This week in PLOS Biology

In PLOS Biology this week you can read about the development of a vital vessel in the eye, the structure of a protein involved in Vitamin K synthesis and how protein synthesis is maintained at both high accuracy and high speed.



Image credit: pbio.1001913

Schlemm’s canal is a vital draining vessel which can be found in the eye, between the cornea and the lens. It collects aqueous humour and delivers it into the bloodstream:  it is therefore vital for preventing the build-up of pressure associated with ocular hypertension and glaucoma. Despite its importance, little is known about its development. New research by Krishnakumar Kizhatil, Simon John and colleagues characterised Schlemm’s canal development, and in doing so discovered a novel process of vascular development. The cells of the canal express proteins characteristic of both blood and lymphatic vessels. Understanding these processes may lead to better understanding of the workings of the canal and how it can be manipulated to control glaucoma. Read more in the accompanying synopsis.



Image credit: pbio.1001911

Hua Huang, Ming Zhou and colleagues have used x-ray crystallography to determine the structure of a member of the UbiA family of integral membrane proteins. The protein structures were for an archaeal homologue of UBIAD1 – an important enzyme that attaches prenyl groups during the synthesis of Vitamin K and Coenzyme Q in humans. Determining structure allows function to be predicted – in particular how the enzymatic mechanism works.



Image credit: pbio.1001910

When cells are growing at a rapid rate, protein synthesis via ribosomal translation needs to be both rapid and accurate to sustain growth. New research by Jian-Rong Yang, Xiaoshu Chen and Jianzhi Zhang analysed datasets on the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisae. They propose that secondary structure in mRNAs modulates the speed of protein synthesis, therefore improving accuracy at functionally important sites while ensuring high speed elsewhere. They argue that this demonstrates the power of natural selection in mitigating efficiency-accuracy conflicts, which are prevalent in biology.

Category: Bioinformatics, Biology, Computational biology, Developmental biology, Disease, Evolution, Molecular biology, PLOS Biology | Leave a comment

FASEB Summer Research Conference on Dynamic DNA Structures in Biology: Sergei Mirkin

As part of its mission to encourage engagement within the genetics community, PLOS Genetics is sponsoring a number of conferences and meetings this year. In order to raise awareness about these conferences and the researchers who attend them we are featuring a number of these conferences on Biologue, with posts written by the organizers or PLOS Genetics editors who are involved.

The next of these conferences is the FASEB Summer Research ConferenceDynamic DNA Structures in Biology, which takes place in Itasca, Illinois between the 20th and 25th of July. We asked Sergei Mirkin, an organizer of the conference and Chair of Biology at Tufts University, about the meeting, and the aspects of dynamic DNA structures that he finds exciting.

Where are you from? What do you research? What is the conference about?

I am Sergei Mirkin, a Chair of Biology at Tufts University and organizer of the FASEB Summer Research Conference “Dynamic DNA Structures in Biology”. This topic is very close to my heart, since I have devoted most of my research career to it. During my Ph.D. training at the Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, I studied the role of DNA supercoiling in DNA replication and transcription in E. coli. At about this time, the paradigm that DNA is nothing more than a regular, right-handed double helix began to change following the discovery of left-handed Z-DNA by Andrew Wang and Alex Rich, and DNA cruciforms by David Lilley and Bob Wells. These developments ignited my interest in structural transitions in DNA.

During my postdoctoral years we, together with Victor Lyamichev and Maxim Frank-Kamenetskii, found a totally unexpected DNA structure, called H-DNA, the main element of which was intramolecular triple-helix. This was the first demonstration for the presence of multi-stranded structure in natural DNA! This striking finding was soon followed by the discovery of Dipankar Sen (a speaker at this conference) and Walter Gilbert that functionally important DNA motifs can form four-stranded, G-quartet DNA. Subsequently, more alternative DNA structures came to stage, including DNA Unwinding Elements (DUE) by David Kowalski, i-motifs by Maurice Gueron, mismatched hairpins by Cynthia McMurray (a keynote speaker at the conference), slipped-strand DNA by Christopher Pearson (a speaker at the conference) and Richard Sinden and others.

