Riparian buffers made of mature oil palms have inconsistent impacts on oil palm ecosystems

Expansion of oil palm has caused widespread declines in biodiversity and changes in ecosystem functioning across the tropics. A major driver of these changes is loss of habitat heterogeneity as forests are converted into oil palm plantations.

Therefore, one strategy to help support biodiversity and functioning in oil palm is to increase habitat heterogeneity, for instance,Bio Med Frontiers by retaining forested buffers around rivers when new plantations are established, or maintaining buffers made of mature oil palms (“mature palm buffers”) when old plantations are replanted.

Whilst forested buffers are known to benefit oil palm systems, the impacts of mature palm buffers are less certain. In this study, we assessed the benefits of mature palm buffers, which were being passively restored (in this case, meaning that buffers were treated with no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilisers) by sampling environmental conditions and arthropods within buffers and in surrounding non-buffer areas (i.e. areas that were 25 m and 125 m from buffers, and receiving normal business-as-usual management) across an 8-year chronosequence in industrial oil palm plantations (Sumatra, Indonesia). We ask:

  1. Do environmental conditions and biodiversity differ between buffer and non-buffer areas?
  2. Do buffers affect environmental conditions and biodiversity in adjacent non-buffer areas (i.e. areas that were 25 m from buffers)?
  3.  Do buffers become more environmentally complex and biodiverse over time?
  4. We found that buffers can have environmental conditions (canopy openness, variation in openness, vegetation height, ground cover, and soil temperature) and levels of arthropod biodiversity (total arthropod abundance and spider abundance in the understory, and Learn spider species-level community composition in all microhabitats) that are different from those in non-buffer areas, but that these differences are inconsistent across the oil palm commercial life cycle.
  5. We also found that buffers might contribute to small increases in vegetation height and changes in ground cover in adjacent non-buffer areas, but do not increase levels of arthropod biodiversity in these areas. Finally, we found that canopy openness, variation in openness, and ground cover-but no aspects of arthropod biodiversity-change within buffers over time.
  6. Collectively, our findings indicate that mature palm buffers that are being passively restored can have greater environmental complexity and higher levels of arthropod biodiversity than non-buffer areas, particularly in comparison to recently replanted oil palm, but these benefits are not consistent across the crop commercial life cycle.
  7. If the goal of maintaining riparian buffers is to consistently increase habitat heterogeneity and improve biodiversity, an alternative to mature palm buffers or a move towards more active restoration of these areas is, therefore, probably required.

TIP60 buffers acute stress response and depressive behaviour by controlling PPARγ-mediated transcription

  • Tat-interacting protein 60 (TIP60) as nuclear receptors (NRs) coregulator, acts as a tumor suppressor and also has promising therapeutic potential to target Alzheimer’s disease. Stress has been implicated in many psychiatric disorders, and these disorders are characterized by impairments in cognitive function. Until now, there are no experimental data available on the regulatory effect of TIP60 in acute stress and depression. There is also no definitive explanation on which specific modulation of target gene expression is achieved by TIP60. Here, we identify TIP60 as a novel positive regulator in response to acute restraint stress (ARS) and a potentially effective target of antidepressants.
  • Firstly, we discovered increased hippocampal TIP60 expressions in the ARS model. Furthermore, using the TIP60 inhibitor, MG149, we proved that TIP60 function correlates with behavioral and synaptic activation in the two-hour ARS.
  • Secondly, the lentivirus vector (LV)-TIP60overexpression (OE) was injected into the hippocampus prior to the chronic restraint stress (CRS) experiments and it was found that over-expressed TIP60 compensates for TIP60 decrease and improves depression index in CRS.
  • Thirdly, through the intervention of TIP60 expression in vitro, we established the genetic regulation of TIP60 on synaptic proteins, confirmed the TIP60 function as a specific coactivator for PPARγ and found that the PPARγ-mediated TIP60 function modulates transcriptional activation of synaptic proteins.
  • Finally, the LV-TIP60OE and PPARγ antagonist, GW9662, were both administered in the CRS model and the data indicated that blocking PPARγ significantly weakened the protective effect of TIP60 against the CRS-induced depression.
  • Conclusively, these findings together support TIP60 as a novel positive factor in response to acute stress and interacts with PPARγ to modulate the pathological mechanism of CRS-induced depression.

Spontaneous Alteration of Blood pH By a Bicarbonate Buffer System During Experimental Hypercalcaemia in Cows.

 Maintaining mineral homeostasis as well as the secretion and metabolism of mineralotropic hormones is important for healthy of periparturient dairy cows.
To increase the activity of mineralotropic hormones, blood pH can be adjusted. The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in blood pH and the mechanism of action of this change in induced hypercalcaemic cows.
 Six non-lactating Holstein cows were used in a 2 × 2 crossover design.
To induce hypercalcaemia, calcium borogluconate was administered subcutaneously to experimental cows and normal saline was administered subcutaneously to control cows.
Blood and urine samples were collected serially after administration. Whole blood without any anticoagulant was processed with a portable blood gas analyser.
Plasma concentration and urinary excretion of calcium were measured.
In hypercalcaemic cows, both blood and urine calcium levels were significantly increased at 8 h compared to those at 0 h (P < 0.05), and a spontaneous increase in blood pH was also observed.
The calcium concentration in plasma was highest at 2 h after administration (3.02 ± 0.27 mmol/L).
The change in pH correlated with that in bicarbonate (r = 0.781, P < 0.001) rather than that in partial pressure of CO2 (r = 0.085, P = 0.424).
Hypercalcaemia induced a spontaneous change in blood pH through the bicarbonate buffer system and this system may be a maintainer of calcium homeostasis.

The prophase oocyte nucleus is a homeostatic G-actin buffer.

Formation of healthy mammalian eggs from oocytes requires specialized F-actin structures. F-actin disruption produces aneuploid eggs, which are a leading cause of human embryo deaths, genetic disorders, and infertility. We found that oocytes contain prominent nuclear F-actin structures that are correlated with meiotic developmental capacity. We demonstrate that nuclear F-actin is a conserved feature of healthy mammalian oocytes and declines significantly with female reproductive ageing.
Actin monomers used for nuclear F-actin assembly are sourced from an excess pool in the oocyte cytoplasm. Increasing monomeric G-actin transfer from the cytoplasm to the nucleus or directly enriching the nucleus with monomers leads to assembly of stable nuclear F-actin bundles that significantly restrict chromatin mobility.

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Conversely, reducing G-actin monomer transfer by blocking nuclear import triggers assembly of a dense cytoplasmic F-actin network that is incompatible with healthy oocyte development. Our data overall suggest that the large oocyte nucleus helps to maintain cytoplasmic F-actin organisation and that defects in this function could be linked with reproductive age-related female infertility.

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