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ISSN / EISSN : 1932-6203 / 1932-6203
Current Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS) (10.1371)
Total articles ≅ 249,453
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, Xina Jin
Published: 7 May 2021
PLOS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0251564

The rapid trend towards globalization has led to the expansion of English as Medium of Instruction (EMI) in tertiary education. The academic challenges faced by non-native speakers have been broadly discussed in Anglophone countries, whilst those learning through EMI in the Chinese context are still underexplored. To examine Chinese EMI university students’ perceived language challenges in learning, as well as their language-related learning strategies, this study investigated 73 students studying at EMI universities in Hong Kong, taking account of their gender, EMI experience in higher education, and English exposure prior to tertiary education. Participants completed a survey to provide self-evaluations of their academic situation and their perceptions of their disciplinary learning. The study found that students perceived a relatively low level of language and learning challenges, and they showed a preference for using their second language (L2)-related learning strategies over strategies related to their first language. Specifically, male students tended to be more actively engaged in communication with their peers than females, and were more likely to search for additional learning support in English. In addition, first-year undergraduates perceived a greater degree of challenges in knowledge application and relied more on L2-related learning strategies than their senior counterparts. Although the importance of English exposure prior to higher education has been highlighted in many existing studies, this study found that prior exposure to English was neither connected with students’ perceived challenges nor their learning strategies.
Abirham Ayana, , Telake Azale
Published: 7 May 2021
PLOS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0248697

Background Improving institutional delivery service is the most crucial strategies to reduce maternal and neonatal mortalities. In developing countries, only 50% of pregnant women deliver in health facilities and in Ethiopia only 48% of pregnant women deliver in health facilities. Maternal mortality remains the highest in Ethiopia. This study assessed intention to use institutional delivery service and its predictors among pregnant women using theory of planned behavior. Methods Community-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 645 Yilmana Densa District Pregnant women using multi-stage followed by cluster sampling technique. Data were entered into Epi Data version and analyzed with STATA version 14. Binary logistic regression analysis was done to identify independent predictors of intention at 95% confidence level and P < 0.05 was used to determine statistically significant predictors. Results Intention of pregnant women to use institutional delivery service was 74.3% (CI; 70.71%, 77.6%). In the multivariable logistic regression; those who had 1–3 and 4 &above antenatal care 2.85(1.41, 5.75) and 3.14(1.16, 8.45) respectively, those who had past experience of institutional delivery (AOR = 3.39, 95%CI: 1.72, 6.71), parity of 1–3 and 4 & above % (AOR = 0.37, 0.19, 0.71) and (AOR = 0.25, 95%CI: 0.12, 0.55) respectively, rural residence (AOR = 0.51, 95%CI: 0.27, 0.96), favorable attitude (AOR = 2.93, 95%CI: 1.56, 5.50), favorable perceived behavioral control (AOR = 2.60, 95%CI: 1.44, 4.69) were factors significantly associated with intention to use institutional delivery service. Conclusion and recommendation Majority of the pregnant women were intended to deliver in the institution. Good Knowledge on institutional delivery, antenatal care visit, past experience of institutional delivery, rural residence, parity, attitude and perceived behavioral control were identified factors significantly associated with intention to use institutional delivery service. So, strengthening awareness creation and behavioral change communication programs are required at all levels of health system to raise intention of residents towards institutional delivery.
, Raquel Buj, , Julia M. Sidorova, Kristin A. Eckert
Published: 7 May 2021
PLOS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0251188

DNA polymerases play essential functions in replication fork progression and genome maintenance. DNA lesions and drug-induced replication stress result in up-regulation and re-localization of specialized DNA polymerases η and κ. Although oncogene activation significantly alters DNA replication dynamics, causing replication stress and genome instability, little is known about DNA polymerase expression and regulation in response to oncogene activation. Here, we investigated the consequences of mutant H-RAS G12V overexpression on the regulation of DNA polymerases in h-TERT immortalized and SV40-transformed human cells. Focusing on DNA polymerases associated with the replication fork, we demonstrate that DNA polymerases are depleted in a temporal manner in response to H-RAS G12V overexpression. The polymerases targeted for depletion, as cells display markers of senescence, include the Pol α catalytic subunit (POLA1), Pol δ catalytic and p68 subunits (POLD1 and POLD3), Pol η, and Pol κ. Both transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms mediate this response. Pol η (POLH) depletion is sufficient to induce a senescence-like growth arrest in human foreskin fibroblast BJ5a cells, and is associated with decreased Pol α expression. Using an SV-40 transformed cell model, we observed cell cycle checkpoint signaling differences in cells with H-RasG12V-induced polymerase depletion, as compared to Pol η-deficient cells. Our findings contribute to our understanding of cellular events following oncogene activation and cellular transformation.
Na Sun, Yong-Fei Xie, Yong Wu, Ning Guo, Da-Hui Li, Jun-Shan Gao
Published: 7 May 2021
PLOS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0246649

ABC (ATP-binding cassette) transporters are a class of superfamily transmembrane proteins that are commonly observed in natural organisms. The ABCC (ATP-binding cassette C subfamily) protein belongs to a subfamily of the ABC protein family and is a multidrug resistance-associated transporter that localizes to the tonoplast and plays a significant role in pathogenic microbial responses, heavy metal regulation, secondary metabolite transport, and plant growth. Recent studies have shown that the ABCC protein is also involved in the transport of anthocyanins/proanthocyanidins (PAs). To clarify the types and numbers of ABCC genes involved in PA transport in Gossypium hirsutum, the phylogenetic evolution, physical location, and structure of ABCC genes were classified by bioinformatic methods in the upland cotton genome, and the expression levels of these genes were analyzed at different developmental stages of the cotton fiber. The results showed that 42 ABCC genes were initially identified in the whole genome of upland cotton; they were designated GhABCC1-42. The gene structure and phylogenetic analysis showed that the closely related ABCC genes were structurally identical. The analysis of chromosomal localization demonstrated that there were no ABCC genes on the chromosomes of AD/At2, AD/At5, AD/At6, AD/At10, AD/At12, AD/At13, AD/Dt2, AD/Dt6, AD/Dt10, and AD/Dt13. Outside the genes, there were ABCC genes on other chromosomes, and gene clusters appeared on the two chromosomes AD/At11 and AD/Dt8. Phylogenetic tree analysis showed that some ABCC proteins in G. hirsutum were clustered with those of Arabidopsis thaliana, Vitis vinifera and Zea mays, which are known to function in anthocyanin/PA transport. The protein structure prediction indicated that the GhABCC protein structure is similar to the AtABCC protein in A. thaliana, and most of these proteins have a transmembrane domain. At the same time, a quantitative RT-PCR analysis of 42 ABCC genes at different developmental stages of brown cotton fiber showed that the relative expression levels of GhABCC24, GhABCC27, GhABCC28, GhABCC29 and GhABCC33 were consistent with the trend of PA accumulation, which may play a role in PA transport. These results provide a theoretical basis for further analysis of the function of the cotton ABCC genes and their role in the transport of PA.
, Bhagwati Khatri Chhetri, Pramila Bhandari
Published: 7 May 2021
PLOS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0250639

Introduction The number of older individuals relocating from their homes to old age homes is increasing in Nepal. This study was conducted to assess the reasons why older people chose to move to old age homes, the status and forms of abuse they experienced, and the risk factors associated with their abuse before moving to old age homes. Materials and methods This study was a cross sectional study conducted among older adults currently residing in all the old age homes of Pokhara Lekhnath Metropolitan City. Complete enumeration of the respondents was done and data was collected consecutively, using a semi-structured interview schedule, from all older adults aged 60 years and above who had been living in the homes for at least a month. The total sample size was 109. The collected data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and binary logistic regression was used as an inferential statistics to determine the predictors of abuse. Results A majority of the respondents (56.0%) came to old age homes on their own volition, 24.7% reported that they came to the homes because they were physically weak and they had no one to care for them at their residence, while 11% reported that they were forcefully sent by their caregivers. Out of total respondents, 60.6% reported that they experienced some form of abuse before they came to the old age home: most frequent was caregiver neglect (34.9%) and verbal abuse (34.9%), while few experienced financial abuse (2.8%). Women were at a higher risk of abuse than men (p<0.05, OR = 4.430, CI = 1.695–11.577) prior to their transfer to old age homes. Conclusions A majority of the older adults who transferred to old age homes in Pokhara Lekhnath Metropolitan city had been earlier abused by their caregivers, mainly through neglect and verbal abuse, and women were at a higher risk for abuse than men.
Gregorius Abanit Asa, , Paul Russell Ward, Karen Hawke, Rik Crutzen, Lillian Mwanri
Published: 6 May 2021
PLOS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0251274

