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:8/20/2014)... LAKE CITY Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at ... forms of the gene that encodes BCR-ABL, the unregulated ... According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 6,000 new ... Drugs already in use, called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), ... They do not cure CML but control it in ...
(Date:8/20/2014)... State University, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the ... Mycobacterium pinnipedii from skeletons found in Peru ... is a relative of the TB bacterium that affects ... These researchers assume that seals carried the pathogens from ... lions was unexpected" comments Sebastien Gagneux, from the Swiss ...
(Date:8/20/2014)... Bay Area Lyme Foundation, which aims to make Lyme ... new research published in an upcoming issue of the ... . The findings show that ticks that carry ... year, making the threat of Lyme disease year-round. The ... Public Health (CDPH) Vector-borne Disease Section and University of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Blueprint for next generation of chronic myeloid leukemia treatment 2Lyme disease risk is year-round in Northwest California, according to new study 2Lyme disease risk is year-round in Northwest California, according to new study 3
... Following an agreement between ESA, Krunichev Space Centre and ... and a secondary payload, the technology demonstrator Proba-2 satellite, ... new November launch date follows a rescheduling of the ... Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite and the secondary ...
... heat shock protein 90 gets steroid receptors into shape ... to targeted therapies for hormone-driven cancers, such as breast ... of Georgia researchers say. "We are trying to ... conformation so they work," says Dr. Ahmed Chadli, biochemist ...
... In the fruit fly,s developing brain, stem cells called ... cell that has a different fate. But neuroblast growth can ... Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore ... a counterpart in mammals, that can apparently prevent brain tumors ...
Cached Biology News:SMOS and Proba-2 launch rescheduled for November 2Targeting helpers of heat shock proteins could help treat cancer, cardiovascular disease 2Tumor suppressor gene in flies may provide insights for human brain tumors 2
(Date:8/21/2014)... An international research team including DESY scientists has observed ... The team reports in the journal Science ... lattices inside the nanodroplets. It is the first time ... in larger samples of what is known as superfluid ... exceeded our best expectations," says Andrey Vilesov of the ...
(Date:8/21/2014)... New Rochelle, N.Y. (PRWEB) August 21, 2014 ... it is the first private college in the Mid-Hudson ... The College will now begin accepting applications from qualified ... , “We are very pleased to have been ... to support Governor Cuomo’s transformative initiative to stimulate economic ...
(Date:8/21/2014)... , Aug. 21, 2014  Four-dimensional (4-D) ... behaviors based on external stimuli such as changes ... have a disruptive effect in multiple industries.  In ... business landscape by printing objects ranging from human ... automotive sectors. Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140820/138289 ...
(Date:8/21/2014)... Wednesday of last week RENU 28, the world's first and ... for purchase in Australia and New Zealand, and the response ... is, if you think about the definition of aging, it's ... within your body. If you think about the definition of ... What RENU 28 does is it works with these tiny ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Scientists observe quantum vortices in cold helium droplets 2The College of New Rochelle Becomes First Private College in Mid-Hudson Region to Earn START-UP NY Designation 2The College of New Rochelle Becomes First Private College in Mid-Hudson Region to Earn START-UP NY Designation 3Frost & Sullivan: 4-D Printing to Usher in Age of Low-Labor, Fast-Paced Product Manufacturing 2Frost & Sullivan: 4-D Printing to Usher in Age of Low-Labor, Fast-Paced Product Manufacturing 3Frost & Sullivan: 4-D Printing to Usher in Age of Low-Labor, Fast-Paced Product Manufacturing 4RENU 28 Skin Care Now Available in Australia and New Zealand 2
... Yingxia,International, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: CYXI) ("China Yingxia" ... and nutritional food industry,engaged in the development, manufacture ... raw cactus plants in the People,s,Republic of China ... Ren,Hu will present at the upcoming Roth China ...
... Wall St. Network,s 3-Minute,Press Show is a daily program ... with public company executives on their,company and most recent ... viewers with insight into a company,s,latest news, and its ... Shows air Monday through Friday at: http://tv.wallst.net/3-min-press/3-min-press.php ...
... device company focused on developing, and commercializing interventional ... call scheduled for Tuesday, November 4, 2008 at ... PAUL, Minn., Nov. 4 ,Replidyne, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... that they have entered into a definitive merger ...
Cached Biology Technology:China Yingxia to Present at Roth China Comes to Vegas Conference 2[video] Wall St. Network's 3-Minute Press Show Features Executive Interviews and Highlights Recent Press for the Following: GTHR, BHRT, AGO 2Replidyne and Cardiovascular Systems Sign Merger Agreement 2Replidyne and Cardiovascular Systems Sign Merger Agreement 3Replidyne and Cardiovascular Systems Sign Merger Agreement 4Replidyne and Cardiovascular Systems Sign Merger Agreement 5Replidyne and Cardiovascular Systems Sign Merger Agreement 6Replidyne and Cardiovascular Systems Sign Merger Agreement 7
TNF-R2 (L-20)...
... The PowerEase 500 Power Supply ... electrophoresis. It offers extensive programming ... four custom methods for you ... preferences. The simple intuitive PowerEase ...
Eliminate electrical interference from any analog signal, without filtering. Ideal for electrophysiology applications like EKG, EMG, and EEGs. Removes 50/60hz noise and harmonics caused by grounding ...
Request Info...
Biology Products: