PLOS Biology

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 1544-9173 / 1545-7885
Published by: Public Library of Science (PLoS) (10.1371)
Total articles ≅ 6,323
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Latest articles in this journal

, Dominique Fernandes
Published: 24 November 2021
Synaptic scaling allows neurons to adjust synaptic strength in response to chronic alterations in neuronal activity. A new study in PLOS Biology identifies a pathway that synergizes protein synthesis and degradation with remodeling of the microRNA (miRNA)-induced silencing complex (miRISC) to mediate synaptic scaling.
Alexandre Scanff, , , , Dorothy V. M. Bishop,
Published: 23 November 2021
Alongside the growing concerns regarding predatory journal growth, other questionable editorial practices have gained visibility recently. Among them, we explored the usefulness of the Percentage of Papers by the Most Prolific author (PPMP) and the Gini index (level of inequality in the distribution of authorship among authors) as tools to identify journals that may show favoritism in accepting articles by specific authors. We examined whether the PPMP, complemented by the Gini index, could be useful for identifying cases of potential editorial bias, using all articles in a sample of 5,468 biomedical journals indexed in the National Library of Medicine. For articles published between 2015 and 2019, the median PPMP was 2.9%, and 5% of journal exhibited a PPMP of 10.6% or more. Among the journals with the highest PPMP or Gini index values, where a few authors were responsible for a disproportionate number of publications, a random sample was manually examined, revealing that the most prolific author was part of the editorial board in 60 cases (61%). The papers by the most prolific authors were more likely to be accepted for publication within 3 weeks of their submission. Results of analysis on a subset of articles, excluding nonresearch articles, were consistent with those of the principal analysis. In most journals, publications are distributed across a large number of authors. Our results reveal a subset of journals where a few authors, often members of the editorial board, were responsible for a disproportionate number of publications. To enhance trust in their practices, journals need to be transparent about their editorial and peer review practices.
Balakumar Srinivasan, Sarbani Samaddar, Sivaram V. S. Mylavarapu, James P. Clement,
Published: 23 November 2021
Homeostatic scaling in neurons has been attributed to the individual contribution of either translation or degradation; however, there remains limited insight toward understanding how the interplay between the two processes effectuates synaptic homeostasis. Here, we report that a codependence between protein synthesis and degradation mechanisms drives synaptic homeostasis, whereas abrogation of either prevents it. Coordination between the two processes is achieved through the formation of a tripartite complex between translation regulators, the 26S proteasome, and the miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC) components such as Argonaute, MOV10, and Trim32 on actively translating transcripts or polysomes. The components of this ternary complex directly interact with each other in an RNA-dependent manner. Disruption of polysomes abolishes this ternary interaction, suggesting that translating RNAs facilitate the combinatorial action of the proteasome and the translational apparatus. We identify that synaptic downscaling involves miRISC remodeling, which entails the mTORC1-dependent translation of Trim32, an E3 ligase, and the subsequent degradation of its target, MOV10 via the phosphorylation of p70 S6 kinase. We find that the E3 ligase Trim32 specifically polyubiquitinates MOV10 for its degradation during synaptic downscaling. MOV10 degradation alone is sufficient to invoke downscaling by enhancing Arc translation through its 3′ UTR and causing the subsequent removal of postsynaptic AMPA receptors. Synaptic scaling was occluded when we depleted Trim32 and overexpressed MOV10 in neurons, suggesting that the Trim32-MOV10 axis is necessary for synaptic downscaling. We propose a mechanism that exploits a translation-driven protein degradation paradigm to invoke miRISC remodeling and induce homeostatic scaling during chronic network activity.
, Uta Noppeney
Published: 18 November 2021
To form a percept of the multisensory world, the brain needs to integrate signals from common sources weighted by their reliabilities and segregate those from independent sources. Previously, we have shown that anterior parietal cortices combine sensory signals into representations that take into account the signals’ causal structure (i.e., common versus independent sources) and their sensory reliabilities as predicted by Bayesian causal inference. The current study asks to what extent and how attentional mechanisms can actively control how sensory signals are combined for perceptual inference. In a pre- and postcueing paradigm, we presented observers with audiovisual signals at variable spatial disparities. Observers were precued to attend to auditory or visual modalities prior to stimulus presentation and postcued to report their perceived auditory or visual location. Combining psychophysics, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and Bayesian modelling, we demonstrate that the brain moulds multisensory inference via 2 distinct mechanisms. Prestimulus attention to vision enhances the reliability and influence of visual inputs on spatial representations in visual and posterior parietal cortices. Poststimulus report determines how parietal cortices flexibly combine sensory estimates into spatial representations consistent with Bayesian causal inference. Our results show that distinct neural mechanisms control how signals are combined for perceptual inference at different levels of the cortical hierarchy.
, , Andrew F. Read, David McAdams
Published: 16 November 2021
Humans are altering biological systems at unprecedented rates, and these alterations often have longer-term evolutionary impacts. Most obvious is the spread of resistance to pesticides and antibiotics. There are a wide variety of management strategies available to slow this evolution, and there are many reasons for using them. In this paper, we focus on the economic aspects of evolution management and ask: When is it economically beneficial for an individual decision-maker to invest in evolution management? We derive a simple dimensionless inequality showing that it is cost-effective to manage evolution when the percentage increase in the effective life span of the biological resource that management generates is larger than the percentage increase in annual profit that could be obtained by not managing evolution. We show how this inequality can be used to determine optimal investment choices for single decision-makers, to determine Nash equilibrium investment choices for multiple interacting decision-makers, and to examine how these equilibrium choices respond to regulatory interventions aimed at stimulating investment in evolution management. Our results are illustrated with examples involving Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crops and antibiotic use in fish farming.
