177 research outputs found

    Hydrostatic pressure-induced modifications of structural transitions lead to large enhancements of magnetocaloric effects in MnNiSi-based systems

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    A remarkable decrease of the structural transition temperature of MnNiSi from 1200 to transitions, leading to a large magnetocaloric effect near room temperature. Application of relatively low hydrostatic pressures (∼2.4 kbar) lead to an extraordinary enhancement of the isothermal entropy change from -ΔS=44 to 89 J/kgK at ambient and 2.4 kbar applied pressures, respectively, for a field change of ΔB=5T, and is associated with a large relative volume change of about 7% with P=2.4 kbar

    Crystal Structures of Cif from Bacterial Pathogens Photorhabdus luminescens and Burkholderia pseudomallei

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    A pre-requisite for bacterial pathogenesis is the successful interaction of a pathogen with a host. One mechanism used by a broad range of Gram negative bacterial pathogens is to deliver effector proteins directly into host cells through a dedicated type III secretion system where they modulate host cell function. The cycle inhibiting factor (Cif) family of effector proteins, identified in a growing number of pathogens that harbour functional type III secretion systems and have a wide host range, arrest the eukaryotic cell cycle. Here, the crystal structures of Cifs from the insect pathogen/nematode symbiont Photorhabdus luminescens (a γ-proteobacterium) and human pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei (a β-proteobacterium) are presented. Both of these proteins adopt an overall fold similar to the papain sub-family of cysteine proteases, as originally identified in the structure of a truncated form of Cif from Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), despite sharing only limited sequence identity. The structure of an N-terminal region, referred to here as the ‘tail-domain’ (absent in the EPEC Cif structure), suggests a surface likely to be involved in host-cell substrate recognition. The conformation of the Cys-His-Gln catalytic triad is retained, and the essential cysteine is exposed to solvent and addressable by small molecule reagents. These structures and biochemical work contribute to the rapidly expanding literature on Cifs, and direct further studies to better understand the molecular details of the activity of these proteins

    CAM-related changes in chloroplastic metabolism of Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.

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    Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is an intriguing metabolic strategy to maintain photosynthesis under conditions of closed stomata. A shift from C3 photosynthesis to CAM in Mesembryanthemum crystallinum plants was induced by high salinity (0.4 M NaCl). In CAM-performing plants, the quantum efficiencies of photosystem II and I were observed to undergo distinct diurnal fluctuations that were characterized by a strong decline at the onset of the day, midday recovery, and an evening drop. The temporal recovery of both photosystems’ efficiency at midday was associated with a more rapid induction of the electron transport rate at PSII. This recovery of the photosynthetic apparatus at midday was observed to be accompanied by extreme swelling of thylakoids. Despite these fluctuations, a persistent effect of CAM was the acceptor side limitation of PSI during the day, which was accompanied by a strongly decreased level of Rubisco protein. Diurnal changes in the efficiency of photosystems were parallel to corresponding changes in the levels of mRNAs for proteins of PSII and PSI reaction centers and for rbcL, reaching a maximum in CAM plants at midday. This might reflect a high demand for new protein synthesis at this time of the day. Hybridization of run-on transcripts with specific probes for plastid genes of M. crystallinum revealed that the changes in plastidic mRNA levels were regulated at the level of transcription

    Structure of the pentameric ligand-gated ion channel ELIC cocrystallized with its competitive antagonist acetylcholine

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    ELIC, the pentameric ligand-gated ion channel from Erwinia chrysanthemi, is a prototype for Cys-loop receptors. Here we show that acetylcholine is a competitive antagonist for ELIC. We determine the acetylcholine–ELIC cocrystal structure to a 2.9-Å resolution and find that acetylcholine binding to an aromatic cage at the subunit interface induces a significant contraction of loop C and other structural rearrangements in the extracellular domain. The side chain of the pore-lining residue F247 reorients and the pore size consequently enlarges, but the channel remains closed. We attribute the inability of acetylcholine to activate ELIC primarily to weak cation-π and electrostatic interactions in the pocket, because an acetylcholine derivative with a simple quaternary-to-tertiary ammonium substitution activates the channel. This study presents a compelling case for understanding the structural underpinning of the functional relationship between agonism and competitive antagonism in the Cys-loop receptors, providing a new framework for developing novel therapeutic drugs

