ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0427.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Political Science Keywords: Switzerland; defence industry; defence policy; the Federal Office for Defence Procurement; RUAG; arms export
Online: 16 March 2021 (14:15:25 CET)
When we talk about the Defence Industry (DI), arms transfers, and military expenditures we mostly refer to data accumulated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). In the SIPRI Top 20 list of largest exporters of major arms for 2019, small states hold consecutive positions: Israel takes 8th place, Switzerland is 13th, and Sweden, Norway, and Belarus place 15th, 17th, and 20th respectively. The author analyses the Swiss DI case due to several reasons; its place in SIPRI Top, its sharp rise of Swiss arms exports in the recent year, its Swiss neutrality strategy, the country’s multilingual society, and its all-government approach to the arms industry, though still contributing to the limited scholarly studies on contemporary Swiss DI. This paper aims to explore Swiss DI and its strategies, to identify the country’s defence and security policy influence towards DI, and to discuss the Swiss DI stance and future perspectives in the context of the global arms trade. At the same time, this paper also highlights Swiss DI successes and failures that could be of significant use to other small states aiming to develop or enhance their relevant DIs.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.0078.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Agricultural Science And Agronomy Keywords: Plant; agriculture; pest resistance; defence response
Online: 4 July 2023 (03:19:37 CEST)
Salvia hispanica (chia) is a highly nutritious food source and has gained popularity due to its high omega-3 fatty acid content. Red spider mites are a serious problem in the production of S. hispanica. However, no study has been conducted to analyse the defensive response to the infestation of red spider mites in S. hispanica. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms of the defensive response of S. hispanica to red spider mites, we performed a transcriptomic analysis of S. hispanica when infested by red spider mites. In the comparative assessment of leaf transcriptomes, a total of 1743 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified between control and mite-infested S. hispanica. From these, 1208 (69%) transcripts were up-regulated and 535 (31%) were down-regulated. The DEGs included transcription factors, defense hormones, and secondary metabolites that were either suppressed or activated in response to spider mite herbivory. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis revealed that plant secondary metabolites such as glucosinolates, and signalling pathways, including the jasmonic acid signalling pathway, may play an important role in the defence against red spider mites. This study provides novel insights into the defence response of S. hispanica in response to insect herbivory and could be a resource for the improvement of pest resistance in the chia.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0090.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Agricultural Science And Agronomy Keywords: biostimulant; plant defence; mushrooms; antioxidant; septoriosis; wheat
Online: 5 March 2020 (12:08:56 CET)
The Septoria Leaf Blotch Complex (SLBC), caused by the two ascomycetes Zymoseptoria tritici and Parastagonospora nodorum, can reduce global yearly yield of wheat by up to 50%. In the last decade in Italy, SLBC incidence has increased; notably, durum wheat has proven to be more susceptible than common wheat. Field fungicide treatment can efficiently control these pathogens, but it leads to the emergence of resistant strains and adversely affects human and animal health, and the environment. Our previous studies indicated that active compounds produced by Trametes versicolor can restrict the growth of mycotoxigenic fungi and the biosynthesis of their secondary metabolites (e.g. mycotoxins). Specifically, we identified Tramesan: a 23 KDa -heteropolysaccharide secreted by T. versicolor that acts as a pro-antioxidant molecule in animal cells, fungi, and plants. Foliar-spraying of Tramesan (3.3 µM) in SLBC-susceptible varieties of durum significantly diminished symptoms of Stagonospora Nodorum Blotch (SNB) and Septoria Tritici Blotch (STB) by 75% and 65%, respectively. Tests were conducted under controlled conditions as well as in field. We show that Tramesan elicits wheat defence against SNB and STB augmenting the synthesis of defence-related hormones, notably JA and SA, that in turn switch on the expression of markers of defence (PR1, PR4 inter alia). In field experiments, yield of durum wheat plants treated with Tramesan was similar to that of untreated ones. The results suggest the use of Tramesan for protecting durum wheat against SLBC.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0082.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: Avian olfaction; foraging; herbivore-induced plant volatiles; defence against herbivory
