네이처 컨텐츠


Suspend disbelief p.7

Wrangling over scientific misconduct could influence Romania’s general election.

doi: 10.1038/492007b


An unhealthy obsession p.7

The energy expended by US biomedical scientists on complaining about grant-application limits would be better directed at the real problem: stagnant funding.

doi: 10.1038/492007a


Haste not speed p.8

US science would benefit if Congress improved the predictability and stability of funding.

doi: 10.1038/492008a



News Features

The quantum space race p.22

Fierce rivals have joined forces in the race to teleport information to and from space.

Zeeya Merali

doi: 10.1038/492022a


Radical reactors p.26

For decades, one design has dominated nuclear reactors while potentially better options were left by the wayside. Now, the alternatives might finally have their day.

M. Mitchell Waldrop

doi: 10.1038/492026a


News & Views

OlfactionIntimate neuronal whispers p.44

It's a touching story of cohabitation and meaningful communication. Two neighbouring fruitfly neurons talk to each other not by means of synaptic junctions but by interactions through the surrounding electrical field. See Article  p.66

Kazumichi Shimizu & Mark Stopfer

doi: 10.1038/nature11757


Organic chemistryToolkit of reagents to aid drug discovery p.45

Reagents have been developed that allow carbon—hydrogen bonds on benzene-like compounds called heterocycles to be converted directly into carbon—carbon bonds. The finding will be a boon to medicinal chemists. See Letter  p.95

William J. Pitts

doi: 10.1038/nature11760


Evolutionary genomicsAlgae's complex origins p.46

The nuclear genomes of two of nature's most complex cells have been sequenced. The data will help to determine the evolutionary path from symbioses between species to a multi-compartmental unicellular organism. See Article  p.59

Sven B. Gould

doi: 10.1038/nature11759


Extrasolar planetsAstrophysical false positives p.48

The probability that giant-planet-like signals detected by the Kepler spacecraft are not from planets is higher than expected. The result underscores the importance of making follow-up observations to confirm the nature of the signals.

Andrew Collier Cameron

doi: 10.1038/492048a


BiochemistryAnother aspect of nature's ingenuity p.50

Eyewitnesses are sometimes asked to identify a culprit from a line-up of people associated with a crime scene. An enzyme — iridoid synthase — that catalyses an unusual reaction has been identified by a similar approach. See Letter  p.138

Joe Chappell

doi: 10.1038/nature11754


Applied physicsAn optical trampoline p.51

A neat study shows that a sheet of laser light can be used to reflect light-absorbing liquid droplets and manipulate their trajectories. This observation may open up new ways of controlling and studying aerosols.

David McGloin

doi: 10.1038/492051a


AstronomyA truly embryonic star p.52

The discovery of what may be the best example yet of a forming star caught in the moments just before birth provides a missing link in our understanding of how giant gas clouds collapse to form fully fledged stars. See Letter  p.83

David A. Clarke

doi: 10.1038/492052a



Algal genomes reveal evolutionary mosaicism and the fate of nucleomorphs p.59

Cryptophyte and chlorarachniophyte algae are transitional forms in the widespread secondary endosymbiotic acquisition of photosynthesis by engulfment of eukaryotic algae. Unlike most secondary plastid-bearing algae, miniaturized versions of the endosymbiont nuclei (nucleomorphs) persist in cryptophytes and chlorarachniophytes. To determine why, and to address other fundamental questions about eukaryote–eukaryote endosymbiosis, we sequenced the nuclear genomes of the cryptophyte Guillardia theta and the chlorarachniophyte Bigelowiella natans. Both genomes have >21,000 protein genes and are intron rich, and B. natans exhibits unprecedented alternative splicing for a single-celled organism. Phylogenomic analyses and subcellular targeting predictions reveal extensive genetic and biochemical mosaicism, with both host- and endosymbiont-derived genes servicing the mitochondrion, the host cell cytosol, the plastid and the remnant endosymbiont cytosol of both algae. Mitochondrion-to-nucleus gene transfer still occurs in both organisms but plastid-to-nucleus and nucleomorph-to-nucleus transfers do not, which explains why a small residue of essential genes remains locked in each nucleomorph.

