Publications by authors named "Chang Hong Liu"

89 Publications

Covalently immobilize crude d-amino acid transaminase onto UiO-66-NH surface for d-Ala biosynthesis.

Int J Biol Macromol 2021 Apr 6;175:451-458. Epub 2021 Feb 6.

School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China. Electronic address:

Enzyme reaction has been accepted widely in numerous applications owing to the high efficiency and stereo-selectivity, as well as simple preparation by gene engineering. However, the fragility and complex purification process of the enzyme are long-standing problems which limit the large-scale application. One possible solution may be the enzyme immobilization. As one type of porous material with high loading capacity and designable functionality, Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are ideal choices for the immobilization of enzyme with a considerable interest in recent years. In this study, d-amino acid transaminase (DAT), an important enzyme for industrial synthesis of d-Ala, was covalently immobilized on the surface of a star MOFs material, UiO-66-NH Interestingly, we found that the nanoscale hybrid enzyme UiO-66-NH-Gd-DAT not only maintained the high catalytic efficiency but also got rid of the interference of polluting enzymes, which meant that we could obtain efficient and stereo-selective immobilized enzyme without complex purification process. In general, our findings demonstrated that using UiO-66-NH might be a promising strategy to immobilize enzyme and produce effective biocatalyst with high activity and stereo-selectivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.02.027DOI Listing
April 2021

Observers use facial masculinity to make physical dominance assessments following 100-ms exposure.

Aggress Behav 2021 03 26;47(2):226-235. Epub 2020 Nov 26.

Department of Anthropology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Research has consistently demonstrated that faces manipulated to appear more masculine are perceived as more dominant. These studies, however, have used forced-choice paradigms, in which a pair of masculinized and feminized faces was presented side by side. These studies are susceptible to demand characteristics, because participants may be able to draw the conclusion that faces which appear more masculine should be rated as more dominant. To prevent this, we tested if dominance could be perceived when masculinized or feminized faces were presented individually for only 100 ms. We predicted higher dominance ratings to masculinized faces and better memory of them in a surprise recognition memory test. In the experiment, 96 men rated the physical dominance of 40 facial photographs (masculinized = 20, feminized = 20), which were randomly drawn from a larger set of faces. This was followed by a surprise recognition memory test. Half of the participants were assigned to a condition in which the contours of the facial photographs were set to an oval to control for sexual dimorphism in face shape. Overall, men assigned higher dominance ratings to masculinized faces, suggesting that they can appraise differences in facial sexual dimorphism following very brief exposure. This effect occurred regardless of whether the outline of the face was set to an oval, suggesting that masculinized internal facial features were sufficient to affect dominance ratings. However, participants' recognition memory did not differ for masculinized and feminized faces, which could be due to a floor effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ab.21941DOI Listing
March 2021

Effects of body weight-supported treadmill training at different speeds on the motor function and depressive behaviors after spinal cord injury in rats.

Neuroreport 2020 12;31(18):1265-1273

Department of Clinical Nursing, School of Nursing, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin.

Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes motor dysfunction and depression, which hinders the recovery of motor function. Body weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT) should be considered an effective method for functional rehabilitation after SCI, as it is an efficacious intervention in healthcare with no side effects. Because exercise exerts different effects on motor function recovery and inhibiting depression after SCI, we aimed to determine the appropriate intensity of BWSTT. In this study, fixed durations, frequencies, and percentages of BWSTT with different speeds of BWSTT (7, 15, and 21 cm/s) were chosen to explore the appropriate intensity, which affected the recovery of motor function and antidepressant effects on SCI rats. Based on our results, BWSTT at 21 cm/s produced the best outcomes for motor function recovery and the spinal cord levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB). The antidepressant effects of BWSTT at 15 and 21 cm/s were confirmed based on the increasing sucrose preference, the time spent in the central area and social time, and reduced immobility time. BWSTT at 15 and 21 cm/s improved the modulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis by decreasing serum corticosterone levels and increasing hippocampal glucocorticoid receptor levels. In addition, higher levels of neurogenesis-related proteins were observed in the hippocampus of the group subjected to BWSTT at 21 cm/s than in the other groups. Thus, BWSTT at 21 cm/s is a potentially favorable treatment that synchronously improves motor function recovery and exerts an antidepressant effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WNR.0000000000001543DOI Listing
December 2020

Effects of subjective similarity and culture on ensemble perception of faces.

Atten Percept Psychophys 2021 Apr 30;83(3):1070-1079. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Zhongguancun Street, Haidian District, Beijing, 100872, People's Republic of China.

