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Spring viremia of carp virus (SVCV) causes devastating losses in aquaculture. Coumarin has an advantageous structure for the design of novel antiviral agents with high affinity and specificity. In this study, we evaluated a hydroxycoumarin medicine, i.e., 7-(6-benzimidazole) coumarin (C10), regarding its anti-SVCV effects in vitro and in vivo. Results showed that up to 12.5 mg/L C10 significantly inhibited SVCV replication in the epithelioma papulosum cyprini (EPC) cell line, with a maximum inhibitory rate of >97%. Furthermore, C10 significantly reduced cell death and relieved cellular morphological damage in SVCV-infected cells. Decreased mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) also suggested that C10 not only protected mitochondria, but also reduced apoptosis in SVCV-infected cells. For in vivo studies, intraperitoneal injection of C10 resulted in an anti-SVCV effect and substantially enhanced the survival rate of virus-infected zebrafish. Furthermore, C10 significantly enhanced antioxidant enzyme activities and decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) to maintain antioxidant-oxidant balance within the host, thereby contributing to inhibition of SVCV replication. The up-regulation of six interferon (IFN)-related genes also demonstrated that C10 indirectly activated IFNs for the clearance of SVCV in zebrafish. This was beneficial for the continuous maintenance of antiviral effects because of the low viral loads in fish. Thus, C10 is suggested as a therapeutic agent with great potential against SVCV infection in aquaculture.
Exosomes are small vesicles secreted by all cell types in the brain and play a role in cell-cell communication through the transfer of cargo or encapsulation. Exosomes in the brain have considerable impact on neuronal development, activation, and regeneration. In addition, exosomes are reported to be involved in the onset and propagation of various neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we discuss the content of exosomes derived from major cell types in the brain, and their function under physiological and pathological conditions.
Studies on behavioral flexibility in response to habitat differences and degradation are crucial for developing conservation strategies for endangered species. Trachypithecus species inhabit various habitats and display different patterns of strata use; however, the effect of habitat structure on strata use remains poorly studied. Here, we investigated strata use patterns of Indo-Chinese gray langurs (Trachypithecus crepusculus) in a primary evergreen forest in Mt. Wuliang, southwest China, from June 2012 to January 2016. In addition, we compared T. crepusculus strata use and terrestriality with five other Trachypithecus species from previous studies. Unlike langurs living in karst forests, our study group was typically arboreal and spent only 2.9% of time on the ground. The group showed a preference for higher strata when resting and lower strata (<20 m) when moving. The langurs primarily used time on the ground for geophagy, but otherwise avoided the ground during feeding. These strata use patterns are similar to those of limestone langurs (T. francoisi) when using continuous forests. At the genus level (n=6 species), we found a negative relationship between habitat forest cover and terrestriality. This negative relationship was also true for the five limestone langur species, implying limestone langurs increase territoriality in response to decreased forest cover. Our results document behavioral flexibility in strata use of Trachypithecus langurs and highlight the importance of the protection of continuous forests to promote langur conservation.
Understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying particular adaptations/phenotypes of organisms is one of the core issues of evolutionary biology. The use of genomic data has greatly advanced our understandings on this issue, as well as other aspects of evolutionary biology, including molecular adaptation, speciation, and even conservation of endangered species. Despite the well-recognized advantages, usages of genomic data are still limited to non-mammal vertebrate groups, partly due to the difficulties in assembling large or highly heterozygous genomes. Although this is particularly the case for amphibians, nonetheless, several comparative and population genomic analyses have shed lights into the speciation and adaptation processes of amphibians in a complex landscape, giving a promising hope for a wider application of genomics in the previously believed challenging groups of organisms. At the same time, these pioneer studies also allow us to realize numerous challenges in studying the molecular adaptations and/or phenotypic evolutionary mechanisms of amphibians. In this review, we first summarize the recent progresses in the study of adaptive evolution of amphibians based on genomic data, and then we give perspectives regarding how to effectively identify key pathways underlying the evolution of complex traits in the genomic era, as well as directions for future research.
