Offspring provisioning is commonly referenced as the most important influence on men's and women's foraging decisions. However, the provisioning of other adults may be equally important in determining gender differences in resource choice, particularly when the goals of provisioning offspring versus others cannot be met with the acquisition of the same resources. Here, we examine how resources vary in their expected daily energetic returns and in the variance or risk around those returns. We predict that when available resources impose no trade-off between risk and energy, the targets of men's and women's foraging will converge on high-energy, low-risk resources that allow for the simultaneous provisioning of offspring and others. However, when minimizing risk and maximizing energy trade-off with one another, we expect men's foraging to focus on provisioning others through the unreliable acquisition of large harvests, while women focus on reliably acquiring smaller harvests to feed offspring. We test these predictions with foraging data from three populations (Aché, Martu and Meriam). The results uphold the predictions, suggesting that men's and women's foraging interests converge when high-energy resources can be reliably acquired, but diverge when higher-energy resources are associated with higher levels of risk. Social factors, particularly the availability of alloparental support, may also play a major role.
gender division of labour; central place provisioning; risk; variance; human behavioural ecology; hunter–gatherers
Approximately 2% of mammalian genes encode proteases. Comparative genomics reveals that those involved in immunity and reproduction show the most interspecies diversity and evidence of positive selection during evolution. This is particularly true of granzymes, the cytotoxic proteases of natural killer cells and CD8+ T cells. There are 5 granzyme genes in humans and 10 in mice, and it is suggested that granzymes evolve to meet species-specific immune challenge through gene duplication and more subtle alterations to substrate specificity. We show that mouse and human granzyme B have distinct structural and functional characteristics. Specifically, mouse granzyme B is 30 times less cytotoxic than human granzyme B and does not require Bid for killing but regains cytotoxicity on engineering of its active site cleft. We also show that mouse granzyme A is considerably more cytotoxic than human granzyme A. These results demonstrate that even “orthologous” granzymes have species-specific functions, having evolved in distinct environments that pose different challenges.
Granzyme B (GrB) is a key effector of cytotoxic lymphocyte-mediated cell death. It is delivered to target cells bound to the proteoglycan serglycin, but how it crosses the plasma membrane and accesses substrates in the cytoplasm is poorly understood. Here we identify two cationic sequences on GrB that facilitate its binding and uptake. Mutation of cationic sequence 1 (cs1) prevents accumulation of GrB in a distinctive intracellular compartment and reduces cytotoxicity 20-fold. Mutation of cs2 reduces accumulation in this intracellular compartment and cytotoxicity two- to threefold. We also show that GrB-mediated cytotoxicity is abrogated by heparin and that target cells deficient in cell surface sulfate or glycosaminoglycans resist GrB. However, heparin does not completely prevent GrB internalization and chondroitin 4-sulfate does not inhibit cytotoxicity, suggesting that glycosaminoglycans are not essential GrB receptors. We propose that GrB enters cells by nonselective adsorptive pinocytosis, exchanging from chondroitin sulfate on serglycin to anionic components of the cell surface. In this electrostatic “exchange-adsorption” model, cs1 and cs2 participate in binding of GrB to the cell surface, thereby promoting its uptake and eventual release into the cytoplasm.
Protease inhibitor 6 (PI-6/SERPINB6) is a widely expressed nucleocytoplasmic serpin. It inhibits granulocyte cathepsin G and neuronal neuropsin, and it is thought to protect cells from death caused by ectopic release or internalization of protease during stress such as infection or cerebral ischemia. To probe the biological functions of PI-6, we generated mice lacking its ortholog (SPI3/Serpinb6). SPI3-deficient mice developed normally and were fertile, and no abnormal pathology or increased sensitivity to cerebral ischemia was observed. There were no perturbations in leukocyte development or numbers, and recruitment of leukocytes to the peritoneal cavity was normal. SPI3-deficient mice were equally susceptible as wild-type mice to systemic Candida albicans infection, although there was a slight decrease in the ability of neutrophils from SPI3-deficient mice to kill C. albicans in vitro. Increased levels of a related inhibitor Serpinb1 (monocyte/neutrophil elastase inhibitor) in the tissues of targeted mice suggests that compensation by other serpins reduces the impact of SPI3 deficiency in these animals and may explain the lack of a more obvious phenotype.
