ResearchPad - 204 Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Runx1 promotes scar deposition and inhibits myocardial proliferation and survival during zebrafish heart regeneration]]> Highlighted Article: The transcription-factor Runx1 orchestrates the injury response of many cardiac cell types, balancing collagen and fibrin deposition and clearance, as well as affecting myocyte proliferation and survival in zebrafish.

<![CDATA[Functional differences in seasonally absorbed nitrogen in a winter-green perennial herb]]>

Nitrogen (N) uptake in response to its availability and effective N-use are important for determining plant fitness, as N is a major limiting resource and its availability changes both seasonally and annually. Storage organs such as bulbs are considered an adaptive trait with respect to plant N-use strategies. It is well known that N is remobilized from storage organs to satisfy the high demand for new growth that is not completely satisfied by external uptake alone. However, little is known about how this N absorbed during different seasons contributes to plant performance. By manipulating seasonal N availability in potted Lycoris radiata var. radiata (Amaryllidaceae), a winter-green perennial, we found that the N absorbed during different seasons had different effects on leaf growth and leaf N concentrations, effectively increasing the growth and survival of the plants. N absorbed during the summer (leafless period; N was thus stored in the bulb) enhanced plant growth by increasing leaf growth. Compared with the plants supplied with N during autumn (leaf flush period), the leafy plants also showed greater growth per unit leaf area despite the lower area-based photosynthetic capacity of the latter. By contrast, N absorbed during the autumn increased the leaf N concentration and thus the photosynthetic capacity, which was considered to enhance survival and growth of the plant during winter by reducing the potentially fatal risk caused by the absorption of photons under low temperature. Our findings have important implications for estimating plant responses to environmental changes. We predict that changes in seasonal N availability impact the performance of plants, even that of perennials that have large storage organs, via an altered relative investment of N into different functions.

<![CDATA[Evaluation of host effects on ectomycorrhizal fungal community compositions in a forested landscape in northern Japan]]>

Community compositions of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi are similar within the same host taxa. However, careful interpretation is required to determine whether the combination of ECM fungi and plants is explained by the host preference for ECM fungi, or by the influence of neighbouring heterospecific hosts. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of host species on the ECM community compositions in a forested landscape (approx. 10 km) where monodominant forest stands of six ECM host species belonging to three families were patchily distributed. A total of 180 ECM operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were detected with DNA metabarcoding. Quantitative multivariate analyses revealed that the ECM community compositions were primarily structured by host species and families, regardless of the soil environments and spatial arrangements of the sampling plots. In addition, 38 ECM OTUs were only detected from particular host tree species. Furthermore, the neighbouring plots harboured similar fungal compositions, although the host species were different. The relative effect of the spatial factors on the ECM compositions was weaker than that of host species. Our results suggest that the host preference for ECM fungi is the primary determinant of ECM fungal compositions in the forested landscape.

<![CDATA[Cognition at age 70]]>


To investigate predictors of performance on a range of cognitive measures including the Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite (PACC) and test for associations between cognition and dementia biomarkers in Insight 46, a substudy of the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development.


A total of 502 individuals born in the same week in 1946 underwent cognitive assessment at age 69–71 years, including an adapted version of the PACC and a test of nonverbal reasoning. Performance was characterized with respect to sex, childhood cognitive ability, education, and socioeconomic position (SEP). In a subsample of 406 cognitively normal participants, associations were investigated between cognition and β-amyloid (Aβ) positivity (determined from Aβ-PET imaging), whole brain volumes, white matter hyperintensity volumes (WMHV), and APOE ε4.


Childhood cognitive ability was strongly associated with cognitive scores including the PACC more than 60 years later, and there were independent effects of education and SEP. Sex differences were observed on every PACC subtest. In cognitively normal participants, Aβ positivity and WMHV were independently associated with lower PACC scores, and Aβ positivity was associated with poorer nonverbal reasoning. Aβ positivity and WMHV were not associated with sex, childhood cognitive ability, education, or SEP. Normative data for 339 cognitively normal Aβ-negative participants are provided.


This study adds to emerging evidence that subtle cognitive differences associated with Aβ deposition are detectable in older adults, at an age when dementia prevalence is very low. The independent associations of childhood cognitive ability, education, and SEP with cognitive performance at age 70 have implications for interpretation of cognitive data in later life.

<![CDATA[Analysing the effect of paddy rice variety on fluorescence characteristics for nitrogen application monitoring]]>

Paddy rice is one of the most important cereal crops worldwide, so it is very important to accurately monitor its growth status and photosynthetic efficiency. The nitrogen (N) level is a key factor closely related to crop growth. In this study, laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) technology combined with multi-variate analysis was applied to investigate the effect of paddy rice variety on N fertilizer level monitoring. Principal components analysis was conducted to extract the variables of the main fluorescence characteristics to identify N levels. Experimental results demonstrated that no nitrogen fertilizer can be completely identified for each paddy rice variety. In addition, other N levels can also be well classified based on the fluorescence characteristics. The relationship between the fluorescence ratio (F735/F685 : F735, and F685 denote the fluorescence intensity at 735 nm, and 685 nm, respectively) and leaf N content of different paddy rice varieties is also discussed. Experimental results revealed that LIF technology is an effective method of monitoring the N fertilizer and leaf biochemical components of paddy rice.

