Publications by authors named "Junlin Li"

34 Publications

Increasing Long-Chain Dicarboxylic Acid Production in Candida tropicalis by Engineering Fatty Transporters.

Mol Biotechnol 2021 Jun 30;63(6):544-555. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Zhucheng Dongxiao Biotechnology Co., Ltd, Xinxing Town, Zhucheng, Shandong, 262200, People's Republic of China.

Candida tropicalis can metabolize alkanes or fatty acids to produce long-chain dicarboxylic acids (DCAs). Fatty acid transporters located on the cell or peroxisome membrane may play an important role in this process. Using amino acid sequence homologous alignment, two putative proteins, CtFat1p and CtPxa1p, located on the cell and peroxisome membrane were found, respectively. Moreover, single- and double-knockout homologous recombination technology was used to study ctfat1p and ctpxa1p gene effects on DCA synthesis. In comparison to the wild-type strain, long-chain DCA yield decreased by 65.14%, 88.38% and 56.19% after single and double-copy knockout of ctfat1p genes and double-copy knockout of ctpxa1p genes, respectively, indicating that the knockout of ctfat1p and ctpxa1p genes had a significant effect on the conversion of oils and fats into long-chain DCAs by C. tropicalis. However, the yield of long-chain DCAs increased by 21.90% after single-knockout of the ctpxa1p gene, indicating that the single-knockout of the ctpxa1p gene may reduce fatty acid transport to peroxisome for further oxidation. Moreover, to improve the intracellular transport rate of fatty acids, ctfat1p copy number increased, increasing DCA yield by 30.10%. These results may provide useful information for enhancing the production of long-chain DCAs by C. tropicalis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12033-021-00319-6DOI Listing
June 2021

Using Magnetic and Photic Stimuli-Responsive Liposomes to Serve Up Chemotherapy Drugs to Cancer Cells.

J Biomed Nanotechnol 2020 Jun;16(6):867-875

Liposome is a traditional drug-delivery system and most novel studies have focused on its drug release function. In this paper, a new drug-delivery system based on liposomes was prepared, which contains hydrophobic FeAg alloy nanoparticles (FeAgNPs) in their lipid bilayer and berberine as test drug in their middle water phase. The size of AgFe-Ls was about 200 nm, the encapsulation efficiency of drugs was 35% and the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of AgFe-Ls was about 41.96 °C. FeAgNPs in the AgFe-Ls had a 1:1 iron-to-silver atomic ratio with both optical and superparamagnetic properties. The photothermal effect and magnetocaloric effect of FeAgNPs could serve up both photo-stimulated and magnetic- stimulated drug release to liposomes. Release experiments results showed that AgFe-Ls could easily release berberine when stimulated by UV light (45% drug release at 20 min) or alternating current electromagnetic field (AMF) (80% drug release at 4 h). AgFe-Ls with both photo-controlled and magnetic-controlled drug release functions are promising to serve up chemotherapy drugs to cancer cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/jbn.2020.2946DOI Listing
June 2020

Genetic Variants of the 9 Gene Are Associated with Nonspecific Intellectual Disability: A Family-Based Association Study.

Genet Test Mol Biomarkers 2020 Oct 29;24(10):625-631. Epub 2020 Sep 29.

School of Medicine, Northwest University, Xi'an, China.

Mutations within the myotubularin-related protein 9 gene (9) have been identified in several families with nonsyndromic intellectual disability (NSID), a generalized neurodevelopmental disorder; however, the relationship between 9 and NSID needs to be verified using a larger sample size. To explore whether genetic variants in the 9 gene are linked to susceptibility of NSID among the Chinese population. Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the 9 gene (rs4559208, rs3824211, rs2164272, rs2164273, rs1897951, rs6991606, and rs7815802) were analyzed using family-based association testing among 258 Han Chinese NSID families. Three SNPs of 9 were significantly associated with NSID ( = 2.152,  = 0.031 for rs4559208;  = 2.403,  = 0.016 for rs2164273; and  = 2.758,  = 0.006 for rs7815802). Three alleles of these SNPs were more likely to be transferred from the carrier parents to the affected offspring. Haplotypes constructed using these SNPs also showed a similar transmitting trend ( = 2.505,  = 0.012,  = 8.835, and global  = 0.032). Carriers with the G-G-C haplotype showed a higher risk of NSID (odds ratio = 1.46, 95% confidence interval [1.01-2.09],  = 0.04) than others. functional predictions supported an etiological role for these three SNPs in NSID biology. This study provides additional insights into the association of NSID with specific alleles, and haplotypes within the 9 gene. Genotypic analyses of the 9 gene should be considered for patients presenting with NSID of unknown etiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/gtmb.2020.0145DOI Listing
October 2020

Data-Driven Discovery of Block-Oriented Nonlinear Models Using Sparse Null-Subspace Methods.

IEEE Trans Cybern 2020 Sep 18;PP. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

This article develops an identification algorithm for nonlinear systems. Specifically, the nonlinear system identification problem is formulated as a sparse recovery problem of a homogeneous variant searching for the sparsest vector in the null subspace. An augmented Lagrangian function is utilized to relax the nonconvex optimization. Thereafter, an algorithm based on the alternating direction method and a regularization technique is proposed to solve the sparse recovery problem. The convergence of the proposed algorithm can be guaranteed through theoretical analysis. Moreover, by the proposed sparse identification method, redundant terms in nonlinear functional forms are removed and the computational efficiency is thus substantially enhanced. Numerical simulations are presented to verify the effectiveness and superiority of the present algorithm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TCYB.2020.3015705DOI Listing
September 2020

Exploring health literacy in Wuhan, China: a cross-sectional analysis.

