Understanding thermal and phonon transport in solids has been of great importance in many disciplines such as thermoelectric materials, which usually requires an extremely low lattice thermal conductivity (LTC). By analyzing the finite-temperature structural and vibrational characteristics of typical thermoelectric compounds such as filled skutterudites and Cu3SbSe3, we demonstrate a concept of part-crystalline part-liquid state in the compounds with chemical-bond hierarchy, in which certain constituent species weakly bond to other part of the crystal. Such a material could intrinsically manifest the coexistence of rigid crystalline sublattices and other fluctuating noncrystalline sublattices with thermally induced large-amplitude vibrations and even flow of the group of species atoms, leading to atomic-level heterogeneity, mixed part-crystalline part-liquid structure, and thus rattling-like thermal damping due to the collective soft-mode vibrations similar to the Boson peak in amorphous materials. The observed abnormal LTC close to the amorphous limit in these materials can only be described by an effective approach that approximately treats the rattling-like damping as a "resonant" phonon scattering.
Abstract Pectin-based hydrogel carriers have been studied and shown to have promising applications for drug delivery to the lower GI tract, especially to the colonic region. However, making sure these hydrogel carriers can pass through the upper GI tract and reach the targeted regions, after oral administration, still remains a challenge to overcome. A solution to this problem is to promote stronger cross-linking interactions within the pectin-based hydrogel network. The combined usage of a divalent cation (Ca(2+)) and the cationic biopolymer oligochitosan has shown to improve the stability of pectin-based hydrogel systems - suggesting that these two cross-linkers may be used to eventually help improve pectin-based hydrogel systems for colonic drug delivery methods.
A novel coaxial electrospray technology is developed to generate microcapsules with a hydrogel shell of alginate and an aqueous liquid core of living cells using two aqueous fluids in one step. Approximately 50 murine embryonic stem (ES) cells encapsulated in the core with high viability (92.3 ± 2.9%) can proliferate to form a single ES cell aggregate of 128.9 ± 17.4 ?m in each microcapsule within 7 days. Quantitative analyses of gene and protein expression indicate that ES cells cultured in the miniaturized 3D liquid core of the core-shell microcapsules have significantly higher pluripotency on average than the cells cultured on the 2D substrate or in the conventional 3D alginate hydrogel microbeads without a core-shell architecture. The higher pluripotency is further suggested by their significantly higher capability of differentiation into beating cardiomyocytes and higher expression of cardiomyocyte specific gene markers on average after directed differentiation under the same conditions. Considering its wide availability, easiness to set up and operate, reusability, and high production rate, the novel coaxial electrospray technology together with the microcapsule system is of importance for mass production of ES cells with high pluripotency to facilitate translation of the emerging pluripotent stem cell-based regenerative medicine into the clinic.
MiR-217 can function as an oncogene or a tumour suppressor gene depending on cell type. However, the function of miR-217 in lung cancer remains unclear to date. This study aims to evaluate the function of miR-217 in lung cancer and investigate its effect on the sensitivity of lung cancer cells to cisplatin. The expression of miR-217 was detected in 100 patients by real-time PCR. The effects of miR-217 overexpression on the proliferation, apoptosis, migration and invasion of SPC-A-1 and A549 cells were investigated. The target gene of miR-217 was predicted by Targetscan online software, screened by dual luciferase reporter gene assay and demonstrated by Western blot. Finally, the effects of miR-217 up-regulation on the sensitivity of A549 cells to cisplatin were determined. The expression of miR-217 was significantly lower in lung cancer tissues than in noncancerous tissues (p < 0.001). The overexpression of miR-217 significantly inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion as well as promoted the apoptosis of lung cancer cells by targeting KRAS. The up-regulation of miR-217 enhanced the sensitivity of SPC-A-1 and A549 cells to cisplatin. In conclusion, miR-217 suppresses tumour development in lung cancer by targeting KRAS and enhances cell sensitivity to cisplatin. Our results encourage researchers to use cisplatin in combination with miR-217 to treat lung cancer. This regime might lead to low-dose cisplatin application and cisplatin side-effect reduction.
The paper is focused on improving the performance of neuro-endocrine models with considering the interaction of glands. Comparing to conventional neuro-endocrine models, the concentration of hormone of one gland is modulated by those of others, and the weights of cells are modulated by the improved endocrine system. The interacted equation among all glands is designed and the parameters of them are chosen with theory analysis. Because all the parameters of the model are constants when the system reaches the equilibrium state, particle swarm optimization algorithm is utilized to search the optimal parameters of the model. The theory analysis indicates that the performance of neuro-endocrine model is better than or at least equal to that of corresponding artificial neural network. To indicate the effectiveness of the proposed model, some time series from different research fields, which are used in some literatures, are tested with the proposed model, the results indicate that the proposed model has some good performance.
