1,490 research outputs found

    Probing the frictional properties of soft materials at the nanoscale

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    The understanding of friction in soft materials is of increasing importance due to the demands of industries such as healthcare, biomedical, food and personal care, the incorporation of soft materials into technology, and in the study of interacting biological interfaces. Many of these processes occur at the nanoscale, but even at micrometer length scales there are fundamental aspects of tribology that remain poorly understood. With the advent of Friction Force Microscopy (FFM), there have been many fundamental insights into tribological phenomena, such as ‘stick-slip’ and ‘super-lubricity’ at the atomic scale. This review examines the growing field of soft tribology, the experimental aspects of FFM and its underlying theory. Moving to the nanoscale changes the contact mechanics which govern adhesive forces, which in turn play a pivotal role in friction, along with deformation of the soft interface, and dissipative phenomena. We examine recent progress and future prospects in soft nanotribology

    ADAP2 Is an Interferon Stimulated Gene That Restricts RNA Virus Entry

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    Interferon stimulated genes (ISGs) target viruses at various stages of their infectious life cycles, including at the earliest stage of viral entry. Here we identify ArfGAP with dual pleckstrin homology (PH) domains 2 (ADAP2) as a gene upregulated by type I IFN treatment in a STAT1-dependent manner. ADAP2 functions as a GTPase-activating protein (GAP) for Arf6 and binds to phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PI(3,4,5)P3) and PI(3,4)P2. We show that overexpression of ADAP2 suppresses dengue virus (DENV) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection in an Arf6 GAP activity-dependent manner, while exerting no effect on coxsackievirus B (CVB) or Sendai virus (SeV) replication. We further show that ADAP2 expression induces macropinocytosis and that ADAP2 strongly associates with actin-enriched membrane ruffles and with Rab8a- and LAMP1-, but not EEA1- or Rab7-, positive vesicles. Utilizing two techniques—light-sensitive neutral red (NR)-containing DENV and fluorescence assays for virus internalization—we show that ADAP2 primarily restricts DENV infection at the stage of virion entry and/or intracellular trafficking and that incoming DENV and VSV particles associate with ADAP2 during their entry. Taken together, this study identifies ADAP2 as an ISG that exerts antiviral effects against RNA viruses by altering Arf6-mediated trafficking to disrupt viral entry

    Impact of Covid-19 Lockdown on Availability of Drinking Water in the Arsenic-Affected Ganges River Basin

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    The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has not only resulted in immense loss of human life, but it also rampaged across the global economy and socio-cultural structure. Worldwide, countries imposed stringent mass quarantine and lockdowns to curb the transmission of the pathogen. While the efficacy of such lockdown is debatable, several reports suggest that the reduced human activities provided an inadvertent benefit by briefly improving air and water quality. India observed a 68-days long, nation-wide, stringent lockdown between 24 March and 31 May 2020. Here, we delineate the impact of the lockdown on groundwater and river sourced drinking water sustainability in the arsenic polluted Ganges river basin of India, which is regarded as one of the largest and most polluted river basins in the world. Using groundwater arsenic measurements from drinking water wells and water quality data from river monitoring stations, we have studied ~700 km stretches of the middle and lower reaches of the As (arsenic)-polluted parts of the river for pre-lockdown (January–March 2020), syn-lockdown (April–May), and post-lockdown periods (June–July). We provide the extent of As pollution-free groundwater vis-à-vis river water and examine alleviation from lockdown as an opportunity for sustainable drinking water sources. The overall decrease of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentrations and increase of pH suggests a general improvement in Ganges water quality during the lockdown in contrast to pre-and-post lockdown periods, potentially caused by reduced effluent. We also demonstrate that land use (agricultural/industrial) and land cover (urban-periurban/rural) in the vicinity of the river reaches seems to have a strong influence on river pollutants. The observations provide a cautious optimistic scenario for potentially developing sustainable drinking water sources in the arsenic-affected Ganges river basin in the future by using these observations as the basis of proper scientifically prudent, spatially adaptive strategies, and technological interventions

    Comparative analysis of the lambda-interferons IL-28A and IL-29 regarding their transcriptome and their antiviral properties against hepatitis C virus.