It is well established that ensemble coding is regulated by physical similarity and variance in a set of stimuli. For example, observers are more accurate at judging the mean size of objects in a set if the overall size variance in the set is small. However, sometimes similarity among set members can be purely subjective. For example, faces from another race tend to look more similar than faces from one's own race. Very little is known about whether such subjective similarity also regulates ensemble coding in the same manner as objective similarity. To investigate this question, we had British and Chinese participants view sets of four faces that were of either own-race or other-race, own-gender or other-gender. After viewing each set the task was to judge whether a test face was presented in the set. Our results showed that, as demonstrated in prior research, participants often mistook a morphed set average to be a member of the set. Critically, this tendency to average a face set was not stronger for other-race faces. Hence contrary to objective similarity, subjectively perceived similarity in the other-race faces does not facilitate ensemble coding. The results in our British group also replicated de Fockert and Gautrey's (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 20 (3), 468-473, 2013) own-gender effect, where observers showed more averaging for own-gender faces. However, our Chinese subjects displayed the same level of averaging for both genders. This suggests a cultural difference in ensemble coding, where the own-gender bias may be overridden by a stronger tendency to employ ensemble coding in Chinese participants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13414-020-02133-9DOI Listing
April 2021

Synthesis of 1-benzylisoindoline and 1-benzyl-tetrahydroisoquinoline through nucleophilic addition of organozinc reagents to ,-acetals.

Org Biomol Chem 2020 Sep;18(36):7139-7150

Department of Natural Medicine, School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, 826 Zhangheng Road, Shanghai 201203, China.

A new approach to access 1-benzylisoindoline and 1-benzyl-tetrahydroisoquinoline has been developed through nucleophilic addition of organozinc reagents to N,O-acetals. A number of substituted organozinc reagents were amenable for this transformation, and the desired products were obtained with excellent yields. Moreover, Sc(OTf)3 proved to be an effective catalyst for the formation of 1-benzylisoindoline and 1-benzyl-tetrahydroisoquinoline using such nucleophilic addition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0ob01477jDOI Listing
September 2020

Perceptual Advantage of Animal Facial Attractiveness: Evidence From b-CFS and Binocular Rivalry.

Front Psychol 2020 10;11:1670. Epub 2020 Jul 10.

Department of Psychology, Bournemouth University, Poole, United Kingdom.

Research has shown that attractive human faces enjoy an advantage in both conscious and preconscious processing. Here we examined whether this preference for attractiveness is exclusive to human faces by measuring participants' sensitivity to the attractiveness of cat and tiger faces. Experiment 1 measured the time taken to break continuous flash suppression (b-CFS), whereas Experiment 2 measured the dominant time in binocular rivalry (BR). The results showed that attractive cat faces were detected more quickly (Experiment 1) and dominated for longer time in visual awareness (Experiment 2). However, no effect of attractiveness was found for tiger faces in Experiment 1, while attractive tiger faces also dominated for longer time in visual awareness in Experiment 2. The results provide first evidence that the preference for attractive animal faces can be shown involuntarily or without apparent conscious control. The findings suggest that human preference for facial attractiveness may contain an aesthetic element rather than being a purely adaptive means for mate choice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01670DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7367084PMC
July 2020

Metagenomic insights into aniline effects on microbial community and biological sulfate reduction pathways during anaerobic treatment of high-sulfate wastewater.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Nov 28;742:140537. Epub 2020 Jun 28.

State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China.

For comprehensive insights into the change of sulfate reduction pathway responding to the toxic stress and the shift of microbial community and performance of sulfate reduction, we built a laboratory-scale expanded granular sludge bed reactor (EGSB) treating high-sulfate wastewater with elevated aniline concentrations from 0 to 480 mg/L. High-throughput sequencing and metagenomic approaches were applied to decipher the molecular mechanisms of sulfate reduction under aniline stress through taxonomic and functional profiles. The increasing aniline in the anaerobic system induced the accumulation of volatile fatty acids (VFA), further turned the bioreactor into acidification, which was the principal reason for the deterioration of system performance and finally resulted in the accumulation of toxic free sulfide. Moreover, aniline triggered the change of bacterial community and genes relating to sulfate reduction pathways. The increase of aniline from 0 to 320 mg/L enriched total sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), and the most abundant genus was Desulfomicrobium, accounting for 66.85-91.25% of total SRB. The assimilatory sulfate reduction pathway was obviously inhibited when aniline was over 160 mg/L, while genes associated with dissimilatory sulfate reduction pathways all exhibited an upward tendency with the increasing aniline content. The enrichment of aniline-resistant SRB (e.g. Desulfomicrobium) carrying genes associated with the dissimilatory sulfate reduction pathway also confirmed the underlying mechanism that sulfate reduction turned into dissimilation under high aniline condition. Taken together, these results comprehensively provided solid evidence for the effects of aniline on the biological sulfate reduction processes treating high-sulfate wastewater and the underlying molecular mechanisms which may highlight the important roles of SRB and related sulfate reduction genes during treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140537DOI Listing
November 2020

Occurrence, spatial distribution and risk assessment of organophosphate esters in surface water from the lower Yangtze River Basin.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Sep 13;734:139380. Epub 2020 May 13.

State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China.

