Improved biomass stoves are not popular, people everywhere deserve modern cooking methods.
If the threat of antibiotic resistance is to be managed, existing drugs must be marshalled more effectively and new medicines must get to market fast.
Refinements to disfavoured immune therapy offer safer, more effective treatment.
Long-awaited vessel Sikuliaq joins an ageing fleet.
Price and flexibility appeal as data sets grow.
The development is part of a growing trend to tap physics expertise.
Effort aims to unravel the history of bird’s domestication.
Polluting biomass stoves, used by one-third of the global population, take a terrible toll. But efforts to clean them up are failing.
A concept developed for computer science could have a key role in fundamental physics — and point the way to a new understanding of space and time.
News & Views
The finding that semi-arid ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere may be largely responsible for changes in global concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide has repercussions for future levels of this greenhouse gas. See Letter p.600
Despite identifying abundant genes capable of conferring antibiotic resistance in soil microorganisms, a study finds that few are shared by human pathogens and that there is little transfer of the genes within the soil communities. See Letter p.612
Cables and wires are used to conduct electricity, but can they also store energy? The answer is a resounding 'yes', if they are encased by a supercapacitor device — a finding that might open up many applications.
Sex determination in the silkworm Bombyx mori has been found to depend on the presence or absence of a small RNA. This is thought to be the first example of a molecule other than a protein mediating this process. See Letter p.633
A record measurement of the proton's magnetism has been achieved by confining a single proton in a device called a double Penning trap. The result opens the way to exploring one of nature's fundamental symmetries. See Letter p.596
Exposure to atmospheric oxygen in the days after a mammal's birth causes its heart muscle cells to stop proliferating. The finding may explain why zebrafish, which live in a hypoxic environment, can regenerate their hearts as adults.
Tracking B cells in germinal centres — hotspots of B-cell proliferation and mutation during an immune response — reveals that those cells presenting the most antigen on their surface are programmed to dominate. See Letter p.637
A draft map of the human proteome is presented here, accounting for over 80% of the annotated protein-coding genes in humans; some novel protein-coding regions, including translated pseudogenes, non-coding RNAs and upstream open reading frames, are identified.
A mass-spectrometry-based draft of the human proteome and a public database for analysis of proteome data are presented; assembled information is used to estimate the size of the protein-coding genome, to identify organ-specific proteins, proteins predicting drug resistance or sensitivity, and many translated long intergenic non-coding RNAs, and to reveal conserved control of protein abundance.
A novel combined NMR and EPR spectroscopy approach reveals the structure and assembly mechanism of a 70-kDa bacterial ribonucleoprotein complex acting as a protein sponge in translational regulation.
Analysis of the metallicities of more than 400 stars hosting 600 candidate extrasolar planets shows that the planets can be categorized by size into three populations — terrestrial-like planets, gas dwarf planets with rocky cores and hydrogen–helium envelopes, and ice or gas giant planets — on the basis of host star metallicity.
The magnetic moment of the proton is directly measured with unprecedented precision using a double Penning trap.
The unusually large land carbon sink reported in 2011 can mostly be attributed to semi-arid vegetation growth in the Southern Hemisphere following increased rainfall and long-term greening trends.
Concurrent observations at multiple locations indicate that storm-generated ocean waves propagating through Antarctic sea ice can transport enough energy to break first-year sea ice hundreds of kilometres from the ice edge, which is much farther than would be predicted by the commonly assumed exponential wave decay.
A description of the gill skeleton of a very early fossil shark-like fish shows that it bears more resemblance to gill skeletons from bony fishes rather than to those from modern cartilaginous fishes, suggesting that modern sharks are not anatomically primitive, as previously thought.
Functional metagenomic selections for resistance to 18 antibiotics in 18 different soils reveal that bacterial community composition is the primary determinant of soil antibiotic resistance gene content.
The cellular basis of touch has long been debated, in particular the relationship between sensory neurons and non-neuronal cells; a mouse study uses optogenetics to identify their distinct and collaborative roles, with skin-derived Merkel cells both transducing touch and actively tuning responses of touch-sensitive neurons.
A mouse study shows that non-neuronal epidermal Merkel cells aid fine-touch perception in the skin through their expression of the Piezo2 mechanosensitive cation channel which then actively tunes the response to touch in adjacent somatosensory neurons.
Social behaviours, such as aggression or mating, proceed through a series of appetitive and consummatory phases that are associated with increasing levels of arousal. How such escalation is encoded in the brain, and linked to behavioural action selection, remains an unsolved problem in neuroscience. The ventrolateral subdivision of the murine ventromedial hypothalamus (VMHvl) contains neurons whose activity increases during male–male and male–female social encounters. Non-cell-type-specific optogenetic activation of this region elicited attack behaviour, but not mounting. We have identified a subset of VMHvl neurons marked by the oestrogen receptor 1 (Esr1), and investigated their role in male social behaviour. Optogenetic manipulations indicated that Esr1+ (but not Esr1−) neurons are sufficient to initiate attack, and that their activity is continuously required during ongoing agonistic behaviour. Surprisingly, weaker optogenetic activation of these neurons promoted mounting behaviour, rather than attack, towards both males and females, as well as sniffing and close investigation. Increasing photostimulation intensity could promote a transition from close investigation and mounting to attack, within a single social encounter. Importantly, time-resolved optogenetic inhibition experiments revealed requirements for Esr1+ neurons in both the appetitive (investigative) and the consummatory phases of social interactions. Combined optogenetic activation and calcium imaging experiments in vitro, as well as c-Fos analysis in vivo, indicated that increasing photostimulation intensity increases both the number of active neurons and the average level of activity per neuron. These data suggest that Esr1+ neurons in VMHvl control the progression of a social encounter from its appetitive through its consummatory phases, in a scalable manner that reflects the number or type of active neurons in the population.
It is known that in the silkworm (Bombyx mori), males have two Z sex chromosomes whereas females have Z and W and the W chromosome has a dominant role in female determination; here a single female-specific W-chromosome-derived PIWI-interacting RNA is shown to be the feminizing factor in B. mori.
Clonal expansion and hypermutation of B cells in the germinal centre are regulated by the amount of antigen that the B cells present to follicular helper T cells.
During development of myointimal hyperplasia in human arteries, smooth muscle cells have hyperpolarized mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), high proliferation and apoptosis resistance; PDK2 is a key regulatory protein whose activation is necessary for myointima formation, and its blockade with dichloroacetate prevents Δψm hyperpolarization, facilitates apoptosis and reduces myointima formation in injured arteries, without preventing vessel re-endothelialization, possibly representing a novel strategy to prevent proliferative vascular diseases.