Dynamic DNA Structures. Image Credit: Sergei Mirkin

Dynamic DNA Structures. Image Credit: Sergei Mirkin

While these were exciting developments, the biological role for any of these structures remained completely unclear. A particularly challenging problem was the detection of these structures inside living cells. It took our community another decade or so to realize that, since formation of these structures requires extensive DNA strand separation, they are only transiently formed during the genetic transactions involving DNA unwinding, such as DNA replication and transcription, explaining the difficulties with their detection in vivo.  The term “dynamic DNA structures” was then coined to account for their transient nature.

More recently, we began to understand the biological consequences resulting from the formation of dynamic DNA structures in the course of major genetic processes. One of the most striking examples was the discovery that expansions of structure-prone DNA repeats leads to more than thirty hereditary neurological and developmental diseases in humans. Dynamic DNA structures are actively involved in normal genome functioning including transcriptional activation, regulation of antigenic switching and DNA recombination essential to the immune response.  At the same time, they were linked to chromosomal fragility and chromosomal translocations observed in human cancers and genetic diseases. In an unexpected twist, DNA structures appeared to be quite useful for nanotechnology, where their unusual physical properties find many applications.  Consequently, the interest in dynamic DNA structures is high and continues to grow with new discoveries of their biological roles, as well as their uses.  All these topics will be discussed at the proposed FASEB Dynamic DNA Structures meeting.

How did you come together to put on this conference? What are you hoping to accomplish over the few days?

The idea to organize a FASEB conference devoted to these structures first came to Alison Ratray and Susanna Lewis back in 2008: the prime focus of the first conference were DNA cruciforms and hairpins. The second conference with a broader focus on alternative DNA structures was co-organized by Alison, Susan and Nancy Maizels in 2010. In 2012, Nancy Maizels and myself co-organized the third one, which held its current name: Dynamic DNA Structures in Biology.  This year, I co-organize it with Sue Jinks-Robertson and Alain Nicolas. I really admire this forum, as it provides us with a flow of ideas and discussions on the role of dynamic DNA structures in various genetic processes. By everyone’s account these conferences have energized our field and have given us plenty of new ideas and experimental directions! I am therefore looking forward to spending a week at this exciting conference.

If you could collaborate with one scientist from any period of time, who would it be?

Francis Crick back in the 1950s/1960s. I cannot think of a scientist, who has made bigger contribution to molecular biology! There are two problems with this wish, however: (i) I had only just been born at that time, and (ii) even if I were grown up, Francis would probably kick me out for not being smart enough to catch up with him… In any event, I would love to give it a try!

Category: Biology, Blog, Community, Conference, Genetics, Genomics, PLOS Genetics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

You Just Read my Mind…

STOP PRESS!Scientists decode words from brain signals, fueling hopes for mind reading!” “Mind-reading device could become reality!” “Scientists make telepathy breakthrough!” “Secrets of the inner voice unlocked!” – just some of the sensational headlines that greeted a PLOS Biology research article a couple of years ago. OK, so I might’ve put the exclamation marks in myself, but the science behind the claims was indeed pretty extraordinary.

Spectrograms of the original stimulus (top) and reconstructed speech (bottom). doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001251.g002

Spectrograms of the original stimulus (top) and reconstructed speech (bottom). doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001251.g002

I’ll talk more about the study itself in a moment, but how do you know when you’ve published a great paper? Traditionally it would be a matter of counting journal citations, but that captures only one strand of the complex set of influences that a paper can have. Now we can separate out these strands and follow them, each with its own characteristic. The quick spike of Twitter, the steady spread on Facebook, the rash of saves in Mendeley, of citations in F1000Prime, the complex dynamics of html page views, PDF downloads, secondary coverage in scientific and popular media and in the blogosphere, and – yes – the slow-burn of journal citations. Each has its own time course, its own demographic (age, field, background) and its own texture. And each speaks to a subtly different aspect of the work’s appeal.

There are methodological papers that emerge unnoticed and become citation classics, and there are papers on intriguing animal behaviour that are splashed across the tabloids but have single-figure citations. Two very valid forms of impact, but back in 2012 we published a truly fascinating paper, and two years of metrics show that it managed to hit both buttons very firmly.

