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Current Biology: CB

Samay Pande, Gregory J Velicer
Many cooperative species form internally diverse social groups in which individual fitness depends significantly on group-level productivity from cooperation [1-4]. For such species, selection is expected to often disfavor within-group diversity that reduces cooperative productivity [5, 6]. While diversity within social groups is known to enhance productivity in some animals [7-9], diversity within natural groups of social microbes is largely unexamined in this regard. Cells of the soil bacterium Myxococcus xanthus respond to starvation by constructing multicellular fruiting bodies within each of which a subpopulation of cells transforms into stress-resistant spores [10]...
January 11, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Uddipta Biswas, Michelle Stevense, Rolf Jessberger
The cohesin complex is built upon the SMC1/SMC3 heterodimer, and mammalian meiocytes feature two variants of SMC1 named SMC1α and SMC1β. It is unclear why these two SMC1 variants have evolved. To determine unique versus redundant functions of SMC1β, we asked which of the known functions of SMC1β can be fulfilled by SMC1α. Smc1α was expressed under control of the Smc1β promoter in either wild-type or SMC1β-deficient mice. No effect was seen in the former. However, several major phenotypes of SMC1β-deficient spermatocytes were rescued by SMC1α...
January 10, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Bennett Drew Ferris, Jonathan Green, Gaby Maimon
Animals react rapidly to external stimuli, such as an approaching predator, but in other circumstances, they seem to act spontaneously, without any obvious external trigger. How do the neural processes mediating the execution of reflexive and spontaneous actions differ? We studied this question in tethered, flying Drosophila. We found that silencing a large but genetically defined set of non-motor neurons virtually eliminates spontaneous flight turns while preserving the tethered flies' ability to perform two types of visually evoked turns, demonstrating that, at least in flies, these two modes of action are almost completely dissociable...
January 9, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Linda C Weiss, Leonie Pötter, Annika Steiger, Sebastian Kruppert, Uwe Frost, Ralph Tollrian
Anthropogenically released CO2 accumulates in the global carbon cycle and is anticipated to imbalance global carbon fluxes [1]. For example, increased atmospheric CO2 induces a net air-to-sea flux where the oceans take up large amounts of atmospheric CO2 (i.e., ocean acidification [2-5]). Research on ocean acidification is ongoing, and studies have demonstrated the consequences for ecosystems and organismal biology with major impacts on marine food webs, nutrient cycles, overall productivity, and biodiversity [6-9]...
January 9, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Guiomar Martín, Arnau Rovira, Nil Veciana, Judit Soy, Gabriela Toledo-Ortiz, Charlotte M M Gommers, Marc Boix, Rossana Henriques, Eugenio G Minguet, David Alabadí, Karen J Halliday, Pablo Leivar, Elena Monte
Plants coordinate their growth and development with the environment through integration of circadian clock and photosensory pathways. In Arabidopsis thaliana, rhythmic hypocotyl elongation in short days (SD) is enhanced at dawn by the basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTORS (PIFs) directly inducing expression of growth-related genes [1-6]. PIFs accumulate progressively during the night and are targeted for degradation by active phytochromes in the light, when growth is reduced...
January 9, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Betsy B McIntosh, Serapion Pyrpassopoulos, Erika L F Holzbaur, E Michael Ostap
Microtubule and actin filament molecular motors such as kinesin-1 and myosin-Ic (Myo1c) transport and remodel membrane-bound vesicles; however, it is unclear how they coordinate to accomplish these tasks. We introduced kinesin-1- and Myo1c-bound giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) into a micropatterned in vitro cytoskeletal matrix modeled after the subcellular architecture where vesicular sorting and membrane remodeling are observed. This array was composed of sparse microtubules intersecting regions dense with actin filaments, and revealed that Myo1c-dependent tethering of GUVs enabled kinesin-1-driven membrane deformation and tubulation...
January 9, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Carla Ibañez, Carolin Delker, Cristina Martinez, Katharina Bürstenbinder, Philipp Janitza, Rebecca Lippmann, Wenke Ludwig, Hequan Sun, Geo Velikkakam James, Maria Klecker, Alexandra Grossjohann, Korbinian Schneeberger, Salome Prat, Marcel Quint
Thermomorphogenesis is defined as the suite of morphological changes that together are likely to contribute to adaptive growth acclimation to usually elevated ambient temperature [1, 2]. While many details of warmth-induced signal transduction are still elusive, parallels to light signaling recently became obvious (reviewed in [3]). It involves photoreceptors that can also sense changes in ambient temperature [3-5] and act, for example, by repressing protein activity of the central integrator of temperature information PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR 4 (PIF4 [6])...
