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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Delivery Format on Student Outcomes and Perceptions of a Veterinary Medicine Course: Synchronous versus Asynchronous Learning
Vet. Sci. 2021, 8(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci8020013 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted instruction at many veterinary schools to switch to an emergency remote teaching format to prevent viral transmission associated with in-person synchronous lectures. This study surveyed student perspectives and academic performance in a pre-planned online second-year veterinary toxicology course given [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted instruction at many veterinary schools to switch to an emergency remote teaching format to prevent viral transmission associated with in-person synchronous lectures. This study surveyed student perspectives and academic performance in a pre-planned online second-year veterinary toxicology course given at North Carolina State University in Spring 2020. This course relied on asynchronous narrated presentations for content delivery. This method of delivery predated the pandemic and was used throughout the course. Academic performance and patterns of access to materials in the online course was compared with the access patterns and performance of students given classroom-based synchronous teaching in Spring 2019. Assessments evaluated in this study were identical across courses. Students’ academic performance was unaffected by delivery method. Lack of instructor interaction was an important perceived barrier in the asynchronous course. Asynchronous course materials were uniformly accessed across all days of the week, while supplemental materials for the face-to-face course showed a weekly pattern. Moving from letter grades to pass/fail did not change access frequency to supplemental course materials but led to decreased video usage in the asynchronous course. Results suggest that although some veterinary students perceived the switch in delivery format negatively, the method of delivery did not adversely affect performance in this preclinical course. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Study on Mechanical Properties and Application of a New Flexible Bolt
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 924; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11030924 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
As mining depth extends continuously, complex geological environment and strong mining stress pose serious challenges against excavation safety and higher demand for bolt support. To meet the challenges, a new type of flexible bolt is developed that is free from the limitation of [...] Read more.
As mining depth extends continuously, complex geological environment and strong mining stress pose serious challenges against excavation safety and higher demand for bolt support. To meet the challenges, a new type of flexible bolt is developed that is free from the limitation of excavation height and can be installed quickly. The flexible bolts have a tail structure which is squeezed together by the locking casing and the steel-strand rod. The tail structure forms the thread through the rolling process, and then can be quickly installed by the nut rotation type, which avoids the disadvantages of the cable tension installation. Through the flexible long bolts, the thick anchoring layer of the roof can be constructed, and the safety control of the roadway is realized. To obtain the optimal specifications, locking casings of three diameters and lengths were used to prepare bolt samples for static tensile test. Test results show that when the diameter of locking casing is fixed, the peak resistance increases as the length of locking casing increases, but the increased amplitude tends to reduce gradually. When the length of locking casing is fixed, too large a diameter makes the mechanical property unstable. Finally, the optimal length and diameter of locking casing are set at 120 and 30 mm, respectively. In addition, cyclic loading tests were conducted, the results of which indicate that cyclic loading does not change the stress state within the bolts and that flexible bolts display a stable mechanical property. Field results indicate that flexible bolts achieve low damage of the surrounding rock and control the maximum roof fracture depth within 2.1 m, thus guaranteeing the roadway safety. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Crocins, the Bioactive Components of Crocus sativus L., Counteract the Disrupting Effects of Anesthetic Ketamine on Memory in Rats
Molecules 2021, 26(3), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26030528 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
Consistent experimental evidence suggests that anesthetic doses of the non-competitive N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist ketamine cause severe memory impairments in rodents. Crocins are among the various bioactive ingredients of the plant Crocus sativus L., and their implication in memory is well-documented. It [...] Read more.
