Zinc spark shows sperm the chequered flag

Researchers shed light on new explanation for how mammalian zygotes safeguard their survival

Bursts of zinc released within minutes of fertilisation stop reproductive chaos by preventing multiple sperm from binding to eggs, new research shows. 

A team led by Teresa Woodruff and Thomas O’Halloran at Northwestern University, US, first witnessed the almost immediate efflux of billions of zinc ions upon mammalian egg fertilisation with x-ray fluorescence microscopy in 2010. These zinc sparks look like supernovae, according to O’Halloran. Diffusing away from the cell’s membrane, the zinc ions encounter the zona pellucida, a glycoprotein matrix surrounding the egg. Now the team has revealed that zinc retained by the zona pellucida induces changes that harden its protein structure within 30–60 minutes of fertilisation, making it more resistant to sperm binding.

Read the full article in Chemistry World.


Zinc sparks induce physiochemical changes in the egg zona pellucida that prevent polyspermy

Emily L. Que, Francesca E. Duncan, Amanda R. Bayer, Steven J. Philips, Eric W. Roth, Reiner Bleher, Sophie C. Gleber, Stefan Vogt, Teresa K. Woodruff and Thomas V. O’Halloran

DOI: 10.1039/c6ib00212a

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Biophysical Society: 61st Annual Meeting

The Biophysical Societies 61st Annual Meeting will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana on 11th to 15th February this year. The conference aims to bring together scientists working “at the interface of the life, physical, and computational sciences”. The 5 day event includes “Saturday Subgroup” symposia, allowing attendees to meet within their specific scientific communities.

We are delighted to announce that Integrative Biology will be sponsoring the Mechanobiology symposium! The session is chaired by Ewa Paluch from the University of London and includes talks by Ana J. García-Sáez (University of Tuebingen), Nikita Fakhri (MIT) and Kevin J Chalut (University of Cambridge). For more details on the program and to register to attend, visit the conference webpage.

Integrative Biology publishes innovative work in which new biological insights have been achieved through the use of developing technologies from the nano to macroscale. It is a home for all areas of mechanobiology, from molecular to organ scale, experimental, theoretical and computational analysis. If you are working in this area, then we would be delighted if you would consider publishing your work with us!

Interested in Mechanobiology, but can’t make this meeting? Why not read Integrative Biology’s recent themed issue on topic here –  http://rsc.li/1jsLAGD 

 

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What are your colleagues reading in Integrative Biology?

The articles below are some of the most read Integrative Biology articles in 2016. You can view the full collection of our top 10 downloaded articles here.

Mimicking the topography of the epidermal–dermal interface with elastomer substrates
Priyalakshmi Viswanathan, Murat Guvendiren, Wesley Chua, Stephanie B. Telerman, Kifayathullah Liakath-Ali, Jason A. Burdick and Fiona M. Watt

 

Genetically modified bacteriophages
Antonia P. Sagona, Aurelija M. Grigonyte, Paul R. MacDonald and Alfonso Jaramillo

 

Time series modeling of live-cell shape dynamics for image-based phenotypic profiling
Simon Gordonov, Mun Kyung Hwang, Alan Wells, Frank B. Gertler, Douglas A. Lauffenburger and Mark Bathe

 

The appeasement of Doug: a synthetic approach to enhancer biology
Ben J. Vincent, Javier Estrada and Angela H. DePace

 

Mechanical phenotyping of primary human skeletal stem cells in heterogeneous populations by real-time deformability cytometry
Miguel Xavier, Philipp Rosendahl, Maik Herbig, Martin Kräter, Daniel Spencer, Martin Bornhäuser, Richard O. C. Oreffo, Hywel Morgan, Jochen Guck and Oliver Otto

 

Keep up-to-date with the latest issues of Integrative Biology by joining our e-alerts.

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CellMatrix poster prize winners

The CellMatrix poster prize winners: Lakshmi Kavitha Sthanam (left) and Asja Guzman (right)

Many congratulations to Lakshmi Kavitha Sthanam (IIT Bombay) and Asja Guzman (Columbia University) on winning the poster prizes at the International Conference on New Advances in Probing Cell-Extracellular Matrix Interactions (CellMatrix). Integrative Biology was the proud sponsor of these poster prizes and the winners received book vouchers and Royal Society of Chemistry certificates.

