Volume 508 Number 7495


Look back in wonder p.149

The launch of the first Sentinel satellite heralds an era in which detailed data on everything from earthquakes to urbanization will be freely available to anyone interested in Earth’s future.

doi: 10.1038/508149a

Political science p.149

Russia deserves to be sanctioned, but halting scientific collaboration is not the way to do it.

doi: 10.1038/508149b

Copper rewired p.150

Two Nature papers signal new roles for this ancient metal in catalysis and cancer therapy.

doi: 10.1038/508150a


NIH stem-cell programme closes p.157

Director resigns as just one clinical-trial award is made.

doi: 10.1038/508157a

Metabolic quirks yield tumour hope p.158

Early clinical-trial results show promise for targeting cancer-related biochemical pathways.

doi: 10.1038/508158a

E-cigarettes affect cells p.159

Questions raised over health effects of devices.

doi: 10.1038/508159a

Earth observation enters next phase p.160

Expectations high as first European Sentinel satellite launches.

doi: 10.1038/508160a

Funders punish open-access dodgers p.161

Agencies withhold grant money from researchers who do not make publications openly available.

doi: 10.1038/508161a

Western science severs ties with Russia p.162

Country’s science renaissance threatened as NATO and NASA suspend links.

doi: 10.1038/508162a

Time running out for rarest primate p.163

Rescue bid launched to save Hainan gibbon from becoming first ape driven to extinction by humans.

doi: 10.1038/508163a

News Features

Floods: Holding back the tide p.164

With the Ganges–Brahmaputra delta sinking, the race is on to protect millions of people from future flooding.

doi: 10.1038/508164a

Biomarkers and ageing: The clock-watcher p.168

Biomathematician Steve Horvath has discovered a strikingly accurate way to measure human ageing through epigenetic signatures.

doi: 10.1038/508168a

News & Views

Solar system: Cracking up on asteroids p.190

A combination of laboratory experiments and modelling shows that diurnal temperature variations are the main cause of rock breakdown and the ensuing formation of powdery rubble on the surface of small asteroids. See Letter p.233

doi: 10.1038/nature13222

Cancer: Damage prevention targeted p.191

The MTH1 protein prevents oxidized nucleotides from being misincorporated into DNA. Two studies find that selective inhibition of MTH1 by small molecules suppresses tumour growth. See Articles p.215 & p.222

doi: 10.1038/nature13221

Biogeoscience: Africa's greenhouse-gas budget is in the red p.192

Africa had been thought to be a potentially large carbon sink — of great value in efforts to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions. But an analysis now reveals that it could be a net source of greenhouse gases that will increase global warming.

doi: 10.1038/508192a

Metabolism: Targeting a fat-accumulation gene p.194

An enzyme that links two metabolic hubs has been found to be upregulated in the fat cells of overweight mice. Inhibition of the gene encoding this enzyme protects mice from diet-induced obesity. See Letter p.258

doi: 10.1038/508194a

Quantum physics: A strong hybrid couple p.195

A single atom in an optical cavity is shown to interact strongly with an incoming photon and to switch the photon's state. This finding opens up a path towards optical quantum computation and quantum networks. See Letters p.237 & p.241

doi: 10.1038/508195a

Structural biology: The purple heart of photosynthesis p.196

The structure of a photosynthetic complex from a purple bacterium reveals a new class of light-harvesting protein and the channels that might allow electron-transporting molecules to escape this otherwise closed system. See Article p.228

doi: 10.1038/nature13219


Transcriptional landscape of the prenatal human brain p.199

A spatially resolved transcriptional atlas of the mid-gestational developing human brain has been created using laser-capture microdissection and microarray technology, providing a comprehensive reference resource which also enables new hypotheses about the nature of human brain evolution and the origins of neurodevelopmental disorders.

doi: 10.1038/nature13185

A mesoscale connectome of the mouse brain p.207

In mouse, an axonal connectivity map showing the wiring patterns across the entire brain has been created using an EGFP-expressing adeno-associated virus tracing technique, providing the first such whole-brain map for a vertebrate species.

