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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: The gut microbiota plays an important role in nutrient digestibility in animals. To examine changes in the pig gut microbiota across growth stages and its effects on nutrient digestion, the gut microbiota population in pigs at 28 days (before weaning), and 60, 90, and 150 days of age was assessed by 16S rDNA gene sequencing. The apparent digestibility of crude fiber (CF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), crude protein (CP) and ether extract (EE) was also assessed in these pigs. A total of 19,875 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified from all samples. Both bacterial abundance and diversity increased with age. A total of 22 phyla and 249 genera were identified from all fecal samples; Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes were the most dominant phyla in all samples. With increasing age, the proportion of TM7 and Tenericutes increased, whereas the proportion of Lentisphaerae and Synergistetes decreased. The abundance of 36 genera varied with age, and the apparent digestibility of CF increased with age. Three phyla, Proteobacteria, Tenericutes and TM7, and 11 genera, including Anaeroplasma, Campylobacter, and Clostridium, were correlated with apparent CF digestibility. Scientific Reports 5 doi: 10.1038/srep09938
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-2322
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: Conventional deep brain stimulation (DBS) applies constant electrical stimulation to specific brain regions to treat neurological disorders. Closed-loop DBS with real-time feedback is gaining attention in recent years, after proved more effective than conventional DBS in terms of pathological symptom control clinically. Here we demonstrate the conceptualization and validation of a closed-loop DBS system using open-source hardware. We used hippocampal theta oscillations as system input, and electrical stimulation in the mesencephalic reticular formation (mRt) as controller output. It is well documented that hippocampal theta oscillations are highly related to locomotion, while electrical stimulation in the mRt induces freezing. We used an Arduino open-source microcontroller between input and output sources. This allowed us to use hippocampal local field potentials (LFPs) to steer electrical stimulation in the mRt. Our results showed that closed-loop DBS significantly suppressed locomotion compared to no stimulation, and required on average only 56% of the stimulation used in open-loop DBS to reach similar effects. The main advantages of open-source hardware include wide selection and availability, high customizability, and affordability. Our open-source closed-loop DBS system is effective, and warrants further research using open-source hardware for closed-loop neuromodulation. Scientific Reports 4 doi: 10.1038/srep09921
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-2322
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: Studying vocal correlates of emotions is important to provide a better understanding of the evolution of emotion expression through cross-species comparisons. Emotions are composed of two main dimensions: emotional arousal (calm versus excited) and valence (negative versus positive). These two dimensions could be encoded in different vocal parameters (segregation of information) or in the same parameters, inducing a trade-off between cues indicating emotional arousal and valence. We investigated these two hypotheses in horses. We placed horses in five situations eliciting several arousal levels and positive as well as negative valence. Physiological and behavioral measures collected during the tests suggested the presence of different underlying emotions. First, using detailed vocal analyses, we discovered that all whinnies contained two fundamental frequencies (“F0” and “G0”), which were not harmonically related, suggesting biphonation. Second, we found that F0 and the energy spectrum encoded arousal, while G0 and whinny duration encoded valence. Our results show that cues to emotional arousal and valence are segregated in different, relatively independent parameters of horse whinnies. Most of the emotion-related changes to vocalizations that we observed are similar to those observed in humans and other species, suggesting that vocal expression of emotions has been conserved throughout evolution. Scientific Reports 4 doi: 10.1038/srep09989
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-2322
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: Transition metal oxides are widely used in solar cells, batteries, transistors, memories, transparent conductive electrodes, photocatalysts, gas sensors, supercapacitors, and smart windows. In many of these applications, large surface areas and pore volumes can enhance molecular adsorption, facilitate ion transfer, and increase interfacial areas; the formation of complex oxides (mixed, doped, multimetallic oxides and oxide-based hybrids) can alter electronic band structures, modify/enhance charge carrier concentrations/separation, and introduce desired functionalities. A general synthetic approach to diverse mesoporous metal oxides is therefore very attractive. Here we describe a powerful aerosol-spray method for synthesizing various mesoporous metal oxides from low-cost nitrate salts. During spray, thermal heating of precursor droplets drives solvent evaporation and induces surfactant-directed formation of mesostructures, nitrate decomposition and oxide cross-linking. Thirteen types of monometallic oxides and four groups of complex ones are successfully produced, with mesoporous iron oxide microspheres demonstrated for photocatalytic oxygen evolution and gas sensing with superior performances. Scientific Reports 5 doi: 10.1038/srep09923
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-2322
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: The realization of ballistic graphene pn-junctions is an essential task in order to study Klein tunneling phenomena. Here we show that intercalation of Ge under the buffer layer of pre-structured SiC-samples succeeds to make truly nano-scaled pn-junctions. By means of local tunneling spectroscopy the junction width is found to be as narrow as 5 nm which is a hundred times smaller compared to electrically gated structures. The ballistic transmission across the junction is directly proven by systematic transport measurements with a 4-tip STM. Various npn- and pnp-junctions are studied with respect to the barrier length. The pn-junctions are shown to act as polarizer and analyzer with the second junction becoming transparent in case of a fully ballistic barrier. This can be attributed to the almost full suppression of electron transmission through the junction away from normal incidence. Scientific Reports 5 doi: 10.1038/srep09955
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-2322