The egg laying behavior of brood parasites is at the heart of studies on their co-evolution with hosts. Updating and reporting more egg laying behavior can improve our perception and insight on the brood parasitism process. During a seven years’ study period, we monitored 455 Oriental reed warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) nests during the egg laying period, of which 250 were parasitized by common cuckoos (Cuculus canorus). We collected 53 clear videos of cuckoo parasitism, analyzed and recorded all parasitic behavior of cuckoo in details, and summarized the process of brood parasitism by the common cuckoo. Based on analyses of these field video-recordings, we proposed a new explanation for the egg removal behavior, namely the delivery hypothesis, i.e. the egg pecking and biting may facilitate parasitism, which help avoid the host’s attention and reduce host attacks, whilst egg removal is the side effect of egg pecking and biting. We concluded that common cuckoos are able to change their behaviour when hosts are around the nest, they have a set of methods to deal with host attacks and can complete parasitism boldly and smoothly at any time.
Pseudomonas plecoglossicida is a Gram-negative bacterium that is rod-shaped and has flagella. This bacterium causes visceral white spot disease and a very high mortality rate during the culture of Larimichthys crocea, which can cause serious economic losses. Analysis of transcriptome data and quantitative real-time PCR showed that the expression of dksA gene was significantly up-regulated after 48 hours of infection with Epinephelus coioides (log2FC = 3.12, p <0.001). RNAi of five shRNAs significantly reduced the expression of the gene dksA in P. plecoglossicida, and the optimal silencing efficiency was 96.23%. Compared with wild-type strains, the symptoms of visceral white spot disease in L. crocea infected with RNAi strains were reduced, the death time was delayed by 48 hours and the mortality rate was reduced by 20%. The silencing of the dksA gene leads to a large amount of down-regulation of the cellular components, flagella and ribosome assembly-related genes in P. plecoglossicida, and the significant up-regulation of the fliC gene may be a way to maintain the virulence of P. plecoglossicida. GO and KEGG results showed that L. crocea infected by RNAi strains were significantly down-regulated in inflammatory factor genes in immune-related pathways. In these immune pathways, the affected genes were associated with multiple immune response processes. The results showed that dksA was a virulence gene of P. plecoglossicida. Compared with wild strains, RNAi strains infection induced a weaker immune response in L. crocea.
Magnetic brain stimulation has contributed to the advancement of neuroscience. However, there remain challenges in the power of penetration and precision of magnetic stimulation, especially in small animals. Here, a novel strategy for magnetic brain stimulation in mice was established using a mild magnetic pulsed sequence and injection of superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanodrugs to elevate local cortical susceptibility, namely a combined magnetic stimulation system (c-MSS). After imaging SPIO nanoparticles in the left prelimbic (PrL) cortex in mice, we were able to determine their safety and physical characteristics. Depressive-like behavior was established in mice using chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) model. SPIO nanodrugs were delivered precisely to the left PrL cortex using in situ injection. A 0.1T magnetic field (adjustable frequency) was used for magnetic stimulation (5 min/session, two sessions daily). Biomarkers representing therapeutic effects were measured before and after c-MSS intervention. The c-MMS was found to rapidly improve depressive-like symptoms in CUMS mice after stimulation with a 10Hz field for 5 days, combined with increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and inactivation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function, which enhanced neuronal activity due to the SPIO nanoparticles mediated effect. c-MSS was shown to be safe and effective, representing a novel approach in the selective stimulation of arbitrary cortical targets in small animals, playing a bioelectric role in neural circuit regulation, including antidepressant effects for CUMS mice. This expands potential applications of magnetic stimulation and progresses brain research towards clinical application.
