네이처 컨텐츠


Twice the price p.577

Governments and funding agencies must do more to prevent the awarding of grants to research projects with significant overlap.

doi: 10.1038/493577a


Change for good p.577

The United States must boost energy spending to make its mark on the climate debate.

doi: 10.1038/493577b


Inflatable friends p.578

Research balloons have taught us much about the atmosphere, and could now fly into space.

doi: 10.1038/493578a



News Features

News & Views

Genetics: A social rearrangement p.612

Some worker fire ants will tolerate multiple queens in their colony, but others only one. It turns out that this behaviour is governed by a gene cluster on an unusual pair of chromosomes. Two scientists describe what these findings mean to the fields of social evolution, genetics and beyond. See Letter p.664

Andrew F. G. Bourke & Judith E. Mank

doi: 10.1038/nature11854


Solar physics: The planetary hypothesis revived p.613

The Sun's magnetic activity varies cyclically over a period of about 11 years. An analysis of a new, temporally extended proxy record of this activity hints at a possible planetary influence on the amplitude of the cycle.

Paul Charbonneau

doi: 10.1038/493613a


Structural biology: Spliceosome's core exposed p.615

The spliceosome complex removes intron sequences from RNA transcripts to form messenger RNA. The structure of a spliceosomal protein, Prp8, reveals the complex's active site and casts light on the origin of splicing. See Article p.638

Charles C. Query & Maria M. Konarska

doi: 10.1038/nature11857


Biogeochemistry: The depths of nitrogen cycling p.616

Breakdown of dissolved organic nitrogen in the ocean had been thought to be the preserve of microbes at the surface. The discovery that these microbes are not up to the task calls for a reassessment of the biogeochemistry of this nitrogen pool.

Maren Voss & Susanna Hietanen

doi: 10.1038/493616a


Materials science: Synthetic polymers with biological rigidity p.618

Brush-like polymers with a rigidity similar to that of polymers in living cells have been synthesized and used to build force-responsive materials. The advance opens the door to applications in drug delivery and tissue engineering. See Letter p.651

Margaret Lise Gardel

doi: 10.1038/nature11855


Condensed-matter physics: Hidden is more p.619

Physicists have puzzled over a hidden electronic order in a uranium-based material for decades. A new theory attributes it to not just a single but a double breaking of time-reversal symmetry. See Article p.621

Qimiao Si

doi: 10.1038/493619a



Hastatic order in the heavy-fermion compound URu2Si2 p.621

The development of collective long-range order by means of phase transitions occurs by the spontaneous breaking of fundamental symmetries. Magnetism is a consequence of broken time-reversal symmetry, whereas superfluidity results from broken gauge invariance. The broken symmetry that develops below 17.5 kelvin in the heavy-fermion compound URu2Si2 has long eluded such identification. Here we show that the recent observation of Ising quasiparticles in URu2Si2 results from a spinor order parameter that breaks double time-reversal symmetry, mixing states of integer and half-integer spin. Such ‘hastatic’ order hybridizes uranium-atom conduction electrons with Ising 5f2 states to produce Ising quasiparticles; it accounts for the large entropy of condensation and the magnetic anomaly observed in torque magnetometry. Hastatic order predicts a tiny transverse moment in the conduction-electron ‘sea’, a colossal Ising anisotropy in the nonlinear susceptibility anomaly and a resonant, energy-dependent nematicity in the tunnelling density of states.

Premala Chandra, Piers Coleman & Rebecca Flint

doi: 10.1038/nature11820

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Towards germline gene therapy of inherited mitochondrial diseases p.627

Mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are associated with severe human diseases and are maternally inherited through the egg’s cytoplasm. Here we investigated the feasibility of mtDNA replacement in human oocytes by spindle transfer (ST; also called spindle–chromosomal complex transfer). Of 106 human oocytes donated for research, 65 were subjected to reciprocal ST and 33 served as controls. Fertilization rate in ST oocytes (73%) was similar to controls (75%); however, a significant portion of ST zygotes (52%) showed abnormal fertilization as determined by an irregular number of pronuclei. Among normally fertilized ST zygotes, blastocyst development (62%) and embryonic stem cell isolation (38%) rates were comparable to controls. All embryonic stem cell lines derived from ST zygotes had normal euploid karyotypes and contained exclusively donor mtDNA. The mtDNA can be efficiently replaced in human oocytes. Although some ST oocytes displayed abnormal fertilization, remaining embryos were capable of developing to blastocysts and producing embryonic stem cells similar to controls.

