Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32

Search results for: tax evasion

32 The Impact of Global Financial Crises and Corporate Financial Crisis (Bankruptcy Risk) on Corporate Tax Evasion: Evidence from Emerging Markets

Authors: Seyed Sajjad Habibi

Abstract:

The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of global financial crises and corporate financial crisis on tax evasion of companies listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange. For this purpose, panel data in the periods of financial crisis period (2007 to 2012) and without a financial crisis (2004, 2005, 2006, 2013, 2014, and 2015) was analyzed using multivariate linear regression. The results indicate a significant relationship between the corporate financial crisis (bankruptcy risk) and tax evasion in the global financial crisis period. The results also showed a significant relationship between the corporate bankruptcy risk and tax evasion in the period with no global financial crisis. A significant difference was found between the bankruptcy risk and tax evasion in the period of the global financial crisis and that with no financial crisis so that tax evasion increased in the financial crisis period.

Keywords: global financial crisis, corporate financial crisis, bankruptcy risk, tax evasion risk, emerging markets

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31 The Modeling and Effectiveness Evaluation for Vessel Evasion to Acoustic Homing Torpedo

Authors: Li Minghui, Min Shaorong, Zhang Jun

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This paper aims for studying the operational efficiency of surface warship’s motorized evasion to acoustic homing torpedo. It orderly developed trajectory model, self-guide detection model, vessel evasion model, as well as anti-torpedo error model in three-dimensional space to make up for the deficiency of precious researches analyzing two-dimensionally confrontational models. Then, making use of the Monte Carlo method, it carried out the simulation for the confrontation process of evasion in the environment of MATLAB. At last, it quantitatively analyzed the main factors which determine vessel’s survival probability. The results show that evasion relative bearing and speed will affect vessel’s survival probability significantly. Thus, choosing appropriate evasion relative bearing and speed according to alarming range and alarming relative bearing for torpedo, improving alarming range and positioning accuracy and reducing the response time against torpedo will improve the vessel’s survival probability significantly.

Keywords: acoustic homing torpedo, vessel evasion, monte carlo method, torpedo defense, vessel's survival probability

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30 The Reflection of Greek Reality Concerning Taxation from the Perspective of Both Tax Payers and Taxmen

Authors: Evagelia Makri, Maria Tsourela, Dimitris Paschaloudis, Dafni M. Nerantzaki

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One of the biggest financial and social problems, which at the same time constitute one of the greater challenges that Greek society faces today, is the illegal avoidance of tax payments. Tax evasion may negate financial data and community budgets, as well as breed financial chaos. This research seeks to reflect Greek reality concerning tax measures. Also, there will be an effort to record the factors surrounding tax evasion. Greek tax system’s data will be rendered in financial terms. Questionnaires will be handed out to tax payers, and interviews will be conducted to taxmen. The quantitative analysis of the questionnaire answers will define the tax payers’ opinion towards the existence of tax evasion. The qualitative analysis of the interviews will reveal the main reason that boosts tax evasion. At the end, there will be some realistic proposals about how to better collect taxes, through the creation of a strong regulatory mechanism.

Keywords: tax evasion, tax collection measures, insurance recovery measures, Greek tax system

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29 Tax Evasion in Brazil: The Case of Specialists

Authors: Felippe Clemente, Viviani S. Lírio

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Brazilian tax evasion is very high. It causes many problems for economics as budget realization, income distribution and no allocation of productive resources. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to use the instrumental game theory to understand tax evasion agents and tax authority in Brazil (Federal Revenue and Federal Police). By means of Game Theory approaches, the main results from considering cases both with and without specialists show that, in a high dropout situation, penalizing taxpayers with either high fines or deprivations of liberty may not be very effective. The analysis also shows that audit and inspection costs play an important role in driving the equilibrium system. This would suggest that a policy of investing in tax inspectors would be a more effective tool in combating non-compliance with tax obligations than penalties or fines.

Keywords: tax evasion, Brazil, game theory, specialists

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28 Tax Evasion with Mobility between the Regular and Irregular Sectors

Authors: Xavier Ruiz Del Portal

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This paper incorporates mobility between the legal and black economies into a model of tax evasion with endogenous labor supply in which underreporting is possible in one sector but impossible in the other. We have found that the results of the effects along the extensive margin (number of evaders) become more robust and conclusive than those along the intensive margin (hours of illegal work) usually considered by the literature. In particular, it is shown that the following policies reduce the number of evaders: (a) larger and more progressive evasion penalties; (b) higher detection probabilities; (c) an increase in the legal sector wage rate; (d) a decrease in the moonlighting wage rate; (e) higher costs for creating opportunities to evade; (f) lower opportunities to evade, and (g) greater psychological costs of tax evasion. When tax concealment and illegal work also are taken into account, the effects do not vary significantly under the assumptions in Cowell (1985), except for the fact that policies (a) and (b) only hold as regards low- and middle-income groups and policies (e) and (f) as regards high-income groups.

Keywords: income taxation, tax evasion, extensive margin responses, the penalty system

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27 The Characteristics of a Fair and Efficient Tax Auditing Information System as a Tool against Tax Evasion: A Theoretical Framework

Authors: Dimitris Balios, Stefanos Tantos

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Economic growth and social evolution are connected to trust relationships in a society. The quality of the accounting information, the tax information system and the tax audit mechanism evolve multiple benefits in an economy. Tax evasion, the illegal practice where people and companies do not pay taxes, is a crime because of the negative effect in economy and society. In this paper, we describe a theoretical framework on the characteristics of a fair and efficient tax auditing information system which could be a tool against tax evasion, a tool for an economy to grow, especially in countries that face fluctuations in economic activity. We conclude that a fair and efficient tax auditing information system increases the reliability of tax administration, improves taxpayers’ tax compliance and causes a developmental trajectory for the economy.

