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Ceramics are strong but brittle. According to the classical theories, ceramics are brittle mainly because dislocations are suppressed by cracks. Here, the authors report the combined elastic and plastic deformation measurements of nanoceramics, in which dislocation-mediated stiff and ductile behaviors were detected at room temperature. In the synchrotron-based deformation experiments, a marked slope change is observed in the stress–strain relationship of MgAl2O4 nanoceramics at high pressures, indicating that a deformation mechanism shift occurs in the compression and that the nanoceramics sample is elastically stiffer than its bulk counterpart. The bulk-sized MgAl2O4 shows no texturing at pressures up to 37 GPa, which is compatible with the brittle behaviors of ceramics. Surprisingly, substantial texturing is seen in nanoceramic MgAl2O4 at pressures above 4 GPa. The observed stiffening and texturing indicate that dislocation-mediated mechanisms, usually suppressed in bulk-sized ceramics at low temperature, become operative in nanoceramics. This makes nanoceramics stiff and ductile.
The crustacean fauna of the Insect Bed (late Eocene), Isle of Wight is reviewed. The fauna comprises the branchiopod Branchipodites vectensis Woodward, 1879, ostracod Potamocypris brodiei Jones and Sherborn, 1889, and isopod Eosphaeroma margarum (Desmarest, 1822). In addition a new clam shrimp (Crustacea: Diplostraca: Spinicaudata) is described and named Paraleptestheria mitchelli sp. nov. This is the first record of the genus outside China and the first ‘conchostracan' to be described from the European Cenozoic.
The present study was undertaken to investigate the antiparasitic activity of extracellular products of Streptomyces albus. Bioactivity-guided isolation of chloroform extracts affording a compound showing potent activity. The structure of the compound was elucidated as salinomycin (SAL) by EI-MS, 1H NMR and 13C NMR. In vitro test showed that SAL has potent anti-parasitic efficacy against theronts of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis with 10 min, 1, 2, 3 and 4 h (effective concentration) EC50 (95% confidence intervals) of 2.12 (2.22–2.02), 1.93 (1.98–1.88), 1.42 (1.47–1.37), 1.35 (1.41–1.31) and 1.11 (1.21–1.01) mg L−1. In vitro antiparasitic assays revealed that SAL could be 100% effective against I. multifiliis encysted tomonts at a concentration of 8.0 mg L−1. In vivo test demonstrated that the number of I. multifiliis trophonts on Erythroculter ilishaeformis treated with SAL was markedly lower than that of control group at 10 days after exposed to theronts (P < 0.05). In the control group, 80% mortality was observed owing to heavy I. multifiliis infection at 10 days. On the other hand, only 30.0% mortality was recorded in the group treated with 8.0 mg L−1 SAL. The median lethal dose (LD50) of SAL for E. ilishaeformis was 32.9 mg L−1.
This study aimed to investigate the effects of dietary live yeast (LY) supplementation on growth, intestinal permeability and immunological parameters of piglets challenged with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli K88 (ETEC). Piglets weaned at 21 d were allocated into three treatments with six pens and six piglets per pen, receiving the control diet (CON), diets supplemented with antibiotics plus zinc oxide (ANT–ZnO) and LY (Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain CNCM I-4407), respectively, for a period of 2 weeks. On day 8, thirty-six piglets were selected as control without ETEC (CON), CON–ETEC, ANT–ZnO–ETEC and LY–ETEC groups challenged with ETEC until day 10 for sample collections. Piglets fed ANT–ZnO diet had the highest average daily gain and average daily feed intake (P<0·05) during the 1st week, but ADG of piglets fed the ANT–ZnO diet was similar as piglets fed LY diet during the second week. Piglets with LY–ETEC or ANT–ZnO–ETEC had markedly lower diarrhoea score (P<0·05) than piglets with CON–ETEC during the 24 h after ETEC challenge. Relative to piglets with CON, the counts of E. coli, urinary ratio of lactulose to mannitol, plasma IL-6 concentration, mRNA abundances of innate immunity-related genes in ileum and mesenteric lymph node tissues were increased (P<0·05), whereas the villous height of jejunum and relative protein expression of ileum claudin-1 were decreased (P<0·05) in piglets with CON–ETEC; however, these parameters did not markedly change in piglets with LY–ETEC or ANT–ZnO–ETEC. In summary, dietary LY supplementation could alleviate the severity of diarrhoea in piglets with ETEC, which may be associated with the improved permeability, innate immunity and bacterial profile.
