Kobe, Japan
Kobe, Japan

Kobe University , also known in the Kansai region as Shindai , is a leading national university located in Kobe, Hyōgo, Japan. It was established in 1949, but the academic origins of Kobe University trace back to the establishment of Kobe Higher Commercial School in 1902, which was renamed as Kobe University of Commerce, and Kobe University of Economics.Kobe University comprises 14 graduate schools and 11 undergraduate faculties. The university holds a total of about 16,000 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. The institution welcomes overseas students, which accounted for a total of 1,108 students, as of 2011. It also has 3,300 staff members, including professors, associate professors and administrative officials.Located beside the foothills of Mount Rokkō, the university provides a view of the city and port of Kobe, providing an environment for the pursuit of academic studies, especially social science areas. Kobe University is one of the oldest and largest national universities in Japan. It is consistently one of the highest ranking national universities in Japan that is not one of Japan's National Seven Universities.Kobe Higher Commercial School was one of the oldest institution with business and economics majors in Japan. Especially, the Graduate School of Economics benefits fully from a century of the history and the tradition. Kobe is also the first collegiate business school in Japan. Therefore, Kobe is called the birthplace of Japanese higher education in economics and business administration, and it has always been the center of Japanese business studies.Furthermore, the Graduate School of Law was also established with the legal studies section of the former Kobe University of Economics. It has become a leading institution of high academic institution in the field of legal and political studies, and has been successful in becoming a reputable academic center.The Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration, founded in 1919, has a history as a high-level research institution for international economics and international management. The Institute has been highly regarded internationally for its outstanding achievements in theoretical, historical, empirical, and quantitative research.In the meantime, Kobe Hospital was established in 1869; it was a training center for medical practitioners, which was one of the oldest institutions in the modern medical education in Japan.In 1990, they made new changes as one of the major universities specializing in graduate research and education.Under the Japanese Ministry of Education and Science, it has started a new Center of Excellence projects, the "Research and Education Center of New Japanese Economic Paradigms", "Development and Education Center for Advanced Business Systems", and "Research Center for Dynamic Legal Processes of Advanced Market Societies". Wikipedia.


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The present invention provides a method of modifying a targeted site of a double stranded DNA, including a step of contacting a complex wherein a nucleic acid sequence-recognizing module that specifically binds to a target nucleotide sequence in a selected double stranded DNA and a nucleic acid base converting enzyme are bonded, with the double stranded DNA, to convert one or more nucleotides in the targeted site to other one or more nucleotides or delete one or more nucleotides, or insert one or more nucleotides into the targeted site, without cleaving at least one chain of the double stranded DNA in the targeted site.


Patent
Kobe University and Integral Geometry Science Inc. | Date: 2017-01-18

A scattering tomography method includes: radiating waves to an object from a plurality of transmitting antenna elements aligned on a side surface of a case; receiving scattered waves by a plurality of receiving antenna elements aligned on the side surface of the case; and reconstructing an image relating to information on an interior of the object using scattered wave data representing the scattered waves received by the plurality of receiving antenna elements. In the reconstructing, a reconstruction function for reconstructing the image relating to the information on the interior of the object is set in advance for a three-dimensional space having the same shape as the case, an asymptotic equation which an asymptotic expression of the reconstruction function satisfies is constructed, a visualization function that is obtained by solving the asymptotic equation is derived from the scattered wave data, and the image relating to the information on the interior of the object is reconstructed using the visualization function.


Patent
System Instruments Co., Hirosaki University and Kobe University | Date: 2017-03-29

An automatic analyzing apparatus 10 includes a chip rack 11 that stores a pipette chip, a pipette 12 into which a specimen is injected, a conveyance unit that conveys the pipette 12 by parallel translation, a reagent rack 14, a reaction unit 15, a detection unit 16, and a detection block unit 17. The pipette chip stored by the chip rack 11 has a planar structure to directly and optically detect the specimen. The chip rack 11 includes, in a hole that receives the pipette chip, a guide corresponding to the structure of the pipette chip. The pipette 12 sucks or discharges the specimen via the pipette chip mounted onto the tip thereof by a drive of a pump. In the detection unit 16, a measurement is carried out with the pipette chip arranged so that the plane that receives light is vertical to an optical axis.


The present invention provides a method of modifying a targeted site of a double stranded DNA, including a step of contacting a complex wherein a nucleic acid sequence-recognizing module that specifically binds to a target nucleotide sequence in a selected double stranded DNA and a nucleic acid base converting enzyme are bonded, with the double stranded DNA, to convert one or more nucleotides in the targeted site to other one or more nucleotides or delete one or more nucleotides, or insert one or more nucleotides into the targeted site, without cleaving at least one chain of the double stranded DNA in the targeted site.


Oda Y.,Kobe University | Otani T.,RIKEN | Ikenouchi J.,Kyushu University | Ikenouchi J.,Japan Science and Technology Agency | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Cell Science | Year: 2014

When the surface view of each epithelial cell is compared with a polygon, its sides correspond to cell-cell junctions, whereas its vertices correspond to tricellular contacts, whose roles in epithelial cell morphogenesis have not been well studied. Here, we show that tricellulin (also known as MARVELD2), which is localized at tricellular contacts, regulates F-actin organization through Cdc42. Tricellulin-knockdown epithelial cells exhibit irregular polygonal shapes with curved cell borders and impaired organization of Factin fibers around tricellular contacts during cell-cell junction formation. The N-terminal cytoplasmic domain of tricellulin binds to the Cdc42 guanine-nucleotide-exchange factor (GEF) Tuba (also known as DNMBP and ARHGEF36), and activates Cdc42. A tricellulin mutant that lacks the ability to bind Tuba cannot rescue the curved cell border phenotype of tricellulin-knockdown cells. These findings indicate that tricellular contacts play crucial roles in regulating the actomyosin-mediated apical junctional complex tension through the tricellulin-Tuba-Cdc42 system. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Horner J.,Durham University | Horner J.,Open University Milton Keynes | Lykawka P.S.,Kinki University | Lykawka P.S.,Kobe University
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2010

The fact that the Centaurs are the primary source of the short-period comets is well established. However, the origin of the Centaurs themselves is still under some debate, with a variety of different source reservoirs being proposed in the last decade. In this work, we suggest that the Neptune Trojans (together with the Jovian Trojans) could represent an additional significant source of Centaurs. Using dynamical simulations of the first Neptune Trojan discovered (2001 QR322), together with integrations following the evolution of clouds of theoretical Neptune Trojans obtained during simulations of planetary migration, we show that the Neptune Trojan population contains a great number of objects which are unstable on both Myr and Gyr time-scales. Using individual examples, we show how objects that leave the Neptunian Trojan cloud evolve on to orbits indistinguishable from those of the known Centaurs, before providing a range of estimates of the flux from this region to the Centaur population. With only moderate assumptions, it is shown that the Trojans can contribute a significant proportion of the Centaur population, and may even be the dominant source reservoir. This result is supported by past work on the colours of the Trojans and the Centaurs, but it will take future observations to determine the full scale of the contribution of the escaped Trojans to the Centaur population. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS.


Ishida Y.,Kobe University | Ishida Y.,Toyama Prefectural University | Ishibashi J.,Japan National Institute of Agrobiological Science | Leal W.S.,University of California at Davis
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background: Blowflies are economic pests of the wool industry and potential vectors for epidemics. The establishment of a pesticide-free, environmentally friendly blowfly control strategy is necessary. Blowflies must feed on meat in order to initiate the cascade of events that are involved in reproduction including juvenile hormone synthesis, vitellogenesis, and mating. During feeding blowflies regurgitate salivary lipase, which may play a role in releasing fatty acids from triglycerides that are found in food. However, long-chain fatty acids show low solubility in aqueous solutions. In order to solubilize and ingest the released hydrophobic fatty acids, the blowflies must use a solubilizer. Methodology: We applied native PAGE, Edman degradation, cDNA cloning, and RT-PCR to characterize a protein that accumulated in the oral disk of the black blowfly, Phormia regina. In situ hybridization was carried out to localize the expression at the cellular level. A fluorescence competitive binding assay was used to identify potential ligands of this protein. Conclusion: A protein newly identified from P. regina (PregOBP56a) belonged to the classic odorant-binding protein (OBP) family. This gene was expressed in a cluster of cells that was localized between pseudotracheae on the oral disk, which are not accessory cells of the taste peg chemosensory sensilla that normally synthesize OBPs. At pH 7 and pH 6, PregOBP56a bound palmitic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic acids, that are mainly found in chicken meat. The binding affinity of PregOBP56a decreased at pH 5. We propose that PregOBP56a is a protein that solubilizes fatty acids during feeding and subsequently helps to deliver the fatty acids to the midgut where it may help in the process of reproduction. As such, PregOBP56a is a potential molecular target for controlling the blowfly. © 2013 Ishida et al.


Izumi Y.,Kobe University | Furuse M.,Kobe University | Furuse M.,National Institute for Physiological science
Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology | Year: 2014

Septate junctions (SJs) are specialized intercellular junctions that function as permeability barriers to restrict the free diffusion of solutes through the paracellular routes in invertebrate epithelia. SJs are subdivided into several morphological types that vary among different animal phyla. In several phyla, different types of SJ have been described in different epithelia within an individual. Arthropods have two types of SJs: pleated SJs (pSJs) and smooth SJs (sSJs), found in ectodermally and endodermally derived epithelia, respectively. Several lines of Drosophila research have identified and characterized a large number of pSJ-associated proteins. Two sSJ-specific proteins have been recently reported. Molecular dissection of SJs in Drosophila and animals in other phyla will lead to a better understanding of the functional differences among SJ types and of evolutionary aspects of these permeability barriers. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Suzuki Y.,Kobe University | Dandekar A.M.,University of California at Davis
Physiologia Plantarum | Year: 2014

Rosaceae fruit trees use sorbitol and sucrose as translocating sugars and the sorbitol-to-sucrose ratio in source leaves determines apple fruit quality. Here, we investigate the effects of sugars on the expression of genes encoding key photosynthetic enzymes, including sorbitol-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (S6PDH, EC 1.1.1.200), sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS, EC 2.4.1.14), and ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (ADPGPPase, EC 2.7.7.27) to understand the sugar-signaling mechanism in Rosaceae fruit trees. Mature leaf-petiole cuttings of loquat (Eriobotrya japonica Lindl. cv. Mogi) were supplied with a water, sorbitol or sucrose solution for 2days at 20°C. The relative levels of the transcripts were analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). S6PDH transcription was decreased by sorbitol but drastically increased by sucrose. SPS and ADPGPPase large subunit transcription were decreased by sucrose and sorbitol. The simultaneous application of sorbitol and sucrose revealed that S6PDH transcription increased in a dose-dependent manner with sucrose. These results show that both sorbitol and sucrose work as signaling molecules in source organs of Rosaceae fruit trees. These trees have mechanisms to positively keep sorbitol as the dominant translocating sugar, suggesting that sorbitol plays an important role in their survival strategy. Effects of various sugars on S6PDH expression were investigated. Palatinose, a sucrose analog, increased S6PDH transcription much more drastically than sucrose. Mannose and 3-O-methylglucose, glucose analogs, also increased S6PDH transcription; however, glucose did not. Models of sugar signaling in source organs of Rosaceae fruit trees are discussed. © 2013 Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society.


Nomura K.,Suntory Institute for Bioorganic Research | Lintuluoto M.,Kyoto Prefectural University | Morigaki K.,Kobe University
Journal of Physical Chemistry B | Year: 2011

Inhomogeneous line broadening due to conformational distributions of molecules is one of the troublesome problems in solid-state NMR spectroscopy. The best possible way to avoid it is to crystallize the sample. Here, we present a highly resolved 13C cross-polarization (CP) magic angle spinning (MAS) NMR spectrum of the highly ordered crystalline 1,2- dimyrystoyl-sn- glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC) and completely assigned it using two-dimensional (2D) solid-state NMR spectra, dipolar heteronuclear correlation (HETCOR) spectra, scalar heteronuclear J coupling based chemical shift correlation (MAS-J-HMQC) spectra, and Dipolar Assisted Rotational Resonance (DARR) spectra. A comparison between assigned chemical shift values by solid-state NMR in this study and the calculated chemical shift values for X-ray crystal DMPC structures shows good agreement, indicating that the two isomers in the crystalline DMPC take the same conformation as the X-ray crystal structure. The phase diagram of the low hydration level of DMPC (3 ≤ nW ≤ 12) determined by 1H and 13C NMR spectra indicates that DMPC takes a crystalline state only in a very narrow region around nW = 4 and T < 313 K. These findings provide us with conformational information on crystalline DMPC and the physical properties of DMPC at a low hydration level and can possibly help us obtain a highly resolved solid-state NMR spectrum of microcrystalline membrane-associated protein samples. © 2011 American Chemical Society.


Suzuki H.,Kyushu University | Yoshid K.,Kobe University | Ohshima T.,Kyushu University | Ohshima T.,Osaka Institute of Technology
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2013

Thermophiles have important advantages over mesophiles as host organisms for high-temperature bioprocesses, functional production of thermostable enzymes, and efficient expression of enzymatic activities in vivo. To capitalize on these advantages of thermophiles, we describe here a new inducible gene expression system in the thermophile Geobacillus kaustophilus HTA426. Six promoter regions in the HTA426 genome were identified and analyzed for expression profiles using β-galactosidase reporter assay. This analysis identified a promoter region upstream of a putative amylose-metabolizing gene cluster that directed highlevel expression of the reporter gene. The expression was>280-fold that without a promoter and was further enhanced 12-fold by maltose addition. In association with a multicopy plasmid, this promoter region was used to express heterologous genes. Several genes, including a gene whose product was insoluble when expressed in Escherichia coli, were successfully expressed as soluble proteins, with yields of 0.16 to 59 mg/liter, and conferred new functions to G. kaustophilus strains. Remarkably, cellulase and α-amylase genes conferred the ability to degrade cellulose paper and insoluble starch at high temperatures, respectively, generating thermophiles with the potential to degrade plant biomass. Our results demonstrate that this novel expression system expands the potential applications of G. kaustophilus. © 2013, American Society for Microbiology.


Tateya S.,Kobe University | Tamori Y.,Kobe University | Kawaguchi T.,Kobe University | Kanda H.,Kobe University
Endocrinology | Year: 2010

Chronic inflammation in adipose tissue is thought to be important for the development of insulin resistance in obesity. Furthermore, the level of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) is increased not only in adipose tissue but also in the circulation in association with obesity. However, it has remained unclear to what extent the increased circulating level of MCP-1 contributes to insulin resistance. We have now examined the relevance of circulating MCP-1 to the development of insulin resistance in mice. The plasma concentration of MCP-1 was increased chronically or acutely in mice to the level observed in obese animals by chronic subcutaneous infusion of recombinant MCP-1 with an osmotic pump or by acute intravenous infusion of MCP-1 with an infusion pump, respectively. Whole-body metabolic parameters as well as inflammatory changes in adipose tissue were examined. A chronic increase in the circulating level of MCP-1 induced insulin resistance, macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue, and an increase in hepatic triacylglycerol content. An acute increase in the circulating MCP-1 concentration also induced insulin resistance but not macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue. In addition, inhibition of signaling by MCP-1 and its receptor CCR2 by administration of a novel CCR2 antagonist ameliorated insulin resistance in mice fed a high-fat diet without affecting macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue. These data indicate that an increase in the concentration of MCP-1 in the circulation is sufficient to induce systemic insulin resistance irrespective of adipose tissue inflammation. Copyright © 2010 by The Endocrine Society.


Suzuki M.,Kobe University | Noguchi Y.,Kobe University | Kakigi R.,National Institute for Physiological science
Cortex | Year: 2014

The primate visual system is assumed to comprise two main pathways: a ventral pathway for shape and color perception and a dorsal pathway for spatial processing and visuomotor control. Previous studies consistently reported strong activation in the dorsal pathway (especially in the inferior parietal region) induced by manipulable object images such as tools. However, it is controversial whether the dorsal pathway retains this preferential activity to tool images under unconscious perception. In the present study, we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) and investigated spatio-temporal dynamics of neural responses to visible and invisible tool images. A presentation of visible tool images elicited a strong neural response over the parietal regions in the left hemisphere peaking at 400 msec. This response unique to the processing of tool information in the left parietal regions was still observed when conscious perception of tool images was inhibited by interocular suppression. Furthermore, analyses of neural oscillation signals revealed a suppression of μ rhythm (8-13 Hz), a neural index of movement execution or imagery, induced by both visible and invisible tools. Those results indicated that the neural circuit to process the tool information was preserved under unconscious perception, highlighting an implicit aspect of the dorsal pathway. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Adachi K.,RIKEN | Nikaido I.,RIKEN | Ohta H.,RIKEN | Ohtsuka S.,RIKEN | And 8 more authors.
Molecular Cell | Year: 2013

Sox2 is a transcription factor required for the maintenance of pluripotency. It also plays an essential role in different types of multipotent stem cells, raising the possibility that Sox2 governs the common stemness phenotype. Here we show that Sox2 is acritical downstream target of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling, which mediates self-renewal of trophoblast stem cells (TSCs). Sustained expression of Sox2 together with Esrrb or Tfap2c can replace FGF dependency. By comparing genome-wide binding sites of Sox2 in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and TSCs combined with inducible knockout systems, we found that, despite the common role in safeguarding the stem cell state, Sox2 regulates distinct sets of genes with unique functions in these two different yet developmentally related types of stemcells. Our findings provide insights into the functional versatility of transcription factors during embryogenesis, during which they can be recursively utilized in a variable manner within discrete network structures. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Patent
Neochemir Inc., Kobe University and Co2Be Medical Engineering K.K. | Date: 2013-09-25

A liquid medicine of the present invention comprising liquid having carbon dioxide dissolved therein, said liquid being administered by using means of liquid injection, and a method of treatment of the present invention using a liquid medicine comprising liquid having carbon dioxide dissolved therein, said liquid being administered by using means of liquid injection can reduce or eliminate tumors with few side effects. When the liquid medicine of the present invention comprising liquid having carbon dioxide dissolved therein, said liquid being administered by using means of liquid injection, and the method of treatment of the present invention using a liquid medicine comprising liquid having carbon dioxide dissolved therein, said liquid being administered by using means of liquid injection are used in combination with surgical therapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or immunotherapy of tumors, effects can be enhanced or side effects can be reduced compared with monotherapy or multidisciplinary therapy thereof.


Use of a carbon dioxide-supplying means for muscle strengthening makes it possible conveniently to strengthen a target muscle within a short period of time merely by allowing the target site to absorb carbon dioxide without loading any mechanical burden on the target muscle. By loading a mechanical burden on the target muscle, the muscle strengthening effect can be further enhanced and an additional effect of promoting the recovery from muscle fatigue can be achieved owing to the mechanical burden. By using the carbon dioxide-supplying means for muscle strengthening as described above, it is also possible to increase cattle meat.


Patent
Takiron Co. and Kobe University | Date: 2014-11-20

A drill guide has a main body in which a drill insertion hole is formed and plural projection portions to be inserted into plural bone tunnels. The plural projection portions project forward from the main body parallel with the center line of the drill insertion hole, a virtual drill insertion hole which extends from the drill insertion hole of the main body is formed between the plural projection portions parallel with their center lines by cutting out confronting portions of the plural projection portions, and the length of at least one of the drill insertion hole and the virtual drill insertion hole is 5 mm or more. The drill guide can guide a drill so as to be correctly between plural bone tunnels bored through a living body bone without causing axis deviation so that a link bone tunnel for connecting the plural bone tunnels can be formed between them in the same direction as their direction.


The present invention provides a prophylactic or therapeutic agent for fracture and bone diseases as well as a bone growth promoting agent containing carbon dioxide as an active ingredient. Further, according to the present invention, an additive or synergistic effect for preventing or treating fracture and bone diseases as well as for promoting bone growth by combining the therapeutic agent of the present invention and a bone absorption inhibitor and/or a bone formation promoter is obtained.


Patent
Neochemir Inc., CO2BE Medical Engineering K.K. and Kobe University | Date: 2014-02-05

An antitumor agent comprising carbon dioxide as an active ingredient of the present invention can reduce the tumor volume or eradicate the tumor of a patient who is difficult to take a surgical therapy, a chemotherapy, a radiation therapy or an immunotherapy. The antitumor agent comprising carbon dioxide as an active ingredient of the present invention is useful because the agent enables (1) the reduction in size or elimination of a tumor, (2) the suppression of tumor metastasis and also (3) the reduction in volume or elimination of a tumor at a part different from the part where carbon dioxide is transdermally absorbed by the transdermal absorption of carbon dioxide through the skin near the tumor or the skin far from the tumor. When the antitumor agent comprising carbon dioxide as an active ingredient of the present invention is used in combination with a surgical therapy, a chemotherapy, a radiation therapy or an immunotherapy, the effect can be potentiated or side effects can be reduced as compared with a monotherapy or a multidisciplinary therapy thereof


Patent
Neochemir Inc., CO2BE Medical Engineering K.K. and Kobe University | Date: 2015-08-05

A liquid medicine of the present invention comprising liquid having carbon dioxide dissolved therein, the liquid being administered by using means of liquid injection, and a method of treatment of the present invention using a liquid medicine comprising liquid having carbon dioxide dissolved therein, the liquid being administered by using means of liquid injection can reduce or eliminate tumors with few side effects. When the liquid medicine of the present invention comprising liquid having carbon dioxide dissolved therein, the liquid being administered by using means of liquid injection, and the method of treatment of the present invention using a liquid medicine comprising liquid having carbon dioxide dissolved therein, the liquid being administered by using means of liquid injection are used in combination with surgical therapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or immunotherapy of tumors, effects can be enhanced or side effects can be reduced compared with monotherapy or multidisciplinary therapy thereof.


Patent
Takiron Co. and Kobe University | Date: 2014-11-20

A guide pin piercing jig includes a cylinder unit and a frame having a positioning projection at a tip thereof, in which the cylinder unit has plural parallel guide pin insertion cylinders and tentative fixing unit and is attached to the frame slidably so as to be directed to the tip of the frame. It becomes possible to pierce living body bone with plural guide pins for hollow drills to a proper portion of a living body bone in a proper direction with parallel arrangement to form a bone tunnel that has a rectangular or elliptical opening and is suitable for tendon transplantation.


Patent
Takiron Co. and Kobe University | Date: 2014-11-20

A guide pin piercing jig includes a curved frame, a front cylinder unit provided at a front end of the frame, and a rear cylinder unit provided at a rear end of the frame, in which the front cylinder unit has a positioning projection and a boring aiming portion at a tip thereof, the rear cylinder unit has a plurality of parallel guide pin insertion cylinders into which to insert the guide pins and a tentative fixing unit provided at a tip of the rear cylinder unit, and the rear cylinder unit is provided at a rear end of the frame slidably so as be directed to a tip of the front cylinder unit. It becomes possible to aim at a proper portion of a living body bone through which to bore a bone tunnel and to pierce the living body bone with guide pins for hollow drills from behind the living body bone to the proper aiming portion in a proper direction.


Patent
Neochemir Inc., Kobe University and Co2Be Medical Engineering K.K. | Date: 2012-03-22

An antitumor agent comprising carbon dioxide as an active ingredient of the present invention can reduce the tumor volume or eradicate the tumor of a patient who is difficult to take a surgical therapy, a chemotherapy, a radiation therapy or an immunotherapy. The antitumor agent comprising carbon dioxide as an active ingredient of the present invention is useful because the agent enables (1) the reduction in size or elimination of a tumor, (2) the suppression of tumor metastasis and also (3) the reduction in volume or elimination of a tumor at a part different from the part where carbon dioxide is transdermally absorbed by the transdermal absorption of carbon dioxide through the skin near the tumor or the skin far from the tumor. When the antitumor agent comprising carbon dioxide as an active ingredient of the present invention is used in combination with a surgical therapy, a chemotherapy, a radiation therapy or an immunotherapy, the effect can be potentiated or side effects can be reduced as compared with a monotherapy or a multidisciplinary therapy thereof.


Patent
Sumitomo Electric Industries and Kobe University | Date: 2015-07-07

An optical measuring method for measuring a concentration of a fermentation inhibitor included in a biomass-derived fermentation raw material includes acquiring a diffuse reflection spectrum or a transmission spectrum relating to a measurement target 40 which includes the biomass-derived fermentation raw material by radiating near-infrared light to the measurement target 40, and computing the concentration of the fermentation inhibitor based on the diffuse reflection spectrum or the transmission spectrum.


Patent
Neochemir Inc., Kobe University and Co2Be Medical Engineering K.K. | Date: 2012-07-13

The present invention provides a prophylactic or therapeutic agent for fracture and bone diseases as well as a bone growth promoting agent containing carbon dioxide as an active ingredient. Further, according to the present invention, an additive or synergistic effect for preventing or treating fracture and bone diseases as well as for promoting bone growth by combining the therapeutic agent of the present invention and a bone absorption inhibitor and/or a bone formation promoter is obtained.


Nishitani Y.,Kobe University
Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition | Year: 2013

Mushrooms are distinguished as important food containing immunomodulating and anticancer agents. These compounds belong mostly to polysaccharides especially β-D-glucans. Among them, β-1,3-glucan with side chain β-1,6-glucose residues have more important roles in immunomodulating and antitumor activities. In this review, we have introduced polysaccharide mainly from Lentinula edodes and Agaricus blazei Murill with immuno-modulating and antitumor activities. In addition, the mechanism of activation of immune response and signal cascade are also reviewed. ©2013 JCBN.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: INCO.2013-2.1 | Award Amount: 1.47M | Year: 2013

The JEUPISTE project aims at promoting EU-Japan cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) through supports to policy dialogues, deployment of bilateral information services, organization of networking events focusing on specific technologies and/or societal challenges, operation of a help desk for EU-Japan collaborative projects (including advice and assistance in administration, liaison with the EC and Japanese funding organizations, partner search etc.) and contribution to the development of human resources for collaborative projects.


News Article | April 25, 2016
Site: www.scientificcomputing.com

FUJITA Ichiro, a Professor at the Graduate School of Engineering in Kobe University, has developed a piece of software that can measure the flow rate of rivers using image analysis. The software is called KU-STIV (Kobe University Space-Time Image Velocimetry). This technology makes it easier to obtain accurate data about river flow rates that can be used in strategies for flood risk management. Japan is hit by flood-related disasters almost every year – one of the most recent examples occurred in September 2015 when the Kinugawa River collapsed its banks, sending a wall of water into the nearby town of Joso. Accurate data for rainfall and river flow rate are vital elements in creating flood risk management strategies. Thanks to developments in radar technology, rainfall measurements have become highly precise. However, measuring the flow rate of rivers is still carried out using the old-fashioned method of dropping a stick-shaped float in the river and estimating the flow rate from the float’s speed through a section of the river. When extreme flooding occurs this method becomes difficult to conduct due to the dangers involved, and there are a growing number of cases in which flow rates cannot be measured at the peak of a flood. The KU-STIV system developed by Professor Fujita uses video footage taken from cameras and drones to measure the river flow rate. The system superimposes “searching lines” (each between 10 and 20 meters long) on footage of the river as measurement standards. It calculates the flow speed from the time it takes water surface features and floating matter on the surface of the river to cross these lines, then analyses distribution to indirectly calculate the river flow rate. Surface flow measurements taken using this system were very similar to those taken using acoustic current meters (ADCPs) and it can be used to measure river flow rates faster and more safely than the established method. KU-STIV has already been adopted by many river consultants and River Offices in Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and organizations in Hyogo Prefecture have begun adapting the system for river observation cameras. An English-language version of the system is also available, and recently Ghana researchers invited by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are being trained to use the technology. “We are aiming to adapt this system for real-time calculations, and at the same time we want to establish this as the standard method for measuring river flow rate both within Japan and overseas” commented Professor Fujita.


News Article | November 1, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

A team of researchers have presented a new model for the origin of Saturn's rings based on results of computer simulations. The results of the simulations are also applicable to rings of other giant planets and explain the compositional differences between the rings of Saturn and Uranus. The findings were published on October 6 in the online version of Icarus. The lead author of the paper is HYODO Ryuki (Kobe University, Graduate School of Science), and co-authors are Professor Sébastien Charnoz (Institute de Physique du Globe/Université Paris Diderot), Professor OHTSUKI Keiji (Kobe University, Graduate School of Science), and Project Associate Professor GENDA Hidenori (Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology). The giant planets in our solar system have very diverse rings. Observations show that Saturn's rings are made of more than 95% icy particles, while the rings of Uranus and Neptune are darker and may have higher rock content. Since the rings of Saturn were first observed in the 17th century, investigation of the rings has expanded from earth-based telescopes to spacecraft such as Voyagers and Cassini. However, the origin of the rings was still unclear and the mechanisms that lead to the diverse ring systems were unknown. The present study focused on the period called the Late Heavy Bombardment that is believed to have occurred 4 billion years ago in our solar system, when the giant planets underwent orbital migration. It is thought that several thousand Pluto-sized (one fifth of Earth's size) objects from the Kuiper belt existed in the outer solar system beyond Neptune. First the researchers calculated the probability that these large objects passed close enough to the giant planets to be destroyed by their tidal force during the Late Heavy Bombardment. Results showed that Saturn, Uranus and Neptune experienced close encounters with these large celestial objects multiple times. Next the group used computer simulations to investigate disruption of these Kuiper belt objects by tidal force when they passed the vicinity of the giant planets (see Figure 2a). The results of the simulations varied depending on the initial conditions, such as the rotation of the passing objects and their minimum approach distance to the planet. However they discovered that in many cases fragments comprising 0.1-10% of the initial mass of the passing objects were captured into orbits around the planet (see Figures 2a, b). The combined mass of these captured fragments was found to be sufficient to explain the mass of the current rings around Saturn and Uranus. In other words, these planetary rings were formed when sufficiently large objects passed very close to giants and were destroyed. The researchers also simulated the long-term evolution of the captured fragments using supercomputers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. From these simulations they found that captured fragments with an initial size of several kilometers are expected to undergo high-speed collisions repeatedly and are gradually shattered into small pieces. Such collisions between fragments are also expected to circularize their orbits and lead to the formation of the rings observed today (see Figures 2b, c). This model can also explain the compositional difference between the rings of Saturn and Uranus. Compared to Saturn, Uranus (and also Neptune) has higher density (the mean density of Uranus is 1.27g cm-3, and 1.64g cm-3 for Neptune, while that of Saturn is 0.69g cm-3). This means that in the cases of Uranus (and Neptune), objects can pass within close vicinity of the planet, where they experience extremely strong tidal forces. (Saturn has a lower density and a large diameter-to-mass ratio, so if objects pass very close they will collide with the planet itself). As a result, if Kuiper belt objects have layered structures such as a rocky core with an icy mantle and pass within close vicinity of Uranus or Neptune, in addition to the icy mantle, even the rocky core will be destroyed and captured, forming rings that include rocky composition. However if they pass by Saturn, only the icy mantle will be destroyed, forming icy rings. This explains the different ring compositions. These findings illustrate that the rings of giant planets are natural by-products of the formation process of the planets in our solar system. This implies that giant planets discovered around other stars likely have rings formed by a similar process. Discovery of a ring system around an exoplanet has been recently reported, and further discoveries of rings and satellites around exoplanets will advance our understanding of their origin.


News Article | October 31, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A team of researchers has presented a new model for the origin of Saturn's rings based on results of computer simulations. The results of the simulations are also applicable to rings of other giant planets and explain the compositional differences between the rings of Saturn and Uranus. The findings were published on October 6 in the online version of Icarus. The lead author of the paper is HYODO Ryuki (Kobe University, Graduate School of Science), and co-authors are Professor Sébastien Charnoz (Institute de Physique du Globe/Université Paris Diderot), Professor OHTSUKI Keiji (Kobe University, Graduate School of Science), and Project Associate Professor GENDA Hidenori (Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology). The giant planets in our solar system have very diverse rings. Observations show that Saturn's rings are made of more than 95% icy particles, while the rings of Uranus and Neptune are darker and may have higher rock content. Since the rings of Saturn were first observed in the 17th century, investigation of the rings has expanded from earth-based telescopes to spacecraft such as Voyagers and Cassini. However, the origin of the rings was still unclear and the mechanisms that lead to the diverse ring systems were unknown. The present study focused on the period called the Late Heavy Bombardment that is believed to have occurred 4 billion years ago in our solar system, when the giant planets underwent orbital migration. It is thought that several thousand Pluto-sized (one fifth of Earth's size) objects from the Kuiper belt existed in the outer solar system beyond Neptune. First the researchers calculated the probability that these large objects passed close enough to the giant planets to be destroyed by their tidal force during the Late Heavy Bombardment. Results showed that Saturn, Uranus and Neptune experienced close encounters with these large celestial objects multiple times. Next the group used computer simulations to investigate disruption of these Kuiper belt objects by tidal force when they passed the vicinity of the giant planets (see Figure 2a). The results of the simulations varied depending on the initial conditions, such as the rotation of the passing objects and their minimum approach distance to the planet. However they discovered that in many cases fragments comprising 0.1-10% of the initial mass of the passing objects were captured into orbits around the planet (see Figures 2a, b). The combined mass of these captured fragments was found to be sufficient to explain the mass of the current rings around Saturn and Uranus. In other words, these planetary rings were formed when sufficiently large objects passed very close to giants and were destroyed. The researchers also simulated the long-term evolution of the captured fragments using supercomputers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. From these simulations they found that captured fragments with an initial size of several kilometers are expected to undergo high-speed collisions repeatedly and are gradually shattered into small pieces. Such collisions between fragments are also expected to circularize their orbits and lead to the formation of the rings observed today (see Figures 2b, c). This model can also explain the compositional difference between the rings of Saturn and Uranus. Compared to Saturn, Uranus (and also Neptune) has higher density (the mean density of Uranus is 1.27g cm-3, and 1.64g cm-3 for Neptune, while that of Saturn is 0.69g cm-3). This means that in the cases of Uranus (and Neptune), objects can pass within close vicinity of the planet, where they experience extremely strong tidal forces. (Saturn has a lower density and a large diameter-to-mass ratio, so if objects pass very close they will collide with the planet itself). As a result, if Kuiper belt objects have layered structures such as a rocky core with an icy mantle and pass within close vicinity of Uranus or Neptune, in addition to the icy mantle, even the rocky core will be destroyed and captured, forming rings that include rocky composition. However if they pass by Saturn, only the icy mantle will be destroyed, forming icy rings. This explains the different ring compositions. These findings illustrate that the rings of giant planets are natural by-products of the formation process of the planets in our solar system. This implies that giant planets discovered around other stars likely have rings formed by a similar process. Discovery of a ring system around an exoplanet has been recently reported, and further discoveries of rings and satellites around exoplanets will advance our understanding of their origin. (1) Late Heavy Bombardment: a period of orbital instability that occurred in our solar system approximately 4 billion years ago. It is thought that during this period there were many small bodies that did not ultimately become planets that existed in orbit beyond Neptune. As a result of gravitational interactions with the giant planets, the orbits of these small bodies became unstable, and many of them entered the solar system and collided with planets that had already formed. It is thought that most of the craters on the surface of the moon were formed during this period. A large number of small bodies made of ice and rock that exist beyond the orbit of Neptune.


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

If plants are exposed to environmental stresses, their ability to photosynthesize is reduced and they wither and die A research team from Kobe University have reproduced the reaction in which harmful reactive oxygen species are created during plant photosynthesis, and clarified a mechanism behind plant withering. This discovery could help to ensure stable food supplies by cultivating plants that can withstand environmental stresses such as global warming. The findings were published on March 2 in the online version of Plant Physiology. A research team led by Associate Professor Miyake Chikahiro and PhD student Takagi Daisuke from the Kobe University Graduate School of Agricultural Science have reproduced the reaction in which harmful reactive oxygen species are created during plant photosynthesis, and clarified a mechanism behind plant withering. This discovery could help to ensure stable food supplies by cultivating plants that can withstand environmental stresses such as global warming. The findings were published on March 2 in the online version of Plant Physiology. The majority of plants depend on photosynthesis as an essential energy source. However, when the light energy necessary for photosynthesis is absorbed in excess, harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced. In most cases plants use enzymes to deal with these reactive oxygen species. If plants are exposed to environmental stresses such as lack of water or excess minerals, their ability to photosynthesize is reduced, the ROS removal mechanism cannot keep up with the ROS produced from excess light energy, and plants wither and die. Researchers already knew that ROS are produced within chloroplasts in plant cells, but the exact location and the mechanism behind this were unclear. Professor Miyake's research group extracted chloroplasts and thylakoid membranes from leaves, and exposed them to excess light using repetitive short-pulse illumination. As a result of this treatment, a particle known as "P700" which absorbs light energy within photosystem I stopped functioning, and three types of reactive oxygen species were produced: superoxide radicals (O2 -), hydroxyl radicals (OH・) and singlet oxygen (1O2). They further confirmed that by limiting the flow of electrons to photosystem I the production of reactive oxygen species was suppressed. Due to factors such as global warming, Earth's natural environment is becoming increasingly inhospitable for plant life. "By revealing the mechanism for the production of ROS and part of its regulatory mechanism, there are future possibilities for ensuring a stable food supply despite global warming," said Professor Miyake. "The next step is to reveal the regulatory mechanism for ROS on a molecular level." Explore further: Researchers find nematode incites defense response in plants that benefits itself More information: Superoxide and singlet oxygen produced within the thylakoid membranes both cause photosystem I photoinhibition; Daisuke Takagi, Shigeo Takumi, Masaki Hashiguchi, Takehiro Sejima and Chikahiro Miyake; Plant Physiology; March 2, 2016 pp.00246.2016; doi: dx.doi.org/10.1104/pp.16.00246


Wild species of Arabidopsis thaliana (WT) and AOR mutant species (aor-1, aor-4) all grown under a 24-hour day/night cycle. Credit: Takagi et al., 2016 A research team led by Associate Professor Miyake Chikahiro and PhD student Takagi Daisuke from the Kobe University Graduate School of Agricultural Science have discovered that a certain gene within plants suppresses the toxic molecules formed as byproducts of photosynthesis. These findings have potential applications for plant growth in stressful environments. The research was published on February 16, 2016 in the online version of Plant Physiology. Photosynthesis is an essential biological process for plants, but it is also a dangerous one. When plants absorb energy from sunlight to photosynthesize, the "extra" energy reacts with oxygen in plant cells to produce harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS). These molecules break down important structures across the plant, and in the process they also produce an extremely toxic reactive carbonyl species (RCS). Luckily, plants have genes that act as enzymes to neutralize these toxic species. Professor Miyake's research group set out to determine the exact function of one of these genes, known as "AOR" (alkenal/one oxidoreductase). The researchers removed the gene from some plants and compared them to wild species. They discovered that plants without the AOR gene were significantly smaller and lighter than plants with the gene when exposed to a standard 24-hour day/night cycle. However, when plants were constantly exposed to sunlight there was no significant difference in growth between them. This led to an unexpected discovery: the AOR gene has no effect on the daytime process of photosynthesis, but instead protects nighttime respiration. Plants can only photosynthesize during daylight hours, converting carbon dioxide into starch. During the dark hours plants "breathe", using oxygen to convert the starch into glucose. When the researchers examined the plants which lacked a functioning AOR gene, they found leftover starch in their leaves the next morning. Without a functioning AOR gene, the toxic molecules that had accumulated during the daytime prevented the plants from respiring properly, stunting their growth. However, the plants with an AOR gene did not have leftover starch, and reached a normal size and weight. "Plants can only function at 20% of their full potential because they are limited by environmental factors such as lack of water", said Professor Miyake. "These findings show that the AOR gene is essential for plants to survive the effects of global warming. We will continue to research the strengths and weaknesses of plants in the face of environmental stress, and I hope to use our findings to overcome environmental limitations." Explore further: The plant that only grows when the going's good More information: Suppression of chloroplastic alkenal/one oxidoreductase represses the carbon catabolic pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana leaves during night. Plant Physiol. 2016 Feb 16. pii: pp.01572.2015. [Epub ahead of print] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26884484


News Article | October 31, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

A team of researchers has presented a new model for the origin of Saturn's rings based on results of computer simulations. The results of the simulations are also applicable to rings of other giant planets and explain the compositional differences between the rings of Saturn and Uranus. The findings were published on October 6 in the online version of Icarus. The lead author of the paper is HYODO Ryuki (Kobe University, Graduate School of Science), and co-authors are Professor Sébastien Charnoz (Institute de Physique du Globe/Université Paris Diderot), Professor OHTSUKI Keiji (Kobe University, Graduate School of Science), and Project Associate Professor GENDA Hidenori (Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology). The giant planets in our solar system have very diverse rings. Observations show that Saturn's rings are made of more than 95% icy particles, while the rings of Uranus and Neptune are darker and may have higher rock content. Since the rings of Saturn were first observed in the 17th century, investigation of the rings has expanded from earth-based telescopes to spacecraft such as Voyagers and Cassini. However, the origin of the rings was still unclear and the mechanisms that lead to the diverse ring systems were unknown. The present study focused on the period called the Late Heavy Bombardment that is believed to have occurred 4 billion years ago in our solar system, when the giant planets underwent orbital migration. It is thought that several thousand Pluto-sized (one fifth of Earth's size) objects from the Kuiper belt existed in the outer solar system beyond Neptune. First the researchers calculated the probability that these large objects passed close enough to the giant planets to be destroyed by their tidal force during the Late Heavy Bombardment. Results showed that Saturn, Uranus and Neptune experienced close encounters with these large celestial objects multiple times. Next the group used computer simulations to investigate disruption of these Kuiper belt objects by tidal force when they passed the vicinity of the giant planets. The results of the simulations varied depending on the initial conditions, such as the rotation of the passing objects and their minimum approach distance to the planet. However they discovered that in many cases fragments comprising 0.1-10% of the initial mass of the passing objects were captured into orbits around the planet. The combined mass of these captured fragments was found to be sufficient to explain the mass of the current rings around Saturn and Uranus. In other words, these planetary rings were formed when sufficiently large objects passed very close to giants and were destroyed. The researchers also simulated the long-term evolution of the captured fragments using supercomputers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. From these simulations they found that captured fragments with an initial size of several kilometers are expected to undergo high-speed collisions repeatedly and are gradually shattered into small pieces. Such collisions between fragments are also expected to circularize their orbits and lead to the formation of the rings observed today. This model can also explain the compositional difference between the rings of Saturn and Uranus. Compared to Saturn, Uranus (and also Neptune) has higher density (the mean density of Uranus is 1.27g cm-3, and 1.64g cm-3 for Neptune, while that of Saturn is 0.69g cm-3). This means that in the cases of Uranus (and Neptune), objects can pass within close vicinity of the planet, where they experience extremely strong tidal forces. (Saturn has a lower density and a large diameter-to-mass ratio, so if objects pass very close they will collide with the planet itself). As a result, if Kuiper belt objects have layered structures such as a rocky core with an icy mantle and pass within close vicinity of Uranus or Neptune, in addition to the icy mantle, even the rocky core will be destroyed and captured, forming rings that include rocky composition. However if they pass by Saturn, only the icy mantle will be destroyed, forming icy rings. This explains the different ring compositions. These findings illustrate that the rings of giant planets are natural by-products of the formation process of the planets in our solar system. This implies that giant planets discovered around other stars likely have rings formed by a similar process. Discovery of a ring system around an exoplanet has been recently reported, and further discoveries of rings and satellites around exoplanets will advance our understanding of their origin. (1) Late Heavy Bombardment: a period of orbital instability that occurred in our solar system approximately 4 billion years ago. It is thought that during this period there were many small bodies that did not ultimately become planets that existed in orbit beyond Neptune. As a result of gravitational interactions with the giant planets, the orbits of these small bodies became unstable, and many of them entered the solar system and collided with planets that had already formed. It is thought that most of the craters on the surface of the moon were formed during this period. (2) Kuiper belt objects: A large number of small bodies made of ice and rock that exist beyond the orbit of Neptune.


