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  • Reproduction of the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus is critical for aquaculture production. Gonadal development is the basis of reproduction, and lipids, which are among the main nutrients required for gonadal development, directly affect reproduction. We investigated whether gonadal and intestinal lipid metabolism differed between male and female A. japonicus. Transcriptome analysis of the intestines of sexually mature male and female wild-caught individuals revealed differences in gene expression, with 27 and 39 genes being up-regulated in females and males, respectively. In particular, the expression of the fatty acid synthase gene was higher in males than in females. Metabolome analysis of the gonads identified 141 metabolites that were up-regulated and 175 metabolites that were down-regulated in the testes compared with the ovaries in the positive/negative mode of an LC-MS/MS analysis. A variety of polyunsaturated fatty acids were found at higher concentrations in the testes than in the ovaries. 16 s rDNA sequencing analysis showed that the composition and structure of the intestinal microbiota were similar between males and females. These results suggest that sex differences in intestinal metabolism of A. japonicus are not due to differences in the microbiota, and we speculate that gonadal metabolism may be related to intestinal morphology. This information might be useful in improving the reproductive efficiency of sea cucumbers in captivity.

  • Reaction of ultramafic rocks with seawater and subsequent serpentinization has been considered one of the most important factors controlling the formation of ultramafic-hosted seafloor massive sulfide (UM-SMS) deposits. However, the mineralization processes responsible for these deposits remain poorly understood, in particular because they are less abundant as compared with their basaltic counterparts. In this work, serpentinites with different alteration grades collected at the Tianzuo hydrothermal field (THF), Southwest Indian Ridge, were studied. Mineralogical and chemical analyses were performed in the secondary opaque minerals resulting from serpentinization to understand the role of this process during the formation of UM-SMS deposits. Our results show that these opaque minerals mainly consist of magnetite, hematite, pentlandite, and minor pyrite, suggestive of high but varying oxygen and sulfur fugacities. The hematite is characterized by an enrichment in Mg, Si, Ni, and Co as compared with magnetite. Pentlandite associated with hematite has elevated and consistent Ni contents as compared with that associated with magnetite. These results indicate that breakdown and decomposition of primary silicate and sulfide minerals during serpentinization has controlled the sources of ore-forming materials. Concentrations of Te are variable and show a positive correlation with Ni in pentlandite associated with magnetite or hematite, suggesting that gabbroic intrusions provided additional material to the hydrothermal system. Oxidation and sulfidation conditions are ideal for the formation of trisulfur ion S3− in THF, which can significantly improve the capability of hydrothermal fluids for leaching ore-forming metals from the wall rocks, promoting the formation of THF. In addition of reduced systems, hydrothermal fluids with high oxygen and sulfur fugacities triggered by extensive seawater infiltration can most likely also develop in ultramafic-hosted systems. These results suggest that the areas with well-developed fractures are promising candidates for further exploration of UM-SMS deposits along mid-oceanic ridges.

  • "Student engagement is a catch-all term, irresistible to educators and policy makers, and serving many agendas and purposes. This ground-breaking book provides a powerful theory of student engagement, rooted in critical theory and social justice. It sets out a compelling argument for student engagement to promote social justice and to repel neoliberalism in, and through, higher education, addressing three key questions: -Student engagement in what? -Student engagement for what? -Student engagement for whom? The answers draw on Habermas, Honneth, Gramsci, Foucault, and Giroux in examining ideology, power, recognition, resistance, and student engagement, with examples drawn from across the world. It sets out key features, limitations and failures of neoliberalism in higher education, and indicates how student engagement can resist it. Student engagement calls for higher education institutions to be sites for challenge, debate on values and power, action for social justice, and for students to engage in the struggle to resist neoliberalism, taking action to promote social justice, democracy, and the public good. This book is essential reading for educators, researchers, managers and students in higher education, social scientists and social theorists. It is a call to reawaken higher education for social justice, human rights, democracy and freedoms"--

  • In government studies, electronic government has become a hot topic in recent decades. Many scholars believe that soon, the government might not be able to operate smoothly without the help of ICTs as the Internet has been overwhelming people's daily lives already. In analyzing people's behavioral factors towards adopting e-government services, most studies targeted the adult population, while those in the hard-to-reach groups are minimal. This study was designed especially to understand the behavioral factors of the younger generation aged between 18 and 24 and the senior citizens above 60 on their adoption of e-government services in Macao SAR. Sixteen in-depth interviews were conducted based on the semi-structured interview questions developed from the prior literature on the Theory of Planned Behavior and e-government studies. Six significant findings are yielded, which could serve as an important reference for policymakers designing e-government policy and promoting its implementation strategy. These behavioral factors also contribute empirical data to support the theoretical framework of TPB in the context of Macao SAR e-government services.