Consistent experimental evidence suggests that anesthetic doses of the non-competitive N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist ketamine cause severe memory impairments in rodents. Crocins are among the various bioactive ingredients of the plant Crocus sativus L., and their implication in memory is well-documented. It has not yet been elucidated if crocins are able to attenuate the memory deficits produced by anesthetic ketamine. The present study was undertaken aiming to clarify this issue in the rat. For this aim, the object recognition, the object location and the habituation tests, reflecting non-spatial recognition memory, spatial recognition memory and associative memory, respectively, were utilized. A post-training challenge with crocins (15–30 mg/kg, intraperitoneally (i.p.), acutely) counteracted anesthetic ketamine (100 mg/kg, i.p.)-induced performance impairments in all the above-mentioned behavioral memory paradigms. The current findings suggest that crocins modulate anesthetic ketamine’s amnestic effects. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Improvement of Bacterial Vaginosis by Oral Lactobacillus Supplement: A Randomized, Double-Blinded Trial
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 902; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11030902 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection globally, with a high recurrent rate after antibiotic treatment. Probiotics consumption is known to improve BV with different efficacy among species or strains. After in vitro selection of Lactobacillus strains with growth inhibition and [...] Read more.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection globally, with a high recurrent rate after antibiotic treatment. Probiotics consumption is known to improve BV with different efficacy among species or strains. After in vitro selection of Lactobacillus strains with growth inhibition and preventing adhesion to HeLa cervical epithelial cells, a randomized and double-blinded trial of two Lactobacillus formula, namely, VGA-1 and VGA-2, in BV patients with Nugent scores of 4–10 was conducted. Among 37 subjects who completed the trial, we observed significantly decreased Nugent scores in both VGA-1 (n = 18) and VGA-2 (n = 19) consumption groups. VGA-1 consumption significantly improved vaginal discharge odor/color and itching at both 2-week and 4-week-consumption, but those only observed after a 4-week-consumption in the VGA-2 group. We also observed a tendency to reduce recurrent rates among enrolled participants after VGA-1 or VGA-2 consumption. The improvement effect of VGA-1/VGA-2 was associated with the significant reduction of interleukin-6 expression after 4-week-consumption and the restoration of normal vaginal microflora by quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis. In conclusion, VGA-1 or VGA-2 displayed beneficial effects in BV patients, but the VGA-1 formula showed a better efficacy, potentially used for BV intervention. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Ability of Luminescent Metal Assemblies to Bind and Sense Anionic or Ionizable Analytes A Ru(phen)2bipy-Based Dizinc Complex for Bisphenol A (BPA) Recognition
Molecules 2021, 26(3), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26030527 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
The synthesis of a new RuII complex, in which the metal is coordinated by two 1,10-phenanthroline ligands and a 2,2′-bipyridyl unit linked, via methylene bridges in its 4 and 4′ positions, to two 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane (cyclen) macrocycles ([Ru(phen)2L]2+) [...] Read more.
The synthesis of a new RuII complex, in which the metal is coordinated by two 1,10-phenanthroline ligands and a 2,2′-bipyridyl unit linked, via methylene bridges in its 4 and 4′ positions, to two 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane (cyclen) macrocycles ([Ru(phen)2L]2+) is reported. Protonation and ZnII binding by [Ru(phen)2L]2+ have been analyzed by potentiometric titration, evidencing the formation of mixed hetero-binuclear and hetero-trinuclear ZnII/RuII complexes. These complexes were tested as bis-phenol A (BPA) binders. Only the dizinc complex with [Ru(phen)2L]2+ is able to bind BPA in aqueous solution, affording a remarkably stable {Zn2[Ru(phen)2L]BPA(H−2)}4+ adduct at neutral pH, in which BPA is bound in its doubly deprotonated form to the two ZnII ions. BPA binding was found to quench the luminescence emission of the RuII(phen)2bipy core. Although the quenching effect is modest, this study demonstrates that appropriately designed dizinc complexes can be used for binding and optical sensing of BPA in water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exclusive Feature Papers in Inorganic Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Staphylococcus aureus Extracellular Vesicles: A Story of Toxicity and the Stress of 2020
Toxins 2021, 13(2), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13020075 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
Staphylococcus aureus generates and releases extracellular vesicles (EVs) that package cytosolic, cell-wall associated, and membrane proteins, as well as glycopolymers and exoproteins, including alpha hemolysin, leukocidins, phenol-soluble modulins, superantigens, and enzymes. S. aureus EVs, but not EVs from pore-forming toxin-deficient strains, were cytolytic [...] Read more.
