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Updated: 2018-04-23T18:24:56Z

 



(XML) Correction: Individual and temporal variability of the retina after chronic bilateral common carotid artery occlusion (BCCAO)

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Sergio Crespo-Garcia, Nadine Reichhart, Sergej Skosyrski, Marco Foddis, Jim Wu, Aleksandar Figura, Christina Herrspiegel, Martina Füchtemeier, Celeste Sassi, Ulrich Dirnagl, Antonia M. Joussen, Olaf Strauss

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(XML) Correction: Time to acquire and lose carriership of ESBL/pAmpC producing E. coli in humans in the Netherlands

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Peter F. M. Teunis, Eric G. Evers, Paul D. Hengeveld, Cindy M. Dierikx, Cornelia C. H. Wielders, Engeline van Duijkeren

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(XML) Correction: The phylogenetic analysis of VP1 genomic region in foot-and-mouth disease virus serotype O isolates in Sri Lanka reveals the existence of 'Srl-97', a newly named endemic lineage

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by S. A. E. Abeyratne, S. S. C. Amarasekera, L. T. Ranaweera, T. B. Salpadoru, S. M. N. K. Thilakarathne, N. J. Knowles, J. Wadsworth, S. Puvanendiran, H. Kothalawala, B. K. Jayathilake, H. A. Wijithasiri, M. M. P. S. K. Chandrasena, S. D. S. S. Sooriyapathirana

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(XML) Correction: MeltMan: Optimization, Evaluation, and Universal Application of a qPCR System Integrating the TaqMan qPCR and Melting Analysis into a Single Assay

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Alexander Nagy, Lenka Černíková, Eliška Vitásková, Vlastimil Křivda, Ádám Dán, Zuzana Dirbáková, Helena Jiřincová, Bohumír Procházka, Kamil Sedlák, Martina Havlíčková

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(XML) Correction: Association of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) with thermo-biological frontal systems of the eastern tropical Pacific

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by John P. Ryan, Jonathan R. Green, Eduardo Espinoza, Alex R. Hearn

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(XML) Ovarian mast cells migrate toward ovary-fimbria connection in neonatal MRL/MpJ mice

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Teppei Nakamura, Masataka Chihara, Osamu Ichii, Saori Otsuka-Kanazawa, Ken-ichi Nagasaki, Yaser Hosny Ali Elewa, Osamu Tatsumi, Yasuhiro Kon

MRL/MpJ mice have abundant ovarian mast cells (MCs) as compared with other strains at postnatal day 0 (P0); however, they sharply decrease after birth. These ovarian MCs, particularly beneath the ovarian surface epithelium (SE), which express mucosal MC (MMC) marker, might participate in early follicular development. This study investigated the changes in spatiotemporal distribution of MCs in the perinatal MRL/MpJ mouse ovaries. At P0 to P7, the MCs were densely localized to the ovary, especially their caudomedial region around the ovary-fimbria connection. The neonatal ovarian MCs showed intermediate characteristics of MMC and connective tissue MC (CTMC), and the latter phenotype became evident with aging. However, the expression ratio of the MMC to CTMC marker increased from P0 to P4 in the MRL/MpJ mouse ovary. Similarly, the ratio of MCs facing SE to total MC number increased with aging, although the number of ovarian MCs decreased, indicating the relative increase in MMC phenotypes in the early neonatal ovary. Neither proliferating nor apoptotic MCs were found in the MRL/MpJ mouse ovaries. The parenchymal cells surrounding MCs at ovary-fimbria connection showed similar molecular expression patterns (E-cadherin+/Foxl2-/Gata4+) as that of the ovarian surface epithelial cells. At P2, around the ovary-fimbria connection, c-kit- immature oocytes formed clusters called nests, and some MCs localized adjacent to c-kit- oocytes within the nests. These results indicated that in postnatal MRL/MpJ mice, ovarian MCs changed their distribution by migrating toward the parenchymal cells composing ovary-fimbria connection, which possessed similar characteristics to the ovarian surface epithelium. Thus, we elucidated the spatiotemporal alterations of the ovarian MCs in MRL/MpJ mice, and suggested their importance during the early follicular development by migrating toward the ovary-fimbria connection. MRL/MpJ mice would be useful to elucidate the relationship between neonatal immunity and reproductive systems.(image)



(XML) Autophosphorylation of Ser-6 via an intermolecular mechanism is important for the rapid reduction of NtCDPK1 kinase activity for substrate RSG

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Takeshi Ito, Sarahmi Ishida, Yohsuke Takahashi

Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) Ca2+-dependent protein kinase 1 (NtCDPK1) is involved in feedback regulation of the plant hormone gibberellin through the phosphorylation of the transcription factor, REPRESSION OF SHOOT GROWTH (RSG). Previously, Ser-6 and Thr-21 were identified as autophosphorylation sites in NtCDPK1. Autophosphorylation of Ser-6 and Thr-21 not only decreases the binding affinity of NtCDPK1 for RSG, but also inhibits the homodimerization of NtCDPK1. Furthermore, autophosphorylation decreases the phosphorylation efficiency of RSG. We demonstrated that Ser-6 and Thr-21 of NtCDPK1 are phosphorylated in response to GAs in plants. The substitution of these autophosphorylation sites with Ala enhances the NtCDPK1 overexpression-induced sensitization of seeds to a GA biosynthetic inhibitor during germination. These findings suggested that autophosphorylation of Ser-6 and Thr-21 prevents excessive phosphorylation of RSG. In this study, we attempted to determine which autophosphorylation site is responsible for the functional regulation of NtCDPK1. Ser-6 was autophosphorylated within 1 min, whereas Thr-21 required over 5 min to be completely autophosphorylated. Furthermore, we found that Ser-6 and Thr-21 were autophosphorylated by inter- and intramolecular mechanisms, respectively, which may be reflected in the faster autophosphorylation of Ser-6. Although both autophosphorylation sites were involved in the reduction of the binding affinity of NtCDPK1 for RSG and the inhibition of NtCDPK1 homodimerization, autophosphorylation of Ser-6 alone was sufficient to decrease the kinase activity of NtCDPK1 for RSG. These results suggest that autophosphorylation of Ser-6 is important for the rapid reduction of NtCDPK1 kinase activity for RSG, whereas that of Thr-21 may play an auxiliary role.(image)



(XML) Frequency of appearance of transverse (Harris) lines reflects living conditions of the Pleistocene bear—Ursus ingressus—(Sudety Mts., Poland)

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Dariusz Nowakowski

Transverse lines, called Harris Lines (HL), osteological markers of recovery from growth arrest episodes, are visible in radiograms of recent and Pleistocene fossil bones. Since on the one hand they mark stressful episodes in life, and on the other are mainly used to trace health fluctuations in prehistoric human communities, I used a cave bear population to check if the processes that could affect the specie’ condition were in any way reflected in the bone structure. 392 bear bones from Bear Cave in Kletno (collection: Department of Palaeozoology, University of Wrocław), dated as 32 100 ±1300 to >49 000 years BP, were radiologically examined. The bones were found in a non-anatomical position; morphological analysis indicated that they belonged to different individuals. HL shadows were observed on 9 tibiae and 3 radii: 8.8% out of the 59 tibiae and 77 radii and 3.1% of all the bones. At least 3 transverse lines were recognised in those cases; the specimens were histologically examined. The bear individuals in question experienced regular malnutrition periods during their ontogeny. Starvation resulting in growth inhibition involved young individuals, aged 1 to 4 years. Juveniles aged 6 months, i.e. before weaning, or younger, showed no signs of nutritional stress. Starvation periods associated with seasonal food deficit were not long or common and had no significant effect on the development and welfare of the species. This is the first description of the occurrence of transverse lines in the Pleistocene bear.(image)



(XML) Is extraordinary prosocial behavior more valuable than ordinary prosocial behavior?

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Ikumi Futamura

This study examined how people evaluate ordinary and extraordinary prosocial behaviors, especially their predictions of the likelihood of future prosocial behaviors of ordinary and extraordinary prosocial actors (Study 1). Further, it examined the individual effects of ordinary and extraordinary prosocial behaviors of an actor on the evaluation of his/her trait by considering the cases where the actor engages in and does not engage in the other behavior (Study 2). Study 1 revealed that the likelihood of future prosocial behaviors of ordinary and extraordinary prosocial actors was perceived asymmetrically. Specifically, while the likelihood of ordinary prosocial actors to engage in ordinary prosocial behaviors was perceived as high, the same perception was not observed for extraordinary prosocial behaviors. On the other hand, extraordinary prosocial actors were perceived as highly likely to engage in both ordinary and extraordinary prosocial behaviors. Study 2 revealed that the evaluation of actors who engaged in extraordinary prosocial behaviors but not ordinary prosocial behaviors did not exceed the evaluation of actors who engaged in ordinary prosocial behaviors but not extraordinary prosocial behaviors. Additionally, the effect of extraordinary prosocial behaviors was more when the actor also engaged in ordinary prosocial behaviors. These results suggest that extraordinary prosocial actors are evaluated highly when they also engage in ordinary prosocial behaviors.(image)



(XML) Local and systemic inflammatory lipid profiling in a rat model of osteoarthritis with metabolic dysregulation

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by H. M. de Visser, S. C. Mastbergen, S. Ravipati, P. M. J. Welsing, F. C. Pinto, F. P. J. G. Lafeber, V. Chapman, D. A. Barrett, H. Weinans

Objective

Bioactive oxidised lipids (oxylipins) are important signalling mediators, capable of modulating the inflammatory state of the joint and anticipated to be of importance in joint homeostasis and status of osteoarthritis. The aim of this study was to quantify oxylipin levels in plasma and synovial fluid from rats with experimentally induced osteoarthritis to investigate the potential role of oxylipins as a marker in the disease process of early osteoarthritis.

