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Kinetoplastid parasites are responsible for serious diseases in humans and livestock such as Chagas disease and sleeping sickness (caused by Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma brucei, respectively), and the different forms of cutaneous, mucocutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis (produced by Leishmania spp). The limited number of antiparasitic drugs available together with the emergence of resistance underscores the need for new therapeutic agents with novel mechanisms of action. The use of agents binding to surface glycans has been recently suggested as a new approach to antitrypanosomal design and a series of peptidic and non-peptidic carbohydrate-binding agents have been identified as antiparasitics showing efficacy in animal models of sleeping sickness. Here we provide an overview of the nature of surface glycans in three kinetoplastid parasites, T. cruzi, T. brucei and Leishmania. Their role in virulence and host cell invasion is highlighted with the aim of identifying specific glycan–lectin interactions and carbohydrate functions that may be the target of novel carbohydrate-binding agents with therapeutic applications.
Researchers collecting survey data on inter-organizational networks typically choose a single informant with the most senior job title in each organization from whom to obtain a report of the organization’s inter-organizational ties. This approach to informant selection is based on the logic that greater seniority confers greater knowledge of inter-organizational relationships. The present study investigated the wisdom of this logic, using data in which multiple informants’ reports of inter-organizational network ties were collected for each organization. We calculated the degree of agreement in network reports between the informant with the most senior job title and a second informant in the organization. To determine if alternative criteria to seniority serve as better approaches to informant selection, we assessed other potential predictors of agreement in informants’ reports. Results indicated that (1) informants’ perceptions of the network differed significantly according to job title, suggesting little agreement between senior informants and their more junior colleagues; and (2) greater informant tenure in the network and industry were associated with greater agreement among informants. These results call a common data collection practice into question and suggest that tenure may trump title as a criterion for informant selection in inter-organizational network research.
The eastern North Atlantic (ENA) has many highly productive areas where several species of cetaceans have been recorded, with the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) being one of the most frequently sighted species. However, its spatial and temporal distribution in high seas is poorly known. The study presents the results from 5 years of cetacean monitoring in the ENA (2012–2016) aboard cargo ships that follow the routes from Continental Portugal to the Macaronesian archipelagos and north-west Africa. Common dolphin was the most frequently sighted cetacean with 192 occurrences registered on effort and an overall encounter rate of 0.36 sightings/100 nmi. The species was distributed in coastal and offshore waters, but absent from the Canaries and Cape Verde islands. Statistical ‘habitat’ models were developed to describe and explain the occurrence of sightings of the species: variables affecting detection of dolphins had a small impact and there were clear spatiotemporal distribution patterns, influenced to some degree by environmental variables. Predicted probability of occurrence was highest in coastal waters of continental Portugal and around the Azores. The models, combined with maps of distribution, were useful to identify important areas for the species, which could be the focus of future conservation efforts. Common dolphin presence was related to depth, distance to coast and seamounts, seabed slope, chlorophyll concentration, sea-surface temperature and sea level anomalies; the possible ecological significance of these relationships is explored.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prediction ability of models that cope with longevity phenotypic expression as uncensored and censored in Nellore cattle. Longevity was defined as the difference between the dates of last weaned calf and cow birth. There were information of 77 353 females, being 61 097 cows with uncensored phenotypic information and 16 256 cows with censored records. These data were analyzed considering three different models: (1) Gaussian linear model (LM), in which only uncensored records were considered; and two models that consider both uncensored and censored records: (2) Censored Gaussian linear model (CLM); and (3) Weibull frailty hazard model (WM). For the model prediction ability comparisons, the data set was randomly divided into training and validation sets, containing 80% and 20% of the records, respectively. There were considered 10 repetitions applying the following restrictions: (a) at least three animals per contemporary group in the training set; and (b) sires with more than 10 progenies with uncensored records (352 sires) should have daughters in the training and validation sets. The variance components estimated using the whole data set in each model were used as true values in the prediction of breeding values of the animals in the training set. The WM model showed the best prediction ability, providing the lowest χ2 average and the highest number of sets in which a model had the smallest value of χ2 statistics. The CLM and LM models showed prediction abilities 2.6% and 3.7% less efficient than WM, respectively. In addition, the accuracies of sire breeding values for LM and CLM were lower than those obtained for WM. The percentages of bulls in common, considering only 10% of sires with the highest breeding values, were around 75% and 54%, respectively, between LM–CLM and LM–WM models, considering all sires, and 75% between LM–CLM and LM–WM, when only sires with more than 10 progenies with uncensored records were taken into account. These results are indicative of reranking of animals in terms of genetic merit between LM, CLM and WM. The model in which censored records of longevity were excluded from the analysis showed the lowest prediction ability. The WM provides the best predictive performance, therefore this model would be recommended to perform genetic evaluation of longevity in this population.
