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  • 1
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Online: 1.2003 –
    Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Print ISSN: 1544-9173
    Electronic ISSN: 1545-7885
    Topics: Biology
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  • 2
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Online: 1.2005 –
    Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Print ISSN: 1553-734X
    Electronic ISSN: 1553-7358
    Topics: Biology , Computer Science
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  • 3
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS) | PubMed Central
    Online: 1.2009 –
    Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS) , PubMed Central
    Electronic ISSN: 2157-3999
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 4
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Online: 1.2005 –
    Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Print ISSN: 1553-7390
    Electronic ISSN: 1553-7404
    Topics: Biology
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  • 5
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Online: 1.2010 –
    Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Topics: Biology
    Keywords: Biodiversität
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2016-10-12
    Description: The rich fossil record of horses has made them a classic example of evolutionary processes. However, while the overall picture of equid evolution is well known, the details are surprisingly poorly understood, especially for the later Pliocene and Pleistocene, c. 3 million to 0.01 million years (Ma) ago, and nowhere more so than in the Americas. There is no consensus on the number of equid species or even the number of lineages that existed in these continents. Likewise, the origin of the endemic South American genus Hippidion is unresolved, as is the phylogenetic position of the “stilt-legged” horses of North America. Using ancient DNA sequences, we show that, in contrast to current models based on morphology and a recent genetic study, Hippidion was phylogenetically close to the caballine (true) horses, with origins considerably more recent than the currently accepted date of c. 10 Ma. Furthermore, we show that stilt-legged horses, commonly regarded as Old World migrants related to the hemionid asses of Asia, were in fact an endemic North American lineage. Finally, our data suggest that there were fewer horse species in late Pleistocene North America than have been named on morphological grounds. Both caballine and stilt-legged lineages may each have comprised a single, wide-ranging species.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: © 2005 Sullivan et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The definitive version was published in PLoS Biology 3 (2005): e144, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030144.
    Description: The oceanic cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus are globally important, ecologically diverse primary producers. It is thought that their viruses (phages) mediate population sizes and affect the evolutionary trajectories of their hosts. Here we present an analysis of genomes from three Prochlorococcus phages: a podovirus and two myoviruses. The morphology, overall genome features, and gene content of these phages suggest that they are quite similar to T7-like (P-SSP7) and T4-like (P-SSM2 and P-SSM4) phages. Using the existing phage taxonomic framework as a guideline, we examined genome sequences to establish ‘‘core’’ genes for each phage group. We found the podovirus contained 15 of 26 core T7-like genes and the two myoviruses contained 43 and 42 of 75 core T4-like genes. In addition to these core genes, each genome contains a significant number of ‘‘cyanobacterial’’ genes, i.e., genes with significant best BLAST hits to genes found in cyanobacteria. Some of these, we speculate, represent ‘‘signature’’ cyanophage genes. For example, all three phage genomes contain photosynthetic genes (psbA, hliP) that are thought to help maintain host photosynthetic activity during infection, as well as an aldolase family gene (talC) that could facilitate alternative routes of carbon metabolism during infection. The podovirus genome also contains an integrase gene (int) and other features that suggest it is capable of integrating into its host. If indeed it is, this would be unprecedented among cultured T7-like phages or marine cyanophages and would have significant evolutionary and ecological implications for phage and host. Further, both myoviruses contain phosphate-inducible genes (phoH and pstS) that are likely to be important for phage and host responses to phosphate stress, a commonly limiting nutrient in marine systems. Thus, these marine cyanophages appear to be variations of two well-known phages—T7 and T4—but contain genes that, if functional, reflect adaptations for infection of photosynthetic hosts in low-nutrient oceanic environments.
    Description: This research was supported by the US DOE under grant numbers DEFG02– 99ER62814 and DE-FG02–02ER63445, and the National Science Foundation under grant number OCE-9820035 (to SWC).
    Keywords: Oceanic cyanobacteria ; Prochlorococcus phages
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain dedication. The definitive version was published in PLoS Biology 4 (2006): e383, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040383.
    Description: Presented here is the complete genome sequence of Thiomicrospira crunogena XCL-2, representative of ubiquitous chemolithoautotrophic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria isolated from deep-sea hydrothermal vents. This gammaproteobacterium has a single chromosome (2,427,734 base pairs), and its genome illustrates many of the adaptations that have enabled it to thrive at vents globally. It has 14 methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein genes, including four that may assist in positioning it in the redoxcline. A relative abundance of coding sequences (CDSs) encoding regulatory proteins likely control the expression of genes encoding carboxysomes, multiple dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphate transporters, as well as a phosphonate operon, which provide this species with a variety of options for acquiring these substrates from the environment. Thiom. crunogena XCL-2 is unusual among obligate sulfur-oxidizing bacteria in relying on the Sox system for the oxidation of reduced sulfur compounds. The genome has characteristics consistent with an obligately chemolithoautotrophic lifestyle, including few transporters predicted to have organic allocrits, and Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle CDSs scattered throughout the genome.
    Description: This work was performed under the auspices of the United States Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of California, under contract W-7405-ENG-48. Genome closure was funded in part by a University of South Florida Innovative Teaching Grant (to KMS). KMS, SKF, and CAK gratefully acknowledge support from the United States Department of Agriculture Higher Education Challenge Grants Program (Award # 20053841115876). SMS kindly acknowledges support through a fellowship received from the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg in Delmenhorst, Germany (http://www.h-w-k.de). MH was supported by a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution postdoctoral scholarship.
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2016-09-22
    Description: © 2006 Parfrey et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The definitive version was published in PLoS Genetics 2 (2006): e220, doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0020220.
    Description: Perspectives on the classification of eukaryotic diversity have changed rapidly in recent years, as the four eukaryotic groups within the five-kingdom classification—plants, animals, fungi, and protists—have been transformed through numerous permutations into the current system of six ‘‘supergroups.’’ The intent of the supergroup classification system is to unite microbial and macroscopic eukaryotes based on phylogenetic inference. This supergroup approach is increasing in popularity in the literature and is appearing in introductory biology textbooks. We evaluate the stability and support for the current six-supergroup classification of eukaryotes based on molecular genealogies. We assess three aspects of each supergroup: (1) the stability of its taxonomy, (2) the support for monophyly (single evolutionary origin) in molecular analyses targeting a supergroup, and (3) the support for monophyly when a supergroup is included as an out-group in phylogenetic studies targeting other taxa. Our analysis demonstrates that supergroup taxonomies are unstable and that support for groups varies tremendously, indicating that the current classification scheme of eukaryotes is likely premature. We highlight several trends contributing to the instability and discuss the requirements for establishing robust clades within the eukaryotic tree of life.
    Description: This work is supported by the National Science Foundation Assembling the Tree of Life grant (043115) to DB, DJP, and LAK.
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2016-09-22
    Description: © 2006 Bordenstein et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The definitive version was published in PLoS Pathogens 2(2006): e43, doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.0020043.
    Description: By manipulating arthropod reproduction worldwide, the heritable endosymbiont Wolbachia has spread to pandemic levels. Little is known about the microbial basis of cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) except that bacterial densities and percentages of infected sperm cysts associate with incompatibility strength. The recent discovery of a temperate bacteriophage (WO-B) of Wolbachia containing ankyrin-encoding genes and virulence factors has led to intensifying debate that bacteriophage WO-B induces CI. However, current hypotheses have not considered the separate roles that lytic and lysogenic phage might have on bacterial fitness and phenotype. Here we describe a set of quantitative approaches to characterize phage densities and its associations with bacterial densities and CI. We enumerated genome copy number of phage WO-B and Wolbachia and CI penetrance in supergroup A- and B-infected males of the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. We report several findings: (1) variability in CI strength for A-infected males is positively associated with bacterial densities, as expected under the bacterial density model of CI, (2) phage and bacterial densities have a significant inverse association, as expected for an active lytic infection, and (3) CI strength and phage densities are inversely related in A-infected males; similarly, males expressing incomplete CI have significantly higher phage densities than males expressing complete CI. Ultrastructural analyses indicate that approximately 12% of the A Wolbachia have phage particles, and aggregations of these particles can putatively occur outside the Wolbachia cell. Physical interactions were observed between approximately 16% of the Wolbachia cells and spermatid tails. The results support a low to moderate frequency of lytic development in Wolbachia and an overall negative density relationship between bacteriophage and Wolbachia. The findings motivate a novel phage density model of CI in which lytic phage repress Wolbachia densities and therefore reproductive parasitism. We conclude that phage, Wolbachia, and arthropods form a tripartite symbiotic association in which all three are integral to understanding the biology of this widespread endosymbiosis. Clarifying the roles of lytic and lysogenic phage development in Wolbachia biology will effectively structure inquiries into this research topic.
    Description: This work was supported by grants from the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NNA04CC04A) and National Institutes of Health (R01 GM62626-01) to JJW, and by the Marine Biological Laboratory's Program in Global Infectious Diseases, funded by the Ellison Medical Foundation, to SRB.
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 11
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2016-09-22
    Description: © 2004 Jennifer J. Wernegreen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The definitive version was published in PLoS Biology 2 (2004): e68, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020068.
    Description: Symbiosis, an interdependent relationship between two species, is an important driver of evolutionary novelty and ecological diversity. Microbial symbionts in particular have been major evolutionary catalysts throughout the 4 billion years of life on earth and have largely shaped the evolution of complex organisms. Endosymbiosis is a specifi c type of symbiosis in which one—typically microbial—partner lives within its host and represents the most intimate contact between interacting organisms. Mitochondria and chloroplasts, for example, result from endosymbiotic events of lasting significance that extended the range of acceptable habitats for life. The wide distribution of intracellular bacteria across diverse hosts and marine and terrestrial habitats testifies to the continued importance of endosymbiosis in evolution. Among multicellular organisms, insects as a group form exceptionally diverse associations with microbial associates, including bacteria that live exclusively within host cells and undergo maternal transmission to offspring. These microbes have piqued the interest of evolutionary biologists because they represent a wide spectrum of evolutionary strategies, ranging from obligate mutualism to reproductive parasitism (Buchner 1965; Ishikawa 2003) (Box 1; Table 1).
    Description: JJW gratefully acknowledges the support of the National Institutes of Health (R01 GM62626-01), the National Science Foundation (DEB 0089455), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Astrobiology Institute (NNA04CC04A), and the Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation.
