weapon evolution. Our work suggests that, in the T6SS, bacteria have evolved a disintegration weapon whose effectiveness often rests upon the ability to break up competitors. Understanding the evolutionary function of bacterial weapons can help in the design of probiotics that can both establish well and eliminate problem species.
Categories: Biology, Journals

HIV-1 Tat-mediated astrocytic amyloidosis involves the HIF-1α/lncRNA BACE1-AS axis

PLOS Biology (new articles) - 14 hours 57 min ago

by Susmita Sil, Guoku Hu, Ke Liao, Fang Niu, Shannon Callen, Palsamy Periyasamy, Howard S. Fox, Shilpa Buch

Increased life expectancy of patients diagnosed with HIV in the current era of antiretroviral therapy is unfortunately accompanied with the prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HANDs) and risk of comorbidities such as Alzheimer-like pathology. HIV-1 transactivator of transcription (Tat) protein has been shown to induce the production of toxic neuronal amyloid protein and also enhance neurotoxicity. The contribution of astrocytes in Tat-mediated amyloidosis remains an enigma. We report here, in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)+ rhesus macaques and patients diagnosed with HIV, brain region–specific up-regulation of amyloid precursor protein (APP) and Aβ (40 and 42) in astrocytes. In addition, we find increased expression of β-site cleaving enzyme (BACE1), APP, and Aβ in human primary astrocytes (HPAs) exposed to Tat. Mechanisms involved up-regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1α), its translocation and binding to the long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) BACE1‐antisense transcript (BACE1-AS), resulting, in turn, in the formation of the BACE1-AS/BACE1 RNA complex, subsequently leading to increased BACE1 protein, and activity and generation of Aβ-42. Gene silencing approaches confirmed the regulatory role of HIF-1α in BACE1-AS/BACE1 in Tat-mediated amyloidosis. This is the first report implicating the role of the HIF-1α/lncRNABACE1-AS/BACE1 axis in Tat-mediated induction of astrocytic amyloidosis, which could be targeted as adjunctive therapies for HAND-associated Alzheimer-like comorbidity.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Behavioral flexibility is associated with changes in structure and function distributed across a frontal cortical network in macaques

PLOS Biology (new articles) - 14 hours 57 min ago

by Jérôme Sallet, MaryAnn P. Noonan, Adam Thomas, Jill X. O’Reilly, Jesper Anderson, Georgios K. Papageorgiou, Franz X. Neubert, Bashir Ahmed, Jackson Smith, Andrew H. Bell, Mark J. Buckley, Léa Roumazeilles, Steven Cuell, Mark E. Walton, Kristine Krug, Rogier B. Mars, Matthew F. S. Rushworth

One of the most influential accounts of central orbitofrontal cortex—that it mediates behavioral flexibility—has been challenged by the finding that discrimination reversal in macaques, the classic test of behavioral flexibility, is unaffected when lesions are made by excitotoxin injection rather than aspiration. This suggests that the critical brain circuit mediating behavioral flexibility in reversal tasks lies beyond the central orbitofrontal cortex. To determine its identity, a group of nine macaques were taught discrimination reversal learning tasks, and its impact on gray matter was measured. Magnetic resonance imaging scans were taken before and after learning and compared with scans from two control groups, each comprising 10 animals. One control group learned discrimination tasks that were similar but lacked any reversal component, and the other control group engaged in no learning. Gray matter changes were prominent in posterior orbitofrontal cortex/anterior insula but were also found in three other frontal cortical regions: lateral orbitofrontal cortex (orbital part of area 12 [12o]), cingulate cortex, and lateral prefrontal cortex. In a second analysis, neural activity in posterior orbitofrontal cortex/anterior insula was measured at rest, and its pattern of coupling with the other frontal cortical regions was assessed. Activity coupling increased significantly in the reversal learning group in comparison with controls. In a final set of experiments, we used similar structural imaging procedures and analyses to demonstrate that aspiration lesion of central orbitofrontal cortex, of the type known to affect discrimination learning, affected structure and activity in the same frontal cortical circuit. The results identify a distributed frontal cortical circuit associated with behavioral flexibility.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Predictive whisker kinematics reveal context-dependent sensorimotor strategies