Online: 6 December 2021 (15:21:49 CET)
The tri-trophic interactions between plants, insects, and insect predators and parasitoids are often mediated by chemical cues. The attraction to Herbivore-Infested Plant Volatiles (HIPVs) has been well documented for arthropod predators and parasitoids, and more recently for insectivorous birds. The attraction to plant volatiles induced by the exogenous application of methyl jasmonate (MeJA), a phytohormone typically produced in response to an attack of chewing herbivores, have provided controversial results, both in arthropod and avian predators. In this study, we aimed to examine whether potential differences in the composition of bouquets of volatiles produced by Herbivore-infested and MeJA-treated Pyrenean oak trees (Quercus pyrenaica) were related to differential avian attraction, as results from a previous study suggested. Results showed that the overall emission of volatiles produced by MeJA-treated and Herbivore-infested trees did not differ, and were higher than emissions of Control trees, although MeJA treatment showed more significant reaction and released several specific compounds in contrast to Herbivore-induced trees. These slight differences in the volatile composition may explain why avian predators were not so attracted to MeJA-treated trees as observed in a previous study in this plant-herbivore system. Unfortunately, the lack of avian visits to the experimental trees in the current study does not allow us to confirm this result and points out the need to perform more robust predator studies.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0253.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: microRNA; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; lung epithelia; cellular antiviral defence
Online: 11 August 2020 (06:05:40 CEST)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), an RNA virus, is responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic of 2020. Experimental evidence suggests that microRNA can mediate an intracellular defence mechanism against some RNA viruses. The purpose of this study was to identify microRNA with predicted binding sites in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, compare these to their microRNA expression profiles in lung epithelial tissue and make inference towards possible roles for microRNA in mitigating coronavirus infection. We hypothesize that high expression of specific coronavirus-targeting microRNA in lung epithelia may protect against infection and viral propagation, conversely low expression may confer susceptibility to infection. We have identified 128 human microRNA with potential to target the SARS-CoV-2 genome, most of which have very low expression in lung epithelia. Six of these 128 microRNA are differentially expressed upon in vitro infection of SARS-CoV-2. Twenty-eight and 23 microRNA also target the SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, respectively. In addition, 48 and 32 microRNA are commonly identified in two other studies. Further research into identifying bona fide coronavirus targeting microRNA will be useful in understanding the importance of microRNA as cellular defence mechanism against pathogenic coronavirus infections.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202306.1085.v1
Subject: Computer Science And Mathematics, Computer Science Keywords: Multi-stage attack; detection; Advanced Persistent Threats; cyberattack; defence mech- anisms
Online: 15 June 2023 (07:12:26 CEST)
The need for cohesive detection and defence methods against cyberattacks is significant now more than ever before to enforce security and privacy of user data and information. The inevitable increase in demand for home and flexible working from employees quite recently has meant there is a lack of awareness and training for cyberattacks. Hence, they have become prominent as attackers are aware of this and are benefitting from individuals’ lack of knowledge in how to better protect themselves and their confidential information. Employees are becoming more susceptible to such attacks and falling victim to these, resulting in economic losses for companies, data losses and decreased faith.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201802.0029.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Plant Sciences Keywords: protease; plant; pathogen; defence; substrate; immunity; hypersensitive response; recognition; signalling; priming
Online: 5 February 2018 (04:11:42 CET)
Proteases are integral enzymes of the plant immune system. Multiple aspects of defence are regulated by proteases, including the hypersensitive response, pathogen recognition, priming and peptide hormone release. These processes are regulated by unrelated proteases residing at different subcellular locations. In this review we discuss ten prominent plant proteases contributing to the plant immune system, highlighting the diversity of roles they perform in plant defence.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201809.0168.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Geography Keywords: avulsion, civil defence, dispersal barrier, flood, Rio Madeira, rain forest, species distribution
