Sapporo, Japan
Sapporo, Japan

Hokkaido University , or Hokudai , is one of the national universities of Japan. It is a member of the National Seven Universities, which were established as the best national higher education or research institute. It is located in downtown Sapporo, just north of Sapporo Station, and stretching approximately 2.4 kilometers northward. It is considered as one of the top universities in Japan. Wikipedia.


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Patent
Hokkaido University and Nissan Chemical Industries Ltd. | Date: 2015-03-09

A metal-organic framework (MOF) having the function of controlling the release of guests is provided in which reversible release control is possible and release control can be rapidly performed and which is capable of accommodating the release of various guest molecules. The metal-organic framework comprises both an organic ligand having two or more functional groups (coordinating functional groups) capable of coordinating to a metal atom and metal ions that combine with the coordinating functional groups of the organic ligand, and has a structure in which one metal ion has combined with two or more of the coordinating functional groups to connect multiple molecules of the organic ligand. The metal-organic framework/Stimulus-responsive polymer composite was obtained by affixing a stimulus-responsive polymer to at least some of the surface of the metal-organic framework. The stimulus-responsive polymer may be affixed by bonding to the organic ligand.


In the latent heat storage body (100) according to the present invention, the surface of a core particle (10) composed of a latent heat storage material of a metal or an alloy is coated with an oxidized film of a compositional element of the core particle (10). Hence, the step of separately fabricating the core particle and the oxidized film (20) corresponding to a shell accommodating the core particle and accommodating the core particle inside the shell becomes unnecessary. Further since the core particle exhibits no expansion when transforming from a solid phase to a liquid phase, the component of the melted latent heat storage material stays inside the space covered with the oxidized film and the oxidized film is never damaged. Further, the oxidized film (20) can be made chemically stable.


Patent
Tohoku University and Hokkaido University | Date: 2015-05-08

An excitation light source emits excitation light to a target sample. An image sensor includes pixels arranged one-dimensionally or two-dimensionally, and receives measurement light from the sample according to the excitation light. A polarization selector arranged between the sample and image sensor includes pixels arranged one-dimensionally or two-dimensionally. Each pixel receives a corresponding portion of the measurement light, selects light having a polarization direction that corresponds to a driving signal applied to the pixels, and supplies this light to the image sensor. A measurement control unit supplies the cyclic driving signal having a first period T_(1 )and acquires data I_(1), I_(2), I_(3), and I_(4 )from each pixel of the image sensor for each exposure time segment T_(2)=T_(1)/4 obtained by dividing the first period T_(1 )by 4.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Nissan Chemical Industries Ltd. | Date: 2017-03-15

A metal-organic framework (MOF) having the function of controlling the release of guests is provided in which reversible release control is possible and release control can be rapidly performed and which is capable of accommodating the release of various guest molecules. The metal-organic framework comprises both an organic ligand having two or more functional groups (coordinating functional groups) capable of coordinating to a metal atom and metal ions that combine with the coordinating functional groups of the organic ligand, and has a structure in which one metal ion has combined with two or more of the coordinating functional groups to connect multiple molecules of the organic ligand. The metal-organic framework/stimulus-responsive polymer composite was obtained by affixing a stimulus-responsive polymer to at least some of the surface of the metal-organic framework. The stimulus-responsive polymer may be affixed by bonding to the organic ligand.


Provided is a microneedle array which can improve an antibody production ability and makes it possible to simply administer an influenza vaccine. The microneedle array includes a needle portion, which contains an inactivated whole virion influenza vaccine, and a sheet portion. Also provided is an administration method in which the microneedle array is administered and then administered secondly after an interval of equal to or greater than 24 hours and less than 2 months.


Patent
Hokkaido University | Date: 2017-03-29

A lipid membrane structure encapsulating an siRNA inside thereof and containing a lipid compound of the formula (I) as a lipid component (R^(1) and R^(2) represent CH_(3)-(CH_(2))_(n)-CH=CH-CH_(2)-CH=CH-(CH_(2))_(m)-, n represents an integer of 3 to 5, m represents an integer of 6 to 10, p represents an integer of 2 to 7, and R^(3) and R^(4) represent a C_(1-4) alkyl group or a C_(2-4) alkenyl group.


Patent
Hokkaido University | Date: 2017-01-04

[Problem] The purpose of the present invention is to provide a novel pharmaceutical for use in cellular immunotherapy for the prevention and/or treatment of diseases in which Th2-type cytokines are effective, such as cardiovascular disease and the like. [Solution] The present invention relates to a pharmaceutical containing dendritic cells pulsed with -galactosylceramide for the prevention and/or treatment of diseases in which Th2-type cytokines are effective, and a method for producing the same.


In the latent heat storage body (100) according to the present invention, the surface of a core particle (10) composed of a latent heat storage material of a metal or an alloy is coated with an oxidized film of a compositional element of the core particle (10). Hence, the step of separately fabricating the core particle and the oxidized film (20) corresponding to a shell accommodating the core particle and accommodating the core particle inside the shell becomes unnecessary. Further since the core particle exhibits no expansion when transforming from a solid phase to a liquid phase, the component of the melted latent heat storage material stays inside the space covered with the oxidized film and the oxidized film is never damaged. Further, the oxidized film (20) can be made chemically stable.


Patent
NEC Corp, Hokkaido University and INC Research | Date: 2017-03-15

An object detection device 5 of an object detection system 1 includes an object detection determination unit 7 including a bird candidate determination unit 17 for determining, from an image acquired by imaging a moving object, whether or not the moving object is a specific detection subject (bird in this case), and a bird type/attitude estimation unit 19 for estimating, based on a contour of the moving object determined to be the bird by the bird candidate determination unit 17 and a WFM library 9 storing contour shape information, which is a contour prepared for each of types of the specific detection subject (types of the bird in this case), a type of the moving object out of the types of the specific detection subject.


Kamogawa M.,Tokyo Gakugei University | Kakinami Y.,Hokkaido University
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics | Year: 2013

Heki [2011] reported that the TEC gradually enhanced from 40 minutes before the 2011 M9.0 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku earthquake (Tohoku EQ) to the time when the co-seismic acoustic wave reached the ionosphere and the TEC immediately recovered at the normal state. This paper shows an alternative interpretation of total electron content (TEC) variation in the ionosphere associated with the Tohoku EQ. Our interpretation is that a tsunamigenic ionospheric hole, a wide depletion of the TEC, occurred after the co-seismic acoustic wave reached the ionosphere and gradually recovered at the normal state with several tens of minutes [Kakinami et al., 2012]. The difference between Heki [2011] and Kakinami et al. [2012] is attributed to the reference curves of the TEC to extract the ionospheric variations. The former is given by the least-squares fitting curve of the EQ day data excluding an expected precursor period, while the latter is given by the data of the similar orbit of global positioning system (GPS) satellite on another day. The results suggest that variation of slant TEC is explained by the depletion of TEC due to tsunami rather than the precursory enhancement. Key Points A TEC precursory enhancement is found due to an artifact of the analysis.A TEC depletion occurs over the tsunami source area.A tsunamigenic ionospheric hole misled us to a precursor. ©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


Masuda K.,Hokkaido University
Journal of Experimental Botany | Year: 2013

The nucleoskeleton of plants contains a peripheral lamina (also called plamina) and, even though lamins are absent in plants, their roles are still fulfilled in plant nuclei. One of the most intriguing topics in plant biology concerns the identity of lamin protein analogues in plants. Good candidates to play lamin functions in plants are the members of the NMCP (nuclear matrix constituent protein) family, which exhibit the typical tripartite structure of lamins. This paper describes a bioinformatics analysis and classification of the NMCP family based on phylogenetic relationships, sequence similarity and the distribution of conserved regions in 76 homologues. In addition, NMCP1 in the monocot Allium cepa characterized by its sequence and structure, biochemical properties, and subnuclear distribution and alterations in its expression throughout the root were identified. The results demonstrate that these proteins exhibit many similarities to lamins (structural organization, conserved regions, subnuclear distribution, and solubility) and that they may fulfil the functions of lamins in plants. These findings significantly advance understanding of the structural proteins of the plant lamina and nucleoskeleton and provide a basis for further investigation of the protein networks forming these structures. © 2013 The Authors.


Lee Y.-N.,Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources | Barsbold R.,Mongolian Academy of science | Currie P.J.,University of Alberta | Kobayashi Y.,Hokkaido University | And 4 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2014

The holotype of Deinocheirus mirificus was collected by the 1965 Polish-Mongolian Palaeontological Expedition at Altan Uul III in the southern Gobi of Mongolia. Because the holotype consists mostly of giant forelimbs (2.4 m in length) with scapulocoracoids, for almost 50 years Deinocheirus has remained one of the most mysterious dinosaurs. The mosaic of ornithomimosaur and non-ornithomimosaur characters in the holotype has made it difficult to resolve the phylogenetic status of Deinocheirus. Here we describe two new specimens of Deinocheirus that were discovered in the Nemegt Formation of Altan Uul IV in 2006 and Bugiin Tsav in 2009. The Bugiin Tsav specimen (MPC-D 100/127) includes a left forelimb clearly identifiable as Deinocheirus and is 6% longer than the holotype. The Altan Uul IV specimen (MPC-D 100/128) is approximately 74% the size of MPC-D 100/127. Cladistic analysis indicates that Deinocheirus is the largest member of the Ornithomimosauria; however, it has many unique skeletal features unknown in other ornithomimosaurs, indicating that Deinocheirus was a heavily built, non-cursorial animal with an elongate snout, a deep jaw, tall neural spines, a pygostyle, a U-shaped furcula, an expanded pelvis for strong muscle attachments, a relatively short hind limb and broad-tipped pedal unguals. Ecomorphological features in the skull, more than a thousand gastroliths, and stomach contents (fish remains) suggest that Deinocheirus was a megaomnivore that lived in mesic environments. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Tyagi V.V.,Indian Institute of Technology Delhi | Kaushik S.C.,Indian Institute of Technology Delhi | Tyagi S.K.,Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University | Akiyama T.,Hokkaido University
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2011

Thermal energy storage (TES) systems using phase change material (PCM) have been recognized as one of the most advanced energy technologies in enhancing the energy efficiency and sustainability of buildings. Now the research is focus on suitable method to incorporate PCMs with building. There are several methods to use phase change materials (PCMs) in thermal energy storage (TES) for different applications. Microencapsulation is one of the well known and advanced technologies for better utilization of PCMs with building parts, such as, wall, roof and floor besides, within the building materials. Phase change materials based microencapsulation for latent heat thermal storage (LHTS) systems for building application offers a challenging option to be employed as effective thermal energy storage and a retrieval device. Since the particular interest in using microencapsulation PCMs for concrete and wall/wallboards, the specific research efforts on both subjects are reviewed separately. This paper presents an overview of the previous research work on microencapsulation technology for thermal energy storage incorporating the phase change materials (PCMs) in the building applications, along with few useful conclusive remarks concluded from the available literature. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Tachikawa H.,Hokkaido University
Chemical Physics | Year: 2013

Ionization dynamics of the cyclic water trimer (H2O)3 have been investigated by means of direct ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) method. Two reaction channels, complex formation and OH dissociation, were found following the ionization of (H2O)3. In both channels, first, a proton was rapidly transferred from H2O+ to H2O (time scale is ∼15 fs after the ionization). In complex channel, an ion-radical contact pair (H3O+-OH) solvated by the third water molecule was formed as a long-lived H3O +(OH)H2O complex. In OH dissociation channel, the second proton transfer further takes place from H3O+(OH) to H2O (time scale is 50-100 fs) and the OH radical is separated from the H3O+. At the same time, the OH dissociation takes place when the excess energy is efficiently transferred into the kinetic energy of OH radical. The OH dissociation channel is significantly minor, and almost all product channels were the complex formation. The reaction mechanism was discussed on the basis of theoretical results. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Patent
NEC Corp and Hokkaido University | Date: 2016-07-27

It is an object of this invention to provide an object detection apparatus capable of estimating the size of a moving object easily based on images. An object detection apparatus (5) of an object detection system (1) of this invention includes an object detection/determination unit (7) configured to analyze a period of motion of the object based on the images to estimate a size of the object based on the period of motion of the object.


Patent
Tsumura & Co. and Hokkaido University | Date: 2012-01-09

The objectives are to find a substance or a composition capable of promoting the production of ghrelin with physiological activities such as growth hormone secretion effect, and to provide a pharmaceutical comprising it as the active ingredient. The pharmaceutical is a ghrelin production promoter comprising Rikkunshi-to as the active ingredient.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Tsumura & Co. | Date: 2010-09-07

The objectives are to find a substance or a composition capable of promoting the production of ghrelin with physiological activities such as growth hormone secretion effect, and to provide a pharmaceutical comprising it as the active ingredient. The pharmaceutical is a ghrelin production promoter comprising Rikkunshi-to as the active ingredient.


Patent
NEC Corp and Hokkaido University | Date: 2014-09-01

An object detection apparatus is capable of estimating the size of a moving object easily based on images. An object detection apparatus (5) of an object detection system (1) includes an object detection/determination unit (7) configured to analyze a period of motion of the object based on the images to estimate a size of the object based on the period of motion of the object.


News Article | September 21, 2016
Site: phys.org

The High Precision Telescope (HPT) installed in the Philippine's DIWATA-1 microsatellite jointly developed by Hokkaido University and other institutions has successfully captured images with a ground resolution of about 3 meters—a world-best for a 50 kg-class microsatellite.


News Article | September 14, 2016
Site: www.nature.com

The subjects were Th-Cre knock-in heterozygous male mice backcrossed more than 20 times to the C57BL/6 strain (Thtm1(cre)Te; EM:00254)51 (behavioural and anatomical studies, n = 71 mice), Th-Cre transgenic heterozygous male mice on a mixed C57BL/6 and CD1 background (Tg(Th-cre)1Tmd)52 (for ex vivo hippocampal electrophysiology, n = 42), and C57BL/6 male mice (Charles River; n = 7). They were >8 weeks old at the start of the experiments, several of which continued for many months, and assigned to groups randomly. All mice were given water ad libidum, kept under a 12 h light/dark cycle (lights on 7:00); given food ad libidum in unit recording studies but food-restricted for event arena training (85% of free-feeding weight monitored daily throughout the study, after behavioural training). Behavioural testing was performed during the light phase of the cycle, and all critical tests were conducted ‘blind’. All procedures were overseen by the University of Edinburgh Ethical Review Committee, compliant with the UK Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and with the European Communities Council Directive of 24 November 1986 (86/609/EEC) legislation governing the maintenance of laboratory animals and their use in scientific experiments; and with guidelines of the Animal Welfare Committee of Hokkaido University; were approved by the animal care and use committee (IACUC) at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and comply with federal regulations set forth by the National Institutes of Health. The Cre-inducible AAV were obtained from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Vector Core Facilities. The viral concentration was 8.0 × 1012 particles ml–1 for AAV5/EF1a-DIO-hChR2(H134R)–eYFP (ChR2–eYFP), 3.2 × 1012 particles ml–1 for AAV5/EF1a-DIO-eArch3.0–eYFP (eArch3.0–eYFP), 4.0 × 1012 particles ml–1 for AAV5/EF1a-DIO-eNpHR3.0–eYFP (eNpHR3.0–eYFP), 4.0 × 1012 particles ml–1 for AAV5/EF1a-DIO–eYFP (eYFP control), and 1 × 1012 to 7 × 1012 particles ml–1 for AAV2/EF1a-DIO-hChR2(H134R)–eYFP (for ex vivo hippocampal electrophysiology). Virus were subdivided into aliquots stored at −80 °C until use. Anaesthesia was induced using isoflurane (induction, 5%; maintenance, 1–2%; air-flow, 1 l min−1). The animals were placed in the stereotactic frame (Kopf Instruments). For viral or retrobead (Lumafluor) injection, a small hole was drilled into the skull over the target site. The virus (0.75–1 μl) or retrobead solution (0.1 μl) was then injected at 0.1 μl min−1 into the target site using a Nanofil syringe (WPI) and UMP3 pump (WPI) mounted directly on the stereotactic frame. After each injection, the needle was kept in place for 10 min to ensure proper diffusion of the virus. Animals recovered on a heating pad until normal behaviour resumed. All experiments involving viral constructs were performed at least 3 weeks after surgery to allow for sufficient expression. Viral infusion coordinates were VTA (from bregma53: anterior–posterior (AP), −3.50 mm; mediolateral (ML), 0.50 mm; and dorsal–ventral (DV) from the dura, −4.40 mm) and LC (AP, −5.45 mm; ML, 1.20 mm; and DV, −3.65 mm). Event arena pharmacological experiment (Fig. 1). Bilateral 26-gauge microinjection steel guide cannulae (2.5 mm length, 3.0 mm distance between cannulae; Plastics One) with stylets that protruded 0.5 mm below the end of the cannula (33 gauge, Plastics One) were implanted into the dorsal hippocampus. The cannula implantation coordinates were (AP, −2.10 mm; ML, ± 1.50 mm; and DV, −2.00 mm). Extracellular recording during novelty exploration (Fig. 2). the Cre-inducible AAV5 ChR2–eYFP virus (1 μl) was unilaterally injected into VTA or LC as mentioned above. Four jeweller’s screws were then placed in the skull and the ground wire was attached to one of the skull screws. The microdrive implantation coordinates were VTA (AP, −3.52 mm; ML, 0.48 mm; and DV, −4.00 mm) and LC (AP, −5.45 mm; ML, 1.00 mm; and DV, −2.80 mm). Adhesive cement (C&B metabond, Parkell) and dental acrylic were then sculpted around the microdrive. Tract tracing experiment (Fig. 3 and Extended Data Fig. 5). For anterograde tracing, the Cre-inducible AAV5 eYFP virus (1 μl) was unilaterally injected into VTA or LC as described above. For retrograde tracing, retrobeads (0.1 μl) were unilaterally injected into CA1 (AP, −2.18 mm; ML, 1.18 mm; and DV, −1.36 mm), CA3 (AP, −2.18 mm; ML, 2.68 mm; and DV, −2.05 mm) and DG (AP, −2.18 mm; ML, 1.36 mm; and DV, −1.82 mm). Event arena experiment with optogenetics (Fig. 4). Arterial oxygen saturation, heart rate and breath rate were monitored by MouseOx instrument (STARR Life Science). The Cre-inducible AAV5 virus (ChR2–eYFP or eYFP, 1 μl per side) was injected bilaterally into VTA and LC according to the procedure described above. A dual ferrule optical fibre implant (0.22 numerical aperture, 200 μm core diameter; Doric Lenses) was implanted vertically into VTA (AP, −3.40 mm; ML, ± 0.50 mm; and DV, −4.30 mm). Subsequently, a two-ferrule optical fibre implant (0.22 numerical aperture, 200 μm; Doric Lenses) was implanted into LC at −30° angle to coronal plane (AP, −5.45 mm; ML, ± 0.90 mm; and DV, −3.00 mm). Additionally, bilateral 26-gauge steel guide cannulae (4.0 mm length, 3.0 mm distance between cannulae) with stylets (33 gauge) that protruded 0.5 mm below the end of the cannula was inserted into the dorsal hippocampus at a 40° angle to coronal plane (AP, −2.10 mm; ML, ± 1.50 mm; and DV, −2.00 mm). Event arena experiment with pharmacological inactivation (Fig. 6). The Cre-inducible AAV5 virus (eArch3.0–eYFP or eYFP, 1 μl per side) was injected bilaterally into LC, and a two-ferrule optical fibre implant was then implanted into LC at −30° angle to coronal plane as described above. Additionally, bilateral 26-gauge steel guide cannulae (4.8 mm length, 1.0 mm distance between cannulae) with stylets (33 gauge) that protruded 0.5 mm below the end of the cannula was inserted into VTA (AP, −3.40 mm; ML, ± 0.50 mm; and DV, −4.40 mm). Ex vivo hippocampal electrophysiology (Fig. 5). The Cre-inducible AAV2 ChR2–eYFP virus (0.75–1 μl per side) was bilaterally injected into LC (AP, −5.45 mm; ML, ± 0.90 mm; and DV, −3.00 mm) over a 10–15 min period using a borosilicate glass electrode (10–15 MΩ) pulled with a horizontal pipet puller (P-97, Sutter Instrument) and a picospritzer (Parker) timed by a Master-8 pulse stimulator (A.M.P.I.). After each injection, the pipette was kept in place for 5 min to ensure proper diffusion of the virus. Postoperative analgesia. Carprofen (0.08 ml kg−1 body weight), or buprenorphine (0.1 mg kg−1 body weight), was administered by subcutaneous injection at the end of all surgical procedures. All mice were allowed a recovery period of at least 7 days for them to regain their pre-surgery weights before electrophysiological or behavioural testing. Everyday memory was tested in an event arena: a square open field (120 cm wide × 120 cm long) with walls (35 cm high) made out of transparent Plexiglas (Fig. 1a) with four adjacent start boxes (black Plexiglas). The name ‘event arena’ derives from it being an arena in which ‘events’ happen (for example, finding food)13. The floor of the arena, arranged in a 5 × 5 grid, was covered with ~2 cm of sawdust and had two intramaze landmarks (a white metal cube located at row 3, column 2, and a black rubber flash light at row 3, column 4). The Plexiglas sandwells, in which food reward was potentially available, could be fitted into any of the 23 remaining sandwell positions (positions occupied by internal cues were excluded). The mice had access to the arena and sandwells when the startbox door was opened in any trials. Light levels, checked every day, were 25–35 lx. Data were recorded using custom-made LabVIEW software (National Instruments), using the image from camera placed above the arena. For novelty exploration, a square Plexiglas open field with transparent walls (70 cm wide × 70 cm long × 30 cm high) was placed in the middle of the event arena (Fig. 1b). To maintain the novelty of the environment, a wide range of floor substrates (dried leaves, shredded paper, feathers, acrylic pompoms, corks, lolly sticks, Lego blocks, pipe cleaners, shredded straws and sea shells) that covered the floor of the box were used, as in a previously published study that used rats13. Sample size, randomization, blinding and replication. Sample size was determined based on variability in pilot data. A distinctive feature of event arena tasks is that most but not all comparisons are ‘within-subject’ design in which every single subject is exposed to every single treatment, including the control treatment. This typically reduces the number of subjects required for statistical significance and avoids issues associated with randomization. All non-rewarded probe tests (see below) were analysed blind and, being conducted against a stable performance background, were typically conducted twice or three times (internal replication). Averaging data helped reduce variability. Shaping and habituation. After handling, habituation (eight sessions) involved training mice to dig in the sandwells to retrieve food (a half of cereal ‘Cheerios’) and carry it to the start box. Everyday training protocol. The goal in each daily session was to encode the changing daily location of a rewarded sandwell encountered during two consecutive sample trials (two retrievals of buried food in each trial), and then, 10 min later, return to that same location during the choice trial (Fig. 1a). The choice trial was a retrieval test that involved a rewarded sandwell in a location that matched the sample location (the ‘correct’ location; win-stay rule) and four non-rewarded sandwells placed in other locations around the arena (the ‘incorrect’ locations). Training sessions were conducted daily (5–7 sessions per week) using 16 different sandwell configurations with rewarded sandwell positions counterbalanced between mice (Extended Data Fig. 1a). We calculated a performance index, using the formula performance index = 100 − [100 × (errors/4)], based on the number of errors made during the choice trial (an error being defined as digging at an incorrect sandwell). The value expected on the basis of chance was 50% (two errors). With each behavioural cohort, we began conducting critical memory probe tests once mice reached average performance index of 75% (equivalent to one error, computed as average of last five training sessions). This typically happened within 35 training sessions, but sometimes additional training was needed after surgical procedures. Memory probe tests. The primary data measures of the study were derived from ‘memory tests’ performed as ‘probe’ tests, defined as sessions in which none of the sandwells contained any accessible food pellets. The mice were cued with a food pellet in the start box, and then allowed to search for the correct sandwell for 60 s from the first dig of any sandwell. After 60 s, the experimenter quietly entered the room and buried pellets in the correct sandwell, allowing the mouse to retrieve them (one by one as in training, this limited extinction). Dig time at each sandwells was measured, and the relative proportion of time at the correct and incorrect sandwells was calculated. The value expected on the basis of chance was 20%. Probe tests were always separated by at least two sessions of regular training. In the ‘reward magnitude’ probe tests (Fig. 1b and Extended Data Fig. 1d), animals retrieved either two pellets (low reward) or eight pellets (high reward) during memory encoding. Novelty exploration. The mice underwent seven sessions of habituation to the box with sawdust placed in the event arena. For post-encoding unexpected environmental novelty, the mouse was placed into the centre of the box lined with a novel floor surface and allowed to explore freely for 5 min. Microinfusion/injection of drugs. To help reduce any stress, all drugs were infused in the home cages. The stylets in the guide cannulae were replaced by a double infusion cannula (33 gauge, Plastics One) connected to two 5-μl microsyringes (WPI) in a microinfusion pump (Native Instruments) via flexible plastic tubing (C232CS, Plastics One) filled with Fluorinert (3 M). The tips of infusion cannulae projected 0.5 mm below the tip of the guide cannulae. For intra-hippocampal microinjection, 0.5 μl of drug per cannula was infused at 0.2 μl min–1 (2.5 min). Infusion cannulas were left in place for a further 2.5 min before being replaced with stylets to aid drug absorption. For intra-VTA microinjection, 0.3 μl was injected at a rate of 0.3 μl min–1 (1 min) followed by 1 min of waiting. The mice were habituated to the experimental procedure of injection and to vehicle injection before the drug test to minimize the potential novelty of the procedure. Mice received drug injection 20 min (hippocampal microinfusions and intraperitoneal injection of clonidine) or 3 min (VTA microinfusions) before the novelty exploration. Drug concentrations. For microinfusions, the concentrations used were 21.1 mM (6.25 μg μl–1) for β-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol ((S)-(−)-propranolol hydrochloride, 295.80 g mol–1; Sigma-Aldrich), 3.1 mM (1 μg μl–1) for D /D receptor antagonist SCH23390 (SCH 23390 hydrochloride, 324.24 g mol–1; Tocris) and 2% w/v for voltage-gated sodium channel blocker lidocaine (lidocaine hydrochloride monohydrate, 288.81 g mol–1; Sigma-Aldrich). α -Adrenoceptor agonist clonidine (clonidine hydrochloride, 266.55 g mol–1; Sigma-Aldrich) was administered intraperitoneally at a dose of 50 μg kg–1 of body weight. We used 0.9% NaCl in H O (saline) as a vehicle and for control infusions. Both vehicle and drug solutions were stored in 100 μl aliquots at −20 °C until use. The mice were extensively habituated to the experimental procedure of photostimulation and to flickering blue light for several weeks before the optogenetic photostimulation test to minimize the potential novelty of the procedure. Laser stimulation, consisting of 20 5-ms pulses of 473-nm light at 25 Hz, delivered every 5 s (average stimulation rate 4 Hz) for the duration of 5 min (Fig. 4b), was performed in home cages using two blue solid-state diode pumped lasers (18–19 mW, Laser 2000) connected to either a dual fibre optic patch cord (for VTA; 0.22 numerical aperture, 200 μm core diameter; Doric Lenses) or two single fibre optic patch cords (for LC; 0.22 numerical aperture, 200 μm, Doric Lenses). Both lasers were synchronously controlled using custom-built LabVIEW software. Apparatus and light stimulation. The behavioural apparatus consisted of a rectangular wooden box with three compartments: a screening chamber with space for the home cage, as well as ‘familiar’ and ‘novel’ chambers (both 30 cm wide × 70 cm long). The apparatus was surrounded by black curtains and light level was kept at 25–35 lx. The floor of the familiar environment was covered in sawdust (the floor substrate of the event arena), and the floor of the novel environment was covered in one of the floor substrates used as novelty in the event arena experiments. Each floor substrate was used only once for each mouse. Unit activity was recorded extracellularly using the implanted custom-built screw-driven microdrive consisting of a 200 μm optic fibre surrounded by four tetrodes (an ‘optetrode’) that protruded 400–800 μm beyond the fibre tip54. Signals were fed through a 16 channel unity gain headstage amplifier (Axona), band-pass filtered at 300–5,000 Hz, amplified 1,000–40,000 times, digitized at 50 kHz and stored for subsequent analysis. Spike capturing was done on-line using amplitude threshold. Recorded neurons were identified as TH+ using Cre-dependent ChR2 expression and low-frequency light stimulation55. Laser stimulation was performed using a blue solid-state diode pumped laser (473 nm, Laser 2000) connected to a fibre optic patch cord (0.22 numerical aperture, 200 μm core diameter), and controlled with the data capturing software (Axona). Epochs of 60 light pulses (1 Hz, 5 ms pulse duration) at different light intensities (0.1–20 mW) were then administered and each tetrode was screened for light-evoked spikes. Spikes were classified as ‘light-evoked’ if their latency from the onset of the light pulse was between 0 and 15 ms, all other spikes being classified as ‘spontaneous’. Units were classified as light-responsive if (a) a cell fired a light-evoked spike in response to more than one third of light pulses, (b) the shape of the mean light-evoked waveform of a unit closely resembled the spontaneous waveform of the same unit. Units with basal firing rates above 20 Hz were excluded from this analysis because of intrinsically high probability of spiking within the 15 ms window after the light pulse. Novelty exploration. Two weeks after surgery, the implanted mice underwent 5 days of habituation to the experimental apparatus and the familiar environment. Following habituation, mice underwent daily screening trials for light-responsive neurons in the home cage. If no light-responsive cells were found, the mouse was allowed to explore the familiar environment for 5 min and was then unplugged. If one or more recording channels showed a light-responsive unit, the mouse was subjected to an ‘exploration’ trial after a 10 min delay (Fig. 2b). The mouse might first be placed in the novel environment for 5 min, followed by 25 min in the home cage and 5 min in the familiar environment; alternatively, the order of novel and familiar exploration was reversed (in a counterbalanced manner). Baseline recording (5 min) was performed in the home cage between two exploration trials. These particular time delays were chosen to mimic timing used in the event arena experiments, where there was a 30 min delay between memory encoding and novelty exploration. The light-sensitive unit was again confirmed in home cage with 1 Hz light stimulation after open field exploration. The microdrive was advanced by ~40 μm at the end of daily session to ensure that recordings are made from a different population of neurons. Recording and analysis. Recorded spikes were clustered using Klusterkwik 1.5 unsupervised clustering algorithm (http://klusta-team.github.io/klustakwik/) on the basis of their energy and first principal component of the waveform. Clusters were then corrected manually using Klusters spike sorting software (http://neurosuite.sourceforge.net/), on the basis of several additional parameters (width of waveform, amplitude, time at peak, auto- and cross-correlograms). Data were analysed using Matlab R2012a (MathWorks). Firing patterns were characterized in terms of firing rate, rate of burst events and firing rate of spikes within bursts. Bursts were defined, using classic criteria56, as trains of two or more spikes with an interspike interval of less than 80 ms, followed by an interspike interval of more than 160 ms. For comparison of novelty modulation in VTA-TH+ and LC-TH+ neurons, firing rates of individual neurons in the novel and familiar environments were binned in 10-s bins and normalized to the average home cage firing rate of all identified neurons in respective brain areas. For additional analysis of the novelty modulation, binned firing rates of individual neurons in the novel environment were z-scored to their respective firing rates in the familiar environment. Under deep pentobarbital anaesthesia (100 mg kg–1 of body weight, intraperitoneally), the mice were fixed transcardially with 4% paraformaldehyde in 0.1 M sodium phosphate buffer, pH 7.2, post-fixed in the same fixative for 24 h, and placed in 30% sucrose in phosphate buffer. Sections of fixed brains (30 μm in thickness) were prepared using a freezing microtome (SM2000R, Leica Microsystems) for immunohistochemistry. Immunofluorescence. Antibodies used included: goat anti-GFP57, guinea-pig anti-NET58 and mouse anti-TH (AB152, Millipore). eYFP was visualized by anti-GFP immunostaining. All immunohistochemical incubations were done at room temperature. Sections were incubated successively with 10% normal donkey serum for 20 min, a mixture of primary antibodies overnight (1 μg ml–1), and a mixture of Alexa Fluor 488-, Cy3- or Cy5-labelled species-specific secondary antibodies (Invitrogen; Jackson ImmunoResearch) for 2 h at a dilution of 1:200. Fluorescent in situ hybridization. Brains were freshly obtained under deep diethyl ether anaesthesia and immediately frozen in powdered dry ice. Fresh-frozen sections (20 μm) were cut on a cryostat (CM1900, Leica Microsystems). All sections were mounted on silane-coated glass slides. Mouse cDNA fragments of TH (bases 1–1025; GenBank accession number AY855842), and NET (bases 124–814, MMU76306) were subcloned into the pBluescript II plasmid vector. Digoxigenin- or fluorescein-labelled cRNA probes were transcribed in vitro for fluorescent in situ hybridization59. Image acquisition and data analysis. Images were taken with a confocal laser-scanning microscope (FV1200, Olympus) equipped with diode laser lines, and UPlanSApo (20×, numerical aperture 0.75) and PlanApoN (60×, numerical aperture 1.4, oil-immersion) objective lenses (Olympus). To avoid cross talk between multiple fluorophores, Alexa Fluor 488, Cy3, and Alexa Fluor 647 fluorescent signals were acquired sequentially using the 473, 559, and 647 nm excitation laser lines, respectively. All images show single optical sections. For quantification of anterograde tracing, we obtained images with a 20× objective and then created images of the entire hippocampus with a Fluoview image stitching software (Olympus). For analysis, the separate colour components were converted to greyscale, and the area of eYFP- and TH-positive elements were measured with Integrated Morphometry Analysis module (MetaMorph software, Molecular Devices). Hippocampal slice preparation. Thick coronal slices (300 μm) containing the hippocampus were cut from Th-Cre transgenic mice52 expressing AAV2 ChR2–eYFP in LC (8–12 weeks old) in low light conditions to prevent unwanted ChR2 activation. Animals were anaesthetized under 1.5–2% isoflurane, and the brains removed and blocked following rapid decapitation. Hippocampal slices were prepared using a vibratome (VT 1000S, Leica Microsystems) in ice cold N-methyl-d-Glucosamine (NMDG) ringer solution (in mM): 5 NaCl, 57 NMDG, 37.5 Na-pyruvate, 12.5 Na-lactate, 5 Na-ascorbate, 2.5 KCl, 1.25 NaH PO , 25 NaHCO , 25 glucose, 10 MgSO ·7H O, 0.5 CaCl ·2H O, the pH was set between 7.3 and 7.4 using 12 N HCl, the osmolarity was adjusted as needed to 315 mOsm using glucose and the solution was bubbled with 95% O and 5% CO gas. Slices were maintained in NMDG ringer at room temperature for no longer than 15 min and then transferred to artificial cerebrospinal fluid (in mM): 125 NaCl, 2.5 KCl, 1.25 NaH PO , 1.3 MgCl , 2 CaCl , 25 NaHCO and 25 dextrose continuously bubbled with 95% O and 5% CO gas, where they were kept up to 6 h, protected from light, for experimentation. One slice per animal was used. Ex vivo whole-cell recordings. Slices were transferred to a submersion recording chamber and were perfused with artificial cerebrospinal fluid at a rate of 1–2 ml min−1 at 26–29 °C. EPSC recordings were performed with GABA receptor antagonist picrotoxin (602.58 g mol–1; Sigma-Aldrich) at a concentration of 50 μM and D receptor antagonist eticlopride (eticlopride hydrochloride, 377.31 g mol–1; Sigma-Aldrich) at a concentration of 100 nM in the bath. A borosilicate glass electrode (3–5 MΩ), pulled with a horizontal pipet puller (P-97), was filled with Cs-methanesulfonate pipet solution (in mM): 110 CsMeSO , 15 CsCl, 8 NaCl, 2 EGTA, 10 HEPES, 3 QX-314, 2 ATP and 0.3 GTP adjusted to 295 mOsm and pH 7.3. Whole-cell pyramidal cell recordings from area CA1 were acquired using a combination of visualized and blind patch techniques. Cells were held at −60 mV using a multiclamp 700B amplifier (Molecular Devices). A bipolar stimulating electrode (FHC) was placed in the stratum radiatum region of dorsal CA1 within 100–200 μm of the recording electrode and stimulation (delivered at a rate of 0.2 Hz) was set to elicit current responses of 50–150 pA. Data were acquired and analysed automatically using P-Clamp 10 (Molecular Devices). Recordings were discarded if the series resistance varied by more than 20% or if the initial holding current exceeded 70 pA. Following a 5 min baseline acquisition, hippocampal slices were given a 470-nm light stimulus (consisting of three trains delivered every 2 min, of 60 5-ms pulses, applied at 18 Hz (Extended Data Fig. 7b)) through the 40× objective lenses. Following the light stimulus, baseline stimulation resumed. Ex vivo field recordings. Slices were transferred to a submersion chamber and were perfused with artificial cerebrospinal fluid at a rate of ~2 ml min−1 at 29–31 °C. Field recordings from the stratum radiatum of dorsal CA1 were acquired using a borosilicate glass electrode (1–3 MΩ) filled with artificial cerebrospinal fluid. A bipolar stimulating electrode was also placed in the stratum radiatum of CA1 within 100–200 μm of the recording electrode and stimulation (one stimulus every 30 s) was set to elicit a fEPSP slope that was ~50% of the maximum value. A stable 15 min baseline was obtained, followed by 10 more min of baseline stimulation with or without simultaneous optogenetic stimulation of LC-TH+ axons. Photostimulation consisting of four trains, at a 1 s interval, consisting of four 10-ms pulses of 470-nm light at 16 Hz, delivered every 30 s for the duration of 10 min (Extended Data Fig. 7c), was applied through the 10× objective (directly before the Schaffer collateral stimulus). After the 25 min baseline, a weak theta-burst tetanus was applied consisting of four trains, at a 100 ms interval, consisting of three pulses at 50 Hz (12 pulses in total). Baseline stimulation then resumed as described above for 45 min. Every two traces were averaged to reduce variability. Data were acquired and analysed automatically using P-Clamp 10. Ex vivo pharmacology. Where indicated, the following drugs were bath applied: α-adrenoceptor antagonist prazosin (prazosin hydrochloride, 419.86 g mol–1; Sigma-Aldrich) at a concentration of 30 μM, β-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol ((S)-(−)-propranolol hydrochloride, 295.80 g mol–1; Sigma-Aldrich) at a concentration of 30 μM, D /D receptor antagonist SCH 39166 (SCH 39166 hydrochloride, 394.73 g mol–1; Tocris) at a concentration of 100 nM (intracellular recordings, n = 2) and D /D receptor antagonist SCH 23390 (SCH 23390 hydrochloride, 324.24 g mol–1; Tocris) at a concentration of 100 nM (intracellular recordings, n = 3) or 1 μM (extracellular recordings). Anaesthesia was induced using isoflurane for LC optrode recording as described above or with 4.8% chloral hydrate for VTA recording (induction: 480 mg kg–1 body weight, intraperitoneally; maintenance: 120 mg kg–1 body weight, intraperitoneally). Recordings were made using a 125 μm 1 MΩ tungsten electrode (A-M systems). This electrode was connected to a differential AC amplifier (A-M Systems), signals were band-pass filtered at 300 Hz to 5 kHz, amplified 10,000 times and digitized at 20 kHz. Spiking activity was defined as spikes that exceed five standard deviations from the mean value of the baseline signal (1 min before laser stimulation (LC) or drug infusion (VTA)). Multi-unit activity in each trace was then normalized to the pre-stimulation (LC) or pre-infusion (VTA) baseline. LC optrode recording. The tungsten electrode was coupled to an optic fibre (0.22 numerical aperture, 200 μm core diameter) (an ‘optrode’). This optrode was positioned above LC (AP, −5.45 mm; ML, 1.00 mm; and DV, −2.80 mm), and was then gradually lowered in 50 μm increments until multi-unit activity was observed. Laser stimulation was performed using a green solid-state diode pumped laser (532 nm, Laser 2000) with 10–20 mW output from the fibre. For quantification of eArch3.0 recordings, baseline was measured over 30 s before the start of illumination (Pre), level of inhibition was measured over 5 min light on period (LC-on), rebound activity was measured over 1 min after the end of illumination (rebound) and post-inhibition baseline was measured 4–5 min after the end of illumination (Post). VTA recording with pharmacology. The drug cannula (33 gauge, Plastics One) was positioned in the VTA at 14° angle to sagittal plane (AP, −3.52 mm; ML, 0.48 mm; and DV, −4.40 mm) and the recording electrode was positioned vertically at the boundary of the VTA. For intra-VTA microinjection of lidocaine, infusion parameters were the same as those used in the behavioural experiment as described above. For quantification, pre-infusion baseline was measured over 30 s before the start of infusion (Pre), level of inhibition was measured 3–8 min after the start of infusion (Lid)—the period that corresponds to novelty exploration, and post-inhibition baseline was measured 17–18 min after the start of injection (Post). Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS version 19 (IBM). All data are expressed as mean ± s.e.m. Statistical significance was always determined by ANOVAs, before orthogonal comparisons where possible or Tukey’s HSD tests as appropriate to correct for multiple comparisons, paired t-tests and one-sample t-tests. All statistical tests were two-tailed. Analysis of probe test performance was done on the basis on the ‘% correct dig time’ score. In the pharmacological inactivation experiment (Fig. 6), three animals that persistently failed to show any novelty-induced memory enhancement in all control conditions (all 24-h probe test scores (% correct dig) in the ‘novelty with vehicle’ condition at below chance level, that is, <20%) were eliminated from the whole data set before statistical analysis (leaving n = 15). The rationale for this was that it was not possible to measure the impact of pharmacological manipulations on the novelty effect in animals that are not susceptible to it, the existence of the novelty effect having been established in the first cohort of mice (Fig. 1b). All source data for the preparation of graphs and statistical analysis are presented online. All other relevant data that support the conclusions of the study are available from the authors on request.


