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V367F mutation in SARS-CoV-2 spike RBD emerging during the early transmission phase enhances viral infectivity through increased human ACE2 receptor binding affinity.

J Virol 2021 Jun 2:JVI0061721. Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Research, School of Public Health, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510515, China.

The current pandemic of COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) is the critical determinant of viral tropism and infectivity. To investigate whether naturally occurring RBD mutations during the early transmission phase have altered the receptor binding affinity and infectivity, firstly we analyzed the binding dynamics between SARS-CoV-2 RBD mutants and the human ACE2 receptor. Read More

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Fat biology and metabolic balance: On the significance of sex.

Mol Cell Endocrinol 2021 Jun 4;533:111336. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

Department of Endocrinology, Internal Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, PR China; Branch of National Clinical Research Center for Metabolic Diseases, Hubei, PR China. Electronic address:

Obesity and its related metabolic disorders have become prevalent and fatal, which are faced by the entire human beings since decades. An energy equilibrium is urgently important for human metabolic health, which requires the participation of multiple organs, such as adipose tissues, liver and skeletal muscles. It seems that both sex and age play a role in the above processes. Read More

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Epidemiology and Treatment Options for COVID-19: A Review.

Afr J Reprod Health 2020 Jun;24(s1):142-153

Department of Natural Sciences, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, Precious Cornerstone University, Ibadan, Nigeria.

The Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is a highly transmittable and pathogenic viral infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which emerged in Wuhan, China and spread around the world. As of 19 June 2020 data from the World Health Organization (WHO) have shown that more than 8457305 confirmed cases have been identified in more than 200 countries, with the number of cases cutting across all continents. On 30th January 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 as the sixth public health emergency of international concern. Read More

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[From SARS, MERS to COVID-19: a journey to understand bat coronaviruses].

Bull Acad Natl Med 2021 May 28. Epub 2021 May 28.

CAS Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430071, China.

From the beginning of this century, three coronaviruses (CoVs) have caused severe human respiratory diseases, including severe respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which outbroke in 2002-2003, 2012 and 2019-2020, respectively. These viruses are three different species belonging to  family,  genus. Discovery of closely-related CoVs in bats indicates that bats are natural reservoirs of these viruses. Read More

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Bat Flies of the Family (Diptera: Hippoboscoidea) Host Relatives of Medically and Agriculturally Important "Bat-Associated" Viruses.

Viruses 2021 05 8;13(5). Epub 2021 May 8.

Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

Bat flies (Hippoboscoidea: and ) are obligate hematophagous ectoparasites of bats. We collected streblid bat flies from the New World (México) and the Old World (Uganda), and used metagenomics to identify their viruses. In México, we found méjal virus (; ), Amate virus (: ), and two unclassified viruses of invertebrates. Read More

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Phenotypic Divergence of P Proteins of Australian Bat Lyssavirus Lineages Circulating in Microbats and Flying Foxes.

Viruses 2021 05 4;13(5). Epub 2021 May 4.

Department of Microbiology, Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University, 19 Innovation Walk (Bldg 76), Melbourne, VIC 3800, Australia.

Bats are reservoirs of many pathogenic viruses, including the lyssaviruses rabies virus (RABV) and Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV). Lyssavirus strains are closely associated with particular host reservoir species, with evidence of specific adaptation. Associated phenotypic changes remain poorly understood but are likely to involve phosphoprotein (P protein), a key mediator of the intracellular virus-host interface. Read More

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Identifying maternal needs following childbirth: comparison between pregnant women and recent mothers.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2021 May 28;21(1):405. Epub 2021 May 28.

Department of Public Health, Epidemiology and Health Economics, University of Liège, Quartier Hôpital, Avenue Hippocrate 13, Bât. B23, 4000, Liège, Belgium.

Background: The postnatal period is associated with new needs for mothers. Four categories of needs were highlighted in a previous study: for information, for psychological support, for the sharing of experiences and for practical and material support. To ensure that these four needs are inherent to the postpartum period, the aims of this study is to examine these needs by comparing recent mothers' needs with the needs of pregnant women. Read More

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Computational optimization of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding-motif affinity for human ACE2.

