108 research outputs found

    Contribution to the knowledge of the family Otoplanidae Hallez, 1892 (Rhabditophora, Proseriata) in the Mediterranean

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    A growing awareness is rising that present perception of marine biodiversity is inadequate, and based upon unrepresentative data. The inadequacy of knowledge on taxonomy and distribution of marine organisms is particularly acute for interstitial meiofauna, especially for "soft bodied" taxa, which necessitate of observations on both living and fixed specimens. Among these groups, information on Platyhelminthes, a species-rich, ubiquitous and diverse taxon, is at present far from adequate, and is entirely absent for entire biogeographical regions. In this scenario, my research aimed to gather data in the composition and distribution of a family of Platyhelminthes Proseriata, the Otoplanidae Hallez, 1892, in biogeographically significant sectors along the coasts of Mediterranean. The most striking results of a series of sampling campaigns is the great number of new Otoplanidae species found. In this work fifteen new species, belonging to the genus Parotoplana Meixner, 1938 are formally described: P. pythagorae Delogu & Curini-Galletti, 2007; P. spathifera Delogu & Curini-Galletti, 2007; P. terpsichore Delogu & Curini-Galletti, 2007; P. jondelii Delogu & Curini-Galletti, 2007; P. cucullata Delogu et al., 2008; P. fretigaditani Delogu et al., 2008; P. varispinosa Delogu et al., 2008; P. mastigophora Delogu et al., 2008; P. geminispina sp. n., P. crassispina sp. n., P. carthagoensis sp. n., P. ichnusae sp. n., P. pulchrispina sp. n., P. obtusispina sp. n. and P. axii sp. n

    Reproductive system of <i>Lightiella magdalenina</i> (Crustacea, Cephalocarida) = Apparato riproduttore in <i>Lightiella magdalenina</i> (Crustacea, Chefalocarida)

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    The aim of this study was to describe the morphology of the reproductive system of Lightiella magdalenina the only cefalocarid species known from Europe. Two adult specimens and one larval stage of L. magdalenina were analysed with light microscope and findings compared with available data from H. macracantha

    Functional Dissection of the PE Domain Responsible for Translocation of PE_PGRS33 across the Mycobacterial Cell Wall

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    PE are peculiar exported mycobacterial proteins over-represented in pathogenic mycobacterial species. They are characterized by an N-terminal domain of about 110 amino acids (PE domain) which has been demonstrated to be responsible for their export and localization. In this paper, we characterize the PE domain of PE_PGRS33 (PERv1818c), one of the best characterized PE proteins. We constructed several mutated proteins in which portions of the PE domain were deleted or subjected to defined mutations. These proteins were expressed in different mycobacterial species and their localization was characterized. We confirmed that the PE domain is essential for PE_PGRS33 surface localization, and demonstrated that a PE domain lacking its first 30 amino acids loses its function. However, single amino acid substitutions in two regions extremely well conserved within the N-terminal domain of all PE proteins had some effect on the stability of PE_PGRS33, but not on its localization. Using Mycobacterium marinum we could show that the type VII secretion system ESX-5 is essential for PE_PGRS33 export. Moreover, in M. marinum, but not in Mycobacterium bovis BCG and in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the PE domain of PE_PGRS33 is processed and secreted into the culture medium when expressed in the absence of the PGRS domain. Finally, using chimeric proteins in which different portions of the PERv1818c domain were fused to the N-terminus of the green fluorescent protein, we could hypothesize that the first 30 amino acids of the PE domain contain a sequence that allows protein translocation

    Methylated HBHA Produced in M. smegmatis Discriminates between Active and Non-Active Tuberculosis Disease among RD1-Responders

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    A challenge in tuberculosis (TB) research is to develop a new immunological test that can help distinguish, among subjects responsive to QuantiFERON TB Gold In tube (QFT-IT), those who are able to control Mtb replication (remote LTBI, recent infection and past TB) from those who cannot (active TB disease). IFN-\u3b3 response to the Heparin-binding-hemagglutinin (HBHA) of Mtb has been associated with LTBI, but the cumbersome procedures of purifying the methylated and immunological active form of the protein from Mtb or M. bovis Bacillus Calmette et Guerin (BCG) have prevented its implementation in a diagnostic test. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the IFN-\u3b3 response to methylated HBHA of Mtb produced in M. smegmatis (rHBHAms) in individuals at different stages of TB who scored positive to QFT-IT

    Methylated HBHA produced in <i>M. smegmatis</i> discriminates between active and non-active tuberculosis disease among RD1-responders

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    Background. A challenge in tuberculosis (TB) research is to develop a new immunological test that can help distinguish, among subjects responsive to QuantiFERON TB Gold In tube (QFT-IT), those who are able to control Mtb replication (remote LTBI, recent infection and past TB) from those who cannot (active TB disease). IFN-γ; response to the Heparin-binding-hemagglutinin (HBHA) of Mtb has been associated with LTBI, but the cumbersome procedures of purifying the methylated and immunological active form of the protein from Mtb or M. bovis Bacillus Calmette et Guerin (BCG) have prevented its implementation in a diagnostic test. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the IFN-γ response to methylated HBHA of Mtb produced in M. smegmatis (rHBHAms) in individuals at different stages of TB who scored positive to QFT-IT. Methodology/Principal Findings. 87 individuals at different stages of TB who scored positive to QFT-IT were selected. IFN-γ response to in vitro whole blood stimulation with rHBHAms was evaluated by short-term and long-term tests and detected by ELISA or flow cytometry. We demonstrated that the IFN-γ response to rHBHAms is mediated by CD4+ T-cells with an effector-memory phenotype. This response, evaluated by short-term-tests, is significantly lower in active TB than in remote LTBI (p = 0.0010) and past TB (p = 0.0152). These results were confirmed by long-term tests. The qualitative data confirmed that IFN-γ responses higher than the cut-off point identified by ROC analysis are associated with the status of non-active disease. Conclusions. In this study we show that the T-cell response to a recombinant and methylated HBHA of Mtb produced in M. smegmatis is useful to discriminate between active and non-active TB disease among those responsive to QFT-IT in a whole blood system. Further studies are needed to improve the accuracy of the assay

