Africa has an ambitious and welcome plan for a continent-wide centre for disease control — but if the agency is to live up to its promise, it will need substantially better resources.
‘Ecomodernist Manifesto’ reframes sustainable development, but the goal remains the same.
Moore's law is approaching physical limits: truly novel physics will be needed to extend it.
Just three animals remain on Isle Royale, spelling probable end of 57-year ecology project.
The threat that neonicotinoids pose to bees becomes clearer.
Trialled antibody treatment thought to work by renewing the protective coating of neurons.
Earthquakes linked to oil and gas operations prompt further research into human-induced seismic hazards.
NASA initiative seeks to bolster interdisciplinary science in hunt for extraterrestrial life.
The 3.3-million-year-old implements predate the first members of the Homo genus.
Forensic geologist Lorna Dawson has pioneered methods to help convict criminals using the dirt from their shoes.
Chemists hope to break China's monopoly on rare-earth elements by finding cheap, efficient ways to extract them from ore.
News & Views
The technique of optical dating was first reported 30 years ago, and has since revolutionized studies of events that occurred during the past 500,000 years. Here, two practitioners of optical dating assess its impact and consider its future.
The TRPA1 ion channel activates pain pathways in response to noxious compounds. The structure of TRPA1 has now been solved, providing insight into how it functions. See Article p.511
An optomechanical device has allowed quanta, or 'grains', of mechanical vibration to be counted by optical means. The system may open up new possibilities in acoustics and thermal engineering. See Letter p.522
A model suggests that active deformation in mountains causes river networks to constantly reorganize, providing an explanation for the paradoxical formation of almost flat surfaces high in craggy mountain ranges. See Letter p.526
Female mice can learn to respond to distress calls from young mice — an ability that has now been found to be improved through signalling by the hormone oxytocin in the left auditory cortex of the brain. See Article p.499
Three studies reveal that augmentation of a signalling pathway involving the growth factor neuregulin 1 and its receptor protein ERBB2 can promote the generation of muscle cells in zebrafish, mice and infant heart tissue.
Ecological factors such as host density are important predictors of disease incidence. But another key determinant may be the evolutionary history and relatedness of the host community. See Letter p.542
A study of pup retrieval behaviour in mice shows that oxytocin modulates cortical responses to pup calls specifically in the left auditory cortex; in virgin females, call-evoked responses were enhanced, thus increasing their salience, by pairing oxytocin delivery in the left auditory cortex with the calls, suggesting enhancement was a result of balancing the magnitude and timing of inhibition with excitation.
In the bacterial immunity system CRISPR, spacer acquisition is facilitated near replication-termination regions.
The high-resolution electron cryo-microscopy structure of the full-length human TRPA1 ion channel is presented; the structure reveals a unique ankyrin repeat domain arrangement, a tetrameric coiled-coil in the centre of the channel that acts as a binding site for inositol hexakisphosphate, an outer poor domain with two pore helices, and a new drug binding site, findings that collectively provide mechanistic insight into TRPA1 regulation.
Polarimetric observations of magnetic-field orientations in a filamentary molecular cloud forming massive stars shows that the magnetic field strongly affects fragmentation in the region.
A silicon nanometre-scale mechanical resonator, patterned to couple optical and mechanical resonances, is found to emit photons when optically pumped; photon emission corresponds directly to phonon emission, enabling the phonons to be counted.
Landscapes on Earth retain a record of the tectonic, environmental and climatic history under which they formed. Landscapes tend towards an equilibrium in which rivers attain a stable grade that balances the tectonic production of elevation and with hillslopes that attain a gradient steep enough to transport material to river channels. Equilibrium low-relief surfaces are typically found at low elevations, graded to sea level. However, there are many examples of high-elevation, low-relief surfaces, often referred to as relict landscapes, or as elevated peneplains. These do not grade to sea level and are typically interpreted as uplifted old landscapes, preserving former, more moderate tectonic conditions. Here we test this model of landscape evolution through digital topographic analysis of a set of purportedly relict landscapes on the southeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, one of the most geographically complex, climatically varied and biologically diverse regions of the world. We find that, in contrast to theory, the purported surfaces are not consistent with progressive establishment of a new, steeper, river grade, and therefore they cannot necessarily be interpreted as a remnant of an old, low relief surface. We propose an alternative model, supported by numerical experiments, in which tectonic deformation has disrupted the regional river network, leaving remnants of it isolated and starved of drainage area and thus unable to balance tectonic uplift. The implication is that the state of low relief with low erosion rate is developing in situ, rather than preserving past erosional conditions.
