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Journal of the Royal Society, Interface

Jiapeng Hou, Deepak H Veeregowda, Joop de Vries, Henny C Van der Mei, Henk J Busscher
Water-based lubrication provides cheap and environmentally friendly lubrication and, although hydrophilic surfaces are preferred in water-based lubrication, often lubricating surfaces do not retain water molecules during shear. We show here that hydrophilic (42° water contact angle) quartz surfaces facilitate water-based lubrication to the same extent as more hydrophobic Si crystal surfaces (61°), while lubrication by hydrophilic Ge crystal surfaces (44°) is best. Thus surface hydrophilicity is not sufficient for water-based lubrication...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Jolanda R Vetsch, Ralph Müller, Sandra Hofmann
Bone remodelling is the continuous turnover of bone by resorption and formation. It is controlled by interstitial fluid flow sensed by osteocytes. The refilling of bone resorption sites has been shown to be curvature driven. In vitro, curvature influences tissue growth and cytoskeletal arrangements under static and perfused conditions. Nevertheless, this has only been demonstrated for non-mineralized tissue in limited three-dimensional volumes. This study aims at investigating the influence of three different channel curvatures (S, -2...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Teresa K Yamana, Sasikiran Kandula, Jeffrey Shaman
In recent years, a number of systems capable of predicting future infectious disease incidence have been developed. As more of these systems are operationalized, it is important that the forecasts generated by these different approaches be formally reconciled so that individual forecast error and bias are reduced. Here we present a first example of such multi-system, or superensemble, forecast. We develop three distinct systems for predicting dengue, which are applied retrospectively to forecast outbreak characteristics in San Juan, Puerto Rico...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Elizabeth Gross, Brent Davis, Kenneth L Ho, Daniel J Bates, Heather A Harrington
Researchers working with mathematical models are often confronted by the related problems of parameter estimation, model validation and model selection. These are all optimization problems, well known to be challenging due to nonlinearity, non-convexity and multiple local optima. Furthermore, the challenges are compounded when only partial data are available. Here, we consider polynomial models (e.g. mass-action chemical reaction networks at steady state) and describe a framework for their analysis based on optimization using numerical algebraic geometry...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
S Dini, B J Binder, S C Fischer, C Mattheyer, A Schmitz, E H K Stelzer, N G Bean, J E F Green
Automatic identification of the necrotic zone boundary is important in the assessment of treatments on in vitro tumour spheroids. This has been difficult especially when the difference in cell density between the necrotic and viable zones of a tumour spheroid is small. To help overcome this problem, we developed novel one-dimensional pair-correlation functions (PCFs) to provide quantitative estimates of the radial distance of the necrotic zone boundary from the centre of a tumour spheroid. We validate our approach on synthetic tumour spheroids in which the position of the necrotic zone boundary is known a priori It is then applied to nine real tumour spheroids imaged with light sheet-based fluorescence microscopy...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
James Rafferty, Lance Farr, Tim James, David Chase, John Heinrich, Michael Brady
We present a novel, high-resolution magnetic resonance technique, fine structure analysis (FSA) for the quantification and analysis of amorphous and quasi-amorphous biological structures. The one-dimensional technique is introduced mathematically and then applied to one simulated phantom, two physical phantoms and a set of ex vivo biological samples, scanned with interpoint spacings of 0.0038-0.195 mm and cross-sectional sizes of 3 × 3 or 5 × 5 mm. The simulated phantom and one of the physical phantoms consists of randomly arranged beads of known size in two and three dimensions, respectively...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Adama Creppy, Franck Plouraboué, Olivier Praud, Xavier Druart, Sébastien Cazin, Hui Yu, Pierre Degond
New experimental evidence of self-motion of a confined active suspension is presented. Depositing fresh semen sample in an annular shaped microfluidic chip leads to a spontaneous vortex state of the fluid at sufficiently large sperm concentration. The rotation occurs unpredictably clockwise or counterclockwise and is robust and stable. Furthermore, for highly active and concentrated semen, richer dynamics can occur such as self-sustained or damped rotation oscillations. Experimental results obtained with systematic dilution provide a clear evidence of a phase transition towards collective motion associated with local alignment of spermatozoa akin to the Vicsek model...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Song Feng, Meritxell Sáez, Carsten Wiuf, Elisenda Feliu, Orkun S Soyer
Bistability, and more generally multistability, is a key system dynamics feature enabling decision-making and memory in cells. Deciphering the molecular determinants of multistability is thus crucial for a better understanding of cellular pathways and their (re)engineering in synthetic biology. Here, we show that a key motif found predominantly in eukaryotic signalling systems, namely a futile signalling cycle, can display bistability when featuring a two-state kinase. We provide necessary and sufficient mathematical conditions on the kinetic parameters of this motif that guarantee the existence of multiple steady states...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Sina David, Johannes Funken, Wolfgang Potthast, Alexander Blanke
Insects show a remarkable diversity of muscle configurations, yet the factors leading to this functional diversity are poorly understood. Here, we use musculoskeletal modelling to understand the spatio-temporal activity of an insect muscle in several dragonfly species and to reveal potential mechanical factors leading to a particular muscle configuration. Bite characteristics potentially show systematic signal, but absolute bite force is not correlated with size. Muscle configuration and inverse dynamics show that the wider relative area of muscle attachment and the higher activity of subapical muscle groups are responsible for this high bite force...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Gerardo Chowell, Cécile Viboud, Lone Simonsen, Seyed M Moghadas
Early estimates of the transmission potential of emerging and re-emerging infections are increasingly used to inform public health authorities on the level of risk posed by outbreaks. Existing methods to estimate the reproduction number generally assume exponential growth in case incidence in the first few disease generations, before susceptible depletion sets in. In reality, outbreaks can display subexponential (i.e. polynomial) growth in the first few disease generations, owing to clustering in contact patterns, spatial effects, inhomogeneous mixing, reactive behaviour changes or other mechanisms...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Jane Politi, Jolanda Spadavecchia, Gabriella Fiorentino, Immacolata Antonucci, Luca De Stefano