Much of neuroscience arguably involves subjecting an animal to a stimulus and then trying to find out how the brain responds. This paper describes a spookily successful attempt to achieve the reverse – looking at the brain’s activity and trying to reconstruct the stimulus that must have caused it. By placing electrodes directly in contact with the auditory cortex, they were able to “mind-read” the words that the person had heard. Listen to this incredible recording of spoken words paired with their “mind-reading” reconstruction:


Red circles show the position of electrode arrays on the surface of the superior and middle temporal gyrus. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001251.g001

Red circles show the position of electrode arrays on the surface of the superior and middle temporal gyrus. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001251.g001

Normally the human cerebral cortex lies nicely protected by the cranium, but in this study the authors were able to exploit an extraordinary opportunity. Medics removing tumours or epileptic tissue from highly sensitive parts of the brains of fifteen patients were eager to keep their patients awake so that they could check that they didn’t affect anything crucial. This gave the authors a 10-12 minute window of time when the cortex of an alert patient was exposed to the atmosphere.

During this period an array of electrodes was placed on the surface of the auditory cortex and recordings were made while single words were spoken to the patient. The signals received were used to construct a computational model of the relationship between the stimulus (“Waldo”) and the representation in the brain. This relationship could then be flipped to reconstruct a passable (and recognisable) reproduction of the original spoken word (“Woodor”).

Read the full paper for the details of research, listen to the astonishing audio file of the reconstructed speech, and for a lively discussion with authors Brian Pasley and Bob Knight, I strongly recommend that you listen to Ruchir Shah‘s excellent PLOS Biology podcast (some more remarkable recordings of the speech stimuli and their paired reconstructions appear at 11:15-12:10). In their discussion, they reveal that a long-term translational aim is to use the brain activity elicited by people’s imagined words to drive a prosthetic speech device for those who are unable to speak.

To date the paper has received nearly 85,000 page views, including over 9,000 PDF downloads, and has been cited 66 times already (see more metrics here). It’s the 48th most saved PLOS article in Mendeley of all time, is cited in two Wikipedia entries (“Thought Identification” and “2012 in Science“), and has respectable Facebook activity (21 likes, 467 shares, 33 posts). Twitter looks a bit thin on the ground because we only started collecting stats 5 months after the paper was published, so missing the main spike. But as well as the healthy academic attention, the article attracted massive press coverage that taps liberally into the memes of mind-reading and telepathy, and has inspired bloggers from Wales to Brazil. Now that’s a great paper.

Category: Biology, Computational biology, Debate, Neuroscience, PLOS Biology, Publishing, Research | 2 Comments

This week in PLOS Biology

In PLOS Biology this week, you can read about new research on the making of the vertebrate neural tube and a chemical modification essential for the functioning of inhibitory synapses in the brain.



Image credit: pbio.1001908

Efficient signal transmission at synapses is essential for higher brain functions. Inhibitory signalling in the brain mainly takes place at GABAergic synapses. Gephyrin is an intracellular component of the postsynaptic protein network in these inhibitory synapses (i.e. on the “receiving” side of the synapse), and importantly, is responsible for clustering GABA receptors at the synaptic membrane. Borislav Dejanovic, Guenter Schwarz and colleagues demonstrate that in order to perform its function, gephyrin needs to be modified by palmitoylation – the reversible posttranslational attachment of the fatty acid palmitate (commonly used to make soaps).



Image credit: pbio.1001907

A relatively small number of signals are responsible for the variety and pattern of cell types generated in developing vertebrate embryos. The diversity in cell types depends, at least in part, on changes in the way cells respond to each signal. In new research Noriaki Sasai, Eva Kutejova and James Briscoe looked at neural cord development in chick and mouse embryos, and found that in order to specify two important cell types (Floor Plate and Neural Crest) FGF signalling needs to integrate with two perpendicular signalling pathways (Shh and BMP).

Category: Biology, Cell signalling, Developmental biology, Molecular biology, Neuroscience, PLOS Biology | Leave a comment

This week in PLOS Biology

In PLOS Biology this week, you can read about tracking the evolution of cancer, sexual dimorphism, parasite tolerance in wild mammals and negative feedback mechanisms in cortical neurons.

