Year of publication
- SchussenAktivplus: reduction of micropollutants and of potentially pathogenic bacteria for further water quality improvement of the river Schussen, a tributary of Lake Constance, Germany (2013)
- The project focuses on the efficiency of combined technologies to reduce the release of micropollutants and bacteria into surface waters via sewage treatment plants of different size and via stormwater overflow basins of different types. As a model river in a highly populated catchment area, the river Schussen and, as a control, the river Argen, two tributaries of Lake Constance, Southern Germany, are under investigation in this project. The efficiency of the different cleaning technologies is monitored by a wide range of exposure and effect analyses including chemical and microbiological techniques as well as effect studies ranging from molecules to communities.
- Defining the core proteome of the chloroplast envelope membranes (2013)
- High-throughput protein localization studies require multiple strategies. Mass spectrometric analysis of defined cellular fractions is one of the complementary approaches to a diverse array of cell biological methods. In recent years, the protein content of different cellular (sub-)compartments was approached. Despite of all the efforts made, the analysis of membrane fractions remains difficult, in that the dissection of the proteomes of the envelope membranes of chloroplasts or mitochondria is often not reliable because sample purity is not always warranted. Moreover, proteomic studies are often restricted to single (model) species, and therefore limited in respect to differential individual evolution. In this study we analyzed the chloroplast envelope proteomes of different plant species, namely, the individual proteomes of inner and outer envelope (OE) membrane of Pisum sativum and the mixed envelope proteomes of Arabidopsis thaliana and Medicago sativa. The analysis of all three species yielded 341 identified proteins in total, 247 of them being unique. 39 proteins were genuine envelope proteins found in at least two species. Based on this and previous envelope studies we defined the core envelope proteome of chloroplasts. Comparing the general overlap of the available six independent studies (including ours) revealed only a number of 27 envelope proteins. Depending on the stringency of applied selection criteria we found 231 envelope proteins, while less stringent criteria increases this number to 649 putative envelope proteins. Based on the latter we provide a map of the outer and inner envelope core proteome, which includes many yet uncharacterized proteins predicted to be involved in transport, signaling, and response. Furthermore, a foundation for the functional characterization of yet unidentified functions of the inner and OE for further analyses is provided.
- Reconciliation of essential process parameters for an enhanced predictability of Arctic stratospheric ozone loss and its climate interactions (RECONCILE): activities and results (2013)
- The international research project RECONCILE has addressed central questions regarding polar ozone depletion, with the objective to quantify some of the most relevant yet still uncertain physical and chemical processes and thereby improve prognostic modelling capabilities to realistically predict the response of the ozone layer to climate change. This overview paper outlines the scope and the general approach of RECONCILE, and it provides a summary of observations and modelling in 2010 and 2011 that have generated an in many respects unprecedented dataset to study processes in the Arctic winter stratosphere. Principally, it summarises important outcomes of RECONCILE including (i) better constraints and enhanced consistency on the set of parameters governing catalytic ozone destruction cycles, (ii) a better understanding of the role of cold binary aerosols in heterogeneous chlorine activation, (iii) an improved scheme of polar stratospheric cloud (PSC) processes that includes heterogeneous nucleation of nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) and ice on non-volatile background aerosol leading to better model parameterisations with respect to denitrification, and (iv) long transient simulations with a chemistry-climate model (CCM) updated based on the results of RECONCILE that better reproduce past ozone trends in Antarctica and are deemed to produce more reliable predictions of future ozone trends. The process studies and the global simulations conducted in RECONCILE show that in the Arctic, ozone depletion uncertainties in the chemical and microphysical processes are now clearly smaller than the sensitivity to dynamic variability.