News Article | December 16, 2015
Site: www.materialstoday.com

Dear authors, reviewers, readers of The Journal of Nuclear Materials In January 2016, the Journal of Nuclear Materials will go through a very important editorial transition. Dr Louis Mansur, who has been an editor and then the Chairman of the Editors for over 25 years will be stepping down. For the past eighteen month, I have been working to prepare for this transition. I want to take this opportunity to thanks the current editorial team again for their service to the journal and the nuclear materials community: Drs Louis Mansur (ORNL, USA), Roger Stoller(ORNL, USA), Takeo Muroga (NIFS, Japan), Toru Ogawa (Nagaoka University of Technology, Japan), Malcolm Griffiths (CNL, Canada) and Stephane Gin (CEA, France). It is my pleasure to announce that Prof. Gary Was from the University of Michigan will be assuming the role of Editor-in-Chief. He will lead a core team of Senior Editors along side Prof. Steve Zinkle, UT/ORNL Governor's Chair at the University of Tennessee, Prof. Shigeharu Ukai from Hokkaido University and Dr. David Petti from Idaho National Laboratory. Each of the Senior Editors will be supported by a team of 2–3 Associate Editors. The current list of Associate editor is K. Fukuya (Institute of Nuclear Engineering, Fukui, Japan), Q. Huang (Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology, CAS, China), M. Preuss (University of Manchester, UK), N. Dacheux (Université de Montpellier / CEA, France), L. Snead (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA),Y. Dai (Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland), Jean-Paul Crocombette (CEA France), Lorenzo Malerba (SCK-CEN, Belgium), with C. Stanek (LANL, USA) expected to join very soon. The overall editorial team should comprise 12 members as of 1st January 2016, with an expectation that it will grow to 13 in the first months of 2016. The team therefore encompassed a broad expertise on the various topics of interest to the journal. This extended editorial team will allow us to develop a strategy to better serve the nuclear materials community. We expect that most of the editors will be present at the forthcoming NuMAT 16 conference in Montpellier in November 2016, and please make your way to the conference if you wish to meet and exchange your views with them.


News Article | April 13, 2016
Site: phys.org

Researchers from Guangzhou Medical University said they used a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR to artificially induce a mutation in human cells and make them resistant to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Their paper, which appeared last week in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, is only the world's second published account of gene editing in human embryos. Critics said the study—intended as a proof-of-principle exercise—was unnecessary and lacked medical justification, and strongly cautioned against the broader ethical implications of the slippery slope of human genome modification. "This paper doesn't look like it offers much more than anecdotal evidence that (CRISPR) works in human embryos, which we already knew," George Daley, a stem-cell biologist at Children's Hospital Boston, told the prominent science journal Nature. It demonstrated that "the science is going forward before there's been the general consensus after deliberation that such an approach is medically warranted", he added. Tetsuya Ishii, a bioethicist at Japan's Hokkaido University, denounced the research as "just playing with human embryos", Nature said. In a statement issued by the hospital where they carried out their research, the Guangzhou team brushed aside such concerns, focusing instead on the "incalculable" size of the future market for disease treatments. "The assessments of those outside the field are not authoritative, and the research environment will continue to evolve," they said. "For us what is most important is that we diligently complete our research and stick to the path we believe in, acquiring independent intellectual property rights... so that we do not have to defer to others." Such perseverance, they said will ensure "our own position in the international community", adding: "The future market for the treatment of diseases through gene editing is incalculable." Speaking to China's state-run Global Times newspaper, the paper's lead author Fan Yong said: "It is the pioneers that will make the rules in this field." Han Bin, the director of China's National Center for Gene Research, told the paper—which often takes a nationalistic tone—that the technology's potential therapeutic benefits for all diseases caused by inherited variation, including cancer, should outweigh any qualms. Instead of following other countries' ethical stances, China should formulate its own standards and regulations, the Global Times cited him as saying. China is quickly cementing a reputation as a leader in the fields of genetic research and cloning, showing a willingness to forge ahead even as others hesitate over ethical issues. The world's biggest cloning factory is under construction in the northern port of Tianjin, with plans to churn out everything from pets to premium beef cattle. The chief executive of Boyalife Group, the Chinese firm behind it, told AFP his company had technology advanced enough to replicate humans. The head of its South Korean partner has been quoted as saying it preferred mainland locations to avoid bioethics laws elsewhere that would ban the use of human eggs. The Guangzhou Medical University study used flawed embryos not viable for fertility treatment, and had been approved by the university's ethics committee. Four out of the 26 embryos were successfully modified, while a number exhibited unexpected mutations. All of them were destroyed three days later. "The purpose of this study was to evaluate the technology and establish principles for the introduction of precise genetic modifications in early human embryos," the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics paper read. The legality of human embryo research varies by country, and there is no international consensus on what ought to be allowed. In the US, the influential National Institutes of Health are banned from funding such studies, while Britain's independent fertility regulator only issued its first licence for human embryo modification research in February, for a study on infertility and miscarriages.


News Article | December 8, 2015
Site: phys.org

The clusters are of special interest because they're expected to improve catalytic activities such as automotive exhaust reactions and electrochemical reactions. The researchers wanted to study how the clusters interact with the surface of different materials and how their sizes affect the behavior - both effects which can be observed using a technique called polarization-dependent total reflection fluorescence (PRTF) X-ray absorption fine-structure spectroscopy (XAFS). The technique requires powerful X-rays which can only be produced in a select few light source facilities. The problem for the research team was that labs capable of XAFS measurements are far from the labs with the atomically precise cluster deposition system needed to make the clusters. The platinum clusters are also extremely air-sensitive, and are harmed by exposure to the atmosphere. To outmaneuver these challenges, researchers from Toyota Central R&D Labs, Hokkaido University, and AVC Co. collaborated to develop an ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) storage system. As they report in AVS' Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A, their "suitcase under UHV conditions" makes it much easier to carry and transport samples from one scientific facility to another via public transportation. Among its key features, the system is designed to be accessible by two different sample manipulation systems. "The sample can receive a flag-style sample plate via a pincer-grip type of wobble stick and a 'key' type of tip-transfer rod," explained Yoshihide Watanabe, the paper's lead author and program manager of the Quantum Controlled Catalysis Program at the Frontier Research Center, part of Toyota Central R&D Labs in Aichi, Japan. Samples are protected from vibration during transport inside the "special travel suitcase" and outfitted with vacuum conditions within the sample chamber guaranteed to last at least 72 hours, during which time an ion pump is powered by battery. As many as three samples can be stored and transported at the same time. "Our vertically arrayed design minimizes the required diameter," said Watanabe. "And our compact sample holder 'stacker' enables a reduction in the size of the portable UHV sample storage system for public transportation." The significance of the group's work is that their portable UHV sample storage system now makes it possible to easily transfer samples between the cluster deposition chamber and PTRF-XAFS measurement chamber under UHV conditions. Samples for this work were prepared at Toyota Central R&D Labs in Nagakute, Japan, while the PRRF-XAFS measurements were performed at the Photon Factory at the Institute of Materials Structure Science in Tsukuba, Japan. The distance between these facilities is roughly 400 kilometers (248.5 miles), so the group put their system to the test via high-speed train. "It's possible to travel with the system by high-speed train, bus, and taxi, but it would probably be difficult to travel with it via airplane because of the high level of security checks before boarding," Watanabe noted. "But it's a great advantage to be able to carry three samples at once via high-speed train to reduce the travel time involved." The group's system will be useful for materials analysis using synchrotron X-ray or particle beams for other air-sensitive materials after minor remodeling. The "key and keyhole" sample manipulating system, which is equipped with a 90-degree rotation lock supported by a coiled spring, enables flexible manipulation and then quick, easy release of the sample holder. "We anticipate that our portable UHV sample storage system with a key and keyhole sample manipulating system will find widespread use as a standard system for UHV XAFS measurements—enabling experiments at any light source in the world," said Watanabe. Explore further: Controlling car pollution at the quantum level More information: "Portable ultrahigh-vacuum sample storage system for polarization-dependent total-reflection fluorescence x-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy," by Yoshihide Watanabe, Yusaku F. Nishimura, Ryo Suzuki, Hiromitsu Uehara, Tomoyuki Nimura, Atshushi Beniya, Noritake Isomura, Kiyotaka Asakura and Satoru Takakusagi, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A , Dec. 8, 2015. DOI: 10.1116/1.4936344


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.technologyreview.com

Since its invention four years ago, a powerful and precise technology for editing DNA called CRISPR has transformed science because of how it makes altering the genetic makeup of plants and animals easier than ever before. But no possibility opened by gene-editing technology has been so exciting, frightening, or as hotly contested as its capacity to allow humanity, for the first time, to control the genetic constitution of children by applying CRISPR to human embryos, sperm, or eggs—cells which together make up the “germ line.” On Tuesday, in a striking acknowledgement that humanity is on the cusp of genetically modified children, a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation’s source of blue-ribbon advice on science policy, recommended that germ-line modification of human beings be permitted in the future in certain narrow circumstances to prevent the birth of children with serious diseases. "Heritable germline genome editing trials must be approached with caution, but caution does not mean that they must be prohibited," according to a 216-page report released today and which was researched and written over the course of a year by a 22-member panel of prominent scientists and experts. The recommendations came freighted with moral and technical caveats, however. The panel believes it will be many years before germ-line engineering is safe enough to consider. The panel also said it should proceed only under “stringent oversight,” and drew a bright line between preventing disease and “enhancements” like attempting to alter genes to make people more intelligent, which it said should not be pursued “at this time.” Despite the cautious language, the panel’s endorsement of GM humans could prove politically explosive, and puts the academy’s experts in conflict with existing legislation in Europe and the U.S. as well as with swaths of the public who oppose the idea of modifying the human genome from birth out of religious conviction or for other reasons. Germ-line modification is already prohibited as a practical matter in the U.S. In 2015, pro-life legislators added a rider to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services appropriations bill, which forbids the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from considering any proposal to create genetically modified offspring. The legislation, which has to be renewed periodically, means that any proposal to modify an embryo and create a child would be ignored and could not legally proceed in the U.S. In contrast, the academy panel argued that germ-line editing should be allowed in narrow cases where it is the only option for “preventing a serious disease or condition.”  For instance, a couple who each suffers from beta thalassemia might only have healthy children free from the inherited blood disorder if they were able to produce embryos in which the genetic defect was corrected using gene editing. The report acknowledges that such circumstances might be exceedingly rare. “They show a narrow but clear path to future clinical use,” says Tetsuya Ishii, a bioethicist at Hokkaido University in Japan who tracks global legislation on germ-line modification. He says the report also provides a justification for laboratory research already occurring in China, Sweden, and the U.K. in which gene-editing is being applied to human embryos to explore its potential. “They want to show that basic research toward severe disease prevention would be permissible,” he says. The report’s authors struggled with how legitimate medical applications could be encouraged while still preventing “a slippery slope toward less compelling or even antisocial uses” like enhancement of height, looks, or intelligence. The report’s authors addressed that problem by arguing that no form of germ-line editing should be allowed if a country’s regulators can’t also guarantee the technology won’t be misused for “enhancement” of human beings. “They have said there is one narrow corner, a tiny fraction of cases, where it might be the right thing to do,” says Eric Lander, head of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which has invested heavily in developing CRISPR technology. “What is fascinating is their argument that if we can’t control where it goes from there, we shouldn’t do it at all.” It’s not clear how such a policy, which Lander calls “the ‘no slippery slopes’ recommendation,” would be implemented. Other technologies considered dangerous, like nuclear weapons, are monitored by a complex combination of technical bodies, international diplomacy, sanctions, and military threats. Lander says the Broad Institute is “uneasy” with germ-line therapy. It controls more than a dozen patents on CRISPR, which it has licensed to biotech companies, but with a requirement they don’t use it for germ-line modification. “We didn’t want to be licensing technology for germ-line editing ahead of society reaching consensus and we are still very far from a consensus,” Lander says. The report draws a sharp distinction between modifying embryos and modifying the DNA of adults and children. The latter process, known as gene therapy, is already a well-established part of medical research, does not raise the same ethical questions, and should proceed without new restrictions. Scientists are now racing to apply CRISPR as an even more effective way to perform gene therapy on adults, including to treat cancer and muscular dystrophy. In the case of editing human embryos, the line between avoiding serious disease and enhancement may eventually prove to be a blurry one. In addition to preventing the transmission of known genetic diseases like beta thalassemia or cystic fibrosis, the report’s authors said their positive recommendation could also apply to genetic improvements that would act like a vaccine, making people less susceptible to HIV infection or cancer. For instance, people with a certain version of a gene called ApoE are much less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. The report’s authors said that swapping in a “protective” version of ApoE or another gene to an embryo might also be considered acceptable if it prevents disease. “We do not view prevention as a form of enhancement,” says R. Alta Charo, a University of Wisconsin bioethicist who co-chaired the panel. “But whether it’s permissible is up to regulators.” She says the group intentionally did not list specific diseases or situations where germ-line modification should be used. Controlling the technology could prove difficult. One worry is that doctors and scientists will go overseas to countries with permissive rules, or no rules, to attempt it. That is already occurring with a related technique known as mitochondrial transfer, which involves the transfer of DNA-bearing structures between eggs. Last year, a New York fertility doctor treated an American woman in Mexico using the procedure. Most reports of the academy quickly end up on bookshelves and are of interest to only a few experts. But George Annas, a bioethicist at Boston University, says this one has the potential to be politically explosive because of how it presents the right of parents to use germ-line modification as a “procreative liberty” such as abortion. “The scientists are saying this is all a question of risk benefit analysis, versus saying, 'No, it’s just wrong to do,'” says Annas. He thinks the committee “underestimates” public discomfort with the idea. “It’s like torture—some people think we should never do it, other people say, 'No, no, if it works, then it’s okay.' Designer babies is a lot like that.” Charo says her panel did not consider the political ramifications of its findings. “We looked at these questions without considering what happens in the political sphere. That is a moving target,” she says. “That is beyond us.”


