High-order microring resonator (MRR) filters with bent directional couplers are proposed and demonstrated to achieve a box-like filter response. When using bent couplers, the coupling ratio can be adjusted easily by choosing the length of the coupling region, and the excess loss is almost zero while the perimeter of the microring length is unchanged. For the present fabricated five-microring filters with bent directional couplers, the excess loss is less than 1.0 dB, the out-of-band extinction ratio is ?36??dB, and the response has rising and falling edges as sharp as 48??dB/nm. The thermal tunability of the high-order MRR filter with a Ti-microheater is also demonstrated and the thermally tuning efficiency is about 0.10??nm/mW.
An ultracompact and low-loss TM-pass polarizer on silicon is proposed and demonstrated experimentally with a subwavelength-grating (SWG) waveguide. The SWG waveguide is designed to support Bloch mode for TM polarization so that the incident TM-polarized light goes through the SWG waveguide with very low excess loss. On the other hand, for TE polarization, the SWG waveguide works as a Bragg reflector, and consequently the incident TE-polarized light is reflected. For a fabricated ?9???m long polarizer (with the period number N=20), the measured extinction ratio is ?27??dB and the excess loss is ?0.5??dB at the central wavelength 1550 nm. The bandwidth to achieve an extinction ratio of 20 dB is about 60 nm (from 1520 to 1580 nm). When increasing the period number to N=40, the measured extinction ratio is up to 40 dB (which is not as high as the expected theoretical value 65 dB due to the limit of the measurement system).
An improved 8-channel silicon mode demultiplexer is realized with TE-type and TM-type grating polarizers at the output ends, and these gratings serve as fiber-chip couplers simultaneously. The present 8-channel silicon mode demultiplexer includes a three-waveguide PBS (for separating the TE0 and TM0 modes) and six cascaded ADCs (for demultiplexing the high-order modes of both polarizations). The grating polarizers with high extinction ratios are used to filter out the polarization crosstalk in the 8-channel hybrid multiplexer efficiently and the measured crosstalk for all the mode-channels of the improved 8-channel mode multiplexer is reduced greatly to ~-20dB in a ~100nm bandwidth.
The manufacturing processes of royal demolition explosive (RDX), or hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine, have resulted in serious water contamination. As a potential carcinogen, RDX can cause a broad range of harmful effects to humans and animals. The ovine rumen is capable of rapid degradation of nitroaromatic compounds, including RDX. While ruminal RDX-degrading bacteria have been identified, the genes and pathways responsible for RDX degradation in the rumen have yet to be characterized. In this study, we characterized the metabolic potential of the ovine rumen using metagenomic approaches. Sequences homologous to at least five RDX-degrading genes cloned from environmental samples (diaA, xenA, xenB, xplA, and xplB) were present in the ovine rumen microbiome. Among them, diaA was the most abundant, likely reflective of the predominance of the genus Clostridium in the ovine rumen. At least ten genera known to harbor RDX-degrading microorganisms were detectable. Metagenomic sequences were also annotated using public databases, such as Pfam, COG, and KEGG. Five of the six Pfam protein families known to be responsible for RDX degradation in environmental samples were identified in the ovine rumen. However, increased substrate availability did not appear to enhance the proliferation of RDX-degrading bacteria and alter the microbial composition of the ovine rumen. This implies that the RDX-degrading capacity of the ovine rumen microbiome is likely regulated at the transcription level. Our results provide metagenomic insights into the RDX-degrading potential of the ovine rumen, and they will facilitate the development of novel and economic bioremediation strategies.