Caring for children with a disability can cause a range of psychological and socioeconomic challenges for parents and caregivers, such as anxiety, depression, inability to find affordable and appropriate childcare, loss of income and expenses related to disability specific treatment. As part of a study exploring the impacts of childhood disability on mothers or female caregivers and families, and the copy strategies they used, this paper describes strategies employed by mothers or female caregivers to cope with challenges associated with childhood disability within their family in Belu district, Indonesia. A qualitative approach using one-on-one in-depth interviews was used to collect data from participants (n = 22) who were recruited using a combination of purposive and snowball sampling techniques. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and imported to NVivo 12 for analysis. A qualitative framework analysis was used to guide data analysis. The conceptual framework of coping strategies guided the conceptualisation and discussion of the findings. The findings showed that active psychological coping strategies, including cognitive or acceptance strategies, knowledge of both health condition and socio-academic related development of children with a disability, and family relationship and support, were used by the participants to cope with psychological challenges facing them. Self-reliance and religious/spiritual coping strategies were also utilised. Sociocultural strategies, such as social withdrawal or disengagement, professional support and culture-based support, were used by the participants to cope with social impacts, stigma, and discrimination associated with childhood disability. Participants also reported using financial strategies such as selling of family assets to cope with the economic challenges. The findings indicate the need for programs and interventions that address the needs of mothers and female caregivers and their families, to assist with effectively managing the significant challenges they face when caring for a child with a disability. Further studies are needed, with a larger number of participants and the inclusion of fathers or male caregivers, in order to better understand the broader coping experience of childhood disability impacts within families.
Mustafa Demir, , Mehmet Yesiltas
Published: 6 May 2021
PLOS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0248815

The paper aimed at examining the influence of consumer’s environmental awareness on their intention to visit green hotels in north Cyprus, the mediation role of consumption values. Research on eco-friendly hotels stressed that conventional hotels do not make available to consumers the environmental awareness and consumption values, whereas, there is possibility that these benefits might not sit well with the hotel potential consumers. Aside highlighting the features of green hotels, it is imperative to examine how consumers perceive consumption values. A questionnaire-based survey was used to examine the study’s objectives. A total of 400 customers at 20 five-stars hotels that were randomly selected across the 3 big cities in north Cyprus (Girne, Lefkosa, and Magusa) were approached and invited to participate. The structural model was tested using structural equation modeling (SEM). The configuration model was analyzed using the partial least square (PLS) method. The finding from the SEM results shows that environmental concern directly and positively influenced the guests’ intentions to visit hotels in north Cyprus. Moreover, functional and emotional values were found to mediate the relationship between environmental concern and knowledge on the guests’ intention to visit north Cyprus hotels. Finally, the study suggest that the research will be of benefit to the managers of hotels in north Cyprus to know the significance of developing consumer’s green awareness and to market it to the customers.
George F. Wohlford, Leo F. Buckley, Dinesh Kadariya, Taeshik Park, Juan Guido Chiabrando, Salvatore Carbone, Virginia Mihalick, Matthew S. Halquist, Adam Pearcy, Dana Austin, et al.
Published: 6 May 2021
PLOS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0247357

Background Endogenous serine protease inhibitors are associated with anti-inflammatory and pro-survival signaling mediated via Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) signaling. SP16 is a short polypeptide that mimics the LRP1 binding portion of alpha-1 antitrypsin. Methods A pilot phase I, first-in-man, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled safety study was conducted to evaluate a subcutaneous injection at three dose levels of SP16 (0.0125, 0.05, and 0.2 mg/kg [up to 12 mg]) or matching placebo in 3:1 ratio in healthy individuals. Safety monitoring included vital signs, laboratory examinations (including hematology, coagulation, platelet function, chemistry, myocardial toxicity) and electrocardiography (to measure effect on PR, QRS, and QTc). Results Treatment with SP16 was not associated with treatment related serious adverse events. SP16 was associated with mild-moderate pain at the time of injection that was significantly higher than placebo on a 0–10 pain scale (6.0+/-1.4 [0.2 mg/kg] versus 1.5+/-2.1 [placebo], P = 0.0088). No differences in vital signs, laboratory examinations and electrocardiography were found in those treated with SP16 versus placebo. Conclusion A one-time treatment with SP16 for doses up to 0.2 mg/kg or 12 mg was safe in healthy volunteers.
Chun-Yuan Lee, Pei-Hua Wu, Meng-Wei Lu, Tun-Chieh Chen,
Published: 6 May 2021
PLOS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0251158

