Publications by authors named "Zheng Zhou"

641 Publications

Novel Fe-Based Amorphous Composite Coating with a Unique Interfacial Layer Improving Thermal Barrier Application.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2021 May 4. Epub 2021 May 4.

School of Materials Science and Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China.

To improve thermal barrier applications in advanced vehicle engines, a novel Fe-based amorphous composite coating was designed by introducing ceramic oxides and was prepared by atmospheric plasma spraying (APS). The microstructure and related properties of the as-deposited coating were investigated in detail. The composite coating comprises a well-formed FeCrNbBSi amorphous metallic matrix and dispersed yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) splats. A unique Si-oxide interfacial layer with a thickness of several nanometers and an amorphous structure forms between the metallic matrix and ceramic phase, which is attributed to a combination of multiple effects. The composite coating displays extremely low thermal conductivity from 2.28 W/mK at 100 °C to 3.36 W/mK at 600 °C and can increase the surface temperature of the piston crown by 18.93 °C, which implies a significant means of enhancing the power efficiency. The improved thermal barrier ability of the composite coating is revealed as the crucial effect of the Si-oxide interfacial layer, which induces an increased interfacial thermal resistance. The fracture toughness of the composite coating remains at 3.40 MPa·m, comparable to that of the monolithic amorphous coating, 3.74 MPa·m, which is closely related to the formation of a Si-oxide layer and its nanoscale thickness. Therefore, the Fe-based amorphous composite coating developed here demonstrates great potential as an innovative metal-based thermal barrier coating for application in vehicle engines and provides specific inspiration for future works exploring the interfacial engineering of coating.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.0c22868DOI Listing
May 2021

Reliability of a computer-based neurobehavioral assessment test battery for Bangladeshi adolescent children.

Neurotoxicology 2021 Apr 30;85:47-53. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, The University of Iowa, S324 CPHB, 145 N Riverside Dr, Iowa City, 52242, Iowa, USA. Electronic address:

In developing countries, there is a need for low-cost neurobehavioral (NB) test batteries for vulnerable populations, particularly for children exposed to environmental neurotoxicants. The objective of the current study was to assess the feasibility and test-retest reliability of the Behavioral Assessment and Research System (BARS) in children from a rural community in Bangladesh. Fifty healthy adolescents living in the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study (HEALS) area in Araihazar, Bangladesh completed all six tests from the BARS in two test sessions scheduled two weeks apart. The BARS tests evaluated NB functions such as motor coordination, attention, memory, and information processing speed. The reliability assessment, evaluated by test-retest correlations demonstrated moderate to strong correlations (i.e., correlation coefficients ranged from 0.43 to 0.85), which were statistically significant (p < 0.05). Paired t-tests for comparing the test and retest outcomes indicated significant improvement in NB performance, highlighting learning and practice effects. NB performance improved with increasing age in most cases. Adolescent boys performed better than the girls in Finger Tapping, Digit Span, and Simple Reaction Time, whereas the girls performed better in Continuous Performance and Symbol Digit tests. The reliability scores (Pearson's correlations 0.43-0.85) were consistent with other children studies in different cultural settings. The effects of age and sex on NB tests were also consistent with findings reported in other countries. Overall, the findings of the study support the feasibility of using this computer-based test system to assess vulnerability of brain health due to environmental exposures among rural Bangladeshi children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuro.2021.04.005DOI Listing
April 2021

Tac-Miner: Visual Tactic Mining for Multiple Table Tennis Matches.

IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph 2021 Jun 12;27(6):2770-2782. Epub 2021 May 12.

In table tennis, tactics specified by three consecutive strokes represent the high-level competition strategies in matches. Effective detection and analysis of tactics can reveal the playing styles of players, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. However, tactical analysis in table tennis is challenging as the analysts can often be overwhelmed by the large quantity and high dimension of the data. Statistical charts have been extensively used by researchers to explore and visualize table tennis data. However, these charts cannot support efficient comparative and correlation analysis of complicated tactic attributes. Besides, existing studies are limited to the analysis of one match. However, one player's strategy can change along with his/her opponents in different matches. Therefore, the data of multiple matches can support a more comprehensive tactical analysis. To address these issues, we introduced a visual analytics system called Tac-Miner to allow analysts to effectively analyze, explore, and compare tactics of multiple matches based on the advanced embedding and dimension reduction algorithms along with an interactive glyph. We evaluate our glyph's usability through a user study and demonstrate the system's usefulness through a case study with insights approved by coaches and domain experts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TVCG.2021.3074576DOI Listing
June 2021

Investigation of in vitro odonto/osteogenic capacity of cannabidiol on human dental pulp cell.

J Dent 2021 Apr 16;109:103673. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Graduate Periodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI, 48208, USA. Electronic address:

Introduction: Vital pulp treatment (VPT) maintains tooth vitality with certain dental materials by protecting pulp from noxious stimulation and promoting repair through enhancing cell proliferation/differentiation, migration, and inducing odontogenesis. As a non-psychotropic cannabis constituent, cannabidiol (CBD) possesses the properties of analgesic, anti-inflammation, and osteogenesis. Therefore, we hypothesize that CBD may induce the odonto/osteogenesis of human dental pulp cells (HDPCs), a critical feature using as effective pulp capping agent for VPT.

