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Friday, July 19, 2019

Bats may eat diurnal flies that rest on wind turbines

Bats are currently killed in large numbers at wind turbines worldwide, but the ultimate reason why this happens remains poorly understood. One hypothesis is that bats visit wind turbines to feed on insects exposed at the turbine towers. We used single molecule next generation DNA sequencing to identify stomach contents of 18 bats of four species (Pipistrellus pygmaeus, Nyctalus noctula, Eptesicus nilssonii and Vespertilio murinus) found dead under wind turbines in southern Sweden. Stomach contents were diverse but included typically diurnal flies, e.g. blow-flies (Calliphoridae), flesh-flies (Sarcophagidae) and houseflies (Muscidae) and also several flightless taxa. Such prey items were eaten…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet light in the fungal pathogen causing white-nose syndrome of bats.

Bat white-nose syndrome (WNS), caused by the fungal pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has decimated North American hibernating bats since its emergence in 2006. Here, we utilize comparative genomics to examine the evolutionary history of this pathogen in comparison to six closely related nonpathogenic species. P. destructans displays a large reduction in carbohydrate-utilizing enzymes (CAZymes) and in the predicted secretome (~50%), and an increase in lineage-specific genes. The pathogen has lost a key enzyme, UVE1, in the alternate excision repair (AER) pathway, which is known to contribute to repair of DNA lesions induced by ultraviolet (UV) light. Consistent with a nonfunctional AER…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Surveillance of bat coronaviruses in Kenya identifies relatives of human coronaviruses NL63 and 229E and their recombination history.

Bats harbor a large diversity of coronaviruses (CoVs), several of which are related to zoonotic pathogens that cause severe disease in humans. Our screening of bat samples collected in Kenya from 2007 to 2010 not only detected RNA from several novel CoVs but, more significantly, identified sequences that were closely related to human CoVs NL63 and 229E, suggesting that these two human viruses originate from bats. We also demonstrated that human CoV NL63 is a recombinant between NL63-like viruses circulating in Triaenops bats and 229E-like viruses circulating in Hipposideros bats, with the breakpoint located near 5′ and 3′ ends of…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Recent expansion and adaptive evolution of the carcinoembryonic antigen family in bats of the Yangochiroptera subgroup.

Expansions of gene families are predictive for ongoing genetic adaptation to environmental cues. We describe such an expansion of the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) gene family in certain bat families. Members of the CEA family in humans and mice are exploited as cellular receptors by a number of pathogens, possibly due to their function in immunity and reproduction. The CEA family is composed of CEA-related cell adhesion molecules (CEACAMs) and secreted pregnancy-specific glycoproteins (PSGs). PSGs are almost exclusively expressed by trophoblast cells at the maternal-fetal interface. The reason why PSGs exist only in a minority of mammals is still unknown.Analysis of…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Use of multiple sequencing technologies to produce a high-quality genome of the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causative agent of bat white-nose syndrome.

White-nose syndrome has recently emerged as one of the most devastating wildlife diseases recorded, causing widespread mortality in numerous bat species throughout eastern North America. Here, we present an improved reference genome of the fungal pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans for use in comparative genomic studies. Copyright © 2016 Drees et al.

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