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The target backsheath field acceleration mechanism is one of the main mechanisms of laser-driven proton acceleration (LDPA) and strongly depends on the comprehensive performance of the ultrashort ultra-intense lasers used as the driving sources. The successful use of the SG-II Peta-watt (SG-II PW) laser facility for LDPA and its applications in radiographic diagnoses have been manifested by the good performance of the SG-II PW facility. Recently, the SG-II PW laser facility has undergone extensive maintenance and a comprehensive technical upgrade in terms of the seed source, laser contrast and terminal focus. LDPA experiments were performed using the maintained SG-II PW laser beam, and the highest cutoff energy of the proton beam was obviously increased. Accordingly, a double-film target structure was used, and the maximum cutoff energy of the proton beam was up to 70 MeV. These results demonstrate that the comprehensive performance of the SG-II PW laser facility was improved significantly.
Klebsiella pneumoniae is a common pathogen associated with nosocomial infections and is characterised serologically by capsular polysaccharide (K) and lipopolysaccharide O antigens. We surveyed a total of 348 non-duplicate K. pneumoniae clinical isolates collected over a 1-year period in a tertiary care hospital, and determined their O and K serotypes by sequencing of the wbb Y and wzi gene loci, respectively. Isolates were also screened for antimicrobial resistance and hypervirulent phenotypes; 94 (27.0%) were identified as carbapenem-resistant (CRKP) and 110 (31.6%) as hypervirulent (hvKP). isolates fell into 58 K, and six O types, with 92.0% and 94.2% typeability, respectively. The predominant K types were K14K64 (16.38%), K1 (14.66%), K2 (8.05%) and K57 (5.46%), while O1 (46%), O2a (27.9%) and O3 (11.8%) were the most common. CRKP and hvKP strains had different serotype distributions with O2a:K14K64 (41.0%) being the most frequent among CRKP, and O1:K1 (26.4%) and O1:K2 (17.3%) among hvKP strains. Serotyping by gene sequencing proved to be a useful tool to inform the clinical epidemiology of K. pneumoniae infections and provides valuable data relevant to vaccine design.
Post-stroke depression (PSD) is the most common psychiatric complication facing stroke survivors and has been associated with increased distress, physical disability, poor rehabilitation, and suicidal ideation. However, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying PSD remain unknown, and no objective laboratory-based test is available to aid PSD diagnosis or monitor progression.
Here, an isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ)-based quantitative proteomic approach was performed to identify differentially expressed proteins in plasma samples obtained from PSD, stroke, and healthy control subjects.
The significantly differentiated proteins were primarily involved in lipid metabolism and immunoregulation. Six proteins associated with these processes – apolipoprotein A-IV (ApoA-IV), apolipoprotein C-II (ApoC-II), C-reactive protein (CRP), gelsolin, haptoglobin, and leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein (LRG) – were selected for Western blotting validation. ApoA-IV expression was significantly upregulated in PSD as compared to stroke subjects. ApoC-II, LRG, and CRP expression were significantly downregulated in both PSD and HC subjects relative to stroke subjects. Gelsolin and haptoglobin expression were significantly dysregulated across all three groups with the following expression profiles: gelsolin, healthy control > PSD > stroke subjects; haptoglobin, stroke > PSD > healthy control.
Early perturbation of lipid metabolism and immunoregulation may be involved in the pathophysiology of PSD. The combination of increased gelsolin levels accompanied by decreased haptoglobin levels shows promise as a plasma-based diagnostic biomarker panel for detecting increased PSD risk in post-stroke patients.
To characterise subjective symptoms in patients undergoing surgical repair of superior semicircular canal dehiscence.
Questionnaires assessing symptom severity and impact on function and quality of life were administered to patients before superior semicircular canal dehiscence surgery, between June 2011 and March 2016. Questionnaire sections included general quality of life, internal amplified sounds, dizziness and tinnitus, with scores of 0–100 points.
Twenty-three patients completed the questionnaire before surgery. Section scores (mean±standard deviation) were: 38.2 ± 25.2 for general quality of life, 52.5 ± 23.9 for internal amplified sounds, 35.1 ± 28.8 for dizziness, 33.3 ± 30.7 for tinnitus, and 39.8 ± 22.2 for the composite score. Cronbach's α statistic averaged 0.93 (range, 0.84–0.97) across section scores, and 0.83 for the composite score.