BMC Public Health 2020 Sep 17;20(1):1417. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

Department of Health Education, Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, No. 288 Machang Road, Changqing Street, Jianghan District, Wuhan, 430024, Hubei, China.

Background: In recent years, research on health literacy has become increasingly focused on the health care system and public health. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate health literacy and analyse the risk factors that affect health literacy in Wuhan, China.

Methods: Multistage stratified random sampling was used to select 5304 urban and rural residents aged 15 to 69 years from 204 monitoring points in 15 districts of Wuhan. Using the Chinese Citizen Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) (2018 edition), a face-to-face survey was conducted from November to December 2018. Risk factors that may affect health literacy were assessed using the Chi-square test and multivariate logistic regression models.

Results: The knowledge rate of health literacy was relatively low (19.3%). The knowledge rate of health-related behaviour and lifestyle (BAL, 17.3%) was the lowest of the three aspects of health literacy, and the knowledge rate of chronic diseases (CD, 19.0%) was the lowest of the six dimensions of health literacy. Respondents who lived in urban areas, had higher education levels, worked as medical staff, had a higher household income and did not suffer from chronic diseases were likely to have higher health literacy.

Conclusions: The health literacy levels of citizens in Wuhan are insufficient and need to improve.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09520-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7499859PMC
September 2020

Photoluminescence studies of nitrogen-vacancy and silicon-vacancy centers transformation in CVD diamond.

J Phys Condens Matter 2020 Apr 15;32(34):34LT01. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Taiyuan University of Science and Technology Taiyuan, 030024, People's Republic of China.

In this study, the low-temperature micro-photoluminescence (PL) technology was employed to investigate the transformation of nitrogen-vacancy (NV), silicon-vacancy (SiV) centers in diamond crystal. Results showed that the NV and SiV luminescence were controlled by electron irradiation followed by thermal annealing. Both centers vanished together with the emergence of neutral single vacancy (GR1 center) after 200 keV electron irradiation. Interstitial related defects and vacancies were activated to diffuse by annealing (above ∼400 and 700 °C, respectively). The vacancies migrated to be captured by N and Si atoms due to the strain fields around the atoms attracted vacancies, and the NV and SiV centers appeared again in the PL spectra. In addition, compared the annealing behavior with NV center, the new emission at 639.7 nm was attributed to the nitrogen combined with carbon interstitials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1361-648X/ab8987DOI Listing
April 2020

Functional identification of Ammopiptanthus mongolicus anion channel AmSLAC1 involved in drought induced stomata closure.

Plant Physiol Biochem 2019 Oct 6;143:340-350. Epub 2019 Sep 6.

College of Forestry, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, 210037, China; Co-Innovation Center for the Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forest University, Nanjing, 210037, China. Electronic address:

Drought, one of the most acute abiotic stressors plants encountered, can adversely affect plants growth and development. The fast adjustment of stomatal aperture is necessary for effective drought tolerance in plants. Anion channels were identified as important controllers of stomatal closing via mediating anion efflux. The present study reports the isolation and identification of a SLAC (SLOW ANION CHANNEL-ASSOCIATED 1) ortholog from an ancient desert shrub Ammopiptanthus mongolicus (Maxim.) Cheng f. (AmSLAC1), which is functionally conserved for ABA and drought induced stomata closure. AmSLAC1 was primarily expressed in shoots, especially in guard cells. The transcription of AmSLAC1 was induced in response to ABA and PEG treatments, implying the potential involvement in ABA-induced drought stress responses. Fluorescence observation suggested that AmSLAC1 was localized in the plasma membrane. BiFC asssays demonstrated an interaction between AmSLAC1 and the typical calcium-dependent protein kinases AmCPK6. Ectopic expression of AmSLAC1 restores a slac1-defective phenotype in Arabidopsis. Furthermore, anion conductance mediated by AmSLAC1 can be activated by AmCPK6 in Xenopus oocytes. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the expression of AmSLAC1 enables the complement of the phenotypes of Arabidopsis slac1 mutants, indicating that AmSLAC1, as an anion channel and regulated by AmCPK6, is functionally conserved for ABA and drought induced stomata closure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2019.09.012DOI Listing
October 2019

Spatial and temporal variation of inorganic ions in rainwater in Sichuan province from 2011 to 2016.

Environ Pollut 2019 Nov 26;254(Pt A):112941. Epub 2019 Jul 26.

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution and Prevention, Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, Institute of Atmospheric Science, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200433, PR China; Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology CICAEET, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, PR China; Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological Security, Shanghai 200092, PR China. Electronic address:

China continues to suffer from severe acid deposition, despite the government implying a series of policies to control air pollution. In this study, rainwater samples were collected from 2011 to 2016 in Sichuan province to measure the pH values and the concentrations of nine inorganic ions (SO, NO, NH, Cl, Na, Ca, K, Mg, and F), and then to investigate their spatiotemporal variations. Besides, the dominant sources for the acidic ions in the precipitation were also revealed by statistical model. The results showed that the rainwater continued to be highly acidic, and the Volume-Weighted Mean (VWM) pH value was calculated to be 5.18 during 2011 and 2016. NH, Ca, NO, and SO were the dominant water-soluble inorganic ions, accounting for 79.2% of the total ions on average. The remarkable decrease in NO and SO concentrations (from 75.9 to 54.3 μeq L and from 285 to 145 μeq L, respectively) resulted in an increase in the pH value of rainwater from 5.24 in 2011 to 5.70 in 2016. The concentrations of SO, NO, F, Na, and K showed remarkably seasonal variation, with the highest value observed in winter, followed by spring and autumn, and the lowest value observed in summer. High VWM concentration of these ions in winter were mainly due to adverse meteorological conditions (e.g., rare rainfall, lower planetary boundary height, and stagnant air) and intensive anthropogenic emissions. SO, NO, and F ions peaked in the southeastern Sichuan province, which is a typical industrial region. NH concentrations decreased from 268 μeq L in the east to 10.4 μeq L in the western Sichuan province, which could be related to the development of agriculture in the eastern Sichuan province. Ca peaked in southeastern Sichuan province due to intensive construction activities and severe stone desertification. On the basis of Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) analysis, four sources of inorganic ions in rainwater were identified, including anthropogenic source, crust, biomass burning, and aging sea salt aerosol. Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) was used to find the spatial correlations between the socio-economic factors and ions in the rainwater. At the regional scale, the influence of fertilizer consumption and Gross Agricultural Production (GAP) on NH increased from east to west; moreover the influence of Gross Industrial Production (GIP) on SO and NO also increased.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2019.07.109DOI Listing
November 2019

