Over 100 million women are on hormonal contraceptives. All of them contain some form of progesterone, either alone or in combination with estrogen. A study published on Sept. 15th in PLOS Pathogens reports that treatment with progesterone protects female mice against the consequences of influenza infection by reducing inflammation and improving pulmonary function, primarily through upregulation of amphiregulin in lung cells.
Mosquitoes are more likely to feed on cattle than on humans if they carry a specific chromosomal rearrangement in their genome. This reduces their odds of transmitting the malaria parasite, according to a University of California, Davis, study published Sept. 15 in the journal PLOS Genetics.
Stem cell-based transplantation approaches hold great potential for treating a wide range of eye diseases, but progress has been limited by concerns about cost, safety, and effectiveness. In two related studies, published Sept. 15 in Stem Cell Reports, scientists in Japan overcame a part of these concerns by demonstrating the successful transplantation of stem cell-derived retinal cells generated from immunologically matched donor animals without the need for harmful immunosuppressants.
After reconstructing the color patterns of a well-preserved dinosaur from China, researchers have found that the long-lost species called Psittacosaurus was light on its underside and darker on top. This color pattern, known as countershading, is a common form of camouflage in modern animals. The findings reported in Current Biology on Sept. 15 lead the researchers to conclude that Psittacosaurus most likely lived in an environment with diffuse light, such as in a forest.
The deaths of many thousands of elephants at the hands of poachers in recent years has led some to conclude that the ban on ivory established in 1989 should be lifted, allowing for tight regulation of the ivory trade. But, according to a new analysis reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on Sept. 15, there is no way to sustainably harvest ivory. The demand is far too great.
A new, computer-based screening method could reveal the virus-fighting potential of drugs originally developed to treat other conditions, reports a study in PLOS Computational Biology.
Mosquito saliva influences transmission of viruses to a bitten mammalian host. For example, it contains factors that dampen the host immune response and so facilitate infection. A study published in PLOS NTDs reports on a saliva protein with the opposite effect: D7, a protein present in Aedes aegypti saliva, binds to Dengue virus (DENV) and inhibits its transmission to human cells and mice. Antibodies against D7, which are present in humans exposed to mosquito bites, might therefore facilitate virus transmission and enhance disease severity.
Although targeted drugs like Gleevec have revolutionized the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia, patients generally must take them for the rest of their lives and may cease benefiting from them over time. In new research that could suggest a road to cure, scientists have found that CML stem cells die in response to inhibition of a protein called Ezh2. Drugs that target the protein are currently being tested in clinical trials for other cancers.
Do sage-grouse know what's good for them when choosing where to nest? That's the question at the heart of a new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, in which researchers examined the habitat preferences of these vulnerable grassland birds. They found that females look for vegetation characteristics that will boost their reproductive success when selecting nest sites, giving land managers new hints about what types of habitat are most in need of protection.
Stable isotope analysis of hair from bonobos shows that the diet of these great apes may vary with social rank and reproductive status, according a study published Sept. 14, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Vicky Oelze from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany, and colleagues.