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Inbreeding risk and maternal support have opposite effects on female chimpanzee dispersal

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Sex-biased dispersal is usually driven by a combination of inbreeding avoidance and intrasexual competition. Walker and Pusey show that dispersal decisions in chimpanzees are most influenced by inbreeding avoidance and kin cooperation, instead of competition.

Evolution: Convergent Pathways to Symbiosis

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Little is known about the establishment of symbioses. A new study finds that two independent protist–algae symbioses utilize convergent patterns of nutrient exchange, suggesting that certain complimentary host and symbiont traits can increase the likelihood of establishing beneficial symbiotic interactions.

Drosophila Vision: An Eye for Change

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Two new studies show that neuronal adaptation to changes in visual contrast is widespread in the early Drosophila visual system, improving velocity estimation in downstream motion detectors.

Evolution: Ancestral Plasticity Promoted Extreme Temperature Adaptation in Thermophilic Bacteria

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Explaining the origins of adaptive features is a perennial challenge in evolutionary biology. A study on thermophilic cyanobacteria reveals how environmentally induced phenotypic change (plasticity) can pave the way for evolutionary innovation and subsequent adaptation to extreme conditions.

Visual Ecology: Now You See, Now You Don’t

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
During the day, the brittle star Ophiocoma wendtii demonstrates spatial vision due to a distributed network of extraocular photoreceptors whose fields of view are restricted by chromatophores. At night, these chromatophores contract and O. wendtii loses spatial vision.

Supergene Evolution: Recombination Finds a Way

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Supergenes are multiple linked genes that regulate complex, polymorphic traits, but little is known about their evolution. A new study of an ancient supergene in several ant species suggests that rare recombination events shape supergene evolution in surprising ways.

Woody Plant Evolution: Exceptional Lianas Reveal Rules of Woody Growth

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Sometimes the exceptions prove the rule, and lianas show some of the most exceptional stem anatomical variation in plants. New research describes the evolution and development of liana stem anatomical variants, and reveals new rules of woody growth.

Colour Vision: Self-Centered Fly Photoreceptors Communicate over Distances

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
A new study shows that the synaptically interconnected axon terminals of colour-sensitive fly photoreceptors that sample the same point in visual space receive additional inhibition from surrounding units; the resulting additional chromatic comparisons result in an optimal decorrelation of photoreceptor inputs. There are striking parallels between newly identified horizontal interactions and those mediated by mammalian horizontal cells.

Plant Evolution: Assembling Land Plants

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Traditional evolutionary scenarios posit that land plants emerged from land plant-like relatives, the charophytes. New phylogenies suggest a closer affinity to simpler pond scum relatives, and evidence the gradual assembly of the land plant genome, revealing a phenotypic simplification from the complex ancestors envisaged by traditional scenarios.

Cell Biology: Tight Junctions as Biomolecular Condensates

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Two recent studies report that ZO proteins, the main scaffolding proteins of tight junctions, undergo liquid phase separation. This new concept provides understanding at the mechanistic level of how tight junctions are formed and how they participate in mechanochemical signaling in early development.

Neuroscience: Plasticity Matters for Mating

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
It remains unclear how hormonally mediated internal states affect specific brain circuits to modify behaviour. A new study reveals that a hypothalamic projection pathway critical for female sexual receptivity is extensively remodelled during the estrous cycle.

Amino Acid Sensing: Architecture of mTORC1 on the Lysosome Surface

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 00:00
Amino acid signaling through the Rag GTPases promotes mTORC1 lysosomal localization and subsequent activation. Two new cryo-EM structures examine the architecture of the Rag GTPase heterodimers complexed with mTORC1.

Binocular Encoding in the Damselfly Pre-motor Target Tracking System

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 00:00
Supple et al. link the divergent eye morphology and hunting strategies of dragonflies and damselflies. Target-selective descending neurons in these two groups are identified as homologous, but damselfly TSDNs face forward and encode information in a binocular-fused reference frame.

UBAP2L Forms Distinct Cores that Act in Nucleating Stress Granules Upstream of G3BP1

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 00:00
Stress granules (SGs) are formed by a stable core and a dynamic shell. Cirillo, Cieren, et al. demonstrate that UBAP2L is an SG core component that does not always colocalize with the previously identified core protein G3BP1. UBAP2L is required for SG formation in several stress conditions and forms SGs independent and upstream of G3BP proteins.

Stabilization of Gaze during Early Xenopus Development by Swimming-Related Utricular Signals

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 00:00
Lambert, Bacqué-Cazenave, et al. report that swimming in young Xenopus larvae generates substantial linear acceleration components, which supplant the incapacity of small semicircular canals to elicit an angular vestibulo-ocular reflex at this stage.

Delineating the Rules for Structural Adaptation of Membrane-Associated Proteins to Evolutionary Changes in Membrane Lipidome

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 00:00
Makarova et al. show that membranes of related fission yeasts S. pombe and S. japonicus are made of structurally distinct phospholipids because of the difference in fatty acid synthase activities. Bioinformatics and retro-engineering experiments reveal that evolutionary changes in lipid metabolism require adaptation of the membrane-associated proteome.

Salicylic Acid Targets Protein Phosphatase 2A to Attenuate Growth in Plants

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 00:00
Besides the canonical role in immunity, the defense hormone salicylic acid also shapes plant growth and development. Tan et al. show that salicylic acid regulates Arabidopsis growth through directly binding to A subunits of the PP2A enzyme and thereby modulating its activity.

Cell Death in Cells Overlying Lateral Root Primordia Facilitates Organ Growth in Arabidopsis

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 00:00
Escamez et al. report that a subset of cells overlying newly formed lateral roots within the parent root dies to facilitate early lateral root organ growth. Our findings suggest that, contrary to common belief, cell death can, as in animals, regulate organ growth in plants, which may have implications for our understanding of evolution.

A Cycle of Ubiquitination Regulates Adaptor Function of the Nedd4-Family Ubiquitin Ligase Rsp5

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 00:00
The HECT-type Ub ligase Rsp5 uses adaptor proteins to connect to substrates. MacDonald et al. show that adaptor ubiquitination strengthens association to Rsp5, focusing Rsp5 on cognate substrates while diverting it from non-cognate substrates. The deubiquitinating enzyme, Ubp2, may work to liberate Rsp5 to reprioritize adaptor associations.

Targeted Stimulation of Human Orbitofrontal Networks Disrupts Outcome-Guided Behavior

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 00:00
Howard et al. show that indirectly targeting orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) with TMS disrupts choices that require inference without affecting value-based choices in general. Moreover, TMS reduces OFC network connectivity, and the magnitude of this effect predicts individual differences in the behavioral impairment.

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