Materials And Methods: In this in vitro study, the cytotoxicity of CBD on HDPCs was determined by MTT assay. Scratch assay was performed to analyze HDPC migration. The biomineralization was examined by collagen synthesis and calcium nodule formation and related odonto/osteogenic and angiogenic genes. Cannabinoid receptor (CB) specificity was evaluated by Western blotting and Von Kossa staining using specific antagonists AM251 for cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and AM 630 targeted at cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). In addition, the underlying molecular mechanism of CBD-induced biomineralization were investigated by examining CB-dependent MAPK signaling pathways.

Results: CBD demonstrated bi-phasic effects on HDPC viability in tested concentrations. We found CBD significantly promoted cell migration, enhanced collagen synthesis and mineralized deposits in HDPCs when treated by 1 μM CBD supplemented in the differentiation media. RT-PCR revealed CBD increased the expression of angiogenic and odontogenic genes, such as DSPP, DMP-1, OPN, ALP, Runx2, VEGFR1 and ICAM-1. These effects were via MAPK activation in a manner mainly mediated by CB2.

Conclusion: The results from this study suggested that CBD can induce odonto/osteogenesis from HDPCs and has the potential to develop new therapeutics in VPT in dentistry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2021.103673DOI Listing
April 2021

A Novel Immune-Related Prognostic Model for Response to Immunotherapy and Survival in Patients With Lung Adenocarcinoma.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2021 19;9:651406. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Department of Thoracic Surgery, National Cancer Center/National Clinical Research Center for Cancer/Cancer Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China.

Lung adenocarcinoma is one of the most malignant diseases worldwide. The immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) have changed the paradigm of lung cancer treatment; however, there are still patients who are resistant. Further exploration of the immune infiltration status of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) is necessary for better clinical management. In our study, the CIBERSORT method was used to calculate the infiltration status of 22 immune cells in LUAD patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). We clustered LUAD based on immune infiltration status by consensus clustering. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between cold and hot tumor group were identified. Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) enrichment analysis were performed. Last, we constructed a Cox regression model. We found that the infiltration of M0 macrophage cells and follicular helper T cells predicted an unfavorable overall survival of patients. Consensus clustering of 22 immune cells identified 5 clusters with different patterns of immune cells infiltration, stromal cells infiltration, and tumor purity. Based on the immune scores, we classified these five clusters into hot and cold tumors, which are different in transcription profiles. Hot tumors are enriched in cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, while cold tumors are enriched in metabolic pathways. Based on the hub genes and prognostic-related genes, we developed a Cox regression model to predict the overall survival of patients with LUAD and validated in other three datasets. In conclusion, we developed an immune-related signature that can predict the prognosis of patients, which might facilitate the clinical application of immunotherapy in LUAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.651406DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8017122PMC
March 2021

Multiplexed CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Knockout of Laccase Genes in Revealed Their Roles in Growth, Development, and Metabolism.

Front Plant Sci 2021 18;12:647768. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

School of Pharmacy, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China.

Laccases are multicopper-containing glycoproteins related to monolignol oxidation and polymerization. These properties indicate that laccases may be involved in the formation of important medicinal phenolic acid compounds in such as salvianolic acid B (SAB), which is used for cardiovascular disease treatment. To date, 29 laccases have been found in (), and some of which ( and ) have been reported to influence the synthesis of phenolic acids. Because of the functional redundancy of laccase genes, their roles in are poorly understood. In this study, the CRISPR/Cas9 system was used for targeting conserved domains to knockout multiple genes of laccase family in . The expressions of target laccase genes as well as the phenolic acid biosynthesis key genes decrease dramatically in editing lines. Additionally, the growth and development of hairy roots was significantly retarded in the gene-edited lines. The cross-sections examination of laccase mutant hairy roots showed that the root development was abnormal and the xylem cells in the edited lines became larger and looser than those in the wild type. Additionally, the accumulation of RA as well as SAB was decreased, and the lignin content was nearly undetectable. It suggested that s play key roles in development and lignin formation in the root of and they are necessary for phenolic acids biosynthesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2021.647768DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8014014PMC
March 2021

Synthesis of Diboronic Acid-Based Fluorescent Probes for the Sensitive Detection of Glucose in Aqueous Media and Biological Matrices.

ACS Sens 2021 04 30;6(4):1543-1551. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology, College of Pharmacy and KLMDASR of Tianjin, Nankai University, Tongyan Road, Haihe Education Park, Tianjin 300350, China.

Reliable and accurate glucose detection in biological samples is of great importance in clinical diagnosis and medical research. Chemical probes are advantageous in simple operation and flexible design, especially for the development of fluorescent probes. Anthracene-based diboronic acid (P-DBA) has shown potential in glucose probing because of its high sensitivity. However, poor solubility limits its applications in aqueous media. In this work, we systemically modify P-DBA by introducing fluoro (F-), chloro (Cl-), methoxyl (MeO-), or cyano (CN-) substituents. Among these probes, the cyano-substituted probe (CN-DBA) displays the highest glucose-binding constant (6489.5 M, 33% MeOH). More importantly, it shows good water solubility in the aqueous solution (0.5% MeOH), with ultrasensitive recognition with glucose (LOD = 1.51 μM) and robust sensing from pH 6.0 to 9.0. Based on these features, the CN-DBA is finally applied to detect glucose in cell lysates and plasma, with satisfactory recovery and precision. These results demonstrate that CN-DBA could serve as an accurate, sensitive fluorescent probe for glucose assays in biological samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.0c02217DOI Listing
April 2021

AMPK-dependent and -independent coordination of mitochondrial function and muscle fiber type by FNIP1.

