Viscous control of cellular respiration by membrane lipid composition
Lipid composition determines the physical properties of biological membranes and can vary substantially between and within organisms. We describe a specific role for the viscosity of energy-transducing membranes in cellular respiration. Engineering of fatty acid biosynthesis in Escherichia coli allowed us to titrate inner membrane viscosity across a 10-fold range by controlling the abundance of unsaturated or branched lipids. These fluidizing lipids tightly controlled respiratory metabolism, an effect that can be explained with a quantitative model of the electron transport chain (ETC) that features diffusion-coupled reactions between enzymes and electron carriers (quinones). Lipid unsaturation also modulated mitochondrial respiration in engineered budding yeast strains. Thus, diffusion in the ETC may serve as an evolutionary constraint for lipid composition in respiratory membranes.
Building two-dimensional materials one row at a time: Avoiding the nucleation barrier
Assembly of two-dimensional (2D) molecular arrays on surfaces produces a wide range of architectural motifs exhibiting unique properties, but little attention has been given to the mechanism by which they nucleate. Using peptides selected for their binding affinity to molybdenum disulfide, we investigated nucleation of 2D arrays by molecularly resolved in situ atomic force microscopy and compared our results to molecular dynamics simulations.
A valley valve and electron beam splitter
Developing alternative paradigms of electronics beyond silicon technology requires the exploration of fundamentally new physical mechanisms, such as the valley-specific phenomena in hexagonal two-dimensional materials. We realize ballistic valley Hall kink states in bilayer graphene and demonstrate gate-controlled current transmission in a four-kink router device. The operations of a waveguide, a valve, and a tunable electron beam splitter are demonstrated. The valley valve exploits the valley-momentum locking of the kink states and reaches an on/off ratio of 8 at zero magnetic field.
Quantifying the contribution of recessive coding variation to developmental disorders
We estimated the genome-wide contribution of recessive coding variation in 6040 families from the Deciphering Developmental Disorders study. The proportion of cases attributable to recessive coding variants was 3.6% in patients of European ancestry, compared with 50% explained by de novo coding mutations. It was higher (31%) in patients with Pakistani ancestry, owing to elevated autozygosity. Half of this recessive burden is attributable to known genes.