56 research outputs found

    Potential Interactions Between Diatoms and Bacteria are Shaped by Trace Element Gradients in the Southern Ocean

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    The growth of diatoms in the Southern Ocean, especially the region surrounding the West Antarctic Peninsula, is frequently constrained by low dissolved iron and other trace metal concentrations. This challenge may be overcome by mutualisms between diatoms and co-occurring associated bacteria, in which diatoms produce organic carbon as a substrate for bacterial growth, and bacteria produce siderophores, metal-binding ligands that can supply diatoms with metals upon uptake as well as other useful secondary compounds for diatom growth like vitamins. To examine the relationships between diatoms and bacteria in the plankton (diatom) size class (\u3e 3 mu m), we sampled both bacterial and diatom community composition with accompanying environmental metadata across a naturally occurring concentration gradient of macronutrients, trace metals and siderophores at 21 stations near the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). Offshore Drake Passage stations had low dissolved iron (0.33 ± 0.15 nM), while the stations closer to the continental margin had higher dissolved iron (5.05 ± 1.83 nM). A similar geographic pattern was observed for macronutrients and most other trace metals measured, but there was not a clear inshore-offshore gradient in siderophore concentrations. The diatom and bacteria assemblages, determined using 18S and 16S rDNA sequencing respectively, were similar by location sampled, and variance in both assemblages was driven in part by concentrations of soluble reactive phosphorous, dissolved manganese, and dissolved copper, which were all higher near the continent. Some of the most common diatom sequence types observed were Thalassiosira and Fragilariopsis, and bacteria in the plankton size fraction were most commonly Bacteroidetes and Gammaproteobacteria. Network analysis showed positive associations between diatoms and bacteria, indicating possible in situ mutualisms through strategies such as siderophore and vitamin biosynthesis and exchange. This work furthers the understanding of how naturally occurring gradients of metals and nutrients influence diatom-bacteria interactions. Our data suggest that distinct groups of diatoms and associated bacteria are interacting under different trace metal regimes in the WAP, and that diatoms with different bacterial partners may have different modes of biologically supplied trace metals

    Blood and cardiovascular health parameters after supplementing with ketone salts for six weeks

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    Background: Exogenous ketone salts (KS) have been administered as treatment for various health conditions; however, the safety of chronic supplementation in a healthy population has yet to be explored. Aim: This study examined the safety of KS supplementation for 6 weeks in healthy, young adults and determined the effects of KS on blood ketone levels. Setting: Data collection occurred in a laboratory at Augusta University. Methods: Twenty-three men and women (aged 18–35 years old) supplemented with KS or a placebo (PLA) twice per day for 6 weeks in a randomised, double-blinded, PLA-controlled design. Baseline and post-intervention measures included body mass index (BMI), resting blood pressure and heart rate, questionnaires assessing mood and energy, urinalysis, and venous blood measures, including comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), lipid panel, and complete blood count (CBC). In addition, the participants consumed the assigned supplement during the baseline and post-intervention visits; blood ketone levels were assessed immediately before and after 30 and 60 min post-supplementation. Results: Systolic blood pressure was significantly lower (p < 0.05) after supplementing with KS for 6 weeks but not PLA. All other health parameters remained unchanged by KS supplementation, including BMI, resting heart rate, urinalysis, CMP, lipid panel, and CBC. After acute administration of KS but not PLA, blood ketone levels were significantly elevated (p < 0.001) 30 and 60 min after supplementation at both baseline and post-intervention visits. Conclusion: Chronic KS supplementation seems safe, significantly elevates blood ketone levels 30 and 60 min after supplementation and may lower blood pressure. Future explorations should determine the success of KS supplementation as a strategy to combat hypertension

    Maximizing as a predictor of job satisfaction and performance: A tale of three scales

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    Research on individual differences in maximizing (versus satisficing) has recently proliferated in the Judgment and Decision Making literature, and high scores on this construct have been linked to lower life satisfaction as well as, in some cases, to worse decision-making performance. The current study exported this construct to the organizational domain and evaluated the utility of the three most widely used measures of maximizing in predicting several criteria of interest to organizational researchers: job satisfaction, intentions to quit the organization, performance in the job role, and income. Moreover, this study used relative weight analyses to determine the relative importance of maximizing and two dispositional variables (conscientiousness and core self-evaluations) that are traditionally used to predict these criteria in the organizational literature. Results indicate that relationships between maximizing and these criteria are influenced by the way in which maximizing is measured. Yet, regardless of how it is measured, maximizing is not a particularly strong predictor of these criteria compared to traditional organizational predictors. Limitations and future research directions are discussed

    Differential Growth of Francisella tularensis, Which Alters Expression of Virulence Factors, Dominant Antigens, and Surface-Carbohydrate Synthases, Governs the Apparent Virulence of Ft SchuS4 to Immunized Animals

