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See detailNeoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer induces miR-34a and miR-122 expression
FRERES, Pierre ULg; JOSSE, Claire ULg; Bovy, Nicolas ULg et al

in Journal of Cellular Physiology (2014)

Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) have been extensively studied in cancer as biomarkers but little is known regarding the influence of anti-cancer drugs on their expression levels. In this article, we ... [more ▼]

Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) have been extensively studied in cancer as biomarkers but little is known regarding the influence of anti-cancer drugs on their expression levels. In this article, we describe the modifications of circulating miRNAs profile after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) for breast cancer. The expression of 188 circulating miRNAs was assessed in the plasma of 25 patients before and after NAC by RT-qPCR. Two miRNAs, miR- 34a and miR-122, that were significantly increased after NAC, were measured in tumor tissue before and after chemotherapy in 7 patients with pathological partial response (pPR) to NAC. These 2 chemotherapy-induced miRNAs were further studied in the plasma of 22 patients with adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) as well as in 12 patients who did not receive any chemotherapy. Twenty-five plasma miRNAs were modified by NAC. Among these miRNAs, miR-34a and miR-122 were highly upregulated, notably in pPR patients with aggressive breast cancer. Furthermore, miR-34a level was elevated in the remaining tumor tissue after NAC treatment. Studying the kinetics of circulating miR-34a and miR-122 expression during NAC revealed that their levels were especially increased after anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Comparisons of the plasma miRNA profiles after NAC and AC suggested that chemotherapy-induced miRNAs originated from both tumoral and non-tumoral compartments. This study is the first to demonstrate that NAC specifically induces miRNA expression in plasma and tumor tissue, which might be involved in the anti-tumor effects of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. [less ▲]

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See detailNew carbohydrate-active enzymes identified by screening two metagenomic libraries derived from the soil of a winter wheat field
Stroobants, Aurore ULg; Portetelle, Daniel ULg; Vandenbol, Micheline ULg

in Journal of Applied Microbiology (2014)

Aims Soils are rich, diversified environments where β-glucosidases abound because of their importance in organic matter degradation. The aim of this work was to discover new β-glucosidases by constructing ... [more ▼]

Aims Soils are rich, diversified environments where β-glucosidases abound because of their importance in organic matter degradation. The aim of this work was to discover new β-glucosidases by constructing two metagenomic DNA libraries from soil samples collected in winter and spring from a field of winter wheat. Methods and Results Both libraries were screened on esculin-supplemented medium so as to isolate candidates showing β-glucosidase activity. Candidate analysis revealed seven putative β-glycosidases and two putative glycosyltransferases, displaying 25 to 82% identity to known enzymes. The putative β-glycosidases belong to families GH1, GH3 and GH20 and the two putative glycosyltransferases, probably, to new families. In characterization tests performed on bacteria in suspension or spread on agar plates, some candidates appeared to hydrolyse several natural and synthetic substrates. These tests also highlighted interesting industrial characteristics, such as the activity of four β-glycosidases under alkaline conditions and the esculin-hydrolysing activity of a β-glucosidase candidate in the presence of glucose. Conclusions Seven putative β-glycosidases and two putative glycosyltransferases were found by functional screening of two metagenomic DNA libraries derived from agricultural soil. Significance and Impact of the Study This study has identified β-glycosidases and putative glycosyltransferases that have or may have interesting industrial characteristics. [less ▲]

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See detailJamming Signal Immunity Tests on GSM-R Communications Compared to EMC Basic Standards
Beauvois, Véronique ULg; Fontana, Michele; Canavero, Flavio et al

Conference (2014, July 29)

This paper presents the work being done in SECRET project (European Program FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement number “285136”) to strengthen the European rail network against the potential jamming of ... [more ▼]

This paper presents the work being done in SECRET project (European Program FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement number “285136”) to strengthen the European rail network against the potential jamming of the railway communications. Standardized immunity tests, currently conducted on communication equipment in the presence of electromagnetic (EM) interferences are presented. It then presents the tests carried out in SECRET to assess the resistance of railway communication systems face the signals generated by telecommunication jammers. [less ▲]

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See detailPhotographier le travail, représenter le futur. Iconographie du chantier des Halles à Paris
Dondero, Maria Giulia ULg

in Communication et Langages (2014), 180

This article investigates the semiotic strategies of visual representation in the urban space, as exemplified by the renovation project of the Forum des Halles in Paris. The corpus of images, taken from ... [more ▼]

