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  • Journal Article

    Camostat Mesylate May Reduce Severity of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Sepsis: A First Observation 

    Hofmann-Winkler, Heike; Moerer, Onnen; Alt-Epping, Sabine; Bräuer, Anselm; Büttner, Benedikt; Müller, Martin; Fricke, Torben; Grundmann, Julian; Harnisch, Lars-Olav; Heise, Daniel; et al.
    Kernchen, AndreaPressler, MeikeStephani, CasparTampe, BjörnKaul, ArturGärtner, SabineKramer, StefaniePöhlmann, StefanWinkler, Martin Sebastian
    Critical Care Explorations 2020; 2(11) p.1-5: Art. e0284
    Objectives: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 cell entry depends on angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 and transmembrane serine protease 2 and is blocked in cell culture by camostat mesylate, a clinically proven protease inhibitor. Whether camostat mesylate is able to lower disease burden in coronavirus disease 2019 sepsis is currently unknown. Design: Retrospective observational case series. Setting: Patient treated in ICU of University hospital Göttingen, Germany. Patients: Eleven critical ill coronavirus disease 2019 patients with organ failure were treated in ICU. Interventions: Compassionate use of camostat mesylate (six patients, camostat group) or hydroxychloroquine (five patients, hydroxychloroquine group). Measurements and Main Results: Clinical courses were assessed by Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment score at days 1, 3, and 8. Further, viral load, oxygenation, and inflammatory markers were determined. Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment score was comparable between camostat and hydroxychloroquine groups upon ICU admission. During observation, the Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment score decreased in the camostat group but remained elevated in the hydroxychloroquine group. The decline in disease severity in camostat mesylate treated patients was paralleled by a decline in inflammatory markers and improvement of oxygenation. Conclusions: The severity of coronavirus disease 2019 decreased upon camostat mesylate treatment within a period of 8 days and a similar effect was not observed in patients receiving hydroxychloroquine. Camostat mesylate thus warrants further evaluation within randomized clinical trials.
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  • Journal Article

    Do infants and preschoolers quantify probabilities based on proportions? 

    Placì, Sarah; Fischer, Julia; Rakoczy, Hannes
    Royal Society Open Science 2020; 7(9) p.1-8: Art. 191751
    Most statistical problems encountered throughout life require the ability to quantify probabilities based on proportions. Recent findings on the early ontogeny of this ability have been mixed: For example, when presented with jars containing preferred and less preferred items, 12-month-olds, but not 3- and 4-years-olds, seem to rely on the proportions of objects in the jars to predict the content of samples randomly drawn out of them. Given these contrasting findings, it remains unclear what the probabilistic reasoning abilities of young children are and how they develop. In our study, we addressed this question and tested, with identical methods across age groups and similar methods to previous studies, whether 12-month-olds and 3- and 4-years-olds rely on proportions of objects to estimate probabilities of random sampling events. Results revealed that neither infants nor preschoolers do. While preschoolers' performance is in line with previous findings, infants' performance is difficult to interpret given their failure in a control condition in which the outcomes happened with certainty rather than a graded probability. More systematic studies are needed to explain why infants succeeded in a previous study but failed in our study.
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  • Journal Article

    The human box C/D snoRNA U3 is a miRNA source and miR-U3 regulates expression of sortin nexin 27 

    Lemus-Diaz, Nicolas; Ferreira, Rafael Rinaldi; Bohnsack, Katherine E; Gruber, Jens; Bohnsack, Markus T
    Nucleic Acids Research p.1-16
    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of eukaryotic gene expression and their dysfunction is often associated with cancer. Alongside the canonical miRNA biogenesis pathway involving stepwise processing and export of pri- and pre-miRNA transcripts by the microprocessor complex, Exportin 5 and Dicer, several alternative mechanisms of miRNA production have been described. Here, we reveal that the atypical box C/D snoRNA U3, which functions as a scaffold during early ribosome assembly, is a miRNA source. We show that a unique stem–loop structure in the 5′ domain of U3 is processed to form short RNA fragments that associate with Argonaute. miR-U3 production is independent of Drosha, and an increased amount of U3 in the cytoplasm in the absence of Dicer suggests that a portion of the full length snoRNA is exported to the cytoplasm where it is efficiently processed into miRNAs. Using reporter assays, we demonstrate that miR-U3 can act as a low proficiency miRNA in vivo and our data support the 3′ UTR of the sortin nexin SNX27 mRNA as an endogenous U3-derived miRNA target. We further reveal that perturbation of U3 snoRNP assembly induces miR-U3 production, highlighting potential cross-regulation of target mRNA expression and ribosome production.
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  • Journal Article