The Gopen–Yang Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence Questionnaire provides a holistic, patient-centred characterisation of superior semicircular canal dehiscence symptoms. Internal consistency analysis validated the questionnaire and provided a quantitative framework for further optimisation in the clinical setting.
Good canopy structure is essential for optimal maize (Zea mays L.) production. However, creating appropriate maize canopy structure can be difficult, because the characteristics of individual plants are altered by changes in plant age, density and interactions with neighbouring plants. The objective of the current study was to find a reliable method for building good maize canopy structure by analysing changes in canopy structure, light distribution and grain yield (GY). A modern maize cultivar (ZhengDan958) was planted at 12 densities ranging from 1.5 to 18 plants/m2 at two field locations in Xinjiang, China. At the silking stage (R1), plant and ear height increased with plant density as well as leaf area index (LAI), whereas leaf area per plant decreased logarithmically. The fraction of light intercepted by the plant (F) increased with increasing plant density, but the light extinction coefficient (K) decreased linearly from 0.61 to 0.39. Taking the optimum value of F (95%) as an example, and using measured values of K for each plant density at R1 and the equation from Beer's law, the corresponding (theoretical) LAI for each plant density was calculated and optimum plant density (9.72 plants/m2) obtained by calculating the difference between theoretical LAIs and actual observations. Further analysis showed that plant density ranging from 10.64 to 11.55 plants/m2 yielded a stable GY range. Therefore, taking into account the persistence time for maximum LAI, the plant density required to obtain an ideal GY maize canopy structure should be increased by 10–18% from 9.72 plants/m2.
Phenoloxidase (PO) plays a key role in melanin biosynthesis during insect development. Here, we isolated the 2310-bp full-length cDNA of PPO1 from Zeugodacus tau, a destructive horticultural pest. qRT-polymerase chain reaction showed that the ZtPPO1 transcripts were highly expressed during larval–prepupal transition and in the haemolymph. When the larvae were fed a 1.66% kojic acid (KA)-containing diet, the levels of the ZtPPO1 transcripts significantly increased by 2.79- and 3.39-fold in the whole larvae and cuticles, respectively, while the corresponding PO activity was significantly reduced; in addition, the larval and pupal durations were significantly prolonged; pupal weights were lowered; and abnormal phenotypes were observed. An in vitro inhibition experiment indicated that KA was an effective competitive inhibitor of PO in Z. tau. Additionally, the functional analysis showed that 20E could significantly up-regulate the expression of ZtPPO1, induce lower pupal weight, and advance pupation. Knockdown of the ZtPPO1 gene by RNAi significantly decreased mRNA levels after 24 h and led to low pupation rates and incomplete pupae with abnormal phenotypes during the larval-pupal interim period. These results proved that PO is important for the normal growth of Z. tau and that KA can disrupt the development of this pest insect.
Nitrogen (N) application and irrigation to winter wheat may decrease leaf temperature and enhance photosynthesis: as a result, more photosynthates will be allocated to the grains, resulting in higher grain yields. To investigate this hypothesis, a 2-year field study was conducted with three levels of N fertilizer application (no fertilizer, N0; 240 kg N/ha, N1; 360 kg N/ha, N2) and two different water regimes (rainfed with no irrigation, R; irrigation at the over-wintering, stem elongation and grain filling stages, W). The results show that both N application and supplemental irrigation significantly increased grain yield with increases in both grain number/m2 and the 1000-grain weight, viz., WN2>WN1>WN0>RN2>RN1>RN0. In addition, application of N under both water regimes significantly increased flag leaf area, above-ground biomass and single stem productivity and decreased leaf temperature, which led to an increase in net photosynthesis rates and ribulose bisphosphate (RuBP) carboxylase activity. Moreover, analysis of the chlorophyll α fluorescence transient showed that N fertilizer application and supplemental irrigation significantly increased electron donor and acceptor performance of the photosystem II reaction centre.
