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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. Abstract Background

    Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) has become a widely used tool for both basic and translational biomedical research. In scRNA-seq data analysis, cell type annotation is an essential but challenging step. In the past few years, several annotation tools have been developed. These methods require either labeled training/reference datasets, which are not always available, or a list of predefined cell subset markers, which are subject to biases. Thus, a user-friendly and precise annotation tool is still critically needed.


    We curated a comprehensive cell marker database named scMayoMapDatabase and developed a companion R package scMayoMap, an easy-to-use single-cell annotation tool, to provide fast and accurate cell type annotation. The effectiveness of scMayoMap was demonstrated in 48 independent scRNA-seq datasets across different platforms and tissues. Additionally, the scMayoMapDatabase can be integrated with other tools and further improve their performance.


    scMayoMap and scMayoMapDatabase will help investigators to define the cell types in their scRNA-seq data in a streamlined and user-friendly way.

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  3. Abstract

    The Greater Antilles are renowned as a biodiversity hotspot and known to be geologically complex, which has led, in part, to the generation of organismal diversity in this area. One of the most species-rich montane groups within the Greater Antilles is the tribe Miconieae (Miconia s.l.) of the Melastomataceae, with ca. 325 species found there. The most diverse clade of Miconia in the Caribbean, the Caribbean clade, composes roughly half of that diversity, with an estimated 160 species, nearly all of which are endemic to the Greater Antilles. It is unclear how that diversity has been generated through time or where it originated, but we now have sufficiently well-sampled and robust datasets to test these patterns. Using a custom-built plastome dataset, we generated a robust phylogenetic hypothesis for 106 of the 160 Caribbean clade members and tested biogeographical patterns among the islands. Our results suggest that the Caribbean clade originated in the mid-Miocene, probably from a South American ancestor, and diversified substantially on the island of Cuba before repeatedly dispersing across other parts of the Greater Antilles, especially into nearby Hispaniola and then, to a lesser extent, into Jamaica, Puerto Rico and, finally, into the Lesser Antilles.

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  4. Abstract Background

    Plastid genomes (plastomes) have long been recognized as highly conserved in their overall structure, size, gene arrangement and content among land plants. However, recent studies have shown that some lineages present unusual variations in some of these features. Members of the cactus family are one of these lineages, with distinct plastome structures reported across disparate lineages, including gene losses, inversions, boundary movements or loss of the canonical inverted repeat (IR) region. However, only a small fraction of cactus diversity has been analysed so far.


    Here, we investigated plastome features of the tribe Opuntieae, the remarkable prickly pear cacti, which represent one of the most diverse and important lineages of Cactaceae. We assembled de novo the plastome of 43 species, representing a comprehensive sampling of the tribe, including all seven genera, and analysed their evolution in a phylogenetic comparative framework. Phylogenomic analyses with different datasets (full plastome sequences and genes only) were performed, followed by congruence analyses to assess signals underlying contentious nodes.

    Key Results

    Plastomes varied considerably in length, from 121 to 162 kbp, with striking differences in the content and size of the IR region (contraction and expansion events), including a lack of the canonical IR in some lineages and the pseudogenization or loss of some genes. Overall, nine different types of plastomes were reported, deviating in the presence of the IR region or the genes contained in the IR. Overall, plastome sequences resolved phylogenetic relationships within major clades of Opuntieae with high bootstrap values but presented some contentious nodes depending on the dataset analysed (e.g. whole plastome vs. genes only). Congruence analyses revealed that most plastidial regions lack phylogenetic resolution, while few markers are supporting the most likely topology. Likewise, alternative topologies are driven by a handful of plastome markers, suggesting recalcitrant nodes in the phylogeny.


    Our study reveals a dynamic nature of plastome evolution across closely related lineages, shedding light on peculiar features of plastomes. Variation of plastome types across Opuntieae is remarkable in size, structure and content and can be important for the recognition of species in some major clades. Unravelling connections between the causes of plastome variation and the consequences for species biology, physiology, ecology, diversification and adaptation is a promising and ambitious endeavour in cactus research. Although plastome data resolved major phylogenetic relationships, the generation of nuclear genomic data is necessary to confront these hypotheses and assess the recalcitrant nodes further.

