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Article
The Reduced Longitudinal Growth Induced by Overexpression of pPLAIIIγ Is Regulated by Genes Encoding Microtubule-Associated Proteins
by , and
Plants 2021, 10(12), 2615; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10122615 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
There are three subfamilies of patatin-related phospholipase A (pPLA) group of genes: pPLAI, pPLAII, and pPLAIII. Among the four members of pPLAIIIs (α, β, γ, δ), the overexpression of three isoforms (α, β [...] Read more.
There are three subfamilies of patatin-related phospholipase A (pPLA) group of genes: pPLAI, pPLAII, and pPLAIII. Among the four members of pPLAIIIs (α, β, γ, δ), the overexpression of three isoforms (α, β, and δ) displayed distinct morphological growth patterns, in which the anisotropic cell expansion was disrupted. Here, the least studied pPLAIIIγ was characterized, and it was found that the overexpression of pPLAIIIγ in Arabidopsis resulted in longitudinally reduced cell expansion patterns, which are consistent with the general phenotype induced by pPLAIIIs overexpression. The microtubule-associated protein MAP18 was found to be enriched in a pPLAIIIδ overexpressing line in a previous study. This indicates that factors, such as microtubules and ethylene biosynthesis, are involved in determining the radial cell expansion patterns. Microtubules have long been recognized to possess functional key roles in the processes of plant cells, including cell division, growth, and development, whereas ethylene treatment was reported to induce the reorientation of microtubules. Thus, the possible links between the altered anisotropic cell expansion and microtubules were studied. Our analysis revealed changes in the transcriptional levels of microtubule-associated genes, as well as phospholipase D (PLD) genes, upon the overexpression of pPLAIIIγ. Overall, our results suggest that the longitudinally reduced cell expansion observed in pPLAIIIγ overexpression is driven by microtubules via transcriptional modulation of the PLD and MAP genes. The altered transcripts of the genes involved in ethylene-biosynthesis in pPLAIIIγOE further support the conclusion that the typical phenotype is derived from the link with microtubules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Lipid-Hydrolyzing Proteins in Plant Growth)
Review
Targeting Oncogenic Transcriptional Networks in Neuroblastoma: From N-Myc to Epigenetic Drugs
by , , , , , , and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 12883; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312883 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Neuroblastoma (NB) is one of the most frequently occurring neurogenic extracranial solid cancers in childhood and infancy. Over the years, many pieces of evidence suggested that NB development is controlled by gene expression dysregulation. These unleashed programs that outline NB cancer cells make [...] Read more.
Neuroblastoma (NB) is one of the most frequently occurring neurogenic extracranial solid cancers in childhood and infancy. Over the years, many pieces of evidence suggested that NB development is controlled by gene expression dysregulation. These unleashed programs that outline NB cancer cells make them highly dependent on specific tuning of gene expression, which can act co-operatively to define the differentiation state, cell identity, and specialized functions. The peculiar regulation is mainly caused by genetic and epigenetic alterations, resulting in the dependency on a small set of key master transcriptional regulators as the convergence point of multiple signalling pathways. In this review, we provide a comprehensive blueprint of transcriptional regulation bearing NB initiation and progression, unveiling the complexity of novel oncogenic and tumour suppressive regulatory networks of this pathology. Furthermore, we underline the significance of multi-target therapies against these hallmarks, showing how novel approaches, together with chemotherapy, surgery, or radiotherapy, can have substantial antineoplastic effects, disrupting a wide variety of tumorigenic pathways through combinations of different treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroblastoma Molecular Biology and Therapeutics)
Article
New Findings on LMO7 Transcripts, Proteins and Regulatory Regions in Human and Vertebrate Model Organisms and the Intracellular Distribution in Skeletal Muscle Cells
by , , , , , and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 12885; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312885 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
LMO7 is a multifunctional PDZ–LIM protein that can interact with different molecular partners and is found in several intracellular locations. The aim of this work was to shed light on LMO7 evolution, alternative transcripts, protein structure and gene regulation through multiple in silico [...] Read more.
