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Sponsored Collection | Innovation partnerships for 21st century health care: The Australian challenge

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Summary

There are many cogent arguments for supporting bench-to-bedside—or translational—research. Taxpayers demand, and funding entities often require, that the money spent on research generates some application in the future, whether that be a drug, a therapy, or a medical device that ultimately benefits patients. But the path from the laboratory bench to the clinic is not always an easy one. Solid public–private partnerships can make this journey considerably easier as evidenced by the benefits of such collaborations that Australia has seen in recent years. In this supplement, we have gathered a unique collection of papers from Science Translation Medicine as well as invited articles that highlight some of the challenges inherent in bench-to-bedside research and provide helpful insights into possible paths to improve the chances for its success.

This special supplement brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office.

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Science

How neuron types encode behavioral states

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What is the contribution of molecularly defined cell types to neural coding of stimuli and states? Xu et al. aimed to evaluate neural representation of multiple behavioral states in the mouse paraventricular hypothalamus. To achieve this goal, they combined deep-brain two-photon imaging with post hoc validation of gene expression in the imaged cells. The behavioral states could be well predicted by the neural response of multiple neuronal clusters. Some clusters were broadly tuned and contributed strongly to the decoding of multiple behavioral states, whereas others were more specifically tuned to certain behaviors or specific time windows of a behavioral state.

Science, this issue p. eabb2494

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Fiber tension enables tissue scaling

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Tissue development, homeostasis, and repair require cells to sense mechanical forces. Although many molecular actors implicated in cell mechanosensitivity have been extensively studied, the basis by which cells adapt their mechanical responses to their geometry remains poorly defined. López-Gay et al. now identify how two fundamental epithelial structures—stress fibers and tricellular junctions—endow Drosophila cells with an internal ruler to scale their mechanical response with their area. This work explains how cells of different sizes within an epithelial tissue collectively adapt their mechanical response to control tissue shape and proliferation. Scaling of biological properties with size is a core property of other biological systems.

Science, this issue p. eabb2169

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Species richness maintains mutualisms

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Mutualistic communities of species that benefit each other are ubiquitous in ecosystems and are important for ecosystem functioning. However, the relationship between the persistence of mutualisms and species richness has remained unclear. Vidal et al. used a synthetic mutualism in brewer’s yeast to experimentally test whether species richness buffers mutualistic communities against exploitation by species that do not provide benefits in return. They showed that richer mutualist communities survive exploitation more often than pairwise mutualisms and that higher species richness and functional redundancy allow mutualist communities to persist in the presence of exploiters. These results provide experimental support for the hypothesis that species richness is necessary for the function and maintenance of mutualistic communities.

Science, this issue p. 346

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