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    Specific differences in signaling and antiviral properties between the different Lambda-interferons, a novel group of interferons composed of IL-28A, IL-28B and IL-29, are currently unknown. This is the first study comparatively investigating the transcriptome and the antiviral properties of the Lambda-interferons IL-28A and IL-29. Expression studies were performed by microarray analysis, quantitative PCR (qPCR), reporter gene assays and immunoluminometric assays. Signaling was analyzed by Western blot. HCV replication was measured in Huh-7 cells expressing subgenomic HCV replicon. All hepatic cell lines investigated as well as primary hepatocytes expressed both IFN-λ receptor subunits IL-10R2 and IFN-λR1. Both, IL-28A and IL-29 activated STAT1 signaling. As revealed by microarray analysis, similar genes were induced by both cytokines in Huh-7 cells (IL-28A: 117 genes; IL-29: 111 genes), many of them playing a role in antiviral immunity. However, only IL-28A was able to significantly down-regulate gene expression (n = 272 down-regulated genes). Both cytokines significantly decreased HCV replication in Huh-7 cells. In comparison to liver biopsies of patients with non-viral liver disease, liver biopsies of patients with HCV showed significantly increased mRNA expression of IL-28A and IL-29. Moreover, IL-28A serum protein levels were elevated in HCV patients. In a murine model of viral hepatitis, IL-28 expression was significantly increased. IL-28A and IL-29 are up-regulated in HCV patients and are similarly effective in inducing antiviral genes and inhibiting HCV replication. In contrast to IL-29, IL-28A is a potent gene repressor. Both IFN-λs may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of chronic HCV

    Distinct Mechanisms for Induction and Tolerance Regulate the Immediate Early Genes Encoding Interleukin 1ÎČ and Tumor Necrosis Factor α

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    Interleukin-1ÎČ and Tumor Necrosis Factor α play related, but distinct, roles in immunity and disease. Our study revealed major mechanistic distinctions in the Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling-dependent induction for the rapidly expressed genes (IL1B and TNF) coding for these two cytokines. Prior to induction, TNF exhibited pre-bound TATA Binding Protein (TBP) and paused RNA Polymerase II (Pol II), hallmarks of poised immediate-early (IE) genes. In contrast, unstimulated IL1B displayed very low levels of both TBP and paused Pol II, requiring the lineage-specific Spi-1/PU.1 (Spi1) transcription factor as an anchor for induction-dependent interaction with two TLR-activated transcription factors, C/EBPÎČ and NF-ÎșB. Activation and DNA binding of these two pre-expressed factors resulted in de novo recruitment of TBP and Pol II to IL1B in concert with a permissive state for elongation mediated by the recruitment of elongation factor P-TEFb. This Spi1-dependent mechanism for IL1B transcription, which is unique for a rapidly-induced/poised IE gene, was more dependent upon P-TEFb than was the case for the TNF gene. Furthermore, the dependence on phosphoinositide 3-kinase for P-TEFb recruitment to IL1B paralleled a greater sensitivity to the metabolic state of the cell and a lower sensitivity to the phenomenon of endotoxin tolerance than was evident for TNF. Such differences in induction mechanisms argue against the prevailing paradigm that all IE genes possess paused Pol II and may further delineate the specific roles played by each of these rapidly expressed immune modulators. © 2013 Adamik et al

    Analysis of human immune responses in quasi-experimental settings: tutorial in biostatistics

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Human immunology is a growing field of research in which experimental, clinical, and analytical methods of many life science disciplines are utilized. Classic epidemiological study designs, including observational longitudinal birth cohort studies, offer strong potential for gaining new knowledge and insights into immune response to pathogens in humans. However, rigorous discussion of methodological issues related to designs and statistical analysis that are appropriate for longitudinal studies is lacking.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>In this communication we address key questions of quality and validity of traditional and recently developed statistical tools applied to measures of immune responses. For this purpose we use data on humoral immune response (IR) associated with the first cryptosporidial diarrhea in a birth cohort of children residing in an urban slum in south India. The main objective is to detect the difference and derive inferences for a change in IR measured at two time points, before (pre) and after (post) an event of interest. We illustrate the use and interpretation of analytical and data visualization techniques including generalized linear and additive models, data-driven smoothing, and combinations of box-, scatter-, and needle-plots.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>We provide step-by-step instructions for conducting a thorough and relatively simple analytical investigation, describe the challenges and pitfalls, and offer practical solutions for comprehensive examination of data. We illustrate how the assumption of time irrelevance can be handled in a study with a pre-post design. We demonstrate how one can study the dynamics of IR in humans by considering the timing of response following an event of interest and seasonal fluctuation of exposure by proper alignment of time of measurements. This alignment of calendar time of measurements and a child's age at the event of interest allows us to explore interactions between IR, seasonal exposures and age at first infection.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>The use of traditional statistical techniques to analyze immunological data derived from observational human studies can result in loss of important information. Detailed analysis using well-tailored techniques allows the depiction of new features of immune response to a pathogen in longitudinal studies in humans. The proposed staged approach has prominent implications for future study designs and analyses.</p

