Publications by authors named "Jae Jin Kim"

324 Publications

Effectiveness of Self-Guided Virtual Reality-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Panic Disorder: Randomized Controlled Trial.

JMIR Ment Health 2021 Nov 22;8(11):e30590. Epub 2021 Nov 22.

Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University Health System, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Background: Virtual reality (VR) is as effective a technique as traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and a promising tool for treating panic disorder symptoms because VR exposure can be safer and has better acceptability than in vivo exposure and is more immersive than exposure through imagination. CBT techniques can be delivered more effectively using VR as well. So far, VR has required high-quality devices, but the development of mobile VR technology has improved user availability. At the same time, a well-structured form of VR can be reproduced and used anywhere. This means that VR can be used to provide a self-guided form of treatment and address the high treatment costs of evidence-based therapy and the lack of professional therapists. This study aimed to investigate the potential of self-guided VR as an alternative to high-cost treatment.

Objective: The main goal of this study was to offer data about the efficacy of a mobile app-based self-led VR CBT in the treatment of panic disorder.

Methods: A total of 54 subjects with panic disorder were enrolled in this study and randomly assigned to either the VR treatment group or waitlist group. The VR treatment was designed to be total 12 sessions for 4 weeks. The VR treatment consists of 4 steps in which patients are gradually exposed to phobic stimuli while learning to cope with panic symptoms in each stage. The effectiveness of treatment was assessed through the Panic Disorder Severity Scale, Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Body Sensations Questionnaire, Albany Panic and Phobia Questionnaire, Anxiety Sensitivity Index, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Korean Inventory of Social Avoidance and Distress Scale, Korean Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, and Perceived Stress Scale. In addition, physiological changes using heart rate variability were evaluated.

Results: In within-group analyses, the VR treatment group exhibited improvements in panic disorder symptoms, anxiety, and depression after 4 weeks, while the waitlist group did not show any significant improvement. Compared to the waitlist group, the VR treatment group showed significantly greater improvements in the Panic Disorder Severity Scale in both completer analysis and intention-to-treat analysis. Heart rate variability in the VR treatment group showed improvement in normalized high frequency from baseline to postassessment with no significant differences in any outcome measure between groups.

Conclusions: The self-guided, mobile app-based VR intervention was effective in the treatment of panic symptoms and restoring the autonomic nervous system demonstrating the validity of the use of VR for self-guided treatment. VR treatment can be a cost-effective therapeutic approach.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04985019; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04985019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/30590DOI Listing
November 2021

USP39 promotes non-homologous end-joining repair by poly(ADP-ribose)-induced liquid demixing.

Nucleic Acids Res 2021 Nov;49(19):11083-11102

Genomic Instability Research Center, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Gyeonggi, 16499, Republic of Korea.

Mutual crosstalk among poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR), activated PAR polymerase 1 (PARP1) metabolites, and DNA repair machinery has emerged as a key regulatory mechanism of the DNA damage response (DDR). However, there is no conclusive evidence of how PAR precisely controls DDR. Herein, six deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) associated with PAR-coupled DDR were identified, and the role of USP39, an inactive DUB involved in spliceosome assembly, was characterized. USP39 rapidly localizes to DNA lesions in a PAR-dependent manner, where it regulates non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) via a tripartite RG motif located in the N-terminus comprising 46 amino acids (N46). Furthermore, USP39 acts as a molecular trigger for liquid demixing in a PAR-coupled N46-dependent manner, thereby directly interacting with the XRCC4/LIG4 complex during NHEJ. In parallel, the USP39-associated spliceosome complex controls homologous recombination repair in a PAR-independent manner. These findings provide mechanistic insights into how PAR chains precisely control DNA repair processes in the DDR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkab892DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8565343PMC
November 2021

Bromodomain proteins: protectors against endogenous DNA damage and facilitators of genome integrity.

Exp Mol Med 2021 Sep 21;53(9):1268-1277. Epub 2021 Sep 21.

Department of Molecular Biosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.

Endogenous DNA damage is a major contributor to mutations, which are drivers of cancer development. Bromodomain (BRD) proteins are well-established participants in chromatin-based DNA damage response (DDR) pathways, which maintain genome integrity from cell-intrinsic and extrinsic DNA-damaging sources. BRD proteins are most well-studied as regulators of transcription, but emerging evidence has revealed their importance in other DNA-templated processes, including DNA repair and replication. How BRD proteins mechanistically protect cells from endogenous DNA damage through their participation in these pathways remains an active area of investigation. Here, we review several recent studies establishing BRD proteins as key influencers of endogenous DNA damage, including DNA-RNA hybrid (R-loops) formation during transcription and participation in replication stress responses. As endogenous DNA damage is known to contribute to several human diseases, including neurodegeneration, immunodeficiencies, cancer, and aging, the ability of BRD proteins to suppress DNA damage and mutations is likely to provide new insights into the involvement of BRD proteins in these diseases. Although many studies have focused on BRD proteins in transcription, evidence indicates that BRD proteins have emergent functions in DNA repair and genome stability and are participants in the etiology and treatment of diseases involving endogenous DNA damage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s12276-021-00673-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8492697PMC
September 2021

A new α-pyrone from Arthrinium pseudosinense culture medium and its estrogenic activity in MCF-7 cells.

J Antibiot (Tokyo) 2021 Sep 8. Epub 2021 Sep 8.

