364 research outputs found

    The international synchronisation of business cycles: the role of animal spirits

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    Business cycles among industrial countries are highly correlated. We develop a two-country behavioral macroeconomic model where the synchronization of the business cycle is produced endogenously. The main channel of synchronization occurs through a propagation of “animal spirits”, i.e. waves of optimism and pessimism that become correlated internationally. We find that this propagation occurs with relatively low levels of trade integration. We do not need a correlation of exogenous shocks to generate synchronization. We also empirically test the main predictions of the model

    Genomic Expansion of Magnetotactic Bacteria Reveals an Early Common Origin of Magnetotaxis with Lineage-specific Evolution

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    The origin and evolution of magnetoreception, which in diverse prokaryotes and protozoa is known as magnetotaxis and enables these microorganisms to detect Earth’s magnetic field for orientation and navigation, is not well understood in evolutionary biology. The only known prokaryotes capable of sensing the geomagnetic field are magnetotactic bacteria (MTB), motile microorganisms that biomineralize intracellular, membrane-bounded magnetic single-domain crystals of either magnetite (Fe3O4) or greigite (Fe3S4) called magnetosomes. Magnetosomes are responsible for magnetotaxis in MTB. Here we report the first large-scale metagenomic survey of MTB from both northern and southern hemispheres combined with 28 genomes from uncultivated MTB. These genomes expand greatly the coverage of MTB in the Proteobacteria, Nitrospirae, and Omnitrophica phyla, and provide the first genomic evidence of MTB belonging to the Zetaproteobacteria and “Candidatus Lambdaproteobacteria” classes. The gene content and organization of magnetosome gene clusters, which are physically grouped genes that encode proteins for magnetosome biosynthesis and organization, are more conserved within phylogenetically similar groups than between different taxonomic lineages. Moreover, the phylogenies of core magnetosome proteins form monophyletic clades. Together, these results suggest a common ancient origin of iron-based (Fe3O4 and Fe3S4) magnetotaxis in the domain Bacteria that underwent lineage-specific evolution, shedding new light on the origin and evolution of biomineralization and magnetotaxis, and expanding significantly the phylogenomic representation of MTB

    Analytic philosophy for biomedical research: the imperative of applying yesterday's timeless messages to today's impasses

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    The mantra that "the best way to predict the future is to invent it" (attributed to the computer scientist Alan Kay) exemplifies some of the expectations from the technical and innovative sides of biomedical research at present. However, for technical advancements to make real impacts both on patient health and genuine scientific understanding, quite a number of lingering challenges facing the entire spectrum from protein biology all the way to randomized controlled trials should start to be overcome. The proposal in this chapter is that philosophy is essential in this process. By reviewing select examples from the history of science and philosophy, disciplines which were indistinguishable until the mid-nineteenth century, I argue that progress toward the many impasses in biomedicine can be achieved by emphasizing theoretical work (in the true sense of the word 'theory') as a vital foundation for experimental biology. Furthermore, a philosophical biology program that could provide a framework for theoretical investigations is outlined

    HIV-1 Infection of DC: Evidence for the Acquisition of Virus Particles from Infected T Cells by Antigen Uptake Mechanism

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    Dendritic cells (DC) play a pivotal role in transmission and dissemination of HIV-1. Earlier studies reported that DC present at the site of infection trap virus particles via DC-SIGN and transfer the virus to the interacting naïve T cells. This prompted us to ask the question whether DC could acquire virus from infected T cells during DC-T cell interaction. To address this, we investigated the likely transfer of virus from HIV-1 infected T cells to DC and the underlying mechanisms involved. Results indicate that DC acquire virus from infected T cells via antigen uptake mechanism and this results in infection of DC with expression of proteins directed by viral DNA. Further studies with HIV-1 lacking the Env protein also resulted in infection of DC. The use of antibodies against DC-SIGN and DC-SIGN-R ruled out a role for receptor in the infection of DC. Additional data show that DC infection is directly correlated with the ability of DC to take up antigen from infected T cells. Overall, these studies provide evidence to suggest that HIV-1, besides infecting immune cells, also utilizes immunological mechanism(s) to acquire and disseminate virus

    Age, Sex, and Socio-Economic Status Affect the Incidence of Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury: An Eleven-Year National Cohort Study

