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  • Kuutti, Mirjami (2022)
    In recent years, psychedelics have shown promise in the treatment of conditions like depression and addiction. The therapeutic effects of psychedelics have been linked to their ability to increase plasticity in the brain, an effect that has also been seen for antidepressants. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a member of the neurotrophin family, which has an important role in the development of the nervous system, as well as promotion of neuronal survival and differentiation during adulthood. BDNF, through its receptor TrkB, has been implicated in antidepressant action, and BDNF-TrkB signalling is involved in many aspects of plasticity. Recently, antidepressants have been reported to bind directly to TrkB, and through this binding mediate their plasticity-enhancing, as well as behavioural effects. Psychedelics have been shown to increase structural and functional plasticity, but the mechanisms behind these effects are not fully understood. For example, the serotonergic receptor 5-HT2A is known to be behind the acute hallucinogenic effects of psychedelics, but its role in plasticity is still debated. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms of LSD-induced plasticity. The dimerization of TrkB was examined after LSD treatment in the protein-fragment complementation assay (PCA). Phosphorylation of TrkB signalling markers mTOR and ERK, which have known effects on plasticity, was assessed in Western blot, and the total expression of BDNF was examined with the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The timeline of the effects was investigated, and the involvement of 5-HT2A in TrkB dimerization and the phosphorylation of ERK was assessed by combining LSD treatment with the 5-HT2A antagonist M100907. Dimerization was also assessed in a TrkB mutant (Y433F) that has previously been shown to disrupt antidepressant effects on plasticity. These experiments showed that LSD treatment increased TrkB dimerization as well as phosphorylation of mTOR and ERK. The Y433F mutation interfered with LSD-induced TrkB dimerization, but the effects of LSD on TrkB dimerization or ERK phosphorylation were not blocked by M100907. Together, these data suggest that 5-HT2A is not involved in LSD-induced promotion of TrkB dimerization or ERK phosphorylation. The increases in phosphorylation and dimerization were found to be most robust after a 1 h LSD treatment, however an increase in BDNF expression was seen in cortical neuron cultures only after a 24 h treatment with LSD. The results reported in this study support the view that 5-HT2A might not be needed for the plasticity-inducing effects of psychedelics. If this is true, the development of treatments that target plasticity without hallucinatory effects could be possible. Overall, this research provides insight into the mechanisms of LSD-induced plasticity and offers new and interesting directions for future research in the field.
  • Törrönen, Essi (2020)
    4-Methylmethcathinone (Mephedrone) is one of the the most prevalent synthetic cathinones that bears close structural similarity to amphetamines. Like other stimulants, mephedrone is often used with alcohol (ethanol). In animal studies ethanol has been observed to potentiate the neurotoxicity of amphetamine-type stimulants, and same has been observed when mephedrone and alcohol is combined. The long-term effects of mephedrone have still remained largely elusive. The aim of this thesis is to study the effects of mephedrone, methamphetamine, and ethanol on dendritic spine density and morphology in the hippocampus, nucleus accumbens and caudate putamen, and compare the spine densities with changes in brain activation observed in manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI). Dendritic spines are small membranous protrusions on dendrites that act as the post-synaptic sites for most of the excitatory synapses. Amphetamine and methamphetamine have been shown to affect the density and morphology of the spines. The goal of this thesis was to investigate the long-term effect of binge-like (two times a day, four consecutive days) stimulant treatment on dendritic spines using Golgi-stained rat brain sections. The brains of 48 male Wistar rats were imaged using AxioImager Z2 microscope and the number and the size of the spines was analyzed using Reconstruct software. In this thesis no effect on dendritic spines was observed in the hippocampus and nucleus accumbens in animals treated with mephedrone, methamphetamine, ethanol or combination of them. In the caudate putamen significant increase in the total density of dendritic spines and in the density of filopodia-like spines was observed in mephedrone-treated animals. Other treatments showed no observable effect. These results were conflicting with previous studies where amphetamine-type stimulants have been shown to increase the spine density in the nucleus accumbens and the hippocampus and increase the density of branched spines. In the caudate putamen methamphetamine has been observed to decrease the spine density. There was no correlation between spine densities and brain activation observed in MEMRI. To my best knowledge this is the first time when the effect of mephedrone on dendritic spines has been studied. It is possible that the treatment regimen used here was not strong enough to produce marked long-term changes on dendritic spines. It is also possible, that mephedrone is not as neurotoxic as other amphetamine-type stimulants, which may explain why the effects remained limited and conflicting. More research is still required to establish the long-term structural effects of mephedrone.
  • Vikfors, Sofia (2020)
    Microplastics (MPs) are widespread environmental pollutants that have been detected in virtually all environmental compartments. Despite this, research has mainly focused on the impacts of microplastic on shorelines and at sea. The effects of MPs on terrestrial ecosystems has been sparsely investigated, and there are only a few studies on direct effects on terrestrial plants. Although plastic polymers are considered inert and non-hazardous, toxic additives are often added to the polymers during manufacture which may leach out into the environment, displaying ecotoxic effects. In this work, the effects of microplastic particles and microplastic leachate on the germination and growth of Lolium multiflorum (Italian ryegrass) was investigated. High density polyethylene (HDPE), which is one of the plastic polymers with the largest annual production, was chosen as the plastic material for investigation. New MPs, artificially aged MPs, MPs from the Lahti region, and MPs from Port Elizabet, South Africa was used in parallel to compare the effects of ageing and regional environmental factors on the ecotoxicity of MPs. The total germination percentage, mean germination rate, synchronization index, germination index, and time to 50% germination was investigated, as well as the root lengths, shoot lengths, root/shoot ratio, and fresh weights of the seedlings. The results showed that exposure to new and Lahti MPs and leachates severely inhibited the extent and speed of the germination of L. multiflorum, whereas all categories of MPs and leachates inhibited the growth to some extent. Most severe inhibition in germination and growth was seen for the new MP and new leachate, followed by Lahti MP and Lahti leachate. The root growth, shoot growth, and plant biomass were also severely reduced for these exposure media. For the aged and Port Elizabeth material, there were slight but significant (p < 0.05) inhibition in root lengths and fresh weights, but no significant inhibition in the germination parameters. These findings indicate that ageing severely reduces the ecotoxic effects of MPs, and that regional environmental factors affect the ecotoxicity of MPs. Microplastics from Port Elizabeth were significantly less toxic to L. multiflorum than MPs from the Lahti region, possibly due to the warmer climate in South Africa. Another explanation could be that the plastic material collected in Port Elizabeth wast older than the one from Lahti. There was little to no difference in germination and growth between seeds exposed to MPs or leachates of the same origin, indicating that it is the substances leaching out of the MPs that are responsible for their ecotoxicity.