This article investigates the semiotic strategies of visual representation in the urban space, as exemplified by the renovation project of the Forum des Halles in Paris. The corpus of images, taken from the brochure of the construction site and from the website www.parisleshalles.fr, includes photographic documentation and illustrations of the future buildings. The analysis of the visual enunciation marks out the relative simulacra of the producers and consumers of these images, and a semiotic study of the modes of representation of the buildings (virtualisation, actualisation, realisation, etc.) helps understanding how the present and the future are articulated in the iconography of a construction work in progress. [less ▲]

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See detailRole of non-polyQ regions on the aggregation process by polyQ proteins into amyloid fibrils
Huynen, Céline ULg; Willet, Nicolas ULg; Buell, Alexander K et al

Poster (2014, July 28)

Nine neurodegenerative disorders, referred to as polyglutamine diseases and including Huntington’s disease, are associated with the abnormal expansion of a polyglutamine tract inside nine unrelated ... [more ▼]

Nine neurodegenerative disorders, referred to as polyglutamine diseases and including Huntington’s disease, are associated with the abnormal expansion of a polyglutamine tract inside nine unrelated proteins. This polyQ expansion is thought to be the major determinant in the development of neurotoxicity, triggering protein aggregation into amyloid fibrils. A large body of evidence however indicates that non-polyQ regions modulate the aggregation process triggered by polyQ expansions. The interplay between the polyQ tract and non-polyQ regions is complex and still not fully understood. In order to better understand it, we previously designed and characterized model polyQ proteins made of the beta-lactamase BlaP and a 23, 30, 55 or 79Q tract inserted in position 197 or 216. These chimeras recapitulate the aggregation properties of polyQ disease-associated proteins: there is a Q threshold for the formation of amyloid fibrils, and above the threshold, the longer the polyQ, the faster the aggregation. Moreover, the structure of BlaP (native or unfolded) and the position of insertion of the polyQ tract (197 versus 216) influence their aggregation properties. In this work, (i) we will discuss the role of the conformation of the host protein, BlaP, and of the location of the polyQ within BlaP on the different phases of amyloid fibril formation, the nucleation and elongation steps, using mainly quartz crystal microbalance (QCM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS); and (ii) we will investigate the precise aggregation threshold and the modulating role of the N- and C-terminal polyQ flanking sequences in position 197 of BlaP by creating and characterizing new chimeras containing intermediate length polyQ tracts in position 197, or polyQ tracts inserted between two cleavage sites in position 197, respectively. Our results highlight a linear dependence of the polyQ length on the elongation rate whatever the insertion site and the conformation of BlaP. These two parameters however drastically influence the ability of a polyQ tract to trigger the nucleation and the elongation steps of amyloid fibril formation. Finally, we observed that the propensity to form amyloid fibrils and its rate seems to be largely dependent on the polyQ length and on the polyQ flanking sequences. Altogether our results contribute to identify the important species and elements (polyQ or non-polyQ regions, monomers, oligomers or fibrils) during the aggregation process into amyloid fibrils to interfere with the latter associated with neurotoxicity. [less ▲]

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See detailRole of non-polyQ regions on the aggregation process by polyQ proteins into amyloid fibrils
Huynen, Céline ULg

Conference (2014, July 26)

Nine neurodegenerative disorders, referred to as polyglutamine diseases and including Huntington’s disease, are associated with the abnormal expansion of a polyglutamine tract inside nine unrelated ... [more ▼]

