Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection continues to be an escalating global health problem. Feasible and effective animal models for HBV infection are the prerequisite for developing novel therapies for this disease. The tree shrew (Tupaia) is a small animal species evolutionary closely related to humans, and thus is permissive to certain human viral pathogens. Whether tree shrews could be chronically infected with HBV in vivo has been controversial for decades. Most published research has been reported on adult tree shrews, and only small numbers of HBV infected newborn tree shrews had been observed over short time periods. We investigated susceptibility of newborn tree shrews to experimental HBV infection as well as viral clearance over a protracted time period.
Forty-six newborn tree shrews were inoculated with the sera from HBV-infected patients or tree shrews. Serum and liver samples of the inoculated animals were periodically collected and analyzed using fluorescence quantitative polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Southern blot, and immunohistochemistry. Six tree shrews were confirmed and four were suspected as chronically HBV-infected for more than 48 (up to 228) weeks after inoculation, including three that had been inoculated with serum from a confirmed HBV-infected tree shrew.
Outbred neonatal tree shrews can be long-term chronically infected with HBV at a frequency comparable to humans. The model resembles human disease where also a smaller proportion of infected individuals develop chronic HBV related disease. This model might enable genetic and immunologic investigations which would allow determination of underlying molecular causes favoring susceptibility for chronic HBV infection and disease establishment vs. viral clearance.
Tree shrew (Tupaia); Hepatitis B virus; Chronic infection
The aims were to identify predictors of treatment retention in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) clinics in Pearl River Delta, China.
Retrospective longitudinal study. Participants: 6 MMT clinics in rural and urban area were selected. Statistical analysis: Stratified random sampling was employed, and the data were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier survival curves and life table method. Protective or risk factors were explored using Cox’s proportional hazards model. Independent variables were enrolled in univariate analysis and among which significant variables were analyzed by multivariate analysis.
A total of 2728 patients were enrolled. The median of the retention duration was 13.63 months, and the cumulative retention rates at 1,2,3 years were 53.0%, 35.0%, 20.0%, respectively. Multivariate Cox analysis showed: age, relationship with family, live on support from family or friends, income, considering treatment cost suitable, considering treatment open time suitable, addiction severity (daily expense for drug), communication with former drug taking peer, living in rural area, daily treatment dosage, sharing needles, re-admission and history of being arrested were predictors for MMT retention.
MMT retention rate in Guangdong was low and treatment skills and quality should be improved. Meanwhile, participation of family and society should be encouraged.
Methadone maintenance treatment; Retention; Cox’s proportional hazards model
Periodontitis is a disease affecting the supporting structures of the teeth, which can eventually result in tooth loss. A three-dimensional (3D) tissue culture model was developed that may serve to grow a 3D construct that not only transplants into defective periodontal sites, but also allows to examine the effect of mechanical load in vitro. In the current in vitro study, green fluorescent protein labeled periodontal ligament (PDL) cells form rat incisors were embedded in a 3D matrix and exposed to mechanical loading alone, to a chemical stimulus (Emdogain; enamel matrix derivative [EMD]) alone, or a combination of both. Loading consisted of unilateral stretching (8%, 1 Hz) and was applied for 1, 3, or 5 days. Results showed that PDL cells were distributed and randomly oriented within the artificial PDL space in static culture. On mechanical loading, the cells showed higher cell numbers. Moreover, cells realigned perpendicular to the stretching force depending on time and position, with great analogy to natural PDL tissue. EMD application gave a significant effect on growth and upregulated bone sialoprotein (BSP) and collagen type-I (Col-I), whereas Runx-2 was downregulated. This implies that PDL cells under loading might tend to act similar to bone-like cells (BSP and Col-I) but at the same time, react tendon like (Runx-2). The combination of chemical and mechanical stimulation seems possible, but does not show synergistic effects. In this study, a new model was successfully introduced in the field of PDL-related regenerative research. Besides validating the 3D model to mimic an authentic PDL space, it also provided a useful and well-controlled approach to study cell response to mechanical loading and other stimuli.