The quest of novel compounds with special structures and unusual functionalities continues to be a central challenge to modern materials science. Even though their exact structures have puzzled scientists for decades, superhard transition-metal borides (TMBs) have long been believed to exist only in simple crystal structures. Here, we report on a polytypic phenomenon in superhard WB3 and MoB3 with a series of energetically degenerate structures due to the random stacking of metal layers amongst the interlocking boron layers. Such polytypism can create a multiphase solid-solution compound with a large number of interfaces amongst different polytypes, and these interfaces will strongly hinder the interlayer sliding movement within each polytype, thereby further increase the hardness of this particular material. Furthermore, in contrast to the conventional knowledge that intrinsically strong chemical bonds in superhard materials should lead to high lattice thermal conductivity, the polytypic TMB3 manifest anomalously low lattice thermal conductivity due to structural disorders and phonon folding. These findings promise to open a new avenue to searching for novel superhard materials with additional functionalities.
In this study, thermally responsive polymeric nanoparticle-encapsulated curcumin (nCCM) was prepared and characterized. The nCCM is ? 22 and 300 nm in diameter at 37 and 22 °C, respectively. The smaller size of the nCCM at 37 °C was found to significantly facilitate its uptake in vitro by human prostate adenocarcinoma PC-3 cancer cells. However, the intracellular nCCM decreases rapidly (rather than plateaus) after reaching its peak at ? 1.5 h during a 3-day incubation of the PC-3 cells with nCCM. Moreover, a mild hyperthermia (with negligible cytotoxicity alone) at 43 °C applied between 1 and 1.5 h during the 3-day incubation not only increases the peak uptake but also alters intracellular distribution of nCCM (facilitating its delivery into cell nuclei), which helps to retain a significantly much higher level of intracellular curcumin. These effects of mild hyperthermia could be due in part to the thermal responsiveness of the nCCM: they are more positively charged at 43 °C and can be more easily attracted to the negatively charged nuclear membrane to enter nuclei as a result of electrostatic interaction. Ultimately, a combination of the thermally responsive nCCM and mild hyperthermia significantly enhances the anticancer capability of nCCM, resulting in a more than 7-fold decrease in its inhibitory concentration to reduce cell viability to 50% (IC50). Further mechanistic studies suggest injury pathways associated with heat shock proteins 27 and 70 should contribute to the enhanced cancer cell destruction by inducing cell apoptosis and necrosis. Overall, this study demonstrates the potential of combining mild hyperthermia and thermally responsive nanodrugs such as nCCM for augmented cancer therapy.
A novel core-shell microcapsule system is developed in this study to mimic the miniaturized 3D architecture of pre-hatching embryos with an aqueous liquid-like core of embryonic cells and a hydrogel-shell of zona pellucida. This is done by microfabricating a non-planar microfluidic flow-focusing device that enables one-step generation of microcapsules with an alginate hydrogel shell and an aqueous liquid core of cells from two aqueous fluids. Mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells encapsulated in the liquid core are found to survive well (>92%). Moreover, ~20 ES cells in the core can proliferate to form a single ES cell aggregate in each microcapsule within 7 days while at least a few hundred cells are usually needed by the commonly used hanging-drop method to form an embryoid body (EB) in each hanging drop. Quantitative RT-PCR analyses show significantly higher expression of pluripotency marker genes in the 3D aggregated ES cells compared to the cells under 2D culture. The aggregated ES cells can be efficiently differentiated into beating cardiomyocytes using a small molecule (cardiogenol C) without complex combination of multiple growth factors. Taken together, the novel 3D microfluidic and pre-hatching embryo-like microcapsule systems are of importance to facilitate in vitro culture of pluripotent stem cells for their ever-increasing use in modern cell-based medicine.
A 60-year-old female presented with abdominal pain and tenderness of five-day duration. Contrast enhanced CT showed a mass of 9 × 6 × 5.5 cm in size with almost complete obliteration of the inferior vena cava and massive extension to the extravascular space. CT-guided biopsy demonstrated a low-grade leiomyosarcoma. The patient underwent (125)Iodine seeds implantation in two sessions, and another balloon cavoplasty. Abdominal pain and tenderness gradually improved and the patient continues to remain as disease free state for three years after the procedures.
