We recently described the novel species Streptococcus tigurinus sp. nov. belonging to the Streptococcus mitis group. The type strain AZ_3aT of S. tigurinus was originally isolated from a patient with infective endocarditis. According to its phenotypic and molecular characteristics, S. tigurinus is most closely related to Streptococcus mitis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae, Streptococcus oralis, and Streptococcus infantis. Accurate identification of S. tigurinus is facilitated by 16S rRNA gene analysis. We retrospectively analyzed our 16S rRNA gene molecular database, which contains sequences of all clinical samples obtained in our institute since 2003. We detected 17 16S rRNA gene sequences which were assigned to S. tigurinus, including sequences from the 3 S. tigurinus strains described previously. S. tigurinus originated from normally sterile body sites, such as blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or heart valves, of 14 patients and was initially detected by culture or broad-range 16S rRNA gene PCR, followed by sequencing. The 14 patients had serious invasive infections, i.e., infective endocarditis (n = 6), spondylodiscitis (n = 3), bacteremia (n = 2), meningitis (n = 1), prosthetic joint infection (n = 1), and thoracic empyema (n = 1). To evaluate the presence of Streptococcus tigurinus in the endogenous oral microbial flora, we screened saliva specimens of 31 volunteers. After selective growth, alpha-hemolytic growing colonies were analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and subsequent molecular methods. S. tigurinus was not identified among 608 strains analyzed. These data indicate that S. tigurinus is not widely distributed in the oral cavity. In conclusion, S. tigurinus is a novel agent of invasive infections, particularly infective endocarditis.
Local structural similarity restraints (LSSR) provide a novel method for exploiting NCS or structural similarity to an external target structure. Two examples are given where BUSTER re-refinement of PDB entries with LSSR produces marked improvements, enabling further structural features to be modelled.
Maximum-likelihood X-ray macromolecular structure refinement in BUSTER has been extended with restraints facilitating the exploitation of structural similarity. The similarity can be between two or more chains within the structure being refined, thus favouring NCS, or to a distinct ‘target’ structure that remains fixed during refinement. The local structural similarity restraints (LSSR) approach considers all distances less than 5.5 Å between pairs of atoms in the chain to be restrained. For each, the difference from the distance between the corresponding atoms in the related chain is found. LSSR applies a restraint penalty on each difference. A functional form that reaches a plateau for large differences is used to avoid the restraints distorting parts of the structure that are not similar. Because LSSR are local, there is no need to separate out domains. Some restraint pruning is still necessary, but this has been automated. LSSR have been available to academic users of BUSTER since 2009 with the easy-to-use -autoncs and -target target.pdb options. The use of LSSR is illustrated in the re-refinement of PDB entries 5rnt, where -target enables the correct ligand-binding structure to be found, and 1osg, where -autoncs contributes to the location of an additional copy of the cyclic peptide ligand.
BUSTER; NCS restraints; target-structure restraints; local structural similarity restraints
When people play music and dance together, they engage in forms of musical joint action that are often characterized by a shared sense of rhythmic timing and affective state (i.e., temporal and affective entrainment). In order to understand the origins of musical joint action, we propose a model in which entrainment is linked to dual mechanisms (motor resonance and action simulation), which in turn support musical behavior (imitation and complementary joint action). To illustrate this model, we consider two generic forms of joint musical behavior: chorusing and turn-taking. We explore how these common behaviors can be founded on entrainment capacities established early in human development, specifically during musical interactions between infants and their caregivers. If the roots of entrainment are found in early musical interactions which are practiced from childhood into adulthood, then we propose that the rehearsal of advanced musical ensemble skills can be considered to be a refined, mimetic form of temporal and affective entrainment whose evolution begins in infancy.
music; joint action; entrainment; ensemble skills; development; dance
Pathogenic mycobacteria escape host innate immune responses by blocking phagosome-lysosome fusion. Avoiding lysosomal delivery may also be involved in the capacity of mycobacteria to evade major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I- or II-dependent T-cell responses. In this study, we used a genetic mutant of Mycobacterium bovis BCG that is unable to escape lysosomal transfer and show that presentation of mycobacterial antigens is affected by the site of intracellular residence. Compared to infection with wild-type BCG, infection of murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells with a mycobacterial mutant deficient in zinc metalloprotease 1 (Zmp1) resulted in increased presentation of MHC class II-restricted antigens, as assessed by activation of mycobacterial Ag85A-specific T-cell hybridomas. The zmp1 deletion mutant was more immunogenic in vivo, as measured by delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), antigen-specific lymphocyte proliferation, and the frequency of antigen-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-producing lymphocytes of both CD4 and CD8 subsets. In conclusion, our results suggest that phagosome maturation and lysosomal delivery of BCG facilitate mycobacterial antigen presentation and enhance immunogenicity.
