Complex coacervation is a phenomenon characterized by the association of oppositely charged polyelectrolytes into micron-scale liquid condensates. This process is the purported first step in the formation of underwater adhesives by sessile marine organisms, as well as the process harnessed for the formation of new synthetic and protein-based contemporary materials. Efforts to understand the physical nature of complex coacervates are important for developing robust adhesives, injectable materials, or novel drug delivery vehicles for biomedical applications, however their internal fluidity necessitates the use of in situ characterization strategies of their local dynamic properties—capabilities not offered by conventional techniques such as x-ray scattering, microscopy, or bulk rheological measurements. Herein, we employ the novel magnetic resonance technique Overhauser dynamic nuclear polarization enhanced nuclear magnetic resonance (DNP), together with electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) lineshape analysis, to concurrently quantify local molecular and hydration dynamics, with species- and site-specificity. We observe striking differences in the structure and dynamics of the protein-based biomimetic complex coacervates from their synthetic analogues, which is an asymmetric collapse of the polyelectrolyte constituents. From this study we suggest charge heterogeneity within a given polyelectrolyte chain to be an important parameter by which the internal structure of complex coacervates may be tuned. Acquiring molecular-level insight to the internal structure and dynamics of dynamic polymer complexes in water through the in situ characterization of site- and species-specific local polymer and hydration dynamics should be a promising general approach that has not been widely employed for materials characterization.
Complex coacervates; DNP; EPR; Mytilus Foot Protein; Mussel adhesive protein
An intronic G4C2 hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72 is a major cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Several mechanisms including RNA toxicity, repeat-associated non-AUG translation mediated dipeptide protein aggregates, and haploinsufficiency of C9orf72 have been implicated in the molecular pathogenesis of this disorder. The aims of this study were to compare the use of two different Southern blot probes for detection of repeat expansions in an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration pathological cohort and to determine the levels of C9orf72 transcript variants and protein isoforms in patients versus control subjects. Our Southern blot studies identified smaller repeat expansions (250–1800 bp) that were only detectable with the flanking probe highlighting the potential for divergent results using different Southern blotting protocols that could complicate genotype–phenotype correlation studies. Further, we characterize a new C9orf72 antibody and show for the first time decreased C9orf72 protein levels in the frontal cortex from patients with a pathological hexanucleotide repeat expansion. These data suggest that a reduction in C9orf72 protein may be a consequence of the disease.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; C9orf72; Frontotemporal dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Repeat expansion; Southern blotting
Substance use disorders (SUD) are inheritable and the culprit is hypodopaminergic function regulated by reward genes. We evaluated a natural dopaminergic agonist; KB220 intravenous (IV) and oral variants, to improve dopaminergic function in SUD. Our pilot experiment found a significant reduction of chronic symptoms, measured by the Chronic Abstinence Symptom Severity (CASS) Scale. The combined group (IV and oral) did significantly better than the oral-only group over the first week and 30-day follow-up period. Next, the combination was given to129 subjects and three factors; Emotion, Somatic, and Impaired Cognition, with eigenvalues greater than one were extracted for baseline CASS-Revised (CASS-R) variables. Paired sample t-tests for pre and post-treatment scales showed significant declines (p = .00001) from pre- to post-treatment: t = 19.1 for Emotion, t = 16.1 for Somatic, and t = 14.9 for Impaired Cognition. In a two-year follow-up of 23 subjects who underwent KB220IV therapy (at least five IV treatments over seven days) plus orals for 30+ days: 21 (91%) were sober at six months, 19 (82%) having no relapse; 19 (82%) were sober at one year, 18 (78%) having no relapse; and 21 (91%) were sober two-years post-treatment, 16 (70%) having no relapse. We await additional research and advise caution in interpreting these encouraging results.