Proteinase inhibitor 9 (PI-9) is a human serpin present in the cytoplasm of cytotoxic lymphocytes and epithelial cells. It inhibits the cytotoxic lymphocyte granule proteinase granzyme B (graB) and is thought to protect cytotoxic lymphocytes and bystander cells from graB-mediated apoptosis. Following uptake into cells, graB promotes DNA degradation, rapidly translocating to the nucleus, where it binds a nuclear component. PI-9 should therefore be found in cytotoxic lymphocyte and bystander cell nuclei to ensure complete protection against graB. Here we demonstrate by microscopy and subcellular fractionation experiments that PI-9 is present in the nuclei of human cytotoxic cells, endothelial cells, and epithelial cells. We also show that the related serpins, PI-6, monocyte neutrophil elastase inhibitor (MNEI), PI-8, plasminogen activator inhibitor 2 (PAI-2), and the viral serpin CrmA exhibit similar nucleocytoplasmic distributions. Because these serpins lack classical nuclear localization signals and are small enough to diffuse through nuclear pores, we investigated whether import occurs actively or passively. Large (∼70 kDa) chimeric proteins comprising PI-9, PI-6, PI-8, MNEI, or PAI-2 fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP) show similar nucleocytoplasmic distributions to the parent proteins, indicating that nuclear import is active. By contrast, CrmA-GFP is excluded from nuclei, indicating that CrmA is not actively imported. In vitro nuclear transport assays show that PI-9 accumulates at a rate above that of passive diffusion, that it requires cytosolic factors but not ATP, and that it does not bind an intranuclear component. Furthermore, PI-9 is exported from nuclei via a leptomycin B-sensitive pathway, implying involvement of the export factor Crm1p. We conclude that the nucleocytoplasmic distribution of PI-9 and related serpins involves a nonconventional nuclear import pathway and Crm1p.
Cytotoxic lymphocytes (CLs) induce caspase activation and apoptosis of target cells either through Fas activation or through release of granule cytotoxins, particularly granzyme B. CLs themselves resist granule-mediated apoptosis but are eventually cleared via Fas-mediated apoptosis. Here we show that the CL cytoplasmic serpin proteinase inhibitor 9 (PI-9) can protect transfected cells against apoptosis induced by either purified granzyme B and perforin or intact CLs. A PI-9 P1 mutant (Glu to Asp) is a 100-fold-less-efficient granzyme B inhibitor that no longer protects against granzyme B-mediated apoptosis. PI-9 is highly specific for granzyme B because it does not inhibit eight of the nine caspases tested or protect transfected cells against Fas-mediated apoptosis. In contrast, the P1(Asp) mutant is an effective caspase inhibitor that protects against Fas-mediated apoptosis. We propose that PI-9 shields CLs specifically against misdirected granzyme B to prevent autolysis or fratricide, but it does not interfere with homeostatic deletion via Fas-mediated apoptosis.
A population of Acrobeloides nanus in Australia is described and illustrated, based on light and scanning electron microscopy. Embryogenesis from egg laying to hatching is followed over a wide range of temperatures. At 15 C, hatching occurs in about 125 hours and at 35 and 37.5 C after about 40 hours. At 40 C, egg development ceases early in cleavage. The capacity of A. nanus to develop over such a range of temperatures, and its anhydrobiotic capabilities, are discussed in relation to its survival and wide distribution in Australia.
Acrobeloides nanus; Cephalobidae; description; egg laying; embryogenesis; hatching; light microscopy; morphology; nematode; oviposition; scanning electron microscopy
Calcium signaling results from a complex interplay between activation and inactivation of intracellular and extracellular calcium permeable channels. This complexity is obvious from the pattern of calcium signals observed with modest, physiological concentrations of calcium-mobilizing agonists, which typically present as sequential regenerative discharges of stored calcium, a process referred to as calcium oscillations. In this review, we discuss recent advances in understanding the underlying mechanism of calcium oscillations through the power of mathematical modeling. We also summarize recent findings on the role of calcium entry through store-operated channels in sustaining calcium oscillations and in the mechanism by which calcium oscillations couple to downstream effectors.
Coordination of release of calcium from intracellular stores and its entry via store-operated channels in the plasma membrane generates a digital signal for downstream effectors that can be computationally modeled.
