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Staphylococcus aureus has been recognised as one of the important zoonotic pathogens. However, knowledge about the epidemiology and genetic characteristics of S. aureus in rabbits was limited. The aim of this study was to determine the characteristics of 281 S. aureus isolated from dead rabbits of nine rabbit farms in Fujian Province, China. All the isolates were characterised by multi-locus sequencing typing, detection of virulence factors and antimicrobial susceptibility test. The results showed that the 281 isolates were grouped into two sequence types, ST121 (13.52%, 38/281) and ST398 (86.48%, 243/281). Surprisingly, the ST121 strains were only recovered from the lung samples from one of the nine rabbit farms studied. In the 281 isolates, the virulence genes of nuc, hla, hlb, clfA, clfB and fnbpA were positive, whereas the sea, seb, tsst, eta and etb genes were negative. Notably, the 38 ST121 isolates carried the pvl gene. All the 281 isolates were methicillin-susceptible S. aureus, and the isolates were susceptible to most of the used antibiotics, except for streptomycin, kanamycin, azithromycin and penicillin, and the resistance rates of which were 23.84%, 19.57%, 16.01% and 11.03%, respectively. This study first described the epidemiology and characteristics of S. aureus in rabbits in Fujian Province, which will help in tracking the evolution of epidemic strains and preventing the rabbit–human transmission events.
The takeoff-mass of a two-stage-to-orbit Rocket-Based Combined Cycle Engine-Rocket (RBCC-RKT) launch vehicle is a crucial factor in its comprehensive performance. This paper optimizes the takeoff-mass together with the trajectory by reformulating it to a nonlinear optimal control problem. The range of the second stage rocket mass is considered as a process constraint. When the scopes of initial and terminal states are specified, the problem can be solved by using the Gauss pseudo-spectral method (GPM). In order to reduce the convergent difficulty caused by using table data, the data in different stages are utilized by employing an integrated interpolation strategy through the optimization. Simulation results show that the mass can be effectively optimized to meet the inertia mass ratio constraint of the first-stage, and the separation of Mach number and altitude can be optimized at the same time.
The very high temperature reactor (VHTR) is a development of the high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) and one of the six proposed Generation IV reactor concept candidates. The 10 MW high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR-10) is the first pebble-bed gas-cooled test reactor in China. A sampling system for the measurement of carbon-14 (14C) was established in the helium purification system of the HTR-10 primary loop, which could sample 14C from the coolant at three locations. The results showed that activity concentration of 14C in the HTR-10 primary coolant was 1.2(1) × 102 Bq/m3 (STP). The production mechanisms, distribution characteristics, reduction routes, and release types of 14C in HTR-10 were analyzed and discussed. A theoretical model was built to calculate the amount of 14C in the core of HTR-10 and its concentration in the primary coolant. The activation reaction of 13C has been identified to be the dominant 14C source in the core, whereas in the primary coolant, it is the activation of 14N. These results can supplement important information for the source term analysis of 14C in HTR-10 and promote the study of 14C in HTGRs.
The major component of aphid alarm pheromone is (E)-β-farnesene (EβF), but the molecular mechanisms of EβF synthesis are poorly understood. Here we established a biological model to study the modulation of EβF synthesis in the bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi by using quantitative polymerase chain reaction, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and RNA interference. Our results showed that the rearing conditions significantly affected the weight of adult and modulated EβF synthesis in a transgenerational manner. Specifically, the quantity of EβF per milligram of aphid was significantly reduced in the individually reared adult or 1st-instar nymphs derived from 1-day-old adult reared individually, but EβF in the nymph derived from 2-day-old adult that experienced collective conditions returned to normal. Further study revealed that the production of EβF started in embryo and was extended to early nymphal stage, which was modulated by farnesyl diphosphate synthase genes (RpFPPS1 and RpFPPS2) and rearing conditions. Knockdown of RpFPPS1 and RpFPPS2 confirmed the role played by FPPS in the biosynthesis of aphid alarm pheromone. Our results suggested that the production of EβF starts at the embryo stage and is modulated by FPPS and rearing conditions in R. padi, which sheds lights on the modulatory mechanisms of EβF in the aphid.
