Navigation Links
Parasite uses the power of sexual attraction to trick rats into becoming cat food
Date:8/19/2011

When a male rat senses the presence of a fetching female rat, a certain region of his brain lights up with neural activity, in anticipation of romance. Now Stanford University researchers have discovered that in male rats infected with the parasite Toxoplasma, the same region responds just as strongly to the odor of cat urine.

Is it time to dim the lights and cue the Rachmaninoff for some cross-species canoodling?

"Well, we see activity in the pathway that normally controls how male rats respond to female rats, so it's possible the behavior we are seeing in response to cat urine is sexual attraction behavior, but we don't know that," said Patrick House, a PhD candidate in neuroscience in the School of Medicine. "I would not say that they are definitively attracted, but they are certainly less afraid. Regardless, seeing activity in the attraction pathway is bizarre."

For a rat, fear of cats is rational. But a cat's small intestine is the only environment in which Toxoplasma can reproduce sexually, so it is critical for the parasite to get itself into a cat's digestive system in order to complete its lifecycle.

Thus it benefits the parasite to trick its host rat into putting itself in position to get eaten by the cat. No fear, no flight and kitty's dinner is served.

House, the lead author of a paper about the research published in the Aug. 17 issue of PLoS ONE, works in the lab of Robert Sapolsky, a professor of biology and, at the medical school, of neurology and neurological sciences.

Scientists have known about Toxoplasma's manipulation of rats for years and they knew that rats infected with Toxoplasma seemed to lose their fear of cats.

It is an example of what is called the "manipulation hypothesis," which holds that some parasites alter the behavior of their host organism in a way that benefits the parasite. There are several known examples of the phenomenon in insects.

