SciCombinator

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Fungal phytotoxins used as ecofriendly bioherbicides are becoming efficient alternatives to chemical herbicides for sustainable weed management. Previous study found that cultures of the pathogenic fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides BWH-1 showed phytotoxic activity. This study further isolated the major phytotoxin from cultures of the strain BWH-1 using bioactivity-guided isolation, by puncturing its host plant for an activity test and analyzing on the HPLC-DAD-3D mode for a purity check. Then, the active and pure phytotoxin was characterized as a dirhamnolipid (Rha-Rha-C10-C10) using the NMR, ESIMS, IR and UV methods. The herbicidal activity of dirhamnolipid was evaluated by the inhibition rate on the primary root length and the fresh plant weight of nine test plants, and the synergistic effect when combining with commercial herbicides. Dirhamnolipid exhibited broad herbicidal activity against eight weed species with IC50 values ranging from 28.91 to 217.71 mg L-1 and no toxicity on Oryza sativa, and the herbicidal activity could be synergistically improved combining dirhamnolipid with commercial herbicides. Thus, dirhamnolipid that originated from C. gloeosporioides BWH-1 displayed the potential to be used as a bioherbicide alone, or as an adjuvant added into commercial herbicides, leading to a decrease in herbicides concentration and increased control efficiency.

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Though Pyrogallol, one of the natural polyphenols, was known to have anti-inflammatory and antitumor effects in breast and colon cancers, the underlying antitumor mechanisms of Pyrogallol, still remain unclear so far. Here, the antitumor mechanisms of Pyrogallol were elucidated in Hep3B and Huh7 hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HCCs). Pyrogallol showed significant cytotoxicity and reduced the number of colonies in Hep3B and Huh7 cells. Interestingly, Pyrogallol induced S-phase arrest and attenuated the protein expression of CyclinD1, Cyclin E, Cyclin A, c-Myc, S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (Skp2), p-AKT, PI3K, increased the protein expression of p27, and also reduced the fluorescent expression of Cyclin E in Hep3B and Huh7 cells. Furthermore, Pyrogallol disturbed the interaction between Skp2, p27, and c-Myc in Huh7 cells. Notably, Pyrogallol upregulated miRNA levels of miR-134, and conversely, miR-134 inhibition rescued the decreased expression levels of c-Myc, Cyclin E, and Cyclin D1 and increased the expression of p27 by Pyrogallol in Huh7 cells. Taken together, our findings provide insight that Pyrogallol exerts antitumor effects in HCCs via miR-134 activation-mediated S-phase arrest and inhibition of PI3K/AKT/Skp2/cMyc signaling as a potent anticancer candidate.

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Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is an inherited heart disease characterized by sudden death in young people and featured by fibro-adipose myocardium replacement, malignant arrhythmias, and heart failure. To date, no etiological therapies are available. Mutations in desmosomal genes cause abnormal mechanical coupling, trigger pro-apoptotic signaling pathways, and induce fibro-adipose replacement. Here, we discuss the hypothesis that the ACM causative mechanism involves a defect in the expression and/or activity of the cardiac Ca2+ handling machinery, focusing on the available data supporting this hypothesis. The Ca2+ toolkit is heavily remodeled in cardiomyocytes derived from a mouse model of ACM defective of the desmosomal protein plakophilin-2. Furthermore, ACM-related mutations were found in genes encoding for proteins involved in excitation‒contraction coupling, e.g., type 2 ryanodine receptor and phospholamban. As a consequence, the sarcoplasmic reticulum becomes more eager to release Ca2+, thereby inducing delayed afterdepolarizations and impairing cardiac contractility. These data are supported by preliminary observations from patient induced pluripotent stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes. Assessing the involvement of Ca2+ signaling in the pathogenesis of ACM could be beneficial in the treatment of this life-threatening disease.

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Allergic disease is one of the most important and common health problems worldwide. We have previously demonstrated that a fig leaf-derived lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus (Lb.) paracasei IJH-SONE68 produces a novel exopolysaccharide (EPS). Furthermore, we have shown that the EPS inhibits the catalytic activity of hyaluronidase (EC 3.2.1.36) promoting inflammatory reactions. To evaluate the anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory effects of the EPS, in the present study, we employed the picryl-chloride-induced delayed-type (type IV) allergy model mice, which is used to evaluate the contact dermatitis. Oral administration of the EPS was observed to reduce the ear swelling in the model mice. We also observed that the overexpression of ear interleukin-4 (T helper (Th) 2 cytokine) mRNA and the increase in serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) are repressed. However, the expression of interferon-γ (Th1 cytokine) was not accelerated in all of the allergen-challenged model mice. The improvement may be responsible for the Th2 downregulation rather than the Th1 upregulation. In addition, the symptom of immediate-type (type I) allergy model mice was improved by oral administration of the IJH-SONE68 cell (data not shown). We can conclude that the IJH-SONE68-derived EPS is useful to improve the type I and IV allergies including atopic dermatitis.

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High-throughput RNA sequencing and novel bioinformatic pipelines have identified thousands of circular (circ)RNAs containing backsplice junction sequences. However, circRNAs generated from multiple exons may contain different combinations of exons and/or introns arising from alternative splicing, while the backsplice junction sequence is the same. To be able to identify circRNA splice variants, we developed a method termed circRNA-Rolling Circle Amplification (circRNA-RCA). This method detects full-length circRNA sequences by performing reverse transcription (RT) in the absence of RNase H activity, followed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of full-length circRNAs using a forward primer spanning the backsplice junction sequence and a reverse primer exactly upstream of the forward primer. By sequencing the PCR products, circRNA splice variants bearing the same backsplice junctions, which were otherwise only predicted computationally, could be experimentally validated. The splice variants were further predicted to associate with different subsets of target RNA-binding proteins and microRNAs, supporting the notion that different circRNA splice variants can have different biological impacts. In sum, the circRNA-RCA method allows the accurate identification of full-length circRNA sequences, offering unique insight into their individual function.