A Novel Signal Separation Method Based on Improved Sparse Non-Negative Matrix Factorization.

Entropy (Basel) 2019 Apr 28;21(5). Epub 2019 Apr 28.

College of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Chao Yang District, Beijing 100029, China.

In order to separate and extract compound fault features of a vibration signal from a single channel, a novel signal separation method is proposed based on improved sparse non-negative matrix factorization (SNMF). In view of the traditional SNMF failure to perform well in the underdetermined blind source separation, a constraint reference vector is introduced in the SNMF algorithm, which can be generated by the pulse method. The square wave sequences are constructed as the constraint reference vector. The output separated signal is constrained by the vector, and the vector will update according to the feedback of the separated signal. The redundancy of the mixture signal will be reduced during the constantly updating of the vector. The time-frequency distribution is firstly applied to capture the local fault features of the vibration signal. Then the high dimension feature matrix of time-frequency distribution is factorized to select local fault features with the improved SNMF method. Meanwhile, the compound fault features can be separated and extracted automatically by using the sparse property of the improved SNMF method. Finally, envelope analysis is used to identify the feature of the output separated signal and realize compound faults diagnosis. The simulation and test results show that the proposed method can effectively solve the separation of compound faults for rotating machinery, which can reduce the dimension and improve the efficiency of algorithm. It is also confirmed that the feature extraction and separation capability of proposed method is superior to the traditional SNMF algorithm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/e21050445DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7514934PMC
April 2019

Prediction of Alzheimer's disease with serum lipid levels in Asian individuals: a meta-analysis.

Biomarkers 2019 Jun 13;24(4):341-351. Epub 2019 Feb 13.

a College of Life Science, Institute of Health & Population Northwest University , Xi'an , China.

The serum lipid profile has become a routine clinical test and used as an important predictor for Alzheimer's disease (AD), although its predictive value remains undetermined. To evaluate the role of serum lipid levels in predicting the risk of AD. Meta-analyses were conducted using Comprehensive Meta-analyses (CMA) software to investigate the association between four conventional serum lipid profile parameters and the risk of AD, focused on samples from Asian. In total, 3423 AD patients and 6127 healthy participants were involved. The results demonstrated that AD patients showed higher LDL-C and TC levels (SMD = 0.27, 95% CI: 0.04-0.51,  = 0.02 for LDL-C; SMD = 0.25, 95% CI: 0.05-0.46,  = 0.02 for TC) compared with those of healthy controls. People with higher LDL-C and/or TC levels had an increased risk of AD (OR = 1.64, 95% CI: 1.07-2.51 for LDL-C and OR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.10-2.92 for TC). This study provided evidence that serum LDL-C and TC levels were associated with the risk of AD in Asian individuals. The routine lipid profile may be useful for AD diagnosis, monitoring and treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1354750X.2019.1571633DOI Listing
June 2019

Mutations of ARX and non-syndromic intellectual disability in Chinese population.

Genes Genomics 2019 01 25;41(1):125-131. Epub 2018 Sep 25.

Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China (Ministry of Education), Institute of Population and Health, Northwest University, Xi'an, 710069, China.

Mutations of Aristaless-related homeobox (ARX) gene were looked as the third cause of non-syndromic intellectual disability (NSID), while the boundary between true disease-causing mutations and non-disease-causing variants within this gene remains elusive. To investigate the relationship between ARX mutations and NSID, a panel comprising six reported causal mutations of the ARX was detected in 369 sporadic NSID patients and 550 random participants in Chinese. Two mutations, c.428_451 dup and p.G286S, may be disease-causing mutations for NSID, while p.Q163R and p.P353L showed a great predictive value in female NSID diagnosis with significant associations (X = 19.60, p = 9.54e-6 for p.Q163R; X = 25.70, p = 4.00e-07 for p.P353L), carriers of these mutations had an increased risk of NSID of more than fourfold. Detection of this panel also predicted significant associations between genetic variants of the ARX gene and NSID (p = 3.73e-4). The present study emphasized the higher genetic burden of the ARX gene on NSID in the Chinese population, molecular analysis of this gene should be considered for patients presenting NSID of unknown etiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13258-018-0745-6DOI Listing
January 2019

Ultrasound-assisted liquid-liquid spray extraction for the determination of multi-class trace organic compounds in high-volume water samples.

Analyst 2018 Sep;143(19):4575-4584

Department of Chemistry, MOE Key Laboratory of Natural Resources of the Changbai Mountain and Functional Molecules, Yanbian University, Park Road 977, Yanji 133002, Jilin Province, PR China.

