2,411 research outputs found

    An efficient method for generation of bi-allelic null mutant mouse embryonic stem cells and its application for investigating epigenetic modifiers.

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    Mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells are a popular model system to study biological processes, though uncovering recessive phenotypes requires inactivating both alleles. Building upon resources from the International Knockout Mouse Consortium (IKMC), we developed a targeting vector for second allele inactivation in conditional-ready IKMC 'knockout-first' ES cell lines. We applied our technology to several epigenetic regulators, recovering bi-allelic targeted clones with a high efficiency of 60% and used Flp recombinase to restore expression in two null cell lines to demonstrate how our system confirms causality through mutant phenotype reversion. We designed our strategy to select against re-targeting the 'knockout-first' allele and identify essential genes in ES cells, including the histone methyltransferase Setdb1. For confirmation, we exploited the flexibility of our system, enabling tamoxifen inducible conditional gene ablation while controlling for genetic background and tamoxifen effects. Setdb1 ablated ES cells exhibit severe growth inhibition, which is not rescued by exogenous Nanog expression or culturing in naive pluripotency '2i' media, suggesting that the self-renewal defect is mediated through pluripotency network independent pathways. Our strategy to generate null mutant mouse ES cells is applicable to thousands of genes and repurposes existing IKMC Intermediate Vectors

    Negotiation in strategy making teams : group support systems and the process of cognitive change

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    This paper reports on the use of a Group Support System (GSS) to explore at a micro level some of the processes manifested when a group is negotiating strategy-processes of social and psychological negotiation. It is based on data from a series of interventions with senior management teams of three operating companies comprising a multi-national organization, and with a joint meeting subsequently involving all of the previous participants. The meetings were concerned with negotiating a new strategy for the global organization. The research involved the analysis of detailed time series data logs that exist as a result of using a GSS that is a reflection of cognitive theory

    A novel knockout mouse for the small EDRK-rich factor 2 (Serf2) showing developmental and other deficits

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    The small EDRK-rich factor 2 (SERF2) is a highly conserved protein that modifies amyloid fibre assembly in vitro and promotes protein misfolding. However, the role of SERF2 in regulating age-related proteotoxicity remains largely unexplored due to a lack of in vivo models. Here, we report the generation of Serf2 knockout mice using an ES cell targeting approach, with Serf2 knockout alleles being bred onto different defined genetic backgrounds. We highlight phenotyping data from heterozygous Serf2^{+/-} mice, including unexpected male-specific phenotypes in startle response and pre-pulse inhibition. We report embryonic lethality in Serf2^{-/-} null animals when bred onto a C57BL/6 N background. However, homozygous null animals were viable on a mixed genetic background and, remarkably, developed without obvious abnormalities. The Serf2 knockout mice provide a powerful tool to further investigate the role of SERF2 protein in previously unexplored pathophysiological pathways in the context of a whole organism

    First observation of Dorylus ant feeding in Budongo chimpanzees supports absence of stick-tool culture

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    The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement no 283871.The use of stick- or probe-tools is a chimpanzee universal, recorded in all long-term study populations across Africa, except one: Budongo, Uganda. Here, after 25-years of observation, stick-tool use remains absent under both natural circumstances and strong experimental scaffolding. Instead, the chimpanzees employ a rich repertoire of leaf-tools for a variety of dietary and hygiene tasks. One use of stick-tools in other communities is in feeding on the aggressive Dorylus ‘army-ant’ species, consumed by chimpanzees at all long-term study sites outside of mid-Western Uganda. Here we report the first observation of army-ant feeding in Budongo, in which individuals from the Waibira chimpanzee community employed detached leaves to feed on a ground swarm. We describe the behaviour and discuss whether or not it can be considered tool-use, together with its implication for the absence of stick-tool ‘culture’ in Budongo chimpanzees.Publisher PDFPeer reviewe

    Prevalence and Correlates of Common Mental Disorders among Mothers of Young Children in Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania.

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    Although poor maternal mental health is a major public health problem, with detrimental effects on the individual, her children and society, information on its correlates in low-income countries is sparse. This study investigates the prevalence of common mental disorders (CMD) among at-risk mothers, and explores its associations with sociodemographic factors. This population-based survey of mothers of children aged 0-36 months used the 14-item Shona Symptom Questionnaire (SSQ). Mothers whose response was "yes" to 8 or more items on the scale were defined as "at risk of CMD." Of the 1,922 mothers (15-48 years), 28.8% were at risk of CMD. Risk of CMD was associated with verbal abuse, physical abuse, a partner who did not help with the care of the child, being in a polygamous relationship, a partner with low levels of education, and a partner who smoked cigarettes. Cohabiting appeared to be protective. Taken together, our results indicate the significance of the quality of relations with one's partner in shaping maternal mental health. The high proportion of mothers who are at risk of CMD emphasizes the importance of developing evidence-based mental health programmes as part of the care package aimed at improving maternal well-being in Tanzania and other similar settings

    The utility of ductal lavage in breast cancer detection and risk assessment

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    Ductal lavage (DL) permits noninvasive retrieval of epithelial cells from the breast. Clinical development of this technique has been fueled largely by its potential, as yet unproven, to improve detection of breast cancer and definition of individual risk for development of breast cancer. Early studies demonstrate the feasibility of performing this technique, provide data on cellular yield and findings, and demonstrate the ability to measure molecular markers in DL fluid. However, the sensitivity and specificity of DL for the detection of breast cancer remains unknown, as does the significance of atypia, particularly mild atypia, when found in DL fluid. Although DL appears safe and the device is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, DL is still best utilized in the setting of clinical trials designed to resolve issues of sensitivity, specificity, and localization

    Selective binding of facial features reveals dynamic expression fragments

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    The temporal correspondence between two arbitrarily chosen pairs of alternating features can generally be reported for rates up to 3–4 Hz. This limit is however surpassed for specialised visual mechanisms that encode conjunctions of features. Here we show that this 3–4 Hz limit is exceeded for eye gaze and eyebrow pairing, but not for eye gaze and mouth pairing, suggesting combined eye and eyebrow motion constitutes a dynamic expression fragment; a building block of superordinate facial actions

    Genetic Analysis of the Cytoplasmic Dynein Subunit Families

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    Cytoplasmic dyneins, the principal microtubule minus-end-directed motor proteins of the cell, are involved in many essential cellular processes. The major form of this enzyme is a complex of at least six protein subunits, and in mammals all but one of the subunits are encoded by at least two genes. Here we review current knowledge concerning the subunits, their interactions, and their functional roles as derived from biochemical and genetic analyses. We also carried out extensive database searches to look for new genes and to clarify anomalies in the databases. Our analysis documents evolutionary relationships among the dynein subunits of mammals and other model organisms, and sheds new light on the role of this diverse group of proteins, highlighting the existence of two cytoplasmic dynein complexes with distinct cellular roles
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