2012 Vol. 33, No. 5

Display Method:
2012, 33(5): 426-546.
Black and red are the most common colors of fruit, but the reason behind this has been subject to debate. Food preferences of avian frugivores for certain colors of food have been proposed as a selection mechanism that explains these traits, but there is little evidence supporting this hypothesis. Here, we conducted a lab experiment using four colors of natural fruit to evaluate color preferences of five avian species, and we also conducted this experiment in open area and understory habitats. Our results showed that red and black fruits were selected most often in lab experiment; in field experiment, red and black fruits were also the most preferred food, but the total amount of consumed fruits differed significantly between open areas and understory habitats. Our study suggested that differences in color preferences among frugivores may potentially reflect the diversity of fruit color and frequency in Xishuangbanna.
We investigated the feeding sites of the Nonggang Babbler (Stachyris nonggangensis) during three time periods (July-September, 2010; November-December, 2010; January-February, 2011) in Nonggang National Nature Reserve, Guangxi, China with the line transect method and sampling method. Principal component analysis of the data identified that the feeding sites in the rainy season were dominated by factors consisting of tree layer, the layer of fallen leaves and the herb layer; whereas the feeding sites in the dry season were dominated by factors dependant on terrain, herb layer and shrub layer. The results of a circular distribution analysis showed that the Nonggang Babbler preferred feeding sites with a gentle slope in both the rainy season and dry season. The tests of differences of the variables between used and control plots indicated that with low arbor coverage in the rainy season, whereas with a low slope position, high shrub and thick fallen leaves in the dry season. In comparison with the rainy season, the feeding sites in the dry season tended to be at lower altitude, to have a lower slope position, lower grass coverage, and to be covered with a larger and thicker bed of fallen leaves. A logistic regression analysis suggested that altitude, slope, and shatter cover were the most important factors influencing feeding site selection in the rainy season. Slope position, arbor cover, grass cover, and the thickness of the shatter cover were the most important factors influencing feeding site selection in the dry season.
Habitat fragmentation is a main cause for the loss of biological diversity. Combining line-transect methods to survey the amphibians and reptiles on 23 islands on Thousand Island Lake in Zhejiang province, along with survey data on nearby plant species and habitat variables collected by GIS, we used the “BINMATNEST (binary matrix nestedness temperature calculator)” software and the Spearman rank correlation to examine whether amphibians and reptiles followed nested subsets and their influencing factors. The results showed that amphibians and reptiles were significantly nested, and that the island area and habitat type were significantly associated with their nested ranks. Therefore, to effectively protect amphibians and reptiles in the Thousand Islands Lake area we should pay prior attention to islands with larger areas and more habitat types.
The ultrastructure of nymph mouthparts of the Chinese white wax scale (CWWS), Ericerus pela, consists internally of the crumena, tentorium, the stylet bundle, comprised of two mandibular stylets and two maxillary stylets, and the external clypeolabral shield, labium and sensilla. The mouthpart morphology and structures of the female nymphs are similar to the male. The mouthparts of CWWS have significantly different features in comparison to aphids and other coccids. First, the mouthparts of CWWS have a crumena and a developed tentorium. Second, the labrum is highly degraded and the labium is short and one-segmented. Third, the maxillary stylets have two ‘T’ type locks. Lastly, the hairs of the mouthpart are sparse and the sensilla are simple. As the labrum and labium of CWWS displayed a high degree of degradation and the tentorium was found to be highly developed, the stretching of the stylet bundle was considered to be controlled by the tentorium and crumena together. Furthermore, the degraded sensilla may be related to a specialization of feeding behavior. There were no significant differences in the length and diameter of the stylet bundles between the female and male. However, the length and diameter of the stylet bundles were significantly different between the first instar nymphs and the second instar nymphs. The first instar nymphs had stylet fascicles that were shorter and soft and initially lived on the leaves of the host trees, presumably because the leaves were thinner and they were able to pierce the leaves while the stylet bundle was relatively soft. However, the second instar nymphs had stylet bundles that were relatively hard. After the numphs molted, the degree of ossification of the stylet bundles was enhanced (increased) and the nymphs returned to the branches for living, where the strengthened stylet bundles may provide a better adaption for the thicker bark. All told, the first and second stage instar CWWS nymphs switched from leaves to the branches in order to find a safe habitat and stable food source.
