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1.  Tuberculosis Epidemiology in Islands: Insularity, Hosts and Trade 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e71074.
Because of their relative simplicity and the barriers to gene flow, islands are ideal systems to study the distribution of biodiversity. However, the knowledge that can be extracted from this peculiar ecosystem regarding epidemiology of economically relevant diseases has not been widely addressed. We used information available in the scientific literature for 10 old world islands or archipelagos and original data on Sicily to gain new insights into the epidemiology of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC). We explored three nonexclusive working hypotheses on the processes modulating bovine tuberculosis (bTB) herd prevalence in cattle and MTC strain diversity: insularity, hosts and trade. Results suggest that bTB herd prevalence was positively correlated with island size, the presence of wild hosts, and the number of imported cattle, but neither with isolation nor with cattle density. MTC strain diversity was positively related with cattle bTB prevalence, presence of wild hosts and the number of imported cattle, but not with island size, isolation, and cattle density. The three most common spoligotype patterns coincided between Sicily and mainland Italy. However in Sicily, these common patterns showed a clearer dominance than on the Italian mainland, and seven of 19 patterns (37%) found in Sicily had not been reported from continental Italy. Strain patterns were not spatially clustered in Sicily. We were able to infer several aspects of MTC epidemiology and control in islands and thus in fragmented host and pathogen populations. Our results point out the relevance of the intensity of the cattle commercial networks in the epidemiology of MTC, and suggest that eradication will prove more difficult with increasing size of the island and its environmental complexity, mainly in terms of the diversity of suitable domestic and wild MTC hosts.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071074
PMCID: PMC3726611  PMID: 23923053
2.  Optimized RNA Extraction and Northern Hybridization in Streptomycetes 
Northern blot hybridization is a useful tool for analyzing transcript patterns. To get a picture of what really occurs in vivo, it is necessary to use a protocol allowing full protection of the RNA integrity and recovery and unbiased transfer of the entire transcripts population. Many protocols suffer from severe limitations including only partial protection of the RNA integrity and/or loss of small sized molecules. Moreover, some of them do not allow an efficient and even transfer in the entire sizes range. These difficulties become more prominent in streptomycetes, where an initial quick lysis step is difficult to obtain. We present here an optimized northern hybridization protocol to purify, fractionate, blot, and hybridize Streptomyces RNA. It is based on grinding by a high-performance laboratory ball mill, followed by prompt lysis with acid phenol-guanidinium, alkaline transfer, and hybridization to riboprobes. Use of this protocol resulted in sharp and intense hybridization signals relative to long mRNAs previously difficult to detect.
doi:10.1007/s12575-010-9027-7
PMCID: PMC3055743  PMID: 21406069
streptomycetes; total RNA purification; RNA processing; RNA degradation; RNA glyoxylation; alkaline blotting; northern hybridization

Results 1-2 (2)