Organophosphate esters (OPEs) are extensively used as flame retardants and plasticizers in China; however, their potential carcinogenicity causes great concern. To date, their environmental distribution in water samples from the lower Yangtze River Basin still remains uncharacterized. This study systematically investigated the occurrence and spatial distribution of 13 OPEs, as well as their associated potential risks, in water samples from the lower Yangtze River and its 88 major inflowing rivers. The total OPE (ΣOPEs) concentrations ranged from 55.6 to 5071 ng/L, with a median of 144 ng/L. Among them, halogenated OPEs were the dominant group with an average of 61.6%, and tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (12.6-450 ng/L, median: 53.38 ng/L) and tris(2-choroethyl) phosphate (11.0-1202 ng/L, median: 36.4 ng/L) were the most abundant OPEs. Significantly different concentrations were found with spatial variations (p < 0.01), and were higher in southern cities than in northern cities of the lower Yangtze River Basin. Principal component analysis with multiple linear regression and Spearman correlations showed that the main sources were likely emission of vehicular and marine traffic. Ecological risk analysis showed that the risk quotient (RQ) values of samples remained below 1, but the percentage of 0.1 < RQ ≤ 1 was 26.9%, indicating a medium risk of OPEs in water samples. Moreover, ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate predominantly contributed to the ecological risk, accounting for >89.2% of the total ecological risk of ΣOPEs. However, the total non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks of ΣOPEs were negligible at the detected concentrations, even in a high exposure scenario. The risks from major inflowing rivers of the lower Yangtze River were almost one order of magnitude higher than those of the mainstream lower Yangtze River.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139380DOI Listing
September 2020

Metagenomic profiling of antibiotic resistance genes and their associations with bacterial community during multiple disinfection regimes in a full-scale drinking water treatment plant.

Water Res 2020 Jun 19;176:115721. Epub 2020 Mar 19.

State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210023, China.

For comprehensive insights into the effects of multiple disinfection regimes on antibiotic resistome in drinking water, this study utilized metagenomic approaches to reveal the changing patterns of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and bacterial community as well as their associations. A total of 297 ARGs within 17 types were detected in the drinking water, and their total relative abundance ranged from 195.49 ± 24.85 to 626.31 ± 38.61 copies of ARGs per cell. The total ARG abundance was significantly increased after the antimicrobial resin and ultraviolet (AR/UV) disinfection while significantly decreased after the ozone and chlorine (O/Cl) disinfection and remained stable after AR/Cl disinfection. Overall, 18 ARGs including bacA, mexT, and bla, mainly affiliated to bacitracin, multidrug, and beta-lactam, were persistent and discriminative during all the disinfection strategies in drinking water, and they were considered as key ARGs that represent the antibiotic resistome during drinking water disinfection. Additionally, possible hosts of 50% key ARGs were revealed based on co-occurrence network. During multiple disinfection processes, the change of Fusobacteriales and Aeromonadaceae in abundance mainly contributed to the abundance shift of bacA, and Pseudomonas mainly increased the abundance of mexT. These findings indicated that bacterial community shift may be the key factor driving the change of antibiotic resistome during disinfection. The strong association between antibiotic resistome alteration and bacterial community shift proposed in this study may enhance our understanding of the underlying mechanism of the disinfection effects on antibiotic resistance and benefit effective measures to improve safety of drinking water.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2020.115721DOI Listing
June 2020

The Preponderant Role of Fusiform Face Area for the Facial Expression Confusion Effect: An MEG Study.

Neuroscience 2020 05 10;433:42-52. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

Department of Psychology, Bournemouth University, Dorset, United Kingdom.

Although the recognition of facial expressions seems automatic and effortless, discrimination of expressions can still be error prone. Common errors are often due to visual similarities between some expressions (e.g., fear and surprise). However, little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying such a confusion effect. To address this question, we recorded the magnetoencephalography (MEG) while participants judged facial expressions that were either easily confused with or easily distinguished from other expressions. The results showed that the fusiform face area (FFA), rather than the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), played a preponderant role in discriminating confusable facial expressions. No difference between high confusion and low confusion conditions was observed on the M170 component in either the FFA or the pSTS, whilst a difference between two conditions started to emerge in the late positive potential (LPP), with the low confusion condition eliciting a larger LPP amplitude in the FFA. In addition, the power of delta was stronger in the time window of LPP component. This confusion effect was reflected in the FFA, which might be associated with the perceptual-to-conceptual shift.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.03.001DOI Listing
May 2020

Design and Evaluation of a Novel Laminectomy Auxiliary Device Based on Rats.

IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng 2020 03 22;28(3):621-628. Epub 2020 Jan 22.

Most types of spinal cord injury (SCI) observed in humans can be replicated in adult rat models, which are widely used for laboratory studies of SCI rehabilitation. To ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of an SCI rat model, the minimal time spent performing the laminectomy procedure and the damage caused to the body are of great importance. We describe and evaluate the effectiveness and advantages of a laminectomy auxiliary device (LAD) for removing the rat vertebral lamina without injuring the spinal cord. The incision size, success rate, operation duration, body weight, BBB score, step detection, latency and amplitude of transcranial electrical motor-evoked potentials (tceMEPs), and serum MDA and SOD levels were recorded in 8 normal rats, 8 rats treated with traditional laminectomy and 8 rats treated with LAD laminectomy. Compared with traditional laminectomy, in our LAD, the surgical incision was smaller (approximately 2.2 and 1.3 cm, respectively), the success rate was higher (88.89% and 100%, respectively) and the duration shorter (14.644±1.617 and 4.821±0.668 minutes, respectively). Compared with normal rats, those treated with either laminectomy using LAD or the traditional method showed slower body weight gain and temporarily increased oxidative stress levels. However, there were no significant differences between these two groups. Our results show that laminectomy using this LAD provides three main advantages in rats: a high success rate, time savings, small incisions and reduced trauma. We believe this LAD can be used as an effective assistant tool for rodent laminectomy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TNSRE.2020.2968610DOI Listing
March 2020

Perceptual integration and the composite face effect.