Bruce A. Curtis, Goro Tanifuji, Fabien Burki, Ansgar Gruber, Manuel Irimia, Shinichiro Maruyama, Maria C. Arias, Steven G. Ball, Gillian H. Gile, Yoshihisa Hirakawa + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature11681

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Non-synaptic inhibition between grouped neurons in an olfactory circuit p.66

Diverse sensory organs, including mammalian taste buds and insect chemosensory sensilla, show a marked compartmentalization of receptor cells; however, the functional impact of this organization remains unclear. Here we show that compartmentalized Drosophila olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) communicate with each other directly. The sustained response of one ORN is inhibited by the transient activation of a neighbouring ORN. Mechanistically, such lateral inhibition does not depend on synapses and is probably mediated by ephaptic coupling. Moreover, lateral inhibition in the periphery can modulate olfactory behaviour. Together, the results show that integration of olfactory information can occur via lateral interactions between ORNs. Inhibition of a sustained response by a transient response may provide a means of encoding salience. Finally, a CO2-sensitive ORN in the malaria mosquito Anopheles can also be inhibited by excitation of an adjacent ORN, suggesting a broad occurrence of lateral inhibition in insects and possible applications in insect control.

Chih-Ying Su, Karen Menuz, Johannes Reisert & John R. Carlson

doi: 10.1038/nature11712

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The entorhinal grid map is discretized p.72

The medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) is part of the brain’s circuit for dynamic representation of self-location. The metric of this representation is provided by grid cells, cells with spatial firing fields that tile environments in a periodic hexagonal pattern. Limited anatomical sampling has obscured whether the grid system operates as a unified system or a conglomerate of independent modules. Here we show with recordings from up to 186 grid cells in individual rats that grid cells cluster into a small number of layer-spanning anatomically overlapping modules with distinct scale, orientation, asymmetry and theta-frequency modulation. These modules can respond independently to changes in the geometry of the environment. The discrete topography of the grid-map, and the apparent autonomy of the modules, differ from the graded topography of maps for continuous variables in several sensory systems, raising the possibility that the modularity of the grid map is a product of local self-organizing network dynamics.

Hanne Stensola, Tor Stensola, Trygve Solstad, Kristian Frøland, May-Britt Moser & Edvard I. Moser

doi: 10.1038/nature11649

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Extremely metal-poor gas at a redshift of 7 p.79

The spectrum of a quasar at redshift 7.04 reveals absorption from a large column of foreground neutral hydrogen with no corresponding heavy elements; this absorbing gas is either diffuse and intergalactic but has not yet been ionized by starlight at this early epoch, or it is gravitationally bound to a proto-galaxy that has a chemical abundance <1/10,000 the solar level.

Robert A. Simcoe, Peter W. Sullivan, Kathy L. Cooksey, Melodie M. Kao, Michael S. Matejek & Adam J. Burgasser

doi: 10.1038/nature11612

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A ∼0.2-solar-mass protostar with a Keplerian disk in the very young L1527 IRS system p.83

In the earliest stage of star formation, protostars accrete mass from their surrounding envelopes through circumstellar disks; observations of the protostar L1527 IRS find a large, rotating proto-planetary disk from which the protostellar mass is measured to be 0.19 solar masses, with a protostar-to-envelope mass ratio of about 0.2.

John J. Tobin, Lee Hartmann, Hsin-Fang Chiang, David J. Wilner, Leslie W. Looney, Laurent Loinard, Nuria Calvet & Paola D’Alessio

doi: 10.1038/nature11610

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Controlled-reflectance surfaces with film-coupled colloidal nanoantennas p.86

Randomly adsorbing chemically synthesized silver nanocubes, each of which is the optical analogue of a grounded patch antenna, onto a nanoscale-thick polymer spacer layer on a gold film results in a metamaterial surface with a reflectance spectrum that can be tailored by varying the geometry.

Antoine Moreau, Cristian Ciracì, Jack J. Mock, Ryan T. Hill, Qiang Wang, Benjamin J. Wiley, Ashutosh Chilkoti & David R. Smith

doi: 10.1038/nature11615

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Continuous gas-phase synthesis of nanowires with tunable properties p.90

Aerotaxy, an aerosol-based growth method, is used to produce gallium arsenide nanowires with a growth rate of about 1 micrometre per second, which is 20 to 1,000 times higher than previously reported for traditional nanowires and allows sensitive and reproducible control of the nanowires’ optical and electronic properties.

Magnus Heurlin, Martin H. Magnusson, David Lindgren, Martin Ek, L. Reine Wallenberg, Knut Deppert & Lars Samuelson

doi: 10.1038/nature11652

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Practical and innate carbon–hydrogen functionalization of heterocycles p.95

It is shown that zinc sulphinate salts can be used to transfer alkyl radicals to heterocycles, allowing for the mild, direct and operationally simple formation of medicinally relevant carbon–carbon bonds while reacting in a complementary fashion to other innate carbon–hydrogen functionalization methods.

