By consuming mulberry leaves covered with pollen from nearby genetically engineered, insect-resistant rice lines producing Cry proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), larvae of the domestic silkworm, Bombyx mori (Linnaeus) (Lepidoptera: Bombyxidae), could be exposed to insecticidal proteins. Laboratory experiments were conducted to assess the potential effects of Cry1C- or Cry2A-producing transgenic rice (T1C-19, T2A-1) pollen on B. mori fitness. In a short-term assay, B. mori larvae were fed mulberry leaves covered with different densities of pollen from Bt rice lines or their corresponding near isoline (control) for the first 3 d and then were fed mulberry leaves without pollen. No effect was detected on any life table parameter, even at 1800 pollen grains/cm(2) leaf, which is much higher than the mean natural density of rice pollen on leaves of mulberry trees near paddy fields. In a long-term assay, the larvae were fed Bt and control pollen in the same way but for their entire larval stage (approximately 27 d). Bt pollen densities ? 150 grains/cm(2) leaf reduced 14-d larval weight, increased larval development time, and reduced adult eclosion rate. ELISA analyses showed that 72.6% of the Cry protein was still detected in the pollen grains excreted with the feces. The low exposure of silkworm larvae to Cry proteins when feeding Bt rice pollen may be the explanation for the relatively low toxicity detected in the current study. Although the results demonstrate that B. mori larvae are sensitive to Cry1C and Cry2A proteins, the exposure levels that harmed the larvae in the current study are far greater than natural exposure levels. We therefore conclude that consumption of Bt rice pollen will pose a low to negligible risk to B. mori.
Brownian dynamics simulations are carried out to study the aggregation behavior of polymer-grafted nanoparticles (NPs) in good solvents by using the coarse-grained model derived from the all-atom force field, according to the hierarchical modeling strategy, and here PEG-grafted gold nanoparticles (GNPs) were taken as an example. Generally, grafting PEG to the surface of GNPs is to protect them from aggregation in the solution. However, our results reveal that PEG-grafted GNPs may also aggregate when concentration increases. Our simulations indicate that there exists a critical aggregating concentration (CAC), beyond which the PEG-grafted GNPs will aggregate. We further check the effects of grafting density and the length of grafted chains on the aggregation behavior of the grafted GNPs, and find that there exists an optimized length of grafted chain, at which the system has the maximal CAC. Furthermore, the aggregate size of self-assembled mesostructures formed by the grafted GNPs increases with the concentration. Interestingly, it is observed that the aggregation favors to form linear gold nanowires rather than compact gold nanoclusters, and the corresponding mechanism is also addressed. It is expected that this work would provide useful information for the fabrication of metal nanowires and the surface modification of metal nanoparticles.
Owing to the important roles of chemical gates in biological systems, the biomimetic design of artificial switchable nanodevices has been attracting tremendous interest. Here, we design a cylindrical thermo-sensitive channel, in which nanofliudic transport properties can be controlled by manipulating environmental temperature. The switchable channel is formed by a polystyrene-b-poly(acrylic acid)-b-polystyrene (PS-PAA-PS)-like triblock copolymer brush whose conformation and phase behavior are dependent on temperature. With the increase of temperature, the designed channel exhibits "close?open?close" behavior, which can serve as a kind of excellent switchable nanodevice for nanofluidic controllable transportation.
Brownian dynamics simulations were carried out to explore the self-assembly of amphiphilic copolymers composed of a linear hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail with different architectures. In order to investigate the effect of architecture of hydrophobic tail on self-assembling behavior, these architectures of linear, branched, starlike, and dendritic tails were selected for comparison, and the branching parameter of the tail was employed to characterize the tail architectures. The critical micelle concentration (cmc), dynamics of aggregation, aggregate distribution, gyration radius distribution, density profiles of micelle, shape anisotropy, and thermal stability were examined for the four typical types of copolymers. The calculated results reveal that the self-assembly of linear tail copolymer has the lowest cmc, and the consequently formed polymeric micelles have narrow dispersion and greater aggregate size, and the micelle is closer to spherical shape. It was found that the cmc is inversely proportional to the branching parameter. Linear tail aggregates in solution to form polymeric micelles with higher physical stability, compared to other architectures of tail. The size of polymeric micelle increases with the increase of the branching parameter of the tail, and it exhibits an exponential relationship with the branching parameter. In addition, the micelles formed from copolymers with a high branching parameter of the tail were found to have higher thermal stability. This work provides useful information on designing self-assembling systems for preparing polymeric micelles applied to drug delivery.
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