To test the efficacy of a multicomponent technology intervention for reducing daily sedentary time and improving cardiometabolic disease risk among sedentary, overweight university employees.
Blinded, randomised controlled trial.
A large south-eastern university in the USA.
49 middle-aged, primarily female, sedentary and overweight adults working in sedentary jobs enrolled in the study. A total of 40 participants completed the study.
Participants were randomised to either: (1) an intervention group (N=23; 47.6+9.9 years; 94.1% female; 33.2+4.5 kg/m2); (2) or wait-list control group (N=17; 42.6+8.9 years; 86.9% female; 31.7+4.9 kg/m2). The intervention group received a theory-based, internet-delivered programme, a portable pedal machine at work and a pedometer for 12 weeks. The wait-list control group maintained their behaviours for 12 weeks.
Primary (sedentary and physical activity behaviour measured objectively through StepWatch) and secondary (heart rate, blood pressure, height, weight, waist circumference, per cent body fat, cardiorespiratory fitness, fasting lipids) outcomes were measured at baseline and postintervention (12 weeks). Exploratory outcomes including intervention compliance and process evaluation measures were also assessed postintervention.
Compared to controls, the intervention group reduced daily sedentary time (mean change (95%CI): −58.7 min/day (−118.4 to 0.99; p<0.01)) after adjusting for baseline values and monitor wear time. Intervention participants logged on to the website 71.3% of all intervention days, used the pedal machine 37.7% of all working intervention days and pedalled an average of 31.1 min/day.
These findings suggest that the intervention was engaging and resulted in reductions in daily sedentary time among full-time sedentary employees. These findings hold public health significance due to the growing number of sedentary jobs and the potential of these technologies in large-scale worksite programmes.
sedentary; worksite; technology
Structure determination of proteins and other macromolecules has historically required the growth of high-quality crystals sufficiently large to diffract x-rays efficiently while withstanding radiation damage. We applied serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) using an x-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) to obtain high-resolution structural information from microcrystals (less than 1 micrometer by 1 micrometer by 3 micrometers) of the well-characterized model protein lysozyme. The agreement with synchrotron data demonstrates the immediate relevance of SFX for analyzing the structure of the large group of difficult-to-crystallize molecules.
The methane-emitting cold seeps of Hikurangi margin (New Zealand) are among the few deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystems of the Southern Hemisphere known to date. Here we compared the biogeochemistry and microbial communities of a variety of Hikurangi cold seep ecosystems. These included highly reduced seep habitats dominated by bacterial mats, partially oxidized habitats populated by heterotrophic ampharetid polychaetes and deeply oxidized habitats dominated by chemosynthetic frenulate tubeworms. The ampharetid habitats were characterized by a thick oxic sediment layer that hosted a diverse and biomass-rich community of aerobic methanotrophic Gammaproteobacteria. These bacteria consumed up to 25% of the emanating methane and clustered within three deep-branching groups named Marine Methylotrophic Group (MMG) 1-3. MMG1 and MMG2 methylotrophs belong to the order Methylococcales, whereas MMG3 methylotrophs are related to the Methylophaga. Organisms of the groups MMG1 and MMG3 are close relatives of chemosynthetic endosymbionts of marine invertebrates. The anoxic sediment layers of all investigated seeps were dominated by anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME) of the ANME-2 clade and sulfate-reducing Deltaproteobacteria. Microbial community analysis using Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA) showed that the different seep habitats hosted distinct microbial communities, which were strongly influenced by the seep-associated fauna and the geographic location. Despite outstanding features of Hikurangi seep communities, the organisms responsible for key ecosystem functions were similar to those found at seeps worldwide. This suggests that similar types of biogeochemical settings select for similar community composition regardless of geographic distance. Because ampharetid polychaetes are widespread at cold seeps the role of aerobic methanotrophy may have been underestimated in seafloor methane budgets.
In Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems nutrient-rich waters are transported to the ocean surface, fuelling high photoautotrophic primary production. Subsequent heterotrophic decomposition of the produced biomass increases the oxygen-depletion at intermediate water depths, which can result in the formation of oxygen minimum zones (OMZ). OMZs can sporadically accumulate hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which is toxic to most multicellular organisms and has been implicated in massive fish kills. During a cruise to the OMZ off Peru in January 2009 we found a sulfidic plume in continental shelf waters, covering an area >5500 km2, which contained ∼2.2×104 tons of H2S. This was the first time that H2S was measured in the Peruvian OMZ and with ∼440 km3 the largest plume ever reported for oceanic waters. We assessed the phylogenetic and functional diversity of the inhabiting microbial community by high-throughput sequencing of DNA and RNA, while its metabolic activity was determined with rate measurements of carbon fixation and nitrogen transformation processes. The waters were dominated by several distinct γ-, δ- and ε-proteobacterial taxa associated with either sulfur oxidation or sulfate reduction. Our results suggest that these chemolithoautotrophic bacteria utilized several oxidants (oxygen, nitrate, nitrite, nitric oxide and nitrous oxide) to detoxify the sulfidic waters well below the oxic surface. The chemolithoautotrophic activity at our sampling site led to high rates of dark carbon fixation. Assuming that these chemolithoautotrophic rates were maintained throughout the sulfidic waters, they could be representing as much as ∼30% of the photoautotrophic carbon fixation.
Postulated changes such as eutrophication and global warming, which lead to an expansion and intensification of OMZs, might also increase the frequency of sulfidic waters. We suggest that the chemolithoautotrophically fixed carbon may be involved in a negative feedback loop that could fuel further sulfate reduction and potentially stabilize the sulfidic OMZ waters.
Silver N-heterocyclic carbene complexes have been shown to have great potential as antimicrobial agents, affecting a wide spectrum of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. A new series of three silver carbene complexes (SCCs) based on 4,5,6,7-tetrachlorobenzimidazole has been synthesized, characterized, and tested against a panel of clinical strains of bacteria. The imidazolium salts and their precursors were characterized by elemental analysis, mass spectrometry, 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy, and single crystal X-ray diffraction. The silver carbene complexes, SCC32, SCC33, and SCC34 were characterized by elemental analysis, 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy, and single crystal X-ray diffraction. These complexes proved highly efficacious with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) ranging from 0.25 to 6 μg mL−1. Overall, the complexes were effective against highly resistant bacteria strains, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), weaponizable bacteria, such as Yersinia pestis, and pathogens found within the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Alcaligenes xylosoxidans, and Burkholderia gladioli. SCC33 and SCC34 also showed clinically relevant activity against a silver-resistant strain of Escherichia coli based on MIC testing.
Marine cyanobacteria of the genus Acaryochloris are the only known organisms that use chlorophyll d as a photosynthetic pigment. However, based on chemical sediment analyses, chlorophyll d has been recognized to be widespread in oceanic and lacustrine environments. Therefore it is highly relevant to understand the genetic basis for different physiologies and possible niche adaptation in this genus. Here we show that unlike all other known isolates of Acaryochloris, the strain HICR111A, isolated from waters around Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, possesses a unique genomic region containing all the genes for the structural and enzymatically active proteins of nitrogen fixation and cofactor biosynthesis. Their phylogenetic analysis suggests a close relation to nitrogen fixation genes from certain other marine cyanobacteria. We show that nitrogen fixation in Acaryochloris sp. HICR111A is regulated in a light–dark-dependent fashion. We conclude that nitrogen fixation, one of the most complex physiological traits known in bacteria, might be transferred among oceanic microbes by horizontal gene transfer more often than anticipated so far. Our data show that the two powerful processes of oxygenic photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation co-occur in one and the same cell also in this branch of marine microbes and characterize Acaryochloris as a physiologically versatile inhabitant of an ecological niche, which is primarily driven by the absorption of far-red light.
