Single-particle characterization of ice-nucleating particles and ice particles residuals sampled by three different techniques
- During January/February 2013, at the High Alpine Research Station Jungfraujoch a measurement campaign was carried out, which was centered on atmospheric ice-nucleating particles (INP) and ice particle residuals (IPR). Three different techniques for separation of INP and IPR from the non-ice-active particles are compared. The Ice Selective Inlet (ISI) and the Ice Counterflow Virtual Impactor (Ice-CVI) sample ice particles from mixed phase clouds and allow for the analysis of the residuals. The combination of the Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber (FINCH) and the Ice Nuclei Pumped Counterflow Virtual Impactor (IN-PCVI) provides ice-activating conditions to aerosol particles and extracts the activated INP for analysis.Collected particles were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis to determine size, chemical composition and mixing state. All INP/IPR-separating techniques had considerable abundances (median 20 – 70 %) of instrumental contamination artifacts (ISI: Si-O spheres, probably calibration aerosol; Ice-CVI: Al-O particles; FINCH+IN-PCVI: steel particles). Also, potential sampling artifacts (e.g., pure soluble material) occurred with a median abundance of < 20 %. While these could be explained as IPR by ice break-up, for INP their IN-ability pathway is less clear. After removal of the contamination artifacts, silicates and Ca-rich particles, carbonaceous material and metal oxides were the major INP/IPR particle types separated by all three techniques. Soot was a minor contributor. Lead was detected in less than 10 % of the particles, of which the majority were internal mixtures with other particle types. Sea-salt and sulfates were identified by all three methods as INP/IPR. Most samples showed a maximum of the INP/IPR size distribution at 400 nm geometric diameter. In a few cases, a second super-micron maximum was identified. Soot/carbonaceous material and metal oxides were present mainly in the submicron range. ISI and FINCH yielded silicates and Ca-rich particles mainly with diameters above 1 μm, while the Ice-CVI also separated many submicron IPR. As strictly parallel sampling could not be performed, a part of the discrepancies between the different techniques may result from variations in meteorological conditions and subsequent INP/IPR composition. The observed differences in the particle group abundances as well as in the mixing state of INP/IPR express the need for further studies to better understand the influence of the separating techniques on the INP/IPR chemical
Disentangling the relationship of the Australian marsupial orders using retrotransposon and evolutionary network analyses
Maria A. Nilsson
- The ancestors to the Australian marsupials entered Australia around 60 (54-72) million years ago from Antarctica, and radiated into the four living orders Peramelemorphia, Dasyuromorphia, Diprotodontia and Notoryctemorphia. The relationship between the four Australian marsupial orders has been a long-standing question, because different phylogenetic studies were not able to consistently reconstruct the same topology. Initial in silico analysis of the Tasmanian devil genome and experimental screening in the seven marsupial orders revealed 20 informative transposable element insertions for resolving the inter- and intraordinal relationships of Australian and South American orders. However, the retrotransposon insertions support three conflicting topologies regarding Peramelemorphia, Dasyuromorphia and Notoryctemorphia, indicating that the split between the three orders may be best understood as a network. This finding is supported by a phylogenetic re-analysis of nuclear gene sequences, using a consensus network approach that allows depicting hidden phylogenetic conflict, otherwise lost when forcing the data into a bifurcating tree. The consensus network analysis agrees with the transposable element analysis in that all possible topologies regarding Peramelemorphia, Dasyuromorphia, and Notoryctemorphia in a rooted four-taxon topology are equally well supported. In addition, retrotransposon insertion data supports the South American order Didelphimorphia being the sistergroup to all other living marsupial orders. The four Australian orders originated within three million years at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. The rapid divergences left conflicting phylogenetic information in the genome possibly generated by incomplete lineage sorting or introgressive hybridisation, leaving the relationship among Australian marsupial orders unresolvable as a bifurcating process million years later.
