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Van Den Hurk A.F.,Communicable Diseases Unit | Hall-Mendelin S.,Communicable Diseases Unit | Townsend M.,James Cook University | Kurucz N.,Health Protection Division | And 10 more authors.
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases | Year: 2014

Effective arbovirus surveillance is essential to ensure the implementation of control strategies, such as mosquito suppression, vaccination, or dissemination of public warnings. Traditional strategies employed for arbovirus surveillance, such as detection of virus or virus-specific antibodies in sentinel animals, or detection of virus in hematophagous arthropods, have limitations as an early-warning system. A system was recently developed that involves collecting mosquitoes in CO2-baited traps, where the insects expectorate virus on sugar-baited nucleic acid preservation cards. The cards are then submitted for virus detection using molecular assays. We report the application of this system for detecting flaviviruses and alphaviruses in wild mosquito populations in northern Australia. This study was the first to employ nonpowered passive box traps (PBTs) that were designed to house cards baited with honey as the sugar source. Overall, 20/144 (13.9%) of PBTs from different weeks contained at least one virus-positive card. West Nile virus Kunjin subtype (WNVKUN), Ross River virus (RRV), and Barmah Forest virus (BFV) were detected, being identified in 13/20, 5/20, and 2/20 of positive PBTs, respectively. Importantly, sentinel chickens deployed to detect flavivirus activity did not seroconvert at two Northern Territory sites where four PBTs yielded WNVKUN. Sufficient WNVKUN and RRV RNA was expectorated onto some of the honey-soaked cards to provide a template for gene sequencing, enhancing the utility of the sugar-bait surveillance system for investigating the ecology, emergence, and movement of arboviruses. © 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Oates A.C.,Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics | Morelli L.G.,Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics | Morelli L.G.,CONICET | Ares S.,Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems | Ares S.,Darwin Lab
Development | Year: 2012

The segmentation clock is an oscillating genetic network thought to govern the rhythmic and sequential subdivision of the elongating body axis of the vertebrate embryo into somites: the precursors of the segmented vertebral column. Understanding how the rhythmic signal arises, how it achieves precision and how it patterns the embryo remain challenging issues. Recent work has provided evidence of how the period of the segmentation clock is regulated and how this affects the anatomy of the embryo. The ongoing development of realtime clock reporters and mathematical models promise novel insight into the dynamic behavior of the clock. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

Goire N.,Sir Albert Sakzewski Virus Research Center | Goire N.,University of Queensland | Freeman K.,Darwin Lab | Tapsall J.W.,Collaborating Center for and HIV | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2011

With increasing concerns regarding diminishing treatment options for gonorrhea, maintaining the efficacy of currently used treatments and ensuring optimal Neisseria gonorrhoeae antimicrobial resistance surveillance are of the utmost importance. Penicillin is still used to treat gonorrhea in some parts of the world. In this study, we developed and validated a real-time PCR assay for the detection of penicillinase-producing N. gonorrhoeae (PPNG) in noncultured clinical samples with the aim of enhancing penicillin resistance surveillance. The assay (PPNG-PCR2) was designed to be an indirect marker of penicillinase activity, by targeting a region of sequence predicted to be conserved across all N. gonorrhoeae plasmid types harboring the beta-lactamase gene while not specifically targeting the actual beta-lactamase-encoding sequence. The assay was evaluated by using a total of 118 N. gonorrhoeae clinical isolates and 1,194 clinical specimens, including 239 N. gonorrhoeae-positive clinical samples from which N. gonorrhoeae cells were isolated and for which phenotypic penicillinase results are available. Overall, the PPNG-PCR2 assay provided 100% sensitivity and 98.7% specificity compared to bacterial culture results for the detection of PPNG in clinical specimens. PPNG-PCR2 false-positive results, presumably due to cross-reactions with unrelated bacterial species, were observed for up to 1.3% of clinical samples but could be distinguished on the basis of high cycle threshold values. In tandem with phenotypic surveillance, the PPNG-PCR2 assay has the potential to provide enhanced epidemiological surveillance of N. gonorrhoeae penicillin resistance and is of particular relevance to regions where penicillin is still used to treat gonorrhea. Copyright © 2011, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Buckley C.,Queensland Childrens Medical Research Institute | Buckley C.,University of Queensland | Trembizki E.,Queensland Childrens Medical Research Institute | Trembizki E.,University of Queensland | And 16 more authors.
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy | Year: 2016