Four isolipidic and isoenergetic diets with different protein:carbohydrate (CH) contents (48:38, 52:34, 56:30, 60:26) were fed to juvenile Senegalese sole (22·01 (sem 0·01) g) during 104 d. Oral glucose tolerance tests were performed at the beginning (4 d) and at the end (104 d) of the experiment to assess the effect of the dietary treatment on glucose tolerance. Samples of blood, liver and muscle of all dietary groups were also obtained at the initial and final phases of the trial at different postprandial times (0, 1, 5 and 10 h after feeding) in order to analyse glucose and NEFA in plasma, and metabolites and enzyme activities involved in glycogen metabolism, glycolysis, gluconeogenesis and lipogenesis pathways in liver and muscle. The results obtained in this study suggest a good glucose tolerance in Senegalese sole. This species tolerated important amounts of CH in the diet without showing any deleterious signs in terms of growth or any metabolic disorders. After 104 d of feeding diets with an important amount of CH (48:38 and 52:34), the control of glycaemia was maintained and even postprandial glucose levels in plasma were (in general) lower than at the beginning of the experiment. This reasonable tolerance to glucose is also reflected by an increased use of glucose through glycolysis in liver (indicated by glucokinase activity), and the absence of changes in lipogenic potential in the same tissue (indicated by ATP citrate lyase activity). No clear changes were induced in the muscle by the dietary treatments.
There is no standard phonetically balanced short passage for Portuguese research and clinical practice. This paper presents results of a novel analysis of ‘The North Wind and the Sun’ (NWS) passage that aims to determine if it is phonetically balanced for European Portuguese (EP) and Brazilian Portuguese (BP), based on new transcriptions resulting from algorithms developed for grapheme–phone transcription in these two varieties of Portuguese. These algorithms (based on standard EP and São Paulo BP varieties) are the same as those used to collect the frequency data, which is central to determining if a text is phonetically balanced. Results showed that neither transcription violates phonotactic rules, i.e. permissible combinations of speech sounds. The NWS is not phonetically balanced for BP if the phonemes are considered individually but is evenly distributed in terms of manner of articulation. The EP version of the NWS passage is a phonetically balanced text for EP.
The physiological importance of the lateral tunnel stenosis in the Fontan pathway for children with single ventricle physiology can be difficult to determine. The impact of the stenosis and stent implantation on total cavopulmonary connection resistance has not been characteriszed, and there are no clear guidelines for intervention.
Methods and results
A computational framework for haemodynamic assessment of stent implantation in patients with lateral tunnel stenosis was developed. Cardiac magnetic resonances images were reconstructed to obtain total cavopulmonary connection anatomies before stent implantation. Stents with 2-mm diameter increments were virtually implanted in each patient to understand the impact of stent diameter. Numerical simulations were performed in all geometries with patient-specific flow rates. Exercise conditions were simulated by doubling and tripling the lateral tunnel flow rate. The resulting total cavopulmonary connection vascular resistances were computed. A total of six patients (age: 14.4±3.1 years) with lateral tunnel stenosis were included for preliminary analysis. The mean baseline resistance was 1.54±1.08 WU·m2 and dependent on the stenosis diameter. It was further exacerbated during exercise. It was observed that utilising a stent with a larger diameter lowered the resistance, but the resistance reduction diminished at larger diameters.
Using a computational framework to assess the severity of lateral tunnel stenosis and the haemodynamic impact of stent implantation, it was observed that stenosis in the lateral tunnel pathway was associated with higher total cavopulmonary connection resistance than unobstructed pathways, which was exacerbated during exercise. Stent implantation could reduce the resistance, but the improvement was specific to the minimum diameter.
