230 research outputs found

    Bim and Bmf synergize to induce apoptosis in Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection

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    Abstract: Bcl-2 family proteins including the pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins are central regulators of apoptotic cell death. Here we show by a focused siRNA miniscreen that the synergistic action of the BH3-only proteins Bim and Bmf is required for apoptosis induced by infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ngo). While Bim and Bmf were associated with the cytoskeleton of healthy cells, they both were released upon Ngo infection. Loss of Bim and Bmf from the cytoskeleton fraction required the activation of Jun-N-terminal kinase-1 (JNK-1), which in turn depended on Rac-1. Depletion and inhibition of Rac-1, JNK-1, Bim, or Bmf prevented the activation of Bak and Bax and the subsequent activation of caspases. Apoptosis could be reconstituted in Bim-depleted and Bmf-depleted cells by additional silencing of antiapoptotic Mcl-1 and Bcl-XL, respectively. Our data indicate a synergistic role for both cytoskeletal-associated BH3-only proteins, Bim, and Bmf, in an apoptotic pathway leading to the clearance of Ngo-infected cells. Author Summary: A variety of physiological death signals, as well as pathological insults, trigger apoptosis, a genetically programmed form of cell death. Pathogens often induce host cell apoptosis to establish a successful infection. Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ngo), the etiological agent of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea, is a highly adapted obligate human-specific pathogen and has been shown to induce apoptosis in infected cells. Here we unveil the molecular mechanisms leading to apoptosis of infected cells. We show that Ngo-mediated apoptosis requires a special subset of proapoptotic proteins from the group of BH3-only proteins. BH3-only proteins act as stress sensors to translate toxic environmental signals to the initiation of apoptosis. In a siRNA-based miniscreen, we found Bim and Bmf, BH3-only proteins associated with the cytoskeleton, necessary to induce host cell apoptosis upon infection. Bim and Bmf inactivated different inhibitors of apoptosis and thereby induced cell death in response to infection. Our data unveil a novel pathway of infection-induced apoptosis that enhances our understanding of the mechanism by which BH3-only proteins control apoptotic cell death

    Overconfidence, incentives and digit ratio

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    This paper contributes to a better understanding of the biological underpinnings of overconfidence by analyzing performance predictions in the Cognitive Reflection Test with and without monetary incentives. In line with the existing literature we find that the participants are too optimistic about their performance on average; incentives lead to higher performance; and males score higher than females on this particular task. The novelty of this paper is an analysis of the relation between participants’ performance prediction accuracy and their second to fourth digit ratio. It has been reported that the digit ratio is a negatively correlated bio-marker of prenatal testosterone exposure. In the un-incentivized treatment, we find that males with low digit ratios, on average, are significantly more overconfident about their performance. In the incentivized treatment, however, we observe that males with low digit ratios, on average, are less overconfident about their performance. These effects are not observed in females. We discuss how these findings fit into the literature on testosterone and decision making and how they might help to explain seemingly opposing evidence

    Do red deer stags (Cervus elaphus) use roar fundamental frequency (F0) to assess rivals?

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    It is well established that in humans, male voices are disproportionately lower pitched than female voices, and recent studies suggest that this dimorphism in fundamental frequency (F0) results from both intrasexual (male competition) and intersexual (female mate choice) selection for lower pitched voices in men. However, comparative investigations indicate that sexual dimorphism in F0 is not universal in terrestrial mammals. In the highly polygynous and sexually dimorphic Scottish red deer Cervus elaphus scoticus, more successful males give sexually-selected calls (roars) with higher minimum F0s, suggesting that high, rather than low F0s advertise quality in this subspecies. While playback experiments demonstrated that oestrous females prefer higher pitched roars, the potential role of roar F0 in male competition remains untested. Here we examined the response of rutting red deer stags to playbacks of re-synthesized male roars with different median F0s. Our results show that stags’ responses (latencies and durations of attention, vocal and approach responses) were not affected by the F0 of the roar. This suggests that intrasexual selection is unlikely to strongly influence the evolution of roar F0 in Scottish red deer stags, and illustrates how the F0 of terrestrial mammal vocal sexual signals may be subject to different selection pressures across species. Further investigations on species characterized by different F0 profiles are needed to provide a comparative background for evolutionary interpretations of sex differences in mammalian vocalizations