The infants during the breast-feeding period are underwent physiological and developmental remarkable changes. However, little is known about the gene expression features and the sex-specific gene expression of breast-feeding period infants. In this study, we sequenced 32 blood transcriptomes from 16 breast-feeding period infants of rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) and their lactating mothers. We identified 218 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between infants and their mothers, including 91 up-regulated and 127 down-regulated DEGs in the infant group. Functional enrichment analysis with up-regulated DEGs or unique hub genes in infants both were mainly enriched in immune, growth and development. The protein-protein interaction analysis also revealed that genes at the key positions in infants were mainly related to development and immunity. However, we only detected 23 DEGs between female and male infants, including two DEGs located on Chromosome X and 11 DEGs located on Chromosome Y. One of the 23 DEGs was TMF1 regulated nuclear protein 1 (Trnp1), which was highly expressed in the female infants, was crucial to control the tangential and radial expansion of the cerebral cortex in mammals. Our study provides novel insights into the gene expression features of breast-feeding period infants in non-human primate, and also reveals the sex-specific gene expression between these infants.
Intestinal biopsy is a basic experimental method for studying pathological changes in the intestinal tract during human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. In this study, jejunal resection and anastomosis were successfully performed in 12 Chinese rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). The sampled gut tissues were then examined by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining, electron microscopy, flow cytometry, immunofluorescence detection, and RNA quality analysis to ensure suitability for histological, physiological, pathological, and immunological detection, as well as mechanistic analysis at the cellular and molecular level. Importantly, the surgery did not affect the ratio or number of immune cells in peripheral blood or the concentration of lipids, proteins, and vitamins in plasma, which are important indicators of nutritional status. Our results thus indicated that jejunal resection and anastomosis are feasible, and that immune homeostasis and intestinal barrier integrity are not altered by surgery. All macaques recovered well (except for one), with no postoperative complications. Therefore, this animal surgery may be applicable for longitudinal intestinal research related to diseases such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Sleep serves an indispensable function in human health, and its disorders always bring about a cascade of negative consequences. As our closest phylogenetic relatedness, nonhuman primates (NHPs) are especially valuable for the comparative study of sleep, with tremendous potential to provide critical improvements in our understanding of human sleep and sleep disorders. Previous work on measuring sleep in NHPs has been mostly carried out using electroencephalography or videography. In this study, simultaneous videography and actigraphy were recorded in 10 cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fasciculari) during seven nights (12 hours per night). The durations of wake, transitional sleep and relaxed sleep were scored by analysis of animal behaviors from videography and actigraphy data, using the same behavioral criteria for each state. Results were then compared, and it was found that the actigraphy appeared to constitute a reliable methodology for scoring the state of sleep in monkeys, showing a significant correlation in comparison with those scored by videography. Further epoch by epoch analysis indicated that the actigraphy method was more suitable for scoring the state of relaxed sleep as it can correctly identified 97.569% of relaxed sleep in comparison with video analysis. Only 34 epochs (0.128%) and 611 epochs (2.303%) were interpreted as wake and transitional sleep differently from the videography analysis. The present study validated the behavioral criteria and the actigraphy methodology for scoring sleep, which can be considered as a useful and a complementary technique to electroencephalography and/or videography analysis for sleep studies in non-human primates.
The Chinese sturgeon Acipenser sinensis is a large anadromous fish whose population has been seriously threatened in recent years. In this study, population genetic diversity and individual reproductive success were assessed using nuclear microsatellite markers (simple sequence repeat, SSR) and the complete mitochondrial (mtDNA) genome analysis of juveniles born in 2014. The results showed size polymorphism existed in the mtDNA genome of Chinese sturgeon, which was caused by a repeat motif. Population genetic diversity was found at a high level for both the SSR (Ho: 0.728±0.211; He: 0.779±0.122) and the mtDNA genome (H: 0.876±0.0035; Pi: 0.0011±0.0010). A positive value of the inbreeding coefficient (FIS: 0.066±0.143) was also found indicating that inbreeding had occurred. A reconstruction of sibling groups showed that there were 11 mothers and 11 fathers of Chinese sturgeons involved in reproduction in 2014. Statistical analysis indicated that the variance in individual reproductive success was not significant, and reproductive success of the parent fish was quite even (P=0.997>0.05) with Sweepstakes Reproductive Success (SRS) not occurring. These results suggested that with regard to conservation we need not worry too much about of the loss of genetic diversity due to the effects of SRS, but we must focus on having an adequate number of adults and suitable environmental conditions to ensure the fish can reproduce.
