Publications by authors named "Marcelo Aguilar"

11 Publications

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Under pressure: phenotypic divergence and convergence associated with microhabitat adaptations in Triatominae.

Parasit Vectors 2021 Apr 8;14(1):195. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Background: Triatomine bugs, the vectors of Chagas disease, associate with vertebrate hosts in highly diverse ecotopes. It has been proposed that occupation of new microhabitats may trigger selection for distinct phenotypic variants in these blood-sucking bugs. Although understanding phenotypic variation is key to the study of adaptive evolution and central to phenotype-based taxonomy, the drivers of phenotypic change and diversity in triatomines remain poorly understood.

Methods/results: We combined a detailed phenotypic appraisal (including morphology and morphometrics) with mitochondrial cytb and nuclear ITS2 DNA sequence analyses to study Rhodnius ecuadoriensis populations from across the species' range. We found three major, naked-eye phenotypic variants. Southern-Andean bugs primarily from vertebrate-nest microhabitats (Ecuador/Peru) are typical, light-colored, small bugs with short heads/wings. Northern-Andean bugs from wet-forest palms (Ecuador) are dark, large bugs with long heads/wings. Finally, northern-lowland bugs primarily from dry-forest palms (Ecuador) are light-colored and medium-sized. Wing and (size-free) head shapes are similar across Ecuadorian populations, regardless of habitat or phenotype, but distinct in Peruvian bugs. Bayesian phylogenetic and multispecies-coalescent DNA sequence analyses strongly suggest that Ecuadorian and Peruvian populations are two independently evolving lineages, with little within-lineage phylogeographic structuring or differentiation.

Conclusions: We report sharp naked-eye phenotypic divergence of genetically similar Ecuadorian R. ecuadoriensis (nest-dwelling southern-Andean vs palm-dwelling northern bugs; and palm-dwelling Andean vs lowland), and sharp naked-eye phenotypic similarity of typical, yet genetically distinct, southern-Andean bugs primarily from vertebrate-nest (but not palm) microhabitats. This remarkable phenotypic diversity within a single nominal species likely stems from microhabitat adaptations possibly involving predator-driven selection (yielding substrate-matching camouflage coloration) and a shift from palm-crown to vertebrate-nest microhabitats (yielding smaller bodies and shorter and stouter heads). These findings shed new light on the origins of phenotypic diversity in triatomines, warn against excess reliance on phenotype-based triatomine-bug taxonomy, and confirm the Triatominae as an informative model system for the study of phenotypic change under ecological pressure .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-021-04647-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8034103PMC
April 2021

Comparison of exposure to trace elements through vegetable consumption between a mining area and an agricultural area in central Chile.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2018 Jul 3;25(19):19114-19121. Epub 2018 May 3.

Escuela de Agronomía, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Quillota, Chile.

Human exposure to trace elements has been a large concern due to the potential health issues. Accordingly, this study aimed to compare the concentrations of arsenic, copper, and zinc in the edible parts of vegetables grown in a mining-agricultural area and in an exclusively agricultural area and to compare the potential human health risks of consuming vegetables from both areas. The consumption habits of the studied population were extracted from the 2010 National Alimentary Survey of Chile. In most cases, the concentrations of trace elements in the edible tissues of vegetables (lettuce, spinach, garlic, onion, carrot, potato, sweet corn, and tomato) were higher in the mining-agricultural area than those in the control area. This difference was most pronounced for leafy vegetables, with arsenic being the trace element of concern. Specifically, the arsenic concentrations in the edible tissues of lettuce and spinach were 8.2- and 5.4-fold higher, respectively, in the mining-agricultural area than in the control area. Lettuce was the vegetable of concern due to its relatively high consumption and relatively high concentration of trace elements. Nevertheless, there was no health risk associated with vegetable consumption in either the mining area or the control area because none of the HQ values surpassed 1.0.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-2116-xDOI Listing
July 2018

Functional disruption of the Golgi apparatus protein ARF1 sensitizes MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells to the antitumor drugs Actinomycin D and Vinblastine through ERK and AKT signaling.

