WorldWideScience

Sample records for biological function environmental

  1. Electromagnetic fields as structure-function zeitgebers in biological systems: environmental orchestrations of morphogenesis and consciousness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rouleau, Nicolas; Dotta, Blake T

    2014-01-01

    Within a cell system structure dictates function. Any interaction between cells, or a cell and its environment, has the potential to have long term implications on the function of a given cell and emerging cell aggregates. The structure and function of cells are continuously subjected to modification by electrical and chemical stimuli. However, biological systems are also subjected to an ever-present influence: the electromagnetic (EM) environment. Biological systems have the potential to be influenced by subtle energies which are exchanged at atomic and subatomic scales as EM phenomena. These energy exchanges have the potential to manifest at higher orders of discourse and affect the output (behavior) of a biological system. Here we describe theoretical and experimental evidence of EM influence on cells and the integration of whole systems. Even weak interactions between EM energies and biological systems display the potential to affect a developing system. We suggest the growing literature of EM effects on biological systems has significant implications to the cell and its functional aggregates.

  2. Functional traits of selected mangrove species in Brazil as biological indicators of different environmental conditions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Arrivabene, Hiulana Pereira [Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Centro de Ciências Humanas e Naturais, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, 29075-910 Vitória, Espírito Santo (Brazil); Souza, Iara [Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Departamento de Ciências Fisiológicas, 13565-905 São Carlos (Brazil); Có, Walter Luiz Oliveira [Associação Educational de Vitória, Departamento de Biologia, 29053-360 Vitória (Brazil); Rodella, Roberto Antônio [Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho, Campus de Botucatu, Instituto de Biociências, Departamento de Botânica, C. Postal 510, 18618-000 Botucatu, São Paulo (Brazil); Wunderlin, Daniel Alberto, E-mail: dwunder@fcq.unc.edu.ar [Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de Alimentos Córdoba (ICYTAC), CONICET, Dpto. Qca. Orgánica, Fac. Cs. Químicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Ciudad Universitaria, 5000, Córdoba (Argentina); and others

    2014-04-01

    Ecological studies on phenotypic plasticity illustrate the relevance of this phenomenon in nature. Conditions of biota reflect environmental changes, highlighting the adaptability of resident species that can be used as bioindicators of such changes. We report the morpho-anatomical plasticity of leaves of Avicennia schaueriana Stapf and Leechm. ex Moldenke, Laguncularia racemosa (L.) C.F.Gaertn. and Rhizophora mangle L., evaluated in three estuaries (Vitória bay, Santa Cruz and Itaúnas River; state of Espírito Santo, Brazil), considering five areas of mangrove ecosystems with diverse environmental issues. Two sampling sites are part of the Ecological Station Lameirão Island in Vitória bay, close to a harbor. A third sampling site in Cariacica (Vitória bay) is inside the Vitória harbor and also is influenced by domestic sewage. The fourth studied area (Santa Cruz) is part of Piraquê Mangrove Ecological Reservation, while the fifth (Itaúnas River) is a small mangrove, with sandy sediment and greater photosynthetically active radiation, also not strongly influenced by anthropic activity. Results pointed out the morpho-anatomical plasticity in studied species, showing that A. schaueriana and L. racemosa might be considered the most appropriate bioindicators to indicate different settings and environmental conditions. Particularly, the dry mass per leaf area (LMA) of A. schaueriana was the main biomarker measured. In our study, LMA of A. schaueriana was positively correlated with salinity (Spearman 0.71), Mn content (0.81) and pH (0.82) but negatively correlated with phosphorus content (− 0.63). Thus, the evaluation of modification in LMA of A. schaueriana pointed out changes among five studied sites, suggesting its use to reflect changes in the environment, which could be also useful in the future to evaluate the climate change. - Highlights: • We investigated adaptive modifications in plants in response to differences among three estuaries. • We used

  3. The dynamic range of biologic functions and variation of many environmental cues may be declining in the modern age: implications for diseases and therapeutics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yun, Anthony J; Bazar, Kimberly A; Gerber, Anthony; Lee, Patrick Y; Daniel, Stephanie M

    2005-01-01

    We hypothesize that declining dynamic range and variation of environmental cues may contribute to health dysfunctions, and that judicious expansion of biologic dynamic ranges may be beneficial. Three disparate examples involving the endocrine, autonomic, and musculoskeletal systems are discussed. Daytime sheltering, optical shading, and nighttime use of artificial light may reduce circadian luminal variation. The resulting melatonin alterations may contribute to systemic dysfunctions. Loss of temporal variation of other hormones may contribute to biologic dysfunctions, especially those involving the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Reduced variation of physical exertion, environmental stressors, and thermal gradients that characterize modern lifestyles may reduce the autonomic dynamic range resulting in lowered heart rate variability and a myriad of systemic dysfunctions. The health benefits of activities such as exercise, meditation, acupuncture, coitus, and laughter may operate through increasing autonomic variability. Reduced physical exertion also accounts for declining dynamic range of musculoskeletal function. The resulting muscle atrophy, fat infiltration, and sarcomere shortening may not only have deleterious local effects, but may also be involved in systemic metabolic dysfunctions such as insulin resistance. The extent to which our endogenous systems rely on environmental variation for self-tuning and the impact that under-utilization of compensatory mechanisms has on biologic function are not well understood. Modern therapeutic approaches generally result in reversion to the mean of physiologic functions and may buffer against variation. For example, beta-blockers are given to reduce adrenergic excess, insulin to treat insulin insufficiency, serotonin-reuptake inhibitors for depression, and refractive lenses for myopia. By undermining the demand for native compensatory functions, such therapeutic strategies may actually impair future ability to respond to

  4. Translational environmental biology: cell biology informing conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Traylor-Knowles, Nikki; Palumbi, Stephen R

    2014-05-01

    Typically, findings from cell biology have been beneficial for preventing human disease. However, translational applications from cell biology can also be applied to conservation efforts, such as protecting coral reefs. Recent efforts to understand the cell biological mechanisms maintaining coral health such as innate immunity and acclimatization have prompted new developments in conservation. Similar to biomedicine, we urge that future efforts should focus on better frameworks for biomarker development to protect coral reefs.

  5. Functions in Biological Kind Classification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lombrozo, Tania; Rehder, Bob

    2012-01-01

    Biological traits that serve functions, such as a zebra's coloration (for camouflage) or a kangaroo's tail (for balance), seem to have a special role in conceptual representations for biological kinds. In five experiments, we investigate whether and why functional features are privileged in biological kind classification. Experiment 1…

  6. The relativity of biological function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laubichler, Manfred D; Stadler, Peter F; Prohaska, Sonja J; Nowick, Katja

    2015-12-01

    Function is a central concept in biological theories and explanations. Yet discussions about function are often based on a narrow understanding of biological systems and processes, such as idealized molecular systems or simple evolutionary, i.e., selective, dynamics. Conflicting conceptions of function continue to be used in the scientific literature to support certain claims, for instance about the fraction of "functional DNA" in the human genome. Here we argue that all biologically meaningful interpretations of function are necessarily context dependent. This implies that they derive their meaning as well as their range of applicability only within a specific theoretical and measurement context. We use this framework to shed light on the current debate about functional DNA and argue that without considering explicitly the theoretical and measurement contexts all attempts to integrate biological theories are prone to fail.

  7. Molecular Biological Methods in Environmental Engineering.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Guocai; Wei, Li; Chang, Chein-Chi; Zhang, Yuhua; Wei, Dong

    2016-10-01

    Bacteria, acting as catalysts, perform the function of degrading pollutants. Molecular biological techniques play an important role in research on the community analysis, the composition and the functions of complex microbial communities. The development of secondary high-throughput pyrosequencing techiniques enhances the understanding of the composition of the microbial community. The literatures of 2015 indicated that 16S rDNA gene as genetic tag is still the important method for bacteria identification and classification. 454 high throughput sequencing and Illumina MiSeq sequencing have been the primary and widely recognized methods to analyze the microbial. This review will provide environmental engineers and microbiologists an overview of important advancements in molecular techniques and highlight the application of these methods in diverse environments.

  8. Practical Statistics for Environmental and Biological Scientists

    CERN Document Server

    Townend, John

    2012-01-01

    All students and researchers in environmental and biological sciences require statistical methods at some stage of their work. Many have a preconception that statistics are difficult and unpleasant and find that the textbooks available are difficult to understand. Practical Statistics for Environmental and Biological Scientists provides a concise, user-friendly, non-technical introduction to statistics. The book covers planning and designing an experiment, how to analyse and present data, and the limitations and assumptions of each statistical method. The text does not refer to a specific comp

  9. Graphene for Environmental and Biological Applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sreeprasad, T. S.; Pradeep, T.

    2012-08-01

    The latest addition to the nanocarbon family, graphene, has been proclaimed to be the material of the century. Its peculiar band structure, extraordinary thermal and electronic conductance and room temperature quantum Hall effect have all been used for various applications in diverse fields ranging from catalysis to electronics. The difficulty to synthesize graphene in bulk quantities was a limiting factor of it being utilized in several fields. Advent of chemical processes and self-assembly approaches for the synthesis of graphene analogues have opened-up new avenues for graphene based materials. The high surface area and rich abundance of functional groups present make chemically synthesized graphene (generally known as graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (RGO) or chemically converted graphene) an attracting candidate in biotechnology and environmental remediation. By functionalizing graphene with specific molecules, the properties of graphene can be tuned to suite applications such as sensing, drug delivery or cellular imaging. Graphene with its high surface area can act as a good adsorbent for pollutant removal. Graphene either alone or in combination with other materials can be used for the degradation or removal of a large variety of contaminants through several methods. In this review some of the relevant efforts undertaken to utilize graphene in biology, sensing and water purification are described. Most recent efforts have been given precedence over older works, although certain specific important examples of the past are also mentioned.

  10. 75 FR 6651 - Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-02-10

    ... Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee AGENCY: Department of Energy; Office of Science. ACTION: Notice of open meeting. SUMMARY: This notice announces a meeting of the Biological and... of Biological and Environmental Research, SC-23/Germantown Building, 1000 Independence Avenue,...

  11. 78 FR 6087 - Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-29

    ... Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee AGENCY: Office of Science, Department of Energy. ACTION: Notice of Open Meeting. SUMMARY: This notice announces a meeting of the Biological and.... Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research,...

  12. 77 FR 4028 - Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-01-26

    ... Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee AGENCY: Department of Energy; Office of Science. ACTION: Notice of Open Meeting. SUMMARY: This notice announces a meeting of the Biological and... of Biological and Environmental Research, SC-23/Germantown Building, 1000 Independence Avenue...

  13. Cell-free synthetic biology for environmental sensing and remediation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karig, David K

    2017-02-19

    The fields of biosensing and bioremediation leverage the phenomenal array of sensing and metabolic capabilities offered by natural microbes. Synthetic biology provides tools for transforming these fields through complex integration of natural and novel biological components to achieve sophisticated sensing, regulation, and metabolic function. However, the majority of synthetic biology efforts are conducted in living cells, and concerns over releasing genetically modified organisms constitute a key barrier to environmental applications. Cell-free protein expression systems offer a path towards leveraging synthetic biology, while preventing the spread of engineered organisms in nature. Recent efforts in the areas of cell-free approaches for sensing, regulation, and metabolic pathway implementation, as well as for preserving and deploying cell-free expression components, embody key steps towards realizing the potential of cell-free systems for environmental sensing and remediation.

  14. Cell functional enviromics: Unravelling the function of environmental factors

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alves Paula M

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background While functional genomics, focused on gene functions and gene-gene interactions, has become a very active field of research in molecular biology, equivalent methodologies embracing the environment and gene-environment interactions are relatively less developed. Understanding the function of environmental factors is, however, of paramount importance given the complex, interactive nature of environmental and genetic factors across multiple time scales. Results Here, we propose a systems biology framework, where the function of environmental factors is set at its core. We set forth a "reverse" functional analysis approach, whereby cellular functions are reconstructed from the analysis of dynamic envirome data. Our results show these data sets can be mapped to less than 20 core cellular functions in a typical mammalian cell culture, while explaining over 90% of flux data variance. A functional enviromics map can be created, which provides a template for manipulating the environmental factors to induce a desired phenotypic trait. Conclusion Our results support the feasibility of cellular function reconstruction guided by the analysis and manipulation of dynamic envirome data.

  15. The biological function of consciousness

    Science.gov (United States)

    Earl, Brian

    2014-01-01

    This research is an investigation of whether consciousness—one's ongoing experience—influences one's behavior and, if so, how. Analysis of the components, structure, properties, and temporal sequences of consciousness has established that, (1) contrary to one's intuitive understanding, consciousness does not have an active, executive role in determining behavior; (2) consciousness does have a biological function; and (3) consciousness is solely information in various forms. Consciousness is associated with a flexible response mechanism (FRM) for decision-making, planning, and generally responding in nonautomatic ways. The FRM generates responses by manipulating information and, to function effectively, its data input must be restricted to task-relevant information. The properties of consciousness correspond to the various input requirements of the FRM; and when important information is missing from consciousness, functions of the FRM are adversely affected; both of which indicate that consciousness is the input data to the FRM. Qualitative and quantitative information (shape, size, location, etc.) are incorporated into the input data by a qualia array of colors, sounds, and so on, which makes the input conscious. This view of the biological function of consciousness provides an explanation why we have experiences; why we have emotional and other feelings, and why their loss is associated with poor decision-making; why blindsight patients do not spontaneously initiate responses to events in their blind field; why counter-habitual actions are only possible when the intended action is in mind; and the reason for inattentional blindness. PMID:25140159

  16. Biological couplings: Function, characteristics and implementation mode

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2010-01-01

    Through rigorous natural selection, biological organisms have evolved exceptional functions highly adaptable to their living environments. Biological organisms can achieve a variety of biological functions efficiently by using the synergic actions of two or more different parts of the body, or the coupling effects of multiple factors, and demonstrate optimal adaptations to the living environment. In this paper, the function, characteristics and types of biological couplings are analyzed, the implementation mechanism and mode of biological coupling functions are revealed from the bionic viewpoint. Finally, the technological prospects of the bionic implementation of biological coupling function are predicted.

  17. Environmental chemicals and thyroid function

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Boas, Malene; Main, Katharina M; Feldt-Rasmussen, Ulla

    2009-01-01

    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To overview the effects of endocrine disrupters on thyroid function. RECENT FINDINGS: Studies in recent years have revealed thyroid-disrupting properties of many environmentally abundant chemicals. Of special concern is the exposure of pregnant women and infants, as thyroid...

  18. Biological and Environmental Research Network Requirements

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Balaji, V. [Princeton Univ., NJ (United States). Earth Science Grid Federation (ESGF); Boden, Tom [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Cowley, Dave [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Dart, Eli [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Dattoria, Vince [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Desai, Narayan [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Egan, Rob [Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Foster, Ian [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Goldstone, Robin [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States); Gregurick, Susan [U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC (United States). Biological Systems Science Division; Houghton, John [U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC (United States). Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Program; Izaurralde, Cesar [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Johnston, Bill [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Joseph, Renu [U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC (United States). Climate and Environmental Sciences Division; Kleese-van Dam, Kerstin [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Lipton, Mary [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Monga, Inder [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Pritchard, Matt [British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC), Oxon (United Kingdom); Rotman, Lauren [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Strand, Gary [National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO (United States); Stuart, Cory [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Tatusova, Tatiana [National Inst. of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD (United States); Tierney, Brian [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Thomas, Brian [Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States); Williams, Dean N. [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States); Zurawski, Jason [Internet2, Washington, DC (United States)

    2013-09-01

    The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is the primary provider of network connectivity for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science (SC), the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. In support of SC programs, ESnet regularly updates and refreshes its understanding of the networking requirements of the instruments, facilities, scientists, and science programs that it serves. This focus has helped ESnet be a highly successful enabler of scientific discovery for over 25 years. In November 2012, ESnet and the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) of the DOE SC organized a review to characterize the networking requirements of the programs funded by the BER program office. Several key findings resulted from the review. Among them: 1) The scale of data sets available to science collaborations continues to increase exponentially. This has broad impact, both on the network and on the computational and storage systems connected to the network. 2) Many science collaborations require assistance to cope with the systems and network engineering challenges inherent in managing the rapid growth in data scale. 3) Several science domains operate distributed facilities that rely on high-performance networking for success. Key examples illustrated in this report include the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) and the Systems Biology Knowledgebase (KBase). This report expands on these points, and addresses others as well. The report contains a findings section as well as the text of the case studies discussed at the review.

  19. Functional quantum biology in photosynthesis and magnetoreception

    CERN Document Server

    Lambert, Neill; Cheng, Yuan-Chung; Li, Che-Ming; Chen, Guang-Yin; Nori, Franco

    2012-01-01

    Is there a functional role for quantum mechanics or coherent quantum effects in biological processes? While this question is as old as quantum theory, only recently have measurements on biological systems on ultra-fast time-scales shed light on a possible answer. In this review we give an overview of the two main candidates for biological systems which may harness such functional quantum effects: photosynthesis and magnetoreception. We discuss some of the latest evidence both for and against room temperature quantum coherence, and consider whether there is truly a functional role for coherence in these biological mechanisms. Finally, we give a brief overview of some more speculative examples of functional quantum biology including the sense of smell, long-range quantum tunneling in proteins, biological photoreceptors, and the flow of ions across a cell membrane.

  20. Integrating Functional, Developmental and Evolutionary Biology into Biology Curricula

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haave, Neil

    2012-01-01

    A complete understanding of life involves how organisms are able to function in their environment and how they arise. Understanding how organisms arise involves both their evolution and development. Thus to completely comprehend living things, biology must study their function, development and evolution. Previous proposals for standardized…

  1. 76 FR 8357 - Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-02-14

    ... Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee AGENCY: Department of Energy; Office of Science. ACTION: Notice of open meeting. ] SUMMARY: This notice announces a meeting of the Biological and... Thomassen, Designated Federal Officer, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Biological and...

  2. Metacognition: computation, biology and function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fleming, Stephen M; Dolan, Raymond J; Frith, Christopher D

    2012-05-19

    Many complex systems maintain a self-referential check and balance. In animals, such reflective monitoring and control processes have been grouped under the rubric of metacognition. In this introductory article to a Theme Issue on metacognition, we review recent and rapidly progressing developments from neuroscience, cognitive psychology, computer science and philosophy of mind. While each of these areas is represented in detail by individual contributions to the volume, we take this opportunity to draw links between disciplines, and highlight areas where further integration is needed. Specifically, we cover the definition, measurement, neurobiology and possible functions of metacognition, and assess the relationship between metacognition and consciousness. We propose a framework in which level of representation, order of behaviour and access consciousness are orthogonal dimensions of the conceptual landscape.

  3. Functional model of biological neural networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lo, James Ting-Ho

    2010-12-01

    A functional model of biological neural networks, called temporal hierarchical probabilistic associative memory (THPAM), is proposed in this paper. THPAM comprises functional models of dendritic trees for encoding inputs to neurons, a first type of neuron for generating spike trains, a second type of neuron for generating graded signals to modulate neurons of the first type, supervised and unsupervised Hebbian learning mechanisms for easy learning and retrieving, an arrangement of dendritic trees for maximizing generalization, hardwiring for rotation-translation-scaling invariance, and feedback connections with different delay durations for neurons to make full use of present and past informations generated by neurons in the same and higher layers. These functional models and their processing operations have many functions of biological neural networks that have not been achieved by other models in the open literature and provide logically coherent answers to many long-standing neuroscientific questions. However, biological justifications of these functional models and their processing operations are required for THPAM to qualify as a macroscopic model (or low-order approximate) of biological neural networks.

  4. Understanding biological functions through molecular networks

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Jing-Dong Jackie Han

    2008-01-01

    The completion of genome sequences and subsequent high-throughput mapping of molecular networks have allowed us to study biology from the network perspective. Experimental, statistical and mathematical modeling approaches have been employed to study the structure, function and dynamics of molecular networks, and begin to reveal important links of various network properties to the functions of the biological systems. In agreement with these functional links, evolutionary selection of a network is apparently based on the function, rather than directly on the structure of the network. Dynamic modularity is one of the prominent features of molecular networks. Taking advantage of such a feature may simplify network-based biological studies through construction of process-specific modular networks and provide functional and mechanistic insights linking genotypic variations to complex traits or diseases, which is likely to be a key approach in the next wave of understanding complex human diseases. With the development of ready-to-use network analysis and modeling tools the networks approaches will be infused into everyday biological research in the near future.

  5. Application of Biolog to Study of Environmental Microbial Function Diversity%Biolog法在环境微生物功能多样性研究中的应用

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    田雅楠; 王红旗

    2011-01-01

    微生物是生态系统的重要组成部分,它不仅要受到外界环境的影响,其自身的结构和功能变化也会对环境产生持续的作用,而这种作用主要是通过群落代谢功能差异来实现的,因此研究微生物群落功能多样性更能够揭示微生物与环境间相互作用的内在机制.Biolog法是目前已知的研究微生物代谢功能多样性的很有力的方法.为了使该项技术在更大范围上得以推广,使其为环境微生物群落功能多样性分析更好的服务,为环境工作者进一步剖析环境与微生物间相关关系提供方法,该文从Biolog法应用原理、数据处理、在环境微生物群落功能多样性中的应用及存在的问题几方面对其进行了详细阐述.通过对应用现状的探讨本文得出应引起今后重视的研究方向,主要包括:探讨不同的数据处理方法以寻求更为适宜的数据处理方法、注重方法改进以期早日形成规范的操作流程、注重新领域应用的探索、针对特殊情况形成专用研究微平板等方面.%Microorganism as an important part of the ecosystem is affected by the external environment and its structure and function will have a continuing effect on environment which is mainly achieved by difference among microbial communities,thus the study on microbial communities function diversity can reveal the interaction between microbiology and environment. The method of Biolog is known as one of the most useful analysis of biology function diversity at present. In order to facilitate the technology to a wider extent, to make it serve for analysis of the functional diversity of environmental microbial communities and to provide a method for analysis of the relationship between environment and microorganism, the principle of the Biolog application, data processing, application in functional diversity of environmental microbial community were discussed. The research directions were also proposed

  6. Characterization Techniques for Aggregated Nanomaterials in Biological and Environmental Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeon, Seongho

    Nanoparticles, which are defined as objects with characteristic lengths in the 10--9 -- 10--7 m (nanoscale) size range, are used with increasing frequency in a wide of applications, leading to increases in nanomaterial interactions with biological and environmental systems. There is therefore considerable interest in studying the influence nanomaterials can have when inside the human body or dispersed in the ambient environment. However, nanoparticles persist as homo aggregates or heterogeneous mixtures with organic matters, such as proteins, in biological and environmental systems. A large and growing body of research confirm that nanomaterial morphology as well as the degree of aggregation between nanomaterials influences nanomaterial interactions with their surroundings. Specifically, the structures/morphologies of nanoparticles determine their overall surface areas and corresponding surface reactivity (e.g. their catalytic activity). Nanoparticle transport properties (e.g. diffusion coefficient and extent of cellular uptake) are also determined by both their structures and surface properties. Unfortunately, techniques to characterize nanomaterial size and shape quantitatively, when nanomaterials have complex geometries or persist as aggregates, are lacking. Hydrodynamic sizes of nanoparticles and their aggregates can be inferred by dynamic light scattering (DLS) or nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA). However, since these techniques are relied on the scattering light intensity properties, sizes of polydisperse sub 30 nm particles cannot be effectively measured in those techniques. For structure inference of aggregated nanomaterials, microscopy images have been used for qualitative visual analysis, but the quantitative morphology analysis technique is yet to be developed. Five studies in this dissertation are hence aimed to develop new techniques to provide improved morphology characterization of aggregated nanomaterials in various biological and environmental

  7. Environmental scanning electron microscopy in cell biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGregor, J E; Staniewicz, L T L; Guthrie Neé Kirk, S E; Donald, A M

    2013-01-01

    Environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) (1) is an imaging technique which allows hydrated, insulating samples to be imaged under an electron beam. The resolution afforded by this technique is higher than conventional optical microscopy but lower than conventional scanning electron microscopy (CSEM). The major advantage of the technique is the minimal sample preparation needed, making ESEM quick to use and the images less susceptible to the artifacts that the extensive sample preparation usually required for CSEM may introduce. Careful manipulation of both the humidity in the microscope chamber and the beam energy are nevertheless essential to prevent dehydration and beam damage artifacts. In some circumstances it is possible to image live cells in the ESEM (2).In the following sections we introduce the fundamental principles of ESEM imaging before presenting imaging protocols for plant epidermis, mammalian cells, and bacteria. In the first two cases samples are imaged using the secondary electron (topographic) signal, whereas a transmission technique is employed to image bacteria.

  8. Inferring Biologically Relevant Models: Nested Canalyzing Functions

    CERN Document Server

    Hinkelmann, Franziska

    2010-01-01

    Inferring dynamic biochemical networks is one of the main challenges in systems biology. Given experimental data, the objective is to identify the rules of interaction among the different entities of the network. However, the number of possible models fitting the available data is huge and identifying a biologically relevant model is of great interest. Nested canalyzing functions, where variables in a given order dominate the function, have recently been proposed as a framework for modeling gene regulatory networks. Previously we described this class of functions as an algebraic toric variety. In this paper, we present an algorithm that identifies all nested canalyzing models that fit the given data. We demonstrate our methods using a well-known Boolean model of the cell cycle in budding yeast.

  9. Imaging cellular and molecular biological functions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shorte, S.L. [Institut Pasteur, 75 - Paris (France). Plateforme d' Imagerie Dynamique PFID-Imagopole; Frischknecht, F. (eds.) [Heidelberg Univ. Medical School (Germany). Dept. of Parasitology

    2007-07-01

    'Imaging cellular and molecular biological function' provides a unique selection of essays by leading experts, aiming at scientist and student alike who are interested in all aspects of modern imaging, from its application and up-scaling to its development. Indeed the philosophy of this volume is to provide student, researcher, PI, professional or provost the means to enter this applications field with confidence, and to construct the means to answer their own specific questions. (orig.)

  10. Biological Function of REE in Plants & Microbes

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2005-01-01

    Rare earth elements (REE) and their compounds are widely applied in agronomic and medical fields for many years. The bioinorganic chemical research of REE during the past few years indicates that REE play important roles in the promotion of photosynthetic rate as well as root absorption, regulation of hormone and nitrogen metabolism, and suppression of microbes, etc. The metallic or non-metallic targets of key biomolecule in various physiological processes can be chosen by REE for the chelation or replacement, which enables REE to regulate the biological functions or behaviors of those biomolecule and consequently leads to significant embodiment of biological function of REE in plants and microbes.Overdose of REE, however, shows an inhibitory effect on living organisms. Therefore, this paper proposes two suggestions that will be available in the extension of full use of REE's biological function. One is to obey the dose law of REE and control REE concentrations within a safe range. The other is to further test the bioaccumulation and long-period influence of REE on organisms.

  11. Functional biology of sympatric krill species

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Agersted, Mette Dalgaard; Nielsen, Torkel Gissel

    2016-01-01

    Here we compare the functional biology of the sympatric krill species, Meganyctiphanes norvegica and Thysanoessa inermis. For M. norvegica, we investigated functional responses on diatoms and copepods, together with prey size spectra on plankton ,400 mm and copepods in the size range 500–3220 mm....... For T. inermis, only prey size spectrum on plankton ,400 mm were investigated. The prey size ranges of both species include organisms ,400 mm, and they consequently graze on several trophic levels. However, T. inermis feed on cells ,10 mm equivalent spherical diameter (ESD), whereas M. norvegica only...

  12. Environmental Noise and Nonlinear Relaxation in Biological Systems

    CERN Document Server

    Spagnolo, B; Spezia, S; Curcio, L; Pizzolato, N; Dubkov, A A; Fiasconaro, A; Adorno, D Persano; Bue, P Lo; Peri, E; Colazza, S

    2011-01-01

    We analyse the effects of environmental noise in three different biological systems: (i) mating behaviour of individuals of \\emph{Nezara viridula} (L.) (Heteroptera Pentatomidae); (ii) polymer translocation in crowded solution; (iii) an ecosystem described by a Verhulst model with a multiplicative L\\'{e}vy noise.

  13. Marine Carotenoids: Biological Functions and Commercial Applications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    José M. Vega

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Carotenoids are the most common pigments in nature and are synthesized by all photosynthetic organisms and fungi. Carotenoids are considered key molecules for life. Light capture, photosynthesis photoprotection, excess light dissipation and quenching of singlet oxygen are among key biological functions of carotenoids relevant for life on earth. Biological properties of carotenoids allow for a wide range of commercial applications. Indeed, recent interest in the carotenoids has been mainly for their nutraceutical properties. A large number of scientific studies have confirmed the benefits of carotenoids to health and their use for this purpose is growing rapidly. In addition, carotenoids have traditionally been used in food and animal feed for their color properties. Carotenoids are also known to improve consumer perception of quality; an example is the addition of carotenoids to fish feed to impart color to farmed salmon.

  14. Biological functions of decorin in cancer

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Xiu-Li Bi; Wancai Yang

    2013-01-01

    Decorin is a member of the extracellular matrix small leucine-rich proteoglycans family that exists and functions in stromal and epithelial cells.Accumulating evidence suggests that decorin affects the biology of various types of cancer by directly or indirectly targeting the signaling molecules involved in cell growth,survival,metastasis,and angiogenesis.More recent studies show that decorin plays important roles during tumor development and progression and is a potential cancer therapeutic agent.In this article,we summarize recent studies of decorin in cancer and discuss decorin's therapeutic and prognostic value.

  15. Determining environmental causes of biological effects: the need for a mechanistic physiological dimension in conservation biology

    OpenAIRE

    Seebacher, Frank; Craig E. Franklin

    2012-01-01

    The emerging field of Conservation Physiology links environmental change and ecological success by the application of physiological theory, approaches and tools to elucidate and address conservation problems. Human activity has changed the natural environment to a point where the viability of many ecosystems is now under threat. There are already many descriptions of how changes in biological patterns are correlated with environmental changes. The next important step is to determine the causa...

  16. Flavonoids: Biosynthesis, Biological functions and Biotechnological applications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Lorena eFalcone Ferreyra

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Flavonoids are widely distributed secondary metabolites with different metabolic functions in plants. The elucidation of the biosynthetic pathways, as well as their regulation by MYB, bHLH and WD40-type transcription factors, has allowed metabolic engineering of plants through the manipulation of the different final products with valuable applications. The present review describes the regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis, as well as the biological functions of flavonoids in plants, such as in defense against UV-B radiation and pathogen infection, nodulation, pollen fertility. In addition, we discuss different strategies and achievements through the genetic engineering of flavonoid biosynthesis with implication in the industry and the combinatorial biosynthesis in microorganisms by the reconstruction of the pathway to obtain high amounts of specific compounds.

  17. Autofluorescence: Biological functions and technical applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    García-Plazaola, José Ignacio; Fernández-Marín, Beatriz; Duke, Stephen O; Hernández, Antonio; López-Arbeloa, Fernando; Becerril, José María

    2015-07-01

    Chlorophylls are the most remarkable examples of fluorophores, and their fluorescence has been intensively studied as a non-invasive tool for assessment of photosynthesis. Many other fluorophores occur in plants, such as alkaloids, phenolic compounds and porphyrins. Fluorescence could be more than just a physicochemical curiosity in the plant kingdom, as several functional roles in biocommunication occur or have been proposed. Besides, fluorescence emitted by secondary metabolites can convert damaging blue and UV into wavelengths potentially useful for photosynthesis. Detection of the fluorescence of some secondary phytochemicals may be a cue for some pollinators and/or seed dispersal organisms. Independently of their functions, plant fluorophores provide researchers with a tool that allows the visualization of some metabolites in plants and cells, complementing and overcoming some of the limitations of the use of fluorescent proteins and dyes to probe plant physiology and biochemistry. Some fluorophores are influenced by environmental interactions, allowing fluorescence to be also used as a specific stress indicator.

  18. Biological responses to environmental heterogeneity under future ocean conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boyd, Philip W; Cornwall, Christopher E; Davison, Andrew; Doney, Scott C; Fourquez, Marion; Hurd, Catriona L; Lima, Ivan D; McMinn, Andrew

    2016-08-01

    Organisms are projected to face unprecedented rates of change in future ocean conditions due to anthropogenic climate-change. At present, marine life encounters a wide range of environmental heterogeneity from natural fluctuations to mean climate change. Manipulation studies suggest that biota from more variable marine environments have more phenotypic plasticity to tolerate environmental heterogeneity. Here, we consider current strategies employed by a range of representative organisms across various habitats - from short-lived phytoplankton to long-lived corals - in response to environmental heterogeneity. We then discuss how, if and when organismal responses (acclimate/migrate/adapt) may be altered by shifts in the magnitude of the mean climate-change signal relative to that for natural fluctuations projected for coming decades. The findings from both novel climate-change modelling simulations and prior biological manipulation studies, in which natural fluctuations are superimposed on those of mean change, provide valuable insights into organismal responses to environmental heterogeneity. Manipulations reveal that different experimental outcomes are evident between climate-change treatments which include natural fluctuations vs. those which do not. Modelling simulations project that the magnitude of climate variability, along with mean climate change, will increase in coming decades, and hence environmental heterogeneity will increase, illustrating the need for more realistic biological manipulation experiments that include natural fluctuations. However, simulations also strongly suggest that the timescales over which the mean climate-change signature will become dominant, relative to natural fluctuations, will vary for individual properties, being most rapid for CO2 (~10 years from present day) to 4 decades for nutrients. We conclude that the strategies used by biota to respond to shifts in environmental heterogeneity may be complex, as they will have to

  19. The use of self-determination theory to foster environmental motivation in an environmental biology course

    Science.gov (United States)

    Darner, Rebekka

    A scientifically literate person is one who understands the nature of science, its processes, products, and their appropriate application to decision-making contexts. The impetus to make informed decisions about environmental issues is environmental motivation. I examined students' environmental motivation, its relationship to scientific knowledge, and how environmental motivation can be fostered in a science classroom. This study took place in a college-level environmental biology course in which the instructor attempted to support students' basic psychological needs, as defined by self-determination theory (SDT). The first question was to what extent does an SDT-guided environmental biology course differ from a non-SDT-guided course in the degree to which it fostered self-determined motivation toward the environment. The administration of a well-validated scale to two sections before, after, and six months following the end of the course indicated that SDT-guided instruction is a plausible way to foster environmental motivation in the classroom. The second question was what are the multiple influences on fostering self-determined motivation toward the environment in an SDT-guided course. Path analysis indicated that environmental motivation can be partially accomplished in an environmental biology course by conveying to students that they are cared for, are connected to others, and can trust others while solving environmental problems. The third question sought to characterize students' scientific conceptualizations as they solve environmental problems and the extent to which their conceptualizations relate to the satisfaction of their need for competence. Students were videotaped during in-class problem-solving, after which stimulated-recall interviews were conducted. Grounded theory and an established coding scheme were combined to analyze these data, which resulted in three grounded hypotheses about what characterizes students' scientific knowledge when they

  20. Frameworks for programming biological function through RNA parts and devices.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Win, Maung Nyan; Liang, Joe C; Smolke, Christina D

    2009-03-27

    One of the long-term goals of synthetic biology is to reliably engineer biological systems that perform human-defined functions. Currently, researchers face several scientific and technical challenges in designing and building biological systems, one of which is associated with our limited ability to access, transmit, and control molecular information through the design of functional biomolecules exhibiting novel properties. The fields of RNA biology and nucleic acid engineering, along with the tremendous interdisciplinary growth of synthetic biology, are fueling advances in the emerging field of RNA programming in living systems. Researchers are designing functional RNA molecules that exhibit increasingly complex functions and integrating these molecules into cellular circuits to program higher-level biological functions. The continued integration and growth of RNA design and synthetic biology presents exciting potential to transform how we interact with and program biology.

  1. Environmental chemicals and thyroid function: an update

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Boas, M.; Main, K.M.; Feldt-Rasmussen, U.

    2009-01-01

    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To overview the effects of endocrine disrupters on thyroid function. RECENT FINDINGS: Studies in recent years have revealed thyroid-disrupting properties of many environmentally abundant chemicals. Of special concern is the exposure of pregnant women and infants, as thyroid dis...

  2. Molecular building blocks and their architecture in biologically/environmentally compatible soft matter chemical machinery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toyota, Taro; Banno, Taisuke; Nitta, Sachiko; Takinoue, Masahiro; Nomoto, Tomonori; Natsume, Yuno; Matsumura, Shuichi; Fujinami, Masanori

    2014-01-01

    This review briefly summarizes recent developments in the construction of biologically/environmentally compatible chemical machinery composed of soft matter. Since environmental and living systems are open systems, chemical machinery must continuously fulfill its functions not only through the influx and generation of molecules but also via the degradation and dissipation of molecules. If the degradation or dissipation of soft matter molecular building blocks and biomaterial molecules/polymers can be achieved, soft matter particles composed of them can be used to realize chemical machinery such as selfpropelled droplets, drug delivery carriers, tissue regeneration scaffolds, protocell models, cell-/tissuemarkers, and molecular computing systems.

  3. The Structure and Function of Biological Networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Daniel Duanqing

    2010-01-01

    Biology has been revolutionized in recent years by an explosion in the availability of data. Transforming this new wealth of data into meaningful biological insights and clinical breakthroughs requires a complete overhaul both in the questions being asked and the methodologies used to answer them. A major challenge in organizing and understanding…

  4. Environmental conditions and community evenness determine the outcome of biological invasion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Roy, Karen; Marzorati, Massimo; Negroni, Andrea; Thas, Olivier; Balloi, Annalisa; Fava, Fabio; Verstraete, Willy; Daffonchio, Daniele; Boon, Nico

    2013-01-01

    Biological invasion is widely studied, however, conclusions on the outcome of this process mainly originate from observations in systems that leave a large number of experimental variables uncontrolled. Here using a fully controlled system consisting of assembled bacterial communities, we evaluate the degree of invasion and the effect on the community functionality in relation to the initial community evenness under specific environmental stressors. We show that evenness influences the level of invasion and that the introduced species can promote functionality under stress. The evenness-invasibility relationship is negative in the absence and neutral in the presence of stress. Under these conditions, the introduced species is able to maintain the functionality of uneven communities. These results indicate that communities, initially having the same genetic background, in the presence of the same invader, react in a different way with respect to invasibility and functionality depending on specific environmental conditions and community evenness.

  5. Dynamics of biomolecules, ligand binding & biological functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yi, Myunggi

    Proteins are flexible and dynamic. One static structure alone does not often completely explain biological functions of the protein, and some proteins do not even have high resolution structures. In order to provide better understanding to the biological functions of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, Diphtheria toxin repressor and M2 proton channel, the dynamics of these proteins are investigated using molecular modeling and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. With absence of high resolution structure of alpha7 receptor, the homology models of apo and cobra toxin bound forms have been built. From the MD simulations of these model structures, we observed one subunit of apo simulation moved away from other four subunits. With local movement of flexible loop regions, the whole subunit tilted clockwise. These conformational changes occurred spontaneously, and were strongly correlated with the conformational change when the channel is activated by agonists. Unlike other computational studies, we directly compared our model of open conformation with the experimental data. However, the subunits of toxin bound form were stable, and conformational change is restricted by the bound cobra toxin. These results provide activation and inhibition mechanisms of alpha7 receptors and a possible explanation for intermediate conductance of the channel. Intramolecular complex of SH3-like domain with a proline-rich (Pr) peptide segment in Diphtheria toxin repressor (DtxR) is stabilized in inactive state. Upon activation of DtxR by transition metal binding, this intramolecular complex should be dissociated. The dynamics of this intramolecular complex is investigated using MD simulations and NMR spectroscopy. We observed spontaneous opening and closing motions of the Pr segment binding pockets in both Pr-SH3 and SH3 simulations. The MD simulation results and NMR relaxation data suggest that the Pr segment exhibits a binding ↔ unbinding equilibrium. Despite a wealth of experimental

  6. Microbial Mat Compositional and Functional Sensitivity to Environmental Disturbance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Preisner, Eva C.; Fichot, Erin B.; Norman, Robert S.

    2016-01-01

    The ability of ecosystems to adapt to environmental perturbations depends on the duration and intensity of change and the overall biological diversity of the system. While studies have indicated that rare microbial taxa may provide a biological reservoir that supports long-term ecosystem stability, how this dynamic population is influenced by environmental parameters remains unclear. In this study, a microbial mat ecosystem located on San Salvador Island, The Bahamas was used as a model to examine how environmental disturbance affects the protein synthesis potential (PSP) of rare and abundant archaeal and bacterial communities and how these changes impact potential biogeochemical processes. This ecosystem experienced a large shift in salinity (230 to 65 g kg-1) during 2011–2012 following the landfall of Hurricane Irene on San Salvador Island. High throughput sequencing and analysis of 16S rRNA and rRNA genes from samples before and after the pulse disturbance showed significant changes in the diversity and PSP of abundant and rare taxa, suggesting overall compositional and functional sensitivity to environmental change. In both archaeal and bacterial communities, while the majority of taxa showed low PSP across conditions, the overall community PSP increased post-disturbance, with significant shifts occurring among abundant and rare taxa across and within phyla. Broadly, following the post-disturbance reduction in salinity, taxa within Halobacteria decreased while those within Crenarchaeota, Thaumarchaeota, Thermoplasmata, Cyanobacteria, and Proteobacteria, increased in abundance and PSP. Quantitative PCR of genes and transcripts involved in nitrogen and sulfur cycling showed concomitant shifts in biogeochemical cycling potential. Post-disturbance conditions increased the expression of genes involved in N-fixation, nitrification, denitrification, and sulfate reduction. Together, our findings show complex community adaptation to environmental change and help

  7. Microbial Mat Compositional and Functional Sensitivity to Environmental Disturbance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eva Christine Preisner

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available The ability of ecosystems to adapt to environmental perturbations depends on the duration and intensity of change and the overall biological diversity of the system. While studies have indicated that rare microbial taxa may provide a biological reservoir that supports long-term ecosystem stability, how this dynamic population is influenced by environmental parameters remains unclear. In this study, a microbial mat ecosystem located on San Salvador Island, The Bahamas was used as a model to examine how environmental disturbance affects the protein synthesis potential (PSP of rare and abundant archaeal and bacterial communities and how these changes impact potential biogeochemical processes. This ecosystem experienced a large shift in salinity (230 to 65 g kg-1 during 2011-2012 following the landfall of Hurricane Irene on San Salvador Island. High throughput sequencing and analysis of 16S rRNA and rRNA genes from samples before and after the pulse disturbance showed significant changes in the diversity and PSP of abundant and rare taxa, suggesting overall compositional and functional sensitivity to environmental change. In both archaeal and bacterial communities, while the majority of taxa showed low PSP across conditions, the overall community PSP increased post-disturbance, with significant shifts occurring among abundant and rare taxa across and within phyla. Broadly, following the post-disturbance reduction in salinity, taxa within Halobacteria decreased while those within Crenarchaeota, Thaumarchaeota, Thermoplasmata, Cyanobacteria, and Proteobacteria, increased in abundance and PSP. Quantitative PCR of genes and transcripts involved in nitrogen and sulfur cycling showed concomitant shifts in biogeochemical cycling potential. Post-disturbance conditions increased the expression of genes involved in N-fixation, nitrification, denitrification, and sulfate reduction. Together, our findings show complex community adaptation to environmental

  8. Selenium: environmental significance, pollution, and biological treatment technologies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tan, Lea Chua; Nancharaiah, Yarlagadda V; van Hullebusch, Eric D; Lens, Piet N L

    2016-01-01

    Selenium is an essential trace element needed for all living organisms. Despite its essentiality, selenium is a potential toxic element to natural ecosystems due to its bioaccumulation potential. Though selenium is found naturally in the earth's crust, especially in carbonate rocks and volcanic and sedimentary soils, about 40% of the selenium emissions to atmospheric and aquatic environments are caused by various industrial activities such as mining-related operations. In recent years, advances in water quality and pollution monitoring have shown that selenium is a contaminant of potential environmental concern. This has practical implications on industry to achieve the stringent selenium regulatory discharge limit of 5μgSeL(-1) for selenium containing wastewaters set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Over the last few decades, various technologies have been developed for the treatment of selenium-containing wastewaters. Biological selenium reduction has emerged as the leading technology for removing selenium from wastewaters since it offers a cheaper alternative compared to physico-chemical treatments and is suitable for treating dilute and variable selenium-laden wastewaters. Moreover, biological treatment has the advantage of forming elemental selenium nanospheres which exhibit unique optical and spectral properties for various industrial applications, i.e. medical, electrical, and manufacturing processes. However, despite the advances in biotechnology employing selenium reduction, there are still several challenges, particularly in achieving stringent discharge limits, the long-term stability of biogenic selenium and predicting the fate of bioreduced selenium in the environment. This review highlights the significance of selenium in the environment, health, and industry and biotechnological advances made in the treatment of selenium contaminated wastewaters. The challenges and future perspectives are overviewed considering recent

  9. Hereditary and environmental influences on arterial function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayward, C S; Benetos, A

    2007-07-01

    1. With the ageing population and increasing heart failure, arterial function has been shown to contribute to cardiovascular risk because of its adverse effects on ventriculovascular coupling. Population studies have confirmed independent prognostic information of arterial stiffening on cardiovascular survival. 2. The term 'arterial function' encompasses a range of phenotypes, including measures of arterial structure/remodelling, measures of arterial wall mechanics, surrogate measures of stiffness and of wave reflection. There exists significant interaction between these measures and none is truly independent of the others. Added to this complexity is the recognition that, although arterial function has a strong genetic component, quantification requires a range of techniques from twin to family and population studies. 3. The contribution of heritability is often derived from statistical models with input from genomic scanning and candidate gene studies. Studies to date confirm a significant heritable component for the majority of phenotypes examined. However, it has also been recognized that the factors involved in blood pressure maintenance are likely to be separate to those in arterial structural degeneration with ageing. Candidate genes for arterial function go beyond those of the sympathetic and renin-angiotensin systems and include genes involved in signalling pathways and extracellular matrix modulation. 4. The present review examines the evidence for heritability of the major arterial function phenotypes with environmental and ageing modulation. A brief overview of the impact of atherosclerotic risk factors on arterial function is included.

  10. Fibroblast Growth Factors: Biology, Function, and Application for Tissue Regeneration

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ye-Rang Yun

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs that signal through FGF receptors (FGFRs regulate a broad spectrum of biological functions, including cellular proliferation, survival, migration, and differentiation. The FGF signal pathways are the RAS/MAP kinase pathway, PI3 kinase/AKT pathway, and PLCγ pathway, among which the RAS/MAP kinase pathway is known to be predominant. Several studies have recently implicated the in vitro biological functions of FGFs for tissue regeneration. However, to obtain optimal outcomes in vivo, it is important to enhance the half-life of FGFs and their biological stability. Future applications of FGFs are expected when the biological functions of FGFs are potentiated through the appropriate use of delivery systems and scaffolds. This review will introduce the biology and cellular functions of FGFs and deal with the biomaterials based delivery systems and their current applications for the regeneration of tissues, including skin, blood vessel, muscle, adipose, tendon/ligament, cartilage, bone, tooth, and nerve tissues.

  11. BioFNet: biological functional network database for analysis and synthesis of biological systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kurata, Hiroyuki; Maeda, Kazuhiro; Onaka, Toshikazu; Takata, Takenori

    2014-09-01

    In synthetic biology and systems biology, a bottom-up approach can be used to construct a complex, modular, hierarchical structure of biological networks. To analyze or design such networks, it is critical to understand the relationship between network structure and function, the mechanism through which biological parts or biomolecules are assembled into building blocks or functional networks. A functional network is defined as a subnetwork of biomolecules that performs a particular function. Understanding the mechanism of building functional networks would help develop a methodology for analyzing the structure of large-scale networks and design a robust biological circuit to perform a target function. We propose a biological functional network database, named BioFNet, which can cover the whole cell at the level of molecular interactions. The BioFNet takes an advantage in implementing the simulation program for the mathematical models of the functional networks, visualizing the simulated results. It presents a sound basis for rational design of biochemical networks and for understanding how functional networks are assembled to create complex high-level functions, which would reveal design principles underlying molecular architectures.

  12. Functionalized Nanodiamonds for Biological and Medical Applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lai, Lin; Barnard, Amanda S

    2015-02-01

    Nanodiamond is a promising material for biological and medical applications, owning to its relatively inexpensive and large-scale synthesis, unique structure, and superior optical properties. However, most biomedical applications, such as drug delivery and bio-imaging, are dependent upon the precise control of the surfaces, and can be significantly affected by the type, distribution and stability of chemical funtionalisations of the nanodiamond surface. In this paper, recent studies on nanodiamonds and their biomedical applications by conjugating with different chemicals are reviewed, while highlighting the critical importance of surface chemical states for various applications.

  13. New applications of biological monitoring for environmental exposure and susceptibility monitoring. Report of the 7th International Symposium on Biological Monitoring in Occupational and Environmental Health.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Scheepers, P.T.J.; Heussen, G.A.

    2008-01-01

    Validated biological monitoring methods are used in large-scale monitoring programmes involving determination of ubiquitous environmental pollutants such as metals and pesticides. Some programmes focus on children's exposure, and policies to prevent adverse health effects. Most of these initiatives

  14. Challenges for biological interpretation of environmental proteomics data in non-model organisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dowd, W Wesley

    2012-11-01

    Environmental physiology, toxicology, and ecology and evolution stand to benefit substantially from the relatively recent surge of "omics" technologies into these fields. These approaches, and proteomics in particular, promise to elucidate novel and integrative functional responses of organisms to diverse environmental challenges, over a variety of time scales and at different levels of organization. However, application of proteomics to environmental questions suffers from several challenges--some unique to high-throughput technologies and some relevant to many related fields--that may confound downstream biological interpretation of the data. I explore three of these challenges in environmental proteomics, emphasizing the dependence of biological conclusions on (1) the specific experimental context, (2) the choice of statistical analytical methods, and (3) the degree of proteome coverage and protein identification rates, both of which tend to be much less than 100% (i.e., analytical incompleteness). I use both a review of recent publications and data generated from my previous and ongoing proteomics studies of coastal marine animals to examine the causes and consequences of these challenges, in one case analyzing the same multivariate proteomics data set using 29 different combinations of statistical techniques common in the literature. Although some of the identified issues await further critical assessment and debate, when possible I offer suggestions for meeting these three challenges.

  15. FUNCTION IN BIOLOGY: ETIOLOGICAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL PERSPECTIVES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nunes Neto Nei Freitas Freitas

    2009-12-01

    -ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

    ABSTRACT. In this paper, we argue for a taxonomy of approaches to function based on different epistemological perspectives assumed with regard to the treatment of this central concept in the life sciences. We distinguish between etiological and organizational perspectives on function, analyzing two distinct theories related to each perspective: Wright’s selectionist etiological approach and Godfrey-Smith’s modern history theory of functions, in the case of the etiological perspective; and Cummins’ functional analysis and Collier’s interactivist approach to function, among organizational accounts. We explain differences and similarities between these theories and the broader perspectives on function, arguing for a particular way of understanding the consensus without unity in debates about function. While explaining the accounts of function, we also deal with the relationship between this concept and other important biological concepts, such as adaptation, selection, complexity, and autonomy. We also advance an argument for the limits and prospects of the explanatory role of function in evolution. By arguing that changes in functionality are always grounded on changes in systems’ organization, we show that function can never explain the origins of traits. Nevertheless, it can explain the spread of traits in populations, but only when we are dealing with functionally novel traits. Finally, we stress that organizational accounts of function are needed to understand how new functions appear by means of changes in systems

  16. Design of Functional Polyesters for Electronic and Biological Applications

    OpenAIRE

    Nelson, Ashley Marie

    2015-01-01

    Melt polymerization and novel monomers enabled the synthesis of polyesters for electronic and biological applications. Inspiration from nature and a passion for environmental preservation instigated an emphasis on the incorporation of renewable resources into polymeric materials. Critical analysis of current research surrounding bisphenol-A replacements and ion-containing segmented polyurethanes aided in identifying benchmark polymers, including limitations, challenges, and future needs. S...

  17. Towards Integration of Biological and Physiological Functions at Multiple Levels

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Taishin eNomura

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available An aim of systems physiology today can be stated as to establish logical and quantitative bridges between phenomenological attributes of physiological entities such as cells and organs and physical attributes of biological entities, i.e., biological molecules, allowing us to describe and better understand physiological functions in terms of underlying biological functions. This article illustrates possible schema that can be used for promoting systems physiology by integrating quantitative knowledge of biological and physiological functions at multiple levels of time and space with the use of information technology infrastructure. Emphasis will be made for systematic, modular, hierarchical, and standardized descriptions of mathematical models of the functions and advantages for the use of them.

  18. Genomic Functionalization: The Next Revolution In Biology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Anderson, Peter [Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States); Schoeniger, Joseph S. [Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States); Imbro, Paula M. [Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States)

    2014-07-01

    We have implemented a ligand-alignment algorithm into our developed computational pipeline for identifying specificity-determining features (SDFs) in protein-ligand complexes. Given a set of protein-ligand complex structures, the algorithm aligns the complexes by ligand rather than by the C -RMSD or standard approach, providing a single reference frame for extracting SDFs. We anticipate that this ligand-alignment capability will be highly useful for protein function prediction. We already have a database containing > 20 K ligand-protein complex crystal structures taken from the Protein Data Bank. By aligning these proteins to single reference frames using ligand alignment, we can submit the complexes to our pipeline for SDF extraction. The SDFs derived from this training procedure can be used as thumbprints that are hallmarks of individual enzyme classes. These SDF thumbprints may then serve as guides to the prediction of function of new unknown proteins.

  19. Integrated Omics in Systems Biology: The New Frontier for Environmental Biotechnology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hazen, Terry C.

    2008-08-12

    Environmental biotechnology encompasses a wide range of characterization, monitoring and control for bioenergy and bioremediation technologies that are based on biological processes. Recent breakthroughs in our understanding of biogeochemical processes and genomics are leading to exciting new and cost effective ways to monitor and manipulate the environment and potentially produce bioenergy fuels as we also cleanup the environment. Indeed, our ability to sequence an entire microbial genome in just a few hours is leading to similar breakthroughs in characterizing proteomes, metabolomes, phenotypes, and fluxes for organisms, populations, and communities. Understanding and modeling functional microbial community structure and stress responses in subsurface environments has tremendous implications for our fundamental understanding of biogeochemistry and the potential for making biofuel breakthroughs. Monitoring techniques that inventory and monitor terminal electron acceptors and electron donors, enzyme probes that measure functional activity in the environment, functional genomic microarrays, phylogenetic microarrays, metabolomics, proteomics, and quantitative PCR are also being rapidly adapted for studies in environmental biotechnology. Integration of all of these new high throughput techniques using the latest advances in bioinformatics and modeling will enable break-through science in environmental biotechnology. A review of these techniques with examples from field studies and lab simulations will be discussed.

  20. Evidence for a Role of Executive Functions in Learning Biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rhodes, Sinéad M.; Booth, Josephine N.; Campbell, Lorna Elise; Blythe, Richard A.; Wheate, Nial J.; Delibegovic, Mirela

    2014-01-01

    Research examining cognition and science learning has focused on working memory, but evidence implicates a broader set of executive functions. The current study examined executive functions and learning of biology in young adolescents. Fifty-six participants, aged 12-13?years, completed tasks of working memory (Spatial Working Memory), inhibition…

  1. Evolutionary cell biology: functional insight from "endless forms most beautiful".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, Elisabeth; Zerr, Kelly; Tsaousis, Anastasios; Dorrell, Richard G; Dacks, Joel B

    2015-12-15

    In animal and fungal model organisms, the complexities of cell biology have been analyzed in exquisite detail and much is known about how these organisms function at the cellular level. However, the model organisms cell biologists generally use include only a tiny fraction of the true diversity of eukaryotic cellular forms. The divergent cellular processes observed in these more distant lineages are still largely unknown in the general scientific community. Despite the relative obscurity of these organisms, comparative studies of them across eukaryotic diversity have had profound implications for our understanding of fundamental cell biology in all species and have revealed the evolution and origins of previously observed cellular processes. In this Perspective, we will discuss the complexity of cell biology found across the eukaryotic tree, and three specific examples of where studies of divergent cell biology have altered our understanding of key functional aspects of mitochondria, plastids, and membrane trafficking.

  2. Mimicking biological functionality with polymers for biomedical applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, Jordan J.; Elisseeff, Jennifer H.

    2016-12-01

    The vast opportunities for biomaterials design and functionality enabled by mimicking nature continue to stretch the limits of imagination. As both biological understanding and engineering capabilities develop, more sophisticated biomedical materials can be synthesized that have multifaceted chemical, biological and physical characteristics designed to achieve specific therapeutic goals. Mimicry is being used in the design of polymers for biomedical applications that are required locally in tissues, systemically throughout the body, and at the interface with tissues.

  3. Isopropanol exposure : environmental and biological monitoring in a printing works

    OpenAIRE

    Brugnone, F; Perbellini, L; Apostoli, P.; Bellomi, M; Caretta, D.

    1983-01-01

    Occupational exposure to isopropanol was studied in 12 workers by testing environmental air, alveolar air, venous blood, and urine during their work shift. Isopropanol, which ranged in environmental air between 7 and 645 mg/m3, was detected in alveolar air, where it ranged between 4 and 437 mg/m3, but not in blood or in urine. Alveolar isopropanol concentration (Ca) was significantly correlated with environmental isopropanol concentration (Ci) at any time of exposure. The value of the arithme...

  4. Using Wetlands to Teach Ecology & Environmental Awareness in General Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Neal, Lyman H.

    1995-01-01

    Presents advantages of using wetlands educationally and their relevance to local, national, and global environmental issues. Discusses field trips to mangrove forests and freshwater marshes. (Author/MKR)

  5. Biological collections and ecological/environmental research: a review, some observations and a look to the future.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pyke, Graham H; Ehrlich, Paul R

    2010-05-01

    Housed worldwide, mostly in museums and herbaria, is a vast collection of biological specimens developed over centuries. These biological collections, and associated taxonomic and systematic research, have received considerable long-term public support. The work remaining in systematics has been expanding as the estimated total number of species of organisms on Earth has risen over recent decades, as have estimated numbers of undescribed species. Despite this increasing task, support for taxonomic and systematic research, and biological collections upon which such research is based, has declined over the last 30-40 years, while other areas of biological research have grown considerably, especially those that focus on environmental issues. Reflecting increases in research that deals with ecological questions (e.g. what determines species distribution and abundance) or environmental issues (e.g. toxic pollution), the level of research attempting to use biological collections in museums or herbaria in an ecological/environmental context has risen dramatically during about the last 20 years. The perceived relevance of biological collections, and hence the support they receive, should be enhanced if this trend continues and they are used prominently regarding such environmental issues as anthropogenic loss of biodiversity and associated ecosystem function, global climate change, and decay of the epidemiological environment. It is unclear, however, how best to use biological collections in the context of such ecological/environmental issues or how best to manage collections to facilitate such use. We demonstrate considerable and increasingly realized potential for research based on biological collections to contribute to ecological/environmental understanding. However, because biological collections were not originally intended for use regarding such issues and have inherent biases and limitations, they are proving more useful in some contexts than in others. Biological

  6. Biological and environmental characteristics of mangrove habitats from Manori creek, West Coast, India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Kulkarni, V.A.; Jagtap, T.G.; Mhalsekar, N.M.; Naik, A.N.

    better mangrove formations. A creek habitat had been evaluated for its biological and environmental characteristics, and is compared with similar but relatively lesser stressed Mandovi estuary (approx. 475 km south of Mumbai). Several evidences...

  7. Environmental philosophy 2.0: ethics and conservation biology for the 21st century.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Odenbaugh, Jay

    2014-03-01

    In this essay, I critically engage Sahotra Sarkar's Environmental Philosophy. The several topics include the conceptual foundations of conservation biology and traditional philosophy of science, naturalism and its implications, and ethical theory and specifically the status of human welfare.

  8. Uncovering Biological Network Function via Graphlet Degree Signatures

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nataša Pržulj

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available Motivation: Proteins are essential macromolecules of life and thus understanding their function is of great importance. The number of functionally unclassified proteins is large even for simple and well studied organisms such as baker’s yeast. Methods for determining protein function have shifted their focus from targeting specific proteins based solely on sequence homology to analyses of the entire proteome based on protein-protein interaction (PPI networks. Since proteins interact to perform a certain function, analyzing structural properties of PPI networks may provide useful clues about the biological function of individual proteins, protein complexes they participate in, and even larger subcellular machines.Results: We design a sensitive graph theoretic method for comparing local structures of node neighborhoods that demonstrates that in PPI networks, biological function of a node and its local network structure are closely related. The method summarizes a protein’s local topology in a PPI network into the vector of graphlet degrees called the signature of the protein and computes the signature similarities between all protein pairs. We group topologically similar proteins under this measure in a PPI network and show that these protein groups belong to the same protein complexes, perform the same biological functions, are localized in the same subcellular compartments, and have the same tissue expressions. Moreover, we apply our technique on a proteome-scale network data and infer biological function of yet unclassified proteins demonstrating that our method can provide valuable guidelines for future experimental research such as disease protein prediction.Availability: Data is available upon request.

  9. Biological ensilage of fish - optimization of stability, safety and functionality

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Enes Dapkevicius, M.L.N.

    2002-01-01

    This thesis deals with stability, safety, and functionality aspects of biological fish silage (BFS) obtained by lactic acid fermentation. BFS may provide an economically viable, environment friendly way of upgrading fish waste.BFS has been found advantageous when compared to the so-called acid proce

  10. Functional and biological characteristics of asthma in cleaning workers.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vizcaya, D.; Mirabelli, M.C.; Orriols, R.; Antó, J.M.; Barreiro, E.; Burgos, F.; Arjona, L.; Gomez, F.; Zock, J.P.

    2013-01-01

    Objectives: Cleaning workers have an increased risk of asthma but the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. We studied functional and biological characteristics in asthmatic cleaners and compared these to healthy cleaners. Methods: Forty-two cleaners with a history of asthma and/or recent respi

  11. Linking exposure to environmental pollutants with biological effects

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sørensen, Mette; Autrup, Herman; Møller, Peter

    2003-01-01

    Exposure to ambient air pollution has been associated with cancer. Ambient air contains a complex mixture of toxics, including particulate matter (PM) and benzene. Carcinogenic effects of PM may relate both to the content of PAH and to oxidative DNA damage generated by transition metals, benzene......, metabolism and inflammation. By means of personal monitoring and biomarkers of internal dose, biologically effective dose and susceptibility, it should be possible to characterize individual exposure and identify air pollution sources with relevant biological effects. In a series of studies, individual......, biological effects of air pollutants appear mainly related to oxidative stress via personal exposure and not to urban background levels. Future developments include personal time-resolved monitors for exposure to ultrafine PM and PM(2.5,) use of GPS, as well as genomics and proteomics based biomarkers....

  12. Annual rhythms that underlie phenology : biological time-keeping meets environmental change

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Helm, Barbara; Ben-Shlomo, Rachel; Sheriff, Michael J; Hut, Roelof A; Foster, Russell; Barnes, Brian M; Dominoni, Davide

    2013-01-01

    Seasonal recurrence of biological processes (phenology) and its relationship to environmental change is recognized as being of key scientific and public concern, but its current study largely overlooks the extent to which phenology is based on biological time-keeping mechanisms. We highlight the rel

  13. Environmental Biology Programs at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Getz, Lowell L.

    1987-01-01

    Describes the programs of the Department of Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign). Focuses on the graduate degrees offered in environmental biology. Lists research interests and courses in plant biology, entomology, forestry, civil engineering, and landscape architecture. (TW)

  14. Milk protein tailoring to improve functional and biological properties

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    JEAN-MARC CHOBERT

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Proteins are involved in every aspects of life: structure, motion, catalysis, recognition and regulation. Today's highly sophisticated science of the modifications of proteins has ancient roots. The tailoring of proteins for food and medical uses precedes the beginning of what is called biochemistry. Chemical modification of proteins was pursued early in the twentieth century as an analytical procedure for side-chain amino acids. Later, methods were developed for specific inactivation of biologically active proteins and titration of their essential groups. Enzymatic modifications were mainly developed in the seventies when many more enzymes became economically available. Protein engineering has become a valuable tool for creating or improving proteins for practical use and has provided new insights into protein structure and function. The actual and potential use of milk proteins as food ingredients has been a popular topic for research over the past 40 years. With today's sophisticated analytical, biochemical and biological research tools, the presence of compounds with biological activity has been demonstrated. Improvements in separation techniques and enzyme technology have enabled efficient and economic isolation and modification of milk proteins, which has made possible their use as functional foods, dietary supplements, nutraceuticals and medical foods. In this review, some chemical and enzymatic modifications of milk proteins are described, with particular focus on their functional and biological properties.

  15. Applications of large-scale density functional theory in biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cole, Daniel J.; Hine, Nicholas D. M.

    2016-10-01

    Density functional theory (DFT) has become a routine tool for the computation of electronic structure in the physics, materials and chemistry fields. Yet the application of traditional DFT to problems in the biological sciences is hindered, to a large extent, by the unfavourable scaling of the computational effort with system size. Here, we review some of the major software and functionality advances that enable insightful electronic structure calculations to be performed on systems comprising many thousands of atoms. We describe some of the early applications of large-scale DFT to the computation of the electronic properties and structure of biomolecules, as well as to paradigmatic problems in enzymology, metalloproteins, photosynthesis and computer-aided drug design. With this review, we hope to demonstrate that first principles modelling of biological structure-function relationships are approaching a reality.