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    The gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis (Ft) is both a potential biological weapon and a naturally occurring microbe that survives in arthropods, fresh water amoeba, and mammals with distinct phenotypes in various environments. Previously, we used a number of measurements to characterize Ft grown in Brain-Heart Infusion (BHI) broth as (1) more similar to infection-derived bacteria, and (2) slightly more virulent in naïve animals, compared to Ft grown in Mueller Hinton Broth (MHB). In these studies we observed that the free amino acids in MHB repress expression of select Ft virulence factors by an unknown mechanism. Here, we tested the hypotheses that Ft grown in BHI (BHI-Ft) accurately displays a full protein composition more similar to that reported for infection-derived Ft and that this similarity would make BHI-Ft more susceptible to pre-existing, vaccine-induced immunity than MHB-Ft. We performed comprehensive proteomic analysis of Ft grown in MHB, BHI, and BHI supplemented with casamino acids (BCA) and compared our findings to published “omics” data derived from Ft grown in vivo. Based on the abundance of ~1,000 proteins, the fingerprint of BHI-Ft is one of nutrient-deprived bacteria that—through induction of a stringent-starvation-like response—have induced the FevR regulon for expression of the bacterium's virulence factors, immuno-dominant antigens, and surface-carbohydrate synthases. To test the notion that increased abundance of dominant antigens expressed by BHI-Ft would render these bacteria more susceptible to pre-existing, vaccine-induced immunity, we employed a battery of LVS-vaccination and S4-challenge protocols using MHB- and BHI-grown Ft S4. Contrary to our hypothesis, these experiments reveal that LVS-immunization provides a barrier to infection that is significantly more effective against an MHB-S4 challenge than a BHI-S4 challenge. The differences in apparent virulence to immunized mice are profoundly greater than those observed with primary infection of naïve mice. Our findings suggest that tularemia vaccination studies should be critically evaluated in regard to the growth conditions of the challenge agent

    A comparison of psoriasis severity in pediatric patients treated with methotrexate vs biologic agents

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    This cohort study compares the use of methotrexate vs biologic agents in children with moderate to severe psoriasis. Question What is the association between use of methotrexate vs biologics and psoriasis severity and drug survival (rate and duration of adherence to a specific drug regimen) in pediatric patients with moderate to severe psoriasis? Findings In this cohort study including 234 pediatric patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, those receiving biologics were more likely than those treated with methotrexate to achieve a Physician Global Assessment status of clear/almost clear and 75% or more improvement of the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index rating at 6 months. In addition, biologics were associated with better drug survival rates at 1, 3, and 5 years, with comparable discontinuation rates owing to lack of response. Meaning In pediatric patients with psoriasis, treatment with biologics may be associated with a significantly greater reduction in psoriasis severity than methotrexate; nevertheless, with 35.6% of the patients achieving clear/almost clear and 40.0% reaching 75% or more improvement on the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index, methotrexate remains an effective treatment for pediatric psoriasis. Importance Few studies have compared the use of methotrexate and biologics, the most commonly used systemic medications for treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis in children. Objective To assess the real-world, 6-month reduction in psoriasis severity and long-term drug survival (rate and duration of adherence to a specific drug) of methotrexate vs biologics in plaque psoriasis in children. Design, Setting, and Participants A retrospective medical records review was conducted at 20 European and North American centers. Treatment response was based on site-reported Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) and/or Physician Global Assessment (PGA) scores at baseline and within the first 6 months of treatment. Participants included all 234 consecutively seen children with moderate to severe psoriasis who received at least 3 months of methotrexate or biologics from December 1, 1990, to September 16, 2014, with sufficient data for analysis. Data analysis was performed from December 14, 2015, to September 1, 2016. Main Outcomes and Measures PASI, with a range from 0 to 72 (highest score indicating severe psoriasis), and/or PGA, with a scale of 0 (clear), 1 (minimal), 2 (mild), 3 (moderate), 4 (severe), and 5 (very severe). Results Of 234 pediatric patients (103 boys [44.0%]; 131 girls [56.0%]) treated with methotrexate and/or biologics, 163 patients (69.7%) exclusively received methotrexate, 47 patients (20.1%) exclusively received biologics, and 24 children (10.2%) received methotrexate and biologics sequentially. Of the latter cohort, 23 children were treated initially with methotrexate. Mean (SD) age at initiation was 11.6 (3.7) years for methotrexate and 13.3 (2.9) years for biologics (73.2% for etanercept) (P = .002). Among patients evaluated by a scoring method at 6-month follow-up, 75% or greater improvement in PASI (PASI75) was achieved in 12 of 30 patients (40.0%) receiving methotrexate and 20 of 28 patients (71.4%) receiving biologics, and PGA was clear/almost clear (PGA 0/1) in 41 of 115 patients (35.6%) receiving methotrexate and 18 of 37 patients (48.6%) receiving biologics. Achieving PASI75 and/or PGA 0/1 between baseline and 6 months was more likely with biologics than methotrexate (PASI75: odds ratio [OR], 4.56; 95% CI, 2.02-10.27; P < .001; and PGA 0/1: OR, 2.00; 95% CI, 0.98-4.00; P = .06). Decreased mean PASI and PGA scores were associated with biologics more than with methotrexate (PASI effect, -3.13; 95% CI, -4.33 to -1.94; P < .001; and PGA effect, -0.31; 95% CI, -0.56 to -0.06; P = .02). After 1, 3, and 5 years of use, overall drug survival rates for methotrexate were 77.5%, 50.3%, and 35.9%, and for biologics, the rates were 83.4%, 64.3%, and 57.1%, respectively. Biologics were associated with a better confounder-corrected drug survival than methotrexate (hazard ratio [HR], 2.23; 95% CI, 1.21-4.10; P = .01). Discontinuation owing to lack of response was comparable (HR, 1.64; 95% CI, 0.80-3.36; P = .18). Conclusions and Relevance Methotrexate and biologics appear to be associated with improvement in pediatric psoriasis, although biologics seem to be associated with greater reduction in psoriasis severity scores and higher drug survival rates than methotrexate in the real-world setting. Additional studies directly comparing these medications should be performed for confirmation