    Keywords: Endosymbiosis ; Endosymbiosis manipulation
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Habitat-forming species sustain biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in harsh environments through the amelioration of physical stress. Nonetheless, their role in shaping patterns of species distribution under future climate scenarios is generally overlooked. Focusing on coastal systems, we assess how habitat-forming species can influence the ability of stress-sensitive species to exhibit plastic responses, adapt to novel environmental conditions, or track suitable climates. Here, we argue that habitat-former populations could be managed as a nature-based solution against climate-driven loss of biodiversity. Drawing from different ecological and biological disciplines, we identify a series of actions to sustain the resilience of marine habitat-forming species to climate change, as well as their effectiveness and reliability in rescuing stress-sensitive species from increasingly adverse environmental conditions.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 13
  • 14
    Publication Date: 2013-11-05
    Description: by Daniel M. Saman, Kevin T. Kavanagh This brief article presents results that support the contention that risk adjustment via the standardized infection ratio (SIR) for the reporting of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) may be no more predictive than standard rate adjustments utilizing CLABSIs per central line days (i.e., CLABSI rates). Recent data posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Hospital Compare website showed that nearly 70% of 1721 reporting hospitals with at least 1000 central line days had five or fewer infections during 2011. These hospitals had 39.3% of the total central line days and a significantly lower SIR than poorer performing hospitals with six or more CLABSIs (p
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2013-11-05
    Description: by Frazer I. Heinis, Kristin B. Andersson, Geir Christensen, Joseph M. Metzger The cardiac SERCA2 Ca 2+ pump is critical for maintaining normal Ca 2+ handling in the heart. Reduced SERCA2a content and blunted Ca 2+ reuptake are frequently observed in failing hearts and evidence implicates poor cardiac Ca 2+ handling in the progression of heart failure. To gain insight into mechanism we investigated a novel genetic mouse model of inducible severe and progressive SERCA2 deficiency (inducible Serca2 knockout, SERCA2 KO). These mice eventually die from overt heart failure 7-10 weeks after knockout but as yet there have been no reports on intrinsic mechanical performance at the isolated whole heart organ level. Thus we studied whole-organ ex vivo function of hearts isolated from SERCA2 KO mice at one and four weeks post-knockout in adult animals. We found that isolated KO heart function was only modestly impaired one week post-knockout, when SERCA2a protein was 32% of normal. At four weeks post-knockout, function was severely impaired with near non-detectable levels of SERCA2. During perfusion with 10 mM caffeine, LV developed pressures were similar between 4-week KO and control hearts, and end-diastolic pressures were lower in KO. When hearts were subjected to ischemia-reperfusion injury, recovery was not different between control and KO hearts at either one or four weeks post-knockout. Our findings indicate that ex vivo function of isolated SERCA2 KO hearts is severely impaired long before symptoms appear in vivo , suggesting that physiologically relevant heart function in vivo can be sustained for weeks in the absence of robust SR Ca 2+ flux.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2013-11-05
    Description: by Kimberly M. Dohms, Theresa M. Burg The genetic impact of barriers and Pleistocene glaciations on high latitude resident species has not been widely investigated. The Clark’s nutcracker is an endemic North American corvid closely associated with Pinus -dominated forests. The nutcracker’s encompasses known barriers to dispersal for other species, and glaciated and unglaciated areas. Clark’s nutcrackers also irruptively disperse long distances in search of pine seed crops, creating the potential for gene flow among populations. Using the highly variable mitochondrial DNA control region, seven microsatellite loci, and species distribution modeling, we examined the effects of glaciations and dispersal barriers on population genetic patterns and population structure of nutcrackers. We sequenced 900 bp of mitochondrial control region for 169 individuals from 15 populations and analysed seven polymorphic microsatellite loci for 13 populations across the Clark’s nutcracker range. We used species distribution modeling and a range of phylogeographic analyses to examine evolutionary history. Clark’s nutcracker populations are not highly differentiated throughout their range, suggesting high levels of gene flow among populations, though we did find some evidence of isolation by distance and peripheral isolation. Our analyses suggested expansion from a single refugium after the last glacial maximum, but patterns of genetic diversity and paleodistribution modeling of suitable habitat were inconclusive as to the location of this refugium. Potential barriers to dispersal (e.g. mountain ranges) do not appear to restrict gene flow in Clark’s nutcracker, and postglacial expansion likely occurred quickly from a single refugium located south of the ice sheets.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 17
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Martin Fenner Article-level metrics (ALMs) provide a wide range of metrics about the uptake of an individual journal article by the scientific community after publication. They include citations, usage statistics, discussions in online comments and social media, social bookmarking, and recommendations. In this essay, we describe why article-level metrics are an important extension of traditional citation-based journal metrics and provide a number of example from ALM data collected for PLOS Biology .
    Print ISSN: 1544-9173
    Electronic ISSN: 1545-7885
    Topics: Biology
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Takeru Nakazato, Tazro Ohta, Hidemasa Bono High-throughput sequencing technology, also called next-generation sequencing (NGS), has the potential to revolutionize the whole process of genome sequencing, transcriptomics, and epigenetics. Sequencing data is captured in a public primary data archive, the Sequence Read Archive (SRA). As of January 2013, data from more than 14,000 projects have been submitted to SRA, which is double that of the previous year. Researchers can download raw sequence data from SRA website to perform further analyses and to compare with their own data. However, it is extremely difficult to search entries and download raw sequences of interests with SRA because the data structure is complicated, and experimental conditions along with raw sequences are partly described in natural language. Additionally, some sequences are of inconsistent quality because anyone can submit sequencing data to SRA with no quality check. Therefore, as a criterion of data quality, we focused on SRA entries that were cited in journal articles. We extracted SRA IDs and PubMed IDs (PMIDs) from SRA and full-text versions of journal articles and retrieved 2748 SRA ID-PMID pairs. We constructed a publication list referring to SRA entries. Since, one of the main themes of -omics analyses is clarification of disease mechanisms, we also characterized SRA entries by disease keywords, according to the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) extracted from articles assigned to each SRA entry. We obtained 989 SRA ID-MeSH disease term pairs, and constructed a disease list referring to SRA data. We previously developed feature profiles of diseases in a system called “Gendoo”. We generated hyperlinks between diseases extracted from SRA and the feature profiles of it. The developed project, publication and disease lists resulting from this study are available at our web service, called “DBCLS SRA” (http://sra.dbcls.jp/). This service will improve accessibility to high-quality data from SRA.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 19
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Janneke Hilderink, Cees Otto, Cees Slump, Aufried Lenferink, Marten Engelse, Clemens van Blitterswijk, Eelco de Koning, Marcel Karperien, Aart van Apeldoorn Intrahepatic transplantation of donor islets of Langerhans is a promising therapy for patients with type 1 diabetes. It is of critical importance to accurately monitor islet quality before transplantation, which is currently done by standard histological methods that are performed off-line and require extensive sample preparation. As an alternative, we propose Raman spectroscopy which is a non-destructive and label-free technique that allows continuous real-time monitoring of the tissue to study biological changes as they occur. By performing Raman spectroscopic measurements on purified insulin and glucagon, we showed that the 520 cm -1 band assigned to disulfide bridges in insulin, and the 1552 cm -1 band assigned to tryptophan in glucagon are mutually exclusive and could therefore be used as indirect markers for the label-free distinction between both hormones. High-resolution hyperspectral Raman imaging for these bands showed the distribution of disulfide bridges and tryptophan at sub-micrometer scale, which correlated with the location of insulin and glucagon as revealed by conventional immunohistochemistry. As a measure for this correlation, quantitative analysis was performed comparing the Raman images with the fluorescence images, resulting in Dice coefficients (ranging between 0 and 1) of 0.36 for insulin and 0.19 for glucagon. Although the use of separate microscope systems with different spatial resolution and the use of indirect Raman markers cause some image mismatch, our findings indicate that Raman bands for disulfide bridges and tryptophan can be used as distinctive markers for the label-free detection of insulin and glucagon in human islets of Langerhans.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Thach Duc Tran, Beverley-Ann Biggs, Tuan Tran, Gerard J. Casey, Sarah Hanieh, Julie Anne Simpson, Terence Dwyer, Jane Fisher Objectives The aim of this study was to examine the relationships between psychological and social factors and late pregnancy IDA among pregnant women in rural Viet Nam. Methods Pregnant women from 50 randomly-selected communes within Ha Nam province were recruited and assessed at 12 - 20 weeks gestation (Wave 1, W1). They were followed up in the last trimester (Wave 2, W2). IDA was defined as Haemoglobin 〈 11 g/dL and serum ferritin 〈 15 ng/mL. Symptoms of Common Mental Disorders (CMD) were assessed by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale-Vietnam (EPDS-V). Persistent antenatal CMD was defined as having an EPDS-V score ≥ 4 in both W1 and W2. Hypothesis models were tested by Structural Equation Modeling analyses. Results A total of 378 women provided complete data at both W1 and W2. The incidence risk of IDA in the third trimester was 13.2% (95% confidence interval (CI): 9.8-16.7). Persistent CMD was found in 16.9% (95% CI: 13.1-20.7) pregnant women and predicted by intimate partner violence, fear of other family members, experience of childhood abuse, coincidental life adversity, and having a preference for the sex of the baby. There was a significant pathway from persistent CMD to IDA in late pregnancy via the length of time that iron supplements had been taken. Receiving advice to take iron supplements and higher household wealth index were indirectly related to lower risk of late pregnancy IDA. Early pregnancy IDA and being multi-parous also contributed to late pregnancy IDA. Conclusions Antenatal IDA and CMD are prevalent public health problems among women in Viet Nam. The link between them suggests that while direct recommendations to use iron supplements are important, the social factors associated with common mental disorders should be addressed in antenatal care in order to improve the health of pregnant women and their infants.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 21
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Jakob Jankowski, Sebastian Paus, Lukas Scheef, Malte Bewersdorff, Hans H. Schild, Thomas Klockgether, Henning Boecker Electrophysiological and behavioral studies in primary dystonia suggest abnormalities during movement preparation, but this crucial phase preceding movement onset has not yet been studied specifically with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). To identify abnormalities in brain activation during movement preparation, we used event-related fMRI to analyze behaviorally unimpaired sequential finger movements in 18 patients with task-specific focal hand dystonia (FHD) and 18 healthy subjects. Patients and controls executed self-initiated or externally cued prelearnt four-digit sequential movements using either right or left hands. In FHD patients, motor performance of the sequential finger task was not associated with task-related dystonic posturing and their activation levels during motor execution were highly comparable with controls. On the other hand reduced activation was observed during movement preparation in the FHD patients in left premotor cortex / precentral gyrus for all conditions, and for self-initiation additionally in supplementary motor area, left mid-insula and anterior putamen, independent of effector side. Findings argue for abnormalities of early stages of motor control in FHD, manifesting during movement preparation. Since deficits map to regions involved in the coding of motor programs, we propose that task-specific dystonia is characterized by abnormalities during recruitment of motor programs: these do not manifest at the behavioral level during simple automated movements, however, errors in motor programs of complex movements established by extensive practice (a core feature of FHD), trigger the inappropriate movement patterns observed in task-specific dystonia.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 22
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by James L. Trevaskis, Christine M. Mack, Chengzao Sun, Christopher J. Soares, Lawrence J. D’Souza, Odile E. Levy, Diane Y. Lewis, Carolyn M. Jodka, Krystyna Tatarkiewicz, Bronislava Gedulin, Swati Gupta, Carrie Wittmer, Michael Hanley, Bruce Forood, David G. Parkes, Soumitra S. Ghosh Combination therapy is being increasingly used as a treatment paradigm for metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. In the peptide therapeutics realm, recent work has highlighted the therapeutic potential of chimeric peptides that act on two distinct receptors, thereby harnessing parallel complementary mechanisms to induce additive or synergistic benefit compared to monotherapy. Here, we extend this hypothesis by linking a known anti-diabetic peptide with an anti-obesity peptide into a novel peptide hybrid, which we termed a phybrid. We report on the synthesis and biological activity of two such phybrids (AC164204 and AC164209), comprised of a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP1-R) agonist, and exenatide analog, AC3082, covalently linked to a second generation amylin analog, davalintide. Both molecules acted as full agonists at their cognate receptors in vitro , albeit with reduced potency at the calcitonin receptor indicating slightly perturbed amylin agonism. In obese diabetic Lepob/Lep ob mice sustained infusion of AC164204 and AC164209 reduced glucose and glycated haemoglobin (Hb A1c ) equivalently but induced greater weight loss relative to exenatide administration alone. Weight loss was similar to that induced by combined administration of exenatide and davalintide. In diet-induced obese rats, both phybrids dose-dependently reduced food intake and body weight to a greater extent than exenatide or davalintide alone, and equal to co-infusion of exenatide and davalintide. Phybrid-mediated and exenatide + davalintide-mediated weight loss was associated with reduced adiposity and preservation of lean mass. These data are the first to provide in vivo proof-of-concept for multi-pathway targeting in metabolic disease via a peptide hybrid, demonstrating that this approach is as effective as co-administration of individual peptides.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 23
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Takao Fukuda, Terukazu Sanui, Kyosuke Toyoda, Urara Tanaka, Takaharu Taketomi, Takeshi Uchiumi, Fusanori Nishimura Emdogain (enamel matrix derivative, EMD) is well recognized in periodontology. It is used in periodontal surgery to regenerate cementum, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone. However, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying periodontal regeneration are still unclear. In this study, we investigated the proteins bound to amelogenin, which are suggested to play a pivotal role in promoting periodontal tissue regeneration. To identify new molecules that interact with amelogenin and are involved in osteoblast activation, we employed coupling affinity chromatography with proteomic analysis in fractionated SaOS-2 osteoblastic cell lysate. In SaOS-2 cells, many of the amelogenin-interacting proteins in the cytoplasm were mainly cytoskeletal proteins and several chaperone molecules of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) family. On the other hand, the proteomic profiles of amelogenin-interacting proteins in the membrane fraction of the cell extracts were quite different from those of the cytosolic-fraction. They were mainly endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated proteins, with lesser quantities of mitochondrial proteins and nucleoprotein. Among the identified amelogenin-interacting proteins, we validated the biological interaction of amelogenin with glucose-regulated protein 78 (Grp78/Bip), which was identified in both cytosolic and membrane-enriched fractions. Confocal co-localization experiment strongly suggested that Grp78/Bip could be an amelogenin receptor candidate. Further biological evaluations were examined by Grp78/Bip knockdown analysis with and without amelogenin. Within the limits of the present study, the interaction of amelogenin with Grp78/Bip contributed to cell proliferation, rather than correlate with the osteogenic differentiation in SaOS-2 cells. Although the biological significance of other interactions are not yet explored, these findings suggest that the differential effects of amelogenin-derived osteoblast activation could be of potential clinical significance for understanding the cellular and molecular bases of amelogenin-induced periodontal tissue regeneration.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Barbara A. Jennings, Yoon K. Loke, Jane Skinner, Melanie Keane, Gavin S. Chu, Richard Turner, Daniel Epurescu, Ann Barrett, Gavin Willis The potential clinical utility of genetic markers associated with response to fluoropyrimidine treatment in colorectal cancer patients remains controversial despite extensive study. Our aim was to test the clinical validity of both novel and previously identified markers of adverse events in a broad clinical setting. We have conducted an observational pharmacogenetic study of early adverse events in a cohort study of 254 colorectal cancer patients treated with 5-fluorouracil or capecitabine. Sixteen variants of nine key folate (pharmacodynamic) and drug metabolising (pharmacokinetic) enzymes have been analysed as individual markers and/or signatures of markers. We found a significant association between TYMP S471L (rs11479) and early dose modifications and/or severe adverse events (adjusted OR = 2.02 [1.03; 4.00], p = 0.042, adjusted OR = 2.70 [1.23; 5.92], p = 0.01 respectively). There was also a significant association between these phenotypes and a signature of DPYD mutations (Adjusted OR = 3.96 [1.17; 13.33], p = 0.03, adjusted OR = 6.76 [1.99; 22.96], p = 0.002 respectively). We did not identify any significant associations between the individual candidate pharmacodynamic markers and toxicity. If a predictive test for early adverse events analysed the TYMP and DPYD variants as a signature, the sensitivity would be 45.5 %, with a positive predictive value of just 33.9 % and thus poor clinical validity. Most studies to date have been under-powered to consider multiple pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic variants simultaneously but this and similar individualised data sets could be pooled in meta-analyses to resolve uncertainties about the potential clinical utility of these markers.