Department of Plant Biotechnology, College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

A new α-pyrone analog, arthrifuranone A (1) was isolated from an EtOAc-extract of Arthrinium pseudosinense culture medium. The isolation workflow was guided by a Molecular Networking-based dereplication strategy. The chemical structure of the new compound was elucidated using MS and NMR spectroscopic techniques, and the absolute configuration was established by the Mosher's method and gauge-including atomic orbital NMR chemical shift calculations, followed by DP4 + analysis. The isolated compound was evaluated for its estrogenic activity using the MCF-7 estrogen responsive human breast cancer cells. Compound 1 showed estrogenic activity by increasing the proliferation of MCF-7 cells at the concentration of 3.125 μM via phosphorylation of estrogen receptor-α.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41429-021-00473-8DOI Listing
September 2021

Neural Correlates of Garment Fit and Purchase Intention in the Consumer Decision-Making Process and the Influence of Product Presentation.

Front Neurosci 2021 10;15:609004. Epub 2021 Aug 10.

Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.

In today's competitive e-commerce markets, it is crucial to promote product satisfaction and to quickly identify purchase intention in decision-making consumers. The present investigation examined the relationship between perceived garment fit and purchase intention, together with how product presentation methods (mannequin versus self-model) contribute to decision-making processes of clothing. Thirty-nine female volunteers were scanned using fMRI while performing an online shopping task. In Part 1, univariate analysis was conducted between garment fit and product presentation factors to assess their effects on purchase deliberation. In Part 2, univariate, multivariate pattern, and psychophysiological interaction analyses were carried out to examine the predictive ability of fit evaluation and product presentation on purchase intention. First, garment fit × product presentation interaction effects on purchase deliberation were observed in the frontopolar cortex, superior frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex, and posterior cingulate cortex. Part 2 demonstrated neural signals of the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, premotor cortex, supplementary motor area, superior parietal lobule, supramarginal gyrus, superior temporal sulcus, fusiform gyrus, and insula to distinguish subsequent purchase intentions. Overall, the findings denote directed exploration, visual and action processing as key neural processes in decision-making that uniquely reflect garment fit and product presentation type during purchase deliberation. Additionally, with respect to the effects of purchase intention on product evaluation, the evidence conveys that mental interactions with products and social cognition are fundamental processes that capture subsequent purchase intention at the product evaluation stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2021.609004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8384177PMC
August 2021

sp. nov., a marine bacterium isolated from salt flat sediment.

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 2021 Jul;71(7)

Division of Environmental Science & Ecological Engineering, College of Life Science & Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea.

A Gram-stain-negative, aerobic, pale yellow-coloured, rod-shaped marine bacterium designated strain YJ-S2-02 was isolated from salt flat sediment sampled in Yongyu-do, Republic of Korea. Strain YJ-S2-02 grew at pH 6.0-9.0 (optimum, pH 7.0), 10-40 °C (optimum, 30 °C) and with optimum 1 % (w/v) NaCl. The 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis indicated that strain YJ-S2-02 was closely related to NBRC 102051 (97.8 %) followed by SM117 (97.5 %), H25 (97.3 %), US6-1 (96.8 %), STM-14 (96.6 %), EGI60015 (96.5 %), D39 (96.5 %) and MUSC 273 (95.9 %). The average nucleotide identity and estimated DNA-DNA hybridization values between YJ-S2-02 and related type strains were 77.0-77.9 % and 19.1-24.0 %. Strain YJ-S2-02 was characterized as having Q-10 as the predominant respiratory quinone and the principal fatty acids (>10 %) were summed feature 8 (C cω7, 20.7 %), C 6 (16.3 %) and C 6 (11.8 %). The polar lipids consisted of diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, sphingolipids and two unidentified lipids. The DNA G+C content of strain YJ-S2-02 was 65.6 mol%. On the basis of the polyphasic taxonomic evidence presented in this study, YJ-S2-02 should be classified as representing a novel species within the genus , for which name is proposed, with the type strain YJ-S2-02 (=KACC 21677 =KCTC 72891=JCM 33996).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/ijsem.0.004930DOI Listing
July 2021

The effects of positive or negative self-talk on the alteration of brain functional connectivity by performing cognitive tasks.

Sci Rep 2021 07 21;11(1):14873. Epub 2021 Jul 21.

Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 50-1 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 03722, Republic of Korea.

Self-talk can improve cognitive performance, but the underlying mechanism of such improvement has not been investigated. This study aimed to elucidate the effects of self-talks on functional connectivity associated with cognitive performance. We used the short form of Progressive Matrices Test (sRPM) to measure differences in performance improvements between self-respect and self-criticism. Participants were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging in the following order: baseline, during-sRPM1, post-sRPM1, self-respect or self-criticism, during-sRPM2, and post-sRPM2. Analysis was conducted to identify the self-talks' modulatory effects on the reward-motivation, default mode, and central-executive networks. Increase in sRPM2 score compared to sRPM1 score was observed only after self-criticism. The self-talk-by-repetition interaction effect was not found for during-sRPM, but found for post-sRPM; decreased nucleus accumbens-based connectivity was shown after self-criticism compared with self-respect. However, the significant correlations between the connectivity change and performance change appeared only in the self-respect group. Our findings showed that positive self-talk and negative self-talk differently modulate brain states concerning cognitive performance. Self-respect may have both positive and negative effects due to enhanced executive functions and inaccurate confidence, respectively, whereas self-criticism may positively affect cognitive performance by inducing a less confident state that increases internal motivation and attention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-94328-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8295361PMC
July 2021

Movement-Related Potentials Associated with Motor Timing Errors as Determined by Internally Cued Movement Onset.

Psychiatry Investig 2021 Jul 16;18(7):670-678. Epub 2021 Jul 16.

Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Yonsei University Health System, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Objective: Accurate motor timing is critical for efficient motor control of behaviors; however, the effect of motor timing abilities on movement-related neural activities has rarely been investigated. The current study aimed to examine the electrophysiological correlates of motor timing errors.

Methods: Twenty-two healthy volunteers performed motor timing tasks while their electroencephalographic and electromyographic (EMG) activities were simultaneously recorded. The average of intervals between consecutive EMG onsets was calculated separately for each subject. Motor timing error was calculated as an absolute discrepancy value between the subjects' produced and given time interval. A movement-related potential (MRP) analysis was conducted using readings from Cz electrode.

Results: Motor timing errors and MRPs were significantly correlated. Our principal finding was that only Bereitschaftpotential (BP) and motor potential (MP), not movement monitoring potential, were significantly attenuated in individuals with motor timing errors. Motor timing error had a significant effect on the amplitude of the late BP and MP.

Conclusion: The findings provide electrophysiological evidence that motor timing errors correlate with the neural processes involved in the generation of self-initiated voluntary movement. Alterations in MRPs reflect central motor control processes and may be indicative of motor timing deficits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.30773/pi.2020.0434DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8328837PMC
July 2021

Chemical constituents from basidiomycete Basidioradulum radula culture medium and their cytotoxic effect on human prostate cancer DU-145 cells.

Bioorg Chem 2021 09 5;114:105064. Epub 2021 Jun 5.

Department of Plant Biotechnology, College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Eight new naphtho[1,2-c]furan derivatives (1-8) along with six known analogues (9-14) were isolated from culture medium of the basidiomycete Basidioradulum radula. The structures of these compounds were identified using spectroscopic analysis, and their absolute configurations were resolved using X-ray diffraction, ECD, and VCD. Compounds 7 and 14 inhibited the cell viability of human prostate cancer DU-145 cells with IC values of 7.54 ± 0.03 μM and 5.04 ± 0.03 μM, respectively. At 8 μM, compounds 7 and 14 increased the percentage of apoptotic cells and upregulated the protein expression related to the apoptosis caspase pathways in DU-145 cells. Furthermore, the hallmarks of cells undergoing apoptosis, such as chromatin condensation, were also observed at this concentration. However, compound 7 and 14 showed no effect on the proliferation of splenocytes isolated from cyclophosphamide-induce immunosuppressed mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bioorg.2021.105064DOI Listing
September 2021

The genus Arthrinium (Ascomycota, Sordariomycetes, Apiosporaceae) from marine habitats from Korea, with eight new species.

IMA Fungus 2021 Jun 1;12(1):13. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Division of Environmental Science & Ecological Engineering, College of Life Science & Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul, 02841, South Korea.

Species of Arthrinium are well-known plant pathogens, endophytes, or saprobes found in various terrestrial habitats. Although several species have been isolated from marine environments and their remarkable biological activities have been reported, marine Arthrinium species remain poorly understood. In this study, the diversity of this group was evaluated based on material from Korea, using morphological characterization and molecular analyses with the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, β-tubulin (TUB), and translation elongation factor 1-alpha (TEF). A total of 41 Arthrinium strains were isolated from eight coastal sites which represented 14 species. Eight of these are described as new to science with detailed descriptions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s43008-021-00065-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8168325PMC
June 2021

Changes in Archaeal Community and Activity by the Invasion of Spartina anglica Along Soil Depth Profiles of a Coastal Wetland.

Microb Ecol 2021 May 18. Epub 2021 May 18.

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul, 03722, Republic of Korea.

Invasion of Spartina spp. in tidal salt marshes may affect the function and characteristics of the ecosystem. Previous studies reported that the invasion alters biogeochemical and microbial processes in marsh ecosystems, yet our knowledge of changing archaeal community due to the invasion is still limited, whereas archaeal communities play a pivotal role in biogeochemical cycles within highly reduced marsh soils. In this study, we aimed to illustrate the influences of the Spartina anglica invasion on soil archaeal community and the depth profile of the influences. The relative abundance of archaeal phyla demonstrated that the invasion substantially shifted the characteristics of tidal salt marsh from marine to terrestrial soil only in surface layer, while the influences indirectly propagated to the deeper soil layer. In particular, two archaeal phyla, Asgardaeota and Diapherotrites, were strongly influenced by the invasion, indicating a shift from marine to terrestrial archaeal communities. The shifts in soil characteristics spread to the deeper soil layer that results in indirect propagation of the influences of the invasion down to the deeper soil, which was underestimated in previous studies. The changes in the concentration of dissolved organic carbon and salinity were the substantial regulating factors for that. Therefore, changes in biogeochemical and microbial characteristics in the deep soil layer, which is below the root zone of the invasive plant, should be accounted for a more accurate illustration of the consequences of the invasion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00248-021-01770-3DOI Listing
May 2021

DNMT1 reads heterochromatic H4K20me3 to reinforce LINE-1 DNA methylation.

Nat Commun 2021 05 3;12(1):2490. Epub 2021 May 3.

Department of Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside, CA, USA.