Chronic Abstinence Symptom Severity (CASS) Scale; dopamine; KB220IV-neuroadaptagen amino-acid therapy (NAAT); reward deficiency syndrome (RDS)
Myoclonus dystonia syndrome is a childhood onset hyperkinetic movement disorder characterized by predominant alcohol responsive upper body myoclonus and dystonia. A proportion of cases are due to mutations in the maternally imprinted SGCE gene. Previous studies have suggested that patients with SGCE mutations may have an increased rate of psychiatric disorders. We established a cohort of patients with myoclonus dystonia syndrome and SGCE mutations to determine the extent to which psychiatric disorders form part of the disease phenotype. In all, 89 patients with clinically suspected myoclonus dystonia syndrome were recruited from the UK and Ireland. SGCE was analysed using direct sequencing and for copy number variants. In those patients where no mutation was found TOR1A (GAG deletion), GCH1, THAP1 and NKX2-1 were also sequenced. SGCE mutation positive cases were systematically assessed using standardized psychiatric interviews and questionnaires and compared with a disability-matched control group of patients with alcohol responsive tremor. Nineteen (21%) probands had a SGCE mutation, five of which were novel. Recruitment of family members increased the affected SGCE mutation positive group to 27 of whom 21 (77%) had psychiatric symptoms. Obsessive–compulsive disorder was eight times more likely (P < 0.001) in mutation positive cases, compulsivity being the predominant feature (P < 0.001). Generalized anxiety disorder (P = 0.003) and alcohol dependence (P = 0.02) were five times more likely in mutation positive cases than tremor controls. SGCE mutations are associated with a specific psychiatric phenotype consisting of compulsivity, anxiety and alcoholism in addition to the characteristic motor phenotype. SGCE mutations are likely to have a pleiotropic effect in causing both motor and specific psychiatric symptoms.
myoclonus dystonia; SGCE; psychiatric disorders
Elevated resting heart rate is associated with greater risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. In a 2-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in up to 181,171 individuals, we identified 14 new loci associated with heart rate and confirmed associations with all 7 previously established loci. Experimental downregulation of gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster and Danio rerio identified 20 genes at 11 loci that are relevant for heart rate regulation and highlight a role for genes involved in signal transmission, embryonic cardiac development and the pathophysiology of dilated cardiomyopathy, congenital heart failure and/or sudden cardiac death. In addition, genetic susceptibility to increased heart rate is associated with altered cardiac conduction and reduced risk of sick sinus syndrome, and both heart rate–increasing and heart rate–decreasing variants associate with risk of atrial fibrillation. Our findings provide fresh insights into the mechanisms regulating heart rate and identify new therapeutic targets.
Variation in sleep duration has been linked with mortality risk. The purpose of this review is to provide an updated evaluation of the literature on sleep duration and mortality, including a critical examination of sleep duration measurement and an examination of correlates of self-reported sleep duration.
We did a systematic search of studies reporting associations between sleep duration and all-cause mortality and extracted the sleep duration measure and the measure(s) of association.
We identified 42 prospective studies of sleep duration and mortality drawing on 35 distinct study populations across the globe. Unlike previous reviews, we find that the published literature does not support a consistent finding of an association between self-reported sleep duration and mortality. Most studies have employed survey measures of sleep duration, which are not highly correlated with estimates based on physiologic measures.
Despite a large body of literature, it is premature to conclude, as previous reviews have, that a robust, U-shaped association between sleep duration and mortality risk exists across populations. Careful attention must be paid to measurement, response bias, confounding, and reverse causation in the interpretation of associations between sleep duration and mortality.
Sleep; Mortality; Review; Epidemiology; Adult; Polysomnography; Actigraphy
The bacterial plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae causes disease in a wide range of plants. The associated decrease in crop yields results in economic losses and threatens global food security. Competition exists between the plant immune system and the pathogen, the basic principles of which can be applied to animal infection pathways. P. syringae uses a type III secretion system (T3SS) to deliver virulence factors into the plant that promote survival of the bacterium. The P. syringae T3SS is a product of the hypersensitive response and pathogenicity (hrp) and hypersensitive response and conserved (hrc) gene cluster, which is strictly controlled by the codependent enhancer-binding proteins HrpR and HrpS. Through a combination of bacterial gene regulation and phenotypic studies, plant infection assays, and plant hormone quantifications, we now report that Chp8 (i) is embedded in the Hrp regulon and expressed in response to plant signals and HrpRS, (ii) is a functional diguanylate cyclase, (iii) decreases the expression of the major pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) flagellin and increases extracellular polysaccharides (EPS), and (iv) impacts the salicylic acid/jasmonic acid hormonal immune response and disease progression. We propose that Chp8 expression dampens PAMP-triggered immunity during early plant infection.