Objectives: The objective of this study was to develop a real-time PCR method for specific detection of the gonococcal GyrA amino acid 91 locus directly in clinical samples so as to predict Neisseria gonorrhoeae ciprofloxacin susceptibility. Methods: The real-time PCR assay, GyrA91-PCR, was designed using two probes, one for detection of the WT S91 sequence and the other for detection of the S91F alteration. The performance of the assay was initially assessed using characterized N. gonorrhoeae isolates (n = 70), a panel of commensal Neisseria and Moraxella species (n = 55 isolates) and clinical samples providing negative results by a commercial N. gonorrhoeae nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) method (n = 171). The GyrA91-PCR was then applied directly to N. gonorrhoeae NAAT-positive clinical samples (n = 210) from the year 2014 for which corresponding N. gonorrhoeae isolates with susceptibility results were also available. Results: The GyrA91-PCR accurately characterized the GyrA 91 locus of all 70 N. gonorrhoeae isolates (sensitivity = 100%, 95% CI = 94.9%-100%), whereas all non-gonococcal isolates and N. gonorrhoeae NAAT-negative clinical samples gave negative results by the GyrA91-PCR (specificity = 100%, 95% CI = 98.4%-100%). When applied to the 210 N. gonorrhoeae NAAT-positive clinical samples, the GyrA91-PCR successfully characterized 195 samples (92.9%, 95% CI = 88.5%-95.9%). When compared with the corresponding bacterial culture results, positivity by the GyrA91-PCR WT probe correctly predicted N. gonorrhoeae susceptibility to ciprofloxacin in 161 of 162 (99.4%, 95% CI = 96.6%-99.9%) samples. Conclusions: The use of a PCR assay for detection of mutation in gyrA applied directly to clinical samples can predict ciprofloxacin susceptibility in N. gonorrhoeae. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.

Broderick D.,Molecular Fisheries Laboratory | Ovenden J.R.,Molecular Fisheries Laboratory | Buckworth R.C.,Darwin Lab | Buckworth R.C.,CSIRO | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Fish Biology | Year: 2011

This study used mtDNA sequence and microsatellite markers to elucidate the population structure of Scomberomorus semifasciatus collected from 12 widespread sampling locations in Australia. Samples (n = 544) were genotyped with nine microsatellite loci, and 353 were sequenced for the control (384 bp) and ATPase (800 bp) mtDNA gene regions. Combined interpretation of microsatellite and mtDNA data identified four genetic stocks of S. semifasciatus: Western Australia, north-west coast of the Northern Territory, Gulf of Carpentaria and the eastern coast of Queensland. Connectivity among stocks across northern Australia from the Northern Territory to the eastern coast of Queensland was high (mean F ST = 0·003 for the microsatellite data and Φ ST = 0·033 and 0·009 for control region and ATPase, respectively) leading to some uncertainty about stock boundaries. In contrast, there was a clear genetic break between the stock in Western Australia compared to the rest of northern Australia (mean F ST = 0·132 for the microsatellite data and Φ ST = 0·135 and 0·188 for control region and ATPase, respectively). This indicates a restriction to gene flow possibly associated with suboptimal habitat along the Kimberley coast (north Western Australia). The appropriate scale of management for this species corresponds to the jurisdictions of the three Australian states, except that authorities in Queensland and Northern Territory should co-ordinate the management of the Gulf of Carpentaria stock. © 2011 State of Queensland. Journal of Fish Biology © 2011 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

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