Histone modification has emerged as a very important mechanism regulating the transcriptional status of the genome. Insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) is a peptide hormone controlling various cellular processes, including proliferation and apoptosis. H19 gene is closely linked to IGF2 gene, and IGF2 and H19 are reciprocally regulated imprinted genes. The epigenetic signature of H19 promoter (hypermethylation) on the paternal allele plays a vital role in allowing the expression of the paternal allele of IGF2.46 Our previous studies demonstrate that butyrate regulates the expression of IGF2 as well as genes encoding IGF Binding proteins. To obtain further understanding of histone modification and its regulatory potentials in controlling IGF2/H19 gene expression, we investigated the histone modification status of some key histones associated with the expression of IGF2/H19 genes in bovine cells using RNA-seq in combination with Chip-seq technology. A high-resolution map of the major chromatin modification at the IGF2/H19 locus induced by butyrate was constructed to illustrate the fundamental association of the chromatin modification landscape that may play a role in the activation of the IGF2 gene. High-definition epigenomic landscape mapping revealed that IGF2 and H19 have distinct chromatin modification patterns at their coding and promoter regions, such as TSSs and TTSs. Moreover, the correlation between the differentially methylated regions (DMRs) of IGF2/H19 locus and histone modification (acetylation and methylation) indicated that epigenetic signatures/markers of DNA methylation, histone methylation and histone acetylation were differentially distributed on the expressed IGF2 and silenced H19 genes. Our evidence also suggests that butyrate-induced regional changes of histone acetylation statusin the upstream regulation domain of H19 may be related to the reduced expression of H19 and strong activation of IGF2. Our results provided insights into the mechanism of butyrate-induced loss of imprinting (LOI) of IGF2 and regulation of gene expression by histone modification.
Infections in cattle by the abomasal nematode Ostertagia ostertagi result in impaired gastrointestinal function. Six partially immune animals were developed using multiple drug-attenuated infections, and these animals displayed reduced worm burdens and a slightly elevated abomasal pH upon reinfection. In this study, we characterized the abomasal microbiota in response to reinfection using metagenomic tools. Compared to uninfected controls, infection did not induce a significant change in the microbial community composition in immune animals. 16S rRNA gene-based phylogenetic analysis identified 15 phyla in the bovine abomasal microbiota with Bacteroidetes (60.5%), Firmicutes (27.1%), Proteobacteria (7.2%), Spirochates (2.9%), and Fibrobacteres (1.5%) being the most predominant. The number of prokaryotic genera and operational taxonomic units (OTU) identified in the abomasal microbial community was 70.8±19.8 (mean ± SD) and 90.3±2.9, respectively. However, the core microbiome comprised of 32 genera and 72 OTU. Infection seemingly had a minimal impact on the abomasal microbial diversity at a genus level in immune animals. Proteins predicted from whole genome shotgun (WGS) DNA sequences were assigned to 5,408 Pfam and 3,381 COG families, demonstrating dazzling arrays of functional diversity in bovine abomasal microbial communities. However, none of COG functional classes were significantly impacted by infection. Our results demonstrate that immune animals may develop abilities to maintain proper stability of their abomasal microbial ecosystem. A minimal disruption in the bovine abomasal microbiota by reinfection may contribute equally to the restoration of gastric function in immune animals.
The new field of metagenomics studies microorganism communities by culture-independent sequencing. With the advances in next-generation sequencing techniques, researchers are facing tremendous challenges in metagenomic data analysis due to huge quantity and high complexity of sequence data. Analyzing large datasets is extremely time-consuming; also metagenomic annotation involves a wide range of computational tools, which are difficult to be installed and maintained by common users. The tools provided by the few available web servers are also limited and have various constraints such as login requirement, long waiting time, inability to configure pipelines etc.
Fragment recruitment, a process of aligning sequencing reads to reference genomes, is a crucial step in metagenomic data analysis. The available sequence alignment programs are either slow or insufficient for recruiting metagenomic reads. We implemented an efficient algorithm, FR-HIT, for fragment recruitment. We applied FR-HIT and several other tools including BLASTN, MegaBLAST, BLAT, LAST, SSAHA2, SOAP2, BWA and BWA-SW to recruit four metagenomic datasets from different type of sequencers. On average, FR-HIT and BLASTN recruited significantly more reads than other programs, while FR-HIT is about two orders of magnitude faster than BLASTN. FR-HIT is slower than the fastest SOAP2, BWA and BWA-SW, but it recruited 1-5 times more reads.