A new Community Page by Miriam Jamal-Hanjani, Charles Swanton and colleagues highlights TRACERx, a prospective study of patients with primary non-small cell lung cancer. The idea is to follow cancer cases from diagnosis to relapse and conduct tumour sampling and genetic analysis. When paired with data on therapeutic interventions, the resulting information on the evolution of real tumours could help identify novel therapeutic targets.



Image credit: pbio.1001905

Anisogamy – the phenomenon of the gametes of each mating type differing in form (e.g. small, mobile sperm and large, stationary eggs) – is common across the tree of life. A study by Sa Geng, Peter DeHoff and James Umen investigated sex determination in the multicellular green alga Volvox carteri. They found that a protein that controlled identical-looking mating types in an ancestral unicellular alga evolved to control the development of visibly different sexes in its multicellular descendant Volvox. This study seems to show that sexual dimorphism can arise from isogamy (sexual reproduction where gametes are of similar shape and size) largely via changes in the sex-determining gene itself.



Image credit: Flickr user Peter Trimming

When faced with a parasite infection, the two options for animals are resistance (expelling the parasites) and tolerance (mitigating the damage caused by the parasites). New research by Joseph Jackson, Mike Begon and colleagues used field voles to investigate the switch between these two strategies. As the voles matured, they moved from resistance to tolerance of parasite infection. They identified the transcription factor Gata3 as an important marker of the shift to tolerance over time.



Image Credit: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000877

In order for cortical neurons (brain cells responsible for memory) to work properly, the ratio of excitation and inhibition (E/I) has to remain constant. However, this locked relationship can constrain neuronal plasticity and learning. New research by Joana Lourenço, Alberto Bacci and colleagues finds that activation of cortical pyramidal neurons mobilizes nitric oxide, which then enhances release of the neurotransmitter GABA from nearby inhibitory interneurons, thereby transiently freeing specific pyramidal neurons from the tyranny of a fixed E/I.

Category: Biology, Cancer, Cell biology, Developmental biology, Disease, Immunology, Infectious disease, Molecular biology, Neuroscience, Plant biology, PLOS Biology, Research | Leave a comment

Lessons from the fruit fly, spatial transmission of influenza and the mechanism of tissue-specific hereditary diseases: The PLOS Comp Biol June issue

Here is a selection of PLOS Computational Biology highlights for June.

Stepping Up a Notch: An Expanded Mathematical Model for Notch-Delta Signaling. Image Credit: Jerry S. Chen and Robert W. Zeller

“Minimization of opportunity costs” is a commonly used phrase within economics; however, less commonly known is that the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster also uses this theory. In “A Normative Theory of Forgetting: Lessons from the Fruit Fly”, Brea et al. note that fruit fly behaviour is compatible with the classical optimality criterion of choosing actions that maximize future rewards. A consequence of future reward maximization is that negative experiences that lead to timid behaviour should be quickly forgotten in order to not miss out on potentially rewarding opportunities. Recent experiments have revealed that the fruit fly has a dedicated mechanism for forgetting, which is consistent with the view that forgetting is adaptive, rather than a consequence of limitations of the memory system. The authors show that forgetting in Drosophila appears as an optimal adaptive behaviour in a changing environment.

The 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic provides a unique opportunity for Gog et al. to provide a detailed examination of the spatial dynamics of an emerging pathogen. In “Spatial Transmission of 2009 Pandemic Influenza in the US” the authors apply statistical and mathematical models to disease data and find that the main fall wave of the 2009 pandemic in the US was remarkably spatially structured. The authors report that the protracted spread of pandemic influenza in fall 2009 in the US was dominated by short-distance spatial spread partially catalysed by school openings rather by than long-distance transmission events. The findings of the paper underline the critical role that school-age children play in facilitating the geographic spread of pandemic influenza and highlight the need for further information on the movement and mixing patterns of this age group.

An open question in human genetics is what underlies the tissue-specific manifestation of hereditary diseases, which are caused by genomic aberrations present in cells across the entire human body. In order to answer this question, Barshir et al. analyzed this phenomenon for over 300 hereditary diseases and created a resource of protein expression and interactions across 16 main human tissues. In “Comparative Analysis of Human Tissue Interactomes Reveals Factors Leading to Tissue-Specific Manifestation of Hereditary Diseases” the authors identify two distinct, statistically-significant factors that could lead to tissue-specific vulnerability in the face of this broad expression: (i) many disease-causing genes have elevated expression levels in their disease tissues, and (ii) disease-causing genes have a significantly higher tendency for tissue-specific interactions in their disease tissues. Together the two factors identified are relevant for as many as two thirds of the tissue-specific hereditary diseases.

