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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 4, 2024
  2. Abstract Plant disease resistance is a complex process that is maintained in an intricate balance with development. Increasing evidence indicates the importance of posttranscriptional regulation of plant defense by RNA binding proteins. In a genetic screen for suppressors of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) accelerated cell death 6-1 (acd6-1), a small constitutive defense mutant whose defense level is grossly in a reverse proportion to plant size, we identified an allele of the canonical flowering regulatory gene FLOWERING LOCUS K HOMOLOGY DOMAIN (FLK) encoding a putative protein with triple K homology (KH) repeats. The KH repeat is an ancient RNA binding motif found in proteins from diverse organisms. The relevance of KH-domain proteins in pathogen resistance is largely unexplored. In addition to late flowering, the flk mutants exhibited decreased resistance to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae and increased resistance to the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. We further found that the flk mutations compromised basal defense and defense signaling mediated by salicylic acid (SA). Mutant analysis revealed complex genetic interactions between FLK and several major SA pathway genes. RNA-seq data showed that FLK regulates expression abundance of some major defense- and development-related genes as well as alternative splicing of a number of genes. Among the genes affected by FLK is ACD6, whose transcripts had increased intron retentions influenced by the flk mutations. Thus, this study provides mechanistic support for flk suppression of acd6-1 and establishes that FLK is a multifunctional gene involved in regulating pathogen defense and development of plants. 
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  3. Adopting FPGA as an accelerator in datacenters is becoming mainstream for customized computing, but the fact that FPGAs are hard to program creates a steep learning curve for software programmers. Even with the help of high-level synthesis (HLS) , accelerator designers still have to manually perform code reconstruction and cumbersome parameter tuning to achieve optimal performance. While many learning models have been leveraged by existing work to automate the design of efficient accelerators, the unpredictability of modern HLS tools becomes a major obstacle for them to maintain high accuracy. To address this problem, we propose an automated DSE framework— AutoDSE —that leverages a bottleneck-guided coordinate optimizer to systematically find a better design point. AutoDSE detects the bottleneck of the design in each step and focuses on high-impact parameters to overcome it. The experimental results show that AutoDSE is able to identify the design point that achieves, on the geometric mean, 19.9× speedup over one CPU core for MachSuite and Rodinia benchmarks. Compared to the manually optimized HLS vision kernels in Xilinx Vitis libraries, AutoDSE can reduce their optimization pragmas by 26.38× while achieving similar performance. With less than one optimization pragma per design on average, we are making progress towards democratizing customizable computing by enabling software programmers to design efficient FPGA accelerators. 
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  4. Abstract

    Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of temporal regulation of pathogen defense by the circadian clock. However, our understanding of the molecular basis underlying this role of the circadian clock is still in its infancy. We report here the mechanism by which the Arabidopsis master clock protein CCA1 regulates an output target gene GRP7 for its circadian expression and function in pathogen defense. Our data firmly establish that CCA1 physically associates with the GRP7 promoter via the predicted CCA1-binding motif, evening element (EE). A site-directed mutagenesis study showed that while individual EE motifs differentially contribute to robust circadian expression of GRP7, abolishing all four EE motifs in the proximal GRP7 promoter disrupts rhythmicity of GRP7 expression and results in misalignment of defense signaling mediated by GRP7 and altered pathogen responses. This study provides a mechanistic link of the circadian regulation of an output gene to its biological function in pathogen defense, underscoring the importance of temporal control of plant innate immunity.