The global demand for food is projected to rise by 50% by 2030 and, as such, represents one of the major challenges of the 21st century, requiring improved crop management. Diseases caused by plant pathogens decrease crop yields, result in significant economic losses, and threaten global food security. Gaining mechanistic insights into the events at the plant-pathogen interface and employing this knowledge to make crops more resilient is one important strategy for improving crop management. Plant-pathogen interactions are characterized by the sophisticated interplay between plant immunity elicited upon pathogen recognition and immune evasion by the pathogen. Here, we identify Chp8 as a contributor to the major effort of the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 to evade immune responses of the plant.
Birds represent a diverse and evolutionarily successful lineage, occupying a wide range of niches throughout the world. Like all vertebrates, avians harbor diverse communities of microorganisms within their guts, which collectively fulfill important roles in providing the host with nutrition and protection from pathogens. Although many studies have investigated the role of particular microbes in the guts of avian species, there has been no attempt to unify the results of previous, sequence-based studies to examine the factors that shape the avian gut microbiota as a whole. In this study, we present the first meta-analysis of the avian gut microbiota, using 16S rRNA gene sequences obtained from a range of publicly available clone-library and amplicon pyrosequencing data. We investigate community membership and structure, as well as probe the roles of some of the key biological factors that influence the gut microbiota of other vertebrates, such as host phylogeny, location within the gut, diet, and association with humans. Our results indicate that, across avian studies, the microbiota demonstrates a similar phylum-level composition to that of mammals. Host bird species is the most important factor in determining community composition, although sampling site, diet, and captivity status also contribute. These analyses provide a first integrated look at the composition of the avian microbiota, and serve as a foundation for future studies in this area.
bird; avian; microbiota; bacteria; 16S rRNA gene; meta-analysis
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol are heritable, modifiable, risk factors for coronary artery disease. To identify new loci and refine known loci influencing these lipids, we examined 188,578 individuals using genome-wide and custom genotyping arrays. We identify and annotate 157 loci associated with lipid levels at P < 5×10−8, including 62 loci not previously associated with lipid levels in humans. Using dense genotyping in individuals of European, East Asian, South Asian, and African ancestry, we narrow association signals in 12 loci. We find that loci associated with blood lipids are often associated with cardiovascular and metabolic traits including coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, waist-hip ratio, and body mass index. Our results illustrate the value of genetic data from individuals of diverse ancestries and provide insights into biological mechanisms regulating blood lipids to guide future genetic, biological, and therapeutic research.
Triglycerides are transported in plasma by specific triglyceride-rich lipoproteins; in epidemiologic studies, increased triglyceride levels correlate with higher risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). However, it is unclear whether this association reflects causal processes. We used 185 common variants recently mapped for plasma lipids (P<5×10−8 for each) to examine the role of triglycerides on risk for CAD. First, we highlight loci associated with both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides, and show that the direction and magnitude of both are factors in determining CAD risk. Second, we consider loci with only a strong magnitude of association with triglycerides and show that these loci are also associated with CAD. Finally, in a model accounting for effects on LDL-C and/or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a polymorphism's strength of effect on triglycerides is correlated with the magnitude of its effect on CAD risk. These results suggest that triglyceride-rich lipoproteins causally influence risk for CAD.