Design

Forty rats were randomly allocated to a standard or high-fat diet group. After 12 weeks, local cartilage damage was induced in one knee joint in 14 rats of each diet group. The remaining 6 rats per group served as controls. At week 24, samples were collected. Oxylipin levels were quantified by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry.

Results

Overall, 31 lipid-derived inflammatory mediators were detected in fasted plasma and synovial fluid. Principal component analysis identified four distinct clusters associated with histopathological changes. Diet induced differences were evident for 13 individual plasma oxylipins, as well as 5,6-EET in synovial fluid. Surgical-model induced differences were evident for three oxylipins in synovial fluid (15-HETE, 8,9-DHET and 17R-ResolvinD1) with a different response in lipid concentrations for synovial fluid and plasma.

Conclusions

We demonstrate the quantification of oxidised lipids in rat plasma and synovial fluid in a model of early experimental osteoarthritis. Oxylipins in the synovial fluid that were altered as consequence of the surgically induced osteoarthritis were not represented in the plasma. Our findings suggest differential roles of the oxylipins in the local versus peripheral compartment.

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(XML) Alternative ribosomal proteins are required for growth and morphogenesis of Mycobacterium smegmatis under zinc limiting conditions

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Allexa Dow, Sladjana Prisic

Zinc is an essential micronutrient required for proper structure and function of many proteins. Bacteria regularly encounter zinc depletion and have evolved diverse mechanisms to continue growth when zinc is limited, including the expression of zinc-independent paralogs of zinc-binding proteins. Mycobacteria have a conserved operon encoding four zinc-independent alternative ribosomal proteins (AltRPs) that are expressed when zinc is depleted. It is unknown if mycobacterial AltRPs replace their primary paralogs in the ribosome and maintain protein synthesis under zinc-limited conditions, and if such replacements contribute to their physiology. This study shows that AltRPs from Mycobacterium smegmatis are essential for growth when zinc ion is scarce. Specifically, the deletion mutant of this operon (ΔaltRP) is unable to grow in media containing a high-affinity zinc chelator, while growth of the wild type strain is unaffected under the same conditions. However, when zinc is gradually depleted during growth in zinc-limited medium, the ΔaltRP mutant maintains the same growth rate as seen for the wild type strain. In contrast to M. smegmatis grown with sufficient zinc supplementation that forms shorter cells when transitioning from logarithmic to stationary phase, M. smegmatis deficient for zinc elongates after the expression of AltRPs in late logarithmic phase. These zinc-depleted bacteria also exhibit a remarkable morphology characterized by a condensed chromosome, increased number of polyphosphate granules, and distinct appearance of lipid bodies and the cell wall compared to the zinc-replete cells. However, the ΔaltRP cells fail to elongate and transition into the zinc-limited morphotype, resembling the wild type zinc-replete bacteria instead. Therefore, the altRP operon in M. smegmatis has a vital role in continuation of growth when zinc is scarce and in triggering specific morphogenesis during the adaptation to zinc limitation, suggesting that AltRPs can functionally replace their zinc-dependent paralogs, but also contribute to mycobacterial physiology in a unique way.(image)



(XML) Concentrations and content of mercury in bark, wood, and leaves in hardwoods and conifers in four forested sites in the northeastern USA

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Yang Yang, Ruth D. Yanai, Charles T. Driscoll, Mario Montesdeoca, Kevin T. Smith

Mercury (Hg) is deposited from the atmosphere to remote areas such as forests, but the amount of Hg in trees is not well known. To determine the importance of Hg in trees, we analyzed foliage, bark and bole wood of eight tree species at four sites in the northeastern USA (Huntington Forest, NY; Sleepers River, VT; Hubbard Brook, NH; Bear Brook, ME). Foliar concentrations of Hg averaged 16.3 ng g-1 among the hardwood species, which was significantly lower than values in conifers, which averaged 28.6 ng g-1 (p < 0.001). Similarly, bark concentrations of Hg were lower (p < 0.001) in hardwoods (7.7 ng g-1) than conifers (22.5 ng g-1). For wood, concentrations of Hg were higher in yellow birch (2.1–2.8 ng g-1) and white pine (2.3 ng g-1) than in the other species, which averaged 1.4 ng g-1 (p < 0.0001). Sites differed significantly in Hg concentrations of foliage and bark (p = 0.02), which are directly exposed to the atmosphere, but the concentration of Hg in wood depended more on species (p < 0.001) than site (p = 0.60). The Hg contents of tree tissues in hardwood stands, estimated from modeled biomass and measured concentrations at each site, were higher in bark (mean of 0.10 g ha-1) and wood (0.16 g ha-1) than in foliage (0.06 g ha-1). In conifer stands, because foliar concentrations were higher, the foliar pool tended to be more important. Quantifying Hg in tree tissues is essential to understanding the pools and fluxes of Hg in forest ecosystems.(image)



(XML) Bifidobacteria isolated from vaginal and gut microbiomes are indistinguishable by comparative genomics