The study investigated whether different dietary energy and protein sources affect laying performance, antioxidant status, fresh yolk fatty acid profile and quality of salted yolks in laying ducks. In all, 360 19-week-old Longyan ducks were randomly assigned to four diets in a factorial arrangement (2×2). The four diets consisted of two energy sources, corn (CO) or sorghum (SO) and two protein sources, soybean meal (SM) and rapeseed meal with corn distillers dried grains with solubles (RMD), and each treatment contained six replicates of 15 birds each. The experimental diets were isocaloric (metabolizable energy, 10.84 MJ/kg) and isonitrogenous (CP, 17%). The results showed that egg production, average egg weight, egg mass and feed conversion ratio were not affected by diets (P>0.05). Plasma contents of reduced glutathione (GSH), GSH/oxidized glutathione and total antioxidant capacity were lower (P<0.05) in ducks fed the RMD diets compared with those fed SM diets with a substantial increase (P=0.006) in plasma content of malondialdehyde (MDA). Egg yolks from ducks fed SO diets had higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and lower saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids compared with CO diets (P<0.001). Similarly, ducks fed RMD diets had a higher content of PUFA and n-6/n-3 ratio in fresh yolks (P<0.001), and increased salted yolk MDA, carbonylated proteins content and incidence of hard salted yolks (P<0.05) compared with SM diets. Scanning electron microscopy showed that salted yolks contained rougher polyhedral granules and fewer fat droplets, and were surrounded with a layer of bunchy fibers in ducks fed SO+RMD than those fed CO+SM diet. In conclusion, the current study showed that feeding laying ducks with diets containing SO or RMD reduced antioxidant capacity and increased egg yolk concentrations of PUFA. It appeared that egg yolks from ducks fed these diets were more sensitive to lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation during salting, and reduced the quality of salted yolks.
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.
Diarrhea is a common cause of morbidity and mortality and the incidence of diarrhea in the world has changed little over the past four decades. To assess the prevalence of and healthcare practices for diarrhea, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Pudong, Shanghai, China. In October 2014, a total of 5324 community residents were interviewed. Respondents were asked if they had experienced diarrhea (defined as ⩾3 passages of watery, loose, bloody, or mucoid stools within a 24-h period) in the previous month prior to the interview. The monthly prevalence of diarrhea was 4·1% (95% CI: 3·3–4·8), corresponding to an incidence rate of 0·54 episodes per person-year. The proportion of individuals with diarrhea who sought healthcare was 21·2% (95% CI: 13·4–29·0). Diarrhea continues to impose a considerable burden on the community and healthcare system in Pudong. Young age and travel were identified as predictors of increased diarrhea occurrence.
The role of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii in the pathogenesis of liver disease has recently gained much interest. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with T. gondii infection in patients with liver disease from three cities in Shandong and Henan provinces, China. A case–control study was conducted from December 2014 to November 2015 and included 1142 patients with liver disease and 1142 healthy controls. Serum samples were collected from all individuals and were examined with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the presence of anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies. Information on the demographics, clinical, and lifestyle characteristics of the participants was collected from the medical records and by the use of a questionnaire. The prevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG was 19·7% in patients with liver disease compared with 12·17% in the controls. Only 13 patients had anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies compared with 12 control individuals (1·14% vs. 1·05%, respectively). The highest seroprevalence was detected in patients with liver cancer (22·13%), followed by hepatitis patients (20·86%), liver cirrhosis patients (20·42%), and steatosis patients (20%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that consumption of raw meat (odds ratio (OR) = 1·32; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·01–1·71; P = 0·03) and source of drinking water from wells (OR = 1·56; 95% CI 1·08–2·27; P = 0·01) were independent risk factors for T. gondii infection in liver disease patients. These findings indicate that T. gondii infection is more likely to be present in patients with liver disease. Therefore, efforts should be directed toward health education of populations at high risk of T. gondii infection and measures should be taken to protect vulnerable patients with liver disease.
Longan County is considered a highly endemic area for hepatitis B virus (HBV). The plasma-derived vaccine has been used in newborns in this area since 1987. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of this vaccine. In total, 1634 participants born during 1987–1993 and who had received a series of plasma-derived HB vaccinations at ages 0, 1, and 6 months were enrolled. Serological HBV markers were detected and compared with previous survey data. Overall the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in all participants was 3·79%; 3·47% of subjects who had received the first dose within 24 h were HBsAg positive, and 8·41% of subjects who had received a delayed first dose were also HBsAg positive. There were 1527 subjects identified who had received the first dose within 24 h and whose HBsAg and anti-HBc prevalence increased yearly after immunization, while the anti-HBs-positive rate and vaccine effectiveness declined. The geometric mean concentration of antibody in the anti-HB-positive participants was 55·13 mIU/ml and this declined after immunization. Fewer than 2·0% of participants had anti-HB levels ⩾1000 mIU/ml. The data show that the protective efficacy of the plasma-derived vaccinations declined and administration of HB vaccine within 24 h of birth was very important. To reduce the risk of HBV infection in this highly endemic area, a booster dose might be necessary if anti-HBs levels fall below 10 mIU/ml after age 18 years. Furthermore, studies on the immune memory induced by plasma-derived HB vaccine are needed.
