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The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
The authors demonstrate that gold-binding peptides displayed on the outer membrane of Escherichia coli enhance bioelectrochemical charge transfer by binding gold nanoparticles. Microbial fuel cells were run with different gold-binding peptides displayed and with different nanoparticle sizes, and the results were correlated with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging of nanoparticle binding. When a gold-binding peptide is displayed and 5 nm gold nanoparticles are present, up to 4× power generation over E. coli not displaying a gold-binding peptide is observed. While an enhanced current is observed using the previously published M6G9, the largest enhancement is observed when a new longer peptide named M9G18 is used.
Multiple human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 genotypes in China were first discovered in Yunnan Province before disseminating throughout the country. As the HIV-1 epidemic continues to expand in Yunnan, genetic characteristics and transmitted drug resistance (TDR) should be further investigated among the recently infected population. Among 2828 HIV-positive samples newly reported in the first quarter of 2014, 347 were identified as recent infections with BED-captured enzyme immunoassay (CEIA). Of them, 291 were successfully genotyped and identified as circulating recombinant form (CRF)08_BC (47.4%), unique recombinant forms (URFs) (18.2%), CRF01_AE (15.8%), CRF07_BC (14.4%), subtype C (2.7%), CRF55_01B (0.7%), subtype B (0.3%) and CRF64_BC (0.3%). CRF08_BC and CRF01_AE were the predominant genotypes among heterosexual and homosexual infections, respectively. CRF08_BC, URFs, CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC expanded with higher prevalence in central and eastern Yunnan. The recent common ancestor of CRF01_AE, CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC dated back to 1983.1, 1992.1 and 1989.5, respectively. The effective population sizes (EPS) for CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC increased exponentially during 1991–1999 and 1994–1999, respectively. The EPS for CRF08_BC underwent two exponential growth phases in 1994–1998 and 2001–2002. Lastly, TDR-associated mutations were identified in 1.8% of individuals. These findings not only enhance our understanding of HIV-1 evolution in Yunnan but also have implications for vaccine design and patient management strategies.
Human cystic echinococcosis is a widespread, chronic, endemic, helminthic zoonosis caused by larval tapeworms of the species Echinococcus granulosus. At present, there is no rational and effective therapy for patients with echinococcosis. The present study evaluated whether the combination of alkaloids from Sophora moorcroftiana seeds (SMSa2) and Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) was effective in the treatment of experimental echinococcosis. After 20 weeks of secondary infection with protoscoleces, mice were randomly allocated to five groups and treated for 6 weeks by daily intragastric administration of albendazole (ABZ, 100 mg/kg), SMSa2 (100 mg/kg), BCG (abdominal subcutaneous injection at 5 × 106 CFU), SMSa2 + BCG (100 mg/kg SMSa2 and 5 × 106 CFU BCG) or normal saline (untreated group), respectively. The results indicated a significant reduction in the weight of hydatid cysts in the SMSa2 + BCG group compared with the untreated, SMSa2 and BCG groups. The rate of inhibition of hydatid cyst growth in the SMSa2 + BCG group (76.1%) was obviously increased compared with that in the SMSa2 (25.7%) and BCG (26.6%) groups, respectively. Compared with the untreated control, the SMSa2 + BCG group showed a non-significant increase in serum interleukin-4 (IL-4). Furthermore, the serum levels of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) between the untreated and SMSa2 + BCG groups were not statistically different. Therefore, the combination of alkaloids from S. moorcroftiana seeds and BCG can reduce cyst burden and is an effective therapeutic regimen against echinococcosis.
We analyse a parallel (identical) machine scheduling problem with job delivery to a single customer. For this problem, each job needs to be processed on
parallel machines non-pre-emptively and then transported to a customer by one vehicle with a limited physical capacity. The optimization goal is to minimize the makespan, the time at which all the jobs are processed and delivered and the vehicle returns to the machine. We present an approximation algorithm with a tight worst-case performance ratio of
for the general case,
Much can be learned from terrestrial planets that appear to have had the potential to be habitable, but failed to realize that potential. Mars shows evidence of a once hospitable surface environment. The reasons for its current state, and in particular its thin atmosphere and dry surface, are of great interest for what they can tell us about habitable zone planet outcomes. A main goal of the MAVEN mission is to observe Mars’ atmosphere responses to solar and space weather influences, and in particular atmosphere escape related to space weather ‘storms’ caused by interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs). Numerical experiments with a data-validated MHD model suggest how the effects of an observed moderately strong ICME compare to what happens during a more extreme event. The results suggest the kinds of solar and space weather conditions that can have evolutionary importance at a planet like Mars.