Both fibronectin (FN) and filamentous actin (F-actin) fibers play a critical role for endothelial cells (ECs) in responding to shear stress and modulating cell alignment and functions. FN is dynamically coupled to the F-actin cytoskeleton via focal adhesions. However, it is unclear how ECs cooperatively remodel their subcellular FN matrix and intracellular F-actin cytoskeleton in response to shear stress. Current studies are hampered by the lack of a reliable and sensitive quantification method of FN orientation. In this study, we developed a MATLAB-based feature enhancement method to quantify FN and F-actin orientation. The role of F-actin in FN remodeling was also studied by treating ECs with cytochalasin D. We have demonstrated that FN and F-actin codistributed and coaligned parallel to the flow direction, and that F-actin alignment played an essential role in regulating FN alignment in response to shear stress. Our findings offer insight into how ECs cooperatively remodel their subcellular ECM and intracellular F-actin cytoskeleton in response to mechanical stimuli, and are valuable for vascular tissue engineering.
Determination of canopy resistance (rc) is necessary for accurate estimating hourly latent heat flux (LET), using the Penman–Monteith (PM) model for tea crop. In this study, a non-linear relationship between rc and climatic resistance (r*) was obtained for tea plants based on micro-meteorological data and LET from the end of 2014 to the beginning of 2016 in southern China. The proposed rc model was integrated to the PM method and compared with measured LET using a Bowen ratio energy balance method. The root mean square error (RMSE) and the index of agreement (d) were calculated for assessing the accuracy of the proposed rc model. RMSE and d values for rc and LET were 167.4 s m−1 and 29.7 W m−2 and 0.93 and 0.99, respectively. As compared to data from a single season, the rc sub-model based on data from different seasons was more reliable for estimating LET of tea field when integrated to the PM model.
Previous studies have investigated the association between dietary inflammatory potential and the development of cancer. For breast cancer the results have been equivocal. The present study aimed to investigate whether higher Dietary Inflammatory IndexTM (DII) scores were associated with increased risk of breast cancer among Chinese women. A total of 867 cases and 824 controls were recruited into the present case–control study from September 2011 to February 2016. DII scores were computed based on baseline dietary intake assessed by a validated 81-item FFQ. The OR and 95 % CI were assessed by multivariable logistic regression after adjusting for various potential confounders. DII scores in this study ranged from −5·87 (most anti-inflammatory score) to +5·71 (most proinflammatory score). A higher DII score was associated with a higher breast cancer risk (adjusted ORquartile 4 v. 1 2·28; 95 % CI 1·71, 3·03; adjusted ORcontinuous 1·40; 95 %CI 1·25, 1·39). In stratified analyses, positive associations also were observed except for underweight women or women with either oestrogen receptor+ or progesterone receptor+ status (but not both). Results from this study indicated that higher DII scores, corresponding to more proinflammatory diets, were positively associated with breast cancer risk among Chinese women.
Nitrogen is an essential element for biological activity, and nitrogen isotopic compositions of geological samples record information about both marine biological processes and environmental evolution. However, only a few studies of N isotopes in the early Cambrian have been published. In this study, we analysed nitrogen isotopic compositions, as well as trace elements and sulphur isotopic compositions of cherts, black shales, carbonaceous shales and argillaceous carbonates from the Daotuo drill core in Songtao County, NE Guizhou Province, China, to reconstruct the marine redox environment of both deep and surface seawater in the study area of the Yangtze shelf margin in the early Cambrian. The Mo–U covariation pattern of the studied samples indicates that the Yangtze shelf margin area was weakly restricted and connected to the open ocean through shallow water flows. Mo and U concentrations, δ15Nbulk and δ34Spy values of the studied samples from the Yangtze shelf margin area suggest ferruginous but not sulphidic seawater and low marine sulphate concentration (relatively deep chemocline) in the Cambrian Fortunian and early Stage 2; sulphidic conditions (shallow chemocline and anoxic photic zone) in the upper Cambrian Stage 2 and lower Stage 3; and the depression of sulphidic seawater in the middle and upper Cambrian Stage 3. Furthermore, the decreasing δ15N values indicate shrinking of the marine nitrate reservoir during the middle and upper Stage 3, which reflects a falling oxygenation level in this period. The environmental evolution was probably controlled by the changing biological activity through its feedback on the local marine environment.
