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  1. Flowers are critical for successful reproduction and have been a major axis of diversification among angiosperms. As the frequency and severity of droughts are increasing globally, maintaining water balance of flowers is crucial for food security and other ecosystem services that rely on flowering. Yet remarkably little is known about the hydraulic strategies of flowers. We characterized hydraulic strategies of leaves and flowers of ten species by combining anatomical observations using light and scanning electron microscopy with measurements of hydraulic physiology (minimum diffusive conductance ( g min ) and pressure-volume (PV) curves parameters). We predicted that flowers would exhibit higher g min and higher hydraulic capacitance than leaves, which would be associated with differences in intervessel pit traits because of their different hydraulic strategies. We found that, compared to leaves, flowers exhibited: 1) higher g min , which was associated with higher hydraulic capacitance ( C T ); 2) lower variation in intervessel pit traits and differences in pit membrane area and pit aperture shape; and 3) independent coordination between intervessel pit traits and other anatomical and physiological traits; 4) independent evolution of most traits in flowers and leaves, resulting in 5) large differences in the regions of multivariate trait space occupied by flowers and leaves. Furthermore, across organs intervessel pit trait variation was orthogonal to variation in other anatomical and physiological traits, suggesting that pit traits represent an independent axis of variation that have as yet been unquantified in flowers. These results suggest that flowers, employ a drought-avoidant strategy of maintaining high capacitance that compensates for their higher g min to prevent excessive declines in water potentials. This drought-avoidant strategy may have relaxed selection on intervessel pit traits and allowed them to vary independently from other anatomical and physiological traits. Furthermore, the independent evolution of floral and foliar anatomical and physiological traits highlights their modular development despite being borne from the same apical meristem. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 31, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024
  3. Abstract Background and Aims

    While genome size limits the minimum sizes and maximum numbers of cells that can be packed into a given leaf volume, mature cell sizes can be substantially larger than their meristematic precursors and vary in response to abiotic conditions. Mangroves are iconic examples of how abiotic conditions can influence the evolution of plant phenotypes.


    Here, we examined the coordination between genome size, leaf cell sizes, cell packing densities and leaf size in 13 mangrove species across four sites in China. Four of these species occurred at more than one site, allowing us to test the effect of climate on leaf anatomy.


    We found that genome sizes of mangroves were very small compared to other angiosperms, but, like other angiosperms, mangrove cells were always larger than the minimum size defined by genome size. Increasing mean annual temperature of a growth site led to higher packing densities of veins (Dv) and stomata (Ds) and smaller epidermal cells but had no effect on stomatal size. In contrast to other angiosperms, mangroves exhibited (1) a negative relationship between guard cell size and genome size; (2) epidermal cells that were smaller than stomata; and (3) coordination between Dv and Ds that was not mediated by epidermal cell size. Furthermore, mangrove epidermal cell sizes and packing densities covaried with leaf size.


    While mangroves exhibited coordination between veins and stomata and attained a maximum theoretical stomatal conductance similar to that of other angiosperms, the tissue-level tradeoffs underlying these similar relationships across species and environments were markedly different, perhaps indicative of the unique structural and physiological adaptations of mangroves to their stressful environments.

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  4. Abstract

    Transdermal drug delivery provides convenient and pain-free self-administration for personalized therapy. However, challenges remain in treating acute diseases mainly due to their inability to timely administrate therapeutics and precisely regulate pharmacokinetics within a short time window. Here we report the development of active acoustic metamaterials-driven transdermal drug delivery for rapid and on-demand acute disease management. Through the integration of active acoustic metamaterials, a compact therapeutic patch is integrated for penetration of skin stratum corneum and active percutaneous transport of therapeutics with precise control of dose and rate over time. Moreover, the patch device quantitatively regulates the dosage and release kinetics of therapeutics and achieves better delivery performance in vivo than through subcutaneous injection. As a proof-of-concept application, we show our method can reverse life-threatening acute allergic reactions in a female mouse model of anaphylaxis via a multi-burst delivery of epinephrine, showing better efficacy than a fixed dosage injection of epinephrine, which is the current gold standard ‘self-injectable epinephrine’ strategy. This innovative method may provide a promising means to manage acute disease for personalized medicine.