Biophys J 2021 May 10. Epub 2021 May 10.

Department of Physics, University of Cyprus, PO Box 20537, CY1678, Nicosia, Cyprus. Electronic address:

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, that is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, and the closely related SARS-CoV coronavirus enter cells by binding at the human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (hACE2). The stronger hACE2 affinity of SARS-CoV-2 has been connected with its higher infectivity. In this work, we study hACE2 complexes with the receptor binding domains (RBDs) of the human SARS-CoV-2 and human SARS-CoV viruses, using all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and Computational Protein Design (CPD) with a physics-based energy function. Read More

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Detection of coronavirus in vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) in southern Brazil.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2021 May 12. Epub 2021 May 12.

Laboratório de Virologia, Faculdade de Veterinária, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil.

The vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) is a haematophagous animal that feeds exclusively on the blood of domestic mammals. Vampire bat feeding habits enable their contact with mammalian hosts and may enhance zoonotic spillover. Moreover, they may carry several pathogenic organisms, including coronaviruses (CoVs), for which they are important hosts. Read More

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Risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from humans to bats - An Australian assessment.

One Health 2021 Dec 3;13:100247. Epub 2021 May 3.

EcoHealth Alliance, New York, NY, USA.

SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, infected over 100 million people globally by February 2021. Reverse zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to other species has been documented in pet cats and dogs, big cats and gorillas in zoos, and farmed mink. As SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to known bat viruses, assessment of the potential risk of transmission of the virus from humans to bats, and its subsequent impacts on conservation and public health, is warranted. Read More

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December 2021

Whole genome analysis of Aichivirus A, isolated from a child, suffering from gastroenteritis, in Pakistan.

Virus Res 2021 Jul 24;299:198437. Epub 2021 Apr 24.

Department of Biosciences, COMSATS University (CUI), Park Road, Tarlai Kalan, Chak Shahzad, Islamabad, 45550, Pakistan. Electronic address:

Viruses are the primary cause of acute gastroenteritis in children all over the world. Understanding the emergence and genetic variation of these viruses may help to prevent infections. Aichivirus (AiV) is a member of the Kobuvirus genus, which currently contains six officially recognized species: Aichivirus A-F. Read More

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Oxytocin and 'social hyperthermia': Interaction with β-adrenergic receptor-mediated thermogenesis and significance for the expression of social behavior in male and female mice.

Horm Behav 2021 May 18;131:104981. Epub 2021 Apr 18.

Division of Science, Indiana University-Purdue University, Columbus, Columbus, IN, United States of America.

Oxytocin (OT) is a critical regulator of multiple facets of energy homeostasis, including brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis. Nevertheless, it is unclear what, if any, consequence the thermoregulatory and metabolic effects of OT have for the display of social behavior in adult rodents. Here, we examine the contribution of the OT receptor (OTR) and β adrenergic receptor (βAR) to the increase in body temperature that typically accompanies social interaction (i. Read More

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Evaluation of bat adenoviruses suggests co-evolution and host roosting behaviour as drivers for diversity.

Microb Genom 2021 Apr;7(4)

Metabiota Inc, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.

Adenoviruses (AdVs) are diverse pathogens of humans and animals, with several dozen bat AdVs already identified. Considering that over 100 human AdVs are known, and the huge diversity of bat species, many bat AdVs likely remain undiscovered. To learn more about AdV prevalence, diversity and evolution, we sampled and tested bats in Cameroon using several PCR assays for viral and host DNA. Read More

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Mutations derived from horseshoe bat ACE2 orthologs enhance ACE2-Fc neutralization of SARS-CoV-2.

PLoS Pathog 2021 04 9;17(4):e1009501. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Department of Immunology and Microbiology, The Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter, FL, United States of America.