This meeting took place in Berlin, Germany from 20th to the 21st October, and it highlighted the application of novel experimental tools and technologies for probing cell-extracellular matrix interactions. Sessions covered a wide range of topics including mechanobiology and methods for cell-extracellular matrix visualisation. Please visit the conference website for more details on the themes and speakers.

 

Many congratulations on this achievement from the Integrative Biology team!

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Symposium Latsis EPFL 2016: Multicellular organisms in microfluidic systems

The Symposium Latsis EPFL 2016 “Multicellular organisms in microfluidic systems” was held from 14 November 2016 to 16 November 2016 at the EPFL campus in Lausanne (Switzerland). The event was co-organised by Prof. Johan Auwerx andLab on a Chip Advisory Board member Prof. Martin Gijs.

PhD student Li Dong was presented the Poster Award

Studies of living organisms like nematodes and invertebrate embryos in controlled spatio-temporal chemical environments on microfluidic chips are gaining momentum, as these animals offer genetic amenability, low-cost, and culture conditions that are compatible with large-scale screens, while not raising ethical issues. The Latsis Symposium wanted to bridge the gap between microfluidic systems and biological model organism research, by providing an interdisciplinary forum on the technology and applications of microfluidic systems for studies of multicellular organisms in medicine and biology.

Topics covered in each of the sessions were:

  • Phenotyping
  • Imaging Techniques
  • High-throughput techniques
  • Neurobiology
  • Physiology and Development Studies


Among the speakers presenting at the symposium was Prof. Hang Lu (School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia, USA), Lab on a Chip Advisory Board member, who spoke on “Deep Phenotyping Enabled by Microfluidics and High-Throughput Quantitative Microscopy”.

Li Dong's winning poster on "On-chip biocommunication through exchange of compounds secreted by male C. elegans nematodes"

A distinction for the best contributed poster of the Symposium was given to Ph.D. student Li Dong of the Laboratory of Microsystems of EPFL. He received an electronic subscription to the RSC journals Lab on a Chip and Integrative Biology.

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Major society chemistry publishers jointly commit to integration with ORCID

ORCID provides an identifier for individuals to use with their name as they engage in research, scholarship and innovation activities, ensuring authors gain full credit for their work.

Today, we signed their open letter, along with ACS Publications, committing to unambiguous identification of all authors that publish in our journals.

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The Royal Society of Chemistry and the Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) today each became signatories to the ORCID Open Letter, reasserting the commitment of both organizations to enhancing the scholarly publishing experience for researchers worldwide who are involved in chemistry and allied fields.

The commitment by these two global chemistry publishers to undertake new workflow integration with technology infrastructure provided by ORCID, a not-for-profit organization that provides unique identifiers for researchers and scholars, will enable both societies to provide unambiguous designation of author names within chemistry and across the broader sciences. This partnership with ORCID will resolve ambiguity in researcher identification caused by name changes, cultural differences in name presentation, and the inconsistent use of name abbreviations that is too often a source of confusion for those who must rely on the published scientific record.

By becoming signatories to the ORCID Open Letter, these two major chemical societies are voicing their intent to collect ORCID iDs for all submitting authors through use of the ORCID API, and to display such identifiers in the articles published in their respective society journals. The integration of such activities within the publishers’ workflows means authors will benefit from automated linkages between their ORCID record and unique identifiers embedded within their published research articles, ensuring their contributions are appropriately recognized and credited.

During the publishing process, ACS and the Royal Society of Chemistry will automatically deposit publications to Crossref, which in turn will coordinate with ORCID to link and update the publishing activity populated to authors’ respective ORCID profiles, thus attributing each published work to the correct researcher. Existing holders of an ORCID iD will encounter a one-time prompt to grant permission for the linkage. If authors do not have an ORCID iD, they can easily enroll without navigating away from the publishers’ manuscript submission site. If users wish to revoke integrated ORCID profile access at any time, they can elect to do so through their ACS, Royal Society of Chemistry or ORCID accounts.

