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See detailEffects of age, adipose percent, and reproduction on PCB concentrations and profiles in an extreme fasting north pacific marine mammal
Peterson, S. H.; Hassrick, J. L.; Lafontaine, Anne ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(4), 96191

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See detailCarbon Cycling of Lake Kivu (East Africa): Net Autotrophy in the Epilimnion and Emission of CO2 to the Atmosphere Sustained by Geogenic Inputs
Borges, Alberto ULg; Morana, C; Bouillon, S et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(10), 109500

We report organic and inorganic carbon distributions and fluxes in a large (>2000 km2) oligotrophic, tropical lake (Lake Kivu, East Africa), acquired during four field surveys, that captured the seasonal ... [more ▼]

We report organic and inorganic carbon distributions and fluxes in a large (>2000 km2) oligotrophic, tropical lake (Lake Kivu, East Africa), acquired during four field surveys, that captured the seasonal variations (March 2007–mid rainy season, September 2007–late dry season, June 2008–early dry season, and April 2009–late rainy season). The partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) in surface waters of the main basin of Lake Kivu showed modest spatial (coefficient of variation between 3% and 6%), and seasonal variations with an amplitude of 163 ppm (between 579±23 ppm on average in March 2007 and 742±28 ppm on average in September 2007). The most prominent spatial feature of the pCO2 distribution was the very high pCO2 values in Kabuno Bay (a small sub-basin with little connection to the main lake) ranging between 11213 ppm and 14213 ppm (between 18 and 26 times higher than in the main basin). Surface waters of the main basin of Lake Kivu were a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere at an average rate of 10.8 mmol m−2 d−1, which is lower than the global average reported for freshwater, saline, and volcanic lakes. In Kabuno Bay, the CO2 emission to the atmosphere was on average 500.7 mmol m−2 d−1 (~46 times higher than in the main basin). Based on whole-lake mass balance of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) bulk concentrations and of its stable carbon isotope composition, we show that the epilimnion of Lake Kivu was net autotrophic. This is due to the modest river inputs of organic carbon owing to the small ratio of catchment area to lake surface area (2.15). The carbon budget implies that the CO2 emission to the atmosphere must be sustained by DIC inputs of geogenic origin from deep geothermal springs. [less ▲]

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See detailCrystal structure of penicillin-binding protein 3 (PBP3) from Escherichia coli
Sauvage, Eric ULg; Derouaux, Adeline ULg; Fraipont, Claudine ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2014)

In Escherichia coli, penicillin-binding protein 3 (PBP3), also known as FtsI, is a central component of the divisome, catalyzing cross-linking of the cell wall peptidoglycan during cell division. PBP3 is ... [more ▼]

In Escherichia coli, penicillin-binding protein 3 (PBP3), also known as FtsI, is a central component of the divisome, catalyzing cross-linking of the cell wall peptidoglycan during cell division. PBP3 is mainly periplasmic, with a 23 residues cytoplasmic tail and a single transmembrane helix. We have solved the crystal structure of a soluble form of PBP3 (PBP357-577) at 2.5 Å revealing the two modules of high molecular weight class B PBPs, a carboxy terminal module exhibiting transpeptidase activity and an amino terminal module with unknown function. To gain additional insight, the PBP3 Val88-Ser165 subdomain (PBP388-165), for which the electron density is poorly defined in the PBP3 crystal, was produced and its structure solved by SAD phasing at 2.1 Å. The structure shows a three dimensional domain swapping with a β-strand of one molecule inserted between two strands of the paired molecule, suggesting a possible role in PBP357-577 dimerization. [less ▲]

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See detailThe circadian regulation of sleep: impact of a functional ADA-polymorphism and its association to working memory improvements.
Reichert, Carolin F.; Maire, Micheline; Gabel, Virginie et al

in PloS one (2014), 9(12), 113734

Sleep is regulated in a time-of-day dependent manner and profits working memory. However, the impact of the circadian timing system as well as contributions of specific sleep properties to this beneficial ... [more ▼]

Sleep is regulated in a time-of-day dependent manner and profits working memory. However, the impact of the circadian timing system as well as contributions of specific sleep properties to this beneficial effect remains largely unexplored. Moreover, it is unclear to which extent inter-individual differences in sleep-wake regulation depend on circadian phase and modulate the association between sleep and working memory. Here, sleep electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded during a 40-h multiple nap protocol, and working memory performance was assessed by the n-back task 10 times before and after each scheduled nap sleep episode. Twenty-four participants were genotyped regarding a functional polymorphism in adenosine deaminase (rs73598374, 12 G/A-, 12 G/G-allele carriers), previously associated with differences in sleep-wake regulation. Our results indicate that genotype-driven differences in sleep depend on circadian phase: heterozygous participants were awake longer and slept less at the end of the biological day, while they exhibited longer non rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and slow wave sleep concomitant with reduced power between 8-16 Hz at the end of the biological night. Slow wave sleep and NREM sleep delta EEG activity covaried positively with overall working memory performance, independent of circadian phase and genotype. Moreover, REM sleep duration benefitted working memory particularly when occurring in the early morning hours and specifically in heterozygous individuals. Even though based on a small sample size and thus requiring replication, our results suggest genotype-dependent differences in circadian sleep regulation. They further indicate that REM sleep, being under strong circadian control, boosts working memory performance according to genotype in a time-of-day dependent manner. Finally, our data provide first evidence that slow wave sleep and NREM sleep delta activity, majorly regulated by sleep homeostatic mechanisms, is linked to working memory independent of the timing of the sleep episode within the 24-h cycle. [less ▲]

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See detailDiscovering main genetic interactions with LABNet LAsso-based network inference.
Gadaleta, Francesco ULg; Van Steen, Kristel ULg

in PloS one (2014), 9(11), 110451

Genome-wide association studies can potentially unravel the mechanisms behind complex traits and common genetic diseases. Despite the valuable results produced thus far, many questions remain unanswered ... [more ▼]

Genome-wide association studies can potentially unravel the mechanisms behind complex traits and common genetic diseases. Despite the valuable results produced thus far, many questions remain unanswered. For instance, which specific genetic compounds are linked to the risk of the disease under investigation; what biological mechanism do they act through; or how do they interact with environmental and other external factors? The driving force of computational biology is the constantly growing amount of big data generated by high-throughput technologies. A practical framework that can deal with this abundance of information and that consent to discovering genetic associations and interactions is provided by means of networks. Unfortunately, high dimensionality, the presence of noise and the geometry of data can make the aforementioned problem extremely challenging. We propose a penalised linear regression approach that can deal with the aforementioned issues that affect genetic data. We analyse the gene expression profiles of individuals with a common trait to infer the network structure of interactions among genes. The permutation-based approach leads to more stable and reliable networks inferred from synthetic microarray data. We show that a higher number of permutations determines the number of predicted edges, improves the overall sensitivity and controls the number of false positives. [less ▲]

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See detailGalectin Expression Profiling Identifies Galectin-1 and Galectin-9Δ5 as Prognostic Factors in Stage I/II Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Schulkens, Iris; Heusschen, Roy ULg; Van den boogaart, Vivianne et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(9), 107988

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See detailEstablishment of a murine graft-versus-myeloma model using allogeneic stem cell transplantation
Binsfeld, Marilène ULg; Beguin, Yves ULg; Belle, Ludovic ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), (doi:10.1371), 113764

Background: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant plasma cell disorder with poor long-term survival and high recurrence rates. Despite evidence of graft-versus-myeloma (GvM) effects, the use of allogeneic ... [more ▼]

Background: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant plasma cell disorder with poor long-term survival and high recurrence rates. Despite evidence of graft-versus-myeloma (GvM) effects, the use of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) has remained controversial in MM. In the current study, we investigated the anti-myeloma effects of allo-SCT from B10.D2 mice into MHC-matched myeloma-bearing Balb/cJ mice (previously injected with the MOPC315.BM myeloma cell line), based on a chronic graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) murine model. Methods and results: Balb/cJ mice were injected intravenously with luciferase-transfected MOPC315.BM cells, and received 30 days later an allogeneic (B10.D2 donor) or autologous (Balb/cJ donor) transplantation by intravenous administration of bone marrow cells and splenocytes. We observed a graft-versus-myeloma effect in 94% of the allogeneic transplanted mice, as luciferase signal completely disappeared after transplantation, whereas all the autologous transplanted mice showed myeloma evolution. Lower serum paraprotein levels and myeloma infiltration in bone marrow and spleen in the allogeneic setting confirmed the observed GvM effect, while allogeneic mice also displayed chronic GvHD symptoms. In vivo and in vitro data suggest the involvement of effector memory CD4 and CD8 T cells in the GvM effect. The essential role of CD8 T cells was demonstrated in vivo where CD8 T-cell depletion of the graft resulted in reduced GvM effects. Finally, TCR V spectratyping analysis identified V families within CD4 and CD8 T cells which were associated with both GvM effects and GVHD, whereas other V families within CD4 T cells were associated exclusively with either GvM or GvHD responses. Conclusions: We successfully established an immunocompetent murine model of graft-versus-myeloma. This is the first immunocompetent murine model which is based on a MM model closely resembling human MM disease (bone marrow tropism, ...) and using allo-SCT after the disease establishment, as a curative treatment [less ▲]

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See detailOn the Encoding of Proteins for Disordered Regions Prediction
Becker, Julien ULg; Maes, Francis; Wehenkel, Louis ULg

in PLoS ONE (2013)

Disordered regions, i.e., regions of proteins that do not adopt a stable three-dimensional structure, have been shown to play various and critical roles in many biological processes. Predicting and ... [more ▼]

Disordered regions, i.e., regions of proteins that do not adopt a stable three-dimensional structure, have been shown to play various and critical roles in many biological processes. Predicting and understanding their formation is therefore a key sub-problem of protein structure and function inference. A wide range of machine learning approaches have been developed to automatically predict disordered regions of proteins. One key factor of the success of these methods is the way in which protein information is encoded into features. Recently, we have proposed a systematic methodology to study the relevance of various feature encodings in the context of disulfide connectivity pattern prediction. In the present paper, we adapt this methodology to the problem of predicting disordered regions and assess it on proteins from the 10th CASP competition, as well as on a very large subset of proteins extracted from PDB. Our results, obtained with ensembles of extremely randomized trees, highlight a novel feature function encoding the proximity of residues according to their accessibility to the solvent, which is playing the second most important role in the prediction of disordered regions, just after evolutionary information. Furthermore, even though our approach treats each residue independently, our results are very competitive in terms of accuracy with respect to the state-of-the-art. A web-application is available at http://m24.giga.ulg.ac.be:81/x3Disorder. [less ▲]

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See detailInfluence of ovarian hormones on cortical spreading depression and its suppression by L-kynurenine in rat.
Chauvel, Virginie ULg; Schoenen, Jean ULg; Multon, Sylvie ULg

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(12), 82279

Migraine is sexually dimorphic and associated in 20-30% of patients with an aura most likely caused by cortical spreading depression (CSD). We have previously shown that systemic L-kynurenine (L-KYN), the ... [more ▼]

Migraine is sexually dimorphic and associated in 20-30% of patients with an aura most likely caused by cortical spreading depression (CSD). We have previously shown that systemic L-kynurenine (L-KYN), the precursor of kynurenic acid, suppresses CSD and that this effect depends on the stage of the estrous cycle in female rats. The objectives here are to determine the influence of ovarian hormones on KCl-induced CSD and its suppression after L-KYN by directly modulating estradiol or progesterone levels in ovariectomized rats. Adult female rats were ovariectomized and subcutaneously implanted with silastic capsules filled with progesterone or 17β-estradiol mixed with cholesterol, with cholesterol only or left empty. Two weeks after the ovariectomy/capsule implantation, the animals received an i.p. injection of L-KYN (300 mg/kg) or NaCl as control. Thirty minutes later CSDs were elicited by applying KCl over the occipital cortex and recorded by DC electrocorticogram for 1 hour. The results show that both estradiol and progesterone increase CSD frequency after ovariectomy. The suppressive effect of L-KYN on CSD frequency, previously reported in normal cycling females, is not found anymore after ovariectomy, but reappears after progesterone replacement therapy. Taken together, these results emphasize the complex role of sex hormones on cortical excitability. The CSD increase by estradiol and, more surprisingly, progesterone may explain why clinically migraine with aura appears or worsens during pregnancy or with combined hormonal treatments. [less ▲]

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See detailTrophic Relationships and Habitat Preferences of Delphinids from the Southeastern Brazilian Coast Determined by Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotope Composition
Bisi, Tatiana; Dorneles, Paulo; Lailson-Brito, José et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(12),

To investigate the foraging habitats of delphinids in southeastern Brazil, we analyzed stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes in muscle samples of the following 10 delphinid species: Sotalia ... [more ▼]

To investigate the foraging habitats of delphinids in southeastern Brazil, we analyzed stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes in muscle samples of the following 10 delphinid species: Sotalia guianensis, Stenella frontalis, Tursiops truncatus, Steno bredanensis, Pseudorca crassidens, Delphinus sp., Lagenodelphis hosei, Stenella attenuata, Stenella longirostris and Grampus griseus. We also compared the δ13C and δ15N values among four populations of S. guianensis. Variation in carbon isotope results from coast to ocean indicated that there was a significant decrease in δ13C values from estuarine dolphins to oceanic species. S. guianensis from Guanabara Bay had the highest mean δ13C value, while oceanic species showed significantly lower δ13C values. The highest δ15N values were observed for P. crassidens and T. truncatus, suggesting that these species occupy the highest trophic position among the delphinids studied here. The oceanic species S. attenuata, G. griseus and L. hosei had the lowest δ15N values. Stable isotope analysis showed that the three populations of S. guianensis in coastal bays had different δ13C values, but similar δ15N results. Guiana dolphins from Sepetiba and Ilha Grande bays had different foraging habitat, with specimens from Ilha Grande showing more negative δ13C values. This study provides further information on the feeding ecology of delphinids occurring in southeastern Brazil, with evidence of distinctive foraging habitats and the occupation of different ecological niches by these species in the study area. [less ▲]

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See detailA genome scan conducted in a multigenerational pedigree with convergent strabismus supports a complex genetic determinism.
GEORGES, Anouk ULg; Cambisano, Nadine ULg; Ahariz, Naïma ULg et al

in PloS one (2013), 8(12), 83574

A genome-wide linkage scan was conducted in a Northern-European multigenerational pedigree with nine of 40 related members affected with concomitant strabismus. Twenty-seven members of the pedigree ... [more ▼]

A genome-wide linkage scan was conducted in a Northern-European multigenerational pedigree with nine of 40 related members affected with concomitant strabismus. Twenty-seven members of the pedigree including all affected individuals were genotyped using a SNP array interrogating > 300,000 common SNPs. We conducted parametric and non-parametric linkage analyses assuming segregation of an autosomal dominant mutation, yet allowing for incomplete penetrance and phenocopies. We detected two chromosome regions with near-suggestive evidence for linkage, respectively on chromosomes 8 and 18. The chromosome 8 linkage implied a penetrance of 0.80 and a rate of phenocopy of 0.11, while the chromosome 18 linkage implied a penetrance of 0.64 and a rate of phenocopy of 0. Our analysis excludes a simple genetic determinism of strabismus in this pedigree. [less ▲]

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See detailProteomic Analysis of the Reproductive Organs of the Hermaphroditic Gastropod Lymnea stagnalis Exposed to Different Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Giusti, Arnaud ULg; Leprince, Pierre ULg; Mazzucchelli, Gabriel ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(11), 81086

Many studies have reported perturbations of mollusc reproduction following exposure to low concentrations (ng/L range) of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). However, the mechanisms of action of these ... [more ▼]