Water sources pollution by arsenic ions is a serious environmental problem all around the world. Arsenate reductase enzyme (TtArsC) from Thermus thermophilus extremophile bacterium, naturally binds arsenic ions, As(V) and As (III), in aqueous solutions. In this research, TtArsC enzyme adsorption onto hybrid polyethylene glycol-stabilized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) was studied at different pH values as an innovative nanobiosystem for metal concentration monitoring. Characterizations were performed by UV/Vis and circular dichroism spectroscopies, TEM images and in terms of surface charge changes...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Dimitra Atri
Photosynthesis is a mechanism developed by terrestrial life to utilize the energy from photons of solar origin for biological use. Subsurface regions are isolated from the photosphere, and consequently are incapable of utilizing this energy. This opens up the opportunity for life to evolve alternative mechanisms for harvesting available energy. Bacterium Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator, found 2.8 km deep in a South African mine, harvests energy from radiolysis, induced by particles emitted from radioactive U, Th and K present in surrounding rock...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Martin Vyska, Nik Cunniffe, Christopher Gilligan
The deployment of crop varieties that are partially resistant to plant pathogens is an important method of disease control. However, a trade-off may occur between the benefits of planting the resistant variety and a yield penalty, whereby the standard susceptible variety outyields the resistant one in the absence of disease. This presents a dilemma: deploying the resistant variety is advisable only if the disease occurs and is sufficient for the resistant variety to outyield the infected standard variety. Additionally, planting the resistant variety carries with it a further advantage in that the resistant variety reduces the probability of disease invading...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Soham Ghosh, Altug Ozcelikkale, J Craig Dutton, Bumsoo Han
Freezing of biomaterials is important in a wide variety of biomedical applications, including cryopreservation and cryosurgeries. For the success of these applications to various biomaterials, biophysical mechanisms, which determine freezing-induced changes in cells and tissues, need to be well understood. Specifically, the significance of the intracellular mechanics during freezing is not well understood. Thus, we hypothesize that cells interact during freezing with the surroundings such as suspension media and the extracellular matrix (ECM) via two distinct but related mechanisms-water transport and cytoskeletal mechanics...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
M Tavafoghi, M Cerruti
Polar and charged amino acids (AAs) are heavily expressed in non-collagenous proteins (NCPs), and are involved in hydroxyapatite (HA) mineralization in bone. Here, we review what is known on the effect of single AAs on HA precipitation. Negatively charged AAs, such as aspartic acid, glutamic acid (Glu) and phosphoserine are largely expressed in NCPs and play a critical role in controlling HA nucleation and growth. Positively charged ones such as arginine (Arg) or lysine (Lys) are heavily involved in HA nucleation within extracellular matrix proteins such as collagen...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Elliot W Hawkes, David Lentink
Hovering flies generate exceptionally high lift, because their wings generate a stable leading edge vortex. Micro flying robots with a similar wing design can generate similar high lift by either flapping or spinning their wings. While it requires less power to spin a wing, the overall efficiency depends also on the actuator system driving the wing. Here, we present the first holistic analysis to calculate how long a fly-inspired micro robot can hover with flapping versus spinning wings across scales. We integrate aerodynamic data with data-driven scaling laws for actuator, electronics and mechanism performance from fruit fly to hummingbird scales...
October 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Léo Pio-Lopez, Ange Nizard, Karl Friston, Giovanni Pezzulo
Active inference is a general framework for perception and action that is gaining prominence in computational and systems neuroscience but is less known outside these fields. Here, we discuss a proof-of-principle implementation of the active inference scheme for the control or the 7-DoF arm of a (simulated) PR2 robot. By manipulating visual and proprioceptive noise levels, we show under which conditions robot control under the active inference scheme is accurate. Besides accurate control, our analysis of the internal system dynamics (e...
September 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Zhipeng Wang, Davit A Potoyan, Peter G Wolynes
Eukaryotic transcription factors in the NF-κB family are central components of an extensive genetic network that activates cellular responses to inflammation and to a host of other external stressors. This network consists of feedback loops that involve the inhibitor IκBα, numerous downstream functional targets, and still more numerous binding sites that do not appear to be directly functional. Under steady stimulation, the regulatory network of NF-κB becomes oscillatory, and temporal patterns of NF-κB pulses appear to govern the patterns of downstream gene expression needed for immune response...
September 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Thorin Jonsson, Fernando Montealegre-Z, Carl D Soulsbury, Kate A Robson Brown, Daniel Robert
The ear of the bush-cricket, Copiphora gorgonensis, consists of a system of paired eardrums (tympana) on each foreleg. In these insects, the ear is backed by an air-filled tube, the acoustic trachea (AT), which transfers sound from the prothoracic acoustic spiracle to the internal side of the eardrums. Both surfaces of the eardrums of this auditory system are exposed to sound, making it a directionally sensitive pressure difference receiver. A key feature of the AT is its capacity to reduce the velocity of sound propagation and alter the acoustic driving forces at the tympanum...
September 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
R Müller, A V Birn-Jeffery, Y Blum
Birds and humans are successful bipedal runners, who have individually evolved bipedalism, but the extent of the similarities and differences of their bipedal locomotion is unknown. In turn, the anatomical differences of their locomotor systems complicate direct comparisons. However, a simplifying mechanical model, such as the conservative spring-mass model, can be used to describe both avian and human running and thus, provides a way to compare the locomotor strategies that birds and humans use when running on level and uneven ground...
September 2016: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
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