Latest Articles

Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Emerging Roles of Diacylglycerol-Sensitive TRPC4/5 Channels
Cells 2018, 7(11), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells7110218 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Transient receptor potential classical or canonical 4 (TRPC4) and TRPC5 channels are members of the classical or canonical transient receptor potential (TRPC) channel family of non-selective cation channels. TRPC4 and TRPC5 channels are widely accepted as receptor-operated cation channels that are activated in
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Transient receptor potential classical or canonical 4 (TRPC4) and TRPC5 channels are members of the classical or canonical transient receptor potential (TRPC) channel family of non-selective cation channels. TRPC4 and TRPC5 channels are widely accepted as receptor-operated cation channels that are activated in a phospholipase C-dependent manner, following the Gq/11 protein-coupled receptor activation. However, their precise activation mechanism has remained largely elusive for a long time, as the TRPC4 and TRPC5 channels were considered as being insensitive to the second messenger diacylglycerol (DAG) in contrast to the other TRPC channels. Recent findings indicate that the C-terminal interactions with the scaffolding proteins Na+/H+ exchanger regulatory factor 1 and 2 (NHERF1 and NHERF2) dynamically regulate the DAG sensitivity of the TRPC4 and TRPC5 channels. Interestingly, the C-terminal NHERF binding suppresses, while the dissociation of NHERF enables, the DAG sensitivity of the TRPC4 and TRPC5 channels. This leads to the assumption that all of the TRPC channels are DAG sensitive. The identification of the regulatory function of the NHERF proteins in the TRPC4/5-NHERF protein complex offers a new starting point to get deeper insights into the molecular basis of TRPC channel activation. Future studies will have to unravel the physiological and pathophysiological functions of this multi-protein channel complex. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Contribution for the Valorisation of Sheep and Goat Cheese Whey through Nanofiltration
Membranes 2018, 8(4), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes8040114 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The amount of cheese whey generated from the production of speciality sheep and goat cheese is significantly growing due to the acclaimed nutritional and medicinal benefits of the milk from these species. However, most of the cheese whey generated has no applications, thus
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The amount of cheese whey generated from the production of speciality sheep and goat cheese is significantly growing due to the acclaimed nutritional and medicinal benefits of the milk from these species. However, most of the cheese whey generated has no applications, thus giving rise to environmental problems. This work focuses on the study of the performance of the nanofiltration process for recovering the permeates of ultrafiltration from sheep and goat cheese whey. Nanofiltration experiments were carried out with membranes of nanofiltration (NF) in total recirculation and concentration modes, at 25 °C. Nanofiltration of the ultrafiltration permeates from sheep cheese whey was done at a pressure of 3.0 × 106 Pa and a circulation velocity of 1.42 m·s−1, until a volume concentration factor (VCF) of 2.5. Nanofiltration of the permeates from ultrafiltration of goat cheese whey was performed at a pressure of 2.0 × 106 Pa and a circulation velocity of 0.94 m·s−1, until a VCF of 2.0. From the results, it was concluded that osmotic pressure was the most important factor affecting the performance of the process. In both cases, the final permeates had a much lower organic load and its future use in the process of cheese making should be evaluated. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Computational Study of AlF3 and ACF Surfaces
Inorganics 2018, 6(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/inorganics6040124 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
By applying first principles density functional theory (DFT) methods, different metal fluorides and their surfaces have been characterized. One of the most investigated metal fluorides is AlF3 in different polymorphs. Its chloride-doped analogon AlClxF3−x (ACF) has recently attracted
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By applying first principles density functional theory (DFT) methods, different metal fluorides and their surfaces have been characterized. One of the most investigated metal fluorides is AlF3 in different polymorphs. Its chloride-doped analogon AlClxF3−x (ACF) has recently attracted much attention due to its application in catalysis. After presenting a summary of different first-principle studies on the bulk and surface properties of different main group fluorides, we will revisit the problem of the stability of different α-AlF3 surfaces and extend the investigation to chloride-doped counterparts to simulate the surface properties of amorphous ACF. For each material, we have considered ten different surface cuts with their respective terminations. We found that terminations of (011¯0) and (112¯0) yield the most stable surfaces for α-AlF3 and for the chlorine substituted surfaces. A potential equilibrium shape of the crystal for both α-AlF3 and ACF is visualized by a Wulff construction. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Collider Searches for Dark Matter (ATLAS + CMS)