CLEVELAND, Feb. 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Athersys, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATHX) announced today a presentation featuring its MultiStem® cell therapy treatment for ischemic stroke at the International Stroke Conference 2017 this week in Houston. Dr. Kiyohiro Houkin, Professor and Chairman at Department of Neurosurgery of Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, and Director of Hokkaido University Hospital, will present an overview of the Treatment Evaluation of Acute Stroke Using Regenerative Cell Elements (TREASURE) study, which is the Phase II/III trial of MultiStem (HLCM051) being conducted by HEALIOS K.K. in Japan. Athersys and Healios entered into a license agreement in January 2016 and have been collaborating on the development and commercialization of MultiStem for the treatment of stroke in Japan. Athersys completed a Phase II clinical study (MASTERS-1) of its proprietary MultiStem cell therapy for the treatment of ischemic stroke and is currently preparing for a registrational Phase III study that will be conducted in the U.S., Europe and Canada. Dr. Houkin’s presentation entitled, Treatment Evaluation of Acute Stroke Using Regenerative Cell Elements (TREASURE): A Randomized Controlled Phase II/III Trial of MultiStem (HLCM051), will take place during the session beginning at 6:15 PM CST today at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Hall E. “We are very excited to be commencing this clinical trial at Hokkaido University Hospital and then at other leading stroke centers across Japan,” said Dr. Houkin. “The need for safe, effective and clinically-practical treatments for ischemic stroke patients has never been greater. Based on the clinical results from the recently completed MASTERS-1 Phase II clinical study, many believe that innovative treatments like MultiStem cell therapy hold great promise for treating the devastating effects of a stroke and helping patients recover more effectively. Given the rapidly expanding aging population both in Japan and globally, safe and effective treatments that can reach a greater number of stroke victims could make a significant difference for many patients and their families.” In conjunction with the ISC 2017 conference, Athersys also announced an informational video featuring former NFL player and stroke survivor Tedy Bruschi. Available for viewing at https://www.youtube.com/user/AllianceRegenMed, the video focuses on the potential of increasing the post-ischemic stroke treatment window while chronicling the challenges facing doctors with today’s limited options. CBS broadcaster Solomon Wilcots moderates the video that includes stories of both Bruschi and a Houston stroke survivor who participated in the MASTERS-1 study. The International Stroke Conference is the world’s premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease. Clinical Sessions focus on community risk factors; emergency care; acute neuroimaging; acute endovascular and acute nonendovascular treatment; diagnosis of stroke etiology; cerebral large artery disease; in-hospital treatment; clinical rehabilitation and recovery; and health services, quality improvement, and patient-centered outcomes. Basic Science Sessions focus on vascular biology in health and disease; basic and preclinical neuroscience of stroke recovery; and experimental mechanisms and models. Further specialized topics include pediatric stroke; intracerebral hemorrhage; nursing; preventive strategies; vascular cognitive impairment; aneurysms; subarachnoid hemorrhage; neurocritical care; vascular malformations; and ongoing clinical trials. Presentations on these topics attract a wide range of healthcare professionals and investigators including adult and pediatric neurologists; neurosurgeons; neuroradiologists and interventional radiologists; physiatrists; emergency medicine specialists; primary care physicians; hospitalists; nurses and nurse practitioners; rehabilitation specialists; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; pharmacists; and basic researchers spanning the fields of cerebrovascular function and disease. MultiStem cell therapy is a patented regenerative medicine product that has shown the ability to promote tissue repair and healing in a variety of ways, such as through the production of therapeutic factors produced in response to signals of inflammation and tissue damage.  MultiStem therapy’s potential for multidimensional therapeutic impact distinguishes it from traditional biopharmaceutical therapies focused on a single mechanism of benefit. The product represents a unique "off-the-shelf" stem cell product that can be manufactured in a scalable manner, may be stored for years in frozen form, and is administered without tissue matching or the need for immune suppression. Based upon its efficacy profile, its novel mechanisms of action, and a favorable and consistent safety profile demonstrated in both preclinical and clinical settings, MultiStem therapy could provide a meaningful benefit to patients, including those suffering from serious diseases and conditions with unmet medical need. Athersys has forged strategic partnerships and a broad network of collaborations to develop MultiStem cell therapy for a variety of indications, with an initial focus in the neurological, cardiovascular and inflammatory and immune disorder areas. Athersys is an international biotechnology company engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutic product candidates designed to extend and enhance the quality of human life. The Company is developing its MultiStem® cell therapy product, a patented, adult-derived "off-the-shelf" stem cell product, initially for disease indications in the neurological, cardiovascular, inflammatory and immune disease areas, and has several ongoing clinical trials evaluating this potential regenerative medicine product. Athersys has forged strategic partnerships and collaborations with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as world-renowned research institutions to further develop its platform and products. More information is available at www.athersys.com. This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements relate to, among other things, the expected timetable for development of our product candidates, our growth strategy, and our future financial performance, including our operations, economic performance, financial condition, prospects, and other future events. We have attempted to identify forward-looking statements by using such words as "anticipates," "believes," "can," "continue," "could," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "may," "plans," "potential," "should," “suggest,” "will," or other similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are only predictions and are largely based on our current expectations. A number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors could affect the accuracy of these statements. Some of the more significant known risks that we face that could cause actual results to differ materially from those implied by forward-looking statements are the risks and uncertainties inherent in the process of discovering, developing, and commercializing products that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics, such as the uncertainty regarding market acceptance of our product candidates and our ability to generate revenues, including MultiStem for the treatment of ischemic stroke, acute myocardial infarction, spinal cord injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome and other disease indications, including graft-versus-host disease. These risks may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to differ materially from any future results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Other important factors to consider in evaluating our forward-looking statements include: the success of our collaboration with Healios and others, including our ability to reach milestones and receive milestone payments, and whether any products are successfully developed and sold so that we earn royalty payments; our possible inability to realize commercially valuable discoveries in our collaborations with pharmaceutical and other biotechnology companies; our collaborators' ability to continue to fulfill their obligations under the terms of our collaboration agreements; the success of our efforts to enter into new strategic partnerships or collaborations and advance our programs; our ability to raise additional capital; results from our MultiStem ongoing and planned clinical trials, including the MASTERS-2 Phase 3 clinical trial and the Healios TREASURE clinical trial in Japan; the possibility of delays in, adverse results of, and excessive costs of the development process; our ability to successfully initiate and complete clinical trials within the expected time frame or at all; changes in external market factors; changes in our industry's overall performance; changes in our business strategy; our ability to protect our intellectual property portfolio; our possible inability to execute our strategy due to changes in our industry or the economy generally; changes in productivity and reliability of suppliers; and the success of our competitors and the emergence of new competitors. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements contained in this press release, and we undertake no obligation to publicly update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


Iba T.,Juntendo University | Gando S.,Hokkaido University | Thachil J.,Royal Infirmary
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis | Year: 2014

The current management of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is based on aggressive treatment of the underlying condition and resuscitation with appropriate blood products. Anticoagulant therapy has appeared and disappeared in the different guidelines and important documents detailing the treatment of DIC. For example, Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) guidelines, the 'global standard' for the management of severe sepsis, had recombinant activated protein C highly recommended in the original version, but this was withdrawn in the latest version due to the lack of evidence. In contrast, recent international guidance released from the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis has introduced the potential efficacy of other agents. In sepsis-related DIC, the basis for anticoagulant therapy comes from the mounting evidence for the anti-inflammatory effects which these agents possess and can prove beneficial in septic situations. Several studies have clearly shown the important cross-talk between coagulation and inflammation in patients with sepsis. More recently, neutrophil extracellular traps and damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), especially histones, have been demonstrated to play a crucial role in the coagulopathy of sepsis. Once again, the natural anticoagulants have an important function in neutralizing the effects of DAMPs and histones. In this review, in addition to examining the important role of anticoagulants in the septic milieu, the clinical studies examining antithrombin, recombinant thrombomodulin and plasma-derived activated protein C are detailed. However, large-scale randomized controlled trials are yet to be performed, with important consideration of the timing, dosage and duration of treatment. © 2014 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis.


Irie M.,Rikkyo University | Fukaminato T.,Hokkaido University | Matsuda K.,Kyoto University | Kobatake S.,Osaka City University
Chemical Reviews | Year: 2014

Chemical bond rearrangement during the phototransformation induces electronic as well as geometrical structure changes of the molecules. The molecular structure changes can be applied to various photonic devices. The electronic structure changes can be applied to optical memory media and various photoswitching devices. On the other hand, the geometrical structure changes can be applied to light-driven actuators and others. The photochromic diarylethene was serendipitously discovered during the course of study on photoresponsive polymers a quarter of a century ago. Various types of polymers having photoisomerizable chromophores, such as spiropyran, azobenzene, or stilbene, in the side or main chains, have been prepared in an attempt to change their conformation by photoirradiation.


Gando S.,Hokkaido University | Wada H.,Mie University | Thachil J.,Royal Infirmary
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis | Year: 2013

Two concepts have been proposed for the hemostatic changes occurring early after trauma. Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) with the fibrinolytic phenotype is characterized by activation of the coagulation pathways, insufficient anticoagulant mechanisms and increased fibrinolysis. Coagulopathy of trauma and acute coagulopathy of trauma-shock (COT/ACOTS) occurs as a result of increased activation of the thrombomodulin and protein C pathways, leading to the suppression of coagulation and activation of fibrinolysis. Despite the differences between these two conditions, independent consideration of COT/ACOTS from DIC with the fibrinolytic phenotype is probably incorrect. Robust diagnostic criteria based on its pathophysiology are required to establish COT/ACOTS as a new independent disease concept. In addition, the independency of its characteristics, laboratory data, time courses and prognosis from DIC should be confirmed. Confusion between two concepts may be based on studies of trauma lacking the following: (i) a clear distinction of the properties of blood between the inside and outside of vessels, (ii) a clear distinction between physiologic and pathologic hemostatic changes, (iii) attention to the time courses of the changes in hemostatic parameters, (iv) unification of the study population, and (v) recognition that massive bleeding is not synonymous with coagulation disorders. More information is needed to elucidate the pathogenesis of these two entities, DIC with the fibrinolytic phenotype and COT/ACOTS after trauma. However, available data suggest that COT/ACOTS is not a new concept but a disease entity similar to or the same as DIC with the fibrinolytic phenotype. © 2013 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis.


Ikari M.J.,University of Bremen | Kameda J.,Hokkaido University | Saffer D.M.,Pennsylvania State University | Kopf A.J.,University of Bremen
Earth and Planetary Science Letters | Year: 2015

The 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake demonstrated that the shallowest reaches of plate boundary subduction megathrusts can host substantial coseismic slip that generates large and destructive tsunamis, contrary to the common assumption that the frictional properties of unconsolidated clay-rich sediments at depths less than ~5km should inhibit rupture. We report on laboratory shearing experiments at low sliding velocities (<1mm/s) using borehole samples recovered during IODP Expedition 343 (JFAST), spanning the plate-boundary décollement within the region of large coseismic slip during the Tohoku earthquake. We show that at sub-seismic slip rates the fault is weak (sliding friction μs=0.2-0.26), in contrast to the much stronger wall rocks (μs>~0.5). The fault is weak due to elevated smectite clay content and is frictionally similar to a pelagic clay layer of similar composition. The higher cohesion of intact wall rock samples coupled with their higher amorphous silica content suggests that the wall rock is stronger due to diagenetic cementation and low clay content. Our measurements also show that the strongly developed in-situ fabric in the fault zone does not contribute to its frictional weakness, but does lead to a near-cohesionless fault zone, which may facilitate rupture propagation by reducing shear strength and surface energy at the tip of the rupture front. We suggest that the shallow rupture and large coseismic slip during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake was facilitated by a weak and cohesionless fault combined with strong wall rocks that drive localized deformation within a narrow zone. © 2014 Elsevier B.V..


Teramoto H.,Hokkaido University | Toda M.,Nara Women's University | Komatsuzaki T.,Hokkaido University
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2011

Questions of how the nature of a reaction coordinate that dominates the reaction ceases to exist and whether some new features emerge as an increase of total energy of systems are investigated for many degrees of freedom Hamiltonian systems. As a model system, a hydrogen atom in crossed electric and magnetic fields is scrutinized. It is shown that, when the total energy increases, the reaction coordinate no longer dominates the reaction as did at the lower energies. In turn, a new reaction coordinate emerges, connecting totally different reactant and product states. Furthermore, depending on which parts of the phase space the system traverses through the saddle, the system nonuniformly experiences the switching of the reaction coordinate leading to the different product state. The universal mechanism of the cessation and the switching of the reaction coordinate at high energy regimes above the saddle is investigated. © 2011 American Physical Society.


Takabatake T.,Hiroshima University | Suekuni K.,Hiroshima University | Nakayama T.,Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems | Nakayama T.,Tongji University | And 2 more authors.
Reviews of Modern Physics | Year: 2014

Type-I clathrate compounds have attracted a great deal of interest in connection with the search for efficient thermoelectric materials. These compounds constitute networked cages consisting of nanoscale tetrakaidecahedrons (14-hedrons) and dodecahedrons (12-hedrons), in which the group-1 or -2 elements in the periodic table are encaged as so-called rattling guest atoms. It is remarkable that, although these compounds have a crystalline cubic structure, they exhibit glasslike phonon thermal conductivity over the whole temperature range depending on the states of rattling guest atoms in the tetrakaidecahedron. In addition, these compounds show unusual glasslike specific heats and terahertz-frequency phonon dynamics, providing a remarkable broad peak almost identical to those observed in amorphous materials or structural glasses, the so-called boson peak. An efficient thermoelectric effect is realized in compounds showing these glasslike characteristics. In this decade, a number of experimental works dealing with type-I clathrate compounds have been published. These are diffraction, thermal, and spectroscopic experiments in addition to those based on heat and electronic transport. These form the raw materials for this review based on advances from this decade. The subject of this review involves interesting phenomena from the viewpoint not only of physics but also of the practical problem of elaborating efficient thermoelectric materials. This review presents a survey of a wide range of experimental investigations of type-I clathrate compounds, together with a review of theoretical interpretations of the peculiar thermal and dynamic properties observed in these materials. © 2014 American Physical Society.


Patent
Hokkaido University, Miyoshi Oil & Fat Co. and Flowric Co. | Date: 2010-05-13

It is an object of the present invention to provide a durability improving agent for a cement composition that improves the freezing-thawing resistance of the cement composition and also exhibits a sufficient shrinkage reducing performance as well, and a cement composition including such a durability improving agent. Specifically, the present invention provides a durability improving agent for a cement composition, characterized by comprising a hydrocarbon-based compound having an average molecular weight of 150 to 600 and a pour point of 20 C. or less as an active ingredient, and a cement composition including such durability improving agent.


Patent
Mitsubishi Group and Hokkaido University | Date: 2015-01-07

The X-ray therapy system includes a gantry (11), a positron emission tomography (PET) detection device (12) provided in the gantry (11), and an irradiation unit (15) provided in the gantry (11) and configured to radiate X-rays to a patient. The PET detection device (12) has a pair of photon detection units (13) and photon detection unit-moving devices (14) configured to move the pair of photon detection units (13) with respect to the gantry (11).


Patent
Japan Forestry, Forest Products Research Institute, University of Electro - Communications and Hokkaido University | Date: 2012-07-18

A method for controlling an insect pest with vibrations, including a step of determining a frequency range and an amplitude range of vibrations in a habitat medium of an insect pest that induce or suppress a specific behavior of the insect pest, and a step of controlling the insect pest behavior by applying vibrations in the frequency range and amplitude range once or two or more times in the insect pest habitat medium.


Patent
Hokkaido University, System Instruments Co. and Shionogi&Co. Ltd. | Date: 2010-07-14

To provide an autoanalyzer for analyzing a sugar chain contained in a biological sample, in particular, serum. Namely, it is intended to provide a method of analyzing a sugar chain in a sample, which comprises the following steps: A) the sugar chain-releasing step of releasing the sugar chain in the sample; B) the detection sample-preparing step of preparing the released sugar chain for detection; and, in the case of conducting mass spectrometry using a plate, C) the step of forming a plate for the mass spectrometry having the captured sugar chain dotted thereon which comprises the step of providing the tagged sugar chain sample solution obtained in the step B) on a collection plate; and, if required, the step of conducting an operation in a solid phase support-enclosed plate to form the plate for mass spectrometry; and D) the step of analyzing the sugar chain to be assayed.


Patent
Kurarayliving Co., Chakyu Dyeing Co., Tsuchiya Tsco Co. and Hokkaido University | Date: 2013-01-09

An electro-conductive multifilament yarn for forming an electro-conductive brush comprises an electro-conductive fiber containing a synthetic fiber and a carbon nanotube covering a surface of the fiber. The synthetic fiber may have a single-filament fineness of not more than 30 dtex. The synthetic fiber may have 3 to 6 elongated recesses or grooves extending in a longitudinal direction thereof and have a multi-leaves or star-shaped cross-section. The electro-conductive multifilament yarn of the present invention has a high electro-conductivity and may have an electric resistance value of 1 x 10^(6) to 1 x 10^(11) /cm at 20C. Further, the electro-conductivity has a high uniformity; the standard deviation of a logarithm of the electric resistance value may be not more than 1.0. Since the electro-conductive multifilament yarn of the present invention possesses uniform and excellent electro-conductive characteristics (charging or static removal property) required for an electro-conductive brush for an electrophotographic apparatus, the yarn is suitable as a cleaning brush for an electrophotographic apparatus.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Fuso Pharmaceutical Industries Inc. | Date: 2011-10-26

As a result of dedicated research, the present inventors have successfully invented a collagen gene construct which can be easily purified and maintains a triple helix structure equivalent to that of naturally-occurring collagen while having a low molecular weight. Specifically, one-step purification by affinity purification is enabled because CR-D (a signal peptide) has a carbohydrate recognition domain. By substituting a portion of a human collagen structural gene of the present invention with the collagen-like structural gene portion of MBL, a low-molecular-weight collagen which maintains a triple helix structure and is thermally stable can be obtained with high purity and in large quantities.


Patent
Mitsubishi Group and Hokkaido University | Date: 2012-12-25

The X-ray therapy system includes a gantry (11), a positron emission tomography (PET) detection device (12) provided in the gantry (11), and an irradiation unit (15) provided in the gantry (11) and configured to radiate X-rays to a patient. The PET detection device (12) has a pair of photon detection units (13) and photon detection unit-moving devices (14) configured to move the pair of photon detection units (13) with respect to the gantry (11).


Patent
Hokkaido University and Fuso Pharmaceutical Industries Inc. | Date: 2011-11-09

The present inventors conducted dedicated studies and successfully constructed expression vectors that enable high-level production of foreign gene-derived proteins in mammalian host cells, which comprise a translation-impaired dihydrofolate reductase gene cistron whose expression has been attenuated by altering the codons to the least frequently used codons in mammals; and a gene cassette which has a cloning site for incorporation of a foreign gene between a highly transcriptionally active promoter and a highly stable polyadenylation signal.


Patent
Kurarayliving Co., Hokkaido University, Tsuchiya TSCO Co. and Chakyu Dyeing Co. | Date: 2011-03-03

An electro-conductive multifilament yarn for forming an electro-conductive brush comprises an electro-conductive fiber containing a synthetic fiber and a carbon nanotube covering a surface of the fiber. The synthetic fiber may have a single-filament fineness of not more than 30 dtex. The synthetic fiber may have 3 to 6 elongated recesses or grooves extending in a longitudinal direction thereof and have a multi-leaves or star-shaped cross-section. The electro-conductive multifilament yarn of the present invention has a high electro-conductivity and may have an electric resistance value of 110^(6 )to 110^(11 )/cm at 20 C. Further, the electro-conductivity has a high uniformity; the standard deviation of a logarithm of the electric resistance value may be not more than 1.0. Since the electro-conductive multifilament yarn of the present invention possesses uniform and excellent electro-conductive characteristics (charging or static removal property) required for an electro-conductive brush for an electrophotographic apparatus, the yarn is suitable as a cleaning brush for an electrophotographic apparatus.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Fuso Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. | Date: 2010-12-08

The present inventors successfully constructed expression vectors that enable high-level production of foreign gene-derived proteins in mammalian host cells, which comprise a translation-impaired drug resistance gene cistron whose expression has been attenuated by altering the codons to the least frequently used codons in mammals; and a gene cassette which has a cloning site for incorporation of a foreign gene between a highly transcriptionally active promoter and a highly stable polyadenylation signal.


Patent
Mitsui Engineering, Shipbuilding Co. and Hokkaido University | Date: 2013-03-22

FRET measurement uses a FRET probe that includes a probe element X containing a donor fluorescent substance and a probe element Y containing an acceptor fluorescent substance and enables FRET to occur when the probe element X and the probe element Y approach to each other or bind together. The modulation frequency of laser light with which the FRET probe is irradiated is adjusted to an optimum modulation frequency that maximizes a difference between the phase difference of donor fluorescence emitted from the donor fluorescent substance with respect to intensity modulation of the laser light at the time when FRET occurs and the phase difference of donor fluorescence emitted from the donor fluorescent substance with respect to intensity modulation of the laser light at the time when FRET does not occur.


Patent
Mitsui Engineering, Shipbuilding Co. and Hokkaido University | Date: 2013-03-22

FRET measurement uses a FRET probe that includes a probe element X labeled with a donor fluorescent substance and a probe element Y labeled with an acceptor fluorescent substance and enables FRET to occur when the probe element X and the probe element Y approach to each other or bind together. A test sample as a measuring object in FRET measurement contains a test object about which it is unknown whether or not it has an approaching/binding property of allowing the probe element X and the probe element Y to approach to each other or bind together or a separating property of separating from each other the probe element X and the probe element Y that are in a state where they adjoin each other or bind together. A plurality of sets of a fluorescence lifetime _(sample )and a ratiometry R_(sample )obtained by this measurement are used to judge whether or not the test object has the approaching/binding property or the separating property.


The present results have elucidated for the first time a unique mechanism involved in acquiring specific symbiotic bacteria, which is a characteristic shared by diverse stink bugs, a kind of pest insect, and are expected to lead to the development of a new method for controlling pest insects by inhibiting the establishment of gut symbiosis. The results will be published online in a US academic journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, on September 1, 2015. Almost all "pest insects" such as agricultural pests that damage crops, sanitary pests that transmit pathogenic microorganisms, and household pests such as termites that damage wooden houses, commonly possess symbiotic bacteria in their bodies. These bacteria play a role in supplying the nutrients necessary for growth, living, and breeding, and/or assist in digestion of food materials. Since the symbiotic bacteria could be a new target for controlling pest insects, various research has focused on elucidating the mechanism(s) for establishment of the symbiotic associations. With regard to stink bugs (Hemiptera: Heteroneura), more than 40,000 species in the world and 1,500 species or so in Japan are known, many of which are serious agricultural pests. Few studies have thoroughly examined such a large number of species, their ecological aspects are not well understood, and therefore the pest insects are difficult to control, damaging various agricultural crops such as rice and soybean; a method of controlling them is demanded. Many of the plant sap-sucking stink bugs harbor symbiotic bacteria in their gut, which play an important role in supplying nutrients, adapting to plant hosts, and retaining insecticide resistance. Although knowledge has been accumulated regarding the function and evolution of symbiotic bacteria, the mechanism for establishment of the specific gut symbiosis in the stink bugs is not well understood. AIST discovered that the bean bug Riptortus pedestris, a serious pest of soybean, has a unique system of gut symbiosis. Although symbiotic bacteria are transmitted directly from mother to offspring in most insects, in the bean bug, a new symbiotic relationship is established for respective generations by their nymph's oral ingestion of symbiotic bacteria called Burkholderia which inhabit environmental soil. Since Burkholderia are easy to cultivate and can be genetically modified, they have attracted research interest to elucidate the genetic background involved in the symbiotic association. With respect to the gut symbiotic system of the bean bug, AIST has achieved research results such as "Discovery of Symbiotic Bacteria Mediating Insecticide Resistance to Pest" and "Novel Biological Function of Polyester in Insect-Bacterium Symbiosis." Hokkaido University has a cooperative graduate school with AIST, under which research of the bean bug has been conducted with graduate students, and has advanced development of excellent human resources such as a Hokkaido University graduate student winning the Best Poster Award of an international conference (Hokkaido University press release on September 25, 2014). The present research has been conducted by Tsubasa Ohbayashi and others, who are Hokkaido University graduate students, under the mentorship of Yoshitomo Kikuchi (Senior Researcher) of AIST. This research was supported by the "Program for the Promotion of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Industry and Food Industry Science and Technology Research" of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the "Endowed Courses Subsidy" of the Institute for Fermentation, Osaka. The bean bug has a large number of sac-like tissues in the posterior half part of the gastrointestinal tract (Fig. 1), where Burkholderia colonize symbiotically. The researchers have called this gastrointestinal tract region, where a large number of sac-like tissues develop, a "symbiotic organ." In addition, as the gastrointestinal tract becomes very narrow near the middle (the site located anterior to the symbiotic organ), the researchers named this site "constricted region" (Fig. 1) in this research. The constricted region was described in previous studies, but its function was unknown. First, in order to clarify the food flow in the gastrointestinal tract of the bean bug, the researchers observed the flow path of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract after feeding bean bugs with various food dyes. They found that, even though the dye reached the constricted region, the dye never flowed beyond the constricted region into the symbiotic organ (Fig. 2), indicating that the inflow of food was extremely restricted at this constricted region of the gastrointestinal tract. Next, the researchers orally inoculated bean bug nymphs having no Burkholderia symbiont with both a food dye and Burkholderia labeled by green fluorescent protein (GFP), and found that the food dye stopped at the constricted region and only Burkholderia passed through the region and enter into the symbiotic organ (Fig. 3A). Furthermore, in bean bug nymphs fed with both the GFP-labeled Burkholderia and red fluorescent protein (RFP)-labeled E. coli, whereas the E. coli stopped at the constricted region, only the Burkholderia passed through it and reached the symbiotic organ (Fig. 3B). Besides E. coli, in bean bug nymphs orally inoculated with Pseudomonas putida and Bacillus subtilis that are typical soil bacteria, neither of the bacteria infected the symbiotic organ. Based on these findings, the researchers conclude that the bean bug has sophisticated bacterium-screening machinery in its gastrointestinal tract, which allows symbiotic bacteria specifically to pass through while restricting the inflow of substances. Based on the fact that the food dyes were detected in the Malpighian tubule and feces, it is considered that all the digestion and absorption of food materials is accomplished before the constricted region and the dye absorbed into body fluid was gathered in the Malpighian tubule and excreted. In short, the gastrointestinal tract of bean bugs has two functionally distinct parts, an "anterior part to digest and absorb feed" and a "posterior part to harbor symbiotic bacteria," with the constricted region in the middle of it. Although the restriction of feed inflow half way through the gastrointestinal tract like this has not been reported in the case of ordinary animals, it is likely to be related to the fact that bean bugs feed on plant sap, which is easy to digest and absorb. Second, in order to elucidate the mechanism by which Burkholderia pass through the constricted region, the researchers produced transposon-generating mutants of Burkholderia and screened mutant strains that cannot colonize in the gut symbiotic organ. The results revealed that the non-motility strains having transposon-insertions in flagella formation genes could not pass through the constricted region. This strongly suggests that Burkholderia pass through the constricted region by flagellar mortality. A number of stink bug species, which are crop-damaging pest insects, possess gut symbiotic bacteria, as shown in the bean bug. Observation of the gastrointestinal tract of stink bug species of diverse taxonomic groups revealed that there was a constricted region near the middle of the gastrointestinal tract as is the case with the bean bug. The stink bug species were fed with a food dye to confirm the flow path, revealing that the dye stopped at the constricted region and never flowed into the symbiotic organ in all of the species investigated (Fig. 4). Based on these results, it is considered that the gastrointestinal tract has two functionally distinct parts, an "anterior part to digest and absorb feed" and a "posterior part to harbor symbiotic bacteria" and symbiotic bacteria are screened through the constricted region in the stink bug species, which seems to be a common feature among diverse stink bug species. The researchers intend to analyze expressed genes and proteins in the constricted region that is the bacteria-screening organ, focusing on the bean bug, and try to reveal the genetic basis of the sophisticated gut screening of symbiotic bacteria. Since the symbiont screening by the constricted region is a common mechanism in most stink bug species, a kind of pest insect, elucidation of the genetic basis could lead to the development of a new pest control technology for preventing infection and colonization of symbiotic bacteria. From this viewpoint, the researchers will pursue their research. Explore further: Bean bugs found to harbor bacteria that keep them safe from an insecticide


« President and CEO of Volkswagen of America steps down | Main | Cal Energy awards GTI $1M grant to demo production-intent version of CWI 6.7L medium-duty natural gas engine with HD-OBD » Researchers at Stanford University have devised a new strategy for using CO in the synthesis of multi-carbon compounds. They first have applied their technology to the production of a plastic—a promising alternative to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) called polyethylene furandicarboxylate (PEF)—but are now working to apply the new chemistry to the production of renewable fuels and other compounds from hydrogen and CO . Matthew Kanan, an assistant professor of chemistry at Stanford, and his Stanford colleagues described the process and their results in synthesizing PEF in a paper in the journal Nature. Although the concept of using CO as a feedstock for renewable multi-carbon compounds and synthetic fuels is attractive, practical implementation has been hampered by the difficulty of forming carbon–carbon (C–C) bonds efficiently. CO reacts readily with carbon-centered nucleophiles—a chemical intermediate species that donates an electron pair to an electrophile to form a chemical bond in relation to a reaction. However, generating these required intermediates requires high-energy reagents (such as highly reducing metals or strong organic bases), carbon–heteroatom bonds or relatively acidic carbon–hydrogen (C–H) bonds. These requirements have negated the environmental benefit of using CO as a substrate and have limited the chemistry to low-volume targets, the researchers noted. The new Stanford approach was inspired by ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO)—an enzyme involved in the first major step of carbon fixation, a process by which atmospheric carbon dioxide is converted by plants and other photosynthetic organisms to molecules such as glucose. Rubisco effects C–C bond formation in the Calvin cycle by deprotonating a C–H bond of ribulose-1,5- bisphosphate and exposing the resulting carbon-centered nucleophile to CO to form a carboxylate (C–CO –). Emulating this strategy synthetically requires de-protonating un-activated C–H bonds using a simple base that does not have a large CO footprint. The Stanford team envisioned a CO 2– (carbonate)-promoted C–H carboxylation reaction, wherein CO 2– reversibly deprotonates a C–H bond to generate HCO – and a carbon-centered nucleophile that reacts with CO to form C–CO –. HCO – decomposition results in a net consumption of one-half equivalents of CO 2– and CO per C–CO – produced. The cycle could be closed by protonating C–CO – with strong acid and using electrodialysis to regenerate the acid and base, effecting a net transformation of C–H and CO into C–CO H without using any other stoichiometric reagents. In the paper in Nature they showed that intermediate-temperature (200 to 350 ˚C) molten salts containing caesium or potassium cations enable carbonate ions (CO 2–) to deprotonate very weakly acidic C–H bonds, generating carbon-centered nucleophiles that react with CO to form carboxylates. Despite the many desirable attributes of PEF, the plastics industry has yet to find a low-cost way to manufacture it at scale. The bottleneck has been figuring out a commercially viable way to produce FDCA sustainably. One approach is to convert fructose from corn syrup into FDCA. The Dutch firm Avantium has been developing that technology in partnership with Coca-Cola and other companies. Instead of using sugar from corn to make FDCA, the Stanford team has been experimenting with furfural, a compound made from agricultural waste that has been widely used for decades. About 400,000 tons are produced annually for use in resins, solvents and other products. But making FDCA from furfural and CO typically requires hazardous chemicals that are expensive and energy-intensive to make. The Stanford team solved the problem using a far more benign compound: carbonate. Graduate student Aanindeeta Banerjee, lead author of the Nature study, combined carbonate with CO and furoic acid, a derivative of furfural. She then heated the mixture to about 200 ˚C to form a molten salt. After five hours, 89% of the molten-salt mixture had been converted to FDCA. The next step, transforming FDCA into PEF plastic, is a straightforward process that has been worked out by other researchers, Kanan said. The other Stanford coauthors of the Nature study are graduate student Graham Dick and former postdoctoral scholar Tatsuhiko Yoshino, now at Hokkaido University in Japan. Support for the research was provided by Stanford University through the Center for Molecular Analysis and Design, the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


News Article | November 9, 2015
Site: cen.acs.org

Chemistry Nobel Laureate Richard F. Heck died Oct. 9 in Manila, the Philippines. He was 84. Heck shared the 2010 Prize with Purdue University’s Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki of Hokkaido University for developing palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions. These reactions are widely used in organic synthesis to make a wide variety of chemicals, including pharmaceuticals and materials. The cross-coupling chemistry that bears Heck’s name stems from pioneering work he carried out in the . . .