The present study aimed to investigate the effect of maternal malnutrition on offspring glucose tolerance and the epigenetic mechanisms involved. In total, twelve primiparous Landrace×Yorkshire gilts were fed rations providing either 100 % (control (CON)) or 75 % (undernutrition (UN)) nutritional requirements according to the National Research Council recommendations, throughout gestation. Muscle samples of offspring were collected at birth (dpn1), weaning (dpn28) and adulthood (dpn189). Compared with CON pigs, UN pigs showed lower serum glucose concentrations at birth, but showed higher serum glucose and insulin concentrations as well as increased area under the blood glucose curve during intravenous glucose tolerance test at dpn189 (P<0·05). Compared with CON pigs, GLUT-4 gene and protein expressions were decreased at dpn1 and dpn189 in the muscle of UN pigs, which was accompanied by increased methylation at the GLUT4 promoter (P<0·05). These alterations in methylation concurred with increased mRNA levels of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) 1 at dpn1 and dpn28, DNMT3a at dpn189 and DNMT3b at dpn1 in UN pigs compared with CON pigs (P<0·05). Interestingly, although the average methylation levels at the muscle GLUT4 promoter were decreased at dpn189 compared with dpn1 in pigs exposed to a poor maternal diet (P<0·05), the methylation differences in individual CpG sites were more pronounced with age. Our results indicate that in utero undernutrition persists to silence muscle GLUT4 likely through DNA methylation during the ageing process, which may lead to the amplification of age-associated glucose intolerance.
Mesh generation is a bottleneck for finite element simulations of biomolecules. A robust and efficient approach, based on the immersed boundary method proposed in , has been developed and implemented to generate large-scale mesh body-fitted to molecular shape for general parallel finite element simulations. The molecular Gaussian surface is adopted to represent the molecular surface, and is finally approximated by piecewise planes via the tool phgSurfaceCut in PHG , which is improved and can reliably handle complicated molecular surfaces, through mesh refinement steps. A coarse background mesh is imported first and then is distributed into each process using a mesh partitioning algorithm such as space filling curve  or METIS . A bisection method is used for the mesh refinements according to the molecular PDB or PQR file which describes the biomolecular region. After mesh refinements, the mesh is optionally repartitioned and redistributed for load balancing. For finite element simulations, the modification of region mark and boundary types is done in parallel. Our parallel mesh generation method has been successfully applied to a sphere cavity model, a DNA fragment, a gramicidin A channel and a huge Dengue virus system. The results of numerical experiments show good parallel efficiency. Computations of electrostatic potential and solvation energy also validate the method. Moreover, the meshing process and adaptive finite element computation can be integrated as one PHG project to avoid the mesh importing and exporting costs, and improve the convenience of application as well.
Intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) impairs postnatal growth and skeletal muscle development in neonatal infants. This study evaluated whether dietary β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate Ca (HMB-Ca) supplementation during the early postnatal period could improve muscle growth in IUGR neonates using piglets as a model. A total of twelve pairs of IUGR and normal-birth-weight (NBW) male piglets with average initial weights (1·85 (sem 0·36) and 2·51 (sem 0·39) kg, respectively) were randomly allotted to groups that received milk-based diets (CON) or milk-based diets supplemented with 800 mg/kg HMB-Ca (HMB) during days 7–28 after birth. Blood and longissimus dorsi (LD) samples were collected and analysed for plasma amino acid content, fibre morphology and the expression of genes related to muscle development. The results indicate that, regardless of diet, IUGR piglets had a significantly decreased average daily weight gain (ADG) compared with that of NBW piglets (P<0·05). However, IUGR piglets fed HMB-Ca had a net weight and ADG similar to that of NBW piglets fed the CON diet. Irrespective of body weight (BW), HMB-Ca supplementation markedly increased the type II fibre cross-sectional area and the mRNA expression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), insulin-like growth factor-1 and myosin heavy-chain isoform IIb in the LD of piglets (P<0·05). Moreover, there was a significant interaction between the effects of BW and HMB on mTOR expression in the LD (P<0·05). In conclusion, HMB-Ca supplementation during the early postnatal period could improve skeletal muscle growth and maturity by accelerating fast-twitch glycolytic fibre development in piglets.
Most species of the genus Eulecanium Cockerell (Hemiptera: Coccidae) are important economic pests for ornamental plants and fruit trees. Two morphologically similar species, Eulecanium giganteum Shinji and E. kuwanai Kanda, are distributed mainly in China and are quite difficult to identify because of the paucity of distinguishing characteristics, which can only be observed in slide-mounted young, adult females. Furthermore, we demonstrate here that the species occur in sympatry and on many of the same host plants. Mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) and the D2–D3 expansion segments of 28S rDNA were used for accurate identification of these two Eulecanium species from 19 different locations in China. The average K2P distances of COI sequences were 0.47% in E. kuwanai and 0.32% in E. giganteum, and the interspecific divergences varied from 7.23% to 8.34%. Neighbour-joining (NJ) trees of COI and 28S rDNA revealed two distinct non-overlapping clusters, respectively. Meanwhile, “best close match” analysis also showed that 100% of individuals were classified successfully using COI and 28 S sequences. Differentiating between E. giganteum and E. kuwanai is challenging when using ecological and morphological traits. In contrast, identification using DNA diagnostics appears to be very effective, especially when slide-mounted specimens are difficult to obtain.
