738 research outputs found

    Occurrence, Composition and Formation of Ruppia, Widgeon Grass, balls in Saskatchewan Lakes

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    Widgeon Grass (Ruppia maritima) is an aquatic vascular plant (Ruppiaceae) which has been the source for rare balls of plant material found at the shores of lakes on four continents. In North America, the lakes involved were in North Dakota, Oregon, and now northern and southern Saskatchewan. The formation of the balls has not been observed in nature, but similar balls have been produced in other studies with Posidonia or Turtle Grass (Hydrocharitaceae) fibers under the wavelike action in a washing machine. Our samples are from a saline lake in southern Saskatchewan (49°N), and an over 40-year-old sample from an unknown lake north of the boreal transition zone (52°N). Comparisons of the plant material with herbarium specimens confirm that the balls are almost entirely comprised of Ruppia maritima, with minor items including invertebrate animal parts, sand pebbles and feathers. The context in which the material was found is consistent with the proposition that they are formed by Ruppia inflorescences breaking apart, drifting to near shore due to wind and being rolled into balls by wave action

    Alternative oder Anachronismus?

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    Long-term changes in the acid and salt concentrations of the Greenland Ice Core Project ice core from electrical stratigraphy

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    Continuous electrical records covering a climatic cycle are presented for the Greenland Ice Core Project deep ice core from Greenland. Electrical conductivity measurement (ECM) measures the acid content of the ice, and the dielectric profile (DEP) responds to acid, ammonium, and chloride. All features seen can be explained by chemical changes in the ice, and there is no evidence so far for any major change in electrical response with depth or age of the ice. Both records are dominated by the acidity of the ice which varies strongly from acidic in warm periods to alkaline in cold periods, controlled by neutralization by alkaline dust (calcareous and other mineral dust). When Ca is low, the acidity (mainly nitric acid) has a fairly constant background level throughout the cycle, with slightly lower values in ice believed to be from the last interglacial. Ca has to rise only slightly to neutralize the available acidity, so that acidity is a highly nonlinear reflection of climate changes. If neutralization occurred in the aerosol (rather than in the ice), then the number of cloud condensation nuclei over parts of the northern hemisphere could have been reduced, leading to reduced cloud albedo. This nonlinear feedback may have some importance for modeling of climate change. When both acid and ammonium levels are low, the DEP signal can be used to give a rapid indication of chloride trends

    Epitaxial Cobalt Oxide Films with Wurtzite Structure on Au(111)

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    Several-nanometer-thick, closed, and epitaxial cobalt(II) oxide films with wurtzite crystal structure (w-CoO) are grown on Au(111) and their structural and electronic properties analyzed. The structural quality of the (Formula presented.) oriented, oxygen-terminated, and unreconstructed films allow the application of surface-science methods to unravel the properties of this unusual polymorph of CoO and may pave the way for future thin-film applications. An experimental structural analysis by low-energy electron diffraction (LEED-IV) is presented with an excellent agreement between measured and calculated intensity spectra expressed by a Pendry R-factor of (Formula presented.) and few-picometer error bounds in the parameter values. Using scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) the bandgap of the semiconducting films is found to be 1.4 ± 0.2 eV. Ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS) confirms the presence of a gap and the position of the Fermi level (E F). The structural results of density functional theory calculations using (hybrid) functionals to treat electron correlations and van der Waals forces agree well with the experimentally determined structure of the antiferromagnetic w-CoO films. In contrast to generalized gradient approximation (GGA)+U calculations, the Heyd–Scuseria–Ernzerhof hybrid functional reproduces the semiconducting nature correctly and predicts surface states in the gap which might pin E F in agreement with STS and UPS

    Proteomic analysis of hepatic effects of phenobarbital in mice with humanized liver

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    Activation of the constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) may induce adaptive but also adverse effects in rodent liver, including the induction of drug-metabolizing enzymes, transient hepatocellular proliferation, and promotion of liver tumor growth. Human relevance of CAR-related adverse hepatic effects is controversially debated. Here, we used the chimeric FRG-KO mouse model with livers largely repopulated by human hepatocytes, in order to study human hepatocytes and their response to treatment with the model CAR activator phenobarbital (PB) in vivo. Mice received an intraperitoneal injection with 50 mg/kg body weight PB or saline, and were sacrificed after 72–144 h. Non-repopulated FRG-KO mice were used as additional control. Comprehensive proteomics datasets were generated by merging data obtained by targeted as well as non-targeted proteomics approaches. For the first time, a novel proteomics workflow was established to comparatively analyze the effects of PB on human and murine proteins within one sample. Analysis of merged proteome data sets and bioinformatics data mining revealed comparable responses in murine and human hepatocytes with respect to nuclear receptor activation and induction of xenobiotic metabolism. By contrast, activation of MYC, a key regulator of proliferation, was predicted only for mouse but not human hepatocytes. Analyses of 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine incorporation confirmed this finding. In summary, this study for the first time presents a comprehensive proteomic analysis of CAR-dependent effects in human and mouse hepatocytes from humanized FRG-KO mice. The data support the hypothesis that PB does induce adaptive metabolic responses, but not hepatocellular proliferation in human hepatocytes in vivo.publishedVersio

