45 research outputs found

    Microfluidics of sugar transport in plant leaves and in biomimetic devices

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    Diffusion and bulk flow in phloem loading - a theoretical analysis of the polymer trap mechanism in plants

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    Plants create sugar in the mesophyll cells of their leaves by photosynthesis. This sugar, mostly sucrose, has to be loaded via the bundle sheath into the phloem vascular system (the sieve elements), where it is distributed to growing parts of the plant. We analyze the feasibility of a particular loading mechanism, active symplasmic loading, also called the polymer trap mechanism, where sucrose is transformed into heavier sugars, such as raffinose and stachyose, in the intermediary-type companion cells bordering the sieve elements in the minor veins of the phloem. Keeping the heavier sugars from diffusing back requires that the plasmodesmata connecting the bundle sheath with the intermediary cell act as extremely precise filters, which are able to distinguish between molecules that differ by less than 20% in size. In our modeling, we take into account the coupled water and sugar movement across the relevant interfaces, without explicitly considering the chemical reactions transforming the sucrose into the heavier sugars. Based on the available data for plasmodesmata geometry, sugar concentrations and flux rates, we conclude that this mechanism can in principle function. We find that the water flow through the plasmodesmata, which has not been quantified before, contributes only 10-20% to the sucrose flux into the intermediary cells, while the main part is transported by diffusion. On the other hand, the subsequent sugar translocation into the sieve elements would very likely be carried predominantly by bulk water flow through the plasmodesmata. Thus, in contrast to apoplasmic loaders, all the necessary water for phloem translocation would be supplied in this way with no need for additional water uptake across the plasma membranes of the phloem.Comment: 29 pages with 5 figure

    Molecular pathways involved in the synergistic interaction of the PKCβ inhibitor enzastaurin with the antifolate pemetrexed in non-small cell lung cancer cells

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    Conventional regimens have limited impact against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Current research is focusing on multiple pathways as potential targets, and this study investigated molecular mechanisms underlying the combination of the PKCβ inhibitor enzastaurin with the multitargeted antifolate pemetrexed in the NSCLC cells SW1573 and A549. Pharmacologic interaction was studied using the combination-index method, while cell cycle, apoptosis induction, VEGF secretion and ERK1/2 and Akt phosphorylation were studied by flow cytometry and ELISAs. Reverse transcription–PCR, western blot and activity assays were performed to assess whether enzastaurin influenced thymidylate synthase (TS) and the expression of multiple targets involved in cancer signaling and cell cycle distribution. Enzastaurin-pemetrexed combination was highly synergistic and significantly increased apoptosis. Enzastaurin reduced both phosphoCdc25C, resulting in G2/M checkpoint abrogation and apoptosis induction in pemetrexed-damaged cells, and GSK3β and Akt phosphorylation, which was additionally reduced by drug combination (−58% in A549). Enzastaurin also significantly reduced pemetrexed-induced upregulation of TS expression, possibly through E2F-1 reduction, whereas the combination decreased TS in situ activity (>50% in both cell lines) and VEGF secretion. The effects of enzastaurin on signaling pathways involved in cell cycle control, apoptosis and angiogenesis, as well as on the expression of genes involved in pemetrexed activity provide a strong experimental basis to their evaluation as pharmacodynamic markers in clinical trials of enzastaurin-pemetrexed combination in NSCLC patients

    The nature of singlet exciton fission in carotenoid aggregates.

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    Singlet exciton fission allows the fast and efficient generation of two spin triplet states from one photoexcited singlet. It has the potential to improve organic photovoltaics, enabling efficient coupling to the blue to ultraviolet region of the solar spectrum to capture the energy generally lost as waste heat. However, many questions remain about the underlying fission mechanism. The relation between intermolecular geometry and singlet fission rate and yield is poorly understood and remains one of the most significant barriers to the design of new singlet fission sensitizers. Here we explore the structure-property relationship and examine the mechanism of singlet fission in aggregates of astaxanthin, a small polyene. We isolate five distinct supramolecular structures of astaxanthin generated through self-assembly in solution. Each is capable of undergoing intermolecular singlet fission, with rates of triplet generation and annihilation that can be correlated with intermolecular coupling strength. In contrast with the conventional model of singlet fission in linear molecules, we demonstrate that no intermediate states are involved in the triplet formation: instead, singlet fission occurs directly from the initial 1B(u) photoexcited state on ultrafast time scales. This result demands a re-evaluation of current theories of polyene photophysics and highlights the robustness of carotenoid singlet fission.This work was supported by the EPSRC (UK) (EP/G060738/ 1), the European Community (LASERLAB-EUROPE, grant agreement no. 284464, EC’s Seventh Framework Programme; and Marie-Curie ITN-SUPERIOR, PITN-GA-2009-238177), and the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability. G.C. acknowledges support by the European Research Council Advanced Grant STRATUS (ERC-2011-AdG No. 291198). J.C. acknowledges support by the Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship and The University of Sheffield’s Vice- Chancellor’s Fellowship scheme.This is the final published version. It was first made available by ACS at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.5b01130

    Relatório de estágio em farmácia comunitária

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    Relatório de estágio realizado no âmbito do Mestrado Integrado em Ciências Farmacêuticas, apresentado à Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de Coimbr

    Detection of interaction between biomineralising proteins and calcium carbonate microcrystals

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    The natural composite nacre is characterised by astonishing mechanical properties, although the main constituent is a brittle mineral shaped as tablets interdispersed by organic layers. To mimic the natural formation process which takes place at ambient conditions an understanding of the mechanism responsible for a defined microstructure of nacre is necessary. Since proteins are assumed to be involved in this mechanism, it is advantageous to identify distinct proteins interacting with minerals from the totality of proteins contained in nacre. Here, we adopted and modified a recently published approach given by Suzuki et al. [1] that gives a hint of specific protein–mineral interactions. Synthesised aragonite or calcite microcrystals were incubated with a protein mixture extracted from nacre of Haliotis laevigata. After incubation the mineral phase was dissolved and investigated for attached proteins. The results give a hint of one protein that seems to bind specifically to aragonite and not to calcite. The presented protocol seems to be suitable to detect mineral binding proteins quickly and therefore can point to proteins whose mineral binding capabilities should be investigated further

    Viscous energy dissipation in slender channels with porous or semipermeable walls

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    We study the viscous dissipation in pipe flows in long channels with porous or semipermeable walls, taking into account both the dissipation in the bulk of the channel and in the pores. We give simple closed form expressions for the dissipation in terms of the axially varying flow rate Q(x)Q(x) and the pressure p(x)p(x), generalizing the well known expression W˙=QΔp\dot W=Q\,\Delta p for the case of impenetrable walls with constant QQ and a pressure difference Δp\Delta p between the ends of the pipe. When the pressure p0p_0 outside the pipe is constant, the result is the straightforward generalization W˙=Δ[(pp0)Q]\dot W=\Delta \left[(p-p_0) \,Q\right]. Finally, applications to osmotic flows are considered.Comment: 6 pages, 2 figure
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