• Cholesterol-Independent Effects of Methyl-b- Cyclodextrin on Chemical Synapses

      Ormerod, Kiel G.; Rogasevskaia, Tatiana P.+-; Coorseen, Jens R.; Mercier, A. Joffre (PLoS, 2012-05-20)
      The cholesterol chelating agent, methyl-b-cyclodextrin (MbCD), alters synaptic function in many systems. At crayfish neuromuscular junctions, MbCD is reported to reduce excitatory junctional potentials (EJPs) by impairing impulse propagation to synaptic terminals, and to have no postsynaptic effects. We examined the degree to which physiological effects of MbCD correlate with its ability to reduce cholesterol, and used thermal acclimatization as an alternative method to modify cholesterol levels. MbCD impaired impulse propagation and decreased EJP amplitude by 40% (P,0.05) in preparations from crayfish acclimatized to 14uC but not from those acclimatized to 21uC. The reduction in EJP amplitude in the cold-acclimatized group was associated with a 49% reduction in quantal content (P,0.05). MbCD had no effect on input resistance in muscle fibers but decreased sensitivity to the neurotransmitter L-glutamate in both warm- and coldacclimatized groups. This effect was less pronounced and reversible in the warm-acclimatized group (90% reduction in cold, P,0.05; 50% reduction in warm, P,0.05). MbCD reduced cholesterol in isolated nerve and muscle from cold- and warmacclimatized groups by comparable amounts (nerve: 29% cold, 25% warm; muscle: 20% cold, 18% warm; P,0.05). This effect was reversed by cholesterol loading, but only in the warm-acclimatized group. Thus, effects of MbCD on glutamatesensitivity correlated with its ability to reduce cholesterol, but effects on impulse propagation and resulting EJP amplitude did not. Our results indicate that MbCD can affect both presynaptic and postsynaptic properties, and that some effects of MbCD are unrelated to cholesterol chelation.
    • Facing Aggression: Cues Differ for Female versus Male Faces

      Geniole, Shawn N.; Keyes, Amanda E.; Mondloch, Catherine J.; Carre, Justin M.; McCormick, Cheryl M. (PloS, 2012-01-20)
      The facial width-to-height ratio (face ratio), is a sexually dimorphic metric associated with actual aggression in men and with observers’ judgements of aggression in male faces. Here, we sought to determine if observers’ judgements of aggression were associated with the face ratio in female faces. In three studies, participants rated photographs of female and male faces on aggression, femininity, masculinity, attractiveness, and nurturing. In Studies 1 and 2, for female and male faces, judgements of aggression were associated with the face ratio even when other cues in the face related to masculinity were controlled statistically. Nevertheless, correlations between the face ratio and judgements of aggression were smaller for female than for male faces (F1,36= 7.43, p= 0.01). In Study 1, there was no significant relationship between judgements of femininity and of aggression in female faces. In Study 2, the association between judgements of masculinity and aggression was weaker in female faces than for male faces in Study 1. The weaker association in female faces may be because aggression and masculinity are stereotypically male traits. Thus, in Study 3, observers rated faces on nurturing (a stereotypically female trait) and on femininity. Judgements of nurturing were associated with femininity (positively) and masculinity (negatively) ratings in both female and male faces. In summary, the perception of aggression differs in female versus male faces. The sex difference was not simply because aggression is a gendered construct; the relationships between masculinity/femininity and nurturing were similar for male and female faces even though nurturing is also a gendered construct. Masculinity and femininity ratings are not associated with aggression ratings nor with the face ratio for female faces. In contrast, all four variables are highly inter-correlated in male faces, likely because these cues in male faces serve as ‘‘honest signals’’.
    • Larval habitat associations with human land uses, roads, rivers, and land cover for Anopheles albimanus, A. pseudopunctipennis, and A. punctimacula (Diptera: Culicidae) in coastal and highland Ecuador

      Pinault, Lauren L.; Hunter, Fiona F. (Frontiers, 2012-03-20)
      Larval habitat for three highland Anopheles species: Anopheles albimanus Wiedemann, Anopheles pseudopunctipennis Theobald, and Anopheles punctimacula Dyar and Knab was related to human land uses, rivers, roads, and remotely sensed land cover classifications in the western Ecuadorian Andes. Of the five commonly observed human land uses, cattle pasture (n = 30) provided potentially suitable habitat for A. punctimacula and A. albimanus in less than 14% of sites, and was related in a principal components analysis (PCA) to the presence of macrophyte vegetation, greater surface area, clarity, and algae cover. Empty lots (n = 30) were related in the PCA to incident sunlight and provided potential habitat for A. pseudopunctipennis and A. albimanus in less than 14% of sites. The other land uses surveyed (banana, sugarcane, and mixed tree plantations; n = 28, 21, 25, respectively) provided very little standing water that could potentially be used for larval habitat. River edges and eddies (n = 41) were associated with greater clarity, depth, temperature, and algae cover, which provide potentially suitable habitat for A. albimanus in 58% of sites and A. pseudopunctipennis in 29% of sites. Road-associated water bodies (n = 38) provided potential habitat for A. punctimacula in 44% of sites and A. albimanus in 26% of sites surveyed. Species collection localities were compared to land cover classifications using Geographic Information Systems software. All three mosquito species were associated more often with the category “closed/open broadleaved evergreen and/or semi-deciduous forests” than expected (P ≤ 0.01 in all cases), given such a habitat’s abundance. This study provides evidence that specific human land uses create habitat for potential malaria vectors in highland regions of the Andes.
    • Some Travelling Wave Solutions of KdV-Burgers Equation

      Rab, Md Abdur; Mia, Abdus Sattar; Akter, Tania (Hikari Ltd, 2012)
      In this paper we study the extended Tanh method to obtain some exact solutions of KdV-Burgers equation. The principle of the Tanh method has been explained and then apply to the nonlinear KdV- Burgers evolution equation. A finnite power series in tanh is considered as an ansatz and the symbolic computational system is used to obtain solution of that nonlinear evolution equation. The obtained solutions are all travelling wave solutions.
    • Transposable Elements Are a Significant Contributor to Tandem Repeats in the Human Genome

      Liang, Ping; Ahmed, Musaddeque (Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2012-04-11)
      Sequence repeats are an important phenomenon in the human genome, playing important roles in genomic alteration often with phenotypic consequences. The two major types of repeat elements in the human genome are tandem repeats (TRs) including microsatellites, minisatellites, and satellites and transposable elements (TEs). So far, very little has been known about the relationship between these two types of repeats. In this study, we identified TRs that are derived from TEs either based on sequence similarity or overlapping genomic positions. We then analyzed the distribution of these TRs among TE families/subfamilies. Our study shows that at least 7,276 TRs or 23% of all minisatellites/satellites is derived from TEs, contributing ∼0.32% of the human genome. TRs seem to be generated more likely from younger/more active TEs, and once initiated they are expanded with time via local duplication of the repeat units. The currently postulated mechanisms for origin of TRs can explain only 6% of all TE-derived TRs, indicating the presence of one or more yet to be identified mechanisms for the initiation of such repeats. Our result suggests that TEs are contributing to genome expansion and alteration not only by transposition but also by generating tandem repeats.
    • UNESCO Biosphere Reserves Towards Common Intellectual Ground

      Michell, Richard C.; May, Bradley; Purdy, Samantha; Vella, Crystal (InTech, 2012-03-14)