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Showing papers in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in 2011"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This work sequences a diverse array of 25 environmental samples and three known “mock communities” at a depth averaging 3.1 million reads per sample to demonstrate excellent consistency in taxonomic recovery and recapture diversity patterns that were previously reported on the basis of metaanalysis of many studies from the literature.
Abstract: The ongoing revolution in high-throughput sequencing continues to democratize the ability of small groups of investigators to map the microbial component of the biosphere. In particular, the coevolution of new sequencing platforms and new software tools allows data acquisition and analysis on an unprecedented scale. Here we report the next stage in this coevolutionary arms race, using the Illumina GAIIx platform to sequence a diverse array of 25 environmental samples and three known “mock communities” at a depth averaging 3.1 million reads per sample. We demonstrate excellent consistency in taxonomic recovery and recapture diversity patterns that were previously reported on the basis of metaanalysis of many studies from the literature (notably, the saline/nonsaline split in environmental samples and the split between host-associated and free-living communities). We also demonstrate that 2,000 Illumina single-end reads are sufficient to recapture the same relationships among samples that we observe with the full dataset. The results thus open up the possibility of conducting large-scale studies analyzing thousands of samples simultaneously to survey microbial communities at an unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution.

6,767 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Per capita demand for crops, when measured as caloric or protein content of all crops combined, has been a similarly increasing function of per capita real income since 1960 and forecasts a 100–110% increase in global crop demand from 2005 to 2050.
Abstract: Global food demand is increasing rapidly, as are the environmental impacts of agricultural expansion. Here, we project global demand for crop production in 2050 and evaluate the environmental impacts of alternative ways that this demand might be met. We find that per capita demand for crops, when measured as caloric or protein content of all crops combined, has been a similarly increasing function of per capita real income since 1960. This relationship forecasts a 100–110% increase in global crop demand from 2005 to 2050. Quantitative assessments show that the environmental impacts of meeting this demand depend on how global agriculture expands. If current trends of greater agricultural intensification in richer nations and greater land clearing (extensification) in poorer nations were to continue, ∼1 billion ha of land would be cleared globally by 2050, with CO2-C equivalent greenhouse gas emissions reaching ∼3 Gt y−1 and N use ∼250 Mt y−1 by then. In contrast, if 2050 crop demand was met by moderate intensification focused on existing croplands of underyielding nations, adaptation and transfer of high-yielding technologies to these croplands, and global technological improvements, our analyses forecast land clearing of only ∼0.2 billion ha, greenhouse gas emissions of ∼1 Gt y−1, and global N use of ∼225 Mt y−1. Efficient management practices could substantially lower nitrogen use. Attainment of high yields on existing croplands of underyielding nations is of great importance if global crop demand is to be met with minimal environmental impacts.

5,303 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Following a cohort of 1,000 children from birth to the age of 32 y, it is shown that childhood self-control predicts physical health, substance dependence, personal finances, and criminal offending outcomes, following a gradient of self- control.
Abstract: Policy-makers are considering large-scale programs aimed at self-control to improve citizens’ health and wealth and reduce crime. Experimental and economic studies suggest such programs could reap benefits. Yet, is self-control important for the health, wealth, and public safety of the population? Following a cohort of 1,000 children from birth to the age of 32 y, we show that childhood self-control predicts physical health, substance dependence, personal finances, and criminal offending outcomes, following a gradient of self-control. Effects of children's self-control could be disentangled from their intelligence and social class as well as from mistakes they made as adolescents. In another cohort of 500 sibling-pairs, the sibling with lower self-control had poorer outcomes, despite shared family background. Interventions addressing self-control might reduce a panoply of societal costs, save taxpayers money, and promote prosperity.

3,622 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is shown that aerobic exercise training increases the size of the anterior hippocampus, leading to improvements in spatial memory, and that increased hippocampal volume is associated with greater serum levels of BDNF, a mediator of neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus.
Abstract: The hippocampus shrinks in late adulthood, leading to impaired memory and increased risk for dementia. Hippocampal and medial temporal lobe volumes are larger in higher-fit adults, and physical activity training increases hippocampal perfusion, but the extent to which aerobic exercise training can modify hippocampal volume in late adulthood remains unknown. Here we show, in a randomized controlled trial with 120 older adults, that aerobic exercise training increases the size of the anterior hippocampus, leading to improvements in spatial memory. Exercise training increased hippocampal volume by 2%, effectively reversing age-related loss in volume by 1 to 2 y. We also demonstrate that increased hippocampal volume is associated with greater serum levels of BDNF, a mediator of neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus. Hippocampal volume declined in the control group, but higher preintervention fitness partially attenuated the decline, suggesting that fitness protects against volume loss. Caudate nucleus and thalamus volumes were unaffected by the intervention. These theoretically important findings indicate that aerobic exercise training is effective at reversing hippocampal volume loss in late adulthood, which is accompanied by improved memory function.