The 15th annual meeting of the Alcohol and Immunology Research Interest Group (AIRIG) was held on November 19, 2010 at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. This year, the focus of the meeting was on alcohol’s effect on the immune system in both clinical and experimental systems. The event consisted of three sessions, which featured plenary talks from invited speakers along with oral presentations from selected abstracts, in addition to a poster session. Participants presented a variety of information on ethanol-induced effects on infection susceptibility and resolution, oxidative stress, and organ inflammation. Specifically, speakers presented new insights on the mechanism of alcohol-mediated deleterious effects in the lung, liver, skin, and neuroendocrine system as well as on immune cells in both in vivo and in vitro systems. Additional oral presentations suggested possible mechanisms for how alcohol-induced reactive oxygen species promote immune dysregulation both locally and systemically.
alcohol; immune response; inflammation; infection; reactive oxygen species; lung; skin; musculoskeletal; skin; human
Self-assembling peptides and peptide derivatives have received significant interest for several biomedical applications, including tissue engineering, wound healing, cell delivery, drug delivery, and vaccines. This class of materials has exhibited significant variability in immunogenicity, with many peptides eliciting no detectable antibody responses but others eliciting very strong responses without any supplemental adjuvants. Presently, strategies for either avoiding strong antibody responses or specifically inducing them are not well developed, even though they are critical for the use of these materials both within tissue engineering and within immunotherapies. Here, we investigated the molecular determinants and immunological mechanisms leading to the significant immunogenicity of the self-assembling peptide OVA-Q11, which has been shown previously to elicit strong antibody responses in mice. We show that these responses can last for at least a year. Using adoptive transfer experiments and T cell knockout models, we found that these strong antibody responses were T cell-dependent, suggesting a route for avoiding or ensuring immunogenicity. Indeed, by deleting amino acid regions in the peptide recognized by T cells, immunogenicity could be significantly diminished. Immunogenicity could also be attenuated by mutating key residues in the self-assembling domain, thus preventing fibrillization. A second self-assembling peptide, KFE8, was also non-immunogenic, but nanofibers of OVA-KFE8 elicited strong antibody responses similar to OVA-Q11, indicating that the adjuvant action was not dependent on the specific self-assembling peptide sequence. These findings will facilitate the design of self-assembled peptide biomaterials, both for applications where immunogenicity is undesirable and where it is advantageous.
self-assembly; vaccine; biomaterial; tissue engineering; scaffold
Restrictions on nematicide usage underscore the need for novel control strategies for plant pathogenic nematodes such as Globodera pallida (potato cyst nematode) that impose a significant economic burden on plant cultivation activities. The nematode neuropeptide signalling system is an attractive resource for novel control targets as it plays a critical role in sensory and motor functions. The FMRFamide-like peptides (FLPs) form the largest and most diverse family of neuropeptides in invertebrates, and are structurally conserved across nematode species, highlighting the utility of the FLPergic system as a broad-spectrum control target. flp-32 is expressed widely across nematode species. This study investigates the role of flp-32 in G. pallida and shows that: (i) Gp-flp-32 encodes the peptide AMRNALVRFamide; (ii) Gp-flp-32 is expressed in the brain and ventral nerve cord of G. pallida; (iii) migration rate increases in Gp-flp-32-silenced worms; (iv) the ability of G. pallida to infect potato plant root systems is enhanced in Gp-flp-32-silenced worms; (v) a novel putative Gp-flp-32 receptor (Gp-flp-32R) is expressed in G. pallida; and, (vi) Gp-flp-32R-silenced worms also display an increase in migration rate. This work demonstrates that Gp-flp-32 plays an intrinsic role in the modulation of locomotory behaviour in G. pallida and putatively interacts with at least one novel G-protein coupled receptor (Gp-flp-32R). This is the first functional characterisation of a parasitic nematode FLP-GPCR.