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  • 25
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Frank Becker, Kerstin Junker, Martin Parr, Arndt Hartmann, Susanne Füssel, Marieta Toma, Rainer Grobholz, Thomas Pflugmann, Bernd Wullich, Arne Strauss, Carl Ludwig Behnes, Wolfgang Otto, Michael Stöckle, Volker Jung Collecting duct carcinoma (CDC) is a rare renal neoplasm that is associated with poor prognosis due to its highly aggressive course and limited response to immuno- or chemotherapy. Histologically, CDC is defined as a subtype of renal cell carcinomas, but in some cases, it is difficult to differentiate from urothelial carcinomas (UC). Therefore the aim of this study was to determine genetic alterations of CDC in comparison to that of urothelial carcinomas of the upper urinary tract (UUT-UC) to clarify the histological origin of this rare tumor entity. Twenty-nine CDC samples were obtained from seven different German centers and compared with twenty-six urothelial carcinomas of the upper urinary tract. Comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) was used to investigate the genetic composition of patients’ tumors and allowed the detection of losses and gains of DNA copy numbers throughout the entire genome. The clinical data were correlated with CGH results. CGH analysis of CDC revealed DNA aberrations in many chromosomes. DNA losses were more frequently observed than gains, while high-level amplifications were not detected. The mean frequency of CDC chromosomal aberrations (4.9/case) was slightly lower than that in UUT-UC (5.4/case). Recurrent CDC DNA losses occurred at 8p (n=9/29), 16p (9/29), 1p (n=7/29) and 9p (n=7/29), and gains occurred in 13q (n=9/29). In contrast to CDC, the most frequently detected UUT-UC DNA aberration was a loss at 9q (n=13/26). DNA losses at 9q, 13q and 8q as well as gains at 8p showed significant variations in UUT-UC compared to CDC. There was no correlation between the patients’ clinical course and the presence or absence of these recurrent genetic alterations. CDCs are characterized by a different genetic pattern compared to UUT-UC. Regarding the published data on renal cell carcinoma, we conclude that CDC appears to be a unique entity among kidney carcinomas.
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  • 26
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Jesús Cosín-Roger, Dolores Ortiz-Masiá, Sara Calatayud, Carlos Hernández, Angeles Álvarez, Joaquin Hinojosa, Juan V. Esplugues, Maria D. Barrachina Macrophages, which exhibit great plasticity, are important components of the inflamed tissue and constitute an essential element of regenerative responses. Epithelial Wnt signalling is involved in mechanisms of proliferation and differentiation and expression of Wnt ligands by macrophages has been reported. We aim to determine whether the macrophage phenotype determines the expression of Wnt ligands, the influence of the macrophage phenotype in epithelial activation of Wnt signalling and the relevance of this pathway in ulcerative colitis. Human monocyte-derived macrophages and U937-derived macrophages were polarized towards M1 or M2 phenotypes and the expression of Wnt1 and Wnt3a was analyzed by qPCR. The effects of macrophages and the role of Wnt1 were analyzed on the expression of β-catenin, Tcf-4, c-Myc and markers of cell differentiation in a co-culture system with Caco-2 cells. Immunohistochemical staining of CD68, CD206, CD86, Wnt1, β-catenin and c-Myc were evaluated in the damaged and non-damaged mucosa of patients with UC. We also determined the mRNA expression of Lgr5 and c-Myc by qPCR and protein levels of β-catenin by western blot. Results show that M2, and no M1, activated the Wnt signaling pathway in co-culture epithelial cells through Wnt1 which impaired enterocyte differentiation. A significant increase in the number of CD206+ macrophages was observed in the damaged mucosa of chronic vs newly diagnosed patients. CD206 immunostaining co-localized with Wnt1 in the mucosa and these cells were associated with activation of canonical Wnt signalling pathway in epithelial cells and diminution of alkaline phosphatase activity. Our results show that M2 macrophages, and not M1, activate Wnt signalling pathways and decrease enterocyte differentiation in co-cultured epithelial cells. In the mucosa of UC patients, M2 macrophages increase with chronicity and are associated with activation of epithelial Wnt signalling and diminution in enterocyte differentiation.
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  • 27
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Markus Franzén, Sven G. Nilsson, Victor Johansson, Thomas Ranius Population fluctuations and synchrony influence population persistence; species with larger fluctuations and more synchronised population fluctuations face higher extinction risks. Here, we analyse the effect of diet specialisation, mobility, length of the flight period, and distance to the northern edge of the species’ distribution in relation to between-year population fluctuations and synchrony of butterfly species. All butterfly species associated with grasslands were surveyed over five successive years at 19 grassland sites in a forest-dominated landscape (50 km 2 ) in southern Sweden. At both the local and regional level, we found larger population fluctuations in species with longer flight periods. Population fluctuations were more synchronous among localities in diet specialists. Species with a long flight period might move more to track nectar resources compared to species with shorter flight period, and if nectar sources vary widely between years and localities it may explain that population fluctuations increase with increasing flight length. Diet generalists can use different resources (in this case host plants) at different localities and this can explain the lower synchrony in population fluctuations among generalist species. Higher degree of synchrony is one possible explanation for the higher extinction risks that have been observed for more specialised species. Therefore, diet specialists are more often threatened and require more conservation efforts than generalists.
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  • 28
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Guoyan Zhao, Siddharth Krishnamurthy, Zhengqiu Cai, Vsevolod L. Popov, Amelia P. Travassos da Rosa, Hilda Guzman, Song Cao, Herbert W. Virgin, Robert B. Tesh, David Wang Quick and accurate identification of microbial pathogens is essential for both diagnosis and response to emerging infectious diseases. The advent of next-generation sequencing technology offers an unprecedented platform for rapid sequencing-based identification of novel viruses. We have developed a customized bioinformatics data analysis pipeline, VirusHunter, for the analysis of Roche/454 and other long read Next generation sequencing platform data. To illustrate the utility of VirusHunter, we performed Roche/454 GS FLX titanium sequencing on two unclassified virus isolates from the World Reference Center for Emerging Viruses and Arboviruses (WRCEVA). VirusHunter identified sequences derived from a novel bunyavirus and a novel reovirus in the two samples respectively. Further sequence analysis demonstrated that the viruses were novel members of the Phlebovirus and Orbivirus genera. Both Phlebovirus and Orbivirus genera include many economic important viruses or serious human pathogens.
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  • 29
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Rupesh Kumar, Ram Ramaswamy, Birendra Nath Mallick Understanding the inherent dynamics of the EEG associated to sleep-waking can provide insights into its basic neural regulation. By characterizing the local properties of the EEG using power spectrum, empirical mode decomposition (EMD) and Hilbert-spectral analysis, we can examine the dynamics over a range of time-scales. We analyzed rat EEG during wake, NREMS and REMS using these methods. The average instantaneous phase, power spectral density (PSD) of intrinsic mode functions (IMFs) and the energy content in various frequency bands show characteristic changes in each of the vigilance states. The 2nd and 7th IMFs show changes in PSD for wake and REMS, suggesting that those modes may carry wake- and REMS-associated cognitive, conscious and behavior-specific information of an individual even though the EEG may appear similar. The energy content in θ 2 (6Hz-9Hz) band of the 1st IMF for REMS is larger than that of wake. The decrease in the phase function of IMFs from wake to REMS to NREMS indicates decrease of the mean frequency in these states, respectively. The rate of information processing in waking state is more in the time scale described by the first three IMFs than in REMS state. However, for IMF5-IMF7, the rate is more for REMS than that for wake. We obtained Hilbert-Huang spectral entropy, which is a suitable measure of information processing in each of these state-specific EEG. It is possible to evaluate the complex dynamics of the EEG in each of the vigilance states by applying measures based on EMD and Hilbert-transform. Our results suggest that the EMD based nonlinear measures of the EEG can provide useful estimates of the information possessed by various oscillations associated with the vigilance states. Further, the EMD-based spectral measures may have implications in understanding anatamo-physiological correlates of sleep-waking behavior and clinical diagnosis of sleep-pathology.
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  • 30
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Mizuki Shimanuki, Lisa Uehara, Tomáš Pluskal, Tomoko Yoshida, Aya Kokubu, Yosuke Kawasaki, Mitsuhiro Yanagida Fission yeast, Schizoaccharomyces pombe, is a model for studying cellular quiescence. Shifting to a medium that lacks a nitrogen-source induces proliferative cells to enter long-term G0 quiescence. Klf1 is a Krüppel-like transcription factor with a 7-amino acid Cys2His2-type zinc finger motif. The deletion mutant, ∆klf1, normally divides in vegetative medium, but proliferation is not restored after long-term G0 quiescence. Cell biologic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic analyses revealed a unique phenotype of the ∆klf1 mutant in quiescence. Mutant cells had diminished transcripts related to signaling molecules for switching to differentiation; however, proliferative metabolites for cell-wall assembly and antioxidants had significantly increased. Further, the size of ∆klf1 cells increased markedly during quiescence due to the aberrant accumulation of Calcofluor-positive, chitin-like materials beneath the cell wall. After 4 weeks of quiescence, reversible proliferation ability was lost, but metabolism was maintained. Klf1 thus plays a role in G0 phase longevity by enhancing the differentiation signal and suppressing metabolism for growth. If Klf1 is lost, S. pombe fails to maintain a constant cell size and normal cell morphology during quiescence.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 31
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Paromita Bag, Durbadal Ojha, Hemanta Mukherjee, Umesh Chandra Halder, Supriya Mondal, Nidhi S. Chandra, Suman Nandi, Ashoke Sharon, Mamta Chawla Sarkar, Sekhar Chakrabarti, Debprasad Chattopadhyay Herpes genitalis, caused by HSV-2, is an incurable genital ulcerative disease transmitted by sexual intercourse. The virus establishes life-long latency in sacral root ganglia and reported to have synergistic relationship with HIV-1 transmission. Till date no effective vaccine is available, while the existing therapy frequently yielded drug resistance, toxicity and treatment failure. Thus, there is a pressing need for non-nucleotide antiviral agent from traditional source. Based on ethnomedicinal use we have isolated a compound 7-methoxy-1-methyl-4,9-dihydro-3 H -pyrido[3,4- b ]indole (HM) from the traditional herb Ophiorrhiza nicobarica Balkr, and evaluated its efficacy on isolates of HSV-2 in vitro and in vivo . The cytotoxicity (CC 50 ), effective concentrations (EC 50 ) and the mode of action of HM was determined by MTT, plaque reduction, time-of-addition, immunofluorescence (IFA), Western blot, qRT-PCR, EMSA, supershift and co-immunoprecipitation assays; while the in vivo toxicity and efficacy was evaluated in BALB/c mice. The results revealed that HM possesses significant anti-HSV-2 activity with EC 50 of 1.1-2.8 µg/ml, and selectivity index of 〉20. The time kinetics and IFA demonstrated that HM dose dependently inhibited 50-99% of HSV-2 infection at 1.5-5.0 µg/ml at 2-4 h post-infection. Further, HM was unable to inhibit viral attachment or penetration and had no synergistic interaction with acyclovir. Moreover, Western blot and qRT-PCR assays demonstrated that HM suppressed viral IE gene expression, while the EMSA and co-immunoprecipitation studies showed that HM interfered with the recruitment of LSD-1 by HCF-1. The in vivo studies revealed that HM at its virucidal concentration was nontoxic and reduced virus yield in the brain of HSV-2 infected mice in a concentration dependent manner, compared to vaginal tissues. Thus, our results suggest that HM can serve as a prototype to develop non-nucleotide antiviral lead targeting the viral IE transcription for the management of HSV-2 infections.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 32
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Dumbala Srinivas Reddy, Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur, Katamreddy Sri Cindhuri, Kiran K. Sharma The quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) based techniques have become essential for gene expression studies and high-throughput molecular characterization of transgenic events. Normalizing to reference gene in relative quantification make results from qPCR more reliable when compared to absolute quantification, but requires robust reference genes. Since, ideal reference gene should be species specific, no single internal control gene is universal for use as a reference gene across various plant developmental stages and diverse growth conditions. Here, we present validation studies of multiple stably expressed reference genes in cultivated peanut with minimal variations in temporal and spatial expression when subjected to various biotic and abiotic stresses. Stability in the expression of eight candidate reference genes including ADH3 , ACT11 , ATPsyn , CYP2 , ELF1B , G6PD , LEC and UBC1 was compared in diverse peanut plant samples. The samples were categorized into distinct experimental sets to check the suitability of candidate genes for accurate and reliable normalization of gene expression using qPCR. Stability in expression of the references genes in eight sets of samples was determined by geNorm and NormFinder methods. While three candidate reference genes including ADH3 , G6PD and ELF1B were identified to be stably expressed across experiments, LEC was observed to be the least stable, and hence must be avoided for gene expression studies in peanut. Inclusion of the former two genes gave sufficiently reliable results; nonetheless, the addition of the third reference gene ELF1B may be potentially better in a diverse set of tissue samples of peanut.