New Rochelle, NY, December 13, 2016--Precise, economical genome editing tools such as CRISPR have made it possible to make targeted changes in genes, which could be applied to human embryos to correct mutations, prevent disease, or alter traits. A panel of experts discusses the controversies related to the possibility of editing the human embryonic genome and creating man-made modifications that would be passed on to future generations, in a Roundtable Discussion published in Gender and the Genome, a new peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. Journal Editor-in-Chief Marianne Legato, MD, PhD (hon. c.), FACP, Columbia University (New York, NY) moderated a lively and insightful discussion among distinguished panelists George Church, PhD, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA), Henry Greely, JD, Stanford University School of Law (CA), Tetsuya Ishii, PhD, Hokkaido University (Japan), Virginia Miller, PhD, Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), and Justin Killian, Esq and Sherif Moussa, Esq, both from Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine (New York, NY). The Roundtable Discussion is entitled "Editing the Human Genome: Progress and Controversies." Among the scientific, societal, and legal implications of a future in which we may be able to modify the genetic makeup of human embryos, the Roundtable panelists discussed what a "balanced regulatory approach" to oversee the use of genome editing tools might look like, potential safety issues, the concept of using genome editing to make cosmetic choices for a prospective child, and the legal implications of parents' rights to manipulate the genome of an embryo. "Our ability to manipulate the human genome is a paradigm shift that trumps Darwinian evolution," says Dr. Legato. Gender and the Genome, published quarterly in print and online, will feature evidence-based original research, reviews, perspectives, and commentaries that will illuminate the impact of biological sex on 21st century technology and its effect on human life. The international editorial board will include the most forward-thinking leaders in gender-specific medicine to engage the community of molecular biologists, engineers, ethicists, anthropologists, and legal experts engaged in a dialogue about the nature and implications of 21st century technology. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including DNA and Cell Biology, Human Gene Therapy, Nucleic Acid Therapeutics, and Cellular Reprogramming. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website. About the Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine The Foundation for Gender Specific-Medicine supports the investigation of the ways in which biological sex and gender affect normal human function and the experience of disease. One of the discipline's pioneers, Marianne J. Legato, MD, PhD (hon. c.), FACP, established the Foundation as a continuation of her work with The Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University.


News Article | November 9, 2015
Site: cen.acs.org

Chemistry Nobel Laureate Richard F. Heck died Oct. 9 in Manila, the Philippines. He was 84. Heck shared the 2010 Chemistry Prize with Purdue University’s Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki of Hokkaido University, for developing palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions. These reactions are widely used in organic synthesis to make a wide variety of chemicals, including pharmaceuticals and materials. The cross-coupling chemistry that bears Heck’s name stems from pioneering work he carried out in . . .


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Scientists have developed a new RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutic agent that safely blocked ocular inflammation in mice, potentially making it a new treatment for human uveitis and diabetic retinopathy. Inflammation plays a central role in vision-threatening eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. More commonly, it causes uveitis, or inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented middle layer of the eye. Uveitis causes redness, pain and blurred vision, requiring urgent treatment to prevent complications, including blindness. A common treatment for uveitis is applying anti-inflammatory steroid eye drops. Steroid pills or even injections may be necessary in severe cases. However, long-term steroid use may cause systemic and ocular side-effects, including hypertension and glaucoma, respectively. Now, researchers led by Susumu Ishida and Atsuhiro Kanda at Hokkaido University's Graduate School of Medicine have shown that the activation of the receptor-associated prorenin system (RAPS) is involved in the pathogenesis of uveitis. The research was conducted in collaboration with BONAC Corporation and reported recently in Molecular Therapy: Nucleic Acids. The RAPS has been shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of various vascular abnormalities such as inflammation and pathological angiogenesis. Therefore, drugs targeting the RAPS may result in beneficial effects on various vascular disorders, including uveitis and diabetic retinopathy. Ishida's team showed that a molecule called the (pro)renin receptor, which activates the RAPS, significantly increased in the vitreous fluid of 22 patients with uveitis compared to normal controls. In addition, there was a positive relationship between increased intraocular levels of a soluble form of the (pro)renin receptor and monocyte chemotactic protein-1, a known inflammatory mediator in uveitis as well as in diabetic retinopathy. The researchers then developed a new type of single-strand RNA interference (RNAi) agent, the proline-modified short hairpin RNA (PshRNA), which suppresses gene expression by utilizing the cellular system. The team designed the PshRNA agent selectively targeting the common sequence of human and mouse (pro)renin receptor genes. After testing the suppressive efficacy of the PshRNA agent in cultured cells, they injected it into the mouse's eyes. The results demonstrated that this new molecule was safe and effective, causing significant improvement in mouse models of both acute uveitis and chronic diabetic inflammation, with no apparent side-effects. "Our findings suggest significant involvement of the (pro)renin receptor in human uveitis, as well as the potential use of the PshRNA agent to reduce ocular inflammation," says Atsuhiro Kanda.


News Article | April 4, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Elizabeth Tasker, an astrophysicist at Hokkaido University in Japan. Elizabeth received her doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Oxford and a Master in Science in theoretical physics from Durham University. Her articles on astronomy and space science have appeared in a range of publications, including Scientific American, Astronomy Magazine, Nautilus and The Conversation. You can follow her on twitter @girlandkat. Tasker contributed this article to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. At 4:40 p.m. JST (07:40 GMT) on Saturday, March 26, scientists at the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) waited to communicate with the five-week-old X-ray space observatory Hitomi. They were met with silence. The prospect of losing a spacecraft is the nightmare of every space scientist. Each mission is painstakingly selected for its potential for scientific discovery. Even more than cost, the loss of the observatory's knowledge is a terrible blow. And for Hitomi, the science stakes have never been higher. Hitomi's name comes from the Japanese word for "eye pupil." But unlike our eyes that focus visible light, Hitomi's four telescopes focus X-ray radiation. X-rays have far shorter wavelengths than visible light, corresponding to a much higher energy. To gain the energy needed to emit X-rays, gas must become extremely hot, with temperatures exceeding millions of degrees. This lets X-rays probe for the most violent events in the universe. Buried in the center of nearly every galaxy is a supermassive black hole. The gravitational pull from these cosmic beasts, millions to billions of times the size of our sun, whips the encircling gas to incredible temperatures and bathes the galaxy in X-ray radiation. This region of black hole and gas is known as an active galactic nucleus (AGN), and it is the site of the most extreme conditions in the universe. The highest-energy X-rays are emitted close to the black hole's edge. These reflect off of the surrounding material, producing a spread of wavelengths through the X-ray range that depends on the structure of the gas. This structure has intrigued astrophysicists for more than 40 years. The energy emitted from AGN strongly affects the evolution of the galaxy, while the motion of gas is a test bed for physics at its limits. Understanding these processes requires knowing the gas conditions that are revealed in the radiation. With four X-ray telescopes and a gamma-ray detector for even shorter wavelengths, Hitomi is sensitive to radiation in wavelengths from 4 to 0.002-nanometers. This combination of a wide wavelength range and extreme sensitivity surpasses previous satellites' abilities to probe the innermost mysteries of the AGN. Hitomi's flagship instrument is a spectrometer to measure the strength of X-rays at different wavelengths. This is equivalent to measuring the intensity of colors in visible light. Called the soft X-ray spectrometer (SXS), this instrument is 50 times more sensitive than instruments on previous missions to the differences in X-rays emitted by sources that stretch across huge areas. One such source is galaxy clusters. Containing hundreds to thousands of individual galaxies, these extended structures are full of hot gas. And even more intriguing, they might contain a signature of the most elusive puzzle in astrophysics: dark matter. Dark matter makes up roughly 84 percent of all the matter in the universe, yet nobody knows what it is. While dark matter does not emit radiation, one possibility is that it's a particle that decays into X-rays. Such decay would be rare, but a huge galaxy cluster could contain enough events to produce a detectable signature. Possible detections have been reported in the past two years, but are these really from elusive dark matter? Tesla Jeltema, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is skeptical. She believes the detection is most likely from more regular particles, such as hot potassium or sulfur. The two options can be distinguished, but an accurate measurement of the X-ray wavelength from Hitomi's SXS is needed. In a cruel twist of fate, the SXS on Hitomi is the fifth attempt at such an instrument. A similar design was initially considered for two NASA missions, but the plans were scrapped. The spectrometer then became part of the JAXA ASTRO-E mission, but a failure during launch sent the satellite into the ocean. It finally flew on the replacement mission, ASTRO-EII, which became the Suzaku satellite once in space. Despite Suzaku's success over 15 years of operation, the spectrometer failed to collect data due to a leak in the coolant. It is a chronology that belongs in a science fiction book, if anyone would be heartless enough to write such a tale.  Since communications with Hitomi failed on Saturday, the news has been limited and speculative. Observations from ground stations ominously confirmed the presence of debris around the satellite's position. However, JAXA have received a fleeting signal four times since the debris was seen, raising hopes that the satellite is not completely inactive.  The SXS had previously been operating well over the past month, and scientists have yet to review all of that data. Although the amount of data is small compared to what would have been collected over the planned three years of the mission, there could be interesting results in the pipeline. However, whether a partial recovery of Hitomi is ultimately possible may not be known for a while.  The loss of Hitomi would be a hard hit for X-ray astronomy. No current telescope can replicate its data because it was the only observatory to have the groundbreaking SXS instrument and access to the range in wavelengths at that sensitivity. The current X-ray satellites also lack Hitomi's versatility or were launched in the late 1990s, making the duration of their remaining operation time uncertain.  The next planned mission is the European Space Agency's Athena telescope, which is due to launch in 2028. This leaves a sizable hole in time to be filled with old technology. Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told Space.com that "The loss of Hitomi (would) leave a big gap in the world's capability." The need for Hitomi was further increased by the announcement in February of a gravitational wave detection from merging black holes. Future events will need matching radiation observations to further test Einstein's predictions for the nature of space itself. However, the astronomy community may have to hold out for a miracle.  Follow all of the Expert Voices issues and debates — and become part of the discussion — on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on Space.com. Recovery of Japan's Ailing Hitomi Satellite Still Possible: JAXA Official Satellite Tracker and Interactive Map: How to Spot the Hitomi Satellite, Space Station & More Copyright 2016 SPACE.com, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


News Article | December 20, 2016
Site: www.sciencemag.org

Alarmed by “pseudoscience” that may bring “devastating” health consequences, two groups of researchers have asked the journal Scientific Reports to retract a paper that they claim undermines confidence in the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, given to girls to prevent cervical cancer. The 11 November paper describes impaired mobility and brain damage in mice given an HPV vaccine. The mice received doses that were proportionally a thousand times greater than that given to people, along with a toxin that makes the blood-brain barrier leaky. That protocol, critics contend, does not mimic what happens in the human body. “Basically, this is an utterly useless paper, a waste of precious animals,” David Gorski, a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan, wrote on his Orac blog at scienceblogs.com. In an email to Science, the paper’s corresponding author, Toshihiro Nakajima of Tokyo Medical University, defended the work, stating: “Our manuscript was formally published after an intensive scientific review done by reviewers and by the editorial board of Scientific Reports.” The tussle is the latest salvo in a widening global battle over the HPV vaccine. Originally licensed in 2006, the vaccine is now approved for use in more than 120 countries. Studies show it is already starting to reduce HPV infections, which are blamed for 528,000 cervical cancer cases and 266,000 deaths each year, with the greatest burden in developing countries. (Boys are also now getting vaccinated, as HPV can cause genital warts and various cancers.) But in several countries, girls have complained of debilitating symptoms, reminiscent of chronic fatigue syndrome, after vaccination. These claims have attracted media attention, spawned antivaccination campaigns, and cut vaccination rates. More than 90% of Danish girls born in 2000 received at least one vaccine dose, but that rate has dropped year by year. Ireland also saw a drop in vaccination rates in 2015 and 2016. The trend is “alarming,” says Heidi Larson, who heads the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Japan is the prime battleground. As in many countries, the HPV vaccine got off to a promising start there. The first vaccine was licensed in 2009; in April 2013, the ministry added the vaccine to its recommended list and offered it for free. Uptake was robust. Sharon Hanley, a cancer epidemiologist at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, and colleagues reported in The Lancet in 2015 that roughly 70% of girls born between 1994 and 1998 completed the three-dose vaccination course. In spring 2013, however, a number of media outlets in Japan reported on alleged side effects. These include difficulty walking, headache, fatigue, poor concentration, and pain. That June, the health ministry suspended its “proactive recommendation” for vaccination, pending an investigation. The following January a ministry panel concluded that there is no evidence for a causal association between the HPV vaccine and the reported adverse events. The European Medicines Agency and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have come to similar conclusions. Epidemiological studies indicate that the symptoms reported by the vaccinated girls are found at equal rates in nonvaccinated populations. Yet Japan’s health ministry has never restored its proactive recommendation, which means that although the government pays for the shots, it has stopped urging local authorities to promote vaccination. Vaccination rates have plummeted in Japan. Hanley says that in the city of Sapporo, the vaccination rate fell to just 0.6% of eligible girls, and she believes that nationwide, the rate is close to zero. (In a sign of growing trouble for vaccination, 63 women in July filed a class-action lawsuit against the government and vaccinemakers, seeking $125,000 each in compensation for the alleged side effects.) Larson notes that health ministries in other countries aggressively promoted vaccine safety after claims of side effects surfaced, keeping vaccination rates high. An official at Japan’s health ministry says a decision on restoring the proactive recommendation is under review. Nakajima’s study is sure to inflame the debate. His group gave mice large doses of the HPV vaccine along with a pertussis toxin to help the vaccine slip into the central nervous system. The treatment, they found, impaired tail movement and locomotion. A postmortem revealed structural damage, increased cell death, and other abnormalities in the mice’s brains. Critics assail the study in a pair of letters to Scientific Reports and its publisher, the Nature Publishing Group. One, signed by 20 members of the HPV Prevention and Control Board at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, asserts: “This experimental setup in no way mimics the immunization with HPV vaccines but is gross over dosage and manipulation of membrane permeability.” A second letter, from David Hawkes, a virologist at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and two colleagues argues that the paper “lacks a clear methodology, adequate controls to control for bias, descriptions of results consistent with the data presented, or enough information for this study to be reproduced.” Nakajima defends his group’s methodology, stating that they adopted a strategy similar to that commonly used in studying autoimmune encephalitis in mice. As for the dose, he wrote, “This is just the first paper and dose-dependency could be one of the interesting experiments in the future.” He added that they are now preparing a detailed response to criticisms of their paper. Vaccine proponents worry that the paper will embolden vaccine opponents. Nearly 200 tweets have mentioned it, with several mistakenly assuming it appeared in Nature. Both letters call on Scientific Reports to withdraw it. In an email to Science, a journal spokesperson confirmed having received the letters, and wrote, “We investigate every concern that is raised with us carefully and will take action where appropriate.” Even as opposition to the HPV vaccine gains momentum, evidence of its efficacy is accumulating. But with its paltry vaccination rate, Japan is unlikely to see any reduction in its current 9000-plus cases of cervical cancer and 3000 deaths each year. Worse, says Larson, Japan’s suspension of the proactive recommendation “has been particularly applauded” by vaccine-critical groups in other countries. For women in Asian nations with weaker health infrastructure, Hanley adds, “The vaccine may be their only hope of prevention.”


Yoshimura F.,Hokkaido University | Tanino K.,Hokkaido University | Miyashita M.,Hokkaido University | Miyashita M.,Kogakuin University
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2012

Zoanthamine alkaloids, isolated from organisms in the Zoanthus genus, constitute a distinctive family of marine metabolites. These molecules exhibit a broad spectrum of unique biological properties. For example, norzoanthamine inhibits interleukin-6, the key mediator of bone resorption in osteoporosis, providing a promising drug candidate for a disease that affects more than 10 million people over age 50 in the United States. In addition, these natural products are characterized by a densely functionalized heptacyclic framework, as exemplified by the structures of zoanthamine, norzoanthamine, and zoanthenol, which makes them extremely attractive targets for chemical synthesis. Prior to our first total synthesis of norzoanthamine in 2004, the densely functionalized and complex stereostructures of the zoanthamine alkaloids had impeded synthetic studies of these molecules. In this Account, we describe our synthetic approach toward the total synthesis of zoanthamine alkaloids, focusing on how we overcame various synthetic challenges.At the beginning of our synthetic studies, we aimed to develop an efficient route that was flexible enough to provide access to several members of the family while allowing the synthesis of various analogues for biological testing. Our first project was the total synthesis of norzoanthamine, and we established an efficient synthetic route based on a novel strategy involving the following key features. First, we used a sequential three-component coupling reactions and subsequent photosensitized oxidation of a furan moiety to synthesize the precursor for the key intramolecular Diels-Alder reaction. Second, the key intramolecular Diels-Alder reaction constructed the ABC-ring carbon framework bearing two adjacent quaternary asymmetric carbon atoms at the C12 and C22 positions in a single stereoselective step. Third, we installed the third quaternary asymmetric carbon center at the C9 position by an intramolecular acylation of a keto alcohol followed by successive O-methylation and C-methylation reactions with complete stereoselectivity. Through the exploitation of a deuterium kinetic isoptope effect, we then efficiently synthesized the alkyne segment. Next, a coupling reaction between the alkyne segment and the amino alcohol segment and several subsequent synthetic transformations afforded the bis-aminoacetalization precursor. Finally, bis-aminoacetalization reactions carried out in one-pot constructed the DEFG-ring system and culminated in the total synthesis of norzoanthamine. Our synthetic route to norzoanthamine also allowed access to other zoanthamine alkaloids from a common synthetic intermediate, by way of stereoselective introduction of the C19 methyl group for zoanthamine, and isoaromatization for construction of the aromatic A-ring in zoanthenol. The chemistry described here not only allowed us to overcome formidable synthetic challenges but also opened a completely chemical avenue to naturally occurring zoanthamine alkaloids and their synthetic derivatives. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Inagaki M.,Hokkaido University | Ohta N.,Toyo Tanso | Hishiyama Y.,Tokyo City University
Carbon | Year: 2013

Aromatic polyimides are often employed as carbon precursors to prepare in various morphologies. After a brief explanation on carbonization behavior of aromatic polyimides, structure and functionalities of carbon materials prepared from polyimides are reviewed; highly-crystalline graphite membranes, nanoporous carbon membranes, carbon foams, carbon nanofibers and carbon nanoparticles. The advantages of polyimides as carbon precursors are discussed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Teshima T.,Hokkaido University | Reddy P.,University of Michigan | Zeiser R.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg
Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation | Year: 2016

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) continues to be a leading cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Recent insights into intestinal homeostasis and uncovering of new pathways and targets have greatly reconciled our understanding of GVHD pathophysiology and will reshape contemporary GVHD prophylaxis and treatment. Gastrointestinal (GI) GVHD is the major cause of mortality. Emerging data indicate that intestinal stem cells (ISCs) and their niche Paneth cells are targeted, resulting in dysregulation of the intestinal homeostasis and microbial ecology. The microbiota and their metabolites shape the immune system and intestinal homeostasis, and they may alter host susceptibility to GVHD. Protection of the ISC niche system and modification of the intestinal microbiota and metabolome to restore intestinal homeostasis may, thus, represent a novel approach to modulate GVHD and infection. Damage to the intestine plays a central role in amplifying systemic GVHD by propagating a proinflammatory cytokine milieu. Molecular targeting to inhibit kinase signaling may be a promising approach to treat GVHD, ideally via targeting the redundant effect of multiple cytokines on immune cells and enterocytes. In this review, we discuss insights on the biology of GI GVHD, interaction of microflora and metabolome with the hosts, identification of potential new target organs, and identification and targeting of novel T cell-signaling pathways. Better understanding of GVHD biology will, thus, pave a way to develop novel treatment strategies with great clinical benefits. © 2016 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.


Toyoda K.,Hokkaido University | Tebo B.M.,Oregon Health And Science University
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta | Year: 2013

Manganese(IV) oxides, believed to form primarily through microbial activities, are extremely important mineral phases in marine environments where they scavenge a variety of trace elements and thereby control their distributions. The presence of various ions common in seawater are known to influence Mn oxide mineralogy yet little is known about the effect of these ions on the kinetics of bacterial Mn(II) oxidation and Mn oxide formation. We examined factors affecting bacterial Mn(II) oxidation by spores of the marine Bacillus sp. strain SG-1 in natural and artificial seawater of varying ionic conditions. Ca2+ concentration dramatically affected Mn(II) oxidation, while Mg2+, Sr2+, K+, Na+ and NO3 - ions had no effect. The rate of Mn(II) oxidation at 10mM Ca2+ (seawater composition) was four or five times that without Ca2+. The relationship between Ca2+ content and oxidation rate demonstrates that the equilibrium constant is small (on the order of 0.1) and the binding coefficient is 0.5. The pH optimum for Mn(II) oxidation changed depending on the amount of Ca2+ present, suggesting that Ca2+ exerts a direct effect on the enzyme perhaps as a stabilizing bridge between polypeptide components.We also examined the effect of varying concentrations of NaCl or KNO3 (0-2000mM) on the kinetics of Mn(II) oxidation in solutions containing 10mM Ca2+. Mn(II) oxidation was unaffected by changes in ionic strength (I) below 0.2, but it was inhibited by increasing salt concentrations above this value. Our results suggest that the critical coagulation concentration is around 200mM of salt (I=ca. 0.2), and that the ionic strength of seawater (I>0.2) accelerates the precipitation of Mn oxides around the spores. Under these conditions, the aggregation of Mn oxides reduces the supply of dissolved O2 and/or Mn2+ and inhibits the Mn(II)→Mn(III) step controlling the enzymatic oxidation of Mn(II). Our results suggest that the hardness and ionic strength of the aquatic environment at circumneutral pH strongly influences the rate of biologically mediated Mn(II) oxidation. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Kajiwara I.,Hokkaido University | Hosoya N.,Shibaura Institute of Technology
Journal of Sound and Vibration | Year: 2011

This paper proposes an innovative vibration testing method based on impulse response excited by laser ablation. In conventional vibration testing using an impulse hammer, high-frequency elements of over tens of kilohertz are barely present in the excitation force. A pulsed high-power YAG laser is used in this study for producing an ideal impulse force on a structural surface. Illuminating a point on a metal with the well-focused YAG laser, laser ablation is caused by generation of plasma on the metal. As a result, an ideal impulse excitation force generated by laser ablation is applied to the point on the structure. Therefore, it is possible to measure high-frequency FRFs due to the laser excitation. A water droplet overlay on the metal is used to adjust the force magnitude of laser excitation. An aluminum block that has nine natural frequencies below 40 kHz is employed as a test piece. The validity of the proposed method is verified by comparing the FRFs of the block obtained by the laser excitation, impulse hammer, and finite element analysis. Furthermore, the relationship between accuracy of FRF measurements and sensitivity of sensors is investigated. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Okita K.,Hokusho University | Kinugawa S.,Hokkaido University | Tsutsui H.,Hokkaido University
Circulation Journal | Year: 2013

Chronic heart failure (CHF) is characterized as a clinical disorder displaying exercise intolerance; patients typically complain of early muscular fatigue. Previously, it was thought to be simply a failure of perfusion to the exercising musculature and consequent early onset of intramuscular acidosis in CHF. However, improved hemodynamics by cardiotonic agents did not lead to an increase in exercise tolerance. Later studies have shown that intrinsic skeletal muscle abnormalities exist in patients with CHF and could induce the early anaerobic metabolism that limits exercise tolerance. We review the clinical importance of skeletal muscle abnormalities in patients with CHF. Considering the significance of peripheral muscle abnormalities and their development might help physicians and researchers better understand the mechanisms of well-established exercise training and pharmacological therapies that have been shown to improve the prognosis for CHF, and thus develop potential novel therapies.


Hwang I.-H.,Hokkaido University | Kobayashi J.,Kogakuin University | Kawamoto K.,Japan National Institute of Environmental Studies
Waste Management | Year: 2014

Pyrolysis and steam gasification of woody biomass chip (WBC) obtained from construction and demolition wastes, refuse-derived fuel (RDF), and refuse paper and plastic fuel (RPF) were performed at various temperatures using a lab-scale instrument. The gas, liquid, and solid products were examined to determine their generation amounts, properties, and the carbon balance between raw material and products.The amount of product gas and its hydrogen concentration showed a considerable difference depending on pyrolysis and steam gasification at higher temperature. The reaction of steam and solid product, char, contributed to an increase in gas amount and hydrogen concentration. The amount of liquid products generated greatly depended on temperature rather than pyrolysis or steam gasification. The compositions of liquid product varied relying on raw materials used at 500. °C but the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons became the major compounds at 900. °C irrespective of the raw materials used. Almost fixed carbon (FC) of raw materials remained as solid products under pyrolysis condition whereas FC started to decompose at 700. °C under steam gasification condition.For WBC, both char utilization by pyrolysis at low temperature (500. °C) and syngas recovery by steam gasification at higher temperature (900. °C) might be practical options. From the results of carbon balance of RDF and RPF, it was confirmed that the carbon conversion to liquid products conspicuously increased as the amount of plastic increased in the raw material. To recover feedstock from RPF, pyrolysis for oil recovery at low temperature (500. °C) might be one of viable options. Steam gasification at 900. °C could be an option but the method of tar reforming (e.g. catalyst utilization) should be considered. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Patent
Hokkaido University and ROHM Semiconductor | Date: 2011-07-08

In a metallic structure including a metallic nano-chain with plasmon resonance absorption, a metallic nanoparticle forming the metallic nano-chain is formed in a circular, triangle, or rhomboid shape. The wavelength selectivity can be increased also by forming a closed region by mutually linking all of metallic nanoparticles that are mutually linked with bottlenecks. In a photodetector, a photodetection unit including a current detection probe, a nano-chain unit, and a current detection probe is arranged on a substrate. The nano-chain unit is a metallic structure with plasmon resonance absorption, where metallic nanoparticles are mutually linked with bottlenecks. Each current detection probe has a corner whose tip is formed with a predetermined angle, and this corner is arranged to face the tip of the nano-chain unit, i.e., a corner of the metallic nanoparticle. Photodetection with high wavelength selectivity is performed based on a change in the initial voltage of the current-voltage characteristic.


Patent
Watanabe Oyster Laboratory Co. and Hokkaido University | Date: 2013-12-04

Problem To provide an antioxidant, an antioxidant composition, and a method for producing the antioxidant and the antioxidant composition, which feature a high content rate and degree of extraction of substances. These substances are taurine, glycogen, protein, so-called blood platelet anticoagulant with zinc, fat-soluble vitamin with a high activation such as vitamin D, and other useful substances. The antioxidant and the antioxidant composition also feature a so-called antioxidative property, which has recently attracted attention. Solution The present invention, for example, includes 3,5-dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzyl alcohol.


Patent
Kabushiki Kaisha Kobe Seiko Sho and Hokkaido University | Date: 2010-06-17

An axial motor includes a rotor arranged between a pair of stators with coils. In the rotor, a plurality of permanent magnets sandwiched between pairs of first magnetic materials and a plurality of second magnetic materials are alternately arranged in a rotation direction while gaps are provided therebetween. Since the permanent magnets are sandwiched by the first magnetic materials in the thus constructed axial motor, a field-weakening control can be performed. Since the second magnetic materials are provided, a reluctance torque can be generated. Further, since the gaps are provided, more magnetic fluxes generated from the permanent magnets can be caused to flow toward the coils. Therefore, the thus constructed axial motor can achieve a higher output, higher torque, higher efficiency, and miniaturization.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Kabushiki Kaisha Kobe Seiko Sho | Date: 2012-05-02

An axial motor of the present invention includes a rotor 2 arranged between a pair of stators with coils. In the rotor 2, a plurality of permanent magnets 23 sandwiched between pairs of first magnetic materials 21 and a plurality of second magnetic materials 22 are alternately arranged in a rotation direction while gaps 24, 26 and 27 are provided therebetween. Since the permanent magnets 23 are sandwiched by the first magnetic materials 21 in the thus constructed axial motor, a field-weakening control can be performed. Since the second magnetic materials 22 are provided, a reluctance torque can be generated. Further, since the gaps 24, 26 and 27 are provided, more magnetic fluxes generated from the permanent magnets 23 can be caused to flow toward the coils. Therefore, the thus constructed axial motor can achieve a higher output (higher torque) and higher efficiency (miniaturization).