Keywords: auditing information system, auditing mechanism, tax evasion, taxation

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26 The Effect of Taxpayer Political Beliefs on Tax Evasion Behavior: An Empirical Study Applied to Tunisian Case

Authors: Nadia Elouaer

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Tax revenue is the main state resource and one of the important variables in tax policy. Nevertheless, this resource is continually decreasing, so it is important to focus on the reasons for this decline. Several studies show that the taxpayer is reluctant to pay taxes, especially in countries at risk or in countries in transition, including Tunisia. This study focuses on the tax evasion behavior of a Tunisian taxpayer under the influence of his political beliefs, as well as the influence of different tax compliance variables. Using a questionnaire, a sample of 500 Tunisian taxpayers is used to examine the relationship between political beliefs and taxpayer affiliations and tax compliance variables, as well as the study of the causal link between political beliefs and fraudulent behavior. The data were examined using correlation, factor, and regression analysis and found a positive and statistically significant relationship between the different tax compliance variables and the tax evasion behavior. There is also a positive and statistically significant relationship between tax evasion and political beliefs and affiliations. The study of the relationship between political beliefs and compliance variables shows that they are closely related. The conclusion is to admit that tax evasion and political beliefs are closely linked, and the government should update its tax policy and modernize its administration in order to strengthen the credibility and disclosure of information in order to restore a relationship of trust between public authorities and the taxpayer.

Keywords: fiscal policy, political beliefs, tax evasion, taxpayer behavior

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25 Significance of Life Values in Relationship: A Detailed Analysis of Teenage Population

Authors: Preeti Nakhat

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Background: Values are essential part of one's life. They are inculcated since the early years of life and shape the personality of the individual. They play a tremendous role in decision making. Teenagers are seen perplexed about the values of their life. The challenge faced by majority of the teenage population in choosing between a positive and negative value is high. The values they adopt remain throughout their life and in every decision, hence it is a crucial topic of research. Research Methodology: This research aimed at finding out the value conflict of teenagers in relations. Hypothesis of the study are: H₀- There is no significant association between the life values and value conflict of higher secondary students; H₁– There is a significant association between the life values and value conflict of higher secondary students. For the same, the standardized tool, value conflict scale by R. L. Bhardwaj has been used. The tool consists 24 questions of different life situations with multiple choice options. Findings: There is 96% variation in value conflict due to evasion vs. fortitude, dependence vs. self-reliance, selfishness vs. probity, hate vs. love, fear vs. assertion and pragmatism vs. idealism life values. There is a positive association between all the life values and value conflict of higher secondary school students. Percentages of association are: 0.17% between value conflict and evasion vs. fortitude value, 0.16% between value conflict and dependence vs. self-reliance value, 0.17% between value conflict and selfishness vs. probity value, 0.16% between value conflict and hate vs. love value, 0.17% between value conflict and fear vs. assertion, 0.17% between value conflict and pragmatism vs. idealism value. Discussions: The dilemma faced by the students regarding value conflict is high. Bewilderment of being honest or lying, of loving or hating family and friends, being pragmatic or idealistic in life decision, being selfish or selfless is seen among the students. It is the challenge for the future. Teaching of values with a practical aspect should be added in the school curriculum.

Keywords: dilemma, conflict, school, values

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24 A Trends Analysis of Yatch Simulator

Authors: Jae-Neung Lee, Keun-Chang Kwak

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This paper describes an analysis of Yacht Simulator international trends and also explains about Yacht. Examples of yacht Simulator using Yacht Simulator include image processing for totaling the total number of vehicles, edge/target detection, detection and evasion algorithm, image processing using SIFT (scale invariant features transform) matching, and application of median filter and thresholding.

Keywords: yacht simulator, simulator, trends analysis, SIFT

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23 Institutional Quality and Tax Compliance: A Cross-Country Regression Evidence

Authors: Debi Konukcu Onal, Tarkan Cavusoglu

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In modern societies, the costs of public goods and services are shared through taxes paid by citizens. However, taxation has always been a frictional issue, as tax obligations are perceived to be a financial burden for taxpayers rather than being merit that fulfills the redistribution, regulation and stabilization functions of the welfare state. The tax compliance literature evolves into discussing why people still pay taxes in systems with low costs of legal enforcement. Related empirical and theoretical works show that a wide range of socially oriented behavioral factors can stimulate voluntary compliance and subversive effects as well. These behavioral motivations are argued to be driven by self-enforcing rules of informal institutions, either independently or through interactions with legal orders set by formal institutions. The main focus of this study is to investigate empirically whether institutional particularities have a significant role in explaining the cross-country differences in the tax noncompliance levels. A part of the controversy about the driving forces behind tax noncompliance may be attributed to the lack of empirical evidence. Thus, this study aims to fill this gap through regression estimates, which help to trace the link between institutional quality and noncompliance on a cross-country basis. Tax evasion estimates of Buehn and Schneider is used as the proxy measure for the tax noncompliance levels. Institutional quality is quantified by three different indicators (percentile ranks of Worldwide Governance Indicators, ratings of the International Country Risk Guide, and the country ratings of the Freedom in the World). Robust Least Squares and Threshold Regression estimates based on the sample of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries imply that tax compliance increases with institutional quality. Moreover, a threshold-based asymmetry is detected in the effect of institutional quality on tax noncompliance. That is, the negative effects of tax burdens on compliance are found to be more pronounced in countries with institutional quality below a certain threshold. These findings are robust to all alternative indicators of institutional quality, supporting the significant interaction of societal values with the individual taxpayer decisions.

Keywords: institutional quality, OECD economies, tax compliance, tax evasion

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22 European Countries Challenge’s in Value Added Tax

Authors: Fatbardha Kadiu, Nulifer Caliskan

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The value added tax came as a necessity of substituting the old tax on sales. Based on the advantages of this new tax in our days it is used successfully in more than 140 countries around the world. The aim of the paper is to describe the nature of this tax with its advantages and disadvantages. Also it will describe the way how it functions in most of the European countries and the actual challenges of these countries on value added tax. It will be present the types of goods which are exempt from this tax, the reasons and the consequences of those exemptions. The paper will be based on secondary data taken from respective literature. An econometric model will be present in order to identify the dependence of value tax from other parameters. The analyzing most refers to the two main principles of harmonization and billing on the fiscal system and the ways how to restructures the system in order to minimize the fiscal evasion.