Plant pathogenic nematodes compromise plant health and productivity globally and are an increasing problem due to the lack of efficient control measures. The nematode nervous system depends heavily on small proteins (neuropeptides) for communication between nerve cells and other nerve cells or other cell types. The disruption of neuropeptide signalling would dysregulate normal behaviour, offering an attractive approach to parasite control. One major group of nematode neuropeptides are the FMRFamide-like peptides (FLPs) that alter nematode behaviour by acting on receptors designated G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). GPCRs are attractive targets based on their potential ‘druggability;″ indeed they are targets for many human medicines. This study investigates the functional biology of flp-32, a commonly expressed nematode flp, and a novel FLP-32 receptor in a plant pathogenic nematode of major agricultural importance, Globodera pallida. We show that FLP-32 occurs widely in these parasites and interacts with a novel FLP-32 receptor to modulate their behaviour, affecting their movement and the rate at which they infect host plants. These data indicate that chemicals that activate the FLP-32 receptor in these parasites could effectively slow the worms, potentially making them less successful parasites. The conservation of the FLP-32 ligand and receptor across many different nematode parasites adds to its appeal as a potential target for broad-spectrum parasite control.
A compelling body of evidence indicates that observing a task-irrelevant action makes the execution of that action more likely. However, it remains unclear whether this ‘automatic imitation’ effect is indeed automatic or whether the imitative action is voluntary. The present study tested the automaticity of automatic imitation by asking whether it occurs in a strategic context where it reduces payoffs. Participants were required to play rock–paper–scissors, with the aim of achieving as many wins as possible, while either one or both players were blindfolded. While the frequency of draws in the blind–blind condition was precisely that expected at chance, the frequency of draws in the blind–sighted condition was significantly elevated. Specifically, the execution of either a rock or scissors gesture by the blind player was predictive of an imitative response by the sighted player. That automatic imitation emerges in a context where imitation reduces payoffs accords with its ‘automatic’ description, and implies that these effects are more akin to involuntary than to voluntary actions. These data represent the first evidence of automatic imitation in a strategic context, and challenge the abstraction from physical aspects of social interaction typical in economic and game theory.
rock–paper–scissors; zero-sum game; automatic imitation; game theory; mirror neuron system
Spectral Cytopathology (SCP) is a novel approach for disease diagnosis that utilizes infrared spectroscopy to interrogate the biochemical components of cellular samples and multivariate statistical methods, such as principal component analysis, to analyze and diagnose spectra. SCP has taken vast strides in its application for disease diagnosis over the past decade; however, fixation induced changes and sample handling methods are still not systematically understood. Conversely, fixation and staining methods in conventional cytopathology, typically involving protocols to maintain the morphology of cells, have been documented and widely accepted for nearly a century. For SCP, fixation procedures must preserve the biochemical composition of samples so that spectral changes significant to disease diagnosis are not masked. We report efforts to study the effects of fixation protocols commonly used in traditional cytopathology and SCP including fixed and unfixed methods applied to exfoliated oral (buccal) mucosa cells. Data suggest that the length of time in fixative and duration of sample storage via desiccation contribute to minor spectral changes where spectra are nearly super-imposable. These findings illustrate that changes influenced by fixation are negligible in comparison to changes induced by disease.
cytopathology; fixation; infrared spectroscopy (IR); principal component analysis (PCA); spectral cytopathology (SCP)
There is an increased risk of venous thromboembolism among women taking oral contraceptives. However, whether there is an additional risk among women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is unknown.
We developed a population-based cohort from the IMS LifeLink Health Plan Claims Database, which includes managed care organizations in the United States. Women aged 18–46 years taking combined oral contraceptives and who had a claim for PCOS (n = 43 506) were matched, based on a propensity score, to control women (n = 43 506) taking oral contraceptives. Venous thromboembolism was defined using administrative coding and use of anticoagulation. We used Cox proportional hazards models to assess the relative risk (RR) of venous thromboembolism among users of combined oral contraceptives with and without PCOS.
The incidence of venous thromboembolism among women with PCOS was 23.7/10 000 person-years, while that for matched controls was 10.9/10 000 person-years. Women with PCOS taking combined oral contraceptives had an RR for venous thromboembolism of 2.14 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.41–3.24) compared with other contraceptive users. The incidence of venous thromboembolism was 6.3/10 000 person-years among women with PCOS not taking oral contraceptives; the incidence was 4.1/10 000 person-years among matched controls. The RR of venous thromboembolism among women with PCOS not taking oral contraceptives was 1.55 (95% CI 1.10–2.19).
