The entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae isolate IP 46, originating from a soil sample collected in 2001 in the Cerrado of Central Brazil, was tested for its ability to reduce the survival of adult male and female Anopheles gambiae s.s. and An. arabiensis mosquitoes. A 6-h exposure to the fungus coated on test paper at a concentration of 3.3 × 106 conidia cm-2 reduced the daily survival of both mosquito species (HR = 3.14, p < 0.001), with higher risk of dying in An. gambiae s.s relative to An. arabiensis (HR = 1.38, p < 0.001). Fungal sporulation was observed in >95% of mosquito cadavers in the treatment groups. The results indicate that M. anisopliae IP 46 has the potential to be a bio-control agent for African malaria vector species, and is a suitable candidate for further research and development.
To examine the hypothesis that the pattern of cervical cancer is changing data on women presenting with the disease over 34 years were studied retrospectively. During 1953-86, 2628 women with cervical cancer were referred to a large tertiary referral hospital in Sydney; 418 were aged 35 or less. During the period of review the proportion of young women with the disease increased from under 9% in the 1950s and 1960s to about 25% in the 1970s and 1980s; a similar but less pronounced trend was apparent for the whole of New South Wales in the 1970s and 1980s. The prevalence of less common morphological types of cervical cancer increased throughout the period, particularly in the young. Pelvic lymph node metastases were identified in younger patients with stage Ib and IIa tumours more commonly in the later years of the study, suggesting that the disease was becoming more severe. Overall rates of recurrence improved over time, but an apparent increase in early recurrences was observed in young patients with Ib and IIa tumours and without nodal disease. The results suggest that the clinical and pathological behaviour of cervical cancer changed over the period of review.
Physiological characteristics of insects can influence their susceptibility to fungal infection of which age and nutritional status are among the most important. An understanding of host–pathogen interaction with respect to these physiological characteristics of the host is essential if we are to develop fungal formulations capable of reducing malaria transmission under field conditions. Here, two independent bioassays were conducted to study the effect of age and blood-feeding status on fungal infection and survival of Anopheles gambiae s.s. Giles. Mosquitoes were exposed to 2 × 1010 conidia m−2 of oil-formulated Metarhizium anisopliae ICIPE-30 and of Beauveria bassiana I93-825, respectively, and their survival was monitored daily. Three age groups of mosquitoes were exposed, 2–4, 5–8, and 9–12 days since emergence. Five groups of different feeding status were exposed: non-blood-fed, 3, 12, 36, and 72 h post-blood feeding. Fungal infection reduced the survival of mosquitoes regardless of their age and blood-feeding status. Although older mosquitoes died relatively earlier than younger ones, age did not tend to affect mosquito susceptibility to fungal infection. Non-blood-fed mosquitoes were more susceptible to fungus infection compared to all categories of blood-fed mosquitoes, except for those exposed to B. bassiana 72 h post-blood feeding. In conclusion, formulations of M. anisopliae and B. bassiana can equally affect mosquitoes of different age classes, with them being relatively more susceptible to fungus infection when non-blood-fed.
Entomopathogenic fungi, Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana, are promising bio-pesticides for application against adult malaria mosquito vectors. An understanding of the behavioural responses of mosquitoes towards these fungi is necessary to guide development of fungi beyond the 'proof of concept' stage and to design suitable intervention tools.
Here we tested whether oil-formulations of the two fungi could be detected and avoided by adult Anopheles gambiae s.s., Anopheles arabiensis and Culex quinquefasciatus. The bioassays used a glass chamber divided into three compartments (each 250 × 250 × 250 mm): release, middle and stimulus compartments. Netting with or without fungus was fitted in front of the stimulus compartment. Mosquitoes were released and the proportion that entered the stimulus compartment was determined and compared between treatments. Treatments were untreated netting (control 1), netting with mineral oil (control 2) and fungal conidia formulated in mineral oil evaluated at three different dosages (2 × 1010, 4 × 1010 and 8 × 1010 conidia m-2).