Keywords: value added tax, revenues, complexity, legal uncertainty

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21 Triple Immunotherapy to Overcome Immune Evasion by Tumors in a Melanoma Mouse Model

Authors: Mary-Ann N. Jallad, Dalal F. Jaber, Alexander M. Abdelnoor

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Introduction: Current evidence confirms that both innate and adaptive immune systems are capable of recognizing and abolishing malignant cells. The emergence of cancerous tumors in patients is, therefore, an indication that certain cancer cells can resist elimination by the immune system through a process known as “immune evasion”. In fact, cancer cells often exploit regulatory mechanisms to escape immunity. Such mechanisms normally exist to control the immune responses and prohibit exaggerated or autoimmune reactions. Recently, immunotherapies have shown promising yet limited results. Therefore this study investigates several immunotherapeutic combinations and devises a triple immunotherapy which harnesses the innate and acquired immune responses towards the annihilation of malignant cells through overcoming their ability of immune evasion, consequently hampering malignant progression and eliminating established tumors. The aims of the study are to rule out acute/chronic toxic effects of the proposed treatment combinations, to assess the effect of these combinations on tumor growth and survival rates, and to investigate potential mechanisms underlying the phenotypic results through analyzing serum levels of anti-tumor cytokines, angiogenic factors and tumor progression indicator, and the tumor-infiltrating immune-cells populations. Methodology: For toxicity analysis, cancer-free C57BL/6 mice are randomized into 9 groups: Group 1 untreated, group 2 treated with sterile saline (solvent of used treatments), group 3 treated with Monophosphoryl-lipid-A, group 4 with anti-CTLA4-antibodies, group 5 with 1-Methyl-Tryptophan (Indolamine-Dioxygenase-1 inhibitor), group 6 with both MPLA and anti-CTLA4-antibodies, group 7 with both MPLA and 1-MT, group 8 with both anti-CTLA4-antibodies and 1-MT, and group 9 with all three: MPLA, anti-CTLA4-antibodies and 1-MT. Mice are monitored throughout the treatment period and for three following months. At that point, histological sections from their main organs are assessed. For tumor progression and survival analysis, a murine melanoma model is generated by injecting analogous mice with B16F10 melanoma cells. These mice are segregated into the listed nine groups. Their tumor size and survival are monitored. For a depiction of underlying mechanisms, melanoma-bearing mice from each group are sacrificed at several time-points. Sera are tested to assess the levels of Interleukin-12 (IL-12), Vascular-Endothelial-Growth Factor (VEGF), and S100B. Furthermore, tumors are excised for analysis of infiltrated immune cell populations including T-cells, macrophages, natural killer cells and immune-regulatory cells. Results: Toxicity analysis shows that all treated groups present no signs of neither acute nor chronic toxicity. Their appearance and weights were comparable to those of control groups throughout the treatment period and for the following 3 months. Moreover, histological sections from their hearts, kidneys, lungs, and livers were normal. Work is ongoing for completion of the remaining study aims. Conclusion: Toxicity was the major concern for the success of the proposed comprehensive combinational therapy. Data generated so far ruled out any acute or chronic toxic effects. Consequently, ongoing work is quite promising and may significantly contribute to the development of more effective immunotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer patients.

Keywords: cancer immunotherapy, check-point blockade, combination therapy, melanoma

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20 Tax Morale Dimensions Analysis in Portugal and Spain

Authors: Cristina Sá, Carlos Gomes, António Martins

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The reasons that explain different behaviors towards tax obligations in similar countries are not completely understood yet. The main purpose of this paper is to identify and compare the factors that influence tax morale levels in Portugal and Spain. We use data from European Values Study (EVS). Using a sample of 2,652 individuals, a factor analysis was used to extract the underlying dimensions of tax morale of Portuguese and Spanish taxpayers. Based on a factor analysis, the results of this paper show that sociological and behavioral factors, psychological factors and political factors are important for a good understanding of taxpayers’ behavior in Iberian Peninsula. This paper added value relies on the analyses of a wide range of variables and on the comparison between Portugal and Spain. Our conclusions provided insights that tax authorities and politicians can use to better focus their strategies and actions in order to increase compliance, reduce tax evasion, fight underground economy and increase country´s competitiveness.

Keywords: compliance, tax morale, Portugal, Spain

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19 Self-denigration in Doctoral Defense Sessions: Scale Development and Validation

Authors: Alireza Jalilifar, Nadia Mayahi

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The dissertation defense as a complicated conflict-prone context entails the adoption of elegant interactional strategies, one of which is self-denigration. This study aimed to develop and validate a self-denigration model that fits the context of doctoral defense sessions in applied linguistics. Two focus group discussions provided the basis for developing this conceptual model, which assumed 10 functions for self-denigration, namely good manners, modesty, affability, altruism, assertiveness, diffidence, coercive self-deprecation, evasion, diplomacy, and flamboyance. These functions were used to design a 40-item questionnaire on the attitudes of applied linguists concerning self-denigration in defense sessions. The confirmatory factor analysis of the questionnaire indicated the predictive ability of the measurement model. The findings of this study suggest that self-denigration in doctoral defense sessions is the social representation of the participants’ values, ideas and practices adopted as a negotiation strategy and a conflict management policy for the purpose of establishing harmony and maintaining resilience. This study has implications for doctoral students and academics and illuminates further research on self-denigration in other contexts.

