SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Coral

Corals are marine invertebrates within the class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They live in compact colonies of many identical individual polyps. Corals species include the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton. A coral "group" is a colony of myriad genetically identical polyps; each polyp is a sac-like animal only a few millimeters in diameter and a few centimeters in length. A set of tentacles surrounds a central mouth opening. An exoskeleton is excreted near the base. Over many generations, the colony thus creates a large skeleton characteristic of the species. Individual heads grow by asexual reproduction of polyps. Corals breed sexually by spawning: polyps of the same species release gametes over a period of one to several nights around a full moon. Although some corals are able to catch small fish and plankton using stinging cells on their tentacles, most corals obtain the majority of their energy and nutrients from photosynthetic unicellular dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium that live within their tissues.

These are known as zooxanthellae. Such corals require sunlight and grow in clear, shallow water at depths less than 60 metres. Corals are major contributors to the physical structure of the coral reefs that develop in tropical and subtropical waters, such as the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Other corals do not rely on zooxanthellae and can live in much deeper water, with the cold-water genus Lophelia surviving as deep as 3,300 metres; some have been found as far north as the Darwin Mounds, northwest of Cape Wrath and others off the coast of Washington State and the Aleutian Islands. Aristotle's pupil Theophrastus described the red coral, korallion, in his book on stones, implying it was a mineral, but he described it as a deep-sea plant in his Enquiries on Plants, where he mentions large stony plants that reveal bright flowers when under water in the Gulf of Heroes. Pliny the Elder stated boldly that several sea creatures including sea nettles and sponges "are neither animals nor plants, but are possessed of a third nature".

Petrus Gyllius copied Pliny, introducing the term zoophyta for this third group in his 1535 book On the French and Latin Names of the Fishes of the Marseilles Region. Gyllius further noted, following Aristotle, how hard it was to define what was a plant and what was an animal; the Persian polymath Al-Biruni classified sponges and corals as animals, arguing that they respond to touch. People believed corals to be plants until the eighteenth century, when William Herschel used a microscope to establish that coral had the characteristic thin cell membranes of an animal. Presently, corals are classified as certain species of animals within the sub-classes Hexacorallia and Octocorallia of the class Anthozoa in the phylum Cnidaria. Hexacorallia includes the stony corals and these groups have polyps that have a 6-fold symmetry. Octocorallia includes blue coral and soft corals and species of Octocorallia have polyps with an eightfold symmetry, each polyp having eight tentacles and eight mesenteries.

Fire corals are not true corals. Corals are sessile animals and differ from most other cnidarians in not having a medusa stage in their life cycle; the body unit of the animal is a polyp. Most corals are colonial, the initial polyp budding to produce another and the colony developing from this small start. In stony corals known as hard corals, the polyps produce a skeleton composed of calcium carbonate to strengthen and protect the organism; this is deposited by the coenosarc, the living tissue that connects them. The polyps sit in cup-shaped depressions in the skeleton known as corallites. Colonies of stony coral are variable in appearance. Soft corals have no solid exoskeleton per se. However, their tissues are reinforced by small supportive elements known as "sclerites" made of calcium carbonate. Soft corals vary in form, most are colonial. A few soft corals are stolonate, but the polyps of most are connected by sheets of coenosarc, in some species these sheets are thick and the polyps embedded in them.

Some soft corals encrust other sea objects or form lobes. Others are tree-like or whip-like and chem a central axial skeleton embedded at its base in the matrix of the supporting branch; these branches are composed either of a fibrous protein called gorgonin or of a calcified material. In both stony and soft corals, the polyps can be retracted, with stony corals relying on their hard skeleton and cnidocytes for defence. Soft corals secrete terpenoid toxins to ward off predators; the polyps of stony corals have six-fold symmetry. The mouth of each polyp is surrounded by a ring of tentacles. In stony corals these are cylindrical and taper to a point, but in soft corals they are pinnate with side branches known as pinnules. In some tropical species these are reduced to mere stubs and in some they are fused to give a paddle-like appearance. In most corals, the tentacles are retracted by day and spread out at night to catch plankton and other small organisms. Shallow water species of both stony and soft corals can be zooxanthellate, the corals supplementing their plankton diet with the products of photosyn

FITM2

Fat storage-inducing transmembrane protein 2 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the FITM2 gene. It plays a role in fat storage, its location is 20q13.12 and it contains 2 exons. It is a member of the FIT protein family, conserved throughout evolution. Conserved from Saccharomyces cerevisiae to humans is the capability to take fat and store it as cytoplasmic triglyceride droplets. While FIT proteins facilitate the segregation of triglycerides into cytosolic lipid droplets, they are not involved in triglyceride biosynthesis. In mammals, both FIT2 and FIT1 from the same family are present, embedded in the wall of the endoplasmic reticulum where they regulate lipid droplet formation in the cytosol. In S. cerevisiae, it plays a role in the metabolism of phospholipids. These TGs are in the cytoplasm, encapsulated by a phospholipid monolayer in configurations or organelles that have been given many different names including lipid particles, oil bodies, adiposomes and most prevalent in scientific research – lipid droplets.