DNA methylation and trimethylated histone H4 Lysine 20 (H4K20me3) constitute two important heterochromatin-enriched marks that frequently cooperate in silencing repetitive elements of the mammalian genome. However, it remains elusive how these two chromatin modifications crosstalk. Here, we report that DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) specifically 'recognizes' H4K20me3 via its first bromo-adjacent-homology domain (DNMT1). Engagement of DNMT1-H4K20me3 ensures heterochromatin targeting of DNMT1 and DNA methylation at LINE-1 retrotransposons, and cooperates with the previously reported readout of histone H3 tail modifications (i.e., H3K9me3 and H3 ubiquitylation) by the RFTS domain to allosterically regulate DNMT1's activity. Interplay between RFTS and BAH1 domains of DNMT1 profoundly impacts DNA methylation at both global and focal levels and genomic resistance to radiation-induced damage. Together, our study establishes a direct link between H4K20me3 and DNA methylation, providing a mechanism in which multivalent recognition of repressive histone modifications by DNMT1 ensures appropriate DNA methylation patterning and genomic stability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22665-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8093215PMC
May 2021

Anhedonia Relates to the Altered Global and Local Grey Matter Network Properties in Schizophrenia.

J Clin Med 2021 Mar 31;10(7). Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 03722, Korea.

Anhedonia is one of the major negative symptoms in schizophrenia and defined as the loss of hedonic experience to various stimuli in real life. Although structural magnetic resonance imaging has provided a deeper understanding of anhedonia-related abnormalities in schizophrenia, network analysis of the grey matter focusing on this symptom is lacking. In this study, single-subject grey matter networks were constructed in 123 patients with schizophrenia and 160 healthy controls. The small-world property of the grey matter network and its correlations with the level of physical and social anhedonia were evaluated using graph theory analysis. In the global scale whole-brain analysis, the patients showed reduced small-world property of the grey matter network. The local-scale analysis further revealed reduced small-world property in the default mode network, salience/ventral attention network, and visual network. The regional-level analysis showed an altered relationship between the small-world properties and the social anhedonia scale scores in the cerebellar lobule in patients with schizophrenia. These results indicate that anhedonia in schizophrenia may be related to abnormalities in the grey matter network at both the global whole-brain scale and local-regional scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10071395DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8038049PMC
March 2021

Mobile app-based chatbot to deliver cognitive behavioral therapy and psychoeducation for adults with attention deficit: A development and feasibility/usability study.

Int J Med Inform 2021 06 23;150:104440. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Institute of Behavioral Sciences in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Background: Attention deficit is a growing problem in adults, and early diagnosis and treatment are needed. Previous studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective in improving attention deficit symptoms. However, many patients are not receiving adequate treatment due to time, space, and cost constraints. Recently, in other mental illnesses, mobile-based chatbots delivering CBT and psychoeducation have been used for symptom mitigation and treatment.

Objective: This study aimed to investigate the feasibility and usability of a short-term intervention, specifically a mobile-based interactive chatbot application, in alleviating attention deficit symptoms.

Methods: This was a randomized, non-blind parallel-group pilot study conducted from September 2019 to March 2020. Forty-six individuals with attention deficit aged 19-60 were randomly allocated to the chatbot (n = 23) and information-only control groups (n = 23) for 4 weeks. The former group was instructed to use the chatbot application "Todaki," while the latter group was provided with a book on managing attention deficit symptoms. Participants were administered questionnaires to assess their symptoms of attention deficit, depression, and anxiety and evaluated at baseline and 4 weeks after the intervention. The post-intervention survey assessed the chatbot's usability, acceptability, and side effects.

Results: The average age of the participants was 25.1 years (standard deviation [SD] 7.5 years), and 56.5 % (26/46) participants were female. Intention-to-treat analysis (chatbot, n = 23; control, n = 23) revealed a significant reduction of attention deficit symptoms only in the chatbot group, which is represented by group-by-time interaction in Conner's Adult ADHD Rating Scale subscales of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Hyperactive-Impulsive symptoms (F = 4.39; p = .04) and ADHD symptoms total (F = 6.74, p = .01). Further, the results of the paired t-test were significant only in the chatbot group. The average number of times the chatbots were used in 4 weeks was 20.32 (SD 12.89). The total average usage time was 1 h 15 min (SD 1 h 20 min). The degree of improvement in the ADHD symptoms total score was correlated with the number of times the psychoeducation program was used. According to the participants, the empathic/friendly character and unnatural flow of conversation were the best and worst features of the chatbot, respectively.

Conclusions: This study identified the feasibility and usability of using the mobile-based chatbot to improve attention deficit and its associated psychiatric symptoms. Using this novel intervention to conduct CBT would provide a useful digital therapeutic tool that allows easy accessibility and self-guided management for people with attention deficit, which should be verified through the large scale randomized controlled trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2021.104440DOI Listing
June 2021

The relationship between ambivalence, alexithymia, and salience network dysfunction in schizophrenia.

Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging 2021 04 5;310:111271. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Ambivalence in schizophrenia is worth investigating its association with salience processing and alexithymia using functional MRI. Twenty-two patients with schizophrenia and 22 healthy controls were scanned during the ambivalence task of matching picture (ambivalent, positive and negative) and word (positive and negative) stimuli, and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS) was rated. Patients exhibited decreased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and insula compared to controls, and ACC activity in the ambivalent condition was negatively correlated with the TAS score in patients. Ambivalence in schizophrenia may be based on salience network dysfunction, and this disturbance may be related to alexithymia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pscychresns.2021.111271DOI Listing
April 2021

Differences in basic psychological needs-related resting-state functional connectivity between individuals with high and low life satisfaction.

