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Biology, Volume 12, Issue 4 (April 2023) – 147 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Circadian (near-24 hour) rhythms in almost all behaviors and physiological processes in mammals are controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a group of neurons in the hypothalamus that synchronizes the brain and body to local time. However, the circuits linking the outside world and the rest of the brain and body to the SCN, and the SCN to downstream targets, are not fully understood. Here, we review our current knowledge of the inputs onto and outputs from the SCN, emphasizing a need for a more complete understanding of SCN connectivity. View this paper
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15 pages, 1938 KiB  
Article
Evidence for Prepulse Inhibition of Visually Evoked Motor Response in Drosophila melanogaster
by Helgi B. Schiöth, Laura Donzelli, Nicklas Arvidsson, Michael J. Williams and Thiago C. Moulin
Biology 2023, 12(4), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040635 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1712
Abstract
Prepulse inhibition (PPI) is a widely investigated behavior to study the mechanisms of disorders such as anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar mania. PPI has been observed across various vertebrate and invertebrate species; however, it has not yet been reported in adult Drosophila melanogaster. [...] Read more.
Prepulse inhibition (PPI) is a widely investigated behavior to study the mechanisms of disorders such as anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar mania. PPI has been observed across various vertebrate and invertebrate species; however, it has not yet been reported in adult Drosophila melanogaster. In this study, we describe the first detection of PPI of visually evoked locomotor arousal in flies. To validate our findings, we demonstrate that PPI in Drosophila can be partially reverted by the N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist MK-801, known for inducing sensorimotor gating deficits in rodent models. Additionally, we show that the visually evoked response can be inhibited by multiple stimuli presentation, which can also be affected by MK-801. Given the versatility of Drosophila as a model organism for genetic screening and analysis, our results suggest that high-throughput behavioral screenings of adult flies can become a valuable tool for investigating the mechanisms behind PPI. Full article
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16 pages, 1364 KiB  
Review
Uterine Transcriptome: Understanding Physiology and Disease Processes
by Gregory W. Kirschen, Kamran Hessami, Abdelrahman AlAshqar, Sadia Afrin, Bethlehem Lulseged and Mostafa Borahay
Biology 2023, 12(4), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040634 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2115
Abstract
In recent years, transcriptomics has enabled us to gain a deeper understanding of fundamental reproductive physiology, including the menstrual cycle, through a more precise molecular analysis. The endometrial mRNA transcript levels fluctuate during the normal menstrual cycle, indicating changes in the relative recruitment [...] Read more.
In recent years, transcriptomics has enabled us to gain a deeper understanding of fundamental reproductive physiology, including the menstrual cycle, through a more precise molecular analysis. The endometrial mRNA transcript levels fluctuate during the normal menstrual cycle, indicating changes in the relative recruitment and abundance of inflammatory cells, as well as changes in the receptivity and remodeling of the endometrium. In addition to providing a more comprehensive understanding of the molecular underpinnings of pathological gynecological conditions such as endometriosis, leiomyomas, and adenomyosis through RNA sequencing, this has allowed researchers to create transcriptome profiles during both normal menstrual cycles and pathological gynecological conditions. Such insights could potentially lead to more targeted and personalized therapies for benign gynecological conditions. Here, we provide an overview of recent advances in transcriptome analysis of normal and pathological endometrium. Full article
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13 pages, 2580 KiB  
Article
Adaptation of Commensal Escherichia coli in Tomato Fruits: Motility, Stress, Virulence
by Alberto Vassallo, Roberta Amoriello, Prandvera Guri, Lorenzo Casbarra, Matteo Ramazzotti, Marco Zaccaroni, Clara Ballerini, Duccio Cavalieri and Massimiliano Marvasi
Biology 2023, 12(4), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040633 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1723
Abstract
Food contamination can be a serious concern for public health because it can be related to the severe spreading of pathogens. This is a main issue, especially in the case of fresh fruits and vegetables; indeed, they have often been associated with gastrointestinal [...] Read more.
Food contamination can be a serious concern for public health because it can be related to the severe spreading of pathogens. This is a main issue, especially in the case of fresh fruits and vegetables; indeed, they have often been associated with gastrointestinal outbreak events, due to contamination with pathogenic bacteria. However, little is known about the physiological adaptation and bacterial response to stresses encountered in the host plant. Thus, this work aimed to investigate the adaptation of a commensal E. coli strain while growing in tomato pericarp. Pre-adapted and non-adapted cells were compared and used to contaminate tomatoes, demonstrating that pre-adaptation boosted cell proliferation. DNA extracted from pre-adapted and non-adapted cells was sequenced, and their methylation profiles were compared. Hence, genes involved in cell adhesion and resistance against toxic compounds were identified as genes involved in adaptation, and their expression was compared in these two experimental conditions. Finally, pre-adapted and non-adapted E. coli were tested for their ability to resist the presence of toxic compounds, demonstrating that adaptation exerted a protective effect. In conclusion, this work provides new information about the physiological adaptation of bacteria colonizing the tomato fruit pericarp. Full article
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17 pages, 4659 KiB  
Article
Both Nuclear and Membrane Estrogen Receptor Alpha Impact the Expression of Estrogen Receptors and Plasticity Markers in the Mouse Hypothalamus and Hippocampus
by Sanoara Mazid, Elizabeth M. Waters, Chloe Lopez-Lee, Renata Poultan Kamakura, Batsheva R. Rubin, Ellis R. Levin, Bruce S. McEwen and Teresa A. Milner
Biology 2023, 12(4), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040632 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1679
Abstract
Estrogens via estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) genomic and nongenomic signaling can influence plasticity processes in numerous brain regions. Using mice that express nuclear only ERα (NOER) or membrane only ERα (MOER), this study examined the effect of receptor compartmentalization on the paraventricular nucleus [...] Read more.
Estrogens via estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) genomic and nongenomic signaling can influence plasticity processes in numerous brain regions. Using mice that express nuclear only ERα (NOER) or membrane only ERα (MOER), this study examined the effect of receptor compartmentalization on the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) and the hippocampus. The absence of nuclear and membrane ERα expression impacted females but not males in these two brain areas. In the PVN, quantitative immunohistochemistry showed that the absence of nuclear ERα increased nuclear ERβ. Moreover, in the hippocampus CA1, immuno-electron microscopy revealed that the absence of either nuclear or membrane ERα decreased extranuclear ERα and pTrkB in synapses. In contrast, in the dentate gyrus, the absence of nuclear ERα increased pTrkB in synapses, whereas the absence of membrane ERα decreased pTrkB in axons. However, the absence of membrane only ERα decreased the sprouting of mossy fibers in CA3 as reflected by changes in zinc transporter immunolabeling. Altogether these findings support the idea that both membrane and nuclear ERα contribute overlapping and unique actions of estrogen that are tissue- and cellular-specific. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Roles and Functions of Brain-Derived Estrogen)
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22 pages, 4494 KiB  
Article
Anatomical, Histological, and Morphometrical Investigations of the Auditory Ossicles in Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus from Saint Kitts Island
by Cristian Olimpiu Martonos, Alexandru Ion Gudea, Ioana A. Ratiu, Florin Gheorghe Stan, Pompei Bolfă, William Brady Little and Cristian Constantin Dezdrobitu
Biology 2023, 12(4), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040631 - 21 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1593
Abstract
Otological studies rely on a lot of data drawn from animal studies. A lot of pathological or evolutionary questions may find answers in studies on primates, providing insights into the morphological, pathological, and physiological aspects of systematic biological studies. Our study on auditory [...] Read more.
