ResearchPad - mechanical-stress https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Modulation of T helper 1 and T helper 2 immune balance in a murine stress model during <i>Chlamydia muridarum</i> genital infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14727 A murine model to study the effect of cold-induced stress (CIS) on Chlamydia muridarum genital infection and immune response has been developed in our laboratory. Previous results in the lab show that CIS increases the intensity of chlamydia genital infection, but little is known about the effects and mechanisms of CIS on the differentiation and activities of CD4+ T cell subpopulations and bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs). The factors that regulate the production of T helper 1 (Th1) or T helper 2 (Th2) cytokines are not well defined. In this study, we examined whether CIS modulates the expressions of beta-adrenergic receptor (β-AR), transcription factors, hallmark cytokines of Th1 and Th2, and differentiation of BMDCs during C. muridarum genital infection in the murine model. Our results show that the mRNA level of the beta2-adrenergic receptor (β2-AR) compared to β1-AR and β3-AR was high in the mixed populations of CD4+ T cells and BMDCs. Furthermore, we observed decreased expression of T-bet, low level of Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) production, increased expression of GATA-3, and Interleukin-4 (IL-4) production in CD4+ T cells of stressed mice. Exposure of BMDCs to Fenoterol, β2-AR agonist, or ICI118,551, β2-AR antagonist, revealed significant β2-AR stimulation or inhibition, respectively, in stressed mice. Moreover, co-culturing of mature BMDCs and naïve CD4+ T cells increased the production of IL-4, IL-10, L-17, and IL-23 cytokines, suggesting that stimulation of β2-AR leads to the increased production of Th2 cytokines. Overall, our results show for the first time that CIS promotes the switching from a Th1 to Th2 cytokine environment. This was evidenced in the murine stress model by the overexpression of GATA-3 concurrent with elevated IL-4 production, reduced T-bet expression, and IFN-γ secretion.

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<![CDATA[Terminal drought and heat stress alter physiological and biochemical attributes in flag leaf of bread wheat]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14475 Heat stress along with low water availability at reproductive stage (terminal growth phase of wheat crop) is major contributing factor towards less wheat production in tropics and sub-tropics. Flag leaf plays a pivotal role in assimilate partitioning and stress tolerance of wheat during terminal growth phase. However, limited is known about biochemical response of flag leaf to combined and individual heat and drought stress during terminal growth phase. Therefore, current study investigated combined and individual effect of terminal drought and heat stress on water relations, photosynthetic pigments, osmolytes accumulation and antioxidants defense mechanism in flag leaf of bread wheat. Experimental treatments comprised of control, terminal drought stress alone (50% field capacity during reproductive phase), terminal heat stress alone (wheat grown inside plastic tunnel during reproductive phase) and terminal drought stress + terminal heat stress. Individual and combined imposition of drought and heat stresses significantly (p≤0.05) altered water relations, osmolyte contents, soluble proteins and sugars along with activated antioxidant defensive system in terms of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX). Turgor potential, POD and APX activities were lowest under individual heat stress; however, these were improved when drought stress was combined with heat stress. It is concluded that combined effect of drought and heat stress was more detrimental than individual stresses. The interactive effect of both stresses was hypo-additive in nature, but for some traits (like turgor potential and APX) effect of one stress neutralized the other. To best of our knowledge, this is the first report on physiological and biochemical response of flag leaf of wheat to combine heat and drought stress. These results will help future studies dealing with improved stress tolerance in wheat. However, detailed studies are needed to fully understand the genetic mechanisms behind these physiological and biochemical changes in flag leaf in response to combined heat and drought stress.

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<![CDATA[Mechanical characterization of PVA hydrogels’ rate-dependent response using multi-axial loading]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13820 The time-dependent properties of rubber-like synthesized and biological materials are crucial for their applications. Currently, this behavior is mainly measured using axial tensile test, compression test, or indentation. Limited studies performed on using multi-axial loading measurements of time-dependent material behavior exist in the literature. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the viscoelastic response of rubber-like materials under multi-axial loading using cavity expansion and relaxation tests. The tests were performed on PVA hydrogel specimens. Three hyperelasitc models and one term Prony series were used to characterize the viscoelastic response of the hydrogels. Finite element (FE) simulations were performed to verify the validity of the calibrated material coefficients by reproducing the experimental results. The excellent agreement between the experimental, analytical and numerical data proves the capability of the cavity expansion technique to measure the time-dependent behavior of viscoelastic materials.

