675 research outputs found

    Identifying ecological production functions for use in ecosystem services-based environmental risk assessment of chemicals

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    This is the final version. Available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record. There is increasing research interest in the application of the ecosystem services (ES) concept in the environmental risk assessment of chemicals to support formulating and operationalising regulatory environmental protection goals and making environmental risk assessment more policy- and value-relevant. This requires connecting ecosystem structure and processes to ecosystem function and henceforth to provision of ecosystem goods and services and their economic valuation. Ecological production functions (EPFs) may help to quantify these connections in a transparent manner and to predict ES provision based on function-related descriptors for service providing species, communities, ecosystems or habitats. We review scientific literature for EPFs to evaluate availability across provisioning and regulation and maintenance services (CICES v5.1 classification). We found quantitative production functions for nearly all ES, often complemented with economic valuation of physical or monetary flows. We studied the service providing units in these EPFs to evaluate the potential for extrapolation of toxicity data for test species obtained from standardised testing to ES provision. A broad taxonomic representation of service providers was established, but quantitative models directly linking standard test species to ES provision were extremely scarce. A pragmatic way to deal with this data gap would be the use of proxies for related taxa and stepwise functional extrapolation to ES provision and valuation, which we conclude possible for most ES. We suggest that EPFs may be used in defining specific protection goals (SPGs), and illustrate, using pollination as an example, the availability of information for the ecological entity and attribute dimensions of SPGs. Twenty-five pollination EPFs were compiled from the literature for biological entities ranging from ‘colony’ to ‘habitat’, with 75% referring to ‘functional group’. With about equal representation of the attributes ‘function’, ‘abundance’ and ‘diversity’, SPGs for pollination therefore would seem best substantiated by EPFs at the level of functional group.European Chemical Industry Council Long-range Research Initiativ

    Determinants of pre-vaccination antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2: a population-based longitudinal study (COVIDENCE UK)

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    BACKGROUND: Prospective population-based studies investigating multiple determinants of pre-vaccination antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 are lacking. METHODS: We did a prospective population-based study in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-naive UK adults recruited between May 1 and November 2, 2020, without a positive swab test result for SARS-CoV-2 prior to enrolment. Information on 88 potential sociodemographic, behavioural, nutritional, clinical and pharmacological risk factors was obtained through online questionnaires, and combined IgG/IgA/IgM responses to SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein were determined in dried blood spots obtained between November 6, 2020, and April 18, 2021. We used logistic and linear regression to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and adjusted geometric mean ratios (aGMRs) for potential determinants of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity (all participants) and antibody titres (seropositive participants only), respectively. RESULTS: Of 11,130 participants, 1696 (15.2%) were seropositive. Factors independently associated with  higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity included frontline health/care occupation (aOR 1.86, 95% CI 1.48–2.33), international travel (1.20, 1.07–1.35), number of visits to shops and other indoor public places (≥ 5 vs. 0/week: 1.29, 1.06–1.57, P-trend = 0.01), body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 vs. < 25 kg/m(2) (1.24, 1.11–1.39), South Asian vs. White ethnicity (1.65, 1.10–2.49) and alcohol consumption ≥15 vs. 0 units/week (1.23, 1.04–1.46). Light physical exercise associated with  lower risk (0.80, 0.70–0.93, for ≥ 10 vs. 0–4 h/week). Among seropositive participants, higher titres of anti-Spike antibodies associated with factors including BMI ≥ 30 vs. < 25 kg/m(2) (aGMR 1.10, 1.02–1.19), South Asian vs. White ethnicity (1.22, 1.04–1.44), frontline health/care occupation (1.24, 95% CI 1.11–1.39), international travel (1.11, 1.05–1.16) and number of visits to shops and other indoor public places (≥ 5 vs. 0/week: 1.12, 1.02–1.23, P-trend = 0.01); these associations were not substantially attenuated by adjustment for COVID-19 disease severity. CONCLUSIONS: Higher alcohol consumption and lower light physical exercise represent new modifiable risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Recognised associations between South Asian ethnic origin and obesity and higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity were independent of other sociodemographic, behavioural, nutritional, clinical, and pharmacological factors investigated. Among seropositive participants, higher titres of anti-Spike antibodies in people of South Asian ancestry and in obese people were not explained by greater COVID-19 disease severity in these groups. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12916-022-02286-4

    Distinct physiological and behavioural functions for parental alleles of imprinted Grb10

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    Imprinted genes, defined by their preferential expression of a single parental allele, represent a subset of the mammalian genome and often have key roles in embryonic development1, but also postnatal functions including energy homeostasis2 and behaviour3, 4. When the two parental alleles are unequally represented within a social group (when there is sex bias in dispersal and/or variance in reproductive success)5, 6, imprinted genes may evolve to modulate social behaviour, although so far no such instance is known. Predominantly expressed from the maternal allele during embryogenesis, Grb10 encodes an intracellular adaptor protein that can interact with several receptor tyrosine kinases and downstream signalling molecules7. Here we demonstrate that within the brain Grb10 is expressed from the paternal allele from fetal life into adulthood and that ablation of this expression engenders increased social dominance specifically among other aspects of social behaviour, a finding supported by the observed increase in allogrooming by paternal Grb10-deficient animals. Grb10 is, therefore, the first example of an imprinted gene that regulates social behaviour. It is also currently alone in exhibiting imprinted expression from each of the parental alleles in a tissue-specific manner, as loss of the peripherally expressed maternal allele leads to significant fetal and placental overgrowth. Thus Grb10 is, so far, a unique imprinted gene, able to influence distinct physiological processes, fetal growth and adult behaviour, owing to actions of the two parental alleles in different tissues

