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Spindle oscillations are generated predominantly during sleep state II, through cyclical interactions between thalamocortical and reticular neurons. Inhibition from reticular cells is critical for this activity; it enables burst firing by the de-inactivation of T-type Ca2+ channels. While the effect of different channelopathies on spindling is extensively investigated, our knowledge about the role of intrathalamic connections is limited. Therefore, we explored how the connection pattern and the density of reticular inhibitory synapses affect spindle activity in a thalamic network model. With more intrareticular connections, synchronous firing of reticular cells, and intraspindle burst frequency decreased, spindles lengthened. In models with strong intrareticular inhibition spindle activity was impaired, and a sustained 6–8 Hz oscillation was generated instead. The strength of reticular innervation onto thalamocortical cells played a key role in the generation of oscillations; it determined the amount of thalamocortical cell bursts, and consequently spindle length. Focal inputs supported bursts but affected only a few cells thus barely reinforced network activity, while diffuse contacts aided bursts only when a sufficient number of reticular cells fired synchronously. According to our study, alterations in the connection pattern influence thalamic activities and may contribute to pathological conditions, or alternatively, they serve as a compensatory mechanism.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Hagen Frickmann, Thomas Köller, Ralf Matthias Hagen, Klaus-Peter Ebert, Martin Müller, Werner Wenzel, Renate Gatzer, Ulrich Schotte, Alfred Binder, Romy Skusa, Philipp Warnke, Andreas Podbielski, Christian Rückert, and Bernd Kreikemeyer

Introduction: We assessed the molecular epidemiology of multidrug-resistant bacteria colonizing or infecting war-injured patients from Libya and Syria who were treated at the Bundeswehr hospitals Hamburg and Westerstede, Germany.

Methods: Enterobacteriaceae and Gram-negative rod-shaped nonfermentative bacteria with resistance against third-generation methoxyimino cephalosporins or carbapenems as well as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from war-injured patients from Libya and Syria were assessed by molecular typing, i.e., spa typing for MRSA strains and rep-PCR and next-generation sequencing (NGS) for Gram-negative isolates.

Results: A total of 66 isolates were assessed – comprising 44 Enterobacteriaceae, 16 nonfermentative rod-shaped bacteria, and 6 MRSA from 22 patients – and 8 strains from an assessment of the patient environment comprising 5 Enterobacteriaceae and 3 nonfermentative rod-shaped bacteria. Although 24 out of 66 patient strains were isolated more than 3 days after hospital admission, molecular typing suggested only 7 likely transmission events in the hospitals. Identified clonal clusters primarily suggested transmission events in the country of origin or during the medical evacuation flights.

Conclusions: Nosocomial transmissions in hospital can be efficiently prevented by hygiene precautions in spite of heavy colonization. Transmission prior to hospital admission like on evacuation flights or in crises zones needs further assessment.

Open access

Reinerantha foliicola was recently described as a new epiphyllous genus and species in the Cololejeuneinae subtribe of the liverwort family Lejeuneaceae, from the montane rainforest region of Ecuador. A second locality of this unusual plant was detected in Venezuela in a rich Andean montane rainforest near Mérida, at an elevation of 2,300 m.

Open access

The use of vancomycin for treatment of serious infections caused by MRSA strains has resulted in emergence of vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) in clinical settings. Following our previous report of phenotypic VRSA in Nigeria, the current study attempts to determine the genetic basis underlying this resistance. Over a period of 6 months, non-duplicate clinical S. aureus isolates from 73 consecutive patients with infective conditions at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Osogbo were tested against a panel of eight selected antibiotics by disk diffusion test. The Epsilom test strip was used to determine vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay to amplify nuc, mecA, vanA, and vanB genes. Of 73 isolates, 61 (83.6%) had MIC of ≤2 μg/ml, 11 (15.1%) had 4–8 μg/ml and 1 (1.4%) had 16 μg/ml. The mecA gene was detected in 5 (6.8%) isolates but none contained vanA or vanB genes. Both vancomycin-susceptible and intermediate isolates were resistant to multiple antibiotics, while the only vancomycin resistant isolate was resistant to all eight antibiotics. The result confirms the occurrence of phenotypic vancomycin intermediate-resistant S. aureus (VISA) and VRSA infections in Nigeria, but the molecular basis will require further investigation.