  16. Analytical Methodologies for the Determination of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds in Biological and Environmental Samples

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sosa-Ferrera, Zoraida; Mahugo-Santana, Cristina; Santana-Rodríguez, José Juan

    2013-01-01

    Endocrine-disruptor compounds (EDCs) can mimic natural hormones and produce adverse effects in the endocrine functions by interacting with estrogen receptors. EDCs include both natural and synthetic chemicals, such as hormones, personal care products, surfactants, and flame retardants, among others. EDCs are characterised by their ubiquitous presence at trace-level concentrations and their wide diversity. Since the discovery of the adverse effects of these pollutants on wildlife and human health, analytical methods have been developed for their qualitative and quantitative determination. In particular, mass-based analytical methods show excellent sensitivity and precision for their quantification. This paper reviews recently published analytical methodologies for the sample preparation and for the determination of these compounds in different environmental and biological matrices by liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The various sample preparation techniques are compared and discussed. In addition, recent developments and advances in this field are presented. PMID:23738329

  17. Analytical methodologies for the determination of endocrine disrupting compounds in biological and environmental samples.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sosa-Ferrera, Zoraida; Mahugo-Santana, Cristina; Santana-Rodríguez, José Juan

    2013-01-01

    Endocrine-disruptor compounds (EDCs) can mimic natural hormones and produce adverse effects in the endocrine functions by interacting with estrogen receptors. EDCs include both natural and synthetic chemicals, such as hormones, personal care products, surfactants, and flame retardants, among others. EDCs are characterised by their ubiquitous presence at trace-level concentrations and their wide diversity. Since the discovery of the adverse effects of these pollutants on wildlife and human health, analytical methods have been developed for their qualitative and quantitative determination. In particular, mass-based analytical methods show excellent sensitivity and precision for their quantification. This paper reviews recently published analytical methodologies for the sample preparation and for the determination of these compounds in different environmental and biological matrices by liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The various sample preparation techniques are compared and discussed. In addition, recent developments and advances in this field are presented.

  18. 76 FR 78661 - Correction for Draft Vieques Report: An Evaluation of Environmental, Biological, and Health Data...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-12-19

    ... Draft Vieques Report: An Evaluation of Environmental, Biological, and Health Data From the Island of....gov . SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This report's principal focus is to review updated environmental data... HUMAN SERVICES Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Correction for Draft Vieques Report:...

  19. 76 FR 77234 - Availability of Draft Vieques Report: An Evaluation of Environmental, Biological, and Health Data...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-12-12

    ... availability of the Draft Vieques Report: An Evaluation of Environmental, Biological, and Health Data from the... environmental data on Vieques air, water, soil, seafood, and locally grown foods. In addition, this report.... This notice announces the availability of the draft Vieques Report: An Evaluation of...

  20. Analysis of Environmental Concepts and Attitudes among Biology Degree Students.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mangas, Victor J.; Martinez, Pilar; Pedauye, Rafael

    1997-01-01

    Reports on students' perceptions of the environment and their expectations from an elective course called Environmental Education. Students initially preferred nature protection values to economic interests but later supported sustainable development and solidarity, demonstrating a shift toward systemic and more complex attitudes about the…

  1. Technologies for detecting botulinum neurotoxins in biological and environmental matrices

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biomonitoring of food and environmental matrices is critical for the rapid and sensitive diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases caused by toxins. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that toxins from bacteria, fungi, algae, and plants present an ongo...

  2. A structural biology perspective on NMDA receptor pharmacology and function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regan, Michael C; Romero-Hernandez, Annabel; Furukawa, Hiro

    2015-08-01

    N-methyld-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) belong to the large family of ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs), which are critically involved in basic brain functions as well as multiple neurological diseases and disorders. The NMDARs are large heterotetrameric membrane protein complexes. The extensive extracellular domains recognize neurotransmitter ligands and allosteric compounds and translate the binding information to regulate activity of the transmembrane ion channel. Here, we review recent advances in the structural biology of NMDARs with a focus on pharmacology and function. Structural analysis of the isolated extracellular domains in combination with the intact heterotetrameric NMDAR structure provides important insights into how this sophisticated ligand-gated ion channel may function.

  3. Neuroscience in the era of functional genomics and systems biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Geschwind, Daniel H; Konopka, Genevieve

    2009-10-15

    Advances in genetics and genomics have fuelled a revolution in discovery-based, or hypothesis-generating, research that provides a powerful complement to the more directly hypothesis-driven molecular, cellular and systems neuroscience. Genetic and functional genomic studies have already yielded important insights into neuronal diversity and function, as well as disease. One of the most exciting and challenging frontiers in neuroscience involves harnessing the power of large-scale genetic, genomic and phenotypic data sets, and the development of tools for data integration and mining. Methods for network analysis and systems biology offer the promise of integrating these multiple levels of data, connecting molecular pathways to nervous system function.

  4. Application of computational systems biology to explore environmental toxicity hazards

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Audouze, Karine Marie Laure; Grandjean, Philippe

    2011-01-01

    Background: Computer-based modeling is part of a new approach to predictive toxicology.Objectives: We investigated the usefulness of an integrated computational systems biology approach in a case study involving the isomers and metabolites of the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT......) to ascertain their possible links to relevant adverse effects.Methods: We extracted chemical-protein association networks for each DDT isomer and its metabolites using ChemProt, a disease chemical biology database that includes both binding and gene expression data, and we explored protein-protein interactions...... using a human interactome network. To identify associated dysfunctions and diseases, we integrated protein-disease annotations into the protein complexes using the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man database and the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database.Results: We found 175 human proteins linked to p,p´-DDT...

  5. Morpho-chemistry and functionality of diseased biological tissues

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, Marta; Cicchi, Riccardo; Pavone, Francesco

    2014-09-01

    Heart and cardiovascular diseases are one of the most common in the world, in particular - arthrosclerosis. The aim of the research is to distinguish pathological and healthy tissue regions in biological samples, in this case - to distinguish collagen and lipid rich regions within the arterial wall. In the work a specific combination of such methods are used: FLIM and SHG in order to evaluate the biological tissue morphology and functionality, so that this research could give a contribution for creating a new biological tissue imaging standard in the closest future. During the study the most appropriate parameter for fluorescence lifetime decay was chosen in order to evaluate lifetime decay parameters and the isotropy of the arterial wall and deposition, using statistical methods FFT and GLCM. The research gives a contribution or the future investigations for evaluating lipid properties when it can de-attach from the arterial wall and cause clotting in the blood vessel or even a stroke.

  6. Modelling of environmental impacts from biological treatment of organic municipal waste in EASEWASTE.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boldrin, Alessio; Neidel, Trine Lund; Damgaard, Anders; Bhander, Gurbakhash S; Møller, Jacob; Christensen, Thomas H

    2011-04-01

    The waste-LCA model EASEWASTE quantifies potential environmental effects from biological treatment of organic waste, based on mass and energy flows, emissions to air, water, soil and groundwater as well as effects from upstream and downstream processes. Default technologies for composting, anaerobic digestion and combinations hereof are available in the model, but the user can change all key parameters in the biological treatment module so that specific local plants and processes can be modelled. EASEWASTE is one of the newest waste LCA models and the biological treatment module was built partly on features of earlier waste-LCA models, but offers additional facilities, more flexibility, transparency and user-friendliness. The paper presents the main features of the module and provides some examples illustrating the capability of the model in environmentally assessing and discriminating the environmental performance of alternative biological treatment technologies in relation to their mass flows, energy consumption, gaseous emissions, biogas recovery and compost/digestate utilization.

  7. Environmental impacts of post-consumer material managements: recycling, biological treatments, incineration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valerio, F

    2010-11-01

    The environmental impacts of recycling, mechanical biological treatments (MBT) and waste-to-energy incineration, the main management strategies to respond to the increasing production of post-consumer materials are reviewed and compared. Several studies carried out according to life-cycle assessment (LCA) confirm that the lowest environmental impact, on a global scale, is obtained by recycling and by biological treatments (composting and anaerobic fermentations) if compost is used in agriculture. The available air emission factors suggest that, on a local scale, mechanical biological treatments with energy recovery of biogas, may be intrinsically safer than waste-to-energy incinerators. Several studies confirm the capability of biological treatments to degrade many toxic xenobiotic contaminating urban wastes such as dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, an important property to be improved, for safe agricultural use of compost. Further LCA studies to compare the environmental impact of MBTs and of waste-to-energy incinerators are recommended.

  8. Equitable traffic assignment with environmental cost functions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Benedek, C.M. [Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta (Canada). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Rilett, L.R. [Texas A and M Univ., College Station, TX (United States). Dept. of Civil Engineering

    1998-01-01

    In the past 10 years increased importance has been placed on public participation and environmental concerns in transportation system decision-making. While there are numerous societal objectives to consider when planning and operating a transportation system, it is not clear whether the optimal strategy with respect to one objective is also the optimal strategy with respect to the other objectives. This paper examines how new objectives and environmental considerations can be modeled within the traditional, macroscopic traffic assignment methodology. In addition, a new methodology for modeling the assignment of vehicles in realistic networks is developed based on equitable, rather than user-equilibrium or system-optimal, principles. The basic premise is that with the advent of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) the operation of the transportation system based on the objectives of the general public, rather than the traveling public and system operators, is feasible. A methodology for modeling these situations is required. All of the approaches discussed here were tested on a calibrated network from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

  9. Colorimetric detection of biological hydrogen sulfide using fluorosurfactant functionalized gold nanorods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Xuan; Zhou, Wenjuan; Yuan, Zhiqin; Lu, Chao

    2015-11-07

    As a well-known environmental pollutant but also an important gaseous transmitter, the specific detection of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is significant in biological systems. In this study, fluorosurfactant functionalized gold nanorods (FSN-AuNRs) have been proposed to act as selective colorimetric nanoprobes for H2S. With the combination of strong gold-S interactions and small FSN bilayer interstices, FSN-AuNRs demonstrate favorable selectivity and sensitivity toward H2S over other anions and small biological molecules. The practical application of the present method in biological H2S detection was validated with human and mouse serum samples. Moreover, the proposed nanoprobe can also be used for evaluating the activity of H2S synthetase.

  10. SU-E-T-54: Benefits of Biological Cost Functions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Demirag, N [Elekta CMS GmbH, Freiburg Im Breisgau, baden wurttemberg (Germany)

    2014-06-01

    Purpose: To verify the benefits of the biological cost functions. Methods: TG166 patients were used for the test case scenarios. Patients were planned using Monaco V5.0 (CMS/Elekta, St.Louis, MO) Monaco has 3 biological and 8 physical CFs. In this study the plans were optimized using 3 different scenarios. 1- Biological CFs only 2-Physical CFs only 3- Combination of Physical and Biological CFsMonaco has 3 biological CFs. Target EUD used for the targets, derived from the poisson cell kill model, has an α value that controls the cold spots inside the target. α values used in the optimization were 0.5 and 0.8. if cold spots needs to be penalized α value increased. Serial CF: it's called serial to mimic the behaviour of the serial organs, if a high k value like 12 or 14 is used it controls the maximum dose. Serial CF has a k parameter that is used to shape the whole dvh curve. K value ranges between 1–20. k:1 is used to control the mean dose, lower k value controls the mean dose, higher k value controls the higher dose, using 2 serial CFs with different k values controls the whole DVH. Paralel CF controls the percentage of the volume that tolerates higher doses than the reference dose to mimic the behaviour of the paralel organs. Results: It was possible to achive clinically accepted plans in all 3 scenarios. The benefit of the biological cost functions were to control the mean dose for target and OAR, to shape the DVH curve using one EUD value and one k value simplifies the optimization process. Using the biological CFs alone, it was hard to control the dose at a point. Conclusion: Biological CFs in Monaco doesn't require the ntcp/tcp values from the labs and useful to shape the whole dvh curve. I work as an applications support specialist for Elekta and I am a Ph.D. Student in Istanbul University for radiation therapy physics.

  11. Biological Monitoring Prospects in Occupational and Environmental Medicine

    CERN Document Server

    Angerer, Jürgen

    2003-01-01

    At the invitation of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), a round-table discussion was held on 9 and 10 March 2000, dealing with future possibilities for biomonitoring in occupational and environmental medicine. Biomonitoring has reached a high standard in Germany over the past 30 years, not least due to the fact that the results of the Senate commission on materials hazardous to health at the workplace have been directly implemented as part of the jurisdiction relating to occupational safety. This book combines the expertise gathered from various areas within toxicology, occupational me

  12. OXPHOS-Dependent Cells Identify Environmental Disruptors of Mitochondrial Function

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with numerous chronic diseases including metabolic syndrome. Environmental chemicals can impair mitochondrial function through numerous mechanisms such as membrane disruption, complex inhibition and electron transport chain uncoupling. Curr...

  13. Biological framework for soil aggregation: Implications for ecological functions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ghezzehei, Teamrat; Or, Dani

    2016-04-01

    Soil aggregation is heuristically understood as agglomeration of primary particles bound together by biotic and abiotic cementing agents. The organization of aggregates is believed to be hierarchical in nature; whereby primary particles bond together to form secondary particles and subsequently merge to form larger aggregates. Soil aggregates are not permanent structures, they continuously change in response to internal and external forces and other drivers, including moisture, capillary pressure, temperature, biological activity, and human disturbances. Soil aggregation processes and the resulting functionality span multiple spatial and temporal scales. The intertwined biological and physical nature of soil aggregation, and the time scales involved precluded a universally applicable and quantifiable framework for characterizing the nature and function of soil aggregation. We introduce a biophysical framework of soil aggregation that considers the various modes and factors of the genesis, maturation and degradation of soil aggregates including wetting/drying cycles, soil mechanical processes, biological activity and the nature of primary soil particles. The framework attempts to disentangle mechanical (compaction and soil fragmentation) from in-situ biophysical aggregation and provides a consistent description of aggregate size, hierarchical organization, and life time. It also enables quantitative description of biotic and abiotic functions of soil aggregates including diffusion and storage of mass and energy as well as role of aggregates as hot spots of nutrient accumulation, biodiversity, and biogeochemical cycles.

  14. Understanding the biological and environmental implications of nanomaterials

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Sijie

    The last two decades have witnessed the discovery, development, and large-scale manufacturing of novel nanomaterials. While nanomaterials bring in exciting and extraordinary properties in all areas of materials, electronics, mechanics, and medicine, they also could generate potential adverse effects in biological systems and in the environment. The currently limited application of nanomaterials in biological and ecological systems results from the insufficient and often controversial data on describing the complex behaviors of nanomaterials in living systems. The purpose of this dissertation intends to fill such a knowledge void with methodologies from the disciplines of biophysics, biology, and materials science and engineering. Chapter 1 of this dissertation provides a comprehensive review on the structures and properties of carbon nanomaterials (CBNMs), metal oxides, and quantum dots (QDs). This chapter also details the state-of-the-art on the biological applications, ecological applications, and toxicity of nanomaterials. With Chapter 1 serving as a background, Chapters 2-5 present my PhD research, an inquiry on the fate of nanomaterials in biological and ecological systems, on the whole organism and cellular levels. Specifically, CBNMs are introduced to rice plant seedlings and the uptake, translocation and generational transfer of fullerene C70 in the plant compartments are imaged and characterized. The interactions between CBNMs and rice plants on the whole organism level are initiated by the binding between CBNMs and natural organic matter (NOM), driven by the transpiration of water from the roots to the leaves of the plants and mediated by both the physiochemical properties of the CBNMs and plant physiology. In Chapter 3, semiconducting nanocrystals quantum dots (QDs) are introduced to green algae Chlamydomonas to probe the interactions of nanomaterials with ecological systems on the cellular level. The adsorption of QDs onto the algal cell wall is

  15. Deducing protein function by forensic integrative cell biology.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    William C Earnshaw

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Our ability to sequence genomes has provided us with near-complete lists of the proteins that compose cells, tissues, and organisms, but this is only the beginning of the process to discover the functions of cellular components. In the future, it's going to be crucial to develop computational analyses that can predict the biological functions of uncharacterised proteins. At the same time, we must not forget those fundamental experimental skills needed to confirm the predictions or send the analysts back to the drawing board to devise new ones.

  16. Deducing protein function by forensic integrative cell biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Earnshaw, William C

    2013-12-01

    Our ability to sequence genomes has provided us with near-complete lists of the proteins that compose cells, tissues, and organisms, but this is only the beginning of the process to discover the functions of cellular components. In the future, it's going to be crucial to develop computational analyses that can predict the biological functions of uncharacterised proteins. At the same time, we must not forget those fundamental experimental skills needed to confirm the predictions or send the analysts back to the drawing board to devise new ones.

  17. Biological properties of extracellular vesicles and their physiological functions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    María Yáñez-Mó

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available In the past decade, extracellular vesicles (EVs have been recognized as potent vehicles of intercellular communication, both in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. This is due to their capacity to transfer proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, thereby influencing various physiological and pathological functions of both recipient and parent cells. While intensive investigation has targeted the role of EVs in different pathological processes, for example, in cancer and autoimmune diseases, the EV-mediated maintenance of homeostasis and the regulation of physiological functions have remained less explored. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of the current understanding of the physiological roles of EVs, which has been written by crowd-sourcing, drawing on the unique EV expertise of academia-based scientists, clinicians and industry based in 27 European countries, the United States and Australia. This review is intended to be of relevance to both researchers already working on EV biology and to newcomers who will encounter this universal cell biological system. Therefore, here we address the molecular contents and functions of EVs in various tissues and body fluids from cell systems to organs. We also review the physiological mechanisms of EVs in bacteria, lower eukaryotes and plants to highlight the functional uniformity of this emerging communication system.

  18. Biological properties of extracellular vesicles and their physiological functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yáñez-Mó, María; Siljander, Pia R.-M.; Andreu, Zoraida; Zavec, Apolonija Bedina; Borràs, Francesc E.; Buzas, Edit I.; Buzas, Krisztina; Casal, Enriqueta; Cappello, Francesco; Carvalho, Joana; Colás, Eva; Silva, Anabela Cordeiro-da; Fais, Stefano; Falcon-Perez, Juan M.; Ghobrial, Irene M.; Giebel, Bernd; Gimona, Mario; Graner, Michael; Gursel, Ihsan; Gursel, Mayda; Heegaard, Niels H. H.; Hendrix, An; Kierulf, Peter; Kokubun, Katsutoshi; Kosanovic, Maja; Kralj-Iglic, Veronika; Krämer-Albers, Eva-Maria; Laitinen, Saara; Lässer, Cecilia; Lener, Thomas; Ligeti, Erzsébet; Linē, Aija; Lipps, Georg; Llorente, Alicia; Lötvall, Jan; Manček-Keber, Mateja; Marcilla, Antonio; Mittelbrunn, Maria; Nazarenko, Irina; Hoen, Esther N.M. Nolte-‘t; Nyman, Tuula A.; O'Driscoll, Lorraine; Olivan, Mireia; Oliveira, Carla; Pállinger, Éva; del Portillo, Hernando A.; Reventós, Jaume; Rigau, Marina; Rohde, Eva; Sammar, Marei; Sánchez-Madrid, Francisco; Santarém, N.; Schallmoser, Katharina; Ostenfeld, Marie Stampe; Stoorvogel, Willem; Stukelj, Roman; Van der Grein, Susanne G.; Vasconcelos, M. Helena; Wauben, Marca H. M.; De Wever, Olivier

    2015-01-01

    In the past decade, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been recognized as potent vehicles of intercellular communication, both in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. This is due to their capacity to transfer proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, thereby influencing various physiological and pathological functions of both recipient and parent cells. While intensive investigation has targeted the role of EVs in different pathological processes, for example, in cancer and autoimmune diseases, the EV-mediated maintenance of homeostasis and the regulation of physiological functions have remained less explored. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of the current understanding of the physiological roles of EVs, which has been written by crowd-sourcing, drawing on the unique EV expertise of academia-based scientists, clinicians and industry based in 27 European countries, the United States and Australia. This review is intended to be of relevance to both researchers already working on EV biology and to newcomers who will encounter this universal cell biological system. Therefore, here we address the molecular contents and functions of EVs in various tissues and body fluids from cell systems to organs. We also review the physiological mechanisms of EVs in bacteria, lower eukaryotes and plants to highlight the functional uniformity of this emerging communication system. PMID:25979354

  19. Mnk kinase pathway: Cellular functions and biological outcomes

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Sonali; Joshi; Leonidas; C; Platanias

    2014-01-01

    The mitogen-activated protein kinase(MAPK) interacting protein kinases 1 and 2(Mnk1 and Mnk2) play important roles in controlling signals involved in mRNA translation. In addition to the MAPKs(p38 or Erk), multiple studies suggest that the Mnk kinases can be regulated by other known kinases such as Pak2 and/or other unidentified kinases by phosphorylation of residues distinct from the sites phosphorylated by the MAPKs. Several studies have established multiple Mnk protein targets, including PSF, heterogenous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1, Sprouty 2 and have lead to the identification of distinct biological functions and substrate specificity for the Mnk kinases. In this review we discuss the pathways regulating the Mnk kinases, their known substrates as well as the functional consequences of engagement of pathways controlled by Mnk kinases. These kinases play an important role in mRNA translation via their regulation of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E(eIF4E) and their functions have important implications in tumor biology as well as the regulation of drug resistance to anti-oncogenic therapies. Other studies have identified a role for the Mnk kinases in cap-independent mRNA translation, suggesting that the Mnk kinases can exert important functional effects independently of the phosphorylation of eIF4 E. The role of Mnk kinases in inflammation and inflammationinduced malignancies is also discussed.

  20. Probing the Xenopus laevis inner ear transcriptome for biological function

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Powers TuShun R

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The senses of hearing and balance depend upon mechanoreception, a process that originates in the inner ear and shares features across species. Amphibians have been widely used for physiological studies of mechanotransduction by sensory hair cells. In contrast, much less is known of the genetic basis of auditory and vestibular function in this class of animals. Among amphibians, the genus Xenopus is a well-characterized genetic and developmental model that offers unique opportunities for inner ear research because of the amphibian capacity for tissue and organ regeneration. For these reasons, we implemented a functional genomics approach as a means to undertake a large-scale analysis of the Xenopus laevis inner ear transcriptome through microarray analysis. Results Microarray analysis uncovered genes within the X. laevis inner ear transcriptome associated with inner ear function and impairment in other organisms, thereby supporting the inclusion of Xenopus in cross-species genetic studies of the inner ear. The use of gene categories (inner ear tissue; deafness; ion channels; ion transporters; transcription factors facilitated the assignment of functional significance to probe set identifiers. We enhanced the biological relevance of our microarray data by using a variety of curation approaches to increase the annotation of the Affymetrix GeneChip® Xenopus laevis Genome array. In addition, annotation analysis revealed the prevalence of inner ear transcripts represented by probe set identifiers that lack functional characterization. Conclusions We identified an abundance of targets for genetic analysis of auditory and vestibular function. The orthologues to human genes with known inner ear function and the highly expressed transcripts that lack annotation are particularly interesting candidates for future analyses. We used informatics approaches to impart biologically relevant information to the Xenopus inner ear transcriptome

  1. Chemical and biological flocculation process to treat municipal sewage and analysis of biological function

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    XIA Si-qing; YANG Dian-hai; XU Bin; ZHAO Jian-fu

    2005-01-01

    The pilot-scale experimental apparatus and the procedure of the chemical and biological flocculation process to verify the feasibility in treating Shanghai municipal sewage were introduced in this paper. In addition, the biological function of the process was discussed. The results of optimal running showed that in the reaction tank, the concentration of mixed liquor suspended solid(MLSS) was2 g/L, hydraulic retention time(HRT) was 35 min, dosage of liquid polyaluminium chloride(PAC) was 60 mg/L, and the concentration of polyacrylamide(PAM) was 0.5 mg/L. The effluent average concentrations of CODcr, TP, SS and BOD5 were 50 mg/L, 0.62 mg/L, 18mg/L, and 17 mg/L, respectively. These were better than the designed demand. In addition, the existence of biological degradation in this system was proven by several methods. The removal efficiencies of the chemical and biological flocculation process were 20% higher than that of the chemical flocculation process above at the same coagulant dosage. The treatment process under different situations was evaluated on a pilot-scale experiment, and the results provided magnificent parameters and optimal condition for future operation of the plant.

  2. Click Chemistry Mediated Functionalization of Vertical Nanowires for Biological Applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vutti, Surendra; Schoffelen, Sanne; Bolinsson, Jessica; Buch-Månson, Nina; Bovet, Nicolas; Nygård, Jesper; Martinez, Karen L; Meldal, Morten

    2016-01-11

    Semiconductor nanowires (NWs) are gaining significant importance in various biological applications, such as biosensing and drug delivery. Efficient and controlled immobilization of biomolecules on the NW surface is crucial for many of these applications. Here, we present for the first time the use of the Cu(I) -catalyzed alkyne-azide cycloaddition and its strain-promoted variant for the covalent functionalization of vertical NWs with peptides and proteins. The potential of the approach was demonstrated in two complementary applications of measuring enzyme activity and protein binding, which is of general interest for biological studies. The attachment of a peptide substrate provided NW arrays for the detection of protease activity. In addition, green fluorescent protein was immobilized in a site-specific manner and recognized by antibody binding to demonstrate the proof-of-concept for the use of covalently modified NWs for diagnostic purposes using minute amounts of material.

  3. Modelling of environmental impacts from biological treatment of organic municipal waste in EASEWASTE

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Boldrin, Alessio; Neidel, Trine Lund; Damgaard, Anders

    2011-01-01

    The waste-LCA model EASEWASTE quantifies potential environmental effects from biological treatment of organic waste, based on mass and energy flows, emissions to air, water, soil and groundwater as well as effects from upstream and downstream processes. Default technologies for composting......, anaerobic digestion and combinations hereof are available in the model, but the user can change all key parameters in the biological treatment module so that specific local plants and processes can be modelled. EASEWASTE is one of the newest waste LCA models and the biological treatment module was built...... the environmental performance of alternative biological treatment technologies in relation to their mass flows, energy consumption, gaseous emissions, biogas recovery and compost/digestate utilization....

  4. IQGAP1 and its binding proteins control diverse biological functions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, Colin D; Erdemir, Huseyin H; Sacks, David B

    2012-04-01

    IQGAP proteins have been identified in a wide spectrum of organisms, ranging from yeast to humans. The most extensively studied family member is the ubiquitously expressed scaffold protein IQGAP1, which participates in multiple essential aspects of mammalian biology. IQGAP1 mediates these effects by binding to and regulating the function of numerous interacting proteins. Over ninety proteins have been reported to associate with IQGAP1, either directly or as part of a larger complex. In this review, we summarise those IQGAP1 binding partners that have been identified in the last five years. The molecular mechanisms by which these interactions contribute to the functions of receptors and their signalling cascades, small GTPase function, cytoskeletal dynamics, neuronal regulation and intracellular trafficking are evaluated. The evidence that has accumulated recently validates the role of IQGAP1 as a scaffold protein and expands the repertoire of cellular activities in which it participates.

  5. Biomarkers of Aging: From Function to Molecular Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wagner, Karl-Heinz; Cameron-Smith, David; Wessner, Barbara; Franzke, Bernhard

    2016-06-02

    Aging is a major risk factor for most chronic diseases and functional impairments. Within a homogeneous age sample there is a considerable variation in the extent of disease and functional impairment risk, revealing a need for valid biomarkers to aid in characterizing the complex aging processes. The identification of biomarkers is further complicated by the diversity of biological living situations, lifestyle activities and medical treatments. Thus, there has been no identification of a single biomarker or gold standard tool that can monitor successful or healthy aging. Within this short review the current knowledge of putative biomarkers is presented, focusing on their application to the major physiological mechanisms affected by the aging process including physical capability, nutritional status, body composition, endocrine and immune function. This review emphasizes molecular and DNA-based biomarkers, as well as recent advances in other biomarkers such as microRNAs, bilirubin or advanced glycation end products.

  6. A vital legacy: Biological and environmental research in the atomic age

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vaughan, D. [ed.

    1997-09-01

    This booklet presents a summary of the five decades of biological and environmental research in the atomic age. It commemorates the contributions to science and society during these decades and concludes with a view to the years ahead. The Contents includes `Safety First: in the Shadow of a New Technology; A Healthy Citizenry: Gifts of the New Era; and Environmental Concerns: From Meteorology to Ecology`. The conclusion is titled `An Enduring Mandate: Looking to the Future`.

  7. RELEVANCE OF CROP BIOLOGY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RISK ASSESSMENT OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS IN AFRICA

    OpenAIRE

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge about the crop biology of economic crops in Africa is needed for regulators to accurately review dossiers and conduct comprehensive environmental risk assessments (ERA). This information allows regulators to decide whether biotech crops present a risk to biodiversity, since crossing between domesticated crops and their wild relatives could affect the adaptations of the wild species. The criteria that should be used in the evaluation of African crops for environmental risk assessmen...

  8. A Vital Legacy: Biological and Environmental Research in the Atomic Age

    Science.gov (United States)

    1997-09-01

    This booklet presents a summary of the five decades of biological and environmental research in the atomic age. It commemorates the contributions to science and society during these decades and concludes with a view to the years ahead. The Contents includes Safety First: in the Shadow of a New Technology; A Healthy Citizenry: Gifts of the New Era; and Environmental Concerns: From Meteorology to Ecology. The conclusion is titled An Enduring Mandate: Looking to the Future.

  9. Functionalized nanoporous silica for the removal of heavy metals from biological systems: adsorption and application.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yantasee, Wassana; Rutledge, Ryan D; Chouyyok, Wilaiwan; Sukwarotwat, Vichaya; Orr, Galya; Warner, Cynthia L; Warner, Marvin G; Fryxell, Glen E; Wiacek, Robert J; Timchalk, Charles; Addleman, R Shane

    2010-10-01

    Surface-functionalized nanoporous silica, often referred to as self-assembled monolayers on mesoporous supports (SAMMS), has previously demonstrated the ability to serve as very effective heavy metal sorbents in a range of aquatic and environmental systems, suggesting that they may be advantageously utilized for biomedical applications such as chelation therapy. Herein we evaluate surface chemistries for heavy metal capture from biological fluids, various facets of the materials' biocompatibility, and the suitability of these materials as potential therapeutics. Of the materials tested, thiol-functionalized SAMMS proved most capable of removing selected heavy metals from biological solutions (i.e., blood, urine, etc.) Consequentially, thiol-functionalized SAMMS was further analyzed to assess the material's performance under a number of different biologically relevant conditions (i.e., variable pH and ionic strength) to gauge any potentially negative effects resulting from interaction with the sorbent, such as cellular toxicity or the removal of essential minerals. Additionally, cellular uptake studies demonstrated no cell membrane permeation by the silica-based materials generally highlighting their ability to remain cellularly inert and thus nontoxic. The results show that organic ligand functionalized nanoporous silica could be a valuable material for a range of detoxification therapies and potentially other biomedical applications.

  10. An appraisal of biological responses and network of environmental interactions in non-mining and mining impacted coastal waters

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Fernandes, C.E.G.; Malik, A; Jineesh, V.K.; Fernandes, S.O.; Das, A; Pandey, S.S.; Kanolkar, G.; Sujith, P.P.; Velip, D.; Shaikh, S.; Helekar, S.; Gonsalves, M.J.B.D.; Nair, S.; LokaBharathi, P.A

    iron brought from the hinterlands. We hypothesize that there could be a shift in biological response along with changes in network of interactions between environmental and biological variables in these mining and non-mining impacted regions, lying 160...

  11. Functionalization of hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene with biologically active fluorescent molecule

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    R Murali Sankar; Subhadeep Saha; K Seeni Meera; Tushar Jana

    2009-10-01

    A biologically active molecule, 2-chloro-4,6-bis(dimethylamino)-1,3,5-triazine (CBDT), has been covalently attached at the terminal carbon atoms of the hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) backbone. The modification of HTPB backbone by CBDT molecule does not affect the unique physico-chemical properties such as fluidity, hydroxyl value and microstructure of the parent HTPB. The formation of hydrogen bonding between the terminal hydroxyl groups and the nitrogen atoms of triazine moiety is the driving force for the terminal attachment chemistry. The functionalized HTPB (HTPB–CBDT) shows a strong fluorescence emission at 385 nm.

  12. Functionalization of polydopamine coated magnetic nanoparticles with biological entities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mǎgeruşan, Lidia; Mrówczyński, Radosław; Turcu, Rodica

    2015-12-01

    New hybrid materials, obtained through introduction of cysteine, lysine and folic acid as biological entities into polydopamine-coated magnetite nanoparticles, are reported. The syntheses are straight forward and various methods were applied for structural and morphological characterization of the resulting nanoparticles. XPS proved a very powerful tool for surface chemical analysis and it evidences the functionalization of polydopamine coated magnetite nanoparticles. The superparamagnetic behavior and the high values of saturation magnetization recommend all products for further application where magnetism is important for targeting, separation, or heating by alternative magnetic fields.

  13. STAT6: its role in interleukin 4-mediated biological functions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takeda, K; Kishimoto, T; Akira, S

    1997-05-01

    Interleukin (IL) 4 is known to be a cytokine which plays a central role in the regulation of immune response. Studies on cytokine signal transduction have clarified the mechanism by which IL4 exerts its functions. Two cytoplasmic proteins, signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 6 and IL4-induced phosphotyrosine substrate/insulin receptor substrate 2 (4PS/IRS2), are activated in IL4 signal transduction. Recent studies from STAT6-deficient mice have revealed the essential role of STAT6 in IL4-mediated biological actions. In addition, STAT6 has also been demonstrated to be important for the functions mediated by IL13, which is related to IL4. IL4 and IL13 have been shown to induce the production of IgE, which is a major mediator in an allergic response. These findings indicate that STAT6 activation is involved in IL4- and IL13-mediated disorders such as allergy.

  14. Current studies on physiological functions and biological production of lactosucrose.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mu, Wanmeng; Chen, Qiuming; Wang, Xiao; Zhang, Tao; Jiang, Bo

    2013-08-01

    Lactosucrose (O-β-D-galactopyranosyl-(1,4)-O-α-D-glucopyranosyl-(1,2)-β-D-fructofuranoside) is a trisaccharide formed from lactose and sucrose by enzymatic transglycosylation. This rare trisaccharide is a kind of indigestible carbohydrate, has good prebiotic effect, and promotes intestinal mineral absorption. It has been used as a functional ingredient in a range of food products which are approved as foods for specified health uses in Japan. Using lactose and sucrose as substrates, lactosucrose can be produced through transfructosylation by β-fructofuranosidase from Arthrobacter sp. K-1 or a range of levansucrases, or through transgalactosylation by β-galactosidase from Bacillus circulans. This article presented a review of recent studies on the physiological functions of lactosucrose and the biological production from lactose and sucrose by different enzymes.

  15. Diffusion of innovations dynamics, biological growth and catenary function

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guseo, Renato

    2016-12-01

    The catenary function has a well-known role in determining the shape of chains and cables supported at their ends under the force of gravity. This enables design using a specific static equilibrium over space. Its reflected version, the catenary arch, allows the construction of bridges and arches exploiting the dual equilibrium property under uniform compression. In this paper, we emphasize a further connection with well-known aggregate biological growth models over time and the related diffusion of innovation key paradigms (e.g., logistic and Bass distributions over time) that determine self-sustaining evolutionary growth dynamics in naturalistic and socio-economic contexts. Moreover, we prove that the 'local entropy function', related to a logistic distribution, is a catenary and vice versa. This special invariance may be explained, at a deeper level, through the Verlinde's conjecture on the origin of gravity as an effect of the entropic force.

  16. Sucrose metabolism gene families and their biological functions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiang, Shu-Ye; Chi, Yun-Hua; Wang, Ji-Zhou; Zhou, Jun-Xia; Cheng, Yan-Song; Zhang, Bao-Lan; Ma, Ali; Vanitha, Jeevanandam; Ramachandran, Srinivasan

    2015-11-30

    Sucrose, as the main product of photosynthesis, plays crucial roles in plant development. Although studies on general metabolism pathway were well documented, less information is available on the genome-wide identification of these genes, their expansion and evolutionary history as well as their biological functions. We focused on four sucrose metabolism related gene families including sucrose synthase, sucrose phosphate synthase, sucrose phosphate phosphatase and UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase. These gene families exhibited different expansion and evolutionary history as their host genomes experienced differentiated rates of the whole genome duplication, tandem and segmental duplication, or mobile element mediated gene gain and loss. They were evolutionarily conserved under purifying selection among species and expression divergence played important roles for gene survival after expansion. However, we have detected recent positive selection during intra-species divergence. Overexpression of 15 sorghum genes in Arabidopsis revealed their roles in biomass accumulation, flowering time control, seed germination and response to high salinity and sugar stresses. Our studies uncovered the molecular mechanisms of gene expansion and evolution and also provided new insight into the role of positive selection in intra-species divergence. Overexpression data revealed novel biological functions of these genes in flowering time control and seed germination under normal and stress conditions.

  17. Event-based text mining for biology and functional genomics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ananiadou, Sophia; Thompson, Paul; Nawaz, Raheel; McNaught, John; Kell, Douglas B

    2015-05-01

    The assessment of genome function requires a mapping between genome-derived entities and biochemical reactions, and the biomedical literature represents a rich source of information about reactions between biological components. However, the increasingly rapid growth in the volume of literature provides both a challenge and an opportunity for researchers to isolate information about reactions of interest in a timely and efficient manner. In response, recent text mining research in the biology domain has been largely focused on the identification and extraction of 'events', i.e. categorised, structured representations of relationships between biochemical entities, from the literature. Functional genomics analyses necessarily encompass events as so defined. Automatic event extraction systems facilitate the development of sophisticated semantic search applications, allowing researchers to formulate structured queries over extracted events, so as to specify the exact types of reactions to be retrieved. This article provides an overview of recent research into event extraction. We cover annotated corpora on which systems are trained, systems that achieve state-of-the-art performance and details of the community shared tasks that have been instrumental in increasing the quality, coverage and scalability of recent systems. Finally, several concrete applications of event extraction are covered, together with emerging directions of research.

  18. What Disengages Doctoral Students in the Biological and Environmental Sciences from Their Doctoral Studies?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Virtanen, V.; Taina, J.; Pyhältö, K.

    2017-01-01

    This study explored the causes of student disengagement from their doctoral studies in the biological and environmental sciences. The data came from interviews of 40 doctoral students (male = 15, female = 25) and underwent qualitative analysis for content. Our results showed that doctoral studies provide multiple contexts for disengagement, such…

  19. Functionalized Nanoporous Silica for Removal of Heavy Metals from Biological Systems; Adsorption and Application

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yantasee, Wassana; Rutledge, Ryan D.; Chouyyok, Wilaiwan; Sukwarotwat, Vichaya; Orr, Galya; Warner, Cynthia L.; Warner, Marvin G.; Fryxell, Glen E.; Wiacek, Robert J.; Timchalk, Charles; Addleman, Raymond S.

    2010-10-01

    Functionalized nanoporous silica, often referred to as self-assembled monolayers on mesoporous supports (SAMMS) have previously demonstrated the ability to serve as very effective heavy metal sorbents in a range of aquatic and environmental systems suggesting they may be advantageously utilized for biomedical applications such as chelation therapy. Herein we evaluate surface chemistries for heavy metal capture from biological fluids, various facets of the materials biocompatibility and the suitability of these materials as potential therapeutics. Of the materials tested, thiol-functionalized SAMMS proved most capable of removing selected heavy metals from biological solutions (i.e. blood, urine, etc.) As a result, thiol SAMMS was further analyzed to assess the material’s performance under a number of different biologically relevant conditions (i.e. variable pH and ionic strength) as well to gauge any potentially negative cellular effects resulting from interaction with the sorbent, such as cellular toxicity or possible chelation of essential minerals. Additionally, cellular uptake studies demonstrated no cell membrane permeation by the silica-based materials generally highlighting their ability to remain cellularly inert and thus non-toxic. As a result, it has been determined that organic ligand-functionalized nanoporous silica materials could be a valuable material for detoxification therapeutics and potentially other biomedical applications as needed.

  20. DMPD: Type I interferon receptors: biochemistry and biological functions. [Dynamic Macrophage Pathway CSML Database

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available 17502368 Type I interferon receptors: biochemistry and biological functions. de Wee...(.html) (.csml) Show Type I interferon receptors: biochemistry and biological functions. PubmedID 17502368 T...itle Type I interferon receptors: biochemistry and biological functions. Authors

  1. Discoveries of rhythms in human biological functions: a historical review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lemmer, Björn

    2009-08-01

    Though there are very early and ancient observations on the daily variation in physiological and pathophysiological functions (e.g., bronchial asthma), more detailed and scientific reports were not published until the beginning of the 17th century. The aim of this review is to bring those reports to the attention of researchers of chronobiology and chronopharmacology. The ancient books and their contents, which constitute the basis for this review, are part of the personal library collection of the author; numerous observations and reports on biologic rhythms in man are presented here for the first time. The intent of this review is to demonstrate that the fields of chronobiology and chronopharmacology are not only a new and modern branch of science, but that it stands on the shoulders of wonderful and insightful observations and explanations made by our scientific forefathers. It is the hope that the reader will enjoy the richness of the ancient reports that contribute to our present knowledge achieved through astute early biologic rhythm research.

  2. Environmental Hexachlorobenzene exposure and human male reproductive function

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Specht, Ina Olmer; Bonde, Jens Peter Ellekilde; Toft, Gunnar

    2015-01-01

    Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) is a persistent environmental fungicide that may disrupt androgen regulation. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between HCB levels and biomarkers of male reproductive function. 589 Spouses of pregnant women from Greenland, Poland and Ukraine were enrolled...

  3. Linking biological soil crust diversity to ecological functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glaser, Karin; Borchhardt, Nadine; Schulz, Karoline; Mikhailyuk, Tatiana; Baumann, Karen; Leinweber, Peter; Ulf, Karsten

    2016-04-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are an association of different microorganisms and soil particles in the top millimeters of the soil. They are formed by algae, cyanobacteria, microfungi, bacteria, bryophytes and lichens in various compositions. Our aim was to determine and compare the biodiversity of all occurring organisms in biogeographically different habitats, ranging from polar (both Arctic and Antarctic), subpolar (Scandinavia), temperate (Germany) to dry regions (Chile). The combination of microscopy and molecular techniques (next-generation sequencing) revealed highly diverse crust communities, whose composition clustered by region and correlates with habitat characteristics such as water content. The BSC biodiversity was then linked to the ecological function of the crusts. The functional role of the BSCs in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous is evaluated using an array of state of the art soil chemistry methods including Py-FIMS (pyrolysis field ionization mass spectrometry) and XANES (x-ray absorbance near edge structure). Total P as well as P fractions were quantified in all BSCs, adjacent soil underneath and comparable nearby soil of BSC-free areas revealing a remarkable accumulation of total phosphorous and a distinct pattern of P fractions in the crust. Further, we observed an indication of a different P-speciation composition in the crust compared with BSC-free soil. The data allow answering the question whether BSCs act as sink or source for these compounds, and how biodiversity controls the biogeochemical function of BSCs.

  4. Genome-wide survey for biologically functional pseudogenes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Orjan Svensson

    2006-05-01

    Full Text Available According to current estimates there exist about 20,000 pseudogenes in a mammalian genome. The vast majority of these are disabled and nonfunctional copies of protein-coding genes which, therefore, evolve neutrally. Recent findings that a Makorin1 pseudogene, residing on mouse Chromosome 5, is, indeed, in vivo vital and also evolutionarily preserved, encouraged us to conduct a genome-wide survey for other functional pseudogenes in human, mouse, and chimpanzee. We identify to our knowledge the first examples of conserved pseudogenes common to human and mouse, originating from one duplication predating the human-mouse species split and having evolved as pseudogenes since the species split. Functionality is one possible way to explain the apparently contradictory properties of such pseudogene pairs, i.e., high conservation and ancient origin. The hypothesis of functionality is tested by comparing expression evidence and synteny of the candidates with proper test sets. The tests suggest potential biological function. Our candidate set includes a small set of long-lived pseudogenes whose unknown potential function is retained since before the human-mouse species split, and also a larger group of primate-specific ones found from human-chimpanzee searches. Two processed sequences are notable, their conservation since the human-mouse split being as high as most protein-coding genes; one is derived from the protein Ataxin 7-like 3 (ATX7NL3, and one from the Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 protein (ATX1. Our approach is comparative and can be applied to any pair of species. It is implemented by a semi-automated pipeline based on cross-species BLAST comparisons and maximum-likelihood phylogeny estimations. To separate pseudogenes from protein-coding genes, we use standard methods, utilizing in-frame disablements, as well as a probabilistic filter based on Ka/Ks ratios.

  5. Twenty years of protein interaction studies for biological function deciphering.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Legrain, Pierre; Rain, Jean-Christophe

    2014-07-31

    Intensive methodological developments and technology innovation have been devoted to protein-protein interaction studies over 20years. Genetic indirect assays and sophisticated large scale biochemical analyses have jointly contributed to the elucidation of protein-protein interactions, still with a lot of drawbacks despite heavy investment in human resources and technologies. With the most recent developments in mass spectrometry and computational tools for studying protein content of complex samples, the initial goal of deciphering molecular bases of biological functions is now within reach. Here, we described the various steps of this process and gave examples of key milestones in this scientific story line. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: 20years of Proteomics in memory of Viatliano Pallini. Guest Editors: Luca Bini, Juan J. Calvete, Natacha Turck, Denis Hochstrasser and Jean-Charles Sanchez.

  6. Structure, Function, and Biology of the Enterococcus faecalis Cytolysin

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daria Van Tyne

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Enterococcus faecalis is a Gram-positive commensal member of the gut microbiota of a wide range of organisms. With the advent of antibiotic therapy, it has emerged as a multidrug resistant, hospital-acquired pathogen. Highly virulent strains of E. faecalis express a pore-forming exotoxin, called cytolysin, which lyses both bacterial and eukaryotic cells in response to quorum signals. Originally described in the 1930s, the cytolysin is a member of a large class of lanthionine-containing bacteriocins produced by Gram-positive bacteria. While the cytolysin shares some core features with other lantibiotics, it possesses unique characteristics as well. The current understanding of cytolysin biosynthesis, structure/function relationships, and contribution to the biology of E. faecalis are reviewed, and opportunities for using emerging technologies to advance this understanding are discussed.

  7. Biological Functional Relevance of Asymmetric Dimethylarginine (ADMA in Cardiovascular Disease

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sara Franceschelli

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available There is growing evidence that increased levels of the endogenous NO synthase inhibitor asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA may contribute to endothelial dysfunction. Studies in animal models as well as in humans have suggested that the increase in ADMA occurs at a time when vascular disease has not yet become clinically evident. ADMA competitively inhibits NO elaboration by displacing L-arginine from NO synthase. In a concentration-dependent manner, it thereby interferes not only with endothelium-dependent, NO-mediated vasodilation, but also with other biological functions exerted by NO. The upshot may be a pro-atherogenic state. Recently, several studies have investigated the effect of various therapeutical interventions on ADMA plasma concentrations.

  8. Environmental Functions Provided by Malaysian Local Government: User's Perception

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zaherawati Zakaria

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Problem statement: This research is about users’ perception of environmental functions provided by local government focused on Kedah Local authorities. Recently, the local authorities in Malaysia have been soundly criticized for poor management and they are subjected to daily barrage of questions and complaints directly in the press and tougher higher ups at the state and federal levels. Approach: Due to the problems arise, this research tried to identify the factors affecting the user’s perception of environmental functions provided by local government in Kedah and to examine the environmental functions provided by local government with level of users’ perception in Kedah. Hypotheses testing showed the research design and quantitative method through questionnaires provided to the respondents. Results: The samplings of this research are 300 respondents in Kulim Municipal Council, Sungai Petani Municipal Council and Alor Star City Council. In this study, simple random sampling was used where only 100 respondents in each local authority. This research used Descriptive Statistic and Pearson Correlation for data analysis purposes. Data were collected from 228 users in October 2007 until January 2008. In this research three hypotheses were testing. The hypotheses which include cleanliness, collection and disposal wastes, drainage and sewage were not rejects. As a result, a finding indicated that all independent variables have significance with user’s perception of environmental functions provided by local government in Alor Star City Council, Sungai Petani Municipal Council and Kulim Municipal Council. Overall of the research, all of the two objectives answer in this research which are to determine whether environmental functions provided by local government satisfies the users and to identify which extent users satisfies of environmental functions provided by local government. Conclusion/Recommendations: The recommendation was made to the local

  9. Principles of biological adaptation of microorganisms to the change of environmental factors in artificial ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Somova, L. A.; Pisman, T. I.

    Studying the matter transformations and biotic cycling in artificial ecosystems (AES), we need to know the principles of biological adaptation of active organisms to the change of environment. Microorganisms in AES of water purification are the most active transform and consumers of organic substances of wastes. Utilization of organic substances is directly connected with the energy fluxes used by AES. According to energy criteria, the energy fluxes used by biological system have trends to maximum values under stable conditions. Nonutilized substrate concentration decreases in result of biological adaptations. After sharp change of environmental factors, for example, after sharp increase of flow rate of organic substances, the biological system is not able to react quickly. The concentration of nonutilized substrate increases and the energy flux used by biological system decreases. The structure of microbial community also changes, having the decrease of biological diversity. Later, as a result of biological adaptation, the ecological and evolution processes bring to decreasing the concentration of nonutilized substrate and to energy fluxes increasing. To compare with natural ecosystems, AES allow to follow and to study these processes quickly and quantitatively.

  10. Functionalized nanoparticles for biological imaging and detection applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mei, Bing C.

    Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have gained tremendous attention in the last decade as a result of their size-dependent spectroscopic properties. These nanoparticles have been a subject of intense study to bridge the gap between macroscopic and atomic behavior, as well as to generate new materials for novel applications in therapeutics, biological sensing, light emitting devices, microelectronics, lasers, and solar cells. One of the most promising areas for the use of these nanoparticles is in biotechnology, where their size-dependent optical properties are harnessed for imaging and sensing applications. However, these nanoparticles, as synthesized, are often not stable in aqueous media and lack simple and reliable means of covalently linking to biomolecules. The focus of this work is to advance the progress of these nanomaterials for biotechnology by synthesizing them, characterizing their optical properties and rendering them water-soluble and functional while maintaining their coveted optical properties. QDs were synthesized by an organometallic chemical procedure that utilizes coordinating solvents to provide brightly luminescent nanoparticles. The optical interactions of these QDs were studied as a function of concentration to identify particle size-dependent optimal concentrations, where scattering and indirection excitation are minimized and the amount light observed per particle is maximized. Both QDs and AuNPs were rendered water-soluble and stable in a broad range of biologically relevant conditions by using a series of ligands composed of dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA) appended to poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether. By studying the stability of the surface modified AuNPs, we revealed some interesting information regarding the role of the surface ligand on the nanoparticle stability (i.e. solubility in high salt concentration, resistance to dithiothreitol competition and cyanide decomposition). Furthermore, the nanoparticles

  11. Long-Term Biological Monitoring of an Impaired Stream: Implications for Environmental Management [Special Issue

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Adams, Marshall [ORNL; Brandt, Craig C [ORNL; Christensen, Sigurd W [ORNL; Efroymson, Rebecca Ann [ORNL; Greeley Jr, Mark Stephen [ORNL; Ham, Kenneth [ORNL; Kszos, Lynn A [ORNL; Loar, James M [ORNL; McCracken, Kitty [ORNL; Morris, Gail Wright [ORNL; Peterson, Mark J [ORNL; Ryon, Michael G [ORNL; Smith, John G [ORNL; Southworth, George R [ORNL; Stewart, Arthur J [ORNL

    2011-01-01

    The long-term ecological recovery of an impaired stream in response to an industrial facility's pollution abatement actions and the implications of the biological monitoring effort to environmental management is the subject of this special issue of Environmental Management. This final article focuses on the synthesis of the biological monitoring program's components and methods, the efficacy of various biological monitoring techniques to environmental management, and the lessons learned from the program that might be applicable to the design and application of other programs. The focus of the 25-year program has been on East Fork Poplar Creek, an ecologically impaired stream in Oak Ridge, Tennessee with varied and complex stressors from a Department of Energy facility in its headwaters. Major components of the long-term program included testing and monitoring of invertebrate and fish toxicity, bioindicators of fish health, fish contaminant accumulation, and instream communities (including periphyton, benthic macroinvertebrate, and fish). Key parallel components of the program include water chemistry sampling and data management. Multiple lines of evidence suggested positive ecological responses during three major pollution abatement periods. Based on this case study and the related literature, effective environmental management of impaired streams starts with program design that is consistent across space and time, but also adaptable to changing conditions. The biological monitoring approaches used for the program provided a strong basis for assessments of recovery from remedial actions, and the likely causes of impairment. This case study provides a unique application of multidisciplinary and quantitative techniques to address multiple and complex regulatory and programmatic goals, environmental stressors, and remedial actions.

  12. Divergent environmental filters drive functional segregation of European peatlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robroek, B.; Jassey, V.; Bragazza, L.; Buttler, A.

    2015-12-01

    Plant communities are largely shaped by prevailing climatic conditions. As a result, environmental change is expected to alter the (functional) composition in plant communities. Because plants, and particularly the composition of plant species, play an important role in driving ecosystem processes, it is crucial that we improve our understanding on which environmental factors are most important in shaping plant communities. Here we presnt the results for a cross-Eurpean study, were we assessed the role of environmnetal conditions on plant community composition in 56 peatlands. We show that plant species richness and diversity are relatively stable across the main environmental gradients. Nevertheless, we observe large changes in the plant community structure. In other words, species turnover increased with increasing differences in environmental viariables. Such turnover in the community composition is largely associated to gradients temperature and precipitation, whilst nutrients -often reported as major driver for changes in peatland ecosystems- were only important at the end of the gradient of current deposition levels in Europe. Using a combination of species distribution modelling and species co-occurence patterns, we identified two spatially non-exclusive groups of plant species. Species within a distinct group responded similarly to bioclimatic variables and nutrient deposition levels, whilst between group response was mirrored. These results suggest that these two groups of plants are subjected to divergent environmental filters. Additionally, European peatlands aggregate into two distinct clusters based on plant functional trait composition. Each cluster was dominated by plant species from either one of the two co-response groups. Overall, our results demonstrate that environmental change results in a gradual replacement of plant species from two divergent groups, consequently affecting the functional trait composition in peatlands.

  13. Multifunctional surfaces with discrete functionalized regions for biological applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ghosh, Moniraj; Alves, Christina; Tong, Ziqiu; Tettey, Kwadwo; Konstantopoulos, Konstantinos; Stebe, Kathleen J

    2008-08-05

    In this paper we describe a method for creating multifunctional glass surfaces presenting discrete patches of different proteins on an inert PEG-functionalized background. Microcontact printing is used to stamp the substrate with octadecyltrichlorosilane to define the active regions. The substrate is then back-filled with PEG-silane {[[2-methoxypoly(ethyleneoxy)]propyl]trimethoxysilane} to define passive regions. A microfluidics device is subsequently affixed to the substrate to deliver proteins to the active regions, with as many channels as there are proteins to be patterned. Examples of trifunctional surfaces are given which present three terminating functional groups, i.e., protein 1, protein 2, and PEG. These surfaces should be broadly useful in biological studies, as patch size is well established to influence cell viability, growth, and differentiation. Three examples of cellular interactions with the surfaces are demonstrated, including the capture of cells from a single cell suspension, the selective sorting of cells from a mixed suspension, and the adhesion of cells to ligand micropatches at critical shear stresses. Within these examples, we demonstrate that the patterned immobilized proteins are active, as they retain their ability to interact with either antibodies in solution or receptors presented by cells. When appropriate (e.g., for E-selectin), proteins are patterned in their physiological orientations using a sandwich immobilization technique, which is readily accommodated within our method. The protein surface densities are highly reproducible in the patches, as supported by fluorescence intensity measurements. Potential applications include biosensors based on the interaction of cells or of marker proteins with protein patches, fundamental studies of cell adhesion as a function of patch size and shear stress, and studies of cell differentiation as a function of surface cues.

  14. Biosynthesis and biological functions of terpenoids in plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tholl, Dorothea

    2015-01-01

    Terpenoids (isoprenoids) represent the largest and most diverse class of chemicals among the myriad compounds produced by plants. Plants employ terpenoid metabolites for a variety of basic functions in growth and development but use the majority of terpenoids for more specialized chemical interactions and protection in the abiotic and biotic environment. Traditionally, plant-based terpenoids have been used by humans in the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries, and more recently have been exploited in the development of biofuel products. Genomic resources and emerging tools in synthetic biology facilitate the metabolic engineering of high-value terpenoid products in plants and microbes. Moreover, the ecological importance of terpenoids has gained increased attention to develop strategies for sustainable pest control and abiotic stress protection. Together, these efforts require a continuous growth in knowledge of the complex metabolic and molecular regulatory networks in terpenoid biosynthesis. This chapter gives an overview and highlights recent advances in our understanding of the organization, regulation, and diversification of core and specialized terpenoid metabolic pathways, and addresses the most important functions of volatile and nonvolatile terpenoid specialized metabolites in plants.

  15. RELEVANCE OF CROP BIOLOGY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RISK ASSESSMENT OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS IN AFRICA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Olalekan eAkinbo

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Knowledge about the crop biology of economic crops in Africa is needed for regulators to accurately review dossiers and conduct comprehensive environmental risk assessments (ERA. This information allows regulators to decide whether biotech crops present a risk to biodiversity, since crossing between domesticated crops and their wild relatives could affect the adaptations of the wild species. The criteria that should be used in the evaluation of African crops for environmental risk assessment (ERA include: growth habit, centre of origin, centre of genetic diversity, proximity of wild relatives, inter-fertility, mode of pollen dispersal, length of pollen viability, mating system, invasiveness, weediness, mode of propagation, mode of seed dispersal and length of seed dormancy. In this paper, we discuss the crops being genetic engineered in Africa and describe the crop biology of those with native relatives.

  16. Biological markers in animals can provide information on exposure and bioavailability of environmental contaminants

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shugart, L.R.; Adams, S.M.; Jimenez, B.D.; Talmage, S.S.; McCarthy, J.F.

    1987-01-01

    Epidemiologic studies of agents present in the environment seek to identify the extent to which they contribute to the causation of a specific toxic, clinical, or pathological endpoint. The multifactorial nature of disease etiology, long latency periods and the complexity of exposure, all contribute to the difficulty of establishing associations and casual relationships between a specific exposure and an adverse outcome. These barriers to studies of exposures and subsequent risk assessment cannot generally be changed. However, the appropriate use of biological markers in animal species living in a contaminated habitat can provide a measure of potential damage from that exposure and, in some instances, act as a surrogate for human environmental exposures. Quantitative predictivity of the effect of exposure to environmental pollutants is being approached by employing an appropriate array of biological end points. 34 refs., 1 fig., 6 tabs.

  17. Chemosensory function and response in idiopathic environmental intolerance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalton, P; Hummel, T

    2000-01-01

    This chapter reviews the current literature on the possible role of olfactory and trigeminal chemosensory function in idiopathic environmental intolerances (IEI). Two general points emerge from the review. First, studies of chemosensory function in IEI patients indicate that, despite their self-reported "heightened sensitivity" and enhanced responsivity to environmental odors, when compared to healthy controls they generally are found to be equally or even less sensitive to odors as measured by objective psychophysical and electrophysiological measures of olfactory function. These studies point towards alterations in the cognitive processing of olfactory information as the major characteristic of IEI. Second, studies of the role of sensitivity and bias in olfactory and trigeminal chemosensory functioning indicate that nonsensory factors (e.g., attention, bias, personality) can dramatically alter the self-reported impact of exposure to volatile chemicals. Together, these general points suggest a perspective on IEI that views many symptoms of the disorder to primarily reflect the influence of nonsensory, cognitive processes on responses to environmental odors.

  18. Principles of biological adaptation of organisms in artificial ecosystems to changes of environmental factors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Somova, L. A.; Pechurkin, N. S.; Pisman, T. I.

    Studying material transformations and biotic cycling in artificial ecosystems (AES), we need to know the principles of biological adaptation of active organisms to change in the environment. Microorganisms in AES for water purification are the most active transforming organisms and consumers of the organic substances contained in wastes. Utilization of organic substances is directly connected with the energy fluxes used by AES. According to energy criteria, the energy fluxes used by a biological system tend to reach maximum values under stable conditions. Unutilized substrate concentration decreases as a result of biological adaptations. After a dramatic change in environmental factors, for example, after a sharp increase in the flow rate of organic substances, the biological system is not able to react quickly. The concentration of unutilized substrate increases and the energy flux used by the biological system decreases. The structure of the microbial community also changes, with a decrease in biological diversity. The efficiency of energy use by simple terrestrial ecosystems depends on the energetic intensity and interactions between plants and rhizospheric microorganisms.

  19. Molecular Biology for the Environment: an EC-US hands-on Course in Environmental Biotechnology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Victor de Lorenzo; Juan Luis Ramos; Jerome Kukor; Gerben J. Zylstra

    2004-02-15

    One of the central goals of this activity is to bring together young scientists (at the late Ph.D. or early postdoctoral stages of their careers) in a forum that should result in future collaborations. The course is designed to give scientists hands-on experience in modern, up-to-date biotechnological methods at the interface between molecular biology and environmental biotechnology for the analysis of microorganisms and their activities with regard to the remediation of pollutants in the environment.

  20. Some environmental and biological factors influencing the activity of entomopathogenic Bacillus on mosquito larvae in Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. A. G. B Consoli

    1995-02-01

    Full Text Available The influence of environmental and biological factors on the efficacy of Bacillus thuringiensis serovar israelensis and B. sphaericus as mosquito larvicides are reviewed. The importance of strain dependence, cultivating media/methods, mosquito species/specificity, formulations and their relation to mosquito feeding habits, as well as temperature, solar exposure, larval density and concomitant presence of other aquatic organisms are addressed with reference to the present status of knowledge in Brazil.

  1. Relevance of Crop Biology for Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Crops in Africa

    OpenAIRE

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge about the crop biology of economic crops in Africa is needed for regulators to accurately review dossiers and conduct comprehensive environmental risk assessments (ERAs). This information allows regulators to decide whether biotech crops present a risk to biodiversity, since crossing between domesticated crops and their wild relatives could affect the adaptations of the wild species. The criteria that should be used in the evaluation of African crops for ERA include growth habit, ce...

  2. Surface-enhanced Raman scattering detection of silver nanoparticles in environmental and biological samples.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Huiyuan; Xing, Baoshan; Hamlet, Leigh C; Chica, Andrea; He, Lili

    2016-06-01

    Growing concerns over the potential release and threat of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to environmental and biological systems urge researchers to investigate their fate and behavior. However, current analytical techniques cannot meet the requirements for rapidly, sensitively and reliably probing AgNPs in complex matrices. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has shown great capability for rapid detection of AgNPs based on an indicator molecule that can bind on the AgNP surface. The objective of this study was to exploit SERS to detect AgNPs in environmental and biological samples through optimizing the Raman indicator for SERS. Seven indicator molecules were selected and determined to obtain their SERS signals at optimal concentrations. Among them, 1,2-di(4-pyridyl)ethylene (BPE), crystal violet and ferric dimethyl-dithiocarbamate (ferbam) produced the highest SERS intensities. Further experiments on binding competition between each two of the three candidates showed that ferbam had the highest AgNPs-binding ability. The underlying mechanism lies in the strong binding affinity of ferbam with AgNPs via multiple sulfur atoms. We further validated ferbam to be an effective indicator for SERS detection of as low as 0.1mg/L AgNPs in genuine surface water and 0.57 mg/L in spinach juice. Moreover, limited interference on SERS detection of AgNPs was found from environmentally relevant inorganic ions, organic matter, inorganic particles, as well as biologically relevant components, demonstrating the ferbam-assisted SERS is an effective and sensitive method to detect AgNPs in complex environmental and biological samples.

  3. Polymer biomaterial constructs for regenerative medicine and functional biological systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meng, Linghui

    The use of collagen as a biomaterial is currently undergoing a renaissance in the tissue engineering field. The excellent biocompatibility and safety due to its biological characteristics, such as biodegradability and weak antigenicity, make collagen a primary material resource in medical applications. Described herein is work towards the development of novel collagen-based matrices, with additional multi-functionality imparted through a novel in-situ crosslinking approach. The process of electrospinning has become a widely used technique for the creation of fibrous scaffolds for tissue engineering applications due to its ability to rapidly create structures composed of nano-scale polymer fibers closely resembling the architecture of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Collagen-PCL sheath-core bicomponent fibrous scaffolds were fabricated using a novel variation on traditional electrospinning, known as co-axial electrospinning. The results showed that the addition of a synthetic polymer core into collagen nanofibers remarkably increased the mechanical strength of collagen matrices spun from the benign solvent system. A novel single-step, in-situ collagen crosslink approach was developed in order to solve the problems dominating traditional collagen crosslinking methods, such as dimensional shrinking and loss of porous morphology, and to simplify the crosslinking procedure for electrospun collagen scaffolds. The excess amount of NHS present in the crosslinking mixture was found to delay the EDC/collagen coupling reaction in a controlled fashion. Fundamental investigations into the development and characterization of in-situ crosslinked collagen matrices such as fibrous scaffolds, gels and sponges, as well as their biomedical applications including cell culture substrates, wound dressings, drug delivery matrices and bone regeneration substitutes, were performed. The preliminary mice studies indicated that the in-situ crosslinked collagen matrices could be good candidates

  4. Proposal for a biological environmental monitoring approach to be used in libraries and archives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pasquarella, Cesira; Saccani, Elisa; Sansebastiano, Giuliano Ezio; Ugolotti, Manuela; Pasquariello, Giovanna; Albertini, Roberto

    2012-01-01

    In cultural-heritage-related indoor environments, biological particles represent a hazard not only for cultural property, but also for operators and visitors. Reliable environmental monitoring methods are essential for examining each situation and assessing the effectiveness of preventive measures. We propose an integrated approach to the study of biological pollution in indoor environments such as libraries and archives. This approach includes microbial air and surface sampling, as well as an investigation of allergens and pollens. Part of this monitoring plan has been applied at the Palatina Library in Parma, Italy. However, wider collections of data are needed to fully understand the phenomena related with biological contamination, define reliable contamination threshold values, and implement appropriate preventive measures.

  5. Grand Challenges for Biological and Environmental Research: A Long-Term Vision

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Arkin, A.; Baliga, N.; Braam, J.; Church, G.; Collins, J; ; Cottingham, R.; Ecker, J.; Gerstein, M.; Gilna, P.; Greenberg, J.; Handelsman, J.; Hubbard, S.; Joachimiak, A.; Liao, J.; Looger, L.; Meyerowitz, E.; Mjolness, E.; Petsko, G.; Sayler, G.; Simpson, M.; Stacey, G.; Sussman, M.; Tiedje, J.; Bader, D.; Cessi, P.; Collins, W.; Denning, S.; Dickinson, R.; Easterling, D.; Edmonds, J.; Feddema, J.; Field, C.; Fridlind, A.; Fung, I.; Held, I.; Jackson, R.; Janetos, A.; Large, W.; Leinen, M.; Leung, R.; Long, S.; Mace, G.; Masiello, C.; Meehl, G.; Ort, D.; Otto-Bliesner, B.; Penner, J.; Prather, M.; Randall, D.; Rasch, P.; Schneider, E.; Shugart, H.; Thornton, P.; Washington, W.; Wildung, R.; Wiscombe, W.; Zak, D.; Zhang, M.; Bielicki, J.; Buford, M.; Cleland, E.; Dale, V.; Duke, C.; Ehleringer, J.; Hecht, A.; Kammen, D.; Marland, G.; Pataki, D.; Riley, M. Robertson, P.; Hubbard, S.

