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News & Views
An iron-rich plume of water from a hydrothermal vent has been found to extend more than 4,000 kilometres through the ocean. The finding has implications for the productivity of marine algae, and therefore for climate. See Letter p.200
The detection of a single molecule anchored to circulating extracellular vesicles allows late-stage pancreatic cancer to be identified from just one drop of a patient's blood. See Article p.177
A meta-analysis of changes in the abundance of tropical-forest birds reveals that the effect of selective timber harvesting varies with logging practices and species traits. The results offer a framework for managing impacts on biodiversity.
An unusually long burst of γ-rays zapped Earth in December 2011, lasting 4 hours. The cause of this burst is now proposed to be a peculiar supernova produced by a spinning magnetic neutron star. See Letter p.189
Dissection of the subcellular eye of microorganisms called warnowiid dinoflagellates reveals that this structure is composed of elements of two cellular organelles — the plastid and the mitochondrion. See Letter p.204
Lenalidomide effectively treats a blood disorder caused by the 5q chromosomal deletion. A study shows that the drug binds to its target, CRBN, to promote the breakdown of an enzyme encoded by a gene in the 5q region. See Article p.183
Feedback in the form of galactic-scale outflows of gas from star-forming, low-mass galaxies allowed ionizing radiation to escape from galaxies when the Universe was about 500 million years old, changing the hydrogen between galaxies from neutral to ionized.
Glypican-1 identifies cancer exosomes and serves as a biomarker for detection of early pancreatic cancer in patients and mouse models of the disease; the findings may enable early and non-invasive identification, and prevention of malignant cancer.
Lenalidomide, a derivative of thalidomide, is an effective drug for myelodysplastic syndrome; lenalidomide binds the CRL4CRBN E3 ubiquitin ligase and promotes degradation of casein kinase 1a, on which the malignant cells rely for survival.
A new class of ultra-long-duration (more than 10,000 seconds) γ-ray bursts has recently been suggested. They may originate in the explosion of stars with much larger radii than those producing normal long-duration γ-ray bursts or in the tidal disruption of a star. No clear supernova has yet been associated with an ultra-long-duration γ-ray burst. Here we report that a supernova (SN 2011kl) was associated with the ultra-long-duration γ-ray burst GRB 111209A, at a redshift z of 0.677. This supernova is more than three times more luminous than type Ic supernovae associated with long-duration γ-ray bursts, and its spectrum is distinctly different. The slope of the continuum resembles those of super-luminous supernovae, but extends further down into the rest-frame ultraviolet implying a low metal content. The light curve evolves much more rapidly than those of super-luminous supernovae. This combination of high luminosity and low metal-line opacity cannot be reconciled with typical type Ic supernovae, but can be reproduced by a model where extra energy is injected by a strongly magnetized neutron star (a magnetar), which has also been proposed as the explanation for super-luminous supernovae.
Simultaneous measurements of structured radiation-belt electron losses (in the form of bremsstrahlung X-rays) and plasmaspheric hiss (which causes the losses) reveal that the loss dynamics is coherent with the hiss dynamics on spatial scales comparable to the size of the plasmasphere.
Coherent energy transport is key to the operation of the photosynthetic machinery and the successful implementation of molecular electronics; self-assembled supramolecular nanofibres based on carbonyl-bridged triarylamines are now shown to transport singlet excitons over micrometre-scale distances at room temperature.
Hydrothermal dissolved iron, manganese, and aluminium from the southern East Pacific Rise is transported several thousand kilometres westward across the South Pacific Ocean; global hydrothermal dissolved iron input is estimated to be more than four times what was previously thought and modelling suggests it must be physically or chemically stabilized in solution.
Dinoflagellate eye-like ocelloids are built from pre-existing organelles of disparate origin, including a cornea-like layer made of mitochondria and a retinal body made of anastomosing plastids.
More than 15% of the bacterial domain consists of a radiation of phyla about which very little is known; here, metagenomics is used to reconstruct 8 complete and 789 draft genomes from more than 35 of these phyla, revealing a shared evolutionary history, metabolic limitations, and unusual ribosome compositions.
As part of the Epigenome Roadmap Project, genome-wide maps of DNA methylation and transcriptomes together with genomic DNA sequencing of 18 different primary human tissue types from 4 individuals are presented; analysis reveals widespread differential methylation of CG sites between tissues, and the presence of non-CG methylation in adult tissues.
The analysis of more than 9,000 haemagglutinin sequences of human seasonal influenza viruses over a 12-year time period shows that the global circulation patterns of A/H1N1 and B viruses are different from those of the well characterised A/H3N2 viruses; in particular the A/H1N1 and B viruses are shown to persist locally across several seasons and do not display the same degree of global movement as the H3N2 viruses.
Analysis of a mouse model shows that during the course of an immune response, helper T cells undergo functional reprogramming to transdifferentiate into regulatory T cells; this T cell plasticity could possibly be exploited to develop better therapies for restoring immune tolerance in autoimmune diseases.
Fate-mapping hypoxic cells in the mouse heart identifies a rare population of cycling cardiomyocytes, which show characteristics of neonatal cardiomyocytes, including smaller size and mononucleation, and contribute to new cardiomyocyte formation in the adult heart.
Melanoma treatment is being revolutionized by the development of effective immunotherapeutic approaches. These strategies include blockade of immune-inhibitory receptors on activated T cells; for example, using monoclonal antibodies against CTLA-4, PD-1, and PD-L1 (refs 3, 4, 5). However, only a subset of patients responds to these treatments, and data suggest that therapeutic benefit is preferentially achieved in patients with a pre-existing T-cell response against their tumour, as evidenced by a baseline CD8+ T-cell infiltration within the tumour microenvironment. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie the presence or absence of a spontaneous anti-tumour T-cell response in subsets of cases, therefore, should enable the development of therapeutic solutions for patients lacking a T-cell infiltrate. Here we identify a melanoma-cell-intrinsic oncogenic pathway that contributes to a lack of T-cell infiltration in melanoma. Molecular analysis of human metastatic melanoma samples revealed a correlation between activation of the WNT/β-catenin signalling pathway and absence of a T-cell gene expression signature. Using autochthonous mouse melanoma models we identified the mechanism by which tumour-intrinsic active β-catenin signalling results in T-cell exclusion and resistance to anti-PD-L1/anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody therapy. Specific oncogenic signals, therefore, can mediate cancer immune evasion and resistance to immunotherapies, pointing to new candidate targets for immune potentiation.
In Caulobacter crescentus, oscillating levels of the second messenger cyclic-di-GMP drive the cell cycle through regulation of the essential cell cycle kinase CckA; as its levels increase during the G1–S transition, cyclic-di-GMP binds to CckA to inhibit kinase and stimulate phosphatase activity, thereby enabling replication initiation.
Genome-wide chromosome conformation capture analysis in C. elegans reveals that the dosage compensation complex, a condensin complex, remodels the X chromosomes of hermaphrodites into a sex-specific topology distinct from autosomes while regulating gene expression chromosome-wide.