    Non-Human Primate iPSC Generation, Cultivation, and Cardiac Differentiation under Chemically Defined Conditions 

    Stauske, Michael; Rodriguez Polo, Ignacio; Haas, Wadim; Knorr, Debbra Yasemin; Borchert, Thomas; Streckfuss-Bömeke, Katrin; Dressel, Ralf; Bartels, Iris; Tiburcy, Malte; Zimmermann, Wolfram-Hubertus; et al.
    Behr, Rüdiger
    Cells 2020; 9(6) p.1-24: Art. 1349
    Non-human primates (NHP) are important surrogate models for late preclinical development of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs), including induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based therapies, which are also under development for heart failure repair. For effective heart repair by remuscularization, large numbers of cardiomyocytes are required, which can be obtained by efficient differentiation of iPSCs. However, NHP-iPSC generation and long-term culture in an undifferentiated state under feeder cell-free conditions turned out to be problematic. Here we describe the reproducible development of rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) iPSC lines. Postnatal rhesus skin fibroblasts were reprogrammed under chemically defined conditions using non-integrating vectors. The robustness of the protocol was confirmed using another NHP species, the olive baboon (Papio anubis). Feeder-free maintenance of NHP-iPSCs was essentially dependent on concurrent Wnt-activation by GSK-inhibition (Gi) and Wnt-inhibition (Wi). Generated NHP-iPSCs were successfully differentiated into cardiomyocytes using a combined growth factor/GiWi protocol. The capacity of the iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes to self-organize into contractile engineered heart muscle (EHM) was demonstrated. Collectively, this study establishes a reproducible protocol for the robust generation and culture of NHP-iPSCs, which are useful for preclinical testing of strategies for cell replacement therapies in NHP.
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  • Journal Article

    A Comparison of the Affectiva iMotions Facial Expression Analysis Software With EMG for Identifying Facial Expressions of Emotion 

    Kulke, Louisa; Feyerabend, Dennis; Schacht, Annekathrin
    Frontiers in Psychology 2020; 11 p.1-9: Art. 329
    Human faces express emotions, informing others about their affective states. In order to measure expressions of emotion, facial Electromyography (EMG) has widely been used, requiring electrodes and technical equipment. More recently, emotion recognition software has been developed that detects emotions from video recordings of human faces. However, its validity and comparability to EMG measures is unclear. The aim of the current study was to compare the Affectiva Affdex emotion recognition software by iMotions with EMG measurements of the zygomaticus mayor and corrugator supercilii muscle, concerning its ability to identify happy, angry and neutral faces. Twenty participants imitated these facial expressions while videos and EMG were recorded. Happy and angry expressions were detected by both the software and by EMG above chance, while neutral expressions were more often falsely identified as negative by EMG compared to the software. Overall, EMG and software values correlated highly. In conclusion, Affectiva Affdex software can identify facial expressions and its results are comparable to EMG findings.
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  • Journal Article

    Serosurvey of Treponema pallidum infection among children with skin ulcers in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem, northern Tanzania 