Neither fungal strain was repellent as the mean proportion of mosquitoes collected in the stimulus compartment did not differ between experiments with surfaces treated with and without fungus regardless of the fungal isolate and mosquito species tested.
Our results indicate that mineral-oil formulations of M. anisopliae and B. bassiana were not repellent against the mosquito species tested. Therefore, both fungi are suitable candidates for the further development of tools that aim to control host-seeking or resting mosquitoes using entomopathogenic fungi.
Mek1 is a Chk2/Rad53/Cds1-related protein kinase that is required for proper meiotic progression of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. However, the molecular mechanisms of Mek1 regulation and Mek1 phosphorylation targets are unclear. Here, we report that Mek1 is phosphorylated at serine-12 (S12), S14 and threonine-15 (T15) by Rad3 (ATR) and/or Tel1 (ATM) kinases that are activated by meiotic programmed double-strand breaks (DSBs). Mutations of these sites by alanine replacement caused abnormal meiotic progression and recombination rates. Phosphorylation of these sites triggers autophosphorylation of Mek1; indeed, alanine replacement mutations of Mek1-T318 and -T322 residues in the activation loop of Mek1 reduced Mek1 kinase activity and meiotic recombination rates. Substrates of Mek1 include Mus81-T275, Rdh54-T6 and Rdh54-T673. Mus81-T275 is known to regulate the Mus81 function in DNA cleavage, whereas Rdh54-T6A/T673A mutant cells showed abnormal meiotic recombination. Taken together, we conclude that the phosphorylation of Mek1 by Rad3 or Tel1, Mek1 autophosphorylation and Mus81 or Rdh54 phosphorylation by Mek1 regulate meiotic progression in S. pombe.
Mek1; meiotic recombination; phosphorylation; Rdh54; Mus81
The relative effects of race/ethnicity and other sociodemographic factors, compared to those of attitudes and beliefs on willingness to have cancer screening, are not well understood.
We conducted telephone interviews with 1148 adults (31% African American, 27% Puerto Rican American, 43% white) from 3 cities in mainland United States and Puerto Rico. Respondents reported their sociodemographic characteristics, attitudes about barriers and facilitators of cancer screening, and willingness to have cancer screening under 4 scenarios: when done in the community vs one’s doctor’s office, and whether or not one had symptoms.
Racial/ethnic minority status, age, and lower income were frequently associated with increased willingness to have cancer screening, even after including attitudes and beliefs about screening. Having screening nearby was important for community screening, and anticipation of embarrassment from screening for when there were no cancer symptoms. Associations varied across 4 screening scenarios, with the fewest predictors for screening by one’s doctor when there were symptoms.
Sociodemographic characteristics not only were related to willingness to have cancer screenings in almost all cases, but were generally much stronger factors than attitudinal barriers and facilitators. Cancer screening campaigns should affect attitudinal change where possible, but should also recognize that targeting screening to specific population groups may be necessary.
cancer screening; knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs; minority health
It has been hypothesized that cognitive mechanisms underlying lateralized complex motor actions associated with tool use in chimpanzees may have set the stage for the evolution of left-hemisphere specialization for language and speech in humans. Here we report evidence that asymmetries in the homologues to Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas are associated with handedness for tool use in chimpanzees. These results suggest that the neural substrates of tool use may have served as a preadaptation for the evolution of language and speech in modern humans.