Keywords: academic discourse, politeness, self-denigration, grounded theory, dissertation defense

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18 Debt Portfolios of the Poor: The Case of Street Vendors in Cali, Colombia

Authors: Lina Martinez, Juan David Rivera Acevedo, Isabella Franco

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The informal economy plays a significant role in the job market in Colombia. Cali, the third largest city in the country, is characterized by a high percentage of socially and economically vulnerable population groups who take part in the urban informal economy, with street vending as their primary source of income. This paper studies the socio-economic dimensions of street vendors in Cali. In particular, it examines why they are unable to capitalize on their comparatively high earnings and are not likely to escape poverty even though they usually profit from government welfare and tax evasion due to the non-regulated character of informality. The analysis of an observational study and two surveys with 637 and 300 participants show that street vending is a cash-based day-to-day activity. Since most of the street vendors do not have access to formal banking systems, they depend on payday loans with incomparably high interest rates which absorb a large share of their income and maintain a continuous indebtedness. This is one of the main reasons why they are unable to improve their living conditions. However, the daily cash flow masks the high opportunity cost of loans and long-term deficits.

Keywords: Colombia, informal economy, payday loans, street vendors

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17 The Strategy of Orbit Avoidance for Optical Remote Sensing Satellite

Authors: Dianxun Zheng, Wuxing Jing, Lin Hetong

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Optical remote sensing satellite, always running on the Sun-synchronous orbit, equipped laser warning equipment to alert CCD camera from laser attack. There have three ways to protect the CCD camera, closing the camera cover satellite attitude maneuver and satellite orbit avoidance. In order to enhance the safety of optical remote sensing satellite in orbit, this paper explores the strategy of satellite avoidance. The avoidance strategy is expressed as the evasion of pre-determined target points in the orbital coordinates of virtual satellite. The so-called virtual satellite is a passive vehicle which superposes a satellite at the initial stage of avoidance. The target points share the consistent cycle time and the same semi-major axis with the virtual satellite, which ensures the properties of the Sun-synchronous orbit remain unchanged. Moreover, to further strengthen the avoidance capability of satellite, it can perform multi-object avoid maneuvers. On occasions of fulfilling the orbit tasks of the satellite, the orbit can be restored back to virtual satellite through orbit maneuvers. There into, the avoid maneuvers adopts pulse guidance. and the fuel consumption is also optimized. The avoidance strategy discussed in this article is applicable to avoidance for optical remote sensing satellite when encounter the laser hostile attacks.

Keywords: optical remote sensing satellite, always running on the sun-synchronous

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16 Research on the Strategy of Orbital Avoidance for Optical Remote Sensing Satellite

Authors: Zheng DianXun, Cheng Bo, Lin Hetong

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This paper focuses on the orbit avoidance strategies of optical remote sensing satellite. The optical remote sensing satellite, moving along the Sun-synchronous orbit, is equipped with laser warning equipment to alert CCD camera from laser attacks. There are three ways to protect the CCD camera: closing the camera cover, satellite attitude maneuver and satellite orbit avoidance. In order to enhance the safety of optical remote sensing satellite in orbit, this paper explores the strategy of satellite avoidance. The avoidance strategy is expressed as the evasion of pre-determined target points in the orbital coordinates of virtual satellite. The so-called virtual satellite is a passive vehicle which superposes the satellite at the initial stage of avoidance. The target points share the consistent cycle time and the same semi-major axis with the virtual satellite, which ensures the properties of the satellite’s Sun-synchronous orbit remain unchanged. Moreover, to further strengthen the avoidance capability of satellite, it can perform multi-target-points avoid maneuvers. On occasions of fulfilling the satellite orbit tasks, the orbit can be restored back to virtual satellite through orbit maneuvers. Thereinto, the avoid maneuvers adopts pulse guidance. And the fuel consumption is also optimized. The avoidance strategy discussed in this article is applicable to optical remote sensing satellite when it is encountered with hostile attack of space-based laser anti-satellite.

Keywords: optical remote sensing satellite, satellite avoidance, virtual satellite, avoid target-point, avoid maneuver

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15 The Role of a Novel DEAD-Box Containing Protein in NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation

Authors: Yi-Hui Lai, Chih-Hsiang Yang, Li-Chung Hsu

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The inflammasome is a protein complex that modulates caspase-1 activity, resulting in proteolytic cleavage of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β and IL-18, into their bioactive forms. It has been shown that the inflammasomes play a crucial role in the clearance of pathogenic infection and tissue repair. However, dysregulated inflammasome activation contributes to a wide range of human diseases such as cancers and auto-inflammatory diseases. Yet, regulation of NLRP3 inflammasome activation remains largely unknown. We discovered a novel DEAD box protein, whose biological function has not been reported, not only negatively regulates NLRP3 inflammasome activation by interfering NLRP3 inflammasome assembly and cellular localization but also mitigate pyroptosis upon pathogen evasion. The DEAD-box protein is the first DEAD-box protein gets involved in modulation of the inflammasome activation. In our study, we found that caspase-1 activation and mature IL-1β production were largely enhanced upon LPS challenge in the DEAD box-containing protein- deleted THP-1 macrophages and bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs). In addition, this DEAD box-containing protein migrates from the nucleus to the cytoplasm upon LPS stimulation, which is required for its inhibitory role in NLRP3 inflammasome activation. The DEAD box-containing protein specifically interacted with the LRR motif of NLRP3 via its DEAD domain. Furthermore, due to the crucial role of the NLRP3 LRR domain in the recruitment of NLRP3 to mitochondria and binding to its adaptor ASC, we found that the interaction of NLRP3 and ASC was downregulated in the presence of the DEAD box-containing protein. In addition to the mechanical study, we also found that this DEAD box protein protects host cells from inflammasome-triggered cell death in response to broad-ranging pathogens such as Candida albicans, Streptococcus pneumoniae, etc., involved in nosocomial infections and severe fever shock. Collectively, our results suggest that this novel DEAD box molecule might be a key therapeutic strategy for various infectious diseases.

