SciCombinator

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Concept: Zinc

194

Noroviruses (family Caliciviridae) are the primary cause of viral gastroenteritis worldwide. The virus is highly infectious and touching contaminated surfaces can contribute to infection spread. Although the virus was identified over 40 years ago the lack of methods to assess infectivity has hampered the study of the human pathogen. Recently the murine virus, MNV-1, has successfully been used as a close surrogate. Copper alloys have previously been shown to be effective antimicrobial surfaces against a range of bacteria and fungi. We now report rapid inactivation of murine norovirus on alloys, containing over 60% copper, at room temperature but no reduction of infectivity on stainless steel dry surfaces in simulated wet fomite and dry touch contamination. The rate of inactivation was initially very rapid and proportional to copper content of alloy tested. Viral inactivation was not as rapid on brass as previously observed for bacteria but copper-nickel alloy was very effective. The use of chelators and quenchers of reactive oxygen species (ROS) determined that Cu(II) and especially Cu(I) ions are still the primary effectors of toxicity but quenching superoxide and hydroxyl radicals did not confer protection. This suggests Fenton generation of ROS is not important for the inactivation mechanism. One of the targets of copper toxicity was the viral genome and a reduced copy number of the gene for a viral encoded protein, VPg (viral-protein-genome-linked), which is essential for infectivity, was observed following contact with copper and brass dry surfaces. The use of antimicrobial surfaces containing copper in high risk closed environments such as cruise ships and care facilities could help to reduce the spread of this highly infectious and costly pathogen.

Concepts: Virus, Zinc, Copper, Bronze, Steel, Gastroenteritis, Norovirus, Brass

184

Genetic and environmental factors contribute to the etiologies of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but evidence of specific environmental exposures and susceptibility windows is limited. Here we study monozygotic and dizygotic twins discordant for ASD to test whether fetal and postnatal metal dysregulation increases ASD risk. Using validated tooth-matrix biomarkers, we estimate pre- and post-natal exposure profiles of essential and toxic elements. Significant divergences are apparent in metal uptake between ASD cases and their control siblings, but only during discrete developmental periods. Cases have reduced uptake of essential elements manganese and zinc, and higher uptake of the neurotoxin lead. Manganese and lead are also correlated with ASD severity and autistic traits. Our study suggests that metal toxicant uptake and essential element deficiency during specific developmental windows increases ASD risk and severity, supporting the hypothesis of systemic elemental dysregulation in ASD. Independent replication in population-based studies is needed to extend these findings.

Concepts: Chemical element, Zinc, Autism, Pervasive developmental disorder, Twin, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, PDD-NOS

172

BACKGROUND: In ancient times, plants were recognized for their medicinal properties. Later, the arrival of synthetic drugs pushed it to the backstage. However, from being merely used for food, plants are now been widely explored for their therapeutic value. The current study explores the potential of skin and flesh extracts from a hard-necked Rocambole variety of purple garlic in preventing cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and cell death. METHODS: Norepinephrine (NE) was used to induce hypertrophy in adult rat cardiomyocytes pretreated with garlic skin and flesh extracts. Cell death was measured as ratio of rod to round shaped cardiomyocytes. Fluorescent probes were used to measure apoptosis and oxidative stress in cardiomyocytes treated with and without extracts and NE. Pharmacological blockade of nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) were used to elucidate the mechanism of action of garlic extracts. Garlic extract samples were also tested for alliin and allicin concentrations. RESULTS: Exposure of cardiomyocytes to NE induced an increase in cell size and cell death; this increase was significantly prevented upon treatment with garlic skin and flesh extracts. Norepinephrine increased apoptosis and oxidative stress in cardiomyocytes which was prevented upon pretreatment with skin and flesh extracts; NO, and H2S blockers significantly inhibited this beneficial effect. Allicin and alliin concentration were significantly higher in garlic flesh extract when compared to the skin extract. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that both skin and flesh garlic extracts are effective in preventing NE induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and cell death. Reduction in oxidative stress may also play an important role in the anti-hypertrophic and anti-apoptotic properties of garlic extracts. These beneficial effects may in part be mediated by NO and H2S.