Recent electrophysiological studies on the primate amygdala have advanced our understanding of how individual neurons encode information relevant to emotional processes, but it remains unclear how these neurons are functionally and anatomically organized. To address this, we analyzed cross-correlograms of amygdala spike trains recorded during a task in which monkeys learned to associate novel images with rewarding and aversive outcomes. Using this task, we have recently described two populations of amygdala neurons: one that responds more strongly to images predicting reward (positive value-coding), and another that responds more strongly to images predicting an aversive stimulus (negative value-coding). Here, we report that these neural populations are organized into distinct, but anatomically intermingled, appetitive and aversive functional circuits, which are dynamically modulated as animals used the images to predict outcomes. Furthermore, we report that responses to sensory stimuli are prevalent in the lateral amygdala, and are also prevalent in the medial amygdala for sensory stimuli that are emotionally significant. The circuits identified here could potentially mediate valence-specific emotional behaviors thought to involve the amygdala.
Neuromodulation, the alteration of individual neuron response properties, has dramatic consequences for neural network function and is a phenomenon observed across all brain regions and taxa. However, the mechanisms underlying neuromodulation are made complex by the diversity of neuromodulatory receptors expressed within a neural network. In this study we begin to examine the receptor basis for serotonergic neuromodulation in the antennal lobe of Manduca sexta. To this end we cloned all four known insect serotonin receptor types from Manduca (the Ms5HTRs). We used phylogenetic analyses to classify the Ms5HTRs and to establish their relationships to other insect serotonin receptors, other insect amine receptors and the vertebrate serotonin receptors. Pharmacological assays demonstrated that each Ms5HTR was selective for serotonin over other endogenous amines and that serotonin had a similar potency at all four Ms5HTRs. The pharmacological assays also identified several agonists and antagonists of the different Ms5HTRs. Finally, we found that the Ms5HT1A receptor was expressed in a subpopulation of GABAergic local interneurons suggesting that the Ms5HTRs are likely expressed heterogeneously within the antennal lobe based on functional neuronal subtype.
A major challenge to the eventual success of the emerging cell-based medicine such as tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and cell transplantation is the limited availability of the desired cell sources. This challenge can be addressed by cell microencapsulation to overcome the undesired immune response (i.e., to achieve immunoisolation) so that non-autologous cells can be used to treat human diseases, and by cell/tissue preservation to bank living cells for wide distribution to end users so that they are readily available when needed in the future. This review summarizes the status quo of research in both cell microencapsulation and banking the microencapsulated cells. It is concluded with a brief outlook of future research directions in this important field.
We report novel robust resin acid-derived antimicrobial agents that exhibit excellent antimicrobial activities against a broad spectrum of bacteria (6 Gram-positive and 7 Gram-negative) with selective lysis of microbial membranes over mammalian membranes. Our results indicate that hydrophobicity and unique structures of resin acids can be determining factors in dictating the antimicrobial activity.
We have carried out the synthesis of side-chain rosin-ester-structured poly(?-caprolactone) (PCL) through a combination of ring-opening polymerization and click chemistry. Rosin structures are shown to be effectively incorporated into each repeat unit of caprolactone. This simple and versatile methodology does not require sophisticated purification of raw renewable biomass from nature. The rosin properties have been successfully imparted to the PCL polymers. The bulky hydrophenanthrene group of rosin increases the glass-transition temperature of PCL by >100 °C, whereas the hydrocarbon nature of rosin structures provides PCL excellent hydrophobicity with contact angle very similar to polystyrene and very low water uptake. The rosin-containing PCL graft copolymers exhibit full degradability and good biocompatibility. This study illustrates a general strategy to prepare a new class of renewable hydrocarbon-rich degradable biopolymers.
To investigate the relationship between the selective pressure and the sequence variation of the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) protein, we performed the positive selection analysis by estimating the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions with 132 complete HN gene sequences of Newcastle disease viruses (NDVs) isolated in China.
Spin fluctuations and density fluctuations are studied for a two-component gas of strongly interacting fermions along the Bose-Einstein condensate-BCS crossover. This is done by in situ imaging of dispersive speckle patterns. Compressibility and magnetic susceptibility are determined from the measured fluctuations. This new sensitive method easily resolves a tenfold suppression of spin fluctuations below shot noise due to pairing, and can be applied to novel magnetic phases in optical lattices.