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<![CDATA[Extending thermotolerance to tomato seedlings by inoculation with SA1 isolate of <i>Bacillus cereus</i> and comparison with exogenous humic acid application]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11229 Heat stress is one of the major abiotic stresses that impair plant growth and crop productivity. Plant growth-promoting endophytic bacteria (PGPEB) and humic acid (HA) are used as bio-stimulants and ecofriendly approaches to improve agriculture crop production and counteract the negative effects of heat stress. Current study aimed to analyze the effect of thermotolerant SA1 an isolate of Bacillus cereus and HA on tomato seedlings. The results showed that combine application of SA1+HA significantly improved the biomass and chlorophyll fluorescence of tomato plants under normal and heat stress conditions. Heat stress increased abscisic acid (ABA) and reduced salicylic acid (SA) content; however, combined application of SA1+HA markedly reduced ABA and increased SA. Antioxidant enzymes activities revealed that SA1 and HA treated plants exhibited increased levels of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and reduced glutathione (GSH). In addition, heat stress markedly reduced the amino acid contents; however, the amino acids were increased with co-application of SA1+HA. Similarly, inductively-coupled plasma mass-spectrometry results showed that plants treated with SA1+HA exhibited significantly higher iron (Fe+), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K+) uptake during heat stress. Heat stress increased the relative expression of SlWRKY33b and autophagy-related (SlATG5) genes, whereas co-application of SA1+HA augmented the heat stress response and reduced SlWRKY33b and SlATG5 expression. The heat stress-responsive transcription factor (SlHsfA1a) and high-affinity potassium transporter (SlHKT1) were upregulated in SA1+HA-treated plants. In conclusion, current findings suggest that co-application with SA1+HA can be used for the mitigation of heat stress damage in tomato plants and can be commercialized as a biofertilizer.

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<![CDATA[Chalcone synthase (CHS) family members analysis from eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) in the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway and expression patterns in response to heat stress]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0c4703df-5c43-4557-a077-ba839b092c8d

Enzymes of the chalcone synthase (CHS) family participate in the synthesis of multiple secondary metabolites in plants, fungi and bacteria. CHS showed a significant correlation with the accumulation patterns of anthocyanin. The peel color, which is primarily determined by the content of anthocyanin, is an economically important trait for eggplants that is affected by heat stress. A total of 7 CHS (SmCHS1-7) putative genes were identified in a genome-wide analysis of eggplants (S. melongena L.). The SmCHS genes were distributed on 7 scaffolds and were classified into 3 clusters. Phylogenetic relationship analysis showed that 73 CHS genes from 7 Solanaceae species were classified into 10 groups. SmCHS5, SmCHS6 and SmCHS7 were continuously down-regulated under 38°C and 45°C treatment, while SmCHS4 was up-regulated under 38°C but showed little change at 45°C in peel. Expression profiles of key anthocyanin biosynthesis gene families showed that the PAL, 4CL and AN11 genes were primarily expressed in all five tissues. The CHI, F3H, F3’5’H, DFR, 3GT and bHLH1 genes were expressed in flower and peel. Under heat stress, the expression level of 52 key genes were reduced. In contrast, the expression patterns of eight key genes similar to SmCHS4 were up-regulated at a treatment of 38°C for 3 hour. Comparative analysis of putative CHS protein evolutionary relationships, cis-regulatory elements, and regulatory networks indicated that SmCHS gene family has a conserved gene structure and functional diversification. SmCHS showed two or more expression patterns, these results of this study may facilitate further research to understand the regulatory mechanism governing peel color in eggplants.

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<![CDATA[Analytical characterization and reference interval of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for active von Willebrand factor]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9d4d5eed0c48452a285

Background

Interaction of von Willebrand factor (VWF) with platelets requires a conformational change that exposes an epitope within the VWF A1 domain, enabling platelet glycoprotein Ibα binding. Quantification of this ‘‘active” conformation of VWF has been shown to provide pathophysiological insight into conditions characterized by excessive VWF-platelet interaction.