Nine neurodegenerative disorders, referred to as polyglutamine diseases and including Huntington’s disease, are associated with the abnormal expansion of a polyglutamine tract inside nine unrelated proteins. This polyQ expansion is thought to be the major determinant in the development of neurotoxicity, triggering protein aggregation into amyloid fibrils. A large body of evidence however indicates that non-polyQ regions modulate the aggregation process triggered by polyQ expansions. The interplay between the polyQ tract and non-polyQ regions is complex and still not fully understood. In order to better understand it, we previously designed and characterized model polyQ proteins made of the beta-lactamase BlaP and a 23, 30, 55 or 79Q tract inserted in position 197 or 216. These chimeras recapitulate the aggregation properties of polyQ disease-associated proteins: there is a Q threshold for the formation of amyloid fibrils, and above the threshold, the longer the polyQ, the faster the aggregation. Moreover, the structure of BlaP (native or unfolded) and the position of insertion of the polyQ tract (197 versus 216) influence their aggregation properties. In this work, (i) we will discuss the role of the conformation of the host protein, BlaP, and of the location of the polyQ within BlaP on the different phases of amyloid fibril formation, the nucleation and elongation steps, using mainly quartz crystal microbalance (QCM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS); and (ii) we will investigate the precise aggregation threshold and the modulating role of the N- and C-terminal polyQ flanking sequences in position 197 of BlaP by creating and characterizing new chimeras containing intermediate length polyQ tracts in position 197, or polyQ tracts inserted between two cleavage sites in position 197, respectively. Our results highlight a linear dependence of the polyQ length on the elongation rate whatever the insertion site and the conformation of BlaP. These two parameters however drastically influence the ability of a polyQ tract to trigger the nucleation and the elongation steps of amyloid fibril formation. Finally, we observed that the propensity to form amyloid fibrils and its rate seems to be largely dependent on the polyQ length and on the polyQ flanking sequences. Altogether our results contribute to identify the important species and elements (polyQ or non-polyQ regions, monomers, oligomers or fibrils) during the aggregation process into amyloid fibrils to interfere with the latter associated with neurotoxicity. [less ▲]

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See detailEuropean Union Public Diplomacy through the EEAS: the cases of Argentina, Brazil and Mexico
Azpíroz Manero, María Luisa ULg

Conference (2014, July 25)

Public diplomacy is a promising activity for international political actors to promote a positive image abroad. It also provides opportunities for dialogue, understanding and mutual benefit when ... [more ▼]

Public diplomacy is a promising activity for international political actors to promote a positive image abroad. It also provides opportunities for dialogue, understanding and mutual benefit when communicating and addressing challenges. Within the European Union (EU), the Lisbon Treaty and the European External Action Service (EEAS) have given a new strength to foreign policy. The EEAS, launched in December 2010, is the EU's main institution for public diplomacy. Argentina, Brazil and Mexico are relevant Latin American partners for the EU because of their size, population and political and economic potency in the region. This paper aims to answer the following questions: What is the context of EU relations with Argentina, Brazil and Mexico during the period of study (2011-2013)? What have been the EU's foreign policy and strategies towards these countries? How have public diplomacy and the work of the EEAS in these countries supported the objectives and strategies? This research includes information gained through the consultation of publications, official documents and interviews with personnel from the EEAS, both in Brussels and in the EU delegations in Latin America. [less ▲]

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See detailStreamable Laguerre-Voronoi Tessellation Model for Tomographic Images
Leblanc, Christophe ULg; Nguyen, Van Dung ULg; Wan, Fangyi et al

Conference (2014, July 25)

Introduction. Nowadays, the interest in foam materials is growing in several engineering fields [1]. Foams can exhibit a nonlinear mechanical behavior [2], which is highly depen- dent on their ... [more ▼]

Introduction. Nowadays, the interest in foam materials is growing in several engineering fields [1]. Foams can exhibit a nonlinear mechanical behavior [2], which is highly depen- dent on their microstructure [3]. Thus designing foams with specific mechanical properties can be very challenging. The present contribution is part of the ARC-Bridging project [4], whose objective is to predict the mechanical behavior of complex microstructured mate- rials via numerical simulations. A possible classification of foam models into two groups is: random models and deterministic models [5]. The random models frequently require statistical estimations of their parameters [6], whereas the deterministic models generally require numerically expensive image analyse. Indeed, classical analysis steps involve a distance tranform, a watershed and, optionally, a h-minima transform [5, p. 22], which can be computationally demanding [7, 8, 9]. Contribution. In the present Laguerre–Voronoi tessellation model, the image analysis part neither involes the watershed transform, nor the h-minima transform. Instead, fol- lowing the original idea of A.M. Lopez-Reina et E. Béchet [10], these two transforms are respectively replaced by a Hessian-based removal of spurious extrema and a clustering of the remaining maxima. This substitution allows the processing of large 3D-images by slices, i.e. “streaming”. The only limitation is enforced by the distance transform: the “feature” voxel of a given voxel should belong to the same slice. For foam images, this condition is fulfilled as long as the slice’s thickness is larger than the maximal foam cell’s size. Conclusion and perspectives. The aim of this contribution is to provide an efficient tessellation model for tomographic images of foams. From input tomographic images, this model provides a geometry model which will be used as an input for finite element simulations under the ARC-Briding project [4]. Simulation results will be compared with experimental measures. [less ▲]