Patent
Gunma University, Hokkaido University and Nisshinbo Holdings Inc. | Date: 2013-01-02

Provided is a hydrogen-storing carbon material with improved hydrogen storage capacity. The hydrogen-storing carbon material has a total pore volume of 0.5 cm^(3)/g or more, and a ratio of a total mesoporous volume to a total microporous volume per unit weight of 5 or more. In addition, the hydrogen-storing carbon material may have a nitrogen content of 0.5 wt% or more and less than 20 wt%. In addition, the hydrogen-storing carbon material may have a stable potential of -1.28 V or more when a cathode current with respect to the hydrogen-storing carbon material is held at 1,000 mA/g in electrochemical measurement by chronopotentiometry involving using the hydrogen-storing carbon material in a working electrode in a three-electrode method.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Shibaura Institute of Technology | Date: 2013-04-24

A method for measuring a vibration property of a structure by applying an impulse input to the structure, which comprises: step (A) of pulse-irradiating the surface of the structure or a part adjacent to the surface with a laser beam to apply an impulse input to the structure and measuring a response output from the structure to which the impulse input has been applied; step (B) of determining the relationship between the laser intensity of the laser beam and the impulse input induced by the laser beam by a rigid pendulum method and determining an impulse input F corresponding to the laser intensity of the laser beam, with which the structure has been pulse-irradiated, based on the relationship; and step (C) of measuring the vibrational amplitude value of frequency response of the structure from the response output measured in step (A) and the impulse input F measured in step (B).


Patent
Hokkaido University and Shimadzu Corporation | Date: 2012-03-21

In the case where X-ray tubes and X-ray detectors have fixed directions (directions of irradiation and directions of detecting planes), X-ray fluoroscopy can be carried out from various directions by providing two U-shaped tracks for the X-ray tubes and the X-ray detectors, each having two straight tracks arranged opposite each other, and a curved track connected thereto. An increased number of directions for X-ray fluoroscopy can be secured by arranging a U-shaped track rail for the X-ray tubes and a U-shaped track rail for the X-ray detectors opposite each other when seen in plane view.


Patent
Nihon Medi Physics Co. and Hokkaido University | Date: 2014-07-30

The present invention is a compound represented by the following formula (1) or a salt thereof. In the formula (1), R_(1) denotes a hydrogen atom, a methyl group, or a hydroxymethyl group, and n is an integer of 1 or 2.


Patent
Chugai Seiyaku Kabushiki Kaisha and Hokkaido University | Date: 2013-04-10

An objective of the present invention is to provide novel therapeutic agents for cancer, which have an excellent antitumor effect in cancer patients by enhancing their immune function. The present inventors discovered that the administration of an IL-6 inhibitor and/or gemcitabine or a salt thereof to tumor-bearing organisms yields an excellent antitumor T cell response-enhancing effect, and completed the present invention. In addition, the present inventors discovered that the T cell response-enhancing effect produces an excellent antitumor effect.


Patent
Gunma University, Nisshinbo Holdings Inc. and Hokkaido University | Date: 2011-02-21

Provided is a hydrogen-storing carbon material with improved hydrogen storage capacity. The hydrogen-storing carbon material has a total pore volume of 0.5 cm^(3)/g or more, and a ratio of a total mesoporous volume to a total microporous volume per unit weight of 5 or more. In addition, the hydrogen-storing carbon material may have a nitrogen content of 0.5 wt % or more and less than 20 wt %. In addition, the hydrogen-storing carbon material may have a stable potential of 1.28 V or more when a cathode current with respect to the hydrogen-storing carbon material is held at 1,000 mA/g in electrochemical measurement by chronopotentiometry involving using the hydrogen-storing carbon material in a working electrode in a three-electrode method.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Chugai Seiyaku Kabushiki Kaisha | Date: 2011-05-27

An objective of the present invention is to provide novel therapeutic agents for cancer, which have an excellent antitumor effect in cancer patients by enhancing their immune function. The present inventors discovered that the administration of at IL-6 inhibitor and/or gemcitabine or a salt thereof to tumor-bearing organisms yields an excellent antitumor T cell response-enhancing effect, and completed the present invention. In addition, the present inventors discovered that the T cell response-enhancing effect produces an excellent antitumor effect.


News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The African clawed frog's ancestor inherited one set of chromosomes each from two different species and doubled its whole genome some 18 million years ago, according to an international research consortium led by Japanese and American scientists who sequenced the entire genome of the Xenopus laevis for the first time. Scientists hope that the finding will help our understanding of vertebrate evolution, as the vertebrate genome doubled twice 500 million years ago. X. laevis is unusual in that it is a tetraploid species that has four sets of chromosomes, while many organisms, including humans, are diploid and have two sets of chromosomes. How and when this came about has been a topic of debate for some time. One hypothesis is that the tetraploid X. laevis inherited one half of its genetic material from each parent when two diploid ancestral species mated, and the genome of this diploid offspring then doubled, giving rise to a tetraploid organism with twice the number of chromosomes as its ancestors. X. laevis is an essential organism for biological and biomedical research, but the sheer size and complexity of its genome made it difficult for scientists to sequence the genome in its entirety. Sequencing the entire genome would not only be valuable for biological and biomedical research but also provide clues as to the origins of tetraploidy. The researchers sequenced the entire genome of the J (Japan) strain of the frog, which was developed by Hokkaido University scientists, who inbred the animal over 20 years. The strain is genetically homogeneous, giving scientists a big advantage in the sequencing. The US team, led by Dan Rokhsar and Richard Harland at the University of California, Berkeley, used the shotgun method to sequence short fragments of DNA and piece them together like a puzzle. The Japanese team, led by Masanori Taira at the University of Tokyo, sequenced very long fragments of DNA and determined the location of the long DNA on the chromosomes. Akimasa Fukui and his colleagues at Hokkaido University contributed particularly to data analysis and chromosome mapping. This extra step helped to distinguish the separate genome sequences inherited from each ancestral species. It was a challenging idea to analyze the "transposable elements" (segments of DNA that move around the genome) that become fixed or inactive over time, but might be one way of tracing the two ancestral genomes, present as subgenomes in X. laevis. Akira Hikosaka at Hiroshima University and Yoshinobu Uno at Nagoya University (the latter an alumnus of Hokkaido University), tested this idea and discovered that indeed two sets of chromosomes originated from different diploid ancestors. Curiously, the scientists also found that the subgenomes evolved separately in the nucleus, giving rise to shorter S- and longer L-types, the first evidence of animal subgenome evolution. The L-type chromosomes preserved most of the ancestral genetic information, while the S-type showed greater gene loss, deletion and rearrangement. Furthermore, it was suggested that any number of genes were just changing their functions. Scientists believe that two rounds of whole genome duplication 500 million years ago contributed to the emergence of the first vertebrate species and an explosion of diversity in this group. The new findings from the X. laevis genome should improve our understanding of this important event in our evolutionary history. "I'm surprised that our results indicate that the subgenomes of X. laevis are just evolving now," said Akimasa Fukui. "I believe that these data will not only help us understand the evolutionary aspect of vertebrates, but through frog research, also lead to applications in regenerative therapy."


News Article | December 23, 2015
Site: www.nature.com

Christiana Figueres: Climate guardian | Junjiu Huang: Embryo editor | Alan Stern: Pluto hunter | Zhenan Bao: Master of materials | Ali Akbar Salehi: Nuclear diplomat | Joan Schmelz: A voice for women | David Reich: Genome archaeologist | Mikhail Eremets: Super conductor | Christina Smolke: Fermenting revolution | Brian Nosek: Bias blaster | Ones to watch A dynamic leader charted the path to a new global climate agreement. By Jeff Tollefson Hours after the world’s governments adopted a landmark climate accord this month, Christiana Figueres was all smiles on the dance floor of a boisterous night club in Paris. As the leader of the United Nations climate convention, she had spent five long years travelling the world to rally support among environmentalists, businesses and govern­ments for the accord, in which 195 countries pledged to keep global warming to well below 2 °C. But now here she was, leading conga lines and dancing to the Village People’s classic ‘Y.M.C.A.’. Asked whether she ever had any doubts, she flashed a smile, pulled her hands together as if in prayer and pointed skyward. “The stars are guiding us,” she said. Born into a politically powerful family in Costa Rica, Figueres came by her activism naturally. Her father led the republic’s 1948 revolution and served as its first president. Her brother followed suit, with a term as president in the 1990s, and her mother served in the congress. Friends and colleagues credit Figueres for breaking out of her comfort zone in Costa Rica and jumping into the international environmental arena. “In this country, being a Figueres means something,” says Monica Araya, a former climate negotiator who founded Nivela, an environmental think tank based in Heredia, Costa Rica. “She built a whole career outside Costa Rica, and in a very important way she chose climate change as her activity.” Figueres attributes her environmental activism to the demise of a toad that disappeared from Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. She saw one when she was young, but her daughters missed the chance. “That was a real awakening for me,” she says, because rising temperatures have been linked to the toad’s extinction. “I started reading into the topic, and before I knew it I was devoting my life to climate change.” In 1995, after stints in the Costa Rican government at home and abroad, Figueres created a non-profit organization in Washington DC to encourage Latin American engagement in the newly minted UN climate convention. In parallel, she represented Costa Rica as a non-governmental climate negotiator — a move, Araya says, that helped to pave the way for other members of civil society to join the Costa Rican delegation. Over time, she became increasingly active in the governing secretariat of the UN convention and built up a reputation for getting things done. When Figueres was interviewed for her current post in 2010, she was asked what she would do if she were overruled by her boss. She offered up a quick joke: “Well, to begin with, I would fire him.” “She is brilliant, way above average, and she has a very well-developed sense of humour,” says Marco Gonzalez, a friend and fellow Costa Rican who formerly headed the UN treaty organization that was built to phase out chemicals that damage the stratospheric ozone layer. “She brings success in her backpack.” Figueres took charge of an organization and a process that she describes as “in the garbage can” after the diplomatic meltdown at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009. The secretariat had previously concerned itself mostly with national governments, but Figueres expanded its sphere by reaching out to local and regional governments as well as the business sector. “Her fingerprint is all over the intense presence of cities and businesses in Paris,” says David Waskow, director of the International Climate Initiative at the World Resources Institute in Washington DC. Figueres used all of her political skills to help herd governments towards the Paris agreement — and her roots in a developing country helped her to bridge the gulf between rich and poor nations, a division that had plagued past negotiations. Although current climate pledges fall short of the accord’s ultimate goal, all nations have now committed to the battle against global warming. Throughout the process, Figueres says she has been driven by the same sense of duty that spurred her father: the desire to protect and expand opportunities for those who are less fortunate. “I happened to choose a different battleground at the global level, but it’s the same thing,” she says. “We have a huge moral responsibility to do everything that we can to improve that situation.” A modest biologist sparked global debate with an experiment to edit the genes of human embryos. By David Cyranoski In April, Junjiu Huang published the world’s first report of human embryos altered by gene editing. The news thrust rapid developments in gene-editing technology into the spotlight and ignited a huge debate about the ethical use of such tools. But Huang, a modest and soft-spoken molecular biologist at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, chose to stay out of the limelight. Huang and his team used a powerful technique known as CRISPR–Cas9, which can be programmed to precisely alter DNA at specific sequences and has swept through biology labs in the past few years. He told Nature in April that he wanted to edit the genes of embryos because: “It can show genetic problems related to cancer or diabetes, and can be used to study gene function in embryonic development.” In his study, he modified the gene responsible for the blood disorder β-thalassaemia. Huang used spare embryos — from fertility clinics — that could not progress to a live birth. And he expected his paper, which showed that the process created many unexpected mutations, to steer people away from the technology until it had been proved safe. “We wanted to show our data to the world so people know what really happened with this model,” he said at the time. “We wanted to avoid ethical debate.” But the opposite happened: the ensuing discussion polarized the scientific community and nucleated several high-powered forums, including an international summit held in December in Washington DC. The general consensus is that gene editing is not yet ready for altering human embryos for reproductive purposes — and there are concerns that it could be adopted prematurely by rogue fertility clinics. Some scientists argue that the technique is permissible for research, whereas others say that this too should be forbidden for fear of a slippery slope. Huang has been notably absent from the debate, and refused to be interviewed for this article. “Our paper was just basic research, which told people the risk of gene editing,” he wrote in an e-mail. “It’s like he’s hiding,” says Tetsuya Ishii, a bioethicist at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, who was at the US summit. “That’s strange because there was nothing really ethically problematic about his research. He raised the issue, and that kind of drove discussions on the topic at the summit. That’s a good thing.” But Ishii says that Huang does “have some responsibility to address his critics”, perhaps by discussing cases in which clinical use of gene editing could be worthwhile in the future. Because of the risks, Huang predicted when his paper was published that it could take 50 or 100 years before the world saw a live-born, gene-edited baby. “But who knows, a decade ago, no one knew of CRISPR,” he said. “We don’t know what will happen.” A single-minded planetary scientist brought the dwarf planet into focus. By Alexandra Witze Alan Stern, planetary scientist and workaholic, doesn’t sleep much at the best of times. In the days approaching 14 July — as the spacecraft he had dreamed about, worked for and slaved over for a quarter of a century neared its target — he was down to roughly three hours a night. Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, is the principal investigator for NASA’s New Horizons mission, which in July became the first probe to visit Pluto. It whizzed just 12,504 kilometres above the dwarf planet’s surface, in an extraordinarily choreographed fly-by that grabbed images, spectra and other scientific data — as well as headlines around the world. Stern had been preparing for the day since 1989, when he and other young researchers hatched plans to visit the distant world. They submitted their proposal to NASA, and kept their hopes alive even when the agency killed plans for a Pluto mission in 2000 over budget concerns. After Congress revived funding for the concept, and NASA restarted the competition for proposals, Stern’s team won with a lean design that would carry a few key instruments. “That meant a laser focus on getting it there,” he says. Stern is nothing if not laser focused. Under his leadership, New Horizons blasted off in January 2006 at a cost of US$720 million, much less than earlier multibillion-dollar missions to the outer Solar System. His three children went through high school and into university with 14 July 2015 imprinted on their brains. When the day arrived, Stern and the rest of Earth got to see Pluto up close for the first time. Among his favourite discoveries: ice mountains that tower as high as 4 kilometres, dune fields that may ripple across Pluto’s surface, and skies that are tinted blue by atmospheric haze. A heart-shaped feature that showed up on images was a “public-relations bonanza”, he says, inspiring people around the world to connect with the dwarf planet. Stern’s drive to explore new worlds is also reflected in his focus on public relations, says David Grinspoon, a researcher with the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, who is working with Stern on a book about the mission. Stern convened an eclectic group of artists, writers and visionaries in New York City months before the fly-by to pick their brains about ways to connect with the general public. “It wasn’t your normal outreach team,” Grinspoon says. Stern pursues public engagement with a singular passion. He is known for seeking out — and scrutinizing — media coverage. Even during the most intense stages of the mission, Stern was tweeting prolifically and posting to Facebook while overseeing press releases. After the fly-by, Stern found himself swamped with speaking invitations. At an astronomy conference in Vermont, he talked for an hour, took questions for an hour and then met Pluto fans individually. Two university students told him that New Horizons was the best thing that had happened in their lifetime. Months after the Pluto visit, some members of the team experienced a post-fly-by depression. Not Stern. He drives ahead as always, working on the data that will dribble back from the spacecraft until late 2016. He is also resuming work on the European Space Agency cometary mission Rosetta, on which he has an ultraviolet spectro­meter instrument, and on plans to fly research payloads on suborbital spacecraft. He has a little more time for sleep these days, but not much. And in October and November, New Horizons ignited its engines to set it on course to visit a second Kuiper belt object, this one on New Year’s Day in 2019. If NASA approves the extended mission, Stern says, “I’m looking forward to finishing what we started”. A chemical engineer is merging electronics with the human body. By Erika Check Hayden Zhenan Bao rummages through a plastic box on her desk, eagerly pulling out samples of materials developed in her lab. She finds a thin, nearly weightless patch made of carbon nanotubes that attaches to the wrist like a sticking plaster and monitors the wearer’s heart rate. Then she picks up an artificial skin that uses tiny carbon-nanotube sensors to detect touch; and a version of it that even features hair-like structures to more closely mimic real skin. Bao, a chemical engineer at Stanford University in California and a founder of the field of thin, flexible organic electronics, shines a laser pointer through a sample of the nanotube material used in many of these devices. She laughs as the beam is diffracted into a spray of green dots on the wall, just as it would be when passing through a crystalline material. “That’s how we know it has regular structure,” she says. Innovations in her field are often inspired by nature, she says: “If we can understand how to design materials with the same degree of complexity, we will be able to address real-world problems.” A prime example is the creation of medical devices that can be worn or implanted to monitor blood sugar, send sensory signals and more. Progress towards that goal has taken off this year, with Bao’s lab among the leaders. In October, her team showed that its artificial skin could mimic the sense of touch (B. C.-L. Tee et al. Science 350, 313–316; 2015). The researchers took inspiration from human skin, in which specialized nerves fire more rapidly as pressure increases, producing a code that the brain interprets as touch. Previous artificial touch sensors required power-hungry external devices to generate that code. But in Bao’s sensors, pressure alters the oscillating frequency of microscopic circuits made from carbon nanotubes to generate the right kind of signals automatically. Although Bao calls the final design “simple”, it was a major accomplishment, says Polina Anikeeva, a neural-interfaces and materials scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. She notes that Bao has been working on perfecting these materials for years, and that her lab — which comprises around 40 chemists, chemical engineers and materials scientists — is highly interdisciplinary. “It’s not just one idea,” she says, “many ideas came together and made this possible.” “We have many years of work to do,” says Bao, who hopes that the treasures she keeps in the plastic box will one day help to revolutionize health care. “But generally, the path is laid out.” The head of Iran’s nuclear programme helped to forge a pact to keep it peaceful. By Davide Castelvecchi On 14 July 2015, Iran signed an agreement with six world powers to limit the country’s nuclear development in exchange for lifted international-trade sanctions. If the deal is implemented successfully — still far from certain — it could ease years of tension over Iran’s alleged efforts to build nuclear weapons and so allow the country to become a major player in global science. That an accord was reached at all, however, was due in no small measure to nuclear engineer Ali Akbar Salehi, who is head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. He worked closely with his US counterpart, energy secretary Ernest Moniz, to iron out the deal’s technical aspects. Educated at the American University of Beirut and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Salehi returned to Iran after the Islamic revolution of 1979 and quickly rose to top posts in both academia and the government. By the 2000s, he had become the international face of Iran’s nuclear programme — a man described as fiercely loyal to his country, but also a voice of reason to whom negotiators could appeal in times of crisis. Salehi is said to be a deeply spiritual person who has the trust — and the ear — of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. And he is one of very few people to have held senior posts in both hardline and comparatively liberal governments. This talent for building bridges is what enabled Salehi to work so effectively with Moniz during the negotiations, says Reza Mansouri, an astronomer at the Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences in Tehran and a former deputy science minister of Iran; they shared the language of science. Mansouri, who has known Salehi for more than three decades, says that he has the modern, rational frame of mind that enables people to “agree on how to talk to each other”. They came forward, one by one. Young female astronomers sought out Joan Schmelz and confided in her about the sexual harassment that they had endured. Schmelz, a solar physicist and chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy from 2009 to 2015, heard too many of these stories — and a lot of them involved the same man. Schmelz told the women that they were not alone, and asked whether they wanted to talk to others who were in the same situation. Thanks in part to those introductions, four women eventually filed complaints. Their actions, which became public this year, led to the resignation of Geoff Marcy, a well-known exoplanet hunter at the University of California, Berkeley. It was one of the most dramatic episodes in a string of gender-equality controversies this year, including Nobel laureate Tim Hunt’s dismissive comments about women working in the laboratory. In astronomy, Schmelz’s behind-the-scenes efforts to expose sexual harassment set the stage for a sea change in community understanding, says Meg Urry, an astronomer at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and president of the astronomical society. After Marcy was outed, astronomy departments at universities and other institutions began frank discussions about unacceptable behaviour. “Without Joan, I don’t think we would have seen this remarkable change,” says Urry. Women were comfortable sharing their stories with Schmelz because she had been through the same thing. Early in her career, Schmelz had found herself the target of harassment by her supervisor. “I was very isolated, and I didn’t have anyone to confide in,” she says. She only began to realize what had happened to her years later, in 1991, when attorney Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas, a judge nominated for the US Supreme Court, of sexual harassment. In 2011, Schmelz went public, through a blog post on the website of the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy. Then the Marcy stories started pouring in. “For a while I kept trying out how we could move forward — I contacted a lot of people, players in the community, to see if there was anything we could do for these women,” she says. Eventually the option emerged of filing complaints under the legislation known as Title IX, which prohibits sexual discrimination on campuses that receive federal funding. In July 2014, the first complaints hit Berkeley. “I wasn’t sure it would ever happen,” says Schmelz. All this intense work took place as Schmelz led a busy career in solar astronomy. In June this year, she took a job as deputy director of Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Months later, the director resigned, leaving Schmelz in charge of the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope. She now lives just a block from the beach, which offers a much-needed respite when she can spare the time. But Schmelz knows that her work on harassment is not over. She would like to press universities to keep long-term records of complaints. In most institutions, there is no method for tracking whether there have been one, two or ten incidents reported against a given person over time. “Let’s find ways to take the pressure off the young women, so they can work on their science, write a thesis, without all of this extra added burden on them,” says Schmelz. “Let’s change the system.” A big thinker helped to turn ancient genomics from niche pursuit to industrial process. By Ewen Callaway For most of its 30-year history, the field of ancient genetics has revolved around discovering exceedingly rare samples — a bone, a tooth — that harbour enough intact DNA to study. This year, population geneticist David Reich proved that it’s possible to explore human history by powering through ancient genomes en masse. Reich’s genome factory has revealed mass migrations, the spread of farming and the roots of languages. Last month, his group at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, reported genome data from 230 people who lived in Europe and the Middle East over the past 8,000 years, tracking changes in skin colour, immunity and other traits (I. Mathieson et al. Nature http://doi.org/9rb; 2015). At university, “I think I was sort of idealistic”, Reich says. “I was interested in grand unifying theories.” For his first degree, he switched from sociology to physics. During his second, in biochemistry, he fell for human population genetics, and soon built a reputation for scientific rigour. In the late 2000s, plummeting sequencing costs and other advances made it easier to extract and analyse ancient DNA. Reich realized that by analysing the genomes of large numbers of people, he could see how immigration and interbreeding changed the genetics of entire regions. In 2013, Reich opened his own lab devoted to sequencing ancient remains. Its scale was industrial from day one: the first human samples came from 66 individuals who had lived in what is now Russia, including members of a Bronze Age culture called the Yamnaya. In June, the team described a massive migration of Yamnaya people into Western Europe, some 5,000 years ago (W. Haak et al. Nature 522, 207–211; 2015). It is not the only group powering through ancient genomes: the lab of Eske Willerslev at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen reached a similar conclusion (M. E. Allentoft et al. Nature 522, 167–172; 2015). Reich’s team argued that the Yamnaya migration might also explain the radiation of Indo-European languages across Europe and Asia — advancing a problem that has vexed linguists for decades. By exploring the consequences of genetics for other fields, Reich “is trying to do something that a lot of geneticists might not”, says David Anthony, an archaeologist at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. Reich is eager to see genetics inform other debates, such as those about the peopling of the Americas and the prehistory of India. “The invention of ancient DNA as a tool for studying the past is like the invention of a new scientific instrument, like a microscope,” he says. “You can see into things that you couldn’t see before.” Decades of diligence earned one physicist a record for resistance-free electricity. By Edwin Cartlidge As a young researcher during the 1970s and 1980s, Mikhail Eremets proved to have a temperament well suited to life at the Institute for High Pressure Physics outside Moscow. The facilities were often abysmal, but the soft-spoken Belarusian was prepared to work around them — even dialling the same telephone number 100 times just to get a working line. “If I want to do something I am happy to repeat it many, many times,” says Eremets, who is now at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany. That doggedness has served him well in his quest to understand how materials behave at pressures close to those of Earth’s core — conditions that he recreates by squeezing tiny samples between the tips of two diamond ‘anvils’. These experiments have been painstaking and repetitive, with results that never troubled the Nobel committee. Until late 2014, that is, when Eremets and his colleagues reported hints that pressurized hydrogen sulfide — the compound responsible for the smell of rotting eggs — can become a superconductor, allowing electricity to flow without resistance at a record-breaking 190 kelvin (−83 °C) (A. P. Drozdov et al. Preprint at http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.0460; 2014). He and others published conclusive evidence — and measured an even higher temperature — in August (A. P. Drozdov et al. Nature 525, 73–76; 2015). The advance has been hailed as a giant step towards the long-sought goal of room-temperature superconductivity and the promise of loss-free electrical transmission. It has certainly rocked the physics community, says Igor Mazin of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. Other materials have produced superconductivity at high temperatures, but the mechanism by which hydrogen sulfide operates has never achieved superconductivity above 40 kelvin. No independent group has confirmed the result entirely, but Eremets is already planning experiments to see whether hydrides doped with chemicals can superconduct at normal, atmospheric pressure — an essential step towards practical use. Having done most of his important work since turning 50, he feels he has plenty of research left in him. “In that sense I am still a young, growing scientist,” he says. A synthetic biologist won a breakneck race to produce opioids in yeast. By Erika Check Hayden Early this year, synthetic biologist Christina Smolke was in a dead-heat race with a handful of other labs to engineer a yeast strain capable of making opioids. These powerful pain-killing drugs are crucial in medicine, but they come solely from opium poppy crops that can have unpredictable yields. Scientists were seeking a more stable production method but faced a daunting hurdle: no one had been able to identify an enzyme that converts reticuline — a chemical building block of morphine and other narcotics — from one form to another. Most other labs hunting for the enzyme were working to isolate it from poppies directly. But Smolke and her team at Stanford University, California, took a different approach: they combed through genetic databases, looking for snippets of sequence that looked as if they might be involved in reticuline metabolism. When they found a hit from several different poppy species, they ordered a synthetic version of the gene that had been built letter-by-letter by a machine. They plugged it into yeast and it worked. “I was super excited, really proud and also relieved,” Smolke says. “It was a bit of a Hail Mary.” The discovery enabled Smolke’s lab to stitch together a pathway of 23 different genes from plants, mammals, bacteria and yeast to produce the world’s first narcotic through synthetic biology (S. Galanie et al. Science 349, 1095–1100; 2015). It was a crowning achievement for a biological wunderkind who started her own lab at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena at the age of just 28. The opioid-producing yeast cells contain the most complex synthetic-biology pathway developed so far, and mark a turning point for the field by showing how step-by-step engineering can turn microbes into drug factories. “This will significantly impact our future ability to produce many more chemicals through biotech­nology,” says Jens Nielsen, a synthetic biologist at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. Much of the news coverage of the work, however, stirred fears about how it could foster new ways to easily manufacture illegal drugs — and some scientists have argued for tighter regulation of the growing field. Smolke counters that existing regulations already restrict the production and distribution of narcotics; any lab that wishes to work with the yeast strain reported in her paper, for instance, must be licensed by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. So far, no one has requested the strain. In a bid to ground the debate in reality, Smolke, her husband — fellow Stanford synthetic biologist Drew Endy — and another colleague this year attempted to brew opioids using her lab’s strain and standard beer-making equipment (D. Endy et al. Preprint at bioRxiv http://doi.org/9t2; 2015). The set-up produced only a trace amount of reticuline and none of the downstream chemical, thebaine, that is used to synthesize commercial drugs such as oxycodone and oxymorphone — suggesting that it would be difficult for the average home-brewer to start making these pharmaceuticals. (The scientists’ positive fermentation control, an English ale, was “palatable”, the manuscript notes.) Smolke co-founded a company, Antheia, based in Palo Alto, to produce opiate drugs in yeast commercially, and specialists in the field suspect that more will follow. But some onlookers are circumspect. Plant biologist Ian Graham at the University of York, UK, says that it will be hard to beat poppies. “Where plants already do it very well, the arguments for taking a synthetic-biology route are much less convincing,” he says. For Smolke, the goal is not merely to copy plants, but to engineer opioids that are free of side effects such as dependency and addiction. Sitting in the office of a Palo Alto incubator space, wearing jeans and grey Converse sneakers to a meeting with the co-founders of Antheia, Smolke can appear casual — but the intensity that has propelled her to the pinnacle of her field is tangible. For her, the year’s accomplishments are just part of a quest to understand and improve on opioids, which are among the most complex natural chemicals . “It’s a very powerful approach to take inspiration from nature and go beyond it,” she says. A psychologist pledged to improve reproducibility in science. By Brendan Maher When Brian Nosek was a graduate student in experimental psychology, he started working on the implicit-association test, which reveals people’s unconscious prejudices with the push of a button. Tap right every time a male name appears on a screen, for example, and left for a female name. That’s easy — but add some stereotypically male or female roles into the mix and things get interesting. Even the most liberal minds will sometimes stall when asked to press the same button for the word ‘executive’ and for the name ‘Susan’. The tests are challenging, informative and kind of fun. So in 1998 Nosek convinced his mentors, who had developed the test, to put it online. It was a success: about a million people per year now take the test for research, corporate training and other reasons. “It really spread the word about what unconscious bias is,” says Betsy Levy Paluck, a social psychologist at Princeton University, New Jersey. For Nosek, a key demographic still needs to be educated about their biases: scientists. Nosek is convinced that researchers are unconsciously influenced by their hypotheses, that these biases can be seen in common practices that distort the interpretation of data such as p-value hacking, and that they are major drivers of the much-discussed crisis in research reproducibility. In 2013, Nosek took leave from his post at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville to co-found the Center for Open Science (COS), a non-profit company that builds tools to facilitate better research methodology. It hit several milestones this year, accumulating US$18 million in funding and a staff of 68. Nosek also co-authored a set of guidelines for transparency and openness that more than 500 journals have signed up to (B. A. Nosek et al. Science 348, 1422–1425; 2015). But the COS’s most visible output in 2015 was the Reproducibility Project, an ambitious attempt to re-test seminal findings in 100 psychology papers (Open Science Collaboration Science http://doi.org/68c; 2015). The decision to run the project “was quite brave of him”, says Dorothy Bishop, a neuropsychologist at the University of Oxford, UK, because poor results could tarnish the field’s reputation. In the end, 61 of the findings could not be replicated — but the outcome was mostly received well, something for which many psychologists credit Nosek’s careful diplomacy and can-do approach. Nosek is pushing researchers to adopt practices that will improve reproducibility, including preregistering studies, tracking the results in an open way and publishing them whether they are positive or negative. It will be a dramatic culture change, says Bishop, who has begun using systems developed by the COS for her own research. “Yes, it creates a lot more work. You have to document and check it very thoroughly. But it’s not a bad thing to be slowed down a bit.” A second reproducibility project that is focused on findings in cancer biology should begin releasing results next year, and Nosek says that negotiations are in the works for similar projects in ecology and computer science. No one operates completely free of bias, he says, and that includes him. “I try to have some humility and understanding that I am as prone to these behaviours as anyone else.” Gianotti will take charge at the European lab as its Large Hadron Collider clocks up record high-energy particle collisions— and as hopes of the next big discovery soar. If rumours that this observatory has detected gravitational waves prove true, one of the most elusive predictions of the general theory of relativity would be confirmed. By applying for approval to edit the genomes of human embryos, Niakan has placed herself at the front of the fast-moving, controversial CRISPR–Cas9 field. There is intense curiosity about what will emerge next from Hassabis’s efforts to combine neuroscience and machine learning at the Google-owned firm. Yang will be influential at this growing basic-research agency as China overhauls its funding systems and sets its next 5-year plan.