Otological studies rely on a lot of data drawn from animal studies. A lot of pathological or evolutionary questions may find answers in studies on primates, providing insights into the morphological, pathological, and physiological aspects of systematic biological studies. Our study on auditory ossicles moves from a pure morphological (macroscopic and microscopic) investigation of auditory ossicles to the morphometrical evaluation of several individuals as well as to some interpretative data regarding some functional aspects drawn from these investigations. Particularities from this perspective blend with metric data and point toward comparative elements that might also serve as an important reference in further morphologic and comparative studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Osteoimmunology and Bone Biology)
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16 pages, 4243 KiB  
Article
Cofilin Inhibitor Protects against Traumatic Brain Injury-Induced Oxidative Stress and Neuroinflammation
by Ghaith A. Bahader, Antonisamy William James, Daniyah A. Almarghalani and Zahoor A. Shah
Biology 2023, 12(4), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040630 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2114
Abstract
Microglial activation and failure of the antioxidant defense mechanisms are major hallmarks in different brain injuries, particularly traumatic brain injury (TBI). Cofilin is a cytoskeleton-associated protein involved in actin binding and severing. In our previous studies, we identified the putative role of cofilin [...] Read more.
Microglial activation and failure of the antioxidant defense mechanisms are major hallmarks in different brain injuries, particularly traumatic brain injury (TBI). Cofilin is a cytoskeleton-associated protein involved in actin binding and severing. In our previous studies, we identified the putative role of cofilin in mediating microglial activation and apoptosis in ischemic and hemorrhagic conditions. Others have highlighted the involvement of cofilin in ROS production and the resultant neuronal death; however, more studies are needed to delineate the role of cofilin in oxidative stress conditions. The present study aims to investigate the cellular and molecular effects of cofilin in TBI using both in vitro and in vivo models as well as the first-in-class small-molecule cofilin inhibitor (CI). An in vitro H2O2-induced oxidative stress model was used in two different types of cells, human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) and microglia (HMC3), along with an in vivo controlled cortical impact model of TBI. Our results show that treatment with H2O2 increases the expression of cofilin and slingshot-1 (SSH-1), an upstream regulator of cofilin, in microglial cells, which was significantly reduced in the CI-treated group. Cofilin inhibition significantly attenuated H2O2-induced microglial activation by reducing the release of proinflammatory mediators. Furthermore, we demonstrate that CI protects against H2O2-induced ROS accumulation and neuronal cytotoxicity, activates the AKT signaling pathway by increasing its phosphorylation, and modulates mitochondrial-related apoptogenic factors. The expression of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and its associated antioxidant enzymes were also increased in CI-treated SY-SY5Y. In the mice model of TBI, CI significantly activated the Nrf2 and reduced the expression of oxidative/nitrosative stress markers at the protein and gene levels. Together, our data suggest that cofilin inhibition provides a neuroprotective effect in in vitro and in vivo TBI mice models by inhibiting oxidative stress and inflammatory responses, the pivotal mechanisms involved in TBI-induced brain damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Fields of Neurotrauma and Neuroregeneration)
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12 pages, 2223 KiB  
Article
TRPC4 Channel Knockdown in the Hippocampal CA1 Region Impairs Modulation of Beta Oscillations in Novel Context
by Babak Saber Marouf, Antonio Reboreda, Frederik Theissen, Rahul Kaushik, Magdalena Sauvage, Alexander Dityatev and Motoharu Yoshida
Biology 2023, 12(4), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040629 - 21 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1486
Abstract
Hippocampal local field potentials (LFP) are highly related to behavior and memory functions. It has been shown that beta band LFP oscillations are correlated with contextual novelty and mnemonic performance. Evidence suggests that changes in neuromodulators, such as acetylcholine and dopamine, during exploration [...] Read more.
Hippocampal local field potentials (LFP) are highly related to behavior and memory functions. It has been shown that beta band LFP oscillations are correlated with contextual novelty and mnemonic performance. Evidence suggests that changes in neuromodulators, such as acetylcholine and dopamine, during exploration in a novel environment underlie changes in LFP. However, potential downstream mechanisms through which neuromodulators may alter the beta band oscillation in vivo remain to be fully understood. In this paper, we study the role of the membrane cationic channel TRPC4, which is modulated by various neuromodulators through G-protein-coupled receptors, by combining shRNA-mediated TRPC4 knockdown (KD) with LFP measurements in the CA1 region of the hippocampus in behaving mice. We demonstrate that the increased beta oscillation power seen in the control group mice in a novel environment is absent in the TRPC4 KD group. A similar loss of modulation was also seen in the low-gamma band oscillations in the TRPC4 KD group. These results demonstrate that TRPC4 channels are involved in the novelty-induced modulation of beta and low-gamma oscillations in the CA1 region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroscience)
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13 pages, 1708 KiB  
Article
Aromatic Plants and Their Associated Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Outcompete Tuber melanosporum in Compatibility Assays with Truffle-Oaks
by Vasiliki Barou, Ana Rincón, Cinta Calvet, Amelia Camprubí and Javier Parladé
Biology 2023, 12(4), 628; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040628 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1609
Abstract
The high value of black truffle recompenses the slow growth of the fungus when established in the field. Adding a secondary crop, such as medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs), could further enhance the sustainability of truffle production agro-forest systems. The dual cultures of [...] Read more.
The high value of black truffle recompenses the slow growth of the fungus when established in the field. Adding a secondary crop, such as medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs), could further enhance the sustainability of truffle production agro-forest systems. The dual cultures of ectomycorrhizal truffle-oak seedlings and MAPs (lavender, thyme, and sage) previously inoculated and non-inoculated with native arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), were established to evaluate plant–fungi relationships. After 12 months in a shadehouse, plants’ growth, mycorrhizal colonization, and extraradical soil mycelium (both of Tuber melanosporum and AMF) were measured. Overall, truffle-oaks’ growth was negatively affected by the presence of MAPs, especially when inoculated with AMF. In turn, the presence of truffle-oaks barely affected the co-cultured MAPs, and only lavenders showed a significant growth reduction. All AMF-inoculated MAPs showed higher shoot and root biomass than non-inoculated ones. Compared to truffle-oaks growing alone, the presence of co-cultured MAPs, especially when they were AMF-inoculated, significantly decreased both the ectomycorrhizas and soil mycelium of T. melanosporum. These results reveal the strong competition between AMF and T. melanosporum and warn about the need for the protection of intercropping plants and their associated symbiotic fungi to avoid reciprocal counterproductive effects in mixed truffle-oak–AMF–MAP plantations. Full article
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21 pages, 27512 KiB  
Article
Whole-Transcriptome Analysis of Repeated Low-Level Sarin-Exposed Rat Hippocampus and Identification of Cerna Networks to Investigate the Mechanism of Sarin-Induced Cognitive Impairment
by Jingjing Shi, Dongxin Liu, Qian Jin, Xuejun Chen, Ruihua Zhang, Tong Shi, Siqing Zhu, Yi Zhang, Xingxing Zong, Chen Wang and Liqin Li
Biology 2023, 12(4), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040627 - 20 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1380
Abstract
Sarin is a potent organophosphorus nerve agent that causes cognitive dysfunction, but its underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, a rat model of repeated low-level sarin exposure was established using the subcutaneous injection of 0.4 × LD50 for 21 [...] Read more.
