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This week in PLOS Biology

In PLOS Biology this week you can read about modelling Ebola containment measures, a conceptual framework for IPBES, and new insights into how the injectisome works.


Fighting Ebola in Liberia

Image credit: NIAID, Flickr

In 2014, a major epidemic of human Ebola virus emerged in West Africa. There are still key questions about the path to containment – the relative importance of transmission under medical care versus community-acquired infection, how much hospital capacity must increase and which interventions will be most effective? In a new paper published this week, John Drake, Andrew Park and colleagues use a novel modelling approach to attempt to assess the impact of health care interventions on the current Ebola epidemic in Liberia. Their model is multi-branching and incorporates the impacts of changes in behaviour on potential transmission scenarios. Projections based on up-to-date data suggest that 85% hospitalisation rates have the potential to end the outbreak by June 2015. Also read this blog post about how we expedited publication of this article, and (update Jan 21st) – we just published a great Primer by Gerardo Chowell and Hiroshi Nishiura that sets this study in context.


Nature’s Benefits to People – A Conceptual Framework for IPBES

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES) came about in April 2012, as a unified group for reviewing, assessing and synthesizing knowledge gathered on biodiversity and ecosystem services. In a new Community Page this week, Sandra Diáz, Anne Larigauderie & colleagues set out the conceptual framework for IPBES – a simplified model of the interactions between nature and people.


A Dynamic Role for the Injectisome’s C-Ring

Credit: doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002039
Credit: doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002039

The type III secretion system, also known as the injectisome, is a key virulence factor in many gram-negative bacteria, responsible for the injection of bacterial proteins directly into host cells. It shares many attributes with its evolutionary cousin, the bacteria flagellum. However, the function of the injectisome’s cytosolic C-ring, whose flagellar counterpart determines switching of rotational direction, has remained enigmatic. New research by Andreas Diepold, Judith Armitage & colleagues used fluorescently tagged protein subunits to allow them to analyse its behaviour, revealing that the cytosolic C-ring structure has a dynamic relationship to the rest of the complex — suggestive of a role in regulating the secretion of effectors by the injectisome.


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