Staphylococcus aureus generates and releases extracellular vesicles (EVs) that package cytosolic, cell-wall associated, and membrane proteins, as well as glycopolymers and exoproteins, including alpha hemolysin, leukocidins, phenol-soluble modulins, superantigens, and enzymes. S. aureus EVs, but not EVs from pore-forming toxin-deficient strains, were cytolytic for a variety of mammalian cell types, but EV internalization was not essential for cytotoxicity. Because S. aureus is subject to various environmental stresses during its encounters with the host during infection, we assessed how these exposures affected EV production in vitro. Staphylococci grown at 37 °C or 40 °C did not differ in EV production, but cultures incubated at 30 °C yielded more EVs when grown to the same optical density.S. aureus cultivated in the presence of oxidative stress, in iron-limited media, or with subinhibitory concentrations of ethanol, showed greater EV production as determined by protein yield and quantitative immunoblots. In contrast, hyperosmotic stress or subinhibitory concentrations of erythromycin reduced S. aureus EV yield. EVs represent a novel S. aureus secretory system that is affected by a variety of stress responses and allows the delivery of biologically active pore-forming toxins and other virulence determinants to host cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Staphylococcus aureus Toxins: Promoter or Handicap during Infection)
Open AccessArticle
New Developer Metrics for Open Source Software Development Challenges: An Empirical Study of Project Recommendation Systems
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 920; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11030920 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
Software collaboration platforms where millions of developers from diverse locations can contribute to the common open source projects have recently become popular. On these platforms, various information is obtained from developer activities that can then be used as developer metrics to solve a [...] Read more.
Software collaboration platforms where millions of developers from diverse locations can contribute to the common open source projects have recently become popular. On these platforms, various information is obtained from developer activities that can then be used as developer metrics to solve a variety of challenges. In this study, we proposed new developer metrics extracted from the issue, commit, and pull request activities of developers on GitHub. We created developer metrics from the individual activities and combined certain activities according to some common traits. To evaluate these metrics, we created an item-based project recommendation system. In order to validate this system, we calculated the similarity score using two methods and assessed top-n hit scores using two different approaches. The results for all scores with these methods indicated that the most successful metrics were binary_issue_related, issue_commented, binary_pr_related, and issue_opened. To verify our results, we compared our metrics with another metric generated from a very similar study and found that most of our metrics gave better scores that metric. In conclusion, the issue feature is more crucial for GitHub compared with other features. Moreover, commenting activity in projects can be equally as valuable as code contributions. The most of binary metrics that were generated, regardless of the number of activities, also showed remarkable results. In this context, we presented improvable and noteworthy developer metrics that can be used for a wide range of open-source software development challenges, such as user characterization, project recommendation, and code review assignment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Knowledge Retrieval and Reuse Ⅱ)
Open AccessArticle
Novel Flavivirus Attenuation Markers Identified in the Envelope Protein of Alfuy Virus
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13020147 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
Alfuy (ALFV) is an attenuated flavivirus related to the Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV). We previously identified markers of attenuation in the envelope (E) protein of the prototype strain (ALFV3929), including the hinge region (E273–277) and lack of glycosylation at E154-156. [...] Read more.
