Volume 511 Number 7509


Within reach p.263

A redoubling of efforts should swiftly eradicate polio from its last strongholds.

doi: 10.1038/511263b

Struggle for independence p.263

The faculty of the Scripps Research Institute is bucking a national trend with its refusal to merge with the University of Southern California.

doi: 10.1038/511263a

Food for thought p.264

Researchers investigating different farming practices should not have to pick sides.

doi: 10.1038/511264a


Quantum-hub finalists picked p.271

UK government considers eight proposals for up to six research centres.

doi: 10.1038/511271a

Landslide risks rise up agenda p.272

Forum on deadly natural phenomena discusses use of simulation and hazard-mapping technologies.

doi: 10.1038/511272a

Scripps merger fiasco highlights US funding woes p.274

Other independent biomedical research institutions have turned to private benefactors.

doi: 10.1038/511274a

Charity begins at CERN p.276

Particle-physics lab sets up fund for ‘extras’ as other big institutes mull similar move.

doi: 10.1038/511276a

News Features

Physics: Wave of the future p.278

After two decades and more than half a billion dollars, LIGO, the world's largest gravitational-wave observatory, is on the verge of a detection. Maybe.

doi: 10.1038/511278a

Weight-loss surgery: A gut-wrenching question p.282

Gastric-bypass surgery can curb obesity as well as diabetes and a slew of other problems. Researchers are now trying to find out how it works.

doi: 10.1038/511282a

News & Views

High-pressure physics: Piling on the pressure p.294

The machine that houses the world's largest laser, and which stands in for the starship Enterprise's warp core in the film Star Trek Into Darkness, has compressed diamond to the density of lead. See Letter p.330

doi: 10.1038/511294a

Ecology: Pesticides linked to bird declines p.295

Decreases in bird numbers are most rapid in areas that are most heavily polluted with neonicotinoids, suggesting that the environmental damage inflicted by these insecticides may be much broader than previously thought. See Letter p.341

doi: 10.1038/nature13642

Astrophysics: Survival of the largest p.296

Whether supernovae create most of the dust in the cosmos is a controversial question. Observations of a distant supernova have revealed signs of freshly formed dust, but the properties of the dust are unexpected. See Letter p.326

doi: 10.1038/nature13640

Neurobiology: Keeping a lid on it p.297

The protein Npas4 dampens activated excitatory brain circuits by recruiting inhibitory signals to excitatory neurons. It emerges that this protein has the opposite role in some inhibitory neurons, promoting their activity.

doi: 10.1038/nature13641

Cancer: Sugar-coated cell signalling p.298

Cell membranes are covered with sugar-conjugated proteins. New findings suggest that the physical properties of this coating, which is more pronounced in cancer cells, regulate cell survival during tumour spread. See Article p.319

doi: 10.1038/nature13506

Materials science: A superelastic organic crystal p.300

Superelasticity — a form of elasticity that involves a phase transition — has been observed for the first time in a pure organic crystal. The material could find applications in microfluidics.

doi: 10.1038/511300a

Stem cells: Reprogramming finds its niche p.301

Production of blood stem cells from reprogrammed adult cells is notoriously difficult. It emerges that a supportive microenvironment may be crucial for their efficient generation. See Article p.312

doi: 10.1038/nature13516


A deep crust–mantle boundary in the asteroid 4 Vesta p.303

Data on Vesta’s surface material provided by the Dawn probe and impacts modelling reveals that Vesta’s crust–mantle boundary must be deeper than 80 kilometres below the surface.

doi: 10.1038/nature13499


Genetics of ecological divergence during speciation p.307

Traits responsible for recent niche divergence between sympatric threespine stickleback species are subjected to forward genetic analysis; additive variation at several loci across the genome accounts for most of the genetic basis of ecological divergence, with a further role for epistatic interactions that disadvantage hybrids.

doi: 10.1038/nature13301

Reprogramming human endothelial cells to haematopoietic cells requires vascular induction p.312

This study describes the conversion of human fetal and adult vascular endothelial cells into engraftable haematopoietic progenitors by transduction with some transcription factors and then culture on a vascular niche feeder layer; the haematopoietic progenitors may be useful for the generation of engraftable healthy and long-lasting haematopoietic cells for treatment of inherited and acquired blood disorders.

