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Trematode tyrosinases (TYRs) play a major role in the tanning process during eggshell formation. We investigated the molecular and biochemical features of Paragonimus westermani TYR (PwTYR). The PwTYR cDNA was composed of 1568-bp encompassing a 1422-bp-long open reading frame (474-amino acid polypeptide). A strong phylogenetic relationship with Platyhelminthes and Deuterostomian orthologues was evident. The recombinant PwTYR expressed in prokaryotic cells promptly oxidized diphenol substrates, with a preferential affinity toward ortho-positioned hydroxyl groups. It demonstrated fairly weak activity for monophenol compounds. Diphenol oxidase activity was augmented with an increase of pH from 5·0 to 8·0, while monophenol oxidase activity was highest at an acidic pH and gradually decreased as pH increased. Transcription profile of PwTYR was temporally upregulated along with worm development. PwTYR was specifically localized in vitellocytes and eggs. The results suggested that conversion of tyrosine to L-dihydroxyphenylalanine by PwTYR monophenol oxidase activity might be rate-limiting step during the sclerotization process of P. westermani eggs. The pH-dependent pattern of monophenol and diphenol oxidase activity further proposes that the initial hydroxylation might slowly but steadily progress in acidic secreted vesicles of vitellocytes and the second oxidation process might be rapidly accelerated by neural or weak alkaline pH environments within the ootype.
Depression is common after acute coronary syndrome (ACS) with adverse effects on prognosis. There is little evidence on whether depression treatment improves quality of life (QoL) in ACS patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of co-morbid depression and its treatment on QoL in ACS.
In total, 1152 patients were recruited at baseline, 2–14 weeks after a confirmed ACS episode, and 828 were followed 1 year thereafter. Of 446 baseline participants with co-morbid depressive disorders, 300 were randomized to a 24-week double blind trial of escitalopram or placebo, while the remaining 146 received medical treatment only (MTO). QoL was measured by the World Health Organization Quality of Life –Abbreviated form (WHOQOL-BREF).
At baseline, QoL was significantly lower in patients with co-morbid depressive disorder than those without. QoL improvement was significantly greater in those receiving escitalopram than those receiving placebo over the 24-week treatment period. In the 1-year follow-up, the better outcomes associated with escitalopram remained evident against both placebo and MTO.
Depression was significantly associated with worse QoL even in patients with recently developed ACS. Depression treatment was associated with QoL improvement in ACS patients in the 24-week treatment period, the effects of which extended to 1 year.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) is a space observatory for optical follow-ups of
gamma ray bursts (GRBs), aiming to explore the first 60 seconds of GRBs optical emission.
UFFO is utilized to catch early optical emissions from GRBs within few sec after trigger
using a Gimbal mirror which redirects the optical path rather than slewing entire
spacecraft. We have developed a 15 cm two-axis Gimbal mirror stage for the UFFO-Pathfinder
which is going to be on board the Lomonosov satellite which is to be launched in 2013. The
stage is designed for fast and accurate motion with given budgets of 3 kg of mass and 3
Watt of power. By employing stepping motors, the slewing mirror can rotate faster than 15
deg/sec so that objects in the UFFO coverage (60 deg × 60 deg) can be targeted in
~1 sec. The obtained targeting resolution is better 2 arcmin using a close-loop
control with high precision rotary encoder. In this presentation, we will discuss details
of design, manufacturing, space qualification tests, as well as performance tests.
Hypermucoviscous (HV) isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae have been linked to virulence potential in experimental infections. We examined 33 isolates of K. pneumoniae from patients with bacteraemia for the HV phenotype on agar culture, and determined their virulence potential by screening for capsular (K) serotype by polymerase chain reaction and the presence of seven virulence factor genes. Fourteen (42·4%) isolates expressed the HV phenotype and 11 of these were serotype K1 or K2; these serotypes were not identified in HV-negative isolates. The genes rmpA, rmpA2, aerobactin, wabG and allS were significantly more frequent in HV than non-HV isolates. Multilocus sequence typing identified 21 sequence types (ST), eight of which were found in HV-positive isolates and the clonal relatedness of isolates of the most frequent types (ST23 and ST11) from different hospitals was confirmed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. The HV phenotype was more associated with community-acquired infection with a lower frequency of fatal underlying illness, but with significantly more focal infections, notably liver abscesses. Clinicians should be aware of such clinical impacts of the HV phenotype.
Information about glacier volume and ice thickness distribution is essential for many glaciological applications, but direct measurements of ice thickness can be difficult and costly. We present a new method that calculates ice thickness via an estimate of ice flux. We solve the familiar continuity equation between adjacent flowlines, which decreases the computational time required compared to a solution on the whole grid. We test the method on Columbia Glacier, a large tidewater glacier in Alaska, USA, and compare calculated and measured ice thicknesses, with favorable results. This shows the potential of this method for estimating ice thickness distribution of glaciers for which only surface data are available. We find that both the mean thickness and volume of Columbia Glacier were approximately halved over the period 1957–2007, from 281 m to 143 m, and from 294 km3 to 134 km3, respectively. Using bedrock slope and considering how waves of thickness change propagate through the glacier, we conduct a brief analysis of the instability of Columbia Glacier, which leads us to conclude that the rapid portion of the retreat may be nearing an end.