3,616 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Identification of extracellular Ago2–miRNA complexes in plasma raises the possibility that cells release a functional miRNA-induced silencing complex into the circulation, and reveals two populations of circulating miRNAs and suggest that circulating Ago2 complexes are a mechanism responsible for the stability of plasma mi RNAs.
Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) circulate in the bloodstream in a highly stable, extracellular form and are being developed as blood-based biomarkers for cancer and other diseases. However, the mechanism underlying their remarkable stability in the RNase-rich environment of blood is not well understood. The current model in the literature posits that circulating miRNAs are protected by encapsulation in membrane-bound vesicles such as exosomes, but this has not been systematically studied. We used differential centrifugation and size-exclusion chromatography as orthogonal approaches to characterize circulating miRNA complexes in human plasma and serum. We found, surprisingly, that the majority of circulating miRNAs cofractionated with protein complexes rather than with vesicles. miRNAs were also sensitive to protease treatment of plasma, indicating that protein complexes protect circulating miRNAs from plasma RNases. Further characterization revealed that Argonaute2 (Ago2), the key effector protein of miRNA-mediated silencing, was present in human plasma and eluted with plasma miRNAs in size-exclusion chromatography. Furthermore, immunoprecipitation of Ago2 from plasma readily recovered non–vesicle-associated plasma miRNAs. The majority of miRNAs studied copurified with the Ago2 ribonucleoprotein complex, but a minority of specific miRNAs associated predominantly with vesicles. Our results reveal two populations of circulating miRNAs and suggest that circulating Ago2 complexes are a mechanism responsible for the stability of plasma miRNAs. Our study has important implications for the development of biomarker approaches based on capture and analysis of circulating miRNAs. In addition, identification of extracellular Ago2–miRNA complexes in plasma raises the possibility that cells release a functional miRNA-induced silencing complex into the circulation.

2,900 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The inherent differences within and between women in different ethnic groups strongly argues for a more refined definition of the kinds of bacterial communities normally found in healthy women and the need to appreciate differences between individuals so they can be taken into account in risk assessment and disease diagnosis.
Abstract: The means by which vaginal microbiomes help prevent urogenital diseases in women and maintain health are poorly understood. To gain insight into this, the vaginal bacterial communities of 396 asymptomatic North American women who represented four ethnic groups (white, black, Hispanic, and Asian) were sampled and the species composition characterized by pyrosequencing of barcoded 16S rRNA genes. The communities clustered into five groups: four were dominated by Lactobacillus iners, L. crispatus, L. gasseri, or L. jensenii, whereas the fifth had lower proportions of lactic acid bacteria and higher proportions of strictly anaerobic organisms, indicating that a potential key ecological function, the production of lactic acid, seems to be conserved in all communities. The proportions of each community group varied among the four ethnic groups, and these differences were statistically significant [χ(2)(10) = 36.8, P < 0.0001]. Moreover, the vaginal pH of women in different ethnic groups also differed and was higher in Hispanic (pH 5.0 ± 0.59) and black (pH 4.7 ± 1.04) women as compared with Asian (pH 4.4 ± 0.59) and white (pH 4.2 ± 0.3) women. Phylotypes with correlated relative abundances were found in all communities, and these patterns were associated with either high or low Nugent scores, which are used as a factor for the diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis. The inherent differences within and between women in different ethnic groups strongly argues for a more refined definition of the kinds of bacterial communities normally found in healthy women and the need to appreciate differences between individuals so they can be taken into account in risk assessment and disease diagnosis.

2,848 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Chronic treatment with L. rhamnosus induced region-dependent alterations in GABAB1b mRNA in the brain with increases in cortical regions and concomitant reductions in expression in the hippocampus, amygdala, and locus coeruleus, in comparison with control-fed mice, highlighting the important role of bacteria in the bidirectional communication of the gut–brain axis.
