Mandrills use olfaction to socially avoid parasitized conspecifics

The evolutionary transition from a solitary to a social lifestyle entails an elevated parasite cost because the social proximity associated with group living favors parasite transmission. Despite this cost, sociality is widespread in a large range of taxonomic groups. In this context, hosts would be expected to have evolved behavioral mechanisms to reduce the risk of parasite infection. Few empirical studies have focused on the influence of pathogen-mediated selection on the evolution of antiparasitic behavior in wild vertebrates. We report an adaptive functional relationship between parasitism and social behavior in mandrills, associated with evidence that they are able to gauge parasite status of their group members. Using long-term observations, controlled experiments, and chemical analyses, we show that (i) wild mandrills avoid grooming conspecifics infected with orofecally … Read the rest

Unraveling self-assembly pathways of the 468-kDa proteolytic machine TET2

The spontaneous formation of biological higher-order structures from smaller building blocks, called self-assembly, is a fundamental attribute of life. Although the protein self-assembly is a time-dependent process that occurs at the molecular level, its current understanding originates either from static structures of trapped intermediates or from modeling. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy has the unique ability to monitor structural changes in real time; however, its size limitation and time-resolution constraints remain a challenge when studying the self-assembly of large biological particles. We report the application of methyl-specific isotopic labeling combined with relaxation-optimized NMR spectroscopy to overcome both size- and time-scale limitations. We report for the first time the self-assembly process of a half-megadalton protein complex that was monitored at the structural level, including the characterization of … Read the rest

Toward garnet electrolyte-based Li metal batteries: An ultrathin, highly effective, artificial solid-state electrolyte/metallic Li interface

Solid-state batteries are a promising option toward high energy and power densities due to the use of lithium (Li) metal as an anode. Among all solid electrolyte materials ranging from sulfides to oxides and oxynitrides, cubic garnet–type Li7La3Zr2O12 (LLZO) ceramic electrolytes are superior candidates because of their high ionic conductivity (10–3 to 10–4 S/cm) and good stability against Li metal. However, garnet solid electrolytes generally have poor contact with Li metal, which causes high resistance and uneven current distribution at the interface. To address this challenge, we demonstrate a strategy to engineer the garnet solid electrolyte and the Li metal interface by forming an intermediary Li-metal alloy, which changes the wettability of the garnet surface (lithiophobic to … Read the rest

Role of damping in spin Seebeck effect in yttrium iron garnet thin films

The role of damping in the spin Seebeck effect (SSE) was studied experimentally for the first time. The experiments used Y3Fe5O12 (YIG)/Pt bilayered structures where the YIG films exhibit very similar structural and static magnetic properties but very different damping. The data show that a decrease in the damping gives rise to an increase in the SSE coefficient, which is qualitatively consistent with some of the theoretical models. This response also shows quasi-linear behavior, which was not predicted explicitly by previous studies. The data also indicate that the SSE coefficient shows no notable correlations with the enhanced damping due to spin pumping, which can be understood in the frame of two existing models.… Read the rest

Robust quantum optimizer with full connectivity

Quantum phenomena have the potential to speed up the solution of hard optimization problems. For example, quantum annealing, based on the quantum tunneling effect, has recently been shown to scale exponentially better with system size than classical simulated annealing. However, current realizations of quantum annealers with superconducting qubits face two major challenges. First, the connectivity between the qubits is limited, excluding many optimization problems from a direct implementation. Second, decoherence degrades the success probability of the optimization. We address both of these shortcomings and propose an architecture in which the qubits are robustly encoded in continuous variable degrees of freedom. By leveraging the phenomenon of flux quantization, all-to-all connectivity with sufficient tunability to implement many relevant optimization problems is obtained without overhead. Furthermore, we demonstrate the … Read the rest

Geochemical evidence for melange melting in global arcs

In subduction zones, sediments and hydrothermally altered oceanic crust, which together form part of the subducting slab, contribute to the chemical composition of lavas erupted at the surface to form volcanic arcs. Transport of this material from the slab to the overlying mantle wedge is thought to involve discreet melts and fluids that are released from various portions of the slab. We use a meta-analysis of geochemical data from eight globally representative arcs to show that melts and fluids from individual slab components cannot be responsible for the formation of arc lavas. Instead, the data are compatible with models that first invoke physical mixing of slab components and the mantle wedge, widely referred to as high-pressure mélange, before arc magmas are generated.… Read the rest

Nanoparticles that do not adhere to mucus provide uniform and long-lasting drug delivery to airways following inhalation