    2010-12-01

    The interactions and feedbacks among plants, animals, microbes, humans, and the environment ultimately form the world in which we live. This world is now facing challenges from a growing and increasingly affluent human population whose numbers and lifestyles are driving ever greater energy demand and impacting climate. These and other contributing factors will make energy and climate sustainability extremely difficult to achieve over the 20-year time horizon that is the focus of this report. Despite these severe challenges, there is optimism that deeper understanding of our environment will enable us to mitigate detrimental effects, while also harnessing biological and climate systems to ensure a sustainable energy future. This effort is advanced by scientific inquiries in the fields of atmospheric chemistry and physics, biology, ecology, and subsurface science - all made possible by computing. The Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) within the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science has a long history of bringing together researchers from different disciplines to address critical national needs in determining the biological and environmental impacts of energy production and use, characterizing the interplay of climate and energy, and collaborating with other agencies and DOE programs to improve the world's most powerful climate models. BER science focuses on three distinct areas: (1) What are the roles of Earth system components (atmosphere, land, oceans, sea ice, and the biosphere) in determining climate? (2) How is the information stored in a genome translated into microbial, plant, and ecosystem processes that influence biofuel production, climate feedbacks, and the natural cycling of carbon? (3) What are the biological, geochemical, and physical forces that govern the behavior of Earth's subsurface environment? Ultimately, the goal of BER science is to support experimentation and modeling that can reliably predict the

  6. REE incorporation and behaviour in aquatic turtles as a consequence of environmental exposure and biological processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Censi, P.; Randazzo, L. A.; D'Angelo, S.; Cuttitta, A.; Saiano, F.

    2012-04-01

    Rare Earth Elements (REE) contents in Emys trinacris have been investigated for the first time in order to recognise effects of the chemistry of the environment on the composition of biological fluids. Representing radionuclides a potential health risk for living organisms in case of incorporation in tissues and being REE geochemical analogues of actinides in hydrosphere, this study was focused on investigation of REE behaviour in whole blood and esoskeleton of selected individuals of Emys trinacris. The choice of this species is related to its amphibian character that allowed us to evidence environmental stress in terms of composition of environmental freshwaters whose REE compositions were investigated and compared with blood samples. Moreover effects induced by different environmental conditions were investigated collecting samples in two sites characterised by absence of an anthropogenic signature (GT site) and subjected to strong anthropogenic pressure in terms of wastewater input (SIC site), respectively. In both sites REE contents in whole blood samples of studied turtles are quite similar even if in GT site the highest REE contents have been recognised. Shale-normalised REE patterns show very similar REE behaviour with light REE (LREE) enrichments with respect to heavier REE (HREE), mainly in samples from anthropized site. If REE concentrations in whole blood are normalised to the composition of environmental waters, calculated REE patterns show upward concave shapes centred on Gd that are more pronounced in samples from GT site because their patterns are more enriched in LREE. The last features observed in blood samples from GT can be related to larger REE contents occurred in environmental water from this site with respect to waters collected in SIC site, suggesting that a relationship occurs between REE contents in environmental and biological fluids. Since MREE depletions were observed in waters experiencing phosphate crystallization, observed REE

  7. Natural killer cells: Biology, functions and clinical relevance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vojvodić Svetlana

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Introduction. Natural Killer cells (NK cells represent the subset of peripheral lymphocytes that play critical role in the innate immune response to virus-infected and tumor transformed cells. Lysis of NK sensitive target cells could be mediated independently of antigen stimulation and without requirement of peptide presentation by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC molecules. NK cell activity and functions are controlled by a considerable number of cell surface receptors, which exist in both inhibitory and activating isoforms. There are several groups of NK cell surface receptors: 1 killer immunoglobulin like receptors-KIR, 2 C-type lectin receptors,3natural citotoxicity receptors-NCR and 4 Toll-like receptors-TLR. Functions of NK receptors. Defining the biology of NK cell surface receptors has contributed to the concept of the manner how NK cells selectively recognize and lyse tumor and virally infected cells while sparing normal cells. Further, identification of NK receptor ligands and their expression on the normal and transformed cells has led to the development of clinical approaches to manipulating receptor/ligand interactions that showed clinical benefit. NK cells are the first lymphocyte subset that reconstitute the peripheral blood following allogeneic HSCT and multiple roles for alloreactive donor NK cells have been demonstrated, in diminishing Graft vs. Host Disease (GvHD through selective killing recipient dendritic cells, prevention of graft rejection by killing recipient T cells and participation in Graft vs. Leukaemia (GvL effect through destruction of residual host tumor cells. Conclusion. Besides their role in HSCT, NK cell receptors have an important clinical relevance that reflects from the fact that they play a crucial role in the development of some diseases as well as in possibilities of managing all NK receptors through selective expansion and usage of NK cells in cancer immunotherapy.

  8. Function and regulation of lipid biology in Caenorhabditis elegans aging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicole Shangming Hou

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Rapidly expanding aging populations and a concomitant increase in the prevalence of age-related diseases are global health problems today. Over the past three decades, a large body of work has led to the identification of genes and regulatory networks that affect longevity and health span, often benefitting from the tremendous power of genetics in vertebrate and invertebrate model organisms. Interestingly, many of these factors appear linked to lipids, important molecules that participate in cellular signaling, energy metabolism, and structural compartmentalization. Despite the putative link between lipids and longevity, the role of lipids in aging remains poorly understood. Emerging data from the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans suggest that lipid composition may change during aging, as several pathways that influence aging also regulate lipid metabolism enzymes; moreover, some of these enzymes apparently play key roles in the pathways that affect the rate of aging. By understanding how lipid biology is regulated during C. elegans aging, and how it impacts molecular, cellular and organismal function, we may gain insight into novel ways to delay aging using genetic or pharmacological interventions. In the present review we discuss recent insights into the roles of lipids in C. elegans aging, including regulatory roles played by lipids themselves, the regulation of lipid metabolic enzymes, and the roles of lipid metabolism genes in the pathways that affect aging.

  9. Function and Regulation of Lipid Biology in Caenorhabditis elegans Aging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hou, Nicole Shangming; Taubert, Stefan

    2012-01-01

    Rapidly expanding aging populations and a concomitant increase in the prevalence of age-related diseases are global health problems today. Over the past three decades, a large body of work has led to the identification of genes and regulatory networks that affect longevity and health span, often benefiting from the tremendous power of genetics in vertebrate and invertebrate model organisms. Interestingly, many of these factors appear linked to lipids, important molecules that participate in cellular signaling, energy metabolism, and structural compartmentalization. Despite the putative link between lipids and longevity, the role of lipids in aging remains poorly understood. Emerging data from the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans suggest that lipid composition may change during aging, as several pathways that influence aging also regulate lipid metabolism enzymes; moreover, some of these enzymes apparently play key roles in the pathways that affect the rate of aging. By understanding how lipid biology is regulated during C. elegans aging, and how it impacts molecular, cellular, and organismal function, we may gain insight into novel ways to delay aging using genetic or pharmacological interventions. In the present review we discuss recent insights into the roles of lipids in C. elegans aging, including regulatory roles played by lipids themselves, the regulation of lipid metabolic enzymes, and the roles of lipid metabolism genes in the pathways that affect aging. PMID:22629250

  10. To The Problem of the Implementation of Biological Potential of Sturgeons under Environmental and Technological Pressure

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vladimir Grigoryevich SEMENOV,

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Currently, antibacterial, probiotic and other biologically active agents are introduced in the rations of fish for prevention of their infectious and parasitic diseases. A research work was conducted in conditions of YUTAS LLC fish farm company, to assess the effectiveness of administration of Akwa-Biot-Norm biogenic feed additive developed by the scientists of the Chuvash State Agricultural Academy, to Lena sturgeons. The research results showed that the application of Akwa-Biot-Norm biogenic feed additive to Lena sturgeons stimulated the growth and development of fish, contributed to a significant increase in hemoglobin concentration both due to the increasing amounts of red blood cells and due to the increase in their functional activity. In addition, a significant increase in the absolute number of white blood cells is observed, with expressed increase in the fraction of lymphocytes, and a decrease in the relative number of neutrophils, basophils and eosinophils within physiological standards. Immunological properties of blood of Lena sturgeons in the background of administration of the feed additive indicate a significant increase in the values of indicators of non-specific resistance of fish, such as serum bactericidal activity by 4.0%, phagocytic activity of neutrophils by 5.5% and the concentration of the proteolytic enzyme lysozyme by 142.9%. Thus, the research confirms the effectiveness of administration ofAkwa-Biot-Norm biogenic feed additive for stimulating growth and preventing morbidity of fish due to activation of non-specific resistance of the body under environmental and technological pressure.

  11. Surface-enhanced Raman scattering detection of silver nanoparticles in environmental and biological samples

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Guo, Huiyuan [Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003 (United States); Xing, Baoshan, E-mail: bx@umass.edu [Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003 (United States); Hamlet, Leigh C.; Chica, Andrea [Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003 (United States); He, Lili, E-mail: lilihe@foodsci.umass.edu [Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003 (United States)

    2016-06-01

    Growing concerns over the potential release and threat of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to environmental and biological systems urge researchers to investigate their fate and behavior. However, current analytical techniques cannot meet the requirements for rapidly, sensitively and reliably probing AgNPs in complex matrices. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has shown great capability for rapid detection of AgNPs based on an indicator molecule that can bind on the AgNP surface. The objective of this study was to exploit SERS to detect AgNPs in environmental and biological samples through optimizing the Raman indicator for SERS. Seven indicator molecules were selected and determined to obtain their SERS signals at optimal concentrations. Among them, 1,2-di(4-pyridyl)ethylene (BPE), crystal violet and ferric dimethyl-dithiocarbamate (ferbam) produced the highest SERS intensities. Further experiments on binding competition between each two of the three candidates showed that ferbam had the highest AgNPs-binding ability. The underlying mechanism lies in the strong binding affinity of ferbam with AgNPs via multiple sulfur atoms. We further validated ferbam to be an effective indicator for SERS detection of as low as 0.1 mg/L AgNPs in genuine surface water and 0.57 mg/L in spinach juice. Moreover, limited interference on SERS detection of AgNPs was found from environmentally relevant inorganic ions, organic matter, inorganic particles, as well as biologically relevant components, demonstrating the ferbam-assisted SERS is an effective and sensitive method to detect AgNPs in complex environmental and biological samples. - Graphical abstract: SERS signal intensity of ferbam indicates the concentration of AgNPs. - Highlights: • Ferbam was found to be the best indicator for SERS detection of AgNPs. • SERS was able to detect AgNPs in both environmental and biological samples. • Major components in the two matrices had limited effect on AgNP detection.

  12. Environmental effects on the Coma cluster luminosity function

    CERN Document Server

    Lobo, C; Durret, F; Gerbal, D; Lefèvre, O; Mazure, A; Slezak, E

    1996-01-01

    Using our catalogue of V_{26.5} isophotal magnitudes for 6756 galaxies in a region covering 60~\\times~25~arcmin^2 in the center of the Coma cluster, plus 267 galaxies in a region of 9.7~\\times~9.4~arcmin^2 around NGC~4839, we derive the luminosity function in the magnitude range 13.5\\leq V_{26.5} < 21.0 (corresponding to the absolute magnitude range -22.24 < M_{V26.5} \\leq -14.74). The luminosity function for this region is well fitted by the combination of a gaussian in its bright part and of a steep Schechter function (of index \\alpha =-1.8) in its faint part. Luminosity functions derived for individual regions surrounding the brightest galaxies show less steep slopes, strongly suggesting the existence of environmental effects. The implications of such effects and galaxy formation scenarios are discussed.

  13. Endogenous nitric oxide synthesis: biological functions and pathophysiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bredt, D S

    1999-12-01

    Modern molecular biology has revealed vast numbers of large and complex proteins and genes that regulate body function. By contrast, discoveries over the past ten years indicate that crucial features of neuronal communication, blood vessel modulation and immune response are mediated by a remarkably simple chemical, nitric oxide (NO). Endogenous NO is generated from arginine by a family of three distinct calmodulin- dependent NO synthase (NOS) enzymes. NOS from endothelial cells (eNOS) and neurons (nNOS) are both constitutively expressed enzymes, whose activities are stimulated by increases in intracellular calcium. Immune functions for NO are mediated by a calcium-independent inducible NOS (iNOS). Expression of iNOS protein requires transcriptional activation, which is mediated by specific combinations of cytokines. All three NOS use NADPH as an electron donor and employ five enzyme cofactors to catalyze a five-electron oxidation of arginine to NO with stoichiometric formation of citrulline. The highest levels of NO throughout the body are found in neurons, where NO functions as a unique messenger molecule. In the autonomic nervous system NO functions NO functions as a major non-adrenergic non-cholinergic (NANC) neurotransmitter. This NANC pathway plays a particularly important role in producing relaxation of smooth muscle in the cerebral circulation and the gastrointestinal, urogenital and respiratory tracts. Dysregulation of NOS activity in autonomic nerves plays a major role in diverse pathophysiological conditions including migraine headache, hypertrophic pyloric stenosis and male impotence. In the brain, NO functions as a neuromodulator and appears to mediate aspects of learning and memory. Although endogenous NO was originally appreciated as a mediator of smooth muscle relaxation, NO also plays a major role in skeletal muscle. Physiologically muscle-derived NO regulates skeletal muscle contractility and exercise-induced glucose uptake. nNOS occurs at the

  14. Genes and environment - striking the fine balance between sophisticated biomonitoring and true functional environmental genomics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steinberg, Christian E W; Stürzenbaum, Stephen R; Menzel, Ralph

    2008-08-01

    This article provides an overview how the application of the gene profiling (mainly via microarray technology) can be used in different organisms to address issues of environmental importance. Only recently, environmental sciences, including ecotoxicology, and molecular biology have started to mutually fertilize each other. This conceptual blend has enabled the identification of the interaction between molecular events and whole animal and population responses. Likewise, striking the fine balance between biomonitoring and functional environmental genomics will allow legislative and administrative measures to be based on a more robust platform. The application of DNA microarrays to ecotoxicogenomics links ecotoxicological effects of exposure with expression profiles of several thousand genes. The gene expression profiles are altered during toxicity, as either a direct or indirect result of toxicant exposure and the comparison of numerous specific expression profiles facilitates the differentiation between intoxication and true responses to environmental stressors. Furthermore, the application of microarrays provides the means to identify complex pathways and strategies that an exposed organism applies in response to environmental stressors. This review will present evidence that the widespread phenomenon of hormesis has a genetic basis that goes beyond an adaptive response. Some more practical advantages emerge: the toxicological assessment of complex mixtures, such as effluents or sediments, as well as drugs seems feasible, especially when classical ecotoxicological tests have failed. The review of available information demonstrates the advantages of microarray application to environmental issues spanning from bacteria, over algae and spermatophytes, to invertebrates (nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, crustacea Daphnia spp., earthworms), and various fish species. Microarrays have also highlighted why populations of a given species respond differently to similar

  15. Phytochrome from Green Plants: Properties and biological Function

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Quail, Peter H.

    2014-07-25

    Pfr conformer reverses this activity upon initial light exposure, inducing the switch to photomorphogenic development. This reversal involves light-triggered translocation of the photoactivated phy molecule into the nucleus where it interacts with PIF-family members, inducing rapid phosphorylation and degradation of the PIFs via the ubiquitin-proteasome system. This degradation in turn elicits rapid alterations in gene expression that drive the deetiolation transition. This project has made considerable progress in defining phy-PIF signaling activity in controlling the SAR. The biological functions of the multiple PIF-family members in controlling the SAR, including dissection of the relative contributions of the individual PIFs to this process, as well as to diurnal growth-control oscillations, have been investigated using higher-order pif-mutant combinations. Using microarray analysis of a quadruple pif mutant we have defined the shade-induced, PIF-regulated transcriptional network genome-wide. This has revealed that a dynamic antagonism between the phys and PIFs generates selective reciprocal responses during deetiolation and the SAR in a rapidly light-responsive transcriptional network. Using integrated RNA-seq and ChIP-seq analysis of higher order pif-mutant combinations, we have defined the direct gene-targets of PIF transcriptional regulation, and have obtained evidence that this regulation involves differential direct targeting of rapidly light-responsive genes by the individual PIF-family members. This project has provided significant advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which the phy-PIF photosensory signaling pathway regulates an important bioenergy-related plant response to the light environment. The identification of molecular targets in the primary transcriptional-regulatory circuitry of this pathway has the potential to enable genetic or reverse-genetic manipulation of the partitioning of carbon between reproductive and

  16. Limiting similarity and functional diversity along environmental gradients

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwilk, D.W.; Ackerly, D.D.

    2005-01-01

    Recent developments in community models emphasize the importance of incorporating stochastic processes (e.g. ecological drift) in models of niche-structured community assembly. We constructed a finite, spatially explicit, lottery model to simulate the distribution of species in a one-dimensional landscape with an underlying gradient in environmental conditions. Our framework combines the potential for ecological drift with environmentally-mediated competition for space in a heterogeneous environment. We examined the influence of niche breadth, dispersal distances, community size (total number of individuals) and the breadth of the environmental gradient on levels of species and functional trait diversity (i.e. differences in niche optima). Three novel results emerge from this model: (1) niche differences between adjacent species (e.g. limiting similarity) increase in smaller communities, because of the interaction of competitive effects and finite population sizes; (2) immigration from a regional species pool, stochasticity and niche-assembly generate a bimodal distribution of species residence times ('transient' and 'resident') under a heterogeneous environment; and (3) the magnitude of environmental heterogeneity has a U-shaped effect on diversity, because of shifts in species richness of resident vs. transient species. These predictions illustrate the potential importance of stochastic (although not necessarily neutral) processes in community assembly. ??2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  17. Biological activity of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii from clinical and environmental isolates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Antonio Marcio Barbosa Junior

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available INTRODUCTION: Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are encapsulated basidiomycetous yeasts with worldwide distribution. They cause cryptococcosis with features of systemic infection, affecting the central nervous system, lungs and skin in humans and animals. These fungi present numerous virulence factors that allow them to invade the host and multiply, among which extracellular enzyme capacity and microbial adaptation to different temperatures are worth mentioning. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the production of protease and investigate possible differences in thermotolerance and urease activity in clinical and environmental yeast isolates. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Culture methods and Pz analysis were applied to assess urease and protease, whereas the optical density method was used to analyze biological activity in thermotolerance. RESULTS: There was no significant results as to microbial growth at the tested temperatures (25º, 37º and 42ºC. It was observed that clinical specimens grew better than environmental ones at elevated temperatures. As to C. neoformans, the moderate production of urease enzyme prevailed in both clinical and environmental isolates within 24h or 48h. Moreover, there was significant production on the seventh day of reading. The best reading time for viewing protease production in both isolates and species was the seventh day: 96% clinical samples and 94% environmental isolates. CONCLUSION: Further studies are required in order to investigate the virulence factors of C. neoformans and C. gattii cerebrospinal isolates from patients with meningoencephalitis and environmental samples from Sergipe. Furthermore, a higher technical accuracy and statistical precision are indispensable.

  18. Consequences of Environmental Service Payments for Forest Retention and Recruitment in a Costa Rican Biological Corridor

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven J. Hollenhorst

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available Compensation to landowners for forest-derived environmental services has gained international recognition as a mechanism to combat forest loss and fragmentation. This approach is widely promoted, although there is little evidence demonstrating that environmental service payments encourage forest stewardship and conservation. Costa Rica provides a unique case study in which a 1996 Forestry Law initiated environmental service payments and prohibited forest conversion to other land uses. We examined these novel policies to determine their influence on landowner decisions that affect forest change, carbon services, and connectivity in a 2425 km² biological corridor. We used Landsat images to compare land-cover changes before and after 1996, and linked these data to landowner surveys investigating land-use decisions. Carbon stocks and storage in secondary forests were also examined. Forest change observations were corroborated by landowner survey data, indicating that the 1996 Forestry Law and environmental service payments contributed positively to forest retention and recruitment. Socioeconomic conditions also favored forest protection. Rates of natural forest loss declined from -1.43% to -0.10%/yr after 1996. Forest cover and connectivity were maintained through tree plantations and secondary forest recruitment, although forest heterogeneity increased as these forest types sometimes replaced natural forest. Carbon storage in secondary forest approached levels in primary forest after 25–30 yr of succession, although few landowners retained natural regeneration. Secondary forests will persist as minor landscape components without legal or financial incentives. The Costa Rican experience provides evidence that environmental service payments can be effective in retaining natural forest and recruiting tree cover within biological corridors.

  19. Integrating writing into an introductory environmental science curriculum: Perspectives from biology and physics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Selkin, P. A.; Cline, E. T.; Beaufort, A.

    2008-12-01

    In the University of Washington, Tacoma's Environmental Science program, we are implementing a curriculum-wide, scaffolded strategy to teach scientific writing. Writing in an introductory science course is a powerful means to make students feel part of the scientific community, an important goal in our environmental science curriculum. Writing is already an important component of the UW Tacoma environmental science program at the upper levels: our approach is designed to prepare students for the writing-intensive junior- and senior-level seminars. The approach is currently being tested in introductory biology and physics before it is incorporated in the rest of the introductory environmental science curriculum. The centerpiece of our approach is a set of research and writing assignments woven throughout the biology and physics course sequences. The assignments progress in their degree of complexity and freedom through the sequence of introductory science courses. Each assignment is supported by a number of worksheets and short written exercises designed to teach writing and critical thought skills. The worksheets are focused on skills identified both by research in science writing and the instructors' experience with student writing. Students see the assignments as a way to personalize their understanding of basic science concepts, and to think critically about ideas that interest them. We find that these assignments provide a good way to assess student comprehension of some of the more difficult ideas in the basic sciences, as well as a means to engage students with the challenging concepts of introductory science courses. Our experience designing these courses can inform efforts to integrate writing throughout a geoscience or environmental science curriculum, as opposed to on a course-by-course basis.

  20. Alterations in immune function with biologic therapies for autoimmune disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Her, Minyoung; Kavanaugh, Arthur

    2016-01-01

    Autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, and others, are characterized by dysregulation of various aspects of normal immunity and inflammation. Biologic agents targeting key components of the dysregulated immune response have dramatically improved patient outcomes and transformed treatment paradigms for a number of systemic inflammatory autoimmune diseases. Despite their excellent efficacy, because they do affect normal immune responsiveness, biologic agents can potentially be associated with a variety of adverse effects. Important potential adverse effects related to the use of biologic agents include immunosuppression, which might result in outcomes such as infection, and autoimmunity, that could result in paradoxical inflammation or even autoimmune disease. In this article the current clinical evidence and immunologic mechanisms of the adverse effects related to biologic agents are discussed.

  1. Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident: facts, environmental contamination, possible biological effects, and countermeasures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anzai, Kazunori; Ban, Nobuhiko; Ozawa, Toshihiko; Tokonami, Shinji

    2012-01-01

    On March 11, 2011, an earthquake led to major problems at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. A 14-m high tsunami triggered by the earthquake disabled all AC power to Units 1, 2, and 3 of the Power Plant, and carried off fuel tanks for emergency diesel generators. Despite many efforts, cooling systems did not work and hydrogen explosions damaged the facilities, releasing a large amount of radioactive material into the environment. In this review, we describe the environmental impact of the nuclear accident, and the fundamental biological effects, acute and late, of the radiation. Possible medical countermeasures to radiation exposure are also discussed.

  2. Determination of steroid hormones in biological and environmental samples using green microextraction techniques: an overview.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aufartová, Jana; Mahugo-Santana, Cristina; Sosa-Ferrera, Zoraida; Santana-Rodríguez, José Juan; Nováková, Lucie; Solich, Petr

    2011-10-17

    Residues of steroid hormones have become a cause for concern because they can affect the biological activity of non-target organisms. Steroid hormones are a potential risk for wildlife and humans through the consumption of contaminated food or water. Their determination requires extraction and clean-up steps, prior to detection, to reach low concentration levels. In recent years, a great effort has been made to develop new analytical methodologies, such as microextraction techniques, that reduce environmental pollution. Researchers have modified old methods to incorporate procedures that use less-hazardous chemicals or that use smaller amounts of them. They are able to do direct analysis using miniaturised equipment and reduced amounts of solvents and wastes. These accomplishments are the main objectives of green analytical chemistry. In this overview, we focus on microextraction techniques for the determination of steroid hormones in biological (e.g., human urine, human serum, fish, shrimp and prawn tissue and milk) and environmental (e.g., wastewaters, surface waters, tap waters, river waters, sewage sludges, marine sediments and river sediments) samples. We comment on the most recent applications in sorptive-microextraction modes, such as solid phase microextraction (SPME) with molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs), in-tube solid-phase microextraction (IT-SPME), stir-bar sorptive extraction (SBSE) and microextraction in packed sorbent (MEPS). We also describe liquid-phase microextraction (LPME) approaches reported in the literature that are applied to the determination of steroid hormones.

  3. Cell biology and functional dynamics of the mammalian sperm surface

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gadella, B.M.; Luna, C.

    2014-01-01

    Theriogenology has now a 40-year rich history on covering sperm biological aspects with a special emphasis on farm and husbandry animals. The major and most influential of these contributions will be placed into an evolutionary perspective of ongoing and intriguing progresses made in this field. Alt

  4. Click chemistry mediated functionalization of vertical nanowires for biological applications

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Vutti, Surendra; Schoffelen, Sanne; Bolinsson, Jessica;

    2016-01-01

    is of general interest for biological studies. The attachment of a peptide substrate provided NW arrays for the detection of protease activity. In addition, green fluorescent protein was immobilized in a site-specific manner and recognized by antibody binding to demonstrate the proof-of-concept for the use...

  5. Oxidative metabolites of lycopene and their biological functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    To gain a better understanding of the beneficial biological activities of lycopene on cancer prevention, a greater knowledge of the metabolism of lycopene is needed. In particular, the identification of lycopene metabolites and oxidation products in vivo; the importance of tissue specific lycopene c...

  6. In search of lipid translocases and their biological functions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoekstra, D; van Ijzendoorn, SCD

    2003-01-01

    In plasma membranes, lipids distribute asymmetrically across the bilayer, a process that requires proteins. Recent work identified novel lipid translocators in yeast, and their activity was functionally correlated to endocytosis, thus boosting investigations on identity, mechanism, and function of l

  7. Opposing Biological Functions of Tryptophan Catabolizing Enzymes During Intracellular Infection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Divanovic, Senad; Sawtell, Nancy M.; Trompette, Aurelien; Warning, Jamie I.; Dias, Alexandra; Cooper, Andrea M.; Yap, George S.; Arditi, Moshe; Shimada, Kenichi; DuHadaway, James B.; Prendergast, George C.; Basaraba, Randall J.; Mellor, Andrew L.; Munn, David H.; Aliberti, Julio

    2012-01-01

    Recent studies have underscored physiological and pathophysiological roles for the tryptophan-degrading enzyme indolamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) in immune counterregulation. However, IDO was first recognized as an antimicrobial effector, restricting tryptophan availability to Toxoplasma gondii and other pathogens in vitro. The biological relevance of these findings came under question when infectious phenotypes were not forthcoming in IDO-deficient mice. The recent discovery of an IDO homolog, IDO-2, suggested that the issue deserved reexamination. IDO inhibition during murine toxoplasmosis led to 100% mortality, with increased parasite burdens and no evident effects on the immune response. Similar studies revealed a counterregulatory role for IDO during leishmaniasis (restraining effector immune responses and parasite clearance), and no evident role for IDO in herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection. Thus, IDO plays biologically important roles in the host response to diverse intracellular infections, but the dominant nature of this role—antimicrobial or immunoregulatory—is pathogen-specific. PMID:21990421

  8. Cerenkov Radiation: A Multi-functional Approach for Biological Sciences

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiaowei eMa

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Cerenkov radiation (CR has been used in various biological research fields, which has aroused lots of attention in recent years. Combining optical imaging instruments and most of nuclear medicine imaging or radiotherapy probes, the CR was developed as a new imaging modality for biology studies, called Cerenkov luminescence imaging (CLI. On the other hand, it was novelly used as an internal excitation source to activate some fluorophores for energy transfer imaging. However, it also has some shortages such as relatively weak luminescence intensity and low penetration in tissue. Thus some scientific groups demonstrated to optimize the CLI and demonstrated it to three-dimension tomography. In this article, we elaborate on its principle, history, and applications and discuss a number of directions for technical improvements. Then concluded some advantages and shortages of CR and discuss some prospects of it.

  9. Mining Functional Modules in Heterogeneous Biological Networks Using Multiplex PageRank Approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Jun; Zhao, Patrick X

    2016-01-01

    Identification of functional modules/sub-networks in large-scale biological networks is one of the important research challenges in current bioinformatics and systems biology. Approaches have been developed to identify functional modules in single-class biological networks; however, methods for systematically and interactively mining multiple classes of heterogeneous biological networks are lacking. In this paper, we present a novel algorithm (called mPageRank) that utilizes the Multiplex PageRank approach to mine functional modules from two classes of biological networks. We demonstrate the capabilities of our approach by successfully mining functional biological modules through integrating expression-based gene-gene association networks and protein-protein interaction networks. We first compared the performance of our method with that of other methods using simulated data. We then applied our method to identify the cell division cycle related functional module and plant signaling defense-related functional module in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Our results demonstrated that the mPageRank method is effective for mining sub-networks in both expression-based gene-gene association networks and protein-protein interaction networks, and has the potential to be adapted for the discovery of functional modules/sub-networks in other heterogeneous biological networks. The mPageRank executable program, source code, the datasets and results of the presented two case studies are publicly and freely available at http://plantgrn.noble.org/MPageRank/.

  10. Environmental effects on the functions of the stratum corneum.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tagami, H; Kobayashi, H; Zhen, X S; Kikuchi, K

    2001-11-01

    The stratum corneum (SC) is such an efficient barrier that only 2-5 g per h per cm2 of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) occurs in normal skin. The SC also plays another important role at the skin surface in keeping our skin smooth and flexible by binding water. We exposed a simulation model of in vivo SC to various, excessive physical insults in vitro, such as irradiation with 1 J per cm2 of UVB, 50 J per cm2 of UVA, or 3000 rad of X-ray, heating at 90 degrees C for 3 min, freezing at -196 degrees C for 60 s or repeated placement in an extremely dry or humid condition. None of them could cause any permanent change in the SC functions. Only the application of chemical agents such as lipid solvents or a detergent or the affliction of trauma resulted in a functional derangement of the SC. Because the viable skin tissues are more vulnerable to the effects of the environment than the SC, most of the abnormalities of the SC functions developing after environmental insults are secondarily caused by enhanced epidermal proliferation induced under the influence of underlying inflammation. These functional abnormalities were found to be demonstrable with biophysical measurements long after the disappearance of skin redness, the clinically observable sign of inflammation. The SC abnormalities in inflamed skin are also detectable as a change in the content of chemical mediators. For example, the ratio between proinflammatory IL-1 and its receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) whose production by epidermal keratinocytes is markedly enhanced by various proinflammatory stimuli, showed a deviation towards an excess of the latter in inflammatory skin. Facial skin that is always exposed to the environment is unique in that its SC shows such a deviation in the IL-1/IL-1ra ratio suggestive for the presence of mild inflammation even in normal individuals.

  11. The SHP-2 tyrosine phosphatase: Signaling mechanisms and biological functions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2000-01-01

    Cellular biological activities are tightly controlled by intracellular signaling processes initiated by extracellular signals.Protein tyrosine phosphatases, which remove phosphate groups from phosphorylated signaling molecules, play equally important tyrosine roles as protein tyrosine kinases in signal transduction.SHP-2, a cytoplasmic SH2 domain containing protein tyrosine phosphatase, is involved in the signaling pathways of a variety of growth factors and cytokines. Recent studies have clearly demonstrated that this phosphatase plays an important role in transducing signal relay from the cell surface to the nucleus, and is a critical intracellular regulator in mediating cell proliferation and differentiation.

  12. Inferring biological functions of guanylyl cyclases with computational methods

    KAUST Repository

    Alquraishi, May Majed

    2013-09-03

    A number of studies have shown that functionally related genes are often co-expressed and that computational based co-expression analysis can be used to accurately identify functional relationships between genes and by inference, their encoded proteins. Here we describe how a computational based co-expression analysis can be used to link the function of a specific gene of interest to a defined cellular response. Using a worked example we demonstrate how this methodology is used to link the function of the Arabidopsis Wall-Associated Kinase-Like 10 gene, which encodes a functional guanylyl cyclase, to host responses to pathogens. © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013.

  13. Department of Energy's Biological and Environmental Research Strategic Data Roadmap for Earth System Science

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Williams, Dean N. [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States); Palanisamy, Giri [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Shipman, Galen [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Boden, Thomas A. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Voyles, Jimmy W. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)

    2014-04-25

    Rapid advances in experimental, sensor, and computational technologies and techniques are driving exponential growth in the volume, acquisition rate, variety, and complexity of scientific data. This wealth of scientifically meaningful data has tremendous potential to lead to scientific discovery. However, to achieve scientific breakthroughs, these data must be exploitable—they must be analyzed effectively and efficiently and the results shared and communicated easily within the wider Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Climate and Environmental Sciences Division (CESD) community. The explosion in data complexity and scale makes these tasks exceedingly difficult to achieve, particularly given that an increasing number of disciplines are working across techniques, integrating simulation and experimental or observational results (see Table 5 in Appendix 2). Consequently, we need new approaches to data management, analysis, and visualization that provide research teams with easy-to-use and scalable end-to-end solutions. These solutions must facilitate (and where feasible, automate and capture) every stage in the data lifecycle (shown in Figure 1), from collection to management, annotation, sharing, discovery, analysis, and visualization. In addition, the core functionalities are the same across climate science communities, but they require customization to adapt to specific needs and fit into research and analysis workflows. To this end, the mission of CESD’s Data and Informatics Program is to integrate all existing and future distributed CESD data holdings into a seamless and unified environment for the acceleration of Earth system science.

  14. Trace Level Arsenic Quantification through Cloud Point Extraction: Application to Biological and Environmental Samples

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kempahanumakkagari Suresh Kumar

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available A sensitive solvent-free extraction protocol for the quantification of arsenic at trace level has been described. It is based on the reaction of arsenic (V with molybdate in acidic medium in presence of antimony (III and ascorbic acid as a reducing agent to form a blue-colored arsenomolybdenum blue complex. The complex has been extracted into surfactant phase using Triton X-114, and its absorbance was measured at 690 nm. The detection limit, working range, and the relative standard deviation were found to be 1 ng mL−1, 10–200 ng mL−1, and 1.2%, respectively. The effect of common ions was studied, and the method has been applied to determine trace levels of As(III and As(V from a variety of samples like environmental, biological, and commercially procured chemicals.

  15. Determination of gadolinium-based MRI contrast agents in biological and environmental samples: A review

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Telgmann, Lena [University of Münster, Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Münster (Germany); Sperling, Michael [University of Münster, Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Münster (Germany); European Virtual Institute for Speciation Analysis (EVISA), Münster (Germany); Karst, Uwe, E-mail: uk@uni-muenster.de [University of Münster, Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Münster (Germany)

    2013-02-18

    Highlights: ► All major methods for the analysis of Gd-based MRI contrast agents are discussed. ► Biological and environmental samples are covered. ► Pharmacokinetics and species transformation can be investigated. ► The figures of merit as limit of detection and analysis time are described. -- Abstract: The development of analytical methods and strategies to determine gadolinium and its complexes in biological and environmental matrices is evaluated in this review. Gadolinium (Gd) chelates are employed as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) since the 1980s. In general they were considered as safe and well-tolerated, when in 2006, the disease nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) was connected to the administration of MRI contrast agents based on Gd. Pathogenesis and etiology of NSF are yet unclear and called for the development of several analytical methods to obtain elucidation in this field. Determination of Gd complex stability in vitro and in vivo, as well as the quantification of Gd in body fluids like blood and urine was carried out. Separation of the Gd chelates was achieved with high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and capillary electrophoresis (CE). For detection, various methods were employed, including UV–vis absorbance and fluorescence spectroscopy, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). A second challenge for analysts was the discovery of high concentrations of anthropogenic Gd in surface waters draining populated areas. The source could soon be determined to be the increasing administration of Gd complexes during MRI examinations. Identification and quantification of the contrast agents was carried out in various surface and groundwater samples to determine the behavior and fate of the Gd chelates in the environment. The improvement of limits of detection (LOD) and limits of quantification (LOQ) was and still is the goal of past and ongoing

  16. Analysis of macrolide antibiotics, using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, in food, biological and environmental matrices.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jian

    2009-01-01

    Macrolides are a group of antibiotics that have been widely used in human medical and veterinary practices. Analysis of macrolides and related compounds in food, biological, and environmental matrices continue to be the focus of scientists for the reasons of food safety, pharmacokinetic studies, and environmental concerns. This article presents an overview on the primary biological properties of macrolides and their associated analytical issues, including extraction, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), method validation, and measurement uncertainty. The main techniques that have been used to extract macrolides from various matrices are solid-phase extraction and liquid-liquid extraction. Conventional liquid chromatography (LC) with C18 columns plays a dominant role for the determination of macrolides, whereas ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) along with sub-2 microm particle C18 columns reduces run time and improves sensitivity. Mass spectrometry (MS), serving as a universal detection technique, has replaced ultraviolet (UV), fluorometric, and electrochemical detection for multi-macrolide analysis. The triple-quadrupole (QqQ), quadrupole ion trap (QIT), triple-quadrupole linear ion trap, time-of-flight (TOF), and quadrupole time-of-flight (QqTOF) mass spectrometers are current choices for the determination of macrolides, including quantification, confirmation, identification of their degradation products or metabolites, and structural elucidation. LC or UPLC coupled to a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer operated in the multiple-reaction monitoring (MRM) mode (LC/MS/MS) is the first choice for quantification. UPLC-TOF or UPLC-QqTOF has been recognized as an emerging technique for accurate mass measurement and unequivocal identification of macrolides and their related compounds.

  17. Horns Rev offshore wind farm. Environmental impact assessment of sea bottom and marine biology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Leonhard, S.B.

    2000-03-15

    An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of a planned 150 MW offshore wind farm at Horns Rev has been carried out for the marine biology and sea bottom in the area, and includes vegetation and benthic fauna. The study forms part of a total EIA of the planned offshore wind farm. This EIA study has been drawn up in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Environment and Energy in the publication, 'Guidelines for preparation of EIAstudies for offshore wind farms. Horns Rev is situated off Blaevands Huk, which is Denmark's most westerly point. It is a shallow reef with water depths between 2 and 9 metres and is primarily composed of sand, gravel and pebbles. The area designated for the wind farm lies directly south of Horns Rev and is dominated by sand with a median particle size of 0.3 mm. Along the edges, towards areas of greater depth, the particle size increases. There are areas of fine sand in the deepest area, and in isolated pockets within the proposed wind farm site. The sediment is characterised by a very low (<1%) organic matter content. On the basis of the expected impact from the establishment of the wind farm, it is not deemed necessary to carry out special programmes during the construction phase for monitoring of the environmental-biological conditions. A monitoring and control programme is recommended during the production phase in order to follow the copper concentration in bivalves, or alternatively to initiate recovery or elimination of the copper-laden waste. A control programme is recommended during the production phase in order to follow the establishment and succession of the fouling community on the wind turbine foundations and scour-protecting revetments. (BA)

  18. Neuroscience in the era of functional genomics and systems biology

    OpenAIRE

    Geschwind, Daniel H.; Konopka, Genevieve

    2009-01-01

    Advances in genetics and genomics have fuelled a revolution in discovery-based, or hypothesis-generating, research that provides a powerful complement to the more directly hypothesis-driven molecular, cellular and systems neuroscience. Genetic and functional genomic studies have already yielded important insights into neuronal diversity and function, as well as disease. One of the most exciting and challenging frontiers in neuroscience involves harnessing the power of large-scale genetic, gen...

  19. Exosome Function: From Tumor Immunology to Pathogen Biology

    OpenAIRE

    Schorey, Jeffrey S; Bhatnagar, Sanchita

    2008-01-01

    Exosomes are the newest family member of ‘bioactive vesicles’ that function to promote intercellular communication. Exosomes are derived from the fusion of multi-vesicular bodies with the plasma membrane and extracellular release of the intraluminal vesicles. Recent studies have focused on the biogenesis and composition of exosomes as well as regulation of exosome release. Exosomes have been shown to be released by cells of hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic origin, yet their function remain...

  20. Hair as a biological indicator of drug use, drug abuse or chronic exposure to environmental toxicants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boumba, Vassiliki A; Ziavrou, Kallirroe S; Vougiouklakis, Theodore

    2006-01-01

    In recent years hair has become a fundamental biological specimen, alternative to the usual samples blood and urine, for drug testing in the fields of forensic toxicology, clinical toxicology and clinical chemistry. Moreover, hair-testing is now extensively used in workplace testing, as well as, on legal cases, historical research etc. This article reviews methodological and practical issues related to the application of hair as a biological indicator of drug use/abuse or of chronic exposure to environmental toxicants. Hair structure and the mechanisms of drug incorporation into it are commented. The usual preparation and extraction methods as well as the analytical techniques of hair samples are presented and commented on. The outcomes of hair analysis have been reviewed for the following categories: drugs of abuse (opiates, cocaine and related, amphetamines, cannabinoids), benzodiazepines, prescribed drugs, pesticides and organic pollutants, doping agents and other drugs or substances. Finally, the specific purpose of the hair testing is discussed along with the interpretation of hair analysis results regarding the limitations of the applied procedures.

  1. Integrated omics for the identification of key functionalities in biological wastewater treatment microbial communities

    OpenAIRE

    Narayanasamy, Shaman; Muller, Emilie; Sheik, Abdul; Wilmes, Paul

    2015-01-01

    Biological wastewater treatment plants harbour diverse and complex microbial communities which prominently serve as models for microbial ecology and mixed culture biotechnological processes. Integrated omic analyses (combined metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics and metabolomics) are currently gaining momentum towards providing enhanced understanding of community structure, function and dynamics in situ as well as offering the potential to discover novel biological functionalitie...

  2. Microwave-accelerated bioassay technique for rapid and quantitative detection of biological and environmental samples.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohammed, Muzaffer; Syed, Maleeha F; Aslan, Kadir

    2016-01-15

    Quantitative detection of molecules of interest from biological and environmental samples in a rapid manner, particularly with a relevant concentration range, is imperative to the timely assessment of human diseases and environmental issues. In this work, we employed the microwave-accelerated bioassay (MAB) technique, which is based on the combined use of circular bioassay platforms and microwave heating, for rapid and quantitative detection of Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP) and Shiga like toxin (STX 1). The proof-of-principle use of the MAB technique with the circular bioassay platforms for the rapid detection of GFAP in buffer based on colorimetric and fluorescence readouts was demonstrated with a 900W kitchen microwave. We also employed the MAB technique with a new microwave system (called the iCrystal system) for the detection of GFAP from mice with brain injuries and STX 1 from a city water stream. Control bioassays included the commercially available gold standard bioassay kits run at room temperature. Our results show that the lower limit of detection (LLOD) of the colorimetric and fluorescence based bioassays for GFAP was decreased by ~1000 times using the MAB technique and our circular bioassay platforms as compared to the commercially available bioassay kits. The overall bioassay time for GFAP and STX 1 was reduced from 4h using commercially available bioassay kits to 10min using the MAB technique.

  3. Applications of High Resolution Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy for Environmental and Biological Samples

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Martin, Madhavi Z [ORNL; Labbe, Nicole [ORNL; Wagner, Rebekah J. [Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

    2013-01-01

    This chapter details the application of LIBS in a number of environmental areas of research such as carbon sequestration and climate change. LIBS has also been shown to be useful in other high resolution environmental applications for example, elemental mapping and detection of metals in plant materials. LIBS has also been used in phytoremediation applications. Other biological research involves a detailed understanding of wood chemistry response to precipitation variations and also to forest fires. A cross-section of Mountain pine (pinceae Pinus pungen Lamb.) was scanned using a translational stage to determine the differences in the chemical features both before and after a fire event. Consequently, by monitoring the elemental composition pattern of a tree and by looking for abrupt changes, one can reconstruct the disturbance history of a tree and a forest. Lastly we have shown that multivariate analysis of the LIBS data is necessary to standardize the analysis and correlate to other standard laboratory techniques. LIBS along with multivariate statistical analysis makes it a very powerful technology that can be transferred from laboratory to field applications with ease.

  4. Functional group based Ligand binding affinity scoring function at atomic environmental level

    Science.gov (United States)

    Varadwaj, Pritish Kumar; Lahiri, Tapobrata

    2009-01-01

    Use of knowledge based scoring function (KBSF) for virtual screening and molecular docking has become an established method for drug discovery. Lack of a precise and reliable free energy function that describes several interactions including water-mediated atomic interaction between amino-acid residues and ligand makes distance based statistical measure as the only alternative. Till now all the distance based scoring functions in KBSF arena use atom singularity concept, which neglects the environmental effect of the atom under consideration. We have developed a novel knowledge-based statistical energy function for protein-ligand complexes which takes atomic environment in to account hence functional group as a singular entity. The proposed knowledge based scoring function is fast, simple to construct, easy to use and moreover it tackle the existing problem of handling molecular orientation in active site pocket. We have designed and used Functional group based Ligand retrieval (FBLR) system which can identify and detect the orientation of functional groups in ligand. This decoy searching was used to build the above KBSF to quantify the activity and affinity of high resolution protein-ligand complexes. We have proposed the probable use of these decoys in molecular build-up as a de-novo drug designing approach. We have also discussed the possible use of the said KSBF in pharmacophore fragment detection and pseudo center based fragment alignment procedure. PMID:19255647

  5. Novel ESCRT functions in cell biology: spiraling out of control?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campsteijn, Coen; Vietri, Marina; Stenmark, Harald

    2016-08-01

    The endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT), originally identified for its role in endosomal protein sorting and biogenesis of multivesicular endosomes (MVEs), has proven to be a versatile machinery for involution and scission of narrow membrane invaginations filled with cytosol. Budding of enveloped viruses and cytokinetic abscission were early described functions for the ESCRT machinery, and recently a number of new ESCRT functions have emerged. These include cytokinetic abscission checkpoint control, plasma membrane repair, exovesicle release, quality control of nuclear pore complexes, neuron pruning, and sealing of the newly formed nuclear envelope. Here we review these novel ESCRT mechanisms and discuss similarities and differences between the various ESCRT-dependent activities.

  6. Molecular structure and biological function of proliferating cell nuclear antigen

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is the core component of replication complex in eukaryote.As a processive factor of DNA polymerase delta, PCNA coordinates the replication process by interacting with various replication proteins. PCNA appears to play an essential role in many cell events, such as DNA damage repair, cell cycle regulation, and apoptosis, through the coordination or organization of different partners. PCNA is an essential factor in cell proliferation, and has clinical significance in tumor research. In this article we review the functional structure of PCNA, which acts as a function switch in different cell events.

  7. The functionality of biological knowledge in the workplace. Integrating school and workplace learning about reproduction

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mazereeuw, M.

    2013-01-01

    This thesis reports on a design research project about a learning, supervising and teaching strategy to enable students in agricultural preparatory vocational secondary education (VMBO) to recognize the functionality of biological knowledge of reproduction in work placement sites. Although biologica

  8. Effect of environmental exposure to mercury on the functioning of the human body

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maciej Cyran

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Mercury is classified as a heavy metal and thus is commonly referred to as a death metal due to its high toxicity. In the environment it occurs in metallic form or in combination with other compounds. Amidst the sources of exposure to mercury, the most important environmental sources are dental amalgam and mercury vapor from the production of chlorine which is the most important source of occupational exposure. Mercury is easily soluble in fats, so it penetrates through biological membranes. Both - acute and chronic mercury poisoning causes characteristic clinical symptoms. There are several connections between exposure to this metal and toxic effects on the nervous system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system and kidneys. Thus mercury damages the structure of many organs and impairs their function

  9. TESTING FOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CUMULATIVE DISTRIBUTION FUNCTIONS FROM COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTAL SAMPLING SURVEYS

    Science.gov (United States)

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) employs the cumulative distribution function (cdf) to measure the status of quantitative variables for resources of interest. The ability to compare cdf's for a resource from, say,...

  10. Decreased functional diversity and biological pest control in conventional compared to organic crop fields.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krauss, Jochen; Gallenberger, Iris; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2011-01-01

    Organic farming is one of the most successful agri-environmental schemes, as humans benefit from high quality food, farmers from higher prices for their products and it often successfully protects biodiversity. However there is little knowledge if organic farming also increases ecosystem services like pest control. We assessed 30 triticale fields (15 organic vs. 15 conventional) and recorded vascular plants, pollinators, aphids and their predators. Further, five conventional fields which were treated with insecticides were compared with 10 non-treated conventional fields. Organic fields had five times higher plant species richness and about twenty times higher pollinator species richness compared to conventional fields. Abundance of pollinators was even more than one-hundred times higher on organic fields. In contrast, the abundance of cereal aphids was five times lower in organic fields, while predator abundances were three times higher and predator-prey ratios twenty times higher in organic fields, indicating a significantly higher potential for biological pest control in organic fields. Insecticide treatment in conventional fields had only a short-term effect on aphid densities while later in the season aphid abundances were even higher and predator abundances lower in treated compared to untreated conventional fields. Our data indicate that insecticide treatment kept aphid predators at low abundances throughout the season, thereby significantly reducing top-down control of aphid populations. Plant and pollinator species richness as well as predator abundances and predator-prey ratios were higher at field edges compared to field centres, highlighting the importance of field edges for ecosystem services. In conclusion organic farming increases biodiversity, including important functional groups like plants, pollinators and predators which enhance natural pest control. Preventative insecticide application in conventional fields has only short-term effects on aphid

  11. Stochastic analysis of response functions in environmental modeling

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tumeo, M.A.

    1988-01-01

    Development of a new mathematical technique to include stochasticity in environmental models used of resource management and public health risk analysis is reported. The technique is based on the expansion of basic governing equations to include stochastic terms. The stochastic terms are then separated from the non-fluctuating terms, and the resulting set of equations solved simultaneously. The solutions of this set of equations are used to calculate the moments of the output variables. In addition, the moments are used in conjunction with the Fokker-Planck Equation to produce an analytical solution for the probability density functions of the dependent variables. The technique is applied in two examples. The first example is an application to the Streeter-Phelps BOD-OD Equations. Results of the analysis are compared to field data as well as to results of a Monte Carlo model and to moments derived using a Stochastic Differential Equations approach. The second application involves analysis of health risks associated with waterborne diseases. Results are compared to the results of a Monte Carlo simulation of a similar system of equations.

  12. Social inclusion enhances biological motion processing: a functional near-infrared spectroscopy study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bolling, Danielle Z; Pelphrey, Kevin A; Kaiser, Martha D

    2013-04-01

    Humans are especially tuned to the movements of other people. Neural correlates of this social attunement have been proposed to lie in and around the right posterior superior temporal sulcus (STS) region, which robustly responds to biological motion in contrast to a variety of non-biological motions. This response persists even when no form information is provided, as in point-light displays (PLDs). The aim of the current study was to assess the ability of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to reliably measure brain responses to PLDs of biological motion, and determine the sensitivity of these responses to interpersonal contextual factors. To establish reliability, we measured brain activation to biological motion with fNIRS and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during two separate sessions in an identical group of 12 participants. To establish sensitivity, brain responses to biological motion measured with fNIRS were subjected to an additional social manipulation where participants were either socially included or excluded before viewing PLDs of biological motion. Results revealed comparable brain responses to biological motion using fMRI and fNIRS in the right supramarginal gyrus. Further, social inclusion increased brain responses to biological motion in right supramarginal gyrus and posterior STS. Thus, fNIRS can reliably measure brain responses to biological motion and can detect social experience-dependent modulations of these brain responses.

  13. Functional Nanostructured Platforms for Chemical and Biological Sensing

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Letant, S E

    2006-03-20

    The central goal of our work is to combine semiconductor nanotechnology and surface functionalization in order to build platforms for the selective detection of bio-organisms ranging in size from bacteria (micron range) down to viruses, as well as for the detection of chemical agents (nanometer range). We will show on three porous silicon platforms how pore geometry and pore wall chemistry can be combined and optimized to capture and detect specific targets. We developed a synthetic route allowing to directly anchor proteins on silicon surfaces and illustrated the relevance of this technique by immobilizing live enzymes onto electrochemically etched luminescent nano-porous silicon. The powerful association of the specific enzymes with the transducing matrix led to a selective hybrid platform for chemical sensing. We also used light-assisted electrochemistry to produce periodic arrays of through pores on pre-patterned silicon membranes with controlled diameters ranging from many microns down to tens of nanometers. We demonstrated the first covalently functionalized silicon membranes and illustrated their selective capture abilities with antibody-coated micro-beads. These engineered membranes are extremely versatile and could be adapted to specifically recognize the external fingerprints (size and coat composition) of target bio-organisms. Finally, we fabricated locally functionalized single nanopores using a combination of focused ion beam drilling and ion beam assisted oxide deposition. We showed how a silicon oxide ring can be grown around a single nanopore and how it can be functionalized with DNA probes to detect single viral-sized beads. The next step for this platform is the detection of whole viruses and bacteria.

  14. Density functional theory across chemistry, physics and biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Mourik, Tanja; Bühl, Michael; Gaigeot, Marie-Pierre

    2014-03-13

    The past decades have seen density functional theory (DFT) evolve from a rising star in computational quantum chemistry to one of its major players. This Theme Issue, which comes half a century after the publication of the Hohenberg-Kohn theorems that laid the foundations of modern DFT, reviews progress and challenges in present-day DFT research. Rather than trying to be comprehensive, this Theme Issue attempts to give a flavour of selected aspects of DFT.

  15. Recent advances in alveolar biology: evolution and function of alveolar proteins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Orgeig, Sandra; Hiemstra, Pieter S; Veldhuizen, Edwin J A; Casals, Cristina; Clark, Howard W; Haczku, Angela; Knudsen, Lars; Possmayer, Fred

    2010-08-31

    This review is focused on the evolution and function of alveolar proteins. The lung faces physical and environmental challenges, due to changing pressures/volumes and foreign pathogens, respectively. The pulmonary surfactant system is integral in protecting the lung from these challenges via two groups of surfactant proteins - the small molecular weight hydrophobic SPs, SP-B and -C, that regulate interfacial adsorption of the lipids, and the large hydrophilic SPs, SP-A and -D, which are surfactant collectins capable of inhibiting foreign pathogens. Further aiding pulmonary host defence are non-surfactant collectins and antimicrobial peptides that are expressed across the biological kingdoms. Linking to the first symposium session, which emphasised molecular structure and biophysical function of surfactant lipids and proteins, this review begins with a discussion of the role of temperature and hydrostatic pressure in shaping the evolution of SP-C in mammals. Transitioning to the role of the alveolus in innate host defence we discuss the structure, function and regulation of antimicrobial peptides, the defensins and cathelicidins. We describe the recent discovery of novel avian collectins and provide evidence for their role in preventing influenza infection. This is followed by discussions of the roles of SP-A and SP-D in mediating host defence at the alveolar surface and in mediating inflammation and the allergic response of the airways. Finally we discuss the use of animal models of lung disease including knockouts to develop an understanding of the role of these proteins in initiating and/or perpetuating disease with the aim of developing new therapeutic strategies.

  16. Phenolic Phytoalexins in Rice: Biological Functions and Biosynthesis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Man-Ho Cho

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Phytoalexins are inducible secondary metabolites possessing antimicrobial activity against phytopathogens. Rice produces a wide array of phytoalexins in response to pathogen attacks and environmental stresses. With few exceptions, most phytoalexins identified in rice are diterpenoid compounds. Until very recently, flavonoid sakuranetin was the only known phenolic phytoalexin in rice. However, recent studies have shown that phenylamides are involved in defense against pathogen attacks in rice. Phenylamides are amine-conjugated phenolic acids that are induced by pathogen infections and abiotic stresses including ultra violet (UV radiation in rice. Stress-induced phenylamides, such as N-trans-cinnamoyltryptamine, N-p-coumaroylserotonin and N-cinnamoyltyramine, have been reported to possess antimicrobial activities against rice bacterial and fungal pathogens, an indication of their direct inhibitory roles against invading pathogens. This finding suggests that phenylamides act as phytoalexins in rice and belong to phenolic phytoalexins along with sakuranetin. Phenylamides also have been implicated in cell wall reinforcement for disease resistance and allelopathy of rice. Synthesis of phenolic phytoalexins is stimulated by phytopathogen attacks and abiotic challenges including UV radiation. Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that biosynthetic pathways including the shikimate, phenylpropanoid and arylmonoamine pathways are coordinately activated for phenolic phytoalexin synthesis, and related genes are induced by biotic and abiotic stresses in rice.

  17. Development of PVDF Membrane Nanocomposites via Various Functionalization Approaches for Environmental Applications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Douglas M. Davenport

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Membranes are finding wide applications in various fields spanning biological, water, and energy areas. Synthesis of membranes to provide tunable flux, metal sorption, and catalysis has been done through pore functionalization of microfiltration (MF type membranes with responsive behavior. This methodology provides an opportunity to improve synthetic membrane performance via polymer fabrication and surface modification. By optimizing the polymer coagulation conditions in phase inversion fabrication, spongy polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF membranes with high porosity and large internal pore volume were created in lab and full scale. This robust membrane shows a promising mechanical strength as well as high capacity for loading of adsorptive and catalytic materials. By applying surface modification techniques, synthetic membranes with different functionality (carboxyl, amine, and nanoparticle-based were obtained. These functionalities provide an opportunity to fine-tune the membrane surface properties such as charge and reactivity. The incorporation of stimuli-responsive acrylic polymers (polyacrylic acid or sodium polyacrylate in membrane pores also results in tunable pore size and ion-exchange capacity. This provides the added benefits of adjustable membrane permeability and metal capture efficiency. The equilibrium and dynamic binding capacity of these functionalized spongy membranes were studied via calcium ion-exchange. Iron/palladium catalytic nanoparticles were immobilized in the polymer matrix in order to perform the challenging degradation of the environmental pollutant trichloroethylene (TCE.

  18. Functional and biological diversity of foliar spectra in tree canopies throughout the Andes to Amazon region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Asner, Gregory P; Martin, Roberta E; Carranza-Jiménez, Loreli; Sinca, Felipe; Tupayachi, Raul; Anderson, Christopher B; Martinez, Paola

    2014-10-01

    Spectral properties of foliage express fundamental chemical interactions of canopies with solar radiation. However, the degree to which leaf spectra track chemical traits across environmental gradients in tropical forests is unknown. We analyzed leaf reflectance and transmittance spectra in 2567 tropical canopy trees comprising 1449 species in 17 forests along a 3400-m elevation and soil fertility gradient from the Amazonian lowlands to the Andean treeline. We developed quantitative links between 21 leaf traits and 400-2500-nm spectra, and developed classifications of tree taxa based on spectral traits. Our results reveal enormous inter-specific variation in spectral and chemical traits among canopy trees of the western Amazon. Chemical traits mediating primary production were tightly linked to elevational changes in foliar spectral signatures. By contrast, defense compounds and rock-derived nutrients tracked foliar spectral variation with changing soil fertility in the lowlands. Despite the effects of abiotic filtering on mean foliar spectral properties of tree communities, the spectra were dominated by phylogeny within any given community, and spectroscopy accurately classified 85-93% of Amazonian tree species. Our findings quantify how tropical tree canopies interact with sunlight, and indicate how to measure the functional and biological diversity of forests with spectroscopy.

  19. The biology and functional morphology of Macoma biota (Bivalvia: Tellinidae: Macominae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pedro Ribeiro Piffer

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Macoma biota Arruda & Domaneschi, 2005, is a recently described species known only from the intertidal zone of Praia da Cidade, Caraguatatuba Bay, in the state of São Paulo, southeastern Brazil. The main purpose of the present paper is to describe the biology of M. biota, beginning with a detailed analysis of its anatomy and functional morphology and how these attributes are correlated with its habitat and life history. The morphology of the organs in the pallial cavity and their sorting devices indicate that this species has efficient mechanisms to process large amounts of particles that enter this cavity via the inhalant current. M. biota can rapidly select the material suitable for ingestion and direct the undesired excess to the rejection mantle tracts. These characteristics along with the siphon's behavior and the digestive tract configuration reveal that this species can be classified primarily as a deposit feeder, like other species of the genus; however, it can also behave as a suspension feeder, depending on the environmental conditions.

  20. Biological functions of iduronic acid in chondroitin/dermatan sulfate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thelin, Martin A; Bartolini, Barbara; Axelsson, Jakob; Gustafsson, Renata; Tykesson, Emil; Pera, Edgar; Oldberg, Åke; Maccarana, Marco; Malmstrom, Anders

    2013-05-01

    The presence of iduronic acid in chondroitin/dermatan sulfate changes the properties of the polysaccharides because it generates a more flexible chain with increased binding potentials. Iduronic acid in chondroitin/dermatan sulfate influences multiple cellular properties, such as migration, proliferation, differentiation, angiogenesis and the regulation of cytokine/growth factor activities. Under pathological conditions such as wound healing, inflammation and cancer, iduronic acid has diverse regulatory functions. Iduronic acid is formed by two epimerases (i.e. dermatan sulfate epimerase 1 and 2) that have different tissue distribution and properties. The role of iduronic acid in chondroitin/dermatan sulfate is highlighted by the vast changes in connective tissue features in patients with a new type of Ehler-Danlos syndrome: adducted thumb-clubfoot syndrome. Future research aims to understand the roles of the two epimerases and their interplay with the sulfotransferases involved in chondroitin sulfate/dermatan sulfate biosynthesis. Furthermore, a better definition of chondroitin/dermatan sulfate functions using different knockout models is needed. In this review, we focus on the two enzymes responsible for iduronic acid formation, as well as the role of iduronic acid in health and disease.

  1. Biochemical and biological functions of class I phosphatidylinositol transfer proteins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cockcroft, Shamshad; Carvou, Nicolas

    2007-06-01

    Phosphoinositides function in a diverse array of cellular activities. They include a role as substrate for lipid kinases and phospholipases to generate second messengers, regulators of the cytoskeleton, of enzymes and of ion channels, and docking sites for reversible recruitment of proteins to membranes. Mammalian phosphatidylinositol transfer proteins, PITPalpha and PITPbeta are paralogs that share 77% sequence identity and contain a hydrophobic cavity that can sequester either phosphatidylinositol or phosphatidylcholine. A string of 11 amino acid residues at the C-terminal acts as a "lid" which shields the lipid from the aqueous environment. PITPs in vitro can facilitate inter-membrane lipid transfer and this requires the movement of the "lid" to allow the lipid cargo to be released. Thus PITPs are structurally designed for delivering lipid cargo and could thus participate in cellular events that are dependent on phosphatidylinositol or derivatives of phosphatidylinositol. Phosphatidylinositol, the precursor for all phosphoinositides is synthesised at the endoplasmic reticulum and its distribution to other organelles could be facilitated by PITPs. Here we highlight recent studies that report on the three-dimensional structures of the different PITP forms and suggest how PITPs are likely to dock at the membrane surface for lipid delivery and extraction. Additionally we discuss whether PITPs are important regulators of sphingomyelin metabolism, and finally describe recent studies that link the association of PITPs with diverse functions including membrane traffic at the Golgi, neurite outgrowth, cytokinesis and stem cell growth.

  2. Simple Sensitive Spectrophotometric Determination of Vanadium in Biological and Environmental Samples

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. Krishna Priya

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available Novel, rapid, highly sensitive and selective spectrophotometric method for the determination of traces of vanadium (V in environmental and biological samples, pharmaceutical and steel samples was studied. The method is based on oxidation of 2,4- dinitro phenyl hydrazine(2,4-DNPH by vanadium (V followed by coupling reaction with N-(1-naphthalene-1-ylethane-1,2-diamine-dihydrochloride (NEDA in acidic medium to give red colored derivative or on oxidation of 4-Amino Pyridine by vanadium (V followed by coupling reaction with NEDA in basic medium to give pink colored derivative. The red colored derivative having an λmax 495 nm which is stable for 8 days and the pink colored derivative with 525 nm is stable for more than 7 days at 350C. Beer's law is obeyed for vanadium (V in the concentration range of 0.02 - 3.5 μg mL–1 (red derivative and 0.03 – 4.5 μg mL–1 (pink derivative at the wave length of maximum absorption. The optimum reaction conditions and other analytical parameters were investigated to enhance the sensitivity of the present method. The detailed study of various interferences made the method more selective. The proposed method was successfully applied to the analysis of vanadium in natural water samples, plant material, soil samples, synthetic mixtures, pharmaceutical samples and biological samples. The results obtained were agreed with the reported methods at the 95 % confidence level. The performance of proposed method was evaluated in terms of Student's t-test and Variance ratio f-test which indicates the significance of proposed method over reported method.

