73 research outputs found

    Twisting Uneven Ropes

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    A classical two-stranded rope can be made by twisting two identical strands together under strain. Despite being conceptually simple, the contact-equations for helically twisted identical strands have only been solved within the last 20 years. Our goal here is basic: to understand the twisting of two circular strands, where one is thicker than the other. This is what we call an uneven rope. The geometry of the uneven rope depend on the ratio, rr, between the diameters of the two strands. In particular, the maximally twisted geometry may be determined as a function of rr by solving the contact-equations for the two strands numerically.Comment: 6 pages, 4 figure

    Transcription and the Pitch Angle of DNA

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    The question of the value of the pitch angle of DNA is visited from the perspective of a geometrical analysis of transcription. It is suggested that for transcription to be possible, the pitch angle of B-DNA must be smaller than the angle of zero-twist. At the zero-twist angle the double helix is maximally rotated and its strain-twist coupling vanishes. A numerical estimate of the pitch angle for B-DNA based on differential geometry is compared with numbers obtained from existing empirical data. The crystallographic studies shows that the pitch angle is approximately 38 deg., less than the corresponding zero-twist angle of 41.8 deg., which is consistent with the suggested principle for transcription.Comment: 7 pages, 3 figures; v2: minor modifications; v3: major modifications compared to v2. Added discussion about transcription, and reference

    Total positive curvature of circular DNA

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    The interplay between global constraints and local material properties of chain molecules is a subject of emerging interest. Studies of molecules that are intrinsically chiral, such as double-stranded DNA, is one example. Their properties generally depend on the local geometry, i.e. on curvature and torsion, yet the paths of closed molecules are globally restricted by topology. Molecules that fulfill a twist neutrality condition, a zero sum rule for the incremental change in the rate of winding along the curve, will behave neutrally to strain. This has implications for plasmids. For small circular microDNAs it follows that there must exist a minimum length for these to be double-stranded. It also follows that all microDNAs longer than the minimum length must be concave. This counterintuitive result is consistent with the kink-like appearance which has been observed for circular DNA. A prediction for the total negative curvature of a circular microDNA is given as a function of its length.Comment: 6 pages, 1 figure; v2: references added;v3: a crucial mistake in Eq. (8) of v2 has been corrected, and the conclusions changed accordingl

    The Diagnostic Potential of Fe Lines Applied to Protostellar Jets

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    We investigate the diagnostic capabilities of iron lines for tracing the physical conditions of shock-excited gas in jets driven by pre-main sequence stars. We have analyzed the 3000-25000 \uc5, X-shooter spectra of two jets driven by the pre-main sequence stars ESO-H\u3b1 574 and Par-Lup 3-4. Both spectra are very rich in [Fe II] lines over the whole spectral range; in addition, lines from [Fe III] are detected in the ESO-H\u3b1 574 spectrum. Non-local thermal equilibrium codes solving the equations of the statistical equilibrium along with codes for the ionization equilibrium are used to derive the gas excitation conditions of electron temperature and density and fractional ionization. An estimate of the iron gas-phase abundance is provided by comparing the iron lines emissivity with that of neutral oxygen at 6300 \uc5. The [Fe II] line analysis indicates that the jet driven by ESO-H\u3b1 574 is, on average, colder (T e 3c 9000 K), less dense (n e 3c 2 7 104 cm-3), and more ionized (x e 3c 0.7) than the Par-Lup 3-4 jet (T e 3c 13,000 K, n e 3c 6 7 104 cm-3, x e < 0.4), even if the existence of a higher density component (n e 3c 2 7 105 cm-3) is probed by the [Fe III] and [Fe II] ultra-violet lines. The physical conditions derived from the iron lines are compared with shock models suggesting that the shock at work in ESO-H\u3b1 574 is faster and likely more energetic than the Par-Lup 3-4 shock. This latter feature is confirmed by the high percentage of gas-phase iron measured in ESO-H\u3b1 574 (50%-60% of its solar abundance in comparison with less than 30% in Par-Lup 3-4), which testifies that the ESO-H\u3b1 574 shock is powerful enough to partially destroy the dust present inside the jet. This work demonstrates that a multiline Fe analysis can be effectively used to probe the excitation and ionization conditions of the gas in a jet without any assumption on ionic abundances. The main limitation on the diagnostics resides in the large uncertainties of the atomic data, which, however, can be overcome through a statistical approach involving many line

    Cellular and humoral immune responses and protection against schistosomes induced by a radiation-attenuated vaccine in chimpanzees

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    The radiation-attenuated Schistosoma mansoni vaccine is highly effective in rodents and primates but has never been tested in humans, primarily for safety reasons. To strengthen its status as a paradigm for a human recombinant antigen vaccine, we have undertaken a small-scale vaccination and challenge experiment in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Immunological, clinical, and parasitological parameters were measured in three animals after multiple vaccinations, together with three controls, during the acute and chronic stages of challenge infection up to chemotherapeutic cure. Vaccination induced a strong in vitro proliferative response and early gamma interferon production, but type 2 cytokines were dominant by the time of challenge. The controls showed little response to challenge infection before the acute stage of the disease, initiated by egg deposition. In contrast, the responses of vaccinated animals were muted throughout the challenge period. Vaccination also induced parasite-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG, which reached high levels at the time of challenge, while in control animals levels did not rise markedly before egg deposition. The protective effects of vaccination were manifested as an amelioration of acute disease and overall morbidity, revealed by differences in gamma-glutamyl transferase level, leukocytosis, eosinophilia, and hematocrit. Moreover, vaccinated chimpanzees had a 46% lower level of circulating cathodic antigen and a 38% reduction in fecal egg output, compared to controls, during the chronic phase of infection

