Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, Volume 8; doi:10.3389/fbioe.2020.00527.s001
Pore-forming and hemolytic toxins are bacterial cytotoxic proteins required for virulence in many pathogens, including staphylococci and streptococci, and are notably associated with clinical manifestations of disease. Inspired by adsorption properties of naturally occurring aluminosilicates, we engineered inexpensive, laboratory-synthesized, aluminosilicate geopolymers with controllable pore and surface characteristics to remove pathogenic or cytotoxic material from the surrounding environment. In this study, macroporous and mesoporous geopolymers were produced with and without stearic acid surface modifications. Geopolymer binding efficacies were assessed by measuring adsorption of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) culture filtrate proteins, α-hemolysin and streptolysin-O toxins, MRSA whole cells, and antibiotics. Macroporous and mesoporous geopolymers were strong non-selective adsorbents for bacterial protein, protein toxins, and bacteria. Although some geopolymers adsorbed antibiotics, these synthesized geopolymers could potentially be used in non-selective adsorptive applications and optimized for adsorption of specific biomolecules.
Frontiers in Psychology, Volume 11; doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01022
Objectives: In the last decade, vitamin D deficiency has become a major global issue. One of the main functions of vitamin D is the proper absorption of calcium in the gastrointestinal track. Optimal vitamin D levels are mandatory for adequate calcium absorption and bone health. The purpose of this study was to assess the level of knowledge of vitamin D, calcium, and physical activity among Emirati and tourist adults in Abu Dhabi. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study that took place in three different malls in Abu Dhabi and included Emirati and tourist adults. Participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire consisting of 32 questions. These included questions on vitamin D, calcium, supplement, and physical activity knowledge. Another section of the questionnaire included general information on age, sex, education, weight, and height. The collected data were statistically analyzed using descriptive statistics using IBM SPSS statistics for Windows version 26.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, United States). Statistical significance was set at P < 0.05. Results: Out of 147 adults, 113 were females and 34 males. The mean age, height, and weight were 27.9 ± 8.6 years, 162.7 ± 10.4 cm, and 66.5 ± 19.5 kg, respectively. Emiratis had statistically significant higher basic knowledge on vitamin D compared to tourists (44.9 vs 27.1%), respectively. More than 66% of the whole sample was aware that vitamin D deficiency can affect muscle strength, as well as that calcium may affect osteoporosis. In a multiple regression model to analyze the possible effects of other factors to knowledge, it was found that only age (Beta: 0.045, P < 0.014) and nationality (Beta: 0.750, P < 0.018) were independently and significantly associated to vitamin D. Conclusion: Emirati participants showed a higher overall vitamin D knowledge than their tourist counterparts. Both groups had low/medium level of knowledge when it comes to physical activity and calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Frontiers in Chemistry, Volume 8; doi:10.3389/fchem.2020.00413
Supercapacitors (SCs) have attracted widespread attention due to their short charging/discharging time, long cycle life, and good temperature characteristics. Electrolytes have been considered as a key factor affecting the performance of SCs. They largely determine the energy density based on their decomposition voltage and the power density from their ionic conductivity. In recent years, redox electrolytes obtained a growing interest due to an additional redox activity from electrolytes, which offers an increased charge storage capacity in SCs. This article summarizes the latest progress in the research of redox electrolytes, and focuses on their properties, mechanisms, and applications based on different solvent types available. It also proposes potential solutions for how to effectively increase the energy density of the SCs while maintaining their high power and long life.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Volume 14; doi:10.3389/fnhum.2020.00202
Background: The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in both hemispheres have a central integrative function for motor control and behavior. Understanding the hemispheric difference between DLPFC and ipsilateral motor cortex connection in the resting-state will provide fundamental knowledge to explain the different roles DLPFC plays in motor behavior. Purpose: The current study tested the interactions between the ipsilateral DLPFC and the primary motor cortex (M1) in each hemisphere at rest. We hypothesized that left DLPFC has a greater inhibitory effect on the ipsilateral M1 compared to the right DLPFC. Methods: Fourteen right-handed subjects were tested in a dual-coil paired-pulse paradigm using transcranial magnetic stimulation. The conditioning stimulus (CS) was applied to the DLPFC and the test stimulus (TS) was applied to M1. Interstimulus intervals (ISIs) between CS and TS were 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 ms. The result was expressed as a percentage of the mean peak-to-peak amplitude of the unconditioned test pulse. Results: There was stronger inhibitory effect for the left compared to the right hemisphere at ISIs of 2 (p = 0.045), 10 (p = 0.006), 15 (p = 0.029) and 20 (p = 0.024) ms. There was no significant inhibition or facilitation at any ISI in the right hemisphere. Conclusions: The two hemispheres have distinct DLPFC and M1 cortico-cortical connectivity at rest. Left hemisphere DLPFC is dominant in inhibiting ipsilateral M1.