Abstract: There is increasing, but largely indirect, evidence pointing to an effect of commensal gut microbiota on the central nervous system (CNS). However, it is unknown whether lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus could have a direct effect on neurotransmitter receptors in the CNS in normal, healthy animals. GABA is the main CNS inhibitory neurotransmitter and is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes. Alterations in central GABA receptor expression are implicated in the pathogenesis of anxiety and depression, which are highly comorbid with functional bowel disorders. In this work, we show that chronic treatment with L. rhamnosus (JB-1) induced region-dependent alterations in GABAB1b mRNA in the brain with increases in cortical regions (cingulate and prelimbic) and concomitant reductions in expression in the hippocampus, amygdala, and locus coeruleus, in comparison with control-fed mice. In addition, L. rhamnosus (JB-1) reduced GABAAα2 mRNA expression in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, but increased GABAAα2 in the hippocampus. Importantly, L. rhamnosus (JB-1) reduced stress-induced corticosterone and anxiety- and depression-related behavior. Moreover, the neurochemical and behavioral effects were not found in vagotomized mice, identifying the vagus as a major modulatory constitutive communication pathway between the bacteria exposed to the gut and the brain. Together, these findings highlight the important role of bacteria in the bidirectional communication of the gut–brain axis and suggest that certain organisms may prove to be useful therapeutic adjuncts in stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression.

2,713 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that germ free (GF) mice display increased motor activity and reduced anxiety, compared with specific pathogen free (SPF) mice with a normal gut microbiota, suggesting that the microbial colonization process initiates signaling mechanisms that affect neuronal circuits involved in motor control and anxiety behavior.
Abstract: Microbial colonization of mammals is an evolution-driven process that modulate host physiology, many of which are associated with immunity and nutrient intake. Here, we report that colonization by gut microbiota impacts mammalian brain development and subsequent adult behavior. Using measures of motor activity and anxiety-like behavior, we demonstrate that germ free (GF) mice display increased motor activity and reduced anxiety, compared with specific pathogen free (SPF) mice with a normal gut microbiota. This behavioral phenotype is associated with altered expression of genes known to be involved in second messenger pathways and synaptic long-term potentiation in brain regions implicated in motor control and anxiety-like behavior. GF mice exposed to gut microbiota early in life display similar characteristics as SPF mice, including reduced expression of PSD-95 and synaptophysin in the striatum. Hence, our results suggest that the microbial colonization process initiates signaling mechanisms that affect neuronal circuits involved in motor control and anxiety behavior.

2,461 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This work addresses the electronic structure of a twisted two-layer graphene system, showing that in its continuum Dirac model the moiré pattern periodicity leads to moirÉ Bloch bands.
Abstract: A moire pattern is formed when two copies of a periodic pattern are overlaid with a relative twist. We address the electronic structure of a twisted two-layer graphene system, showing that in its continuum Dirac model the moire pattern periodicity leads to moire Bloch bands. The two layers become more strongly coupled and the Dirac velocity crosses zero several times as the twist angle is reduced. For a discrete set of magic angles the velocity vanishes, the lowest moire band flattens, and the Dirac-point density-of-states and the counterflow conductivity are strongly enhanced.

2,323 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors argue that the displacement, rebound, cascade, and remittance effects that are amplified by economic globalization accelerate land conversion, and that sound policies and innovations can reconcile forest preservation with food production.
Abstract: A central challenge for sustainability is how to preserve forest ecosystems and the services that they provide us while enhancing food production. This challenge for developing countries confronts the force of economic globalization, which seeks cropland that is shrinking in availability and triggers deforestation. Four mechanisms—the displacement, rebound, cascade, and remittance effects—that are amplified by economic globalization accelerate land conversion. A few developing countries have managed a land use transition over the recent decades that simultaneously increased their forest cover and agricultural production. These countries have relied on various mixes of agricultural intensification, land use zoning, forest protection, increased reliance on imported food and wood products, the creation of off-farm jobs, foreign capital investments, and remittances. Sound policies and innovations can therefore reconcile forest preservation with food production. Globalization can be harnessed to increase land use efficiency rather than leading to uncontrolled land use expansion. To do so, land systems should be understood and modeled as open systems with large flows of goods, people, and capital that connect local land use with global-scale factors.

2,089 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This study revealed that seemingly chaotic shifts in the microbiome are associated with life events; however, additional experiments ought to be conducted to assess how different infants respond to similar life events.