The underwater adhesion of marine mussels relies on mussel foot proteins (mfps) rich in the catecholic amino acid 3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (Dopa). As a side-chain, Dopa is capable of strong bidentate interactions with a variety of surfaces, including many minerals and metal oxides. Titanium is among the most widely used medical implant material and quickly forms a TiO2 passivation layer under physiological conditions. Understanding the binding mechanism of Dopa to TiO2 surfaces is therefore of considerable theoretical and practical interest. Using a surface forces apparatus, we explored the force-distance profiles and adhesion energies of mussel foot protein 3 (mfp-3) to TiO2 surfaces at three different pHs (pH3, 5.5 and 7.5). At pH3, mfp-3 showed the strongest adhesion force on TiO2, with an adhesion energy of ~ −7.0 mJ/m2. Increasing the pH gives rise to two opposing effects: (1) increased oxidation of Dopa, thus decreasing availability for the Dopa-mediated adhesion, and (2) increased bidentate Dopa-Ti coordination, leading to the further stabilization of the Dopa group and thus an increasing of adhesion force. Both effects were reflected in the resonance-enhanced Raman spectra obtained at the three deposition pHs. The two competing effects give rise to a higher adhesion force of mfp-3 on TiO2 surface at pH 7.5 than at pH 5.5. Our results suggest that Dopa-containing proteins and synthetic polymers have great potential as coating materials for medical implant materials, particularly if redox activity can be controlled.
Approaches exploiting extremes of the trait distribution may reveal novel loci for common traits, but it is unknown whether such loci are generalizable to the general population. In a genome-wide search for loci associated with upper vs. lower 5th percentiles of body mass index, height and waist-hip ratio, as well as clinical classes of obesity including up to 263,407 European individuals, we identified four new loci (IGFBP4, H6PD, RSRC1, PPP2R2A) influencing height detected in the tails and seven new loci (HNF4G, RPTOR, GNAT2, MRPS33P4, ADCY9, HS6ST3, ZZZ3) for clinical classes of obesity. Further, we show that there is large overlap in terms of genetic structure and distribution of variants between traits based on extremes and the general population and little etiologic heterogeneity between obesity subgroups.
There is considerable variability in the manner in which prescriptions are written by physicians and transcribed by pharmacists, resulting in patient misunderstanding of label instructions. A ‘universal medication schedule’ (UMS) was recently proposed for standardizing prescribing practices to four daily time intervals thereby helping patients simplify and safely use their medicine. We investigated whether patients consolidate their medications, or if there is evidence of unnecessary regimen complexity that would support standardization.
Structured interviews were conducted with 464 adults ages 55–74 who were receiving care at either an academic general medicine practice or one of three federally qualified health centers in Chicago, Illinois. Subjects were given a hypothetical, seven-drug medication regimen and asked to demonstrate how and when they would take all of the medicine in a 24-hour period. The regimen could be consolidated into four dosing episodes per day. The primary outcome was the number of times per day individuals would take medicine. Root causes for patients complicating the regimen (> four times a day) were examined.
Participants on average identified six times in 24 hours to take the seven drugs (SD=1.8; range 3 to 14). One third (29.3%) found seven or more times per day to take their medicine, while only 14.9% organized the regimen into four or fewer times a day. In multivariable analysis, low literacy was an independent predictor of more times per day for dosing out the regimen (β=0.67; 95% Confidence Interval 0.12 to 1.22, p=0.018). Instructions for two of the drugs were identical, yet 31% of patients did not dose these medicines at the same time. Another set of drugs had similar instructions with the primary exception of one having the added instruction to take “with food and water”. Half (49.5%) of participants dosed these medicines at different times. When medicines had variable expressions of the same dose frequency (“every 12 hours” vs. “twice daily”), 79.0% did not consolidate the medicines.
Many patients, especially those with limited literacy, do not consolidate prescription regimens in the most efficient manner, which could impede adherence. Standardized instructions proposed with the UMS and other task-centered strategies could potentially help patients routinely organize and take medication regimens.