But t
'/>"/>

Contact: Louis Bergeron
louisb3@stanford.edu
650-725-1944
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Parasite loads an underlying cause of salmon mortality, linked to land use changes
2. What parasites eat is the key to better drug design
3. Parasites help reveal new ecological rules
4. Malaria parasites use camouflage to trick immune defences of pregnant women
5. Comparison of genomes of plant parasites provides solid clues for response
6. Parasite strategy offers insight to help tackle sleeping sickness
7. Insight into parasite family planning could help target malaria
8. Trichinosis parasite gets DNA decoded
9. MIT researchers study the danger of toxoplasma parasites
10. Scientists pinpoint key defense against parasite infection
11. UC Riverside cell biologist to investigate how malaria parasite multiplies in red blood cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Parasite uses the power of sexual attraction to trick rats into becoming cat food
(Date:6/23/2015)... , June 22, 2015 ... the addition of the "Body-Worn Temperature Sensors ... Trends and Forecast 2014 - 2020" report ... strategic analysis of the global body-worn temperature sensors ... been segmented on the basis of types, care ...
(Date:6/18/2015)... Conn. , June 18, 2015 NXT-ID, Inc. ... authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce market announces ... a featured segment on "Money on the Mark", scheduled to ... City June 20 th . ... will be from 7:00 to 8:00pm EST. NXT-ID, Inc.,s CEO ...
(Date:6/17/2015)... GARDENS, Fla. , June 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... solutions, today announced that its U.are.U ® ... Togo,s Eateries, Inc., a ... casual sandwich chain, to increase security, improve accountability ... fingerprint readers enable instant, non-repudiable identity confirmation for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Body-Worn Temperature Sensors Market - Global Industry Analysis 2NXT-ID, Inc.'s CEO Gino Pereira Talks About the Wocket Smart Wallet on WABC Radio, New York City, June 20th 2NXT-ID, Inc.'s CEO Gino Pereira Talks About the Wocket Smart Wallet on WABC Radio, New York City, June 20th 3Togo's Eateries Improve Security and Accountability with Crossmatch Fingerprint Readers 2Togo's Eateries Improve Security and Accountability with Crossmatch Fingerprint Readers 3
... 2013  ImmunGene, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing ... it has secured $9 million in a milestone-based Series ... the Company were converted into Series A preferred stock. ... development products to IND-enabling studies. "ImmunGene, run ...
... PA, November 7, 2013 More people are cooking at ... food blogs. The photos of dishes posted on the ... value of the recipes. In addition, many food companies sponsor ... This has the potential to change the healthfulness of the ...
... of human agriculture in the Earth,s far north because ... areas of the globe scientists have studied. , Instead, ... Canada have microorganisms called cyanobacteria to mostly thank for ... provided fodder once cattle were domesticated. The process is ...
Cached Biology News:ImmunGene Raises $9 Million in Series A Financing 2ImmunGene Raises $9 Million in Series A Financing 3ImmunGene Raises $9 Million in Series A Financing 4Do food blogs serve as a source of nutritionally balanced recipes? 2Floods didn't provide nitrogen 'fix' for earliest crops in frigid North 2Floods didn't provide nitrogen 'fix' for earliest crops in frigid North 3
(Date:7/1/2015)... ... , ... Apex Therapeutics announced today that company CEO, David Broecker provided a ... The presentation took place on Tuesday, June 16 and provided an update on the ... the treatment of pancreatic cancer. A copy of the company overview can be ...
(Date:6/30/2015)... CALGARY , June 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - ... ("Shareholders") of common shares of Resverlogix have approved ... to Eastern Capital Limited of 5,600,000 units at ... Private Placement"), each unit being comprised of one ... for aggregate proceeds of approximately CAD$15 million; and ...
(Date:6/30/2015)... ... June 30, 2015 , ... uBiome ... new insights on mechanics of fecal microbiota transplantation in C. difficile patients. , ... microbiome of patients undergoing fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) as a treatment for Clostridium ...
(Date:6/30/2015)...  The University of California, San Diego,s Center ... San Diego Extension announced their third annual workshop ... – 14, 2015, at UC San Diego (see ... intense exposure to best practices and the latest ... biologists, process engineers and business executives planning next ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Apex Therapeutics Presented Company Overview at This Year’s BIO International Convention in Philadelphia, PA 2Resverlogix Corp. Shareholders Approve Matters Relating to Licensing and Equity Arrangement 2Resverlogix Corp. Shareholders Approve Matters Relating to Licensing and Equity Arrangement 3uBiome and OpenBiome Partner for Microbiome Study in FMT Patients 2uBiome and OpenBiome Partner for Microbiome Study in FMT Patients 3UC San Diego Extension to Offer Third Annual Microbial Fermentation Workshop 2
... Emerging RNAi Industry through,Addition of Important and ... PALO ALTO, Calif., April 9, 2008 ... systemic RNA interference (RNAi),therapeutics, today announced that ... certain efficacy-enhancing structural elements of,small interfering RNA ...
... BOTHELL, Wash., April 9, 2008 Cardiac Science,Corporation ... advanced cardiac diagnosis,resuscitation, rehabilitation, and informatics products, announced ... Force for the initial supply,of 170 Powerheart(R) G3 ... adds to a string of international wins including ...
... Brussels: THR), a biotechnology company focused on vascular,diseases, ... has completed,patient enrolment for its Phase II MITI ... to evaluate the safety and preliminary efficacy of,microplasmin ... and twelve hours after the onset of the ...
Cached Biology Technology:Intradigm Licenses Key Next Generation RNA Interference (RNAi) Intellectual Property From University of Massachusetts Medical School 2Intradigm Licenses Key Next Generation RNA Interference (RNAi) Intellectual Property From University of Massachusetts Medical School 3Intradigm Licenses Key Next Generation RNA Interference (RNAi) Intellectual Property From University of Massachusetts Medical School 4Australia Chooses Cardiac Science to Equip Its Defence Force 2Australia Chooses Cardiac Science to Equip Its Defence Force 3ThromboGenics Completes Patient Enrolment of MITI IV Trial, a Phase II Study Evaluating the Safety and Preliminary Efficacy of Microplasmin in the Treatment of Acute Stroke 2ThromboGenics Completes Patient Enrolment of MITI IV Trial, a Phase II Study Evaluating the Safety and Preliminary Efficacy of Microplasmin in the Treatment of Acute Stroke 3
... and far-infrared range FT-IR spectrometers give you ... class. Yet all this comes at an ... Having a larger and faster mirror ... conventional FT-IRs provides 300%,larger solid angle of ...
... The Rapid-Screen cDNA Library Panels were designed ... three sets of PCRs to identify the ... is performed in a 96-well "Master Plate," ... 5,000 clones. Having identified the positive well(s) ...
... The Rapid-Screen cDNA Library Panels were designed ... three sets of PCRs to identify the ... is performed in a 96-well "Master Plate," ... 5,000 clones. Having identified the positive well(s) ...
... F-7000 is a research grade spectrofluorometer which ... scanning speeds of up to 60,000nm/min. ... high concentrated light beam along with low ... our FL Solutions, PC fluorescence applications software, ...
Biology Products: