As humans, not all our body organs can adequately regenerate after injury, an ability that declines with age. In some species, however, regeneration is a hallmark response that can occur limitless numbers of time throughout the life of an organism. Understanding how such species can regenerate so efficiently is of central importance to regenerative medicine. Sea urchins, unlike humans, can regenerate their spinal tissue after injury. Here the authors study the effect of a growth factor, FGF2, on sea urchin regeneration but find no conclusive evidence for a pro-regenerative effect after spinal tissue injury.
Treatments inhibiting Notch signaling pathways have been explored by researchers as a new approach for the treatment of glioblastoma tumors, which is a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor. Recently, retinoic acid (RA) therapy, which inhibits Notch signaling, has shown a promising effect on inhibiting glioblastoma progression. RA, which is a metabolite of vitamin A, is very important in embryonic cellular development, which includes the regulation of multiple developmental processes, such as brain neurogenesis. However, high doses of RA treatment caused many side effects such as headaches, nausea, redness around the injection site, or allergic reactions. Therefore, we hypothesized that a combination treatment of RA and siRNA targeting NOTCH1 (siNOTCH1), the essential gene that activates Notch signaling, would effectively inhibit brain cancer cell proliferation. The aim of the study was to determine whether inhibiting NOTCH1 would inhibit the growth of brain cancer cells by cell viability assay. We found that the combination treatment of siNOTCH1 and RA in low concentration effectively decreased the NOTCH1 expression level compared to the individual treatments. However, the combination treatment condition significantly decreased the number of live brain cancer cells only at a low concentration of RA. We anticipate that this novel combination treatment can provide a solution to the side effects of chemotherapy.
In this article, the authors compare different resource-efficient farming methods for the vegetable Lactuca sativa. They compared hydroponics (solid growth medium with added nutrients) to aquaponics (water with fish waste to provide nutrients) and determined efficacy by measuring plant height over time. While both systems supported plant growth, the authors concluded that aquaponics was the superior method for supporting Lactuca sativa growth. These findings are of great relevance as we continue to find the most sustainable and efficient means for farming.
This study examined the relationship between the slope of a terrain and vegetation, measured by the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). It was hypothesized that lower slope ranges would be more supportive of vegetation growth than higher slope ranges. Analysis showed that no slope (even as extreme as 85–90°) prohibits the growth of vegetation completely; even the steepest slopes examined contain plant life. Knowing that steep slopes can still support plant life, agriculturalists can begin to explore and start planting additional crops and plants at these extreme slopes.
Plants in the wild compete with each other for nutrients and sunlight. Kudzu is a weed that is thought to secrete compounds that inhibit the growth of other plants. Here the authors find that certain parts of kudzu plants can block the germination of clover and dandelion seeds. These experiments may lead to a weed killer that is safe and naturally derived.
Here, the authors investigated alternative methods to irrigate plants based on the their identification that current irrigation systems waste a large amount of fresh water. They compared three different delivery methods for water: conventional sprinkler, underground cloth, and a perforated pipe embedded in the soil. They found the cloth method to save the most water, although plant growth was slightly less in comparison to plants watered with the sprinkler method or pipe method.
Nitrogen-fixing bacteria, such as the legume mutualist rhizobia, convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that is usable by living organisms. Leguminous plants, like the model species Medicago truncatula, directly benefit from this process by forming a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia. Here, Rathod and Rowe investigate how M. truncatula responds to non-rhizobial bacterial partners.