Although residue-residue contact maps dictate the topology of proteins, sequence-based ab initio contact predictions have been found little use in actual structure prediction due to the low accuracy. We developed a composite set of nine SVM-based contact predictors that are used in I-TASSER simulation in combination with sparse template contact restraints. When testing the strategy on 273 nonhomologous targets, remarkable improvements of I-TASSER models were observed for both easy and hard targets, with p value by Students t test<0.00001 and 0.001, respectively. In several cases, template modeling score increases by >30%, which essentially converts "nonfoldable" targets into "foldable" ones. In CASP9, I-TASSER employed ab initio contact predictions, and generated models for 26 FM targets with a GDT-score 16% and 44% higher than the second and third best servers from other groups, respectively. These findings demonstrate a new avenue to improve the accuracy of protein structure prediction especially for free-modeling targets.
A novel core/shell structured TiO(2)/polyaniline nanocomposite was fabricated by grafting aniline on aminobenzoate monolayer that is chemically adsorbed on the TiO(2) nanocrystal surface. The formation and nanostructure of the nanocomposite were investigated by FT-IR and UV-Vis spectra, TEM, FE-SEM, and TG-DTA analysis. Adsorption of aminobenzoate on the TiO(2) surface is an effective method to obtain the uniform nanocomposite. The thickness of polyaniline layer coating on the TiO(2) nanocrystal surface can be controlled in a range of 2-5 nm by this method. A photoelectrochemical study was carried out on the TiO(2)/polyaniline nanocomposite, and found that polyaniline in the nanocomposite acted as a visible-light sensitizer in a photoelectrochemical reaction. The sensitization effect increased with increasing binding strength between polyaniline and TiO(2). A dye-sensitized solar cell with a short circuit current density of 0.19 mA/cm(2) and an open circuit voltage of 0.35 V was fabricated by using the TiO(2)/polyaniline nanocomposite film as a sensitized electrode.
Protein template identification is essential to protein structure and function predictions. However, conventional whole-chain threading approaches often fail to recognize conserved substructure motifs when the target and templates do not share the same fold. We developed a new approach, SEGMER, for identifying protein substructure similarities by segmental threading. The target sequence is split into segments of two to four consecutive or nonconsecutive secondary structural elements, which are then threaded through PDB to identify appropriate substructure motifs. SEGMER is tested on 144 nonredundant hard proteins. When combined with whole-chain threading, the TM-score of alignments and accuracy of spatial restraints of SEGMER increase by 16% and 25%, respectively, compared with that by the whole-chain threading methods only. When tested on 12 free modeling targets from CASP8, SEGMER increases the TM-score and contact accuracy by 28% and 48%, respectively. This significant improvement should have important impact on protein structure modeling and functional inference.
Magnesium-deficiency conditions applied to spinach cultures caused an oxidative stress status in spinach chloroplast monitored by an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation. The enhancement of lipids peroxide of spinach chloroplast grown in magnesium-deficiency media suggested an oxidative attack that was activated by a reduction of antioxidative defense mechanism measured by analysing the activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, guaiacol peroxidase, and glutathione reductase, as well as antioxidants such as carotenoids and glutathione content. As the antioxidative response of chloroplast was reduced in spinach grown in magnesium-deficiency media, it caused a significant reduction of spinach plant weight, old leaves turning chlorosis. However, cerium treatment grown in magnesium-deficiency conditions decreased the malondialdehyde and ROS, and increased activities of the antioxidative defense system, and improved spinach growth. Together, the experimental study implied that cerium could partly substitute for magnesium and increase the oxidative stress-resistance of spinach chloroplast grown in magnesium-deficiency conditions, but the mechanisms need further study.
Magnesium is one of the essential elements for plant growth and cerium is a beneficial element for plant growth. However, the effects of the fact that cerium improves the nitrogen metabolism of plants under magnesium deficiency is poorly understood. The main aim of the study was to determine the role of cerium in the amelioration of magnesium-deficiency effects in spinach plants. Spinach plants were cultivated in Hoaglands solution. They were subjected to magnesium deficiency and to cerium chloride administered in the magnesium-present media and magnesium-deficient media. Spinach plants grown in the magnesium-present media and magnesium-deficient media were measured for key enzyme activities involved in nitrogen metabolism such as nitrate reductase, nitrite reductase, glutamate dehydrogenase, glutamate synthase, urease, glutamic–pyruvic transaminase, and glutamic–oxaloace protease transaminase. As the nitrogen metabolism in spinach was significantly inhibited by magnesium deficiency, it caused a significant reduction of spinach plant weight, leaf turning chlorosis. However, cerium treatment grown in magnesium-deficiency media significantly promoted the activities of the key enzymes as well as the contents of the free amino acids, chlorophyll, soluble protein, and spinach growth. It implied that Ce3+ could partly substitute for magnesium to facilitate the transformation from inorganic nitrogen to organic nitrogen, leading to the improvement of spinach growth, although the metabolism needs to be investigated further.