In order to extract trace organic compounds (TrOCs) from large volumes of water (over 10 L), an ultrasound-assisted liquid-liquid spray extraction (UA-LLSE) technique is proposed. The UA-LLSE integrates liquid-liquid extraction, spray atomisation and ultrasonication in a single step. Under an acoustic field, a water sample is continuously spray injected into an extracting organic solvent to generate numerous water microdroplets in the organic phase. As a result, the extraction time and efficiency are significantly improved through increasing the interactive surface area, collision probability and mass transfer between two liquid phases. Other major parameters affecting the extraction efficiency such as nozzle type, spray angle, flow rate, nozzle position, ultrasonication energy, and extraction cycle were optimised. This newly developed technique has been applied to determine the trace organic compounds in real-world environmental matrices, and the results were compared with the results of the conventional liquid-liquid extraction method. For the analysis of high-volume water samples, UA-LLSE is a simple, inexpensive, time-saving (20 min for 10 L of water sample) and environmentally friendly method (reduction in solvent usage), with high extraction efficiency (over 90% average recoveries) and excellent precision (lower than 7% relative standard deviation, RSD). Most importantly, it is an ideal on-site pre-treatment technique for the in situ extraction of trace organic compounds in high-volume water matrices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c8an00656cDOI Listing
September 2018

Functional analysis of a type 2C protein phosphatase gene from Ammopiptanthus mongolicus.

Gene 2018 May 7;653:29-42. Epub 2018 Feb 7.

State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 71, East Beijing Road, Nanjing 210008, China. Electronic address:

In Arabidopsis and certain other plant species, the type 2C protein phosphatases (PP2Cs) of the clade A class have been demonstrated to act as negative regulators in ABA-induced stress responses, such as stomatal closure. The present study reports the identification of a PP2C ortholog from the ancient desert shrub Ammopiptanthus mongolicus (Maxim.) Cheng f. (AmPP2C), which is functionally conserved over its counterparts reported from other plant species. AmPP2C was primarily expressed in leaves, with strong transcriptional accumulation being observed in the guard cells. The expression of AmPP2C was induced in response to PEG or ABA treatments, implying the potential involvement in ABA-induced stress responses. The GFP-tagging observation revealed that AmPP2C was predominantly localized to the nuclei and partly to the cytoplasm. Furthermore, BiFC assays demonstrated an interaction between AmPP2C and the typical protein kinase SnRK2.6 (AmOST1). Overexpression of AmPP2C in Arabidopsis significantly overcame the inhibition of seed germination by ABA. The transgenic Arabidopsis lines exhibited larger stomatal apertures and significantly reduced sensitivity to ABA-induced stomatal closure, which subsequently led to greater water loss and decreased biomass under PEG-simulated drought stress treatments. Under limited nitrogen or potassium supplements, plants overexpressing AmPP2C obtained a superior capability of nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) acquisition in the green parts. Therefore, the impairment of ABA-induced stomatal closure rendered by the function of PP2C helped to identify a potential survival strategy in plants suffering persistent drought stress via the maintenance of the necessary mineral nutrient acquisition driven by transpirational solute flow.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2018.02.015DOI Listing
May 2018

An unusual strategy of stomatal control in the desert shrub Ammopiptanthus mongolicus.

Plant Physiol Biochem 2018 Apr 3;125:13-26. Epub 2018 Feb 3.

State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 71, East Beijing Road, Nanjing, China. Electronic address:

Water deficit is one of the main environmental constraints that limit plant growth. Accordingly, plants evoke rather complex strategies to respond and/or acclimate to such frustrating circumstances. Due to insufficient understandings of acclimatory mechanisms of plants' tolerance to persistent water deficit, a desert shrub of an ancient origin, Ammopiptanthus mongolicus, has recently attracted growing attentions. Differed from Arabidopsis, the opening of stomata of A. mongolicus is constrained by low external K concentration of the guard cells. Although as a general consequence, a raised level of ABA is also induced in A. mongolicus following water deficit, this does not accordingly result in efficient stomatal closure. In consistent with this phenomenon, the expression of genes coding for the negative regulators of the ABA signaling cascade-the type 2C protein phosphatases (PP2Cs) are notably induced, whereas the transcription of the downstream SnRK2 protein kinase genes or the destination ion fluxing channel genes remain almost unaffected under water deficit treatments. Therefore, in term of stomatal control in response to water deficit, A. mongolicus seemingly employs an unusual strategy: a constrained stomatal opening controlled by extracellular K concentrations rather than a prompt stomatal closure triggered by ABA-induced signaling pathway. Additionally, an acute accumulation of proline is induced by water deficit which may partly compromise the activation of antioxidant enzymes in A. mongolicus. Such strategy of stomatal control found in A. mongolicus may in certain extents, reflect the acclimatory divergence for plants' coping with persistent stress of water deficit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2018.01.017DOI Listing
April 2018

Atmospheric emissions of Cu and Zn from coal combustion in China: Spatio-temporal distribution, human health effects, and short-term prediction.

Environ Pollut 2017 Oct 4;229:724-734. Epub 2017 Aug 4.

Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology (CICAEET), Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China.

