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Dundee, United Kingdom

Alliance Trust plc is a publicly traded investment and financial services company, headquartered in Dundee, Scotland. Established in 1888, the firm operates the largest investment trust in Britain. Alliance Trust is the tenth-largest company based in Scotland. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has been a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index since March 2011. Wikipedia.

Mendez M.,Columbia University | Mendez M.,Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics | Mendez M.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Rosenbaum H.C.,Columbia University | And 6 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2010

The assessment of population structure is a valuable tool for studying the ecology of endangered species and drafting conservation strategies. As we enhance our understanding about the structuring of natural populations, it becomes important that we also understand the processes behind these patterns. However, there are few rigorous assessments of the influence of environmental factors on genetic patterns in mobile marine species. Given their dispersal capabilities and localized habitat preferences, coastal cetaceans are adequate study species for evaluating environmental effects on marine population structure. The franciscana dolphin, a rare coastal cetacean endemic to the Western South Atlantic, was studied to examine these issues. We analysed genetic data from the mitochondrial DNA and 12 microsatellite markers for 275 franciscana samples utilizing frequency-based, maximum-likelihood and Bayesian algorithms to assess population structure and migration patterns. This information was combined with 10 years of remote sensing environmental data (chlorophyll concentration, water turbidity and surface temperature). Our analyses show the occurrence of genetically isolated populations within Argentina, in areas that are environmentally distinct. Combined evidence of genetic and environmental structure suggests that isolation by distance and a process here termed isolation by environmental distance can explain the observed correlations. Our approach elucidated important ecological and conservation aspects of franciscana dolphins, and has the potential to increase our understanding of ecological processes influencing genetic patterns in other marine species. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Pillai A.D.,National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases | Pillai A.D.,Alliance Trust | Nguitragool W.,National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases | Nguitragool W.,Mahidol University | And 9 more authors.
Molecular Pharmacology | Year: 2012

The plasmodial surface anion channel (PSAC) increases erythrocyte permeability to many solutes in malaria but has uncertain physiological significance. We used a PSAC inhibitor with different efficacies against channels from two Plasmodium falciparum parasite lines and found concordant effects on transport and in vitro parasite growth when external nutrient concentrations were reduced. Linkage analysis using this growth inhibition phenotype in the Dd2 X HB3 genetic cross mapped the clag3 genomic locus, consistent with a role for two clag3 genes in PSAC-mediated transport. Altered inhibitor efficacy, achieved through allelic exchange or expression switching between the clag3 genes, indicated that the inhibitor kills parasites through direct action on PSAC. In a parasite unable to undergo expression switching, the inhibitor selected for ectopic homologous recombination between the clag3 genes to increase the diversity of available channel isoforms. Broad-spectrum inhibitors, which presumably interact with conserved sites on the channel, also exhibited improved efficacy with nutrient restriction. These findings indicate that PSAC functions in nutrient acquisition for intracellular parasites. Although key questions regarding the channel and its biological role remain, antimalarial drug development targeting PSAC should be pursued. Source

Smith D.B.,University of Edinburgh | Simmonds P.,University of Edinburgh | Jameel S.,Alliance Trust | Emerson S.U.,National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases | And 5 more authors.
Journal of General Virology | Year: 2014

The family Hepeviridae consists of positive-stranded RNA viruses that infect a wide range of mammalian species, as well as chickens and trout. A subset of these viruses infects humans and can cause a self-limiting acute hepatitis that may become chronic in immunosuppressed individuals. Current published descriptions of the taxonomical divisions within the family Hepeviridae are contradictory in relation to the assignment of species and genotypes. Through analysis of existing sequence information, we propose a taxonomic scheme in which the family is divided into the genera Orthohepevirus (all mammalian and avian hepatitis E virus (HEV) isolates) and Piscihepevirus (cutthroat trout virus). Species within the genus Orthohepevirus are designated Orthohepevirus A (isolates from human, pig, wild boar, deer, mongoose, rabbit and camel), Orthohepevirus B (isolates from chicken), Orthohepevirus C (isolates from rat, greater bandicoot, Asian musk shrew, ferret and mink) and Orthohepevirus D (isolates from bat). Proposals are also made for the designation of genotypes within the human and rat HEVs. This hierarchical system is congruent with hepevirus phylogeny, and the three classification levels (genus, species and genotype) are consistent with, and reflect discontinuities in the ranges of pairwise distances between amino acid sequences. Adoption of this system would include the avoidance of host names in taxonomic identifiers and provide a logical framework for the assignment of novel variants. © 2014 The Authors. Source

Patel P.,Virology Group | Kha N.,Virology Group | Ran M.,Virology Group | Gupta D.,Virology Group | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

There is faster progression to fibrosis in persons with liver injury who are also infected with HIV. Other reports have suggested that HIV can directly infect and activate stellate cells, and the viral Tat and gp160 proteins also induce profibrogenic factors from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). We tested the role of HIV-1 Vpu accessory protein in promoting profibrogenic activation of hepatic stellate cells. Human stellate LX2 cells were cocultured with human monocytic U937 cells stably expressing the Vpu protein or latently infected U1 cells knocked down for Vpu expression, LX2 cells were also cultured with the supernatants from these cells. The expression of profibrogenic markers was evaluated in LX2 cells usingquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR),western blotting, immunofluorescence, flow cytometry and ELISA were used to confirm and quantitate protein expression. Monocytic cells expressing Vpu increased the expression of profibrogenic markers in LX2 cells. The culture supernatants of these cells contained increased levels of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), which correlated with increased activity of the AP-1 transcription factor. Antibodies against TGF-β or a TGF-β receptor inhibitor (SB431452) reversed Vpu-mediated profibrogenic activation of LX2 cells, suggesting that TGF-β mediated these effects. The cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) attenuated Vpu-mediated TGF-β secretion and profibrogenic effects on LX2 cells. Besides its other roles in pathogenesis, Vpu is likely to contribute to hepatic fibrosis through this hitherto unknown mechanism. Copyright: © 2014 Patel et al. Source

Patel P.,International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology | Ansari M.Y.,International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology | Bapat S.,National Dairy Research Institute | Thakar M.,National Dairy Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
Retrovirology | Year: 2014

Background: Latent reservoirs of HIV-1 provide a major challenge to its cure. There are increasing reports of interplay between HIV-1 replication and host miRNAs. Several host miRNAs, which potentially target the nef-3'LTR region of HIV-1 RNA, including miR-29a, are proposed to promote latency. Findings: We used two established cellular models of HIV-1 latency - the U1 monocytic and J1.1 CD4+ T cell lines to show an inverse relationship between HIV-1 replication and miR-29a levels, which was mediated by the HIV-1 Nef protein. Using a miR-29a responsive luciferase reporter plasmid, an expression plasmid and an anti-miR29a LNA, we further demonstrate increased miR-29a levels during latency and reduced levels following active HIV replication. Finally, we show that miR-29a levels in the PBMCs and plasma of HIV infected persons also correlate inversely with latency and active viral replication. Conclusions: The levels of miR-29a correlate inversely with active HIV-1 replication in cell culture models and in HIV infected persons. This links miR-29a to viral latency and suggests another approach to activate and destroy latent HIV-1 reservoirs. © Patel et al. Source

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