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  5. Synopsis

    Flowers have evolved remarkable diversity in petal color, in large part due to pollinator-mediated selection. This diversity arises from specialized metabolic pathways that generate conspicuous pigments. Despite the clear link between flower color and floral pigment production, quantitative models inferring predictive relationships between pigmentation and reflectance spectra have not been reported. In this study, we analyze a dataset consisting of hundreds of natural Penstemon hybrids that exhibit variation in flower color, including blue, purple, pink, and red. For each individual hybrid, we measured anthocyanin pigment content and petal spectral reflectance. We found that floral pigment quantities are correlated with hue, chroma, and brightness as calculated from petal spectral reflectance data: hue is related to the relative amounts of delphinidin vs. pelargonidin pigmentation, whereas brightness and chroma are correlated with the total anthocyanin pigmentation. We used a partial least squares regression approach to identify predictive relationships between pigment production and petal reflectance. We find that pigment quantity data provide robust predictions of petal reflectance, confirming a pervasive assumption that differences in pigmentation should predictably influence flower color. Moreover, we find that reflectance data enables accurate inferences of pigment quantities, where the full reflectance spectra provide much more accurate inference of pigment quantities than spectral attributes (brightness, chroma, and hue). Our predictive framework provides readily interpretable model coefficients relating spectral attributes of petal reflectance to underlying pigment quantities. These relationships represent key links between genetic changes affecting anthocyanin production and the ecological functions of petal coloration.

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  6. Experimentally conducted reactions between CO 2 and various substrates ( i.e. , ethylenediamine (EDA), ethanolamine (ETA), ethylene glycol (EG), mercaptoethanol (ME), and ethylene dithiol (EDT)) are considered in a computational study. The reactions were previously conducted under harsh conditions utilizing toxic metal catalysts. We computationally utilize Brønsted acidic ionic liquid (IL) [Et 2 NH 2 ]HSO 4 as a catalyst aiming to investigate and propose ‘greener’ pathways for future experimental studies. Computations show that EDA is the best to fixate CO 2 among the tested substrates: the nucleophilic EDA attack on CO 2 is calculated to have a very small energy barrier to overcome (TS1EDA, Δ G ‡ = 1.4 kcal mol −1 ) and form I1EDA (carbamic acid adduct). The formed intermediate is converted to cyclic urea (PEDA, imidazolidin-2-one) via ring closure and dehydration of the concerted transition state (TS2EDA, Δ G ‡ = 32.8 kcal mol −1 ). Solvation model analysis demonstrates that nonpolar solvents (hexane, THF) are better for fixing CO 2 with EDA. Attaching electron-donating and -withdrawing groups to EDA does not reduce the energy barriers. Modifying the IL via changing the anion part (HSO 4 − ) central S atom with 6 A and 5 A group elements (Se, P, and As) shows that a Se-based IL can be utilized for the same purpose. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations reveal that the IL ion pairs can hold substrates and CO 2 molecules via noncovalent interactions to ease nucleophilic attack on CO 2 . 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 22, 2024
  7. Introduction

    Logging impacts millions of hectares of forests globally every year, and not only affects tree cover, but also disrupts below-ground soil communities that are essential for forest ecosystems. Soil fungi are particularly vulnerable to such disturbances due to their reliance upon plant hosts as their source of carbon. Fluctuations within the major guilds of fungi important for forest function can have ramifications for plant communities and biogeochemical processes. We addressed questions about soil fungal communities in temperate forest stands with varying logging histories: (1) Do assembly patterns of soil fungal communities and functional guilds reflect historical differences in logging legacies? (2) Does sequencing of below-ground communities of fungi resemble the composition of surveys of fungal fruiting bodies? (3) How do fungal communities in the litter layer differ from those in the soil and do these assembly patterns change with logging history?


