New discoveries to be revealed in eLife next week

Inside eLife
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By Randy Schekman -

Last Thursday (, we announced that theeLifejournal website is set for launch next week. Today, we’re pleased to share with you a few details on the exciting studies that we’ll be publishing.

These papers, along with those we have released prior to the launch of the journal site (, point to the breadth ofeLife’s scope and the quality of the science we will continue to publish. Do keep us in mind for your next very best work.

If you have any questions about the launch or anyeLifepapers, please contact Jennifer McLennan ( To be alerted when theeLifejournal site goes online, sign up (



Launching eLife, Part 2

Randy Schekman, Fiona Watt, Detlef Weigel

With a commitment to open access and innovation in peer review,eLifeaims to publish important results in the life and biomedical sciences in a flexible digital format that allows authors to present their work in full, including the key data on which the conclusions are based.

Research Articles

Global divergence in critical income for adult and childhood survival: analyses of mortality using Michaelis–Menten

Ryan J Hum, Prabhat Jha, Anita M McGahan, Yu-Ling Cheng

A mathematical model based on enzyme kinetics shows how the relationships between life expectancy, survival rates for children and adults, and national income change over time.

Related Insight article:“Enzymes provide demographers with food for thought” by Mark Jit and Patrick Gerland

RecA filament sliding on DNA facilitates homology search

Kaushik Ragunathan, Cheng Liu, Taekjip Ha

A DNA-protein complex can find target sequences of bases in another DNA molecule by sliding along it.

Related Insight article:“Sliding to the rescue of damaged DNA” by Bryan Gibb and Eric C Greene

The activity-dependent histone variant H2BE modulates the life span of olfactory neurons

Stephen W Santoro, Catherine Dulac

A genome-organizing protein that is present only in the olfactory system of mice has been found to orchestrate changes in the relative numbers of different odor-sensing neurons on the basis of how active these neurons are.

Related Insight article:“How keeping active pays off in the olfactory system” by Kevin Monahan, Stavros Lomvardas

Chromatin is an ancient innovation conserved between Archaea and Eukarya

Ron Ammar, Dax Torti, Kyle Tsui, Marinella Gebbia, Tanja Durbic, Gary D Bader, Guri Giaever, Corey Nislow

Similarities in the way that nucleosomes are organized into chromatin in archaea and eukaryotes suggest that chromatin might have been involved in gene regulation before its role in DNA packaging evolved.

Synaptic proteins promote calcium-triggered fast transition from point contact to full fusion

Jiajie Diao, Patricia Grob, Daniel J Cipriano, Minjoung Kyoung, Yunxiang Zhang, Sachi Shah, Amie Nguyen, Mark Padolina, Ankita Srivastava, Marija Vrljic, Ankita Shah, Eva Nogales, Steven Chu, Axel T Brunger

A combination of advanced optical imaging and cryogenic electron microscopy has been used to explore membrane fusion in a synthetic system and provide new insights into neurotransmitter release.

Elba, a novel developmentally regulated chromatin boundary factor is a hetero-tripartite DNA binding complex

Tsutomu Aoki, Ali Sarkeshik, John Yates, Paul Schedl

A chromatin boundary factor that is only active during early embryo development has been discovered inDrosophila.

Distinct gating mechanisms revealed by the structures of a multi-ligand gated K+ channel

Chunguang Kong, Weizhong Zeng, Sheng Ye, Liping Chen, David Bryant Sauer, Yeeling Lam, Mehabaw Getahun Derebe, Youxing Jiang

Structural and functional studies of a potassium ion channel that is opened and closed by different ligands have revealed a novel gating mechanism.


Book review

Bad medicine

Richard Smith

In his new book Ben Goldacre argues that the pharmaceutical industry is in poor health and in urgent need of treatment. Richard Smith agrees.

Living Science

A good life

Eve Marder

Following a career in science involves long hours and hard work, but as Eve Marder explains in the first of a series of columns, it can also be extremely rewarding.