Acaryochloris; chlorophyll d; cyanobacteria; dinitrogen fixation; microbial diversity; nitrogenase
Copper is essential for healthy cellular functioning, but this heavy metal quickly becomes toxic when supply exceeds demand. Marine sediments receive widespread and increasing levels of copper contamination from antifouling paints owing to the 2008 global ban of organotin-based products. The toxicity of copper will increase in the coming years as seawater pH decreases and temperature increases. We used a factorial mesocosm experiment to investigate how increasing sediment copper concentrations and the presence of a cosmopolitan bioturbating amphipod, Corophium volutator, affected a range of ecosystem functions in a soft sediment microbial community. The effects of copper on benthic nutrient release, bacterial biomass, microbial community structure and the isotopic composition of individual microbial membrane [phospholipid] fatty acids (PLFAs) all differed in the presence of C. volutator. Our data consistently demonstrate that copper contamination of global waterways will have pervasive effects on the metabolic functioning of benthic communities that cannot be predicted from copper concentrations alone; impacts will depend upon the resident macrofauna and their capacity for bioturbation. This finding poses a major challenge for those attempting to manage the impacts of copper contamination on ecosystem services, e.g. carbon and nutrient cycling, across different habitats. Our work also highlights the paucity of information on the processes that result in isotopic fractionation in natural marine microbial communities. We conclude that the assimilative capacity of benthic microbes will become progressively impaired as copper concentrations increase. These effects will, to an extent, be mitigated by the presence of bioturbating animals and possibly other processes that increase the influx of oxygenated seawater into the sediments. Our findings support the move towards an ecosystem approach for environmental management.
The North Sea coast of the Dutch barrier island of Schiermonnikoog is covered by microbial mats that initiate a succession of plant communities that eventually results in the development of a densely vegetated salt marsh. The North Sea beach has a natural elevation running from the low water mark to the dunes resulting in gradients of environmental factors perpendicular to the beach. These gradients are due to the input of seawater at the low water mark and of freshwater from upwelling groundwater at the dunes and rainfall. The result is a natural and dynamic salinity gradient depending on the tide, rainfall and wind. We studied the microbial community composition in thirty three samples taken every ten meters along this natural salinity gradient by using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of rRNA gene fragments. We looked at representatives from each Domain of life (Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya) and with a particular emphasis on Cyanobacteria. Analysis of the DGGE fingerprints together with pigment composition revealed three distinct microbial mat communities, a marine community dominated by diatoms as primary producers, an intermediate brackish community dominated by Cyanobacteria as primary producers and a freshwater community with Cyanobacteria and freshwater green algae.
Amyloid precursor protein (APP), a transmembrane glycoprotein, is well known for its involvement in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease of the aging brain, but its normal function is unclear. APP is a prominent component of the adult as well as the developing brain. It is enriched in axonal growth cones (GCs) and has been implicated in cell adhesion and motility. We tested the hypothesis that APP is an extracellular matrix adhesion molecule in experiments that isolated the function of APP from that of well-established adhesion molecules. To this end we plated wild-type, APP-, or β1-integrin (Itgb1)- misexpressing mouse hippocampal neurons on matrices of either laminin, recombinant L1, or synthetic peptides binding specifically to Itgb1 s or APP. We measured GC adhesion, initial axonal outgrowth, and substrate preference on alternating matrix stripes and made the following observations: Substrates of APP-binding peptide alone sustain neurite outgrowth; APP dosage controls GC adhesion to laminin and APP-binding peptide as well as axonal outgrowth in Itgb1− independent manner; and APP directs GCs in contact guidance assays. It follows that APP is an independently operating cell adhesion molecule that affects the GC's phenotype on APP-binding matrices including laminin, and that it is likely to affect axon pathfinding in vivo.
Microalgae are ideal candidates for waste-gas and –water remediation. However, salinity often varies between different sites. A cosmopolitan microalga with large salinity tolerance and consistent biochemical profiles would be ideal for standardised cultivation across various remediation sites. The aims of this study were to determine the effects of salinity on Picochlorum atomus growth, biomass productivity, nutrient uptake and biochemical profiles. To determine if target end-products could be manipulated, the effects of 4-day nutrient limitation were also determined. Culture salinity had no effect on growth, biomass productivity, phosphate, nitrate and total nitrogen uptake at 2, 8, 18, 28 and 36 ppt. 11 ppt, however, initiated a significantly higher total nitrogen uptake. While salinity had only minor effects on biochemical composition, nutrient depletion was a major driver for changes in biomass quality, leading to significant increases in total lipid, fatty acid and carbohydrate quantities. Fatty acid composition was also significantly affected by nutrient depletion, with an increased proportion of saturated and mono-unsaturated fatty acids. Having established that P. atomus is a euryhaline microalga, the effects of culture salinity on the development of the freshwater cyanobacterial contaminant Pseudanabaena limnetica were determined. Salinity at 28 and 36 ppt significantly inhibited establishment of P. limnetica in P. atomus cultures. In conclusion, P. atomus can be deployed for bioremediation at sites with highly variable salinities without effects on end-product potential. Nutrient status critically affected biochemical profiles – an important consideration for end-product development by microalgal industries. 28 and 36 ppt slow the establishment of the freshwater cyanobacterium P. limnetica, allowing for harvest of low contaminant containing biomass.