Alfuy (ALFV) is an attenuated flavivirus related to the Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV). We previously identified markers of attenuation in the envelope (E) protein of the prototype strain (ALFV3929), including the hinge region (E273–277) and lack of glycosylation at E154-156. To further determine the mechanisms of attenuation we assessed ALFV3929 binding to glycosaminoglycans (GAG), a known mechanism of flaviviruses attenuation. Indeed, ALFV3929 exhibited reduced binding to GAG-rich cells in the presence of heparin; however, low-passage ALFV isolates were relatively unaffected. Sequence comparisons between ALFV strains and structural modelling incriminated a positively-charged residue (K327) in ALFV3929 as a GAG-binding motif. Substitution of this residue to the corresponding uncharged residue in MVEV (L), using a previously described chimeric virus containing the prM & E genes of ALFV3929 in the backbone of MVEV (MVEV/ALFV-prME), confirmed a role for K327 in enhanced GAG binding. When the wild type residues at E327, E273–277 and E154–156 of ALFV3929 were replaced with the corresponding residues from virulent MVEV, it revealed each motif contributed to attenuation of ALFV3929, with the E327/E273–277 combination most dominant. These data demonstrate that attenuation of ALFV3929 is multifactorial and provide new insights for the rational design of attenuated flavivirus vaccines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flavivirus Vaccines)
Open AccessArticle
Additive Manufactured 316L Stainless-Steel Samples: Microstructure, Residual Stress and Corrosion Characteristics after Post-Processing
Metals 2021, 11(2), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/met11020182 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a relatively new manufacturing method that can produce complex geometries and optimized shapes with less process steps. In addition to distinct microstructural features, residual stresses and their formation are also inherent to AM components. AM components require several post-processing [...] Read more.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a relatively new manufacturing method that can produce complex geometries and optimized shapes with less process steps. In addition to distinct microstructural features, residual stresses and their formation are also inherent to AM components. AM components require several post-processing steps before they are ready for use. To change the traditional manufacturing method to AM, comprehensive characterization is needed to verify the suitability of AM components. On very demanding corrosion atmospheres, the question is does AM lower or eliminate the risk of stress corrosion cracking (SCC) compared to welded 316L components? This work concentrates on post-processing and its influence on the microstructure and surface and subsurface residual stresses. The shot peening (SP) post-processing levelled out the residual stress differences, producing compressive residual stresses of more than −400 MPa in the AM samples and the effect exceeded an over 100 µm layer below the surface. Post-processing caused grain refinement and low-angle boundary formation on the sample surface layer and silicon carbide (SiC) residue adhesion, which should be taken into account when using the components. Immersion tests with four-point-bending in the heated 80 °C magnesium chloride solution for SCC showed no difference between AM and reference samples even after a 674 h immersion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Additive Manufacturing – State of the Art 2020)
Open AccessLetter
Development of an Automated Optical Inspection System for Rapidly and Precisely Measuring Dimensions of Embedded Microchannel Structures in Transparent Bonded Chips
Sensors 2021, 21(3), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21030698 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
This study aimed to develop an automated optical inspection (AOI) system that can rapidly and precisely measure the dimensions of microchannels embedded inside a transparent polymeric substrate, and can eventually be used on the production line of a factory. The AOI system is [...] Read more.
This study aimed to develop an automated optical inspection (AOI) system that can rapidly and precisely measure the dimensions of microchannels embedded inside a transparent polymeric substrate, and can eventually be used on the production line of a factory. The AOI system is constructed based on Snell’s law. The concept holds that, when light travels through two transparent media (air and the microfluidic chip transparent material), by capturing the parallel refracted light from a light source that went through the microchannel using a camera with a telecentric lens, the image can be analyzed using formulas derived from Snell’s law to measure the dimensions of the microchannel cross-section. Through the NI LabVIEW 2018 SP1 programming interface, we programmed this system to automatically analyze the captured image and acquire all the needed data. The system then processes these data using custom-developed formulas to calculate the height and width measurements of the microchannel cross-sections and presents the results on the human–machine interface (HMI). In this study, a single and straight microchannel with a cross-sectional area of 300 μm × 300 μm and length of 44 mm was micromachined and sealed with another polymeric substrate by a solvent bonding method for experimentations. With this system, 45 cross-sectional areas along the straight microchannel were measured within 20 s, and experiment results showed that the average measured error was less than 2%. Full article
Open AccessReview
Roles of the C-Terminal Amino Acids of Non-Hexameric Helicases: Insights from Escherichia coli UvrD
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1018; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031018 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
Helicases are nucleic acid-unwinding enzymes that are involved in the maintenance of genome integrity. Several parts of the amino acid sequences of helicases are very similar, and these quite well-conserved amino acid sequences are termed “helicase motifs”. Previous studies by X-ray crystallography and [...] Read more.