Examination of three lunar samples reveals that the Moon’s mantle has an excess of the tungsten isotope 182W of about 20 parts per million relative to the present-day Earth’s mantle; this suggests that the two bodies had identical compositions immediately following the formation of the Moon, and that the compositions then diverged as a result of disproportional late accretion of chondritic material to the Earth and Moon.
Precise measurements of the tungsten isotopic composition of lunar rocks show that the Moon exhibits a well-resolved excess of 182W of about 27 parts per million over the present-day Earth’s mantle: this excess is consistent with the expected 182W difference resulting from a late veneer with a total mass and composition inferred from previously measured highly siderophile elements.
The discovery of new primates from the Late Eocene epoch of Amazonian Peru extends the fossil record of primates in South America back approximately 10 million years.
Rare species may have an advantage in a community by suffering less from disease; here it is shown that, because pathogens are shared among species, it is not just the abundance of a particular species but the structure of the whole community that affects exposure to disease.
In response to water shortage, plants produce abscisic acid (ABA), which improves water consumption and stress tolerance; now, a strategy for controlling water use by activating engineered ABA receptors using an existing agrochemical, mandipropamid, is described.
Here, DNA damage is shown to occur as a direct consequence of inducing haematopoietic stem cells to exit quiescence in response to conditions of stress; in mice with mutations modelling those seen in Fanconi anaemia, this leads to a complete collapse of the haematopoietic system.
Mitochondrial DNA stress potentiates type I interferon responses via activation of the cGAS–STING–IRF3 pathway.
A study of the super-enhancer landscape in three mouse T-helper lymphocyte subsets identifies nodes that have key roles in cell identity, with the locus encoding Bach2, a key negative regulator of effector differentiation, emerging as the most prominent T-cell super-enhancer.
The essential autophagy mediator ATG14 promotes vesicle fusion by forming homo-oligomers, which bind to a component of the SNARE membrane fusion complex and stabilize this complex on autophagosomes.
Single particle electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM) has recently made significant progress in high-resolution structure determination of macromolecular complexes due to improvements in electron microscopic instrumentation and computational image analysis. However, cryo-EM structures can be highly non-uniform in local resolution and all structures available to date have been limited to resolutions above 3 Å. Here we present the cryo-EM structure of the 70S ribosome from Escherichia coli in complex with elongation factor Tu, aminoacyl-tRNA and the antibiotic kirromycin at 2.65–2.9 Å resolution using spherical aberration (Cs)-corrected cryo-EM. Overall, the cryo-EM reconstruction at 2.9 Å resolution is comparable to the best-resolved X-ray structure of the E. coli 70S ribosome (2.8 Å), but provides more detailed information (2.65 Å) at the functionally important ribosomal core. The cryo-EM map elucidates for the first time the structure of all 35 rRNA modifications in the bacterial ribosome, explaining their roles in fine-tuning ribosome structure and function and modulating the action of antibiotics. We also obtained atomic models for flexible parts of the ribosome such as ribosomal proteins L9 and L31. The refined cryo-EM-based model presents the currently most complete high-resolution structure of the E. coli ribosome, which demonstrates the power of cryo-EM in structure determination of large and dynamic macromolecular complexes.
A sub-ångström-resolution X-ray crystal structure of [NiFe] hydrogenase, with direct detection of the products of the heterolytic splitting of dihydrogen into a hydride bridging the Ni and Fe and a proton attached to the sulphur of a cysteine ligand.