News Article | April 22, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

A research team led by Associate Professor Miyake Chikahiro and PhD student Takagi Daisuke from the Kobe University Graduate School of Agricultural Science have reproduced the reaction in which harmful reactive oxygen species are created during plant photosynthesis, and clarified a mechanism behind plant withering. This discovery could help to ensure stable food supplies by cultivating plants that can withstand environmental stresses such as global warming. The findings were published on March 2 in the online version of Plant Physiology. The majority of plants depend on photosynthesis as an essential energy source. However, when the light energy necessary for photosynthesis is absorbed in excess, harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced. In most cases plants use enzymes to deal with these reactive oxygen species. If plants are exposed to environmental stresses such as lack of water or excess minerals, their ability to photosynthesize is reduced, the ROS removal mechanism cannot keep up with the ROS produced from excess light energy, and plants wither and die. Researchers already knew that ROS are produced within chloroplasts in plant cells, but the exact location and the mechanism behind this were unclear. Professor Miyake's research group extracted chloroplasts and thylakoid membranes from leaves, and exposed them to excess light using repetitive short-pulse illumination. As a result of this treatment, a particle known as "P700" which absorbs light energy within photosystem I¹ stopped functioning, and three types of reactive oxygen species were produced: superoxide radicals (O2 -), hydroxyl radicals (OH?) and singlet oxygen (1O2). They further confirmed that by limiting the flow of electrons to photosystem I the production of reactive oxygen species was suppressed. Due to factors such as global warming, Earth's natural environment is becoming increasingly inhospitable for plant life. "By revealing the mechanism for the production of ROS and part of its regulatory mechanism, there are future possibilities for ensuring a stable food supply despite global warming," said Professor Miyake. "The next step is to reveal the regulatory mechanism for ROS on a molecular level."


News Article | October 31, 2016
Site: phys.org

The lead author of the paper is HYODO Ryuki (Kobe University, Graduate School of Science), and co-authors are Professor Sébastien Charnoz (Institute de Physique du Globe/Université Paris Diderot), Professor OHTSUKI Keiji (Kobe University, Graduate School of Science), and Project Associate Professor GENDA Hidenori (Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology). The giant planets in our solar system have very diverse rings. Observations show that Saturn's rings are made of more than 95% icy particles, while the rings of Uranus and Neptune are darker and may have higher rock content. Since the rings of Saturn were first observed in the 17th century, investigation of the rings has expanded from earth-based telescopes to spacecraft such as Voyagers and Cassini. However, the origin of the rings was still unclear and the mechanisms that lead to the diverse ring systems were unknown. The present study focused on the period called the Late Heavy Bombardment that is believed to have occurred 4 billion years ago in our solar system, when the giant planets underwent orbital migration. It is thought that several thousand Pluto-sized (one fifth of Earth's size) objects from the Kuiper belt existed in the outer solar system beyond Neptune. First the researchers calculated the probability that these large objects passed close enough to the giant planets to be destroyed by their tidal force during the Late Heavy Bombardment. Results showed that Saturn, Uranus and Neptune experienced close encounters with these large celestial objects multiple times. Next the group used computer simulations to investigate disruption of these Kuiper belt objects by tidal force when they passed the vicinity of the giant planets (see Figure 2a). The results of the simulations varied depending on the initial conditions, such as the rotation of the passing objects and their minimum approach distance to the planet. However they discovered that in many cases fragments comprising 0.1-10% of the initial mass of the passing objects were captured into orbits around the planet (see Figures 2a, b). The combined mass of these captured fragments was found to be sufficient to explain the mass of the current rings around Saturn and Uranus. In other words, these planetary rings were formed when sufficiently large objects passed very close to giants and were destroyed. The researchers also simulated the long-term evolution of the captured fragments using supercomputers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. From these simulations they found that captured fragments with an initial size of several kilometers are expected to undergo high-speed collisions repeatedly and are gradually shattered into small pieces. Such collisions between fragments are also expected to circularize their orbits and lead to the formation of the rings observed today (see Figures 2b, c). This model can also explain the compositional difference between the rings of Saturn and Uranus. Compared to Saturn, Uranus (and also Neptune) has higher density (the mean density of Uranus is 1.27g cm-3, and 1.64g cm-3 for Neptune, while that of Saturn is 0.69g cm-3). This means that in the cases of Uranus (and Neptune), objects can pass within close vicinity of the planet, where they experience extremely strong tidal forces. (Saturn has a lower density and a large diameter-to-mass ratio, so if objects pass very close they will collide with the planet itself). As a result, if Kuiper belt objects have layered structures such as a rocky core with an icy mantle and pass within close vicinity of Uranus or Neptune, in addition to the icy mantle, even the rocky core will be destroyed and captured, forming rings that include rocky composition. However if they pass by Saturn, only the icy mantle will be destroyed, forming icy rings. This explains the different ring compositions. These findings illustrate that the rings of giant planets are natural by-products of the formation process of the planets in our solar system. This implies that giant planets discovered around other stars likely have rings formed by a similar process. Discovery of a ring system around an exoplanet has been recently reported, and further discoveries of rings and satellites around exoplanets will advance our understanding of their origin. More information: Ryuki Hyodo et al, Ring formation around giant planets by tidal disruption of a single passing large Kuiper belt object, Icarus (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2016.09.012


Kimura H.,Kobe University | Kimura H.,Center for Planetary Science
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2016

Photoelectron emission is crucial to electric charging of dust particles around main-sequence stars and gas heating in various dusty environments. An estimate of the photoelectric processes contains an ill-defined parameter called the photoelectric quantum yield, which is the total number of electrons ejected from a dust particle per absorbed photon. Here we revisit the so-called small particle effect of photoelectron emission and provide an analytical model to estimate photoelectric quantum yields of small dust particles in sizes down to nanometers. We show that the small particle effect elevates the photoelectric quantum yields of nanoparticles up to by a factor of 103 for carbon, water ice, and organics, and a factor of 102 for silicate, silicon carbide, and iron. We conclude the surface curvature of the particles is a quantity of great importance to the small particle effect, unless the particles are submicrometers in radius or larger. © 2016 The Author Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Miki A.,Kobe University | Kondo N.,Kobe University | Kondo N.,Medical Corporation Ryokuwakai Kondo Ophthalmic Clinic | Yanagisawa S.,Kobe University | And 3 more authors.
Ophthalmology | Year: 2014

Purpose To investigate whether complement factor H (CFH) gene DNA variants are associated with central serous chorioretinopathy (CSCR). Design Cross-sectional study. Participants A case-control group of 140 CSCR subjects and 2 different control groups: 934 population-based controls and 335 hospital-based controls. Methods Five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CFH (rs3753394, rs800292, rs2284664, rs1329428, and rs106548) were evaluated for association with CSCR in 2 separate association analyses comparing CSCR subjects with 2 different control groups. Genotyping was performed using TaqMan technology (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA). Main Outcome Measures Allele and haplotype frequencies of the 5 variants in the CFH region. Results Highly statistically significant associations with CSCR were found for the 5 SNPs. The strongest association was observed with rs1329428 (allelic P = 6.44×10-6; odds ratio, 1.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.39-2.31, cases vs. population-based controls), which accounted for 35.5% of the population-attributable fraction for CSCR. Consistent with the analysis, rs1329428 showed the strongest disease association (allelic P = 1.00×10-5; odds ratio, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.42-2.50) in comparing cases with hospital-based controls. The second most strongly associated SNP, rs1065489, was correlated highly with the most strongly associated SNP, rs1329428 (r2 = 0.77), and their effects could not be distinguished statistically from each other. A conditional logistic regression analysis revealed that the 2 highly correlated SNPs, rs1329428 and rs1065489, account for the association signals detected at the CFH locus. Conclusions We identified a novel association between CSCR and common CFH polymorphisms. Our findings support the involvement of CFH in the pathogenesis of CSCR; exploration of the role of CFH could yield important insights into the biological mechanisms underlying CSCR. Our identification of common CFH variants as susceptibility elements for CSCR will open new avenues for research, leading to a better understanding of CSCR pathogenesis and ultimately to the development of improved therapeutic approaches. © 2014 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.


Yamasaki M.,Kobe University | Ideta O.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
Breeding Science | Year: 2013

It is essential to elucidate genetic diversity and relationships among even related individuals and populations for plant breeding and genetic analysis. Since Japanese rice breeding has improved agronomic traits such as yield and eating quality, modern Japanese rice cultivars originated from narrow genetic resource and closely related. To resolve the population structure and genetic diversity in Japanese rice population, we used a total of 706 alleles detected by 134 simple sequence repeat markers in a total of 114 cultivars composed of 94 improved varieties and 20 landraces, which are representative and important for Japanese rice breeding. The landraces exhibit greater gene diversity than improved lines, suggesting that landraces can provide additional genetic diversity for future breeding. Model-based Bayesian clustering analysis revealed six subgroups and admixture situation in the cultivars, showing good agreement with pedigree information. This method could be superior to phylogenetic method in classifying a related population. The leading Japanese rice cultivar, Koshihikari is unique due to the specific genome constitution. We defined Japanese rice diverse sets that capture the maximum number of alleles for given sample sizes. These sets are useful for a variety of genetic application in Japanese rice cultivars.


Matsumura T.,Konan Women's University | Takeda Y.,Kobe University
Applied Vegetation Science | Year: 2010

Question: How do traditional management practices of field margins maintain the biodiversity of native grassland species? Location: Semi-natural grassland on the field margins of traditional and consolidated agricultural fields on Awaji Island, central Japan. Methods: The distance to the nearest traditional field margin to the study sites was determined because the traditional field was considered as a seed source of native vegetation to the semi-natural grasslands under study. We selected field margins in consolidated fields of different ages and distances from seed sources. Indicator species for both field types were sought. Regression analysis and detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) were used to determine the effect of spatial and temporal distances on the species composition of native vegetation. Results: Species richness differed significantly between the margin of traditional and consolidated fields. We identified significant indicator species of traditional fields, but not of consolidated fields. In consolidated fields, species richness increased significantly with age and decreased significantly with increasing distance to the source. At younger sites, species richness decreased faster with distance to the source because of strong negative correlation, but not at older sites. DCA ordination plots similarly indicated that similarities of vegetation composition in consolidated and traditional fields decreased with distance, and the effect of distance decreased with age. Conclusions: The species composition of the grassland margins of consolidated field was more similar to the margins of traditional fields if the consolidated fields were older, and/or closer to traditional fields. This pattern suggests that dispersal may play a role in the establishment of species on field margins. © 2010 International Association for Vegetation Science.


Morimune S.,Kobe University | Kotera M.,Kobe University | Nishino T.,Kobe University | Goto T.,Mitsubishi Group
Carbon | Year: 2014

The unique potential of graphene oxide (GO) was exploited in the nanocomposites by a simple uniaxial drawing (up to three times) of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA)/GO nanocomposites with a small amount loading of GO. From X-ray diffraction images, the PVA crystallites were found to be oriented parallel to the drawn direction. At the same time, exfoliated GO platelets were found to be aligned parallel to the film surface. Compared with the properties of the as-cast nanocomposites, those of the uniaxially drawn nanocomposites were found to be remarkably enhanced. For the mechanical properties, not only Young's modulus and tensile strength but also the toughness of the nanocomposites increased by the uniaxial drawing. It was revealed that 260% increase in toughness was achieved for the drawn nanocomposite with 1% w/w GO loading. Significant suppression of the swelling in water resulted in the excellent barrier properties against water, which exceeded that of the conventional high-barrier polymer, such as poly(vinylidene chloride). We revealed that this simple, fast and environmentally friendly process of uniaxial drawing exploits the excellent properties and high aspect ratio of GO in the nanocomposites. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Morimune S.,Kobe University | Nishino T.,Kobe University | Goto T.,Mitsubishi Group
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces | Year: 2012

Graphene oxide (GO) possesses the desirable characteristic of aqueous solution processability attributed to the oxygen-containing functional groups on the basal planes and edges of graphene. To provide an alternative to conventional procedures for fabricating poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)/GO nanocomposites, which use organic solutions and/or surfactants, we have developed an environmentally friendly technique in which PMMA is polymerized by soap-free emulsion polymerization and incorporated with GO using water as a processing medium. Experimental results showed that the fabricated PMMA/GO nanocomposites had excellent mechanical, thermal, and O 2 barrier properties with the nanodispersion of GO. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Morimune S.,Kobe University | Nishino T.,Mitsubishi Group | Goto T.,Mitsubishi Group
Polymer Journal | Year: 2012

Graphene, a single layer of graphite, has recently attracted a large amount of attention because of its extremely high electronic and thermal properties, as many nanoscale materials are based on individual graphene. Graphene oxide (GO), which is the intermediate during the chemical processing of graphene, consists of graphene functionalized with oxygen-containing functional groups that imparts the desirable solution-processability to the neat graphene. Herein, poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), a hydrophilic polymer, was selected as the matrix, and PVA/GO nanocomposites were prepared by a simple and environment friendly process using water as the proceeding medium. In the PVA matrix, GO was exfoliated and nanodispersed. We found that the nanocomposites constructed by the incorporation of GO up to 1% by weight possess remarkable properties, such as significantly high mechanical and thermal properties. These excellent reinforcement effects were achieved not only by the rigid structure and high aspect ratio of the exfoliated GO but also by the strong interaction between PVA and GO. Furthermore, owing to the sheet-like structure of GO, the barrier properties of the nanocomposites were found to be dramatically increased. © 2012 The Society of Polymer Science, Japan (SPSJ) All rights reserved.


Sehaqui H.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology | Ezekiel Mushi N.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology | Morimune S.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology | Salajkova M.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology | And 2 more authors.
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces | Year: 2012

To exploit the mechanical potential of native cellulose fibrils, we report on the preparation of nanopaper with preferred orientation of nanofibrillated cellulose (TEMPO-NFC) by cold drawing. The preparation route is papermaking-like and includes vacuum filtering of a TEMPO-oxidated NFC water dispersion, drawing in wet state and drying. The orientation of the fibrils in the nanopaper was assessed by AFM and wide-angle X-ray diffraction analysis, and the effect on mechanical properties of the resulting nanopaper structure was investigated by tensile tests. At high draw ratio, the degree of orientation is as high as 82 and 89% in-the-plane and cross-sectional planes of the nanopaper, respectively, and the Young's modulus is 33 GPa. This is much higher than mechanical properties of isotropic nanopaper. The cold drawing method can be also applied to NFC nanocomposites as demonstrated by preparation of TEMPO-NFC/hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) nanocomposites. The introduction of the soft HEC matrix allows further tailoring of the mechanical properties. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Hinata N.,Kobe University | Murakami G.,Iwamizawa Kojin kai Hospital | Miyake H.,Kobe University | Abe S.-I.,University of Tokyo | Fujisawa M.,Kobe University
Journal of Urology | Year: 2015

Purpose: We identified the cavernous nerve mesh that exists caudal or posterior to the periprostatic region between the bilateral slings of the levator ani. We also assessed whether nonnerve sparing radical prostatectomy could be modified. Materials and Methods: Using histological sections from 24 elderly cadavers we investigated nerve anatomy by immunohistochemistry for S100 protein, neuronal nitric oxide synthase, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide and tyrosine hydroxylase. Results: The cavernous nerve mesh formed a U-shaped column attached to the lateral and posterior aspects of the rhabdosphincter. It was greater than 10 mm thick along the anteroposterior axis and 5 to 10 mm wide from the lateral margin of the rhabdosphincter. Composite neuronal nitric oxide synthase positive nerves ran obliquely with a highly tortuous course. The anterior margin of the nerve mesh corresponded to the anterior margin of the rhabdosphincter. Nerve mesh left-right communication was seen at and near the anterior margin. Bilateral periprostatic nerves joined posterior to the urethra and immediately anterior to the rectourethralis muscle, forming a midsagittal nerve mesh corresponding to the base of the U. The periprostatic nerves also formed a mesh or bundle but it was much thinner and smaller than the U-shaped mesh along the rhabdosphincter. Neuronal nitric oxide synthase positive nerves consistently contained tyrosine hydroxylase positive sympathetic nerve fibers but there were few vasoactive intestinal polypeptide positive fibers. The pudendal nerve and its branches were negative for neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Conclusions: Bilateral resection of the neurovascular bundle does not remove all cavernous nerves because these nerves cover the rhabdosphincter and perirectum caudal to the level of the apex of the prostate. © 2015 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc.


Sehaqui H.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology | Sehaqui H.,Applied Materials | Morimune S.,Kobe University | Nishino T.,Kobe University | Berglund L.A.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Biomacromolecules | Year: 2012

Nonwoven membranes based on electrospun fibers are of great interest in applications such as biomedical, filtering, and protective clothing. The poor mechanical performance is a limitation, as is some of the electrospinning solvents. To address these problems, porous nonwoven membranes based on nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) modified by a hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) polymer coating are prepared. NFC/HEC aqueous suspensions are subjected to simple vacuum filtration in a paper-making fashion, followed by supercritical CO2 drying. These nonwoven nanocomposite membranes are truly nanostructured and exhibit a nanoporous network structure with high specific surface area, as analyzed by nitrogen adsorption and FE-SEM. Mechanical properties evaluated by tensile tests show high strength combined with remarkably high strain to failure of up to 55%. XRD analysis revealed significant fibril realignment during tensile stretching. After postdrawing of the random mats, the modulus and strength are strongly increased. The present preparation route uses components from renewable resources, is environmentally friendly, and results in permeable membranes of exceptional mechanical performance. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Kimura S.-I.,Graduate University for Advanced Studies | Okamura H.,Kobe University
Journal of the Physical Society of Japan | Year: 2013

Owing to its high brilliance, infrared and terahertz synchrotron radiation (IR/THz-SR) has emerged as a powerful tool for spectroscopy under extreme (i.e., technically more difficult) experimental conditions such as high pressure, high magnetic field, high spatial resolution, and a combination of these. The methodologies for pressure- and magneticfield-dependent spectroscopy and microscopy using IR/THz-SR have advanced rapidly worldwide. By applying them to strongly correlated electron systems (SCESs), many experimental studies have been performed on their electronic structures and phonon/molecular vibration modes under extreme conditions. Here, we review the recent progress of methodologies of IR/THz-SR spectroscopy and microscopy, and the experimental results on SCESs and other systems obtained under extreme conditions. Copyright © 2013 The Physical Society of Japan.


Schlumberger M.,University Paris - Sud | Tahara M.,National Cancer Center Hospital East | Wirth L.J.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Robinson B.,University of Sydney | And 15 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2015

Results The median progression-free survival was 18.3 months in the lenvatinib group and 3.6 months in the placebo group (hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.21; 99% confidence interval, 0.14 to 0.31; P<0.001). A progression-free survival benefit associated with lenvatinib was observed in all prespecified subgroups. The response rate was 64.8% in the lenvatinib group (4 complete responses and 165 partial responses) and 1.5% in the placebo group (P<0.001). The median overall survival was not reached in either group. Treatment-related adverse effects of any grade, which occurred in more than 40% of patients in the lenvatinib group, were hypertension (in 67.8% of the patients), diarrhea (in 59.4%), fatigue or asthenia (in 59.0%), decreased appetite (in 50.2%), decreased weight (in 46.4%), and nausea (in 41.0%). Discontinuations of the study drug because of adverse effects occurred in 37 patients who received lenvatinib (14.2%) and 3 patients who received placebo (2.3%). In the lenvatinib group, 6 of 20 deaths that occurred during the treatment period were considered to be drug-related.Conclusions Lenvatinib, as compared with placebo, was associated with significant improvements in progression-free survival and the response rate among patients with iodine-131-refractory thyroid cancer. Patients who received lenvatinib had more adverse effects. (Funded by Eisai; SELECT ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01321554.) Copyright © 2015 Massachusetts Medical Society.Background Lenvatinib, an oral inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors 1, 2, and 3, fibroblast growth factor receptors 1 through 4, platelet-derived growth factor receptor á, RET, and KIT, showed clinical activity in a phase 2 study involving patients with differentiated thyroid cancer that was refractory to radioiodine (iodine-131).Methods In our phase 3, randomized, double-blind, multicenter study involving patients with progressive thyroid cancer that was refractory to iodine-131, we randomly assigned 261 patients to receive lenvatinib (at a daily dose of 24 mg per day in 28-day cycles) and 131 patients to receive placebo. At the time of disease progression, patients in the placebo group could receive open-label lenvatinib. The primary end point was progression-free survival. Secondary end points included the response rate, overall survival, and safety.


Yamagami T.,Kobe University | Kitayama Y.,Kobe University | Okubo M.,Kobe University | Okubo M.,Smart Spheres Workshop Co.
Langmuir | Year: 2014

Micrometer-sized, monodisperse, "mushroom-like" Janus poly(methyl methacrylate)/poly(styrene-2-(2-bromoisobutyryloxy)ethyl methacrylate)-graft- poly(2-(dimethyl amino)ethyl methacrylate) (PMMA/P(S-BIEM)-g-PDM) particles were successfully synthesized by site-selective surface-initiated activator generated by electron transfer for atom transfer radical polymerization in aqueous dispersed systems with spherical PMMA/P(S-BIEM) composite particles having controlled morphologies prepared using the solvent evaporation method. The anisotropic nonspherical shape of the obtained particles was controlled by changing the percentage of the surface area occupied by localized initiation sites (bromine group) at the surface of the PMMA/P(S-BIEM) composite particles with different P(S-BIEM) contents. Grafted PDM layer formed at the surface (contacting with water) of the P(S-BIEM) phase reversibly exhibited the volume phase transition in response to temperature and pH, which gave different nonspherical shapes ("open" or "closed" mushroom-cap). On the basis of such dual stimuli-responsive properties, the nonspherical particles effectively operated as particulate surfactant for Pickering emulsion, resulting in a stable 1-octanol-in-water emulsion at optimum temperature and pH value, and the Pickering emulsion could be easily unstabilized quickly by controlling them. © 2014 American Chemical Society.


Kimura S.-I.,Japan Institute for Molecular Science | Kimura S.-I.,Graduate University for Advanced Studies | Iizuka T.,Graduate University for Advanced Studies | Miyazaki H.,Japan Institute for Molecular Science | And 4 more authors.
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2011

We report the anisotropic changes in the electronic structure of a Kondo semiconductor CeOs2Al10 across an anomalous antiferromagnetic ordering temperature (T0) of 29 K, using optical conductivity spectra. The spectra along the a and c axes indicate that an energy gap due to the hybridization between conduction bands and nearly local 4f states, namely the c-f hybridization gap, emerges from a higher temperature continuously across T0. Along the b axis, on the other hand, another energy gap with a peak at 20 meV becomes visible at 39 K (>T0) and fully opens at T0 because of a charge instability. This result implies that the appearance of the energy gap, as well as the change in the electronic structure along the b axis, induces the antiferromagnetic ordering below T0. © 2011 American Physical Society.


Choi Y.,Kyungpook National University | Ozawa S.,Kobe University | Lee M.,Kyungpook National University
Neurocomputing | Year: 2014

In this paper, we propose a new online non-linear feature extraction method, called the incremental two-dimensional kernel principal component analysis (I2DKPCA), not only to reduce the computational cost but also to provide good feature representation. Batch type feature extraction methods such as principal component analysis (PCA) and two-dimensional PCA (2DPCA) require more computational time and memory usage, as they collect the entire training data to extract the basis vectors. Also, these linear feature extraction methods could not effectively represent the non-linear distribution of input data. Therefore, by adopting a non-linear kernel approach with chunk concept, the KPCA and 2DKPCA can effectively address the non-linear feature representation problem by adaptively changing the feature spaces. However, this kernel approach requires more computational time for processing images with high dimensional input data. In order to solve these problems, we combined the 2DKPCA with incremental learning for (1) solving the non-linear problem and (2) reducing the memory usage with computational time. In order to evaluate the performance of I2DKPCA, several experiments have been performed using well-known face and object image databases. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Morita T.,Seirei Mikatahara General Hospital | Miyashita M.,Tohoku University | Yamagishi A.,Keio University | Akiyama M.,Keio University | And 8 more authors.
The Lancet Oncology | Year: 2013

Background: Improvement of palliative care is an important public health issue, but knowledge about how to deliver palliative care throughout a region remains inadequate. We used surveys and in-depth interviews to assess changes in the quality of palliative care after regional interventions and to gain insights for improvement of palliative care at a regional level. Methods: In this mixed-methods study, a comprehensive programme of interventions for regional palliative care for patients with cancer was implemented from April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2011 in Tsuruoka, Kashiwa, Hamamatsu, and Nagasaki in Japan. Interventions included education, specialist support, and networking. We surveyed patients, bereaved family members, physicians, and nurses before and after the interventions were introduced. We also did qualitative interviews with health-care professionals after the interventions were introduced. Primary endpoints were numbers of home deaths, coverage of specialist services, and patient-reported and family-reported qualities of care. This trial is registered with UMIN Clinical Trial Registry, Japan (UMIN000001274). Findings: 859 patients, 1110 bereaved family members, 911 physicians, and 2378 nurses provided analysable preintervention surveys; 857 patients, 1137 bereaved family members, 706 physicians, and 2236 nurses provided analysable postintervention surveys. Proportions of home deaths increased significantly, from 348 of 5147 (6·76%) before the intervention programme to 581 of 5546 (10·48%) after the intervention programme (p<0·0001). Furthermore, 194 of 221 (87·78%) family members of patients who died at home answered that these patients had wanted to die at home. The ratio of patients who received palliative care services to all patients who died of cancer increased significantly (from 0·31 to 0·50; p<0·0001). The patient-reported (effect size 0·14; adjusted p=0·0027) and family-reported (0·23; p<0·0001) qualities of care were significantly better after interventions than before interventions. Physician-reported and nurse-reported difficulties decreased significantly after the introduction of the interventions. Qualitative interviews showed improved communication and cooperation between health-care professionals because of greater opportunities for interactions at various levels. Interpretation: A regional programme of interventions could improve the quality of palliative care. Improvement of communication between health-care professionals is key to improvement of services. Funding: Third Term Comprehensive Control Research for Cancer Health and Labor Sciences Research Grants of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2009.1.3.2.2 | Award Amount: 4.78M | Year: 2009

SYNER-G is research project which has the following main goals: (1) To elaborate appropriate, in the European context, fragility relationships for the vulnerability analysis and loss estimation of all elements at risk, for buildings, building aggregates, utility networks (water, waste water, energy, gas), transportation systems (road, railways, harbors) as well as complex medical care facilities (hospitals) and fire-fighting systems. (2) To develop social and economic vulnerability relationships for quantifying the impact of earthquakes. (3) To develop a unified methodology, and tools, for systemic vulnerability assessment accounting for all components (structural and socio-economic) exposed to seismic hazard, considering interdependencies within a system unit and between systems, in order to capture the increased loss impact due to the interdependencies and the interactions among systems and systems of systems. The methodology and the proposed fragility functions will be validated in selected sites (urban scale) and systems and it will implemented in an appropriate open source and unrestricted access software tool. Guidelines will be prepared and the results and outputs will be disseminated in Europe and world wide with appropriate dissemination schemes. SYNER-G is integrated across different disciplines with an internationally recognized partnership from Europe, USA and Japan. The objectives and the deliverables are focused to the needs of the administration and local authorities, which are responsible for the management of seismic risk, as well as the needs of the construction and insurance industry. URL: http://www.vce.at/SYNER-G


Kitayama Y.,Kobe University | Okubo M.,Kobe University | Okubo M.,Smart Spheres Workshop Co.
Polymer Chemistry | Year: 2014

Emulsifier-free, organotellurium-mediated living radical emulsion polymerization (emulsion TERP) of styrene was successfully carried out using poly(dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate) (PDM)-n-butyl tellanyl (TeBu) as control agent and 4,4′-azobis(2-amidinopropane) hydrochloride (V-50) as initiator. Emulsion TERP with inefficient stirring, in which the styrene phase floated as a layer on an aqueous phase, proceeded smoothly and almost finished within 30 h. The molecular weight distribution (MWD) shifted to higher molecular weight with increasing conversion, and Mw/Mn values were relatively small (∼2.0). The MWD control became better with decreasing PDM chain length of the control agent. The inefficient stirring caused better MWD control in the emulsion TERPs using all control agents compared to those with efficient stirring, in which the styrene phase was dispersed as droplets. © 2014 the Partner Organisations.


Patent
System Instruments Co., Hirosaki University and Kobe University | Date: 2014-05-19

An automatic analyzing apparatus 10 includes a chip rack 11 that stores a pipette chip, a pipette 12 into which a specimen is injected, a conveyance unit that conveys the pipette 12 by parallel translation, a reagent rack 14, a reaction unit 15, a detection unit 16, and a detection block unit 17. The pipette chip stored by the chip rack 11 has a planar structure to directly and optically detect the specimen. The chip rack 11 includes, in a hole that receives the pipette chip, a guide corresponding to the structure of the pipette chip. The pipette 12 sucks or discharges the specimen via the pipette chip mounted onto the tip thereof by a drive of a pump. In the detection unit 16, a measurement is carried out with the pipette chip arranged so that the plane that receives light is vertical to an optical axis.


Inagaki T.,Kobe University | Mochida T.,Kobe University | Takahashi M.,Toho University | Kanadani C.,Toho University | And 2 more authors.
Chemistry - A European Journal | Year: 2012

Simple cationic sandwich complexes that contained alkyl- or halogen substituents provided ionic liquids (ILs) with the bis(perfluoroalkanesulfonyl) imide anion. Ferrocenium- and cobaltocenium ILs [M(C 5H 4R 1)(C 5H 4R 2)][Tf 2N] (M=Fe, Co) and arene-ferrocenium ILs [Fe(C 5H 4R 1)(C 6H 5R 2)][Tf 2N] were prepared and their physical properties were investigated. A detailed comparison of their thermal properties revealed the effects of molecular symmetry and substituents on their melting points. Their viscosity increased on increasing the length of the substituent on the cation and the perfluoroalkyl chain length on the anion. Upon cooling, ILs with low viscosities exhibited crystallization, whereas those with higher viscosities tended to exhibit glass transitions. Most of these salts showed phase transitions in the solid state. A magnetic-switching phenomenon was observed for the paramagnetic ferrocenium IL, which was associated with a liquid/solid transformation, based on the magnetic anisotropy of the ferrocenium cation. 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy was applied to [Fe(C 5H 4nBu) 2][Tf 2N] to investigate the vibrational behavior of the iron atom in the crystal and glassy states of the ferrocenium IL. Copyright © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


News Article | December 1, 2015
Site: phys.org

Kobe University and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan have developed a technology enabling the selection of proteins with a high affinity for drug target molecules (also proteins) on cell membranes. This discovery will advance research targeting membrane proteins linked to diseases such as cancer, and therefore has potential applications in the development of new biopharmaceuticals. The results of this research were published in the British science journal Scientific Reports on 19th November 2015 at 10am GMT. This discovery is a result of joint research carried out by Kobe University doctoral student in the Graduate School of Engineering Kaishima Misato, Associate Professor at the Organization of Advanced Science and Technology Ishii Jun, Professor at the Graduate School of Engineering Kondo Akihiko, and Senior Researcher at the AIST Biomedical Research Institute Molecular and Cellular Breeding Research Group Fukuda Nobuo. The defining feature of this research is that by using the yeast signal transduction machinery1 and the competitive protein binding principle, the group was able to identify mutant proteins2 that possessed an enhanced ability to bind with membrane proteins. Membrane proteins play a vital role in controlling the physiological functions of living organisms, and abnormalities in these physiological functions cause diseases such as cancer. This means that molecules which can bind with membrane proteins and regulate physiological functions are potential candidates for drug development. The research team focused on the signal transduction machinery of yeast cells, which share many traits with human cells. Using the knowledge that the localization of signaling molecules on membranes is essential for the growth of yeast cells, they developed a method to select the proteins which bind with "membrane proteins". Following this, by artificially creating an intracellular environment in which proteins competed to bind with each other, the research group enabled the selection of mutant proteins with an enhanced affinity for membrane proteins. They demonstrated that this procedure could be applied to human epidermal growth factor receptors3, a major target molecule for cancer treatment. By identifying proteins that have a high affinity for membrane proteins, this technology facilitates the creation of new biopharmaceuticals for various drug targets. It could also potentially increase speed and reduce costs in the drug development process. Explore further: 'MaMTH' advance: New technology sheds light on protein interactions More information: Misato Kaishima et al. Gγ recruitment systems specifically select PPI and affinity-enhanced candidate proteins that interact with membrane protein targets, Scientific Reports (2015). DOI: 10.1038/srep16723


News Article | November 28, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection can cause serious complications such as hearing difficulties and mental retardation in affected infants. A Japanese research team has discovered a new method for predicting congenital CMV infection during the prenatal period. This method is safe for both mothers and fetuses, and could potentially be adopted for general use. The findings were published on October 20 in the online version of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Research team members include Professor YAMADA Hideto (Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology), Associate Professor TANIMURA Kenji (Kobe University Hospital Center for Perinatal Care), Project Professor MORIOKA Ichiro (Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics) and Doctor MINEMATSU Toshio (Director of the Aisenkai Nichinan Hospital Research Center for Disease Control). In the United States over 8000 children a year suffer from the long-term complications of congenital CMV infection, and the annual costs of caring for these children are estimated at 1-2 billion dollars. In recent years, some doctors have successfully combated these problems by using antiviral agents to treat infants with congenital CMV infection. To facilitate this, early diagnosis is vital. However, tests to identify the infection in infants (PCR tests that detect virus DNA in infants' urine) are not widely carried out, and would incur huge financial costs if they were carried out for all infants. Currently the most realistic and financially viable approach is targeting pregnant women who have a high risk of congenital infection and testing their newborn infants with a PCR urine examination. As shown in figure 1, congenital infection usually occurs when women who lack antibodies for CMV contract the virus for the first time during pregnancy (primary CMV infection). Pregnant women at high risk for congenital infection are generally identified by testing for the CMV antibody immunoglobulin M (IgM). There are often cases of women who test positive for CMV IgM antibodies during pregnancy, but in some cases tests remain positive for CMV IgM for several years after primary infection, which may cause pregnant women and their family undue worry. The most accurate method for detecting fetal infection during pregnancy is testing for viral DNA in amniotic fluid. However, the amniotic fluid sampling is an invasive procedure that can result in rupture of the membranes, uterine infection, or miscarriage. The research team looked for a non-invasive method of predicting congenital CMV in fetuses. They surveyed 300 pregnant women who tested positive for CMV antibodies (IgM) and were classified as high-risk for congenital injection. They carried out clinical interviews, blood tests, ultrasounds, and DNA PCR tests for CMV using samples of the subjects' blood, urine and uterine cervical secretion. The medical interviews tested whether the women had cold-like symptoms, the blood test included measuring white blood cell count, viral antigens, and an IgG activity test (to determine whether subjects had recent CMV infection), and the ultrasound examinations looking for symptoms of congenital CMV infection in the fetus. They also tested the women's blood, urine and uterine cervical secretion for CMV DNA. After statistical analysis of all the results, the team determined that fetal abnormalities revealed through ultrasound and positive PCR results for uterine cervical secretion were the two most effective ways to predict congenital infection before birth. This is the first report to demonstrate that uterine cervical secretion can be used to predict congenital CMV infection. Both ultrasound and PCR tests for uterine cervical secretion are non-invasive procedures, and using them can offer a safer method to test high-risk pregnant women and predict the occurrence of congenital infection. Accurately identifying the affected infants enables doctors to start antiviral treatment early, and could improve the neurological prognosis of infants infected by CMV.


News Article | December 15, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A research team led by Associate Professor Mitsuharu ENDO and Professor Yasuhiro MINAMI (both from the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe University) has pinpointed the mechanism underlying astrocyte-mediated restoration of brain tissue after an injury. This could lead to new treatments that encourage regeneration by limiting damage to neurons incurred by reduced blood supply or trauma. The findings were published on October 11 in the online version of GLIA ahead of print release in January 2017. When the brain is damaged by trauma or ischemia (restriction in blood supply), immune cells such as macrophages and lymphocytes dispose of the damaged neurons with an inflammatory response. However, an excessive inflammatory response can also harm healthy neurons. Astrocytes are a type of glial cell*, and the most numerous cell within the human cerebral cortex. In addition to their supportive role in providing nutrients to neurons, studies have shown that they have various other functions, including the direct or active regulation of neuronal activities. It has recently become clear that astrocytes also have an important function in the restoration of injured brain tissue. While astrocytes do not normally proliferate in healthy brains, they start to proliferate and increase their numbers around injured areas and minimize inflammation by surrounding the damaged neurons, other astrocytes, and inflammatory cells that have entered the damaged zone. Until now the mechanism that prompts astrocytes to proliferate in response to injury was unclear. The research team focused on the fact that the astrocytes which proliferate around injured areas acquire characteristics similar to neural stem cells. The receptor tyrosine kinase Ror2, a cell surface protein, is highly expressed in neural stem cells in the developing brain. Normally the Ror2 gene is "switched off" within adult brains, but these findings showed that when the brain was injured, Ror2 was expressed in a certain population of the astrocytes around the injured area. Ror2 is an important cell-surface protein that regulates the proliferation of neural stem cells, so the researchers proposed that Ror2 was regulating the proliferation of astrocytes around the injured areas. They tested this using model mice for which the Ror2 gene did not express in astrocytes. In these mice, the number of proliferating astrocytes after injury showed a remarkable decrease, and the density of astrocytes around the injury site was reduced. Using cultured astrocytes, the team analyzed the mechanism for activating the Ror2 gene, and ascertained that basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) can "switch on" Ror2 in some astrocytes. This research showed that in injured brains, the astrocytes that show (high) expression of Ror2 induced by bFGF signal are primarily responsible for starting proliferation. bFGF is produced by different cell types, including neurons and astrocytes in the injury zone that have escaped damage. Among the astrocytes that received these bFGF signals around the injury zone, some express Ror2 and some do not. The fact that proliferating astrocytes after brain injury are reduced during aging raises the possibility that the population of astrocytes that can express Ror2 might decrease during aging, which could cause an increase in senile dementia. Researchers are aiming to clarify the mechanism that creates these different cell populations of astrocytes. By artificially controlling the proliferation of astrocytes, in the future we can potentially minimize damage caused to neurons by brain injuries and establish a new treatment that encourages regeneration of damaged brain areas. *Glial cell: a catch-all term for non-neuronal cells that belong to the nervous system. They support neurons in various roles.


News Article | November 28, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A team of Japanese researchers revealed the mechanism for side effects such as fever and bone pain caused by G-CSF, which is widely used for peripheral blood hematopoietic stem cell harvesting (PBSCH). This is an important method for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) used to treat hematological malignancies such as leukemia. G-CSF is essential for treatment of hematological malignancies and other types of cancers, but the mechanism for its unfavorable side effects has not been elucidated until now. The findings from this research revealed not only the mechanism of the unfavorable effects of G-CSF, but also a new function of neutrophils, a type of blood cell which was previously recognized just as a consumer of invading substances. This research can lead to better understanding of the homeostasis of blood-forming (hematopoietic) cells as well as improving the methods of PBSCH. The findings, by a research group led by Junior Associate Professor KATAYAMA Yoshio and graduate student KAWANO Yuko from the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Hematology, were published in the online version of Blood on November 9 (Japan time). In recent years, there has been a growing need for HSCT to treat hematological malignancies. HSCT is done to rescue a normal generation of blood cells (hematopoiesis) after the treatment of malignancies. Hematopoietic stem cells are usually found in the bone marrow, but under certain conditions they are released into the peripheral blood (regular blood vessels) where they can be harvested in blood samples. G-CSF stimulates the bone marrow to mobilize stem cells into the peripheral blood. G-CSF has been widely used for PBSCH because it is a safe method. However, the mechanism for the mobilization of hematopoietic cells by G-CSF largely remained unclear, and there is no convincing reason to explain the existence of "poor mobilizers" (people who displayed poor mobilization of hematopoietic cells to peripheral blood by G-CSF which results in the insufficiency of hematopoietic cells for HSCT) and the mechanism of unfavorable effects such as fever and bone pain caused by G-CSF. Understanding of those mechanisms could largely contribute to the improvement of transplantation therapy. Professor Katayama's research group focused on the effectiveness of standard anti-inflammatory drugs in treating fever and bone pain caused by G-CSF. These anti-inflammatory drugs suppress the production of PGE2, which is involved in inflammation and pain, so the group expected that PGE2 might be the cause of unfavorable effects by G-CSF. Using mouse models to test this hypothesis, they discovered that PGE2 inhibited the mobilization of hematopoietic stem cells to peripheral blood, and that blood cells produced PGE2 by the treatment of G-CSF. Furthermore, they revealed that, among blood cells, neutrophils produced PGE2 by G-CSF-induced stress stimulation (sympathetic nerve stimulation). The researchers investigated the fever response in denervated mice by neurotoxin and neutrophil-depleted mice by antibodies, and displayed that in these mice fever caused by G-CSF was diminished. PGE2 also affected osteoblastic cells in the bone marrow to increase osteopontin (OPN), a known inhibiting factor of stem cell mobilization to peripheral blood which resulted in decreases in the numbers of mobilized stem cells. These findings displayed that the production of PGE2 by neutrophils governed by the sympathetic nervous system is behind the unpleasant symptoms caused by G-CSF, and this is one of the causes of suppression of stem cell mobilization. Based on this discovery, researchers now have information to treat unfavorable effects of G-CSF as well as to predict the currently unpredictable poor mobilizers and treat them using OPN antibodies. Because sympathetic nerve stimulation occurs under stress conditions, the fact that sympathetic signals stimulate neutrophils to produce the inflammatory PGE2 means that highly-motile neutrophils may be involved in stress-related inflammation in the whole body. These facts indicate the possibility that neutrophils are also involved in carcinogenesis, the progression of cancer, autoimmune disorders and hardened arteries.