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The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by infection with human coronavirus 2019 (HCoV-19 / SARS-CoV-2 / 2019-nCoV), is a global threat to the human population. Here, we briefly summarize the available data for the zoonotic origins of HCoV-19, with reference to the other two epidemics of highly virulent coronaviruses, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, which cause severe pneumonia in humans. We propose to intensify future efforts for tracing the origins of HCoV-19, which is a very important scientific question for the control and prevention of the pandemic.
Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) is a pathological process that occurs in numerous organs throughout the human body, and it is frequently associated with severe cellular damage and death. Recently it has emerged that ferroptosis, a new form of regulated cell death that is caused by iron-dependent lipid peroxidation, plays a significantly detrimental role in many I/R models. In this review, we aim to revise the pathological process of I/R and then explore the molecular pathogenesis of ferroptosis. Furthermore, we aim to evaluate the role that ferroptosis plays in I/R, providing evidence to support the targeting of ferroptosis in the I/R pathway may present as a therapeutic intervention to alleviate ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI) associated cell damage and death.
Water striders have intrigued researchers for centuries from the viewpoints of biology to biomechanics. In this review, we introduce the basic theories and techniques of physics and force measurement for biomechanical research into water striders. Morphological and behavioral traits of water striders are summarized and discussed from biomechanical perspectives, along with comparative study. This integrated review also highlights potential directions for studies on water-walking arthropods, which might inspire future biological and biomechanical research.
The outbreak of COVID-19 started in mid-December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Up to 29 February 2020, SARS-CoV-2 (HCoV-19 / 2019-nCoV) had infected more than 85 000 people in the world. In this study, we used 93 complete genomes of SARS-CoV-2 from the GISAID EpiFluTM database to investigate the evolution and human-to-human transmissions of SARS-CoV-2 in the first two months of the outbreak. We constructed haplotypes of the SARS-CoV-2 genomes, performed phylogenomic analyses and estimated the potential population size changes of the virus. The date of population expansion was calculated based on the expansion parameter tau (τ) using the formula t=τ/2u. A total of 120 substitution sites with 119 codons, including 79 non-synonymous and 40 synonymous substitutions, were found in eight coding-regions in the SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Forty non-synonymous substitutions are potentially associated with virus adaptation. No combinations were detected. The 58 haplotypes (31 found in samples from China and 31 from outside China) were identified in 93 viral genomes under study and could be classified into five groups. By applying the reported bat coronavirus genome (bat-RaTG13-CoV) as the outgroup, we found that haplotypes H13 and H38 might be considered as ancestral haplotypes, and later H1 was derived from the intermediate haplotype H3. The population size of the SARS-CoV-2 was estimated to have undergone a recent expansion on 06 January 2020, and an early expansion on 08 December 2019. Furthermore, phyloepidemiologic approaches have recovered specific directions of human-to-human transmissions and the potential sources for international infected cases.
Adult male tree shrews vigorously defend against intruding male conspecifics. However, the characteristics of social behavior have not been entirely explored in these males. In this study, male wild-type tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri chinensis) and C57BL/6J mice were first allowed to familiarize themselves with an open-field apparatus. The tree shrews exhibited a short duration of movement (moving) in the novel environment, whereas the mice exhibited a long duration of movement. In the 30 min social preference-avoidance test, target animals significantly decreased the time spent by the experimental tree shrews in the social interaction (SI) zone, whereas experimental male mice exhibited the opposite. In addition, experimental tree shrews displayed a significantly longer latency to enter the SI zone in the second 15 min session (target-present) than in the first 15 min session (target-absent), which was different from that found in mice. Distinct behavioral patterns in response to a conspecific male were also observed in male tree shrews and mice in the first, second, and third 5 min periods. Thus, social behaviors in tree shrews and mice appeared to be time dependent. In summary, our study provides results of a modified social preference-avoidance test designed for the assessment of social behavior in tree shrews. Our findings demonstrate the existence of social avoidance behavior in male tree shrews and prosocial behavior in male mice toward unfamiliar conspecifics. The tree shrew may be a new animal model, which differs from mice, for the study of social avoidance and prosocial behaviors.