Concepts: Nitrogen, Radical, Zinc, Sulfur, Garlic, Hydrogen sulfide, PReVENT, Allicin

171

Acinetobacter baumannii is an important nosocomial pathogen that accounts for up to 20 percent of infections in intensive care units worldwide. Furthermore, A. baumannii strains have emerged that are resistant to all available antimicrobials. These facts highlight the dire need for new therapeutic strategies to combat this growing public health threat. Given the critical role for transition metals at the pathogen-host interface, interrogating the role for these metals in A. baumannii physiology and pathogenesis could elucidate novel therapeutic strategies. Toward this end, the role for calprotectin- (CP)-mediated chelation of manganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn) in defense against A. baumannii was investigated. These experiments revealed that CP inhibits A. baumannii growth in vitro through chelation of Mn and Zn. Consistent with these in vitro data, Imaging Mass Spectrometry revealed that CP accompanies neutrophil recruitment to the lung and accumulates at foci of infection in a murine model of A. baumannii pneumonia. CP contributes to host survival and control of bacterial replication in the lung and limits dissemination to secondary sites. Using CP as a probe identified an A. baumannii Zn acquisition system that contributes to Zn uptake, enabling this organism to resist CP-mediated metal chelation, which enhances pathogenesis. Moreover, evidence is provided that Zn uptake across the outer membrane is an energy-dependent process in A. baumannii. Finally, it is shown that Zn limitation reverses carbapenem resistance in multidrug resistant A. baumannii underscoring the clinical relevance of these findings. Taken together, these data establish Zn acquisition systems as viable therapeutic targets to combat multidrug resistant A. baumannii infections.

Concepts: Microbiology, Nosocomial infection, Antibiotic resistance, Zinc, Pseudomonadales, Acinetobacter baumannii, Acinetobacter, Moraxellaceae

170

The alternate sigma factor sigH of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is expressed under stress and acts as a major regulator of several genes, including some other sigma factors and redox systems. While it is auto-regulated by its own promoter at the transcriptional level, its regulation at the post-translational level is through its cognate protein, an anti-sigma factor, RshA. Hither before RshA was believed to be a zinc-associated anti-sigma factor (ZAS) and the binding of RshA to SigH is redox dependent. Here, we show that RshA coordinates a [2Fe-2S] cluster using cysteines as ligands and native RshA has more affinity to [2Fe-2S] cluster than to zinc. Furthermore, we used amide hydrogen deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS), followed by site-directed mutagenesis in SigH and RshA, to elucidate the interaction mechanism of RshA and SigH and the potential role of metal ion clustering in SigH regulation. Three regions in SigH, comprising of residues 1-25, 58-69, 90-111, 115-132 and 157-196 and residues 35-57 of RshA show decreased deuterium exchange and reflect decreased solvent accessibility upon complexation with SigH. Of the three RshA mutants, created based on the HDX results, the RsHA E37A mutant shows stronger interaction with SigH, relative to WT RshA, while the H49A mutant abolishes interactions and the C(53)XXC(56)AXXA mutant has no effect on complexation with SigH. The D22A, D160A and E162 SigH mutants show significantly decreased binding to RshA and the E168A mutant completely abolished interactions with RshA, indicating that the SigH-RshA interaction is mediated by salt bridges. In addition, SigH-RshA interaction does not require clustering of metal ions. Based on our results, we propose a molecular model of the SigH-RshA interaction.

Concepts: Gene, Gene expression, Mass spectrometry, Hydrogen, Atom, Metal, Zinc, Sigma factor

169

We attempted to control the incorporation of twin boundaries in self-catalyzed GaAs nanowires (NWs). Self-catalyzed GaAs NWs were grown on a Si substrate under various arsenic pressures using molecular beam epitaxy and the vapor-liquid-solid method. When the arsenic flux is low, wurtzite structures are dominant in the GaAs NWs. On the other hand, zinc blende structures become dominant as the arsenic flux rises. We discussed this phenomenon on the basis of thermodynamics and examined the probability of twin-boundary formation in detail.

