Rhodnius prolixus not only has served as a model organism for the study of insect physiology, but also is a major vector of Chagas disease, an illness that affects approximately seven million people worldwide. We sequenced the genome of R. prolixus, generated assembled sequences covering 95% of the genome (∼702 Mb), including 15,456 putative protein-coding genes, and completed comprehensive genomic analyses of this obligate blood-feeding insect. Although immune-deficiency (IMD)-mediated immune responses were observed, R. prolixus putatively lacks key components of the IMD pathway, suggesting a reorganization of the canonical immune signaling network. Although both Toll and IMD effectors controlled intestinal microbiota, neither affected Trypanosoma cruzi, the causal agent of Chagas disease, implying the existence of evasion or tolerance mechanisms. R. prolixus has experienced an extensive loss of selenoprotein genes, with its repertoire reduced to only two proteins, one of which is a selenocysteine-based glutathione peroxidase, the first found in insects. The genome contained actively transcribed, horizontally transferred genes from Wolbachia sp., which showed evidence of codon use evolution toward the insect use pattern. Comparative protein analyses revealed many lineage-specific expansions and putative gene absences in R. prolixus, including tandem expansions of genes related to chemoreception, feeding, and digestion that possibly contributed to the evolution of a blood-feeding lifestyle. The genome assembly and these associated analyses provide critical information on the physiology and evolution of this important vector species and should be instrumental for the development of innovative disease control methods.
BackgroundCulex pipiens L. is the most widespread mosquito vector in temperate regions. This species consists of two forms, denoted molestus and pipiens, that exhibit important behavioural and physiological differences. The evolutionary relationships and taxonomic status of these forms remain unclear. In northern European latitudes molestus and pipiens populations occupy different habitats (underground vs. aboveground), a separation that most likely promotes genetic isolation between forms. However, the same does not hold in southern Europe where both forms occur aboveground in sympatry. In these southern habitats, the extent of hybridisation and its impact on the extent of genetic divergence between forms under sympatric conditions has not been clarified. For this purpose, we have used phenotypic and genetic data to characterise Cx. pipiens collected aboveground in Portugal. Our aims were to determine levels of genetic differentiation and the degree of hybridisation between forms occurring in sympatry, and to relate these with both evolutionary and epidemiological tenets of this biological group.ResultsAutogeny and stenogamy was evaluated in the F1 progeny of 145 individual Cx. pipiens females. Bayesian clustering analysis based on the genotypes of 13 microsatellites revealed two distinct genetic clusters that were highly correlated with the alternative traits that define pipiens and molestus. Admixture analysis yielded hybrid rate estimates of 8-10%. Higher proportions of admixture were observed in pipiens individuals suggesting that more molestus genes are being introgressed into the pipiens form than the opposite.ConclusionBoth physiological/behavioural and genetic data provide evidence for the sympatric occurrence of molestus and pipiens forms of Cx. pipiens in the study area. In spite of the significant genetic differentiation between forms, hybridisation occurs at considerable levels. The observed pattern of asymmetric introgression probably relates to the different mating strategies adopted by each form. Furthermore, the differential introgression of molestus genes into the pipiens form may induce a more opportunistic biting behaviour in the latter thus potentiating its capacity to act as a bridge-vector for the transmission of arboviral infections.
BackgroundTwo biological forms of the mosquito Culex pipiens s.s., denoted pipiens and molestus, display behavioural differences that may affect their role as vectors of arboviruses. In this study, the feeding patterns of molestus and pipiens forms were investigated in Comporta (Portugal), where high levels of inter-form admixture have been recorded.MethodsIndoor and outdoor mosquito collections were performed in the summer of 2010. Collected Cx. pipiens s.l. females were molecularly identified to species and form by PCR and genotyped for six microsatellites. The source of the blood meal in post-fed females was determined by ELISA and mitochondrial DNA sequencing.ResultsThe distribution of the forms differed according to the collection method. The molestus form was present only in indoor collections, whereas pipiens and admixed individuals were sampled both indoors and outdoors. In both forms, over 90% of blood meals were made on avian hosts. These included blood meals taken from Passeriformes (Passer domesticus and Turdus merula) by females caught resting inside domestic shelters.ConclusionGenetic structure and blood meal analyses suggest the presence of a bird biting molestus population in the study area. Both forms were found to rest indoors, mainly in avian shelters, but at least a proportion of females of the pipiens form may bite outdoors in sylvan habitats and then search for anthropogenic resting sites to complete their gonotrophic cycle. This behaviour may potentiate the accidental transmission of arboviruses to humans in the region.