Recruitment of platelets (PLT) during donor PLT apheresis may facilitate the harvest of multiple units within a single donation.
We compared two PLT apheresis procedures (Amicus and Trima Accel) in a prospective, randomized, paired cross-over study in 60 donors. The 120 donations were compared for depletion of circulating PLT in the donors, PLT yields and PLT recruitment. A recruitment was defined as ratio of total PLT yield and donor PLT depletion > 1.
Despite comparable differences of pre- and post-apheresis PLT counts (87 × 109/l in Trima Accel vs. 92 × 109/l in Amicus, p = 0.383), PLT yields were higher with Trima Accel (7.48 × 1011 vs. 6.06 × 1011, p < 0.001), corresponding to a higher PLT recruitment (1.90 vs. 1.42, p < 0.001). We observed a different increase of WBC counts after aphereses, which was more pronounced with Trima Accel than with Amicus (1.30 × 109/l vs. 0.46 × 109/l, p < 0.001).
Both procedures induced PLT recruitment. This was higher in Trima Accel, contributing to a higher yield in spite of a comparable depletion of circulating PLT in the donors. This recruitment facilitates the harvest of multiple units within a single donation and seems to be influenced by the procedure utilized. The different increases of circulating donor white blood cells after donation need further investigation.
Platelet apheresis; Platelet recruitment; Cell separator
The ability to evaluate spontaneity in human behavior is called upon in the esthetic appreciation of dramatic arts and music. The current study addresses the behavioral and brain mechanisms that mediate the perception of spontaneity in music performance. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment, 22 jazz musicians listened to piano melodies and judged whether they were improvised or imitated. Judgment accuracy (mean 55%; range 44–65%), which was low but above chance, was positively correlated with musical experience and empathy. Analysis of listeners’ hemodynamic responses revealed that amygdala activation was stronger for improvisations than imitations. This activation correlated with the variability of performance timing and intensity (loudness) in the melodies, suggesting that the amygdala is involved in the detection of behavioral uncertainty. An analysis based on the subjective classification of melodies according to listeners’ judgments revealed that a network including the pre-supplementary motor area, frontal operculum, and anterior insula was most strongly activated for melodies judged to be improvised. This may reflect the increased engagement of an action simulation network when melodic predictions are rendered challenging due to perceived instability in the performer's actions. Taken together, our results suggest that, while certain brain regions in skilled individuals may be generally sensitive to objective cues to spontaneity in human behavior, the ability to evaluate spontaneity accurately depends upon whether an individual's action-related experience and perspective taking skills enable faithful internal simulation of the given behavior.
music; improvisation; spontaneity; uncertainty; amygdala; action simulation; human fMRI
Typical topics and problems encountered during data processing of diffraction experiments are discussed and the tools provided in the autoPROC software are described.
A typical diffraction experiment will generate many images and data sets from different crystals in a very short time. This creates a challenge for the high-throughput operation of modern synchrotron beamlines as well as for the subsequent data processing. Novice users in particular may feel overwhelmed by the tables, plots and numbers that the different data-processing programs and software packages present to them. Here, some of the more common problems that a user has to deal with when processing a set of images that will finally make up a processed data set are shown, concentrating on difficulties that may often show up during the first steps along the path of turning the experiment (i.e. data collection) into a model (i.e. interpreted electron density). Difficulties such as unexpected crystal forms, issues in crystal handling and suboptimal choices of data-collection strategies can often be dealt with, or at least diagnosed, by analysing specific data characteristics during processing. In the end, one wants to distinguish problems over which one has no immediate control once the experiment is finished from problems that can be remedied a posteriori. A new software package, autoPROC, is also presented that combines third-party processing programs with new tools and an automated workflow script that is intended to provide users with both guidance and insight into the offline processing of data affected by the difficulties mentioned above, with particular emphasis on the automated treatment of multi-sweep data sets collected on multi-axis goniostats.
autoPROC; data processing
Clinical isolates that are difficult to identify by conventional means form a valuable source of novel human pathogens. We report on a 5-year study based on systematic 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. We found 60 previously unknown 16S rRNA sequences corresponding to potentially novel bacterial taxa. For 30 of 60 isolates, clinical relevance was evaluated; 18 of the 30 isolates analyzed were considered to be associated with human disease.