    Cancer risk in persons with HIV/AIDS in India: a review and future directions for research

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    Background India has a large and evolving HIV epidemic. Little is known about cancer risk in Indian persons with HIV/AIDS (PHA) but risk is thought to be low. Methods To describe the state of knowledge about cancer patterns in Indian PHA, we reviewed reports from the international and Indian literature. Results As elsewhere, non-Hodgkin lymphomas dominate the profile of recognized cancers, with immunoblastic/large cell diffuse lymphoma being the most common type. Hodgkin lymphoma is proportionally increased, perhaps because survival with AIDS is truncated by fatal infections. In contrast, Kaposi sarcoma is rare, in association with an apparently low prevalence of Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. If confirmed, the reasons for the low prevalence need to be understood. Cervical, anal, vulva/vaginal and penile cancers all appear to be increased in PHA, based on limited data. The association may be confounded by sexual behaviors that transmit both HIV and human papillomavirus. Head and neck tumor incidence may also be increased, an important concern since these tumors are among the most common in India. Based on limited evidence, the increase is at buccal/palatal sites, which are associated with tobacco and betel nut chewing rather than human papillomavirus. Conclusion With improving care of HIV and better management of infections, especially tuberculosis, the longer survival of PHA in India will likely increase the importance of cancer as a clinical problem in India. With the population's geographic and social diversity, India presents unique research opportunities that can be embedded in programs targeting HIV/AIDS and other public health priorities

    A chemical survey of exoplanets with ARIEL

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    Thousands of exoplanets have now been discovered with a huge range of masses, sizes and orbits: from rocky Earth-like planets to large gas giants grazing the surface of their host star. However, the essential nature of these exoplanets remains largely mysterious: there is no known, discernible pattern linking the presence, size, or orbital parameters of a planet to the nature of its parent star. We have little idea whether the chemistry of a planet is linked to its formation environment, or whether the type of host star drives the physics and chemistry of the planet’s birth, and evolution. ARIEL was conceived to observe a large number (~1000) of transiting planets for statistical understanding, including gas giants, Neptunes, super-Earths and Earth-size planets around a range of host star types using transit spectroscopy in the 1.25–7.8 ÎŒm spectral range and multiple narrow-band photometry in the optical. ARIEL will focus on warm and hot planets to take advantage of their well-mixed atmospheres which should show minimal condensation and sequestration of high-Z materials compared to their colder Solar System siblings. Said warm and hot atmospheres are expected to be more representative of the planetary bulk composition. Observations of these warm/hot exoplanets, and in particular of their elemental composition (especially C, O, N, S, Si), will allow the understanding of the early stages of planetary and atmospheric formation during the nebular phase and the following few million years. ARIEL will thus provide a representative picture of the chemical nature of the exoplanets and relate this directly to the type and chemical environment of the host star. ARIEL is designed as a dedicated survey mission for combined-light spectroscopy, capable of observing a large and well-defined planet sample within its 4-year mission lifetime. Transit, eclipse and phase-curve spectroscopy methods, whereby the signal from the star and planet are differentiated using knowledge of the planetary ephemerides, allow us to measure atmospheric signals from the planet at levels of 10–100 part per million (ppm) relative to the star and, given the bright nature of targets, also allows more sophisticated techniques, such as eclipse mapping, to give a deeper insight into the nature of the atmosphere. These types of observations require a stable payload and satellite platform with broad, instantaneous wavelength coverage to detect many molecular species, probe the thermal structure, identify clouds and monitor the stellar activity. The wavelength range proposed covers all the expected major atmospheric gases from e.g. H2O, CO2, CH4 NH3, HCN, H2S through to the more exotic metallic compounds, such as TiO, VO, and condensed species. Simulations of ARIEL performance in conducting exoplanet surveys have been performed – using conservative estimates of mission performance and a full model of all significant noise sources in the measurement – using a list of potential ARIEL targets that incorporates the latest available exoplanet statistics. The conclusion at the end of the Phase A study, is that ARIEL – in line with the stated mission objectives – will be able to observe about 1000 exoplanets depending on the details of the adopted survey strategy, thus confirming the feasibility of the main science objectives.Peer reviewedFinal Published versio