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  • 1
    ISSN: 1365-2230
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: A previously undescribed missense mutation was detected in the L12 domain of keratin 5 (K5) in a Chinese family with Weber–Cockayne epidermolysis bullosa simplex. Direct sequencing of the PCR products identified a single base substitution (983A→G) that changes the aspartic acid residue at codon 328 to glycine in all affected family members, while no mutation was observed either in the healthy individual or 50 unrelated control samples. Asp328 of K5 is remarkably conserved among all type II keratins. D328G is the fourth mutation found to affect this residue in K5-related epidermolysis bullosa simplex, indicating the importance of Asp328 for K5 structure and the dramatic effect that fine changes can have on keratin intermediate filament integrity.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1365-2133
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1095-8649
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Prolonged swimming performances of two as yet unnamed species of three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus spp., were compared. The two fishes (not yet formally described, referred to here as benthic and limnetic) inhabit different niches within Paxton Lake, Texada Island, British Columbia, Canada, and are recent, morphologically distinct species. Limnetics had longer endurance during prolonged swimming than did benthics. The mean regression of the log10 of fatigue time (Ft, s) on swimming speed (U, standard length, LS s−1) for limnetics (log10Ft = 7·03 − 0·46U) had a similar slope, but a significantly higher intercept than that for benthics (log10Ft = 5·55 − 0·43U). Adult benthics were larger, heavier and deeper-bodied fish than limnetics. Limnetics, however, had a significantly greater pectoral fin edge:base ratio (mean ± s.e.: limnetics, 4·58 ± 0·43; benthics, 3·63 ± 0·27). In addition, limnetics had significantly lower drag coefficients (CD) than benthics (limnetics, log10CD = −0·49log10Re + 0·66; benthics, log10CD = −0·26log10Re − 0·30) where Re is the Reynolds number [(LSU (ν−1), where U and ν are swimming velocity and the kinematic viscosity of the water, respectively]. Compared to their ancestral form, the anadromous three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus L., limnetics and benthics had significantly longer and shorter endurance times, respectively. In addition, both these fishes had significantly higher fast-start velocities than their ancestral form. Selection due to differential resource use may have lead to divergence of body form, and, therefore, of steady swimming performance. Therefore predation may be the selective force for the similar high escape performance in these two fishes.
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  • 4
    ISSN: 1468-2494
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Previous clinical testing of topical niacinamide (vitamin B3) has revealed a broad array of improvements in the appearance of aging facial skin. The study reported here was done to confirm some of those previous observations and to evaluate additional end points such as skin anti-yellowing. Caucasian female subjects (n = 50, aged 40–60 years) participated in a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, split-face, left–right randomized clinical study assessing two topical products: moisturizer control product versus the same moisturizer product containing 5% niacinamide. Niacinamide was well tolerated by the skin and provided significant improvements versus control in end points evaluated previously: fine lines/wrinkles, hyperpigmentation spots, texture, and red blotchiness. In addition, skin yellowing (sallowness) versus control was significantly improved. The mechanism by which this array of benefits is achieved with niacinamide is discussed.
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: The long-term effects of elevated (ambient plus 350 μmol mol−1) atmospheric CO2 concentration (Ca) on the leaf senescence of Quercus myrtifolia Willd was studied in a scrub-oak community during the transition from autumn (December 1997) to spring (April 1998). Plants were grown in large open-top chambers at the Smithsonian CO2 Research Site, Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, Cape Canaveral, Florida. Chlorophyll (a + b) concentration, Rubisco activity and N concentration decreased by 75%, 82%, and 52%, respectively, from December (1997) to April (1998) in the leaves grown at ambient Ca. In contrast, the leaves of plants grown at elevated Ca showed no significant decrease in chlorophyll (a + b) concentration or Rubisco activity, and only a 25% reduction in nitrogen. These results indicate that leaf senescence was delayed during this period at elevated Ca. Delayed leaf senescence in elevated Ca had important consequences for leaf photosynthesis. In elevated Ca the net photosynthetic rate of leaves that flushed in Spring 1997 (last year's leaves) and were 13 months old was not different from fully-expanded leaves that flushed in 1998, and were approximately 1 month old (current year's leaves). In ambient Ca the net photosynthetic rate of last year's leaves was 54% lower than for current year's leaves. When leaves were fully senesced, nitrogen concentration decreased to about 40% of the concentration in non-senesced leaves, in both CO2 treatments. In April, net photosynthesis was 97% greater in leaves grown in elevated Ca than in those grown at ambient. During the period when elevated Ca delayed leaf senescence, more leaves operating at higher photosynthetic rate would allow the ecosystem dominated by Q. myrtifolia to gain more carbon at elevated Ca than at ambient Ca.