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Stories from the road: Trials and tribulations of the ISCB Student Council

The Student Council for the International Society for Computational Biology was established in 2004 to promote the development of computational biology among young scientists. The group runs events and programmes, as well as supporting the creation of Regional Student Groups.

Image Credit: Vignesh GPAs an official journal of the ISCB, PLOS Computational Biology is delighted to be publishing ‘Stories from the road: ISCB Student Council Collection’, a series of articles documenting the various activities of the ISCB student community and providing guidance to future generations of ISCB Student Council members. From the importance of creating a culture where networking is possible, to tips for workshopping ideas and problems, the series captures the experiences of young scientists.

“Collaborating with authors and contributors from dozens of countries around the globe has been an extremely interesting, challenging and rewarding experience,” says Thomas Abeel, one of the authors of the series. “Putting this series together has brought back some great memories, reinforced friendships and has re-taught some of the lessons we highlighted in these articles all over again.”

The collection’s primary authors and organisers were Thomas Abeel, Geoff Macintyre and Magali Michaut. Their own account of the council and the creation of the collection can be read here.

It is the journal’s hope that this collection will help spread some of the wisdom that the council has acquired over the course of a decade.

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This week in PLOS Biology

In PLOS Biology this week, you can read about a molecule with the potential to treat malaria, the remarkable diversity in sex determination and regulation of synaptic homeostasis.



Malaria-infected red blood cell. Image credit: NIAID

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease which in 2010 killed up to 1.2 million people. The parasites that cause malaria live inside red blood cells, and while there secrete many different proteins that mold the host cells to their own purposes. An enzyme called Plasmepsin V is known to be involved in the correct secretion of these proteins. In new research, Brad Sleebs, Justin Boddey and colleagues showed that Plasmepsin V is essential for malarial parasite survival, and were able to design a molecule which could inhibit its activity. Although this molecule was needed at too high a concentration for it to be useful clinically, future refinements could lead to a useful drug. Read more in the accompanying synopsis.



Image credit: pbio.1001899

Sex determination – isn’t it mostly about X and Y? This is one of several commonly held myths debunked by Doris Bachtrog, Jana Vamosi and co-authors in a new addition to our ‘Unsolved Mystery’ series. The authors discuss the myriad different mechanisms by which sex has evolved to be determined in eukaryotes. They survey our current understanding of the topic and identify important knowledge gaps.


Negative feedback is an important mechanism across many systems. One example is in the dampening down of excessive activity in neurons. New research by Seonil Kim and Edward Ziff highlights the importance of the calcium-dependent phosphatase calcineurin. Calcineurin activity is decreased when inhibition of neuronal excitability reduces calcium influx. This leads in turn to increased levels of phosphorylation and resulting stabilisation of AMPA receptors – a type of glutamate receptor that’s permeable to calcium, thereby closing the feedback loop.


Category: Biology, Cell biology, Cell signalling, Developmental biology, Disease, Evolution, Genetics, Infectious disease, Molecular biology, Neuroscience, PLOS Biology | Leave a comment

Meet the “PLOSSE” at ISMB 2014

Heading to the ISCB’s annual conference, ISMB 2014, July 11– 15, in Boston this year?  Swing by Booth 409 and say hello to PLOS!

PLOS Computational Biology staff Clare Weaver and Chris Hall will be manning the booth, alongside PLOS ONE Associate Editor Renee Hoch and Mei Yan Leung, Product Marketing Manager. They’re keen to answer your questions and hear your thoughts on Open Access, the journals and exciting projects such as PLOS Computational Biology’sOutside the Box”.

Image credit: PLOS

Image credit: PLOS

We’ll also be hosting “Meet PLOS” drop-in sessions on the evenings of Sunday 13th and Monday 14th July. In the same vein as previous years’ “Meet the Editor” sessions, these drop-ins are your opportunity to chat to editors across PLOS ONE and PLOS Computational Biology. Visit Booth 409 for more information on these events and to snag a free PLOS Computational Biology t-shirt before they’re all gone. This year’s shirt was designed by Ariel Afek who will be at ISMB presenting the work featured in his design.

