Latest Articles

Open AccessArticle
Modeling the Effects of the Urban Built-Up Environment on Plant Phenology Using Fused Satellite Data
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(1), 99; doi:10.3390/rs9010099 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Understanding the effects that the Urban Heat Island (UHI) has on plant phenology is important in predicting ecological impacts of expanding cities and the impacts of the projected global warming. However, the underlying methods to monitor phenological events often limit this understanding. Generally,
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Understanding the effects that the Urban Heat Island (UHI) has on plant phenology is important in predicting ecological impacts of expanding cities and the impacts of the projected global warming. However, the underlying methods to monitor phenological events often limit this understanding. Generally, one can either have a small sample of in situ measurements or use satellite data to observe large areas of land surface phenology (LSP). In the latter, a tradeoff exists among platforms with some allowing better temporal resolution to pick up discrete events and others possessing the spatial resolution appropriate for observing heterogeneous landscapes, such as urban areas. To overcome these limitations, we applied the Spatial and Temporal Adaptive Reflectance Model (STARFM) to fuse Landsat surface reflectance and MODIS nadir BRDF-adjusted reflectance (NBAR) data with three separate selection conditions for input data across two versions of the software. From the fused images, we derived a time-series of high temporal and high spatial resolution synthetic Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) imagery to identify the dates of the start of the growing season (SOS), end of the season (EOS), and the length of the season (LOS). The results were compared between the urban and exurban developed areas within the vicinity of Ogden, UT and across all three data scenarios. The results generally show an earlier urban SOS, later urban EOS, and longer urban LOS, with variation across the results suggesting that phenological parameters are sensitive to input changes. Although there was strong evidence that STARFM has the potential to produce images capable of capturing the UHI effect on phenology, we recommend that future work refine the proposed methods and compare the results against ground events. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ground-Based 3D Radar Imaging of Trees Using a 2D Synthetic Aperture
Electronics 2017, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/electronics6010011 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Motivated by the desire to gain insight into the details of conventional airborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging of trees, a ground-based SAR system designed for short-range three-dimensional (3D) radar imaging is developed using a two-dimensional (2D) synthetic aperture. The heart of the
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Motivated by the desire to gain insight into the details of conventional airborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging of trees, a ground-based SAR system designed for short-range three-dimensional (3D) radar imaging is developed using a two-dimensional (2D) synthetic aperture. The heart of the system is a compact linear frequency modulation-continuous wave (LFM-CW) radar, a custom two-dimensional scan mechanism, and a three-dimensional time-domain backprojection algorithm that generates three-dimensional backscatter images at an over-sampled resolution of 10 cm by 10 cm by 10 cm. The backprojection algorithm is formulated directly in spatial coordinates. A new method for estimating and compensating for signal attenuation within the canopy is used that exploits the backprojection image formation approach. Several three-dimensional C-band backscatter images of different individual trees of multiple species are generated from data collected for trees both in isolation and near buildings. The trees imaged in this study are about 10 m in height. The transformation of the three-dimensional images to airborne SAR images is described and a sample result provided. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Some Invariants of Jahangir Graphs
Symmetry 2017, 9(1), 17; doi:10.3390/sym9010017 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In this report, we compute closed forms of M-polynomial, first and second Zagreb polynomials and forgotten polynomial for Jahangir graphs Jn,m for all values of m and n. From the M-polynomial, we recover many degree-based topological indices such as
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In this report, we compute closed forms of M-polynomial, first and second Zagreb polynomials and forgotten polynomial for Jahangir graphs Jn,m for all values of m and n. From the M-polynomial, we recover many degree-based topological indices such as first and second Zagreb indices, modified Zagreb index, Symmetric division index, etc. We also compute harmonic index, first and second multiple Zagreb indices and forgotten index of Jahangir graphs. Our results are extensions of many existing results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Biofilms: From Genes to Communities
Processes 2017, 5(1), 5; doi:10.3390/pr5010005 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Biofilms are spatially-structured communities of different microbes, which have a huge impact on both ecosystems and human life. Mathematical models are powerful tools for understanding the function and evolution of biofilms as diverse communities. In this article, we give a review of some