In large-scale genomics experiments involving thousands of statistical tests, such as association scans and microarray expression experiments, a key question is: Which of the L tests represent true associations (TAs)? The traditional way to control false findings is via individual adjustments. In the presence of multiple TAs, p-value combination methods offer certain advantages. Both Fisher’s and Lancaster’s combination methods use an inverse gamma transformation. We identify the relation of the shape parameter of that distribution to the implicit threshold value; p-values below that threshold are favored by the inverse gamma method (GM). We explore this feature to improve power over Fisher’s method when L is large and the number of TAs is moderate. However, the improvement in power provided by combination methods is at the expense of a weaker claim made upon rejection of the null hypothesis – that there are some TAs among the L tests. Thus, GM remains a global test. To allow a stronger claim about a subset of p-values that is smaller than L, we investigate two methods with an explicit truncation: the rank truncated product method (RTP) that combines the first K ordered p-values, and the truncated product method (TPM) that combines p-values that are smaller than a specified threshold. We conclude that TPM allows claims to be made about subsets of p-values, while the claim of the RTP is, like GM, more appropriately about all L tests. GM gives somewhat higher power than TPM, RTP, Fisher, and Simes methods across a range of simulations.
multiple testing; p-value ranking; p-value combination; truncated product method; genetic association testing; microarray statistical testing
Functional neuroimaging is fundamentally a tool for mapping function to structure, and its success consequently requires neuroanatomical precision and accuracy. Here we review the various means by which functional activation can be localized to neuroanatomy and suggest that the gold standard should be localization to the individual’s or group’s own anatomy through the use of neuroanatomical knowledge and atlases of neuroanatomy. While automated means of localization may be useful, they cannot provide the necessary accuracy, given variability between individuals. We also suggest that the field of functional neuroimaging needs to converge on a common set of methods for reporting functional localization including a common “standard” space and criteria for what constitutes sufficient evidence to report activation in terms of Brodmann’s areas.
neuroanatomy; localization; cytoarchitecture; neuroimaging
All life is organized as cells. Physical compartmentation from the environment and self-organization of self-contained redox reactions are the most conserved attributes of living things, hence inorganic matter with such attributes would be life's most likely forebear. We propose that life evolved in structured iron monosulphide precipitates in a seepage site hydrothermal mound at a redox, pH and temperature gradient between sulphide-rich hydrothermal fluid and iron(II)-containing waters of the Hadean ocean floor. The naturally arising, three-dimensional compartmentation observed within fossilized seepage-site metal sulphide precipitates indicates that these inorganic compartments were the precursors of cell walls and membranes found in free-living prokaryotes. The known capability of FeS and NiS to catalyse the synthesis of the acetyl-methylsulphide from carbon monoxide and methylsulphide, constituents of hydrothermal fluid, indicates that pre-biotic syntheses occurred at the inner surfaces of these metal-sulphide-walled compartments, which furthermore restrained reacted products from diffusion into the ocean, providing sufficient concentrations of reactants to forge the transition from geochemistry to biochemistry. The chemistry of what is known as the RNA-world could have taken place within these naturally forming, catalyticwalled compartments to give rise to replicating systems. Sufficient concentrations of precursors to support replication would have been synthesized in situ geochemically and biogeochemically, with FeS (and NiS) centres playing the central catalytic role. The universal ancestor we infer was not a free-living cell, but rather was confined to the naturally chemiosmotic, FeS compartments within which the synthesis of its constituents occurred. The first free-living cells are suggested to have been eubacterial and archaebacterial chemoautotrophs that emerged more than 3.8 Gyr ago from their inorganic confines. We propose that the emergence of these prokaryotic lineages from inorganic confines occurred independently, facilitated by the independent origins of membrane-lipid biosynthesis: isoprenoid ether membranes in the archaebacterial and fatty acid ester membranes in the eubacterial lineage. The eukaryotes, all of which are ancestrally heterotrophs and possess eubacterial lipids, are suggested to have arisen ca. 2 Gyr ago through symbiosis involving an