doi: 10.1038/nature13547

The cancer glycocalyx mechanically primes integrin-mediated growth and survival p.319

Metastatic cancer cells are shown to have a tendency towards forming a bulky glycocalyx owing to the production of large glycoproteins, and this cancer-associated glycocalyx has a mechanical effect on the spatial organization of integrins — by funnelling integrins into adhesions, integrin clustering and signalling is promoted, which leads to enhanced cell survival and proliferation.

doi: 10.1038/nature13535


Rapid formation of large dust grains in the luminous supernova 2010jl p.326

The formation of dust in the dense circumstellar medium of the bright supernova 2010jl is at first rapid and produces very large grains, which resist destruction, whereas later the dust production rate increases, meaning its source is ejecta; this links early and late dust mass evolution in supernovae with dense circumstellar media.

doi: 10.1038/nature13558

Ramp compression of diamond to five terapascals p.330

New laboratory techniques for applying enormous pressures allow diamond to be compressed to 50 million atmospheres, providing insight into the interiors of planets and theoretical implications.

doi: 10.1038/nature13526

A low-cost non-toxic post-growth activation step for CdTe solar cells p.334

MgCl2 is shown to be a cheap and non-toxic replacement for the costly and environmentally unfriendly salt CdCl2 that has long been used as the ‘activation’ step in the production of cadmium telluride solar cells.

doi: 10.1038/nature13435

Pathway from subducting slab to surface for melt and fluids beneath Mount Rainier p.338

Magnetotelluric data from the state of Washington, USA, are used to image the fluid–melt phase of volcanic subduction in Mt Rainier, revealing fluid release at or near the top of the slab, and its migration into the overlying mantle.

doi: 10.1038/nature13493

Declines in insectivorous birds are associated with high neonicotinoid concentrations p.341

The water concentrations of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide, correlate with declines in farmland bird populations in the Netherlands.

doi: 10.1038/nature13531

Genome sequencing identifies major causes of severe intellectual disability p.344

Whole-genome sequencing is used to identify genetic alterations in patients with severe intellectual disability for whom all other tests, including array and exome sequencing, returned negative results; de novo single-nucleotide and copy number variations affecting the coding region seem to be a major cause of this disorder.

doi: 10.1038/nature13394

Engineering a memory with LTD and LTP p.348

A rodent study using optogenetics to induce long-term potentiation and long-term depression provides a causal link between synaptic plasticity and memory.

doi: 10.1038/nature13294

ABCB5 is a limbal stem cell gene required for corneal development and repair p.353

The loss of limbal stem cells (LSCs) due to injury or disease is one of the leading causes of blindness; here, the ABCB5 protein is identified as a marker of LSCs in mouse and human eye, and shown to be functionally required for LSC maintenance, corneal development and repair.

doi: 10.1038/nature13426

WNT7A and PAX6 define corneal epithelium homeostasis and pathogenesis p.358

p63 and PAX6 act to specify limbal stem or progenitor cells (LSCs), and WNT7A controls corneal epithelium differentiation through PAX6; loss of WNT7A or PAX6 induces LSCs into epithelium, and transduction of PAX6 in skin epithelial stem cells converts them to LSC-like cells and transplantation in a rabbit corneal injury model can replenish corneal epithelial cells and repair damaged corneal surface.

doi: 10.1038/nature13465

BRCA2 prevents R-loop accumulation and associates with TREX-2 mRNA export factor PCID2 p.362

BRCA2, the breast cancer susceptibility gene factor, interacts with TREX-2, a protein complex involved in the biogenesis and export of messenger ribonucleoprotein, to process DNA–RNA hybrid structures called R-loops that can trigger genome instability; these may be a central cause of the stress occurring in early cancer cells that drives oncogenesis.

doi: 10.1038/nature13374

The structural basis of transfer RNA mimicry and conformational plasticity by a viral RNA p.366

RNA molecules can perform multiple functions, which can be driven by different conformational states; here, the crystal structure of the transfer-RNA-like structure of the turnip yellow mosaic virus is solved, providing insight into the structural basis of RNA multifunctionality.

doi: 10.1038/nature13378

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