    Management of infantile hemangiomas during the COVID pandemic

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    This article is made available for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.The COVID‐19 pandemic has caused significant shifts in patient care including a steep decline in ambulatory visits and a marked increase in the use of telemedicine. Infantile hemangiomas (IH) can require urgent evaluation and risk stratification to determine which infants need treatment and which can be managed with continued observation. For those requiring treatment, prompt initiation decreases morbidity and improves long‐term outcomes. The Hemangioma Investigator Group has created consensus recommendations for management of IH via telemedicine. FDA/EMA‐approved monitoring guidelines, clinical practice guidelines, and relevant, up‐to‐date publications regarding initiation and monitoring of beta‐blocker therapy were used to inform the recommendations. Clinical decision‐making guidelines about when telehealth is an appropriate alternative to in‐office visits, including medication initiation, dosage changes, and ongoing evaluation, are included. The importance of communication with caregivers in the context of telemedicine is discussed, and online resources for both hemangioma education and propranolol therapy are provided

    Dorsoventral Patterning in Hemichordates: Insights into Early Chordate Evolution

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    We have compared the dorsoventral development of hemichordates and chordates to deduce the organization of their common ancestor, and hence to identify the evolutionary modifications of the chordate body axis after the lineages split. In the hemichordate embryo, genes encoding bone morphogenetic proteins (Bmp) 2/4 and 5/8, as well as several genes for modulators of Bmp activity, are expressed in a thin stripe of ectoderm on one midline, historically called “dorsal.” On the opposite midline, the genes encoding Chordin and Anti-dorsalizing morphogenetic protein (Admp) are expressed. Thus, we find a Bmp-Chordin developmental axis preceding and underlying the anatomical dorsoventral axis of hemichordates, adding to the evidence from Drosophila and chordates that this axis may be at least as ancient as the first bilateral animals. Numerous genes encoding transcription factors and signaling ligands are expressed in the three germ layers of hemichordate embryos in distinct dorsoventral domains, such as pox neuro, pituitary homeobox, distalless, and tbx2/3 on the Bmp side and netrin, mnx, mox, and single-minded on the Chordin-Admp side. When we expose the embryo to excess Bmp protein, or when we deplete endogenous Bmp by small interfering RNA injections, these expression domains expand or contract, reflecting their activation or repression by Bmp, and the embryos develop as dorsalized or ventralized limit forms. Dorsoventral patterning is independent of anterior/posterior patterning, as in Drosophila but not chordates. Unlike both chordates and Drosophila, neural gene expression in hemichordates is not repressed by high Bmp levels, consistent with their development of a diffuse rather than centralized nervous system. We suggest that the common ancestor of hemichordates and chordates did not use its Bmp-Chordin axis to segregate epidermal and neural ectoderm but to pattern many other dorsoventral aspects of the germ layers, including neural cell fates within a diffuse nervous system. Accordingly, centralization was added in the chordate line by neural-epidermal segregation, mediated by the pre-existing Bmp-Chordin axis. Finally, since hemichordates develop the mouth on the non-Bmp side, like arthropods but opposite to chordates, the mouth and Bmp-Chordin axis may have rearranged in the chordate line, one relative to the other