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Strain-hardening cementitious composite (SHCC) is a kind of construction material that exhibits multiple cracking and strain-hardening behaviors. The partial replacement of cement with fly ash is beneficial to the formation of the tensile strain-hardening property of SHCC, the increase of environmental greenness, and the decrease of hydration heat, as well as the material cost. This study aimed to develop a sustainable construction material using a high dosage of fly ash (no less than 70% of the binder material by weight). Based on the micromechanics analysis and particle size distribution (PSD) optimization, six mixes with different fly ash to cement ratios (2.4-4.4) were designed. The mechanical properties of the developed high-volume fly ash SHCCs (HVFA-SHCCs) were investigated through tensile tests, compressive tests, and flexural tests. Test results showed that all specimens exhibited multiple cracking and strain-hardening behaviors under tension or bending, and the compressive strength of the designed mixes exceeded 30MPa at 28 days, which is suitable for structural applications. Fly ash proved to be beneficial in the improvement of tensile and flexural ductility, but an extremely high volume of fly ash can provide only limited improvement. The HVFA-SHCC mix FA3.2 (with fly ash to binder ratio of about 76% by weight) designed in this study is suggested for structural applications.

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This study aimed to evaluate the occurrence of gluten contamination in naturally gluten-free meals from food services in the Federal District, Brazil. This is an exploratory cross-sectional quantitative study in which a total of 180 samples of naturally gluten-free dishes were collected from 60 food services in Brazil. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used for the quantification of gluten. As established by the Codex Alimentarius, the threshold of 20 ppm of gluten was considered as the accepted upper gluten level for gluten-free food. A total of 2.8% (95% CI: 0.3-5.2%) gluten contamination was found in the samples. Among the 60 food services, 6.7% (95% CI: 2.7-10.6%) displayed at least one contaminated food in our sample. The occurrence of gluten contamination in naturally gluten-free preparations was uncommon and low on a quantitative basis.

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Graphene/carbon paper is prepared by pyrolyzing graphene modified cellulose filter paper and directly used as a binder-free electrode to assemble a supercapacitor (SC) with a redox active electrolyte, containing a Fe3+/Fe2+ additive. By the graphene incorporation and the carbonization of the cellulose fibers, both the microstructure and the electrical conductivity of the carbon paper are promoted greatly. The filter paper derived carbon (FPC) electrode exhibits a specific capacitance (Cs) of 2832 F·g-1 in a 1 M H2SO4 + 0.5 M Fe3+/Fe2+ electrolyte at 1 A·g-1, which is about 81 times that in a normal H2SO4 electrolyte. With the modification of graphene, the capacitive performance of the SC is enhanced further and a remarkable Cs of 3396 F·g-1 at 1 A·g-1 is achieved for a graphene modified filter paper carbon (GFPC) electrode, which remains at ~632 F·g-1 at 10 A·g-1. The free standing GFPC electrode also exhibits good cycling stability (93.8% of capacitance retention after 2000 cycles) and an energy density of 118 Wh·kg-1 at a power density of 500.35 W·kg-1, all of which are much higher than those of FPC. These encouraging results suggest that the graphene modification of electrode materials combined with a Fe3+/Fe2+ redox active electrolyte is a prospective measure to fabricate SC with an ultrahigh performance.

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Biofouling is a significant maritime problem because the growth of fouling organisms on the hulls of ships leads to very high economic losses every year. Inspired by the soft skins of dolphins, we prepared graphene oxide/silicone rubber composite membranes in this study. These membranes have low surface free energies and adjustable elastic moduli, which are beneficial for preventing biofouling. Diatom attachment studies under static conditions revealed that color has no effect on antifouling behavior, whereas the studies under hydrodynamic conditions revealed that the combined effects of color and elastic modulus determine the antifouling performance. The experimental results are in accordance with the “harmonic motion effect” theory proposed by us, and we also provide a supplement to the theory in this paper. On the basis of the diatom attachment test results, the membrane with 0.36 wt % of graphene oxide showed excellent antifouling performance, and is promising in practical applications. The results confirmed that the graphene oxide and graphene have similar effect to enhance silicone rubber antifouling performance. This study provides important insight for the design of new antifouling coatings; specifically, it indicates that lighter colors and low Young’s moduli provide superior performance. In addition, this study provides a reference for the application of graphene oxide as fillers to enhance the composite antifouling performance.

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Hydroxyapatite and bioactive glass particles were added to pure magnesium and an AZ91 magnesium alloy and then consolidated into disc-shaped samples at room temperature using high-pressure torsion (HPT). The bioactive particles appeared well-dispersed in the metal matrix after multiple turns of HPT. Full consolidation was attained using pure magnesium, but the center of the AZ91 disc failed to fully consolidate even after 50 turns. The magnesium-hydroxyapatite composite displayed an ultimate tensile strength above 150 MPa, high cell viability, and a decreasing rate of corrosion during immersion in Hank’s solution. The composites produced with bioactive glass particles exhibited the formation of calcium phosphate after 2 h of immersion in Hank’s solution and there was rapid corrosion in these materials.