Neurosci Lett 2021 04 3;750:135798. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Basic psychological needs including autonomy, competence, and relatedness can be affected by the level of life satisfaction. The current research aimed to elucidate differences in the association of these needs and functional connectivity of reward processing and emotion regulation between individuals with high and low life satisfaction. A total of 83 young adults were divided into the high life satisfaction (HLS) and low life satisfaction (LLS) groups and were scanned for 5-min resting-state fMRI. A seed-to-voxel analysis was performed using the seeds of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), medial orbitofrontal cortex, subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC), insula, and amygdala. Analysis of covariance was conducted to test differences in the association of basic psychological needs and functional connectivity between the two groups. Connectivity strengths between the NAcc and right ventromedial prefrontal cortex and between the sgACC and left ventromedial prefrontal cortex were higher in the HLS group as the autonomy and relatedness scores increased, respectively, whereas in the LLS group as they decreased. Connectivity strengths between the NAcc and right midcingulate cortex and between the sgACC and left fusiform gyrus were higher in the HLS group as the competence and relatedness scores decreased, respectively, but in the LLS group as they increased. These findings suggest that individuals' perceived life satisfaction affects the relationship between the neural mechanism for reward processing and emotion regulation and basic psychological needs support. Psychological need satisfactions seem to have an emotional impact by acting as a contradictory brain mechanism between individuals with high and low life satisfaction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2021.135798DOI Listing
April 2021

Appropriate Number of Treatment Sessions in Virtual Reality-Based Individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder.

J Clin Med 2021 Feb 26;10(5). Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Department of Psychiatry, Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 06273, Korea.

Virtual reality (VR) was introduced to maximize the effect of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) by efficiently performing exposure therapy. The purpose of this study was to find out whether VR-based individual CBT with relatively few treatment sessions is effective in improving social anxiety disorder (SAD). This therapy was applied to 115 patients with SAD who were retrospectively classified into 43 patients who completed the nine or 10 sessions normally (normal termination group), 52 patients who finished the sessions early (early termination group), and 20 patients who had extended the sessions (session extension group). The Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (BFNE) scores tended to decrease in all groups as the session progressed, and the slope of decrease was the steepest in the early termination group and the least steep in the session extension group. Severity of social anxiety in the last session and symptom reduction rate showed no significant group difference. Our findings suggest that short-term VR-based individual CBT of nine to 10 sessions may be effective. When the therapeutic effect is insufficient during this period, the additional benefit may be minimal if the session is simply extended. The improvement in the early termination group suggests that even shorter sessions of five or six can also be effective.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10050915DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7956456PMC
February 2021

Differences in resting-state functional connectivity according to the level of impulsiveness in patients with internet gaming disorder.

J Behav Addict 2021 Feb 24;10(1):88-98. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

1Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Background And Aims: Impulsiveness is an important factor in the pathophysiology of Internet gaming disorder (IGD), and regional brain functions can be different depending on the level of impulsiveness. This study aimed to demonstrate that different brain mechanisms are involved depending on the level of impulsiveness among patients with IGD.

Methods: Resting-state functional MRI data were obtained from 23 IGD patients with high impulsivity, 27 IGD patients with low impulsivity, and 22 healthy controls, and seed-based functional connectivity was compared among the three groups. The seed regions were the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens (NAcc), and amygdala.

Results: Connectivity of the vmPFC with the left temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) and NAcc-left insula connectivity were significantly decreased in the patients with high impulsivity, compared with the patients with low impulsivity and healthy controls. On the other hand, amygdala-based connectivity with the left inferior frontal gyrus showed decreases in both patient groups, compared with the healthy controls.

Conclusion: These findings may suggest a potential relationship between impulsivity and deficits in reward-related social cognition processes in patients with IGD. In particular, certain interventions targeted at vmPFC-TPJ connectivity, found to be impulsivity-specific brain connectivity, are likely to help with addiction recovery among impulsive patients with IGD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1556/2006.2021.00005DOI Listing
February 2021

Use of Virtual Reality Working Memory Task and Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy to Assess Brain Hemodynamic Responses to Methylphenidate in ADHD Children.

Front Psychiatry 2020 21;11:564618. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.

Virtual reality (VR) neuropsychological tests have emerged as a method to explore drug effects in real-life contexts in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) children. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a useful tool to measure brain activity during VR tasks in ADHD children with motor restlessness. The present study aimed to explore the acute effects of methylphenidate (MPH) on behavioral performance and brain activity during a VR-based working memory task simulating real-life classroom settings in ADHD children. In total, 23 children with ADHD performed a VR n-back task before and 2 h after MPH administration concurrent with measurements of oxygenated hemoglobin signal changes with fNIRS. Altogether, 12 healthy control (HC) subjects participated in the same task but did not receive MPH treatment. Reaction time (RT) was shortened after MPH treatment in the 1-back condition, but changes in brain activation were not observed. In the 2-back condition, activation of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and bilateral medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) was decreased alongside behavioral changes such as shorter RT, lower RT variability, and higher accuracy after MPH administration. Bilateral mPFC activation in the 2-back condition inversely correlated with task accuracy in the pre-MPH condition; this inverse correlation was not observed after MPH administration. In ADHD children, deactivation of the default mode network mediated by mPFC reduced during high working memory load, which was restored through MPH treatment. Our results suggest that the combination of VR classroom tasks and fNIRS examination makes it easy to assess drug effects on brain activity in ADHD children in settings simulating real-life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.564618DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7859615PMC
January 2021

Managing Game-Related Conflict With Parents of Young Adults With Internet Gaming Disorder: Development and Feasibility Study of a Virtual Reality App.

