Electrical transport and pinning properties of Nb thin films patterned with focused ion beam-milled washboard nanostructures
Olesandr V. Dobrovolskiy
Viktor A. Shklovskij
- A careful analysis of the magneto-transport properties of epitaxial nanostructured Nb thin films in the normal and the mixed state is performed. The nanopatterns were prepared by focused ion beam (FIB) milling. They provide a washboard-like pinning potential landscape for vortices in the mixed state and simultaneously cause a resistivity anisotropy in the normal state. Two matching magnetic fields for the vortex lattice with the underlying nanostructures have been observed. By applying these fields, the most likely pinning sites along which the flux lines move through the samples have been selected. By this, either the background isotropic pinning of the pristine film or the enhanced isotropic pinning originating from the nanoprocessing have been probed. Via an Arrhenius analysis of the resistivity data the pinning activation energies for three vortex lattice parameters have been quantified. The changes in the electrical transport and the pinning properties have been correlated with the results of the microstructural and topographical characterization of the FIB-patterned samples. Accordingly, along with the surface processing, FIB milling has been found to alter the material composition and the degree of disorder in as-grown films. The obtained results provide further insight into the pinning mechanisms at work in FIB-nanopatterned superconductors, e.g. for fluxonic applications.
Three-Dimensional architecture and biogenesis of membrane structures associated with hepatitis C virus replication
- All positive strand RNA viruses are known to replicate their genomes in close association with intracellular membranes. In case of the hepatitis C virus (HCV), a member of the family Flaviviridae, infected cells contain accumulations of vesicles forming a membranous web (MW) that is thought to be the site of viral RNA replication. However, little is known about the biogenesis and three-dimensional structure of the MW. In this study we used a combination of immunofluorescence- and electron microscopy (EM)-based methods to analyze the membranous structures induced by HCV in infected cells. We found that the MW is derived primarily from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and contains markers of rough ER as well as markers of early and late endosomes, COP vesicles, mitochondria and lipid droplets (LDs). The main constituents of the MW are single and double membrane vesicles (DMVs). The latter predominate and the kinetic of their appearance correlates with kinetics of viral RNA replication. DMVs are induced primarily by NS5A whereas NS4B induces single membrane vesicles arguing that MW formation requires the concerted action of several HCV replicase proteins. Three-dimensional reconstructions identify DMVs as protrusions from the ER membrane into the cytosol, frequently connected to the ER membrane via a neck-like structure. In addition, late in infection multi-membrane vesicles become evident, presumably as a result of a stress-induced reaction. Thus, the morphology of the membranous rearrangements induced in HCV-infected cells resemble those of the unrelated picorna-, corona- and arteriviruses, but are clearly distinct from those of the closely related flaviviruses. These results reveal unexpected similarities between HCV and distantly related positive-strand RNA viruses presumably reflecting similarities in cellular pathways exploited by these viruses to establish their membranous replication factories.
The mitochondrial genome of the venomous cone snail conus consors
- Cone snails are venomous predatory marine neogastropods that belong to the species-rich superfamily of the Conoidea. So far, the mitochondrial genomes of two cone snail species (Conus textile and Conus borgesi) have been described, and these feed on snails and worms, respectively. Here, we report the mitochondrial genome sequence of the fish-hunting cone snail Conus consors and describe a novel putative control region (CR) which seems to be absent in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of other cone snail species. This possible CR spans about 700 base pairs (bp) and is located between the genes encoding the transfer RNA for phenylalanine (tRNA-Phe, trnF) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit III (cox3). The novel putative CR contains several sequence motifs that suggest a role in mitochondrial replication and transcription.
Genetic Basis of Self-Incompatibility in the Lichen-Forming Fungus Lobaria pulmonaria and Skewed Frequency Distribution of Mating-Type Idiomorphs: Implications for Conservation
Francesco Dal Grande
- Fungal populations that reproduce sexually are likely to be genetically more diverse and have a higher adaptive potential than asexually reproducing populations. Mating systems of fungal species can be self-incompatible, requiring the presence of isolates of different mating-type genes for sexual reproduction to occur, or self-compatible, requiring only one. Understanding the distribution of mating-type genes in populations can help to assess the potential of self-incompatible species to reproduce sexually. In the locally threatened epiphytic lichen-forming fungus Lobaria pulmonaria (L.) Hoffm., low frequency of sexual reproduction is likely to limit the potential of populations to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Our study provides direct evidence of self-incompatibility (heterothallism) in L. pulmonaria. It can thus be hypothesized that sexual reproduction in small populations might be limited by an unbalanced distribution of mating-type genes. We therefore assessed neutral genetic diversity (using microsatellites) and mating-type ratio in 27 lichen populations (933 individuals). We found significant differences in the frequency of the two mating types in 13 populations, indicating a lower likelihood of sexual reproduction in these populations. This suggests that conservation translocation activities aiming at maximizing genetic heterogeneity in threatened and declining populations should take into account not only presence of fruiting bodies in transplanted individuals, but also the identity and balanced representation of mating-type genes.