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Aline C. Freitas, Janet E. Hill

Bifidobacteria colonize the human gastrointestinal tract, vagina, oral cavity and breast milk. They influence human physiology and nutrition through health-promoting effects, play an important role as primary colonizers of the newborn gut, and contribute to vaginal microbiome homeostasis by producing lactic acid. Nevertheless, the mechanisms by which bifidobacteria are transmitted from mother to infant remains in discussion. Moreover, studies have suggested that Bifidobacterium spp. have specializations for gut colonization, but comparisons of strains of the same bifidobacteria species from different body sites are lacking. Here, our objective was to compare the genomes of Bifidobacterium breve (n = 17) and Bifidobacterium longum (n = 26) to assess whether gut and vaginal isolates of either species were distinguishable based on genome content. Comparison of the general genome features showed that vaginal and gut isolates did not differ in size, GC content, number of genes and CRISPR, either for B. breve or B. longum. Average nucleotide identity and whole genome phylogeny analysis revealed that vaginal and gut isolates did not cluster separately. Vaginal and gut isolates also had a similar COG (Cluster of Orthologous Group) category distribution. Differences in the accessory genomes between vaginal and gut strains were observed, but were not sufficient to distinguish isolates based on their origin. The results of this study support the hypothesis that the vaginal and gut microbiomes are colonized by a shared community of Bifidobacterium, and further emphasize the potential importance of the maternal vaginal microbiome as a source of infant gut microbiota.(image)



(XML) The kinetics of TEM1 antibiotic degrading enzymes that are displayed on Ure2 protein nanofibrils in a flow reactor

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Benjamin Schmuck, Mats Sandgren, Torleif Härd

Enzymatic functionalization of cross-β structured protein nanofibrils has hitherto resulted in a severe reduction of the catalytic efficiency of high turnover biocatalysts. It has been speculated that steric restrictions and mass transport pose limits on the attached enzymes, but detailed kinetics analyzing this have not yet been reported. For a more comprehensive understanding, we studied protein nanofibrils endowed with TEM1, a β-lactamase from Escherichia coli. The packing density of TEM1 along the fibrils was controlled by co-fibrillation; in other words, the N-terminal ureidosuccinate transporter Ure2(1–80) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae was simultaneously aggregated with the chimeric proteins TEM1-Ure2(1–80). The mature fibrils were trapped in a column, and the rate of ampicillin hydrolysis was recorded using a continuous substrate flow. The turnover rate was plotted as a function of substrate molecules available per enzyme per second, which demonstrated that an elevated substrate availability counteracts mass transport limitations. To analyze this data set, we derived a kinetic model, which makes it possible to easily characterize and compare enzymes packed in columns. The functional TEM1 nanofibrils possess 80% of the catalytic turnover rate compared to free TEM1 in solution. Altogether, we have created protein nanofibrils that can effectively hydrolyze β-lactam antibiotic contaminations and provided a groundwork strategy for other highly functional enzymatic nanofibrils.(image)



(XML) A new approach to stabilize waste biomass for valorization using an oxidative process at 90 °C

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Takanori Itoh, Kazunori Iwabuchi, Kumpei Ota

This study aimed to establish a new methodology for upgrading biomass quality using low-temperature (below 100 °C) oxidation to achieve simultaneous drying and decomposition. Sterilized manure (63% wet basis) was heated at 90 °C for 49 days under an oxidative environment. The obtained solid and moisture reduction curves indicated that drying and decomposition proceeded simultaneously. The biomass was decomposed by oxidation with the release of water, carbon dioxide, and volatile fatty acids such as acetic acid. The oxidation process stopped when the biomass was dehydrated, indicating that the water originally present in the biomass governed the process. Elemental and calorific analyses revealed no remarkable increase in carbon content or increased heating value, and a slight decrease in oxygen content. Although the severity of the process was insufficient to produce an optimum solid fuel due to the low temperature used, the process would enable the stabilization of waste biomass with low energy consumption such as using waste heat.(image)



(XML) Weekends-off efavirenz-based antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected children, adolescents and young adults (BREATHER): Extended follow-up results of a randomised, open-label, non-inferiority trial

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Anna Turkova, Cecilia L. Moore, Karina Butler, Alexandra Compagnucci, Yacine Saïdi, Victor Musiime, Annet Nanduudu, Elizabeth Kaudha, Tim R. Cressey, Suwalai Chalermpantmetagul, Karen Scott, Lynda Harper, Samuel Montero, Yoann Riault, Torsak Bunupuradah, Alla Volokha, Patricia M. Flynn, Rosa Bologna, Jose T. Ramos Amador, Steven B. Welch, Eleni Nastouli, Nigel Klein, Carlo Giaquinto, Deborah Ford, Abdel Babiker, Diana M. Gibb, on behalf of the BREATHER (PENTA 16) trial Group

Background

Weekends off antiretroviral therapy (ART) may help engage HIV-1-infected young people facing lifelong treatment. BREATHER showed short cycle therapy (SCT; 5 days on, 2 days off ART) was non-inferior to continuous therapy (CT) over 48 weeks. Planned follow-up was extended to 144 weeks, maintaining original randomisation.