FITM2 one of two genes in its family. The other being FITM1 known as FIT1 in which it shares 35% identity with. However, FITM1 and FITM2 have a similarity score of 50% at the amino acid level. Of the two protein coding genes, FITM2 is the ancient orthologue of this family of FIT proteins with orthologues found in S.cerevisiae. FITM1 is found in humans but is conserved from fish. FITM1 is not seen in adipose tissue or adipocytes but it is however, displayed in muscles both skeletal and cardiac in nature. FITM2 is seen most and in increased expression in adipose tissue, it is controlled by receptor γ directly. This receptor γ is the principal transcription factor for the differentiation of adipocytes. Cytosolic lipid droplets are organelles that are composed of a core, hydrophobic in nature containing neutral lipids as well as cholesteryl esters that have a phospholipid monolayer in addition to a distinctive set of expressed proteins that surrounds them; the most accepted view on the creation of lipid droplets is that the neutral lipids build up between the ER leaflets due to de novo synthesizing enzymes for both triglyceride phospholipids and cholesteryl esters.

This leads to the budding lipid droplets growing into the cytoplasm space. There are two different groups of lipid droplets that are known: the first is characterized by its phospholipid leaflet in continuity with the membrane of the ER and the second is classified as definitively cytosolic without a connection to the ER. A acknowledged model of the creation of a lipid droplet includes the construction of a center or lens of TGs that are produced new; this TG center is flanked by the leaflets of the membrane in the ER that sprouts off with the leaflet in the cytoplasm of the ER that surrounds the core of the lipid. It is able to obtain interchangeable proteins that are associated with lipid droplets in the cytosol. Studies done have suggested that FITM2 works downstream of diglyceride acyltransferase enzymes and binds to TGs, crucial for a cell’s FITM2 facilitated lipid droplet formation after being purified; when looking at the most recent view of lipid droplet formation as described above where a TG lens is established between ER leaflets, FITM2’s capacity to bind TG may aid in the increase of TG’s solubility in the ER.

This can instigate the gathering of amounts of TG necessary to mediate the progression of lipid droplet formation. FITM2 has been referred to as a “gatekeeper” because it is situated downstream of TG biosynthesis and controls the number of lipid droplets formed. In mammals, FITM2 protein is made up of 262 amino acids and has six transmembrane domains in which the N and C termini are both geared to face the cytosol; when FITM2 has a mutation in its fourth transmembrane domain that happens to be a gain-of-function one, is found overexpressed in cells, it has unfailingly caused the buildup of TG rich lipid droplets. This mutation has been described as having a significant effect on increasing both the amount and size and lipid droplets. A comparative sequence analysis of FITM2 showed a tract of residues that were deemed as extensively conserved located in this transmembrane 4, named the “FIT signature sequence”. In the cells of mammals, the construction of lipid droplets is a process, controlled, using hormone induced signals, proteins related to droplets, lipases as well.

Four observations support the role of FIT proteins in the mediation of lipid droplets. First, they have been conserved throughout evolution and found in the ER, the primary site for the biosynthesis of TGs. Second, when FIT proteins are overexpressed in either the liver of a mouse of in cells that have been cultured in vivo, there has been observable buildup of lipid droplets that are rich in triglycerides as an outcome. Third, FIT proteins are not DGATs. DGATs facilitate the biosynthesis of the TGs. FIT proteins aid in the conversion of the TGs into lipid droplets. Therefore, knowing the function of these FIT proteins helps us to make sense of why they are placed downstream of the DGATs. Lastly, a shRNA-facilitated reduction in FITM2 in adipocytes or a knockdown of it in the embryos of zebrafish resulted in great declines in lipid droplet build-up. FITM2 has been identified as being overexpressed throughout the time 3T3-L1 is being differentiated which shows resemblance to the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma at a specific period when lipid droplets have been identified to build-up which results in the

Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift in central Scotland, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The lift is named after the town in which it is located, it reconnects the two canals for the first time since the 1930s. It opened in 2002 as part of the Millennium Link project; the plan to regenerate central Scotland's canals and reconnect Glasgow with Edinburgh was led by British Waterways with support and funding from seven local authorities, the Scottish Enterprise Network, the European Regional Development Fund, the Millennium Commission. Planners decided early on to create a dramatic 21st-century landmark structure to reconnect the canals, instead of recreating the historic lock flight; the wheel raises boats by 24 metres, but the Union Canal is still 11 metres higher than the aqueduct which meets the wheel. Boats must pass through a pair of locks between the top of the wheel and the Union Canal; the Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world, one of two working boat lifts in the United Kingdom, the other being the Anderton Boat Lift.

The two canals served by the wheel were connected by a series of 11 locks. With a 35-metre difference in height, it required 3,500 tonnes of water per run and took most of a day to pass through the flight. By the 1930s these had fallen into disuse, the locks were dismantled in 1933; the Forth and Clyde Canal closed at the end of 1962, by the mid-1970s the Union Canal was filled in at both ends, rendered impassable by culverts in two places and run in pipes under a housing estate. The British Waterways Board came into existence on 1 January 1963, the day the Forth and Clyde Canal was closed, with the objective of finding a broad strategy for the future of canals in the United Kingdom. In 1976, the BWB decided after a meeting with local councils that the Forth and Clyde Canal, fragmented by various developments, was to have its remaining navigability preserved by building new bridges with sufficient headroom for boats and continuing to maintain the existing locks. Restoration of sea-to-sea navigation was deemed too expensive at the time, but there were to be no further restrictions on its use.

A 1979 survey report documented 69 obstructions to navigation, sought the opinions of twenty interested parties to present the Forth and Clyde Local Plan in 1980. The Lotteries Act 1993 resulted in the creation of the Millennium Commission to disseminate funds raised by the sale of lottery tickets for selected "good causes." In 1996, when sufficient funds had been accumulated, the Commission invited applications to "do anything they thought desirable... to support worthwhile causes which would mark the year 2000 and the start of the new millennium." The conditions were that the Commission would fund no more than half of the project, with the remaining balance being covered by project backers. The BWB had made an earlier plan for the reopening of the canal link, which comprehensively covered the necessary work. In 1994, the BWB announced its plan to bid for funding, submitted in 1995 on behalf of the Millennium Link Partnership; the plans called for the canals to be opened to their original operating dimensions, with 3 metres of headroom above the water.

The whole project had a budget of £78 million. On 14 February 1997, the Commission announced it would support the Link with £32 million of funding, 42% of the project cost; the Wheel and its associated basin was priced at £ more than a fifth of the total budget. Another £46 million had to be raised in the next two years before construction could commence, with contributions from BWB, seven local councils, Scottish Enterprise, private donations being augmented by £8.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund. The Morrison-Bachy Soletanche Joint Venture Team submitted their original design, which resembled a Ferris wheel with four gondolas, in 1999, it was agreed by all parties that the design was functional, but not the showpiece the BWB were looking for. After being asked to reconsider, a 20-strong team of architects and engineers was assembled by British Waterways. Under the leadership of Tony Kettle from architects RMJM, the initial concepts and images were created with the mechanical concepts proposed by the design team from Butterley and M G Bennetts.

This was an intense period of work with the final design concept completed in a three-week period during the summer of 1999. The final design was a cooperative effort between the British Waterways Board, engineering consultants Arup, Butterley Engineering and RMJM. Diagrams of gear systems, proposed in the first concepts were modelled by Kettle using his 8-year-old daughter's Lego. Drawings and artist impressions were shown to funders; the visitor centre was designed by Paul Stallan. Inspirations for the design include a double-headed Celtic axe, the propellor of a ship and the ribcage of a whale. Kettle described the Wheel as "a beautiful, organic flowing thing, like the spine of a fish," and the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland described it as "a form of contemporary sculpture."Models and renderings of the Falkirk Wheel were displayed in a 2012 exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Since 2007, the Falkirk Wheel has been featured on the obverse of the new series of £50 notes issued by the Bank of Scotland.

The series of notes commemorates Scottish engineering achievements with illustrations of bridges in Scotland such as the Glenfinnan Viaduct and the Forth Bridge. In March 1999 Donald Dewar, the Secretary of State for Scotland, cut the first sod of turf to begin work at lock 31 on the Forth and Clyde Canal. Over 1000 people were employed in the construction of the wheel