42 research outputs found

    Hydrological and associated biogeochemical consequences of rapid global warming during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

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    The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) hyperthermal, ~ 56 million years ago (Ma), is the most dramatic example of abrupt Cenozoic global warming. During the PETM surface temperatures increased between 5 and 9 °C and the onset likely took < 20 kyr. The PETM provides a case study of the impacts of rapid global warming on the Earth system, including both hydrological and associated biogeochemical feedbacks, and proxy data from the PETM can provide constraints on changes in warm climate hydrology simulated by general circulation models (GCMs). In this paper, we provide a critical review of biological and geochemical signatures interpreted as direct or indirect indicators of hydrological change at the PETM, explore the importance of adopting multi-proxy approaches, and present a preliminary model-data comparison. Hydrological records complement those of temperature and indicate that the climatic response at the PETM was complex, with significant regional and temporal variability. This is further illustrated by the biogeochemical consequences of inferred changes in hydrology and, in fact, changes in precipitation and the biogeochemical consequences are often conflated in geochemical signatures. There is also strong evidence in many regions for changes in the episodic and/or intra-annual distribution of precipitation that has not widely been considered when comparing proxy data to GCM output. Crucially, GCM simulations indicate that the response of the hydrological cycle to the PETM was heterogeneous – some regions are associated with increased precipitation – evaporation (P – E), whilst others are characterised by a decrease. Interestingly, the majority of proxy data come from the regions where GCMs predict an increase in PETM precipitation. We propose that comparison of hydrological proxies to GCM output can be an important test of model skill, but this will be enhanced by further data from regions of model-simulated aridity and simulation of extreme precipitation events

    Magnetically Responsive Microbubbles as Delivery Vehicles for Targeted Sonodynamic and Antimetabolite Therapy of Pancreatic Cancer

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    Magnetically responsive microbubbles (MagMBs), consisting of an oxygen gas core and a phospholipid coating functionalised with Rose Bengal (RB) and/or 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), were assessed as a delivery vehicle for the targeted treatment of pancreatic cancer using combined antimetabolite and sonodynamic therapy (SDT). MagMBs delivering the combined 5-FU/SDT treatment produced a reduction in cell viability of over 50% when tested against a panel of four pancreatic cancer cell lines in vitro. Intravenous administration of the MagMBs to mice bearing orthotopic human xenograft BxPC-3 tumours yielded a 48.3% reduction in tumour volume relative to an untreated control group (p<0.05) when the tumour was exposed to both external magnetic and ultrasound fields during administration of the MagMBs. In contrast, application of an external ultrasound field alone resulted in a 27% reduction in tumour volume. In addition, activated caspase and BAX protein levels were both observed to be significantly elevated in tumours harvested from animals treated with the MagMBs in the presence of magnetic and ultrasonic fields when compared to expression of those proteins in tumours from either the control or ultrasound field only groups (p<0.05). These results suggest MagMBs have considerable potential as a platform to enable the targeted delivery of combined sonodynamic / antimetabolite therapy in pancreatic cancer

    Effective health care for older people living and dying in care homes: A realist review

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    Background: Care home residents in England have variable access to health care services. There is currently no coherent policy or consensus about the best arrangements to meet these needs. The purpose of this review was to explore the evidence for how different service delivery models for care home residents support and/or improve wellbeing and health-related outcomes in older people living and dying in care homes. Methods: We conceptualised models of health care provision to care homes as complex interventions. We used a realist review approach to develop a preliminary understanding of what supported good health care provision to care homes. We completed a scoping of the literature and interviewed National Health Service and Local Authority commissioners, providers of services to care homes, representatives from the Regulator, care home managers, residents and their families. We used these data to develop theoretical propositions to be tested in the literature to explain why an intervention may be effective in some situations and not others. We searched electronic databases and related grey literature. Finally the findings were reviewed with an external advisory group. Results: Strategies that support and sustain relational working between care home staff and visiting health care professionals explained the observed differences in how health care interventions were accepted and embedded into care home practice. Actions that encouraged visiting health care professionals and care home staff jointly to identify, plan and implement care home appropriate protocols for care, when supported by ongoing facilitation from visiting clinicians, were important. Contextual factors such as financial incentives or sanctions, agreed protocols, clinical expertise and structured approaches to assessment and care planning could support relational working to occur, but of themselves appeared insufficient to achieve change. Conclusion: How relational working is structured between health and care home staff is key to whether health service interventions achieve health related outcomes for residents and their respective organisations. The belief that either paying clinicians to do more in care homes and/or investing in training of care home staff is sufficient for better outcomes was not supported.This research was funded by National Institute of Health Research Health Service Delivery and Research programme (HSDR 11/021/02)

    Genes for the Major Structural Components of Thermotogales Species’ Togas Revealed by Proteomic and Evolutionary Analyses of OmpA and OmpB Homologs