News Article | November 18, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A major step forward in establishing an unprecedented regional regime to develop microsatellite technologies and share and use collected data. The memorandum of understanding to create the Asian Micro-satellite Consortium (AMC) will come into effect on November 18, marking a major step forward in establishing an unprecedented regional regime to develop microsatellite technologies and share and use collected data relating to the environment and natural disasters, etc. The consortium will comprise 16 space agencies and universities from nine Asian nations, including Japan. Microsatellites have rapidly become a major factor in space exploitation, and their advent could spur a revolution comparable to that which followed the launch of humankind's first satellite, Sputnik-1, in 1957. The advantages of microsatellites are multifold: In general, they can be developed within a few years, which is much faster than the 10 years required for some larger satellites; they generally weigh 100 kilograms or less; and they are cheaper to build, costing about one-hundredth the price of large satellites. It is essential for Japan and other Asian nations to create an effective international framework toward the goal of obtaining state-of-the-art satellite bus and sensing technologies and the sharing and use of satellite-collected data, thereby maintaining a global presence in the field--this is the notion that has driven the formation of the AMC. The 16 participating institutions are space agencies, governmental institutes or top-class universities from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam (see list below). Data relating to such fields as natural disasters and the environment are of great value to these disaster-prone nations. They also help tackle the issue of environmental destruction. The AMC is also expected to make it much easier to share and standardize satellite bus and sensing technologies, observational data, and data application methodologies. In the future, the consortium is expected to share and utilize data collected by about 50 microsatellites that the participating nations are planning to launch. These microsatellites will allow the AMC to monitor any given location on the Earth around the clock, therefore making it possible to grasp a variety of situations, including major disasters if one should occur. The standardization of advanced optical sensors and other devices is essential in order to effectively make use of satellite-gathered data. By using drones mounted with such sensors for ground observation in international joint undertakings, it will drastically increase the volume of data gathered and the precision of ground verification. Data verified on the ground would also help researchers make far more accurate satellite-data-based estimates. The resultant effects could be enormous in such areas as disaster preparedness/mitigation, global environment change, promotion of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and mining, and countermeasures against air and marine pollution. The signing ceremony for the consortium will be held on November 18th at Hotel Jen in Manila, Philippines. Yukihiro Takahashi, the professor at Hokkaido University who led the formation of the AMC says "I believe that the consortium will trigger the advanced space utilization with microsatellites not only in Asia but also all over the world including Africa and South America". Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) National University of Mongolia (NUM) New Mongol Institute of Technology (NMIT) German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology (GMIT) Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) Vietnam National Satellite Center (VAST-VNSC) University of Science and Technology of Hanoi (VAST-USTH)


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: www.cemag.us

Efforts are currently underway around the world to create materials that are friendly to both society and the environment. Among them are those that comprise different materials, which exhibit the merits of each component. Hokkaido University researchers, led by Professor Jian Ping Gong, have focused on creating a reinforced material using hydrogels. Though such a substance has potential as a structural biomaterial, up until now no material reliable and strong enough for long-term use has been produced. This study was conducted as a part of the Cabinet Office’s Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT). To address the problem, the team combined hydrogels containing high levels of water with glass fiber fabric to create bendable, yet tough materials, employing the same method used to produce reinforced plastics. The team found that a combination of polyampholyte (PA) gels, a type of hydrogel they developed earlier, and glass fiber fabric with a single fiber measuring around 10μm in diameter produced a strong, tensile material. The procedure to make the material is simply to immerse the fabric in PA precursor solutions for polymerization.


News Article | November 16, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Sputnik Planitia, a 1,000-kilometer-wide basin within the iconic heart-shaped region observed on Pluto's surface, could be in its present location because accumulation of ice made the dwarf planet roll over, creating cracks and tensions in the crust that point toward the presence of a subsurface ocean. Published in the Nov. 17 issue of Nature, these are the conclusions of research by James Keane, a doctoral student at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, and his adviser, assistant professor Isamu Matsuyama. They propose evidence of frozen nitrogen pileup throwing the entire planet off kilter, much like a spinning top with a wad of gum stuck to it, in a process called true polar wander. "There are two ways to change the spin of a planet," Keane said. "The first -- and the one we're all most familiar with -- is a change in the planet's obliquity, where the spin axis of the planet is reorienting with respect to the rest of the solar system. The second way is through true polar wander, where the spin axis remains fixed with respect to the rest of the solar system, but the planet reorients beneath it." Planets like to spin in such a way that minimizes energy. In short, this means that planets like to reorient to place any extra mass closer to the equator -- and any mass deficits closer to the pole. For example, if a giant volcano were to grow on Los Angeles, Earth would reorient itself to place L.A. on the equator. To understand polar wander on Pluto, one first has to realize that unlike Earth, whose spin axis is only slightly tilted so that the regions around the equator receive the most sunlight, Pluto is like a spinning top lying on its side. Therefore, the planet's poles get the most sunlight. Depending on the season, it's either one or the other, while Pluto's equatorial regions are extremely cold, all the time. Because Pluto is almost 40 times farther from the sun than we are, it takes the little ball of rock and ice 248 Earth-years to complete one of its own years. At Pluto's lower latitudes near the equator, temperatures are almost as cold as minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit -- cold enough to turn nitrogen into a frozen solid. Over the course of a Pluto year, nitrogen and other exotic gases condense on the permanently shadowed regions, and eventually, as Pluto goes around the sun, those frozen gases heat up, become gaseous again and re-condense on the other side of the planet, resulting in seasonal "snowfall" on Sputnik Planitia. "Each time Pluto goes around the sun, a bit of nitrogen accumulates in the heart," Keane said. "And once enough ice has piled up, maybe a hundred meters thick, it starts to overwhelm the planet's shape, which dictates the planet's orientation. And if you have an excess of mass in one spot on the planet, it wants to go to the equator. Eventually, over millions of years, it will drag the whole planet over." In a sense, Pluto is a (dwarf) planet whose shape and position in space are controlled by its weather. "I think this idea of a whole planet being dragged around by the cycling of volatiles is not something many people had really thought about before," Keane said. The two researchers used observations made during New Horizons' flyby and combined them with computer models that allowed them to take a surface feature such as Sputnik Planitia, shift it around on the planet's surface and see what that does to the planet's spin axis. And sure enough, in the models, the geographic location of Sputnik Planitia ended up suspiciously close to where one would expect it to be. If Sputnik Planitia were a large positive mass anomaly -- perhaps due to loading of nitrogen ice -- it would naturally migrate to Pluto's tidal axis with regard to Charon, Pluto's largest moon, as it approaches a minimum energy state, according to Keane and Matsuyama. In other words, the massive accumulation of ice would end up where it causes the least wobble in Pluto's spin axis. This phenomenon of polar wander is something that was discovered with Earth's moon and with Mars, as well, but in those cases it happened in the distant past, billions of years ago. "On Pluto, those processes are currently active," Keane said. "Its entire geology -- glaciers, mountains, valleys -- seems to be linked to volatile processes. That's different from most other planets and moons in our solar system." And not only that, the simulations and calculations also predicted that the accumulation of frozen volatiles in Pluto's heart would cause cracks and faults in the planet's surface in the exact same locations where New Horizons saw them. The presence of tectonic faults on Pluto hint at the existence of a subsurface ocean at some point in Pluto's history, Keane explained. "It's like freezing ice cubes," he said. "As the water turns to ice, it expands. On a planetary scale, this process breaks the surface around the planet and creates the faults we see today." The paper is published alongside a report by Francis Nimmo of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and colleagues, who also consider the implications for Pluto's apparent reorientation. The authors of that paper agree with the idea that tidal forces could explain the current location of Sputnik Planitia, but in order for their model to work, a subsurface ocean would have to be present on Pluto today. Both publications underscore the notion of a surprisingly active Pluto. "Before New Horizons, people usually only thought of volatiles in terms of a thin frost veneer, a surface effect that might change the color, or affect local or regional geology," Keane said. "That the movement of volatiles and shifting ice around a planet could have a dramatic, planet-moving effect is not something anyone would have predicted." Co-authors on the research paper are Shunichi Kamata of the Creative Research Institution, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, and Jordan Steckloff of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Scientists have succeeded in creating 'fiber-reinforced soft composites,' or tough hydrogels combined with woven fiber fabric. These fabrics are highly flexible, tougher than metals, and have a wide range of potential applicattions. Efforts are currently underway around the world to create materials that are friendly to both society and the environment. Among them are those that comprise different materials, which exhibit the merits of each component. Hokkaido University researchers, led by Professor Jian Ping Gong, have focused on creating a reinforced material using hydrogels. Though such a substance has potential as a structural biomaterial, up until now no material reliable and strong enough for long-term use has been produced. This study was conducted as a part of the Cabinet Office's Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT). To address the problem, the team combined hydrogels containing high levels of water with glass fiber fabric to create bendable, yet tough materials, employing the same method used to produce reinforced plastics. The team found that a combination of polyampholyte (PA) gels, a type of hydrogel they developed earlier, and glass fiber fabric with a single fiber measuring around 10μm in diameter produced a strong, tensile material. The procedure to make the material is simply to immerse the fabric in PA precursor solutions for polymerization. When used alone, the fiber-reinforced hydrogels developed by the team are 25 times tougher than glass fiber fabric, and 100 times tougher than hydrogels - in terms of the energy required to destroy them. Combining these materials enables a synergistic toughening. The team theorizes that toughness is increased by dynamic ionic bonds between the fiber and hydrogels, and within the hydrogels, as the fiber's toughness increases in relation to that of the hydrogels. Consequently, the newly developed hydrogels are 5 times tougher compared to carbon steel. "The fiber-reinforced hydrogels, with a 40 percent water level, are environmentally friendly," says Dr. Jian Ping Gong, "The material has multiple potential applications because of its reliability, durability and flexibility. For example, in addition to fashion and manufacturing uses, it could be used as artificial ligaments and tendons, which are subject to strong load-bearing tensions." The principles to create the toughness of the present study can also be applied to other soft components, such as rubber.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: phys.org

The newly developed fiber-reinforced hydrogel consists of polyampholyte (PA) gels and glass fiber fabric. The team theorizes that toughness is increased by dynamic ionic bonds between the fiber and hydrogels, and within the hydrogels. Credit: Hokkaido University Efforts are currently underway around the world to create materials that are friendly to both society and the environment. Among them are those that comprise different materials, which exhibit the merits of each component. Hokkaido University researchers, led by Professor Jian Ping Gong, have focused on creating a reinforced material using hydrogels. Though such a substance has potential as a structural biomaterial, up until now, no material reliable and strong enough for long-term use has been produced. This study was conducted as a part of the Cabinet Office's Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT). To address the problem, the team combined hydrogels containing high levels of water with glass fiber fabric to create bendable, yet tough materials, employing the same method used to produce reinforced plastics. The team found that a combination of polyampholyte (PA) gels, a type of hydrogel they developed earlier, and glass fiber fabric with a single fiber measuring around 10μm in diameter produced a strong, tensile material. The procedure to make the material is simply to immerse the fabric in PA precursor solutions for polymerization. When used alone, the fiber-reinforced hydrogels developed by the team are 25 times tougher than glass fiber fabric, and 100 times tougher than hydrogels - in terms of the energy required to destroy them. Combining these materials enables a synergistic toughening. The team theorizes that toughness is increased by dynamic ionic bonds between the fiber and hydrogels, and within the hydrogels, as the fiber's toughness increases in relation to that of the hydrogels. Consequently, the newly developed hydrogels are 5 times tougher compared to carbon steel. "The fiber-reinforced hydrogels, with a 40 percent water level, are environmentally friendly," says Dr. Jian Ping Gong, "The material has multiple potential applications because of its reliability, durability and flexibility. For example, in addition to fashion and manufacturing uses, it could be used as artificial ligaments and tendons, which are subject to strong load-bearing tensions." The same principles can also be applied to other soft components, such as rubber. Explore further: Biocompatible fibers could use light to stimulate cells or sense signs of disease More information: Yiwan Huang et al. Energy-Dissipative Matrices Enable Synergistic Toughening in Fiber Reinforced Soft Composites, Advanced Functional Materials (2017). DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201605350


News Article | December 20, 2016
Site: phys.org

A type of natural selection, called "stabilizing selection", is thought to maintain functional characteristics in species. But it is difficult to find evidence of this type of selection through research. "Random genetic drift", on the other hand, where genetic variations occur randomly over time, is an evolutionary process that affects characteristics under "weak selection", implying that maintaining these characteristics is generally unimportant. Hokkaido University researchers studied two ant species in Japan and Korea that were molecular-phylogenetically indiscriminate - thus they could be considered one species - and found evidence that there were different selection forces at play on different body parts. The researchers first observed how ants use a tiny spur that projects from their legs. They found the front spurs were frequently used to clean the antennae, a major sensory organ in ants. By contrast, the hind spurs were only seldom used to scratch the back surface of the abdomen where no important organs were found. The team assumed that natural selection forces would strongly affect the front spur, due to its relative importance and its special brush-shape as a cleaning organ. They also assumed that the less functionally important hind spur would be relatively unaffected by natural selection forces. The researchers found significant genetic differences between ten ant populations of the species, implying there is limited gene flow between them. They also found limited evidence of inbreeding within the populations. This means that any observed morphological differences within and between the populations would reflect how strongly natural selection acted on each character. Comparing the spurs in the ant populations, they found significant variations in the lengths of the less important hind spurs, which corresponds to the random genetic drift that occurs over time. They also found a smaller degree of variation in the length of the front spur among and between the ant populations. "Our results suggest that stabilizing selection is at play, maintaining these functionally important characteristics in each population, while less important characteristics have diversified over time," says Eisuke Hasegawa, the corresponding author of the paper published in Scientific Reports. "Further investigations should help us understand the evolutionary forces that generate diversity and similarity among populations," he says. Explore further: How are hybridized species affecting wildlife? More information: Shuichiro Imai et al, Difference in evolutionary patterns of strongly or weakly selected characters among ant populations, Scientific Reports (2016). DOI: 10.1038/srep39451


Yoshimura S.,Hokkaido University | Nakamura M.,Tohoku University
Earth and Planetary Science Letters | Year: 2013

Volcanic CO2 degassing is considered the primary process that controls the global carbon cycle over geological timescales. However, fluxes of CO2 from individual volcanoes, in particular those in past activities, have been poorly constrained. One way to estimate the flux is by using the H2O-CO2 systematics of melt inclusions, which, according to petrological studies, records fluxing of a deep-derived CO2-rich fluid in the deep to shallow-level crustal magmatic systems. Assuming that this fluid fluxing is the process of volcanic CO2 emission, we quantified the fluxes of CO2 by combining a fluid transport model with melt inclusion data. We formulated CO2 fluxing as an advective fluid flow in a basaltic magma column with exchanging volatiles, and applied it to the melt inclusion data from Mount Etna, the type locality of a CO2-emitting volcano. The flux of CO2 was calculated to be 2.4-6.0kt/day, which is consistent with the observed volcanic CO2 emission rate of 1-10kt/day. We propose that this method potentially provides a means to quantify CO2 emission rates in past volcanic activities. Because CO2 fluxing is an open-system process, the estimated CO2 emission over geological timescales evaluated with this method should give much higher values than evaluations based simply on the volume of the erupted magmas. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Maeda A.,Kyoto Sangyo University | Maeda J.,Hokkaido University
Veterinary Journal | Year: 2013

Flavivirus infections (including Japanese encephalitis, West Nile encephalitis and dengue fever/severe dengue) present a worldwide public health problem. Recent climate change may affect the geographical distribution of the arthropod vectors for these viruses and so the risk of flavivirus epidemics may increase. Many methods have been developed for the serological diagnosis of flavivirus infections, such as haemagglutination inhibition assay, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and immunofluorescence in staining. However, the specificity of these assays varies.The plaque reduction neutralizing test (PRNT) using live viruses is currently the 'gold standard' for the differential serodiagnosis of flaviviruses. The specificity of results obtained with PRNT is better than that for other protocols and many laboratories apply the PRNT protocol to the differential serodiagnosis of flaviviruses. Here, recent refinements to the PRNT protocols with genetically modified recombinant viruses or reporter-harbouring virus-like particles are reviewed. Further, the problems associated with the differential serodiagnosis of flaviviruses using PRNT are discussed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Shimada T.,Tohoku University | Minobe S.,Hokkaido University
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2011

We investigate the signatures of atmospheric pressure adjustment mechanism for surface wind convergence/divergence over major sea surface temperature (SST) frontal regions using global observations of satellite sounding and scatterometer. Lower tropospheric air thickness, which includes a sea-level pressure component modified by air temperature in the marine atmospheric boundary layer, is analyzed, and the relation between the Laplacian of the thickness and wind convergence are examined. Among four SST frontal regions in mid-latitudes, correlation between the thickness Laplacian and wind convergence is the largest over the Gulf Stream followed by those for the Agulhas Return Current and for the Brazil/Malvinas Current, and relatively small but still significant over the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension. These correlations strongly suggest that the pressure adjustment mechanism ubiquitously plays an important role in air-sea interaction over the global SST frontal regions. Furthermore, air temperatures in the first two regions exhibit SST-relating signatures even in the mid-troposphere. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


Nogawa T.,University of Tokyo | Hasegawa T.,Tohoku University | Nemoto K.,Hokkaido University
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2012

We propose a generic scaling theory for critical phenomena that includes power-law and essential singularities in finite and infinite dimensional systems. In addition, we clarify its validity by analyzing the Potts model in a simple hierarchical network, where a saddle-node bifurcation of the renormalization-group fixed point governs the essential singularity. © 2012 American Physical Society.


Cuesta A.,Institute Quimica Fisica Rocasolano | Cabello G.,Institute Quimica Fisica Rocasolano | Osawa M.,Hokkaido University | Gutierrez C.,Institute Quimica Fisica Rocasolano
ACS Catalysis | Year: 2012

We present a detailed spectrokinetic study of the electrocatalytic oxidation of formic acid on Au and Pt electrodes using ATR-SEIRAS that has allowed us to unveil the mechanisms of both the direct (in which adsorbed CO is not involved) and the indirect (through adsorbed CO) paths of the reaction with unprecedented detail. Au electrodes were used to study the mechanism of the direct path without the interference of the indirect path, and the observed quadratic dependence of the reaction rate on the formate coverage was then shown to apply also to Pt. The direct path consists of three steps, namely, (i) the electroadsorption of formate (corresponding to the first electron transfer), (ii) the purely chemical bimolecular decomposition of adsorbed formate, and (iii) the second electron transfer. The dehydration of HCOOH to adsorbed CO, that is then oxidized to CO 2 in the indirect path, was studied on Pt at E < 0.4 V vs the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE), at which potentials the dehydration reaction is the only one taking place on the Pt surface. Our results show that adsorbed formate is also the intermediate in the dehydration of formic acid to adsorbed CO and is, hence, the key intermediate in the electrocatalytic oxidation of formic acid on metals. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Toyoda K.,Chiba University | Miyamoto K.,Chiba University | Aoki N.,Chiba University | Morita R.,Hokkaido University | And 2 more authors.
Nano Letters | Year: 2012

We discovered for the first time that light can twist metal to control the chirality of metal nanostructures (hereafter, chiral metal nanoneedles). The helicity of optical vortices is transferred to the constituent elements of the irradiated material (mostly melted material), resulting in the formation of chiral metal nanoneedles. The chirality of these nanoneedles could be controlled by just changing the sign of the helicity of the optical vortex. The tip curvature of these chiral nanoneedles was measured to be <40 nm, which is less than 1/25th of the laser wavelength (1064 nm). Such chiral metal nanoneedles will enable us to selectively distinguish the chirality and optical activity of molecules and chemical composites on a nanoscale and they will provide chiral selectivity for nanoscale imaging systems (e.g., atomic force microscopes), chemical reactions on plasmonic nanostructures, and planar metamaterials. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Inagaki M.,Hokkaido University | Yang Y.,Tsinghua University | Kang F.,Tsinghua University
Advanced Materials | Year: 2012

Carbon nanofibers prepared via electrospinning and following carbonization are summarized by focusing on the structure and properties in relation to their applications, after a brief review of electrospinning of some polymers. Carbon precursors, pore structure control, improvement in electrical conductivity,and metal loading into carbon nanofibers via electrospinning are discussed from the viewpoint of structure and texture control of carbon. The electrospinning technique is promising for the preparation of carbon nanofibers, which have intermediate diameters between carbon nanotubes and commercially available carbon fibers. Carbon precursors, pore structure control, improvement in electrical conductivity, and metal loading into carbon nanofibers via electrospinning are discussed from the viewpoint of structure and texture control of carbon. © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Sato T.,Hokkaido University | Xue Y.,University of California at Los Angeles
Climate Dynamics | Year: 2013

Performance of a regional climate model (RCM), WRF, for downscaling East Asian summer season climate is investigated based on 11-summer integrations associated with different climate conditions with reanalysis data as the lateral boundary conditions. It is found that while the RCM is essentially unable to improve large-scale circulation patterns in the upper troposphere for most years, it is able to simulate better lower-level meridional moisture transport in the East Asian summer monsoon. For precipitation downscaling, the RCM produces more realistic magnitude of the interannual variation in most areas of East Asia than that in the reanalysis. Furthermore, the RCM significantly improves the spatial pattern of summer rainfall over dry inland areas and mountainous areas, such as Mongolia and the Tibetan Plateau. Meanwhile, it reduces the wet bias over southeast China. Over Mongolia, however, the performance of precipitation downscaling strongly depends on the year: the WRF is skillful for normal and wet years, but not for dry years, which suggests that land surface processes play an important role in downscaling ability. Over the dry area of North China, the WRF shows the worst performance. Additional sensitivity experiments testing land effects in downscaling suggest the initial soil moisture condition and representation of land surface processes with different schemes are sources of uncertainty for precipitation downscaling. Correction of initial soil moisture using the climatology dataset from GSWP-2 is a useful approach to robustly reducing wet bias in inland areas as well as to improve spatial distribution of precipitation. Despite the improvement on RCM downscaling, regional analyses reveal that accurate simulation of precipitation over East China, where the precipitation pattern is strongly influenced by the activity of the Meiyu/Baiu rainfall band, is difficult. Since the location of the rainfall band is closely associated with both lower-level meridional moisture transport and upper-level circulation structures, it is necessary to have realistic upper-air circulation patterns in the RCM as well as lower-level moisture transport in order to improve the circulation-associated convective rainfall band in East Asia. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Matui H.,Chiba University | Sato Y.,Hokkaido University
Communications in Mathematical Physics | Year: 2012

We consider a certain class of unital simple stably finite C*-algebras which absorb the Jiang-Su algebra Z tensorially. Under a mild assumption, we show that the crossed product of a C*-algebra in this class by a strongly outer action of ℤ N or a finite group is Z -stable. As an application, we also prove that all strongly outer actions of ℤ 2 on Z are mutually cocycle conjugate. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Inagaki M.,Hokkaido University | Kang F.,Tsinghua University
Journal of Materials Chemistry A | Year: 2014

New carbon materials have recently been derived from graphene theoretically and experimentally, hydrogenated graphene (graphane), fluorinated graphene (fluorographene), oxidized graphene (graphene oxide), and graphene introduced by acetylenic chains (graphyne and graphdiyne), which may be called graphene derivatives. Here, we review these graphene derivatives by emphasizing the experimental results. This journal is © the Partner Organisations 2014.


Sellix M.T.,University of Virginia | Yoshikawa T.,Hokkaido University | Menaker M.,University of Virginia
Current Biology | Year: 2010

Since the pioneering work of Everett and Sawyer, the idea that pituitary gonadotrophins provide the critical timing cue for ovulation has remained unquestioned [1]. It is widely accepted that the timing of ovulation depends entirely on the timing of luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion, itself driven by neuroendocrine releasing factors controlled by the circadian clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) [2,3]. As a consequence, there has been little investigation of a role for the ovary in this process. However, we and others have demonstrated the presence of endogenous circadian clocks in the rat ovary [4-6]. Here we describe a circadian rhythm of ovarian sensitivity to LH that determines the ovulatory response to gonadotrophins. It is plausible that the circadian clock in the ovary may set the responsiveness of the ovarian follicle to the LH surge. Our results significantly alter the classic view that gonadotrophins provide the only timing cue for ovulation. They suggest that the ovary itself plays a major role in the process and provide a new perspective that will inform future research on infertility and ovarian physiology. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Patent
Tohoku Electric Power Co., Hokkaido University and Tohoku University | Date: 2015-09-23

Magnetic field measurement means measures a magnetic field generated by a lightning strike in a frequency band that includes frequencies of 200 Hz or less. Electric charge calculation means determines the electric current waveform of the lightning strike on the basis of the waveform of the magnetic field measured by the magnetic field measurement means, and integrates the electric current waveform to determine an electric charge.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Tohoku University | Date: 2012-02-08

The disclosed field-effect transistor has a graphene channel, and does not exhibit ambipolar properties. Specifically, the field-effect transistor has a semi-conducting substrate; a channel including a graphene layer disposed on the aforementioned semiconductor substrate; a source electrode and drain electrode comprising a metal; and a gate electrode. The aforementioned channel and the aforementioned source and drain electrodes comprising a metal are connected via a semiconductor layer.


Patent
Ricoh Company, Agri Bio Industry Incorporated and Hokkaido University | Date: 2011-01-12

Disclosed is a copolymer resin composition including a lactic acid copolymer, the lactic acid copolymer containing monomer units represented by the following chemical formulas [1], [2], and [3],


Patent
Ricoh Company, Agri Bio Industry Incorporated and Hokkaido University | Date: 2010-06-30

Disclosed is a copolymer resin composition including a lactic acid copolymer, the lactic acid copolymer containing monomer units represented by the following chemical formulas [1], [2], and [3], wherein a content of a monomer unit represented by the chemical formula [3] is 50 mol % or more and 95 mol % or less, a weight-average molecular weight of the lactic acid copolymer is 20,000 or more and 1,000,000 or less, and a deflection temperature of the lactic acid copolymer under load is 65 C. or higher and 100 C. or lower at a bending stress of 1.80 MPa.


Patent
Tohoku University and Hokkaido University | Date: 2011-05-11

A semiconductor integrated logic circuit or particularly, a complementary logic gate device useful in overcoming a speed performance limit of an ultra large-scale integration/ultra low power consumption integrated logic circuit composed of a complementary logic gate device represented by a silicon CMOS logic circuit is provided.An n-type channel FET and a p-type channel FET are not used but only two FETs with an ambipolar characteristic (single pole bilateral characteristic) and different threshold values are used. A gate electrode 11 of a first FET 1 and a second gate electrode 21 of a second FET 2 are short-circuited to have an input terminal, and a source electrode 12 of a first FET 1 is set at a low potential. A drain electrode 13 of the first FET 1 and a source electrode 22 of the second FET 2 are connected to have an output terminal, and a drain electrode 23 of the second FET 2 is set at a high potential.