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  • 6
    ISSN: 1365-2826
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: The arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus is a primary site for sensing blood borne nutrients and hormonal messengers that reflect caloric status. To identify novel energy homeostatic genes, we examined RNA extracts from the microdissected arcuate nucleus of fed and 48-h fasted rats using oligonucleotide microarrays. The relative abundance of 118 mRNA transcripts was increased and 203 mRNA transcripts was decreased during fasting. One of the down-regulated mRNAs was ankyrin-repeat and suppressor of cytokine signalling box-containing protein 4 (Asb-4). The predicted structure of Asb-4 protein suggested that it might encode an intracellular regulatory protein, and therefore its mRNA expression was investigated further. Reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to validate down-regulation of Asb-4 mRNA in the arcuate nucleus of the fasted Sprague-Dawley rat (relative expression of Asb-4 mRNA: fed = 4.66 ± 0.26; fasted = 3.96 ± 0.23; n = 4, P 〈 0.01). Down-regulation was also demonstrated in the obese fa/fa Zucker rat, another model of energy disequilibrium (relative expression of Asb-4 mRNA: lean Zucker = 3.91 ± 0.32; fa/fa = 2.93 ± 0.26; n = 5, P 〈 0.001). In situ hybridisation shows that Asb-4 mRNA is expressed in brain areas linked to energy homeostasis, including the arcuate nucleus, paraventricular nucleus, dorsomedial nucleus, lateral hypothalamus and posterodorsal medial amygdaloid area. Double in situ hybridisation revealed that Asb-4 mRNA colocalises with key energy homeostatic neurones. In the fed state, Asb-4 mRNA is expressed by 95.6% of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurones and 46.4% of neuropeptide Y (NPY) neurones. By contrast, in the fasted state, the percentage of POMC neurones expressing Asb-4 mRNA drops to 73.2% (P 〈 0.001). Moreover, the density of Asb-4 mRNA per fasted POMC neurone is markedly decreased. Conversely, expression of Asb-4 mRNA by NPY neurones in the fasted state is modestly increased to 52.7% (P 〈 0.05). Based on its differential expression, neuroanatomical distribution and colocalisation, we hypothesise that Asb-4 is a gene involved in energy homeostasis.
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  • 7
    ISSN: 1365-3083
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were recently shown to be defective in costimulatory molecule CD80 (B7-1) expression on antigen-presenting cells. This study was undertaken to further investigate the expression and cytokine regulation of both CD80 and CD86 (B7-2) on monocytes from patients with SLE. Freshly isolated and in vitro cytokine-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 13 patients with SLE and 10 healthy subjects were analysed, cytometrically with dual-fluorescence staining, to detect expression of CD80 and CD86 in the CD14+ monocyte population. The results showed that, as in normal individuals, an overwhelming majority (95.62 ± 3.54%) of monocytes from patients with SLE expressed the CD86 molecule, but only a few monocytes (5.54 ± 4.36%) had detectable CD80 expression. The effects of interleukin-10 (IL-10) on the expression of CD80 and CD86 on monocytes from patients with SLE and normal controls were similar. IL-10 down-regulated the expression of CD86 while it slightly enhanced that of CD80. Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) increased both CD80 and CD86 expression on monocytes from both SLE patients and normal groups, albeit less significantly in the former than in the latter, i.e. CD80: 142.84 ± 65.99% versus 226.08 ± 78.90%, P 〈 0.05; and CD86: 72.55 ± 74.23% versus 153.99 ± 94.14%, P 〈 0.05, when expressed as percentage modulation. Granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) showed a capacity for up-regulation of CD80 and CD86 expression on monocytes, of a magnitude that was similar both in patients with SLE and in normal subjects. We concluded that CD80 and CD86 were differentially expressed and modulated on monocytes and the defective IFN-γ-induced up-regulation of CD80 and CD86 expression on SLE monocytes might be a factor in the pathogenesis of SLE.