Loss of the abundant nuclear non-coding RNA MALAT1 is compatible with life and development
- The metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1, MALAT1, is a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) that has been discovered as a marker for lung cancer metastasis. It is highly abundant, its expression is strongly regulated in many tumor entities including lung adenocarcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma as well as physiological processes, and it is associated with many RNA binding proteins and highly conserved throughout evolution. The nuclear transcript MALAT-1 has been functionally associated with gene regulation and alternative splicing and its regulation has been shown to impact proliferation, apoptosis, migration and invasion.
Here, we have developed a human and a mouse knockout system to study the loss-of-function phenotypes of this important ncRNA. In human tumor cells, MALAT1 expression was abrogated using Zinc Finger Nucleases. Unexpectedly, the quantitative loss of MALAT1 did neither affect proliferation nor cell cycle progression nor nuclear architecture in human lung or liver cancer cells. Moreover, genetic loss of Malat1 in a knockout mouse model did not give rise to any obvious phenotype or histological abnormalities in Malat1-null compared with wild-type animals. Thus, loss of the abundant nuclear long ncRNA MALAT1 is compatible with cell viability and normal development.
Southern high-latitude terrestrial climate change during the Palaeocene–Eocene derived from a marine pollen record (ODP Site 1172, East Tasman Plateau)
Lineth Arias Contreras
Peter K. Bijl
Robert B. O'Hara
J. Ian Raine
- Global warming, changes in the hydrological cycle and enhanced marine primary productivity all have been invoked to have contributed to the occurrence of widespread ocean anoxia during the Cenomanian-Turonian Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE2; ~ 94 Ma), but disentangling these factors on a regional scale has remained problematic. We generated palynological and organic geochemical records that allow the separation of these forcing factors in a core spanning the OAE2 from Wunstorf, Lower Saxony Basin (LSB; North Gemany), which exhibits cyclic black shale–marl alternations related to the orbital precession cycle.
Despite the widely varying depositional conditions complicating the interpretation of the obtained records, TEX86H indicates that sea-surface temperature (SST) evolution in the LSB during OAE2 resembles that of previously studied sites throughout the proto-North Atlantic. Cooling during the so-called Plenus Cold Event interrupted black shale deposition during the early stages of OAE2. However, TEX86 does not vary significantly across marl–black shale alternations, suggesting that temperature variations did not force the formation of the cyclic black shale horizons. Relative (i.e., with respect to marine palynomorphs) and absolute abundances of pollen and spores are elevated during phases of black shale deposition, indicative of enhanced precipitation and run-off. High abundances of cysts from inferred heterotrophic and euryhaline dinoflagellates supports high run-off, which likely introduced additional nutrients to the epicontinental shelf resulting in elevated marine primary productivity.
We conclude that orbitally-forced enhanced precipitation and run-off, in tandem with elevated marine primary productivity, were critical in cyclic black shale formation on the northwest European epicontinental shelf and potentially for other OAE2 sections in the proto-Atlantic and Western Interior Seaway at similar latitudes as well.
The climatic and environmental conditions during deposition of phosphorites and oil shales in the Late Cretaceous upwelling system of the Negev/Israel
- The Late Cretaceous is known to be mostly affected by warm periods interrupted temporarily by a number of cooling events. The reconstruction of the paleoclimatic conditions during a period of high concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is of great importance for the creation of future climate models. We applied the recently developed method reconstructing the SST from the TEX86 (TetraEther indeX of tetraethers consisting of 86 carbon atoms).
The sample material used for the present study was obtained from the tropical Late Cretaceous southern Tethys upwelling system (Negev/Israel), lasting from the Late Santonian to the Early Maastrichtian (~ 85 to 68 Ma). On the core samples from the Shefela basin, representing the outer belt of the upwelling system and the outcrop profile from the open mine Mishor Rotem (Efe Syncline), representing the inner belt, various bulk geochemical and biomarker studies were performed in this thesis.