Keywords: inflammasome, inflammation, innate immunity, pyroptosis

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14 In-Depth Analysis on Sequence Evolution and Molecular Interaction of Influenza Receptors (Hemagglutinin and Neuraminidase)

Authors: Dong Tran, Thanh Dac Van, Ly Le

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Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA) play an important role in host immune evasion across influenza virus evolution process. The correlation between HA and NA evolution in respect to epitopic evolution and drug interaction has yet to be investigated. In this study, combining of sequence to structure evolution and statistical analysis on epitopic/binding site specificity, we identified potential therapeutic features of HA and NA that show specific antibody binding site of HA and specific binding distribution within NA active site of current inhibitors. Our approach introduces the use of sequence variation and molecular interaction to provide an effective strategy in establishing experimental based distributed representations of protein-protein/ligand complexes. The most important advantage of our method is that it does not require complete dataset of complexes but rather directly inferring feature interaction from sequence variation and molecular interaction. Using correlated sequence analysis, we additionally identified co-evolved mutations associated with maintaining HA/NA structural and functional variability toward immunity and therapeutic treatment. Our investigation on the HA binding specificity revealed unique conserved stalk domain interacts with unique loop domain of universal antibodies (CR9114, CT149, CR8043, CR8020, F16v3, CR6261, F10). On the other hand, NA inhibitors (Oseltamivir, Zaninamivir, Laninamivir) showed specific conserved residue contribution and similar to that of NA substrate (sialic acid) which can be exploited for drug design. Our study provides an important insight into rational design and identification of novel therapeutics targeting universally recognized feature of influenza HA/NA.

Keywords: influenza virus, hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA), sequence evolution

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13 A Machine Learning-Based Model to Screen Antituberculosis Compound Targeted against LprG Lipoprotein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Authors: Syed Asif Hassan, Syed Atif Hassan

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Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is an infection caused by the resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that do not respond either to isoniazid or rifampicin, which are the most important anti-TB drugs. The increase in the occurrence of a drug-resistance strain of MTB calls for an intensive search of novel target-based therapeutics. In this context LprG (Rv1411c) a lipoprotein from MTB plays a pivotal role in the immune evasion of Mtb leading to survival and propagation of the bacterium within the host cell. Therefore, a machine learning method will be developed for generating a computational model that could predict for a potential anti LprG activity of the novel antituberculosis compound. The present study will utilize dataset from PubChem database maintained by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The dataset involves compounds screened against MTB were categorized as active and inactive based upon PubChem activity score. PowerMV, a molecular descriptor generator, and visualization tool will be used to generate the 2D molecular descriptors for the actives and inactive compounds present in the dataset. The 2D molecular descriptors generated from PowerMV will be used as features. We feed these features into three different classifiers, namely, random forest, a deep neural network, and a recurring neural network, to build separate predictive models and choosing the best performing model based on the accuracy of predicting novel antituberculosis compound with an anti LprG activity. Additionally, the efficacy of predicted active compounds will be screened using SMARTS filter to choose molecule with drug-like features.

Keywords: antituberculosis drug, classifier, machine learning, molecular descriptors, prediction

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12 A Review: Role of Chromium in Broiler

Authors: Naveed Zahra, Zahid Kamran, Shakeel Ahmad

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Heat stress is one of the most important environmental stressors challenging poultry production worldwide. The detrimental effect of heat stress results in reduction in the productive performance of poultry with high incidences of mortality. Researchers have made efforts to prevent such damage to poultry production through dietary manipulation. Supplementation with Chromium (Cr) might have some positive effects on some aspect of blood parameters and broilers performance. Chromium (Cr) the element whose trivalent Cr (III) organic state is present in trace amounts in animal feed and water is found to be a key element in evading heat stress and thus cutting down the heavy expenditure on air conditioning in broiler sheds. Chromium, along with other essential minerals is lost due to increased excretion during heat stress and thus its inclusion in broiler diet is kind of mandatory in areas of hot climate. Chromium picolinate in broiler diet has shown a hike in growth rate including muscle gain with body fat reduction under environmental stress. Fat reduction is probably linked to the ability of chromium to increase the sensitivity of the insulin receptors on tissues and thus the uptake of sugar from blood increases which decreases the amount of glucose to be converted to amino acids and stored in adipose tissue as triglycerides. Organic chromium has also shown to increase lymphocyte proliferation rate and antioxidant levels. So, the immune competency, muscle gain and fat reduction along with evasion of heat stress are good enough signs that indicate the fruitful inclusion of dietary chromium for broiler. This promising element may bring the much needed break in the local poultry industry. The task is now to set the exact dose of the element in the diet that would be useful enough and still not toxic to broiler. In conclusion there is a growing body of evidence which suggest that chromium may be an essential trace element for livestock and poultry. The nutritional requirement for chromium may vary with different species and physiological state within a species.

Keywords: broiler, chromium, heat stress, performance

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11 Exploring the Role of Immune-Modulators in Pathogen Recognition Receptor NOD2 Mediated Protection against Visceral Leishmaniasis

Authors: Junaid Jibran Jawed, Prasanta Saini, Subrata Majumdar

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Background: Leishmania donovani infection causes severe host immune-suppression through the modulation of pathogen recognition receptors. Apart from TLRs (Toll Like Receptor), recent studies focus on the important contribution of NLR (NOD-Like Receptor) family member NOD1 and NOD2 as these receptors are capable of triggering host innate immunity. The aim of this study was to decipher the role of NOD1/NOD2 receptors during experimental visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and the important link between host failure and parasite evasion strategy. Method: The status of NOD1 and NOD2 receptors were analysed in uninfected and infected cells through western blotting and RT-PCR. The active contributions of these receptors in reducing parasite burden were confirmed by siRNA mediated silencing, and over-expression studies and the parasite numbers were calculated through microscopic examination of the Giemsa-stained slides. In-vivo studies were done by using non-toxic dose of Mw (Mycobacterium indicus pranii), Ara-LAM(Arabinoasylated lipoarabinomannan) along with MDP (Muramyl dipeptide) administration. Result: Leishmania donovani infection of the macrophages reduced the expression of NOD2 receptors whereas NOD1 remain unaffected. MDP, a NOD2-ligand, treatment during over-expression of NOD2, reduced the parasite burden effectively which was associated with increased pro-inflammatory cytokine generation and NO production. In experimental mouse model, Ara-LAM treatment increased the expression of NOD2 and in combination with MDP it showed active therapeutic potential against VL and found to be more effective than Mw which was already reported to be involved in NOD2 modulation. Conclusion: This work explores the essential contribution of NOD2 during experimental VL and mechanistic understanding of Ara-LAM + MDP combination therapy to work against this disease and highlighted NOD2 as an essential therapeutic target.

Keywords: Ara-LAM (Arabinoacylated Lipoarabinomannan), NOD2 (nucleotide binding oligomerization receptor 2), MDP (muramyl di peptide), visceral Leishmaniasis

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10 Between Buddha and Tsar: Kalmyk Buddhist Sangha in Late Russian Empire

Authors: Elzyata Kuberlinova

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This study explores how the Kalmyk Buddhist sangha responded to the Russian empire’s administrative integration and how the Buddhist clerical institutions were shaped in the process of interaction with representatives of the predominantly Orthodox state. The eighteenth-nineteenth century Russian imperial regime adhered to a religion-centred framework to govern its diverse subjects. Within this framework, any form of religious authority was considered a useful tool in the imperial quest for legibility. As such, rather than imposing religious homogeneity, the Russian administration engineered a framework of religious toleration and integrated the non-Orthodox clerical institutions in the empire’s administration. In its attempt to govern the large body of Kalmyk Buddhist sangha, the Russian government had to incorporate the sangha into the imperial institutional establishment. To this end, the Russian government founded the Lamaist Spiritual Governing Board in 1834, which became a part of the civil administration, where the Kalmyk Buddhist affairs were managed under the supervision of the Russian secular authorities. In 1847 the Lamaist Spiritual Board was abolished and Buddhist religious authority was transferred to the Lama of the Kalmyk people. From 1847 until the end of the empire in 1917 the Lama was the manager and intermediary figure between the Russian authorities and the Kalmyks where religious affairs were concerned. Substantial evidence collected in archives in Elista, Astrakhan, Stavropol and St.Petersburg show that despite being on the government’s payroll, first the Lamaist Spiritual Governing Board and later on the Lama did not always serve the interests of the state, and did not always comply with the Russian authorities’ orders. Although being incorporated into the state administrative system the Lama often found ways to manoeuvre the web of the Russian imperial bureaucracy in order to achieve his own goals. The Lama often used ‘every-day forms of resistance’ such as feigned misinterpretation, evasion, false compliance, feigned ignorance, and sabotage in order to resist without directly confronting or challenging the state orders.

Keywords: Buddhist Sangha, intermediary, Kalmyks, Lama, legibility, resistance, reform, Russian empire

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9 The Portuguese Legal Instruments to Combat the Improper Use of the Contract Service

Authors: Ana Lambelho

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Nowadays is very common that an activity may be performed independently or dependently. In Portugal, the Labour Law exclusively protects the dependent labour relations. The independent work is regulated by civil law, where the autonomy of the will is the main principle. For companies is more advantageous to hire people under a service agreement since, in that case, the relation is not submitted to the limits established in Labour law and collective bargaining. This practice has nothing wrong, if the performance of work is, in fact, made autonomously. The problem is the increased frequency of the celebration of service agreements to hide a legal relation of subordination. Aware of this and regarding the huge difficulty to demonstrate the existence of subordinated work (that often runs against the employee), the Portuguese legislator devoted some legislative rules in order to facilitate the evidence of legal subordination and, on the other hand, to avoid the misuse of the provision of service agreements. This study focuses precisely on the analysis of this solution, namely the so-called presumption of ‘laboralidade’ and on the lawsuit to recognize the existence of a labour contract. The presumption of the existence of a labour contract is present in the Portuguese legal system since 2003, and received, with the 2009 Labour Code, a new redaction that, according to the doctrine and the jurisprudence, finally approached it to a legal presumption, with the consequent reversal of the burden of proof and, in consequence, made easier to proof the legal subordination, because the employee will just have to plead and prove the existence of two of the elements described in the law to use this presumption. Another change in the Portuguese legal framework is related with the competencies of the Authority for Working Conditions (AWC): now, if during an inspection, the Authority finds a situation that seems to be an undeclared employment situation, it may access the company and, if it does not regularize voluntarily the situation, AWC has a duty to communicate to the public prosecutor, who will begin the lawsuit for the recognition of the existence of an employment contract. To defend the public interest, the action to recognize the existence of an employment contract will follow its terms, even against the employee will. Although the existence of these mechanisms does not solve by itself the problem of evasion of labour law and false ‘green receipts’, it is undeniable that it is an important step in combating fraud in this field.

Keywords: independent work, labour contract, Portugal, service agreement

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8 Antigenic Diversity of Theileria parva Isolates from Cattle and Buffalo at the Wildlife-Livestock Interface in Southern and Eastern Africa

Authors: Mukolwe D. Lubembe, Odongo O. David, Githaka Naftali, Kanduma Esther, Marinda Oosthuizen, Kgomotso P. Sibeko

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Theileriosis is a tick-borne disease of cattle caused by an apicomplexan protozoan parasite of the genus Theileria. In eastern and southern Africa, Theileria infections in cattle are caused by the species Theileria parva whose natural reservoir is the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer). Currently, East Coast Fever (ECF) caused by the cattle-derived Theileria parva is still a major problem in eastern Africa and some parts of southern Africa but not in South Africa following its eradication in the 1950s. However, Corridor disease (CD) caused by the buffalo-derived Theileria parva still remains a concern in South Africa. The diversity of Theileria parva in South Africa in comparison to other affected countries is poorly defined yet its known to be the survival strategy of this parasite. We assessed the antigenic diversity of Theileria parva isolates from Buffalo and cattle at the wildlife-livestock interface comparing samples from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Antigenic epitopes of eight schizont antigen genes (Tp1, Tp3, Tp4, Tp5, Tp6, Tp7, Tp8 and Tp10) were amplified by PCR from genomic DNA extracted from blood samples collected from cattle and buffalo at the wildlife-livestock interface. Amplicons were purified and then sequenced on NGS platform. Full length open reading frames (ORFs) of two schizont antigen genes (Tp2 and Tp9) and one sporozoite antigen gene, p67 were also amplified from genomic DNA. Amplicons were then purified and cloned for sequencing. Analysis was based on sequence differences in the genes. Preliminary results show an extensively diverse population of Theileria parva circulating in buffalo and cattle populations at the wildlife-livestock interface. Diversity of the antigen genes contributes to the evasion of the immune system of the host by Theileria parva. This possess a concern in that, some of the Theileria parva populations may re-assort and become adapted to cattle to cause a form of theileriosis that is as fatal as ECF in areas where ECF was eradicated or is absent

