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See detailNest grouping patterns of bonobos (Pan paniscus) in relation to fruit availability in a forest-savannah mosaic
Serckx, Adeline ULg; Huynen, Marie-Claude ULg; Bastin, Jean-François ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2014)

A topic of major interest in socio-ecology is the comparison of chimpanzees and bonobos’ grouping patterns. Numerous studies have highlighted the impact of social and environmental factors on the ... [more ▼]

A topic of major interest in socio-ecology is the comparison of chimpanzees and bonobos’ grouping patterns. Numerous studies have highlighted the impact of social and environmental factors on the different evolution in group cohesion seen in these sister species. We are still lacking, however, key information about bonobo social traits across their habitat range, in order to make accurate inter-species comparisons. In this study we investigated bonobo social cohesiveness at nesting sites depending on fruit availability in the forest-savannah mosaic of western Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a bonobo habitat which has received little attention from researchers and is characterized by high food resource variation within years. We collected data on two bonobo communities. Nest counts at nesting sites were used as a proxy for night grouping patterns and were analysed with regard to fruit availability. We also modelled bonobo population density at the site in order to investigate yearly variation. We found that one community density varied across the three years of surveys, suggesting that this bonobo community has significant variability in use of its home range. This finding highlights the importance of forest connectivity, a likely prerequisite for the ability of bonobos to adapt their ranging patterns to fruit availability changes. We found no influence of overall fruit availability on bonobo cohesiveness. Only fruit availability at the nesting sites showed a positive influence, indicating that bonobos favour food ‘hot spots’ as sleeping sites. Our findings have confirmed the results obtained from previous studies carried out in the dense tropical forests of DRC. Nevertheless, in order to clarify the impact of environmental variability on bonobo social cohesiveness, we will need to make direct observations of the apes in the forest-savannah mosaic as well as make comparisons across the entirety of the bonobos’ range using systematic methodology. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification of Metabolic Pathways Expressed by Pichia anomala KH6 in the Presence of the Pathogen Botrytis cinerea on Apple: New Possible Targets for Biocontrol Improvement
Kwasiborski, Anthony; Bajji, Mohammed; Renaut, J. et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(3),

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See detailCombining PET images and neuropsychological test data for automatic diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
Segovia-Román, Fermín ULg; Bastin, Christine ULg; Salmon, Eric ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(2),

In recent years, several approaches to develop computer aided diagnosis (CAD) systems for dementia have been proposed. Some of these systems analyze neurological brain images by means of machine learning ... [more ▼]

In recent years, several approaches to develop computer aided diagnosis (CAD) systems for dementia have been proposed. Some of these systems analyze neurological brain images by means of machine learning algorithms in order to find the patterns that characterize the disorder, and a few combine several imaging modalities to improve the diagnostic accuracy. However, they usually do not use neuropsychological testing data in that analysis. The purpose of this work is to measure the advantages of using not only neuroimages as data source in CAD systems for dementia but also neuropsychological scores. To this aim, we compared the accuracy rates achieved by systems that use neuropsychological scores beside the imaging data in the classification step and systems that use only one of these data sources. In order to address the small sample size problem and facilitate the data combination, a dimensionality reduction step (implemented using three different algorithms) was also applied on the imaging data. After each image is summarized in a reduced set of image features, the data sources were combined and classified using three different data combination approaches and a Support Vector Machine classifier. That way, by testing different dimensionality reduction methods and several data combination approaches, we aim not only highlighting the advantages of using neuropsychological scores in the classification, but also implementing the most accurate computer system for early dementia detention. The accuracy of the CAD systems were estimated using a database with records from 46 subjects, diagnosed with MCI or AD. A peak accuracy rate of 89% was obtained. In all cases the accuracy achieved using both, neuropsychological scores and imaging data, was substantially higher than the one obtained using only the imaging data. [less ▲]

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See detailDo Photobiont Switch and Cephalodia Emancipation Act as Evolutionary Drivers in the Lichen Symbiosis? A Case Study in the Pannariaceae (Peltigerales)
Magain, Nicolas ULg; Sérusiaux, Emmanuël ULg