Helicases are nucleic acid-unwinding enzymes that are involved in the maintenance of genome integrity. Several parts of the amino acid sequences of helicases are very similar, and these quite well-conserved amino acid sequences are termed “helicase motifs”. Previous studies by X-ray crystallography and single-molecule measurements have suggested a common underlying mechanism for their function. These studies indicate the role of the helicase motifs in unwinding nucleic acids. In contrast, the sequence and length of the C-terminal amino acids of helicases are highly variable. In this paper, I review past and recent studies that proposed helicase mechanisms and studies that investigated the roles of the C-terminal amino acids on helicase and dimerization activities, primarily on the non-hexermeric Escherichia coli (E. coli) UvrD helicase. Then, I center on my recent study of single-molecule direct visualization of a UvrD mutant lacking the C-terminal 40 amino acids (UvrDΔ40C) used in studies proposing the monomer helicase model. The study demonstrated that multiple UvrDΔ40C molecules jointly participated in DNA unwinding, presumably by forming an oligomer. Thus, the single-molecule observation addressed how the C-terminal amino acids affect the number of helicases bound to DNA, oligomerization, and unwinding activity, which can be applied to other helicases. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Sharing the Pain: Apportioning Natural Hazards Exposure in Early Modern Japan
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1053; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031053 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
In the search for ideas that promote sustainability, a number of scholars examine past practices of cooperative resource management. Seventeenth to nineteenth century Japanese cultivators developed mechanisms to spread equitably among themselves exposure to certain natural hazards associated with arable lands (warichi [...] Read more.
In the search for ideas that promote sustainability, a number of scholars examine past practices of cooperative resource management. Seventeenth to nineteenth century Japanese cultivators developed mechanisms to spread equitably among themselves exposure to certain natural hazards associated with arable lands (warichi) and is the subject of this essay. Data was collected from handwritten manuscripts and maps as well as published primary and secondary sources. Data focus heavily on the region of modern-day Niigata Prefecture. Limited numerical data was imported into digital elevation models for visual comparisons. Joint ownership practices were sufficiently robust to persist for more than two centuries and, although declining in number, continued to be employed in some communities into the 1970s. The concluding sections attempt to separate the distinctive historical circumstances from more generalizable and widely adaptable characteristics of this arrangement that might serve as inspiration for reconsideration of modern efforts to ameliorate the impact of natural hazards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Hazards and Risk Reduction Approaches)
Open AccessArticle
Grain Structure, Crystallographic Texture, and Hardening Behavior of Dissimilar Friction Stir Welded AA5083-O and AA5754-H14
Metals 2021, 11(2), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/met11020181 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
This work investigated the effect of friction stir welding (FSW) tool rotation rate and welding speed on the grain structure evolution in the nugget zone through the thickness of the 10 mm thick AA5083/AA5754 weldments. Three joints were produced at different combinations of [...] Read more.