Objectives HCV infection status awareness is crucial in the HCV care continuum for both HCV-seropositive (HCV-positive status awareness) and seronegative (HCV-negative status awareness) populations. However, trends in the unawareness of HCV infection status (UoHCV) remain unknown in HIV-positive patients. This study investigated UoHCV prevalence, the associated factors of UoHCV, and its association with HCV-related knowledge in HIV-positive patients. Methods For this cross-sectional, multicenter, questionnaire-based study, 844 HIV-infected participants were recruited from three hospitals in Taiwan from June 2018 to March 2020. Participants were grouped by HCV serostatus (HCV-seronegative [n = 734] and HCV-seropositive [n = 110]) and categorized by their HIV diagnosis date (before 2008, 2008–2013, and 2014–2020). Exploratory factor analysis was used to categorize the 15 items of HCV-related knowledge into three domains: route of HCV transmission, HCV course and complications, and HCV treatment. Results The prevalence of UoHCV was 58.7%–62.6% and 15.1%–31.3% in the HCV-seronegative and HCV-seropositive groups, respectively, across 3 periods. More participants with UoHCV believed that HCV infection was only contracted by intravenous injection. In the HCV-seropositive group, participants with UoHCV were more likely to have HIV diagnosis before 2008 (vs. 2014–2020), be men who have sex with men (vs. people who inject drugs), and have hepatitis A virus seronegativity. In the HCV-seronegative group, participants with UoHCV were more likely to have a recent history of sexually transmitted diseases, but had a lower education level, had received less information on HCV infection from clinicians, and were less likely to have heard of HCV infection prior to the research. UoHCV was associated with lower scores for three domains of HCV-related knowledge in both groups. Conclusions The negative association of UoHCV with HCV-related knowledge suggests that strategies targeting patients according to their HCV serostatus should be implemented to reduce UoHCV and eradicate HCV infection among HIV-positive patients.
, Henry V. Doctor, Yazoumé Yé
Published: 6 May 2021
PLOS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0250550

Introduction In 2018, Malaria accounted for 38% of the overall morbidity and 36% of the overall mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This study aimed to identify malaria socioeconomic predictors among children aged 6–59 months in DRC and to describe a socioeconomic profile of the most-at-risk children aged 6–59 months for malaria infection. Materials and methods This study used data from the 2013 DRC Demographic and Health Survey. The sample included 8,547 children aged 6–59 months who were tested for malaria by microscopy. Malaria infection status, the dependent variable, is a dummy variable characterized as a positive or negative test. The independent variables were child’s sex, age, and living arrangement; mother’s education; household’s socioeconomic variables; province of residence; and type of place of residence. Statistical analyses used the chi-square automatic interaction detector (CHAID) model and logistic regression. Results Of the 8,547 children included in the sample, 25% had malaria infection. Four variables—child’s age, mother’s education, province, and wealth index—were statistically associated with the prevalence of malaria infection in bivariate analysis and multivariate analysis (CHAID and logistic regression). The prevalence of malaria infection increases with child’s age and decreases significantly with mother’s education and the household wealth index. These findings suggest that the prevalence of malaria infection is driven by interactions among environmental factors, socioeconomic characteristics, and probably differences in the implementation of malaria programs across the country. The effect of mother’s education on malaria infection was only significant among under-five children living in Ituri, Kasaï-Central, Haut-Uele, Lomami, Nord-Ubangi, and Maniema provinces, and the effect of wealth index was significant in Mai-Ndombe, Tshopo, and Haut-Katanga provinces. Conclusion Findings from this study could be used for targeting malaria interventions in DRC. Although malaria infection is common across the country, the prevalence of children at high risk for malaria infection varies by province and other background characteristics, including age, mother’s education, wealth index, and place of residence. In light of these findings, designing provincial and multisectoral interventions could be an effective strategy to achieve zero malaria infection in DRC.
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