159 research outputs found

    Incorporating B cell activating factor (BAFF) into the membrane of rabies virus (RABV) particles improves the speed and magnitude of vaccine-induced antibody responses.

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    B cell activating factor (BAFF) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily of cytokines that links innate with adaptive immunity. BAFF signals through receptors on B cells, making it an attractive molecule to potentiate vaccine-induced B cell responses. We hypothesized that a rabies virus (RABV)-based vaccine displaying both antigen and BAFF on the surface of the same virus particle would target antigen-specific B cells for activation and improve RABV-specific antibody responses. To test this hypothesis, we constructed a recombinant RABV-based vector expressing virus membrane-anchored murine BAFF (RABV-ED51-mBAFF). BAFF was incorporated into the RABV particle and determined to be biologically functional, as demonstrated by increased B cell survival of primary murine B cells treated ex-vivo with RABV-ED51-mBAFF. B cell survival was inhibited by pre-treating RABV-ED51-mBAFF with an antibody that blocks BAFF functions. RABV-ED51-mBAFF also activated primary murine B cells ex-vivo more effectively than RABV as shown by significant upregulation of CD69, CD40, and MHCII on the surface of infected B cells. In-vivo, RABV-ED51-mBAFF induced significantly faster and higher virus neutralizing antibody (VNA) titers than RABV while not adversely affecting the longevity of the vaccine-induced antibody response. Since BAFF was incorporated into the virus particle and genome replication was not required for BAFF expression in-vivo, we hypothesized that RABV-ED51-mBAFF would be effective as an inactivated vaccine. Mice immunized with 250 ng/mouse of β-propriolactone-inactivated RABV-ED51-mBAFF showed faster and higher anti-RABV VNA titers compared to mice immunized with inactivated RABV. Together, this model stands as a potential foundation for exploring other virus membrane-anchored molecular adjuvants to make safer, more effective inactivated RABV-based vaccines

    APRIL:TACI axis is dispensable for the immune response to rabies vaccination.

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    There is significant need to develop a single-dose rabies vaccine to replace the current multi-dose rabies vaccine regimen and eliminate the requirement for rabies immune globulin in post-exposure settings. To accomplish this goal, rabies virus (RABV)-based vaccines must rapidly activate B cells to secrete antibodies which neutralize pathogenic RABV before it enters the CNS. Increased understanding of how B cells effectively respond to RABV-based vaccines may improve efforts to simplify post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) regimens. Several studies have successfully employed the TNF family cytokine a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) as a vaccine adjuvant. APRIL binds to the receptors TACI and B cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-expressed by B cells in various stages of maturation-with high affinity. We discovered that RABV-infected primary murine B cells upregulate APRIL ex vivo. Cytokines present at the time of antigen exposure affect the outcome of vaccination by influencing T and B cell activation and GC formation. Therefore, we hypothesized that the presence of APRIL at the time of RABV-based vaccine antigen exposure would support the generation of protective antibodies against RABV glycoprotein (G). In an effort to improve the response to RABV vaccination, we constructed and characterized a live recombinant RABV-based vaccine vector which expresses murine APRIL (rRABV-APRIL). Immunogenicity testing in mice demonstrated that expressing APRIL from the RABV genome does not impact the primary antibody response against RABV G compared to RABV alone. In order to evaluate the necessity of APRIL for the response to rabies vaccination, we compared the responses of APRIL-deficient and wild-type mice to immunization with rRABV. APRIL deficiency does not affect the primary antibody response to vaccination. Furthermore, APRIL expression by the vaccine did not improve the generation of long-lived antibody-secreting plasma cells (PCs) as serum antibody levels were equivalent in response to rRABV-APRIL and the vector eight weeks after immunization. Moreover, APRIL is dispensable for the long-lived antibody-secreting PC response to rRABV vaccination as anti-RABV G IgG levels were similar in APRIL-deficient and wild-type mice six months after vaccination. Mice lacking the APRIL receptor TACI demonstrated primary anti-RABV G antibody responses similar to wild-type mice following immunization with the vaccine vector indicating that this response is independent of TACI-mediated signals. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that APRIL and associated TACI signaling is dispensable for the immune response to RABV-based vaccination