Nodularia spumigena is a filamentous diazotrophic cyanobacterium that dominates the annual late summer cyanobacterial blooms in the Baltic Sea. But N. spumigena also is common in brackish water bodies worldwide, suggesting special adaptation allowing it to thrive at moderate salinities. A draft genome analysis of N. spumigena sp. CCY9414 yielded a single scaffold of 5,462,271 nucleotides in length on which genes for 5,294 proteins were annotated. A subsequent strand-specific transcriptome analysis identified more than 6,000 putative transcriptional start sites (TSS). Orphan TSSs located in intergenic regions led us to predict 764 non-coding RNAs, among them 70 copies of a possible retrotransposon and several potential RNA regulators, some of which are also present in other N2-fixing cyanobacteria. Approximately 4% of the total coding capacity is devoted to the production of secondary metabolites, among them the potent hepatotoxin nodularin, the linear spumigin and the cyclic nodulapeptin. The transcriptional complexity associated with genes involved in nitrogen fixation and heterocyst differentiation is considerably smaller compared to other Nostocales. In contrast, sophisticated systems exist for the uptake and assimilation of iron and phosphorus compounds, for the synthesis of compatible solutes, and for the formation of gas vesicles, required for the active control of buoyancy. Hence, the annotation and interpretation of this sequence provides a vast array of clues into the genomic underpinnings of the physiology of this cyanobacterium and indicates in particular a competitive edge of N. spumigena in nutrient-limited brackish water ecosystems.
Iron is an essential component in many protein complexes involved in photosynthesis, but environmental iron availability is often low as oxidized forms of iron are insoluble in water. To adjust to low environmental iron levels, cyanobacteria undergo numerous changes to balance their iron budget and mitigate the physiological effects of iron depletion. We investigated changes in key protein abundances and photophysiological parameters in the model cyanobacteria Synechococcus PCC 7942 and Synechocystis PCC 6803 over a 120 hour time course of iron deprivation. The iron stress induced protein (IsiA) accumulated to high levels within 48 h of the onset of iron deprivation, reaching a molar ratio of ∼42 IsiA : Photosystem I in Synechococcus PCC 7942 and ∼12 IsiA : Photosystem I in Synechocystis PCC 6803. Concomitantly the iron-rich complexes Cytochrome b6f and Photosystem I declined in abundance, leading to a decrease in the Photosystem I : Photosystem II ratio. Chlorophyll fluorescence analyses showed a drop in electron transport per Photosystem II in Synechococcus, but not in Synechocystis after iron depletion. We found no evidence that the accumulated IsiA contributes to light capture by Photosystem II complexes.
