Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) have discovered a quick new way that mosquitoes can pass West Nile virus to each other. The new study challenges fundamental assumptions about the virus transmission cycle and may help explain why it spread so rapidly across North America despite experts predictions that it would progress more slowly or even die out. In the conventional understanding of West Nile transmission, mosquitoes acquire the virus when they bite birds with high levels of virus (or "high viremia.") in their blood. Those levels are reached several days after the birds are initially infected by other mosquitoes. But experiments at UTMB show that when infected and uninfected mosquitoes feed simultaneously on previously uninfected laboratory mice, the virus can pass from mosquito to mosquito within an hour.
"We were amazed to see that it could happen," said UTMB associate professor Stephen Higgs, lead author of a paper on the discovery that will be published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of June 6. "It is basically a brand-new component of the virus life cycle."
In the paper, Higgs and his co-authors--UTMB graduate student Bradley S. Schneider, senior research associate Dana Vanlandingham, research assistant Kimberly A. Klingler and Ernest A. Gould of the United Kingdoms Centre for Ecology and Hydrology--note that although such "non-viremic transmission" (that is, transmission before virus can be detected in the blood) has been observed in cases involving viruses transmitted by ticks, it has never before been documented in a virus carried by mosquitoes.
Jim Kelly | EurekAlert!
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy