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Athetis lepigone Möschler (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) is a common maize pest in Europe and Asia. However, there is no long-term effective management strategy is available yet to suppress its population. Adults rely heavily on olfactory cues to locate their optimal host plants and oviposition sites. Pheromone-binding proteins (PBPs) are believed to be responsible for recognizing and transporting different odorant molecules to interact with receptor membrane proteins. In this study, the ligand-binding specificities of two AlepPBPs (AlepPBP2 and AlepPBP3) for sex pheromone components and host plant (maize) volatiles were measured by fluorescence ligand-binding assay. The results demonstrated that AlepPBP2 had a high affinity with two pheromones [(Z)-7-dodecenyl acetate, Ki = 1.11 ± 0.1 μM, (Z)-9-tetradecenyl acetate, Ki = 1.32 ± 0.15 μM] and ten plant volatiles, including (-)-limonene, α-pinene, myrcene, linalool, benzaldehyde, nonanal, 2-hexanone, 3-hexanone, 2-heptanone and 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one. In contrast, we found that none of these chemicals could bind to AlepPBP3. Our results clearly show no significant differences in the functional characterization of the binding properties between AlepPBP2 and AlepPBP3 to sex pheromones and host plant volatiles. Furthermore, molecular docking was employed for further detail on some crucial amino acid residues involved in the ligand-binding of AlepPBP2. These findings will provide valuable information about the potential protein binding sites necessary for protein-ligand interactions which appear as attractive targets for the development of novel technologies and management strategies for insect pests.
We report on a power-scalable sub-100-fs laser in the 2-μm spectral range using a Tm3+-doped ‘mixed’ (Lu,Sc)2O3 sesquioxide ceramic as an active medium. Pulses as short as 58 fs at 2076 nm with an average output power of 114 mW at a pulse repetition rate of approximately 82.9 MHz are generated by employing single-walled carbon nanotubes as a saturable absorber. A higher average power of 350 mW at 2075 nm is obtained at the expense of the pulse duration (65 fs). A maximum average power of 486 mW is achieved for a pulse duration of 98 fs and an optical conversion efficiency of 22.3%, representing the highest value ever reported from sub-100-fs mode-locked Tm lasers.
Spodoptera litura is an important pest that causes significant economic damage to numerous crops worldwide. Sex pheromones (SPs) mediate sexual communication in S. litura and show a characteristic degree of rhythmic activity, occurring mainly during the scotophase; however, the specific regulatory mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we employed a genome-wide analysis to identify eight candidate circadian clock genes in S. litura. Sequence characteristics and expression patterns were analyzed. Our results demonstrated that some circadian clock genes might regulate the biosynthesis and perception of SPs by regulating the rhythmic expression of SP biosynthesis-related genes and SP perception-related genes. Interestingly, all potential genes exhibited peak expression in the scotophase, consistent with the SP could mediate courtship and mating behavior in S. litura. Our findings are helpful in elucidating the molecular mechanism by which circadian clock genes regulate sexual communication in S. litura.
The tobacco cutworm Spodoptera litura (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a polyphagous pest with a highly selective and sensitive chemosensory system involved in complex physiological behaviors such as searching for food sources, feeding, courtship, and oviposition. However, effective management strategies for controlling the insect pest populations under threshold levels are lacking. Therefore, there is an urgent need to formulate eco-friendly pest control strategies based on the disruption of the insect chemosensory system. In this study, we identified 158 putative chemosensory genes based on transcriptomic and genomic data for S. litura, including 45 odorant-binding proteins (OBPs, nine were new), 23 chemosensory proteins (CSPs), 60 odorant receptors (ORs, three were new), and 30 gustatory receptors (GRs, three were new), a number higher than those reported by previous transcriptome studies. Subsequently, we constructed phylogenetic trees based on these genes in moths and analyzed the dynamic expression of various genes in head capsules across larval instars using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Nine genes–SlitOBP8, SlitOBP9, SlitOBP25, SlitCSP1, SlitCSP7, SlitCSP18, SlitOR34, SlitGR240, and SlitGR242–were highly expressed in the heads of 3- to 5-day-old S. litura larvae. The genes differentially expressed in olfactory organs during larval development might play crucial roles in the chemosensory system of S. litura larvae. Our findings substantially expand the gene inventory for S. litura and present potential target genes for further studies on larval feeding in S. litura.