Open access

In the past, the horizontal transfer of antimicrobial resistance genes was mainly associated with conjugative plasmids or transposons, whereas transduction by bacteriophages was thought to be a rare event. In order to analyze the likelihood of transduction of antimicrobial resistance in the field of clinical veterinary medicine, we isolated phages from Escherichia coli from a surgery suite of an equine clinic. In a pilot study, the surgery suite of a horse clinic was sampled directly after surgery and subsequently sampled after cleaning and disinfection following a sampling plan based on hygiene, surgery, and anesthesia. In total, 31 surface sampling sites were defined and sampled. At 24 of these 31 surface sampling sites, coliphages were isolated. At 12 sites, coliphages were found after cleaning and disinfection. Randomly selected phages were tested for their ability of antimicrobial resistance transduction. Ten of 31 phages were detected to transfer antimicrobial resistance. These phages most often transduced resistance to streptomycin, encoded by the addA1 gene (n = 9), followed by resistance to chloramphenicol by cmlA (n = 3) and ampicillin (n = 1). This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first report on antimicrobial resistance-transferring bacteriophages that have been isolated at equine veterinary clinics.

Open access

Unlike vagile organisms, plants perform a wide range of phenotypic responses to cope with environmental stresses. A special case of interaction with external factors is the ability of plants to recognize genetic relatedness of neighbour plants, actually well known as kin recognition. The present work aimed to provide a valuable contribution to the field of kin recognition in plants through a common garden experiment. To avoid bias involved in pot experiments, we perform an experiment in unconstrained root growth conditions comparing the development of coupled kin, non-kin and solitary plants of Xanthium italicum. Biometrics of plants with different genetic relatedness were measured, then architecture and competitive interaction were assessed using the relative interaction index (RII) for above and belowground portions of plants. X. italicum showed different allocation depending on the neighbourhood. Root biomass was declined in plants growing with kin compared to non-kin coupled plants, while plants coupled with kin allocated more shoot than roots compared to solitary plants. RII explains phenotypic response of decreased competition in roots rather than in shoots. Despite high values of RII for the aboveground portion, the architectural analysis of shoot, number, angle and length of branches and roots reveals dramatic but indistinctive change in the structure of plants growing near kin or non kin compared to a solitary plant. These results confirm phenotypic responses of kin recognition in unconstrained environment.

Open access

Clostridium difficile infection is a significant health burden, and innovative solutions are needed to shorten time to diagnosis and improve infection control. We evaluated the performance of the cobas® Cdiff test for use on the cobas® Liat® System (cobas® Liat® Cdiff), a single-sample, on-demand, and automated molecular solution with a 20-min turnaround time. The limit of detection was 45–90 colony-forming units (CFUs)/swab for toxigenic strains that covered the most prevalent toxinotypes, including the hypervirulent epidemic 027/BI/NAP1 strain. Using 442 prospectively collected clinical stool specimens, we compared the performance of the cobas® Liat® Cdiff to direct culture and to the cobas® Cdiff test on the cobas® 4800 System (cobas® 4800 Cdiff) – a mediumthroughput molecular platform. The sensitivity and specificity of the cobas® Liat® Cdiff compared to direct culture were 93.1% and 95.1%, respectively, and this performance did not statistically differ from the cobas® 4800 Cdiff (P > 0.05). Direct correlation of the cobas® Liat® and cobas® 4800 Cdiff tests yielded overall percent agreement of 98.6%. The test performance, automation, and turnaround time of the cobas® Liat® Cdiff enable its use for on-demand and out-of-hours testing as a complement to existing batch testing solutions like the cobas® 4800 Cdiff.