LMO7 is a multifunctional PDZ–LIM protein that can interact with different molecular partners and is found in several intracellular locations. The aim of this work was to shed light on LMO7 evolution, alternative transcripts, protein structure and gene regulation through multiple in silico analyses. We also explored the intracellular distribution of the LMO7 protein in chicken and zebrafish embryonic skeletal muscle cells by means of confocal fluorescence microscopy. Our results revealed a single LMO7 gene in mammals, sauropsids, Xenopus and in the holostean fish spotted gar while two lmo7 genes (lmo7a and lmo7b) were identified in teleost fishes. In addition, several different transcripts were predicted for LMO7 in human and in major vertebrate model organisms (mouse, chicken, Xenopus and zebrafish). Bioinformatics tools revealed several structural features of the LMO7 protein including intrinsically disordered regions. We found the LMO7 protein in multiple intracellular compartments in chicken and zebrafish skeletal muscle cells, such as membrane adhesion sites and the perinuclear region. Curiously, the LMO7 protein was detected within the nuclei of muscle cells in chicken but not in zebrafish. Our data showed that a conserved regulatory element may be related to muscle-specific LMO7 expression. Our findings uncover new and important information about LMO7 and open new challenges to understanding how the diverse regulation, structure and distribution of this protein are integrated into highly complex vertebrate cellular milieux, such as skeletal muscle cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Myogenesis and Muscular Disorders)
Communication
Electrode–Electrolyte Interactions in an Aqueous Aluminum–Carbon Rechargeable Battery System
by , , and
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3235; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11123235 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Being environmentally friendly, safe and easy to handle, aqueous electrolytes are of particular interest for next-generation electrochemical energy storage devices. When coupled with an abundant, recyclable and low-cost electrode material such as aluminum, the promise of a green and economically sustainable battery system [...] Read more.
Being environmentally friendly, safe and easy to handle, aqueous electrolytes are of particular interest for next-generation electrochemical energy storage devices. When coupled with an abundant, recyclable and low-cost electrode material such as aluminum, the promise of a green and economically sustainable battery system has extraordinary appeal. In this work, we study the interaction of an aqueous electrolyte with an aluminum plate anode and various graphitic cathodes. Upon establishing the boundary conditions for optimal electrolyte performance, we find that a mesoporous reduced graphene oxide powder constitutes a better cathode material option than graphite flakes. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Statins in Cancer Risk Reduction in Patients on Dialysis: A Population-Based Case-Control Study
by , , , , , , and
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(23), 5602; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10235602 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Background: To realize whether statins reduce the risk of cancer in susceptible dialysis populations, this study analyzed the relationship between statin use and cancer risk in patients on dialysis. Methods: Patients having a history of chronic kidney disease with hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis [...] Read more.
Background: To realize whether statins reduce the risk of cancer in susceptible dialysis populations, this study analyzed the relationship between statin use and cancer risk in patients on dialysis. Methods: Patients having a history of chronic kidney disease with hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis and receiving statin prescriptions or not were enrolled. The main outcome was cancer diagnosis. This study used univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses. Results: In total, 4236 individuals in the statin group and 8472 individuals in the statin nonuser group were included in the study. Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that statin users are significantly less likely to develop cancer than statin nonusers (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 0.81, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.78–0.90). Subgroup analyses revealed that statin cumulative defined daily doses >365 were associated with a significantly decreased risk of cancer incidence (adjusted HR 0.59, 95% CI 0.45–0.87), and statin users have a reduced risk of respiratory, soft tissue and connective tissue, breast, gynecological, prostate, central nervous system, and lymphatic and hematopoietic cancer than nonusers. Conclusions: Our population-based cohort study provides an association that statins reduce the risk of malignancy in patients on dialysis, especially with a longer treatment duration, and certain types of cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practice and Research in Clinical Pharmacology)
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Review
Evolution of the Sex Pheromone Communication System in Ostrinia Moths
by
Insects 2021, 12(12), 1067; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12121067 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
It remains a conundrum in the evolution of sexual communication how the signals and responses can co-ordinate the changes during speciation. The genus Ostrinia contains several closely related species as well as distinctive strains with pheromone polymorphism and represents an example of ongoing [...] Read more.
It remains a conundrum in the evolution of sexual communication how the signals and responses can co-ordinate the changes during speciation. The genus Ostrinia contains several closely related species as well as distinctive strains with pheromone polymorphism and represents an example of ongoing speciation. Extensive studies in the genus, especially in the species the European corn borer O. nubilalis (ECB), the Asian corn borer O. furnacalis (ACB) and the adzuki bean borer O. scapulalis (ABB), have provided valuable insights into the evolution of sex pheromone communication. This review presents a comprehensive overview of the research on pheromone communication in different Ostrinia species over the past four decades, including pheromone identification and biosynthesis, the ligand profiles of pheromone receptor (PR) genes, the physiology of peripheral olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) and the projection pattern to the antennal lobe. By integrating and comparing the closely related Ostrinia species and strains, it provides an evolutionary perspective on the sex pheromone communication in moths in general and also outlines the outstanding questions that await to be elucidated by future studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Insect Sensory Biology)
Article
Retrieving Intangibility, Stemming Biodiversity Loss: The Case of Sacred Places in Venda, Northern South Africa
by and
Heritage 2021, 4(4), 4524-4541; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4040249 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Sacred sites and landscapes mirror indigenous peoples’ identity, well-being and sense of place. In Venda, northern South Africa, such places are preserved through myths and legends. Following a scoping study, which also involved engagement with indigenous communities, we reveal how human-driven destruction of [...] Read more.