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(2), 89876

Lichen symbioses in the Pannariaceae associate an ascomycete and either cyanobacteria alone (usually Nostoc; bipartite thalli) or green algae and cyanobacteria (cyanobacteria being located in dedicated ... [more ▼]

Lichen symbioses in the Pannariaceae associate an ascomycete and either cyanobacteria alone (usually Nostoc; bipartite thalli) or green algae and cyanobacteria (cyanobacteria being located in dedicated structures called cephalodia; tripartite thalli) as photosynthetic partners (photobionts). In bipartite thalli, cyanobacteria can either be restricted to a well-delimited layer within the thallus (‘pannarioid’ thalli) or spread over the thallus that becomes gelatinous when wet (‘collematoid’ thalli). We studied the collematoid genera Kroswia and Physma and an undescribed tripartite species along with representatives of the pannarioid genera Fuscopannaria, Pannaria and Parmeliella. Molecular inferences from 4 loci for the fungus and 1 locus for the photobiont and statistical analyses within a phylogenetic framework support the following: (a) several switches from pannarioid to collematoid thalli occured and are correlated with photobiont switches; the collematoid genus Kroswia is nested within the pannarioid genus Fuscopannaria and the collematoid genus Physma is sister to the pannarioid Parmeliella mariana group; (b) Nostoc associated with collematoid thalli in the Pannariaceae are related to that of the Collemataceae (which contains only collematoid thalli), and never associated with pannarioid thalli; Nostoc associated with pannarioid thalli also associate in other families with similar morphology; (c) ancestors of several lineages in the Pannariaceae developed tripartite thalli, bipartite thalli probably resulting from cephalodia emancipation from tripartite thalli which eventually evolved and diverged, as suggested by the same Nostoc present in the collematoid genus Physma and in the cephalodia of a closely related tripartite species; Photobiont switches and cephalodia emancipation followed by divergence are thus suspected to act as evolutionary drivers in the family Pannariaceae. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh Diversity in Cretaceous Ichthyosaurs from Europe Prior to Their Extinction
Fischer, Valentin ULg; Bardet, Nathalie; Guiomar, Myette et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(1), 84709

Background: Ichthyosaurs are reptiles that inhabited the marine realm during most of the Mesozoic. Their Cretaceous representatives have traditionally been considered as the last survivors of a group ... [more ▼]

Background: Ichthyosaurs are reptiles that inhabited the marine realm during most of the Mesozoic. Their Cretaceous representatives have traditionally been considered as the last survivors of a group declining since the Jurassic. Recently, however, an unexpected diversity has been described in Upper Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous deposits, but is widely spread across time and space, giving small clues on the adaptive potential and ecosystem control of the last ichthyosaurs. The famous but little studied English Gault Formation and ‘greensands’ deposits (the Upper Greensand Formation and the Cambridge Greensand Member of the Lower Chalk Formation) offer an unprecedented opportunity to investigate this topic, containing thousands of ichthyosaur remains spanning the Early–Late Cretaceous boundary. Methodology/Principal findings: To assess the diversity of the ichthyosaur assemblage from these sedimentary bodies, we recognized morphotypes within each type of bones. We grouped these morphotypes together, when possible, by using articulated specimens from the same formations and from new localities in the Vocontian Basin (France); a revised taxonomic scheme is proposed. We recognize the following taxa in the ‘greensands’: the platypterygiines ‘Platypterygius’ sp. and Sisteronia seeleyi gen. et sp. nov., indeterminate ophthalmosaurines and the rare incertae sedis Cetarthrosaurus walkeri. The taxonomic diversity of late Albian ichthyosaurs now matches that of older, well-known intervals such as the Toarcian or the Tithonian. Contrasting tooth shapes and wear patterns suggest that these ichthyosaurs colonized three distinct feeding guilds, despite the presence of numerous plesiosaur taxa. Conclusion/Significance: Western Europe was a diversity hot-spot for ichthyosaurs a few million years prior to their final extinction. By contrast, the low diversity in Australia and U.S.A. suggests strong geographical disparities in the diversity pattern of Albian–early Cenomanian ichthyosaurs. This provides a whole new context to investigate the extinction of these successful marine reptiles, at the end of the Cenomanian. [less ▲]