News Article | December 15, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Research Fellow Monamie RINGHOFER and Associate Professor Shinya YAMAMOTO (Kobe University Graduate School of Intercultural Studies) have proved that when horses face unsolvable problems they use visual and tactile signals to get human attention and ask for help. The study also suggests that horses alter their communicative behavior based on humans' knowledge of the situation. These findings were published in the online version of Animal Cognition on November 24. Communicating with other individuals in order to get information about foraging sites and predators is a valuable survival skill. Chimpanzees, who are evolutionarily close to humans, are especially skilled at understanding others. Studies suggest that chimpanzees distinguish the attentional states of other individuals (seeing or not seeing), and they are also able to understand others' knowledge states (knowing or not knowing). Some domestic animals are also very good at communicating with humans - recent studies of dogs have revealed that they are excellent at understanding various human gestures and expressions. It is thought that these abilities were influenced by the domestication process. Since they were domesticated 6000 years ago, horses have contributed to human society in various shapes and forms, from transport to companionship. Horse-riding has recently drawn attention for its positive effects on our physical and mental health. The high social cognitive skills of horses towards humans might partially explain why humans and horses have a collaborative relationship today. However, the scientific evidence for this ability is still scarce. In this study, scientists investigated horses' social cognitive skills with humans in a problem-solving situation where food was hidden in a place accessible only to humans. The experiment was carried out in a paddock belonging to the equestrian club at Kobe University, where eight horses from the club participated with the cooperation of their student caretakers. For the first experiment, an assistant experimenter hid food (carrots) in a bucket which the horse could not reach. The researchers observed whether and how the horse sent signals to the caretaker when the caretaker (unaware of the situation) arrived. The horse stayed near the caretaker and looked at, touched and pushed the caretaker. These behaviors occurred over a significantly longer period compared to cases when they carried out the experiment without hiding the food. The results showed that when horses cannot solve problems by themselves they send signals to humans both visually (looking) and physically (touching and pushing). Building on these results, for the second experiment they tested whether the horses' behavior changed based on the caretakers' knowledge of the hidden food. If the caretaker hadn't watched the food being hidden, the horses gave more signals, demonstrating that horses can change their behavior in response to the knowledge levels of humans. These two experiments revealed some behaviors used by horses to communicate demands to humans. They also suggest that horses possess high cognitive skills that enable them to flexibly alter their behavior towards humans according to humans' knowledge state. This high social cognitive ability may have been acquired during the domestication process. In order to identify the characteristic that enables horses to form close bonds with humans, in future research the team aims to compare communication between horses, as well as looking more closely at the social cognitive ability of horses in their communication with humans. By deepening our understanding of the cognitive abilities held by species who have close relationships with humans, and making comparisons with the cognitive abilities of species such as primates who are evolutionarily close to humans, we can investigate the development of unique communication traits in domesticated animals. This is connected to the influence of domestication on the cognitive ability of animals, and can potentially provide valuable information for realizing stronger bonds between humans and animals.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Huntington's disease and phenylketonuria are all examples of disorders caused by the mutation of a single nucleotide, a building block of DNA. The human DNA consists of approximately 3 billion nucleotides of four types: Adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). In some cases, the difference of just one nucleotide can bring serious consequences. Scientists hope to cure these diseases by substituting the incorrect nucleotide with the correct one. However, it is technically challenging to replace a single nucleotide with the current gene editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9. Scientists at the Center for Genome Engineering, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) have used a variation of the popular gene editing technique CRISPR-Cas9 to produce mice with a single nucleotide difference. Their findings are published in Nature Biotechnology. The most recent and highly successful CRISPR-Cas9 technique works by cutting around the faulty nucleotide in both strands of the DNA and cuts out a small part of DNA. Conversely, IBS biologists used a variation of the Cas9 protein (nickase Cas9, nCas9) fused with a protein called cytidine deaminase, a.k.a. Base Editor, which is able to substitute one nucleotide into another. In this way, no DNA deletion occurs, but just one nucleotide substitution. These types of deaminases have been developed and tested in cultured cell lines by David Liu's group at Harvard and Keiji Nishda and his colleagues at Kobe University in 2016. The IBS team advanced the technique further by applying it to mouse embryos. Fig. 1: Difference between the traditional CRISPR-Cas9 technique and the CRISPR-nCas9-cytidine deaminase fusion in targeting the DNA position shown with the red C (cytosine). (Top) In the traditional CRISPR-Cas9 technique a guide RNA binds to the target DNA and the Cas9 protein (shown in blue) cuts both filaments of the DNA. This cuts out a small part of DNA (the part of the DNA shown in red becomes a bit shorter). (Bottom) A different version of Cas9 (nCas9, blue) is fused with the protein cytidine deaminase. This Cas9 cuts only one filament of the DNA and the cytidine deaminase modifies one nucleotide (from cytosine to thymine, T), producing a DNA of the same length with only one nucleotide difference. The scientists tested the CRISPR-nCas9-cytidine deaminase fusion in mice by changing a single nucleotide in the dystrophin gene (Dmd) or the tyrosinase gene (Tyr). They were successful in both cases: Embryos with the single nucleotide mutation in the Dmd gene led to mice producing no dystrophin protein in their muscles, and mice with the Tyr mutation showed albino traits. Dystrophin is indeed connected with the muscular dystrophin disease and tyrosinase controls the production of melanine. Fig.2: Schematic layout showing how IBS scientists delivered the CRISPR-nCas9-cytidine deaminase fusion complex into mouse embryos to edit the gene dystrophin (Dmd) and tyrosinase (Tyr) and which results they obtained. The CRISPR-nCas9-cytidine deaminase fusion complex causes a single nucleotide substitution that leads to unfunctional proteins, which shows as no production of dystrophin in the muscles, in the case of Dmd, and albino features in the case of Tyr. The research team used two types of delivery methods: Microinjection of mRNA encoding for the fusion complex, or another technique called electroporation that opens pores on the membrane of the embryo allowing the preassembled fusion complex to enter inside the embryo. Then these embryos were transplanted into surrogate mothers. The experiment was successful in both cases. The research team obtained first generation and second generation mice bearing the mutation in the Dmd gene, as well as two albino pups out of seven, in the case of Tyr. Moreover, these single-nucleotide substitutions appeared only in the target position. This is important because it means that only the correct nucleotide is substituted. "We showed here for the first time that programmable deaminases efficiently induced base substitutions in animal embryos, producing mutant mice with disease phenotypes. This is a proof-of-principle experiment. The next goal is to correct a genetic defect in animals. Ultimately, this technique may allow gene correction in human embryos," expressed KIM Jin-Soo, Director of the Center and leading author of this study.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: phys.org

Cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Huntington's disease and phenylketonuria are all examples of disorders caused by the mutation of a single nucleotide, a building block of DNA. The human DNA consists of approximately 3 billion nucleotides of four types: Adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). In some cases, the difference of just one nucleotide can bring serious consequences. Scientists hope to cure these diseases by substituting the incorrect nucleotide with the correct one. For details, please refer to the orginal text. Credit: IBS Cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Huntington's disease and phenylketonuria are all examples of disorders caused by the mutation of a single nucleotide, a building block of DNA. The human DNA consists of approximately 3 billion nucleotides of four types: Adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). In some cases, the difference of just one nucleotide can bring serious consequences. Scientists hope to cure these diseases by substituting the incorrect nucleotide with the correct one. However, it is technically challenging to replace a single nucleotide with the current gene editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9. Scientists at the Center for Genome Engineering, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) have used a variation of the popular gene editing technique CRISPR-Cas9 to produce mice with a single nucleotide difference. Their findings are published in Nature Biotechnology. The most recent and highly successful CRISPR-Cas9 technique works by cutting around the faulty nucleotide in both strands of the DNA and cuts out a small part of DNA. Conversely, IBS biologists used a variation of the Cas9 protein (nickase Cas9, nCas9) fused with a protein called cytidine deaminase, a.k.a. Base Editor, which is able to substitute one nucleotide into another. In this way, no DNA deletion occurs, but just one nucleotide substitution. These types of deaminases have been developed and tested in cultured cell lines by David Liu's group at Harvard and Keiji Nishda and his colleagues at Kobe University in 2016. The IBS team advanced the technique further by applying it to mouse embryos. The scientists tested the CRISPR-nCas9-cytidine deaminase fusion in mice by changing a single nucleotide in the dystrophin gene (Dmd) or the tyrosinase gene (Tyr). They were successful in both cases: Embryos with the single nucleotide mutation in the Dmd gene led to mice producing no dystrophin protein in their muscles, and mice with the Tyr mutation showed albino traits. Dystrophin is indeed connected with the muscular dystrophin disease and tyrosinase controls the production of melanine. Moreover, these single-nucleotide substitutions appeared only in the target position. This is important because it means that only the correct nucleotide is substituted. "We showed here for the first time that programmable deaminases efficiently induced base substitutions in animal embryos, producing mutant mice with disease phenotypes. This is a proof-of-principle experiment. The next goal is to correct a genetic defect in animals. Ultimately, this technique may allow gene correction in human embryos," expressed KIM Jin-Soo, Director of the Center and leading author of this study. Explore further: Variation on CRISPR-Cas9 system offers editing without clipping both strands of DNA More information: Kyoungmi Kim, Seuk-Min Ryu, Sang-Tae Kim, Gayoung Baek, Daesik Kim, Kayeong Lim, Eugene Chung, Sunghyun Kim and Jin-Soo Kim. Highly efficient RNA-guided base editing in mouse embryos. Nature Biotechnology, March 2017, DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3816


News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: www.newscientist.com

Put a spin on it. Saturn’s rings might have formed when it ate a rotating icy rock that passed too close. This scenario could explain why Saturn’s rings are made of different stuff from those of other gas giants. Existing theories assume that rings form when objects such as asteroids or comets are pulverised by the gravity of a planet like Saturn. But they fail to explain why Saturn’s rings are mostly water ice, while other gas giants’ are rocky, says Ryuki Hyodo at Kobe University in Japan. “The origin of Saturn’s rings remains elusive,” he says. Earlier models estimated how much mass a planet might capture from a passing celestial object based on physical properties such as the size of the planet and the smaller body, and the distance between the two. But Hyodo and his colleagues also considered the way the passing object whirls through space: whether its tumbling lines up with the direction in which it travels around the planet, or if it is doing backflips. That distinction is important, the team found. Passing bodies that rotate in the same direction as their path around the planet are more easily broken up, and their fragments more efficiently sucked into orbit. That is because the planet’s gravity pulls harder on the closer side of the small object, tugging it around in the same direction as it is travelling. If the planet’s gravity has to work against the object’s spin, it will be unable to sweep in as much material as when they are aligned. Those uneven gravitational forces could pull and deform a passing object like a piece of taffy. To see what Saturn and Uranus might do to passing objects spinning in different ways, the team simulated how individual bits of a round object move based on properties such as mass and density. They modelled more complex bodies than have been tried before: rather than just a homogeneous ball, they included more realistic objects with a hard, rocky core surrounded by an icy mantle. In some Saturn scenarios, only the outer layer of frozen water was swept up by the planet, creating proto-rings that could have evolved into the icy bands visible today. The Uranus simulations, however, tended to produce rockier rings. Because Uranus is denser than Saturn, it can seize more of the deeper, rockier part of a passing body than Saturn before the fragments collide with the planet instead of forming rings. The study is a step forward, says Matthew Tiscareno at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, but a question of timing remains. Saturn and the other giant planets would have been most likely to encounter passing bodies like the ones Hyodo and his team simulated about 4000 million years ago, Tiscareno says. Since then, most of those objects have smashed into planets or been ejected from the solar system. But the clean water ice of Saturn’s ring system suggests that it may be much younger, since interplanetary dust should pollute it over time. “Even if you can get it in the first place, how does it survive for 4 billion years and still look pristine?” Tiscareno asks.


News Article | December 13, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A group of Japanese researchers developed a prototype construction robot for disaster relief situations. This prototype has drastically improved operability and mobility compared to conventional construction machines. As part of the Impulsing Paradigm Challenge through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT)'s Tough Robotics Challenge Program, a group of research leaders at Osaka University, Kobe University, Tohoku University, The University of Tokyo, and Tokyo Institute of Technology developed construction robots for disaster relief in order to solve various challenges of conventional construction machines used in such situations. Using a prototype machine with elemental technologies under development, verification tests were performed on places that represented disaster sites, and a certain level of performance was confirmed. This prototype looks like an ordinary hydraulic excavator, but, specifically, has the following elemental technologies: In addition to the above-mentioned technologies, this group is developing several useful elemental technologies and making efforts to improve their technical performance. They are also developing new robots with a double rotation mechanism and double arms with the purpose of achieving higher operability and terrain adaptability.


News Article | December 8, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

During the October cruise of KS16-16 (1) a research team with members from the Kobe University Graduate School of Science, the University of Tokyo Earthquake Research Institute and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)(2) tested a newly-developed island volcano monitoring system in the seas around Nishinoshima, where eruptions have been continuing since November 2013. The monitoring system uses a wave glider that can operate autonomously relying solely on wave power. The glider is equipped with cameras for visual observation of the volcano, a GPS wave gauge that can detect tsunami caused by volcanic collapse, and a gauge that checks for earthquakes and air vibrations by measuring sonic waves in the air and water. During the system's test run around the island researchers were able to confirm that these features were functioning correctly. In order to monitor in real time, they continuously transmitted data from the wave gauge and earthquake/air tremor gauge to a server on the mainland 1000km from Nishinoshima using satellite transmissions. Based on this test run, the development stages of the island volcano monitoring system are almost complete, and the group plans to start preparing the system for practical use in monitoring Japan's numerous island volcanoes.


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

How do plants give up photosynthesis and become parasites? A research team in Japan are using comprehensive analysis of gene expression in albino and green orchids to investigate the evolution of parasitic plants. The research was carried out by Project Associate Professor SUETSUGU Kenji (Kobe University Graduate School of Science), Associate Professor KAMINAKA Hironori and Research Fellow MIURA Chihiro (Tottori University Faculty of Agriculture), Associate Professor YAMATO Masahide (Chiba University Faculty of Education), and Special Associate Professor SHIGENOBU Shuji (National Institute for Basic Biology). Spontaneous mutation resulting in loss of chlorophyll is a phenomenon seen among many plant species. In normal plant species, albino mutations that lack chlorophyll wither after using up the nutrients stored in their seeds, but albinos of semi-parasitic species can continue to grow and even produce flowers. These albino plants, lacking chlorophyll, become totally dependent on fungi for their survival. Plants that have abandoned photosynthesis and feed off the roots of mushrooms and other fungi are known as mycoheterotrophs. Most mycoheterotrophs are a long way genetically from even their closest autotrophic plants. In addition to the evolutionary adaptation that enabled their parasitic lifestyle, they have various other mutations, making it hard to pinpoint which gene group helped them to gain their parasitic abilities (see figure 1). This study focused on the orchid species Epipactis helleborine. Although this species has developed green leaves and at first glance appears to be able to survive from photosynthesis alone, it is semi-dependent on fungi for carbon. Semi-mycoheterotrophic species such as E. helleborine occasionally undergo spontaneous mutations into albino varieties, totally losing their chlorophyll (see figure 2). The green individuals and the albino individuals have almost identical genome sequences, making them ideal candidates for genetic analysis of mycoheterotrophy (see figure 3). Because albino individuals lack chlorophyll, they are thought to depend more on their parasitic abilities than green individuals. This study investigated the possibility that the genes expressing more in albino varieties are related to mycoheterotrophy (parasitism of fungi). The research team focused on these highly-expressing gene groups. The group carried out transcriptome analysis using RNA extracted from the roots of 3 green individuals and 3 albino individuals of the E. helleborine. The results showed that the gene group linked to mycorrhizal symbiosis in arbuscular mycorrhizal plants and autotrophic orchids is also highly expressed in albino individuals of E. helleborine. Additionally, the expression patterns from multiple genetic groups related to plant hormone biosynthesis showed similarities between albino individuals and plants associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. These results suggest that mycoheterotrophs may incorporate fungi by using a similar mechanism to those found in other types of mycorrhizal symbiosis. Until now, botanists believed that mycorrhizal symbiosis in mycoheterotrophs used a different mechanism from other types of mycorrhizal symbiosis because of the dramatic partner shift in mycorrhizal fungi. However, this research suggests they may have more mechanisms in common than previously imagined. The findings were published on January 19 in the online edition of Molecular Ecology. Species which have lost the ability to photosynthesize and take their nutrients from fungi. Approximately 50 of these species have been reported in Japan, including families such as Ericaceae, Polygalaceae, Gentianaceae, Burmanniaceae, Corsiaceae, Thismiaceae, Orchidaceae, Petrosaviaceae and Triuridaceae.


News Article | December 14, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A Japanese research team has become the first in the world to discover that 2-aminobutyric acid (2-AB) is closely involved in the metabolic regulation of the antioxidant glutathione, and that it can effectively raise levels of glutathione in the body when ingested. The findings were published in the online version of Scientific Reports on November 9. Glutathione, an antioxidant with antidotal properties, plays an important role in keeping us healthy. This finding could contribute to the development of new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat various oxidative stress-related conditions including Alzheimer's, aging, cancer, lifestyle-related diseases, hardened arteries, and organ damage caused by medicines and toxins. The team was led by Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Division of Evidence-Based Laboratory Medicine Assistant Professor IRINO Yasuhiro and Associate Professor TOH Ryuji, in collaboration with Professor HIRATA Ken-ichi (Kobe University, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine) and Professor MIYATA Okiko (Kobe Pharmaceutical University, Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory) Glutathione is a major antioxidant component within cells, and keeps our bodies healthy by contributing to the detoxification of foreign substances. Monitoring glutathione metabolism in the body can help with early diagnosis of illness, as glutathione is consumed when bodies experience oxidative stress. However, glutathione concentration in the blood is 100- to 1000-fold lower than levels within cells, making it hard to accurately measure. Our bodies also compensate for the depletion of glutathione under stress, so circulating levels will not necessarily decrease during illness. This makes it difficult to accurately monitor the metabolism of glutathione just by measuring its levels in the blood. Increasing levels of glutathione in the body could help to prevent and treat a variety of conditions which involve oxidative stress and organ damage caused by toxins. However, simply ingesting glutathione does not efficiently increase glutathione levels in the body. 2-aminobutyric acid (2-AB) has been reported as a basic component of ophthalmic acid, which is produced when glutathione is synthesized. Until now, the metabolism and physiological effects of 2-AB itself were unknown. The group investigated whether 2-AB could be a marker for glutathione dynamics, and whether it could be used to modulate glutathione homeostasis. Searching for leads to develop new diagnoses and treatment to combat heart failure, the group started by comprehensively analyzing metabolites in the bloodstreams of atrial septal defect patients using a gas chromatography mass spectrometer. Results showed that levels of 2-AB were higher in these patients than in healthy subjects, and 2-AB levels decreased after the closure of atrial septal defect. Then, the group clarified for the first time that 2-AB is a byproduct of cysteine, one of the constituent amino acids of glutathione (figure 1), and revealed that activation of glutathione synthetic pathway under oxidative damage led to 2-AB accumulation. Because blood concentration of 2-AB reflects the metabolism of glutathione within the body, 2-AB could potentially be used as a new biomarker for early detection of oxidative stress. Intriguingly, the group also found that 2-AB promotes glutathione synthesis. The anticancer drug doxorubicin causes heart damage via oxidative stress as an adverse effect. They discovered that when taken orally, 2-AB increases the concentration of glutathione in the bloodstream and the heart, lessening the heart damage caused by doxorubicin (figure 2). This research found that as well as being a biomarker, 2-AB itself is an antioxidant that can be used to effectively increase glutathione in the body (patent pending). 2-AB is a naturally-occurring amino acid that can be found in everyday food products. Future research will examine which foods contain high levels of 2-AB, the recommended level to ingest, whether it can be used as an antioxidant for other organs, and the development of medicines and functional food for clinical use.


Hatano N.,RIKEN | Hatano N.,Kobe University | Hamada T.,Ishikawa Prefectural University
Journal of Proteomics | Year: 2012

The Nepenthes species are carnivorous plants that have evolved a specialized leaf organ, the 'pitcher', to attract, capture, and digest insects. The digested insects provide nutrients for growth, allowing these plants to grow even in poor soil. Several proteins have been identified in the pitcher fluid, including aspartic proteases (nepenthesin I and II) and pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins (β-1,3-glucanase, class IV chitinase, and thaumatin-like protein). In this study, we collected and concentrated pitcher fluid to identify minor proteins. In addition, we tried to identify the protein secreted in response to trapping the insect. To make a similar situation in which the insect falls into the pitcher, chitin which was a major component of the insect exoskeleton was added to the fluid in the pitcher. Three PR proteins, class III peroxidase (Prx), β-1,3-glucanase, and class III chitinase, were newly identified. Prx was induced after the addition of chitin to the pitcher fluid. Proteins in the pitcher fluid of the carnivorous plant Nepenthes alata probably have two roles in nutrient supply: digestion of prey and the antibacterial effect. These results suggest that the system for digesting prey has evolved from the defense system against pathogens in the carnivorous plant Nepenthes. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Yasuda T.,University of Pennsylvania | Yasuda T.,Kobe University | Ishida T.,Kobe University | Rader D.J.,University of Pennsylvania
Circulation Journal | Year: 2010

Endothelial lipase (EL) is a phospholipase that belongs to the lipoprotein lipase (LPL) family, which includes LPL and hepatic lipase (HL). Similar to LPL and HL, EL regulates lipoprotein metabolism, mainly high-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism and HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) levels in humans and mice. Existing data strongly suggest that inhibition of EL in humans would be expected to increase the HDL-C level. However, it has not been definitively established whether the effect of EL activity on HDL-C levels translates into effects on reverse cholesterol transport or atherosclerosis. The available data regarding the impact of EL expression and activity on HDL metabolism, reverse cholesterol transport, and atherosclerosis are reviewed.


Afra E.,Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources | Yousefi H.,Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources | Hadilam M.M.,Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources | Nishino T.,Kobe University
Carbohydrate Polymers | Year: 2013

Cellulose fibers were fibrillated using mechanical beating (shearing refiner) and ultra-fine friction grinder, respectively. The fibrillated fibers were then used to make paper. Mechanical beating process created a partial skin fibrillation, while grinding turned fiber from micro to nanoscale through nanofibrillation mechanism. The partially fibrillated and nano fibrillated fibers had significant effects on paper density, tear strength, tensile strength and water drainage time. The effect of nanofibrillation on paper properties was quantitatively higher than that of mechanical beating. Paper sheets from nanofibrillated cellulose have a higher density, higher tensile strength and lower tear strength compared to those subjected to mechanical beating. Mechanical beating and nanofibrillation were both found to be promising fiber structural modifications. Long water drainage time was an important drawback of both fibrillation methods. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Wakamatsu H.,Kobe University | Aruga K.,Ishikawa Prefectural University
Energy Policy | Year: 2013

We investigated whether the increase in the US shale gas production changed the structures of the US and Japanese natural gas markets using market data for the period 2002:5-2012:5. Our analysis consists of a structural break test and market integration analysis. The Bai and Perron structural break test detected a break point of natural gas prices and consumption in 2005 as well as other external shocks - Hurricane Katrina and the Lehman Shock - that are irrelevant to shale gas development. We eliminated the impact of these shocks by separating the data set using the breaks identified in our analysis. We found the breaks skewed the estimation; a market linkage existed between the US and Japanese markets in the original data set, while it did not in the separated data. The vector autoregressive (VAR) model also indicated a significant change before and after the break point; the US market had a one-side influence on the Japanese market before 2005, but the influence disappeared after 2005. Our results implied that the shale gas revolution, triggered by the increase in shale gas production in 2005, caused the change in the relationship between the US and Japanese natural gas markets. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Hatanaka H.,Osaka University | Sakamoto M.,Kobe University | Takenaga K.,Kumamoto Health Science University
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2011

We discuss the gauge-Higgs unification in a framework of Lifshitz-type gauge theory. We study a higher-dimensional gauge theory on RD -1×S1 in which the normal second- (first-) order derivative terms for scalar (fermion) fields in the action are replaced by higher-order derivative ones for the direction of the extra dimension. We provide some mathematical tools to evaluate a one-loop effective potential for the zero mode of the extra component of a higher-dimensional gauge field and clarify how the higher-order derivative terms affect the standard form of the effective potential. Our results show that they can make the Higgs mass heavier and change its vacuum expectation value drastically. Some extensions of our framework are briefly discussed. © 2011 American Physical Society.


Asano F.,Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology | Luo Z.-W.,Kobe University
Robotica | Year: 2011

Achieving energy-efficient and high-speed dynamic walking has become one of the main subjects of research in the area of robotic biped locomotion, and passive dynamic walking has attracted a great deal of attention as a solution to this. It is empirically known that the convex curve of the foot, which characterizes passive-dynamic walkers, has an important effect on increasing the walking speed. This paper mainly discusses our investigations into the driving mechanism for compass-like biped robots and the rolling effect of semicircular feet. We first analyze the mechanism for a planar fully actuated compass-like biped model to clarify the importance of ankle-joint torque by introducing a generalized virtual-gravity concept. A planar underactuated biped model with semicircular feet is then introduced and we demonstrate that virtual passive dynamic walking only by hip-joint torque can be accomplished based on the rolling effect. We then compare the rolling effect with a flat feet model through linear approximation, and show that the rolling effect is equivalent to virtual ankle-joint torque. Throughout this paper, we provide novel insights into how zero-moment-point-free robots can generate a dynamic bipedal gait. © 2010 Cambridge University Press.


Kim W.,Pohang University of Science and Technology | Tachikawa T.,Osaka University | Tachikawa T.,Kobe University | Moon G.-H.,Pohang University of Science and Technology | And 2 more authors.
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition | Year: 2014

The generation of oxidants on illuminated photocatalysts and their participation in subsequent reactions are the main basis of the widely investigated photocatalytic processes for environmental remediation and selective oxidation. Here, the generation and the subsequent diffusion of ·OH from the illuminated TiO2 surface to the solution bulk were directly observed using a single-molecule detection method and this molecular phenomenon could explain the different macroscopic behavior of anatase and rutile in photocatalysis. The mobile ·OH is generated on anatase but not on rutile. Therefore, the photocatalytic oxidation on rutile is limited to adsorbed substrates whereas that on anatase is more facile and versatile owing to the presence of mobile ·OH. The ability of anatase to generate mobile COH is proposed as a previously unrecognized key factor that explains the common observations that anatase has higher activity than rutile for many photooxidative reactions. © 2014 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Kamada Y.,Japan National Institute for Basic Biology | Yoshino K.-I.,Kobe University | Kondo C.,Japan National Institute for Basic Biology | Kondo C.,Tokyo Institute of Technology | And 5 more authors.
Molecular and Cellular Biology | Year: 2010

Autophagy is a bulk proteolytic process that is indispensable for cell survival during starvation. Autophagy is induced by nutrient deprivation via inactivation of the rapamycin-sensitive Tor complex1 (TORC1), a protein kinase complex regulating cell growth in response to nutrient conditions. However, the mechanism by which TORC1 controls autophagy and the direct target of TORC1 activity remain unclear. Atg13 is an essential regulatory component of autophagy upstream of the Atg1 kinase complex, and here we show that yeast TORC1 directly phosphorylates Atg13 at multiple Ser residues. Additionally, expression of an unphosphorylatable Atg13 mutant bypasses the TORC1 pathway to induce autophagy through activation of Atg1 in cells growing under nutrient-rich conditions. Our findings suggest that the direct control of the Atg1 complex by TORC1 induces autophagy. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Hama S.,Energy Development Corporation | Kondo A.,Kobe University
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2013

The increased global demand for biofuels has prompted the search for alternatives to edible oils for biodiesel production. Given the abundance and cost, waste and nonedible oils have been investigated as potential feedstocks. A recent research interest is the conversion of such feedstocks into biodiesel via enzymatic processes, which have considerable advantages over conventional alkali-catalyzed processes. To expand the viability of enzymatic biodiesel production, considerable effort has been directed toward process development in terms of biodiesel productivity, application to wide ranges of contents of water and fatty acids, adding value to glycerol byproducts, and bioreactor design. A cost evaluation suggested that, with the current enzyme prices, the cost of catalysts alone is not competitive against that of alkalis. However, it can also be expected that further process optimization will lead to a reduced cost in enzyme preparation as well as in downstream processes. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Asada N.,Okayama University of Science | Asada N.,Yeshiva University | Katayama Y.,Kobe University
International Journal of Hematology | Year: 2014

After birth, the hematopoietic system develops along with bone formation in mammals. Osteolineage cells are derived from mesenchymal progenitor cells, and differentiate into several types of bone-forming cells. Of the various types of cell constituents in bone marrow, osteolineage cells have been shown to play important roles in hematopoiesis. Early studies have identified osteoblasts as a hematopoietic stem cell niche component. Since that time, the role of endosteal microenvironment as a critical regulator of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSC/HPC) behavior has been appreciated particularly under stress conditions, such as cytokine-induced HSC/HPC mobilization, homing/engraftment after bone marrow transplantation, and disease models of leukemia/myelodysplasia. Recent studies revealed that the most differentiated osteolineage cells, i.e., osteocytes, play important roles in the regulation of hematopoiesis. In this review, we provide an overview of recent advances in knowledge of regulatory hematopoietic mechanisms in the endosteal area. © The Japanese Society of Hematology 2014.


Matsuo K.,Teikyo Heisei University | Matsuo K.,Kobe University | Ohsumi K.,Nagoya University | Iwabuchi M.,Nagoya University | And 4 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2012

The centrosome, consisting of a pair of centrioles surrounded by pericentriolar material, directs the formation of bipolar spindles during mitosis. Aberrant centrosome number can promote chromosome instability, which is implicated in tumorigenesis [1, 2]. Thus, centrosome duplication needs to be tightly regulated to occur only once per cell cycle. Separase, a cysteine protease that triggers sister chromatid separation [3], is involved in centriole disengagement, which licenses centrosomes for the next round of duplication [4-8]. However, at least two questions remain unsolved: what is the substrate relevant to the disengagement, and how does separase, activated at anaphase onset, act on the disengagement that occurs during late mitosis [6, 7, 9, 10]. Here, we show that kendrin, also named pericentrin, is cleaved by activated separase at a consensus site in vivo and in vitro, and this leads to the delayed release of kendrin from the centrosome later in mitosis. Furthermore, we demonstrate that expression of a noncleavable kendrin mutant suppresses centriole disengagement and subsequent centriole duplication. Based on these results, we propose that kendrin is a novel and crucial substrate for separase at the centrosome, protecting the engaged centrioles from premature disengagement and thereby blocking reduplication until the cell passes through mitosis. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Patent
Kobe University and Shimadzu Corporation | Date: 2013-12-04

An embodiment with a dual-stage reflectron is as follows: (1) On the assumption that a reflector has a base potential X_(A)(U) created by uniform electric fields, its design parameters are adjusted so as to cancel the first and second order derivatives at energy E=E_(0) of a total time of flight T(E), and a second-order focusing position on a central axis at which the potential value becomes zero is determined (Mamyrin solution). (2) A correcting potential X_(C)(U) to be superposed on X_(A)(U), beginning from the second-order focusing position, is calculated so that T(E) of ions reflected in a region deeper than the second-order focusing position will be constant. (3) Voltage values of the reflector electrodes are determined so that a real potential X_(R)(U)=X_(A)(U)+X_(C)(U) is created on the central axis. The superposition of the correcting potential extends the range of energy compensation up to an infinitely high order, beyond the second-order energy compensation attained by the base potential of the Mamyrin solution, thus achieving complete isochronism for the ions reflected in the correcting potential region. The real potentials before and after the starting point of the correcting potential are smoothly connected, and the discrepancy from the uniform electric field is minimized, whereby a divergence of the ion trajectory and a temporal aberration due do the off-axis location are suppressed to the minimum.


Patent
Kobe University, Toray Industries Inc, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, University of Indonesia and Indonesian Institute of Sciences | Date: 2013-09-27

A HCV particle formation promoter is capable of promoting formation of HCV particles in culture cells, and a method enhances production of HCV particles. A method evaluates an anti-HCV agent candidate substance, and a method produces a HCV vaccine. The HCV particle formation promoter includes as an active ingredient a statin or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt thereof. Addition of the statin or pharmaceutically acceptable salt thereof to HCV-infected culture cells can promote formation of infectious HCV particles and enhance production of the particles. In addition, an anti-HCV agent candidate substance is evaluated by culturing HCV-infected cells in the presence of the HCV particle formation promoter and the anti-HCV agent candidate substance. Further, a HCV vaccine is produced by using HCV particles produced by the method of enhancing production of HCV particles.


Patent
Shimadzu Corporation and Kobe University | Date: 2011-03-14

The present invention aims at creating an accurate mass spectrum with a high resolving power based on a plurality of multi-turn time-of-flight (TOF) spectra, while reducing the amount of computation to assure the real-time processing. First, a plurality of TOF spectra each obtained for a different timing when ions are ejected from the loop orbit are measured (S2 and S3). At this point, the concept of the coincidence detection method is utilized to determine what mass-to-charge ratio a peak appearing on the TOF spectra originates from. From the information on the peak of interest in one TOF spectrum and other data, the time range in which a corresponding peak appears on other TOF spectra is set, and the existence or nonexistence of the peak in that range is determined (S5). In the case where the corresponding peak is found on most of the other TOF spectra, the m/z is deduced from the peak on the TOF spectrum with the highest resolving power and a mass spectrum is created (S6 and S7). At the same time, from the density of the peaks around the peak of interest, the reliability of the deduction is computed. For a peak with a low reliability, the ion ejection time is optimized and the TOF spectrum is measured again (S8).


Patent
Kobe University, Toray Industries Inc, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, University of Indonesia and Indonesian Institute of Sciences | Date: 2015-08-05

Provided are a HCV particle formation promoter capable of promoting formation of HCV particles in culture cells, and a method of enhancing production of HCV particles. Also provided are a method of evaluating an anti-HCV agent candidate substance, and a method of producing a HCV vaccine. The HCV particle formation promoter comprises as an active ingredient a statin or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt thereof. Addition of the statin or pharmaceutically acceptable salt thereof to HCV-infected culture cells can promote formation of infectious HCV particles and enhance production of the particles. In addition, an anti-HCV agent candidate substance is evaluated by culturing HCV-infected cells in the presence of the HCV particle formation promoter and the anti-HCV agent candidate substance. Further, a HCV vaccine is produced by using HCV particles produced by the method of enhancing production of HCV particles.


Provided are a glass body for pressure forming enabling press forming in a low-temperature range without the need of a special mold material, and a method for manufacturing the same. A glass body for pressure forming 1 having a porosified layer 1b formed by porosifying a surface thereof and having a Vickers hardness of 85 N/mm^(2 )or less on the porosified surface. The porosified layer 1b can be manufactured by phase-separating the glass body by spinodal decomposition, acid-treating the phase-separated glass body and then treating the acid-treated glass body with alkali or hot water to porosify the surface of the glass body.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: astrobiology.com

Photosynthesis, creating oxygen and carbohydrates such as glucose from solar energy, water, and CO2, is indispensable for many species on this planet. However, it is unclear exactly how or when organisms evolved the ability to photosynthesize. These questions have fascinated scientists for a long time. A Japanese research group led by Associate Professor ASHIDA Hiroki (Graduate School of Human Development and Environment, Kobe University), Academic Researcher KONO Takunari (Graduate School of Human Development and Environment, Kobe University), and Professor MATSUMURA Hiroyoshi (Ritsumeikan University) has discovered an evolutionary model for the biological function that creates CO2 from glucose in photosynthesis. They found the mechanism in a primitive, non-photosynthesizing microbe. The research group discovered that Methanospirillum hungatei, a microbe (methanogenic archaeon) which is thought to have existed since before the development of photosynthesis, possess genes similar to those that play a role in photosynthesis. Through analysis of the enzymes synthesized by these genes and by investigating the metabolic substances within the organism, carrying out metabolome analysis to locate the trapped CO2, the team proved that Methanospirillum hungatei uses a primitive pathway that closely resembles the metabolic pathway used in photosynthesis to synthesize carbohydrates such as glucose. By clarifying part of the primitive metabolic pathway for photosynthesis, these findings could help to reveal how the photosynthesis system formed during evolution, a mystery that scientists have so far been unable to solve. If further light can be shed on the evolution of photosynthesis, scientists could potentially utilize this information to use and improve upon photosynthetic functions in order to increase production of crops and biofuel. This research was carried out as part of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) Strategic Basic Research Programs. It was a joint project by Kobe University, Ritsumeikan University, the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Birla Institute of Technology and Science (India), Osaka University and Shizuoka University. The findings were published on January 13 in the online journal Nature Communications. Please click here for further details: http://www.kobe-u.ac.jp/documents/en/NEWS/research/2017_01_31_01-01.pdf


The research was carried out by Project Associate Professor SUETSUGU Kenji (Kobe University Graduate School of Science), Associate Professor KAMINAKA Hironori and Research Fellow MIURA Chihiro (Tottori University Faculty of Agriculture), Associate Professor YAMATO Masahide (Chiba University Faculty of Education), and Special Associate Professor SHIGENOBU Shuji (National Institute for Basic Biology). Spontaneous mutation resulting in loss of chlorophyll is a phenomenon seen among many plant species. In normal plant species, albino mutations that lack chlorophyll wither after using up the nutrients stored in their seeds, but albinos of semi-parasitic species can continue to grow and even produce flowers. These albino plants, lacking chlorophyll, become totally dependent on fungi for their survival. Plants that have abandoned photosynthesis and feed off the roots of mushrooms and other fungi are known as mycoheterotrophs. Most mycoheterotrophs are a long way genetically from even the closest autotrophic plants. In addition to the evolutionary adaptation that enabled their parasitic lifestyle, they have various other mutations, making it hard to pinpoint which gene group helped them to gain their parasitic abilities (see figure 1). This study focused on the orchid species Epipactis helleborine. Although this species has developed green leaves and at first glance appears to be able to survive from photosynthesis alone, it is semi-dependent on fungi for carbon. Semi-mycoheterotrophic species such as E. helleborine occasionally undergo spontaneous mutations into albino varieties, totally losing their chlorophyll (see figure 2). The green individuals and the albino individuals have almost identical genome sequences, making them ideal candidates for genetic analysis of mycoheterotrophy (see figure 3). Because albino individuals lack chlorophyll, they are thought to depend more on their parasitic abilities than green individuals. This study investigated the possibility that the genes expressing more in albino varieties are related to mycoheterotrophy (parasitism of fungi). The research team focused on these highly-expressing gene groups. The group carried out transcriptome analysis using RNA extracted from the roots of 3 green individuals and 3 albino individuals of the E. helleborine. The results showed that the gene group linked to mycorrhizal symbiosis in arbuscular mycorrhizal plants and autotrophic orchids is also highly expressed in albino individuals of E. helleborine. Additionally, the expression patterns from multiple genetic groups related to plant hormone biosynthesis showed similarities between albino individuals and plants associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. These results suggest that mycoheterotrophs may incorporate fungi by using a similar mechanism to those found in other types of mycorrhizal symbiosis. Until now, botanists believed that mycorrhizal symbiosis in mycoheterotrophs used a different mechanism from other types of mycorrhizal symbiosis because of the dramatic partner shift in mycorrhizal fungi. However, this research suggests they may have more mechanisms in common than previously imagined. The findings were published on January 19 in the online edition of Molecular Ecology. Explore further: Plants cheat too: A new species of fungus-parasitizing orchid More information: Kenji Suetsugu et al. Comparison of green and albino individuals of the partially mycoheterotrophic orchidon molecular identities of mycorrhizal fungi, nutritional modes and gene expression in mycorrhizal roots, Molecular Ecology (2017). DOI: 10.1111/mec.14021


Yoshikawa Y.,Kobe University | Sakurai H.,Suzuka University of Medical Science | Crans D.C.,Colorado State University | Micera G.,University of Sassari | Garribba E.,University of Sassari
Dalton Transactions | Year: 2014

This study presents the first systematic investigation of the anti-diabetic properties of non-oxido VIV complexes. In particular, the insulin-mimetic activity of [VIV(taci)2]4+, [VIV(inoH-3)2]2-, [V IV(dhab)2], [VIV(hyphPh) 2], [VIV(cat)3]2- and [V IV(pdbh)2]-where taci is 1,3,5-triamino-1,3,5-trideoxy- cis-inositol, ino is cis-inositol, H2dhab is 2,2′- dihydroxyazobenzene, H2hyphPh is 3,5-bis(2-hydroxyphenyl)- 1H-1,2,4-triazole, H2cat is catechol and H2pdbh is pentan-2,4-dione benzoylhydrazone-was evaluated in terms of free fatty acid (FFA) release. Among the six compounds examined, only [VIV(pdbh) 2], [VIV(cat)3]2- and [V IV(hyphPh)2], which at the physiological pH convert to the corresponding VIVO complexes, were found to exhibit a significant insulin-mimetic activity compared to VOSO4. In contrast, [V(taci)2]4+, [V(inoH-3)2] 2- and [V(dhab)2], which at pH 7.4 keep their 'bare' non-oxido structure, did not cause any inhibition of FFA. The results, therefore, suggest that a VIVO functionality is necessary for vanadium complexes to exhibit anti-diabetic effects. This agrees with the notion that the biotransformations of V compounds in the organism are more important than the nature of the species. © 2014 the Partner Organisations.


Surynek P.,Charles University | Surynek P.,Kobe University
Proceedings - International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence, ICTAI | Year: 2012

The approach to solving cooperative-path finding (CPF) as propositional satisfiability (SAT) is revisited in this paper. An alternative encoding that exploits multi-valued state variables representing locations where a given agent resides is suggested. This encoding employs the ALL-DIFFERENT constraint to model the requirement that agents must not collide with each other. The use of suggested state variables also allowed us to incorporate certain heuristic reasoning to reduce the size of the propositional encoding of the problem. We show that our new domain-dependent encoding enables finding of optimal or near optimal solutions to CPFs in certain hard set-ups where A*-based techniques such as WHCA* fail to do so. Our finding is also that the ALL-DIFFERENT encoding can be solved faster than the existent encoding. © 2012 IEEE.


Kiuchi T.,Kyoto University | Higuchi M.,Kyoto University | Takamura A.,Tohoku University | Maruoka M.,Tohoku University | And 2 more authors.
Nature Methods | Year: 2015

We have developed a multitarget super-resolution microscopy technique called image reconstruction by integrating exchangeable single-molecule localization (IRIS). IRIS uses protein fragment-based probes that directly associate with and dissociate from their targets over durations on the order of tens of milliseconds. By integrating single-molecule localization and sequential labeling, IRIS enables unprecedented labeling density along multiple cellular structures. IRIS can be used to discern the area-specific proximity between cytoskeletal components and focal adhesions within a single cell. © 2015 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Kawai Y.,Ritsumeikan University | Kawai Y.,Tohoku University | Ono E.,Suntory Global Innovation Center Ltd. Shimamoto | Mizutani M.,Kobe University
Plant Journal | Year: 2014

The 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase (2OGD) superfamily is the second largest enzyme family in the plant genome, and its members are involved in various oxygenation/hydroxylation reactions. Despite their biochemical significance in metabolism, a systematic analysis of plant 2OGDs remains to be accomplished. We present a phylogenetic classification of 479 2OGDs in six plant models, ranging from green algae to angiosperms. These were classified into three classes - DOXA, DOXB and DOXC - based on amino acid sequence similarity. The DOXA class includes plant homologs of Escherichia coli AlkB, which is a prototype of 2OGD involved in the oxidative demethylation of alkylated nucleic acids and histones. The DOXB class is conserved across all plant taxa and is involved in proline 4-hydroxylation in cell wall protein synthesis. The DOXC class is involved in specialized metabolism of various phytochemicals, including phytohormones and flavonoids. The vast majority of 2OGDs from land plants were classified into the DOXC class, but only seven from Chlamydomonas, suggesting that this class has diversified during land plant evolution. Phylogenetic analysis assigned DOXC-class 2OGDs to 57 phylogenetic clades. 2OGD genes involved in gibberellin biosynthesis were conserved among vascular plants, and those involved in flavonoid and ethylene biosynthesis were shared among seed plants. Several angiosperm-specific clades were found to be involved in various lineage-specific specialized metabolisms, but 31 of the 57 DOXC-class clades were only found in a single species. Therefore, the evolution and diversification of DOXC-class 2OGDs is partly responsible for the diversity and complexity of specialized metabolites in land plants. © 2014 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Tanaka R.,Hiroshima International University | Ozawa J.,Hiroshima International University | Kito N.,Hiroshima International University | Moriyama H.,Kobe University
Clinical Rehabilitation | Year: 2013

Objective: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to investigate the differences in the efficacies between strengthening and aerobic exercises for pain relief in people with knee osteoarthritis. Data sources: This search was applied to Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Physiotherapy Evidence Database, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. All literature published from each sources earliest date to March 2013 was included. Review methods: Trials comparing the effects of exercise intervention with those of either nonintervention or psycho-educational intervention were collected. Meta-analysis was performed for trials in which therapeutic exercise was carried out with more than three sessions per week up to eight weeks, for pain in people with knee osteoarthritis. All trials were categorised into three subgroups (non-weightbearing strengthening exercise, weight-bearing strengthening exercise, and aerobic exercise). Subgroup analyses were also performed. Results: Data from eight studies were integrated. Overall effect of exercise was significant with a large effect size (standardised mean difference (SMD): -0.94; 95% confidence interval -1.31 to -0.57). Subgroup analyses showed a larger SMD for non-weight-bearing strengthening exercise (-1.42 [-2.09 to -0.75]) compared with weight-bearing strengthening exercise (-0.70 [-1.05 to -0.35]), and aerobic exercise (-0.45 [-0.77 to -0.13]). Conclusion: Muscle strengthening exercises with or without weight-bearing and aerobic exercises are effective for pain relief in people with knee osteoarthritis. In particular, for pain relief by short-term exercise intervention, the most effective exercise among the three types is non-weightbearing strengthening exercise. © 2013 The Author(s).