- Extended pancreas donor program – the EXPAND study rationale and study protocol (2013)
- Background: Simultaneous pancreas kidney transplantation (SPK), pancreas transplantation alone (PTA) or pancreas transplantation after kidney (PAK) are the only curative treatment options for patients with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes mellitus with or without impaired renal function. Unfortunately, transplant waiting lists for this indication are increasing because the current organ acceptability criteria are restrictive; morbidity and mortality significantly increase with time on the waitlist. Currently, only pancreas organs from donors younger than 50 years of age and with a body mass index (BMI) less than 30 are allocated for transplantation in the Eurotransplant (ET) area. To address this issue we designed a study to increase the available donor pool for these patients. Methods/Design: This study is a prospective, multicenter (20 German centers), single blinded, non-randomized, two armed trial comparing outcome after SPK, PTA or PAK between organs with the currently allowed donor criteria versus selected organs from donors with extended criteria. Extended donor criteria are defined as organs procured from donors with a BMI of 30 to 34 or a donor age between 50 and 60 years. Immunosuppression is generally standardized using induction therapy with Myfortic, tacrolimus and low dose steroids. In principle, all patients on the waitlist for primary SPK, PTA or PAK are eligible for the clinical trial when they consent to possibly receiving an extended donor criteria organ. Patients receiving an organ meeting the current standard criteria for pancreas allocation (control arm) are compared to those receiving extended criteria organ (study arm); patients are blinded for a follow-up period of one year. The combined primary endpoint is survival of the pancreas allograft and pancreas allograft function after three months, as an early relevant outcome parameter for pancreas transplantation. Discussion: The EXPAND Study has been initiated to investigate the hypothesis that locally allocated extended criteria organs can be transplanted with similar results compared to the currently allowed standard ET organ allocation. If our study shows a favorable comparison to standard organ allocation criteria, the morbidity and mortality for patients waiting for transplantation could be reduced in the future. Trial registered at: NCT01384006
- Sex-stratified genome-wide association studies including 270,000 individuals show sexual dimorphism in genetic loci for anthropometric traits (2013)
- Men and women differ substantially regarding height, weight, and body fat. Interestingly, previous work detecting genetic effects for waist-to-hip ratio, to assess body fat distribution, has found that many of these showed sex-differences. However, systematic searches for sex-differences in genetic effects have not yet been conducted. Therefore, we undertook a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic genetic effects for anthropometric traits including 133,723 individuals in a large meta-analysis and followed promising variants in further 137,052 individuals, including a total of 94 studies. We identified seven loci with significant sex-difference including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were significant in women, but not in men. Of interest is that sex-difference was only observed for waist phenotypes, but not for height or body-mass-index. We found no evidence for sex-differences with opposite effect direction for men and women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its link to diabetes genetics and therapy. Our findings demonstrate the importance of investigating sex differences, which may lead to a better understanding of disease mechanisms with a potential relevance to treatment options.
- Lavender oil-potent anxiolytic properties via modulating voltage dependent calcium channels (2013)
- Recent clinical data support the clinical use of oral lavender oil in patients suffering from subsyndromal anxiety. We identified the molecular mechanism of action that will alter the perception of lavender oil as a nonspecific ingredient of aromatherapy to a potent anxiolytic inhibiting voltage dependent calcium channels (VOCCs) as highly selective drug target. In contrast to previous publications where exorbitant high concentrations were used, the effects of lavender oil in behavioral, biochemical, and electrophysiological experiments were investigated in physiological concentrations in the nanomolar range, which correlate to a single dosage of 80 mg/d in humans that was used in clinical trials. We show for the first time that lavender oil bears some similarities with the established anxiolytic pregabalin. Lavender oil inhibits VOCCs in synaptosomes, primary hippocampal neurons and stably overexpressing cell lines in the same range such as pregabalin. Interestingly, Silexan does not primarily bind to P/Q type calcium channels such as pregabalin and does not interact with the binding site of pregabalin, the α2δ subunit of VOCCs. Lavender oil reduces non-selectively the calcium influx through several different types of VOCCs such as the N-type, P/Q-type and T-type VOCCs. In the hippocampus, one brain region important for anxiety disorders, we show that inhibition by lavender oil is mainly mediated via N-type and P/Q-type VOCCs. Taken together, we provide a pharmacological and molecular rationale for the clinical use of the oral application of lavender oil in patients suffering from anxiety.
- An ancient pathway combining carbon dioxide fixation with the generation and utilization of a sodium ion gradient for ATP synthesis (2012)
- Synthesis of acetate from carbon dioxide and molecular hydrogen is considered to be the first carbon assimilation pathway on earth. It combines carbon dioxide fixation into acetyl-CoA with the production of ATP via an energized cell membrane. How the pathway is coupled with the net synthesis of ATP has been an enigma. The anaerobic, acetogenic bacterium Acetobacterium woodii uses an ancient version of this pathway without cytochromes and quinones. It generates a sodium ion potential across the cell membrane by the sodium-motive ferredoxin:NAD oxidoreductase (Rnf). The genome sequence of A. woodii solves the enigma: it uncovers Rnf as the only ion-motive enzyme coupled to the pathway and unravels a metabolism designed to produce reduced ferredoxin and overcome energetic barriers by virtue of electron-bifurcating, soluble enzymes.