Controlled ZnO nanostructures were grown on a flexible substrate for the future development of smart sensing tags. Thermolysis-assisted chemical solution deposition was used to grow ZnO nanorods at 85°C from 0.01mol of Zinc nitrate hexahydrate and HMT (Hexamethyltetramine) solution. To promote and modulate the ZnO nanorods, R.F. sputtered ZnO seed layers were deposited on polyimide substrates at various film thicknesses in the range of 8 to 160 nm. The optimum processing conditions to fabricate ZnO nanostructures have been investigated to examine the growth behaviors and to correlate the process parameters with the morphological characteristics. When the ethanol gas sensitivities were measured at different thickness of ZnO seed layers before growing ZnO nanorods, the highest sensitivity was obtained at 40 nm thick ZnO film at 300°C where the film thickness is similar to the Debye length. When ZnO nanorods were grown on such a ZnO seed layer, the sensitivities were more heavily influenced by the ZnO nanostructures rather than the thickness of the seed layer probably due to the dominant proportion of carrier density involved with the gas absorption.
This study investigated the effect of increased phylogenetic distance on the outcome of spermatogonial transplantation, with porcine donors and mice recipients. It was designed to develop a technique for detecting foreign donor cells in recipient animals. Porcine male germ cells were harvested from postnatal male testes and incubated with the lipophilic membrane dye PKH-26. For transplantation, approximately 106 PKH-26-labelled porcine male germ cells were injected into the efferent ducts of mouse testes. Animals were sacrificed at post-graft days 1, 10, 30, 45, 60 and 150 (n = 5 each). Serial frozen sections of explanted testes were prepared for detecting labelled cells. Transplanted porcine donor cells were easily detected in the recipient tubules for 8 weeks. After transplantation, we could detect both incorporation into the basement membrane and differentiation of grafted porcine donor cells by our double detection system, using PKH staining and slide PCR. However, our RT-PCR and apoptosis results revealed that most of the grafted porcine male donor cells could not differentiate past early-meiotic spermatocytes. We could induce partial differentiation of xenografted porcine donor cells in mouse testes, but not full induction of spermatogenesis. We have developed a very reliable technique for detecting foreign donor cells in recipient animals using a combination of PKH staining and slide PCR methods. Our results provide a valuable experimental model for applying and evaluating this technology in other species.
With respect to the operation of a Phase-change Random Access Memory (PRAM or PcRAM), we studied the effect of the contact between the electrode metal and the chalcogenide glass, N2 doped Ge2Sb2Te5 in this report. We investigated a change of the resistance-programming current pulse (R-I) curve varying the contact size and the electrode material. Also we tested the surface oxidation of the electrode. We found that the programming current, the resistance of the programmed state (“RESET”) and the erased state (“SET”) were highly dependent on the above parameters. These results are presented and a more effective way to the high density PRAM will be proposed.
Microencapsulation provides protection and sustained or controlled release of active core agents. The sol-gel process has opened up a new way for encapsulating oil droplets within an inorganic capsule. Silica microcapsules were prepared in silica precursor-oil mixtures/NH4OH water microemulsion system. In this step, the formation of capsules incorporating oil depended strongly on the type of silica precursor. A spherical silica microsheres were only obtained when oligomer, synthesized by the hydrolysis and co-condensation of equiweight of TEOS (tetraethylorthosilicate) and MTMS (methyltrimethoxysilane), was used as the wall materials. The particles size of silica microcapsules was in the range of 1 ∼ 100 μm, depending on processing parameter such as a shear rate and O/W ratio etc. In controlled release system, the shell porosity is important to give an appropriate permeability, corresponding to the release rate. The pore structure, responsible for permeability, was adjusted by doping alkyl silane, and investigated with nitrogen sorption measurement.
We investigated the electrical characteristics of the MOSCAP structures with W/WNx/poly Si1−xGex gates stack using C-V and I-V. The low frequency C-V measurements demonstrated that the flat band voltage of the W/WNx /poly Si0.4Ge0.6 stack was lower than that of W/ WNx /poly Si0.2Ge0.8 stack by 0.3V, and showed less gate-poly-depletion-effect than that of W/ WNx /poly- Si0.2Ge0.8 gates due to the increase of dopant activation rate with the increase of Ge content in the poly Si1−xGex films. As Ge content in poly Si1−xGex increased, the leakage current level increased a little due to the increase of direct tunneling and QBD became higher due to the lower boron penetration.
Thickness dependence of leakage current behaviors was investigated in epitaxial (Ba0.5Sr0.5)TiO3 thin films with different thicknesses of 55 - 225 nm prepared on Pt(001)/MgO(001) substrates by a radio-frequency magnetron sputtering technique. Below a certain critical film thickness (≤ 55 nm), the Schottky emission is a ruling leakage conduction mechanism over a wide electric field range. In contrast, in thicker films (> 55 nm), the Schottky emission still operates at low electric fields, however at high electric fields the Fowler-Nordheim (F-N) tunneling dominates. The transition film thickness appears to be associated with overlapping of the depletion layers formed at the top and bottom electrode interfaces.
The microstructure and dielectric properties of BaTiO3 and Ba0.68Sr0.32TiO3 thick films deposited by thermal spray were investigated. The as-deposited films were predominantly crystalline with a small amount of an amorphous second phase. The as-deposited BaTiO3 films had dielectric constants as high as 240 at room temperature. Upon annealing in air at 500°C, the dielectric constant increased to 480. This increase in dielectric constant was attributed, in part, to the crystallization of the amorphous second phase. The stabilized phase depended on the spray process used. The high velocity oxy fuel (HVOF) spray process resulted in the deposition of paraelectric BaTiO3, whereas the plasma spray process resulted in the ferroelectric phase.