The flow shop scheduling problem based on ideal and precise conditions has been a focus of considerable research since the first easy scheduling problem was formulated. In reality, some uncertain factors always restrict the scheduling optimisation problem. In this paper, taking uncertain processing time as an example, we use generalised rough sets theory to transform the rough flow shop scheduling model into the precise scheduling model. We adopt a cooperative co-evolutionary particle swarm optimisation algorithm based on a niche sharing scheme (NCPSO) to minimise the makespan in comparison with the particle swarm optimiser (PSO) and co-evolution particle swarm optimiser (CPSO) algorithms. The new algorithm is characterised by a strengthening of the ability to reserve excellent particles and searching the optimal solution. Experimental results show that the new algorithm is more effective and efficient than the others.
The present study aims to evaluate the antiparasitic activity of active components from Costus speciosus against Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. Bioassay-guided fractionation was employed to identify active compounds from C. speciosus yielding 2 bioactive compounds: Gracillin and Zingibernsis newsaponin. In-vitro assays revealed that Gracillin and Zingibernsis newsaponin could be 100% effective against I. multifiliis at concentrations of 0·8 and 4·5 mg L−1, with median effective concentration (EC50) values of 0·53 and 3·2 mg L−1, respectively. All protomonts and encysted tomonts were killed when the concentrations of Gracillin and Zingibernsis newsaponin were 1·0 and 5·0 mg L−1. In-vivo experiments demonstrated that fish treated with Gracillin and Zingibernsis newsaponin at concentrations of 1·0 and 5·0 mg L−1 carried significantly fewer parasites than the control (P<0·05). Mortality of fish did not occur in the treatment group (Zingibernsis newsaponin at 5·0 mg L−1) during the trial, although 100% of untreated fish died. Acute toxicities (LD50) of Gracillin and Zingibernsis newsaponin for grass carp were 1·64 and 20·7 mg L−1, respectively. These results provided evidence that the 2 compounds can be selected as lead compounds for the development of new drugs against I. multifiliis.
Au nanoparticles (Au NPs) have attracted much interest owing to their unique optical properties. In this paper, a facile process has been successfully developed to synthesize the SiO2/Au hybrid microspheres with a diameter of 200 nm via the galvanic replacement of SiO2/Ag hybrid microspheres and chlorauric acid (HAuCl4) solution. The as-prepared products were investigated by x-ray diffraction (XRD), field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM, JEOL-6700F), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM, JEOL 3010), respectively. As expected, the as-prepared SiO2/Au hybrid microspheres show strong chemical stability and superior catalytic reduction of 4-nitrophenol (4-NP) to 4-aminophenol (4-AP). The SiO2/Au hybrid microspheres would be found widely used in wastewater treatment, catalytic reaction, bacteriostatic and bactericidal applications.
The electronic transport properties of Ga2As2 cluster, which is sandwiched between two semiinfinite Au (1 0 0)-3 × 3 pyramical-shaped electrodes with the Ga-Ga axis of the cluster parallel to the transport direction and the As-As axis of the cluster parallel to the transport direction, respectively, is investigated with a combination of density functional theory and the non-equilibrium Green’s function method. We have simulated the nanoscale junctions breaking process and found that the conductance of cluster decreases then increases when the contact is pulled apart in two configurations. We analyzed the difference of conductance from transmission spectra and projected density of states, and calculated the I-V characteristics of devices in this two configurations when dz = 2.0 Å. The I-V curves display a linear characteristics in the voltage range of 0 ∼ 2.2 V. The negative differential resistance appears within a small range of voltage in the junctions with As-As axis of the cluster parallel to the transport direction when bias is larger than 2.2 V.