Methods

We developed an immunosorbent assay based on a variable heavy chain antibody fragment against the VWF A1 domain as a capture antibody. Assay performance in terms of specificity (binding to active R1306W- and sheared VWF), precision, accuracy, linearity, limits of detection and stability were determined. Active VWF, VWF antigen, VWF ristocetin cofactor activity, VWF:GP1bM and VWF propeptide were measured in citrated plasma and platelet-VWF binding in whole blood from 120 healthy individuals to establish a reference interval for active VWF and to assess associations with other VWF parameters.

Results

Intra- and inter-assay CVs were between 2.4–7.2% and 4.1–9.4%, depending on the level. Mean recovery of spiked recombinant R1306W VWF was 103±3%. The assay was linear in the range of 90.1–424.5% and had a limit of quantification of 101%. The reference interval for active VWF was 91.6–154.8% of NPP. Significant, positive correlations between active VWF and all other VWF parameters were found, with the strongest correlation with VWF:GP1bM binding.

Conclusions

We developed and validated an immunosorbent assay for the accurate detection of active VWF levels in plasma. The assay fulfilled all analytical criteria in this study and a reference interval was established, allowing its use to quantify active VWF in pathological conditions for future research.

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<![CDATA[Ocimum metabolomics in response to abiotic stresses: Cold, flood, drought and salinity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648ce6d5eed0c484c81a4d

Ocimum tenuiflorum is a widely used medicinal plant since ancient times and still continues to be irreplaceable due to its properties. The plant has been explored chemically and pharmacologically, however, the molecular studies have been started lately. In an attempt to get a comprehensive overview of the abiotic stress response in O. tenuiflorum, de novo transcriptome sequencing of plant leaves under the cold, drought, flood and salinity stresses was carried out. A comparative differential gene expression (DGE) study was carried out between the common transcripts in each stress with respect to the control. KEGG pathway analysis and gene ontology (GO) enrichment studies exhibited several modifications in metabolic pathways as the result of four abiotic stresses. Besides this, a comparative metabolite profiling of stress and control samples was performed. Among the cold, drought, flood and salinity stresses, the plant was most susceptible to the cold stress. Severe treatments of all these abiotic stresses also decreased eugenol which is the main secondary metabolite present in the O. tenuiflorum plant. This investigation presents a comprehensive analysis of the abiotic stress effects in O. tenuiflorum. Current study provides an insight to the status of pathway genes’ expression that help synthesizing economically valuable phenylpropanoids and terpenoids related to the adaptation of the plant. This study identified several putative abiotic stress tolerant genes which can be utilized to either breed stress tolerant O. tenuiflorum through pyramiding or generating transgenic plants.

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<![CDATA[The influence of a hot environment on physiological stress responses in exercise until exhaustion]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d4dd5eed0c484c824d1

Exhaustive exercise in a hot environment can impair performance. Higher epinephrine plasma levels occur during exercise in heat, indicating greater sympathetic activity. This study examined the influence of exercise in the heat on stress levels. Nine young healthy men performed a maximal progressive test on a cycle ergometer at two different environmental conditions: hot (40°C) and normal (22°C), both between 40% and 50% relative humidity. Venous blood and saliva samples were collected pre-test and post-test. Before exercise there were no significant changes in salivary biomarkers (salivary IgA: p = 0.12; α-amylase: p = 0.66; cortisol: p = 0.95; nitric oxide: p = 0.13; total proteins: p = 0.07) or blood lactate (p = 0.14) between the two thermal environments. Following exercise, there were significant increases in all variables (salivary IgA 22°C: p = 0.04, 40°C: p = 0.0002; α-amylase 22°C: p = 0.0002, 40°C: p = 0.0002; cortisol 22°C: p = 0.02, 40°C: p = 0.0002; nitric oxide 22°C: p = 0.0005, 40°C: p = 0.0003, total proteins 22°C: p<0.0001, 40°C: p<0.0001 and; blood lactate 22°C: p<0.0001, 40°C: p<0.0001) both at 22°C and 40°C. There was no significant adjustment regarding IgA levels between the two thermal environments (p = 0.74), however the levels of α-amylase (p = 0.02), cortisol (p<0.0001), nitric oxide (p = 0.02) and total proteins (p = 0.01) in saliva were higher in the hotter conditions. Blood lactate was lower under the hot environment (p = 0.01). In conclusion, enduring hot temperature intensified stressful responses elicited by exercise. This study advocates that hot temperature deteriorates exercise performance under exhaustive stress and effort conditions.