autotrophic archaebacterial host and a heterotrophic eubacterial symbiont, the common ancestor of mitochondria and hydrogenosomes. The attributes shared by all prokaryotes are viewed as inheritances from their confined universal ancestor. The attributes that distinguish eubacteria and archaebacteria, yet are uniform within the groups, are viewed as relics of their phase of differentiation after divergence from the non-free-living universal ancestor and before the origin of the free-living chemoautotrophic lifestyle. The attributes shared by eukaryotes with eubacteria and archaebacteria, respectively, are viewed as inheritances via symbiosis. The attributes unique to eukaryotes are viewed as inventions specific to their lineage. The origin of the eukaryotic endomembrane system and nuclear membrane are suggested to be the fortuitous result of the expression of genes for eubacterial membrane lipid synthesis by an archaebacterial genetic apparatus in a compartment that was not fully prepared to accommodate such compounds, resulting in vesicles of eubacterial lipids that accumulated in the cytosol around their site of synthesis. Under these premises, the most ancient divide in the living world is that between eubacteria and archaebacteria, yet the steepest evolutionary grade is that between prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
A heat-sensitive mutant strain of Neurospora crassa, 4M(t), was studied in an attempt to define its molecular lesion. The mutant strain is inhibited in conidial germination and mycelial extension at the nonpermissive temperature (37 degrees C). Macromolecular synthesis studies showed that both ribonucleic acid (RNA) and protein syntheses are inhibited when 4-h cultures are shifted from 20 to 37 degrees C. Density gradient analysis of ribosomal subunits made at 37 degrees C indicated that strain 4M(t) is deficient in the accumulation of 60S ribosomal subunits in that the ratio of 60S/37S subunits was 0.29:1 compared with 1.6:1 for the parental strain. This phenotype was shown to be the result of a slow rate of processing of, and a deficiency in the amount of, the immediate precursor to 25S ribosomal RNA (the large RNA of the 60S subunit) in the sequence of events constituting the production of mature ribosomal RNAs from the primary transcript of the ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid, the precursor ribosomal RNA molecule. Analysis of polysomes suggested that the heat-sensitive gene product might function in both the assembly and the function of the 60S ribosomal subunit, since there was a smaller proportion of newly made 60S subunits synthesized at 37 degrees C in the polysome region of the gradients than in the monosome-plus-subunit region. The ribosomal RNA processing defect is apparently responsible for the observed defects in germination and macromolecular synthesis at 37 degrees C, but the precise molecular lesion is not known. On the basis of these results, the heat-sensitive mutant allele in the 4M(t) strain is considered to define the rip1 (ribosome production) gene locus.
Twenty-seven cold-sensitive mutants of Neurospora crassa were isolated by mutagenesis of wild-type conidia followed by filtration enrichment in complete medium at the nonpermissive temperature (10 C). Zone sedimentation analyses of cytoplasmic ribosomes isolated from the wild-type strain and from 14 of the mutant strains grown at 10 C indicate that one cold-sensitive mutant is defective in ribosome biosynthesis at that temperature: instead of the 2.3:1 mass ratio of 60S:37S ribosomal subunits characteristic of wild type, the mutant strain PJ30201 (called crib-1 for cytoplasmic ribosome biosynthesis) exhibits a mass ratio of approximately 7.2:1. Ribosomal subunits synthesized by strain PJ30201 at 25 C are present in wild-type proportions. The cold-sensitive and ribosomal phenotypes segregate together in tetrads isolated from crosses between strain PJ30201 and the wild type indicating that a single nuclear gene mutation is probably responsible for both mutant phenotypes. The crib-1 locus lies near the centromere in linkage group IV.
RNA secondary structure plays a scaffolding role for RNA tertiary conformation. Accurate secondary structure prediction can not only identify double-stranded helices and single stranded-loops but also help provide information for potential tertiary interaction motifs critical to the 3D conformation. The average accuracy in ab initio prediction remains 70%; performance improvement has only been limited to short RNA sequences. The prediction of tertiary interaction motifs is difficult without multiple, related sequences that are usually not available. This paper presents research that aims to improve the secondary structure prediction performance and to develop a capability to predict coaxial stacking between helices. Coaxial stacking positions two helices on the same axis, a tertiary motif present in almost all junctions that account for a high percentage of RNA tertiary structures.