Yuta Fujiwara, Janice A. Dixon, Fionn O’Hara, Erik Daa Funder, Darryl D. Dixon, Rodrigo A. Rodriguez, Ryan D. Baxter, Bart Herlé, Neal Sach, Michael R. Collins + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature11680

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The root of branching river networks p.100

Models and field measurements together show that the branching patterns of fine-scale river networks are the result of coupled instabilities in the erosional processes that drive valley incision.

J. Taylor Perron, Paul W. Richardson, Ken L. Ferrier & Mathieu Lapôtre

doi: 10.1038/nature11672

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Identification of a rudimentary neural crest in a non-vertebrate chordate p.104

The sessile tunicate Ciona intestinalis possesses a lineage of cells, originating at the margin of the neural plate, that express several neural crest specification genes and can be reprogrammed into migrating ectomesenchyme by the targeted misexpression of Twist.

Philip Barron Abitua, Eileen Wagner, Ignacio A. Navarrete & Michael Levine

doi: 10.1038/nature11589

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EZH2 inhibition as a therapeutic strategy for lymphoma with EZH2-activating mutations p.108

EZH2 is a methyltransferase that is mutated in lymphoma; here a potent small molecule inhibitor of EZH2 is described, which inhibits the proliferation of EZH2 mutant cell lines and growth of EZH2 mutant xenografts in mice, thus providing a potential treatment for EZH2 mutant lymphoma.

Michael T. McCabe, Heidi M. Ott, Gopinath Ganji, Susan Korenchuk, Christine Thompson, Glenn S. Van Aller, Yan Liu, Alan P. Graves, Anthony Della Pietra III, Elsie Diaz + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature11606

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Fucose sensing regulates bacterial intestinal colonization p.113

FusKR, a fucose-sensing two-component system, has been identified in enterohaemorrhagic E. coli, linking fucose utilization and virulence factor gene expression and providing insight into how sensing of a host signal can facilitate bacterial colonization.

Alline R. Pacheco, Meredith M. Curtis, Jennifer M. Ritchie, Diana Munera, Matthew K. Waldor, Cristiano G. Moreira & Vanessa Sperandio

doi: 10.1038/nature11623

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HIV therapy by a combination of broadly neutralizing antibodies in humanized mice p.118

Passive immunotherapy with a combination of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies is shown to be effective in suppressing HIV replication in a humanized mouse model.

Florian Klein, Ariel Halper-Stromberg, Joshua A. Horwitz, Henning Gruell, Johannes F. Scheid, Stylianos Bournazos, Hugo Mouquet, Linda A. Spatz, Ron Diskin, Alexander Abadir + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature11604

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Structure of a force-conveying cadherin bond essential for inner-ear mechanotransduction p.128

A combination of structural, computational and biophysical tools is used to characterize the bond between tip-link proteins protocadherin 15 and cadherin 23, which have an essential role in inner-ear mechanotransduction; the bond, involving an extended protein handshake, is found to be affected by deafness mutations and is mechanically strong enough to resist forces in hair cells, adding to our understanding of hair-cell sensory transduction and interactions among cadherins.

Marcos Sotomayor, Wilhelm A. Weihofen, Rachelle Gaudet & David P. Corey

doi: 10.1038/nature11590

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B12 cofactors directly stabilize an mRNA regulatory switch p.133

The crystal structures of two different cobalamin (vitamin B12)-binding riboswitches are determined; the structures reveal how cobalamin facilitates interdomain interactions to regulate gene expression.

James E. Johnson Jr, Francis E. Reyes, Jacob T. Polaski & Robert T. Batey

doi: 10.1038/nature11607

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An alternative route to cyclic terpenes by reductive cyclization in iridoid biosynthesis p.138

Iridoids are a large family of bicyclic natural products that possess anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial activities; here the essential cyclization step in their biosynthesis is identified, opening up the possibility of production of naturally occurring and synthetic variants of iridoids for use in pharmacy or agriculture.

Fernando Geu-Flores, Nathaniel H. Sherden, Vincent Courdavault, Vincent Burlat, Weslee S. Glenn, Cen Wu, Ezekiel Nims, Yuehua Cui & Sarah E. O’Connor

doi: 10.1038/nature11692

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