PLOS Biology (new articles) - 14 hours 57 min ago

by Avner Wallach, David Deutsch, Tess Baker Oram, Ehud Ahissar

Animals actively move their sensory organs in order to acquire sensory information. Some rodents, such as mice and rats, employ cyclic scanning motions of their facial whiskers to explore their proximal surrounding, a behavior known as whisking. Here, we investigated the contingency of whisking kinematics on the animal’s behavioral context that arises from both internal processes (attention and expectations) and external constraints (available sensory and motor degrees of freedom). We recorded rat whisking at high temporal resolution in 2 experimental contexts—freely moving or head-fixed—and 2 spatial sensory configurations—a single row or 3 caudal whiskers on each side of the snout. We found that rapid sensorimotor twitches, called pumps, occurring during free-air whisking carry information about the rat’s upcoming exploratory direction, as demonstrated by the ability of these pumps to predict consequent head and body locomotion. Specifically, pump behavior during both voluntary motionlessness and imposed head fixation exposed a backward redistribution of sensorimotor exploratory resources. Further, head-fixed rats employed a wide range of whisking profiles to compensate for the loss of head- and body-motor degrees of freedom. Finally, changing the number of intact vibrissae available to a rat resulted in an alteration of whisking strategy consistent with the rat actively reallocating its remaining resources. In sum, this work shows that rats adapt their active exploratory behavior in a “homeostatic” attempt to preserve sensorimotor coverage under changing environmental conditions and changing sensory capacities, including those imposed by various laboratory conditions.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Dynamical footprints enable detection of disease emergence

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2020-05-20 23:00

by Tobias S. Brett, Pejman Rohani

Developing methods for anticipating the emergence or reemergence of infectious diseases is both important and timely; however, traditional model-based approaches are stymied by uncertainty surrounding the underlying drivers. Here, we demonstrate an operational, mechanism-agnostic detection algorithm for disease (re-)emergence based on early warning signals (EWSs) derived from the theory of critical slowing down. Specifically, we used computer simulations to train a supervised learning algorithm to detect the dynamical footprints of (re-)emergence present in epidemiological data. Our algorithm was then challenged to forecast the slowly manifesting, spatially replicated reemergence of mumps in England in the mid-2000s and pertussis post-1980 in the United States. Our method successfully anticipated mumps reemergence 4 years in advance, during which time mitigation efforts could have been implemented. From 1980 onwards, our model identified resurgent states with increasing accuracy, leading to reliable classification starting in 1992. Additionally, we successfully applied the detection algorithm to 2 vector-transmitted case studies, namely, outbreaks of dengue serotypes in Puerto Rico and a rapidly unfolding outbreak of plague in 2017 in Madagascar. Taken together, these findings illustrate the power of theoretically informed machine learning techniques to develop early warning systems for the (re-)emergence of infectious diseases.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Correction: Representation of abstract semantic knowledge in populations of human single neurons in the medial temporal lobe

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Tue, 2020-05-19 23:00

by Thomas P. Reber, Marcel Bausch, Sina Mackay, Jan Boström, Christian E. Elger, Florian Mormann

Categories: Biology, Journals

NASA’s first ground-based Galactic Cosmic Ray Simulator: Enabling a new era in space radiobiology research