Physical cold atmospheric surface microdischarge (SMD) plasma operating in ambient air has promising properties for the sterilization of sensitive medical devices where conventional methods are not applicable. Furthermore, SMD plasma could revolutionize the field of disinfection at health care facilities. The antimicrobial effects on Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria of clinical relevance, as well as the fungus Candida albicans, were tested. Thirty seconds of plasma treatment led to a 4 to 6 log10 CFU reduction on agar plates. C. albicans was the hardest to inactivate. The sterilizing effect on standard bioindicators (bacterial endospores) was evaluated on dry test specimens that were wrapped in Tyvek coupons. The experimental D23°C values for Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus pumilus, Bacillus atrophaeus, and Geobacillus stearothermophilus were determined as 0.3 min, 0.5 min, 0.6 min, and 0.9 min, respectively. These decimal reduction times (D values) are distinctly lower than D values obtained with other reference methods. Importantly, the high inactivation rate was independent of the material of the test specimen. Possible inactivation mechanisms for relevant microorganisms are briefly discussed, emphasizing the important role of neutral reactive plasma species and pointing to recent diagnostic methods that will contribute to a better understanding of the strong biocidal effect of SMD air plasma.
The etiology of dental caries remains elusive because of our limited understanding of the complex oral microbiomes. The current methodologies have been limited by insufficient depth and breadth of microbial sampling, paucity of data for diseased hosts particularly at the population level, inconsistency of sampled sites and the inability to distinguish the underlying microbial factors. By cross-validating 16S rRNA gene amplicon-based and whole-genome-based deep-sequencing technologies, we report the most in-depth, comprehensive and collaborated view to date of the adult saliva microbiomes in pilot populations of 19 caries-active and 26 healthy human hosts. We found that: first, saliva microbiomes in human population were featured by a vast phylogenetic diversity yet a minimal organismal core; second, caries microbiomes were significantly more variable in community structure whereas the healthy ones were relatively conserved; third, abundance changes of certain taxa such as overabundance of Prevotella Genus distinguished caries microbiota from healthy ones, and furthermore, caries-active and normal individuals carried different arrays of Prevotella species; and finally, no ‘caries-specific' operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were detected, yet 147 OTUs were ‘caries associated', that is, differentially distributed yet present in both healthy and caries-active populations. These findings underscored the necessity of species- and strain-level resolution for caries prognosis, and were consistent with the ecological hypothesis where the shifts in community structure, instead of the presence or absence of particular groups of microbes, underlie the cariogenesis.
caries; metagenomics; oral-microbiome; Prevotella; saliva
Paralleling the rapid growth in computers and internet connections, adolescent internet addiction (AIA) is becoming an increasingly serious problem, especially in developing countries. This study aims to explore the prevalence of AIA and associated symptoms in a large population-based sample in Shanghai and identify potential predictors related to personal characteristics.
In 2007, 5,122 adolescents were randomly chosen from 16 high schools of different school types (junior, senior key, senior ordinary and senior vocational) in Shanghai with stratified-random sampling. Each student completed a self-administered and anonymous questionnaire that included DRM 52 Scale of Internet-use. The DRM 52 Scale was adapted for use in Shanghai from Young’s Internet Addiction Scale and contained 7 subscales related to psychological symptoms of AIA. Multiple linear regression and logistic regression were both used to analyze the data.
Of the 5,122 students, 449 (8.8%) were identified as internet addicts. Although adolescents who had bad (vs. good) academic achievement had lower levels of internet-use (p < 0.0001), they were more likely to develop AIA (odds ratio 4.79, 95% CI: 2.51-9.73, p < 0.0001) and have psychological symptoms in 6 of the 7 subscales (not in Time-consuming subscale). The likelihood of AIA was higher among those adolescents who were male, senior high school students, or had monthly spending >100 RMB (all p-values <0.05). Adolescents tended to develop AIA and show symptoms in all subscales when they spent more hours online weekly (however, more internet addicts overused internet on weekends than on weekdays, p < 0.0001) or when they used the internet mainly for playing games or real-time chatting.
This study provides evidence that adolescent personal factors play key roles in inducing AIA. Adolescents having aforementioned personal characteristics and online behaviors are at high-risk of developing AIA that may compound different psychological symptoms associated with AIA. Spending excessive time online is not in itself a defining symptom of AIA. More attention is needed on adolescent excessive weekend internet-use in prevention of potential internet addicts.
