Project description:Urbanization often substantially influences animal movement and gene flow. However, few studies to date have examined gene flow of the same species across multiple cities. In this study, we examine brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) to test hypotheses about the repeatability of neutral evolution across four cities: Salvador, Brazil; New Orleans, USA; Vancouver, Canada; and New York City, USA. At least 150 rats were sampled from each city and genotyped for a minimum of 15 000 genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms. Levels of genome-wide diversity were similar across cities, but varied across neighbourhoods within cities. All four populations exhibited high spatial autocorrelation at the shortest distance classes (less than 500 m) owing to limited dispersal. Coancestry and evolutionary clustering analyses identified genetic discontinuities within each city that coincided with a resource desert in New York City, major waterways in New Orleans, and roads in Salvador and Vancouver. Such replicated studies are crucial to assessing the generality of predictions from urban evolution, and have practical applications for pest management and public health. Future studies should include a range of global cities in different biomes, incorporate multiple species, and examine the impact of specific characteristics of the built environment and human socioeconomics on gene flow.
Project description:To examine the effect of melatonin on global gene expression in the colonic epithelium, we used RNA-seq analysis to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in samples from three melatonin-treated (MEL4-6) versus three vehicle-treated pinealectomized rats (VEH1-3) injected i.p. at the beginning of subjective night and sacrificed 4 h later. More than 12 050 expressed genes were identified in each sample out of 18 258 genes in the database. A surprisingly small number of significant DEGs (49) was identified. The GO pathways analysis revealed that the largest group of the DEGs was associated with immune system response. Most DEGs (47) identified by RNA-seq were independently analyzed by RT-qPCR and the correlation between both methods indicates reliability of the data. Overall design: To avoid a potential masking effect of endogenous pineal melatonin rhythm, we performed the study on six pinealectomized adult male Wistar rats. We injected the animals i.p. with either melatonin (MEL, 1mg/kg of body weight, n = 3) or vehicle (VEH, 2.5% ethanol in PBS, n = 3) solution at the beginning of subjective night, sacrificed them 4 h later, isolated total RNA from the colonic inner epithelial layer and subjected the samples to RNA-seq differential expression analysis on HiSeq 4000 (Illumina) by BGI International (Shenzhen, China).
Project description:Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) have been identified as potential carriers of Yersinia enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis, the etiological agents of yersiniosis, the third most reported bacterial zoonosis in Europe. Enteropathogenic Yersinia spp. are most often isolated from rats during yersiniosis cases in animals and humans, and from rats inhabiting farms and slaughterhouses. Information is however lacking regarding the extent to which rats act as carriers of these Yersinia spp.. In 2013, 1088 brown rats across Flanders, Belgium, were tested for the presence of Yersinia species by isolation method. Identification was performed using MALDI-TOF MS, PCR on chromosomal- and plasmid-borne virulence genes, biotyping and serotyping. Yersinia spp. were isolated from 38.4% of the rats. Of these, 53.4% were designated Y. enterocolitica, 0.7% Y. pseudotuberculosis and 49.0% other Yersinia species. Two Y. enterocolitica possessing the virF-, ail- and ystA-gene were isolated. Additionally, the ystB-gene was identified in 94.1% of the other Y. enterocolitica isolates, suggestive for biotype 1A. Three of these latter isolates simultaneously possessed the ail-virulence gene. Significantly more Y. enterocolitica were isolated during winter and spring compared to summer. Based on our findings we can conclude that brown rats are frequent carriers for various Yersinia spp., including Y. pseudotuberculosis and (human pathogenic) Y. enterocolitica which are more often isolated during winter and spring.