    Sexed up: theorizing the sexualization of culture

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    This paper reviews and examines emerging academic approaches to the study of ‘sexualized culture’; an examination made necessary by contemporary preoccupations with sexual values, practices and identities, the emergence of new forms of sexual experience and the apparent breakdown of rules, categories and regulations designed to keep the obscene at bay. The paper maps out some key themes and preoccupations in recent academic writing on sex and sexuality, especially those relating to the contemporary or emerging characteristics of sexual discourse. The key issues of pornographication and democratization, taste formations, postmodern sex and intimacy, and sexual citizenship are explored in detail. </p

    Earliest Archaeological Evidence of Persistent Hominin Carnivory

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    The emergence of lithic technology by ∼2.6 million years ago (Ma) is often interpreted as a correlate of increasingly recurrent hominin acquisition and consumption of animal remains. Associated faunal evidence, however, is poorly preserved prior to ∼1.8 Ma, limiting our understanding of early archaeological (Oldowan) hominin carnivory. Here, we detail three large well-preserved zooarchaeological assemblages from Kanjera South, Kenya. The assemblages date to ∼2.0 Ma, pre-dating all previously published archaeofaunas of appreciable size. At Kanjera, there is clear evidence that Oldowan hominins acquired and processed numerous, relatively complete, small ungulate carcasses. Moreover, they had at least occasional access to the fleshed remains of larger, wildebeest-sized animals. The overall record of hominin activities is consistent through the stratified sequence – spanning hundreds to thousands of years – and provides the earliest archaeological evidence of sustained hominin involvement with fleshed animal remains (i.e., persistent carnivory), a foraging adaptation central to many models of hominin evolution

    Earliest archaeological evidence of persistent hominin carnivory

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    The emergence of lithic technology by ~2.6 million years ago (Ma) is often interpreted as a correlate of increasingly recurrent hominin acquisition and consumption of animal remains. Associated faunal evidence, however, is poorly preserved prior to ~1.8 Ma, limiting our understanding of early archaeological (Oldowan) hominin carnivory. Here, we detail three large well-preserved zooarchaeological assemblages from Kanjera South, Kenya. The assemblages date to ~2.0 Ma, pre-dating all previously published archaeofaunas of appreciable size. At Kanjera, there is clear evidence that Oldowan hominins acquired and processed numerous, relatively complete, small ungulate carcasses. Moreover, they had at least occasional access to the fleshed remains of larger, wildebeest-sized animals. The overall record of hominin activities is consistent through the stratified sequence ??? spanning hundreds to thousands of years ??? and provides the earliest archaeological evidence of sustained hominin involvement with fleshed animal remains (i.e., persistent carnivory), a foraging adaptation central to many models of hominin evolution.This research was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, Leakey Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, National Geographic Society, The Leverhulme Trust, University of California, Baylor University, and the City University of New York. Additional logistical support was provided by the Smithsonian Institution???s Human Origins Program and the Peter Buck Fund for Human Origins Research, the British Institute in Eastern Africa, and the National Museums of Kenya. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript

    Efficient Passive ICS Device Discovery and Identification by MAC Address Correlation

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    Owing to a growing number of attacks, the assessment of Industrial Control Systems (ICSs) has gained in importance. An integral part of an assessment is the creation of a detailed inventory of all connected devices, enabling vulnerability evaluations. For this purpose, scans of networks are crucial. Active scanning, which generates irregular traffic, is a method to get an overview of connected and active devices. Since such additional traffic may lead to an unexpected behavior of devices, active scanning methods should be avoided in critical infrastructure networks. In such cases, passive network monitoring offers an alternative, which is often used in conjunction with complex deep-packet inspection techniques. There are very few publications on lightweight passive scanning methodologies for industrial networks. In this paper, we propose a lightweight passive network monitoring technique using an efficient Media Access Control (MAC) address-based identification of industrial devices. Based on an incomplete set of known MAC address to device associations, the presented method can guess correct device and vendor information. Proving the feasibility of the method, an implementation is also introduced and evaluated regarding its efficiency. The feasibility of predicting a specific device/vendor combination is demonstrated by having similar devices in the database. In our ICS testbed, we reached a host discovery rate of 100% at an identification rate of more than 66%, outperforming the results of existing tools.Comment: http://dx.doi.org/10.14236/ewic/ICS2018.