We found a 2-fold increased risk of venous thromboembolism among women with PCOS who were taking combined oral contraceptives and a 1.5-fold increased risk among women with PCOS not taking oral contraceptives. Physicians should consider the increased risk of venous thromboembolism when prescribing contraceptive therapy to women with PCOS.
Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by a lack of expression of the maternal copy of UBE3A. Although the “classic” features of AS are well described, few large-scale studies have delineated the clinical features in AS. We present baseline data from 92 children with a molecular diagnosis of AS between 5 and 60 months old who are enrolled in the National Institutes of Health Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network Angelman Syndrome Natural History Study from January 2006 to March 2008. Seventy-four percent of participants had deletions, 14% had either uniparental disomy (UPD) or imprinting defects, and 12% had UBE3A mutations. Participants with UPD/imprinting defects were heavier (P = 0.0002), while those with deletions were lighter, than the general population (P < 0.0001). Twenty out of 92 participants were underweight, all of whom had deletions or UBE3A mutations. Eight out of 92 participants (6/13 (46%) with UPD/imprinting defects and 2/11 (18%) with UBE3A mutations) were obese. Seventy-four out of 92 participants (80%) had absolute or relative microcephaly. No participant was macrocephalic. The most common behavioral findings were mouthing behavior (95%), short attention span (92%), ataxic or broad-based gait (88%), history of sleep difficulties (80%), and fascination with water (75%). Frequent, easily provoked laughter was observed in 60%. Clinical seizures were reported in 65% of participants but all electroencephalograms (EEGs) were abnormal. We conclude that the most characteristic feature of AS is the neurobehavioral phenotype, but specific EEG findings are highly sensitive for AS. Obesity is common among those with UPD/imprinting defects.
Angelman syndrome; genotype–phenotype correlation; behavioral genetics; growth; child development
Background Variation in the complement factor H gene (CFH) is associated with risk of late age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Previous studies have been case–control studies in populations of European ancestry with little differentiation in AMD subtype, and insufficient power to confirm or refute effect modification by smoking.
Methods To precisely quantify the association of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP rs1061170, ‘Y402H’) with risk of AMD among studies with differing study designs, participant ancestry and AMD grade and to investigate effect modification by smoking, we report two unpublished genetic association studies (n = 2759) combined with data from 24 published studies (26 studies, 26 494 individuals, including 14 174 cases of AMD) of European ancestry, 10 of which provided individual-level data used to test gene–smoking interaction; and 16 published studies from non-European ancestry.
Results In individuals of European ancestry, there was a significant association between Y402H and late-AMD with a per-allele odds ratio (OR) of 2.27 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.10–2.45; P = 1.1 x 10−161]. There was no evidence of effect modification by smoking (P = 0.75). The frequency of Y402H varied by ancestral origin and the association with AMD in non-Europeans was less clear, limited by paucity of studies.
Conclusion The Y402H variant confers a 2-fold higher risk of late-AMD per copy in individuals of European descent. This was stable to stratification by study design and AMD classification and not modified by smoking. The lack of association in non-Europeans requires further verification. These findings are of direct relevance for disease prediction. New research is needed to ascertain if differences in circulating levels, expression or activity of factor H protein explain the genetic association.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD); Complement factor H gene; meta-ananlysis
Background and purpose
The systemic response after fracture is regulated by a complex mechanism involving numerous growth factors. In this study, we analyzed the kinetics of key growth factors following lower-limb long bone fracture.
Materials and methods
Human serum was isolated from 15 patients suffering from lower-limb long bone fracture (tibia/femur) requiring surgical fixation. The levels of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF-BB), vascular edothelial growth factor (VEGF), insulin growth factor-I (IGF-I), and transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) were assayed by colorimetric ELISA at different time points during the first week after fracture. 10 healthy volunteers made up the control group of the study. Serum levels of the growth factors measured were compared to age, sex, and injury severity score.
We found that there was a decline in the levels of PDGF-BB, IGF-I and TGF-β1 during the first 3 days after fracture. However, VEGF levels remained unchanged. The levels of all the growth factors studied then increased, with the highest concentrations noted at day 7 after surgery. No correlation was found between circulating levels of growth factors and age, injury severity score (ISS), blood loss, or fluid administration.