Mucoadhesive particles (MAP) have been widely explored for pulmonary drug delivery because of their perceived benefits in improving particle residence in the lungs. However, retention of particles adhesively trapped in airway mucus may be limited by physiologic mucus clearance mechanisms. In contrast, particles that avoid mucoadhesion and have diameters smaller than mucus mesh spacings rapidly penetrate mucus layers [mucus-penetrating particles (MPP)], which we hypothesized would provide prolonged lung retention compared to MAP. We compared in vivo behaviors of variously sized, polystyrene-based MAP and MPP in the lungs following inhalation. MAP, regardless of particle size, were aggregated and poorly distributed throughout the airways, leading to rapid clearance from the lungs. Conversely, MPP as large as 300 nm exhibited uniform distribution and markedly enhanced retention compared to size-matched … Read the rest

The economic value of grassland species for carbon storage

Carbon storage by ecosystems is valuable for climate protection. Biodiversity conservation may help increase carbon storage, but the value of this influence has been difficult to assess. We use plant, soil, and ecosystem carbon storage data from two grassland biodiversity experiments to show that greater species richness increases economic value: Increasing species richness from 1 to 10 had twice the economic value of increasing species richness from 1 to 2. The marginal value of each additional species declined as species accumulated, reflecting the nonlinear relationship between species richness and plant biomass production. Our demonstration of the economic value of biodiversity for enhancing carbon storage provides a foundation for assessing the value of biodiversity for decisions about land management. Combining carbon storage with other ecosystem services affected … Read the rest

The memory remains: Understanding collective memory in the digital age

Recently developed information communication technologies, particularly the Internet, have affected how we, both as individuals and as a society, create, store, and recall information. The Internet also provides us with a great opportunity to study memory using transactional large-scale data in a quantitative framework similar to the practice in natural sciences. We make use of online data by analyzing viewership statistics of Wikipedia articles on aircraft crashes. We study the relation between recent events and past events and particularly focus on understanding memory-triggering patterns. We devise a quantitative model that explains the flow of viewership from a current event to past events based on similarity in time, geography, topic, and the hyperlink structure of Wikipedia articles. We show that, on average, the secondary flow of attention … Read the rest

Design and function of biomimetic multilayer water purification membranes

Multilayer architectures in water purification membranes enable increased water throughput, high filter efficiency, and high molecular loading capacity. However, the preparation of membranes with well-organized multilayer structures, starting from the nanoscale to maximize filtration efficiency, remains a challenge. We report a complete strategy to fully realize a novel biomaterial-based multilayer nanoporous membrane via the integration of computational simulation and experimental fabrication. Our comparative computational simulations, based on coarse-grained models of protein nanofibrils and mineral plates, reveal that the multilayer structure can only form with weak interactions between nanofibrils and mineral plates. We demonstrate experimentally that silk nanofibril (SNF) and hydroxyapatite (HAP) can be used to fabricate highly ordered multilayer membranes with nanoporous features by combining protein self-assembly and in situ biomineralization. The production is optimized to … Read the rest

Fast-moving soft electronic fish

Soft robots driven by stimuli-responsive materials have unique advantages over conventional rigid robots, especially in their high adaptability for field exploration and seamless interaction with humans. The grand challenge lies in achieving self-powered soft robots with high mobility, environmental tolerance, and long endurance. We are able to advance a soft electronic fish with a fully integrated onboard system for power and remote control. Without any motor, the fish is driven solely by a soft electroactive structure made of dielectric elastomer and ionically conductive hydrogel. The electronic fish can swim at a speed of 6.4 cm/s (0.69 body length per second), which is much faster than previously reported untethered soft robotic fish driven by soft responsive materials. The fish shows consistent performance in a wide temperature range … Read the rest

Evolutionary dynamics of CRISPR gene drives

The alteration of wild populations has been discussed as a solution to a number of humanity’s most pressing ecological and public health concerns. Enabled by the recent revolution in genome editing, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) gene drives—selfish genetic elements that can spread through populations even if they confer no advantage to their host organism—are rapidly emerging as the most promising approach. However, before real-world applications are considered, it is imperative to develop a clear understanding of the outcomes of drive release in nature. Toward this aim, we mathematically study the evolutionary dynamics of CRISPR gene drives. We demonstrate that the emergence of drive-resistant alleles presents a major challenge to previously reported constructs, and we show that an alternative design that selects against resistant … Read the rest

Normal sleep requires the astrocyte brain-type fatty acid binding protein FABP7

Sleep is found widely in the animal kingdom. Despite this, few conserved molecular pathways that govern sleep across phyla have been described. The mammalian brain-type fatty acid binding protein (Fabp7) is expressed in astrocytes, and its mRNA oscillates in tandem with the sleep-wake cycle. However, the role of FABP7 in regulating sleep remains poorly understood. We found that the missense mutation FABP7.T61M is associated with fragmented sleep in humans. This phenotype was recapitulated in mice and fruitflies bearing similar mutations: Fabp7-deficient mice and transgenic flies that express the FABP7.T61M missense mutation in astrocytes also show fragmented sleep. These results provide novel evidence for a distinct molecular pathway linking lipid-signaling cascades within astrocytes in sleep regulation among phylogenetically disparate species.… Read the rest