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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  2. Abstract Motivation

    Interactions among microbes within microbial communities have been shown to play crucial roles in human health. In spite of recent progress, low-level knowledge of bacteria driving microbial interactions within microbiomes remains unknown, limiting our ability to fully decipher and control microbial communities.


    We present a novel approach for identifying species driving interactions within microbiomes. Bakdrive infers ecological networks of given metagenomic sequencing samples and identifies minimum sets of driver species (MDS) using control theory. Bakdrive has three key innovations in this space: (i) it leverages inherent information from metagenomic sequencing samples to identify driver species, (ii) it explicitly takes host-specific variation into consideration, and (iii) it does not require a known ecological network. In extensive simulated data, we demonstrate identifying driver species identified from healthy donor samples and introducing them to the disease samples, we can restore the gut microbiome in recurrent Clostridioides difficile (rCDI) infection patients to a healthy state. We also applied Bakdrive to two real datasets, rCDI and Crohn's disease patients, uncovering driver species consistent with previous work. Bakdrive represents a novel approach for capturing microbial interactions.

    Availability and implementation

    Bakdrive is open-source and available at:

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  3. Abstract Species is the fundamental unit to quantify biodiversity. In recent years, the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has seen an increased number of studies related to its geographical distribution, population structure, and phenotypic diversity. However, seven additional species from the same genus have been less thoroughly studied, which has limited our understanding of the macroevolutionary events leading to the diversification of this genus over the last 20 million years. Here, we show the geographies, hosts, substrates, and phylogenetic relationships for approximately 1,800 Saccharomyces strains, covering the complete genus with unprecedented breadth and depth. We generated and analyzed complete genome sequences of 163 strains and phenotyped 128 phylogenetically diverse strains. This dataset provides insights about genetic and phenotypic diversity within and between species and populations, quantifies reticulation and incomplete lineage sorting, and demonstrates how gene flow and selection have affected traits, such as galactose metabolism. These findings elevate the genus Saccharomyces as a model to understand biodiversity and evolution in microbial eukaryotes. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  6. Using EEG and local field potentials (LFPs) as an index of large-scale neural activities, research has been able to associate neural oscillations in different frequency bands with markers of cognitive functions, goal-directed behavior, and various neurological disorders. While this gives us a glimpse into how neurons communicate throughout the brain, the causality of these synchronized network activities remains poorly understood. Moreover, the effect of the major neuromodulatory systems (e.g., noradrenergic, cholinergic, and dopaminergic) on brain oscillations has drawn much attention. More recent studies have suggested that cross-frequency coupling (CFC) is heavily responsible for mediating network-wide communication across subcortical and cortical brain structures, implicating the importance of neurotransmitters in shaping coordinated actions. By bringing to light the role each neuromodulatory system plays in regulating brain-wide neural oscillations, we hope to paint a clearer picture of the pivotal role neural oscillations play in a variety of cognitive functions and neurological disorders, and how neuromodulation techniques can be optimized as a means of controlling neural network dynamics. The aim of this review is to showcase the important role that neuromodulatory systems play in large-scale neural network dynamics, informing future studies to pay close attention to their involvement in specific features of neural oscillations and associated behaviors. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  7. Colloidal Ag particles decorated with Fe 3 O 4 islands can be electrochemically or photochemically activated as inverse catalysts for C(sp 2 )–H heteroarylation. The silver–iron oxide (SIO) particles are reduced into redox-active forms by cathodic charging at mild potentials or by short-term light exposure, and can be reused multiple times by magnetic cycling without further activation. A negative shift in the reduction peak is attributed to an overpotential produced by surface Fe 3 O 4 which separates residual Ag ions or clusters from bulk silver. The catalytic efficiency of SIO is maintained even with acid degradation, which can be countered simply by adding water to the reaction medium. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 9, 2024
  8. Proteolysis is essential for the control of metabolic pathways and the cell cycle. Bacterial caseinolytic proteases (Clp) use peptidase components, such as ClpP, to degrade defective substrate proteins and to regulate cellular levels of stress-response proteins. To ensure selective degradation, access to the proteolytic chamber of the double–ring ClpP tetradecamer is controlled by a critical gating mechanism of the two axial pores. The binding of conserved loops of the Clp ATPase component of the protease or small molecules, such as acyldepsipeptide (ADEP), at peripheral ClpP ring sites, triggers axial pore opening through dramatic conformational transitions of flexible N-terminal loops between disordered conformations in the “closed” pore state and ordered hairpins in the “open” pore state. In this study, we probe the allosteric communication underlying these conformational changes by comparing residue–residue couplings in molecular dynamics simulations of each configuration. Both principal component and normal mode analyses highlight large-scale conformational changes in the N-terminal loop regions and smaller amplitude motions of the peptidase core. Community network analysis reveals a switch between intra- and inter-protomer coupling in the open–closed pore transition. Allosteric pathways that connect the ADEP binding sites to N-terminal loops are rewired in this transition, with shorter network paths in the open pore configuration supporting stronger intra- and inter-ring coupling. Structural perturbations, either through the removal of ADEP molecules or point mutations, alter the allosteric network to weaken the coupling. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 28, 2024
  9. Abstract The rapid rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine raises the question of whether and when the ongoing pandemic could be eliminated with vaccination and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Despite advances in the impact of NPIs and the conceptual belief that NPIs and vaccination control COVID-19 infections, we lack evidence to employ control theory in real-world social human dynamics in the context of disease spreading. We bridge the gap by developing a new analytical framework that treats COVID-19 as a feedback control system with the NPIs and vaccination as the controllers and a computational model that maps human social behaviors into input signals. This approach enables us to effectively predict the epidemic spreading in 381 Metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the US by learning our model parameters utilizing the time series NPIs (i.e., the stay-at-home order, face-mask wearing, and testing) data. This model allows us to optimally identify three NPIs to predict infections accurately in 381 MSAs and avoid over-fitting. Our numerical results demonstrate our approach’s excellent predictive power with R 2  > 0.9 for all the MSAs regardless of their sizes, locations, and demographic status. Our methodology allows us to estimate the needed vaccine coverage and NPIs for achieving R e to a manageable level and how the variants of concern diminish the likelihood for disease elimination at each location. Our analytical results provide insights into the debates surrounding the elimination of COVID-19. NPIs, if tailored to the MSAs, can drive the pandemic to an easily containable level and suppress future recurrences of epidemic cycles. 
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  10. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024