This study was designed to determine the effect of melatonin on the in vitro maturation (IVM) and developmental potential of bovine oocytes denuded of the cumulus oophorus (DOs). DOs were cultured alone (DOs) or with 10−9 M melatonin (DOs + MT), cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) were cultured without melatonin as the control. After IVM, meiosis II (MII) rates of DOs, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, apoptotic rates and parthenogenetic blastocyst rates of MII oocytes were determined. The relative expression of ATP synthase F0 Subunit 6 and 8 (ATP6 and ATP8), bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP-15) and growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF-9) mRNA in MII oocytes and IFN-tau (IFN-τ), Na+/K+-ATPase, catenin-beta like 1 (CTNNBL1) and AQP3 mRNA in parthenogenetic blastocysts were quantified using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The results showed that: (1) melatonin significantly increased the MII rate of DOs (65.67 ± 3.59 % vs. 82.29 ± 3.92%; P < 0.05), decreased the ROS level (4.83 ± 0.42 counts per second (c.p.s) vs. 3.78 ± 0.29 c.p.s; P < 0.05) and apoptotic rate (36.99 ± 3.62 % vs. 21.88 ± 2.08 %; P < 0.05) and moderated the reduction of relative mRNA levels of ATP6, ATP8, BMP-15 and GDF-9 caused by oocyte denudation; (2) melatonin significantly increased the developmental rate (24.17 ± 3.54 % vs. 35.26 ± 4.87%; P < 0.05), and expression levels of IFN-τ, Na+/K+-ATPase, CTNNBL1 and AQP3 mRNA of blastocyst. These results indicated that melatonin significantly improved the IVM quality of DOs, leading to an increased parthenogenetic blastocyst formation rate and quality.
We investigated the effect mouse cumulus cells (mCCs) on the in vitro maturation (IVM) and developmental potential of bovine denuded germinal vesicle oocytes (DOs). Cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs), DOs and DOs cocultured with either mCCs (DOs + mCCs) or bovine cumulus cells (bCCs; DOs + bCCs) were subjected to IVM. The meiosis II (MII) rates of DOs, glutathione (GSH) contents, zona pellucida (ZP) hardening and parthenogenetic blastocyst rates of MII oocytes were determined. The relative expression levels of bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP-15) and growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF-9) in MII oocytes were measured using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). mCCs significantly increased the MII rate of DOs from 53.5 ± 3.58% to 69.67 ± 4.72% (p < 0.05) but had no effect on the GSH content (2.17 ± 0.31 pmol/oocyte with mCCs, 2.14 ± 0.53 pmol/oocyte without mCCs). For the DOs + mCCs group, the BMP-15 and GDF-9 expression levels were significantly higher and the ZP dissolution time was significantly lower (162.49 ± 12.51 s) than that of the DOs group (213.95 ± 18.87 s; p < 0.05). The blastocyst rate of the DOs + mCCs group (32.56 ± 4.94%) was similar to that of the DOs group (31.75 ± 3.65%) but was significantly lower than that of the COCs group (43.52 ± 5.37%; p < 0.05). In conclusion, mCCs increased the MII rate of DOs and expression of certain genes in MII oocytes, and decreased the ZP hardening of MII oocytes, but could not improve their GSH content or developmental potential.
Retinal ganglion cell line (RGC-5) has been widely used as a valuable model for studying pathophysiology and physiology of retinal ganglion cells in vitro. However, the electrophysiological characteristics, especially a thorough classification of ionic currents in the cell line, remain to be elucidated in details. In the present study, we determined the resting membrane potential (RMP) in RGC-5 cell line and then identified different types of ionic currents by using the whole-cell patch-clamp technique. The RMP recorded in the cell line was between −30 and −6 mV (−17.6 ± 2.6 mV, n = 10). We observed the following voltage-gated ion channel currents: (1) inwardly rectifying Cl− current (ICl,ir), which could be blocked by Zn2+; (2) Ca2+-activated Cl− current (ICl,Ca), which was sensitive to extracellular Ca2+ and could be inhibited by disodium 4,4’-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2,2’-disulfonate; (3) inwardly rectifying K+ currents (IK1), which could be blocked by Ba2+; (4) a small amount of delayed rectifier K+ current (IK). On the other hand, the voltage-gated sodium channels current (INa) and transient outward potassium channels current (IA) were not observed in this cell line. These results further characterize the ionic currents in the RGC-5 cell line and are beneficial for future studies especially on ion channel (patho)physiology and pharmacology in the RGC-5 cell line.
Graphene, a two-dimensional carbon allotrope, has raised great interests as a material candidate for future electronics due to its superb carrier transport and unique physics. The demand for future-generation large-scale carbon-based electronics motivates assembly of large-area graphene and selection of ideal substrate material that best preserves the transport property of graphene. In this work, CVD-assembled large-area graphene on thin multilayer hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) is employed to demonstrate the basic building block of digital circuit - inverter prototype made of two graphene-channel field-effect transistors (GFETs). The doping in the CVD-grown graphene, probed via electrical measurements, is implemented through non-uniform local surface chemistry. The full transfer response of the graphene logic inverter is demonstrated in the localized P/N doping region.