Adolescent; Internet addiction; Risk factors; China
Candida albicans is one of the main species able to form a biofilm on almost any surface, causing both skin and superficial mucosal infections. The worldwide increase in antifungal resistance has led to a decrease in the efficacy of standard therapies, prolonging treatment time and increasing health care costs. Therefore, the aim of this work was to demonstrate the applicability of atmospheric plasma at room temperature for inactivating C. albicans growing in biofilms without thermally damaging heat-sensitive materials. This so-called cold atmospheric plasma is produced by applying high voltage to accelerate electrons, which ionize the surrounding air, leading to the production of charged particles, reactive species, and photons. A newly developed plasma device was used, which exhibits a large plasma-generating surface area of 9 by 13 cm (117 cm2). Different time points were selected to achieve an optimum inactivation efficacy range of ≥3 log10 to 5 log10 reduction in CFU per milliliter, and the results were compared with those of 70% ethanol. The results obtained show that contact-free antifungal inactivation of Candida biofilms by cold atmospheric plasma is a promising tool for disinfection of surfaces (and items) in both health care settings and the food industry, where ethanol disinfection should be avoided.
CHTF18 (chromosome transmission fidelity factor 18) is an evolutionarily conserved subunit of the Replication Factor C-like complex, CTF18-RLC. CHTF18 is necessary for the faithful passage of chromosomes from one daughter cell to the next during mitosis in yeast, and it is crucial for germline development in the fruitfly. Previously, we showed that mouse Chtf18 is expressed throughout the germline, suggesting a role for CHTF18 in mammalian gametogenesis. To determine the role of CHTF18 in mammalian germ cell development, we derived mice carrying null and conditional mutations in the Chtf18 gene. Chtf18-null males exhibit 5-fold decreased sperm concentrations compared to wild-type controls, resulting in subfertility. Loss of Chtf18 results in impaired spermatogenesis; spermatogenic cells display abnormal morphology, and the stereotypical arrangement of cells within seminiferous tubules is perturbed. Meiotic recombination is defective and homologous chromosomes separate prematurely during prophase I. Repair of DNA double-strand breaks is delayed and incomplete; both RAD51 and γH2AX persist in prophase I. In addition, MLH1 foci are decreased in pachynema. These findings demonstrate essential roles for CHTF18 in mammalian spermatogenesis and meiosis, and suggest that CHTF18 may function during the double-strand break repair pathway to promote the formation of crossovers.
Meiosis is the specialized process of cell division during germ cell development that results in formation of eggs and sperm. Genetic exchange between maternal and paternal chromosomes occurs during meiosis in a process called homologous recombination, in which DNA double- strand breaks are made and then repaired to allow DNA crossovers to form. These are essential processes that keep homologous chromosomes joined until anaphase I and ensure proper chromosome segregation. Errors in meiotic recombination lead to chromosome mis-segregation and ultimately aneuploidy, an abnormal chromosome number. Although it is well known that defects in these processes contribute greatly to infertility, birth defects, and pregnancy loss in humans, their molecular basis is not well understood. We demonstrate here a Chtf18 mutant mouse that exhibits subfertility and defects in meiotic recombination. Specifically, DNA double-strand breaks are incompletely repaired, DNA crossovers are significantly decreased, and homologous chromosomes separate during prophase I in Chtf18-null males. Our findings suggest roles for CHTF18 in DNA double-strand break repair and crossover formation, functions in mammals not previously known.
Both severe stenosis and completed occlusion in internal carotid artery or its distal branches have been considered the main reasons of cerebral hypoperfusion, which contributes to the washout disturbances of embolism in low perfusion territories distal to stenosis. An aggravated hypoperfusion state in certain brain region may induce ischemic stroke and further cognitive decline. However, the effective medication for cerebral hypoperfusion is largely unsettled.
By using computed tomography perfusion (CTP) imaging, the trial will evaluate the effectiveness, safety and tolerability of hydroxyethyl starch (HES) 130/0.4 for patients with extra-/intra-cranial artery stenosis and cerebral hypoperfusion. From 5 neurological inpatient wards, 300 patients will be randomly recruited for administered routine medications plus intravascular volume therapies using the equal volume of HES 130/0.4 or 0.9% sodium chloride solution. Cerebral hypoperfusion state after 7-day intervention is the primary outcome measure. The secondary outcome measures includes, impaired renal function, abnormal heart function, hematological changes, neurological dysfunctions and cerebrovascular events in peri-intervention period and/or 3-month follow-up. The sample size will allow the detection of a two-sided 5% significance level between groups in the endpoint with a power of 80%.
The trial would provide important efficacy and safety data on the intravascular administration of HES 130/0.4 in patients with unilateral cerebral hypoperfusion. The effects on kidney function, heart function, coagulation, neurological function and cerebralvascular events will be assessed.
ClinicalTrials.gov (Identifier: NCT01192581)
To assess the occurrence of white coat adherence in families with children who have type 1 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Blood glucose data were downloaded from meters of 72 children, aged 2–11 years, with type 1 diabetes at four consecutive clinic visits. Generalized estimating equations were used to analyze patterns of blood glucose monitoring (BGM) during the 28 days before each clinic visit.