China has become the largest coal consumer and important emitter of trace metals in the world. A multiple-year inventory of atmospheric copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) emissions from coal combustion in 30 provinces of China and 4 economic sectors (power plant, industry sector, residential sector, and others) for the period of 1995-2014 has been calculated. The results indicated that the total emissions of Cu and Zn increased from 5137.70 t and 11484.16 t in 1995-7099.24 t and 14536.61 t in 2014, at an annual average growth rate of 1.90% and 1.33%, respectively. The industrial sector ranked as the leading source, followed by power plants, the residential use, and other sectors. The emissions of Cu and Zn were predominantly concentrated in the northern and eastern regions of China due to the enormous consumption of coal by the industrial and the power sectors. The emissions of Cu and Zn were closely associated with mortality and life expectancy (LE) on the basis of multiple regression analysis. Spatial econometric models suggested that Cu and Zn emissions displayed significantly positive relevance with mortality, while they exhibited negative correlation with LE. The influence of the Cu emission peaked in the north of China for both mortality and LE, while the impacts of the Zn emission on mortality and LE reached a maximum value in Xinjiang Province. The results of the grey prediction model suggested that the Cu emission would decrease to 5424.73 t, whereas the Zn emissions could reach 17402.13 t in 2020. Analysis of more specific data are imperative in order to estimate the emissions of both metals, to assess their human health effects, and then to adopt effective measures to prevent environmental pollution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2017.05.068DOI Listing
October 2017

A controlled study on the anatomy of cervical extraforaminal ligaments and three-dimensional fast-imaging employing a steady-state acquisition sequence.

Eur Spine J 2017 04 2;26(4):1039-1046. Epub 2016 Nov 2.

Department of Ultrasonic Medicine, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region People's Hospital, Hohhot, 010017, China.

Purpose: To evaluate the utility of magnetic resonance three-dimensional fast-imaging employing a steady-state acquisition (MR 3D-FIESTA) sequence to study cervical EFLs using the anatomical results of cadavers as the gold standard.

Methods: Part I: The cervical regions of five embalmed adult cadavers were scanned using the MR 3D-FIESTA sequence. Ligamentous structures in the intervertebral foramina (IVFs) between C4 and T1 in the MRI scans were identified by a radiologist. Part II: After the specimens were scanned, gross and microscopic anatomical studies were conducted on the IVFs between C4 and T1 in the specimens by an anatomist. Part III: Using the anatomical results of the cadavers as the gold standard, the utility of the MR 3D-FIESTA sequence for imaging cervical EFLs was evaluated. Specificity, sensitivity, positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV, respectively) and accuracy were calculated.

Results: The occurrence rate of transforaminal ligaments (TFLs) in the IVFs between C4 and T1 was 42.5%. The results obtained by the radiologist using the MR 3D-FIESTA sequence to identify TFLs are as follows: specificity 96.2%, sensitivity 76.5%, PPV 92.9%, NPV 86.2%, and accuracy 88.4%.

Conclusion: MR 3D-FIESTA sequences clearly showed cervical EFLs. In the 3D-FIESTA sequence scans that the radiologist believed to indicate the presence of a cervical TFL, the probability that the TFL existed was approximately 93%. When the radiologist believed that no TFL was present in the 3D-FIESTA sequence scan, the probability that a TFL existed was 14%.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00586-016-4823-7DOI Listing
April 2017

Genetic Polymorphism of GABRR2 Modulates Individuals' General Cognitive Ability in Healthy Chinese Han People.

Cell Mol Neurobiol 2017 Jan 27;37(1):93-100. Epub 2016 Feb 27.

Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China (Ministry of Education), Institute of Population and Health, College of Life Science, Northwest University, Xi'an, 710069, China.

Previous studies have indicated that the cognitive impairment or deficit is associated with GABAergic signaling in central nervous system. Inspired by the finding that receptor GABRR2 modulates concentration of GABA and phasic inhibitory GABAergic transmission in brain. This study investigated to what extent a genetic variant (c.1423C>T, rs282129) of GABRR2 gene modulates individuals' general cognitive ability in 987 Chinese Han people. Results showed a significant influence of GABRR2 gene polymorphism on individuals' Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (RSPM) performance (F = 3.58, P = .028 by ANOVA and χ  = 9.35, P = .009 by K-W test, respectively), even if non-genetic factors were partialed out (gender, major, types of birthplace, and socioeconomic index) (B = -.67, SE = .26, t = 2.63, P = .009). The finding provided a strong evidence, to our knowledge, for the view that genetic variant of GABRR2 gene may contribute to the difference of individuals' general cognitive ability, independently.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10571-016-0347-2DOI Listing
January 2017

Polymorphic variation in CHAT gene modulates general cognitive ability: An association study with random student cohort.

Neurosci Lett 2016 Mar 6;617:122-6. Epub 2016 Feb 6.

Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China (Ministry of Education), Institute of Population and Health, College of Life Science, Northwest University, Xi'an 710069, China. Electronic address:

The choline O-acetyltransferase (CHAT) gene has been associated with various human disorders that involve cognitive impairment or deficiency. However, the influence of disease-associated variants of CHAT on normal individuals remains dubious. Here we demonstrated the impact of CHAT sequence variants (G-120A) on general human cognitive ability in a cohort of 750 Chinese undergraduate students. A multiple choice questionnaire was used to obtain basic demographic information, such as parents' occupations and education levels. We also administered and scored the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (RSPM). A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Kruskal-Wallis test (K-W) revealed a significant association between sequence polymorphisms of G-120A and individuals' Raven score (p=0.031 for ANOVA and p=0.026 for K-W tests). Moreover, further hierarchical analysis showed a similar trend in the association between G-120A variants and Raven scores only in the female subjects (p=0.008 for ANOVA and p=0.024 for K-W tests) but not in the male subjects. The results of a multiple linear regression confirmed that after we controlled gender, age, birthplace and other non-genetic factors, CHAT G-120A polymorphisms still significantly influenced individual Raven scores (B=-0.70, SE=0.28, t=-2.50, p=0.013). Our results demonstrated that sequence variants of CHAT were associated with human cognitive ability in not only patients with psychiatric disorders but also normal healthy individuals. However, some issues remained indeterminable, such as gender differences and the extent of the influence on individuals' general cognitive abilities; thus, the further research using an independent random sample was required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2016.02.002DOI Listing
March 2016

Functional identification of a GORK potassium channel from the ancient desert shrub Ammopiptanthus mongolicus (Maxim.) Cheng f.