Q J Exp Psychol (Hove) 2020 Jul 30;73(7):1101-1114. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Beijing, P.R. China.

The composite face paradigm is widely used to investigate holistic perception of faces. In the paradigm, parts from different faces (usually the top and bottom halves) are recombined. The principal criterion for holistic perception is that responses involving the component parts of composites in which the parts are aligned into a face-like configuration are disrupted compared with the same parts in a misaligned (not face-like) format. This is often taken as evidence that seeing a whole face in the aligned condition interferes with perceiving its separate parts, but the extent to which the effect is perceptually driven remains unclear. We used salient perceptual categories of gender (male or female) and race (Asian or Caucasian appearance) to create composite stimuli from parts of faces that varied orthogonally on these characteristics. In Experiment 1, participants categorised the gender of the parts of aligned composite and misaligned images created from parts with the same (congruent) or different (incongruent) gender and the same (congruent) or different (incongruent) race. In Experiment 2, the same stimuli were used but the task changed to categorising race. In both experiments, there was a strong influence of the task-relevant manipulation on the composite effect, with slower responses to aligned stimuli with incongruent gender in Experiment 1 and incongruent race in Experiment 2. In contrast, the task-irrelevant variable (race in Experiment 1, gender in Experiment 2) did not exert much influence on the composite effect in either experiment. These findings show that although holistic integration of salient visual properties makes a strong contribution to the composite face effect, it clearly also involves targeted processing of an attended visual characteristic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1747021819899531DOI Listing
July 2020

Deep-Sea Fungi Could Be the New Arsenal for Bioactive Molecules.

Mar Drugs 2019 Dec 20;18(1). Epub 2019 Dec 20.

State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China.

Growing microbial resistance to existing drugs and the search for new natural products of pharmaceutical importance have forced researchers to investigate unexplored environments, such as extreme ecosystems. The deep-sea (>1000 m below water surface) has a variety of extreme environments, such as deep-sea sediments, hydrothermal vents, and deep-sea cold region, which are considered to be new arsenals of natural products. Organisms living in the extreme environments of the deep-sea encounter harsh conditions, such as high salinity, extreme pH, absence of sun light, low temperature and oxygen, high hydrostatic pressure, and low availability of growth nutrients. The production of secondary metabolites is one of the strategies these organisms use to survive in such harsh conditions. Fungi growing in such extreme environments produce unique secondary metabolites for defense and communication, some of which also have clinical significance. Despite being the producer of many important bioactive molecules, deep-sea fungi have not been explored thoroughly. Here, we made a brief review of the structure, biological activity, and distribution of secondary metabolites produced by deep-sea fungi in the last five years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/md18010009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7024341PMC
December 2019

Averaging sets of expressive faces is modulated by eccentricity.

J Vis 2019 09;19(11)

Department of Psychology Bournemouth University, Poole, UK.

Research has shown that participants can extract the average facial expression from a set of faces when these were presented at fixation. In this study, we investigated whether this performance would be modulated by eccentricity given that neural resources are limited outside the foveal region. We also examined whether or not there would be compulsory averaging in the parafovea as has been previously reported for the orientation of Gabor patches by Parkes, Lund, Angelucci, Solomon, and Morgan (2001). Participants were presented with expressive faces (alone or in sets of nine, at fixation or at 3° to the left or right) and were asked to identify the expression of the central target face or to estimate the average expression of the set. Our results revealed that, although participants were able to extract average facial expressions in central and parafoveal conditions, their performance was superior in the parafovea, suggesting facilitated averaging outside the fovea by peripheral mechanisms. Furthermore, regardless of whether the task was to judge the expression of the central target or set average, participants had a tendency to identify central targets' expressions in the fovea but were compelled to average in the parafovea, a finding consistent with compulsory averaging. The data also supported averaging over substitution models of crowding. We conclude that the ability to extract average expressions in sets of faces and identify single targets' facial expressions is influenced by eccentricity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/19.11.2DOI Listing
September 2019

Self-Construal Priming Modulates Ensemble Perception of Multiple-Face Identities.

Front Psychol 2019 16;10:1096. Epub 2019 May 16.

Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China.

This study explored the modulatory role of independent/interdependent self-construal on ensemble perception. Two experiments were conducted to study the effect of self-construal on ensemble coding of multiple-face identities (Experiment 1) and dot size (Experiment 2) separately. Before the implicit ensemble perception task, participants in both experiments were either primed with independent or interdependent self-construal a well-validated pronoun circle task, in which they were exposed to either singular ("," "," and "") or plural ("," "," and "") pronouns in essays. The results showed that interdependent self-construal (vs. independent self-construal) featured as global processing and emphasizing interconnectedness with others enhanced the ensemble coding of high-level features (e.g., identity in Experiment 1) but not of low-level features (e.g., size in Experiment 2). To the best of our knowledge, this study was the first to investigate the role of self-construal on ensemble representations. In sum, the results of the current study supported the domain-specific mechanism of ensemble perception on one hand, and extended the effect of self-construal on single face recognition to multiple face recognition on the other hand.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01096DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6532433PMC
May 2019

The Influence of Event Valence and Emotional States on the Metaphorical Comprehension of Time.