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  • 33
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-10-23
    Description: by Anna Törnroos, Marie C. Nordström, Erik Bonsdorff Due to human impact, there is extensive degradation and loss of marine habitats, which calls for measures that incorporate taxonomic as well as functional and trophic aspects of biodiversity. Since such data is less easily quantifiable in nature, the use of habitats as surrogates or proxies for biodiversity is on the rise in marine conservation and management. However, there is a critical gap in knowledge of whether pre-defined habitat units adequately represent the functional and trophic structure of communities. We also lack comparisons of different measures of community structure in terms of both between- (β) and within-habitat (α) variability when accounting for species densities. Thus, we evaluated a priori defined coastal habitats as surrogates for traditional taxonomic, functional and trophic zoobenthic community structure. We focused on four habitats (bare sand, canopy-forming algae, seagrass above- and belowground), all easily delineated in nature and defined through classification systems. We analyzed uni- and multivariate data on species and trait diversity as well as stable isotope ratios of benthic macrofauna. A good fit between habitat types and taxonomic and functional structure was found, although habitats were more similar functionally. This was attributed to within-habitat heterogeneity so when habitat divisions matched the taxonomic structure, only bare sand was functionally distinct. The pre-defined habitats did not meet the variability of trophic structure, which also proved to differentiate on a smaller spatial scale. The quantification of trophic structure using species density only identified an epi- and an infaunal unit. To summarize the results we present a conceptual model illustrating the match between pre-defined habitat types and the taxonomic, functional and trophic community structure. Our results show the importance of including functional and trophic aspects more comprehensively in marine management and spatial planning.
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  • 34
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-06
    Description: by Rachelle Alpern, Maureen E. Canavan, Jennifer T. Thompson, Zahirah McNatt, Dawit Tatek, Tessa Lindfield, Elizabeth H. Bradley Background Ethiopia is one of 57 countries identified by the World Health Report 2006 as having a severely limited number of health care professionals. In recognition of this shortage, the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, through the Ethiopian Hospital Management Initiative, prioritized the need to improve retention of health care workers. Accordingly, we sought to develop the Satisfaction of Employees in Health Care (SEHC) survey for use in hospitals and health centers throughout Ethiopia. Methods Literature reviews and cognitive interviews were used to generate a staff satisfaction survey for use in the Ethiopian healthcare setting. We pretested the survey in each of the six hospitals and four health centers across Ethiopia (98% response rate). We assessed content validity and convergent validity using factor analysis and examined reliability using the Cronbach alpha coefficients to assess internal consistency. The final survey was comprised of 18 questions about specific aspects of an individual's work and two overall staff satisfaction questions. Results We found support for content validity, as data from the 18 responses factored into three factors, which we characterized as 1) relationship with management and supervisors, 2) job content, and 3) relationships with coworkers. Summary scores for two factors (relationship with management and supervisors and job content) were significantly associated (P-value,
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  • 35
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-06
    Description: by Natalia Y. Boynak, Federico Rojas, Cecilia D’Alessio, Salomé C. Vilchez Larrea, Vanina Rodriguez, Pablo D. Ghiringhelli, María T. Téllez-Iñón Regulation of eukaryotic cell cycle progression requires sequential activation and inactivation of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). Activation of the cyclin B-cdc2 kinase complex is a pivotal step in mitotic initiation and the tyrosine kinase Wee1 is a key regulator of cell cycle sequence during G2/M transition and inhibits mitotic entry by phosphorylating the inhibitory tyrosine 15 on the cdc2 M-phase-inducing kinase. Wee1 degradation is essential for the exit from the G2 phase. In trypanosomatids, little is known about the genes that regulate cyclin B-cdc2 complexes at the G2/M transition of their cell cycle. Although canonical tyrosine kinases are absent in the genome of trypanosomatids, phosphorylation on protein tyrosine residues has been reported in Trypanosoma brucei. Here, we characterized a Wee1-like protein kinase gene from T. brucei . Expression of TbWee1 in a Schizosaccharomyces pombe strain null for Wee1 inhibited cell division and caused cell elongation. This demonstrates the lengthening of G2, which provided cells with extra time to grow before dividing. The Wee1-like protein kinase was expressed in the procyclic and bloodstream proliferative slender forms of T. brucei and the role of Wee1 in cell cycle progression was analyzed by generating RNA interference cell lines. In the procyclic form of T. brucei , the knock-down of TbWee1 expression by RNAi led to inhibition of parasite growth. Abnormal phenotypes showing an increase in the percentage of cells with 1N0K, 0N1K and 2N1K were observed in these RNAi cell lines. Using parasites with a synchronized cell cycle, we demonstrated that TbWee1 is linked to the G2/M phase. We also showed that TbWee1 is an essential gene necessary for proper cell cycle progression and parasite growth in T. brucei . Our results provide evidence for the existence of a functional Wee1 in T. brucei with a potential role in cell division at G2/M.
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  • 36
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-06
    Description: by Nicole Gruber, Ludwig Kreuzpointner As frequently reported, psychometric assessments on Picture Story Exercises, especially variations of the Thematic Apperception Test, mostly reveal inadequate scores for internal consistency. We demonstrate that the reason for this apparent shortcoming is not caused by the coding system itself but from the incorrect use of internal consistency coefficients, especially Cronbach’s α. This problem could be eliminated by using the category-scores as items instead of the picture-scores. In addition to a theoretical explanation we prove mathematically why the use of category-scores produces an adequate internal consistency estimation and examine our idea empirically with the origin data set of the Thematic Apperception Test by Heckhausen and two additional data sets. We found generally higher values when using the category-scores as items instead of picture-scores. From an empirical and theoretical point of view, the estimated reliability is also superior to each category within a picture as item measuring. When comparing our suggestion with a multifaceted Rasch-model we provide evidence that our procedure better fits the underlying principles of PSE.
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  • 37
    Publication Date: 2013-11-06
    Description: by Lingling Wang, Ayat Hatem, Umit V. Catalyurek, Mark Morrison, Zhongtang Yu The ruminal microbial community is a unique source of enzymes that underpin the conversion of cellulosic biomass. In this study, the microbial consortia adherent on solid digesta in the rumen of Jersey cattle were subjected to an activity-based metagenomic study to explore the genetic diversity of carbohydrolytic enzymes in Jersey cows, with a particular focus on cellulases and xylanases. Pyrosequencing and bioinformatic analyses of 120 carbohydrate-active fosmids identified genes encoding 575 putative Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes (CAZymes) and proteins putatively related to transcriptional regulation, transporters, and signal transduction coupled with polysaccharide degradation and metabolism. Most of these genes shared little similarity to sequences archived in databases. Genes that were predicted to encode glycoside hydrolases (GH) involved in xylan and cellulose hydrolysis (e.g., GH3, 5, 9, 10, 39 and 43) were well represented. A new subfamily (S-8) of GH5 was identified from contigs assigned to Firmicutes . These subfamilies of GH5 proteins also showed significant phylum-dependent distribution. A number of polysaccharide utilization loci (PULs) were found, and two of them contained genes encoding Sus-like proteins and cellulases that have not been reported in previous metagenomic studies of samples from the rumens of cows or other herbivores. Comparison with the large metagenomic datasets previously reported of other ruminant species (or cattle breeds) and wallabies showed that the rumen microbiome of Jersey cows might contain differing CAZymes. Future studies are needed to further explore how host genetics and diets affect the diversity and distribution of CAZymes and utilization of plant cell wall materials.
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  • 38
    Publication Date: 2013-11-06
    Description: by Takuya Yamane, Sayaka Suzui, Hirotake Kitaura, Kazuko Takahashi-Niki, Sanae M. M. Iguchi-Ariga, Hiroyoshi Ariga DJ-1 is an oncogene and also causative gene for familial Parkinson’s disease. DJ-1 has multiple functions, including transcriptional regulation. DJ-1 acts as a coactivator that binds to various transcription factors, resulting in stimulation or repression of the expression of their target genes. In this study, we found that the cholecystokinin (CCK) gene is a transcriptional target gene for DJ-1. CCK is a peptide hormone and plays roles in contraction of the gallbladder and in promotion of secretion of pancreatic fluid. CCK is co-localized with dopamine in the substantia nigra to regulate release of dopamine. Reduced expression of CCK mRNA was observed in DJ-1-knockdown cells. The Ras-responsive element (RRE) and Sp1 site were essential for promoter activity, and DJ-1 stimulated promoter activity by binding to RRE-binding protein 1 (RREBP1). The complex of DJ-1 with RREB1 but not with Sp1 bound to the RRE. Furthermore, the reduced CCK level in the serum from DJ-1-knockout mice compared to that from wild-type mice was observed. This is the first report showing that DJ-1 participates in peptide hormone synthesis.
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  • 39
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-06
    Description: by Tao Zhang, Ningning Rong, Juan Chen, Chengwei Zou, Haiyan Jing, Xiaolong Zhu, Wenlong Zhang Aim The role of Sirtuin 1 (SIRT 1) in carcinogenesis is controversial. This study was to explore the association between the SIRT1 expression and the clinical characteristics, the responsiveness to chemotherapy and prognosis in Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Methods We enrolled 295 patients with inoperable advanced stage of NSCLC, namely, stage III (A+B) and IV NSCLC. All patients had received platinum-based chemotherapy after diagnosis and the chemotherapy response were evaluated. All patients were followed up for overall survival (OS) and progression free survival (PFS). In vitro , H292 cells were tranfected with SIRT1 small interfering RNA (siRNA). The cell biological behaviors and chemosensitivity to cisplatin treatment were studied. The in vivo tumorgenesis and metastasis assays were performed in nude mice. Results We found that the SIRT1 expressions were significantly associated with the tumor stage, tumor size and differentiation status. Patients with high SIRT 1 expressions had a significantly higher chance to be resistant to chemotherapy than those with low SIRT 1 expression. Patients with high expression of SIRT1 had significantly shorter OS and DFS than those with low expression. Cox analyses confirmed that the SIRT 1 expression was a strong predictor for a poor OS and PFS in NSCLC patients underwent Platinum-based chemotherapy. In vitro studies revealed that the reduced expression SIRT 1 by siRNA technique significantly inhibited cell proliferation, migration and invasion. More importantly, SIRT1 si-RNA significantly enhanced the chemosensitivity of H292 cells to cisplatin treatment. The in vivo tumorgenesis and metastasis assays showed that SIRT1 knockdown dramatically reduced the tumor volume and the metastatic ability in nude mice. Conclusion Collectively, our data suggest that the SIRT1 expression may be a molecular marker associated with the NSLCLC clinical features, treatment responsiveness and prognosis of advanced NSCLC.