More frequent BGM was associated with better glycemic control. Evidence of a white coat adherence effect, with BGM frequency increasing before a clinic visit, was found only among children with low A1C levels.
Highly motivated families who frequently monitor their child’s blood glucose increased the frequency of BGM before the child’s clinic visit. The additional monitoring may benefit the child by providing the physician with a wealth of blood glucose information to guide recommendations.
To establish a high-efficiency gamma interferon-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (IFN-γ ELISPOT assay) for detection of tuberculosis (TB), peptides (E6, E7, and C14) and peptide mixtures (E6 plus E7 and E6 plus E7 plus C14) were used to monitor peripheral blood (PBL) samples from patients with pulmonary TB (PTB), as well as control samples. The positive detection rates of the five IFN-γ ELISPOT assays were 78.38%, 74.86%, 55.83%, 90.43%, and 91.51%, respectively, and there were similar detection rates between the two combined peptide mixture IFN-γ ELISPOT assays and the tuberculin skin test (TST) (90.62% versus 95.59%). No significant difference was found between the detection rates of the two combined peptide mixture IFN-γ ELISPOT assays and the T-SPOT.TB assay for 86 patients with PTB (P > 0.05), but the median number of spot-forming cells/106 cells (SFP value) for positive results was higher by the former than by the latter assay (P < 0.05). In contrast, the 29.93% positive detection rate and median SFP value of 482 by the two combined peptide mixture IFN-γ ELISPOT assays were significantly higher than the corresponding values of 14.29% and 152 by T-SPOT.TB assay for the same 147 community donors (P < 0.05). For nine PTB patients tracked, the SFP value of 7 for the two peptide mixture IFN-γ ELISPOT assays began to decrease from the second month after regular treatment. A relatively low, almost normal, SFP level was reached and maintained after the third or fourth month. Two in-house IFN-γ ELISPOT assays and the T-SPOT.TB assay could reduce the false-positive and false-negative detection rates of TST and sputum acid-fast staining. Therefore, these two combined peptide mixture IFN-γ ELISPOT assays have a potential advantage, beyond their greater specificity and sensitivity, for use in screening and detection of active TB infection (TBI) and latent TB infection (LTBI) in China.
We report the growth and characterization of ZnO/ZnTe core/shell nanowire arrays on indium tin oxide. Coating of the ZnTe layer on well-aligned vertical ZnO nanowires has been demonstrated by scanning electron microscope, tunneling electron microscope, X-ray diffraction pattern, photoluminescence, and transmission studies. The ZnO/ZnTe core/shell nanowire arrays were then used as the active layer and carrier transport medium to fabricate a photovoltaic device. The enhanced photocurrent and faster response observed in ZnO/ZnTe, together with the quenching of the UV emission in the PL spectra, indicate that carrier separation in this structure plays an important role in determining their optical response. The results also indicate that core/shell structures can be made into useful photovoltaic devices.
ZnO/ZnTe core/shell nanowire arrays; indium tin oxide; glass substrates
Myofibroblast differentiation, characterized by α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression, is a key process in organ fibrosis, and is induced by TGF-β. Here we examined whether an anti-fibrotic agent, N-acetyl-seryl-aspartyl-lysylproline (Ac-SDKP), can regulate induction of TGF-β signaling and myofibroblast differentiation as a potential key component of its anti-fibrotic mechanism in vivo and in vitro.
Rat pulmonary fibroblasts were cultured in vitro and divided to 4 groups 1) control; 2) TGF-β1; 3) TGF-β1+ LY364947; 4) TGF-β1+Ac-SDKP. For in vivo studies, six groups of animals were utilized 1) control 4w; 2) silicotic 4w; 3) control 8w; 4) silicotic 8w; 5) Ac-SDKP post-treatment; 6)Ac-SDKP pre-treatment. SiO2 powders were douched in the trachea of rat to make the silicotic model. Myofibroblast differentiation was measured by examining expression of α-SMA, as well as expression of serum response factor (SRF), a key regulator of myofibroblast differentiation. The expressions of collagen, TGF-β1 and RAS signaling were also assessed. The results revealed that TGF-β1 strongly induced myofibroblast differentiation and collagen synthesis in vitro, and that pre-treatment with Ac-SDKP markedly attenuated myofibroblast activation, as well as induction of TGF-β1 and its receptor. Similar results were observed in vivo in the pathologically relevant rat model of silicosis. Ac-SDKP treatment in vivo strongly attenuated 1) silicosis-induced increased expressions of TGF-β1 and RAS signaling, 2) myofibroblast differentiation as indicated by a robust decrease of SRF and α-SMA-positive myofibroblast localization in siliconic nodules in the lung, 3) collagen deposition.