Patent
Hokkaido University, Sapporo Medical University and Dnavec Corporation | Date: 2013-08-28

To provide a set of virus vectors which can be used for producing a prime/boost vaccine that can activate both cellular immunity and humoral immunity and is effective on infections by pathogenic microorganisms and malignant tumors which are generally believed to be difficult to be treated by vaccine therapy. [Solution] Provided is a set of virus vectors for prime/boost vaccines, comprising the following virus vector (a) and virus vector (b): (a) a vaccinia virus vector which carries a gene encoding an immunogenic polypeptide in such a manner that the gene can be expressed; and (b) a Sendal virus vector which carries the gene encoding the immunogenic polypeptide in such a manner that the gene can be expressed.


Patent
Tohoku Electric Power Co., Hokkaido University and Tohoku University | Date: 2013-11-14

Magnetic field measurement means measures a magnetic field generated by a lightning strike in a frequency band that includes frequencies of 200 Hz or less. Electric charge calculation means determines the electric current waveform of the lightning strike on the basis of the waveform of the magnetic field measured by the magnetic field measurement means, and integrates the electric current waveform to determine an electric charge.


News Article | November 16, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers in Japan and Russia have found some snail species that counterattack predators by swinging their shells, suggesting the importance of predator-prey interactions in animal evolution Until now, snails were thought to protectively withdraw into their shells when attacked. However, an international research team has found a pair of snail species that use their shells like a club to hit predators and knock them over. Evolutionary scientists have been questioning how predator-prey interactions affect the evolution of the prey. However, they are yet to resolve whether this interaction induces the diversification of the prey species and its morphological features and behaviours, and if so, why? Researchers from Japan's Hokkaido University and Tohoku University collaborated with colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences to closely study snail species from the genus Karaftohelix in both countries. They observed each species' defensive behaviours against their predator, the carabid beetle, and conducted shell measurements and species comparisons. The team used DNA sequencing to analyse how closely related the species were to each other. They found that two snail species--Karaftohelix (Ezohelix) gainesi in Hokkaido, Japan and Karaftohelix selskii in the Far East region of Russia--swing their shells to hit the carabid beetles, demonstrating a very unique, active defence strategy; while other closely related snail species withdraw their soft bodies into their shells and wait until the opponent stops attacking. "The difference in their defensive behaviours is also reflected in their shell morphology, indicating that their behaviours and shell shapes are interrelated to optimize the preferred defence strategy," says Yuta Morii, the study's lead author. By analysing DNA sequences of each species, the team also discovered that the two active-or-passive defensive methods evolved independently in the Japanese and Russian species. Their findings suggest that the selection of each method has led to the diversification of the behaviours, shapes and species of the snails. This study, published in the Journal Scientific Reports, is one of only a few to report on land snails using their shells for active defence by swinging them against a predator. "Our study showcases the importance of predator-prey interactions along with resource competition as major selective forces affecting the evolution of morphological and behavioural traits in organisms," Morii adds.


News Article | November 16, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

Until now, snails were thought to protectively withdraw into their shells when attacked. However, an international research team has found a pair of snail species that use their shells like a club to hit predators and knock them over. Evolutionary scientists have been questioning how predator-prey interactions affect the evolution of the prey. However, they are yet to resolve whether this interaction induces the diversification of the prey species and its morphological features and behaviours, and if so, why? Researchers from Japan's Hokkaido University and Tohoku University collaborated with colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences to closely study snail species from the genus Karaftohelix in both countries. They observed each species' defensive behaviours against their predator, the carabid beetle, and conducted shell measurements and species comparisons. The team used DNA sequencing to analyse how closely related the species were to each other. They found that two snail species--Karaftohelix (Ezohelix) gainesi in Hokkaido, Japan and Karaftohelix selskii in the Far East region of Russia--swing their shells to hit the carabid beetles, demonstrating a very unique, active defence strategy; while other closely related snail species withdraw their soft bodies into their shells and wait until the opponent stops attacking. "The difference in their defensive behaviours is also reflected in their shell morphology, indicating that their behaviours and shell shapes are interrelated to optimize the preferred defence strategy," says Yuta Morii, the study's lead author. By analysing DNA sequences of each species, the team also discovered that the two active-or-passive defensive methods evolved independently in the Japanese and Russian species. Their findings suggest that the selection of each method has led to the diversification of the behaviours, shapes and species of the snails. This study, published in the Journal Scientific Reports, is one of only a few to report on land snails using their shells for active defence by swinging them against a predator. "Our study showcases the importance of predator-prey interactions along with resource competition as major selective forces affecting the evolution of morphological and behavioural traits in organisms," Morii adds.


News Article | November 17, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Researchers in Japan and Russia have found some snail species that counterattack predators by swinging their shells, suggesting the importance of predator-prey interactions in animal evolution. Until now, snails were thought to protectively withdraw into their shells when attacked. However, an international research team has found a pair of snail species that use their shells like a club to hit predators and knock them over. Evolutionary scientists have been questioning how predator-prey interactions affect the evolution of the prey. However, they are yet to resolve whether this interaction induces the diversification of the prey species and its morphological features and behaviours, and if so, why? Researchers from Japan's Hokkaido University and Tohoku University collaborated with colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences to closely study snail species from the genus Karaftohelix in both countries. They observed each species' defensive behaviours against their predator, the carabid beetle, and conducted shell measurements and species comparisons. The team used DNA sequencing to analyse how closely related the species were to each other. They found that two snail species -- Karaftohelix (Ezohelix) gainesi in Hokkaido, Japan and Karaftohelix selskii in the Far East region of Russia -- swing their shells to hit the carabid beetles, demonstrating a very unique, active defence strategy; while other closely related snail species withdraw their soft bodies into their shells and wait until the opponent stops attacking. "The difference in their defensive behaviours is also reflected in their shell morphology, indicating that their behaviours and shell shapes are interrelated to optimize the preferred defence strategy," says Yuta Morii, the study's lead author. By analysing DNA sequences of each species, the team also discovered that the two active-or-passive defensive methods evolved independently in the Japanese and Russian species. Their findings suggest that the selection of each method has led to the diversification of the behaviours, shapes and species of the snails. This study, published in the Journal Scientific Reports, is one of only a few to report on land snails using their shells for active defence by swinging them against a predator. "Our study showcases the importance of predator-prey interactions along with resource competition as major selective forces affecting the evolution of morphological and behavioural traits in organisms," Morii adds.


News Article | November 16, 2016
Site: phys.org

Until now, snails were thought to protectively withdraw into their shells when attacked. However, an international research team has found a pair of snail species that use their shells like a club to hit predators and knock them over. Evolutionary scientists have been questioning how predator-prey interactions affect the evolution of the prey. However, they are yet to resolve whether this interaction induces the diversification of the prey species and its morphological features and behaviours, and if so, why? Researchers from Japan's Hokkaido University and Tohoku University collaborated with colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences to closely study snail species from the genus Karaftohelix in both countries. They observed each species' defensive behaviours against their predator, the carabid beetle, and conducted shell measurements and species comparisons. The team used DNA sequencing to analyse how closely related the species were to each other. They found that two snail species—Karaftohelix (Ezohelix) gainesi in Hokkaido, Japan and Karaftohelix selskii in the Far East region of Russia—swing their shells to hit the carabid beetles, demonstrating a very unique, active defence strategy; while other closely related snail species withdraw their soft bodies into their shells and wait until the opponent stops attacking. "The difference in their defensive behaviours is also reflected in their shell morphology, indicating that their behaviours and shell shapes are interrelated to optimize the preferred defence strategy," says Yuta Morii, the study's lead author. By analysing DNA sequences of each species, the team also discovered that the two active-or-passive defensive methods evolved independently in the Japanese and Russian species. Their findings suggest that the selection of each method has led to the diversification of the behaviours, shapes and species of the snails. This study, published in the Journal Scientific Reports, is one of only a few to report on land snails using their shells for active defence by swinging them against a predator. "Our study showcases the importance of predator-prey interactions along with resource competition as major selective forces affecting the evolution of morphological and behavioural traits in organisms," Morii adds. More information: Yuta Morii et al. Parallel evolution of passive and active defence in land snails, Scientific Reports (2016). DOI: 10.1038/srep35600


News Article | November 17, 2016
Site: www.gizmag.com

Faced with an incoming predator, most snails don't really have a lot of options other than to retreat into their shells. But scientists have discovered that members of a certain species won't take such provocations lying down, instead aggressively swinging their shells from side to side to gain the upper hand on an assailant. The species in question hail from Russia and Japan, and are known as Karaftohelix selskii and Karaftohelix (Ezohelix) gainesi, respectively. Scientists at Japan's Hokkaido University and Tohoku University teamed up with researchers at the Russian Academy of Sciences to study how the two snails behave when under threat from a carabid beetle, and were surprised to find that they were capable of launching some pretty brutal counterattacks. The scientists observed how once the snails sensed the carabid beetle in the vicinity, they would begin to swing their shells about to clear the area and knock the beetle down. They say that this appears to be a highly unique trait, with other closely related snail species instead hiding away inside the shell until the attacker stands down. "The difference in their defensive behaviors is also reflected in their shell morphology, indicating that their behaviors and shell shapes are interrelated to optimize the preferred defense strategy," says Yuta Morii, the study's lead author. What's more, the researchers analyzed the DNA sequences of the snails and found that these behaviors evolved independently of one another. That these traits evolved in parallel on different continents, the researchers say, highlights the significance of predator-prey relations in shaping the evolution of organisms. The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports, and you can see a Ezohelix gainesi snail and carabid beetle go at it in the video below.


Tamura M.,Kao Corporation | Shimizu K.-I.,Hokkaido University | Satsuma A.,Nagoya University
Applied Catalysis A: General | Year: 2012

Acid/base properties (type, strength, number) of a wide range of metal oxides were studied by IR (infra-red) spectroscopy. Ammonia, pyridine and CD 3CN were used as probe molecules for acidity measurement. CO 2, CHCl 3, benzaldehyde and nitrobenzene were used for basicity measurement. Pyridine for the nature and number of acid sites, CD 3CN for the strength of acid sites, CHCl 3 for the strength of basic sites and nitrobenzene for the number of basic sites were found to be suitable probes. The absorption coefficients of pyridine for acidic sites and nitrobenzene for basic sites, estimated for various metal oxides by IR coupled with mass spectrometry, were within ±10% of the average value, which indicates that the integrated molar extinction coefficients could be used for semi-quantification of acid/base sites of various oxides samples. The comprehensive IR results in this study will be available to characterize properties of Lewis and Bronsted acid sites and basic sites on metal oxides by a simple IR experiment. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Kobayashi H.,Friedrich - Schiller University of Jena | Tanaka H.,Hokkaido University | Krivov A.V.,Friedrich - Schiller University of Jena
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2011

Massive planetary cores (10 Earth masses) trigger rapid gas accretion to form gas giant planets such as Jupiter and Saturn. We investigate the core growth and the possibilities for cores to reach such a critical core mass. At the late stage, planetary cores grow through collisions with small planetesimals. Collisional fragmentation of planetesimals, which is induced by gravitational interaction with planetary cores, reduces the amount of planetesimals surrounding them, and thus the final core masses. Starting from small planetesimals that the fragmentation rapidly removes, less massive cores are formed. However, planetary cores acquire atmospheres that enlarge their collisional cross section before rapid gas accretion. Once planetary cores exceed about Mars mass, atmospheres significantly accelerate the growth of cores. We show that, taking into account the effects of fragmentation and atmosphere, initially large planetesimals enable formation of sufficiently massive cores. On the other hand, because the growth of cores is slow for large planetesimals, a massive disk is necessary for cores to grow enough within a disk lifetime. If the disk with 100km sized initial planetesimals is 10 times as massive as the minimum mass solar nebula, planetary cores can exceed 10 Earth masses in the Jovian planet region (>5AU). © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


Schmidtko S.,University of East Anglia | Schmidtko S.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Heywood K.J.,University of East Anglia | Thompson A.F.,California Institute of Technology | Aoki S.,Hokkaido University
Science | Year: 2014

Decadal trends in the properties of seawater adjacent to Antarctica are poorly known, and the mechanisms responsible for such changes are uncertain. Antarctic ice sheet mass loss is largely driven by ice shelf basal melt, which is influenced by ocean-ice interactions and has been correlated with Antarctic Continental Shelf Bottom Water (ASBW) temperature. We document the spatial distribution of long-term large-scale trends in temperature, salinity, and core depth over the Antarctic continental shelf and slope. Warming at the seabed in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas is linked to increased heat content and to a shoaling of the mid-depth temperature maximum over the continental slope, allowing warmer, saltier water greater access to the shelf in recent years. Regions of ASBW warming are those exhibiting increased ice shelf melt. ©2014 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.


Kuga Y.,Hiroshima University | Sakamoto N.,Hokkaido University | Yurimoto H.,Hokkaido University
New Phytologist | Year: 2014

Summary: The objective of this study was to elucidate the transfer of nutrient elements in orchid symbiotic protocorms at the cellular level by imaging of stable isotope tracers. We address the long-standing question of whether nutrients move by transport across the symbiotic interface or solely by lysis of fungal pelotons. [U-13C]glucose and 15NH415NO3 were added to Ceratobasidium sp. hyphae extending from symbiotic protocorms of Spiranthes sinensis. Isotope images were taken from resin-embedded sections of protocorms using ultra-high spatial resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). Analyses of regions of interest were conducted on isotope ratio images for fungal and host structures. Amyloplasts adjacent to young pelotons showed elevated 13C/12C, which indicated that fungal carbon (C) was transferred from live hyphae. Senescent pelotons and their surrounding host cytoplasm showed significantly higher isotope ratios than young pelotons and surrounding host cytoplasm. These results indicate an inflow of C to senescent hyphae, which was then transferred to the host. The findings of this study provide some support for each of the two contradictory hypotheses concerning nutrient exchange in the symbiotic protocorm: the interface between the symbionts is involved before fungal senescence, and peloton degradation also releases a significant amount of C and nitrogen to host cells. © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.


Noda N.N.,Institute of Microbial Chemistry | Fujioka Y.,Institute of Microbial Chemistry | Hanada T.,Tokyo Institute of Technology | Ohsumi Y.,Tokyo Institute of Technology | Inagaki F.,Hokkaido University
EMBO Reports | Year: 2013

Atg12 is conjugated to Atg5 through enzymatic reactions similar to ubiquitination. The Atg12-Atg5 conjugate functions as an E3-like enzyme to promote lipidation of Atg8, whereas lipidated Atg8 has essential roles in both autophagosome formation and selective cargo recognition during autophagy. However, the molecular role of Atg12 modification in these processes has remained elusive. Here, we report the crystal structure of the Atg12-Atg5 conjugate. In addition to the isopeptide linkage, Atg12 forms hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions with Atg5, thereby fixing its position on Atg5. Structural comparison with unmodified Atg5 and mutational analyses showed that Atg12 modification neither induces a conformational change in Atg5 nor creates a functionally important architecture. Rather, Atg12 functions as a binding module for Atg3, the E2 enzyme for Atg8, thus endowing Atg5 with the ability to interact with Atg3 to facilitate Atg8 lipidation. © 2013 European Molecular Biology Organization.


Nishioka J.,Hokkaido University | Obata H.,University of Tokyo | Tsumune D.,Japan Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry
Earth and Planetary Science Letters | Year: 2013

Ocean scale transect observations covering the entire water depth enable a comprehensive picture of the chemistry including the circulation and biogeochemical cycling of elements in seawater. The large-scale investigation of dissolved iron (Fe) took place through the Japanese-GEOTRACES study and here we report a basin-scale full-depth section profile of dissolved Fe in the Indian Ocean, from the Arabian Sea to the Southern Ocean. The data clearly shows the hydrothermal Fe distributed over 3000. km distance in the deep layer centered at a depth of approximately 3000. m, around the Central Indian Ridge segment, and a large part of the dissolved Fe from the hydrothermal sources was in the real soluble fraction rather than the colloidal fraction. In the intermediate water in the north Arabian Sea, another dissolved Fe rich water mass existed where Fe was enriched by remineralization processes from settling particles and/or adjacent reducing sediments, and preserved in the suboxic water. The basin-scale section profile indicates that there are several sources supplying dissolved Fe to deep waters, such as the hydrothermal sources and terrestrial Fe input with a persistent condition in the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ), between the northern-subtropical section, though few Fe sources were apparent in the Southern Ocean. Combining our size-fractionated Fe data with numerical modeling study suggests that the Fe physical-chemical form in seawater differs between the sources and is a key factor for controlling residence time and explaining the large scale distributed hydrothermal Fe. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Ikeda K.,Hokkaido University | Uosaki K.,Japan International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics
Chemistry - A European Journal | Year: 2012

Optical antennas can enhance the efficiency of photon-molecule interactions. To design efficient antenna structures, it is essential to consider physicochemical aspects in addition to electromagnetic considerations. Specifically, chemical interactions between optical antennas and molecules have to be controlled to enhance the overall efficiency. For this purpose, sphere-plane nanostructures are suitable optical antennas for molecular-modified functional electrode systems when a well-defined electrode is utilized as a platform. Copyright © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Patent
CellSeed and Hokkaido University | Date: 2013-09-25

A method of analyzing a sugar chain by high performance liquid chromatography uses a column packed with a stationary phase including anion and cation exchangers. A fluorescence-labeled sample is prepared for the analysis by decomposing glycosaminoglycans to be analyzed into their constitutional units being disaccharides, capturing the disaccharides by glycoblotting, releasing the disaccharides by acid treatment, and subsequently reductively aminating the released disaccharides. In this method, two or more types of glycosaminoglycans can be simultaneously analyzed.


Patent
Idemitsu Kosan Co. and Hokkaido University | Date: 2014-03-13

Provided is a method for producing a lignin degradation product that includes (1) a degradation step of degrading a raw material containing a plant biomass, in a mixed solvent of water and an aliphatic alcohol having from 4 to 10 carbon atoms, which separates into two phases at 0 C. or higher and 50 C. or lower, under the following conditions, and (2) after the degradation step, a liquid-liquid separation step of separating the lignin degradation product-containing organic phase from the solvent that has separated at the temperature for two-phase separation. The method produces a lignin degradation product at a high yield from lignin or a material containing lignin. Condition A: The concentration of the raw material to be in the mixed solvent is 1% by mass or more and 20% by mass or less. Condition B: The reaction temperature is 100 C. or higher and 350 C. or lower. Condition C: The reaction time is 0.1 hours or more and 10 hours or less.


Patent
Hokkaido University and CellSeed | Date: 2012-02-16

A glycoprotein and/or a glycopeptide which are a test substance is heated in the presence of a pyrazolone derivative, an isoxazolone derivative, a hydantoin derivative, a rhodanine derivative, a maleimide derivative, or the like under a basic condition to cleave and label a post-translational modification group for analysis, thereby enabling analysis of a post-translational modification of a serine residue and/or a threonine residue.


In a hydroxyapatite to be joined to another hydroxyapatite or a bone by laser machining (machining of the bone and the hydroxyapatite includes irradiation of laser light on the bone and irradiation of laser light on the hydroxyapatite), to prevent occurrence of a fracture in a junction and in a peripheral portion of the junction during laser machining, the present invention provides an optimum weight ratio of a cordierite or quartz glass component mixed in the hydroxyapatite. As a mixing ratio of the cordierite or quartz glass component, the cordierite or quartz glass component is mixed at least at a weight ratio equal to or higher than 25.7%.


An environmental information measurement device includes: a power source unit; an environmental information detector; a timer; and a controller. The power source unit generates, from an electromagnetic wave received, a power source voltage to be supplied to a load. The load includes the environmental information detector, the timer, and the controller. The environmental information detector includes a detector including a circuit element having an impedance or an electrostatic capacitance that varies according to a physical amount detected under an environment at a measurement target point, and outputs a signal that varies according to a response characteristic of the detector. The timer measures a duration from the time when measurement is initiated to the time when a voltage of the signal becomes a predetermined detection voltage. The controller controls an operation of the environmental information detector.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Japan Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry | Date: 2010-06-23

An object of the present invention is to provide organic solvent extracts of red algae laurencia sp., compounds isolated and identified therefrom, and an agent for preventing attachment of barnacles comprising them. The present invention relates to a barnacle attachment preventive agent consisting of at least one selected from the group consisting of Laurencin, Thyrsiferol, Magireol A, Omaezallene, Hachijojimallene A and organic solvent extracts of red algae laurencia sp.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Mitsubishi Rayon Co. | Date: 2013-09-18

Provided are a catalyst whereby isobutylene can be produced at high yield in a lower-temperature environment, and a method for producing isobutylene using the catalyst. The catalyst for producing isobutylene is an oxide including at least one element selected from molybdenum and tungsten, and at least one element selected from tantalum, niobium, and titanium.


An environmental information measurement device includes: a power source unit; an environmental information detector; a timer; and a controller. The power source unit generates, from an electromagnetic wave received, a power source voltage to be supplied to a load. The load includes the environmental information detector, the timer, and the controller. The environmental information detector includes a detector including a circuit element having an impedance or an electrostatic capacitance that varies according to a physical amount detected under an environment at a measurement target point, and outputs a signal that varies according to a response characteristic of the detector. The timer measures a duration from the time when measurement is initiated to the time when a voltage of the signal becomes a predetermined detection voltage. The controller controls an operation of the environmental information detector.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Sharp Kabushiki Kaisha | Date: 2012-10-10

Disclosed is a light emitting element, which emits light with small power consumption and high luminance. The light emitting element has: a IV semiconductor substrate; two or more core multi-shell nanowires disposed on the IV semiconductor substrate; a first electrode connected to the IV semiconductor substrate; and a second electrode, which covers the side surfaces of the core multi-shell nanowires, and which is connected to the side surfaces of the core multi-shell nanowires. Each of the core multi-shell nanowires has: a center nanowire composed of a first conductivity type III-V compound semiconductor; a first barrier layer composed of the first conductivity type III-V compound semiconductor; a quantum well layer composed of a III-V compound semiconductor; a second barrier layer composed of a second conductivity type III-V compound semiconductor; and a capping layer composed of a second conductivity type III-V compound semiconductor.


An apparatus for fabricating implant material (52) comprises- a heat-source applying unit that burns a bone (51) arranged adjacent to the implant material (52) by the heat source, melts a surface-modification area to be subjected to a surface modification on the implant material (52) by applying the heat source to the surface-modification area, and foams and sinters the implant material (52) in the surface-modification area in a gas atmosphere generated by burning the bone (51);- a processing-condition setting unit that sets a processing condition for the implant material (52) when performing a surface modification process on the implant material (52); and- a control unit that controls an application of the heat source when performing the surface modification process on the implant material (52) based on the processing condition set by the processing-condition setting unit.


An implant material (52) comprisinga base layer (200) made of a molded dense substrate; anda foamed layer (100) that is formed on a junction of the base layer (200) and bone (51) by performing a predetermined surface treatment on the junction in a gas atmosphere generated by burning the bone (51), in which foamed air bubbles are confined and coagulated,wherein the implant material is obtained by using an apparatus (1) for performing laser processing comprising a laser applying unit (10), a processing-condition setting unit (30) and a control unit (21, 22, 23), whereinthe laser applying unit (10) is adapted to apply the laser beam to a junction of the bone (51) and the implant material (52) to drill a hole in the bone (51) and melt the implant material (52) so that melted implant material (52) fills the hole drilled in the bone (51);the processing-condition setting unit (30) is adapted to set a processing condition for at least one of the bone (51) and the implant material (52) when integrating the bone (51) and the implant material (52); andthe control unit (21, 22, 23) is adapted to control an application of the laser beam when integrating the bone (51) and the implant material (52) based on the processing condition set by the processing-condition setting unit (30).


Patent
Hokkaido University and Kurume University | Date: 2011-01-19

Disclosed is a novel polypeptide which can inhibit angiogenesis. Also disclosed is use of the polypeptide. The polypeptide comprises at least one amino acid sequence selected from the amino acid sequences depicted in SEQ ID NOs: 1-3, is composed of 120 or less animo acid residues, and has an anti-angiogenic activity. The polypeptide has an anti-antiogenic activity, has a lower molecular weight compared with that of PEDF, and has excellent penetration or absorption into a living body, particularly an affected part in a living body.


An apparatus for integrating bone and implant material and a method for fabricating an implant material are provided. The apparatus includes a laser applying unit that applies the laser beam to a junction of the bone and the implant material to drill a hole in the bone and melt the implant material, a processing-condition setting unit that sets a processing condition for at least one of the bone and the implant material, and a control unit that controls an application of the laser beam based on the processing condition. The method includes burning a bone by applying a heat source to the bone, foamed-layer forming including melting sintered implant material by applying the heat source to the implant material in a gas atmosphere produced by burning the bone, and forming a foamed layer on melted implant material in which foamed air bubbles are confined and coagulated.


Patent
Chubu University, Nissin Electric Co., Osaka University and Hokkaido University | Date: 2012-06-26

A carbon nanowall array (10) is provided with a substrate (1) and carbon nanowalls (2-9). The substrate (1) is composed of silicon, and includes protruding portions (11) and recessed portions (12). The protruding portions (11) and recessed portions (12) are formed in the direction (DR1) on one surface of the substrate (1). The protruding portions (11) and recessed portions (12) are alternately formed in the direction (DR2) perpendicular to the direction (DR1). Each of the protruding portions (11) has a length of 0.1-0.5 m in the direction (DR2), and each of the recessed portions (12) has a length of 0.6-1.5 m in the direction (DR2). The height of each of the protruding portions (11) is 0.3-0.6 m. Respective carbon nanowalls (2-9) are formed in the length direction (i.e., the direction (DR1)) of the protruding portions (11) of the substrate (1), said carbon nanowalls being formed on the protruding portions (11).


Patent
Hokkaido University and Mitsubishi Rayon Co. | Date: 2016-08-04

Provided are a catalyst whereby isobutylene can be produced at high yield in a lower-temperature environment, and a method for producing isobutylene using the catalyst. The catalyst for producing isobutylene is an oxide including at least one element selected from molybdenum and tungsten, and at least one element selected from tantalum, niobium, and titanium.


Patent
CellSeed and Hokkaido University | Date: 2014-01-08

A cell sheet having a high hyaluronic acid production ability can be typically prepared by a method in which, on a cell culture support having a surface coated with a polymer which changes a hydration ability in a temperature range of 0-80C, cells with increased stem cell content are cultured in a temperature range where the polymer exhibits a weak hydration ability, and then the temperature of a culture solution is changed to a temperature at which the polymer exhibits a strong hydration ability, so that the cultured cells are detached in the form of sheet.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Sharp Kabushiki Kaisha | Date: 2013-01-02

Disclosed is a semiconductor device (10) which comprises a glass substrate (12), a lower electrode layer (14), an n-type doped polycrystalline silicon semiconductor layer (16), a low-temperature insulating film (20) in which openings (22, 23) that serve as nuclei for growth of a nanowire (32) are formed, the nanowire (32) that is grown over the low-temperature insulating film (20) and has a core-shell structure, an insulating layer (50) that surrounds the nanowire (32), and an upper electrode layer (52). The nanowire (32) comprises an n-type GaAs core layer and a p-type GaAs shell layer. Alternatively, the nanowire can be formed as a nanowire having a quantum well structure, and InAs that can allow reduction of the process temperature can be used for the nanowire.


Patent
Chubu University, Hokkaido University, Osaka University and Nissin Electric Co. | Date: 2012-08-23

A thin film transistor is equipped with a silicon substrate, a channel layer, a source electrode and a drain electrode. The channel layer, the source electrode and the drain electrode are arranged on the main surface of the silicon substrate. The channel layer is composed of multiple carbon nanowall thin films, wherein the multiple carbon nanowall thin films are arranged in parallel to each other between the source electrode and the drain electrode, one end of each of the multiple carbon nanowall thin films is in contact with the source electrode, and the other end of each of the multiple carbon nanowall thin films is in contact with the drain electrode. An insulating film and a gate electrode are arranged on the rear surface side of the silicon substrate.


In a hydroxyapatite to be joined to another hydroxyapatite or a bone by laser machining (machining of the bone and the hydroxyapatite includes irradiation of laser light on the bone and irradiation of laser light on the hydroxyapatite), to prevent occurrence of a fracture in a junction and in a peripheral portion of the junction during laser machining, the present invention provides an optimum weight ratio of a cordierite or quartz glass component mixed in the hydroxyapatite. As a mixing ratio of the cordierite or quartz glass component, the cordierite or quartz glass component is mixed at least at a weight ratio equal to or higher than 25.7%.


Patent
CellSeed and Hokkaido University | Date: 2013-12-25

A glycoprotein and/or a glycopeptide which are a test substance is heated in the presence of a pyrazolone derivative, an isoxazolone derivative, a hydantoin derivative, a rhodanine derivative, a maleimide derivative, or the like under a basic condition to cleave and label a post-translational modification group for analysis, thereby enabling analysis of a post-translational modification of a serine residue and/or a threonine residue.


Patent
Hokkaido University and CellSeed | Date: 2012-02-28

A cell sheet having a high hyaluronic acid production ability can be typically prepared by a method in which, on a cell culture support having a surface coated with a polymer which changes a hydration ability in a temperature range of 0-80 C., cells with increased stem cell content are cultured in a temperature range where the polymer exhibits a weak hydration ability, and then the temperature of a culture solution is changed to a temperature at which the polymer exhibits a strong hydration ability, so that the cultured cells are detached in the form of sheet.


