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    Succession of the fungal community of a spacecraft assembly clean room when enriched in brines relevant to Mars
    (Cambridge University Press, 2024) Carte, Meris; Chen, Fei; Clark, Benton C.; Schneegurt, Mark A.
    Spacecraft can carry microbial contaminants from spacecraft assembly facilities (SAFs) to the cold arid surface of Mars that may confound life detection missions or disrupt native ecosystems. Dry hygroscopic sulphate and (per) chlorate salts on Mars may absorb atmospheric humidity and deliquesce at certain times to produce dense brines, potential sources of liquid water. Microbial growth is generally prohibited under the non-permissive condition of extremely low water activity in the frigid potential brines on Mars. Here we challenged the microbial community from samples of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory SAF with the extreme chemical conditions of brines relevant to Mars. Enrichment cultures in SP medium supplemented with 50% MgSO4 or 20% NaClO3 were inoculated from washes of SAF floor wipes. Samples were taken for each of the first four weeks and then at six months after inoculation to follow changes in the SAF microbial community under high salinity for long periods. Metagenomic DNA extracts of community samples were examined by Illumina sequencing of 18S rRNA gene sequences using fungal primers. The fungal assemblage during the first month of enrichment was predominantly common Ascomycetes, primarily Saccharomyete yeasts. Basidiomycetes were detected, mainly in the Microbotryomycetes and Tremellomycetes. Fungi were much less abundant in enrichment cultures at 50% MgSO4 than at 20% NaClO3. After 6 months of enrichment, few fungi remained. Microbes persisting from the JPL SAF microbial community in aged cultures enriched at extreme salinities might be the most capable of subsequently surviving and proliferating at the near surface of Mars. The SAF fungal assemblage did not survive and proliferate as well as the SAF bacterial community. © The Author(s), 2024.
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    Cellular and Transcriptional Response of Human Astrocytes to Hybrid Protein Materials
    (American Chemical Society, 2023) Yao, Li; Sai, Haneesha Vishwa; Shippy, Teresa D.; Li, Bin
    Collagen is a major component of the tissue matrix, and soybean can regulate the tissue immune response. Both materials have been used to fabricate biomaterials for tissue repair. In this study, adult and fetal human astrocytes were grown in a soy protein isolate (SPI)-collagen hybrid gel or on the surface of a cross-linked SPI-collagen membrane. Hybrid materials reduced the cell proliferation rate compared to materials generated by collagen alone. However, the hybrid materials did not significantly change the cell motility compared to the control collagen material. RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis showed downregulated genes in the cell cycle pathway, including CCNA2, CCNB1, CCNB2, CCND1, CCND2, and CDK1, which may explain lower cell proliferation in the hybrid material. This study also revealed the downregulation of genes encoding extracellular matrix (ECM) components, including HSPG2, LUM, SDC2, COL4A1, COL4A5, COL4A6, and FN1, as well as genes encoding chemokines, including CCL2, CXCL1, CXCL2, CX3CL1, CXCL3, and LIF, for adult human astrocytes grown on the hybrid membrane compared with those grown on the control collagen membrane. The study explored the cellular and transcriptional responses of human astrocytes to the hybrid material and indicated a potential beneficial function of the material in the application of neural repair. © 2024 American Chemical Society.
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    Spatial pattern of seed arrival has a greater effect on plant diversity than does soil heterogeneity in a grassland ecosystem
    (Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH, 2024) Kjaer, Esben; Houseman, Gregory R.; Luu, Kobe N.; Foster, Bryan L.; Laanisto, Lauri; Golubski, Antonio J.
    Background and Aims: Species diversity is expected to increase with environmental heterogeneity. For plant communities, this pattern has been confirmed by numerous observational studies. Yet, experimental studies yield inconsistent results potentially because of how experiments create soil heterogeneity or because seeds were sown homogeneously. Using a field experiment, we tested how soil heterogeneity, plant spatial aggregation via seed arrival, and grain size influence plant species richness in a restored grassland. Methods: We manipulated soil heterogeneity and seed arrival in 0.2 × 0.2 or 0.4 × 04 m patches within each 4.0 × 4.6 m plot and allowed community assembly to occur for 4 growing seasons. Results: Despite quantifiable soil differences, soil heterogeneity did not impact total or sown species richness, but did weakly influence non-sown richness. Richness differences were driven by non-sown plant species that likely exhibited higher establishment in aggregated plots due to decreased interspecific competition and conspecific facilitation. Conclusion: Our results suggest that fine-scale soil heterogeneity weakly affects prairie plant diversity, but heterogeneous plant spatial structure can have a stronger effect on diversity. These results suggest that plant colonization may be the primary source of environmental heterogeneity and may explain inconsistent results from soil heterogeneity experiments. © The Author(s) 2024.
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    Revision of the Neotropical tribe Alvarengiini Frey, 1975 (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)
    (John Wiley and Sons Inc, 2024) Bento, Matheus; Jameson, Mary Liz; Grossi, Paschoal; da Fonseca, Claudio Ruy Vasconcelos
    The leaf chafer tribe Alvarengiini Frey, a long-neglected taxon that has been overlooked in the biodiversity literature from its inception, is revised for the first time. As a result of this research, the tribe is composed of two species in two genera distributed from Bahia, Brazil (in the north), to Paraná, Brazil (in the south), and Paraguay. Two synonyms are proposed: Alvarengius silphoides Frey, syn. nov. for Ottokelleria dispar (Burmeister) and Alvarengius Frey, syn. nov. for Ottokelleria D'Andretta & Martínez. A new genus is described, Carinochilus, gen. nov., and includes one species: Carinochilus marginatus (Burmeister), comb. nov. The lectotype for O.dispar and a neotype for C.marginatus are designated. We provide an identification key to the tribes of Rutelinae (in English and Portuguese) and incorporate classification changes in the subfamily. A key for the identification of Alvarengiini genera and species is also provided. All taxa are circumscribed and illustrated, and distributional data are synthesised in maps. © 2024 Australian Entomological Society.
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    Glial Cell Engineering in Neural Regeneration
    (Springer International Publishing, 2018) Yao, Li
    This book focuses on current applications of glial cells in neural regeneration, especially in spinal cord repair. It introduces the application of a few types of glial cells including oligodendrocyte, astrocyte, Schwann cells, and stem cell derived glial cells in neural regeneration. The latest glial cell research with biomaterials, gene modification, and electrical signals is also summarized. This is an ideal book for undergraduate and research students in tissue engineering, neurobiology, and regenerative medicine as well as researchers in the field. This book also: Illustrates the application of glial cells including oligodendrocyte, astrocyte, Schwann cells, and stem cell derived glial cells in neural regeneration Broadens reader understanding of the current applications of glial cells in neural regeneration, especially in spinal cord repair Demonstrates the engineering of glial cells with biomaterials, gene modification, and electrical signals for neural regeneration. � The Author(s) 2018.