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See detailSeasonal variability of meiofauna, especially harpacticoid copepods, in Posidonia oceanica macrophytodetritus accumulations
Mascart, Thibaud ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Deschoemaeker, Silke et al

in Journal of Sea Research (2014)

The overall aim of this study was (1) to assess the diversity and density of meiofauna taxa, especially harpacticoid copepod species, present within accumulated seagrass macrophytodetritus on unvegetated ... [more ▼]

The overall aim of this study was (1) to assess the diversity and density of meiofauna taxa, especially harpacticoid copepod species, present within accumulated seagrass macrophytodetritus on unvegetated sand patches and (2) to elucidate the community structure of detritus-associated harpacticoid copepods in relation to natural temporal variability of physico-chemical characteristics of accumulations. This was investigated in a Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile seagrass ecosystem in the northwest Mediterranean Sea (Bay of Calvi, Corsica, 42°35’N, 8°43’E) using a triplicate macrophytodetritus core field sampling in two contrasting sites over the four seasons of 2011. Meiofauna higher taxa consisted of 50% Copepoda, which 87% belonged to the Harpacticoida order. Nematoda was the second most abundant taxa. The copepod community displayed a wide variety of morphologically similar and ecologically different species (i.e. mesopsammic, phytal, phytal-swimmers, planktonic and parasitic). The harpacticoid copepod community followed a strong seasonal pattern with highest abundances and species diversity in May-August, revealing a link with the leaf litter epiphyte primary production cycle. Aside from the important role in sheltering, housing and feeding potential of macrophytodetritus, a harpacticoid community BEST analysis demonstrated a positive correlation with habitat complexity and a negative correlation with water movements and P. oceanica leaf litter accumulation. [less ▲]

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See detailGeometrical validity of high-order pyramidal finite elements
Johnen, Amaury ULg; Geuzaine, Christophe ULg

Conference (2014, July 24)

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See detailModeling of a glass mineral wool process in view of Life Cycle Analysis
Gerbinet, Saïcha ULg; Briard, Vincent; Léonard, Angélique ULg

in Matériaux et Techniques (2014), 102(502),

In line with the growing concern about the environmental impact of materials in the building sector, Knauf Insulation, a glass wool producer, is performing environmental impact assessment of its products ... [more ▼]

In line with the growing concern about the environmental impact of materials in the building sector, Knauf Insulation, a glass wool producer, is performing environmental impact assessment of its products through LCA. Knauf Insulation has several glass wool factories in Europe that produce various products, and for a specific market, the same product can be produced in several factories. As the plants that produce glass wool work with similar pathways, a generic model for LCA usable for every plant and every glass wool product has been designed. The general principle of glass wool production is the following: the raw materials, sand, limestone, soda ash, borax, sodium carbonate, as well as recycled off-cuts from the production process, are weighed and mixed. Knauf Insulation also uses a large amount of recycled glass (cullet). The mix is sent to a furnace at high temperature (1350°C). The melted material is then fiberized and the binder is added, a process called forming. Knauf Insulation uses a special binder with ECOSE Technology, a new and formaldehyde-free binder. The wool fibers are collected, by suction, on a conveyor belt, and the mattress then goes through the curing oven. For some products a facing is added. Finally the product is compressed and packed. Specific attention is put in certain LCA aspects, such as allocations procedures, and we have used ISO 14040 and 14044 along with the ILCD handbook as guides during the model development. LCA is performed from raw materials extraction to end-of-life. Nevertheless, the impacts of the insulation system use phase are not included, as they strongly depend on parameters such as construction systems, etc. The functional unit is defined as 1 m3 of specific glass mineral wool product. The model, implemented in GaBi 6, is made as generic as possible by including, for each step, all the raw materials that can be used in one of the factories as well as all the energy sources. Parameters allow to define the amount of each raw material consumed, therefore the model can be adapted to any factory simply by setting these parameters accordingly. Moreover, the transport distances are also parameters and the origin of the energies (electricity or heat) can also be selected. This simplifies the data collection, since the template is the same for all the factories, it can be supported by data collection tools already existing. A part of the model is dedicated to weighting between factories, so a combination of factories can also be studied. This allows to study products sold on a specific market. The model can also be adapted to almost all Knauf Insulation products by using parameters where necessary: for example, several products have different binder contents, so a parameter defines the amount of binder. As some materials can be recycled between several parts of the process, special attention has been paid to recycling loops inside the model. The model is flexible enough to be used for Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) as well as for Eco-Design purposes. [less ▲]

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See detailQuelle histoire pour les forêts d'Afrique centrale ?
Morin-Rivat, Julie ULg

Scientific conference (2014, July 24)

Conférence grand public sur les indicateurs de perturbations climatiques et anthropiques dans les forêts d'Afrique centrale.