  3. [Adipogenic function and other biologic effects of insulin].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pankov, Y A

    2016-01-01

    Studies on experimental animals with knockout of the insulin receptor gene Insr (in the whole body or in certain tissues) and/or related genes encoding proteins involved in realization of insulin signal transduction in target cells, have made an important contribution to the elucidation of insulin regulation of metabolism, particularly fat metabolism. Since the whole insulin secreted by b-cells, together with the products of gastrointestinal tract digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates reach the liver, the latter is the first organ on which this hormone acts. The liver employs released amino acids for synthesis of proteins, including apoproteins for various lipoproteins. Glucose is used for synthesis of glycogen, fatty acids, and triglycerides, which enter all the organs in very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). The LIRKO mice with knockout of the Insr gene in the liver demonstrated inhibition of synthesis of macromolecular compounds from amino acids, glucose, and fatty acids. Low molecular weight substances demonstrated increased entry to circulation, and together with other disorders induced hyperglycemia. In LIRKO mice blood glucose levels and glucose tolerance demonstrated time-dependent normalization and at later stages the increase in glucose levels was replaced by hypoglycemia. These changes can be well explained if we take into consideration that one of the main functions of insulin consists in stimulation of energy accumulation by means of activation of triglyceride deposition in adipose tissue. FIRKO mice with selective knockout of adipose tissue Insr were characterized by decreased uptake of glucose in adipocytes, and its transformation into lipids. However, the level of body fat in animals remained normal, possibly due to preserved insulin receptor in the liver and insulin-induced activation of triglyceride production which maintained normal levels of body fat stores, the effective functioning of adipose tissue and secretion of leptin by

  4. Development of biological functional material and product from Nelumbo nucifera

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jeong, Il Yun; Park, Yong Dae; Jin, Chang Hyun; Choi, Dae Seong

    2008-01-15

    The solvent extracts of Nelumbo nucifera G. were investigated for the activities of antioxidant, whitening, anti-wrinkle and antimicrobial effects to apply as a functional ingredient for cosmetic products. The electron donating ability of irradiated NN-L extract was above 85% at the concentration of 50ppm. The superoxide dismutase(SOD)-like activity of irradiated NN-L extract was about 76% at 1,000ppm concentration. The xanthine oxidase inhibitory effect of irradiated NN-L extract was about 15% at 1,000ppm. The tyrosinase inhibitory effect of irradiated NN-L extract was about 18% at 1,000ppm. Anti-wrinkle effect, the elastase inhibition activity of irradiated NN-L extract was about 45% at 1,000ppm concentration. All these findings suggested that Nelumbo nucifera G. has a great potential as a cosmeceutical ingredient.

  5. The biology and function of exosomes in cancer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kalluri, Raghu

    2016-04-01

    Humans circulate quadrillions of exosomes at all times. Exosomes are a class of extracellular vesicles released by all cells, with a size range of 40-150 nm and a lipid bilayer membrane. Exosomes contain DNA, RNA, and proteins. Exosomes likely remove excess and/or unnecessary constituents from the cells, functioning like garbage bags, although their precise physiological role remains unknown. Additionally, exosomes may mediate specific cell-to-cell communication and activate signaling pathways in cells they fuse or interact with. Exosomes are detected in the tumor microenvironment, and emerging evidence suggests that they play a role in facilitating tumorigenesis by regulating angiogenesis, immunity, and metastasis. Circulating exosomes can be used as liquid biopsies and noninvasive biomarkers for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer patients.

  6. Biological function of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ritu Kumar

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Activation-induced Cytidine Deaminase (AID is an essential regulator of B cell diversification, but its full range of action has until recently been an enigma. Based on homology, it was originally proposed to be an RNA-editing enzyme, but so far, no RNA substrates are known. Rather, it functions by deaminating cytidine, and in this manner, coupled with base-excision repair or mismatch repair machinery, it is a natural mutator. This allows it to play a central role in adaptive immunity, whereby it initiates the processes of class switch recombination and somatic hypermutation to help generate a diverse and high-affinity repertoire of immunoglobulin isotypes. More recently, it has been appreciated that methylated cytidine, already known as a key epigenetic mark on DNA controlling gene expression, can also be a target for AID modification. Coupled with repair machinery, this can facilitate the active removal of methylated DNA. This activity can impact the process of cellular reprogramming, including transition of a somatic cell to pluripotency, which requires major reshuffling of epigenetic memory. Thus, seemingly disparate roles for AID in controlling immune diversity and epigenetic memory have a common mechanistic basis. However, the very activity that is so useful for B cell diversity and cellular reprogramming is dangerous for the integrity of the genome. Thus, AID expression and activity is tightly regulated, and deregulation is associated with diseases including cancer. Here, we review the range of AID functions with a focus on its mechanisms of action and regulation. Major questions remain to be answered concerning how and when AID is targeted to specific loci and how this impacts development and disease.

  7. GSK-3: functional insights from cell biology and animal models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Oksana eKaidanovich-Beilin

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3 is a widely expressed and highly conserved serine/threonine protein kinase encoded in mammals by two genes that generate two related proteins: GSK-3α and GSK-3β. GSK-3 is active in cells under resting conditions and is primarily regulated through inhibition or diversion of its activity. While GSK-3 is one of the few protein kinases that can be inactivated by phosphorylation, the mechanisms of GSK-3 regulation are more varied and not fully understood. Precise control appears to be achieved by a combination of phosphorylation, localization, and sequestration by a number of GSK-3-binding proteins. GSK-3 lies downstream of several major signaling pathways including the phosphatidylinositol 3’ kinase pathway, the Wnt pathway, Hedgehog signaling and Notch. Specific pools of GSK-3, which differ in intracellular localization, binding partner affinity and relative amount are differentially sensitized to several distinct signaling pathways and these sequestration mechanisms contribute to pathway insulation and signal specificity. Dysregulation of signaling pathways involving GSK-3 is associated with the pathogenesis of numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders and there are data suggesting GSK-3 isoform-selective roles in several of these. Here, we review the current knowledge of GSK-3 regulation and targets and discuss the various animal models that have been employed to dissect the functions of GSK-3 in brain development and function through the use of conventional or conditional knock-out mice as well as transgenic mice. These studies have revealed fundamental roles for these protein kinases in memory, behavior and neuronal fate determination and provide insights into possible therapeutic interventions.

  8. Biological function of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumar, Ritu; DiMenna, Lauren J; Chaudhuri, Jayanta; Evans, Todd

    2014-01-01

    Activation-induced Cytidine Deaminase (AID) is an essential regulator of B cell diversification, but its full range of action has until recently been an enigma. Based on homology, it was originally proposed to be an RNA-editing enzyme, but so far, no RNA substrates are known. Rather, it functions by deaminating cytidine, and in this manner, coupled with base-excision repair or mismatch repair machinery, it is a natural mutator. This allows it to play a central role in adaptive immunity, whereby it initiates the processes of class switch recombination and somatic hypermutation to help generate a diverse and high-affinity repertoire of immunoglobulin isotypes. More recently, it has been appreciated that methylated cytidine, already known as a key epigenetic mark on DNA controlling gene expression, can also be a target for AID modification. Coupled with repair machinery, this can facilitate the active removal of methylated DNA. This activity can impact the process of cellular reprogramming, including transition of a somatic cell to pluripotency, which requires major reshuffling of epigenetic memory. Thus, seemingly disparate roles for AID in controlling immune diversity and epigenetic memory have a common mechanistic basis. However, the very activity that is so useful for B cell diversity and cellular reprogramming is dangerous for the integrity of the genome. Thus, AID expression and activity is tightly regulated, and deregulation is associated with diseases including cancer. Here, we review the range of AID functions with a focus on its mechanisms of action and regulation. Major questions remain to be answered concerning how and when AID is targeted to specific loci and how this impacts development and disease.

  9. Progress in Computational Physics (PiCP) Vol 2 Coupled Fluid Flow in Energy, Biology and Environmental Research

    CERN Document Server

    Ehrhardt, Matthias

    2012-01-01

    This second volume contains both, the mathematical analysis of the coupling between fluid flow and porous media flow and state-of-the art numerical techniques, like tailor-made finite element and finite volume methods. Readers will come across articles devoted to concrete applications of these models in the field of energy, biology and environmental research.

  10. The reflection of life functional entailment and imminence in relational biology

    CERN Document Server

    Louie, A H

    2013-01-01

    A. H. Louie’s The Reflection of Life: Functional Entailment and Imminence in Relational Biology is a continuation of the exploratory journey in relational biology which began with his 2009 monograph More Than Life Itself: A Synthetic Continuation in Relational Biology. The theme of his first book was ‘What is life?’; the theme of this sequel is “How do two life forms interact?” Biology is a subject concerned with organization of relations. Relational biology is the approach that advocates ‘function dictates structure”, rather than ‘structure implies function’. It is mathematics decoded into biological realizations. The book demonstrates some of the powers of the approach of relational biology, and illustrates how pertinent problems in biology can be better addressed this way. In the first volume the theory was developed by using partially ordered sets, lattices, simulations, models, Aristotle’s four causes, graphs, categories, simple and complex systems, anticipatory systems, and metabolis...

  11. Biological catalysis of the hydrological cycle: life's thermodynamic function

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. Michaelian

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Darwinian theory depicts life as being overwhelmingly consumed by a fight for survival in a hostile environment. However, from a thermodynamic perspective, life is a dynamic out of equilibrium process, stabilizing and coevolving in concert with its abiotic environment. The living component of the biosphere on the surface of the Earth of greatest biomass, the plants and cyanobacteria, are involved in the transpiration of a vast amount of water. Transpiration is part of the global water cycle, and it is this cycle that distinguishes Earth from its apparently life barren neighboring planets, Venus and Mars. The dissipation of sunlight into heat by organic molecules in the biosphere and its coupling to the water cycle (as well as other abiotic processes, is by far the greatest entropy producing process occurring on Earth. Life, from this perspective, can be viewed as performing an important thermodynamic function; acting as a dynamic catalyst by aiding irreversible abiotic process such as the water cycle, hurricanes, and ocean and wind currents to produce entropy. The role of animals in this view is that of unwitting but dedicated servants of the plants and cyanobacteria, helping them to grow and to spread into initially inhospitable areas.

  12. Functionalized diamond nanopowder for phosphopeptides enrichment from complex biological fluids

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hussain, Dilshad [Division of Analytical Chemistry, Institute of Chemical Sciences, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan 60800 (Pakistan); Najam-ul-Haq, Muhammad, E-mail: najamulhaq@bzu.edu.pk [Division of Analytical Chemistry, Institute of Chemical Sciences, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan 60800 (Pakistan); Institute of Analytical Chemistry and Radiochemistry, Leopold-Franzens University, Innrain 80-82, A-6020 Innsbruck (Austria); Jabeen, Fahmida; Ashiq, Muhammad N.; Athar, Muhammad [Division of Analytical Chemistry, Institute of Chemical Sciences, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan 60800 (Pakistan); Rainer, Matthias; Huck, Christian W.; Bonn, Guenther K. [Institute of Analytical Chemistry and Radiochemistry, Leopold-Franzens University, Innrain 80-82, A-6020 Innsbruck (Austria)

    2013-05-02

    Graphical abstract: -- Highlights: •Derivatization of diamond nanopowder as IMAC and RP. •Characterization with SEM, EDX and FT-IR. •Phosphopeptide enrichment from standard as well as real samples. •Desalting and human serum profiling with reproducible results. •MALDI-MS analysis with database identification. -- Abstract: Diamond is known for its high affinity and biocompatibility towards biomolecules and is used exclusively in separation sciences and life science research. In present study, diamond nanopowder is derivatized as Immobilized Metal Ion Affinity Chromatographic (IMAC) material for the phosphopeptides enrichment and as Reversed Phase (C-18) media for the desalting of complex mixtures and human serum profiling through MALDI-TOF-MS. Functionalized diamond nanopowder is characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy. Diamond-IMAC is applied to the standard protein (β-casein), spiked human serum, egg yolk and non-fat milk for the phosphopeptides enrichment. Results show the selectivity of synthesized IMAC-diamond immobilized with Fe{sup 3+} and La{sup 3+} ions. To comprehend the elaborated use, diamond-IMAC is also applied to the serum samples from gall bladder carcinoma for the potential biomarkers. Database search is carried out by the Mascot program ( (www.matrixscience.com)) for the assignment of phosphorylation sites. Diamond nanopowder is thus a separation media with multifunctional use and can be applied to cancer protein profiling for the diagnosis and biomarker identification.

  13. The biological effect and medical functions of the Infrared Rays

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    PANG Xiao-feng

    2001-01-01

    The quantum vibrational energy-spectra including high excited states of the protein molecules have been calculated by new theory of bio-energy transport along the protein molecules and its dynamic equation, discrete nonlinear Schrodinger equation, appropriate to the protein molecules on the basis of the level of molecular structure. This energy-spectra obtained are basically consistent with the experimental values by infrared absorption and radiated measurement of person's hands and laser-Raman spectrum from metabolically active E. Coli.. From this energy-spectra we know that the infrared lights with (1-3)x1000nm and (5-7)x1000nm wavelength can be absorbed by the protein molecules in the living systems.In accordance with the non-linear theory of the bio-energy transport we know that the energy of the infrared light absorbed by the proteins can result in vibrations of amide-I in amino acids and can facilitate the bio-energy transport along the protein molecular chains from one place to other for the growth of living bodies. This processe is non-thermal. This is just non-thermal effect of the infrared lights. According to the mechanism we explained further the medical functions of the infrared lights absorbed.

  14. Towards understanding the biological function of hopanoids (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Doughty, D. M.; Hunter, R.; Summons, R. E.; Newman, D. K.

    2010-12-01

    Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1 expresses bacterial hopanoid lipids that are structurally similar and evolutionarily related to eukaryotic sterols. The genome of R. palustris TIE-1 contains two copies of the hpnN gene (hpnN1 and hpnN2) that are orthologs of genes encoding eukaryotic sterol and lipid transporters. Hopanoid localization to the outer membrane was found to be dependent upon hpnN1. Since the cell cycle of R. palustris TIE-1 is obligately bimodal with each cell division resulting in the generation of one mother and one swarmer cell, evidence was obtained that hopanoids where specifically localized to the outer membrane of mother cells. The sequestration of hopanoids to the mother cells was also disrupted by the deletion of the hpnN1 gene. Mutants lacking the hopanoid transporters were able to grow normally at 30 °C but showed decreased growth at 38 °C. The hopanoid transporter mutant formed cellular filaments when grown at elevated temperature. Because sedimentary steranes and hopanes comprise some of the earliest evidence for the emergence of distinct bacteria and eukaryotic phyla, a better appreciation of the function of hopanoids will improve our ability to interpret the evolution of life on Earth.

  15. Strigolactone biology: genes, functional genomics, epigenetics and applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Makhzoum, Abdullah; Yousefzadi, Morteza; Malik, Sonia; Gantet, Pascal; Tremouillaux-Guiller, Jocelyne

    2017-03-01

    Strigolactones (SLs) represent an important new plant hormone class marked by their multifunctional role in plant and rhizosphere interactions. These compounds stimulate hyphal branching in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and seed germination of root parasitic plants. In addition, they are involved in the control of plant architecture by inhibiting bud outgrowth as well as many other morphological and developmental processes together with other plant hormones such as auxins and cytokinins. The biosynthetic pathway of SLs that are derived from carotenoids was partially decrypted based on the identification of mutants from a variety of plant species. Only a few SL biosynthetic and regulated genes and related regulatory transcription factors have been identified. However, functional genomics and epigenetic studies started to give first elements on the modality of the regulation of SLs related genes. Since they control plant architecture and plant-rhizosphere interaction, SLs start to be used for agronomical and biotechnological applications. Furthermore, the genes involved in the SL biosynthetic pathway and genes regulated by SL constitute interesting targets for plant breeding. Therefore, it is necessary to decipher and better understand the genetic determinants of their regulation at different levels.

  16. The Halogenated Metabolism of Brown Algae (Phaeophyta, Its Biological Importance and Its Environmental Significance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stéphane La Barre

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Brown algae represent a major component of littoral and sublittoral zones in temperate and subtropical ecosystems. An essential adaptive feature of this independent eukaryotic lineage is the ability to couple oxidative reactions resulting from exposure to sunlight and air with the halogenations of various substrates, thereby addressing various biotic and abiotic stresses i.e., defense against predators, tissue repair, holdfast adhesion, and protection against reactive species generated by oxidative processes. Whereas marine organisms mainly make use of bromine to increase the biological activity of secondary metabolites, some orders of brown algae such as Laminariales have also developed a striking capability to accumulate and to use iodine in physiological adaptations to stress. We review selected aspects of the halogenated metabolism of macrophytic brown algae in the light of the most recent results, which point toward novel functions for iodide accumulation in kelps and the importance of bromination in cell wall modifications and adhesion properties of brown algal propagules. The importance of halogen speciation processes ranges from microbiology to biogeochemistry, through enzymology, cellular biology and ecotoxicology.

  17. Predicting biological parameters of estuarine benthic communities using models based on environmental data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    José Souto Rosa-Filho

    2004-08-01

    Full Text Available This study aimed to predict the biological parameters (species composition, abundance, richness, diversity and evenness of benthic assemblages in southern Brazil estuaries using models based on environmental data (sediment characteristics, salinity, air and water temperature and depth. Samples were collected seasonally from five estuaries between the winter of 1996 and the summer of 1998. At each estuary, samples were taken in unpolluted areas with similar characteristics related to presence or absence of vegetation, depth and distance from the mouth. In order to obtain predictive models, two methods were used, the first one based on Multiple Discriminant Analysis (MDA, and the second based on Multiple Linear Regression (MLR. Models using MDA had better results than those based on linear regression. The best results using MLR were obtained for diversity and richness. It could be concluded that the use predictions models based on environmental data would be very useful in environmental monitoring studies in estuaries.Este trabalho objetivou predizer parâmetros da estrutura de associações macrobentônicas (composição específica, abundância, riqueza, diversidade e equitatividade em estuários do Sul do Brasil, utilizando modelos baseados em dados ambientais (características dos sedimentos, salinidade, temperaturas do ar e da água, e profundidade. As amostragens foram realizadas sazonalmente em cinco estuários entre o inverno de 1996 e o verão de 1998. Em cada estuário as amostras foram coletadas em áreas não poluídas, com características semelhantes quanto a presença ou ausência de vegetação, profundidade e distância da desenbocadura. Para a obtenção dos modelos de predição, foram utilizados dois métodos: o primeiro baseado em Análise Discriminante Múltipla (ADM e o segundo em Regressão Linear Múltipla (RLM. Os modelos baseados em ADM apresentaram resultados melhores do que os baseados em regressão linear. Os melhores

  18. In-situ time resolved studies of apatite formation pathways - implications for biological and environmental systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Borkiewicz, O.; Rakovan, J.; Cahill, C. L.

    2006-05-01

    have been published. The presence of brushite in the initial precipitate and the formation of monetite, as an intermediate phase, have not been observed previously and may be of great importance for apatite crystallization under environmental and biological conditions. Furthermore, precursor formation has never been addressed in the context of heavy metal sequestration by PIMS. The compatibility of the heavy metals with initially formed brushite and intermediate monetite may ultimately be of greater significance for the fate and transport of these toxic species in the environment than their compatibility with apatite.

  19. Revealing complex function, process and pathway interactions with high-throughput expression and biological annotation data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Singh, Nitesh Kumar; Ernst, Mathias; Liebscher, Volkmar; Fuellen, Georg; Taher, Leila

    2016-10-20

    The biological relationships both between and within the functions, processes and pathways that operate within complex biological systems are only poorly characterized, making the interpretation of large scale gene expression datasets extremely challenging. Here, we present an approach that integrates gene expression and biological annotation data to identify and describe the interactions between biological functions, processes and pathways that govern a phenotype of interest. The product is a global, interconnected network, not of genes but of functions, processes and pathways, that represents the biological relationships within the system. We validated our approach on two high-throughput expression datasets describing organismal and organ development. Our findings are well supported by the available literature, confirming that developmental processes and apoptosis play key roles in cell differentiation. Furthermore, our results suggest that processes related to pluripotency and lineage commitment, which are known to be critical for development, interact mainly indirectly, through genes implicated in more general biological processes. Moreover, we provide evidence that supports the relevance of cell spatial organization in the developing liver for proper liver function. Our strategy can be viewed as an abstraction that is useful to interpret high-throughput data and devise further experiments.

  20. Motion as a source of environmental information: A fresh view on biological motion computation by tiny brains

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin eEgelhaaf

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Despite their miniature brains insects, such as flies, bees and wasps, are able to navigate by highly aerobatic flight maneuvers in cluttered environments. They rely on spatial information that is contained in the retinal motion patterns induced on the eyes while moving around (‘optic flow’ to accomplish their extraordinary performance. Thereby, they employ an active flight and gaze strategy that separates rapid saccade-like turns from translatory flight phases where the gaze direction is kept largely constant. This behavioral strategy facilitates the processing of environmental information, because information about the distance of the animal to objects in the environment is only contained in the optic flow generated by translatory motion. However, motion detectors as are widespread in biological systems do not represent veridically the velocity of the optic flow vectors, but also reflect textural information about the environment. This characteristic has often been regarded as a deficiency of a biological motion detection mechanism. In contrast, we conclude from analyses challenging insect movement detectors with image flow as generated during translatory locomotion through cluttered natural environments that this mechanism represents the contours of nearby objects. Contrast borders are a main carrier of functionally relevant object information in artificial and natural sceneries. The motion detection system thus segregates in a computationally parsimonious way the environment into behaviorally relevant nearby objects and – in many behavioral contexts – less relevant distant structures. Hence, by making use of an active flight and gaze strategy, insects are capable of performing extraordinarily well even with a computationally simple motion detection mechanism.

  1. Fluorescence response of hypocrellin B to the environmental changes in a mimic biological membrane--liposome

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JIN Xuanye; ZHAO Yuewei; XIE Jie; ZHAO Jingquan

    2004-01-01

    Liposome is well known as not only a drug-delivery system but also a simple model for biological membranes. It was reported that fluorescence properties of hypocrellins were changeable over some extreme pH values. In the current work, the effects of the microenvironments on the fluorescence properties of HB in liposome, including approximately physiological range of pH values pH = 6.0-8.0, concentration of cholesterols and ionic strength of the solution, were studied. It was found that the fluorescence intensity of HB was sensitive to and also regulated by the microenvironments. When concentration of cholesterols and ionic strength keep invariable in PBS solution, there exists the maximum for the fluorescence of HB-liposome at pH 7.4 while the minimum for that of HB at pH 7.0. In addition, when pH value keeps constant (7.2), there exists the maximum at the ionic strength of 0.12 mol/kg while that at the concentration of 6x10-4 mol/L for cholesterols. On the other hand, in PBS solution, the lower the ionic strength is, the higher the fluorescence intensity is. The environment-sensitive fluorescence may be potentially applicable to probe some specific environmental features in cells or tissues.

  2. Women are underrepresented on the editorial boards of journals in environmental biology and natural resource management

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alyssa H. Cho

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Despite women earning similar numbers of graduate degrees as men in STEM disciplines, they are underrepresented in upper level positions in both academia and industry. Editorial board memberships are an important example of such positions; membership is both a professional honor in recognition of achievement and an opportunity for professional advancement. We surveyed 10 highly regarded journals in environmental biology, natural resource management, and plant sciences to quantify the number of women on their editorial boards and in positions of editorial leadership (i.e., Associate Editors and Editors-in-Chief from 1985 to 2013. We found that during this time period only 16% of subject editors were women, with more pronounced disparities in positions of editorial leadership. Although the trend was towards improvement over time, there was surprising variation between journals, including those with similar disciplinary foci. While demographic changes in academia may reduce these disparities over time, we argue journals should proactively strive for gender parity on their editorial boards. This will both increase the number of women afforded the opportunities and benefits that accompany board membership and increase the number of role models and potential mentors for early-career scientists and students.

  3. The impact of environmental stress on male reproductive development in plants: biological processes and molecular mechanisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Storme, Nico; Geelen, Danny

    2014-01-01

    In plants, male reproductive development is extremely sensitive to adverse climatic environments and (a)biotic stress. Upon exposure to stress, male gametophytic organs often show morphological, structural and metabolic alterations that typically lead to meiotic defects or premature spore abortion and male reproductive sterility. Depending on the type of stress involved (e.g. heat, cold, drought) and the duration of stress exposure, the underlying cellular defect is highly variable and either involves cytoskeletal alterations, tapetal irregularities, altered sugar utilization, aberrations in auxin metabolism, accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS; oxidative stress) or the ectopic induction of programmed cell death (PCD). In this review, we present the critically stress-sensitive stages of male sporogenesis (meiosis) and male gametogenesis (microspore development), and discuss the corresponding biological processes involved and the resulting alterations in male reproduction. In addition, this review also provides insights into the molecular and/or hormonal regulation of the environmental stress sensitivity of male reproduction and outlines putative interaction(s) between the different processes involved.

  4. Biological and Environmental Research Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, FY 1992--1994

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    1992-01-01

    This report is the 1992--1994 Program Director`s Overview Report for Oak Ridge National Laboratory`s (ORNL`s) Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Program, and as such it addresses KP-funded work at ORNL conducted during FY 1991 and in progress during FY 1992; it also serves as a planning document for the remainder of FY 1992 through FY 1994. Non-BER funded work at ORNL relevant to the mission of OHER is also discussed. The second section of the report describes ORNL facilities and resources used by the BER program. The third section addresses research management practices at ORNL. The fourth, fifth, and sixth sections address BER-funded research in progress, program accomplishments and research highlights, and program orientation for the remainder of FY 1992 through FY 1994, respectively. Work for non-BER sponsors is described in the seventh section, followed by a discussion of significant near and long-term issues facing BER work at ORNL in the eighth section. The last section provides a statistical summary of BER research at ORNL. Appendices supplement the above topics with additional detail.

  5. Stochastic response surface methods (SRSMs) for uncertainty propagation: Application to environmental and biological systems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Isukapalli, S.S.; Roy, A.; Georgopoulos, P.G. [Rutgers Univ., Piscataway, NJ (United States). Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Inst.]|[Univ. of Medicine and Dentistry, Piscataway, NJ (United States)

    1998-06-01

    Comprehensive uncertainty analyses of complex models of environmental and biological systems are essential but often not feasible due to the computational resources they require. Traditional methods, such as standard Monte Carlo and Latin Hypercube Sampling, for propagating uncertainty and developing probability densities of model outputs, may in fact require performing a prohibitive number of model simulations. An alternative is offered, for a wide range of problems, by the computationally efficient Stochastic Response Surface Methods (SRSMs) for uncertainty propagation. These methods extend the classical response surface methodology to systems with stochastic inputs and outputs. This is accomplished by approximating both inputs and outputs of the uncertain system through stochastic series of well behaved standard random variables; the series expansions of the outputs contain unknown coefficients which are calculated by a method that uses the results of a limited number of model simulations. Two case studies are presented here involving (a) a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model for perchloroethylene (PERC) for humans, and (b) an atmospheric photochemical model, the Reactive Plume Model (RPM-IV). The results obtained agree closely with those of traditional Monte Carlo and Latin Hypercube Sampling methods, while significantly reducing the required number of model simulations.

  6. Disentangling the role of environmental and human pressures on biological invasions across Europe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pysek, Petr; Jarosík, Vojtech; Hulme, Philip E; Kühn, Ingolf; Wild, Jan; Arianoutsou, Margarita; Bacher, Sven; Chiron, Francois; Didziulis, Viktoras; Essl, Franz; Genovesi, Piero; Gherardi, Francesca; Hejda, Martin; Kark, Salit; Lambdon, Philip W; Desprez-Loustau, Marie-Laure; Nentwig, Wolfgang; Pergl, Jan; Poboljsaj, Katja; Rabitsch, Wolfgang; Roques, Alain; Roy, David B; Shirley, Susan; Solarz, Wojciech; Vilà, Montserrat; Winter, Marten

    2010-07-06

    The accelerating rates of international trade, travel, and transport in the latter half of the twentieth century have led to the progressive mixing of biota from across the world and the number of species introduced to new regions continues to increase. The importance of biogeographic, climatic, economic, and demographic factors as drivers of this trend is increasingly being realized but as yet there is no consensus regarding their relative importance. Whereas little may be done to mitigate the effects of geography and climate on invasions, a wider range of options may exist to moderate the impacts of economic and demographic drivers. Here we use the most recent data available from Europe to partition between macroecological, economic, and demographic variables the variation in alien species richness of bryophytes, fungi, vascular plants, terrestrial insects, aquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Only national wealth and human population density were statistically significant predictors in the majority of models when analyzed jointly with climate, geography, and land cover. The economic and demographic variables reflect the intensity of human activities and integrate the effect of factors that directly determine the outcome of invasion such as propagule pressure, pathways of introduction, eutrophication, and the intensity of anthropogenic disturbance. The strong influence of economic and demographic variables on the levels of invasion by alien species demonstrates that future solutions to the problem of biological invasions at a national scale lie in mitigating the negative environmental consequences of human activities that generate wealth and by promoting more sustainable population growth.

  7. Liquid membrane extraction techniques for trace metal analysis and speciation in environmental and biological matrices

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ndungu, Kuria

    1999-04-01

    In this thesis, liquid-membrane-based methods for the analysis of trace metal species in samples of environmental and biological origin were developed. By incorporating extracting reagents in the membrane liquid, trace metal ions were selectively separated from humic-rich natural waters and urine samples, prior to their determination using various instrumental techniques. The extractions were performed in closed flow systems thus allowing easy automation of both the sample clean-up and enrichment. An acidic organophosphorus reagent (DEHPA) and a basic tetraalkylammonium reagent (Aliquat-336) were used as extractants in the membrane liquid to selectively extract and enrich cationic and anionic metal species respectively. A speciation method for chromium species was developed that allowed the determination of cationic Cr(III) species and anionic CR(VI) species in natural water samples without the need of a chromatographic separation step prior to their detection. SLM was also coupled on-line to potentiometric stripping analysis providing a fast and sensitive method for analysis of Pb in urine samples. A microporous membrane liquid-liquid extraction (MMLLE) method was developed for the determination of organotin compounds in natural waters that reduced the number of manual steps involved in the LLE of organotin compounds prior to their CC separation. Clean extracts obtained after running unfiltered humic-rich river water samples through the MMLLE flow system allowed selective determination of all the organotin compounds in a single run using GC-MS in the selected ion monitoring mode (SIM) 171 refs, 9 figs, 4 tabs

  8. Biological and Environmental Research Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, FY 1992--1994

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    1992-01-01

    This report is the 1992--1994 Program Director's Overview Report for Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL's) Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Program, and as such it addresses KP-funded work at ORNL conducted during FY 1991 and in progress during FY 1992; it also serves as a planning document for the remainder of FY 1992 through FY 1994. Non-BER funded work at ORNL relevant to the mission of OHER is also discussed. The second section of the report describes ORNL facilities and resources used by the BER program. The third section addresses research management practices at ORNL. The fourth, fifth, and sixth sections address BER-funded research in progress, program accomplishments and research highlights, and program orientation for the remainder of FY 1992 through FY 1994, respectively. Work for non-BER sponsors is described in the seventh section, followed by a discussion of significant near and long-term issues facing BER work at ORNL in the eighth section. The last section provides a statistical summary of BER research at ORNL. Appendices supplement the above topics with additional detail.

  9. Large Scale Computing and Storage Requirements for Biological and Environmental Research

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    DOE Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research Program Office (BER),

    2009-09-30

    In May 2009, NERSC, DOE's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), and DOE's Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) held a workshop to characterize HPC requirements for BER-funded research over the subsequent three to five years. The workshop revealed several key points, in addition to achieving its goal of collecting and characterizing computing requirements. Chief among them: scientific progress in BER-funded research is limited by current allocations of computational resources. Additionally, growth in mission-critical computing -- combined with new requirements for collaborative data manipulation and analysis -- will demand ever increasing computing, storage, network, visualization, reliability and service richness from NERSC. This report expands upon these key points and adds others. It also presents a number of"case studies" as significant representative samples of the needs of science teams within BER. Workshop participants were asked to codify their requirements in this"case study" format, summarizing their science goals, methods of solution, current and 3-5 year computing requirements, and special software and support needs. Participants were also asked to describe their strategy for computing in the highly parallel,"multi-core" environment that is expected to dominate HPC architectures over the next few years.

  10. Women are underrepresented on the editorial boards of journals in environmental biology and natural resource management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cho, Alyssa H; Johnson, Shelly A; Schuman, Carrie E; Adler, Jennifer M; Gonzalez, Oscar; Graves, Sarah J; Huebner, Jana R; Marchant, D Blaine; Rifai, Sami W; Skinner, Irina; Bruna, Emilio M

    2014-01-01

    Despite women earning similar numbers of graduate degrees as men in STEM disciplines, they are underrepresented in upper level positions in both academia and industry. Editorial board memberships are an important example of such positions; membership is both a professional honor in recognition of achievement and an opportunity for professional advancement. We surveyed 10 highly regarded journals in environmental biology, natural resource management, and plant sciences to quantify the number of women on their editorial boards and in positions of editorial leadership (i.e., Associate Editors and Editors-in-Chief) from 1985 to 2013. We found that during this time period only 16% of subject editors were women, with more pronounced disparities in positions of editorial leadership. Although the trend was towards improvement over time, there was surprising variation between journals, including those with similar disciplinary foci. While demographic changes in academia may reduce these disparities over time, we argue journals should proactively strive for gender parity on their editorial boards. This will both increase the number of women afforded the opportunities and benefits that accompany board membership and increase the number of role models and potential mentors for early-career scientists and students.

  11. Environmental sensing of heavy metals through whole cell microbial biosensors: a synthetic biology approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bereza-Malcolm, Lara Tess; Mann, Gülay; Franks, Ashley Edwin

    2015-05-15

    Whole cell microbial biosensors are offering an alternative means for rapid, on-site heavy metal detection. Based in microorganisms, biosensing constructs are designed and constructed to produce both qualitative and quantitative outputs in response to heavy metal ions. Previous microbial biosensors designs are focused on single-input constructs; however, development of multiplexed systems is resulting in more flexible designs. The movement of microbial biosensors from laboratory based designs toward on-site, functioning heavy metal detectors has been hindered by the toxic nature of heavy metals, along with the lack of specificity of heavy metals promoter elements. Applying a synthetic biology approach with alternative microbial chassis may increase the robustness of microbial biosensors and mitigate these issues. Before full applications are achieved, further consideration has to be made regarding the risk and regulations of whole cell microbial biosensor use in the environment. To this end, a standard framework for future whole cell microbial biosensor design and use is proposed.

  12. [Distribution and environmental function of glomalin-related soil protein: A review].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jian; Zhou, Zi-yan; Ling, Wan-ting

    2016-02-01

    Glomalin-related soil protein (GRSP), a glycoprotein secreted by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), is abundant in soil. GRSP can be fractionated into total glomalin-related soil protein (TG), easily extracted glomalin-related soil protein (EEG), immunoreactive total glomalin (IRTG) and immunoreactive easily extracted glomalin (IREEG). The content of GRSP in soil differed with different soil use type, fertilization condition, AMF and host plant species, and environmental conditions. GRSP significantly positively correlates to the aggregate water stability. GRSP may reduce the release of CO2 in agro-ecosystem, benefit the soil carbon fixation, and reduce the bioavailability and plant toxicity of heavy metals in soil. The extraction and characterization of GRSP are of great importance to understanding the basic behaviors of GRSP in soil environments. Further studies are needed to clarify the molecular biology function of GRSP in agro-ecosystem based on the knowledge of proteins and related genes, and impacts of GRSP on the environmental behavior of organic pollutants in soil.

  13. The Impact of Environmental Fluctuations on Evolutionary Fitness Functions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Melbinger, Anna; Vergassola, Massimo

    2015-10-19

    The concept of fitness as a measure for a species' success in natural selection is central to the theory of evolution. We here investigate how reproduction rates which are not constant but vary in response to environmental fluctuations, influence a species' prosperity and thereby its fitness. Interestingly, we find that not only larger growth rates but also reduced sensitivities to environmental changes substantially increase the fitness. Thereby, depending on the noise level of the environment, it might be an evolutionary successful strategy to minimize this sensitivity rather than to optimize the reproduction speed. Also for neutral evolution, where species with exactly the same properties compete, variability in the growth rates plays a crucial role. The time for one species to fixate is strongly reduced in the presence of environmental noise. Hence, environmental fluctuations constitute a possible explanation for effective population sizes inferred from genetic data that often are much smaller than the census population size.

  14. Esthetic-functional recovery of permanent posterior tooth using autogenous biological restoration

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A M Botelho

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Occlusal morphology and difficult access for cleaning permanent molars result in the buildup of bacterial plaque and the development of caries. One method known as biological restoration was carried out. This technique known as biological restoration, has as main restorative material a fragment obtained from a duly donated extracted human tooth. This case report describes the restoration of an extensively decayed molar through the bonding of a fragment obtained from a third molar extracted from the patient himself. Biological restoration is a low-cost option that offers satisfactory aesthetic, morphological and functional results.The morphological/functional reestablishment of posterior teeth can be obtained through biological restoration, which allows the recovery of properties inherent to the dental structure, offers satisfactory aesthetic results and low cost.

  15. Bioactive Components and Functional Properties of Biologically Activated Cereal Grains: A Bibliographic Review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Singh, Arashdeep; Sharma, Savita

    2015-10-14

    Whole grains provide energy, nutrients, fibres and bioactive compounds that may synergistically contribute to their protective effects. A wide range of these compounds is affected by germination. While some compounds, such as β-glucans are degraded, others, like antioxidants and total phenolics are increased by means of biological activation of grains. The water and oil absorption capacity as well as emulsion and foaming capacity of biologically activated grains are also improved. Application of biological activation of grains is of emerging interest, which may significantly enhance the nutritional, functional and bioactive content of grains, as well as improve palatability of grain foods in a natural way. Therefore, biological activation of cereals can be a way to produce food grains enriched with health promoting compounds and enhanced functional attributes.

  16. Sharing Structure and Function in Biological Design with SBOL 2.0.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roehner, Nicholas; Beal, Jacob; Clancy, Kevin; Bartley, Bryan; Misirli, Goksel; Grünberg, Raik; Oberortner, Ernst; Pocock, Matthew; Bissell, Michael; Madsen, Curtis; Nguyen, Tramy; Zhang, Michael; Zhang, Zhen; Zundel, Zach; Densmore, Douglas; Gennari, John H; Wipat, Anil; Sauro, Herbert M; Myers, Chris J

    2016-06-17

    The Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) is a standard that enables collaborative engineering of biological systems across different institutions and tools. SBOL is developed through careful consideration of recent synthetic biology trends, real use cases, and consensus among leading researchers in the field and members of commercial biotechnology enterprises. We demonstrate and discuss how a set of SBOL-enabled software tools can form an integrated, cross-organizational workflow to recapitulate the design of one of the largest published genetic circuits to date, a 4-input AND sensor. This design encompasses the structural components of the system, such as its DNA, RNA, small molecules, and proteins, as well as the interactions between these components that determine the system's behavior/function. The demonstrated workflow and resulting circuit design illustrate the utility of SBOL 2.0 in automating the exchange of structural and functional specifications for genetic parts, devices, and the biological systems in which they operate.

  17. Microbial communities involved in enhanced biological phosphorus removal from wastewater--a model system in environmental biotechnology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nielsen, Per Halkjær; Saunders, Aaron Marc; Hansen, Aviaja Anna; Larsen, Poul; Nielsen, Jeppe Lund

    2012-06-01

    Enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) is one of the most advanced and complicated wastewater treatment processes applied today, and it is becoming increasingly popular worldwide as a sustainable way to remove and potentially reuse P. It is carried out by complex microbial communities consisting primarily of uncultured microorganisms. The EBPR process is a well-studied system with clearly defined boundaries which makes it very suitable as a model ecosystem in microbial ecology. Of particular importance are the transformations of C, N, and P, the solid-liquid separation properties and the functional and structural stability. A range of modern molecular methods has been used to study these communities in great detail including single cell microbiology, various -omics methods, flux analyses, and modeling making this one of the best studied microbial ecosystems so far. Recently, an EBPR core microbiome has been described and we present in this article some highlights and show how this complex microbial community can be used as model ecosystem in environmental biotechnology.

  18. Biologic

    CERN Document Server

    Kauffman, L H

    2002-01-01

    In this paper we explore the boundary between biology and the study of formal systems (logic). In the end, we arrive at a summary formalism, a chapter in "boundary mathematics" where there are not only containers but also extainers ><, entities open to interaction and distinguishing the space that they are not. The boundary algebra of containers and extainers is to biologic what boolean algebra is to classical logic. We show how this formalism encompasses significant parts of the logic of DNA replication, the Dirac formalism for quantum mechanics, formalisms for protein folding and the basic structure of the Temperley Lieb algebra at the foundations of topological invariants of knots and links.

  19. Diurnal rhythmicity in biological processes involved in bioavailability of functional food factors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsurusaki, Takashi; Sakakibara, Hiroyuki; Aoshima, Yoshiki; Yamazaki, Shunsuke; Sakono, Masanobu; Shimoi, Kayoko

    2013-05-01

    In the past few decades, many types of functional factors have been identified in dietary foods; for example, flavonoids are major groups widely distributed in the plant kingdom. However, the absorption rates of the functional food factors are usually low, and many of these are difficult to be absorbed in the intact forms because of metabolization by biological processes during absorption. To gain adequate beneficial effects, it is therefore mandatory to know whether functional food factors are absorbed in sufficient quantity, and then reach target organs while maintaining beneficial effects. These are the reasons why the bioavailability of functional food factors has been well investigated using rodent models. Recently, many of the biological processes have been reported to follow diurnal rhythms recurring every 24 h. Therefore, absorption and metabolism of functional food factors influenced by the biological processes may vary with time of day. Consequently, the evaluation of the bioavailability of functional food factors using rodent models should take into consideration the timing of consumption. In this review, we provide a perspective overview of the diurnal rhythm of biological processes involved in the bioavailability of functional food factors, particularly flavonoids.

  20. N-acylation of phosphatidylethanolamine and its biological functions in mammals

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wellner, Niels; Diep, Thi Ai; Janfelt, Christian;

    2013-01-01

    N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE) and N-acylplasmenylethanolamine (pNAPE) are widely found phospholipids, and they are precursors for N-acylethanolamines, a group of compounds that has a variety of biological effects and encompasses the endocannabinoid anandamide. NAPE and pNAPE are synthesiz...... reviews the metabolism, occurrence and assay of NAPE and pNAPE, and discusses the putative biological functions in mammals of these phospholipids. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Phospholipids and Phospholipid Metabolism....

  1. High-Resolution Gene Flow Model for Assessing Environmental Impacts of Transgene Escape Based on Biological Parameters and Wind Speed.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Lei; Haccou, Patsy; Lu, Bao-Rong

    2016-01-01

    Environmental impacts caused by transgene flow from genetically engineered (GE) crops to their wild relatives mediated by pollination are longstanding biosafety concerns worldwide. Mathematical modeling provides a useful tool for estimating frequencies of pollen-mediated gene flow (PMGF) that are critical for assessing such environmental impacts. However, most PMGF models are impractical for this purpose because their parameterization requires actual data from field experiments. In addition, most of these models are usually too general and ignored the important biological characteristics of concerned plant species; and therefore cannot provide accurate prediction for PMGF frequencies. It is necessary to develop more accurate PMGF models based on biological and climatic parameters that can be easily measured in situ. Here, we present a quasi-mechanistic PMGF model that only requires the input of biological and wind speed parameters without actual data from field experiments. Validation of the quasi-mechanistic model based on five sets of published data from field experiments showed significant correlations between the model-simulated and field experimental-generated PMGF frequencies. These results suggest accurate prediction for PMGF frequencies using this model, provided that the necessary biological parameters and wind speed data are available. This model can largely facilitate the assessment and management of environmental impacts caused by transgene flow, such as determining transgene flow frequencies at a particular spatial distance, and establishing spatial isolation between a GE crop and its coexisting non-GE counterparts and wild relatives.

  2. Interconnection of reactive oxygen species chemistry across the interfaces of atmospheric, environmental, and biological processes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anglada, Josep M; Martins-Costa, Marilia; Francisco, Joseph S; Ruiz-López, Manuel F

    2015-03-17

    Oxidation reactions are ubiquitous and play key roles in the chemistry of the atmosphere, in water treatment processes, and in aerobic organisms. Ozone (O3), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), hydrogen polyoxides (H2Ox, x > 2), associated hydroxyl and hydroperoxyl radicals (HOx = OH and HO2), and superoxide and ozonide anions (O2(-) and O3(-), respectively) are the primary oxidants in these systems. They are commonly classified as reactive oxygen species (ROS). Atmospheric chemistry is driven by a complex system of chain reactions of species, including nitrogen oxides, hydroxyl and hydroperoxide radicals, alkoxy and peroxy radicals, and ozone. HOx radicals contribute to keeping air clean, but in polluted areas, the ozone concentration increases and creates a negative impact on plants and animals. Indeed, ozone concentration is used to assess air quality worldwide. Clouds have a direct effect on the chemical composition of the atmosphere. On one hand, cloud droplets absorb many trace atmospheric gases, which can be scavenged by rain and fog. On the other hand, ionic species can form in this medium, which makes the chemistry of the atmosphere richer and more complex. Furthermore, recent studies have suggested that air-cloud interfaces might have a significant impact on the overall chemistry of the troposphere. Despite the large differences in molecular composition, concentration, and thermodynamic conditions among atmospheric, environmental, and biological systems, the underlying chemistry involving ROS has many similarities. In this Account, we examine ROS and discuss the chemical characteristics common to all of these systems. In water treatment, ROS are key components of an important subset of advanced oxidation processes. Ozonation, peroxone chemistry, and Fenton reactions play important roles in generating sufficient amounts of hydroxyl radicals to purify wastewater. Biochemical processes within living organisms also involve ROS. These species can come from pollutants in

  3. Antagonistic effects of biological invasion and environmental warming on detritus processing in freshwater ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kenna, Daniel; Fincham, William N W; Dunn, Alison M; Brown, Lee E; Hassall, Christopher

    2017-03-01

    Global biodiversity is threatened by multiple anthropogenic stressors but little is known about the combined effects of environmental warming and invasive species on ecosystem functioning. We quantified thermal preferences and then compared leaf-litter processing rates at eight different temperatures (5.0-22.5 °C) by the invasive freshwater crustacean Dikerogammarus villosus and the Great Britain native Gammarus pulex at a range of body sizes. D. villosus preferred warmer temperatures but there was considerable overlap in the range of temperatures that the two species occupied during preference trials. When matched for size, G. pulex had a greater leaf shredding efficiency than D. villosus, suggesting that invasion and subsequent displacement of the native amphipod will result in reduced ecosystem functioning. However, D. villosus is an inherently larger species and interspecific variation in shredding was reduced when animals of a representative size range were compared. D. villosus shredding rates increased at a faster rate than G. pulex with increasing temperature suggesting that climate change may offset some of the reduction in function. D. villosus, but not G. pulex, showed evidence of an ability to select those temperatures at which its shredding rate was maximised, and the activation energy for shredding in D. villosus was more similar to predictions from metabolic theory. While per capita and mass-corrected shredding rates were lower in the invasive D. villosus than the native G. pulex, our study provides novel insights in to how the interactive effects of metabolic function, body size, behavioural thermoregulation, and density produce antagonistic effects between anthropogenic stressors.

  4. Priority of TCM in Regulating Gene Function as a Whole Through Development of Modern Biology

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Hu zuo-wei; zhou yan-ping; Shen zi-yin

    2004-01-01

    Molecular Biology based on the DNA Double-helix structure has made great progress in 20 century.After Human Genome Project (HGP) completed, Molecular Biology is faced upon more and more challenges, andtake changes from protion concept to integration concept, from linear thinking to complicated thinking. so post-genomics, including functional genomics, proteomics, is gradually established. Among them, System Biology is themost prominent. It is becoming to tend to integration, and infiltrate to each other for the two thinking of genomeand TCM in studying life science, which reflect the inevitablility and importance of integration of TCM and West-ern Medicine. The priority of TCM in treatment as a whole, and regulating functional gene and functional networkmay take greater achievement in post - genomic time.

  5. 75 FR 28232 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment for a Biological Control Agent for Hemlock Woolly...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-05-20

    ... a biological control agent to reduce the severity of hemlock woolly adelgid infestations. We are... continental United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of hemlock woolly... releasing an insect, L. osakensis, into the continental United States for use as a biological control...

  6. 75 FR 64984 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment for a Biological Control Agent for Hawkweeds

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-21

    ... Assessment for a Biological Control Agent for Hawkweeds AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service... States as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of infestations of hawkweeds. We are making... subterminalis, into the continental United States for the biological control of hawkweeds (Hieracium...

  7. 76 FR 3076 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment for a Biological Control Agent for Air Potato

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-19

    ..., Lilioceris cheni, into the continental United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the..., Lilioceris cheni, into the continental United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the.... cheni, into the continental United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the...

  8. 75 FR 69396 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment for a Biological Control Agent for Arundo donax

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-11-12

    ... Assessment for a Biological Control Agent for Arundo donax AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service... a biological control agent to reduce the severity of Arundo donax infestations. We are making the... United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of Arundo donax...

  9. Graphical methods and Cold War scientific practice: the Stommel Diagram's intriguing journey from the physical to the biological environmental sciences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vance, Tiffany C; Doel, Ronald E

    2010-01-01

    In the last quarter of the twentieth century, an innovative three-dimensional graphical technique was introduced into biological oceanography and ecology, where it spread rapidly. Used to improve scientists' understanding of the importance of scale within oceanic ecosystems, this influential diagram addressed biological scales from phytoplankton to fish, physical scales from diurnal tides to ocean currents, and temporal scales from hours to ice ages. Yet the Stommel Diagram (named for physical oceanographer Henry Stommel, who created it in 1963) had not been devised to aid ecological investigations. Rather, Stommel intended it to help plan large-scale research programs in physical oceanography, particularly as Cold War research funding enabled a dramatic expansion of physical oceanography in the 1960s. Marine ecologists utilized the Stommel Diagram to enhance research on biological production in ocean environments, a key concern by the 1970s amid growing alarm about overfishing and ocean pollution. Before the end of the twentieth century, the diagram had become a significant tool within the discipline of ecology. Tracing the path that Stommel's graphical techniques traveled from the physical to the biological environmental sciences reveals a great deal about practices in these distinct research communities and their relative professional and institutional standings in the Cold War era. Crucial to appreciating the course of that path is an understanding of the divergent intellectual and social contexts of the physical versus the biological environmental sciences.

  10. Environmental and biological monitoring of arsenic in outdoor workers exposed to urban air pollutants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ciarrocca, Manuela; Tomei, Gianfranco; Palermo, Paola; Caciari, Tiziana; Cetica, Carlotta; Fiaschetti, Maria; Gioffrè, Pier Agostino; Tasciotti, Zaira; Tomei, Francesco; Sancini, Angela

    2012-11-01

    The aim of this study is to evaluate personal exposure to As in urban air in two groups of outdoor workers (traffic policemen and police drivers) of a big Italian city through: (a) environmental monitoring of As obtained by personal samples and (b) biological monitoring of total urinary As. The possible influence of smoking habit on urinary As was evaluated. We studied 122 male subjects, all Municipal Police employees: 84 traffic policemen and 38 police drivers exposed to urban pollutants. Personal exposure to As in air was significantly higher in traffic policemen than in police drivers (p=0.03). Mean age, length of service, alcohol drinking habit, number of cigarettes smoked/day and BMI were comparable between the groups of subjects studied. All subjects were working in the same urban area where they had lived for at least 5 yrs. Dietary habits and consumption of water from the water supply and/or mineral water were similar in traffic policemen and in police drivers. The values of total urinary As were significantly higher in traffic policemen (smokers and non smokers) than in police drivers (smokers and non smokers) (p=0.02). In the subgroup of non-smokers the values of total urinary As were significantly higher in traffic policemen than in police drivers (p=0.03). In traffic policemen and in police drivers total urinary As values were significantly correlated to the values of As in air (respectively r=0.9 and r=0.8, pstudying the exposure to As in outdoor workers occupationally exposed to urban pollutants, such as traffic policemen and police drivers. Personal exposure to As in the air, as well as the urinary excretion of As, is significantly higher in traffic policemen compared to drivers. These results can provide information about exposure to As in streets and in car for other categories of outdoor workers similarly exposed.

  11. "Reactive" optical sensor for Hg(2+) and its application in environmental aqueous media and biological systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Zhi; Chen, Jiayun; Pan, Dong; Li, Hongwei; Yao, Yunhui; Lyu, Zu; Yang, Liting; Ma, Li-Jun

    2017-03-01

    A new rhodamine B-based "reactive" optical sensor (1) for Hg(2+) was synthesized. Sensor 1 shows a unique colorimetric and fluorescent "turn-on" selectivity to Hg(2+) over 14 other metal ions with a hypersensitivity (detection limits are 27.6 nM (5.5 ppb) and 6.9 nM (1.4 ppb), respectively) in neutral buffer solution. To test its applicability in the environment, sensor 1 was applied to quantify and visualize low levels of Hg(2+) in tap water and river water samples. The results indicate sensor 1 is a highly sensitive fluorescent sensor for Hg(2+) with a detection limit of 1.7 ppb in tap water and river water. Moreover, sensor 1 is a convenient visualizing sensor for low levels of Hg(2+) (0.1 ppm) in water environment (from colorless to light pink). In addition, sensor 1 shows good potential as a fluorescent visualizing sensor for Hg(2+) in fetal bovine serum and living 293T cells. The results indicate that sensor 1 shows good potential as a highly sensitive sensor for the detection of Hg(2+) in environmental and biological samples. Graphical Abstract A new rhodamine B-based "reactive" optical sensor (1) for Hg(2+) was synthesized. 1 shows a unique colorimetric and fluorescent "turn-on" selectivity to Hg(2+) over 14 other metal ions with a hypersensitivity in water environment. And it is a convenient visualizing probe for low levels of Hg(2+) in environment aqueous media, fetal bovine serum and living 293T cells.

  12. Evaluation of exposure to PAHs in asphalt workers by environmental and biological monitoring.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campo, Laura; Buratti, Marina; Fustinoni, Silvia; Cirla, Piero E; Martinotti, Irene; Longhi, Omar; Cavallo, Domenico; Foà, Vito

    2006-09-01

    In the present article we assessed exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Italian asphalt workers (AW, n = 100), exposed to bitumen fumes and diesel exhausts, and in roadside construction workers (CW, n = 47), exposed to diesel exhausts, by means of environmental and biological monitoring. 1-hydroxypyrene (OH-Py) was determined in urine spot samples collected, respectively, after 2 days of vacation (baseline), before, and at the end of the monitored work shift, in the second part of the workweek. Median airborne levels during the work shift of 15 PAHs (both vapor and particulate phases), from naphthalene (NAP) to indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene, ranged from below 0.03 to 426 ng/m(3). Median excretion values of OH-Py in baseline, before- and end-shift samples were 228, 402, and 690 ng/L for AW and 260, 304, and 378 ng/L for CW. Lower values were found in nonsmokers compared to smokers (e.g., in AW 565 and 781 versus 252 and 506 ng/L in before-shift and end-shift samples, respectively). In all subjects a weak correlation between personal exposure to the sum of airborne 15 PAHs and OH-Py was observed (r = 0.30). The results of this article show that AW experienced a moderate occupational exposure to airborne PAHs, resulting in a significant increase of urinary OH-Py during the workday and the workweek. The contribution of working activities to internal dose was in the same order of magnitude of the contribution of cigarette smoking.

  13. Phytoplankton biomass dynamics and environmental variables around the Rocas Atoll Biological Reserve, South Atlantic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marina Cavalcanti Jales

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract The Rocas Atoll Biological Reserve is located in the Atlantic Ocean, at 3º 51' S and 33º 49' W. It lies 143 nautical miles from the City of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil. The purpose of this study was to analyze the hydrology, water masses, currents and chlorophyll a content to determine the dynamics of phytoplankton biomass around the Rocas Atoll. Samples were collected in July 2010 in the area around the Atoll, using the Research Vessel Cruzeiro do Sul of the Brazilian Navy. Two transects were established according to the surface currents, one of which at the southeast of the Atoll (SE and the other at norwest (NW. Three collection points were determined on each of these transects. Samples were collected at different depths (surface and DCM - Deep Chlorophyll Maximum and different times (day and night. According to PCA (Principal Component Analysis, the nutrients analyzed, DIN (dissolved inorganic nitrogen, DIP (dissolved inorganic phosphorus and silicate, were inversely correlated with temperature and dissolved oxygen. Most environmental variables showed a significant increase due to the turbulence on the Northwest transect. There was an increase in the concentration of chlorophyll a and nutrients when the temperature and oxygen in the mixed layer was reduced due to the influence of the SACW (South Atlantic Central Water. Despite the increase observed in some variables such as nutrient salts and chlorophyll a, the temperature in the mixed layer attained a mean value of 23.23 ºC due to the predominance of Tropical Water. The increase of the phytoplankton biomass on the NW transect was, therefore, caused by the "island effect" and not by upwelling.

  14. Variation of Phenolic Content in Globe Artichoke in Relation to Biological, Technical and Environmental Factors

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Giovanni Mauromicale

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available In Italy, globe artichoke production is prevailingly concentrated in the South and islands, where it provides an important contribution to the agricultural economy. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in this crop as a promising source of polyphenols, a heterogeneous class of secondary metabolites characterized by various healthy properties well-documented in literature. The phenolic fraction, present in the different artichoke plant parts, varies widely in relation to biotic and abiotic factors. Therefore, the present study aimed at evaluating the variation of phenolic content in globe artichoke in relation to biological, technical and environmental factors. Two field-experiments were carried out in Sicily (South Italy in two representative cultivation areas, in order to examine the effects of genotype, head fraction, season conditions, planting density and arrangement on the globe artichoke phenolic concentration. Both the total polyphenols and the individual phenolic compounds detected were notably genotype- dependent. Particularly, the high level of caffeoylquinic acids (chlorogenic acid, among others and apigenin 7- O-glucuronide, reported respectively by “Violetto di Sicilia” and “Romanesco clone C3”, could be used to encourage globe artichoke fresh consumption. Total polyphenols content also resulted more abundant in specific accumulation sites within the inflorescence, such as the floral stem and receptacle, and for most of genotypes it decreased during the second year in response to the different meteorological conditions. Additionally, total polyphenols content significantly and linearly increased as plant density increased from 1.0 to 1.8 plant m-2 and it significantly increased by 13% passing from single to twin rows plant arrangement.

  15. BeeSpace Navigator: exploratory analysis of gene function using semantic indexing of biological literature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sen Sarma, Moushumi; Arcoleo, David; Khetani, Radhika S; Chee, Brant; Ling, Xu; He, Xin; Jiang, Jing; Mei, Qiaozhu; Zhai, ChengXiang; Schatz, Bruce

    2011-07-01

    With the rapid decrease in cost of genome sequencing, the classification of gene function is becoming a primary problem. Such classification has been performed by human curators who read biological literature to extract evidence. BeeSpace Navigator is a prototype software for exploratory analysis of gene function using biological literature. The software supports an automatic analogue of the curator process to extract functions, with a simple interface intended for all biologists. Since extraction is done on selected collections that are semantically indexed into conceptual spaces, the curation can be task specific. Biological literature containing references to gene lists from expression experiments can be analyzed to extract concepts that are computational equivalents of a classification such as Gene Ontology, yielding discriminating concepts that differentiate gene mentions from other mentions. The functions of individual genes can be summarized from sentences in biological literature, to produce results resembling a model organism database entry that is automatically computed. Statistical frequency analysis based on literature phrase extraction generates offline semantic indexes to support these gene function services. The website with BeeSpace Navigator is free and open to all; there is no login requirement at www.beespace.illinois.edu for version 4. Materials from the 2010 BeeSpace Software Training Workshop are available at www.beespace.illinois.edu/bstwmaterials.php.

  16. Random regression models for the estimation of genetic and environmental covariance functions for growth traits in Santa Ines sheep.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sarmento, J L R; Torres, R A; Sousa, W H; Lôbo, R N B; Albuquerque, L G; Lopes, P S; Santos, N P S; Bignard, A B

    2016-01-01

    Polynomial functions of different orders were used to model random effects associated with weight of Santa Ines sheep from birth to 196 days. Fixed effects included in the models were contemporary groups, age of ewe at lambing, and fourth-order Legendre polynomials for age to represent the average growth curve. In the random part, functions of different orders were included to model variances associated with direct additive and maternal genetic effects and with permanent environmental effects of the animal and mother. Residual variance was fitted by a sixth-order ordinary polynomial for age. The higher the order of the functions, the better the model fit the data. According to the Akaike information criterion and likelihood ratio test, a continuous function of order, five, five, seven, and three for direct additive genetic, maternal genetic, animal permanent environmental, and maternal permanent environmental effects (k = 5573), respectively, was sufficient to model changes in (co)variances with age. However, a more parsimonious model of order three, three, five, and three (k = 3353) was suggested based on Schwarz's Bayesian information criterion for the same effects. Since it was a more flexible model, model k = 5573 provided inconsistent genetic parameter estimates when compared to the biologically expected result. Predicted breeding values obtained with models k = 3353 and k = 5573 differed, especially at young ages. Model k = 3353 adequately fit changes in variances and covariances with time, and may be used to describe changes in variances with age in the Santa Ines sheep studied.

  17. Environmental assessment of nutrient recycling from biological pig slurry treatment--impact of fertilizer substitution and field emissions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brockmann, Doris; Hanhoun, Mary; Négri, Ophélie; Hélias, Arnaud

    2014-07-01

    Pig slurry treatment is an important means in reducing nitrogen loads applied to farmland. Solid phase separation prior to biological treatment further allows for recovering phosphorus with the solid phase. The organic residues from the pig slurry treatment can be applied as organic fertilizers to farmland replacing mineral fertilizers. The environmental impacts of nutrient recycling from aerobic, biological pig slurry treatment were evaluated applying the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. LCA results revealed that direct field emissions from organic fertilizer application and the amount of avoided mineral fertilizers dominated the environmental impacts. A modified plant available nitrogen calculation (PAN) was introduced taking into account calculated nitrogen emissions from organic fertilizer application. Additionally, an equation for calculating the quantity of avoided mineral fertilizers based on the modified PAN calculation was proposed, which accounted for nitrogen emissions from mineral fertilizer application.

  18. Handheld hyperspectral imager system for chemical/biological and environmental applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinnrichs, Michele; Piatek, Bob

    2004-08-01

    A small, hand held, battery operated imaging infrared spectrometer, Sherlock, has been developed by Pacific Advanced Technology and was field tested in early 2003. The Sherlock spectral imaging camera has been designed for remote gas leak detection, however, the architecture of the camera is versatile enough that it can be applied to numerous other applications such as homeland security, chemical/biological agent detection, medical and pharmaceutical applications as well as standard research and development. This paper describes the Sherlock camera, theory of operations, shows current applications and touches on potential future applications for the camera. The Sherlock has an embedded Power PC and performs real-time-image processing function in an embedded FPGA. The camera has a built in LCD display as well as output to a standard monitor, or NTSC display. It has several I/O ports, ethernet, firewire, RS232 and thus can be easily controlled from a remote location. In addition, software upgrades can be performed over the ethernet eliminating the need to send the camera back to the factory for a retrofit. Using the USB port a mouse and key board can be connected and the camera can be used in a laboratory environment as a stand alone imaging spectrometer.

  19. Thermal biology of Phymaturus lizards: evolutionary constraints or lack of environmental variation?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cruz, Felix B; Belver, Luciana; Acosta, Juan C; Villavicencio, Héctor J; Blanco, Graciela; Cánovas, Maria G

    2009-01-01

    Several aspects of the biology of Phymaturus lizards including their herbivorous diet, specialized microhabitat use, and viviparous reproductive mode are highly conserved within the group. Here, we explore two aspects of Phymaturus thermal biology and test for the co-evolution among aspects of the thermal biology in these lizards, such as thermal preferenda and critical temperatures. Secondly, we explore correlations among variation in thermal biology with elevation and latitude. To do so, we used phylogenetically based comparative analyses (PCM) together with conventional statistics. Our results show that thermal biology for Phymaturus is conservative and our data do not suggest the co-evolution of thermal variables. Moreover, we detected low levels of variation in the thermal parameters studied, and no clear relationships between climatic and thermal variables. As a significant association between climatic and thermal variables could be demonstrated for a set of syntopic Liolaemus lizards, we suggest that thermal biology in Phymaturus lizards may be evolutionarily or ecologically constrained.

  20. Strategies for quantifying C60 fullerenes in environmental and biological samples and implications for studies in environmental health and ecotoxicology

    OpenAIRE

    Pycke, Benny F. G.; Benn, Troy M.; Herckes, Pierre; Westerhoff, Paul; Halden, Rolf U.

    2011-01-01

    Fullerenes are sphere-like molecules with unique physico-chemical properties, which render them of particular interest in biomedical research, consumer products and industrial applications. Human and environmental exposure to fullerenes is not a new phenomenon, due to a long history of hydrocarbon-combustion sources, and will only increase in the future, as incorporation of fullerenes into consumer products becomes more widespread for use as anti-aging, anti-bacterial or anti-apoptotic agents.

  1. Functional genomics bridges the gap between quantitative genetics and molecular biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lappalainen, Tuuli

    2015-10-01

    Deep characterization of molecular function of genetic variants in the human genome is becoming increasingly important for understanding genetic associations to disease and for learning to read the regulatory code of the genome. In this paper, I discuss how recent advances in both quantitative genetics and molecular biology have contributed to understanding functional effects of genetic variants, lessons learned from eQTL studies, and future challenges in this field.

  2. Integrated omics for the identification of key functionalities in biological wastewater treatment microbial communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Narayanasamy, Shaman; Muller, Emilie E L; Sheik, Abdul R; Wilmes, Paul

    2015-05-01

    Biological wastewater treatment plants harbour diverse and complex microbial communities which prominently serve as models for microbial ecology and mixed culture biotechnological processes. Integrated omic analyses (combined metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics and metabolomics) are currently gaining momentum towards providing enhanced understanding of community structure, function and dynamics in situ as well as offering the potential to discover novel biological functionalities within the framework of Eco-Systems Biology. The integration of information from genome to metabolome allows the establishment of associations between genetic potential and final phenotype, a feature not realizable by only considering single 'omes'. Therefore, in our opinion, integrated omics will become the future standard for large-scale characterization of microbial consortia including those underpinning biological wastewater treatment processes. Systematically obtained time and space-resolved omic datasets will allow deconvolution of structure-function relationships by identifying key members and functions. Such knowledge will form the foundation for discovering novel genes on a much larger scale compared with previous efforts. In general, these insights will allow us to optimize microbial biotechnological processes either through better control of mixed culture processes or by use of more efficient enzymes in bioengineering applications.

  3. Determining the impacts of trawling on benthic function in European waters : a biological traits approach

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bolam, Stefan; Kenny, Andrew; Garcia, Clement;

    on benthic ecosystem functioning over much larger spatial scales than previously undertaken. Biological traits information from 887 stations across European waters (Norwegian, UK, Belgian, Dutch, Danish waters, the Mediterranean and Black Sea) were analysed to: i) quantify the relationships between infaunal...