Kamisawa T.,Tokyo Metropolitan Komagome Hospital | Zen Y.,Kobe University | Pillai S.,Harvard University | Stone J.H.,Harvard University
The Lancet | Year: 2015

IgG4-related disease is a protean condition that mimics many malignant, infectious, and inflammatory disorders. This multi-organ immune-mediated condition links many disorders previously regarded as isolated, single-organ diseases without any known underlying systemic condition. It was recognised as a unified entity only 10 years ago. Histopathology is the key to diagnosis. The three central pathology features of IgG4-related disease are lymphoplasmacytic infiltration, storiform fibrosis, and obliterative phlebitis. The extent of fibrosis is an important determinant of responsiveness to immunosuppressive therapies. IgG4-related disease generally responds to glucocorticoids in its inflammatory stage, but recurrent or refractory cases are common. Important mechanistic insights have been derived from studies of patients treated by B-cell depletion. Greater awareness of this disease is needed to ensure earlier diagnoses, which can prevent severe organ damage, disabling tissue fibrosis, and even death. Identification of specific antigens and T-cell clones that drive the disease will be the first steps to elucidate the pathogenesis of IgG4-related disease.


Kim C.W.,Kyoto University | Kawatani M.,Kobe University | Hao J.,Construction Project Consultants Inc.
Structure and Infrastructure Engineering | Year: 2012

This study is intended to investigate the feasibility of health monitoring of short span bridges based on modal parameter identification using the vibration data of the bridge induced by a moving vehicle. The idea of this study using the traffic-induced vibration of short span bridges which is a kind of non-stationary process is that the modal parameters identified repeatedly under a given moving vehicle provide a pattern which may provide useful information to decide current health condition of bridges. The autoregressive (AR) model is adopted for identifying modal parameters such as frequency and damping characteristics of the bridges. Mode shapes of bridges are obtained using multivariate AR model. Feasibility of the modal parameter identification for health monitoring of short span bridges is observed through a moving vehicle laboratory experiment. Pattern changes of identified parameters are observable by comparing the identification results between intact and damaged girders, which encourages the use of the method for long term health monitoring even for short span bridges. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Ito N.,Japan Society for the Promotion of Science | Takeuchi K.,Kobe University | Managi S.,Tohoku University
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment | Year: 2013

This study investigates potential demand for infrastructure investment for alternative fuel vehicles by applying stated preference methods to a Japanese sample. The potential demand is estimated on the basis of how much people are willing to pay for alternative fuel vehicles under various refueling scenarios. Using the estimated parameters, the economic efficiency of establishing battery-exchange stations for electric vehicles is examined. The results indicate that infrastructural development of battery-exchange stations can be efficient when electric vehicle sales exceed 5.63% of all new vehicle sales. Further, we find a complementary relationship between the cruising ranges of alternative fuel vehicles and the infrastructure established. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Yamori W.,Tohoku University | Masumoto C.,Japan National Institute of Agrobiological Science | Fukayama H.,Kobe University | Makino A.,Tohoku University | Makino A.,Chiyoda Corporation
Plant Journal | Year: 2012

Summary The role of Rubisco activase in steady-state and non-steady-state photosynthesis was analyzed in wild-type (Oryza sativa) and transgenic rice that expressed different amounts of Rubisco activase. Below 25°C, the Rubisco activation state and steady-state photosynthesis were only affected when Rubisco activase was reduced by more than 70%. However, at 40°C, smaller reductions in Rubisco activase content were linked to a reduced Rubisco activation state and steady-state photosynthesis. As a result, overexpression of maize Rubisco activase in rice did not lead to an increase of the Rubisco activation state, nor to an increase in photosynthetic rate below 25°C, but had a small stimulatory effect at 40°C. On the other hand, the rate at which photosynthesis approached the steady state following an increase in light intensity was rapid in Rubisco activase-overexpressing plants, intermediate in the wild-type, and slowest in antisense plants at any leaf temperature. In Rubisco activase-overexpressing plants, Rubisco activation state at low light was maintained at higher levels than in the wild-type. Thus, rapid regulation by Rubisco activase following an increase in light intensity and/or maintenance of a high Rubisco activation state at low light would result in a rapid increase in Rubisco activation state and photosynthetic rate following an increase in light intensity. It is concluded that Rubisco activase plays an important role in the regulation of non-steady-state photosynthesis at any leaf temperature and, to a lesser extent, of steady-state photosynthesis at high temperature. The Plant Journal © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Iioka H.,University of Virginia | Iioka H.,Kobe University | Loiselle D.,Duke University | Haystead T.A.,Duke University | MacAra I.G.,University of Virginia
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2011

The diverse localization of transcripts in cells suggests that there are many specific RNA-protein interactions that have yet to be identified. Progress has been limited, however, by the lack of a robust method to detect and isolate the RNA-binding proteins. Here we describe the use of an RNA aptamer, scaffolded to a tRNA, to create an affinity matrix that efficiently pulls down transcript-specific RNA-binding proteins from cell lysates. The addition of the tRNA scaffold to a Streptavidin aptamer (tRSA) increased binding efficiency by ∼10-fold. The tRSA system with an attached G-quartet sequence also could efficiently and specifically capture endogenous Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP), which recognizes this RNA sequence. An alternative method, using biotinylated RNA, captured FMRP less efficiently than did our tRSA method. Finally we demonstrate the identification of novel RNA-binding proteins that interact with intron2 or 3'-UTR of the polarity protein Crumbs3 transcript. Proteins captured by these RNA sequences attached to the tRNA scaffold were identified by mass spectrometry. GFP-tagged versions of these proteins also showed specific interaction with either the Crb3 intron2 or 3'-UTR. Our tRSA technique should find wide application in mapping the RNA-protein interactome. © 2010 The Author(s).


Ohta H.,Tohoku University | Chiba S.,Tohoku University | Ebina M.,Tohoku University | Furuse M.,Kobe University | Nukiwa T.,Tohoku University
American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Year: 2012

The dysfunction of alveolar barriers is a critical factor in the development of lung injury and subsequent fibrosis, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. To clarify the pathogenic roles of tight junctions in lung injury and fibrosis, we examined the altered expression of claudins, the major components of tight junctions, in the lungs of disease models with pulmonary fibrosis. Among the 24 known claudins, claudin-1, claudin-3, claudin-4, claudin-7, and claudin-10 were identified as components of airway tight junctions. Claudin-5 and claudin-18 were identified as components of alveolar tight junctions and were expressed in endothelial and alveolar epithelial cells, respectively. In experimental bleomycin-induced lung injury, the levels of mRNA encoding tight junction proteins were reduced, particularly those of claudin-18. The integrity of the epithelial tight junctions was disturbed in the fibrotic lesions 14 days after the intraperitoneal instillation of bleomycin. These results suggest that bleomycin mainly injured alveolar epithelial cells and impaired alveolar barrier function. In addition, we analyzed the influence of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β, a critical mediator of pulmonary fibrosis that is upregulated after bleomycin-induced lung injury, on tight junctions in vitro. The addition of TGF-β decreased the expression of claudin-5 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells and disrupted the tight junctions of epithelial cells (A549). These results suggest that bleomycin-induced lung injury causes pathogenic alterations in tight junctions and that such alterations seem to be induced by TGF-β. © 2012 the American Physiological Society.


Masada Y.,Kobe University | Takiwaki T.,Japan National Astronomical Observatory | Kotake K.,Fukuoka University
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2015

Magnetorotational instability (MRI) in a convectively stable layer around the neutrinosphere is simulated by a three-dimensional model of a supernova core. To resolve MRI-unstable modes, a thin layer approximation considering only the radial global stratification is adopted. Our intriguing finding is that the convectively stable layer around the neutrinosphere becomes fully turbulent due to the MRI and its nonlinear penetration into the strongly stratified MRI-stable region. The intensity of the MRI-driven turbulence increases with magnetic flux threading the core, but is limited by the free energy stored in the differential rotation. The turbulent neutrinosphere is a natural consequence of rotating core-collapse and could exert a positive impact on the supernova mechanism. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Aikawa Y.,Kobe University | Wakelam V.,University of Bordeaux Segalen | Hersant F.,University of Bordeaux Segalen | Garrod R.T.,Cornell University | Herbst E.,University of Virginia
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

We investigate the molecular evolution and D/H abundance ratios that develop as star formation proceeds from a dense molecular cloud core to a protostellar core, by solving a gas-grain reaction network applied to a one-dimensional radiative hydrodynamic model with infalling fluid parcels. Spatial distributions of gas and ice-mantle species are calculated at the first-core stage, and at times after the birth of a protostar. Gas-phase methanol and methane are more abundant than CO at radii r ≲ 100 AU in the first-core stage, but gradually decrease with time, while abundances of larger organic species increase. The warm-up phase, when complex organic molecules are efficiently formed, is longer-lived for those fluid parcels infalling at later stages. The formation of unsaturated carbon chains (warm carbon-chain chemistry) is also more effective in later stages; C+, which reacts with CH4 to form carbon chains, increases in abundance as the envelope density decreases. The large organic molecules and carbon chains are strongly deuterated, mainly due to high D/H ratios in the parent molecules, determined in the cold phase. We also extend our model to simulate simply the chemistry in circumstellar disks, by suspending the one-dimensional infall of a fluid parcel at constant disk radii. The species CH3OCH3 and HCOOCH3 increase in abundance in 104-105 yr at the fixed warm temperature; both also have high D/H ratios. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Masada Y.,Kobe University | Takiwaki T.,Japan National Astronomical Observatory | Kotake K.,Japan National Astronomical Observatory | Sano T.,Osaka University
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

Bearing in mind the application of core-collapse supernovae, we study the nonlinear properties of the magnetorotational instability (MRI) by means of three-dimensional simulations in the framework of a local shearing box approximation. By systematically changing the shear rates that symbolize the degree of differential rotation in nascent proto-neutron stars (PNSs), we derive a scaling relation between the turbulent stress sustained by the MRI and the shear-vorticity ratio. Our parametric survey shows a power-law scaling between the turbulent stress (〈〈w tot〉〉) and the shear-vorticity ratio (gq ) as 〈〈w tot〉〉g δ q with an index of δ 0.5. The MRI-amplified magnetic energy has a similar scaling relative to the turbulent stress, while the Maxwell stress has a slightly smaller power-law index (0.36). By modeling the effect of viscous heating rates from MRI turbulence, we show that the stronger magnetic fields, or the larger shear rates initially imposed, lead to higher dissipation rates. For a rapidly rotating PNS with a spin period in milliseconds and with strong magnetic fields of 1015 G, the energy dissipation rate is estimated to exceed 1051 erg s-1. Our results suggest that the conventional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) mechanism of core-collapse supernovae is likely to be affected by MRI-driven turbulence, which we speculate, on the one hand, could harm the MHD-driven explosions due to the dissipation of the shear rotational energy at the PNS surface; or, on the other hand, its energy deposition might be potentially favorable for the working of the neutrino-heating mechanism. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Masada Y.,Kobe University | Masada Y.,Japan National Astronomical Observatory
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters | Year: 2011

The possible role of magnetorotational instability (MRI) and its driven magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence in the solar interior is studied on the basis of linear and non-linear theories coupled with physical parameters, assuming a solar rotation profile inverted from helioseismic observations and a standard model for the internal structure of the Sun. We find that the location of MRI is confined to the higher latitude tachocline and lower latitude near-surface shear layer. It is especially interesting that the MRI-active region around the tachocline closely overlaps with the area indicating a steep entropy rise, which is required from the thermal wind balance in the Sun. This suggests that the MRI-driven turbulence plays a crucial role in maintaining the thermal wind balance in the Sun via the exceptional turbulent heating and equatorward angular momentum transport. The warm pole existing around the tachocline might be a natural outcome of the turbulent activities energized by the MRI. © 2010 The Author Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2010 RAS.


Okita Y.,Kobe University | Miyata H.,University of Tokyo | Motomura N.,Toho University | Takamoto S.,Mitsui Memorial Hospital
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery | Year: 2015

Objectives Antegrade cerebral perfusion and hypothermic circulatory arrest, with or without retrograde cerebral perfusion, are 2 major types of brain protection that are used during aortic arch surgery. We conducted a comparative study of these methods in patients undergoing total arch replacement to evaluate the clinical outcomes in Japan, based on the Japan Adult Cardiovascular Surgery Database. Methods A total of 16,218 patients underwent total arch replacement between 2009 and 2012. Patients with acute aortic dissection or ruptured aneurysm, or who underwent emergency surgery were excluded, leaving 8169 patients for analysis. For the brain protection method, 7038 patients had antegrade cerebral perfusion and 1141 patients had hypothermic circulatory arrest/retrograde cerebral perfusion. A nonmatched comparison was made between the 2 groups, and propensity score analysis was performed among 1141 patients. Results The matched paired analysis showed that the minimum rectal temperature was lower in the hypothermic circulatory arrest/retrograde cerebral perfusion group (21.2°C ± 3.7°C vs 24.2°C ± 3.2°C) and that the duration of cardiopulmonary bypass and cardiac ischemia was longer in the antegrade cerebral perfusion group. There were no significant differences between the antegrade cerebral perfusion and hypothermic circulatory arrest/retrograde cerebral perfusion groups with regard to 30-day mortality (3.2% vs 4.0%), hospital mortality (6.0% vs 7.1%), incidence of stroke (6.7% vs 8.6%), or transient neurologic disorder (4.1% vs 4.4%). There was no difference in a composite outcome of hospital death, bleeding, prolonged ventilation, need for dialysis, stroke, and infection (antegrade cerebral perfusion 28.4% vs hypothermic circulatory arrest 30.1%). However, hypothermic circulatory arrest/retrograde cerebral perfusion resulted in a significantly higher rate of prolonged stay in the intensive care unit (>8 days: 24.2% vs 15.6%). Conclusions Hypothermic circulatory arrest/retrograde cerebral perfusion and antegrade cerebral perfusion provide comparable clinical outcomes with regard to mortality and stroke rates, but hypothermic circulatory arrest/retrograde cerebral perfusion resulted in a higher incidence of prolonged intensive care unit stay. Antegrade cerebral perfusion might be preferred as the brain protection method for complicated aortic arch procedures. © 2015 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery.


Bricker J.D.,Tohoku University | Nakayama A.,Kobe University
Journal of Hydraulic Engineering | Year: 2014

Failure of the Utatsu concrete girder highway bridge in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture during the 2011 Great East Japan Tsunami was puzzling because the bridge decks were not pushed off their piers but rather were flipped off the landward side of the bridge piers after being deeply submerged by the surging tsunami. To determine what caused this to happen, two simulations were conducted. The first was a large-scale Delft shallow-water simulation (beginning with published tsunami source free surface deviation) to determine the behavior of the tsunami (time series of flow depth and speed) at the bridge site. The second was a small-scale two-dimensional (2D) (profile view) software volume-of-fluid (VOF) simulation of flow over the bridge deck, with boundary conditions taken from the Delft model. The VOF model then allowed calculation of lift force, drag force, and overturning moment on the bridge deck. Results show that factors contributing to failure included the presence of a seawall near the bridge, inclination (superelevation) of the deck upward toward the ocean, sediment entrained in the water, and air trapped between girders. © 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.


Matsumoto J.,Japan National Astronomical Observatory | Masada Y.,Kobe University
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2013

We study the stability of a non-rotating single-component jet using two-dimensional special relativistic hydrodynamic simulations. By assuming translational invariance along the jet axis, we exclude the destabilization effect by Kelvin-Helmholtz mode. The nonlinear evolution of the transverse structure of the jet with a normal jet velocity is highlighted. An intriguing finding in our study is that Rayleigh-Taylor and Richtmyer-Meshkov type instabilities can destroy cylindrical jet configuration as a result of spontaneously induced radial oscillating motion. This is powered by in situ energy conversion between the thermal and bulk kinetic energies. The effective inertia ratio of the jet to the surrounding medium η determines a threshold for the onset of instabilities. The condition η < 1 should be satisfied for the transverse structure of the jet being persisted. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Kajino N.,Bielefeld University | Kajino N.,Kobe University
Communications in Mathematical Physics | Year: 2014

Let Z(t) be the partition function (the trace of the heat semigroup) of the canonical Laplacian on a post-critically finite self-similar set (with uniform resistance scaling factor and good geometric symmetry) or on a generalized Sierpiński carpet. It is proved that (Formula Presented) for some continuous periodic functions Gk:R ℝ and c ∈ (0,∞). Here dw in(1,∞) denotes the walk dimension, n = 1 for a post-critically finite self-similar set, n = d for a d-dimensional generalized Sierpiński carpet, {dk}k=0 n ⊂ [0,∞) is strictly decreasing with d n = 0, G 0 is strictly positive and G 1 is either strictly positive or strictly negative depending on the (Neumann or Dirichlet) boundary condition. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Rosa S.,John Innes Center | De Lucia F.,John Innes Center | De Lucia F.,Institute Pasteur Paris | Mylne J.S.,John Innes Center | And 8 more authors.
Genes and Development | Year: 2013

Vernalization, the promotion of flowering by cold, involves Polycomb-mediated epigenetic silencing of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). Cold progressively promotes cell-autonomous switching to a silenced state. Here, we used live-cell imaging of FLC-lacO to monitor changes in nuclear organization during vernalization. FLC-lacO alleles physically cluster during the cold and generally remain so after plants are returned to warm. Clustering is dependent on the Polycomb trans-factors necessary for establishment of the FLC silenced state but not on LIKE HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN 1, which functions to maintain silencing. These data support the view that physical clustering may be a common feature of Polycomb-mediated epigenetic switching mechanisms. © 2013, Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


Takahashi H.R.,Japan National Astronomical Observatory | Kudoh T.,Japan National Astronomical Observatory | Masada Y.,Kobe University | Matsumoto J.,Kyoto University
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2011

Online-only material: color figures Relativistic Sweet-Parker-type magnetic reconnection is investigated by relativistic resistivemagnetohydrodynamic (RRMHD) simulations. As an initial setting, we assume anti-parallel magnetic fields and a spatially uniform resistivity. A perturbation imposed on the magnetic fields triggers magnetic reconnection around a current sheet, and the plasma inflows into the reconnection region. The inflows are then heated due to ohmic dissipation in the diffusion region and finally become relativistically hot outflows. The outflows are not accelerated to ultrarelativistic speeds (i.e., Lorentz factor ≃1), even when the magnetic energy dominates the thermal and rest mass energies in the inflow region. Most of the magnetic energy in the inflow region is converted into the thermal energy of the outflow during the reconnection process. The energy conversion from magnetic to thermal energy in the diffusion region results in an increase in the plasma inertia. This prevents the outflows from being accelerated to ultrarelativistic speeds. We find that the reconnection rate R obeys the scaling relation R ≃ S -0.5, where S is the Lundquist number. This feature is the same as that of non-relativistic reconnection. Our results are consistent with the theoretical predictions of Lyubarsky for Sweet-Parker-type magnetic reconnection. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Honda H.,Kobe University | Honda H.,RIKEN | Nagai T.,Kyushu Kyoritsu University
Journal of Biochemistry | Year: 2015

Morphogenesis of multi-cellular organisms occurs through cell behaviours within a cell aggregate. Cell behaviours have been described using cell models involving equations of motion for cells. Cells in cell models construct shapes of the cell aggregate by themselves. Here, a history of cell models, the cell centre model and the vertex cell model, which we have constructed, are described. Furthermore, the application of these cell models is explained in detail. These cell models have been applied to transformation of cell aggregates to become spherical, formation of mammalian blastocysts and cell intercalation in elongating tissues. These are all elemental processes of morphogenesis and take place in succession during the whole developmental process. A chain of successive elemental processes leads to morphogenesis. Finally, we highlight that cell models are indispensable to understand the process whereby genes direct biological shapes. © 2014 The Authors 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Japanese Biochemical Society. All rights reserved.


Shimizu I.,Chiba University | Yoshida Y.,Chiba University | Moriya J.,Chiba University | Nojima A.,Chiba University | And 4 more authors.
Cell Metabolism | Year: 2013

SUMMARY Semaphorins and their receptors (plexins) are axonguiding molecules that regulate the development of the nervous system during embryogenesis. Here we describe a previously unknown role of class 3 semaphorin E (Sema3E) in adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance. Expression of Sema3E and its receptor plexinD1 was upregulated in the adipose tissue of a mouse model of dietary obesity. Inhibition of the Sema3E-plexinD1 axis markedly reduced adipose tissue inflammation and improved insulin resistance in this model. Conversely, overexpression of Sema3E in adipose tissue provoked inflammation and insulin resistance. Sema3E promoted infiltration of macrophages, and this effect was inhibited by disrupting plexinD1 expression in macrophages. Disruption of adipose tissue p53 expression led to downregulation of Sema3E expression and improved adipose tissue inflammation. These results indicate that Sema3E acts as a chemoattractant for macrophages, with p53-induced upregulation of Sema3E expression provoking adipose tissue inflammation and systemic insulin resistance in association with dietary obesity. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Behnsawy H.M.,Kobe University | Behnsawy H.M.,Assiut University | Miyake H.,Kobe University | Harada K.-I.,Kobe University | Fujisawa M.,Kobe University
BJU International | Year: 2013

Objective: To analyse the expression patterns of multiple molecular markers implicated in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in localized prostate cancer (PC), in order to clarify the significance of these markers in patients undergoing radical prostatectomy (RP). Patients and Methods: Expression levels of 13 EMT markers, namely E-cadherin, N-cadherin, β-catenin, γ-catenin, fibronectin, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 2, MMP-9, Slug, Snail, Twist, vimentin, ZEB1 and ZEB2, in RP specimens from 197 consecutive patients with localized PC were evaluated by immunohistochemical staining. Results Of the 13 markers, expression levels of E-cadherin, Snail, Twist and vimentin were closely associated with several conventional prognostic factors. Univariate analysis identified these four EMT markers as significant predictors for biochemical recurrence (BR), while serum prostate-specific antigen, Gleason score, seminal vesicle invasion (SVI), surgical margin status (SMS) and tumour volume were also significant. Of these significant factors, expression levels of Twist and vimentin, SVI and SMS appeared to be independently related to BR on multivariate analysis. There were significant differences in BR-free survival according to positive numbers of these four independent factors. That is, BR occurred in four of 90 patients who were negative for risk factors (4.4%), 21 of 83 positive for one or two risk factors (25.3%) and 19 of 24 positive for three or four risk factors (79.2%). Conclusion Measurement of expression levels of potential EMT markers, particularly Twist and vimentin, in RP specimens, in addition to conventional prognostic parameters, would contribute to the accurate prediction of the biochemical outcome in patients with localized PC following RP. © 2012 BJU International.


Patent
Kobe University and Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute | Date: 2012-05-23

An object of the present invention is to provide a co-crystal of a Ras polypeptide which adopts a conformation having a pocket on the molecular surface of Ras and GTP or a GTP analog, a production method for the crystal, and a screening method for a Ras function inhibitor based on information about the conformation obtained by X-ray crystallographic analysis using the crystal. The object is achieved by focusing on a mutation which adopts a conformation having a pocket on the molecular surface of Ras, acquiring a mutant Ras polypeptide having introduced therein such mutation, producing a co-crystal of the mutant Ras polypeptide and a GTP analog, and further subjecting the co-crystal to X-ray crystallographic analysis to acquire structural information about the conformation including information about the structure surrounding the pocket.


Patent
Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute and Kobe University | Date: 2010-07-13

An object of the present invention is to provide a co-crystal of a Ras polypeptide which adopts a conformation having a pocket on the molecular surface of Ras and GTP or a GTP analog, a production method for the crystal, and a screening method for a Ras function inhibitor based on information about the conformation obtained by X-ray crystallographic analysis using the crystal. The object is achieved by focusing on a mutation which adopts a conformation having a pocket on the molecular surface of Ras, acquiring a mutant Ras polypeptide having introduced therein such mutation, producing a co-crystal of the mutant Ras polypeptide and a GTP analog, and further subjecting the co-crystal to X-ray crystallographic analysis to acquire structural information about the conformation including information about the structure surrounding the pocket.


Patent
Kobe University, Inter University Research Institute Corporation Na, Dainippon Ink and Chemicals | Date: 2016-06-29

There is provided a method for generating an oil/fat component by means of culturing algae, in which marine algae belonging to Chlamydomonas are cultured in a culture medium containing sea salt.


Miura Y.,Kobe University | Shimizu F.,Kobe University | Shimizu F.,Toho University | Mochida T.,Kobe University
Inorganic Chemistry | Year: 2010

Bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)amide (TFSA), hexafluorophosphate (PF 6 -), and iodide salts of 1-ferrocenyl-3-alkylimidazolium were prepared and their thermal and physical properties, including the dependence on alkyl chain length (methyl-hexadecyl), were investigated. The TFSA salts were highly viscous ionic liquids with melting points around room temperature. 1-Ferrocenyl-4-methyltriazolium salts were also prepared for comparison. The ferrocenylimidazolium and ferrocenyltriazolium cations showed redox waves for both the ferrocenyl moiety and the azolium moiety and exhibited corresponding charge-transfer bands at around 330 nm, which were analyzed using the Marcus-Hush model. Crystal structure determinations at low temperature revealed that the PF6 and iodide salts form layerlike structures composed of ionic layers of the charged moieties. The TFSA salt exhibited short hydrogen-bond-like intermolecular contacts between the hydrogen atoms of the cation and oxygen atoms of the anion. © 2010 American Chemical Society.


News Article | December 13, 2016
Site: www.gizmag.com

Currently, when the rubble at disaster sites is being moved, ordinary construction equipment is used. Scientists at several Japanese universities, however, are working on something more task-specific. They've created a remote-control robotic excavator, that is said to offer "drastically improved operability and mobility." Given that the machine may be performing some fairly fine manipulations, it is equipped with a force feedback system. This measures oil pressure in the hydraulic arm's cylinders, and reproduces that resistance in the user's controls. Additionally, high-frequency vibrations are detected by a sensor in the forearm, and are likewise mirrored for the operator. Situational awareness is a big factor at disaster sites, so the machine is also equipped with a remote-control camera-toting tethered quadcopter drone. Power is supplied to the aircraft through its tether, so long flights are possible. There are additionally four wide-angle video cameras mounted high on the excavator, along with a far-infrared camera – the latter lets the user see what's around the robot even in low-visibility conditions such as fog. The excavator was created in a collaboration between Osaka University, Kobe University, Tohoku University, Tohoku University, The University of Tokyo, and Tokyo Institute of Technology. It was made as part of the Tough Robotics Challenge, an initiative of Japan's Impulsing Paradigm Challenge through Disruptive Technologies (ImPACT) Program. A version with two arms is reportedly now in the works.


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

As part of the Impulsing Paradigm Challenge through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT)'s Tough Robotics Challenge Program, a group of research leaders at Osaka University, Kobe University, Tohoku University, The University of Tokyo, and Tokyo Institute of Technology developed construction robots for disaster relief in order to solve various challenges of conventional construction machines used in such situations. Using a prototype machine with elemental technologies under development, verification tests were performed on places that represented disaster sites, and a certain level of performance was confirmed. This prototype looks like an ordinary hydraulic excavator, but, specifically, has the following elemental technologies: In addition to the above-mentioned technologies, this group is developing several useful elemental technologies and making efforts to improve their technical performance. They are also developing new robots with a double rotation mechanism and double arms with the purpose of achieving higher operability and terrain adaptability. Explore further: Hybrid hydrostatic transmission enables robots with human-like grace and precision


Mishima T.,Kobe University | Nakaoka M.,Kyungnam University | Nakaoka M.,Yamaguchi University
IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics | Year: 2011

This paper presents a feasibility investigation of a zero-voltage switching(ZVS) pulsewidth modulation (PWM) dc-dc converter with secondary-side phase-shifting power control scheme. The ZVS-PWM dc-dc converter treated here can achieve soft commutation in all the power devices under the wide range of output power variation. By the phase-shifting control that is based on the secondary-side rectifier linked with a high-frequency planar transformer, the effective reduction of idling power in the primary-side inverter as well as snubber-less rectifications in the secondary-side rectifier can be actually attained. The essential experimental data obtained from a 100-kHz/2.5-kW prototype are described herein to validate the soft-switching circuit and control scheme, and then the effectiveness of the dc-dc converter is discussed and evaluated from a practical point of view. © 2006 IEEE.


Tsubaki R.,Hiroshima University | Fujita I.,Kobe University
Hydrological Processes | Year: 2010

Inundation disasters, caused by sudden water level rise or rapid flow, occur frequently in various parts of the world. Such catastrophes strike not only in thinly populated flood plains or farmland but also in highly populated villages or urban areas. Inundation of the populated areas causes severe damage to the economy, injury, and loss of life; therefore, a proper management scheme for the disaster has to be developed. To predict and manage such adversity, an understanding of the dynamic processes of inundation flow is necessary because risk estimation is performed based on inundation flow information. In this study, we developed a comprehensive method to conduct detailed inundation flow simulations for a populated area with quite complex topographical features using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data. Detailed geospatial information including the location and shape of each building was extracted from the LiDAR data and used for the grid generation. The developed approach can distinguish buildings from vegetation and treat them differently in the flow model. With this method, a fine unstructured grid can be generated representing the complicated urban land features precisely without exhausting labour for data preparation. The accuracy of the generated grid with different grid spacing and grid type is discussed and the optimal range of grid spacing for direct representation of urban topography is investigated. The developed method is applied to the estimation of inundation flows, which occurred in the basin of the Shin-minato River. A detailed inundation flow structure is represented by the flow model, and the flow characteristics with respect to topographic features are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Mishima T.,Kobe University | Takami C.,Kobe University | Nakaoka M.,Kyungnam University | Nakaoka M.,University of Malaya | Nakaoka M.,Yamaguchi University
IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics | Year: 2014

A novel soft-switching high-frequency (HF) resonant (HF-R) inverter for induction heating (IH) applications is presented in this paper. By adopting the current phasor control of changing a phase shift (PS) angle between two half-bridge inverter units, the IH load resonant current can be regulated continuously under the condition of wide-range soft-switching operations. In addition to this, the dual-mode power regulation scheme-based PS angle control and asymmetrical pulsewidth modulation in one inverter unit is proposed for improving the efficiency in low output power settings. The essential performances on the output power regulation and soft-switching operations are demonstrated in an experiment using its 1-kW 60-kHz HF-R inverter prototype, and then, the topological validity is evaluated from a practical point of view. © 2013 IEEE.


Nishitani K.,Hiroshima University | Kokubu K.,Kobe University
Business Strategy and the Environment | Year: 2012

This paper examines the influence of firms' reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on firm value, measured by Tobin's q. If the stockholders/investors regard the reduction of GHG emissions as a form of intangible value, the reduction of GHG emissions will enhance firm value. To prove this relation more precisely, this paper analyzes not only the effect of the reduction of GHG emissions on firm value but also that of the market discipline imposed by the stockholders/investors in terms of the reduction of GHG emissions. Using data on 641 Japanese manufacturing firms in the period 2006-2008, the random effect instrumental variable estimate supports the view that firms with strong market discipline imposed by stockholders/investors are more likely to reduce GHG emissions and, consequently, firms that reduce more GHG emissions are more likely to enhance firm value. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.


Mishima T.,Kobe University | Nakaoka M.,Kyungnam University | Nakaoka M.,Yamaguchi University
IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics | Year: 2013

This paper presents the performance evaluations of a zero current soft-switching pulse width modulation (ZCS-PWM) boost dc-dc converter with a practical active edge-resonant cell (AERC). The AERC treated and discussed herein has auxiliary diodes for suppressing voltage surges and current ringings at the commutations of active switches in the dc-dc converters. The voltage surges together with the current ringings can be effectively eliminated in the AERC owing to the effect of the clamping diodes. Therefore, voltage ratings of the active switches can be considerably reduced as compared to the classical AERC without the clamping diodes, consequently the conversion efficiency can be improved in the ZCS-PWM boost dc-dc converter. The practical effectiveness of the clamping diode-assisted ZCS-PWM boost dc-dc converter is demonstrated in detail by means of experimental verifications based on a 1.6 kW-40 kHz laboratory prototype. In addition, an extended topological family of nonisolated ZCS-PWM dc-dc converters employing the practical AERC is originally described for demonstrating the high scalability of the AERC. © 2012 IEEE.


Takahara T.,Hiroshima University | Minamoto T.,Kobe University | Doi H.,Hiroshima University
Biological Conservation | Year: 2015

Environmental DNA methods have been used to monitor the presence of aquatic vertebrates in natural systems, although detection of DNA in the environment is sometimes a challenge. In this study, we evaluated the effect of sample processing on the detection of a species' environmental DNA in the water. Specifically, we examined whether freezing and then thawing water samples prior to analysis was an effective method of preserving them. The detection of Common Carp DNA was lower in samples that were frozen and thawed than in samples that were not, even though there was no difference in the DNA concentration, which was included with the DNA undetectable samples. In both types of samples, the DNA detection rate tended to be higher in a 2-μL volume of template DNA solution than in a 5-μL volume. DNA was detected in all non-frozen samples that were analyzed using a 2-μL template, both in three wells (three PCR replicate reactions per sample) with 40 PCR cycles and in eight wells with 55 cycles. The detection of Common Carp DNA in samples that were frozen and thawed was likely to increase through the use of the TaqMan Environmental Master Mix, which is used recently to efficiently release PCR inhibition. Our results suggest that environmental DNA detection is influenced by the processing of water samples after collection and by PCR reaction conditions. Use of non-frozen samples and a smaller DNA solution are recommended for detection of environmental DNA with quantitative PCR assays. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Mishima T.,Kobe University | Nakaoka M.,Kyungnam University | Nakaoka M.,University of Malaya | Nakaoka M.,Yamaguchi University
IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics | Year: 2014

A new prototype of an efficiency-improved zero voltage soft-switching (ZVS) high-frequency resonant (HF-R) inverter for induction heating (IH) applications is presented in this paper. By adopting the dual pulse modulation mode (DPMM) that incorporates a submode power regulation scheme such as pulse density modulation, pulse frequency modulation, and asymmetrical pulse width modulation into main one of the resonant current phase angle difference (\theta) control, the IH load power can be widely regulated under the condition of ZVS, while significantly improving the efficiency in the low output power setting. The essential performances on the output power regulations and ZVS operations with the DPMM schemes are demonstrated in an experiment based on a 1 kW-60 kHz laboratory prototype of the ZVS HF-R inverter. The validity of each DPMM scheme is originally compared and evaluated from a practical point of view. © 1986-2012 IEEE.


Mishima T.,Kobe University | Takeuchi Y.,Kobe University | Nakaoka M.,Kyungnam University
IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics | Year: 2013

This paper presents a soft-switching pulsewidth modulation (PWM) nonisolated boost dc-dc converter embedding an edge-resonant switched capacitor (ER-SWC) cell and its interleaved circuit topology. The conceptual boost dc-dc converter treated herein can achieve high-frequency zero-current soft-switching turn-on and zero-voltage soft-switching turn-off operations in the active switches and minimization of a reverse recovering current in the freewheeling diode under discontinuous conduction mode partially including critical conduction mode in the input current. Those advantageous properties enable a wide range of soft-switching operations together with a high-voltage step-up conversion ratio with a reduced current stress. Circuit design guideline based on the soft-switching range is introduced; then, a theoretical analysis is carried out for investigating the step-up voltage conversion ratio. For demonstrating the effectiveness of the ER-SWC soft-switching PWM boost dc-dc converter and its newly developed interleaved topology, laboratory prototypes are evaluated in experiments; then, their performances are discussed from a practical point of view. © 1986-2012 IEEE.


Mishima T.,Kobe University | Akamatsu K.,Kobe University | Nakaoka M.,Kyungnam University | Nakaoka M.,University of Malaya | Nakaoka M.,Yamaguchi University
IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics | Year: 2013

A new prototype of a secondary-side phase shift soft-switching PWM dc-dc converter suitable for electric vehicle battery charging systems is presented in this paper. Wide range soft-switching operations are achievable from full load to no load by effectively utilizing the parasitic inductances of the high frequency transformer in the proposed dc-dc converter. In addition, no circulating current occurs in both of the primary and secondary side full-bridge circuits; thereby, the related idling power can be minimized. As a result, high efficiency power conversion can be maintained owing to the full range soft-switching operation and wide range output power and voltage regulations. Its operating principle is presented on the basis of theoretical analysis and simulation results, and the design procedure of the circuit parameters of the proposed dc-dc converter is described. The essential performance and its effectiveness of the proposed dc-dc converter are originally demonstrated from a practical point of view in an experiment using a 1 kW-50 kHz laboratory prototype. © 1986-2012 IEEE.


Takahara T.,Hiroshima University | Minamoto T.,Humanity | Minamoto T.,Kobe University | Doi H.,Hiroshima University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Knowledge of the presence of an invasive species is critical to monitoring the sustainability of communities and ecosystems. Environmental DNA (eDNA), DNA fragments that are likely to be bound to organic matters in the water or in shed cells, has been used to monitor the presence of aquatic animals. Using an eDNA-based method, we estimated the presence of the invasive bluegill sunfish, Lepomis macrochirus, in 70 ponds located in seven locales on the Japanese mainland and on surrounding islands. We quantified the concentration of DNA copies in a 1 L water sample using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) with a primer/probe set. In addition, we visually observed the bluegill presence in the ponds from the shoreline. We detected bluegill eDNA in all the ponds where bluegills were observed visually and some where bluegills were not observed. Bluegills were also less prevalent on the islands than the mainland, likely owing to limited dispersal and introduction by humans. Our eDNA method simply and rapidly detects the presence of this invasive fish species with less disturbance to the environment during field surveys than traditional methods. © 2013 Takahara et al.


Provided is a method for manufacturing a three-dimensional molded model that can reproduce the feel of an organ. A three-dimensional shape of a body site subj ect to molding is extracted from brightness information of two-dimensional data obtained from medical diagnostic devices, and three-dimensional molding data of the body site and the internal structure site thereof is created. The three-dimensional shape data is edited using a modeling function. Respective touch equivalent parameter tables are created. The material type and the formulation ratio of the modeling material used for molding each body site and internal structural site are defined, and added to the touch equivalent parameter tables. Primitive shape data is generated from the parameters of the touch equivalent parameter tables, and a Boolean operation is performed on the body site data and internal structure site data as well as on the primitive shape data. Molding is performed using the defined materials.


Provided is a method for manufacturing a three-dimensional molded model that can reproduce the feel of an organ. A three-dimensional shape of a body site subject to molding is extracted from brightness information of two-dimensional data obtained from medical diagnostic devices, and three-dimensional molding data of the body site and the internal structure site thereof is created. The three-dimensional shape data is edited using a modeling function. Respective touch equivalent parameter tables are created. The material type and the formulation ratio of the modeling material used for molding each body site and internal structural site are defined, and added to the touch equivalent parameter tables. Primitive shape data is generated from the parameters of the touch equivalent parameter tables, and a Boolean operation is performed on the body site data and internal structure site data as well as on the primitive shape data. Molding is performed using the defined materials.


News Article | November 3, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Plants usually produce their own nutrients by using sun energy, but not all of them! A new 'cheater' species of orchid from Japan, lives off nutrients obtained via a special kind of symbiosis with fungi. The study was published in the open access journal PhytoKeys. The new orchid species, named Lecanorchis tabugawaensis, is by far not on its own in its strange feeding habits. The so called mycoheterotrophic plants are found among all plant species groups. Mycoheterotrophy is a term derived from Greek to describe the bizarre symbiotic relationship between some plants and fungi, where the plant gets nutrients parasitizing upon fungi, rather than using photosynthesis. Considered a kind of a cheating relationship, these plants are sometimes informally referred to as "mycorrhizal cheaters". Having long attracted the curiosity of botanists and mycologists, a common feature of most mycoheterotrophic plants is their extreme scarcity and small size. In addition, most species are hiding in the dark understory of forests, only discoverable during the flowering and fruiting period when aboveground organs appear through the leaf litter. Despite it seems like these 'cheating' plants have it all easy for themselves, in reality they a are highly dependent on the activities of both the fungi and the trees that sustain them. Such a strong dependency makes this fascinating plant group particularly sensitive to environmental destruction. "Due to the sensitivity of mycoheterotrophic plants it has long been suggested that their species richness provides a useful indicator of the overall floral diversity of forest habitats. A detailed record of the distribution of these vulnerable plants therefore provides crucial data for the conservation of primary forests." explains leading author Dr Kenji Suetsugu, Kobe University. Just discovered, the new orchid species has been already assessed with an IUCN status - Critically Endangered. With a distribution restricted to only two locations along the Tabu and Onna Rivers, Yakushima Island, this fungus-eating cheater might need some conservation attention.