Sarin is a potent organophosphorus nerve agent that causes cognitive dysfunction, but its underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, a rat model of repeated low-level sarin exposure was established using the subcutaneous injection of 0.4 × LD50 for 21 consecutive days. Sarin-exposed rats showed persistent learning and memory impairment and reduced hippocampal dendritic spine density. A whole-transcriptome analysis was applied to study the mechanism of sarin-induced cognitive impairment, and a total of 1035 differentially expressed mRNA (DEmRNA), including 44 DEmiRNA, 305 DElncRNA, and 412 DEcircRNA, were found in the hippocampus of sarin-treated rats. According to Gene Ontology (GO) annotation, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) enrichment, and Protein–Protein Interaction (PPI) analysis, these DERNAs were mainly involved in neuronal synaptic plasticity and were related to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. The circRNA/lncRNA–miRNA–mRNA ceRNA network was constructed, in which Circ_Fmn1, miR-741-3p, miR-764-3p, miR-871-3p, KIF1A, PTPN11, SYN1, and MT-CO3 formed one circuit, and Circ_Cacna1c, miR-10b-5p, miR-18a-5p, CACNA1C, PRKCD, and RASGRP1 constituted another circuit. The balance between the two circuits was crucial for maintaining synaptic plasticity and may be the regulatory mechanism by which sarin causes cognitive impairment. Our study reveals the ceRNA regulation mechanism of sarin exposure for the first time and provides new insights into the molecular mechanisms of other organophosphorus toxicants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Toxicology)
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10 pages, 913 KiB  
Article
Colostrum Quality Assessment in Dairy Goats: Use of an On-Farm Optical Refractometer
by Carlos C. Pérez-Marín, David Cano, Francisco A. Arrebola, Valerii H. Petrusha, Pavlo M. Skliarov, José A. Entrenas and Dolores C. Pérez-Marín
Biology 2023, 12(4), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040626 - 20 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1596
Abstract
Failure of passive immunity transfer is one of the main causes of increased susceptibility to infectious agents in newborn kids. To ensure successful transfer of passive immunity, kids need to be fed high-quality colostrum, containing an adequate concentration of IgG. This work evaluated [...] Read more.
Failure of passive immunity transfer is one of the main causes of increased susceptibility to infectious agents in newborn kids. To ensure successful transfer of passive immunity, kids need to be fed high-quality colostrum, containing an adequate concentration of IgG. This work evaluated the quality of colostrum obtained in the first 3 days postpartum from Malagueña dairy goats. The IgG concentration in colostrum was measured using an ELISA as a reference method, and it was estimated by optical refractometer. Colostrum composition in terms of fat and protein was also determined. The mean concentration of IgG was 36.6 ± 2.3 mg/mL, 22.4 ± 1.5 mg/mL and 8.4 ± 1.0 mg/mL on days 1, 2 and 3 after parturition, respectively. Brix values obtained using the optical refractometer were 23.2%, 18.6% and 14.1% for days 1, 2 and 3, respectively. In this population, 89% of goats produced high-quality colostrum with IgG concentrations of >20 mg/mL on the day of parturition, but this percentage declined dramatically over the following 2 days. The quality of the fresh colostrum estimated with the optical refractometer was positively correlated with those obtained using ELISA (r = 0.607, p = 0.001). This study highlights the importance of feeding first-day colostrum to newborn kids and demonstrates that the optical Brix refractometer is suitable for the on-farm estimation of IgG content in colostrum. Full article
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18 pages, 4652 KiB  
Article
Involvement of Dmp1 in the Precise Regulation of Hair Bundle Formation in the Developing Cochlea
by Yanmei Wang, Jihan Lyu, Xiaoqing Qian, Binjun Chen, Haojie Sun, Wenwei Luo, Fanglu Chi, Hongzhe Li and Dongdong Ren
Biology 2023, 12(4), 625; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040625 - 20 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1417
Abstract
Dentin matrix protein 1 (Dmp1) is a highly phosphorylated, extracellular matrix protein that is extensively expressed in bone and teeth but also found in soft tissues, including brain and muscle. However, the functions of Dmp1 in the mice cochlea are unknown. Our study [...] Read more.
Dentin matrix protein 1 (Dmp1) is a highly phosphorylated, extracellular matrix protein that is extensively expressed in bone and teeth but also found in soft tissues, including brain and muscle. However, the functions of Dmp1 in the mice cochlea are unknown. Our study showed that Dmp1 was expressed in auditory hair cells (HCs), with the role of Dmp1 in those cells identified using Dmp1 cKD mice. Immunostaining and scanning electron microscopy of the cochlea at P1 revealed that Dmp1 deficiency in mice resulted in an abnormal stereociliary bundle morphology and the mispositioning of the kinocilium. The following experiments further demonstrated that the cell-intrinsic polarity of HCs was affected without apparent effect on the tissue planer polarity, based on the observation that the asymmetric distribution of Vangl2 was unchanged whereas the Gαi3 expression domain was enlarged and Par6b expression was slightly altered. Then, the possible molecular mechanisms of Dmp1 involvement in inner ear development were explored via RNA-seq analysis. The study suggested that the Fgf23–Klotho endocrine axis may play a novel role in the inner ear and Dmp1 may regulate the kinocilium–stereocilia interaction via Fgf23–Klotho signaling. Together, our results proved the critical role of Dmp1 in the precise regulation of hair bundle morphogenesis in the early development of HCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics and Genomics)
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0 pages, 4657 KiB  
Article
In Vitro Nano-Polystyrene Toxicity: Metabolic Dysfunctions and Cytoprotective Responses of Human Spermatozoa
by Martina Contino, Greta Ferruggia, Stefania Indelicato, Roberta Pecoraro, Elena Maria Scalisi, Giovanni Bracchitta, Jessica Dragotto, Antonio Salvaggio and Maria Violetta Brundo
Biology 2023, 12(4), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040624 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1412
Abstract
The ubiquitous spread of Polystyrene nanoplastics (PS-NPs) has rendered chronic human exposure an unavoidable phenomenon. The biodistribution of such particles leads to bioaccumulation in target organs including the testis, the site of sperm maturation. The purpose of this research has been to estimate [...] Read more.
The ubiquitous spread of Polystyrene nanoplastics (PS-NPs) has rendered chronic human exposure an unavoidable phenomenon. The biodistribution of such particles leads to bioaccumulation in target organs including the testis, the site of sperm maturation. The purpose of this research has been to estimate the impact of PS-NPs (50 and 100 nm) on the metabolism of mature spermatozoa. The analysis of the semen parameters has revealed a higher toxicity of the smaller sized PS-NPs, which have negatively affected major organelles, leading to increased acrosomal damage, oxidative stress with the production of ROS, DNA fragmentation, and decreased mitochondrial activity. PS-NPs of 100 nm, on the other hand, have mainly affected the acrosome and induced a general state of stress. An attempt has also been made to highlight possible protective mechanisms such as the expression of HSP70s and their correlation among various parameters. The results have evinced a marked production of HSP70s in the samples exposed to the smaller PS-NPs, negatively correlated with the worsening in oxidative stress, DNA fragmentation, and mitochondrial anomalies. In conclusion, our results have confirmed the toxicity of PS-NPs on human spermatozoa but have also demonstrated the presence of mechanisms capable of counteracting at least in part these injuries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Reproductive Biology)
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18 pages, 2724 KiB  
Article
Isolation and Characterization of Bacteria with High Electroactive Potential from Poultry Wastewater
by Aliya Temirbekova, Zhanar Tekebayeva, Aslan Temirkhanov, Dinara Yevneyeva, Azamat Sadykov, Kulyash Meiramkulova, Timoth Mkilima and Akhan Abzhalelov
Biology 2023, 12(4), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040623 - 20 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1519
Abstract
Natural resources are in short supply, and the ecosystem is being damaged as a result of the overuse of fossil fuels. The creation of novel technology is greatly desired for investigating renewable and sustainable energy sources. Microorganisms have received a lot of interest [...] Read more.
