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  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract State-of-the-Art models of Root System Architecture (RSA) do not allow simulating root growth around rigid obstacles. Yet, the presence of obstacles can be highly disruptive to the root system. We grew wheat seedlings in sealed petri dishes without obstacle and in custom 3D-printed rhizoboxes containing obstacles. Time-lapse photography was used to reconstruct the wheat root morphology network. We used the reconstructed wheat root network without obstacle to calibrate an RSA model implemented in the R-SWMS software. The root network with obstacles allowed calibrating the parameters of a new function that models the influence of rigid obstacles on wheat root growth. Experimental results show that the presence of a rigid obstacle does not affect the growth rate of the wheat root axes, but that it does influence the root trajectory after the main axis has passed the obstacle. The growth recovery time, i.e. the time for the main root axis to recover its geotropism-driven growth, is proportional to the time during which the main axis grows along the obstacle. Qualitative and quantitative comparisons between experimental and numerical results show that the proposed model successfully simulates wheat RSA growth around obstacles. Our results suggest that wheat roots follow patterns that could inspire the design of adaptive engineering flow networks. 
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  2. Abstract

    DNA binding proteins, supercoiling, macromolecular crowders, and transient DNA attachments to the cell membrane have all been implicated in the organization of the bacterial chromosome. However, it is unclear what role these factors play in compacting the bacterial DNA into a distinct organelle‐like entity, the nucleoid. By analyzing the effects of osmotic shock and mechanical squeezing onEscherichia coli, we show that macromolecular crowders play a dominant role in the compaction of the DNA into the nucleoid. We find that a 30% increase in the crowder concentration from physiological levels leads to a three‐fold decrease in the nucleoid's volume. The compaction is anisotropic, being higher along the long axes of the cell at low crowding levels. At higher crowding levels, the nucleoid becomes spherical, and its compressibility decreases significantly. Furthermore, we find that the compressibility of the nucleoid is not significantly affected by cell growth rates and by prior treatment with rifampicin. The latter results point out that in addition to poly ribosomes, soluble cytoplasmic proteins have a significant contribution in determining the size of the nucleoid. The contribution of poly ribosomes dominates at faster and soluble proteins at slower growth rates.

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