  • Hydrothermal activity on mid-ocean ridges is an important mechanism for the delivery of Zn from the mantle to the surface environment. Zinc isotopic fractionation during hydrothermal activity is mainly controlled by the precipitation of Zn-bearing sulfide minerals, in which isotopically light Zn is preferentially retained in solid phases rather than in solution during mineral precipitation. Thus, seafloor hydrothermal activity is expected to supply isotopically heavy Zn to the ocean. Here, we studied sulfide-rich samples from the Duanqiao-1 hydrothermal field, located on the Southwest Indian Ridge. We report that, at the hand-specimen scale, late-stage conduit sulfide material has lower δ66Zn values (−0.05 ± 0.15 ‰; n = 19) than early-stage material (+0.13 ± 0.15 ‰; n = 10). These lower values correlate with enrichments in Pb, As, Cd, and Ag, and elevated δ34S values. We attribute the low δ66Zn values to the remobilization of earlier sub-seafloor Zn-rich mineralization. Based on endmember mass balance calculations, and an assumption of a fractionation factor (αZnS-Sol.) of about 0.9997 between sphalerite and its parent solution, the remobilized Zn was found consist of about 1/3 to 2/3 of the total Zn in the fluid that formed the conduit samples. Our study suggests that late-stage subsurface hydrothermal remobilization may release isotopically-light Zn to the ocean, and that this process may be common along mid-ocean ridges, thus increasing the size of the previously identified isotopically light Zn sink in the ocean.

  • The physiological mechanisms underlying variation in aggression in fish remain poorly understood. One possibly confounding variable is the lack of standardization in the type of stimuli used to elicit aggression. The presentation of controlled stimuli in videos, a.k.a. video playback, can provide better control of the fight components. However, this technique has produced conflicting results in animal behaviour studies and needs to be carefully validated. For this, a similar response to the video and an equivalent live stimulus needs to be demonstrated. Further, different physiological responses may be triggered by live and video stimuli and it is important to demonstrate that video images elicit appropriate physiological reactions. Here, the behavioural and endocrine response of male Siamese fighting fish Betta splendens to a matched for size conspecific fighting behind a one-way mirror, presented live or through video playback, was compared. The video playback and live stimulus elicited a strong and similar aggressive response by the focal fish, with a fight structure that started with stereotypical threat displays and progressed to overt attacks. Post-fight plasma levels of the androgen 11-ketotestosterone were elevated as compared to controls, regardless of the type of stimuli. Cortisol also increased in response to the video images, as previously described for live fights in this species. These results show that the interactive component of a fight, and its resolution, are not needed to trigger an endocrine response to aggression in this species. The study also demonstrates for the first time in a fish a robust endocrine response to video stimuli and supports the use of this technique for researching aggressive behaviour in B. splendens.

  • Antimicrobial resistance has become a critical global health problem due to the abuse of conventional antibiotics and the rise of multi-drug-resistant microbes. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a group of natural peptides that show promise as next-generation antibiotics due to their low toxicity to the host, broad spectrum of biological activity, including antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-parasitic activities, and great therapeutic potential, such as anticancer, anti-inflammatory, etc. Most importantly, AMPs kill bacteria by damaging cell membranes using multiple mechanisms of action rather than targeting a single molecule or pathway, making it difficult for bacterial drug resistance to develop. However, experimental approaches used to discover and design new AMPs are very expensive and time-consuming. In recent years, there has been considerable interest in using in silico methods, including traditional machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) approaches, to drug discovery. While there are a few papers summarizing computational AMP prediction methods, none of them focused on DL methods. In this review, we aim to survey the latest AMP prediction methods achieved by DL approaches. First, the biology background of AMP is introduced, then various feature encoding methods used to represent the features of peptide sequences are presented. We explain the most popular DL techniques and highlight the recent works based on them to classify AMPs and design novel peptide sequences. Finally, we discuss the limitations and challenges of AMP prediction.