This work investigated the effect of friction stir welding (FSW) tool rotation rate and welding speed on the grain structure evolution in the nugget zone through the thickness of the 10 mm thick AA5083/AA5754 weldments. Three joints were produced at different combinations of FSW parameters. The grain structure and texture were investigated using electron backscattering diffraction (EBSD). In addition, both the hardness and tensile properties were investigated. It was found that the grain size varied through the thickness in the nugget (NG), which was reduced from the top to the base in all welds. Reducing the rotation rate from 600 rpm to 400 rpm at a constant welding speed of 60 mm/min reduced the average grain size from 33 µm to 25 µm at the top and from 19 µm to 12 µm at the base. On the other hand, the increase of the welding speed from 20 mm/min to 60 mm/min had no obvious effect on the average grain size. This implied that the rotation rate was more effective in grain size reduction than the welding speed. The texture was the mainly simple shear texture that required some rotations to obtain the ideal simple shear texture. The hardness distribution, mapped for the nugget zone, and the parent alloys indicated a diffused softened welding zone. The heating effect of the pressure and rotation of the pin shoulder and the heat input parameter (w/v) on the hardness value of the nugget zone were dominating. Tensile stress-strain curves of the base alloys and that of the FSWed joints were evaluated and presented. Moreover, the true stress-true strain curves were determined and described by the empirical formula after Ludwik, and then the materials strengthening parameters were determined. The tensile specimens of the welded joint at a revolution speed of 400 rpm and travel speed of 60 mm/min possessed the highest strain hardening parameter (n = 0.494). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Welding Technology in Metals)
Open AccessArticle
Game Approach to HDR-TS-PV Hybrid Power System Dispatching
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11030914 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
Hot dry rock (HDR) power stations have the potential to serve as an energy storage system for large-scale photovoltaic (PV) plants. For flexible operation, thermal storage (TS) power stations are required to coordinate with HDR power stations. In this study, a hybrid power [...] Read more.
Hot dry rock (HDR) power stations have the potential to serve as an energy storage system for large-scale photovoltaic (PV) plants. For flexible operation, thermal storage (TS) power stations are required to coordinate with HDR power stations. In this study, a hybrid power system is constructed by combining the HDR, TS, and PV plants. Game theory is then introduced into the optimal dispatch of the hybrid power system. Considering HDR, TS, and PV as players, non-cooperative and cooperative game dispatching models are established and verified by a case in the Gonghe basin of Qinghai. Finally, the stability of the coalitions and the rationality of allocation of the hybrid power system is verified, and the sensitivity of critical parameters is analyzed. The results demonstrate that the overall payoff of the hybrid power system is increased by 10.15%. The payoff of the HDR power station is increased by 16.5%. The TS power station has obtained 50% of the total extra profits. The PV plant reduces the impact on the grid to obtain the priority of grid connection. Based on these results, a theoretical basis can be provided for developing generation systems based on the HDR resources in the Gonghe Basin. Full article
Open AccessArticle
First Complete Mitochondrial Genome of Melyridae (Coleoptera, Cleroidea): Genome Description and Phylogenetic Implications
Insects 2021, 12(2), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12020087 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
To explore the characteristics of the mitogenome of Melyridae and reveal phylogenetic relationships, the mitogenome of Cordylepherus sp. was sequenced and annotated. This is the first time a complete mitochondrial genome has beengenerated in this family. Consistent with previous observations of Cleroidea species, [...] Read more.
To explore the characteristics of the mitogenome of Melyridae and reveal phylogenetic relationships, the mitogenome of Cordylepherus sp. was sequenced and annotated. This is the first time a complete mitochondrial genome has beengenerated in this family. Consistent with previous observations of Cleroidea species, the mitogenome of Cordylepherus sp. is highly conserved in gene size, organization and codon usage, and secondary structures oftRNAs. All protein-coding genes(PCGs) initiate withthe standard start codon ATN,except ND1, which starts with TTG, and terminate with the complete stop codons of TAA and TAG, or incomplete forms, TA- and T-. MosttRNAs have the typical clover-leaf structure, except trnS1 (Ser, AGN), whose dihydrouridine (DHU) armis reduced. In the A+T-rich region, three types of tandem repeat sequence units are found, including a 115 bp sequence tandemly repeated twice, a 16 bp sequence tandemly repeated three timeswith a partial third repeat and a 10 bp sequence tandemly repeated seven times. Phylogenetic analyses based on 13 protein-coding genes by both Bayesian inference (BI) and maximum likelihood (ML) methods suggest that Melyridae sensu lato is polyphyletic, and Dasytinae and Malchiinae are supported as independent families. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Neuroendocrine Neoplasms: Identification Of Novel Metabolic Circuits of Potential Diagnostic Utility
Cancers 2021, 13(3), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13030374 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
The incidence of neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN) is increasing, but established biomarkers have poor diagnostic and prognostic accuracy. Here, we aim to define the systemic metabolic consequences of NEN and to establish the diagnostic utility of proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR) [...] Read more.