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Tue, 2020-05-19 23:00

by Lisa C. Simonsen, Tony C. Slaba, Peter Guida, Adam Rusek

With exciting new NASA plans for a sustainable return to the moon, astronauts will once again leave Earth’s protective magnetosphere only to endure higher levels of radiation from galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) and the possibility of a large solar particle event (SPE). Gateway, lunar landers, and surface habitats will be designed to protect crew against SPEs with vehicle optimization, storm shelter concepts, and/or active dosimetry; however, the ever penetrating GCR will continue to pose the most significant health risks especially as lunar missions increase in duration and as NASA sets its aspirations on Mars. The primary risks of concern include carcinogenesis, central nervous system (CNS) effects resulting in potential in-mission cognitive or behavioral impairment and/or late neurological disorders, degenerative tissue effects including circulatory and heart disease, as well as potential immune system decrements impacting multiple aspects of crew health. Characterization and mitigation of these risks requires a significant reduction in the large biological uncertainties of chronic (low-dose rate) heavy-ion exposures and the validation of countermeasures in a relevant space environment. Historically, most research on understanding space radiation-induced health risks has been performed using acute exposures of monoenergetic single-ion beams. However, the space radiation environment consists of a wide variety of ion species over a broad energy range. Using the fast beam switching and controls systems technology recently developed at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) at Brookhaven National Laboratory, a new era in radiobiological research is possible. NASA has developed the “GCR Simulator” to generate a spectrum of ion beams that approximates the primary and secondary GCR field experienced at human organ locations within a deep-space vehicle. The majority of the dose is delivered from protons (approximately 65%–75%) and helium ions (approximately 10%–20%) with heavier ions (Z ≥ 3) contributing the remainder. The GCR simulator exposes state-of-the art cellular and animal model systems to 33 sequential beams including 4 proton energies plus degrader, 4 helium energies plus degrader, and the 5 heavy ions of C, O, Si, Ti, and Fe. A polyethylene degrader system is used with the 100 MeV/n H and He beams to provide a nearly continuous distribution of low-energy particles. A 500 mGy exposure, delivering doses from each of the 33 beams, requires approximately 75 minutes. To more closely simulate the low-dose rates found in space, sequential field exposures can be divided into daily fractions over 2 to 6 weeks, with individual beam fractions as low as 0.1 to 0.2 mGy. In the large beam configuration (60 × 60 cm2), 54 special housing cages can accommodate 2 to 3 mice each for an approximately 75 min duration or 15 individually housed rats. On June 15, 2018, the NSRL made a significant achievement by completing the first operational run using the new GCR simulator. This paper discusses NASA’s innovative technology solution for a ground-based GCR simulator at the NSRL to accelerate our understanding and mitigation of health risks faced by astronauts. Ultimately, the GCR simulator will require validation across multiple radiogenic risks, endpoints, doses, and dose rates.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Correction: Publication reform to safeguard wildlife from researcher harm

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Mon, 2020-05-18 23:00

by Kate A. Field, Paul C. Paquet, Kyle Artelle, Gilbert Proulx, Ryan K. Brook, Chris T. Darimont

Categories: Biology, Journals

Discovery of genes required for body axis and limb formation by global identification of retinoic acid–regulated epigenetic marks

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Mon, 2020-05-18 23:00

by Marie Berenguer, Karolin F. Meyer, Jun Yin, Gregg Duester

Identification of target genes that mediate required functions downstream of transcription factors is hampered by the large number of genes whose expression changes when the factor is removed from a specific tissue and the numerous binding sites for the factor in the genome. Retinoic acid (RA) regulates transcription via RA receptors bound to RA response elements (RAREs) of which there are thousands in vertebrate genomes. Here, we combined chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) for epigenetic marks and RNA-seq on trunk tissue from wild-type and Aldh1a2-/- embryos lacking RA synthesis that exhibit body axis and forelimb defects. We identified a relatively small number of genes with altered expression when RA is missing that also have nearby RA-regulated deposition of histone H3 K27 acetylation (H3K27ac) (gene activation mark) or histone H3 K27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) (gene repression mark) associated with conserved RAREs, suggesting these genes function downstream of RA. RA-regulated epigenetic marks were identified near RA target genes already known to be required for body axis and limb formation, thus validating our approach; plus, many other candidate RA target genes were found. Nuclear receptor 2f1 (Nr2f1) and nuclear receptor 2f2 (Nr2f2) in addition to Meis homeobox 1 (Meis1) and Meis homeobox 2 (Meis2) gene family members were identified by our approach, and double knockouts of each family demonstrated previously unknown requirements for body axis and/or limb formation. A similar epigenetic approach can be used to determine the target genes for any transcriptional regulator for which a knockout is available.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Humanization of yeast genes with multiple human orthologs reveals functional divergence between paralogs

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Mon, 2020-05-18 23:00

by Jon M. Laurent, Riddhiman K. Garge, Ashley I. Teufel, Claus O. Wilke, Aashiq H. Kachroo, Edward M. Marcotte