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  5. null (Ed.)
    Acoustofluidics, by combining acoustics and microfluidics, provides a unique means to manipulate cells and liquids for broad applications in biomedical sciences and translational medicine. However, it is challenging to standardize and maintain excellent performance of current acoustofluidic devices and systems due to a multiplicity of factors including device-to-device variation, manual operation, environmental factors, sample variability, etc. Herein, to address these challenges, we propose “intelligent acoustofluidics” – an automated system that involves acoustofluidic device design, sensor fusion, and intelligent controller integration. As a proof-of-concept, we developed intelligent acoustofluidics based mini-bioreactors for human brain organoid culture. Our mini-bioreactors consist of three components: (1) rotors for contact-free rotation via an acoustic spiral phase vortex approach, (2) a camera for real-time tracking of rotational actions, and (3) a reinforcement learning-based controller for closed-loop regulation of rotational manipulation. After training the reinforcement learning-based controller in simulation and experimental environments, our mini-bioreactors can achieve the automated rotation of rotors in well-plates. Importantly, our mini-bioreactors can enable excellent control over rotational mode, direction, and speed of rotors, regardless of fluctuations of rotor weight, liquid volume, and operating temperature. Moreover, we demonstrated our mini-bioreactors can stably maintain the rotational speed of organoids during long-term culture, and enhance neural differentiation and uniformity of organoids. Comparing with current acoustofluidics, our intelligent system has a superior performance in terms of automation, robustness, and accuracy, highlighting the potential of novel intelligent systems in microfluidic experimentation. 
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  6. Abstract

    Interconduit pit membranes, which are permeable regions in the primary cell wall that connect to adjacent conduits, play a crucial role in water relations and the movement of nutrients between xylem conduits. However, how pit membrane characteristics might influence water‐carbon coupling remains poorly investigated in cycads. We examined pit characteristics, the anatomical and photosynthetic traits of 13 cycads from a common garden, to determine if pit traits and their coordination are related to water relations and carbon economy. We found that the pit traits of cycads were highly variable and that cycads exhibited a similar tradeoff between pit density and pit area as other plant lineages. Unlike other plant lineages (1) pit membranes, pit apertures, and pit shapes of cycads were not coordinated as in angiosperms; (2) cycads exhibited larger pit membrane areas but lower pit densities relative to ferns and angiosperms, but smaller and similar pit membrane densities to non‐cycad gymnosperms; (3) cycad pit membrane areas and densities were partially coordinated with anatomical traits, with hydraulic supply of the rachis positively coordinated with photosynthesis, whereas pit aperture areas and fractions were negatively coordinated with photosynthetic traits; (4) cycad pit traits reflected adaptation to wetter habitats for Cycadaceae and drier habitats for Zamiaceae. The large variation in pit traits, the unique pit membrane size and density, and the partial coordination of pit traits with anatomical and physiological traits of the rachis and pinna among cycads may have facilitated their dominance in a variety of ecosystems from the Mesozoic to modern times.

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  7. A scalp-recording electroencephalography (EEG)-based brain-computer interface (BCI) system can greatly improve the quality of life for people who suffer from motor disabilities. Deep neural networks consisting of multiple convolutional, LSTM and fully-connected layers are created to decode EEG signals to maximize the human intention recognition accuracy. However, prior FPGA, ASIC, ReRAM and photonic accelerators cannot maintain sufficient battery lifetime when processing realtime intention recognition. In this paper, we propose an ultra-low-power photonic accelerator, MindReading, for human intention recognition by only low bit-width addition and shift operations. Compared to prior neural network accelerators, to maintain the real-time processing throughput, MindReading reduces the power consumption by 62.7% and improves the throughput per Watt by 168%. 
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