Abstract: The colonization process of the infant gut microbiome has been called chaotic, but this view could reflect insufficient documentation of the factors affecting the microbiome. We performed a 2.5-y case study of the assembly of the human infant gut microbiome, to relate life events to microbiome composition and function. Sixty fecal samples were collected from a healthy infant along with a diary of diet and health status. Analysis of >300,000 16S rRNA genes indicated that the phylogenetic diversity of the microbiome increased gradually over time and that changes in community composition conformed to a smooth temporal gradient. In contrast, major taxonomic groups showed abrupt shifts in abundance corresponding to changes in diet or health. Community assembly was nonrandom: we observed discrete steps of bacterial succession punctuated by life events. Furthermore, analysis of ≈500,000 DNA metagenomic reads from 12 fecal samples revealed that the earliest microbiome was enriched in genes facilitating lactate utilization, and that functional genes involved in plant polysaccharide metabolism were present before the introduction of solid food, priming the infant gut for an adult diet. However, ingestion of table foods caused a sustained increase in the abundance of Bacteroidetes, elevated fecal short chain fatty acid levels, enrichment of genes associated with carbohydrate utilization, vitamin biosynthesis, and xenobiotic degradation, and a more stable community composition, all of which are characteristic of the adult microbiome. This study revealed that seemingly chaotic shifts in the microbiome are associated with life events; however, additional experiments ought to be conducted to assess how different infants respond to similar life events.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The effect of ciprofloxacin on the gut microbiota was profound and rapid, with a loss of diversity and a shift in community composition occurring within 3–4 d of drug initiation and 1 wk after the end of each course, but the return was often incomplete.
Abstract: The indigenous human microbiota is essential to the health of the host. Although the microbiota can be affected by many features of modern life, we know little about its responses to disturbance, especially repeated disturbances, and how these changes compare with baseline temporal variation. We examined the distal gut microbiota of three individuals over 10 mo that spanned two courses of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, analyzing more than 1.7 million bacterial 16S rRNA hypervariable region sequences from 52 to 56 samples per subject. Interindividual variation was the major source of variability between samples. Day-to-day temporal variability was evident but constrained around an average community composition that was stable over several months in the absence of deliberate perturbation. The effect of ciprofloxacin on the gut microbiota was profound and rapid, with a loss of diversity and a shift in community composition occurring within 3–4 d of drug initiation. By 1 wk after the end of each course, communities began to return to their initial state, but the return was often incomplete. Although broadly similar, community changes after ciprofloxacin varied among subjects and between the two courses within subjects. In all subjects, the composition of the gut microbiota stabilized by the end of the experiment but was altered from its initial state. As with other ecosystems, the human distal gut microbiome at baseline is a dynamic regimen with a stable average state. Antibiotic perturbation may cause a shift to an alternative stable state, the full consequences of which remain unknown.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A “benchmark” map of biomass carbon stocks over 2.5 billion ha of forests on three continents, encompassing all tropical forests, for the early 2000s is presented, which will be invaluable for REDD assessments at both project and national scales.
Abstract: Developing countries are required to produce robust estimates of forest carbon stocks for successful implementation of climate change mitigation policies related to reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Here we present a “benchmark” map of biomass carbon stocks over 2.5 billion ha of forests on three continents, encompassing all tropical forests, for the early 2000s, which will be invaluable for REDD assessments at both project and national scales. We mapped the total carbon stock in live biomass (above- and belowground), using a combination of data from 4,079 in situ inventory plots and satellite light detection and ranging (Lidar) samples of forest structure to estimate carbon storage, plus optical and microwave imagery (1-km resolution) to extrapolate over the landscape. The total biomass carbon stock of forests in the study region is estimated to be 247 Gt C, with 193 Gt C stored aboveground and 54 Gt C stored belowground in roots. Forests in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia accounted for 49%, 25%, and 26% of the total stock, respectively. By analyzing the errors propagated through the estimation process, uncertainty at the pixel level (100 ha) ranged from ±6% to ±53%, but was constrained at the typical project (10,000 ha) and national (>1,000,000 ha) scales at ca. ±5% and ca. ±1%, respectively. The benchmark map illustrates regional patterns and provides methodologically comparable estimates of carbon stocks for 75 developing countries where previous assessments were either poor or incomplete.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This manuscript describes a unique class of locomotive robot, composed exclusively of soft materials (elastomeric polymers), which is inspired by animals that do not have hard internal skeletons, and illustrates an advantage of soft robotics.
Abstract: This manuscript describes a unique class of locomotive robot: A soft robot, composed exclusively of soft materials (elastomeric polymers), which is inspired by animals (e.g., squid, starfish, worms) that do not have hard internal skeletons. Soft lithography was used to fabricate a pneumatically actuated robot capable of sophisticated locomotion (e.g., fluid movement of limbs and multiple gaits). This robot is quadrupedal; it uses no sensors, only five actuators, and a simple pneumatic valving system that operates at low pressures (< 10 psi). A combination of crawling and undulation gaits allowed this robot to navigate a difficult obstacle. This demonstration illustrates an advantage of soft robotics: They are systems in which simple types of actuation produce complex motion.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The development of an algorithm for genome assembly, ALLPATHS-LG, and its application to massively parallel DNA sequence data from the human and mouse genomes, generated on the Illumina platform, have good accuracy, short-range contiguity, long-range connectivity, and coverage of the genome.