Despite over a billion years of evolutionary divergence, several thousand human genes possess clearly identifiable orthologs in yeast, and many have undergone lineage-specific duplications in one or both lineages. These duplicated genes may have been free to diverge in function since their expansion, and it is unclear how or at what rate ancestral functions are retained or partitioned among co-orthologs between species and within gene families. Thus, in order to investigate how ancestral functions are retained or lost post-duplication, we systematically replaced hundreds of essential yeast genes with their human orthologs from gene families that have undergone lineage-specific duplications, including those with single duplications (1 yeast gene to 2 human genes, 1:2) or higher-order expansions (1:>2) in the human lineage. We observe a variable pattern of replaceability across different ortholog classes, with an obvious trend toward differential replaceability inside gene families, and rarely observe replaceability by all members of a family. We quantify the ability of various properties of the orthologs to predict replaceability, showing that in the case of 1:2 orthologs, replaceability is predicted largely by the divergence and tissue-specific expression of the human co-orthologs, i.e., the human proteins that are less diverged from their yeast counterpart and more ubiquitously expressed across human tissues more often replace their single yeast ortholog. These trends were consistent with in silico simulations demonstrating that when only one ortholog can replace its corresponding yeast equivalent, it tends to be the least diverged of the pair. Replaceability of yeast genes having more than 2 human co-orthologs was marked by retention of orthologous interactions in functional or protein networks as well as by more ancestral subcellular localization. Overall, we performed >400 human gene replaceability assays, revealing 50 new human–yeast complementation pairs, thus opening up avenues to further functionally characterize these human genes in a simplified organismal context.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Antibiotics can be used to contain drug-resistant bacteria by maintaining sufficiently large sensitive populations

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2020-05-15 23:00

by Elsa Hansen, Jason Karslake, Robert J. Woods, Andrew F. Read, Kevin B. Wood

Standard infectious disease practice calls for aggressive drug treatment that rapidly eliminates the pathogen population before resistance can emerge. When resistance is absent, this elimination strategy can lead to complete cure. However, when resistance is already present, removing drug-sensitive cells as quickly as possible removes competitive barriers that may slow the growth of resistant cells. In contrast to the elimination strategy, a containment strategy aims to maintain the maximum tolerable number of pathogens, exploiting competitive suppression to achieve chronic control. Here, we combine in vitro experiments in computer-controlled bioreactors with mathematical modeling to investigate whether containment strategies can delay failure of antibiotic treatment regimens. To do so, we measured the “escape time” required for drug-resistant Escherichia coli populations to eclipse a threshold density maintained by adaptive antibiotic dosing. Populations containing only resistant cells rapidly escape the threshold density, but we found that matched resistant populations that also contain the maximum possible number of sensitive cells could be contained for significantly longer. The increase in escape time occurs only when the threshold density—the acceptable bacterial burden—is sufficiently high, an effect that mathematical models attribute to increased competition. The findings provide decisive experimental confirmation that maintaining the maximum number of sensitive cells can be used to contain resistance when the size of the population is sufficiently large.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Vascularized human cortical organoids (vOrganoids) model cortical development in vivo

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2020-05-13 23:00

by Yingchao Shi, Le Sun, Mengdi Wang, Jianwei Liu, Suijuan Zhong, Rui Li, Peng Li, Lijie Guo, Ai Fang, Ruiguo Chen, Woo-Ping Ge, Qian Wu, Xiaoqun Wang

Modeling the processes of neuronal progenitor proliferation and differentiation to produce mature cortical neuron subtypes is essential for the study of human brain development and the search for potential cell therapies. We demonstrated a novel paradigm for the generation of vascularized organoids (vOrganoids) consisting of typical human cortical cell types and a vascular structure for over 200 days as a vascularized and functional brain organoid model. The observation of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs), spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sIPSCs), and bidirectional electrical transmission indicated the presence of chemical and electrical synapses in vOrganoids. More importantly, single-cell RNA-sequencing analysis illustrated that vOrganoids exhibited robust neurogenesis and that cells of vOrganoids differentially expressed genes (DEGs) related to blood vessel morphogenesis. The transplantation of vOrganoids into the mouse S1 cortex resulted in the construction of functional human-mouse blood vessels in the grafts that promoted cell survival in the grafts. This vOrganoid culture method could not only serve as a model to study human cortical development and explore brain disease pathology but also provide potential prospects for new cell therapies for nervous system disorders and injury.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Thalamic, cortical, and amygdala involvement in the processing of a natural sound cue of danger

