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PLoS Biology

Kerry A Geiler-Samerotte, Yuan O Zhu, Benjamin E Goulet, David W Hall, Mark L Siegal
The protein-folding chaperone Hsp90 has been proposed to buffer the phenotypic effects of mutations. The potential for Hsp90 and other putative buffers to increase robustness to mutation has had major impact on disease models, quantitative genetics, and evolutionary theory. But Hsp90 sometimes contradicts expectations for a buffer by potentiating rapid phenotypic changes that would otherwise not occur. Here, we quantify Hsp90's ability to buffer or potentiate (i.e., diminish or enhance) the effects of genetic variation on single-cell morphological features in budding yeast...
October 2016: PLoS Biology
Kai Xu, Peter D Nagy
Positive-strand RNA viruses build extensive membranous replication compartments to support replication and protect the virus from antiviral responses by the host. These viruses require host factors and various lipids to form viral replication complexes (VRCs). The VRCs built by Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) are enriched with phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) through a previously unknown pathway. To unravel the mechanism of PE enrichment within the TBSV replication compartment, in this paper, the authors demonstrate that TBSV co-opts the guanosine triphosphate (GTP)-bound active form of the endosomal Rab5 small GTPase via direct interaction with the viral replication protein...
October 2016: PLoS Biology
Priya Moorjani, Ziyue Gao, Molly Przeworski
Our understanding of the chronology of human evolution relies on the "molecular clock" provided by the steady accumulation of substitutions on an evolutionary lineage. Recent analyses of human pedigrees have called this understanding into question by revealing unexpectedly low germline mutation rates, which imply that substitutions accrue more slowly than previously believed. Translating mutation rates estimated from pedigrees into substitution rates is not as straightforward as it may seem, however. We dissect the steps involved, emphasizing that dating evolutionary events requires not "a mutation rate" but a precise characterization of how mutations accumulate in development in males and females-knowledge that remains elusive...
October 2016: PLoS Biology
Lauren A Richardson
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 2016: PLoS Biology
Elizabeth G Pringle
Life on earth is enormously diverse, in part because each individual engages in countless interactions with its biotic and abiotic environment during its lifetime. Not only are there many such interactions, but any given interaction of each individual with, say, its neighbor or a nutrient could lead to a different effect on its fitness and on the dynamics of the population of which it is a member. Predicting those effects is an enduring challenge to the field of ecology. Using a simple laboratory system, Hoek and colleagues present evidence that resource availability can be a primary driver of variation between interactions...
October 2016: PLoS Biology
Johannes Textor, Judith N Mandl, Rob J de Boer
Lymph nodes are meeting points for circulating immune cells. A network of reticular cells that ensheathe a mesh of collagen fibers crisscrosses the tissue in each lymph node. This reticular cell network distributes key molecules and provides a structure for immune cells to move around on. During infections, the network can suffer damage. A new study has now investigated the network's structure in detail, using methods from graph theory. The study showed that the network is remarkably robust to damage: it can still support immune responses even when half of the reticular cells are destroyed...
October 2016: PLoS Biology
Alexei L Vyssotski, Anna E Stepien, Georg B Keller, Richard H R Hahnloser
What cortical inputs are provided to motor control areas while they drive complex learned behaviors? We study this question in the nucleus interface of the nidopallium (NIf), which is required for normal birdsong production and provides the main source of auditory input to HVC, the driver of adult song. In juvenile and adult zebra finches, we find that spikes in NIf projection neurons precede vocalizations by several tens of milliseconds and are insensitive to distortions of auditory feedback. We identify a local isometry between NIf output and vocalizations: quasi-identical notes produced in different syllables are preceded by highly similar NIf spike patterns...