JMIR Serious Games 2021 Jan 18;9(1):e22494. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Background: Individuals with internet gaming disorder (IGD) report facing family conflicts repeatedly because of their excessive internet gaming. With recent advancements in virtual reality (VR) technology, VR therapy has emerged as a promising method for the management of various psychiatric disorders, including IGD. Given that several risk and protective factors for young people with addiction can be influenced by their interpersonal context, the potential utility of VR-based apps for managing family conflicts needs to be examined with reference to IGD management. However, few studies have evaluated potential treatment modules related to interpersonal conflict management, such as emotion regulation and taking the perspective of others.

Objective: This preliminary study aims to examine the potential use of a VR-based app in the management of game-related conflicts with parents of young adults with IGD and matched controls.

Methods: In total, 50 young male adults (24 with IGD and 26 controls) were recruited to participate in the study. We developed a virtual room where game-related family conflicts arise. Using this room, participants completed 2 VR tasks that required them to express anger and then implement coping skills (ie, risk/benefit assessment of stopping a game and taking parents' perspective) to deal with negative emotions in interpersonal conflict situations and to decrease one's gaming behavior.

Results: The results showed that immersion in our VR app tended to provoke negative emotions in individuals with IGD. In addition, after a risk/benefit assessment of stopping a game, the response of stopping a game immediately increased significantly in the IGD group, suggesting that patients' gaming behavior could be changed using our VR program. Furthermore, in individuals with IGD, longer gaming hours were associated with a lower level of perceived usefulness of the coping skills training.

Conclusions: The findings of this study indicate that our VR app may be useful for implementing more desirable behaviors and managing gaming-related family conflicts in individuals with IGD. Our VR app may offer an alternative for individuals with IGD to learn how a vicious cycle of conflicts is developed and to easily and safely assess their dysfunctional thoughts behind the conflicts (ie, perceived unreasonable risks of stopping a game and thoughts acting as a barrier to taking the perspective of others).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/22494DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7850909PMC
January 2021

Effect of Distractors on Sustained Attention and Hyperactivity in Youth With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Using a Mobile Virtual Reality School Program.

J Atten Disord 2021 Jan 11:1087054720986229. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Objective: This study examined whether distractors in virtual reality (VR) environment affected the attention and hyperactivity in children and adolescents with ADHD.

Method: A total of 40 students (21 ADHD, 19 controls) aged between 9 and 17 years participated in this study. A rapid visual information processing task utilizing VR (VR-RVP) was performed under two conditions (no-distractor and distractor condition). Task performance and head movement during each condition were compared, and additional analyses were conducted after grouping participants into two developmental stages.

Results: Children with ADHD performed comparably to the controls under the distractor condition, but had poorer performance under the no-distractor condition. They displayed more head movement under the distractor condition than in the no-distractor condition.

Conclusion: VR is possibly a useful tool for investigating the effect of distractors on individuals with ADHD, and children with ADHD are more vulnerable to a low-level stimulation situation than normal children in VR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1087054720986229DOI Listing
January 2021

Inhibitory Effect of Moriniafungin Produced by Setosphaeria rostrata F3736 on the Development of Rhizopus Rot.

Plant Pathol J 2020 Dec;36(6):570-578

Department of Biosystems and Biotechnology, Korea University Graduate School, Seoul 0284, Korea.

Rhizopus rot is a serious postharvest disease of various crops caused by spp. and controlled mainly by synthetic fungicides. We detected the antifungal activity of a culture extract of F3736 against . The active ingredient was identified as moriniafungin, a known sordarin derivative, which showed minimum inhibitory concentrations of 1-8 μg/ml against spp. and 0.03-0.13 μg/ml against spp. . Moriniafungin showed protective control efficacies against Rhizopus rot on apple and peach fruits. Treatment with 25 μg/ml moriniafungin delimited the lesion diameter significantly by 100% on -inoculated apple fruits compared with the non-treated control. Treatment with 0.04 μg/ml of moriniafungin reduced the lesion diameter significantly by 56.45%, and treatment with higher concentrations of 0.2-25 μg/ml reduced the lesion diameter by 70-90% on var. -inoculated peach fruit. These results suggest moriniafungin has potential as a control agent of postharvest diseases caused by spp.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5423/PPJ.OA.09.2020.0176DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7721543PMC
December 2020

Choice of Leisure Activities by Adolescents and Adults With Internet Gaming Disorder: Development and Feasibility Study of a Virtual Reality Program.

JMIR Serious Games 2020 Dec 11;8(4):e18473. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

Department of Psychiatry & Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Background: Excessive internet game use frequently leads to various physical, psychological, and social problems, and internet gaming disorder (IGD) has become a serious public health issue worldwide. Recently, virtual reality (VR) therapy has emerged as a promising method to increase psychological treatment motivation and accessibility. However, few studies have examined the potential of VR technology for the management of IGD, and VR content tailored to IGD characteristics remains scarce.

Objective: This preliminary study aimed to examine the potential of a VR-based program that was designed to help users identify their leisure time use patterns, especially those related to gaming, and to modify their gaming overuse by alternative activities provided in the VR content. Moreover, to investigate whether users' VR activities reflect various clinical variables of IGD in youth, we examined the relationships among the leisure time activity selection pattern, built-in response, and speech data obtained from the VR program, as well as symptom severity of internet gaming, psychiatric comorbidities, and motivation of participants reported through relevant questionnaire data.

Methods: Three types of VR content (understanding my daily activities at home, finding an alternative activity to internet gaming at home, expressing contradictory opinions toward a friend's gaming beliefs) were developed by simulating the daily situations in which patients with IGD can select alternative free-time leisure activities. We examined internet addiction, mental health problems, and motivation for 23 IGD and 29 control participants. Behavioral and self-rated responses from VR, such as alternative activity selection data and speech patterns (speech time, speech satisfaction, and speech accordance), and results from various questionnaires were compared between groups. The correlations between IGD behaviors in VR and real-life behaviors assessed by questionnaire measures were analyzed.