Many studies have reported perturbations of mollusc reproduction following exposure to low concentrations (ng/L range) of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). However, the mechanisms of action of these molecules on molluscs are still poorly understood. Investigation of the modifications of protein expression in organisms exposed to chemicals using proteomic methods can provide a broader and more comprehensive understanding of adverse impacts of pollution on organisms than conventional biochemical biomarkers (e.g., heat-shock proteins, metallothioneins, GST, EROD). In this study we have investigated the impacts of four chemicals, which exhibit different endocrine disrupting properties in vertebrates, on the proteome of the hermaphroditic freshwater pulmonate gastropod Lymnaea stagnalis after 21 days of exposure. Testosterone, tributyltin, chlordecone and cyproterone acetate were chosen as tested compounds as they can induce adverse effects on the reproduction of this snail. The 2D-DIGE method was used to identify proteins whose expression was affected by these compounds. In addition to modifying the expression of proteins involved in the structure and function of the cytoskeleton, chemicals had impacts on the expression of proteins involved in the reproduction of L. stagnalis. Exposure to 19.2 μg/L of chlordecone increased the abundance of ovipostatin, a peptide transmitted during mating through seminal fluid, which reduces oviposition in this species. The expression of yolk ferritin, the vitellogenin equivalent in L. stagnalis, was reduced after exposure to 94.2 ng Sn/L of tributyltin. The identification of yolk ferritin and the modification of its expression in snails exposed to chemicals were refined using western blot analysis. Our results showed that the tested compounds influenced the abundance of yolk ferritin in the reproductive organs. Alteration in proteins involved in reproductive pathways (e.g., ovipostatin and yolk ferritin) could constitute relevant evidence of interaction of EDCs with reproductive pathways that are under the control of the endocrine system of L. stagnalis. [less ▲]

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See detailIntroduced goldfish affect amphibians through inhibition of sexual behaviour in risky habitats: an experimental approach
Winandy, Laurane ULg; Denoël, Mathieu ULg

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(11), 82736

The introduction of alien species is one of the major causes of current and global biodiversity loss. The introduction of fish can be a particular threat to native amphibian populations, which are ... [more ▼]

The introduction of alien species is one of the major causes of current and global biodiversity loss. The introduction of fish can be a particular threat to native amphibian populations, which are declining worldwide. One way for amphibians to persist in such altered environments is to adopt anti-predator strategies especially at the behavioural level. However, although it has been shown that avoidance behaviour may decrease the probability of being detected by a potential predator, little is known on the consequences on sexual behaviour. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that adult Alpine newts (Ichthyosaura alpestris) use shelters more often and exhibit less sexual activity in the presence of goldfish (Carassius auratus) and that they reduce sexual activity more in risky micro-habitats than in safe environments. To this end, we assessed behavioural patterns of adult newts in a replicated laboratory design. Goldfish were present in direct contact with newts in half of the tanks. Consistently throughout the study period, significantly more newts used shelter in the presence of fish than in their absence. Newts also significantly decreased their sexual activity level overall, but specially outside the shelter when they were in direct contact with fish. These results show that fish presence can affect newts in complex ways, such as through inhibition of their reproduction. Our work highlights that integrating behaviour in conservation studies is essential to understanding the patterns of coexistence and exclusion between introduced fish and amphibians. [less ▲]

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See detailA Comparison of Two Spelling Brain-Computer Interfaces Based on Visual P3 and SSVEP in Locked-In Syndrome
Combaz, Adrien; Chatelle, Camille ULg; Robben, Arne et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(9), 73691

Objectives: We study the applicability of a visual P3-based and a Steady State Visually Evoked Potentials (SSVEP)-based Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) for mental text spelling on a cohort of patients ... [more ▼]

