Latitudinal differences in the amplitude of the OAE-2 carbon isotopic excursion: pCO2 and paleo productivity
Elisabeth C. van Bentum
Jacobus S. Sinninghe Damsté
- A complete, well-preserved record of the Cenomanian/Turonian (C/T) Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE-2) was recovered from Demerara Rise in the southern North Atlantic Ocean (ODP site 1260). Across this interval, we determined changes in the stable carbon isotopic composition of sulfur-bound phytane (δ13Cphytane), a biomarker for photosynthetic algae. The δ13Cphytane record shows a positive excursion at the onset of the OAE-2 interval, with an unusually large amplitude (~7‰) compared to existing C/T proto-North Atlantic δ13Cphytane records (3–6‰). Overall, the amplitude of the excursion of δ13Cphytane decreases with latitude. Using reconstructed sea surface temperature (SST) gradients for the proto-North Atlantic, we investigated environmental factors influencing the latitudinal δ13Cphytane gradient. The observed gradient is best explained by high productivity at DSDP Site 367 and Tarfaya basin before OAE-2, which changed in overall high productivity throughout the proto-North Atlantic during OAE-2. During OAE-2, productivity at site 1260 and 603B was thus more comparable to the mid-latitude sites. Using these constraints as well as the SST and δ13Cphytane-records from Site 1260, we subsequently reconstructed pCO2 levels across the OAE-2 interval. Accordingly, pCO2 decreased from ca. 1750 to 900 ppm during OAE-2, consistent with enhanced organic matter burial resulting in lowering pCO2. Whereas the onset of OAE-2 coincided with increased pCO2, in line with a volcanic trigger for this event, the observed cooling within OAE-2 probably resulted from CO2 sequestration in black shales outcompeting CO2 input into the atmosphere. Together these results show that the ice-free Cretaceous world was sensitive to changes in pCO2 related to perturbations of the global carbon cycle.
Malignant melanoma of the urethra: a rare histologic subdivision of vulvar cancer with a poor prognosis
- Malignant melanoma of the urethra is a rare tumour that is difficult to diagnose and treat, resulting in a poor prognosis. In this paper, we present the case of a 65-year-old woman who was referred to a gynaecologist because of a urethral mass that mimicked a caruncle. The tumour was removed by local excision, and a pathological analysis revealed a malignant melanoma. Distal urethrectomy was performed after three months with no evidence of residual tumour. There was no evidence of disease at a six-year followup. In this paper, we compare the epidemiology, treatment, staging, and prognosis of vulvar cancer in general to malignant melanoma of the vulva in particular.
Sustainable consumption: towards action and impact. : International scientific conference November 6th-8th 2011, Hamburg - European Green Capital 2011, Germany: abstract volume
- This volume contains the abstracts of all oral and poster presentations of the international scientific conference „Sustainable Consumption – Towards Action and Impact“ held in Hamburg (Germany) on November 6th-8th 2011. This unique conference aims to promote a comprehensive academic discourse on issues concerning sustainable consumption and brings together scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines.
In modern societies, private consumption is a multifaceted and ambivalent phenomenon: it is a ubiquitous social practice and an economic driving force, yet at the same time, its consequences are in conflict with important social and environmental sustainability goals. Finding paths towards “sustainable consumption” has therefore become a major political issue. In order to properly understand the challenge of “sustainable consumption”, identify unsustainable patterns of consumption and bring forward the necessary innovations, a collaborative effort of researchers from different disciplines is needed.
TTF-TCNQ-based thin films and microcrystals - growth and charge transport phenomena
Astrophysical Implications of the QCD phase transition
- The possible role of a first order QCD phase transition at nonvanishing quark chemical potential
and temperature for cold neutron stars and for supernovae is delineated. For cold neutron stars,
we use the NJL model with nonvanishing color superconducting pairing gaps, which describes
the phase transition to the 2SC and the CFL quark matter phases at high baryon densities. We
demonstrate that these two phase transitions can both be present in the core of neutron stars and
that they lead to the appearance of a third family of solution for compact stars. In particular, a core
of CFL quark matter can be present in stable compact star configurations when slightly adjusting
the vacuum pressure to the onset of the chiral phase transition from the hadronicmodel to the NJL
model. We show that a strong first order phase transition can have strong impact on the dynamics
of core collapse supernovae. If the QCD phase transition sets in shortly after the first bounce, a
second outgoing shock wave can be generated which leads to an explosion. The presence of the
QCD phase transition can be read off from the neutrino and antineutrino signal of the supernova.
