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Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by an urge to move and uncomfortable sensations. Genetic studies have identified polymorphisms in up to 19 risk loci, including MEIS1 and BTBD9. Rodents deficient in either homolog show RLS-like phenotypes. However, whether MEIS1 and BTBD9 interact in vivo is unclear. Here, with C. elegans, we observed that the hyperactive egg-laying behavior caused by loss of BTBD9 homolog was counteracted by knockdown of MEIS1 homolog. This was further investigated in mutant mice with Btbd9, Meis1, or both knocked out. The double knockout mice showed an earlier onset of the motor deficit in a wheel running test but did not have increased sensitivity to heat stimuli as observed in single knock outs. Meis1 protein level was not influenced by Btbd9 deficiency, and Btbd9 transcription was not affected by Meis1 haploinsufficiency. Our results demonstrate that MEIS1 and BTBD9 do not regulate each other.
We recently reported Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao in Tang et al., 2019, from the early Cambrian Hetang Formation in South China and interpreted it as a problematic animal fossil, possibly related to either sponges or bivalved arthropods (Tang et al., 2019). Slater and Budd (2019) contested our taxonomic identification and phylogenetic interpretation; instead, they claimed that Cambrowania ovata is a large acritarch referable to morphotaxon Leiosphaeridia Eisenack, 1958, and thus is not an animal. Here we refute their criticisms, clarify the differences between Cambrowania and Leiosphaeridia and other acritarchs, and reiterate why an animal affinity for Cambrowania cannot be ruled out.
The lower-middle Hetang Formation (Cambrian Stage 2–3) deposited in slope-basinal facies in South China is well known for its preservation of the earliest articulated sponge fossils, providing an important taphonomic window into the Cambrian Explosion. However, the Hetang Formation also hosts a number of problematic animal fossils that have not been systematically described. This omission results in an incomplete picture of the Hetang biota and limits its contribution to the understanding of the early evolution of animals. Here we describe a new animal taxon, Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, new genus new species, from the middle Hetang Formation in the Lantian area of southern Anhui Province, South China. Specimens are preserved as carbonaceous compressions, although some are secondarily mineralized. A comprehensive analysis using reflected light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and micro-CT reveals that the new species is characterized by a spheroidal to fusoidal truss-like structure consisting of rafter-like crossbars, some of which are secondarily baritized and may have been internally hollow. Some specimens have aperture-like structures that are broadly similar to oscula of sponges, whereas others show evidence of a medial split reminiscent of gaping carapaces. While the phylogenetic affinity of Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, n. gen. n. sp. remains problematic, we propose that it may represent carapaces of bivalved arthropods or more likely sponges in early life stages. Along with other problematic metazoan fossils such as hyolithids and sphenothallids, Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, n. gen. n. sp. adds to the diversity of the sponge-dominated Hetang biota in an early Cambrian deepwater slope-basinal environment.
The response of soil microbial communities to soil quality changes is a sensitive indicator of soil ecosystem health. The current work investigated soil microbial communities under different fertilization treatments in a 31-year experiment using the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profile method. The experiment consisted of five fertilization treatments: without fertilizer input (CK), chemical fertilizer alone (MF), rice (Oryza sativa L.) straw residue and chemical fertilizer (RF), low manure rate and chemical fertilizer (LOM), and high manure rate and chemical fertilizer (HOM). Soil samples were collected from the plough layer and results indicated that the content of PLFAs were increased in all fertilization treatments compared with the control. The iC15:0 fatty acids increased significantly in MF treatment but decreased in RF, LOM and HOM, while aC15:0 fatty acids increased in these three treatments. Principal component (PC) analysis was conducted to determine factors defining soil microbial community structure using the 21 PLFAs detected in all treatments: the first and second PCs explained 89.8% of the total variance. All unsaturated and cyclopropyl PLFAs except C12:0 and C15:0 were highly weighted on the first PC. The first and second PC also explained 87.1% of the total variance among all fertilization treatments. There was no difference in the first and second PC between RF and HOM treatments. The results indicated that long-term combined application of straw residue or organic manure with chemical fertilizer practices improved soil microbial community structure more than the mineral fertilizer treatment in double-cropped paddy fields in Southern China.