Natural resources are in short supply, and the ecosystem is being damaged as a result of the overuse of fossil fuels. The creation of novel technology is greatly desired for investigating renewable and sustainable energy sources. Microorganisms have received a lot of interest recently for their potential to transform organic waste into sustainable energy and high-value goods. New exoelectrogens that can transmit electrons to electrodes and remove specific wastewater contaminants are expected to be studied. In this study, we examined three distinct samples (as determined by chemical oxygen demand and pH) that can be used as anolytes to generate power in single-chamber and double-chamber microbial fuel cells using graphite electrodes. Wastewater from poultry farms was studied as an exoelectrogenic anolyte for microbial fuel cell power generation. The study examined 10 different bacterial strains, numbered A1 through A10. Due to their highly anticipated capacity to metabolize organic/inorganic chemicals, the diverse range of microorganisms found in poultry wastewater inspired us to investigate the viability of generating electricity using microbial fuel cells. From the investigated bacterial strains, the highest voltage outputs were produced by strains A1 (Lysinibacillus sphaericus) and A2 (Bacillus cereus), respectively, at 402 mV and 350 mV. Among the 10 different bacterial strains, strain A6 generated the least amount of electricity, measuring 35.03 mV. Furthermore, a maximum power density of 16.16 1.02 mW/m2 was achieved by the microbial fuel cell using strain A1, significantly outperforming the microbial fuel cell using a sterile medium. The strain A2 showed significant current and power densities of 35 1.12 mA/m2 and 12.25 1.05 mW/m2, respectively. Moreover, in the two representative strains, chemical oxygen demand removal and Coulombic efficiency were noted. Samples from the effluent anode chamber were taken in order to gauge the effectiveness of chemical oxygen demand removal. Wastewater had an initial chemical oxygen demand content of 350 mg/L on average. Strains A1 and A2 decomposed 94.28% and 91.71%, respectively, of the organic substrate, according to the chemical oxygen demand removal efficiency values after 72 h. Strains A1 and A2 had electron donor oxidation efficiencies for 72 h of 54.1% and 60.67%, respectively. The Coulombic efficiency increased as the chemical oxygen demand decreased, indicating greater microbial electroactivity. With representative strains A1 and A2, Coulombic efficiencies of 10% and 3.5%, respectively, were obtained in the microbial fuel cell. The findings of this study greatly advance the field as a viable source of power technology for alternative energy in the future, which is important given the depletion of natural resources. Full article
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17 pages, 8220 KiB  
Article
A Highly Diverse Olenekian Brachiopod Fauna from the Nanpanjiang Basin, South China, and Its Implications for the Early Triassic Biotic Recovery
by Huiting Wu, Yang Zhang, Anfeng Chen and Thomas L. Stubbs
Biology 2023, 12(4), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040622 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1424
Abstract
As one of the predominant benthic organisms in the Palaeozoic, brachiopod was largely eliminated in the Permian–Triassic boundary mass extinction, and then highly diversified in the Middle Triassic. Since fossil data from the Early Triassic are rarely reported, the recovery patterns of Early [...] Read more.
As one of the predominant benthic organisms in the Palaeozoic, brachiopod was largely eliminated in the Permian–Triassic boundary mass extinction, and then highly diversified in the Middle Triassic. Since fossil data from the Early Triassic are rarely reported, the recovery patterns of Early Triassic brachiopods remain unclear. This study documents a well-preserved fauna that is the most diverse Olenekian brachiopod fauna so far (age constrained by conodont biostratigraphy) from the Datuguan section of ramp facies in South China. This fauna is composed of 14 species within nine genera, including six genera (Hirsutella, Sulcatinella, Paradoxothyris, Dioristella, Neoretzia and Isocrania) found in the Early Triassic for the first time and three new species, including Paradoxothyris flatus sp. nov., Hirsutella sulcata sp. nov. and Sulcatinella elongata sp. nov. The Datuguan fauna indicates that the diversity of Olenekian brachiopod fauna has been underestimated, which can be caused by a combination of reduced habitats (in geographic size and sedimentary type) compared with the end-Permian, great bed thickness making it difficult to find fossils and most species in the fauna having low abundance. Based on the faunal change in the Datuguan section and environmental changes in South China, it can be inferred that brachiopod recovery in the studied section occurred in the latest Spathian rather than the Smithian when the environment started to ameliorate. Global brachiopod data also indicates that the initial recovery of brachiopods happened in the Spathian, and many genera that widely occurred in the Middle or Late Triassic had originated in the Olenekian. Full article
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12 pages, 1764 KiB  
Article
Development and Characterization of Inducible Astrocyte-Specific Aromatase Knockout Mice
by Jing Wang, Uday P. Pratap, Yujiao Lu, Gangadhara R. Sareddy, Rajeshwar R. Tekmal, Ratna K. Vadlamudi and Darrell W. Brann
Biology 2023, 12(4), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040621 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1420
Abstract
17β-estradiol (E2) is produced in the brain as a neurosteroid, in addition to being an endocrine signal in the periphery. The current animal models for studying brain-derived E2 include global and conditional non-inducible knockout mouse models. The aim of this study was [...] Read more.
17β-estradiol (E2) is produced in the brain as a neurosteroid, in addition to being an endocrine signal in the periphery. The current animal models for studying brain-derived E2 include global and conditional non-inducible knockout mouse models. The aim of this study was to develop a tamoxifen (TMX)-inducible astrocyte-specific aromatase knockout mouse line (GFAP-ARO-iKO mice) to specifically deplete the E2 synthesis enzymes and aromatase in astrocytes after their development in adult mice. The characterization of the GFAP-ARO-iKO mice revealed a specific and robust depletion in the aromatase expressions of their astrocytes and a significant decrease in their hippocampal E2 levels after a GCI. The GFAP-ARO-iKO animals were alive and fertile and had a normal general brain anatomy, with a normal astrocyte shape, intensity, and distribution. In the hippocampus, after a GCI, the GFAP-ARO-iKO animals showed a major deficiency in their reactive astrogliosis, a dramatically increased neuronal loss, and increased microglial activation. These findings indicate that astrocyte-derived E2 (ADE2) regulates the ischemic induction of reactive astrogliosis and microglial activation and is neuroprotective in the ischemic brain. The GFAP-ARO-iKO mouse models thus provide an important new model to help elucidate the roles and functions of ADE2 in the brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroscience)
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16 pages, 2065 KiB  
Article
Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Obesity Potential of Extracts Containing Phenols, Chlorophyll and Carotenoids from Mexican Wild Populations of Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst
by Martha Martínez-García, Gloria Garduño-Solórzano, Graciliana Lopes, Begoña Astrain Sanchez, Ralph Urbatzka, Guilherme Scotta Hentschke, Jorge E. Campos and Vitor Manuel Oliveira Vasconcelos
Biology 2023, 12(4), 620; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040620 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1693
Abstract
Some of the species of the genus Bacopa have been used in Pharmacopoeia worldwide. However, in Mexico, Bacopa monnieri has neither been extensively cultivated nor studied, nor has their use in traditional medicine been reported. The aim of this work was to assess [...] Read more.