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<![CDATA[Numerical and in-vitro experimental assessment of the performance of a novel designed expanded-polytetrafluoroethylene stentless bi-leaflet valve for aortic valve replacement]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b528cd5eed0c4842bcb44

The expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) heart valve can serve as a viable option for prosthetic aortic valve. In this study, an ePTFE bi-leaflet valve design for aortic valve replacement (AVR) is presented, and the performance of the proposed valve was assessed numerically and experimentally. The valve was designed using CAE software. The dynamic behavior of the newly designed bi-leaflet valve under time-varying physiological pressure loading was first investigated by using commercial finite element code. Then, in-vitro tests were performed to validate the simulation and to assess the hemodynamic performance of the proposed design. A tri-leaflet ePTFE valve was tested in-vitro under the same conditions as a reference. The maximum leaflet coaptation area of the bi-leaflet valve during diastole was 216.3 mm2. When fully closed, no leakage gap was observed and the free edges of the molded valve formed S-shaped lines. The maximum Von Mises stress during a full cardiac cycle was 4.20 MPa. The dynamic performance of the bi-leaflet valve was validated by the in-vitro test under physiological aortic pressure pulse. The effective orifice area (EOA), mean pressure gradient, regurgitant volume, leakage volume and energy loss of the proposed valve were 3.14 cm2, 8.74 mmHg, 5.93 ml/beat, 1.55 ml/beat and 98.99 mJ, respectively. This study reports a novel bi-leaflet valve design for AVR. The performance of the proposed valve was numerically and experimentally assessed. Compared with the reference valve, the proposed design exhibited better structural and hemodynamic performances, which improved valve competency. Moreover, the performance of the bi-leaflet design is comparable to commercialized valves available on the market. The results of the present study provide a viable option for the future clinical applications.

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<![CDATA[Effects of moderate thermal anomalies on Acropora corals around Sesoko Island, Okinawa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b5279d5eed0c4842bc91d

Over the past several decades, coral reef ecosystems have experienced recurring bleaching events. These events were predominantly caused by thermal anomalies, which vary widely in terms of severity and spatio-temporal distribution. Acropora corals, highly prominent contributors to the structural complexity of Pacific coral reefs, are sensitive to thermal stress. Response of Acropora corals to extremely high temperature has been well documented. However, studies on the effects of moderately high temperature on Acropora corals are limited. In the summer of 2016, a moderate coral bleaching event due to moderately high temperature was observed around Sesoko Island, Okinawa, Japan. The objective of this study was to examine thermal tolerance patterns of Acropora corals, across reefs with low to moderate thermal exposure (degree heating weeks ~2–5°C week). Field surveys on permanent plots were conducted from October 2015 to April 2017 to compare the population dynamics of adult Acropora corals 6 months before and after the bleaching events around Sesoko Island. Variability in thermal stress response was driven primarily by the degree of thermal stress. Wave action and turbidity may have mediated the thermal stress. Tabular and digitate coral morphologies were the most tolerant and susceptible to thermal stress, respectively. Growth inhibition after bleaching was more pronounced in the larger digitate and corymbose coral morphologies. This study indicates that Acropora populations around Sesoko Island can tolerate short-term, moderate thermal challenges.

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<![CDATA[Epicatechin modulates stress-resistance in C. elegans via insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d64cd5eed0c484031b1e

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been used to examine the influence of epicatechin (EC), an abundant flavonoid in the human diet, in some stress biomarkers (ROS production, lipid peroxidation and protein carbonylation). Furthermore, the ability of EC to modulate the expression of some key genes in the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway (IIS), involved in longevity and oxidative or heat shock stress response, has also been explored. The final aim was to contribute to the elucidation of the mechanisms involved in the biological effects of flavonoids. The results showed that EC-treated wild-type C. elegans exhibited increased survival and reduced oxidative damage of biomolecules when submitted to thermal stress. EC treatment led to a moderate elevation in ROS levels, which might activate endogenous mechanisms of defense protecting against oxidative insult. The enhanced stress resistance induced by EC was found to be mediated through the IIS pathway, since assays in daf-2, age-1, akt-1, akt-2, sgk-1, daf-16, skn-1 and hsf-1 loss of function mutant strains failed to show any heat-resistant phenotype against thermal stress when treated with EC. Consistently, EC treatment upregulated the expression of some stress resistance associated genes, such as gst-4, hsp-16.2 and hsp-70, which are downstream regulated by the IIS pathway.

