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Autoantibodies targeting telomere-associated proteins in systemic sclerosis.

(2021)

Objectives

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune fibrotic disease affecting multiple tissues including the lung. A subset of patients with SSc with lung disease exhibit short telomeres in circulating lymphocytes, but the mechanisms underlying this observation are unclear.

Methods

Sera from the Johns Hopkins and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Scleroderma Centers were screened for autoantibodies targeting telomerase and the shelterin proteins using immunoprecipitation and ELISA. We determined the relationship between autoantibodies targeting the shelterin protein TERF1 and telomere length in peripheral leucocytes measured by qPCR and flow cytometry and fluorescent in situ hybridisation (Flow-FISH). We also explored clinical associations of these autoantibodies.

Results

In a subset of patients with SSc, we identified autoantibodies targeting telomerase and the shelterin proteins that were rarely present in rheumatoid arthritis, myositis and healthy controls. TERF1 autoantibodies were present in 40/442 (9.0%) patients with SSc and were associated with severe lung disease (OR 2.4, p=0.04, Fisher's exact test) and short lymphocyte telomere length. 6/6 (100%) patients with TERF1 autoantibodies in the Hopkins cohort and 14/18 (78%) patients in the UCSF cohort had a shorter telomere length in lymphocytes or leukocytes, respectively, relative to the expected age-adjusted telomere length. TERF1 autoantibodies were present in 11/152 (7.2%) patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a fibrotic lung disease believed to be mediated by telomere dysfunction.

Conclusions

Autoantibodies targeting telomere-associated proteins in a subset of patients with SSc are associated with short lymphocyte telomere length and lung disease. The specificity of these autoantibodies for SSc and IPF suggests that telomere dysfunction may have a distinct role in the pathogenesis of SSc and pulmonary fibrosis.

Smartphone-Based Inertial Odometry for Blind Walkers

(2021)

Pedestrian tracking systems implemented in regular smartphones may provide a convenient mechanism for wayfinding and backtracking for people who are blind. However, virtually all existing studies only considered sighted participants, whose gait pattern may be different from that of blind walkers using a long cane or a dog guide. In this contribution, we present a comparative assessment of several algorithms using inertial sensors for pedestrian tracking, as applied to data from WeAllWalk, the only published inertial sensor dataset collected indoors from blind walkers. We consider two situations of interest. In the first situation, a map of the building is not available, in which case we assume that users walk in a network of corridors intersecting at 45° or 90°. We propose a new two-stage turn detector that, combined with an LSTM-based step counter, can robustly reconstruct the path traversed. We compare this with RoNIN, a state-of-the-art algorithm based on deep learning. In the second situation, a map is available, which provides a strong prior on the possible trajectories. For these situations, we experiment with particle filtering, with an additional clustering stage based on mean shift. Our results highlight the importance of training and testing inertial odometry systems for assisted navigation with data from blind walkers.

Cover page of Arbuscular mycorrhizal trees influence the latitudinal beta-diversity gradient of tree communities in forests worldwide.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal trees influence the latitudinal beta-diversity gradient of tree communities in forests worldwide.

(2021)

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (EcM) associations are critical for host-tree performance. However, how mycorrhizal associations correlate with the latitudinal tree beta-diversity remains untested. Using a global dataset of 45 forest plots representing 2,804,270 trees across 3840 species, we test how AM and EcM trees contribute to total beta-diversity and its components (turnover and nestedness) of all trees. We find AM rather than EcM trees predominantly contribute to decreasing total beta-diversity and turnover and increasing nestedness with increasing latitude, probably because wide distributions of EcM trees do not generate strong compositional differences among localities. Environmental variables, especially temperature and precipitation, are strongly correlated with beta-diversity patterns for both AM trees and all trees rather than EcM trees. Results support our hypotheses that latitudinal beta-diversity patterns and environmental effects on these patterns are highly dependent on mycorrhizal types. Our findings highlight the importance of AM-dominated forests for conserving global forest biodiversity.

Cover page of Forced into an ecological corner: Round-the-clock deep foraging on small prey by elephant seals.

Forced into an ecological corner: Round-the-clock deep foraging on small prey by elephant seals.

(2021)

Small mesopelagic fishes dominate the world's total fish biomass, yet their ecological importance as prey for large marine animals is poorly understood. To reveal the little-known ecosystem dynamics, we identified prey, measured feeding events, and quantified the daily energy balance of 48 deep-diving elephant seals throughout their oceanic migrations by leveraging innovative technologies: animal-borne smart accelerometers and video cameras. Seals only attained positive energy balance after feeding 1000 to 2000 times per day on small fishes, which required continuous deep diving (80 to 100% of each day). Interspecies allometry suggests that female elephant seals have exceptional diving abilities relative to their body size, enabling them to exploit a unique foraging niche on small but abundant mesopelagic fish. This unique foraging niche requires extreme round-the-clock deep diving, limiting the behavioral plasticity of elephant seals to a changing mesopelagic ecosystem.

Observation of photon-induced W+ W- production in pp collisions at root s=13 TeV using the ATLAS detector

(2021)

This letter reports the observation of photon-induced production of $W$-boson pairs, $\gamma\gamma\rightarrow WW$. The analysis uses 139 fb$^{-1}$ of LHC proton-proton collision data taken at $\sqrt{s}=13$ TeV recorded by the ATLAS experiment during the years 2015-2018. The measurement is performed selecting one electron and one muon, corresponding to the decay of the diboson system as $WW\rightarrow e^\pm\nu\mu^\mp\nu$ final state. The background-only hypothesis is rejected with a significance of well above 5 standard deviations consistent with the expectation from Monte Carlo simulation. A cross section for the $\gamma\gamma\rightarrow WW$ process of 3.13$\pm$0.31(stat.)$\pm$0.28(syst.) fb is measured in a fiducial volume close to the acceptance of the detector, by requiring an electron and a muon of opposite signs with large dilepton transverse momentum and exactly zero additional charged particles. This is found to be in agreement with the Standard Model prediction.