HBsAg reappearance may constitute not only a risk for liver disease but also an infectious source. We aimed to determine whether HBsAg may reappear after spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance. A cohort of 2999 HBsAg-positive subjects aged 30–55 years was recruited in Guangxi, China in 2004. HBsAg was tested every 6 months from July 2004 to June 2007, then, one more time in December 2013. The results showed that spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance occurred in 41 subjects in the first 3 years, giving a 0·54% annual seroclearance rate. Thirteen of the 41 subjects were randomly tested for HBsAg in 2013. Four subjects became HBsAg positive. S gene sequences of HBV were analysed from serum collected before seroclearance and after reappearance, respectively, for subject QS840 (11 and 12 clones), subject TN98 (13 and 13 clones) and subject WX227 (10 and 8 clones). Serotype, subgenotype and amino-acid substitution pattern in each sample collected after reappearance was observed in the sample collected before HBsAg seroclearance. Nucleotide similarity between the two sequences from each subject was >99% and five sequences from subject TN98 were the same. In conclusion, following reactivation, HBsAg may reappear in individuals with spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance many years previously.
Floral organ development influences plant reproduction and crop yield. The mechanism of floral organ specification is generally conserved in angiosperms as demonstrated by the ‘ABC’ model. However, mechanisms underlying the development of floral organs in specific groups of species such as grasses remain unclear. In the genus Oryza (rice), a spikelet consists of a fertile floret sub-tended by a lemma, a palea, two sterile lemmas and rudimentary glumes. To understand how the lemma is formed, a curve-shaped lemma-distortion1 (ld1) mutant was identified. Genetic analysis confirmed that the ld1 mutant phenotype was due to a single recessive gene mutation. Using a large F2 population, the LD1 gene was mapped between markers Indel-7-15 and Indel-7-18, which encompassed a region of 15·6 kilo base pairs (kbp). According to rice genome annotations, two putative genes, LOC_Os07g32510 and LOC_Os07g32520, were located in this candidate region. However, DNA sequencing results indicated only 1 base pair (bp) substitution (T⇨C) was found in LOC_Os07g32510 between the wild-type and the ld1 mutant. Thus LOC_Os07g32510, encoding a DNA binding with one zinc finger (DoF) containing protein, was the candidate gene for LD1. Further analysis showed that mutation of the amino acid cysteine (C) to arginine (R) was likely to lead to zinc finger protein deactivation. Phylogenetic and conservation analysis of the gene from different species revealed that cysteine was critical to LD1 function. As a new gene controlling lemma development, the study of LD1 could provide insights into rice floral organ formation mechanisms.
The abundance and cross-linking of intramuscular connective tissue contributes to the background toughness of meat, and is thus undesirable. Connective tissue is mainly synthesized by intramuscular fibroblasts. Myocytes, adipocytes and fibroblasts are derived from a common pool of progenitor cells during the early embryonic development. It appears that multipotent mesenchymal stem cells first diverge into either myogenic or non-myogenic lineages; non-myogenic mesenchymal progenitors then develop into the stromal-vascular fraction of skeletal muscle wherein adipocytes, fibroblasts and derived mesenchymal progenitors reside. Because non-myogenic mesenchymal progenitors mainly undergo adipogenic or fibrogenic differentiation during muscle development, strengthening progenitor proliferation enhances the potential for both intramuscular adipogenesis and fibrogenesis, leading to the elevation of both marbling and connective tissue content in the resulting meat product. Furthermore, given the bipotent developmental potential of progenitor cells, enhancing their conversion to adipogenesis reduces fibrogenesis, which likely results in the overall improvement of marbling (more intramuscular adipocytes) and tenderness (less connective tissue) of meat. Fibrogenesis is mainly regulated by the transforming growth factor (TGF) β signaling pathway and its regulatory cascade. In addition, extracellular matrix, a part of the intramuscular connective tissue, provides a niche environment for regulating myogenic differentiation of satellite cells and muscle growth. Despite rapid progress, many questions remain in the role of extracellular matrix on muscle development, and factors determining the early differentiation of myogenic, adipogenic and fibrogenic cells, which warrant further studies.