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<![CDATA[Environmental complexity: A buffer against stress in the domestic chick]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c466559d5eed0c484518bb5

Birds kept in commercial production systems can be exposed to multiple stressors from early life and this alters the development of different morphological, immunological and behavioural indicators. We explore the hypothesis that provision of a complex environment during early life, better prepares birds to cope with stressful events as well as buffers them against future unpredictable stressful episodes. In this study, 96 one day old pullets were randomly distributed in eight pens (12 birds/pen). Half of the chicks (N = 48) were assigned to a Complex Environment (CENV: with perches, a dark brooder etc.) the others to a Simple Environment (SENV: without enrichment features). Half of the birds from each of these treatments were assigned to a No Stress (NSTR, 33°C) or to an acute Cold Stress (CSTR, 18–20°C) treatment during six hours on their second day of life. At four weeks of age, chicks with these four different backgrounds were exposed to an Intermittent Stressful Challenges Protocol (ISCP). In an immunological test indicative of pro-inflammatory status Phytohemagglutinin-P (PHA-P), the response of CSTR birds was ameliorated by rearing chicks in a CENV as they had a similar response to NSTR chicks and a significantly better pro-inflammatory response than those CSTR birds reared in a SENV (five days after the CSTR treatment was applied). A similar better response when coping with new challenges (the ISCP) was observed in birds reared in a CENV compared to those from a SENV. Birds reared in the CENV had a lower heterophil/lymphocyte ratio after the ISCP than birds reared in SENV, independently of whether or not they had been exposed to CSTR early in life. No effects of stress on general behaviour were detected, however, the provision of a CENV increased resting behaviour, which may have favoured stress recover. Additionally, we found that exposure to cold stress at an early age might have rendered birds more vulnerable to future stressful events. CSTR birds had lower humoral immune responses (sheep red blood cells induced antibodies) after the ISCP and started using elevated structures in the CENV later compared to their NSTR conspecifics. Our study reflects the importance of the early provision of a CENV in commercial conditions to reduce negative stress-related effects. Within the context of the theory of adaptive plasticity, our results suggest that the early experience of the birds had long lasting effects on the modulation of their phenotypes.

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<![CDATA[Altered reward processing following an acute social stressor in adolescents]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390bd4d5eed0c48491e907

Altered reward processing is a transdiagnostic factor implicated in a wide range of psychiatric disorders. While prior animal and adult research has shown that stress contributes to reward dysfunction, less is known about how stress impacts reward processing in youth. Towards addressing this gap, the present study probed neural activation associated with reward processing following an acute stressor. Healthy adolescents (n = 40) completed a clinical assessment, and fMRI data were acquired while participants completed a monetary guessing task under a no-stress condition and then under a stress condition. Based on prior literature, analyses focused on a priori defined regions-of-interest, specifically the striatum (win trials) and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex [dACC] and insula (loss trials). Two main findings emerged. First, reward-related neural activation (i.e., striatum) was blunted in the stress relative to the no-stress condition. Second, the stress condition also contributed to blunted neural response following reward in loss-related regions (i.e., dACC, anterior insula); however, there were no changes in loss sensitivity. These results highlight the importance of conceptualizing neural vulnerability within the presence of stress, as this may clarify risk for mental disorders during a critical period of development.

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<![CDATA[Finite element and analytical stochastic models for assessment of underground reinforced concrete water storage facilities and results of their application]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390ba3d5eed0c48491da02

Typical underground water storage facilities consist of reinforced concrete tanks and pipes. Although methods of their analysis are well developed, the use of these methods does not always give unambiguous results, as presented in the paper. An example of underground tank is considered in which cylindrical roof collapsed during construction under soil and excavator loads. The causes of failure are investigated with deterministic and stochastic models. In the first step nonlinear finite element analysis including soil-structure interaction was performed to examine overall level of the structural safety, which was found satisfactory thus not explaining the collapse. In the second step an analytical stochastic model was developed and analysed with emphasis to sensitivity. The last analysis explained the collapse as a complex of unfavourable states for considered variables and the failure was recognised as a mixed construction-geotechnical-structural problem. The key role played backfill properties and its depth.

