Biological physics

  • Article |

    A theoretical model, in vitro reconstitution and in vivo experimentation show that competition between droplet surface tension and membrane sheet instability dictates the form and function of autophagosomal membranes.

    • Jaime Agudo-Canalejo
    • , Sebastian W. Schultz
    •  & Roland L. Knorr
  • Article |

    The rate of scale regeneration in zebrafish is controlled by the frequency of rhythmic travelling waves of Erk activity, which are broadcast from a central source to induce ring-like patterns of osteoblast tissue growth.

    • Alessandro De Simone
    • , Maya N. Evanitsky
    •  & Stefano Di Talia
  • Article |

    Using high-resolution atomic force microscopy of live cells, the authors present an updated view of the cell walls of both Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis.

    • L. Pasquina-Lemonche
    • , J. Burns
    •  & J. K. Hobbs
  • Article |

    A theoretical framework describing the hydrodynamic interactions between a passive particle and an active medium in out-of-equilibrium systems predicts long-range Lévy flights for the diffusing particle driven by the density of the active component.

    • Kiyoshi Kanazawa
    • , Tomohiko G. Sano
    •  & Adrian Baule
  • Article |

    The transverse tarsal arch, acting through the inter-metatarsal tissues, is important for the longitudinal stiffness of the foot and its appearance is a key step in the evolution of human bipedalism.

    • Madhusudhan Venkadesan
    • , Ali Yawar
    •  & Shreyas Mandre
  • Article |

    In mixed bacterial populations that colonize nutrient patches, a growth–migration trade-off can lead to spatial exclusion that provides an advantage to populations that become rare, thereby stabilizing the community.

    • Sebastian Gude
    • , Erçağ Pinçe
    •  & Sander J. Tans
  • Letter |

    Ultra-fast hydrodynamic communication between cells emerges in colonies of Spirostomum ambiguum through the generation of long-ranged vortex flows that are sensed by neighbouring cells, leading to propagating trigger waves that coordinate the release of toxins.

    • Arnold J. T. M. Mathijssen
    • , Joshua Culver
    •  & Manu Prakash
  • Letter |

    Attractions between heterochromatic regions are essential for phase separation of the active and inactive genome in inverted and conventional nuclei, whereas chromatin–lamina interactions are necessary to build the conventional genomic architecture from these segregated phases.

    • Martin Falk
    • , Yana Feodorova
    •  & Leonid A. Mirny
  • Letter |

    In the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) and fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster), spatiotemporally coordinated integrin-dependent attachments between the blastoderm and vitelline envelope counteract tissue-intrinsic contractile forces to create asymmetric movements of embryonic tissue.

    • Stefan Münster
    • , Akanksha Jain
    •  & Pavel Tomancak
  • Article |

    A high-affinity complex of histone H1 and prothymosin-α reveals an unexpected interaction mechanism, where the large opposite net charge enables the two proteins to remain highly disordered even in the complex.

    • Alessandro Borgia
    • , Madeleine B. Borgia
    •  & Benjamin Schuler
  • Letter |

    Using optical mapping and 3D ultrasound, the dynamics and interactions between electrical and mechanical phase singularities were analysed by simultaneously measuring the membrane potential, intracellular calcium concentration and mechanical contractions of the heart during normal rhythm and fibrillation.

    • J. Christoph
    • , M. Chebbok
    •  & S. Luther
  • Letter |

    A picobalance consisting of an optically excited microcantilever has been developed and used to measure the masses of individual healthy and virus-infected cells at high temporal and mass resolutions in culture conditions.

    • David Martínez-Martín
    • , Gotthold Fläschner
    •  & Daniel J. Müller
  • Analysis |

    The large number of small, similarly sized proteins and the small number of heavy RNA molecules that make up a ribosome reduce the time required for reproduction.

    • Shlomi Reuveni
    • , Måns Ehrenberg
    •  & Johan Paulsson
  • Article |

    A mesoscopic cellular automaton arising from a microscopic reaction–diffusion system as a function of skin thickness is observed in ocellated lizards, showing that cellular automata are not merely abstract computational systems, but can directly correspond to processes generated by biological evolution.

    • Liana Manukyan
    • , Sophie A. Montandon
    •  & Michel C. Milinkovitch
  • Letter |

    Hsp70 binds unfolded protein segments in its groove, but can also bind and stabilize folded protein structures, owing to its moveable lid, with ATP hydrolysis and co-chaperones allowing control of these contrasting effects.

    • Alireza Mashaghi
    • , Sergey Bezrukavnikov
    •  & Sander J. Tans
  • Letter |

    Insects are captured by the carnivorous plant Nepenthes alata when they ‘aquaplane’ on the wet rim, or ‘peristome’, of the plant’s pitcher organ; here it is shown that unidirectional water flow is crucial to the complete wetting of the peristome, and that the underlying mechanism involves multiscale structural features.

    • Huawei Chen
    • , Pengfei Zhang
    •  & Lei Jiang
  • Letter |

    Crystal lattice disorder, which gives rise to a continuous diffraction pattern, is exploited to determine the structure of the integral membrane protein complex photosystem II to a higher resolution than could be achieved using Bragg diffraction alone.

    • Kartik Ayyer
    • , Oleksandr M. Yefanov
    •  & Henry N. Chapman
  • Letter |

    For the first time under reproducible and fully double-blinded conditions, it is shown that anthropogenic electromagnetic noise below the WHO limits affects a biological system: night-migrating birds lose the ability to use the Earth’s magnetic field for orientation when exposed to anthropogenic electromagnetic noise at strengths routinely produced by commonly used electronic devices.

    • Svenja Engels
    • , Nils-Lasse Schneider
    •  & Henrik Mouritsen
  • Letter |

    Here the Kramers diffusion coefficient and free-energy barrier are characterized for the first time through single-molecule fluorescence measurements of the temperature- and viscosity-dependence of the transition path time for protein folding.

    • Hoi Sung Chung
    •  & William A. Eaton
  • Letter |

    Humans are able to throw projectiles with high speed and accuracy largely as a result of anatomical features that enable elastic energy storage and release at the shoulder; features that first appear together approximately 2 million years ago in Homo erectus, possibly as a means to hunt.

    • Neil T. Roach
    • , Madhusudhan Venkadesan
    •  & Daniel E. Lieberman
  • Letter |

    Comparison of real lizards with a robotic version and a dinosaur model shows that lizards use their tails to control body pitch in aerial motion by means of transfer of angular momentum from the body to the tail.

    • Thomas Libby
    • , Talia Y. Moore
    •  & Robert J. Full