Front Psychol 2019 5;10:410. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.

Time is generally conceptualized in terms of space as reflected in temporal-spatial metaphors. Two observation perspectives have been proposed in the front-back axis of the temporal-spatial metaphor. One is called "ego-moving perspective" and the other "time-moving perspective." They are used to represent different relative motion between time and the observer. Previous studies have demonstrated the psychological reality of both perspectives. They also provided evidence that emotion can influence a perspective choice. In general, a positive emotion tends to facilitate the adoption of ego-moving perspective, whereas, a negative emotion tends to promote the adoption of time-moving perspective. However, it is unclear how the motivational dimension of emotion might influence the preference. The current study aimed to address the question by identifying conditions in which emotional valence or motivational attribute affects the choice of time movement perspective. An ambiguous temporal question and a visualized time motion schema were adopted to probe participants' metaphorical representation of time when they were affected by emotion. Study 1 investigated how a future emotional event would affect participants' choice of the time movement perspective. The results showed that positive future events led to a higher propensity to adopt an ego-moving perspective compared with negative future events. Study 2 explored participants' tendency to choose time movement perspective for a vague or neutral future event, after they were induced into a particular emotional state. The results showed that when being in an emotional state of approach-motivation individuals were more likely to adopt an ego-moving perspective. In contrast, being in an emotional state of avoidance-motivation, individuals were more likely to take a time-moving perspective. Taken together, these results suggest that the emotional valence of future events can influence the choice of time movement perspectives; and the motivational dimension of present emotional states plays an important role when contemplating a neutral future event.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00410DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6411794PMC
March 2019

Synthesis, biological evaluation and molecular docking of benzimidazole grafted benzsulfamide-containing pyrazole ring derivatives as novel tubulin polymerization inhibitors.

Bioorg Med Chem 2019 02 23;27(3):502-515. Epub 2018 Dec 23.

State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, PR China. Electronic address:

Tubulin-targeting drugs have increasingly become the focus of anticancer drugs research. Twenty-five novel benzimidazole grafted benzsulfamide-containing pyrazole ring derivatives were synthesized and evaluated for bioactivity as potential tubulin polymerization inhibitors. Among them, compound 30 showed the most excellent inhibition against tubulin assembly (IC = 1.52 μM) and in vitro growth inhibitory activity against a panel of four human cancer cell lines (IC = 0.15, 0.21, 0.33 and 0.17 μM, respectively for A549, Hela, HepG2 and MCF-7). It could also validly induce A549 cell apoptosis, cause cell cycle arrest in G2/M phase and disrupt the cellular microtubule network. These results, along with molecular docking data, provided an important basis for further optimization of compound 30 as a potential anticancer agent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2018.12.031DOI Listing
February 2019

The boundary of holistic processing in the appraisal of facial attractiveness.

R Soc Open Sci 2018 Jun 20;5(6):171616. Epub 2018 Jun 20.

Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, People's Republic of China.

Facial attractiveness is often studied on the basis of the internal facial features alone. This study investigated how this exclusion of the external features affects the perception of attractiveness. We studied the effects of two most commonly used methods of exclusion, where the shape of an occluding mask was defined by either the facial outline or an oval. Participants rated attractiveness of the same faces under these conditions. Results showed that faces were consistently rated more attractive when they were masked by an oval shape rather than by their outline (Experiment 1). Attractive faces were more strongly affected by this effect than were less attractive faces when participants were able to control the viewing time. However, unattractive faces benefited more from this effect when the same face stimuli were presented briefly for only 20 ms (Experiment 2). Further manipulation confirmed that the effect was mainly due to the occlusion of a larger area of the external features rather than the regular and symmetrical features of the oval shape (Experiment 3) or lacks contextual cues about the face boundary (Experiment 4). The effect was only relative to masked faces, with no advantage over unmasked faces (Experiment 5), and is likely a result of the interaction between the shape of a mask and the internal features of the face. This holistic effect in the appraisal of facial attractiveness is striking, because the oval shape of the mask is not a part of the face but is the edge of an occluding object.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.171616DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6030301PMC
June 2018

Diverse Non-Negative Matrix Factorization for Multiview Data Representation.

IEEE Trans Cybern 2018 Sep 8;48(9):2620-2632. Epub 2017 Sep 8.

Non-negative matrix factorization (NMF), a method for finding parts-based representation of non-negative data, has shown remarkable competitiveness in data analysis. Given that real-world datasets are often comprised of multiple features or views which describe data from various perspectives, it is important to exploit diversity from multiple views for comprehensive and accurate data representations. Moreover, real-world datasets often come with high-dimensional features, which demands the efficiency of low-dimensional representation learning approaches. To address these needs, we propose a diverse NMF (DiNMF) approach. It enhances the diversity, reduces the redundancy among multiview representations with a novel defined diversity term and enables the learning process in linear execution time. We further propose a locality preserved DiNMF (LP-DiNMF) for more accurate learning, which ensures diversity from multiple views while preserving the local geometry structure of data in each view. Efficient iterative updating algorithms are derived for both DiNMF and LP-DiNMF, along with proofs of convergence. Experiments on synthetic and real-world datasets have demonstrated the efficiency and accuracy of the proposed methods against the state-of-the-art approaches, proving the advantages of incorporating the proposed diversity term into NMF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TCYB.2017.2747400DOI Listing
September 2018

MicroRNA-4458 suppresses the proliferation of human lung cancer cells in vitro by directly targeting Lin28B.