Objectives: We study the applicability of a visual P3-based and a Steady State Visually Evoked Potentials (SSVEP)-based Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) for mental text spelling on a cohort of patients with incomplete Locked-In Syndrome (LIS). Methods: Seven patients performed repeated sessions with each BCI. We assessed BCI performance, mental workload and overall satisfaction for both systems. We also investigated the effect of the quality of life and level of motor impairment on the performance. Results: All seven patients were able to achieve an accuracy of 70% or more with the SSVEP-based BCI, compared to 3 patients with the P3-based BCI, showing a better performance with the SSVEP BCI than with the P3 BCI in the studied cohort. Moreover, the better performance of the SSVEP-based BCI was accompanied by a lower mental workload and a higher overall satisfaction. No relationship was found between BCI performance and level of motor impairment or quality of life. Conclusion:Our results show a better usability of the SSVEP-based BCI than the P3-based one for the sessions performed by the tested population of locked-in patients with respect to all the criteria considered. The study shows the advantage of developing alternative BCIs with respect to the traditional matrix-based P3 speller using different designs and signal modalities such as SSVEPs to build a faster, more accurate, less mentally demanding and more satisfying BCI by testing both types of BCIs on a convenience sample of LIS patients. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Anti-Tumor Effect of HDAC Inhibition in a Human Pancreas Cancer Model Is Significantly Improved by the Simultaneous Inhibition of Cyclooxygenase 2
Peulen, Olivier ULg; Gonzalez, Arnaud; Peixoto, Paul ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(9), 75102

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the fourth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with no satisfactory treatment to date. In this study, we tested whether the combined inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 ... [more ▼]

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the fourth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with no satisfactory treatment to date. In this study, we tested whether the combined inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and class I histone deacetylase (HDAC) may results in a better control of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The impact of the concomitant HDAC and COX-2 inhibition on cell growth, apoptosis and cell cycle was assessed first in vitro on human pancreas BxPC-3, PANC-1 or CFPAC-1 cells treated with chemical inhibitors (SAHA, MS-275 and celecoxib) or HDAC1/2/3/7 siRNA. To test the potential antitumoral activity of this combination in vivo, we have developed and characterized, a refined chick chorioallantoic membrane tumor model that histologically and proteomically mimics human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The combination of HDAC1/3 and COX-2 inhibition significantly impaired proliferation of BxPC-3 cells in vitro and stalled entirely the BxPC-3 cells tumor growth onto the chorioallantoic membrane in vivo. The combination was more effective than either drug used alone. Consistently, we showed that both HDAC1 and HDAC3 inhibition induced the expression of COX-2 via the NF-kB pathway. Our data demonstrate, for the first time in a Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) model, a significant action of HDAC and COX-2 inhibitors on cancer cell growth, which sets the basis for the development of potentially effective new combinatory therapies for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients. [less ▲]

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See detailProteomic Investigation of Aphid Honeydew Reveals an Unexpected Diversity of Proteins
Sabri, Ahmed; Vandermoten, Sophie ULg; Leroy, Pascal et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(9),

Aphids feed on the phloem sap of plants, and are the most common honeydew-producing insects. While aphid honeydew is primarily considered to comprise sugars and amino acids, its protein diversity has yet ... [more ▼]

Aphids feed on the phloem sap of plants, and are the most common honeydew-producing insects. While aphid honeydew is primarily considered to comprise sugars and amino acids, its protein diversity has yet to be documented. Here, we report on the investigation of the honeydew proteome from the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. Using a two-Dimensional <br />Differential in-Gel Electrophoresis (2D-Dige) approach, more than 140 spots were isolated, demonstrating that aphid honeydew also represents a diverse source of proteins. About 66% of the isolated spots were identified through mass spectrometry analysis, revealing that the protein diversity of aphid honeydew originates from several organisms (i.e. the host aphid and its microbiota, including endosymbiotic bacteria and gut flora). Interestingly, our experiments also allowed to identify some proteins like chaperonin, GroEL and Dnak chaperones, elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), and flagellin that might act as mediators in the plant-aphid interaction. In addition to providing the first aphid honeydew proteome analysis, we propose to reconsider the importance of this substance, mainly acknowledged to be a waste product, from the aphid <br />ecology perspective. [less ▲]