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See detailStrategies for Using the Sheep Ovarian Cortex as a Model in Reproductive Medicine
Fransolet, Maïté ULg; Labied, Soraya ULg; HENRY, Laurie ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(3), 91073

Objective: To evaluate and compare the distribution and density of primordial follicles within a whole sheep ovary and to gain insight into how to overcome the impact of natural follicular heterogeneity ... [more ▼]

Objective: To evaluate and compare the distribution and density of primordial follicles within a whole sheep ovary and to gain insight into how to overcome the impact of natural follicular heterogeneity on the experimental results. Design: Histological study. Setting: Academic research center. Animals: Five- to nine-month-old ewes. Interventions: Freshly sampled whole sheep ovaries were collected and prepared for histological analysis. Main Outcome Measure(s): The follicular densities and distributions were determined for hematoxylin and eosin sections. A mathematical model was derived based on the follicle counts and Monte-Carlo simulations. Results: Heterogeneous distributions and densities of primordial follicles were identified 1) for distinct areas of the same ovarian cortex, 2) between the ovaries of the same animal and 3) across different ewes. A mathematical model based on the analysis of 37,153 primordial follicles from 8 different ovaries facilitated the estimation of the number of cortical biopsies and sections that had to be analyzed to overcome such heterogeneity. Conclusion: The influence of physiological follicular heterogeneity on experimental and clinical results can be overcome when a definite number of cortical pieces and sections are taken into consideration. [less ▲]

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See detailHow Does Pollen Chemistry Impact Development and Feeding Behaviour of Polylectic Bees?
Vanderplanck, Maryse; Moerman, Romain; Rasmont, Pierre et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(1), 9

Larvae and imagos of bees rely exclusively on floral rewards as a food source but host-plant range can vary greatly among bee species. While oligolectic species forage on pollen from a single family of ... [more ▼]

Larvae and imagos of bees rely exclusively on floral rewards as a food source but host-plant range can vary greatly among bee species. While oligolectic species forage on pollen from a single family of host plants, polylectic bees, such as bumblebees, collect pollen from many families of plants. These polylectic species contend with interspecific variability in essential nutrients of their host-plants but we have only a limited understanding of the way in which chemicals and chemical combinations influence bee development and feeding behaviour. In this paper, we investigated five different pollen diets (Calluna vulgaris, Cistus sp., Cytisus scoparius, Salix caprea and Sorbus aucuparia) to determine how their chemical content affected bumblebee colony development and pollen/syrup collection. Three compounds were used to characterise pollen content: polypeptides, amino acids and sterols. Several parameters were used to determine the impact of diet on micro-colonies: (i) Number and weight of larvae (total and mean weight of larvae), (ii) weight of pollen collected, (iii) pollen efficacy (total weight of larvae divided by weight of the pollen collected) and (iv) syrup collection. Our results show that pollen collection is similar regardless of chemical variation in pollen diet while syrup collection is variable. Micro-colonies fed on S. aucuparia and C. scoparius pollen produced larger larvae (i.e. better mates and winter survivors) and fed less on nectar compared to the other diets. Pollen from both of these species contains 24-methylenecholesterol and high concentrations of polypeptides/total amino acids. This pollen nutritional “theme” seems therefore to promote worker reproduction in B. terrestris micro-colonies and could be linked to high fitness for queenright colonies. As workers are able to selectively forage on pollen of high chemical quality, plants may be evolutionarily selected for their pollen content, which might attract and increase the degree of fidelity of generalist pollinators, such as bumblebees. [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of adenosine on lymphangiogenesis.
Lenoir, Bénédicte ULg; Wagner, Daniel R.; Blacher, Silvia ULg et al

