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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.
Triploid and pentaploid breeding is of great importance in agricultural production, but it is not always easy to obtain double ploidy parents. However, in fishes, chromosome ploidy is diversiform, which may provide natural parental resources for triploid and pentaploid breeding. Both tetraploid and hexaploid exist in Schizothorax fishes, which were thought to belong to different subfamilies with tetraploid Percocypris fishes in morphology, but they are sister genera in molecule. Fortunately, the pentaploid hybrid fishes have been successfully obtained by hybridization of Schizothorax wangchiachii (♀, 2n = 6X = 148) × Percocypris pingi (♂, 2n = 4X = 98). To understand the genetic and morphological difference among the hybrid fishes and their parents, four methods were used in this study: morphology, karyotype, red blood cell (RBC) DNA content determination and inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR). In morphology, the hybrid fishes were steady, and between their parents with no obvious preference. The chromosome numbers of P. pingi have been reported as 2n = 4X = 98. In this study, the karyotype of S. wangchiachii was 2n = 6X = 148 = 36m + 34sm + 12st + 66t, while that the hybrid fishes was 2n = 5X = 123 = 39m + 28sm + 5st + 51t. Similarly, the RBC DNA content of the hybrid fishes was intermediate among their parents. In ISSR, the within-group genetic diversity of hybrid fishes was higher than that of their parents. Moreover, the genetic distance of hybrid fishes between P. pingi and S.wangchiachii was closely related to that of their parental ploidy, suggesting that parental genetic material stably coexisted in the hybrid fishes. This is the first report to show a stable pentaploid F1 hybrids produced by hybridization of a hexaploid and a tetraploid in aquaculture.
Feeding ruminants a high-grain (HG) diet is a widely used strategy to improve milk yield and cost efficiency. However, it may cause certain metabolic disorders. At present, information about the effects of HG diets on the systemic metabolic profile of goats and the correlation of such diets with rumen bacteria is limited. In the present study, goats were randomly divided into two groups: one was fed the hay diet (hay; n = 5), while the other was fed HG diets (HG; n = 5). On day 50, samples of rumen contents, peripheral blood serum and liver tissues were collected to determine the metabolic profiles in the rumen fluid, liver and serum and the microbial composition in rumen. The results revealed that HG diets reduced (P < 0.05) the community richness and diversity of rumen microbiota, with an increase in the Chao 1 and Shannon index and a decrease in the Simpson index. HG diets also altered the composition of rumen microbiota, with 30 genera affected (P < 0.05). Data on the metabolome showed that the metabolites in the rumen fluid, liver and serum were affected (variable importance projection > 1, P <0.05) by dietary treatment, with 47, 10 and 27 metabolites identified as differentially metabolites. Pathway analysis showed that the common metabolites in the shared key pathway (aminoacyl-transfer RNA biosynthesis) in the rumen fluid, liver and serum were glycine, lysine and valine. These findings suggested that HG diets changed the composition of the rumen microbiota and metabolites in the rumen fluid, liver and serum, mainly involved in amino acid metabolism. Our findings provide new insights into the understanding of diet-related systemic metabolism and the effects of HG diets on the overall health of goats.
In the current intensive production system, ruminants are often fed high-grain (HG) diets. However, this feeding pattern often causes rumen metabolic disorders and may further trigger laminitis, the exact mechanism is not clear. This study investigated the effect of HG diet feeding on fermentative and microbial changes in the rumen and on the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the lamellar tissue. In all, 12 male goats were fed a hay diet (0% grain; n=6) or an HG diet (56.5% grain; n=6). On day 50 of treatment, samples of blood, rumen content, and lamellar tissue of hooves of goats were collected. The data showed that compared with the hay group, HG-fed goats had lower (P<0.05) rumen pH but higher (P<0.05) total volatile fatty acids and lactate in the rumen and higher (P<0.05) lipopolysaccharide (LPS) levels in the rumen and blood. HG diet feeding altered the composition of rumen bacterial community, and correspondingly, the results suggested that their functions in the HG group were also altered. HG diet feeding increased (P<0.05) the expression of interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor-α and MMP-2 mRNA in the lamellar tissues compared with the hay group. Correlation analysis indicated that the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines were positively correlated with MMP-2 expression in lamellar tissues. Overall, these results revealed that HG feeding altered the patterns of rumen fermentation and the composition and functions of rumen bacterial community, and lead to higher levels of LPS in the peripheral blood, and further activated the inflammatory response in lamellar tissues, which may progress to the level of laminar damage.
