Patent abuse slows down research and innovation, and must be confronted. Delays to US legislation are not reassuring, but there has been some progress in the courts.
Reforms at the US Department of Energy are recharging research.
Policies in Ireland and China make Nature’s 2014 mentoring awards timely.
The rise of antibiotic resistance rekindles interest in a century-old virus treatment.
Study under way on Mongolian steppes aims to improve knowledge of warming effects on vegetation.
But more players have joined the quest to treat spinal-cord injury with embryonic cells.
Agreement on changes to constitution pave way for university funding shake-up.
Signal of gravitational waves was too weak to be significant, studies suggest.
Researchers make headway in turning photons into fuel.
For decades, most researchers ignored the leading genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. That is set to change.
News & Views
Analysis of the draft genome of a comb jelly and of gene-transcription profiles from ten other ctenophores hints at an independent evolutionary origin for the nervous systems of these organisms. See Article p.109
New records of iceberg-rafted debris from the Scotia Sea reveal episodic retreat of the Antarctic Ice Sheet since the peak of the last glacial period, in step with changes in climate and global sea level. See Letter p.134
The simultaneous deletion of six RNA molecules in mice has been found to cause respiratory and fertility defects, owing to improper assembly of structures called cilia on the cell surface. See Article p.115
An analysis of optical and radio observations has revealed how powerful jets are launched from the centres of active galaxies, where supermassive black holes accrete matter through magnetically arrested disks, or MADs. See Letter p.126
A stampede of recent clinical studies suggests that we are on the cusp of developing well-tolerated, orally delivered drugs that can effectively eradicate hepatitis C virus from most, if not all, infected individuals.
A modified ubiquitin protein has been identified by three independent studies as the missing link in a cellular quality-control pathway that is implicated in Parkinson's disease. See Letter p.162
A computational method is reported that can be used to design protein nanomaterials in which two distinct subunits co-assemble into a specific architecture; five 24-subunit cage-like protein nanomaterials are designed, and experiments show that their structures are in close agreement with the computational design models.
The draft genome of the ctenophore Pleurobrachia bachei (Pacific sea gooseberry) is presented, together with ten other ctenophore transcriptomes — these genomes have a very different neurogenic, immune and developmental gene content when compared with other animal genomes, and it is proposed that ctenophore neural systems, and possibly muscle specification, evolved independently from those in other animals.
Loss-of-function studies of the miR-34/449 microRNA family in mouse and Xenopus reveal their evolutionarily conserved role in ciliogenesis by repressing expression of the centriolar protein Cp110.
The structure of human GLUT1 in an inward-open conformation is reported; access to the structure of the human protein, instead of just a bacterial homologue, made it possible to map (inactivating) mutations associated with GLUT1 deficiency syndrome onto the structure.
A study of 76 radio-loud active galaxies shows that the magnetic field in the bipolar jet that emanates from each galaxy is tightly correlated with the luminosity of the accretion disk; the jet-launching regions of these galaxies are therefore thought to be threaded by dynamically important magnetic fields that will affect the properties of the accretion disks.
A palladium-catalysed C–H bond activation process is reported that proceeds through a four-membered-ring cyclopalladation pathway; it allows a methyl group that is adjacent to an unprotected secondary amine to be transformed into a synthetically versatile nitrogen heterocycle.
Two well-dated, high-resolution records of iceberg-rafted debris are presented that document variability in Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge during the last deglaciation.
The largest assemblage so far of published data shows that C3 crops have decreased zinc and iron levels under CO2 conditions predicted for the middle of this century, with worldwide nutritional implications.
Simultaneous recordings from hippocampus and entorhinal cortex in rats show that as the animals learn odour guidance cues during their exploration of two-dimensional space in the laboratory, ensembles of coherently firing neurons emerge in both locations, with cortical–hippocampal oscillatory coupling occurring in a specific range of the beta-gamma frequency band.
The climate-active gas methane is generated both by biological processes and by thermogenic decomposition of fossil organic material, which forms methane and short-chain alkanes, principally ethane, propane and butane. In addition to natural sources, environments are exposed to anthropogenic inputs of all these gases from oil and gas extraction and distribution. The gases provide carbon and/or energy for a diverse range of microorganisms that can metabolize them in both anoxic and oxic zones. Aerobic methanotrophs, which can assimilate methane, have been considered to be entirely distinct from utilizers of short-chain alkanes, and studies of environments exposed to mixtures of methane and multi-carbon alkanes have assumed that disparate groups of microorganisms are responsible for the metabolism of these gases. Here we describe the mechanism by which a single bacterial strain, Methylocella silvestris, can use methane or propane as a carbon and energy source, documenting a methanotroph that can utilize a short-chain alkane as an alternative to methane. Furthermore, during growth on a mixture of these gases, efficient consumption of both gases occurred at the same time. Two soluble di-iron centre monooxygenase (SDIMO) gene clusters were identified and were found to be differentially expressed during bacterial growth on these gases, although both were required for efficient propane utilization. This report of a methanotroph expressing an additional SDIMO that seems to be uniquely involved in short-chain alkane metabolism suggests that such metabolic flexibility may be important in many environments where methane and short-chain alkanes co-occur.
Segmented filamentous bacteria drive the acquisition of the TH17 phenotype in an antigen-specific manner; these findings begin to elucidate how gut-induced TH17 cells can contribute to distal organ-specific autoimmune disease.
In mice, it is possible to induce a psoriasis-like condition by applying imiquimod; here, the production of interleukin-23 that is stimulated by such skin inflammation is shown to depend on the interaction of nociceptors expressing the Nav1.8 and TRPV1 channels with skin-resident dendritic cells.
Ubiquitin, known for its role in post-translational modification of other proteins, undergoes post-translational modification itself; after a decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential, the kinase enzyme PINK1 phosphorylates ubiquitin at Ser 65, and the phosphorylated ubiquitin then interacts with ubiquitin ligase (E3) enzyme parkin, which is also phosphorylated by PINK1, and this process is sufficient for full activation of parkin enzymatic activity.
Cancer cells often have extra centrosomes, a paradox considering the detrimental effect extra centrosomes usually have on cell division; a study of human cells reveals that extra centrosomes can promote cancer cell invasion phenotypes through a pathway involving increased microtubule nucleation and Rac1 activity.
A new mass-spectrometry method has been developed to obtain high-resolution spectra of folded proteins bound to lipids; using this technique as well as X-ray crystallography provides evidence for membrane protein conformational change as a result of lipid–protein interaction.