In this study, we synthesized empty core-shell structured nanocapsules of Pluronic F127 and chitosan and characterized the thermal responsiveness of the nanocapsules in size and wall-permeability. Moreover, we determined the feasibility of using the nanocapsules to encapsulate small molecules for temperature-controlled release and intracellular delivery. The nanocapsules are ?37 nm at 37 °C and expand to ?240 nm when cooled to 4 °C in aqueous solutions, exhibiting >200 times change in volume. Moreover, the permeability of the nanocapsule wall is high at 4 °C (when the nanocapsules are swollen), allowing free diffusion of small molecules (ethidium bromide, MW = 394.3 Da) across the wall, while at 37 °C (when the nanocapsules are swollen), the wall-permeability is so low that the small molecules can be effectively withheld in the nanocapsule for hours. As a result of their thermal responsiveness in size and wall-permeability, the nanocapsules are capable of encapsulating the small molecules for temperature-controlled release and intracellular delivery into the cytosol of both cancerous (MCF-7) and noncancerous (C3H10T1/2) mammalian cells. The cancerous cells were found to take up the nanocapsules much faster than the noncancerous cells during 45 min incubation at 37 °C. Moreover, toxicity of the nanocapsules as a delivery vehicle was found to be negligible. The Pluronic F127-chitosan nanocapsules should be very useful for encapsulating small therapeutic agents to treat diseases particularly when it is combined with cryotherapy where the process of cooling and heating between 37 °C and hypothermic temperatures is naturally done.
To determine if the fowlpox virus (FPV) ORF73 or ORF214 gene encoding protein has the function of IL-18 binding protein, and to assess the role that ORF73 or ORF214 gene in regulating the immune response.
We study density profiles of an ideal Fermi gas and observe Pauli suppression of density fluctuations (atom shot noise) for cold clouds deep in the quantum degenerate regime. Strong suppression is observed for probe volumes containing more than 10?000 atoms. Measuring the level of suppression provides sensitive thermometry at low temperatures. After this method of sensitive noise measurements has been validated with an ideal Fermi gas, it can now be applied to characterize phase transitions in strongly correlated many-body systems.
The HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) is an important antiviral target for the chemotherapy of AIDS because of its key role in virus replication. Nevirapine is a first generation of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), which is usually used for the therapy of AIDS. In this study, a high-performance analytical method based on capillary electrophoresis (CE) to investigate interactions between HIV RT and nevirapine was developed. Samples containing HIV RT and nevirapine at various ratios were incubated at 37 degrees C for 45 min and then separated by CE with Tris-acetate buffer at pH 7.3 containing 0.15% SDS. Both qualitative and quantitative characterizations of the binding were determined by CE for the first time. The binding constants of the interactions between HIV RT and nevirapine were calculated as (3.25+/-0.16)x10(4) and (1.25+/-0.07)x10(2) M(-1) by Scatchard analysis. HIV RT and nevirapine have two binding sites. The presented methodology should be generally applicable to study the interactions between HIV RT and nevirapine quantitatively and qualitatively.
A method for studying steady-state kinetics of nucleotide analogues incorporation into DNA strand by non-gel CE (NGCE) with LIF was developed. Nucleoside analogue is a kind of antiviral agent used to inhibit viral replication in infected cells, especially HIV. Steady-state parameter K(m) for nucleotide analogues is determined to imply the relationship between nucleoside analogues and the enzyme in the DNA chain elongation and predict the antiviral efficacy in vivo. Samples were prepared by single nucleotide incorporation assays catalyzed by Taq DNA polymerase at 58 degrees C and HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) at 37 degrees C, and then were separated using NGCE under optimized conditions: 25 mmol/L Tris-boric-EDTA buffer (pH 8.0) with 7 mmol/L urea in the presence of 20% w/v PEG 35000 at 30 degrees C and -20 kV. K(m(dTTP)), K(m(d4TTP)) and K(m(AZTTP)) were measured by NGCE for the first time and their values for Taq DNA polymerase were 0.29+/-0.04, 32.1+/-3.3 and 74.5+/-6.6 micromol/L, respectively. For HIV RT, the values were 0.15+/-0.05, 0.31+/-0.03 and 0.17+/-0.03 micromol/L, respectively. The trend of data for HIV RT measured by NGCE was consistent with that measured by PAGE. The reported method by NGCE for the K(m) determination was powerful, sensitive and fast, and required less amounts of reagents compared with PAGE. It be employed as a reliable alternative method and further applied in other relative studies of nucleoside analogue substrates and DNA polymerases or RTs.
