2019 Vol. 40, No. 2
Intensive aquaculture has increased the severity and frequency of fish diseases. Given the functional importance of gut microbiota in various facets of host physiology, modulation of this microbiota is a feasible strategy to mitigate emerging diseases in aquaculture. To achieve this, a fundamental understanding of the interplay among fish health, microbiota, and invading pathogens is required. This mini-review focuses on current knowledge regarding the associations between fish diseases, dysbiosis of gut microbiota, and immune responses. Furthermore, updated research on fish disease from an ecological perspective is discussed, including colonization resistance imposed by commensals and strategies used by pathogens to overcome resistance. We also propose several directions for future research, such as exploration of the causal links between fish diseases and specific taxa, and identification of universal gut microbial biomarkers for rapid disease diagnosis.
Nucleotide oligomerization domain 2 (NOD2) is a major cytoplasmic sensor for pathogens and is critical for the clearance of cytosolic bacteria in mammals. However, studies regarding NOD2, especially the initiated signaling pathways, are scarce in teleost species. In this study, we identified a NOD2 molecule (PaNOD2) from ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis). Bioinformatics analysis showed the structure of NOD2 to be highly conserved during vertebrate evolution. Dual-luciferase reporter assays examined the activation of NF-κB signaling and Western blotting analysis detected the phosphorylation of three MAP kinases (p-38, Erk1/2, and JNK1/2). Functional study revealed that, like its mammalian counterparts, PaNOD2 was the receptor of the bacterial cell wall component muramyl dipeptide (MDP), and the leucine-rich repeat motif was responsible for the recognition and binding of PaNOD2 with the ligand. Overexpression of PaNOD2 activated the NF-κB signaling pathway, leading to the upregulation of inflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α and IL-1β in HEK293T cells and ayu head kidney-derived monocytes/macrophages (MO/MΦ). Particularly, we found that PaNOD2 activated the MAPK signaling pathways, as indicated by the increased phosphorylation of p-38, Erk1/2, and JNK1/2, which have not been characterized in any teleost species previously. Our findings proved that the NOD2 molecule and initiated pathways are conserved between mammals and ayu. Therefore, ayu could be used as an animal model to investigate NOD2-based diseases and therapeutic applications.
Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are frequently used in establishing animal models for human diseases. To determine the differences in gut microbiota between these species, rectal swabs from 20 rhesus macaques and 21 cynomolgus macaques were collected, and the microbial composition was examined by deep sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. We found that the rectal microbiota of cynomolgus macaques exhibited significantly higher alpha diversity than that of rhesus macaques, although the observed number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was almost the same. The dominant taxa at both the phylum and genus levels were similar between the two species, although the relative abundances of these dominant taxa were significantly different between them. Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) showed significant differences in the functional components between the microbiota of the two species, in particular the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) synthesis proteins. The above data indicated significant differences in microbial composition and function between these two closely related macaque species, which should be taken into consideration in the future selection of these animals for disease models.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a group of gene-encoded small peptides that play pivotal roles in the host immune system of multicellular organisms. Cathelicidins are an important family of AMPs that exclusively exist in vertebrates. Many cathelicidins have been identified from mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. To date, however, cathelicidins from amphibians are poorly understood. In the present study, two novel cathelicidins (OL-CATH1 and 2) were identified and studied from the odorous frog Odorrana livida. Firstly, the cDNAs encoding the OL-CATHs (780 and 735 bp in length, respectively) were successfully cloned from a lung cDNA library constructed for the frog. Multi-sequence alignment was carried out to analyze differences between the precursors of the OL-CATHs and other representative cathelicidins. Mature peptide sequences of OL-CATH1 and 2 were predicted (33 amino acid residues) and their secondary structures were determined (OL-CATH1 showed a random-coil conformation and OL-CATH2 demonstrated a-helical conformation). Furthermore, OL-CATH1 and 2 were chemically synthesized and their in vitro functions were determined. Antimicrobial and bacterial killing kinetic analyses indicated that OL-CATH2 demonstrated relatively moderate and rapid antimicrobial potency and exhibited strong anti-inflammatory activity. At very low concentrations (10 μg/mL), OL-CATH2 significantly inhibited the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced transcription and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-a, IL-1b and IL-6 in mouse peritoneal macrophages. In contrast, OL-CATH1 did not exhibit any detectable antimicrobial or anti-inflammatory activities. Overall, identification of these OL-CATHs from O. livida enriches our understanding of the functions of cathelicidins in the amphibian immune system. The potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities of OL-CATH2 highlight its potential as a novel candidate in anti-infective drug development.
Relaxed open-mouth display serves important social functions in relation to submission, reconciliation, affiliation and reassurance among non-human primate societies; however, quantitative evidence on this behavior remains insufficient among multi-level social groups. From July to November 2016, we examined four potential functions of the relaxed open-mouth display during pairwise, intra-unit social interactions among 18 free-ranging adult and sub-adult golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) who belonged to three one-male, multi-female units (OMU) at Dalongtan, Shennongjia National Park, China. Results showed that: compared with no relaxed open-mouth display, (1) the occurrence of displacement by a dominant individual approaching a subordinate was lower and the distance of the subordinate to the approaching dominant was shorter when the subordinate showed open-mouth display; (2) relaxed open-mouth display reduced the probability of continued attack for victims of aggression and allowed victims to achieve closer proximity to the aggressor during post-conflict periods; (3) relaxed open-mouth display by dominant individuals allowed them to achieve closer proximity to subordinates; and (4) the exchange of relaxed open-mouth display had a greater impact on the outcome of interactions than one individual alone giving this signal. These findings suggest that relaxed open-mouth display serves important functions regarding submission, reconciliation, affiliation and reassurance in coordinating social interactions within OMUs in golden snub-nosed monkeys.