Hypoimmunity and numerous stresses are two major challenges in broiler industry. Nutrient intervention at the specific time of embryonic stage is a feasible way to improve animal performance. This study was conducted to investigate the possible effects of in ovo feeding (IOF) of vitamin C at embryonic age 15th day (E15) on growth performance, antioxidation and immune function of broilers. A total of 240 broiler fertile eggs were randomly divided into two groups (0 and 3 mg injected dose of vitamin C at E15), and new-hatched chicks from each treatment were randomly allocated into six replicates with 10 chicks per replicate after incubation. The results indicated that in ovo vitamin C injection improved the hatchability (P < 0.05) and increased immunoglobulin M (IgM) (at the broiler’s age 1st day, D1), IgG and IgM concentrations (D21), as well as lysozyme activity (D21, P < 0.05) and total antioxidant capacity (D42, P < 0.01) in plasma of broilers. On D21, the splenic expression level of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) was up-regulated in vitamin C (VC) group, whereas interleukin (IL)-6, interferon-γ, ten-eleven translocation protein 1 and thymine-DNA glycosylase were down-regulated (P < 0.05). On D42, in ovo vitamin C injection up-regulated splenic expression levels of DNMT1, DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) and growth arrest and DNA-damage-inducible protein beta (P < 0.05), whereas down-regulated splenic expression levels of IL-6, tumour necrosis factor-α and methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 4 (P < 0.05). Our findings suggested that IOF of 3 mg vitamin C at E15 could improve, to some extent, the antioxidant activity and immune function in plasma, corresponding with the lower expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in spleen. However, IOF of vitamin C leading to the changes in the expression of DNA methyltransferases and demethylases may suggest an increased trend of DNA methylation level in spleen and whether DNA methylation variation is associated with the lower expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in spleen warrants future study.
Heading date (HD) and flowering date (FD) are critical for yield potential and stability, so understanding their genetic foundation is of great significance in wheat breeding. Three related recombinant inbred line populations with a common female parent were developed to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for HD and FD in four environments. In total, 25 putative additive QTL and 20 pairwise epistatic effect QTL were detected in four environments. The additive QTL were distributed across 17 wheat chromosomes. Of these, QHd-1A, QHd-1D, QHd-2B, QHd-3B, QHd-4A, QHd-4B and QHd-6D were major and stable QTL for HD. QFd-1A, QFd-2B, QFd-4A and QFd-4B were major and stable QTL for FD. In addition, an epistatic interaction test showed that epistasis played important roles in controlling wheat HD and FD. Genetic relationships between HD/FD and five yield-related traits (YRTs) were characterized and ten QTL clusters (C1–C10) simultaneously controlling YRTs and HD/FD were identified. The present work laid a genetic foundation for improving yield potential in wheat molecular breeding programmes.
Hepatitis E is an important zoonosis that is prevalent in China. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a pathogen that affects humans and animals and endangers public health in China. In this study, the detection of HEV epidemics in swine in Sichuan Province, China, was carried out by nested real-time PCR. A total of 174 stool samples and 160 bile samples from swine in Sichuan Province were examined. In addition, software was used to analyse the biological evolution of HEV. The results showed that within 2 years of swine HEV (SHEV) infection in China, SHEV was first detected in Sichuan Province. HEV was endemic in Sichuan; the positive rate for pig farms was 11.1%, and the total positive sample rate was 10.5%. The age of swine with the highest positive rate (17.9%) was 5–9 weeks. The examined swine species in order of highest to lowest HEV infection rates were Chenghua pig, Large White, Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and Hampshire. Nucleotide and amino acid sequence analysis showed that the HEV epidemic in swine in Sichuan Province was related to genotype IV, which had the highest homology to HEV in Beijing. Sichuan strains have greater variation than Chinese representative strains, which may indicate the presence of new HEV strains.