PLoS One 2018 3;13(4):e0195401. Epub 2018 Apr 3.

Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.

Increasing evidence indicates that the Golgi apparatus plays active roles in cancer, but a comprehensive understanding of its functions in the oncogenic transformation has not yet emerged. At the same time, the Golgi is becoming well recognized as a hub that integrates its functions of protein and lipid biosynthesis to signal transduction for cell proliferation and migration in cancer cells. Nevertheless, the active function of the Golgi apparatus in cancer cells has not been fully evaluated as a target for combined treatment. Here, we analyzed the effect of perturbing the Golgi apparatus on the sensitivity of the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line to the drugs Actinomycin D and Vinblastine. We disrupted the function of ARF1, a protein necessary for the homeostasis of the Golgi apparatus. We found that the expression of the ARF1-Q71L mutant increased the sensitivity of MDA-MB-231 cells to both Actinomycin D and Vinblastine, resulting in decreased cell proliferation and cell migration, as well as in increased apoptosis. Likewise, the combined treatment of cells with Actinomycin D or Vinblastine and Brefeldin A or Golgicide A, two disrupting agents of the ARF1 function, resulted in similar effects on cell proliferation, cell migration and apoptosis. Interestingly, each combined treatment had distinct effects on ERK1/2 and AKT signaling, as indicated by the decreased levels of either phospho-ERK1/2 or phospho-AKT. Our results suggest that disruption of Golgi function could be used as a strategy for the sensitization of cancer cells to chemotherapy.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0195401PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5882166PMC
July 2018

Consecutive emamectin benzoate and deltamethrin treatments affect the expressions and activities of detoxification enzymes in the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol 2017 Jan 17;191:129-137. Epub 2016 Oct 17.

Instituto de Bioquímica y Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile; Centro FONDAP, Interdisciplinary Center for Aquaculture Research (INCAR), Chile.

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) subjected to three consecutive, alternating treatments with emamectin benzoate (EMB) and deltamethrin (DM) during outbreaks of Caligus rogercresseyi in a farm located in southern Chile (Hornopiren, Chiloé), were studied to determine the effects of these treatments on the protein and enzymatic activity levels of cytochrome P450 1A (CYP1A), flavin-containing monooxygenase (FMO) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) in different tissues. Consecutive and alternating EMB/DM treatments resulted in a 10-fold increase and 3-fold decrease of CYP1A protein levels in the intestine and gills, respectively. Notably, CYP1A activity levels decreased in most of the analyzed tissues. FMO protein and activity levels markedly increased in the kidney and the intestine. GST was up-regulated in all tissues, either as protein or enzyme activity. When comparing consecutive EMB/DM treatments against previous studies of EMB treatment alone, CYP1A activity levels were similarly diminished, except in muscle. Likewise, FMO activity levels were increased in most of the analyzed tissues, particularly in the muscle, kidney, and intestine. The increases observed for GST were essentially unchanged between consecutive EMB/DM and EMB only treatments. These results indicate that consecutive EMB/DM treatments in rainbow trout induce the expression and activity of FMO and GST enzymes and decrease CYP1A activity. These altered activities of detoxification enzymes could generate imbalances in metabolic processes, synthesis, degradation of hormones and complications associated with drug interactions. It is especially important when analyzing possible effects of consecutive antiparasitic treatments on withholding periods and salmon farming yields.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpc.2016.10.004DOI Listing
January 2017

Chagas Disease Has Not Been Controlled in Ecuador.

PLoS One 2016 28;11(6):e0158145. Epub 2016 Jun 28.

Laboratorio de Parasitología, Centro de Investigaciones Regionales ''Hideyo Noguchi", Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, Yucatán, México.