Methods

BREATHER was an open-label, non-inferiority trial. Participants aged 8-24yrs with virological suppression on efavirenz-based first-line ART were randomised 1:1, stratified by age and African/non-African sites, to remain on CT or change to SCT. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate the proportion of participants with viral rebound (confirmed VL≥50 copies/mL) under intent-to-treat at 48 weeks (primary outcome), and in extended follow-up at 96, 144, and 192 weeks. SCT participants returned to CT following viral rebound, 3 VL blips or discontinuation of efavirenz.

Findings

Of 199 participants (99 SCT, 100 CT), 97 per arm consented to extended follow-up. Median follow-up was 185.3 weeks (IQR 160.9–216.1). 69 (70%) SCT participants remained on SCT at last follow-up. 105 (53%) were male, baseline median age 14 years (IQR 12–18), median CD4 count 735 cells/μL (IQR 576–968). 16 SCT and 16 CT participants had confirmed VL≥50 copies/mL by the end of extended follow-up (HR 1.00, 95% CI 0.50–2.00). Estimated difference in percentage with viral rebound (SCT minus CT) by week 144 was 1.9% (90% CI -6.6–10.4; p = 0.72) and was similar in a per-protocol analysis. There were no significant differences between arms in proportions of participants with grade 3/4 adverse events (18 SCT vs 16 CT participants; p = 0.71) or ART-related adverse events (10 vs 12; p = 0.82). 20 versus 8 serious adverse events (SAEs) were reported in 16 SCT versus 4 CT participants, respectively (p = 0.005 comparing proportions between groups; incidence rate ratio 2.49, 95%CI 0.71–8.66, p = 0.15). 75% of SAEs (15 SCT, 6 CT) were hospitalisations for a wide range of conditions. 3 SCT and 6 CT participants switched to second-line ART following viral failure (p = 0.50).

Conclusions

Sustainable non-inferiority of virological suppression in young people was shown for SCT versus CT over median 3.6 years. Standard-dose efavirenz-based SCT is a viable option for virologically suppressed HIV-1 infected young people on first-line ART with 3-monthly VL monitoring.

Trial registration

EudraCT 2009-012947-40ISRCTN 97755073ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01641016

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(XML) Chromatin accessibility is associated with CRISPR-Cas9 efficiency in the zebrafish (Danio rerio)

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Meri I. E. Uusi-Mäkelä, Harlan R. Barker, Carina A. Bäuerlein, Tomi Häkkinen, Matti Nykter, Mika Rämet

CRISPR-Cas9 technology is routinely applied for targeted mutagenesis in model organisms and cell lines. Recent studies indicate that the prokaryotic CRISPR-Cas9 system is affected by eukaryotic chromatin structures. Here, we show that the likelihood of successful mutagenesis correlates with transcript levels during early development in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos. In an experimental setting, we found that guide RNAs differ in their onset of mutagenesis activity in vivo. Furthermore, some guide RNAs with high in vitro activity possessed poor mutagenesis activity in vivo, suggesting the presence of factors that limit the mutagenesis in vivo. Using open access datasets generated from early developmental stages of the zebrafish, and guide RNAs selected from the CRISPRz database, we provide further evidence for an association between gene expression during early development and the success of CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis in zebrafish embryos. In order to further inspect the effect of chromatin on CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis, we analysed the relationship of selected chromatin features on CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis efficiency using publicly available data from zebrafish embryos. We found a correlation between chromatin openness and the efficiency of CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis. These results indicate that CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis is influenced by chromatin accessibility in zebrafish embryos.(image)



(XML) Bioaccumulation of trace metals in octocorals depends on age and tissue compartmentalization

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Jiang-Shiou Hwang, Hans-Uwe Dahms, Ke Li Huang, Mu-Yeh Huang, Xue-Jun Liu, Jong Seong Khim, Chong Kim Wong

Trace metal dynamics have not been studied with respect to growth increments in octocorals. It is particularly unknown whether ontogenetic compartmentalization of trace metal accumulation is species-specific. We studied here for the first time the intracolonial distribution and concentrations of 18 trace metals in the octocorals Subergorgia suberosa, Echinogorgia complexa and E. reticulata that were retrieved from the northern coast of Taiwan. Levels of trace metals were considerably elevated in corals collected at these particular coral habitats as a result of diverse anthropogenic inputs. There was a significant difference in the concentration of metals among octocorals except for Sn. Both species of Echinogorgia contained significantly higher concentrations of Cu, Zn and Al than Subergorgia suberosa. We used for the first time exponential growth curves that describe an age-specific relationship of octocoral trace metal concentrations of Cu, Zn, Cd, Cr and Pb where the distance from the grip point was reflecting younger age as linear regressions. The larger colony (C7) had a lower accumulation rate constant than the smaller one (C6) for Cu, Zn, Cd, Cr and Pb, while other trace metals showed an opposite trend. The Cu concentration declined exponentially from the grip point, whereas the concentrations of Zn, Cd, Cr and Pb increased exponentially. In S. suberosa and E. reticulata, Zn occurred primarily in coenosarc tissues and Zn concentrations increased with distance from the grip point in both skeletal and coenosarc tissues. Metals which appeared at high concentrations (e.g. Ca, Zn and Fe) generally tended to accumulate in the outer coenosarc tissues, while metals with low concentrations (e.g. V) tended to accumulate in the soft tissues of the inner skeleton.(image)



