Zhang, Weipeng; Bougouffa, Salim; Wang, Yong; Lee, On On; Yang, Jiangke; Chan, Colin; Song, Xingyu; Qian, Pei-Yuan(PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2014-04-14)[Article]
Community assembly theories such as species sorting theory provide a framework for understanding the structures and dynamics of local communities. The effect of theoretical mechanisms can vary with the scales of observation and effects of specific environmental factors. Based on 16S rRNA gene tag pyrosequencing, different structures and temporal succession patterns were discovered between the surface sediments and bottom water microbial communities in the Pearl River Estuary (PRE). The microbial communities in the surface sediment samples were more diverse than those in the bottom water samples, and several genera were specific for the water or sediment communities. Moreover, water temperature was identified as the main variable driving community dynamics and the microbial communities in the sediment showed a greater temporal change. We speculate that nutrient-based species sorting and bacterial plasticity to the temperature contribute to the variations observed between sediment and water communities in the PRE. This study provides a more comprehensive understanding of the microbial community structures in a highly dynamic estuarine system and sheds light on the applicability of ecological theoretical mechanisms.
Xu, Xinpeng; Qian, Tiezheng(Physical Review E, American Physical Society (APS), 2014-06-04)[Article]
We numerically investigate the pool boiling of one-component fluids with a focus on the effects of surface wettability on the single-bubble dynamics. We employed the dynamic van der Waals theory [Phys. Rev. E 75, 036304 (2007)], a diffuse-interface model for liquid-vapor flows involving liquid-vapor transition in nonuniform temperature fields. We first perform simulations for bubbles on homogeneous surfaces. We find that an increase in either the contact angle or the surface superheating can enhance the bubble spreading over the heating surface and increase the bubble departure diameter as well and therefore facilitate the transition into film boiling. We then examine the dynamics of bubbles on patterned surfaces, which incorporate the advantages of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces. The central hydrophobic region increases the thermodynamic probability of bubble nucleation while the surrounding hydrophilic region hinders the continuous bubble spreading by pinning the contact line at the hydrophobic-hydrophilic intersection. This leads to a small bubble departure diameter and therefore prevents the transition from nucleate boiling into film boiling. With the bubble nucleation probability increased and the bubble departure facilitated, the efficiency of heat transfer on such patterned surfaces is highly enhanced, as observed experimentally [Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer 57, 733 (2013)]. In addition, the stick-slip motion of contact line on patterned surfaces is demonstrated in one-component fluids, with the effect weakened by surface superheating.
Matsumura, K.; Qian, P.-Y.(Journal of Experimental Biology, The Company of Biologists, 2014-02-26)[Article]
Gregarious settlement, an essential behavior for many barnacle species that can only reproduce by mating with a nearby barnacle, has long been thought to rely on larval ability to recognize chemical signals from conspecifics during settlement. However, the cyprid, the settlement stage larva in barnacles, has one pair of compound eyes that appear only at the late nauplius VI and cyprid stages, but the function(s) of these eyes remains unknown. Here we show that cyprids of the intertidal barnacle Balanus (=Amphibalanus) amphitrite can locate adult barnacles even in the absence of chemical cues, and prefer to settle around them probably via larval sense of vision. We also show that the cyprids can discriminate color and preferred to settle on red surfaces. Moreover, we found that shells of adult B. amphitrite emit red auto-fluorescence and the adult extracts with the fluorescence as a visual signal attracted cyprid larvae to settle around it. We propose that the perception of specific visual signals can be involved in behavior of zooplankton including marine invertebrate larvae, and that barnacle auto-fluorescence may be a specific signal involved in gregarious larval settlement.
Leach, Lindsey J; Belfield, Eric J; Jiang, Caifu; Brown, Carly; Mithani, Aziz; Harberd, Nicholas P(BMC Genomics, Springer Nature, 2014-04-11)[Article]
BACKGROUND: Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) has a large, complex and hexaploid genome consisting of A, B and D homoeologous chromosome sets. Therefore each wheat gene potentially exists as a trio of A, B and D homoeoloci, each of which may contribute differentially to wheat phenotypes. We describe a novel approach combining wheat cytogenetic resources (chromosome substitution 'nullisomic-tetrasomic' lines) with next generation deep sequencing of gene transcripts (RNA-Seq), to directly and accurately identify homoeologue-specific single nucleotide variants and quantify the relative contribution of individual homoeoloci to gene expression. RESULTS: We discover, based on a sample comprising ~5-10% of the total wheat gene content, that at least 45% of wheat genes are expressed from all three distinct homoeoloci. Most of these genes show strikingly biased expression patterns in which expression is dominated by a single homoeolocus. The remaining ~55% of wheat genes are expressed from either one or two homoeoloci only, through a combination of extensive transcriptional silencing and homoeolocus loss. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that wheat is tending towards functional diploidy, through a variety of mechanisms causing single homoeoloci to become the predominant source of gene transcripts. This discovery has profound consequences for wheat breeding and our understanding of wheat evolution.
Membrane-active peptides include peptides that can cross cellular membranes and deliver macromolecular cargo as well as peptides that inhibit bacterial growth. Some of these peptides can act as both transporters and antibacterial agents. It is desirable to combine the knowledge from these two different fields of membrane-active peptides into design of new peptides with tailored actions, as transporters of cargo or as antibacterial substances, targeting specific membranes. We have previously shown that the position of the amino acid tryptophan in the peptide sequence of three arginine-tryptophan peptides affects their uptake and intracellular localization in live mammalian cells, as well as their ability to inhibit bacterial growth. Here, we use quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring to assess the induced changes caused by binding of the three peptides to supported model membranes composed of POPC, POPC/POPG, POPC/POPG/cholesterol or POPC/lactosyl PE. Our results indicate that the tryptophan position in the peptide sequence affects the way these peptides interact with the different model membranes and that the presence of cholesterol in particular seems to affect the membrane interaction of the peptide with an even distribution of tryptophans in the peptide sequence. These results give mechanistic insight into the function of these peptides and may aid in the design of membrane-active peptides with specified cellular targets and actions.
There is a need for techniques capable of identifying the antigenic epitopes targeted by polyclonal antibody responses during deliberate or natural immunization. Although successful, traditional phage library screening is laborious and can map only some of the epitopes. To accelerate and improve epitope identification, we have employed massive sequencing of phage-displayed antigen-specific libraries using the Illumina MiSeq platform. This enabled us to precisely identify the regions of a model antigen, the meningococcal NadA virulence factor, targeted by serum antibodies in vaccinated individuals and to rank hundreds of antigenic fragments according to their immunoreactivity. We found that next generation sequencing can significantly empower the analysis of antigen-specific libraries by allowing simultaneous processing of dozens of library/serum combinations in less than two days, including the time required for antibody-mediated library selection. Moreover, compared with traditional plaque picking, the new technology (named Phage-based Representation OF Immuno-Ligand Epitope Repertoire or PROFILER) provides superior resolution in epitope identification. PROFILER seems ideally suited to streamline and guide rational antigen design, adjuvant selection, and quality control of newly produced vaccines. Furthermore, this method is also susceptible to find important applications in other fields covered by traditional quantitative serology.
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