Acta Pharmacol Sin 2017 Sep 12;38(9):1297-1304. Epub 2017 Jun 12.

Department of Thoracic Surgical, The Second Hospital of Dalian Medical University, Dalian 116023, China.

Previous studies have shown that the expression of microRNA-4458 (miR-4458) is dysregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma and colon cancer. In this study, we investigated the direct target of miR-4458 and its biological functions in human lung cancer cells. By using the database TargetScan, we identified Lin28B, an oncogene, as a direct target gene of miR-4458. In dual-luciferase reporter assay, we found that miR-4458 mimics dose-dependently inhibited the luciferase activity of the wild-type 3'UTR of Lin28B in human lung cancer A549 and NCI-H1299 cell lines without affecting its mutant forms, whereas anti-miR-4458, an inhibitor of miR-4458, dose-dependently promoted the luciferase activity of the wild-type 3'UTR of Lin28B in A549 and NCI-H1299 cell lines without affecting its mutant forms. Overexpression of miR-4458 significantly decreased the protein levels of Lin28B in the cells, and inhibited the cell growth and colony formation. Conversely, knockdown of miR-4458 with anti-miR-4458 significantly increased the protein levels of Lin28B, and promoted the cell proliferation, which could be reverted by knockdown of Lin28B expression. In addition, we detected the expression of Lin28B using RT-PCR in 40 human lung cancer tissues and matched peritumoral tissues, and found that Lin28B was overexpressed in lung cancer tissues and negatively correlated with miR-4458 expression (r=-0.694, P<0.05). We conclude that miR-4458 is a tumor suppressor, and Lin28B is the direct target of miR-4458. These results suggest the modulation of miR-4458/Lin28B expression offers a potential therapeutic strategy for lung cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/aps.2017.73DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5589970PMC
September 2017

Interaction between social categories in the composite face paradigm.

J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 2018 Jan 29;44(1):34-49. Epub 2017 May 29.

Department of Psychology, Bournemouth University.

The composite face paradigm (Young, Hellawell, & Hay, 1987) is widely used to demonstrate holistic perception of faces (Rossion, 2013). In the paradigm, parts from different faces (usually the top and bottom halves) are recombined. The principal criterion for holistic perception is that responses involving the component parts of composites in which the parts are aligned into a face-like configuration are slower and less accurate than responses to the same parts in a misaligned (not face-like) format. This is often taken as evidence that seeing a whole face in the aligned condition interferes with perceiving its separate parts, but it remains unclear to what extent the composite face effect also reflects contributions from other potential sources of interference. We present a new variant of the paradigm involving composites created from top and bottom parts of familiar faces drawn from orthogonal social categories of gender and occupation. This allows us to examine the contributions of differences in relatively visual properties (gender) or relatively semantic properties (occupation) to composite interference and to measure whether variation in a task-irrelevant category (e.g., differences in gender across the parts of the composite when the task is to categorize the occupation of one of the parts) will influence the size of the composite effect. Our findings show that the composite face effect can be modulated by task-irrelevant social categories and that this interference is primarily visual in nature because the influence of face gender is more direct and more consistent than the influence of occupation. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000418DOI Listing
January 2018

Cell cycle protein Bora serves as a novel poor prognostic factor in multiple adenocarcinomas.

Oncotarget 2017 Jul;8(27):43838-43852

Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, The Second Affiliated Hospital, Dalian Medical University, Dalian 116044, China.

Cell cycle protein Bora has been identified to integrate the functions of three major mitotic kinases: Cyclin-dependent kinase-1, Polo-like kinase-1, and Aurora A kinase. Overexpression of Bora disrupts spindle assembly and causes genomic instability. However, the clinical relevance of Bora in cancer remains unclear. In this study, we examined the expression of Bora and its association with clinical characteristics in breast (n = 538), lung (n = 144) and gastric (n = 77) adenocarcinomas. We found that Bora was overexpressed in primary breast cancer tissues compared to paired non-cancerous tissues. Bora overexpression was observed at a higher proportion in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC, 77.63%) compared with non-TNBC subtypes (42.76%, P < 0.0001). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis indicated that Bora overexpression was associated with unfavourable overall survival (OS, P < 0.0001) and disease-free survival (DFS, P = 0.007) in breast cancer. In addition, Bora subclassified patients with distinct clinical outcomes in both stages (II/III) and subtypes (HR+, HER2+) of breast cancer. Consistently, Bora was associated with adverse prognosis in lung (P = 0.005 for OS and DFS P = 0.001 for DFS) and gastric adenocarcinomas (P < 0.0001 for OS, and P < 0.0001 for DFS). Moreover, Bora was positively correlated with proliferation index Ki67 in breast and gastric cancer (P < 0.001, P = 0.005, respectively). Multivariate analyses further revealed that Bora was an independent prognostic parameter for OS and DFS in all three types of adenocarcinomas. In conclusion, our findings demonstrated that Bora was overexpressed and served as an independent biomarker for poor prognosis in multiple adenocarcinomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16631DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5546444PMC
July 2017

Rifampicin-Resistance Mutations in the Gene in CC09 have Pleiotropic Effects.