Abstract: Massively parallel DNA sequencing technologies are revolutionizing genomics by making it possible to generate billions of relatively short (~100-base) sequence reads at very low cost. Whereas such data can be readily used for a wide range of biomedical applications, it has proven difficult to use them to generate high-quality de novo genome assemblies of large, repeat-rich vertebrate genomes. To date, the genome assemblies generated from such data have fallen far short of those obtained with the older (but much more expensive) capillary-based sequencing approach. Here, we report the development of an algorithm for genome assembly, ALLPATHS-LG, and its application to massively parallel DNA sequence data from the human and mouse genomes, generated on the Illumina platform. The resulting draft genome assemblies have good accuracy, short-range contiguity, long-range connectivity, and coverage of the genome. In particular, the base accuracy is high (≥99.95%) and the scaffold sizes (N50 size = 11.5 Mb for human and 7.2 Mb for mouse) approach those obtained with capillary-based sequencing. The combination of improved sequencing technology and improved computational methods should now make it possible to increase dramatically the de novo sequencing of large genomes. The ALLPATHS-LG program is available at http://www.broadinstitute.org/science/programs/genome-biology/crd.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A top-down biomimetic approach in particle functionalization is reported by coating biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles with natural erythrocyte membranes, including both membrane lipids and associated membrane proteins for long-circulating cargo delivery.
Abstract: Efforts to extend nanoparticle residence time in vivo have inspired many strategies in particle surface modifications to bypass macrophage uptake and systemic clearance. Here we report a top-down biomimetic approach in particle functionalization by coating biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles with natural erythrocyte membranes, including both membrane lipids and associated membrane proteins for long-circulating cargo delivery. The structure, size and surface zeta potential, and protein contents of the erythrocyte membrane-coated nanoparticles were verified using transmission electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, and gel electrophoresis, respectively. Mice injections with fluorophore-loaded nanoparticles revealed superior circulation half-life by the erythrocyte-mimicking nanoparticles as compared to control particles coated with the state-of-the-art synthetic stealth materials. Biodistribution study revealed significant particle retention in the blood 72 h following the particle injection. The translocation of natural cellular membranes, their associated proteins, and the corresponding functionalities to the surface of synthetic particles represents a unique approach in nanoparticle functionalization.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This work investigates the role of modularity in human learning by identifying dynamic changes of modular organization spanning multiple temporal scales and develops a general statistical framework for the identification of modular architectures in evolving systems.
Abstract: Human learning is a complex phenomenon requiring flexibility to adapt existing brain function and precision in selecting new neurophysiological activities to drive desired behavior. These two attributes—flexibility and selection—must operate over multiple temporal scales as performance of a skill changes from being slow and challenging to being fast and automatic. Such selective adaptability is naturally provided by modular structure, which plays a critical role in evolution, development, and optimal network function. Using functional connectivity measurements of brain activity acquired from initial training through mastery of a simple motor skill, we investigate the role of modularity in human learning by identifying dynamic changes of modular organization spanning multiple temporal scales. Our results indicate that flexibility, which we measure by the allegiance of nodes to modules, in one experimental session predicts the relative amount of learning in a future session. We also develop a general statistical framework for the identification of modular architectures in evolving systems, which is broadly applicable to disciplines where network adaptability is crucial to the understanding of system performance.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The current status of the heterogeneous catalysts field is discussed with an emphasis on the role of coupling theory and experiment and future challenges.
Abstract: Recent advances in the understanding of reactivity trends for chemistry at transition-metal surfaces have enabled in silico design of heterogeneous catalysts in a few cases. The current status of the field is discussed with an emphasis on the role of coupling theory and experiment and future challenges.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is concluded that the fecal microbiota of the elderly shows temporal stability over limited time in the majority of subjects but is characterized by unusual phylum proportions and extreme variability.
Abstract: Alterations in the human intestinal microbiota are linked to conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and obesity. The microbiota also undergoes substantial changes at the extremes of life, in infants and older people, the ramifications of which are still being explored. We applied pyrosequencing of over 40,000 16S rRNA gene V4 region amplicons per subject to characterize the fecal microbiota in 161 subjects aged 65 y and older and 9 younger control subjects. The microbiota of each individual subject constituted a unique profile that was separable from all others. In 68% of the individuals, the microbiota was dominated by phylum Bacteroides, with an average proportion of 57% across all 161 baseline samples. Phylum Firmicutes had an average proportion of 40%. The proportions of some phyla and genera associated with disease or health also varied dramatically, including Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Faecalibacteria. The core microbiota of elderly subjects was distinct from that previously established for younger adults, with a greater proportion of Bacteroides spp. and distinct abundance patterns of Clostridium groups. Analyses of 26 fecal microbiota datasets from 3-month follow-up samples indicated that in 85% of the subjects, the microbiota composition was more like the corresponding time-0 sample than any other dataset. We conclude that the fecal microbiota of the elderly shows temporal stability over limited time in the majority of subjects but is characterized by unusual phylum proportions and extreme variability.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is shown that the relative abundances of four species have declined by up to 96% and that their surveyed geographic ranges have contracted by 23–87%, some within the last 20 y, although cause and effect remain uncertain.