Some of the species of the genus Bacopa have been used in Pharmacopoeia worldwide. However, in Mexico, Bacopa monnieri has neither been extensively cultivated nor studied, nor has their use in traditional medicine been reported. The aim of this work was to assess the taxonomic verification of the four wild populations of B. monnieri, the chemical content of their pigments and phenols and to provide an analysis of their potential bioactivity. B. monnieri wild populations from Mexico were validated using molecular markers. Chromatographic profiling using HPLC-PDA revealed 21 compounds comprising 12 chlorophylls and nine carotenoids; of the latter, the major ones were lutein (0.921 ± 0.031 μg/mg of dry extract) and β-carotene (0.095 ± 0.003 μg/mg of dry extract). The total phenolic content, determined using the Folin–Ciocalteu assay, ranged from 54.8 ± 5.8 to 70.3 ± 2.2 µg of gallic acid equivalents (GAE)/mg. Plant extracts scavenged from the free radical DPPH in IC50 ranged from 130.6 ± 3.0 to 249.9 ± 12.1 µg dry extract/mL. In terms of the anti-inflammatory potential, the most effective extract was from a soil-based plant from Jalisco (BS), reduced from nitric oxide in a RAW 264.7 culture medium, with an IC50 value of 134 µg of dry extract/mL. The BS extract showed a significant neutral lipid-reducing activity in the zebrafish model, ranging from 3.13 μg/mL p < 0.05 to 100 μg/mL p < 0.0001. Overall, the extracts analyzed here for the first time seem promising for future use because of their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Science)
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10 pages, 1656 KiB  
Communication
Automatic Segmentation of Osteonal Microstructure in Human Cortical Bone Using Deep Learning: A Proof of Concept
by Alina Littek, Stephen J. McKenna, Wei Xiong Chiam, Elena F. Kranioti, Emanuele Trucco and Julieta G. García-Donas
Biology 2023, 12(4), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040619 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1879
Abstract
Cortical bone microstructure assessment in biological and forensic anthropology can assist with the estimation of age-at-death and animal-human differentiation, for example. Osteonal structures within cortical bone are the key feature under analysis, with osteon frequency and metric parameters providing crucial information for the [...] Read more.
Cortical bone microstructure assessment in biological and forensic anthropology can assist with the estimation of age-at-death and animal-human differentiation, for example. Osteonal structures within cortical bone are the key feature under analysis, with osteon frequency and metric parameters providing crucial information for the assessment. Currently, the histomorphological assessment consists of a time-consuming manual process for which specific training is required. Our work investigates the feasibility of automatic analysis of human bone microstructure images through the application of deep learning. In this paper, we use a U-Net architecture to address the semantic segmentation of such images into three classes: intact osteons, fragmentary osteons, and background. Data augmentation was used to avoid overfitting. We evaluated our fully automatic approach using a sample of 99 microphotographs. The contours of intact and fragmentary osteons were traced manually to provide ground truth. The Dice coefficients were 0.73 for intact osteons, 0.38 for fragmented osteons, and 0.81 for background, giving an average of 0.64. The Dice coefficient of the binary classification osteon-background was 0.82. Although further refinement of the initial model and tests with larger datasets are needed, this study provides, to the best of our knowledge, the first proof of concept for the use of computer vision and deep learning for differentiating both intact and fragmentary osteons in human cortical bone. This approach has the potential to widen and facilitate the use of histomorphological assessment in the biological and forensic anthropology communities. Full article
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10 pages, 707 KiB  
Article
Plant Traits Guide Species Selection in Vegetation Restoration for Soil and Water Conservation
by Denggao Fu, Xiaoni Wu, Lianyu Hu, Xudong Ma, Chunjie Shen, Huaye Shang, Gongning Huang, Yongjian He and Changqun Duan
Biology 2023, 12(4), 618; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040618 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1413
Abstract
Great efforts have been made to improve the soil and water conservation capacity by restoring plant communities in different climatic and land-use types. However, how to select suitable species from local species pools that not only adapt to different site environments, but also [...] Read more.
Great efforts have been made to improve the soil and water conservation capacity by restoring plant communities in different climatic and land-use types. However, how to select suitable species from local species pools that not only adapt to different site environments, but also achieve certain soil and water conservation capacities is a great challenge in vegetation restoration for practitioners and scientists. So far, little attention has been paid to plant functional response and effect traits related to environment resource and ecosystem functions. In this study, together with soil properties and ecohydrological functions, we measured the seven plant functional traits for the most common species in different restoration communities in a subtropical mountain ecosystem. Multivariate optimization analyses were performed to identify the functional effect types and functional response types based on specific plant traits. We found that the community-weighted means of traits differed significantly among the four community types, and the plant functional traits were strongly linked with soil physicochemical properties and ecohydrological functions. Based on three optimal effect traits (specific leaf area, leaf size, and specific root length) and two response traits (specific leaf area and leaf nitrogen concentration), seven functional effect types in relation to the soil and water conservation capacity (interception of canopy and stemflow, maximum water-holding capacity of litter, maximum water-holding capacity of soil, soil surface runoff, and soil erosion) and two plant functional response types to soil physicochemical properties were identified. The redundancy analysis showed that the sum of all canonical eigenvalues only accounted for 21.6% of the variation in functional response types, which suggests that community effects on soil and water conservation cannot explain the overall structure of community responses related to soil resources. The eight overlapping species between the plant functional response types and functional effect types were ultimately selected as the key species for vegetation restoration. Based on the above results, we offer an ecological basis for choosing the appropriate species based on functional traits, which may be very helpful for practitioners involved in ecological restoration and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration of Plant Community)
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11 pages, 2831 KiB  
Article
Abnormal Characterization and Distribution of Circulating Regulatory T Cells in Patients with Chronic Spinal Cord Injury According to the Period of Evolution
by Ana M. Gómez-Lahoz, Sergio Haro Girón, Jorge Monserrat Sanz, Oscar Fraile-Martínez, Cielo Garcia-Montero, Diego J. Jiménez, Diego de Leon-Oliva, Miguel A. Ortega, Mar Atienza-Perez, David Diaz, Elisa Lopez-Dolado and Melchor Álvarez-Mon
Biology 2023, 12(4), 617; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040617 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 999
Abstract
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a progressive and complex neurological disorder accompanied by multiple systemic challenges. Peripheral immune dysfunction is a major event occurring after SCI, especially in its chronic phase. Previous works have demonstrated significant changes in different circulating immune compartments, including [...] Read more.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a progressive and complex neurological disorder accompanied by multiple systemic challenges. Peripheral immune dysfunction is a major event occurring after SCI, especially in its chronic phase. Previous works have demonstrated significant changes in different circulating immune compartments, including in T cells. However, the precise characterization of these cells remains to be fully unraveled, particularly when considering important variants such as the time since the initial injury. In the present work, we aimed to study the level of circulating regulatory T cells (Tregs) in SCI patients depending on the duration of evolution. For this purpose, we studied and characterized peripheral Tregs from 105 patients with chronic SCI using flow cytometry, with patients classified into three major groups depending on the time since initial injury: short period chronic (SCI-SP, <5 years since initial injury); early chronic (SCI-ECP, from 5–15 years post-injury) and late chronic SCI (SCI-LCP, more than 15 years post-injury. Our results show that both the SCI-ECP and SCI-LCP groups appeared to present increased proportions of CD4+ CD25+/low Foxp3+ Tregs in comparison to healthy subjects, whereas a decreased number of these cells expressing CCR5 was observed in SCI-SP, SCI-ECP, and SCI-LCP patients. Furthermore, an increased number of CD4+ CD25+/high/low Foxp3 with negative expression of CD45RA and CCR7 was observed in SCI-LCP patients when compared to the SCI-ECP group. Taken together, these results deepen our understanding of the immune dysfunction reported in chronic SCI patients and how the time since initial injury may drive this dysregulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Fields of Neurotrauma and Neuroregeneration)
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31 pages, 13540 KiB  
Article
In Vitro Cytotoxic Effect of Aqueous Extracts from Leaves and Rhizomes of the Seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile on HepG2 Liver Cancer Cells: Focus on Autophagy and Apoptosis
by Giulia Abruscato, Roberto Chiarelli, Valentina Lazzara, Diletta Punginelli, Simon Sugár, Manuela Mauro, Mariangela Librizzi, Vita Di Stefano, Vincenzo Arizza, Aiti Vizzini, Mirella Vazzana and Claudio Luparello
Biology 2023, 12(4), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040616 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1704
Abstract
Aqueous extracts from Posidonia oceanica’s green and brown (beached) leaves and rhizomes were prepared, submitted to phenolic compound and proteomic analysis, and examined for their potential cytotoxic effect on HepG2 liver cancer cells in culture. The chosen endpoints related to survival and [...] Read more.