PLoS Genet 2021 Mar 29;17(3):e1009488. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

MOE Key Laboratory of Model Animals for Disease Study, Department of Spine Surgery, Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, The Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, Chemistry and Biomedicine Innovation Center (ChemBIC), Model Animal Research Center, Nanjing University Medical School, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.

Mitochondria are essential for maintaining skeletal muscle metabolic homeostasis during adaptive response to a myriad of physiologic or pathophysiological stresses. The mechanisms by which mitochondrial function and contractile fiber type are concordantly regulated to ensure muscle function remain poorly understood. Evidence is emerging that the Folliculin interacting protein 1 (Fnip1) is involved in skeletal muscle fiber type specification, function, and disease. In this study, Fnip1 was specifically expressed in skeletal muscle in Fnip1-transgenic (Fnip1Tg) mice. Fnip1Tg mice were crossed with Fnip1-knockout (Fnip1KO) mice to generate Fnip1TgKO mice expressing Fnip1 only in skeletal muscle but not in other tissues. Our results indicate that, in addition to the known role in type I fiber program, FNIP1 exerts control upon muscle mitochondrial oxidative program through AMPK signaling. Indeed, basal levels of FNIP1 are sufficient to inhibit AMPK but not mTORC1 activity in skeletal muscle cells. Gain-of-function and loss-of-function strategies in mice, together with assessment of primary muscle cells, demonstrated that skeletal muscle mitochondrial program is suppressed via the inhibitory actions of FNIP1 on AMPK. Surprisingly, the FNIP1 actions on type I fiber program is independent of AMPK and its downstream PGC-1α. These studies provide a vital framework for understanding the intrinsic role of FNIP1 as a crucial factor in the concerted regulation of mitochondrial function and muscle fiber type that determine muscle fitness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009488DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8031738PMC
March 2021

Charging a Negatively Curved Nanographene and Its Covalent Network.

J Am Chem Soc 2021 Apr 25;143(13):5231-5238. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Department of Chemistry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, China.

This study explores a bottom-up approach toward negatively curved carbon allotropes from octabenzo[8]circulene, a negatively curved nanographene. Stepwise chemical reduction reactions of octabenzo[8]circulene with alkali metals lead to a unique highly reduced hydrocarbon pentaanion, which is revealed by X-ray crystallography suggesting a local view for the reduction and alkali metal intercalation processes of negatively curved carbon allotropes. Polymerization of the tetrabromo derivative of octabenzo[8]circulene by the nickel-mediated Yamamoto coupling reaction results in a new type of porous carbon-rich material, which consists of a covalent network of negatively curved nanographenes. It has a specific surface area of 732 m g and functions as anode material for lithium ion batteries exhibiting a maximum capacity of 830 mAh·g at a current density of 100 mA·g. These results indicate that this covalent network presents the key structural and functional features of negatively curved carbon allotropes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.1c01642DOI Listing
April 2021

Bayesian benchmark dose analysis for inorganic arsenic in drinking water associated with bladder and lung cancer using epidemiological data.

Toxicology 2021 05 16;455:152752. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Department of Pathology and Microbiology and the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, 68198, USA. Electronic address:

Abundant epidemiological evidence has shown that there is a strong causal relationship between long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic (iAs) through drinking water and a few types of cancer (e.g., lung and bladder cancer). Traditionally, a linear low-dose extrapolation assumption was applied in risk assessment for iAs which resulted in a relatively conservative cancer risk estimate. Growing biological evidence suggests that the mode of action of iAs-induced cancer follows a threshold process (e.g., sufficient concentration of trivalent arsenic is required to disrupt normal cellular function). In this study, we applied the benchmark dose (BMD) methodology to model the relationship between the relative risk of bladder and lung cancer and the iAs concentration in drinking water using the high-quality epidemiological data reported in recently published papers, with a special focus on the low exposure range (i.e., <150 μg/L). Because of its biological plausibility and statistical flexibility, the Hill model has been chosen to model the data under a Bayesian framework. A Bayesian hierarchal model together with a bootstrap method for exposure estimation were applied to quantify uncertainty from various sources, including the within-study, between-study, and exposure uncertainties. Dose-response assessment results obtained from a number of alternative model structures and methods consistently demonstrate a threshold type dose-response curve with a threshold in the range between 40-60 μg/L of iAs concentration in drinking water. The BMD for iAs in drinking water associated with 0.1 % increase in relative risk of bladder cancer is 42.2 μg/L (BMDL 39.2 μg/L); for 0.05 % increase, the BMD is 41.6 μg/L (BMDL 38.6 μg/L). For lung cancer, the two counterpart BMD estimates are 57.0 μg/L (BMDL 43.6 μg/L) and 55.7 μg/L (BMDL 42.5 μg/L) for 0.1 % and 0.05 % increase, respectively. These analyses provide additional statistical support for a non-linear dose response for cancer risk from inorganic arsenic which may have important policy implications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tox.2021.152752DOI Listing
May 2021

Enhancing ultrafiltration performance by gravity-driven up-flow slow biofilter pre-treatment to remove natural organic matters and biopolymer foulants.