Park J.J.,Yonsei University | Lee K.J.B.,Ewha Womans University | Wright O.B.,Hokkaido University | Jung M.K.,Yonsei University | Lee S.H.,Yonsei University
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

We demonstrate 97%, 89%, and 76% transmission of sound amplitude in air through walls perforated with subwavelength holes of areal coverage fractions 0.10, 0.03, and 0.01, respectively, producing 94-, 950-, and 5700-fold intensity enhancements therein. This remarkable level of extraordinary acoustic transmission is achieved with thin tensioned circular membranes, making the mass of the air in the holes effectively vanish. Imaging the pressure field confirms incident-angle independent transmission, thus realizing a bona fide invisible wall. Applications include high-resolution acoustic sensing. © 2013 American Physical Society.


Nihashi S.,Hokkaido University of Science | Ohshima K.I.,Hokkaido University
Journal of Climate | Year: 2015

Sinking of dense water from Antarctic coastal polynyas produces Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW), which is the densest water in the global overturning circulation and is a key player in climate change as a significant sink for heat and carbon dioxide. Very recent studies have suggested that landfast sea ice (fast ice) plays an important role in the formation and variability of the polynyas and possibly AABW. However, they have been limited to regional and case investigations only. This study provides the first coincident circumpolar mapping of Antarctic coastal polynyas and fast ice. The map reveals that most of the polynyas are formed on the western side of fast ice, indicating an important role of fast ice in the polynya formation. Winds diverging from a boundary comprising both coastline and fast ice are the primary determinant of polynya formation. The blocking effect of fast ice on westward sea ice advection by the coastal current would be another key factor. These effects on the variability in sea ice production for 13 major polynyas are evaluated quantitatively. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that a drastic change in fast ice extent, which is particularly vulnerable to climate change, causes dramatic changes in the polynyas and possibly AABW formation that can potentially contribute to further climate change. These results suggest that fast ice and precise polynya processes should be addressed by next-generation models to produce more accurate climate projections. This study provides the boundary and validation data of fast ice and sea ice production for such models. © 2015 American Meteorological Society.


Hisanaga T.,Nara Institute of Science and Technology | Kawade K.,Hokkaido University | Tsukaya H.,University of Tokyo
Journal of Experimental Botany | Year: 2015

Leaves are ideal model systems to study the organ size regulation of multicellular plants. Leaf cell number and cell size are determinant factors of leaf size which is controlled through cell proliferation and post-mitotic cell expansion, respectively. To achieve a proper leaf size, cell proliferation and post-mitotic cell expansion should be co-ordinated during leaf morphogenesis. Compensation, which is enhanced post-mitotic cell expansion associated with a decrease in cell number during lateral organ development, is suggestive of such co-ordination. Genetic and kinematic studies revealed at least three classes of modes of compensation, indicating that compensation is a heterogeneous phenomenon. Recent studies have increased our understanding about the molecular basis of compensation by identifying the causal genes of each compensation-exhibiting mutant. Furthermore, analyses using chimeric leaves revealed that a type of compensated cell expansion requires cell-to-cell communication. Information from recent advances in molecular and genetic studies on compensation has been integrated here and its role in organ size regulation is discussed. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved.


Moustafa A.,Hokkaido University | Moustafa A.,Zagazig University | Habara Y.,Hokkaido University
Antioxidants and Redox Signaling | Year: 2014

Aim: The present study was designed to explore the effects of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) on Ca2+ homeostasis in rat pancreatic acini. Results: Sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS; an H2S donor) induced a biphasic increase in the intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca 2+]i) in a dose-dependent manner. The NaHS-induced [Ca2+]i elevation persisted with an EC50 of 73.3 μM in the absence of extracellular Ca2+ but was abolished by thapsigargin, indicating that both Ca2+ entry and Ca2+ release contributed to the increase. The [Ca2+]i increase was markedly inhibited in the presence of NG-monomethyl L-arginine or 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide (cPTIO), and diaminofluorescein-2/diaminofluorescein-2 triazole (DAF-2/DAF-2T) fluorometry demonstrated that nitric oxide (NO) was also produced by H2S in a dose-dependent manner with an EC50 of 64.8 μM, indicating that NO was involved in the H2S effect. The H2S-induced [Ca 2+]i increase was inhibited by pretreatment with U73122, xestospongin C, 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one, KT5823, and GP2A, indicating that phospholipase C (PLC), the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP 3) receptor, soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), protein kinase G (PKG), and Gq-protein play roles as intermediate components in the H 2S-triggered intracellular signaling. Innovation: To our knowledge, our study is the first one highlighting the effect of H2S on intracellular Ca2+ dynamics in pancreatic acinar cells. Moreover, a novel cascade was presumed to function via the synergistic interaction between H2S and NO. Conclusion: We conclude that H2S affects [Ca2+]i homeostasis that is mediated by H 2S-evoked NO production via an endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS)-NO-sGC-cyclic guanosine monophosphate-PKG-Gq-protein-PLC- IP3 pathway to induce Ca2+ release, and this pathway is identical to the one we recently proposed for a sole effect of NO and the two gaseous molecules synergistically function to regulate Ca2+ homeostasis. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 747-758. © 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


Lopez-Acevedo O.,University of Jyväskylä | Tsunoyama H.,Hokkaido University | Tsukuda T.,Hokkaido University | Hakkinen H.,University of Jyväskylä | Aikens C.M.,Kansas State University
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2010

Structural, electronic, and optical properties of the thiolate-protected Au38(SR)24 cluster are studied by density-functional theory computations (R = CH3 and R = C6H13) and by powder X-ray crystallography (R = C12H25). A low-energy structure which can be written as Au23at(Au(SR) 2)3(Au2(SR)3)6 having a biicosahedral core and a chiral arrangement of the protecting gold-thiolate Aux(SR)y units yields an excellent match between the computed (for R = C6H13) and measured (for R = C 12H25) powder X-ray diffraction function. We interpret in detail the electronic structure of the Au23 core by using a particle-in-a-cylinder model. Although the alkane thiolate ligands are achiral, the chiral structure of the ligand layer yields strong circular dichroism (CD) in the excitations below 2.2 eV for Au36(SCH3) 24. Our calculated CD spectrum is in quantitative agreement with the previously measured low-energy CD signal of glutathione-protected Au 38(SG)24. Our study demonstrates a new mechanism for the strong chiral response of thiolate-protected gold clusters with achiral metal cores and ligands. © 2010 American Chemical Society.


Flajnik M.F.,University of Maryland, Baltimore | Kasahara M.,Hokkaido University
Nature Reviews Genetics | Year: 2010

The adaptive immune system (AIS) in mammals, which is centred on lymphocytes bearing antigen receptors that are generated by somatic recombination, arose approximately 500 million years ago in jawed fish. This intricate defence system consists of many molecules, mechanisms and tissues that are not present in jawless vertebrates. Two macroevolutionary events are believed to have contributed to the genesis of the AIS: the emergence of the recombination-activating gene (RAG) transposon, and two rounds of whole-genome duplication. It has recently been discovered that a non-RAG-based AIS with similarities to the jawed vertebrate AIS including two lymphoid cell lineages arose in jawless fish by convergent evolution. We offer insights into the latest advances in this field and speculate on the selective pressures that led to the emergence and maintenance of the AIS. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Nakase I.,Kyoto University | Akita H.,Hokkaido University | Kogure K.,Kyoto Pharmaceutical University | Graslund A.,University of Stockholm | And 3 more authors.
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2012

Over the last 20 years, researchers have designed or discovered peptides that can permeate membranes and deliver exogenous molecules inside a cell. These peptides, known as cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), typically consist of 6-30 residues, including HIV TAT peptide, penetratin, oligoarginine, transportan, and TP10. Through chemical conjugation or noncovalent complex formation, these structures successfully deliver bioactive and membrane-impermeable molecules into cells. CPPs have also gained attention as an attractive vehicle for the delivery of nucleic acid pharmaceuticals (NAPs), including genes/plasmids, short oligonucleotides, and small interference RNAs and their analogues, due to their high internalization efficacy, low cytotoxicity, and flexible structural design.In this Account, we survey the potential of CPPs for the design and optimization of NAP delivery systems. First, we describe the impact of the N-terminal stearylation of CPPs. Endocytic pathways make a major contribution to the cellular uptake of NAPs. Stearylation at the N-terminus of CPPs with stearyl-octaarginine (R8), stearyl-(RxR) 4, and stearyl-TP10 prompts the formation of a self-assembled core-shell nanoparticle with NAPs, a compact structure that promotes cellular uptake. Researchers have designed modifications such as the addition of trifluoromethylquinoline moieties to lysine residues to destabilize endosomes, as exemplified by PepFect 6, and these changes further improve biological responsiveness. Alternatively, stearylation also allows implantation of CPPs onto the surface of liposomes. This feature facilitates "programmed packaging" to establish multifunctional envelope-type nanodevices (MEND). The R8-MEND showed high transfection efficiency comparable to that of adenovirus in non-dividing cells.Understanding the cellular uptake mechanisms of CPPs will further improve CPP-mediated NAP delivery. The cellular uptake of CPPs and their NAP complex involves various types of endocytosis. Macropinocytosis, a mechanism which is also activated in response to stimuli such as growth factors or viruses, is a primary pathway for arginine-rich CPPs because high cationic charge density promotes this endocytic pathway. The use of larger endosomes (known as macropinosomes) rather than clathrin- or caveolae-mediated endocytosis has been reported in macropinocytosis which would also facilitate the endocytosis of NAP nanoparticles into cells. © 2011 American Chemical Society.


Soltesz I.,University of California at Irvine | Alger B.E.,University of Maryland, Baltimore | Kano M.,University of Tokyo | Lee S.-H.,University of California at Irvine | And 3 more authors.
Nature Reviews Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Endocannabinoids are lipid-derived messengers, and both their synthesis and breakdown are under tight spatiotemporal regulation. As retrograde signalling molecules, endocannabinoids are synthesized postsynaptically but activate presynaptic cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) receptors to inhibit neurotransmitter release. In turn, CB1-expressing inhibitory and excitatory synapses act as strategically placed control points for activity-dependent regulation of dynamically changing normal and pathological oscillatory network activity. Here, we highlight emerging principles of cannabinoid circuit control and plasticity, and discuss their relevance for epilepsy and related comorbidities. New insights into cannabinoid signalling may facilitate the translation of the recent interest in cannabis-related substances as antiseizure medications to evidence-based treatment strategies. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Soma M.,Hokkaido University | Garamszegi L.Z.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station
Behavioral Ecology | Year: 2011

The theory of sexual selection predicts a relationship between male sexual traits and reproductive success. This prediction has been tested extensively using the complexity of birdsong as a model for trait elaboration. However, contradictory results have emerged. Some studies have demonstrated that males with large repertoires enjoy a reproductive advantage, whereas other studies have failed to support this prediction. To make general inferences from this mixed evidence, we quantitatively reviewed the relevant literature using a meta-analytic approach. The mean effect size for the song/mating success association was significant, but the effects were generally weak, affected by publication bias, confounded by uncontrolled variables, and differing across the traits examined. Effect sizes were heterogeneous across studies due to species-specific effects, differences in mating systems, and song phenotypes. The degree of association between song complexity and reproductive success was independent of the strength of sexual selection, as assessed by the degree of polygyny and extrapair paternity. Our results highlight the importance of considering various biological factors to understand the role of repertoires in mediating mating success in different species. © 2011 The Author.


Beye F.,Nagoya University | Kobayashi T.,Hokkaido University | Kuwakino S.,Chung Yuan Christian University
Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics | Year: 2014

We show that non-Abelian discrete symmetries in orbifold string models have a gauge origin. This can be understood when looking at the vicinity of a symmetry enhanced point in moduli space. At such an enhanced point, orbifold fixed points are characterized by an enhanced gauge symmetry. This gauge symmetry can be broken to a discrete subgroup by a nontrivial vacuum expectation value of the Kähler modulus T. Using this mechanism it is shown that the δ(54) non-Abelian discrete symmetry group originates from a SU(3) gauge symmetry, whereas the D4 symmetry group is obtained from a SU(2) gauge symmetry. © 2014 The Authors.


Boehm T.,Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics | McCurley N.,Emory University | Sutoh Y.,Hokkaido University | Schorpp M.,Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics | And 2 more authors.
Annual Review of Immunology | Year: 2012

Lampreys and hagfish are primitive jawless vertebrates capable of mounting specific immune responses. Lampreys possess different types of lymphocytes, akin to T and B cells of jawed vertebrates, that clonally express somatically diversified antigen receptors termed variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs), which are composed of tandem arrays of leucine-rich repeats. The VLRs appear to be diversified by a gene conversion mechanism involving lineage-specific cytosine deaminases. VLRA is expressed on the surface of T-like lymphocytes; B-like lymphocytes express and secrete VLRB as a multivalent protein. VLRC is expressed by a distinct lymphocyte lineage. VLRA-expressing cells appear to develop in a thymus-like tissue at the tip of gill filaments, and VLRB-expressing cells develop in hematopoietic tissues. Reciprocal expression patterns of evolutionarily conserved interleukins and chemokines possibly underlie cell-cell interactions during an immune response. The discovery of VLRs in agnathans illuminates the origins of adaptive immunity in early vertebrates. © 2012 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Mitroy J.,Charles Darwin University | Bubin S.,Vanderbilt University | Horiuchi W.,Hokkaido University | Suzuki Y.,Niigata University | And 7 more authors.
Reviews of Modern Physics | Year: 2013

The variational method complemented with the use of explicitly correlated Gaussian basis functions is one of the most powerful approaches currently used for calculating the properties of few-body systems. Despite its conceptual simplicity, the method offers great flexibility, high accuracy, and can be used to study diverse quantum systems, ranging from small atoms and molecules to light nuclei, hadrons, quantum dots, and Efimov systems. The basic theoretical foundations are discussed, recent advances in the applications of explicitly correlated Gaussians in physics and chemistry are reviewed, and the strengths and weaknesses of the explicitly correlated Gaussians approach are compared with other few-body techniques. © 2013 American Physical Society.


News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Coastal defences could be designed to better withstand powerful storms triggered by climate change, a study of wave dynamics suggests. Improving seawalls could help limit loss of life and damage to property as coastal waters become stormier over coming years, researchers say. The team has developed a way of predicting what happens to the millions of tonnes of water inside big waves when they collide with cliffs, seawalls and buildings. Their findings could help engineers design coastal defences that are better able to stop sea water spilling over on to land - known as overtopping. When a breaking wave collides with an upright structure, a powerful jet of water is thrown straight up into the air. Researchers found these huge sheets of water then split into several 'fingers' before breaking apart into a spray of droplets, which can hit people and property with real force. Saltwater can also cause damage to buildings, vehicles and transport infrastructure. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh and Hokkaido University recreated stormy sea conditions in a 24m wave flume in Japan to gauge the impact of waves on vertical walls. A scaled-down version of a seawall was bombarded with waves, which researchers tracked using a high-resolution video camera. They found that water is dispersed in a distinct pattern that varies depending on the size of waves. The pattern differs from those produced by other types of spray, such as those produced by industrial sprayers used in car and agriculture industries. Based on their findings, researchers developed a statistical model to calculate the pattern of spray produced by wave impacts. This could help inform future sea defence strategies which have until now not taken into account the pattern of spray produced by waves, the team says. The study is published in the Royal Society journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A. The research was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Professor David Ingram, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Engineering, said: "The UK and Japan are island nations on the edge of large oceans where storms can create very big waves. With climate change increasing the intensity and frequency of storms, a better understanding of the interaction of waves and our natural and engineered coast is critical."


Takeuchi T.,Kochi Medical School | Adachi Y.,Hokkaido University | Nagayama T.,Japan Science and Technology Agency
Carcinogenesis | Year: 2012

Using the PCR-based subtractive messenger RNA hybridization assay described in this paper, we isolated a hitherto uncharacterized gene, transmembrane protein 207 (TMEM207), which was selectively expressed in collagen gel-invading cultured signet-ring cell carcinoma KATO-III cells. TMEM207 has a C-terminal proline-rich PPxY motif, which binds to the WW domain-containing oxidoreductase, WWOX. Enforced expression of TMEM207 significantly increased Matrigel invasion activity of KATO-III cells in vitro without affecting cell growth. In contrast, expression of TMEM207 with mutations in the PPxY motif did not significantly increase Matrigel invasion activity of KATO-III cells. Immunohistochemical staining showed that TMEM207 was strongly expressed in 7 of 30 gastric signet-ring cell carcinoma tissue specimens. Notably, TMEM207 expression was associated with the depth of cancer invasion and the presence of lymph node metastasis. The results of co-immunoprecipitation followed by western immunoblotting showed that TMEM207 is bound to WWOX in a PPxY motif-dependent manner. Small interfering RNA-mediated downregulation of WWOX also significantly increased Matrigel invasion activity of KATO-III cells. Notably, exogenous expression of TMEM207 impaired the WWOX-mediated repression of Matrigel invasion activity of another cultured signet-ring cell carcinoma cell line, NUGC-4 cells. Recent studies have highlighted the fact that WWOX acts as a tumor suppressor factor in various malignant tumors, including gastric cancer. On the basis of these findings and the results of the present study, we think that overexpression of TMEM207 may facilitate invasive activity and metastasis of gastric signet-ring cell carcinoma, which possibly occur through binding to WWOX and attenuation of its function. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Takabayashi M.,Kyushu Institute of Technology | Okamoto A.,Hokkaido University
Optics Express | Year: 2013

Holographic recording methods require the use of a reference beam that is coherent with the signal beam carrying the information to be recorded. In this paper, we propose self-referential holography (SRH) for holographic recording without the use of a reference beam. SRH can realize purely one-beam holographic recording by considering the signal beam itself as the reference beam. The readout process in SRH is based on energy transfer by inter-pixel interference in holographic diffraction, which depends on the spatial phase difference between the recorded phase and the readout phase. The phase-modulated recorded signal is converted into an intensity-modulated beam that can be easily detected using a conventional image sensor. SRH can be used effectively for holographic data storage and phase-to-intensity conversion. © 2013 Optical Society of America.


Yamaguchi Y.,Hokkaido University | Huffaker A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Current Opinion in Plant Biology | Year: 2011

Plant defense responses against invading organisms are initiated through the perception of molecules associated with attacking microbes and herbivores by pattern recognition receptors. In addition to elicitor molecules derived from attacking organisms, plants recognize host-derived molecules. These endogenous elicitors induce and amplify the defense responses against invading organisms both locally and systemically. Several classes of plant-derived molecules elicit defense, including cell wall fragments and peptides. Endogenous peptide elicitors have been discovered in species across the plant kingdom, and their role regulating immunity to both herbivores and pathogens is becoming increasingly appreciated. In this review, we will focus on the five known endogenous peptide elicitor families, summarize their properties, and discuss research goals to further understanding of plant innate immunity. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Shionogi & Co. | Date: 2010-12-01

Provided is a novel method of diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis. Based on the quantitative expression profile of sugar chain expression amount in the serum (whole serum, HAP or LAP), the relevancy thereof to rheumatoid arthritis is analyzed. As a result, a sugar chain and a glycoprotein showing a change depending on the onset of rheumatoid arthritis are found out and thus a serum sugar chain and a glycoprotein usable as a novel biomarker are provided.


Patent
Shionogi & Co. and Hokkaido University | Date: 2013-03-06

An objective of the present invention is to provide a MUC1 antibody having high specificity to cancer cells. The objective has been achieved by the present inventors who found that a cancer-specific sugar chain can be specifically recognized in MUC1 and a cancer cell expressing MUC1 having such a cancer cell specific sugar chain can be recognized. The present invention provides an antibody, an antigen-binding fragment thereof or a MUC1-binding molecule, having, for example, 40-fold specificity or more for a cancer-associated structure of MUC1 as compared to that of a normal tissue-associated structure of MUC1.


A material for an organic electroluminescent (EL) device includes a copper(I) complex represented by the following Formula 1: [CuX(PPh_(3))_(2)L][Formula 1] In the above Formula 1, X is an anion, PPh_(3 )is triphenylphosphine, and L is a substituted or unsubstituted heterocyclic ligand having 5 to 18 ring carbon.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Sumitomo Electric | Date: 2011-06-29

An immersion type membrane module unit includes: an immersion type membrane module for membrane separation activated sludge filtration; an extended wall extending from a lower end of the membrane module and surrounding a space downward of the membrane module; and a membrane aerating air diffusion device disposed at one of a lower portion in the space and a position around and downward of the space and having a plurality of air diffusion holes arranged in a plane, and the membrane module has separation membranes with gaps therebetween and the extended wall receives bubbles output through the air diffusion holes and guides the bubbles to the gaps.


Disclosed is a method for screening for a medicinal agent that can decrease a body weight, a medicinal agent that can reduce a visceral fat, a medicinal agent that can reduce a triglyceride in the liver, and a medicinal agent that can ameliorate obesity and fatty liver. The method involves a step of measuring the inhibitory activity of a candidate substance on a sphingomyelin synthase, wherein the candidate substance is determined to have at least one function selected from the group consisting of an anti-obesity agent, a visceral fat-reducing agent, a fatty liver-treating agent and an adiponectin expression enhancer when the candidate substance has an inhibitory activity on the sphingomyelin synthase.


Disclosed is a method for screening for a medicinal agent that can decrease a body weight, a medicinal agent that can reduce a visceral fat, a medicinal agent that can reduce a triglyceride in the liver, and a medicinal agent that can ameliorate obesity and fatty liver. The method involves a step of measuring the inhibitory activity of a candidate substance on a sphingomyelin synthase, wherein the candidate substance is determined to have at least one function selected from the group consisting of an anti-obesity agent, a visceral fat-reducing agent, a fatty liver-treating agent and an adiponectin expression enhancer when the candidate substance has an inhibitory activity on the sphingomyelin synthase.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Shionogi & Co. | Date: 2012-10-10

It is intended to provide a novel diagnosis method for a hepatic disease, in particular, HCC. A serum sugar chain usable as a novel biomarker is provided by analyzing the relationship between the quantitative expression profiles of sugar chains in the serum and individual disease conditions and thus finding a sugar chain showing a change with the progression of a hepatic disease.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Unicharm Corporation | Date: 2015-01-28

Provided is a method enabling a used superabsorbent polymer recovered from used absorbent, etc., to be readily and inexpensively recovered without using acids or alkalies. The used superabsorbent polymer is treated with an aqueous solution of a multivalent metal salt such as calcium chloride, etc., the superabsorbent polymer treated with the aqueous solution of an multivalent metal salt is treated with an aqueous solution of an alkaline metal salt such as sodium chloride, etc., the superabsorbent polymer treated with the aqueous solution of an alkaline metal salt is washed with water, and the superabsorbent polymer washed with water is then dried.


Sahara K.,Hokkaido University | Yoshido A.,Hokkaido University | Traut W.,University of Lübeck
Chromosome Research | Year: 2012

Lepidoptera, i.e. moths and butterflies, have a female heterogametic sex chromosome system, with most females having a WZ constitution while males are ZZ. Besides this predominant WZ/ZZ system, Z/ZZ, WZ 1Z 2/Z 1Z 1Z 2Z 2 and W 1W 2Z/ZZ systems also occur. Sex is determined by an unknown W-linked gene or genes in Bombyx mori, but by dosage-dependent and equally unknown Z-linked genes in all Z/ZZ species. The female heterogametic sex chromosome system has been conserved for at least 180 MY in the phylogenetic branch that combines Lepidoptera and Trichoptera. The W chromosome, which is present in most lepidopteran species, was incorporated in the sex chromosome system much later, about 90-100 MY ago. The Z chromosomes are highly conserved among Lepidoptera, much like the Z in birds or the X in mammals. The W, on the other hand, is evolving rapidly. It is crammed with repetitive elements which appear to have a high turnover rate but poor in or even devoid of protein-coding genes. It has frequently undergone fusion with autosomes or sporadically lost altogether. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Shionogi & Co. | Date: 2012-12-19

Provided is a novel method of diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis. Based on the quantitative expression profile of sugar chain expression amount in the serum (whole serum, HAP or LAP), the relevancy thereof to rheumatoid arthritis is analyzed. As a result, a sugar chain and a glycoprotein showing a change depending on the onset of rheumatoid arthritis are found out and thus a serum sugar chain and a glycoprotein usable as a novel biomarker are provided.


Patent
Honda Corporation and Hokkaido University | Date: 2014-05-13

A driving support device includes a cross direction control device and a cross direction alarm device which are a first support unit that performs drive support of steering of a vehicle, a traveling direction control device and a traveling direction alarm device which are a second support unit that performs drive support of deceleration of the vehicle, and a running support processing device that controls the first support unit and the second support unit. The running support processing device detects looking-aside of a driver, detects a non-drive manual operation of the driver, and sets a level of an effect of detection of the non-drive manual operation to an effect of detection of the looking-aside in the first support unit to be greater than a level of an effect of detection of the non-drive manual operation to an effect of detection of the looking-aside in the second support unit.


Patent
Hokkaido University and Shionogi & Co. | Date: 2012-10-12

The present invention is directed to providing a medicament for treating or preventing a condition, disorder or disease associated with amyloid . Provided is a method for screening a medicament for treating or preventing a disease associated with amyloid , the method comprising: A) subjecting at least one of elements selected from the group consisting of 1) exosome; 2) neutral sphingomyelinase 2 (N-SMase2); and 3) sphingomyelin synthetic enzyme 2 (SMS2), and a candidate of the medicament in a condition in which they can interact with each other; and B) examining an influence by the candidate of the medicament to the element, wherein at least one of the elements is used as an index for determining as to whether or not the candidate is the medicament.


Patent
Hokkaido University, Hirosaki University and Shionogi & Co. | Date: 2012-08-01

The present invention provides a novel method for diagnosing renal cell carcinoma. The method of the invention allows evaluation of the presence of renal cell carcinoma or the degree of malignancy of renal cell carcinoma, by conducting comprehensive analysis of N-linked sugar chains in serum of a patient and utilizing an expression level of detected sugar chain as an index of the evaluation.


News Article | November 30, 2016
Site: www.sciencenews.org

The eyes may reveal whether the brain’s internal stopwatch runs fast or slow. Pupil size predicted whether a monkey would over- or underestimate a second, scientists report in the Nov. 2 Journal of Neuroscience. Scientists knew that pupils get bigger when a person is paying attention. They also knew that paying attention can influence how people perceive the passage of time. Using monkeys, the new study links pupil size and timing directly. “What they’ve done here is connect those dots,” says neuroscientist Thalia Wheatley of Dartmouth College. More generally, the study shows how the eyes are windows into how the brain operates. “There’s so much information coming out of the eyes,” Wheatley says. Neuroscientist Masaki Tanaka of Hokkaido University School of Medicine in Japan and colleagues trained three Japanese macaques to look at a spot on a computer screen after precisely one second had elapsed. The study measured the monkeys’ subjective timing abilities: The monkeys had to rely on themselves to count the milliseconds. Just before each trial, the researchers measured pupil diameters. When the monkeys underestimated a second by looking too soon, their pupil sizes were slightly larger than in trials in which the monkeys overestimated a second, the researchers found. That means that when pupils were large, the monkeys felt time zoom by. But when pupils were small, time felt slower. The differences in pupil size were subtle, but Tanaka and colleagues think these changes are meaningful. Pupil size, the results suggest, offers a readout of the brain as it keeps track of passing milliseconds. This pupil readout may reflect a specific type of signaling in the brain. As a chemical messenger called noradrenaline puts the brain into a heightened state of alertness, pupils get bigger, previous research has shown. That link is why this study makes sense, Wheatley says. Attention is known to make time fly, a distortion that would lead a monkey to think a second has elapsed sooner than it has. The opposite is also true. When the brain is a little more sluggish or not paying attention, time ticks by slower and seconds stretch out. By finding that the eyes hold clues to how the brain perceives time, Tanaka says that the study may motivate further research into how brain cells actually make this split-second calculation (SN: 7/25/15, p. 20).


Saitoh K.,Hokkaido University | Matsuo S.,Fujikura Ltd
Journal of Lightwave Technology | Year: 2016

Multicore fibers (MCFs) are expected as a good candidate for overcoming the capacity limit of a current optical communication system. This paper describes the recent progress on the MCFs for space-division multiplexing to be utilized in future large capacity long-distance transmission systems. Tradeoff issue between low crosstalk and high core density in MCFs is presented and prospect of large-space multiplicity of MCFs is discussed. © 1983-2012 IEEE.


Mizumoto S.,Meijo University | Yamada S.,Meijo University | Sugahara K.,Meijo University | Sugahara K.,Hokkaido University
Current Opinion in Structural Biology | Year: 2015

Recent functional studies on chondroitin sulfate-dermatan sulfate (CS-DS) demonstrated its indispensable roles in various biological events including brain development and cancer. CS-DS proteoglycans exert their physiological activity through interactions with specific proteins including growth factors, cell surface receptors, and matrix proteins. The characterization of these interactions is essential for regulating the biological functions of CS-DS proteoglycans. Although amino acid sequences on the bioactive proteins required for these interactions have already been elucidated, the specific saccharide sequences involved in the binding of CS-DS to target proteins have not yet been sufficiently identified. In this review, recent findings are described on the interaction between CS-DS and some proteins which are especially involved in the central nervous system and cancer development/metastasis. © 2015.

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