Subject: PLOS Biology Volume 18(1) January 2020 Content-Type: text/html; charset="utf-8" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit


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New Articles in PLOS Biology

PUBLISHED: January 01, 2020 to January 31, 2020

Community Pages

ElectroPen: An ultra-low'cost, electricity-free, portable electroporator

This Community Page article describes an ultra-low'cost (23-cent) 3D-printed electroporator, inspired by a common barbecue lighter, designed to enable broader access to synthetic biology in high-school, community, and budget-conscious laboratories.

PlotTwist: A web app for plotting and annotating continuous data

This Community Page article describes PlotTwist, an open source app created with R/shiny to simplify state-of-the-art visualization and annotation of results from experiments that generate continuous data; the app runs locally or online, and no coding skills are needed to use it.

Research Articles

ATRX affects the repair of telomeric DSBs by promoting cohesion and a DAXX-dependent activity

The chromatin remodeller ATRX is often lost in cells that maintain their telomeres using the telomerase-independent "alternative lengthening of telomeres" (ALT) pathway. This study shows how loss of ATRX alters the repair of telomeric DNA breaks and suggests how this change could promote telomere maintenance in ALT cells.

SK2 channels in cerebellar Purkinje cells contribute to excitability modulation in motor-learning'specific memory traces

This study shows that cerebellum-dependent motor learning involves an adjustment of membrane excitability in Purkinje cells via modulation of SK2-type K+ channels; this "intrinsic plasticity" requirement can be separated from changes in synaptic strength.

Neuron-glia interaction through Serotonin-BDNF-NGFR axis enables regenerative neurogenesis in Alzheimer's model of adult zebrafish brain

Can regeneration of lost neurons counteract neurodegenerative disease? This study shows that serotonergic neurons alter neural stem cell proliferation and neurogenesis via a complex neuron-glia interaction involving interleukin-4, BDNF and NGF receptor in a zebrafish model of Alzheimer's disease.

Increased expression of schizophrenia-associated gene C4 leads to hypoconnectivity of prefrontal cortex and reduced social interaction

Elevated expression of the gene encoding complement C4 is associated with an enhanced risk of schizophrenia, but the mechanism underlying this link is unclear. This study shows that overexpression of the C4 gene in mice leads to mis-wiring of the prefrontal cortex and deficits in social interactions.

12-h clock regulation of genetic information flow by XBP1s

Distinct from the well-known 24-hour circadian clock, this study shows that the mammalian 12-hour clock upregulates genetic information flow capacity during the two "rush hours" (dawn and dusk) in a manner dependent on the transcription factor XBP1s.

Interactions between human orbitofrontal cortex and hippocampus support model-based inference

Internal representations of relationships between events in the external world can be used to infer outcomes when direct experience is lacking. This study uses fMRI and a sensory preconditioning task to examine how the orbitofrontal cortex and hippocampus contribute to model-based inference.

A role for triglyceride lipase brummer in the regulation of sex differences in Drosophila fat storage and breakdown

An investigation of the genetic and physiological mechanisms underlying sex differences in fat storage and breakdown in the fruit fly Drosophila identifies previously unrecognized sex- and cell type-specific roles for the conserved triglyceride lipase brummer.

Temporal information loss in the macaque early visual system

Information about periodic modulation of luminance is lost in the visual system, both peripherally and centrally. This study uses "ideal observer" analyses to reveal that peripheral signal loss dominates, even at the high frequencies at which central loss is maximal.

Optogenetics reveals Cdc42 local activation by scaffold-mediated positive feedback and Ras GTPase

The small GTPase Cdc42 is a key regulator of cell polarization. This study uses optogenetic and genetic strategies to show that Cdc42 is under positive feedback regulation potentiated by Ras GTPase activity.

Molecular mechanisms of collateral sensitivity to the antibiotic nitrofurantoin

Resistance mechanisms against a specific antibiotic class often confer negative cross-resistance to other antibiotic classes, a phenomenon known as collateral sensitivity. This study shows that collateral sensitivity in bacteria can be explained by a combination of several mechanisms that can be exploited to develop drug switches that combat resistance.

How the initiating ribosome copes with ppGpp to translate mRNAs

During host colonization, the alarmones ppGpp and pppGpp reshape the bacterial proteome by acting on DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis. This study shows that inhibition of translation by ppGpp involves prevention of 30S initiation complex formation by ppGpp-bound IF2, with the extent of ppGpp tolerance depending on the specific mRNA.

Back-spliced RNA from retrotransposon binds to centromere and regulates centromeric chromatin loops in maize

Circular retrotransposon RNAs generated by back-splicing bind to chromatin and mediate dynamic regulation of R-loops and centromeric chromatin loops in maize, driving centromeric chromatin organization and CENH3 localization.

Short Reports

Yap suppresses T-cell function and infiltration in the tumor microenvironment

This study identifies the Hippo pathway effector Yap as a negative regulator of T cells, functioning to reduce T cell activation and differentiation. Yap inhibition promotes tumor T cell responses, including an increased ability for T cells to infiltrate tumors; these observations suggest that Yap inhibition may increase immune responses in cancer patients.

Methods and Resources

A proteomic atlas of senescence-associated secretomes for aging biomarker development

The first comprehensive proteomic characterization of senescence-associated secretory phenotypes (SASPs) to our knowledge reveals substantial heterogeneity based on senescence inducer and cell type. The SASP Atlas represents a valuable resource for the identification of further candidate biomarkers of ageing.

Dating genomic variants and shared ancestry in population-scale sequencing data

By estimating the age of origin of more than 45 million human genetic variants from population genome sequencing data, this study reveals the influence of selection and demography on the human genome and releases the Atlas of Variant Age as a public online database.

Knowledge-guided analysis of "omics" data using the KnowEnG cloud platform

Novel algorithms integrate prior knowledge about gene and protein interactions and annotations into fundamental analyses of genomic datasets such as gene prioritization, sample clustering, and gene set characterization. This study describes the development of a cloud-based platform, KnowEnG, which makes these "knowledge-guided" analyses readily accessible to researchers.

Bellymount enables longitudinal, intravital imaging of abdominal organs and the gut microbiota in adult Drosophila

An innovative imaging platform overcomes the challenge presented by the opacity of the adult Drosophila abdomen, enabling intravital imaging of live, intact flies at whole-organ and subcellular scales over multiple days. Longitudinal tracking of stem cell lineages and gut microbial colonization reveals new dynamics of these processes in vivo.


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