Subject: PLOS Biology Volume 17(7) July 2019 Content-Type: text/html; charset="utf-8" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit


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New Articles in PLOS Biology

PUBLISHED: July 01, 2019 to July 31, 2019


Activity patterns in mammals: Circadian dominance challenged

The evidence that daily patterns of physiology and behaviour in mammals are governed by circadian clocks' is based almost entirely on studies of nocturnal rodents. This Essay proposes that the nocturnal rodent/human paradigm of circadian rhythms is unhelpful when considering the broader manifestation of temporal organisation of activity in mammals.

Unsolved Mystery

The biology of extracellular vesicles: The known unknowns

As the field of extracellular vesicles rapidly expands, many questions remain unanswered; this Unsolved Mystery article provides a systematic compilation of these challenges, and formulates a path to addressing them.

Community Pages

The Human Brain Project'Synergy between neuroscience, computing, informatics, and brain-inspired technologies

This Community Page article presents the Human Brain Project; a European Flagship project with a ten-year horizon aiming to understand the human brain and translate neuroscience knowledge into medicine and technology.

True Grit: Passion and persistence make an innovative course design work

This Community Page article describes evidence-based changes to the design of a large-enrolment introductory biology course at a regional comprehensive university; exam scores increased and failure rates decreased for all students, with under-represented minority students'predominantly African-Americans'benefiting disproportionately.

Nesting box imager: Contact-free, real-time measurement of activity, surface body temperature, and respiratory rate applied to hibernating mouse models

By coupling single-board computers with increasingly available, inexpensive sensors and cameras, it is possible to construct custom, low-cost animal habitats that monitor undisturbed activity and physiological parameters with real-time resolution.

Research Articles

Uncoordinated maturation of developing and regenerating postnatal mammalian vestibular hair cells

During development, sensory hair cells undergo a series of critical maturation steps that are sequential and presumed coupled, but whether regenerated hair cells mature similarly is unknown. This study shows that regenerated vestibular hair cells acquired some mature somatic features, but the apical bundles remained immature.

A polymorphic helix of a Salmonella needle protein relays signals defining distinct steps in type III secretion

Type III secretion machines evolved to inject bacterial effector proteins into eukaryotic cells, becoming active upon bacterial contact with the target cells. This study provides insight into the mechanism by which the contact signal is transduced to activate the protein secretion machine.

Social intolerance is a consequence, not a cause, of dispersal in spiders

Behavioral experiments with the spider Agelena labyrinthica, coupled to computational modelling, show that an increase in mobility with age drives dispersal in gregarious spiderlings of a solitary species and that the subsequent social isolation triggers aggression.

Human visual cortex is organized along two genetically opposed hierarchical gradients with unique developmental and evolutionary origins

The expression of a sparse subset of human genes forms two opposed gradients that capture the processing hierarchy of visual cortex; these transcription gradients emerge at different points during human development and distinguish human from nonhuman primates.

Global proteomic analyses define an environmentally contingent Hsp90 interactome and reveal chaperone-dependent regulation of stress granule proteins and the R2TP complex in a fungal pathogen

A global view of the Hsp90 chaperone interactome in the fungal pathogen Candida albicans reveals the dynamic role of Hsp90 in response to environmental perturbations, and highlights a novel connection between Hsp90 and the regulation of mRNA-associated protein granules.

Spermine in semen of male sea lamprey acts as a sex pheromone

Male sea lampreys release via their ejaculates a highly specific and stimulatory sex pheromone, spermine, that activates a trace amine-associated receptor in the olfactory epithelium and attracts ready-to-mate females.

Novel antibiotics effective against gram-positive and -negative multi-resistant bacteria with limited resistance

A naturally occurring bacterial toxin inspired the design of novel cyclic heptapseudopeptide antibiotics with limited resistance; these new peptidomimetics are active against gram-negative and -positive multi-resistant ESKAPE pathogens.

Macaque anterior cingulate cortex deactivation impairs performance and alters lateral prefrontal oscillatory activities in a rule-switching task

Reversible deactivation of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex ' an area of the cognitive control network ' impairs rule maintenance but not rule switching per se, and disrupts task-related oscillatory activities in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex ' another area of the same network.

A novel Ca2+-binding protein that can rapidly transduce auxin responses during root growth

An auxin-regulated calcium-dependent signal transducer, CMI1, regulates auxin responses and root development, providing a basis for cross talk between auxin and calcium signaling in plants.

Successful validation of a larval dispersal model using genetic parentage data

Our understanding of marine fish larva dispersal is currently limited by sparse data and unvalidated models; combining DNA parentage matches with an oceanographic model of fish larvae on Australia's Great Barrier Reef allows the authors to ground-truth a vital tool for sustainably managing coral reef fisheries.

Delayed death in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is caused by disruption of prenylation-dependent intracellular trafficking

After treatment with drugs that target apicoplast functions, malaria parasites are initially superficially healthy and go on to infect new erythrocytes. This cell biology study shows that the parasites subsequently die in their second cycle due to trafficking defects caused by depletion of prenyl groups.

Diversification of the type IV filament superfamily into machines for adhesion, protein secretion, DNA uptake, and motility

Comparative genomics and phylogenetic analysis show how a handful of key components have given rise to a profusion of apparatuses involved in important bacterial and archaeal cellular processes (motility, adhesion, protein secretion, and DNA uptake).

