Have you noticed that the Biophysical Journal (BJ) this past year began releasing virtual issues, which are small collections of the best papers from selected topics that BJ publishes?
The virtual issues highlight the interdisciplinary nature of biophysics, as well as the scientific breadth and excellence of the papers published in the Journal. All papers included in the virtual issues are freely available without a subscription under the Collections section of the BJ website.
The most recent virtual issue, Molecular Motors and the Cytoskeleton, was compiled jointly by outgoing Associate Editor Yale Goldman and incoming Associate Editor Michael Ostap. The issue highlights some of the best papers published in the Molecular Machines, Motors, and Nanoscale Biophysics section of BJ.
We asked Michael Ostap a few questions about Molecular Machines, Motors, and Nanoscale Biophysics, the subject of this Virtual Issue, and why these papers belong in Biophysical Journal.
As the field of biophysics grows ever more interdisciplinary, it also becomes increasingly inclusive. The evolution of the Journal’s Molecular Machines, Motors, and Nanoscale Biophysics section exemplifies this dynamic. When Les Loew assumed the BJ Editor-in-Chief position in 2012, he changed the title of the section from Muscle, Motility, and Motor Proteins to its current form, which, according to Ostap, better encompasses all the research in this field.
The new title also says to researchers, “Look! We not only welcome submissions from researchers working on muscle and cytoskeletal motors, but also papers focused on the energy-transducing mechanisms of helicases, polymerases, AAA proteins, and other molecular motors. We are also interested in the use of molecular motors, filaments and other biological macromolecules in engineered devices, and in new techniques and methods in nano-biology.”
For Ostap, molecular machines, motors, and nanoscale biophysics is about “the proteins that convert chemical energy into mechanical work. In terms of the Biophysical Journal, I think about biophysical studies that help us gain mechanistic understanding of motor function and regulation, whether it is at the molecular, cellular, or organismal level. Also, I think about the development of technologies that allow probing of structural dynamics, transport, mechanics, and biochemistry of single-molecules and nanoscale assemblies.”
And one of the best places for such submissions is Biophysical Journal, as exemplified by the broad range of high-impact science that investigators are submitting to this section of BJ.
The virtual issue Molecular Motors and the Cytoskeleton includes superb examples of single-molecule mechanics of molecular motors, investigations of the emergent behaviors of protein assemblies, mechanochemical models of cytoskeletal filament nucleation and mechanics, and muscle biomechanics of isolated cells and whole animals.
When asked what makes BJ the most ideal place to publish work in Molecular Machines, Motors, and Nanoscale Biophysics, Ostap explained that, “for decades, the Biophysical Journal has consistently published the research papers that have been at the foundation of the molecular motors field, and it continues to have a reputation for publishing high-quality work. In my experience, the Editorial Board has done an excellent job providing thorough, thoughtful, and constructive reviews of papers.”
View BJ’s most recent Virtual Issue Molecular Motors and the Cytoskeleton at http://bit.ly/183rgRD.