Volume 531 Issue 7593


Food processing p.139

A recreation of how early humans managed to eat a diet of meat hundreds of thousands of years before they had fire to cook it with, shows an ingenious use of tools to cut down on chewing time.

doi: 10.1038/531139a

Who ordered that? p.139

An unexpected data signal that could change everything has particle physicists salivating.

doi: 10.1038/531139b

Gene intelligence p.140

The risks and rewards of genome editing resonate beyond the clinic.

doi: 10.1038/531140a


News Features

CRISPR everywhere p.155

A special issue explores what it means to be living in an age of gene editing.

doi: 10.1038/531155a

News & Views

Sex accelerates adaptation p.176

An analysis confirms the long-standing theory that sex increases the rate of adaptive evolution by accelerating the speed at which beneficial mutations sweep through sexual, as opposed to asexual, populations. See Letter p.233

doi: 10.1038/nature17304

Exponential boost for quantum information p.177

Quantum computers will one day wildly outperform conventional machines. An experimental feat reveals a fundamental property of exotic superconductors that brings this quantum technology a step closer. See Letter p.206

doi: 10.1038/531177a

LURE is bait for multiple receptors p.178

In flowering plants, sperm-containing pollen tubes are guided towards ovules by attractants from the female reproductive organ. Receptors for the attractant molecule AtLURE1 have now been found. See Letters p.241 & p.245

doi: 10.1038/531178a

Putting carbon dioxide to work p.180

Carbon dioxide is an abundant resource, but difficult for industry to use effectively. A simple reaction might allow it to be used to make commercial products more sustainably than with current processes. See Letter p.215

doi: 10.1038/531180a

Vegetation's responses to climate variability p.181

Satellite data have allowed scientists to generate a quantitative model to assess the response rates of different ecosystems to climate variability. The index provides a tool for comparing regional sensitivity and resilience. See Letter p.229

doi: 10.1038/nature17301

Regeneration switch is a gas p.182

Nitric oxide gas has now been found to act as a switch during developmental remodelling of axonal projections from neurons: high gas levels promote the degeneration of unwanted axons and low levels support subsequent regrowth.

doi: 10.1038/nature17308


Failure of RQC machinery causes protein aggregation and proteotoxic stress p.191

Defects in the ribosome quality control (RQC) complex, which clears proteins that stalled during translation, can cause neurodegeneration; here it is shown that in RQC-defective cells a peptide tail added by the RQC subunit 2 to stalled polypeptides promotes their aggregation and the sequestration of chaperones in these aggregates, affecting normal protein quality control processes.

doi: 10.1038/nature16973


A repeating fast radio burst p.202

Observations of repeated fast radio bursts, having dispersion measures and sky positions consistent with those of FRB 121102, show that the signals do not originate in a single cataclysmic event and may come from a young, highly magnetized, extragalactic neutron star.

doi: 10.1038/nature17168

Exponential protection of zero modes in Majorana islands p.206

The splitting of zero-energy Majorana modes in a tunnel-coupled InAs nanowire with epitaxial aluminium is exponentially suppressed as the wire length is increased, resulting in protection of these modes; this result helps to establish the robust presence of Majorana modes and quantifies exponential protection in nanowire devices.

doi: 10.1038/nature17162

The terrestrial biosphere as a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere p.225

The net balance of terrestrial biogenic greenhouse gases produced as a result of human activities and the climatic impact of this balance are uncertain; here the net cumulative impact of the three greenhouse gases, methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, on the planetary energy budget from 2001 to 2010 is a warming of the planet.

doi: 10.1038/nature16946

A receptor heteromer mediates the male perception of female attractants in plants p.241

A male cell-surface receptor-like kinase that responds to the female chemoattractant LURE1 on the pollen tube of Arabidopsis thaliana is identified; LURE1 triggers dimerization of the receptor components and activation of the kinase activity, and the transformation of a component of the A. thaliana receptor to the Capsella rubella species partially breaks down the reproductive isolation barrier.

doi: 10.1038/nature16975

Tip-localized receptors control pollen tube growth and LURE sensing in Arabidopsis p.245

Pollen-specific receptor-like kinase 6 (PRK6), which signals through the guanine nucleotide-exchange factors ROPGEFs, is required for sensing of the LURE1 attractant peptide in Arabidopsis thaliana, and functions together with other PRK family kinases; when introduced into the pollen tubes of the related species Capsella rubella, PRK6 could confer responsiveness to AtLURE1.

doi: 10.1038/nature17413

NAFLD causes selective CD4+ T lymphocyte loss and promotes hepatocarcinogenesis p.253

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second most common cause of cancer-related death. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects a large proportion of the US population and is considered to be a metabolic predisposition to liver cancer. However, the role of adaptive immune responses in NAFLD-promoted HCC is largely unknown. Here we show, in mouse models and human samples, that dysregulation of lipid metabolism in NAFLD causes a selective loss of intrahepatic CD4+ but not CD8+ T lymphocytes, leading to accelerated hepatocarcinogenesis. We also demonstrate that CD4+ T lymphocytes have greater mitochondrial mass than CD8+ T lymphocytes and generate higher levels of mitochondrially derived reactive oxygen species (ROS). Disruption of mitochondrial function by linoleic acid, a fatty acid accumulated in NAFLD, causes more oxidative damage than other free fatty acids such as palmitic acid, and mediates selective loss of intrahepatic CD4+ T lymphocytes. In vivo blockade of ROS reversed NAFLD-induced hepatic CD4+ T lymphocyte decrease and delayed NAFLD-promoted HCC. Our results provide an unexpected link between lipid dysregulation and impaired anti-tumour surveillance.

doi: 10.1038/nature16969