Derived from TEX86 data, a significant long-term SST cooling trend from 36.0 to 29.3 °C is recognized during the Late Santonian and the Early Campanian in the southern Tethys margin. This is consistent with the opening and deepening of the Equatorial Atlantic Gateway (EAG) and the intrusion of cooler deep water from the southern Atlantic Ocean influencing the global SSTs and also the Tethys Ocean. Furthermore, the cooler near shore SST usually found in modern upwelling systems could be verified in case of the ancient upwelling system investigated in the present study. The calculated mean SST in the inner belt (27.7 °C) represented in the Efe Syncline was 1.5 °C cooler in comparison to the more seaward located outer belt (Shefela basin).
Moreover, geochemical and biomarker analyses were used to identify both the accumulation of high amounts of phosphate in the PM and good preservation of organic matter (OM) in the lower part of the OSM section. Total organic carbon (TOC) contents are highly variable over the whole profile reaching from 0.6 % in the MM, to 24.5 % in the OSM. Total iron (TFe) varies from 0.1 % in the PM to 3.3 % in the OSM and total sulfur (TS) varies between 0.1 % in the MM and 3.4 % in the OSM. Different correlations of TS, TOC and TFe were used to identify the conditions during the deposition of the different facies types. Natural sulfurization was found to play a key role in the preservation of the OM particularly in the lower part of the OSM. Samples from the OSM and the PM were deposited under dysoxic to anoxic conditions and iron limitation lasted during the deposition of the OSM and the PM, which effected the incorporation of sulfur into OM.
Phosphorus is highly accumulated in the sediments of the PM with a mean proportion of 11.5 % total phosphorus (TP), which is drastically reduced to a mean value of 0.9 % in the OSM and the MM. From the correlation of the bulk geochemical parameters TOC/TOCOR ratio and TP a major contribution of sulfate reducing bacteria to the phosphate deposition is concluded. This interrelation has previously been investigated in recent coastal upwelling systems off Peru, Chile, California and Namibia. This was further supported by the analysis of branched and monounsaturated fatty acids indicating the occurrence of sulfate reducing and sulfide oxidizing bacteria during the deposition.
According to the results from the analysis of n-alkanes and C27- to C29-steranes up to 95 % of the OM was of marine origin.
Organic sulfur compounds (OSC) were a major compound class in the aromatic hydrocarbon fraction and n-Alkyl and isoprenoid thiophenes were the most abundant, with highest amounts found for 2-methyl-5-tridecyl-thiophene (28 µg/g TOC). The relatively high abundance of ββ-C35 hopanoid thiophenes and epithiosteranes is equivalent to an incorporation of sulfur during the early stages of diagenesis.
Moreover, the geochemical parameters δ13Corg, δ15Norg, C/N and the pristane/phytane (Pr/Ph) ratio, were studied for reconstruction of seafloor and water column depositional environments. The high C/N ratio along with relatively low values of δ15Norg (4 ‰ to 6 ‰) and δ13Corg (-29 ‰ to -28 ‰) are consistent with a significant preferential loss of nitrogen-rich organic compounds during diagenesis. Oxygen-depleted conditions lasted during the deposition of the PM and the bottom of the OSM, reflected by the low Pr/Ph ratio of 0.11–0.7. In the upper part of the OSM and the MM the conditions changed from anoxic to dysoxic or oxic conditions. This environmental trend is consistent with co-occurring foraminiferal assemblages in the studied succession and implies that the benthic species in the Negev sequence were adapted to persistent minimum oxygen conditions by performing complete denitrification as recently found in many modern benthic foraminifera.
Furthermore, the anammox process could have influenced the nitrogen composition of the sediments. In this anaerobically process nitrite and ammonia are converted to molecular nitrogen.