News Article | November 3, 2016
Site: phys.org

The new orchid species, named Lecanorchis tabugawaensis, is by far not on its own in its strange feeding habits. The so called mycoheterotrophic plants are found among all plant species groups. Mycoheterotrophy is a term derived from Greek to describe the bizarre symbiotic relationship between some plants and fungi, where the plant gets nutrients parasitizing upon fungi, rather than using photosynthesis. Considered a kind of a cheating relationship, these plants are sometimes informally referred to as "mycorrhizal cheaters". Having long attracted the curiosity of botanists and mycologists, a common feature of most mycoheterotrophic plants is their extreme scarcity and small size. In addition, most species are hiding in the dark understory of forests, only discoverable during the flowering and fruiting period when aboveground organs appear through the leaf litter. Despite it seems like these 'cheating' plants have it all easy for themselves, in reality they a are highly dependent on the activities of both the fungi and the trees that sustain them. Such a strong dependency makes this fascinating plant group particularly sensitive to environmental destruction. "Due to the sensitivity of mycoheterotrophic plants it has long been suggested that their species richness provides a useful indicator of the overall floral diversity of forest habitats. A detailed record of the distribution of these vulnerable plants therefore provides crucial data for the conservation of primary forests." explains leading author Dr Kenji Suetsugu, Kobe University. Just discovered, the new orchid species has been already assessed with an IUCN status - Critically Endangered. With a distribution restricted to only two locations along the Tabu and Onna Rivers, Yakushima Island, this fungus-eating cheater might need some conservation attention. Explore further: Plant discovered that neither photosynthesizes nor blooms More information: Kenji Suetsugu et al, Lecanorchis tabugawaensis (Orchidaceae, Vanilloideae), a new mycoheterotrophic plant from Yakushima Island, Japan, PhytoKeys (2016). DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.73.10019


News Article | November 6, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Plants usually produce their own nutrients by using sun energy, but not all of them! A new 'cheater' species of orchid from Japan, lives off nutrients obtained via a special kind of symbiosis with fungi. The study was published in the open access journal PhytoKeys. The new orchid species, named Lecanorchis tabugawaensis, is by far not on its own in its strange feeding habits. The so called mycoheterotrophic plants are found among all plant species groups. Mycoheterotrophy is a term derived from Greek to describe the bizarre symbiotic relationship between some plants and fungi, where the plant gets nutrients parasitizing upon fungi, rather than using photosynthesis. Considered a kind of a cheating relationship, these plants are sometimes informally referred to as "mycorrhizal cheaters." Having long attracted the curiosity of botanists and mycologists, a common feature of most mycoheterotrophic plants is their extreme scarcity and small size. In addition, most species are hiding in the dark understory of forests, only discoverable during the flowering and fruiting period when aboveground organs appear through the leaf litter. Despite it seems like these 'cheating' plants have it all easy for themselves, in reality they a are highly dependent on the activities of both the fungi and the trees that sustain them. Such a strong dependency makes this fascinating plant group particularly sensitive to environmental destruction. "Due to the sensitivity of mycoheterotrophic plants it has long been suggested that their species richness provides a useful indicator of the overall floral diversity of forest habitats. A detailed record of the distribution of these vulnerable plants therefore provides crucial data for the conservation of primary forests." explains leading author Dr Kenji Suetsugu, Kobe University. Just discovered, the new orchid species has been already assessed with an IUCN status -- Critically Endangered. With a distribution restricted to only two locations along the Tabu and Onna Rivers, Yakushima Island, this fungus-eating cheater might need some conservation attention.


News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: www.nature.com

The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March released far more radiation than the Japanese government has claimed. So concludes a study1 that combines radioactivity data from across the globe to estimate the scale and fate of emissions from the shattered plant. The study also suggests that, contrary to government claims, pools used to store spent nuclear fuel played a significant part in the release of the long-lived environmental contaminant caesium-137, which could have been prevented by prompt action. The analysis has been posted online for open peer review by the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Andreas Stohl, an atmospheric scientist with the Norwegian Institute for Air Research in Kjeller, who led the research, believes that the analysis is the most comprehensive effort yet to understand how much radiation was released from Fukushima Daiichi. "It's a very valuable contribution," says Lars-Erik De Geer, an atmospheric modeller with the Swedish Defense Research Agency in Stockholm, who was not involved with the study. The reconstruction relies on data from dozens of radiation monitoring stations in Japan and around the world. Many are part of a global network to watch for tests of nuclear weapons that is run by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna. The scientists added data from independent stations in Canada, Japan and Europe, and then combined those with large European and American caches of global meteorological data. Stohl cautions that the resulting model is far from perfect. Measurements were scarce in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima accident, and some monitoring posts were too contaminated by radioactivity to provide reliable data. More importantly, exactly what happened inside the reactors — a crucial part of understanding what they emitted — remains a mystery that may never be solved. "If you look at the estimates for Chernobyl, you still have a large uncertainty 25 years later," says Stohl. Nevertheless, the study provides a sweeping view of the accident. "They really took a global view and used all the data available," says De Geer. Japanese investigators had already developed a detailed timeline of events following the 11 March earthquake that precipitated the disaster. Hours after the quake rocked the six reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, the tsunami arrived, knocking out crucial diesel back-up generators designed to cool the reactors in an emergency. Within days, the three reactors operating at the time of the accident overheated and released hydrogen gas, leading to massive explosions. Radioactive fuel recently removed from a fourth reactor was being held in a storage pool at the time of the quake, and on 14 March the pool overheated, possibly sparking fires in the building over the next few days. But accounting for the radiation that came from the plants has proved much harder than reconstructing this chain of events. The latest report from the Japanese government, published in June, says that the plant released 1.5 × 1016 bequerels of caesium-137, an isotope with a 30-year half-life that is responsible for most of the long-term contamination from the plant2. A far larger amount of xenon-133, 1.1 × 1019 Bq, was released, according to official government estimates. The new study challenges those numbers. On the basis of its reconstructions, the team claims that the accident released around 1.7 × 1019 Bq of xenon-133, greater than the estimated total radioactive release of 1.4 × 1019 Bq from Chernobyl. The fact that three reactors exploded in the Fukushima accident accounts for the huge xenon tally, says De Geer. Xenon-133 does not pose serious health risks because it is not absorbed by the body or the environment. Caesium-137 fallout, however, is a much greater concern because it will linger in the environment for decades. The new model shows that Fukushima released 3.5 × 1016 Bq caesium-137, roughly twice the official government figure, and half the release from Chernobyl. The higher number is obviously worrying, says De Geer, although ongoing ground surveys are the only way to truly establish the public-health risk. Stohl believes that the discrepancy between the team's results and those of the Japanese government can be partly explained by the larger data set used. Japanese estimates rely primarily on data from monitoring posts inside Japan3, which never recorded the large quantities of radioactivity that blew out over the Pacific Ocean, and eventually reached North America and Europe. "Taking account of the radiation that has drifted out to the Pacific is essential for getting a real picture of the size and character of the accident," says Tomoya Yamauchi, a radiation physicist at Kobe University who has been measuring radioisotope contamination in soil around Fukushima. Stohl adds that he is sympathetic to the Japanese teams responsible for the official estimate. "They wanted to get something out quickly," he says. The differences between the two studies may seem large, notes Yukio Hayakawa, a volcanologist at Gunma University who has also modelled the accident, but uncertainties in the models mean that the estimates are actually quite similar. The new analysis also claims that the spent fuel being stored in the unit 4 pool emitted copious quantities of caesium-137. Japanese officials have maintained that virtually no radioactivity leaked from the pool. Yet Stohl's model clearly shows that dousing the pool with water caused the plant's caesium-137 emissions to drop markedly (see 'Radiation crisis'). The finding implies that much of the fallout could have been prevented by flooding the pool earlier. The Japanese authorities continue to maintain that the spent fuel was not a significant source of contamination, because the pool itself did not seem to suffer major damage. "I think the release from unit 4 is not important," says Masamichi Chino, a scientist with the Japanese Atomic Energy Authority in Ibaraki, who helped to develop the Japanese official estimate. But De Geer says the new analysis implicating the fuel pool "looks convincing". The latest analysis also presents evidence that xenon-133 began to vent from Fukushima Daiichi immediately after the quake, and before the tsunami swamped the area. This implies that even without the devastating flood, the earthquake alone was sufficient to cause damage at the plant. The Japanese government's report has already acknowledged that the shaking at Fukushima Daiichi exceeded the plant's design specifications. Anti-nuclear activists have long been concerned that the government has failed to adequately address geological hazards when licensing nuclear plants (see Nature 448, 392–393; 2007), and the whiff of xenon could prompt a major rethink of reactor safety assessments, says Yamauchi. The model also shows that the accident could easily have had a much more devastating impact on the people of Tokyo. In the first days after the accident the wind was blowing out to sea, but on the afternoon of 14 March it turned back towards shore, bringing clouds of radioactive caesium-137 over a huge swathe of the country (see 'Radioisotope reconstruction'). Where precipitation fell, along the country's central mountain ranges and to the northwest of the plant, higher levels of radioactivity were later recorded in the soil; thankfully, the capital and other densely populated areas had dry weather. "There was a period when quite a high concentration went over Tokyo, but it didn't rain," says Stohl. "It could have been much worse."


Haruna T.,Kobe University | Nakajima K.,ETH Zurich
European Physical Journal: Special Topics | Year: 2013

The duality between values and orderings is a powerful tool to discuss relationships between various information-theoretic measures and their permutation analogues for discrete-time finite-alphabet stationary stochastic processes (SSPs). Applying it to output processes of hidden Markov models with ergodic internal processes, we have shown in our previous work that the excess entropy and the transfer entropy rate coincide with their permutation analogues. In this paper, we discuss two permutation characterizations of the two measures for general ergodic SSPs not necessarily having the Markov property assumed in our previous work. In the first approach, we show that the excess entropy and the transfer entropy rate of an ergodic SSP can be obtained as the limits of permutation analogues of them for the N-th order approximation by hidden Markov models, respectively. In the second approach, we employ the modified permutation partition of the set of words which considers equalities of symbols in addition to permutations of words. We show that the excess entropy and the transfer entropy rate of an ergodic SSP are equal to their modified permutation analogues, respectively. © 2013 EDP Sciences and Springer.


Toyofuku T.,Osaka University | Nojima S.,Osaka University | Ishikawa T.,Osaka University | Takamatsu H.,Osaka University | And 5 more authors.
Genes and Development | Year: 2012

Photoreceptor cell death is the hallmark of a group of human inherited retinal degeneration. Although the causative genetic mutations are often known, the mechanisms leading to photoreceptor degeneration remain poorly defined. Here, we show that Semaphorin 4A (Sema4A), a member of axonal guidance molecule semaphorin, plays a role in Rab11/FIP2-mediated endosomal sorting in retinal pigment epithelial cells to support photoreceptor function. In response to oxidative stress, Sema4A switches the endosomal sorting of the lysosomal precursor protein prosaposin from the lysosome to the exosomal release, which prevents light-induced photoreceptor apoptosis. In the absence of oxidative stress, Sema4A sorts retinoid-binding proteins with retinoids between the cell surface and endoplasmic reticulum, by which 11-cis-retinal, a chromophore for phototransduction, is regenerated and transported back to photoreceptors. Owing to defects in these processes, Sema4A-deficient mice exhibit marked photoreceptor degeneration. Our findings therefore indicate that Sema4A regulates two distinct endosomal-sorting pathways that are critical for photoreceptor survival and phototransduction during the transition between daylight and darkness. © 2012 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


Iwata T.,Kobe University | Nagasaki O.,Toyonaka Municipal The Fourteenth Junior High School | Ishii H.S.,University of Toyama | Ushimaru A.,Kobe University
New Phytologist | Year: 2012

• Despite the wide inflorescence diversity among angiosperms, the effects of inflorescence architecture (three-dimensional flower arrangement) on pollinator behaviour and mating success have not been sufficiently studied in natural plant populations. • Here, we investigated how inflorescence architecture affected inter- and intra-plant pollinator movements and consequent mating success in a field population of Spiranthes sinensis var. amoena (S. sinensis). In this species, the flowers are helically arranged around the stem, and the degree of twisting varies greatly among individuals. The large variation in inflorescence architecture in S. sinensis results from variation in a single structural parameter, the helical angle (the angular distance between neighbour-flower directions). • The numbers of visits per inflorescence and successive probes per visit by leaf-cutting bees decreased with helical angle, indicating that individual flowers of tightly twisted inflorescences received less visitations. As expected from pollinator behaviour, pollinia removal and fruit set of individual flowers decreased with helical angle. Meanwhile, geitonogamy decreased in tightly twisted inflorescences. • Our novel findings demonstrate that natural variation in inflorescence architecture significantly affects pollinator behaviour and reproductive success, suggesting that inflorescence architecture can evolve under pollinator-mediated natural selection in plant populations. We also discuss how diverse inflorescence architectures may have been maintained in S. sinensis populations. © 2011 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2011 New Phytologist Trust.


About ten years have passed since the deregulation of the U.S. retail electricity market, and it is now generally accepted that the available data is adequate to quantitatively assess and compare conditions before and after deregulation. This study, therefore, estimates the changes in price elasticity in the residential electricity market to examine the changes, if any, in household sensitivity (as a result of retail electricity market deregulation policies) to residential electricity rates. Specifically, six types of panel data are prepared, based on three cross-sections-all states (except for Alaska and Hawaii) and the District of Columbia, deregulated states, and non-deregulated states-and two time series-the period before deregulation and the period after deregulation. The panel empirical analysis techniques are used to determine whether or not the variables are stationary, and to estimate price elasticity. We find that there is no substantial difference in the price elasticity between deregulated and non-deregulated states for both periods-before deregulation and after deregulation. Thus, it can be said that the deregulation of the retail electricity market has not made consumers more sensitive to electricity rates and that retail deregulation policies are not the cause of price elasticity differences between deregulated and non-deregulated states. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Dong B.,RIKEN | Hannezo E.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Hayashi S.,RIKEN | Hayashi S.,Kobe University
Cell Reports | Year: 2014

The morphological stability of biological tubes is crucial for the efficient circulation of fluids and gases. Failure of this stability causes irregularly shaped tubes found in multiple pathological conditions. Here, we report that Drosophila mutants of the ESCRT III component Shrub/Vps32 exhibit a strikingly elongated sinusoidal tube phenotype. This is caused by excessive apical membrane synthesis accompanied by the ectopic accumulation and overactivation of Crumbs in swollen endosomes. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the apical extracellular matrix (aECM) of the tracheal tube is a viscoelastic material coupled with the apical membrane. We present a simple mechanical model in which aECM elasticity, apical membrane growth, and their interaction are three vital parameters determining the stability of biological tubes. Our findings demonstrate a mechanical role for the extracellular matrix and suggest that the interaction of the apical membrane and an elastic aECM determines the final morphology of biological tubes independent of cell shape. © 2014 The Authors.


Lin C.-M.,Kobe University | Ng K.-W.,Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics | Year: 2013

In this Letter, we show that if passive fluctuations are considered, primordial black holes (PBHs) can be easily produced in the framework of single-field, slow-roll inflation models. The formation of PBHs is due to the blue spectrum of passive fluctuations and an enhancement of the spectral range which exits horizon near the end of inflation. Therefore the PBHs are light with masses ≲1015 g depending on the number of e-folds when the scale of our observable universe leaves horizon. These PBHs are likely to have evaporated and cannot be a candidate for dark matter but they may still affect the early universe. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Sehrawat S.,Harvard University | Ernandez T.,Harvard University | Cullere X.,Harvard University | Takahashi M.,Kobe University | And 3 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2011

Adhesive forces at endothelial cell-cell borders maintain vascular integrity. cAMP enhances barrier properties and controls cellular processes through protein kinase A bound to A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs). It also activates exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac1), an exchange factor for Ras-related protein 1 (Rap1) GTPases that promotes cadherin- and integrin-mediated adhesion through effects on the actin cytoskeleton. We demonstrate that AKAP9 facilitates the microtubule polymerization rate in endothelial cells, interacts with Epac1, and is required for Epac1-stimulated microtubule growth. AKAP9 is not required for maintaining barrier properties under steady-state conditions. Rather, it is essential when the cell is challenged to make new adhesive contacts, as is the case when Epac activation enhances barrier function through a mechanism that, surprisingly, requires integrin adhesion at cell-cell contacts. In the present study, defects in Epac-induced responses in AKAP9-silenced cells were evident despite an intact Epac-induced increase in Rap activation, cortical actin, and vascular endothelial-cadherin adhesion. We describe a pathway that integrates Epac-mediated signals with AKAP9-dependent microtubule dynamics to coordinate integrins at lateral borders. © 2011 by The American Society of Hematology.


Ikeyama Y.,Nara Institute of Science and Technology | Tasaka M.,Nara Institute of Science and Technology | Fukaki H.,Nara Institute of Science and Technology | Fukaki H.,Kobe University
Plant Journal | Year: 2010

Lateral root (LR) formation is important for the establishment of root architecture in higher plants. Recent studies have revealed that LR formation is regulated by an auxin signaling pathway that depends on auxin response factors ARF7 and ARF19, and auxin/indole-3-acetic acid (Aux/IAA) proteins including SOLITARY-ROOT (SLR)/IAA14. To understand the molecular mechanisms of LR formation, we isolated a recessive mutant rlf (reduced lateral root formation) in Arabidopsis thaliana. The rlf-1 mutant showed reduction of not only emerged LRs but also LR primordia. Analyses using cell-cycle markers indicated that the rlf-1 mutation inhibits the first pericycle cell divisions involved in LR initiation. The rlf-1 mutation did not affect auxin-induced root growth inhibition but did affect LR formation over a wide range of auxin concentrations. However, the rlf-1 mutation had almost no effect on auxin-inducible expression of LATERAL ORGAN BOUNDARIES-DOMAIN16/ASYMMETRIC LEAVES2-LIKE18 (LBD16/ASL18) and LBD29/ASL16 genes, which are downstream targets of ARF7/19 for LR formation. These results indicate that ARF7/19-mediated auxin signaling is not blocked by the rlf-1 mutation. We found that the RLF gene encodes At5g09680, a protein with a cytochrome b5-like heme/steroid binding domain. RLF is ubiquitously expressed in almost all organs, and the protein localizes in the cytosol. These results, together with analysis of the genetic interaction between the rlf-1 and arf7/19 mutations, indicate that RLF is a cytosolic protein that positively controls the early cell divisions involved in LR initiation, independent of ARF7/19-mediated auxin signaling. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Patent
Kobe University, Bio Energy Corporation and Kansai Chemical Engineering Co. | Date: 2010-12-10

The present invention provides a method for producing a cellulose degradable yeast, comprising the step of co-introducing genes coding for at least two cellulose-degrading enzymes into a yeast host via integration with a yeast sequence. According to the invention, a yeast having an improved cellulose degradation ability are provided.


Houri T.,Kobe University | Houri T.,Osaka City University | Yasui Y.,Osaka City University
Classical and Quantum Gravity | Year: 2015

This paper presents a simple method for investigating spacetime symmetry for a given metric. The method makes use of the curvature conditions that are obtained from the Killing equations. We use the solutions of the curvature conditions to compute an upper bound on the number of Killing vector fields, as well as Killing-Yano (KY) tensors and closed conformal KY tensors. We also use them in the integration of the Killing equations. By means of the method, we thoroughly investigate KY symmetry of type D vacuum solutions such as the Kerr metric in four dimensions. The method is also applied to a large variety of physical metrics in four and five dimensions. © 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Matsui R.,Kobe University | Sakaki T.,A&T Corporation | Osakai T.,Kobe University
Electroanalysis | Year: 2012

The 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE)/water interface, with an anionic surfactant, dinonylnaphthalenesulfonate (DNNS -), being present in DCE, was utilized for label-free detection of albumin. An oil/water-type flow cell was prepared using a porous PTFE tube and dipping the tube in the DCE solution containing DNNS -. This flow cell provided a well-defined current response linear to the albumin concentration up to 10μM with a detection limit of 1.2μM. The current response is due to the interfacial adsorption of albumin molecules depending on the Galvani potential difference. Possible interference from creatinine in the urine could be avoided by a conventional dialysis treatment. © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Flash Physics is our daily pick of the latest need-to-know developments from the global physics community selected by Physics World's team of editors and reporters A new and extremely precise way of amplifying and measuring tiny microwave signals has been unveiled by physicists at Aalto University and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. Mika Sillanpää, Tero Heikkilä and colleagues created their detector by combining a micron-sized mechanical resonator resembling a drum with two superconducting microwave cavities. The device is able to amplify a very weak microwave signal with a gain of 41 dB – a factor of about 12,500 – while only adding about four quanta of noise to the signal. This is close to the minimum amount of noise possible (the standard quantum limit), which is half a quanta of noise. As well as being able to amplify very weak signals so that they can be measured, the technique could be used in quantum-information systems in which quantum bits of information (qubits) are encoded into microwave signals. Another important feature of the new technology is that it can convert signals from one microwave frequency to another. Writing in Physical Review X, the team suggest that this could be useful for developing quantum-information systems that are based on several different qubit technologies. A series of computer simulations done by scientists in Japan and France provide important insights into how the rings around Saturn and other planets formed – and why the composition of Saturn's rings is different to that of the rings of Neptune and Uranus. Ryuki Hyodo and colleagues at Kobe University, the University of Paris Diderot and the Tokyo Institute of Technology focussed on the "late heavy bombardment" era of the solar system. This happened about four-billion years ago and is thought to have involved the inward migration of thousands of Pluto-sized objects from the outer solar system. The team first calculated the probability that some of these objects would pass close enough to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune such that they would be broken up by tidal forces. The researchers found that enough fragments would be created and then captured by the giant planets to account for the current rings of Saturn and Uranus. Simulations also revealed that these fragments – some of which would be several kilometres in size – would break up as they orbit the planets to become the circular rings of much smaller objects seen today. The simulations offer a suggestion as to why Saturn's rings are made mostly of ice, whereas the rings of Uranus and Neptune contain much more rock. This, they write in Icarus, is because Saturn is less dense than Uranus and Neptune and therefore the tidal forces it exerted on the Pluto-like objects is weaker. As a result, Saturn's gravity was only able to chip away at the ice on the surface of the passing objects whilst Uranus and Neptune were able to break up the underlying rock. A 2D monolayer of transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDC) can be used to generate pairs of photons, say researchers at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg in Germany. TMDCs behave like semiconductors and are often used to make ultra-small and energy-efficient chips. Christian Schneider, Sven Höfling and colleagues produced monolayers of tungsten diselenide by using a piece of tape to peel off thin layers from a multi-layer film of the TMDC. This involved repeatedly peeling the film so that thinner and thinner layers are made until the material on the tape is only one-atomic-layer thick. This layer is then cooled down to a temperature just above absolute zero and it is then excited with a laser, causing it to emit single protons under specific conditions. "We were now able to show that a specific type of excitement produces not one but exactly two photons," says Schneider. "The light particles are generated in pairs so to speak." Two-photon sources are of interest to those carrying out quantum cryptography and other such protocols that involve entanglement. The research is described in Nature Communications.


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

As citizens of a democracy, Americans seem to face a series of intractable problems associated with environmental sustainability. One of the major obstacles to implementing solutions is deep partisan and ideological divisiveness. We can’t seem to agree on what constitutes “the right thing to do.” This year, Husson University’s Ethics Symposium will examine this issue as part of a presentation by Dr. Steven A. Fesmire, professor of philosophy and environmental studies at Green Mountain College in Vermont. His lecture, “Rescuing Democracy from Moral Fundamentalism: How Moral Certainty is a Roadblock to Sustainability,” will take place at the Gracie Theatre on Monday, February 6, 2017 from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public. “Dr. Fesmire is a great example of a long line of American pragmatic thinkers going back to William James and John Dewey,” said Cliff Guthrie, Ph.D., a professor of ethics and humanities at Husson University’s College of Science and Humanities. “Like these other thinkers, he argues that we should view our moral disagreements more like practical everyday problems, and that Americans are great at using their imaginations to come up with new solutions to practical problems.” The lecture will focus on the challenges created in democratic societies by moral fundamentalism – a disposition to believe that there is only one right way to think about and solve moral or political problems. Fesmire will then go on to discuss ways to deal with moral fundamentalism so that democracies can successfully address the tangled local, bioregional, and global problems that prevent our lives from becoming healthier, more just, and more sustainable. Fesmire is the author of Dewey (Routledge Press, 2015), winner of the 2015 Choice “Outstanding Academic Title” award. He is also the author of John Dewey and Moral Imagination: Pragmatism in Ethics (Indiana University Press, 2003) and the winner of the 2005 Choice “Outstanding Academic Title” award. In addition, Fesmire is the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Dewey (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017) and is preparing a manuscript titled Ecological Imagination: Essays in Pragmatism, Ethics, and Education. He was a 2009 Fulbright Scholar at Kyoto University and Kobe University in Japan, a 2015-16 visiting scholar at Dartmouth College, and a 2016 fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. “Beyond teaching practical career-related knowledge, Husson University is committed to education that helps us better understand ourselves and our society,” said Dr. Patricia Bixel, dean of the College of Science and Humanities. “In the face of global warming and serious partisan division, we struggle to address environmental problems. Perhaps a more pragmatic approach can help us make progress toward solving some of these issues.” If you would like more information about the upcoming presentation, or if you need to talk to someone about special arrangement or accommodations, please contact Cliff Guthrie, professor of ethics and humanities at guthriec(at)husson(dot)edu or 207 941-7760. For more than 100 years, Husson University has prepared future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent superior value in higher education. Our Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education centers in Southern Maine, Wells, and Northern Maine provide advanced knowledge in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. In addition, Husson University has a robust adult learning program. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.


News Article | February 13, 2017
Site: www.medicalnewstoday.com

An international research team has discovered that the IFT20 protein helps some cancer cells to invade by facilitating the transportation of membranes and proteins within parts of the cell. Primary cilia exist on the surface of almost all human cells, acting as "cell antenna" that receive information from outside the cell. IFT20 (intraflagellar transport 20) is a protein present in most human cells that plays an essential role in the formation and functions of these primary cilia. In healthy cells it acts as a "cargo adaptor" to transport proteins along microtubules within cilia, but many cells lose these cilia when they become cancerous. This research has shed light on the function of IFT20 in non-ciliated cancer cells for the first time. The discovery has potential applications for developing new cancer treatment methods that block invasive cancer cells by targeting IFT20. The findings were published in the online edition of Scientific Reports. This research was carried out by an international team including Associate Professor NISHITA Michiru (Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine Department of Physiology and Cell Biology), Professor MINAMI Yasuhiro (Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Cell Biology), Professor Victor W. Hsu (Harvard Medical School) and Professor Gregory J. Pazour (University of Massachusetts Medical School). Most cancer-related deaths are said to be caused by cell invasion and the consequent spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body (metastasis). To counter this, scientists are searching for the mechanism that controls the invasive properties of cancer cells. Researchers already knew that a cell membrane protein known as Ror2 expresses highly in various cancer cells, and it promotes cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Professor Nishita's team investigated various kinds of non-ciliated cancer cells and discovered that Ror2 promoted cancer cell invasiveness by inducing the expression of IFT20. Many tumor cells break through the barrier of the extracellular matrix and infiltrate their surroundings by forming protruding structures known as invadopodia. The formation of invadopodia requires membranes and proteins supplied by the intracellular transport system, using the Golgi complex. The Golgi complex must be close to invadopodia to deploy these materials. The team's findings demonstrate that in tumor cells, IFT20 induces the Golgi complex to form microtubules by promoting interaction between the Golgi proteins GM130 and AKAP450. It also regulates the structure of the Golgi complex and transport of proteins within the complex. "This research has clarified a new molecular mechanism related to the formation of Golgi-derived microtubules, and its important role in invasive cancer cells," said Professor Nishita. The relationship between loss of cilia and a cell's cancerous properties remains unclear. IFT20 is involved in the formation and function of cilia in healthy cells, but in non-ciliated cancer cells it is now clear that IFT20 is responsible for the formation of invadopodia. By continuing to analyze the relationship between IFT20 and the loss of cilia, this line of research could help shed light on the fundamental question of why many cancer cells lack cilia. Additionally, if the specific regulatory mechanism of IFT20 in cancer cells is revealed, this knowledge could be used to develop treatment that targets IFT20 to block invasive cancer cells. Article: Ror2 signaling regulates Golgi structure and transport through IFT20 for tumor invasiveness, Michiru Nishita, Seung-Yeol Park, Tadashi Nishio, Koki Kamizaki, ZhiChao Wang, Kota Tamada, Toru Takumi, Ryuju Hashimoto, Hiroki Otani, Gregory J. Pazour, Victor W. Hsu & Yasuhiro Minami, Scientific Reports, doi: 10.1038/s41598-016-0028-x, published online 26 January 2017.


Yamane T.,Institution of Biomedical Research and Innovation | Sakamoto S.,Kobe University | Senda M.,Institution of Biomedical Research and Innovation
European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging | Year: 2010

Purpose: We retrospectively examined the clinical efficacy of 11C-methionine positron emission tomography (11C-MET PET) in patients with brain neoplasm, especially whether the 11C-MET PET changed the clinical management and whether the change was beneficial or detrimental. Methods: This study reviewed 89 11C-MET PET scans for 80 patients (20 scans for initial diagnosis of brain tumor and 69 scans for differentiating tumor recurrence from radiation necrosis). Final diagnosis and the effect on the intended management were obtained from the questionnaire to the referring physicians or directly from the medical records. The diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for the 11C-MET PET were evaluated. Regarding the management impact, the rate of scans that caused changes in intended management was also evaluated. Moreover, the occurrence of scans having detrimental diagnostic impact (DDI) and beneficial diagnostic impact (BDI) were evaluated. Results: Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of 11C-MET PET was 87.8, 80.0, and 85.9%. The intended management was changed in 50.0% of the scans. DDI and BDI were observed in 4.3 and 36.2% of the total relevant scans, respectively. Conclusion: 11C-MET PET can provide useful information in initial diagnosis and differentiating tumor recurrence from radiation necrosis. The intended management was changed in half of the scans. Since a few cases did not receive the requisite treatment due to false-negative results of 11C-MET PET, management decision should be made carefully, especially in the case of a negative scan. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.


Yamashita Y.,Kobe University | Okabe M.,Meiji Co. | Natsume M.,Meiji Co. | Ashida H.,Kobe University
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics | Year: 2012

In this study, we investigated whether cacao liquor procyanidin (CLPr) extract, which consists of 4.3% catechin, 6.1% epicatechin, 39.4% procyanidins and others, ameliorated hyperglycemia and obesity in C57BL/6 mice fed a control or high-fat diet for 13 weeks. CLPr suppressed high-fat diet-induced hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance and fat accumulation in white adipose tissue. CLPr also promoted translocation of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) and phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase α (AMPKα) in the plasma membrane of skeletal muscle and brown adipose tissue. Phosphorylation of AMPKα was also enhanced in the liver and white adipose tissue. CLPr up-regulated the gene and protein expression levels of uncoupling protein (UCP)-1 in brown adipose tissue and UCP-3 in skeletal muscle. These results indicate that CLPr is a beneficial food material for the prevention of hyperglycemia and obesity. Activation of AMPKα, translocation of GLUT4 and up-regulation of UCP expression in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue are involved in the molecular mechanisms by which CLPr prevents hyperglycemia and obesity. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Todoroki Y.,University of Shizuoka | Ueno K.,Kobe University
Current Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2010

Abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone involved in stress tolerance, stomatal closure, seed dormancy, and other physiological events. Although ABA is registered as a farm chemical (plant growth regulator), its practical use has been limited, mainly due to its weak effect in field trials, which is considered to be due to its rapid inactivation through biodegradation. Catabolic inactivation of ABA is mainly controlled by ABA 8'-hydroxylase (CYP707A), which is the cytochrome P450 catalyzing the C8'-hydroxylation of ABA into 8'-hydroxy-ABA and its more stable tautomer, phaseic acid, which has much lower hormonal activity than ABA. Thus, a specific inhibitor of CYP707A is promising not only as a chemical probe for the mechanism of ABA action, but also because of its potential use in agriculture and horticulture. This review article focuses on our recent research on the development of two types of specific inhibitors of CYP707A: the ABA analogue-type inhibitors that were designed on the basis of differences between the structural requirements for CYP707A and for ABA activity, and the azole-type P450 inhibitors that were developed by conformational restriction or enlargement of the plant growth retardant uniconazole. © 2010 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.


Suda T.,University of Shizuoka | Hata T.,University of Shizuoka | Kawai S.,University of Shizuoka | Okamura H.,Kobe University | Nishida T.,University of Shizuoka
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2012

Tetracycline antibiotics are widely used in human and veterinary medicine; however, residual amounts of these antibiotics in the environment are of concern since they could contribute to selection of resistant bacteria. In this study, tetracycline (TC), chlortetracycline (CTC), doxycycline (DC) and oxytetracycline (OTC) were treated with laccase from the white rot fungus Trametes versicolor in the presence of the redox mediator 1-hydroxybenzotriazole (HBT). High performance liquid chromatography demonstrated that DC and CTC were completely eliminated after 15. min, while TC and CTC were eliminated after 1. h. This system also resulted in a complete loss of inhibition of growth of Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis and the green alga Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata with decreasing tetracycline antibiotic concentration. These results suggest that the laccase-HBT system is effective in eliminating tetracycline antibiotics and removing their ecotoxicity. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Gowen A.A.,University College Dublin | Gowen A.A.,Kobe University | O'Sullivan C.,NUI Maynooth | O'Donnell C.P.,University College Dublin
Trends in Food Science and Technology | Year: 2012

The Terahertz (THz) region of the electromagnetic spectrum, spanning the range between 100 GHz and 30 THz, has recently enjoyed a renaissance due to technological developments in source and detector components. With the development of THz instrumentation, applications of THz spectroscopy and imaging for quality control of food products have expanded in scope and improved in performance. This article gives an overview of the fundamentals of THz technology and a comprehensive review of applications of THz time domain spectroscopy and imaging for food quality and control. Technical challenges and future outlook for these emerging techniques are also discussed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Ho S.-H.,Kobe University | Ye X.,Kobe University | Hasunuma T.,Kobe University | Chang J.-S.,National Cheng Kung University | And 2 more authors.
Biotechnology Advances | Year: 2014

Although the potential for biofuel production from microalgae via photosynthesis has been intensively investigated, information on the selection of a suitable operation strategy for microalgae-based biofuel production is lacking. Many published reports describe competitive strains and optimal culture conditions for use in biofuel production; however, the major impediment to further improvements is the absence of effective engineering strategies for microalgae cultivation and biofuel production. This comprehensive review discusses recent advances in understanding the effects of major environmental stresses and the characteristics of various engineering operation strategies on the production of biofuels (mainly biodiesel and bioethanol) using microalgae. The performances of microalgae-based biofuel-producing systems under various environmental stresses (i.e., irradiance, temperature, pH, nitrogen depletion, and salinity) and cultivation strategies (i.e., fed-batch, semi-continuous, continuous, two-stage, and salinity-gradient) are compared. The reasons for variations in performance and the underlying theories of the various production strategies are also critically discussed. The aim of this review is to provide useful information to facilitate development of innovative and feasible operation technologies for effectively increasing the commercial viability of microalgae-based biofuel production. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Ho S.-H.,National Cheng Kung University | Ho S.-H.,Kobe University | Kondo A.,Kobe University | Hasunuma T.,Kobe University | Chang J.-S.,National Cheng Kung University
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2013

Engineering strategies were applied to improve the cell growth, CO2 fixation ability, and carbohydrate productivity of a Scenedesmus obliquus CNW-N isolate. The resulting carbohydrate-rich microalgal biomass was subsequently utilized as feedstock for ethanol fermentation. The microalga was cultivated with 2.5% CO2 in a photobioreactor on different operation modes. Semi-batch operations with 50% replacement of culture medium resulted in the highest CO2 fixation rate (1546.7mg L-1d-1), carbohydrate productivity (467.6mg L-1d-1), and bioethanol yield (0.202g/g biomass). This performance is better than most reported values in the literature. The microalgal biomass can accumulate nearly 50% carbohydrates, as glucose accounted for nearly 80% of the total carbohydrate content. This glucose-predominant carbohydrate composition of the microalga is well suited for fermentative bioethanol production. Therefore, using the proposed carbohydrate-rich microalgal biomass both as the carbon sink and as the feedstock provides a feasible alternative to current carbon-reduction and bioethanol-production strategies. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Ho S.-H.,National Cheng Kung University | Ho S.-H.,Kobe University | Li P.-J.,National Cheng Kung University | Liu C.-C.,National Cheng Kung University | Chang J.-S.,National Cheng Kung University
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2013

A two-stage cultivation strategy was applied to achieve greater CO2 fixation and carbohydrate productivity with an indigenous microalga Scenedesmus obliquus CNW-N, which was first cultivated using a nutrient-rich medium to promote cell growth, and was then switched to a nutrient-deficient condition to trigger carbohydrate accumulation. The optimal biomass productivity, carbohydrate productivity, and CO2 fixation rate were 681.4, 352.9, and 1192.5mgL-1d-1, respectively, with a 51.8% carbohydrate content (based on dry weight). This performance is better than the results in most related studies. The microalgal carbohydrate was mainly composed of glucose, which accounts for nearly 80% of total sugars. Dilute acid hydrolysis with 2% H2SO4 can saccharify the wet microalgal biomass effectively, achieving a glucose yield of 96-98%. Using the acidic hydrolysate of the microalga as feedstock, the separate hydrolysis and fermentation (SHF) process gave an ethanol concentration of 8.55gL-1, representing a theoretical yield of nearly 99.8%. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Ho S.-H.,National Cheng Kung University | Huang S.-W.,National Cheng Kung University | Chen C.-Y.,National Cheng Kung University | Hasunuma T.,Kobe University | And 2 more authors.
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2013

In this study, three indigenous microalgae isolates were examined for their ability to produce carbohydrates. Among them, Chlorella vulgaris FSP-E displayed relatively high cell growth rate and carbohydrate content. The carbohydrate productivity of C. vulgaris FSP-E was further improved by using engineering strategies. The results show that using an appropriate light intensity and inoculum size could effectively promote cell growth and carbohydrate productivity. Nitrogen starvation triggered the accumulation of carbohydrates in the microalga, achieving a carbohydrate content of 51.3% after 4-day starvation. Under the optimal conditions, the highest biomass and carbohydrate productivity were 1.437 and 0.631gL-1d-1, respectively. This performance is better than that reported in most related studies. Since glucose accounted for nearly 93% of the carbohydrates accumulated in C. vulgaris FSP-E, the microalga is an excellent feedstock for bioethanol fermentation. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Ho S.-H.,National Cheng Kung University | Huang S.-W.,National Cheng Kung University | Chen C.-Y.,National Cheng Kung University | Hasunuma T.,Kobe University | And 2 more authors.
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2013

This study aimed to evaluate the potential of using a carbohydrate-rich microalga Chlorella vulgaris FSP-E as feedstock for bioethanol production via various hydrolysis strategies and fermentation processes. Enzymatic hydrolysis of C. vulgaris FSP-E biomass (containing 51% carbohydrate per dry weight) gave a glucose yield of 90.4% (or 0.461g (gbiomass)-1). The SHF and SSF processes converted the enzymatic microalgae hydrolysate into ethanol with a 79.9% and 92.3% theoretical yield, respectively. Dilute acidic hydrolysis with 1% sulfuric acid was also very effective in saccharifying C. vulgaris FSP-E biomass, achieving a glucose yield of nearly 93.6% from the microalgal carbohydrates at a starting biomass concentration of 50gL-1. Using the acidic hydrolysate of C. vulgaris FSP-E biomass as feedstock, the SHF process produced ethanol at a concentration of 11.7gL-1 and an 87.6% theoretical yield. These findings indicate the feasibility of using carbohydrate-producing microalgae as feedstock for fermentative bioethanol production. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Fujita T.,Kobe University | Nakano T.,Japan National Institute of Health Sciences | Tanaka S.,Kobe University
Chemical Physics Letters | Year: 2011

The periodic boundary condition (PBC) is incorporated in the fragment molecular orbital (FMO) method to appropriately describe systems with aqueous solutions. We present benchmark calculations for (H 2O) 64 and show that this PBC-FMO method can eliminate artificial surface effects. An application to molecular dynamics simulation for liquid water is also shown, and calculated radial distribution functions are in reasonable agreement with those obtained from experiments. It is thus confirmed that the present PBC-FMO method is useful for ab initio simulations in aqueous solution. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Sugiura S.,Kobe University | Ikeda H.,Hirosaki University
Naturwissenschaften | Year: 2013

Herons (Ardeidae) frequently breed in inland forests and provide organic material in the form of carcasses of prey (that they drop) and chicks (that die) to the forest floor. Such allochthonous inputs of organic materials are known to increase arthropod populations in forests. However, the exact species that show numerical responses to allochthonous inputs in heron breeding colonies remains unclear. Very few studies have clarified which factors determine numerical responses in individual species. We used pitfall and baited traps to compare the densities of arthropods between forest patches in heron breeding colonies (five sites) and areas outside of colonies (five sites) in central Japan. The density of all arthropods was not significantly different between colonies and non-colony areas. However, significant differences between colonies and non-colony areas were found in four arthropod groups. Earwigs (Dermaptera: Anisolabididae), hister beetles (Coleoptera: Histeridae), and carrion beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae) were more abundant in colonies, while ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were less abundant in colonies. We detected numerical responses to heron breeding in two earwig, one histerid, five silphid, and one ant species. Chick and prey carcasses from herons may have directly led to increases in consumer populations such as earwigs, histerids, and silphids in colonies, while microenvironmental changes caused by heron breeding may have reduced ant abundance. In the Silphidae, five species showed numerical responses to allochthonous inputs, and the other two species did not. Numerical responses in individual species may have been determined by life history traits such as reproductive behaviour. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Xu X.,Wuhan University | Chen P.,Wuhan University | Zhang L.,Wuhan University | Ashida H.,Kobe University
Carbohydrate Polymers | Year: 2012

Four glucans (LNT-H, LNT-S, LNT-E, and LNT-B) were successively isolated from the fruiting bodies of Lentinus edodes by hot-water, sonication, enzyme, and NaOH. The chemical structures were characterized by GC, FTIR, and 13C NMR, which demonstrated that the four samples are (1 → 3)-β-d-glucans with (1 → 6)-glucopyranoside side groups having different molecular weight. The results of viscometry and atomic force microscopy (AFM) proved that LNT-H, LNT-S, LNT-E, and LNT-B exist as stiff triple helices in water and random coil in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). The morphology of the original triple helix was almost dominated by linear shape, but the renatured LNT-B contains some branched structures in AFM image. Among the four glucans, LNT-H, LNT-E, and LNT-B are clearly contaminated by endotoxin, while LNT-S significantly exhibits nitric oxide (NO) inhibition effect in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages in a dose-dependent manner. Therefore, LNT-S is probably used as a promising molecule which can be helpful to the diseases associated with NO overproduction. This is the first primary report dealing with the suppression of LPS-induced NO from macrophage RAW 264.7 cells by Lentinan. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Muramatsu S.,National Institute of Genetics | Hirai K.,National Institute of Genetics | Tak Y.-S.,National Institute of Genetics | Tak Y.-S.,Kobe University | And 3 more authors.
Genes and Development | Year: 2010

Eukaryotic chromosomal DNA replication requires cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) activity. CDK phosphorylates two yeast replication proteins, Sld3 and Sld2, both of which bind to Dpb11 when phosphorylated. These phosphorylation-dependent interactions are essential and are the minimal requirements for CDK-dependent activation of DNA replication. However, how these interactions activate DNA replication has not been elucidated. Here, we show that CDK promotes the formation of a newly identified fragile complex, the preloading complex (pre-LC) containing DNA polymerase ε (Pol ε), GINS, Sld2, and Dpb11. Formation of the pre-LC requires phosphorylation of Sld2 by CDK, but is independent of DNA replication, protein association with replication origins, and Dbf4-dependent Cdc7 kinase, which is also essential for the activation of DNA replication. We also demonstrate that Pol e, GINS, Dpb11, and CDK-phosphorylated Sld2 form a complex in vitro. The genetic interactions between Pol e, GINS, Sld2, and Dpb11 suggest further that they form an essential complex in cells. We propose that CDK regulates the initiation of DNA replication in budding yeast through formation of the pre-LC. © 2010 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


Fumoto K.,Hirosaki University | Kawanami T.,Kobe University
Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology | Year: 2012

An experimental study was carried out to investigate the freezing characteristics of supercooled water droplets impacting on solid surfaces. Each water droplet was supercooled on the inside surface of a waterrepellent guideway in a cooled air environment and then blasted horizontally by a jet of pressurized cooled air to impact on the vertical surface of a test block. The deformation and freezing of the droplets were observed using a high-speed camera. The droplets were frozen under varying conditions of air temperature, surface temperature, impact velocity and droplet volume. The results indicated that the freezing behavior of a droplet was strongly affected by the condition of the solid surface. Further, the results revealed that the supercooling solidification process consisted of two steps with two greatly different time scales. Finally, it was shown that the freezing behavior of an ice layer was affected by the presence of a liquid-like thin film. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Kirschner N.,University of Hamburg | Rosenthal R.,Charité - Medical University of Berlin | Furuse M.,Kobe University | Moll I.,University of Hamburg | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology | Year: 2013

Tight junctions (TJs) form a selective barrier for ions, water, and macromolecules in simple epithelia. In keratinocytes and epidermis, TJs were shown to be involved in individual barrier functions. The absence of the TJ protein claudin-1 (Cldn1) in mice results in a skin-barrier defect characterized by lethal water loss. However, detailed molecular analyses of the various TJ barriers in keratinocytes and the contribution of distinct TJ proteins are missing. Herein, we discriminate TJ-dependent paracellular resistance from transcellular resistance in cultured keratinocytes using the two-path impedance spectroscopy. We demonstrate that keratinocyte TJs form a barrier for Na +, Cl -, and Ca 2+, and contribute to barrier function for water and larger molecules of different size. In addition, knockdown of Cldn1, Cldn4, occludin, and zonula occludens-1 increased paracellular permeabilities for ions and larger molecules, demonstrating that all of these TJ proteins contribute to barrier formation. Remarkably, Cldn1 and Cldn4 are not critical for TJ barrier function for water in submerged keratinocyte cultures. However, Cldn1 influences stratum corneum (SC) proteins important for SC water barrier function, and is crucial for TJ barrier formation for allergen-sized macromolecules. © 2013 The Society for Investigative Dermatology.