This research identified energetic rules for coaxial stacks and geometric constraints on stack combinations, which were applied to developing an efficient dynamic programming application for simultaneous prediction of secondary structure and coaxial stacking. Results on a number of non-coding RNA data sets, of short and moderately long lengths, show a performance improvement (specially on tRNAs) for secondary structure prediction when compared with existing methods. The program also demonstrates a capability for prediction of coaxial stacking.
The significant leap of performance on tRNAs demonstrated in this work suggests that a breakthrough to a higher performance in RNA secondary structure prediction may lie in understanding contributions from tertiary motifs critical to the structure, as such information can be used to constrain geometrically as well as energetically the space of RNA secondary structure.
The computational identification of RNAs in genomic sequences requires the identification of signals of RNA sequences. Shannon base pairing entropy is an indicator for RNA secondary structure fold certainty in detection of structural, non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Under the Boltzmann ensemble of secondary structures, the probability of a base pair is estimated from its frequency across all the alternative equilibrium structures. However, such an entropy has yet to deliver the desired performance for distinguishing ncRNAs from random sequences. Developing novel methods to improve the entropy measure performance may result in more effective ncRNA gene finding based on structure detection.
This paper shows that the measuring performance of base pairing entropy can be significantly improved with a constrained secondary structure ensemble in which only canonical base pairs are assumed to occur in energetically stable stems in a fold. This constraint actually reduces the space of the secondary structure and may lower the probabilities of base pairs unfavorable to the native fold. Indeed, base pairing entropies computed with this constrained model demonstrate substantially narrowed gaps of Z-scores between ncRNAs, as well as drastic increases in the Z-score for all 13 tested ncRNA sets, compared to shuffled sequences.
These results suggest the viability of developing effective structure-based ncRNA gene finding methods by investigating secondary structure ensembles of ncRNAs.
Extracting medication information from clinical records has many potential applications, and recently published research, systems, and competitions reflect an interest therein. Much of the early extraction work involved rules and lexicons, but more recently machine learning has been applied to the task.
We present a hybrid system consisting of two parts. The first part, field detection, uses a cascade of statistical classifiers to identify medication-related named entities. The second part uses simple heuristics to link those entities into medication events.
The system achieved performance that is comparable to other approaches to the same task. This performance is further improved by adding features that reference external medication name lists.
This study demonstrates that our hybrid approach outperforms purely statistical or rule-based systems. The study also shows that a cascade of classifiers works better than a single classifier in extracting medication information. The system is available as is upon request from the first author.
The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, Division of Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System Operations (AFHSC-GEIS) initiated a coordinated, multidisciplinary program to link data sets and information derived from eco-climatic remote sensing activities, ecologic niche modeling, arthropod vector, animal disease-host/reservoir, and human disease surveillance for febrile illnesses, into a predictive surveillance program that generates advisories and alerts on emerging infectious disease outbreaks. The program’s ultimate goal is pro-active public health practice through pre-event preparedness, prevention and control, and response decision-making and prioritization. This multidisciplinary program is rooted in over 10 years experience in predictive surveillance for Rift Valley fever outbreaks in Eastern Africa. The AFHSC-GEIS Rift Valley fever project is based on the identification and use of disease-emergence critical detection points as reliable signals for increased outbreak risk. The AFHSC-GEIS predictive surveillance program has formalized the Rift Valley fever project into a structured template for extending predictive surveillance capability to other Department of Defense (DoD)-priority vector- and water-borne, and zoonotic diseases and geographic areas. These include leishmaniasis, malaria, and Crimea-Congo and other viral hemorrhagic fevers in Central Asia and Africa, dengue fever in Asia and the Americas, Japanese encephalitis (JE) and chikungunya fever in Asia, and rickettsial and other tick-borne infections in the U.S., Africa and Asia.