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  • 40
    Publication Date: 2013-11-06
    Description: by Kuanfeng Xu, Xiaoyun Liu, Fan Yang, Dai Cui, Yun Shi, Chong Shen, Wei Tang, Tao Yang A meta-analysis was performed to assess the association between the PAI-1 -675 4G/5G polymorphism and susceptibility to diabetes mellitus (DM), diabetic nephropathy (DN), diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic coronary artery disease (CAD). A literature-based search was conducted to identify all relevant studies. The fixed or random effect pooled measure was calculated mainly at the allele level to determine heterogeneity bias among studies. Further stratified analyses and sensitivity analyses were also performed. Publication bias was examined by the modified Begg’s and Egger’s test. Twenty published articles with twenty-seven outcomes were included in the meta-analysis: 6 studies with a total of 1,333 cases and 3,011 controls were analyzed for the PAI-1 -675 4G/5G polymorphism with diabetes risk, 7 studies with 1,060 cases and 1,139 controls for DN risk, 10 studies with 1,327 cases and 1,557 controls for DR and 4 studies with 610 cases and 1,042 controls for diabetic CAD risk respectively. Using allelic comparison (4G vs. 5G), the PAI-1 -675 4G/5G polymorphism was observed to have no significant association with diabetes (REM OR 1.07, 95% CI 0.96, 1.20), DN (REM OR 1.10, 95% CI 0.98, 1.25), DR (REM OR 1.09, 95% CI 0.97, 1.22) or diabetic CAD risk (REM OR 1.07, 95% CI 0.81, 1.42), and similar results were obtained in the dominant, recessive and co-dominant models. Our meta-analyses suggest that the PAI-1 -675 4G/5G polymorphism might not be a risk factor for DM, DN, DR or diabetic CAD risk in the populations investigated. This conclusion warrants confirmation by further studies.
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  • 41
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-11-07
    Description: by Torbjørn Skardhamar, Vegard Skirbekk Background Registered offenders are known to have a higher mortality rate, but given the high proportion of offenders with drug-addiction, particularly among offenders with a custodial sentence, higher mortality is expected. While the level of overall mortality compared to the non-criminal population is of interest in itself, we also estimate the risk of death by criminal records related to substance abuse and other types of criminal acts, and separate between those who receive a prison sentence or not. Methods Age-adjusted relative risks of death for 2000–2008 were studied in a population based dataset. Our dataset comprise the total Norwegian population of 2.9 million individuals aged 15–69 years old in 1999, of whom 10% had a criminal record in the 1992–1999 period. Results Individuals with a criminal record have twice the relative risk (RR) of death of the control group (non-offenders). Males with a record of use/possession of drugs and a prison record have an 11.9 RR (females, 15.6); males with a drug record but no prison record have a 6.9 RR (females 10.5). Males imprisoned for driving under the influence of substances have a 4.4 RR (females 5.6); males with a record of driving under the influence but no prison sentence have a 3.2 RR (females 6.5). Other male offenders with a prison record have a 2.8 RR (females 3.7); other male offenders with no prison record have a 1.7 RR (females 2.3). Conclusion Significantly higher mortality was found for people with a criminal record, also for those without any record of drug use. Mortality is much higher for those convicted of substance-related crimes: more so for drug- than for alcohol-related crimes and for women.
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  • 42
    Publication Date: 2013-11-07
    Description: by Fan Wang, Jin Zheng, Ping Ye, Leiming Luo, Yongyi Bai, Ruyi Xu, Li Sheng, Tiehui Xiao, Hongmei Wu Background Reduced kidney function is independently associated with low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), those on hemodialysis, and those with stage 3–5 chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, epidemiological data investigating the relationship between HDL-C levels and kidney function in the general population with roughly normal kidney function are limited, and the results are also inconsistent. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between HDL-C levels and the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in a community-based population in China. Methods This was a community-based cross-sectional survey. In total, 4925 participants (age range, 18–96 years; mean, 51.30±11.98 years) were recruited during routine health status examinations. A questionnaire was used to ascertain age, smoking status, and the history of hypertension and diabetes mellitus for each participant. We measured the body mass index, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and fasting glucose, total cholesterol, triglyceride, HDL-C, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, uric acid, and serum creatinine level of each participant. eGFR was evaluated using the Chinese modified Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation. Results The HDL-C level was higher in the first quartile (lowest quartile) of eGFR than in the fourth quartile (the highest quartile). Additionally, HDL-C levels decreased as eGFR decreased. Pearson’s correlation analysis revealed that HDL-C levels were associated with eGFR (r=0.16). After adjustment for some confounders, HDL-C was independently associated with all quartiles of eGFR in the participants. Conclusions HDL-C was independently associated with kidney function in a community-dwelling general population. The association between low HDL-C levels and a decreased eGFR gradually strengthened as eGFR declined.
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  • 43
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-11-07
    Description: by Ruixin Hao, Maria Bondesson, Amar V. Singh, Anne Riu, Catherine W. McCollum, Thomas B. Knudsen, Daniel A. Gorelick, Jan-Åke Gustafsson Estrogen signaling is important for vertebrate embryonic development. Here we have used zebrafish ( Danio rerio ) as a vertebrate model to analyze estrogen signaling during development. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to 1 µM 17β-estradiol (E2) or vehicle from 3 hours to 4 days post fertilization (dpf), harvested at 1, 2, 3 and 4 dpf, and subjected to RNA extraction for transcriptome analysis using microarrays. Differentially expressed genes by E2-treatment were analyzed with hierarchical clustering followed by biological process and tissue enrichment analysis. Markedly distinct sets of genes were up and down-regulated by E2 at the four different time points. Among these genes, only the well-known estrogenic marker vtg1 was co-regulated at all time points. Despite this, the biological functional categories targeted by E2 were relatively similar throughout zebrafish development. According to knowledge-based tissue enrichment, estrogen responsive genes were clustered mainly in the liver, pancreas and brain. This was in line with the developmental dynamics of estrogen-target tissues that were visualized using transgenic zebrafish containing estrogen responsive elements driving the expression of GFP ( Tg ( 5xERE:GFP )). Finally, the identified embryonic estrogen-responsive genes were compared to already published estrogen-responsive genes identified in male adult zebrafish (Gene Expression Omnibus database). The expressions of a few genes were co-regulated by E2 in both embryonic and adult zebrafish. These could potentially be used as estrogenic biomarkers for exposure to estrogens or estrogenic endocrine disruptors in zebrafish. In conclusion, our data suggests that estrogen effects on early embryonic zebrafish development are stage- and tissue- specific.
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  • 44
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-07
    Description: by Peter H. Goff, Dirk Eggink, Christopher W. Seibert, Rong Hai, Luis Martínez-Gil, Florian Krammer, Peter Palese The global population remains vulnerable in the face of the next pandemic influenza virus outbreak, and reformulated vaccinations are administered annually to manage seasonal epidemics. Therefore, development of a new generation of vaccines is needed to generate broad and persistent immunity to influenza viruses. Here, we describe three adjuvants that enhance the induction of stalk-directed antibodies against heterologous and heterosubtypic influenza viruses when administered with chimeric HA proteins. Addavax, an MF59-like nanoemulsion, poly(I:C), and an RNA hairpin derived from Sendai virus (SeV) Cantell were efficacious intramuscularly. The SeV RNA and poly(I:C) also proved to be effective respiratory mucosal adjuvants. Although the quantity and quality of antibodies induced by the adjuvants varied, immunized mice demonstrated comparable levels of protection against challenge with influenza A viruses on the basis of HA stalk reactivity. Finally, we present that intranasally, but not intramuscularly, administered chimeric HA proteins induce mucosal IgA antibodies directed at the HA stalk.
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  • 45
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-07
    Description: by Vadim Zotev, Raquel Phillips, Kymberly D. Young, Wayne C. Drevets, Jerzy Bodurka We observed in a previous study (PLoS ONE 6:e24522) that the self-regulation of amygdala activity via real-time fMRI neurofeedback (rtfMRI-nf) with positive emotion induction was associated, in healthy participants, with an enhancement in the functional connectivity between the left amygdala (LA) and six regions of the prefrontal cortex. These regions included the left rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC), bilateral dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC), bilateral superior frontal gyrus (SFG), and right medial frontopolar cortex (MFPC). Together with the LA, these six prefrontal regions thus formed the functional neuroanatomical network engaged during the rtfMRI-nf procedure. Here we perform a structural vector autoregression (SVAR) analysis of the effective connectivity for this network. The SVAR analysis demonstrates that the left rACC plays an important role during the rtfMRI-nf training, modulating the LA and the other network regions. According to the analysis, the rtfMRI-nf training leads to a significant enhancement in the time-lagged effect of the left rACC on the LA, potentially consistent with the ipsilateral distribution of the monosynaptic projections between these regions. The training is also accompanied by significant increases in the instantaneous (contemporaneous) effects of the left rACC on four other regions – the bilateral DMPFC, the right MFPC, and the left SFG. The instantaneous effects of the LA on the bilateral DMPFC are also significantly enhanced. Our results are consistent with a broad literature supporting the role of the rACC in emotion processing and regulation. Our exploratory analysis provides, for the first time, insights into the causal relationships within the network of regions engaged during the rtfMRI-nf procedure targeting the amygdala. It suggests that the rACC may constitute a promising target for rtfMRI-nf training along with the amygdala in patients with affective disorders, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
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  • 46
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Alexandra S. Penn, Christopher J. K. Knight, David J. B. Lloyd, Daniele Avitabile, Kasper Kok, Frank Schiller, Amy Woodward, Angela Druckman, Lauren Basson Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping (FCM) is a widely used participatory modelling methodology in which stakeholders collaboratively develop a ‘cognitive map’ (a weighted, directed graph), representing the perceived causal structure of their system. This can be directly transformed by a workshop facilitator into simple mathematical models to be interrogated by participants by the end of the session. Such simple models provide thinking tools which can be used for discussion and exploration of complex issues, as well as sense checking the implications of suggested causal links. They increase stakeholder motivation and understanding of whole systems approaches, but cannot be separated from an intersubjective participatory context. Standard FCM methodologies make simplifying assumptions, which may strongly influence results, presenting particular challenges and opportunities. We report on a participatory process, involving local companies and organisations, focussing on the development of a bio-based economy in the Humber region. The initial cognitive map generated consisted of factors considered key for the development of the regional bio-based economy and their directional, weighted, causal interconnections. A verification and scenario generation procedure, to check the structure of the map and suggest modifications, was carried out with a second session. Participants agreed on updates to the original map and described two alternate potential causal structures. In a novel analysis all map structures were tested using two standard methodologies usually used independently: linear and sigmoidal FCMs, demonstrating some significantly different results alongside some broad similarities. We suggest a development of FCM methodology involving a sensitivity analysis with different mappings and discuss the use of this technique in the context of our case study. Using the results and analysis of our process, we discuss the limitations and benefits of the FCM methodology in this case and in general. We conclude by proposing an extended FCM methodology, including multiple functional mappings within one participant-constructed graph.
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  • 47
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Cindy M. Dierikx, Jeanet A. van der Goot, Hilde E. Smith, Arie Kant, Dik J. Mevius Broilers and broiler meat products are highly contaminated with extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) or plasmid-mediated AmpC beta-lactamase producing Escherichia coli and are considered to be a source for human infections. Both horizontal and vertical transmission might play a role in the presence of these strains in broilers. As not much is known about the presence of these strains in the whole production pyramid, the epidemiology of ESBL/AmpC-producing E. coli in the Dutch broiler production pyramid was examined. Cloacal swabs of Grandparent stock (GPS) birds (one−/two-days (breed A and B), 18 and 31 weeks old (breed A)), one-day old Parent stock birds (breed A and B) and broiler chickens of increasing age (breed A) were selectively cultured to detect ESBL/AmpC-producing isolates. ESBL/AmpC-producing isolates were found at all levels in the broiler production pyramid in both broiler breeds examined. Prevalence was already relatively high at the top of the broiler production pyramid. At broiler farms ESBL/AmpC producing E. coli were still present in the environment of the poultry house after cleaning and disinfection. Feed samples taken in the poultry house also became contaminated with ESBL/AmpC producing E. coli after one or more production weeks. The prevalence of ESBL/AmpC-positive birds at broiler farms increased within the first week from 0–24% to 96–100% independent of the use of antibiotics and stayed 100% until slaughter. In GPS breed A, prevalence at 2 days, 18 weeks and 31 weeks stayed below 50% except when beta-lactam antibiotics were administered. In that case prevalence increased to 100%. Interventions minimizing ESBL/AmpC contamination in broilers should focus on preventing horizontal and vertical spread, especially in relation to broiler production farms.