Plant Cell Rep 2016 Apr 25;35(4):803-15. Epub 2016 Jan 25.

State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, 210008, China.

Key Message: A GORK homologue K(+) channel from the ancient desert shrub Ammopiptanthus mongolicus (Maxim.) Cheng f. shows the functional conservation of the GORK channels among plant species. Guard cell K(+) release through the outward potassium channels eventually enables the closure of stomata which consequently prevents plant water loss from severe transpiration. Early patch-clamp studies with the guard cells have revealed many details of such outward potassium currents. However, genes coding for these potassium-release channels have not been sufficiently characterized from species other than the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We report here the functional identification of a GORK (for Gated or Guard cell Outward Rectifying K(+) channels) homologue from the ancient desert shrub Ammopiptanthus mongolicus (Maxim.) Cheng f. AmGORK was primary expressed in shoots, where the transcripts were regulated by stress factors simulated by PEG, NaCl or ABA treatments. Patch-clamp measurements on isolated guard cell protoplasts revealed typical depolarization voltage gated outward K(+) currents sensitive to the extracelluar K(+) concentration and pH, resembling the fundamental properties previously described in other species. Two-electrode voltage-clamp analysis in Xenopus lavies oocytes with AmGORK reconstituted highly similar characteristics as assessed in the guard cells, supporting that the function of AmGORK is consistent with a crucial role in mediating stomatal closure in Ammopiptanthus mongolicus. Furthermore, a single amino acid mutation D297N of AmGORK eventually abolishes both the voltage-gating and its outward rectification and converts the channel into a leak-like channel, indicating strong involvement of this residue in the gating and voltage dependence of AmGORK. Our results obtained from this anciently originated plant support a strong functional conservation of the GORK channels among plant species and maybe also along the progress of revolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00299-015-1922-6DOI Listing
April 2016

A New Role for LOC101928437 in Non-Syndromic Intellectual Disability: Findings from a Family-Based Association Test.

PLoS One 2015 19;10(8):e0135669. Epub 2015 Aug 19.

Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China (Ministry of Education), College of Life Science, Institute of Population and Health, Northwest University, Xi'an, China.

Non-syndromic intellectual disability (NSID) is mental retardation in persons of normal physical appearance who have no recognisable features apart from obvious deficits in intellectual functioning and adaptive ability; however, its genetic etiology of most patients has remained unknown. The main purpose of this study was to fine map and identify specific causal gene(s) by genotyping a NSID family cohort using a panel of markers encompassing a target region reported in a previous work. A total of 139 families including probands, parents and relatives were included in the household survey, clinical examinations and intelligence tests, recruited from the Qinba mountain region of Shannxi province, western China. A collection of 34 tagged single nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs) spanning five microsatellite marker (STR) loci were genotyped using an iPLEX Gold assay. The association between tSNPs and patients was analyzed by family-based association testing (FBAT) and haplotype analysis (HBAT). Four markers (rs5974392, rs12164331, rs5929554 and rs3116911) in a block that showed strong linkage disequilibrium within the first three introns of the LOC101928437 locus were found to be significantly associated with NSID (all P<0.01) by the FBAT method for a single marker in additive, dominant and recessive models. The results of haplotype tests of this block also revealed a significant association with NSID (all P<0.05) using 2-window and larger HBAT analyses. These results suggest that LOC101928437 is a novel candidate gene for NSID in Han Chinese individuals of the Qinba region of China. Although the biological function of the gene has not been well studied, knowledge about this gene will provide insights that will increase our understanding of NSID development.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0135669PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4545728PMC
May 2016

Primary case of human pneumonic plague occurring in a Himalayan marmot natural focus area Gansu Province, China.

Int J Infect Dis 2015 Apr 30;33:67-70. Epub 2014 Dec 30.

Gansu Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 230 Donggang West Road, Chengguan District, Lanzhou, China. Electronic address:

A case of primary pneumonic plague (PPP) caused by Yersinia pestis is reported. This case occurred in the largest plague area in China. The patient died after contact with a dog that had captured an infected marmot. Three of 151 contacts were shown to be positive for antibody against F1 antigen by indirect hemagglutination assay, but none had clinical symptoms. There was no secondary case.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2014.12.044DOI Listing
April 2015

COP1 jointly modulates cytoskeletal processes and electrophysiological responses required for stomatal closure.

Mol Plant 2014 Sep 23;7(9):1441-1454. Epub 2014 May 23.

Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science, 260 Panama Street, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Electronic address:

Reorganization of the cortical microtubule cytoskeleton is critical for guard cell function. Here, we investigate how environmental and hormonal signals cause these rearrangements and find that COP1, a RING-finger-type ubiquitin E3 ligase, is required for degradation of tubulin, likely by the 26S proteasome. This degradation is required for stomatal closing. In addition to regulating the cytoskeleton, we show that cop1 mutation impaired the activity of S-type anion channels, which are critical for stomatal closure. Thus, COP1 is revealed as a potential coordinator of cytoskeletal and electrophysiological activities required for guard cell function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mp/ssu065DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4153439PMC
September 2014

Disrupting the interaction of BRD4 with diacetylated Twist suppresses tumorigenesis in basal-like breast cancer.