Accurate prediction of the flow around multi-element airfoil is a prerequisite for improving aerodynamic performance, but its complex flow features impose high demands on turbulence modeling. In this work, delayed detached-eddy-simulation (DDES) and zonal detached-eddy-simulation (ZDES) was applied to simulate the flow past a three-element airfoil. To investigate the effects of numerical dissipation of spatial schemes, the third-order MUSCL and the fifth-order interpolation based on modified Roe scheme were implemented. From the comparisons between the calculations and the available experimental result, third-order MUSCL-Roe can provide satisfactory mean velocity profiles, but the excessive dissipation suppresses the velocity fluctuations level and eliminates the small-scale structures; DDES cannot reproduce the separation near the trailing edge of the flap which lead to the discrepancy in mean pressure coefficients, while ZDES result has better tally with the experiment.
Insect defensins, are cationic peptides that play an important role in immunity against microbial infection. In the present study, an anionic defensin from Plutella xylostella, (designated as PxDef) was first cloned and characterized. Amino acid sequence analysis showed that the mature peptide owned characteristic six-cysteine motifs with predicted isoelectric point of 5.57, indicating an anionic defensin. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that PxDef was significantly induced in epidermis, fat body, midgut and hemocytes after injection of heat-inactivated Bacillus thuringiensis, while such an induction was delayed by the injection of live B. thuringiensis in the 4th instar larvae of P. xylostella. Knocking down the expression of nuclear transcription factor Dorsal in P. xylostella by RNA interference significantly decreased the mRNA level of PxDef, and increased the sensitivity of P. xylostella larvae to the infection by live B. thuringiensis. The purified recombinant mature peptide (PxDef) showed higher activity against Gram-positive bacteria, with the minimum inhibition concentrations of 1.6 and 2.6 µM against B. thuringiensis and Bacillus subtilis, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first report about an anionic PxDef, which may play an important role in the immune system of P. xylostella against B. thuringiensis.
The effects of target density and laser intensity on ionization speed are studied in this paper by 1D3V particle-in-cell simulations, where the field ionization of single atom is involved basing Ammosov-Delone-Krainov model in the form of Penetrante and Bardsley. To consider the ionization speed, the evolution of plasma density for the helium target, particularly, the ion density change rate near the target front surface, are discussed. The results show that not only the laser intensity, but also the target density will affect field ionization and further affect the plasma formation. This work will be helpful for further understanding of plasma formation in intense laser pulse. Also, it may be benefit for the setup of initial parameters before the simulation of laser–plasma interaction.
Wolbachia is an intracellular symbiotic bacterium that infects various spider mite species and is associated with alterations in host reproduction, which indicates the potential role in mite evolution. However, studies of Wolbachia infections in the spider mite Tetranychus pueraricola, a major agricultural pest, are limited. Here, we used multilocus sequence typing to determine Wolbachia infection status and examined the relationship between Wolbachia infection status and mitochondrial diversity in T. pueraricola from 12 populations in China. The prevalence of Wolbachia ranged from 2.8 to 50%, and three strains (wTpue1, wTpue2, and wTpue3) were identified. We also found double infections (wTpue1 + wTpue3) within the same individuals. Furthermore, the wTpue1 strain caused weak cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) (egg hatchability ~55%), whereas another widespread strain, wTpue3, did not induce CI. There was no reduction in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear DNA diversity among infected individuals, and mtDNA haplotypes did not correspond to specific Wolbachia strains. Phylogenetic analysis and analysis of molecular variance revealed that the distribution of mtDNA and nuclear DNA haplotypes were significantly associated with geography. These findings indicate that Wolbachia infection in T. pueraricola is complex, but T. pueraricola genetic differentiation likely resulted from substantial geographic isolation.