  • Anthropogenic noise of variable temporal patterns is increasing in aquatic environments, causing physiological stress and sensory impairment. However, scarce information exists on exposure effects to continuous versus intermittent disturbances, which is critical for noise sustainable management. We tested the effects of different noise regimes on the auditory system and behaviour in the zebrafish (Danio rerio). Adult zebrafish were exposed for 24 h to either white noise (150 ± 10 dB re 1 μPa) or silent control. Acoustic playbacks varied in temporal patterns—continuous, fast and slow regular intermittent, and irregular intermittent. Auditory sensitivity was assessed with Auditory Evoked Potential recordings, revealing hearing loss and increased response latency in all noise-treated groups. The highest mean threshold shifts (c. 13 dB) were registered in continuous and fast intermittent treatments, and no differences were found between regular and irregular regimes. Inner ear saccule did not reveal significant hair cell loss but showed a decrease in presynaptic Ribeye b protein especially after continuous exposure. Behavioural assessment using the standardized Novel Tank Diving assay showed that all noise-treated fish spent > 98% time in the bottom within the first minute compared to 82% in control, indicating noise-induced anxiety/stress. We provide first data on how different noise time regimes impact a reference fish model, suggesting that overall acoustic energy is more important than regularity when predicting noise effects.

  • Approximately 50 million people are suffering from epilepsy worldwide. Corals have been used for treating epilepsy in traditional Chinese medicine, but the mechanism of this treatment is unknown. In this study, we analyzed the transcriptome of the branching coral Acropora digitifera and obtained its Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG), EuKaryotic Orthologous Groups (KOG) and Gene Ontology (GO) annotation. Combined with multiple sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis, we discovered three polypeptides, we named them AdKuz1, AdKuz2 and AdKuz3, from A. digitifera that showed a close relationship to Kunitz-type peptides. Molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulation indicated that AdKuz1 to 3 could interact with GABAA receptor but AdKuz2–GABAA remained more stable than others. The biological experiments showed that AdKuz1 and AdKuz2 exhibited an anti-inflammatory effect by decreasing the aberrant level of nitric oxide (NO), IL-6, TNF-α and IL-1β induced by LPS in BV-2 cells. In addition, the pentylenetetrazol (PTZ)-induced epileptic effect on zebrafish was remarkably suppressed by AdKuz1 and AdKuz2. AdKuz2 particularly showed superior anti-epileptic effects compared to the other two peptides. Furthermore, AdKuz2 significantly decreased the expression of c-fos and npas4a, which were up-regulated by PTZ treatment. In addition, AdKuz2 reduced the synthesis of glutamate and enhanced the biosynthesis of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). In conclusion, the results indicated that AdKuz2 may affect the synthesis of glutamate and GABA and enhance the activity of the GABAA receptor to inhibit the symptoms of epilepsy. We believe, AdKuz2 could be a promising anti-epileptic agent and its mechanism of action should be further investigated.

  • Despite the levels of air pollution in Macao continuing to improve over recent years, there are still days with high-pollution episodes that cause great health concerns to the local community. Therefore, it is very important to accurately forecast air quality in Macao. Machine learning methods such as random forest (RF), gradient boosting (GB), support vector regression (SVR), and multiple linear regression (MLR) were applied to predict the levels of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) concentrations in Macao. The forecast models were built and trained using the meteorological and air quality data from 2013 to 2018, and the air quality data from 2019 to 2021 were used for validation. Our results show that there is no significant difference between the performance of the four methods in predicting the air quality data for 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic) and 2021 (the new normal period). However, RF performed significantly better than the other methods for 2020 (amid the pandemic) with a higher coefficient of determination (R2) and lower RMSE, MAE, and BIAS. The reduced performance of the statistical MLR and other ML models was presumably due to the unprecedented low levels of PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations in 2020. Therefore, this study suggests that RF is the most reliable prediction method for pollutant concentrations, especially in the event of drastic air quality changes due to unexpected circumstances, such as a lockdown caused by a widespread infectious disease.

