The School of Salamanca: a digital collection of sources and a dictionary of its juridical-political language : the basic objectives and structure of a research project
- The article introduces a research project financed by the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz began in 2013 and will extend over an 18-year period. It aims at producing a historical-semantic dictionary elucidating central terms of the School of Salamanca's discourses and their significance for modern political theory and jurisprudence. The project's fundament will be a digital corpus of important texts from the School of Salamanca which will be linked up with the dictionary's online version. By making the source corpus accessible in searchable full text (as well as in high quality digital images), the project is creating a new research tool with exciting possibilities for further investigations. The dictionary will be a valuable source of information for the interdisciplinary research carried out in this field.
Investigation of the biosynthesis of bacterial natural products
- Natural products (NPs) have been a rich source for pharmaceutically used anti-infectives and other drugs. However, the application of anti-infectives inevitably causes the development of resistant and multiresistant pathogens, which have to be treated with novel anti-infectives. The industrial research for novel anti-infectives has been concentrating on members of the bacterial Actinomycetales for a long time. Due to several reasons, e.g. the rediscovery of already known NPs, pharmaceutical companies abandoned their NP-research and focused on drug development based on combinatorial chemistry. However, the limited structural diversity of merely synthetic compound libraries has not been a fruitful source for bioactive compounds. Hence the discovery of novel bioactive NPs as a source for anti-infectives is still of economical and humanitarian interest and will remain to be an important branch of research in the future. One strategy to circumvent the rediscovery of bioactive NPs is the analysis of yet unexplored bacterial taxa. Based on this assumption, this work aimed at the discovery of novel NPs from the entomopathogenic bacterial genera Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus and other promising taxa, as well as the investigation of their biosynthesis. ...
pH- and sodium-induced changes in a sodium/proton antiporter
- We examined substrate-induced conformational changes in MjNhaP1, an archaeal electroneutral Na+/H+-antiporter resembling the human antiporter NHE1, by electron crystallography of 2D crystals in a range of physiological pH and Na+ conditions. In the absence of sodium, changes in pH had no major effect. By contrast, changes in Na+ concentration caused a marked conformational change that was largely pH-independent. Crystallographically determined, apparent dissociation constants indicated ∼10-fold stronger Na+ binding at pH 8 than at pH 4, consistent with substrate competition for a common ion-binding site. Projection difference maps indicated helix movements by about 2 Å in the 6-helix bundle region of MjNhaP1 that is thought to contain the ion translocation site. We propose that these movements convert the antiporter from the proton-bound, outward-open state to the Na+-bound, inward-open state. Oscillation between the two states would result in rapid Na+/H+ antiport.
Certolizumab pegol in rheumatoid arthritis patients with low to moderate activity: the CERTAIN double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial
Josef S. Smolen
Owen R. Davies
- This 52-week, randomised, double-blind phase IIIb study assessed efficacy and safety of certolizumab pegol (CZP) as add-on therapy to non-biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with low to moderate disease activity, and stopping therapy in patients in sustained remission.
METHODS:Patients were randomised 1:1 to CZP (400 mg at weeks 0, 2 and 4, then 200 mg every 2 weeks) or placebo (every 2 weeks) plus current non-biologic DMARDs. At week 24, patients who achieved the primary endpoint of Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) remission at both weeks 20 and 24 stopped study treatment and continued in the study until week 52.
RESULTS: Of 194 patients (CZP=96; placebo=98), >90% had moderate disease activity at baseline. Significantly more CZP patients met the primary endpoint than placebo patients (week 20 and 24 CDAI remission rates: 18.8% vs 6.1%; p≤0.05). At week 24, 63.0% vs 29.7% of CZP versus placebo patients (p<0.001) achieved LDA. Disease activity score (ESR) based on 28-joint count and Simplified Disease Activity Index remission rates were also significantly higher with CZP versus placebo (19.8% vs 3.1%; p≤0.01 and 14.6% vs 4.1%; p≤0.05). CZP patients reported improvements in physical function versus placebo (mean Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability-Index change from baseline: CZP, -0.25 vs placebo, -0.03; p≤0.01). During the period following withdrawal of CZP or placebo, only 3/17 prior CZP patients and 2/6 prior placebo patients maintained CDAI remission until week 52, but CZP reinstitution allowed renewed improvement. Adverse and serious adverse event rates were comparable between CZP and placebo groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Addition of CZP to non-biologic DMARDs is an effective treatment in RA patients with predominantly moderate disease activity, allowing low-disease activity or remission to be reached in a majority of the patients. However, the data suggest that CZP cannot be withdrawn in patients achieving remission.