Validation of novel reference genes for reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR in drought-stressed sugarcane
Roberta Lane de Oliveira Silva
Manassés Daniel Silva
José Ribamar Costa Ferreira Neto
Claudia Huerta de Nardi
Sabrina Moutinho Chabregas
William Lee Burnquist
Ana Maria Benko-Iseppon
Ederson Akio Kido
- One of the most challenging aspects of RT-qPCR data analysis is the identification of reliable reference genes. Ideally, they should be neither induced nor repressed under different experimental conditions. To date, few reference genes have been adequately studied for sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) using statistical approaches. In this work, six candidate genes (αTUB, GAPDH, H1, SAMDC, UBQ, and 25S rRNA) were tested for gene expression normalization of sugarcane root tissues from drought-tolerant and -sensitive accessions after continuous dehydration (24 h). By undergoing different approaches (GeNorm, NormFinder, and BestKeeper), it was shown that most of them could be used in combinations for normalization purposes, with the exception of SAMDC. Nevertheless three of them (H1, αTUB, and GAPDH) were considered the most reliable reference genes. Their suitability as reference genes validated the expression profiles of two targets (AS and PFPα1), related to SuperSAGE unitags, in agreement with results revealed by previous in silico analysis. The other two sugarcane unitags (ACC oxidase and PIP1-1), after salt stress (100 mM NaCl), presented their expressions validated in the same way. In conclusion, these reference genes will be useful for dissecting gene expression in sugarcane roots under abiotic stress, especially in transcriptomic studies using SuperSAGE or RNAseq approaches.
IL-17A influences essential functions of the monocyte/macrophage lineage and is involved in advanced murine and human atherosclerosis
Kristina M. Little
Thomas J. Dengler
Hugo A. Katus
Christian A. Gleissner
- Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease. Lesion progression is primarily mediated by cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage. IL-17A is a proinflammatory cytokine, which modulates immune cell trafficking and is involved inflammation in (auto)immune and infectious diseases. But the role of IL-17A still remains controversial. In the current study, we investigated effects of IL-17A on advanced murine and human atherosclerosis, the common disease phenotype in clinical care. The 26-wk-old apolipoprotein E–deficient mice were fed a standard chow diet and treated either with IL-17A mAb (n = 15) or irrelevant Ig (n = 10) for 16 wk. Furthermore, essential mechanisms of IL-17A in atherogenesis were studied in vitro. Inhibition of IL-17A markedly prevented atherosclerotic lesion progression (p = 0.001) by reducing inflammatory burden and cellular infiltration (p = 0.01) and improved lesion stability (p = 0.01). In vitro experiments showed that IL-17A plays a role in chemoattractance, monocyte adhesion, and sensitization of APCs toward pathogen-derived TLR4 ligands. Also, IL-17A induced a unique transcriptome pattern in monocyte-derived macrophages distinct from known macrophage types. Stimulation of human carotid plaque tissue ex vivo with IL-17A induced a proinflammatory milieu and upregulation of molecules expressed by the IL-17A–induced macrophage subtype. In this study, we show that functional blockade of IL-17A prevents atherosclerotic lesion progression and induces plaque stabilization in advanced lesions in apolipoprotein E–deficient mice. The underlying mechanisms involve reduced inflammation and distinct effects of IL-17A on monocyte/macrophage lineage. In addition, translational experiments underline the relevance for the human system.