Microbe-associated molecular pattern (MAMP)-triggered immunity (MTI) is an important component of the plant innate immunity response to invading pathogens. Although several MTI responses can be measured in different plant species, their magnitude is probably plant species specific and even cultivar specific. In this study, a genome-wide transcriptome analysis of two soybean parental lines and two progeny lines treated for 30 min with the MAMPs flg22 and chitin was carried out. This analysis revealed a clear variation in gene expression, under both untreated and flg22+chitin-treated conditions. In addition, genes with potential additive and non-additive effects were identified in the two progeny lines, with several of these genes having a potential function in the control of innate immunity. The data presented herein represent the basis for further functional analysis that can lead to a better understanding of the soybean innate immunity response.
Despite substantial research, uncertainty remains about the clinical and etiological heterogeneity of major depression (MD). Can meaningful and valid subtypes be identified and would they be stable cross-culturally?
Symptoms at their lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years, with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed in Mplus.
Using the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria, the 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria and all independently assessed depressive symptoms (n = 27), the best LCA model identified respectively three, four and six classes. A severe and non-suicidal class was seen in all solutions, as was a mild/moderate subtype. An atypical class emerged once bidirectional neurovegetative symptoms were included. The non-suicidal class demonstrated low levels of worthlessness/guilt and hopelessness. Patterns of co-morbidity, family history, personality, environmental precipitants, recurrence and body mass index (BMI) differed meaningfully across subtypes, with the atypical class standing out as particularly distinct.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several detectable subtypes with distinct clinical and demographic correlates. Three subtypes were most consistently identified in our analyses: severe, atypical and non-suicidal. Severe and atypical MD have been identified in multiple prior studies in samples of European ethnicity. Our non-suicidal subtype, with low levels of guilt and hopelessness, may represent a pathoplastic variant reflecting Chinese cultural influences.
We present our recent efforts to unveil and understand the origin of massive stars outside the three massive star clusters in the Galactic center. From our Hubble/NICMOS survey of the Galactic center, we have identified 180 Paschen-α emitting sources, most of which should be evolved massive stars with strong optically thin stellar winds. Recently, we obtained Gemini GNIRS/NIFS H- and K-band spectra of eight massive stars near the Arches cluster. From their radial velocities, ages and masses, we suggest that in our sample, two stars are previous members of the Arches cluster, while other two stars embedded in the H1/H2 Hii regions formed in-situ.
Transparent films of platinum nanoparticles on graphene nanohybrids were synthesized in a two-step process. Reduction of homogeneously dispersed Pt precursor and graphene in water and solution coating/annealing afforded thin films with high catalytic performance as counter electrodes in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC). The requisite dispersant consisting of poly(oxyethylene)-(POE) segments and cyclic imide functionalities allowed the in-situ reduction of dihydrogen hexachloroplatinate by ethanol and the formation of nanohybrids of graphene-supported Pt nanoparticles at 4.0 nm diameter. Characterizations of polymeric dispersants by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, and nanohybrids by transmission electron microscope were performed. After screening various compositions of Pt/graphene, the nanohybrid film at the specific ratio of 5/1 by weight was fabricated into a counter electrode (CE) for DSSC by the solution casting method. The evaluation of cell performance demonstrated the most improved power conversion efficiency of 8.00%. This is significant achievement in comparison with 7.14% for the DSSC with the conventional platinum sputtered CE. Furthermore, the solution casting method allows the preparation of transparent CE films that are suitable for using as rear-illuminated DSSC. The approach was proven to be feasible by measuring the cell efficiency under rear light illumination. The power efficiency up to 7.01%, comparable to 8.00% by a normally front illumination, has been accomplished. In contrast, the rear illumination at merely 2.36% efficiency was obtained for the DSSC with sputtered platinum CE. Analyses of cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectra were well correlated to the high efficiency of the performance caused by this nanohybrid film.
During the epitaxial bottom up growth of nanowire (NW) arrays, occasional kinks in growth direction can lead to intersecting and consequently self-welded crystalline connections between NWs. In order to study these self-welded metallurgical NW junctions, a NW bridge device architecture which requires no post-growth processing was used to grow and stabilize Si NW junctions. Scanning Photocurrent Microscopy (SPCM) was used to study the optoelectronic properties of the NW junctions as well as the characteristics of the NW bridge devices. SPCM measurements show a bias dependent photocurrent (PC) response at the NW junction indicating local band bending at this location. A decay of the PC response away from the junction is also seen in the secondary NW channel ensuring an electrical connection. These junction properties may be important for ensemble NW optical devices.
The symptoms of major depression (MD) are clinically diverse. Do they form coherent factors that might clarify the underlying nature of this important psychiatric syndrome?
Symptoms at lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatoryfactor analysis (CFA) were performed in Mplus in random split-half samples.
