A computer software package called ‘FasParser’ was developed for manipulating sequence data. It can be used on personal computers to perform series of analyses, including counting and viewing differences between two sequences at both DNA and codon levels, identifying overlapping regions between two alignments, sorting of sequences according to their IDs or lengths, concatenating sequences of multiple loci for a particular set of samples, translating nucleotide sequences to amino acids, and constructing alignments in several different formats, as well as some extracting and filtrating of data for a particular FASTA file. Majority of these functions can be run in a batch mode, which is very useful for analyzing large data sets. This package can be used by a broad audience, and is designed for researchers that do not have programming experience in sequence analyses. The GUI version of FasParser can be downloaded from https://github.com/Sun-Yanbo/FasParser, free of charge.
Antimicrobial resistance is an urgent global health challenge in human and veterinary medicine. Wild animals are not directly exposed to clinically relevant antibiotics; however, antibacterial resistance in wild animals has been increasingly reported worldwide in parallel to the situation in human and veterinary medicine. This underlies the complexity of bacterial resistance in wild animals and the possible interspecies transmission between humans, domestic animals, the environment, and wildlife. This review summarizes the current data on expanded-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL), AmpC β-lactamase, carbapenemase, and colistin resistance genes in Enterobacteriaceae isolates of wildlife origin. The aim of this review is to better understand the important role of wild animals as reservoirs and vectors in the global dissemination of crucial clinical antibacterial resistance. In this regard, continued surveillance is urgently needed worldwide.
Tibetans are well adapted to high-altitude hypoxia. Previous genome-wide scans have reported many candidate genes for this adaptation, but only a few have been studied. Here we report on a hypoxia gene (GCH1, GTP-cyclohydrolase I), involved in maintaining nitric oxide synthetase (NOS) function and normal blood pressure, that harbors many potentially adaptive variants in Tibetans. We resequenced an 80.8 kb fragment covering the entire gene region of GCH1 in 50 unrelated Tibetans. Combined with previously published data, we demonstrated many GCH1 variants showing deep divergence between highlander Tibetans and lowlander Han Chinese. Neutrality tests confirmed a signal of positive Darwinian selection on GCH1 in Tibetans. Moreover, association analysis indicated that the Tibetan version of GCH1 was significantly associated with multiple physiological traits in Tibetans, including blood nitric oxide concentration, blood oxygen saturation, and hemoglobin concentration. Taken together, we propose that GCH1 plays a role in the genetic adaptation of Tibetans to high altitude hypoxia.
The genetic adaptation of Tibetans to high altitude hypoxia likely involves a group of genes in the hypoxic pathway, as suggested by earlier studies. To test the adaptive role of the previously reported candidate gene EP300 (histone acetyltransferase p300), we conducted resequencing of a 108.9 kb gene region of EP300 in 80 unrelated Tibetans. The allele-frequency and haplotype-based neutrality tests detected signals of positive Darwinian selection on EP300 in Tibetans, with a group of variants showing allelic divergence between Tibetans and lowland reference populations, including Han Chinese, Europeans, and Africans. Functional prediction suggested the involvement of multiple EP300 variants in gene expression regulation. More importantly, genetic association tests in 226 Tibetans indicated significant correlation of the adaptive EP300 variants with blood nitric oxide (NO) concentration. Collectively, we propose that EP300 harbors adaptive variants in Tibetans, which might contribute to high-altitude adaptation through regulating NO production.
The Chinese tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri chinensis), a squirrel-like and rat-sized mammal, has a wide distribution in Southeast Asia, South and Southwest China and has many unique characteristics that make it suitable for use as an experimental animal. There have been many studies using the tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri) aimed at increasing our understanding of fundamental biological mechanisms and for the modeling of human diseases and therapeutic responses. The recent release of a publicly available annotated genome sequence of the Chinese tree shrew and its genome database (www.treeshrewdb.org) has offered a solid base from which it is possible to elucidate the basic biological properties and create animal models using this species. The extensive characterization of key factors and signaling pathways in the immune and nervous systems has shown that tree shrews possess both conserved and unique features relative to primates. Hitherto, the tree shrew has been successfully used to create animal models for myopia, depression, breast cancer, alcohol-induced or non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections, to name a few. The recent successful genetic manipulation of the tree shrew has opened a new avenue for the wider usage of this animal in biomedical research. In this opinion paper, I attempt to summarize the recent research advances that have used the Chinese tree shrew, with a focus on the new knowledge obtained by using the biological properties identified using the tree shrew genome, a proposal for the genome-based approach for creating animal models, and the genetic manipulation of the tree shrew. With more studies using this species and the application of cutting-edge gene editing techniques, the tree shrew will continue to be under the spot light as a viable animal model for investigating the basis of many different human diseases.
Brain development and aging are associated with alterations in multiple epigenetic systems, including DNA methylation and demethylation patterns. Here, we observed that the levels of the 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) ten-eleven translocation (TET) enzyme-mediated active DNA demethylation products were dynamically changed and involved in postnatal brain development and aging in tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri chinensis). The levels of 5hmC in multiple anatomic structures showed a gradual increase throughout postnatal development, whereas a significant decrease in 5hmC was found in several brain regions in aged tree shrews, including in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, but not the cerebellum. Active changes in Tet mRNA levels indicated that TET2 and TET3 predominantly contributed to the changes in 5hmC levels. Our findings provide new insight into the dynamic changes in 5hmC levels in tree shrew brains during postnatal development and aging processes.