Keep an eye out for PLOS Computational Biology editors across the conference and follow us on Twitter for live updates on events that they’re involved in. Here are some to get you started:

Friday 11th July

Sunday 13th July

  • Christine Orengo and Lonnie Welch host a special session on “Communities of Special Interest”, which includes contributions from Hilmar Lapp and Fran Lewitter
  • Celebrating Nobel prize winners Martin Karplus and Michael Levitt, and reflecting on their enormous impact on those they have mentored, Steven Brenner and Mark Gerstein take part in a Special Session, and Roland Dunbrack gives a Special Talk
  • Teresa Przytycka presents her paper “Dissecting Cancer Heterogeneity with network based approach”

Monday 14th July

Tuesday 15th July

There’s still time to register for ISMB 2014 online if you’ve not yet done so. We look forward to seeing you in Boston!

Category: Announcement, Community, Computational biology, Conference, News, Open access, Outreach, PLOS Computational Biology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

This week in PLOS Biology

In PLOS Biology this week, you can read about meeting biodiversity targets, sequencing microbial life, a new piece of the Nodal pathway, early problems in Huntington’s disease and how fly larvae choose to eat or crawl.



Image credit: pbio.1001892

In a new research article this week, Oscar Venter, James Watson and colleagues argue that we need to approach protected areas expansion in a way that conserves the maximum number of endangered species. Currently much of the land protected is cheap but relatively species-poor. The authors analysed the number of threatened vertebrate species which would be covered by the implementation of the Aichi biodiversity target to protect 17% of the globe’s land surface by 2020. The results showed that only 249 more species would benefit compared to current reserves. They argue that as protecting more species-rich land brings a proportionately larger benefit in terms of biodiversity conservation, a ‘happy medium’ can be found to achieve these targets. Read more in the accompanying synopsis.


Bruce Anderson (University of Stellenbosch) dinoflagellates

Dinoflagellates glow blue after a chemical reaction is triggered by the wind. Image credit: Bruce Anderson (University of Stellenbosch)

Molecular sequence data are essential for making sense of the spectacular diversity of microbial life on our planet.  We’ve made a start, but there are significant taxonomic biases in the eukaryotic organisms chosen for sequencing so far, usually limited to those of medical or biotechnological significance. Resources are particularly scarce for marine organisms, and a new Community Page by Alexandra Worden, Patrick Keeling and members of the MMETSP Consortium highlights The Marine Microbial Eukaryotic Transcriptome Sequencing Project – a resource of 700 transcriptome sequences from marine microbial eukaryotes to help understand their role in the world’s oceans.



Image credit: pbio.1001890

In mammalian developmental biology, the Nodal signalling protein is well-known for its importance in promotion of differentiation in extra-embryonic tissues (such as the placenta). Now new research by Costis Papanayotou, Jérôme Collignon and colleagues has found a novel enhancer within the Nodal gene which is involved in activating Nodal expression in early stages of development (in response to pluripotency factors and SMAD signalling) and orchestrating the activation of other Nodal enhancers later on.


Neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s cause damage to neurons before symptoms even appear. In new research, Cendrine Tourette, Christian Neri and colleagues showed that the Wnt receptor Ryk is involved in the pathways of neuronal cell homeostasis. Levels of Ryk were increased in mouse models of Huntington’s disease, a finding that has clinical implications for potential early-stage restoration of neurons’ capacity to resist damage in patients with this and related diseases.


In the animal kingdom, two of the most essential behaviours are locomotion and feeding, but how is the choice between these two made? Andreas Schoofs, Michael J. Pankratz, and colleagues show that a single cluster of neurons in the fly central nervous system simultaneously suppresses feeding behaviour and induces food-seeking movements in larvae. These neurons, characterised by their expression of the neuropeptide ‘hugin’, transmit inputs from higher brain centres to motor centres. Read more in the accompanying synopsis.


Category: Biology, Cell biology, Cell signalling, Computational biology, Developmental biology, Disease, Ecology, Environment, Genomics, Microbiology, Molecular biology, Neuroscience, PLOS Biology, Research | Leave a comment