    Crude Oil-Degradation and Plasmid Profile of Nitrifying Bacteria Isolated from Oil-Impacted Mangrove Sediment in the Niger Delta of Nigeria

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    The crude oil degradability and plasmid profile of autotrophic nitrifying bacteria, Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter species, isolated from mangrove sediment in the Niger Delta of Nigeria were studied. The effects of temperature, pH and optical density on the utilization of different carbon sources by the bacteria were also investigated. Results showed that nitrifying bacteria could utilize kerosene, diesel oil, jet fuel and engine oil as carbon sources. None utilized hexane and xylene but moderate growth was observed in benzene, phenol and toluene. However, their ability to utilized crude oil varied both in rates of utilization and in growth profiles. Mixed culture of the isolates degrades 52 % of crude oil introduced into the medium followed by Nitrosomonas sp. with 40 % degradation. The least was Nitrobacter sp. with 20 % degradation. The ability of the autotrophs to degrade crude oil was found to be plasmid-mediated through curing experiment and electrophoresis. The size of the plasmid involved was estimated to be 23 kb. The high crude oil utilization of the mixed culture implies that nitrifying bacteria isolated from contaminated ecosystem are excellent crude oil degraders and can be harnessed for bioremediation purposes

    Which dressing do donor site wounds need?: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

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    Donor site wounds after split-skin grafting are rather 'standard' wounds. At present, lots of dressings and topical agents for donor site wounds are commercially available. This causes large variation in the local care of these wounds, while the optimum 'standard' dressing for local wound care is unclear. This protocol describes a trial in which we investigate the effectiveness of various treatment options for these donor site wounds. A 14-center, six-armed randomized clinical trial is being carried out in the Netherlands. An a-priori power analysis and an anticipated dropout rate of 15% indicates that 50 patients per group are necessary, totaling 300 patients, to be able to detect a 25% quicker mean time to complete wound healing. Randomization has been computerized to ensure allocation concealment. Adult patients who need a split-skin grafting operation for any reason, leaving a donor site wound of at least 10 cm2 are included and receive one of the following dressings: hydrocolloid, alginate, film, hydrofiber, silicone dressing, or paraffin gauze. No combinations of products from other intervention groups in this trial are allowed. Optimum application and changes of these dressings are pursued according to the protocol as supplied by the dressing manufacturers. Primary outcomes are days to complete wound healing and pain (using a Visual Analogue Scale). Secondary outcomes are adverse effects, scarring, patient satisfaction, and costs. Outcome assessors unaware of the treatment allocation will assess whether or not an outcome has occurred. Results will be analyzed according to the intention to treat principle. The first patient was randomized October 1, 2009. This study will provide comprehensive data on the effectiveness of different treatment options for donor site wounds. The dressing(s) that will prevail in effectiveness, satisfaction and costs will be promoted among clinicians dealing with such patients. Thus, we aim to contribute a well-designed trial, relevant to all clinicians involved in the care for donor site wounds, which will help enhance uniformity and quality of care for these patients. http://www.trialregister.nl, NTR1849. Date registered: June 9, 200

    Ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy: principles and application to photosynthetic systems

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    The photophysical and photochemical reactions, after light absorption by a photosynthetic pigment–protein complex, are among the fastest events in biology, taking place on timescales ranging from tens of femtoseconds to a few nanoseconds. The advent of ultrafast laser systems that produce pulses with femtosecond duration opened up a new area of research and enabled investigation of these photophysical and photochemical reactions in real time. Here, we provide a basic description of the ultrafast transient absorption technique, the laser and wavelength-conversion equipment, the transient absorption setup, and the collection of transient absorption data. Recent applications of ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy on systems with increasing degree of complexity, from biomimetic light-harvesting systems to natural light-harvesting antennas, are presented. In particular, we will discuss, in this educational review, how a molecular understanding of the light-harvesting and photoprotective functions of carotenoids in photosynthesis is accomplished through the application of ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy

    Dynamin I phosphorylation by GSK3 controls activity-dependent bulk endocytosis of synaptic vesicles.

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    Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) is a critical enzyme in neuronal physiology; however, it is not yet known whether it has any specific role in presynaptic function. We found that GSK3 phosphorylates a residue on the large GTPase dynamin I (Ser-774) both in vitro and in primary rat neuronal cultures. This was dependent on prior phosphorylation of Ser-778 by cyclin-dependent kinase 5. Using both acute inhibition with pharmacological antagonists and silencing of expression with short hairpin RNA, we found that GSK3 was specifically required for activity-dependent bulk endocytosis (ADBE) but not clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Moreover we found that the specific phosphorylation of Ser-774 on dynamin I by GSK3 was both necessary and sufficient for ADBE. These results demonstrate a presynaptic role for GSK3 and they indicate that a protein kinase signaling cascade prepares synaptic vesicles for retrieval during elevated neuronal activity
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