Results: Significant correlations were found between internet gaming behavior and user activity data, such as speech and activity selection pattern, in our VR program. Our results showed that the IGD group had fewer leisure activities and preferred game or digital activities to other types of activities compared to controls, even in VR. There was a positive relationship between the viability of alternative leisure activities the participants selected in VR and the amount of perceived satisfaction from that activity (r=.748, P<.001). Speech accordance in the IGD group was lower than in the control group and was correlated negatively with Internet Addiction Test and Internet Addiction Test-gaming scores (r=.300, P=.03) but positively with users' motivation (r=.312, P=.02).

Conclusions: The results from our VR program can provide information about daily activity patterns of youths with IGD and the relationship between user VR activities and IGD symptoms, which can be useful in applying VR technology to IGD management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/18473DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7762687PMC
December 2020

Development and Validation of a Virtual Reality-Based Training Program for Promoting Subjective Well-Being.

Psychiatry Investig 2020 Dec 11;17(12):1207-1215. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Objective: Enhancing subjective well-being is an effective way to improve mental health. This study aimed to validate a virtual realitybased interactive feedback program as an intervention tool for promoting subjective well-being.

Methods: Thirty-six males participated in this program, consisting of three tasks constructed based on the theories of positive psychology: 'Experience-based problem recognition task', 'Future self-based success story expression task', and 'Strength expression task'. Participants rated visual analog scores associated with each of the tasks' contents. The concurrent validity of task scores was evaluated by correlations with the psychological scale scores.

Results: The total task score was positively correlated with scores of Mental Health Continuum-Short Form (MHC-SF) emotional wellbeing and psychological well-being, Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale, Dispositional Hope Scale agency dimension and pathways dimension, and Life Orientation Test Revised, but not with MHC-SF social well-being scores. After controlling for the effects of the other task scores, the task scores had linear relationships with certain psychological assessments.

Conclusion: Since the task scores are closely related to indicators of well-being, self-esteem, hope, and optimism, the program contents are well associated with certain aspects of subjective well-being and thus may be available for training that improves subjective well-being through interactive feedback.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.30773/pi.2020.0311DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8560340PMC
December 2020

Emerging roles of RNA modifications in genome integrity.

Brief Funct Genomics 2021 03;20(2):106-112

Livestrong Cancer Institutes.

Post-translational modifications of proteins are well-established participants in DNA damage response (DDR) pathways, which function in the maintenance of genome integrity. Emerging evidence is starting to reveal the involvement of modifications on RNA in the DDR. RNA modifications are known regulators of gene expression but how and if they participate in DNA repair and genome maintenance has been poorly understood. Here, we review several studies that have now established RNA modifications as key components of DNA damage responses. RNA modifying enzymes and the binding proteins that recognize these modifications localize to and participate in the repair of UV-induced and DNA double-strand break lesions. RNA modifications have a profound effect on DNA-RNA hybrids (R-loops) at DNA damage sites, a structure known to be involved in DNA repair and genome stability. Given the importance of the DDR in suppressing mutations and human diseases such as neurodegeneration, immunodeficiencies, cancer and aging, RNA modification pathways may be involved in human diseases not solely through their roles in gene expression but also by their ability to impact DNA repair and genome stability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bfgp/elaa022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8008162PMC
March 2021

Environmental drivers affecting the bacterial community of intertidal sediments in the Yellow Sea.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Feb 6;755(Pt 2):142726. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

Division of Environmental Science & Ecological Engineering, College of Life Science & Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Intertidal flats, as transition zones where terrestrial and marine ecosystems meet, provide unique environments and play an important role in marine ecosystems. In particular, the environmental characteristics of tidal marshes show are different than those of bare flats, especially in the rhizosphere. However, unlike the rhizosphere in terrestrial ecosystems, the rhizosphere of plants in tidal marsh areas and the associated microbial community have been the focus of very little research. Thus, this study investigated the diversity and variation in bacterial communities in the rhizosphere of a Phragmites australis and Suaeda japonica and along the sediment depths. High-throughput sequencing was performed by amplifying the 16S rRNA gene of environmental DNA extracted from sediment cores, and indicator species were identified with respect to the vegetation type and sediment depth. The most abundant phylum was Proteobacteria, followed by Chloroflexi, Bacteroidetes, Acidobacteria, and Firmicutes. In general, the results indicated that not only vegetation type and sediment depth themselves but also their interaction resulted in significant differences among the bacterial communities. The envfit results revealed that the environmental variables of sediment, such as mud content, organic matter, total organic carbon, and total nitrogen, had significant effects on the bacterial community structure. The indicator species varied depending on the vegetation type and sediment depth, showing significant correlations with certain selected environmental variables, but were fundamentally related to the rhizosphere. Overall, this study revealed the key factors that determine the bacterial community structure in tidal marshes and the indicator species according to vegetation type in the little studied rhizosphere of the intertidal ecosystem.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142726DOI Listing
February 2021

sp. nov., a halophilic bacterium isolated from sediment of a salt flat.

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 2020 Dec;70(12):6294-6300

Division of Environmental Science & Ecological Engineering, College of Life Science & Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea.