Sacred sites and landscapes mirror indigenous peoples’ identity, well-being and sense of place. In Venda, northern South Africa, such places are preserved through myths and legends. Following a scoping study, which also involved engagement with indigenous communities, we reveal how human-driven destruction of biodiversity contributes towards significant losses of such heritage. Large-scale agriculture, mining and commercial plantations around Thathe forest, Lake Fundudzi and Phiphidi waterfalls are not only destroying these places, but also impoverishing indigenous peoples. This is not sustainable from the perspective of heritage conservation, survival and well-being of indigenous communities. Recognising intangible values expressed through myths and legends is necessary in heritage conservation and in addressing some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cultural Heritage)
Review
Sequence Does Not Matter: The Biomedical Applications of DNA-Based Coatings and Cores
by and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 12884; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312884 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Biomedical applications of DNA are diverse but are usually associated with specific recognition of target nucleotide sequences or proteins and with gene delivery for therapeutic or biotechnological purposes. However, other aspects of DNA functionalities, like its nontoxicity, biodegradability, polyelectrolyte nature, stability, thermo-responsivity and [...] Read more.
Biomedical applications of DNA are diverse but are usually associated with specific recognition of target nucleotide sequences or proteins and with gene delivery for therapeutic or biotechnological purposes. However, other aspects of DNA functionalities, like its nontoxicity, biodegradability, polyelectrolyte nature, stability, thermo-responsivity and charge transfer ability that are rather independent of its sequence, have recently become highly appreciated in material science and biomedicine. Whereas the latest achievements in structural DNA nanotechnology associated with DNA sequence recognition and Watson–Crick base pairing between complementary nucleotides are regularly reviewed, the recent uses of DNA as a raw material in biomedicine have not been summarized. This review paper describes the main biomedical applications of DNA that do not involve any synthesis or extraction of oligo- or polynucleotides with specified sequences. These sequence-independent applications currently include some types of drug delivery systems, biocompatible coatings, fire retardant and antimicrobial coatings and biosensors. The reinforcement of DNA properties by DNA complexation with nanoparticles is also described as a field of further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Macromolecules)
Article
Unsupervised Representation Learning for Proteochemometric Modeling
by , and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 12882; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312882 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
In silico protein–ligand binding prediction is an ongoing area of research in computational chemistry and machine learning based drug discovery, as an accurate predictive model could greatly reduce the time and resources necessary for the detection and prioritization of possible drug candidates. Proteochemometric [...] Read more.
In silico protein–ligand binding prediction is an ongoing area of research in computational chemistry and machine learning based drug discovery, as an accurate predictive model could greatly reduce the time and resources necessary for the detection and prioritization of possible drug candidates. Proteochemometric modeling (PCM) attempts to create an accurate model of the protein–ligand interaction space by combining explicit protein and ligand descriptors. This requires the creation of information-rich, uniform and computer interpretable representations of proteins and ligands. Previous studies in PCM modeling rely on pre-defined, handcrafted feature extraction methods, and many methods use protein descriptors that require alignment or are otherwise specific to a particular group of related proteins. However, recent advances in representation learning have shown that unsupervised machine learning can be used to generate embeddings that outperform complex, human-engineered representations. Several different embedding methods for proteins and molecules have been developed based on various language-modeling methods. Here, we demonstrate the utility of these unsupervised representations and compare three protein embeddings and two compound embeddings in a fair manner. We evaluate performance on various splits of a benchmark dataset, as well as on an internal dataset of protein–ligand binding activities and find that unsupervised-learned representations significantly outperform handcrafted representations. Full article
Article
Replacing Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizer with Different Types of Organic Materials Improves Grain Yield in China: A Meta-Analysis
by , , , , , and
Agronomy 2021, 11(12), 2429; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11122429 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer substitution (NSS) with different types of organic material is a cleaner agricultural practice for reducing the application of synthetic N input in farmlands while also relieving the environmental issues caused by the discharge of organic wastes. However, the effects of [...] Read more.
Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer substitution (NSS) with different types of organic material is a cleaner agricultural practice for reducing the application of synthetic N input in farmlands while also relieving the environmental issues caused by the discharge of organic wastes. However, the effects of the NSS practice on crop yields, being the primary objective of agricultural activity, is still uncertain in China. This study conducted a meta-analysis to assess the impacts of the NSS practices with different types of organic materials on crop yields. Results showed that the average crop yield was increased by 3.4%, with significant differences under NSS, thereby demonstrating that this practice contributed to improving crop yields, especially of rice and maize. According to published reports, the NSS practices involving chicken manure, pig manure, and crop straw increased crop yields by 4.79, 7.68, and 3.28%, respectively, with significant differences, thus demonstrating the superior effects needed for replacing synthetic N fertilizer. Moreover, substitution ratios (SR) between 0% and 60% could be suggested when using the NSS practice, with the high SR recommended when the original soil fertility was adequate for crops. Considering the long-term effects of applied organic materials, improving the grain yield with the NSS practice should be expected in the long-term. By effectively applying the NSS, this study attempted to scientifically decide on the type of organic materials and the appropriate SR based on the conditions of the soil and the crop. The results provide research information for the development of clean agricultural production and food security in China. Full article
Article
Kinetics of Parasite-Specific Antibody and B-Cell-Associated Gene Expression in Brown Trout, Salmo trutta during Proliferative Kidney Disease
by , and
Biology 2021, 10(12), 1244; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10121244 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae, a myxozoan endoparasite often causes chronic infection in brown trout. Antiparasite immunity mediated by antibodies and B cells is known as an important determinant of host survival and parasite proliferation during chronic infections. Accordingly, studying their time course during proliferative [...] Read more.
Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae, a myxozoan endoparasite often causes chronic infection in brown trout. Antiparasite immunity mediated by antibodies and B cells is known as an important determinant of host survival and parasite proliferation during chronic infections. Accordingly, studying their time course during proliferative kidney disease (PKD) might be helpful in improving our understanding of its chronic nature. Therefore, we conducted this study to examine parasite specific serum antibody and B-cell-mediated response in laboratory-infected brown trout at different time points. Brown trout were exposed to the spores of T. bryosalmonae, derived from infected bryozoans. Samples were collected at different time points and processed for indirect ELISA, histopathology, and qRT-PCR. T. bryosalmonae specific antibody was detected at 4 weeks post exposure (wpe) and it persisted until 17 wpe. Additionally, the expressions of C4A, CD34, CD79A, BLNK, CD74, BCL7, and CD22 were differentially regulated in the important immune organs, kidney and spleen. To our knowledge, this is the first study addressing anti-T. bryosalmonae antibody response in brown trout at different time points. The results from this study provide valuable insights into the processes leading to changes in B cell development, inflammation and antibody production during the course of PKD in brown trout. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunology)
Article
Security Providing Leadership: A Job Resource to Prevent Employees’ Burnout
by , , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12551; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312551 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Leadership styles in work contexts play a role in employees’ well-being, contributing to better health or, on the contrary, being a source of stress. In this study we propose that security providing leadership may be considered as a resource to prevent employees’ job [...] Read more.
Leadership styles in work contexts play a role in employees’ well-being, contributing to better health or, on the contrary, being a source of stress. In this study we propose that security providing leadership may be considered as a resource to prevent employees’ job burnout. First, we examine the relationship between employees’ perception of their leader’s degree of security in providing leadership and the employees’ degree of job-related burnout. Second, the underlying processes by which leaders as security providers exert their influence on burnout are analyzed with a focus on the mediating role of two variables: an organizational climate oriented to psychological safety and organizational dehumanization. A total of 655 Spanish employees (53.7% women) completed a paper-and-pencil self-report questionnaire. To recruit participants, we employed an exponential non-discriminative snowball sampling. Results, using Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) to test hypotheses, show that security providing leadership was related negatively to burnout. Furthermore, psychological safety climate and organizational dehumanization mediated the relationship between security providing leadership and burnout. These findings support the attachment approach to leadership and open new avenues for creating better organizational environments. Security-providing leaders, by supporting employees and treating them in a personalized way, can enhance the psychological safety climate and prevent organizational dehumanization and consequent job burnout. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Stress and Health: Psychological Burden and Burnout)
Article
Changes in Diet and Anthropometric Parameters in Children and Adolescents with Celiac Disease—One Year of Follow-Up
by , , , , , and
Nutrients 2021, 13(12), 4306; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13124306 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Celiac disease (CD) may cause numerous nutrient deficiencies that a proper gluten-free diet (GFD) should compensate for. The study group consists of 40 children, aged 8.43 years (SD 3.5), on average, in whom CD was diagnosed on the basis of clinical symptoms, immunological [...] Read more.
