1,815 research outputs found

    Genetic elimination of field-cage populations of Mediterranean fruit flies

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    The Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly, Ceratitis capitata Wiedemann) is a pest of over 300 fruits, vegetables and nuts. The sterile insect technique (SIT) is a control measure used to reduce the reproductive potential of populations through the mass release of sterilized male insects that mate with wild females. However, SIT flies can display poor field performance, due to the effects of mass-rearing and of the irradiation process used for sterilization. The development of female-lethal RIDL (release of insects carrying a dominant lethal) strains for medfly can overcome many of the problems of SIT associated with irradiation. Here, we present life-history characterizations for two medfly RIDL strains, OX3864A and OX3647Q. Our results show (i) full functionality of RIDL, (ii) equivalency of RIDL and wild-type strains for life-history characteristics, and (iii) a high level of sexual competitiveness against both wild-type and wild-derived males. We also present the first proof-of-principle experiment on the use of RIDL to eliminate medfly populations. Weekly releases of OX3864A males into stable populations of wild-type medfly caused a successive decline in numbers, leading to eradication. The results show that genetic control can provide an effective alternative to SIT for the control of pest insects

    Rapid TeV variability in Blazars as result of Jet-Star Interaction

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    We propose a new model for the description of ultra-short flares from TeV blazars by compact magnetized condensations (blobs), produced when red giant stars cross the jet close to the central black hole. Our study includes a simple dynamical model for the evolution of the envelope lost by the star in the jet, and its high energy nonthermal emission through different leptonic and hadronic radiation mechanisms. We show that the fragmented envelope of the star can be accelerated to Lorentz factors up to 100 and radiate effectively the available energy in gamma-rays predominantly through proton synchrotron radiation or external inverse Compton scattering of electrons. The model can readily explain the minute-scale TeV flares on top of longer (typical time-scales of days) gamma-ray variability as observed from the blazar PKS 2155-304. In the framework of the proposed scenario, the key parameters of the source are robustly constrained. In the case of proton synchrotron origin of the emission a mass of the central black hole of MBH108MM_{\rm BH}\approx 10^8 M_{\odot}, a total jet power of Lj2×1047ergs1L_{\rm j} \approx 2\times 10^{47} \, \rm erg\,s^{-1} and a Doppler factor, of the gamma-ray emitting blobs, of δ40\delta\geq 40 are required. Whilst for the external inverse Compton model, parameters of MBH108MM_{\rm BH}\approx 10^8 M_{\odot}, Lj1046ergs1L_{\rm j} \approx 10^{46} \, \rm erg\,s^{-1} and the δ150\delta\geq 150 are required.Comment: 25 pages, 11 figures, Submitted to Ap

    Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers from the olive fly, Bactrocera oleae, and their cross-species amplification in the Tephritidae family

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>The Tephritidae family of insects includes the most important agricultural pests of fruits and vegetables, belonging mainly to four genera (<it>Bactrocera, Ceratitis, Anastrepha </it>and <it>Rhagoletis</it>). The olive fruit fly, <it>Bactrocera oleae</it>, is the major pest of the olive fruit. Currently, its control is based on chemical insecticides. Environmentally friendlier methods have been attempted in the past (Sterile Insect Technique), albeit with limited success. This was mainly attributed to the lack of knowledge on the insect's behaviour, ecology and genetic structure of natural populations. The development of molecular markers could facilitate the access in the genome and contribute to the solution of the aforementioned problems. We chose to focus on microsatellite markers due to their abundance in the genome, high degree of polymorphism and easiness of isolation.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Fifty-eight microsatellite-containing clones were isolated from the olive fly, <it>Bactrocera oleae</it>, bearing a total of sixty-two discrete microsatellite motifs. Forty-two primer pairs were designed on the unique sequences flanking the microsatellite motif and thirty-one of them amplified a PCR product of the expected size. The level of polymorphism was evaluated against wild and laboratory flies and the majority of the markers (93.5%) proved highly polymorphic. Thirteen of them presented a unique position on the olive fly polytene chromosomes by <it>in situ </it>hybridization, which can serve as anchors to correlate future genetic and cytological maps of the species, as well as entry points to the genome. Cross-species amplification of these markers to eleven Tephritidae species and sequencing of thirty-one of the amplified products revealed a varying degree of conservation that declines outside the <it>Bactrocera </it>genus.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Microsatellite markers are very powerful tools for genetic and population analyses, particularly in species deprived of any other means of genetic analysis. The presented set of microsatellite markers possesses all features that would render them useful in such analyses. This could also prove helpful for species where SIT is a desired outcome, since the development of effective SIT can be aided by detailed knowledge at the genetic and molecular level. Furthermore, their presented efficacy in several other species of the Tephritidae family not only makes them useful for their analysis but also provides tools for phylogenetic comparisons among them.</p