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<![CDATA[Heat stress induces proteomic changes in the liver and mammary tissue of dairy cows independent of feed intake: An iTRAQ study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa54ed5eed0c484ca2dbc

Heat stress decreases milk yield and deleteriously alters milk composition. Reduced feed intake partially explains some of the consequences of heat stress, but metabolic changes in the mammary tissue and liver associated with milk synthesis have not been thoroughly evaluated. In the current study, changes of protein abundance in the mammary tissue and liver between heat-stressed cows with ad libitum intake and pair-fed thermal neutral cows were investigated using the iTRAQ proteomic approach. Most of the differentially expressed proteins from mammary tissue and liver between heat-stressed and pair-fed cows were involved in Gene Ontology category of protein metabolic process. Pathway analysis indicated that differentially expressed proteins in the mammary tissue were related to pyruvate, glyoxylate and dicarboxylate metabolism pathways, while those in the liver participated in oxidative phosphorylation and antigen processing and presentation pathways. Several heat shock proteins directly interact with each other and were considered as central “hubs” in the protein interaction network. These findings provide new insights to understand the turnover of protein biosynthesis pathways within hepatic and mammary tissue that likely contribute to changes in milk composition from heat-stressed cows.

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<![CDATA[Aquatic macroinvertebrates stabilize gravel bed sediment: A test using silk net-spinning caddisflies in semi-natural river channels]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3667f4d5eed0c4841a6abc

Organisms can have large effects on the physical properties of the habitats where they live. For example, measurements in laboratory stream microcosms have shown that the presence of silk net-spinning insect larvae (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae) can increase the shear force required to initiate movement of riverbed sediments. Few studies, however, have moved beyond laboratory settings to quantify the engineering impacts of aquatic insects under more complex field conditions. To bridge the gap between small-scale laboratory experiments and natural stream ecosystems, we conducted experiments in large (50 m2) outdoor river channels where net-spinning aquatic insects were manipulated in sediment patches that were 5 to 25 times larger than in previous studies. We tested whether larvae of two caddisfly species (Arctopsyche californica and Ceratopsyche oslari) influenced the stability of gravel during simulated floods when alone in monoculture and together in polyculture. On average, populations of caddisflies increased the critical shear stress required to initiate sediment movement by 20% compared to treatments without caddisflies. Per capita effects of caddisflies on sediment stability were similar between previous laboratory studies and this field experiment, and Arctopsyche had a larger per capita effect than Ceratopsyche, perhaps because of its larger size and stronger silk. Contrary to prior laboratory flume results, the effects of the two species on critical shear stress when together were similar to the additive expectation of both species when alone, but effects of the two species together were higher than the additive expectation when we accounted for density. Comparisons of total population and per capita effects suggest that caddisfly density, identity, and coexisting species likely have effects on the magnitude of caddisfly impacts on critical shear stress. Our findings imply that consideration of both the abundances and traits of ecosystem engineers is needed to describe and model their effects on sediment mobility.

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<![CDATA[Divergent effects of brief contemplative practices in response to an acute stressor: A randomized controlled trial of brief breath awareness, loving-kindness, gratitude or an attention control practice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1ab84ed5eed0c484027813

Mindfulness practices are increasingly being utilized as a method for cultivating well-being. The term mindfulness is often used as an umbrella for a variety of different practices and many mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) contain multiple styles of practice. Despite the diversity of practices within MBIs, few studies have investigated whether constituent practices produce specific effects. We randomized 156 undergraduates to one of four brief practices: breath awareness, loving-kindness, gratitude, or to an attention control condition. We assessed practice effects on affect following brief training, and effects on affect and behavior after provocation with a stressor (i.e., Cold pressor test). Results indicate that gratitude training significantly improved positive affect compared to breath awareness (d = 0.58) and loving-kindness led to significantly greater reductions in implicit negative affect compared to the control condition (d = 0.59) immediately after brief practice. In spite of gains in positive affect, the gratitude group demonstrated increased reactivity to the stressor, reporting the CPT as significantly more aversive than the control condition (d = 0.46) and showing significantly greater increases in negative affect compared to the breath awareness, loving-kindness, and control groups (ds = 0.55, 0.60, 0.65, respectively). Greater gains in implicit positive affect following gratitude training predicted decreased post-stressor likability ratings of novel neutral faces compared to breath awareness, loving-kindness, and control groups (ds = - 0.39, -0.40, -0.33, respectively) as well. Moreover, the gratitude group was significantly less likely to donate time than the loving-kindness group in an ecologically valid opportunity to provide unrewarded support. These data suggest that different styles of contemplative practice may produce different effects in the context of brief, introductory practice and these differences may be heightened by stress. Implications for the study of contemplative practices are discussed.