Online: 10 September 2018 (11:59:52 CEST)
The scene for regional biogeography and human settlements in Central Amazonia is set by the river network, which presumably consolidated in the Pliocene. However, we present geomorphological and sediment chronological data showing that the river network has been anything but stable. Even during the last 50 kyr, the tributary relationships have repeatedly changed for four major rivers, together corresponding to one third of the discharge of the Amazon. The latest major river capture event converted the Japurá from a tributary of the Rio Negro to a tributary of the Amazon only 1000 years ago. Such broad-scale lability implies that rivers cannot have been as efficient biogeographical dispersal barriers as has generally been assumed, but that their effects on human societies can have been even more profound. Climate change and deforestation scenarios predict increasing water levels during peak floods, which will likely increase the risk of future river avulsions. This may have disastrous consequences for the local human societies, especially in those areas where the current floodplains are at only marginally lower elevations than the nearest water divide. We suggest that the prevailing paradigm of rivers as principal structuring elements of Amazonian biogeography needs to be re-evaluated, and that land use planning and civil risk assessment should take the possibility of river avulsions into account.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0356.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Immunology And Microbiology Keywords: Scoprion Venoms; Hos Defence Peptides; antimicrobial activity; antibiofilm activity; synergism; bacterial resistance
Online: 25 May 2018 (09:26:11 CEST)
Current research in the field of antimicrobials is focused on the development of novel antibiotics and antimicrobial agents to counteract the huge dilemma that the human population is mainly facing in regards to the rise of bacterial resistance and biofilm infections. Host Defense peptides (HDPs) are a promising group of molecules for antimicrobial development as they share unique characteristics suitable for antimicrobial activity including their broad spectrum of activity and potency against bacteria. AamAP1 is a novel HDP that was identified through molecular cloning from the venom of the North African scorpion Androctonus amoeruxi. In vitro antimicrobial assays revealed that the peptide displays moderate activity against different strains of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Additionally, the peptide proved to be highly hemolytic and displaying significantly high toxicity against mammalian cells. In our study, a novel synthetic peptide analogue named A3 was designed from the naturally occurring scorpion venom host defense peptide. The design strategy depended on modifying the amino acid sequence of the parent peptide in order to increase its net positive charge, percentage helicity and optimize other physico-chemical parameters involved theoretically in HDPs activity. Accordingly, A3 was evaluated for its in vitro antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity individually and in combination with four different types of conventional antibiotics against clinical isolates of multi-drug resistant (MDR) Gram-positive bacteria. A3 was also evaluated for its cytotoxicity against mammalian cells. A3 displayed potent and selective in vitro antimicrobial activities against a wide range of MDR Gram-positive bacteria. Our results also showed that combining A3 with conventional antibiotics displayed a synergistic mode of action which resulted in decreasing the MIC value for A3 peptide as low as 0.125 µM. These effective concentrations were associated with negligible toxicities on mammalian cells. In conclusion, A3 exhibits enhanced activity and selectivity when compared with the parent natural scorpion venom peptide. The combination of A3 with conventional antibiotics may be pursued as a potential novel treatment strategy against MDR and biofilm forming bacteria.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201706.0119.v1
Subject: Engineering, Electrical And Electronic Engineering Keywords: emulation; network threat; network attack; network services; network topology; cyber defence exercises
Online: 27 June 2017 (05:16:41 CEST)