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See detailSur les quantifications équivariantes en supergéométrie de contact
Nibirantiza, Aboubacar ULg

Doctoral thesis (2014)

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See detailBrokers and intermediaries in environmental governance, Southern Sri Lanka
Rosillon, Caroline ULg

Conference (2014, July 23)

Since the end of the civil war in 2009, rural Southern Sri Lanka is facing growing tensions between fast economic development and the conservation of biodiversity, which contributes to the notoriety of ... [more ▼]

Since the end of the civil war in 2009, rural Southern Sri Lanka is facing growing tensions between fast economic development and the conservation of biodiversity, which contributes to the notoriety of the island. In order to preserve the green areas of the country, both the government and international institutions have made great efforts to implement projects combining biodiversity protection and poverty reduction as their objectives. Within that context, this paper focuses on a specific category of stakeholders, emerging from the implementation of the aforementioned projects: a wide range of intermediaries between local communities and the State, or international institutions. Based on an ethnographic study of two protected areas in Southern Sri Lanka, the paper will examine the role of those intermediaries in the implementation of environmental governance models and ideologies in local arenas. I will also analyze the complex relationships between those brokers and other categories of individuals or groups within the community: people living in protected areas, traditional figures of power, social and political elites, etc. Using fieldwork illustrations, I will stress how the emergence of brokers and intermediaries in the context of nature conservation may lead to the reorganization of social and political relationships at the local scale. [less ▲]

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See detailRécits de vie d’adolescents. Humeur dépressive et figures parentales
Poudat, Céline; Boulard, Aurore ULg

in 4ème Congrès Mondial de Linguistique Française (2014, July 22)

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See detailDetection of differential item functioning using the lasso approach
Magis, David ULg; Tuerlinckx, Francis; De Boeck, Paul

Conference (2014, July 22)

The purpose of this talk is to present a novel approach to detect differential item functioning (DIF) among dichotomously scored items. Unlike standard DIF methods that perform an item-by-item analysis ... [more ▼]

The purpose of this talk is to present a novel approach to detect differential item functioning (DIF) among dichotomously scored items. Unlike standard DIF methods that perform an item-by-item analysis, we consider a logistic regression model including item-group interaction (i.e. DIF) effects of all items simultaneously. The method is based on penalized maximum likelihood estimation of a model with a lasso penalty on all possible DIF parameters. Optimal penalty parameter selection is investigated through several known information criteria (such as AIC and BIC) as well as a newly developed weighted alternative. A simulation study was conducted to compare the global performance of the suggested “lasso DIF” method to the logistic regression and Mantel-Haenszel methods, and to evaluate the different optimal penalty parameter selection methods. It is concluded that for small samples the lasso DIF approach globally outperforms the logistic regression method, and also the Mantel-Haenszel method, especially in the presence of item impact, while it yields similar results with larger samples. [less ▲]

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See detailThe performance of mobile devices' inertial measurement unit for the detection of cattle's behaviors on pasture
Andriamandroso, Andriamasinoro ULg; Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Lebeau, Frédéric ULg et al

Conference (2014, July 21)

Over the past decade, the Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) concept has taken a considerable place in the development of accurate methods for a better management of farm animals, as Precision Agriculture ... [more ▼]

Over the past decade, the Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) concept has taken a considerable place in the development of accurate methods for a better management of farm animals, as Precision Agriculture has done for crop production. Mass consumption mobile devices have nowadays the possibility to record accurately user movements with their Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). We used iPhone 4S to detect accurately cattle behaviors such as grazing and ruminating with the aim of performing a precision grazing management on the near future. Results showed accuracies ranging between 84% and 100% when detecting these two major behaviors by analyzing recorded raw signals in the time-domain. Ongoing research tries to link these behaviors to different pasture characteristics and performs a refined signal processing analysis for a better monitoring of some possible behavioral changes. [less ▲]

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