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<![CDATA[Stress-responsive and metabolic gene regulation are altered in low S-adenosylmethionine]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c08418ed5eed0c484fca068

S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) is a donor which provides the methyl groups for histone or nucleic acid modification and phosphatidylcholine production. SAM is hypothesized to link metabolism and chromatin modification, however, its role in acute gene regulation is poorly understood. We recently found that Caenorhabditis elegans with reduced SAM had deficiencies in H3K4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) at pathogen-response genes, decreasing their expression and limiting pathogen resistance. We hypothesized that SAM may be generally required for stress-responsive transcription. Here, using genetic assays, we show that transcriptional responses to bacterial or xenotoxic stress fail in C. elegans with low SAM, but that expression of heat shock genes are unaffected. We also found that two H3K4 methyltransferases, set-2/SET1 and set-16/MLL, had differential responses to survival during stress. set-2/SET1 is specifically required in bacterial responses, whereas set-16/MLL is universally required. These results define a role for SAM in the acute stress-responsive gene expression. Finally, we find that modification of metabolic gene expression correlates with enhanced survival during stress.

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<![CDATA[Is the risk of low birth weight or preterm labor greater when maternal stress is experienced during pregnancy? A systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b6945c4463d7e3867f4acaa

Antenatal stress is linked to fetal risks that increase the chances of neonatal complications and reduction of child cognitive ability. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate if maternal stress affects fetal, neonatal or child development. The following databases were searched: MEDLINE (1966 to May 2016), Embase (1980 to May 2016), LILACS (1982 to May 2016) and CENTRAL (1972 to May 2016). Observational studies published in English and Portuguese were included whether there was any relationship between fetal and neonatal outcome, such as birth weight, preterm labor, child development with pregnant women that were subjected to any stress type during at least one month of follow-up. Two independent reviewers screened eligible articles, extracted data and assessed the risk of bias. Thus, 8 cohort studies with about 8,271 pregnant women and 1,081,151 children proved eligible. Results suggested a significant association between antenatal stress exposure and increasing rates of low birth weight (Odds ratio (OR) 1.68 [95% Confidential Interval (CI) 1.19, 2.38]). However, there was no statistically significance difference between non-exposed and exposed groups related to preterm labor (OR 1.98 [95% CI 0.91 to 4.31]; I2 = 68%, p = 0.04). Although, results were inconsistent with primary analysis suggesting a significant association between antenatal stress exposure and the occurrence of higher rates of preterm birth (OR 1.42 [95% CI 1.05 to 1.91]; I2 = 68%, p = 0.04) in the sensitivity analysis. Furthermore, the current review has suggested that stress perceived during antenatal negatively influences fetal life and child development. Yet, further studies are necessary with adequate sample size and longer follow-up time to confirm our findings.

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<![CDATA[Elevated temperature increases meiotic crossover frequency via the interfering (Type I) pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b07d0e9463d7e0d4a37a6ee

For most eukaryotes, sexual reproduction is a fundamental process that requires meiosis. In turn, meiosis typically depends on a reciprocal exchange of DNA between each pair of homologous chromosomes, known as a crossover (CO), to ensure proper chromosome segregation. The frequency and distribution of COs are regulated by intrinsic and extrinsic environmental factors, but much more is known about the molecular mechanisms governing the former compared to the latter. Here we show that elevated temperature induces meiotic hyper-recombination in Arabidopsis thaliana and we use genetic analysis with mutants in different recombination pathways to demonstrate that the extra COs are derived from the major Type I interference sensitive pathway. We also show that heat-induced COs are not the result of an increase in DNA double-strand breaks and that the hyper-recombinant phenotype is likely specific to thermal stress rather than a more generalized stress response. Taken together, these findings provide initial mechanistic insight into how environmental cues modulate plant meiotic recombination and may also offer practical applications.

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