THE KAUST Repository is an initiative of the University Library to expand the impact of conference papers, technical reports, peer-reviewed articles, preprints, theses, images, data sets, and other research-related works of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
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Data for "Competition on Spatial Statistics for Large Datasets"(KAUST Research Repository, 2021-05-10) [Dataset]The enclosed datasets have been generated by the internal spatial data generator tool included in the ExaGeoStat software (https://github.com/ecrc/exageostat). It was used for the 2021 KAUST Competition on Spatial Statistics for Large Datasets (https://cemse.kaust.edu.sa/stsds/kaust-competition-spatial-statistics-large-datasets). The competition had four parts (Sub-competition 1a, Sub-competition 1b, Sub-competition 2a, and Sub-competition 2b). The main purpose of the competition was to reassess existing approximation methods on large spatial datasets in a uniform way that guarantees a fair comparison. The true parameters used for generating each dataset are provided in the PDF file attached with the datasets.
Temperature Responses of Heterotrophic Bacteria in Co-culture With a Red Sea Synechococcus Strain(Frontiers in Microbiology, Frontiers Media SA, 2021-05-10) [Article]Interactions between autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria are fundamental for marine biogeochemical cycling. How global warming will affect the dynamics of these essential microbial players is not fully understood. The aims of this study were to identify the major groups of heterotrophic bacteria present in a Synechococcus culture originally isolated from the Red Sea and assess their joint responses to experimental warming within the metabolic ecology framework. A co-culture of Synechococcus sp. RS9907 and their associated heterotrophic bacteria, after determining their taxonomic affiliation by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, was acclimated and maintained in the lab at different temperatures (24–34°C). The abundance and cellular properties of Synechococcus and the three dominant heterotrophic bacterial groups (pertaining to the genera Paracoccus, Marinobacter, and Muricauda) were monitored by flow cytometry. The activation energy of Synechococcus, which grew at 0.94–1.38 d–1, was very similar (0.34 ± 0.02 eV) to the value hypothesized by the metabolic theory of ecology (MTE) for autotrophs (0.32 eV), while the values of the three heterotrophic bacteria ranged from 0.16 to 1.15 eV and were negatively correlated with their corresponding specific growth rates (2.38–24.4 d–1). The corresponding carrying capacities did not always follow the inverse relationship with temperature predicted by MTE, nor did we observe a consistent response of bacterial cell size and temperature. Our results show that the responses to future ocean warming of autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria in microbial consortia might not be well described by theoretical universal rules.
Nutrient pollution enhances productivity and framework dissolution in algae- but not in coral-dominated reef communities(Marine Pollution Bulletin, Elsevier BV, 2021-05-10) [Article]Ecosystem services provided by coral reefs may be susceptible to the combined effects of benthic species shifts and anthropogenic nutrient pollution, but related field studies are scarce. We thus investigated in situ how dissolved inorganic nutrient enrichment, maintained for two months, affected community-wide biogeochemical functions of intact coral- and degraded algae-dominated reef patches in the central Red Sea. Results from benthic chamber incubations revealed 87% increased gross productivity and a shift from net calcification to dissolution in algae-dominated communities after nutrient enrichment, but the same processes were unaffected by nutrients in neighboring coral communities. Both community types changed from net dissolved organic nitrogen sinks to sources, but the increase in net release was 56% higher in algae-dominated communities. Nutrient pollution may, thus, amplify the effects of community shifts on key ecosystem services of coral reefs, possibly leading to a loss of structurally complex habitats with carbonate dissolution and altered nutrient recycling.
Predicting anti-PD-1 responders in malignant melanoma from the frequency of S100A9+ monocytes in the blood.(Journal for immunotherapy of cancer, BMJ, 2021-05-08) [Article]BackgroundWhile programmed cell death receptor 1 (PD-1) blockade treatment has revolutionized treatment of patients with melanoma, clinical outcomes are highly variable, and only a fraction of patients show durable responses. Therefore, there is a clear need for predictive biomarkers to select patients who will benefit from the treatment.MethodTo identify potential predictive markers for response to PD-1 checkpoint blockade immunotherapy, we conducted single-cell RNA sequencing analyses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) (n=8), as well as an in-depth immune monitoring study (n=20) by flow cytometry in patients with advanced melanoma undergoing treatment with nivolumab at Karolinska University Hospital. Blood samples were collected before the start of treatment and at the time of the second dose.ResultsUnbiased single-cell RNA sequencing of PBMC in patients with melanoma uncovered that a higher frequency of monocytes and a lower ratio of CD4+ T cells to monocyte were inversely associated with overall survival. Similarly, S100A9 expression in the monocytic subset was correlated inversely with overall survival. These results were confirmed by a flow cytometry-based analysis in an independent patient cohort.ConclusionOur results suggest that monocytic cell populations can critically determine the outcome of PD-1 blockade, particularly the subset expressing S100A9, which should be further explored as a possible predictive biomarker. Detailed knowledge of the biological role of S100A9+ monocytes is of high translational relevance.
Genetic mapping of the early responses to salt stress in Arabidopsis thaliana(The Plant Journal, Wiley, 2021-05-08) [Article]Salt stress decreases plant growth prior to significant ion accumulation in the shoot. However, the processes underlying this rapid reduction in growth are still unknown. To understand the changes in salt stress responses through time and at multiple physiological levels, examining different plant processes within a single setup is required. Recent advances in phenotyping has allowed the image-based estimation of plant growth, morphology, colour and photosynthetic activity. In this study, we examined the salt stress-induced responses of 191 Arabidopsis accessions from one hour to seven days after treatment using high-throughput phenotyping. Multivariate analyses and machine learning algorithms identified that quantum yield measured in the light-adapted state (Fv´/Fm´) greatly affected growth maintenance in the early phase of salt stress, while maximum quantum yield (QY max) was crucial at a later stage. In addition, our genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified 770 loci that were specific to salt stress, in which two loci associated with QY max and Fv´/Fm´ were selected for validation using T-DNA insertion lines. We characterised an unknown protein kinase found in the QY max locus, which reduced photosynthetic efficiency and growth maintenance under salt stress. Understanding the molecular context of the identified candidate genes will provide valuable insights into the early plant responses to salt stress. Furthermore, our work incorporates high-throughput phenotyping, multivariate analyses and GWAS, uncovering details of temporal stress responses, while identifying associations across different traits and time points, which likely constitute the genetic components of salinity tolerance.