The mechanism of the fact that cerium improves the photosynthesis of plants under magnesium deficiency is poorly understood. The main aim of the study was to determine the role of cerium in the amelioration of magnesium deficiency effects in CO(2) assimilation of spinach. Spinach plants were cultivated in Hoaglands solution. They were subjected to magnesium deficiency and to cerium chloride administered in the magnesium-present Hoaglands media and magnesium-deficient Hoaglands media. The results showed that the chlorophyll synthesis and oxygen evolution was destroyed, and the activities of Rubisco carboxylasae and Rubisco activase and the expression of Rubisco large subunit (rbcL), Rubisco small subunit (rbcS), and Rubisco activase subunit (rca) were significantly inhibited, then plant growth was inhibited by magnesium deficiency. However, cerium promotes the chlorophyll synthesis, the activities of two key enzymes in CO(2) assimilation, and the expression of rbcL, rbcS, and rca, thus leading to the enhancement of spinach growth under magnesium-deficient conditions.
CD-HIT is a widely used program for clustering biological sequences to reduce sequence redundancy and improve the performance of other sequence analyses. In response to the rapid increase in the amount of sequencing data produced by the next-generation sequencing technologies, we have developed a new CD-HIT program accelerated with a novel parallelization strategy and some other techniques to allow efficient clustering of such datasets. Our tests demonstrated very good speedup derived from the parallelization for up to ?24 cores and a quasi-linear speedup for up to ?8 cores. The enhanced CD-HIT is capable of handling very large datasets in much shorter time than previous versions.
Numerous metagenomics projects have produced tremendous amounts of sequencing data. Aligning these sequences to reference genomes is an essential analysis in metagenomics studies. Large-scale alignment data call for intuitive and efficient visualization tool. However, current tools such as various genome browsers are highly specialized to handle intraspecies mapping results. They are not suitable for alignment data in metagenomics, which are often interspecies alignments. We have developed a web browser-based desktop application for interactively visualizing alignment data of metagenomic sequences. This viewer is easy to use on all computer systems with modern web browsers and requires no software installation.
Imatinib resistance remains the big hurdle for CML therapy. Previous study reveals that c-myc is important for bcr-abl CML cell proliferation, while its role in imatinib resistance is largely unknown. In this study, we first found that c-myc expression is upregulated in imatinib resistant K562R cells, which in turn enhances the expression of miR-144/451. Knockdown of c-myc or restoration of miR-144/451 in the K562R cells sensitizes K562R cells to imatinib therapy. Our study here reveals an regulatory pathway between myc and miR-144/451 and highlights that targeting either myc or miR-144/451 might be valuable for eliminating the imatinib resistant CML cells.
The rapid advances of high-throughput sequencing technologies dramatically prompted metagenomic studies of microbial communities that exist at various environments. Fundamental questions in metagenomics include the identities, composition and dynamics of microbial populations and their functions and interactions. However, the massive quantity and the comprehensive complexity of these sequence data pose tremendous challenges in data analysis. These challenges include but are not limited to ever-increasing computational demand, biased sequence sampling, sequence errors, sequence artifacts and novel sequences. Sequence clustering methods can directly answer many of the fundamental questions by grouping similar sequences into families. In addition, clustering analysis also addresses the challenges in metagenomics. Thus, a large redundant data set can be represented with a small non-redundant set, where each cluster can be represented by a single entry or a consensus. Artifacts can be rapidly detected through clustering. Errors can be identified, filtered or corrected by using consensus from sequences within clusters.