Viral vector transfection systems are among the simplest of biological agents with the ability to transfer genes into the central nervous system. In brain research, a series of powerful and novel gene editing technologies are based on these systems. Although many viral vectors are used in rodents, their full application has been limited in non-human primates. To identify viral vectors that can stably and effectively express exogenous genes within non-human primates, eleven commonly used recombinant adeno-associated viral and lentiviral vectors, each carrying a gene to express green or red fluorescence, were injected into the parietal cortex of four rhesus monkeys. The expression of fluorescent cells was used to quantify transfection efficiency. Histological results revealed that recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors, especially the serotype 2/9 coupled with the cytomegalovirus, human synapsin I, or Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II promoters, and lentiviral vector coupled with the human ubiquitin C promoter, induced higher expression of fluorescent cells, representing high transfection efficiency. This is the first comparison of transfection efficiencies of different viral vectors carrying different promoters and serotypes in non-human primates (NHPs). These results can be used as an aid to select optimal vectors to transfer exogenous genes into the central nervous system of non-human primates.
The tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri) is a promising laboratory animal that possesses a closer genetic relationship to primates than to rodents. In addition, advantages such as small size, easy breeding, and rapid reproduction make the tree shrew an ideal subject for the study of human disease. Numerous tree shrew disease models have been generated in biological and medical studies in recent years. Here we summarize current tree shrew disease models, including models of infectious diseases, cancers, depressive disorders, drug addiction, myopia, metabolic diseases, and immune-related diseases. With the success of tree shrew transgenic technology, this species will be increasingly used in biological and medical studies in the future.
Food availability significantly affects an animal's energy metabolism, and thus its phenotype, survival, and reproduction. Maternal and offspring responses to food conditions are critical for understanding population dynamics and life-history evolution of a species. In this study, we conducted food manipulation experiments in field enclosures to identify the effect of food restriction on female reproductive traits and postpartum body condition, as well as on hatchling phenotypes, in a lacertid viviparous lizard from the Inner Mongolian desert steppe of China. Females under low-food availability treatment (LFT) had poorer immune function and body condition compared with those under high-food availability treatment (HFT). The food availability treatments significantly affected the litter size and litter mass of the females, but not their gestation period in captivity or brood success, or the body size, sprint speed, and sex ratio of the neonates. Females from the LFT group had smaller litter sizes and, therefore, lower litter mass than those from the HFT group. These results suggest that female racerunners facing food restriction lay fewer offspring with unchanged body size and locomotor performance, and incur a cost in the form of poor postpartum body condition and immune function. The flexibility of maternal responses to variable food availability represents an important life strategy that could enhance the resistance of lizards to unpredictable environmental change.
Cyclophilin D (referred to as HsCypD) was obtained from the freshwater pearl mussel (Hyriopsis schlegelii). The full-length cDNA was 2 671 bp, encoding a protein consisting of 367 amino acids. HsCypD was determined to be a hydrophilic intracellular protein with 10 phosphorylation sites and four tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domains, but no signal peptide. The core sequence region YKGCIFHRIIKDFMVQGG is highly conserved in vertebrates and invertebrates. Phylogenetic tree analysis indicated that CypD from all species had a common origin, and HsCypD had the closest phylogenetic relationship with CypD from Lottia gigantea. The constitutive mRNA expression levels of HsCypD exhibited tissue-specific patterns, with the highest level detected in the intestines, followed by the gonads, and the lowest expression found in the hemocytes.
Respirovirus infection can cause viral pneumonia and acute lung injury (ALI). The interleukin-1 (IL-1) family consists of proinflammatory cytokines that play essential roles in regulating immune and inflammatory responses in vivo. IL-1 signaling is associated with protection against respiratory influenza virus infection by mediation of the pulmonary anti-viral immune response and inflammation. We analyzed the infiltration lung immune leukocytes and cytokines that contribute to inflammatory lung pathology and mortality of fatal H1N1 virus-infected IL-1 receptor 1 (IL-1R1) deficient mice. Results showed that early innate immune cells and cytokine/chemokine dysregulation were observed with significantly decreased neutrophil infiltration and IL-6, TNF-α, G-CSF, KC, and MIP-2 cytokine levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of infected IL-1R1-/- mice in comparison with that of wild type infected mice. The adaptive immune response against the H1N1 virus in IL-1R1-/- mice was impaired with downregulated anti-viral Th1 cell, CD8+ cell, and antibody functions, which contributes to attenuated viral clearance. Histological analysis revealed reduced lung inflammation during early infection but severe lung pathology in late infection in IL-1R1-/- mice compared with that in WT infected mice. Moreover, the infected IL-1R1-/- mice showed markedly reduced neutrophil generation in bone marrow and neutrophil recruitment to the inflamed lung. Together, these results suggest that IL-1 signaling is associated with pulmonary anti-influenza immune response and inflammatory lung injury, particularly via the influence on neutrophil mobilization and inflammatory cytokine/chemokine production.
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