Project description:Inflammation is a key component of pathological angiogenesis. Here we induce cornea neovascularisation using sutures placed into the cornea, and sutures are removed to induce a regression phase. We used whole transcriptome microarray to monitor gene expression profies of several genes Overall design: This was a time course study conprising two arms. In the suture IN arm, sutures were maintained in the cornea after the 0h time point, while suture OUT arm is where both sutures were removed from the cornea at the 0h timpoint. 0h timepoint is when sprouts were 3/4 the distance from the pre-existing limbal vessels towards the sutures. Microarrays were performed at 0h, 24h suture IN and 24h suture OUT. Non sutured eyes from separate animals were used as controls. At each time point except for 0h=3 rats, the rest of the timepoints had four rats each.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) transmitted via the oral route through the consumption of contaminated water or uncooked or undercooked contaminated meat has been implicated in major outbreaks. Rats may play a critical role in HEV outbreaks, considering their negative effects on environmental hygiene and food sanitation. Although the serological evidence of HEV infection in wild rodents has been reported worldwide, the infectivity and propagation of HEV in wild rats remain unknown. To investigate if rats are a possible carrier of HEV, we studied wild Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) that were caught near a pig farm, where HEV was prevalent among the pigs. METHODS: We examined 56 Norway rats for HEV. RNA from internal organs was examined for RT-PCR and positive samples were sequenced. Positive tissue samples were incubated with A549 cell line to isolate HEV. Anti-HEV antibodies were detected by ELISA. RESULTS: Sixteen rats were seropositive, and the HEV RNA was detected in 10 of the 56 rats. Sequencing of the partial ORF1 gene from 7 samples resulted in partially sequenced HEV, belonging to genotype 3, which was genetically identical to the HEV prevalent in the swine from the source farm. The infectious HEVs were isolated from the Norway rats by using the human A549 cell line. CONCLUSIONS: There was a relatively high prevalence (17.9%) of the HEV genome in wild Norway rats. The virus was mainly detected in the liver and spleen. The results indicate that these animals might be possible carrier of swine HEV in endemic regions. The HEV contamination risk due to rats needs to be examined in human habitats.
Project description:Many studies have attempted to shed light on the ability of non-human animals to understand physical causality by investigating their tool-use behavior. This study aimed to develop a tool-manipulation task for rodents in which the subjects could not manipulate the tool in the direction of the reward by simple patterned behavior. Eight rats had to use a rake-shaped tool to obtain a food reward placed beyond their reach. During the training, the rats never moved the rakes laterally to obtain the reward. However, in the positional discrimination test, the rake was placed at the center of the experimental apparatus, and the reward was positioned on either the left or right side of the rake. Interestingly, this test indicated that some rats were able to manipulate the rake toward the reward without relying on a patterned behavior acquired during the training. These results suggested that rats have the primitive ability to understand causal relationships in the physical environment. The findings indicate that rats can potentially serve as an animal model to investigate the mechanisms of evolution and development of the understanding of physical causality in humans.
Project description:Beta-defensins are small cationic peptides that exhibit broad spectrum antimicrobial properties. The majority of beta-defensins identified in humans are predominantly expressed in the male reproductive tract and have roles in non-immunological processes such as sperm maturation and capacitation. Characterization of novel defensins in the male reproductive tract can lead to increased understanding of their dual roles in immunity and sperm maturation.In silico rat genomic analyses were used to identify novel beta-defensins related to human defensins 118-123. RNAs isolated from male reproductive tract tissues of rat were reverse transcribed and PCR amplified using gene specific primers for defensins. PCR products were sequenced to confirm their identity. RT-PCR analysis was performed to analyze the tissue distribution, developmental expression and androgen regulation of these defensins. Recombinant defensins were tested against E. coli in a colony forming unit assay to analyze their antimicrobial activities.Novel beta-defensins, Defb21, Defb24, Defb27, Defb30 and Defb36 were identified in the rat male reproductive tract. Defb30 and Defb36 were the most restricted in expression, whereas the others were expressed in a variety of tissues including the female reproductive tract. Early onset of defensin expression was observed in the epididymides of 10-60 day old rats. Defb21-Defb36 expression in castrated rats was down regulated and maintained at normal levels in testosterone supplemented animals. DEFB24 and DEFB30 proteins showed potent dose and time dependent antibacterial activity.Rat Defb21, Defb24, Defb27, Defb30 and Defb36 are abundantly expressed in the male reproductive tract where they most likely protect against microbial invasion. They are developmentally regulated and androgen is required for full expression in the adult epididymis.