Keywords: Theileria parva, east coast fever, corridor diseases, antigen genes, diversity

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7 Identification and Characterization of Polysaccharide Biosynthesis Protein (CAPD) of Enterococcus faecium

Authors: Liaqat Ali, Hubert E. Blum, Türkân Sakinc

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Enterococcus faecium is an emerging multidrug-resistant nosocomial pathogen increased dramatically worldwide and causing bacteremia, endocarditis, urinary tract and surgical site infections in immunocomprised patients. The capsular polysaccharides that contribute to pathogenesis through evasion of the host innate immune system are also involved in hindering leukocyte killing of enterococci. The gene cluster (enterococcal polysaccharide antigen) of E. faecalis encoding homologues of many genes involved in polysaccharide biosynthesis. We identified two putative loci with 22 kb and 19 kb which contained 11 genes encoding for glycosyltransferases (GTFs); this was confirmed by using genome comparison of already sequenced strains that has no homology to known capsule genes and the epa-locus. The polysaccharide-conjugate vaccines have rapidly emerged as a suitable strategy to combat different pathogenic bacteria, therefore, we investigated a polysaccharide biosynthesis CapD protein in E. faecium contains 336 amino acids and had putative function for N-linked glycosylation. The deletion/knock-out capD mutant was constructed and complemented by homologues recombination method and confirmed by using PCR and sequencing. For further characterization and functional analysis, in-vitro cell culture and in-vivo a mouse infection models were used. Our ΔcapD mutant shows a strong hydrophobicity and all strains exhibited biofilm production. Subsequently, the opsonic activity was tested in an opsonophagocytic assay which shows increased in mutant compared complemented and wild type strains but more than two fold decreased in colonization and adherence was seen on surface of uroepithelial cells. However, a significant higher bacterial colonialization was observed in capD mutant during animal bacteremia infection. Unlike other polysaccharides biosynthesis proteins, CapD does not seems to be a major virulence factor in enterococci but further experiments and attention is needed to clarify its function, exact mechanism and involvement in pathogenesis of enteroccocal nosocomial infections eventually to develop a vaccine/ or targeted therapy.

Keywords: E. faecium, pathogenesis, polysaccharides, biofilm formation

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6 Communication Strategies of Russian-English Asymmetric Bilinguals Given Insufficient Language Faculty

Authors: Varvara Tyurina

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In the age of globalization Internet communication as a new format of interactions have become an integral part of our daily routine. Internet environment allows for new conditions and provides participants to a communication act with extra communication tools which can be used on Internet forums or in chat rooms. As a result communicants tend to alternate their behavior patterns in contrast to those practiced in live communication. It is not yet clear which communication strategies participants to Internet communication abide by and what determines their choices. Given the continually changing environment of a forum or a chat the behavior of a communicant can be interpreted in terms of autopoiesis theory which sees adaptation as the major tool for coexistence between the living system and its niche. Each communication act is seen as interaction between the communicant (i.e. the living system) and the overall environment of the forum (i.e. the niche) rather than one particular interlocutor. When communicating via the Internet participants are believed to aim at reaching a balance between themselves and the environment of a forum or a chat. The research focuses on unveiling the adaptation strategies employed by a communicant in particular cases and looks into the reasons they are employed. There is a correlation between language faculty of the communicants and the strategies they opt for when communicating on Internet forums and in chat rooms. The research included an experiment with a sample of Russian-English asymmetric bilinguals aged 16-25. Respondents were given two texts of equivalent contents, but of different language complexity. They had to respond to the texts as if they were making a reciprocal comment at a forum. It has been revealed that when communicants realize that their language faculty is not sufficient to understand the initial text they tend to amend their communication strategy in order to maintain the balance with the niche (remain involved in the communication). Most common strategies for responding to a difficult-to-understand text were self-presentation, veiling poor language faculty and response evasion. The research has so far focused on a very narrow aspect of correlation between language faculty and communication behavior, namely the syntactic and lexicological complexity of initial texts. It is essential to conduct a series of experiments that dwell on other characteristics of the texts to determine the range of cases when language faculty determines the choice of adaptation strategy.

Keywords: adaptation, communication strategies, internet communication, verbal interaction, autopoiesis theory

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5 HIV-1 Nef Mediates Host Invasion by Differential Expression of Alpha-Enolase