    Lubinza, Clara K C; Lueert, Simone; Hallmaier-Wacker, Luisa K; Ngadaya, Esther; Chuma, Idrissa S; Kazwala, Rudovick R; Mfinanga, Sayoki G M; Failing, Klaus; Roos, Christian; Knauf, Sascha
    BMC Infectious Diseases. 2020 Jun 03;20(1):392
    Abstract Background The first yaws eradication campaign reduced the prevalence of yaws by 95%. In recent years, however, yaws has reemerged and is currently subject to a second, ongoing eradication campaign. Yet, the epidemiological status of Tanzania and 75 other countries with a known history of human yaws is currently unknown. Contrary to the situation in humans in Tanzania, recent infection of nonhuman primates (NHPs) with the yaws bacterium Treponema pallidum subsp. pertenue (TPE) have been reported. In this study, we consider a One Health approach to investigate yaws and describe skin ulcers and corresponding T. pallidum serology results among children living in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem, an area with increasing wildlife-human interaction in northern Tanzania. Methods To investigate human yaws in Tanzania, we conducted a cross-sectional study to screen and interview skin-ulcerated children aged 6 to 15 years, who live in close proximity to two national parks with high numbers of naturally TPE-infected monkeys. Serum samples from children with skin ulcers were tested for antibodies against the bacterium using a treponemal (Treponema pallidum Particle Agglutination assay) and a non-treponemal (Rapid Plasma Reagin) test. Results A total of 186 children aged between 6 and 15 years (boys: 10.7 ± 2.1 (mean ± SD), N = 132; girls: 10.9 ± 2.0 (mean ± SD), N = 54) were enrolled. Seven children were sampled at health care facilities and 179 at primary schools. 38 children (20.4%) reported active participation in bushmeat hunting and consumption and 26 (13.9%) reported at least one physical contact with a NHP. None of the lesions seen were pathognomonic for yaws. Two children tested positive for treponemal antibodies (1.2%) in the treponemal test, but remained negative in the non-treponemal test. Conclusions We found no serological evidence of yaws among children in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem. Nevertheless, the close genetic relationship of human and NHPs infecting TPE strains should lead to contact prevention with infected NHPs. Further research investigations are warranted to study the causes and possible prevention measures of spontaneous chronic ulcers among children in rural Tanzania and to certify that the country is free from human yaws.
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  • Journal Article

    Judgments of effort exerted by others are influenced by received rewards 

    Rollwage, Max; Pannach, Franziska; Stinson, Caedyn; Toelch, Ulf; Kagan, Igor; Pooresmaeili, Arezoo
    Scientific Reports 2020; 10(1) p.1-14: Art. 1868
    Estimating invested effort is a core dimension for evaluating own and others’ actions, and views on the relationship between effort and rewards are deeply ingrained in various societal attitudes. Internal representations of effort, however, are inherently noisy, e.g. due to the variability of sensorimotor and visceral responses to physical exertion. The uncertainty in effort judgments is further aggravated when there is no direct access to the internal representations of exertion – such as when estimating the effort of another person. Bayesian cue integration suggests that this uncertainty can be resolved by incorporating additional cues that are predictive of effort, e.g. received rewards. We hypothesized that judgments about the effort spent on a task will be influenced by the magnitude of received rewards. Additionally, we surmised that such influence might further depend on individual beliefs regarding the relationship between hard work and prosperity, as exemplified by a conservative work ethic. To test these predictions, participants performed an effortful task interleaved with a partner and were informed about the obtained reward before rating either their own or the partner’s effort. We show that higher rewards led to higher estimations of exerted effort in self-judgments, and this effect was even more pronounced for other-judgments. In both types of judgment, computational modelling revealed that reward information and sensorimotor markers of exertion were combined in a Bayes-optimal manner in order to reduce uncertainty. Remarkably, the extent to which rewards influenced effort judgments was associated with conservative world-views, indicating links between this phenomenon and general beliefs about the relationship between effort and earnings in society.
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  • Journal Article

    Predictive context biases binocular rivalry in children and adults with no positive relation to two measures of social cognition 

    Valuch, Christian; Kulke, Louisa
    Scientific Reports 2020; 10 p.1-12: Art. 2059
    Integration of prior experience and contextual information can help to resolve perceptually ambiguous situations and might support the ability to understand other peoples’ thoughts and intentions, called Theory of Mind. We studied whether the readiness to incorporate contextual information for resolving binocular rivalry is positively associated with Theory-of-Mind-related social cognitive abilities. In children (12 to 13 years) and adults (18 to 25 years), a predictive temporal context reliably modulated the onset of binocular rivalry to a similar degree. In contrast, adult participants scored better on measures of Theory of Mind compared to children. We observed considerable interindividual differences regarding the influence of a predictive context on binocular rivalry, which were associated with differences in sensory eye dominance. The absence of a positive association between predictive effects on perception and Theory of Mind performance suggests that predictive effects on binocular rivalry and higher-level Theory-of-Mind-related abilities stem from different neurocognitive mechanisms. We conclude that the influence of predictive contextual information on basic visual processes is fully developed at an earlier age, whereas social cognitive skills continue to evolve from adolescence to adulthood.
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  • Journal Article

