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During the first postnatal week in rodents, cholinergic retinal waves initiate in starburst amacrine cells (SACs), propagating to retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and visual centers, essential for visual circuit refinement. By modulating exocytosis in SACs, dynamic changes in the protein kinase A (PKA) activity can regulate the spatiotemporal patterns of cholinergic waves. Previously, cysteine string protein-α (CSPα) is found to interact with the core exocytotic machinery by PKA-mediated phosphorylation at serine 10 (S10). However, whether PKA-mediated CSPα phosphorylation may regulate cholinergic waves via SACs remains unknown. Here, we examined how CSPα phosphorylation in SACs regulates cholinergic waves. First, we identified that CSPα1 is the major isoform in developing rat SACs and the inner plexiform layer during the first postnatal week. Using SAC-specific expression, we found that the CSPα1-PKA-phosphodeficient mutant (CSP-S10A) decreased wave frequency, but did not alter the wave spatial correlation compared to control, wild-type CSPα1 (CSP-WT), or two PKA-phosphomimetic mutants (CSP-S10D and CSP-S10E). These suggest that CSPα-S10 phosphodeficiency in SACs dampens the frequency of cholinergic waves. Moreover, the level of phospho-PKA substrates was significantly reduced in SACs overexpressing CSP-S10A compared to control or CSP-WT, suggesting that the dampened wave frequency is correlated with the decreased PKA activity. Further, compared to control or CSP-WT, CSP-S10A in SACs reduced the periodicity of wave-associated postsynaptic currents (PSCs) in neighboring RGCs, suggesting that these RGCs received the weakened synaptic inputs from SACs overexpressing CSP-S10A. Finally, CSP-S10A in SACs decreased the PSC amplitude and the slope to peak PSC compared to control or CSP-WT, suggesting that CSPα-S10 phosphodeficiency may dampen the speed of the SAC-RGC transmission. Thus, via PKA-mediated phosphorylation, CSPα in SACs may facilitate the SAC-RGC transmission, contributing to the robust frequency of cholinergic waves.
Existing studies of ethnic voting mainly focus on democratic elections. In electoral autocracies, politically subordinate ethnicity can help citizens coordinate against the incumbent. However, we argue that collective action will be constrained when the group grows large, as it becomes costly for its members to form common behavioural norms and carry out effective sanctions through shared ethnic ties under authoritarian repression. Drawing on unique historical surveys in Taiwan, we study how Taiwanese ethnicity and local ethnic demography jointly induced voters' defection against the hegemonic KMT regime. We find that the pro-defection or anti-incumbent effect of Taiwanese ethnicity fell as the share of Taiwanese citizens in a township increased. However, the relative size of the Taiwanese group no longer undermined pro-defection ethnic voting after the KMT lifted the ban on opposition parties. Our results illustrate that formal organizations play a critical role in sustaining the informational salience of ethnicity in the elections.
To develop a theoretical model explaining the longitudinal changes in the caregiving process for family caregivers of persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in Taiwan.
A longitudinal, grounded theory approach using in-depth face-to-face interviews and an open-ended interview guide. We conducted 42 interviews over a two-year period; each participant was interviewed at least once every six months. All participants were interviewed in their home. The participants total of 13 family caregivers of persons with MCI.
One core theme emerged: “protective preparation.” This reflected the family caregiving process of preparation for a further decline in cognitive function, and protection from the impact of low self-esteem, accidents, and symptoms of comorbidities for the family member with MCI. Protective preparation contained three components: ambivalent normalization, vigilant preparation, and protective management.
Interventions to help family caregivers manage the changes in persons with MCI can reduce caregiver burden. Our findings could provide a knowledge base for use by healthcare providers to develop and implement strategies to reduce caregiver burden for family caregivers of persons with MCI.
Three types of Ganium Nitride (GaN) transistors were studied in this work. The devices were fabricated and exhibited unique characteristics over on-state current and off-state blocking performances. We also compared the performance differences of devices fabricated by multiepitaxial GaN/AlGaN layers on different substrates (Sapphire and Si) and evaluated the correlations among starting substrate, device variation, and manufacturing uniformity. The first device is a normally-on device with Sapphire substrate which shows good drain saturation current (Idsat) and breakdown characteristics, but the gate leakage current is quite large. The second device is a normally-off GaN transistor named metal-insulate-semiconductor (MIS) heterojunction field-effect transistor (MIS-HFET) which exhibits good performance with threshold voltage (Vth) of 3V and breakdown voltage (Vbd) of over 1800V. However the third device is a normally-off GaN metal-oxide-semiconductor field-elect transistor (MOSFET) structure which is rather difficult to exhibit good blocking characteristic due to inadequate doping process control of the reduce-surface-field (RESURF) region.
Strong influence of the applied or self-induced (i.e. self-biasing) electric field on the alignment, orientation and structures was found in the carbon nano-structure deposition process. This study applied microwave-plasma electron-cyclotron-resonance CVD (ECR-CVD) technique for carbon nano-structure deposition. The deposited structures and properties were characterized with SEM and field emission I–V measurements. The result shows that a negative dc bias applied on the substrate is a necessary condition. In this condition, all carbon nanostructures were well aligned and perpendicular to the substrate surfaces and independent to the plasma/gas flowing directions. Interestingly, when applied an additional electric field near the substrate surface by a guiding metal plate, the CNT growth direction could be manipulated from perpendicular to nearly parallel to the substrate surface. Moreover, a rattan-like CNT would form when prolonging the deposition time or increasing the plasma carbon concentration. These novel nanostructures are expected to have high potential in energy storage, field emission display, nanoelectronics and gas sensing applications accordingly.
The microwave sintering process not only densified the ZnO materials in a higher rate, but also resulted in significantly better varistor characteristics. Large nonlinear coefficient and low leakage current density were attained by cooling the samples under a rate of 80 °C/min after sintering, followed by 600 °C postannealing for 60 min under oxygen atmosphere. Inappropriate annealing deteriorated the varistor characteristics that can either be attributed to the insufficient reoxidation along grain boundaries when annealed in N2 (or air) or loss of Zn species in these regions when annealed at 750 °C (900 °C). By contrast, the degradation behavior of these materials can be improved by the annealing process regardless of the annealing atmosphere or temperature.
The commercial diamond grits and the diamond films deposited by a microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition system were used to study the wetting characteristics of few commercial brazing alloys, e.g., Cu, Ni, Ag-Cu-Zn-Cd-Ni and Ag-Cu-In. The substrates for brazing experiments include AISI-304 stainless steel, AISI-1045 steel and cemented WC insert. The results shows that the wettability of the brazing alloys and the bonding strength between diamond and substrate are strongly influenced by the compositions of the brazing alloys and the surface conditions of diamond and substrate. The wettability of Cu with diamond grit or diamond film depends on the brazing substrate, and is in order of AISI-304 > WC > AISI-1045. The brazing alloys with Cu or Ag as the main component often show a poor brazing strength for diamond/plain carbon steel or diamond/WC.
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