Water Res 2021 May 5;195:117010. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Key Laboratory of Drinking Water Science and Technology, Research Centre for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100085, China. Electronic address:

Membrane fouling by influent biopolymers, and the formation of surface biofilms, are major obstacles to the practical application of membrane technologies. Identifying reliable and sustainable pre-treatment methods for membrane filtration remains a considerable challenge and is the subject of continuing research study worldwide. Herein, the performance of a bench-scale gravity-driven up-flow slow biofilter (GUSB) as the pre-treatment for ultrafiltration to reduce membrane fouling is presented. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) was shown efficiently removed by the GUSB (around 80%) when treating a natural water influent. More significantly, biopolymers, with molecular weight (MW) between 20 kDa and 100 kDa, were effectively removed (62.8% reduction) and this led to a lower rate of transmembrane pressure (TMP) development by the UF membrane. Microbial diversity analysis further unraveled the function of GUSB in shaping microbes to degrade biopolymers, contributing to lower accumulation and different distribution pattern of SMP on the membrane surface. Moreover, the biofilm formed on the membrane surface after the pre-treatment of GUSB was observed to have a relative porous structure compared to the control system, which can also affect the fouling development. Long-term operation of GUSB further revealed its robust performance in reducing both natural organic matters and UF fouling propensity. This study overall has demonstrated the potential advantages of applying a GUSB to enhance UF process performance by reducing biofouling and improving effluent quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2021.117010DOI Listing
May 2021

Porous cage-like hollow magnetic carbon-doped CoO nanocomposite as an advanced sorbent for magnetic solid-phase extraction of nine polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Talanta 2021 May 10;227:122149. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Key Laboratory of Bioelectrochemistry & Environmental Analysis of Gansu Province, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou, 730070, PR China.

In this study, porous cage-like hollow magnetic carbon-doped CoO nanocomposite (CoO@C) was successfully synthesized using a metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as precursor by one-step calcination method in this work. The obtained nanoporous composite showed excellent magnetic response by taking advantage of the magnetism of CoO even without the FeO, making it an advanced sorbent for magnetic solid-phase extraction (MSPE). The Co-MOF and CoO@C were characterized by XRD, TGA, SEM, TEM, vibrating sample magnetometry, and FT-IR spectroscopy. Based on this, a method using CoO@C for MSPE coupled with HPLC was established for the analysis of nine polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from various real water samples. The amount of sorbent, extraction times, extraction temperature, desorption times, oscillation rate, and elution volume were optimized. Under the optimal conditions, the method had good relative standard deviations (RSDs) of 1.1%-6.5% and a satisfying linearity range of 0.5-1000 μg L. The low LOD and LOQ for nine PAHs were found to be 0.06-1.30 μg L and 0.19-4.30 μg L, respectively. The experimental results indicated that the prepared nanocomposite showed excellent adsorption capacity compared to other commercial sorbents and has potential applications for the removal of hazardous pollutants from environmental samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.talanta.2021.122149DOI Listing
May 2021

Deubiquitinase USP18 regulates reactive astrogliosis by stabilizing SOX9.

Glia 2021 Jul 11;69(7):1782-1798. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Department of Orthopaedics, the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.

Reactive astrogliosis is a pathological feature of spinal cord injury (SCI). The ubiquitin-proteasome system plays a crucial role in maintaining protein homeostasis and has been widely studied in neuroscience. Little, however, is known about the underlying function of deubiquitinating enzymes in reactive astrogliosis following SCI. Here, we found that ubiquitin-specific protease 18 (USP18) was significantly upregulated in astrocytes following scratch injury, and in the injured spinal cord in mice. Knockdown of USP18 in vitro and conditional knockout of USP18 in astrocytes (USP18 CKO) in vivo significantly attenuated reactive astrogliosis. In mice, this led to widespread inflammation and poor functional recovery following SCI. In contrast, overexpression of USP18 in mice injected with adeno-associated virus (AAV)-USP18 had beneficial effects following SCI. We showed that USP18 binds, deubiquitinates, and thus, stabilizes SRY-box transcription factor 9 (SOX9), thereby regulating reactive astrogliosis. We also showed that the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway induces expression of USP18 through Gli2-mediated transcriptional activation after SCI. Administration of the Hh pathway activator SAG significantly increased reactive astrogliosis, reduced lesion area and promoted functional recovery in mice following SCI. Our results demonstrate that USP18 positively regulates reactive astrogliosis by stabilizing SOX9 and identify USP18 as a promising target for the treatment of SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/glia.23992DOI Listing
July 2021

Letter to the Editor: Clinicopathological Characteristics and Surgical Outcomes of Primary Cystic Duct Carcinoma: A Multi-Institutional Study.

Authors:
Zheng Zhou

World J Surg 2021 May 10;45(5):1611-1612. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Department of Digestive System, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, No.1838 North Guangzhou Road, Guangzhou, 510515, Guangdong Province, China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00268-020-05927-yDOI Listing
May 2021

Short-term nitrogen dioxide exposure is associated with the spread of S. pyogenes-induced vulvovaginitis in prepubertal girls in Hangzhou, China.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Mar 6. Epub 2021 Mar 6.

Department of Clinical Laboratory, The Children's Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, National Clinical Research Center for Child Health, Binsheng Road, Hangzhou, 3333, Zhejiang Province, China.