  • Turunen, Pauliina (2021)
    Peatlands play an important role in the carbon cycle. Natural peatlands are in general sinks of carbon dioxide (CO2) and sources of methane (CH4), whereas drained peatland forests are CH4 sinks but their CO2 emissions increase compared to natural peatlands. Rotational even-aged forestry followed by ditch network maintenance (DNM) affect the water dynamics of the soil by increasing the water table level (WTL) first during clear-cut after which the WTL is lowered by DNM. Rising of WTL causes more anaerobic conditions and risk that CH4 sink turns into CH4 emissions. Lowering the WTL causes more aerobic conditions and strengthens the CH4 sink function but also increases CO2 emissions. In continuous cover forestry (CCF) where only part of the trees are removed, WTL would be naturally maintained. This could maintain CH4 sinks while lowering CO2 emissions by keeping the WTL at an adequate depth. Net emissions of CO2 and CH4 could be expected to follow the changes in CO2 and CH4 concentrations in soil. To understand the processes isotopic values can be used to interpret the production pathways of CO2 and CH4 since different pathways produce different isotope values. In this master’s thesis the aim was to study how the concentration of CO2 and CH4 as well as CO2 isotope values change in a peat soil and how partial harvest affects them. Gas samples were collected from the peat profile (5 – 65cm) at two different drained peatland forests, Lettosuo and Paroninkorpi, from control plots and partial harvested plots during 2019 and 2020. Samples were also collected from the moss layer. In addition, WTL, temperature of peat and O2 concentrations were measured. Concentrations and isotope values were analysed the laboratory with gas chromatography and isotope analyser (Picarro G2201-i). Water table level and temperature were generally higher in partial harvested areas than in control. Highest concentrations of both CO2 and CH4 were found in the deeper layers of the soil. Partial harvest had higher CO2 and CH4 concentrations in the deep layers (50 – 65cm) than control. The differences between partial harvest and control areas could be explained with the higher WTL in partial harvest. The measured isotopic values of CO2 indicated that most of the CO2 in the soil was derived from atmosphere or heterotrophic respiration and only <<20 % of CO2 was derived from CH4 oxidation. Even though both in control and in partial harvest the CH4 concentrations in the deep soil layers were high, the oxidation processes decrease the concentrations under the atmospheric CH4 concentration maintaining the CH4 sinks in both treatments. In partial harvest the CH4 sink is not in risk due to oxidation even though the WTL is higher. This should be verified with gas flux measurements.
  • Karimaa, Anna-Elina (2021)
    Pollinator abundance and diversity are declining at an alarming rate around the world, which poses a threat to ecosystem stability and human wellbeing. There are signs that growing pollination deficits are limiting agricultural yields in Finland and globally. More information is urgently needed on how changes in pollinator communities affect crop yields and how adequate pollination services could be achieved across a range of crops and locations. This study explores the effects of pollinator abundance and diversity on caraway (Carum carvi L.) pollination and yield. Caraway is partly wind-pollinated, but insect pollination has been shown to increase its yield. Flower visits of pollinating insects were monitored on 30 caraway fields in southern Finland in summer 2019. Yield samples were collected from open-pollinated plants and from control plants excluded from pollinators. Pollinator exclusion reduced caraway fruit set by 13.2% and seed yield by 39.6%. Fruit set, 100-seed weight and seed yield increased with increasing flower visitation. Pollinator species richness and Shannon index had no significant effect on the yield components, but evenness of the pollinator community had a negative effect on seed yield and the numbers of umbels and umbellets in the caraway plants. The most abundant pollinators visiting caraway were syrphid flies, non-syrphid Diptera and honeybees. Visits by syrphid flies and honeybees increased seed yield, while visits by non-syrphid Diptera, solitary bees and Lepidoptera had no significant effect on the yield components. Flower visits by beetles reduced 100-seed weight. The results show that syrphid flies provide an important pollinator service for caraway cultivation. It would be beneficial to study which syrphid fly species are the most effective pollinators for caraway and how to manage fields and farmland landscapes to increase their numbers. Relying only on managed honeybees to enhance caraway pollination may not be advisable due to their potential negative effects on wild pollinators. While increased pollinator diversity did not improve caraway pollination or yield in this one-season study, it may be important for the stability of pollinator services in long term.
  • Jukonen, Joonas (2019)
    Eph (Erythropoietin producing hepatocellular) receptors and their membrane-bound ligands, ephrins, form the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases in mammals. They regulate functions such as cell migration and axon guidance during development, and wound healing and tissue boundary maintenance in mature tissues for example. Due to the membrane-bound nature of the ephrin ligands, Eph-ephrin signalling can proceed in two directions: forward (Eph-expressing cell) and reverse (ephrin expressing cell). In addition to its critical physiological functions in development and tissue homeostasis, the Eph-ephrin system has also been implicated in multiple diseases, including several cancers, in which the aberrant expression of Eph receptors and ephrins are often present. The EphA2 receptor for example has been identified as an oncogene with a dual mode of action as either tumor suppressor or an oncogene through distinct phosphorylation statuses of the receptor. High-grade serous ovarian cancer is the most common subtype of ovarian cancer, and the deadliest gynaecological malignancy with a dismal five-year survival rate. High-grade serous ovarian cancer does not present symptoms at an early stage, yet it quickly progresses into forming peritoneal metastases by cell shedding from the primary tumour. Small patient cohort studies have given indications of the correlation between the Eph-ephrin system and survival in ovarian cancer. This aim of this study was to investigate the impact of the Eph-ephrin system in high-grade serous ovarian cancer using a large patient cohort mRNA expression dataset to obtain survival association data of proteins of interest used with cell-based studies and the analysis of clinical samples in the form of tumor microarrays and fresh primary samples to investigate the functions of the found proteins of interest. A 428-patient The Cancer Genome Atlas high-grade serous ovarian cancer microarray mRNA dataset was analysed using the Kaplan-Meier estimator for each Eph-ephrin family member. Cell based studies were performed with recombinant ephrin treatments and ephrin knockdowns. These data were analysed using Western blotting and immunofluorescence stainings. Clinical high-grade serous ovarian cancer samples obtained from Turku University Hospital were analysed using immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence stainings, and mRNA sequencing. EfnA5 had a significant correlation of high expression and poor survival, which is atypical to ephrins. Low EfnA3 correlated with poor survival. High levels of known oncogenes EphA2 and EphA4 also correlated with poor survival. EfnA5 treatment resulted in increased oncogenic EphA2 signaling in comparison with canonical Eph-ephrin signalling mediated by EfnA1. Knockdown of EfnA5 increased canonical, tumour suppressive EphA2 signaling, while EfnA1 knockdown increased oncogenic EphA2 signaling. Immunohistochemical analysis of tumour microarrays with multiple ovarian cancer subtypes displayed an association between the highly malignant high-grade serous subtype and EfnA5 expression. In addition to this, EfnA5 expression was increased during high-grade serous ovarian cancer progression. The Eph-ephrin system is implicated in the survival associations of multiple cancers, but the exact functions facilitated by Eph-ephrin signalling in cancer have remained relatively unknown, with the exception of EphB4-EfnB2 driven angiogenesis. This study offers insights into oncogenic Eph-ephrin signalling in ovarian cancer, displaying that oncogenic EphA2 functions can be altered by ephrins in addition to the known kinase crosstalk pathway. The noncanonical nature of EfnA5 is highlighted by its oncogenic functions in comparison to typical Eph-ephrin signalling, and the significant increase of EfnA5 expression during high-grade serous ovarian cancer progression and association with this highly malignant subtype of ovarian cancer. Although the reverse signalling effects of EfnA5 were not studied, this study highlights the importance of ephrins in Eph-ephrin signalling in cancer, presenting that the focus should not be only on the Eph receptors when studying the oncogenic signalling facilitated by the Eph-ephrin system.