  4. Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca variations in environmental and biological sources: A survey of marine and terrestrial systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peek, Stephanie; Clementz, Mark T.

    2012-10-01

    The relative concentrations of strontium to calcium (Sr/Ca) and barium to calcium (Ba/Ca) in mammalian bioapatite are common biogeochemical indicators for trophic level and/or dietary preferences in terrestrial foodwebs; however, similar research in marine foodwebs is lacking. This study combined environmental and biological Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca data from both terrestrial and marine settings from 62 published books, reports, and studies along with original data collected from 149 marine mammals (30 species) and 83 prey items (18 species) and found that variations in Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios of biological and environmental samples are appreciably different in terrestrial and marine systems. In terrestrial systems, environmental sources account for most of the variations in Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios. In contrast, environmental sources in marine systems (i.e., seawater) are comparatively invariant, meaning most of the variations in Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios originate from biological processes. Marine consumers, particularly non-mammalian and mammalian vertebrates, show evidence of biopurification of Ca relative to Sr and Ba, similar to what is observed in terrestrial systems; however, unlike terrestrial systems, variations in Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios of environmental sources are overprinted by bioaccumulation of Sr and Ba at the base of marine foodwebs. This demonstrates that in marine systems, spatial or temporal differences may have little to no effect on Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios of marine vertebrates, making Sr/Ca, and to a lesser extent Ba/Ca, potentially useful global proxies for trophic level and dietary preferences of marine vertebrates.

  5. Applications of synchrotron μ-XRF to study the distribution of biologically important elements in different environmental matrices: a review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Majumdar, Sanghamitra; Peralta-Videa, Jose R; Castillo-Michel, Hiram; Hong, Jie; Rico, Cyren M; Gardea-Torresdey, Jorge L

    2012-11-28

    Environmental matrices including soils, sediments, and living organisms are reservoirs of several essential as well as non-essential elements. Accurate qualitative and quantitative information on the distribution and interaction of biologically significant elements is vital to understand the role of these elements in environmental and biological samples. Synchrotron micro-X-ray fluorescence (μ-SXRF) allows in situ mapping of biologically important elements at nanometer to sub-micrometer scale with high sensitivity, negligible sample damage and enable tuning of the incident energy as desired. Beamlines in the synchrotron facilities are rapidly increasing their analytical versatility in terms of focusing optics, detector technologies, incident energy, and sample environment. Although extremely competitive, it is now feasible to find stations offering complimentary techniques like micro-X-ray diffraction (μ-XRD) and micro-X-ray absorption spectroscopy (μ-XAS) that will allow a more complete characterization of complex matrices. This review includes the most recent literature on the emerging applications and challenges of μ-SXRF in studying the distribution of biologically important elements and manufactured nanoparticles in soils, sediments, plants, and microbes. The advantages of using μ-SXRF and complimentary techniques in contrast to conventional techniques used for the respective studies are discussed.

  6. Functional annotation of the vlinc class of non-coding RNAs using systems biology approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    St Laurent, Georges; Vyatkin, Yuri; Antonets, Denis; Ri, Maxim; Qi, Yao; Saik, Olga; Shtokalo, Dmitry; de Hoon, Michiel J L; Kawaji, Hideya; Itoh, Masayoshi; Lassmann, Timo; Arner, Erik; Forrest, Alistair R R; Nicolas, Estelle; McCaffrey, Timothy A; Carninci, Piero; Hayashizaki, Yoshihide; Wahlestedt, Claes; Kapranov, Philipp

    2016-04-20

    Functionality of the non-coding transcripts encoded by the human genome is the coveted goal of the modern genomics research. While commonly relied on the classical methods of forward genetics, integration of different genomics datasets in a global Systems Biology fashion presents a more productive avenue of achieving this very complex aim. Here we report application of a Systems Biology-based approach to dissect functionality of a newly identified vast class of very long intergenic non-coding (vlinc) RNAs. Using highly quantitative FANTOM5 CAGE dataset, we show that these RNAs could be grouped into 1542 novel human genes based on analysis of insulators that we show here indeed function as genomic barrier elements. We show that vlinc RNAs genes likely function in cisto activate nearby genes. This effect while most pronounced in closely spaced vlinc RNA-gene pairs can be detected over relatively large genomic distances. Furthermore, we identified 101 vlinc RNA genes likely involved in early embryogenesis based on patterns of their expression and regulation. We also found another 109 such genes potentially involved in cellular functions also happening at early stages of development such as proliferation, migration and apoptosis. Overall, we show that Systems Biology-based methods have great promise for functional annotation of non-coding RNAs.

  7. Multiclass mycotoxin analysis in food, environmental and biological matrices with chromatography/mass spectrometry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Capriotti, Anna Laura; Caruso, Giuseppe; Cavaliere, Chiara; Foglia, Patrizia; Samperi, Roberto; Laganà, Aldo

    2012-01-01

    . Sample handling is a crucial step to devise a multiclass analytical method; so when possible, it has been treated separately for a better comparison before tackling the instrumental part of the whole analytical method. This structure has resulted sometimes in unavoidable redundancies, because it was also important to underline the interconnection. Most reviews do not deal with all the possible mycotoxin sources, including the environmental ones. The focus of this review is the analytical methods based on MS for multimycotoxin class determination. Because the final purpose to devise multimycotoxin analysis should be the assessment of the danger to health of exposition to multitoxicants of natural origin (and possibly also the interaction with anthropogenic contaminants), therefore also the analytical methods for environmental relevant mycotoxins have been thoroughly reviewed. Finally, because the best way to shed light on actual risk assessment could be the individuation of exposure biomarkers, the review covers also the scarce literature on biological fluids.

  8. To be well - to function well. Health biology at Copenhagen University

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rosenkilde, Per

    1995-01-01

    Human Fysiologi, Health biology, Public health, Biology Curriculum, University curriculum, Health promotion.......Human Fysiologi, Health biology, Public health, Biology Curriculum, University curriculum, Health promotion....

  9. Functional Genomics Assistant (FUGA: a toolbox for the analysis of complex biological networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ouzounis Christos A

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Cellular constituents such as proteins, DNA, and RNA form a complex web of interactions that regulate biochemical homeostasis and determine the dynamic cellular response to external stimuli. It follows that detailed understanding of these patterns is critical for the assessment of fundamental processes in cell biology and pathology. Representation and analysis of cellular constituents through network principles is a promising and popular analytical avenue towards a deeper understanding of molecular mechanisms in a system-wide context. Findings We present Functional Genomics Assistant (FUGA - an extensible and portable MATLAB toolbox for the inference of biological relationships, graph topology analysis, random network simulation, network clustering, and functional enrichment statistics. In contrast to conventional differential expression analysis of individual genes, FUGA offers a framework for the study of system-wide properties of biological networks and highlights putative molecular targets using concepts of systems biology. Conclusion FUGA offers a simple and customizable framework for network analysis in a variety of systems biology applications. It is freely available for individual or academic use at http://code.google.com/p/fuga.

  10. A biomimetic functionalization approach to integration of carbon nanoutbes into biological systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Xing; Tam, Un Chong; Bertozzi, Carolyn; Zettl, Alex

    2006-03-01

    Due to their remarkable structural, electrical, and mechanical properties, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have potential applications in biology ranging from imaging and tissue engineering. To realize these applications, however, new strategies for controlling the interaction between CNTs and biological systems such as proteins and cells are required. Here we describe a biomimetic approach to functionalize CNTs and therefore render them biocompatibility in order to facilitate their integration into biological systems. CNTs were coated with synthetic gycopolymers that mimic cell surface mucin gycoproteins. The functionalized CNTs were soluble in water, resisted non-specific protein binding and bound specifically to biomolecules. The coated CNTs could then be integrated onto mammalian cell surface by virtue of glycan-receptor interactions. Furthermore, the functionalized CNTs are non-toxic to cells. This strategy offers new opportunities for development of biosensor to probe biological processes. References: 1. X. Chen, G. S. Lee, A. Zettl, C. R. Bertozzi, Angewandte Chemie-International Edition 43, 6111 (2004). 2. X. Chen, U. C. Tam, J. L. Czlapanski, G. S. Lee, D. Rabuka, A. Zettl, C. R. Bertozzi, submitted.

  11. The functional biology and trophic role of krill (Thysanoessa raschii) in a Greenlandic fjord

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Agersted, Mette Dalgaard; Nielsen, Torkel Gissel; Munk, Peter

    2011-01-01

    Despite being a key zooplankton group, knowledge on krill biology from the Arctic is inadequate. The present study examine the functional biology and evaluate the trophic role of krill in the GodthAyenbsfjord (64 degrees N, 51 degrees W) SW Greenland, through a combination of fieldwork...... ration of 1% body C d(-1). Furthermore, T. raschii was capable of exploiting plankton cells from 5 to 400 mu m, covering several trophic levels of the pelagic food web. The calculated grazing impact by T. raschii on the fjord plankton community was negligible. However, the schooling and migratory...

  12. Recent advances in alveolar biology: Evolution and function of alveolar proteins

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Orgeig, S.; Hiemstra, P.S.; Veldhuizen, E.J.A.; Casals, C.; Clark, H.W.; Hackzu, A.; Knudsen, L.; Possmayer, F.

    2010-01-01

    This review is focused on the evolution and function of alveolar proteins. The lung faces physical and environmental challenges, due to changing pressures/volumes and foreign pathogens, respectively. The pulmonary surfactant system is integral in protecting the lung from these challenges via two gro

  13. A biologically inspired psychometric function for accuracy of visual identification as a function of exposure duration

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Petersen, Anders; Andersen, Tobias

    in modelling human performance in whole and partial report tasks in which multiple simultaneously presented letters are to be reported (Shibuya & Bundesen, 1988). Therefore, we investigated visual letter identification as a function of exposure duration. On each trial, a single randomly chosen letter (A......The psychometric function of letter identification is typically described as a function of stimulus intensity. However, the effect of stimulus exposure duration on letter identification remains poorly described. This is surprising because the effect of exposure duration has played a central role......-Z) was presented at the centre of the screen. Exposure duration was varied from 5 to 210 milliseconds. The letter was followed by a pattern mask. Three subjects each completed 54,080 trials in a 26-Alternative Forced Choice procedure. We compared the exponential, the gamma and the Weibull psychometric functions...

  14. Closure, function, emergence, semiosis, and life: the same idea? Reflections on the concrete and the abstract in theoretical biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emmeche, C

    2000-01-01

    In this note epistemological problems in general theories about living systems are considered; in particular, the question of hidden connections between different areas of experience, such as folk biology and scientific biology, and hidden connections between central concepts of theoretical biology, such as function, semiosis, closure, and life.

  15. Subjective Theories of Indonesian Agronomy and Biology Teacher Students on Environmental Commons Dilemmas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koch, Sebastian; Barkmann, Jan; Sundawati, Leti; Bogeholz, Susanne

    2013-01-01

    Fostering the cognitive skills to analyse environmental "commons dilemmas" is an urgent task of environmental education globally. Commons dilemmas are characterised by structural incentives to overexploit a natural resource; their solution is particularly pressing in threatened biodiversity "hotspot" areas. Solutions to these…

  16. Environmental Health and Aging: Activity, Exposure and Biological Models to Improve Risk Assessment and Health Promotion

    Science.gov (United States)

    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other public health agencies are concerned that the environmental health of America’s growing population of older adults has not been taken into consideration in current approaches to risk assessment. The reduced capacity to respo...

  17. 77 FR 46373 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment for a Biological Control Agent for Hemlock Woolly...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-08-03

    ..., abortion of buds, and the eventual death of infested trees. Four predatory beetles have been introduced to... woolly adelgid. The environmental assessment considers the effects of, and alternatives to, the release... United States. APHIS' review and analysis of the potential environmental effects associated with...

  18. Ecological risk assessment in the function of environmental protection

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saša T. Bakrač

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available This paper proposes an appropriate methodology for ecological risk assessment. The methodology has been applied in the region of Boka Kotorska Bay (Bay, Montenegro. The emphasis of the research is on the analysis of the impact of various stressors on the ecological components of Bay. The consequences of that impact can be seen in an increased level of eutrophication of water environment, mostly through the influence of nitrogen and its compounds. The actual research at/about the region of Boka Kotorska Bay was performed in the period of 2008. The study emphasized the importance of the acquisition, processing and analysis of various ecologically related data for more efficient monitoring and management of the environment. The suggested methodology of the ecological risk assessment is, therefore, a remarkable scientific and expert contribution in the area of environmental protection in our country and in general.

  19. Genetic and Environmental Basis in Phenotype Correlation Between Physical Function and Cognition in Aging Chinese Twins

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Xu, Chunsheng; Zhang, Dongfeng; Tian, Xiaocao;

    2017-01-01

    for cognition with handgrip strength, FTSST, near visual acuity, and number of teeth lost. Cognitive function was genetically related to pulmonary function. The FTSST and cognition shared almost the same common environmental factors but only part of the unique environmental factors, both with negative......Although the correlation between cognition and physical function has been well studied in the general population, the genetic and environmental nature of the correlation has been rarely investigated. We conducted a classical twin analysis on cognitive and physical function, including forced...... expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), handgrip strength, five-times-sit-to-stand test (FTSST), near visual acuity, and number of teeth lost in 379 complete twin pairs. Bivariate twin models were fitted to estimate the genetic and environmental correlation between physical...

  20. 2012 best practices for repositories collection, storage, retrieval, and distribution of biological materials for research international society for biological and environmental repositories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-04-01

    Third Edition [Formula: see text] [Box: see text] Printed with permission from the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) © 2011 ISBER All Rights Reserved Editor-in-Chief Lori D. Campbell, PhD Associate Editors Fay Betsou, PhD Debra Leiolani Garcia, MPA Judith G. Giri, PhD Karen E. Pitt, PhD Rebecca S. Pugh, MS Katherine C. Sexton, MBA Amy P.N. Skubitz, PhD Stella B. Somiari, PhD Individual Contributors to the Third Edition Jonas Astrin, Susan Baker, Thomas J. Barr, Erica Benson, Mark Cada, Lori Campbell, Antonio Hugo Jose Froes Marques Campos, David Carpentieri, Omoshile Clement, Domenico Coppola, Yvonne De Souza, Paul Fearn, Kelly Feil, Debra Garcia, Judith Giri, William E. Grizzle, Kathleen Groover, Keith Harding, Edward Kaercher, Joseph Kessler, Sarah Loud, Hannah Maynor, Kevin McCluskey, Kevin Meagher, Cheryl Michels, Lisa Miranda, Judy Muller-Cohn, Rolf Muller, James O'Sullivan, Karen Pitt, Rebecca Pugh, Rivka Ravid, Katherine Sexton, Ricardo Luis A. Silva, Frank Simione, Amy Skubitz, Stella Somiari, Frans van der Horst, Gavin Welch, Andy Zaayenga 2012 Best Practices for Repositories: Collection, Storage, Retrieval and Distribution of Biological Materials for Research INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL REPOSITORIES (ISBER) INTRODUCTION T he availability of high quality biological and environmental specimens for research purposes requires the development of standardized methods for collection, long-term storage, retrieval and distribution of specimens that will enable their future use. Sharing successful strategies for accomplishing this goal is one of the driving forces for the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER). For more information about ISBER see www.isber.org . ISBER's Best Practices for Repositories (Best Practices) reflect the collective experience of its members and has received broad input from other repository professionals. Throughout this document

  1. The bottom-up approach to defining life : deciphering the functional organization of biological cells via multi-objective representation of biological complexity from molecules to cells

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sathish ePeriyasamy

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available In silico representation of cellular systems needs to represent the adaptive dynamics of biological cells, recognizing a cell’s multi-objective topology formed by spatially and temporally cohesive intracellular structures. The design of these models needs to address the hierarchical and concurrent nature of cellular functions and incorporate the ability to self-organise in response to transitions between healthy and pathological phases, and adapt accordingly. The functions of biological systems are constantly evolving, due to the ever changing demands of their environment. Biological systems meet these demands by pursuing objectives, aided by their constituents, giving rise to biological functions. A biological cell is organised into an objective/task hierarchy. These objective hierarchy corresponds to the nested nature of temporally cohesive structures and representing them will facilitate in studying pleiotropy and polygeny by modeling causalities propagating across multiple interconnected intracellular processes. Although biological adaptations occur in physiological, developmental and reproductive timescales, the paper is focused on adaptations that occur within physiological timescales, where the biomolecular activities contributing to functional organisation, play a key role in cellular physiology. The paper proposes a multi-scale and multi-objective modelling approach from the bottom-up by representing temporally cohesive structures for multi-tasking of intracellular processes. Further the paper characterises the properties and constraints that are consequential to the organisational and adaptive dynamics in biological cells.

  2. Environmental Contaminants Monitoring in Selected Wetlands of Wyoming: Biologically Active Elements Study

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Sediment, water and biota were collected from selected wetlands in Wyoming for the Biologically Active Elements (BAE) Study in 1988, 1989 and 1990 to identify...

  3. The Widespread Prevalence and Functional Significance of Silk-Like Structural Proteins in Metazoan Biological Materials

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDougall, Carmel; Woodcroft, Ben J.

    2016-01-01

    In nature, numerous mechanisms have evolved by which organisms fabricate biological structures with an impressive array of physical characteristics. Some examples of metazoan biological materials include the highly elastic byssal threads by which bivalves attach themselves to rocks, biomineralized structures that form the skeletons of various animals, and spider silks that are renowned for their exceptional strength and elasticity. The remarkable properties of silks, which are perhaps the best studied biological materials, are the result of the highly repetitive, modular, and biased amino acid composition of the proteins that compose them. Interestingly, similar levels of modularity/repetitiveness and similar bias in amino acid compositions have been reported in proteins that are components of structural materials in other organisms, however the exact nature and extent of this similarity, and its functional and evolutionary relevance, is unknown. Here, we investigate this similarity and use sequence features common to silks and other known structural proteins to develop a bioinformatics-based method to identify similar proteins from large-scale transcriptome and whole-genome datasets. We show that a large number of proteins identified using this method have roles in biological material formation throughout the animal kingdom. Despite the similarity in sequence characteristics, most of the silk-like structural proteins (SLSPs) identified in this study appear to have evolved independently and are restricted to a particular animal lineage. Although the exact function of many of these SLSPs is unknown, the apparent independent evolution of proteins with similar sequence characteristics in divergent lineages suggests that these features are important for the assembly of biological materials. The identification of these characteristics enable the generation of testable hypotheses regarding the mechanisms by which these proteins assemble and direct the construction of

  4. The Widespread Prevalence and Functional Significance of Silk-Like Structural Proteins in Metazoan Biological Materials.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDougall, Carmel; Woodcroft, Ben J; Degnan, Bernard M

    2016-01-01

    In nature, numerous mechanisms have evolved by which organisms fabricate biological structures with an impressive array of physical characteristics. Some examples of metazoan biological materials include the highly elastic byssal threads by which bivalves attach themselves to rocks, biomineralized structures that form the skeletons of various animals, and spider silks that are renowned for their exceptional strength and elasticity. The remarkable properties of silks, which are perhaps the best studied biological materials, are the result of the highly repetitive, modular, and biased amino acid composition of the proteins that compose them. Interestingly, similar levels of modularity/repetitiveness and similar bias in amino acid compositions have been reported in proteins that are components of structural materials in other organisms, however the exact nature and extent of this similarity, and its functional and evolutionary relevance, is unknown. Here, we investigate this similarity and use sequence features common to silks and other known structural proteins to develop a bioinformatics-based method to identify similar proteins from large-scale transcriptome and whole-genome datasets. We show that a large number of proteins identified using this method have roles in biological material formation throughout the animal kingdom. Despite the similarity in sequence characteristics, most of the silk-like structural proteins (SLSPs) identified in this study appear to have evolved independently and are restricted to a particular animal lineage. Although the exact function of many of these SLSPs is unknown, the apparent independent evolution of proteins with similar sequence characteristics in divergent lineages suggests that these features are important for the assembly of biological materials. The identification of these characteristics enable the generation of testable hypotheses regarding the mechanisms by which these proteins assemble and direct the construction of

  5. The Widespread Prevalence and Functional Significance of Silk-Like Structural Proteins in Metazoan Biological Materials.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carmel McDougall

    Full Text Available In nature, numerous mechanisms have evolved by which organisms fabricate biological structures with an impressive array of physical characteristics. Some examples of metazoan biological materials include the highly elastic byssal threads by which bivalves attach themselves to rocks, biomineralized structures that form the skeletons of various animals, and spider silks that are renowned for their exceptional strength and elasticity. The remarkable properties of silks, which are perhaps the best studied biological materials, are the result of the highly repetitive, modular, and biased amino acid composition of the proteins that compose them. Interestingly, similar levels of modularity/repetitiveness and similar bias in amino acid compositions have been reported in proteins that are components of structural materials in other organisms, however the exact nature and extent of this similarity, and its functional and evolutionary relevance, is unknown. Here, we investigate this similarity and use sequence features common to silks and other known structural proteins to develop a bioinformatics-based method to identify similar proteins from large-scale transcriptome and whole-genome datasets. We show that a large number of proteins identified using this method have roles in biological material formation throughout the animal kingdom. Despite the similarity in sequence characteristics, most of the silk-like structural proteins (SLSPs identified in this study appear to have evolved independently and are restricted to a particular animal lineage. Although the exact function of many of these SLSPs is unknown, the apparent independent evolution of proteins with similar sequence characteristics in divergent lineages suggests that these features are important for the assembly of biological materials. The identification of these characteristics enable the generation of testable hypotheses regarding the mechanisms by which these proteins assemble and direct the

  6. Fundamental and functional aspects of mesoscopic architectures with examples in physics, cell biology, and chemistry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kalay, Ziya

    2011-08-01

    How small can a macroscopic object be made without losing its intended function? Obviously, the smallest possible size is determined by the size of an atom, but it is not so obvious how many atoms are required to assemble an object so small, and yet that performs the same function as its macroscopic counterpart. In this review, we are concerned with objects of intermediate nature, lying between the microscopic and the macroscopic world. In physics and chemistry literature, this regime in-between is often called mesoscopic, and is known to bear interesting and counterintuitive features. After a brief introduction to the concept of mesoscopic systems from the perspective of physics, we discuss the functional aspects of mesoscopic architectures in cell biology, and supramolecular chemistry through many examples from the literature. We argue that the biochemistry of the cell is largely regulated by mesoscopic functional architectures; however, the significance of mesoscopic phenomena seems to be quite underappreciated in biological sciences. With this motivation, one of our main purposes here is to emphasize the critical role that mesoscopic structures play in cell biology and biochemistry.

  7. Functionalized membranes for environmental remediation and selective separation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Li

    Membrane process including microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) have provided numerous successful applications ranging from drinking water purification, wastewater treatment, to material recovery. The addition of functional moiety in the membranes pores allows such membranes to be used in challenging areas including tunable separations, toxic metal capture, and catalysis. In this work, polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) MF membrane was functionalized with temperature responsive (poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), PNIPAAm) and pH responsive (polyacrylic acid, PAA) polymers. It's revealed that the permeation of various molecules (water, salt and dextran) through the membrane can be thermally or pH controlled. The introduction of PAA as a polyelectrolyte offers an excellent platform for the immobilization of metal nanoparticles (NPs) applied for degradation of toxic chlorinated organics with significantly increased longevity and stability. The advantage of using temperature and pH responsive polymers/hydrogels also includes the high reactivity and effectiveness in dechlorination. Further advancement on the PVDF functionalization involved the alkaline treatment to create partially defluorinated membrane (Def-PVDF) with conjugated double bounds allowing for the covalent attachment of different polymers. The PAA-Def-PVDF membrane shows pH responsive behavior on both the hydraulic permeability and solute retention. The sponge-like PVDF (SPVDF) membranes by phase inversion were developed through casting PVDF solution on polyester backing. The SPVDF membrane was demonstrated to have 4 times more surface area than commercial PVDF MF membrane, allowing for enhanced nanoparticles loading for chloro-organics degradation. The advanced functionalization method and process were also validated to be able to be scaled-up through the evaluation of full-scale functionalized membrane provided by Ultura Inc. California, USA. Nanofiltration (NF

  8. State of the art of environmentally friendly sample preparation approaches for determination of PBDEs and metabolites in environmental and biological samples: A critical review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berton, Paula; Lana, Nerina B; Ríos, Juan M; García-Reyes, Juan F; Altamirano, Jorgelina C

    2016-01-28

    Green chemistry principles for developing methodologies have gained attention in analytical chemistry in recent decades. A growing number of analytical techniques have been proposed for determination of organic persistent pollutants in environmental and biological samples. In this light, the current review aims to present state-of-the-art sample preparation approaches based on green analytical principles proposed for the determination of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and metabolites (OH-PBDEs and MeO-PBDEs) in environmental and biological samples. Approaches to lower the solvent consumption and accelerate the extraction, such as pressurized liquid extraction, microwave-assisted extraction, and ultrasound-assisted extraction, are discussed in this review. Special attention is paid to miniaturized sample preparation methodologies and strategies proposed to reduce organic solvent consumption. Additionally, extraction techniques based on alternative solvents (surfactants, supercritical fluids, or ionic liquids) are also commented in this work, even though these are scarcely used for determination of PBDEs. In addition to liquid-based extraction techniques, solid-based analytical techniques are also addressed. The development of greener, faster and simpler sample preparation approaches has increased in recent years (2003-2013). Among green extraction techniques, those based on the liquid phase predominate over those based on the solid phase (71% vs. 29%, respectively). For solid samples, solvent assisted extraction techniques are preferred for leaching of PBDEs, and liquid phase microextraction techniques are mostly used for liquid samples. Likewise, green characteristics of the instrumental analysis used after the extraction and clean-up steps are briefly discussed.

  9. Supercritical fluid extraction and ultra performance liquid chromatography of respiratory quinones for microbial community analysis in environmental and biological samples.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanif, Muhammad; Atsuta, Yoichi; Fujie, Koichi; Daimon, Hiroyuki

    2012-03-05

    Microbial community structure plays a significant role in environmental assessment and animal health management. The development of a superior analytical strategy for the characterization of microbial community structure is an ongoing challenge. In this study, we developed an effective supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) and ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) method for the analysis of bacterial respiratory quinones (RQ) in environmental and biological samples. RQ profile analysis is one of the most widely used culture-independent tools for characterizing microbial community structure. A UPLC equipped with a photo diode array (PDA) detector was successfully applied to the simultaneous determination of ubiquinones (UQ) and menaquinones (MK) without tedious pretreatment. Supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO(2)) extraction with the solid-phase cartridge trap proved to be a more effective and rapid method for extracting respiratory quinones, compared to a conventional organic solvent extraction method. This methodology leads to a successful analytical procedure that involves a significant reduction in the complexity and sample preparation time. Application of the optimized methodology to characterize microbial communities based on the RQ profile was demonstrated for a variety of environmental samples (activated sludge, digested sludge, and compost) and biological samples (swine and Japanese quail feces).

  10. Supercritical Fluid Extraction and Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography of Respiratory Quinones for Microbial Community Analysis in Environmental and Biological Samples

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Koichi Fujie

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Microbial community structure plays a significant role in environmental assessment and animal health management. The development of a superior analytical strategy for the characterization of microbial community structure is an ongoing challenge. In this study, we developed an effective supercritical fluid extraction (SFE and ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC method for the analysis of bacterial respiratory quinones (RQ in environmental and biological samples. RQ profile analysis is one of the most widely used culture-independent tools for characterizing microbial community structure. A UPLC equipped with a photo diode array (PDA detector was successfully applied to the simultaneous determination of ubiquinones (UQ and menaquinones (MK without tedious pretreatment. Supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2 extraction with the solid-phase cartridge trap proved to be a more effective and rapid method for extracting respiratory quinones, compared to a conventional organic solvent extraction method. This methodology leads to a successful analytical procedure that involves a significant reduction in the complexity and sample preparation time. Application of the optimized methodology to characterize microbial communities based on the RQ profile was demonstrated for a variety of environmental samples (activated sludge, digested sludge, and compost and biological samples (swine and Japanese quail feces.

  11. High performance hybrid functional Petri net simulations of biological pathway models on CUDA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chalkidis, Georgios; Nagasaki, Masao; Miyano, Satoru

    2011-01-01

    Hybrid functional Petri nets are a wide-spread tool for representing and simulating biological models. Due to their potential of providing virtual drug testing environments, biological simulations have a growing impact on pharmaceutical research. Continuous research advancements in biology and medicine lead to exponentially increasing simulation times, thus raising the demand for performance accelerations by efficient and inexpensive parallel computation solutions. Recent developments in the field of general-purpose computation on graphics processing units (GPGPU) enabled the scientific community to port a variety of compute intensive algorithms onto the graphics processing unit (GPU). This work presents the first scheme for mapping biological hybrid functional Petri net models, which can handle both discrete and continuous entities, onto compute unified device architecture (CUDA) enabled GPUs. GPU accelerated simulations are observed to run up to 18 times faster than sequential implementations. Simulating the cell boundary formation by Delta-Notch signaling on a CUDA enabled GPU results in a speedup of approximately 7x for a model containing 1,600 cells.

  12. Form and function: Perspectives on structural biology and resources for the future

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vaughan, D. (ed.)

    1990-12-01

    The purpose of this study is largely to explore and expand on the thesis that biological structures and their functions are suited to. Form indeed follows function and if we are to understand the workings of a living system, with all that such an understanding promises, we must first seek to describe the structure of its parts. Descriptions of a few achievements of structural biology lay the groundwork, but the substance of this booklet is a discussion of important questions yet unanswered and opportunities just beyond our grasp. The concluding pages then outline a course of action in which the Department of Energy would exercise its responsibility to develop the major resources needed to extend our reach and to answer some of those unanswered questions. 22 figs.

  13. Mediating objects: scientific and public functions of models in nineteenth-century biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ludwig, David

    2013-01-01

    The aim of this article is to examine the scientific and public functions of two- and three-dimensional models in the context of three episodes from nineteenth-century biology. I argue that these models incorporate both data and theory by presenting theoretical assumptions in the light of concrete data or organizing data through theoretical assumptions. Despite their diverse roles in scientific practice, they all can be characterized as mediators between data and theory. Furthermore, I argue that these different mediating functions often reflect their different audiences that included specialized scientists, students, and the general public. In this sense, models in nineteenth-century biology can be understood as mediators between theory, data, and their diverse audiences.

  14. A bottom-up characterization of transfer functions for synthetic biology designs: lessons from enzymology

    OpenAIRE

    Carbonell-Ballestero, M.; Duran-Nebreda, S.; Montanez, R.; Sole, R.; Macia, J.; Rodriguez-Caso, C.

    2014-01-01

    Within the field of synthetic biology, a rational design of genetic parts should include a causal understanding of their input-output responses-the so-called transfer function-and how to tune them. However, a commonly adopted strategy is to fit data to Hill-shaped curves without considering the underlying molecular mechanisms. Here we provide a novel mathematical formalization that allows prediction of the global behavior of a synthetic device by considering the actual information from the in...

  15. New insights in the biology of BDNF synthesis and release: implications in CNS function

    OpenAIRE

    Greenberg, Michael E.; Xu, Baoji; Lu, Bai; Hempstead, Barbara L.

    2009-01-01

    BDNF has pleiotrophic effects on neuronal development and synaptic plasticity that underlie circuit formation and cognitive function. Recent breakthroughs reveal that neuronal activity regulates BDNF cell biology, including Bdnf transcription, dendritic targeting and trafficking of BDNF mRNA and protein, and secretion and extracellular conversion of proBDNF to mature BDNF. Defects in these mechanisms contribute differentially to cognitive dysfunction and anxiety–like behaviors. Here we review...

  16. Nanoelectromechanics of Inorganic and Biological Systems: From Structural Imaging to Local Functionalities

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rodriguez, Brian [University College, Dublin; Kalinin, Sergei V [ORNL; Jesse, Stephen [ORNL; Thompson, G. L. [Clemson University; Vertegel, Alexey [ORNL; Hohlbauch, Sophia [Asylum Research, Santa Barbara, CA; Proksch, Roger [Asylum Research, Santa Barbara, CA

    2008-01-01

    Coupling between electrical and mechanical phenomena is extremely common in inorganic materials, and nearly ubiquitous in biological systems, underpinning phenomena and devices ranging from SONAR to cardiac activity and hearing. This paper briefly summarizes the Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) approach, referred to as Piezoresponse Force Microscopy (PFM), for probing electromechanical coupling on the nanometer scales, and delineates some existing and emerging applications to probe local structure and functionality in inorganic ferroelectrics, calcified and connective tissues, and complex biosystems based on electromechanical detection.

  17. Validation of Procedures for Monitoring Crewmember Immune Function - Short Duration Biological Investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sams, Clarence; Crucian, Brian; Stowe, Raymond; Pierson, Duane; Mehta, Satish; Morukov, Boris; Uchakin, Peter; Nehlsen-Cannarella, Sandra

    2008-01-01

    Validation of Procedures for Monitoring Crew Member Immune Function - Short Duration Biological Investigation (Integrated Immune-SDBI) will assess the clinical risks resulting from the adverse effects of space flight on the human immune system and will validate a flightcompatible immune monitoring strategy. Immune system changes will be monitored by collecting and analyzing blood, urine and saliva samples from crewmembers before, during and after space flight.

  18. Marine biodiversity-ecosystem functions under uncertain environmental futures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bulling, Mark T; Hicks, Natalie; Murray, Leigh; Paterson, David M; Raffaelli, Dave; White, Piran C L; Solan, Martin

    2010-07-12

    Anthropogenic activity is currently leading to dramatic transformations of ecosystems and losses of biodiversity. The recognition that these ecosystems provide services that are essential for human well-being has led to a major interest in the forms of the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship. However, there is a lack of studies examining the impact of climate change on these relationships and it remains unclear how multiple climatic drivers may affect levels of ecosystem functioning. Here, we examine the roles of two important climate change variables, temperature and concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, on the relationship between invertebrate species richness and nutrient release in a model benthic estuarine system. We found a positive relationship between invertebrate species richness and the levels of release of NH(4)-N into the water column, but no effect of species richness on the release of PO(4)-P. Higher temperatures and greater concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide had a negative impact on nutrient release. Importantly, we found significant interactions between the climate variables, indicating that reliably predicting the effects of future climate change will not be straightforward as multiple drivers are unlikely to have purely additive effects, resulting in increased levels of uncertainty.

  19. Marine biodiversity–ecosystem functions under uncertain environmental futures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bulling, Mark T.; Hicks, Natalie; Murray, Leigh; Paterson, David M.; Raffaelli, Dave; White, Piran C. L.; Solan, Martin

    2010-01-01

    Anthropogenic activity is currently leading to dramatic transformations of ecosystems and losses of biodiversity. The recognition that these ecosystems provide services that are essential for human well-being has led to a major interest in the forms of the biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationship. However, there is a lack of studies examining the impact of climate change on these relationships and it remains unclear how multiple climatic drivers may affect levels of ecosystem functioning. Here, we examine the roles of two important climate change variables, temperature and concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, on the relationship between invertebrate species richness and nutrient release in a model benthic estuarine system. We found a positive relationship between invertebrate species richness and the levels of release of NH4-N into the water column, but no effect of species richness on the release of PO4-P. Higher temperatures and greater concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide had a negative impact on nutrient release. Importantly, we found significant interactions between the climate variables, indicating that reliably predicting the effects of future climate change will not be straightforward as multiple drivers are unlikely to have purely additive effects, resulting in increased levels of uncertainty. PMID:20513718

  20. Fetal Programming of Body Composition, Obesity, and Metabolic Function: The Role of Intrauterine Stress and Stress Biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sonja Entringer

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Epidemiological, clinical, physiological, cellular, and molecular evidence suggests that the origins of obesity and metabolic dysfunction can be traced back to intrauterine life and supports an important role for maternal nutrition prior to and during gestation in fetal programming. The elucidation of underlying mechanisms is an area of interest and intense investigation. In this perspectives paper we propose that in addition to maternal nutrition-related processes it may be important to concurrently consider the potential role of intrauterine stress and stress biology. We frame our arguments in the larger context of an evolutionary-developmental perspective that supports roles for both nutrition and stress as key environmental conditions driving natural selection and developmental plasticity. We suggest that intrauterine stress exposure may interact with the nutritional milieu, and that stress biology may represent an underlying mechanism mediating the effects of diverse intrauterine perturbations, including but not limited to maternal nutritional insults (undernutrition and overnutrition, on brain and peripheral targets of programming of body composition, energy balance homeostasis, and metabolic function. We discuss putative maternal-placental-fetal endocrine and immune/inflammatory candidate mechanisms that may underlie the long-term effects of intrauterine stress. We conclude with a commentary of the implications for future research and clinical practice.

  1. Biological roles and functional mechanisms of arenavirus Z protein in viral replication.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jialong; Danzy, Shamika; Kumar, Naveen; Ly, Hinh; Liang, Yuying

    2012-09-01

    Arenaviruses can cause severe hemorrhagic fever diseases in humans, with limited prophylactic or therapeutic measures. A small RING-domain viral protein Z has been shown to mediate the formation of virus-like particles and to inhibit viral RNA synthesis, although its biological roles in an infectious viral life cycle have not been directly addressed. By taking advantage of the available reverse genetics system for a model arenavirus, Pichinde virus (PICV), we provide the direct evidence for the essential biological roles of the Z protein's conserved residues, including the G2 myristylation site, the conserved C and H residues of RING domain, and the poorly characterized C-terminal L79 and P80 residues. Dicodon substitutions within the late (L) domain (PSAPPYEP) of the PICV Z protein, although producing viable mutant viruses, have significantly reduced virus growth, a finding suggestive of an important role for the intact L domain in viral replication. Further structure-function analyses of both PICV and Lassa fever virus Z proteins suggest that arenavirus Z proteins have similar molecular mechanisms in mediating their multiple functions, with some interesting variations, such as the role of the G2 residue in blocking viral RNA synthesis. In summary, our studies have characterized the biological roles of the Z protein in an infectious arenavirus system and have shed important light on the distinct functions of its domains in virus budding and viral RNA regulation, the knowledge of which may lead to the development of novel antiviral drugs.

  2. Effects of wastewater effluent discharge and treatment facility upgrades on environmental and biological conditions of Indian Creek, Johnson County, Kansas, June 2004 through June 2013

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Jennifer L.; Stone, Mandy L.; Rasmussen, Teresa J.; Foster, Guy M.; Poulton, Barry C.; Paxson, Chelsea R.; Harris, Theodore D.

    2014-01-01

    Indian Creek is one of the most urban drainage basins in Johnson County, Kansas, and environmental and biological conditions of the creek are affected by contaminants from point and other urban sources. The Johnson County Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin (hereafter referred to as the “Middle Basin”) and Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facilities (WWTFs) discharge to Indian Creek. In summer 2010, upgrades were completed to increase capacity and include biological nutrient removal at the Middle Basin facility. There have been no recent infrastructure changes at the Tomahawk Creek facility; however, during 2009, chemically enhanced primary treatment was added to the treatment process for better process settling before disinfection and discharge with the added effect of enhanced phosphorus removal. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Johnson County Wastewater, assessed the effects of wastewater effluent on environmental and biological conditions of Indian Creek by comparing two upstream sites to four sites located downstream from the WWTFs using data collected during June 2004 through June 2013. Environmental conditions were evaluated using previously and newly collected discrete and continuous data and were compared with an assessment of biological community composition and ecosystem function along the upstream-downstream gradient. This study improves the understanding of the effects of wastewater effluent on stream-water and streambed sediment quality, biological community composition, and ecosystem function in urban areas. After the addition of biological nutrient removal to the Middle Basin WWTF in 2010, annual mean total nitrogen concentrations in effluent decreased by 46 percent, but still exceeded the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wastewater effluent permit concentration goal of 8.0 milligrams per liter (mg/L); however, the NPDES wastewater effluent permit total phosphorus concentration goal of 1.5 mg/L or less was

  3. Biological methylation of inorganic mercury by Saccharomyces cerevisiae - a possible environmental process

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Reisinger, K.; Stoeppler, M.; Nuernberg, H.W.

    1983-11-01

    The biological methylation of inorganic mercury by S-adenosylmethione (SAM) was investigated by incubation experiments with Saccharomyces cerevisae (''bakers' yeast''). The methyl donor (methionine) and the acceptor (Hg/sup 2 +/ as HgCl/sub 2/) were also applied in their labelled form (double labelling). Methylmercury as a result of a possibly biological methyl group transfer could not be detected. As reaction product only small amounts (0.01per mille yield) of elemental mercury (Hg/sup 0/) were found, while the overwhelming amount of HgCl/sub 2/ had not reacted.

  4. Emerging Molecular and Biological Functions of MBD2, a Reader of DNA Methylation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathleen H Wood

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available DNA methylation is an epigenetic mark that is essential for many biological processes and is linked to diseases such as cancer. Methylation is usually associated with transcriptional silencing, but new research has challenged this model. Both transcriptional activation and repression have recently been found to be associated with DNA methylation in a context-specific manner. How DNA methylation patterns are interpreted into different functional output remains poorly understood. One mechanism involves the protein ‘readers’ of methylation, which includes the methyl-CpG binding domain (MBD family of proteins. This review examines the molecular and biological functions of MBD2, which binds to CpG methylation and is an integral part of the nucleosome remodeling and histone deacetylation (NuRD complex. MBD2 has been linked to immune system function and tumorigenesis, yet little is known about its functions in vivo. Recent studies have found the MBD2 protein is ubiquitously expressed, with relatively high levels in the lung, liver and colon. Mbd2 null mice surprisingly show relatively mild phenotypes compared to mice with loss of function of other MBD proteins. This evidence has previously been interpreted as functional redundancy between the MBD proteins. Here we examine and contextualize research that suggests MBD2 has unique properties and functions among the MBD proteins. These functions translate to recently described roles in the development and differentiation of multiple cell lineages, including pluripotent stem cells and various cell types of the immune system, as well as in tumorigenesis. We also consider possible models for the dynamic interactions between MBD2 and NuRD in different tissues in vivo. The functions of MBD2 may have direct therapeutic implications for several areas of human disease, including autoimmune conditions and cancer, in addition to providing insights into the actions of NuRD and chromatin regulation.

  5. Effective dielectric properties of biological cells: generalization of the spectral density function approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goncharenko, Anatoliy V; Chang, Yia-Chung

    2009-07-23

    We suggest an extension of the spectral density function approach to describe the complex dielectric response of suspensions of arbitrarily shaped particles having a thin shell, in particular, biological cells. The approach is shown to give analytical results in some simple but practically important cases. In the general case, for the 3-phase systems it reduces to determination of the spectral density function for the suspension of a certain kind. Prospects and limitations of the approach, as well as practical examples, are also considered.

  6. Functionalization and microfluidic integration of silicon nanowire biologically gated field effect transistors

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pfreundt, Andrea

    with nanowire sensors functionalized using different modification schemes. To facilitate functionalization and measurement and as a first step towards integration into a point-of-care device, several microfluidic tools were developed for sample delivery to the sensor surface and as a modular platform......This thesis deals with the development of a novel biosensor for the detection of biomolecules based on a silicon nanowire biologically gated field-effect transistor and its integration into a point-of-care device. The sensor and electrical on-chip integration was developed in a different project...

  7. Use of fish functional traits to associate in-stream suspended sediment transport metrics with biological impairment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwartz, John S; Simon, Andrew; Klimetz, Lauren

    2011-08-01

    Loss of ecological integrity due to excessive suspended sediment in rivers and streams is a major cause of water quality impairment in the USA. Current assessment protocols for development of sediment total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) lack a means to link temporally variable sediment transport rates with specific losses of ecological functions as loads increase. In order to accomplish this linkage assessment, a functional traits-based approach was used to correlate site occurrences of 17 fish species traits in three main groups (preferred rearing habitat, trophic feeding guild, and spawning behavior) with suspended sediment transport metrics. The sediment transport metrics included concentrations, durations, and dosages for a range of exceedance frequencies; and mean annual suspended sediment yields (SSY). In addition, this study in the Northwestern Great Plains Ecoregion examined trait relationships with three environmental gradients: channel stability, drainage area, and elevation. Potential stressor responses due to elevated suspended sediment concentration (SSC) levels were correlated with occurrences of five traits: preferred pool habitat; feeding generalists, omnivores, piscivores, and nest-building spawners; and development of ecologically based TMDL targets were demonstrated for specific SSC exceedance frequencies. In addition, reduced site occurrences for preferred pool habitat and nest-building spawners traits were associated with unstable channels and higher SSY. At an ecoregion scale, a functional traits assessment approach provided a means to quantify relations between biological impairment and episodically elevated levels of suspended sediment, supporting efforts to develop ecologically based sediment TMDLs.

  8. Critical comparison of radiometric and mass spectrometric methods for the determination of radionuclides in environmental, biological and nuclear waste samples

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hou, Xiaolin; Roos, Per

    2008-01-01

    spectrometry, and glow discharge mass spectrometry are reviewed for the determination of radionuclides. These methods are critically compared for the determination of long-lived radionuclides important for radiation protection, decommissioning of nuclear facilities, repository of nuclear waste, tracer...... application in the environmental and biological researches, these radionuclides include H-3, C-14, Cl-36, Ca-41 Ni-59,Ni-63, Sr-89,Sr-90, Tc-99, I-129, Cs-135,Cs-137, Pb-210, Ra-226,Ra-228, Np-237, Am-241, and isotopes of thorium, uranium and plutonium. The application of on-line methods (flow injection...

  9. [Methodological aspects in environmental and biological monitoring of exposure to low doses of benzene: problems and possible solutions].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tranfo, Giovanna; Paci, Enrico; Fustinoni, Silvia; Barbieri, Anna; Carrieri, Mariella

    2013-01-01

    This paper aims to examine some methods to measure human exposure to benzene, both in life and occupational environments, through environmental and biological monitoring, examining the critical issues and optimal conditions of use. The overall performance of environmental monitoring, from the analytical point of view, strongly depend on the choice of an appropriate method of sampling and analysis. Urinary SPMA and t, t-MA are the biomarkers listed by ACGIH to evaluate occupational exposure: most of the recent studies use HPLC with tandem mass spectrometry, but since t, t-MA is present in the urine in larger quantities it is also determinable with UV detectors. The urinary benzene is an index not officially included in the list of the ACGIH BEIs, but it is useful to assess exposure and benzene at low concentrations, that most frequently are found today in the occupational and life environments.

  10. Can Clinical Assessment of Locomotive Body Function Explain Gross Motor Environmental Performance in Cerebral Palsy?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanz Mengibar, Jose Manuel; Santonja-Medina, Fernando; Sanchez-de-Muniain, Paloma; Canteras-Jordana, Manuel

    2016-03-01

    Gross Motor Function Classification System has discriminative purposes but does not assess short-term therapy goals. Locomotion Stages (LS) classify postural body functions and independent activity components. Assessing the relation between Gross Motor Function Classification System level and Locomotion Stages will make us understand if clinical assessment can explain and predict motor environmental performance in cerebral palsy. A total of 462 children were assessed with both scales. High reliability and strong negative correlation (-0.908) for Gross Motor Function Classification System and Locomotion Stages at any age was found. Sensitivity was 83%, and specificity and positive predictive value were 100% within the same age range. Regression analysis showed detailed probabilities for the realization of the Gross Motor Function Classification System depending on the Locomotion Stages and the age group. Postural body function measure with Locomotion Stages is reliable, sensitive, and specific for gross motor function and able to predict environmental performance.

  11. The Swine Plasma Metabolome Chronicles "Many Days" Biological Timing and Functions Linked to Growth.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Timothy G Bromage

    Full Text Available The paradigm of chronobiology is based almost wholly upon the daily biological clock, or circadian rhythm, which has been the focus of intense molecular, cellular, pharmacological, and behavioral, research. However, the circadian rhythm does not explain biological timings related to fundamental aspects of life history such as rates of tissue/organ/body size development and control of the timing of life stages such as gestation length, age at maturity, and lifespan. This suggests that another biological timing mechanism is at work. Here we focus on a "many days" (multidien chronobiological period first observed as enigmatic recurring growth lines in developing mammalian tooth enamel that is strongly associate with all adult tissue, organ, and body masses as well as life history attributes such as gestation length, age at maturity, weaning, and lifespan, particularly among the well studied primates. Yet, knowledge of the biological factors regulating the patterning of mammalian life, such as the development of body size and life history structure, does not exist. To identify underlying molecular mechanisms we performed metabolome and genome analyses from blood plasma in domestic pigs. We show that blood plasma metabolites and small non-coding RNA (sncRNA drawn from 33 domestic pigs over a two-week period strongly oscillate on a 5-day multidien rhythm, as does the pig enamel rhythm. Metabolomics and genomics pathway analyses actually reveal two 5-day rhythms, one related to growth in which biological functions include cell proliferation, apoptosis, and transcription regulation/protein synthesis, and another 5-day rhythm related to degradative pathways that follows three days later. Our results provide experimental confirmation of a 5-day multidien rhythm in the domestic pig linking the periodic growth of enamel with oscillations of the metabolome and genome. This association reveals a new class of chronobiological rhythm and a snapshot of the

  12. The Swine Plasma Metabolome Chronicles "Many Days" Biological Timing and Functions Linked to Growth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bromage, Timothy G; Idaghdour, Youssef; Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Crenshaw, Thomas D; Ovsiy, Olexandra; Rotter, Björn; Hoffmeier, Klaus; Schrenk, Friedemann

    2016-01-01

    The paradigm of chronobiology is based almost wholly upon the daily biological clock, or circadian rhythm, which has been the focus of intense molecular, cellular, pharmacological, and behavioral, research. However, the circadian rhythm does not explain biological timings related to fundamental aspects of life history such as rates of tissue/organ/body size development and control of the timing of life stages such as gestation length, age at maturity, and lifespan. This suggests that another biological timing mechanism is at work. Here we focus on a "many days" (multidien) chronobiological period first observed as enigmatic recurring growth lines in developing mammalian tooth enamel that is strongly associate with all adult tissue, organ, and body masses as well as life history attributes such as gestation length, age at maturity, weaning, and lifespan, particularly among the well studied primates. Yet, knowledge of the biological factors regulating the patterning of mammalian life, such as the development of body size and life history structure, does not exist. To identify underlying molecular mechanisms we performed metabolome and genome analyses from blood plasma in domestic pigs. We show that blood plasma metabolites and small non-coding RNA (sncRNA) drawn from 33 domestic pigs over a two-week period strongly oscillate on a 5-day multidien rhythm, as does the pig enamel rhythm. Metabolomics and genomics pathway analyses actually reveal two 5-day rhythms, one related to growth in which biological functions include cell proliferation, apoptosis, and transcription regulation/protein synthesis, and another 5-day rhythm related to degradative pathways that follows three days later. Our results provide experimental confirmation of a 5-day multidien rhythm in the domestic pig linking the periodic growth of enamel with oscillations of the metabolome and genome. This association reveals a new class of chronobiological rhythm and a snapshot of the biological bases that

  13. The Swine Plasma Metabolome Chronicles "Many Days" Biological Timing and Functions Linked to Growth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bromage, Timothy G.; Idaghdour, Youssef; Lacruz, Rodrigo S.; Crenshaw, Thomas D.; Ovsiy, Olexandra; Rotter, Björn; Hoffmeier, Klaus; Schrenk, Friedemann

    2016-01-01

    The paradigm of chronobiology is based almost wholly upon the daily biological clock, or circadian rhythm, which has been the focus of intense molecular, cellular, pharmacological, and behavioral, research. However, the circadian rhythm does not explain biological timings related to fundamental aspects of life history such as rates of tissue/organ/body size development and control of the timing of life stages such as gestation length, age at maturity, and lifespan. This suggests that another biological timing mechanism is at work. Here we focus on a "many days" (multidien) chronobiological period first observed as enigmatic recurring growth lines in developing mammalian tooth enamel that is strongly associate with all adult tissue, organ, and body masses as well as life history attributes such as gestation length, age at maturity, weaning, and lifespan, particularly among the well studied primates. Yet, knowledge of the biological factors regulating the patterning of mammalian life, such as the development of body size and life history structure, does not exist. To identify underlying molecular mechanisms we performed metabolome and genome analyses from blood plasma in domestic pigs. We show that blood plasma metabolites and small non-coding RNA (sncRNA) drawn from 33 domestic pigs over a two-week period strongly oscillate on a 5-day multidien rhythm, as does the pig enamel rhythm. Metabolomics and genomics pathway analyses actually reveal two 5-day rhythms, one related to growth in which biological functions include cell proliferation, apoptosis, and transcription regulation/protein synthesis, and another 5-day rhythm related to degradative pathways that follows three days later. Our results provide experimental confirmation of a 5-day multidien rhythm in the domestic pig linking the periodic growth of enamel with oscillations of the metabolome and genome. This association reveals a new class of chronobiological rhythm and a snapshot of the biological bases that

  14. Association of environmental toxic elements in biological samples of myocardial infarction patients at different stages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Afridi, Hassan Imran; Kazi, Tasneem Gul; Kazi, Naveed; Kandhro, Ghulam Abbas; Baig, Jameel Ahmed; Jamali, Mohammad Khan; Arain, Mohammad Balal; Shah, Abdul Qadir; Shah, Faheem; Khan, Sumaira; Kolachi, Nida Fatima

    2011-06-01

    The exposure of toxic elements may directly or indirectly associate with different pathogenesis of heart diseases. In the present study, the association of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), lead (Pb), and nickel (Ni) in biological samples (whole blood and urine) and mortality from myocardial infarction (MI) patients at first, second, and third heart attacks was carried out. Both biological samples of 130 MI patients (77 male and 53 female), with ages ranging from 45 to 60 years, and 61 healthy persons (33 male and 28 female) of the same age group were collected. The elements in biological samples were assessed by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrophotometer, prior to microwave-assisted acid digestion. The validity of methodology was checked by the biological certified reference materials. During this study, 78% of 32 patients aged above 50 years, registered after third MI attack, died. In these subjects, the levels of As, Cd, Co, Ni, and Pb in blood samples were higher in MI patients as compared with referents (p < 0.05), while increased by 11.7%, 12.2%, 5.55%, and 7.2%, respectively, in the blood samples of those patients who tolerated the third MI attack (p = 0.12). The high level of understudied toxic elements may play a role in the mortality of MI patients.

  15. Environmental Learning Workshop: Lichen as Biological Indicator of Air Quality and Impact on Secondary Students' Performance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samsudin, Mohd Wahid; Daik, Rusli; Abas, Azlan; Meerah, T. Subahan Mohd; Halim, Lilia

    2013-01-01

    In this study, the learning of science outside the classroom is believe to be an added value to science learning as well as it offers students to interact with the environment. This study presents data obtained from two days' workshop on Lichen as Biological Indicator for Air Quality. The aim of the workshop is for the students to gain an…

  16. Genetic and Environmental Influences on Pulmonary Function and Muscle Strength: The Chinese Twin Study of Aging

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tian, Xiaocao; Xu, Chunsheng; Wu, Yili;

    2017-01-01

    Genetic and environmental influences on predictors of decline in daily functioning, including forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), handgrip, and five-times-sit-to-stand test (FTSST), have not been addressed in the aging Chinese population. We performed classical twin...... was moderate for FEV1, handgrip, and FTSST (55-60%) but insignificant for FVC. Only FVC showed moderate control, with shared environmental factors accounting for about 50% of the total variance. In contrast, all measures of pulmonary function and muscle strength showed modest influences from the unique...... direction. We conclude that genetic factors contribute significantly to the individual differences in common indicators of daily functioning (FEV1, handgrip, and FTSST). FEV1 and FVC were genetically and environmentally correlated. Pulmonary function and FTSST may share similar sets of genes...

  17. Influence of genetic and environmental factors on oral diseases and function in aged twins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kurushima, Y; Ikebe, K; Matsuda, K; Enoki, K; Ogata, S; Yamashita, M; Murakami, S; Hayakawa, K; Maeda, Y

    2015-01-01

    This study was conducted to quantify the genetic and environmental contributions to oral disease and function in twins. Participants were middle-aged and old twins, 116 monozygotic and 16 dizygotic pairs whose mean age was 66·1 ± 10·3 (SD) years. Number of teeth, percentage of decayed, filled and missing teeth and periodontal status were recorded as indicators of oral disease. The widths of upper and lower dental arch served as indicators of morphological figures. Furthermore, stimulated salivary flow rate, occlusal force and masticatory performance were measured as indicators of oral function. Univariate genetic analysis with monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs was conducted to detect the fittest structural equation model of each outcome. Both number of teeth and periodontal status fitted the model composed of common environmental factor and unique environmental factor. Decayed, filled and missing teeth, morphological figures and measurements of oral function fitted the model composed of additive genetic factor and unique environmental factor. The model fitting of each measurement suggested that periodontal disease was mainly affected by environmental factors, while morphological figures and oral functions were influenced by both genetic and environmental factors.

  18. Toward total synthesis of cell function: Reconstituting cell dynamics with synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Allen K; DeRose, Robert; Ueno, Tasuku; Lin, Benjamin; Komatsu, Toru; Nakamura, Hideki; Inoue, Takanari

    2016-02-09

    Biological phenomena, such as cellular differentiation and phagocytosis, are fundamental processes that enable cells to fulfill important physiological roles in multicellular organisms. In the field of synthetic biology, the study of these behaviors relies on the use of a broad range of molecular tools that enable the real-time manipulation and measurement of key components in the underlying signaling pathways. This Review will focus on a subset of synthetic biology tools known as bottom-up techniques, which use technologies such as optogenetics and chemically induced dimerization to reconstitute cellular behavior in cells. These techniques have been crucial not only in revealing causal relationships within signaling networks but also in identifying the minimal signaling components that are necessary for a given cellular function. We discuss studies that used these systems in a broad range of cellular and molecular phenomena, including the time-dependent modulation of protein activity in cellular proliferation and differentiation, the reconstitution of phagocytosis, the reconstitution of chemotaxis, and the regulation of actin reorganization. Finally, we discuss the potential contribution of synthetic biology to medicine.

  19. Using synthetic biology to screen for functional diversity of GH1 enzymes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Deutsch, Sam; Datta, Supratim; Hamilton, Matthew; Friedland, Greg; D' Haeseleer, Patrik; Chen, Jan-Fang; Chivian, Dylan; Egan, Rob; Sale, Kenneth; Simmons, Blake; Rubin, Eddy

    2011-05-31

    Advances in next-generation sequencing technologies have enabled single genomes as well as complex environmental samples (metagenomes) to be comprehensively sequenced on a routine basis. Bioinformatics analysis of the resulting sequencing data reveals a continually expanding catalogue of predicted proteins ( 14 million as of April 2011), 75 percent of which are associated with functional annotation (COG, Pfam, Enzyme, Kegg, etc). These predicted proteins cover the full spectrum of known pathways and functional activities, including many novel biocatalysts that are expected to significantly contribute to the development of clean technologies including biomass degradation, lipid transformation for biodiesel generation, intermediates for polymer production, carbon capture, and bioremediation.

  20. Deciphering Diseases and Biological Targets for Environmental Chemicals using Toxicogenomics Networks

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Audouze, Karine Marie Laure; Juncker, Agnieszka; Roque, Francisco José Sousa Simões Almeida

    2010-01-01

    Exposure to environmental chemicals and drugs may have a negative effect on human health. A better understanding of the molecular mechanism of such compounds is needed to determine the risk. We present a high confidence human protein-protein association network built upon the integration of chemi...

  1. Systems Biology Approach for Understanding MOA, Dose-Response and Susceptibility to Environmental Chemicals

    Science.gov (United States)

    There is an increasing need for assays for the rapid and efficient assessment of toxicities of large numbers of environmental chemicals. To meet this need, we have developed a battery of cell-based reporter assays that measure the activation of key cellular stress pathways. These...

  2. Applications of post-translational modifications of FoxO family proteins in biological functions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Ying Zhao; Yachen Wang; Wei-Guo Zhu

    2011-01-01

    The functions of the FoxO family proteins, in particular their transcriptional activities, are modulated by post-translational modifications (PTMs), including phosphorylation, acetylation, ubiquitination, methylation and glycosylation. These PTMs occur in response to different cellular stresses, which in turn regulate the subcellular localization of FoxO family proteins, as well as their half-life, DNA binding, transcriptional activity and ability to interact with other cellular proteins. In this review, we summarize the role of PTMs of FoxO family proteins in linking their biological and functional relevance with various diseases.%The functions of the FoxO family proteins,in particular their transcriptional activities,are modulated by post-translational modifications (PTMs),including phosphorylation,acetylation,ubiquitination,methylation and glycosylation.These PTMs occur in response to different cellular stresses,which in turn regulate the subceilular localization of FoxO family proteins,as well as their half-life,DNA binding,transcriptional activity and ability to interact with other cellular proteins.In this review,we summarize the role of PTMs of FoxO family proteins in linking their biological and functional relevance with various diseases.

  3. Desenvolvimento motor e funcional em crianças nascidas pré-termo e a termo: influência de fatores de risco biológico e ambiental Desarrollo motor y funcional en niños nacidos pretérmino y a término: influencia de factores de riesgo biológico y ambiental Motor and functional development in infants born preterm and full term: influence of biological and environmental risk factors

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edifrance Sá de Souza

    2012-12-01

    adquisición de la marcha en el grupo pretérmino (p=0,005, aunque no se haya encontrado diferencia significativa entre los grupos en la AIMS a los 12 (p=0,187 y a los 15 meses (p=0,80. A los 18 meses se encontraron diferencias significativas en el desarrollo motor grueso (pOBJECTIVE: To compare motor development in preterm and full term infants from 12 to 18 months and to investigate the relationship between functional performance and quantity and quality of environmental stimulation. METHODS: Quantitative, exploratory and longitudinal study, which included 30 preterm (gestational age: 30.0±2.3 weeks and birth weight: 1178±193g and 30 full term infants (39±1.3 weeks and 3270±400g. Motor development was evaluated by the Alberta Infant Motor Scale and the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales. Home environment was assessed by the Home Observation Measurement of the Environment. The Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory was used to examine functional abilities. RESULTS: The preterm group presented slower gait acquisition (p=0.005, although no significant differences between groups were found in the Alberta Infant Motor Scale at 12 (p=0.187 and 15 months (p=0.80. At 18 months, significant differences were found in gross (p<0.001 and fine (p=0.001 motor development and in functional abilities, with a better performance of the full term group. There were differences between groups in the Home Observation Measurement of the Environment inventory (p=0.008. CONCLUSIONS: Performance differences between groups increased from 12 to 18 months, and environmental factors might have enhanced the effects of biological risks. Developmental follow-up programs should focus on aspects of the environment where the child lives.

  4. Danish consumers' attitudes to the functional and environmental characteristics of food packaging

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bech-Larsen, Tino

    1996-01-01

    are associated with personal values more often than the functional consequences. This implies that many consumers are personally involved in the environmental consequences of packaging. The conjoint study investigated the relative importance of different packaging attributes and other product attributes......Executive summary The purpose of the studies presented in the paper is to research different aspects of Danish consumers' views about the functional and environmental consequences of packaging, as well as to study cognitive barriers that can prevent consumer attitudes to environmental consequences...... of food packaging to influence the buying of food products. The results of these studies will be employed to consider whether and how to influence Danish consumers to buy products with environmental sustainable packaging. As the project concerns both consumers' attitudes to packaging on the abstract...

  5. Preparation and Characterization Challenges to Understanding Environmental and Biological Impacts of Ceria Nanoparticles

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Karakoti, Ajay S.; Munusamy, Prabhakaran; Hostetler, Kasey E.; Kodali, Vamsi K.; Kuchibhatla, Satyanarayana V N T; Orr, Galya; Pounds, Joel G.; Teeguarden, Justin G.; Thrall, Brian D.; Baer, Donald R.

    2012-08-01

    It has been increasingly recognized that understanding and predicting the behaviors of nanoparticles is often limited by the degree to which the particles can be reliably produced and are adequately characterized. Examining data from the literature for ceria nanoparticles suggests that thermal history is one factor that has a strong influence on biological impact. Thermal processing may alter many physicochemical properties of the particles including density, crystal structure and the presence of surface contamination, but these may not be sufficiently recorded or reported to determine the ultimate source of an observed impact. A second example shows the types of difficulties that can be encountered in efforts to apply a well-studied synthesis route to producing well defined particles for biological studies. These examples and others highlight the importance of characterizing particles thoroughly and recording details of particle processing and history that are often not recorded and/or reported.

  6. Assessment of biological effects of environmental pollution along the NW Mediterranean Sea using mussels as sentinel organisms

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zorita, Izaskun [Biologia Zelularra eta Histologia Laborategia, Zoologia eta Biologia Zelularra Saila, Zientzia eta Teknologia Fakultatea, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea/Univ. del Pais Vasco, 644 P.K., E-48080 Bilbao, Basque Country (Spain); Apraiz, Itxaso [Biologia Zelularra eta Histologia Laborategia, Zoologia eta Biologia Zelularra Saila, Zientzia eta Teknologia Fakultatea, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea/Univ. del Pais Vasco, 644 P.K., E-48080 Bilbao, Basque Country (Spain); Ortiz-Zarragoitia, Maren [Biologia Zelularra eta Histologia Laborategia, Zoologia eta Biologia Zelularra Saila, Zientzia eta Teknologia Fakultatea, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea/Univ. del Pais Vasco, 644 P.K., E-48080 Bilbao, Basque Country (Spain); Orbea, Amaia [Biologia Zelularra eta Histologia Laborategia, Zoologia eta Biologia Zelularra Saila, Zientzia eta Teknologia Fakultatea, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea/Univ. del Pais Vasco, 644 P.K., E-48080 Bilbao, Basque Country (Spain); Cancio, Ibon [Biologia Zelularra eta Histologia Laborategia, Zoologia eta Biologia Zelularra Saila, Zientzia eta Teknologia Fakultatea, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea/Univ. del Pais Vasco, 644 P.K., E-48080 Bilbao, Basque Country (Spain); Soto, Manu [Biologia Zelularra eta Histologia Laborategia, Zoologia eta Biologia Zelularra Saila, Zientzia eta Teknologia Fakultatea, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea/Univ. del Pais Vasco, 644 P.K., E-48080 Bilbao, Basque Country (Spain); Marigomez, Ionan [Biologia Zelularra eta Histologia Laborategia, Zoologia eta Biologia Zelularra Saila, Zientzia eta Teknologia Fakultatea, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea/Univ. del Pais Vasco, 644 P.K., E-48080 Bilbao, Basque Country (Spain); Cajaraville, Miren P. [Biologia Zelularra eta Histologia Laborategia, Zoologia eta Biologia Zelularra Saila, Zientzia eta Teknologia Fakultatea, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea/Univ. del Pais Vasco, 644 P.K., E-48080 Bilbao, Basque Country (Spain)]. E-mail: mirenp.cajaraville@ehu.es

    2007-07-15

    With the aim of assessing the biological effects of pollution along three gradients of pollution in the NW Mediterranean Sea, a biomonitoring survey was implemented using a battery of biomarkers (lysosomal membrane stability, lysosomal structural changes, metallothionein (MT) induction and peroxisome proliferation) in mussels over a period of two years as part of the EU-funded BEEP project. Mussels from the most impacted zones (Fos, Genova and Barcelona harbours) showed enlarged lysosomes accompanied by reduced labilisation period of lysosomal membranes, indicating disturbed health. MT levels did not reveal significant differences between stations and were significantly correlated with gonad index, suggesting that they were influenced by gamete development. Peroxisomal acyl-CoA oxidase (AOX) activity was significantly inhibited in polluted stations possibly due to interactions among mixtures of pollutants. In conclusion, the application of a battery of effect and exposure biomarkers provided relevant data for the assessment of biological effects of environmental pollution along the NW Mediterranean Sea. - The biomarker approach is suitable for assessment of environmental pollution in the NW Mediterranean Sea.