Legionnaires’ disease (LD) is a globally distributed systemic infectious disease. The burden of LD in many regions is still unclear, especially in Asian countries including China. A survey of Legionella infection using real-time PCR and nested sequence-based typing (SBT) was performed in two hospitals in Shanghai, China. A total of 265 bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) specimens were collected from hospital A between January 2012 and December 2013, and 359 sputum specimens were collected from hospital B throughout 2012. A total of 71 specimens were positive for Legionella according to real-time PCR focusing on the 5S rRNA gene. Seventy of these specimens were identified as Legionella pneumophila as a result of real-time PCR amplification of the dotA gene. Results of nested SBT revealed high genetic polymorphism in these L. pneumophila and ST1 was the predominant sequence type. These data revealed that the burden of LD in China is much greater than that recognized previously, and real-time PCR may be a suitable monitoring technology for LD in large sample surveys in regions lacking the economic and technical resources to perform other methods, such as urinary antigen tests and culture methods.
We determined the prevalence and seasonality of infections by Fasciola of goats and bovine species (cattle and water buffalo) in Hubei and Anhui provinces of China. Faecal samples were collected at 2- to 3-month intervals from 200 goats in Hubei province and from 152 bovine species in Anhui province. All faecal samples were examined for the presence of parasites. We determined the nucleotide sequences of the first and second internal transcribed spacers (ITS-1 and ITS-2) of the nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) of 39 Fasciola worms from Anhui province. The prevalence of Fasciola infection in goats ranged between 3.5 and 37.0%, with mean eggs per gram (EPG) ranging between 29.0 and 166.0. Prevalence and EPG exhibited downward trends over time with significant differences. The prevalence of Fasciola infection in cattle ranged between 13.3 and 46.2% (mean EPG, 36.4–100.0), and that of water buffalo ranged between 10.3 and 35.4% (mean EPG, 25.0–89.6), with a higher prevalence of infection and EPG from June to October compared with December to March. Analysis of ITS-1 and ITS-2 sequences revealed that F. hepatica and F. gigantica were present in all bovine species of Anhui province and that F. gigantica mainly infected water buffalo. This is the first demonstration of Fasciola infection in Hubei province and detection of F. hepatica and F. gigantica in Anhui province. The present study of Hubei province shows that mass treatment of livestock with closantel sodium injections in April and August/September controlled Fasciola infection effectively.
Development of partial inter-specific hybrid (PIH) rice is a promising approach for exploiting inter-specific heterosis between Oryza glaberrima and Oryza sativa. In the present study, the relationship between genetic distance (GD) of parental lines and yield performance of the PIHs was assessed using partial diallel crosses between three indica male sterile lines and 14 introgression lines (ILs) with different fragments of O. glaberrima genes. Twenty two out of the 42 PIHs expressed positive heterobeltiosis (i.e., the Fl hybrid showed superiority over the better parent in the target trait) for panicle number, spikelet number, thousand grain weight and grain yield/plant. The proportion of O. glaberrima genome in the ILs ranged from 0·03 to 0·41, as revealed by 16 informative simple sequence repeat markers. Significant positive correlations were found between the proportion of O. glaberrima genome of the ILs and the GD between the ILs and the three different female parents. Heterosis of spikelet number per panicle in the hybrids was positively proportional with the O. glaberrima genome content of the parental ILs, while that of fertile grain percentage was negatively proportional to the O. glaberrima genome proportion. On average, the PIHs with higher grain yield and highest heterobeltiosis were obtained from the ILs carrying between 0·15 and 0·30 of O. glaberrima genome. The results indicated that a small proportion (<0·15) of the O. glaberrima genome in the ILs might limit heterosis expression of spikelet number per panicle, while a very large proportion (>0·30) of the O. glaberrima genome decreased the grain filling percentage in the PIHs, thus an intermediate range of O. glaberrima genome proportion should be more suitable for breeding heterotic PIHs. The exploitation of inter-specific heterosis between O. glaberrima and O. sativa has potential value for heterotic breeding in rice.
