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ELIMÄKI Locus Is Required for Vertical Proprioceptive Response in Birch Trees

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:00
Alonso-Serra et al. use birch trees to explore vertical proprioception, the growth response of stems to changes in aerial body weight. They identify a genetic locus, which is required for this developmental response, and study the consequences of cambial growth under mechanical stress.

Antagonistic Inhibitory Circuits Integrate Visual and Gravitactic Behaviors

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:00
Bostwick et al. investigate the neural circuity of gravitaxis in larvae of the simple chordate Ciona. The authors find that two inhibitory inputs, one that asymmetrically inhibits motor activity to elicit reorientation behavior and a second that serves to integrate visual cues with gravitaxis behavior, can account for observed behaviors.

Luminance Information Is Required for the Accurate Estimation of Contrast in Rapidly Changing Visual Contexts

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:00
Ketkar and Sporar et al. reveal a novel mechanism in which visual systems can mediate accurate behavioral responses to visual cues under changing light conditions. Luminance information is preserved in a distinct pathway past photoreceptors. This pathway is required for visual behavior when pure contrast-sensitivity underestimates a visual stimulus.

Calcium Wave Promotes Cell Extrusion

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:00
Takeuchi et al. demonstrate, using mammalian cell culture and zebrafish embryos, that calcium wave explosively propagates from extruding cells toward the surrounding cells within epithelia. Calcium wave promotes apical extrusion of transformed or apoptotic cells by inducing the polarized movement of the surrounding cells toward extruding cells.

Desmosomal Junctions Govern Tissue Integrity and Actomyosin Contractility in Apoptotic Cell Extrusion

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:00
Thomas et al. show pivotal role of desmosomal junction in governing actomyosin contractility and maintenance of epithelial sheet integrity during apoptotic cell extrusion. We speculate that desmoplakin-depleted tissues could lead to pathological conditions through defective actomyosin contractility and/or apoptotic cell clearance.

Extreme and Variable Climatic Conditions Drive the Evolution of Sociality in Australian Rodents

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:00
Firman et al. show that sociality evolves under harsh conditions of low rainfall and high temperature variability, never under benign climatic conditions in Australian rodents. They also demonstrate that climate does not directly influence social conflict, but instead shapes competitive phenotypes by favoring the evolution of sociality.

Niche Cell Wrapping Ensures Primordial Germ Cell Quiescence and Protection from Intercellular Cannibalism

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:00
Niche cells often enwrap stem cells. McIntyre and Nance examine niche-stem cell interactions in the gonad primordium of C. elegans, showing that niche wrapping maintains primordial germ cell quiescence by inhibiting Notch signaling and protects primordial germ cells from intercellular cannibalism.

Regulation of Polo Kinase by Matrimony Is Required for Cohesin Maintenance during Drosophila melanogaster Female Meiosis

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:00
Bonner et al. show in Drosophila oocytes active Polo kinase is sequestered to the meiotic spindle (away from the chromosomes) by Mtrm. Decreased Mtrm levels cause defects in the maintenance of centromere associations and cohesion between achiasmate chromosomes. Sister chromatid cohesion is globally abolished when the Mtrm protein is absent.

In Vivo Accumulation of Plastic-Derived Chemicals into Seabird Tissues

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:00
Tanaka et al. show that feeding additive-laced plastic pellets to seabirds results in the accumulation of chemical additives in liver and adipose tissue at 101–105 times above baseline. These findings demonstrate seabird exposure to plastic additives and additives’ importance as emerging pollution sources.

A Chronobiological Evaluation of the Acute Effects of Daylight Saving Time on Traffic Accident Risk

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:00
Reports about Daylight Saving Time (DST) and traffic accident risk are inconsistent. Fritz et al. show that the spring DST transition acutely increases fatal accidents, especially in the morning and locations further west in a given time zone. Results do not support claims that DST reduces afternoon rush-hour accidents due to better illumination.

Mosaic Heterochrony in Neural Progenitors Sustains Accelerated Brain Growth and Neurogenesis in the Juvenile Killifish N. furzeri

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 00:00
Coolen et al. unravel in a fast-growing killifish a striking mosaic heterochrony within the pallial germinal zone, where progenitors at different maturation stages cohabit: radial glia, which enter precociously in an adult-like Notch-dependent quiescence and non-glial progenitors, which resemble early embryonic progenitors and ensure neurogenesis.

Osmotic Gradients in Epithelial Acini Increase Mechanical Tension across E-cadherin, Drive Morphogenesis, and Maintain Homeostasis

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 00:00
Narayanan et al. describe the role of ion secretion in the generation of osmotic pressure and changes in mechanical tension across E-cadherin in epithelial acini. Increasing the osmotic gradient increased force exerted across E-cadherin, induced cellular proliferation, and blocked EMT progression.

Individual and Population Benefits of Marine Reserves for Reef Sharks

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 00:00
Global tracking networks and underwater monitoring are providing new insights into marine animal movements and local abundances. Dwyer et al. use these datasets to measure the conservation effectiveness of MPAs, showing that the majority of the world’s coral reef-based MPAs are too small to protect five globally predominant coral reef shark species.

Transient Membrane-Linked FtsZ Assemblies Precede Z-Ring Formation in Escherichia coli

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 00:00
By using high spatial and temporal resolution imaging, Walker et al. show that Z-ring formation in E. coli is preceded by a period in which FtsZ protofilament assemblies transiently form at the cytosolic face of the inner membrane. These assemblies are dynamic and compete with each other for the available FtsZ pool.

Boundaries Extend and Contract in Scene Memory Depending on Image Properties

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 00:00
Boundary extension has been regarded as a universal phenomenon in scene memory, reflecting scene extrapolation beyond image edges. Bainbridge and Baker examine 1,000 naturalistic scene images (n = 2,000) and discover boundary contraction as equally common. Distortions are predictable from image properties and occur even during minimal memory tasks.

Iridescence as Camouflage

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 00:00
Kjernsmo et al. show that biological iridescence provides a survival benefit to prey by presenting iridescent and non-iridescent beetle models to birds and humans in a natural setting. They also show that the underlying mechanism for this is camouflage and that increased levels of specular reflection of the background further enhance this effect.

Step changes in evolution

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Lineages changing their mode of locomotion are among the most conspicuous manifestations of evolutionary change. Now genetics, developmental biology and paleontology are converging on a better understanding of these crucial transitions.

Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Interview with Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido, who studies visually guided aerial predators to understand the performance of neural systems at the University of Minnesota.

Cobamides

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Vitamin B12 is the only known essential human micronutrient made exclusively by prokaryotes. Kennedy and Taga introduce us to the world of cobamides—those cobalt-containing compounds, like B12, that appear to be the proprietary domain of our microbial partners.

Crassulacean acid metabolism

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Gilman and Edwards introduce crassulacean acid metabolism and highlight how recent advances in molecular biology are deepening our knowledge of CAM evolution.

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