Marine phytoplankton account for about 50% of all global net primary productivity (NPP). Active fluorometry, mainly Fast Repetition Rate fluorometry (FRRf), has been advocated as means of providing high resolution estimates of NPP. However, not measuring CO2-fixation directly, FRRf instead provides photosynthetic quantum efficiency estimates from which electron transfer rates (ETR) and ultimately CO2-fixation rates can be derived. Consequently, conversions of ETRs to CO2-fixation requires knowledge of the electron requirement for carbon fixation (Φe,C, ETR/CO2 uptake rate) and its dependence on environmental gradients. Such knowledge is critical for large scale implementation of active fluorescence to better characterise CO2-uptake. Here we examine the variability of experimentally determined Φe,C values in relation to key environmental variables with the aim of developing new working algorithms for the calculation of Φe,C from environmental variables. Coincident FRRf and 14C-uptake and environmental data from 14 studies covering 12 marine regions were analysed via a meta-analytical, non-parametric, multivariate approach. Combining all studies, Φe,C varied between 1.15 and 54.2 mol e− (mol C)−1 with a mean of 10.9±6.91 mol e− mol C)−1. Although variability of Φe,C was related to environmental gradients at global scales, region-specific analyses provided far improved predictive capability. However, use of regional Φe,C algorithms requires objective means of defining regions of interest, which remains challenging. Considering individual studies and specific small-scale regions, temperature, nutrient and light availability were correlated with Φe,C albeit to varying degrees and depending on the study/region and the composition of the extant phytoplankton community. At the level of large biogeographic regions and distinct water masses, Φe,C was related to nutrient availability, chlorophyll, as well as temperature and/or salinity in most regions, while light availability was also important in Baltic Sea and shelf waters. The novel Φe,C algorithms provide a major step forward for widespread fluorometry-based NPP estimates and highlight the need for further studying the natural variability of Φe,C to verify and develop algorithms with improved accuracy.
Bacterial populations display high heterogeneity in viability and physiological activity at the single-cell level, especially under stressful conditions. We demonstrate a novel staining protocol for multiparameter assessment of individual cells in physiologically heterogeneous populations of cyanobacteria. The protocol employs fluorescent probes, i.e., redox dye 5-cyano-2,3-ditolyl tetrazolium chloride, ‘dead cell’ nucleic acid stain SYTOX Green, and DNA-specific fluorochrome 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole, combined with microscopy image analysis. Our method allows simultaneous estimates of cellular respiration activity, membrane and nucleoid integrity, and allows the detection of photosynthetic pigments fluorescence along with morphological observations. The staining protocol has been adjusted for, both, laboratory and natural populations of the genus Phormidium (Oscillatoriales), and tested on 4 field-collected samples and 12 laboratory strains of cyanobacteria. Based on the mentioned cellular functions we suggest classification of cells in cyanobacterial populations into four categories: (i) active and intact; (ii) injured but active; (iii) metabolically inactive but intact; (iv) inactive and injured, or dead.
Toxic cyanobacterial blooms threaten freshwaters worldwide but have proven difficult to predict because the mechanisms of bloom formation and toxin production are unknown, especially on weekly time scales. Water quality management continues to focus on aggregated metrics, such as chlorophyll and total nutrients, which may not be sufficient to explain complex community changes and functions such as toxin production. For example, nitrogen (N) speciation and cycling play an important role, on daily time scales, in shaping cyanobacterial communities because declining N has been shown to select for N fixers. In addition, subsequent N pulses from N2 fixation may stimulate and sustain toxic cyanobacterial growth. Herein, we describe how rapid early summer declines in N followed by bursts of N fixation have shaped cyanobacterial communities in a eutrophic lake (Lake Mendota, Wisconsin, USA), possibly driving toxic Microcystis blooms throughout the growing season. On weekly time scales in 2010 and 2011, we monitored the cyanobacterial community in a eutrophic lake using the phycocyanin intergenic spacer (PC-IGS) region to determine population dynamics. In parallel, we measured microcystin concentrations, N2 fixation rates, and potential environmental drivers that contribute to structuring the community. In both years, cyanobacterial community change was strongly correlated with dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) concentrations, and Aphanizomenon and Microcystis alternated dominance throughout the pre-toxic, toxic, and post-toxic phases of the lake. Microcystin concentrations increased a few days after the first significant N2 fixation rates were observed. Then, following large early summer N2 fixation events, Microcystis increased and became most abundant. Maximum microcystin concentrations coincided with Microcystis dominance. In both years, DIN concentrations dropped again in late summer, and N2 fixation rates and Aphanizomenon abundance increased before the lake mixed in the fall. Estimated N inputs from N2 fixation were large enough to supplement, or even support, the toxic Microcystis blooms.
