University of Tsukuba
  • Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
Recent publications
During development, the embryonic, cartilaginous skull in vertebrates is partially replaced by bones with endochondral and perichondral ossifications. In order to investigate the association between muscle attachments and early ossifications of late term reptilian embryos, we conducted digital 3d reconstructions of the cranium, the head-, and the neck musculature from a histological section series of an embryonic tuatara, Sphenodon punctatus, with a total body length of 52 mm. This species forms an important outgroup in comparative studies on squamate evolution. We found that head and neck muscles are largely associated with early endochondral ossification of the basal plate and the palatoquadrate, and with three other ossifications in an older specimen with a total body length of 72 mm. These results suggest that tensile forces resulting from embryonic muscle contraction are largely, but not exclusively, correlated with the area of endochondral ossification in the chondrocranium and palatoquadrate in tuatara. Beyond little known genetic factors, the complexity of chondrocranial architecture, the progress of its development, and the effect of multiple muscle transmitting forces in the embryonic skull need to be considered to provide a balanced discussion on the mechanical properties of the embryonic skull. Keywords: Sphenodon punctatus, chondrocranium, skull, muscle forces, palatoquadrate
We have developed a new and compact β-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) system using beta-radioactive nuclei. By using a Halbach array permanent magnet to create a static magnetic field, and a scintillating fiber as a detector, we succeeded in significantly reducing the size and weight of the entire system. The performance of the new spectrometer was tested and evaluated by observing an NMR spectrum of ¹⁹O (T1/2 = 26.9 s, I = 5/2) in TiO2.
Social insect colonies constantly produce dead insects, which cause sanitary problems and potentially foster deadly pathogens and parasites. Hence, many social insects have evolved a variety of hygienic behaviors to remove cadavers from the colonies. To that end, they have to discriminate dead insects from live ones, where chemical cues should play important roles. In ants, bees and termites, such corpse recognition signals, also referred to as “death pheromones” or “necromones”, have been identified as fatty acids, specifically oleic acid and/or linoleic acid. Meanwhile, there has been no such report on social aphids. Here we attempted to identify the “death pheromone” of a gall-forming social aphid with second instar soldiers, Tuberaphis styraci , by making use of an artificial diet rearing system developed for this species. On the artificial diet plates, soldiers exhibited the typical cleaning behavior, pushing colony wastes with their heads continuously, against dead aphids but not against live aphids. GC-MS and GC-FID analyses revealed a remarkable increase of linoleic acid on the body surface of the dead aphids in comparison with the live aphids. When glass beads coated with either linoleic acid or body surface extract of the dead aphids were placed on the artificial diet plates, soldiers exhibited the cleaning behavior against the glass beads. A series of behavioral assays showed that (i) soldiers exhibit the cleaning behavior more frequently than non-soldiers, (ii) young soldiers perform the cleaning behavior more frequently than old soldiers, and (iii) the higher the concentration of linoleic acid is, the more active cleaning behavior is induced. Analysis of the lipids extracted from the aphids revealed that linoleic acid is mainly derived from phospholipids that constitute the cell membranes. In conclusion, we identified linoleic acid as the corpse recognition factor of the social aphid T. styraci . The commonality of the death pheromones across the divergent social insect groups (Hymenoptera, Blattodea and Hemiptera) highlights that these unsaturated fatty acids are generally produced by enzymatic autolysis of cell membranes after death and therefore amenable to utilization as a reliable signal of dead insects.