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The acute response to genotoxic carcinogens in rats is an important model for researching cancer initiation events. In this report we define the normal rat colonic epithelium by describing transcriptional events along the anterior-posterior axis and then investigate the acute effects of azoxymethane (AOM) on gene expression, with a particular emphasis on pathways associated with the maintenance of genomic integrity in the proximal and distal compartments using whole genome expression microarrays. RESULTS: There are large transcriptional changes that occur in epithelial gene expression along the anterior-posterior axis of the normal healthy rat colon. AOM administration superimposes substantial changes on these basal gene expression patterns in both the distal and proximal rat colonic epithelium. In particular, the pathways associated with cell cycle and DNA damage and repair processes appear to be disrupted in favour of apoptosis. CONCLUSIONS: The healthy rats' colon exhibits extensive gene expression changes between its proximal and distal ends. The most common changes are associated with metabolism, but more subtle expression changes in genes involved in genomic homeostasis are also evident. These latter changes presumably protect and maintain a healthy colonic epithelium against incidental dietary and environmental insults. AOM induces substantial changes in gene expression, resulting in an early switch in the cell cycle process, involving p53 signalling, towards cell cycle arrest leading to the more effective process of apoptosis to counteract this genotoxic insult.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Estrogen is formed by the enzyme aromatase (CYP19A1) and signals via three identified receptors ERα (ESR1), ERß (ESR2), and the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER). Understanding the relative contribution of each receptor to estrogenic signaling may elucidate the disparate effects of this sex hormone across tissues, and recent developments in PCR technology allow absolute quantification and direct comparison of multiple targets. We hypothesized that this approach would reveal tissue- and sex-specific differences in estrogen receptor mRNA. METHODS:ESR1, ESR2, GPER, and CYP19A1 were measured in four cardiovascular tissues (heart, aorta, kidney, and adrenal gland), three brain areas (somatosensory cortex, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex), and reproductive tissues (ovaries, mammary gland, uterus, testes) from six male and six female adult Sprague-Dawley rats. RESULTS:GPER mRNA expression was relatively stable across all tissues in both sexes, ranging from 5.49 to 113 copies/ng RNA, a 21-fold difference. In contrast, ESR1/ESR2 were variable across tissues although similar within an organ system. ESR1 ranged from 4.46 to 614 copies/ng RNA (138-fold difference) while ESR2 ranged from 0.154 to 83.1 copies/ng RNA (540-fold). Significant sex differences were broadly absent except for renal ESR1 (female 206 vs. male 614 copies/ng RNA, P < 0.0001) and GPER (62.0 vs. 30.2 copies/ng RNA, P < 0.05) as well as gonadal GPER (5.49 vs. 47.5 copies/ng RNA, P < 0.01), ESR2 (83.1 vs. 0.299 copies/ng RNA, P < 0.01), and CYP19A1 (322 vs. 7.18 copies/ng RNA, P < 0.01). Cardiovascular tissues showed a predominance of ESR1, followed by GPER. In contrast, GPER was the predominant transcript in the brain with similarly low levels of ESR1 and ESR2. CYP19A1 was detected at very low levels except for reproductive tissues and the hippocampus. CONCLUSION:While the data indicates a lack of sex differences in most tissues, significant differences were found in the range of receptor gene expression across tissues as well as in the receptor profile between organ systems. The data provide a guide for future studies by establishing estrogen receptor expression across multiple tissues using absolute PCR quantification. This knowledge on tissue-specific estrogen receptor profiles will aid the development of hormonal therapies that elicit beneficial effects in specific tissues.
Project description:The Norway rat has important impacts on our life. They are amongst the most used research subjects, resulting in ground-breaking advances. At the same time, wild rats live in close association with us, leading to various adverse interactions. In face of this relevance, it is surprising how little is known about their natural behaviour. While recent laboratory studies revealed their complex social skills, little is known about their social behaviour in the wild. An integration of these different scientific approaches is crucial to understand their social life, which will enable us to design more valid research paradigms, develop more effective management strategies, and to provide better welfare standards. Hence, I first summarise the literature on their natural social behaviour. Second, I provide an overview of recent developments concerning their social cognition. Third, I illustrate why an integration of these areas would be beneficial to optimise our interactions with them.