Masahito Tachibana, Paula Amato, Michelle Sparman, Joy Woodward, Dario Melguizo Sanchis, Hong Ma, Nuria Marti Gutierrez, Rebecca Tippner-Hedges, Eunju Kang, Hyo-Sang Lee + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature11647

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Nuclear genome transfer in human oocytes eliminates mitochondrial DNA variants p.632

Mitochondrial DNA mutations transmitted maternally within the oocyte cytoplasm often cause life-threatening disorders. Here we explore the use of nuclear genome transfer between unfertilized oocytes of two donors to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial mutations. Nuclear genome transfer did not reduce developmental efficiency to the blastocyst stage, and genome integrity was maintained provided that spontaneous oocyte activation was avoided through the transfer of incompletely assembled spindle–chromosome complexes. Mitochondrial DNA transferred with the nuclear genome was initially detected at levels below 1%, decreasing in blastocysts and stem-cell lines to undetectable levels, and remained undetectable after passaging for more than one year, clonal expansion, differentiation into neurons, cardiomyocytes or β-cells, and after cellular reprogramming. Stem cells and differentiated cells had mitochondrial respiratory chain enzyme activities and oxygen consumption rates indistinguishable from controls. These results demonstrate the potential of nuclear genome transfer to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disorders in humans.

Daniel Paull, Valentina Emmanuele, Keren A. Weiss, Nathan Treff, Latoya Stewart, Haiqing Hua, Matthew Zimmer, David J. Kahler, Robin S. Goland, Scott A. Noggle + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature11800

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Crystal structure of Prp8 reveals active site cavity of the spliceosome p.638

The active centre of the spliceosome consists of an intricate network formed by U5, U2 and U6 small nuclear RNAs, and a pre-messenger-RNA substrate. Prp8, a component of the U5 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle, crosslinks extensively with this RNA catalytic core. Here we present the crystal structure of yeast Prp8 (residues 885–2413) in complex with Aar2, a U5 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle assembly factor. The structure reveals tightly associated domains of Prp8 resembling a bacterial group II intron reverse transcriptase and a type II restriction endonuclease. Suppressors of splice-site mutations, and an intron branch-point crosslink, map to a large cavity formed by the reverse transcriptase thumb, and the endonuclease-like and RNaseH-like domains. This cavity is large enough to accommodate the catalytic core of group II intron RNA. The structure provides crucial insights into the architecture of the spliceosome active site, and reinforces the notion that nuclear pre-mRNA splicing and group II intron splicing have a common origin.

Wojciech P. Galej, Chris Oubridge, Andrew J. Newman & Kiyoshi Nagai

doi: 10.1038/nature11843

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An old disk still capable of forming a planetary system p.644

In combination with existing observations and detailed circumstellar models, the detection of hydrogen deuteride emission from the star TW Hydrae implies a circumstellar disk mass of more than 0.05 solar masses, which is enough to form a planetary system like our own.

Edwin A. Bergin, L. Ilsedore Cleeves, Uma Gorti, Ke Zhang, Geoffrey A. Blake, Joel D. Green, Sean M. Andrews, Neal J. Evans II, Thomas Henning, Karin Öberg + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature11805

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Responsive biomimetic networks from polyisocyanopeptide hydrogels p.651

Thermal transitions of polyisocyanide single molecules to polymer bundles and finally networks lead to hydrogels mimicking the properties of biopolymer intermediate-filament networks; their analysis shows that bundling and chain stiffness are crucial design parameters for hydrogels.

Paul H. J. Kouwer, Matthieu Koepf, Vincent A. A. Le Sage, Maarten Jaspers, Arend M. van Buul, Zaskia H. Eksteen-Akeroyd, Tim Woltinge, Erik Schwartz, Heather J. Kitto, Richard Hoogenboom + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature11839

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Divergent global precipitation changes induced by natural versus anthropogenic forcing p.656

Palaeoproxy evidence shows that the sea-surface-temperature gradient across the tropical Pacific Ocean strengthened during the Medieval Warm Period but weakens in model-projected future warming; this is because solar radiation induces greater precipitation for the same temperature change than greenhouse gases.

Jian Liu, Bin Wang, Mark A. Cane, So-Young Yim & June-Yi Lee

doi: 10.1038/nature11784

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A Y-like social chromosome causes alternative colony organization in fire ants p.664

Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) are socially polymorphic, with some workers tolerating several queens in their colony and others tolerating just one; this study shows that a non-recombining supergene is responsible for this social polymorphism, and the operation of this genomic region is remarkably similar to that of sex chromosomes.

John Wang, Yannick Wurm, Mingkwan Nipitwattanaphon, Oksana Riba-Grognuz, Yu-Ching Huang, DeWayne Shoemaker & Laurent Keller

doi: 10.1038/nature11832

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NLRP3 is activated in Alzheimer’s disease and contributes to pathology in APP/PS1 mice p.674

Alzheimer’s-prone mice deficient in NLRP3 or caspase-1 fail to develop learning deficits and show reduced neuropathology.

Michael T. Heneka, Markus P. Kummer, Andrea Stutz, Andrea Delekate, Stephanie Schwartz, Ana Vieira-Saecker, Angelika Griep, Daisy Axt, Anita Remus, Te-Chen Tzeng + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature11729

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Visualization of splenic marginal zone B-cell shuttling and follicular B-cell egress p.684

Lymphocyte migration in the spleen is visualized live in mice using a real-time two-photon laser-scanning microscopy approach revealing that marginal zone and follicular B cells are highly motile and can shuttle between compartments, and integrin adhesion is the key to cellular retention in the marginal zone.

Tal I. Arnon, Robert M. Horton, Irina L. Grigorova & Jason G. Cyster

doi: 10.1038/nature11738

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Reciprocal regulation of p53 and malic enzymes modulates metabolism and senescence p.689

Evidence for a link between cellular senescence and metabolic regulation is provided, through the observation that p53 represses the expression of malic enzymes, thereby regulating NADPH, lipid and glutamine metabolism; in turn, this repression further activates p53, promoting cellular senescence.

Peng Jiang, Wenjing Du, Anthony Mancuso, Kathryn E. Wellen & Xiaolu Yang

doi: 10.1038/nature11776

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Identification of small RNA pathway genes using patterns of phylogenetic conservation and divergence p.694

To identify comprehensively factors involved in RNAi and microRNA-mediated gene expression regulation, this study performed a phylogenetic analysis of 86 eukaryotic species; the candidates this approach highlighted were subjected to Bayesian analysis with transcriptional and proteomic interaction data, identifying protein orthologues of already known RNAi silencing factors, as well as other hits involved in splicing, suggesting a connection between the two processes.

Yuval Tabach, Allison C. Billi, Gabriel D. Hayes, Martin A. Newman, Or Zuk, Harrison Gabel, Ravi Kamath, Keren Yacoby, Brad Chapman, Susana M. Garcia + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature11779

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The architecture of human general transcription factor TFIID core complex p.699

The structures of three distinct human transcription factor IID (TFIID) protein assemblies are solved using cryo-electron microscopy; by incorporating TAF8 and TAF10, the key structural changes that remodel TFIID during assembly are determined, particularly the transition from a symmetric core-TFIID to an asymmetric holo-complex.

Christoph Bieniossek, Gabor Papai, Christiane Schaffitzel, Frederic Garzoni, Maxime Chaillet, Elisabeth Scheer, Petros Papadopoulos, Laszlo Tora, Patrick Schultz & Imre Berger

doi: 10.1038/nature11791

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Rotation mechanism of Enterococcus hirae V1-ATPase based on asymmetric crystal structures p.703

Several crystal structures of the rotary motor of bacterial V-ATPase are solved at high resolution, representing different asymmetric structures and enabling the prediction of a model for the rotational mechanism of V1-ATPase.

Satoshi Arai, Shinya Saijo, Kano Suzuki, Kenji Mizutani, Yoshimi Kakinuma, Yoshiko Ishizuka-Katsura, Noboru Ohsawa, Takaho Terada, Mikako Shirouzu, Shigeyuki Yokoyama + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature11778

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