As a cause of vulvovaginitis in prepubertal girls, Streptococcus pyogenes (S. pyogenes) is commonly isolated from vaginal introitus swabs. Studies have identified several risk factors, but have not focused on the correlation between ambient air pollutants and S. pyogenes-induced vulvovaginitis in prepubertal girls. This study was conducted to determine whether ambient air pollutants were associated with S. pyogenes-induced vulvovaginitis in prepubertal girls. Daily data about S. pyogenes-induced vulvovaginitis in prepubertal girls from the outpatient department of Children's Hospital at the Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou City between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2018, were retrospectively reviewed. Ambient air pollutants in Hangzhou were measured daily. A generalized additive model (GAM) was utilized to assess the associations between daily air pollutants and S. pyogenes isolates obtained from vaginal introitus swabs of prepubertal girls. The mean daily concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO) in Hangzhou City during the study period was 44.6 μg/m (25th-75th percentiles, 32.0-56.0 μg/m). The GAM showed that the largest estimate effects in S. pyogenes-induced vulvovaginitis in prepubertal girls were found in NO with a moving (accumulative) average on day 3. The excess risk of NO in terms of the daily number of S. pyogenes isolates obtained from the vaginal introitus swabs was 14.91% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.85-25.94%) in the single-pollutant model. The multipollutant model revealed that an increase of 10 μg/m in NO exposure was associated with an 18.33% increased risk for acquiring S. pyogenes-induced vulvovaginitis in prepubertal girls (95% CI: 1.21-38.35%; P < 0.05). In conclusion, short-term NO exposure was strongly associated with the spread of S. pyogenes-induced vulvovaginitis in prepubertal girls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-13268-zDOI Listing
March 2021

Bacterial Composition and Diversity of the Digestive Tract of Emery and Mayr.

Insects 2021 Feb 17;12(2). Epub 2021 Feb 17.

College of Forestry, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China.

Ponerine ants are generalist predators feeding on a variety of small arthropods, annelids, and isopods; however, knowledge of their bacterial communities is rather limited. This study investigated the bacterial composition and diversity in the digestive tract (different gut sections and the infrabuccal pockets (IBPs)) of two ponerine ant species ( Emery and Mayr) distributed in northwestern China using high-throughput sequencing. We found that several dominant bacteria that exist in other predatory ants were also detected in these two ponerine ant species, including , , and . Bacterial communities of these two ant species were differed significantly from each other, and significant differences were also observed across their colonies, showing distinctive inter-colony characteristics. Moreover, bacterial communities between the gut sections (crops, midguts, and hindguts) of workers were highly similar within colony, but they were clearly different from those in IBPs. Further, bacterial communities in the larvae of were similar to those in the IBPs of workers, but significantly different from those in gut sections. We presume that the bacterial composition and diversity in ponerine ants are related to their social behavior and feeding habits, and bacterial communities in the IBPs may play a potential role in their social life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/insects12020176DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7922086PMC
February 2021

Walnut pellicle phenolics greatly influence the extraction and structural properties of walnut protein isolates.

Food Res Int 2021 Mar 21;141:110163. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

School of Food Science and Bioengineering, Xihua University, Chengdu, Sichuan Province 610039, PR China. Electronic address:

This study investigated the effects of walnut phenolics and extraction methods on the composition and structural properties of walnut protein isolates (WPIs). Fluorescence quenching experiments showed that walnut phenolics could bind to walnut globulins, albumins, and glutelins with apparent affinity constants of 5.49 × 10 M, 1.71 × 10 M, and 3.10 × 10 M, respectively. However, the UV turbidity and dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements indicated that phenolics could lead to the severe precipitation of globulins and albumins but not glutelins. The removal of pellicles could significantly increase the yield rate of salt-soluble globulins to approximately 72.8%. Furthermore, salt- and alkaline-extraction methods could produce comparable WPIs yields when using pellicle-free walnut kernels. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and size-exclusive chromatography indicated that the major protein compositions of the salt- and alkaline-extracted WPIs from pellicle-free walnut kernels were similar, while alkaline-extracted WPIs from kernels with pellicles exhibited phenolic-induced protein aggregation. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy indicated that WPIs produced from kernels with pellicles contained more α-helix and less β-sheet structures than WPIs produced from pellicle-free kernels. These results confirm that walnut pellicle phenolics and the extraction methods could greatly influence the composition and structural properties of WPIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2021.110163DOI Listing
March 2021

LvHemB1, a novel cationic antimicrobial peptide derived from the hemocyanin of Litopenaeus vannamei, induces cancer cell death by targeting mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channel 1.

Cell Biol Toxicol 2021 Feb 25. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Institute of Marine Sciences and Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Biotechnology, Shantou University, Shantou, 515063, China.

Current cancer treatment regimens such as chemotherapy and traditional chemical drugs have adverse side effects including the appearance of drug-resistant tumor cells. For these reasons, it is imperative to find novel therapeutic agents that overcome these factors. To this end, we explored a cationic antimicrobial peptide derived from Litopenaeus vannamei hemocyanin (designated LvHemB1) that induces cancer cell death, but sparing normal cells. LvHemB1 inhibits the proliferation of human cervical (HeLa), esophageal (EC109), hepatocellular (HepG2), and bladder (EJ) cancer cell lines, but had no significant effect on normal liver cell lines (T-antigen-immortalized human liver epithelial (THLE-3) cells). In addition to its antiproliferative effects, LvHemB1 induced apoptosis, by permeating cells and targeting mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1). Colocalization studies revealed the localization of LvHemB1 in mitochondria, while molecular docking and pull-down analyses confirmed LvHemB1-VDAC1 interaction. Moreover, LvHemB1 causes loss in mitochondrial membrane potential and increases levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and apoptotic proteins (caspase-9, caspase-3, and Bax (Bcl-2-associated X)), which results in mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis. Thus, peptide LvHemB1 has the potential of being used as an anticancer agent due to its antiproliferation effect and targeting to VDAC1 to cause mitochondrial dysfunction in cancer cells, as well as its ability to induce apoptosis by increasing ROS levels, and the expression of proapoptotic proteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10565-021-09588-yDOI Listing
February 2021

GIT1 protects traumatically injured spinal cord by prompting microvascular endothelial cells to clear myelin debris.