    Alternative Splicing and Extensive RNA Editing of Human TPH2 Transcripts

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    Brain serotonin (5-HT) neurotransmission plays a key role in the regulation of mood and has been implicated in a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions. Tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of 5-HT. Recently, we discovered a second TPH isoform (TPH2) in vertebrates, including man, which is predominantly expressed in brain, while the previously known TPH isoform (TPH1) is primarly a non-neuronal enzyme. Overwhelming evidence now points to TPH2 as a candidate gene for 5-HT-related psychiatric disorders. To assess the role of TPH2 gene variability in the etiology of psychiatric diseases we performed cDNA sequence analysis of TPH2 transcripts from human post mortem amygdala samples obtained from individuals with psychiatric disorders (drug abuse, schizophrenia, suicide) and controls. Here we show that TPH2 exists in two alternatively spliced variants in the coding region, denoted TPH2a and TPH2b. Moreover, we found evidence that the pre- mRNAs of both splice variants are dynamically RNA-edited in a mutually exclusive manner. Kinetic studies with cell lines expressing recombinant TPH2 variants revealed a higher activity of the novel TPH2B protein compared with the previously known TPH2A, whereas RNA editing was shown to inhibit the enzymatic activity of both TPH2 splice variants. Therefore, our results strongly suggest a complex fine-tuning of central nervous system 5-HT biosynthesis by TPH2 alternative splicing and RNA editing. Finally, we present molecular and large-scale linkage data evidencing that deregulated alternative splicing and RNA editing is involved in the etiology of psychiatric diseases, such as suicidal behaviour

    Reliability of retinal vessel calibre measurements using a retinal oximeter

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    Background: Summarised retinal vessel diameters are linked to systemic vascular pathology. Monochromatic images provide best contrast to measure vessel calibres. However, when obtaining images with a dual wavelength oximeter the red-free image can be extracted as the green channel information only which in turn will reduce the number of photographs taken at a given time. This will reduce patient exposure to the camera flash and could provide sufficient quality images to reliably measure vessel calibres. Methods: We obtained retinal images of one eye of 45 healthy participants. Central retinal arteriolar and central retinal venular equivalents (CRAE and CRVE, respectively) were measured using semi-automated software from two monochromatic images: one taken with a red-free filter and one extracted from the green channel of a dual wavelength oximetry image. Results: Participants were aged between 21 and 62 years, all were normotensive (SBP: 115 (12) mmHg; DBP: 72 (10) mmHg) and had normal intra-ocular pressures (12 (3) mmHg). Bland-Altman analysis revealed good agreement of CRAE and CRVE as obtained from both images (mean bias CRAE = 0.88; CRVE = 2.82). Conclusions: Summarised retinal vessel calibre measurements obtained from oximetry images are in good agreement to those obtained using red-free photographs

    Retrograde traffic in the biosynthetic-secretory route

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    In the biosynthetic-secretory route from the rough endoplasmic reticulum, across the pre-Golgi intermediate compartments, the Golgi apparatus stacks, trans Golgi network, and post-Golgi organelles, anterograde transport is accompanied and counterbalanced by retrograde traffic of both membranes and contents. In the physiologic dynamics of cells, retrograde flow is necessary for retrieval of molecules that escaped from their compartments of function, for keeping the compartments’ balances, and maintenance of the functional integrities of organelles and compartments along the secretory route, for repeated use of molecules, and molecule repair. Internalized molecules may be transported in retrograde direction along certain sections of the secretory route, and compartments and machineries of the secretory pathway may be misused by toxins. An important example is the toxin of Shigella dysenteriae, which has been shown to travel from the cell surface across endosomes, and the Golgi apparatus en route to the endoplasmic reticulum, and the cytosol, where it exerts its deleterious effects. Most importantly in medical research, knowledge about the retrograde cellular pathways is increasingly being utilized for the development of strategies for targeted delivery of drugs to the interior of cells. Multiple details about the molecular transport machineries involved in retrograde traffic are known; a high number of the molecular constituents have been characterized, and the complicated fine structural architectures of the compartments involved become more and more visible. However, multiple contradictions exist, and already established traffic models again are in question by contradictory results obtained with diverse cell systems, and/or different techniques. Additional problems arise by the fact that the conditions used in the experimental protocols frequently do not reflect the physiologic situations of the cells. Regular and pathologic situations often are intermingled, and experimental treatments by themselves change cell organizations. This review addresses physiologic and pathologic situations, tries to correlate results obtained by different cell biologic techniques, and asks questions, which may be the basis and starting point for further investigations