The preliminary EFA results were consistently supported by the findings from CFA. Analyses of the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria revealed two factors loading on: (i) general depressive symptoms; and (ii) guilt/suicidal ideation. Examining 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria revealed three factors reflecting: (i) weight/appetite disturbance; (ii) general depressive symptoms; and (iii) sleep disturbance. Using all symptoms (n = 27), we identified five factors that reflected: (i) weight/appetite symptoms; (ii) general retarded depressive symptoms; (iii) atypical vegetative symptoms; (iv) suicidality/hopelessness; and (v) symptoms of agitation and anxiety.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several underlying correlated symptom dimensions. In addition to a general depressive symptom factor, a complete picture must include factors reflecting typical/atypical vegetative symptoms, cognitive symptoms (hopelessness/suicidal ideation), and an agitated symptom factor characterized by anxiety, guilt, helplessness and irritability. Prior cross-cultural studies, factor analyses of MD in Western populations and empirical findings in this sample showing risk factor profiles similar to those seen in Western populations suggest that our results are likely to be broadly representative of the human depressive syndrome.
Previous studies support Beck's cognitive model of vulnerability to depression. However, the relationship between his cognitive triad and other clinical features and risk factors among those with major depression (MD) has rarely been systematically studied.
The three key cognitive symptoms of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness were assessed during their lifetime worst episode in 1970 Han Chinese women with recurrent MD. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression.
Compared to patients who did not endorse the cognitive trio, those who did had a greater number of DSM-IV A criteria, more individual depressive symptoms, an earlier age at onset, a greater number of episodes, and were more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for melancholia, postnatal depression, dysthymia and anxiety disorders. Hopelessness was highly related to all the suicidal symptomatology, with ORs ranging from 5.92 to 6.51. Neuroticism, stressful life events (SLEs) and a protective parental rearing style were associated with these cognitive symptoms.
During the worst episode of MD in Han Chinese women, the endorsement of the cognitive trio was associated with a worse course of depression and an increased risk of suicide. Individuals with high levels of neuroticism, many SLEs and high parental protectiveness were at increased risk for these cognitive depressive symptoms. As in Western populations, symptoms of the cognitive trio appear to play a central role in the psychopathology of MD in Chinese women.
The magnetic reconnection (MR) configuration was constructed by using two approaching laser-produced plasma bubbles. The characteristics of the MR current sheet were investigated. The driving energy of the laser pulse affects the type of the current sheet. The experiments present “Y-type” and “X-type” current sheets for larger and smaller driving energy, respectively. The energetic electrons were found to be well-collimated. The formation and ejection of plasmoid from the “Y-type” current sheet was expected to enhance the number of accelerated electrons.
The laser wakefield structure in a magnetized underdense plasma is studied analytically and numerically. Because of the DC magnetic field perpendicular to the laser propagation direction, an electromagnetic component appears in addition to the normal electrostatic component. This electromagnetic component can transmit partially into vacuum at the plasma–vacuum boundary as shown by particle-in-cell simulation. It is found that the emission has components both at the fundamental plasma frequency and its harmonics if the wakefield is driven at a high amplitude. Comparing with the emission at the plasma frequency, the harmonic emission depends weakly upon the density profile at plasma–vacuum boundary and it can pass through the boundary almost without energy loss, providing a new method for the diagnostic of wakefields.
Elimination of degenerate epitaxy in the growth of icosahedral boron arsenide (B12As2, abbreviated as IBA) was achieved on m-plane 15R-SiC substrates and 4H-SiC substrates intentionally misoriented by 7 degrees from (0001) towards [1-100]. Synchrotron white beam x-ray topography (SWBXT) revealed that only single orientation IBA was present in the epitaxial layers demonstrating the absence of twin variants which dominantly constitute the effects of degenerate epitaxy. Additionally, low asterism in the IBA diffraction spots compared to those grown on other SiC substrates indicates a superior film quality. Cross-sectional high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) both confirmed the absence of twins in the IBA films and their high quality. The ease of nucleation on the ordered step structures present on these unique substrates overrides symmetry considerations that drive degenerate epitaxy and dominates the nucleation process of the IBA.
Carbon encapsulated Ni nanoparticles (Ni(C)) were synthesized by modified arc-discharge reactor under methane atmosphere. The presence of carbon encapsulation is confirmed by HR-TEM imaging, and Nano-diffraction. The average particle radius is typically 10.5 nm with spherical shape. The intimate and contiguous carbon fringe around these Ni nanoparticles is good evidence for complete encapsulation by carbon shell layers.
Superparamagnetic property studies were performed using SQUID magnetometer for the assemblies of Ni(C) nanoparticles. The blocking temperature (TB) is determined to around 115K at 1000Oe applied field. Above TB, the magnetization M (H, T) can be described by the classical Langevin function L using the relation, M/Ms(T=0) = coth(μH/kT)- kT/μH. The particle radius can be inferred from Langevin fit (particle moment μ) and blocking temperature theory (TB), which values are a little bigger than HR-TEM observations. It is suggested, these assemblies of carbon encapsulated Ni nanoparticles have been showed typical single-domain, field-dependent superparamagnetic relaxation properties.