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Athetis lepigone Möschler (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) is a common maize pest in Europe and Asia. However, there is no long-term effective management strategy is available yet to suppress its population. Adults rely heavily on olfactory cues to locate their optimal host plants and oviposition sites. Pheromone-binding proteins (PBPs) are believed to be responsible for recognizing and transporting different odorant molecules to interact with receptor membrane proteins. In this study, the ligand-binding specificities of two AlepPBPs (AlepPBP2 and AlepPBP3) for sex pheromone components and host plant (maize) volatiles were measured by fluorescence ligand-binding assay. The results demonstrated that AlepPBP2 had a high affinity with two pheromones [(Z)-7-dodecenyl acetate, Ki = 1.11 ± 0.1 μM, (Z)-9-tetradecenyl acetate, Ki = 1.32 ± 0.15 μM] and ten plant volatiles, including (-)-limonene, α-pinene, myrcene, linalool, benzaldehyde, nonanal, 2-hexanone, 3-hexanone, 2-heptanone and 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one. In contrast, we found that none of these chemicals could bind to AlepPBP3. Our results clearly show no significant differences in the functional characterization of the binding properties between AlepPBP2 and AlepPBP3 to sex pheromones and host plant volatiles. Furthermore, molecular docking was employed for further detail on some crucial amino acid residues involved in the ligand-binding of AlepPBP2. These findings will provide valuable information about the potential protein binding sites necessary for protein-ligand interactions which appear as attractive targets for the development of novel technologies and management strategies for insect pests.
Spodoptera litura is an important pest that causes significant economic damage to numerous crops worldwide. Sex pheromones (SPs) mediate sexual communication in S. litura and show a characteristic degree of rhythmic activity, occurring mainly during the scotophase; however, the specific regulatory mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we employed a genome-wide analysis to identify eight candidate circadian clock genes in S. litura. Sequence characteristics and expression patterns were analyzed. Our results demonstrated that some circadian clock genes might regulate the biosynthesis and perception of SPs by regulating the rhythmic expression of SP biosynthesis-related genes and SP perception-related genes. Interestingly, all potential genes exhibited peak expression in the scotophase, consistent with the SP could mediate courtship and mating behavior in S. litura. Our findings are helpful in elucidating the molecular mechanism by which circadian clock genes regulate sexual communication in S. litura.
The tobacco cutworm Spodoptera litura (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a polyphagous pest with a highly selective and sensitive chemosensory system involved in complex physiological behaviors such as searching for food sources, feeding, courtship, and oviposition. However, effective management strategies for controlling the insect pest populations under threshold levels are lacking. Therefore, there is an urgent need to formulate eco-friendly pest control strategies based on the disruption of the insect chemosensory system. In this study, we identified 158 putative chemosensory genes based on transcriptomic and genomic data for S. litura, including 45 odorant-binding proteins (OBPs, nine were new), 23 chemosensory proteins (CSPs), 60 odorant receptors (ORs, three were new), and 30 gustatory receptors (GRs, three were new), a number higher than those reported by previous transcriptome studies. Subsequently, we constructed phylogenetic trees based on these genes in moths and analyzed the dynamic expression of various genes in head capsules across larval instars using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Nine genes–SlitOBP8, SlitOBP9, SlitOBP25, SlitCSP1, SlitCSP7, SlitCSP18, SlitOR34, SlitGR240, and SlitGR242–were highly expressed in the heads of 3- to 5-day-old S. litura larvae. The genes differentially expressed in olfactory organs during larval development might play crucial roles in the chemosensory system of S. litura larvae. Our findings substantially expand the gene inventory for S. litura and present potential target genes for further studies on larval feeding in S. litura.
Auto-alignment is a basic technique for high-power laser systems. Special techniques have been developed for laser systems because of their differing structures. This paper describes a new sensor for auto-alignment in a laser system, which can also serve as a reference in certain applications. The authors prove that all of the beam transfer information (position and pointing) can theoretically be monitored and recorded by the sensor. Furthermore, auto-alignment with a single lens sensor is demonstrated on a simple beam line, and the results indicate that effective auto-alignment is achieved.
Structural distortions at the nanoscale are delicately linked with many exotic properties for ferroic thin films. Based on advanced aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy, we observe BiFeO3 thin films with variant tensile strain states and demonstrate at an atomic scale the interplay of intrinsic spontaneous structural distortions with external constraints. Structural parameters (the rhombohedral distortion and domain wall shear distortion) under zero (BiFeO3/GdScO3) and 1.5% (BiFeO3/PrScO3) lateral strain states are quantitatively analyzed which are suppressed within a few unit cells near the film/substrate interfaces. In particular, an interfacial layer with asymmetrical lattice distortions (enhanced and reduced out-of-plane lattice spacing) on the two sides of 109° domain wall is resolved. These structural distortions near the film/substrate interface in ferroic thin films reveal intense tanglement of intrinsic distortions of BiFeO3 with external boundary conditions, which could provide new insights for the development of nanoscale ferroelectric devices.
The present study was designed to evaluate the feasibility of producing pig transgenic blastocysts expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (GFP) and to examine the effects of shape and preparation methods of donor cells on in vitro developmental ability of pig nuclear transferred embryos (NTEs). In experiment 1, the effect of GFP transfection on development of pig NTEs was evaluated. The cleavage and blastocyst rates showed no significant difference between NTEs derived from transfected and non-transfected donors. In experiment 2, the effect of different nuclear donor preparation methods on in vitro development of NTEs was examined. The cleavage rate showed no statistically significant differences among three preparation methods. The blastocyst rates of donor cells treated once at −4 °C and those of freshly digested cells were similar to each other (26.3% vs 17.9%). The lowest blastocyst rates (5.88%) were observed when cells cryopreserved at −196 °C were used as donors. In experiment 3, the effect of different cell cycle synchronization methods on the in vitro development potential of pig NTEs was evaluated. The cleavage rate of NTEs derived from cycling cells was much better than that of NTEs derived from serum-starved cells (64.4% vs 50.5%, p < 0.05), but no significant difference was observed between the the blastocyst rates of the two groups. In experiment 4, the effect of different shapes of cultured fibroblast cells on the in vitro development of pig NTEs was examined. The fusion rate for couplets derived from rough cells was poorer than that observed in couplets derived from round smooth cells (47.8% vs 76.8%, p < 0.05). However, there were no significant differences observed in the cleavage rate and blastocyst rate. In conclusion, the present study indicated that (i) refrigerated pig GFP-transfected cells could be used as donors in nuclear transfer and these NTEs could be effectively developed to blastocyst stage; (ii) serum starvation of GFP-transfected cells is not required for preimplantation development of pig NTEs; and (iii) a rough surface of GFP-transfected donor cells affects fusion rate negatively but has no influence on the cleavage rate or blastocyst rate of pig NTEs.
Although pseudocyst of the auricle is a common disease in China, its cause and mechanism are still not clear. Several methods of treatment have been advocated: repeated aspirations combined with physiotherapy, and incision and drainage with contour pressure dressing, magnetotherapy etc. In recent years, a new technique with a drainage tube inserted into the pseudocyst using a guide needle has been used in our hospital in the treatment of this condition. We report 45 cases treated by this method, none of whom had the condition previously.
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