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Tue, 2020-05-12 23:00

by Ana G. Pereira, Matheus Farias, Marta A. Moita

Animals use auditory cues generated by defensive responses of others to detect impending danger. Here we identify a neural circuit in rats involved in the detection of one such auditory cue, the cessation of movement-evoked sound resulting from freezing. This circuit comprises the dorsal subnucleus of the medial geniculate body (MGD) and downstream areas, the ventral area of the auditory cortex (VA), and the lateral amygdala (LA). This study suggests a role for the auditory offset pathway in processing a natural sound cue of threat.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Genuine cross-frequency coupling networks in human resting-state electrophysiological recordings

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2020-05-06 23:00

by Felix Siebenhühner, Sheng H. Wang, Gabriele Arnulfo, Anna Lampinen, Lino Nobili, J. Matias Palva, Satu Palva

Phase synchronization of neuronal oscillations in specific frequency bands coordinates anatomically distributed neuronal processing and communication. Typically, oscillations and synchronization take place concurrently in many distinct frequencies, which serve separate computational roles in cognitive functions. While within-frequency phase synchronization has been studied extensively, less is known about the mechanisms that govern neuronal processing distributed across frequencies and brain regions. Such integration of processing between frequencies could be achieved via cross-frequency coupling (CFC), either by phase–amplitude coupling (PAC) or by n:m-cross–frequency phase synchrony (CFS). So far, studies have mostly focused on local CFC in individual brain regions, whereas the presence and functional organization of CFC between brain areas have remained largely unknown. We posit that interareal CFC may be essential for large-scale coordination of neuronal activity and investigate here whether genuine CFC networks are present in human resting-state (RS) brain activity. To assess the functional organization of CFC networks, we identified brain-wide CFC networks at mesoscale resolution from stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) and at macroscale resolution from source-reconstructed magnetoencephalography (MEG) data. We developed a novel, to our knowledge, graph-theoretical method to distinguish genuine CFC from spurious CFC that may arise from nonsinusoidal signals ubiquitous in neuronal activity. We show that genuine interareal CFC is present in human RS activity in both SEEG and MEG data. Both CFS and PAC networks coupled theta and alpha oscillations with higher frequencies in large-scale networks connecting anterior and posterior brain regions. CFS and PAC networks had distinct spectral patterns and opposing distribution of low- and high-frequency network hubs, implying that they constitute distinct CFC mechanisms. The strength of CFS networks was also predictive of cognitive performance in a separate neuropsychological assessment. In conclusion, these results provide evidence for interareal CFS and PAC being 2 distinct mechanisms for coupling oscillations across frequencies in large-scale brain networks.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Haplotype of the astrocytic water channel AQP4 is associated with slow wave energy regulation in human NREM sleep

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Tue, 2020-05-05 23:00

by Sara Marie Ulv Larsen, Hans-Peter Landolt, Wolfgang Berger, Maiken Nedergaard, Gitte Moos Knudsen, Sebastian Camillo Holst

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow through the brain parenchyma is facilitated by the astrocytic water channel aquaporin 4 (AQP4). Homeostatically regulated electroencephalographic (EEG) slow waves are a hallmark of deep non–rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and have been implicated in the regulation of parenchymal CSF flow and brain clearance. The human AQP4 gene harbors several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with AQP4 expression, brain-water homeostasis, and neurodegenerative diseases. To date, their role in sleep-wake regulation is unknown. To investigate whether functional variants in AQP4 modulate human sleep, nocturnal EEG recordings and cognitive performance were investigated in 123 healthy participants genotyped for a common eight-SNP AQP4-haplotype. We show that this AQP4-haplotype is associated with distinct modulations of NREM slow wave energy, strongest in early sleep and mirrored by changes in sleepiness and reaction times during extended wakefulness. The study provides the first human evidence for a link between AQP4, deep NREM sleep, and cognitive consequences of prolonged wakefulness.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Single-cell transcription analysis of <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> blood-stage parasites identifies stage- and species-specific profiles of expression

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Mon, 2020-05-04 23:00

by Juliana M. Sà, Matthew V. Cannon, Ramoncito L. Caleon, Thomas E. Wellems, David Serre

Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum, the parasites responsible for most human malaria worldwide, exhibit striking biological differences, which have important clinical consequences. Unfortunately, P. vivax, unlike P. falciparum, cannot be cultivated continuously in vitro, which limits our understanding of its biology and, consequently, our ability to effectively control vivax malaria. Here, we describe single-cell gene expression profiles of 9,215 P. vivax parasites from bloodstream infections of Aotus and Saimiri monkeys. Our results show that transcription of most P. vivax genes occurs during short periods of the intraerythrocytic cycle and that this pattern of gene expression is conserved in other Plasmodium species. However, we also identify a strikingly high proportion of species-specific transcripts in late schizonts, possibly associated with the specificity of erythrocyte invasion. Our findings provide new and robust markers of blood-stage parasites, including some that are specific to the elusive P. vivax male gametocytes, and will be useful for analyzing gene expression data from laboratory and field samples.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Early correction of synaptic long-term depression improves abnormal anxiety-like behavior in adult GluN2B-C456Y-mutant mice

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Thu, 2020-04-30 23:00

by Wangyong Shin, Kyungdeok Kim, Benjamin Serraz, Yi Sul Cho, Doyoun Kim, Muwon Kang, Eun-Jae Lee, Hyejin Lee, Yong Chul Bae, Pierre Paoletti, Eunjoon Kim

Extensive evidence links Glutamate receptor, ionotropic, NMDA2B (GRIN2B), encoding the GluN2B/NR2B subunit of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs), with various neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In addition, it remains unknown whether mutations in GluN2B, which starts to be expressed early in development, induces early pathophysiology that can be corrected by early treatments for long-lasting effects. We generated and characterized Grin2b-mutant mice that carry a heterozygous, ASD-risk C456Y mutation (Grin2b+/C456Y). In Grin2b+/C456Y mice, GluN2B protein levels were strongly reduced in association with decreased hippocampal NMDAR currents and NMDAR-dependent long-term depression (LTD) but unaltered long-term potentiation, indicative of mutation-induced protein degradation and LTD sensitivity. Behaviorally, Grin2b+/C456Y mice showed normal social interaction but exhibited abnormal anxiolytic-like behavior. Importantly, early, but not late, treatment of young Grin2b+/C456Y mice with the NMDAR agonist D-cycloserine rescued NMDAR currents and LTD in juvenile mice and improved anxiolytic-like behavior in adult mice. Therefore, GluN2B-C456Y haploinsufficiency decreases GluN2B protein levels, NMDAR-dependent LTD, and anxiety-like behavior, and early activation of NMDAR function has long-lasting effects on adult mouse behavior.
Categories: Biology, Journals

“Frozen evolution” of an RNA virus suggests accidental release as a potential cause of arbovirus re-emergence

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Tue, 2020-04-28 23:00

by David J. Pascall, Kyriaki Nomikou, Emmanuel Bréard, Stephan Zientara, Ana da Silva Filipe, Bernd Hoffmann, Maude Jacquot, Joshua B. Singer, Kris De Clercq, Anette Bøtner, Corinne Sailleau, Cyril Viarouge, Carrie Batten, Giantonella Puggioni, Ciriaco Ligios, Giovanni Savini, Piet A. van Rijn, Peter P. C. Mertens, Roman Biek, Massimo Palmarini

The mechanisms underlying virus emergence are rarely well understood, making the appearance of outbreaks largely unpredictable. Bluetongue virus serotype 8 (BTV-8), an arthropod-borne virus of ruminants, emerged in livestock in northern Europe in 2006, spreading to most European countries by 2009 and causing losses of billions of euros. Although the outbreak was successfully controlled through vaccination by early 2010, puzzlingly, a closely related BTV-8 strain re-emerged in France in 2015, triggering a second outbreak that is still ongoing. The origin of this virus and the mechanisms underlying its re-emergence are unknown. Here, we performed phylogenetic analyses of 164 whole BTV-8 genomes sampled throughout the two outbreaks. We demonstrate consistent clock-like virus evolution during both epizootics but found negligible evolutionary change between them. We estimate that the ancestor of the second outbreak dates from the height of the first outbreak in 2008. This implies that the virus had not been replicating for multiple years prior to its re-emergence in 2015. Given the absence of any known natural mechanism that could explain BTV-8 persistence over this long period without replication, we hypothesise that the second outbreak could have been initiated by accidental exposure of livestock to frozen material contaminated with virus from approximately 2008. Our work highlights new targets for pathogen surveillance programmes in livestock and illustrates the power of genomic epidemiology to identify pathways of infectious disease emergence.
Categories: Biology, Journals