  7. Social representations and directing to the environmental education in the Perobas Biological Reserve, State of Paraná, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carlos Alberto de Oliveira Magalhães Júnior

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available The Perobas Biological Reserve is situated in the Brazilian municipalities of Tuneiras do Oeste and Cianorte, State of Paraná. Prior to the foundation, the local and state communities’ representatives manifested different standpoints, favorable and unfavorable, concerning the establishment of this environmental protection area. Considering the importance of comprehending social representations that students from the City of Tuneiras do Oeste have concerning the Perobas Biological Reserve, the present study aimed at investigating Basic Education students, as well as indicating ways for an environmental education development. We used the Free Evocation of Words technique and the analysis of composition contents. We identified that representations of the analyzed group are based on the Nature components present in the Reserve and on the role of the local inhabitants for their conservation, however such knowledge is not well-founded. We understand that educative actions must be initiated in order to proportionate the construction of knowledge concerning the Reserve´s Nature components and the mutual interactions involved. This knowledge can, subsequently, lead students to comprehend that a role is ascribed to them in the protection and the co-responsibility for the preservation of the protected area.

  8. Home and Community Environmental Features, Activity Performance, and Community Participation among Older Adults with Functional Limitations

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

    This paper describes relationships among home and community environmental features, activity performance in the home, and community participation potential to support aging in place. A subset of data on older adults with functional limitations ( = 1 2 2 ), sixty three (63) with mobility and 59 with other limitations, were utilized in this study from a larger project's subject pool. Results showed significant and positive correlations between environmental barriers, activity dependence and d...

  9. Phylogenetic and Functional Metagenomic Profiling for Assessing Microbial Biodiversity in Environmental Monitoring

    OpenAIRE

    Veljo Kisand; Angelica Valente; Armin Lahm; Gerard Tanet; Teresa Lettieri

    2012-01-01

    Decisions guiding environmental management need to be based on a broad and comprehensive understanding of the biodiversity and functional capability within ecosystems. Microbes are of particular importance since they drive biogeochemical cycles, being both producers and decomposers. Their quick and direct responses to changes in environmental conditions modulate the ecosystem accordingly, thus providing a sensitive readout. Here we have used direct sequencing of total DNA from water samples t...

  10. Bacterial biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relations are modified by environmental complexity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Silke Langenheder

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: With the recognition that environmental change resulting from anthropogenic activities is causing a global decline in biodiversity, much attention has been devoted to understanding how changes in biodiversity may alter levels of ecosystem functioning. Although environmental complexity has long been recognised as a major driving force in evolutionary processes, it has only recently been incorporated into biodiversity-ecosystem functioning investigations. Environmental complexity is expected to strengthen the positive effect of species richness on ecosystem functioning, mainly because it leads to stronger complementarity effects, such as resource partitioning and facilitative interactions among species when the number of available resource increases. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we implemented an experiment to test the combined effect of species richness and environmental complexity, more specifically, resource richness on ecosystem functioning over time. We show, using all possible combinations of species within a bacterial community consisting of six species, and all possible combinations of three substrates, that diversity-functioning (metabolic activity relationships change over time from linear to saturated. This was probably caused by a combination of limited complementarity effects and negative interactions among competing species as the experiment progressed. Even though species richness and resource richness both enhanced ecosystem functioning, they did so independently from each other. Instead there were complex interactions between particular species and substrate combinations. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our study shows clearly that both species richness and environmental complexity increase ecosystem functioning. The finding that there was no direct interaction between these two factors, but that instead rather complex interactions between combinations of certain species and resources underlie positive biodiversity

  11. Functional results after repair of large hiatal hernia by use of a biologic mesh

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Filimon eAntonakis

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Background: The aim of this observational study is to analyze the results of patients with large hiatal hernia and upside-down stomach after surgical closure with a biologic mesh (Permacol®, Covidien, Neustadt an der Donau, Germany. Biologic mesh is used to prevent long-term detrimental effects of artificial meshes and to reduce recurrence rates. Methods: A total of 13 patients with a large hiatal hernia and endothoracic stomach, who underwent surgery between 2010 and 2014, were included. Interviews and upper endoscopy were conducted to determine recurrence, lifestyle restrictions and current complaints. Results: After a mean follow-up of 26+18 months (range 3-58 months 10 patients (three men, mean age 73+13, range 26-81 years were evaluated. A small recurrent axial hernia was found in one patient postoperatively. Dysphagia was the most common complaint (four cases, while in one case the problem was solved after endoscopic dilatation. In three cases bloat and postprandial pain were documented. In one case explantation of the mesh was necessary due to mesh migration and painful adhesions. In one further case with gastroparesis pyloroplasty was performed without success.Conclusion: Recurrence was rare after hernia repair with the biologic mesh Permacol®. Dysphagia, gas bloat and intraabdominal pain were frequent complaints. Despite the small number of patients it can be concluded that a biologic mesh may be an alternative to synthetic meshes to reduce recurrences. Long-term results should be studied in the future in order to assess the potential of biologic meshes to preserve esophageal function as well. This is important since artificial meshes are known to erode the esophagus after 5–10 years.

  12. A Critical Role for Cysteine 57 in the Biological Functions of Selenium Binding Protein-1

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Qi Ying

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available The concentration of selenium-binding protein1 (SBP1 is often lower in tumors than in the corresponding tissue and lower levels have been associated with poor clinical outcomes. SBP1 binds tightly selenium although what role selenium plays in its biological functions remains unknown. Previous studies indicated that cysteine 57 is the most likely candidate amino acid for selenium binding. In order to investigate the role of cysteine 57 in SBP1, this amino acid was altered to a glycine and the mutated protein was expressed in human cancer cells. The SBP1 half-life, as well as the cellular response to selenite cytotoxicity, was altered by this change. The ectopic expression of SBP1GLY also caused mitochondrial damage in HCT116 cells. Taken together, these results indicated that cysteine 57 is a critical determinant of SBP1 function and may play a significant role in mitochondrial function.

  13. Functional profiles reveal unique ecological roles of various biological soil crust organisms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowker, M.A.; Mau, R.L.; Maestre, F.T.; Escolar, C.; Castillo-Monroy, A. P.

    2011-01-01

    1. At the heart of the body of research on biodiversity effects on ecosystem function is the debate over whether different species tend to be functionally singular or redundant. When we consider ecosystem multi-function, the provision of multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously, we may find that seemingly redundant species may in fact play unique roles in ecosystems. 2. Over the last few decades, the significance of biological soil crusts (BSCs) as ecological boundaries and ecosystem engineers, and their multi-functional nature, has become increasingly well documented. We compiled 'functional profiles' of the organisms in this understudied community, to determine whether functional singularity emerges when multiple ecosystem functions are considered. 3. In two data sets, one representing multiple sites around the semi-arid regions of Spain (regional scale), and another from a single site in central Spain (local scale), we examined correlations between the abundance or frequency of BSC species in a community, and multiple surrogates of ecosystem functioning. There was a wide array of apparent effects of species on specific functions. 4. Notably, in gypsiferous soils and at regional scale, we found that indicators of carbon (C) and phosphorus cycling were apparently suppressed and promoted by the lichens Diploschistes diacapsis and Squamarina lentigera, respectively. The moss Pleurochaete squarrosa appears to promote C cycling in calcareous soils at this spatial scale. At the local scale in gypsiferous soils, D. diacapsis positively correlated with carbon cycling, but negatively with nitrogen cycling, whereas numerous lichens exhibited the opposite profile. 5. We found a high degree of functional singularity, i.e. that species were highly individualistic in their effects on multiple functions. Many functional attributes were not easily predictable from existing functional grouping systems based primarily on morphology. 6. Our results suggest that maintaining

  14. Biogeosystem technique as a method to overcome the Biological and Environmental Hazards of modern Agricultural, Irrigational and Technological Activities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kalinitchenko, Valery; Batukaev, Abdulmalik; Zinchenko, Vladimir; Zarmaev, Ali; Magomadov, Ali; Chernenko, Vladimir; Startsev, Viktor; Bakoev, Serojdin; Dikaev, Zaurbek

    2014-05-01

    Modern challenge for humanity is to replace the paradigm of nature use and overcome environmental hazards of agronomy, irrigation, industry, and other human activities in biosphere. It is utterly reasonable to stop dividing biosphere on shares - the human habitat and the environment. In the 21st century it is an outdated anthropocentrism. Contradicting himself to biosphere Humankind has the problems. The new paradigm of biosphere control by methods of Biogeosystem technique is on agenda of Humankind. Key directions of Biogeosystem technique. Tillage. Single rotary milling 20…30-50…60 sm soil layer optimizes the evolution and environment of soil, creates a favorable conditions for the rhizosphere, increases the biological productivity of biosphere by 30-50% compared to the standard agricultural practices for the period up to 40 years. Recycle material. Recycling of mineral and organic substances in soil layer of 20…30-50…60 sm in rotary milling soil processing provides wastes clean return to biosphere. Direct intrasoil substances synthesis. Environmentally friendly robot wasteless nanotechnology provides direct substances synthesis, including fertilizers, inside the soil. It eliminates the prerequisites of the wastes formation under standard industrial technologies. Selective substance's extraction from soil. Electrochemical robotic nanotechnology provides selective substances extraction from soil. The technology provides recovery, collection and subsequent safe industrial use of extracted substances out of landscape. Saving fresh water. An important task is to save fresh water in biosphere. Irrigation spends water 4-5 times more of biological requirements of plants, leads to degradation of soil and landscape. The intrasoil pulse continuous-discrete paradigm of irrigation is proposed. It provides the soil and landscape conservation, increases the biological productivity, save the fresh water up to 10-20 times. The subsurface soil rotary processing and

  15. Comparative quantification of Campylobacter jejuni from environmental samples using traditional and molecular biological techniques.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothrock, Michael J; Cook, Kimberly L; Bolster, Carl H

    2009-06-01

    Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis in the world. Given the potential risks to human, animal, and environmental health, the development and optimization of methods to quantify this important pathogen in environmental samples is essential. Two of the most commonly used methods for quantifying C. jejuni are selective plate counting and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). Unfortunately, little comparative research has been performed to evaluate the accuracy of these methods for quantification of C. jejuni in aqueous and solid matricies. In this study, the limit of detection and the level of resolution obtained using these 2 methods was evaluated for C. jejuni and compared with that of the common indicator organism Escherichia coli. The use of selective plate count media for quantification of C. jejuni resulted in a 0.7-1.2 log underestimation of cell concentrations, compared with qPCR in both water and column leachate samples, whereas E. coli concentrations were found to be similar with either technique. For C. jejuni, only the qPCR assay accurately measured 2-fold changes in cell concentrations in water samples, whereas concentrations of E. coli were accurately measured regardless of method. Based on these data, qPCR assays were found to be more accurate than selective plate counts for quantification of C. jejuni from environmental samples.

  16. Seasonal Variation of δ13C of Four Tree Species: A Biological Integrator of Environmental Variables

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Hai-Tao LI; Jun XIA; Le XIANG; Tao LIANG; Qi-Jing LIU

    2005-01-01

    Foliar δ13C values, an indicator of long-term intercellular carbon dioxide concentration and, thus,of long-term water use efficiency (WUE) in plants, were measured for Pinus massoniana Lamb., P. elliottii Engelm., Cunninghamia laceolata (Lamb.) Hook., and Schima superba Gardn. et Champ. in a restored forest ecosystem in the Jiazhu River Basin. Seasonal variation and the relationship between the foliar δ13Cvalues of the four species and environmental factors (monthly total precipitation, monthly average air temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, and monthly total solar radiation and evaporation)were investigated. The monthly δ13C values and WUE of the four species increased with increasing precipitation, air temperature, solar radiation, and evaporation, whereas δ13C values of the four species decreased with increasing relative humidity and atmospheric pressure. Despite significant differences in δ13C seasonal means for the four species, our results demonstrate a significant convergence in the responses of δ13C values and WUE to seasonal variations in environmental factors among the species investigated and that the δ13C signature for each species gives a strong indication of environmental variables.

  17. Habitual Snoring in school-aged children: environmental and biological predictors

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wu Shenghu

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Habitual snoring, a prominent symptom of sleep-disordered breathing, is an important indicator for a number of health problems in children. Compared to adults, large epidemiological studies on childhood habitual snoring and associated predisposing factors are extremely scarce. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence and associated factors of habitual snoring among Chinese school-aged children. Methods A random sample of 20,152 children aged 5.08 to 11.99 years old participated in a cross-sectional survey, which was conducted in eight cities of China. Parent-administrated questionnaires were used to collect information on children's snoring frequency and the possible correlates. Results The prevalence of habitual snoring was 12.0% (14.5% for boys vs. 9.5% for girls in our sampled children. Following factors were associated with an increased risk for habitual snoring: lower family income (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.46, lower father's education (OR = 1.38 and 1.14 for middle school or under and high school of educational level, respectively, breastfeeding duration Conclusion The prevalence of habitual snoring in Chinese children was similar to that observed in other countries. The potential predisposing factors covered socioeconomic characteristics, environmental exposures, chronic health problems, and family susceptibility. Compared to socioeconomic status and family susceptibility, environmental exposures and chronic health problems had greater impact, indicating childhood habitual snoring could be partly prevented by health promotion and environmental intervention.

  18. A primer on molecular biology for imagers: III. Proteins: structure and function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pandit, Sunil D; Li, King C P

    2004-04-01

    This article along with the first 2 in this series (4,12) completes the discussion on the key molecules and process inside the cell namely, DNA, RNA, and proteins. These 3 articles provide a very basic foundation for understanding molecular biology concepts and summarize some of the work of numerous scientists over the past century. We understand these processes far better now than we did in the past, but clearly this knowledge is by no means complete and a number of basic scientists are working hard to elucidate and understand the fundamental mechanisms that operate within a cell. Genes and gene products work with each other in complex, interconnected pathways, and in perfect harmony to make a functional cell, tissue, and an organism as a whole. There is a lot of cross-talk that happens between different proteins that interact with various other proteins, DNA, and RNA to establish pathways, networks, and molecular systems as a team working to perfection. The past 15 years have seen the rapid development of systems biology approaches. We live in an era that emphasizes multi-disciplinary, cross-functional teams to perform science rather than individual researchers working on the bench on a very specific problem. Global approaches have become more common and the amount of data generated must be managed by trained bioinformatics personnel and large computers. In our subsequent articles, we will discuss these global approaches and the areas of genomics, functional genomics, and proteomics that have revolutionized the way we perform science.

  19. Engineering multiple biological functional motifs into a blank collagen-like protein template from Streptococcus pyogenes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peng, Yong Y; Stoichevska, Violet; Schacht, Kristin; Werkmeister, Jerome A; Ramshaw, John A M

    2014-07-01

    Bacterially derived triple-helical, collagen-like proteins are attractive as potential biomedical materials. The collagen-like domain of the Scl2 protein from S. pyogenes lacks any specific binding sites for mammalian cells yet possesses the inherent structural integrity of the collagen triple-helix of animal collagens. It can, therefore, be considered as a structurally-stable "blank slate" into which various defined, biological sequences, derived from animal collagens, can be added by substitutions or insertions, to enable production of novel designed materials to fit specific functional requirements. In the present study, we have used site directed mutagenesis to substitute two functional sequences, one for heparin binding and the other for integrin binding, into different locations in the triple-helical structure. This provided three new constructs, two containing the single substitutions and one containing both substitutions. The stability of these constructs was marginally reduced when compared to the unmodified sequence. When compared to the unmodified bacterial collagen, both the modified collagens that contain the heparin binding site showed marked binding of fluorescently labeled heparin. Similarly, the modified collagens from both constructs containing the integrin binding site showed significant adhesion of L929 cells that are known to possess the appropriate integrin receptor. C2C12 cells that lack any appropriate integrins did not bind. These data show that bacterial collagen-like sequences can be modified to act like natural extracellular matrix collagens by inserting one or more unique biological domains with defined function.

  20. Correlating novel variable and conserved motifs in the Hemagglutinin protein with significant biological functions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Werner Mark

    2008-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Variations in the influenza Hemagglutinin protein contributes to antigenic drift resulting in decreased efficiency of seasonal influenza vaccines and escape from host immune response. We performed an in silico study to determine characteristics of novel variable and conserved motifs in the Hemagglutinin protein from previously reported H3N2 strains isolated from Hong Kong from 1968–1999 to predict viral motifs involved in significant biological functions. Results 14 MEME blocks were generated and comparative analysis of the MEME blocks identified blocks 1, 2, 3 and 7 to correlate with several biological functions. Analysis of the different Hemagglutinin sequences elucidated that the single block 7 has the highest frequency of amino acid substitution and the highest number of co-mutating pairs. MEME 2 showed intermediate variability and MEME 1 was the most conserved. Interestingly, MEME blocks 2 and 7 had the highest incidence of potential post-translational modifications sites including phosphorylation sites, ASN glycosylation motifs and N-myristylation sites. Similarly, these 2 blocks overlap with previously identified antigenic sites and receptor binding sites. Conclusion Our study identifies motifs in the Hemagglutinin protein with different amino acid substitution frequencies over a 31 years period, and derives relevant functional characteristics by correlation of these motifs with potential post-translational modifications sites, antigenic and receptor binding sites.

  1. A Gaussian mixture model based cost function for parameter estimation of chaotic biological systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shekofteh, Yasser; Jafari, Sajad; Sprott, Julien Clinton; Hashemi Golpayegani, S. Mohammad Reza; Almasganj, Farshad

    2015-02-01

    As we know, many biological systems such as neurons or the heart can exhibit chaotic behavior. Conventional methods for parameter estimation in models of these systems have some limitations caused by sensitivity to initial conditions. In this paper, a novel cost function is proposed to overcome those limitations by building a statistical model on the distribution of the real system attractor in state space. This cost function is defined by the use of a likelihood score in a Gaussian mixture model (GMM) which is fitted to the observed attractor generated by the real system. Using that learned GMM, a similarity score can be defined by the computed likelihood score of the model time series. We have applied the proposed method to the parameter estimation of two important biological systems, a neuron and a cardiac pacemaker, which show chaotic behavior. Some simulated experiments are given to verify the usefulness of the proposed approach in clean and noisy conditions. The results show the adequacy of the proposed cost function.

  2. Tracking Biological and Ecosystem Responses to Changing Environmental Conditions in the Pacific Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grebmeier, J. M.; Cooper, L. W.; Frey, K. E.; Moore, S. E.

    2014-12-01

    Changing seasonal sea ice conditions and seawater temperatures strongly influence biological processes and marine ecosystems at high latitudes. In the Pacific Arctic, persistent regions termed "hotspots", are localized areas with high benthic macroinfaunal biomass that have been documented over four decades (see Figure). These regions are now being more formally tracked to relate physical forcing and ecosystem response as an Arctic Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO) supported by the US National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan and international partners. These hotspots are important foraging areas for upper trophic level benthic feeders, such as marine mammals and seabirds. South of St. Lawrence Island (SLI) in the northern Bering Sea, benthic feeding spectacled eiders, bearded seals and walruses are important winter consumers of infauna, such as bivalves and polychaetes. Gray whales have historically been a major summer consumer of benthic amphipods in the Chirikov Basin to the north of SLI, although summertime sightings of gray whales declined in the Chirikov from the 1980s up until at least 2002. The SE Chukchi Sea hotspot, as are the other hotspots, is maintained by export of high chlorophyll a that is produced locally as well as advected by water masses transiting northward through the system. Both walrus and gray whales are known to forage in this hotspot seasonally on high biomass levels of benthic prey. Notably the center of the highest benthic biomass regions has shifted northward in three of the DBO hotspots in recent years. This has coincided with changing sediment grain size, an indicator of current speed, and is also likely a response to changes in primary production in the region. Studies of these broad biological responses to changing physical drivers have been facilitated through development of the DBO cooperative effort by both US and international scientists. The DBO includes a series of coordinated, multi-trophic level observations that

  3. Synthesis, characterization, and in vitro biological evaluation of highly stable diversely functionalized superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bhattacharya, Dipsikha; Sahu, Sumanta K. [Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Department of Chemistry (India); Banerjee, Indranil [Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Department of Biotechnology (India); Das, Manasmita [Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Department of Chemistry (India); Mishra, Debashish; Maiti, Tapas K. [Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Department of Biotechnology (India); Pramanik, Panchanan, E-mail: dipsikha.chem@gmail.com [Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Department of Chemistry (India)

    2011-09-15

    In this article, we report the design and synthesis of a series of well-dispersed superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) using chitosan as a surface modifying agent to develop a potential T{sub 2} contrast probe for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The amine, carboxyl, hydroxyl, and thiol functionalities were introduced on chitosan-coated magnetic probe via simple reactions with small reactive organic molecules to afford a series of biofunctionalized nanoparticles. Physico-chemical characterizations of these functionalized nanoparticles were performed by TEM, XRD, DLS, FTIR, and VSM. The colloidal stability of these functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles was investigated in presence of phosphate buffer saline, high salt concentrations and different cell media for 1 week. MRI analysis of human cervical carcinoma (HeLa) cell lines treated with nanoparticles elucidated that the amine-functionalized nanoparticles exhibited higher amount of signal darkening and lower T{sub 2} relaxation in comparison to the others. The cellular internalization efficacy of these functionalized SPIONs was also investigated with HeLa cancer cell line by magnetically activated cell sorting (MACS) and fluorescence microscopy and results established selectively higher internalization efficacy of amine-functionalized nanoparticles to cancer cells. These positive attributes demonstrated that these nanoconjugates can be used as a promising platform for further in vitro and in vivo biological evaluations.

  4. New insights in the biology of BDNF synthesis and release: implications in CNS function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greenberg, Michael E; Xu, Baoji; Lu, Bai; Hempstead, Barbara L

    2009-10-14

    BDNF has pleiotropic effects on neuronal development and synaptic plasticity that underlie circuit formation and cognitive function. Recent breakthroughs reveal that neuronal activity regulates BDNF cell biology, including Bdnf transcription, dendritic targeting and trafficking of BDNF mRNA and protein, and secretion and extracellular conversion of proBDNF to mature BDNF. Defects in these mechanisms contribute differentially to cognitive dysfunction and anxiety-like behaviors. Here we review recent studies, presented at a symposium at Neuroscience 2009, that describe regulatory mechanisms that permit rapid and dynamic refinement of BDNF actions in neurons.

  5. Systems biology: Functional analysis of natural microbial consortia using community proteomics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    VerBerkmoes, Nathan C; Denef, Vincent J; Hettich, Robert L; Banfield, Jillian F

    2009-03-01

    We know very little about the metabolic functioning and evolutionary dynamics of microbial communities. Recent advances in comprehensive, sequencing-based methods, however, are laying a molecular foundation for new insights into how microbial communities shape the Earth's biosphere. Here we explore the convergence of microbial ecology, genomics, biological mass spectrometry and informatics that form the new field of microbial community proteogenomics. We discuss the first applications of proteogenomics and its potential for studying the physiology, ecology and evolution of microbial populations and communities.

  6. Late-stage functionalization of biologically active heterocycles through photoredox catalysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dirocco, Daniel A; Dykstra, Kevin; Krska, Shane; Vachal, Petr; Conway, Donald V; Tudge, Matthew

    2014-05-05

    The direct CH functionalization of heterocycles has become an increasingly valuable tool in modern drug discovery. However, the introduction of small alkyl groups, such as methyl, by this method has not been realized in the context of complex molecule synthesis since existing methods rely on the use of strong oxidants and elevated temperatures to generate the requisite radical species. Herein, we report the use of stable organic peroxides activated by visible-light photoredox catalysis to achieve the direct methyl-, ethyl-, and cyclopropylation of a variety of biologically active heterocycles. The simple protocol, mild reaction conditions, and unique tolerability of this method make it an important tool for drug discovery.

  7. Functional knowledge transfer for high-accuracy prediction of under-studied biological processes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher Y Park

    Full Text Available A key challenge in genetics is identifying the functional roles of genes in pathways. Numerous functional genomics techniques (e.g. machine learning that predict protein function have been developed to address this question. These methods generally build from existing annotations of genes to pathways and thus are often unable to identify additional genes participating in processes that are not already well studied. Many of these processes are well studied in some organism, but not necessarily in an investigator's organism of interest. Sequence-based search methods (e.g. BLAST have been used to transfer such annotation information between organisms. We demonstrate that functional genomics can complement traditional sequence similarity to improve the transfer of gene annotations between organisms. Our method transfers annotations only when functionally appropriate as determined by genomic data and can be used with any prediction algorithm to combine transferred gene function knowledge with organism-specific high-throughput data to enable accurate function prediction. We show that diverse state-of-art machine learning algorithms leveraging functional knowledge transfer (FKT dramatically improve their accuracy in predicting gene-pathway membership, particularly for processes with little experimental knowledge in an organism. We also show that our method compares favorably to annotation transfer by sequence similarity. Next, we deploy FKT with state-of-the-art SVM classifier to predict novel genes to 11,000 biological processes across six diverse organisms and expand the coverage of accurate function predictions to processes that are often ignored because of a dearth of annotated genes in an organism. Finally, we perform in vivo experimental investigation in Danio rerio and confirm the regulatory role of our top predicted novel gene, wnt5b, in leftward cell migration during heart development. FKT is immediately applicable to many bioinformatics

  8. The origin of neutron biological effectiveness as a function of energy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baiocco, G.; Barbieri, S.; Babini, G.; Morini, J.; Alloni, D.; Friedland, W.; Kundrát, P.; Schmitt, E.; Puchalska, M.; Sihver, L.; Ottolenghi, A.

    2016-01-01

    The understanding of the impact of radiation quality in early and late responses of biological targets to ionizing radiation exposure necessarily grounds on the results of mechanistic studies starting from physical interactions. This is particularly true when, already at the physical stage, the radiation field is mixed, as it is the case for neutron exposure. Neutron Relative Biological Effectiveness (RBE) is energy dependent, maximal for energies ~1 MeV, varying significantly among different experiments. The aim of this work is to shed light on neutron biological effectiveness as a function of field characteristics, with a comprehensive modeling approach: this brings together transport calculations of neutrons through matter (with the code PHITS) and the predictive power of the biophysical track structure code PARTRAC in terms of DNA damage evaluation. Two different energy dependent neutron RBE models are proposed: the first is phenomenological and based only on the characterization of linear energy transfer on a microscopic scale; the second is purely ab-initio and based on the induction of complex DNA damage. Results for the two models are compared and found in good qualitative agreement with current standards for radiation protection factors, which are agreed upon on the basis of RBE data. PMID:27654349

  9. Functional group based Ligand binding affinity scoring function at atomic environmental level

    OpenAIRE

    Varadwaj, Pritish Kumar; Lahiri, Tapobrata

    2009-01-01

    Use of knowledge based scoring function (KBSF) for virtual screening and molecular docking has become an established method for drug discovery. Lack of a precise and reliable free energy function that describes several interactions including water-mediated atomic interaction between amino-acid residues and ligand makes distance based statistical measure as the only alternative. Till now all the distance based scoring functions in KBSF arena use atom singularity concept, which neglects the env...

  10. Phanerozoic size history of the foraminifera: Implications for environmental and biological controls on macroevolutionary trends

    Science.gov (United States)

    Payne, J.; Jost, A. B.; Cummins, R.; Tachiki, N.; Ingram, K.

    2009-12-01

    Size is among the most important ecological characteristics of any organism, correlating with a wide variety of traits from metabolic rate to generation time. Although there have been numerous studies of body size evolution in the fossil record, few have spanned multiple geological eras. Thus, the effect of environmental changes occurring on Wilson-cycle timescales (hundreds of millions of years) on the evolution of size remains poorly understood. We compiled a comprehensive genus-level size database for benthic foraminifers through Phanerozoic time. We find that the average size of calcareous benthic foraminifers increased gradually through the Late Paleozoic, reaching local maxima in mean and maximum size during the Early Permian. Sizes decreased to a relative minimum during the Early Triassic before increasing gradually to a second local maximum in the Late Cretaceous (for maximum size) and early Paleogene (for mean size). Close resemblance of trends in mean size to trends in atmospheric oxygen concentrations suggest either oxygen has been an important driver of size evolution or the two variables share a common control. Superimposed on these long-term trends are signatures of the major extinction events. Four of the five largest drops in mean size occur in association with the Middle Permian (Guadalupian), end-Permian, end-Triassic, and end-Cretaceous mass extinctions. Thus, the Phanerozoic size history of benthic foraminifera appears to have been driven primarily by long-term and short-term environmental change.

  11. Toward a new data standard for combined marine biological and environmental datasets - expanding OBIS beyond species occurrences

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daphnis De Pooter

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available The Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS is the world’s most comprehensive online, open-access database of marine species distributions. OBIS grows with millions of new species observations every year. Contributions come from a network of hundreds of institutions, projects and individuals with common goals: to build a scientific knowledge base that is open to the public for scientific discovery and exploration and to detect trends and changes that inform society as essential elements in conservation management and sustainable development. Until now, OBIS has focused solely on the collection of biogeographic data (the presence of marine species in space and time and operated with optimized data flows, quality control procedures and data standards specifically targeted to these data. Based on requirements from the growing OBIS community to manage datasets that combine biological, physical and chemical measurements, the OBIS-ENV-DATA pilot project was launched to develop a proposed standard and guidelines to make sure these combined datasets can stay together and are not, as is often the case, split and sent to different repositories. The proposal in this paper allows for the management of sampling methodology, animal tracking and telemetry data, biological measurements (e.g., body length, percent live cover, ... as well as environmental measurements such as nutrient concentrations, sediment characteristics or other abiotic parameters measured during sampling to characterize the environment from which biogeographic data was collected. The recommended practice builds on the Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A standard and on practices adopted by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF. It consists of a DwC Event Core in combination with a DwC Occurrence Extension and a proposed enhancement to the DwC MeasurementOrFact Extension. This new structure enables the linkage of measurements or facts - quantitative and qualitative properties - to

  12. BLENDED PROJECT BASED LEARNING: THINKING SKILLS OF NEW STUDENTS OF BIOLOGY EDUCATION DEPARTMENT (ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY PERSPECTIVE

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Husamah

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available This study aims to analyze the difference of thinking skills of treatment (using Blended Project Based Learning and control classes. This is a quasi-experimental study at new students of Biology Education. The thinking skills difference between treatment and control known through statistical test (SPSS. The results showed that there was difference in thinking skills (self-regulated, critical, and creative thinking between treatment and control. Mean of self-regulated thinking of treatment (16.0 was higher than control (13.4. Mean of critical thinking of treatment (19.7 was higher than control (16.7. Mean of creative thinking of treatment (14.3 was higher than control (11.8.

  13. Development and validation of evolutionary algorithm software as an optimization tool for biological and environmental applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sys, K; Boon, N; Verstraete, W

    2004-06-01

    A flexible, extendable tool for the optimization of (micro)biological processes and protocols using evolutionary algorithms was developed. It has been tested using three different theoretical optimization problems: 2 two-dimensional problems, one with three maxima and one with five maxima and a river autopurification optimization problem with boundary conditions. For each problem, different evolutionary parameter settings were used for the optimization. For each combination of evolutionary parameters, 15 generations were run 20 times. It has been shown that in all cases, the evolutionary algorithm gave rise to valuable results. Generally, the algorithms were able to detect the more stable sub-maximum even if there existed less stable maxima. The latter is, from a practical point of view, generally more desired. The most important factors influencing the convergence process were the parameter value randomization rate and distribution. The developed software, described in this work, is available for free.

  14. Automated methods of predicting the function of biological sequences using GO and BLAST

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Baumann Ute

    2005-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background With the exponential increase in genomic sequence data there is a need to develop automated approaches to deducing the biological functions of novel sequences with high accuracy. Our aim is to demonstrate how accuracy benchmarking can be used in a decision-making process evaluating competing designs of biological function predictors. We utilise the Gene Ontology, GO, a directed acyclic graph of functional terms, to annotate sequences with functional information describing their biological context. Initially we examine the effect on accuracy scores of increasing the allowed distance between predicted and a test set of curator assigned terms. Next we evaluate several annotator methods using accuracy benchmarking. Given an unannotated sequence we use the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool, BLAST, to find similar sequences that have already been assigned GO terms by curators. A number of methods were developed that utilise terms associated with the best five matching sequences. These methods were compared against a benchmark method of simply using terms associated with the best BLAST-matched sequence (best BLAST approach. Results The precision and recall of estimates increases rapidly as the amount of distance permitted between a predicted term and a correct term assignment increases. Accuracy benchmarking allows a comparison of annotation methods. A covering graph approach performs poorly, except where the term assignment rate is high. A term distance concordance approach has a similar accuracy to the best BLAST approach, demonstrating lower precision but higher recall. However, a discriminant function method has higher precision and recall than the best BLAST approach and other methods shown here. Conclusion Allowing term predictions to be counted correct if closely related to a correct term decreases the reliability of the accuracy score. As such we recommend using accuracy measures that require exact matching of predicted

  15. Importance of N-Glycosylation on CD147 for Its Biological Functions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yang Bai

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Glycosylation of glycoproteins is one of many molecular changes that accompany malignant transformation. Post-translational modifications of proteins are closely associated with the adhesion, invasion, and metastasis of tumor cells. CD147, a tumor-associated antigen that is highly expressed on the cell surface of various tumors, is a potential target for cancer diagnosis and therapy. A significant biochemical property of CD147 is its high level of glycosylation. Studies on the structure and function of CD147 glycosylation provide valuable clues to the development of targeted therapies for cancer. Here, we review current understanding of the glycosylation characteristics of CD147 and the glycosyltransferases involved in the biosynthesis of CD147 N-glycans. Finally, we discuss proteins regulating CD147 glycosylation and the biological functions of CD147 glycosylation.

  16. An expanded role for microbial physiology in metabolic engineering and functional genomics: moving towards systems biology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nielsen, Jens; Olsson, Lisbeth

    2002-01-01

    . With the progress in molecular biology it has become possible to optimize industrial fermentations through introduction of directed genetic modification - an approach referred to as metabolic engineering. Furthermore, as a consequence of large sequencing programs the complete genomic sequence has become available...... function, and this leads to an expanded role of the classical approach applied in microbial physiology. With the increased understanding of the molecular mechanisms it is envisaged that in the future it will be possible to describe the interaction between all the components in the system (the cell), also......Microbial physiology has traditionally played a very important role in both fundamental research and in industrial applications of microorganisms. The classical approach in microbial physiology has been to analyze the role of individual components (genes or proteins) in the overall cell function...

  17. Biological Sensitivity to Family Income: Differential Effects on Early Executive Functioning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obradović, Jelena; Portilla, Ximena A; Ballard, Parissa J

    2016-01-01

    The study examined how the interplay between children's cortisol response and family income is related to executive function (EF) skills. The sample included one hundred and two 5- to 6-year-olds (64% minority). EF skills were measured using laboratory tasks and observer ratings. Physiological reactivity was assessed via cortisol response during a laboratory visit. A consistent, positive association between family income and EF skills emerged only for children who showed high cortisol response, a marker of biological sensitivity to context. In contrast, family income was not related to EF skills in children who displayed low cortisol response. Follow-up analyses revealed a disordinal interaction, suggesting that differential susceptibility can be detected at the level of basic cognitive and self-regulatory skills that support adaptive functioning.

  18. Enzymes for ecdysteroid biosynthesis: their biological functions in insects and beyond.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niwa, Ryusuke; Niwa, Yuko S

    2014-01-01

    Steroid hormones are responsible for the coordinated regulation of many aspects of biological processes in multicellular organisms. Since the last century, many studies have identified and characterized steroidogenic enzymes in vertebrates, including mammals. However, much less is known about invertebrate steroidogenic enzymes. In the last 15 years, a number of steroidogenic enzymes and their functions have been characterized in ecdysozoan animals, especially in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In this review, we summarize the latest knowledge of enzymes crucial for synthesizing ecdysteroids, the principal insect steroid hormones. We also discuss the functional conservation and diversity of ecdysteroidogenic enzymes in other insects and even non-insect species, such as nematodes, vertebrates, and lower eukaryotes.

  19. Importance of N-glycosylation on CD147 for its biological functions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bai, Yang; Huang, Wan; Ma, Li-Tian; Jiang, Jian-Li; Chen, Zhi-Nan

    2014-04-15

    Glycosylation of glycoproteins is one of many molecular changes that accompany malignant transformation. Post-translational modifications of proteins are closely associated with the adhesion, invasion, and metastasis of tumor cells. CD147, a tumor-associated antigen that is highly expressed on the cell surface of various tumors, is a potential target for cancer diagnosis and therapy. A significant biochemical property of CD147 is its high level of glycosylation. Studies on the structure and function of CD147 glycosylation provide valuable clues to the development of targeted therapies for cancer. Here, we review current understanding of the glycosylation characteristics of CD147 and the glycosyltransferases involved in the biosynthesis of CD147 N-glycans. Finally, we discuss proteins regulating CD147 glycosylation and the biological functions of CD147 glycosylation.

  20. Home and Community Environmental Features, Activity Performance, and Community Participation among Older Adults with Functional Limitations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Hsiang-Yu; Sanford, Jon A

    2012-01-01

    This paper describes relationships among home and community environmental features, activity performance in the home, and community participation potential to support aging in place. A subset of data on older adults with functional limitations (N = 122), sixty three (63) with mobility and 59 with other limitations, were utilized in this study from a larger project's subject pool. Results showed significant and positive correlations between environmental barriers, activity dependence and difficulty at home, and less community participation in the mobility limitation group. While kitchen and bathroom features were most limiting to home performance, bathtub or shower was the only home feature, and destination social environment was the only community feature, that explained community participation. Compared to environmental features, home performance explained much more community participation. Study results provide detailed information about environmental features as well as types of home activities that can be prioritized as interventions for aging in place.

  1. Image diagnosis of plant function under environmental pollution. Shokubutsu de kankyo osen wo shindansuru

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Omasa, K. (National Inst. for Environmental studies, Tsukuba (Japan))

    1993-12-20

    Various physiological reaction of plants would be obstructed and troubles of their growth would be met under environmental pollution. There are also cases that the polluted materials as nutritious components are absorbed by plants. Consequently, if plant's reaction on this environmental pollution would be used, indexes of environmental pollution and environment can be improved. For examples, Ipomoea Nil and Petunia having high reaction on photochemical oxidate are widely used as index plant of air pollution. Zelkova trees and poplars planted as street trees can also greatly absorbed the polluted gas and have a function to clear air. In this paper, a diagnosis method by visualizing plant's reaction on environmental pollution by using technique of image measurement was explained. As devices of usable image measurement, a thermal camera, a solid measuring cameras, an ultrasonic camera, a multi-spectral camera and an X-ray TV camera were given. 6 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab.

  2. Home and Community Environmental Features, Activity Performance, and Community Participation among Older Adults with Functional Limitations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hsiang-Yu Yang

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper describes relationships among home and community environmental features, activity performance in the home, and community participation potential to support aging in place. A subset of data on older adults with functional limitations (=122, sixty three (63 with mobility and 59 with other limitations, were utilized in this study from a larger project's subject pool. Results showed significant and positive correlations between environmental barriers, activity dependence and difficulty at home, and less community participation in the mobility limitation group. While kitchen and bathroom features were most limiting to home performance, bathtub or shower was the only home feature, and destination social environment was the only community feature, that explained community participation. Compared to environmental features, home performance explained much more community participation. Study results provide detailed information about environmental features as well as types of home activities that can be prioritized as interventions for aging in place.

  3. Environmental conditions influence the plant functional diversity effect on potential denitrification.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ariana E Sutton-Grier

    Full Text Available Global biodiversity loss has prompted research on the relationship between species diversity and ecosystem functioning. Few studies have examined how plant diversity impacts belowground processes; even fewer have examined how varying resource levels can influence the effect of plant diversity on microbial activity. In a field experiment in a restored wetland, we examined the role of plant trait diversity (or functional diversity, (FD and its interactions with natural levels of variability of soil properties, on a microbial process, denitrification potential (DNP. We demonstrated that FD significantly affected microbial DNP through its interactions with soil conditions; increasing FD led to increased DNP but mainly at higher levels of soil resources. Our results suggest that the effect of species diversity on ecosystem functioning may depend on environmental factors such as resource availability. Future biodiversity experiments should examine how natural levels of environmental variability impact the importance of biodiversity to ecosystem functioning.

  4. Differential Function of Lip Residues in the Mechanism and Biology of an Anthrax Hemophore

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ekworomadu, MarCia T.; Poor, Catherine B.; Owens, Cedric P.; Balderas, Miriam A.; Fabian, Marian; Olson, John S.; Murphy, Frank; Balkabasi, Erol; Honsa, Erin S.; He, Chuan; Goulding, Celia W.; Maresso, Anthony W. (Baylor); (UCI); (Cornell); (Rice); (UC)

    2014-10-02

    To replicate in mammalian hosts, bacterial pathogens must acquire iron. The majority of iron is coordinated to the protoporphyrin ring of heme, which is further bound to hemoglobin. Pathogenic bacteria utilize secreted hemophores to acquire heme from heme sources such as hemoglobin. Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax disease, secretes two hemophores, IsdX1 and IsdX2, to acquire heme from host hemoglobin and enhance bacterial replication in iron-starved environments. Both proteins contain NEAr-iron Transporter (NEAT) domains, a conserved protein module that functions in heme acquisition in Gram-positive pathogens. Here, we report the structure of IsdX1, the first of a Gram-positive hemophore, with and without bound heme. Overall, IsdX1 forms an immunoglobin-like fold that contains, similar to other NEAT proteins, a 3{sub 10}-helix near the heme-binding site. Because the mechanistic function of this helix in NEAT proteins is not yet defined, we focused on the contribution of this region to hemophore and NEAT protein activity, both biochemically and biologically in cultured cells. Site-directed mutagenesis of amino acids in and adjacent to the helix identified residues important for heme and hemoglobin association, with some mutations affecting both properties and other mutations affecting only heme stabilization. IsdX1 with mutations that reduced the ability to associate with hemoglobin and bind heme failed to restore the growth of a hemophore-deficient strain of B. anthracis on hemoglobin as the sole iron source. These data indicate that not only is the 3{sub 10}-helix important for NEAT protein biology, but also that the processes of hemoglobin and heme binding can be both separate as well as coupled, the latter function being necessary for maximal heme-scavenging activity. These studies enhance our understanding of NEAT domain and hemophore function and set the stage for structure-based inhibitor design to block NEAT domain interaction with

  5. Functional and molecular characterization of the role of CTCF in human embryonic stem cell biology.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sri Kripa Balakrishnan

    Full Text Available The CCCTC-binding factor CTCF is the only known vertebrate insulator protein and has been shown to regulate important developmental processes such as imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation and genomic architecture. In this study, we examined the role of CTCF in human embryonic stem cell (hESC biology. We demonstrate that CTCF associates with several important pluripotency genes, including NANOG, SOX2, cMYC and LIN28 and is critical for hESC proliferation. CTCF depletion impacts expression of pluripotency genes and accelerates loss of pluripotency upon BMP4 induced differentiation, but does not result in spontaneous differentiation. We find that CTCF associates with the distal ends and internal sites of the co-regulated 160 kb NANOG-DPPA3-GDF3 locus. Each of these sites can function as a CTCF-dependent enhancer-blocking insulator in heterologous assays. In hESCs, CTCF exists in multisubunit protein complexes and can be poly(ADPribosylated. Known CTCF cofactors, such as Cohesin, differentially co-localize in the vicinity of specific CTCF binding sites within the NANOG locus. Importantly, the association of some cofactors and protein PARlation selectively changes upon differentiation although CTCF binding remains constant. Understanding how unique cofactors may impart specialized functions to CTCF at specific genomic locations will further illuminate its role in stem cell biology.

  6. Strategies for the chemical and biological functionalization of scaffolds for cardiac tissue engineering: a review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tallawi, Marwa; Rosellini, Elisabetta; Barbani, Niccoletta; Cascone, Maria Grazia; Rai, Ranjana; Saint-Pierre, Guillaume; Boccaccini, Aldo R

    2015-07-06

    The development of biomaterials for cardiac tissue engineering (CTE) is challenging, primarily owing to the requirement of achieving a surface with favourable characteristics that enhances cell attachment and maturation. The biomaterial surface plays a crucial role as it forms the interface between the scaffold (or cardiac patch) and the cells. In the field of CTE, synthetic polymers (polyglycerol sebacate, polyethylene glycol, polyglycolic acid, poly-l-lactide, polyvinyl alcohol, polycaprolactone, polyurethanes and poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)) have been proven to exhibit suitable biodegradable and mechanical properties. Despite the fact that they show the required biocompatible behaviour, most synthetic polymers exhibit poor cell attachment capability. These synthetic polymers are mostly hydrophobic and lack cell recognition sites, limiting their application. Therefore, biofunctionalization of these biomaterials to enhance cell attachment and cell material interaction is being widely investigated. There are numerous approaches for functionalizing a material, which can be classified as mechanical, physical, chemical and biological. In this review, recent studies reported in the literature to functionalize scaffolds in the context of CTE, are discussed. Surface, morphological, chemical and biological modifications are introduced and the results of novel promising strategies and techniques are discussed.

  7. Biological adaptations for functional features of language in the face of cultural evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christiansen, Morten H; Reali, Florencia; Chater, Nick

    2011-04-01

    Although there may be no true language universals, it is nonetheless possible to discern several family resemblance patterns across the languages of the world. Recent work on the cultural evolution of language indicates the source of these patterns is unlikely to be an innate universal grammar evolved through biological adaptations for arbitrary linguistic features. Instead, it has been suggested that the patterns of resemblance emerge because language has been shaped by the brain, with individual languages representing different but partially overlapping solutions to the same set of nonlinguistic constraints. Here, we use computational simulations to investigate whether biological adaptation for functional features of language, deriving from cognitive and communicative constraints, may nonetheless be possible alongside rapid cultural evolution. Specifically, we focus on the Baldwin effect as an evolutionary mechanism by which previously learned linguistic features might become innate through natural selection across many generations of language users. The results indicate that cultural evolution of language does not necessarily prevent functional features of language from becoming genetically fixed, thus potentially providing a particularly informative source of constraints on cross-linguistic resemblance patterns.

  8. A bottom-up characterization of transfer functions for synthetic biology designs: lessons from enzymology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carbonell-Ballestero, Max; Duran-Nebreda, Salva; Montañez, Raúl; Solé, Ricard; Macía, Javier; Rodríguez-Caso, Carlos

    2014-12-16

    Within the field of synthetic biology, a rational design of genetic parts should include a causal understanding of their input-output responses-the so-called transfer function-and how to tune them. However, a commonly adopted strategy is to fit data to Hill-shaped curves without considering the underlying molecular mechanisms. Here we provide a novel mathematical formalization that allows prediction of the global behavior of a synthetic device by considering the actual information from the involved biological parts. This is achieved by adopting an enzymology-like framework, where transfer functions are described in terms of their input affinity constant and maximal response. As a proof of concept, we characterize a set of Lux homoserine-lactone-inducible genetic devices with different levels of Lux receptor and signal molecule. Our model fits the experimental results and predicts the impact of the receptor's ribosome-binding site strength, as a tunable parameter that affects gene expression. The evolutionary implications are outlined.

  9. Biological performance of functionalized biomedical polymers for potential applications as intraocular lens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zheng, Zhiwen; Wang, Yingjun; Jiao, Yan; Zhai, Zhichen

    2016-08-01

    To study the biological performance of surface-modified biomedical polymer materials, a model of the functional mechanism of nonspecific adsorption resistance was constructed. Cell behavior on the surface and in vivo transplantation features of intraocular lens (IOL) materials, such as hydrophobic acrylic ester and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), were investigated. The results of cell adhesion and proliferation studies showed that the addition of hirudin can significantly resist epithelial cell adhesion, better than the pure amination process, and thereby inhibit excessive proliferation on the surface. Experiments on the eyes of rabbits indicated that the IOL surfaces with hirudin modification reduced the incidence of cell aggregation and inflammation. Combined with a study of protein-resistant layer construction with recombinant hirudin on the material surface, the mechanism of surface functionalization was determined. The biological performance indicated that nonspecific adsorption is greatly decreased due to the existence of amphiphilic ions or hydration layers, which lead to stability and long-term resistance to nonspecific adsorption. These results offer a theoretical basis for the use of traditional biomedical polymer materials in long-term clinical applications. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 104A: 1961-1967, 2016.

  10. Substrate chemistry influences the morphology and biological function of adsorbed extracellular matrix assemblies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sherratt, Michael J; Bax, Daniel V; Chaudhry, Shazia S; Hodson, Nigel; Lu, Jian R; Saravanapavan, Priya; Kielty, Cay M

    2005-12-01

    In addition to mediating cell signalling events, native extracellular matrix (ECM) assemblies interact with other ECM components, act as reservoirs for soluble signalling molecules and perform structural roles. The potential of native ECM assemblies in the manufacture of biomimetic materials has not been fully exploited due, in part, to the effects of substrate interactions on their morphology. We have previously demonstrated that the ECM components, fibrillin and type VI collagen microfibrils, exhibit substrate dependent morphologies on chemically and topographically variable heterogeneous surfaces. Using both cleaning and coating approaches on silicon wafers and glass coverslips we have produced chemically homogeneous, topographically similar substrates which cover a large amphiphilic range. Extremes of substrate amphiphilicity induced morphological changes in periodicity, curvature and lateral spreading which may mask binding sites or disrupt domain structure. Biological functionality, as assayed by the ability to support cell spreading, was significantly reduced for fibrillin microfibrils adsorbed on highly hydrophilic substrates (contact angle 20.7 degrees) compared with less hydrophilic (contact angle 38.3 degrees) and hydrophobic (contact angle 92.8 degrees) substrates. With an appropriate choice of surface chemistry, multifunctional ECM assemblies retain their native morphology and biological functionality.

  11. Biology of bone and how it orchestrates the form and function of the skeleton

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sommerfeldt, D. W.; Rubin, C. T.

    2001-01-01

    The principal role of the skeleton is to provide structural support for the body. While the skeleton also serves as the body's mineral reservoir, the mineralized structure is the very basis of posture, opposes muscular contraction resulting in motion, withstands functional load bearing, and protects internal organs. Although the mass and morphology of the skeleton is defined, to some extent, by genetic determinants, it is the tissue's ability to remodel--the local resorption and formation of bone--which is responsible for achieving this intricate balance between competing responsibilities. The aim of this review is to address bone's form-function relationship, beginning with extensive research in the musculoskeletal disciplines, and focusing on several recent cellular and molecular discoveries which help understand the complex interdependence of bone cells, growth factors, physical stimuli, metabolic demands, and structural responsibilities. With a clinical and spine-oriented audience in mind, the principles of bone cell and molecular biology and physiology are presented, and an attempt has been made to incorporate epidemiologic data and therapeutic implications. Bone research remains interdisciplinary by nature, and a deeper understanding of bone biology will ultimately lead to advances in the treatment of diseases and injuries to bone itself.

  12. Structural characteristics and biological functions of the HIV-1 gp120 V3 region

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2002-01-01

    Recent studies demonstrate that the V3 loop of HIV-1 gp120 plays an important role in the attachment of HIV-1 to the target cells. Several amino acids in this domain are involved in the interaction of gp120 with the co-receptors. The V3 loop elicits one of the earliest antiviral antibody responses in HIV-1 infection and has been identified as the principal neutralizing determinant (PND). A subset of antibodies to V3 loop show a broad range of neutralizing activity. Unfortunately, this loop undergoes broad mutation and is one of the hypervariable regions. Mutations of some amino acids in this PND could affect syncytium formation, virus infectivity and neutralization. Knowing the structural characteristics and biological functions of the V3 region could help us to understand mechanism of HIV infection and to develop new strategy against HIV-1. In this review, the structural characteristics, variation and biological functions of the V3 loop as well as immunological responses to the V3 loop are discussed.

  13. The biology of cancer testis antigens: putative function, regulation and therapeutic potential.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fratta, Elisabetta; Coral, Sandra; Covre, Alessia; Parisi, Giulia; Colizzi, Francesca; Danielli, Riccardo; Nicolay, Hugues Jean Marie; Sigalotti, Luca; Maio, Michele

    2011-04-01

    Cancer testis antigens (CTA) are a large family of tumor-associated antigens expressed in human tumors of different histological origin, but not in normal tissues except for testis and placenta. This tumor-restricted pattern of expression, together with their strong in vivo immunogenicity, identified CTA as ideal targets for tumor-specific immunotherapeutic approaches, and prompted the development of several clinical trials of CTA-based vaccine therapy. Driven by this practical clinical interest, a more detailed characterization of CTA biology has been recently undertaken. So far, at least 70 families of CTA, globally accounting for about 140 members, have been identified. Most of these CTA are expressed during spermatogenesis, but their function is still largely unknown. Epigenetic events, particularly DNA methylation, appear to be the primary mechanism regulating CTA expression in both normal and transformed cells, as well as in cancer stem cells. In view of the growing interest in CTA biology, the aim of this review is to provide the most recent information on their expression, regulation and function, together with a brief summary of the major clinical trials involving CTA as therapeutic agents. The pharmacologic modulation of CTA expression profiles on neoplastic cells by DNA hypomethylating drugs will also be discussed as a feasible approach to design new combination therapies potentially able to improve the clinical efficacy of currently adopted CTA-based immunotherapeutic regimens in cancer patients.

  14. Adaptability and variability of the cell functions to the environmental factors

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kikuchi, Tadatoshi [Kyoto Univ., Kumatori, Osaka (Japan). Research Reactor Inst.

    1995-02-01

    Adaptive phenomenon of the cells to the environmental factors is one of the most important functions of cells. In the initial research program, yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as model species of eukaryote was selected to use for the experiments and copper sulfate was adopted as one of the ideal environmental factors, and then adaptation mechanisms of yeast cells in the environment surrounded by copper ions were analyzed metabolically and morphologically. Furthermore, in the relationships between environmental factors and the cells, the researches performed were as follows: (1) Induced mutation in the extranuclear-inheritable system: Mutagenic effect of ethidium bromide on mitochondria and plastids. (2) Induction of gene expression by light exposure in the early development of chloroplast in Chlamydomonas reinhardi. (3) Some features of RNA and protein syntheses in thermophilic alga Cyanidium caldarium. (4) Satellite DNA of Ochromonas danica. (5) Analyses of cell functions using various kinds of radiations. (6) Novel methionine requirement of radiation resistant bacterium, Deinococcus radiodurans. (author).

  15. NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Environmental and Biological Risks of Hybrid Organic-Silicon Nanodevices

    CERN Document Server

    Kozyrev, Sergey; Vaseashta, Ashok

    2009-01-01

    Even though there is no generally accepted definition of nanotechnologies to be defined as distinct discipline there is an emerging consensus that their advent and development is a growing in importance factor of the contemporary and future technological civilization. One of these most fundamental issues we are confronted with is the compatibility with life itself. From single cell organisms to humans, carbon is a key building block of all molecular structures of life. In contrast the man created electronic industry to build on other elements, of which silicon is the most common. Both carbon and silicon create molecular chains, although different in their internal structure. All life is built from carbon-based chains. As long as the man built technological products do not directly interfere with the physiology of life the associated risks from them are relatively easy to identify. They are primarily in the environmental pollution and the possibility of upsetting the natural balance of biocoenosis, on a planet...

  16. Environmental effects on recruitment and implications for biological reference points of Eastern Baltic cod (Gadus morhua)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Köster, Fritz; Vinther, Morten; MacKenzie, Brian;

    2009-01-01

    stock productivity. Long-term projections suggest that under adverse environmental conditions for reproduction, harvesting at fishing mortality determined as precautionary may not lead to a recovery of the stock to a biomass level considered precautionary. Thus, a revision of either the limit fishing......The decline of the Eastern Baltic cod (Gadus morhua) stock from highest to lowest stock levels on record throughout the 1980s and early 1990s was caused by a combination of recruitment failure and increasing fishing pressure at declining stock sizes. The processes driving the reproductive success...... of limit reference points, but according to long-term simulations also for target fishing mortalities, being central parts of harvest control rules in several management plans....

  17. Long-term biological monitoring of environmental quality around a solid waste landfill assessed with lichens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paoli, L; Corsini, A; Bigagli, V; Vannini, J; Bruscoli, C; Loppi, S

    2012-02-01

    The diversity of epiphytic lichens and the accumulation of selected trace elements in the lichen Flavoparmelia caperata L. (Hale) were used as indicators of pollution around a landfill in central Italy along 14 years of waste management. Lichens revealed an increased deposition for some elements (i.e., Cd, Cr, Fe and Ni) and a decrease of the lichen diversity at sites facing the landfill after an enlargement of the dumping area. However, the results allowed to exclude a significant increase in heavy metal depositions in the surrounding area and suggested that successful waste management may be associated with environmental quality. It is concluded that lichen monitoring might provide essential information to enhance the implementation of ecological impact assessment, supporting industrial regulatory procedures, also when waste management is concerned.

  18. Critical comparison of radiometric and mass spectrometric methods for the determination of radionuclides in environmental, biological and nuclear waste samples.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hou, Xiaolin; Roos, Per

    2008-02-11

    The radiometric methods, alpha (alpha)-, beta (beta)-, gamma (gamma)-spectrometry, and mass spectrometric methods, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, accelerator mass spectrometry, thermal ionization mass spectrometry, resonance ionization mass spectrometry, secondary ion mass spectrometry, and glow discharge mass spectrometry are reviewed for the determination of radionuclides. These methods are critically compared for the determination of long-lived radionuclides important for radiation protection, decommissioning of nuclear facilities, repository of nuclear waste, tracer application in the environmental and biological researches, these radionuclides include (3)H, (14)C, (36)Cl, (41)Ca, (59,63)Ni, (89,90)Sr, (99)Tc, (129)I, (135,137)Cs, (210)Pb, (226,228)Ra, (237)Np, (241)Am, and isotopes of thorium, uranium and plutonium. The application of on-line methods (flow injection/sequential injection) for separation of radionuclides and automated determination of radionuclides is also discussed.

  19. Methods used to characterize the chemical composition and biological activity of environmental waters throughout the United States, 2012-14

    Science.gov (United States)

    Romanok, Kristin M.; Reilly, Timothy J.; Barber, Larry B.; Boone, J. Scott; Buxton, Herbert T.; Foreman, William T.; Furlong, Edward T.; Hladik, Michelle; Iwanowicz, Luke R.; Journey, Celeste; Kolpin, Dana W.; Kuivila, Kathryn; Loftin, Keith A.; Mills, Marc A.; Meyer, Michael T.; Orlando, James L.; Smalling, Kelly L.; Villeneuve, Daniel L.; Bradley, Paul M.

    2017-03-22

    A vast array of chemical compounds are in wide commercial use in the United States, and the potential ecological and human-health effect of exposure to chemical mixtures has been identified as a high priority in environment health science. Awareness of the potential effects of low-level chemical exposures is rising. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, conducted a study in which samples were collected from 38 streams in 25 States to provide an overview of contaminants found in stream water across the Nation. Additionally, biological screening assays were used to help determine any potential ecological and human-health effects of these chemical mixtures and to prioritize target chemicals for future toxicological studies. This report describes the site locations and the sampling and analytical methods and quality-assurance procedures used in the study.

  20. Co-design in synthetic biology: a system-level analysis of the development of an environmental sensing device.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ball, David A; Lux, Matthew W; Graef, Russell R; Peterson, Matthew W; Valenti, Jane D; Dileo, John; Peccoud, Jean

    2010-01-01

    The concept of co-design is common in engineering, where it is necessary, for example, to determine the optimal partitioning between hardware and software of the implementation of a system features. Here we propose to adapt co-design methodologies for synthetic biology. As a test case, we have designed an environmental sensing device that detects the presence of three chemicals, and returns an output only if at least two of the three chemicals are present. We show that the logical operations can be implemented in three different design domains: (1) the transcriptional domain using synthetically designed hybrid promoters, (2) the protein domain using bi-molecular fluorescence complementation, and (3) the fluorescence domain using spectral unmixing and relying on electronic processing. We discuss how these heterogeneous design strategies could be formalized to develop co-design algorithms capable of identifying optimal designs meeting user specifications.

  1. GST-omega genes interact with environmental tobacco smoke on adult level of lung function

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Jong, Kim; Boezen, Hendrika; ten Hacken, Nicolaas; Postma, Dirkje S; Vonk, Judith M

    2013-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Lung growth in utero and lung function loss during adulthood can be affected by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. Both ETS exposure and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in Glutathione S-Transferase (GST) Omega g

  2. Identifying environmental risk to male reproductive function by occupational sperm studies: logistics and design options.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bonde, J.P.; Giwercman, A.; Ernst, E.; Joffe, M.; Bisanti, L.; Hoorne M, van M.; Thonneau, P.; Zielhuis, G.; Kiss, P.; Abell, A.; Larsen, S.B.; Danscher, G.; Kolstad, H.

    1996-01-01

    Malfunction of the male reproductive system might be a sensitive marker of environmental hazards, the effects of which may extend beyond reproductive function. The testis is more vulnerable to heat and ionising radiation than any other organ of the body and several xenobiotics are known to disrupt s

  3. Shyness and Vocabulary: The Roles of Executive Functioning and Home Environmental Stimulation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blankson, A. Nayena; O'Brien, Marion; Leerkes, Esther M.; Marcovitch, Stuart; Calkins, Susan D.

    2011-01-01

    Although shyness has often been found to be negatively related to vocabulary, few studies have examined the processes that produce or modify this relation. The present study examined executive functioning skills and home environmental stimulation as potential mediating and moderating mechanisms. A sample of 3 1/2-year-old children (N = 254) was…

  4. IGF-IEc expression, regulation and biological function in different tissues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dai, Zhongquan; Wu, Feng; Yeung, Ella W; Li, Yinghui

    2010-08-01

    Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) is an important growth factor for embryonic development, postnatal growth, tissue repair and maintenance of homeostasis. IGF-I functions and regulations are complex and tissue-specific. IGF-I mediates growth hormone signaling to target tissues during growth, but many IGF-I variants have been discovered, resulting in complex models to describe IGF-I function and regulation. Mechano-growth factor (MGF) is an alternative splicing variant of IGF-I and serves as a local tissue repair factor that responds to changes in physiological conditions or environmental stimuli. MGF expression is significantly increased in muscle, bone and tendon following damage resulting from mechanical stimuli and in the brain and heart following ischemia. MGF has been shown to activate satellite cells in muscle resulting in hypertrophy or regeneration, and functions as a neuroprotectant in brain ischemia. Both expression and processing of this IGF-I variant are tissue specific, but the functional mechanism is poorly understood. MGF and its short derivative have been examined as a potential therapy for muscular dystrophy and cerebral hypoxia-ischemia using experimental animals. Although the unique mode of action of MGF has been identified, the details remain elusive. Here we review the expression and regulation of MGF and the function of this IGF-I isoform in tissue protection.

  5. To Build an Ecosystem: An Introductory Lab for Environmental Science & Biology Students

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hudon, Daniel; Finnerty, John R.

    2013-01-01

    A hypothesis-driven laboratory is described that introduces students to the complexities of ecosystem function. Students work with live algae, brine shrimp, and sea anemones to test hypotheses regarding the trophic interactions among species, the exchange of nutrients and gases, and the optimal ratio of producers to consumers and predators in…

  6. A visualization tool to support decision making in environmental and biological planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Romañach, Stephanie S.; McKelvy, James M.; Conzelmann, Craig; Suir, Kevin J.

    2014-01-01

    Large-scale ecosystem management involves consideration of many factors for informed decision making. The EverVIEW Data Viewer is a cross-platform desktop decision support tool to help decision makers compare simulation model outputs from competing plans for restoring Florida's Greater Everglades. The integration of NetCDF metadata conventions into EverVIEW allows end-users from multiple institutions within and beyond the Everglades restoration community to share information and tools. Our development process incorporates continuous interaction with targeted end-users for increased likelihood of adoption. One of EverVIEW's signature features is side-by-side map panels, which can be used to simultaneously compare species or habitat impacts from alternative restoration plans. Other features include examination of potential restoration plan impacts across multiple geographic or tabular displays, and animation through time. As a result of an iterative, standards-driven approach, EverVIEW is relevant to large-scale planning beyond Florida, and is used in multiple biological planning efforts in the United States.

  7. Enrichment and immobilization of sulfide removal microbiota applied for environmental biological remediation of aquaculture area.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Yang-Guo; Zheng, Yu; Tian, Weijun; Bai, Jie; Feng, Gong; Guo, Liang; Gao, Mengchun

    2016-07-01

    To remove sulfide in the deteriorating aquaculture sediment and water, sulfide-oxidizing microbiota was enriched from Jiaozhou Bay, China, by using sulfide-rich medium. Composition and structure of microbial communities in the enrichments were investigated by 16S rDNA molecular biotechniques. Results showed that microbial community structure continuously shifted and the abundance of sulfate reducing bacteria, i.e., Desulfobacterium, Desulfococcus and Desulfobacca apparently declined. Several halophile genera, Vibrio, Marinobacter, Pseudomonas, Prochlorococcus, Pediococcus and Thiobacillus predominated finally in the microbiota. The enriched microbiota was capable of removing a maximum of 1000 mg/L sulfide within 12 h with 10% inoculum at pH 7.0, 20-30 °C. After immobilized, the microbiota presented excellent resistance to impact and could completely remove 600 mg/L sulfide in 12 h. Moreover, the immobilized microbiota recovered well even recycled for five times. In conclusion, the immobilized sulfide-removing microbiota showed a quite promising application for biological restoring of sulfide-rich aquaculture environment.

