Subject: PLOS Biology Volume 15(12) December 2017 Content-Type: text/html; charset="utf-8" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit


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PUBLISHED: December 01, 2017 to December 29, 2017


Regulating toxic chemicals for public and environmental health


The unsteady state and inertia of chemical regulation under the US Toxic Substances Control Act

With over 85,000 chemicals in commercial use and a 40-year old law enacted to protect US citizens from toxins, only five substances were regulated. The reason lies in the structure of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Alternative therapeutics for self-limiting infections'An indirect approach to the antibiotic resistance challenge

Novel therapeutics cannot yet match antibiotics in the treatment of severe infections; however, this Essay argues that by developing such drugs for common mild infections we may be able to preserve antibiotic efficacy for the severely ill.

Developmental biology, the stem cell of biological disciplines

This Essay maintains that developmental biology is a unique biological discipline, the "stem cell" that generates other biological sciences (such as genetics, immunology, oncology, and neurobiology) as well as maintaining its own identity.


A persistent lack of international representation on editorial boards in environmental biology

Editorial board members help shape the trajectory of knowledge in their discipline. This Perspective article by Johanna Espin, Sebastian Palmas, Farah Carrasco-Rueda, Emilio M. Bruna and colleagues surveyed 30 years of board membership for 24 biology journals and found that editors based outside the Global North were extremely rare.

Challenges to studying the health effects of early life environmental chemical exposures on children's health

This Perspective article by Joseph Braun and Kimberly Gray explores how we can improve our understanding of the risks that early-life environmental chemical exposures pose to children's health.

Low-level toxicity of chemicals: No acceptable levels?

This Perspective article by Bruce Lanphear discusses the fact that, contrary to the way agencies regulate chemicals, some toxic chemicals do not exhibit a threshold and, for a given exposure, are more toxic at the lowest levels of exposure.

Key scientific issues in developing drinking water guidelines for perfluoroalkyl acids: Contaminants of emerging concern

Perfluoroalkyl acids are emerging drinking water contaminants that are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. This Perspective article by Gloria Post, Jessie Gleason and Keith Cooper maintains that drinking water guidelines for these contaminants must consider numerous scientific issues and recent health effects studies.

We are what we eat: Regulatory gaps in the United States that put our health at risk

In the USA, the absence of a robust regulatory review process for food additive safety means that chemicals associated with significant health risks such as perchlorate persist in the food supply.

Will buffer zones around schools in agricultural areas be adequate to protect children from the potential adverse effects of pesticide exposure?

California has proposed limiting agricultural pesticide use within 0.4 km of schools and childcare facilities. This Perspective article by Robert Grunier, Asa Bradman, Kim Harley and Brenda Eskenazi argues that, despite limitations, this is an important step to reducing exposures to children in agricultural communities.

When enough data are not enough to enact policy: The failure to ban chlorpyrifos

When is scientific evidence enough to protect the public from environmental hazards? This Perspective article by Leonardo Trasande uses the organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos as a case study to review and evaluate the balance of scientific and economic concerns in decision making.

Meta-Research Article

Rethinking 3R strategies: Digging deeper into AnimalTestInfo promotes transparency in in vivo biomedical research

The European Union mandates the publication of non-technical summaries for every project involving animal experimentation. This Meta-Research Article by Bettina Bert, Antje Döerendahl, Nora Leich, Barbara Grune, Gilbert Schöenfelder and colleagues uses analysis of more than 5,000 such summaries to reveal future trends in biomedical in vivo research.

Research Articles

Slam protein dictates subcellular localization and translation of its own mRNA

During the cellularization process in Drosophila, slam mRNA and Slam protein form a complex and colocalize at the basal domain of the developing epithelium; these functional interactions between the protein and its mRNA are important for the spatiotemporal control of translation.

Task relevance modulates the behavioural and neural effects of sensory predictions

As their environment changes, animals need to learn and continuously update predictions about their current context to optimize behavior. Model-based analysis of neural data revealed correlates of predictions and prediction errors; both of these were modulated by their relevance to the task in hand.

