Neuronal activity in somatosensory cortex of monkeys using a precision grip. III. Responses to altered friction perturbations. (1/387)

The purpose of this investigation was to examine the activity changes in single units of the somatosensory cortex in response to lubricating and adhesive coatings applied to a hand-held object. Three monkeys were trained to grasp an object between the thumb and index fingers and to lift and hold it stationary within a narrow position window for 1 s before release. Grip forces normal to the skin surface, load forces tangential to the skin surface, and the displacement of the object were measured on each trial. Adhesive (rosin) and lubricant (petroleum jelly) coatings were applied to the smooth metal surface of the object to alter the friction against the skin. In addition, neuronal activity evoked by force pulse-perturbations generating shear forces and slip on the skin were compared with the patterns of activity elicited by grasping and lifting the coated surfaces. Following changes in surface coatings, both monkeys modulated the rate at which grip forces normal to the skin surface and load forces tangential to the skin surface were applied during the lifting phase of the task. As a result, the ratio of the rates of change of the two forces was proportionately scaled to the surface coating properties with the more slippery surfaces, having higher ratios. This precise control of normal and tangential forces enabled the monkeys to generate adequate grip forces and prevent slip of the object. From a total of 386 single neurons recorded in the hand area of the somatosensory cortex, 92 were tested with at least 1 coating. Cell discharge changed significantly with changes in surface coating in 62 (67%) of these cells. Of these coating-related cells, 51 were tested with both an adhesive and lubricating coating, and 45 showed significant differences in activity between the untreated metal surface and either the lubricant or the adhesive coating. These cells were divided into three main groups on the basis of their response patterns. In the first group (group A), the peak discharge increased significantly when the grasped surface was covered with lubricant. These cells appeared to be selectively sensitive to slip of the object on the skin. The second group (group B) was less activated by the adhesive surface compared with either the untreated metal or the lubricated surface, and they responded mainly to variations in the force normal to the skin surface. These cells provide useful feedback for the control of grip force. The third group (group C) responded to both slips and to changes in forces tangential to the skin. Most of these cells responded with a biphasic pattern reflecting the bidirectional changes in load force as the object was first accelerated and then decelerated. One hundred sixty-eight of the 386 isolated neurons were tested with brief perturbations during the task. Of these, 147 (88%) responded to the perturbation with a significant change in activity. In most of the cells, the response to the perturbation was shorter than 100 ms with a mean latency of 44.1 +/- 16.3 (SD) ms. For each of the cell groups, the activity patterns triggered by the perturbations were consistent with the activity patterns generated during the grasping and lifting of the coated object.  (+info)

Influence of archwire and bracket dimensions on sliding mechanics: derivations and determinations of the critical contact angles for binding. (2/387)

There is every indication that classical friction controls sliding mechanics below some critical contact angle, theta c. Once that angle is exceeded, however, binding and notching phenomena increasingly restrict sliding mechanics. Using geometric archwire and bracket parameters, the theta c is calculated as the boundary between classical frictional behaviour and binding-related phenomena. What these equations predict is independent of practitioner or technique. From these derivations two dimensionless numbers are also identified as the bracket and the engagement index. The first shows how the width of a bracket compares to its Slot; the second indicates how completely the wire fills the Slot. When nominal wire and bracket dimensions are calculated for both standard Slots, the maximum theta c theoretically equals 3.7 degrees. Thus, knowledge of the archwire or bracket alone is insufficient; knowledge of the archwire-bracket combination is necessary for theta c to be calculated. Once calculated, sliding mechanics should be initiated only after the contact angle, theta, approaches the characteristic value of theta c for the particular archwire-bracket combination of choice--that is, when theta approximately theta c.  (+info)

The diving physiology of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). II. Biomechanics and changes in buoyancy at depth. (3/387)

