PLOS ONE

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/

List of Papers (Total 194,475)

Crown Plasticity and Competition for Canopy Space: A New Spatially Implicit Model Parameterized for 250 North American Tree Species

BackgroundCanopy structure, which can be defined as the sum of the sizes, shapes and relative placements of the tree crowns in a forest stand, is central to all aspects of forest ecology. But there is no accepted method for deriving canopy structure from the sizes, species and biomechanical properties of the individual trees in a stand. Any such method must capture the fact that...

Retinal Encoding of Ultrabrief Shape Recognition Cues

Shape encoding mechanisms can be probed by the sequential brief display of dots that mark the boundary of the shape, and delays of less that a millisecond between successive dots can impair recognition. It is not entirely clear whether this is accomplished by preserving stimulus timing in the signal being sent to the brain, or calls for a retinal binding mechanism. Two...

Conceptual Modeling in Systems Biology Fosters Empirical Findings: The mRNA Lifecycle

One of the main obstacles to understanding complex biological systems is the extent and rapid evolution of information, way beyond the capacity individuals to manage and comprehend. Current modeling approaches and tools lack adequate capacity to model concurrently structure and behavior of biological systems. Here we propose Object-Process Methodology (OPM), a holistic conceptual...

Brain Expressed microRNAs Implicated in Schizophrenia Etiology

BackgroundProtein encoding genes have long been the major targets for research in schizophrenia genetics. However, with the identification of regulatory microRNAs (miRNAs) as important in brain development and function, miRNAs genes have emerged as candidates for schizophrenia-associated genetic factors. Indeed, the growing understanding of the regulatory properties and...

Discovery of Genes Activated by the Mitochondrial Unfolded Protein Response (mtUPR) and Cognate Promoter Elements

In an accompanying paper, we show that the mitochondrial Unfolded Protein Response or mtUPR is initiated by the activation of transcription of chop through an AP-1 element in the chop promoter. Further, we show that the c/ebpβ gene is similarly activated and CHOP and C/EBPβ subsequently hetero-dimerise to activate transcription of mtUPR responsive genes. Here, we report the...

Intra-Organ Variation in Age-Related Mutation Accumulation in the Mouse

Using a transgenic mouse model harboring chromosomally integrated lacZ mutational target genes, we previously demonstrated that mutations accumulate with age much more rapidly in the small intestine than in the brain. Here it is shown that in the small intestine point mutations preferentially accumulate in epithelial cells of the mucosa scraped off the underlying serosa. The...

An All-Atom Model of the Chromatin Fiber Containing Linker Histones Reveals a Versatile Structure Tuned by the Nucleosomal Repeat Length

In the nucleus of eukaryotic cells, histone proteins organize the linear genome into a functional and hierarchical architecture. In this paper, we use the crystal structures of the nucleosome core particle, B-DNA and the globular domain of H5 linker histone to build the first all-atom model of compact chromatin fibers. In this 3D jigsaw puzzle, DNA bending is achieved by solving...

Comparative Expression Profiling of the Chlamydia trachomatis pmp Gene Family for Clinical and Reference Strains

BackgroundChlamydia trachomatis, an obligate intracellular pathogen, is a leading worldwide cause of ocular and urogenital diseases. Advances have been made in our understanding of the nine-member polymorphic membrane protein (Pmp) gene (pmp) family of C. trachomatis. However, there is only limited information on their biologic role, especially for biological variants (biovar...

Dating Phylogenies with Hybrid Local Molecular Clocks

BackgroundBecause rates of evolution and species divergence times cannot be estimated directly from molecular data, all current dating methods require that specific assumptions be made before inferring any divergence time. These assumptions typically bear either on rates of molecular evolution (molecular clock hypothesis, local clocks models) or on both rates and times (penalized...

Automated Builder and Database of Protein/Membrane Complexes for Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Molecular dynamics simulations of membrane proteins have provided deeper insights into their functions and interactions with surrounding environments at the atomic level. However, compared to solvation of globular proteins, building a realistic protein/membrane complex is still challenging and requires considerable experience with simulation software. Membrane Builder in the...

Metabolome Based Reaction Graphs of M. tuberculosis and M. leprae: A Comparative Network Analysis

BackgroundSeveral types of networks, such as transcriptional, metabolic or protein-protein interaction networks of various organisms have been constructed, that have provided a variety of insights into metabolism and regulation. Here, we seek to exploit the reaction-based networks of three organisms for comparative genomics. We use concepts from spectral graph theory to...

Role of ENPP1 on Adipocyte Maturation

BackgroundIt is recognized that the ability of adipose tissue to expand in response to energy excess, i.e. adipocyte maturation, is important in determining systemic abnormalities in glucose and lipid metabolism. Ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase phosphodiesterase 1 (ENPP1, also known as PC-1) has been recently reported to be involved in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and...

Self-Referential Cognition and Empathy in Autism

BackgroundIndividuals with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) have profound impairments in the interpersonal social domain, but it is unclear if individuals with ASC also have impairments in the intrapersonal self-referential domain. We aimed to evaluate across several well validated measures in both domains, whether both self-referential cognition and empathy are impaired in ASC...