Enea Maffei, Aisylu Shaidullina, Marco Burkolter, Yannik Heyer, Fabienne Estermann, , Patrick Sauer, Luc Willi, Sarah Michaelis, , et al.
Published: 16 November 2021
Bacteriophages, the viruses infecting bacteria, hold great potential for the treatment of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections and other applications due to their unparalleled diversity and recent breakthroughs in their genetic engineering. However, fundamental knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying phage–host interactions is mostly confined to a few traditional model systems and did not keep pace with the recent massive expansion of the field. The true potential of molecular biology encoded by these viruses has therefore remained largely untapped, and phages for therapy or other applications are often still selected empirically. We therefore sought to promote a systematic exploration of phage–host interactions by composing a well-assorted library of 68 newly isolated phages infecting the model organism Escherichia coli that we share with the community as the BASEL (BActeriophage SElection for your Laboratory) collection. This collection is largely representative of natural E. coli phage diversity and was intensively characterized phenotypically and genomically alongside 10 well-studied traditional model phages. We experimentally determined essential host receptors of all phages, quantified their sensitivity to 11 defense systems across different layers of bacterial immunity, and matched these results to the phages’ host range across a panel of pathogenic enterobacterial strains. Clear patterns in the distribution of phage phenotypes and genomic features highlighted systematic differences in the potency of different immunity systems and suggested the molecular basis of receptor specificity in several phage groups. Our results also indicate strong trade-offs between fitness traits like broad host recognition and resistance to bacterial immunity that might drive the divergent adaptation of different phage groups to specific ecological niches. We envision that the BASEL collection will inspire future work exploring the biology of bacteriophages and their hosts by facilitating the discovery of underlying molecular mechanisms as the basis for an effective translation into biotechnology or therapeutic applications.
Richard Li, Ajay Ranipeta, John Wilshire, Jeremy Malczyk, Michelle Duong, Robert Guralnick, ,
Published: 15 November 2021
A vast range of research applications in biodiversity sciences requires integrating primary species, genetic, or ecosystem data with other environmental data. This integration requires a consideration of the spatial and temporal scale appropriate for the data and processes in question. But a versatile and scale flexible environmental annotation of biodiversity data remains constrained by technical hurdles. Existing tools have streamlined the intersection of occurrence records with gridded environmental data but have remained limited in their ability to address a range of spatial and temporal grains, especially for large datasets. We present the Spatiotemporal Observation Annotation Tool (STOAT), a cloud-based toolbox for flexible biodiversity–environment annotations. STOAT is optimized for large biodiversity datasets and allows user-specified spatial and temporal resolution and buffering in support of environmental characterizations that account for the uncertainty and scale of data and of relevant processes. The tool offers these services for a growing set of near global, remotely sensed, or modeled environmental data, including Landsat, MODIS, EarthEnv, and CHELSA. STOAT includes a user-friendly, web-based dashboard that provides tools for annotation task management and result visualization, linked to Map of Life, and a dedicated R package (rstoat) for programmatic access. We demonstrate STOAT functionality with several examples that illustrate phenological variation and spatial and temporal scale dependence of environmental characteristics of birds at a continental scale. We expect STOAT to facilitate broader exploration and assessment of the scale dependence of observations and processes in ecology.
, Isabel Zhang, Thomas Watson, Jorge Lazaro, Manuela Melchionda,
Published: 12 November 2021
The molecular mechanisms that produce the full array of neuronal subtypes in the vertebrate nervous system are incompletely understood. Here, we provide evidence of a global temporal patterning program comprising sets of transcription factors that stratifies neurons based on the developmental time at which they are generated. This transcriptional code acts throughout the central nervous system, in parallel to spatial patterning, thereby increasing the diversity of neurons generated along the neuraxis. We further demonstrate that this temporal program operates in stem cell−derived neurons and is under the control of the TGFβ signaling pathway. Targeted perturbation of components of the temporal program, Nfia and Nfib, reveals their functional requirement for the generation of late-born neuronal subtypes. Together, our results provide evidence for the existence of a previously unappreciated global temporal transcriptional program of neuronal subtype identity and suggest that the integration of spatial and temporal patterning mechanisms diversifies and organizes neuronal subtypes in the vertebrate nervous system.
David Komla Kessie,
Published: 12 November 2021
Many vaccine candidates with promising results in preclinical testing fail in human trials. New complex human tissue models have the potential to improve the predictability of vaccine safety and efficacy in human clinical trials.
Alice Malivert, Özer Erguvan, Antoine Chevallier, Antoine Dehem, Rodrigue Friaud, Mengying Liu, Marjolaine Martin, Théophile Peyraud, ,
Published: 12 November 2021
To survive, cells must constantly resist mechanical stress. In plants, this involves the reinforcement of cell walls, notably through microtubule-dependent cellulose deposition. How wall sensing might contribute to this response is unknown. Here, we tested whether the microtubule response to stress acts downstream of known wall sensors. Using a multistep screen with 11 mutant lines, we identify FERONIA (FER) as the primary candidate for the cell’s response to stress in the shoot. However, this does not imply that FER acts upstream of the microtubule response to stress. In fact, when performing mechanical perturbations, we instead show that the expected microtubule response to stress does not require FER. We reveal that the feronia phenotype can be partially rescued by reducing tensile stress levels. Conversely, in the absence of both microtubules and FER, cells appear to swell and burst. Altogether, this shows that the microtubule response to stress acts as an independent pathway to resist stress, in parallel to FER. We propose that both pathways are required to maintain the mechanical integrity of plant cells.
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