The miRNA cluster mir-17-92 is conserved in vertebrates and plays crucial roles in cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis and animal development. The mir-17-92 cluster also acts as an oncogene that is expressed in variety of cancers. Despite extensive study, the molecular mechanism underlying its functions is not fully understood. The fact that miRNAs in the same cluster are functionally related was used in the present study to investigate the function, and regulation of the chicken mir-17-92 cluster with GO analysis, pathway analysis, and binding site distribution analysis. The investigation found that the chicken mir-17-92 cluster regulated several vital cellular signaling pathways, including the MAPK, Wnt and TGF-β signaling pathway. A miRNA binding site distribution analysis found that multiple miRNAs within the mir-17-92 cluster targeted the same genes, suggesting that the miRNA members of the mir-17-92 cluster act synergetically to regulate target genes. This study paves the way for future investigation into how the mir-17-92 cluster may regulate key cellular processes involved in cancer and development.
The classification of Carassius has not been well established due to its great variability and wide distribution. Usually, Carassius is identified as three species: C. carassius, C. cuvieri and C. auratus, the latter including several subspecies, such as goldfish. Out of these subspecies, C. auratus gibelio have recently been thought of as a valid species of Carassius. In this study we collected the 5′end 651 bp segments of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) gene from 128 specimens, including C. carassius, C. cuvieri, C. auratus auratus, C. auratus gibelio and C. auratus langsdorfii. All three species of Carassius (C. carassius, C. cuvieri, C. auratus) were found to be valid, meanwhile genetic differentiation between the Eurasian C. auratus and Japanese C. auratus has reached a high level. However, several haplotypes were shared between C. auratus auratus and C. auratus gibelio. Consequently, C. auratus gibelio should be regarded as a subspecies of C. auratus rather than a valid species. Moreover, because both diploids and triploids exist in C. auratus auratus and C. auratus gibelio, ploidy level should not be used as criteria for the classification of species or subspecies in Carassius.
The warm temperature acclimation related 65 kDa protein-2 (Wap65-2), a teleost plasma glycoprotein, plays an important role in immune regulation against bacterial infection. Here, for the first time we determined the full length cDNA sequence of the Japanese sea bass Wap65-2 gene (1 601 bp in length excluding the 3'-polyA tail). The sequence contains an open reading frame that encodes a protein of 436 amino acids with a molecular weight of 4.87?104. The predicted protein had a signal peptide in the N-terminal domain containing 19 residues. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic tree analysis showed that the Japanese sea bass Wap65-2 has a relatively high similarity to the Dicentrarchus labrax Wap65-2. In the healthy Japanese sea bass, Wap65-2 mRNA was expressed mainly in the liver and weakly in the heart and muscle. qRT-PCR results revealed that liver Wap65-2 transcripts were significantly increased after a Vibrio harveyi infection, and peaked 24 hour post injection (6.89 fold increase). The Japanese sea bass Wap65-2 protein was expressed in Escherichia coli and subsequently used for antiserum preparation. Western blot analysis showed that Wap65-2 was significantly increased in V. harveyi infected Japanese sea bass and reached a maximum of 5.33-fold increase at 36 h. In conclusion, the alteration of Japanese sea bass Wap65-2 expression was tightly associated with the progression of the V. harveyi bacterial infection.
Mermithidae, as an important natural predator of pests such as Bollworm, has great potential for natural biological control of invasive pests. Unfortunately, the in vitro culture of the nematode has not yet been successful, delaying the commercial application of this pest control method. The key reason for this failure is the inability of the worms to accomplish sex differentiation, sparking a strong interest in this process. Here, we analyzed the differences in gene expression of female and male postparasitic Ovomermis sinensis juveniles by mRNA differential display. In total, 20 gene fragments that had differential expression in male and female worms were isolated, including 8 male- and 12 female-specific ones. Bioinformatics methods were employed to analyze sequences of these fragments, in which ensembl analysis shows 4 fragments have comparable parts with C. elegence’s X chromosome, we speculate those fragments are important genes which influence sex differentiation of Ovomermis sinensis, This data provides an idea for further study of the molecular mechanism of sex differentiation in mermithids.
