News & Views
The Hubble Space Telescope, teaming up with a 'cosmic lens', has revealed a highly magnified galaxy thought to date back to 500 million years after the Big Bang. The find provides a glimpse of the first stages of galaxy formation. See Letter
Our brains focus on important events and filter out distracting ones. An investigation in monkeys reveals a surprising dissociation between the neuronal and behavioural manifestations of attention. See Letter
50 & 100 years ago p.372
Liposomes are ubiquitous components of skin moisturizers and other personal-care products. Modified liposomes prepared from receptor-like molecules open up fresh opportunities for therapeutic and industrial applications.
Acting on a gut feeling can sometimes lead to poor decisions. But it will usually support the common good, according to a study showing that human intuition favours cooperative, rather than selfish, behaviour. See Letter
By tailoring the architecture of a bulk material at several different length scales, the ability of a semiconductor to convert heat into voltage has been optimized to a groundbreaking level of performance. See Letter
In a remarkable example of convergent evolution, insect species spanning 300 million years of divergence have evolved identical single-amino-acid substitutions that confer resistance to plant cardenolide toxins.
The low-temperature states of bosonic fluids exhibit fundamental quantum effects at the macroscopic scale: the best-known examples are Bose–Einstein condensation and superfluidity, which have been tested experimentally in a variety of different systems. When bosons interact, disorder can destroy condensation, leading to a ‘Bose glass’. This phase has been very elusive in experiments owing to the absence of any broken symmetry and to the simultaneous absence of a finite energy gap in the spectrum. Here we report the observation of a Bose glass of field-induced magnetic quasiparticles in a doped quantum magnet (bromine-doped dichloro-tetrakis-thiourea-nickel, DTN). The physics of DTN in a magnetic field is equivalent to that of a lattice gas of bosons in the grand canonical ensemble; bromine doping introduces disorder into the hopping and interaction strength of the bosons, leading to their localization into a Bose glass down to zero field, where it becomes an incompressible Mott glass. The transition from the Bose glass (corresponding to a gapless spin liquid) to the Bose–Einstein condensate (corresponding to a magnetically ordered phase) is marked by a universal exponent that governs the scaling of the critical temperature with the applied field, in excellent agreement with theoretical predictions. Our study represents a quantitative experimental account of the universal features of disordered bosons in the grand canonical ensemble.
Autistic-like behaviour in Scn1a
+/− mice and rescue by enhanced GABA-mediated neurotransmission
Haploinsufficiency of the SCN1A gene encoding voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.1 causes Dravet’s syndrome, a childhood neuropsychiatric disorder including recurrent intractable seizures, cognitive deficit and autism-spectrum behaviours. The neural mechanisms responsible for cognitive deficit and autism-spectrum behaviours in Dravet’s syndrome are poorly understood. Here we report that mice with Scn1a haploinsufficiency exhibit hyperactivity, stereotyped behaviours, social interaction deficits and impaired context-dependent spatial memory. Olfactory sensitivity is retained, but novel food odours and social odours are aversive to Scn1a
Neuroanatomically precise, genome-wide maps of transcript distributions are critical resources to complement genomic sequence data and to correlate functional and genetic brain architecture. Here we describe the generation and analysis of a transcriptional atlas of the adult human brain, comprising extensive histological analysis and comprehensive microarray profiling of ∼900 neuroanatomically precise subdivisions in two individuals. Transcriptional regulation varies enormously by anatomical location, with different regions and their constituent cell types displaying robust molecular signatures that are highly conserved between individuals. Analysis of differential gene expression and gene co-expression relationships demonstrates that brain-wide variation strongly reflects the distributions of major cell classes such as neurons, oligodendrocytes, astrocytes and microglia. Local neighbourhood relationships between fine anatomical subdivisions are associated with discrete neuronal subtypes and genes involved with synaptic transmission. The neocortex displays a relatively homogeneous transcriptional pattern, but with distinct features associated selectively with primary sensorimotor cortices and with enriched frontal lobe expression. Notably, the spatial topography of the neocortex is strongly reflected in its molecular topography—the closer two cortical regions, the more similar their transcriptomes. This freely accessible online data resource forms a high-resolution transcriptional baseline for neurogenetic studies of normal and abnormal human brain function.
Structural plasticity and dynamic selectivity of acid-sensing ion channel–spider toxin complexes p.400
Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are voltage-independent, amiloride-sensitive channels involved in diverse physiological processes ranging from nociception to taste. Despite the importance of ASICs in physiology, we know little about the mechanism of channel activation. Here we show that psalmotoxin activates non-selective and Na
A nuclear Argonaute promotes multigenerational epigenetic inheritance and germline immortality p.447