Celiac disease (CD) may cause numerous nutrient deficiencies that a proper gluten-free diet (GFD) should compensate for. The study group consists of 40 children, aged 8.43 years (SD 3.5), on average, in whom CD was diagnosed on the basis of clinical symptoms, immunological and histopathological results. The patients’ height, weight, diet and biochemical tests were assessed three times: before diagnosis, after six months, and following one year of GFD. After one year, the patients’ weight and height increased but nutritional status (body mass index, BMI percentile) did not change significantly. The children’s diet before diagnosis was similar to that of the general Polish population: insufficient implementation of the dietary norm for energy, fiber, calcium, iodine, iron as well as folic acid, vitamins D, K, and E was observed. Over the year, the GFD of the children with CD did not change significantly for most of the above nutrients, or the changes were not significant for the overall assessment of the diet. Celiac patients following GFD may have a higher risk of iron, calcium and folate deficiencies. These results confirm the need for personalized nutritional education aimed at excluding gluten from the diet, as well as balancing the diet properly, in patients with CD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional Status among Vulnerable Populations)
Article
Synthetic and Structural Study of peri-Substituted Phosphine-Arsines
by , , , , , , and
Molecules 2021, 26(23), 7222; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26237222 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
A series of phosphorus-arsenic peri-substituted acenaphthene species have been isolated and fully characterised, including single crystal X-ray diffraction. Reactions of EBr3 (E = P, As) with iPr2PAcenapLi (Acenap = acenaphthene-5,6-diyl) afforded the thermally stable peri-substitution supported donor–acceptor [...] Read more.
A series of phosphorus-arsenic peri-substituted acenaphthene species have been isolated and fully characterised, including single crystal X-ray diffraction. Reactions of EBr3 (E = P, As) with iPr2PAcenapLi (Acenap = acenaphthene-5,6-diyl) afforded the thermally stable peri-substitution supported donor–acceptor complexes, iPr2PAcenapEBr2 3 and 4. Both complexes show a strong P→E dative interaction, as observed by X-ray crystallography and 31P NMR spectroscopy. DFT calculations indicated the unusual As∙∙∙As contact (3.50 Å) observed in the solid state structure of 4 results from dispersion forces rather than metallic interactions. Incorporation of the excess AsBr3 in the crystal structure of 3 promotes the formation of the ion separated species [iPr2PAcenapAsBr]+Br 5. A decomposition product 6 containing the rare [As6Br8]2– heterocubane dianion was isolated and characterised crystallographically. The reaction between iPr2PAcenapLi and EtAsI2 afforded tertiary arsine (BrAcenap)2AsEt 7, which was subsequently lithiated and reacted with PhPCl2 and Ph2PCl to afford cyclic PhP(Acenap)2AsEt 8 and acyclic EtAs(AcenapPPh2)2 9. Full article
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Technical Note
Trajectory Determination of Chang’E-5 during Landing and Ascending
by , , , , and
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(23), 4837; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13234837 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Chang’E-5 (CE-5) is China’s first lunar sample return mission. This paper focuses on the trajectory determination of the CE-5 lander and ascender during the landing and ascending phases, and the positioning of the CE-5 lander on the Moon. Based on the kinematic statistical [...] Read more.
Chang’E-5 (CE-5) is China’s first lunar sample return mission. This paper focuses on the trajectory determination of the CE-5 lander and ascender during the landing and ascending phases, and the positioning of the CE-5 lander on the Moon. Based on the kinematic statistical orbit determination method using B-spline and polynomial functions, the descent and ascent trajectories of the lander and ascender are determined by using ground-based radiometric ranging, Doppler and interferometry data. The results show that a B-spline function is suitable for a trajectory with complex maneuvers. For a smooth trajectory, B-spline and polynomial functions can reach almost the same solutions. The positioning of the CE-5 lander on the Moon is also investigated here. Using the kinematic statistical positioning method, the landing site of the lander is 43.0590°N, 51.9208°W with an elevation of −2480.26 m, which is less than 200 m different from the LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) image data. Full article
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Article
Radiological Hazard Evaluation of Some Egyptian Magmatic Rocks Used as Ornamental Stone: Petrography and Natural Radioactivity
by , , , , and
Materials 2021, 14(23), 7290; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14237290 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Magmatic rocks represent one of the most significant rocks due to their abundance, durability and appearance; they can be used as ornamental stones in the construction of dwellings. The current study is concerned with the detailed petrography and natural radioactivity of seven magmatic [...] Read more.