As a signaling molecule and an inhibitor of histone deacetylases (HDACs), butyrate exerts its impact on a broad range of biological processes, such as apoptosis and cell proliferation, in addition to its critical role in energy metabolism in ruminants. This study examined the effect of butyrate on alternative splicing in bovine epithelial cells using RNA-seq technology. Junction reads account for 11.28 and 12.32% of total mapped reads between the butyrate-treated (BT) and control (CT) groups. 201,326 potential splicing junctions detected were supported by ? 3 junction reads. Approximately 94% of these junctions conformed to the consensus sequence (GT/AG) while ~3% were GC/AG junctions. No AT/AC junctions were observed. A total of 2,834 exon skipping events, supported by a minimum of 3 junction reads, were detected. At least 7 genes, their mRNA expression significantly affected by butyrate, also had exon skipping events differentially regulated by butyrate. Furthermore, COL5A3, which was induced 310-fold by butyrate (FDR <0.001) at the gene level, had a significantly higher number of junction reads mapped to Exon#8 (Donor) and Exon#11 (Acceptor) in BT. This event had the potential to result in the formation of a COL5A3 mRNA isoform with 2 of the 69 exons missing. In addition, 216 differentially expressed transcript isoforms regulated by butyrate were detected. For example, Isoform 1 of ORC1 was strongly repressed by butyrate while Isoform 2 remained unchanged. Butyrate physically binds to and inhibits all zinc-dependent HDACs except HDAC6 and HDAC10. Our results provided evidence that butyrate also regulated deacetylase activities of classical HDACs via its transcriptional control. Moreover, thirteen gene fusion events differentially affected by butyrate were identified. Our results provided a snapshot into complex transcriptome dynamics regulated by butyrate, which will facilitate our understanding of the biological effects of butyrate and other HDAC inhibitors.
Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as butyrate, produced by gut microorganisms, play a critical role in energy metabolism and physiology of ruminants as well as in human health. In this study, the temporal effect of elevated butyrate concentrations on the transcriptome of the rumen epithelium was quantified via serial biopsy sampling using RNA-seq technology. The mean number of genes transcribed in the rumen epithelial transcriptome was 17,323.63 ± 277.20 (±SD; N = 24) while the core transcriptome consisted of 15,025 genes. Collectively, 80 genes were identified as being significantly impacted by butyrate infusion across all time points sampled. Maximal transcriptional effect of butyrate on the rumen epithelium was observed at the 72-h infusion when the abundance of 58 genes was altered. The initial reaction of the rumen epithelium to elevated exogenous butyrate may represent a stress response as Gene Ontology (GO) terms identified were predominantly related to responses to bacteria and biotic stimuli. An algorithm for the reconstruction of accurate cellular networks (ARACNE) inferred regulatory gene networks with 113,738 direct interactions in the butyrate-epithelium interactome using a combined cutoff of an error tolerance (? = 0.10) and a stringent P-value threshold of mutual information (5.0 × 10(-11)). Several regulatory networks were controlled by transcription factors, such as CREBBP and TTF2, which were regulated by butyrate. Our findings provide insight into the regulation of butyrate transport and metabolism in the rumen epithelium, which will guide our future efforts in exploiting potential beneficial effect of butyrate in animal well-being and human health.
Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), especially butyrate, affect cell differentiation, proliferation, and motility. Butyrate also induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis through its inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDACs). In addition, butyrate is a potent inducer of histone hyper-acetylation in cells. Therefore, this SCFA provides an excellent in vitro model for studying the epigenomic regulation of gene expression induced by histone acetylation. In this study, we analyzed the differential in vitro expression of genes induced by butyrate in bovine epithelial cells by using deep RNA-sequencing technology (RNA-seq). The number of sequences read, ranging from 57,303,693 to 78,933,744, were generated per sample. Approximately 11,408 genes were significantly impacted by butyrate, with a false discovery rate (FDR) <0.05. The predominant cellular processes affected by butyrate included cell morphological changes, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis. Our results provided insight into the transcriptome alterations induced by butyrate, which will undoubtedly facilitate our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying butyrate-induced epigenomic regulation in bovine cells.