- Reconciliation of essential process parameters for an enhanced predictability of Arctic stratospheric ozone loss and its climate interactions (2012)
- Significant reductions in stratospheric ozone occur inside the polar vortices each spring when chlorine radicals produced by heterogeneous reactions on cold particle surfaces in winter destroy ozone mainly in two catalytic cycles, the ClO dimer cycle and the ClO/BrO cycle. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are responsible for most of the chlorine currently present in the stratosphere, have been banned by the Montreal Protocol and its amendments, and the ozone layer is predicted to recover to 1980 levels within the next few decades. During the same period, however, climate change is expected to alter the temperature, circulation patterns and chemical composition in the stratosphere, and possible geo-engineering ventures to mitigate climate change may lead to additional changes. To realistically predict the response of the ozone layer to such influences requires the correct representation of all relevant processes. The European project RECONCILE has comprehensively addressed remaining questions in the context of polar ozone depletion, with the objective to quantify the rates of some of the most relevant, yet still uncertain physical and chemical processes. To this end RECONCILE used a broad approach of laboratory experiments, two field missions in the Arctic winter 2009/10 employing the high altitude research aircraft M55-Geophysica and an extensive match ozone sonde campaign, as well as microphysical and chemical transport modelling and data assimilation. Some of the main outcomes of RECONCILE are as follows: (1) vortex meteorology: the 2009/10 Arctic winter was unusually cold at stratospheric levels during the six-week period from mid-December 2009 until the end of January 2010, with reduced transport and mixing across the polar vortex edge; polar vortex stability and how it is influenced by dynamic processes in the troposphere has led to unprecedented, synoptic-scale stratospheric regions with temperatures below the frost point; in these regions stratospheric ice clouds have been observed, extending over >106km2 during more than 3 weeks. (2) Particle microphysics: heterogeneous nucleation of nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) particles in the absence of ice has been unambiguously demonstrated; conversely, the synoptic scale ice clouds also appear to nucleate heterogeneously; a variety of possible heterogeneous nuclei has been characterised by chemical analysis of the non-volatile fraction of the background aerosol; substantial formation of solid particles and denitrification via their sedimentation has been observed and model parameterizations have been improved. (3) Chemistry: strong evidence has been found for significant chlorine activation not only on polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) but also on cold binary aerosol; laboratory experiments and field data on the ClOOCl photolysis rate and other kinetic parameters have been shown to be consistent with an adequate degree of certainty; no evidence has been found that would support the existence of yet unknown chemical mechanisms making a significant contribution to polar ozone loss. (4) Global modelling: results from process studies have been implemented in a prognostic chemistry climate model (CCM); simulations with improved parameterisations of processes relevant for polar ozone depletion are evaluated against satellite data and other long term records using data assimilation and detrended fluctuation analysis. Finally, measurements and process studies within RECONCILE were also applied to the winter 2010/11, when special meteorological conditions led to the highest chemical ozone loss ever observed in the Arctic. In addition to quantifying the 2010/11 ozone loss and to understand its causes including possible connections to climate change, its impacts were addressed, such as changes in surface ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the densely populated northern mid-latitudes.
- Pseudo-Critical Temperature and Thermal Equation of State from Nf = 2 Twisted Mass Lattice QCD (2012)
- We report about the current status of our ongoing study of the chiral limit of two-flavor QCD at finite temperature with twisted mass quarks. We estimate the pseudo-critical temperature Tc for three values of the pion mass in the range of mPS ~ 300 and 500 MeV and discuss different chiral scenarios. Furthermore, we present first preliminary results for the trace anomaly, pressure and energy density. We have studied several discretizations of Euclidean time up to Nt = 12 in order to assess the continuum limit of the trace anomaly. From its interpolation we evaluate the pressure and energy density employing the integral method. Here, we have focussed on two pion masses with mPS ~ 400 and 700 MeV.
- Nanolesions induced by heavy ions in human tissues: experimental and theoretical studies (2012)
- The biological effects of energetic heavy ions are attracting increasing interest for their applications in cancer therapy and protection against space radiation. The cascade of events leading to cell death or late effects starts from stochastic energy deposition on the nanometer scale and the corresponding lesions in biological molecules, primarily DNA. We have developed experimental techniques to visualize DNA nanolesions induced by heavy ions. Nanolesions appear in cells as “streaks” which can be visualized by using different DNA repair markers. We have studied the kinetics of repair of these “streaks” also with respect to the chromatin conformation. Initial steps in the modeling of the energy deposition patterns at the micrometer and nanometer scale were made with MCHIT and TRAX models, respectively.