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike (S) protein mediates infection of cells expressing angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). ACE2 is also the viral receptor of SARS-CoV (SARS-CoV-1), a related coronavirus that emerged in 2002-2003. Horseshoe bats (genus Rhinolophus) are presumed to be the original reservoir of both viruses, and a SARS-like coronavirus, RaTG13, closely related to SARS-CoV-2, has been identified in one horseshoe-bat species. Read More

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Unexpected genomic, biosynthetic and species diversity of Streptomyces bacteria from bats in Arizona and New Mexico, USA.

BMC Genomics 2021 Apr 7;22(1):247. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Biological Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, NY, USA.

Background: Antibiotic-producing Streptomyces bacteria are ubiquitous in nature, yet most studies of its diversity have focused on free-living strains inhabiting diverse soil environments and those in symbiotic relationship with invertebrates.

Results: We studied the draft genomes of 73 Streptomyces isolates sampled from the skin (wing and tail membranes) and fur surfaces of bats collected in Arizona and New Mexico. We uncovered large genomic variation and biosynthetic potential, even among closely related strains. Read More

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Functional comparison of SARS-CoV-2 with closely related pangolin and bat coronaviruses.

Cell Discov 2021 Apr 6;7(1):21. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Division of HIV/AIDS and Sex-transmitted Virus Vaccines, Institute for Biological Product Control, National Institutes for Food and Drug Control (NIFDC) and WHO Collaborating Center for Standardization and Evaluation of Biologicals, No. 31 Huatuo Street, Daxing District, Beijing 102629, China.

The origin and intermediate host for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is yet to be determined. Coronaviruses found to be closely related to SARS-CoV-2 include RaTG13 derived from bat and two clusters (PCoV-GD and PCoV-GX) of coronaviruses identified in pangolin. Here, we studied the infectivity and antigenicity patterns of SARS-CoV-2 and the three related coronaviruses. Read More

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Metagenomic Snapshots of Viral Components in Guinean Bats.

Microorganisms 2021 Mar 15;9(3). Epub 2021 Mar 15.

WHO Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus and Haemorrhagic Fever Reference and Research, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.

To prevent the emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases and reduce their epidemic potential, we need to understand their origins in nature. Bats in the order Chiroptera are widely distributed worldwide and are natural reservoirs of prominent zoonotic viruses, including Nipah virus, Marburg virus, and possibly SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we applied unbiased metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches to decipher the virosphere of frugivorous and insectivorous bat species captured in Guéckédou, Guinea, the epicenter of the West African Ebola virus disease epidemic in 2013-2016. Read More

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Emergence of Bat-Related Betacoronaviruses: Hazard and Risks.

Front Microbiol 2021 15;12:591535. Epub 2021 Mar 15.

Aix Marseille University, IRD, APHM, MEPHI, IHU-Méditerranée Infection, Marseille, France.

The current Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, with more than 111 million reported cases and 2,500,000 deaths worldwide (mortality rate currently estimated at 2.2%), is a stark reminder that coronaviruses (CoV)-induced diseases remain a major threat to humanity. COVID-19 is only the latest case of betacoronavirus (β-CoV) epidemics/pandemics. Read More

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Comprehensive comparative genomic and microsatellite analysis of SARS, MERS, BAT-SARS, and COVID-19 coronaviruses.

J Med Virol 2021 Jul 8;93(7):4382-4391. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Jamil-ur-Rahman Center for Genome Research, Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research, ICCBS, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has spread around the globe very rapidly. Previously, the evolution pattern and similarity among the COVID-19 causative organism severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and causative organisms of other similar infections have been determined using a single type of genetic marker in different studies. Herein, the SARS-CoV-2 and related β coronaviruses Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), SARS-CoV,  bat coronavirus (BAT-CoV) were comprehensively analyzed using a custom-built pipeline that employed phylogenetic approaches based on multiple types of genetic markers including the whole genome sequences, mutations in nucleotide sequences, mutations in protein sequences, and microsatellites. Read More

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Agromyces laixinhei sp. nov. isolated from bat feces in China.