A comparison of third-generation semi-invasive arterial waveform analysis with thermodilution in patients undergoing coronary surgery
Matthias Lars Grünewald
- Uncalibrated semi-invasive continous monitoring of cardiac index (CI) has recently gained increasing interest. The aim of the present study was to compare the accuracy of CI determination based on arterial waveform analysis with transpulmonary thermodilution. Fifty patients scheduled for elective coronary surgery were studied after induction of anaesthesia and before and after cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), respectively. Each patient was monitored with a central venous line, the PiCCO system, and the FloTrac/Vigileo-system. Measurements included CI derived by transpulmonary thermodilution and uncalibrated semi-invasive pulse contour analysis. Percentage changes of CI were calculated. There was a moderate, but significant correlation between pulse contour CI and thermodilution CI both before (r(2) = 0.72, P < 0.0001) and after (r(2) = 0.62, P < 0.0001) CPB, with a percentage error of 31% and 25%, respectively. Changes in pulse contour CI showed a significant correlation with changes in thermodilution CI both before (r(2) = 0.52, P < 0.0001) and after (r(2) = 0.67, P < 0.0001) CPB. Our findings demonstrated that uncalibrated semi-invasive monitoring system was able to reliably measure CI compared with transpulmonary thermodilution in patients undergoing elective coronary surgery. Furthermore, the semi-invasive monitoring device was able to track haemodynamic changes and trends.
Nanolesions induced by heavy ions in human tissues: experimental and theoretical studies
- The biological effects of energetic heavy ions are attracting increasing interest for their applications in cancer therapy and protection against space radiation. The cascade of events leading to cell death or late effects starts from stochastic energy deposition on the nanometer scale and the corresponding lesions in biological molecules, primarily DNA. We have developed experimental techniques to visualize DNA nanolesions induced by heavy ions. Nanolesions appear in cells as “streaks” which can be visualized by using different DNA repair markers. We have studied the kinetics of repair of these “streaks” also with respect to the chromatin conformation. Initial steps in the modeling of the energy deposition patterns at the micrometer and nanometer scale were made with MCHIT and TRAX models, respectively.
Spontaneous dissociation of Co2(CO)8 and autocatalytic growth of Co on SiO2: A combined experimental and theoretical investigation
Harald O. Jeschke
- We present experimental results and theoretical simulations of the adsorption behavior of the metal–organic precursor Co2(CO)8 on SiO2 surfaces after application of two different pretreatment steps, namely by air plasma cleaning or a focused electron beam pre-irradiation. We observe a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecules as well as autodeposition of cobalt on the pretreated SiO2 surfaces. We also find that the differences in metal content and relative stability of these deposits depend on the pretreatment conditions of the substrate. Transport measurements of these deposits are also presented. We are led to assume that the degree of passivation of the SiO2 surface by hydroxyl groups is an important controlling factor in the dissociation process. Our calculations of various slab settings, using dispersion-corrected density functional theory, support this assumption. We observe physisorption of the precursor molecule on a fully hydroxylated SiO2 surface (untreated surface) and chemisorption on a partially hydroxylated SiO2 surface (pretreated surface) with a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecule. In view of these calculations, we discuss the origin of this dissociation and the subsequent autocatalysis.
Synthesis and electrical characterization of intrinsic and in situ doped Si nanowires using a novel precursor
- Perchlorinated polysilanes were synthesized by polymerization of tetrachlorosilane under cold plasma conditions with hydrogen as a reducing agent. Subsequent selective cleavage of the resulting polymer yielded oligochlorosilanes SinCl2n+2 (n = 2, 3) from which the octachlorotrisilane (n = 3, Cl8Si3, OCTS) was used as a novel precursor for the synthesis of single-crystalline Si nanowires (NW) by the well-established vapor–liquid–solid (VLS) mechanism. By adding doping agents, specifically BBr3 and PCl3, we achieved highly p- and n-type doped Si-NWs by means of atmospheric-pressure chemical vapor deposition (APCVD). These as grown NWs were investigated by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), as well as electrical measurements of the NWs integrated in four-terminal and back-gated MOSFET modules. The intrinsic NWs appeared to be highly crystalline, with a preferred growth direction of  and a specific resistivity of ρ = 6 kΩ·cm. The doped NWs appeared to be  oriented with a specific resistivity of ρ = 198 mΩ·cm for p-type Si-NWs and ρ = 2.7 mΩ·cm for n-doped Si-NWs, revealing excellent dopant activation.
Radiation-induced nanostructures: Formation processes and applications
Actomyosin-based Self-organization of cell internalization during C. elegans gastrulation
Julia L. Moore
- Background: Gastrulation is a key transition in embryogenesis; it requires self-organized cellular coordination, which has to be both robust to allow efficient development and plastic to provide adaptability. Despite the conservation of gastrulation as a key event in Metazoan embryogenesis, the morphogenetic mechanisms of self-organization (how global order or coordination can arise from local interactions) are poorly understood.
Results: We report a modular structure of cell internalization in Caenorhabditis elegans gastrulation that reveals mechanisms of self-organization. Cells that internalize during gastrulation show apical contractile flows, which are correlated with centripetal extensions from surrounding cells. These extensions converge to seal over the internalizing cells in the form of rosettes. This process represents a distinct mode of monolayer remodeling, with gradual extrusion of the internalizing cells and simultaneous tissue closure without an actin purse-string. We further report that this self-organizing module can adapt to severe topological alterations, providing evidence of scalability and plasticity of actomyosin-based patterning. Finally, we show that globally, the surface cell layer undergoes coplanar division to thin out and spread over the internalizing mass, which resembles epiboly.
Conclusions: The combination of coplanar division-based spreading and recurrent local modules for piecemeal internalization constitutes a system-level solution of gradual volume rearrangement under spatial constraint. Our results suggest that the mode of C. elegans gastrulation can be unified with the general notions of monolayer remodeling and with distinct cellular mechanisms of actomyosin-based morphogenesis.