[Experimental] List of manuscripts available for review volunteers
6 manuscripts available for review volunteers
March 21, 2017
Background: Most studies have focused on ill-tendons with a little insight on how intrinsic factors correlate with the Achilles tendon. This study aims at establishing how blood pressure, blood glucose, and body mass index correlate with the morphology of the Achilles tendon with emphasis on width changes. Materials and method: Participantswere volunteers who were recruited during and after an organized health fair by the Medical Students’ body from All Saints University, School of Medicine, Dominica. A total of 336 people, consisting of 135 males and 201 females volunteered for the study. The most dominant age group was between 60-65 years. A self-administered questionnaire was used to acquire necessary information and a preliminary clinical procedure was used to check for blood pressure, blood glucose, and body mass index. Ultrasound examination was done in B-mode using a linear array high-frequency probe with a mediolateral approach at the AT. Result: Among the participants, 42.68%, 69.75%, and 30.38% had normal blood pressure, blood glucose, and BMI readings, respectively. Blood pressure, blood glucose and body mass index statistically supported the hypothesis. Sonographic examination revealed most participants with normal tendon morphology, while some identifiable changes were observed amongst others. Conclusion: This study suggests that blood pressure, blood glucose and body mass index could affect the morphological integrity of the Achilles tendon. An indication that asymptomatic high blood sugar and blood pressure could weaken the AT, leading to pain which may appear unrelated to the physician and patient.
March 20, 2017
Previous studies have used the zebrafish to investigate the biology of lens crystallin proteins and their roles in development and disease. However, little is known about zebrafish α-crystallin promoter function, how it compares to that of mammals, or whether mammalian α-crystallin promoter activity can be assessed using zebrafish embryos. We injected a variety of α-crystallin promoter fragments from each species combined with the coding sequence for green fluorescent protein (GFP) into zebrafish zygotes to determine the resulting spatiotemporal expression patterns in the developing embryo. We also measured mRNA levels and protein abundance for all three zebrafish α-crystallins. Our data showed that mouse and zebrafish αA-crystallin promoters generated similar GFP expression in the lens, but with earlier onset when using mouse promoters. Expression was also found in notochord and skeletal muscle in a small percentage of embryos. Mouse αB-crystallin promoter fragments drove GFP expression primarily in zebrafish skeletal muscle, with less common expression in notochord, lens, heart and in extraocular regions of the eye. A short fragment containing only a lens-specific enhancer region produced no GFP expression, suggesting that these lens responsive elements in the mouse are not used in the zebrafish. The two paralogous zebrafish αB-crystallin promoters produced subtly different expression profiles, with the αBa promoter driving expression equally in notochord and skeletal muscle while the αBb promoter resulted primarily in skeletal muscle expression. Messenger RNA for zebrafish αa, aBa and αBb were all detected by 1 day post fertilization (dpf). Parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) mass spectrometry was used to detect αA, αBa, and αBb peptides in digests of zebrafish embryos. In whole embryos, αA-crystallin was first detected by 2 dpf, peaked in abundance by 4-5 dpf, and was localized to the eye. αBa was also detected in whole embryo at nearly constant levels from 1-6 dpf, was also localized primarily to the eye, and its abundance in extraocular tissues decreased from 4-7 dpf. In contrast, due to its low abundance, no αBb protein could be detected in whole embryo, or dissected eye and extraocular tissues. Our results show that mammalian α-crystallin promoters can be efficiently screened in zebrafish embryos and that their controlling regions are well conserved, although their use in each species may reflect evolutionary changes in developmental roles for α-crystallins. An ontogenetic shift in zebrafish αBa-crystallin promoter activity provides an interesting system for examining the evolution and control of tissue specificity. Future studies that combine these promoter based approaches with the expanding ability to engineer the zebrafish genome via techniques such as CRISPR/Cas9 will allow the manipulation of protein expression to test hypotheses about lens crystallin function and its relation to lens biology and disease.
March 11, 2017
Despite recent algorithmic improvements, learning the optimal structure of a Bayesian network from data is typically infeasible past a few dozen variables. Fortunately, domain knowledge can frequently be exploited to achieve dramatic computational savings, and in many cases domain knowledge can even make structure learning tractable. Several methods have previously been described for representing this type of structural prior knowledge, including global orderings, super-structures, and constraint rules. While super-structures and constraint rules are flexible in terms of what prior knowledge they can encode, they achieve savings in memory and computational time simply by avoiding considering invalid graphs. We introduce the concept of a "constraint graph" as an intuitive method for incorporating rich prior knowledge into the structure learning task. We describe how this graph can be used to reduce the memory cost and computational time required to find the optimal graph subject to the encoded constraints, beyond merely eliminating invalid graphs. In particular, we show that a constraint graph can break the structure learning task into independent subproblems even in the presence of cyclic prior knowledge. These subproblems are well suited to being solved in parallel on a single machine or distributed across many machines without excessive communication cost.