  • Markula, Anette (2019)
    Interdisciplinary studies are currently an important topic in education. One reason behind this is the idea that students should learn 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills for their future careers. Interdisciplinary education has also been shown to increase students’ interest towards natural sciences. Furthermore, organizing cross-curricular learning units has become compulsory at a curricular level in Finland and other countries. Project-based learning is a widely supported teaching method in which learning is organized around projects. It is also a natural method to carry out interdisciplinary learning units. Project-based learning is usually defined by its characteristic features, and its successful implementation requires the teacher to have a good knowledge of them. However, these characteristics tend to be unknown for teachers. Research has also shown that teachers’ conceptions of what interdisciplinary education and project-based learning are, tend to vary. As such, it has been noted in the literature that there is a need to offer training and materials for the implementation of interdisciplinary and project-based learning for in-service teachers. Although MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have a lot of potential as a means of professional development, they are rarely planned to serve primarily as in-service teacher training. Empirical research into their design is also scarce. The main aims in this study were to 1) provide more information about interdisciplinary education within biology education 2) develop a MOOC for the professional development of biology teachers on the topic of interdisciplinary education and project-based learning. In addition to that the study aimed to develop the StarT programme of LUMA Centre Finland. The study was carried out as design-based research. The main research question that directed the design process was: what should a MOOC that supports teachers to carry out interdisciplinary project-based learning within the theme “nature and environment” in biology be like? Nature and environment was chosen as the context of the study as from the perspective of biology education it offers an important and current topic for interdisciplinary project units. The main research question was approached through a theoretical and empirical problem analysis. Theoretical problem analysis focused on researching the question in earlier literature, and the empirical problem analysis was carried out as a case study in which qualitative data was studied through deductive content analysis. The materials studied in the empirical problem analysis were project-based learning units of comprehensive schools and high schools. Their project units were studied through the following research questions: 1. How did teachers and students carry out the characteristics of project-based learning in the context of the theme nature and environment in biology? 2. How is biology taught in an interdisciplinary way in the theme nature and environment? The first question was studied through the characteristics that were identified for project-based learning in the theoretical problem analysis, and the second by looking at which subjects collaborated with biology, how the collaboration was carried out and how the learning communities experienced it. The goal was to find a) challenging characteristics of project-based learning and interdisciplinary education that should be considered the design of the MOOC b) good examples from the studied learning communities to be shared on the MOOC. The study subjects consisted of 12 learning communities who had participated in the international StarT programme of LUMA Centre Finland. In accordance with earlier studies, also the subjects of this study struggled especially with driving questions, the unity of the project activities and in using the projects as a means to learn central contents. Scientific practices were visible well apart from students’ questions, but it could not be defined how strongly student-led the inquiry was. The connection between instructions of StarT and the characteristics of project-based learning that were well represented in the materials seemed evident: collaboration, sharing results, end products and using technology were all visible throughout the analyzed learning communities. However, the materials offered little information about how the collaboration between different subjects was carried out in practice. The study indicated also that students and teachers paid attention to different aspects of the learning taking place in project-based learning, and that teachers might include topics of certain subjects into the project units without realizing it. This should be further researched, however. The issues identified in the problem analyses were used to design an international MOOC that is suitable especially for biology teachers. The course ”Project-based learning and the theory behind it – create your own project!” was created on the Moodle-platform of the University of Helsinki. In addition to this, a phased model for creating professional development in a situation where the studied materials can be used both to direct the design process and as materials on the course was created. The framework that was created for the analyses in this study can also be further used and developed to study how characteristics of project-based learning are represented in other cases where teachers’ and students’ project units are being studied. The study provided also new information about what is possible and feasible to study from the materials of StarT. New information was provided also of the project-based learning that takes place at the schools of the StarT participants, as they have not been researched from the perspective of the characteristics of project-based learning earlier.
  • Lanki, Maiju (2013)
    Adaptive radiation is an important mechanism of evolution, which can lead to emergence of sympatric species or morphotypes. Among other biological interactions, parasitic pressure can have significant evolutionary implications for host populations by reducing the fitness of the host individuals. Parasite community structure of fishes is typically strongly dependent on both host ecology (e.g. habitat and feeding behaviour) and environmental factors (e.g. water quality and temperature). However, the relative importance of these factors for parasite-mediated speciation is not known. Also, host gender-specific differences in parasite communities can have an effect on the differentiation of host morphs. In this Master's thesis, I focused on differences in parasite communities of sympatric morphs of three-spine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in two large Icelandic lakes, Thingvallavatn and Mývatn. In these lakes, the habitats of sympatric mud and lava morphs are the same (soft/hard bottom), but the habitat water temperatures are opposite between the lakes. In this unique system, it is thus possible to compare between the effects of host ecology and water temperature on parasite community structure and strength of parasite-mediated selection. Additionally, I studied the effect of host sex on the parasitic pressure. There is also a third stickleback morph, Nitella morph, inhabiting the cold limnetic habitats in Lake Thingvallavatn. I sampled the stickleback morphs from both lakes and identified their parasite species. I discovered a total of five parasite genera: trematodes Apatemon and Diplostomum, and cestodes Diphyllobothrium, Proteocephalus and Schistocephalus. Most of the observed parasites have negative effects on health and fitness of the host. I found more parasites in sticklebacks living in higher temperature in both lakes regardless of the morph. When comparing the cold water morphs in Thingvallavatn, parasite abundance was higher in the limnetic Nitella morph than in the shallow water lava morph. Fish gender had an effect on parasitism only in Thingvallavatn as males of both lava and Nitella morphs were more heavily infected with cestodes. Similarities in parasite communities with water temperature indicate that water temperature mainly determines parasite infections in this system instead of host ecology. As similar fish morphotypes exist in different lakes under opposite parasitic pressure, parasitism has unlikely initiated host differentiation, but differences in infection probably have emerged secondary to the ecological specialization of the morphs to different habitats. These results are among the first to tackle the key question in parasite-mediated divergent selection: at which point of the speciation process parasite communities become differentiated and thus can have an effect on speciation. However, the comparison between the cold water morphs (lava and Nitella) indicates that although water temperature seems to be the main factor controlling infections in this system, its effect may still be over ridden by host ecology. Sex-depended differences in parasitic pressure, on the other hand, are likely to reflect specific characteristics of each fish population and lake. These results suggest complex interactions between host ecology and abiotic environment, such as water temperature, in determining the parasite community structure. Hence both factors have to take into consideration when studying the role of parasites in speciation processes. In future, it is necessary to pinpoint the stage of the host speciation process when parasite infections become differentiated in replicated systems to gain comprehensive understanding of the role of parasites in adaptive radiations.