J Microbiol 2021 May 29;59(5):467-475. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Department of Epidemiology, Shanxi Medical University School of Public Health, Taiyuan, Shanxi, 030001, China.

Three rod-shaped, Gram-stain-positive, and catalase-positive, phenotypically closely related isolates (HY052, HY050, and HY045) were obtained from fecal samples collected from bats in Guangxi province and Chongqing city of China. Circular, smooth, light-yellow colonies appeared on brain heart infusion plate after 24-48 h incubation at 28°C. The optimal pH for growth was between 6. Read More

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Contrasting recruitment of skin-associated adipose depots during cold challenge of mouse and human.

J Physiol 2021 Mar 16. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Key Points: Several distinct strategies produce and conserve heat to maintain body temperature of mammals, each associated with unique physiologies, with consequence for wellness and disease susceptibility Highly regulated properties of skin offset the total requirement for heat production  We hypothesize that the adipose component of skin is primarily responsible for modulating heat flux; here we evaluate the relative regulation of adipose depots in mouse and human, to test their recruitment to heat production and conservation We found that insulating mouse dermal white adipose tissue accumulates in response to environmentally- and genetically-induced cool stress; this layer is one of two adipose depots closely apposed to mouse skin, where the subcutaneous mammary gland fat pads are actively recruited to heat production In contrast, the body-wide adipose depot associated with human skin produces heat directly, potentially creating an alternative to the centrally regulated brown adipose tissue ABSTRACT: Mammalian skin impacts metabolic efficiency system-wide, controlling the rate of heat loss and consequent heat production. Here we compare the unique fat depots associated with mouse and human skin, to determine whether they have corresponding function and regulation. For human, we assay a skin-associated fat (SAF) body-wide depot to distinguish it from the subcutaneous fat pads characteristic of abdomen and upper limbs. Read More

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Metabonomics of white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue in Tupaia belangeri during cold acclimation.

Comp Biochem Physiol Part D Genomics Proteomics 2021 Jun 3;38:100823. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Key Laboratory of Ecological Adaptive Evolution and Conservation on Animals-Plants in Southwest Mountain Ecosystem of Yunnan Province Higher Institutes College, School of Life Science, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming 650500, Yunnan, China. Electronic address:

In the present study, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometer (LC-MS) was used to perform untargeted metabolomics analysis of white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT) in Tupaia belangeri during cold acclimation. Differences in biochemical composition between WAT and BAT were compared. Clarifying how the two adipose tissues respond to the lower temperature in terms of metabolomics, which elucidate the metabolic process and energy homeostasis regulation mechanism in T. Read More

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Bat and pangolin coronavirus spike glycoprotein structures provide insights into SARS-CoV-2 evolution.

Nat Commun 2021 03 11;12(1):1607. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

The Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Protein Science, Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Structural Biology, Beijing Frontier Research Center for Biological Structure, Collaborative Innovation Center for Biotherapy, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, 100084, Beijing, China.

In recognizing the host cellular receptor and mediating fusion of virus and cell membranes, the spike (S) glycoprotein of coronaviruses is the most critical viral protein for cross-species transmission and infection. Here we determined the cryo-EM structures of the spikes from bat (RaTG13) and pangolin (PCoV_GX) coronaviruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2. All three receptor-binding domains (RBDs) of these two spike trimers are in the "down" conformation, indicating they are more prone to adopt the receptor-binding inactive state. Read More

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Activation of Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 Channels in the Nucleus of the Solitary Tract and Activation of Dynorphin Input to the Median Preoptic Nucleus Contribute to Impaired BAT Thermogenesis in Diet-Induced Obesity.

eNeuro 2021 Mar-Apr;8(2). Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Department of Neurological Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239

The impairment of cold-evoked activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) in rats fed a high-fat diet (HFD) requires the activity of a vagal afferent to the medial nucleus of the solitary tract (mNTS). We determined the role of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) activation in the mNTS, and of a dynorphin input to the median preoptic nucleus (MnPO) in the impaired BAT thermogenic response to cold in HFD-fed rats. The levels of some linoleic acid (LA) metabolites, which can act as endogenous TRPV1 agonists, were elevated in the NTS of HFD rats compared with chow-fed rats. Read More

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The PRRA insert at the S1/S2 site modulates cellular tropism of SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 usage by the closely related Bat RaTG13.