The purpose of this study was to establish a parabiotic mice model and assess the physiological changes of the mice under the parabiotic state. Thirteen pairs of isogenic partners were studied. The model was created by preparing a bridge of skin and subcutaneous tissues between the two mice starting distal of the elbow joint along the humerus along the lateral costal region until the end of the waist line. Physiological, social and affective qualities of life were studied in the mice through behavioural observations for 120 days following the parabiotic surgery. During the first 2-3 days following the operation, the animals suffered from severe pain and distress. During the following days and weeks, the physiological system began to recover and the animals displayed behavioral adaptations to the parabiotic condition. All animals survived at day 120. At three days post operation, the body weight began to decrease. Following this, the animals experienced a continual body weight recovery and reached pre-surgical measures at about 30 days post op. Forty-eight h post op., faecal corticosterone-metabolites were extremely elevated, but their levels returned to two to four times of levels in control females within 72 hours post op. The faecal corticosterone-metabolite levels decreased near to control values on day 75. Out of the 13 pairs, the blood exchange rate of three parabiotic partners was tested, with the result being normal post op. After 12 weeks, the total blood exchange between both partners needed 63 or 46 or 107 min, respectively. These results demonstrated that the animals could adapt behaviourally to the parabiotic situation. Therefore, this parabiosis mouse model may provide useful insights in many research areas, such as transplantation immunity, hematological system and metabolism, etc.
The middle temporal area (MT/V5) plays an important role in motion processing. Neurons in this area have a strongly selective response to the moving direction of objects and as such, the selectivity of MT neurons was proposed to be a neural mechanism for the perception of motion. Our previous studies have found degradation in direction selectivity of MT neurons in old monkeys, but this direction selectivity was calculated during the whole response time and the results were not able to uncover the mechanism of motion perception over a time course. Furthermore, experiments have found that direction selectivity was enhanced by attention at a later stage. Therefore, the response should be excluded in experiments with anesthesia. To further characterize the neural mechanism over a time course, we investigated the age-related changes of direction selectivity in the early stage by comparing the proportions of direction selective MT cells in old and young macaque monkeys using in vivo single-cell recording techniques. Our results show that the proportion of early-stage-direction-selective cells is lower in old monkeys than in young monkeys, and that the early stage direction bias (esDB) of old MT cells decreased relative to young MT cells. Furthermore, the proportion of MT cells having strong early stage direction selectivity in old monkeys was decreased. Accordingly, the functional degradation in the early stage of MT cells may mediate perceptual declines of old primates in visual motion tasks.
Nibea albiflora was immunized by intraperitoneal injection with either Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or outer membrane protein (OMP) extracted from Vibrio vulnificus or formalin killed Vibrio vulnificus (FKC). The influence of the three antigens on the immunological function of Nibea albiflora was determined at different time points following the injection by testing the agglutinating antibody titers of the serum, lysozyme activity of the serum, phagocytic activity of the blood and the relative survival percentage. The results showed that the three antigens have higher immunogenicity and antigenicity than the control group(injection with sterile saline). The agglutinating antibody titers of the immune challenged groups increased quickly, and were highest on the day 28. The lysozyme activity and phagocytic activity were raised significantly (P<0.01), reaching their top value on day 21, and then the index gradually reduced. The immunological indexes of three immune groups were higher than the control group (P<0.05). The agglutinating antibody titers of the LPS group or the OMP group were lower than the control group, but the relative survival percentage was adverse when challenged with a Vibrio vulnificus infection. The order of relative survival percentage was group LPS>OMP>FKC>Control.