<![CDATA[Wnt inhibition promotes vascular specification of embryonic cardiac progenitors]]>


Several studies have demonstrated a multiphasic role for Wnt signaling during embryonic cardiogenesis and developed protocols that enrich for cardiac derivatives during in vitro differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). However, few studies have investigated the role of Wnt signaling in the specification of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) toward downstream fates. Using transgenic mice and hPSCs, we tracked endothelial cells (ECs) that originated from CPCs expressing NKX2.5. Analysis of EC-fated CPCs at discrete phenotypic milestones during hPSC differentiation identified reduced Wnt activity as a hallmark of EC specification, and the enforced activation or inhibition of Wnt reduced or increased, respectively, the degree of vascular commitment within the CPC population during both hPSC differentiation and mouse embryogenesis. Wnt5a, which has been shown to exert an inhibitory influence on Wnt signaling during cardiac development, was dynamically expressed during vascular commitment of hPSC-derived CPCs, and ectopic Wnt5a promoted vascular specification of hPSC-derived and mouse embryonic CPCs.

<![CDATA[Invasive mutualisms between a plant pathogen and insect vectors in the Middle East and Brazil]]>

Complex multi-trophic interactions in vectorborne diseases limit our understanding and ability to predict outbreaks. Arthropod-vectored pathogens are especially problematic, with the potential for novel interspecific interactions during invasions. Variations and novelties in plant–arthropod–pathogen triumvirates present significant threats to global food security. We examined aspects of a phytoplasma pathogen of citrus across two continents. ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifolia’ causes Witches' Broom Disease of Lime (WBDL) and has devastated citrus production in the Middle East. A variant of this phytoplasma currently displays asymptomatic or ‘silent’ infections in Brazil. We first studied vector capacity and fitness impacts of the pathogen on its vectors. The potential for co-occurring weed species to act as pathogen reservoirs was analysed and key transmission periods in the year were also studied. We demonstrate that two invasive hemipteran insects—Diaphorina citri and Hishimonus phycitis—can vector the phytoplasma. Feeding on phytoplasma-infected hosts greatly increased reproduction of its invasive vector D. citri both in Oman and Brazil; suggesting that increased fitness of invasive insect vectors thereby further increases the pathogen's capacity to spread. Based on our findings, this is a robust system for studying the effects of invasions on vectorborne diseases and highlights concerns about its spread to warmer, drier regions of Brazil.

<![CDATA[Niche squeeze induced by climate change of the cold-tolerant subtropical montane Podocarpus parlatorei]]>

Under changing climates, the persistence of montane subtropical taxa may be threatened as suitable habitats decrease with elevation. We developed future environmental niche models (ENNMs) for Podocarpus parlatorei, the only conifer from southern Yungas in South America, and projected it onto two greenhouse gas concentration scenarios based on 13 global climate models for the years 2050 and 2070. Modelling identified that P. parlatorei is sensitive and restricted to a relatively narrow range of both warm season temperature and precipitation. By the mid-late twenty-first century areas of high suitability for P. parlatorei will not migrate but overall suitability will become substantially reduced across its whole range and surrounding areas. Despite extensive areas in high mountain ranges where the species may encounter thermally optimal conditions to potentially allow upward local migration, these same areas will likely become strongly aridified under future conditions. On the other hand, in lowland locations where rainfall levels will not change substantially (e.g. northern range), excessive warming will likely generate abiotic and biotic restrictions (e.g. competition with lowland species) for this cold-tolerant species. Urgent measures should be developed for the local long-term preservation of the gene pool of the unique conifer that characterizes Yungas forests for reasons of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services.

<![CDATA[Algorithm for a particle-based growth model for plant tissues]]>

We have developed an algorithm for a particle-based model for the growth of plant tissues in three dimensions in which each cell is represented by a single particle, and connecting cell walls are represented as permanent bonds between particles. A sample of plant tissue is represented by a fixed network of bonded particles. If, and only if a cell divides, this network is updated locally. The update algorithm is implemented in a model where cell growth and division gives rise to forces between the cells, which are relaxed in steepest descent minimization. The same forces generate a pressure inside the cells, which moderates growth. The local nature of the algorithm makes it efficient computationally, so the model can deal with a large number of cells. We used the model to study the growth of plant tissues for a variety of model parameters, to show the viability of the algorithm.