Concepts: Mineral, Zinc, Gallium arsenide, Nanowire, Molecular beam epitaxy, Sphalerite, Vapor-liquid-solid method, Gallium

168

In this study, zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorod arrays were synthesized using a simple hydrothermal reaction on ZnO seeds/n-silicon substrate. Several parameters were studied, including the heat-treatment temperature to produce ZnO seeds, zinc nitrate concentration, pH of hydrothermal reaction solution, and hydrothermal reaction time. The optimum heat-treatment temperature to produce uniform nanosized ZnO seeds was 400°C. The nanorod dimensions depended on the hydrothermal reaction parameters. The optimum hydrothermal reaction parameters to produce blunt tip-like nanorods (770 nm long and 80 nm in top diameter) were 0.1 M zinc nitrate, pH 7, and 4 h of growth duration. Phase analysis studies showed that all ZnO nanorods exhibited a strong (002) peak. Thus, the ZnO nanorods grew in a c-axis preferred orientation. A strong ultraviolet (UV) emission peak was observed for ZnO nanorods grown under optimized parameters with a low, deep-level emission peak, which indicated high optical property and crystallinity of the nanorods. The produced ZnO nanorods were also tested for their UV-sensing properties. All samples responded to UV light but with different sensing characteristics. Such different responses could be attributed to the high surface-to-volume ratio of the nanorods that correlated with the final ZnO nanorods morphology formed at different synthesis parameters. The sample grown using optimum synthesis parameters showed the highest responsivity of 0.024 A/W for UV light at 375 nm under a 3 V bias.

Concepts: Ultraviolet, Acid, Sunlight, Zinc, Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide, Sunscreen, Brass

168

We have investigated the influences of aluminum and gallium dopants (0 to 2.0 mol%) on zinc oxide (ZnO) thin films regarding crystallization and electrical and optical properties for application in transparent conducting oxide devices. Al- and Ga-doped ZnO thin films were deposited on glass substrates (corning 1737) by sol–gel spin-coating process. As a starting material, AlCl3.6H2O, Ga(NO3)2, and Zn(CH3COO)2.2H2O were used. A lowest sheet resistance of 3.3 x 103 [greek capital letter omega]/[white square] was obtained for the GZO thin film doped with 1.5 mol% of Ga after post-annealing at 650 [degree sign]C for 60 min in air. All the films showed more than 85 % transparency in the visible region. We have studied the structural and microstructural properties as a function of Al and Ga concentrations through X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy analysis. In addition, the optical bandgap and photoluminescence were estimated.

Concepts: Electron, X-ray, Optical fiber, Aluminium, Zinc, X-ray crystallography, Scanning electron microscope, Zinc oxide

168

With particular focus on bulk heterojunction solar cells incorporating ZnO nanorods, we study how different annealing environments (air or Zn environment) and temperatures impact on the photoluminescence response. Our work gives new insight into the complex defect landscape in ZnO, and it also shows how the different defect types can be manipulated. We have determined the emission wavelengths for the two main defects which make up the visible band, the oxygen vacancy emission wavelength at approximately 530 nm and the zinc vacancy emission wavelength at approximately 630 nm. The precise nature of the defect landscape in the bulk of the nanorods is found to be unimportant to photovoltaic cell performance although the surface structure is more critical. Annealing of the nanorods is optimum at 300[degree sign]C as this is a sufficiently high temperature to decompose Zn(OH)2 formed at the surface of the nanorods during electrodeposition and sufficiently low to prevent ITO degradation.

Concepts: Light, Zinc, Solar cell, Photovoltaics, Indium tin oxide, Visible spectrum, Photovoltaic module, Band gap

168

This work presents a novel white light device. An yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) phosphor-incorporated zinc oxide (ZnO) film is deposited on a slide glass substrate by ultrasonic spray pyrolysis. A nanoflower consisting of a hexagonal nanopetal is formed on the surfaces of the samples, and the sizes of the nanopetal are approximately 200 to 700 nm. Additionally, the nanopetal becomes blunted with an increasing incorporated amount of YAG. As the incorporated amount is 1.5 and 2.5 wt.%, the photoluminescence color of the YAG-incorporated ZnO film is nearly white, possibly contributing to the YAG emission and the band-to-deep level transition in the ZnO film.

Concepts: Aluminium, Zinc, Color, Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide, Yttrium aluminium garnet, Garnet, Yttrium