Measurement of the associated production of a Higgs boson decaying into b-quarks with a vector boson at high transverse momentum in pp collisions at root s=13 TeV with the ATLAS detector

(2021)

The associated production of a Higgs boson with a $W$ or $Z$ boson decaying into leptons and where the Higgs boson decays to a $b\bar{b}$ pair is measured in the high vector-boson transverse momentum regime, above 250 GeV, with the ATLAS detector. The analysed data, corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 139 fb$^{-1}$, were collected in proton-proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider between 2015 and 2018 at a centre-of-mass energy of $\sqrt{s} = 13$ TeV. The measured signal strength, defined as the ratio of the measured signal yield to that predicted by the Standard Model, is $0.72 ^{+0.39}_{-0.36}$ corresponding to an observed (expected) significance of 2.1 (2.7) standard deviations. Cross-sections of associated production of a Higgs boson decaying into $b$ quark pairs with a $W$ or $Z$ gauge boson, decaying into leptons, are measured in two exclusive vector boson transverse momentum regions, 250-400 GeV and above 400 GeV, and interpreted as constraints on anomalous couplings in the framework of a Standard Model effective field theory.

Cover page of Elucidation of trophic interactions in an unusual single-cell nitrogen-fixing symbiosis using metabolic modeling.

Elucidation of trophic interactions in an unusual single-cell nitrogen-fixing symbiosis using metabolic modeling.

(2021)

Marine nitrogen-fixing microorganisms are an important source of fixed nitrogen in oceanic ecosystems. The colonial cyanobacterium Trichodesmium and diatom symbionts were thought to be the primary contributors to oceanic N2 fixation until the discovery of the unusual uncultivated symbiotic cyanobacterium UCYN-A (Candidatus Atelocyanobacterium thalassa). UCYN-A has atypical metabolic characteristics lacking the oxygen-evolving photosystem II, the tricarboxylic acid cycle, the carbon-fixation enzyme RuBisCo and de novo biosynthetic pathways for a number of amino acids and nucleotides. Therefore, it is obligately symbiotic with its single-celled haptophyte algal host. UCYN-A receives fixed carbon from its host and returns fixed nitrogen, but further insights into this symbiosis are precluded by both UCYN-A and its host being uncultured. In order to investigate how this syntrophy is coordinated, we reconstructed bottom-up genome-scale metabolic models of UCYN-A and its algal partner to explore possible trophic scenarios, focusing on nitrogen fixation and biomass synthesis. Since both partners are uncultivated and only the genome sequence of UCYN-A is available, we used the phylogenetically related Chrysochromulina tobin as a proxy for the host. Through the use of flux balance analysis (FBA), we determined the minimal set of metabolites and biochemical functions that must be shared between the two organisms to ensure viability and growth. We quantitatively investigated the metabolic characteristics that facilitate daytime N2 fixation in UCYN-A and possible oxygen-scavenging mechanisms needed to create an anaerobic environment to allow nitrogenase to function. This is the first application of an FBA framework to examine the tight metabolic coupling between uncultivated microbes in marine symbiotic communities and provides a roadmap for future efforts focusing on such specialized systems.

Cover page of On the dynamical interaction between overshooting convection and an underlying dipole magnetic field - I. The non-dynamo regime

On the dynamical interaction between overshooting convection and an underlying dipole magnetic field - I. The non-dynamo regime

(2021)

ABSTRACT Motivated by the dynamics in the deep interiors of many stars, we study the interaction between overshooting convection and the large-scale poloidal fields residing in radiative zones. We have run a suite of 3D Boussinesq numerical calculations in a spherical shell that consists of a convection zone with an underlying stable region that initially compactly contains a dipole field. By varying the strength of the convective driving, we find that, in the less turbulent regime, convection acts as turbulent diffusion that removes the field faster than solely molecular diffusion would do. However, in the more turbulent regime, turbulent pumping becomes more efficient and partially counteracts turbulent diffusion, leading to a local accumulation of the field below the overshoot region. These simulations suggest that dipole fields might be confined in underlying stable regions by highly turbulent convective motions at stellar parameters. The confinement is of large-scale field in an average sense and we show that it is reasonably modelled by mean-field ideas. Our findings are particularly interesting for certain models of the Sun, which require a large-scale, poloidal magnetic field to be confined in the solar radiative zone in order to explain simultaneously the uniform rotation of the latter and the thinness of the solar tachocline.

Search for a heavy Higgs boson decaying into a Z boson and another heavy Higgs boson in the ℓℓbb and ℓℓWW final states in pp collisions at √s=13 TeV with the ATLAS detector

(2021)

A search for a heavy neutral Higgs boson, A, decaying into a Z boson and another heavy Higgs boson, H, is performed using a data sample corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 139 fb- 1 from proton–proton collisions at s=13 TeV recorded by the ATLAS detector at the LHC. The search considers the Z boson decaying into electrons or muons and the H boson into a pair of b-quarks or W bosons. The mass range considered is 230–800 GeV for the A boson and 130–700 GeV for the H boson. The data are in good agreement with the background predicted by the Standard Model, and therefore 95% confidence-level upper limits for σ×B(A→ZH)×B(H→bborH→WW) are set. The upper limits are in the range 0.0062–0.380 pb for the H→ bb channel and in the range 0.023–8.9 pb for the H→ WW channel. An interpretation of the results in the context of two-Higgs-doublet models is also given.