Magmatic rocks represent one of the most significant rocks due to their abundance, durability and appearance; they can be used as ornamental stones in the construction of dwellings. The current study is concerned with the detailed petrography and natural radioactivity of seven magmatic rocks. All are commercial granitic rocks and are identified as black Aswan, Nero Aswan, white Halayeb, Karnak, Verdi, red Hurghada and red Aswan. Their respective mineralogical compositions are classified as porpheritic granodiorite, granodiorite, tonalite, monzogranite, syenogranite, monzogranite and syenogranite. A total of nineteen samples were prepared from these seven rock types in order to assess their suitability as ornamental stones. Concentrations of 226Ra, 232Th and 40K radionuclides were measured using NaI (Tl) scintillation gamma-ray spectrometry. Among the studied magmatic rocks, white Halayeb had the lowest average values of 226Ra (15.7 Bq/kg), 232Th (4.71 Bq/kg) and 40K (~292 Bq/kg), all below the UNSCEAR reported average world values or recommended reference limits. In contrast, the other granitic rocks have higher values than the recommended limit. Except for the absorbed dose rate, other radiological hazard parameters including radium equivalent activity, annual effective dose equivalent, external, and internal hazard indices reflect that the White Halyeb rocks are favorable for use as ornamental stone in the construction of luxurious and high-demand residential buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Trends in Advanced Materials and Processes)
Article
Suzuki–Miyaura Catalyst-Transfer Polycondensation of Triolborate-Type Carbazole Monomers
by , , , , , and
Polymers 2021, 13(23), 4168; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13234168 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Herein, we report the Suzuki–Miyaura catalyst-transfer polycondensation (SCTP) of triolborate-type carbazole monomers, i.e., potassium 3-(6-bromo-9-(2-octyldodecyl)-9H-carbazole-2-yl)triolborate (M1) and potassium 2-(7-bromo-9-(2-octyldodecyl)-9H-carbazole-2-yl) triolborate (M2), as an efficient and versatile approach for precisely synthesizing poly[9-(2-octyldodecyl)-3,6-carbazole] (3,6-PCz) and poly[9-(2-octyldodecyl)-2,7-carbazole] (2,7-PCz), [...] Read more.
Herein, we report the Suzuki–Miyaura catalyst-transfer polycondensation (SCTP) of triolborate-type carbazole monomers, i.e., potassium 3-(6-bromo-9-(2-octyldodecyl)-9H-carbazole-2-yl)triolborate (M1) and potassium 2-(7-bromo-9-(2-octyldodecyl)-9H-carbazole-2-yl) triolborate (M2), as an efficient and versatile approach for precisely synthesizing poly[9-(2-octyldodecyl)-3,6-carbazole] (3,6-PCz) and poly[9-(2-octyldodecyl)-2,7-carbazole] (2,7-PCz), respectively. The SCTP of triolborate-type carbazole monomers was performed in a mixture of THF/H2O using an initiating system consisted of 4-iodobenzyl alcohol, Pd2(dba)3•CHCl3, and t-Bu3P. In the SCTP of M1, cyclic by-product formation was confirmed, as reported for the corresponding pinacolboronate-type monomer. By optimizing the reaction temperature and reaction time, we successfully synthesized linear end-functionalized 3,6-PCz for the first time. The SCTP of M2 proceeded with almost no side reaction, yielding 2,7-PCz with a functional initiator residue at the α-chain end. Kinetic and block copolymerization experiments demonstrated that the SCTP of M2 proceeded in a chain-growth and controlled/living polymerization manner. This is a novel study on the synthesis of 2,7-PCz via SCTP. By taking advantage of the well-controlled nature of this polymerization system, we demonstrated the synthesis of high-molecular-weight 2,7-PCzs (Mn = 5–38 kg mol−1) with a relatively narrow ÐM (1.35–1.48). Furthermore, we successfully synthesized fluorene/carbazole copolymers as well as 2,7-PCz-containing diblock copolymers, demonstrating the versatility of the present polymerization system as a novel synthetic strategy for well-defined polycarbazole-based materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Chemistry)
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Review
Diet Quality Assessment and the Relationship between Diet Quality and Cardiovascular Disease Risk
by and
Nutrients 2021, 13(12), 4305; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13124305 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. and globally. Dietary risk factors contribute to over half of all CVD deaths and CVD-related disability. The aim of this narrative review is to describe methods used to assess [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. and globally. Dietary risk factors contribute to over half of all CVD deaths and CVD-related disability. The aim of this narrative review is to describe methods used to assess diet quality and the current state of evidence on the relationship between diet quality and risk of CVD. The findings of the review will be discussed in the context of current population intake patterns and dietary recommendations. Several methods are used to calculate diet quality: (1) a priori indices based on dietary recommendations; (2) a priori indices based on foods or dietary patterns associated with risk of chronic disease; (3) exploratory data-driven methods. Substantial evidence from prospective cohort studies shows that higher diet quality, regardless of the a priori index used, is associated with a 14–29% lower risk of CVD and 0.5–2.2 years greater CVD-free survival time. Limited evidence is available from randomized controlled trials, although evidence shows healthy dietary patterns improve risk factors for CVD and lower CVD risk. Current dietary guidance for general health and CVD prevention and management focuses on following a healthy dietary pattern throughout the lifespan. High diet quality is a unifying component of all dietary recommendations and should be the focus of national food policies and health promotion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Atherosclerosis: From Bench to Bedside)
Article
Cord Blood Manganese Concentrations in Relation to Birth Outcomes and Childhood Physical Growth: A Prospective Birth Cohort Study
by , , , , , , , , and
Nutrients 2021, 13(12), 4304; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13124304 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Gestational exposure to manganese (Mn), an essential trace element, is associated with fetal and childhood physical growth. However, it is unclear which period of growth is more significantly affected by prenatal Mn exposure. The current study was conducted to assess the associations of [...] Read more.