  • Östman, Sanna (2015)
    This interdisciplinary study seeks to raise awareness of and generate interest in projects that combine science and art. A number of such projects are discussed and analyzed with the help of the concept 'Ecovention'. The concept is operationalized to include works of art that ecologically restore, reclaim, and remediate damaged ecosystems by physical actions and inventions. They transform the ecosystem and often slowly disappear into the environment, contributing to the overall wellbeing of the ecosystem. These works of art are long-lasting and site-specific. They are built outdoors by using material that is already available in the ecosystem or by bringing in environmental-friendly material into the ecosystem. The central research question for the study is as follows: How significantly does environmental art affect the local ecosystem when the starting point is ecological restoration? This is a qualitative study. The data for the study consist of interviews with experts together with analyses of the historical, cultural, and ecological background material for two Finnish environmental artworks. The two artworks are Agnes Denes's Puuvuori (Tree Mountain - A Living Time Capsule, 1996) and Jackie Brookner's Veden taika (The Magic of Water, 2007- 2010). These works of art were chosen because of the availability of historical and natural scientific research data about how they were planned and how they were constructed. The availability of this kind of data related to environmental art is rare in Finland. The Magic of Water consists of three floating islands in Salo. They are situated in a lagoon that was formerly used as a clarification pool at the Salo Municipal Sewage Treatment Facility. The artwork has succeeded in supplying a peaceful nesting habitat for the birdlife in the area. It has been shown that a colony of black-headed gulls (Larus ridibundus) is a new species nesting in the islands. The Magic of Water did not provide a significant improvement of the water quality by phytoremediation since the islands are relatively small in relation to the area of the lagoon. Tree Mountain - A Living Time Capsule is to be found in Pinsiönkangas, at the most important groundwater area in Ylöjärvi. The artwork reclaims a former gravel pit. Tree Mountain is a 28 meter tall hill in an area of elliptical shape that spans nine hectares. 10,600 pine tree saplings (Pinus sylvestris) and about 40,000 cubic meters of soil from the area was used to build the artwork. Tree Mountain is nowadays owned by the town of Ylöjärvi and Pinsiönkangas is principally a conservation area. The Tree Mountain - A Living Time Capsule is argued to fit well in the regionally precious ridgescenary since the work of art has enough of biological values. Most likely the building of the artwork has had a preventive effect on possible ecological harm and it has made the community take responsibility for taking care of the reclaimed environment in the long term. In the face of high-quality ecological restoration plans it is important to approach the restoration of ecosystems from a holistic perspective. The artist s vision of how an ecosystem can be restored adds a surplus value to ecological restoration work since also the aesthetic and ideological dimensions are reconstructed. The probable positive view of the community towards the restored ecosystem can promote not only the attendance by the community to that particular area in the future, but it can also promote the attendance of a community to other areas as well.
  • Merikanto, Ilona (2012)
    Many pathogens are able to survive and reproduce in the environment outside of host for instance by saprotrophic lifestyle. These kinds of pathogens are called opportunistic as compared to obligatory pathogens that cannot interact or reproduce in the environment outside of host. Opportunistic pathogens are subject to strong selection forces in the environment outside of host for instance while they compete for resources they share with other microbes. Ecological interactions in the environment outside of host can therefore influence on the disease dynamics and evolution of virulence of an opportunistic pathogen. No proper theoretical model that would acknowledge opportunistic reproduction and ecological interactions in the environment out side of host has been developed before. Yet it is essential to develop this kind of theoretical model so that the development and dynamics of opportunistic diseases could be predicted and prevented. In this work, an opportunistic disease model was developed that considers both the opportunistic reproduction and the influence of a superior competitor as compared to pathogenic strain on pathogen growth in the environment outside of host. Differential equations in the model represent the density changes in time in the populations of susceptible and infected host, pathogen and rival strain outside host that is not pathogenic. Evolution of virulence of the new opportunistic pathogen meaning the ability to grow from low density in presence of superior competing strain was modeled in differing circumstances. Opportunistic disease dynamics was modeled in differing circumstances, when non-pathogenic competing strain was either present or absent. Equilibrium equations were solvable to a system, where non-pathogenic competing strain was absent, but to a system where non-pathogenic competing strain was present. Analyses of the model were performed with Math Works MATLAB – program. Reproducing inside host gives an opportunity for new opportunistic pathogen to increase in density under circumstances where competition is moderate enough so that the reproduction in the environment outside host may compensate opportunistic pathogen's weaker ability to compete. Reproduction and competition in the environment outside host produce disease dynamics that differ from more traditional SI-models. Density dependence of the reproduction in the environment outside host stabilizes host-parasite system in the absence of competition in the environment outside host. Instead, in the presence of competition the competitive advantage of the non-pathogen strain destabilizes disease dynamics and prevents extinction of the susceptible host. Reproduction in the environment outside host also enables opportunistic pathogen to remain in the environment in the absence of susceptible hosts and functions thus as a potential mechanism for disease out breaks when circumstances change. However, increasing competition in the environment outside host at the expense of opportunistic pathogen may potentially prevent epidemics. Among other things, the model could be applied to biological control with the intension of removing an opportunistic pathogen naturally by weakening its survival in the environment out side of host in a competiotion situation. This kind of biological control could for example be possible in the case of saprotrophic Flavobacterium columnare –fish pathogen that is found in fish farms.
