Abstract: Ergopeptides, like ergocornine and a-ergocryptine, exist in an S- and in an R-configuration. Kinetic experiments imply that certain configurations are preferred depending on the solvent. The experimental methods are explained in this article. Furthermore, computational methods are used to understand this configurational preference. Standard quantum chemical methods can predict the favored configurations by using minimum energy calculations on the potential energy landscape. However, the explicit role of the solvent is not revealed by this type of methods. In order to better understand its influence, classical mechanical molecular simulations are applied. It appears from our research that “folding” the ergopeptide molecules into an intermediate state (between the S- and the R-configuration) is mechanically hindered for the preferred configurations.
Abstract: We consider a simple mathematical approach to the rise and fall of societies based on population growth and its effects on the environment, both beneficial and detrimental. We find that in any simple model of population dynamics with environmental coupling, stable cultures are impossible. Populations inevitably grow or decline exponentially. Further, if the parameters defining a civilisation are allowed to evolve towards an evolutionarily stable state, the only possible solutions are those where each culture ultimately declines. However, computer simulation with multiple competing cultures show that while each eventually collapses, some are always extant and the system is robust. In this broad class of models, individual death is a requirement for system survival.
Abstract: A key to semantic analysis is a precise and practically useful definition of meaning that is general for all domains of knowledge. We previously introduced the notion of weak semantic map: a metric space allocating concepts along their most general (universal) semantic characteristics while at the same time ignoring other, domain-specific aspects of their meanings. Here we address questions of the number, quality, and mutual independence of the weak semantic dimensions. Specifically, we employ semantic relationships not previously used for weak semantic mapping, such as holonymy/meronymy (“is-part/member-of”), and we compare maps constructed from word senses to those constructed from words. We show that the “completeness” dimension derived from the holonym/meronym relation is independent of, and practically orthogonal to, the “abstractness” dimension derived from the hypernym-hyponym (“is-a”) relation, while both dimensions are orthogonal to the maps derived from synonymy and antonymy. Interestingly, the choice of using relations among words vs. senses implies a non-trivial trade-off between rich and unambiguous information due to homonymy and polysemy. The practical utility of the new and prior dimensions is illustrated by the automated evaluation of different kinds of documents. Residual analysis of available linguistic resources, such as WordNet, suggests that the number of universal semantic dimensions representable in natural language may be finite. Their complete characterization, as well as the extension of results to non-linguistic materials, remains an open challenge.
Abstract: Hodgkin and Huxley (H-H) fitted their model of voltage-dependent conductances to experimental data using empirical functions of voltage. The thermodynamic H-H model of voltage dependent conductances is more physically plausible, as it constrains and parameterises its empirical fit by assuming that ion channel transition rates depend exponentially on a free energy barrier that in turn, linearly or non-linearly, depends on voltage. The original H-H model contains no explicit temperature terms and requires Q10 factors to describe data at different temperatures. The thermodynamic H-H model does have explicit terms for temperature. Do these endow the model with extrapolation for temperature? We utilised voltage clamp data for a voltage-gated K+ current, recorded at three different temperatures. The thermodynamic H-H model’s free parameters were fitted (Marquardt-Levenberg algorithm) to a data set recorded at one (or more) temperature(s). Then we assessed whether it could describe another data set, recorded at a different temperature, with these same free parameter values and its temperature terms set to the new temperature. We found that it could not.
Abstract: We have developed a novel 3-D, agent-based model of cell-wall digestion to improve our understanding of ruminal cell-wall digestion. It offers a capability to study cell walls and their enzymatic modification, by providing a representation of cellulose microfibrils and non-cellulosic polysaccharides and by simulating their spatial and catalytic interactions with enzymes. One can vary cell-wall composition and the types and numbers of enzyme molecules, allowing the model to be applied to a range of systems where cell walls are degraded and to the modification of cell walls by endogenous enzymes. As a proof of principle, we have modelled the wall of a mesophyll cell from the leaf of perennial ryegrass and then simulated its enzymatic degradation. This is a primary, non-lignified cell wall and the model includes cellulose, hemicelluloses (glucuronoarabinoxylans, 1,3;1,4-β-glucans, and xyloglucans) and pectin. These polymers are represented at the level of constituent monosaccharides, and assembled to form a 3-D, meso-scale representation of the molecular structure of the cell wall. The composition of the cell wall can be parameterised to represent different walls in different cell types and taxa. The model can contain arbitrary combinations of different enzymes. It simulates their random diffusion through the polymer networks taking collisions into account, allowing steric hindrance from cell-wall polymers to be modelled. Steric considerations are included when target bonds are encountered, and breakdown products resulting from enzymatic activity are predicted.
Abstract: The research based on density functional theory was carried out using generalized gradient approximation (GGA) for full-structural optimization and the addition of the correlation effect (GGA + U (Coulomb parameter)) in a double perovskite structure, A2BB’O6. According to the similar valance electrons between IIA(s2) and IVA(p2), IVA group elements instead of alkaline-earth elements settled on the A-site ion position with fixed BB' combinations as CrM (M = Mo, Re and W). The ferrimagnetic half-metallic (HM-FiM) properties can be attributed to the p-d hybridization between the Crd-Mp and the double exchange. All the compounds can be half-metallic (HM) materials, except Si2CrMoO6, Ge2CrMo and Ge2CrReO6, because the strong-correlation correction should be considered. For M = W, only A = Sn and Pb are possible candidates as HM materials. Nevertheless, an examination of the structural stability is needed, because Si, Ge, Sn and Pb are quite different from Sr. All compounds are stable, except for the Si-based double perovskite structure.