    Definition of a Structured Training Curriculum for Robot-assisted Radical Cystectomy with Intracorporeal Ileal Conduit in Male Patients: A Delphi Consensus Study Led by the ERUS Educational Board

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    Robot-assisted radical cystectomy (RARC) continues to expand, and several surgeons start training for this complex procedure. This calls for the development of a structured training program, with the aim to improve patient safety during RARC learning curve. A modified Delphi consensus process was started to develop the curriculum structure. An online survey based on the available evidence was delivered to a panel of 28 experts in the field of RARC, selected according to surgical and research experience, and expertise in running training courses. Consensus was defined as ≄80% agreement between the responders. Overall, 96.4% experts completed the survey. The structure of the RARC curriculum was defined as follows: (1) theoretical training; (2) preclinical simulation-based training: 5-d simulation-based activity, using models with increasing complexity (ie, virtual reality, and dry- and wet-laboratory exercises), and nontechnical skills training session; (3) clinical training: modular console activity of at least 6 mo at the host center (a RARC case was divided into 11 steps and steps of similar complexity were grouped into five modules); and (4) final evaluation: blind review of a video-recorded RARC case. This structured training pathway will guide a starting surgeon from the first steps of RARC toward independent completion of a full procedure. Clinical implementation is urgently needed

    Genetic association study of QT interval highlights role for calcium signaling pathways in myocardial repolarization.

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    The QT interval, an electrocardiographic measure reflecting myocardial repolarization, is a heritable trait. QT prolongation is a risk factor for ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) and could indicate the presence of the potentially lethal mendelian long-QT syndrome (LQTS). Using a genome-wide association and replication study in up to 100,000 individuals, we identified 35 common variant loci associated with QT interval that collectively explain ∌8-10% of QT-interval variation and highlight the importance of calcium regulation in myocardial repolarization. Rare variant analysis of 6 new QT interval-associated loci in 298 unrelated probands with LQTS identified coding variants not found in controls but of uncertain causality and therefore requiring validation. Several newly identified loci encode proteins that physically interact with other recognized repolarization proteins. Our integration of common variant association, expression and orthogonal protein-protein interaction screens provides new insights into cardiac electrophysiology and identifies new candidate genes for ventricular arrhythmias, LQTS and SCD

    Myocardial Work in Patients Hospitalized With COVID‐19:Relation to Biomarkers, COVID‐19 Severity, and All‐Cause Mortality

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    BACKGROUND: COVID‐19 infection has been hypothesized to affect left ventricular function; however, the underlying mechanisms and the association to clinical outcome are not understood. The global work index (GWI) is a novel echocardiographic measure of systolic function that may offer insights on cardiac dysfunction in COVID‐19. We hypothesized that GWI was associated with disease severity and all‐cause death in patients with COVID‐19. METHODS AND RESULTS: In a multicenter study of patients admitted with COVID‐19 (n=305), 249 underwent pressure‐strain loop analyses to quantify GWI at a median time of 4 days after admission. We examined the association of GWI to cardiac biomarkers (troponin and NT‐proBNP [N‐terminal pro‐B‐type natriuretic peptide]), disease severity (oxygen requirement and CRP [C‐reactive protein]), and all‐cause death. Patients with elevated troponin (n=71) exhibited significantly reduced GWI (1508 versus 1707 mm Hg%; P=0.018). A curvilinear association to NT‐proBNP was observed, with increasing NT‐proBNP once GWI decreased below 1446 mm Hg%. Moreover, GWI was significantly associated with a higher oxygen requirement (relative increase of 6% per 100–mm Hg% decrease). No association was observed with CRP. Of the 249 patients, 37 died during follow‐up (median, 58 days). In multivariable Cox regression, GWI was associated with all‐cause death (hazard ratio, 1.08 [95% CI, 1.01–1.15], per 100–mm Hg% decrease), but did not increase C‐statistics when added to clinical parameters. CONCLUSIONS: In patients admitted with COVID‐19, our findings indicate that NT‐proBNP and troponin may be associated with lower GWI, whereas CRP is not. GWI was independently associated with all‐cause death, but did not provide prognostic information beyond readily available clinical parameters. REGISTRATION: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT04377035

    Low oxygen affects photophysiology and the level of expression of two-carbon metabolism genes in the seagrass <i>Zostera muelleri</i>

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    © 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Seagrasses are a diverse group of angiosperms that evolved to live in shallow coastal waters, an environment regularly subjected to changes in oxygen, carbon dioxide and irradiance. Zostera muelleri is the dominant species in south-eastern Australia, and is critical for healthy coastal ecosystems. Despite its ecological importance, little is known about the pathways of carbon fixation in Z. muelleri and their regulation in response to environmental changes. In this study, the response of Z. muelleri exposed to control and very low oxygen conditions was investigated by using (i) oxygen microsensors combined with a custom-made flow chamber to measure changes in photosynthesis and respiration, and (ii) reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR to measure changes in expression levels of key genes involved in C4 metabolism. We found that very low levels of oxygen (i) altered the photophysiology of Z. muelleri, a characteristic of C3 mechanism of carbon assimilation, and (ii) decreased the expression levels of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and carbonic anhydrase. These molecular-physiological results suggest that regulation of the photophysiology of Z. muelleri might involve a close integration between the C3 and C4, or other CO2 concentrating mechanisms metabolic pathways. Overall, this study highlights that the photophysiological response of Z. muelleri to changing oxygen in water is capable of rapid acclimation and the dynamic modulation of pathways should be considered when assessing seagrass primary production
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