An organised spindle is crucial to the fidelity of chromosome segregation, but the relationship between spindle structure and function is not well understood in any cell type. The anaphase B spindle in fission yeast has a slender morphology and must elongate against compressive forces. This 'pushing' mode of chromosome transport renders the spindle susceptible to breakage, as observed in cells with a variety of defects. Here we perform electron tomographic analyses of the spindle, which suggest that it organises a limited supply of structural components to increase its compressive strength. Structural integrity is maintained throughout the spindle's four-fold elongation by organising microtubules into a rigid transverse array, preserving correct microtubule number and dynamically rescaling microtubule length.
- Frank Jülicher, Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Germany
© 2014, Ward et al.
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Many animals moving through fluids exhibit highly coordinated group movement that is thought to reduce the cost of locomotion. However, direct energetic measurements demonstrating the energy-saving benefits of fluid-mediated collective movements remain elusive. By characterizing both aerobic and anaerobic metabolic energy contributions in schools of giant danio (Devario aequipinnatus), we discovered that fish schools have a concave upward shaped metabolism–speed curve, with a minimum metabolic cost at ~1 body length s-1. We demonstrate that fish schools reduce total energy expenditure (TEE) per tail beat by up to 56% compared to solitary fish. When reaching their maximum sustained swimming speed, fish swimming in schools had a 44% higher maximum aerobic performance and used 65% less non-aerobic energy compared to solitary individuals, which lowered the TEE and total cost of transport by up to 53%, near the lowest recorded for any aquatic organism. Fish in schools also recovered from exercise 43% faster than solitary fish. The non-aerobic energetic savings that occur when fish in schools actively swim at high speed can considerably improve both peak and repeated performance which is likely to be beneficial for evading predators. These energetic savings may underlie the prevalence of coordinated group locomotion in fishes.
The adaptive dynamics of evolving microbial populations takes place on a complex fitness landscape generated by epistatic interactions. The population generically consists of multiple competing strains, a phenomenon known as clonal interference. Microscopic epistasis and clonal interference are central aspects of evolution in microbes, but their combined effects on the functional form of the population’s mean fitness are poorly understood. Here, we develop a computational method that resolves the full microscopic complexity of a simulated evolving population subject to a standard serial dilution protocol. Through extensive numerical experimentation, we find that stronger microscopic epistasis gives rise to fitness trajectories with slower growth independent of the number of competing strains, which we quantify with power-law fits and understand mechanistically via a random walk model that neglects dynamical correlations between genes. We show that increasing the level of clonal interference leads to fitness trajectories with faster growth (in functional form) without microscopic epistasis, but leaves the rate of growth invariant when epistasis is sufficiently strong, indicating that the role of clonal interference depends intimately on the underlying fitness landscape. The simulation package for this work may be found at https://github.com/nmboffi/spin_glass_evodyn.