    Emigration, remittances, and the subjective well-being of those staying behind

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    © 2018, The Author(s). We offer the first global perspective on the well-being consequences of emigration for those staying behind using several subjective well-being measures (evaluations of best possible life, positive affect, stress, and depression). Using the Gallup World Poll data for 114 countries during 2009–2011, we find that having family members abroad is associated with greater evaluative well-being and positive affect, and receiving remittances is linked with further increases in evaluative well-being, especially in poorer contexts—both across and within countries. We also document that having household members abroad is linked with increased stress and depression, which are not offset by remittances. The out-migration of family members appears less traumatic in countries where migration is more common, indicating that people in such contexts might be able to cope better with separation. Overall, subjective well-being measures, which reflect both material and non-material aspects of life, furnish additional insights and a well-rounded picture of the consequences of emigration on migrant family members staying behind relative to standard outcomes employed in the literature, such as the left-behind’s consumption, income, or labor market outcomes

    The MeerKAT telescope as a pulsar facility: System verification and early science results from MeerTime

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    We describe system verification tests and early science results from the pulsar processor (PTUSE) developed for the newly commissioned 64-dish SARAO MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa. MeerKAT is a high-gain ( ) low-system temperature ( ) radio array that currently operates at 580–1 670 MHz and can produce tied-array beams suitable for pulsar observations. This paper presents results from the MeerTime Large Survey Project and commissioning tests with PTUSE. Highlights include observations of the double pulsar , pulse profiles from 34 millisecond pulsars (MSPs) from a single 2.5-h observation of the Globular cluster Terzan 5, the rotation measure of Ter5O, a 420-sigma giant pulse from the Large Magellanic Cloud pulsar PSR , and nulling identified in the slow pulsar PSR J0633–2015. One of the key design specifications for MeerKAT was absolute timing errors of less than 5 ns using their novel precise time system. Our timing of two bright MSPs confirm that MeerKAT delivers exceptional timing. PSR exhibits a jitter limit of whilst timing of PSR over almost 11 months yields an rms residual of 66 ns with only 4 min integrations. Our results confirm that the MeerKAT is an exceptional pulsar telescope. The array can be split into four separate sub-arrays to time over 1 000 pulsars per day and the future deployment of S-band (1 750–3 500 MHz) receivers will further enhance its capabilities

    Immune response of healthy horses to DNA constructs formulated with a cationic lipid transfection reagent

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    Background Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) vaccines are used for experimental immunotherapy of equine melanoma. The injection of complexed linear DNA encoding interleukin (IL)-12/IL-18 induced partial tumour remission in a clinical study including 27 grey horses. To date, the detailed mechanism of the anti-tumour effect of this treatment is unknown. Results In the present study, the clinical and cellular responses of 24 healthy horses were monitored over 72 h after simultaneous intradermal and intramuscular application of equine IL-12/IL-18 DNA (complexed with a transfection reagent) or comparative substances (transfection reagent only, nonsense DNA, nonsense DNA depleted of CG). Although the strongest effect was observed in horses treated with expressing DNA, horses in all groups treated with DNA showed systemic responses. In these horses treated with DNA, rectal temperatures were elevated after treatment and serum amyloid A increased. Total leukocyte and neutrophil counts increased, while lymphocyte numbers decreased. The secretion of tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and interferon gamma (IFNγ) from peripheral mononuclear blood cells ex vivo increased after treatments with DNA, while IL-10 secretion decreased. Horses treated with DNA had significantly higher myeloid cell numbers and chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand (CXCL)-10 expression in skin samples at the intradermal injection sites compared to horses treated with transfection reagent only, suggesting an inflammatory response to DNA treatment. In horses treated with expressing DNA, however, local CXCL-10 expression was highest and immunohistochemistry revealed more intradermal IL-12-positive cells when compared to the other treatment groups. In contrast to non-grey horses, grey horses showed fewer effects of DNA treatments on blood lymphocyte counts, TNFα secretion and myeloid cell infiltration in the dermis. Conclusion Treatment with complexed linear DNA constructs induced an inflammatory response independent of the coding sequence and of CG motif content. Expressing IL-12/IL-18 DNA locally induces expression of the downstream mediator CXCL-10. The grey horses included appeared to display an attenuated immune response to DNA treatment, although grey horses bearing melanoma responded to this treatment with moderate tumour remission in a preceding study. Whether the different immunological reactivity compared to other horses may contributes to the melanoma susceptibility of grey horses remains to be elucidated
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