    Gratefully received, gratefully repaid:The role of perceived fairness in cooperative interactions

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    It is well documented that people would remunerate fair behaviours and penalize unfair behaviours. It is argued that individuals' reactions following the receipt of a gift depend on the perceived intentions of the donors. Fair intentions should prompt positive affect, like gratitude, triggering cooperative behaviours; while intended unfairness should trigger negative affect, like anger, fostering anti-social actions. It is, however, contended that when people lack information to infer others' intention they may use 'normative' beliefs about fairness - what a typical fair individual 'should' do in these circumstances - to guide their behaviour. In this experiment we examined this assertion. We had 122 participants play a one-shot, double-anonymous game with half playing as potential helpers (P1s) and half as recipients (P2s). Whether a participant was a P1 or P2 was chance-determined and all participants knew this. P1s decided whether to help P2s and whether to make their help unconditional (no repayment needed) or conditional (full or 'taxed' repayment). P2s decided whether to accept the offer and whatever conditions attached but were blind to the list of helping options available to P1s. We anticipated that recipients would refer to the 'injunctive norm' that 'fair people should help "for free" when it is only by chance that they are in a position to help'. Therefore, without knowing P1s' different helping options, unconditional offers should be rated by recipients as fairer than conditional offers, and this should be linked to greater gratitude with greater gratitude linked to greater reciprocation. Path analyses confirmed this serial mediation. The results showed that recipients of unconditional offers, compared to conditional ones, interpreted the helpers' motives as more helpful, experienced greater gratitude and were more eager to reciprocate. The behavioural data further revealed that, when given a latter option to default, 38% of recipients of conditional offers did so

    Serial interferon-gamma release assays during treatment of active tuberculosis in young adults

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>The role of interferon-γ release assay (IGRA) in monitoring responses to anti-tuberculosis (TB) treatment is not clear. We evaluated the results of the QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-tube (QFT-GIT) assay over time during the anti-TB treatment of adults with no underlying disease.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>We enrolled soldiers who were newly diagnosed with active TB and admitted to the central referral military hospital in South Korea between May 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009. For each participant, we preformed QFT-GIT assay before treatment (baseline) and at 1, 3, and 6 months after initiating anti-TB medication.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Of 67 eligible patients, 59 (88.1%) completed the study protocol. All participants were males who were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative and had no chronic diseases. Their median age was 21 years (range, 20-48). Initially, 57 (96.6%) patients had positive QFT-GIT results, and 53 (89.8%), 42 (71.2%), and 39 (66.1%) had positive QFT-GIT results at 1, 3, and 6 months, respectively. The IFN-γ level at baseline was 5.31 ± 5.34 IU/ml, and the levels at 1, 3, and 6 months were 3.95 ± 4.30, 1.82 ± 2.14, and 1.50 ± 2.12 IU/ml, respectively. All patients had clinical and radiologic improvements after treatment and were cured. A lower IFN-γ level, C-reactive protein ≥ 3 mg/dl, and the presence of fever (≥ 38.3°C) at diagnosis were associated with negative reversion of the QFT-GIT assay.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Although the IFN-γ level measured by QFT-GIT assay decreased after successful anti-TB treatment in most participants, less than half of them exhibited QFT-GIT reversion. Thus, the reversion to negativity of the QFT-GIT assay may not be a good surrogate for treatment response in otherwise healthy young patients with TB.</p

    Competition for Cooperation: variability, benefits and heritability of relational wealth in hunter-gatherers