Degeneration of the Olfactory Guanylyl Cyclase D Gene during Primate Evolution

BackgroundThe mammalian olfactory system consists of several subsystems that detect specific sets of chemical cues and underlie a variety of behavioral responses. Within the main olfactory epithelium at least three distinct types of chemosensory neurons can be defined by their expression of unique sets of signal transduction components. In rodents, one set of neurons expresses...

Molecular and Structural Discrimination of Proline Racemase and Hydroxyproline-2-Epimerase from Nosocomial and Bacterial Pathogens

The first eukaryotic proline racemase (PRAC), isolated from the human Trypanosoma cruzi pathogen, is a validated therapeutic target against Chagas' disease. This essential enzyme is implicated in parasite life cycle and infectivity and its ability to trigger host B-cell nonspecific hypergammaglobulinemia contributes to parasite evasion and persistence. Using previously identified...

Chimpanzees Share Forbidden Fruit

The sharing of wild plant foods is infrequent in chimpanzees, but in chimpanzee communities that engage in hunting, meat is frequently used as a ‘social tool’ for nurturing alliances and social bonds. Here we report the only recorded example of regular sharing of plant foods by unrelated, non-provisioned wild chimpanzees, and the contexts in which these sharing behaviours occur...

Age- and Sex-Specific Mortality Patterns in an Emerging Wildlife Epidemic: The Phocine Distemper in European Harbour Seals

Analyses of the dynamics of diseases in wild populations typically assume all individuals to be identical. However, profound effects on the long-term impact on the host population can be expected if the disease has age and sex dependent dynamics. The Phocine Distemper Virus (PDV) caused two mass mortalities in European harbour seals in 1988 and in 2002. We show the mortality...

Robust Off- and Online Separation of Intracellularly Recorded Up and Down Cortical States

BackgroundThe neuronal cortical network generates slow (<1 Hz) spontaneous rhythmic activity that emerges from the recurrent connectivity. This activity occurs during slow wave sleep or anesthesia and also in cortical slices, consisting of alternating up (active, depolarized) and down (silent, hyperpolarized) states. The search for the underlying mechanisms and the possibility of...

Impedance-Matching Hearing in Paleozoic Reptiles: Evidence of Advanced Sensory Perception at an Early Stage of Amniote Evolution

BackgroundInsights into the onset of evolutionary novelties are key to the understanding of amniote origins and diversification. The possession of an impedance-matching tympanic middle ear is characteristic of all terrestrial vertebrates with a sophisticated hearing sense and an adaptively important feature of many modern terrestrial vertebrates. Whereas tympanic ears seem to...

Cross-Modal Object Recognition Is Viewpoint-Independent

BackgroundPrevious research suggests that visual and haptic object recognition are viewpoint-dependent both within- and cross-modally. However, this conclusion may not be generally valid as it was reached using objects oriented along their extended y-axis, resulting in differential surface processing in vision and touch. In the present study, we removed this differential by...

No Language-Specific Activation during Linguistic Processing of Observed Actions

BackgroundIt has been suggested that cortical neural systems for language evolved from motor cortical systems, in particular from those fronto-parietal systems responding also to action observation. While previous studies have shown shared cortical systems for action – or action observation - and language, they did not address the question of whether linguistic processing of...

Evidence for Paternal Leakage in Hybrid Periodical Cicadas (Hemiptera: Magicicada spp.)

Mitochondrial inheritance is generally assumed to be maternal. However, there is increasing evidence of exceptions to this rule, especially in hybrid crosses. In these cases, mitochondria are also inherited paternally, so “paternal leakage” of mitochondria occurs. It is important to understand these exceptions better, since they potentially complicate or invalidate studies that...

The Restriction of Zoonotic PERV Transmission by Human APOBEC3G

The human APOBEC3G protein is an innate anti-viral factor that can dominantly inhibit the replication of some endogenous and exogenous retroviruses. The prospects of purposefully harnessing such an anti-viral defense are under investigation. Here, long-term co-culture experiments were used to show that porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV) transmission from pig to human cells is...

Sp1 Expression Is Disrupted in Schizophrenia; A Possible Mechanism for the Abnormal Expression of Mitochondrial Complex I Genes, NDUFV1 and NDUFV2

BackgroundThe prevailing hypothesis regards schizophrenia as a polygenic disease, in which multiple genes combine with each other and with environmental stimuli to produce the variance of its clinical symptoms. We investigated whether the ubiquitous transcription factor Sp1 is abnormally expressed in schizophrenia, and consequently can affect the expression of genes implicated in...

CD100 on NK Cells Enhance IFNγ Secretion and Killing of Target Cells Expressing CD72

BackgroundNK cells are able to kill tumor and virus-infected cells without the need of prior antigen stimulation. The killing of these target cells is regulated by inhibitory, lysis and co-stimulatory receptors that are expressed on the surface of NK cells.Principal FindingsCD100 (Semaphorin 4D), a 150kD transmembrane protein, is expressed on the surface of activated NK cells as...