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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0158145PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924857PMC
November 2017

Distinct Biochemical Pools of Golgi Phosphoprotein 3 in the Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines MCF7 and MDA-MB-231.

PLoS One 2016 28;11(4):e0154719. Epub 2016 Apr 28.

Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, and Centro Interdisciplinario de Estudios del Sistema Nervioso (CISNe), Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.

Golgi phosphoprotein 3 (GOLPH3) has been implicated in the development of carcinomas in many human tissues, and is currently considered a bona fide oncoprotein. Importantly, several tumor types show overexpression of GOLPH3, which is associated with tumor progress and poor prognosis. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms that connect GOLPH3 function with tumorigenicity are poorly understood. Experimental evidence shows that depletion of GOLPH3 abolishes transformation and proliferation of tumor cells in GOLPH3-overexpressing cell lines. Conversely, GOLPH3 overexpression drives transformation of primary cell lines and enhances mouse xenograft tumor growth in vivo. This evidence suggests that overexpression of GOLPH3 could result in distinct features of GOLPH3 in tumor cells compared to that of non-tumorigenic cells. GOLPH3 is a peripheral membrane protein mostly localized at the trans-Golgi network, and its association with Golgi membranes depends on binding to phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate. GOLPH3 is also contained in a large cytosolic pool that rapidly exchanges with Golgi-associated pools. GOLPH3 has also been observed associated with vesicles and tubules arising from the Golgi, as well as other cellular compartments, and hence it has been implicated in several membrane trafficking events. Whether these and other features are typical to all different types of cells is unknown. Moreover, it remains undetermined how GOLPH3 acts as an oncoprotein at the Golgi. Therefore, to better understand the roles of GOLPH3 in cancer cells, we sought to compare some of its biochemical and cellular properties in the human breast cancer cell lines MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 with that of the non-tumorigenic breast human cell line MCF 10A. We found unexpected differences that support the notion that in different cancer cells, overexpression of GOLPH3 functions in diverse fashions, which may influence specific tumorigenic phenotypes.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154719PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4849736PMC
April 2017

Modeling disease vector occurrence when detection is imperfect: infestation of Amazonian palm trees by triatomine bugs at three spatial scales.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2010 Mar 2;4(3):e620. Epub 2010 Mar 2.

Instituto Leônidas e Maria Deane - Fiocruz Amazônia, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.

Background: Failure to detect a disease agent or vector where it actually occurs constitutes a serious drawback in epidemiology. In the pervasive situation where no sampling technique is perfect, the explicit analytical treatment of detection failure becomes a key step in the estimation of epidemiological parameters. We illustrate this approach with a study of Attalea palm tree infestation by Rhodnius spp. (Triatominae), the most important vectors of Chagas disease (CD) in northern South America.

Methodology/principal Findings: The probability of detecting triatomines in infested palms is estimated by repeatedly sampling each palm. This knowledge is used to derive an unbiased estimate of the biologically relevant probability of palm infestation. We combine maximum-likelihood analysis and information-theoretic model selection to test the relationships between environmental covariates and infestation of 298 Amazonian palm trees over three spatial scales: region within Amazonia, landscape, and individual palm. Palm infestation estimates are high (40-60%) across regions, and well above the observed infestation rate (24%). Detection probability is higher ( approximately 0.55 on average) in the richest-soil region than elsewhere ( approximately 0.08). Infestation estimates are similar in forest and rural areas, but lower in urban landscapes. Finally, individual palm covariates (accumulated organic matter and stem height) explain most of infestation rate variation.

Conclusions/significance: Individual palm attributes appear as key drivers of infestation, suggesting that CD surveillance must incorporate local-scale knowledge and that peridomestic palm tree management might help lower transmission risk. Vector populations are probably denser in rich-soil sub-regions, where CD prevalence tends to be higher; this suggests a target for research on broad-scale risk mapping. Landscape-scale effects indicate that palm triatomine populations can endure deforestation in rural areas, but become rarer in heavily disturbed urban settings. Our methodological approach has wide application in infectious disease research; by improving eco-epidemiological parameter estimation, it can also significantly strengthen vector surveillance-control strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0000620DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2830460PMC
March 2010

Neuronal activity of mitral-tufted cells in awake rats during passive and active odorant stimulation.