  • Ligand peptides that have high affinity for ion channels are critical for regulating ion flux across the plasma membrane. These peptides are now being considered as potential drug candidates for many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancers. In this work, we developed Multi-Branch-CNN, a CNN method with multiple input branches for identifying three types of ion channel peptide binders (sodium, potassium, and calcium) from intra- and inter-feature types. As for its real-world applications, prediction models that are able to recognize novel sequences having high or low similarities to training sequences are required. To this end, we tested our models on two test sets: a general test set including sequences spanning different similarity levels to those of the training set, and a novel-test set consisting of only sequences that bear little resemblance to sequences from the training set. Our experiments showed that the Multi-Branch-CNN method performs better than thirteen traditional ML algorithms (TML13), yielding an improvement in accuracy of 3.2%, 1.2%, and 2.3% on the test sets as well as 8.8%, 14.3%, and 14.6% on the novel-test sets for sodium, potassium, and calcium ion channels, respectively. We confirmed the effectiveness of Multi-Branch-CNN by comparing it to the standard CNN method with one input branch (Single-Branch-CNN) and an ensemble method (TML13-Stack). The data sets, script files to reproduce the experiments, and the final predictive models are freely available at

  • The geochemistry and mineralogy of sediments provide relevant information for the understanding of the origin and metallogenic mechanism of ferromanganese nodules and crusts. At present, there are still few studies on the sediment origin of the Clarion–Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the east Pacific, particularly on the systematic origin of sediments with a longer history/length. Here, bulk sediment geochemistry and clay mineral compositions were analyzed on a 5.7 m gravity core (GC04) obtained at the CCZ, an area rich in polymetallic nodules. The results indicate that the average total content of rare earth elements (REE), including yttrium (REY), in sediments is 454.7 ppm and the REEs distribution patterns normalized by the North American Shale Composite of samples are highly consistent, with all showing negative Ce anomalies and more obvious enrichment in heavy REE (HREE) than that of light REE (LREE). Montmorillonite/illite ratio, discriminant functions and smear slide identification indicate multiple origins for the material, and are strongly influenced by contributions from marine biomass, while terrestrial materials, seamount basalts and their alteration products and authigenic source also make certain contributions. The REY characteristics of the sediments in the study area are different from those of marginal oceanic and back-arc basins, and more similar to pelagic deep-sea sediments. Based on LREE/HREE-1/δCe and LREE/HREE-Y/Ho diagrams, we conclude that samples from the study area had pelagic sedimentary properties which suffered from a strong “seawater effect”.

  • Stock movement prediction is one of the most challenging problems in time series analysis due to the stochastic nature of financial markets. In recent years, a plethora of statistical methods and machine learning algorithms were proposed for stock movement prediction. Specifically, deep learning models are increasingly applied for the prediction of stock movement. The success of deep learning models relies on the assumption that massive training data are available. However, this assumption is impractical for stock movement prediction. In stock markets, a large number of stocks do not have enough historical data, especially for the companies which underwent initial public offering in recent years. In these situations, the accuracy of deep learning models to predict the stock movement could be affected. To address this problem, in this paper, we propose novel instance-based deep transfer learning models with attention mechanism. In the experiments, we compare our proposed methods with state-of-the-art prediction models. Experimental results on three public datasets reveal that our proposed methods significantly improve the performance of deep learning models when limited training data are available.

  • In a context of a new transnational division of labour, temporary international labour mobility is on the rise in Europe. In particular, recent decades have seen considerably more women seeking work experience abroad. Observers have been concerned with how such mobility is related to individualization, and in particular how it may challenge collective institutions, communities and families. The aim of this study is to explore such issues among women and men with international work experience. Using data from European Social Survey, the paper investigates previously mobile workers in terms of their current working and living conditions. Across genders, we consider different forms of individualization that may be associated with transnational labour mobility. While both women and men with transnational work experience generally feature strong strategic individualization, this is most pronounced among men. Hence, men's mobility is among other things associated with increased autonomy in working life, while – in contrast to women – it does not seem to hamper their integration in the sphere of social reproduction.

