366 research outputs found

    Maternal Expression Relaxes Constraint on Innovation of the Anterior Determinant, bicoid

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    The origin of evolutionary novelty is believed to involve both positive selection and relaxed developmental constraint. In flies, the redesign of anterior patterning during embryogenesis is a major developmental innovation and the rapidly evolving Hox gene, bicoid (bcd), plays a critical role. We report evidence for relaxation of selective constraint acting on bicoid as a result of its maternal pattern of gene expression. Evolutionary theory predicts 2-fold greater sequence diversity for maternal effect genes than for zygotically expressed genes, because natural selection is only half as effective acting on autosomal genes expressed in one sex as it is on genes expressed in both sexes. We sample an individual from ten populations of Drosophila melanogaster and nine populations of D. simulans for polymorphism in the tandem gene duplicates bcd, which is maternally expressed, and zerknüllt (zen), which is zygotically expressed. In both species, we find the ratio of bcd to zen nucleotide diversity to be two or more in the coding regions but one in the noncoding regions, providing the first quantitative support for the theoretical prediction of relaxed selective constraint on maternal-effect genes resulting from sex-limited expression. Our results suggest that the accelerated rate of evolution observed for bcd is owing, at least partly, to variation generated by relaxed selective constraint

    Tobacco use increases susceptibility to bacterial infection

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    Active smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of bacterial infection. Tobacco smoke exposure increases susceptibility to respiratory tract infections, including tuberculosis, pneumonia and Legionnaires disease; bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea; Helicobacter pylori infection; periodontitis; meningitis; otitis media; and post-surgical and nosocomial infections. Tobacco smoke compromises the anti-bacterial function of leukocytes, including neutrophils, monocytes, T cells and B cells, providing a mechanistic explanation for increased infection risk. Further epidemiological, clinical and mechanistic research into this important area is warranted

    Cohort profile: role of lipoproteins in cardiovascular disease-the LipidCardio study

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    PURPOSE: The LipidCardio Study was established for in-depth analyses of cardiovascular risk factors, providing well-defined cardiovascular and metabolic phenotypes. In particular, the role of lipoproteins in the pathobiological process and treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) will be a main focus. PARTICIPANTS: 1005 individuals aged 21 years and older undergoing cardiac catheterisation during 17 months at a tertiary academic cardiology centre were enrolled (troponin-positive acute coronary syndrome was exclusion criterion). The baseline data not only contain detailed phenotyping, broad biochemical parameters, genetic data, but also standardised personal and family history, a screening test for cognitive impairment, pulse wave analysis and measurements of hand grip strength, among others. Blood samples were stored in a biobank for future analyses. FINDINGS TO DATE: The mean age of the participants at enrolment was 70.9±11.1 years (70% male). Coronary angiography provided evidence of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) in 69.9% of participants. Those with evidence of CAD were significantly more likely to be male, inactive, diabetic and with a family history of CVD than participants without CAD.About 20% of patients had lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) concentrations above 106.9 nmol/L (fifth quintile). These patients had significantly increased odds of obstructive CAD compared with participants in quintiles 1-4 (crude OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.17 to 2.48, p=0.005). There was reasonable evidence that with increasing severity of CAD the odds of having elevated Lp(a) increased. We were able to replicate the established strong association between specified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the LPA gene (rs10455872, rs3798220 and rs186696265) and the APOE gene (rs7412), and the concentration of Lp(a), validating our phenotype database and biobank. FUTURE PLANS: Mortality information will be obtained in 2 year intervals. Follow-up phone interviews will be conducted at 3 and 6 years after enrolment. We seek to cooperate with other researchers, for example, by sharing data and biobank samples

    Ice Cores from the St. Elias Mountains, Yukon, Canada: Their Significance for Climate, Atmospheric Composition and Volcanism in the North Pacific Region