Universe 2018, 4(11), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe4110131 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Several searches for dark matter have been performed by the CMS and ATLAS collaborations, using proton-proton collisions with a center-of-mass energy of 13 TeV produced by the Large Hadron Collider. Different signatures may highlight the presence of dark matter: the imbalance in the
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Several searches for dark matter have been performed by the CMS and ATLAS collaborations, using proton-proton collisions with a center-of-mass energy of 13 TeV produced by the Large Hadron Collider. Different signatures may highlight the presence of dark matter: the imbalance in the transverse momentum in an event due to the presence of undetectable dark matter particles, produced together with one Standard Model particle, a bump in the di-jet or di-lepton invariant mass distributions, or an excess of events in the di-jet angular distribution, produced by a dark matter mediator. No significant discrepancies with respect to the Standard Model predictions have been found in data, so that limits on the dark matter couplings to ordinary matter, or limits on the dark matter particles and mediators masses have been set. The results are also re-interpreted as limits on the dark matter interaction cross-section with baryonic matter, so that a comparison with direct detection experiments is allowed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
N-(2-Hydroxy)-propyl-3-trimethylammonium, O-Mysristoyl Chitosan Enhances the Solubility and Intestinal Permeability of Anticancer Curcumin
Pharmaceutics 2018, 10(4), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics10040245 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
An amphiphilic derivative of chitosan containing quaternary ammonium and myristoyl groups, herein named as ammonium myristoyl chitosan (DMCat), was synthesized by reacting glycidyltrimethylammonium chloride (GTMAC) and myristoyl chitosan (DMCh). The success of the modification was confirmed using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and 1
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An amphiphilic derivative of chitosan containing quaternary ammonium and myristoyl groups, herein named as ammonium myristoyl chitosan (DMCat), was synthesized by reacting glycidyltrimethylammonium chloride (GTMAC) and myristoyl chitosan (DMCh). The success of the modification was confirmed using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The average degrees of alkylation and quaternization (DQ¯) were determined by using 1H NMR and conductometric titration. The zeta potential of the micelles was higher than 28 mV while its average size and encapsulation efficiency ranged from 280 nm to 375 nm and 68% to 100%, respectively. The in vitro cytotoxicity of the unloaded and curcumin (CUR)-loaded micelles was tested against Caco-2 and HT29-MTX intestinal epithelial cell lines. The results showed no cytotoxic effect from loaded and unloaded micelles as compared to free CUR. In the permeability test, it was observed that both types of micelles, i.e., DMCh and DMCat, improved CUR permeability. Additionally, higher permeability was verified for both systems in Caco-2/HT29-MTX:Raji B because of the mucoadhesive character of chitosan and its ability to open tight junctions. The results indicated that DMCat micelles, due to the physico-chemical, improved characteristics may be a promising carrier to encapsulate CUR aiming cancer therapy. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Aberrant RNA Splicing in Cancer and Drug Resistance
Cancers 2018, 10(11), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10110458 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
More than 95% of the 20,000 to 25,000 transcribed human genes undergo alternative RNA splicing, which increases the diversity of the proteome. Isoforms derived from the same gene can have distinct and, in some cases, opposing functions. Accumulating evidence suggests that aberrant RNA
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More than 95% of the 20,000 to 25,000 transcribed human genes undergo alternative RNA splicing, which increases the diversity of the proteome. Isoforms derived from the same gene can have distinct and, in some cases, opposing functions. Accumulating evidence suggests that aberrant RNA splicing is a common and driving event in cancer development and progression. Moreover, aberrant splicing events conferring drug/therapy resistance in cancer is far more common than previously envisioned. In this review, aberrant splicing events in cancer-associated genes, namely BCL2L1, FAS, HRAS, CD44, Cyclin D1, CASP2, TMPRSS2-ERG, FGFR2, VEGF, AR and KLF6, will be discussed. Also highlighted are the functional consequences of aberrant splice variants (BCR-Abl35INS, BIM-γ, IK6, p61 BRAF V600E, CD19-∆2, AR-V7 and PIK3CD-S) in promoting resistance to cancer targeted therapy or immunotherapy. To overcome drug resistance, we discuss opportunities for developing novel strategies to specifically target the aberrant splice variants or splicing machinery that generates the splice variants. Therapeutic approaches include the development of splice variant-specific siRNAs, splice switching antisense oligonucleotides, and small molecule inhibitors targeting splicing factors, splicing factor kinases or the aberrant oncogenic protein isoforms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Bike-Sharing System Based on Pedal-Assisted Electric Bicycles for Bogota City
