Year of publication
- Single-particle characterization of ice-nucleating particles and ice particles residuals sampled by three different techniques (2015)
- 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 composition.
- A comprehensive laboratory study on the immersion freezing behavior of illite NX particles: a comparison of 17 ice nucleation measurement techniques (2015)
- Immersion freezing is the most relevant heterogeneous ice nucleation mechanism through which ice crystals are formed in mixed-phase clouds. In recent years, an increasing number of laboratory experiments utilizing a variety of instruments have examined immersion freezing activity of atmospherically relevant ice-nucleating particles. However, an intercomparison of these laboratory results is a difficult task because investigators have used different ice nucleation (IN) measurement methods to produce these results. A remaining challenge is to explore the sensitivity and accuracy of these techniques and to understand how the IN results are potentially influenced or biased by experimental parameters associated with these techniques. Within the framework of INUIT (Ice Nuclei Research Unit), we distributed an illite-rich sample (illite NX) as a representative surrogate for atmospheric mineral dust particles to investigators to perform immersion freezing experiments using different IN measurement methods and to obtain IN data as a function of particle concentration, temperature (T), cooling rate and nucleation time. A total of 17 measurement methods were involved in the data intercomparison. Experiments with seven instruments started with the test sample pre-suspended in water before cooling, while 10 other instruments employed water vapor condensation onto dry-dispersed particles followed by immersion freezing. The resulting comprehensive immersion freezing data set was evaluated using the ice nucleation active surface-site density, ns, to develop a representative ns(T) spectrum that spans a wide temperature range (−37 °C < T < −11 °C) and covers 9 orders of magnitude in ns. In general, the 17 immersion freezing measurement techniques deviate, within a range of about 8 °C in terms of temperature, by 3 orders of magnitude with respect to ns. In addition, we show evidence that the immersion freezing efficiency expressed in ns of illite NX particles is relatively independent of droplet size, particle mass in suspension, particle size and cooling rate during freezing. A strong temperature dependence and weak time and size dependence of the immersion freezing efficiency of illite-rich clay mineral particles enabled the ns parameterization solely as a function of temperature. We also characterized the ns(T) spectra and identified a section with a steep slope between −20 and −27 °C, where a large fraction of active sites of our test dust may trigger immersion freezing. This slope was followed by a region with a gentler slope at temperatures below −27 °C. While the agreement between different instruments was reasonable below ~ −27 °C, there seemed to be a different trend in the temperature-dependent ice nucleation activity from the suspension and dry-dispersed particle measurements for this mineral dust, in particular at higher temperatures. For instance, the ice nucleation activity expressed in ns was smaller for the average of the wet suspended samples and higher for the average of the dry-dispersed aerosol samples between about −27 and −18 °C. Only instruments making measurements with wet suspended samples were able to measure ice nucleation above −18 °C. A possible explanation for the deviation between −27 and −18 °C is discussed. Multiple exponential distribution fits in both linear and log space for both specific surface area-based ns(T) and geometric surface area-based ns(T) are provided. These new fits, constrained by using identical reference samples, will help to compare IN measurement methods that are not included in the present study and IN data from future IN instruments.
- Sustainable management of river oases along the Tarim River (SuMaRiO) in Northwest China under conditions of climate change (2015)
- The Tarim River basin, located in Xinjiang, NW China, is the largest endorheic river basin in China and one of the largest in all of Central Asia. Due to the extremely arid climate, with an annual precipitation of less than 100 mm, the water supply along the Aksu and Tarim rivers solely depends on river water. This is linked to anthropogenic activities (e.g., agriculture) and natural and semi-natural ecosystems as both compete for water. The ongoing increase in water consumption by agriculture and other human activities in this region has been enhancing the competition for water between human needs and nature. Against this background, 11 German and 6 Chinese universities and research institutes have formed the consortium SuMaRiO (Sustainable Management of River Oases along the Tarim River; http://www.sumario.de), which aims to create a holistic picture of the availability of water resources in the Tarim River basin and the impacts on anthropogenic activities and natural ecosystems caused by the water distribution within the Tarim River basin. On the basis of the