Cancer Cell 2014 Feb;25(2):210-25

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA; Markey Cancer Center, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA; Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, and Collaborative Innovation Center of Cancer Medicine, Guangzhou 510060, China. Electronic address:

Twist is a key transcription activator of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). It remains unclear how Twist induces gene expression. Here we report a mechanism by which Twist recruits BRD4 to direct WNT5A expression in basal-like breast cancer (BLBC). Twist contains a "histone H4-mimic" GK-X-GK motif that is diacetylated by Tip60. The diacetylated Twist binds the second bromodomain of BRD4, whose first bromodomain interacts with acetylated H4, thereby constructing an activated Twist/BRD4/P-TEFb/RNA-Pol II complex at the WNT5A promoter and enhancer. Pharmacologic inhibition of the Twist-BRD4 association reduced WNT5A expression and suppressed invasion, cancer stem cell (CSC)-like properties, and tumorigenicity of BLBC cells. Our study indicates that the interaction with BRD4 is critical for the oncogenic function of Twist in BLBC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccr.2014.01.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4004960PMC
February 2014

Synthesis and properties of novel liquid-medicine-filter shaped ZnO nanostructures.

Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc 2013 Jun 14;110:395-9. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

College of physics and Electronics, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China.

Liquid-medicine-filter shaped ZnO nanostructures have been synthesized on Al2O3-coated Si (111) substrates by chemical vapor deposition method (CVD) at 1050 °C. Every liquid-medicine-filter shaped ZnO nanostructure is made up of one nanorod and two nanowires at the ends. The liquid-medicine-filter shaped ZnO nanostructures are characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS) photoluminescence (PL). The results indicate that the liquid-medicine-filter shaped ZnO nanostructures are wurtzite hexagonal structure and the growth direction is [0001]. The liquid-medicine-filter shaped ZnO nanostructures became the new member of ZnO nanostructures for the novel configuration. PL reveals ultraviolet (UV) emission at 384 nm and a broad emission peak at 540 nm. These novel liquid-medicine-filter shaped ZnO nanostructures will provide an improvement for electronic and optical devices. The pre-prepared Al2O3 film on the Si (111) substrate solves the troublesome lattice mismatch problem between the Si substrate and ZnO, and makes the growth of liquid-medicine-filter shaped ZnO nanostructures more effective. In addition, the effect of screw dislocation and polar surfaces in understanding crystal growth mechanisms in nanometer scale were also provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.saa.2013.03.034DOI Listing
June 2013

Development of neurodevelopmental disorders: a regulatory mechanism involving bromodomain-containing proteins.

J Neurodev Disord 2013 Feb 20;5(1). Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China, Ministry of Education, College of Life Science, Northwest University, Xi'an 710069, People's Republic of China.

Neurodevelopmental disorders are classified as diseases that cause abnormal functions of the brain or central nervous system. Children with neurodevelopmental disorders show impaired language and speech abilities, learning and memory damage, and poor motor skills. However, we still know very little about the molecular etiology of these disorders. Recent evidence implicates the bromodomain-containing proteins (BCPs) in the initiation and development of neurodevelopmental disorders. BCPs have a particular domain, the bromodomain (Brd), which was originally identified as specifically binding acetyl-lysine residues at the N-terminus of histone proteins in vitro and in vivo. Other domains of BCPs are responsible for binding partner proteins to form regulatory complexes. Once these complexes are assembled, BCPs alter chromosomal states and regulate gene expression. Some BCP complexes bind nucleosomes, are involved in basal transcription regulation, and influence the transcription of many genes. However, most BCPs are involved in targeting. For example, some BCPs function as a recruitment platform or scaffold through their Brds-binding targeting sites. Others are recruited to form a complex to bind the targeting sites of their partners. The regulation mediated by these proteins is especially critical during normal and abnormal development. Mutant BCPs or dysfunctional BCP-containing complexes are implicated in the initiation and development of neurodevelopmental disorders. However, the pathogenic molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. In this review, we focus on the roles of regulatory BCPs associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, including mental retardation, Fragile X syndrome (FRX), Williams syndrome (WS), Rett syndrome and Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome (RTS). A better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis, based upon the roles of BCPs, will lead to screening of targets for the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1866-1955-5-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3585942PMC
February 2013

The gap in injury mortality rates between urban and rural residents of Hubei Province, China.

BMC Public Health 2012 Mar 12;12:180. Epub 2012 Mar 12.

The State Key Laboratory of Virology(2004DA105204) and Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Wuhan University, 185# Donghu Rd., Wuhan 430071, China.

Background: Injury is a growing public health concern in China. Injury death rates are often higher in rural areas than in urban areas in general. The objective of this study is to compare the injury mortality rates in urban and rural residents in Hubei Province in central China by age, sex and mechanism of injury.

Methods: Using data from the Disease Surveillance Points (DSP) system maintained by the Hubei Province Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2006 to 2008, injury deaths were classified according to the International Classification of Disease-10th Revision (ICD-10). Crude and age-adjusted annual mortality rates were calculated for rural and urban residents of Hubei Province.

Results: The crude and age-adjusted injury death rates were significantly higher for rural residents than for urban residents (crude rate ratio 1.9, 95% confidence interval 1.8-2.0; adjusted rate ratio 2.4, 95% confidence interval 2.3-2.4). The age-adjusted injury death rate for males was 81.6/100,000 in rural areas compared with 37.0/100,000 in urban areas; for females, the respective rates were 57.9/100,000 and 22.4/100,000. Death rates for suicide (32.4 per 100,000 vs 3.9 per 100,000), traffic-related injuries (15.8 per 100,000 vs 9.5 per 100,000), drowning (6.9 per 100,000 vs 2.3 per 100,000) and crushing injuries (2.0 per 100,000 vs 0.7 per 100,000) were significantly higher in rural areas. Overall injury death rates were much higher in persons over 65 years, with significantly higher rates in rural residents compared with urban residents for suicide (279.8 per 100,000 vs 10.7 per 100,000), traffic-related injuries, and drownings in this age group. Death rates for falls, poisoning, and suffocation were similar in the two geographic groups.

