Naturally occurring neuroactive alkaloids are often studied for their potential to treat Neurological diseases. This team of students study Rivastigmine, a potent cholinesterase inhibitor that is a synthetic analog of physostigmine, which comes from the Calabar bean plant Physostigma venenosum. By comparing the effects of optimized synthetic analogs to the naturally occurring alkaloid, they determine the most favorable analog for inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) to terminate neuronal transmission and signaling between synapses.
Anticholinergics are used in treating asthma, a chronic inflammation of the airways. These drugs block human M1 and M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, inhibiting bronchoconstriction. However, studies have reported complications of anticholinergic usage, such as exacerbated eosinophil production and worsened urinary retention. Modification of known anticholinergics using bioisosteric replacements to increase efficacy could potentially minimize these complications. The present study focuses on identifying viable analogs of anticholinergics to improve binding energy to the receptors compared to current treatment options. Glycopyrrolate (G), ipratropium (IB), and tiotropium bromide (TB) were chosen as parent drugs of interest, due to the presence of common functional groups within the molecules, specifically esters and alcohols. Docking score analysis via AutoDock Vina was used to evaluate the binding energy between drug analogs and the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. The final results suggest that G-A3, IB-A3, and TB-A1 are the most viable analogs, as binding energy was improved when compared to the parent drug. G-A4, IB-A4, IB-A5, TB-A3, and TB-A4 are also potential candidates, although there were slight regressions in binding energy to both muscarinic receptors for these analogs. By researching the effects of bioisosteric replacements of current anticholinergics, it is evident that there is a potential to provide asthmatics with more effective treatment options.
Have you ever wondered what contributes to the popping ability of popcorn? In this study, the authors use Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) mapping to identify genes that may contribute to specific popping characteristics including kernel size and popping expansion volume (PEV).
Do different physical traits affect teenagers’ initial trust of an unknown person? Would they give greater trust to women and people of similar ethnicity? To test these hypotheses, the authors developed a survey to determine the sets of physical characteristics that affect a person's trustworthiness. They found that gender and expression were the main physical traits associated with how trustworthy an individual looks, while ethnicity was also important.
This study investigated how fashion brand personalities are similar to people’s personalities and whether people may prefer a particular clothing brand based on their own personal traits. All together, Stevenson and Scott found that the Big Five Personality Factors are generally not related to participants’ preferred brand personalities. Generally, brands should consider different factors besides the Big Five Personality Factors for identifying potential customers.
Here the authors investigate the use of social media in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in affecting their ability and opportunities to interact with others. They found that higher usage of Internet correlated with less severe anxiety symptoms and improved social skills.
Sequence accessibility is an important factor affecting gene expression. Sequence accessibility or openness impacts the likelihood that a gene is transcribed and translated into a protein and performs functions and manifests traits. There are many potential factors that affect the accessibility of a gene. In this study, our hypothesis was that the content of nucleotides in a genetic sequence predicts its accessibility. Using a machine learning linear regression model, we studied the relationship between nucleotide content and accessibility.
Over the last few decades, childhood stunting has persisted as a major global challenge. This study hypothesized that TPTO (Tree-based Pipeline Optimization Tool), an AutoML (automated machine learning) tool, would outperform all pre-existing machine learning models and reveal the positive impact of economic prosperity, strong familial traits, and resource attainability on reducing stunting risk. Feature correlation plots revealed that maternal height, wealth indicators, and parental education were universally important features for determining stunting outcomes approximately two years after birth. These results help inform future research by highlighting how demographic, familial, and socio-economic conditions influence stunting and providing medical professionals with a deployable risk assessment tool for predicting childhood stunting.
In a world where water shortage is becoming an increasing concern, and where population increase seems inevitable, food shortage is an overwhelming concern for many. In this paper, the authors aim to characterize a drought-resistant strain of A. thaliana, investigating the cause for its water resistance. These and similar studies help us learn how plants could be engineered to improve their ability to flourish in a changing climate.