Frontiers in Endocrinology, Volume 11; doi:10.3389/fendo.2020.00297
Background and Objectives: Clitoromegaly is an important parameter in the evaluation of ambiguous genitalia in neonates, but the normative data for clitoral size in newborns have racial/ethnic differences. The present study aimed to determine clitoral length (CL) and clitoral width (CW) values and establish cutoff measurement to define clitoromegaly in both term and preterm Iranian neonates for the first time. Methods: A total number of 580 female newborn infants delivered at 28–42 weeks of gestation were enrolled in the study, and their CL and CW were measured on the first 72 h of birth. Data about birth weight (BW), body length (BL), and head circumference (HC) of newborns; mothers' age; and gestational age (GA) were recorded, too. Results were presented as mean ± standard deviation (SD) for quantitative variables and were summarized by frequency (percentage) for categorical variables. Backward stepwise regression analysis was used for prediction of CL and CW. Results: Among 580 Iranian female newborns studied, 187 were term neonates and the other 393 newborns were preterm. Mean ± SD values of CL were 6.11 ± 0.39 mm in term infants and 5.45 ± 0.64 mm in preterm infants (P < 0.001). Mean ± SD values of CW were 4.22 ± 0.43 in term infants and 3.68 ± 0.53 in preterm infants (P < 0.001). Regression analysis showed that CL was correlated with GA considered by last menstrual period, BL, BW, and HC; and CW was associated with GA, BL, and BW. Conclusion: This study suggests normative values (mean + 1, 2, and 3 SD) of CL and CW according to GA, which can be used as a reference for Middle East's newborns, especially Iranian newborn babies.
Frontiers in Physiology, Volume 11; doi:10.3389/fphys.2020.00535
Mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegeneration have been directly correlated in many neurodegenerative disorders. Parkinson’s disease (PD) in particular has been extensively studied in this context because of its well-characterized association with mitophagy, a selective type of autophagy that degrades mitochondria. Mitophagy is triggered by ubiquitin modification of proteins residing on the surface of mitochondria. Therefore, mitophagy is subject to suppression by deubiquitination. In recent years, many deubiquitinase enzymes (DUBs) emerged as therapeutic targets to compensate hindered mitophagy in PD. It is reasonable that inhibition of specific DUBs should induce mitophagy by blocking deubiquitination of mitochondrial proteins, although the signaling pathway is not always that linear. The broad aspect suggests that there could be cross talks among DUBs, which may in turn have synergistic effect to rescue the disease progression. In this short review we have highlighted DUBs that hold therapeutic value in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, PD in particular.
Frontiers in Chemistry, Volume 8; doi:10.3389/fchem.2020.00376
Herein, the role of metal-based nanoparticles (NPs) in biomedical analysis and the treatment of critical deceases been highlighted. In the world of nanotechnology, noble elements such as the gold/silver/palladium (Au/Ag/Pd) NPs are the most promising emerging trend to design bioengineering materials that could to be employed as modern diagnostic tools and devices to combat serious diseases. NPs are considered a powerful and advanced chemical tool to diagnose and to cure critical ailments such as HIV, cancer, and other types of infectious illnesses. The treatment of cancer is the most significant application of nanotechnology which is based on premature tumor detection and analysis of cancer cells through Nano-devices. The fascinating characteristic properties of NPs—such as high surface area, high surface Plasmon resonance, multi-functionalization, highly stable nature, and easy processing—make them more prolific for nanotechnology. In this review article, the multifunctional roles of Au/Ag/Pd NPs in the field of medical science, the physicochemical toxicity dependent properties, and the interaction mechanism is highlighted. Due to the cytotoxicity of Ag/Au/Pd NPs, the conclusion and future remarks emphasize the need for further research to minimize the toxicity of NPs in the bio-medicinal field.