results from field studies and modeling approaches as well as from suggestions by the relevant regional stakeholders, a decision support tool (DST) will be implemented that will then assist stakeholders in balancing the competition for water, acknowledging the major external effects of water allocation to agriculture and to natural ecosystems. This consortium was formed in 2011 and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. As the data collection phase was finished this year, the paper presented here brings together the results from the fields from the disciplines of climate modeling, cryology, hydrology, agricultural sciences, ecology, geoinformatics, and social sciences in order to present a comprehensive picture of the effects of different water availability schemes on anthropogenic activities and natural ecosystems along the Tarim River. The second objective is to present the project structure of the whole consortium, the current status of work (i.e., major new results and findings), explain the foundation of the decision support tool as a key product of this project, and conclude with application recommendations for the region. The discharge of the Aksu River, which is the major tributary of the Tarim, has been increasing over the past 6 decades. From 1989 to 2011, agricultural area more than doubled: cotton became the major crop and there was a shift from small-scale to large-scale intensive farming. The ongoing increase in irrigated agricultural land leads to the increased threat of salinization and soil degradation caused by increased evapotranspiration. Aside from agricultural land, the major natural and semi-natural ecosystems are riparian (Tugai) forests, shrub vegetation, reed beds, and other grassland, as well as urban and peri-urban vegetation. Within the SuMaRiO cluster, focus has been set on the Tugai forests, with Populus euphratica as the dominant tree species, because these forests belong to the most productive and species-rich natural ecosystems of the Tarim River basin. At sites close to the groundwater, the annual stem diameter increments of Populus euphratica correlated with the river runoffs of the previous year. However, the natural river dynamics cease along the downstream course and thus hamper the recruitment of Populus euphratica. A study on the willingness to pay for the conservation of the natural ecosystems was conducted to estimate the concern of the people in the region and in China's capital. These household surveys revealed that there is a considerable willingness to pay for conservation of the natural ecosystems, with mitigation of dust and sandstorms considered the most important ecosystem service. Stakeholder dialogues contributed to creating a scientific basis for a sustainable management in the future.
- Gene-Wide Analysis Detects Two New Susceptibility Genes for Alzheimer's Disease (2014)
- Background: Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls. Principal Findings: In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci. Significance: The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
- High levels of diversity uncovered in a widespread nominal taxon: continental phylogeography of the Neotropical tree frog Dendropsophus minutus (2014)
- Species distributed across vast continental areas and across major biomes provide unique model systems for studies of biotic diversification, yet also constitute daunting financial, logistic and political challenges for data collection across such regions. The tree frog Dendropsophus minutus (Anura: Hylidae) is a nominal species, continentally distributed in South America, that may represent a complex of multiple species, each with a more limited distribution. To understand the spatial pattern of molecular diversity throughout the range of this species complex, we obtained DNA sequence data from two mitochondrial genes, cytochrome oxidase I (COI) and the 16S rhibosomal gene (16S) for 407 samples of D. minutus and closely related species distributed across eleven countries, effectively comprising the entire range of the group. We performed phylogenetic and spatially explicit phylogeographic analyses to assess the genetic structure of lineages and infer ancestral areas. We found 43 statistically supported, deep mitochondrial lineages, several of which may represent currently unrecognized distinct species. One major clade, containing 25 divergent lineages, includes samples from the type locality of D. minutus. We defined that clade as the D. minutus complex. The remaining lineages together with the D. minutus complex constitute the D. minutus species group. Historical analyses support an Amazonian origin for the D. minutus species group with a subsequent dispersal to eastern Brazil where the D. minutus complex originated. According to our dataset, a total of eight mtDNA lineages have ranges >100,000 km2. One of them occupies an area of almost one million km2 encompassing multiple biomes. Our results, at a spatial scale and resolution unprecedented for a Neotropical vertebrate, confirm that widespread amphibian species occur in lowland South America, yet at the same time a large proportion of cryptic diversity still remains to be discovered.