Interspecific killing is a primary reason for the low survival rates of some animal species. The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is an altricial eutherian mammal and thus, in comparison to other infants, panda cubs are highly vulnerable, which may significantly influence the selection of breeding sites by females. Here, we used infrared camera traps to monitor giant panda dens for 5.5 years in Foping National Nature Reserve (FNNR) to determine how interspecific factors affect den selection by wild female pandas. Results indicated that Asian black bears (Ursus thibetanus), yellow-throated martens (Martes flavigula), leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis), and masked palm civets (Paguma larvata) visited the dens frequently, and the presence of these species negatively influenced den selection by female pandas. Interestingly, the presence of rodents and terrestrial birds appeared to indicate den safety, and female giant pandas were not averse and even preferred dens with a high abundance index of rodents and terrestrial birds. The den suitability index (DSI) was a reliable tool for evaluating whether dens were suitable for female giant pandas to give birth to and rear cubs, with preference for dens with high DSI values. This study increases our understanding of the den selection criteria of female giant pandas and the main threats to the survival of their cubs, thus providing important guidance for the conservation and management of this species.
Recent advances in avian transgenic studies highlight the possibility of utilizing lentiviral vectors as tools to generate transgenic chickens. However, low rates of gonadal chimerism and germ line transmission efficiency still limit the broad usage of this method in creating transgenic chickens. In this study, we implemented a simple strategy using modified lentiviral vectors targeted to chicken primordial germ cells (PGCs) to generate transgenic chickens. The lentiviral vectors were pseudotyped with a modified Sindbis virus envelope protein (termed M168) and conjugated with an antibody specific to PGC membrane proteins. We demonstrated that these optimized M168-pseudotyped lentiviral vectors conjugated with SSEA4 antibodies successfully targeted transduction of PGCs in vitro and in vivo. Compared with the control, 50.0%–66.7% of chicken embryos expressed green fluorescent protein (GFP) in gonads transduced by the M168-pseudotyped lentivirus. This improved the targeted transduction efficiency by 30.0%–46.7%. Efficient chimerism of exogenous genes was also observed. This targeting technology could improve the efficiency of germ line transmission and provide greater opportunities for transgenic poultry studies.
Asian leaf-litter toads of the genus Leptobrachella represent a great anuran diversification in Asia. Previous studies have suggested that the diversity of this genus is still underestimated. During herpetological surveys from 2013 to 2018, a series of Leptobrachella specimens were collected from the international border areas in the southern and western parts of Yunnan Province, China. Subsequent analyses based on morphological and molecular data revealed three distinct and previously unknown lineages, which we formally describe as three new species herein. Among them, we describe a new species that occurs at the highest known elevation for Leptobrachella in China. Four species of Leptobrachella, including two new species, are found in the same reserve. Furthermore, our results suggest that the population from Longchuan County, Yunnan, may represent an additional new species of Leptobrachella, although we tentatively assigned it to Leptobrachella cf. yingjiangensis due to the small sample size examined. Lastly, we provide the first description of females of L. yingjiangensis. Our results further highlight that both micro-endemism and sympatric distributions of species are common patterns in Leptobrachella, that contribute to taxonomic and conservation challenges in these frogs. We provide an identification key for Leptobrachella known to occur in Yunnan. Given the lack of knowledge on species diversity of Leptobrachella along international border areas, we recommend that future studies include trans-boundary collaborative surveys.