This prospective multicenter study, established by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and involving 27 institutions, aimed to compare postoperative outcomes between laminoplasty (LM) and posterior fusion (PF) for cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL), in order to address the controversy surrounding the role of instrumented fusion in cases of posterior surgical decompression for OPLL. 478 patients were considered for participation in the study; from among them, 189 (137 and 52 patients with LM and PF, respectively) were included and evaluated using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, the JOA Cervical Myelopathy Evaluation Questionnaire (JOACMEQ), and radiographical measurements. Basic demographic and radiographical data were reviewed, and the propensity to choose a surgical procedure was calculated. Preoperatively, there were no significant differences among the participants in terms of patient backgrounds, radiographical measurements (K-line or cervical alignment on X-ray, OPLL occupation ratio on computed tomography, increased signal intensity change on magnetic resonance imaging), or clinical status (JOA score and JOACMEQ) after adjustments. The overall risk of perioperative complications was found to be lower with LM (odds ratio [OR] 0.40, p = 0.006), and the rate of C5 palsy occurrence was significantly lower with LM (OR 0.11, p = 0.0002) than with PF. The range of motion (20.91° ± 1.05° and 9.38° ± 1.24°, p < 0.0001) in patients who had PF was significantly smaller than in those who had LM. However, multivariable logistic regression analysis showed no significant difference among the participants in JOA score, JOA recovery rate, or JOACMEQ improvement at two years. In contrast, OPLL progression was greater in the LM group than in the PF group (OR 2.73, p = 0.0002). Both LM and PF for cervical myelopathy due to OPLL had resulted in comparable postoperative outcomes at 2 years after surgery.
Background The oogamous green algal genus Volvox exhibits extensive diversity in mating systems, including heterothallism and homothallism with unisexual (male and/or female) and/or bisexual spheroids. Although four mating systems have been recognized worldwide in strains identified as “ Volvox africanus ”, most of these strains are extinct. However, we previously rediscovered two types of the four mating systems (heterothallic, and homothallic with male and bisexual spheroids within a clone) from an ancient Japanese lake, Lake Biwa. Results Here, we obtained strains exhibiting the third mating system (homothallic with unisexual male and female spheroids within a clone) from a freshwater area of Kalasin Province, Thailand. When sexual reproduction was induced in the present Thai strains, both male and female unisexual spheroids developed to form smooth-walled zygotes within a clonal culture. Phylogenetic analyses of the internal transcribed spacer region-2 of nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences from all four mating systems, including the extinct strains, resolved the third mating system is basal or paraphyletic within the homothallic clade. Conclusions The present morphological and molecular data of the Thai strains indicate that they belong to the homothallic species V. africanus . The phylogenetic results suggested that third mating system (homothallic with separate male and female sexual spheroids) may represent an initial evolutionary stage of transition from heterothallism to homothallism within Volvox africanus . Further field collections in geologically stable intracontinental regions may be fruitful for studying diversity and taxonomy of the freshwater green algal genus Volvox .
The interplay between electron correlation and topology of relativistic electrons may lead to a fascinating stage of the research on quantum materials and emergent functions. The emergence of various collective electronic orderings/liquids, which are tunable by external stimuli, is a remarkable feature of correlated electron systems, but has rarely been realized in the topological semimetals with high-mobility relativistic electrons. Here, we report that the correlated Dirac electrons in perovskite CaIrO 3 show unconventional field-induced successive metal–insulator–metal crossovers in the quantum limit accompanying a giant magnetoresistance (MR) with MR ratio of 3500 % (18 T and 1.4 K). In conjunction with the numerical calculation, we propose that the insulating state originates from the collective electronic ordering such as charge/spin density wave promoted by electron correlation, whereas it turns into the quasi-one-dimensional metal at higher fields due to the field-induced reduction of chemical potential, highlighting the highly field-tunable character of correlated Dirac electrons.
Morphological profiling is an omics-based approach for predicting intracellular targets of chemical compounds in which the dose-dependent morphological changes induced by the compound are systematically compared to the morphological changes in gene-deleted cells. In this study, we developed a reliable high-throughput (HT) platform for yeast morphological profiling using drug-hypersensitive strains to minimize compound use, HT microscopy to speed up data generation and analysis, and a generalized linear model to predict targets with high reliability. We first conducted a proof-of-concept study using six compounds with known targets: bortezomib, hydroxyurea, methyl methanesulfonate, benomyl, tunicamycin, and echinocandin B. Then we applied our platform to predict the mechanism of action of a novel diferulate-derived compound, poacidiene. Morphological profiling of poacidiene implied that it affects the DNA damage response, which genetic analysis confirmed. Furthermore, we found that poacidiene inhibits the growth of phytopathogenic fungi, implying applications as an effective antifungal agent. Thus, our platform is a new whole-cell target prediction tool for drug discovery.
