868 research outputs found

    Is small beautiful? Understanding the contribution of small businesses in township tourism to economic development

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    The increased importance attached by policy-makers to the anticipated developmental effects of tourism in developing countries has been insufficiently examined by academic researchers, particularly in the context of the contribution of small firms in urban areas. This deficiency is addressed by providing a review of existing research followed by an analysis of interviews with 90 tourism business located within and outside the townships of Langa and Imizamo Yethu, Cape Town, South Africa. The findings reveal tensions between the different actors involved in township tourism. While the involvement of small, locally owned, businesses is beneficial, it is limited by conflicts of interest, lack of trust, limited social networks and little attachment to the township locality. The discussion highlights the complexity of tourism's role in economic development, which has significant implications for local policy-makers

    Female Drosophila melanogaster Gene Expression and Mate Choice: The X Chromosome Harbours Candidate Genes Underlying Sexual Isolation

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    Background: The evolution of female choice mechanisms favouring males of their own kind is considered a crucial step during the early stages of speciation. However, although the genomics of mate choice may influence both the likelihood and speed of speciation, the identity and location of genes underlying assortative mating remain largely unknown. Methods and Findings: We used mate choice experiments and gene expression analysis of female Drosophila melanogaster to examine three key components influencing speciation. We show that the 1,498 genes in Zimbabwean female D. melanogaster whose expression levels differ when mating with more (Zimbabwean) versus less (Cosmopolitan strain) preferred males include many with high expression in the central nervous system and ovaries, are disproportionately X-linked and form a number of clusters with low recombination distance. Significant involvement of the brain and ovaries is consistent with the action of a combination of pre- and postcopulatory female choice mechanisms, while sex linkage and clustering of genes lead to high potential evolutionary rate and sheltering against the homogenizing effects of gene exchange between populations. Conclusion: Taken together our results imply favourable genomic conditions for the evolution of reproductive isolation through mate choice in Zimbabwean D. melanogaster and suggest that mate choice may, in general, act as an even more important engine of speciation than previously realized

    A direct physical interaction between Nanog and Sox2 regulates embryonic stem cell self-renewal

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    Embryonic stem (ES) cell self-renewal efficiency is determined by the Nanog protein level. However, the protein partners of Nanog that function to direct self-renewal are unclear. Here, we identify a Nanog interactome of over 130 proteins including transcription factors, chromatin modifying complexes, phosphorylation and ubiquitination enzymes, basal transcriptional machinery members, and RNA processing factors. Sox2 was identified as a robust interacting partner of Nanog. The purified Nanog–Sox2 complex identified a DNA recognition sequence present in multiple overlapping Nanog/Sox2 ChIP-Seq data sets. The Nanog tryptophan repeat region is necessary and sufficient for interaction with Sox2, with tryptophan residues required. In Sox2, tyrosine to alanine mutations within a triple-repeat motif (S X T/S Y) abrogates the Nanog–Sox2 interaction, alters expression of genes associated with the Nanog-Sox2 cognate sequence, and reduces the ability of Sox2 to rescue ES cell differentiation induced by endogenous Sox2 deletion. Substitution of the tyrosines with phenylalanine rescues both the Sox2–Nanog interaction and efficient self-renewal. These results suggest that aromatic stacking of Nanog tryptophans and Sox2 tyrosines mediates an interaction central to ES cell self-renewal

    Lack of Protection following Passive Transfer of Polyclonal Highly Functional Low-Dose Non-Neutralizing Antibodies

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    Recent immune correlates analysis from the RV144 vaccine trial has renewed interest in the role of non-neutralizing antibodies in mediating protection from infection. While neutralizing antibodies have proven difficult to induce through vaccination, extra-neutralizing antibodies, such as those that mediate antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), are associated with long-term control of infection. However, while several non-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies have been tested for their protective efficacy in vivo, no studies to date have tested the protective activity of naturally produced polyclonal antibodies from individuals harboring potent ADCC activity. Because ADCC-inducing antibodies are highly enriched in elite controllers (EC), we passively transferred highly functional non-neutralizing polyclonal antibodies, purified from an EC, to assess the potential impact of polyclonal non-neutralizing antibodies on a stringent SHIV-SF162P3 challenge in rhesus monkeys. Passive transfer of a low-dose of ADCC inducing antibodies did not protect from infection following SHIV-SF162P3 challenge. Passively administered antibody titers and gp120-specific, but not gp41-specific, ADCC and antibody induced phagocytosis (ADCP) were detected in the majority of the monkeys, but did not correlate with post infection viral control. Thus these data raise the possibility that gp120-specific ADCC activity alone may not be sufficient to control viremia post infection but that other specificities or Fc-effector profiles, alone or in combination, may have an impact on viral control and should be tested in future passive transfer experiments