(XML) Nutrition versus defense: Why Myzus persicae (green peach aphid) prefers and performs better on young leaves of cabbage

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by He-He Cao, Zhan-Feng Zhang, Xiao-Feng Wang, Tong-Xian Liu

Plant leaves of different ages differ in nutrients and toxic metabolites and thus exhibit various resistance levels against insect herbivores. However, little is known about the influence of leaf ontogeny on plant resistance to phloem-feeding insects. In this study, we found that the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae, preferred to settle on young cabbage leaves compared with mature or old leaves, although young leaves contained the highest concentration of glucosinolates. Furthermore, aphids feeding on young leaves had higher levels of glucosinolates in their body, but aphids performed better on young leaves in terms of body weight and population growth. Phloem sap of young leaves had higher amino acid:sugar molar ratio than mature leaves, and aphids feeding on young leaves showed two times longer phloem feeding time and five times more honeydew excretion than on other leaves. These results indicate that aphids acquired the highest amount of nutrients and defensive metabolites when feeding on young cabbage leaves that are strong natural plant sinks. Accordingly, we propose that aphids generally prefer to obtain more nutrition rather than avoiding host plant defense, and total amount of nutrition that aphids could obtain is significantly influenced by leaf ontogeny or source-sink status of feeding sites.(image)



(XML) Serum galactomannan antigen as a prognostic and diagnostic marker for invasive aspergillosis in heterogeneous medicine ICU patient population

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Yubhisha Dabas, Anant Mohan, Immaculata Xess

Objective

This study was conducted to get a complete clinical and mycological picture of invasive aspergillosis (IA) in respiratory medicine ICU of a tertiary care hospital.

Patients

From the cohort of 235 patients only one had proven IA. Based on AspICU algorithm, 21 had putative IA (8.9%), 12 were colonised (5.1%).

Results

Adjusting the confounding factors, significant risk factors for IA were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), temperature of ≥38°C, pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The best predictor of IA was AspICU algorithm (AUC, 1) followed by serum galactomannan antigen (GM) cut-off (≥1.24) calculated based on AspICU algorithm (AUC, 0.822). For 37% of patients, IA diagnoses was made earlier with serum GM than radiology. There were 70/235 (29.8%) deaths within 30 days of enrolment in the study. Aspergillus culture positivity (34/235, 14.5%) was associated with very high mortality (27/34, 79.4%), (p<0.05). The best predictor of mortality was GM cut-off (≥1.24) calculated based on AspICU algorithm (AUC, 0.835).

Conclusion

This study imparts the focus on relatively underestimated Aspergillus infections prevalent in ICUs. The AspICU algorithm was found to be useful over others for IA diagnosis. The prognostic usefulness of serum GM antigen detection test highlighted overlooking the same may not be rewarding for the outcome of IA suspected ICU subpopulation.

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(XML) Arginine is a component of the ammonium-CYG56 signalling cascade that represses genes of the nitrogen assimilation pathway in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by David González-Ballester, Emanuel Sanz-Luque, Aurora Galván, Emilio Fernández, Amaury de Montaigu

Nitrogen assimilation and metabolism are essential processes for all living organisms, yet there is still much to be learnt on how they are regulated. The use of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a model system has been instrumental not only in identifying conserved regulation mechanisms that control the nitrogen assimilation pathway, but also in understanding how the intracellular nitrogen status regulates metabolic processes of industrial interest such as the synthesis of biolipids. While the genetic regulators that control the nitrogen pathway are successfully being unravelled, other layers of regulation have received less attention. Amino acids, for example, regulate nitrogen assimilation in certain organisms, but their role in Chlamydomonas has not thoroughly been explored. Previous results had suggested that arginine might repress key genes of the nitrogen assimilation pathway by acting within the ammonium negative signalling cascade, upstream of the nitric oxide (NO) inducible guanylate cyclase CYG56. We tested this hypothesis with a combination of genetic and chemical approaches. Antagonising the effects of arginine with an arginine biosynthesis mutant or with two chemical analogues released gene expression from ammonium mediated repression. The cyg56 and related non1 mutants, which are partially insensitive to ammonium repression, were also partially insensitive to repression by arginine. Finally, we show that the addition of arginine to the medium leads to an increase in intracellular NO. Our data reveal that arginine acts as a negative signal for the assimilation of nitrogen within the ammonium-CYG56 negative signalling cascade, and provide a connection between amino acid metabolism and nitrogen assimilation in microalgae.(image)