Prescription; medication; health literacy; dosing; instructions; standardization; elderly
We developed independent predictive disturbance models for a full regional data set and four individual ecoregions (Full Region vs. Individual Ecoregion models) to evaluate effects of spatial scale on the assessment of human landscape modification, on predicted response of stream biota, and the effect of other possible confounding factors, such as watershed size and elevation, on model performance. We selected macroinvertebrate sampling sites for model development (n = 591) and validation (n = 467) that met strict screening criteria from four proximal ecoregions in the northeastern U.S.: North Central Appalachians, Ridge and Valley, Northeastern Highlands, and Northern Piedmont. Models were developed using boosted regression tree (BRT) techniques for four macroinvertebrate metrics; results were compared among ecoregions and metrics. Comparing within a region but across the four macroinvertebrate metrics, the average richness of tolerant taxa (RichTOL) had the highest R2 for BRT models. Across the four metrics, final BRT models had between four and seven explanatory variables and always included a variable related to urbanization (e.g., population density, percent urban, or percent manmade channels), and either a measure of hydrologic runoff (e.g., minimum April, average December, or maximum monthly runoff) and(or) a natural landscape factor (e.g., riparian slope, precipitation, and elevation), or a measure of riparian disturbance. Contrary to our expectations, Full Region models explained nearly as much variance in the macroinvertebrate data as Individual Ecoregion models, and taking into account watershed size or elevation did not appear to improve model performance. As a result, it may be advantageous for bioassessment programs to develop large regional models as a preliminary assessment of overall disturbance conditions as long as the range in natural landscape variability is not excessive.
Blood-feeding arthropods can harm their hosts in many ways, such as through direct tissue damage and anemia, but also by distracting hosts from foraging or watching for predators. Blood-borne pathogens transmitted by arthropods can further harm the host. Thus, effective behavioral and immunological defenses against blood-feeding arthropods may provide important fitness advantages to hosts if they reduce bites, and in systems involving pathogen transmission, if they lower pathogen transmission rate.
We tested whether Rock Pigeons (Columba livia) have effective behavioral and immunological defenses against a blood-feeding hippoboscid fly (Pseudolynchia canariensis) and, if so, whether the two defenses interact. The fly vectors the blood parasite Haemoproteus columbae; we further tested whether these defenses reduced the transmission success of blood parasites when birds were exposed to infected flies. We compared four experimental treatments in which hosts had available both purported defenses, only one of the defenses, or no defenses against the flies.
We found that preening and immunological defenses were each effective in decreasing the survival and reproductive success of flies. However, the two defenses were additive, rather than one defense enhancing or decreasing the effectiveness of the other defense. Neither defense reduced the prevalence of H. columbae, nor the intensity of infection in birds exposed to infected flies.
Flies experience reduced fitness when maintained on hosts with immunological or preening defenses. This suggests that if vectors are given a choice among hosts, they may choose hosts that are less defended, which could impact pathogen transmission in a system where vectors can choose among hosts.
Haemoproteus columbae; Columba livia; Hippoboscid; Pseudolynchia canariensis; Arthropod saliva; Defensive behavior
Streptococcus intermedius secretes a human-specific cytolysin, intermedilysin (ILY), which is considered to be the major virulence factor of this pathogen. We screened for a repressor of ily expression by using random gene disruption in a low-ILY-producing strain (PC574). Three independent high-ILY-producing colonies that had plasmid insertions within a gene that has high homology to lacR were isolated. Validation of these observations was achieved through disruption of lacR in strain PC574 with an erythromycin cassette, which also led to higher hemolytic activity, increased transcription of ily, and higher cytotoxicity against HepG2 cells, compared to the parental strain. The direct binding of LacR within the ily promoter region was shown by a biotinylated DNA probe pulldown assay, and the amount of ILY secreted into the culture supernatant by PC574 cells was increased by adding lactose or galactose to the medium as a carbon source. Furthermore, we examined lacR nucleotide sequences and the hemolytic activity of 50 strains isolated from clinical infections and 7 strains isolated from dental plaque. Of the 50 strains isolated from infections, 13 showed high ILY production, 11 of these 13 strains had one or more point mutations and/or an insertion mutation in LacR, and almost all mutations were associated with a marked decline in LacR function. These results strongly suggest that mutation in lacR is required for the overproduction of ILY, which is associated with an increase in pathogenicity of S. intermedius.
Advance directives are documented instructions by a patient to ensure their medical care preferences are fulfilled in the event they cannot communicate with clinicians or family members.
The current study examined the relationship between literacy and other patient level factors on having an advance directive.
Face-to-face structured interview.
Participants were recruited from either an academic general internal medicine clinic or one of four federally qualified health centers in Chicago.
784 adults ages 55 to 74.
Assessment of participant literacy, sociodemographic factors, and having an advance directive for medical care.