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    Few studies focus on pediatric spinal cord injury (SCI) and there is little information regarding the cause, anatomic level, and high risk population of SCI in children. This study aims to investigate the incidence and risk factors of pediatric SCI.A nationwide cohort of 8.7 million children aged<18 years in an 11-year period was analyzed for causes, age at injury, anatomic sites, disability, and familial socio-economic factors. Incidence rates and Cox regression analysis were conducted.<0.05).In the pediatric population, the overall SCI incidence rate is 5.99 per 100,000 person-years, with traumatic cervical SCI accounting for the majority. The incidence rate increases abruptly in male teenagers. Gender, age, and socio-economic status are independent risk factors that should be considered

    Molecular Characterization of a Strawberry FaASR Gene in Relation to Fruit Ripening

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    BACKGROUND: ABA-, stress- and ripening-induced (ASR) proteins have been reported to act as a downstream component involved in ABA signal transduction. Although much attention has been paid to the roles of ASR in plant development and stress responses, the mechanisms by which ABA regulate fruit ripening at the molecular level are not fully understood. In the present work, a strawberry ASR gene was isolated and characterized (FaASR), and a polyclonal antibody against FaASR protein was prepared. Furthermore, the effects of ABA, applied to two different developmental stages of strawberry, on fruit ripening and the expression of FaASR at transcriptional and translational levels were investigated. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: FaASR, localized in the cytoplasm and nucleus, contained 193 amino acids and shared common features with other plant ASRs. It also functioned as a transcriptional activator in yeast with trans-activation activity in the N-terminus. During strawberry fruit development, endogenous ABA content, levels of FaASR mRNA and protein increased significantly at the initiation of ripening at a white (W) fruit developmental stage. More importantly, application of exogenous ABA to large green (LG) fruit and W fruit markedly increased endogenous ABA content, accelerated fruit ripening, and greatly enhanced the expression of FaASR transcripts and the accumulation of FaASR protein simultaneously. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that FaASR may be involved in strawberry fruit ripening. The observed increase in endogenous ABA content, and enhanced FaASR expression at transcriptional and translational levels in response to ABA treatment might partially contribute to the acceleration of strawberry fruit ripening

    Unified Structural Representation of the southern California crust and upper mantle

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    We present a new, 3D description of crust and upper mantle velocity structure in southern California implemented as a Unified Structural Representation (USR). The USR is comprised of detailed basin velocity descriptions that are based on tens of thousands of direct velocity (Vp, Vs) measurements and incorporates the locations and displacement of major fault zones that influence basin structure. These basin descriptions were used to developed tomographic models of crust and upper mantle velocity and density structure, which were subsequently iterated and improved using 3D waveform adjoint tomography. A geotechnical layer (GTL) based on Vs30 measurements and consistent with the underlying velocity descriptions was also developed as an optional model component. The resulting model provides a detailed description of the structure of the southern California crust and upper mantle that reflects the complex tectonic history of the region. The crust thickens eastward as Moho depth varies from 10 to 40 km reflecting the transition from oceanic to continental crust. Deep sedimentary basins and underlying areas of thin crust reflect Neogene extensional tectonics overprinted by transpressional deformation and rapid sediment deposition since the late Pliocene. To illustrate the impact of this complex structure on strong ground motion forecasting, we simulate rupture of a proposed M 7.9 earthquake source in the Western Transverse Ranges. The results show distinct basin amplification and focusing of energy that reflects crustal structure described by the USR that is not captured by simpler velocity descriptions. We anticipate that the USR will be useful for a broad range of simulation and modeling efforts, including strong ground motion forecasting, dynamic rupture simulations, and fault system modeling. The USR is available through the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) website (http://www.scec.org)

    A Micro RNA Processing Defect in Rapidly Progressing Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