(XML) “I was referred from the other side”: Gender and HIV testing among older South Africans living with HIV

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Enid Schatz, Lucia Knight

South Africa has a Universal Test and Treat (UTT) policy in place to ensure that everyone tests for HIV and can access treatment if they test positive. The aim of this study is to document the pathways that older South Africans who are living with HIV take to access testing and treatment in this context. Despite the aging of the HIV epidemic in South Africa and clear evidence that testing older persons (over age 50) is necessary, very little is known about the circumstances under which older persons test for HIV or their motivations for doing so. In this study, we analyze 21 qualitative, in-depth interviews with women and men aged 50 and over who are living with HIV from two townships outside of Cape Town. Using grounded theory to specify emerging themes, we find similarities and differences between older men and women in their pathways to testing. Men primarily test for HIV when their spouse is diagnosed or in connection with TB testing and treatment. Older women, who are more likely to be widowed or divorced, often test for HIV only when they are symptomatic or not responding appropriately to care for non-communicable diseases. Most importantly, we find that older South Africans do not seek testing as a response to risk. Instead, older men and women test only once they are symptomatic and referred by a provider, or as a result of a partner’s status. Our respondents, particularly the women, expressed “shock” and confusion at learning they were HIV-positive because they do not see themselves as at risk of acquiring HIV. Because the benefits of UTT are greatest with early detection and treatment, older persons’ tendency to test at such a late stage of illness decreases the individual and population level advantages of UTT. More research is needed to understand older persons’ risk and testing behavior so that policy and programs include HIV testing messages that reach this population.(image)



(XML) Do self-reported stress and depressive symptoms effect endothelial function in healthy youth? The LOOK longitudinal study

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Lisa S. Olive, Walter P. Abhayaratna, Don Byrne, Alice Richardson, Richard D. Telford

Background and aims

Endothelial dysfunction is thought to be an early indicator of risk for cardiovascular disease and has been associated with both stress and depression in adults and adolescents. Less is known of these relationships in younger populations, where the origins of CVD is thought to manifest. This study examined the effects of questionnaire derived psychosocial stress and depressive symptoms on endothelial function among children, following them through to adolescence.

Method

Participants were 203 grade 2 children (111 girls; M age = 7.6 ± 0.3 years) from the LOOK longitudinal study, who were followed through to adolescence (16 years). Self-reported psychosocial stress and depression were assessed using the validated Children’s Stress Questionnaire and a modified and validated version of the Children’s Depression Inventory respectively; endothelial function was assessed using EndoPAT 2000 system at follow-up only; and adjustments were made for fitness, pubertal development and socioeconomic status.

Results

Although all relationships occurred in the hypothesised direction, no cross-sectional or prospective evidence of early symptoms of psychological stress or depression being associated with endothelial dysfunction was found among our asymptomatic cohort of adolescents (all p > .05).

Conclusions

In contrast to previous findings in adolescents, our data provided little evidence of any relationship between current or previous psychosocial stress or depression and endothelial function in 16-year-old boys and girls. However, our data need to be interpreted alongside the potential limitations in the sensitivity associated with self-report methods for detecting psychological distress of children.

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(XML) Medication burden attributable to chronic co-morbid conditions in the very old and vulnerable

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Kelly L. Moore, Kanan Patel, W. John Boscardin, Michael A. Steinman, Christine Ritchie, Janice B. Schwartz

Objective

Polypharmacy is common in older patients but relationships between polypharmacy and common co-morbid conditions have not been elucidated. Our goal was to determine relationships between daily oral medication use and common co-morbid disease dyads and triads using comprehensive medication and diagnostic data from a national sample of nursing homes (NH).

Design

Retrospective, cross-sectional study.

Setting

Nationally representative sample of U.S. Nursing Homes.

Participants

Nationally representative sample of long-term stay residents (n = 11734, 75% women) aged 65 years or older.

Measurements

Diagnosis and medication data were analyzed. Proportion of daily oral medication intake attributed to treatment of common two-(dyads) and three-disease (triad) combinations and “health maintenance” agents (vitamins, dietary supplements, stool softeners without related diagnoses) was determined.

Results

Older NH residents received slightly >8 oral medications/day with the number related to number of medical diagnoses (p < .0001). One third of chronic oral medication intake/day (excluding health maintenance agents) could be attributed to dyad combinations and about half to triad combinations despite an average of 5 other diagnoses. Triads were comprised of hypertension +/- arthritis +/- vascular disease, +/-depression, +/- osteoporosis +/- gastroesophageal reflux disease and +/- diabetes. Health maintenance agents accounted for 15–17% of daily oral medication intake (1.4 medications) such that almost two-thirds of daily oral medications were attributable to disease triads plus health maintenance. Fewer medications were prescribed for NH residents over age 85 (decreased ACE inhibitor and HMG CoA reductase inhibitor USE (p < .001)) while use of Alzheimer medications was higher (p < .01).