Abstract: Bumble bees (Bombus) are vitally important pollinators of wild plants and agricultural crops worldwide. Fragmentary observations, however, have suggested population declines in several North American species. Despite rising concern over these observations in the United States, highlighted in a recent National Academy of Sciences report, a national assessment of the geographic scope and possible causal factors of bumble bee decline is lacking. Here, we report results of a 3-y interdisciplinary study of changing distributions, population genetic structure, and levels of pathogen infection in bumble bee populations across the United States. We compare current and historical distributions of eight species, compiling a database of >73,000 museum records for comparison with data from intensive nationwide surveys of >16,000 specimens. We show that the relative abundances of four species have declined by up to 96% and that their surveyed geographic ranges have contracted by 23–87%, some within the last 20 y. We also show that declining populations have significantly higher infection levels of the microsporidian pathogen Nosema bombi and lower genetic diversity compared with co-occurring populations of the stable (nondeclining) species. Higher pathogen prevalence and reduced genetic diversity are, thus, realistic predictors of these alarming patterns of decline in North America, although cause and effect remain uncertain.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The findings suggest that contacts predicted by DCA can be used as a reliable guide to facilitate computational predictions of alternative protein conformations, protein complex formation, and even the de novo prediction of protein domain structures, contingent on the existence of a large number of homologous sequences which are being rapidly made available due to advances in genome sequencing.
Abstract: The similarity in the three-dimensional structures of homologous proteins imposes strong constraints on their sequence variability. It has long been suggested that the resulting correlations among amino acid compositions at different sequence positions can be exploited to infer spatial contacts within the tertiary protein structure. Crucial to this inference is the ability to disentangle direct and indirect correlations, as accomplished by the recently introduced direct-coupling analysis (DCA). Here we develop a computationally efficient implementation of DCA, which allows us to evaluate the accuracy of contact prediction by DCA for a large number of protein domains, based purely on sequence information. DCA is shown to yield a large number of correctly predicted contacts, recapitulating the global structure of the contact map for the majority of the protein domains examined. Furthermore, our analysis captures clear signals beyond intradomain residue contacts, arising, e.g., from alternative protein conformations, ligand-mediated residue couplings, and interdomain interactions in protein oligomers. Our findings suggest that contacts predicted by DCA can be used as a reliable guide to facilitate computational predictions of alternative protein conformations, protein complex formation, and even the de novo prediction of protein domain structures, contingent on the existence of a large number of homologous sequences which are being rapidly made available due to advances in genome sequencing.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A trade-linked global database for CO2 emissions covering 113 countries and 57 economic sectors from 1990 to 2008 indicates that international trade is a significant factor in explaining the change in emissions in many countries, from both a production and consumption perspective.
Abstract: Despite the emergence of regional climate policies, growth in global CO2 emissions has remained strong. From 1990 to 2008 CO2 emissions in developed countries (defined as countries with emission-reduction commitments in the Kyoto Protocol, Annex B) have stabilized, but emissions in developing countries (non-Annex B) have doubled. Some studies suggest that the stabilization of emissions in developed countries was partially because of growing imports from developing countries. To quantify the growth in emission transfers via international trade, we developed a trade-linked global database for CO2 emissions covering 113 countries and 57 economic sectors from 1990 to 2008. We find that the emissions from the production of traded goods and services have increased from 4.3 Gt CO2 in 1990 (20% of global emissions) to 7.8 Gt CO2 in 2008 (26%). Most developed countries have increased their consumption-based emissions faster than their territorial emissions, and non–energy-intensive manufacturing had a key role in the emission transfers. The net emission transfers via international trade from developing to developed countries increased from 0.4 Gt CO2 in 1990 to 1.6 Gt CO2 in 2008, which exceeds the Kyoto Protocol emission reductions. Our results indicate that international trade is a significant factor in explaining the change in emissions in many countries, from both a production and consumption perspective. We suggest that countries monitor emission transfers via international trade, in addition to territorial emissions, to ensure progress toward stabilization of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a simple method to control catechol-Fe3+ interpolymer cross-linking via pH was developed, inspired by the pH jump experienced by proteins during maturation of a mussel byssus secretion, and the resonance Raman signature was similar to that from native mussel thread cuticle and the gels displayed elastic moduli that approach covalently crosslinked gels as well as self-healing properties.