    Remotely releasable collar mechanism for medium-sized mammals: an affordable technology to avoid multiple captures 

    Buil, Jeroen M. M.; Peckre, Louise R.; Dörge, Matthias; Fichtel, Claudia; Kappeler, Peter M.; Scherberger, Hansjörg
    Wildlife Biology 2019; 2019(1)
    Collar-mounted monitoring devices for collecting behavioural or positional data (e.g. sound recorders, accelerometers, GPS, VHF) are increasingly used in wildlife research. Although these tools represent an improvement in terms of data quality, they require capturing animals. Using remotely releasable collars allows for reducing the number of captures by half; however, currently this technology is primarily available for large mammals. Here, we present a locking mechanism design that is remotely releasable and light enough (22 g) for medium-sized mammals (>1 kg), can run in low-power mode for years, is reusable directly after recharge, and has a material cost of less than €50. An Android application operates this mechanism over a Bluetooth connection. We developed custom-purpose software for both the locking mechanism and the Android application. We tested two collars equipped with this locking mechanism in field-like conditions on two ring-tailed lemurs Lemur catta. The release mechanism has an operational range of 10–50 m and can run in active mode (allowing remote release) for several hours. Implementation of the presented release mechanism for collars on medium-sized mammals provides a low-cost solution to reduce the number of captures. We demonstrate that some low-cost technical improvements of tools used for studying wildlife can have significant effects on reducing the stress experienced by animals during capture. Detailed description of this new mechanism design provides a starting-block for potential adaptations for a broader range of species.
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  • Journal Article

    H2 influenza A virus is not pathogenic in Tmprss2 knock-out mice 

    Lambertz, Ruth L. O.; Gerhauser, Ingo; Nehlmeier, Inga; Gärtner, Sabine; Winkler, Michael; Leist, Sarah R.; Kollmus, Heike; Pöhlmann, Stefan; Schughart, Klaus
    Virology Journal. 2020 Apr 22;17(1):56
    The host cell protease TMPRSS2 cleaves the influenza A virus (IAV) hemagglutinin (HA). Several reports have described resistance of Tmprss2−/− knock-out (KO) mice to IAV infection but IAV of the H2 subtype have not been examined yet. Here, we demonstrate that TMPRSS2 is able to cleave H2-HA in cell culture and that Tmprss2−/− mice are resistant to infection with a re-assorted PR8_HA(H2) virus. Infection of KO mice did not cause major body weight loss or death. Furthermore, no significant increase in lung weights and no virus replication were observed in Tmprss2−/− mice. Finally, only minor tissue damage and infiltration of immune cells were detected and no virus-positive cells were found in histological sections of Tmprss2−/− mice. In summary, our studies indicate that TMPRSS2 is required for H2 IAV spread and pathogenesis in mice. These findings extend previous results pointing towards a central role of TMPRSS2 in IAV infection and validate host proteases as a potential target for antiviral therapy.
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  • Journal Article

    Emergence and suppression of cooperation by action visibility in transparent games 

    Unakafov, Anton M.; Schultze, Thomas; Gail, Alexander; Moeller, Sebastian; Kagan, Igor; Eule, Stephan; Wolf, Fred
    PLOS Computational Biology 2020; 16(1): Art. e1007588
    Real-world agents, humans as well as animals, observe each other during interactions and choose their own actions taking the partners' ongoing behaviour into account. Yet, classical game theory assumes that players act either strictly sequentially or strictly simultaneously without knowing each other's current choices. To account for action visibility and provide a more realistic model of interactions under time constraints, we introduce a new game-theoretic setting called transparent games, where each player has a certain probability of observing the partner's choice before deciding on its own action. By means of evolutionary simulations, we demonstrate that even a small probability of seeing the partner's choice before one's own decision substantially changes the evolutionary successful strategies. Action visibility enhances cooperation in an iterated coordination game, but reduces cooperation in a more competitive iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. In both games, "Win-stay, lose-shift" and "Tit-for-tat" strategies are predominant for moderate transparency, while a "Leader-Follower" strategy emerges for high transparency. Our results have implications for studies of human and animal social behaviour, especially for the analysis of dyadic and group interactions.
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  • Journal Article