It was reported that high blood cholesterol levels increased the susceptibility to mitochondrial dysfunction. This study hypothesized that the gestational hypercholesterolemia (HC) could induce the mitochondrial dysfunction in term human placenta. The eligible pregnant women were recruited from Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing during their first prenatal visit (before their 10th week of pregnancy). In total, 19 pregnant women whose serum total cholesterol levels were higher than 7.25 mm at third trimester (measured at 36–38 weeks) were selected as gestational HC. Other 19 pregnant women with normal cholesterol level matched with age, pre-gestational body mass index, and the neonatal gender were included as the control group. Full-term placenta samples were collected. The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number, messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, adenosine triphosphate monophosphatase 6 (ATP6ase), citrate synthase, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) co-activator 1α, PPARγ co-activator 1β and estrogen-related receptor-α, and the activity of mitochondrial respiratory chain enzyme complex were measured. Pregnancy outcomes were obtained by extraction from medical records and the labor ward register. The results showed that only placental mtDNA copy number and mRNA expression of ATP6ase were significantly decreased in HC group. No significant differences were detected of other measurements between the two groups. These findings indicated that gestational HC might not induce the damage of placental function seriously.
The origins and phylogeny of different sheep breeds has been widely studied using polymorphisms within the mitochondrial hypervariable region. However, little is known about the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and phylogeny based on mtDNA protein-coding genes. In this study, we assessed the phylogeny and copy number of the mtDNA in eight indigenous (population size, n=184) and three introduced (n=66) sheep breeds in China based on five mitochondrial coding genes (COX1, COX2, ATP8, ATP6 and COX3). The mean haplotype and nucleotide diversities were 0.944 and 0.00322, respectively. We identified a correlation between the lineages distribution and the genetic distance, whereby Valley-type Tibetan sheep had a closer genetic relationship with introduced breeds (Dorper, Poll Dorset and Suffolk) than with other indigenous breeds. Similarly, the Median-joining profile of haplotypes revealed the distribution of clusters according to genetic differences. Moreover, copy number analysis based on the five mitochondrial coding genes was affected by the genetic distance combining with genetic phylogeny; we also identified obvious non-synonymous mutations in ATP6 between the different levels of copy number expressions. These results imply that differences in mitogenomic compositions resulting from geographical separation lead to differences in mitochondrial function.
The radial velocity of a pulsar induces the Doppler effect on its intrinsic spin properties. In particular, it can generate a contribution to the frequency second derivative. We estimated this effect for each of the International Pulsar Timing Array pulsars. We also assessed the possibility of measuring the frequency second derivative in the observational data.
Open clusters (OCs) are important objects for stellar dynamics studies. The short survival timescale of OCs makes them closely related to the formation of Galactic field stars. We motivate to investigate the dynamical evolution of OCs on the aspect of internal effect and the external influence. Firstly, we make use of the known OC catalog to obtain OCs masses, effective radii. Additionally, we estimate OCs kinematics properties by OC members cross-matched with radial velocity and metallicity from SDSSIV/APOGEE2. We then establish the fundamental plane of OCs based on the radial velocity dispersion, the effective radius, and average surface brightness. The deviation of the fundamental plane from the Virial Plane, so called the tilt, and the r.m.s. dispersion of OCs around the average plane are used to indicate the dynamical status of OCs. Parameters of the fitted plane will vary with cluster age and distance.
The upper mass limit of stars remains an open question in astrophysics. Here we discuss observations of the most massive stars (greater than 100 solar masses) in the local universe and how the observations fit in with theoretical predictions. In particular, the Large Magellanic Cloud plays host to numerous very massive stars, making it an ideal template to study the roles that environment, metallicity, and multiplicity play in the formation and evolution of the most massive stars. We will discuss the work that is instrumental in laying the groundwork for interpreting future observations by James Webb of starburst regions in the high redshift universe.
We carried out a pivot experiment to select distant luminous late-type stars on the basis on their 2MASS and GLIMPSE photometry. Low-resolution infrared spectra enabled us to measure the equivalent widths (EWs) of their CO band-heads at 2.293 μm, and to confirm an extraordinarily high detection rate of red supergiants (RSGs), i.e. 61% (Messineo et al. (2016)).
