Volume 523 Issue 7560


Austerity bites p.255

If the UK government is serious about science, now is the time to prove it.

doi: 10.1038/523255b

An education p.256

The world can no longer afford to support learning systems in which only the most capable students can thrive.

doi: 10.1038/523256a


News Features

News & Views

Nanotubes in the niche p.292

In fruit flies, protrusions can extend from stem cells in the testes to cells in a regulatory hub, mediating intercellular signalling and stem-cell maintenance. The implications of this finding are presented here from two angles. See Letter p.329

doi: 10.1038/nature14631

Big geochemistry p.293

A compilation of more than 300,000 rock compositions provides crucial input into a 100-year-old debate on how the continental crust formed, and provides new constraints for theories of continental-crust development. See Article p.301

doi: 10.1038/523293a

A dendritic-cell brake on antitumour immunity p.294

Activation of a cellular stress response and the transcription factor XBP1 in dendritic cells has now been shown to limit the cells' ability to stimulate antitumour immune responses in a mouse model of ovarian cancer.

doi: 10.1038/523294a

Fullerene solves an interstellar puzzle p.296

Laboratory measurements confirm that a 'buckyball' ion is responsible for two near-infrared absorption features found in spectra of the interstellar medium, casting light on a century-old astrochemical mystery. See Letter p.322

doi: 10.1038/523296a

Network evolution hinges on history p.297

The effects of mutations in proteins can depend on the occurrence of previous mutations. It emerges that such historical contingency is also important during the evolution of gene regulatory networks. See Letter p.361

doi: 10.1038/nature14537

Receptive to infection p.298

EPR3, a plant protein, is found to act as a probable receptor for exopolysaccharide molecules that surround the plant's symbiotic bacteria. The advance sheds light on how recognition is governed in symbiotic relationships. See Article p.308

doi: 10.1038/nature14632


Receptor-mediated exopolysaccharide perception controls bacterial infection p.308

This paper describes the discovery of the exopolysaccharide receptor (Epr3) in plants, and shows that its expression is induced upon perception of the bacterial Nod factors; the EPR3 receptor recognizes exopolysaccharides on the surface of rhizobia, thus controlling the symbiotic infection of the roots of legumes.

doi: 10.1038/nature14611

Progesterone receptor modulates ERα action in breast cancer p.313

Progesterones, oestrogens and their receptors (PR, ERα and ERβ) are essential in normal breast development and homeostasis, as well as in breast cancer; here it is shown that PR controls ERα function by redirecting where ERα binds to the chromatin, acting as a proliferative brake in ERα+ breast tumours.

doi: 10.1038/nature14583


Rapidly rotating second-generation progenitors for the ‘blue hook’ stars of ω Centauri p.318

Horizontal branch stars belong to an advanced stage in the evolution of the oldest stellar galactic population, occurring either as field halo stars or grouped in globular clusters. The discovery of multiple populations in clusters that were previously believed to have single populations gave rise to the currently accepted theory that the hottest horizontal branch members (the ‘blue hook’ stars, which had late helium-core flash ignition, followed by deep mixing) are the progeny of a helium-rich ‘second generation’ of stars. It is not known why such a supposedly rare event (a late flash followed by mixing) is so common that the blue hook of ω Centauri contains approximately 30 per cent of the horizontal branch stars in the cluster, or why the blue hook luminosity range in this massive cluster cannot be reproduced by models. Here we report that the presence of helium core masses up to about 0.04 solar masses larger than the core mass resulting from evolution is required to solve the luminosity range problem. We model this by taking into account the dispersion in rotation rates achieved by the progenitors, whose pre-main-sequence accretion disk suffered an early disruption in the dense environment of the cluster’s central regions, where second-generation stars form. Rotation may also account for frequent late-flash–mixing events in massive globular clusters.

doi: 10.1038/nature14516

Laboratory confirmation of C60+ as the carrier of two diffuse interstellar bands p.322

The diffuse interstellar bands are absorption lines seen towards reddened stars. None of the molecules responsible for these bands have been conclusively identified. Two bands at 9,632 ångströms and 9,577 ångströms were reported in 1994, and were suggested to arise from C60+ molecules (ref. 3), on the basis of the proximity of these wavelengths to the absorption bands of C60+ measured in a neon matrix. Confirmation of this assignment requires the gas-phase spectrum of C60+. Here we report laboratory spectroscopy of C60+ in the gas phase, cooled to 5.8 kelvin. The absorption spectrum has maxima at 9,632.7 ± 0.1 ångströms and 9,577.5 ± 0.1 ångströms, and the full widths at half-maximum of these bands are 2.2 ± 0.2 ångströms and 2.5 ± 0.2 ångströms, respectively. We conclude that we have positively identified the diffuse interstellar bands at 9,632 ångströms and 9,577 ångströms as arising from C60+ in the interstellar medium.

doi: 10.1038/nature14566

Quantum-dot-in-perovskite solids p.324

Organohalide perovskites and preformed colloidal quantum dots are combined in the solution phase to produce epitaxially aligned ‘dots-in-a-matrix’ crystals that have both the excellent electrical transport properties of the perovskite matrix and the high radiative efficiency of the quantum dots.

doi: 10.1038/nature14563

Supramolecular assemblies underpin turnover of outer membrane proteins in bacteria p.333

Fluorescent labelling is used to show that in E. coli, outer membrane protein (OMP) turnover is passive and binary in nature, and OMPs cluster to form islands in which diffusion of individual proteins is restricted owing to lateral interactions with other OMPs; new OMPs are inserted mostly at mid-cell, meaning that old OMP islands are displaced to the poles of growing cells.

doi: 10.1038/nature14461

Structural and functional features of central nervous system lymphatic vessels p.337

The central nervous system undergoes constant immune surveillance, but the route that immune cells take to exit the brain has been unclear as it had been thought to lack a classical lymphatic drainage system; here functional lymphatic vessels able to carry both fluid and immune cells from the cerebrospinal fluid are shown to be located in the brain meninges.

doi: 10.1038/nature14432

A noisy linear map underlies oscillations in cell size and gene expression in bacteria p.357

Quantification of single-cell growth over long periods of time in E. coli shows transient oscillations in cell size, with periods stretching across more than ten generations; a noisy negative feedback on cell-size control is proposed in which cells with a small initial size tend to divide later than cells with a large initial size with implications for the genetic and physiological processes required.

doi: 10.1038/nature14562

Intersecting transcription networks constrain gene regulatory evolution p.361

Epistatic interactions, whereby a mutation's effect is contingent on another mutation, have been shown to constrain evolution within single proteins, and how such interactions arise in gene regulatory networks has remained unclear; here the appearance of pheromone-response regulator binding sites in the regulatory DNA of the a-specific genes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae are shown to have required specific changes in a second pathway during the evolution from its common ancestor with Candida albicans.

doi: 10.1038/nature14613

Structural basis for retroviral integration into nucleosomes p.366

Retroviruses such as HIV rely on the intasome, a tetramer of integrase protein bound to the viral DNA ends interacting with host chromatin, for integration into the host genome; the structure of the intasome as it interacts with a nucleosome is now solved, giving insight into the integration process.

doi: 10.1038/nature14495