The brown planthopper Nilaparvata lugens is a serious phloem-feeding pest of rice in China. The current study focuses on a saccharopine dehydrogenase (SDH) that catalyzes the penultimate reaction in biosynthesis of the amino acid lysine (Lys), which plays a role in insect growth and carnitine production (as a substrate). The protein, provisionally designated as NlylsSDH [a SDH derived from yeast-like symbiont (YLS) in N. lugens], had a higher transcript level in abdomens, compared with heads, wings, legs and thoraces, which agrees with YLS distribution in N. lugens. Ingestion of Nlylssdh targeted double-stranded RNA (dsNlylssdh) for 5, 10 and 15 days decreased the mRNA abundance in the hoppers by 47, 70 and 31%, respectively, comparing with those ingesting normal or dsegfp diets. Nlylssdh knockdown slightly decreased the body weights, significantly delayed the development of females, and killed approximately 30% of the nymphs. Moreover, some surviving adults showed two apparent phenotypic defects: wing deformation and nymphal cuticles remained on tips of the legs and abdomens. The brachypterours/macropterours and sex ratios (female/male) of the adults on the dsRNA diet were lowered compared with the adults on diets without dsRNA. These results suggest that Nlylssdh encodes a functional SDH protein. The adverse effect of Nlylssdh knockdown on N. lugens implies the importance of Lys in hopper development. This study provides a proof of concept example that Nlylssdh could serve as a possible dsRNA-based pesticide for planthopper control.
The first human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was reported in Shanghai, China in March 2013. An additional 32 cases of human H7N9 infection were identified in the following months from March to April 2013 in Shanghai. Here we conducted a case-control study of the patients with H7N9 infection (n = 25) using controls matched by age, sex, and residence to determine risk factors for H7N9 infection. Our findings suggest that chronic disease and frequency of visiting a live poultry market (>10 times, or 1–9 times during the 2 weeks before illness onset) were likely to be significantly associated with H7N9 infection, with the odds ratios being 4·07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–12·56], 10·61 (95% CI 1·85–60·74), and 3·76 (95% CI 1·31–10·79), respectively. Effective strategies for live poultry market control should be reinforced and ongoing education of the public is warranted to promote behavioural changes that can help to eliminate direct or indirect contact with influenza A(H7N9) virus.
MicroRNAs are endogenous ~22nt RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional level via binding to the 3′-untranslated region (3′UTR) of target mRNAs. The microRNA miR-27a was reported to depress the expression of myostatin, a critical inhibitor of skeletal myogenesis, by binding to its 3′UTR in mouse. In this study, we cloned the full-length 3′UTR of porcine myostatin by rapid amplification of 3′-cDNA ends (3′-RACE) and demonstrated that the 3′UTR of porcine myostatin is targeted by miR-27a. The phenomenon that the level of myostatin inversely correlated with miR-27a was observed in fat and heart of pigs and also in proliferating porcine myoblasts. Besides, overexpression of miR-27a in porcine myoblasts promoted cell proliferation by reducing the expression of myostatin. Our data suggest that miR-27a positive regulates porcine myoblast proliferation via targeting myostatin.
Parrots are one of the most popular pet birds in China, and can harbour Chlamydia which has significance for human and animal health. We investigated, by indirect haemagglutination assay, the seroprevalence of Chlamydia infection in four species of parrots, namely budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus), lovebirds (Agapornis sp.), cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) and Alexandrine parakeets (Psittacula eupatria) that were collected from Weifang and Beijing cities, North China and explored the association between potential risk factors and chlamydial seropositivity. We further determined the genotype of Chlamydia in 21 fresh faecal samples based on the ompA sequence by reconstruction of phylogenetic relationships. Of the 311 parrots examined, 35·37% (95% confidence interval 30·06–40·68) were seropositive, and species, gender, age, season and geographical location were identified as risk factors. Two PCR-positive samples represented Chlamydia psittaci genotype A. The occurrence of C. psittaci genotype A in the droppings of two pet parrots in China suggests potential environmental contamination with Chlamydiaceae and may raise a public health concern.