360-degree videos are a new type of movie that renders over all 4π steradian. Video sharing sites such as YouTube now allow this unique content to be shared via virtual reality (VR) goggles, hand-held smartphones/tablets, and computers. Creating 360° videos from astrophysical simulations is not only a new way to view these simulations as you are immersed in them, but is also a way to create engaging content for outreach to the public. We present what we believe is the first 360° video of an astrophysical simulation: a hydrodynamics calculation of the central parsec of the Galactic centre. We also describe how to create such movies, and briefly comment on what new science can be extracted from astrophysical simulations using 360° videos.
We compute the thermal X-ray emission from hydrodynamic simulations of the 30 Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars orbiting within a parsec of Sgr A*, with the aim of interpreting the Chandra X-ray observations of this region. The model well reproduces the spectral shape of the observations, indicating that the shocked WR winds are the dominant source of this thermal emission. The model X-ray flux is tied to the strength of the Sgr A* outflow, which clears out hot gas from the vicinity of Sgr A*. A moderate outflow best fits the present-day observations, even though this supermassive black hole (SMBH) outflow ended ~100 yr ago.
Gamma Cassiopeiae is an enigmatic Be star with unusually hard, strong X-ray emission compared with normal main-sequence B stars. The origin has been debated for decades between two theories: mass accretion onto a hidden compact companion and a magnetic dynamo driven by the star-Be disk differential rotation. There has been no decisive signature found that supports either theory, such as a pulse in X-ray emission or the presence of large-scale magnetic field. In a ~100 ksec duration observation of the star with the Suzaku X-ray observatory in 2011, we detected six rapid X-ray spectral hardening events called “softness dips”. All the softness dip events show symmetric softness ratio variations, and some of them have flat bottoms apparently due to saturation. The softness dip spectra are best described by either ~40% or ~70% partial covering absorption to kT ~12 keV plasma emission by matter with a neutral hydrogen column density of ~2 − 8 × 1021cm−2, while the spectrum outside of these dips is almost free of absorption. This result suggests that two distinct X-ray emitting spots in the γ Cas system, perhaps on a white dwarf companion with dipole mass accretion, are occulted by blobs in the Be stellar wind, the Be disk, or rotating around the white dwarf companion. The formation of a Be star and white dwarf binary system requires mass transfer between two stars; γ Cas may have experienced such activity in the past.
Recent spectropolarimetric surveys of bright, hot stars have found that ~10% of OB-type stars contain strong (mostly dipolar) surface magnetic fields (~kG). The prominent paradigm describing the interaction between the stellar winds and the surface magnetic field is the magnetically confined wind shock (MCWS) model. In this model, the stellar wind plasma is forced to move along the closed field loops of the magnetic field, colliding at the magnetic equator, and creating a shock. As the shocked material cools radiatively it will emit X-rays. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy is a key tool in detecting and characterizing the hot wind material confined by the magnetic fields of these stars. Some B-type stars are found to have very short rotational periods. The effects of the rapid rotation on the X-ray production within the magnetosphere have yet to be explored in detail. The added centrifugal force due to rapid rotation is predicted to cause faster wind outflows along the field lines, leading to higher shock temperatures and harder X-rays. However, this is not observed in all rapidly rotating magnetic B-type stars. In order to address this from a theoretical point of view, we use the X-ray Analytical Dynamical Magnetosphere (XADM) model, originally developed for slow rotators, with an implementation of new rapid rotational physics. Using X-ray spectroscopy from ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope, we observed 5 rapidly rotating B-types stars to add to the previous list of observations. Comparing the observed X-ray luminosity and hardness ratio to that predicted by the XADM allows us to determine the role the added centrifugal force plays in the magnetospheric X-ray emission of these stars.
EUV and X-ray radiation emitted from wind-embedded shocks can affect the ionization balance in the outer atmospheres of massive stars, and can also be the mechanism responsible for producing highly ionized atoms detected in the wind UV spectra. To investigate these processes, we implemented the emission from wind-embedded shocks and related physics into our atmosphere/spectrum synthesis code FASTWIND. We also account for the high energy absorption of the cool wind, by adding important K-shell opacities. Various tests justfying our approach have been described by Carneiro+(2016, A&A 590, A88).