Aqueous extracts from Posidonia oceanica’s green and brown (beached) leaves and rhizomes were prepared, submitted to phenolic compound and proteomic analysis, and examined for their potential cytotoxic effect on HepG2 liver cancer cells in culture. The chosen endpoints related to survival and death were cell viability and locomotory behavior, cell-cycle analysis, apoptosis and autophagy, mitochondrial membrane polarization, and cell redox state. Here, we show that 24 h exposure to both green-leaf- and rhizome-derived extracts decreased tumor cell number in a dose–response manner, with a mean half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) estimated at 83 and 11.5 μg of dry extract/mL, respectively. Exposure to the IC50 of the extracts appeared to inhibit cell motility and long-term cell replicating capacity, with a more pronounced effect exerted by the rhizome-derived preparation. The underlying death-promoting mechanisms identified involved the down-regulation of autophagy, the onset of apoptosis, the decrease in the generation of reactive oxygen species, and the dissipation of mitochondrial transmembrane potential, although, at the molecular level, the two extracts appeared to elicit partially differentiating effects, conceivably due to their diverse composition. In conclusion, P. oceanica extracts merit further investigation to develop novel promising prevention and/or treatment agents, as well as beneficial supplements for the formulation of functional foods and food-packaging material with antioxidant and anticancer properties. Full article
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16 pages, 3246 KiB  
Review
Climate Change, Extreme Temperatures and Sex-Related Responses in Spiders
by Jeffrey A. Harvey and Yuting Dong
Biology 2023, 12(4), 615; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040615 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2401
Abstract
Climatic extremes, such as heat waves, are increasing in frequency, intensity and duration under anthropogenic climate change. These extreme events pose a great threat to many organisms, and especially ectotherms, which are susceptible to high temperatures. In nature, many ectotherms, such as insects, [...] Read more.
Climatic extremes, such as heat waves, are increasing in frequency, intensity and duration under anthropogenic climate change. These extreme events pose a great threat to many organisms, and especially ectotherms, which are susceptible to high temperatures. In nature, many ectotherms, such as insects, may seek cooler microclimates and ’ride out´ extreme temperatures, especially when these are transient and unpredictable. However, some ectotherms, such as web-building spiders, may be more prone to heat-related mortality than more motile organisms. Adult females in many spider families are sedentary and build webs in micro-habitats where they spend their entire lives. Under extreme heat, they may be limited in their ability to move vertically or horizontally to find cooler microhabitats. Males, on the other hand, are often nomadic, have broader spatial distributions, and thus might be better able to escape exposure to heat. However, life-history traits in spiders such as the relative body size of males and females and spatial ecology also vary across different taxonomic groups based on their phylogeny. This may make different species or families more or less susceptible to heat waves and exposure to very high temperatures. Selection to extreme temperatures may drive adaptive responses in female physiology, morphology or web site selection in species that build small or exposed webs. Male spiders may be better able to avoid heat-related stress than females by seeking refuge under objects such as bark or rocks with cooler microclimates. Here, we discuss these aspects in detail and propose research focusing on male and female spider behavior and reproduction across different taxa exposed to temperature extremes. Full article
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11 pages, 1417 KiB  
Article
A Study on REM Sleep Homeostasis in the Day-Active Tree Shrew (Tupaia belangeri): Cold-Induced Suppression of REM Sleep Is Not Followed by a Rebound
by Sjoerd J. van Hasselt, Luisa Epifani, Danique Zantinge, Kornelija Vitkute, Martien J. H. Kas, Giancarlo Allocca and Peter Meerlo
Biology 2023, 12(4), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040614 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1460
Abstract
The function and regulation of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep is a topic of ongoing debate. It is often assumed that REM sleep is a homeostatically regulated process and that a need for REM sleep builds up, either during prior wakefulness or during preceding slow [...] Read more.
The function and regulation of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep is a topic of ongoing debate. It is often assumed that REM sleep is a homeostatically regulated process and that a need for REM sleep builds up, either during prior wakefulness or during preceding slow wave sleep. In the current study, we tested this hypothesis in six diurnal tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri), small mammals closely related to primates. All animals were individually housed and kept under a 12:12 light-dark cycle with an ambient temperature of 24 °C. We recorded sleep and temperature in the tree shrews for 3 consecutive 24 h days. During the second night, we exposed the animals to a low ambient temperature of 4 °C, a procedure that is known to suppress REM sleep. Cold exposure caused a significant drop in brain temperature and body temperature and also resulted in a strong and selective suppression of REM sleep by 64.9%. However, contrary to our expectation, the loss of REM sleep was not recovered during the subsequent day and night. These findings in a diurnal mammal confirm that the expression of REM sleep is highly sensitive to environmental temperature but do not support the view that REM sleep is homeostatically regulated in this species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Neurobiological Mechanisms of Sleep and Sleep Disorders)
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34 pages, 14603 KiB  
Article
Integration of Chemoinformatics and Multi-Omics Analysis Defines ECT2 as a Potential Target for Cancer Drug Therapy
by Mohamed A. Soltan, Muhammad Alaa Eldeen, Bayan H. Sajer, Reda F. A. Abdelhameed, Fawziah A. Al-Salmi, Eman Fayad, Ibrahim Jafri, Hebatallah Emam Mohammed Ahmed, Refaat A. Eid, Hesham M. Hassan, Mubarak Al-Shraim, Amr Negm, Ahmed E. Noreldin and Khaled M. Darwish
Biology 2023, 12(4), 613; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040613 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2155
Abstract
Epithelial cell transforming 2 (ECT2) is a potential oncogene and a number of recent studies have correlated it with the progression of several human cancers. Despite this elevated attention for ECT2 in oncology-related reports, there is no collective study to combine and integrate [...] Read more.
