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Cell and Molecular Biology

Plasmid paradoxes and paradigms: The evolution of mobile genes in microbial communities

In bacteria, plasmids can move horizontally between cells of the same and different species through the process of conjugation. When a plasmid imposes a fitness cost on its bacterial host, a sufficiently high level of conjugation is required to maintain the extrachromosomal element in the population (effectively as a molecular parasite). For costly plasmids with low conjugation rates, their long-term persistence presents a paradox. Prime examples of this paradoxical persistence concern plasmids that house antibiotic resistance genes, which can be costly in the absence of antibiotics.

Skin cell control of somatosensation in Drosophila melanogaster

An animal’s skin provides a durable barrier to environmental insults, but also serves as a substrate for somatosensory neurons and a first point of contact with the sensory world. Indeed, many types of cutaneous receptors form specialized terminal structures within the skin that contribute to somatosensation, and recent studies have begun to define primary sensory functions for skin cells.

Membrane curvature underlies actin reorganization in response to nanoscale surface topography

Lou H-Y, Zhao W, Li X, Duan L, Powers A, Akamatsu M, Santoro F, Mcguire AF, Cui Y, Drubin DG et al..  2019.  Membrane curvature underlies actin reorganization in response to nanoscale surface topography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116:23143–23151.

Principles of self-organization and load adaptation by the actin cytoskeleton during clathrin-mediated endocytosis

Akamatsu M, Vasan R, Serwas D, Ferrin MA, Rangamani P, Drubin DG.  2020.  Principles of self-organization and load adaptation by the actin cytoskeleton during clathrin-mediated endocytosis. eLife. 9

A mechanical model reveals that non-axisymmetric buckling lowers the energy barrier associated with membrane neck constriction

Vasan R, Rudraraju S, Akamatsu M, Garikipati K, Rangamani P.  2020.  A mechanical model reveals that non-axisymmetric buckling lowers the energy barrier associated with membrane neck constriction. Soft matter. 16:784–797.

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