Adding epoetin alfa to intense dose-dense adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer: randomized clinical trial
Andreas du Bois
Ingo B. Runnebaum
- BACKGROUND: The AGO-ETC trial compared 5-year relapse-free survival of intense dose-dense (IDD) sequential chemotherapy with epirubicin (E), paclitaxel (T), and cyclophosphamide (C) (IDD-ETC) every 2 weeks vs conventional scheduled epirubicin/cyclophosphamide followed by paclitaxel (EC→T) (every 3 weeks) as adjuvant treatment in high-risk breast cancer patients. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of epoetin alfa in a second randomization of the intense dose-dense arm.
METHODS: One thousand two hundred eighty-four patients were enrolled; 658 patients were randomly assigned to the IDD-ETC treatment group. Within the IDD-ETC group, 324 patients were further randomly assigned to the epoetin alfa group, and 319 were randomly assigned to the non-erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) control group. Primary efficacy endpoints included change in hemoglobin level from baseline to Cycle 9 and the percentage of subjects requiring red blood cell transfusion. Relapse-free survival, overall survival, and intramammary relapse were secondary endpoints estimated with Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression methods. Except for the primary hypothesis, all statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: Epoetin alfa avoided the decrease in hemoglobin level (no decrease in the epoetin alfa group vs -2.20g/dL change for the control group; P < .001) and statistically significantly reduced the percentage of subjects requiring red blood cell transfusion (12.8% vs 28.1%; P < .0001). The incidence of thrombotic events was 7% in the epoetin alfa arm vs 3% in the control arm. After a median follow-up of 62 months, epoetin alfa treatment did not affect overall survival, relapse-free survival, or intramammary relapse.
CONCLUSIONS: Epoetin alfa resulted in improved hemoglobin levels and decreased transfusions without an impact on relapse-free or overall survival. However, epoetin alfa had an adverse effect, resulting in increased thrombosis.
Dynamics of chaotic strings
- The main topic of this thesis is the investigation of dynamical properties of coupled Tchebycheff map networks. At every node of the network the dynamics is given by the iteration of a Tchebycheff map, which shows strongest possible chaotic behaviour. By applying a coupling between the various individual dynamics along the links of the network, a rich structure of complex dynamical patterns emerges. Accordingly, coupled chaotic map networks provide prototypical models for studying the interplay between local dynamics, network structure, and the emergent global dynamics. An exciting application of coupled Tchebycheff map lattices in quantum field theory has been proposed Beck in Spatio-temporal chaos and vacuum fluctuations of quantized fields' (2002). In this so-called chaotic string model, the coupled map lattice dynamics generates the noise needed for the Parisi-Wu approach of stochastic quantization. The remarkable obversation is that the respective dynamics seems to reproduce distinguished numerical values of coupling constants that coincide with those observed in the standard model of particle physic. The results of this thesis give insights into the chaotic string model and its network generalization from a dynamical point of view. This leads to a deeper understanding of the dynamics, which is essential for a critical discussion of possible physical embeddings. Apart from this specific application to particle physics, the investigated concepts like synchronization or a most random behaviour of the dynamics are of general interest for dynamical system theory and the science of complex networks. As a first approach, discrete symmetry transformations of the model are studied. These transformations are formulated in a general way in order to be also applicable to similar dynamics on bipartite network structures. An observable of main interest in the chaotic string model is the interaction energy. In Spatio-temporal chaos and vacuum fluctuations of quantized fields' (2002) it has been observed that certain chaotic string couplings, corresponding to a vanishing interaction energy, coincide with coupling constants of the standard model of elementary particle physics. Since the interaction energy is basically a spatial correlation measure, an interpretation of the respective dynamical states in terms of a most random behaviour is tempting. In order to distinguish certain states as most random', or evoke another dynamical principle, a deeper understanding of the dynamics essential. In the present thesis the dynamics is studied numerically via Lyapunov measures, spatial correlations, and ergodic properties. It is shown that the zeros of the interaction energy are distinguished only with respect to this specific observable, but not by a more general dynamical principle. The original chaotic string model is defined on a one-dimensional lattice (ring-network) as the underlying network topology. This thesis studies a modification of the model based on the introduction of tunable disorder. The effects of inhomogeneous coupling weights as well as small-world perturbations of the ring-network structure on the interaction energy are discussed. Synchronization properties of the chaotic string model and its network generalization are studied in later chapters of this thesis. The analysis is based on the master stability formalism, which relates the stability of the synchronized state to the spectral properties of the network. Apart from complete synchronization, where the dynamics at all nodes of the network coincide, also two-cluster synchronization on bipartite networks is studied. For both types of synchronization it is shown that depending on the type of coupling the synchronized dynamics can display chaotic as well as periodic or quasi-periodic behaviour. The semi-analytical calculations reveal that the respective synchronized states are often stable for a wide range of coupling values even for the ring-network, although the respective basins of attraction may inhabit only a small fraction of the phase space. To provide analytical results in closed form, for complete synchronization the stability of all fixed points and period-2 orbits of all chaotic string networks are determined analytically. The master stability formalism allows to treat the ring-network of the chaotic string model as a special case, but the results are valid for coupled Tchebycheff maps on arbitrary networks. For two-cluster synchronization on bipartite networks, selected fixed points and period-2 orbits are analyzed.