Strong strain-mediated magnetoelectric (ME) coupling in magnetic/ferroelectric heterostructures has great potential for different high-frequency multiferroic devices. In this article, we present the most recent progress in integrated multiferroic devices. Integrated magnetic tunable inductors with a wide operation frequency range, integrated nonreciprocal bandpass filters with dual magnetic and electric-field tunability based on magnetostatics surface waves, and novel radio-frequency nanomechanical ME resonators with pico-Tesla sensitivity for direct current magnetic fields are presented. Finally, a new antenna miniaturization mechanism, acoustically actuated nanomechanical ME antennas, which can successfully miniaturize the size by 1–2 orders, is introduced. With the advantages of high magnetic field sensitivity, highest antenna gain among all nanoscale antennas at similar frequency, integrated capability with complementary metal oxide semiconductor technology, and ground-plane immunity from metallic surfaces and the human body, ME antennas have a bright future for biomedical applications, wearable antennas, and the Internet of Things due to their unique and particular properties.
Hydrogen is an important intermediate that is produced during carbohydrate fermentation to volatile fatty acid and utilized by methanogens to produce methane in the rumen. Ruminal volatile fatty acid and dissolved methane concentrations are more than 500 times greater than dissolved hydrogen concentration. Therefore, we hypothesized that dissolved hydrogen might have a higher sensitivity in response to dietary changes compared with volatile fatty acid and dissolved methane. Using goats, we investigated the effects of increasing dietary starch content (maize replaced with wheat bran) and supplementing with rhubarb rhizomes and roots on the relationships among dissolved hydrogen, dissolved methane and other fermentation end products. The study was conducted in a replicated 4×4 Latin square with a 2×2 factorial arrangement of four treatments: two starch levels (220 v. 320 g/kg dry matter (DM)), without and with rhubarb supplement (0% v. 2.8% of total mixed ration). Increased dietary starch and rhubarb supplementation did not alter volatile fatty acid concentrations or methane emissions in terms of g/day, g/g DM intake and g/g organic matter digested. However, goats fed the high-starch diet had greater dissolved hydrogen (P=0.005) and relative abundance of Selenomonas ruminantium (P<0.01), and lower (P=0.02) copy number of protozoa than those fed the low-starch diet. Rhubarb increased ruminal dissolved H2 (P=0.03) and total volatile fatty acid concentration (P<0.001), but decreased copies of bacteria (P=0.002). In conclusion, dissolved hydrogen appears to be more sensitive to dietary changes with starch content and rhubarb supplementation, when compared with volatile fatty acid concentrations and methane production.
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.
Taihu pig breeds are the most prolific breeds of swine in the world, and they also have superior economic traits, including high resistance to disease, superior meat quality, high resistance to crude feed and a docile temperament. The formation of these phenotypic characteristics is largely a result of long-term artificial or natural selection. Therefore, exploring selection signatures in the genomes of the Taihu pigs will help us to identify porcine genes related to productivity traits, disease and behaviour. In this study, we used both intra-population (Relative Extend Haplotype Homozygosity Test (REHH)) and inter-population (the Cross-Population Extend Haplotype Homozygosity Test (XPEHH); F-STATISTICS, FST) methods to detect genomic regions that might be under selection process in Taihu pig breeds. As a result, we found 282 (REHH) and 112 (XPEHH) selection signature candidate regions corresponding to 159.78 Mb (6.15%) and 62.29 Mb (2.40%) genomic regions, respectively. Further investigations of the selection candidate regions revealed that many genes under these genomic regions were related to reproductive traits (such as the TLR9 gene), coat colour (such as the KIT gene) and fat metabolism (such as the CPT1A and MAML3 genes). Furthermore, gene enrichment analyses showed that genes under the selection candidate regions were significantly over-represented in pathways related to diseases, such as autoimmune thyroid and asthma diseases. In conclusion, several candidate genes potentially under positive selection were involved in characteristics of Taihu pig. These results will further allow us to better understand the mechanisms of selection in pig breeding.
