Global Tonga tsunami explained by a fast-moving atmospheric source

Volcanoes can produce tsunamis through earthquakes, caldera and flank collapses, pyroclastic flows, or underwater explosions1,2,3,4. These mechanisms rarely displace enough water to trigger transoceanic tsunamis. Violent volcanic explosions, however, can cause global tsunamis1,5 by triggering acoustic-gravity waves6,7,8 that excite the atmosphere-ocean interface. The colossal eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano and ensuing tsunami is the first global volcano-triggered tsunami recorded by modern, worldwide dense instrumentation, thus providing a unique opportunity to investigate the role of air-water coupling processes in tsunami generation and propagation. Here we use sea-level, atmospheric and satellite data from across the globe, along with numerical and analytical models, to demonstrate that this tsunami was driven by a constantly moving source in which the acoustic-gravity waves radiating from the eruption excite the ocean and transfer energy into it via resonance. A direct correlation between the tsunami and the acoustic-gravity waves’ arrival times confirms that these phenomena are closely linked. Our models also show that the unusually fast travel times and long duration of the tsunami, as well as its global reach, are consistent with an air-water coupled source. This coupling mechanism has clear hazard implications, since it leads to higher waves along landmasses that rise abruptly from long stretches of deep ocean waters.

Omira R., Ramalho R.S., Kim J., González P.J., Kadri U., Miranda J.M., Carrilho F., Baptista M.A.


Antimicrobial Resistance in the COVID-19 Landscape: Is There an Opportunity for Anti-Infective Antibodies and Antimicrobial Peptides?

Although COVID-19 has captured most of the public health attention, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has not disappeared. To prevent the escape of resistant microorganisms in animals or environmental reservoirs a “one health approach” is desirable. In this context of COVID-19, AMR has probably been affected by the inappropriate or over-use of antibiotics. The increased use of antimicrobials and biocides for disinfection may have enhanced the prevalence of AMR. Antibiotics have been used empirically in patients with COVID-19 to avoid or prevent bacterial coinfection or superinfections. On the other hand, the measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 could have reduced the risk of the emergence of multidrug-resistant microorganisms. Since we do not currently have a sterilizing vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus may still multiply in the organism and new mutations may occur. As a consequence, there is a risk of the appearance of new variants. Nature-derived anti-infective agents, such as antibodies and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), are very promising in the fight against infectious diseases, because they are less likely to develop resistance, even though further investigation is still required.

Pérez de Lastra, José Manuel; Anand, Uttpal; González-Acosta, Sergio; López, Manuel R.; Dey, Abhijit; Bontempi, Elza; Morales-delaNuez, Antonio.

Frontiers in Immunology, 13:921483 : 1-13 (2022)

First report of Heriaeus buffoni (Araneae: Thomisidae) from the Canary Islands

Heriaeus buffoni (Audouin, 1826) is reported for the first time from the Canary Islands, where it was found on Lanzarote. This also represents the first record of the genus in the archipelago. All individuals were collected with pitfall traps installed in nitrophilous synanthropic shrub vegetation near urban areas. Species identification was based on male genitalia only as females were not sampled. A map including all known records from Lanzarote, drawings of the pedipalps and photographs of living and preserved specimens are presented.

Suárez, Daniel; Zarzosa, Miguel Ángel; Oromí, Pedro.

Arachnologische Mitteilungen / Arachnology Letters 63: 11-14

Hidden island endemic species and their implications for cryptic speciation within soil arthropods

Specialisation to the soil environment is expected to constrain the spatial scale of diversification within animal lineages. In this context, flightless arthropod lineages, adapted to soil environments, but with broad geographical ranges, rep-resent something of an anomaly. Here we investigate the diversification process within one such ‘anomalous’ soil specialist, an eyeless and flightless beetle species strongly adapted to the endogean environment but distributed across several oce-anic islands.

Pérez-Delgado, Antonio J.; Arribas, Paula; Hernando, Carles; López, Heriberto; Arjona, Yurena; Suárez-Ramos, Daniel; Emerson, Brent C.; Andújar, Carmelo.