doi: 10.1038/nature13186

MTH1 inhibition eradicates cancer by preventing sanitation of the dNTP pool p.215

In order to find a general treatment for cancer, this study found that MTH1 activity is essential for the survival of transformed cells, and isolated two small-molecule inhibitors of MTH1, TH287 and TH588 — in the presence of these inhibitors, damaged nucleotides are incorporated into DNA only in cancer cells, causing cytotoxicity and eliciting a beneficial response in patient-derived mouse xenograft models.

doi: 10.1038/nature13181

Stereospecific targeting of MTH1 by (S)-crizotinib as an anticancer strategy p.222

A chemoproteomic screen is used here to identify MTH1 as the target of SCH51344, an experimental RAS-dependent cancer drug; a further search for inhibitors revealed (S)-crizotinib as a potent MTH1 antagonist, which suppresses tumour growth in animal models of colon cancer, and could be part of a new class of anticancer drugs.

doi: 10.1038/nature13194

Structure of the LH1–RC complex from Thermochromatium tepidum at 3.0 Å p.228

The near-atomic-level structure of a complete bacterial light-harvesting antenna–reaction centre (LH1–RC) complex is described here; the structure reveals how energy is transferred from the LH1 to the RC in a highly efficient way and suggests how ubiquinone might cross a closed LH1 barrier.

doi: 10.1038/nature13197


Thermal fatigue as the origin of regolith on small asteroids p.233

Thermal fatigue resulting from diurnal temperature variations is shown to be the dominant means of rock fragmentation and, consequently, regolith formation on small asteroids.

doi: 10.1038/nature13153

A quantum gate between a flying optical photon and a single trapped atom p.237

Quantum gates — in which stationary quantum bits are combined with ‘flying’ quantum bits, that is, photons — will be essential in quantum networks; such a gate, between a laser-trapped atomic quantum bit and a single photon, is now reported.

doi: 10.1038/nature13177

Nanophotonic quantum phase switch with a single atom p.241

Strongly coupling a photon to a single atom trapped in the near field of a nanoscale photonic crystal cavity results in a light switch which can be turned on and off with a single photon.

doi: 10.1038/nature13188

Dynamics of continental accretion p.245

Three-dimensional dynamic computer models show how accretionary tectonic margins evolve from the initial plate-collision state, through a period of plate margin instability, and then re-establish a stable convergent margin; the models illustrate how significant curvature of the orogenic system develops, as well as the mechanism for tectonic escape of the back-arc region.

doi: 10.1038/nature13033

Detection and replication of epistasis influencing transcription in humans p.249

Epistasis has rarely been shown among natural polymorphisms in human traits; this research using advanced computation and gene expression data reveals many instances of epistasis between common single nucleotide polymorphisms in humans, with epistasis and the direction of its effect replicating in independent cohorts.

doi: 10.1038/nature13005

A synchronized global sweep of the internal genes of modern avian influenza virus p.254

A local molecular clock approach shows that most genetic diversity in avian influenza virus (AIV) arose in a recent global sweep and that avian strains are the sister group to equine H7N7; most of the 1918 pandemic virus’s genes originated from the resulting western hemispheric AIV lineage.

doi: 10.1038/nature13016

Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase knockdown protects against diet-induced obesity p.258

Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) expression is increased in white adipose tissue and liver of obese and diabetic mice, Nnmt knockdown protects against diet-induced obesity by altering the availability of adipose S-adenosylmethionine and NAD+, rendering Nnmt a novel target for treating obesity and type 2 diabetes.

doi: 10.1038/nature13198

ZMYND11 links histone H3.3K36me3 to transcription elongation and tumour suppression p.263

Candidate tumour suppressor ZMYND11 specifically recognizes histone K36 trimethylation on the histone variant H3.3 and helps regulate transcription elongation.

doi: 10.1038/nature13045

Direct measurement of local oxygen concentration in the bone marrow of live animals p.269

Here, using two-photon phosphorescence lifetime microscopy, the local oxygen tension in the bone marrow of live mice is found to be quite low, with spatiotemporal variations depending on the blood vessel type, distance to the endosteum, and changes in cellularity after stress.

doi: 10.1038/nature13034

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