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    The unifying structural characteristic of members of the bacterial order Thermotogales is their toga, an unusual cell envelope that includes a loose-fitting sheath around each cell. Only two toga-associated structural proteins have been purified and characterized in Thermotoga maritima: the anchor protein OmpA1 (or Ompα) and the porin OmpB (or Ompβ). The gene encoding OmpA1 (ompA1) was cloned and sequenced and later assigned to TM0477 in the genome sequence, but because no peptide sequence was available for OmpB, its gene (ompB) was not annotated. We identified six porin candidates in the genome sequence of T. maritima. Of these candidates, only one, encoded by TM0476, has all the characteristics reported for OmpB and characteristics expected of a porin including predominant β-sheet structure, a carboxy terminus porin anchoring motif, and a porin-specific amino acid composition. We highly enriched a toga fraction of cells for OmpB by sucrose gradient centrifugation and hydroxyapatite chromatography and analyzed it by LC/MS/MS. We found that the only porin candidate that it contained was the TM0476 product. This cell fraction also had β-sheet character as determined by circular dichroism, consistent with its enrichment for OmpB. We conclude that TM0476 encodes OmpB. A phylogenetic analysis of OmpB found orthologs encoded in syntenic locations in the genomes of all but two Thermotogales species. Those without orthologs have putative isofunctional genes in their place. Phylogenetic analyses of OmpA1 revealed that each species of the Thermotogales has one or two OmpA homologs. T. maritima has two OmpA homologs, encoded by ompA1 (TM0477) and ompA2 (TM1729), both of which were found in the toga protein-enriched cell extracts. These annotations of the genes encoding toga structural proteins will guide future examinations of the structure and function of this unusual lineage-defining cell sheath

    Complete Genome Sequence of the N2-Fixing Broad Host Range Endophyte Klebsiella pneumoniae 342 and Virulence Predictions Verified in Mice

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    We report here the sequencing and analysis of the genome of the nitrogen-fixing endophyte, Klebsiella pneumoniae 342. Although K. pneumoniae 342 is a member of the enteric bacteria, it serves as a model for studies of endophytic, plant-bacterial associations due to its efficient colonization of plant tissues (including maize and wheat, two of the most important crops in the world), while maintaining a mutualistic relationship that encompasses supplying organic nitrogen to the host plant. Genomic analysis examined K. pneumoniae 342 for the presence of previously identified genes from other bacteria involved in colonization of, or growth in, plants. From this set, approximately one-third were identified in K. pneumoniae 342, suggesting additional factors most likely contribute to its endophytic lifestyle. Comparative genome analyses were used to provide new insights into this question. Results included the identification of metabolic pathways and other features devoted to processing plant-derived cellulosic and aromatic compounds, and a robust complement of transport genes (15.4%), one of the highest percentages in bacterial genomes sequenced. Although virulence and antibiotic resistance genes were predicted, experiments conducted using mouse models showed pathogenicity to be attenuated in this strain. Comparative genomic analyses with the presumed human pathogen K. pneumoniae MGH78578 revealed that MGH78578 apparently cannot fix nitrogen, and the distribution of genes essential to surface attachment, secretion, transport, and regulation and signaling varied between each genome, which may indicate critical divergences between the strains that influence their preferred host ranges and lifestyles (endophytic plant associations for K. pneumoniae 342 and presumably human pathogenesis for MGH78578). Little genome information is available concerning endophytic bacteria. The K. pneumoniae 342 genome will drive new research into this less-understood, but important category of bacterial-plant host relationships, which could ultimately enhance growth and nutrition of important agricultural crops and development of plant-derived products and biofuels

    A framework for human microbiome research

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    A variety of microbial communities and their genes (the microbiome) exist throughout the human body, with fundamental roles in human health and disease. The National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Human Microbiome Project Consortium has established a population-scale framework to develop metagenomic protocols, resulting in a broad range of quality-controlled resources and data including standardized methods for creating, processing and interpreting distinct types of high-throughput metagenomic data available to the scientific community. Here we present resources from a population of 242 healthy adults sampled at 15 or 18 body sites up to three times, which have generated 5,177 microbial taxonomic profiles from 16S ribosomal RNA genes and over 3.5 terabases of metagenomic sequence so far. In parallel, approximately 800 reference strains isolated from the human body have been sequenced. Collectively, these data represent the largest resource describing the abundance and variety of the human microbiome, while providing a framework for current and future studies