Previous experiments with Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis) have demonstrated that dietary lipid levels above 8 % impaired growth and did not promote protein retention. We hypothesised that this low ability to use high-lipid diets may depend on the dietary protein level. In the present study, a 2 × 2 factorial design was applied where two dietary lipid (4–17 % DM) and two dietary protein (below and above the requirement levels, 48 and 54 % DM) levels were tested in juveniles for 114 d. Growth performance was not improved by the increase in dietary fat, irrespectively of the dietary protein levels. Protein retention was similar among the diets, although fish fed the diets with high lipid content resulted in significantly lower protein gain. Among the enzymes involved in amino acid catabolism, only aspartate aminotransferase activity in the liver was affected by the dietary lipid levels, being stimulated in fish fed high-lipid diets. Moreover, phosphofructokinase 1 activity was significantly elevated in the muscle of Senegalese sole fed 4 % lipid diets, suggesting enhanced glycolysis in the muscle when the dietary lipid supply was limited and dietary starch increased. The results confirmed that high-lipid diets do not enhance growth, and data from the selected enzymes support the assumption that lipids are not efficiently used for energy production and protein sparing, even when dietary protein is below the protein requirement of the species. Furthermore, data suggest a significant role of glucose as the energy source in Senegalese sole.
The production of a Tantalum solid electrolytic capacitor requires the impregnation of MnO2 by pyrolysis in one of the several manufacturing steps. It has been reported that niobium oxides are a good alternative, presenting potentially better dielectric properties and a better cost effectiveness. Thus, it is important to study the conditions and the effect of the MnO2 impregnation on niobium oxide in order to understand and optimize the parameters of this process. The morphology and microstructure of the anode is one of the most important aspects that interfere with the dielectric properties of the capacitor. In this work, it is presented a study of the morphology and microstructure of different niobium oxide anodes after electrochemical oxidation (NbO/Nb2O5 core-shell grain structure), and after MnO2 impregnation with different pyrolysis temperatures. This impregnation is made by dipping the anodes, with the NbO/Nb2O5 core-shell structure, in a slurry of Mn(NO3)2. Heating this slurry while the anode is dipped, will lead to a pyrolysis reaction where the liberation of NO2 occurs as a gas, and where the product MnO2 solidifies around the grains.
New complex magnetic frustrated materials La2 − xErxTi2O7 (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.075) have been synthesized by solid-solid method. The crystallographic and magnetic properties were studied as a function of substitution of the La3+ ion by the Er3+ one. All samples are found to be single phase and crystallize in the monoclinic structure with P21 space group. Magnetic measurements have revealed the presence of dominant antiferromagnetic interactions and the absence of magnetic ordering until a temperature of 2 K. The magnetic study suggests that the Curie-Weiss temperature (θCW) is negative, as expected in the frustrated lanthanide sublattice in the Ln2 – xLn’xM2O7 structure. From the frustration index f = - θCW/TN, we have deduced the presence of a strong frustration phenomenon. The critical properties of the antiferromagnetic behavior, for x = 0.025, 0.05 and 0.075 samples, have been investigated. It was found that the 2D-self-avoiding walk (SAW) model is the best one to describe the critical phenomena.
We investigated postprandial changes in transcript abundance following a single satiating meal in juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) (about 70 g body mass) following fasting for 1 week at 12°C. The expression of twenty-three growth-related genes was determined in fast myotomal muscle using quantitative real-time PCR at the following postprandial time points: − 12, 0, 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48 and 96 h. The gut was fullest 1–6 h after feeding and emptied within 48–96 h. IGF-I, MyoD1c, MRF4 and myf5 transcripts were sharply up-regulated within 1 h of refeeding and are promising candidate genes involved in a fast-response signalling system that regulates fish myotomal muscle growth. These genes clustered together with MyoD1b and suggest a coordinated regulation to favour resumption of myogenesis as an early response to feeding. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-II and the ubiquitin ligase MAFbx/atrogin-1 were initially down-regulated but restored to initial values after 12 h. It is also suggested that local production of IGF-I within the muscle might suppress catabolic pathways depressing MAFbx/atrogin-1.
The copia element is a retrotransposon that is hypothesized to have been horizontally transferred from Drosophila melanogaster to some populations of Drosophila willistoni in Florida. Here we have used PCR and Southern blots to screen for sequences similar to copia element in South American populations of D. willistoni, as well as in strains previously shown to be carriers of the element. We have not found the canonical copia element in any of these populations. Unlike the P element, which invaded the D. melanogaster genome from D. willistoni and quickly spread worldwide, the canonical copia element appears to have transferred in the opposite direction and has not spread. This may be explained by differences in the requirements for transposition and in the host control of transposition.
