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  1. Abstract

    Alternative splicing (AS) significantly enriches the diversity of transcriptomes and proteomes, playing a pivotal role in the physiology and development of eukaryotic organisms. With the continuous advancement of high-throughput sequencing technologies, an increasing number of novel transcript isoforms, along with factors related to splicing and their associated functions, are being unveiled. In this review, we succinctly summarize and compare the different splicing mechanisms across prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Furthermore, we provide an extensive overview of the recent progress in various studies on AS covering different developmental stages in diverse plant species and in response to various abiotic stresses. Additionally, we discuss modern techniques for studying the functions and quantification of AS transcripts, as well as their protein products. By integrating genetic studies, quantitative methods, and high-throughput omics techniques, we can discover novel transcript isoforms and functional splicing factors, thereby enhancing our understanding of the roles of various splicing modes in different plant species.

     
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  2. Abstract Background

    Morphological properties of tissues and organs rely on cell growth. The growth of plant cells is determined by properties of a tough outer cell wall that deforms anisotropically in response to high turgor pressure. Cortical microtubules bias the mechanical anisotropy of a cell wall by affecting the trajectories of cellulose synthases in the wall that polymerize cellulose microfibrils. The microtubule cytoskeleton is often oriented in one direction at cellular length-scales to regulate growth direction, but the means by which cellular-scale microtubule patterns emerge has not been well understood. Correlations between the microtubule orientation and tensile forces in the cell wall have often been observed. However, the plausibility of stress as a determining factor for microtubule patterning has not been directly evaluated to date.

    Results

    Here, we simulated how different attributes of tensile forces in the cell wall can orient and pattern the microtubule array in the cortex. We implemented a discrete model with transient microtubule behaviors influenced by local mechanical stress in order to probe the mechanisms of stress-dependent patterning. Specifically, we varied the sensitivity of four types of dynamic behaviors observed on the plus end of microtubules – growth, shrinkage, catastrophe, and rescue – to local stress. Then, we evaluated the extent and rate of microtubule alignments in a two-dimensional computational domain that reflects the structural organization of the cortical array in plant cells.

    Conclusion

    Our modeling approaches reproduced microtubule patterns observed in simple cell types and demonstrated that a spatial variation in the magnitude and anisotropy of stress can mediate mechanical feedback between the wall and of the cortical microtubule array.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  3. Space weather, including solar storms, can impact Earth by disturbing the geomagnetic field. Despite the known dependence of birds and other animals on geomagnetic cues for successful seasonal migrations, the potential effects of space weather on organisms that use Earth’s magnetic field for navigation have received little study. We tested whether space weather geomagnetic disturbances are associated with disruptions to bird migration at a macroecological scale. We leveraged long-term radar data to characterize the nightly migration dynamics of the nocturnally migrating North American avifauna over 22 y. We then used concurrent magnetometer data to develop a local magnetic disturbance index associated with each radar station (ΔBmax), facilitating spatiotemporally explicit analyses of the relationship between migration and geomagnetic disturbance. After controlling for effects of atmospheric weather and spatiotemporal patterns, we found a 9 to 17% decrease in migration intensity in both spring and fall during severe space weather events. During fall migration, we also found evidence for decreases in effort flying against the wind, which may represent a depression of active navigation such that birds drift more with the wind during geomagnetic disturbances. Effort flying against the wind in the fall was most reduced under both overcast conditions and high geomagnetic disturbance, suggesting that a combination of obscured celestial cues and magnetic disturbance may disrupt navigation. Collectively, our results provide evidence for community-wide avifaunal responses to geomagnetic disturbances driven by space weather during nocturnal migration.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 17, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  5. The tidal waves of modern electronic/electrical devices have led to increasing demands for ubiquitous application-specific power converters. A conventional manual design procedure of such power converters is computation- and labor-intensive, which involves selecting and connecting component devices, tuning component-wise parameters and control schemes, and iteratively evaluating and optimizing the design. To automate and speed up this design process, we propose an automatic framework that designs custom power converters from design specifications using Monte Carlo Tree Search. Specifically, the framework embraces the upper-confidence-bound-tree (UCT), a variant of Monte Carlo Tree Search, to automate topology space exploration with circuit design specification-encoded reward signals. Moreover, our UCT-based approach can exploit small offline data via the specially designed default policy and can run in parallel to accelerate topology space exploration. Further, it utilizes a hybrid circuit evaluation strategy to substantially reduce design evaluation costs. Empirically, we demonstrated that our framework could generate energy-efficient circuit topologies for various target voltage conversion ratios. Compared to existing automatic topology optimization strategies, the proposed method is much more computationally efficient—the sequential version can generate topologies with the same quality while being up to 67% faster. The parallelization schemes can further achieve high speedups compared to the sequential version. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 31, 2024
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 13, 2024