    Environmental DNA sequencing primers for eutardigrades and bdelloid rotifers

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>The time it takes to isolate individuals from environmental samples and then extract DNA from each individual is one of the problems with generating molecular data from meiofauna such as eutardigrades and bdelloid rotifers. The lack of consistent morphological information and the extreme abundance of these classes makes morphological identification of rare, or even common cryptic taxa a large and unwieldy task. This limits the ability to perform large-scale surveys of the diversity of these organisms.</p> <p>Here we demonstrate a culture-independent molecular survey approach that enables the generation of large amounts of eutardigrade and bdelloid rotifer sequence data directly from soil. Our PCR primers, specific to the 18s small-subunit rRNA gene, were developed for both eutardigrades and bdelloid rotifers.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>The developed primers successfully amplified DNA of their target organism from various soil DNA extracts. This was confirmed by both the BLAST similarity searches and phylogenetic analyses. Tardigrades showed much better phylogenetic resolution than bdelloids. Both groups of organisms exhibited varying levels of endemism.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>The development of clade-specific primers for characterizing eutardigrades and bdelloid rotifers from environmental samples should greatly increase our ability to characterize the composition of these taxa in environmental samples. Environmental sequencing as shown here differs from other molecular survey methods in that there is no need to pre-isolate the organisms of interest from soil in order to amplify their DNA. The DNA sequences obtained from methods that do not require culturing can be identified post-hoc and placed phylogenetically as additional closely related sequences are obtained from morphologically identified conspecifics. Our non-cultured environmental sequence based approach will be able to provide a rapid and large-scale screening of the presence, absence and diversity of Bdelloidea and Eutardigrada in a variety of soils.</p

    A two-step mechanism for epigenetic specification of centromere identity and function

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    The basic determinant of chromosome inheritance, the centromere, is specified in many eukaryotes by an epigenetic mark. Using gene targeting in human cells and fission yeast, chromatin containing the centromere-specific histone H3 variant CENP-A is demonstrated to be the epigenetic mark that acts through a two-step mechanism to identify, maintain and propagate centromere function indefinitely. Initially, centromere position is replicated and maintained by chromatin assembled with the centromere-targeting domain (CATD) of CENP-A substituted into H3. Subsequently, nucleation of kinetochore assembly onto CATD-containing chromatin is shown to require either the amino- or carboxy-terminal tail of CENP-A for recruitment of inner kinetochore proteins, including stabilizing CENP-B binding to human centromeres or direct recruitment of CENP-C, respectively.National Institutes of Health grant: (GM 074150); Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research; European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) long-term fellowship

    Protocol for a randomised controlled trial of treatment of asymptomatic candidiasis for the prevention of preterm birth [ACTRN12610000607077]

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Prevention of preterm birth remains one of the most important challenges in maternity care. We propose a randomised trial with: a simple <it>Candida </it>testing protocol that can be easily incorporated into usual antenatal care; a simple, well accepted, treatment intervention; and assessment of outcomes from validated, routinely-collected, computerised databases.</p> <p>Methods/Design</p> <p>Using a prospective, randomised, open-label, blinded-endpoint (PROBE) study design, we aim to evaluate whether treating women with asymptomatic vaginal candidiasis early in pregnancy is effective in preventing spontaneous preterm birth. Pregnant women presenting for antenatal care <20 weeks gestation with singleton pregnancies are eligible for inclusion. The intervention is a 6-day course of clotrimazole vaginal pessaries (100 mg) and the primary outcome is spontaneous preterm birth <37 weeks gestation.</p> <p>The study protocol draws on the usual antenatal care schedule, has been pilot-tested and the intervention involves only a minor modification of current practice. Women who agree to participate will self-collect a vaginal swab and those who are culture positive for Candida will be randomised (central, telephone) to open-label treatment or usual care (screening result is not revealed, no treatment, routine antenatal care). Outcomes will be obtained from population databases.</p> <p>A sample size of 3,208 women with <it>Candida </it>colonisation (1,604 per arm) is required to detect a 40% reduction in the spontaneous preterm birth rate among women with asymptomatic candidiasis from 5.0% in the control group to 3.0% in women treated with clotrimazole (significance 0.05, power 0.8). Analyses will be by intention to treat.</p> <p>Discussion</p> <p>For our hypothesis, a placebo-controlled trial had major disadvantages: a placebo arm would not represent current clinical practice; knowledge of vaginal colonisation with <it>Candida </it>may change participants' behaviour; and a placebo with an alcohol preservative may have an independent affect on vaginal flora. These disadvantages can be overcome by the PROBE study design.</p> <p>This trial will provide definitive evidence on whether screening for and treating asymptomatic candidiasis in pregnancy significantly reduces the rate of spontaneous preterm birth. If it can be demonstrated that treating asymptomatic candidiasis reduces preterm births this will change current practice and would directly impact the management of every pregnant woman.</p> <p>Trial registration</p> <p>Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry <a href="http://www.anzctr.org.au/ACTRN12610000607077.aspx">ACTRN12610000607077</a></p
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