Authors: Reshu Saxena, R. K. Tripathi

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HIV-1 transmission and spread involves significant host-virus interaction. Potential targets for prevention of HIV-1 lies at the site of mucosal barriers. Thus a better understanding of how HIV-1 infects target cells at such sites and lead their invasion is required, with prime focus on the host determinants regulating HIV-1 spread. HIV-1 Nef is important for viral infectivity and pathogenicity. It promotes HIV-1 replication, facilitating immune evasion by interacting with various host factors and altering cellular pathways via multiple protein-protein interactions. In this study nef was sequenced from HIV-1 patients, and showed specific mutations revealing sequence variability in nef. To explore the difference in Nef functionality based on sequence variability we have studied the effects of HIV-1 Nef in human SupT1 T cell line and (THP-1) monocyte-macrophage cell lines through proteomics approach. 2D-Gel Electrophoresis in control and Nef-transfected SupT1 cells demonstrated several differentially expressed proteins with significant modulation of alpha-enolase. Through further studies, effects of Nef on alpha-enolase regulation were found to be cell lineage-specific, being stimulatory in macrophages/monocytes, inhibitory in T cells and without effect in HEK-293 cells. Cell migration and invasion studies were employed to determine biological function affected by Nef mediated regulation of alpha-enolase. Cell invasion was enhanced in THP-1 cells but was inhibited in SupT1 cells by wildtype nef. In addition, the modulation of enolase and cell invasion remained unaffected by a unique nef variant. These results indicated that regulation of alpha-enolase expression and invasive property of host cells by Nef is sequence specific, suggesting involvement of a particular motif of Nef. To precisely determine this site, we designed a heptapeptide including the suggested alpha-enolase regulating sequence of nef and a nef mutant with deletion of this site. Macrophages/monocytes being the major cells affected by HIV-1 at mucosal barriers, were particularly investigated by the nef mutant and peptide. Both the nef mutant and heptapeptide led to inhibition of enhanced enolase expression and increased invasiveness in THP-1 cells. Together, these findings suggest a possible mechanism of host invasion by HIV-1 through Nef mediated regulation of alpha-enolase and identifies a potential therapeutic target for HIV-1 entry at mucosal barriers.

Keywords: HIV-1 Nef, nef variants, host-virus interaction, tissue invasion

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4 Immunomodulatory Role of Heat Killed Mycobacterium indicus pranii against Cervical Cancer

Authors: Priyanka Bhowmik, Subrata Majumdar, Debprasad Chattopadhyay

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Background: Cervical cancer is the third major cause of cancer in women and the second most frequent cause of cancer related deaths causing 300,000 deaths annually worldwide. Evasion of immune response by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the key contributing factor behind cancer and pre-cancerous lesions of the uterine cervix, makes immunotherapy a necessity to treat this disease. Objective: A Heat killed fraction of Mycobacterium indicus pranii (MIP), a non-pathogenic Mycobacterium has been shown to exhibit cytotoxic effects on different cancer cells, including human cervical carcinoma cell line HeLa. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. The aim of this study is to decipher the mechanism of MIP induced HeLa cell death. Methods: The cytotoxicity of Mycobacterium indicus pranii against HeLa cells was evaluated by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Apoptosis was detected by annexin V and Propidium iodide (PI) staining. The assessment of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and cell cycle analysis were measured by flow cytometry. The expression of apoptosis associated genes was analyzed by real time PCR. Result: MIP could inhibit the proliferation of HeLa cell in a time and dose dependent manner but caused minor damage to normal cells. The induction of apoptosis was confirmed by the cell surface presentation of phosphatidyl serine, DNA fragmentation, and mitochondrial damage. MIP caused very early (as early as 30 minutes) transcriptional activation of p53, followed by a higher activation (32 fold) at 24 hours suggesting prime importance of p53 in MIP-induced apoptosis in HeLa cell. The up regulation of p53 dependent pro-apoptotic genes Bax, Bak, PUMA, and Noxa followed a lag phase that was required for the transcriptional p53 program. MIP also caused the transcriptional up regulation of Toll like receptor 2 and 4 after 30 minutes of MIP treatment suggesting recognition of MIP by toll like receptors. Moreover, MIP caused the inhibition of expression of HPV anti apoptotic gene E6, which is known to interfere with p53/PUMA/Bax apoptotic cascade. This inhibition might have played a role in transcriptional up regulation of PUMA and subsequently apoptosis. ROS was generated transiently which was concomitant with the highest transcription activation of p53 suggesting a plausible feedback loop network of p53 and ROS in the apoptosis of HeLa cells. Scavenger of ROS, such as N-acetyl-L-cysteine, decreased apoptosis suggesting ROS is an important effector of MIP induced apoptosis. Conclusion: Taken together, MIP possesses full potential to be a novel therapeutic agent in the clinical treatment of cervical cancer.

Keywords: cancer, mycobacterium, immunity, immunotherapy.

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3 Characterization of New Sources of Maize (Zea mays L.) Resistance to Sitophilus zeamais (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) Infestation in Stored Maize

Authors: L. C. Nwosu, C. O. Adedire, M. O. Ashamo, E. O. Ogunwolu

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The maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky is a notorious pest of stored maize (Zea mays L.). The development of resistant maize varieties to manage weevils is a major breeding objective. The study investigated the parameters and mechanisms that confer resistance on a maize variety to S. zeamais infestation using twenty elite maize varieties. Detailed morphological, physical and chemical studies were conducted on whole-maize grain and the grain pericarp. Resistance was assessed at 33, 56, and 90 days post infestation using weevil mortality rate, weevil survival rate, percent grain damage, percent grain weight loss, weight of grain powder, oviposition rate and index of susceptibility as indices rated on a scale developed by the present study and on Dobie’s modified scale. Linear regression models that can predict maize grain damage in relation to the duration of storage were developed and applied. The resistant varieties identified particularly 2000 SYNEE-WSTR and TZBRELD3C5 with very high degree of resistance should be used singly or best in an integrated pest management system for the control of S. zeamais infestation in stored maize. Though increases in the physical properties of grain hardness, weight, length, and width increased varietal resistance, it was found that the bases of resistance were increased chemical attributes of phenolic acid, trypsin inhibitor and crude fibre while the bases of susceptibility were increased protein, starch, magnesium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, cobalt and zinc, the role of potassium requiring further investigation. Characters that conferred resistance on the test varieties were found distributed in the pericarp and the endosperm of the grains. Increases in grain phenolic acid, crude fibre, and trypsin inhibitor adversely and significantly affected the bionomics of the weevil on further assessment. The flat side of a maize grain at the point of penetration was significantly preferred by the weevil. Why the south area of the flattened side of a maize grain was significantly preferred by the weevil is clearly unknown, even though grain-face-type seemed to be a contributor in the study. The preference shown to the south area of the grain flat side has implications for seed viability. The study identified antibiosis, preference, antixenosis, and host evasion as the mechanisms of maize post harvest resistance to Sitophilus zeamais infestation.

Keywords: maize weevil, resistant, parameters, mechanisms, preference

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