There are systemic mitogenic and osteogenic signals after fracture. Important growth factors are released into the peripheral circulation, but early after surgery it appears that serum levels of key growth factors fall. By 7 days postoperatively, the levels had increased considerably. Our findings should be considered in cases where autologous serum is used for ex vivo expansion of mesenchymal stem cells. There should be further evaluation of the use of these molecules as biomarkers of bone union.
Complex regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) governs its intricate functions in brain development and neuronal plasticity. Besides tight transcriptional control from multiple distinct promoters, alternative 3′end processing of the BDNF transcripts generates either a long or a short 3′untranslated region (3′UTR). Previous reports indicate that distinct RNA sequence in the BDNF 3′UTRs differentially regulates BDNF production in the brain to accommodate neuronal activity changes, conceivably through differential interactions with undefined trans-acting factors that regulate stability and translation of these BDNF mRNA isoforms. In this study, we report that the neuronal RNA-binding protein (RBP) HuD interacts with a highly conserved AU-rich element (ARE) specifically located in the BDNF long 3′UTR. Such interaction is necessary and sufficient for selective stabilization of mRNAs that contain the BDNF long 3′UTR in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, in a HuD transgenic mouse model, the BDNF long 3′UTR mRNA is increased in the hippocampal dentate granule cells (DGCs), leading to elevated expression of BDNF protein that is transported and stored in the mossy fiber (MF) terminals. Our results identify HuD as the first trans-acting factor that enhances BDNF expression specifically through the long 3′UTR and a novel mechanism that regulates BDNF protein production in selected neuronal populations by HuD abundance.
Acyl lipids in Arabidopsis and all other plants have a myriad of diverse
functions. These include providing the core diffusion barrier of the membranes
that separates cells and subcellular organelles. This function alone involves
more than 10 membrane lipid classes, including the phospholipids, galactolipids,
and sphingolipids, and within each class the variations in acyl chain
composition expand the number of structures to several hundred possible
molecular species. Acyl lipids in the form of triacylglycerol account for 35% of
the weight of Arabidopsis seeds and represent their major form of carbon and
energy storage. A layer of cutin and cuticular waxes that restricts the loss of
water and provides protection from invasions by pathogens and other stresses
covers the entire aerial surface of Arabidopsis. Similar functions are provided
by suberin and its associated waxes that are localized in roots, seed coats, and
abscission zones and are produced in response to wounding. This chapter focuses
on the metabolic pathways that are associated with the biosynthesis and
degradation of the acyl lipids mentioned above. These pathways, enzymes, and
genes are also presented in detail in an associated website (ARALIP: http://aralip.plantbiology.msu.edu/). Protocols and methods used
for analysis of Arabidopsis lipids are provided. Finally, a detailed summary of
the composition of Arabidopsis lipids is provided in three figures and 15
When cells are activated by calcium-mobilizing agonists at low, physiological concentrations, the resulting calcium signals generally take the form of repetitive regenerative discharges of stored calcium, termed calcium oscillations . These intracellular calcium oscillations have long fascinated biologists as representing a mode of digitized intracellular signaling. Recent work has highlighted the role of calcium influx as an essential component of calcium oscillations . This influx occurs through a process known as store-operated calcium entry which is initiated by calcium sensor proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum, STIM1 and STIM2 . STIM2 is activated by changes in endoplasmic reticulum calcium near the resting level, while a threshold of calcium depletion is required to activate STIM1 . In this study, we show that, surprisingly, it is STIM1 and not STIM2 that is exclusively involved in calcium entry during calcium oscillations. The implication is that each oscillation produces a transient drop in endoplasmic reticulum calcium that is sufficient to transiently activate STIM1. This transient activation of STIM1 can be observed in some cells by total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. This arrangement nicely provides a clearly defined and unambiguous signaling system, translating a digital calcium release signal into calcium influx that can signal to downstream effectors.
TDP-43 is a major component of the ubiquitinated inclusions that characterise amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with ubiquitin inclusions (FTLD-U). TDP-43 is an RNA-binding and DNA-binding protein that has many functions and is encoded by the TAR DNA-binding protein gene (TARDBP) on chromosome 1. Our aim was to investigate whether TARDBP is a candidate disease gene for familial ALS that is not associated with mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1).
TARDBP was sequenced in 259 patients with ALS, FTLD, or both. We used TaqMan-based SNP genotyping to screen for the identifi ed variants in control groups matched to two kindreds of patients for age and ethnic origin. Additional clinical, genetic, and pathological assessments were made in these two families.