    A framework for conceptualizing dimensions of social organization in mammals 

    Prox, Lea; Farine, Damien
    Ecology and Evolution p.1-17
    Mammalian societies represent many different types of social systems. While some aspects of social systems have been extensively studied, there is little consensus on how to conceptualize social organization across species. Here, we present a framework describing eight dimensions of social organization to capture its diversity across mammalian societies. The framework uses simple information that is clearly separated from the three other aspects of social systems: social structure, care system, and mating system. By applying our framework across 208 species of all mammalian taxa, we find a rich multidimensional landscape of social organization. Correlation analysis reveals that the dimensions have relatively high independence, suggesting that social systems are able to evolve different aspects of social behavior without being tied to particular traits. Applying a clustering algorithm allows us to identify the relative importance of key dimensions on patterns of social organization. Finally, mapping mating system onto these clusters shows that social organization represents a distinct aspect of social systems. In the future, this framework will aid reporting on important aspects of natural history in species and facilitate comparative analyses, which ultimately will provide the ability to generate new insights into the primary drivers of social patterns and evolution of sociality.
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  • Journal Article

    Mating avoidance in female olive baboons (Papio anubis) infected by Treponema pallidum 

    Paciência, F. M. D.; Rushmore, J.; Chuma, I. S.; Lipende, I. F.; Caillaud, D.; Knauf, S.; Zinner, D.
    Science Advances 2019; 5(12): Art. eaaw9724
    Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are ubiquitous within wild animal populations, yet it remains largely unknown whether animals evolved behavioral avoidance mechanisms in response to STI acquisition. We investigated the mating behavior of a wild population of olive baboons (Papio anubis) infected by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. This pathogen causes highly conspicuous genital ulcerations in males and females, which signal infectious individuals. We analyzed data on 876 mating attempts and associated acceptance or rejection responses in a group of about 170 baboons. Our findings indicate that females are more likely to avoid copulation if either the mating partner or females themselves have ulcerated genitals. We suggest that this outcome is linked to the overall higher choosiness and infection-risk susceptibility typically exhibited by females. Our results show that selection pressures imposed by pathogens induce individual behavioral modifications, leading to altered mate choice and could reduce promiscuity in a wild nonhuman primate population.
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  • Journal Article

    A Fosmid-Based System for the Generation of Recombinant Cercopithecine Alphaherpesvirus 2 Encoding Reporter Genes 

    Chukhno, Ekaterina; Gärtner, Sabine; Rahman Siregar, Abdul; Mehr, Alexander; Wende, Marie; Petkov, Stoyan; Götting, Jasper; Dhingra, Akshay; Schulz, Thomas; Pöhlmann, Stefan; et al.
    Winkler, Michael
    Viruses 2019; 11(11): Art. 1026
    The transmission of Macacine alphaherpesvirus 1 (McHV-1) from macaques, the natural host, to humans causes encephalitis. In contrast, human infection with Cercopithecine alphaherpesvirus 2 (CeHV-2), a closely related alphaherpesvirus from African vervet monkeys and baboons, has not been reported and it is believed that CeHV-2 is apathogenic in humans. The reasons for the differential neurovirulence of McHV-1 and CeHV-2 have not been explored on a molecular level, in part due to the absence of systems for the production of recombinant viruses. Here, we report the generation of a fosmid-based system for rescue of recombinant CeHV-2. Moreover, we show that, in this system, recombineering can be used to equip CeHV-2 with reporter genes. The recombinant CeHV-2 viruses replicated with the same efficiency as uncloned, wt virus and allowed the identification of cell lines that are highly susceptible to CeHV-2 infection. Collectively, we report a system that allows rescue and genetic modification of CeHV-2 and likely other alphaherpesviruses. This system should aid future analysis of CeHV-2 biology.
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  • Journal Article