- Sustainable management of river oases along the Tarim River in North-Western China under conditions of climate change (2014)
- The Tarim River Basin, located in Xinjiang, NW China, is the largest endorheic river basin of China and one of the largest in whole Central Asia. Due to the extremely arid climate with an annual precipitation of less than 100 mm, the water supply along the Aksu and Tarim River solely depends on river water. This applies for anthropogenic activities (e.g. agriculture) as well as for the natural ecosystems so that both compete for water. The on-going increase of water consumption by agriculture and other human activities in this region has been enhancing the competition for water between human needs and nature. Against this background, 11 German and 6 Chinese universities and research institutes formed the consortium SuMaRiO (www.sumario.de), which aims at gaining a holistic picture of the availability of water resources in the Tarim River Basin and the impacts on anthropogenic activities and natural ecosystems caused by the water distribution within the Tarim River Basin. The discharge of the Aksu River, which is the major tributary to the Tarim, has been increasing over the past 6 decades due to enhanced glacier melt. Alone from 1989 to 2011, the area under agriculture more than doubled. Thereby, cotton became the major crop and there was a shift from small-scale farming to large-scale intensive farming. The major natural ecosystems along the Aksu and Tarim River are riparian ecosystems: Riparian (Tugai) forests, shrub vegetation, reed beds, and other grassland. Within the SuMaRiO Cluster the focus was laid on the Tugai forests, with Populus euphratica as dominant tree, because the most productive and species-rich natural ecosystems can be found among those forests. On sites with groundwater distance of less than 7.5 m the annual increments correlated with river runoffs of the previous year. But, the further downstream along the Tarim River, the more the natural river dynamics ceased, which impacts on the recruitment of Populus euphratica. Household surveys revealed that there is a considerable willingness to pay for conservation of those riparian forests with the mitigation of dust and sandstorms considered as the most important ecosystem service. This interdisciplinary project will result in a decision support tool (DST), build on the participation of regional stakeholders and models based on results and field experiments. This DST finally shall assist stakeholders in balancing the water competition acknowledging the major external effects of any water allocation.
- Single-particle characterization of ice-nucleating particles and ice particle residuals sampled by three different techniques (2014)
- In the present work, three different techniques are used to separate ice-nucleating particles (INP) and ice particle residuals (IPR) from non-ice-active particles: the Ice Selective Inlet (ISI) and the Ice Counterflow Virtual Impactor (Ice-CVI), which sample ice particles from mixed phase clouds and allow for the analysis of the residuals, as well as the combination of the Fast Ice Nucleus Chamber (FINCH) and the Ice Nuclei Pumped Virtual Impactor (IN-PCVI), which provides ice-activating conditions to aerosol particles and extracts the activated ones for analysis. The collected particles were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis to determine their size, chemical composition and mixing state. Samples were taken during January/February 2013 at the High Alpine Research Station Jungfraujoch. All INP/IPR-separating techniques had considerable abundances (median 20–70%) of contamination artifacts (ISI: Si-O spheres, probably calibration aerosol; Ice-CVI: Al-O particles; FINCH + IN-PCVI: steel particles). Also, potential measurement artifacts (soluble material) occurred (median abundance < 20%). After removal of the contamination particles, silicates and Ca-rich particles, carbonaceous material and metal oxides were the major INP/IPR particle types separated by all three techniques. Minor types include soot and Pb-bearing particles. Sea-salt and sulfates were identified by all three methods as INP/IPR. Lead was identified in less than 10% of the INP/IPR. It was mainly present as an internal mixture with other particle types, but also external lead-rich particles were found. 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 sampled many submicron particles. Probably owing to the different meteorological conditions, the INP/IPR composition was highly variable on a sample to sample basis. Thus, some part of the discrepancies between the different techniques may result from the (unavoidable) non-parallel sampling. The observed differences of the particles group abundances as well as the mixing state of INP/IPR point to the need of further studies to better understand the influence of the separating techniques on the INP/IPR chemical composition.
- RP1 is a phosphorylation target of CK2 and is involved in cell adhesion (2013)
- RP1 (synonym: MAPRE2, EB2) is a member of the microtubule binding EB1 protein family, which interacts with APC, a key regulatory molecule in the Wnt signalling pathway. While the other EB1 proteins are well characterized the cellular function and regulation of RP1 remain speculative to date. However, recently RP1 has been implicated in pancreatic cancerogenesis. CK2 is a pleiotropic kinase involved in adhesion, proliferation and anti-apoptosis. Overexpression of protein kinase CK2 is a hallmark of many cancers and supports the malignant phenotype of tumor cells. In this study we investigate the interaction of protein kinase CK2 with RP1 and demonstrate that CK2 phosphorylates RP1 at Ser236 in vitro. Stable RP1 expression in cell lines leads to a significant cleavage and down-regulation of N-cadherin and impaired adhesion. Cells expressing a Phospho-mimicking point mutant RP1-ASP236 show a marked decrease of adhesion to endothelial cells under shear stress. Inversely, we found that the cells under shear stress downregulate endogenous RP1, most likely to improve cellular adhesion. Accordingly, when RP1 expression is suppressed by shRNA, cells lacking RP1 display significantly increased cell adherence to surfaces. In summary, RP1 phosphorylation at Ser236 by CK2 seems to play a significant role in cell adhesion and might initiate new insights in the CK2 and EB1 family protein association.