The accurate simulation of additional interactions at the ATLAS experiment for the analysis of proton–proton collisions delivered by the Large Hadron Collider presents a significant challenge to the computing resources. During the LHC Run 2 (2015–2018), there were up to 70 inelastic interactions per bunch crossing, which need to be accounted for in Monte Carlo (MC) production. In this document, a new method to account for these additional interactions in the simulation chain is described. Instead of sampling the inelastic interactions and adding their energy deposits to a hard-scatter interaction one-by-one, the inelastic interactions are presampled, independent of the hard scatter, and stored as combined events. Consequently, for each hard-scatter interaction, only one such presampled event needs to be added as part of the simulation chain. For the Run 2 simulation chain, with an average of 35 interactions per bunch crossing, this new method provides a substantial reduction in MC production CPU needs of around 20%, while reproducing the properties of the reconstructed quantities relevant for physics analyses with good accuracy.
In social networking services (SNSs) such as Twitter and Facebook, a variety of information is transmitted among users, and the network grows through the chain of information transmission. The process of information diffusion can be regarded as a dynamic network with users as nodes and information transmission between users as edges. In this study, we propose a stimulation index that serves as an importance index of dynamic edges in information diffusion networks. The stimulation index quantifies the inducement degree of new information transmissions represented as subsequent edges in a dynamic network. Experiments confirm the validity of the index’s stimulation score (STM) as a measure of importance in information diffusion through evaluation experiments using artificial data. In addition, the stimulation index accumulates data and thus enlarges as the network grows. In this work, we focus on the number of candidate nodes that can be directly or indirectly stimulated by an edge, and we propose k-DGC as a feature for edge occurrence. We predict the future stimulation index using k-DGC as input, and the results show consistent performance on a real Twitter dataset.
Objective The Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) has recently been used to treat movement disorders. Although studies have shown its effectiveness for chronic myelopathy, the immediate effects of HAL gait training on lower limb function have not been clarified. We conducted HAL gait training and examined its immediate effects on a 69-year-old man with re-deterioration of myelopathy in the chronic phase after surgery for compression myelopathy. The HAL intervention was performed every 4 weeks for 10 total sessions. Immediately before and after each session, we analyzed the patient’s walking ability using the 10-m walk test. In the 4th HAL session, the gastrocnemius muscle activity was measured bilaterally using a synchronized motion capture-electromyogram system. Results The training effects became steady after the 2nd session. In sessions 2–10, the step length increased from 0.56 to 0.63 m (mean: 0.031 m) immediately after HAL training. The motion capture-electromyogram analyses showed that considerable amounts of gastrocnemius muscle activity were detected during the stance and swing phases before HAL training. During and immediately after HAL training, gastrocnemius activity during the swing phase was diminished. HAL gait training has an immediate effect for inducing a normal gait pattern with less spasticity in those with chronic myelopathy.
The ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider has a broad physics programme ranging from precision measurements to direct searches for new particles and new interactions, requiring ever larger and ever more accurate datasets of simulated Monte Carlo events. Detector simulation with Geant4 is accurate but requires significant CPU resources. Over the past decade, ATLAS has developed and utilized tools that replace the most CPU-intensive component of the simulation—the calorimeter shower simulation—with faster simulation methods. Here, AtlFast3, the next generation of high-accuracy fast simulation in ATLAS, is introduced. AtlFast3 combines parameterized approaches with machine-learning techniques and is deployed to meet current and future computing challenges, and simulation needs of the ATLAS experiment. With highly accurate performance and significantly improved modelling of substructure within jets, AtlFast3 can simulate large numbers of events for a wide range of physics processes.