Abstract: Growing evidence supports a critical role of metal-ligand coordination in many attributes of biological materials including adhesion, self-assembly, toughness, and hardness without mineralization [Rubin DJ, Miserez A, Waite JH (2010) Advances in Insect Physiology: Insect Integument and Color, eds Jerome C, Stephen JS (Academic Press, London), pp 75–133]. Coordination between Fe and catechol ligands has recently been correlated to the hardness and high extensibility of the cuticle of mussel byssal threads and proposed to endow self-healing properties [Harrington MJ, Masic A, Holten-Andersen N, Waite JH, Fratzl P (2010) Science 328:216–220]. Inspired by the pH jump experienced by proteins during maturation of a mussel byssus secretion, we have developed a simple method to control catechol-Fe3+ interpolymer cross-linking via pH. The resonance Raman signature of catechol-Fe3+ cross-linked polymer gels at high pH was similar to that from native mussel thread cuticle and the gels displayed elastic moduli (G′) that approach covalently cross-linked gels as well as self-healing properties.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is concluded that greater stewardship, data, and—possibly—regulation are needed to ensure the sustainable future of shale-gas extraction and to improve public confidence in its use.
Abstract: are consistent with deeper thermogenic methane sources such as the Marcellus and Utica shales at the active sites and matched gas geochemistry from gas wells nearby. In contrast, lower-concentra- tion samples from shallow groundwater at nonactive sites had isotopic signatures reflecting a more biogenic or mixed biogenic/ thermogenic methane source. We found no evidence for contam- ination of drinking-water samples with deep saline brines or frac- turing fluids. We conclude that greater stewardship, data, and— possibly—regulation are needed to ensure the sustainable future of shale-gas extraction and to improve public confidence in its use.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is shown that α-syn oligomers are toxic in vivo and thatα- syn variants that form oligomers might interact with and potentially disrupt membranes and the toxicity of these mutants by using a rat lentivirus system to investigate loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra.
Abstract: The aggregation of proteins into oligomers and amyloid fibrils is characteristic of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson disease (PD). In PD, the process of aggregation of α-synuclein (α-syn) from monomers, via oligomeric intermediates, into amyloid fibrils is considered the disease-causative toxic mechanism. We developed α-syn mutants that promote oligomer or fibril formation and tested the toxicity of these mutants by using a rat lentivirus system to investigate loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. The most severe dopaminergic loss in the substantia nigra is observed in animals with the α-syn variants that form oligomers (i.e., E57K and E35K), whereas the α-syn variants that form fibrils very quickly are less toxic. We show that α-syn oligomers are toxic in vivo and that α-syn oligomers might interact with and potentially disrupt membranes.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is found that neomycin-sensitive bacteria are associated with the induction of productive immune responses in the lung and local or distal injection of Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands could rescue the immune impairment in the antibiotic-treated mice.
Abstract: Although commensal bacteria are crucial in maintaining immune homeostasis of the intestine, the role of commensal bacteria in immune responses at other mucosal surfaces remains less clear. Here, we show that commensal microbiota composition critically regulates the generation of virus-specific CD4 and CD8 T cells and antibody responses following respiratory influenza virus infection. By using various antibiotic treatments, we found that neomycin-sensitive bacteria are associated with the induction of productive immune responses in the lung. Local or distal injection of Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands could rescue the immune impairment in the antibiotic-treated mice. Intact microbiota provided signals leading to the expression of mRNA for pro–IL-1β and pro–IL-18 at steady state. Following influenza virus infection, inflammasome activation led to migration of dendritic cells (DCs) from the lung to the draining lymph node and T-cell priming. Our results reveal the importance of commensal microbiota in regulating immunity in the respiratory mucosa through the proper activation of inflammasomes.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An approach that can substantially increase the sensitivity of massively parallel sequencing instruments for the identification of rare variants and the utility of this approach for determining the fidelity of a polymerase, the accuracy of oligonucleotides synthesized in vitro, and the prevalence of mutations in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes of normal cells is described.