October 2016: PLoS Biology
Katrina A Lythgoe, François Blanquart, Lorenzo Pellis, Christophe Fraser
The viral population of HIV-1, like many pathogens that cause systemic infection, is structured and differentiated within the body. The dynamics of cellular immune trafficking through the blood and within compartments of the body has also received wide attention. Despite these advances, mathematical models, which are widely used to interpret and predict viral and immune dynamics in infection, typically treat the infected host as a well-mixed homogeneous environment. Here, we present mathematical, analytical, and computational results that demonstrate that consideration of the spatial structure of the viral population within the host radically alters predictions of previous models...
October 2016: PLoS Biology
Sylvain Alem, Clint J Perry, Xingfu Zhu, Olli J Loukola, Thomas Ingraham, Eirik Søvik, Lars Chittka
Social insects make elaborate use of simple mechanisms to achieve seemingly complex behavior and may thus provide a unique resource to discover the basic cognitive elements required for culture, i.e., group-specific behaviors that spread from "innovators" to others in the group via social learning. We first explored whether bumblebees can learn a nonnatural object manipulation task by using string pulling to access a reward that was presented out of reach. Only a small minority "innovated" and solved the task spontaneously, but most bees were able to learn to pull a string when trained in a stepwise manner...
October 2016: PLoS Biology
David T Kysela, Amelia M Randich, Paul D Caccamo, Yves V Brun
The modern age of metagenomics has delivered unprecedented volumes of data describing the genetic and metabolic diversity of bacterial communities, but it has failed to provide information about coincident cellular morphologies. Much like metabolic and biosynthetic capabilities, morphology comprises a critical component of bacterial fitness, molded by natural selection into the many elaborate shapes observed across the bacterial domain. In this essay, we discuss the diversity of bacterial morphology and its implications for understanding both the mechanistic and the adaptive basis of morphogenesis...
October 2016: PLoS Biology
Liza Gross
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 2016: PLoS Biology
Xiling Liu, Dingding Han, Mehmet Somel, Xi Jiang, Haiyang Hu, Patricia Guijarro, Ning Zhang, Amanda Mitchell, Tobias Halene, John J Ely, Chet C Sherwood, Patrick R Hof, Zilong Qiu, Svante Pääbo, Schahram Akbarian, Philipp Khaitovich
Cognitive defects in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) include socialization and communication: key behavioral capacities that separate humans from other species. Here, we analyze gene expression in the prefrontal cortex of 63 autism patients and control individuals, as well as 62 chimpanzees and macaques, from natal to adult age. We show that among all aberrant expression changes seen in ASD brains, a single aberrant expression pattern overrepresented in genes involved synaptic-related pathways is enriched in nucleotide variants linked to autism...
September 2016: PLoS Biology
Bernd L Groner, Nancy E Hynes
Cancer research has become a global enterprise, and the number of researchers, as well as the cost for their activities, has skyrocketed. The budget for the National Cancer Institute of the United States National Institutes of Health alone was US$5.2 billion in 2015. Since most of the research is funded by public money, it is perfectly legitimate to ask if these large expenses are worth it. In this brief commentary, we recapitulate some of the breakthroughs that mark the history of breast cancer research over the past decades and emphasize the resulting benefits for afflicted women...
September 2016: PLoS Biology
Varun K Gupta, Ulrike Pech, Anuradha Bhukel, Andreas Fulterer, Anatoli Ender, Stephan F Mauermann, Till F M Andlauer, Emmanuel Antwi-Adjei, Christine Beuschel, Kerstin Thriene, Marta Maglione, Christine Quentin, René Bushow, Martin Schwärzel, Thorsten Mielke, Frank Madeo, Joern Dengjel, André Fiala, Stephan J Sigrist
Memories are assumed to be formed by sets of synapses changing their structural or functional performance. The efficacy of forming new memories declines with advancing age, but the synaptic changes underlying age-induced memory impairment remain poorly understood. Recently, we found spermidine feeding to specifically suppress age-dependent impairments in forming olfactory memories, providing a mean to search for synaptic changes involved in age-dependent memory impairment. Here, we show that a specific synaptic compartment, the presynaptic active zone (AZ), increases the size of its ultrastructural elaboration and releases significantly more synaptic vesicles with advancing age...