Both ACS Publications and the Royal Society of Chemistry understand the importance of attributing accurately the scholarly contributions of research scientists in the context of their other professional activities. “ACS has supported ORCID since the outset of the initiative,” says Sarah Tegen, Ph.D., Vice President of Global Editorial & Author Services at ACS Publications. “We are pleased now to align with the Royal Society of Chemistry in this endeavor, as both societies underscore our willingness not only to encourage and assist our respective authors in establishing their unique ORCID profiles, but also to help tackle the broader challenge of researcher name disambiguation in the scholarly literature. With the integration of author ORCID iDs in our publishing workflows, we will ensure that researchers receive proper credit for their accomplishments.”

Emma Wilson, Ph.D., Director of Publishing at the Royal Society of Chemistry adds, “We have been a supporter of ORCID since 2013, recognizing the benefits it brings to researchers; ORCID can and will make a huge difference to our authors’ ability to gain full credit for their work. ORCID will also help researchers meet the requirements of their research funders — for example, a number of funders have already announced that all grant applicants must now include a researcher’s ORCID iD. A unified system that integrates and links research-related information with accurate and timely linkage to the publishing output of authors has the potential to simplify and speed up their grant applications — something we know is important to researchers.”

“The ACS and the Royal Society of Chemistry have been long-standing supporters of ORCID,” says Laurel Haak, Ph.D., Executive Director, ORCID. “We are pleased to see ORCID integration into ACS and Royal Society of Chemistry Publications systems. This will be a substantial benefit to researchers in the chemistry community, both in improving search and discovery of research articles, and for attribution and recognition of researchers’ contributions to the discipline.”

About the American Chemical Society and ACS Publications

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

ACS Publications, a division of the American Chemical Society, is a nonprofit scholarly publisher of 50 peer-reviewed journals and a range of eBooks at the interface of chemistry and allied sciences, including physics and biology. ACS Publications journals are among the most-cited, most-trusted and most-read within the scientific literature. Respected for their editorial rigor, ACS journals offer high-quality service to authors and readers, including rapid time to publication, a range of channels for researchers to access ACS Publications’ award-winning web and mobile delivery platforms, and a comprehensive program of open access publishing options for authors and their funders. ACS Publications also publishes Chemical & Engineering News — the Society’s newsmagazine covering science and technology, business and industry, government and policy, education and employment aspects of the chemistry field.

About the Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry is the world’s leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences. With over 50,000 members and a knowledge business that spans the globe, we are the U.K.’s professional body for chemical scientists; a not-for-profit organisation with 175 years of history and an international vision for the future. We promote, support and celebrate chemistry. We work to shape the future of the chemical sciences — for the benefit of science and humanity.

About ORCID

ORCID’s vision is a world where all who participate in research, scholarship and innovation are uniquely identified and connected to their contributions across disciplines, borders and time. ORCID provides an identifier for individuals to use with their name as they engage in research, scholarship and innovation activities. It provides open tools that enable transparent and trustworthy connections between researchers, their contributions and affiliations. The organization provides this service to help people find information and to simplify reporting and analysis. ORCID is a not-for-profit organization, sustained by fees from member organizations. Its work is open, transparent and non-proprietary. The organization strives to be a trusted component of research infrastructure with the goal of providing clarity in the breadth of research contributions and the people who make them.

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Top 10 Reviewers for Integrative Biology

In celebration of Peer Review Week, with the theme of Recognition for Review – we would like to highlight the top 10 reviewers for Integrative Biology in 2016, as selected by the editor for their significant contribution to the journal.

Name Institution
Dr Shelly Peyton University of Massachusetts Amherst
Dr Chris Moraes McGill University
Dr Jennie Leach University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Dr Joe Tien Boston University
Professor Dino Di Carlo University of California, Los Angeles
Professor Yoon-Kyoung Cho Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology
Dr Alexander Revzin University of California, Davis
Dr Jaebum Choo Hanyang University
Jamie A. Davies The University of Edinburgh
Dr Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez University of Glasgow

We would like to say a massive thank you to these reviewers as well as the Integrative Biology board and all of our community for their continued support of the journal, as authors, reviewers and readers.