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  • 48
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Shuo Pan, Zi-Xiang Yu, Yi-Tong Ma, Fen Liu, Yi-Ning Yang, Xiang Ma, Zhen-Yan Fu, Xiao-Mei Li, Xiang Xie, You Chen, Bangdang Chen, Chun-Hui He Objective The current overweight and central adiposity guidelines based on Western populations were not consistent with many studied based on the Asian populations. Uighur people live in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region which is located in the center of Asia. Their overweight and central cutoffs were largely unknown. We aimed to identify cutoffs for body mass index (BMI; in kg/m 2 ) and waist circumference (WC; in cm) for categorization of overweight and central adiposity among Uighur adults in Xinjiang. Methods 4767 Uighur participants were selected from the Cardiovascular Risk Survey (CRS) which was carried out from October 2007 to March 2010. The age of the participants were from 35 to 101 years old with the mean age of 50.09 years. Anthropometric data, blood pressure, serum concentration of serum total cholesterol, triglyceride, low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density lipoprotein (HDL) and fasting glucose were documented. The prevalence, sensitivity, specificity and distance on the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of each BMI and waist circumference values were calculated. Results The prevalence of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia were higher with higher BMI for both men and women. The prevalence of hypertension and hypercholesterolemia were higher with higher waist circumference for both men and women. In women, the prevalence of hypertriglyceridemia was noticed to increase as the waist circumference increased. The shortest distance in the receiver operating characteristic curves for hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, or ≥ 2 of these risk factors suggested a BMI cutoff of 26 and a waist circumference cutoff of 90 cm for both men and women. Conclusions Higher cutoffs for BMI and waist circumference are needed in the identification of Uighur patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
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  • 49
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Isabelle Bergiers, Laure Bridoux, Nathan Nguyen, Jean-Claude Twizere, René Rezsöhazy Hox proteins are conserved homeodomain transcription factors known to be crucial regulators of animal development. As transcription factors, the functions and modes of action (co-factors, target genes) of Hox proteins have been very well studied in a multitude of animal models. However, a handful of reports established that Hox proteins may display molecular activities distinct from gene transcription regulation. Here, we reveal that Hoxa2 interacts with 20S proteasome subunits and RCHY1 (also known as PIRH2), an E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets p53 for degradation. We further show that Hoxa2 promotes proteasome-dependent degradation of RCHY1 in an ubiquitin-independent manner. Correlatively, Hoxa2 alters the RCHY1-mediated ubiquitination of p53 and promotes p53 stabilization. Together, our data establish that Hoxa2 can regulate the proteasomal degradation of RCHY1 and stabilization of p53.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 50
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Frank O. Odhiambo, Caryl M. Beynon, Sheila Ogwang, Mary J. Hamel, Olivia Howland, Anne M. van Eijk, Robyn Norton, Nyaguara Amek, Laurence Slutsker, Kayla F. Laserson, Kevin M. De Cock, Penelope A. Phillips-Howard Background Information on trauma-related deaths in low and middle income countries is limited but needed to target public health interventions. Data from a health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) were examined to characterise such deaths in rural western Kenya. Methods And Findings Verbal autopsy data were analysed. Of 11,147 adult deaths between 2003 and 2008, 447 (4%) were attributed to trauma; 71% of these were in males. Trauma contributed 17% of all deaths in males 15 to 24 years; on a population basis mortality rates were greatest in persons over 65 years. Intentional causes accounted for a higher proportion of male than female deaths (RR 2.04, 1.37-3.04) and a higher proportion of deaths of those aged 15 to 65 than older people. Main causes in males were assaults (n=79, 25%) and road traffic injuries (n=47, 15%); and falls for females (n=17, 13%). A significantly greater proportion of deaths from poisoning (RR 5.0, 2.7-9.4) and assault (RR 1.8, 1.2-2.6) occurred among regular consumers of alcohol than among non-regular drinkers. In multivariate analysis, males had a 4-fold higher risk of death from trauma than females (Adjusted Relative Risk; ARR 4.0; 95% CI 1.7-9.4); risk of a trauma death rose with age, with the elderly at 7-fold higher risk (ARR 7.3, 1.1-49.2). Absence of care was the strongest predictor of trauma death (ARR 12.2, 9.4-15.8). Trauma-related deaths were higher among regular alcohol drinkers (ARR 1.5, 1.1-1.9) compared with non-regular drinkers. Conclusions While trauma accounts for a small proportion of deaths in this rural area with a high prevalence of HIV, TB and malaria, preventive interventions such as improved road safety, home safety strategies for the elderly, and curbing harmful use of alcohol, are available and could help diminish this burden. Improvements in systems to record underlying causes of death from trauma are required.
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  • 51
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Qing Tian Li, Pei Xun Zhang, Xiao Feng Yin, Na Han, Yu Hui Kou, Jiu Xu Deng, Bao Guo Jiang Functional recovery is usually poor following peripheral nerve injury when reinnervation is delayed. Early innervation by sensory nerve has been indicated to prevent atrophy of the denervated muscle. It is hypothesized that early protection with sensory axons is adequate to improve functional recovery of skeletal muscle following prolonged denervation of mixed nerve injury. In this study, four groups of rats received surgical denervation of the tibial nerve. The proximal and distal stumps of the tibial nerve were ligated in all animals except for those in the immediate repair group. The experimental groups underwent denervation with nerve protection of peroneal nerve (mixed protection) or sural nerve (sensory protection). The experimental and unprotected groups had a stage II surgery in which the trimmed proximal and distal tibial nerve stumps were sutured together. After 3 months of recovery, electrophysiological, histological and morphometric parameters were assessed. It was detected that the significant muscle atrophy and a good preserved structure of the muscle were observed in the unprotected and protective experimental groups, respectively. Significantly fewer numbers of regenerated myelinated axons were observed in the sensory-protected group. Enhanced recovery in the mixed protection group was indicated by the results of the muscle contraction force tests, regenerated myelinated fiber, and the results of the histological analysis. Our results suggest that early axons protection by mixed nerve may complement sensory axons which are required for promoting functional recovery of the denervated muscle natively innervated by mixed nerve.
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  • 52
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Peter Godfrey-Smith, Manolo Martínez Explaining the maintenance of communicative behavior in the face of incentives to deceive, conceal information, or exaggerate is an important problem in behavioral biology. When the interests of agents diverge, some form of signal cost is often seen as essential to maintaining honesty. Here, novel computational methods are used to investigate the role of common interest between the sender and receiver of messages in maintaining cost-free informative signaling in a signaling game. Two measures of common interest are defined. These quantify the divergence between sender and receiver in their preference orderings over acts the receiver might perform in each state of the world. Sampling from a large space of signaling games finds that informative signaling is possible at equilibrium with zero common interest in both senses. Games of this kind are rare, however, and the proportion of games that include at least one equilibrium in which informative signals are used increases monotonically with common interest. Common interest as a predictor of informative signaling also interacts with the extent to which agents' preferences vary with the state of the world. Our findings provide a quantitative description of the relation between common interest and informative signaling, employing exact measures of common interest, information use, and contingency of payoff under environmental variation that may be applied to a wide range of models and empirical systems.
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  • 53
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Ashwini Patil, Yutaro Kumagai, Kuo-ching Liang, Yutaka Suzuki, Kenta Nakai The innate immune response is primarily mediated by the Toll-like receptors functioning through the MyD88-dependent and TRIF-dependent pathways. Despite being widely studied, it is not yet completely understood and systems-level analyses have been lacking. In this study, we identified a high-probability network of genes activated during the innate immune response using a novel approach to analyze time-course gene expression profiles of activated immune cells in combination with a large gene regulatory and protein-protein interaction network. We classified the immune response into three consecutive time-dependent stages and identified the most probable paths between genes showing a significant change in expression at each stage. The resultant network contained several novel and known regulators of the innate immune response, many of which did not show any observable change in expression at the sampled time points. The response network shows the dominance of genes from specific functional classes during different stages of the immune response. It also suggests a role for the protein phosphatase 2a catalytic subunit α in the regulation of the immunoproteasome during the late phase of the response. In order to clarify the differences between the MyD88-dependent and TRIF-dependent pathways in the innate immune response, time-course gene expression profiles from MyD88-knockout and TRIF-knockout dendritic cells were analyzed. Their response networks suggest the dominance of the MyD88-dependent pathway in the innate immune response, and an association of the circadian regulators and immunoproteasomal degradation with the TRIF-dependent pathway. The response network presented here provides the most probable associations between genes expressed in the early and the late phases of the innate immune response, while taking into account the intermediate regulators. We propose that the method described here can also be used in the identification of time-dependent gene sub-networks in other biological systems.
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  • 54
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Jakob J. Metzger, Stephan Eule Muller's ratchet is a paradigmatic model for the accumulation of deleterious mutations in a population of finite size. A click of the ratchet occurs when all individuals with the least number of deleterious mutations are lost irreversibly due to a stochastic fluctuation. In spite of the simplicity of the model, a quantitative understanding of the process remains an open challenge. In contrast to previous works, we here study a Moran model of the ratchet with overlapping generations. Employing an approximation which describes the fittest individuals as one class and the rest as a second class, we obtain closed analytical expressions of the ratchet rate in the rare clicking regime. As a click in this regime is caused by a rare, large fluctuation from a metastable state, we do not resort to a diffusion approximation but apply an approximation scheme which is especially well suited to describe extinction events from metastable states. This method also allows for a derivation of expressions for the quasi-stationary distribution of the fittest class. Additionally, we confirm numerically that the formulation with overlapping generations leads to the same results as the diffusion approximation and the corresponding Wright-Fisher model with non-overlapping generations.
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  • 55
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Kejian Wang, Jiazhi Sun, Shufeng Zhou, Chunling Wan, Shengying Qin, Can Li, Lin He, Lun Yang Small drug molecules usually bind to multiple protein targets or even unintended off-targets. Such drug promiscuity has often led to unwanted or unexplained drug reactions, resulting in side effects or drug repositioning opportunities. So it is always an important issue in pharmacology to identify potential drug-target interactions (DTI). However, DTI discovery by experiment remains a challenging task, due to high expense of time and resources. Many computational methods are therefore developed to predict DTI with high throughput biological and clinical data. Here, we initiatively demonstrate that the on-target and off-target effects could be characterized by drug-induced in vitro genomic expression changes, e.g. the data in Connectivity Map (CMap). Thus, unknown ligands of a certain target can be found from the compounds showing high gene-expression similarity to the known ligands. Then to clarify the detailed practice of CMap based DTI prediction, we objectively evaluate how well each target is characterized by CMap. The results suggest that (1) some targets are better characterized than others, so the prediction models specific to these well characterized targets would be more accurate and reliable; (2) in some cases, a family of ligands for the same target tend to interact with common off-targets, which may help increase the efficiency of DTI discovery and explain the mechanisms of complicated drug actions. In the present study, CMap expression similarity is proposed as a novel indicator of drug-target interactions. The detailed strategies of improving data quality by decreasing the batch effect and building prediction models are also effectively established. We believe the success in CMap can be further translated into other public and commercial data of genomic expression, thus increasing research productivity towards valid drug repositioning and minimal side effects.