Risk stratification for sudden cardiac death: current status and challenges for the future
Hein J. .J. Wellens
Peter J. Schwartz
Fred W. Lindemans
Alfred E. Buxton
Jeffrey J. Goldberger
Stefan H. Hohnloser
Heikki V. Heikki V.Huikuri
Maria Teresa La Rovere
Robert J. Myerburg
Maarten L. Simoons
Adriaan A. Voors
Arthur A. Wilde
- Sudden cardiac death (SCD) remains a daunting problem. It is a major public health issue for several reasons: from its prevalence (20% of total mortality in the industrialized world) to the devastating psycho-social impact on society and on the families of victims often still in their prime, and it represents a challenge for medicine, and especially for cardiology. This text summarizes the discussions and opinions of a group of investigators with a long-standing interest in this field. We addressed the occurrence of SCD in individuals apparently healthy, in patients with heart disease and mild or severe cardiac dysfunction, and in those with genetically based arrhythmic diseases. Recognizing the need for more accurate registries of the global and regional distribution of SCD in these different categories, we focused on the assessment of risk for SCD in these four groups, looking at the significance of alterations in cardiac function, of signs of electrical instability identified by ECG abnormalities or by autonomic tests, and of the progressive impact of genetic screening. Special attention was given to the identification of areas of research more or less likely to provide useful information, and thereby more or less suitable for the investment of time and of research funds.
Bears in a forest of gene trees: phylogenetic inference is complicated by incomplete lineage sorting and gene flow
Verena E. Kutschera
Julia L. Rodi
Steven R. Fain
- Ursine bears are a mammalian subfamily that comprises six morphologically and ecologically distinct extant species. Previous phylogenetic analyses of concatenated nuclear genes could not resolve all relationships among bears, and appeared to conflict with the mitochondrial phylogeny. Evolutionary processes such as incomplete lineage sorting and introgression can cause gene tree discordance and complicate phylogenetic inferences, but are not accounted for in phylogenetic analyses of concatenated data. We generated a high-resolution data set of autosomal introns from several individuals per species and of Y-chromosomal markers. Incorporating intraspecific variability in coalescence-based phylogenetic and gene flow estimation approaches, we traced the genealogical history of individual alleles. Considerable heterogeneity among nuclear loci and discordance between nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenies were found. A species tree with divergence time estimates indicated that ursine bears diversified within less than 2 My. Consistent with a complex branching order within a clade of Asian bear species, we identified unidirectional gene flow from Asian black into sloth bears. Moreover, gene flow detected from brown into American black bears can explain the conflicting placement of the American black bear in mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenies. These results highlight that both incomplete lineage sorting and introgression are prominent evolutionary forces even on time scales up to several million years. Complex evolutionary patterns are not adequately captured by strictly bifurcating models, and can only be fully understood when analyzing multiple independently inherited loci in a coalescence framework. Phylogenetic incongruence among gene trees hence needs to be recognized as a biologically meaningful signal.
Synaptic Conductance Estimates of the Connection Between Local Inhibitor Interneurons and Pyramidal Neurons in Layer 2/3 of a Cortical Column
Jochen H. O. Hoffmann
Arno C. Schmitt
- Stimulation of a principal whisker yields sparse action potential (AP) spiking in layer 2/3 (L2/3) pyramidal neurons in a cortical column of rat barrel cortex. The low AP rates in pyramidal neurons could be explained by activation of interneurons in L2/3 providing inhibition onto L2/3 pyramidal neurons. L2/3 interneurons classified as local inhibitors based on their axonal projection in the same column were reported to receive strong excitatory input from spiny neurons in L4, which are also the main source of the excitatory input to L2/3 pyramidal neurons. Here, we investigated the remaining synaptic connection in this intracolumnar microcircuit. We found strong and reliable inhibitory synaptic transmission between intracolumnar L2/3 local-inhibitor-to-L2/3 pyramidal neuron pairs [inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP) amplitude -0.88 ± 0.67 mV]. On average, 6.2 ± 2 synaptic contacts were made by L2/3 local inhibitors onto L2/3 pyramidal neurons at 107 ± 64 µm path distance from the pyramidal neuron soma, thus overlapping with the distribution of synaptic contacts from L4 spiny neurons onto L2/3 pyramidal neurons (67 ± 34 µm). Finally, using compartmental simulations, we determined the synaptic conductance per synaptic contact to be 0.77 ± 0.4 nS. We conclude that the synaptic circuit from L4 to L2/3 can provide efficient shunting inhibition that is temporally and spatially aligned with the excitatory input from L4 to L2/3.