This work aims to characterise the morphology and anatomy of roots, stems and leaves of Calolisianthus species (Gentianaceae – Helieae) to assist in the taxonomy and understanding of some adaptive responses to high luminosity, prolonged water deficit and nutritional stress in their environment. Samples of Calolisianthus speciosus and C. pendulus were collected in campo rupestre (rocky land) and samples of C. amplissimus were collected in cerrado (savanna) areas in southeastern Brazil. The roots have a cortex with Arum-type arbuscular mycorrhizae. The three species have winged and square stems and in Calolisianthus amplissimus the stem is hollow. Calolisianthus pendulus and C. speciosus have a pair of conspicuous extrafloral nectaries at the leaf base, which are absent in C. amplissimus. Calolisianthus pendulus has a dorsiventral mesophyll and a round leaf margin with parenchymatic cells. Calolisianthus amplissimus has a homogeneous mesophyll and a leaf margin with collenchyma. Calolisianthus speciosus leaves have a homogeneous mesophyll and a margin with sclerenchyma and collenchyma. Our results demonstrate that some anatomical characters are useful for the identification of Calolisianthus species and might be used to elucidate evolutionary relationships among Calolisianthus and their adaptive responses.
In TiSi2 metallized devices, the second distribution of leakage current (I>lμA) is caused by the Si/TiSi2 interface roughness. In this work, 40gm thick Ti films are sputtered onto Si waters. RTA was done in N2 atmosphere. Heating rates of 0, 0.5, 1, 5, and 100°C S−-1 are examined. Samples are characterized by AFM, RBS, XRD and laser light scattering methods. The parameters related to roughness are heating rate sensitivity and oxygen contamination which decreases the roughness on the interface.
We have investigated different solution techniques to synthesize the Cu-based superconductors in the thick film form. Thick films of YBa2Cu3O7 have been produced using controlled precipitation techniques. Bi-based and Tl-based materials have been deposited by spraying of ionic solutions. The numerous difficulties encountered during each process are analyzed in order to propose new synthesis procedures such as a new method, based on the precipitation of hydroxides only, which is described as a prospective for lowering the synthesis temperature and shortening the reaction time.
Selective breeding is an effective tool to improve livestock. Several selection experiments have been conducted to study direct selection responses as well as correlated responses in traits of skeletal muscle growth and function. Moreover, comparisons of domestic with wild-type species and of extreme breeds provide information on the genetic background of the skeletal muscle phenotype. Structural muscular components that differed with increasing distance in lean growth or meat quality in mammals were found to be myofibre number, myofibre size, proportions of fibre types as well as the numbers and proportions of secondary and primary fibres. Furthermore, markers of satellite cell proliferation, metabolic enzyme activities, glycogen and fat contents, the expression of myosin heavy chain isoforms, of activated AMPKα and other proteins in skeletal muscle tissue and circulating IGF1 and IGF-binding proteins have been identified to be involved in selection responses observed in pigs, cattle and/or chicken. The use of molecular methods for selective breeding of fish has only recently been adopted in aquaculture and studies of the genetic basis of growth and flesh quality traits are scarce. Some of the molecular markers of muscle structure/metabolism in livestock have also been identified in fish, but so far no studies have linked them with selection response. Genome scans have been applied to identify genomic regions exhibiting quantitative trait loci that control traits of interest, for example, muscle structure and meat quality in pigs and growth rate in chicken. As another approach, polymorphisms in candidate genes reveal the relationship between genetic variation and target traits. Thus, in large-scale studies with pigs’ associations of polymorphisms in the HMGA2, CA3, EPOR, NME1 and TTN genes with traits of carcass and meat quality were detected. Other studies revealed the significance of mutations in the IGF2 and RYR1 genes for carcass lean and muscle fibre traits in pigs. Mutations in the myostatin (MSTN) gene in fish were also examined. Advances in research of the genetic and environmental control of traits related to meat quality and growth have been made by the application of holistic ‘omics’ techniques that studied the whole muscle-specific genome, transcriptome and proteome in relation to muscle and meat traits, the development of new methods for muscle fibre typing and the adaptation of biophysical measures to develop parameters of muscle fibre traits as well as the application of in vitro studies. Finally, future research priorities in the field are defined.