  8. Modification of chitosan derivatives of environmental and biological interest: a green chemistry approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdelaal, Magdy Y; Sobahi, Tariq R; Al-Shareef, Hossa F

    2013-04-01

    Chitosan is a non-toxic polyaminosaccharide that is available in a variety of useful forms, and its chemical and biological properties make it a very attractive biomaterial that could be used in a wide variety of medicinal applications. This work focuses on the preparation of different chitosan derivatives by treatment with ethyl cellulose, cellulose triacetate and different carbohydrates in both neutral and slightly acidic media. It also addresses modification with glycidyltrimethyl ammonium chloride, phthalic anhydride and succinic acid derivatives. The obtained derivatives were crosslinked with glutaraldehyde. Thermo-gravimetric (TGA) and FT-IR spectroscopic analyses and electron scanning microscopy (SEM) were used to characterize the obtained products and demonstrate the success of the chitosan-modification process. The obtained products were tested for their ability to uptake transition metal ions from aqueous solutions, and their ion-uptake efficiency was determined with the aid of the ICP-AES technique. The bioactivity of some selected products was tested to study the effect of their concentrations on selected microorganisms. Burkholderia cepaci, Aspergillus niger, and Candida albicans were selected as representative examples of bacteria, yeasts and fungi, respectively.

  9. Structured Development and Promotion of a Research Field: Hormesis in Biology, Toxicology, and Environmental Regulatory Science.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mushak, Paul; Elliott, Kevin C

    2015-12-01

    The ability of powerful and well-funded interest groups to steer scientific research in ways that advance their goals has become a significant social concern. This steering ability is increasingly being recognized in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and in findings of deliberative scientific bodies. This paper provides a case study that illustrates some of the major strategies that can be used to structure and advance a controversial research field. It focuses on hormesis, described as a type of dose-response relationship in toxicology and biology showing low-dose stimulation but high-dose inhibition, or the reverse. Hormesis proponents tout its significance, arguing that substances toxic at high doses and beneficial at lower doses should be regulated less stringently. We identify five strategies employed by hormesis proponents to foster its acceptance: (1) creating institutions focused on supporting hormesis; (2) developing terminology, study designs, and data interpretations that cast it in a favorable light; (3) using bibliometric techniques and surveys to attract attention; (4) aggressively advocating for the phenomenon and challenging critics; and (5) working with outside interest groups to apply the hormesis phenomenon in the economic and political spheres. We also suggest a number of oversight strategies that can be implemented to help promote credible and socially responsible research in cases like this one.

  10. Use of cloud-point preconcentration for spectrophotometric determination of trace amounts of antimony in biological and environmental samples.

    Science.gov (United States)

    El-Sharjawy, Abdel-Azeem M; Amin, Alaa S

    2016-01-01

    This work presents a cloud-point extraction process using the micelle-mediated extraction method for simultaneous preconcentration and determination of Sb(III) and Sb(V) species in biological and environmental samples as a prior preconcentration step to their spectrophotometric determination. The analytical system is based on the selective reaction between Sb(III) and 3-dichloro-6-(3-carboxy-2-hydroxy-1-naphthylazo)quinoxaline (DCHNAQ) in the presence of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and potassium iodide at pH 4.5. Total Sb concentration was determined after reduction of Sb(V) to Sb(III) in the presence of potassium iodide and ascorbic acid. The optimal reaction conditions and extraction were studied, and the analytical characteristics of the method (e.g., limits of detection and quantification, linear range, preconcentration, improvement factors) were obtained. Linearity for Sb(III) was obeyed in the range of 0.2-20 ng ml(-1). The detection and quantification limits for the determination of Sb(III) were 0.055 and 0.185 ng ml(-1), respectively. The method has a lower detection limit and wider linear range, inexpensive instrument, and low cost, and is more sensitive compared with most other methods. The interference effect of some anions and cations was also studied. The method was applied to the determination of Sb(III) in the presence of Sb(V) and total antimony in blood plasma, urine, biological, and water samples.

  11. How biological soil crusts became recognized as a functional unit: a selective history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, Otto L.; Belnap, Jayne

    2016-01-01

    It is surprising that despite the world-wide distribution and general importance of biological soil crusts (biocrusts), scientific recognition and functional analysis of these communities is a relatively young field of science. In this chapter, we sketch the historical lines that led to the recognition of biocrusts as a community with important ecosystem functions. The idea of biocrusts as a functional ecological community has come from two main scientific branches: botany and soil science. For centuries, botanists have long recognized that multiple organisms colonize the soil surface in the open and often dry areas occurring between vascular plants. Much later, after the initial taxonomic and phyto-sociological descriptions were made, soil scientists and agronomists observed that these surface organisms interacted with soils in ways that changed the soil structure. In the 1970’s, research on these communities as ecological units that played an important functional role in drylands began in earnest, and these studies have continued to this day. Here, we trace the history of these studies from the distant past until 1990, when biocrusts became well-known to scientists and the public.

  12. Synthetic biology: insights into biological computation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manzoni, Romilde; Urrios, Arturo; Velazquez-Garcia, Silvia; de Nadal, Eulàlia; Posas, Francesc

    2016-04-18

    Organisms have evolved a broad array of complex signaling mechanisms that allow them to survive in a wide range of environmental conditions. They are able to sense external inputs and produce an output response by computing the information. Synthetic biology attempts to rationally engineer biological systems in order to perform desired functions. Our increasing understanding of biological systems guides this rational design, while the huge background in electronics for building circuits defines the methodology. In this context, biocomputation is the branch of synthetic biology aimed at implementing artificial computational devices using engineered biological motifs as building blocks. Biocomputational devices are defined as biological systems that are able to integrate inputs and return outputs following pre-determined rules. Over the last decade the number of available synthetic engineered devices has increased exponentially; simple and complex circuits have been built in bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells. These devices can manage and store information, take decisions based on past and present inputs, and even convert a transient signal into a sustained response. The field is experiencing a fast growth and every day it is easier to implement more complex biological functions. This is mainly due to advances in in vitro DNA synthesis, new genome editing tools, novel molecular cloning techniques, continuously growing part libraries as well as other technological advances. This allows that digital computation can now be engineered and implemented in biological systems. Simple logic gates can be implemented and connected to perform novel desired functions or to better understand and redesign biological processes. Synthetic biological digital circuits could lead to new therapeutic approaches, as well as new and efficient ways to produce complex molecules such as antibiotics, bioplastics or biofuels. Biological computation not only provides possible biomedical and

  13. Quality of graphite target for biological/biomedical/environmental applications of 14C-accelerator mass spectrometry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Seung-Hyun; Kelly, Peter B; Ortalan, Volkan; Browning, Nigel D; Clifford, Andrew J

    2010-03-15

    Catalytic graphitization for (14)C-accelerator mass spectrometry ((14)C-AMS) produced various forms of elemental carbon. Our high-throughput Zn reduction method (C/Fe = 1:5, 500 degrees C, 3 h) produced the AMS target of graphite-coated iron powder (GCIP), a mix of nongraphitic carbon and Fe(3)C. Crystallinity of the AMS targets of GCIP (nongraphitic carbon) was increased to turbostratic carbon by raising the C/Fe ratio from 1:5 to 1:1 and the graphitization temperature from 500 to 585 degrees C. The AMS target of GCIP containing turbostratic carbon had a large isotopic fractionation and a low AMS ion current. The AMS target of GCIP containing turbostratic carbon also yielded less accurate/precise (14)C-AMS measurements because of the lower graphitization yield and lower thermal conductivity that were caused by the higher C/Fe ratio of 1:1. On the other hand, the AMS target of GCIP containing nongraphitic carbon had higher graphitization yield and better thermal conductivity over the AMS target of GCIP containing turbostratic carbon due to optimal surface area provided by the iron powder. Finally, graphitization yield and thermal conductivity were stronger determinants (over graphite crystallinity) for accurate/precise/high-throughput biological, biomedical, and environmental (14)C-AMS applications such as absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination (ADME), and physiologically based pharmacokinetics (PBPK) of nutrients, drugs, phytochemicals, and environmental chemicals.

  14. Multiscale modeling of biological functions: from enzymes to molecular machines (Nobel Lecture).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warshel, Arieh

    2014-09-15

    A detailed understanding of the action of biological molecules is a pre-requisite for rational advances in health sciences and related fields. Here, the challenge is to move from available structural information to a clear understanding of the underlying function of the system. In light of the complexity of macromolecular complexes, it is essential to use computer simulations to describe how the molecular forces are related to a given function. However, using a full and reliable quantum mechanical representation of large molecular systems has been practically impossible. The solution to this (and related) problems has emerged from the realization that large systems can be spatially divided into a region where the quantum mechanical description is essential (e.g. a region where bonds are being broken), with the remainder of the system being represented on a simpler level by empirical force fields. This idea has been particularly effective in the development of the combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) models. Here, the coupling between the electrostatic effects of the quantum and classical subsystems has been a key to the advances in describing the functions of enzymes and other biological molecules. The same idea of representing complex systems in different resolutions in both time and length scales has been found to be very useful in modeling the action of complex systems. In such cases, starting with coarse grained (CG) representations that were originally found to be very useful in simulating protein folding, and augmenting them with a focus on electrostatic energies, has led to models that are particularly effective in probing the action of molecular machines. The same multiscale idea is likely to play a major role in modeling of even more complex systems, including cells and collections of cells.

  15. Production of sorption functional media (SFM) from clinoptilolite tailings and its performance investigation in a biological aerated filter (BAF) reactor.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Yan; Qi, Jingyao; Chi, Liying; Wang, Dong; Wang, Zhaoyang; Li, Ke; Li, Xin

    2013-02-15

    The few reuse and large stockpile of zeolite tailings led to a series of social and environmental problems. This study investigated the possibility of using the zeolite tailings as one of principal raw materials to prepare sorption functional media (SFM) by a high temperature sintering process. The SFM was used to serve as a biomedium in a biological aerated filter (BAF) reactor for domestic wastewater treatment, and its purification performance was examined. The physical, chemical and sorption properties of SFM were also determined. The microstructure of the SFM was analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Results revealed that: (1) zeolite tailings could be used to produce the SFM under the optimal sintering parameters; (2) the sorption and desorption isotherm of ammonia nitrogen on SFM could be well described by the Langmuir formula; (3) in terms of removing organic matter, ammonia nitrogen, turbidity and colourity, the performance of the biofilter with SFM was superior to that with haydite; and (4) SFM BAF has a stronger adaptability to low temperature (6-11°C) for NH(3)-N removal compared to haydite BAF. Therefore, the SFM produced from the zeolite tailings was suitable to serve as the biomedium in the domestic wastewater treatment.

  16. Sheep lymph-nodes as a biological indicator of environmental exposure to fluoro-edenite.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ledda, Caterina; Loreto, Carla; Pomara, Cristoforo; Rapisarda, Giuseppe; Fiore, Maria; Ferrante, Margherita; Bracci, Massimo; Santarelli, Lory; Fenga, Concettina; Rapisarda, Venerando

    2016-05-01

    A significantly increased incidence of pleural mesothelioma in Biancavilla (Sicily, Italy) has been attributed to exposure to fluoro-edenite (FE), a fibrous amphibole extracted from a local stone quarry. The lymph-nodes draining the pulmonary lobes of sheep grazing around the town were examined, to gain insights into fibre diffusion. The pasture areas of six sheep flocks lying about 3km from Biancavilla were located using the global positioning system. The cranial tracheobronchial and one middle mediastinal lymph-node as well as four lung tissue samples were collected from 10 animals from each flock and from 10 control sheep for light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) examination. The lymph-nodes from exposed sheep were enlarged and exhibited signs of anthracosis. Histologically, especially at the paracortical level, they showed lymph-follicle hyperplasia with large reactive cores and several macrophages (coniophages) containing grey-brownish particulate interspersed with elements with a fibril structure, forming aggregates of varying dimensions (coniophage nodules). Similar findings were detected in some peribronchiolar areas of the lung parenchyma. SEM examination showed that FE fibres measured 8-41µm in length and 0.4-1.39µm in diameter in both lymph-nodes and lung tissue. Monitoring of FE fibres in sheep lymph-nodes using appropriate techniques can help set up environmental pollution surveillance.

  17. Microbial interactions with chromium: basic biological processes and applications in environmental biotechnology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutiérrez-Corona, J F; Romo-Rodríguez, P; Santos-Escobar, F; Espino-Saldaña, A E; Hernández-Escoto, H

    2016-12-01

    Chromium (Cr) is a highly toxic metal for microorganisms as well as plants and animal cells. Due to its widespread industrial use, Cr has become a serious pollutant in diverse environmental settings. The hexavalent form of the metal, Cr(VI), is considered a more toxic species than the relatively innocuous and less mobile Cr(III) form. The study of the interactions between microorganisms and Cr has been helpful to unravel the mechanisms allowing organisms to survive in the presence of high concentrations of Cr(VI) and to detoxify and remove the oxyanion. Various mechanisms of interactions with Cr have been identified in diverse species of bacteria and fungi, including biosorption, bioaccumulation, reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III), and chromate efflux. Some of these systems have been proposed as potential biotechnological tools for the bioremediation of Cr pollution using bioreactors or by in situ treatments. In this review, the interactions of microorganisms with Cr are summarised, emphasising the importance of new research avenues using advanced methodologies, including proteomic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic analyses, as well as the use of techniques based on X-ray absorption spectroscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy.

  18. The application of environmental economics in marine functional zoning and coastal city conceptual planning

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    There are a lot of functions of marine resources.The various and competing conflicts between different users and different sectors in th euse of marine resources will cause the disorderly development of marine resources,and even destroy the marine ecosystem.Marine functional zoning is an effective tool to solve the conflicts.However,there are some shortcomings in the current understanding on marine functional zoning and its practice.In this paper,a case study on the resource-oriented marine functional zoning of Xiangshan Port is introduced.By the prmeiples of resource-oriented and public participation,Xiangshan Pon is divided into seven zones.and the main function of the whole port and seven zones are determined by the environmental economics analysis.A case study of Xiamen is also introduced for how to integrate marine functional zoning into a coastal city conceptual planning.Under the conservation prmciple,resources-oriented principle and so on,the advantages and disadvantages of natural ecosystem,social ecosystem and econnomic ecosystem are holistically analyzed,the urban orientation of Xiamen is determined as a regional international tourism ciif,and the whole city is divided into five function zones according to its leading industry-tourism.Resource-oriented marine functional zoning has a long-term guidance for sustainable use of marine resources and development strategy of a coastal city.And environmental economics analysis is an effective tool for resource-orientation.

  19. [The biological reaction of inflammation, methylglyoxal of blood plasma, functional and structural alterations in elastic type arteries at the early stage of hypertension disease].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Titov, V N; Dmitriev, V A; Oshchepkov, E V; Balakhonova, T V; Tripoten', M I; Shiriaeva, Iu K

    2012-08-01

    The article deals with studying of the relationship between biologic reaction of inflammation with glycosylation reaction and content of methylglyoxal in blood serum. The positive correlation between pulse wave velocity and content of methylglyoxal, C-reactive protein in intercellular medium and malleolar brachial index value was established. This data matches the experimental results concerning involvement of biological reaction of inflammation into structural changes of elastic type arteries under hypertension disease, formation of arteries' rigidity and increase of pulse wave velocity. The arterial blood pressure is a biological reaction of hydrodynamic pressure which is used in vivo by several biological functions: biological function of homeostasis, function of endoecology, biological function of adaptation and function of locomotion. The biological reaction of hydrodynamic (hydraulic) pressure is a mode of compensation of derangement of several biological functions which results in the very high rate of hypertension disease in population. As a matter of fact, hypertension disease is a syndrome of lingering pathological compensation by higher arterial blood pressure of the biological functions derangements occurring in the distal section at the level of paracrine cenoses of cells. The arterial blood pressure is a kind of in vivo integral indicator of deranged metabolism. The essential hypertension disease pathogenically is a result of the derangement of three biological functions: biological function of homeostasis, biological function of trophology - nutrition (biological reaction of external feeding - exotrophia) and biological function of endoecology. In case of "littering" of intercellular medium in vivo with nonspecific endogenic flogogens a phylogenetically earlier activation of biological reactions of excretion, inflammation and hydrodynamic arterial blood pressure occur. In case of derangement of biological function of homeostasis, decreasing of

  20. Functional traits and environmental filtering drive community assembly in a species-rich tropical system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lebrija-Trejos, Edwin; Pérez-García, Eduardo A; Meave, Jorge A; Bongers, Frans; Poorter, Lourens

    2010-02-01

    Mechanistic models of community assembly state that biotic and abiotic filters constrain species establishment through selection on their functional traits. Predicting this assembly process is hampered because few studies directly incorporate environmental measurements and scale up from species to community level and because the functional traits' significance is environment dependent. We analyzed community assembly by measuring structure, environmental conditions, and species traits of secondary forests in a species-rich tropical system. We found, as hypothesized, that community structure shaped the local environment and that strong relationships existed between this environment and the traits of the most successful species of the regeneration communities. Path and multivariate analyses showed that temperature and leaf traits that regulate it were the most important factors of community differentiation. Comparisons between the trait composition of the forest's regeneration, juvenile, and adult communities showed a consistent community assembly pattern. These results allowed us to identify the major functional traits and environmental factors involved in the assembly of dry-forest communities and demonstrate that environmental filtering is a predictable and fundamental process of community assembly, even in a complex system such as a tropical forest.

  1. Impacts of biological parameterization, initial conditions, and environmental forcing on parameter sensitivity and uncertainty in a marine ecosystem model for the Bering Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibson, G. A.; Spitz, Y. H.

    2011-11-01

    We use a series of Monte Carlo experiments to explore simultaneously the sensitivity of the BEST marine ecosystem model to environmental forcing, initial conditions, and biological parameterizations. Twenty model output variables were examined for sensitivity. The true sensitivity of biological and environmental parameters becomes apparent only when each parameter is allowed to vary within its realistic range. Many biological parameters were important only to their corresponding variable, but several biological parameters, e.g., microzooplankton grazing and small phytoplankton doubling rate, were consistently very important to several output variables. Assuming realistic biological and environmental variability, the standard deviation about simulated mean mesozooplankton biomass ranged from 1 to 14 mg C m - 3 during the year. Annual primary productivity was not strongly correlated with temperature but was positively correlated with initial nitrate and light. Secondary productivity was positively correlated with primary productivity and negatively correlated with spring bloom timing. Mesozooplankton productivity was not correlated with water temperature, but a shift towards a system in which smaller zooplankton undertake a greater proportion of the secondary production as the water temperature increases appears likely. This approach to incorporating environmental variability within a sensitivity analysis could be extended to any ecosystem model to gain confidence in climate-driven ecosystem predictions.

  2. Thermal biology of flight in a butterfly: genotype, flight metabolism, and environmental conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mattila, Anniina L K

    2015-12-01

    Knowledge of the effects of thermal conditions on animal movement and dispersal is necessary for a mechanistic understanding of the consequences of climate change and habitat fragmentation. In particular, the flight of ectothermic insects such as small butterflies is greatly influenced by ambient temperature. Here, variation in body temperature during flight is investigated in an ecological model species, the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia). Attention is paid on the effects of flight metabolism, genotypes at candidate loci, and environmental conditions. Measurements were made under a natural range of conditions using infrared thermal imaging. Heating of flight muscles by flight metabolism has been presumed to be negligible in small butterflies. However, the results demonstrate that Glanville fritillary males with high flight metabolic rate maintain elevated body temperature better during flight than males with a low rate of flight metabolism. This effect is likely to have a significant influence on the dispersal performance and fitness of butterflies and demonstrates the possible importance of intraspecific physiological variation on dispersal in other similar ectothermic insects. The results also suggest that individuals having an advantage in low ambient temperatures can be susceptible to overheating at high temperatures. Further, tolerance of high temperatures may be important for flight performance, as indicated by an association of heat-shock protein (Hsp70) genotype with flight metabolic rate and body temperature at takeoff. The dynamics of body temperature at flight and factors affecting it also differed significantly between female and male butterflies, indicating that thermal dynamics are governed by different mechanisms in the two sexes. This study contributes to knowledge about factors affecting intraspecific variation in dispersal-related thermal performance in butterflies and other insects. Such information is needed for predictive

  3. Selective uptake and biological consequences of environmentally relevant antidepressant pharmaceutical exposures on male fathead minnows

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schultz, M.M.; Painter, M.M.; Bartell, S.E.; Logue, A.; Furlong, E.T.; Werner, S.L.; Schoenfuss, H.L.

    2011-01-01

    Antidepressant pharmaceuticals have been reported in wastewater effluent at the nanogram to low microgram-per-liter range, and include bupropion (BUP), fluoxetine (FLX), sertraline (SER), and venlafaxine (VEN). To assess the effects of antidepressants on reproductive anatomy, physiology, and behavior, adult male fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were exposed for 21 days either to a single concentration of the antidepressants FLX, SER, VEN, or BUP, or to an antidepressant mixture. The data demonstrated that exposure to VEN (305. ng/L and 1104. ng/L) and SER (5.2. ng/L) resulted in mortality. Anatomical alterations were noted within the testes of fish exposed to SER and FLX, both modulators of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Additionally, FLX at 28. ng/L induced vitellogenin in male fish-a common endpoint for estrogenic endocrine disruption. Significant alterations in male secondary sex characteristics were noted with single exposures. Effects of single compound exposures neither carried over, nor became additive in the antidepressant mixtures, and reproductive behavior was not affected. Analysis of brain tissues from the exposed fish suggested increased uptake of FLX, SER and BUP and minimal uptake of VEN when compared to exposure water concentrations. Furthermore, the only metabolite detected consistently in the brain tissues was norfluoxetine. Similar trends of uptake by brain tissue were observed when fish were exposed to antidepressant mixtures. The present study demonstrates that anatomy and physiology, but not reproductive behavior, can be disrupted by exposure to environmental concentrations of some antidepressants. The observation that antidepressant uptake into fish tissues is selective may have consequences on assessing the mode-of-action and effects of these compounds in future studies. ?? 2011 Elsevier B.V.

  4. Selective uptake and biological consequences of environmentally relevant antidepressant pharmaceutical exposures on male fathead minnows

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schultz, Melissa M.; Painter, Meghan M.; Bartell, Stephen E.; Logue, Amanda; Furlong, Edward T.; Werner, Stephen L.; Schoenfuss, Heiko L.

    2011-01-01

    Antidepressant pharmaceuticals have been reported in wastewater effluent at the nanogram to low microgram-per-liter range, and include bupropion (BUP), fluoxetine (FLX), sertraline (SER), and venlafaxine (VEN). To assess the effects of antidepressants on reproductive anatomy, physiology, and behavior, adult male fathead minnows (Pimeplwles promelas) were exposed for 21 days either to a single concentration of the antidepressants FLX, SER, VEN, or BUP, or to an antidepressant mixture. The data demonstrated that exposure to VEN (305 ng/L and 1104 ng/L) and SER (5.2 ng/L) resulted in mortality. Anatomical alterations were noted within the testes of fish exposed to SER and FLX, both modulators of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Additionally, FLX at 28 ng/L induced vitellogenin in male fish—a common endpoint for estrogenic endocrine disruption. Significant alterations in male secondary sex characteristics were noted with single exposures. Effects of single compound exposures neither carried over, nor became additive in the antidepressant mixtures, and reproductive behavior was not affected. Analysis of brain tissues from the exposed fish suggested increased uptake of FLX, SER and BUP and minimal uptake of VEN when compared to exposure water concentrations. Furthermore, the only metabolite detected consistently in the brain tissues was norfluoxetine. Similar trends of uptake by brain tissue were observed when fish were exposed to antidepressant mixtures. The present study demonstrates that anatomy and physiology, but not reproductive behavior, can be disrupted by exposure to environmental concentrations of some antidepressants. The observation that antidepressant uptake into fish tissues is selective may have consequences on assessing the mode-of-action and effects of these compounds in future studies.

  5. Environmental DNA Marker Development with Sparse Biological Information: A Case Study on Opossum Shrimp (Mysis diluviana).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carim, Kellie J; Christianson, Kyle R; McKelvey, Kevin M; Pate, William M; Silver, Douglas B; Johnson, Brett M; Galloway, Bill T; Young, Michael K; Schwartz, Michael K

    2016-01-01

    The spread of Mysis diluviana, a small glacial relict crustacean, outside its native range has led to unintended shifts in the composition of native fish communities throughout western North America. As a result, biologists seek accurate methods of determining the presence of M. diluviana, especially at low densities or during the initial stages of an invasion. Environmental DNA (eDNA) provides one solution for detecting M. diluviana, but building eDNA markers that are both sensitive and species-specific is challenging when the distribution and taxonomy of closely related non-target taxa are poorly understood, published genetic data are sparse, and tissue samples are difficult to obtain. To address these issues, we developed a pair of independent eDNA markers to increase the likelihood of a positive detection of M. diluviana when present and reduce the probability of false positive detections from closely related non-target species. Because tissue samples of closely-related and possibly sympatric, non-target taxa could not be obtained, we used synthetic DNA sequences of closely related non-target species to test the specificity of eDNA markers. Both eDNA markers yielded positive detections from five waterbodies where M. diluviana was known to be present, and no detections in five others where this species was thought to be absent. Daytime samples from varying depths in one waterbody occupied by M. diluviana demonstrated that samples near the lake bottom produced 5 to more than 300 times as many eDNA copies as samples taken at other depths, but all samples tested positive regardless of depth.

  6. Next-generation sequencing as a powerful motor for advances in the biological and environmental sciences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Faure, Denis; Joly, Dominique

    2015-04-01

    Next-generation sequencing (NGS) provides unprecedented insight into (meta)genomes, (meta)transcriptomes (cDNA) and (meta)barcodes of individuals, populations and communities of Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya, as well as viruses. This special issue combines reviews and original papers reporting technical and scientific advances in genomics and transcriptomics of non-model species, as well as quantification and functional analyses of biodiversity using NGS technologies of the second and third generations. In addition, certain papers also exemplify the transition from Sanger to NGS barcodes in molecular taxonomy.

  7. Functional issues and environmental qualification of digital protection systems of advanced light-water nuclear reactors

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Korsah, K.; Clark, R.L.; Wood, R.T. [Oak Ridge National Lab., TN (United States)

    1994-04-01

    Issues of obsolescence and lack of infrastructural support in (analog) spare parts, coupled with the potential benefits of digital systems, are driving the nuclear industry to retrofit analog instrumentation and control (I&C) systems with digital and microprocessor-based systems. While these technologies have several advantages, their application to safety-related systems in nuclear power plants raises key issues relating to the systems` environmental qualification and functional reliability. To bound the problem of new I&C system functionality and qualification, the authors focused this study on protection systems proposed for use in ALWRs. Specifically, both functional and environmental qualification issues for ALWR protection system I&C were addressed by developing an environmental, functional, and aging data template for a protection division of each proposed ALWR design. By using information provided by manufacturers, environmental conditions and stressors to which I&C equipment in reactor protection divisions may be subjected were identified. The resulting data were then compared to a similar template for an instrument string typically found in an analog protection division of a present-day nuclear power plant. The authors also identified fiber-optic transmission systems as technologies that are relatively new to the nuclear power plant environment and examined the failure modes and age-related degradation mechanisms of fiber-optic components and systems. One reason for the exercise of caution in the introduction of software into safety-critical systems is the potential for common-cause failure due to the software. This study, however, approaches the functionality problem from a systems point of view. System malfunction scenarios are postulated to illustrate the fact that, when dealing with the performance of the overall integrated system, the real issues are functionality and fault tolerance, not hardware vs. software.

  8. Biologically-Mediated Weathering of Minerals From Nanometre Scale to Environmental Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, D. J.; Banwart, S. A.; Smits, M. M.; Leake, J. R.; Bonneville, S.; Benning, L. G.; Haward, S. J.; Ragnarsdottir, K.

    2007-12-01

    The Weathering Science Consortium is a multi-disciplinary project that aims to create a step change in understanding how biota control mineral weathering and soil formation (http://www.wun.ac.uk/wsc). Our hypothesis is that rates of biotic weathering are driven by the energy supply from plants to the organisms, controlling their biomass, surface area of contact with minerals and their capacity to interact chemically with minerals. Symbiotic fungal mycorrhiza of 90% of plant species are empowered with an available carbohydrate supply from plants that is unparalleled amongst soil microbes. They develop extensive mycelial networks that intimately contact minerals, which they weather aggressively. We hypothesise that mycorrhiza play a critical role through their focussing of photosynthate energy from plants into sub-surface weathering environments. Our work identifies how these fungal cells, and their secretions, interact with mineral surfaces and affect the rates of nutrient transfer from minerals to the organism. Investigating these living systems allows us to create new concepts and mathematical models that can describe biological weathering and be used in computer simulations of soil weathering dynamics. We are studying these biochemical interactions at 3 levels of observation: 1. At the molecular scale to understand interactions between living cells and minerals and to quantify the chemistry that breaks down the mineral structure; 2. At the soil grain scale to quantify the activity and spatial distribution of the fungi, roots and other organisms (e.g. bacteria) and their effects on the rates at which minerals are dissolved to release nutrients; 3. At soil profile scale to test models for the spatial distribution of active fungi and carbon energy and their seasonal variability and impact on mineral dissolution rates. Here we present early results from molecular and soil grain scale experiments. We have grown pure culture (Suillus bovinus, Paxillus involutus

  9. Species composition,distribution patterns and ecological functions of biological soil crusts in the Gurbantunggut Desert

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2010-01-01

    As one of the most important biological factors that maintain the stability of the largest fixed and semi-fixed desert in China,the Gurbantunggut Desert,the biological soil crusts (BSCs) develop well and play critical ecological roles in the desert ecosystem. In this paper,we briefly summarize our research findings since 2002 including species composition,distribution pattern and ecological functions of BSCs in the desert. Our results indicate abundant species diversity of BSCs in the Gurbantunggut Desert in comparison to other deserts in China. At the scales of sand dune or whole desert,the distribution patterns of BSCs are location-specific. The existence of BSCs in this desert could:(1) accelerate the formation of desert soil and the weathering of minerals; (2) accumulate organic matter in surface soil through related species in soil crusts; (3) enhance the abilities of sand surface to resist wind erosion; (4) influence seed germination of vascular plants; and (5) enhance the production of dew deposition on sandy soil surface.

  10. The role of ontologies in biological and biomedical research: a functional perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoehndorf, Robert; Schofield, Paul N; Gkoutos, Georgios V

    2015-11-01

    Ontologies are widely used in biological and biomedical research. Their success lies in their combination of four main features present in almost all ontologies: provision of standard identifiers for classes and relations that represent the phenomena within a domain; provision of a vocabulary for a domain; provision of metadata that describes the intended meaning of the classes and relations in ontologies; and the provision of machine-readable axioms and definitions that enable computational access to some aspects of the meaning of classes and relations. While each of these features enables applications that facilitate data integration, data access and analysis, a great potential lies in the possibility of combining these four features to support integrative analysis and interpretation of multimodal data. Here, we provide a functional perspective on ontologies in biology and biomedicine, focusing on what ontologies can do and describing how they can be used in support of integrative research. We also outline perspectives for using ontologies in data-driven science, in particular their application in structured data mining and machine learning applications.

  11. Identification of distinct biological functions for four 3′-5′ RNA polymerases

    Science.gov (United States)

    Long, Yicheng; Abad, Maria G.; Olson, Erik D.; Carrillo, Elisabeth Y.; Jackman, Jane E.

    2016-01-01

    The superfamily of 3′-5′ polymerases synthesize RNA in the opposite direction to all other DNA/RNA polymerases, and its members include eukaryotic tRNAHis guanylyltransferase (Thg1), as well as Thg1-like proteins (TLPs) of unknown function that are broadly distributed, with family members in all three domains of life. Dictyostelium discoideum encodes one Thg1 and three TLPs (DdiTLP2, DdiTLP3 and DdiTLP4). Here, we demonstrate that depletion of each of the genes results in a significant growth defect, and that each protein catalyzes a unique biological reaction, taking advantage of specialized biochemical properties. DdiTLP2 catalyzes a mitochondria-specific tRNAHis maturation reaction, which is distinct from the tRNAHis maturation reaction typically catalyzed by Thg1 enzymes on cytosolic tRNA. DdiTLP3 catalyzes tRNA repair during mitochondrial tRNA 5′-editing in vivo and in vitro, establishing template-dependent 3′-5′ polymerase activity of TLPs as a bona fide biological activity for the first time since its unexpected discovery more than a decade ago. DdiTLP4 is cytosolic and, surprisingly, catalyzes robust 3′-5′ polymerase activity on non-tRNA substrates, strongly implying further roles for TLP 3′-5′ polymerases in eukaryotes. PMID:27484477

  12. Identification of distinct biological functions for four 3'-5' RNA polymerases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Long, Yicheng; Abad, Maria G; Olson, Erik D; Carrillo, Elisabeth Y; Jackman, Jane E

    2016-09-30

    The superfamily of 3'-5' polymerases synthesize RNA in the opposite direction to all other DNA/RNA polymerases, and its members include eukaryotic tRNA(His) guanylyltransferase (Thg1), as well as Thg1-like proteins (TLPs) of unknown function that are broadly distributed, with family members in all three domains of life. Dictyostelium discoideum encodes one Thg1 and three TLPs (DdiTLP2, DdiTLP3 and DdiTLP4). Here, we demonstrate that depletion of each of the genes results in a significant growth defect, and that each protein catalyzes a unique biological reaction, taking advantage of specialized biochemical properties. DdiTLP2 catalyzes a mitochondria-specific tRNA(His) maturation reaction, which is distinct from the tRNA(His) maturation reaction typically catalyzed by Thg1 enzymes on cytosolic tRNA. DdiTLP3 catalyzes tRNA repair during mitochondrial tRNA 5'-editing in vivo and in vitro, establishing template-dependent 3'-5' polymerase activity of TLPs as a bona fide biological activity for the first time since its unexpected discovery more than a decade ago. DdiTLP4 is cytosolic and, surprisingly, catalyzes robust 3'-5' polymerase activity on non-tRNA substrates, strongly implying further roles for TLP 3'-5' polymerases in eukaryotes.

  13. The role of ontologies in biological and biomedical research: a functional perspective

    KAUST Repository

    Hoehndorf, Robert

    2015-04-10

    Ontologies are widely used in biological and biomedical research. Their success lies in their combination of four main features present in almost all ontologies: provision of standard identifiers for classes and relations that represent the phenomena within a domain; provision of a vocabulary for a domain; provision of metadata that describes the intended meaning of the classes and relations in ontologies; and the provision of machine-readable axioms and definitions that enable computational access to some aspects of the meaning of classes and relations. While each of these features enables applications that facilitate data integration, data access and analysis, a great potential lies in the possibility of combining these four features to support integrative analysis and interpretation of multimodal data. Here, we provide a functional perspective on ontologies in biology and biomedicine, focusing on what ontologies can do and describing how they can be used in support of integrative research. We also outline perspectives for using ontologies in data-driven science, in particular their application in structured data mining and machine learning applications.

  14. Acceleration of cardiovascular-biological age by amphetamine exposure is a power function of chronological age

    Science.gov (United States)

    Norman, Amanda; Hulse, Gary Kenneth

    2017-01-01

    Background Amphetamine abuse is becoming more widespread internationally. The possibility that its many cardiovascular complications are associated with a prematurely aged cardiovascular system, and indeed biological organism systemically, has not been addressed. Methods Radial arterial pulse tonometry was performed using the SphygmoCor system (Sydney). 55 amphetamine exposed patients were compared with 107 tobacco smokers, 483 non-smokers and 68 methadone patients (total=713 patients) from 2006 to 2011. A cardiovascular-biological age (VA) was determined. Results The age of the patient groups was 30.03±0.51–40.45±1.15 years. This was controlled for with linear regression. The sex ratio was the same in all groups. 94% of amphetamine exposed patients had used amphetamine in the previous week. When the (log) VA was regressed against the chronological age (CA) and a substance-type group in both cross-sectional and longitudinal models, models quadratic in CA were superior to linear models (both pamphetamine exposure persisted after adjustment for all known cardiovascular risk factors (pamphetamines is associated with an advancement of cardiovascular-organismal age both over age and over time, and is robust to adjustment. That this is associated with power functions of age implies a feed-forward positively reinforcing exacerbation of the underlying ageing process. PMID:28243315

  15. The relationship between the connecting peptide of recombined single chain insulin and its biological function

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    黄一丁; 梁镇和; 冯佑民

    2001-01-01

    To investigate the relationship between the biological activity of recombined single chain insulin and the length of the connecting peptide, we designed and prepared three single chain insulin molecules, namely, PIP, [A]5PIP and [A]10PIP, by site-directed mutagenesis, in which B30 and A1 were linked through dipeptide A-K, heptapeptide A-A-A-A-A-A-K, and dodecapeptide A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-K, respectively. Their receptor binding capacities were 0.14%, 14.3% and 11.1% of that of insulin respectively and their in vivo biological activities were in consistence with their receptor binding capacity; whereas their growth promoting activities were 17%, 116.3% and 38% of that of insulin. These results suggested the following conclusions. (i) The recombined single chain insulin could also possess the same metabolic and mitogenic function as insulin. (ii) The receptor binding capacity of recombined single chain insulin to insulin receptor was closely related to the length and amino acid composition of the connecting peptide and could change from 0 to 100% of insulin depending on the different connecting peptides. This result further illustrated the necessity of B chain C-terminus swaying away from A chain N-terminus when insulin binds to its receptor. (iii) The mitogenic activity of recombined single chain insulin also depended on the length and the amino acid composition of the connecting peptide and was higher than its metabolic activity.

  16. Restoration of voice function by using biological feedback in laryngeal and hypopharyngeal carcinoma patients

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choinzonov, E. L.; Balatskaya, L. N.; Chizhevskaya, S. Yu.; Meshcheryakov, R. V.; Kostyuchenko, E. Yu.; Ivanova, T. A.

    2016-08-01

    The aim of the research is to develop and introduce a new technique of post-laryngectomy voice rehabilitation of laryngeal and hypopharyngeal carcinoma patients. The study involves comparing and analyzing 82 cases of voice function restoration by using biological feedback based on mathematical modeling of voice production. The advantage of the modern technology-based method in comparison with the conventional one is proved. Restoration of voice function using biofeedback allows taking into account patient's abilities, adjusting parameters of voice trainings, and controlling their efficiency in real-time mode. The data obtained indicate that the new method contributes to the rapid inclusion of self-regulation mechanisms of the body and results in the overall success rate of voice rehabilitation in totally laryngectomized patients reaching 92%, which reduces the rehabilitation period to 18 days, compared to 86% and 38 days in the control group, respectively. Restoration of disturbed functions after successful treatment is an important task of rehabilitation and is crucial in terms of the quality of cancer patients' lives. To assess life quality of laryngeal cancer patients, the EORTC Quality of Life Core Questionnaire (QLQ-C30), and head and neck module (QLQ-H&N35) were used. The analyzed results proved that the technique of biofeedback voice restoration significantly improves the quality of life of laryngectomized patients. It allows reducing the number of disabled people, restoring patients' ability to work-related activities, and significantly improving social adaptation of these patients.

  17. FUSE: a profit maximization approach for functional summarization of biological networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Seah Boon-Siew

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The availability of large-scale curated protein interaction datasets has given rise to the opportunity to investigate higher level organization and modularity within the protein interaction network (PPI using graph theoretic analysis. Despite the recent progress, systems level analysis of PPIS remains a daunting task as it is challenging to make sense out of the deluge of high-dimensional interaction data. Specifically, techniques that automatically abstract and summarize PPIS at multiple resolutions to provide high level views of its functional landscape are still lacking. We present a novel data-driven and generic algorithm called FUSE (Functional Summary Generator that generates functional maps of a PPI at different levels of organization, from broad process-process level interactions to in-depth complex-complex level interactions, through a pro t maximization approach that exploits Minimum Description Length (MDL principle to maximize information gain of the summary graph while satisfying the level of detail constraint. Results We evaluate the performance of FUSE on several real-world PPIS. We also compare FUSE to state-of-the-art graph clustering methods with GO term enrichment by constructing the biological process landscape of the PPIS. Using AD network as our case study, we further demonstrate the ability of FUSE to quickly summarize the network and identify many different processes and complexes that regulate it. Finally, we study the higher-order connectivity of the human PPI. Conclusion By simultaneously evaluating interaction and annotation data, FUSE abstracts higher-order interaction maps by reducing the details of the underlying PPI to form a functional summary graph of interconnected functional clusters. Our results demonstrate its effectiveness and superiority over state-of-the-art graph clustering methods with GO term enrichment.

  18. Distinguishing Pattern Formation Phenotypes: Applying Minkowski Functionals to Cell Biology Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rericha, Erin; Guven, Can; Parent, Carole; Losert, Wolfgang

    2011-03-01

    Spatial Clustering of proteins within cells or cells themselves frequently occur in cell biology systems. However quantifying the underlying order and determining the regulators of these cluster patterns have proved difficult due to the inherent high noise levels in the systems. For instance the patterns formed by wild type and cyclic-AMP regulatory mutant Dictyostelium cells are visually distinctive, yet the large error bars in measurements of the fractal number, area, Euler number, eccentricity, and wavelength making it difficult to quantitatively distinguish between the patterns. We apply a spatial analysis technique based on Minkowski functionals and develop metrics which clearly separate wild type and mutant cell lines into distinct categories. Having such a metric facilitated the development of a computational model for cellular aggregation and its regulators. Supported by NIH-NGHS Nanotechnology (R01GM085574) and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

  19. The universality and biological significance of signal molecules with intracellular-extracellular compatible functions

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2000-01-01

    Generally,cell signal molecules are classified into the extracellular signal molecules (the first messengers) and the intracellular signal ones (the second messengers).Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP),calcium ions and calmodulin (CaM) are the traditional intracellular messengers,but they are also present in extracellular matrix (ECM).Some of them have been discovered to act as the first messengers through cell surface receptors.Other second messengers,such as cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP),cyclic adenosine diphosphate ribose (cADPR) and annexin,are also found existing outside animal and plant cells.The existence of these messengers with intracellular-extracellular compatible functions in cells may be a regular biological phenomenon.These compatible messengers might be the communication factors between intracellular and extracellular regions or among the cell populations,and are also important in regulating cell development procedure.

  20. Function of parotid gland following irradiation and its relation to biological parameters

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sasaki, T. (Tohoku Univ., Sendai, Japan); Yamamoto, M.; Takeda, M.

    1980-09-01

    The function of the parotid gland in the mouse (synthesis and secretion of ..cap alpha..-amylase) following X irradiation was analyzed in relation to the parameters of surviving acinar cell fraction, DNA or protein content, and wet weight of the gland. Both synthesis and secretion of amylase in parotid were essentially unchanged when mice were irradiated with a dose of up to 3000 rad. When mice were irradiated and then given a proliferative stimulus of isoproterenol, latent lethal damage in the acinar cell population was expressed and resulted in cell degeneration in a dose-dependent manner. The mean value of amylase activity per gland in similarly treated parotids was, however, totally unaffected. The relationship between amylase activity per gland and the other biological parameters was analyzed by regression analysis. The results indicate that amylase activity per surviving acinar cell increased proportionately to compensate for the loss of acinar cells.

  1. The Evolution of Human Basophil Biology from Neglect towards Understanding of Their Immune Functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steiner, Markus; Huber, Sara; Harrer, Andrea

    2016-01-01

    Being discovered long ago basophils have been neglected for more than a century. During the past decade evidence emerged that basophils share features of innate and adaptive immunity. Nowadays, basophils are best known for their striking effector role in the allergic reaction. They hence have been used for establishing new diagnostic tests and therapeutic approaches and for characterizing natural and recombinant allergens as well as hypoallergens, which display lower or diminished IgE-binding activity. However, it was a long way from discovery in 1879 until identification of their function in hypersensitivity reactions, including adverse drug reactions. Starting with a historical background, this review highlights the modern view on basophil biology. PMID:28078302

  2. N-Hexyl-4-aminobutyl glycosides for investigating structures and biological functions of carbohydrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suzuki, Katsuhiko; Tobe, Akifumi; Adachi, Shin; Daikoku, Shusaku; Hasegawa, Yasuko; Shioiri, Yuki; Kobayashi, Mariko; Kanie, Osamu

    2009-11-21

    The potential applications of N-hexyl-4-aminobutyl glycosides in the mass spectrometric investigation of glycan structure and in the investigation of glycan functions were studied. Under collision-induced dissociation (CID) conditions, sodiated glycosides carrying N-hexyl-4-aminobutyl groups effectively produced a hemiacetal species (C-ions), which is important in mass-spectrometry-based structural investigation. The usefulness of N-hexyl-4-aminobutyl glycosides in biological analysis was also confirmed by obtaining a binding constant for the binding of dipyrrometheneboron difluoride C3-labeled N-hexyl-4-aminobutyl beta-lactoside with an Erythrina cristagalli lectin, and by visualizing cellular organelles using a more hydrophobic BODIPY-labeled compound.

  3. Perspectives in the biological function and the technological application of polygalacturonases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lang, C; Dörnenburg, H

    2000-04-01

    Polygalacturonases (PG) have evolved in the past years from a pectinase "simply" being used for food processing to an important parameter in plant-fungal interaction. PG-inhibiting proteins (PGIP) that are synthesised in plants as a specific response to PGs of pathogenic fungi, have become a focus as a possible target in resistance breeding, and PGIPs are also a concern as an inhibiting factor in food processing. Plant PGs have been identified as a major factor in fruit ripening, and PG-deficient transgenic plants have been bred. Mainly fungal PGs are used in industrial processes for juice clarification and the range of enzymes is being extended through new recombinant and non-recombinant fungal strains. Finally, novel fields of application can be envisaged for PGs in the production of oligogalacturonides as functional food components. Here we aim to highlight the various fields where PGs are encountered and where they are of biological or technological importance.

  4. Stereoelectronic effects dictate molecular conformation and biological function of heterocyclic amides.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reid, Robert C; Yau, Mei-Kwan; Singh, Ranee; Lim, Junxian; Fairlie, David P

    2014-08-27

    Heterocycles adjacent to amides can have important influences on molecular conformation due to stereoelectronic effects exerted by the heteroatom. This was shown for imidazole- and thiazole-amides by comparing low energy conformations (ab initio MP2 and DFT calculations), charge distribution, dipole moments, and known crystal structures which support a general principle. Switching a heteroatom from nitrogen to sulfur altered the amide conformation, producing different three-dimensional electrostatic surfaces. Differences were attributed to different dipole and orbital alignments and spectacularly translated into opposing agonist vs antagonist functions in modulating a G-protein coupled receptor for inflammatory protein complement C3a on human macrophages. Influences of the heteroatom were confirmed by locking the amide conformation using fused bicyclic rings. These findings show that stereoelectronic effects of heterocycles modulate molecular conformation and can impart strikingly different biological properties.

  5. Fluorescence response of hypocrellin B to the environmental changes in a mimic biological membrane--liposome

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JIN; Xuanye; ZHAO; Yuewei; XIE; Jie; ZHAO; Jingquan

    2004-01-01

    , Photochem.Photobiol., 2001, 73 (5): 482-488.[13]Mang, T. S., Dougherty, T. J., Potter, W. R. et al., Photobleaching of porphyrins used in photodynamic therapy and implications for therapy, Photochem. Photobiol., 1987, 45: 501-506.[14]Shoko, Y., Tadahiro, T., Masahiko, A., Preparation of ganglioside GM3 liposomes and their membrane properties, Colloid Surface B, 2002, 27: 181-187.[15]Murakami, S., Packer, L., The role of cations in the organization of chloroplast membranes, Arch. Biochem. Biophys., 1971, 146:337-347.[16]Angeli, N. G., Lagorio, M. G., San Román, E. et al., Meso-substituted cationic porphyrins of biological interest, Photophysical and physicochemical properties in solution and bound to liposomes,Photochem. Photobiol., 2000, 72(1 ): 49-56.

  6. Danish consumers' attitudes to the functional and environmental characteristics of food packaging

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bech-Larsen, Tino

    1996-01-01

    This paper presents the results of a study of Danish consumers' attitudes to packaging and the importance of the environmental and functional characteristics of packaging for their purchasing decisions. The aim is to evaluate whether and how purch behaviour can be influenced in such a way...... as to limit the environmental problems caused by packaging. The study deals with consumers' attitudes to (a) packaging in general, and (b) the specific packaging which consumers take home with them (primar packaging). Consumers' attitudes to various industrial, transportation and storage packgaging...... are not explicitly included in the analysis. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the results for the environmental authorities a and packaging manufacturers....

  7. Genetic and environmental interrelations between measurements of thyroid function in a healthy Danish twin population

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Pia Skov; Brix, Thomas Heiberg; Iachine, Ivan

    2007-01-01

    in healthy euthyroid twins and to determine the extent to which the same genes influence more than one of these biochemical traits; 1,380 healthy euthyroid Danish twins (284 monozygotic, 286 dizygotic, 120 opposite-sex twin pairs) were recruited. Genetic and environmental associations between thyroid...... function measurements were examined using quantitative genetic modeling. In bivariate genetic models, the phenotypic relation between two measurements was divided into genetic and environmental correlations. Free T4 and free T3 levels were positively correlated (r=0.32, P... between serum free T4 and free T3 levels was rg=0.25 (95% CI 0.14-0.35), suggesting that a set of common genes affect both phenotypes (pleiotropy). The correlation between the environmental effects was re=0.41 (0.32-0.50). From this we calculated that the proportion of the correlation between free T4...

  8. Production of sorption functional media (SFM) from clinoptilolite tailings and its performance investigation in a biological aerated filter (BAF) reactor

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Feng, Yan [School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090 (China); School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Jinan, Jinan 250022 (China); Qi, Jingyao, E-mail: qjy_hit@yahoo.cn [School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090 (China); Chi, Liying [School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090 (China); Wang, Dong [School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Jinan, Jinan 250022 (China); Wang, Zhaoyang; Li, Ke; Li, Xin [School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090 (China)

    2013-02-15

    Highlights: ► Sorption functional media (SFM) were prepared using zeolite tailings. ► Two upflow BAFs were applied to treat municipal wastewater. ► SFM BAF brought a relative superiority to haydite reactor. ► SFM BAF has a stronger adaptability to low temperature (6–11°C) for NH{sub 3}-N removal. ► The application provided a promising way in zeolite tailings utilization. -- Abstract: The few reuse and large stockpile of zeolite tailings led to a series of social and environmental problems. This study investigated the possibility of using the zeolite tailings as one of principal raw materials to prepare sorption functional media (SFM) by a high temperature sintering process. The SFM was used to serve as a biomedium in a biological aerated filter (BAF) reactor for domestic wastewater treatment, and its purification performance was examined. The physical, chemical and sorption properties of SFM were also determined. The microstructure of the SFM was analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Results revealed that: (1) zeolite tailings could be used to produce the SFM under the optimal sintering parameters; (2) the sorption and desorption isotherm of ammonia nitrogen on SFM could be well described by the Langmuir formula; (3) in terms of removing organic matter, ammonia nitrogen, turbidity and colourity, the performance of the biofilter with SFM was superior to that with haydite; and (4) SFM BAF has a stronger adaptability to low temperature (6–11 °C) for NH{sub 3}-N removal compared to haydite BAF. Therefore, the SFM produced from the zeolite tailings was suitable to serve as the biomedium in the domestic wastewater treatment.

  9. Organic Composition and Morphology of Sea Spray Aerosols as a Function of Biological Life during IMPACTS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pham, D.; Moffet, R.; Fraund, M. W.; O'Brien, R.; Laskina, O.; Prather, K. A.; Grassian, V. H.; Beall, C.; Wang, X.; Forestieri, S.; Cappa, C. D.

    2015-12-01

    Aerosols influence climate by directly reflecting or absorbing sunlight, or indirectly by affecting clouds. A major source of aerosols is from oceanic wave breaking. Due to their complexity, the effects of marine aerosol on climate are uncertain. To provide more detailed measurements of the chemical composition of marine aerosols, Scanning Transmission X-Ray Microscopy coupled with Near Edge X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (SXTM-NEXAFS) was used to give spatially resolved molecular information for carbon and oxygen. Application of STXM/NEXAFS to particles collected during a mesocosm study using a unique wave channel facility to generate aerosols shows that the organic volume fraction of aerosols at the aerodynamic diameter size range of 0.18-0.32 μm are a direct function of the biological activity in the sea water. Aerosol organic volume fraction increased from 0.32 for particles generated from seawater containing low biolife to 0.49 and 0.40 for particles produced during phytoplankton blooms. However, the organic volume fraction of aerosols at the aerodynamic diameter size range of 0.56-1 μm did not change with biological activity. Measurements also show that different types of organics can concentrate into aerosols depending on the enzyme activity expressed at the time. Enhanced spectral signatures for aliphatic hydrocarbons were observed during the first phytoplankton bloom compared to a second phytoplankton bloom occurring directly thereafter. The decreased signature of aliphatic organics in the second phytoplankton bloom was correlated with increased lipase activity from heterobacteria. Organic aggregates having similar morphology also differ in composition from their carbon spectra from the two blooms. For July 17, organic aggregates were much richer in hydrocarbons, which showed a remarkably intense C-H absorbance and a broad C-C absorbance. Organic aggregates observed for July 26-27, did not have the C-H and C-C signatures, but contained more polar

  10. Effects of environmental chemicals on fish thyroid function: Implications for fisheries and aquaculture in Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nugegoda, Dayanthi; Kibria, Golam

    2016-02-26

    Numerous environmental stressors exert acute or chronic effects on the fish thyroid cascade. Such effects could be mediated via thyroidal alterations, imbalance of plasma T4 and T3 levels or damage to the structure of the thyroidal tissues (thyroid hypertrophy, hyperplasia). The thyroidal system is intricately linked to other endocrine systems in vertebrates including the control of reproduction. Disruption of fish thyroid function by environmental stressors has the potential to result in deleterious effects including the inhibition of sperm production, reduction in egg production, gonad development, ovarian growth, swimming activity, fertilisation and increase in larval mortality. Thyroid hormones play a major role in the development and growth of fish, particularly during their early life stages, thus, thyroid disruption by environmental stressors could inhibit the growth of fish larvae and juveniles in wild fish and cultured species, limit fish seed production and result in a decline in wild fisheries. This review highlights the effects of several environmental toxicants including PBDE, PCBs, PCDD and PCDF, PAH/oil, phthalates, metals, pesticides, mixed pollutants/chemicals, cyanide; and other stressors including acid (low pH) and ammonia, on fish thyroid function. Environmental sources of chemical stressors and appropriate water quality guidelines to protect the freshwater and marine species for the relevant pollutants are also discussed including (when available) the Australian guidelines (2000) and Canadian water quality guidelines (where Australian guidelines are not available). To date there has been no published research on the effects of anthropogenic environmental pollutants on the thyroid system of any native Australian fish species. However, the detection of high risk chemicals (notably PBDEs, PCBs, PAHs, metals and pesticides) in Australian waterways and Australian fish and shellfish implies that thyroid disruption of Australian wild fish and

  11. The biological mechanisms and behavioral functions of opsin-based light detection by the skin

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer L Kelley

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Light detection not only forms the basis of vision (via visual retinal photoreceptors, but can also occur in other parts of the body, including many non-rod/non-cone ocular cells, the pineal complex, the deep brain, and the skin. Indeed, many of the photopigments (an opsin linked to a light-sensitive 11-cis retinal chromophore that mediate color vision in the eyes of vertebrates are also present in the skin of animals such as reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans and fishes (with related photoreceptive molecules present in cephalopods, providing a localized mechanism for light detection across the surface of the body. This form of non-visual photosensitivity may be particularly important for animals that can change their coloration by altering the dispersion of pigments within the chromatophores (pigment containing cells of the skin. Thus, skin coloration may be directly color matched or tuned to both the luminance and spectral properties of the local background environment, thereby facilitating behavioral functions such as camouflage, thermoregulation, and social signaling. This review examines the diversity and sensitivity of opsin-based photopigments present in the skin and considers their putative functional roles in mediating animal behavior. Furthermore, it discusses the potential underlying biochemical and molecular pathways that link shifts in environmental light to both photopigment expression and chromatophore photoresponses. Although photoreception that occurs independently of image formation remains poorly understood, this review highlights the important role of non-visual light detection in facilitating the multiple functions of animal coloration.

  12. The hidden function of photosynthesis: a sensing system for environmental conditions that regulates plant acclimation responses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pfannschmidt, Thomas; Yang, Chunhong

    2012-06-01

    Plants convert light energy from the sun into chemical energy by photosynthesis. Since they are sessile, they have to deal with a wide range of conditions in their immediate environment. Many abiotic and biotic parameters exhibit considerable fluctuations which can have detrimental effects especially on the efficiency of photosynthetic light harvesting. During evolution, plants, therefore, evolved a number of acclimation processes which help them to adapt photosynthesis to such environmental changes. This includes protective mechanisms such as excess energy dissipation and processes supporting energy redistribution, e.g. state transitions or photosystem stoichiometry adjustment. Intriguingly, all these responses are triggered by photosynthesis itself via the interplay of its light reaction and the Calvin-Benson cycle with the residing environmental condition. Thus, besides its primary function in harnessing and converting light energy, photosynthesis acts as a sensing system for environmental changes that controls molecular acclimation responses which adapt the photosynthetic function to the environmental change. Important signalling parameters directly or indirectly affected by the environment are the pH gradient across the thylakoid membrane and the redox states of components of the photosynthetic electron transport chain and/or electron end acceptors coupled to it. Recent advances demonstrate that these signals control post-translational modifications of the photosynthetic protein complexes and also affect plastid and nuclear gene expression machineries as well as metabolic pathways providing a regulatory framework for an integrated response of the plant to the environment at all cellular levels.

  13. [The hyperiricosuria as an indicator of derangement of biologic functions of endoecology and adaptation, biologic reactions of excretion, inflammation and arterial tension].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Titov, V N; Oshchepkova, E V; Dmitriev, V A; Gushchina, O V; Shiriaeva, Iu K; Iashin, A Ia

    2012-04-01

    During millions years in all animals allantoine (oxidized by uricase uric acid) was catabolite of purines and ascorbic acid was an acceptor of active forms of oxygen. The proximal tubules of nephron reabsorbed the trace amounts of uric acid Then during phylogenesis the primates had a mutation of ascorbic acid gen minus. Later on occurred a second spontaneous mutation and uricase gen minus and uric acid became catabolites of purines. In absence of ascorbic acid synthesis ions of urates became a major capturers of active forms of oxygen and all uric acid as before underwent the reabsorption. Later the carriers were formed which began in epithelium of proximal tubules to secrete all uric acid into urine. At every incident of "littering" of intercellular medium with endogenic flogogens (impairment of biologic function of endoecology) under compensatory development of biologic reaction of inflammation the need in inactivation of active forms of oxygen increases. Hence later on in phylogenesis one more stage was formed--post secretory reabsorption of uric acid In the biologic reaction of inflammation epithelium of proximal tubules initiates retentional hyperiricosuria. The general antioxidant activity of human blood plasma in 60% is presented by urates' ions. The excretion of uric acid includes 4 stages: filtration, full reabsorption, secretion and post secretory reabsorption. In phylogenesis these stages formed in sequence. The mild hyperiricosuria is most frequently considered as a non-specific indicator of activation of biologic reaction of inflammation. The productive hyperiricosuria develops more infrequently under surplus of meat food and cytolysis syndrome (intensification of cell loss in vivo). Under concentration of uric acid more than 400 mkmol/l part of urates circulates in intercellular medium in the form of crystals. The microcrystals of uric acid (biologic "litter") initiate the syndrome of systemic inflammatory response as an endogenic flogogen

  14. Quality of life and biological communities: Analysis of the study of environmental impact of the metro in the city of Quito

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristina Aguilar

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available This work shows a critique review of the Informe de Impacto Ambiental del Metro de Quito (Report of environmental impact of subway of Quito, in its variables: quality of life and biological communities. From an ecosistemic perspective of comprehension and understanding of the city, we see that the report holds a reductionist vision of the environmental dimension. Assuming that the subway constitutes an improvement in urban mobility, we argue that this project is an opportunity to generate instances of promotion and articulation of biodiversity within the city. We discuss the necessity of counteracting the dependency of the environmental approach of production and reproduction of the city.

  15. Contribution of personal and environmental factors on positive psychological functioning in adolescents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fadda, Daniela; Scalas, L Francesca; Meleddu, Mauro

    2015-08-01

    This study examined self-esteem as mediator in the relations of personal (extraversion, neuroticism) and environmental (maternal, paternal, peer-relationships) variables with domains of positive psychological functioning (PPF) in adolescence (Satisfaction with life, Mastery, Vigor, Social Interest, Social Cheerfulness). We compared one-sided and multidimensional models using a sample of 1193 high school students (592 males and 601 females). We examined variations in adolescent PPF as a function of parenting styles via independent examination of maternal and paternal bonding. Results supported the multidimensional models, which indicated direct effects of personality traits, maternal care and peer relationships, as well as indirect effects, mediated by self-esteem, of all predictors on most PPF dimensions. Overall, our study provided a broader picture of personal and environmental predictors on different dimensions of PPF, which supported the mediating role of self-esteem and emphasized the importance of considering multidimensional models to characterize PPF in adolescents.

  16. Environmental gradient favours functionally diverse macrobenthic community in a placer rich tropical bay

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Sivadas, S.K.; Ingole, B.S.; Fernandes, C.E.G.

    . Understanding the environmental variables that determine the biodiversity pattern will help in the effective conservation plans of coastal habitat. However, few studies have been carried out on the biodiversity-environment relation from the diverse tropical... is increasingly used to understand the biodiversity- environment relation and biodiversity-ecosystem function- ing and to decipher the effect of anthropogenic activities on ecosystem [9]. One of the greatest challenges when determining the impact from mining...

  17. The Environmental Dependence of the Galaxy Stellar Mass Function in the ECO Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richstein, Hannah; Berlind, Andreas A.; Calderon, Victor; Eckert, Kathleen D.; Kannappan, Sheila; Moffett, Amanda J.; Stark, David

    2017-01-01

    We study the environmental dependence of the galaxy stellar mass function in the ECO survey and compare it with models that associate galaxies with dark matter halos. Specifically, we quantify the environment of each galaxy in the ECO survey using an Nth nearest neighbor distance metric, and we measure how the galaxy stellar mass distribution varies from low density to high density environments. As expected, we find that massive galaxies preferentially populate high density regions, while low mass galaxies preferentially populate lower density environments. We investigate whether this trend can be explained simply by the stellar-to-halo mass relation combined with the environmental dependence of the halo mass function. In other words, we test the hypothesis that the stellar mass of a galaxy depends solely on the mass of its dark matter halo and does not exhibit a residual dependence on the halo’s larger environment. To test this hypothesis, we first construct mock ECO catalogs by populating dark matter halos in an N-body simulation with galaxies using a model that preserves the overall clustering strength of the galaxy population. We then assign stellar masses to the mock galaxies using physically motivated models that connect stellar mass to halo mass and are constrained to match the global ECO stellar mass function. Finally, we impose the radial and angular selection functions of the ECO survey and repeat our environmental analysis on the mock catalogs. We find that the environmental dependence of stellar mass in the mock catalogs is in agreement with that observed in the ECO survey. Our results are thus consistent with the simple hypothesis that galaxy stellar mass only depends on halo mass. The RESOLVE/ECO surveys were supported by NSF award AST-0955368.

  18. Mimicking/extracting structure and functions of natural products: synthetic approaches that address unexplored needs in chemical biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hirai, Go

    2015-04-01

    Natural products are often attractive and challenging targets for synthetic chemists, and many have interesting biological activities. However, synthetic chemists need to be more than simply suppliers of compounds to biologists. Therefore, we have been seeking ways to actively apply organic synthetic methods to chemical biology studies of natural products and their activities. In this personal review, I would like to introduce our work on the development of new biologically active compounds inspired by, or extracted from, the structures of natural products, focusing on enhancement of functional activity and specificity and overcoming various drawbacks of the parent natural products.

  19. Technique for examining biological materials using diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and the kubelka-munk function

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Alfano, Robert R.; Yang, Yuanlong

    2003-09-02

    Method and apparatus for examining biological materials using diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and the Kubelka-Munk function. In one aspect, the method is used to determine whether a tissue sample is cancerous or not and comprises the steps of (a) measuring the diffuse reflectance from the tissue sample at a first wavelength and at a second wavelength, wherein the first wavelength is a wavelength selected from the group consisting of 255-265 nm and wherein the second wavelength is a wavelength selected from the group consisting of 275-285 nm; (b) using the Kubelka-Munk function to transform the diffuse reflectance measurement obtained at the first and second wavelengths; and (c) comparing a ratio or a difference of the transformed Kubelka-Munk measurements at the first and second wavelengths to appropriate standards determine whether or not the tissue sample is cancerous. One can use the spectral profile of KMF between 250 nm to 300 nm to determine whether or not the tissue sample is cancerous or precancerous. According to the value at the first and second wavelengths determine whether or not the malignant tissue is invasive or mixed invasive and in situ or carcinoma in situ.

  20. SPED Light Sheet Microscopy: Fast Mapping of Biological System Structure and Function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomer, Raju; Lovett-Barron, Matthew; Kauvar, Isaac; Andalman, Aaron; Burns, Vanessa M; Sankaran, Sethuraman; Grosenick, Logan; Broxton, Michael; Yang, Samuel; Deisseroth, Karl

    2015-12-17

    The goal of understanding living nervous systems has driven interest in high-speed and large field-of-view volumetric imaging at cellular resolution. Light sheet microscopy approaches have emerged for cellular-resolution functional brain imaging in small organisms such as larval zebrafish, but remain fundamentally limited in speed. Here, we have developed SPED light sheet microscopy, which combines large volumetric field-of-view via an extended depth of field with the optical sectioning of light sheet microscopy, thereby eliminating the need to physically scan detection objectives for volumetric imaging. SPED enables scanning of thousands of volumes-per-second, limited only by camera acquisition rate, through the harnessing of optical mechanisms that normally result in unwanted spherical aberrations. We demonstrate capabilities of SPED microscopy by performing fast sub-cellular resolution imaging of CLARITY mouse brains and cellular-resolution volumetric Ca(2+) imaging of entire zebrafish nervous systems. Together, SPED light sheet methods enable high-speed cellular-resolution volumetric mapping of biological system structure and function.