    Parasite burden in a short-lived chameleon, Furcifer labordi 

    Eckhardt, Falk; Strube, Christina; Mathes, Karina A.; Mutschmann, Frank; Thiesler, Hauke; Kraus, Cornelia; Kappeler, Peter M.
    International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife 2019; 10 p.231-240
    Life history theory predicts that species with shorter lifespan should show higher investments into growth and reproduction at the expense of immune defenses. Labord's chameleon (Furcifer labordi) is the tetrapod with the shortest known life span. To investigate to which extent immunosenescence influences the die-off of these chameleons when they are only about 6 months old, we examined the gastrointestinal-, blood- and ectoparasite burden in F. labordi in Kirindy Forest (western Madagascar) and compared them with sympatric and longer living F. cf. nicosiai. Moreover, we included data from wild F. labordi that were singly housed under ambient conditions with daily food and water supply. Gastrointestinal parasite prevalence of wild F. labordi increased dramatically during the last 3 months of their lives, which include the reproductive period. Furcifer cf. nicosiai was found to have a belated increase in gastrointestinal parasites compared to F. labordi. In F. cf. nicosiai higher prevalence of blood parasites were found, which probably result from the longer exposure to the arthropod intermediate host. Both species showed infestations with ectoparasites, which peaked in the rainy season but disappeared towards the dry season. Male F. labordi showed a significantly higher prevalence of gastrointestinal - and ectoparasites and higher intensities of coccidians and ectoparasites than females. Males of F. cf. nicosiai exhibited higher prevalence of blood- and ectoparasites, as well as higher intensities in ectoparasites. Caged individuals of both sexes showed delayed senescence, reduced parasite burden and lived longer than their wild conspecifics. Overall, the increase in the prevalence in gastrointestinal - and blood parasites towards the disappearance of the wild population of F. labordi indicates that this species invests comparatively less energy in efficient immune system function, supporting the prediction of life history theory.
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  • Journal Article

    Reconstructing the phylogeny of new world monkeys (platyrrhini): evidence from multiple non-coding loci 

    Wang, Xiaoping; Lim, Burton K; Ting, Nelson; Hu, Jingyang; Liang, Yunpeng; Roos, Christian; Yu, Li
    Current Zoology 2018; 65(5) p.579-588
    Among mammalian phylogenies, those characterized by rapid radiations are particularly problematic. The New World monkeys (NWMs, Platyrrhini) comprise 3 families and 7 subfamilies, which radiated within a relatively short time period. Accordingly, their phylogenetic relationships are still largely disputed. In the present study, 56 nuclear non-coding loci, including 33 introns (INs) and 23 intergenic regions (IGs), from 20 NWM individuals representing 18 species were used to investigate phylogenetic relationships among families and subfamilies. Of the 56 loci, 43 have not been used in previous NWM phylogenetics. We applied concatenation and coalescence tree-inference methods, and a recently proposed question-specific approach to address NWM phylogeny. Our results indicate incongruence between concatenation and coalescence methods for the IN and IG datasets. However, a consensus was reached with a single tree topology from all analyses of combined INs and IGs as well as all analyses of question-specific loci using both concatenation and coalescence methods, albeit with varying degrees of statistical support. In detail, our results indicated the sister-group relationships between the families Atelidae and Pitheciidae, and between the subfamilies Aotinae and Callithrichinae among Cebidae. Our study provides insights into the disputed phylogenetic relationships among NWM families and subfamilies from the perspective of multiple non-coding loci and various tree-inference approaches. However, the present phylogenetic framework needs further evaluation by adding more independent sequence data and a deeper taxonomic sampling. Overall, our work has important implications for phylogenetic studies dealing with rapid radiations.
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  • Journal Article

    Insights into the evolution of social systems and species from baboon studies 

    Fischer, Julia; Higham, James P.; Alberts, Susan C.; Barrett, Louise; Beehner, Jacinta C.; Bergman, Thore J.; Carter, Alecia J.; Collins, Anthony; Elton, Sarah; Fagot, Joël; et al.
    Ferreira da Silva, Maria JoanaHammerschmidt, KurtHenzi, PeterJolly, Clifford J.Knauf, SaschaKopp, Gisela H.Rogers, JeffreyRoos, ChristianRoss, CarolineSeyfarth, Robert M.Silk, JoanSnyder-Mackler, NoahStaedele, VeronikaSwedell, LarissaWilson, Michael L.Zinner, Dietmar
    eLife 2019; 8: Art. e50989
    Baboons, members of the genus Papio, comprise six closely related species distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa and southwest Arabia. The species exhibit more ecological flexibility and a wider range of social systems than many other primates. This article summarizes our current knowledge of the natural history of baboons and highlights directions for future research. We suggest that baboons can serve as a valuable model for complex evolutionary processes, such as speciation and hybridization. The evolution of baboons has been heavily shaped by climatic changes and population expansion and fragmentation in the African savanna environment, similar to the processes that acted during human evolution. With accumulating long-term data, and new data from previously understudied species, baboons are ideally suited for investigating the links between sociality, health, longevity and reproductive success. To achieve these aims, we propose a closer integration of studies at the proximate level, including functional genomics, with behavioral and ecological studies.
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  • Journal Article

    Corrigendum: A Metataxonomic Tool to Investigate the Diversity of Treponema 

    Hallmaier-Wacker, Luisa K.; Lüert, Simone; Gronow, Sabine; Spröer, Cathrin; Overmann, Jörg; Buller, Nicky; Vaughan-Higgins, Rebecca J.; Knauf, Sascha
    Frontiers in Microbiology 2019; 10: Art. 2581
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  • Journal Article

    Lactation and menstruation shift the vaginal microbiota in captive rhesus monkeys to be more similar to the male urethral microbiota 

    Hallmaier-Wacker, L. K.; Lüert, S.; Roos, C.; Knauf, S.
    Scientific Reports 2019; 9(1)
    The vaginal microbiota of nonhuman primates differs substantially from humans in terms of Lactobacillus abundance, overall taxonomic diversity, and vaginal pH. Given these differences, it remains unclear in what way the nonhuman primate genital microbiota protects against pathogens, in particular sexually transmitted infections. Considering the effect that microbiota variations can have on disease acquisition and outcome, we examined endogenous and exogenous factors that influence the urogenital microbiota of male and female captive rhesus monkeys. The male urethral (n = 37) and vaginal (n = 194) microbiota of 11 breeding groups were examined in a cross-sectional study. During lactation and menstruation, the vaginal microbiota becomes significantly more diverse and more similar to the microbes observed in the male urethra. Group association and cage-mate (sexual partners) relationships were additionally associated with significant differences in the urogenital microbiota. Our results demonstrate that microbiota considerations are necessary in order to make informed selection of nonhuman primates as translational animal models.
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  • Journal Article

    Temporal stability of fMRI in medetomidine-anesthetized rats 

    Sirmpilatze, Nikoloz; Baudewig, Jürgen; Boretius, Susann
    Scientific Reports 2019; 9(1)
    Medetomidine has become a popular choice for anesthetizing rats during long-lasting sessions of blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Despite this, it has not yet been thoroughly established how commonly reported fMRI readouts evolve over several hours of medetomidine anesthesia and how they are affected by the precise timing, dose, and route of administration. We used four different protocols of medetomidine administration to anesthetize rats for up to six hours and repeatedly evaluated somatosensory stimulus-evoked BOLD responses and resting state functional connectivity. We found that the temporal evolution of fMRI readouts strongly depended on the method of administration. Intravenous administration of a medetomidine bolus (0.05 mg/kg), combined with a subsequent continuous infusion (0.1 mg/kg/h), led to temporally stable measures of stimulus-evoked activity and functional connectivity throughout the anesthesia. Deviating from the above protocol-by omitting the bolus, lowering the medetomidine dose, or using the subcutaneous route-compromised the stability of these measures in the initial two-hour period. We conclude that both an appropriate protocol of medetomidine administration and a suitable timing of fMRI experiments are crucial for obtaining consistent results. These factors should be considered for the design and interpretation of future rat fMRI studies.
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