J Neurophysiol 2008 Jul 21;100(1):422-30. Epub 2008 May 21.

Centro de Neurociencias Integradas, and P Fisiología y Biofísica, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Casilla, Santiago, Chile.

Odorants induce specific modulation of mitral/tufted (MT) cells' firing rate in the mammalian olfactory bulb (OB), inducing temporal patterns of neuronal discharge embedded in an oscillatory local field potential (LFP). While most studies have examined anesthetized animals, little is known about the firing rate and temporal patterns of OB single units and population activity in awake behaving mammals. We examined the firing rate and oscillatory activity of MT cells and LFP signals in behaving rats during two olfactory tasks: passive exposure (PE) and two-alternative (TA) choice discrimination. MT inhibitory responses are predominant in the TA task (76.5%), whereas MT excitatory responses predominate in the PE task (59.2%). Rhythmic discharge in the 12- to 100-Hz range was found in 79.0 and 68.9% of MT cells during PE and TA tasks, respectively. Most odorants presented in PE task increase rhythmic discharges at frequencies >50 Hz, whereas in TA, one of four odorants produced a modest increment <40 Hz. LFP oscillations were clearly modulated by odorants during the TA task, increasing their oscillatory power at frequencies centered at 20 Hz and decreasing power at frequencies >50 Hz. Our results indicate that firing rate responses of MT cells in awake animals are behaviorally modulated with inhibition being a prominent feature of this modulation. The occurrence of oscillatory patterns in single- and multiunitary discharge is also related to stimulation and behavioral context, while the oscillatory patterns of the neuronal population showed a strong dependence on odorant stimulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00095.2008DOI Listing
July 2008

Seroprevalence and risk factors for Trypanosoma cruzi infection in the Amazon region of Ecuador.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2003 Oct;69(4):380-5

Tropical Disease Institute, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701, USA.

Trypanosoma cruzi infection in the Ecuadorian Amazon region has recently been reported. A seroepidemiologic survey conducted in four provinces in this region indicates a seroprevalence rate of 2.4% among the 6,866 samples collected in 162 communities. Among children < OR = 10 years of age, 1.2% were seropositive. Risk factors for T. cruzi seropositivity were having been born and remaining in the Ecuadorian Amazon provinces, age, living in a house with a thatch roof and open or mixed wall construction, recognizing the vector insects, and reporting being bitten by a triatomine bug. These data suggest active transmission of Chagas' disease in the Ecuadorian Amazon region is associated with poor housing conditions, and highlight the need for further studies aimed at understanding the biology of the insect vectors, reservoir species, and the clinical impact of T. cruzi infection as the basis for future educational and control programs in this region.
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October 2003

Trapping Triatominae in silvatic habitats.

Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 2002 Jan;97(1):61-3

Laboratório Nacional e Internacional de Referência em Taxonomia de Triatomíneos, Departamento de Entomologia, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz, Av. Brasil 4365, 21045-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.

Large-scale trials of a trapping system designed to collect silvatic Triatominae are reported. Live-baited adhesive traps were tested in various ecosystems and different triatomine habitats (arboreal and terrestrial). The trials were always successful, with a rate of positive habitats generally over 20% and reaching 48.4% for palm trees of the Amazon basin. Eleven species of Triatominae belonging to the three genera of public health importance (Triatoma, Rhodnius and Panstrongylus) were captured. This trapping system provides an effective way to detect the presence of triatomines in terrestrial and arboreal silvatic habitats and represents a promising tool for ecological studies. Various lines of research are contemplated to improve the performance of this trapping system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/s0074-02762002000100009DOI Listing
January 2002