Using the nationwide health insurance claims database in Japan, we estimated total annual medical expenditures for fragility hip fracture across the population at 329.2 billion yen (2.99 billion US dollars). Long-term care expenditures were not included. Fragility hip fracture imposes a considerable health economic burden on society in Japan. Purpose Fragility hip fracture imposes a substantial health economic burden on society globally. We aimed to estimate medical expenditures for fragility hip fracture using the nationwide health insurance claims database in Japan. Methods We included adults aged 60 and over without prior hip fracture who were admitted for fragility hip fracture (i.e., femoral neck or extracapsular) between October 2014 and October 2015 (13 months). Fragility hip fracture was identified through newly assigned disease codes for fracture and procedure codes associated with the fracture. As a proxy for medical expenditures per patient, incremental payments were calculated (i.e., the difference between the total payments 6 months before and after fragility hip fracture). The total payments included health insurance reimbursements and copayments for inpatient and outpatient services. Long-term care expenditures were not included in this study. Results We identified 142,361 individuals (28,868 male and 113,493 female) with fragility hip fracture. Mean medical expenditures for fragility hip fracture per patient were 2,550,000 yen (¥) (23,180 US dollars [$]; ¥110 = $1) in male and ¥2,494,000 ($22,670) in female patients, respectively. Total annual medical expenditures for fragility hip fracture across the population were 329.2 billion yen (2.99 billion US dollars): 67.96 billion yen (620 million US dollars) in male and 261.24 billion yen (2.37 billion US dollars) in female patients, respectively. Conclusion This is the first study to estimate medical expenditures for hip fracture using the nationwide health insurance claims database, which represents almost all health insurance claims in Japan. Fragility hip fracture inflicts a considerable health economic burden on society in Japan.
In the present study, we elucidated the effect of grain-based (GB) diet containing both soluble and insoluble fibers and purified ingredients-based (PIB) diet containing only insoluble fiber, namely cellulose on mice gut microbiome using whole shotgun based metagenomic sequencing. Although the fiber content in both diet types is the same (5%) the presence of soluble fiber only in the GB diet differentiates it from the PIB diet. The taxonomic analysis of sequenced reads reveals a significantly higher enrichment of probiotic Lactobacilli in the GB group as compared to the PIB group. Further, the enhancement of energy expensive cellular processes namely, cell cycle control, cell division, chromosome partitioning, and transcription is observed in the GB group which could be due to the metabolization of the soluble fiber for faster energy production. In contrast, a higher abundance of cellulolytic bacterial community namely, the members of family Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae and the metabolism functions are found in the PIB group. The PIB group shows a significant increase in host-derived oligosaccharide metabolism functions indicating that they might first target the host-derived oligosaccharides and self-stored glycogen in addition to utilising the available cellulose. In addition to the beneficial microbial community variations, both the groups also exhibited an increased abundance of opportunistic pathobionts which could be due to an overall low amount of fiber in the diet. Furthermore, backtracing analysis identified probiotic members of Lactobacillus , viz., L. crispatus ST1 , L. fermentum CECT 5716 , L. gasseri ATCC 33323 , L. johnsonii NCC 533 and L. reuteri 100-23 in the GB group, while Bilophila wadsworthia 3_1_6 , Desulfovibrio piger ATCC 29098 , Clostridium symbiosum WAL-14163 , and Ruminococcaceae bacterium D16 in the PIB group. These data suggest that Lactobacilli , a probiotic community of microorganisms, are the predominant functional contributors in the gut of GB diet-fed mice, whereas pathobionts too coexisted with commensals in the gut microbiome of the PIB group. Thus at 5% fiber, GB modifies the gut microbial ecology more effectively than PIB and the inclusion of soluble fiber in the GB diet may be one of the primary factors responsible for this impact.
Purpose To compare the diagnostic performance of deep learning models using convolutional neural networks (CNN) with that of radiologists in diagnosing endometrial cancer and to verify suitable imaging conditions. Methods This retrospective study included patients with endometrial cancer or non-cancerous lesions who underwent MRI between 2015 and 2020. In Experiment 1, single and combined image sets of several sequences from 204 patients with cancer and 184 patients with non-cancerous lesions were used to train CNNs. Subsequently, testing was performed using 97 images from 51 patients with cancer and 46 patients with non-cancerous lesions. The test image sets were independently interpreted by three blinded radiologists. Experiment 2 investigated whether the addition of different types of images for training using the single image sets improved the diagnostic performance of CNNs. Results The AUC of the CNNs pertaining to the single and combined image sets were 0.88–0.95 and 0.87–0.93, respectively, indicating non-inferior diagnostic performance than the radiologists. The AUC of the CNNs trained with the addition of other types of single images to the single image sets was 0.88–0.95. Conclusion CNNs demonstrated high diagnostic performance for the diagnosis of endometrial cancer using MRI. Although there were no significant differences, adding other types of images improved the diagnostic performance for some single image sets.
