- English (2) (remove)
- Molecular understanding of sulphuric acid–amine particle nucleation in the atmosphere (2013)
- Nucleation of aerosol particles from trace atmospheric vapours is thought to provide up to half of global cloud condensation nuclei1. Aerosols can cause a net cooling of climate by scattering sunlight and by leading to smaller but more numerous cloud droplets, which makes clouds brighter and extends their lifetimes2. Atmospheric aerosols derived from human activities are thought to have compensated for a large fraction of the warming caused by greenhouse gases2. However, despite its importance for climate, atmospheric nucleation is poorly understood. Recently, it has been shown that sulphuric acid and ammonia cannot explain particle formation rates observed in the lower atmosphere3. It is thought that amines may enhance nucleation4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, but until now there has been no direct evidence for amine ternary nucleation under atmospheric conditions. Here we use the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets) chamber at CERN and find that dimethylamine above three parts per trillion by volume can enhance particle formation rates more than 1,000-fold compared with ammonia, sufficient to account for the particle formation rates observed in the atmosphere. Molecular analysis of the clusters reveals that the faster nucleation is explained by a base-stabilization mechanism involving acid–amine pairs, which strongly decrease evaporation. The ion-induced contribution is generally small, reflecting the high stability of sulphuric acid–dimethylamine clusters and indicating that galactic cosmic rays exert only a small influence on their formation, except at low overall formation rates. Our experimental measurements are well reproduced by a dynamical model based on quantum chemical calculations of binding energies of molecular clusters, without any fitted parameters. These results show that, in regions of the atmosphere near amine sources, both amines and sulphur dioxide should be considered when assessing the impact of anthropogenic activities on particle formation.
- Bacterial porin disrupts mitochondrial membrane potential and sensitizes host cells to apoptosis (2009)
- The bacterial PorB porin, an ATP-binding beta-barrel protein of pathogenic Neisseria gonorrhoeae, triggers host cell apoptosis by an unknown mechanism. PorB is targeted to and imported by host cell mitochondria, causing the breakdown of the mitochondrial membrane potential (delta psi m). Here, we show that PorB induces the condensation of the mitochondrial matrix and the loss of cristae structures, sensitizing cells to the induction of apoptosis via signaling pathways activated by BH3-only proteins. PorB is imported into mitochondria through the general translocase TOM but, unexpectedly, is not recognized by the SAM sorting machinery, usually required for the assembly of beta-barrel proteins in the mitochondrial outer membrane. PorB integrates into the mitochondrial inner membrane, leading to the breakdown of delta psi m. The PorB channel is regulated by nucleotides and an isogenic PorB mutant defective in ATP-binding failed to induce delta psi m loss and apoptosis, demonstrating that dissipation of delta psi m is a requirement for cell death caused by neisserial infection.