    Structure, function and diversity of the healthy human microbiome

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    Author Posting. © The Authors, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of Nature Publishing Group. The definitive version was published in Nature 486 (2012): 207-214, doi:10.1038/nature11234.Studies of the human microbiome have revealed that even healthy individuals differ remarkably in the microbes that occupy habitats such as the gut, skin and vagina. Much of this diversity remains unexplained, although diet, environment, host genetics and early microbial exposure have all been implicated. Accordingly, to characterize the ecology of human-associated microbial communities, the Human Microbiome Project has analysed the largest cohort and set of distinct, clinically relevant body habitats so far. We found the diversity and abundance of each habitat’s signature microbes to vary widely even among healthy subjects, with strong niche specialization both within and among individuals. The project encountered an estimated 81–99% of the genera, enzyme families and community configurations occupied by the healthy Western microbiome. Metagenomic carriage of metabolic pathways was stable among individuals despite variation in community structure, and ethnic/racial background proved to be one of the strongest associations of both pathways and microbes with clinical metadata. These results thus delineate the range of structural and functional configurations normal in the microbial communities of a healthy population, enabling future characterization of the epidemiology, ecology and translational applications of the human microbiome.This research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants U54HG004969 to B.W.B.; U54HG003273 to R.A.G.; U54HG004973 to R.A.G., S.K.H. and J.F.P.; U54HG003067 to E.S.Lander; U54AI084844 to K.E.N.; N01AI30071 to R.L.Strausberg; U54HG004968 to G.M.W.; U01HG004866 to O.R.W.; U54HG003079 to R.K.W.; R01HG005969 to C.H.; R01HG004872 to R.K.; R01HG004885 to M.P.; R01HG005975 to P.D.S.; R01HG004908 to Y.Y.; R01HG004900 to M.K.Cho and P. Sankar; R01HG005171 to D.E.H.; R01HG004853 to A.L.M.; R01HG004856 to R.R.; R01HG004877 to R.R.S. and R.F.; R01HG005172 to P. Spicer.; R01HG004857 to M.P.; R01HG004906 to T.M.S.; R21HG005811 to E.A.V.; M.J.B. was supported by UH2AR057506; G.A.B. was supported by UH2AI083263 and UH3AI083263 (G.A.B., C. N. Cornelissen, L. K. Eaves and J. F. Strauss); S.M.H. was supported by UH3DK083993 (V. B. Young, E. B. Chang, F. Meyer, T. M. S., M. L. Sogin, J. M. Tiedje); K.P.R. was supported by UH2DK083990 (J. V.); J.A.S. and H.H.K. were supported by UH2AR057504 and UH3AR057504 (J.A.S.); DP2OD001500 to K.M.A.; N01HG62088 to the Coriell Institute for Medical Research; U01DE016937 to F.E.D.; S.K.H. was supported by RC1DE0202098 and R01DE021574 (S.K.H. and H. Li); J.I. was supported by R21CA139193 (J.I. and D. S. Michaud); K.P.L. was supported by P30DE020751 (D. J. Smith); Army Research Office grant W911NF-11-1-0473 to C.H.; National Science Foundation grants NSF DBI-1053486 to C.H. and NSF IIS-0812111 to M.P.; The Office of Science of the US Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 for P.S. C.; LANL Laboratory-Directed Research and Development grant 20100034DR and the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency grants B104153I and B084531I to P.S.C.; Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) grant to K.F. and J.Raes; R.K. is an HHMI Early Career Scientist; Gordon&BettyMoore Foundation funding and institutional funding fromthe J. David Gladstone Institutes to K.S.P.; A.M.S. was supported by fellowships provided by the Rackham Graduate School and the NIH Molecular Mechanisms in Microbial Pathogenesis Training Grant T32AI007528; a Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada Grant in Aid of Research to E.A.V.; 2010 IBM Faculty Award to K.C.W.; analysis of the HMPdata was performed using National Energy Research Scientific Computing resources, the BluBioU Computational Resource at Rice University

    Abdominal aortic aneurysm is associated with a variant in low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1

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    Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a common cause of morbidity and mortality and has a significant heritability. We carried out a genome-wide association discovery study of 1866 patients with AAA and 5435 controls and replication of promising signals (lead SNP with a p value &lt; 1 × 10-5) in 2871 additional cases and 32,687 controls and performed further follow-up in 1491 AAA and 11,060 controls. In the discovery study, nine loci demonstrated association with AAA (p &lt; 1 × 10-5). In the replication sample, the lead SNP at one of these loci, rs1466535, located within intron 1 of low-density-lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) demonstrated significant association (p = 0.0042). We confirmed the association of rs1466535 and AAA in our follow-up study (p = 0.035). In a combined analysis (6228 AAA and 49182 controls), rs1466535 had a consistent effect size and direction in all sample sets (combined p = 4.52 × 10-10, odds ratio 1.15 [1.10-1.21]). No associations were seen for either rs1466535 or the 12q13.3 locus in independent association studies of coronary artery disease, blood pressure, diabetes, or hyperlipidaemia, suggesting that this locus is specific to AAA. Gene-expression studies demonstrated a trend toward increased LRP1 expression for the rs1466535 CC genotype in arterial tissues; there was a significant (p = 0.029) 1.19-fold (1.04-1.36) increase in LRP1 expression in CC homozygotes compared to TT homozygotes in aortic adventitia. Functional studies demonstrated that rs1466535 might alter a SREBP-1 binding site and influence enhancer activity at the locus. In conclusion, this study has identified a biologically plausible genetic variant associated specifically with AAA, and we suggest that this variant has a possible functional role in LRP1 expression
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