2018 Vol. 39, No. 2
Prokaryotic type II adaptive immune systems have been developed into the versatile CRISPR technology, which has been widely applied in site-specific genome editing and has revolutionized biomedical research due to its superior efficiency and flexibility. Recent studies have greatly diversified CRISPR technologies by coupling it with various DNA repair mechanisms and targeting strategies. These new advances have significantly expanded the generation of genetically modified animal models, either by including species in which targeted genetic modification could not be achieved previously, or through introducing complex genetic modifications that take multiple steps and cost years to achieve using traditional methods. Herein, we review the recent developments and applications of CRISPR-based technology in generating various animal models, and discuss the everlasting impact of this new progress on biomedical research.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are worldwide public health problems affecting millions of people and have rapidly increased in prevalence in recent years. Due to the multiple causes of renal failure, many animal models have been developed to advance our understanding of human nephropathy. Among these experimental models, rodents have been extensively used to enable mechanistic understanding of kidney disease induction and progression, as well as to identify potential targets for therapy. In this review, we discuss AKI models induced by surgical operation and drugs or toxins, as well as a variety of CKD models (mainly genetically modified mouse models). Results from recent and ongoing clinical trials and conceptual advances derived from animal models are also explored.
Cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are considered as important candidate therapeutic agents, which exert potent microbicidal properties against bacteria, fungi and some viruses. Based on our previous findings king cobra cathelicidin (OH-CATH) is a 34-amino acid peptide that exerts strong antibacterial and weak hemolytic activity. The aim of this research is to evaluate the efficacy of both OH-CATH30 and its analog D-OH-CATH30 against clinical isolates comparing with routinely utilized antibiotics in vitro. In this study, 584 clinical isolates were tested (spanning 2013–2016) and the efficacy of the candidate peptides and antibiotics were determined by a broth microdilution method according to the CLSI guidelines. Among the 584 clinical isolates, 85% were susceptible to OH-CATH30 and its analogs. Both L- and D-OH-CATH30 showed higher efficacy against (toward) Gram-positive bacteria and stronger antibacterial activity against nearly all Gram-negative bacteria tested compare with antibiotics. The highest bactericidal activity was detected against Acinetobacter spp., including multi-drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MRAB) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The overall efficacy of OH-CATH30 and its analogs was higher than that of the 9 routinely used antibiotics. OH-CATH30 is a promising candidate drug for the treatment of a wide variety of bacterial infections which are resistant to many routinely used antimicrobial agents.
2018, 39(2): 97-104. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2017.048
The Shimba Hills ecosystem along the south coast of Kenya is a key East African biodiversity hotspot. Historically, it is biogeographically assignable to the East African coastal biome. We examined the current Shimba Hills herpetofauna and their zoogeographical affinities to the coastal forests and nearby Eastern Arc Mountains biodiversity hotspots. The key studied sites included the Shimba Hills National Reserve, forest reserves, Kaya forests, and adjacent private land. Data on herpetofaunal richness were obtained from recent field surveys, literature, and specimens held at the National Museums of Kenya, Herpetology Section Collection, Nairobi. The Makadara, Mwele, and Longo-Mwagandi forests within the Shimba Hills National Reserve hosted the highest number of unique and rare species. Generally, the forest reserves and Kaya forests were important refuges for forest-associated species. On private land, Mukurumudzi Dam riparian areas were the best amphibian habitat and were host to three IUCN (Red List) Endangered-EN amphibian species, namely, Boulengerula changamwensis, Hyperolius rubrovermiculatus, and Afrixalus sylvaticus, as well as one snake species Elapsoidea nigra. Using herpetofauna as zoogeographic indicators, the Shimba Hills were determined to be at a crossroads between the coastal forests (13 endemic species) and the Eastern Arc Mountains (seven endemic species). Most of the Eastern Arc Mountains endemic species were from recent records, and thus more are likely to be found in the future. This ‘hybrid’ species richness pattern is attributable to the hilly topography of the Shimba Hills and their proximity to the Indian Ocean. This has contributed to the Shimba Hills being the richest herpetofauna area in Kenya, with a total of 89 and 36 reptile and amphibian species, respectively. Because of its unique zoogeography, the Shimba Hills ecosystem is undoubtedly a key biodiversity area for conservation investment.
Due to a paucity of surveys in northern Indochina and lack of international collaborations among neighboring countries, recognized distributional ranges for many amphibian and reptile species end at the political borders for some countries, despite seemingly continuous suitable habitat spanning the region. Combining both morphological and genetic data, we report the first discovery of Japalura chapaensis, a rare agamid lizard believed previously to be endemic to northern Vietnam only, along the border region of southeastern Yunnan Province, China. To facilitate future research on the genus Japalura sensu lato in Indochina, we provide detailed descriptions of additional specimens of this rare species, including the first description of coloration in life and an expanded diagnosis, and discuss the species boundary of J. chapaensis with respect to its congeners.
Echolocating bats have developed advanced auditory perception systems, predominantly using acoustic signaling to communicate with each other. They can emit a diverse range of social calls in complex behavioral contexts. This study examined the vocal repertoire of five pregnant big-footed myotis bats (Myotis macrodactylus). In the process of clustering, the last individual to return to the colony (LI) emitted social calls that correlated with behavior, as recorded on a PC-based digital recorder. These last individuals could emit 10 simple monosyllabic and 27 complex multisyllabic types of calls, constituting four types of syllables. The social calls were composed of highly stereotyped syllables, hierarchically organized by a common set of syllables. However, intra-specific variation was also found in the number of syllables, syllable order and patterns of syllable repetition across call renditions. Data were obtained to characterize the significant individual differences that existed in the maximum frequency and duration of calls. Time taken to return to the roost was negatively associated with the diversity of social calls. Our findings indicate that variability in social calls may be an effective strategy taken by individuals during reintegration into clusters of female M. macrodactylus.
2018, 39(2): 123-126. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.027
With the wide application of DNA sequencing technology, DNA sequences are still increasingly generated through the Sanger sequencing platform. SeqMan (in the LaserGene package) is an excellent program with an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) employed to assemble Sanger sequences into contigs. However, with increasing data size, larger sample sets and more sequenced loci make contig assemble complicated due to the considerable number of manual operations required to run SeqMan. Here, we present the ‘autoSeqMan’ software program, which can automatedly assemble contigs using SeqMan scripting language. There are two main modules available, namely, ‘Classification’ and ‘Assembly’. Classification first undertakes preprocessing work, whereas Assembly generates a SeqMan script to consecutively assemble contigs for the classified files. Through comparison with manual operation, we showed that autoSeqMan saved substantial time in the preprocessing and assembly of Sanger sequences. We hope this tool will be useful for those with large sample sets to analyze, but with little programming experience. It is freely available at https://github.com/ Sun-Yanbo/autoSeqMan.
In this study, we sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) of the Thai Red Junglefowl (RJF; Gallus gallus) using the next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform of the Ion Torrent PGM. Samples were taken from Mae Wang District, Chiang Mai Province, northern Thailand. Our data showed the complete mitogenome to be 16 785 bp in length, composed by 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNA genes, two rRNA genes, and one control region. The genome nucleotide composition was 30.3% A, 23.7% T, 32.5% C, and 13.5% G, resulting in a high percentage of A+T (50.4%). Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the mitogenome belonged to haplogroup X, whereas those of all domestic chickens belong to haplogroups A to G. This newly released mitogenome sequence will advance further evolutionary and population genetics study of the RJF and domestic chicken. The availability of the G. gallus mitogenome will also contribute to further conservation genetics research of a unique species, listed as ‘data deficient’ in Thailand.