  • Neuropeptides are a group of neuronal signaling molecules that regulate physiological and behavioral processes in animals. Here, we used in silico mining to predict the polypeptide composition of available transcriptomic data of Turbinaria peltata. In total, 118 transcripts encoding putative peptide precursors were discovered. One neuropeptide Y/F-like peptide, named TpNPY, was identified and selected for in silico structural, in silico binding, and pharmacological studies. In our study, the anti-inflammation effect of TpNPY was evaluated using an LPS-stimulated C8-D1A astrocyte cell model. Our results demonstrated that TpNPY, at 0.75–3 μM, inhibited LPS-induced NO production and reduced the expression of iNOS in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, TpNPY reduced the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines. Additionally, treatment with TpNPY reduced LPS-mediated elevation of ROS production and the intracellular calcium concentration. Further investigation revealed that TpNPY downregulated the IKK/IκB/NF-κB signaling pathway and inhibited expression of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Through molecular docking and using an NPY receptor antagonist, TpNPY was shown to have the ability to interact with the NPY Y1 receptor. On the basis of these findings, we concluded that TpNPY might prevent LPS-induced injury in astrocytes through activation of the NPY-Y1R.

  • Hydrothermal activities on ultraslow-spreading ridges exhibit diverse characteristics, long histories with multiple participants, and might form large-scale, high-grade sulfide deposits. The Duanqiao hydrothermal field (DHF) is located at the segment with the thickest oceanic crust and a large axial magma chamber on the Southwest Indian Ridge, providing unique perspective of sulfide metallogenesis on ultraslow-spreading ridges. Previous studies revealed that DHF sulfide exhibits distinct features of enrichment of ore-forming elements in comparison with those of hydrothermal fields on sediment-starved mid-ocean ridges. However, the genesis and processes responsible for such differences remain poorly constrained. In this study, mineralogical, geochemical and S and Pb isotopic analyses were performed on relict sulfide mound samples to characterize DHF formation. The samples show clear concentric mineral zonation from the interior to the exterior wall. Assemblages of chalcopyrite, sphalerite, and pyrite are distributed mainly in the interior wall, whereas pyrite and marcasite are distributed mainly in the exterior wall. The low Cu content and Pb isotopic composition of the sulfide indicate that the metals are derived mainly from basement basalts. The δ34S values exhibit positive values distributed over a reasonably narrow range (2.42‰–7.97‰), which suggests approximately 62.1%–88.5% of S with basaltic origin. Compared with most hydrothermal fields along the sediment starved mid-ocean ridges, the DHF sulfide shows particularly high contents of Pb (263–2630 ppm), As (234–726 ppm), Sb (7.32–44.3 ppm), and Ag (35.2 to >100 ppm). The δ34S values exhibit an increasing tendency from the sample exterior to the interior. We propose that these features probably reflect the existence of a subsurface zone refining process. Our results provide new insight into the sulfide formation process and contribute to understanding the metallogenic mechanism of hydrothermal sulfides on ultraslow-spreading ridges.

  • Background This study aimed to investigate English teachers’ self-efficacy for student engagement, classroom management, instructional strategies and literacy instruction, as well as to discover teacher stress and job satisfaction can play a role in interfering their occupational health (in terms of self-efficacy). In addition, this is one of the first studies to understand the differences in self-efficacy among pre-service, novice and experienced in-service teachers in a Chinese society, where English is positioned as a foreign language. Participants and procedure 271 English teachers (90 pre-service, 181 in-service) with mean teaching experience of 5.57 months for per-service, and 98.51 months for in-service were participated in this quantitative research study, as the targets were not be able to approach randomly, the English teachers were approaching individually though referral sampling, informing that the purpose of the study and receive their consent. Results It discovered both pre-service and novice in-service teachers posses lowest self-efficacy. Moreover, teachers’ stress from classroom predicted their self-efficacy for student engagement and classroom management negatively. On the other hand, teachers’ job satisfaction predicts their self-efficacy for student engagement, instructional strategies and literacy instruction positively. Conclusions Implications (based on the findings) are discussed in order to provide insights for for schools and education departments to strengthen the teachers’ capability of teaching and their occupational health.

Last update from database: 1/30/23, 3:23 PM (UTC)