Conclusions: Rates of suicide, traffic-related injury deaths and drownings are demonstrably higher in rural compared with urban locations and should be targeted for injury prevention activity. There is a need for injury prevention policies targeted at elderly residents, especially with regard to suicide prevention in rural areas in Central China.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-12-180DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3338362PMC
March 2012

Activation of β-catenin and Akt pathways by Twist are critical for the maintenance of EMT associated cancer stem cell-like characters.

BMC Cancer 2011 Feb 1;11:49. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, University of Kentucky School of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40506, USA.

Background: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) not only confers tumor cells with a distinct advantage for metastatic dissemination, but also it provides those cells with cancer stem cell-like characters for proliferation and drug resistance. However, the molecular mechanism for maintenance of these stem cell-like traits remains unclear.

Methods: In this study, we induced EMT in breast cancer MCF7 and cervical cancer Hela cells with expression of Twist, a key transcriptional factor of EMT. The morphological changes associated with EMT were analyzed by immunofluorescent staining and Western blotting. The stem cell-like traits associated with EMT were determined by tumorsphere-formation and expression of ALDH1 and CD44 in these cells. The activation of β-catenin and Akt pathways was examined by Western blotting and luciferase assays.

Results: We found that expression of Twist induced a morphological change associated with EMT. We also found that the cancer stem cell-like traits, such as tumorsphere formation, expression of ALDH1 and CD44, were significantly elevated in Twist-overexpressing cells. Interestingly, we showed that β-catenin and Akt pathways were activated in these Twist-overexpressing cells. Activation of β-catenin correlated with the expression of CD44. Knockdown of β-catenin expression and inhibition of the Akt pathway greatly suppressed the expression of CD44.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that activation of β-catenin and Akt pathways are required for the sustention of EMT-associated stem cell-like traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2407-11-49DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3040162PMC
February 2011

The SNAG domain of Snail1 functions as a molecular hook for recruiting lysine-specific demethylase 1.

EMBO J 2010 Jun 13;29(11):1803-16. Epub 2010 Apr 13.

Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY, USA.

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a transdifferentiation programme. The mechanism underlying the epigenetic regulation of EMT remains unclear. In this study, we identified that Snail1 interacted with histone lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1). We demonstrated that the SNAG domain of Snail1 and the amine oxidase domain of LSD1 were required for their mutual interaction. Interestingly, the sequence of the SNAG domain is similar to that of the histone H3 tail, and the interaction of Snail1 with LSD1 can be blocked by LSD1 enzymatic inhibitors and a histone H3 peptide. We found that the formation of a Snail1-LSD1-CoREST ternary complex was critical for the stability and function of these proteins. The co-expression of these molecules was found in cancer cell lines and breast tumour specimens. Furthermore, we showed that the SNAG domain of Snail1 was critical for recruiting LSD1 to its target gene promoters and resulted in suppression of cell migration and invasion. Our study suggests that the SNAG domain of Snail1 resembles a histone H3-like structure and functions as a molecular hook for recruiting LSD1 to repress gene expression in metastasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/emboj.2010.63DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2885925PMC
June 2010

Low soil temperature inhibits the effect of high nutrient supply on photosynthetic response to elevated carbon dioxide concentration in white birch seedlings.

Tree Physiol 2010 Feb 8;30(2):234-43. Epub 2009 Dec 8.

Faculty of Forestry and the Forest Environment, Lakehead University, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1, Canada.

To investigate the interactive effects of soil temperature (T(soil)) and nutrient availability on the response of photosynthesis to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO(2)]), white birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) seedlings were exposed to ambient (360 micromol mol(-1)) or elevated (720 micromol mol(-1)) [CO(2)], three T(soil) (5, 15 and 25 degrees C initially, increased to 7, 17 and 27 degrees C, respectively, 1 month later) and three nutrient regimes (4/1.8/3.3, 80/35/66 and 160/70/132 mg l(-1) N/P/K) for 3 months in environment-controlled greenhouses. Elevated [CO(2)] increased net photosynthetic rate (A(n)), instantaneous water-use efficiency (IWUE), internal to ambient carbon dioxide concentration ratio (C(i)/C(a)), triose phosphate utilization (TPU) and photosynthetic linear electron transport to carboxylation (J(c)), and it decreased actual photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (DeltaF/F(m)'), the fraction of total linear electron transport partitioned to oxygenation (J(o)/J(T)) and leaf N concentration. The low T(soil) suppressed A(n), transpiration rate (E), TPU, DeltaF/F(m)' and J(c), but it increased J(o)/J(T). The low nutrient treatment reduced A(n), IWUE, maximum carboxylation rate of Rubisco, light-saturated electron transport rate, TPU, DeltaF/F(m)', J(c) and leaf N concentration, but increased C(i)/C(a). There were two-factor interactions for C(i)/C(a), TPU and leaf N concentration, and a significant effect of CO(2) x T(soil) x nutrient regime on A(n), IWUE and J(c). The stimulations of A(n) and IWUE by elevated [CO(2)] were limited to seedlings grown under the intermediate and high nutrient regimes at the intermediate and high T(soil). For J(c), the [CO(2)] effect was significant only at intermediate T(soil) + high nutrient availability. No significant [CO(2)] effects were observed under the low T(soil) at any nutrient level. Our results support this study's hypothesis that low T(soil) would reduce the positive effect of high nutrient supply on the response of A(n) to elevated [CO(2)].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/tpp109DOI Listing
February 2010