Rahman A.,Iwate University | Takahashi M.,Iwate University | Shibasaki K.,Iwate University | Wu S.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | And 3 more authors.
Plant Cell | Year: 2010

In the root, the transport of auxin from the tip to the elongation zone, referred to here as shootward, governs gravitropic bending. Shootward polar auxin transport, and hence gravitropism, depends on the polar deployment of the PIN-FORMED auxin efflux carrier PIN2. In Arabidopsis thaliana, PIN2 has the expected shootward localization in epidermis and lateral root cap; however, this carrier is localized toward the root tip (rootward) in cortical cells of the meristem, a deployment whose function is enigmatic. We use pharmacological and genetic tools to cause a shootward relocation of PIN2 in meristematic cortical cells without detectably altering PIN2 polarization in other cell types or PIN1 polarization. This relocation of cortical PIN2 was negatively regulated by the membrane trafficking factor GNOM and by the regulatory A1 subunit of type 2-A protein phosphatase (PP2AA1) but did not require the PINOID protein kinase. When GNOM was inhibited, PINOID abundance increased and PP2AA1 was partially immobilized, indicating both proteins are subject to GNOM-dependent regulation. Shootward PIN2 specifically in the cortex was accompanied by enhanced shootward polar auxin transport and by diminished gravitropism. These results demonstrate that auxin flow in the root cortex is important for optimal gravitropic response © 2010 American Society of Plant Biologists.


Rydenfelt M.,California Institute of Technology | Cox R.S.,Kobe University | Garcia H.,Princeton University | Phillips R.,California Institute of Technology
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics | Year: 2014

Transcription factors (TFs) with regulatory action at multiple promoter targets is the rule rather than the exception, with examples ranging from the cAMP receptor protein (CRP) in E. coli that regulates hundreds of different genes simultaneously to situations involving multiple copies of the same gene, such as plasmids, retrotransposons, or highly replicated viral DNA. When the number of TFs heavily exceeds the number of binding sites, TF binding to each promoter can be regarded as independent. However, when the number of TF molecules is comparable to the number of binding sites, TF titration will result in correlation ("promoter entanglement") between transcription of different genes. We develop a statistical mechanical model which takes the TF titration effect into account and use it to predict both the level of gene expression for a general set of promoters and the resulting correlation in transcription rates of different genes. Our results show that the TF titration effect could be important for understanding gene expression in many regulatory settings. © 2014 American Physical Society.


Patent
Honda Corporation and Kobe University | Date: 2014-02-26

An object recognition system is applicable to practical use, and utilizes image information besides speech information to improve recognition accuracy. The object recognition system comprises a speech recognition unit to determine candidates for a result of speech recognition on input speech and their likelihoods, and an image model generation unit to generate image models of a predetermined number of the candidates having the highest likelihoods. The system further comprises an image likelihood calculation unit to calculate image likelihoods of input images based on the image models, and an object recognition unit to perform object recognition using the image likelihoods. At the time of generating the image model of the candidate, the image model generation unit first searches an image model database, and, when the image model of the candidate is not found in the database, the image model generation unit generates said image model from image information on the web.


Patent
Kobe University and Honda Corporation | Date: 2012-12-21

An apparatus is provided for classifying targets into a known-object group and an unknown-object group. The apparatus includes a speech/image data storage unit configured to store a spoken sound of a name of an object and an image of the object; a unit configured to calculate a speech confidence level of a speech for the name of the object with reference to a spoken sound of a name of a known object; a unit configured to calculate an image confidence level of an image of an object with respect to an image of a known object; and a unit configured to compare an evaluation value, which is obtained by combining the speech confidence level and image confidence level, with a threshold value, and classify a target object into an object group determined according to whether the spoken sound of the name and the image are known or unknown.


Walsh C.,Queen's University of Belfast | Nomura H.,Kyoto University | Millar T.J.,Queen's University of Belfast | Aikawa Y.,Kobe University
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

We investigate the impact of photochemistry and X-ray ionization on the molecular composition of, and ionization fraction in, a protoplanetary disk surrounding a typical T Tauri star. We use a sophisticated physical model, which includes a robust treatment of the radiative transfer of UV and X-ray radiation, and calculate the time-dependent chemical structure using a comprehensive chemical network. In previous work, we approximated the photochemistry and X-ray ionization; here, we recalculate the photoreaction rates using the explicit UV wavelength spectrum and wavelength-dependent reaction cross sections. We recalculate the X-ray ionization rate using our explicit elemental composition and X-ray energy spectrum. We find that photochemistry has a larger influence on the molecular composition than X-ray ionization. Observable molecules sensitive to the photorates include OH, HCO+, N2H+, H2O, CO2, and CH3OH. The only molecule significantly affected by the X-ray ionization is N2H+, indicating that it is safe to adopt existing approximations of the X-ray ionization rate in typical T Tauri star-disk systems. The recalculation of the photorates increases the abundances of neutral molecules in the outer disk, highlighting the importance of taking into account the shape of the UV spectrum in protoplanetary disks. A recalculation of the photoreaction rates also affects the gas-phase chemistry due to the adjustment of the H/H2 and C+/C ratios. The disk ionization fraction is not significantly affected by the methods adopted to calculate the photochemistry and X-ray ionization. We determine that there is a probable "dead zone" where accretion is suppressed, present in a layer, Z/R ≲ 0.1-0.2, in the disk midplane, within R ≈ 200AU. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Kondo H.,Kobe University | Oishi M.,Kobe University | Fujikawa K.,Kobe University | Amii H.,Kobe University | Amii H.,Gunma University
Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis | Year: 2011

Starting from a readily available fluoral derivative, catalytic aromatic trifluoromethylation has been successfully achieved. A small amount of copper(I) iodide-phenanthroline complex catalyzed the cross-coupling reactions of aryl/heteroaryl iodides with the O-silylated hemiaminal of fluoral (trifluoroacetaldehyde) to provide trifluoromethylated arenes in moderate to high yields. © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Mochida T.,Kobe University | Yoza K.,Bruker
Journal of Organometallic Chemistry | Year: 2010

An X-ray structural determination of decamethylferrocene- acenaphthenequinone charge-transfer complex at 293 K and 193 K revealed that the first-order phase transition at 257 K is associated with ordering of the disordered pentamethylcyclopentadienyl rings in decamethylferrocene. The pentamethylcyclopentadienyl rings exhibit two-fold rotational disorder in the room temperature phase, where the dominant form is an eclipsed conformation. In the low temperature phase, the molecular structure is ordered with a staggered conformation. The space groups were determined to be Cmcm and Pnma in the respective phases. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Otsuka H.,Kagoshima University | Kawano H.,Kagoshima University | Sonoda S.,Kagoshima University | Nakamura M.,Kobe University | Sakamoto T.,Kagoshima University
Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science | Year: 2013

Purpose. We determined the cause of sterile endophthalmitis after intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide (IVTA). Methods. The clinical records of 21 eyes that had sterile endophthalmitis after IVTA were reviewed. Cytologic studies were performed, and cytokine and chemokine profiles in the aqueous humor were determined. The effects of a direct contact of triamcinolone acetonide (TA) particles with cultured lens epithelial cells (B3) or retinal pigment epithelial cells (ARPE-19) on cytokine production were determined. Noncontact culture studies were performed in a Boyden chamber; 11-deoxycortisol was used for nonbioactive particles. Results. Inflammation appeared one day after the IVTA, and the incidence of severe sterile endophthalmitis was 13.0% (6/46), which was reduced to 4.3% (2/47) after switching to preservative-free TA. Most cells found in the aqueous humor were granulocytes. The concentrations of IL-6 (447.8-<5000 pg/mL) and IL-8 (47.2-<5000 pg/mL) were increased significantly, but IL-1β, IL-10, IL-12p70, and TNF-α were not significantly changed. In B3 cells, the level of IL-8 increased significantly when the cells made direct contact with TA particles (1.33 times that of PBS, P < 0.05, Student's t-test), but not in noncontact cultures. Similar reaction pattern was found in ARPE-19 cells. These effects also were observed when the cells were exposed to 11-deoxycortisol. Conclusions. Sterile endophthalmitis after IVTA is characterized by an immediate granulocytic infiltration and an increase of IL-6/IL-8 in the aqueous humor. Preservatives may be a factor causing this condition, and mechanical/rheologic stress by particles presumably might be a new causative factor by increasing IL-6/IL-8. © 2013 The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Inc.


Fujikawa K.,Kobe University | Fujioka Y.,Kobe University | Kobayashi A.,Gunma University | Amii H.,Kobe University | Amii H.,Gunma University
Organic Letters | Year: 2011

A new methodology for aromatic difluoromethylation is described. Aryl iodides reacted with α-silyldifluoroacetates upon treatment with copper catalyst in DMSO or DME to give the corresponding aryldifluoroacetates in moderate to good yields. The subsequent hydrolysis of aryldifluoroacetates and KF-promoted decarboxylation afforded a variety of difluoromethyl aromatics. © 2011 American Chemical Society.


Nakamura T.,Gunma University | Adachi S.,Gunma University | Fujii M.,Kobe University | Miura K.,Gunma University | Yamamoto S.,Japan Atomic Energy Agency
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2012

The photoluminescence (PL) properties of P or B single-doped Si nanocrystals (Si-nc's) and P and B co-doped Si-nc's are studied. In the single-doped Si-nc samples, PL quenching occurs as a result of the Auger nonradiative recombination process between the photoexcited excitons and free carriers supplied by doped impurities. In the (P, B) co-doped sample, on the other hand, the donor-acceptor (D-A)-pair recombination emission is clearly observed on the long-wavelength side of the intrinsic Si-nc emission peak at ∼900 nm. The D-A-pair recombination energy is found to be smaller than the band-gap energy of bulk Si and is strongly dependent on the number of P and B impurities doped in a Si-nc. PL spectra are measured at 50 and 300 K and found to indicate that strong thermal quenching occurs in a (P, B) co-doped sample at 300 K. This quenching effect is probably because of carrier migration among the donor and acceptor states. The PL decay rate is determined as a function of the emitted-light wavelength for the pure and (P, B) co-doped Si-nc samples. © 2012 American Physical Society.


Shimazu S.,Fukuyama University | Inui H.,Kobe University | Ohkawa H.,Fukuyama University
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2011

Molecular mechanisms of metabolism and modes of actions of agrochemicals and related compounds are important for understanding selective toxicity, biodegradability, and monitoring of biological effects on nontarget organisms. It is well-known that in mammals, cytochrome P450 (P450 or CYP) monooxygenases metabolize lipophilic foreign compounds. These P450 species are inducible, and both CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 are induced by aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) combined with a ligand. Gene engineering of P450 and NADPH cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (P450 reductase) was established for bioconversion. Also, gene modification of AhRs was developed for recombinant AhR-mediated β-glucronidase (GUS) reporter assay of AhR ligands. Recombinant P450 genes were transformed into plants for phytoremediation, and recombinant AhR-mediated GUS reporter gene expression systems were each transformed into plants for phytomonitoring. Transgenic rice plants carrying CYP2B6 metabolized the herbicide metolachlor and remarkably reduced the residues in the plants and soils under paddy field conditions. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants carrying recombinant guinea pig (g) AhR-mediated GUS reporter genes detected PCB126 at the level of 10 ng/g soils in the presence of biosurfactants MEL-B. Both phytomonitoring and phytoremediation plants were each evaluated from the standpoint of practical uses. © 2010 American Chemical Society.


Ishii T.,Kobe University | Numaguchi K.,Kobe University | Miura K.,Nagoya University | Miura K.,Fukui Prefectural University | And 10 more authors.
Nature Genetics | Year: 2013

Reduction in seed shattering was an important phenotypic change during cereal domestication. Here we show that a simple morphological change in rice panicle shape, controlled by the SPR3 locus, has a large impact on seed-shedding and pollinating behaviors. In the wild genetic background of rice, we found that plants with a cultivated-like type of closed panicle had significantly reduced seed shedding through seed retention. In addition, the long awns in closed panicles disturbed the free exposure of anthers and stigmas on the flowering spikelets, resulting in a significant reduction of the outcrossing rate. We localized the SPR3 locus to a 9.3-kb genomic region, and our complementation tests suggest that this region regulates the liguleless gene (OsLG1). Sequencing analysis identified reduced nucleotide diversity and a selective sweep at the SPR3 locus in cultivated rice. Our results suggest that a closed panicle was a selected trait during rice domestication.


Lykawka P.S.,Kinki University | Horner J.,University of New South Wales | Mukai T.,Kobe University | Nakamura A.M.,Kobe University
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2012

Recently, the first collisional family was identified in the trans-Neptunian belt (otherwise known as the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt), providing direct evidence of the importance of collisions between trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). The family consists of the dwarf planet (136108) Haumea (formerly 2003 EL61), located at a semimajor axis, a, of ~43au, and at least 10 other ~100-km-sized TNOs located in the region a= 42-44.5 au. In this work, we model the long-term orbital evolution (4 Gyr) of an ensemble of fragments (particles) representing hypothetical post-collision distributions at the time of the family's birth based on our limited current understanding of the family's creation and of asteroidal collision physics. We consider three distinct scenarios, in which the kinetic energy of dispersed particles was varied such that their mean ejection velocities (v eje) were of the order of 200, 300 and 400 ms -1, respectively. Each simulation considered resulted in collisional families that reproduced that currently observed, despite the variation in the initial conditions modelled. The results suggest that 60-75 per cent of the fragments created in the collision will remain in the trans-Neptunian belt, even after 4 Gyr of dynamical evolution. The surviving particles were typically concentrated in wide regions of orbital element space centred on the initial impact location, with their orbits spread across a region spanning Δa~ 6-12 au, Δe~ 0.1-0.15 and Δi~ 7°-10°, with the exact range covered being proportional to v eje used in the model. Most of the survivors populated the so-called classical and detached regions of the trans-Neptunian belt, whilst a minor fraction either entered the scattered disc reservoir (<1 per cent) or were captured in Neptunian mean-motion resonances (<10 per cent). In addition, except for those fragments located near strong resonances (such as the 5:3 and 7:4), the great majority displayed negligible long-term orbital variation. This implies that the orbital distribution of the intrinsic Haumean family can be used to constrain the orbital conditions and physical nature of the collision that created the family, billions of years ago. Indeed, our results suggest that the formation of the Haumean collisional family most likely occurred after the bulk of Neptune's migration was complete, or even some time after the migration had completely ceased, although future work is needed to confirm this result. © 2012 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2012 RAS.


Uno T.,Kobe University | Ishizuka M.,Hokkaido University | Itakura T.,Kagoshima University
Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology | Year: 2012

Cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes are members of the hemoprotein superfamily, and are involved in the mono-oxygenation reactions of a wide range of endogenous and exogenous compounds in mammals and plants. Characterization of CYP genes in fish has been carried out intensively over the last 20 years. In Japanese pufferfish (Takifugu rubripes), 54 genes encoding P450s have been identified. Across all species of fish, 137 genes encoding P450s have been identified. These genes are classified into 18 CYP families: namely, CYP1, CYP2, CYP3, CYP4, CYP5, CYP7, CYP8, CYP11, CYP17, CYP19, CYP20, CYP21, CYP24, CYP26, CYP27, CYP39, CYP46 and CYP51.We pinpointed eight CYP families: namely, CYP1, CYP2, CYP3, CYP4, CYP11, CYP17, CYP19 and CYP26 in this review because these CYP families are studied in detail. Studies of fish P450s have provided insights into the regulation of P450 genes by environmental stresses including water pollution. In this review, we present an overview of the CYP families in fish. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Murata Y.,Kobe University | Kotani T.,Kobe University | Ohnishi H.,Gunma University | Matozaki T.,Kobe University
Journal of Biochemistry | Year: 2014

Signal regulatory protein a (SIRPa), also known as SHPS-1/BIT/CD172a, is an immunoglobulin superfamily protein that binds to the protein tyrosine phosphatases SHP-1 and SHP-2 through its cytoplasmic region. CD47, another immunoglobulin superfamily protein, is a ligand for SIRPa, with the two proteins constituting a cell-cell communication system (the CD47-SIRPα signalling system). SIRPα is particularly abundant in the myeloid-lineage hematopoietic cells such as macrophages or dendritic cells (DCs), whereas CD47 is expressed ubiquitously. Interaction of CD47 (on red blood cells) with SIRPα (on macrophages) is thought to prevent the phagocytosis by the latter cells of the former cells, determining the lifespan of red blood cells. Recent studies further indicate that this signalling system plays important roles in engraftment of hematopoietic stem cells as well as in tumour immune surveillance through regulation of the phagocytic activity of macrophages. In the immune system, the CD47-SIRPα interaction is also important for the development of a subset of CD11c+DCs as well as organization of secondary lymphoid organs. Finally, the CD47-SIRPα signalling system likely regulates bone homeostasis by osteoclast development. Newly emerged functions of the CD47-SIRPα signalling system thus provide multiple therapeutic strategies for cancer, autoimmune diseases and bone disorders. © 2014 The Authors 2014.


Li R.,University of Kentucky | Yu K.,University of Kentucky | Hatanaka T.,Kobe University | Hildebrand D.F.,University of Kentucky
Plant Biotechnology Journal | Year: 2010

Summary Vernolic acid (cis-12-epoxy-octadeca-cis-9-enoic acid) is valuable as a renewable chemical feedstock. This fatty acid can accumulate to high levels in the seed oil of some plant species such as Vernonia galamensis and Stokesia laevis which are unsuitable for large-scale production. A cost-effective alternative for production of epoxy fatty acids is to genetically engineer its biosynthesis in commercial oilseeds. An epoxygenase cDNA (SlEPX) responsible for vernolic acid synthesis and two acyl-CoA : diacylglycerol acyltransferase cDNAs (VgDGAT1 and VgDGAT2) catalysing triacylglycerol (TAG) formation were cloned from developing seeds of S. laevis and V. galamensis. Co-expression of SlEPX and VgDGAT1 or VgDGAT2 greatly increases accumulation of vernolic acid both in petunia leaves and soybean somatic embryos. Seed-specific expression of VgDGAT1 and VgDGAT2 in SlEPX mature soybean seeds results in vernolic acid levels of ∼15% and 26%. Both DGAT1 and DGAT2 increase epoxy fatty acid accumulation with DGAT2 having much greater impact. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Lin M.,Kobe University | Nitta K.,Kobe University | Matoba O.,Kobe University | Awatsuji Y.,Kyoto Institute of Technology
Applied Optics | Year: 2012

Parallel phase-shifting digital holography using a phase-mode spatial light modulator (SLM) is proposed. The phase-mode SLM implements spatial distribution of phase retardation required in the parallel phase-shifting digital holography. This SLM can also compensate dynamically the phase distortion caused by optical elements such as beam splitters, lenses, and air fluctuation. Experimental demonstration using a static object is presented. © 2012 Optical Society of America.


Dong B.,RIKEN | Kakihara K.,RIKEN | Kakihara K.,Kobe University | Otani T.,RIKEN | And 4 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2013

Apical extracellular matrix filling the lumen controls the morphology and geometry of epithelial tubes during development, yet the regulation of luminal protein composition and its role in tube morphogenesis are not well understood. Here we show that an endosomal-retrieval machinery consisting of Rab9, retromer and actin nucleator WASH (Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein and SCAR Homolog) regulates selective recycling of the luminal protein Serpentine in the Drosophila trachea. Secreted Serpentine is endocytosed and sorted into the late endosome. Vps35, WASH and actin filaments differentially localize at the Rab9-enriched subdomains of the endosomal membrane, where Serpentine containing vesicles bud off. In Rab9, Vps35 and WASH mutants, Serpentine was secreted normally into the tracheal lumen, but the luminal quantities were depleted at later stages, resulting in excessively elongated tubes. In contrast, secretion of many luminal proteins was unaffected, suggesting that retrograde trafficking of a specific class of luminal proteins is a pivotal rate-limiting mechanism for continuous tube length regulation. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Kano S.,Tokyo Institute of Technology | Kano S.,Kobe University | Tada T.,Tokyo Institute of Technology | Majima Y.,Tokyo Institute of Technology | Majima Y.,Sunchon National University
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2015

In this review, we describe recent progress made in the study of nanoparticles characterized by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS). Basic principles of STM measurements and single-electron tunneling phenomena through a single NP are summarized. We highlight the results of electrical and photonic properties on NPs studied by STM and STS. Because nanoparticles are single-digit nanometre in diameter, a single-electron transport on individual nanoparticles such as Coulomb blockade and resonant tunneling through discrete energy levels are investigated. Photon-emission from NPs is also introduced based on STM measurements. Novel single-nanoparticle functions such as stochastic blinking and one-write erasing behaviours are presented. This review provides an overview of nanoparticle characterization methods based on STM and STS that include the detailed understanding of the electrical and photonics properties of nanoparticles. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2015.


Kim S.-G.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Priya S.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Kanno I.,Kobe University
MRS Bulletin | Year: 2012

Piezoelectric microelectromechanical systems technology for harvesting small magnitudes of energy from ambient vibrations. This technology promises to eliminate the need for replacing chemical batteries or complex wiring in microsensors/microsystems, moving us closer toward battery-less autonomous sensors systems and networks. To achieve this goal, a fully assembled energy harvester the size of a US quarter dollar coin (diameter = 24.26 mm, thickness = 1.75 mm) should be able to robustly generate about 100 ? W of continuous power from ambient vibrations. In addition, the cost of the device should be suffi ciently low for mass scale deployment. At the present time, most of the devices reported in the literature do not meet these requirements. This article reviews the current state of the art with respect to the key challenges such as high power density and wide bandwidth of operation. This article also describes improvements in piezoelectric materials and resonator structure design, which are believed to be the solutions to these challenges. Epitaxial growth and grain texturing of piezoelectric materials is being developed to achieve much higher energy conversion effi ciency. For embedded medical systems, lead-free piezoelectric thin fi lms are being developed, and MEMS processes for these new classes of materials are being investigated. Nonlinear resonating beams for wide bandwidth resonance are also being developed to enable more robust operation of energy harvesters.© 2012 Materials Research Society.


Furube E.,Kyoto Institute of Technology | Morita M.,Kobe University | Miyata S.,Kyoto Institute of Technology
Cell and Tissue Research | Year: 2015

Although evidence has accumulated that neurogenesis and gliogenesis occur in the subventricular zone (SVZ) and subgranular zone (SGZ) of adult mammalian brains, recent studies indicate the presence of neural stem cells (NSCs) in adult brains, particularly the circumventricular regions. In the present study, we aimed to determine characterization of NSCs and their progenitor cells in the sensory circumventricular organs (CVOs), including organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis, subfornical organ, and area postrema of adult mouse. There were two types of NSCs: tanycyte-like ependymal cells and astrocyte-like cells. Astrocyte-like NSCs proliferated slowly and oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) and neural progenitor cells (NPCs) actively divided. Molecular marker protein expression of NSCs and their progenitor cells were similar to those reported in the SVZ and SGZ, except that astrocyte-like NSCs expressed S100β. These circumventricular NSCs possessed the capacity to give rise to oligodendrocytes and sparse numbers of neurons and astrocytes in the sensory CVOs and adjacent brain regions. The inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling by using a VEGF receptor-associated tyrosine kinase inhibitor AZD2171 largely suppressed basal proliferation of OPCs. A single systemic administration of lipopolysaccharide attenuated proliferation of OPCs and induced remarkable proliferation of microglia. The present study indicates that sensory circumventricular NSCs provide new neurons and glial cells in the sensory CVOs and adjacent brain regions. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Matoba O.,Kobe University | Inokuchi H.,Kobe University | Nitta K.,Kobe University | Awatsuji Y.,Kyoto Institute of Technology
Optics Letters | Year: 2014

An optical voice recorder capable of recording and reproducing propagating sound waves by using off-axis digital holography, as well as quantitative visualization, is presented. Propagating sound waves temporally modulate the phase distribution of an impinging light wave via refractive index changes. This temporally modulated phase distribution is recorded in the form of digital holograms by a high-speed image sensor. After inverse propagation using Fresnel diffraction of a series of the recorded holograms, the temporal phase profile of the reconstructed object wave at each three-dimensional position can be used to reproduce the original sound wave. Experimental results using a tuning fork vibrating at 440 Hz and a human voice are presented to show the feasibility of the proposed method. © 2014 Optical Society of America.


Patent
Toshiba Corporation and Kobe University | Date: 2015-06-23

A medical-image processing apparatus according to an embodiment includes an extracting unit, a dividing unit, and an estimating unit. The extracting unit extracts a disease candidate region from a medical image. The dividing unit divides the disease candidate region into multiple partial regions. The estimating unit uses the feature value of each of the partial regions to estimate the disease state of the disease candidate region.


Patent
Toshiba Corporation and Kobe University | Date: 2015-11-13

According to one embodiment, a medical imaging analyzer includes an imaging unit, a calculator, and an analyzer. The imaging unit divides an area including an object of a subject to be captured into a plurality of partial areas such that the partial areas overlap each other to form an overlapping area, and administers a contrast agent to each of the partial areas to capture a plurality of time-series images. The calculator calculates, based on the transition of the pixel value in one of the time-series images having the overlapping area, the transition of the pixel value in the other time-series image having the overlapping area. The analyzer analyzes the time-series images based on the transition of the pixel value in the one and the other of the time-series images to obtain the hemodynamics of the subject.


Patent
Toshiba Corporation and Kobe University | Date: 2015-10-05

According to one embodiment, a medical image processing apparatus includes an image storage memory, a calculation circuitry, a level decision circuitry, and an output interface circuitry. The image storage memory stores data of a plurality of images in different respiratory phases. The calculation circuitry calculates a motion amount of a region between the plurality of images for each pixel or area. The level decision circuitry decides a level concerning a severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for each pixel or area. The output interface circuitry outputs information concerning the decided level.


Patent
Toshiba Corporation and Kobe University | Date: 2016-02-10

Support information effective in diagnosing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is provided from a chest volume image. A storage device (112) of a medical image processing apparatus stores the data of a plurality of images in different respiratory phases which represent the morphology of an object chest portion. A vector calculation processing unit (121) calculates the motion amount of a region between the plurality of images for each pixel or area. A level decision unit (123) decides a level concerning the severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for each pixel or area based on a combination of at least two of a motion amount, a feature value obtained from pixel values of image, and the change rate of the size of the area.


News Article | December 15, 2016
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Research Fellow Monamie Ringhoffer and Associate Professor Shinya Yamamoto (Kobe University Graduate School of Intercultural Studies) have proved that when horses face unsolvable problems they use visual and tactile signals to get human attention and ask for help. The study also suggests that horses alter their communicative behavior based on humans’ knowledge of the situation. These findings were published in the online version of Animal Cognition. Communicating with other individuals in order to get information about foraging sites and predators is a valuable survival skill. Chimpanzees, who are evolutionarily close to humans, are especially skilled at understanding others. Studies suggest that chimpanzees distinguish the attentional states of other individuals (seeing or not seeing), and they are also able to understand others’ knowledge states (knowing or not knowing). Some domestic animals are also very good at communicating with humans – recent studies of dogs have revealed that they are excellent at understanding various human gestures and expressions. It is thought that these abilities were influenced by the domestication process. Since they were domesticated 6,000 years ago, horses have contributed to human society in various shapes and forms, from transport to companionship. Horse-riding has recently drawn attention for its positive effects on our physical and mental health. The high social cognitive skills of horses towards humans might partially explain why humans and horses have a collaborative relationship today. However, the scientific evidence for this ability is still scarce. In this study, scientists investigated horses’ social cognitive skills with humans in a problem-solving situation where food was hidden in a place accessible only to humans. The experiment was carried out in a paddock belonging to the equestrian club at Kobe University, where eight horses from the club participated with the cooperation of their student caretakers. For the first experiment, an assistant experimenter hid food (carrots) in a bucket which the horse could not reach. The researchers observed whether and how the horse sent signals to the caretaker when the caretaker (unaware of the situation) arrived. The horse stayed near the caretaker and looked at, touched and pushed the caretaker. These behaviors occurred over a significantly longer period compared to cases when they carried out the experiment without hiding the food. The results showed that when horses cannot solve problems by themselves they send signals to humans both visually (looking) and physically (touching and pushing). Building on these results, for the second experiment they tested whether the horses’ behavior changed based on the caretakers’ knowledge of the hidden food. If the caretaker hadn’t watched the food being hidden, the horses gave more signals, demonstrating that horses can change their behavior in response to the knowledge levels of humans. These two experiments revealed some behaviors used by horses to communicate demands to humans. They also suggest that horses possess high cognitive skills that enable them to flexibly alter their behavior towards humans according to humans’ knowledge state. This high social cognitive ability may have been acquired during the domestication process. In order to identify the characteristic that enables horses to form close bonds with humans, in future research the team aims to compare communication between horses, as well as looking more closely at the social cognitive ability of horses in their communication with humans. By deepening our understanding of the cognitive abilities held by species who have close relationships with humans, and making comparisons with the cognitive abilities of species such as primates who are evolutionarily close to humans, we can investigate the development of unique communication traits in domesticated animals. This is connected to the influence of domestication on the cognitive ability of animals, and can potentially provide valuable information for realizing stronger bonds between humans and animals.


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A Japanese research group has discovered that a newly-identified autoimmune endocrine disease that leads to hypopituitarism is caused by thymomas (a type of tumor originating from the thymic gland). These underlying mechanisms could help to understand and develop a treatment for similar autoimmune diseases. These findings were published on February 20 in the online edition of Scientific Reports. The research group was led by Associate Professor TAKAHASHI Yutaka, Research Fellow BANDO Hironori, and Associate Professor IGUCHI Genzo in Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system, responsible for defending the body against foreign enemies, starts to attack its own cells and tissue within the body. There are many types of autoimmune disease, including rheumatoid arthritis (which affects roughly 1% of the population), systemic lupus erythematosus, and myasthenia gravis. The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain and plays a central role in regulating various hormones. In previous studies, Professor Takahashi's research team discovered a new clinical entity caused by autoimmunity against PIT-1, a pituitary-specific transcription factor that plays an essential role in producing growth hormone (GH), thyroid stimulation hormone (TSH), and prolactin (PRL). Because anti-PIT-1 antibodies were detected in patients with this disease, the group named this disease anti-PIT-1 antibody syndrome. However, it remained unclear why the breakdown of immune tolerance against PIT-1 occured. In this new study, the team discovered that a thymoma was detected in every case of anti-PIT-1 antibody syndrome. PIT-1 was abnormally expressed within the thymoma and this evoked the immune tolerance breakdown (see figure). Cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) are a type of "killer" white blood cell that destroy tumor cells as a part of immune responses. These cells are "trained" in the thymic gland, and during these processes both positive and negative selections take place. In the thymic cortex, T cells are trained to be able to recognize various antigens (positive selection) and in the medulla, T cells that react with self-antigens are deleted (negative selection). These sophisticated systems enable T cells to correctly target foreign antigens. However, in anti-PIT-1 antibody syndrome, PIT-1 is abnormally expressed in thymoma cells, therefore T cells that react to PIT-1 are produced and an autoimmunity is triggered. "Around 20% of hypopituitarism cases are caused by unknown factors. This discovery has clarified one of the causes," said Associate Professor Takahashi. "We hope that this discovery will contribute to more effective diagnosis and treatment for patients suffering from autoimmune pituitary diseases, hypopituitarism, and thymomas."


Uesaka T.,Kobe University | Uesaka T.,RIKEN | Uesaka T.,Japan Science and Technology Agency | Nagashimada M.,RIKEN | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Elucidation of the cellular identity of neuronal precursors provides mechanistic insights into the development and pathophysiology of the nervous system. In the enteric nervous system (ENS), neurogenesis persists from midgestation to the postnatal period. Cellular mechanism underlying the long-term neurogenesis in the ENS has remained unclear. Using genetic fate mapping in mice, we show here that a subset of Schwann cell precursors (SCPs), which invades the gut alongside the extrinsic nerves, adopts a neuronal fate in the postnatal period and contributes to the ENS. We found SCP-derived neurogenesis in the submucosal region of the small intestine in the absence of vagal neural crest-derived ENS precursors. Under physiological conditions, SCPs comprised up to 20% of enteric neurons in the large intestine and gave rise mainly to restricted neuronal subtypes, calretinin-expressing neurons. Genetic ablation of Ret, the signaling receptor for glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, in SCPs caused colonic oligoganglionosis, indicating that SCP-derived neurogenesis is essential to ENS integrity. Identification of Schwann cells as a physiological neurogenic source provides novel insight into the development and disorders of neural crest-derived tissues. © 2015 the authors.


Yonemura S.,RIKEN | Wada Y.,RIKEN | Watanabe T.,RIKEN | Watanabe T.,Kobe University | And 2 more authors.
Nature Cell Biology | Year: 2010

Adherens junctions (AJs), which are organized by adhesion proteins and the underlying actin cytoskeleton, probably sense pulling forces from adjacent cells and modulate opposing forces to maintain tissue integrity, but the regulatory mechanism remains unknown at the molecular level. Although the possibility that α-catenin acts as a direct linker between the membrane and the actin cytoskeleton for AJ formation and function has been minimized, here we show that α-catenin recruits vinculin, another main actin-binding protein of AJs, through force-dependent changes in α-catenin conformation. We identified regions in the α-catenin molecule that are required for its force-dependent binding of vinculin by introducing mutant α-catenin into cells and using in vitro binding assays. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis for α-catenin mobility and the existence of an antibody recognizing α-catenin in a force-dependent manner further supported the notion that α-catenin is a tension transducer that translates mechanical stimuli into a chemical response, resulting in AJ development. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Kusakabe R.,RIKEN | Inoue K.,Kobe University
Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology | Year: 2015

MicroRNAs (miRs) are a group of small RNAs that play a major role in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. In animals, many of the miRs are expressed in a conserved spatiotemporal manner. Muscle tissues, the major cellular systems involved in the locomotion and physiological functions of animals, have been one of the main sites for verification of miR targets and analysis of their developmental functions. During the determination and differentiation of muscle cells, numerous miRs bind to and repress target mRNAs in a highly specific but redundant manner. Interspecific comparisons of the sequences and expression of miRs have suggested that miR regulation became increasingly important during the course of vertebrate evolution. However, the detailed molecular interactions that have led to the highly complex morphological structures still await investigation. In this review, we will summarize the recent findings on the functional and developmental characteristics of miRs that have played major roles in vertebrate myogenesis, and discuss how the evolution of miRs is related to the morphological complexity of the vertebrates. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Houlard M.,University of Oxford | Godwin J.,University of Oxford | Metson J.,University of Oxford | Lee J.,Kobe University | And 2 more authors.
Nature Cell Biology | Year: 2015

In addition to inter-chromatid cohesion, mitotic and meiotic chromatids must have three physical properties: compaction into 'threads' roughly co-linear with their DNA sequence, intra-chromatid cohesion determining their rigidity, and a mechanism to promote sister chromatid disentanglement. A fundamental issue in chromosome biology is whether a single molecular process accounts for all three features. There is universal agreement that a pair of Smc-kleisin complexes called condensin I and II facilitate sister chromatid disentanglement, but whether they also confer thread formation or longitudinal rigidity is either controversial or has never been directly addressed respectively. We show here that condensin II (beta-kleisin) has an essential role in all three processes during meiosis I in mouse oocytes and that its function overlaps with that of condensin I (gamma-kleisin), which is otherwise redundant. Pre-assembled meiotic bivalents unravel when condensin is inactivated by TEV cleavage, proving that it actually holds chromatin fibres together. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Quan C.,Kobe University | Ren F.,Tokushima University
Information Sciences | Year: 2016

Emotion recognition in text has attracted a great deal of attention recently due to many practical applications and challenging research problems. In this paper, we explore an efficient identification of compound emotions in sentences using hidden Markov models (HMMs). In this problem, emotion has temporal structure and can be encoded as a sequence of spectral vectors spanning an article range. The major contributions of the research include the (i) proposal of weighted high-order HMMs to determine the most likely sequence of sentence emotions in an article. The weighted high-order HMMs take into account the impact degree of context emotions with different lengths of history; (ii) introduction of a representation of compound emotions by a sequence of binary digits, namely emotion code; (iii) development of an architecture that uses the emotions of simple sentences as part of known states in the weighted high-order hidden Markov emotion models for further recognizing more unknown sentence emotions. The experimental results show that the proposed weighted high-order HMMs is quite powerful in identifying sentence emotions compared with several state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms and the standard n-order hidden Markov emotion models. And the use of emotion of simple sentences as part of known states is able to improve the performance of the weighted n-order hidden Markov emotion models significantly. © 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.


Adachi N.,RIKEN | Adachi N.,Kobe University | Kuratani S.,RIKEN
Evolution and Development | Year: 2012

Vertebrate head segmentation has attracted the attention of comparative and evolutionary morphologists for centuries, given its importance for understanding the developmental body plan of vertebrates and its evolutionary origin. In particular, the segmentation of the mesoderm is central to the problem. The shark embryo has provided a canonical morphological scheme of the head, with its epithelialized coelomic cavities (head cavities), which have often been regarded as head somites. To understand the evolutionary significance of the head cavities, the embryonic development of the mesoderm was investigated at the morphological and histological levels in the shark, Scyliorhinus torazame. Unlike somites and some enterocoelic mesodermal components in other vertebrates, the head cavities in S. torazame appeared as irregular cyst(s) in the originally unsegmented mesenchymal head mesoderm, and not via segmentation of an undivided coelom. The mandibular cavity appeared first in the paraxial part of the mandibular mesoderm, followed by the hyoid cavity, and the premandibular cavity was the last to form. The prechordal plate was recognized as a rhomboid roof of the preoral gut, continuous with the rostral notochord, and was divided anteroposteriorly into two parts by the growth of the hypothalamic primordium. Of those, the posterior part was likely to differentiate into the premandibular cavity, and the anterior part disappeared later. The head cavities and somites in the trunk exhibited significant differences, in terms of histological appearance and timing of differentiation. The mandibular cavity developed a rostral process secondarily; its homology to the anterior cavity reported in some elasmobranch embryos is discussed. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Ohsawa S.,Kobe University | Sugimura K.,RIKEN | Takino K.,Kobe University | Xu T.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | And 2 more authors.
Developmental Cell | Year: 2011

A newly emerged oncogenic cell in the epithelial population has to confront antitumor selective pressures in the host tissue. However, the mechanisms by which surrounding normal tissue exerts antitumor effects against oncogenically transformed cells are poorly understood. In Drosophila imaginal epithelia, clones of cells mutant for evolutionarily conserved tumor suppressor genes such as scrib or dlg lose their epithelial integrity and are eliminated from epithelia when surrounded by wild-type tissue. Here, we show that surrounding normal cells activate nonapoptotic JNK signaling in response to the emergence of oncogenic mutant cells. This JNK activation leads to upregulation of PVR, the Drosophila PDGF/VEGF receptor. Genetic and time-lapse imaging analyses reveal that PVR expression in surrounding cells activates the ELMO/Mbc-mediated phagocytic pathway, thereby eliminating oncogenic neighbors by engulfment. Our data indicate that JNK-mediated cell engulfment could be an evolutionarily conserved intrinsic tumor-suppression mechanism that eliminates premalignant cells from epithelia. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Kojima F.,Kobe University | Knopp J.S.,Air Force Research Lab
International Journal of Innovative Computing, Information and Control | Year: 2012

This paper is concerned with a stochastic inverse methodology arising in electromagnetic imaging. Nondestructive testing using guided microwaves covers a wide range of industrial applications including early detection of anomalies in conducting materials. The focus of this paper is the identification of electromagnetic material parameters and emphasis is on one dimensional scattering of a dielectric slab. The direct problem can be solved numerically using the nite-difference time-domain method (FDTD). The Markov Chain Monte Carlo method (MCMC) is applied to the inversion problem. Some successful results of computational experiments are demonstrated in order to show the feasibility and applicability of the proposed method. © 2012 ISSN 1349-4198.


Shibata Y.,RIKEN | Takeshita H.,RIKEN | Sasakawa N.,RIKEN | Sawa H.,RIKEN | Sawa H.,Kobe University
Development | Year: 2010

The maintenance of cell fate is important for normal development and tissue homeostasis. Epigenetic mechanisms, including histone modifications, are likely to play crucial roles in cell-fate maintenance. However, in contrast to the established functions of histone methylation, which are mediated by the polycomb proteins, the roles of histone acetylation in cell-fate maintenance are poorly understood. Here, we show that the C. elegans acetylated-histone-binding protein BET-1 is required for the establishment and maintenance of stable fate in various lineages. In most bet-1 mutants, cells adopted the correct fate initially, but at later stages they often transformed into a different cell type. By expressing BET-1 at various times in development and examining the rescue of the Bet-1 phenotype, we showed that BET-1 functions both at the time of fate acquisition, to establish a stable fate, and at later stages, to maintain the established fate. Furthermore, the disruption of the MYST HATs perturbed the subnuclear localization of BET-1 and caused bet-1-like phenotypes, suggesting that BET-1 is recruited to its targets through acetylated histones. Our results therefore indicate that histone acetylation plays a crucial role in cell-fate maintenance.


Kubota H.,University of Tokyo | Noguchi R.,University of Tokyo | Toyoshima Y.,University of Tokyo | Ozaki Y.-I.,University of Tokyo | And 6 more authors.
Molecular Cell | Year: 2012

One of the unique characteristics of cellular signaling pathways is that a common signaling pathway can selectively regulate multiple cellular functions of a hormone; however, this selective downstream control through a common signaling pathway is poorly understood. Here we show that the insulin-dependent AKT pathway uses temporal patterns multiplexing for selective regulation of downstream molecules. Pulse and sustained insulin stimulations were simultaneously encoded into transient and sustained AKT phosphorylation, respectively. The downstream molecules, including ribosomal protein S6 kinase (S6K), glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase), and glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β) selectively decoded transient, sustained, and both transient and sustained AKT phosphorylation, respectively. Selective downstream decoding is mediated by the molecules' network structures and kinetics. Our results demonstrate that the AKT pathway can multiplex distinct patterns of blood insulin, such as pulse-like additional and sustained-like basal secretions, and the downstream molecules selectively decode secretion patterns of insulin. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Nakagawa S.,RIKEN | Kageyama Y.,Kobe University
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms | Year: 2014

Systematic transcriptome analysis has revealed that a vast majority of the mammalian genome is transcribed into RNA, thus establishing the concept of "pervasive transcription." More than half of these RNAs do not encode proteins, and they are collectively called noncoding RNAs. Although the physiological relevance of the transcription of these noncoding RNAs has remained unclear, it was recently proposed that one of the major roles of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in the nucleus is the regulation of gene expression at the transcriptional level via histone or DNA modification. In this review, we will summarize the advancement of our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of lncRNAs. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Chromatin and epigenetic regulation of animal development. © 2013 The Authors.