Structural basis for recognition of the tumor suppressor protein PTPN14 by the oncoprotein E7 of human papillomavirus

Human papillomaviruses cause various diseases associated with cellular hyperproliferation, including cervical cancer. Structural, biochemical, and cellular analyses reveal the molecular basis and significance of the intermolecular interaction between the E7 protein of human papillomavirus 18 and the human tumor suppressor protein PTPN14.

LATS1/2 suppress NFkappa B and aberrant EMT initiation to permit pancreatic progenitor differentiation

The Hippo pathway kinases Lats1 and Lats2 constrain Yap1/Taz and NFkappaB, allowing pancreatic progenitor differentiation during embryonic development. In the absence of Lats1/2, hyperactive YAP1/TAZ and NFkappaB hijack pancreatic progenitor cell fate, resulting in partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, an initial step in tumorigenesis.

Widespread selection and gene flow shape the genomic landscape during a radiation of monkeyflowers

By using monkeyflower genome sequences to reconstruct patterns of evolution over one million years of divergence, this study shows that natural selection plays a key role in driving genetic differentiation between emerging species.

Spectral fingerprints or spectral tilt? Evidence for distinct oscillatory signatures of memory formation

There are two competing explanations for electrophysiological signatures during cognitive processes. One assumes simultaneous increases in high frequencies paired with decreases in low frequencies, whereas the other suggests that different frequencies index separate oscillatory processes. This study reports data that support the latter view.

Cooperative population coding facilitates efficient sound-source separability by adaptation to input statistics

The efficient coding hypothesis suggests that sensory processing adapts to the stimulus statistics to maximize information while minimizing energetic costs. This study finds that an auditory spatial processing circuit distributes activity across neurons to enhance processing efficiency, focally improving spatial resolution both in neurons and in human listeners.

Atg11 tethers Atg9 vesicles to initiate selective autophagy

How do cells switch between selective and non-selective autophagy? This study shows that yeast Atg11 is a key coordinator of selective autophagy, binding and tethering donor vesicles to initiate the formation of selective autophagosomes. On induction of non-selective autophagy, Atg11 is outcompeted by its counterpart Atg17, which nucleates autophagosomes independently of cargo.

Short Reports

Spectrin-based membrane skeleton supports ciliogenesis

Introducing human disease-associated mutations in the membrane skeletal protein spectrin into the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans reveals that spectrin mutations down-regulate ciliary gene expression, affect intraflagellar transport, disrupt axonemal microtubule organization, and inhibit ciliogenesis.

Attenuation of chronic antiviral T-cell responses through constitutive COX2-dependent prostanoid synthesis by lymph node fibroblasts

Fibroblasts in secondary lymphoid organs can be active participants in adaptive immunity, often enhancing T-cell responses. This study shows how these fibroblasts dampen T-cell responses via the constitutive production of the COX2-dependent prostaglandin PGE2, including during persistent viral infection.

Primary cilium loss in mammalian cells occurs predominantly by whole-cilium shedding

Disassembly of the primary cilium is required for cell cycle progression. Live cell imaging reveals that this process involves a tunable decision between gradual resorption and rapid deciliation; in IMCD3 mammalian kidney cells, the predominant behavior is deciliation.

Active mode of excretion across digestive tissues predates the origin of excretory organs

Most animals possess specialized excretory organs to deposit toxic waste products from their body; others are assumed to use passive diffusion via the skin. However, investigation of one cnidarian and two acoelomorph species, which do not possess excretory organs, shows that the gut tissue is the most active excretory site and that acoelomorphs use active transport.

Ancient RNA from Late Pleistocene permafrost and historical canids shows tissue-specific transcriptome survival

Ancient DNA is known to survive in cold environments for tens of millennia, but it is assumed that ancient RNA could not persist in such a way due to its relative instability. However, this study shows that under permafrost conditions, ancient RNA can survive well enough to show tissue specificity even in mammalian soft tissues.

Methods and Resources

Targeted genetic screening in mice through haploid embryonic stem cells identifies critical genes in bone development

Androgenetic haploid embryonic stem cells expressing Cas9 and a medium-scale sgRNA library provide a means to mutate genes at the organism level, enabling knockout-based screening in mammalian systems. Applying this approach successfully identified Irx5 as a regulator of bone development.

Dissecting the transcriptome landscape of the human fetal neural retina and retinal pigment epithelium by single-cell RNA-seq analysis

Single-cell RNA sequencing allows dissection of the transcriptomic landscape of the human fetal neural retina (NR) and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), revealing a tightly regulated spatiotemporal gene expression network of human retinal cells, as well as dynamic and functional interactions between the NR and RPE.

Assembling a plug-and-play production line for combinatorial biosynthesis of aromatic polyketides in Escherichia coli

This study describes a "plug-and-play" synthetic biology platform for producing variants of type II polyketides in Escherichia coli, opening the door for high-throughput discovery of antimicrobials and other active pharmaceutical ingredients.

N-terminal beta -strand underpins biochemical specialization of an ATG8 isoform

ATG8 is a ubiquitin-like protein involved in autophagy pathways. Biochemical characterization of the expanded ATG8 gene family in plants revealed an additional layer of specificity in selective autophagy, determined by ATG8's N-terminal ß-strand.


Correction: Attention promotes the neural encoding of prediction errors


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