Biophysical and biochemical characterisation of the SMR proteins Hsmr and EmrE
- The increasing resistance of almost all pathogenic bacteria to antibiotics (multidrug resistance) causes a severe threat to public health. The mechanisms underlying multidrug resistance include the induced over expression of multidrug transporters which extrude a variety of lipophilic and toxic substrates in an energy dependent fashion through the membrane out of the cell. These proteins are found in all transporter families. The work described in this thesis is dedicated to drug-proton antiporters from the small multidrug resistance (SMR) family. These efflux pumps with just four transmembrane helices per monomer are so far the smallest transporters discovered. Their oligomeric state, topology, three dimensional structure, catalytic cycle and transport mechanism are still rather controversial. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to directly address these questions for the small multidrug resistance proteins Halobacterium salinarium Hsmr and Escherichia coli (E. coli) EmrE using a number of biophysical methods such as NMR, transport assays, mass spectrometry and analytical ultracentrifugation. Especially the work on Hsmr has been challenging due to the halophilic nature of this protein. In Chapter 1, key questions and the most important biophysical techniques are introduced followed by Material and Methods in Chapter 2. Depending on experimental requirements, cell free or ‘classical’ in vivo expression has been used for this thesis. Cell free expression as an option for the production of small multidrug transporters has been explored in Chapter 3. It has been possible to produce the SMR family members Hsmr, EmrE, TBsmr and YdgF in vitro. The expression of Hsmr was investigated in more detail under different experimental conditions. Hsmr was either refolded from precipitate or maintained in a soluble form during expression in the presence of detergents and liposomes. Furthermore, amino acids for which no auxotrophic strains were available could be labelled successfully. This expression system has been also used for preparing labelled samples of EmrE as described in Chapter 9. In vivo in E. coli expression of Hsmr, as described in Chapter 4, provided large amounts of proteins if fermenter production was used. Uniform labelling and selective unlabelling with stable isotopes (13C, 15N) for NMR spectroscopy was achieved in vivo in a more efficient and cost effective manner than using the cell free approach for this protein. Hsmr could be purified successfully from both in vitro and in vivo expression media. Hsmr is expressed in vivo and in vitro with N-terminal formylation. The Nterminal formylation is unstable and Hsmr in the presence of low salt concentrations was amenable to N-terminal degradation. It was found that Hsmr shows longest stability in Fos-ß-choline® 12 and sodium dodecyl sulphate, but best reconstitution conditions were found, when dodecyl maltoside is used and exchanged with Escherichia coli lipids. A molar protein lipid ratio of 1 to 100, amenable to solid state nuclear magnetic resonance, has been achieved. Sample homogeneity was shown by freeze fracture electron microscopy. The oligomeric state of Hsmr in detergent has been assessed by SDS PAGE, blue native PAGE, size exclusion chromatography, analytical ultracentrifugation and laser induced liquid bead ion desorption mass spectrometry (LILBID) as described in Chapter 5. A concentration and detergent dependent monomer-oligomer equilibrium has been found by all methods. The activity of Hsmr under the sample preparation conditions used here was shown using radioactive and fluorescence binding as well as fluorescence and electrochemical transport assays (Chapter 6). For transport studies, a stable pH gradient was generated by co-reconstitution of Hsmr with bacteriorhodopsin and subsequent sample illumination. Based on the observed long term stability of Hsmr in Fos-ß-choline® 12 and sodium dodecyl sulphate, liquid state NMR experiments were attempted in order to assess the correct folding of Hsmr in detergent micelles (Chapter 7). 1D proton and 2D HSQC spectra of U-15N Hsmr revealed a poor spectral dispersion, low resolution and only a small number of peaks. These are at least partly due to long rotational correlation times of the large protein detergent complex. This problem has been overcome by applying solid-state NMR to Hsmr reconstituted into E. coli lipids (Chapter 8). Uniform 13C labelled samples were prepared and two dimensional proton-driven spin diffusion and double quantum-single quantum correlation spectra were acquired successfully. Unfortunately, the spectral resolution was not yet sufficient for further structural studies. Reasons for the observed linebroadening could be structural heterogeneity or molecular motions which interfere with the NMR timescale. Therefore, the protein