Frontiers in Psychology, Volume 11; doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00943
In this case-report we describe an experience where alternative places – rather than the classroom – are exploited to implement learning processes. We maintain that this experience is a good example of materiality because it focuses on a project where students had the opportunity to re-design a public space. To this aim, various objects and tools are used to support discussions and exchanges with new stakeholders. Our theoretical vision combines Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s tradition with an innovative framework called the Trialogical Learning Approach (TLA). From such theoretical background an idea of materiality emerges, that refers to material in combination with the social relationships developed around the material. Our case-report concerns a participatory project run by Rete Dialogues, a national school network focusing on global citizenship education. Our research question is: how can this project highlight the connection between the TLA and socio-materiality? Since 2017, around 200 students (age 7–16) and 20 teachers from different schools have been engaged in tackling the degradation of an important square in Rome. The project – “Dialogues in the Square” (DiS) was developed with several stakeholders that contributed to the understanding of critical issues influencing the maintenance of the square, in the perspective of planning, and possibly implementing improvements proposed by students. Crucial is the cooperation with two important urban art projects: (i) the pilot-project MACRO-ASILO, run by the MACRO museum in Rome and aimed at connecting the world of art with the city life; (ii) the “building sites” of the Rome Rebirth Forum, inspired by the world-known artist Michelangelo Pistoletto’s “third paradise” methodology, that encourages responsibility and action taking on sustainability through art. Drawing on data collected through direct observations and video recordings, we aim to show and make sense of the connection between the TLA and socio-materiality, highlighting three key elements: the flexible use of mediation tools, the overcoming of the dichotomy between individual and collective learning through reflection, and the re-shaping of social practices.
Frontiers in Psychology, Volume 11; doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00506
Research lacks in verifying the nature of the relationship between mass media pressure, body image, and the risk of unhealthy eating behaviors. This study aimed to investigate whether the internalization of sociocultural norms, perceived pressure or searching for information about body image promoted by the mass media directly affect restrictive and bulimic behavior toward eating, through the mediating role of body image and physical appearance variables. The research hypotheses were that (1, 2) body image, the pressure and the internalization of sociocultural norms are significant predictors of unhealthy eating behavior among women and men; and (3) the variables related to body image play the role of the mediating variable between the impact of socio-cultural standards of body image promoted by the mass media and unhealthy eating behavior. The sample comprised 514 Polish men and women, aged 16 to 63 old (men M=24.35; SD=13.53; women M=24.77; SD=7.61), with average Body Mass Index (BMI). Assessment comprised the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Scale (SATAQ-3), Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI 3), The Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ-AS), and the author’s survey questionnaire. The descriptive and comparative statistics, and a path analysis (structural equations modeling) were applied. The statistical analysis showed that the variables related to body image do not play the role of intermediary variables. The pressure of sociocultural standards of body image and physical appearance had the strongest and most direct effect on the development of restrictive eating behavior and appeared to negatively affect body image in women. The search of information on body image in the mass media had the strongest and most direct impact on the development of bulimic eating behavior among women. However, only the global internalization of sociocultural standards of body image and physical appearance had a significant and direct effect on the development of bulimic eating behavior in men. Moreover, the internalization of athletic body shape standards had the strongest and most positive impact on some aspects of body image in this group. No sociocultural variables showed a direct impact on restrictive behavior among studied men. BMI had a positive and direct impact on individual body part satisfaction. These results may help improve prevention of eating disorders and dysfunctional eating behavior.
Frontiers in Plant Science, Volume 11; doi:10.3389/fpls.2020.00724.s001
Cadmium (Cd) is a widespread pollutant that is toxic to living organisms. Previous studies have identified certain WRKY transcription factors, which confer Cd tolerance in different plant species. In the present study, we have identified 29 Cd-responsive WRKY genes in Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], and confirmed that 26 of those GmWRKY genes were up-regulated, while 3 were down-regulated. We have also cloned the novel, positively regulated GmWRKY142 gene from soybean and investigated its regulatory mechanism in Cd tolerance. GmWRKY142 was highly expressed in the root, drastically up-regulated by Cd, localized in the nucleus, and displayed transcriptional activity. The overexpression of GmWRKY142 in Arabidopsis thaliana and soybean hairy roots significantly enhanced Cd tolerance and lead to extensive transcriptional reprogramming of stress-responsive genes. ATCDT1, GmCDT1-1, and GmCDT1-2 encoding cadmium tolerance 1 were induced in overexpression lines. Further analysis showed that GmWRKY142 activated the transcription of ATCDT1, GmCDT1-1, and GmCDT1-2 by directly binding to the W-box element in their promoters. In addition, the functions of GmCDT1-1 and GmCDT1-2, responsible for decreasing Cd uptake, were validated by heterologous expression in A. thaliana. Our combined results have determined GmWRKYs to be newly discovered participants in response to Cd stress, and have confirmed that GmWRKY142 directly targets ATCDT1, GmCDT1-1, and GmCDT1-2 to decrease Cd uptake and positively regulate Cd tolerance. The GmWRKY142-GmCDT1-1/2 cascade module provides a potential strategy to lower Cd accumulation in soybean.