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  5. Abstract

    The concentration of dopamine (DA) and tyrosine (Tyr) reflects the condition of patients with Parkinson's disease, whereas moderate paracetamol (PA) can help relieve their pain. Therefore, real‐time measurements of these bioanalytes have important clinical implications for patients with Parkinson's disease. However, previous sensors suffer from either limited sensitivity or complex fabrication and integration processes. This work introduces a simple and cost‐effective method to prepare high‐quality, flexible titanium dioxide (TiO2) thin films with highly reactive (001)‐facets. The as‐fabricated TiO2film supported by a carbon cloth electrode (i.e., TiO2–CC) allows excellent electrochemical specificity and sensitivity to DA (1.390 µA µM−1 cm−2), Tyr (0.126 µA µM−1 cm−2), and PA (0.0841 µA µM−1 cm−2). More importantly, accurate DA concentration in varied pH conditions can be obtained by decoupling them within a single differential pulse voltammetry measurement without additional sensing units. The TiO2–CC electrochemical sensor can be integrated into a smart diaper to detect the trace amount of DA or an integrated skin‐interfaced patch with microfluidic sampling and wireless transmission units for real‐time detection of the sweat Try and PA concentration. The wearable sensor based on TiO2–CC prepared by facile manufacturing methods holds great potential in the daily health monitoring and care of patients with neurological disorders.

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  6. Abstract

    The processing–structure–property relationship using poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) is explored. Specifically, both pre‐extension and preshear of amorphous PLA and PET above their glass transition temperaturesTg, carried out in the affine deformation limit, can induce a specific type of cold crystallization during annealing, i.e., nanoconfined crystallization (NCC) where crystal sizes are limited to a nanoscopic scale in all dimensions so as to render the processed PLA and PET optically transparent. The new polymer structure after premelt deformation can show considerably enhanced mechanical properties. For example, premelt stretching produces geometric condensation of the chain network. This structural alternation can profoundly change the mechanical characteristics, e.g., turning brittle PLA ductile. In contrast, after preshear of amorphous PLA aboveTg, the NCC containing PLA remains brittle, showing the importance to have geometric condensation from processing. Both AFM imaging and SAXS measurements are performed to verify that premelt deformation of PLA and PET indeed results in NCC from annealing that permits the strain‐induced cold crystallization to take place on the length scale of the mesh size of the deformed chain network.

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  7. Abstract

    Induction, transmission, and manipulation of chirality in molecular systems are well known, widely applied concepts. However, our understanding of how chirality of nanoscale entities can be controlled, measured, and transmitted to the environment is considerably lacking behind. Future discoveries of dynamic assemblies engineered from chiral nanomaterials, with a specific focus on shape and size effects, require exact methods to assess transmission and amplification of nanoscale chirality through space. Here we present a remarkably powerful chirality amplification approach by desymmetrization of plasmonic nanoparticles to nanorods. When bound to gold nanorods, a one order of magnitude lower number of chiral molecules induces a tighter helical distortion in the surrounding liquid crystal–a remarkable amplification of chirality through space. The change in helical distortion is consistent with a quantification of the change in overall chirality of the chiral ligand decorated nanomaterials differing in shape and size as calculated from a suitable pseudoscalar chirality indicator.

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  8. Abstract

    In this study, novel ferromagnetic Ni‐containing silicon oxycarbide (SiOC–Ni) was successfully fabricated from a base polysiloxane (PSO) with the addition of nickel 2,4‐pentanedionate. The resultant SiOC–Ni nanocomposite consists of in situ formed Ni nanocrystallites with a small amount of NiO uniformly dispersed in the amorphous SiOC matrix, and the corresponding nanocrystallite size increases with the increase of the pyrolysis temperature. The formation of nickel silicides (NixSiy) is completely suppressed by the effect of water vapor during the pyrolysis. The fundamental phase evolution process and mechanisms are explained. In an argon atmosphere, the SiOC–Ni materials pyrolyzed at 900°C are stable up to 1000°C with less than 6 wt% weight loss; they exhibit desirable electrical conductivity up to ~900°C with the highest electrical conductivity at ~247 S/m. This series of SiOC–Ni materials also demonstrates exciting ferromagnetic behaviors. Their new semiconducting behavior with soft ferromagnetism presents promising application potentials for magnetic sensors, transformers, actuators, etc.

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