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    Many defining human characteristics including theory of mind, culture and language relate to our sociality, and facilitate the formation and maintenance of cooperative relationships. Therefore, deciphering the context in which our sociality evolved is invaluable in understanding what makes us unique as a species. Much work has emphasised group-level competition, such as warfare, in moulding human cooperation and sociality. However, competition and cooperation also occur within groups; and inter-individual differences in sociality have reported fitness implications in numerous non-human taxa. Here we investigate whether differential access to cooperation (relational wealth) is likely to lead to variation in fitness at the individual level among BaYaka hunter-gatherers. Using economic gift games we find that relational wealth: a) displays individual-level variation; b) provides advantages in buffering food risk, and is positively associated with body mass index (BMI) and female fertility; c) is partially heritable. These results highlight that individual-level processes may have been fundamental in the extension of human cooperation beyond small units of related individuals, and in shaping our sociality. Additionally, the findings offer insight in to trends related to human sociality found from research in other fields such as psychology and epidemiology

    A PALB2 mutation associated with high risk of breast cancer

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    Introduction: As a group, women who carry germline mutations in partner and localizer of breast cancer 2 susceptibility protein (PALB2) are at increased risk of breast cancer. Little is known about by how much or whether risk differs by mutation or family history, owing to the paucity of studies of cases unselected for family history.Methods: We screened 1,403 case probands for PALB2 mutations in a population-based study of Australian women with invasive breast cancer stratified by age at onset. The age-specific risk of breast cancer was estimated from the cancer histories of first- and second-degree relatives of mutation-carrying probands using a modified segregation analysis that included a polygenic modifier and was conditioned on the carrier case proband. Further screening for PALB2 c.3113G > A (W1038X) was conducted for 779 families with multiple cases of breast cancer ascertained through family cancer clinics in Australia and New Zealand and 764 population-based controls.Results: We found five independent case probands in the population-based sample with the protein-truncating mutation PALB2 c.3113G > A (W1038X); 2 of 695 were diagnosed before age 40 years and 3 of 708 were diagnosed when between ages 40 and 59 years. Both of the two early-onset carrier case probands had very strong family histories of breast cancer. Further testing found that the mutation segregated with breast cancer in these families. No c.3113G > A (W1038X) carriers were found in 764 population-based unaffected controls. The hazard ratio was estimated to be 30.1 (95% confidence interval (CI), 7.5 to 120; P A mutation appears to be associated with substantial risks of breast cancer that are of clinical relevance. © 2010 Southey et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd

    Isolation and Mutagenesis of a Capsule-Like Complex (CLC) from Francisella tularensis, and Contribution of the CLC to F. tularensis Virulence in Mice

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    BACKGROUND: Francisella tularensis is a category-A select agent and is responsible for tularemia in humans and animals. The surface components of F. tularensis that contribute to virulence are not well characterized. An electron-dense capsule has been postulated to be present around F. tularensis based primarily on electron microscopy, but this specific antigen has not been isolated or characterized. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A capsule-like complex (CLC) was effectively extracted from the cell surface of an F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) lacking O-antigen with 0.5% phenol after 10 passages in defined medium broth and growth on defined medium agar for 5 days at 32°C in 7% CO₂. The large molecular size CLC was extracted by enzyme digestion, ethanol precipitation, and ultracentrifugation, and consisted of glucose, galactose, mannose, and Proteinase K-resistant protein. Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR showed that expression of genes in a putative polysaccharide locus in the LVS genome (FTL_1432 through FTL_1421) was upregulated when CLC expression was enhanced. Open reading frames FTL_1423 and FLT_1422, which have homology to genes encoding for glycosyl transferases, were deleted by allelic exchange, and the resulting mutant after passage in broth (LVSΔ1423/1422_P10) lacked most or all of the CLC, as determined by electron microscopy, and CLC isolation and analysis. Complementation of LVSΔ1423/1422 and subsequent passage in broth restored CLC expression. LVSΔ1423/1422_P10 was attenuated in BALB/c mice inoculated intranasally (IN) and intraperitoneally with greater than 80 times and 270 times the LVS LD₅₀, respectively. Following immunization, mice challenged IN with over 700 times the LD₅₀ of LVS remained healthy and asymptomatic. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicated that the CLC may be a glycoprotein, FTL_1422 and -FTL_1423 were involved in CLC biosynthesis, the CLC contributed to the virulence of F. tularensis LVS, and a CLC-deficient mutant of LVS can protect mice against challenge with the parent strain
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