Archive for the ‘Biology’ Category

Bees Learn Soccer from Their Buddies

The insects show sophisticated learning for non-bee–related tasks, and can even improve on what they are taught

– Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Redescription of Potamonautes sidneyi (Rathbun, 1904) (Decapoda, Potamonautidae) and description of a new congeneric species from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

ZooKeys 657: 1-28
DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.657.11623
Authors: Nasreen Peer, Gavin Gouws, Eric Lazo-Wasem, Renzo Perissinotto, Nelson A.F. Miranda
Abstract: A new species of freshwater crab, Potamonautes danielsi sp. n., is described fr…

Synthetic vulnerabilities of mesenchymal subpopulations in pancreatic cancer

Malignant neoplasms evolve in response to changes in oncogenic signalling. Cancer cell plasticity in response to evolutionary pressures is fundamental to tumour progression and the development of therapeutic resistance. Here we determine the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cancer cell plasticity in a conditional oncogenic Kras mouse model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a malignancy that displays considerable phenotypic diversity and morphological heterogeneity. In this model, stochastic extinction of oncogenic Kras signalling and emergence of Kras-independent escaper populations (cells that acquire oncogenic properties) are associated with de-differentiation and aggressive biological behaviour. Transcriptomic and functional analyses of Kras-independent escapers reveal the presence of Smarcb1–Myc-network-driven mesenchymal reprogramming and independence from MAPK signalling. A somatic mosaic model of PDAC, which allows time-restricted perturbation of cell fate, shows that depletion of Smarcb1 activates the Myc network, driving an anabolic switch that increases protein metabolism and adaptive activation of endoplasmic-reticulum-stress-induced survival pathways. Increased protein turnover renders mesenchymal sub-populations highly susceptible to pharmacological and genetic perturbation of the cellular proteostatic machinery and the IRE1-α–MKK4 arm of the endoplasmic-reticulum-stress-response pathway. Specifically, combination regimens that impair the unfolded protein responses block the emergence of aggressive mesenchymal subpopulations in mouse and patient-derived PDAC models. These molecular and biological insights inform a potential therapeutic strategy for targeting aggressive mesenchymal features of PDAC.

Inflammation, metaflammation and immunometabolic disorders

Proper regulation and management of energy, substrate diversity and quantity, as well as macromolecular synthesis and breakdown processes, are fundamental to cellular and organismal survival and are paramount to health. Cellular and multicellular organization are defended by the immune response, a robust and critical system through which self is distinguished from non-self, pathogenic signals are recognized and eliminated, and tissue homeostasis is safeguarded. Many layers of evolutionarily conserved interactions occur between immune response and metabolism. Proper maintenance of this delicate balance is crucial for health and has important implications for many pathological states such as obesity, diabetes, and other chronic non-communicable diseases.

The genus Amegilla (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Anthophorini) in Australia: A revision of the subgenera Notomegilla and Zonamegilla

ZooKeys 653: 79-140
DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.653.11177
Authors: Remko Leijs, Michael Batley, Katja Hogendoorn
Abstract: The Australian bees in the subgenera Notomegilla and Zonamegilla of the genus Amegilla are revised. Commonly in Aus…

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