    Case Reports1. A Late Presentation of Loeys-Dietz Syndrome: Beware of TGFβ Receptor Mutations in Benign Joint Hypermobility

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    Background: Thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA) and dissections are not uncommon causes of sudden death in young adults. Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS) is a rare, recently described, autosomal dominant, connective tissue disease characterized by aggressive arterial aneurysms, resulting from mutations in the transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) receptor genes TGFBR1 and TGFBR2. Mean age at death is 26.1 years, most often due to aortic dissection. We report an unusually late presentation of LDS, diagnosed following elective surgery in a female with a long history of joint hypermobility. Methods: A 51-year-old Caucasian lady complained of chest pain and headache following a dural leak from spinal anaesthesia for an elective ankle arthroscopy. CT scan and echocardiography demonstrated a dilated aortic root and significant aortic regurgitation. MRA demonstrated aortic tortuosity, an infrarenal aortic aneurysm and aneurysms in the left renal and right internal mammary arteries. She underwent aortic root repair and aortic valve replacement. She had a background of long-standing joint pains secondary to hypermobility, easy bruising, unusual fracture susceptibility and mild bronchiectasis. She had one healthy child age 32, after which she suffered a uterine prolapse. Examination revealed mild Marfanoid features. Uvula, skin and ophthalmological examination was normal. Results: Fibrillin-1 testing for Marfan syndrome (MFS) was negative. Detection of a c.1270G > C (p.Gly424Arg) TGFBR2 mutation confirmed the diagnosis of LDS. Losartan was started for vascular protection. Conclusions: LDS is a severe inherited vasculopathy that usually presents in childhood. It is characterized by aortic root dilatation and ascending aneurysms. There is a higher risk of aortic dissection compared with MFS. Clinical features overlap with MFS and Ehlers Danlos syndrome Type IV, but differentiating dysmorphogenic features include ocular hypertelorism, bifid uvula and cleft palate. Echocardiography and MRA or CT scanning from head to pelvis is recommended to establish the extent of vascular involvement. Management involves early surgical intervention, including early valve-sparing aortic root replacement, genetic counselling and close monitoring in pregnancy. Despite being caused by loss of function mutations in either TGFβ receptor, paradoxical activation of TGFβ signalling is seen, suggesting that TGFβ antagonism may confer disease modifying effects similar to those observed in MFS. TGFβ antagonism can be achieved with angiotensin antagonists, such as Losartan, which is able to delay aortic aneurysm development in preclinical models and in patients with MFS. Our case emphasizes the importance of timely recognition of vasculopathy syndromes in patients with hypermobility and the need for early surgical intervention. It also highlights their heterogeneity and the potential for late presentation. Disclosures: The authors have declared no conflicts of interes

    No Reliable Association between Runs of Homozygosity and Schizophrenia in a Well-Powered Replication Study

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    It is well known that inbreeding increases the risk of recessive monogenic diseases, but it is less certain whether it contributes to the etiology of complex diseases such as schizophrenia. One way to estimate the effects of inbreeding is to examine the association between disease diagnosis and genome-wide autozygosity estimated using runs of homozygosity (ROH) in genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism arrays. Using data for schizophrenia from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (n = 21,868), Keller et al. (2012) estimated that the odds of developing schizophrenia increased by approximately 17% for every additional percent of the genome that is autozygous (β = 16.1, CI(β) = [6.93, 25.7], Z = 3.44, p = 0.0006). Here we describe replication results from 22 independent schizophrenia case-control datasets from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (n = 39,830). Using the same ROH calling thresholds and procedures as Keller et al. (2012), we were unable to replicate the significant association between ROH burden and schizophrenia in the independent PGC phase II data, although the effect was in the predicted direction, and the combined (original + replication) dataset yielded an attenuated but significant relationship between Froh and schizophrenia (β = 4.86,CI(β) = [0.90,8.83],Z = 2.40,p = 0.02). Since Keller et al. (2012), several studies reported inconsistent association of ROH burden with complex traits, particularly in case-control data. These conflicting results might suggest that the effects of autozygosity are confounded by various factors, such as socioeconomic status, education, urbanicity, and religiosity, which may be associated with both real inbreeding and the outcome measures of interest
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