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    BACKGROUND: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis exhibits differential progression from the time of diagnosis but the molecular basis for varying progression rates is poorly understood. The aim of the present study was to ascertain whether differential miRNA expression might provide one explanation for rapidly versus slowly progressing forms of IPF. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: miRNA and mRNA were isolated from surgical lung biopsies from IPF patients with a clinically documented rapid or slow course of disease over the first year after diagnosis. A quantitative PCR miRNA array containing 88 of the most abundant miRNA in the human genome was used to profile lung biopsies from 9 patients with rapidly progressing IPF, 6 patients with slowly progressing IPF, and 10 normal lung biopsies. Using this approach, 11 miRNA were significantly increased and 36 were significantly decreased in rapid biopsies compared with normal biopsies. Slowly progressive biopsies exhibited 4 significantly increased miRNA and 36 significantly decreased miRNA compared with normal lung. Among the miRNA present in IPF with validated mRNA targets were those with regulatory effects on epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Five miRNA (miR-302c, miR-423-5p, miR-210, miR-376c, and miR-185) were significantly increased in rapid compared with slow IPF lung biopsies. Additional analyses of rapid biopsies and fibroblasts grown from the same biopsies revealed that the expression of AGO1 and AGO2 (essential components of the miRNA processing RISC complex) were lower compared with either slow or normal lung biopsies and fibroblasts. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that the development and/or clinical progression of IPF might be the consequence of aberrant miRNA processing

    Recapitulation of tumor heterogeneity and molecular signatures in a 3D brain cancer model with decreased sensitivity to histone deacetylase inhibition

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    INTRODUCTION Physiologically relevant pre-clinical ex vivo models recapitulating CNS tumor micro-environmental complexity will aid development of biologically-targeted agents. We present comprehensive characterization of tumor aggregates generated using the 3D Rotary Cell Culture System (RCCS). METHODS CNS cancer cell lines were grown in conventional 2D cultures and the RCCS and comparison with a cohort of 53 pediatric high grade gliomas conducted by genome wide gene expression and microRNA arrays, coupled with immunohistochemistry, ex vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy and drug sensitivity evaluation using the histone deacetylase inhibitor, Vorinostat. RESULTS Macroscopic RCCS aggregates recapitulated the heterogeneous morphology of brain tumors with a distinct proliferating rim, necrotic core and oxygen tension gradient. Gene expression and microRNA analyses revealed significant differences with 3D expression intermediate to 2D cultures and primary brain tumors. Metabolic profiling revealed differential profiles, with an increase in tumor specific metabolites in 3D. To evaluate the potential of the RCCS as a drug testing tool, we determined the efficacy of Vorinostat against aggregates of U87 and KNS42 glioblastoma cells. Both lines demonstrated markedly reduced sensitivity when assaying in 3D culture conditions compared to classical 2D drug screen approaches. CONCLUSIONS Our comprehensive characterization demonstrates that 3D RCCS culture of high grade brain tumor cells has profound effects on the genetic, epigenetic and metabolic profiles of cultured cells, with these cells residing as an intermediate phenotype between that of 2D cultures and primary tumors. There is a discrepancy between 2D culture and tumor molecular profiles, and RCCS partially re-capitulates tissue specific features, allowing drug testing in a more relevant ex vivo system

    Genome-Wide Copy Number Variation in Epilepsy: Novel Susceptibility Loci in Idiopathic Generalized and Focal Epilepsies

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    Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders in humans with a prevalence of 1% and a lifetime incidence of 3%. Several genes have been identified in rare autosomal dominant and severe sporadic forms of epilepsy, but the genetic cause is unknown in the vast majority of cases. Copy number variants (CNVs) are known to play an important role in the genetic etiology of many neurodevelopmental disorders, including intellectual disability (ID), autism, and schizophrenia. Genome-wide studies of copy number variation in epilepsy have not been performed. We have applied whole-genome oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridization to a cohort of 517 individuals with various idiopathic, non-lesional epilepsies. We detected one or more rare genic CNVs in 8.9% of affected individuals that are not present in 2,493 controls; five individuals had two rare CNVs. We identified CNVs in genes previously implicated in other neurodevelopmental disorders, including two deletions in AUTS2 and one deletion in CNTNAP2. Therefore, our findings indicate that rare CNVs are likely to contribute to a broad range of generalized and focal epilepsies. In addition, we find that 2.9% of patients carry deletions at 15q11.2, 15q13.3, or 16p13.11, genomic hotspots previously associated with ID, autism, or schizophrenia. In summary, our findings suggest common etiological factors for seemingly diverse diseases such as ID, autism, schizophrenia, and epilepsy
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