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  • 8
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: Elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (Ca) usually reduces stomatal conductance, but the effects on plant transpiration in the field are not well understood. Using constant-power sap flow gauges, we measured transpiration from Quercus myrtifolia Willd., the dominant species of the Florida scrub-oak ecosystem, which had been exposed in situ to elevated Ca (350 µmol mol−1 above ambient) in open-top chambers since May 1996. Elevated Ca reduced average transpiration per unit leaf area by 37%, 48% and 49% in March, May and October 2000, respectively. Temporarily reversing the Ca treatments showed that at least part of the reduction in transpiration was an immediate, reversible response to elevated Ca. However, there was also an apparent indirect effect of Ca on transpiration: when transpiration in all plants was measured under common Ca, transpiration in elevated Ca-grown plants was lower than that in plants grown in normal ambient Ca. Results from measurements of stomatal conductance (gs), leaf area index (LAI), canopy light interception and correlation between light and gs indicated that the direct, reversible Ca effect on transpiration was due to changes in gs caused by Ca, and the indirect effect was caused mainly by greater self-shading resulting from enhanced LAI, not from stomatal acclimation. By reducing light penetration through the canopy, the enhanced self-shading at elevated Ca decreased stomatal conductance and transpiration of leaves at the middle and bottom of canopy. This self-shading mechanism is likely to be important in ecosystems where LAI increases in response to elevated Ca.
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  • 9
    ISSN: 1365-2559
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Aims : To study multiple gene expression patterns and their roles in the process of gastric carcinogenesis.Methods and results : Using a high-throughput tissue microarray technique, 169 specimens from gastric carcinomas, precursor lesions and normal mucosa were immunostained on a series of tissue chips for p53, p21WAF1/CIP1 cyclin E, Bcl-2, c-met and mucin 5AC expression. The overexpression of p53 was observed in 10.7% of low-grade dysplasia (LGD), 38.1% of high-grade dysplasia (HGD) and 39.6% of intestinal type gastric carcinoma (IGC). Expression of p21WAF1/CIP1 was found in 47.6% of incomplete intestinal metaplasia (IM), 36.7% of dysplasia (Dys) and 29.5% of IGC. The overexpression of cyclin E was more frequently present in carcinomas than in Dys (P 〈 0.05); moreover, high-level expression (〉25% in extent) of cyclin E was observed only among IGC. Abnormal Bcl-2 expression was present in 81.0% of incomplete IM, 69.4% of Dys and 22.9% of IGC. Along with progression of the lesion, the expression of c-met increased; in contrast, mucin 5AC decreased gradually.Conclusions : The specific expression pattern in incomplete IM was mucin 5AC(+)/Bcl-2(+)/p53(–)/cyclin E(–), while mucin 5AC(–)/cyclin E(+) was specific for IGC. p53 was useful for distinguishing LGD from HGD. High-level expression of cyclin E might be an indicator for malignant transformation of dysplasia.
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  • 10
    ISSN: 1365-3040
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: China's soils tend to be phosphate deficient. Application of phosphorus fertilisers to the soil is yield and cost ineffective as much of the phosphate applied is rapidly locked-in and is inaccessible to the crop. Chinese Institutes have established intensive wheat breeding programmes to generate wheat varieties that produce adequate yields and grain quality in such soils. Three such wheat cultivars have been identified with good performance characteristics in the field. These three cultivars are thought to harbour chromosome translocations that may confer enhanced phosphate scavenging abilities to the plants. The isolation and study of the expression of high-affinity phosphate transporters in tissues of these wheats, in two of the donor wheatgrasses and in another widely planted Chinese wheat variety is presented and the first full-length sequence of a wheat phosphate transporter and partial clones of several other putative phosphate transporters are reported. Relative quantitative reverse-transcription – polymerase chain-reaction was used to demonstrate that different phosphate transporters have different expression patterns within a given variety and respond differently to phosphate deprivation. The significance of the genetic background for these findings and for the different phosphate acquisition properties of the wheats under study is discussed.
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