• The Wiener–Hopf technique, its generalizations and applications: constructive and approximate methods

      Kisil, Anastasia V.; orcid: 0000-0001-7652-5880; email: anastasia.kisil@manchester.ac.uk; Abrahams, I. David; Mishuris, Gennady; orcid: 0000-0003-2565-1961; Rogosin, Sergei V.; orcid: 0000-0002-7356-1656 (The Royal Society, 2021-10-20)
      This paper reviews the modern state of the Wiener–Hopf factorization method and its generalizations. The main constructive results for matrix Wiener–Hopf problems are presented, approximate methods are outlined and the main areas of applications are mentioned. The aim of the paper is to offer an overview of the development of this method, and demonstrate the importance of bringing together pure and applied analysis to effectively employ the Wiener–Hopf technique.
    • Turning turtle: scaling relationships and self-righting ability in Chelydra serpentina

      Ruhr, Ilan M.; orcid: 0000-0001-9243-7055; Rose, Kayleigh A. R.; orcid: 0000-0001-7023-2809; Sellers, William I.; orcid: 0000-0002-2913-5406; Crossley, Dane A., II; orcid: 0000-0001-9683-7013; Codd, Jonathan R.; orcid: 0000-0003-0211-1786; email: jonathan.codd@manchester.ac.uk (The Royal Society, 2021-03-03)
      Testudines are susceptible to inversion and self-righting using their necks, limbs or both, to generate enough mechanical force to flip over. We investigated how shell morphology, neck length and self-righting biomechanics scale with body mass during ontogeny in Chelydra serpentina, which uses neck-powered self-righting. We found that younger turtles flipped over twice as fast as older individuals. A simple geometric model predicted the relationships of shell shape and self-righting time with body mass. Conversely, neck force, power output and kinetic energy increase with body mass at rates greater than predicted. These findings were correlated with relatively longer necks in younger turtles than would be predicted by geometric similarity. Therefore, younger turtles self-right with lower biomechanical costs than predicted by simple scaling theory. Considering younger turtles are more prone to inverting and their shells offer less protection, faster and less costly self-righting would be advantageous in overcoming the detriments of inversion.
    • Why do plasmids manipulate the expression of bacterial phenotypes?

      Billane, Kathryn; Harrison, Ellie; orcid: 0000-0002-2050-4631; Cameron, Duncan; Brockhurst, Michael A.; orcid: 0000-0003-0362-820X; email: michael.brockhurst@manchester.ac.uk (The Royal Society, 2021-11-29)
      Conjugative plasmids play an important role in bacterial evolution by transferring niche-adaptive traits between lineages, thus driving adaptation and genome diversification. It is increasingly clear, however, that in addition to this evolutionary role, plasmids also manipulate the expression of a broad range of bacterial phenotypes. In this review, we argue that the effects that plasmids have on the expression of bacterial phenotypes may often represent plasmid adaptations, rather than mere deleterious side effects. We begin by summarizing findings from untargeted omics analyses, which give a picture of the global effects of plasmid acquisition on host cells. Thereafter, because many plasmids are capable of both vertical and horizontal transmission, we distinguish plasmid-mediated phenotypic effects into two main classes based upon their potential fitness benefit to plasmids: (i) those that promote the competitiveness of the host cell in a given niche and thereby increase plasmid vertical transmission, and (ii) those that promote plasmid conjugation and thereby increase plasmid horizontal transmission. Far from being mere vehicles for gene exchange, we propose that plasmids often act as sophisticated genetic parasites capable of manipulating their bacterial hosts for their own benefit. This article is part of the theme issue ‘The secret lives of microbial mobile genetic elements’.