Bauhinia forficata is native to South America and used with relative success in the folk medicine in Brazil. The diversity, antibacterial activity, and extracellular hydrolytic enzymes of endophytic fungi associated with this plant were studied. Plant samples, which included leaves, sepals, stems, and seeds, were used. Ninety-five endophytic fungal were isolated (18 from leaves, 22 from sepals, 46 from stems, and nine from seeds), comprising 28 species. The most frequently isolated species were Acremonium curvulum (9.5%), Aspergillus ochraceus (7.37%), Gibberella fujikuroi (10.53%), Myrothecium verrucaria (10.53%) and Trichoderma piluliferum (7.37%). Diversity and species richness were higher in stem tissues, and Sorensen’s index of similarity between the tissues was low. Eleven fungi showed antibacterial activity. Aspergillus ochraceus , Gibberella baccata , Penicillium commune , and P. glabrum were those with the greatest antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and/or Streptococcus pyogenes . Thirteen species showed proteolytic activity, particularly Phoma putaminum . Fourteen species were cellulase positive, particularly the Penicillium species and Myrmecridium schulzeri . All isolates tested were xylanase positive and 10 showed lipolytic activity, especially Penicillium glabrum . It is clear that the endophytic fungi from B. forficata have potential for the production of bioactive compounds and may be a source of new therapeutic agents for the effective treatment of diseases in humans, other animals, and plants. To our knowledge, this is the first study of endophytic fungi from different tissues of B. forficata and their biotechnological potential.
BackgroundIndoor residual spraying (IRS) with DDT has been the primary strategy for control of the visceral leishmaniasis (VL) vector Phlebotomus argentipes in India but efficacy may be compromised by resistance. Synthetic pyrethroids are now being introduced for IRS, but with a shared target site, the para voltage-gated sodium channel (VGSC), mutations affecting both insecticide classes could provide cross-resistance and represent a threat to sustainable IRS-based disease control.Methodology/Principal findingsA region of the Vgsc gene was sequenced in P. argentipes from the VL hotspot of Bihar, India. Two knockdown resistance (kdr) mutations were detected at codon 1014 (L1014F and L1014S), each common in mosquitoes, but previously unknown in phlebotomines. Both kdr mutations appear largely recessive, but as homozygotes (especially 1014F/F) or as 1014F/S heterozygotes exert a strong effect on DDT resistance, and significantly predict survivorship to class II pyrethroids in short-duration bioassays. The mutations are present at high frequency in wild P. argentipes populations from Bihar, with 1014F significantly more common in higher VL areas.Conclusions/SignificanceThe Vgsc mutations detected appear to be a primary mechanism underlying DDT resistance in P. argentipes and a contributory factor in reduced pyrethroid susceptibility, suggesting a potential impact if P. argentipes are subjected to suboptimal levels of pyrethroid exposure, or additional resistance mechanisms evolve. The assays to detect kdr frequency changes provide a sensitive, high-throughput monitoring tool to detecting spatial and temporal variation in resistance in P. argentipes.
Aims: The in vitro antifungal activity of Brazilian green and red propolis was tested against different species of Trichophyton. Methods and Results: The antifungal activity of the Brazilian aqueous and alcoholic extracts of the green propolis and the alcoholic extract of red propolis was observed against Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton tonsurans and Trichophyton mentagrohytes samples, using as controls itraconazole and terbinafine. The minimal inhibitory concentration was determined following the microdilution method indicated by the ‘Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute’. The minimal fungicide concentration was determined by the absence of growth in liquid sabouraud culture medium. The data obtained showed that the green propolis alcoholic extract’s antifungal activity was from 64 to 1024 μg ml−1, whereas the red propolis alcoholic extract was from 8 to 1024 μg ml−1. Conclusions: The antifungal activity of the red propolis alcoholic extract was more efficient than the green propolis alcoholic extract for all three species studied. The T. rubrum samples were shown to be more sensitive to the antifungal activity of the alcoholic extracts of the propolis. Significance and Impact of the Study: The antifungal potential of the alcoholic extracts of green and red propolis demonstrated suggest an applicable potential as an alternative treatment for dermatophytosis caused by these species.
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