Conclusions

A large fraction of daily oral medications were attributed to management of common co-morbid disease dyads and triads. Efforts to reduce polypharmacy and unwanted medication interactions could focus on regimens for common co-morbid dyads and triads in varying populations.

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(XML) Biochemical properties of L-arabinose isomerase from Clostridium hylemonae to produce D-tagatose as a functional sweetener

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Tien-Kieu Nguyen, Moon-Gi Hong, Pahn-Shick Chang, Byung-Hoo Lee, Sang-Ho Yoo

d-Tagatose has gained substantial interest due to its potential functionalities as a sucrose substitute. In this study, the gene araA, encoding l-arabinose isomerase (l-AI) from Clostridium hylemonae (DSM 15053), was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3). This gene consists of 1,506 nucleotides and encodes a protein of 501 amino acid residues with a calculated molecular mass of 56,554 Da. Since l-AI was expressed as an intracellular inclusion body, this enzyme was solubilized with guanidine hydrochloride, refolded, and activated with a descending concentration gradient of urea. The purified enzyme exhibited the greatest activity at 50°C, pH 7–7.5, and required 1 mM of Mg2+ as a cofactor. Notably, the catalytic efficiency (3.69 mM-1sec-1) of l-AI from C. hylemonae on galactose was significantly greater than that of other previously reported enzymes. The bioconversion yield of d-tagatose using the C. hylemonae l-arabinose isomerase at 60°C reached approximately 46% from 10 mM of d-galactose after 2 h. From these results, it is suggested that the l-arabinose isomerase from C. hylemonae could be utilized as a potential enzyme for d-tagatose production due to its high conversion yield at an industrially competitive temperature.(image)



(XML) Murine embryos exposed to human endometrial MSCs-derived extracellular vesicles exhibit higher VEGF/PDGF AA release, increased blastomere count and hatching rates

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Rebeca Blázquez, Francisco Miguel Sánchez-Margallo, Verónica Álvarez, Elvira Matilla, Nuria Hernández, Federica Marinaro, María Gómez-Serrano, Inmaculada Jorge, Javier G. Casado, Beatriz Macías-García

Endometrial Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (endMSCs) are multipotent cells with immunomodulatory and pro-regenerative activity which is mainly mediated by a paracrine effect. The exosomes released by MSCs have become a promising therapeutic tool for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases. More specifically, extracellular vesicles derived from endMSCs (EV-endMSCs) have demonstrated a cardioprotective effect through the release of anti-apoptotic and pro-angiogenic factors. Here we hypothesize that EV-endMSCs may be used as a co-adjuvant to improve in vitro fertilization outcomes and embryo quality. Firstly, endMSCs and EV-endMSCs were isolated and phenotypically characterized for in vitro assays. Then, in vitro studies were performed on murine embryos co-cultured with EV-endMSCs at different concentrations. Our results firstly demonstrated a significant increase on the total blastomere count of expanded murine blastocysts. Moreover, EV-endMSCs triggered the release of pro-angiogenic molecules from embryos demonstrating an EV-endMSCs concentration-dependent increase of VEGF and PDGF-AA. The release of VEGF and PDGF-AA by the embryos may indicate that the beneficial effect of EV-endMSCs could be mediating not only an increase in the blastocyst’s total cell number, but also may promote endometrial angiogenesis, vascularization, differentiation and tissue remodeling. In summary, these results could be relevant for assisted reproduction being the first report describing the beneficial effect of human EV-endMSCs on embryo development.(image)



(XML) Streptomyces luridus So3.2 from Antarctic soil as a novel producer of compounds with bioemulsification potential

2018-04-23T21:00:00Z

by Claudio Lamilla, Douglas Braga, Rui Castro, Carolina Guimarães, Livia V. A. de Castilho, Denise M. G. Freire, Leticia Barrientos

The present study aimed to identify novel microbial producers of bioemulsificant compounds from Antarctic soils. Fifty-nine microbial strains were isolated from five different locations at South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, and screened for biosurfactant production by β-hemolytic activity. Strain So 3.2 was determined as bioemulsifier-producer and identified by phenotypic and molecular characterization as Streptomyces luridus. Emulsification activity, oil displacement method and drop-collapsing test were performed to evaluate the biosurfactant activity with different oils and hydrocarbons using two different culture media (Luria Bertani and Bushnell Haas in the presence of different carbon sources: glucose, glycerol, olive oil and n-Hexadecane). Cell free supernatant of Bushnell Haas culture supplemented with n-Hexadecane showed the best results for all tests. Emulsification of hydrocarbons exceeded 60%, reaching up to 90% on oil with high API grade, while displacement tests ranged from 8 cm to 4 cm in diameter according the culture media and tested oils. Our results revealed that Streptomyces luridus So3.2 is able to produce bioemulsifiers capable of emulsifying hydrocarbons and oils, which could be used in different biotechnological applications, particularly for bioremediation of environments contaminated by oil leaks.(image)