Epithelial cell transforming 2 (ECT2) is a potential oncogene and a number of recent studies have correlated it with the progression of several human cancers. Despite this elevated attention for ECT2 in oncology-related reports, there is no collective study to combine and integrate the expression and oncogenic behavior of ECT2 in a panel of human cancers. The current study started with a differential expression analysis of ECT2 in cancerous versus normal tissue. Following that, the study asked for the correlation between ECT2 upregulation and tumor stage, grade, and metastasis, along with its effect on patient survival. Moreover, the methylation and phosphorylation status of ECT2 in tumor versus normal tissue was assessed, in addition to the investigation of the ECT2 effect on the immune cell infiltration in the tumor microenvironment. The current study revealed that ECT2 was upregulated as mRNA and protein levels in a list of human tumors, a feature that allowed for the increased filtration of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and decreased the level of natural killer T (NKT) cells, which ultimately led to a poor prognosis survival. Lastly, we screened for several drugs that could inhibit ECT2 and act as antitumor agents. Collectively, this study nominated ECT2 as a prognostic and immunological biomarker, with reported inhibitors that represent potential antitumor drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Computing in Biology and Medicine II)
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16 pages, 3451 KiB  
Article
Modeling the Circadian Control of the Cell Cycle and Its Consequences for Cancer Chronotherapy
by Courtney Leung, Claude Gérard and Didier Gonze
Biology 2023, 12(4), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040612 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1364
Abstract
The mammalian cell cycle is governed by a network of cyclin/Cdk complexes which signal the progression into the successive phases of the cell division cycle. Once coupled to the circadian clock, this network produces oscillations with a 24 h period such that the [...] Read more.
The mammalian cell cycle is governed by a network of cyclin/Cdk complexes which signal the progression into the successive phases of the cell division cycle. Once coupled to the circadian clock, this network produces oscillations with a 24 h period such that the progression into each phase of the cell cycle is synchronized to the day–night cycle. Here, we use a computational model for the circadian clock control of the cell cycle to investigate the entrainment in a population of cells characterized by some variability in the kinetic parameters. Our numerical simulations showed that successful entrainment and synchronization are only possible with a sufficient circadian amplitude and an autonomous period close to 24 h. Cellular heterogeneity, however, introduces some variability in the entrainment phase of the cells. Many cancer cells have a disrupted clock or compromised clock control. In these conditions, the cell cycle runs independently of the circadian clock, leading to a lack of synchronization of cancer cells. When the coupling is weak, entrainment is largely impacted, but cells maintain a tendency to divide at specific times of day. These differential entrainment features between healthy and cancer cells can be exploited to optimize the timing of anti-cancer drug administration in order to minimize their toxicity and to maximize their efficacy. We then used our model to simulate such chronotherapeutic treatments and to predict the optimal timing for anti-cancer drugs targeting specific phases of the cell cycle. Although qualitative, the model highlights the need to better characterize cellular heterogeneity and synchronization in cell populations as well as their consequences for circadian entrainment in order to design successful chronopharmacological protocols. Full article
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16 pages, 4300 KiB  
Article
Application of BCXZM Composite for Arsenic Removal: EPS Production, Biotransformation and Immobilization of Bacillus XZM on Corn Cobs Biochar
by Sana Irshad, Zuoming Xie, Mao Qing, Asad Nawaz, Sajid Mehmood, Suliman Yousef Alomar, Muhammad Faheem and Noman Walayat
Biology 2023, 12(4), 611; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040611 - 18 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1390
Abstract
This study determined the effect of Bacillus XZM extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) production on the arsenic adsorption capacity of the Biochar-Bacillus XZM (BCXZM) composite. The Bacillus XZM was immobilized on corn cobs multifunction biochar to generate the BCXZM composite. The arsenic adsorption [...] Read more.
This study determined the effect of Bacillus XZM extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) production on the arsenic adsorption capacity of the Biochar-Bacillus XZM (BCXZM) composite. The Bacillus XZM was immobilized on corn cobs multifunction biochar to generate the BCXZM composite. The arsenic adsorption capacity of BCXZM composite was optimized at different pHs and As(V) concentrations using a central composite design (CCD)22 and maximum adsorption capacity (42.3 mg/g) was attained at pH 6.9 and 48.9 mg/L As(V) dose. The BCXZM composite showed a higher arsenic adsorption than biochar alone, which was further confirmed through scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrographs, EXD graph and elemental overlay as well. The bacterial EPS production was sensitive to the pH, which caused a major shift in the –NH, –OH, –CH, –C=O, –C–N, –SH, –COO and aromatic/-NO2 peaks of FTIR spectra. Regarding the techno economic analysis, it was revealed that USD 6.24 are required to prepare the BCXZM composite to treat 1000 gallons of drinking water (with 50 µg/L of arsenic). Our findings provide insights (such as adsorbent dose, optimum operating temperature and reaction time, and pollution load) for the potential application of the BCXZM composite as bedding material in fixed-bed bioreactors for the bioremediation of arsenic-contaminated water in future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbiology)
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17 pages, 6860 KiB  
Article
Climate Change and Human Activities, the Significant Dynamic Drivers of Himalayan Goral Distribution (Naemorhedus goral)
by Shiekh Marifatul Haq, Muhammad Waheed, Riyaz Ahmad, Rainer W. Bussmann, Fahim Arshad, Arshad Mahmood Khan, Ryan Casini, Abed Alataway, Ahmed Z. Dewidar and Hosam O. Elansary
Biology 2023, 12(4), 610; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040610 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2183
Abstract
The distribution of large ungulates is more often negatively impacted by the changing climate, especially global warming and species with limited distributional zones. While developing conservation action plans for the threatened species such as the Himalayan goral (Naemorhedus goral Hardwicke 1825; a [...] Read more.
The distribution of large ungulates is more often negatively impacted by the changing climate, especially global warming and species with limited distributional zones. While developing conservation action plans for the threatened species such as the Himalayan goral (Naemorhedus goral Hardwicke 1825; a mountain goat that mostly inhabits rocky cliffs), it is imperative to comprehend how future distributions might vary based on predicted climate change. In this work, MaxEnt modeling was employed to assess the habitat suitability of the target species under varying climate scenarios. Such studies have provided highly useful information but to date no such research work has been conducted that considers this endemic animal species of the Himalayas. A total of 81 species presence points, 19 bioclimatic and 3 topographic variables were employed in the species distribution modeling (SDM), and MaxEnt calibration and optimization were performed to select the best candidate model. For predicted climate scenarios, the future data is drawn from SSPs 245 and SSPs 585 of the 2050s and 2070s. Out of total 20 variables, annual precipitation, elevation, precipitation of driest month, slope aspect, minimum temperature of coldest month, slope, precipitation of warmest quarter, and temperature annual range (in order) were detected as the most influential drivers. A high accuracy value (AUC-ROC > 0.9) was observed for all the predicted scenarios. The habitat suitability of the targeted species might expand (about 3.7 to 13%) under all the future climate change scenarios. The same is evident according to local residents as species which are locally considered extinct in most of the area, might be shifting northwards along the elevation gradient away from human settlements. This study recommends additional research is conducted to prevent potential population collapses, and to identify other possible causes of local extinction events. Our findings will aid in formulating conservation plans for the Himalayan goral in a changing climate and serve as a basis for future monitoring of the species. Full article
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27 pages, 6118 KiB  
Article
Vernacular Taxonomy, Cultural and Ethnopharmacological Applications of Avian and Mammalian Species in the Vicinity of Ayubia National Park, Himalayan Region
by Sayda Maria Bashir, Muhammad Altaf, Tanveer Hussain, Muhammad Umair, Muhammad Majeed, Wali Muhammad Mangrio, Arshad Mahmood Khan, Allah Bakhsh Gulshan, M. Haroon Hamed, Sana Ashraf, Muhammad Shoaib Amjad, Rainer W. Bussmann, Arshad Mehmood Abbasi, Ryan Casini, Abed Alataway, Ahmed Z. Dewidar, Mohamed Al-Yafrsi, Mahmed H. Amin and Hosam O. Elansary
Biology 2023, 12(4), 609; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040609 - 17 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1427
Abstract
Numerous investigations on plant ethnomedicinal applications have been conducted; however, knowledge about the medicinal use of wild animals is still limited. This present study is the second on the medicinal and cultural meaning of avian and mammalian species used by the population in [...] Read more.