Extensive insecticide use has led to the resistance of mosquitoes to these insecticides, posing a major barrier to mosquito control. Previous Solexa high-throughput sequencing of Culex pipiens pallens in the laboratory has revealed that the abundance of a novel microRNA (miRNA), miR-13664, was higher in a deltamethrin-sensitive (DS) strain than a deltamethrin-resistant (DR) strain. Real-time quantitative PCR revealed that the miR-13664 transcript level was lower in the DR strain than in the DS strain. MiR-13664 oversupply in the DR strain increased the susceptibility of these mosquitoes to deltamethrin, whereas inhibition of miR-13664 made the DS strain more resistant to deltamethrin. Results of bioinformatic analysis, quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, luciferase assay and miR mimic/inhibitor microinjection revealed CpCYP314A1 to be a target of miR-13664. In addition, downregulation of CpCYP314A1 expression in the DR strain reduced the resistance of mosquitoes to deltamethrin. Taken together, our results indicate that miR-13664 could regulate deltamethrin resistance by interacting with CpCYP314A1, providing new insights into mosquito resistance mechanisms.
Superior and inferior rice grains have different weights and are located on the upper primary branch and lower secondary branches of the panicle, respectively. To study differences in germination vigour of these two types of grain, a number of factors were investigated from 0 to 48 h of germination. The present study demonstrated that in inferior grains the starch granule structure was looser at 0 h, with full water absorption at 48 h, while in superior grains the structure was tight and dense. Relative water content increased, and dry matter decreased, more rapidly in inferior grains than in superior ones. Abscisic acid and gibberellin levels, as well as α-amylase activity, also changed more rapidly in inferior grains, while soluble sugar content and amylase coding gene expression increased more rapidly in inferior than superior grains during early germination. The expression of OsGAMYB was higher in inferior grains at 24 h but higher in superior grains at 48 h. The phenotypic index of seedlings was higher in seedlings from superior grains at the two-leaf stage. However, the thousand-grain weight and yield per plant in superior and inferior plants showed no significant difference at harvest. The present study indicates that inferior grains germinate faster than superior ones in the early germination stage. Although inferior grains produced weaker seedlings, it is worthwhile using them in rice production due to their comparative yield potential over that of superior grains.
Previously, the concept of Ply Drop Sequence (PDS) is introduced by the authors for the designing of composite laminated structures with multiple regions. Compared to deleting a contiguous innermost/outermost plies in the classical guide-based blending, using PDS is more flexible than dropping plies between adjacent regions. In this article, a new blending model called the Permutation for Panel Sequence (PPS) blending model is proposed to correct the problem of repeated searching of discrete points in the design space for the previous PDS blending model. The proposed method is also applied to an 18-panel horseshoe benchmark problem. The results demonstrate that the useful searching points in the PPS method are less than those in the PDS method when the number of the panels is less than the number of plies in the guide laminate, and the PPS method obtains a faster convergence speed compared with the PDS method.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has been shown to be involved in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced immune responses in many mammal cells. Here, we suggest that the mTOR pathway is involved in the intestinal inflammatory responses evoked by LPS treatment in chicken embryos. The intestinal tissue from Specific pathogen free chick embryos was cultured in the presence of LPS for 2 h. Secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) concentrations, messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of cytokines, and protein levels of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), mTOR and p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (p70S6K) were determined. The results showed that LPS treatment increased sIgA concentrations in a dose-dependent manner. The mRNA levels of interleukine (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-α and Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 were upregulated by LPS treatment (P<0.05). Lipopolysaccharide increased the phosphorylation of Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 MAPK and NF-κB (P<0.05) while decreasing the phosphorylation level of mTOR (P<0.05). Supplementation of leucine at doses of 10, 20 and 40 mM dose-dependently decreased sIgA production. Leucine supplementation at 40 mM restored the phosphorylation level of mTOR and p70S6K while suppressing the phosphorylation levels of NF-κB (P<0.05) and partially down-regulating the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and JNK. The transcription of IL-6 was significantly decreased by leucine supplementation. These results suggested that leucine could alleviate LPS-induced inflammatory responses by down-regulating NF-κB signaling pathway and evoking mTOR/p70S6K signaling pathway, which may involve in the regulation of the intestinal immune system in chicken embryos.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