    Conditional embryonic lethality to improve the sterile insect technique in Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae)

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>The sterile insect technique (SIT) is an environment-friendly method used in area-wide pest management of the Mediterranean fruit fly <it>Ceratitis capitata </it>(Wiedemann; Diptera: Tephritidae). Ionizing radiation used to generate reproductive sterility in the mass-reared populations before release leads to reduction of competitiveness.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Here, we present a first alternative reproductive sterility system for medfly based on transgenic embryonic lethality. This system is dependent on newly isolated medfly promoter/enhancer elements of cellularization-specifically-expressed genes. These elements act differently in expression strength and their ability to drive lethal effector gene activation. Moreover, position effects strongly influence the efficiency of the system. Out of 60 combinations of driver and effector construct integrations, several lines resulted in larval and pupal lethality with one line showing complete embryonic lethality. This line was highly competitive to wildtype medfly in laboratory and field cage tests.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>The high competitiveness of the transgenic lines and the achieved 100% embryonic lethality causing reproductive sterility without the need of irradiation can improve the efficacy of operational medfly SIT programs.</p

    Modeling the hard TeV spectra of blazars 1ES 0229+200 and 3C 66A with an internal absorption scenario

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    We study the applicability of the idea of internal absorption of gamma-rays produced through synchrotron radiation of ultrarelativistic protons in highly magnetized blobs to 1ES 0229+200 and 3C 66A, the two TeV blazars which show unusually hard intrinsic gamma-ray spectra after being corrected for the intergalactic absorption. We show that for certain combinations of reasonable model parameters, even with quite modest energy requirements, the scenario allows a self-consistent explanation of the non-thermal emission of these objects in the keV, GeV, and TeV energy bands.Comment: 34 pages, 5 figures, 1 table, accepted for publication in Ap

    Constraints on the χ_(c1) versus χ_(c2) polarizations in proton-proton collisions at √s = 8 TeV

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    The polarizations of promptly produced χ_(c1) and χ_(c2) mesons are studied using data collected by the CMS experiment at the LHC, in proton-proton collisions at √s=8  TeV. The χ_c states are reconstructed via their radiative decays χ_c → J/ψγ, with the photons being measured through conversions to e⁺e⁻, which allows the two states to be well resolved. The polarizations are measured in the helicity frame, through the analysis of the χ_(c2) to χ_(c1) yield ratio as a function of the polar or azimuthal angle of the positive muon emitted in the J/ψ → μ⁺μ⁻ decay, in three bins of J/ψ transverse momentum. While no differences are seen between the two states in terms of azimuthal decay angle distributions, they are observed to have significantly different polar anisotropies. The measurement favors a scenario where at least one of the two states is strongly polarized along the helicity quantization axis, in agreement with nonrelativistic quantum chromodynamics predictions. This is the first measurement of significantly polarized quarkonia produced at high transverse momentum

    Browning formation markers of subcutaneous adipose tissue in relation to resting energy expenditure, physical activity and diet in humans