In particular, we studied the impact of X-ray emission on the ionization balance of important elements. In almost all the cases, the lower ionization stages (O iv, N iv, P v) are depleted and the higher stages (N v, O v, O vi) become enhanced. Moreover, also He lines (in particular He ii 1640 and He ii 4686) can be affected as well.
Finally, we carried out an extensive discussion of the high-energy mass absorption coefficient, κν, regarding its spatial variation and dependence on Teff. We found that (i) the approximation of a radially constant κν can be justified for r ⩾ 1.2R* and λ ⩽ 18 Å, and also for many models at longer wavelengths. (ii) In order to estimate the actual value of this quantity, however, the He ii background needs to be considered from detailed modeling.
We gathered a multiwavelength dataset of two well-known LBVs. We found a complex mass-loss, with evidence of variability, such as has been seen previously. In addition, our data reveal signatures of collimated stellar winds. We propose a new scenario for these two stars where the nebula shaping is influenced by the presence of a companion star and/or fast rotation.
The WR stellar population can be distinguished, at least partially, from other stellar populations by broad-band IR colour selection. We present the use of a machine learning classifier to quantitatively improve the selection of Galactic Wolf-Rayet (WR) candidates. These methods are used to separate the other stellar populations which have similar IR colours. We show the results of the classifications obtained by using the 2MASS J, H and K photometric bands, and the Spitzer/IRAC bands at 3.6, 4.5, 5.8 and 8.0μm. The k-Nearest Neighbour method has been used to select Galactic WR candidates for observational follow-up. A few candidates have been spectroscopically observed. Preliminary observations suggest that a detection rate of 50% can easily be achieved.
Blue supergiant stars of B and A spectral types are amongst the visually brightest non-transient astronomical objects. Their intrinsic brightness makes it possible to obtain high quality optical spectra of these objects in distant galaxies, enabling the study not only of these stars in different environments, but also to use them as tools to probe their host galaxies. Quantitative analysis of their optical spectra provide tight constraints on their evolution in a wide range of metallicities, as well as on the present-day chemical composition, extinction laws and distances to their host galaxies. We review in this contribution recent results in this field.
Large magnetometric surveys have contributed to the detection of an increasing number of magnetic massive stars, and to the recognition of a population of magnetic massive stellar objects with distinct properties. Among these, NGC 1624-2 possesses the largest magnetic field of any O-type star; such a field confines the stellar wind into a circumstellar magnetosphere, which can be probed using observations at different wavelength regimes. Recent optical and X-ray observations suggest that NGC 1624-2’s magnetosphere is much larger than that of any other magnetic O star. By modeling the variations of UV resonance lines, we can constrain its velocity structure. Furthermore, recent spectropolarimetric observations raise the possibility of a more complex field topology than previously expected. Putting all of these multi-wavelength constraints together will allow us to paint a consistent picture of NGC 1624-2 and its surprising behavior, giving us valuable insight into the very nature of massive star magnetospheres.
Magnetic massive stars comprise approximately 10% of the total OB star population. Modern spectropolarimetry shows these stars host strong, stable, large-scale, often nearly dipolar surface magnetic fields of 1 kG or more. These global magnetic fields trap and deflect outflowing stellar wind material, forming an anisotropic magnetosphere that can be probed with wind-sensitive UV resonance lines. Recent HST UV spectra of NGC 1624-2, the most magnetic O star observed to date, show atypically unsaturated P-Cygni profiles in the Civ resonant doublet, as well as a distinct variation with rotational phase. We examine the effect of non-radial, magnetically-channeled wind outflow on P-Cygni line formation, using a Sobolev Exact Integration (SEI) approach for direct comparison with HST UV spectra of NGC 1624-2. We demonstrate that the addition of a magnetic field desaturates the absorption trough of the P-Cygni profiles, but further efforts are needed to fully account for the observed line profile variation. Our study thus provides a first step toward a broader understanding of how strong magnetic fields affect mass loss diagnostics from UV lines.