Hypertension represents one of the most common pre-existing conditions and comorbidities in Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. To explore whether hypertension serves as a risk factor for disease severity, a multi-centre, retrospective study was conducted in COVID-19 patients. A total of 498 consecutively hospitalised patients with lab-confirmed COVID-19 in China were enrolled in this cohort. Using logistic regression, we assessed the association between hypertension and the likelihood of severe illness with adjustment for confounders. We observed that more than 16% of the enrolled patients exhibited pre-existing hypertension on admission. More severe COVID-19 cases occurred in individuals with hypertension than those without hypertension (21% vs. 10%, P = 0.007). Hypertension associated with the increased risk of severe illness, which was not modified by other demographic factors, such as age, sex, hospital geological location and blood pressure levels on admission. More attention and treatment should be offered to patients with underlying hypertension, who usually are older, have more comorbidities and more susceptible to cardiac complications.
The X chromosome is known to play an important role in many sex-specific diseases. However, only a few single-nucleotide polymorphisms on the X chromosome have been found to be associated with diseases. Compared to the autosomes, conducting association tests on the X chromosome is more intractable due to the difference in the number of X chromosomes between females and males. On the other hand, X-chromosome inactivation takes place in female mammals, which is a phenomenon in which the expression of one copy of two X chromosomes in females is silenced in order to achieve the same gene expression level as that in males. In addition, imprinting effects may be related to certain diseases. Currently, there are some existing approaches taking X-chromosome inactivation into account when testing for associations on the X chromosome. However, none of them allows for imprinting effects. Therefore, in this paper, we propose a robust test, ZXCII, which accounts for both X-chromosome inactivation and imprinting effects without requiring specifying the genetic models in advance. Simulation studies are conducted in order to investigate the validity and performance of ZXCII under various scenarios of different parameter values. The simulation results show that ZXCII controls the type I error rate well when there is no association. Furthermore, with regards to power, ZXCII is robust in all of the situations considered and generally outperforms most of the existing methods in the presence of imprinting effects, especially under complete imprinting effects.
Correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) offers a means of guiding the search for the unique or rare events by fluorescence microscopy (FM) and allows electron microscopy (EM) to zoom in on them for subsequent EM examination in three-dimensions (3D) and with nanometer-scale resolution. FM visualizes the localization of specific antigens by using fluorescent tags or proteins in a large field-of-view to study their cellular function, whereas EM provides the high level of resolution for complex structures. And cryo CLEM combines the advantages of maintaining structural preservation in a near-native state throughout the entire imaging process and by avoiding potentially harmful pre-treatments, such as chemical fixation, dehydration and staining with heavy metals. Besides for frozen-hydrated biological samples, CLEM combines the advantages of a close-to-life preservation of biological materials by keeping them embedded in vitreous ice throughout the entire imaging process and the frozen-hydrated condition is very suitable to maintain fluorescent signals. In recent years, many new instruments and software which intended to optimize the workflow and to obtain better experimental results of CLEM have been presented or even commoditized. While, the specimen damage during transfer from FM to EM and the resolution of CLEM were still need to be improved.
Here we set up a High-vacuum Optical Platform to develop CLEM imaging technology (HOPE), which was designed to realize high-vacuum optical ( fluorescent) imaging for cryo-sample on EM cryo-holder (e.g. Gatan 626). A non-integrated high-vacuum cryo-optical stage, which adapted to the EM cryo holder, was fixed on epi-fluorescence microscope (or super-resolution microscope) to obtain fluorescent images. And then the EM cryo holder would be transferred to EM for collection of EM data. This protocol was aimed to minimize the specimen damage during transfer from FM to EM and it was versatile to expend to different types of light microscopy or electron microscopy. Our HOPE had already passed correlative imaging test, and the results showed that it was convenient and effective.
There is increasing evidence to show that 2-cell stage mouse blastomeres have differing developmental properties. Additionally, it has been suggested that such a difference might be due to their distribution of mRNA and/or protein asymmetry. However, to date, the exact genes that are involved in the orientation and order of blastomere division are not known. In this study, some differentially expressed transcripts were identified. Axin1, cell division cycle 25 homolog C (Cdc25c) and cyclin-dependent inhibitor 2D (Cdkn2d) were selected for validation by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based on published data. Our real-time PCR results demonstrated that Axin1, Cdc25c and Cdkn2d genes had different levels of expression among blastomeres of the mouse 2-cell embryo i.e. the level of Axin1 mRNA was significantly higher in one blastomere when compared with the other blastomeres of the 2-cell embryo (p < 0.05). The variation in Cdc25c (p < 0.05) and Cdkn2d (p < 0.01) mRNA expression followed a similar trend to that of Axin1. In addition, the highest levels of expression of these three genes were detected in the same blastomere in the 2-cell embryo. We confirmed that there was an asymmetrical distribution pattern for Axin1, Cdc25c and Cdkn2d transcripts in 2-cell embryos. In conclusion, this study demonstrated clearly that there is embryonic asymmetry at the 2-cell stage and that these differentially expressed genes may result in differentiation in expression in embryo development.