The results of the present study suggest a novel mechanism of action for Ac-SDKP’s beneficial effect in silicosis, which involves attenuation of TGF-β1 and its receptors, SRF and Ang II type 1 receptor (AT1) expression, collagen deposition and myofibroblast differentiation. The results further suggest that therapies targeting myofibroblast differentiation may have therapeutic efficacy in treatment of silicosis of the lung.
Plant height is an important agronomic trait that affects yield and tolerance to certain abiotic stresses. Understanding the genetic control of plant height is important for elucidating the regulation of maize development and has practical implications for trait improvement in plant breeding.
In this study, two independent, semi-dwarf maize EMS mutants, referred to as dwarf & irregular leaf (dil1), were isolated and confirmed to be allelic. In comparison to wild type plants, the mutant plants have shorter internodes, shorter, wider and wrinkled leaves, as well as smaller leaf angles. Cytological analysis indicated that the leaf epidermal cells and internode parenchyma cells are irregular in shape and are arranged in a more random fashion, and the mutants have disrupted leaf epidermal patterning. In addition, parenchyma cells in the dil1 mutants are significantly smaller than those in wild-type plants. The dil1 mutation was mapped on the long arm of chromosome 6 and a candidate gene, annotated as an AP2 transcription factor-like, was identified through positional cloning. Point mutations near exon-intron junctions were identified in both dil1 alleles, resulting in mis-spliced variants.
An AP2 transcription factor-like gene involved in stalk and leaf development in maize has been identified. Mutations near exon-intron junctions of the AP2 gene give mis-spliced transcript variants, which result in shorter internodes and wrinkled leaves.
Chrysin and its phosphate ester have previously been shown to inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in Hela cells; however, the underlying mechanism remains to be characterized. In the present study, we therefore synthesized diethyl flavon-7-yl phosphate (FP, C19H19O6P) by a simplified Atheron-Todd reaction, and explored its anti-tumor characteristics and mechanisms. Cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and apoptosis were measured by MTS, flow cytometry and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling techniques, respectively in human cervical cancer HeLa cells treated with 7-hydroxyflavone (HF) and FP. p21, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and cAMP levels in Hela cells were analyzed by western blot and radioimmunoassay. Both HF and FP inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in HeLa cells via induction of PCNA/p21 expression, cleaved caspase-3/poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP)-1, elevation of cAMP levels, and cell cycle arrest with accumulation of cells in the G0/G1 fraction. The effects of FP were more potent than those of HF. The interactions of FP with Ca2+-calmodulin (CaM) and Ca2+-CaM-phosphodiesterase (PDE)1 were explored by electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry and fluorescence spectra. FP, but not HF, formed non-covalent complexes with Ca2+-CaM-PDE1, indicating that FP is an inhibitor of PDE1, and resulting in elevated cellular cAMP levels. It is possible that the elevated cAMP levels inhibit growth and induce apoptosis in Hela cells through induction of p21 and cleaved caspase-3/PARP-1 expression, and causing down-regulation of PCNA and cell cycle arrest with accumulation of cells in the G0/G1 and G2/M fractions. In conclusion, FP was shown to be a Ca2+-CaM-PDE inhibitor, which might account for its underlying anti-cancer mechanism in HeLa cells. These observations clearly demonstrate the special roles of phosphorylated flavonoids in biological processes, and suggest that FP might represent a potential new drug for the therapy of human cervical carcinoma.
In the last twenty years new antibacterial agents approved by the U.S. FDA decreased whereas in parallel the resistance situation of multi-resistant bacteria increased. Thus, community and nosocomial acquired infections of resistant bacteria led to a decrease in the efficacy of standard therapy, prolonging treatment time and increasing healthcare costs. Therefore, the aim of this work was to demonstrate the applicability of cold atmospheric plasma for decolonisation of Gram-positive (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus) and Gram-negative bacteria (E. coli) using an ex vivo pig skin model. Freshly excised skin samples were taken from six month old female pigs (breed: Pietrain). After application of pure bacteria on the surface of the explants these were treated with cold atmospheric plasma for up to 15 min. Two different plasma devices were evaluated. A decolonisation efficacy of 3 log10 steps was achieved already after 6 min of plasma treatment. Longer plasma treatment times achieved a killing rate of 5 log10 steps independently from the applied bacteria strains. Histological evaluations of untreated and treated skin areas upon cold atmospheric plasma treatment within 24 h showed no morphological changes as well as no significant degree of necrosis or apoptosis determined by the TUNEL-assay indicating that the porcine skin is still vital. This study demonstrates for the first time that cold atmospheric plasma is able to very efficiently kill bacteria applied to an intact skin surface using an ex vivo porcine skin model. The results emphasize the potential of cold atmospheric plasma as a new possible treatment option for decolonisation of human skin from bacteria in patients in the future without harming the surrounding tissue.
Injection drug use remains among the most important HIV transmission risk in China. Representativeness of drug users sampled from detoxification centers is questionable. A respondent driven sampling survey was conducted to compare the results with those from the detoxification center in the same city.
In 2008, two independent surveys were conducted in Dongguan, China, one for community-based drug users using respondent driven sampling and the other for drug users in a compulsory detoxification center as routine sentinel surveillance. Demographic and behavioral information were collected using the same structured questionnaire. Intravenous blood samples were collected to measure antibodies to HIV-1, and syphilis.
Compared to those 400 drug users recruited from the detoxification center, the 303 community-based drug users had higher HIV prevalence (14.7% versus 4.0%, P = 0.04), lower syphilis prevalence (4.7% versus 10.8%, P = 0.07), higher proportion of injection drug use (83.9% versus 60.2%, P = 0.01) and syringe sharing (47.8% versus 36.3%, P = 0.10), more likely to be separated (12.4% versus 3.8%, P = 0.01) and being migrants from Guangxi province (31.4% versus 18.0%, P = 0.09), more engaging in commercial sex (64.4% versus 52.5%, P = 0.04). HIV prevalence and rate of syringe sharing were consistently higher among drug users from Guangxi.
Detoxification center-based sampling missed a subgroup with higher HIV prevalence and higher rate of injection drug use. While detoxification center-based sampled can be used to monitor the trend of HIV prevalence and risk behaviors over time, periodic community-based sampling is still necessary to avoid possible systematic error in detoxification center-based samples.
During spermiogenesis, haploid round spermatids undergo dramatic cell differentiation and morphogenesis to give rise to mature spermatozoa for fertilization, including nuclear elongation, chromatin remodeling, acrosome formation, and development of flagella. The molecular mechanisms underlining these fundamental processes remain poorly understood. Here, we report that MNS1, a coiled-coil protein of unknown function, is essential for spermiogenesis. We find that MNS1 is expressed in the germ cells in the testes and localizes to sperm flagella in a detergent-resistant manner, indicating that it is an integral component of flagella. MNS1–deficient males are sterile, as they exhibit a sharp reduction in sperm production and the remnant sperm are immotile with abnormal short tails. In MNS1–deficient sperm flagella, the characteristic arrangement of “9+2” microtubules and outer dense fibers are completely disrupted. In addition, MNS1–deficient mice display situs inversus and hydrocephalus. MNS1–deficient tracheal motile cilia lack some outer dynein arms in the axoneme. Moreover, MNS1 monomers interact with each other and are able to form polymers in cultured somatic cells. These results demonstrate that MNS1 is essential for spermiogenesis, the assembly of sperm flagella, and motile ciliary functions.
Cilia are microtubule-based structures present in virtually all cells in vertebrates. Cilia have diverse functions in development, growth, signaling, and fertilization. Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) affects one in 16,000 individuals. PCD is characterized by bronchiectasis and chronic sinusitis, and is often associated with situs inversus and male infertility. The genetic cause of PCD is heterogeneous. Some cases of PCD in humans and animals are caused by single genic mutations such as mutations in genes encoding microtubule-based dynein arm components. We have characterized a protein called MNS1 and found that it plays an essential role in ciliary functions in mice. MNS1 is a novel and integral component of sperm flagella. Mice lacking MNS1 exhibit male sterility as evidenced by abnormal assembly of sperm flagella. MNS1–deficient mice also display defects in left–right asymmetry patterning of internal organs and hydrocephalus. Therefore, mutations in MNS1 may contribute to male infertility and PCD in humans.
The asymmetric unit of the title compound, C13H20NO+·PF6
−, contains two cations, one complete anion and two half hexafluorophosphate anions having crystallographically imposed twofold rotation symmetry. In the cations, the morpholine rings are in a chair conformation. In the crystal, ions are linked by weak C—H⋯F hydrogen bonds into a three-dimensional network.