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Biofilms are spatially-structured communities of different microbes, which have a huge impact on both ecosystems and human life. Mathematical models are powerful tools for understanding the function and evolution of biofilms as diverse communities. In this article, we give a review of some recently-developed models focusing on the interactions of different species within a biofilm, the evolution of biofilm due to genetic and environmental causes and factors that affect the structure of a biofilm. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Effects of 1,25(OH)2D3 on Cancer Cells and Potential Applications in Combination with Established and Putative Anti-Cancer Agents
Nutrients 2017, 9(1), 87; doi:10.3390/nu9010087 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The diverse effects of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), the bio-active form of vitamin D, on cancer cell metabolism and proliferation has made it an interesting candidate as a supporting therapeutic option in cancer treatment. An important strategy in cancer
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The diverse effects of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), the bio-active form of vitamin D, on cancer cell metabolism and proliferation has made it an interesting candidate as a supporting therapeutic option in cancer treatment. An important strategy in cancer therapy is the use of combination chemotherapy to overcome drug resistance associated with numerous anti-cancer agents and to provide better means of avoiding undesirable side effects. This complex strategy is widely adopted by oncologists and several established “cocktails” of chemotherapeutics are routinely administered to cancer patients. Among the principles followed in designing such treatment regimens is the use of drugs with different mechanisms of action to overcome the issue of tumor heterogeneity and to evade resistance. In light of the profound and diverse effects of 1,25(OH)2D3 reported by in vitro and in vivo studies, we discuss how these effects could support the use of this molecule in combination with “classical” cytotoxic drugs, such as platins and anti-metabolites, for the treatment of solid and hematological tumors. We also examine recent evidence supporting synergistic activities with other promising anti-cancer drug candidates, and postulate mechanisms through which 1,25(OH)2D3 may help evade chemoresistance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How Often and How Much? Differences in Dietary Intake by Frequency and Energy Contribution Vary among U.S. Adults in NHANES 2007–2012
Nutrients 2017, 9(1), 86; doi:10.3390/nu9010086 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The objective of this study was to determine the top frequently reported foods or beverages and the top foods or beverages grouped by broad and specific What We Eat In America (WWEIA) categories for adult age groups of 19 to 35 years, 36
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The objective of this study was to determine the top frequently reported foods or beverages and the top foods or beverages grouped by broad and specific What We Eat In America (WWEIA) categories for adult age groups of 19 to 35 years, 36 to 55 years, and ≥65 years (n = 16,399) using data drawn from the cross-sectional, WWEIA, National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007–2012 and to compare intake of broad WWEIA categories ranked by frequency and by energy contribution among these adult age groups. Ranking, unadjusted and weighted frequencies, and the proportion of reported foods or energy out of all reported foods or energy were determined and stratified by age. The Rao–Scott modified chi-square was used to test for significant differences among age groups. Results support dietary quality differences by age; intake of broad WWEIA categories was significantly different among age groups by frequency for alcohol, water, and condiment/sauces. Energy contributions significantly differed among age groups for protein foods, snacks/sweets, and beverages. Frequently reported foods and beverages may be used to inform the creation of search tools used for automatic and user-verified identification of foods and beverages in mobile- or technology-based dietary assessment. Full article
Open AccessReview
Prelysosomal Compartments in the Unconventional Secretion of Amyloidogenic Seeds
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(1), 227; doi:10.3390/ijms18010227 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A mechanistic link between neuron-to-neuron transmission of secreted amyloid and propagation of protein malconformation cytopathology and disease has recently been uncovered in animal models. An enormous interest in the unconventional secretion of amyloids from neurons has followed. Amphisomes and late endosomes are the