Having an advanced directive was reported by 12.4% of subjects with low literacy, 26.6% of those with marginal literacy, and 49.5% of those with adequate literacy (p<0.001). In multivariable analyses, both literacy and race were independently associated with a lower likelihood of having an advance directive. Specifically, people with limited literacy and African Americans were less likely to have an advance directive (RR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.22–0.95; RR, 0.64; 95% CI: 0.47–0.88, respectively). Exploratory analyses exhibited that there was not a significant interaction between the effect of literacy and race.
Limited literacy and African American race were significant risk factors to not having an advance directive in this cohort of older patients. Literacy and race likely represent two separate but important causal pathways that need to be understood to improve how the health care system ascertains and protects patients’ advanced care preferences.
Literacy; Advance Directive; End of Life Decisions; Race
Modern sequencing platforms generate enormous quantities of data in ever-decreasing amounts of time. Additionally, techniques such as multiplex sequencing allow one run to contain hundreds of different samples. With such data comes a significant challenge to understand its quality and to understand how the quality and yield are changing across instruments and over time. As well as the desire to understand historical data, sequencing centres often have a duty to provide clear summaries of individual run performance to collaborators or customers. We present StatsDB, an open-source software package for storage and analysis of next generation sequencing run metrics. The system has been designed for incorporation into a primary analysis pipeline, either at the programmatic level or via integration into existing user interfaces. Statistics are stored in an SQL database and APIs provide the ability to store and access the data while abstracting the underlying database design. This abstraction allows simpler, wider querying across multiple fields than is possible by the manual steps and calculation required to dissect individual reports, e.g. ”provide metrics about nucleotide bias in libraries using adaptor barcode X, across all runs on sequencer A, within the last month”. The software is supplied with modules for storage of statistics from FastQC, a commonly used tool for analysis of sequence reads, but the open nature of the database schema means it can be easily adapted to other tools. Currently at The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), reports are accessed through our LIMS system or through a standalone GUI tool, but the API and supplied examples make it easy to develop custom reports and to interface with other packages.
Mussel foot proteins (mfps) have been investigated as a source of inspiration for the design of underwater coatings and adhesives. Recent analysis of various mfps by a surface forces apparatus (SFA) revealed that mfp-1 functions as a coating, whereas mfp-3 and mfp-5 resemble adhesive primers on mica surfaces. To further refine and elaborate the surface properties of mfps, the force–distance profiles of the interactions between thin mfp (i.e. mfp-1, mfp-3 or mfp-5) films and four different surface chemistries, namely mica, silicon dioxide, polymethylmethacrylate and polystyrene, were measured by an SFA. The results indicate that the adhesion was exquisitely dependent on the mfp tested, the substrate surface chemistry and the contact time. Such studies are essential for understanding the adhesive versatility of mfps and related/similar adhesion proteins, and for translating this versatility into a new generation of coatings and (including in vivo) adhesive materials.
mussel foot proteins; coatings and adhesives; molecular interactions; surface forces; bioadhesion
Dopa (3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine) is recognized as a key chemical signature of mussel adhesion and has been adopted into diverse synthetic polymer systems. Dopa’s notorious susceptibility to oxidation, however, poses significant challenges to the practical translation of mussel adhesion. Using a Surface Forces Apparatus to investigate the adhesion of Mfp3 (mussel foot protein 3) slow, a hydrophobic protein variant of the Mfp3 family in the plaque, we have discovered a subtle molecular strategy correlated with hydrophobicity that appears to compensate for Dopa instability. At pH 3, where Dopa is stable, Mfp3 slow like Mfp3 fast adhesion to mica is directly proportional to the mol% of Dopa present in the protein. At pH 5.5 and 7.5, however, loss of adhesion in Mfp3 slow was less than half that occurring in Mfp3 fast, purportedly because Dopa in Mfp3 slow is less prone to oxidation. Indeed, cyclic voltammetry showed that the oxidation potential of Dopa in Mfp3 slow is significantly higher than in Mfp3 fast at pH 7.5. A much greater difference between the two variants was revealed in the interaction energy of two symmetric Mfp3 slow films (Ead = −3 mJ/m2). This energy corresponds to the energy of protein cohesion which is notable for its reversibility and pH-independence. Exploitation of aromatic hydrophobic sequences to protect Dopa against oxidation as well as to mediate hydrophobic and H-bonding interactions between proteins provides new insights for developing effective artificial underwater adhesives.
