The UK research assessment should inspire everybody to reward excellent societal impacts.
Critics of the European Human Brain Project were justified, says an independent report on the project. Both its governance and its scientific direction need to be adjusted.
The next few years will see NASA missions probe the innermost secrets of gas giants.
Nature watches a porcine autopsy that will help create a powerful animal model of diabetes.
Ten-year US-led project seeks to plug gaps in global-warming simulations.
Encrypted analysis of data in the cloud would allow secure access to sensitive information.
Early data from Dawn spacecraft bring scientists closer to clearing up mystery about dwarf planet.
US funding agencies are turning to a Silicon Valley entrepreneur to focus fledgling biomedical companies on success — even when that means making a scientific course correction.
News & Views
Blockade of the enzyme PDE9 prevents degradation of the molecule cyclic GMP, which has been shown to protect against heart failure. The finding indicates that PDE9 inhibition might be a drug target for treating this condition. See Letter p.472
Films of ice less than 1 nanometre thick, sandwiched between sheets of graphene, have been observed to adopt a square lattice structure quite different from the widely occurring hexagonal structure of bulk ice. See Letter p.443
Genetically identical cells can have many variable properties. A study of correlations between cells in a lineage explains paradoxical inheritance laws, in which mother and daughter cells seem less similar than cousins. See Letter p.431
Analysis of the interaction between a photon and an ensemble of some 3,000 atoms trapped between two mirrors has revealed a form of multi-atom quantum entanglement that has no counterpart in classical mechanics. See Letter p.439
Genetically identical cells can have many variable properties. A study of correlations between cells in a lineage explains paradoxical inheritance laws, in which mother and daughter cells seem less similar than cousins. See Letter p.468
Astronomical observations of a luminous galaxy that has a central, mass-accreting supermassive black hole reveal how such entities launch and propel gas through galaxies at high speeds. See Letter p.436
A new MAP4K4–moesin–talin–β1-integrin pathway regulating endothelial cell motility was discovered through chemical and siRNA screens; loss of Map4k4 or inhibition of MAP4K4 kinase activity altered the sprout morphology of endothelial cells during angiogenesis by blocking moesin phosphorylation, which regulates the disassembly of focal adhesions, demonstrating that this pathway is involved in both normal and pathological angiogenesis.
It has long been a goal to reconstitute eukaryotic DNA replication; here a purified in vitro system from budding yeast containing 16 factors, themselves composed of 42 polypeptides, fulfils the staged process of origin-dependent initiation, including its regulation by kinases.
Observations of an ultrafast accretion-disk wind in the X-ray spectrum of a nearby ultraluminous infrared galaxy support the theory that such winds affect the evolution of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies.
The detection of a single photon from a laser interacting with an atomic ensemble is shown to produce entanglement of almost 3,000 atoms; in contrast to previous production of multi-atom entanglement, the highly non-classical nature of the present entangled state is verified by measurement of a negative quasiprobability distribution.
The structure of the low-dimensional water confined in hydrophobic pores is shown, using electron microscopy and supported by molecular dynamics simulations, to be ‘square ice’, which does not have the conventional tetrahedral hydrogen bonding.
Droplets of mixed water and propylene glycol deposited on clean glass exhibit a contact angle but do not suffer from contact line pinning; their motion can be controlled by the vapour emitted from neighbouring droplets to create a variety of autonomous fluidic machines with integrated sensing and motility capabilities.
An increase in the frequency of organized deep convection—essentially a large aggregation of heavily precipitating and largely stratiform clouds—is behind most of the recent increases in tropical precipitation.
Inhibiting projections from the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus to a specific division of the amygdala prevents fear conditioning in mice, indicating an important role for the thalamus–amygdala circuit in establishing and maintaining fear responses.
Dissociating early from late fear memory retrieval in rats reveals that while the projection from the prelimbic prefrontal cortex to the amygdala is critical for fear memory retrieval at early time points, a separate circuit involving the paraventricular region of the dorsal midline thalamus is critical for fear memory retrieval at late time points, establishing the paraventricular region as a critical maintenance/retrieval node during the transition from short- to long-term fear memory.
Some insects have alternative wing morphs, one that is long-winged and changes habitat to follow resources, and one that is short-winged and flightless but has high fertility; here, the molecular details of this switch are revealed, with opposite effects of two insulin receptors controlling the development of different wing morphs in the planthopper.
Precise measurement of cell-cycle duration in thousands of mammalian cells reveals correlations among cousin cells, but no such correlations between mother and daughter cells; recapitulating this finding using a deterministic model suggests that observed cellular heterogeneities in cell-cycle duration may be attributable to deterministic processes, and eventually be controlled.
The inhibition, in mice, of the phosphodiesterase PDE9A, which specifically regulates natriuretic-peptide-coupled cGMP signalling, is independent of nitric oxide and is upregulated in failing human hearts, and can reverse pre-established stress-induced heart disease.
The mTORC1 protein kinase complex integrates nutrient and growth stimuli to modulate signalling pathways that regulate cellular metabolism and physiology, but the molecular nature of the amino acid sensing mechanism at the lysosome is unknown; here, an orphan member of the human solute carrier group of proteins, SLC38A9, is shown to be an integral component of the lysosomal machinery that can directly sense amino acids and activate mTORC1.
The first step in the biogenesis of microRNAs is the processing of primary microRNAs (pri-miRNAs) by the microprocessor complex, composed of the RNA-binding protein DGCR8 and the type III RNase DROSHA. This initial event requires recognition of the junction between the stem and the flanking single-stranded RNA of the pri-miRNA hairpin by DGCR8 followed by recruitment of DROSHA, which cleaves the RNA duplex to yield the pre-miRNA product. While the mechanisms underlying pri-miRNA processing have been determined, the mechanism by which DGCR8 recognizes and binds pri-miRNAs, as opposed to other secondary structures present in transcripts, is not understood. Here we find in mammalian cells that methyltransferase-like 3 (METTL3) methylates pri-miRNAs, marking them for recognition and processing by DGCR8. Consistent with this, METTL3 depletion reduced the binding of DGCR8 to pri-miRNAs and resulted in the global reduction of mature miRNAs and concomitant accumulation of unprocessed pri-miRNAs. In vitro processing reactions confirmed the sufficiency of the N6-methyladenosine (m6A) mark in promoting pri-miRNA processing. Finally, gain-of-function experiments revealed that METTL3 is sufficient to enhance miRNA maturation in a global and non-cell-type-specific manner. Our findings reveal that the m6A mark acts as a key post-transcriptional modification that promotes the initiation of miRNA biogenesis.
The single-stranded nature of RNAs synthesized in the cell gives them great scope to form different structures, but current methods to measure RNA structure in vivo are limited; now, a new methodology allows researchers to examine all four nucleotides in mouse embryonic stem cells.
A method, termed hiCLIP, has been developed to determine the RNA duplexes bound by RNA-binding proteins, revealing an unforeseen prevalence of long-range duplexes in 3′ untranslated regions (UTRs), and a decreased incidence of SNPs in duplex-forming regions; the results also show that RNA structure is able to regulate gene expression.