Abstract: The identification of mutations that are present in a small fraction of DNA templates is essential for progress in several areas of biomedical research. Although massively parallel sequencing instruments are in principle well suited to this task, the error rates in such instruments are generally too high to allow confident identification of rare variants. We here describe an approach that can substantially increase the sensitivity of massively parallel sequencing instruments for this purpose. The keys to this approach, called the Safe-Sequencing System (“Safe-SeqS”), are (i) assignment of a unique identifier (UID) to each template molecule, (ii) amplification of each uniquely tagged template molecule to create UID families, and (iii) redundant sequencing of the amplification products. PCR fragments with the same UID are considered mutant (“supermutants”) only if ≥95% of them contain the identical mutation. We illustrate the utility of this approach for determining the fidelity of a polymerase, the accuracy of oligonucleotides synthesized in vitro, and the prevalence of mutations in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes of normal cells.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The colon mucus is organized in two layers: an inner, stratified mucus layer that is firmly adherent to the epithelial cells and approximately 50 μm thick; and an outer, nonattached layer, usually approximately 100 μm thickness as measured in mouse.
Abstract: The normal intestinal microbiota inhabits the colon mucus without triggering an inflammatory response. The reason for this and how the intestinal mucus of the colon is organized have begun to be unraveled. The mucus is organized in two layers: an inner, stratified mucus layer that is firmly adherent to the epithelial cells and approximately 50 μm thick; and an outer, nonattached layer that is usually approximately 100 μm thick as measured in mouse. These mucus layers are organized around the highly glycosylated MUC2 mucin, forming a large, net-like polymer that is secreted by the goblet cells. The inner mucus layer is dense and does not allow bacteria to penetrate, thus keeping the epithelial cell surface free from bacteria. The inner mucus layer is converted into the outer layer, which is the habitat of the commensal flora. The outer mucus layer has an expanded volume due to proteolytic activities provided by the host but probably also caused by commensal bacterial proteases and glycosidases. The numerous O-glycans on the MUC2 mucin not only serve as nutrients for the bacteria but also as attachment sites and, as such, probably contribute to the selection of the species-specific colon flora. This observation that normal human individuals carry a uniform MUC2 mucin glycan array in colon may indicate such a specific selection.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that normal and CSC-like cells can arise de novo from more differentiated cell types and that hierarchical models of mammary stem cell biology should encompass bidirectional interconversions between stem and nonstem compartments.
Abstract: Current models of stem cell biology assume that normal and neoplastic stem cells reside at the apices of hierarchies and differentiate into nonstem progeny in a unidirectional manner. Here we identify a subpopulation of basal-like human mammary epithelial cells that departs from that assumption, spontaneously dedifferentiating into stem-like cells. Moreover, oncogenic transformation enhances the spontaneous conversion, so that nonstem cancer cells give rise to cancer stem cell (CSC)-like cells in vitro and in vivo. We further show that the differentiation state of normal cells-of-origin is a strong determinant of posttransformation behavior. These findings demonstrate that normal and CSC-like cells can arise de novo from more differentiated cell types and that hierarchical models of mammary stem cell biology should encompass bidirectional interconversions between stem and nonstem compartments. The observed plasticity may allow derivation of patient-specific adult stem cells without genetic manipulation and holds important implications for therapeutic strategies to eradicate cancer.

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TL;DR: It is revealed that the intestinal microbiota profoundly impacts the balance between pro- and antiinflammatory immune responses during EAE and suggest that modulation of gut bacteria may provide therapeutic targets for extraintestinal inflammatory diseases such as MS.
Abstract: Although the effects of commensal bacteria on intestinal immune development seem to be profound, it remains speculative whether the gut microbiota influences extraintestinal biological functions. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a devastating autoimmune disease leading to progressive deterioration of neurological function. Although the cause of MS is unknown, microorganisms seem to be important for the onset and/or progression of disease. However, it is unclear how microbial colonization, either symbiotic or infectious, affects autoimmunity. Herein, we investigate a role for the microbiota during the induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model for MS. Mice maintained under germ-free conditions develop significantly attenuated EAE compared with conventionally colonized mice. Germ-free animals, induced for EAE, produce lower levels of the proinflammatory cytokines IFN-γ and IL-17A in both the intestine and spinal cord but display a reciprocal increase in CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs). Mechanistically, we show that gut dendritic cells from germ-free animals are reduced in the ability to stimulate proinflammatory T cell responses. Intestinal colonization with segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) is known to promote IL-17 production in the gut; here, we show that SFBs also induced IL-17A–producing CD4+ T cells (Th17) in the CNS. Remarkably, germ-free animals harboring SFBs alone developed EAE, showing that gut bacteria can affect neurologic inflammation. These findings reveal that the intestinal microbiota profoundly impacts the balance between pro- and antiinflammatory immune responses during EAE and suggest that modulation of gut bacteria may provide therapeutic targets for extraintestinal inflammatory diseases such as MS.