EMBO Molecular Medicine: Fast Forward
- These are exciting times for translational medicine as the convergence between fundamental and clinical research comes of age. The new EMBO Press publishing platform reinforces the standing of EMBO Molecular Medicine as the journal that matches high quality, novel research with rigorous editorial and ethical standards. It will also cement the journal's global reach and relevance - whether in highly active fields or explorative forays into emerging areas.
Nitrogen feedbacks increase future terrestrial ecosystem carbon uptake in an individual-based dynamic vegetation model
- Recently a considerable amount of effort has been put into quantifying how interactions of the carbon and nitrogen cycle affect future terrestrial carbon sinks. Dynamic vegetation models, representing the nitrogen cycle with varying degree of complexity, have shown diverging constraints of nitrogen dynamics on future carbon sequestration. In this study, we use the dynamic vegetation model LPJ-GUESS to evaluate how population dynamics and resource competition between plant functional types, combined with nitrogen dynamics, have influenced the terrestrial carbon storage in the past and to investigate how terrestrial carbon and nitrogen dynamics might change in the future (1850 to 2100; one exemplary "business-as-usual" climate scenario). Single factor model experiments of CO2 fertilisation and climate change show generally similar directions of the responses of C–N interactions, compared to the C-only version of the model, as documented in previous studies. Under a RCP 8.5 scenario, nitrogen limitation suppresses potential CO2 fertilisation, reducing the cumulative net ecosystem carbon uptake between 1850 and 2100 by 61%, and soil warming-induced increase in nitrogen mineralisation reduces terrestrial carbon loss by 31%. When environmental changes are considered conjointly, carbon sequestration is limited by nitrogen dynamics until present. However, during the 21st century nitrogen dynamics induce a net increase in carbon sequestration, resulting in an overall larger carbon uptake of 17% over the full period. This contradicts earlier model results that showed an 8 to 37% decrease in carbon uptake, questioning the often stated assumption that projections of future terrestrial C dynamics from C-only models are too optimistic.
Southern high-latitude terrestrial climate change during the Paleocene–Eocene derived from a marine pollen record (ODP Site 1172, East Tasman Plateau)
Lineth Arias Contreras
Peter K. Bijl
Robert B. O'Hara
J. Ian Raine
- Reconstructing the early Paleogene climate dynamics of terrestrial settings in the high southern latitudes is important to assess the role of high-latitude physical and biogeochemical processes in the global climate system. However, whereas a number of high-quality Paleogene climate records has become available for the marine realm of the high southern latitudes over the recent past, the long-term evolution of coeval terrestrial climates and ecosystems is yet poorly known. We here explore the climate and vegetation dynamics on Tasmania from the middle Paleocene to the early Eocene (60.7–54.2 Ma) based on a sporomorph record from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1172 on the East Tasman Plateau. Our results show that three distinctly different vegetation types thrived on Tasmania under a high-precipitation regime during the middle Paleocene to early Eocene, with each type representing different temperature conditions: (i) warm-temperate forests dominated by gymnosperms that were dominant during the middle and late Paleocene; (ii) cool-temperate forests dominated by southern beech (Nothofagus) and araucarians across the middle/late Paleocene transition interval (~59.5 to ~59.0 Ma); and (iii) paratropical forests rich in ferns that were established during and in the wake of the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). The transient establishment of cool-temperate forests lacking any frost-sensitive elements (i.e., palms and cycads) across the middle/late Paleocene transition interval indicates markedly cooler conditions, with the occurrence of frosts in winter, on Tasmania during that time. The integration of our sporomorph data with previously published TEX86-based sea-surface temperatures from ODP Site 1172 documents that the vegetation dynamics on Tasmania were closely linked with the temperature evolution in the Tasman sector of the Southwest Pacific region. Moreover, the comparison of our season-specific climate estimates for the sporomorph assemblages from ODP Site 1172 with the TEX86L- and TEX86H-based temperature data suggests a warm-season bias of both calibrations for the early Paleogene of the high southern latitudes.
miRNA let-7e targeting MMP9 is involved in adipose-derived stem cell differentiation toward epithelia
Jose Luis Viñas
- miRNA let-7e is involved in stem cell differentiation, and metalloproteinases are among its potential target genes. We hypothesized that the inhibitory action of let-7e on regulation of MMP9 expression could represent a crucial mechanism during differentiation of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). ASCs were differentiated with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) to promote differentiation, and the effect of let-7 silencing during differentiation was tested. Results indicate that ASCs cultured with ATRA differentiated into cells of the epithelial lineage. We found that ASCs cultured with ATRA or transfected with miRNA let-7e expressed epithelial markers such as cytokeratin-18 and early renal organogenesis markers such as Pax2, Wt1, Wnt4 and megalin. Conversely, the specific knockdown of miRNA let-7e in ASCs significantly decreased the expression of these genes, indicating its vital role during the differentiation process. Using luciferase reporter assays, we also showed that MMP9 is a direct target of miRNA let-7e. Thus, our results suggest that miRNA let-7e acts as a matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP9) inhibitor and differentiation inducer in ASCs.