  • Tuomaala, Emilia (2022)
    Permafrost peatlands have a significant role in the global carbon cycle, as they store ca. 185 Pg of carbon. Because of the slow decomposition of organic matter, they have sequestered carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and cooled the climate for thousands of years. However, in anaerobic decomposition also methane – a strong greenhouse gas – is produced. Climate change results in changes in permafrost peatland habitats; distribution and proportional share and these changes also affect the CO2 and CH4 fluxes. In this master’s thesis I compare the net ecosystem exchange and pore water methane concentrations in different microhabitats in the Stordalen palsa mire in Abisko, Sweden. In addition, I review the reported climate change-driven habitat changes in the area and its effects on the CO2 and CH4 fluxes. My results suggest that Sphagnum sp. and Sphagnum fuscum -microhabitats were net sinks of CO2 whereas lichen-, shrub- and Eriophorum-microhabitats were net sources. These results were best explained by the proportional coverage of green vegetation, which was highest in both Sphagnum-microhabitats. No discernible differences were found between pore water methane concentrations in different habitats. Permafrost thawing has increased the occurrence of wet habitats in Stordalen. These habitat changes have increased carbon sequestration in the area but at the same time methane emissions have also increased. Because of this, the radiative forcing of the peatland has changed from negative to positive and the on-going habitat changes will likely continue in future. On a longer timespan though, the radiative forcing will likely switch back to negative as carbon sequestration increases and the effects of the methane emissions decrease.
  • Svahnbäck, Katja (2020)
    Tutkielman tarkoituksena oli selvittää ja verrata keskenään kahden luontaisesti kalattoman järven eläinplanktonyhteisöjen rakennetta sekä kalaistutusten vaikutuksia siihen. Tarkoituksena oli myös selvittää äyriäiseläinplanktonin vasteita saalistukseen erilaisen predaatiopaineen vallitessa. Luontaisesti kalattomissa järvissä eliöyhteisö on muovautunut hyvin erilaiseksi visuaalisesti saalistavien kalojen puuttuessa. Näissä järvissä pääpredaattorina toimivat usein selkärangattomat pedot, joiden saalistustekniikka eroaa selvästi kalojen saalistuksesta, ja ne ovat usein kokorajoitteisia ravinnon käytön suhteen. Kalojen visuaalinen saalistus kohdistuu kooltaan suurimpiin ja näkyvimpiin äyriäiseläinplanktoneihin ja ne voivat näin tehokkaasti vaikuttaa eläinplanktonin kokorakenteeseen. Luontaisesti kalattomiin järviin tehdyillä kalaistutuksilla voi olla merkittäviä vaikutuksia koko järven eliöyhteisöön. Oletuksena oli, että äyriäiseläinplankton olisi kooltaan suurempaa kalattomassa järvessä verrattuna istutettuun järveen. Oletimme pienikokoisen Bosmina spp. -vesikirpun suojautuvan selkärangattomien petojen predaatiota vastaan erilaisten korostuneiden morfologisten piirteiden avulla. Myös äyriäiseläinplanktonin vertikaalisen sijainnin oletettiin eroavan järvien välillä. Kuutsjärvi ja Tippakuru sijaitsevat Värriön luonnonpuiston alueella Itä-Lapissa. Molemmat tutkimusjärvet ovat luontaisesti kalattomia latvajärviä, mutta Kuutsjärveen on istutettu taimenta 1980-luvulla ja se muodosti järveen pysyvän taimenkannan. Eläinplanktonnäytteet otettiin limnos -putkinäytteenottimella järven syvimmästä kohdasta koko vesipatsaan syvyydeltä metrin välein kesällä 2010, kolmena eri näytteenottokertana. Näytteet mikroskopoitiin ja niistä määritettiin lajit/suvut mahdollisimman tarkasti ja äyriäiseläinplanktonin koko mitattiin. Näytteistä määritettiin eläinplanktonin tiheydet, äyriäiseläinplanktonin biomassat, keskikoot ja kokojakaumat. Lisäksi mitattiin pienikokoisen Bosmina spp. -vesikirpun ulokkeiden (mucro, antennula) pituudet predaatiopaineen vaikutusten arvioimiseksi. Äyriäiseläinplanktonin vertikaalinen sijainti vesipatsaassa määritettiin. Selvimmin pelagiaalin eläinplanktonyhteisöt erosivat toisistaan kokonaistiheyksien osalta, minkä aiheutti rataseläinten voimakas lisääntyminen kalattomassa Tippakurussa kesän aikana. Eläinplanktonlajisto oli järvissä kuitenkin hyvin samanlainen ja lajirunsaus vain hieman suurempi kalattomassa Tippakurussa. Äyriäiseläinplanktonin biomassat vaihtelivat kuukausien välillä, mutta eivät eronneet merkittävästi järvien välillä. Molemmissa järvissä hallitsevina äyriäiseläinplanktoneina esiintyivät hankajalkaiset ja vesikirppuja esiintyi selkeästi vähemmän. Äyriäiseläinplanktonin keskikoot erosivat joiltain osin järvien välillä ja olivat pääosin suuremmat kalattomassa Tippakurussa. Kalattomille järville tyypillistä hyvin suurikokoista eläinplanktonia ei Tippakurussa kuitenkaan esiintynyt ja erot jäivät tästä syystä oletettua pienemmiksi. Pienikokoisen Bosmina spp. -vesikirpun mucrojen pituuksissa havaittiin kuitenkin selkeä ero. Mucrot olivat kooltaan selvästi suuremmat kalattomassa Tippakurussa koko kesän ajan ja tätä ollaankin pidetty yhtenä luotettavimpana Bosmina spp. -vesikirppujen vasteena selkärangattomien petojen saalistukseen. Äyriäiseläinplanktonin sijainnissa havaittiin eroja lähinnä hankajalkaisten ja vesikirppujen välillä, mutta järvien välillä erot olivat vähäisiä, joitain yksittäisiä tapauksia lukuun ottamatta. Erilaisesta predaatiopaineesta huolimatta järvien eläinplanktonlajisto erosi vain vähän järvien välillä ja erot olivat joiltain osin jopa päinvastaisia oletettuun nähden. Kuutsjärven eläinplanktonlajisto muistutti monelta osin muiden istutettujen järvien lajistoa, koostuen lähinnä pienikokoisesta äyriäiseläinplanktonista ja rataseläimistä. Järvessä esiintyvä taimen ei ole tehokas planktivori, joten se on todennäköisesti vaikuttanut Kuutsjärven eläinplanktonlajistoon lähinnä trofiatasojen välisten vuorovaikutusten kautta, hävittämällä selkärangattomat pedot pelagiaalista. Tippakurussa sen sijaan havaittiin kalattomille järville poikkeuksellisen runsaasti rataseläimiä ja äyriäiseläinplankton oli kooltaan verrattaen pientä. Myös äyriäiseläinplanktonin sijainti oli monilta osin poikkeava muihin tutkimuksiin nähden. Tippakurun pelagiaalissa, poikkeuksellisesti myös päiväsaikaan esiintyneet selkärangattomat pedot G.lacustris ja C. flavicans ovat tehokkaalla, myös suuriin eläinplanktereihin kohdistuneella predaatiollaan todennäköisesti muovanneet Tippakurun eläinplanktonyhteisöstä ja sen vasteista hyvin omaleimaisen sekä poikkeavan muihin kalattomiin järviin nähden. Voimakkaammasta selkärangattomien petojen predaatiosta Tippakurussa kuitenkin kertovat Bosmina spp. -vesikirpun suuremmat mucrot verrattuna Kuutsjärveen, jossa istutettu taimen on hävittänyt selkärangattomat pedot pelagiaalista.