Background Pulmonary benign metastasizing leiomyoma (PBML) is a rare disease that can occur in women with a history of uterine leiomyoma. Despite its benign histological features, like a malignancy, leiomyomas can on rare occasion spread to the lung. Typically, PBML presents with asymptomatic multiple solid lung nodules with slow tumor progression, following hysterectomy. Here, we present an atypical case with rapid enlargement of PBML with fluid-containing cystic change. Case presentation We experienced a case of a 49-year-old woman with bilateral lung nodules following hysterectomy. Two nodules in the right lung had cystic change with fluid in the tumors. Hormone therapy was initiated after surgical biopsy of the left lung confirmed a diagnosis of PBML. However, the cystic component of right upper lobe lesion enlarged rapidly over the following 7 months, and, considering the risk of malignant transformation or tumor rupture, right upper lobectomy was performed. Pathologically, the fluid-containing tumor was diagnosed as PBML. Conclusion Given the risk of rapid progression, we should carefully consider the surgical indications of fluid-containing PBML.
Objective Portal mesenchymal cells induce the epithelial differentiation of the bile ducts in the developing liver via one of the Delta-Notch signaling components, JAGGED1. Although this differential induction is crucial for normal liver physiology as its genetic disorder (Alagille syndrome) causes jaundice, the molecular mechanism behind JAGGED1 expression remains unknown. Here, we searched for upstream regulatory transcription factors of JAGGED1 using an integrated bioinformatics method. Results According to the DoRothEA database, which integrates multiple lines of evidence on the relationship between transcription factors and their downstream target genes, three transcription factors were predicted to be upstream of JAGGED1: SLUG, SOX2, and EGR1. Among these, SLUG and EGR1 were enriched in ACTA2-expressing portal mesenchymal cells in two previously reported human fetal liver single-cell RNA-seq datasets. JAGGED1-expressing portal mesenchymal cells tended to express SLUG rather than EGR1, supporting that SLUG induced JAGGED1 expression. Together with the higher confidentiality of SLUG (DoRothEA level A) over EGR1 (DoRothEA level D), we concluded that SLUG was one of the most important candidate transcription factors upstream of JAGGED1. These results add mechanistic insights into the developmental biology of how portal mesenchymal cells support biliary development in the liver.
A moment magnitude 6.2 crustal earthquake occurred in northern Thailand on May 5, 2014, and its aftershocks exhibit several lineaments with conjugate pattern, involving geometric complexity in a multi-segmented fault system of the Phayao Fault Zone. However, a relationship between those geometric complexities and the rupture evolution of the 2014 Thailand earthquake is still elusive, which is critical to understand complex nature of the earthquake physics and to assess the hazard. Here, we elaborated the newly developed potency density tensor inversion method, used it to invert the globally observed teleseismic P waveforms, and estimated the spatiotemporal distribution of both the slip and the fault geometry. We found the complex rupture evolution consisting of two rupture episodes along a conjugated strike-slip fault system that comprises two distinct fault planes. The first episode originated at the hypocenter and the rupture propagated south along the north–northeast to south–southwest fault plane. The second episode was triggered at around 5 km north from the epicenter, and the rupture propagated along the east–northeast to west–southwest fault plane and terminated at the west end of the source area at 5 s hypocentral time. Our work demonstrates that our potency density tensor inversion can be applied to the smaller-scale magnitude-6 class earthquakes, and it resolves the complex rupture process controlled by the underlying geometric complexity in the fault system.
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5,590 members
Hiromi Yanagisawa
  • Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance (TARA Center)
Yasuteru Shigeta
  • College of Physics
Makoto Satoh
  • International Insititute for Integrative Sleep Medicine
Hirofumi Matsui
  • Department of Gastroenterology
Shingo Takano
  • Department of Neurosurgery
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Tennodai 1-1-1, 305-8571, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
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http://www.tsukuba.ac.jp/en/