Marine planktonic organisms that undertake active vertical migrations over their life cycle are important contributors to downward particle flux in the oceans. Acantharia, globally distributed heterotrophic protists that are unique in building skeletons of celestite (strontium sulfate), can produce reproductive cysts covered by a heavy mineral shell that sink rapidly from surface to deep waters. We combined phylogenetic and biogeochemical analyses to explore the ecological and biogeochemical significance of this reproductive strategy. Phylogenetic analysis of the 18S and 28S rRNA genes of different cyst morphotypes collected in different oceans indicated that cyst-forming Acantharia belong to three early diverging and essentially non symbiotic clades from the orders Chaunacanthida and Holacanthida. Environmental high-throughput V9 tag sequences and clone libraries of the 18S rRNA showed that the three clades are widely distributed in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at different latitudes, but appear prominent in regions of higher primary productivity. Moreover, sequences of cyst-forming Acantharia were distributed evenly in both the photic and mesopelagic zone, a vertical distribution that we attribute to their life cycle where flagellated swarmers are released in deep waters from sinking cysts. Bathypelagic sediment traps in the subantarctic and oligotrophic subtropical Atlantic Ocean showed that downward flux of Acantharia was only large at high-latitudes and during a phytoplankton bloom. Their contribution to the total monthly particulate organic matter flux can represent up to 3%. High organic carbon export in cold waters would be a putative nutritional source for juveniles ascending in the water column. This study improves our understanding of the life cycle and biogeochemical contribution of Acantharia, and brings new insights into a remarkable reproductive strategy in marine protists.
Climate change is expected to bring about alterations in the marine physical and chemical environment that will induce changes in the concentration of dissolved CO2 and in nutrient availability. These in turn are expected to affect the physiological performance of phytoplankton. In order to learn how phytoplankton respond to the predicted scenario of increased CO2 and decreased nitrogen in the surface mixed layer, we investigated the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum as a model organism. The cells were cultured in both low CO2 (390 μatm) and high CO2 (1000 μatm) conditions at limiting (10 μmol L−1) or enriched (110 μmol L−1) nitrate concentrations. Our study shows that nitrogen limitation resulted in significant decreases in cell size, pigmentation, growth rate and effective quantum yield of Phaeodactylum tricornutum, but these parameters were not affected by enhanced dissolved CO2 and lowered pH. However, increased CO2 concentration induced higher rETRmax and higher dark respiration rates and decreased the CO2 or dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) affinity for electron transfer (shown by higher values for K1/2 DIC or K1/2 CO2). Furthermore, the elemental stoichiometry (carbon to nitrogen ratio) was raised under high CO2 conditions in both nitrogen limited and nitrogen replete conditions, with the ratio in the high CO2 and low nitrate grown cells being higher by 45% compared to that in the low CO2 and nitrate replete grown ones. Our results suggest that while nitrogen limitation had a greater effect than ocean acidification, the combined effects of both factors could act synergistically to affect marine diatoms and related biogeochemical cycles in future oceans.
Coastal microbial mats are small-scale and largely closed ecosystems in which a plethora of different functional groups of microorganisms are responsible for the biogeochemical cycling of the elements. Coastal microbial mats play an important role in coastal protection and morphodynamics through stabilization of the sediments and by initiating the development of salt-marshes. Little is known about the bacterial and especially archaeal diversity and how it contributes to the ecological functioning of coastal microbial mats. Here, we analyzed three different types of coastal microbial mats that are located along a tidal gradient and can be characterized as marine (ST2), brackish (ST3) and freshwater (ST3) systems. The mats were sampled during three different seasons and subjected to massive parallel tag sequencing of the V6 region of the 16S rRNA genes of Bacteria and Archaea. Sequence analysis revealed that the mats are among the most diverse marine ecosystems studied so far and consist of several novel taxonomic levels ranging from classes to species. The diversity between the different mat types was far more pronounced than the changes between the different seasons at one location. The archaeal community for these mats have not been studied before and revealed a strong reaction on a short period of draught during summer resulting in a massive increase in halobacterial sequences, whereas the bacterial community was barely affected. We concluded that the community composition and the microbial diversity were intrinsic of the mat type and depend on the location along the tidal gradient indicating a relation with salinity.
microbial diversity; microbial mats; 16S tag sequencing
There is a need for effective interventions and policies that target the leading preventable causes of death in the U.S. (e.g., smoking, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity). Such efforts could be aided by the use of publicly available, real-time search query data that illustrate times and locations of high and low public interest in behaviors related to preventable causes of death.