Transcriptome Data Reveal Syndermatan Relationships and Suggest the Evolution of Endoparasitism in Acanthocephala via an Epizoic Stage
Alexandra R. Wey-Fabrizius
David B. Mark Welch
- The taxon Syndermata comprises the biologically interesting wheel animals (“Rotifera”: Bdelloidea + Monogononta + Seisonidea) and thorny-headed worms (Acanthocephala), and is central for testing superordinate phylogenetic hypotheses (Platyzoa, Gnathifera) in the metazoan tree of life. Recent analyses of syndermatan phylogeny suggested paraphyly of Eurotatoria (free-living bdelloids and monogononts) with respect to endoparasitic acanthocephalans. Data of epizoic seisonids, however, were absent, which may have affected the branching order within the syndermatan clade. Moreover, the position of Seisonidea within Syndermata should help in understanding the evolution of acanthocephalan endoparasitism. Here, we report the first phylogenomic analysis that includes all four higher-ranked groups of Syndermata. The analyzed data sets comprise new transcriptome data for Seison spec. (Seisonidea), Brachionus manjavacas (Monogononta), Adineta vaga (Bdelloidea), and Paratenuisentis ambiguus (Acanthocephala). Maximum likelihood and Bayesian trees for a total of 19 metazoan species were reconstructed from up to 410 functionally diverse proteins. The results unanimously place Monogononta basally within Syndermata, and Bdelloidea appear as the sister group to a clade comprising epizoic Seisonidea and endoparasitic Acanthocephala. Our results support monophyly of Syndermata, Hemirotifera (Bdelloidea + Seisonidea + Acanthocephala), and Pararotatoria (Seisonidea + Acanthocephala), rejecting monophyly of traditional Rotifera and Eurotatoria. This serves as an indication that early acanthocephalans lived epizoically or as ectoparasites on arthropods, before their complex lifecycle with arthropod intermediate and vertebrate definite hosts evolved.
Prevention of Intestinal Allergy in Mice by rflaA:Ova Is Associated with Enforced Antigen Processing and TLR5-Dependent IL-10 Secretion by mDC
- Conjugated vaccines consisting of flagellin and antigen activate TLR5 and induce strong innate and adaptive immune responses. Objective of the present study was to gain further insight into the mechanisms by which flagellin fusion proteins mediate their immune modulating effects. In a mouse model of Ova-induced intestinal allergy a fusion protein of flagellin and Ova (rflaA:Ova) was used for intranasal and intraperitoneal vaccination. Aggregation status of flaA, Ova and flaA:Ova were compared by light scattering, uptake of fluorescence labeled proteins into mDC was analyzed, processing was investigated by microsomal digestion experiments. Mechanism of DC-activation was investigated using proteasome and inflammasome inhibitors. Immune responses of wildtype, IL-10−/−, TLR5−/− mDCs and Ova-transgenic T cells were investigated. Mucosal and i.p.-application of rflaA:Ova were able to prevent allergic sensitization, suppress disease-related symptoms, prevent body weight loss and reduction in food uptake. Intranasal vaccination resulted in strongest suppression of Ova-specific IgE production. These protective effects were associated with increased aggregation of rflaA:Ova and accompanied by tenfold higher uptake rates into mDC compared to the mixture of both proteins. Microsomal digestion showed that stimulation with rflaA:Ova resulted in faster degradation and the generation of different peptides compared to rOva. rflaA:Ova-mediated activation of mDC could be suppressed in a dose-dependent manner by the application of both inflammasome and proteasome inhibitors. Using TLR5−/− mDC the rflaA:Ova induced IL-10 secretion was shown to be TLR5 dependent. In co-cultures of IL-10−/− mDC with DO11.10 T cells the lack of rflaA:Ova-mediated IL-10 secretion resulted in enhanced levels of both TH2 (IL-4, IL-5) and TH1 (IL-2 and IFN-y) cytokines. In summary, mucosal vaccination with flaA:Ova showed strongest preventive effect. Stimulation with rflaA:Ova results in strong immune modulation mediated by enhanced uptake of the aggregated fusion protein, likely resulting in a different processing by DC as well as stronger TLR5 mediated cell activation.