September 2016: PLoS Biology
(no author information available yet)
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002549.].
September 2016: PLoS Biology
Yihong Guan, Delai Huang, Feng Chen, Ce Gao, Ting Tao, Hui Shi, Shuyi Zhao, Zuyuan Liao, Li Jan Lo, Yingchun Wang, Jun Chen, Jinrong Peng
Digestive organ expansion factor (Def) is a nucleolar protein that plays dual functions: it serves as a component of the ribosomal small subunit processome for the biogenesis of ribosomes and also mediates p53 degradation through the cysteine proteinase calpain-3 (CAPN3). However, nothing is known about the exact relationship between Def and CAPN3 or the regulation of the Def function. In this report, we show that CAPN3 degrades p53 and its mutant proteins p53A138V, p53M237I, p53R248W, and p53R273P but not the p53R175H mutant protein...
September 2016: PLoS Biology
Maryam Alavi, Minmin Song, Gracie L Andrews King, Taylor Gillis, Robert Propst, Matthew Lamanuzzi, Adam Bousum, Amanda Miller, Ryan Allen, Thomas Kidd
The Slit protein is a major midline repellent for central nervous system (CNS) axons. In vivo, Slit is proteolytically cleaved into N- and C-terminal fragments, but the biological significance of this is unknown. Analysis in the Drosophila ventral nerve cord of a slit allele (slit-UC) that cannot be cleaved revealed that midline repulsion is still present but longitudinal axon guidance is disrupted, particularly across segment boundaries. Double mutants for the Slit receptors Dscam1 and robo1 strongly resemble the slit-UC phenotype, suggesting they cooperate in longitudinal axon guidance, and through biochemical approaches, we found that Dscam1 and Robo1 form a complex dependent on Slit-N...
September 2016: PLoS Biology
Stephanie Rossnagl, Eva Altrock, Carla Sens, Sabrina Kraft, Katrin Rau, Michael D Milsom, Thomas Giese, Yvonne Samstag, Inaam A Nakchbandi
Osteoblasts lining the inner surface of bone support hematopoietic stem cell differentiation by virtue of proximity to the bone marrow. The osteoblasts also modify their own differentiation by producing various isoforms of fibronectin (FN). Despite evidence for immune regulation by osteoblasts, there is limited knowledge of how osteoblasts modulate cells of the immune system. Here, we show that extra domain A (EDA)-FN produced by osteoblasts increases arginase production in myeloid-derived cells, and we identify α5β1 as the mediating receptor...
September 2016: PLoS Biology
Chiung-Wei Huang, Hsing-Jung Lai, Po-Yuan Huang, Ming-Jen Lee, Chung-Chin Kuo
The Nav1.7 channel critically contributes to the excitability of sensory neurons, and gain-of-function mutations of this channel have been shown to cause inherited erythromelalgia (IEM) with neuropathic pain. In this study, we report a case of a severe phenotype of IEM caused by p.V1316A mutation in the Nav1.7 channel. Mechanistically, we first demonstrate that the Navβ4 peptide acts as a gating modifier rather than an open channel blocker competing with the inactivating peptide to give rise to resurgent currents in the Nav1...
September 2016: PLoS Biology
Oihane Abiega, Sol Beccari, Irune Diaz-Aparicio, Agnes Nadjar, Sophie Layé, Quentin Leyrolle, Diego Gómez-Nicola, María Domercq, Alberto Pérez-Samartín, Víctor Sánchez-Zafra, Iñaki Paris, Jorge Valero, Julie C Savage, Chin-Wai Hui, Marie-Ève Tremblay, Juan J P Deudero, Amy L Brewster, Anne E Anderson, Laura Zaldumbide, Lara Galbarriatu, Ainhoa Marinas, Maria dM Vivanco, Carlos Matute, Mirjana Maletic-Savatic, Juan M Encinas, Amanda Sierra
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002466.].
September 2016: PLoS Biology
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