mobility has been probed using static 2H solid state NMR on Ala-d3-Hsmr. It could be shown, that parts of Hsmr are remarkably mobile in the membrane and that this mobility can be limited by the addition of the substrate ethidium bromide. Ethidium bromide as well as tetraphenylphosphonium (TPP+) is typical multidrug transporter substrates. The membrane interaction of TPP+ in DMPC membranes has been resolved by 1H MAS NMR. It was found that it penetrates into the interface region of the lipid bilayers and therefore behaves like many other transporter substrates adding to the hypothesis that the membrane could act as a pre-sorting filter. Finally, Chapter 9 is dedicated to the characterisation of the essential and highly conserved residue Glu-14 in EmrE by solid-state NMR. In order to avoid spectral overlap, the single Glu EmrE E25A mutant was chosen instead of the wildtype. The protein has been produced in vitro to take advantage of reduced isotope scrambling in the cell free expression system as verified by analytical NMR spectroscopy. Correct labelling of EmrE was tested by MALDI-TOF and solid-state NMR. The dimeric state of DDM solubilised EmrE has been probed by LILBID. The labelled protein was reconstituted into E. coli lipids to ensure a native membrane environment. Activity was determined by measuring ethidium bromide transport. Freeze fracture EM revealed very homogeneous protein incorporation even after many days of MAS NMR experiments. 2D 13C double quantum filtered experiments were used to obtain chemical shift and lineshape information of Glu-14 in EmrE. Two distinct populations were found with backbone chemical shift differences of 4 - 6 ppm which change upon substrate binding. These findings indicate a structural asymmetry at the assumed dimerisation interface and are discussed in the context of a model for shared substrate/proton binding. These studies represent the first successful use of cell free expression to prepare labelled membrane proteins for solid-state NMR and allow for the first time an NMR insight into the binding pocket of a multidrug efflux pump.
Bayesian cue integration as a developmental outcome of reward mediated learning
Thomas H. Weisswange
Constantin A. Rothkopf
- Average human behavior in cue combination tasks is well predicted by Bayesian inference models. As this capability is acquired over developmental timescales, the question arises, how it is learned. Here we investigated whether reward dependent learning, that is well established at the computational, behavioral, and neuronal levels, could contribute to this development. It is shown that a model free reinforcement learning algorithm can indeed learn to do cue integration, i.e. weight uncertain cues according to their respective reliabilities and even do so if reliabilities are changing. We also consider the case of causal inference where multimodal signals can originate from one or multiple separate objects and should not always be integrated. In this case, the learner is shown to develop a behavior that is closest to Bayesian model averaging. We conclude that reward mediated learning could be a driving force for the development of cue integration and causal inference.
Amino acids – guidelines on parenteral nutrition, chapter 4
Irina Ursula Blumenstein
- Protein catabolism should be reduced and protein synthesis promoted with parenteral nutrion (PN). Amino acid (AA) solutions should always be infused with PN. Standard AA solutions are generally used, whereas specially adapted AA solutions may be required in certain conditions such as severe disorders of AA utilisation or in inborn errors of AA metabolism. An AA intake of 0.8 g/kg/day is generally recommended for adult patients with a normal metabolism, which may be increased to 1.2–1.5 g/kg/day, or to 2.0 or 2.5 g/kg/day in exceptional cases. Sufficient non-nitrogen energy sources should be added in order to assure adequate utilisation of AA. A nitrogen calorie ratio of 1:130 to 1:170 (g N/kcal) or 1:21 to 1:27 (g AA/kcal) is recommended under normal metabolic conditions. In critically ill patients glutamine should be administered parenterally if indicated in the form of peptides, for example 0.3–0.4 g glutamine dipeptide/kg body weight/day (=0.2–0.26 g glutamine/kg body weight/day). No recommendation can be made for glutamine supplementation in PN for patients with acute pancreatitis or after bone marrow transplantation (BMT), and in newborns. The application of arginine is currently not warranted as a supplement in PN in adults. N-acetyl AA are only of limited use as alternative AA sources. There is currently no indication for use of AA solutions with an increased content of glycine, branched-chain AAs (BCAA) and ornithine-α-ketoglutarate (OKG) in all patients receiving PN. AA solutions with an increased proportion of BCAA are recommended in the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy (III–IV).