Open access

The biodiversity and species richness of benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages are under the strong pressure of environmental variables compounded with geographical and historical processes. Numerous studies that have investigated biodiversity and assemblage stability have shown the importance of choosing proper methodologies and paradigms. Consequently, the use of diversity measures and the partitioning of biodiversity at different spatial and temporal scales are of particular significance. Within habitats, only those species whose preferences remain within a tolerable range of the variability of abiotic factors are able to survive. The structure of biocoenosis at the local scale is determined mainly by current velocity/discharge, granulometry of the inorganic bottom substrate, quantity and quality of particulate organic matter, as well as water quality variables. Dispersion plays a key role in shaping regional diversity gradients, which supports the permanent inflow of individuals and their exchange between riverine basins. However, dispersion is also one of the basic aspects of the saturation/non-saturation of local communities with species from the regional species pool; a respective concept tries to determine how, why and to what degree local species richness is dependent on regional species richness.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Irène Pegha-Moukandja, Roméo-Karl Imboumy-Limoukou, Nina Tchitoula-Makaya, Augustin-Ghislain Mouinga-Ondeme, Jean Claude Biteghe-Bi-Essone, Dieudonne Nkoghe Mba, Jean-Bernard Lekana-Douki, and Fousseyni S. Toure Ndouo

Plasmodium falciparum merozoite antigens (PfMAgs) play an essential role in the development of immunity to malaria. Currently, P. falciparum: protein 113 (Pf 113), apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1), erythrocyte binding antigens (EBA175), and reticulocyte binding protein homologue 5 (RH5) are among the most PfMAgs studied. A comparative analysis of naturally acquired antibodies against these antigens in children would increase our knowledge about the development of protective immunity.

Analysis of antibodies to Pf113, PfAMA1, PfEBA175, and PfRH5 was conducted in rural population during 2013 and 2014. Both prevalence and levels of total IgG anti-PfAMA1 were higher than that of IgG anti-PfEBA175, anti-PfRH5, and anti-Pf113. Seroconversion to PfAMA1 and PfEBA175 occurred moderately in young children and reached to the maximum in adolescent and in adults. High prevalence of IgG anti-Pf113 was observed in young children of 3 to 6 years old in 2013. The four antigens were recognized by IgG 1, 2, 3, and 4 antibodies from a large proportion of the subjects, and all of them induced high levels of specific IgG1 against PfAMA1, PfEBA175, fewer by Pf113 and PfRH5.

Many asymptomatic children had specific IgG1 recognizing multiple antigens, and these IgG1 antibodies could be associated with a reduced risk of developing malaria symptoms.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Hagen Frickmann, Andreas Hahn, Norbert Georg Schwarz, Ralf Matthias Hagen, Denise Dekker, Rebecca Hinz, Volker Micheel, Benedikt Hogan, Jürgen May, and Raphael Rakotozandrindrainy

Direct growth on blood and screening agar for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) at a tropical surveillance site was compared with broth enrichment and subsequent growth on selective MRSA agar after international sample transport.

In Madagascar, 1548 swabs from an MRSA surveillance study were assessed for growth on Columbia blood agar enriched with 5% sheep blood and MRSA screening agar at the surveillance site with subsequent cold storage of the samples and shipment to Germany. In Germany, 1541 shipped samples were analyzed by non-selective broth enrichment with subsequent culture on MRSA selective agar.

A total of 28 MRSA isolates were detected. Of these, 20 strains were isolated from direct culture on blood and MRSA screening agars at the surveillance site, 24 MRSA strains were isolated using the broth enrichment method in Germany, and 16 MRSA strains were identified by both approaches.

In spite of the observed die-off of individual strains due to long-term storage and transport, broth enrichment with subsequent screening on MRSA selective agar after international sample shipment led to comparable sensitivity of MRSA detection like streaking on blood and MRSA agar at the tropical surveillance site.

Open access