    Polyfunctional Hiv-Specific Antibody Responses Are Associated with Spontaneous Hiv Control

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    Elite controllers (ECs) represent a unique model of a functional cure for HIV-1 infection as these individuals develop HIV-specific immunity able to persistently suppress viremia. Because accumulating evidence suggests that HIV controllers generate antibodies with enhanced capacity to drive antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) that may contribute to viral containment, we profiled an array of extra-neutralizing antibody effector functions across HIV-infected populations with varying degrees of viral control to define the characteristics of antibodies associated with spontaneous control. While neither the overall magnitude of antibody titer nor individual effector functions were increased in ECs, a more functionally coordinated innate immune–recruiting response was observed. Specifically, ECs demonstrated polyfunctional humoral immune responses able to coordinately recruit ADCC, other NK functions, monocyte and neutrophil phagocytosis, and complement. This functionally coordinated response was associated with qualitatively superior IgG3/IgG1 responses, whereas HIV-specific IgG2/IgG4 responses, prevalent among viremic subjects, were associated with poorer overall antibody activity. Rather than linking viral control to any single activity, this study highlights the critical nature of functionally coordinated antibodies in HIV control and associates this polyfunctionality with preferential induction of potent antibody subclasses, supporting coordinated antibody activity as a goal in strategies directed at an HIV-1 functional cure

    Seasonality and the effects of weather on Campylobacter infections

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    Background Campylobacteriosis is a major public health concern. The weather factors that influence spatial and seasonal distributions are not fully understood. Methods To investigate the impacts of temperature and rainfall on Campylobacter infections in England and Wales, cases of Campylobacter were linked to local temperature and rainfall at laboratory postcodes in the 30 days before the specimen date. Methods for investigation included a comparative conditional incidence, wavelet, clustering, and time series analyses. Results The increase of Campylobacter infections in the late spring was significantly linked to temperature two weeks before, with an increase in conditional incidence of 0.175 cases per 100,000 per week for weeks 17 to 24; the relationship to temperature was not linear. Generalized structural time series model revealed that changes in temperature accounted for 33.3% of the expected cases of Campylobacteriosis, with an indication of the direction and relevant temperature range. Wavelet analysis showed a strong annual cycle with additional harmonics at four and six months. Cluster analysis showed three clusters of seasonality with geographic similarities representing metropolitan, rural, and other areas. Conclusions The association of Campylobacteriosis with temperature is likely to be indirect. High-resolution spatial temporal linkage of weather parameters and cases is important in improving weather associations with infectious diseases. The primary driver of Campylobacter incidence remains to be determined; other avenues, such as insect contamination of chicken flocks through poor biosecurity should be explored

    Selective Breeding for a Behavioral Trait Changes Digit Ratio

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    The ratio of the length of the second digit (index finger) divided by the fourth digit (ring finger) tends to be lower in men than in women. This 2D∶4D digit ratio is often used as a proxy for prenatal androgen exposure in studies of human health and behavior. For example, 2D∶4D ratio is lower (i.e. more “masculinized”) in both men and women of greater physical fitness and/or sporting ability. Lab mice have also shown variation in 2D∶4D as a function of uterine environment, and mouse digit ratios seem also to correlate with behavioral traits, including daily activity levels. Selective breeding for increased rates of voluntary exercise (wheel running) in four lines of mice has caused correlated increases in aerobic exercise capacity, circulating corticosterone level, and predatory aggression. Here, we show that this selection regime has also increased 2D∶4D. This apparent “feminization” in mice is opposite to the relationship seen between 2D∶4D and physical fitness in human beings. The present results are difficult to reconcile with the notion that 2D∶4D is an effective proxy for prenatal androgen exposure; instead, it may more accurately reflect effects of glucocorticoids, or other factors that regulate any of many genes

    Search for new phenomena in final states with an energetic jet and large missing transverse momentum in pp collisions at √ s = 8 TeV with the ATLAS detector

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    Results of a search for new phenomena in final states with an energetic jet and large missing transverse momentum are reported. The search uses 20.3 fb−1 of √ s = 8 TeV data collected in 2012 with the ATLAS detector at the LHC. Events are required to have at least one jet with pT > 120 GeV and no leptons. Nine signal regions are considered with increasing missing transverse momentum requirements between Emiss T > 150 GeV and Emiss T > 700 GeV. Good agreement is observed between the number of events in data and Standard Model expectations. The results are translated into exclusion limits on models with either large extra spatial dimensions, pair production of weakly interacting dark matter candidates, or production of very light gravitinos in a gauge-mediated supersymmetric model. In addition, limits on the production of an invisibly decaying Higgs-like boson leading to similar topologies in the final state are presente

    Jet energy measurement with the ATLAS detector in proton-proton collisions at root s=7 TeV