SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

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This study sought to evaluate the incidence and causes of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) at different time periods following transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

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T cells detect with their T cell antigen receptors (TCRs) the presence of rare agonist peptide/MHC complexes (pMHCs) on the surface of antigen-presenting cells (APCs). How extracellular ligand binding triggers intracellular signaling is poorly understood, yet spatial antigen arrangement on the APC surface has been suggested to be a critical factor. To examine this, we engineered a biomimetic interface based on laterally mobile functionalized DNA origami platforms, which allow for nanoscale control over ligand distances without interfering with the cell-intrinsic dynamics of receptor clustering. When targeting TCRs via stably binding monovalent antibody fragments, we found the minimum signaling unit promoting efficient T cell activation to consist of two antibody-ligated TCRs within a distance of 20 nm. In contrast, transiently engaging antigenic pMHCs stimulated T cells robustly as well-isolated entities. These results identify pairs of antibody-bound TCRs as minimal receptor entities for effective TCR triggering yet validate the exceptional stimulatory potency of single isolated pMHC molecules.

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What is the relationship between money and well-being? Research distinguishes between two forms of well-being: people’s feelings during the moments of life (experienced well-being) and people’s evaluation of their lives when they pause and reflect (evaluative well-being). Drawing on 1,725,994 experience-sampling reports from 33,391 employed US adults, the present results show that both experienced and evaluative well-being increased linearly with log(income), with an equally steep slope for higher earners as for lower earners. There was no evidence for an experienced well-being plateau above $75,000/y, contrary to some influential past research. There was also no evidence of an income threshold at which experienced and evaluative well-being diverged, suggesting that higher incomes are associated with both feeling better day-to-day and being more satisfied with life overall.

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Mutations in the TrkB neurotrophin receptor lead to profound obesity in humans, and expression of TrkB in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) is critical for maintaining energy homeostasis. However, the functional implications of TrkB-fexpressing neurons in the DMH (DMHTrkB) on energy expenditure are unclear. Additionally, the neurocircuitry underlying the effect of DMHTrkB neurons on energy homeostasis has not been explored. In this study, we show that activation of DMHTrkB neurons leads to a robust increase in adaptive thermogenesis and energy expenditure without altering heart rate or blood pressure, while silencing DMHTrkB neurons impairs thermogenesis. Furthermore, we reveal neuroanatomically and functionally distinct populations of DMHTrkB neurons that regulate food intake or thermogenesis. Activation of DMHTrkB neurons projecting to the raphe pallidus (RPa) stimulates thermogenesis and increased energy expenditure, whereas DMHTrkB neurons that send collaterals to the paraventricular hypothalamus (PVH) and preoptic area (POA) inhibit feeding. Together, our findings provide evidence that DMHTrkB neuronal activity plays an important role in regulating energy expenditure and delineate distinct neurocircuits that underly the separate effects of DMHTrkB neuronal activity on food intake and thermogenesis.

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Atomically thin van der Waals materials stacked with an interlayer twist have proven to be an excellent platform toward achieving gate-tunable correlated phenomena linked to the formation of flat electronic bands. In this work we demonstrate the formation of emergent correlated phases in multilayer rhombohedral graphene–a simple material that also exhibits a flat electronic band edge but without the need of having a moiré superlattice induced by twisted van der Waals layers. We show that two layers of bilayer graphene that are twisted by an arbitrary tiny angle host large (micrometer-scale) regions of uniform rhombohedral four-layer (ABCA) graphene that can be independently studied. Scanning tunneling spectroscopy reveals that ABCA graphene hosts an unprecedentedly sharp van Hove singularity of 3-5-meV half-width. We demonstrate that when this van Hove singularity straddles the Fermi level, a correlated many-body gap emerges with peak-to-peak value of 9.5 meV at charge neutrality. Mean-field theoretical calculations for model with short-ranged interactions indicate that two primary candidates for the appearance of this broken symmetry state are a charge-transfer excitonic insulator and a ferrimagnet. Finally, we show that ABCA graphene hosts surface topological helical edge states at natural interfaces with ABAB graphene which can be turned on and off with gate voltage, implying that small-angle twisted double-bilayer graphene is an ideal programmable topological quantum material.

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Bromodomains (BDs) are small protein modules that interact with acetylated marks in histones. These posttranslational modifications are pivotal to regulate gene expression, making BDs promising targets to treat several diseases. While the general structure of BDs is well known, their dynamical features and their interplay with other macromolecules are poorly understood, hampering the rational design of potent and selective inhibitors. Here, we combine extensive molecular dynamics simulations, Markov state modeling, and available structural data to reveal a transiently formed state that is conserved across all BD families. It involves the breaking of two backbone hydrogen bonds that anchor the ZA-loop with the αA helix, opening a cryptic pocket that partially occludes the one associated to histone binding. By analyzing more than 1,900 experimental structures, we unveil just two adopting the hidden state, explaining why it has been previously unnoticed and providing direct structural evidence for its existence. Our results suggest that this state is an allosteric regulatory switch for BDs, potentially related to a recently unveiled BD-DNA-binding mode.