in PloS one (2014), 9(3), 92715

BACKGROUND: The lymphatic system controls tissue homeostasis by draining protein-rich lymph to the vascular system. Lymphangiogenesis, the formation of lymphatic vessels, is a normal event in childhood ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: The lymphatic system controls tissue homeostasis by draining protein-rich lymph to the vascular system. Lymphangiogenesis, the formation of lymphatic vessels, is a normal event in childhood but promotes tumor spread and metastasis during adulthood. Blocking lymphangiogenesis may therefore be of therapeutic interest. Production of adenosine is enhanced in the tumor environment and contributes to tumor progression through stimulation of angiogenesis. In this study, we determined whether adenosine affects lymphangiogenesis. METHODS: Lymphatic endothelial cells (HMVEC-dLy) were cultured in presence of adenosine and their proliferation, migration and tube formation was assessed. Gelatin sponges embedded with the stable analogue of adenosine 2-chloro adenosine were implanted in mice ear and lymphangiogenesis was quantified. Mice were intravenously injected with adenoviruses containing expression vector for 5'-endonucleotidase, which plays a major role in the formation of adenosine. RESULTS: In vitro, we observed that adenosine decreased the proliferation of lymphatic endothelial cells, their migration and tube formation. However, in vivo, gelatin sponges containing 2-chloro adenosine and implanted in mice ear displayed an elevated level of lymphangiogenesis (2.5-fold, p<0.001). Adenovirus-mediated over-expression of cytosolic 5'-nucleotidase IA stimulated lymphangiogenesis and the recruitment of macrophages in mouse liver. Proliferation of lymphatic endothelial cells was enhanced (2-fold, p<0.001) when incubated in the presence of conditioned medium from murine macrophages. CONCLUSION: We have shown that adenosine stimulates lymphangiogenesis in vivo, presumably through a macrophage-mediated mechanism. This observation suggests that blockade of adenosine receptors may help in anti-cancer therapies. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Dimethylsulfide Cycle in the Eutrophied Southern North Sea: A Model Study Integrating Phytoplankton and Bacterial Processes
Gypens, N; Borges, Alberto ULg; Speeckaert, Gaëlle ULg et al

in Plos One (2014), 9(1)(e85862 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085862),

We developed a module describing the dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and dimethylsulfide (DMS) dynamics, including biological transformations by phytoplankton and bacteria, and physico-chemical ... [more ▼]

We developed a module describing the dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and dimethylsulfide (DMS) dynamics, including biological transformations by phytoplankton and bacteria, and physico-chemical processes (including DMS air-sea exchange). This module was integrated in the MIRO ecological model and applied in a 0D frame in the Southern North Sea (SNS). The DMS(P) module is built on parameterizations derived from available knowledge on DMS(P) sources, transformations and sinks, and provides an explicit representation of bacterial activity in contrast to most of existing models that only include phytoplankton process (and abiotic transformations). The model is tested in a highly productive coastal ecosystem (the Belgian coastal zone, BCZ) dominated by diatoms and the Haptophyceae Phaeocystis, respectively low and high DMSP producers. On an annual basis, the particulate DMSP (DMSPp) production simulated in 1989 is mainly related to Phaeocystis colonies (78%) rather than diatoms (13%) and nanoflagellates (9%). Accordingly, sensitivity analysis shows that the model responds more to changes in the sulfur:carbon (S:C) quota and lyase yield of Phaeocystis. DMS originates equally from phytoplankton and bacterial DMSP-lyase activity and only 3% of the DMS is emitted to the atmosphere. Model analysis demonstrates the sensitivity of DMS emission towards the atmosphere to the description and parameterization of biological processes emphasizing the need of adequately representing in models both phytoplankton and bacterial processes affecting DMS(P) dynamics. This is particularly important in eutrophied coastal environments such as the SNS dominated by high non-diatom blooms and where empirical models developed from data-sets biased towards open ocean conditions do not satisfactorily predict the timing and amplitude of the DMS seasonal cycle. In order to predict future feedbacks of DMS emissions on climate, it is needed to account for hotspots of DMS emissions from coastal environments that, if eutrophied, are dominated not only by diatoms. [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 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 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 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 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 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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