A Gram-staining-negative, aerobic, cream-coloured, marine bacterium, with rod-shaped cells, designated strain YJ-S3-2, was isolated from salt flat sediment of Yongyu-do, Republic of Korea. YJ-S3-2 grew at pH 5.0-9.0 (optimum pH 7.0), 4-45 °C (optimum 30 °C) and with 1-18 % (w/v) NaCl (optimum 6 %). The results of 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis indicated that YJ-S3-2 was closely related to SS011B1-4 (97.0 %) followed by, '' D15-8W (96.7 %), 50-11 (96.7 %), DSMZ 179240 (96.5 %) and T17 (96.5 %). The average nucleotide identity (ANI) and the genome to genome distance calculator (GGDC) estimate values between YJ-S3-2 and related type strains were 73.7-79.8 and 19.9-22.5 %, and also 73.5 and 20.7 % with . YJ-S3-2 was characterized as having Q-9 as the predominant respiratory quinone and the principal fatty acids (>10 %) were C (22.3 %), summed feature 9 (Ciso ω9/C 10-methyl, 13.8 %) and 3 (Cω7C1ω6 11.9 %). The polar lipids consisted of diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, two unidentified aminolipids and two unidentified phospholipids. The DNA G+C content of YJ-S3-2 is 60.9 mol%. On the basis of the polyphasic taxonomic evidence presented in this study, YJ-S3-2 should be classified as representing a novel species within the genus , for which name sp. nov. is proposed, with the type strain YJ-S3-2 (=KACC 19883=KCTC 62937=JCM 33109).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/ijsem.0.004530DOI Listing
December 2020

PCAF-Mediated Histone Acetylation Promotes Replication Fork Degradation by MRE11 and EXO1 in BRCA-Deficient Cells.

Mol Cell 2020 10 22;80(2):327-344.e8. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Molecular Biosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA; Livestrong Cancer Institutes, Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA. Electronic address:

Stabilization of stalled replication forks is a prominent mechanism of PARP (Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase) inhibitor (PARPi) resistance in BRCA-deficient tumors. Epigenetic mechanisms of replication fork stability are emerging but remain poorly understood. Here, we report the histone acetyltransferase PCAF (p300/CBP-associated) as a fork-associated protein that promotes fork degradation in BRCA-deficient cells by acetylating H4K8 at stalled replication forks, which recruits MRE11 and EXO1. A H4K8ac binding domain within MRE11/EXO1 is required for their recruitment to stalled forks. Low PCAF levels, which we identify in a subset of BRCA2-deficient tumors, stabilize stalled forks, resulting in PARPi resistance in BRCA-deficient cells. Furthermore, PCAF activity is tightly regulated by ATR (ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related), which phosphorylates PCAF on serine 264 (S264) to limit its association and activity at stalled forks. Our results reveal PCAF and histone acetylation as critical regulators of fork stability and PARPi responses in BRCA-deficient cells, which provides key insights into targeting BRCA-deficient tumors and identifying epigenetic modulators of chemotherapeutic responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2020.08.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7572766PMC
October 2020

Characteristics of long-term changes in microbial communities from contaminated sediments along the west coast of South Korea: Ecological assessment with eDNA and physicochemical analyses.

Mar Pollut Bull 2020 Nov 11;160:111592. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences & Research Institute of Oceanography, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

The environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding was applied to assess benthic ecological health in the west coast of South Korea by investigating a long-term microbial community change (2015-17). The ecological interaction among microorganisms, from phylum to family level, and their associations to environmental variables across the five regions were highlighted. As part of the study, the available chemistry and toxicological data in the regions during the monitoring periods were incorporated into an integrated sediment triad assessment. The bacterial communities were dominated by Proteobacteria (34.2%), Bacteroidetes (13.8%), and Firmicutes (10.8%). Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes dominated consistently across regions and years, while Firmicutes and Cyanobacteria significantly varied by region and years (p < 0.05). The abundance of this phylum declined over time with the increasing abundance of Cyanobacteria, indicating their independent interactions to certain environmental changes. Planctomycetes and Gemmatimonadetes linked to some contaminants (ΣPAHs and Cu), implying indicator taxa. Overall, eDNA-based microbial community analysis combined with exposures of contaminants and responses of microorganisms is a promising strategy for the assessment of benthic ecological health in contaminated sediments from coastal waters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111592DOI Listing
November 2020

Neural effects of a short-term virtual reality self-training program to reduce social anxiety.

Psychol Med 2020 Sep 3:1-10. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Background: Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by anxiety regarding social situations, avoidance of external social stimuli, and negative self-beliefs. Virtual reality self-training (VRS) at home may be a good interim modality for reducing social fears before formal treatment. This study aimed to find neurobiological evidence for the therapeutic effect of VRS.

Methods: Fifty-two patients with SAD were randomly assigned to a VRS or waiting list (WL) group. The VRS group received an eight-session VRS program for 2 weeks, whereas the WL group received no intervention. Clinical assessments and functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning with the distress and speech evaluation tasks were repeatedly performed at baseline and after 3 weeks.

Results: The post-VRS assessment showed significantly decreased anxiety and avoidance scores, distress index, and negative evaluation index for 'self', but no change in the negative evaluation index for 'other'. Patients showed significant responses to the distress task in various regions, including both sides of the prefrontal regions, occipital regions, insula, and thalamus, and to the speech evaluation task in the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex. Among these, significant neuronal changes after VRS were observed only in the right lingual gyrus and left thalamus.

Conclusions: VRS-induced improvements in the ability to pay attention to social stimuli without avoidance and even positively modulate emotional cues are based on functional changes in the visual cortices and thalamus. Based on these short-term neuronal changes, VRS can be a first intervention option for individuals with SAD who avoid society or are reluctant to receive formal treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291720003098DOI Listing
September 2020
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