A simple and solution-phase method for functionalization of selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) with Spirulina polysaccharides (SPS) has been developed in the present study. The cellular uptake and anticancer activity of SPS-SeNPs were also evaluated. Monodisperse and homogeneous spherical SPS-SeNPs with diameters ranging from 20 nm to 50 nm were achieved under optimized conditions, which were stable in the solution phase for at least 3 months. SPS surface decoration significantly enhanced the cellular uptake and cytotoxicity of SeNPs toward several human cancer cell lines. A375 human melanoma cells were found extremely susceptible to SPS-SeNPs with half maximal (50%) inhibitory concentration value of 7.94 μM. Investigation of the underlying mechanisms revealed that SPS-SeNPs inhibited cancer cell growth through induction of apoptosis, as evidenced by an increase in sub-G1 cell population, deoxyribonucleic acid fragmentation, chromatin condensation, and phosphatidylserine translocation. Results suggest that the strategy to use SPS as a surface decorator could be an effective way to enhance the cellular uptake and anticancer efficacy of nanomaterials. SPS-SeNPs may be a potential candidate for further evaluation as a chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic agent against human cancers.
selenium nanoparticles; Spirulina polysaccharide; cellular uptake; anticancer; apoptosis
Inflammation may play an important role in the pathogenesis of cardiac fibrosis in heart failure (HF) after myocardial infarction (MI). N-acetyl-seryl-aspartyl-lysyl-proline (Ac-SDKP) is a naturally occurring antifibrotic peptide whose plasma concentration is increased 4- to 5-fold by angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. We tested the hypothesis that in rats with HF after MI, Ac-SDKP acts as an anti-inflammatory cytokine, preventing and also reversing cardiac fibrosis in the noninfarcted area (reactive fibrosis), and thus affording functional improvement. We found that Ac-SDKP significantly decreased total collagen content in the prevention group from 23.7±0.9 to 15.0±0.7 μg/mg and in the reversal group from 22.6±2.2 to 14.4±1.6 (P<0.01). Interstitial collagen volume fraction and perivascular collagen were likewise significantly reduced. We also found that infiltrating macrophages were reduced from 264.7±8.1 to 170.2±9.2/mm2, P<0.001 (prevention), and from 257.5±9.1 to 153.1±8.5 mm2, P<0.001 (reversal), while transforming growth factor (TGF)-β-positive cells were decreased from 195.6±8.4 to 129.6±5.7/mm2, P<0.01 (prevention), and from 195.6±8.4 to 130.7±10.8/mm2, P<0.01 (reversal). Ac-SDKP did not alter either blood pressure or left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH); however, it depressed systolic cardiac function in the prevention study while having no significant effect in the reversal group. We concluded that Ac-SDKP has an anti-inflammatory effect in HF that may contribute to its antifibrotic effect; however, this decrease in fibrosis without changes in LVH was not accompanied by an improvement in cardiac function.
rat; myocardial infarction; cardiac function; collagen; macrophages; transforming growth factor-β
Compared with other diagnostic methods, ultrasound is proven to be a safe, simple, non-invasive and cost-effective imaging technique, but the resolution is not comparable to that of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Contrast-enhanced ultrasound employing microbubbles can gain a better resolution and is now widely used to diagnose a number of diseases in the clinic. For the last decade, microbubbles have been widely used as ultrasound contrast agents, drug delivery systems and nucleic acid transfection tools. However, microbubbles are not fairly stable enough in some conditions and are not well administrated distributed in the circulation system. On the other hand, magnetic nanoparticles, as MRI contrast agents, can non-specifically penetrate into normal tissues because of their relatively small sizes. By taking advantage of these two kinds of agents, the magnetic microbubbles which couple magnetic iron oxides nanoparticles in the microbubble structure have been explored. The stability of microbubbles can be raised by encapsulating magnetic nanoparticles into the bubble shells and with the guidance of magnetic field, magnetic microbubbles can be delivered to regions of interest, and after appropriate ultrasound exposure, the nanoparticles can be released to the desired area while the magnetic microbubbles collapse. In this review, we summarize magnetic microbubbles used in diagnostic and therapeutic fields, and predict the potential applications of magnetic microbubbles in the future.
Magnetic microbubble; Dual-modality imaging; Drug delivery system; Molecular imaging.
The tobacco whitefly B-biotype Bemisia tabaci Gennadius (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) is a worldwide pest of many crops. In China, chlorpyrifos has been used to control this insect for many years and is still being used despite the fact that some resistance has been reported. To combat resistance and maintain good control efficiency of chlorpyrifos, it is essential to understand resistance mechanisms. A chlorpyrifos resistant tobacco whitefly strain (NJ-R) and a susceptible strain (NJ-S) were derived from a field-collected population in Nanjing, China, and the resistance mechanisms were investigated. More than 30-fold resistance was achieved after selected by chlorpyrifos for 13 generations in the laboratory. However, the resistance dropped significantly to about 18-fold in only 4 generations without selection pressure. Biochemical assays indicated that increased esterase activity was responsible for this resistance, while acetylcholine esterase, glutathione S-transferase, and microsomal-O-demethylase played little or no role. F392W mutations in acel were prevalent in NJ-S and NJ-R strains and 6 field-collected populations of both B and Q-biotype from locations that cover a wide geographical area of China. These findings provide important information about tobacco whitefly chlorpyrifos resistance mechanisms and guidance to combat resistance and optimize use patterns of chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate and carbamate insecticides.
carbamate insecticides; esterase activity; insensitivity; organophosphate insecticides; resistance selection
Microbial communities inhabiting human mouth are associated with oral health and disease. Previous studies have indicated the general prevalence of adult gingivitis in China to be high. The aim of this study was to characterize in depth the oral microbiota of Chinese adults with or without gingivitis, by defining the microbial phylogenetic diversity and community-structure using highly paralleled pyrosequencing.
Six non-smoking Chinese, three with and three without gingivitis (age range 21-39 years, 4 females and 2 males) were enrolled in the present cross-sectional study. Gingival parameters of inflammation and bleeding on probing were characterized by a clinician using the Mazza Gingival Index (MGI). Plaque (sampled separately from four different oral sites) and salivary samples were obtained from each subject. Sequences and relative abundance of the bacterial 16 S rDNA PCR-amplicons were determined via pyrosequencing that produced 400 bp-long reads. The sequence data were analyzed via a computational pipeline customized for human oral microbiome analyses. Furthermore, the relative abundances of selected microbial groups were validated using quantitative PCR.
The oral microbiomes from gingivitis and healthy subjects could be distinguished based on the distinct community structures of plaque microbiomes, but not the salivary microbiomes. Contributions of community members to community structure divergence were statistically accessed at the phylum, genus and species-like levels. Eight predominant taxa were found associated with gingivitis: TM7, Leptotrichia, Selenomonas, Streptococcus, Veillonella, Prevotella, Lautropia, and Haemophilus. Furthermore, 98 species-level OTUs were identified to be gingivitis-associated, which provided microbial features of gingivitis at a species resolution. Finally, for the two selected genera Streptococcus and Fusobacterium, Real-Time PCR based quantification of relative bacterial abundance validated the pyrosequencing-based results.
This methods study suggests that oral samples from this patient population of gingivitis can be characterized via plaque microbiome by pyrosequencing the 16 S rDNA genes. Further studies that characterize serial samples from subjects (longitudinal study design) with a larger population size may provide insight into the temporal and ecological features of oral microbial communities in clinically-defined states of gingivitis.
oral microbiota; gingivitis; saliva; plaque; pyrosequencing
Optical integration is essential for practical application, but it remains unexplored for nanoscale devices. A newly designed nanocomposite based on ZnO semiconductor nanowires and Tb(OH)3/SiO2 core/shell nanospheres has been synthesized and studied. The unique sea urchin-type morphology, bright and sharply visible emission bands of lanthanide, and large aspect ratio of ZnO crystalline nanotips make this novel composite an excellent signal receiver, waveguide, and emitter. The multifunctional composite of ZnO nanotips and Tb(OH)3/SiO2 nanoparticles therefore can serve as an integrated nanophotonics hub. Moreover, the composite of ZnO nanotips deposited on a Tb(OH)3/SiO2 photonic crystal can act as a directional light fountain, in which the confined radiation from Tb ions inside the photonic crystal can be well guided and escape through the ZnO nanotips. Therefore, the output emission arising from Tb ions is truly directional, and its intensity can be greatly enhanced. With highly enhanced lasing emissions in ZnO-Tb(OH)3/SiO2 as well as SnO2-Tb(OH)3/SiO2 nanocomposites, we demonstrate that our approach is extremely beneficial for the creation of low threshold and high-power nanolaser.
ZnO; Tb(OH)3/SiO2; nanocomposite; lasing