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  1. Thermodynamics tells us to expect underwater contact between two hydrophobic surfaces to result in stronger adhesion compared to two hydrophilic surfaces. However, the presence of water changes not only energetics but also the dynamic process of reaching a final state, which couples solid deformation and liquid evacuation. These dynamics can create challenges for achieving strong underwater adhesion/friction, which affects diverse fields including soft robotics, biolocomotion, and tire traction. Closer investigation, requiring sufficiently precise resolution of film evacuation while simultaneously controlling surface wettability, has been lacking. We perform high-resolution in situ frustrated total internal reflection imaging to track underwater contact evolutionmore »between soft-elastic hemispheres of varying stiffness and smooth–hard surfaces of varying wettability. Surprisingly, we find the exponential rate of water evacuation from hydrophobic–hydrophobic (adhesive) contact is three orders of magnitude lower than that from hydrophobic–hydrophilic (nonadhesive) contact. The trend of decreasing rate with decreasing wettability of glass sharply changes about a point where thermodynamic adhesion crosses zero, suggesting a transition in mode of evacuation, which is illuminated by three-dimensional spatiotemporal height maps. Adhesive contact is characterized by the early localization of sealed puddles, whereas nonadhesive contact remains smooth, with film-wise evacuation from one central puddle. Measurements with a human thumb and alternatively hydrophobic/hydrophilic glass surface demonstrate practical consequences of the same dynamics: adhesive interactions cause instability in valleys and lead to a state of more trapped water and less intimate solid–solid contact. These findings offer interpretation of patterned texture seen in underwater biolocomotive adaptations as well as insight toward technological implementation.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  3. Abstract

    The neural circuitry mediating taste has been mapped out from the periphery to the cortex, but genetic identity of taste-responsive neurons has remained elusive. Here, we describe a population of neurons in the gustatory region of the parabrachial nucleus that express the transcription factor Satb2 and project to taste-associated regions, including the gustatory thalamus and insular cortex. Using calcium imaging in awake, freely licking mice, we show that Satb2 neurons respond to the five basic taste modalities. Optogenetic activation of these neurons enhances taste preferences, whereas chronic inactivation decreases the magnitude of taste preferences in both brief- and long-accessmore »taste tests. Simultaneous inactivation of Satb2 and calcitonin gene-related peptide neurons in the PBN abolishes responses to aversive tastes. These data suggest that taste information in the parabrachial nucleus is conveyed by multiple populations of neurons, including both Satb2 and calcitonin gene-related peptide neurons.

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