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an EBV-associated epithelial malignancy prevalent in southern China. Presence of treatment-resistant cancer stem cells (CSC) may associate with tumor relapse and metastasis in NPC. ICG-001 is a specific CBP/β-catenin antagonist that can block CBP/β-catenin-mediated transcription of stem cell associated genes and enhance p300/β-catenin-mediated transcription, thereby reducing the CSC-like population via forced differentiation. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effect of ICG-001 on the CSC-like population, and the combination effect of ICG-001 with cisplatin in the C666-1 EBV-positive NPC cells. Results showed that ICG-001 inhibited C666-1 cell growth and reduced expression of CSC-associated proteins with altered expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers. ICG-001 also inhibited C666-1 tumor sphere formation, accompanied with reduced SOX2hi/CD44hi CSC-like population. ICG-001 was also found to restore the expression of a tumor suppressive microRNA-145 (miR-145). Ectopic expression of miR-145 effectively repressed SOX2 protein expression and inhibited tumor sphere formation. Combination of ICG-001 with cisplatin synergistically suppressed in vitro growth of C666-1 cells and significantly suppressed growth of NPC xenografts. These results suggested that therapeutically targeting of the CBP/β-catenin signaling pathway with ICG-001 can effectively reduce the CSC-like population and combination with cisplatin can effectively suppress the growth of NPC. Scientific Reports 5 doi: 10.1038/srep09979
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-2322
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: We demonstrate that ZnO films grown by atomic layer deposition (ALD) can be employed as a substrate to explore the effects of electrical conductivity on cell adhesion, proliferation, and morphogenesis. ZnO substrates with precisely tunable electrical conductivity were fabricated on glass substrates using ALD deposition. The electrical conductivity of the film increased linearly with increasing duration of the ZnO deposition cycle (thickness), whereas other physical characteristics, such as surface energy and roughness, tended to saturate at a certain value. Differences in conductivity dramatically affected the behavior of SF295 glioblastoma cells grown on ZnO films, with high conductivity (thick) ZnO films causing growth arrest and producing SF295 cell morphologies distinct from those cultured on insulating substrates. Based on simple electrostatic calculations, we propose that cells grown on highly conductive substrates may strongly adhere to the substrate without focal-adhesion complex formation, owing to the enhanced electrostatic interaction between cells and the substrate. Thus, the inactivation of focal adhesions leads to cell proliferation arrest. Taken together, the work presented here confirms that substrates with high conductivity disturb the cell-substrate interaction, producing cascading effects on cellular morphogenesis and disrupting proliferation, and suggests that ALD-grown ZnO offers a single-variable method for uniquely tailoring conductivity. Scientific Reports 5 doi: 10.1038/srep09974
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-2322
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: The comparison of observed global mean surface air temperature (GMT) change to the mean change simulated by climate models has received much public and scientific attention. For a given global warming signal produced by a climate model ensemble, there exists an envelope of GMT values representing the range of possible unforced states of the climate system (the Envelope of Unforced Noise; EUN). Typically, the EUN is derived from climate models themselves, but climate models might not accurately simulate the correct characteristics of unforced GMT variability. Here, we simulate a new, empirical, EUN that is based on instrumental and reconstructed surface temperature records. We compare the forced GMT signal produced by climate models to observations while noting the range of GMT values provided by the empirical EUN. We find that the empirical EUN is wide enough so that the interdecadal variability in the rate of global warming over the 20th century does not necessarily require corresponding variability in the rate-of-increase of the forced signal. The empirical EUN also indicates that the reduced GMT warming over the past decade or so is still consistent with a middle emission scenario’s forced signal, but is likely inconsistent with the steepest emission scenario’s forced signal. Scientific Reports 5 doi: 10.1038/srep09957
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-2322
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: Positron emission tomography (PET) is unique in that it allows quantification of biochemical processes in vivo, but difficulties with preparing suitably labelled radiotracers limit its scientific and diagnostic applications. Aromatic [18F]fluorination of drug-like small molecules is particularly challenging as their functional group compositions often impair the labelling efficiency. Herein, we report a new strategy for incorporation of 18F into highly functionalized aromatic compounds using sulfonium salts as leaving groups. The method is compatible with pharmacologically relevant functional groups, including aliphatic amines and basic heterocycles. Activated substrates react with [18F]fluoride at room temperature, and with heating the reaction proceeds in the presence of hydrogen bond donors. Furthermore, the use of electron rich spectator ligands allows efficient and regioselective [18F]fluorination of non-activated aromatic moieties. The method provides a broadly applicable route for 18F labelling of biologically active small molecules, and offers immediate practical benefits for drug discovery and imaging with PET. Scientific Reports 5 doi: 10.1038/srep09941
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-2322
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: Supercapacitors with aqueous electrolytes and nanostructured composite electrodes are attractive because of their high charging-discharging speed, long cycle life, low environmental impact and wide commercial affordability. However, the energy capacity of aqueous supercapacitors is limited by the electrochemical window of water. In this paper, a recently reported engineering strategy is further developed and demonstrated to correlate the maximum charging voltage of a supercapacitor with the capacitive potential ranges and the capacitance ratio of the two electrodes. Beyond the maximum charging voltage, a supercapacitor may still operate, but at the expense of a reduced cycle life. In addition, it is shown that the supercapacitor performance is strongly affected by the initial and zero charge potentials of the electrodes. Further, the differences are highlighted and elaborated between freshly prepared, aged under open circuit conditions, and cycled electrodes of composites of conducting polymers and carbon nanotubes. The first voltammetric charging-discharging cycle has an electrode conditioning effect to change the electrodes from their initial potentials to the potential of zero voltage, and reduce the irreversibility. Scientific Reports 5 doi: 10.1038/srep09854
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-2322
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
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