Myostatin (MSTN) is a member of the TGF-β superfamily that acts as a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth. A full-length, 2 180 bp, cDNA sequence of the myostatin gene from Schizopygopisis pylzovi was cloned with RT-PCR,5'-RACE and 3'-RACE and the cDNA clone included a 1 128 bp ORF, encoding a 375 amino acid peptide. Using PCR, we obtained the sequences of two introns of the MSTN gene and found that its structure in Schizopygopsis pylzovi was similar to that of other vertebrates, including three exons and two introns. Likewise, the putative MSTN peptide of Schizopygopsis pylzovi contains a conserved RXXR proteolytic cleavage domain, and 8 conserved cysteine residues in the C terminal of the protein, similar to other vertebrates. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the MSTN of Schizopygopsis pylzovi has high homology with other cyprinid fishes, but a low homology with mammals and birds. In the 9 examined tissues, the MSTN gene was highly expressed in heart, kidney, intestine and spermary, while weakly expressed in muscle, brain, fat, gill and hepatopancreas. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that the expression of MSTN gene was different during embryo development, suggesting that the fish MSTN may not only play roles in muscle development but also contribute to other biological functions.
In long-term evolution, wildlife in general and primates in particular have formed specific patterns of behavior to adapt to a diverse variety of habitat environments. Current research on positional behavior in non-human primates has been found to explain a great deal about primate adaptability diversification, ecology, anatomy and evolution. Here, we summarize the noted classifications and differences in seasonal, site-specific and sex-age positional behaviors while also reviewing the development and status of non-human primate positional behavior research. This review is intended to provide reference for the future research of non-human primates and aid in further research on behavioral ecology of primates.
Cathelicidins are a family of multi-functional antimicrobial peptides found in almost all types of vertebrates, where they play vital roles in the immune system. As they possess broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties, cathelicidins are not only strongly resistant to Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, and viruses, but they are also active against many antibiotic-resistant clinical bacteria, adopting a special antimicrobial mechanism that is unlikely to lead to microbial resistance. Cathelicidins likewise possess simple structures, and low hemolytic and cytotoxic activities. Collectively, these features suggest potentially novel and exciting prospects for cathelicidins’ application in medicine. Here, we review the structures, classification, activities, mechanisms, as well as prospective developments in the usage and application of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptides.
Neural circuits of mammalian cerebral cortex have exhibited amazing abilities of structural and functional plasticity in development, learning and memory, neurological and psychiatric diseases. With the new imaging techniques and the application of molecular biology methods, observation neural circuits’ structural dynamics within the cortex in vivo at the cellular and synaptic level was possible, so there were many great progresses in the field of the activity-dependent structural plasticity over the past decade. This paper reviewed some of the aspects of the experimental results, focused on the characteristics of dendritic structural plasticity in individual growth and development, rich environment, sensory deprivation, and pathological conditions, as well as learning and memory, especially the dynamics of dendritic spines on morphology and quantity; after that, we introduced axonal structural plasticity, the molecular and cellular mechanisms of structural plasticity, and proposed some future problems to be solved at last.
HIV-1 restriction factors have became one of the hottest fields of AIDS researches. In 2011, SAMHD1 was demonstrated to be a novel HIV-1 restriction factor, adding to a list of HIV-1 restriction factors that include APOBEC3G, TRIM5a and Tetherin. SAMHD1 is highly expressed in myeloid-lineage monocytes, such as macrophages and dendritic cells. In this paper, we review the current research progress on the structure of SAMHD1, its antiviral mechanism, interaction with the lentivirus Vpx, and evolution. The identification of SAMHD1 opens the door towards understanding the role of SAMHD1 in lentiviral pathogenesis.
On December 5, 2012, a specimen of Chodsigoa caovansunga Lunde, Musser and Son, 2003 was collected at Manhao, Gejiu, Yunnan (N23°00′43.0′′, E103°26′18.9′′, 350 m asl). This finding is the first recorded distribution of C. caovansunga in China and outside of the type locality (Mt. Tay Con Linh II, Ha Giang, Vietnam). The length of the head, body, tail and condylo-incisive are longer than those of the specimens from type locality in Vietnam, indicating a generally larger size. Likewise, the cyt-b sequence (GenBank accession number: JX508288) is 98.6% similar to specimens from type locality. The habitat of collection site was a ravine rain forest with banana plantation nearby.
On August 15, 2012, a local photographer recorded a new species, the White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus) in the Dongfanghong Reservoir, 38 ?26'N and 77 ?07'E, altitude 1230 m, Yarkand County, in southern Xinjiang, China.