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  • 56
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Guido Scarabelli, Barry J. Grant Kinesin motor proteins drive intracellular transport by coupling ATP hydrolysis to conformational changes that mediate directed movement along microtubules. Characterizing these distinct conformations and their interconversion mechanism is essential to determining an atomic-level model of kinesin action. Here we report a comprehensive principal component analysis of 114 experimental structures along with the results of conventional and accelerated molecular dynamics simulations that together map the structural dynamics of the kinesin motor domain. All experimental structures were found to reside in one of three distinct conformational clusters (ATP-like, ADP-like and Eg5 inhibitor-bound). These groups differ in the orientation of key functional elements, most notably the microtubule binding α4–α5, loop8 subdomain and α2b-β4-β6-β7 motor domain tip. Group membership was found not to correlate with the nature of the bound nucleotide in a given structure. However, groupings were coincident with distinct neck-linker orientations. Accelerated molecular dynamics simulations of ATP, ADP and nucleotide free Eg5 indicate that all three nucleotide states could sample the major crystallographically observed conformations. Differences in the dynamic coupling of distal sites were also evident. In multiple ATP bound simulations, the neck-linker, loop8 and the α4–α5 subdomain display correlated motions that are absent in ADP bound simulations. Further dissection of these couplings provides evidence for a network of dynamic communication between the active site, microtubule-binding interface and neck-linker via loop7 and loop13. Additional simulations indicate that the mutations G325A and G326A in loop13 reduce the flexibility of these regions and disrupt their couplings. Our combined results indicate that the reported ATP and ADP-like conformations of kinesin are intrinsically accessible regardless of nucleotide state and support a model where neck-linker docking leads to a tighter coupling of the microtubule and nucleotide binding regions. Furthermore, simulations highlight sites critical for large-scale conformational changes and the allosteric coupling between distal functional sites.
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  • 57
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Ridvan Eksi, Hong-Dong Li, Rajasree Menon, Yuchen Wen, Gilbert S. Omenn, Matthias Kretzler, Yuanfang Guan Integrating large-scale functional genomic data has significantly accelerated our understanding of gene functions. However, no algorithm has been developed to differentiate functions for isoforms of the same gene using high-throughput genomic data. This is because standard supervised learning requires ‘ground-truth’ functional annotations, which are lacking at the isoform level. To address this challenge, we developed a generic framework that interrogates public RNA-seq data at the transcript level to differentiate functions for alternatively spliced isoforms. For a specific function, our algorithm identifies the ‘responsible’ isoform(s) of a gene and generates classifying models at the isoform level instead of at the gene level. Through cross-validation, we demonstrated that our algorithm is effective in assigning functions to genes, especially the ones with multiple isoforms, and robust to gene expression levels and removal of homologous gene pairs. We identified genes in the mouse whose isoforms are predicted to have disparate functionalities and experimentally validated the ‘responsible’ isoforms using data from mammary tissue. With protein structure modeling and experimental evidence, we further validated the predicted isoform functional differences for the genes Cdkn2a and Anxa6 . Our generic framework is the first to predict and differentiate functions for alternatively spliced isoforms, instead of genes, using genomic data. It is extendable to any base machine learner and other species with alternatively spliced isoforms, and shifts the current gene-centered function prediction to isoform-level predictions.
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  • 58
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Denis Valle, James Clark The study of the effect of large-scale drivers (e.g., climate) of human diseases typically relies on aggregate disease data collected by the government surveillance network. The usual approach to analyze these data, however, often ignores a) changes in the total number of individuals examined, b) the bias towards symptomatic individuals in routine government surveillance, and; c) the influence that observations can have on disease dynamics. Here, we highlight the consequences of ignoring the problems listed above and develop a novel modeling framework to circumvent them, which is illustrated using simulations and real malaria data. Our simulations reveal that trends in the number of disease cases do not necessarily imply similar trends in infection prevalence or incidence, due to the strong influence of concurrent changes in sampling effort. We also show that ignoring decreases in the pool of infected individuals due to the treatment of part of these individuals can hamper reliable inference on infection incidence. We propose a model that avoids these problems, being a compromise between phenomenological statistical models and mechanistic disease dynamics models; in particular, a cross-validation exercise reveals that it has better out-of-sample predictive performance than both of these alternative models. Our case study in the Brazilian Amazon reveals that infection prevalence was high in 2004–2008 (prevalence of 4% with 95% CI of 3–5%), with outbreaks (prevalence up to 18%) occurring during the dry season of the year. After this period, infection prevalence decreased substantially (0.9% with 95% CI of 0.8–1.1%), which is due to a large reduction in infection incidence (i.e., incidence in 2008–2010 was approximately one fifth of the incidence in 2004–2008).We believe that our approach to modeling government surveillance disease data will be useful to advance current understanding of large-scale drivers of several diseases.
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  • 59
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Biyu J. He, John M. Zempel It is well known that even under identical task conditions, there is a tremendous amount of trial-to-trial variability in both brain activity and behavioral output. Thus far the vast majority of event-related potential (ERP) studies investigating the relationship between trial-to-trial fluctuations in brain activity and behavioral performance have only tested a monotonic relationship between them. However, it was recently found that across-trial variability can correlate with behavioral performance independent of trial-averaged activity. This finding predicts a U- or inverted-U- shaped relationship between trial-to-trial brain activity and behavioral output, depending on whether larger brain variability is associated with better or worse behavior, respectively. Using a visual stimulus detection task, we provide evidence from human electrocorticography (ECoG) for an inverted-U brain-behavior relationship: When the raw fluctuation in broadband ECoG activity is closer to the across-trial mean, hit rate is higher and reaction times faster. Importantly, we show that this relationship is present not only in the post-stimulus task-evoked brain activity, but also in the pre-stimulus spontaneous brain activity, suggesting anticipatory brain dynamics. Our findings are consistent with the presence of stochastic noise in the brain. They further support attractor network theories, which postulate that the brain settles into a more confined state space under task performance, and proximity to the targeted trajectory is associated with better performance.
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  • 60
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Varun B. Kothamachu, Elisenda Feliu, Carsten Wiuf, Luca Cardelli, Orkun S. Soyer Achieving a complete understanding of cellular signal transduction requires deciphering the relation between structural and biochemical features of a signaling system and the shape of the signal-response relationship it embeds. Using explicit analytical expressions and numerical simulations, we present here this relation for four-layered phosphorelays, which are signaling systems that are ubiquitous in prokaryotes and also found in lower eukaryotes and plants. We derive an analytical expression that relates the shape of the signal-response relationship in a relay to the kinetic rates of forward, reverse phosphorylation and hydrolysis reactions. This reveals a set of mathematical conditions which, when satisfied, dictate the shape of the signal-response relationship. We find that a specific topology also observed in nature can satisfy these conditions in such a way to allow plasticity among hyperbolic and sigmoidal signal-response relationships. Particularly, the shape of the signal-response relationship of this relay topology can be tuned by altering kinetic rates and total protein levels at different parts of the relay. These findings provide an important step towards predicting response dynamics of phosphorelays, and the nature of subsequent physiological responses that they mediate, solely from topological features and few composite measurements; measuring the ratio of reverse and forward phosphorylation rate constants could be sufficient to determine the shape of the signal-response relationship the relay exhibits. Furthermore, they highlight the potential ways in which selective pressures on signal processing could have played a role in the evolution of the observed structural and biochemical characteristic in phosphorelays.
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  • 61
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Natalie Berestovsky, Wanding Zhou, Deepak Nagrath, Luay Nakhleh The behavior and phenotypic changes of cells are governed by a cellular circuitry that represents a set of biochemical reactions. Based on biological functions, this circuitry is divided into three types of networks, each encoding for a major biological process: signal transduction, transcription regulation, and metabolism. This division has generally enabled taming computational complexity dealing with the entire system, allowed for using modeling techniques that are specific to each of the components, and achieved separation of the different time scales at which reactions in each of the three networks occur. Nonetheless, with this division comes loss of information and power needed to elucidate certain cellular phenomena. Within the cell, these three types of networks work in tandem, and each produces signals and/or substances that are used by the others to process information and operate normally. Therefore, computational techniques for modeling integrated cellular machinery are needed. In this work, we propose an integrated hybrid model (IHM) that combines Petri nets and Boolean networks to model integrated cellular networks. Coupled with a stochastic simulation mechanism, the model simulates the dynamics of the integrated network, and can be perturbed to generate testable hypotheses. Our model is qualitative and is mostly built upon knowledge from the literature and requires fine-tuning of very few parameters. We validated our model on two systems: the transcriptional regulation of glucose metabolism in human cells, and cellular osmoregulation in S. cerevisiae . The model produced results that are in very good agreement with experimental data, and produces valid hypotheses. The abstract nature of our model and the ease of its construction makes it a very good candidate for modeling integrated networks from qualitative data. The results it produces can guide the practitioner to zoom into components and interconnections and investigate them using such more detailed mathematical models.
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  • 62
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Olga Vitek
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  • 63
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Theodore Alexandrov, Philip E. Bourne
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  • 64
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Jeroen de Ridder, Yana Bromberg, Magali Michaut, Venkata P. Satagopam, Manuel Corpas, Geoff Macintyre, Theodore Alexandrov
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  • 65
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Lennart Martens
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  • 66
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Falk Lieder, Klaas E. Stephan, Jean Daunizeau, Marta I. Garrido, Karl J. Friston The mismatch negativity (MMN) is an event related potential evoked by violations of regularity. Here, we present a model of the underlying neuronal dynamics based upon the idea that auditory cortex continuously updates a generative model to predict its sensory inputs. The MMN is then modelled as the superposition of the electric fields evoked by neuronal activity reporting prediction errors. The process by which auditory cortex generates predictions and resolves prediction errors was simulated using generalised (Bayesian) filtering – a biologically plausible scheme for probabilistic inference on the hidden states of hierarchical dynamical models. The resulting scheme generates realistic MMN waveforms, explains the qualitative effects of deviant probability and magnitude on the MMN – in terms of latency and amplitude – and makes quantitative predictions about the interactions between deviant probability and magnitude. This work advances a formal understanding of the MMN and – more generally – illustrates the potential for developing computationally informed dynamic causal models of empirical electromagnetic responses.
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  • 67
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Murat Çetinbaş, Eugene I. Shakhnovich Although molecular chaperones are essential components of protein homeostatic machinery, their mechanism of action and impact on adaptation and evolutionary dynamics remain controversial. Here we developed a physics-based ab initio multi-scale model of a living cell for population dynamics simulations to elucidate the effect of chaperones on adaptive evolution. The 6-loci genomes of model cells encode model proteins, whose folding and interactions in cellular milieu can be evaluated exactly from their genome sequences. A genotype-phenotype relationship that is based on a simple yet non-trivially postulated protein-protein interaction (PPI) network determines the cell division rate. Model proteins can exist in native and molten globule states and participate in functional and all possible promiscuous non-functional PPIs. We find that an active chaperone mechanism, whereby chaperones directly catalyze protein folding, has a significant impact on the cellular fitness and the rate of evolutionary dynamics, while passive chaperones, which just maintain misfolded proteins in soluble complexes have a negligible effect on the fitness. We find that by partially releasing the constraint on protein stability, active chaperones promote a deeper exploration of sequence space to strengthen functional PPIs, and diminish the non-functional PPIs. A key experimentally testable prediction emerging from our analysis is that down-regulation of chaperones that catalyze protein folding significantly slows down the adaptation dynamics.
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  • 68
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Geoffrey J. Faulkner
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  • 69
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Simon Mitchell, Pedro Mendes Iron is essential for all known life due to its redox properties; however, these same properties can also lead to its toxicity in overload through the production of reactive oxygen species. Robust systemic and cellular control are required to maintain safe levels of iron, and the liver seems to be where this regulation is mainly located. Iron misregulation is implicated in many diseases, and as our understanding of iron metabolism improves, the list of iron-related disorders grows. Recent developments have resulted in greater knowledge of the fate of iron in the body and have led to a detailed map of its metabolism; however, a quantitative understanding at the systems level of how its components interact to produce tight regulation remains elusive. A mechanistic computational model of human liver iron metabolism, which includes the core regulatory components, is presented here. It was constructed based on known mechanisms of regulation and on their kinetic properties, obtained from several publications. The model was then quantitatively validated by comparing its results with previously published physiological data, and it is able to reproduce multiple experimental findings. A time course simulation following an oral dose of iron was compared to a clinical time course study and the simulation was found to recreate the dynamics and time scale of the systems response to iron challenge. A disease state simulation of haemochromatosis was created by altering a single reaction parameter that mimics a human haemochromatosis gene (HFE) mutation. The simulation provides a quantitative understanding of the liver iron overload that arises in this disease. This model supports and supplements understanding of the role of the liver as an iron sensor and provides a framework for further modelling, including simulations to identify valuable drug targets and design of experiments to improve further our knowledge of this system.