The incidence of neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN) is increasing, but established biomarkers have poor diagnostic and prognostic accuracy. Here, we aim to define the systemic metabolic consequences of NEN and to establish the diagnostic utility of proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR) for NEN in a prospective cohort of patients through a single-centre, prospective controlled observational study. Urine samples of 34 treatment-naïve NEN patients (median age: 59.3 years, range: 36–85): 18 had pancreatic (Pan) NEN, of which seven were functioning; 16 had small bowel (SB) NEN; 20 age- and sex-matched healthy control individuals were analysed using a 600 MHz Bruker 1H-NMR spectrometer. Orthogonal partial-least-squares-discriminant analysis models were able to discriminate both PanNEN and SBNEN patients from healthy control (Healthy vs. PanNEN: AUC = 0.90, Healthy vs. SBNEN: AUC = 0.90). Secondary metabolites of tryptophan, such as trigonelline and a niacin-related metabolite were also identified to be universally decreased in NEN patients, while upstream metabolites, such as kynurenine, were elevated in SBNEN. Hippurate, a gut-derived metabolite, was reduced in all patients, whereas other gut microbial co-metabolites, trimethylamine-N-oxide, 4-hydroxyphenylacetate and phenylacetylglutamine, were elevated in those with SBNEN. These findings suggest the existence of a new systems-based neuroendocrine circuit, regulated in part by cancer metabolism, neuroendocrine signalling molecules and gut microbial co-metabolism. Metabonomic profiling of NEN has diagnostic potential and could be used for discovering biomarkers for these tumours. These preliminary data require confirmation in a larger cohort. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Optical Methods for River Monitoring: A Simulation-Based Approach to Explore Optimal Experimental Setup for LSPIV
Water 2021, 13(3), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13030247 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
Recent advances in image-based methods for environmental monitoring are opening new frontiers for remote streamflow measurements in natural environments. Such techniques offer numerous advantages compared to traditional approaches. Despite the wide availability of cost-effective devices and software for image processing, these techniques are [...] Read more.
Recent advances in image-based methods for environmental monitoring are opening new frontiers for remote streamflow measurements in natural environments. Such techniques offer numerous advantages compared to traditional approaches. Despite the wide availability of cost-effective devices and software for image processing, these techniques are still rarely systematically implemented in practical applications, probably due to the lack of consistent operational protocols for both phases of images acquisition and processing. In this work, the optimal experimental setup for LSPIV based flow velocity measurements under different conditions is explored using the software PIVlab, investigating performance and sensitivity to some key factors. Different synthetic image sequences, reproducing a river flow with a realistic velocity profile and uniformly distributed floating tracers, are generated under controlled conditions. Different parametric scenarios are created considering diverse combinations of flow velocity, tracer size, seeding density, and environmental conditions. Multiple replications per scenario are processed, using descriptive statistics to characterize errors in PIVlab estimates. Simulations highlight the crucial role of some parameters (e.g., seeding density) and demonstrate how appropriate video duration, frame-rate and parameters setting in relation to the hydraulic conditions can efficiently counterbalance many of the typical operative issues (i.e., scarce tracer concentration) and improve algorithms performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology and Hydrogeology)
Open AccessArticle
Transient Responses Evaluation of FPSO with Different Failure Scenarios of Mooring Lines
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(2), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9020103 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
During the long-term service condition, the mooring line of the deep-water floating platform may fail due to various reasons, such as overloading caused by an accidental condition or performance deterioration. Therefore, the safety performance under the transient responses process should be evaluated in [...] Read more.