The Ink4a/Arf locus operates as a regulator of the circadian clock modulating RAS activity

A combined computational and experimental study Rukeia El-Athman, Nikolai N. Genov, Jeannine Mazuch, Angela Relógio and colleagues highlights the role of the circadian clock as a tumour suppressor, and identifies Ink4a/Arf as a mediator of RAS-induced clock dysregulation that affects cell cycle decisions.

Disentangling metabolic functions of bacteria in the honey bee gut

Lucie Kešnerová, Ruben A. T. Mars, Philipp Engel and co-workers In vivo experiments with honey bees and untargeted metabolomic analyses identify the metabolic functions of the honey bee gut microbiota and its individual community members, including the digestion of recalcitrant products from dietary pollen.

Dual role of starvation signaling in promoting growth and recovery

The phosphate starvation program, which is activated in budding yeast in response to phosphate depletion, promotes not only growth in limited phosphate but also recovery when phosphate is replenished.

Single-cell RNA sequencing reveals intrinsic and extrinsic regulatory heterogeneity in yeast responding to stress

Single-cell RNA sequencing in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae reveals cell-to-cell heterogeneity in the transcriptomic response to environmental stress.

Tongue-driven sonar beam steering by a lingual-echolocating fruit bat

Experimental data and modeling results reveal how lingual-echolocating Egyptian fruit bats can change the direction of their sonar beams without changing the aim of their heads or the shape of their mouths.

Fundamental properties of the mammalian innate immune system revealed by multispecies comparison of type I interferon responses

A comparative study of the type I interferon responses in ten vertebrate species by Andrew E. Shaw, Joseph Hughes, Sam J. Wilson, Massimo Palmarini and colleagues reveals fundamental properties of the mammalian innate immune system.

Unique double concentric ring organization of light harvesting complexes in Gemmatimonas phototrophica

The recently cultured phototrophic bacterium Gemmatimonas phototrophica (phylum Gemmatimonadetes) contains a unique organization of light-harvesting complexes forming two concentric rings around the reaction center.

Communication across the bacterial cell envelope depends on the size of the periplasm

Control of the distance between the outer and inner membranes of Gram negative bacteria like Escherichia coli by the periplasmic lipoprotein Lpp is critical for the transmission of stress signals across the cell envelope.

Full mutational mapping of titratable residues helps to identify proton-sensors involved in the control of channel gating in the Gloeobacter violaceus pentameric ligand-gated ion channel

Comprehensive and systematic mutation of protonatable Asp, Glu, and His residues helps define the determinants of proton-gating in the model pentameric ligand-gated ion channel from Gloeobacter violaceus.

Common genes associated with antidepressant response in mouse and man identify key role of glucocorticoid receptor sensitivity

Major depression is the second leading cause of disability worldwide, but only one-third of patients bene t from the rst antidepressant prescribed. This translational study identifies biosignatures associated with response to antidepressant treatment and highlights the importance of the glucocorticoid receptor in recovery from depression.

A new vesicle trafficking regulator CTL1 plays a crucial role in ion homeostasis

An ionomics study reveals that a choline transporter in the trans-Golgi network is required for ion homeostasis in Arabidopsis thaliana by regulating vesicle trafficking and plasmodesmata development.

Arabidopsis choline transporter-like 1 (CTL1) regulates secretory trafficking of auxin transporters to control seedling growth

A choline transporter, CTL1, regulates the lipid composition of membrane in plant cells and contributes to the trafficking of proteins such as PIN1 and PIN3 that mediate transport of the hormone auxin.

Calmodulin fishing with a structurally disordered bait triggers CyaA catalysis

The binding of calmodulin to the CyaA toxin of Bordetella pertussis induces a structural disorder-to-order transition within its catalytic domain, serving as an on/off switch to ensure that the toxin is only ever active in target eukaryotic cells.

Short Reports

Saccades are phase-locked to alpha oscillations in the occipital and medial temporal lobe during successful memory encoding

Saccades ' rapid movements of the eyes while surveying a scene ' are locked to the phase of alpha oscillations, and this coordination supports the encoding of visual scenes into memory.


Correction: Novel Role of NOX in Supporting Aerobic Glycolysis in Cancer Cells with Mitochondrial Dysfunction and as a Potential Target for Cancer Therapy


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