Numerous investigations on plant ethnomedicinal applications have been conducted; however, knowledge about the medicinal use of wild animals is still limited. This present study is the second on the medicinal and cultural meaning of avian and mammalian species used by the population in the surrounding area of the Ayubia National Park, KPK, Pakistan. Interviews and meetings were compiled from the participants (N = 182) of the study area. The relative frequency of citation, fidelity level, relative popularity level, and rank order priority indices were applied to analyze the information. Overall, 137 species of wild avian and mammalian species were documented. Of these, 18 avian and 14 mammalian species were utilized to treat different diseases. The present research showed noteworthy ethno-ornithological and ethno-mammalogical knowledge of local people and their connection with fauna, which might be useful in the sustainable utilization of the biological diversity of the Ayubia National Park, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Furthermore, in vivo and/or in vitro examination of the pharmacological activities of species with the highest fidelity level (FL%) as well as frequency of mention (FM) might be important for investigations on faunal-based new drugs. Full article
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21 pages, 2784 KiB  
Communication
Secretome Screening of BRAFV600E-Mutated Colon Cancer Cells Resistant to Vemurafenib
by Iris Car, Antje Dittmann, Marko Klobučar, Petra Grbčić, Sandra Kraljević Pavelić and Mirela Sedić
Biology 2023, 12(4), 608; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040608 - 17 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1793
Abstract
Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) carrying BRAFV600E mutation have worse response to chemotherapy and poor prognosis. The BRAFV600E inhibitor vemurafenib has shown modest efficacy as monotherapy in BRAF-mutated mCRC due to the development of resistance. The aim of this study was to [...] Read more.
Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) carrying BRAFV600E mutation have worse response to chemotherapy and poor prognosis. The BRAFV600E inhibitor vemurafenib has shown modest efficacy as monotherapy in BRAF-mutated mCRC due to the development of resistance. The aim of this study was to conduct a comparative proteomics profiling of the secretome from vemurafenib-sensitive vs. -resistant colon cancer cells harboring BRAFV600E mutation in order to identify specific secretory features potentially associated with changes in the resistant cells’ phenotype. Towards this aim, we employed two complementary proteomics approaches including two-dimensional gel electrophoresis coupled with MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry and label-free quantitative LC-MS/MS analysis. Obtained results pointed to aberrant regulation of DNA replication and endoplasmic reticulum stress as the major secretome features associated with chemoresistant phenotype. Accordingly, two proteins implicated in these processes including RPA1 and HSPA5/GRP78 were discussed in more details in the context of biological networks and their importance as potential secretome targets for further functional and clinical evaluation. Expression patterns of RPA1 and HSPA5/GRP78 in tumor tissues from colon cancer patients were also found in additional in silico analyses to be associated with BRAFV600E mutation status, which opens the possibility to extrapolate our findings and their clinical implication to other solid tumors harboring BRAFV600E mutation, such as melanoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Biology)
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19 pages, 2116 KiB  
Article
Lunar Cycle, Climate, and Onset of Parturition in Domestic Dromedary Camels: Implications of Species-Specific Metabolic Economy and Social Ecology
by Carlos Iglesias Pastrana, Francisco Javier Navas González, Juan Vicente Delgado Bermejo and Elena Ciani
Biology 2023, 12(4), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040607 - 17 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1437
Abstract
Given energy costs for gestating and caring for male offspring are higher than those of female newborns, external environmental conditions might be regarded as likely to affect the timing of delivery processes differentially depending on the sex of the newborn calf to be [...] Read more.
Given energy costs for gestating and caring for male offspring are higher than those of female newborns, external environmental conditions might be regarded as likely to affect the timing of delivery processes differentially depending on the sex of the newborn calf to be delivered. The aim of the present paper is to evaluate the association between environmental stressors such as the moon phase and weather-related factors and the onset of labor in female dromedaries. A binary logistic regression model was developed to find the most parsimonious set of variables that are most effective in predicting the probability for a gravid female dromedary to give birth to a male or a female calf, assuming that higher gestational costs and longer labor times are ascribed to the production of a male offspring. Although the differences in the quantitative distribution of spontaneous onset of labor across lunar phases and the mean climate per onset event along the whole study period were deemed nonsignificant (p > 0.05), a non-negligible prediction effect of a new moon, mean wind speed and maximum wind gust was present. At slightly brighter nights and lower mean wind speeds, a calf is more likely to be male. This microevolutionary response to the external environment may have been driven by physiological and behavioral adaptation of metabolic economy and social ecology to give birth to cooperative groups with the best possible reduction of thermoregulatory demands. Model performance indexes then highlighted the heterothermic character of camels to greatly minimize the impact of the external environment. The overall results will also enrich the general knowledge of the interplay between homeostasis and arid and semi-arid environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Animal Social Behavior and Social Evolution)
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11 pages, 1144 KiB  
Systematic Review
Structural Abnormalities in Brugada Syndrome and Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging: A Systematic Review
by Martina De Raffele, Assunta Di Domenico, Cristina Balla, Francesco Vitali, Alberto Boccadoro, Rita Pavasini, Marco Micillo, Marta Cocco, Gianluca Campo, Matteo Bertini and Elisabetta Tonet
Biology 2023, 12(4), 606; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12040606 - 17 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1810
Abstract
The aim of this review is to identify possible structural abnormalities of BrS and their potential association with symptoms, risk stratification, and prognosis. (1) Background: BrS has always been considered a purely electrical disease and imaging techniques do not currently play a specific [...] Read more.
The aim of this review is to identify possible structural abnormalities of BrS and their potential association with symptoms, risk stratification, and prognosis. (1) Background: BrS has always been considered a purely electrical disease and imaging techniques do not currently play a specific role in the diagnosis of this arrhythmic syndrome. Some authors have recently hypothesized the presence of structural and functional abnormalities. Therefore, several studies investigated the presence of pathological features in echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with BrS, but results were controversial. (2) Methods: We performed a systematic review of the literature on the spectrum of features detected by echocardiography and cardiac MRI. Articles were searched in Pubmed, Cochrane Library, and Biomed Central. Only papers published in English and in peer-reviewed journals up to November 2021 were selected. After an initial evaluation, 596 records were screened; the literature search identified 19 relevant articles. (3) Results: The imaging findings associated with BrS were as follows: right ventricular dilation, right ventricular wall motion abnormalities, delayed right ventricular contraction, speckle and feature tracking abnormalities, late gadolinium enhancement, and fat infiltration in the right ventricle. Furthermore, these features emerged more frequently in patients carrying the genetic mutation on the sodium voltage-gated channel α-subunit 5 (SCN5A) gene. (4) Conclusions: Specific imaging features detected by echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance are associated with BrS. However, this population appears to be heterogeneous and imaging anomalies emerged to be more frequent in patients carrying genetic mutations of SCN5A. Future studies with an evaluation of BrS patients are needed to identify the specific association linking the Brugada pattern, imaging abnormalities and their possible correlation with prognosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biophysics)
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