During diving, marine mammals must balance the conservation of limited oxygen reserves with the metabolic costs of swimming exercise. As a result, energetically efficient modes of locomotion provide an advantage during periods of submergence and will presumably increase in importance as the animals perform progressively longer dives. To determine the effect of a limited oxygen supply on locomotor performance, we compared the kinematics and behavior of swimming and diving bottlenose dolphins. Adult bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were trained to swim horizontally near the water surface or submerged at 5 m and to dive to depths ranging from 12 to 112 m. Swimming kinematics (preferred swimming mode, stroke frequency and duration of glides) were monitored using submersible video cameras (Sony Hi-8) held by SCUBA divers or attached to a pack on the dorsal fin of the animal. Drag and buoyant forces were calculated from patterns of deceleration for horizontally swimming and vertically diving animals. The results showed that dolphins used a variety of swimming gaits that correlated with acceleration. The percentage of time spent gliding during the descent phase of dives increased with depth. Glide distances ranged from 7.1+/-1.9 m for 16 m dives to 43.6+/-7.0 m (means +/- s.e.m.) for 100 m dives. These gliding patterns were attributed to changes in buoyancy associated with lung compression at depth. By incorporating prolonged glide periods, the bottlenose dolphin realized a theoretical 10-21 % energetic savings in the cost of a 100 m dive in comparison with dives based on neutral buoyancy models. Thus, modifying locomotor patterns to account for physical changes with depth appears to be one mechanism that enables diving mammals with limited oxygen stores to extend the duration of a dive.  (+info)

Direct observation of one-dimensional diffusion and transcription by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase. (4/387)

The dynamics of nonspecific and specific Escherichia coli RNA polymerase (RNAP)-DNA complexes have been directly observed using scanning force microscopy operating in buffer. To this end, imaging conditions had to be found in which DNA molecules were adsorbed onto mica strongly enough to be imaged, but loosely enough to be able to diffuse on the surface. In sequential images of nonspecific complexes, RNAP was seen to slide along DNA, performing a one-dimensional random walk. Heparin, a substance known to disrupt nonspecific RNAP-DNA interactions, prevented sliding. These observations suggest that diffusion of RNAP along DNA constitutes a mechanism for accelerated promoter location. Sequential images of single, transcribing RNAP molecules were also investigated. Upon addition of 5 microM nucleoside triphosphates to stalled elongation complexes in the liquid chamber, RNAP molecules were seen to processively thread their template at rates of 1.5 nucleotide/s in a direction consistent with the promoter orientation. Transcription assays, performed with radiolabeled, mica-bound transcription complexes, confirmed this rate, which was about three times smaller than the rate of complexes in solution. This assay also showed that the pattern of pause sites and the termination site were affected by the surface. By using the Einstein-Sutherland friction-diffusion relation the loading force experienced by RNAP due to DNA-surface friction is estimated and discussed.  (+info)

Nanometer scale organization of mixed surfactin/phosphatidylcholine monolayers. (5/387)

Mixed monolayers of the surface-active lipopeptide surfactin-C(15) and of dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPPC) were deposited on mica and their nanometer scale organization was investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). AFM topographic images revealed phase separation for mixed monolayers prepared at 0.1, 0.25, and 0.5 surfactin molar ratios. This was in agreement with the monolayer properties at the air-water interface indicating a tendency of the two compounds to form bidimensional domains in the mixed systems. The step height measured between the surfactin and the DPPC domains was 1.2 +/- 0.1 nm, pointing to a difference in molecular orientation: while DPPC had a vertical orientation, the large peptide ring of surfactin was lying on the mica surface. The N/C atom concentration ratios obtained by XPS for pure monolayers were compatible with two distinct geometric models: a random layer for surfactin and for DPPC, a layer of vertically-oriented molecules in which the polar headgroups are in contact with mica. XPS data for mixed systems were accounted for by a combination of the two pure monolayers, considering respective surface coverages that were in excellent agreement with those measured by AFM. These results illustrate the complementarity of AFM and XPS to directly probe the molecular organization of multicomponent monolayers.  (+info)

