The 10 most recently published documents
Microclimate moderates plant responses to macroclimate warming
Pieter De Frenne
David Anthony Coomes
Carissa D. Brown
Guillaume M. Decocq
Frank S. Gilliam
Michael A. Jenkins
Daniel L. Kelly
Keith J. Kirby
Fraser J. G. Mitchell
Hans Van Calster
Donald M. Waller
Peter S. White
Kerry D. Woods
Bente Jessen Graae
- Recent global warming is acting across marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems to favor species adapted to warmer conditions and/or reduce the abundance of cold-adapted organisms (i.e., "thermophilization" of communities). Lack of community responses to increased temperature, however, has also been reported for several taxa and regions, suggesting that "climatic lags" may be frequent. Here we show that microclimatic effects brought about by forest canopy closure can buffer biotic responses to macroclimate warming, thus explaining an apparent climatic lag. Using data from 1,409 vegetation plots in European and North American temperate forests, each surveyed at least twice over an interval of 12-67 y, we document significant thermophilization of ground-layer plant communities. These changes reflect concurrent declines in species adapted to cooler conditions and increases in species adapted to warmer conditions. However, thermophilization, particularly the increase of warm-adapted species, is attenuated in forests whose canopies have become denser, probably reflecting cooler growing-season ground temperatures via increased shading. As standing stocks of trees have increased in many temperate forests in recent decades, local microclimatic effects may commonly be moderating the impacts of macroclimate warming on forest understories. Conversely, increases in harvesting woody biomass-e.g., for bioenergy-may open forest canopies and accelerate thermophilization of temperate forest biodiversity.
Opto-mechanical scission of polymer chains in photosensitive diblock-copolymer brushes
Casey J. Galvin
- In this paper we report on an opto-mechanical scission of polymer chains within photosensitive diblock-copolymer brushes grafted to flat solid substrates. We employ surface-initiated polymerization of methylmethacrylate (MMA) and t-butyl methacrylate (tBMA) to grow diblock-copolymer brushes of poly(methylmethacrylate-b-t-butyl methacrylate) following the atom transfer polymerization (ATRP) scheme. After the synthesis, deprotection of the PtBMA block yields poly(methacrylic acid) (PMAA). To render PMMA-b-PMAA copolymers photosensitive, cationic azobenzene containing surfactants are attached to the negatively charged outer PMAA block. During irradiation with an ultraviolet (UV) interference pattern, the extent of photoisomerization of the azobenzene groups varies spatially and results in a topography change of the brush, i.e., formation of surface relief gratings (SRG). The SRG formation is accompanied by local rupturing of the polymer chains in areas from which the polymer material recedes. This opto-mechanically induced scission of the polymer chains takes place at the interfaces of the two blocks and depends strongly on the UV irradiation intensity. Our results indicate that this process may be explained by employing classical continuum fracture mechanics, which might be important for tailoring the phenomenon for applying it to poststructuring of polymer brushes.
Operational momentum effect in children with and without developmental dyscalculia
Michael von Aster
Mutations in LYRM4, encoding ironsulfur cluster biogenesis factor ISD11, cause deficiency of multiple respiratory chain complexes
Sze Chern Lim
Justine E. Marum
Elena J. Tucker
Damien L. Bruno
Lisa G. Riley
Edwin P. Kirk
Christine M. DeGennaro
Vamsi K. Mootha
Tracey A. Rouault
David R. Thorburn
Alison G. Compton
- Ironsulfur clusters (ISCs) are important prosthetic groups that define the functions of many proteins. Proteins with ISCs (called ironsulfur or FeS proteins) are present in mitochondria, the cytosol, the endoplasmic reticulum and the nucleus. They participate in various biological pathways including oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), the citric acid cycle, iron homeostasis, heme biosynthesis and DNA repair. Here, we report a homozygous mutation in LYRM4 in two patients with combined OXPHOS deficiency. LYRM4 encodes the ISD11 protein, which forms a complex with, and stabilizes, the sulfur donor NFS1. The homozygous mutation (c.203GT, p.R68L) was identified via massively parallel sequencing of 1000 mitochondrial genes (MitoExome sequencing) in a patient with deficiency of complexes I, II and III in muscle and liver. These three complexes contain ISCs. Sanger sequencing identified the same mutation in his similarly affected cousin, who had a more severe phenotype and died while a neonate. Complex IV was also deficient in her skeletal muscle. Several other FeS proteins were also affected in both patients, including the aconitases and ferrochelatase. Mutant ISD11 only partially complemented for an ISD11 deletion in yeast. Our in vitro studies showed that the l-cysteine desulfurase activity of NFS1 was barely present when co-expressed with mutant ISD11. Our findings are consistent with a defect in the early step of ISC assembly affecting a broad variety of FeS proteins. The differences in biochemical and clinical features between the two patients may relate to limited availability of cysteine in the newborn period and suggest a potential approach to therapy.