Gestational exposure to manganese (Mn), an essential trace element, is associated with fetal and childhood physical growth. However, it is unclear which period of growth is more significantly affected by prenatal Mn exposure. The current study was conducted to assess the associations of umbilical cord-blood Mn levels with birth outcomes and childhood continuous physical development. The umbilical cord-blood Mn concentrations of 1179 mother–infant pairs in the Sheyang mini birth cohort were measured by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS). The association of cord-blood Mn concentrations with birth outcomes, and the BMI z-score at 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 years old, were estimated separately using generalized linear models. The relationship between prenatal Mn exposure and BMI z-score trajectory was assessed with generalized estimating equation models. The median of cord-blood Mn concentration was 29.25 g/L. Significantly positive associations were observed between Mn exposure and ponderal index (β, regression coefficient = 0.065, 95% CI, confidence interval: 0.021, 0.109; p = 0.004). Mn exposure was negatively associated with the BMI z-score of children aged 1, 2, and 3 years (β = −0.383 to −0.249, p < 0.05), while no significant relationships were found between Mn exposure and the BMI z-score of children at the age of 6, 7, and 8 years. Prenatal Mn exposure was related to the childhood BMI z-score trajectory (β = −0.218, 95% CI: −0.416, −0.021; p = 0.030). These results indicated that prenatal Mn exposure was positively related to the ponderal index (PI), and negatively related to physical growth in childhood, which seemed most significant at an early stage. Full article
Article
A Precisely One-Step Registration Methodology for Optical Imagery and LiDAR Data Using Virtual Point Primitives
by , , and
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(23), 4836; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13234836 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
The registration of optical imagery and 3D Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) point data continues to be a challenge for various applications in photogrammetry and remote sensing. In this paper, the framework employs a new registration primitive called virtual point (VP) that can [...] Read more.
The registration of optical imagery and 3D Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) point data continues to be a challenge for various applications in photogrammetry and remote sensing. In this paper, the framework employs a new registration primitive called virtual point (VP) that can be generated from the linear features within a LiDAR dataset including straight lines (SL) and curved lines (CL). By using an auxiliary parameter (λ), it is easy to take advantage of the accurate and fast calculation of the one-step registration transformation model. The transformation model parameters and λs can be calculated simultaneously by applying the least square method recursively. In urban areas, there are many buildings with different shapes. Therefore, the boundaries of buildings provide a large number of SL and CL features and selecting properly linear features and transforming into VPs can reduce the errors caused by the semi-discrete random characteristics of the LiDAR points. According to the result shown in the paper, the registration precision can reach the 1~2 pixels level of the optical images. Full article
Article
A Portable Sensor System with Ultramicro Electrode Chip for the Detection of Heavy-Metal Ions in Water
by , , , , and
Micromachines 2021, 12(12), 1468; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12121468 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
In this study, an ultramicro interdigital electrode array chip (UIEA) was designed and fabricated by using Micro-Electro-Mechanical systems (MEMS) technology, and a portable detection system, using the chip for determination of heavy-metal ions in water, was developed. The working electrode of the UIEA [...] Read more.
In this study, an ultramicro interdigital electrode array chip (UIEA) was designed and fabricated by using Micro-Electro-Mechanical systems (MEMS) technology, and a portable detection system, using the chip for determination of heavy-metal ions in water, was developed. The working electrode of the UIEA was modified with gold nanoparticles by electrodeposition. The detection sensitivity of the UIEA chip for copper ions was 0.0138 μA·L·μg−1, with the linear range of 0–400 μg/L and the detection limit of 18.89 μg/L (3σ), which was better than that of the compared columnar glassy carbon electrode. The results of the interference experiment verified that the UIEA chip has a certain anti-interference ability against common heavy-metal ions in water, such as Pb2+, Zn2+, and Mg2+ ions. The standard addition method was used to investigate the performance of the developed s ystem for copper ion determination in real water. The recovery range from 87.5% to 94.7% was achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Progress in Electrochemical Sensors)
Article
The Effect of Ageing, Gender and Environmental Problems in Subjective Well-Being
by , and
Land 2021, 10(12), 1314; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10121314 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Abstract: This paper studies the relationship of factors such as ageing, gender and environmental problems included in the quality of life (QoL) with the subjective well-being represented by the life satisfaction (LS) indicator of the citizens of 33 European countries. To do [...] Read more.