Front Microbiol 2017 13;8:178. Epub 2017 Feb 13.

Institute of Food Safety and Inspection - Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences Nanjing, China.

Rifampicin resistance (Rif) mutations in the RNA polymerase β subunit () gene exhibit pleiotropic phenotypes as a result of their effects on the transcription machinery in prokaryotes. However, the differences in the effects of the mutations on the physiology and metabolism of the bacteria remain unknown. In this study, we isolated seven Rif mutations in , including six single point mutations (H485Y, H485C, H485D, H485R, Q472R, and S490L) and one double point mutation (S490L/S617F) from vegetative cells of an endophytic strain, CC09. Compared to the wild-type (WT) strain (CC09), the H485R and H485D mutants exhibited a higher degree of inhibition of spore germination, while the H485Y, S490L, Q472R, and S490L/S617F mutants exhibited a lower degree of inhibition due to their lower production of the antibiotic iturin A. These mutants all exhibited defective phenotypes in terms of pellicle formation, sporulation, and swarming motility. A hierarchical clustering analysis of the observed phenotypes indicated that the four mutations involving amino acid substitutions at H485 in RpoB belonged to the same cluster. In contrast, the S490L and Q472R mutations, as well as the WT strain, were in another cluster, indicating a functional connection between the mutations in and phenotypic changes. Our data suggest that Rif mutations cannot only be used to study transcriptional regulation mechanisms, but can also serve as a tool to increase the production of bioactive metabolites in .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.00178DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5303731PMC
February 2017

Genomic and metabolic traits endow Bacillus velezensis CC09 with a potential biocontrol agent in control of wheat powdery mildew disease.

Microbiol Res 2017 Mar 30;196:89-94. Epub 2016 Dec 30.

State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China. Electronic address:

Bacillus velezensis CC09, which was isolated from healthy leaves of Cinnamomum camphora and previously identified as Bacillus amyloliquefaciens CC09, shows great potential as a new biocontrol agent, in control of many phytopathogenic diseases. To extend our understanding of the potential antifungal capacities, we did a whole genome analysis of strain CC09. Result shows that strain CC09 has a relatively large genome size (4.17Mb) with an average GC content of 46.1%, and 4021 predicted genes. Thirteen secondary metabolites encoding clusters have been identified within the genome of B. velezensis CC09 using genome mining technique. Data of comparative genomic analysis indicated that 3 of the clusters are conserved by all strains of B. velezensis, B. amyloliquefaciens and B. subtilis 168, 9 by B. velezensis and B. amyloliquefaciens, and 2 by all strains of B. velezensis. Another 2 clusters encoding NRPS (Non-Ribosomal Peptide Synthetases) and NRPS-TransATPKS (NRPS and trans-Acyl Transferase Polyketide Synthetases) respectively are observed only in 15 B. velezensis strains, which might lead to the synthesis of novel bioactive compounds and could be explored as antimicrobial agents in the future. These clusters endow B. velezensis CC09 with strong and broad antimicrobial activities, for example, in control of wheat powdery mildew disease. Moreover, our data further confirmed the taxonomy of strain CC09 is a member of B. velezensis rather than a strain of B. amyloliquefaciens based on core genome sequence analysis using phylogenomic approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.micres.2016.12.007DOI Listing
March 2017

Synthesis, molecular docking and biological evaluation of 1-phenylsulphonyl-2-(1-methylindol-3-yl)-benzimidazole derivatives as novel potential tubulin assembling inhibitors.

Chem Biol Drug Des 2017 07 15;90(1):112-118. Epub 2017 Feb 15.

State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.

A series of new 1-phenylsulphonyl-2-(1-methylindol-3-yl)-benzimidazole derivatives were designed, synthesized and evaluated as potential inhibitors of tubulin polymerization and anthropic cancer cell lines. Among them, compound 33 displayed the most potent tubulin polymerization inhibitory activity in vitro (IC  = 1.41 μM) and strong antiproliferative activities against A549, Hela, HepG2 and MCF-7 cell lines in vitro with GI value of 1.6, 2.7, 2.9 and 4.3 μM, respectively, comparable with the positive control colchicine (GI value of 4.1, 7.2, 9.5 and 14.5 μM, respectively) and CA-4 (GI value of 2.2, 4.3, 6.4 and 11.4 μM, respectively). Simultaneously, we evaluated that compound 33 could effectively induce apoptosis of A549 associated with G2/M phase cell cycle arrest. Immunofluorescence microscopy also clearly indicated compound 33 a potent antimicrotubule agent. Docking simulation showed that compound 33 could bind tightly with the colchicine-binding site and act as a tubulin inhibitor. Three-dimensional-QSAR model was also built to provide more pharmacophore understanding that could be used to design new agents with more potent tubulin assembling inhibitory activity in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cbdd.12932DOI Listing
July 2017

Exploration of cultivable fungal communities in deep coal-bearing sediments from ∼1.3 to 2.5 km below the ocean floor.