This study investigated cognitive and emotional effects of syncopation, a feature
of musical rhythm that produces expectancy violations in the listener by
emphasising weak temporal locations and de-emphasising strong locations in
metric structure. Stimuli consisting of pairs of unsyncopated and syncopated
musical phrases were rated by 35 musicians for perceived complexity, enjoyment,
happiness, arousal, and tension. Overall, syncopated patterns were more enjoyed,
and rated as happier, than unsyncopated patterns, while differences in perceived
tension were unreliable. Complexity and arousal ratings were asymmetric by
serial order, increasing when patterns moved from unsyncopated to syncopated,
but not significantly changing when order was reversed. These results suggest
that syncopation influences emotional valence (positively), and that while
syncopated rhythms are objectively more complex than unsyncopated rhythms, this
difference is more salient when complexity increases than when it decreases. It
is proposed that composers and improvisers may exploit this asymmetry in
perceived complexity by favoring formal structures that progress from
rhythmically simple to complex, as can be observed in the initial sections of
musical forms such as theme and variations.
syncopation; serial asymmetry; affective response; cognition; rhythm; emotion; musical form
We describe the identification of two bacterial pathogens from a culture-negative brain abscess by the use of broad-spectrum 16S rRNA gene PCR. Simultaneous detection of Fusobacterium nucleatum and Porphyromonas endodontalis was possible due to a 24-bp length difference of their partially amplified 16S rRNA genes, which allowed separation by high-resolution polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.
We have repeatedly detected Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis, a bacterium first described in Rattus norvegicus rats and Ixodes ovatus ticks in Japan in 2004 in the blood of a 61-year-old man with signs of septicemia by 16S rRNA and groEL gene PCR. After 6 weeks of therapy with doxycycline and rifampin, the patient recovered.
Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis; septicemia; human infection; 16S rRNA gene PCR; therapy; tick-borne pathogen; bacteria; dispatch
The influence of integrated goal representations on multilevel coordination stability was investigated in a task that required finger tapping in antiphase with metronomic tone sequences (inter-agent coordination) while alternating between the two hands (intra-personal coordination). The maximum rate at which musicians could perform this task was measured when taps did or did not trigger feedback tones. Tones produced by the two hands (very low, low, medium, high, very high) could be the same as, or different from, one another and the (medium-pitched) metronome tones. The benefits of feedback tones were greatest when they were close in pitch to the metronome and the left hand triggered low tones while the right hand triggered high tones. Thus, multilevel coordination was facilitated by tones that were easy to integrate with, but perceptually distinct from, the metronome, and by compatibility of movement patterns and feedback pitches.
Motor Coordination; Auditory Feedback; Perceptual Motor Processes; Finger Tapping
The current tuberculosis vaccine is a live vaccine derived from Mycobacterium bovis and attenuated by serial in vitro passaging. All vaccine substrains in use stem from one source, strain Bacille Calmette-Guérin. However, they differ in regions of genomic deletions, antigen expression levels, immunogenicity, and protective efficacy.
As a RecA phenotype increases genetic stability and may contribute restricting the ongoing evolution of the various BCG substrains while maintaining their protective efficacy, we aimed to inactivate recA by allelic replacement in BCG vaccine strains representing different phylogenetic lineages (Pasteur, Frappier, Denmark, Russia). Homologous gene replacement was achieved successfully in three out of four strains. However, only illegitimate recombination was observed in BCG substrain Russia. Sequence analyses of recA revealed that a single nucleotide insertion in the 5' part of recA led to a translational frameshift with an early stop codon making BCG Russia a natural recA mutant. At the protein level BCG Russia failed to express RecA.
According to phylogenetic analyses BCG Russia is an ancient vaccine strain most closely related to the parental M. bovis. We hypothesize that recA inactivation in BCG Russia occurred early and is in part responsible for its high degree of genomic stability, resulting in a substrain that has less genetic alterations than other vaccine substrains with respect to M. bovis AF2122/97 wild-type.
A somatic mutation in the X-linked phosphatidylinositol glycan class A (PIGA) gene causes the loss of glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked proteins on blood cells from patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. Because all blood cell lineages may be affected it is thought that the mutation occurs in a hematopoietic stem cell. In transgenic mice, germline transmission of an inactive Piga gene is embryonic lethal. To inactivate the murine Piga gene in early hematopoiesis we therefore chose conditional gene inactivation using the Cre/loxP system. We expressed Cre recombinase under the transcription regulatory sequences of the human c-fes gene. FES-Cre inactivated PIGA in hematopoietic cells of mice carrying a floxed Piga allele (LF mice). PIGA− cells were found in all hematopoietic lineages of definitive but not primitive hematopoiesis. Their proportions were low in newborn mice but subsequently increased continuously to produce for the first time mice that have almost exclusively PIGA− blood cells. The loss of GPI-linked proteins occurred mainly in c-kit+CD34+Lin− progenitor cells before the CFU-GEMM stage. Using bone marrow reconstitution experiments with purified PIGA− cells we demonstrate that LF mice have long-term bone marrow repopulating cells that lack GPI-linked proteins, indicating that recombination of the floxed Piga allele occurs in the hematopoietic stem cell.
hematopoiesis; stem cell; c-fes; paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria; conditional gene inactivation