  • Nivalainen, Pinja (2022)
    Eläinten tunnemaailma on meille melko vieras. Sen takia on tärkeää tutkia, millaiset asiat vaikuttavat siihen, miten tulkitsemme niiden tunteita. Tunteiden tulkintaan voivat vaikuttaa tulkitsijan omat kokemukset. Tämän tutkielman tarkoituksena on tutkia sitä, mitkä asiat vaikuttavat siihen, kuinka hyvin eläintarhakävijät tunnistavat villieläinten tunteita. Erityisesti keskityn siihen, miten vastaajan sukupuoli, ikä, kasvuympäristö ja lapsuuden ja aikuisuuden aikaiset eläinkokemukset vaikuttavat eläintarhakävijöiden kykyyn tunnistaa eläinten tunteita. Tutkimus tehtiin kyselytutkimuksena Korkeasaaren eläintarhassa kesällä 2021. Osallistujille näytettiin videolta eläin ja heidän tuli kertoa, onko eläimen tunnetila neutraali, myönteinen vai kielteinen ja onko se rauhallinen vai kiihtynyt. Tutkimuksessa tutkittiin tiikereiden, berberiapinoiden ja markhorvuohien tunnetilan tunnistamista. Osallistujista kerättiin taustatietoja, kuten ikä ja sukupuoli. Tulosteni perusteella eläinlajilla on vaikutusta tunnetilan tunnistamiseen. Tiikerin myönteisyys tai kielteisyys osattiin arvioida huonommin kuin berberiapinan. Myös vastaajan ikä vaikuttaa tunteiden tunnistukseen. Vanhemmat tunnistivat myönteisyyden tai kielteisyyden nuorempia ihmisiä heikommin. Sukupuoli vaikuttaa yhdessä iän kanssa kiihtyneisyyden tunnistamiseen. Kiihtyneisyyden tunnistivat paremmin 18–30-vuotiaat naiset kuin 61–75-vuotiaat naiset, mutta muiden ryhmien välillä ei havaittu merkitseviä eroja. Kiihtyneisyys tunnistettiin myös paremmin, jos eläimet ovat olleet osana vastaajan elämää vain lapsuudessa sen sijaan, että ne olisivat olleet aina osana elämää. Tulosten perusteella voidaan päätellä, että ihmiset tunnistavat eri eläinten tunteet eri tavalla ja ihmismäisempien eläinten tunteet ovat muita helpommin tunnistettavissa. Iällä ja sukupuolella voi olla vaikutusta ihmisten kykyyn tunnistaa eläinten tunteita. Myös eläinkokemus vaikuttaa ihmisten kykyyn tunnistaa tunteita ja kokemus ei ole sama kuin tiedon omaksuminen. Tuloksiani voidaan hyödyntää esimerkiksi ympäristökasvatuksessa.
  • Vainio, Anssi (2023)
    Research into animal emotions is important for improving animal welfare and understanding behavior. Emotional research also provides a better overview of ecology and helps from the point of view of protection. According to the consensus, animals feel different emotions and express their feelings in many ways. Emotional expression is also an important part of communication between animals. In my research, I wanted to study zoo visitors’ ability to interpret animals’ emotions. The study was conducted in Korkeasaari as a survey, where respondents were asked to rate animals’ valence and arousal based on short video clips. According to several theories, valence and arousal are two important dimensions of emotion. Interpretation is based on movements, expressions, and gestures of one animal or several animals. In my research, I used videos of Barbary macaque, Siberian tiger, and Markhor expressing different emotions. The aim of this study was to explore if there are differences in participants ratings between the species. In addition, I explored whether a specific emotion is interpreted better than others. I expected that, based on an evolutionary distance, the emotions of the Barbary macaque would be interpreted best despite the emotion. Secondly, I expected the best identification of negative Valence and high arousal, which would be important for evolution and survival. I found that the valence of the barbary macaque was interpreted best, but the arousal of the markhor was interpreted as well as the Barbary macaques. Different emotions were interpreted differently in each specie. The interpretation of emotions is also influenced by the participant’s demographic factors such as age and gender. Differences in ratings between the species may also be explained by species-specific factors such as the extent of the emotional scale to be expressed or need to express emotions. Together with other similar studies, the aim of this study is to improve animal welfare and to increase interest and knowledge of animal emotions.
  • Moog, Maia (2022)
    Catastrophic childhood epilepsies are characterized by persistent seizures and are frequently associated with cognitive and developmental impairments. Many, approximately 30%, of these epilepsies are rare genetic disorders that do not have effective therapeutic options. The bench to drug process is lengthy and expensive, and thus it is critical to find more affordable drug screening options. Zebrafish are an ideal model organism for screening studies as they share considerable (70%) genetic similarities with humans and are cheap to maintain with efficient breeding capabilities. In the present study, 37 zebrafish lines were screened for epileptic brain activity to identify high priority genes for future pharmacology studies. Each zebrafish line, generated by CRISPR-Cas9 represents a single gene loss of function mutation associated with 3 epilepsy based on genome wide association studies. Larval zebrafish were screened for spontaneous seizure activity using electrophysiological assays. The following 8 genes were significantly associated with spontaneous seizure activity in zebrafish: EEF1A, ARX, GRIN1, GABRB3, PNPO, STRADA, SCN1A, and STXBP1. There is now an open-source database for all 37 zebrafish lines, which contains sequencing information, survival curves, behavioral profiles, and electrophysiological data. The findings reveal novel target genes for future drug development and discovery. Future work is needed to explore whether zebrafish also model co-morbidities commonly seen in human patients with epilepsy.