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    A major achievement in research supported by the Kluane Lake Research Station was the recovery, in 2001 –02, of a suite of cores from the icefields of the central St. Elias Mountains, Yukon, by teams of researchers from Canada, the United States, and Japan. This project led to the development of parallel, long (103 – 104 year) ice-core records of climate and atmospheric change over an altitudinal range of more than 2 km, from the Eclipse Icefield (3017 m) to the ice-covered plateau of Mt. Logan (5340 m). These efforts built on earlier work recovering single ice cores in this region. Comparison of these records has allowed for variations in climate and atmospheric composition to be linked with changes in the vertical structure and dynamics of the North Pacific atmosphere, providing a unique perspective on these changes over the Holocene. Owing to their privileged location, cores from the St. Elias Icefields also contain a remarkably detailed record of aerosols from various sources around or across the North Pacific. In this paper we review major scientific findings from the study of St. Elias Mountain ice cores, focusing on five main themes: (1) The record of stable water isotopes (δ18O, δD), which has unique characteristics that differ from those of Greenland, other Arctic ice cores, and even among sites in the St. Elias; (2) the snow accumulation history; (3) the record of pollen, biomass burning aerosol, and desert dust deposition; (4) the record of long-range air pollutant deposition (sulphate and lead); and (5) the record of paleo-volcanism. Our discussion draws on studies published since 2000, but based on older ice cores from the St. Elias Mountains obtained in 1980 and 1996

    Higher Lipoprotein (a) Levels Are Associated with Better Pulmonary Function in Community-Dwelling Older People - Data from the Berlin Aging Study II

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    Reduced pulmonary function and elevated serum cholesterol levels are recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Currently, there is some controversy concerning relationships between cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, serum triglycerides and lung function. However, most previous studies compared patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with healthy controls, and only a small number examined this relationship in population-based cohorts. Moreover, lipoprotein a [Lp(a)], another lipid parameter independently associated with cardiovascular diseases, appears not to have been addressed at all in studies of lung function at the population level. Here, we determined relationships between lung function and several lipid parameters including Lp(a) in 606 older community-dwelling participants (55.1% women, 68±4 years old) from the Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II). We found a significantly lower forced expiration volume in 1 second (FEV1) in men with low Lp(a) concentrations (t-test). This finding was further substantiated by linear regression models adjusting for known covariates, showing that these associations are statistically significant in both men and women. According to the highest adjusted model, men and women with Lp(a) levels below the 20th percentile had 217.3ml and 124.2ml less FEV1 and 239.0ml and 135.2ml less FVC, respectively, compared to participants with higher Lp(a) levels. The adjusted models also suggest that the known strong correlation between pro-inflammatory parameters and lung function has only a marginal impact on the Lp(a)-pulmonary function association. Our results do not support the hypothesis that higher Lp(a) levels are responsible for the increased CVD risk in people with reduced lung function, at least not in the group of community-dwelling older people studied here

    Boron isotope ratio (delta B-11) measurements in water framework directive monitoring programs: comparison between double focusing sector field ICP and thermal ionization mass spectrometry

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    International audienceThe aim of our research was to compare delta B-11 measurements performed with thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) and sector field-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (SF-ICP-MS) and evaluate the feasibility of implementing stable isotope methods in European water framework directive (WFD) monitoring programs. The comparison was based on delta B-11 measurements of 192 ground-and surface water samples and 15 leachates of nitrate pollution source materials (organic and mineral fertilisers). The precision of delta B-11 measurements attainable with SF-ICP-MS, 2 sigma= +/- 2.6 parts per thousand; (n = 192), is as expected lower than the precision achieved by TIMS, 2 sigma= +/- 0.3 parts per thousand (n=183). However the ease of use, rapidity and availability of SF-ICP-MS on one hand and the observed variability in delta B-11 in ground-and surface water on the other (from -3.4 to +37 parts per thousand), demonstrates that using SF-ICP-MS as an isotopic screening method would promote the use of isotopic methodology for WFD monitoring. Based on the results of the different case studies it is shown that retrieving precise information on the identification of pollution sources from delta B-11 values requires reaching the best analytical precision and accuracy possible. Hence, the superior precision of TIMS advantages tracing of nitrate pollution sources. However for some cases, e. g. trying to decipher contributions between sources with really distinct delta B-11 signatures (e.g. manure and sewage effluent), SF-ICP-MS results lead to the same conclusions and can therefore be used as a first approachable screening method for the determination of delta B-11 in WFD monitoring programs

    Tobacco Smoke Augments Porphyromonas gingivalis - Streptococcus gordonii Biofilm Formation