This study explored patterns of search query activity for the terms ‘weight’, ‘diet’, ‘fitness’, and ‘smoking’ using Google Insights for Search.
Search activity for ‘weight’, ‘diet’, ‘fitness’, and ‘smoking’ conducted within the United States via Google between January 4th, 2004 (first date data was available) and November 28th, 2011 (date of data download and analysis) were analyzed. Using a generalized linear model, we explored the effects of time (month) on mean relative search volume for all four terms.
Models suggest a significant effect of month on mean search volume for all four terms. Search activity for all four terms was highest in January with observable declines throughout the remainder of the year.
These findings demonstrate discernable temporal patterns of search activity for four areas of behavior change. These findings could be used to inform the timing, location and messaging of interventions, campaigns and policies targeting these behaviors.
One of the greatest challenges in understanding the Amazon basin functioning is to ascertain the role played by floodplains in the organic matter (OM) cycle, crucial for a large spectrum of ecological mechanisms. Fatty acids (FAs) were combined with environmental descriptors and analyzed through multivariate and spatial tools (asymmetric eigenvector maps, AEM and principal coordinates of neighbor matrices, PCNM). This challenge allowed investigating the distribution of suspended particulate organic matter (SPOM), in order to trace its seasonal origin and quality, along a 800 km section of the Amazon river-floodplain system. Statistical analysis confirmed that large amounts of saturated FAs (15:0, 18:0, 24:0, 25:0 and 26:0), an indication of refractory OM, were concomitantly recorded with high pCO2 in rivers, during the high water season (HW). Contrastingly, FAs marker which may be attributed in this ecosystem to aquatic plants (18:2ω6 and 18:3ω3) and cyanobacteria (16:1ω7), were correlated with higher O2, chlorophyll a and pheopigments in floodplains, due to a high primary production during low waters (LW). Decreasing concentrations of unsaturated FAs, that characterize labile OM, were recorded during HW, from upstream to downstream. Furthermore, using PCNM and AEM spatial methods, FAs compositions of SPOM displayed an upstream-downstream gradient during HW, which was attributed to OM retention and the extent of flooded forest in floodplains. Discrimination of OM quality between the Amazon River and floodplains corroborate higher autotrophic production in the latter and transfer of OM to rivers at LW season. Together, these gradients demonstrate the validity of FAs as predictors of spatial and temporal changes in OM quality. These spatial and temporal trends are explained by 1) downstream change in landscape morphology as predicted by the River Continuum Concept; 2) enhanced primary production during LW when the water level decreased and its residence time increased as predicted by the Flood Pulse Concept.
Extremes of wall shear stress (WSS) have been associated with plaque progression and transformation, which has raised interest in the clinical assessment of WSS. We hypothesized that calculated coronary WSS is predicted only partially by luminal geometry and that WSS is related to plaque composition.
Methods and Results
Twenty‐seven patients with coronary artery disease underwent virtual histology intravascular ultrasound and Doppler velocity measurement for computational fluid dynamics modeling for WSS calculation in each virtual histology intravascular ultrasound segment (N=3581 segments). We assessed the association of WSS with plaque burden and distribution and with plaque composition. WSS remained relatively constant across the lower 3 quartiles of plaque burden (P=0.08) but increased in the highest quartile of plaque burden (P<0.001). Segments distal to lesions or within bifurcations were more likely to have low WSS (P<0.001). However, the majority of segments distal to lesions (80%) and within bifurcations (89%) did not exhibit low WSS. After adjustment for plaque burden, there was a negative association between WSS and percent necrotic core and calcium. For every 10 dynes/cm2 increase in WSS, percent necrotic core decreased by 17% (P=0.01), and percent dense calcium decreased by 17% (P<0.001). There was no significant association between WSS and percent of fibrous or fibrofatty plaque components (P=NS).