  • Toivio, Viivi (2017)
    Lämpenevä ilmasto muuttaa boreaalisten metsien lajikoostumusta. Uudet lajit levittäytyvät yhä pohjoisemmaksi lämpenemisen siirtäessä kullekin lajille luontaisia elinympäristöjä. Lisäksi perustuotannon, karikkeen hajoamisen ja ravinteiden saatavuuden on ennustettu muuttuvan, mikä asettaa uusia sopeutumistarpeita kasvien typpitaloudelle. Erityisesti pitkäikäiset puut kohtaavat merkittävän haasteen suotuisten elinympäristöjen siirtyessä nopeammin kuin puut kykenevät itse leviämään uusiin kasvuympäristöihin. Tässä pro gradu- työssä tarkastelen elinympäristön muutoksen vaikutuksia neljän rauduskoivupopulaation (Betula pendula) puiden elinvoimaisuutta ilmentäviin ominaisuuksiin sekä niiden tuottaman karikkeen laatuun ja hajoamiseen. Hyödynsin tutkimuksessani olemassa olevaa koeasetelmaa, jossa pohjois-eteläsuuntaista gradienttia edustavista populaatioista (alkuperistä) kloonattuja rauduskoivun taimia on istutettu yhteisille "common garden" -kasvupaikoille Tuusulaan, Joensuuhun ja Kolariin. Erityisesti etelään päin siirron on tarkoitus simuloida ilmaston lämpenemistä. Tutkimusaineistoni koostuu 233 taimesta, joista määritin pituuskasvun, lehtien hiili- (C), typpi- (N) ja vesipitoisuuden sekä typen takaisinottotehokkuuden, lehtialaindeksin ja herbivorivioituksen. Lisäksi määritin maatuvan lehtikarikkeen massahäviön ja lehtikarikkeesta vapautuvan typen määrän 3 kk kestäneessä maatumiskokeessa. Aineiston keräsin puiden neljäntenä kasvukautena aikavälillä 27.6.2014 – 6.3.2015. Tulosten tilastolliseen analysoimiseen käytin varianssi- ja korrelaatioanalyysejä. Vihreiden lehtien N-pitoisuus (%) pieneni lineaarisesti pohjois-eteläsuuntaisesti, kun taas typen takaisinottotehokkuus heikkeni ja muodostuvan lehtikarikkeen N % kasvoi, kun populaatioita siirrettiin pohjoiseen tai etelään alkuperäiseltä kasvupaikaltaan. Siirto vähensi myös pituuskasvua ja lehtien vesipitoisuutta. Herbivorivioitus ja lehtialaindeksi eivät reagoineet siirtoon. Vihreiden lehtien N % korreloi positiivisesti typen takaisinottotehokkuuden kanssa. Mitä suurempi takaisinottotehokkuus, sitä pienempi oli typpipitoisuus lehtikarikkeessa. Maatuvan karikkeen massahäviö kasvoi, mitä suurempi oli maatuvan karikkeen N-pitoisuus. Erityisesti Joensuun ja Tuusulan kasvupaikoilta kerätyn karikkeen massahäviö oli sitä suurempaa, mitä pohjoisemmasta alkuperästä oli kyse. Typpeä ei vapautunut maatumiskokeen aikana, eikä typen vapautuminen korreloinut lehdistä mitattujen ominaisuuksien kanssa. Tulokseni osoittavat, että rauduskoivun pituuskasvu, lehtien vesipitoisuus ja sisäinen typpitalous ovat parhaimmillaan alkuperäisellä kasvupaikalla, ts. populaatiot ovat paikallisesti sopeutuneita. Muutokset typen takaisinottotehokkuudessa näyttävät liittyvän rauduskoivun kasvuun, joka heikkeni elinympäristön muuttuessa. Populaatioiden pohjois-etelä-siirto heikensi typen takaisinottotehokkuutta ja lisäsi maatuvan karikkeen massahäviötä. Tulokseni osoittavat, että tulevaisuuden muuttuvat ilmasto- ja ympäristöolosuhteet voivat heikentää puiden elinvoimaisuutta pohjoisissa ekosysteemeissä, mutta toisaalta samanaikaisesti kiihdyttää karikkeen maatumista parantamalla muodostuvan kasvikarikkeen laatua.
  • Norontaus, Maija (2022)
    Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that ends up in aquatic ecosystems both as atmospheric deposition as well as from the catchment area surrounding the water body. Under the right circumstances, inorganic mercury can be methylated into methylmercury, which accumulates in organisms and food webs and is harmful to humans and animals. Humans are exposed to methylmercury mainly through consumed fish as almost all the total mercury content in fish muscle consist of methylmercury. Mercury content of fish is affected by numerous different factors, such as the food consumed by the fish, the characteristics of the fish species and fish individual, level of lake eutrophication, mercury concentration in water and catchment area. Thesis studies total mercury content and mercury bioaccumulation in cyprinid fish. The species included in the study are roach (Rutilus rutilus), bream (Abramis brama), bleak (Alburnus alburnus), white bream (Blicca bjoerkna), blue bream (Ballerus ballerus), ide (Leuciscus idus), tench (Tinca tinca), rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus) and crucian carp (Carassius carassius). Three main research questions were: (1) Can diet of different cyprinid fish explain the mercury content? (2) Is mercury content consistent between fish species in different lake types, or does lake type affect mercury content? (3) Is mercury bioaccumulation consistently similar between fish species between lake types? The fish samples for this study were gathered prior to MSc during July-August in 2020 and 2021 from Kukkia, Hauhonselkä and Pääjärvi, which are classified as mesotrophic lakes, and from eutrophic Vesijärvi, Tuusulanjärvi and Hulausjärvi. Total length, weight, sex, sexual maturity, condition factor (K), fish diet and muscle total mercury content were determined from each fish. The diet of the fish and the differences in the total mercury content were tested with analysis of variance. Mercury bioaccumulation was tested with using linear regression analysis and the slope coefficient obtained from the regression equation was tested for bleak and roach with t-test. From the abundant species of the study the highest length corrected (to length 16.6 cm) mercury contents were measured in bleak and roach, while the contents were lower in white bream and bream. The mercury content differed most clearly in species whose feeding behaviour was very specialized. For example, the differences in mercury contents between bleak, which mainly consumes surface insects and zooplankton, and bream, which prefers benthic food, were clear in every lake studied. Mercury contents were mainly higher in mesotrophic lakes compared to eutrophic lakes, but results varied by species. In addition to fish diet and lake type, fish’s metabolism, growth rate and life cycle length probably influenced the species-specific mercury contents. When comparing the abundant species, the bioaccumulation of mercury was steepest in bleak and roach. Compared to these species’ bioaccumulation was slower in white bream and bream. When comparing mercury bioaccumulation within species between different lake types, the differences were species-specific. For example, the bioaccumulation of bleak was consistently steeper in mesotrophic lakes compared to eutrophic lakes, but the bioaccumulation of white bream was steeper in eutrophic lakes. Based on this study, it can be concluded that mercury content and bioaccumulation in cyprinid fish were influenced by e.g., species-specific characteristics, fish diet and level of the lake productivity. In addition to these factors, mercury content and bioaccumulation of fish may have been affected by the land use of the lake catchment area, as well as the anoxic areas of the lakes, which are propitious places for methylation. This study provided valid information on which factors may be relevant for cyprinid fish when observing their mercury content and bioaccumulation.