Host-pathogen interactions are highly complex, involving large dynamic changes in gene expression during infection. These interactions are fundamental to understanding anti-infection immunity of hosts, as well as the pathogenesis of pathogens. For bacterial pathogens interacting with animal hosts, time-resolved dual RNA-seq of infected tissue is difficult to perform due to low pathogen load in infected tissue. In this study, an acute infection model of Larimichthys crocea infected by Pseudomonas plecoglossicida was established. The spleens of infected fish exhibited typical symptoms, with a maximum bacterial load at two days post-injection (dpi). Time-resolved dual RNA-seq of infected spleens was successfully applied to study host-pathogen interactions between L. crocea and P. plecoglossicida. The spleens of infected L. crocea were subjected to dual RNA-seq, and transcriptome data were compared with those of noninfected spleens or in vitro cultured bacteria. Results showed that pathogen-host interactions were highly dynamically regulated, with corresponding fluctuations in host and pathogen transcriptomes during infection. The expression levels of many immunogenes involved in cytokine-cytokine receptor, Toll-like receptor signaling, and other immune-related pathways were significantly up-regulated during the infection period. Furthermore, metabolic processes and the use of oxygen in L. crocea were strongly affected by P. plecoglossicida infection. The WGCNA results showed that the metabolic process was strongly related to the entire immune process. For P. plecoglossicida, the expression levels of motility-related genes and flagellum assembly-related genes were significantly up-regulated. The results of this study may help to elucidate the interactions between L. crocea and P. plecoglossicida.
Leopard coral groupers belong to the Plectropomus genus of the Epinephelidae family and are important fish for coral reef ecosystems and the marine aquaculture industry. To promote future research of this species, a high-quality chromosome-level genome was assembled using PacBio sequencing and Hi-C technology. A 787.06 Mb genome was assembled, with 99.7% (784.57 Mb) of bases anchored to 24 chromosomes. The leopard coral grouper genome size was smaller than that of other groupers, which may be related to its ancient status among grouper species. A total of 22 317 protein-coding genes were predicted. This high-quality genome of the leopard coral grouper is the first genomic resource for Plectropomus and should provide a pivotal genetic foundation for further research. Phylogenetic analysis of the leopard coral grouper and 12 other fish species showed that this fish is closely related to the brown-marbled grouper. Expanded genes in the leopard coral grouper genome were mainly associated with immune response and movement ability, which may be related to the adaptive evolution of this species to its habitat. In addition, we also identified differentially expressed genes (DEGs) associated with carotenoid metabolism between red and brown-colored leopard coral groupers. These genes may play roles in skin color decision by regulating carotenoid content in these groupers.
Letters to the editor
In mid-September 2018, during a field survey in Chiat’ung, Sanjiangyuan (Three-River-Source) Region, Tibetan Plateau, China, we discovered the first active breeding den of the Chinese mountain cat (Felis bieti), inhabited by one adult female and two kittens. Based on fieldwork over the following months, five breeding dens were discovered, and 33 sightings were recorded. In addition, at least five individuals were confirmed to inhabit this overlooked region, and much previously unknown information concerning this cat species and its ecology was revealed for the first time.
The “call for help” hypothesis proposes that alarm calls produced by a bird can transmit warning information to both conspecific and interspecific neighbors. Neighbors who are attracted by social transmission might benefit from knowing about the presence of danger or by gaining information about the presence of predators or brood parasites nearby. Brood parasite hosts can distinguish threats from different intruders and exhibit varied responses correspondingly. However, most previous studies have conducted sound playback at host nest sites and focused on conspecific individuals attracted by the alarm calls. In this study, we used random location playback to investigate the responses of different host species to alarm signals of oriental reed warblers (Acrocephalus orientalis) toward different intruders (brood parasite, predator, and harmless control) in order to reveal how hosts evaluate different threats from different intruders using vocal information in non-nesting areas during the breeding season. We found that the alarm calls given in response to different intruders incurred similar numbers of approaching species for both conspecific and interspecific birds. However, the number of attracted individuals differed significantly among the various species, with conspecifics and vinous-throated parrotbills (Paradoxornis webbianus) dominating, both of which are major hosts of common cuckoos (Cuculus canorus). Nevertheless, interspecific birds did not present any aggressive behavior according to the alarm calls, which implied that visual information may be needed for further confirmation of threats. In addition, determining whether alarm call structure promoted an evolutionary convergence phenomenon still needs further verification.

Vol 41, No 3 (18 May 2020)

Indexed by SCI-E

2018 Impact Factor 1.556

52/170 Zoology (Q2)

2019 Journal Citation Reports®

Bimonthly, Since 1980

Editor-in-Chief: Yong-Gang Yao

ISSN 2095-8137

CN 53-1229/Q

Special Collections

Animal models
Tree shrew biology
Amphibians & reptiles
Fish biology
Genetics & evolution
Toxin & peptide