This study aims to investigate the climate–malaria associations in nine cities selected from malaria high-risk areas in China. Daily reports of malaria cases in Anhui, Henan, and Yunnan Provinces for 2005–2012 were obtained from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Generalized estimating equation models were used to quantify the city-specific climate–malaria associations. Multivariate random-effects meta-regression analyses were used to pool the city-specific effects. An inverted-U-shaped curve relationship was observed between temperatures, average relative humidity, and malaria. A 1 °C increase of maximum temperature (Tmax) resulted in 6·7% (95% CI 4·6–8·8%) to 15·8% (95% CI 14·1–17·4%) increase of malaria, with corresponding lags ranging from 7 to 45 days. For minimum temperature (Tmin), the effect estimates peaked at lag 0 to 40 days, ranging from 5·3% (95% CI 4·4–6·2%) to 17·9% (95% CI 15·6–20·1%). Malaria is more sensitive to Tmin in cool climates and Tmax in warm climates. The duration of lag effect in a cool climate zone is longer than that in a warm climate zone. Lagged effects did not vanish after an epidemic season but waned gradually in the following 2–3 warm seasons. A warming climate may potentially increase the risk of malaria resurgence in China.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the population regarding severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in endemic areas of Lu'an in China were assessed before and after an intervention programme. The pre-intervention phase was conducted using a sample of 425 participants from the 12 selected villages with the highest rates of endemic SFTS infection. A predesigned interview questionnaire was used to assess KAP. Subsequently, an intervention programme was designed and applied in the selected villages. KAP was re-assessed for each population in the selected villages using the same interview questionnaire. Following 2 months of the programme, 339 participants had completed the re-assessed survey. The impact of the intervention programme was evaluated using suitable statistical methods. A significant increase in the KAP and total KAP scores was noted following the intervention programme, whereas the proportion of correct knowledge, the positive attitudes and the effective practices toward SFTS of respondents increased significantly. The intervention programme was effective in improving KAP level of SFTS in populations that were resident in endemic areas.
Athetis lepigone (Möschler) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a new outbreak pest in China. Consequently, it is unclear whether the emergence and spread of the outbreak of this pest are triggered by rapid in situ population size increases in each outbreak area, or by immigrants from a potential source area in China. In order to explore the outbreak process of this pest through a population genetics approach, we developed ten novel polymorphic expressed sequence tags (EST)-derived microsatellites. These new microsatellites had moderately high levels of polymorphism in the tested population. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 3 to 19, with an average of 8.6, and the expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.269 to 0.783. A preliminary population genetic analysis using these new microsatellites revealed a lack of population genetic structure in natural populations of A. lepigone. The estimates of recent migration rate revealed strong gene flow among populations. In conclusion, our study developed the first set of EST-microsatellite markers and shed a new light on the population genetic structure of this pest in China.
Information on morbidity burden of seasonal influenza in China is limited. A multiplier model was used to estimate the incidence and number of outpatient visits for seasonal influenza by age group for the 2015–2016 season in Beijing, the capital of China, based on reported numbers of influenza-like illness consultations and proportions of positive cases from influenza surveillance systems in Beijing, general consultation rates and other parameters from previous studies, surveys and surveillance systems. An estimated total of 1 190 200 (95% confidence interval (CI) 830 400–1 549 900) cases of influenza virus infections occurred in Beijing, 2015–2016 season, with an attack rate of 5·5% (95% CI 3·9–7·2%). These infections resulted in an estimated 468 280 (95% CI 70 700–606 800) outpatient visits, with an attack rate of 2·2% (95% CI 0·3–2·8%). The attack rate of influenza virus infections was highest among children aged 0–4 years (31·9% (95% CI 21·9–41·9%)), followed by children aged 5–14 years (18·7% (95% CI 12·9–24·5%)). Our study demonstrated a substantial influenza-related morbidity in Beijing, China, especially among the preschool- and school-aged children. This suggests that development or modification of seasonal influenza targeted vaccination strategies need to recognize that incidence is highest in children.