Physiotherapists are a professional group with a high rate of attrition and at high risk of musculoskeletal disorders. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the physical activity levels and health-related quality of life of physiotherapists working in metropolitan clinical settings in an Australian hospital and health service. It was hypothesized that practicing physiotherapists would report excellent health-related quality of life and would already be physically active. Such a finding would add weight to a claim that general physical activity conditioning strategies may not be useful for preventing musculoskeletal disorders among active healthy physiotherapists, but rather, future investigations should focus on the development and evaluation of role specific conditioning strategies.
A questionnaire was completed by 44 physiotherapists from three inpatient units and three ambulatory clinics (63.7% response rate). Physical activity levels were reported using the Active Australia Survey. Health-related quality of life was examined using the EQ-5D instrument. Physical activity and EQ-5D data were examined using conventional descriptive statistics; with domain responses for the EQ-5D presented in a frequency histogram.
The majority of physiotherapists in this sample were younger than 30 years of age (n = 25, 56.8%) consistent with the presence of a high attrition rate. Almost all respondents exceeded minimum recommended physical activity guidelines (n = 40, 90.9%). Overall the respondents engaged in more vigorous physical activity (median = 180 minutes) and walking (median = 135 minutes) than moderate exercise (median = 35 minutes) each week. Thirty-seven (84.1%) participants reported no pain or discomfort impacting their health-related quality of life, with most (n = 35,79.5%) being in full health.
Physical-conditioning based interventions for the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders among practicing physiotherapists may be better targeted to role or task specific conditioning rather than general physical conditioning among this physically active population. It is plausible that an inherent attrition of physiotherapists may occur among those not as active or healthy as therapists who cope with the physical demands of clinical practice. Extrapolation of findings from this study may be limited due to the sample characteristics. However, this investigation addressed the study objectives and has provided a foundation for larger scale longitudinal investigations in this field.
Physical activity; Work related musculoskeletal disorders; Physiotherapists; Prevention; Injury; Attrition; Quality of life; Workforce; Australian
Transcriptional regulation of gene expression during development is critical for proper neuronal differentiation and migration. Alternative splicing and differential isoform expression have been demonstrated for most mammalian genes, but their specific contributions to gene function are not well understood. In mice, the transcription factor gene Pitx2 is expressed as three different isoforms (PITX2A, PITX2B, and PITX2C) which have unique amino termini and common DNA binding homeodomains and carboxyl termini. The specific roles of these isoforms in neuronal development are not known. Here we report the onset of Pitx2ab and Pitx2c isoform-specific expression by E9.5 in the developing mouse brain. Using isoform-specific Pitx2 deletion mouse strains, we show that collicular neuron migration requires PITX2AB and that collicular GABAergic differentiation and targeting of hypothalamic projections require unique Pitx2 isoform dosage. These results provide insights into Pitx2 dosage and isoform-specific requirements underlying midbrain and hypothalamic development.
migration; transcription factor; midbrain; isoform; differentiation; axon
The processes of quality assessment and control are an active area of research at The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC). Unlike other sequencing centers that often concentrate on a certain species or technology, TGAC applies expertise in genomics and bioinformatics to a wide range of projects, often requiring bespoke wet lab and in silico workflows. TGAC is fortunate to have access to a diverse range of sequencing and analysis platforms, and we are at the forefront of investigations into library quality and sequence data assessment. We have developed and implemented a number of algorithms, tools, pipelines and packages to ascertain, store, and expose quality metrics across a number of next-generation sequencing platforms, allowing rapid and in-depth cross-platform Quality Control (QC) bioinformatics. In this review, we describe these tools as a vehicle for data-driven informatics, offering the potential to provide richer context for downstream analysis and to inform experimental design.
quality control; sequence analysis; QC; NGS data analysis; bioinformatics tools; run statistics; quality assessment and improvement; contamination screening