Carnivorous plants produce morphologically complex leaves that serve as a trapping device. Among a variety of the trap leaves, pitcher-shaped leaves have been considered to have evolved by drastic morphological changes, since no evolutionary intermediate has been identified in both extant and extinct species. Here we review roles of organ polarity and cell division patterns in the pitcher development, as well as applications of vertex dynamics model to understand leaf development. Development and evolution of pitcher leaves are inferred from both experimental and computational approaches.
Persistent firing is believed to support short-term (up to tens of seconds) information retention in the brain. Although recurrent synaptic excitation is widely known to support persistent firing, recent studies have established that neurons can support persistent firing through an intrinsic mechanism within individual cells. This intrinsic mechanism involves activations of cholinergic receptors and the calcium activated non-selective cationic (CAN) current, and is observed in multiple brain areas including the hippocampus. Computer simulations from my group indicate that this mechanism is crucial for persistent firing in vivo, and it underlies the transition of hippocampal activity between encoding and consolidation stages.
In this review, a longstanding question in chronobiology is revisited: How is the circadian period of biological clocks determined? The origins of the slowness and periodicity should be best studied by the interdisciplinary approach employing biophysics and structural biology.
The various molecules and organelles in a eukaryotic cell are suitably positioned within the cell to carry out their functions at the appropriate time. This intracellular positioning is accomplished through interplay among the active transport mechanisms, intracellular fluctuations, and physical properties of the components inside the cell. Here, we review the recent advances in research on how the nucleus moves toward, and maintains its position at, the geometrical center of the cell. This question has attracted researchers from various fields, and is a good subject for interdisciplinary collaboration.