The homology of the sequences, reported and registered in GenBank, of different strains of Avian influenza virus (AIV), Newcastle disease virus (NDV), Classical swine fever virus (CSFV) and Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), was analysed and compared with each other. According to the properties of these viruses, the conservative domain of the M gene for AIV, the F gene for NDV, the 5' non-coding domain end for CSFV and the 2B gene for FMDV were selected for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. In order to prevent the formation of conformational dimers between different primers, four pairs of primers designed with the DNAsis system under the condition of G+C (50–60%),18–25 bp in length and Tm (72–85), were analysed using the VNTI5.5 system. The specific fragments amplified were as follows: 141 bp for FMDV, 200 bp for CSFV, 319 bp for NDV and 471 bp for AIV. The optimal conditions of PCR for each virus mentioned above were determined by orthogonal assay, and two or four of the four pairs of primers were then combined and used for amplification trials. The results showed that four specific fragments of different lengths would be successfully amplified in one tube at the same time. The products of PCR were tested to be specific by sequencing. Out of 46 pathological samples detected with the multiple PCR, there were 5 AIVs, 7 NDVs, 15 CSFVs and 6 FMDVs. The amplification above was identified with a single PCR. On the other hand, the results corresponded to those of electronic microscopy, haemagglutination (HA) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The method described here is practicable, sensitive, specific, simple and cheap. It could be used for diagnosing AIV, NDV, CSFV and FMDV in different animals.
We investigated adsorption and dissociation of water and HfCl4 on a Ge/Si(100) −(2 × 1) surface with a density-functional theory. The Si–Ge and Ge–Ge homodimers are used to represent the Si1−xGex surface. (i) Water first adsorbs on the bare Ge/Si(100) − (2 × 1) surface and then dissociates into OH and H. The activation energy for adsorption of water on the Ge–Ge homodimer is much higher than that on the Si–Ge heterodimer. (ii) HfCl4 dissociates upon adsorption on the Ge/Si(100) − (2 × 1) surface into HfCl3 and Cl. No net activation barrier exists during the adsorption of HfCl4 on both SiGe surface dimers. The molecular adsorption state is found to be metastable according to the calculation, which implies that the reaction tends to move toward to the product rather than trapping in HfCl4 adsorbed state. The difference in the potential energy surface between reactions on Si–Ge and Ge–Ge dimers is due to different bond strengths.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are always produced under a reductive ambient with hydrogen present using the chemical vapor deposition method. Oxidative media, such as carbon dioxide and oxygen, could damage the tubular structures by opening the nanotube ends or etching the tube walls. Here we report the synthesis of aligned defective, but clean, CNTs in the presence of water vapor. The tube walls were found broken as well as the tube ends. CNTs with a large amount of exposed broken sites on their tube walls have potential applications in many areas such as energy storage.
ZnSe nanoparticles with an average size of 15 nm were prepared using the ultrasonic radiation method. The characterization was carried out by means of XRD, TEM, XPS and Raman scattering spectroscopy. The experimental results indicate that the as-prepared powders are composed of ZnSe with zinc-blende structure. The high purity of ZnSe particles was confirmed by XPS analysis. In the Raman spectra, TO and LO phonon modes were observed at 205 and 257 cm−1 in the ZnSe nanoparticles.
We have studied the influence of interface roughness scattering on the mobility of two-dimensional electron gas(2DEG) in GaAs-AlGaAs modulation-doped heterostructures(MDH) both experimentally and theoretically. When the background ionized impurity concentration in the GaAs layer is smaller than 2.5×1015cm-3, our investigation shows that interface roughness scattering is the dominant scattering mechanism in the high 2DEG density(Nş ≥5× 1011cm2) GaAs-AlGaAs MDH. We also demonstrate that interface roughness scattering is about an order of magnitude stronger than alloy disorder scattering in GaAs-AlGaAs MDH if the AlGaAs/GaAs interface fluctuation is only one monolayer of GaAs.
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