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    © 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. Regular exercise and diet may contribute to white adipose tissue (WAT) conversion into a brown adipose-like phenotype that may increase resting energy expenditure (REE), leading to weight loss. We examined the relationship between REE, physical activity (PA) participation and diet with browning formation markers of subcutaneous WAT in healthy men. We assessed REE, diet and body composition of 32 healthy men [age (years): 36.06 ± 7.36, body mass index (BMI): 27.06 ± 4.62 (kg/m 2 )]. Participants also underwent measurements of PA [metabolic equivalent (MET)-min/week] using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), while they undertook a subcutaneous fat biopsy from the abdominal region to assess the mRNA expressions of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1α), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ). We found no associations between the UCP1, PGC-1α, PPARα and PPARγ mRNAs with REE, PA levels and diet (p > 0.05). However, the PGC-1α, PPARα and PPARγ mRNAs were more expressed in individuals displaying moderate rather than low PA levels (p < 0.05). Furthermore, PGC-1α, PPARα and PPARγ mRNAs were negatively correlated with fat mass percentage (p < 0.05). PGC-1α and PPARα mRNAs were also negatively correlated with BMI, while PGC-1α mRNA was inversely associated with waist-to-hip ratio (p < 0.05). REE, PA levels and diet are not associated with browning formation indices of subcutaneous adipose tissue in healthy adult men.This study was supported by funding from the European Union 7th Framework Program (FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IRSES grant 319010; FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES grant 612547). A.V. was supported by funding from the Education and Lifelong Learning Programme of the Greek Ministry of Education, Co-financed by Greece and the European Union (NSRF 2007–2013, IRAKLITOS II, grant 162).Published versio

    Booster vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 induces potent immune responses in people with HIV

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    BACKGROUND: People with HIV on antiretroviral therapy with good CD4 T cell counts make effective immune responses following vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. There are few data on longer term responses and the impact of a booster dose. METHODS: Adults with HIV were enrolled into a single arm open label study. Two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 were followed twelve months later by a third heterologous vaccine dose. Participants had undetectable viraemia on ART and CD4 counts >350 cells/µl. Immune responses to the ancestral strain and variants of concern were measured by anti-spike IgG ELISA, MesoScale Discovery (MSD) anti-spike platform, ACE-2 inhibition, Activation Induced Marker (AIM) assay and T cell proliferation. FINDINGS: 54 participants received two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. 43 received a third dose (42 with BNT162b2; 1 with mRNA-1273) one year after the first dose. After the third dose, total anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike IgG titres (MSD), ACE-2 inhibition and IgG ELISA results were significantly higher compared to Day 182 titres (P < 0.0001 for all three). SARS-CoV-2 specific CD4+ T cell responses measured by AIM against SARS-CoV-2 S1 and S2 peptide pools were significantly increased after a third vaccine compared to 6 months after a first dose, with significant increases in proliferative CD4 + and CD8+ T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 S1 and S2 after boosting. Responses to Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants were boosted, although to a lesser extent for Omicron. CONCLUSIONS: In PWH receiving a third vaccine dose, there were significant increases in B and T cell immunity, including to known VOCs

    Expression of type I interferon-associated genes at antiretroviral therapy interruption predicts HIV virological rebound

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    Although certain individuals with HIV infection can stop antiretroviral therapy (ART) without viral load rebound, the mechanisms under-pinning 'post-treatment control' remain unclear. Using RNA-Seq we explored CD4 T cell gene expression to identify evidence of a mechanism that might underpin virological rebound and lead to discovery of associated biomarkers. Fourteen female participants who received 12 months of ART starting from primary HIV infection were sampled at the time of stopping therapy. Two analysis methods (Differential Gene Expression with Gene Set Enrichment Analysis, and Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis) were employed to interrogate CD4+ T cell gene expression data and study pathways enriched in post-treatment controllers versus early rebounders. Using independent analysis tools, expression of genes associated with type I interferon responses were associated with a delayed time to viral rebound following treatment interruption (TI). Expression of four genes identified by Cox-Lasso (ISG15, XAF1, TRIM25 and USP18) was converted to a Risk Score, which associated with rebound (p < 0.01). These data link transcriptomic signatures associated with innate immunity with control following stopping ART. The results from this small sample need to be confirmed in larger trials, but could help define strategies for new therapies and identify new biomarkers for remission
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