March 10, 2017
Insecticidal crystal (Cry) proteins produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) target cells in the midgut epithelium of susceptible larvae. While the mode of action of Cry toxins has been extensively investigated, the midgut response to Cry intoxication and its regulation are not well characterized. In this work, we report the secreted proteome (secretome) of primary mature midgut cell cultures from Heliothis virescens larvae after exposure to Cry1Ac toxin compared to control buffer treatment. Biological activity of the Cry1Ac-induced secretome was monitored as higher proliferation and differentiation and an overall reduction in total cell mortality over time in primary H. virescens midgut stem cell cultures when compared to treatment with control buffer secretome. Differential proteomics identified 4 proteins with significant differences in abundance comparing Cry1Ac-treated and control secretomes. The most significant difference detected in the Cry1Ac secretome was an arylphorin protein not detected in the control secretome. Feeding of purified arylphorin to H. virescens larvae resulted in midgut hyperplasia and significantly reduced susceptibility to Cry1Ac toxin compared to controls. These data identify arylphorin as a protein with a putative relevant role in the midgut regeneration process in response to Cry1Ac intoxication.
March 4, 2017
Background. Restoration of degraded forest ecosystem is crucial for regional sustainable development. To protect the country’s fragile and fragmented environment, the Chinese government has initiated an ecological engineering, the Natural Forest Protection Program in seventeen provinces in China since 1998. Fully hillside-closed forest protection (vegetation restoration naturally without any artificial disturbance) was one of vital measures of the Natural Forest Protection Program applied national wide. Whether plant diversity, biomass and age structure of dominant tree species and soil nutrients in protected stands may become better with increase of protected period are still open problems. Methods. We investigated community diversity, biomass of dominant tree species, age structures, and analyzed soil chemical properties of a Pinus tabulaeformis population at protected sites representing different protected ages at Huanglongshan Forest Bureau on the Loess Plateau, Shaanxi, China. Results. Plant species richness of Pinus tabulaeformis community was significantly affected (p<0.05) by forest protection and the effect attenuated with protected age.Shannon evenness index of plant species generally increased with protected age. Stands protected for 45 years had the highest tree biomass and considerable natural regeneration capacity. Contents of organic carbon, available phosphorus and available potassium in top soil increased in protected stands less than 45 years, however decreased significantly thereafter. Long-term forest protection also decreased content of mineral nitrogen in top soil. Discussion. We found that richness of shrubs and herbs was significantly affected by forest protection, and evenness indices of tree, shrub and herb increased inconsistently with protected ages. Forest protection created more complex age structures and tree densities with increasing age of protection. Content of soil mineral nitrogen at 0-20 cm soil depth showed a decreasing trend in stands of up to 30 years. Soil available phosphorus and potassium contents were higher in stands with greater proportions of big and middle trees. Long-term protection (> 45 years) of Pinus tabulaeformis stand in southeast Loess Plateau, China, may be associated with decreasing plant species richness, proportion of medium to large trees, dominant biomass of Pinus tabulaeformis and soil nutrients.
February 28, 2017
Background. Litchi stink-bug, Tessaratoma papillosa Drury (Hemiptera: Tessaratomidae) is a major pest on litchi and longan in Southern China. It is urgent to develop valid biological agent for control the pest and improve IPM strategy on orchard farming. Entomopathogenic fungi was regarded as avital ecological factor pressing pest populations in field, however, there were fewer searches conducted on entomopathogenic fungi against litchi stink-bug. Methods & Results. In this study, two pathogenic fungus were isolated from the adult diseased T. papillosa by normal methods and rDNA-ITS homogeneous analysis, they are identified as Paecilomyces lilacinus and Beauveria bassiana. Laboratory tests showed that the two entomopathogenic fungi both had a good lethal effect to young nymph and old nymph of T. papillosa. The toxicity determination showed that the LC50 value for Beauveria bassiana was higher than P. lilacinus. Conclusion.These pathogenic fungus did not have the risk of pollution or residue, and they can be a alternative option for integrated pest management approache.

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