Hayashi S.,Kobe University | Okamoto T.,RIKEN
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics | Year: 2012

Surface plasmons are collective oscillations of free electrons localized at surfaces of structures made of metals. Since the surface plasmons induce fluctuations of electric charge at surfaces, they are accompanied by electromagnetic oscillations. Electromagnetic fields associated with surface plasmons are localized at surfaces of metallic structures and significantly enhanced compared with the excitation field. These two characteristics are ingredients for making good use of surface plasmons in plasmonics. Plasmonics is a rapidly growing and well-established research field, which covers various aspects of surface plasmons towards realization of a variety of surface-plasmon-based devices. In this paper, after summarizing the fundamental aspects of surface plasmons propagating on planar metallic surfaces and localized at metallic nanoparticles, recent progress in plasmonic waveguides, plasmonic light-emitting devices and plasmonic solar cells is reviewed. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Ohta K.,Kobe University | Ohta K.,Japan Science and Technology Agency | Tayama J.,Kobe University | Saito S.,Japan Institute for Molecular Science | Tominaga K.,Kobe University
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2012

In liquid water, hydrogen bonds form three-dimensional network structures, which have been modeled in various molecular dynamics simulations. Locally, the hydrogen bonds continuously form and break, and the network structure continuously fluctuates. In aqueous solutions, the water molecules perturb the solute molecules, resulting in fluctuations of the electronic and vibrational states. These thermal fluctuations are fundamental to understanding the activation processes in chemical reactions and the function of biopolymers.In this Account, we review studies of the vibrational frequency fluctuations of solute molecules in aqueous solutions using three-pulse infrared photon echo experiments. For comparison, we also briefly describe dynamic fluorescence Stokes shift experiments for investigating solvation dynamics in water. The Stokes shift technique gives a response function, which describes the energy relaxation in the nonequilibrium state and corresponds to the transition energy fluctuation of the electronic state at thermal equilibrium in linear response theorem. The dielectric response of water in the megahertz to terahertz frequency region is a key physical quantity for understanding both of these frequency fluctuations because of the influence of electrostatic interactions between the solute and solvent. We focus on the temperature dependence of the three experiments to discuss the molecular mechanisms of both the frequency fluctuations in aqueous solutions.We used a biexponential function with sub-picosecond and picosecond time constants to characterize the time-correlation functions of both the vibrational and electronic frequency fluctuations. We focus on the slower component, with time constants of 1-2 ps for both the frequency fluctuations at room temperature. However, the temperature dependence and isotope effect for the time constants differ for these two types of fluctuations. The dielectric interactions generally describe the solvation dynamics of polar solvents, and hydrodynamic theory can describe the slow component for the electronic states. Compared with the slow component of the solvation dynamics, however, the picosecond component for the vibrational frequency fluctuations is less sensitive to temperature. Therefore, the slow component of the vibrational frequency fluctuation is determined by different underlying dynamics, which are important for the solvation dynamics of the electronic state. The time constant for the picosecond component for the vibrational frequency fluctuation does not significantly depend on the solute. We propose that the vibrational frequency fluctuates because of the constant structural changes in the hydrogen-bonding network of water molecules around the solute. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Goh T.,Kobe University | Kasahara H.,RIKEN | Mimura T.,Kobe University | Kamiya Y.,RIKEN | Fukaki H.,Kobe University
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2012

In Arabidopsis thaliana, lateral root (LR) formation is regulated by multiple auxin/indole-3-acetic acid (Aux/IAA)-AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR (ARF) modules: (i) the IAA28-ARFs module regulates LR founder cell specification; (ii) the SOLITARY-ROOT (SLR)/IAA14-ARF7-ARF19 module regulates nuclear migration and asymmetric cell divisions of the LR founder cells for LR initiation; and (iii) the BODENLOS/IAA12-MONOPTEROS/ARF5 module also regulates LR initiation and organogenesis. The number of Aux/IAA-ARF modules involved in LR formation remains unknown. In this study, we isolated the shy2-101 mutant, a gain-of-function allele of short hypocotyl2/suppressor of hy2 (shy2)/iaa3 in the Columbia accession. We demonstrated that the shy2-101 mutation not only strongly inhibits LR primordium development and emergence but also significantly increases the number of LR initiation sites with the activation of LATERAL ORGAN BOUNDARIES-DOMAIN16/ASYMMETRIC LEAVES2-LIKE18, a target gene of the SLR/ IAA14 -ARF7-ARF19 module. Genetic analysis revealed that enhanced LR initiation in shy2-101 depended on the SLR/IAA14-ARF7ARF19 module. We also showed that the shy2 roots contain higher levels of endogenous IAA. These observations indicate that the SHY2/IAA3-ARF-signalling module regulates not only LR primordium development and emergence after SLR/IAA14-ARF7-ARF19 module-dependent LR initiation but also inhibits LR initiation by affecting auxin homeostasis, suggesting that multiple Aux/IAA-ARF modules cooperatively regulate the developmental steps during LR formation. © 2012 The Royal Society.


Dong B.,RIKEN | Dong B.,Ocean University of China | Hayashi S.,RIKEN | Hayashi S.,Kobe University
Current Opinion in Genetics and Development | Year: 2015

The shape of biological tubes is optimized for supporting efficient circulation of liquid and gas and to maintain organismal homeostasis. Maintaining a constant tube diameter and fitting tube length to body size are two requirements for proper tube function. The tracheal system of the Drosophila embryo is established through branching of ectodermal epithelia in the absence of environmental air, and the branching pattern and geometry of this system are genetically specified. Recent studies identified apical extracellular matrix (aECM) as a crucial regulator of tube expansion and elongation. Evidence suggests that aECM coordinates apical membrane growth and cell contractility to control tube growth at the tissue level. In the present review, we will discuss the physical mechanisms underlying this interaction. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Arata Y.,RIKEN | Lee J.-Y.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Goldstein B.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Sawa H.,RIKEN | Sawa H.,Kobe University
Development | Year: 2010

The axis of asymmetric cell division is controlled to determine the future position of differentiated cells during animal development. The asymmetric localization of PAR proteins in the Drosophila neuroblast and C. elegans embryo are aligned with the axes of the embryo. However, whether extracellular or intracellular signals determine the orientation of the localization of PAR proteins remains controversial. In C. elegans, the P0 zygote and germline cells (P1, P2, and P3) undergo a series of asymmetric cell divisions. Interestingly, the axis of the P0 and P1 divisions is opposite to that of the P2 and P3 divisions. PAR-2, a ring-finger protein, and PAR-1, a kinase, relocalize to the anterior side of the P2 and P3 germline precursors at the site of contact with endodermal precursors. Using an in vitro method, we have found that the PAR-2 protein is distributed asymmetrically in the absence of extracellular signals, but the orientation of the protein localization in the P2 and P3 cells is determined by contact with endodermal precursor cells. Our mutant analyses suggest that mes-1 and src-1, which respectively encode a transmembrane protein and a tyrosine kinase, were not required to establish the asymmetric distribution of PAR-2, but were required to determine its orientation at the site of contact with the endodermal precursors. The PAR-2 localization during the asymmetric P2 and P3 divisions is controlled by extracellular signals via MES-1/SRC-1 signaling. Our findings suggest that Src functions as an evolutionarily conserved molecular link that coordinates extrinsic cues with PAR protein localization. © 2010. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Kusakabe R.,Kobe University | Kusakabe R.,RIKEN | Kuraku S.,RIKEN | Kuraku S.,University of Konstanz | Kuratani S.,RIKEN
Developmental Biology | Year: 2011

Gnathostomes (jawed vertebrates) possess skeletal muscles with unique functional and developmental features that are absent from cyclostomes-i.e., lamprey and hagfish. These gnathostome-specific traits include the epaxial and hypaxial division of myotomes, paired fin/limb muscles, shoulder girdle muscles, and the muscle associated with the tongue and the neck. Many of these muscles are derived from several rostral somites, specifically from their hypaxial myotomic domains. However, it has not been clarified how the complicated morphology of these muscles was acquired in the evolution of vertebrates. Here we describe the expression of lamprey homologs of transcription factor genes, including a myogenic regulatory factor of the Myod family (MRF), Pax3/7, Lbx, and Zic, which play important roles in the development of ep-/hypaxial somitic muscles in gnathostomes, and show that the ventral portion of lamprey somites is comparable to the ventral dermomyotome in gnathostomes. The supra- and infraoptic muscles, derived from the two anterior somites in the lamprey, are molecularly specified before their extensive invasion into the head region. Of these, the infraoptic myotomes are suggested to represent the cucullaris homologue in the lamprey based on their topographical position in the embryonic pattern. Slightly caudal myotomes in the lamprey give rise to the hypobranchial muscle, the developmental homologue of the gnathostome hypobranchial musculature. The dorsal moieties of the lamprey somites express a Z. ic gene, which in teleosts specifies the epaxial identities of the somites. These evidences suggest that, although the myotomes in the ancestral jawless vertebrates do not exhibit ep-/hypaxial distinction at the morphological level, their dorsoventral specification would have already been present at gene regulatory levels, prior to the cyclostome-gnathostome divergence, which may have functioned as the key innovation to establish the ep-/hypaxial distinction in gnathostomes. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.


Sugioka K.,RIKEN | Sugioka K.,Kobe University | Mizumoto K.,RIKEN | Sawa H.,RIKEN | And 2 more authors.
Cell | Year: 2011

Extrinsic signals received by a cell can induce remodeling of the cytoskeleton, but the downstream effects of cytoskeletal changes on gene expression have not been well studied. Here, we show that during telophase of an asymmetric division in C. elegans, extrinsic Wnt signaling modulates spindle structures through APR-1/APC, which in turn promotes asymmetrical nuclear localization of WRM-1/β-catenin and POP-1/TCF. APR-1 that localized asymmetrically along the cortex established asymmetric distribution of astral microtubules, with more microtubules found on the anterior side. Perturbation of the Wnt signaling pathway altered this microtubule asymmetry and led to changes in nuclear WRM-1 asymmetry, gene expression, and cell-fate determination. Direct manipulation of spindle asymmetry by laser irradiation altered the asymmetric distribution of nuclear WRM-1. Moreover, laser manipulation of the spindles rescued defects in nuclear POP-1 asymmetry in wnt mutants. Our results reveal a mechanism in which the nuclear localization of proteins is regulated through the modulation of microtubules. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Inokuma K.,Kobe University | Hasunuma T.,Kobe University | Kondo A.,Kobe University | Kondo A.,RIKEN | Kondo A.,Korean University of Science and Technology
Biotechnology for Biofuels | Year: 2014

Background: The recombinant yeast strains displaying the heterologous cellulolytic enzymes on the cell surface using the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchoring system are considered promising biocatalysts for direct conversion of lignocellulosic materials to ethanol. However, the cellulolytic activities of the conventional cellulase-displaying yeast strains are insufficient for the hydrolysis of cellulose. In this study, we constructed novel gene cassettes for the efficient cellulose utilization by cellulase-displaying yeast strains. Results: The novel gene cassettes for the cell-surface display of Aspergillus aculeatus β-glucosidase (BGL1) and Trichoderma reeseii endoglucanase II (EGII) were constructed using the promoter and the GPI anchoring region derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae SED1. The gene cassettes were integrated into the S. cerevisiae genome, then the β-glucosidase activity of these recombinant strains was evaluated. We revealed that simultaneous utilization of the SED1 promoter and Sed1 anchoring domain in a gene cassette enabled highly-efficient enzyme integration into the cell wall. The β-glucosidase activity of recombinant yeast cells transduced with the novel gene cassette was 8.4-fold higher than that of a conventional strain. The novel EGII-displaying strain also achieved 106-fold higher hydrolysis activity against the water-insoluble cellulose than a conventional strain. Furthermore, direct ethanol production from hydrothermally processed rice straw was improved by the display of T. reeseii EGII using the novel gene cassette. Conclusions: We have developed novel gene cassettes for the efficient cell-surface display of exo- and endo-type cellulolytic enzymes. The results suggest that this gene cassette has the wide applicability for cell-surface display and that cellulase-displaying yeasts have significant potential for cost-effective bioethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass. © 2014 Inokuma et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Toma K.,RIKEN | Kumamoto T.,RIKEN | Hanashima C.,RIKEN | Toma K.,Kobe University | Hanashima C.,Kobe University
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2014

The prevailing view of upper-layer (UL) neurogenesis in the cerebral cortex is that progenitor cells undergo successive rounds of asymmetric cell division that restrict the competence and production of UL neurons later in development. However, the recent discovery of UL fate-committed early progenitors raises an alternative perspective concerning their ontogeny. To investigate the emergence of UL progenitors, we manipulated the timing and extent of cortical neurogenesis in vivo in mice. We demonstrated that UL competence is tightly linked to deep-layer (DL) neurogenesis and that this sequence is determined primarily through derepression of Fezf2 by Foxg1 within a closed transcriptional cascade. We further demonstrated that the sequential acquisition of UL competence requires negative feedback, which is propagated from postmitotic DL neurons. Thus, neocortical progenitors integrate intrinsic and extrinsic cues to generate UL neurons through a system that controls the sequence of DL and UL neurogenesis and to scale the production of intracortical projection neurons based on the availability of their subcortical projection neuron counterparts during cortical development and evolution. © 2014 the authors.


Hirose H.,Kobe University | Matsuzawa T.,Japan National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention | Kimura T.,Japan National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention | Kimura H.,Japan National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2014

Near the Boso Peninsula, central Japan, slow slip events (SSEs) accompanied by earthquake swarms repeatedly occur every 4 to 7 years. We apply a Network Inversion Filter to tilt change and Global Navigation Satellite Systems displacement data simultaneously in order to obtain the spatiotemporal slip evolution of the Boso Peninsula SSEs in 2007 and 2011. Slip initiates on the eastern offshore area in both of the events and propagates to the northwestward in 2007, whereas the 2011 slip propagates to the west. These slip propagations correlate well both spatially and temporally with the migration of the accompanying seismicity. This indicates that the Boso slow slip is a major driving process for earthquake swarm activities, and that monitoring of interplate slip has the potential to be used in assessing the possibility of an earthquake in near real time. Key Points GNSS and tiltmeter records are inverted to retrieve slow slip time evolution Slip propagation correlates well with the accompanying earthquake migration Boso slow slip is a major driving process for earthquake swarm activity ©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


Mizobuchi K.,Matsuyama University | Takeuchi K.,Kobe University
Energy Policy | Year: 2013

This study examines the influences of financial and non-financial factors on electricity-conservation behaviour. A random sample of 236 Japanese households participated in the field experiment and the participants were offered two interventions, such as monetary rewards, depending on their reduction in electricity consumption and comparative feedback. The average saving rates of the (i) reward-intervention group (5.9%) and the (ii) reward with comparative feedback group (8.2%) are statistically larger than those of the (iii) control group (1.7%). Our study demonstrates the following. First, our econometric analysis confirmed a significant response by households to financial incentives but a more inconclusive response to the treatment that provided non-financial, additional information. Second, we found a positive influence of treatment externalities across time and households on energy saving. Third, there is a heterogeneous treatment effect in the reward-intervention group, with the households having a high New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) score being more likely to respond to the reward programme and save electricity than those that do not. Finally, and most interestingly, differences in responses to the questionnaire before and after the experiment suggest that the participants had underestimated the marginal costs of saving electricity before they actually started to do so. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Ueda Y.,Kobe University | Duan R.,Chinese University of Hong Kong | Kawashima S.,Kyushu University
Archive for Rational Mechanics and Analysis | Year: 2012

This paper is concerned with the decay structure for linear symmetric hyperbolic systems with relaxation. When the relaxation matrix is symmetric, the dissipative structure of the systems is completely characterized by the Kawashima-Shizuta stability condition formulated in Umeda et al. (Jpn J Appl Math 1:435-457, 1984) and Shizuta and Kawashima (Hokkaido Math J 14:249-275, 1985) and we obtain the asymptotic stability result together with the explicit time-decay rate under that stability condition. However, some physical models which satisfy the stability condition have non-symmetric relaxation term (for example, the Timoshenko system and the Euler-Maxwell system). Moreover, it had been already known that the dissipative structure of such systems is weaker than the standard type and is of the regularity-loss type (see Duan in J Hyperbolic Differ Equ 8:375-413, 2011; Ide et al. in Math Models Meth Appl Sci 18:647-667, 2008; Ide and Kawashima in Math Models Meth Appl Sci 18:1001-1025, 2008; Ueda et al. in SIAM J Math Anal 2012; Ueda and Kawashima in Methods Appl Anal 2012). Therefore our purpose in this paper is to formulate a new structural condition which includes the Kawashima-Shizuta condition, and to analyze the weak dissipative structure for general systems with non-symmetric relaxation. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


Feng B.-F.,University of Texas–Pan American | Maruno K.-I.,University of Texas–Pan American | Ohta Y.,Kobe University
Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical | Year: 2010

In this paper, we propose integrable semi-discrete and full-discrete analogues of the short pulse (SP) equation. The key construction is the bilinear form and determinant structure of solutions of the SP equation. We also give the determinant formulas of N-soliton solutions of the semi-discrete and full-discrete analogues of the SP equations, from which the multi-loop and multi-breather solutions can be generated. In the continuous limit, the full-discrete SP equation converges to the semi-discrete SP equation, and then to the continuous SP equation. Based on the semi-discrete SP equation, an integrable numerical scheme, i.e. a self-adaptive moving mesh scheme, is proposed and used for the numerical computation of the short pulse equation. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Yamamoto Y.,RIKEN | Yamamoto Y.,Kobe University | Takeshita H.,RIKEN | Sawa H.,RIKEN | And 2 more authors.
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2011

During development, cell polarization is often coordinated to harmonize tissue patterning and morphogenesis. However, how extrinsic signals synchronize cell polarization is not understood. In Caenorhabditis elegans, most mitotic cells are polarized along the anterior-posterior axis and divide asymmetrically. Although this process is regulated by a Wnt-signaling pathway, Wnts functioning in cell polarity have been demonstrated in only a few cells. We analyzed how Wnts control cell polarity, using compound Wnt mutants, including animals with mutations in all five Wnt genes. We found that somatic gonadal precursor cells (SGPs) are properly polarized and oriented in quintuple Wnt mutants, suggesting Wnts are dispensable for the SGPs' polarity, which instead requires signals from the germ cells. Thus, signals from the germ cells organize the C. elegans somatic gonad. In contrast, in compound but not single Wnt mutants, most of the six seam cells, V1-V6 (which are epithelial stem cells), retain their polarization, but their polar orientation becomes random, indicating that it is redundantly regulated by multiple Wnt genes. In contrast, in animals in which the functions of three Wnt receptors (LIN-17, MOM-5, and CAM-1) are disrupted-the stem cells are not polarized and divide symmetrically-suggesting that the Wnt receptors are essential for generating polarity and that they function even in the absence of Wnts. All the seam cells except V5 were polarized properly by a single Wnt gene expressed at the cell's anterior or posterior. The ectopic expression of posteriorly expressed Wnts in an anterior region and vice versa rescued polarity defects in compound Wnt mutants, raising two possibilities: one, Wnts permissively control the orientation of polarity; or two, Wnt functions are instructive, but which orientation they specify is determined by the cells that express them. Our results provide a paradigm for understanding how cell polarity is coordinated by extrinsic signals. © 2011 Yamamoto et al.


Noguchi T.,RIKEN | Koizumi M.,RIKEN | Hayashi S.,RIKEN | Hayashi S.,Kobe University
Current Biology | Year: 2011

Background: Sperm length in Drosophilidae varies from a few hundred microns to 6 cm as a result of evolutionary selection. In postcopulatory competition, longer sperm have an advantage in positioning their head closer to the egg. Sperm cell elongation can proceed in the absence of an axoneme, suggesting that a mechanism besides intraflagellar transport emerged to sustain it. Results: Here we report that sperm elongation in Drosophila melanogaster is driven by the interdependent extension of giant mitochondria and microtubule array that is formed around the mitochondrial surface. In primary cultures of elongating spermatids, we demonstrated that the mitochondrial integrity and local dynamics of microtubules at the tail tip region are essential for uniaxial elongation of the sperm tail. Mitochondria-microtubule linker protein Milton accumulated on mitochondria near the tail tip and is required for the sliding movement of microtubules. Disruption of Milton and its associated protein dMiro, and of potential microtubule crosslinkers Nebbish and Fascetto, caused strong elongation defects, indicating that mitochondria-microtubule association and microtubule crosslinking are required for spermatid tail elongation. Conclusions: Mitochondria play unexpected roles in sperm tail elongation in Drosophila by providing a structural platform for microtubule reorganization to support the robust elongation taking place at the tip of the very long sperm tail. The identification of mitochondria as an organizer of cytoskeletal dynamics extends our understanding of mechanisms of cell morphogenesis. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Sugiura S.,Kobe University | Yamazaki K.,Japan Institute for Environmental Sciences
Behavioral Ecology | Year: 2014

Predation has led to the evolution of defensive armor in prey species. The dense and long hairs of caterpillars (i.e., lepidopteran larvae) are generally believed to play an important role as a physical defence against predators. However, few studies have been undertaken to investigate how hairs protect caterpillars from a predator's weapons. To determine the importance of caterpillar hairs as a defensive armor, we observed adults of Calosoma maximowiczi (Carabidae) attacking 5 caterpillar species with different hairiness under laboratory conditions. Carabids used their mandibles to catch caterpillars and thereafter fed on them. Almost all the larvae of 3 smooth species and a short-haired species were easily caught by carabids during their first attack. However, 53.2% of larvae in a long-haired species Lemyra imparilis (Erebidae: Arctiinae) were able to escape from carabid attacks. Even when Lemyra larvae were finally eaten, carabids required a larger number of attacks to catch Lemyra larvae. Dorsal hairs of Lemyra larvae were much longer than the mandible length of carabid adults for any body size, suggesting that the dorsal hairs can function as a physical barrier against carabid attacks. To test the hypothesis, we cut the dorsal hairs of Lemyra larvae shorter than the carabids' mandibles. Cutting the dorsal hairs of Lemyra larvae resulted in fewer carabid attacks with higher success rates. Therefore, we conclude that long hairs can protect Lemyra larvae from carabid mandibles. This is the first study to clarify the adaptive significance of caterpillar hair length as a morphological defence. © 2014 The Author.


Okazaki K.-I.,Kyoto University | Okazaki K.-I.,Waseda University | Okazaki K.-I.,Kobe University | Takada S.,Kyoto University
Structure | Year: 2011

F1-ATPase, a rotary motor powered by adenosine triphosphate hydrolysis, has been extensively studied by various methods. Here, we performed a systematic comparison of 29 X-ray crystal structures of F1- complexes, finding fine interplay among enzyme structures, catalysis, and rotations. First, analyzing the 87 structures of enzymatic αβ- subunits, we confirmed that the two modes, the hinge motion of β-subunit and the loose/tight motion of the αβ-interface, dominate the variations. The structural ensemble was nearly contiguous bridging three clusters, αβTP, αβDP, and αβE. Second, the catalytic site analysis suggested the correlation between the phosphate binding and the tightening of the αβ-interface. Third, addressing correlations of enzymatic structures with the orientations of the central stalk γ, we found that the γ rotation highly correlates with loosening of αβE-interface and βDP hinge motions. Finally, calculating the helix 6 angle of β, we identified the recently observed partially closed conformation being consistent with βHC. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Haruna T.,Kobe University | Haruna T.,Japan Science and Technology Agency | Nakajima K.,University of Zürich
Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena | Year: 2011

We study the permutation complexity of finite-state stationary stochastic processes based on a duality between values and orderings between values. First, we establish a duality between the set of all words of a fixed length and the set of all permutations of the same length. Second, on this basis, we give an elementary alternative proof of the equality between the permutation entropy rate and the entropy rate for a finite-state stationary stochastic processes first proved in [J.M. Amigó, M.B. Kennel, L. Kocarev, The permutation entropy rate equals the metric entropy rate for ergodic information sources and ergodic dynamical systems, Physica D 210 (2005) 7795]. Third, we show that further information on the relationship between the structure of values and the structure of orderings for finite-state stationary stochastic processes beyond the entropy rate can be obtained from the established duality. In particular, we prove that the permutation excess entropy is equal to the excess entropy, which is a measure of global correlation present in a stationary stochastic process, for finite-state stationary ergodic Markov processes. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Morimune S.,Kobe University | Kotera M.,Kobe University | Nishino T.,Kobe University | Goto K.,Bando Chemical Ind. Ltd. | Hata K.,Bando Chemical Ind. Ltd.
Macromolecules | Year: 2011

Carbon-based nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes, are well-known for their unique physical properties. They have attracted interest as reinforcing fillers because of their superb mechanical properties (Young's modulus ≥1 TPa and tensile strength = 100-150 GPa). However, the success of the reinforcement has been limited because of their tendency to form agglomerates in polymer matrices. We report the excellent reinforcement properties of polymer nanocomposites by the incorporation of nanodiamond (ND). ND has been expected to offer polymer nanocomposites optimal properties because of its smooth surface and excellent optical, mechanical, and thermal properties, which can approach the values of single diamond crystal. We prepared poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA)/ND nanocomposites by a simple casting method from aqueous medium and achieved the high dispersibility of ND in the PVA matrices. The resulting nanocomposites had excellent properties derived both from ND and PVA. The Young's modulus of the nanocomposites in particular increased 2.5 times compared with that of PVA film with only 1 wt % ND loading. For the thermal properties, the thermal conductivity of the nanocomposites increased dramatically, much above the calculated values, especially at a low content of ND. Furthermore, it was revealed that PVA/ND nanocomposites remained high transparency of PVA even if ND particles were imparted. We anticipate that ND will be able to compete as a nanofiller against conventional carbon-based nanofillers for polymer composites, and it is possible their reinforcement properties will be extended in the future. © 2011 American Chemical Society.


Kawagoe T.,Kobe University | Kawagoe T.,University of Zürich | Kudoh H.,Kobe University | Kudoh H.,Kyoto University
Oecologia | Year: 2010

Natural selection on flowering phenology has been studied primarily in terms of plant-pollinator interactions and effects of abiotic conditions. Little is known, however, about geographic variation in other biotic factors such as herbivores and its consequence for differential selection on flowering phenology among populations. Here, we examine selection by floral herbivores on the flowering phenology of Arabidopsis halleri subsp. gemmifera using two adjacent populations with contrasting herbivory regimes. Intensive floral herbivory by the leaf beetle Phaedon brassicae occurs in one population, while the beetle is absent in another population. We tested the hypothesis that the two populations experience differential selection on flowering time that is attributable to the presence or absence of floral herbivory. A two-year field study showed that early flowering was favoured in the population under intensive floral herbivory, whereas selection for early flowering was not found in one year in the population where floral herbivory was absent. Selection for early flowering disappeared when the abundance of floral herbivores was artificially decreased in a field experiment. Thus, the heterogeneous distribution of P. brassicae was a major agent for differential selection on flowering time. However, flowering time did not differ between the two populations when plants were grown in the laboratory. The lack of genetic differentiation in flowering time may be explained by ongoing gene flow or recent invasion of P. brassicae. This study illustrates that the role of floral herbivory in shaping geographic variation in selection on flowering phenology may be more important than previously thought. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


Naegeli H.,University of Zürich | Sugasawa K.,Kobe University
DNA Repair | Year: 2011

The nucleotide excision repair (NER) system is a fundamental cellular stress response that uses only a handful of DNA binding factors, mutated in the cancer-prone syndrome xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), to detect an astounding diversity of bulky base lesions, including those induced by ultraviolet light, electrophilic chemicals, oxygen radicals and further genetic insults. Several of these XP proteins are characterized by a mediocre preference for damaged substrates over the native double helix but, intriguingly, none of them recognizes injured bases with sufficient selectivity to account for the very high precision of bulky lesion excision. Instead, substrate versatility as well as damage specificity and strand selectivity are achieved by a multistage quality control strategy whereby different subunits of the XP pathway, in succession, interrogate the DNA double helix for a distinct abnormality in its structural or dynamic parameters. Through this step-by-step filtering procedure, the XP proteins operate like a systematic decision making tool, generally known as decision tree analysis, to sort out rare damaged bases embedded in a vast excess of native DNA. The present review is focused on the mechanisms by which multiple XP subunits of the NER pathway contribute to the proposed decision tree analysis of DNA quality in eukaryotic cells. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Duru O.,Technical University of Istanbul | Bulut E.,Kobe University | Yoshida S.,Kobe University
Expert Systems with Applications | Year: 2012

The aim of this paper is to develop a regime switching design of the fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) and to improve its functionality under the choice-varying priority (CVP) problem. In the conventional AHP decision process, priority matrices are identical and their values are invariant for a specific objective. However, in many Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) problems, the relative importance of criteria may differ according to the choices. A regime switching process is proposed for improving the CVP problem. Under the fuzzy-AHP (FAHP) framework, choice-varying priorities are presented in a cubic matrix form. Another novel contribution is suggested in the prioritization of the level of expert consistency. During the decision-making practice, experts may have different attitudes and their individual matrix consistencies might be superior or inferior in their overall practices. Individual consistency is one of the objective indicators of the quality of judgment. An expert consistency prioritization approach is proposed to deal with the classification of response stability. For the financial risk assessment part of the study, the loss probability of the intended projects is calculated by the fuzzy Monte-Carlo simulation framework. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Duru O.,Technical University of Istanbul | Bulut E.,Kobe University | Yoshida S.,Kobe University
Expert Systems with Applications | Year: 2012

This paper investigates the forecasting accuracy of fuzzy extended group decisions in the adjustment of statistical benchmark results. DELPHI is a frequently used method for implementing accurate group consensus decisions. The concept of consensus is subject to expert characteristics and it is sometimes ensured by a facilitator's judgment. Fuzzy set theory deals with uncertain environments and has been adapted for DELPHI, called fuzzy-DELPHI (FD). The present paper extends the recent literature via an implementation of FD for the adjustment of statistical predictions. We propose a fuzzy-DELPHI adjustment process for improvement of accuracy and introduced an empirical study to illustrate its performance in the validation of adjustments of statistical forecasts in the dry bulk shipping index. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Ten-no S.,Kobe University | Ten-no S.,Japan Science and Technology Agency | Noga J.,Comenius University | Noga J.,Slovak Academy of Sciences
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Molecular Science | Year: 2012

Fundamental aspects of the explicitly correlated R12 and F12 theories are summarized in the perspective of recent advances related to our contribution in this field. Starting from the basics of pair functions and second quantized formulations, the R12/F12 ansätze have been applied to MP2, coupled-cluster, and equation of motion coupled-cluster theories. Emphasis is given to approaches that use the rational generator to create the exact cusp conditions (SP ansatz). Computational aspects of the evaluation of many-electron integrals are also discussed in conjunction with the use of the Slater-type geminal, which is the predominant choice for the correlation factor in modern R12/F12 theories. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Hart P.A.,Ohio State University | Zen Y.,Kobe University | Chari S.T.,Mayo Medical School
Gastroenterology | Year: 2015

Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is a form of chronic pancreatitis that is characterized clinically by frequent presentation with obstructive jaundice, histologically by a dense lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate with fibrosis, and therapeutically by a dramatic response to corticosteroid therapy. Two distinct diseases, type 1 and type 2 AIP, share these features. However, these 2 diseases have unique pancreatic histopathologic patterns and differ significantly in their demographic profiles, clinical presentation, and natural history. Recognizing the popular and long-standing association of the term "AIP" with what is now called "type 1 AIP," we suggest using "AIP" solely for type 1 AIP and to acknowledge its own distinct disease status by using "idiopathic duct-centric chronic pancreatitis" (IDCP) for type 2 AIP. AIP is the pancreatic manifestation of immunoglobulin G4-related disease (IgG4-RD). The etiopathogenesis of AIP and IgG4-RD is largely unknown. However, the remarkable effectiveness of B-cell depletion therapy with rituximab in patients with AIP and IgG4-RD highlights the crucial role of B cells in its pathogenesis. IDCP is less commonly recognized, and little is known about its pathogenesis. IDCP has no biomarker but is associated with inflammatory bowel disease in ∼25% of patients. Recently, the international consensus diagnostic criteria for AIP identified combinations of features that are diagnostic of both diseases. Both AIP and IDCP are corticosteroid responsive; however, relapses are common in AIP and rare in IDCP. Therefore, maintenance therapy with either an immunomodulator (eg, azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, or mycophenolate mofetil) or rituximab is often necessary for patients with AIP. Long-term survival is excellent for both patients with AIP and patients with IDCP. © 2015 AGA Institute.


Tsujimoto S.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Tsujimoto S.,Kobe University | Genovesio A.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Genovesio A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Wise S.P.,U.S. National Institutes of Health
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2011

Abstract behavior-guiding rules and strategies allow monkeys to avoid errors in rarely encountered situations. In the present study, we contrasted strategy-related neuronal activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFdl) and the orbital prefrontal cortex (PFo) of rhesus monkeys. On each trial of their behavioral task, the monkeys responded to a foveal visual cue by making a saccade to one of two spatial targets. One response required a leftward saccade, the other required a saccade of equal magnitude to the right. The cues instructed the monkeys to follow one of two response strategies: to stay with their most recent successful response or to shift to the alternative response. Neurons in both areas encoded the stay and shift strategies after the cue appeared, but there were three major differences between the PFo and the PFdl: (1) many strategy-encoding cells in PFdl also encoded the response (left or right), but few, if any, PFo cells did so; (2) strategy selectivity appeared earlier in PFo than in PFdl; and (3) on error trials, PFo neurons encoded the correct strategy - the one that had been cued but not implemented - whereas in PFdl the strategy signals were weak or absent on error trials. These findings indicate that PFo and PFdl both contribute to behaviors guided by abstract response strategies, but do so differently, with PFo encoding a strategy and PFdl encoding a response based on a strategy. Copyright © 2011 the authors.


Yamada K.,Kobe University | Inaba S.,Waseda University
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2011

We study Type I migration of a planet in a radiatively efficient disc using global two-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations. The large positive corotation torque is exerted on a planet by an adiabatic disc at early times when the disc has the steep negative entropy gradient. The gas on the horseshoe orbit of the planet is compressed adiabatically during the change of the orbit from the slow orbit to the fast orbit, increasing its density and exerting the positive torque on the planet. The planet would migrate outward in the adiabatic disc before saturation sets in. We further study the effect of energy dissipation by radiation on Type I migration of the planet. The corotation torque decreases when the energy dissipates effectively because the density of the gas on the horseshoe orbit does not increase by the compression compared with the gas of the adiabatic disc. The total torque is mainly determined by the negative Lindblad torque and becomes negative. The planet migrates inwards towards the central star in the radiatively efficient disc. The migration velocity is dependent on the radiative efficiency and is greatly reduced if the radiative cooling works inefficiently. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS.


Bulut E.,Kobe University | Duru O.,Technical University of Istanbul | Kececi T.,Technical University of Istanbul | Yoshida S.,Kobe University
Expert Systems with Applications | Year: 2012

The aim of this paper is to develop a generic version of the conventional fuzzy-analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) method and investigate the shipping asset management (SAM) problem in the dry bulk shipping market. The recent literature has various applications of the FAHP, but these studies lack consistency control, use identical decision support rather than weighted expert choices, and lack measurable criteria. The proposed model, generic fuzzy-AHP (here after GF-AHP), provides a standard control of consistency on the decision matrix for the expert group. GF-AHP also improves the capabilities of the FAHP by executing direct numerical inputs without expert consultation. In practical business, some of the criteria can be easily calculated and expert consultation is a redundant process. Therefore, GF-AHP presents how to transform such numerical inputs to a priority scale. Finally, expertise differences on the decision group are reflected in the GF-AHP process by an expert weighting algorithm. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Kim M.,Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute | Platt M.J.,University of Guelph | Shibasaki T.,Kobe University | Quaggin S.E.,Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute | And 4 more authors.
Nature Medicine | Year: 2013

Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists exert antihypertensive actions through incompletely understood mechanisms. Here we demonstrate that cardiac Glp1r expression is localized to cardiac atria and that GLP-1R activation promotes the secretion of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and a reduction of blood pressure. Consistent with an indirect ANP-dependent mechanism for the antihypertensive effects of GLP-1R activation, the GLP-1R agonist liraglutide did not directly increase the amount of cyclic GMP (cGMP) or relax preconstricted aortic rings; however, conditioned medium from liraglutide-treated hearts relaxed aortic rings in an endothelium-independent, GLP-1R-dependent manner. Liraglutide did not induce ANP secretion, vasorelaxation or lower blood pressure in Glp1r-/- or Nppa -/- mice. Cardiomyocyte GLP-1R activation promoted the translocation of the Rap guanine nucleotide exchange factor Epac2 (also known as Rapgef4) to the membrane, whereas Epac2 deficiency eliminated GLP-1R-dependent stimulation of ANP secretion. Plasma ANP concentrations were increased after refeeding in wild-type but not Glp1r-/- mice, and liraglutide increased urine sodium excretion in wild-type but not Nppa-/- mice. These findings define a gut-heart GLP-1R-dependent and ANP-dependent axis that regulates blood pressure. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Patent
Kobe University and JCR Pharmaceuticals CO. | Date: 2010-07-14

Disclosed are method for treating diabetes, a protein for treatment of diabetes, and pharmaceutical composition comprising the same. The protein is human mature chemerin, which can be used to treat diabetes, in particular type 2 diabetes, inter alia to treat diabetes in a patient who is concurrently administered with insulin.


Shimizu A.,Kobe University | Nishiumi H.,Kobe University | Okumura Y.,The Japanese Red Cross Hiroshima College of Nursing | Watanabe K.,University of Shiga Prefecture
Journal of Affective Disorders | Year: 2015

Background Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common condition and may be exacerbated unless treated. There is, however, a lack of longitudinal studies about the relationship between PPD and changes in physiological status and social role postpartum. Methods We enrolled longitudinally 65 Japanese mothers (36 primiparas) and measured their psychological responses at 1 week, 1 month, and 4 months postpartum. The physiological indicators were three urine catecholamine fraction levels, cortisol levels, and heart-rate variability. We used the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and 28-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) for psychological evaluation. Results Eleven participants had an EPDS score ¥.


Masubuchi I.,Kobe University | Kurata I.,Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Automatica | Year: 2011

Gain-scheduled control via LPV system models enjoys LMI-based synthesis methods and in particular parameter-dependent Lyapunov matrices have been employed to successfully reduce conservatism. Those controllers derived via parameter-dependent Lyapunov matrices, however, end up with depending on derivatives of scheduling parameters. Though this can be avoided by approximating derivatives or restricting Lyapunov matrices to be partly constant, the former loses guarantee of performance and stability and the latter can cause conservatism. This paper proposes a synthesis method of gain-scheduled controllers that depend on filtered scheduling parameters, instead of derivatives, with a concrete guarantee of a performance level. Moreover, it is shown that the performance level of conventional derivative-dependent gain-scheduled controllers is recovered with arbitrarily small errors. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Lieshout R.,SEO Economic Research | Matsumoto H.,Kobe University
Journal of Transport Geography | Year: 2012

With the completion of Narita International Airport (Narita) in the Greater Tokyo Area, Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) was practically downgraded to a domestic airport. It lost its position as a key traffic hub for domestic to international air transport in Japan. Now the Japanese government is trying to expand its international role again by the resumption of international air services at the airport. A route choice probability model is applied to show how Haneda's hub competitive position in its connecting markets from Japan has changed since the resumption of these services.The results reveal that Haneda's market shares increased significantly in the markets between Japan and Asia-Oceania, between Japan and Europe and between Japan and North America. The dense domestic networks offered at Haneda appear to connect well with the newly started international flights to Asia-Oceania, Europe and North America. The competitive position of Haneda in the connecting markets from Japan is expected to increase towards 2013 when its international air networks will be expanded further. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Goto Y.,Shinshu University | Kawamura Y.,Shinshu University | Miura T.,Kobe University
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

We study the possibility of family unification on the basis of SU(N) gauge theory on the six-dimensional space-time, M4×T2/ZN. We obtain enormous numbers of models with three families of SU(5) matter multiplets and those with three families of the standard model multiplets, from a single massless Dirac fermion with a higher-dimensional representation of SU(N), through the orbifold breaking mechanism. © 2013 American Physical Society.


Kohri K.,University Graduate Center | Lin C.-M.,Kobe University | Matsuda T.,Lancaster University
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

The primordial black hole (PBH) formation is studied in light of the inflating curvaton. The typical scale of the PBH formation is determined by curvaton inflation, which may generate PBH with 1014 g≤MPBH≤1038 g when curvaton inflation gives the number of e-foldings 5≤N2≤38. The non-Gaussianity of the inflating curvaton does not prevent the PBH formation. © 2013 American Physical Society.


Beitz E.,TU Braunschweig | Guttler C.,TU Braunschweig | Guttler C.,Kobe University | Weidling R.,TU Braunschweig | Blum J.,TU Braunschweig
Icarus | Year: 2012

The formation of planetesimals in the early Solar System is hardly understood, and in particular the growth of dust aggregates above millimeter sizes has recently turned out to be a difficult task in our understanding (Zsom, A., Ormel, C.W., Güttler, C., Blum, J., Dullemond, C.P. [2010]. Astron. Astrophys., 513, A57). Laboratory experiments have shown that dust aggregates of these sizes stick to one another only at unreasonably low velocities. However, in the protoplanetary disk, millimeter-sized particles are known to have been ubiquitous. One can find relics of them in the form of solid chondrules as the main constituent of chondrites. Most of these chondrules were found to feature a fine-grained rim, which is hypothesized to have formed from accreting dust grains in the solar nebula. To study the influence of these dust-coated chondrules on the formation of chondrites and possibly planetesimals, we conducted collision experiments between millimeter-sized, dust-coated chondrule analogs at velocities of a few cms -1. For 2 and 3mm diameter chondrule analogs covered by dusty rims of a volume filling factor of 0.18 and 0.35-0.58, we found sticking velocities of a few cms -1. This velocity is higher than the sticking velocity of dust aggregates of the same size. We therefore conclude that chondrules may be an important step towards a deeper understanding of the collisional growth of larger bodies. Moreover, we analyzed the collision behavior in an ensemble of dust aggregates and non-coated chondrule analogs. While neither the dust aggregates nor the solid chondrule analogs show sticking in collisions among their species, we found an enhanced sicking efficiency in collisions between the two constituents, which leads us to the conjecture that chondrules might act as " catalyzers" for the growth of larger bodies in the young Solar System. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Weidling R.,TU Braunschweig | Guttler C.,TU Braunschweig | Guttler C.,Kobe University | Blum J.,TU Braunschweig
Icarus | Year: 2012

Over the past years the processes involved in the growth of planetesimals have extensively been studied in the laboratory. Based on these experiments, a dust-aggregate collision model was developed upon which computer simulations were based to evaluate how big protoplanetary dust aggregates can grow and to analyze which kinds of collisions are relevant in the solar nebula and are worth further studies in the laboratory. The sticking threshold velocity of millimeter-sized dust aggregates is one such critical value that have so far only theoretically been derived, as the relevant velocities could not be reached in the laboratory. We developed a microgravity experiment that allows us for the first time to study free collisions of mm-sized dust aggregates down to velocities of ~0.1cms -1 to assess this part of the protoplanetary dust evolution model. Here, we present the results of 125 free collisions between dust aggregates of 0.5-2mm diameter. Seven collisions with velocities between 0.2 and 3cms -1 led to sticking, suggesting a transition from perfect sticking to perfect bouncing with a certain sticking probability instead of a sharp velocity threshold. We developed a model to explain the physical processes involved in dust-aggregate sticking, derived dynamical material properties of the dust aggregates from the results of the collisions, and deduced the velocity below which dust aggregates always stick. For millimeter-sized porous dust aggregates this velocity is 8×10 -5ms -1. © 2011 Elsevier Inc..