Helminth infection in pigs serves as an excellent model for the study of the interaction between human malnutrition and parasitic infection and could have important implications in human health. We had observed that pigs infected with Trichuris suis for 21 days showed significant changes in the proximal colon microbiota. In this study, interactions between worm burden and severity of disruptions to the microbial composition and metabolic potentials in the porcine proximal colon microbiota were investigated using metagenomic tools. Pigs were infected by a single dose of T. suis eggs for 53 days. Among infected pigs, two cohorts were differentiated that either had adult worms or were worm-free. Infection resulted in a significant change in the abundance of approximately 13% of genera detected in the proximal colon microbiota regardless of worm status, suggesting a relatively persistent change over time in the microbiota due to the initial infection. A significant reduction in the abundance of Fibrobacter and Ruminococcus indicated a change in the fibrolytic capacity of the colon microbiota in T. suis infected pigs. In addition, ?10% of identified KEGG pathways were affected by infection, including ABC transporters, peptidoglycan biosynthesis, and lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis as well as ?-linolenic acid metabolism. Trichuris suis infection modulated host immunity to Campylobacter because there was a 3-fold increase in the relative abundance in the colon microbiota of infected pigs with worms compared to naïve controls, but a 3-fold reduction in worm-free infected pigs compared to controls. The level of pathology observed in infected pigs with worms compared to worm-free infected pigs may relate to the local host response because expression of several Th2-related genes were enhanced in infected pigs with worms versus those worm-free. Our findings provided insight into the dynamics of the proximal colon microbiota in pigs in response to T. suis infection.
Helminth parasites ensure their survival by regulating host immunity through mechanisms that dampen inflammation. These properties have recently been exploited therapeutically to treat human diseases. The biocomplexity of the intestinal lumen suggests that interactions between the parasite and the intestinal microbiota would also influence inflammation. In this study, we characterized the microbiota in the porcine proximal colon in response to Trichuris suis (whipworm) infection using 16S rRNA gene-based and whole-genome shotgun (WGS) sequencing. A 21-day T. suis infection in four pigs induced a significant change in the composition of the proximal colon microbiota compared to that of three parasite-naive pigs. Among the 15 phyla identified, the abundances of Proteobacteria and Deferribacteres were changed in infected pigs. The abundances of approximately 13% of genera were significantly altered by infection. Changes in relative abundances of Succinivibrio and Mucispirillum, for example, may relate to alterations in carbohydrate metabolism and niche disruptions in mucosal interfaces induced by parasitic infection, respectively. Of note, infection by T. suis led to a significant shift in the metabolic potential of the proximal colon microbiota, where 26% of all metabolic pathways identified were affected. Besides carbohydrate metabolism, lysine biosynthesis was repressed as well. A metabolomic analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the luminal contents showed a relative absence in infected pigs of cofactors for carbohydrate and lysine biosynthesis, as well as an accumulation of oleic acid, suggesting altered fatty acid absorption contributing to local inflammation. Our findings should facilitate development of strategies for parasitic control in pigs and humans.
The capacity of the rumen microbiota to produce volatile fatty acids (VFAs) has important implications in animal well-being and production. We investigated temporal changes of the rumen microbiota in response to butyrate infusion using pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Twenty one phyla were identified in the rumen microbiota of dairy cows. The rumen microbiota harbored 54.5±6.1 genera (mean ± SD) and 127.3±4.4 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), respectively. However, the core microbiome comprised of 26 genera and 82 OTUs. Butyrate infusion altered molar percentages of 3 major VFAs. Butyrate perturbation had a profound impact on the rumen microbial composition. A 72 h-infusion led to a significant change in the numbers of sequence reads derived from 4 phyla, including 2 most abundant phyla, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. As many as 19 genera and 43 OTUs were significantly impacted by butyrate infusion. Elevated butyrate levels in the rumen seemingly had a stimulating effect on butyrate-producing bacteria populations. The resilience of the rumen microbial ecosystem was evident as the abundance of the microorganisms returned to their pre-disturbed status after infusion withdrawal. Our findings provide insight into perturbation dynamics of the rumen microbial ecosystem and should guide efforts in formulating optimal uses of probiotic bacteria treating human diseases.
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