  • Jokinen, Maija (2019)
    Parvoviruses are among the smallest known viruses. The parvovirus genome is a single stranded DNA, approximately 5 kb in size. The virion has a small (20 to 30 nm), rugged, non-enveloped icosahedral capsid. Parvoviruses can cause a number of diseases. Possibly the most recognized human parvovirus is parvovirus B19 (B19V), which can cause the so-called fifth disease, anemias and fetal death. Another relatively well characterised parvovirus is human bocavirus 1 (HBoV1), which causes respiratory tract infections in young children. Bufavirus (BuV) tusavirus (TuV) and cutavirus (CuV) are emerging parvoviruses, discovered during the years 2012-2016 using next generation sequencing methods. All three viruses were originally discovered in feces of patients suffering from diarrhea. BuV was originally found in Burkina Faso and has since been detected in fecal samples with polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods from Europe, Asia and Africa. The seroprevalence of BuV differs between countries. TuV was found in a single stool sample from Tunisia, but no further reports of it have since emerged. CuV was found in 2016 and it has been linked to cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, but it is not known if the virus is the cause of the cancer or if the virus simply prefers quickly dividing cancer cells for its replication. BuV, TuV and CuV belong to the Protoparvovirus genus, but it is still unclear whether TuV is a human pathogen. More research is needed to study the epidemiology of these viruses and their role in illnesses. There were two main aims in this thesis: to set up an IgM µ-capture enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for human protoparvoviruses using BuV1 as an example and to screen three stool sample cohorts for BuV, TuV and CuV using an in-house multiplex quantitative PCR (qPCR). The IgM EIAs developed for B19V and HBoV1 was used as the base for developing human protoparvovirus IgM EIA, using Virus-like particles (VLP) as antigens. Setting up the EIA required a great amount of optimization and finally troubleshooting, since the assay did not work as expected. The troubleshooting revealed that the ambiguous results in the IgM µ-capture EIA were possibly due to degraded VLPs or that the sensitive µ-capture format requires extremely carefully purified VLPs. More optimizing is needed for this assay, however, the work done in this thesis offers a good base for further development of protoparvovirus IgM EIA. All three viruses were found in the stool samples during multiplex qPCR screening. Based on the qPCR and sequencing results one sample was positive for BuV DNA, one sample for TuV DNA and a total of 12 samples for CuV DNA. This is the first time TuV DNA has been found since its discovery. In addition to that, CuV DNA was identified in fecal samples for the first time since the discovery, previously CuV DNA had been found mostly in skin biopsies. As for TuV, based on the parvovirus phylogenetic analyses, its sequence is more closely related to rodent parvoviruses than CuV or BuV. More research is needed, possibly with animal and human samples, to establish the role of TuV as a human virus.
  • Arima, Tai (2022)
    Clathrin-mediated endocytosis is the most common pathway by which cells internalize cargoes from the membrane. It is a critical process in cell communication, development, and homeostasis. In order to study endocytic dynamics, it is critical that one can clearly distinguish receptors that have entered the cell from those which remain on the cell membrane. Current techniques for investigating endocytosis rely on removing membrane-bound components with harsh treatments which may interfere with cell physiology, and often depend on antibodies which are not widely available and - even when they are - may give unreliable signals and may affect receptor behavior and internalization rates. Additionally, a large portion of studies on clathrin-mediated endocytosis have been done on a single receptor, the transferrin receptor. Here we have developed a new assay which resolves the above issues through use of a novel protein probe. This fusion protein will allow us to resolve the issues with current endocytic assays mentioned above, and in theory can be used to study any membrane receptor which is endocytosed. Our preliminary results show that we can use our protein to effectively track endocytosed receptors without interference from signal of receptors remaining on the cell membrane. This shows that our protein may be a powerful tool for studying endocytosis across a wide variety of membrane-bound receptors.
  • Lähteenmäki, Lauri (2020)
    Russia’s energy security is considered to rest on hydrocarbon exports, as the country’s economy and political regime depends on revenue generated in energy trade. Today, Russia faces a problem, as interests toward climate change mitigation and renewable energy have increased globally. Particularly the EU, Russia’s primary gas trade partner, seeks to reduce fossil fuel consumption due to its climate policy targets and concerns over energy security. Via the Yamal LNG project, Russia begun to diversify its markets toward East Asia in 2017. The project is expected to spur energy infrastructure development in the Arctic region, as it ships liquefied natural gas (LNG) along the Northern Sea Route. This study finds out how the stakeholders of the Yamal LNG project consider it to connect with the energy security of Russia, to which climate change mitigation poses a potential threat. Since securitization of energy is the result of a social process where political actors contest over the meanings of energy, the study also looks at whose interests the Yamal LNG project actually secures as “energy security”, and how that concept becomes projected as a general national interest, instead of having energy transition among the top objectives of energy policy. Neo-Gramscian analytical approach and frame analysis are used to deliver results from a data consisting of 11 research interviews and 40 archival sources. The stakeholders make sense of Yamal LNG’s relation to energy security and energy transition through four frames, which reflect distinct interest groups. The stakeholders appeal on others by utilizing the frames discursively, as they strategically contest over the meanings of energy. Ultimately, a hegemonic group consisting of the Russian state, JSC Yamal LNG shareholders, industrial organizations, and fossil energy lobbies determines the meanings of Yamal LNG’s production as general interests. Subordinate groups, including environmental NGOs and local indigenous residents, consent as they face combinations of discursive, organizational and material power. With the concession of others, the hegemonic group is able to project a “reality” that presents natural gas production as compatible with energy transition and climate change mitigation as an inferior interest to energy security. The Yamal LNG case shows that incumbent fossil energy regimes can effectively counter attempts to direct energy policy on low-carbon paths by pleading to security, which is a topic that research often neglects.