    Our study took place in the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest in western Oregon, USA. We sampled soil and litter (Oi—Oe) in three sites with different logging histories: one clear cut in 1974, one selectively logged and thinned three times between 1974 and 2001, and one unlogged. We sequenced soil fungi separately for mineral soil samples and litter samples. Additionally, we compiled fruiting-body studies from 1972 through the present to compare with our eDNA samples.


    We found that four decades after logging had ceased there were detectable signatures within the soil fungal communities that distinguished logged from unlogged sites, indicating a legacy that affects many generations of fungi (PERMANOVA;p< 0.001 for both soil and litter fungi). There were also significant differences between litter and mineral soil communities (PERMANOVA;p< 0.001) with higher relative abundances of pathogens within the litter layer and a greater proportion of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil.


    These results highlight the importance of including forest litter in studies, as entire guilds of fungi can be underestimated when considering a single fraction. Together, these results have repercussions for the regeneration of forests following logging, as the composition of fungal guilds important to plant functions do not fully recover even after decades of cessation.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 9, 2024
  8. Abstract

    Our continuous visual experience in daily life is dominated by change. Previous research has focused on visual change due to stimulus motion, eye movements or unfolding events, but not their combined impact across the brain, or their interactions with semantic novelty. We investigate the neural responses to these sources of novelty during film viewing. We analyzed intracranial recordings in humans across 6328 electrodes from 23 individuals. Responses associated with saccades and film cuts were dominant across the entire brain. Film cuts at semantic event boundaries were particularly effective in the temporal and medial temporal lobe. Saccades to visual targets with high visual novelty were also associated with strong neural responses. Specific locations in higher-order association areas showed selectivity to either high or low-novelty saccades. We conclude that neural activity associated with film cuts and eye movements is widespread across the brain and is modulated by semantic novelty.

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  9. Miconia tetrandra, a morphologically distinctive species restricted to the Caribbean region, is provided with an updated assessment of its phylogenetic position and taxonomy. A detailed description and nomenclatural treatment are provided, along with a consideration of phenology, distribution and habitat, and citation of specimens examined. The species is a member of the Caribbean clade, and it is unusual within Miconia in having flowers with only four stamens (alternating with the petals), with short, obovate, yellow anthers that each open by two large pores. Miconia tetrandra is morphologically quite divergent from, but is likely related to, a clade comprised by M. angustifolia, M. urbanii, and M. biflora, and these three species traditionally have been included within the genus Tetrazygia. In contrast, M. tetrandra usually has been placed within Miconia. 
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  10. Abstract

    Compartments are a fundamental feature of life, based variously on lipid membranes, protein shells, or biopolymer phase separation. Here, this combines self‐assembling bacterial microcompartment (BMC) shell proteins and liquid‐liquid phase separation (LLPS) to develop new forms of compartmentalization. It is found that BMC shell proteins assemble at the liquid‐liquid interfaces between either 1) the dextran‐rich droplets and PEG‐rich continuous phase of a poly(ethyleneglycol)(PEG)/dextran aqueous two‐phase system, or 2) the polypeptide‐rich coacervate droplets and continuous dilute phase of a polylysine/polyaspartate complex coacervate system. Interfacial protein assemblies in the coacervate system are sensitive to the ratio of cationic to anionic polypeptides, consistent with electrostatically‐driven assembly. In both systems, interfacial protein assembly competes with aggregation, with protein concentration and polycation availability impacting coating. These two LLPS systems are then combined to form a three‐phase system wherein coacervate droplets are contained within dextran‐rich phase droplets. Interfacial localization of BMC hexameric shell proteins is tunable in a three‐phase system by changing the polyelectrolyte charge ratio. The tens‐of‐micron scale BMC shell protein‐coated droplets introduced here can accommodate bioactive cargo such as enzymes or RNA and represent a new synthetic cell strategy for organizing biomimetic functionality.

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