During the long-term service condition, the mooring line of the deep-water floating platform may fail due to various reasons, such as overloading caused by an accidental condition or performance deterioration. Therefore, the safety performance under the transient responses process should be evaluated in advance, during the design phase. A series of time-domain numerical simulations for evaluating the performance changes of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) with different broken modes of mooring lines was carried out. The broken conditions include the single mooring line or two mooring lines failure under ipsilateral, opposite, and adjacent sides. The resulting transient and following steady-state responses of the vessel and the mooring line tensions were analyzed, and the corresponding influence mechanism was investigated. The accidental failure of a single or two mooring lines changes the watch circle of the vessel and the tension redistribution of the remaining mooring lines. The results indicated that the failure of mooring lines mainly influences the responses of sway, surge, and yaw, and the change rule is closely related to the stiffness and symmetry of the mooring system. The simulation results could give a profound understanding of the transient-effects influence process of mooring line failure, and the suggestions are given to account for the transient effects in the design of the mooring system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean and Shore Technology (OST))
Open AccessArticle
Coordination Properties of the Fungal Metabolite Harzianic Acid toward Toxic Heavy Metals
Toxics 2021, 9(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9020019 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
Some Trichoderma strains are known for their capacity to produce harzianic acid, a metabolite belonging to the tetramic acid derivatives. Harzianic acid has interesting biological properties, such as antimicrobial activities against phytopathogenic fungi and promotion of plant growth. It also possesses remarkable chemical [...] Read more.
Some Trichoderma strains are known for their capacity to produce harzianic acid, a metabolite belonging to the tetramic acid derivatives. Harzianic acid has interesting biological properties, such as antimicrobial activities against phytopathogenic fungi and promotion of plant growth. It also possesses remarkable chemical properties, including the chelating properties toward essential transition metals, which might be related to the biological activities. Increasing knowledge on chelating properties might be relevant for understanding the various beneficial effects of harzianic acid in the interaction between the producer fungi and plants. In this work, the coordination capacity of harzianic acid was studied to evaluate the formation and stability of complexes formed with toxic heavy metals (i.e., Cd2+, Co2+, Ni2+, and Pb2+), which might have a crucial role in the tolerance of plants growing in metal-contaminated soils and in abiotic stress. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Revised Mood Rhythm Instrument: A Large Multicultural Psychometric Study
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(3), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10030388 (registering DOI) - 20 Jan 2021
Abstract
Background: Recent studies with the mood rhythm instrument (MRhI) have shown that the presence of recurrent daily peaks in specific mood symptoms are significantly associated with increased risk of psychiatric disorders. Using a large sample collected in Brazil, Spain, and Canada, we aimed [...] Read more.
Background: Recent studies with the mood rhythm instrument (MRhI) have shown that the presence of recurrent daily peaks in specific mood symptoms are significantly associated with increased risk of psychiatric disorders. Using a large sample collected in Brazil, Spain, and Canada, we aimed to analyze which MRhI items maintained good psychometric properties across cultures. As a secondary aim, we used network analysis to visualize the strength of the association between the MRhI items. Methods: Adults (n = 1275) between 18–60 years old from Spain (n = 458), Brazil (n = 415), and Canada (n = 401) completed the MRhI and the self-reporting questionnaire (SRQ-20). Psychometric analyses followed three steps: Factor analysis, item response theory, and network analysis. Results: The factor analysis indicated the retention of three factors that grouped the MRhI items into cognitive, somatic, and affective domains. The item response theory analysis suggested the exclusion of items that displayed a significant divergence in difficulty measures between countries. Finally, the network analysis revealed a structure where sleepiness plays a central role in connecting the three domains. These psychometric analyses enabled a psychometric-based refinement of the MRhI, where the 11 items with good properties across cultures were kept in a shorter, revised MRhI version (MRhI-r). Limitations: Participants were mainly university students and, as we did not conduct a formal clinical assessment, any potential correlations (beyond the validated SRQ) cannot be ascertained. Conclusions: The MRhI-r is a novel tool to investigate self-perceived rhythmicity of mood-related symptoms and behaviors, with good psychometric properties across multiple cultures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Psychiatric Disorders)
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