Interplay between polymerase II- and polymerase III-assisted expression of overlapping genes
- Up to 15% of the genes in different genomes overlap. This architecture, although beneficial for the genome size, represents an obstacle for simultaneous transcription of both genes. Here we analyze the interference between RNA-polymerase II (Pol II) and RNA-polymerase III (Pol III) when transcribing their target genes encoded on opposing strands within the same DNA fragment in Arabidopsis thaliana. The expression of a Pol II-dependent protein-coding gene negatively correlated with the transcription of a Pol III-dependent, tRNA-coding gene set. We suggest that the architecture of the overlapping genes introduces an additional layer of control of gene expression. (C) 2013 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Multiplicity of singular synchronous States in the kuramoto model of coupled oscillators
- We study the Kuramoto model of globally coupled oscillators with a biharmonic coupling function. We develop an analytic self-consistency approach to find stationary synchronous states in the thermodynamic limit and demonstrate that there is a huge multiplicity of such states, which differ microscopically in the distributions of locked phases. These synchronous regimes already exist prior to the linear instability transition of the fully asynchronous state. In the presence of white Gaussian noise, the multiplicity is lifted, but the dependence of the order parameters on coupling constants remains nontrivial.
Millennial lag times in the Himalayan sediment routing system
Jan Henrik Blöthe
- Any understanding of sediment routing from mountain belts to their forelands and offshore sinks remains incomplete without estimates of intermediate storage that decisively buffers sediment yields from erosion rates, attenuates water and sediment fluxes, and protects underlying bedrock from incision. We quantify for the first time the sediment stored in > 38000 mainly postglacial Himalayan valley fills, based on an empirical volume-area scaling of valley-fill outlines automatically extracted from digital topographic data. The estimated total volume of 690(+452/-242) km(3) is mostly contained in few large valley fills > 1 km(3), while catastrophic mass wasting adds another 177(31) km(3). Sediment storage volumes are highly disparate along the strike of the orogen. Much of the Himalaya's stock of sediment is sequestered in glacially scoured valleys that provide accommodation space for similar to 44% of the total volume upstream of the rapidly exhuming and incising syntaxes. Conversely, the step-like long-wave topography of the central Himalayas limits glacier extent, and thus any significant glacier-derived storage of sediment away from tectonic basins. We show that exclusive removal of Himalayan valley fills could nourish contemporary sediment flux from the Indus and Brahmaputra basins for > 1 kyr, though individual fills may attain residence times of > 100 kyr. These millennial lag times in the Himalayan sediment routing system may sufficiently buffer signals of short-term seismic as well as climatic disturbances, thus complicating simple correlation and interpretation of sedimentary archives from the Himalayan orogen, its foreland, and its submarine fan systems. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
On completeness of root functions of Sturm-Liouville problems with discontinuous boundary operators
- We consider a Sturm-Liouville boundary value problem in a bounded domain D of R-n. By this is meant that the differential equation is given by a second order elliptic operator of divergent form in D and the boundary conditions are of Robin type on partial derivative D. The first order term of the boundary operator is the oblique derivative whose coefficients bear discontinuities of the first kind. Applying the method of weak perturbation of compact selfadjoint operators and the method of rays of minimal growth, we prove the completeness of root functions related to the boundary value problem in Lebesgue and Sobolev spaces of various types. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The sirtuin SIRT6 regulates stress granule formation in C. elegans and mammals
Kristian M. Müller
- SIRT6 is a NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase that modulates chromatin structure and safeguards genomic stability. Until now, SIRT6 has been assigned to the nucleus and only nuclear targets of SIRT6 are known. Here, we demonstrate that in response to stress, C. elegans SIR-2.4 and its mammalian orthologue SIRT6 localize to cytoplasmic stress granules, interact with various stress granule components and induce their assembly. Loss of SIRT6 or inhibition of its catalytic activity in mouse embryonic fibroblasts impairs stress granule formation and delays disassembly during recovery, whereas deficiency of SIR-2.4 diminishes maintenance of P granules and decreases survival of C. elegans under stress conditions. Our findings uncover a novel, evolutionary conserved function of SIRT6 in the maintenance of stress granules in response to stress.
Seasonal variation in the behaviour of a short-lived rodent
Jana A. Eccard
- Background: Short lived, iteroparous animals in seasonal environments experience variable social and environmental conditions over their lifetime. Animals can be divided into those with a "young-of-the-year" life history (YY, reproducing and dying in the summer of birth) and an "overwinter" life history (OW, overwintering in a subadult state before reproducing next spring).
We investigated how behavioural patterns across the population were affected by season and sex, and whether variation in behaviour reflects the variation in life history patterns of each season. Applications of pace-of-life (POL) theory would suggest that long-lived OW animals are shyer in order to increase survival, and YY are bolder in order to increase reproduction. Therefore, we expected that in winter and spring samples, when only OW can be sampled, the animals should be shyer than in summer and autumn, when both OW and YY animals can be sampled. We studied common vole (Microtus arvalis) populations, which express typical, intra-annual density fluctuation. We captured a total of 492 voles at different months over 3 years and examined boldness and activity level with two standardised behavioural experiments.
Results: Behavioural variables of the two tests were correlated with each other. Boldness, measured as short latencies in both tests, was extremely high in spring compared to other seasons. Activity level was highest in spring and summer, and higher in males than in females.
Conclusion: Being bold in laboratory tests may translate into higher risk-taking in nature by being more mobile while seeking out partners or valuable territories. Possible explanations include asset-protection, with OW animals being rather old with low residual reproductive value in spring. Therefore, OW may take higher risks during this season. Offspring born in spring encounter a lower population density and may have higher reproductive value than offspring of later cohorts. A constant connection between life history and animal personality, as suggested by the POL theory, however, was not found. Nevertheless, correlations of traits suggest the existence of animal personalities. In conclusion, complex patterns of population dynamics, seasonal variation in life histories, and variability of behaviour due to asset-protection may cause complex seasonal behavioural dynamics in a population.