  1. Biology of Bone Tissue: Structure, Function, and Factors That Influence Bone Cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Florencio-Silva, Rinaldo; Sasso, Gisela Rodrigues da Silva; Sasso-Cerri, Estela; Simões, Manuel Jesus; Cerri, Paulo Sérgio

    2015-01-01

    Bone tissue is continuously remodeled through the concerted actions of bone cells, which include bone resorption by osteoclasts and bone formation by osteoblasts, whereas osteocytes act as mechanosensors and orchestrators of the bone remodeling process. This process is under the control of local (e.g., growth factors and cytokines) and systemic (e.g., calcitonin and estrogens) factors that all together contribute for bone homeostasis. An imbalance between bone resorption and formation can result in bone diseases including osteoporosis. Recently, it has been recognized that, during bone remodeling, there are an intricate communication among bone cells. For instance, the coupling from bone resorption to bone formation is achieved by interaction between osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Moreover, osteocytes produce factors that influence osteoblast and osteoclast activities, whereas osteocyte apoptosis is followed by osteoclastic bone resorption. The increasing knowledge about the structure and functions of bone cells contributed to a better understanding of bone biology. It has been suggested that there is a complex communication between bone cells and other organs, indicating the dynamic nature of bone tissue. In this review, we discuss the current data about the structure and functions of bone cells and the factors that influence bone remodeling.

  2. Expression of Recombinant Human Amelogenin in Iranian Lizard Leishmania and Its Biological Function Assay

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zahra YADEGARI

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Background: Amelogenins are the major components of enamel matrix proteins. Enamel matrix derivatives (EMD can be used in periodontal diseases to regenerate periodontal tissues. The main aim of this study was to evaluate ex-pression of full-length functional recombinant human amelogenin (rhAm in Iranian lizard Leishmania (I.L.L. as an alternative eukaryotic expression system.Methods: Human cDNA encoding a 175-amino acid amelogenin expression cassette was sub cloned into a pLEXSY vector. The construct was transferred into Leishmania cells by electroporation. The protein production was surveyed in the transcription and the translation levels. The expressed protein was purified and some of its biological properties were investigated in comparison to EMD and negative control.Results: Expression of rhAm was confirmed by RT-PCR and western blot test in Leishmania cells. Purified rhAm sig-nificantly inhibited the formation of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase positive (TRAP+ multinuclear cells in calcitriol stimulated mouse marrow cultures. Moreover, it significantly promoted proliferation and DNA synthesis in L929 mouse fibroblast cells.Conclusion: Functional rhAm was successfully expressed in I.L.L. Easy handling and post translation modification were the main advantages of this expression system. It is suggested to investigate molecular properties of this rhAm in the future.

  3. Mercury in Environmental and Biological Samples Using Online Combustion with Sequential Atomic Absorption and Fluorescence Measurements: A Direct Comparison of Two Fundamental Techniques in Spectrometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cizdziel, James V.

    2011-01-01

    In this laboratory experiment, students quantitatively determine the concentration of an element (mercury) in an environmental or biological sample while comparing and contrasting the fundamental techniques of atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) and atomic fluorescence spectrometry (AFS). A mercury analyzer based on sample combustion,…

  4. Environmental Impacts of Wind Power Development on the Population Biology of Greater Prairie-Chickens

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sandercock, Brett K. [Kansas State University

    2013-05-22

    Executive Summary 1. We investigated the impacts of wind power development on the demography, movements, and population genetics of Greater Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) at three sites in northcentral and eastern Kansas for a 7-year period. Only 1 of 3 sites was developed for wind power, the 201MW Meridan Way Wind Power Facility at the Smoky Hills site in northcentral Kansas. Our project report is based on population data for prairie chickens collected during a 2-year preconstruction period (2007-2008), a 3-year postconstruction period (2009-2011) and one final year of lek surveys (2012). Where relevant, we present preconstruction data from our field studies at reference sites in the northern Flint Hills (2007-2009) and southern Flint Hills (2006-2008). 2. We addressed seven potential impacts of wind power development on prairie chickens: lek attendance, mating behavior, use of breeding habitat, fecundity rates, natal dispersal, survival rates, and population numbers. Our analyses of pre- and postconstruction impacts are based on an analysis of covariance design where we modeled population performance as a function of treatment period, distance to eventual or actual site of the nearest wind turbine, and the interaction of these factors. Our demographic and movement data from the 6-year study period at the Smoky Hills site included 23 lek sites, 251 radio-marked females monitored for 287 bird-years, and 264 nesting attempts. Our genetic data were based on genotypes of 1,760 females, males and chicks that were screened with a set of 27 microsatellite markers that were optimized in the lab. 3. In our analyses of lek attendance, the annual probability of lek persistence during the preconstruction period was ~0.9. During the postconstruction period, distance to nearest turbine did not have a significant effect on the probability of lek persistence. However, the probability of lek persistence increased from 0.69 at 0 m to 0.89 at 30 km from turbines, and most

  5. Multivariate benthic ecosystem functioning in the Arctic – benthic fluxes explained by environmental parameters in the southeastern Beaufort Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Link

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available The effects of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems and their biogeochemical cycles are difficult to predict given the complex physical, biological and chemical interactions among the ecosystem components. We studied benthic biogeochemical fluxes in the Arctic and the influence of short-term (seasonal to annual, long-term (annual to decadal and other environmental variability on their spatial distribution to provide a baseline for estimates of the impact of future changes. In summer 2009, we measured fluxes of dissolved oxygen, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, soluble reactive phosphate and silicic acid at the sediment–water interface at eight sites in the southeastern Beaufort Sea at water depths from 45 to 580 m. The spatial pattern of the measured benthic boundary fluxes was heterogeneous. Multivariate analysis of flux data showed that no single or reduced combination of fluxes could explain the majority of spatial variation, indicating that oxygen flux is not representative of other nutrient sink–source dynamics. We tested the influence of eight environmental parameters on single benthic fluxes. Short-term environmental parameters (sinking flux of particulate organic carbon above the bottom, sediment surface Chl a were most important for explaining oxygen, ammonium and nitrate fluxes. Long-term parameters (porosity, surface manganese and iron concentration, bottom water oxygen concentrations together with δ13Corg signature explained most of the spatial variation in phosphate, nitrate and nitrite fluxes. Variation in pigments at the sediment surface was most important to explain variation in fluxes of silicic acid. In a model including all fluxes synchronously, the overall spatial distribution could be best explained (57% by the combination of sediment Chl a, phaeopigments, δ13Corg, surficial manganese and bottom water oxygen concentration. We conclude that it is necessary to consider long-term environmental variability along with

  6. Environmental Impacts of Wind Power Development on the Population Biology of Greater Prairie-Chickens

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sandercock, Brett K. [Kansas State University

    2013-05-22

    Executive Summary 1. We investigated the impacts of wind power development on the demography, movements, and population genetics of Greater Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) at three sites in northcentral and eastern Kansas for a 7-year period. Only 1 of 3 sites was developed for wind power, the 201MW Meridan Way Wind Power Facility at the Smoky Hills site in northcentral Kansas. Our project report is based on population data for prairie chickens collected during a 2-year preconstruction period (2007-2008), a 3-year postconstruction period (2009-2011) and one final year of lek surveys (2012). Where relevant, we present preconstruction data from our field studies at reference sites in the northern Flint Hills (2007-2009) and southern Flint Hills (2006-2008). 2. We addressed seven potential impacts of wind power development on prairie chickens: lek attendance, mating behavior, use of breeding habitat, fecundity rates, natal dispersal, survival rates, and population numbers. Our analyses of pre- and postconstruction impacts are based on an analysis of covariance design where we modeled population performance as a function of treatment period, distance to eventual or actual site of the nearest wind turbine, and the interaction of these factors. Our demographic and movement data from the 6-year study period at the Smoky Hills site included 23 lek sites, 251 radio-marked females monitored for 287 bird-years, and 264 nesting attempts. Our genetic data were based on genotypes of 1,760 females, males and chicks that were screened with a set of 27 microsatellite markers that were optimized in the lab. 3. In our analyses of lek attendance, the annual probability of lek persistence during the preconstruction period was ~0.9. During the postconstruction period, distance to nearest turbine did not have a significant effect on the probability of lek persistence. However, the probability of lek persistence increased from 0.69 at 0 m to 0.89 at 30 km from turbines, and most

  7. Pegylation of fibronectin and its functional domains: Effect on stability and biological activity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Chen

    Delayed wound healing in many chronic wounds has been linked to the lack of extracellular matrix (ECM) support and the degradation of fibronectin (FN) by an abnormally high protease level. The ECM provides physical and chemical cues that direct tissue growth and development while FN is a key ECM protein that attracts and binds different molecules and cells. The goal of my study is creating an ECM analogue based on a composite of polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogels and FN binding domains and stabilizing FN against proteolytic degradation by conjugating it to PEG. The work presented here shows a two-prong approach by which the problem of ECM degradation and deficiency chronic wound healing can be addressed. The first approach for addressing ECM deficiency is through a scaffold design methodology. The novelty of the scaffold approach is that it uses the cell-binding domains of FN instead of the often-used RGD peptide. I demonstrate that a PEG hydrogel with the cell-binding domain produces a more robust biological response in cells than a PEG hydrogel with the RGD peptide. I also demonstrate that varying different functional domains of FN can be used to controllably stimulate multiple biological responses. The second approach demonstrates a method by which FN, a key ECM protein, is stabilized against proteolytic degradation without perturbing its activity. These studies of creating PEG-FN conjugates are the first of their kind. Collectively, the data that I present in this thesis will lead to novel therapeutic methods for treating chronic wounds.

  8. Metalloproteinases: A parade of functions in matrix biology and an outlook for the future.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Apte, Suneel S; Parks, William C

    2015-01-01

    This issue of Matrix Biology is devoted to exploring how metalloproteinases - here inclusive of related families of extracellular proteinases - act on extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins to influence an astonishing diversity of biological systems and diseases. Since their discovery in the 1960's, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have oft and widely been considered as the principal mediators of ECM destruction. However, as becomes clear from several articles in this issue, MMPs affect processes that both promote and limit ECM assembly, structure, and quantity. Furthermore, it has become increasingly apparent that ECM proteolysis is neither the exclusive function of MMPs nor their only sphere of influence. Thus, other enzymes may be important participants in ECM proteolysis, and indeed they are. The ADAMTS (a disintegrin-like and metalloproteinase domain with thrombospondin type 1 repeat) proteinases, BMP/tolloid proteases, and meprins have all emerged as major mechanisms of ECM proteolysis. An aggregate view of proteolysis as an exquisitely specific and crucial post-translational modification of secreted proteins emerges from these reviews. The cumulative evidence strongly suggests that although some MMPs can and do cleave ECM components, notably fibrillar collagens, the majority of these proteinases are not key physiological participants in morphogenesis nor in control of matrix metabolism in homeostasis or disease. In contrast, deficiency of ADAMTS proteases leads to a remarkable array of morphogenetic defects and connective tissue disorders consistent with a specialized role in turnover of the embryonic provisional ECM and in ECM assembly. Astacin-related proteases emerge into crucial positions in ECM assembly and turnover, although they also have numerous roles related to morphogen and growth factor regulation. To further turn the traditional view on its head, it is clear that many MMPs are key participants in many, diverse immune and inflammation processes

  9. Iron-sulphur clusters, their biosynthesis, and biological functions in protozoan parasites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ali, Vahab; Nozaki, Tomoyoshi

    2013-01-01

    Fe-S clusters are ensembles of sulphide-linked di-, tri-, and tetra-iron centres of a variety of metalloproteins that play important roles in reduction and oxidation of mitochondrial electron transport, energy metabolism, regulation of gene expression, cell survival, nitrogen fixation, and numerous other metabolic pathways. The Fe-S clusters are assembled by one of four distinct systems: NIF, SUF, ISC, and CIA machineries. The ISC machinery is a house-keeping system conserved widely from prokaryotes to higher eukaryotes, while the other systems are present in a limited range of organisms and play supplementary roles under certain conditions such as stress. Fe-S cluster-containing proteins and the components required for Fe-S cluster biosynthesis are modulated under stress conditions, drug resistance, and developmental stages. It is also known that a defect in Fe-S proteins and Fe-S cluster biogenesis leads to many genetic disorders in humans, which indicates the importance of the systems. In this review, we describe the biological and physiological significance of Fe-S cluster-containing proteins and their biosynthesis in parasitic protozoa including Plasmodium, Trypanosoma, Leishmania, Giardia, Trichomonas, Entamoeba, Cryptosporidium, Blastocystis, and microsporidia. We also discuss the roles of Fe-S cluster biosynthesis in proliferation, differentiation, and stress response in protozoan parasites. The heterogeneity of the systems and the compartmentalization of Fe-S cluster biogenesis in the protozoan parasites likely reflect divergent evolution under highly diverse environmental niches, and influence their parasitic lifestyle and pathogenesis. Finally, both Fe-S cluster-containing proteins and their biosynthetic machinery in protozoan parasites are remarkably different from those in their mammalian hosts. Thus, they represent a rational target for the development of novel chemotherapeutic and prophylactic agents against protozoan infections.

  10. Cloud point extraction and flame atomic absorption spectrometry combination for copper(II) ion in environmental and biological samples

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shokrollahi, Ardeshir [Chemistry Department, Yasouj University, Yasouj 75914-353 (Iran, Islamic Republic of)], E-mail: ashokrollahi@mail.yu.ac.ir; Ghaedi, Mehrorang [Chemistry Department, Yasouj University, Yasouj 75914-353 (Iran, Islamic Republic of)], E-mail: m_ghaedi@mail.yu.ac.ir; Hossaini, Omid; Khanjari, Narges [Chemistry Department, Yasouj University, Yasouj 75914-353 (Iran, Islamic Republic of); Soylak, Mustafa [Chemistry Department, University of Erciyes, 38039 Kayseri (Turkey)

    2008-12-30

    A cloud point extraction procedure was presented for the preconcentration of copper(II) ion in various samples. After complexation by 4-(phenyl diazenyl) benzene-1,3-diamine (PDBDM) (chrysoidine), copper(II) ions were quantitatively recovered in Triton X-114 after centrifugation. 0.5 ml of methanol acidified with 1.0 mol L{sup -1} HNO{sub 3} was added to the surfactant-rich phase prior to its analysis by flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS). The influence of analytical parameters including ligand, Triton X-114 and HNO{sub 3} concentrations, bath temperature, heating time, centrifuge rate and time were optimized. The effect of the matrix ions on the recovery of copper(II) ions was investigated. The detection limit (3S.D.{sub b}/m, n = 10) of 0.6 ng mL{sup -1} along with preconcentration factor of 30 and enrichment factor of 41.1 with R.S.D. of 1.0% for Cu was achieved. The proposed procedure was applied to the analysis of various environmental and biological samples.

  11. Effects of environmental and architechtural diversity of Caryocar brasiliense (Malpighiales: Caryocaraceae on Edessa ruformaginata (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae and its biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Germano Leao Demolin Leite

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available We studied the effect of environmental complexity and plant architecture on the abundance of the Edessa rufomarginata bugs in pastures and cerrado areas and its biology. We observed higher number of bugs on Caryocar brasiliense trees in the cerrado than pasture areas. Bugs were more abundant on leaves and branches rather than fruits. Caryocar brasiliense had greatest fruit production on pasture than in the cerrado areas. The abundance of bugs was correlated positively with aluminum, organic matter, and tree height, but negatively correlated by soil pH. Productivity of C. brasiliense were negatively correlated with aluminum, pH, and number of bugs, but positively correlated with phosphorus and calcium. The number of eggs per clutch was 14.3, their viability was 93% and the embryonic period was 6.9 days. The respective length and width of each instar were: first instar 3.3 mm and 2.4 mm, second 4.1 mm and 3.0 mm, third 6.7 mm and 3.0mm, and fourth 11.5 mm and 3.5 mm. The respective length and width of adults were: males, 15.8 mm and 8.6 mm and females, 17.3 mm and 9.1 mm. The sex ratio was 0.43, and the total duration of the life cycle of E. rufomarginata was 156 days.

  12. Highly selective ionic liquid-based microextraction method for sensitive trace cobalt determination in environmental and biological samples

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Berton, Paula [Analytical Chemistry Research and Development Group (QUIANID), (LISAMEN - CCT - CONICET - Mendoza), Av. Ruiz Leal S/N Parque General San Martin, M 5502 IRA Mendoza (Argentina); Wuilloud, Rodolfo G., E-mail: rwuilloud@mendoza-conicet.gov.ar [Analytical Chemistry Research and Development Group (QUIANID), (LISAMEN - CCT - CONICET - Mendoza), Av. Ruiz Leal S/N Parque General San Martin, M 5502 IRA Mendoza (Argentina); Instituto de Ciencias Basicas, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza (Argentina)

    2010-03-10

    A simple and rapid dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction procedure based on an ionic liquid (IL-DLLME) was developed for selective determination of cobalt (Co) with electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ETAAS) detection. Cobalt was initially complexed with 1-nitroso-2-naphtol (1N2N) reagent at pH 4.0. The IL-DLLME procedure was then performed by using a few microliters of the room temperature ionic liquid (RTIL) 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate [C{sub 6}mim][PF{sub 6}] as extractant while methanol was the dispersant solvent. After microextraction procedure, the Co-enriched RTIL phase was solubilized in methanol and directly injected into the graphite furnace. The effect of several variables on Co-1N2N complex formation, extraction with the dispersed RTIL phase, and analyte detection with ETAAS, was carefully studied in this work. An enrichment factor of 120 was obtained with only 6 mL of sample solution and under optimal experimental conditions. The resultant limit of detection (LOD) was 3.8 ng L{sup -1}, while the relative standard deviation (RSD) was 3.4% (at 1 {mu}g L{sup -1} Co level and n = 10), calculated from the peak height of absorbance signals. The accuracy of the proposed methodology was tested by analysis of a certified reference material. The method was successfully applied for the determination of Co in environmental and biological samples.

  13. Gender Differences in Patients' Beliefs About Biological, Environmental, Behavioral, and Psychological Risk Factors in a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mozhgan Saeidi

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Introduction: There are significant gender differences in the epidemiology and presentation of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs, physiological aspects of CVDs, response to diagnostic tests or interventions, and prevalence or incidence of the associated risk factors. Considering the independent influence of gender on early dire consequences of such diseases, this study was conducted to investigate gender differences in patients' beliefs about biological, environmental, behavioral, and psychological risk factors in a cardiac rehabilitation program. Materials and Methods: This study has cross sectional design. The sample was composed of 775 patients referred to cardiac rehabilitation unit in Imam Ali Hospital in Kermanshah, Iran. The data were collected using clinical interview and patients’ medical records. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as mean, standard deviation, and chi-square test​​. To do the statistical analysis, SPSS version 20 was utilized. Results: As the results indicated, there was a significant difference between the beliefs of men and women about risk factors of heart disease (X2= 48.36; P

  14. 1st World Congress on Electroporation and Pulsed Electric Fields in Biology, Medicine and Food & Environmental Technologies

    CERN Document Server

    Kramar, Peter

    2016-01-01

    This volume presents the proceedings of the 1st World Congress on Electroporation and Pulsed Electric Fields in Biology, Medicine and Food & Environmental Technologies (WC2015). The congress took place in Portorož, Slovenia, during the week of September 6th to 10th, 2015. The scientific part of the Congress covered different aspects of electroporation and related technologies and included the following main topics:   ·         Application of pulsed electric fields technology in food: challenges and opportunities ·         Electrical impedance measurement for assessment of electroporation yield ·         Electrochemistry and electroporation ·         Electroporation meets electrostimulation ·         Electrotechnologies for food and biomass treatment ·         Food and biotechnology applications ·         In vitro electroporation - basic mechanisms ·         Interfacial behaviour of lipid-assemblies, membranes and cells in electric f...

  15. “Multi-functional Agriculture - Agriculture as a Resource for Energy and Environmental Preservation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    the Editors

    2008-10-01

    Full Text Available In the present global situation, agriculture plays a major role in the interaction between socio-economic and biophysical processes. In addition to its principal and fundamental role of providing food, it now also needs to consider other ecosystem services provided by agriculture and to explore the new frontiers for the the future. In the 50’s of the 20th century the major topic was the introduction of inorganic fertilizers, in the 60’s the use of synthetic compounds for plant protection (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, in the 70’s industrial crops, in the 80’s organic farming and the environmental impact of agronomic practices, and in the 90’s genetically modified crops (herbicide tolerance, insect resistance. In the current decade the themes are: land and water degradation, the production of agricultural biomass for bio-energy, and the increased expression of functional compounds in crops. The Bologna X Congress of ESA “Multi-functional Agriculture - Agriculture as a Resource for Energy and Environmental Preservation”, will meet the needs of finding tools to deal with environmental problems coupled with the increasing demand for food, and filling the knowledge gap on the physiological relationships between functional compound bio-synthesis and agricultural practices. Members of the European Society for Agronomy already have a deep knowledge of these issues, and the Bologna ESA Congress will provide an opportunity to develop them further particularly in regard to innovative agricultural techniques, new energy sources and better environmental monitoring.

  16. Comparison of Chemical Sensitivity of Fresh and Long-Stored Heat Resistant Neosartorya fischeri Environmental Isolates Using BIOLOG Phenotype MicroArray System.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jacek Panek

    Full Text Available Spoilage of heat processed food and beverage by heat resistant fungi (HRF is a major problem for food industry in many countries. Neosartorya fischeri is the leading source of spoilage in thermally processed products. Its resistance to heat processing and toxigenicity makes studies about Neosartorya fischeri metabolism and chemical sensitivity essential. In this study chemical sensitivity of two environmental Neosartorya fischeri isolates were compared. One was isolated from canned apples in 1923 (DSM3700, the other from thermal processed strawberry product in 2012 (KC179765, used as long-stored and fresh isolate, respectively. The study was conducted using Biolog Phenotype MicroArray platforms of chemical sensitivity panel and traditional hole-plate method. The study allowed for obtaining data about Neosartorya fischeri growth inhibitors. The fresh isolate appeared to be much more resistant to chemical agents than the long-stored isolate. Based on phenotype microarray assay nitrogen compounds, toxic cations and membrane function compounds were the most effective in growth inhibition of N. fischeri isolates. According to the study zaragozic acid A, thallium(I acetate and sodium selenate were potent and promising N. fischeri oriented fungicides which was confirmed by both chemical sensitivity microplates panel and traditional hole-plate methods.

  17. Velocity and Mass Functions of Galactic Halos Evolution and Environmental Dependence

    CERN Document Server

    Sigad, Y; Bullock, J S; Kravtsov, A V; Klypin, A A; Primack, Joel R; Dekel, A; Sigad, Yair; Kolatt, Tsafrir S.; Bullock, James S.; Kravtsov, Andrey V.; Klypin, Anatoly A.; Primack, Joel R.; Dekel, Avishai

    2000-01-01

    We study the distribution functions of mass and circular velocity for dark matter halos in N-body simulations of the $\\Lambda$CDM cosmology, addressing redshift and environmental dependence. The dynamical range enables us to resolve subhalos and distinguish them from "distinct" halos. The mass function is compared to analytic models, and is used to derive the more observationally relevant circular velocity function. The distribution functions in the velocity range 100--500 km/s are well fit by a power-law with two parameters, slope and amplitude. We present the parameter dependence on redshift and provide useful fitting formulae. The amplitudes of the mass functions decrease with z, but, contrary to naive expectation, the comoving density of halos of a fixed velocity ~200 km/s actually increases out to z=5. This is because high-z halos are denser, so a fixed velocity corresponds to a smaller mass. The slope of the velocity function at z=0 is as steep as ~ -4, and the mass and velocity functions of distinct ha...

  18. The Biological Function of the Prion Protein: A Cell Surface Scaffold of Signaling Modules

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linden, Rafael

    2017-01-01

    The prion glycoprotein (PrPC) is mostly located at the cell surface, tethered to the plasma membrane through a glycosyl-phosphatydil inositol (GPI) anchor. Misfolding of PrPC is associated with the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), whereas its normal conformer serves as a receptor for oligomers of the β-amyloid peptide, which play a major role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). PrPC is highly expressed in both the nervous and immune systems, as well as in other organs, but its functions are controversial. Extensive experimental work disclosed multiple physiological roles of PrPC at the molecular, cellular and systemic levels, affecting the homeostasis of copper, neuroprotection, stem cell renewal and memory mechanisms, among others. Often each such process has been heralded as the bona fide function of PrPC, despite restricted attention paid to a selected phenotypic trait, associated with either modulation of gene expression or to the engagement of PrPC with a single ligand. In contrast, the GPI-anchored prion protein was shown to bind several extracellular and transmembrane ligands, which are required to endow that protein with the ability to play various roles in transmembrane signal transduction. In addition, differing sets of those ligands are available in cell type- and context-dependent scenarios. To account for such properties, we proposed that PrPC serves as a dynamic platform for the assembly of signaling modules at the cell surface, with widespread consequences for both physiology and behavior. The current review advances the hypothesis that the biological function of the prion protein is that of a cell surface scaffold protein, based on the striking similarities of its functional properties with those of scaffold proteins involved in the organization of intracellular signal transduction pathways. Those properties are: the ability to recruit spatially restricted sets of binding molecules involved in specific signaling

  19. Object-based attentional modulation of biological motion processing: spatiotemporal dynamics using functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Safford, Ashley S; Hussey, Elizabeth A; Parasuraman, Raja; Thompson, James C

    2010-07-07

    Although it is well documented that the ability to perceive biological motion is mediated by the lateral temporal cortex, whether and when neural activity in this brain region is modulated by attention is unknown. In particular, it is unclear whether the processing of biological motion requires attention or whether such stimuli are processed preattentively. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging, high-density electroencephalography, and cortically constrained source estimation methods to investigate the spatiotemporal effects of attention on the processing of biological motion. Directing attention to tool motion in overlapping movies of biological motion and tool motion suppressed the blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) response of the right superior temporal sulcus (STS)/middle temporal gyrus (MTG), while directing attention to biological motion suppressed the BOLD response of the left inferior temporal sulcus (ITS)/MTG. Similarly, category-based modulation of the cortical current source density estimates from the right STS/MTG and left ITS was observed beginning at approximately 450 ms following stimulus onset. Our results indicate that the cortical processing of biological motion is strongly modulated by attention. These findings argue against preattentive processing of biological motion in the presence of stimuli that compete for attention. Our findings also suggest that the attention-based segregation of motion category-specific responses only emerges relatively late (several hundred milliseconds) in processing.

  20. Single-molecule conformational dynamics of a biologically functional hydroxocobalamin riboswitch.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holmstrom, Erik D; Polaski, Jacob T; Batey, Robert T; Nesbitt, David J

    2014-12-03

    Riboswitches represent a family of highly structured regulatory elements found primarily in the leader sequences of bacterial mRNAs. They function as molecular switches capable of altering gene expression; commonly, this occurs via a conformational change in a regulatory element of a riboswitch that results from ligand binding in the aptamer domain. Numerous studies have investigated the ligand binding process, but little is known about the structural changes in the regulatory element. A mechanistic description of both processes is essential for deeply understanding how riboswitches modulate gene expression. This task is greatly facilitated by studying all aspects of riboswitch structure/dynamics/function in the same model system. To this end, single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) techniques have been used to directly observe the conformational dynamics of a hydroxocobalamin (HyCbl) binding riboswitch (env8HyCbl) with a known crystallographic structure.1 The single-molecule RNA construct studied in this work is unique in that it contains all of the structural elements both necessary and sufficient for regulation of gene expression in a biological context. The results of this investigation reveal that the undocking rate constant associated with the disruption of a long-range kissing-loop (KL) interaction is substantially decreased when the ligand is bound to the RNA, resulting in a preferential stabilization of the docked conformation. Notably, the formation of this tertiary KL interaction directly sequesters the Shine-Dalgarno sequence (i.e., the ribosome binding site) via base-pairing, thus preventing translation initiation. These results reveal that the conformational dynamics of this regulatory switch are quantitatively described by a four-state kinetic model, whereby ligand binding promotes formation of the KL interaction. The results of complementary cell-based gene expression experiments conducted in Escherichia coli are highly

  1. Carbohydrate/glycan-binding specificity of legume lectins in respect to their proposed biological functions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Márcio Viana Ramos

    2000-01-01

    Full Text Available The lectins, proteins which specifically recognize carbohydrate moieties, have been extensively studied in many biochemical and structural aspects in order to establish the molecular basis of this non-catalytic event. On the other hand, their clinical and agricultural potentials have been growing fast. Although lectins, mainly those from legume plants, had been investigated for biological properties, studies about the physiological functions of lectins are scarce in literature. Therefore, despite the accumulated data on lectins (as proteins, the role played by these signalizing molecules is poorly discussed. In the light of our accumulated results on legume lectins, specially those obtained from plants belonging to the Diocleinae sub-tribe and available data in literature, we discuss here the main hypothesis of their functions according to their carbohydrate/glycan-binding specificity.As lectinas, proteinas que especificamente reconhecem estruturas que contém carboidratos, têm sido extensivamente estudadas em muitos aspectos bioquímicos e estruturais, objetivando estabelecer as bases moleculares deste evento não-catalítico. Por outro lado, os potenciais clínicos e agriculturais destas proteínas têm crescido rapidamente. Embora as lectinas, principalmente aquelas de legumes tenham sido bastante investigadas em suas propriedades biológicas, estudos sobre as funcões fisiológicas de lectinas são escassos na literatura. Além disto, a despeito da quantidade de dados acumulados sobre lectinas (como proteínas, o papel desempenhado por estas moléculas de sinalização é pobremente discutido. Valendo-se de nossos estudos sobre lectinas de leguminosas, principalmente da sub-tribo Diocleinae, e outros dados presentes na literatura, discutimos aqui, as principais hipóteses de suas funções com base na especificidade por carboidratos e glicanos complexos.

  2. Unexpected functional similarities between gatekeeper tumour suppressor genes and proto-oncogenes revealed by systems biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Yongzhong; Epstein, Richard J

    2011-05-01

    Familial tumor suppressor genes comprise two subgroups: caretaker genes (CTs) that repair DNA, and gatekeeper genes (GKs) that trigger cell death. Since GKs may also induce cell cycle delay and thus enhance cell survival by facilitating DNA repair, we hypothesized that the prosurvival phenotype of GKs could be selected during cancer progression, and we used a multivariable systems biology approach to test this. We performed multidimensional data analysis, non-negative matrix factorization and logistic regression to compare the features of GKs with those of their putative antagonists, the proto-oncogenes (POs), as well as with control groups of CTs and functionally unrelated congenital heart disease genes (HDs). GKs and POs closely resemble each other, but not CTs or HDs, in terms of gene structure (P<0.001), expression level and breadth (P<0.01), DNA methylation signature (P<0.001) and evolutionary rate (P<0.001). The similar selection pressures and epigenetic trajectories of GKs and POs so implied suggest a common functional attribute that is strongly negatively selected-that is, a shared phenotype that enhances cell survival. The counterintuitive finding of similar evolutionary pressures affecting GKs and POs raises an intriguing possibility: namely, that cancer microevolution is accelerated by an epistatic cascade in which upstream suppressor gene defects subvert the normal bifunctionality of wild-type GKs by constitutively shifting the phenotype away from apoptosis towards survival. If correct, this interpretation would explain the hitherto unexplained phenomenon of frequent wild-type GK (for example, p53) overexpression in tumors.

  3. Improved normal tissue sparing in head and neck radiotherapy using biological cost function based-IMRT.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, N; Lawford, C; Khoo, V; Rolfo, M; Joon, D L; Wada, M

    2011-12-01

    Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) has reduced the impact of acute and late toxicities associated with head and neck radiotherapy. Treatment planning system (TPS) advances in biological cost function based optimization (BBO) and improved segmentation techniques have increased organ at risk (OAR) sparing compared to conventional dose-based optimization (DBO). A planning study was undertaken to compare OAR avoidance in DBO and BBO treatment planning. Simultaneous integrated boost treatment plans were produced for 10 head and neck patients using both planning systems. Plans were compared for tar get coverage and OAR avoidance. Comparisons were made using the BBO TPS Monte Carlo dose engine to eliminate differences due to inherent algorithms. Target coverage (V95%) was maintained for both solutions. BBO produced lower OAR doses, with statistically significant improvement to left (12.3%, p = 0.005) and right parotid mean dose (16.9%, p = 0.004), larynx V50_Gy (71.0%, p = 0.005), spinal cord (21.9%, p < 0.001) and brain stem dose maximums (31.5%, p = 0.002). This study observed improved OAR avoidance with BBO planning. Further investigations will be undertaken to review any clinical benefit of this improved planned dosimetry.

  4. Melanocyte biology and function with reference to oral melanin hyperpigmentation in HIV-seropositive subjects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feller, Liviu; Chandran, Rakesh; Kramer, Beverley; Khammissa, Razia A G; Altini, Mario; Lemmer, Johan

    2014-09-01

    The color of normal skin and of oral mucosa is not determined by the number of melanocytes in the epithelium but rather by their melanogenic activity. Pigmented biopolymers or melanins are synthesized in melanosomes. Tyrosinase is the critical enzyme in the biosynthesis of both brown/black eumelanin and yellow/red pheomelanin. The number of the melanosomes within the melanocytes, the type of melanin within the melanosomes, and the efficacy of the transfer of melanosomes from the melanocytes to the neighboring keratinocytes all play an important role in tissue pigmentation. Melanin production is regulated by locally produced factors including proopiomelanocortin and its derivative peptides, particularly alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH), melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), adrenergic and cholinergic agents, growth factors, cytokines, and nitric oxide. Both eumelanin and pheomelanin can be produced by the same melanocytes, and the proportion of the two melanin types is influenced by the degree of functional activity of the α-MSH/MC1R intracellular pathway. The cause of HIV oral melanosis is not fully understood but may be associated with HIV-induced cytokine dysregulation, with the medications commonly prescribed to HIV-seropositive persons, and with adrenocortical dysfunction, which is not uncommon in HIV-seropositive subjects with AIDS. The purpose of this article is to discuss some aspects of melanocyte biology and HIV-associated oral melanin hyperpigmentation.

  5. Expression of a Magnaporthe grisea Elicitor and Its Biological Function in Activating Resistance in Rice

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    The expression of a protein elicitor from Magnaporthe griesea and its biological function in activating resistance in rice (Oryza sativa L) were reported. The gene of elicitor was expressed in Escherichia coli cells and produced a His6-fusion protein with 42 kD apparent molecular weight on SDS-PAGE. The purified protein could induce the resistance to blast disease, with the control efficiency of 46.47% and 36.41% at the 14th day and the 21st day after blast inoculation, respectively.After treatment with the expressed protein, the phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and peroxidase (POD) activities were promoted in rice plants, meanwhile, the transcription levels of STKM, FAD, PBZ1 and PR1 genes were increased in rice plants. Moreover, after comparing the profile of total rice leaf proteins on two-dimensional eiectrophoresis gel, about 14proteins were found to be increased in expression level after the expressed protein treatment. All the results indicated that the expressed protein could act as an elicitor to trigger the resistance in rice.

  6. Gene-based GWAS and biological pathway analysis of the resilience of executive functioning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mukherjee, Shubhabrata; Kim, Sungeun; Ramanan, Vijay K; Gibbons, Laura E; Nho, Kwangsik; Glymour, M Maria; Ertekin-Taner, Nilüfer; Montine, Thomas J; Saykin, Andrew J; Crane, Paul K

    2014-03-01

    Resilience in executive functioning (EF) is characterized by high EF measured by neuropsychological test performance despite structural brain damage from neurodegenerative conditions. We previously reported single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genome-wide association study (GWAS) results for EF resilience. Here, we report gene- and pathway-based analyses of the same resilience phenotype, using an optimal SNP-set (Sequence) Kernel Association Test (SKAT) for gene-based analyses (conservative threshold for genome-wide significance = 0.05/18,123 = 2.8 × 10(-6)) and the gene-set enrichment package GSA-SNP for biological pathway analyses (False discovery rate (FDR) resilience (p = 1.33 × 10(-7)). Genetic pathways involved with dendritic/neuron spine, presynaptic membrane, postsynaptic density, etc., were enriched with association to EF resilience. Although replication of these results is necessary, our findings indicate the potential value of gene- and pathway-based analyses in research on determinants of cognitive resilience.

  7. Biological functions of glycosyltransferase genes involved in O-fucose glycan synthesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Okajima, Tetsuya; Matsuura, Aiko; Matsuda, Tsukasa

    2008-07-01

    Rare types of glycosylation often occur in a domain-specific manner and are involved in specific biological processes. Well-known examples of such modification are O-linked fucose (O-fucose) and O-linked glucose (O-glucose) glycans on epidermal growth factor (EGF) domains. In particular, O-fucose glycans are reported to regulate the functions of EGF domain-containing proteins such as urinary-type plasminogen activator and Notch receptors. Two glycosyltransferases catalyze the initiation and elongation of O-fucose glycans. The initiation process is catalyzed by O-fucosyltransferase 1, which is essential for Notch signalling in both Drosophila and mice. O-fucosyltransferase 1 can affect the folding, ligand interaction and endocytosis of Notch receptors, and both the glycosyltransferase and non-catalytic activities of O-fucosyltransferase 1 have been reported. The elongation of O-fucose monosaccharide is catalyzed by Fringe-related genes, which differentially modulate the interaction between Notch and two classes of ligands, namely, Delta and Serrate/Jagged. In this article, we have reviewed the recent reports addressing the distinctive features of the glycosyltransferases and O-glycans present on the EGF domains.

  8. Mechanically robust, rapidly actuating, and biologically functionalized macroporous poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)/silk hybrid hydrogels.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gil, Eun Seok; Park, Sang-Hyug; Tien, Lee W; Trimmer, Barry; Hudson, Samuel M; Kaplan, David L

    2010-10-05

    A route toward mechanically robust, rapidly actuating, and biologically functionalized polymeric actuators using macroporous soft materials is described. The materials were prepared by combining silk protein and a synthetic polymer (poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIAPPm)) to form interpenetrating network materials and macroporous structures by freeze-drying, with hundreds of micrometer diameter pores and exploiting the features of both polymers related to dynamic materials and structures. The chemically cross-linked PNIPAAm networks provided stimuli-responsive features, while the silk interpenetrating network formed by inducing protein β-sheet crystallinity in situ for physical cross-links provided material robustness, improved expansion force, and enzymatic degradability. The macroporous hybrid hydrogels showed enhanced thermal-responsive properties in comparison to pure PNIPAAm hydrogels, nonporous silk/PNIPAAm hybrid hydrogels, and previously reported macroporous PNIPAAm hydrogels. These new systems reach near equilibrium sizes in shrunken/swollen states in less than 1 min, with the structural features providing improved actuation rates and stable oscillatory properties due to the macroporous transport and the mechanically robust silk network. Confocal images of the hydrated hydrogels around the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) revealed macropores that could be used to track changes in the real time morphology upon thermal stimulus. The material system transformed from a macroporous to a nonporous structure upon enzymatic degradation. To extend the utility of the system, an affinity platform for a switchable or tunable system was developed by immobilizing biotin and avidin on the macropore surfaces.

  9. Soft robotic arm inspired by the octopus: I. From biological functions to artificial requirements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Margheri, L; Laschi, C; Mazzolai, B

    2012-06-01

    Octopuses are molluscs that belong to the group Cephalopoda. They lack joints and rigid links, and as a result, their arms possess virtually limitless freedom of movement. These flexible appendages exhibit peculiar biomechanical features such as stiffness control, compliance, and high flexibility and dexterity. Studying the capabilities of the octopus arm is a complex task that presents a challenge for both biologists and roboticists, the latter of whom draw inspiration from the octopus in designing novel technologies within soft robotics. With this idea in mind, in this study, we used new, purposively developed methods of analysing the octopus arm in vivo to create new biologically inspired design concepts. Our measurements showed that the octopus arm can elongate by 70% in tandem with a 23% diameter reduction and exhibits an average pulling force of 40 N. The arm also exhibited a 20% mean shortening at a rate of 17.1 mm s(-1) and a longitudinal stiffening rate as high as 2 N (mm s)(-1). Using histology and ultrasounds, we investigated the functional morphology of the internal tissues, including the sinusoidal arrangement of the nerve cord and the local insertion points of the longitudinal and transverse muscle fibres. The resulting information was used to create novel design principles and specifications that can in turn be used in developing a new soft robotic arm.

  10. Structural changes in PVDF fibers due to electrospinning and its effect on biological function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Damaraju, Sita M; Wu, Siliang; Jaffe, Michael; Arinzeh, Treena Livingston

    2013-08-01

    Polyvinylidine fluoride (PVDF) is being investigated as a potential scaffold for bone tissue engineering because of its proven biocompatibility and piezoelectric property, wherein it can generate electrical activity when mechanically deformed. In this study, PVDF scaffolds were prepared by electrospinning using different voltages (12-30 kV), evaluated for the presence of the piezoelectric β-crystal phase and its effect on biological function. Electrospun PVDF was compared with unprocessed/raw PVDF, films and melt-spun fibers for the presence of the piezoelectric β-phase using differential scanning calorimetry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction. The osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) was evaluated on scaffolds electrospun at 12 and 25 kV (PVDF-12 kV and PVDF-25 kV, respectively) and compared to tissue culture polystyrene (TCP). Electrospinning PVDF resulted in the formation of the piezoelectric β-phase with the highest β-phase fraction of 72% for electrospun PVDF at 25 kV. MSCs cultured on both the scaffolds were well attached as indicated by a spread morphology. Cells on PVDF-25 kV scaffolds had the greatest alkaline phosphatase activity and early mineralization by day 10 as compared to TCP and PVDF-12 kV. The results demonstrate the potential for the use of PVDF scaffolds for bone tissue engineering applications.

  11. Molecular mechanism and biological function of miRNA-155 and its target genes on endometriosis

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Na Ji; Li Zhao; Xin Feng; Li-Mei Luo; Ting Liang; Chen-Yu Zhuang; Li-Hua Zhang

    2015-01-01

    Objective:To explore molecular mechanism and biological function of miR-155 and its target genes on endometriosis.Methods: The expression of miR-155 in Ems patient and healthy control were assayed by RT-PCR. After miR-155 mimic and inhibitor were transfected into Ems endometrial cells for 48 h, the viability of cell was detected by MTT assay. Transwell migration and invasion assay were used to detect cell migration and invasion. The expression of cell apoptotic protein Bax and Bcl-2, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP 2) and MMP 9 were assayed by western blot.Results: The expression of miR-155 in Ems patient was more than that in the health control (P<0.01). After miR-155 mimic and inhibitor were transfected into Ems endometrial cells for 48 h, miR-155 over-expression could increase cell viability, and promoted cell migration and invasion, which was related to down-regulation of Bax along with up-regulation of Bcl-2, MMP 2 and MMP 9.Conclusion:These results suggested miR-155 lower expression inhibit endometrial cell proliferation and migration of the Ems.

  12. Solubility and thermodynamic function of vanillin in ten different environmentally benign solvents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shakeel, Faiyaz; Haq, Nazrul; Siddiqui, Nasir A

    2015-08-01

    The solubility of vanillin in ten different environmentally benign solvents namely water, ethanol, ethylene glycol (EG), ethyl acetate (EA), isopropanol (IPA), propylene glycol (PG), polyethylene glycol-400 (PEG-400), Transcutol, butanol-1 and butanol-2 was measured and correlated at T=(298-318)K. The resulting experimental data were correlated with the modified Apelblat and Van't Hoff models. Both the models showed good correlation of experimental solubility data with calculated ones with root mean square deviations in the range of (0.08-1.55)%. The mole fraction solubility of vanillin was observed highest in PEG-400 (4.29 × 10(-1) at 298 K) followed by Transcutol, EA, butanol-2, ethanol, EG, PG, IPA, butanol-1 and water from T=(298-318)K. The results of thermodynamic function in terms of dissolution enthalpy, Gibbs energy and dissolution entropy showed endothermic, spontaneous and entropy-driven dissolution of vanillin in all environmentally benign solvents.

  13. Dung Beetles along a Tropical Altitudinal Gradient: Environmental Filtering on Taxonomic and Functional Diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nunes, Cássio Alencar; Braga, Rodrigo Fagundes; Figueira, José Eugênio Cortes; Neves, Frederico de Siqueira; Fernandes, G Wilson

    2016-01-01

    Mountains provide an interesting context in which to study the many facets of biodiversity in response to macroclimate, since environmental conditions change rapidly due to elevation. Although the decrease in biodiversity with increasing elevation is generally accepted, our understanding of the variation of functional diversity along altitudinal gradients is still poorly known. The partitioning of diversity into spatial components can help to understand the processes that influence the distribution of species, and these studies are urgently needed in face of the increasing threats to mountain environments throughout the world. We describe the distribution of dung beetle diversity along an altitudinal gradient on a tropical mountain in southeastern Brazil, including the spatial partitioning of taxonomic and functional diversities. The altitudinal gradient ranged from 800 up to 1400 m a.s.l. and we collected dung beetles at every 100 m of altitude. We used the Rao Index to calculate γ, α and β diversity for taxonomic and functional diversity of dung beetles. Climatic, soil and vegetation variables were used to explain variation in community attributes along the altitudinal gradient. Dung beetle richness declined with altitude and was related to climatic and vegetation variables, but functional diversity did not follow the same pattern. Over 50% of γ taxonomic diversity was caused by among altitudes diversity (β), while almost 100% of functional diversity was due to the α component. Contrasting β taxonomic with β functional diversity, we suggest that there is ecological redundancy among communities and that the environment is filtering species in terms of the Grinnellian niche, rather than the Eltonian niche. β taxonomic diversity is caused mainly by the turnover component, reinforcing the hypothesis of environmental filtering. Global warming may have strong effects on mountain communities due to upslope range shifts and extinctions, and these events will

  14. Dung Beetles along a Tropical Altitudinal Gradient: Environmental Filtering on Taxonomic and Functional Diversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nunes, Cássio Alencar; Braga, Rodrigo Fagundes; Figueira, José Eugênio Cortes; Neves, Frederico de Siqueira; Fernandes, G. Wilson

    2016-01-01

    Mountains provide an interesting context in which to study the many facets of biodiversity in response to macroclimate, since environmental conditions change rapidly due to elevation. Although the decrease in biodiversity with increasing elevation is generally accepted, our understanding of the variation of functional diversity along altitudinal gradients is still poorly known. The partitioning of diversity into spatial components can help to understand the processes that influence the distribution of species, and these studies are urgently needed in face of the increasing threats to mountain environments throughout the world. We describe the distribution of dung beetle diversity along an altitudinal gradient on a tropical mountain in southeastern Brazil, including the spatial partitioning of taxonomic and functional diversities. The altitudinal gradient ranged from 800 up to 1400 m a.s.l. and we collected dung beetles at every 100 m of altitude. We used the Rao Index to calculate γ, α and β diversity for taxonomic and functional diversity of dung beetles. Climatic, soil and vegetation variables were used to explain variation in community attributes along the altitudinal gradient. Dung beetle richness declined with altitude and was related to climatic and vegetation variables, but functional diversity did not follow the same pattern. Over 50% of γ taxonomic diversity was caused by among altitudes diversity (β), while almost 100% of functional diversity was due to the α component. Contrasting β taxonomic with β functional diversity, we suggest that there is ecological redundancy among communities and that the environment is filtering species in terms of the Grinnellian niche, rather than the Eltonian niche. β taxonomic diversity is caused mainly by the turnover component, reinforcing the hypothesis of environmental filtering. Global warming may have strong effects on mountain communities due to upslope range shifts and extinctions, and these events will

  15. A Simple and Low-Cost Monitoring System to Investigate Environmental Conditions in a Biological Research Laboratory.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Akshay Gurdita

    Full Text Available Basic equipment such as incubation and refrigeration systems plays a critical role in nearly all aspects of the traditional biological research laboratory. Their proper functioning is therefore essential to ensure reliable and repeatable experimental results. Despite this fact, in many academic laboratories little attention is paid to validating and monitoring their function, primarily due to the cost and/or technical complexity of available commercial solutions. We have therefore developed a simple and low-cost monitoring system that combines a "Raspberry Pi" single-board computer with USB-connected sensor interfaces to track and log parameters such as temperature and pressure, and send email alert messages as appropriate. The system is controlled by open-source software, and we have also generated scripts to automate software setup so that no background in programming is required to install and use it. We have applied it to investigate the behaviour of our own equipment, and present here the results along with the details of the monitoring system used to obtain them.

  16. A Simple and Low-Cost Monitoring System to Investigate Environmental Conditions in a Biological Research Laboratory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gurdita, Akshay; Vovko, Heather; Ungrin, Mark

    2016-01-01

    Basic equipment such as incubation and refrigeration systems plays a critical role in nearly all aspects of the traditional biological research laboratory. Their proper functioning is therefore essential to ensure reliable and repeatable experimental results. Despite this fact, in many academic laboratories little attention is paid to validating and monitoring their function, primarily due to the cost and/or technical complexity of available commercial solutions. We have therefore developed a simple and low-cost monitoring system that combines a "Raspberry Pi" single-board computer with USB-connected sensor interfaces to track and log parameters such as temperature and pressure, and send email alert messages as appropriate. The system is controlled by open-source software, and we have also generated scripts to automate software setup so that no background in programming is required to install and use it. We have applied it to investigate the behaviour of our own equipment, and present here the results along with the details of the monitoring system used to obtain them.

  17. 76 FR 4859 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a Biological...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-27

    ... Significant Impact for a Biological Control Agent for Asian Citrus Psyllid AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health... continental United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of Asian citrus psyllid... use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP)...

  18. 76 FR 42675 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a Biological...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-19

    ... Significant Impact for a Biological Control Agent for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health... biological control agent to reduce the severity of hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae, HWA) infestations... release of this biological control agent into the continental United States. \\1\\ To view the notice,...

  19. 75 FR 23221 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a Biological...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-05-03

    ... Significant Impact for a Biological Control Agent for Water Hyacinth AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health... for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of water hyacinth infestations. Based on... the continental United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of...

  20. 78 FR 14509 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a Biological...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-03-06

    ... Significant Impact for a Biological Control Agent for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health... eastern United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of hemlock woolly... biological control agent into the eastern United States. \\1\\ To view the notice, EA, and FONSI go to...

  1. 76 FR 15935 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a Biological...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-03-22

    ... Significant Impact for a Biological Control Agent for Air Potato AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection... biological control agent to reduce the severity of air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera) infestations. On January... this biological control agent into the continental United States. \\1\\ To view the notice, EA, and...

  2. 76 FR 8708 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a Biological...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-02-15

    ... Significant Impact for a Biological Control Agent for Arundo donax AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection... Service relative to a proposed biological control program for Arundo donax (giant reed, Carrizo cane). The... biological control program. Based on its finding of no significant impact, the Animal and Plant...

  3. 76 FR 13597 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a Biological...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-03-14

    ... Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a Biological Control Agent for Hawkweeds AGENCY: Animal... subterminalis, into the continental United States as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of... hawkweed gall wasp, Aulacidea subterminalis, into the continental United States for the biological...

  4. 75 FR 28233 - Availability of an Environmental Assessment for a Biological Control Agent for Asian Citrus Psyllid

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-05-20

    ... for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of Asian citrus psyllid infestations. We... continental United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of Asian citrus psyllid... include chemical control and the release of an alternative biological control agent, an encyrtid...

  5. From electron microscopy to molecular cell biology, molecular genetics and structural biology: intracellular transport and kinesin superfamily proteins, KIFs: genes, structure, dynamics and functions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hirokawa, Nobutaka

    2011-01-01

    Cells transport and sort various proteins and lipids following synthesis as distinct types of membranous organelles and protein complexes to the correct destination at appropriate velocities. This intracellular transport is fundamental for cell morphogenesis, survival and functioning not only in highly polarized neurons but also in all types of cells in general. By developing quick-freeze electron microscopy (EM), new filamentous structures associated with cytoskeletons are uncovered. The characterization of chemical structures and functions of these new filamentous structures led us to discover kinesin superfamily molecular motors, KIFs. In this review, I discuss the identification of these new structures and characterization of their functions using molecular cell biology and molecular genetics. KIFs not only play significant roles by transporting various cargoes along microtubule rails, but also play unexpected fundamental roles on various important physiological processes such as learning and memory, brain wiring, development of central nervous system and peripheral nervous system, activity-dependent neuronal survival, development of early embryo, left-right determination of our body and tumourigenesis. Furthermore, by combining single-molecule biophysics with structural biology such as cryo-electrom microscopy and X-ray crystallography, atomic structures of KIF1A motor protein of almost all states during ATP hydrolysis have been determined and a common mechanism of motility has been proposed. Thus, this type of studies could be a good example of really integrative multidisciplinary life science in the twenty-first century.

  6. Short term recovery of soil biological functions in a new vineyard cultivated in organic farming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Costantini, Edoardo; Agnelli, Alessandro; Fabiani, Arturo; Gagnarli, Elena; Mocali, Stefano; Priori, Simone; Simoni, Sauro; Valboa, Giuseppe

    2014-05-01

    soil biological classes). Physical soil characteristics remained unchanged after the first year from the earthworks and did not change under grass cover. Chemical analysis only indicated a significant effect of earthworks. Over the 2010-2013 period, the new vineyard showed a slight increase of TOC and total N contents; as compared to the old vineyard, it averaged lower TOC and total N, and higher CaCO3 contents, suggesting still evolving equilibrium conditions. Microarthropod analysis showed significant different abundances and communities' structures both by management system and by year, increasing where the land use pressure was reduced by permanent grass cover and along with the aging of vineyard. Though the euedaphic forms, well adapted to soil life, were always rare. Microbiological analysis showed a different structure of eubacterial communities and a lower microbial activity in the new vineyard, especially during 2010-2012. In contrast, significant differences were not observed between the two vineyards in 2013, and grass cover effect was controversial. To sum up, the consequence of deep earthworks on chemical and biological properties were still evident after four years from planting and more time was needed to recover soil functions. Permanent grass cover did not always show a consistent positive effect.

  7. Bridging from Cells to Cognition in Autism Pathophysiology: Biological Pathways to Defective Brain Function and Plasticity

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Anderson, Matthew; Hooker, Brian S.; Herbert, Martha

    2008-01-01

    We review evidence to support the model that autism may begin when a maternal environmental, infectious, or autoantibody insult causes inflammation which increases reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in the fetus, leading to fetal DNA damage (nuclear and mitochondrial), and that these inflammatory and oxidative stressors persist beyond early development (with potential further exacerbations), producing ongoing functional consequences. In organs with a high metabolic demand such as the central nervous system, the continued use of mitochondria with DNA damage may generate additional ROS which will activate the innate immune system leading to more ROS production. Such a mechanism would self-sustain and possibly progressively worsen. The mitochondrial dysfunction and altered redox signal transduction pathways found in autism would conspire to activate both astroglia and microglia. These activated cells can then initiate a broad-spectrum proinflammatory gene response. Neurons may have acquired receptors for these inflammatory signals to inhibit neuronal signaling as a protection from excitotoxic damage during various pathologic insults (e.g., infection). In autism, over-zealous neuroinflammatory responses could not only influence neural developmental processes, but may more significantly impair neural signaling involved in cognition in an ongoing fashion. This model makes specific predictions in patients and experimental animal models and suggests a number of targets sites of intervention. Our model of potentially reversible pathophysiological mechanisms in autism motivates our hope that effective therapies may soon appear on the horizon.

  8. Environmental switching during biofilm development in a cold seep system and functional determinants of species sorting

    KAUST Repository

    Zhang, Weipeng

    2015-11-28

    The functional basis for species sorting theory remains elusive, especially for microbial community assembly in deep sea environments. Using artificial surface-based biofilm models, our recent work revealed taxonomic succession during biofilm development in a newly defined cold seep system, the Thuwal cold seeps II, which comprises a brine pool and the adjacent normal bottom water (NBW) to form a metacommunity via the potential immigration of organisms from one patch to another. Here, we designed an experiment to investigate the effects of environmental switching between the brine pool and the NBW on biofilm assembly, which could reflect environmental filtering effects during bacterial immigration to new environments. Analyses of 16S rRNA genes of 71 biofilm samples suggested that the microbial composition of biofilms established in new environments was determined by both the source community and the incubation conditions. Moreover, a comparison of 18 metagenomes provided evidence for biofilm community assembly that was based primarily on functional features rather than taxonomic identities; metal ion resistance and amino acid metabolism were the major species sorting determinants for the succession of biofilm communities. Genome binning and pathway reconstruction of two bacterial species (Marinobacter sp. and Oleispira sp.) further demonstrated metal ion resistance and amino acid metabolism as functional traits conferring the survival of habitat generalists in both the brine pool and NBW. The results of the present study sheds new light on microbial community assembly in special habitats and bridges a gap in species sorting theory.

  9. Environmental drivers of fish functional diversity and composition in the Lower Colorado River Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pool, T.K.; Olden, J.D.; Whittier, Joanna B.; Paukert, C.P.

    2010-01-01

    Freshwater conservation efforts require an understanding of how natural and anthropogenic factors shape the present-day biogeography of native and non-native species. This knowledge need is especially acute for imperiled native fishes in the highly modified Lower Colorado River Basin (LCRB), USA. In the present study we employed both a taxonomic and functional approach to explore how natural and human-related environmental drivers shape landscape-scale patterns of fish community composition in the LCRB. Our results showed that hydrologic alteration, watershed land use, and regional climate explained 30.3% and 44.7% of the total variation in fish community taxonomic and functional composition, respectively. Watersheds with greater dam densities and upstream storage capacity supported higher non-native functional diversity, suggesting that dams have provided additional "niche opportunities" for non-native equilibrium life-history strategists by introducing new reservoir habitat and modifying downstream flow and thermal regimes. By contrast, watersheds characterized by greater upstream land protection, lower dam densities, and higher variation in spring and summer precipitation supported fish communities with a strong complement of native species (opportunistic-periodic strategists). In conclusion, our study highlights the utility of a life-history approach to better understand the patterns and processes by which fish communities vary along environmental gradients.

  10. Single Fluorescent Molecules as Nano-Illuminators for Biological Structure and Function

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moerner, W. E.

    2011-03-01

    Since the first optical detection and spectroscopy of a single molecule in a solid (Phys. Rev. Lett. {62}, 2535 (1989)), much has been learned about the ability of single molecules to probe local nanoenvironments and individual behavior in biological and nonbiological materials in the absence of ensemble averaging that can obscure heterogeneity. Because each single fluorophore acts a light source roughly 1 nm in size, microscopic imaging of individual fluorophores leads naturally to superlocalization, or determination of the position of the molecule with precision beyond the optical diffraction limit, simply by digitization of the point-spread function from the single emitter. For example, the shape of single filaments in a living cell can be extracted simply by allowing a single molecule to move through the filament (PNAS {103}, 10929 (2006)). The addition of photoinduced control of single-molecule emission allows imaging beyond the diffraction limit (super-resolution) and a new array of acronyms (PALM, STORM, F-PALM etc.) and advances have appeared. We have used the native blinking and switching of a common yellow-emitting variant of green fluorescent protein (EYFP) reported more than a decade ago (Nature {388}, 355 (1997)) to achieve sub-40 nm super-resolution imaging of several protein structures in the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus: the quasi-helix of the actin-like protein MreB (Nat. Meth. {5}, 947 (2008)), the cellular distribution of the DNA binding protein HU (submitted), and the recently discovered division spindle composed of ParA filaments (Nat. Cell Biol. {12}, 791 (2010)). Even with these advances, better emitters would provide more photons and improved resolution, and a new photoactivatable small-molecule emitter has recently been synthesized and targeted to specific structures in living cells to provide super-resolution images (JACS {132}, 15099 (2010)). Finally, a new optical method for extracting three-dimensional position information based on

  11. The influence of demographic, environmental and physical factors on functional independence post stroke

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M.V. Mamabolo

    2008-02-01

    Full Text Available Purpose: The magnitude of disability observed in strokesurvivors is believed to be dependent in part, on the severity of neurological deficits incurred. A s important but less well understood, is thecontribution of demographic, physical and environmental factors. The objective of this study was to establish what demographic, environmentaland physical factors influence functional independence post stroke. Method: Convenience sampling was used in the selection of subjects from four stroke outpatient public health facilities in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. The data were collected using a structured questionnaire. The analytical tools used included descriptive statistics to measure percentages and cross tabulations to measure the level of associations between functional independence and some of the demographic factors. The Barthel Index was computed to establish the degree of functional independence. Finally the influence of factors on functional independence was investigated using bivariate logistic regressions.Results: The results showed that younger patients (18 - 34 yrs may have a higher likelihood of functional independence compared to older patients at the time of discharge from hospital (18 - 34 years: Odds Ratio = 1. Patients without helpers were more likely to be functionally independent than those with a helper (p = 0.03. Involvement in household activities (p = 0.01, participation in community activities (p = 0.02 and bowel and bladder continence (p = 0.003 and p = 0.04 improved the likelihood of functional independence.Conclusion and im plications: Factors that influence functional independence post stroke are: age, bowel and bladder continence, the presence of a caregiver, participation in household and community activities. It is also of value to encourage patients to participate in household and community activities post stroke as well as being less dependent on helpers in an effort to attain functional independence post

  12. Social, biological, and environmental drivers of the hunting and trade of the endangered yellow-footed tortoise in the Amazon

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thaís Q. Morcatty

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Chelonians constitute an important source of food and income for the inhabitants of tropical forests. We assessed the social, biological, and environmental factors affecting the hunting and trade of the endangered yellow-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis denticulata in rural and urban areas in the Amazon and estimated the sustainability of tortoise use. We also discuss possible conservation alternatives that are compatible with the needs of local inhabitants. We monitored tortoise hunting and trade for 12 years in 10 traditional communities that exploit different habitat types in the Brazilian Amazon and collected data on the tortoise trade in two urban markets for six years. In upland forests, tortoise hunting mainly occurred during the dry season; in whitewater flooded forests, hunting mainly occurred during the flood season. The tortoise trade was carried out nearly entirely by whitewater flooded forest users and was intimately related to fishing, the main economic activity in these communities. Furthermore, the tortoise trade was encouraged in whitewater flooded forests because this environment yielded significantly heavier tortoises than upland forests, and we observed a strong relationship between trade probability and tortoise size. The tortoise trade was found to primarily supply nearby urban centers, generating high monetary gain. Female tortoises suffered greater hunting pressure and were more valued in the bushmeat market. The productivity of tortoise hunting in the monitored communities severely decreased with time. In addition, the price per kilogram of tortoise greatly increased in the urban market. Given this unsustainable scenario, policies regulating tortoise hunting in the Amazon are needed. These policies must be adapted to the different patterns of tortoise use by rural communities while maintaining the culture and food sovereignty of the local inhabitants.

  13. Generalised analysis of the potential of an enterprise as a function of environmental parameters (theoretical approach

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karapeychik Igor M.

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Within the frameworks of the author’s concept of the potential of an enterprise as the ability to conduct its immanently appropriate activity and also the idea of presentation of the size of the potential in the form of potential function from parameters of the state of an enterprise and foreign economic environment the article develops a scientific and methodical approach to construction and analysis of the potential function of an enterprise. The offered approach envisages building an economic and mathematical model of an enterprise of the optimisation type with consideration of environmental factors, determination of the size of economic potential as a maximum possible (optimal with the set condition of an enterprise and external environment of net income, statistical test of the model with possible values of external parameters (formation of statistical sampling of the graph of the potential function of an enterprise and application of statistical methods including methods of correlation, factor and regression analysis, for the study of its properties. Operability of this approach is shown on the example of the study of properties of the potential function of a model enterprise. In the course of approbation the article demonstrates its ability to reveal specific features of impact of external factors on economic potential of an enterprise; establishes, as a common regularity, differential influence of various environmental factors, caused not only by the nature of these factors, but also production and economic specific features and specific state of an enterprise. The article shows that the quantitative values of the force of influence of the said factors upon the value of economic potential, obtained during statistical analysis of the potential function of an enterprise, could serve as an instrument of ranking these factors by the priority level in the goal setting tasks at the stage of formation of the strategy of enterprise development

  14. Phylogenetic and functional metagenomic profiling for assessing microbial biodiversity in environmental monitoring.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kisand, Veljo; Valente, Angelica; Lahm, Armin; Tanet, Gerard; Lettieri, Teresa

    2012-01-01

    Decisions guiding environmental management need to be based on a broad and comprehensive understanding of the biodiversity and functional capability within ecosystems. Microbes are of particular importance since they drive biogeochemical cycles, being both producers and decomposers. Their quick and direct responses to changes in environmental conditions modulate the ecosystem accordingly, thus providing a sensitive readout. Here we have used direct sequencing of total DNA from water samples to compare the microbial communities of two distinct coastal regions exposed to different anthropogenic pressures: the highly polluted Port of Genoa and the protected area of Montecristo Island in the Mediterranean Sea. Analysis of the metagenomes revealed significant differences in both microbial diversity and abundance between the two areas, reflecting their distinct ecological habitats and anthropogenic stress conditions. Our results indicate that the combination of next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies and bioinformatics tools presents a new approach to monitor the diversity and the ecological status of aquatic ecosystems. Integration of metagenomics into environmental monitoring campaigns should enable the impact of the anthropogenic pressure on microbial biodiversity in various ecosystems to be better assessed and also predicted.

  15. Phylogenetic and functional metagenomic profiling for assessing microbial biodiversity in environmental monitoring.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Veljo Kisand

    Full Text Available Decisions guiding environmental management need to be based on a broad and comprehensive understanding of the biodiversity and functional capability within ecosystems. Microbes are of particular importance since they drive biogeochemical cycles, being both producers and decomposers. Their quick and direct responses to changes in environmental conditions modulate the ecosystem accordingly, thus providing a sensitive readout. Here we have used direct sequencing of total DNA from water samples to compare the microbial communities of two distinct coastal regions exposed to different anthropogenic pressures: the highly polluted Port of Genoa and the protected area of Montecristo Island in the Mediterranean Sea. Analysis of the metagenomes revealed significant differences in both microbial diversi