- Protocol TOP-Study (tacrolimus organ perfusion): a prospective randomized multicenter trial to reduce ischemia reperfusion injury in transplantation of marginal liver grafts with an "ex vivo" tacrolimus perfusion (2013)
- Background: Critical organ shortage results in the utilization of extended donor criteria (EDC) liver grafts. These marginal liver grafts are prone to increased ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) which may contribute to deteriorated graft function and survival. Experimental data have shown that the calcineurin inhibitor tacrolimus exerts protective effects on hepatic IRI when applied intravenously or directly as a hepatic rinse. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to examine the effects of an ex vivo tacrolimus perfusion on IRI in transplantation of EDC liver grafts. Methods/Design: The TOP-Study (tacrolimus organ perfusion) is a randomized multicenter trial comparing the ex vivo tacrolimus perfusion of marginal liver grafts with placebo. We hypothesize that a tacrolimus rinse reduces IRI, potentially improving organ survival following transplantation of EDC livers. The study includes livers with two or more EDC, according to Eurotransplant International Foundation’s definition of EDC livers. Prior to implantation, livers randomized to the treatment group are rinsed with tacrolimus at a concentration of 20 ng/ml in 1000 ml Custodiol solution and in the placebo group with Custodiol alone. The primary endpoint is the maximum serum alanine transamninase (ALT) level within the first 48 hours after surgery; however, the study design also includes a 1-year observation period following transplantation. The TOP-Study is an investigator-initiated trial sponsored by the University of Munich Hospital. Seven other German transplant centers are participating (Berlin, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Mainz, Münster, Regensburg, Tübingen) and aim to include a total of 86 patients. Discussion: Tacrolimus organ perfusion represents a promising strategy to reduce hepatic IRI following the transplantation of marginal liver grafts. This treatment may help to improve the function of EDC grafts and therefore safely expand the donor pool in light of critical organ shortage. Trial register: EudraCT number: 2010-021333-31, ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01564095
- Correlation of inflammatory and proangiogenic cytokines from undiluted vitreous samples with spectral domain OCT scans, in untreated branch retinal vein occlusion (2013)
- Purpose: To assess the levels of inflammatory and angiogenic cytokines in undiluted vitreous from treatment-naïve patients with macular edema secondary to nonischemic branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), with flow cytometric bead array (CBA) and to correlate the results with subjective and multiple spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) parameters. Methods: A total of 43 eyes from 43 patients (mean age 69.7 years, 23 male) were divided into groups of new, "fresh" (n = 28; mean duration after onset 4.1 months) and older BRVO (n = 15; 11.6 months). Because of macular edema, these patients underwent an intravitreal therapy combining a single-site 23 g core vitrectomy with bevacizumab and dexamethasone. Undiluted vitreous was then analyzed for interleukin-6 (IL-6), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and vascular endothelial growth factor isoform A (VEGF-A) levels with CBA and correlated with visual acuity (VA), clinical parameters of BRVO (type and perfusion status), and morphologic parameters, such as central macular thickness, central retinal thickness, thickness of the neurosensory retina, thickness of the serous retinal detachment, and the disruption of the ellipsoid line (photoreceptor inner and outer segments) and the external limiting membrane, as measured with SD-OCT. Twenty-eight undiluted vitreous samples from patients with idiopathic, nonuveitis vitreous floaters served as the controls. Results: The mean IL-6 was 23.2 pg/mL (standard deviation, ±48.8), MCP-1 was 602.6 (±490.3), and VEGF-A was 161.8 (±314.3), and this was higher than in the control group, which had a mean IL-6 of 6.2 ± 3.4 pg/mL (P = 0.17), MCP-1 of 253.2 ± 73.5 (P < 0.0000001), and VEGF-A of 7.0 ± 4.9 (P < 0.003). In all BRVO samples, IL-6 correlated positively with MCP-1 and VEGF-A (correlation coefficient r = 0.79 and r = 0.46, respectively). VEGF-A was the only cytokine to correlate significantly with SD-OCT parameters (thickness of the neurosensory retina r = 0.31; disruption of the ellipsoid line r = 0.33). In the older BRVO group, there was a positive correlation between cytokines (IL-6 with MCP-1, r = 0.77; Il-6 with VEGF-A, r = 0.68; MCP-1 and VEGF-A, r = 0.68), whereas only IL-6 correlated with MCP-1 in the fresh group (r = 0.8). Conclusion: The inflammatory markers and VEGF-A were elevated in the vitreous fluid of patients with BRVO, and these correlated with one another. VEGF-A was more often correlated with the morphologic changes assessed by SD-OCT, whereas the inflammatory markers had no significant influence on SD-OCT changes.