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See detailChanges in Effective Connectivity by Propofol Sedation
Gomez Jaramillo, Francisco Albeiro ULg; Phillips, Christophe ULg; Soddu, Andrea ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(8), 71370

Mechanisms of propofol-induced loss of consciousness remain poorly understood. Recent fMRI studies have shown decreases in functional connectivity during unconsciousness induced by this anesthetic agent ... [more ▼]

Mechanisms of propofol-induced loss of consciousness remain poorly understood. Recent fMRI studies have shown decreases in functional connectivity during unconsciousness induced by this anesthetic agent. Functional connectivity does not provide information of directional changes in the dynamics observed during unconsciousness. The aim of the present study was to investigate, in healthy humans during an auditory task, the changes in effective connectivity resulting from propofol induced loss of consciousness. We used Dynamic Causal Modeling for fMRI (fMRI-DCM) to assess how causal connectivity is influenced by the anesthetic agent in the auditory system. Our results suggest that the dynamic observed in the auditory system during unconsciousness induced by propofol, can result in a mixture of two effects: a local inhibitory connectivity increase and a decrease in the effective connectivity in sensory cortices. [less ▲]

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See detailAltered white matter architecture in BDNF Met carriers
Ziegler, Erik ULg; Foret, Ariane; Mascetti, Laura ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2013)

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) modulates the pruning of synaptically-silent axonal arbors. The Met allele of the BDNF gene is associated with a reduction in the neurotrophin's activity-dependent ... [more ▼]

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) modulates the pruning of synaptically-silent axonal arbors. The Met allele of the BDNF gene is associated with a reduction in the neurotrophin's activity-dependent release. We used di ffusion-weighted imaging to construct structural brain networks for 36 healthy subjects with known BDNF genotypes. Through permutation testing we discovered clear di fferences in connection strength between subjects carrying the Met allele and those homozygotic for the Val allele. We trained a Gaussian process classi fier capable of identifying the subjects' allelic group with 86% accuracy and high predictive value. In Met carriers structural connectivity was greatly increased throughout the forebrain, particularly in connections corresponding to the anterior and superior corona radiata as well as corticothalamic and corticospinal projections from the sensorimotor, premotor and prefrontal portions of the internal capsule. Interhemispheric connectivity was also increased via the corpus callosum and anterior commissure, and extremely high connectivity values were found between inferior medial frontal polar regions via the anterior forceps. We propose that the decreased availability of BDNF leads to de cifits in axonal maintenance in carriers of the Met allele, and that this produces mesoscale changes in white matter architecture. [less ▲]

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See detailAre Bogs Reservoirs for Emerging Disease Vectors? Evaluation of Culicoides Populations in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium)
Zimmer, Jean-Yves ULg; Smeets, François ULg; Simonon, Grégory et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(6),

Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vectors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in northern Europe ... [more ▼]

Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vectors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in northern Europe. Since their recent emergence in this part of the continent, these diseases have caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. Much data is now available that describe the distribution, population dynamics, and feeding habits of these insects. However, little is known regarding the presence of Culicoides in unusual habitats such as peaty marshes, nor their potential vector capacity. This study evaluated Culicoides biting midges present in the bogs of a Belgian nature reserve compared to those residing at a nearby cattle farm. Culicoides were trapped in 2011 at four different sites (broadleaved and coniferous forested areas, open environments, and at a scientific station) located in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium). An additional light trap was operated on a nearby cattle farm. Very high numbers of biting midges were captured in the marshy area and most of them (70 to 95%) were Culicoides impunctatus, a potential vector of BTV and other pathogens. In addition, fewer numbers of C. obsoletus/C. scoticus species, C. chiopterus, and C. dewulfi were observed in the bogs compared to the farm. The wet environment and oligotrophic nature of the soil were probably responsible for these changes in the respective populations. A total of 297,808 Culicoides midges belonging to 27 species were identified during this study and 3 of these species (C. sphagnumensis, C. clintoni and C. comosioculatus) were described in Belgium for the first time. [less ▲]

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