January 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Oliver Padget, Sarah L Bond, Marwa M Kavelaars, Emiel van Loon, Mark Bolton, Annette L Fayet, Martyna Syposz, Stephen Roberts, Tim Guilford
Compass orientation is central to the control of animal movement from the scale of local food-caching movements around a familiar area in parids [1] and corvids [2, 3] to the first autumn vector navigation of songbirds embarking on long-distance migration [4-6]. In the study of diurnal birds, where the homing pigeon, Columba livia, has been the main model, a time-compensated sun compass [7] is central to the two-step map-and-compass process of navigation from unfamiliar places, as well as guiding movement via a representation of familiar area landmarks [8-12]...
January 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Christoph T Zimmer, William T Garrood, Kumar Saurabh Singh, Emma Randall, Bettina Lueke, Oliver Gutbrod, Svend Matthiesen, Maxie Kohler, Ralf Nauen, T G Emyr Davies, Chris Bass
Gene duplication is a major source of genetic variation that has been shown to underpin the evolution of a wide range of adaptive traits [1, 2]. For example, duplication or amplification of genes encoding detoxification enzymes has been shown to play an important role in the evolution of insecticide resistance [3-5]. In this context, gene duplication performs an adaptive function as a result of its effects on gene dosage and not as a source of functional novelty [3, 6-8]. Here, we show that duplication and neofunctionalization of a cytochrome P450, CYP6ER1, led to the evolution of insecticide resistance in the brown planthopper...
January 4, 2018: Current Biology: CB
João C Marques, Simone Lackner, Rita Félix, Michael B Orger
An important concept in ethology is that complex behaviors can be constructed from a set of basic motor patterns. Identifying the set of patterns available to an animal is key to making quantitative descriptions of behavior that reflect the underlying motor system organization. We addressed these questions in zebrafish larvae, which swim in bouts that are naturally segmented in time. We developed a robust and general purpose clustering method (clusterdv) to ensure accurate identification of movement clusters and applied it to a dataset consisting of millions of swim bouts, captured at high temporal resolution from a comprehensive set of behavioral contexts...
January 3, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Jacob W Freimer, Raga Krishnakumar, Matthew S Cook, Robert Blelloch
Mouse oocyte maturation, fertilization, and reprogramming occur in the absence of transcription, and thus, changes in mRNA levels and translation rate are regulated through post-transcriptional mechanisms [1]. Surprisingly, microRNA function, which is a major form of post-transcriptional regulation, is absent during this critical period of mammalian development [2, 3]. Here, we investigated the mechanisms underlying the global suppression of microRNA activity. In both mouse and frogs, microRNA function was active in growing oocytes but then absent during oocyte maturation...
January 3, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Christopher Krupenye, Brian Hare
Humans closely monitor others' cooperative relationships [1, 2]. Children and adults willingly incur costs to reward helpers and punish non-helpers-even as bystanders [3-5]. Already by 3 months, infants favor individuals that they observe helping others [6-8]. This early-emerging prosocial preference may be a derived motivation that accounts for many human forms of cooperation that occur beyond dyadic interactions and are not exhibited by other animals [9, 10]. As the most socially tolerant nonhuman ape [11-17] (but see [18]), bonobos (Pan paniscus) provide a powerful phylogenetic test of whether this trait is derived in humans...
January 3, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Daniel Zaldivar, Jozien Goense, Scott C Lowe, Nikos K Logothetis, Stefano Panzeri
Neural oscillations are ubiquitously observed in cortical activity, and are widely believed to be crucial for mediating transmission of information across the cortex. Yet, the neural phenomena contributing to each oscillation band, and their effect on information coding and transmission, are largely unknown. Here, we investigated whether individual frequency bands specifically reflect changes in the concentrations of dopamine, an important neuromodulator, and how dopamine affects oscillatory information processing...
December 30, 2017: Current Biology: CB
Allyson L Anding, Chunxin Wang, Tsun-Kai Chang, Danielle A Sliter, Christine M Powers, Kay Hofmann, Richard J Youle, Eric H Baehrecke
The clearance of mitochondria by autophagy, mitophagy, is important for cell and organism health [1], and known to be regulated by ubiquitin. During Drosophila intestine development, cells undergo a dramatic reduction in cell size and clearance of mitochondria that depends on autophagy, the E1 ubiquitin-activating enzyme Uba1, and ubiquitin [2]. Here we screen a collection of putative ubiquitin-binding domain-encoding genes for cell size reduction and autophagy phenotypes. We identify the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) components TSG101 and Vps36, as well as the novel gene Vps13D...