We identified two variants, p.Gly290Ala and p.Gly298Ser, in TARDBP in two familial ALS kindreds and we observed TDP-43 neuropathology in the CNS tissue available from one family. The variants are considered pathogenic mutations because they co-segregate with disease in both families, are absent in ethnically-matched controls, and are associated with TDP-43 neuropathology in several family members.
The p.Gly290Ala and p.Gly298Ser mutations are located in the glycine-rich domain that regulates gene expression and mediates protein-protein interactions; in particular TDP-43 binds to heterogeneous ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs) via this domain. We postulate that due to the varied and important cellular functions of TDP-43, these mutations may cause neurodegeneration through both gains and losses of function. The finding of TARDBP mutations implicates TDP-43 as an active mediator of neurodegeneration in a novel class of disorders, TDP-43 proteinopathies, a class of disorder that includes ALS and FTLD-U.
A small forbidden gap matched to low-energy photons (meV) and a quasi-Dirac electron system are both definitive characteristics of bilayer graphene (GR) that has gained it considerable interest in realizing a broadly tunable sensor for application in the microwave region around gigahertz (GHz) and terahertz (THz) regimes. In this work, a systematic study is presented which explores the GHz/THz detection limit of both bilayer and single-layer graphene field-effect transistor (GR-FET) devices. Several major improvements to the wiring setup, insulation architecture, graphite source, and bolometric heating of the GR-FET sensor were made in order to extend microwave photoresponse past previous reports of 40 GHz and to further improve THz detection.
Graphene; Microwave application; Terahertz detection; Frequency response; Bolometric effect; Nonlinear effect; Ambient condition
Spatial coherence between predators and prey has rarely been observed in pelagic marine ecosystems. We used measures of the environment, prey abundance, prey quality, and prey distribution to explain the observed distributions of three co-occurring predator species breeding on islands in the southeastern Bering Sea: black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), thick-billed murres (Uria lomvia), and northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus). Predictions of statistical models were tested using movement patterns obtained from satellite-tracked individual animals. With the most commonly used measures to quantify prey distributions - areal biomass, density, and numerical abundance - we were unable to find a spatial relationship between predators and their prey. We instead found that habitat use by all three predators was predicted most strongly by prey patch characteristics such as depth and local density within spatial aggregations. Additional prey patch characteristics and physical habitat also contributed significantly to characterizing predator patterns. Our results indicate that the small-scale prey patch characteristics are critical to how predators perceive the quality of their food supply and the mechanisms they use to exploit it, regardless of time of day, sampling year, or source colony. The three focal predator species had different constraints and employed different foraging strategies – a shallow diver that makes trips of moderate distance (kittiwakes), a deep diver that makes trip of short distances (murres), and a deep diver that makes extensive trips (fur seals). However, all three were similarly linked by patchiness of prey rather than by the distribution of overall biomass. This supports the hypothesis that patchiness may be critical for understanding predator-prey relationships in pelagic marine systems more generally.
Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to attribute thoughts, intentions and beliefs to others. This involves component processes, including cognitive perspective taking (cognitive ToM) and understanding emotions (affective ToM). This study assessed the distinction and overlap of neural processes involved in these respective components, and also investigated their development between adolescence and adulthood. While data suggest that ToM develops between adolescence and adulthood, these populations have not been compared on cognitive and affective ToM domains. Using fMRI with 15 adolescent (aged 11–16 years) and 15 adult (aged 24–40 years) males, we assessed neural responses during cartoon vignettes requiring cognitive ToM, affective ToM or physical causality comprehension (control). An additional aim was to explore relationships between fMRI data and self-reported empathy. Both cognitive and affective ToM conditions were associated with neural responses in the classic ToM network across both groups, although only affective ToM recruited medial/ventromedial PFC (mPFC/vmPFC). Adolescents additionally activated vmPFC more than did adults during affective ToM. The specificity of the mPFC/vmPFC response during affective ToM supports evidence from lesion studies suggesting that vmPFC may integrate affective information during ToM. Furthermore, the differential neural response in vmPFC between adult and adolescent groups indicates developmental changes in affective ToM processing.
Theory of Mind; empathy; adolescence; development; fMRI