In patients with coronary artery disease: (1) Luminal geometry predicts calculated WSS only partially, which suggests that detailed computational techniques must be used to calculate WSS. (2) Low WSS is associated with plaque necrotic core and calcium, independent of plaque burden, which suggests a link between WSS and coronary plaque phenotype. (J Am Heart Assoc. 2012;1:e002543 doi: 10.1161/JAHA.112.002543.)
atherosclerosis; coronary arteries; computational fluid dynamics; ultrasonography, intravascular; histology, virtual; wall shear stress
RNA interference (RNAi)–related pathways affect gene activity by sequence-specific recruitment of Ago proteins to mRNA target molecules. The sequence specificity of this process stems from small RNA (sRNA) co-factors bound by the Ago protein. Stability of sRNA molecules in some pathways is in part regulated by Hen1-mediated methylation of their 3′ ends. Here we describe the effects of the Caenorhabditis elegans HEN1 RNA–methyl-transferase homolog, HENN-1, on the different RNAi pathways in this nematode. We reveal differential effects of HENN-1 on the two pathways that are known to employ methylated sRNA molecules: the 26G and 21U pathways. Surprisingly, in the germline, stability of 21U RNAs, the C. elegans piRNAs, is only mildly affected by loss of methylation; and introduction of artificial 21U target RNA does not further destabilize non-methylated 21U RNAs. In contrast, most 26G RNAs display reduced stability and respond to loss of HENN-1 by displaying increased 3′-uridylation frequencies. Within the 26G RNA class, we find that specifically ERGO-1–bound 26G RNAs are modified by HENN-1, while ALG-3/ALG-4–bound 26G RNAs are not. Global gene expression analysis of henn-1 mutants reveals mild effects, including down-regulation of many germline-expressed genes. Our data suggest that, apart from direct effects of reduced 26G RNA levels of henn-1 on gene expression, most effects on global gene expression are indirect. These studies further refine our understanding of endogenous RNAi in C. elegans and the roles for Hen1 like enzymes in these pathways.
Small RNAs (sRNAs) have been shown to be potent regulators of gene expression in many different systems. They act by providing sequence specificity to Argonaute (Ago) proteins that in turn affect the expression and/or stability of mRNAs, or affect chromatin structures through recognition of nascent transcripts. Stability of sRNAs can be regulated by methylation of their 3′ end. This modification prevents addition of uridine residues that can destabilize the sRNA. The enzyme that catalyzes the methylation of sRNAs has been identified in Arabidopsis: HEN1. We describe studies on the C. elegans homolog of Hen1, henn-1. Our findings show that HENN-1 protein does not stably associate with the Ago proteins binding methylated sRNAs, but that HENN-1 does localize to subcellular regions known to host these factors. We find that the two known methylated sRNA species in C. elegans (21U and 26G) respond differently to loss of henn-1. While HENN-1 is required for 26G RNA stability in the germline, it has limited impact on 21U RNAs. In addition, we demonstrate that only ERGO-1–bound 26G RNAs are methylated, while those bound by ALG-3/4, are not. Our findings further refine the general understanding of 21U and 26G RNA pathways and identify two separable effects of HENN-1 on these RNAi–related mechanisms.
At the start and during the course of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), estimation of the seizure threshold (ST) is useful in weighing the expected effectiveness against the risks of side effects. Therefore, this study explores clinical factors predicting initial ST (IST) and levels of ST during the ECT course. This prospective observational study included patients aged ≥18 years receiving ECT without contraindications for dose titration. At the first and every sixth consecutive ECT session, ST level was measured. Using multivariate linear regression and multilevel models, predictors for IST and change in ST levels were examined. A total of 91 patients (mean age, 59.1 ± 15.0 years; 37 % male; 97 % diagnosis of depression) were included. In multivariable analysis, higher age (β = 0.24; P = 0.03) and bifrontotemporal (BL) electrode placement (β = 0.42; P < 0.001) were independent predictors for higher IST, explaining 49 % of its variation. Also, these two variables independently predicted higher ST levels at different time points during the course. Using multilevel models, absence of a previous ECT course(s) predicted a steeper rise in ST during the course (P = 0.03 for the interaction term time*previous ECT). The age-adjusted dose-titration method is somewhat crude, resulting in some measurement error. Concomitant medication use could have influenced ST levels. Increasing age and BL electrode placement predicted higher (I)ST, which should be taken into account when selecting ECT dosage. Previous ECT course(s) may avoid an increase in ST during the course of ECT.
ECT; (Initial) seizure threshold; Predictors; Prospective study