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  1. Microbial production of the neurotoxin, methylmercury (MeHg), is a significant health and environmental concern as it can bioaccumulate and biomagnify in the food web. A chalkophore or a copper-binding compound, termed methanobactin (MB), has been shown to form strong complexes with mercury [as Hg(II)] and also enables some methanotrophs to degrade MeHg. It is unknown, however, if Hg(II) binding with MB can also impede Hg(II) methylation by other microbes. Contrary to expectations, MB produced by the methanotroph Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b (OB3b-MB) enhanced the rate and efficiency of Hg(II) methylation more than that observed with thiol compounds (such as cysteine) bymore »the mercury-methylating bacteria, D. desulfuricans ND132 and G. sulfurreducens PCA. Compared to no-MB controls, OB3b-MB decreased the rates of Hg(II) sorption and internalization, but increased methylation by 5–7 fold, suggesting that Hg(II) complexation with OB3b-MB facilitated exchange and internal transfer of Hg(II) to the HgcAB proteins required for methylation. Conversely, addition of excess amounts of OB3b-MB or a different form of MB from Methylocystis strain SB2 (SB2-MB) inhibited Hg(II) methylation, likely due to greater binding of Hg(II). Collectively our results underscore complex roles of exogenous metal-scavenging compounds produced by microbes in controlling net production and bioaccumulation of MeHg in the environment.« less
  2. Abstract Quantum chromodynamics, the theory of the strong force, describes interactions of coloured quarks and gluons and the formation of hadronic matter. Conventional hadronic matter consists of baryons and mesons made of three quarks and quark-antiquark pairs, respectively. Particles with an alternative quark content are known as exotic states. Here a study is reported of an exotic narrow state in the D 0 D 0 π + mass spectrum just below the D *+ D 0 mass threshold produced in proton-proton collisions collected with the LHCb detector at the Large Hadron Collider. The state is consistent with the ground isoscalarmore »$${{{{{{\rm{T}}}}}}}_{{{{{{\rm{c}}}}}}{{{{{\rm{c}}}}}}}^{+}$$ T c c + tetraquark with a quark content of $${{{{{\rm{c}}}}}}{{{{{\rm{c}}}}}}\overline{{{{{{\rm{u}}}}}}}\overline{{{{{{\rm{d}}}}}}}$$ c c u ¯ d ¯ and spin-parity quantum numbers J P  = 1 + . Study of the DD mass spectra disfavours interpretation of the resonance as the isovector state. The decay structure via intermediate off-shell D *+ mesons is consistent with the observed D 0 π + mass distribution. To analyse the mass of the resonance and its coupling to the D * D system, a dedicated model is developed under the assumption of an isoscalar axial-vector $${{{{{{\rm{T}}}}}}}_{{{{{{\rm{c}}}}}}{{{{{\rm{c}}}}}}}^{+}$$ T c c + state decaying to the D * D channel. Using this model, resonance parameters including the pole position, scattering length, effective range and compositeness are determined to reveal important information about the nature of the $${{{{{{\rm{T}}}}}}}_{{{{{{\rm{c}}}}}}{{{{{\rm{c}}}}}}}^{+}$$ T c c + state. In addition, an unexpected dependence of the production rate on track multiplicity is observed.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023