The enteric pathogens causing diarrhoea impair children's health severely. This study retrospectively analysed 1577 pathogens isolated from inpatients and outpatients in six hospitals located in Northern (Inner Mongolia), Northeastern (Hebei), Eastern (Shanghai and Jiangsu), Southern (Hainan) and Central (Hubei) China between 2008 and 2013. Of the 1577 enteric pathogens, Salmonella presented with the highest frequency (36·0%), followed by diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (23·7%), Staphylococcus aureus (15·0%), Shigella (13·1%), and Aeromonas (4·6%). The predominant pathogens varied in different regions of China, with Salmonella most prevalent in Shanghai and Hainan, diarrhoeagenic E. coli most prevalent in Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu and Hubei, and Shigella most prevalent in Hebei. Enteric pathogens were more frequently isolated in males (56·9%) than in females (43·1%). The highest proportion of all enteric pathogens was found in infants (67·6%) with a peak in summer and autumn (68·5%). Antimicrobial susceptibility assay demonstrated that Shigella was more resistant to ampicillin, ceftriaxone and sulfamethoxazole than Salmonella. Of the top two serotypes in Salmonella, Typhimurium was more resistant to ciprofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole and chloramphenicol than Enteritidis (P < 0·001). Meanwhile, the resistance rates of Shigella flexneri against ampicillin/sulbactam, ciprofloxacin, and chloramphenicol were significantly higher than those of Shigella sonnei (P < 0·001). Multidrug resistance was apparent in 58·2% of Shigella and 45·9% of Salmonella, and this phenomenon was more pronounced in S. flexneri.
Crop nitrogen (N) status is an important indicator of crop health and predictor of subsequent crop yield. The present study was conducted to analyse the relationships between nitrogen nutrition index (NNI), nitrogen biomass difference (ΔNB) and spectral indices in wheat, and then attempt to improve field N management. Spectral indices and concurrent sample N and biomass parameters were obtained from the Shihezi University experimental site in Xinjiang, China during 2009 and 2010. The results showed that all spectral indices were significantly correlated with NNI. Regression functions with the highest determination coefficient (R2) and the lowest root mean square error (RMSE) were used to improve prediction of NNI, and then the selected spectral index was used to estimate NNI and ΔNB. The strongest relationships were observed for the products of modified normalized difference 705 × biomass dry weight (BND705) and the enhanced vegetation index 2 (EVI2) for estimating NNI. There were also strong relationships between the NNI and the normalized NNI (ΔNNI) as well as between ΔNNI and ΔNB, with a linear relationship between ΔNB and the spectral index BND705 and a linear relationship between ΔNB and the spectral index EVI2. These results indicated that BND705 and EVI2 can be used to improve the accuracy of NNI estimation, and the correlations of ΔNB and NNI with BND705 and EVI2 can be used to further improve field N management in wheat.
Most knowledge regarding the effects of antidepressant drugs is at the receptor level, distal from the nervous system effects that mediate their clinical efficacy. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), this study investigated the effects of escitalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), on resting-state brain function in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).
Fourteen first-episode drug-naive MDD patients completed two fMRI scans before and after 8 weeks of escitalopram therapy. Scans were also acquired in 14 matched healthy subjects. Data were analyzed using the regional homogeneity (ReHo) approach.
Compared to controls, MDD patients before treatment demonstrated decreased ReHo in the frontal (right superior frontal gyrus), temporal (left middle and right inferior temporal gyri), parietal (right precuneus) and occipital (left superior occipital gyrus and right cuneus) cortices, and increased ReHo in the left dorsal medial prefrontal gyrus and left anterior lobe of the cerebellum. Compared to the unmedicated state, ReHo in the patients after treatment was decreased in the left dorsal medial prefrontal gyrus, the right insula and the bilateral thalamus, and increased in the right superior frontal gyrus. Compared to controls, patients after treatment displayed a ReHo decrease in the right precuneus and a ReHo increase in the left anterior lobe of the cerebellum.
Successful treatment with escitalopram may be associated with modulation of resting-state brain activity in regions within the fronto-limbic circuit. This study provides new insight into the effects of antidepressants on functional brain systems in MDD.