An ex-vivo investigation into the effect of bracket displacement on the resistance to sliding. (6/387)

This ex-vivo study investigated the effect that repeated bracket displacement has on sliding friction and the magnitude of bracket displacement, and hence tooth movement, required to release bracket/archwire binding. The design consisted of an ex-vivo laboratory study. A jig was designed that allowed repeated displacement of a bracket to occur, while the resistance to sliding (friction) was measured using an Instron universal testing machine. One type of stainless steel bracket was used in conjunction with four archwire types (0.016-inch stainless steel, 0.019 x 0.025-inch stainless steel, 0.021 x 0.025-inch stainless steel, 0.019 x 0.025-inch beta-titanium) and four magnitudes of displacement. Repeated bracket displacement has a significant effect on the sliding resistance at the bracket/archwire interface (P < 0.001). The reduction in sliding resistance noted with displacement depended on the archwire. Over the range of displacements tested, there was an 85 and 80 per cent reduction associated with 0.021 x 0.025-inch and 0.019 x 0.025-inch stainless steel, respectively. For 0.019 x 0.025-inch beta-titanium and 0.016-inch stainless steel, these reductions were 27 and 19 per cent, respectively. The importance of true friction, given the likelihood of bracket and/or archwire displacements in vivo, may be lessened.  (+info)

Keratocytes pull with similar forces on their dorsal and ventral surfaces. (7/387)

As cells move forward, they pull rearward against extracellular matrices (ECMs), exerting traction forces. However, no rearward forces have been seen in the fish keratocyte. To address this discrepancy, we have measured the propulsive forces generated by the keratocyte lamella on both the ventral and the dorsal surfaces. On the ventral surface, a micromachined device revealed that traction forces were small and rearward directed under the lamella, changed direction in front of the nucleus, and became larger under the cell body. On the dorsal surface of the lamella, an optical gradient trap measured rearward forces generated against fibronectin-coated beads. The retrograde force exerted by the cell on the bead increased in the thickened region of the lamella where myosin condensation has been observed (Svitkina, T.M., A.B. Verkhovsky, K.M. McQuade, and G. G. Borisy. 1997. J. Cell Biol. 139:397-415). Similar forces were generated on both the ventral (0.2 nN/microm(2)) and the dorsal (0.4 nN/microm(2)) surfaces of the lamella, suggesting that dorsal matrix contacts are as effectively linked to the force-generating cytoskeleton as ventral contacts. The correlation between the level of traction force and the density of myosin suggests a model for keratocyte movement in which myosin condensation in the perinuclear region generates rearward forces in the lamella and forward forces in the cell rear.  (+info)

Reconstitution of Listeria motility: implications for the mechanism of force transduction. (8/387)

Listeria monocytogenes and some other infectious bacteria polymerize their host cell's actin into tails that propel the bacteria through the cytoplasm. Here we show that reconstitution of this behavior in simpler media resolves two aspects of the mechanism of force transduction. First, since dilute reconstitution media have no cytoskeleton, we consider what keeps the tail from being pushed backward rather than the bacterium being propelled forward. The dependence of the partitioning of motion on the friction coefficient of the tail is derived. Consistent with experiments, we find that the resistance of the tail to motion is sensitive to its length. That even small tails are stationary in intact cells is attributed to anchoring to the cytoskeleton. Second, the comparatively low viscosity of some reconstitution media magnifies the effects of diffusion, such that a large gap will develop between the bacterium and its tail if they are unattached. At the viscosities of diluted platelet extracts, steady-state gaps of several bacterium lengths are predicted. Since such gaps are not observed, we conclude that Listeria must be attached to their tails. We consider what purposes such attachments might serve under physiological conditions. The implications for related pathogens and amoeboid locomotion are also discussed.  (+info)