Aging (Albany NY) 2021 02 17;13(5):7067-7083. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Department of Orthopedics, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, China.

The clearance of myelin debris is a critical step in the functional recovery following spinal cord injury (SCI). As phagocytes do, microvascular endothelial cells (MECs) participate in myelin debris clearance at the injury site within one week. Our group has verified that G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 interacting protein-1 (GIT1) is essential in autophagy and angiogenesis, both of which are tightly related to the uptake and degradation of myelin debris by MECs. Here, we analyzed the performance and mechanism of GIT1 in myelin debris clearance after SCI. The SCI contusion model was established and MECs were treated with myelin debris. Better recovery from traumatic SCI was observed in the GIT1 WT mice than in the GIT1 KO mice. More importantly, we found that GIT1 prompted MECs to clear myelin debris and further enhanced MECs angiogenesis and . Mechanistically, GIT1-mediated autophagy contributed to the clearance of myelin debris by MECs. In this study, we demonstrated that GIT1 may prompt MECs to clear myelin debris via autophagy and further stimulate MECs angiogenesis via upregulating VEGF. Our results indicate that GITI may serve as a promising target for accelerating myelin debris clearance and improving SCI recovery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/aging.202560DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7993661PMC
February 2021

Chemical Reduction of a Nanosized [6]Cyclo-2,7-naphthylene Macrocycle.

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 2021 May 8;60(20):11201-11205. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Department of Chemistry, University at Albany, State University of New York, 1400 Washington Ave, Albany, NY, 12222, USA.

Chemical reduction of a naphthylene macrocycle, [6]cyclo-2,7-naphthylene ([6]CNAP, 1), with alkali metals, Li and K, revealed the accessibility of the doubly-reduced state of 1. The macrocyclic 1 anion was isolated in different coordination environments and crystallographically characterized. The single-crystal X-ray diffraction confirmed the formation of contact-ion complexes with one Li and two K ions in THF, and a "naked" dianion in the solvent-separated ion product with K ions in the presence of 18-crown-6 ether. The detailed structural analysis of 1 showed that the π-conjugation over the biaryl linkages between naphthylene panels were enhanced upon two-fold reduction, which was rationally explained by theoretical calculations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.202100942DOI Listing
May 2021

Light up multiple protein dimers on cell surface based on proximity-induced fluorescence activation of DNA-templated sliver nanoclusters.

Biosens Bioelectron 2021 May 5;179:113064. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Molecular Medicine and Cancer Research Center, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, 400016, PR China. Electronic address:

Efficient and multiple analysis of receptor protein dimers is highly necessary, due to their important role in the occurrence and development of cancer. Herein, we report a turn-on strategy to visualize human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) dimers on cell surfaces. By taking advantages of specific aptamer recognition and proximity-induced fluorescence activation of DNA-templated sliver nanoclusters (DNA/AgNCs) by guanine (G)-rich sequence, we attached the two kind of DNA/AgNCs sequence with different fluorescence properties to the corresponding HER aptamer to form aptamer-functionalized AgNCs probes, and attached G-rich sequence to the corresponding HER aptamer as enhancer. In the presence of protein dimers, after aptamer specific recognition and binding, it will draw the dark AgNCs probes close to the G-rich probes and then excite corresponding fluorescence. As a result, this approach has successfully realized imaging of HER2:HER2 homodimer and HER2:HER3 heterodimer at the same time, which was provided a new idea for the simultaneous detection of multiple HER2 dimers in situ. This AgNCs-based light up strategy provides a potential tool for further investigation of protein dimerization on cell surface, which is more conducive to the mechanism research, accurate classification and treatment of cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bios.2021.113064DOI Listing
May 2021

Calcium ions trigger the exposure of phosphatidylserine on the surface of necrotic cells.

PLoS Genet 2021 Feb 11;17(2):e1009066. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America.

Intracellular Ca2+ level is under strict regulation through calcium channels and storage pools including the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Mutations in certain ion channel subunits, which cause mis-regulated Ca2+ influx, induce the excitotoxic necrosis of neurons. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, dominant mutations in the DEG/ENaC sodium channel subunit MEC-4 induce six mechanosensory (touch) neurons to undergo excitotoxic necrosis. These necrotic neurons are subsequently engulfed and digested by neighboring hypodermal cells. We previously reported that necrotic touch neurons actively expose phosphatidylserine (PS), an "eat-me" signal, to attract engulfing cells. However, the upstream signal that triggers PS externalization remained elusive. Here we report that a robust and transient increase of cytoplasmic Ca2+ level occurs prior to the exposure of PS on necrotic touch neurons. Inhibiting the release of Ca2+ from the ER, either pharmacologically or genetically, specifically impairs PS exposure on necrotic but not apoptotic cells. On the contrary, inhibiting the reuptake of cytoplasmic Ca2+ into the ER induces ectopic necrosis and PS exposure. Remarkably, PS exposure occurs independently of other necrosis events. Furthermore, unlike in mutants of DEG/ENaC channels, in dominant mutants of deg-3 and trp-4, which encode Ca2+ channels, PS exposure on necrotic neurons does not rely on the ER Ca2+ pool. Our findings indicate that high levels of cytoplasmic Ca2+ are necessary and sufficient for PS exposure. They further reveal two Ca2+-dependent, necrosis-specific pathways that promote PS exposure, a "two-step" pathway initiated by a modest influx of Ca2+ and further boosted by the release of Ca2+ from the ER, and another, ER-independent, pathway. Moreover, we found that ANOH-1, the worm homolog of mammalian phospholipid scramblase TMEM16F, is necessary for efficient PS exposure in thapsgargin-treated worms and trp-4 mutants, like in mec-4 mutants. We propose that both the ER-mediated and ER-independent Ca2+ pathways promote PS externalization through activating ANOH-1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009066DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7904182PMC
February 2021