Abstract: This paper studies the relationship of factors such as ageing, gender and environmental problems included in the quality of life (QoL) with the subjective well-being represented by the life satisfaction (LS) indicator of the citizens of 33 European countries. To do so, it uses the LS of a country’s citizens as the dependent variable; ageing, gender and environmental variables as independent variables; and other factors included in the QoL indicators and macroeconomic factors as control variables. Analysis uses data from the World Values Survey (WVS) and the European Values Study (EVS) for LS, from Eurostat for QoL indicators and World Bank for macroeconomic indicators. The values of LS have been treated based on the individual data from WVS and EVS in percentages according to their levels by country, and we present four robust models (two logit model and two OLS model). The results show that arrears of people aged 65 and over are a relation of positive significative in models with low levels of LS. The opposite is true for the income of people aged 65 and over. On the other hand, pollution, grime or other environmental problems and inequality show an inverse relationship with life satisfaction in models with high levels of satisfaction and a positive relationship in models with low levels of satisfaction. Nonetheless, the study has also shown contradictions in the gender gap and poverty indicators that should be studied further. Full article
Article
A Computational Analysis in a Cohort of Parkinson’s Disease Patients and Clock-Modified Colorectal Cancer Cells Reveals Common Expression Alterations in Clock-Regulated Genes
by , , , , and
Cancers 2021, 13(23), 5978; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13235978 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Increasing evidence suggests a role for circadian dysregulation in prompting disease-related phenotypes in mammals. Cancer and neurodegenerative disorders are two aging related diseases reported to be associated with circadian disruption. In this study, we investigated a possible effect of circadian disruption in Parkinson’s [...] Read more.
Increasing evidence suggests a role for circadian dysregulation in prompting disease-related phenotypes in mammals. Cancer and neurodegenerative disorders are two aging related diseases reported to be associated with circadian disruption. In this study, we investigated a possible effect of circadian disruption in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and colorectal cancer (CRC). We used high-throughput data sets retrieved from whole blood of idiopathic PD (IPD) patients and time course data sets derived from an in vitro model of CRC including the wildtype and three core-clock knockout (KO) cell lines. Several gene expression alterations in IPD patients resembled the expression profiles in the core-clock KO cells. These include expression changes in DBP, GBA, TEF, SNCA, SERPINA1 and TGFB1. Notably, our results pointed to alterations in the core-clock network in IPD patients when compared to healthy controls and revealed variations in the expression profile of PD-associated genes (e.g., HRAS and GBA) upon disruption of the core-clock genes. Our study characterizes changes at the transcriptomic level following circadian clock disruption on common cellular pathways associated with cancer and neurodegeneration (e.g., immune system, energy metabolism and RNA processing), and it points to a significant influence on the overall survival of colon cancer patients for several genes resulting from our analysis (e.g., TUBB6, PAK6, SLC11A1). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurodegeneration and Cancers)
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Review
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Integrated Crop–Livestock Systems: Environmental Exposure and Human Health Risks
by , , , , , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12550; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312550 (registering DOI) - 28 Nov 2021
Abstract
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are highly persistent synthetic organic contaminants that can cause serious human health concerns such as obesity, liver damage, kidney cancer, hypertension, immunotoxicity and other human health issues. Integrated crop–livestock systems combine agricultural crop production with milk and/or meat [...] Read more.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are highly persistent synthetic organic contaminants that can cause serious human health concerns such as obesity, liver damage, kidney cancer, hypertension, immunotoxicity and other human health issues. Integrated crop–livestock systems combine agricultural crop production with milk and/or meat production and processing. Key sources of PFAS in these systems include firefighting foams near military bases, wastewater sludge and industrial discharge. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances regularly move from soils to nearby surface water and/or groundwater because of their high mobility and persistence. Irrigating crops or managing livestock for milk and meat production using adjacent waters can be detrimental to human health. The presence of PFAS in both groundwater and milk have been reported in dairy production states (e.g., Wisconsin and New Mexico) across the United States. Although there is a limit of 70 parts per trillion of PFAS in drinking water by the U.S. EPA, there are not yet regional screening guidelines for conducting risk assessments of livestock watering as well as the soil and plant matrix. This systematic review includes (i) the sources, impacts and challenges of PFAS in integrated crop–livestock systems, (ii) safety measures and protocols for sampling soil, water and plants for determining PFAS concentration in exposed integrated crop–livestock systems and (iii) the assessment, measurement and evaluation of human health risks related to PFAS exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Contaminants of Emerging Public Health Concern: PFAS)

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