Electronics 2018, 7(11), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics7110337 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The lack of sustainable solutions to mobility and transportation is a major problem in Latin American cities and requires prompt solutions. The main issues in Latin America are the high-cost of solutions, no inclusion of renewable energies, poor energy management, the use of
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The lack of sustainable solutions to mobility and transportation is a major problem in Latin American cities and requires prompt solutions. The main issues in Latin America are the high-cost of solutions, no inclusion of renewable energies, poor energy management, the use of foreign systems not adapted to local contexts, ineffective regional legislation and politics, among others. In this paper the main technical issues concerning the implementation of a bike-sharing system using pedaling-assisted (PAS) electric bicycles for Bogota City are discussed and a solution is proposed. To solve such problems, a methodology to design a tailored solution well suited to Bogota citizen’s needs is developed. Such methodology starts with the development of an on-board-computer (OBC) in order to characterize bike-users by collecting a rider’s data in real-time. Furthermore, the proposed solution develops a low-cost middle-drive (mid-drive) propulsion system for the PAS in the electric bike using brushless-DC (BLDC) motors and by implementing a field-oriented controller (FOC). The reported bike-sharing system also includes the development and implementation of two charging-stations that enable charging the battery on the electric bikes exclusively by using photovoltaic energy. Experimental results are presented and discussed. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Microparticle Manipulation and Imaging through a Self-Calibrated Liquid Crystal on Silicon Display
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(11), 2310; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8112310 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
We present in this paper a revision of three different methods we conceived in the framework of liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) display optimization and application. We preliminarily demonstrate an LCoS self-calibration technique, from which we can perform a complete LCoS characterization. In
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We present in this paper a revision of three different methods we conceived in the framework of liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) display optimization and application. We preliminarily demonstrate an LCoS self-calibration technique, from which we can perform a complete LCoS characterization. In particular, two important characteristics of LCoS displays are retrieved by using self-addressed digital holograms. On the one hand, we determine its phase-voltage curve by using the interference pattern generated by a digital two-sectorial split-lens configuration. On the other hand, the LCoS surface profile is also determined by using a self-addressed dynamic micro-lens array pattern. Second, the implementation of microparticle manipulation through optical traps created by an LCoS display is demonstrated. Finally, an LCoS display based inline (IL) holographic imaging system is described. By using the LCoS display to implement a double-sideband filter configuration, this inline architecture demonstrates the advantage of obtaining dynamic holographic imaging of microparticles independently of their spatial positions by avoiding the non-desired conjugate images. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Illumination-Insensitive Skin Depth Estimation from a Light-Field Camera Based on CGANs toward Haptic Palpation
Electronics 2018, 7(11), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics7110336 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A depth estimation has been widely studied with the emergence of a Lytro camera. However, skin depth estimation using a Lytro camera is too sensitive to the influence of illumination due to its low image quality, and thus, when three-dimensional reconstruction is attempted,
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A depth estimation has been widely studied with the emergence of a Lytro camera. However, skin depth estimation using a Lytro camera is too sensitive to the influence of illumination due to its low image quality, and thus, when three-dimensional reconstruction is attempted, there are limitations in that either the skin texture information is not properly expressed or considerable numbers of errors occur in the reconstructed shape. To address these issues, we propose a method that enhances the texture information and generates robust images unsusceptible to illumination using a deep learning method, conditional generative adversarial networks (CGANs), in order to estimate the depth of the skin surface more accurately. Because it is difficult to estimate the depth of wrinkles with very few characteristics, we have built two cost volumes using the difference of the pixel intensity and gradient, in two ways. Furthermore, we demonstrated that our method could generate a skin depth map more precisely by preserving the skin texture effectively, as well as by reducing the noise of the final depth map through the final depth-refinement step (CGAN guidance image filtering) to converge into a haptic interface that is sensitive to the small surface noise. Full article
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