J Virol 2021 Mar 8. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Laboratory of Vector-Borne Viral Diseases, Division of Viral Products, Center for Biologics Evaluation, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

Biochemical and structural analyses suggest that SARS-CoV-2 is well-adapted to infecting humans and the presence of four residues (PRRA) at the S1/S2 site within the spike (S) protein, which may lead to unexpected tissue or host tropism. Here we report that SARS-CoV-2 efficiently utilized ACE2 of 9 species to infect 293T cells. Similarly, pseudoviruses bearing S protein derived from either the bat RaTG13 or pangolin GX, two closely related animal coronaviruses, utilized ACE2 of a diverse range of animal species to gain entry. Read More

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SARS CoV-2 Spike Protein Interaction With ACE2 Receptors From Wild and Domestic Species.

Front Genet 2021 15;12:571707. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Grupo de Investigación en Ciencias Animales - GRICA, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia, Bucaramanga, Colombia.

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and since its first report, it has become a major public health concern. SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to SARS-CoV and SARS-related bat coronaviruses, and it has been described to use angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a receptor. Natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in domestic and wildlife animals, measured by RT-qPCR, has been confirmed in different countries, especially from the Felidae family. Read More

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February 2021

The Inclusive Review on SARS-CoV-2 Biology, Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Potential Management Options.

Curr Microbiol 2021 Apr 27;78(4):1099-1114. Epub 2021 Feb 27.

Department of Molecular Virology, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran.

A novel coronavirus member was reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, at the end of the year 2019. Initially, the infection spread locally, affecting the Wuhan people, and then expanded rapidly throughout the world. On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) proclaimed it a global pandemic. Read More

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The immune-modulating pregnancy-specific glycoproteins evolve rapidly and their presence correlates with hemochorial placentation in primates.

BMC Genomics 2021 Feb 18;22(1):128. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Institute of Immunology, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Greifswald, Insel Riems, Germany.

Background: Pregnancy-specific glycoprotein (PSG) genes belong to the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) gene family, within the immunoglobulin gene superfamily. In humans, 10 PSG genes encode closely related secreted glycoproteins. They are exclusively expressed in fetal syncytiotrophoblast cells and represent the most abundant fetal proteins in the maternal blood. Read More

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February 2021

Paramyxovirus circulation in bat species from French Guiana.

Infect Genet Evol 2021 Jun 12;90:104769. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Laboratoire des Interaction Virus Hôtes, Institut Pasteur de la Guyane, Cayenne, French Guiana. Electronic address:

Bats are recognized as reservoirs of numerous viruses. Among them, paramyxoviruses, for example, Hendra and Nipah viruses, are highly pathogenic to humans. Nothing is known regarding the circulation of this viral family in bats from French Guiana. Read More

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Enzyme activities in two sister-species of carnivorous pitcher plants (Nepenthes) with contrasting nutrient sequestration strategies.

Plant Physiol Biochem 2021 Apr 5;161:113-121. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Department of Biophysics, Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Faculty of Science, Palacký University, Šlechtitelů 27, CZ-783 71, Olomouc, Czech Republic. Electronic address:

The carnivorous pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes usually attract, capture and digest arthropod prey to obtain mineral nutrients. But few members of the genus have evolved specialized nutrient sequestration strategies to acquire nitrogen from the faeces and urine of mutualistic mammals, which they attract. Because the plants obtain significant amounts of nitrogen in a more available form, we hypothesized that they have relaxed the production of digestive enzymes. Read More

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