Journal of Biogeography: 1-14 (2022)

Dispersal ability and its consequences for population genetic differentiation and diversification

Dispersal ability is known to influence geographical structuring of genetic variation within species, with a direct relationship between low vagility and population genetic structure, which can potentially give rise to allopatric speciation. However, our general understanding of the relationship between dispersal ability, population differentiation and lineage diversification is limited. To address this issue, we sampled mitochondrial DNA variation within lineages of beetles and spiders across the Canary Islands to explore the relationships between dispersal ability, differentiation within lineages and diversification. We found positive relationships between population genetic structure and diversification for both beetles and spiders. Comparisons between dispersive and non-dispersive lineages revealed significant differences for both lineage differentiation and diversification. For both taxa, non-dispersive lineages had stronger population genetic structure. Genus-level endemic species richness and proxies for diversification rate within genera were higher in non-dispersive taxa for both beetles and spiders. Comparisons of average and maximum node divergences within genera suggest that species turnover may be higher in non-dispersive genera. Our results reveal a model where dispersal limitation may shape the diversity of lineages across evolutionary timescales by positively influencing intraspecific and species diversity, moderated by higher extinction rates compared to more dispersive lineages.

Suárez, Daniel; Arribas, Paula; Jiménez-García, Eduardo; Emerson, Brent C. 

Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 289(1975): 1-10 (2022)

Nitration of Flavonoids and Tocopherols as Potential Modulators of Nitrosative Stress—A Study Based on Their Conformational Structures and Energy Content

Vitamin E and dietary flavonoids are natural substances with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, showing little or no side effects. Fruit and vegetable diets based on flavonoids and vitamin E provide a benefit to hypertensive subjects by regulating blood pressure. However, the exact mechanism of their anti-inflammatory properties has not been chemically explained. It has been proposed that their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may be related to their ability to scavenge free radicals. We here describe the chemical considerations that flavonoids and tocopherols required to act as potential scavengers of the •NO2 radical, a key radical in the cellular oxidative process. Moreover, we provide a theoretical study of the energy content of the nitrated compounds in the different possible positions. With this analysis, it was predicted that five flavonoids from different families (quercetin (flavanol), naringenin (flavanone), luteolin (flavone), catechin (flavanol) and aurantinidin (anthocyanin)) and three tocopherols (β-, γ-, and δ-tocopherol, but not α-tocopherol) could act as potential scavengers of the harmful •NO2 radical. These results may help to explain their beneficial effect on cardiovascular health through its antioxidant role. To validate our theoretical considerations, we also examined uric acid, a well-known •NO2-scavenger. We hope this study could help to elucidate the potential scavenging activity of other dietary antioxidants.

Pérez de Lastra, José Manuel; Andrés Juan, Celia; Plou Gasca, Francisco José; Pérez-Lebeña, Eduardo.

Stresses 2(2): 213-230 (2022)

Isobenzofuran-1(3H)-one derivatives: Amoebicidal activity and program cell death in Acanthamoeba castellanii Neff

The genus Acanthamoeba is characterized by being a group of ubiquitous and free-living amoebae that inhabit a variety of environments. Generally, human infections by this parasite are associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, especially in contact lens wearers, and with chronic but fatal granulomatous amoebic meningoencephalitis. Current treatments used for eradication of amoeba from infection sites represent a challenge for pharmacotherapy, due to the lack of effective treatment and the amoebae highly resistant to anti-amoebic drugs. In this study, we describe the results of the assessment of the IC50 of 10 isobenzofuran-1(3H)-one derivatives (QOET) against four Acanthamoeba strains. The compounds QOET-3 and QOET-9 were the selected derivatives with the lowest IC50 in A. castellanii Neff trophozoites (73.71 ± 0.25 and 69.99 ± 15.32 μM, respectively). Interestingly, analysis of the compound effects on the cell apoptosis-like features showed that both active molecules triggered programmed cell death (PCD) in A. castellanii Neff. The results obtained in this study highlights that isobenzofuranone derivatives could represent an interesting source for developing novel antiamoebic drugs.