    The Chandra Source Catalog

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    The Chandra Source Catalog (CSC) is a general purpose virtual X-ray astrophysics facility that provides access to a carefully selected set of generally useful quantities for individual X-ray sources, and is designed to satisfy the needs of a broad-based group of scientists, including those who may be less familiar with astronomical data analysis in the X-ray regime. The first release of the CSC includes information about 94,676 distinct X-ray sources detected in a subset of public ACIS imaging observations from roughly the first eight years of the Chandra mission. This release of the catalog includes point and compact sources with observed spatial extents <~ 30''. The catalog (1) provides access to the best estimates of the X-ray source properties for detected sources, with good scientific fidelity, and directly supports scientific analysis using the individual source data; (2) facilitates analysis of a wide range of statistical properties for classes of X-ray sources; and (3) provides efficient access to calibrated observational data and ancillary data products for individual X-ray sources, so that users can perform detailed further analysis using existing tools. The catalog includes real X-ray sources detected with flux estimates that are at least 3 times their estimated 1 sigma uncertainties in at least one energy band, while maintaining the number of spurious sources at a level of <~ 1 false source per field for a 100 ks observation. For each detected source, the CSC provides commonly tabulated quantities, including source position, extent, multi-band fluxes, hardness ratios, and variability statistics, derived from the observations in which the source is detected. In addition to these traditional catalog elements, for each X-ray source the CSC includes an extensive set of file-based data products that can be manipulated interactively.Comment: To appear in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 53 pages, 27 figure

    Statistical Characterization of the Chandra Source Catalog

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    The first release of the Chandra Source Catalog (CSC) contains ~95,000 X-ray sources in a total area of ~0.75% of the entire sky, using data from ~3,900 separate ACIS observations of a multitude of different types of X-ray sources. In order to maximize the scientific benefit of such a large, heterogeneous data-set, careful characterization of the statistical properties of the catalog, i.e., completeness, sensitivity, false source rate, and accuracy of source properties, is required. Characterization efforts of other, large Chandra catalogs, such as the ChaMP Point Source Catalog (Kim et al. 2007) or the 2 Mega-second Deep Field Surveys (Alexander et al. 2003), while informative, cannot serve this purpose, since the CSC analysis procedures are significantly different and the range of allowable data is much less restrictive. We describe here the characterization process for the CSC. This process includes both a comparison of real CSC results with those of other, deeper Chandra catalogs of the same targets and extensive simulations of blank-sky and point source populations.Comment: To be published in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (Fig. 52 replaced with a version which astro-ph can convert to PDF without issues.

    Connecting Land–Atmosphere Interactions to Surface Heterogeneity in CHEESEHEAD19

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    The Chequamegon Heterogeneous Ecosystem Energy-Balance Study Enabled by a High-Density Extensive Array of Detectors 2019 (CHEESEHEAD19) is an ongoing National Science Foundation project based on an intensive field campaign that occurred from June to October 2019. The purpose of the study is to examine how the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) responds to spatial heterogeneity in surface energy fluxes. One of the main objectives is to test whether lack of energy balance closure measured by eddy covariance (EC) towers is related to mesoscale atmospheric processes. Finally, the project evaluates data-driven methods for scaling surface energy fluxes, with the aim to improve model–data comparison and integration. To address these questions, an extensive suite of ground, tower, profiling, and airborne instrumentation was deployed over a 10 km × 10 km domain of a heterogeneous forest ecosystem in the Chequamegon–Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin, United States, centered on an existing 447-m tower that anchors an AmeriFlux/NOAA supersite (US-PFa/WLEF). The project deployed one of the world’s highest-density networks of above-canopy EC measurements of surface energy fluxes. This tower EC network was coupled with spatial measurements of EC fluxes from aircraft; maps of leaf and canopy properties derived from airborne spectroscopy, ground-based measurements of plant productivity, phenology, and physiology; and atmospheric profiles of wind, water vapor, and temperature using radar, sodar, lidar, microwave radiometers, infrared interferometers, and radiosondes. These observations are being used with large-eddy simulation and scaling experiments to better understand submesoscale processes and improve formulations of subgrid-scale processes in numerical weather and climate models
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