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Recurrent excitatory neural networks are unstable. In the hippocampus, excitatory mossy cells (MCs) receive strong excitatory inputs from dentate granule cells (GCs) and project back onto the proximal dendrites of GCs. By targeting the ipsi- and contralateral dentate gyrus (DG) along the dorsoventral axis of the hippocampus, MCs form an extensive recurrent excitatory circuit (GC-MC-GC) whose dysregulation can promote epilepsy. We recently reported that a physiologically relevant pattern of MC activity induces a robust form of presynaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) of MC-GC transmission which enhances GC output. Left unchecked, this LTP may interfere with DG-dependent learning, like pattern separation-which relies on sparse GC firing-and may even facilitate epileptic activity. Intriguingly, MC axons display uniquely high expression levels of type-1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1Rs), but their role at MC-GC synapses is poorly understood. Using rodent hippocampal slices, we report that constitutively active CB1Rs, presumably via βγ subunits, selectively inhibited MC inputs onto GCs but not MC inputs onto inhibitory interneurons or CB1R-sensitive inhibitory inputs onto GCs. Tonic CB1R activity also inhibited LTP and GC output. Furthermore, brief endocannabinoid release from GCs dampened MC-GC LTP in two mechanistically distinct ways: during induction via βγ signaling and before induction via αi/o signaling in a form of presynaptic metaplasticity. Lastly, a single in vivo exposure to exogenous cannabinoids was sufficient to induce this presynaptic metaplasticity. By dampening excitatory transmission and plasticity, tonic and phasic CB1R activity at MC axon terminals may preserve the sparse nature of the DG and protect against runaway excitation.

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Presentation of peptides by class I MHC proteins underlies T cell immune responses to pathogens and cancer. The association between peptide binding affinity and immunogenicity has led to the engineering of modified peptides with improved MHC binding, with the hope that these peptides would be useful for eliciting cross-reactive immune responses directed toward their weak binding, unmodified counterparts. Increasing evidence, however, indicates that T cell receptors (TCRs) can perceive such anchor-modified peptides differently than wild-type (WT) peptides, although the scope of discrimination is unclear. We show here that even modifications at primary anchors that have no discernible structural impact can lead to substantially stronger or weaker T cell recognition depending on the TCR. Surprisingly, the effect of peptide anchor modification can be sensed by a TCR at regions distant from the site of modification, indicating a through-protein mechanism in which the anchor residue serves as an allosteric modulator for TCR binding. Our findings emphasize caution in the use and interpretation of results from anchor-modified peptides and have implications for how anchor modifications are accounted for in other circumstances, such as predicting the immunogenicity of tumor neoantigens. Our data also highlight an important need to better understand the highly tunable dynamic nature of class I MHC proteins and the impact this has on various forms of immune recognition.

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This work explores the concept that differential wave function overlap between excited states can be engineered within a molecular chromophore. The aim is to control excited state wave function symmetries, so that symmetry matches or mismatches result in differential orbital overlap and define low-energy trajectories or kinetic barriers within the excited state surface, that drive excited state population toward different reaction pathways. Two donor-acceptor assemblies were explored, where visible light absorption prepares excited states of different wave function symmetry. These states could be resolved using transient absorption spectroscopy, thanks to wave function symmetry-specific photoinduced optical transitions. One of these excited states undergoes energy transfer to the acceptor, while another undertakes a back-electron transfer to restate the ground state. This differential behavior is possible thanks to the presence of kinetic barriers that prevent excited state equilibration. This strategy can be exploited to avoid energy dissipation in energy conversion or photoredox catalytic schemes.

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The intersection of expanding human development and wildland landscapes-the “wildland-urban interface” or WUI-is one of the most vexing contexts for fire management because it involves complex interacting systems of people and nature. Here, we document the dynamism and stability of an ancient WUI that was apparently sustainable for more than 500 y. We combine ethnography, archaeology, paleoecology, and ecological modeling to infer intensive wood and fire use by Native American ancestors of Jemez Pueblo and the consequences on fire size, fire-climate relationships, and fire intensity. Initial settlement of northern New Mexico by Jemez farmers increased fire activity within an already dynamic landscape that experienced frequent fires. Wood harvesting for domestic fuel and architectural uses and abundant, small, patchy fires created a landscape that burned often but only rarely burned extensively. Depopulation of the forested landscape due to Spanish colonial impacts resulted in a rebound of fuels accompanied by the return of widely spreading, frequent surface fires. The sequence of more than 500 y of perennial small fires and wood collecting followed by frequent “free-range” wildland surface fires made the landscape resistant to extreme fire behavior, even when climate was conducive and surface fires were large. The ancient Jemez WUI offers an alternative model for fire management in modern WUI in the western United States, and possibly other settings where local management of woody fuels through use (domestic wood collecting) coupled with small prescribed fires may make these communities both self-reliant and more resilient to wildfire hazards.