Kawamura Y.,Shinshu University | Miura T.,Kobe University
International Journal of Modern Physics A | Year: 2013

We classify the standard model fermions, which originate from bulk fields of the 27 or 27 representation after orbifold breaking, in E6 grand unified theories on five-or six-dimensional space-time, under the condition that q, ec and uc survive as zero modes for each 27 or 27. We study features of supersymmetric SU(5) ×U(1)1 ×U(1) 2 model. © 2013 World Scientific Publishing Company.


Santara B.,Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati | Giri P.K.,Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati | Giri P.K.,Kobe University | Imakita K.,Kobe University | Fujii M.,Kobe University
Nanoscale | Year: 2013

We report on the oxygen vacancy induced ferromagnetism (FM) at and above room temperature in undoped TiO2 nanoporous nanoribbons synthesized by a solvothermal route. The origin of FM in as-synthesized and vacuum annealed undoped nanoribbons grown for different reaction durations followed by calcinations was investigated by several experimental tools. X-Ray diffraction pattern and micro-Raman studies reveal the TiO2(B), TiO 2(B)-anatase, and anatase-rutile mixed phases of TiO2 structure. Field emission scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy observations reveal nanoribbons with uniform pore distribution and nanopits/nanobricks formed on the surface. These samples exhibit strong visible photoluminescence associated with oxygen vacancies and a clear ferromagnetic hysteresis loop, both of which dramatically enhanced after vacuum annealing. Direct evidence of oxygen vacancies and related Ti3+ in the as-prepared and vacuum annealed TiO2 samples are provided through X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis. Micro-Raman, infrared absorption and optical absorption spectroscopic analyses further support our conclusion. The observed room temperature FM in undoped TiO2 nanoribbons is quantitatively analyzed and explained through a model involving bound magnetic polarons (BMP), which include an electron locally trapped by an oxygen vacancy with the trapped electron occupying an orbital overlapping with the unpaired electron (3d1) of Ti3+ ion. Our analysis interestingly shows that the calculated BMP concentration scales linearly with concentration of oxygen vacancies and provides a stronger footing for exploiting defect engineered ferromagnetism in undoped TiO2 nanostructures. The development of such highly porous TiO2 nanoribbons constitutes an important step towards realizing improved visible light photocatalytic and photovoltaic applications of this novel material. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


Ohta Y.,Kobe University | Yang J.,University of Vermont
Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical | Year: 2013

General rogue waves in the Davey-Stewartson (DS)II equation are derived by the bilinear method, and the solutions are given through determinants. It is shown that the simplest (fundamental) rogue waves are line rogue waves which arise from the constant background in a line profile and then retreat back to the constant background again. It is also shown that multi-rogue waves describe the interaction between several fundamental rogue waves, and higher order rogue waves exhibit different dynamics (such as rising from the constant background but not retreating back to it). Under certain parameter conditions, these rogue waves can blow up to infinity in finite time at isolated spatial points, i.e. exploding rogue waves exist in the DSII equation. © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Ghosh R.,Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati | Giri P.K.,Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati | Imakita K.,Kobe University | Fujii M.,Kobe University
Journal of Alloys and Compounds | Year: 2015

We investigate the mechanism of red shift in photoluminescence (PL) and reduction in the PL lifetime from Si nanocrystals (NCs) decorated on vertical Si nanowires (NWs) array due to ZnO over layer coating. Arrays of vertically aligned single crystalline Si NWs decorated with arbitrary shaped Si NCs have been fabricated by a silver assisted wet chemical etching method. A strong broad band and tunable visible to near-infrared PL is observed from these Si NWs at room temperature and the Si NCs on the surface of the Si NWs are primarily responsible for the PL emission. Higher band gap ZnO film is sputter deposited on the Si NCs decorated Si NWs to form heterostructure. Bare Si NW/NCs and Si NCs/ZnO heterostructures show extremely high broad band absorption in the entire visible region. PL studies on the Si NCs/ZnO heterostructures reveal significant red shift and in some cases reduced intensity of the PL band due to the ZnO layer in close proximity of the Si NCs. This is accompanied by a reduction in the PL lifetime of the Si NCs after ZnO coating. Interestingly, no measurable red shift in PL is observed in absence of the resonance in the visible PL emission energy of ZnO and that of Si NCs. The modified PL from the heterostructures is explained through an energy band diagram on the basis of resonant energy transfer from the defect assisted recombination of the carries in the ZnO overlayer that excites the Si NCs in the close proximity and subsequent de-excitation process via radiative recombination. These findings have important bearing on the development of cost effective Si-based hybrid optoelectronic devices using wide band gap heterostructured oxide semiconductors. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Tateya S.,Kobe University | Kim F.,University of Washington | Tamori Y.,Kobe University | Tamori Y.,Chibune Hospital
Frontiers in Endocrinology | Year: 2013

It has been demonstrated in rodents and humans that chronic inflammation characterized by macrophage infiltration occurs mainly in adipose tissue or liver during obesity, in which activation of immune cells is closely associated with insulin sensitivity. Macrophages can be classified as classically activated (M1) macrophages that support microbicidal activity or alternatively activated (M2) macrophages that support allergic and antiparasitic responses. In the context of insulin action, M2 macrophages sustain insulin sensitivity by secreting IL-4 and IL-10, while M1 macrophages induce insulin resistance through the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNFα. Polarization of M1/M2 is controlled by various dynamic functions of other immune cells. It has been demonstrated that, in a lean state, TH2 cells, Treg cells, natural killer T cells, or eosinophils contribute to the M2 activation of macrophages by secreting IL-4 or IL-10. In contrast, obesity causes alteration of the constituent immune cells, in which TH1 cells, B cells, neutrophils, or mast cells induce M1 activation of macrophages by the elevated secretion of TNFα and IFNγ. Increased secretion of TNFα and free fatty acids from hypertrophied adipocytes also contributes to the M1 activation of macrophages. Since obesity-induced insulin resistance is established by macrophage infiltration and the activation of immune cells inside tissues, identification of the factors that regulate accumulation and the intracellular signaling cascades that define polarization of M1/M2 would be indispensable. Regulation of these factors would lead to the pharmacological inhibition of obesity-induced insulin resistance. In this review, we introduce molecular mechanisms relevant to the pathophysiology and review the most recent studies of clinical applications targeting chronic inflammation. ©2013 Tateya, Kim and Tamori.


Somekawa H.,Japan National Institute of Materials Science | Watanabe H.,Osaka Municipal Technical Research Institute | Mukai T.,Kobe University
Philosophical Magazine | Year: 2014

The effect of solid-solution alloying on grain boundary sliding (GBS) was investigated using pure magnesium and six kinds of Mg-X (X = Ag, Al, Li, Pb, Y and Zn) dilute binary solid solutions with an average grain size of 10 m. A sharp increase in damping capacity caused by GBS was observed above a certain temperature. The temperature at which a sharp increase in damping capacity occurred depended on the alloying element. The addition of Y and Ag markedly increased the onset temperature (more than 100 K) for a sharp increase in damping capacity, whereas the addition of Zn, Al and Li slightly increased the onset temperature (less than 50 K) as compared with that for pure magnesium. Tensile tests at a temperature of 423 K revealed that the higher the onset temperature, the lower the strain rate sensitivity of the flow stress. It is suggested that the former elements (Y and Ag) are more effective in suppressing GBS in magnesium alloys than the latter ones (Zn, Al and Li). The suppression of GBS was associated with low grain boundary energy, and the extent to which the energy is reduced depended on the alloying element. It was suggested that the change in the lattice parameter (the so-called c/a ratio) affects the grain boundary energy, and thus, the occurrence of GBS. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.


Ohta Y.,Kobe University | Yang J.,University of Vermont
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics | Year: 2012

General rogue waves in the Davey-Stewartson-I equation are derived by the bilinear method. It is shown that the simplest (fundamental) rogue waves are line rogue waves which arise from the constant background with a line profile and then disappear into the constant background again. It is also shown that multirogue waves describe the interaction of several fundamental rogue waves. These multirogue waves also arise from the constant background and then decay back to it, but in the intermediate times, interesting curvy wave patterns appear. However, higher-order rogue waves exhibit different dynamics. Specifically, only part of the wave structure in the higher-order rogue waves rises from the constant background and then retreats back to it, and this transient wave possesses patterns such as parabolas. But the other part of the wave structure comes from the far distance as a localized lump, which decelerates to the near field and interacts with the transient rogue wave, and is then reflected back and accelerates to the large distance again. © 2012 American Physical Society.


Dohzono I.,Kobe University | Yokoyama J.,Yamagata University
Applied Entomology and Zoology | Year: 2010

Alien pollinators can disrupt mutualistic plant-animal interactions. Here we review studies on alien bee pollinators, demonstrating the ways in which invasive honeybees and bumblebees affect native plant seed production. Impacts of alien pollinators vary among pollination systems and among components of pollination success (visitation frequency, pollen transfer per visit, and pollen limitation). Reproduction of native bird-pollinated plants is little impacted by alien honeybees, because birds can pollinate even when honeybees visit target flowers. In bee-pollinated native plants, alien honeybee impacts on reproduction may be pervasive, but are not clearly defined in many cases; this lack of clarity arises because very few control sites without invasive bees are available, making comparative evaluation impossible. In bumblebee-pollinated plants, alien bumblebee effects are strong because native and invasive bee species are closely related congeners (of the genus Bombus) with similar pollinator mechanisms; alien bumblebees compete strongly with natives or replace them. In general, morphological, ecological, and behavioral similarities between native and alien pollinators are important for predicting their competitive interaction intensities and their effects on plant reproduction. The impacts of alien bees include (1) decreased pollen transfer per visit because of the loose morphological correspondence between flowers and alien bees, (2) increased competition for floral resources and exclusion of native pollinators because native and alien bees have similar ecological requirements, (3) changes in native pollinator visitation frequency and pollination efficiency caused by particular alien pollinator behavioral traits (such as stealing nectar or collecting previously-deposited pollen from stigmas). For a quantitative evaluation of invasion impacts, it is important to determine whether native plants suffer pollen limitation. To demonstrate pollen limitation, comparative studies with controls (that lack alien pollinators) are required. This approach is essential for discerning possible mechanisms responsible for observed patterns.


Ohta Y.,Kobe University | Yang J.,University of Vermont
Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences | Year: 2012

General high-order rogue waves in the nonlinear Schrödinger equation are derived by the bilinear method. These rogue waves are given in terms of determinants whose matrix elements have simple algebraic expressions. It is shown that the general N-th order rogue waves contain N - 1 free irreducible complex parameters. In addition, the specific rogue waves obtained by Akhmediev et al. (Akhmediev et al. 2009 Phys. Rev. E 80, 026601 (doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.80. 026601)) correspond to special choices of these free parameters, and they have the highest peak amplitudes among all rogue waves of the same order. If other values of these free parameters are taken, however, these general rogue waves can exhibit other solution dynamics such as arrays of fundamental rogue waves arising at different times and spatial positions and forming interesting patterns. © 2012 The Royal Society.


Aoyama M.,Kobe University | Kotani J.,Hyogo College of Medicine | Usami M.,Kobe University
Nutrition | Year: 2010

Objective: Decreased neutrophil apoptosis is implicated in persistent inflammation resulting in systemic inflammatory response syndrome and multiple organ dysfunctions syndromes. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) may be a candidate to control neutrophil apoptosis because SCFAs are normally produced in the gut and related products have been approved for human use. We investigated the effects of SCFAs on apoptosis of activated and non-activated neutrophils and their mechanisms. Methods: Purified neutrophils obtained from healthy volunteers were preincubated for 1 h with or without the G-protein receptor (GPR) inhibitor pertussis toxin (100 ng/mL) or U-73122 (50 ng/mL), extracellular signal-related protein kinase inhibitor PD98059 (10 μM), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38 inhibitor SB203580 (25 μM), Jun kinase inhibitor-I (2 μM), caspase-3 and -7 inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK (100 μM), caspase-8 inhibitor Z-IETD-FMK (50 μM), or caspase-9 inhibitor Z-LEHD-FMK (50 μM). The cells were then cultured with or without SCFAs or trichostatin A, a typical histone deacetylase inhibitor, in the presence or absence of lipopolysaccharide (1 μg/mL) or tumor necrosis factor-α (100 ng/mL). Neutrophil apoptosis was assessed by annexin V staining using flow cytometry. The GPR-41 and -43 and apoptosis-related proteins (bax, mcl-1, a1) mRNA were measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and the expression of acetylated histone H3 was determined by western blot. Results: The caspase inhibitors inhibited butyrate- and propionate-induced neutrophil apoptosis treated or untreated with lipopolysaccharide or tumor necrosis factor-α, whereas GPR and MAPK inhibitors had no effect. The mRNA expressions of GPR-43 and a1 protein were reduced by butyrate and propionate. The expressions of acetylated histone H3 were induced by butyrate and propionate. Conclusion: These results suggest that butyrate and propionate increase apoptosis of neutrophils irrespective of their activation state, by factors other than GPRs and MAPKs, and their mechanisms likely relate to their histone deacetylase inhibition activity, which may control a1 mRNA expression. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.


Kothe S.,TU Braunschweig | Blum J.,TU Braunschweig | Weidling R.,TU Braunschweig | Guttler C.,TU Braunschweig | Guttler C.,Kobe University
Icarus | Year: 2013

We conducted micro-gravity experiments to study the outcome of collisions between sub-mm-sized dust agglomerates consisting of μm-sized SiO2 monomer grains at velocities of several cms-1. Prior to the experiments, we used X-ray computer tomography (nano-CT) imaging to study the internal structure of these dust agglomerates and found no rim compaction so that their collision behavior is not governed by preparation-caused artefacts. We found that collisions between these dust aggregates can lead either to sticking or to bouncing, depending mostly on the impact velocity. While previous collision models derived the transition between both regimes from contact physics, we used the available empirical data from these and earlier experiments to derive a power law relation between dust-aggregate mass and impact velocity for the threshold between the two collision outcomes. In agreement with earlier experiments, we show that the transition between both regimes is not sharp, but follows a shallower power law than predicted by previous models (Güttler, C., Blum, J., Zsom, A., Ormel, C.W., Dullemond, C.P. [2010]. Astron. Astrophys. 513, A56). Furthermore, we find that sticking between dust aggregates can lead to the formation of larger structures. Collisions between aggregates-of-aggregates can lead to growth at higher velocities than homogeneous dust agglomerates. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Ohta Y.,Kobe University | Yang J.,University of Vermont
Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical | Year: 2014

General rogue waves in the focusing and defocusing Ablowitz-Ladik equations are derived by the bilinear method. In the focusing case, it is shown that rogue waves are always bounded. In addition, fundamental rogue waves reach peak amplitudes which are at least three times that of the constant background, and higher-order rogue waves can exhibit patterns such as triads and circular arrays with different individual peaks. In the defocusing case, it is shown that rogue waves also exist. In addition, these waves can blow up to infinity in finite time. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Kondo N.,Kobe University | Kondo N.,Wilmer Eye Institute | Bessho H.,Kobe University | Honda S.,Kobe University | Negi A.,Kobe University
Ophthalmology | Year: 2011

Purpose To investigate whether the Y402H variant in the complement factor H gene is associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in Asian populations. Design Meta-analysis of previous publications. Participants Case-control groups of subjects with AMD and controls from 13 association studies. Methods We performed a meta-analysis of the association between Y402H and AMD in Asian populations using data available from 13 case-control studies involving 3973 subjects. Summary odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using fixed- and random-effects models. The Q-statistic test was used to assess heterogeneity, and Eggers test was used to evaluate publication bias. Sensitivity analysis, cumulative meta-analysis, and meta-regression analysis were also performed. Main Outcome Measures Allele and genotype frequencies of the Y402H variant. Results The Y402H variant showed a significant summary OR of 1.97 (95% CI, 1.542.52; P<0.001; allelic contrast model) per allele. Possession of at least 1 copy of the C allele increased the disease risk by 1.97-fold (95% CI, 1.632.39; P<0.001; dominant model) and accounted for 8.8% of the attributable risk of AMD in Asian populations. Sensitivity analysis indicated the robustness of our findings, and evidence of publication bias was not observed in our meta-analysis. Meta-regression analysis indicated no significant effect of baseline study characteristics on the summary effect size. Cumulative meta-analysis revealed that the summary ORs were stable and the 95% CIs narrowed with the accumulation of data over time. Conclusions Our analysis provides substantial evidence that the Y402H variant is significantly associated with AMD in Asian populations. Our results expand the number of confirmed AMD susceptibility loci for Asians populations, which provide a better understanding of the genetic architecture underlying disease susceptibility and may advance the potential for preclinical prediction in future genetic tests by a combined evaluation of inherited susceptibility with previously established loci. Financial Disclosure(s) The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article. © 2011 American Academy of Ophthalmology.


Kanno T.,Kyoto University | Yokokohji Y.,Kobe University
Haptics Symposium 2012, HAPTICS 2012 - Proceedings | Year: 2012

In this paper, a wave-variables-based control method for time-delayed multilateral teleoperation systems, which synchronizes position and force among multiple (three or more) master/slave arms, is proposed. The proposed method introduces a wave node, where multiple wave-variable-based transmission lines are connected. The behavior of such a wave node is formulated. Passivity of the system is guaranteed against arbitrary number of master/slave arms and arbitrary length of constant time-delay. In addition, position drift due to time-varying delay is compensated by introducing wave-integral-error feedback. Experimental results show that the proposed control method achieves position and force tracking of dual-master-single-slave system. © 2012 IEEE.


Obata I.,Kyoto University | Obata I.,Kobe University | Miura T.,Kobe University | Soda J.,Kobe University
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2015

We study chromo-natural inflation in the axiverse. More precisely, we investigate natural inflation with two axions coupled with a SU(2) gauge field. Assuming a hierarchy between the coupling constants, we find that for certain initial conditions, conventional natural inflation commences and continues for tens of e-foldings, and subsequently chromo-natural inflation takes over from natural inflation. For these solutions, we expect that the predictions are in agreement with observations on CMB scales. Moreover, since chromo-natural inflation occurs in the latter part of the inflationary stage, chiral primordial gravitational waves are produced in the interesting frequency range higher than 10-11Hz, which might be detectable by future gravitational wave observations. © 2015 American Physical Society.


Tashman S.,University of Pittsburgh | Araki D.,University of Pittsburgh | Araki D.,Kobe University
Clinics in Sports Medicine | Year: 2013

The purposes of this article are to discuss key factors for assessing joint function, to present some recent findings, and to address the future directions for evaluating the function of the anterior cruciate ligament-injured/reconstructed knees. Well-designed studies, using state-of-the art tools to assess knee kinematics under in vivo, dynamic, high-loading conditions, are necessary to evaluate the relative performance of different procedures for restoring normal joint motion. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Fedorov D.G.,Japan National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology | Asada N.,Kyoto University | Nakanishi I.,Kinki University | Kitaura K.,Kobe University
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2014

ConspectusChemists routinely work with complex molecular systems: solutions, biochemical molecules, and amorphous and composite materials provide some typical examples. The questions one often asks are what are the driving forces for a chemical phenomenon? How reasonable are our views of chemical systems in terms of subunits, such as functional groups and individual molecules? How can one quantify the difference in physicochemical properties of functional units found in a different chemical environment? Are various effects on functional units in molecular systems additive? Can they be represented by pairwise potentials? Are there effects that cannot be represented in a simple picture of pairwise interactions? How can we obtain quantitative values for these effects?Many of these questions can be formulated in the language of many-body effects. They quantify the properties of subunits (fragments), referred to as one-body properties, pairwise interactions (two-body properties), couplings of two-body interactions described by three-body properties, and so on. By introducing the notion of fragments in the framework of quantum chemistry, one obtains two immense benefits: (a) chemists can finally relate to quantum chemistry, which now speaks their language, by discussing chemically interesting subunits and their interactions and (b) calculations become much faster due to a reduced computational scaling. For instance, the somewhat academic sounding question of the importance of three-body effects in water clusters is actually another way of asking how two hydrogen bonds affect each other, when they involve three water molecules. One aspect of this is the many-body charge transfer (CT), because the charge transfers in the two hydrogen bonds are coupled to each other (not independent).In this work, we provide a generalized view on the use of many-body expansions in fragment-based methods, focusing on the general aspects of the property expansion and a contraction of a many-body expansion in a formally two-body series, as exemplified in the development of the fragment molecular orbital (FMO) method. Fragment-based methods have been very successful in delivering the properties of fragments, as well as the fragment interactions, providing insights into complex chemical processes in large molecular systems. We briefly review geometry optimizations performed with fragment-based methods and present an efficient geometry optimization method based on the combination of FMO with molecular mechanics (MM), applied to the complex of a subunit of protein kinase 2 (CK2) with a ligand. FMO results are discussed in comparison with experimental and MM-optimized structures. © 2014 American Chemical Society.


Furukawa S.,Kyoto University | Sakata Y.,Kyoto University | Sakata Y.,Kobe University | Kitagawa S.,Kyoto University
Chemistry Letters | Year: 2013

Entangled porous coordination frameworks, wherein two or more distinct frameworks are catenated over an entire crystal, are known to demonstrate unique structural flexibilities in response to the accommodation of molecules in the voids between the frameworks. In this highlight review, we introduce key functions of entangled frameworks based on two principles of their dynamic features: shearing and displacement. We further describe strategies to control the flexibilities; one is a molecular chemistry approach to functionalize frameworks by chemical modification, and the other is a mesoscopic chemistry approach to change the physical form, in particular, the crystal size. © 2013 The Chemical Society of Japan.


Kanda T.,Teikyo University | Ishii K.,Kinki University | Kawaguchi H.,Teikyo University | Kitajima K.,Kobe University | Takenaka D.,Teikyo University
Radiology | Year: 2014

Purpose: To explore any correlation between the number of previous gadolinium- based contrast material administrations and high signal intensity (SI) in the dentate nucleus and globus pallidus on unenhanced T1- weighted magnetic resonance (MR) images. Materials and Methods: The institutional review board approved this study, waiving the requirement to obtain written informed consent. A group of 381 consecutive patients who had undergone brain MR imaging was identified for cross-sectional analysis. For longitudinal analysis, 19 patients who had undergone at least six contrast-enhanced examinations were compared with 16 patients who had undergone at least six unenhanced examinations. The mean SIs of the dentate nucleus, pons, globus pallidus, and thalamus were measured on unenhanced T1-weighted images. The dentate nucleus-to-pons SI ratio was calculated by dividing the SI in the dentate nucleus by that in the pons, and the globus pallidus-to-thalamus SI ratio was calculated by dividing the SI in the globus pallidus by that in the thalamus. Stepwise regression analysis was undertaken in the consecutive patient group to detect any relationship between the dentate nucleus-to-pons or globus pallidus-to-thalamus SI ratio and previous gadolinium-based contrast material administration or other factors. A random coefficient model was used to evaluate for longitudinal analysis. Results: The dentate nucleus-to-pons SI ratio showed a significant correlation with the number of previous gadolinium-based contrast material administrations (P < .001; regression coefficient, 0.010; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.009, 0.011; standardized regression coefficient, 0.695). The globus pallidus-to-thalamus SI ratio showed a significant correlation with the number of previous gadolinium-based contrast material administrations (P < .001; regression coefficient, 0.004; 95% CI: 0.002, 0.006; standardized regression coefficient, 0.288), radiation therapy (P = .009; regression coefficient,20.014; 95% CI: 20.025, 20.004; standardized regression coefficient, 20.151), and liver function (P = .031; regression coefficient, 0.023; 95% CI: 0.002, 0.044; standardized regression coefficient, 0.107). The dentate nucleus-topons and globus pallidus-to-thalamus SI ratios in patients who had undergone contrast-enhanced examinations were significantly greater than those of patients who had undergone unenhanced examinations (P < .001 for both). Conclusion: High SI in the dentate nucleus and globus pallidus on unenhanced T1-weighted images may be a consequence of the number of previous gadolinium-based contrast material administrations. © 2014 RSNA.


Nishino T.,Kobe University | Tanaka T.,Kyoto University | Hokugo A.,Kobe University
Fire Safety Journal | Year: 2012

An evaluation method for urban post-earthquake fire risk is presented. Urban fires and urban evacuations are highly dependent on uncertain factors, such as the number and locations of fire outbreaks, the wind velocity and direction, and the population distribution. To implement effective measures to ensure the safety of buildings and individuals in fires, a method to evaluate the effectiveness of the various safety measures that consider the influence of the uncertain factors is essential. Risk is introduced into the proposed method, in which the risk is defined as the probability that the ratio of burned-down buildings or fire fatalities in a district will exceed a threshold within a given time period after an earthquake. The risk is calculated by a combination of Monte Carlo simulation and physics-based fire-spread/evacuation simulation, in which uncertainty is considered in the following inputs: (1) the number and locations of fire outbreaks; (2) the firefighting at the initial stages; (3) the weather; (4) the earthquake-related structural damage to buildings; (5) the initial evacuee locations and (6) the obstruction of roads. In this paper, the risk of Kyoto City was evaluated for eight types of inland earthquake to demonstrate the use of the model. As a result, the effectiveness of countermeasures that improve the fire resistance of buildings could be quantified in terms of risk reduction. This result indicates that the method could be an effective tool for disaster prevention. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


The rupture process of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake is estimated from the joint inversion of teleseismic body waves and geodetic data using multiple timewindow analysis. To enhance the reliability of the inversion solution, two important inversion-setting parameters that control the spatiotemporal slip distribution, the maximum slip duration of each subfault (Tsd) and the propagation velocity of the first time window (Vftw), are determined by objective criteria. By performing a semblance analysis of small-aperture seismic array data of near-source strong motion waveforms, Tsd is determined to be 100 s. Vftw is determined to be 2:0 km=s from the matching of the teleseismic and geodetic slip models. The spatial resolution of geodetic inversion is significantly improved by using seafloor crustal deformation data in the source area in addition to the terrestrial Global Positioning System network data. The estimated seismic moment and the maximum slip are 3:4 × 1022 N·m (Mw = 9:0) and 43 m, respectively. The total rupture duration is ~150 s. Large slip is seen in the shallow part of the fault surface, including the hypocenter, and its spatial extent along the trench axis is ~300 km. This model is consistent with the results of bathymetric surveys and the slip models from tsunami data. The relationships among the fault parameters of the characterized source model of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake suggest the possibility that saturation of fault width occurs for this huge earthquake.


Tanigawa K.,Geological Survey of Japan | Hyodo M.,Kobe University | Sato H.,University of Hyogo
Holocene | Year: 2013

This study presents relative sea-level (RSL) change from 11,200 to 500 cal. BP in the Toyooka Basin, western Japan. Diatom assemblage and sedimentary sulfur analyses were performed for 32 sediment cores obtained from thick Holocene fluvial and marine deposits. An age model was constructed based on tephrochronology and 31 radiocarbon ages from elevations of -46.85 to +1.51 m in 19 cores. The RSLs in the Toyooka Basin are -31.05 m in elevation at 10,000 cal BP, above -4.00 m at 7900 cal. BP, -0.47 m at 6700 cal. BP and +0.15 m at 3300 cal. BP. A rapid sea-level rise, at a rate of about 23 mm/yr, is observed during the period from 10,600 to 10,300 cal. BP. Relative sea-level rose at a rate of about 12 mm/yr between 10,000 and 7900 cal. BP. The rate of sea-level rise decelerated at 7900 cal. BP, from about 12 mm/yr (10,000-7900 cal. BP) to 3 mm/yr (7900-6700 cal. BP). The mid-Holocene sea-level highstand probably occurred between 7000 and 6000 cal. BP, but it remains difficult to constrain its elevation. These RSL features described here may provide a typical example of Holocene sea-level changes resulting from both eustatic and hydro-isostatic components for the Japanese islands. © The Author(s) 2013.


Hirao H.,Kyoto University | Hirao H.,Kobe University | Morokuma K.,Kyoto University | Morokuma K.,Emory University
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2010

Hydroxyethylphosphonate dioxygenase (HEPD) is a mononuclear nonheme iron enzyme that utilizes an O2 molecule to cleave a C-C bond in 2-hydroxyethylphosphonate and produce hydroxymethylphosphonate (HMP) and formic acid. Density functional theory calculations were performed on an enzyme active-site model of HEPD to understand its catalytic mechanism. The reaction starts with H-abstraction from the C2 position of 2-HEP by a ferric superoxide-type (Fe(III)-OO•-) intermediate, in a similar manner to the H-abstraction in the reaction of the dinuclear iron enzyme myo-inositol oxygenase. The resultant Fe(II)-OOH intermediate may follow either a hydroperoxylation or hydroxylation pathway, the former process being energetically more favorable. In the hydroperoxylation pathway, a ferrous-alkylhydroperoxo intermediate is formed, and then its O-O bond is homolytically cleaved to yield a complex of ferric hydroxide with a gem-diol radical. Subsequent C-C bond cleavage within the gem-diol leads to formation of an R-CH2• species and one of the two products (i.e., formic acid). The R-CH2• then intramolecularly forms a C-O bond with the ferric hydroxide to provide the other product, HMP. The overall reaction pathway does not require the use of a high-valent ferryl intermediate but does require ferric superoxide and ferric hydroxide intermediates. © 2010 American Chemical Society.


Murakawa Y.,Kobe University | Nagai M.,Hosei University | Mizutani Y.,Osaka University
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2012

Protein dynamics of human adult hemoglobin (HbA) upon ligand photolysis of oxygen (O 2) and carbon monoxide (CO) was investigated using time-resolved resonance Raman (TR 3) spectroscopy. The TR 3 spectra of the both photoproducts at 1-ns delay differed from that of the equilibrium deligated form (deoxy form) in the frequencies of the iron-histidine stretching [ν(Fe-His)] and methine wagging (γ 7) modes, and the band intensity of pyrrole stretching and substituent bending (ν 8) modes. Spectral changes of the O 2 photoproduct in the submicrosecond region were faster than those of the CO photoproduct, indicating that the structural dynamics following the photodissociation is ligand dependent for HbA. In contrast, no ligand dependence of the dynamics was observed for myoglobin, which has a structure similar to that of the subunit of HbA. The structural dynamics and relevance to the functionality of HbA also are discussed. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Uchino T.,Kobe University | Yoko T.,Kyoto University
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2012

We show through density functional theory calculations that extended magnetic states can inherently occur in oxides as the size of the crystals is reduced down to the nanometer scale. In nanoscale systems, some crystallographically perfect MgO crystallites paradoxically result in nonstoichiometric compositions, either cation deficient or oxygen deficient, owing to the finite number of constituting atoms. In structurally perfect but Mg-deficient substoichiometric nanocrystallites, the spin-triplet state is found to be more stable than the spin-singlet state, giving rise to an extended spin distribution that expands over the entire crystal. The further introduction of an Mg vacancy enables a higher spin-quintuplet state, enhancing the degree of spin polarization. According to this picture, long-range magnetic order arises from the combined effect of crystal symmetry and nonstoichiometry that can coexist exclusively in nanoscale systems. The idea can also give reasonable explanations for the unprecedented ferromagnetic features observed commonly in nanoscale oxides, including ubiquity, anisotropy, and diluteness. © 2012 American Physical Society.


Ueda K.,Kyoto University | Tayagaki T.,Kyoto University | Fukuda M.,Kobe University | Fujii M.,Kobe University | Kanemitsu Y.,Kyoto University
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2012

Dynamics of quantized Auger recombination in Si 1-xGe x nanocrystals (NCs) embedded in SiO 2 films was studied by femtosecond intraband pump-probe spectroscopy. The temporal change of the electron-hole pair number under strong photoexcitation was well explained by the quantized Auger recombination model that considered the size distribution of NCs. On the basis of the dependence of the Auger decay rate on temperature and Ge composition, we confirmed the occurrence of breakdown of the k-conservation rule in quantized Auger recombination in Si and Si 1-xGe x NCs. © 2012 American Physical Society.


Tsuda A.,Kobe University | Nagamine Y.,University of Tokyo | Watanabe R.,University of Tokyo | Nagatani Y.,Kobe City College of Technology | And 2 more authors.
Nature Chemistry | Year: 2010

The question of whether sound vibration of a medium can bring about any kind of molecular or macromolecular events is a long-standing scientific controversy. Although it is known that ultrasonic vibrations with frequencies of more than 1? MHz are able to align certain macromolecules in solution, no effect has yet been reported with audible sound, the frequency of which is much lower (20-20,000 Hz). Here, we report on the design of a supramolecular nanofibre that in solution becomes preferentially aligned parallel to the propagation direction of audible sound. This phenomenon can be used to spectroscopically visualize sound-induced vibrations in liquids and may find application in a wide range of vibration sensing technologies. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


Hoshino Y.,University of Pittsburgh | Hoshino Y.,Kobe University | Fu F.H.,University of Pittsburgh | Irrgang J.J.,University of Pittsburgh | Tashman S.,University of Pittsburgh
Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research | Year: 2013

Background: Rotational kinematics has become an important consideration after ACL reconstruction because of its possible influence on knee degeneration. However, it remains unknown whether ACL reconstruction can restore both rotational kinematics and normal joint contact patterns, especially during functional activities. Questions/purposes: We asked whether knee kinematics (tibial anterior translation and axial rotation) and joint contact mechanics (tibiofemoral sliding distance) would be restored by double-bundle (DB) or single-bundle (SB) reconstruction. Methods: We retrospectively studied 17 patients who underwent ACL reconstruction by the SB (n = 7) or DB (n = 10) procedure. We used dynamic stereo x-ray to capture biplane radiographic images of the knee during downhill treadmill running. Tibial anterior translation, axial rotation, and joint sliding distance in the medial and lateral compartments were compared between reconstructed and contralateral knees in both SB and DB groups. Results: We observed reduced anterior tibial translation and increased knee rotation in the reconstructed knees compared to the contralateral knees in both SB and DB groups. The mean joint sliding distance on the medial compartment was larger in the reconstructed knees than in the contralateral knees for both the SB group (9.5 ± 3.9 mm versus 7.5 ± 4.3 mm) and the DB group (11.1 ± 1.3 mm versus 7.9 ± 3.8 mm). Conclusions: Neither ACL reconstruction procedure restored normal knee kinematics or medial joint sliding. Clinical Relevance: Further study is necessary to understand the clinical significance of abnormal joint contact, identify the responsible mechanisms, and optimize reconstruction procedures for restoring normal joint mechanics after ACL injury. © 2012 The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons®.


Mizuno N.,Kobe University | Yamasaki M.,Kobe University | Matsuoka Y.,Fukui Prefectural University | Kawahara T.,Kyoto University | Takumi S.,Kobe University
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2010

Aegilops tauschii Coss. is the D-genome progenitor of hexaploid wheat. Aegilops tauschii, a wild diploid species, has a wide natural species range in central Eurasia, spreading from Turkey to western China. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis using a total of 122 accessions of Ae. tauschii was conducted to clarify the population structure of this widespread wild wheat species. Phylogenetic and principal component analyses revealed two major lineages in Ae. tauschii. Bayesian population structure analyses based on the AFLP data showed that lineages one (L1) and two (L2) were respectively significantly divided into six and three sublineages. Only four out of the six L1 sublineages were diverged from those of western habitats in the Transcaucasia and northern Iran region to eastern habitats such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. Other sublineages including L2 were distributed to a limited extent in the western region. Subspecies strangulata seemed to be differentiated in one sublineage of L2. Among three major haplogroups (HG7, HG9 and HG16) previously identified in the Ae. tauschii population based on chloroplast variation, HG7 accessions were widely distributed to both L1 and L2, HG9 accessions were restricted to L2, and HG16 accessions belonged to L1, suggesting that HG9 and HG16 were formed from HG7 after divergence of the first two lineages of the nuclear genome. These results on the population structure of Ae. tauschii and the genealogical relationship among Ae. tauschii accessions should provide important agricultural and evolutionary knowledge on genetic resources and conservation of natural genetic diversity. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Yamamoto S.,Kobe University | Yamamoto S.,Kyoto University
Behaviour | Year: 2015

Food sharing is considered to be a driving force in the evolution of cooperation in human societies. Previously postulated hypotheses for the mechanism and evolution of food sharing, e.g., reciprocity and sharing-under-pressure, were primarily proposed on the basis of meat sharing in chimpanzees. However, food sharing in bonobos has some remarkably different characteristics. Here I report details pertaining to fruit sharing in wild bonobos inWamba based on 150 events of junglesop fruit sharing between independent individuals. The bonobos, primarily adult females, shared fruit that could be obtained individually without any cooperation or specialized skills. There was no evidence for reciprocal exchange, and their peaceful sharing seems to contradict the sharing-under-pressure explanation. Subordinate females begged for abundant fruit from dominants; this might indicate that they tested the dominants' tolerance based on social bonds rather than simply begging for the food itself, suggesting existence of courtesy food sharing in bonobos. © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.


Uchino T.,Kobe University | Yoko T.,Kyoto University
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2013

We investigate the effect of surface defects and the related low-coordinated surface atoms on the defect-induced magnetism in MgO nanocrystallites using hybrid density functional theory calculations. It has been demonstrated that when Mg vacancies are introduced at the surface or near surface of cubelike MgO clusters, a magnetic state (S ≥ 1) becomes lower in total energy than the nonmagnetic singlet state (S = 0) by several electron volts, resulting in the robust spin-polarized ground state. The total spin S of the clusters in their ground state is equal to the number of the surface Mg vacancies introduced. The resulting spin density is not only located at the surrounding O atoms neighbor to the Mg vacancy site but is also extended to the low-coordinated surface O atoms along the 110 direction, forming ferromagneticlike domains. This directional spin delocalization allows a remote (∼1 nm or longer) vacancy-vacancy interaction, eventually leading to a long-range ferromagnetic interaction. © 2013 American Physical Society.


Long K.R.,University of Pittsburgh | Yamamoto Y.,University of Pittsburgh | Yamamoto Y.,Kobe University | Baker A.L.,University of Pittsburgh | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Cell Biology | Year: 2010

The guanosine triphosphatase Sar1 controls the assembly and fission of COPII vesicles. Sar1 utilizes an amphipathic N-terminal helix as a wedge that inserts into outer membrane leaflets to induce vesicle neck constriction and control fission. We hypothesize that Sar1 organizes on membranes to control constriction as observed with fission proteins like dynamin. Sar1 activation led to membrane-dependent oligomerization that transformed giant unilamellar vesicles into small vesicles connected through highly constricted necks. In contrast, membrane tension provided through membrane attachment led to organization of Sar1 in ordered scaffolds that formed rigid, uniformly nonconstricted lipid tubules to suggest that Sar1 organization regulates membrane constriction. Sar1 organization required conserved residues located on a unique C-terminal loop. Mutations in this loop did not affect Sar1 activation or COPII recruitment and enhanced membrane constriction, yet inhibited Sar1 organization and procollagen transport from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Sar1 activity was directed to liquid-disordered lipid phases. Thus, lipid-directed and tether-assisted Sar1 organization controls membrane constriction to regulate ER export. © 2010 Long et al.


Katoh N.,Kobe University | Itoh Y.,University of Hyogo | Toyota E.,Kobe Science Museum | Sato B.,Tokyo Institute of Technology
Astronomical Journal | Year: 2013

Orbital elements of 37 single-lined spectroscopic binary systems (SB1s) and 5 double-lined spectroscopic binary systems (SB2s) were determined using high-dispersion spectroscopy. To determine the orbital elements accurately, we carried out precise Doppler shift measurements using the HIgh Dispersion Echelle Spectrograph mounted on the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory 1.88 m telescope. We achieved a radial-velocity precision of ∼10 m s-1 over seven years of observations. The targeted binaries have spectral types between F5 and K3, and are brighter than the 7th magnitude in the V band. The orbital elements of 28 SB1s and 5 SB2s were determined at least 10 times more precisely than previous measurements. Among the remaining nine SB1s, five objects were found to be single stars, and the orbital elements of four objects were not determined because our observations did not cover the entire orbital period. We checked the absorption lines from the secondary star for 28 SB1s and found that three objects were in fact SB2s. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Gao B.,National Human Genome Research Institute | Song H.,National Human Genome Research Institute | Bishop K.,National Human Genome Research Institute | Elliot G.,National Human Genome Research Institute | And 8 more authors.
Developmental Cell | Year: 2011

It is fundamentally important that signaling gradients provide positional information to govern morphogenesis of multicellular organisms. Morphogen gradients can generate different cell types in specific spatial order at distinct threshold concentrations. However, it is largely unknown whether and how signaling gradients also control cell polarities by acting as global cues. Here, we show that Wnt signaling gradient provides directional information to a field of cells. Vangl2, a core component in planar cell polarity, forms Wnt-induced receptor complex with Ror2 to sense Wnt dosages. Wnts dose-dependently induce Vangl2 phosphorylation of serine/threonine residues and Vangl2 activities depend on its levels of phosphorylation. In the limb bud, Wnt5a signaling gradient controls limb elongation by establishing PCP in chondrocytes along the proximal-distal axis through regulating Vangl2 phosphorylation. Our studies have provided new insight to Robinow syndrome, Brachydactyly Type B1, and spinal bifida which are caused by mutations in human ROR2, WNT5A, or VANGL. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Hasegawa J.-Y.,Kyoto University | Fujimoto K.J.,Kobe University | Nakatsuji H.,Japan Science and Technology Agency
ChemPhysChem | Year: 2011

Depending on protein environment, a single photofunctional chromophore shows a wide variation of photoabsorption/emission energies. This photobiological phenomenon, known as color tuning, is observed in human visual cone pigments, firefly luciferase, and red fluorescent protein. We investigate the origin of color tuning by quantum chemical calculations on the excited states: symmetry-adapted cluster-configuration interaction (SAC-CI) method for excited states and a combined quantum mechanical (QM)/molecular mechanical (MM) method for protein environments. This Minireview summarizes our theoretical studies on the above three systems and explains a common feature of their color-tuning mechanisms. It also discuss the possibility of artificial color tuning toward a rational design of photoabsorption/emission properties. © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Mizutani M.,Kobe University | Sato F.,Kyoto University
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics | Year: 2011

Plant cytochromes P450 (P450s) participate in a variety of biochemical pathways to produce a vast diversity of plant natural products. The number of P450 genes in plant genomes is estimated to be up to 1% of the total gene annotations of each plant species, implying that plants are huge sources for various P450-dependent reactions. Plant P450s catalyze a wide variety of monooxygenation/hydroxylation reactions in secondary metabolism, and some of them are involved in unusual reactions such as methylenedioxy-bridge formation, phenol coupling reactions, oxidative rearrangement of carbon skeletons, and oxidative C-C bond cleavage. Here, we summarize unusual P450 reactions in various plant secondary metabolisms, and describe their proposed reaction mechanisms. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.