Review to win!
As a little added bonus to celebrate Peer Review Week, for the next four weeks our reviewers will be in with a chance of winning a fantastic prize! Simply submit a review for any of our journals between 19 September and 16 October 2016 and you will be automatically eligible for a chance to win one of our fantastic prizes.

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Shuichi Takayama’s highlights

Our Associate Editor shares his top picks on immuno-engineering

Shuichi Takayama

We are delighted to draw your attention to Associate Editor Shuichi Takayama‘s top picks on the topic of immuno-engineering.

The immune system is indispensable for health and central to many diseases. Its importance and complexity make the immune system fertile grounds for innovation and integration of biological models with the latest tools to provide biological insights otherwise difficult to obtain. Below are several articles from 2016 issues of Integrative Biology that highlight such efforts where the tools used range from microfluidics and biomaterials to computational.

Neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cells in humans and the 1st responders at sites of injury or insult. The first two articles highlighted below describe new tools to study neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) which are DNA-protein fibres that these cells produce to physically catch bacteria and protect our body but can also damage tissues as well.


Please follow the links below for free access* to the full papers.

1) Capillary plexuses are vulnerable to neutrophil extracellular traps
L. Boneschansker, Y. Inoue, R. Oklu and D. Irimia

This article describes the use of blood vessel-like branching microfluidic channels to study how NETs can alter blood flow and negatively impact health. An interesting finding is that NETs produced from a small number of neutrophils can have a surprisingly large impact on which downstream channels red blood cells can flow to. This finding provides unique insights into how inflammation, which lead to NET production, may lead to tissue hypoxia and organ injury.

2) Microfluidic device for simultaneous analysis of neutrophil extracellular traps and production of reactive oxygen species
S. F. Moussavi-Harami, K. M. Mladinich, E. K. Sackmann, M. A. Shelef, T. W. Starnes, D. J. Guckenberger, A. Huttenlocher and D. J. Beebe

Neutrophil function can be an indicator of health and disease. Profiling such cellular level functions in patient blood, however, is tricky because of the rapid deterioration of such function with time and the inherent cell-to-cell variability. This paper describes a microfluidic device that can quickly isolate neutrophils from blood and measure their ability to recognize bacteria, produce NETs, and generate reactive oxygen species with single cell resolution.

3) Stiff substrates enhance monocytic cell capture through E-selectin but not P-selectin
J. L. MacKay and D.A. Hammer

Many diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and obesity cause chronic inflammation.  Interestingly, these types of disease are also associated with blood vessel stiffening.  This paper provides a mechanistic link between these two observations by clever use of biomaterials to show that E-selectin, but not P-selectin, mediate monocyte adhesion in a substrate stiffness-dependent manner.

4) 3-D individual cell based computational modeling of tumor cell–macrophage paracrine signaling mediated by EGF and CSF-1 gradients
H. Knutsdottir, J. S. Condeelis and E. Palsson

Macrophages and tumor cells mutually influence directed migration to metastasize. The details of such behavior, however, is difficult to grasp intuitively or with simple equations especially in 3D environments. This article uses computational models to reveal how chemical communications through EGF and CSF-1 explains complex cellular behaviors observed both in vitro and in vivo such as what macrophage numbers maximize tumor cell migration.

Integrative Biology publishes novel insights into biological questions, which have been achieved through the use of new technologies, techniques and methods. If your research scope fits that of the articles above, please get in touch; we would be very interested to hear more.

We hope you enjoy reading these articles.



*Access is free until 06/05/2016 through a registered RSC account.

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MMB Lab selects their top cancer-related articles

Don’t miss these Integrative Biology research articles

Microtechnology, Medicine and Biology Lab

The Microtechnology, Medicine and Biology Lab (MMB Lab, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA) is interested in applying the lab’s technologies to cancer.

Led by David J. Beebe, Editorial Board member for Integrative Biology, the team works across disciplines and disease boundaries to create solutions that can be translated into widespread use.