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    Smoking is responsible for the majority of periodontitis cases in the US and smokers are more susceptible than non-smokers to infection by the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. P. gingivalis colonization of the oral cavity is dependent upon its interaction with other plaque bacteria, including Streptococcus gordonii. Microarray analysis suggested that exposure of P. gingivalis to cigarette smoke extract (CSE) increased the expression of the major fimbrial antigen (FimA), but not the minor fimbrial antigen (Mfa1). Therefore, we hypothesized that CSE promotes P. gingivalis-S. gordonii biofilm formation in a FimA-dependent manner. FimA total protein and cell surface expression were increased upon exposure to CSE whereas Mfa1 was unaffected. CSE exposure did not induce P. gingivalis auto-aggregation but did promote dual species biofilm formation, monitored by microcolony numbers and depth (both, p<0.05). Interestingly, P. gingivalis biofilms grown in the presence of CSE exhibited a lower pro-inflammatory capacity (TNF-α, IL-6) than control biofilms (both, p<0.01). CSE-exposed P. gingivalis bound more strongly to immobilized rGAPDH, the cognate FimA ligand on S. gordonii, than control biofilms (p<0.001) and did so in a dose-dependent manner. Nevertheless, a peptide representing the Mfa1 binding site on S. gordonii, SspB, completely inhibited dual species biofilm formation. Thus, CSE likely augments P. gingivalis biofilm formation by increasing FimA avidity which, in turn, supports initial interspecies interactions and promotes subsequent high affinity Mfa1-SspB interactions driving biofilm growth. CSE induction of P. gingivalis biofilms of limited pro-inflammatory potential may explain the increased persistence of this pathogen in smokers. These findings may also be relevant to other biofilm-induced infectious diseases and conditions

    Sea-level rise and archaeological site destruction: An example from the southeastern United States using DINAA (Digital Index of North American Archaeology)

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    The impact of changing climate on terrestrial and underwater archaeological sites, historic buildings, and cultural landscapes can be examined through quantitatively-based analyses encompassing large data samples and broad geographic and temporal scales. The Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) is a multi-institutional collaboration that allows researchers online access to linked heritage data from multiple sources and data sets. The effects of sea-level rise and concomitant human population relocation is examined using a sample from nine states encompassing much of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the southeastern United States. A 1 m rise in sea-level will result in the loss of over \u3e13,000 recorded historic and prehistoric archaeological sites, as well as over 1000 locations currently eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), encompassing archaeological sites, standing structures, and other cultural properties. These numbers increase substantially with each additional 1 m rise in sea level, with \u3e32,000 archaeological sites and \u3e2400 NRHP properties lost should a 5 m rise occur. Many more unrecorded archaeological and historic sites will also be lost as large areas of the landscape are flooded. The displacement of millions of people due to rising seas will cause additional impacts where these populations resettle. Sea level rise will thus result in the loss of much of the record of human habitation of the coastal margin in the Southeast within the next one to two centuries, and the numbers indicate the magnitude of the impact on the archaeological record globally. Construction of large linked data sets is essential to developing procedures for sampling, triage, and mitigation of these impacts

    Ice Cores from the St. Elias Mountains, Yukon, Canada: Their Significance for Climate, Atmospheric Composition and Volcanism in the North Pacific Region

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    A major achievement in research supported by the Kluane Lake Research Station was the recovery, in 2001 –02, of a suite of cores from the icefields of the central St. Elias Mountains, Yukon, by teams of researchers from Canada, the United States, and Japan. This project led to the development of parallel, long (103 – 104 year) ice-core records of climate and atmospheric change over an altitudinal range of more than 2 km, from the Eclipse Icefield (3017 m) to the ice-covered plateau of Mt. Logan (5340 m). These efforts built on earlier work recovering single ice cores in this region. Comparison of these records has allowed for variations in climate and atmospheric composition to be linked with changes in the vertical structure and dynamics of the North Pacific atmosphere, providing a unique perspective on these changes over the Holocene. Owing to their privileged location, cores from the St. Elias Icefields also contain a remarkably detailed record of aerosols from various sources around or across the North Pacific. In this paper we review major scientific findings from the study of St. Elias Mountain ice cores, focusing on five main themes: (1) The record of stable water isotopes (δ18O, δD), which has unique characteristics that differ from those of Greenland, other Arctic ice cores, and even among sites in the St. Elias; (2) the snow accumulation history; (3) the record of pollen, biomass burning aerosol, and desert dust deposition; (4) the record of long-range air pollutant deposition (sulphate and lead); and (5) the record of paleo-volcanism. Our discussion draws on studies published since 2000, but based on older ice cores from the St. Elias Mountains obtained in 1980 and 1996
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