December 30, 2017: Current Biology: CB
Anja Günther, Angelika Einwich, Emil Sjulstok, Regina Feederle, Petra Bolte, Karl-Wilhelm Koch, Ilia A Solov'yov, Henrik Mouritsen
Birds seem to use a light-dependent, radical-pair-based magnetic compass. In vertebrates, cryptochromes are the only class of proteins that form radical pairs upon photo-excitation. Therefore, they are currently the only candidate proteins for light-dependent magnetoreception. Cryptochrome 4 (Cry4) is particularly interesting because it has only been found in vertebrates that use a magnetic compass. However, its structure and localization within the retina has remained unknown. Here, we sequenced night-migratory European robin (Erithacus rubecula) Cry4 from the retina and predicted the currently unresolved structure of the erCry4 protein, which suggests that erCry4 should bind Flavin...
December 27, 2017: Current Biology: CB
Tomonari Kaji, Arthur Anker, Christian S Wirkner, A Richard Palmer
How do stunning functional innovations evolve from unspecialized progenitors? This puzzle is particularly acute for ultrafast movements of appendages in arthropods as diverse as shrimps [1], stomatopods [2], insects [3-6], and spiders [7]. For example, the spectacular snapping claws of alpheid shrimps close so fast (∼0.5 ms) that jetted water creates a cavitation bubble and an immensely powerful snap upon bubble collapse [1]. Such extreme movements depend on (1) an energy-storage mechanism (e.g., some kind of spring) and (2) a latching mechanism to release stored energy quickly [8]...
December 27, 2017: Current Biology: CB
Eva Charlotte Winnebeck, Dorothee Fischer, Tanya Leise, Till Roenneberg
The temporal dynamics that characterize sleep are difficult to capture outside the sleep laboratory. Therefore, longitudinal studies and big-data approaches assessing sleep dynamics are lacking. Here, we present the first large-scale analysis of human sleep dynamics in real life by making use of longitudinal wrist movement recordings of >16,000 sleep bouts from 573 subjects. Through non-linear conversion of locomotor activity to "Locomotor Inactivity During Sleep" (LIDS), movement patterns are exposed that directly reflect ultradian sleep cycles and replicate the dynamics of laboratory sleep parameters...
December 22, 2017: Current Biology: CB
Rafael Lucena, Maria Alcaide-Gavilán, Katherine Schubert, Maybo He, Matthew G Domnauer, Catherine Marquer, Christian Klose, Michal A Surma, Douglas R Kellogg
The size of all cells, from bacteria to vertebrates, is proportional to the growth rate set by nutrient availability, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Here, we show that nutrients modulate cell size and growth rate via the TORC2 signaling network in budding yeast. An important function of the TORC2 network is to modulate synthesis of ceramide lipids, which play roles in signaling. TORC2-dependent control of ceramide signaling strongly influences both cell size and growth rate. Thus, cells that cannot make ceramides fail to modulate their growth rate or size in response to changes in nutrients...
December 20, 2017: Current Biology: CB
Magali Roger, Fraser Brown, William Gabrielli, Frank Sargent
Hydrogen-dependent reduction of carbon dioxide to formic acid offers a promising route to greenhouse gas sequestration, carbon abatement technologies, hydrogen transport and storage, and the sustainable generation of renewable chemical feedstocks [1]. The most common approach to performing direct hydrogenation of CO2 to formate is to use chemical catalysts in homogeneous or heterogeneous reactions [2]. An alternative approach is to use the ability of living organisms to perform this reaction biologically. However, although CO2 fixation pathways are widely distributed in nature, only a few enzymes have been described that have the ability to perform the direct hydrogenation of CO2 [3-5]...
December 20, 2017: Current Biology: CB
Lars Riecke, Elia Formisano, Bettina Sorger, Deniz Başkent, Etienne Gaudrain
Speech is crucial for communication in everyday life. Speech-brain entrainment, the alignment of neural activity to the slow temporal fluctuations (envelope) of acoustic speech input, is a ubiquitous element of current theories of speech processing. Associations between speech-brain entrainment and acoustic speech signal, listening task, and speech intelligibility have been observed repeatedly. However, a methodological bottleneck has prevented so far clarifying whether speech-brain entrainment contributes functionally to (i...
December 20, 2017: Current Biology: CB
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