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A mechanistic link between neuron-to-neuron transmission of secreted amyloid and propagation of protein malconformation cytopathology and disease has recently been uncovered in animal models. An enormous interest in the unconventional secretion of amyloids from neurons has followed. Amphisomes and late endosomes are the penultimate maturation products of the autophagosomal and endosomal pathways, respectively, and normally fuse with lysosomes for degradation. However, under conditions of perturbed membrane trafficking and/or lysosomal deficiency, prelysosomal compartments may instead fuse with the plasma membrane to release any contained amyloid. After a brief introduction to the endosomal and autophagosomal pathways, we discuss the evidence for autophagosomal secretion (exophagy) of amyloids, with a comparative emphasis on Aβ1–42 and α-synuclein, as luminal and cytosolic amyloids, respectively. The ESCRT-mediated import of cytosolic amyloid into late endosomal exosomes, a known vehicle of transmission of macromolecules between cells, is also reviewed. Finally, mechanisms of lysosomal dysfunction, deficiency, and exocytosis are exemplified in the context of genetically identified risk factors, mainly for Parkinson’s disease. Exocytosis of prelysosomal or lysosomal organelles is a last resort for clearance of cytotoxic material and alleviates cytopathy. However, they also represent a vehicle for the concentration, posttranslational modification, and secretion of amyloid seeds. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Novel Heterostructure of BiOI Nanosheets Anchored onto MWCNTs with Excellent Visible-Light Photocatalytic Activity
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(1), 22; doi:10.3390/nano7010022 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Developing efficient visible-light-driven (VLD) photocatalysts for environmental decontamination has drawn significant attention in recent years. Herein, we have reported a novel heterostructure of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) coated with BiOI nanosheets as an efficient VLD photocatalyst, which was prepared via a simple solvothermal
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Developing efficient visible-light-driven (VLD) photocatalysts for environmental decontamination has drawn significant attention in recent years. Herein, we have reported a novel heterostructure of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) coated with BiOI nanosheets as an efficient VLD photocatalyst, which was prepared via a simple solvothermal method. The morphology and structure were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), UV-Vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS), and specific surface area measurements. The results showed that BiOI nanosheets were well deposited on MWCNTs. The MWCNTs/BiOI composites exhibited remarkably enhanced photocatalytic activity for the degradation of rhodamine B (RhB), methyl orange (MO), and para-chlorophenol (4-CP) under visible-light, compared with pure BiOI. When the MWCNTs content is 3 wt %, the MWCNTs/BiOI composite (3%M-Bi) achieves the highest activity, which is even higher than that of a mechanical mixture (3 wt % MWCNTs + 97 wt % BiOI). The superior photocatalytic activity is predominantly due to the strong coupling interface between MWCNTs and BiOI, which significantly promotes the efficient electron-hole separation. The photo-induced holes (h+) and superoxide radicals (O2) mainly contribute to the photocatalytic degradation of RhB over 3%M-Bi. Therefore, the MWCNTs/BiOI composite is expected to be an efficient VLD photocatalyst for environmental purification. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Anterior Prefrontal Cortex and the Hippocampus Are Negatively Correlated during False Memories
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(1), 13; doi:10.3390/brainsci7010013 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
False memories commonly activate the anterior/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (A/DLPFC) and the hippocampus. These regions are assumed to work in concert during false memories, which would predict a positive correlation between the magnitudes of activity in these regions across participants. However, the A/DLPFC may
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False memories commonly activate the anterior/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (A/DLPFC) and the hippocampus. These regions are assumed to work in concert during false memories, which would predict a positive correlation between the magnitudes of activity in these regions across participants. However, the A/DLPFC may also inhibit the hippocampus, which would predict a negative correlation between the magnitudes of activity in these regions. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, during encoding, participants viewed abstract shapes in the left or right visual field. During retrieval, participants classified each old shape as previously in the “left” or “right” visual field followed by an “unsure”–“sure”–“very sure” confidence rating. The contrast of left-hits and left-misses produced two activations in the hippocampus and three activations in the left A/DLPFC. For each participant, activity associated with false memories (right–“left”–“very sure” responses) from the two hippocampal regions was plotted as a function of activity in each A/DLPFC region. Across participants, for one region in the left anterior prefrontal cortex, there was a negative correlation between the magnitudes of activity in this region and the hippocampus. This suggests that the anterior prefrontal cortex might inhibit the hippocampus during false memories and that participants engage either the anterior prefrontal cortex or the hippocampus during false memories. Full article
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