Rodríguez-Expósito, Rubén L.; Reyes-Batlle, María; Sifaoui, Inés; Tejedor, David; García-Tellado, Fernando; Piñero, José E.; Lorenzo-Morales, Jacob.

Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 150: 1-10 (2022) 113062

Emerging laws must not protect stray cats and their impacts

Our moral circles—that is, the entities believed as worthy of moral concern and thus deserving moral considerations—have historically expanded beyond humans to include also nonhuman beings (Crimston et al., 2018). As a result, various emerging legal instruments around the world have been granting rights to animals. However, the inclusion of animals within moral circles is subjected to important biases, with a preference for charismatic, familiar, and beautiful vertebrates (Klebl et al., 2021). We argue that legal instruments embracing such biases may jeopardize biodiversity conservation.

Carrete, Martina; Clavero, Miguel; Arrondo, Eneko; Traveset, Anna; Bernardo-Madrid, Rubén; Vilà, Montserrat; Blas, Julio; Nogales, Manuel; Delibes, Miguel; García-Rodríguez, Alberto; Hernández-Brito, Dailos; Romero-Vidal, Pedro; Tella, José L.

Conservation Science and Practice : 1-3, e12706 (2022)

Combating water stress in Macaronesia

Decreasing water resources is a pressing climate change issue, with crop productivity and food security highly dependent on irrigation. At IPNA-CSIC, Dr Andrés A Borges and his colleagues have launched AHIDAGRO, a project committed to achieving agricultural sustainability in Macaronesia. AHIDAGRO addresses challenges associated with water stress in plants by developing natural products and solutions that protect crops during water-deficit periods. To date, they have developed new methods for evaluating biostimulants and tested new biostimulants in field conditions. The findings offer a resource for communities struggling with water shortages worldwide.

Borges, Andrés A.

Research Features : 1-2 (2022)

Betelvine (Piper betle L.): A comprehensive insight into its ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, and pharmacological, biomedical and therapeutic attributes

Piper betle L. (synonym: Piper betel Blanco), or betel vine, an economically and medicinally important cash crop, belongs to the family Piperaceae, often known as the green gold. The plant can be found all over the world and is cultivatedprimarily in South East Asian countries for its beautiful glossy heart-shaped leaves, which are chewed or consumed as betelquidand widely used in Chinese and Indian folk medicine, as carminative, stimulant,astringent, against parasitic worms, conjunctivitis, rheumatism, wound, etc., andis also used for religious purposes. Hydroxychavicol is the most important bioactive compound among the wide range of phytoconstituents found in essential oil and extracts. The pharmacological attributes of P. betle are antiproliferation, anticancer, neuropharmacological, analgesic, antioxidant, antiulcerogenic, hepatoprotective, antifertility, antibacterial, antifungal and many more. Immense attention has been paid to nanoformulations and their applications. The application of P. betle did not show cytotoxicity in preclinical experiments, suggesting that it could serve as a promising therapeutic candidate for different diseases. The present review comprehensively summarizes the botanical description, geographical distribution, economic value and cultivation, ethnobotanical uses, preclinical pharmacological properties with insights of toxicological, clinical efficacy, and safety of P. betle. The findings suggest that P. betle represents an orally active and safe natural agent that exhibits great therapeutic potential for managing various human medical conditions. However, further research is needed to elucidate its underlying molecular mechanisms of action, clinical aspects, structure–activity relationships, bioavailability and synergistic interactions with other drugs.

Biswas, Protha; Anand, Uttpal; Chatterjee, Suchismita (Saha); Kant, Nishi; Mishra, Tulika; Masih, Harison; Bar, Ananya; Kumar Pandey, Devendra; Kumar Jha, Niraj; Majumder, Madhumita; Das, Neela; Gadekar, Vijaykumar Shivaji; Shekhawat, Mahipal S.; Kumar, Manoj; Radha; Proćków, Jarosław; Pérez de la Lastra, José M.; Dey, Abhijit

Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine : 1-37 (2022)