The PirB toxin protein from induces apoptosis in hemocytes of .

Virulence 2021 12;12(1):481-492

Department of Biology and Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Biotechnology, Shantou University , Shantou, China.

Acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND) is a major debilitating disease that causes massive shrimp death resulting in substantial economic losses in shrimp aquaculture. The Pir toxin proteins secreted by a unique strain of play an essential role in the pathogenesis of AHPND. At present, most studies on the effects of Pir toxin proteins in shrimp focus on digestive tissues or organs such as hepatopancreas, stomach, etc., with none on the immune organs. In the present study, two recombinant Pir toxin proteins (rPirA and rPirB) of were expressed with rPirB shown to enter shrimp hemocytes. Employing pull-down and LC-MS/MS analysis, GST-rPirB was found to interact with 13 proteins in hemocytes, including histone H3 and histone H4 and among which histone H4 had the highest protein score. Further analysis using GST pull-down and Far-Western blot analysis revealed that rPirB could interact with histone H4. In addition, using the purified nucleosome protein from S2 cells, it was found that PirB protein could specifically bind to histones. When flow cytometry was applied, it was observed that the interaction between PirB and histones in shrimp hemocytes induces apoptosis, which results in the dephosphorylation of Serine 10 in histone H3. Collectively, the current study shows that in addition to its effect on the digestive tract of shrimp, the PirB toxin protein interacts with histones to affect the phosphorylation of histone H3-S10, thereby inducing apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21505594.2021.1872171DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7834086PMC
December 2021

Ellagic acid and pentagalloylglucose are potential inhibitors of prion protein fibrillization.

Int J Biol Macromol 2021 Mar 15;172:371-380. Epub 2021 Jan 15.

School of Food Science and Bioengineering, Xihua University, Chengdu 610039, China. Electronic address:

Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative diseases caused by the conformational transition of the cellular prion protein (PrP) to the abnormal pathological prion protein (PrP). In this work, the effects of ellagic acid (EA) and pentagalloylglucose (PGG) on prion protein (PrP) fibrillization were investigated. Fluorescence quenching experiments indicated that both EA and PGG could specifically interact with native human PrP with binding affinities of 1.92 × 10 and 2.36 × 10 L·mol, respectively. Thioflavin-T (ThT) fluorescence assays showed that the binding of EA or PPG could effectively inhibit the nucleation and elongation of PrP fibrilization and reduce the amount of PrP fibrils generated. EA and PGG could also lead to a significant disaggregation of PrP fibrils. Circular dichroism (CD) measurements suggested that EA- or PPG-bound PrP could preserve a higher content of α-helical structures than β-sheet-rich PrP fibrils. The PrP aggregates formed in the presence of EA or PGG showed lower resistance to proteinase K (PK) digestion. Overall, the present work reported the inhibitory effect of EA and PGG on PrP fibrillization. These two natural polyphenols could be potential prodrug molecules for the prevention and treatment of prion diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.01.045DOI Listing
March 2021

The complete mitochondrial genome of Antarctic ICE-H.

Mitochondrial DNA B Resour 2020 Jul 11;5(3):2754-2755. Epub 2020 Jul 11.

Department of Specialty Medicine, School of Basic Medicine, Qingdao University, Qingdao, China.

In this study, the complete mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) of the Antarctic ICE-H was sequenced using Illumina NovaSeq PE150. The circular mtDNA was 77055 bp in size and encodes 60 genes, contains 24 tRNA genes, 34 protein-coding genes, and 2 rRNA genes. The composition of A + T in ICE-H mtDNA was 65.34%. The phylogenetic relationship of 17 species of plant mitochondria were analyzed using the maximum likelihood method by the MEGA-X. ICE-H was most closely related to .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23802359.2020.1788441DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7783064PMC
July 2020

Recent advances on drug delivery nanocarriers for cerebral disorders.

Biomed Mater 2021 Feb 18;16(2):024104. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Key Laboratory of Smart Drug Delivery (Ministry of Education), State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology and MOE Frontiers Center for Brain Science, Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai 201203, People's Republic of China.

Pharmacotherapies for brain disorders are generally faced with obstacles from the blood-brain barrier (BBB). There are a variety of drug delivery systems that have been put forward to cross or bypass the BBB with the access to the central nervous system. Brain drug delivery systems have benefited greatly from the development of nanocarriers, including lipids, polymers and inorganic materials. Consequently, various kinds of brain drug delivery nano-systems have been established, such as liposomes, polymeric nanoparticles (PNPs), nanomicelles, nanohydrogels, dendrimers, mesoporous silica nanoparticles and magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles. The characteristics of their carriers and preparations usually differ from each other, as well as their transportation mechanisms into intracerebral lesions. In this review, different types of brain drug delivery nanocarriers are classified and summarized, especially their significant achievements, to present several recommendations and directions for future strategies of cerebral delivery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-605X/abdc97DOI Listing
February 2021

Acidic Monetite Complex Paste with Bleaching Property for In-depth Occlusion of Dentinal Tubules.