A parametric study was performed to understand the effect of preparation parameters on size, morphology, and encapsulation efficiency (i.e., cells/microcapsule) of alginate microcapsules prepared using the electrostatic spray method. The preparation parameters studied include sodium alginate concentration, spray voltage, flow rate, and cell density. It was found that both the flow rate and spray voltage have a significant impact on microcapsule size while the microcapsule morphology is greatly influenced by both the sodium alginate concentration and spray voltage. To obtain small ( approximately 100 mum) cell-loaded microcapsules with good morphology (i.e., round in shape and uniform in size) and high encapsulation efficiency (>5 cells/microcapsule), the optimal ranges of spray voltage, flow rate, alginate concentration, and cell density are from 1.6-1.8 kV, 1.5-3 ml/h, >1.5% (w/v), and (3-5)x10(6) cells/ml, respectively. Under optimal preparation conditions, cells were found to survive the microencapsulation process well.
The thermally responsive wall permeability of an empty core-shell structured Pluronic nanocapsule (together with its temperature dependent size and surface charge) was successfully utilized for encapsulation, intracellular delivery, and controlled release of trehalose, a highly hydrophilic small (M(W) = 342 D) molecule (a disaccharide of glucose) that is exceptional for long-term stabilization of biologicals (particularly at ambient temperatures). It was found that trehalose can be physically encapsulated in the nanocapsule using a soaking-freeze-drying-heating procedure. The nanocapsule is capable of physically withholding trehalose with negligible release in hours for cellular uptake at 37 degrees C when its wall permeability is low. A quick release of the encapsulated sugar can be achieved by thermally cycling the nanocapsule between 37 and 22 degrees C (or lower). A significant amount of trehalose (up to 0.3 M) can be delivered into NIH 3T3 fibroblasts by incubating the cells with the trehalose-encapsulated nanocapsules at 37 degrees C for 40 min. Moreover, cytotoxicity of the nanocapsule for the purpose of intracellular delivery of trehalose was found to be negligible. Altogether, the thermally responsive nanocapsule is effective for intracellular delivery of trehalose, which is critical for the long-term stabilization of mammalian cells at ambient temperatures and the eventual success of modern cell-based medicine.
In this study, we report the preparation of a novel microcapsule of ~ 100 ?m with a liquid (as compared to solid-like alginate hydrogel) core and an alginate-chitosan-alginate (ACA) shell for encapsulation and culture of embryonic stem (ES) cells in the miniaturized 3D space of the liquid core. Murine R1 ES cells cultured in the microcapsules were found to survive (> 90%) well and proliferate to form either a single aggregate of pluripotent cells or embryoid body (EB) of more differentiated cells in each microcapsule within 7 days, dependent on the culture medium used. This novel microcapsule technology allows massive production of the cell aggregates or EBs of uniform size and controllable pluripotency, which is important for the practical application of stem cell based therapy. Moreover, the semipermeable ACA shell was found to significantly reduce immunoglobulin G (IgG) binding to the encapsulated cells by up to 8.2 times, compared to non-encapsulated cardiac fibroblasts, mesenchymal stem cells, and ES cells. This reduction should minimize inflammatory and immune responses induced damage to the cells implanted in vivo becasue IgG binding is an important first step of the undesired host responses. Therefore, the ACA microcapsule with selective shell permeability should be of importance to advance the emerging cell-based medicine.
A degenerate Fermi gas is rapidly quenched into the regime of strong effective repulsion near a Feshbach resonance. The spin fluctuations are monitored using speckle imaging and, contrary to several theoretical predictions, the samples remain in the paramagnetic phase for an arbitrarily large scattering length. Over a wide range of interaction strengths a rapid decay into bound pairs is observed over times on the order of 10?/E(F), preventing the study of equilibrium phases of strongly repulsive fermions. Our work suggests that a Fermi gas with strong short-range repulsive interactions does not undergo a ferromagnetic phase transition.
Oleosins are hydrophobic plant proteins thought to be important for the formation of oil bodies, which supply energy for seed germination and subsequent seedling growth. To better understand the evolutionary history and diversity of the oleosin gene family in plants, especially angiosperms, we systematically investigated the molecular evolution of this family using eight representative angiosperm species. A total of 73 oleosin members were identified, with six members in each of four monocot species and a greater but variable number in the four eudicots. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that the angiosperm oleosin genes belonged to three monophyletic lineages. Species-specific gene duplications, caused mainly by segmental duplication, led to the great expansion of oleosin genes and occurred frequently in eudicots after the monocot-eudicot divergence. Functional divergence analyses indicate that significant amino acid site-specific selective constraints acted on the different clades of oleosins. Adaptive evolution analyses demonstrate that oleosin genes were subject to strong purifying selection after their species-specific duplications and that rapid evolution occurred with a high degree of evolutionary dynamics in the pollen-specific oleosin genes. In conclusion, this study serves as a foundation for genome-wide analyses of the oleosins. These findings provide insight into the function and evolution of this gene family in angiosperms and pave the way for studies in other plants.
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