    Patterns of Diversity in Soft-Bodied Meiofauna: Dispersal Ability and Body Size Matter

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    Background: Biogeographical and macroecological principles are derived from patterns of distribution in large organisms, whereas microscopic ones have often been considered uninteresting, because of their supposed wide distribution. Here, after reporting the results of an intensive faunistic survey of marine microscopic animals (meiofauna) in Northern Sardinia, we test for the effect of body size, dispersal ability, and habitat features on the patterns of distribution of several groups.Methodology/Principal Findings: As a dataset we use the results of a workshop held at La Maddalena (Sardinia, Italy) in September 2010, aimed at studying selected taxa of soft-bodied meiofauna (Acoela, Annelida, Gastrotricha, Nemertodermatida, Platyhelminthes and Rotifera), in conjunction with data on the same taxa obtained during a previous workshop hosted at Tjärnö (Western Sweden) in September 2007. Using linear mixed effects models and model averaging while accounting for sampling bias and potential pseudoreplication, we found evidence that: (1) meiofaunal groups with more restricted distribution are the ones with low dispersal potential; (2) meiofaunal groups with higher probability of finding new species for science are the ones with low dispersal potential; (3) the proportion of the global species pool of each meiofaunal group present in each area at the regional scale is negatively related to body size, and positively related to their occurrence in the endobenthic habitat.Conclusion/Significance: Our macroecological analysis of meiofauna, in the framework of the ubiquity hypothesis for microscopic organisms, indicates that not only body size but mostly dispersal ability and also occurrence in the endobenthic habitat are important correlates of diversity for these understudied animals, with different importance at different spatial scales. Furthermore, since the Western Mediterranean is one of the best-studied areas in the world, the large number of undescribed species (37%) highlights that the census of marine meiofauna is still very far from being complete

    Acute Delta Hepatitis in Italy spanning three decades (1991–2019): Evidence for the effectiveness of the hepatitis B vaccination campaign

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    Updated incidence data of acute Delta virus hepatitis (HDV) are lacking worldwide. Our aim was to evaluate incidence of and risk factors for acute HDV in Italy after the introduction of the compulsory vaccination against hepatitis B virus (HBV) in 1991. Data were obtained from the National Surveillance System of acute viral hepatitis (SEIEVA). Independent predictors of HDV were assessed by logistic-regression analysis. The incidence of acute HDV per 1-million population declined from 3.2 cases in 1987 to 0.04 in 2019, parallel to that of acute HBV per 100,000 from 10.0 to 0.39 cases during the same period. The median age of cases increased from 27 years in the decade 1991-1999 to 44 years in the decade 2010-2019 (p &lt; .001). Over the same period, the male/female ratio decreased from 3.8 to 2.1, the proportion of coinfections increased from 55% to 75% (p = .003) and that of HBsAg positive acute hepatitis tested for by IgM anti-HDV linearly decreased from 50.1% to 34.1% (p &lt; .001). People born abroad accounted for 24.6% of cases in 2004-2010 and 32.1% in 2011-2019. In the period 2010-2019, risky sexual behaviour (O.R. 4.2; 95%CI: 1.4-12.8) was the sole independent predictor of acute HDV; conversely intravenous drug use was no longer associated (O.R. 1.25; 95%CI: 0.15-10.22) with this. In conclusion, HBV vaccination was an effective measure to control acute HDV. Intravenous drug use is no longer an efficient mode of HDV spread. Testing for IgM-anti HDV is a grey area requiring alert. Acute HDV in foreigners should be monitored in the years to come

    Evolving trends in the management of acute appendicitis during COVID-19 waves. The ACIE appy II study

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    Background: In 2020, ACIE Appy study showed that COVID-19 pandemic heavily affected the management of patients with acute appendicitis (AA) worldwide, with an increased rate of non-operative management (NOM) strategies and a trend toward open surgery due to concern of virus transmission by laparoscopy and controversial recommendations on this issue. The aim of this study was to survey again the same group of surgeons to assess if any difference in management attitudes of AA had occurred in the later stages of the outbreak. Methods: From August 15 to September 30, 2021, an online questionnaire was sent to all 709 participants of the ACIE Appy study. The questionnaire included questions on personal protective equipment (PPE), local policies and screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection, NOM, surgical approach and disease presentations in 2021. The results were compared with the results from the previous study. Results: A total of 476 answers were collected (response rate 67.1%). Screening policies were significatively improved with most patients screened regardless of symptoms (89.5% vs. 37.4%) with PCR and antigenic test as the preferred test (74.1% vs. 26.3%). More patients tested positive before surgery and commercial systems were the preferred ones to filter smoke plumes during laparoscopy. Laparoscopic appendicectomy was the first option in the treatment of AA, with a declined use of NOM. Conclusion: Management of AA has improved in the last waves of pandemic. Increased evidence regarding SARS-COV-2 infection along with a timely healthcare systems response has been translated into tailored attitudes and a better care for patients with AA worldwide
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