Int J Nanomedicine 2021 6;16:31-45. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Department of Orthodontics, Hebei Key Laboratory of Stomatology, Hebei Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, School & Hospital of Stomatology, Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang 050017, People's Republic of China.

Background: Dentin hypersensitivity (DH) is a common dental clinical condition presented with a short and sharp pain in response to physical and chemical stimuli. Currently no treatment regimen demonstrates long-lasting efficacy in treating DH, and unesthetic yellow tooth color is a concern to many patients with DH.

Aim: To develop a bi-functional material which can occlude dentinal tubules in-depth and remineralize dentin for long-lasting protection of the dentin-pulp complex from stimuli and bleach the tooth at the same time.

Methods: A mixture containing CaO, HPO, polyethylene glycol and HO at a specific ratio was mechanically ground using a planetary ball. The mineralizing complex paste was characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Dentin was exposed to the synthesized paste for 8 h and 24 h . The mineralizing property was evaluated using SEM and microhardness tests. Red tea-stained tooth slices were exposed to the synthesized paste for 8 h and 24 h . The bleaching effect was characterized by a spectrophotometer.

Results: The complex paste had very a fine texture, was injectable, and had a gel-like property with 2.6 (mass/volume) % HO concentration. The X-ray diffraction pattern showed that the inorganic phase was mainly monetite (CaHPO). The mineralizing complex paste induced the growth of inorganic crystals on the dentin surface and in-depth occlusion of dentin tubules by up to 80 μm. The regenerated crystals were integrated into the dentin tissue on the dentin surface and the wall of dentinal tubules with a microhardness of up to 126 MPa (versus 137 Mpa for dentin). The paste also bleached the stained dental slices.

Conclusion: The mineralizing complex paste is a promising innovative material for efficient DH management by remineralizing dentin and in-depth occlusion of dentin tubules, as well as tooth bleaching.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S287393DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7797332PMC
January 2021

Highly Multifunctional and Thermoconductive Performances of Densely Filled Boron Nitride Nanosheets/Epoxy Resin Bulk Composites.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2021 Jan 7;13(2):2853-2867. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

School of Materials Science and Engineering, Hebei University of Technology, Tianjin 300130, P. R. China.

In the development of hexagonal boron nitride (-BN)-based polymeric composites with high thermal conductivity, it is always challenging to achieve a dense filling of -BN fillers to form a desired high-density thermal transfer network. Here, a series of boron nitride nanosheets (BNNSs)/epoxy resin (EP) bulk composites filled with ultrahigh BNNSs content (65-95 wt %) is successfully constructed through a well-designed mechanical-balling prereaction combined with a general pressure molding method. By means of this method, the highly filled BNNSs fillers are uniformly dispersed and strongly bonded with EP within the composites. As a result, the densely BNNSs-filled composites can exhibit multiple performances. They have excellent mechanical properties, and their maximum compression strength is 30-97 MPa. For a BNNSs/EP composite with filling ultrahigh BNNSs fraction up to 90 wt %, its highly in-plane thermal conductivities (TC) are 6.7 ± 0.1 W m K (at 25 °C) to 8.7 ± 0.2 W m K (200 °C), respectively. In addition, the minimum coefficient of thermal expansion of BNNSs/EP composites is 4.5 ± 1.3 ppm/°C (only ∼4% of that of the neat EP), while their dielectric constants are basically located between 3-4 along with their dielectric loss tangent values exceptionally <0.3 in the ultrahigh frequency range of 12-40 GHz. Additionally, these BNNSs/EP composites exhibit remarkable cycle stability in heat transfer during heating and cooling processes because of their structural robustness. Thus, this type of densely BNNSs-filled BNNSs/EP composite would have great potential for further practical thermal management fields.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.0c19977DOI Listing
January 2021

A tied Fermi liquid to Luttinger liquid model for nonlinear transport in conducting polymers.

Nat Commun 2021 Jan 4;12(1):58. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Key Laboratory of Microelectronic Devices & Integrated Technology, Institute of Microelectronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100029, China.

Organic conjugated polymers demonstrate great potential in transistors, solar cells and light-emitting diodes, whose performances are fundamentally governed by charge transport. However, the morphology-property relationships and the underpinning charge transport mechanisms remain unclear. Particularly, whether the nonlinear charge transport in conducting polymers is appropriately formulated within non-Fermi liquids is not clear. In this work, via varying crystalline degrees of samples, we carry out systematic investigations on the charge transport nonlinearity in conducting polymers. Possible charge carriers' dimensionality is discussed when varying the molecular chain's crystalline orders. A heterogeneous-resistive-network (HRN) model is proposed based on the tied-link between Fermi liquids (FL) and Luttinger liquids (LL), related to the high-ordered crystalline zones and weak-coupled amorphous regions, respectively. The HRN model is supported by precise electrical and microstructural characterizations, together with theoretic evaluations, which well describes the nonlinear transport behaviors and provides new insights into the microstructure-correlated charge transport in organic solids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20238-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7782818PMC
January 2021