This paper outlines a tool developed with the purpose of creating a simple configurable emulated network environment that can be used in cyber defence exercises. Research has been conducted into the various related subject areas: cyber defence exercises, network threats, network emulation, network traffic replay, network topologies, and common network services. From this research a requirements specification was produced to encapsulate the features required to create this tool. A network, containing many of the aspects researched, was designed and implemented using Netkit-NG to act as a blueprint for the tool and to further knowledge in the construction of an emulated network. Following this the tool was developed and tested to ensure requirements were met.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0066.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Immunology And Microbiology Keywords: Vitis vinifera; Plasmopara viticola; plant-pathogen interaction; proteomics; defence-related proteins, ETS, ETI
Online: 5 October 2020 (10:58:33 CEST)
Grapevine is one of the most relevant crops in the world being used for economically important products such as wine. Yet, relevant grapevine cultivars are heavily affected by diseases such as the downy mildew disease caused by Plasmopara viticola. Improvements on grapevine resistance are made mainly by breeding techniques where resistance traits are introgressed into cultivars with desired grape characteristics. However, there is still a lack of knowledge on how resistant or tolerant cultivars tackle the P. viticola pathogen. In this study, using a shotgun proteomics LC-MS/MS approach, we unravel the protein modulation of a highly tolerant grapevine cultivar, V. vinifera ‘Regent’, in the first hours post inoculation (hpi) with P. viticola. At 6 hpi, proteins related to defence and to response to stimuli are negatively modulated while at 12 hpi there is an accumulation of proteins belonging to both categories. The co-occurrence of effector-triggered susceptibility (ETS) and effector-triggered immunity (ETI) is detected at both time-points, showing that these defence processes present high plasticity. The results obtained in this study unravel the tolerant grapevine defence strategy towards P. viticola and may provide valuable insights on resistance associated candidates and mechanisms, which may play an important role in the definition of new strategies on breeding approaches.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201809.0058.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Plant Sciences Keywords: Gossypium hirsutum L.; Adelphocoris suturalis (Jakovlev); alpha-linolenic acid pathway; tryptophan metabolism; plant defence
Online: 4 September 2018 (06:29:16 CEST)
Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum Linn.) is widely cultivated in China. The polyphagous insect Adelphocoris suturalis (Jakovlev) is a serious insect pest in cotton growing regions. Plants have evolved sophisticated systems to cope with herbivore attacks. However, the cotton defense mechanisms induced by A. suturalis feeding have lagged behind. We carried out untargeted proteomic analysis using the iTARQ technique and metabolomics based on LC-MS/MS analysis of cotton leaves fed upon by A. suturalis. Proteomic analysis identified 775 upregulated proteins and 477 downregulated proteins in plants that were infested by A. sututralis compared to the controls. Metabolomic analysis identified 50 differentially expressed metabolites in the positive ion mode and 14 in the negative ion mode compared to the controls. The tryptophan metabolism pathway was significantly changed in both the positive and negative ion mode in the metabolomics analysis. The alpha-linolenic acid pathway was significantly changed in both the proteomic and metabolomics analyses. Furthermore, the result was validated by RT-qPCR analysis of 5 related genes involved in alpha-linolenic acid pathway. These results indicate that tryptophan metabolism and the alpha-linolenic acid pathway may be important in cotton defense against herbivores and would enhance our understanding of plant defenses induced by A. sututrali feeding.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202309.1583.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: lipopolysaccharide (LPS, endotoxin), LPS-binding proteins/peptides, host defence proteins/peptids, innate immune system, marine invertebrates, Gram-negative sepsis, endotoxic shock.
Online: 26 September 2023 (08:12:49 CEST)
Sepsis is a life-threatening complication of an infectious process that results from excessive and uncontrolled activation of the host's pro-inflammatory immune response to a pathogen. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), also known as endotoxin, which is a major component of the Gram-negative bacteria outer membrane, plays a key role in the development of Gram-negative sepsis and septic shock in humans. To date, no specific and effective drug against sepsis has been developed. This review summarizes data on LPS-binding proteins from marine invertebrates (ILBPs), that inhibit LPS toxic effects, and are of interest as potential drugs for the sepsis treatment. The structure, physicochemical properties, antimicrobial and LPS-binding/neutralizing activity of these proteins and their synthetic analogues are considered in details. Problems that arise during clinical trials of potential anti-endotoxic drugs are discussed.