Environ Microbiol 2017 02 25;19(2):803-818. Epub 2017 Jan 25.

Kochi Institute for Core Sample Research, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Nankoku, Kochi, 783-8502, Japan.

Although subseafloor sediments are known to harbour a vast number of microbial cells, the distribution, diversity, and origins of fungal populations remain largely unexplored. In this study, we cultivated fungi from 34 of 47 deep coal-associated sediment samples collected at depths ranging from 1289 to 2457 m below the seafloor (mbsf) off the Shimokita Peninsula, Japan (1118 m water depth). We obtained a total of 69 fungal isolates under strict contamination controls, representing 61 Ascomycota (14 genera, 23 species) and 8 Basidiomycota (4 genera, 4 species). Penicillium and Aspergillus relatives were the most dominant genera within the Ascomycetes, followed by the members of genera Cladosporium, Hamigera, Chaetomium, Eutypella, Acremonium, Aureobasidium, Candida, Eurotium, Exophiala, Nigrospora, Bionectria and Pseudocercosporella. Four Basidiomycota species were identified as genera Schizophyllum, Irpex, Bjerkandera and Termitomyces. Among these isolates, Cladosporium sphaerospermum and Aspergillus sydowii relatives were isolated from a thin lignite coal-sandstone formation at 2457 mbsf. Our results indicate that these cultivable fungal populations are indigenous, originating from past terrigenous environments, which have persisted, possibly as spores, through ∼20 million years of depositional history.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.13653DOI Listing
February 2017

Constrained Low-Rank Representation for Robust Subspace Clustering.

IEEE Trans Cybern 2017 Dec 31;47(12):4534-4546. Epub 2016 Oct 31.

Subspace clustering aims to partition the data points drawn from a union of subspaces according to their underlying subspaces. For accurate semisupervised subspace clustering, all data that have a must-link constraint or the same label should be grouped into the same underlying subspace. However, this is not guaranteed in existing approaches. Moreover, these approaches require additional parameters for incorporating supervision information. In this paper, we propose a constrained low-rank representation (CLRR) for robust semisupervised subspace clustering, based on a novel constraint matrix constructed in this paper. While seeking the low-rank representation of data, CLRR explicitly incorporates supervision information as hard constraints for enhancing the discriminating power of optimal representation. This strategy can be further extended to other state-of-the-art methods, such as sparse subspace clustering. We theoretically prove that the optimal representation matrix has both a block-diagonal structure with clean data and a semisupervised grouping effect with noisy data. We have also developed an efficient optimization algorithm based on alternating the direction method of multipliers for CLRR. Our experimental results have demonstrated that CLRR outperforms existing methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TCYB.2016.2618852DOI Listing
December 2017

Processing of Individual Items during Ensemble Coding of Facial Expressions.

Front Psychol 2016 7;7:1332. Epub 2016 Sep 7.

State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China.

There is growing evidence that human observers are able to extract the mean emotion or other type of information from a set of faces. The most intriguing aspect of this phenomenon is that observers often fail to identify or form a representation for individual faces in a face set. However, most of these results were based on judgments under limited processing resource. We examined a wider range of exposure time and observed how the relationship between the extraction of a mean and representation of individual facial expressions would change. The results showed that with an exposure time of 50 ms for the faces, observers were more sensitive to mean representation over individual representation, replicating the typical findings in the literature. With longer exposure time, however, observers were able to extract both individual and mean representation more accurately. Furthermore, diffusion model analysis revealed that the mean representation is also more prone to suffer from the noise accumulated in redundant processing time and leads to a more conservative decision bias, whereas individual representations seem more resistant to this noise. Results suggest that the encoding of emotional information from multiple faces may take two forms: single face processing and crowd face processing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01332DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5013048PMC
September 2016

Dynamic Emotional Faces Generalise Better to a New Expression but not to a New View.

Sci Rep 2016 08 8;6:31001. Epub 2016 Aug 8.

Department of Psychology, Graduate School of Literature and Social Science Nihon University, 3-25-40, Setagaya-ku, Sakurajosui Tokyo 156-8550, Japan.

Prior research based on static images has found limited improvement for recognising previously learnt faces in a new expression after several different facial expressions of these faces had been shown during the learning session. We investigated whether non-rigid motion of facial expression facilitates the learning process. In Experiment 1, participants remembered faces that were either presented in short video clips or still images. To assess the effect of exposure to expression variation, each face was either learnt through a single expression or three different expressions. Experiment 2 examined whether learning faces in video clips could generalise more effectively to a new view. The results show that faces learnt from video clips generalised effectively to a new expression with exposure to a single expression, whereas faces learnt from stills showed poorer generalisation with exposure to either single or three expressions. However, although superior recognition performance was demonstrated for faces learnt through video clips, dynamic facial expression did not create better transfer of learning to faces tested in a new view. The data thus fail to support the hypothesis that non-rigid motion enhances viewpoint invariance. These findings reveal both benefits and limitations of exposures to moving expressions for expression-invariant face recognition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep31001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4976339PMC
August 2016