The lab has selected their top cancer-related articles published recently in Integrative Biology. Please see below what they say about each article – all free to access for the next 4 weeks!*


1) Human breast cancer invasion and aggression correlates with ECM stiffening and immune cell infiltration
I. Acerbi, L. Cassereau, I. Dean, Q. Shi, A. Au, C. Park, Y. Y. Chen, J. Liphardt, E. S. Hwang and V. M. Weaver

Mary Regier- This paper supports other articles pointing out the importance of microenvironmental factors including cell-cell interactions, cell-matrix interactions, and matrix mechanics and architecture and their intratumoral heterogeneity in breast cancer behavior and patient prognosis. Our selection highlights the variety of microenvironmental factors that influence cancer progression and spread.


2) Marker-free detection of progenitor cell differentiation by analysis of Brownian motion in micro-wells
F. Sekhavati, M. Endele, S. Rappl, A.-K. Marel, T. Schroeder and J. O. Rädler

Patrick Ingram- In this paper, the authors present a marker-free, high throughput, and single cell compatible method to monitor granulocyte-macrophage progenitor differentiation via the changes in Brownian motion as the cells differentiate into adherent macrophages. Though not investigated directly, these same methods can be further applied to monitor molecular binding events in living cells, allowing the high throughput study of membranes and surface receptors in heterogeneous cancer cell populations. Sekhavati et al. provide a compelling proof-of-concept that uses ubiquitous and accessible physics to readout underlying biological processes.


3) A cell-ECM screening method to predict breast cancer metastasis
L. E. Barnery, E. C. Dandley, L. E. Jansen, N. G. Reich, A. M. Mercurio and S. R. Peyton

José A. Jiménez-Torres- In this paper, the authors presented an in vitro biomaterial system to investigate the role of cancer-cell integrin binding to different ECM matrices inspired by in vivo secondary tissue targets of breast cancer metastasis. Their experiments highlight the heterogeneity of breast cancer and how this is an obstacle in the clinical success of integrin-targeted therapeutics.


4) Quantitative multivariate analysis of dynamic multicellular morphogenic trajectories
D. E. White, J. B. Sylvester, T. J. Levario, H. Lu, J. T. Streelman, T. C. McDevitt and M. L. Kemp

Brian Johnson- An interesting paper tackling a challenge problem; White et al. explore multi-cellular interactions in morphological development using a network analysis approach that enables the quantitative comparison of experimental data to computational modelling simulations. While the technique was applied to characterize emergent spatial phenotypic patterns found in developing tissues, these same principles could be used to tease apart and model the extensive spatial heterogeneity found in the tumour microenvironment of patient derived samples.



We hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as we did.

Integrative Biology publishes novel insights into biological questions, which have been achieved through the use of new technologies, techniques and methods. If your research scope fits that of the articles above, we would be very interested to hear more.

Please email us today, read more about our scope, or submit your article via our online submission portal.


*Access is free until 20/03/2016 through a registered RSC account
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Regulating with RNA in Bacteria and Archaea Conference

Conference sponsored by Integrative Biology

Many congratulations to Bridget Watson, Maya Shamir and Adrien Chauvier on their poster prize success at the Regulating with RNA in Bacteria and Archaea Conference, which took place from 5th-8th December 2015 in Cancun, Mexico.

This conference was the fourth in a series of extremely successful meetings exploring the latest findings regarding this important class of regulators.

The event was a premier forum for the presentation of cutting-edge advances and the latest perspectives in the areas of discovery, mechanism, structure and evolution of bacterial riboregulators. Sessions covered prominent and emerging roles of small RNAs in regulatory networks as well as their diverse mechanisms of action.

Integrative Biology was the proud sponsor of the poster prizes at this conference. The recipients received a books voucher and a Royal Society of Chemistry certificate.

The winner and runners-up were:

Winner: Bridget Watson (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Runners-up: Maya Shamir (Weizmann Institute, Isreal) & Adrien Chauvier (Université de Sherbrooke, Canada)

The picture shows Professor Gerhart Wagner (Uppsala University) handing the certificates and vouchers to the winners

The judges of the prizes thought the quality of the presentations and posters were really high and, from the Integrative Biology team, we would like to thank everyone that attended or presented at the meeting.

For more details on this event, please visit the conference website.

Many congratulations on this achievement from the Integrative Biology team

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