The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) has the mission of performing surveillance for emerging infectious diseases that could affect the United States (U.S.) military. This mission is accomplished by orchestrating a global portfolio of surveillance projects, capacity-building efforts, outbreak investigations and training exercises. In 2009, this portfolio involved 39 funded partners, impacting 92 countries. This article discusses the current biosurveillance landscape, programmatic details of organization and implementation, and key contributions to force health protection and global public health in 2009.
Capacity-building initiatives related to public health are defined as developing laboratory infrastructure, strengthening host-country disease surveillance initiatives, transferring technical expertise and training personnel. These initiatives represented a major piece of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, Division of Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) contributions to worldwide emerging infectious disease (EID) surveillance and response. Capacity-building initiatives were undertaken with over 80 local and regional Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Defense, as well as other government entities and institutions worldwide. The efforts supported at least 52 national influenza centers and other country-specific influenza, regional and U.S.-based EID reference laboratories (44 civilian, eight military) in 46 countries worldwide. Equally important, reference testing, laboratory infrastructure and equipment support was provided to over 500 field sites in 74 countries worldwide from October 2008 to September 2009. These activities allowed countries to better meet the milestones of implementation of the 2005 International Health Regulations and complemented many initiatives undertaken by other U.S. government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State.
The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center’s Division of Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) supports and oversees surveillance for emerging infectious diseases, including respiratory diseases, of importance to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). AFHSC-GEIS accomplishes this mission by providing funding and oversight to a global network of partners for respiratory disease surveillance. This report details the system’s surveillance activities during 2009, with a focus on efforts in responding to the novel H1N1 Influenza A (A/H1N1) pandemic and contributions to global public health. Active surveillance networks established by AFHSC-GEIS partners resulted in the initial detection of novel A/H1N1 influenza in the U.S. and several other countries, and viruses isolated from these activities were used as seed strains for the 2009 pandemic influenza vaccine. Partners also provided diagnostic laboratory training and capacity building to host nations to assist with the novel A/H1N1 pandemic global response, adapted a Food and Drug Administration-approved assay for use on a ruggedized polymerase chain reaction platform for diagnosing novel A/H1N1 in remote settings, and provided estimates of seasonal vaccine effectiveness against novel A/H1N1 illness. Regular reporting of the system’s worldwide surveillance findings to the global public health community enabled leaders to make informed decisions on disease mitigation measures and controls for the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic. AFHSC-GEIS’s support of a global network contributes to DoD’s force health protection, while supporting global public health.
Vector-borne infections (VBI) are defined as infectious diseases transmitted by the bite or mechanical transfer of arthropod vectors. They constitute a significant proportion of the global infectious disease burden. United States (U.S.) Department of Defense (DoD) personnel are especially vulnerable to VBIs due to occupational contact with arthropod vectors, immunological naiveté to previously unencountered pathogens, and limited diagnostic and treatment options available in the austere and unstable environments sometimes associated with military operations. In addition to the risk uniquely encountered by military populations, other factors have driven the worldwide emergence of VBIs. Unprecedented levels of global travel, tourism and trade, and blurred lines of demarcation between zoonotic VBI reservoirs and human populations increase vector exposure. Urban growth in previously undeveloped regions and perturbations in global weather patterns also contribute to the rise of VBIs. The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center-Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) and its partners at DoD overseas laboratories form a network to better characterize the nature, emergence and growth of VBIs globally. In 2009 the network tested 19,730 specimens from 25 sites for Plasmodium species and malaria drug resistance phenotypes and nearly another 10,000 samples to determine the etiologies of non-Plasmodium species VBIs from regions spanning from Oceania to Africa, South America, and northeast, south and Southeast Asia. This review describes recent VBI-related epidemiological studies conducted by AFHSC-GEIS partner laboratories within the OCONUS DoD laboratory network emphasizing their impact on human populations.