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  • 70
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by James A. Dowdle, Monika Mehta, Elizabeth M. Kass, Bao Q. Vuong, Akiko Inagaki, Dieter Egli, Maria Jasin, Scott Keeney ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers control DNA access for transcription, recombination, and other processes. Acf1 (also known as BAZ1A in mammals) is a defining subunit of the conserved ISWI-family chromatin remodelers ACF and CHRAC, first purified over 15 years ago from Drosophila melanogaster embryos. Much is known about biochemical properties of ACF and CHRAC, which move nucleosomes in vitro and in vivo to establish ordered chromatin arrays. Genetic studies in yeast, flies and cultured human cells clearly implicate these complexes in transcriptional repression via control of chromatin structures. RNAi experiments in transformed mammalian cells in culture also implicate ACF and CHRAC in DNA damage checkpoints and double-strand break repair. However, their essential in vivo roles in mammals are unknown. Here, we show that Baz1a -knockout mice are viable and able to repair developmentally programmed DNA double-strand breaks in the immune system and germ line, I-SceI endonuclease-induced breaks in primary fibroblasts via homologous recombination, and DNA damage from mitomycin C exposure in vivo . However, Baz1a deficiency causes male-specific sterility in accord with its high expression in male germ cells, where it displays dynamic, stage-specific patterns of chromosomal localization. Sterility is caused by pronounced defects in sperm development, most likely a consequence of massively perturbed gene expression in spermatocytes and round spermatids in the absence of BAZ1A: the normal spermiogenic transcription program is largely intact but more than 900 other genes are mis-regulated, primarily reflecting inappropriate up-regulation. We propose that large-scale changes in chromatin composition that occur during spermatogenesis create a window of vulnerability to promiscuous transcription changes, with an essential function of ACF and/or CHRAC chromatin remodeling activities being to safeguard against these alterations.
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  • 71
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Maxim V. C. Greenberg, Angelique Deleris, Christopher J. Hale, Ao Liu, Suhua Feng, Steven E. Jacobsen DNA methylation is an epigenetic mark that is associated with transcriptional repression of transposable elements and protein-coding genes. Conversely, transcriptionally active regulatory regions are strongly correlated with histone 3 lysine 4 di- and trimethylation (H3K4m2/m3). We previously showed that Arabidopsis thaliana plants with mutations in the H3K4m2/m3 demethylase JUMONJI 14 ( JMJ14 ) exhibit a mild reduction in RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) that is associated with an increase in H3K4m2/m3 levels. To determine whether this incomplete RdDM reduction was the result of redundancy with other demethylases, we examined the genetic interaction of JMJ14 with another class of H3K4 demethylases: LYSINE-SPECIFIC DEMETHYLASE 1-LIKE 1 and LYSINE-SPECIFIC DEMETHYLASE 1-LIKE 2 (LDL1 and LDL2). Genome-wide DNA methylation analyses reveal that both families cooperate to maintain RdDM patterns. ChIP-seq experiments show that regions that exhibit an observable DNA methylation decrease are co-incidental with increases in H3K4m2/m3. Interestingly, the impact on DNA methylation was stronger at DNA-methylated regions adjacent to H3K4m2/m3-marked protein-coding genes, suggesting that the activity of H3K4 demethylases may be particularly crucial to prevent spreading of active epigenetic marks. Finally, RNA sequencing analyses indicate that at RdDM targets, the increase of H3K4m2/m3 is not generally associated with transcriptional de-repression. This suggests that the histone mark itself—not transcription—impacts the extent of RdDM.
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  • 72
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Patrick Schorderet, Nicolas Lonfat, Fabrice Darbellay, Patrick Tschopp, Sandra Gitto, Natalia Soshnikova, Denis Duboule Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are essential for the repression of key factors during early development. In Drosophila , the polycomb repressive complexes (PRC) associate with defined polycomb response DNA elements (PREs). In mammals, however, the mechanisms underlying polycomb recruitment at targeted loci are poorly understood. We have used an in vivo approach to identify DNA sequences of importance for the proper recruitment of polycomb proteins at the HoxD locus. We report that various genomic re-arrangements of the gene cluster do not strongly affect PRC2 recruitment and that relatively small polycomb interacting sequences appear necessary and sufficient to confer polycomb recognition and targeting to ectopic loci. In addition, a high GC content, while not sufficient to recruit PRC2, may help its local spreading. We discuss the importance of PRC2 recruitment over Hox gene clusters in embryonic stem cells, for their subsequent coordinated transcriptional activation during development.
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  • 73
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Alejandro Vasquez-Rifo, Gabriel D. Bossé, Evelyne L. Rondeau, Guillaume Jannot, Alexandra Dallaire, Martin J. Simard Many core components of the microRNA pathway have been elucidated and knowledge of their mechanisms of action actively progresses. In contrast, factors with modulatory roles on the pathway are just starting to become known and understood. Using a genetic screen in Caenorhabditis elegans , we identify a component of the GARP (Golgi Associated Retrograde Protein) complex, vps-52 , as a novel genetic interactor of the microRNA pathway. The loss of vps-52 in distinct sensitized genetic backgrounds induces the enhancement of defective microRNA-mediated gene silencing. It synergizes with the core microRNA components, alg-1 Argonaute and ain-1 (GW182), in enhancing seam cell defects and exacerbates the gene silencing defects of the let-7 family and lsy-6 microRNAs in the regulation of seam cell, vulva and ASEL neuron development. Underpinning the observed genetic interactions, we found that VPS-52 impinges on the abundance of the GW182 proteins as well as the levels of microRNAs including the let-7 family. Altogether, we demonstrate that GARP complex fulfills a positive modulatory role on microRNA function and postulate that acting through GARP, vps-52 participates in a membrane-related process of the microRNA pathway.
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  • 74
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Ingrid Lilienthal, Takaharu Kanno, Camilla Sjögren Meiosis is a specialized cell division used by diploid organisms to form haploid gametes for sexual reproduction. Central to this reductive division is repair of endogenous DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) induced by the meiosis-specific enzyme Spo11. These DSBs are repaired in a process called homologous recombination using the sister chromatid or the homologous chromosome as a repair template, with the homolog being the preferred substrate during meiosis. Specific products of inter-homolog recombination, called crossovers, are essential for proper homolog segregation at the first meiotic nuclear division in budding yeast and mice. This study identifies an essential role for the conserved Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes (SMC) 5/6 protein complex during meiotic recombination in budding yeast. Meiosis-specific smc5/6 mutants experience a block in DNA segregation without hindering meiotic progression. Establishment and removal of meiotic sister chromatid cohesin are independent of functional Smc6 protein. smc6 mutants also have normal levels of DSB formation and repair. Eliminating DSBs rescues the segregation block in smc5/6 mutants, suggesting that the complex has a function during meiotic recombination. Accordingly, smc6 mutants accumulate high levels of recombination intermediates in the form of joint molecules. Many of these joint molecules are formed between sister chromatids, which is not normally observed in wild-type cells. The normal formation of crossovers in smc6 mutants supports the notion that mainly inter-sister joint molecule resolution is impaired. In addition, return-to-function studies indicate that the Smc5/6 complex performs its most important functions during joint molecule resolution without influencing crossover formation. These results suggest that the Smc5/6 complex aids primarily in the resolution of joint molecules formed outside of canonical inter-homolog pathways.
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  • 75
    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Alexandra Vaisman, John P. McDonald, Donald Huston, Wojciech Kuban, Lili Liu, Bennett Van Houten, Roger Woodgate Stringent steric exclusion mechanisms limit the misincorporation of ribonucleotides by high-fidelity DNA polymerases into genomic DNA. In contrast, low-fidelity Escherichia coli DNA polymerase V (pol V) has relatively poor sugar discrimination and frequently misincorporates ribonucleotides. Substitution of a steric gate tyrosine residue with alanine ( umuC _Y11A) reduces sugar selectivity further and allows pol V to readily misincorporate ribonucleotides as easily as deoxynucleotides, whilst leaving its poor base-substitution fidelity essentially unchanged. However, the mutability of cells expressing the steric gate pol V mutant is very low due to efficient repair mechanisms that are triggered by the misincorporated rNMPs. Comparison of the mutation frequency between strains expressing wild-type and mutant pol V therefore allows us to identify pathways specifically directed at ribonucleotide excision repair (RER). We previously demonstrated that rNMPs incorporated by umuC _Y11A are efficiently removed from DNA in a repair pathway initiated by RNase HII. Using the same approach, we show here that mismatch repair and base excision repair play minimal back-up roles in RER in vivo . In contrast, in the absence of functional RNase HII, umuC _Y11A-dependent mutagenesis increases significantly in Δ uvrA , uvrB5 and Δ uvrC strains, suggesting that rNMPs misincorporated into DNA are actively repaired by nucleotide excision repair (NER) in vivo . Participation of NER in RER was confirmed by reconstituting ribonucleotide-dependent NER in vitro . We show that UvrABC nuclease-catalyzed incisions are readily made on DNA templates containing one, two, or five rNMPs and that the reactions are stimulated by the presence of mispaired bases. Similar to NER of DNA lesions, excision of rNMPs proceeds through dual incisions made at the 8 th phosphodiester bond 5′ and 4 th –5 th phosphodiester bonds 3′ of the ribonucleotide. Ribonucleotides misinserted into DNA can therefore be added to the broad list of helix-distorting modifications that are substrates for NER.
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  • 76
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Liuliu Zheng, Leonardo A. Sepúlveda, Rhonald C. Lua, Olivier Lichtarge, Ido Golding, Anna Marie Sokac Robustness is a property built into biological systems to ensure stereotypical outcomes despite fluctuating inputs from gene dosage, biochemical noise, and the environment. During development, robustness safeguards embryos against structural and functional defects. Yet, our understanding of how robustness is achieved in embryos is limited. While much attention has been paid to the role of gene and signaling networks in promoting robust cell fate determination, little has been done to rigorously assay how mechanical processes like morphogenesis are designed to buffer against variable conditions. Here we show that the cell shape changes that drive morphogenesis can be made robust by mechanisms targeting the actin cytoskeleton. We identified two novel members of the Vinculin/α-Catenin Superfamily that work together to promote robustness during Drosophila cellularization, the dramatic tissue-building event that generates the primary epithelium of the embryo. We find that zygotically-expressed Serendipity-α (Sry-α) and maternally-loaded Spitting Image (Spt) share a redundant, actin-regulating activity during cellularization. Spt alone is sufficient for cellularization at an optimal temperature, but both Spt plus Sry-α are required at high temperature and when actin assembly is compromised by genetic perturbation. Our results offer a clear example of how the maternal and zygotic genomes interact to promote the robustness of early developmental events. Specifically, the Spt and Sry-α collaboration is informative when it comes to genes that show both a maternal and zygotic requirement during a given morphogenetic process. For the cellularization of Drosophilids, Sry-α and its expression profile may represent a genetic adaptive trait with the sole purpose of making this extreme event more reliable. Since all morphogenesis depends on cytoskeletal remodeling, both in embryos and adults, we suggest that robustness-promoting mechanisms aimed at actin could be effective at all life stages.
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  • 77
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    Publication Date: 2013-11-08
    Description: by Hitomi Miyazaki, Ken Higashimoto, Yukari Yada, Takaho A. Endo, Jafar Sharif, Toshiharu Komori, Masashi Matsuda, Yoko Koseki, Manabu Nakayama, Hidenobu Soejima, Hiroshi Handa, Haruhiko Koseki, Susumu Hirose, Kenichi Nishioka Molecular mechanisms for the establishment of transcriptional memory are poorly understood. 5,6-dichloro-1-D-ribofuranosyl-benzimidazole (DRB) is a P-TEFb kinase inhibitor that artificially induces the poised RNA polymerase II (RNAPII), thereby manifesting intermediate steps for the establishment of transcriptional activation. Here, using genetics and DRB, we show that mammalian Absent, small, or homeotic discs 1-like (Ash1l), a member of the trithorax group proteins, methylates Lys36 of histone H3 to promote the establishment of Hox gene expression by counteracting Polycomb silencing. Importantly, we found that Ash1l-dependent Lys36 di-, tri-methylation of histone H3 in a coding region and exclusion of Polycomb group proteins occur independently of transcriptional elongation in embryonic stem (ES) cells, although both were previously thought to be consequences of transcription. Genome-wide analyses of histone H3 Lys36 methylation under DRB treatment have suggested that binding of the retinoic acid receptor (RAR) to a certain genomic region promotes trimethylation in the RAR-associated gene independent of its ongoing transcription. Moreover, DRB treatment unveils a parallel response between Lys36 methylation of histone H3 and occupancy of either Tip60 or Mof in a region-dependent manner. We also found that Brg1 is another key player involved in the response. Our results uncover a novel regulatory cascade orchestrated by Ash1l with RAR and provide insights into mechanisms underlying the establishment of the transcriptional activation that counteracts Polycomb silencing.
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