Knowledge on the home range size of a species or population is important for understanding its behavioral and social ecology and improving the effectiveness of conservation strategies. We studied the home range size of two different-sized groups of golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in Shennongjia, China. The larger group (236 individuals) had a home range of 22.5 km2 from September 2007 to July 2008, whereas the smaller group (62 individuals) occupied a home range of 12.4 km2 from November 2008 to July 2009. Both groups exhibited considerable seasonal variation in their home range size, which was likely due to seasonal changes in food availability and distribution. The home range in any given season (winter, spring, summer, or winter+spring+summer) of the larger group was larger than that of the smaller group. As the two groups were studied in the same area, with the confounding effects of food availability thus minimized, the positive relationship between home range size and group size suggested that scramble feeding competition increased within the larger group.
Golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana), as typical arboreal group-living Old World monkeys, provide an appropriate animal model to research manual laterality and explore the factors affecting hand preference in nonhuman primates. This study investigated hand preference based on 63 subjects and four spontaneous manual tasks (including unimanual and bimanual feeding and grooming), and assessed the effects of age, gender and type of task on handedness in R. roxellana. A population-level left-handedness was found not only in the bimanual coordinated tasks (bimanual feeding and grooming), but also in one unimanual reaching task (unimanual feeding). There were no significant differences between the sexes in either direction or strength of hand preference among any task. However, a significant difference between adults and juveniles was found in the unimanual feeding task. This is the first report on handedness in unimanual and bimanual feeding tasks that require bipedal posture in wild R. roxellana. Furthermore, this study demonstrated spontaneous feeding tasks reported previously only in the quadrupedal posture in this species, supporting the importance of factors such as posture and task complexity in the evolution of primate manual lateralization.
In some nonhuman primates, infants function as a social tool that can bridge relationships among group members. Infants are a desired commodity for group members, and mothers control access to them. The biological market theory suggests that grooming is widespread and represents a commodity that can be exchanged for infant handling. As a limited resource, however, the extent to which infants are interchanged between mothers (females with an infant) and non-mothers (potential handlers, females without an infant) remains unclear. In this study, we collected behavioral data to investigate the relationship between grooming and infant handling in free-ranging Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, China. Our results showed that females with infants received more grooming than females without infants. After her infant was handled, mother females received more grooming than they did during daily grooming interactions. However, with the increasing number of infants within the social group, both the grooming that mothers received and the grooming that non-mothers invested for handling infants decreased. We also found that non-mothers invested more time in grooming to gain access to younger infants than older infants. Our results provide evidence that infants are social commodities for both mother and non-mother females. Mothers use infants for obtain grooming and non-mothers use grooming to gain access to infants. The current study implies a bidirectional and complex interchange pattern between grooming and infant handling to compensate for the dyadic grooming disparity in non-human primates.
2019, 40(2): 102-107. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.064
Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are involved in many cellular processes via the arginine methylation of histone or non-histone proteins. We examined the expression patterns of prmt4, prmt7, and prmt9 during embryogenesis in Xenopus using whole-mount in situ hybridization and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Xenopus prmt4 and prmt7 were expressed in the neural crest, brain, and spinal cord, and also detected in the eye, branchial arches, and heart at the tailbud stage. Specific prmt9 signals were not detected in Xenopus embryos until the late tailbud stage when weak expression was observed in the branchial arches. Quantitative RT-PCR indicated that the expressions of prmt4 and prmt7 were up-regulated during the neurula stage, whereas prmt9 maintained its low expression until the late tailbud stage, consistent with the whole-mount in situ hybridization results. Thus, the developmental expression patterns of these three prmt genes in Xenopus embryos provide a basis for further functional study of such genes.
Genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT) and GIFT-derived strains account for the majority of farmed tilapia worldwide. As male tilapias grow much faster than females, they are often considered more desirable in the aquacultural industry. Sex reversal of females to males using the male sex hormone 17-α-methyltestosterone (MT) is generally used to induce phenotypic males during large-scale production of all male fingerlings. However, the widespread use of large quantities of sex reversal hormone in hatcheries may pose a health risk to workers and ecological threats to surrounding environments. Breeding procedures to produce genetically all-male tilapia with limited or no use of sex hormones are therefore urgently needed. In this study, by applying marker-assisted selection (MAS) for the selection of YY supermales from a GIFT-derived strain, we identified 24 XY pseudofemale and 431 YY supermale tilapias. Further performance evaluation on the progenies of the YY supermales resulted in male rates of 94.1%, 99.5% and 99.6%, respectively, in three populations, and a daily increase in body weight of 1.4 g at 3 months (n=997). Our study established a highly effective MAS procedure in the selection of YY supermales from a GIFT-derived strain. Furthermore, the development of MAS-selected YY supermales will help reduce the utilization of hormones for controlling sex in the tilapia aquaculture.