Volume 523 Issue 7562


Tropical protection p.501

After years of talk, the palm-oil industry is looking into adopting environmental standards. Such rules must be strong, and need to be implemented.

doi: 10.1038/523501a

Secret service p.501

Government labs should be subject to the same transparent oversight as academic facilities.

doi: 10.1038/523501b

Realistic risks p.502

The communication of risk in disease outbreaks is too often neglected; that must change.

doi: 10.1038/523502a


News Features

News & Views

Bypassing the methane cycle p.534

A genetically modified rice with more starch in its grains also provides fewer nutrients for methane-producing soil microbes. This dual benefit might help to meet the urgent need for globally sustainable food production. See Letter p.602

doi: 10.1038/nature14633

Movies of a growth mechanism p.535

A microscopy technique has been used to study the formation and growth of crystals of porous solids known as metal–organic frameworks in real time. The findings will aid the design of methods for making these useful compounds.

doi: 10.1038/523535a

Composite for energy storage takes the heat p.536

A polymer-based material has been discovered that breaks the rules — it has the right combination of properties for use in energy-storage devices called dielectric capacitors, and can function at high temperatures. See Letter p.576

doi: 10.1038/523536a

Arresting developments in receptor signalling p.538

The first crystal structure of a G-protein-coupled receptor in complex with an arrestin protein provides insight into how the signalling pathways activated by these receptors are switched off through desensitization. See Article p.561

doi: 10.1038/nature14637

Associations with depression p.539

Two genetic regions associated with major depressive disorder have been revealed for the first time, through whole-genome sequencing of a population of Han Chinese women. See Letter p.588

doi: 10.1038/nature14635

Cataracts dissolved p.540

Mutations underlying hereditary cataracts in two families impair the function of an enzyme that synthesizes the lens molecule lanosterol. The finding may lead to non-surgical prevention and treatment of cataracts. See Letter p.607

doi: 10.1038/nature14629

Harmonic radiation from crystals p.541

Electrons in a crystal can tunnel between energy bands when a strong electric field is switched on. It emerges that electron pathways interfere almost instantaneously, giving rise to ultra-short, pulsed emission of light. See Letter p.572

doi: 10.1038/523541a


Timing and climate forcing of volcanic eruptions for the past 2,500 years p.543

Ice-core and tree-ring data show that large volcanic eruptions in the tropics and high latitudes were primary drivers of temperature variability in the Northern Hemisphere during the past 2,500 years, firmly implicating such eruptions as catalysts in major sixth-century pandemics, famines, and socioeconomic disruptions.

doi: 10.1038/nature14565

Crystal structure of rhodopsin bound to arrestin by femtosecond X-ray laser p.561

G protein-coupled receptors are a large family of signalling proteins that mediate cellular responses primarily via G proteins or arrestins, and they are targets of one-third of the current clinically used drugs; here, an active form of human rhodopsin bound to a pre-activated form of the mouse visual arrestin-1 is determined, revealing unique structural features that may constitute essential elements for arrestin-biased signalling.

doi: 10.1038/nature14656


Flexible high-temperature dielectric materials from polymer nanocomposites p.576

The addition of boron nitride nanosheets to polymer nanocomposites creates dielectric materials that operate at much higher working temperatures than previous polymer dielectrics, as well as being flexible, lightweight, photopatternable, scalable and robust, which now makes them more attractive for electronic device applications than ceramic dielectrics.

doi: 10.1038/nature14647

Impermanence of dendritic spines in live adult CA1 hippocampus p.592

A new microendoscopic method reveals that hippocampal dendritic spines in the CA1 region undergo a complete turnover in less than six weeks in adult mice; this contrasts with the much greater stability of synapses in the neocortex and provides a physical basis for the fact that episodic memories are only retained by the mouse hippocampus for a few weeks.

doi: 10.1038/nature14467

Parent stem cells can serve as niches for their daughter cells p.597

Little is known about how the relative proportions of stem cells and differentiated cells are regulated; basal stem/progenitor cells of the mouse airway epithelium self renew and differentiate into secretory and ciliated cells, and basal stem cells continuously send daughter cells a forward niche signal necessary for daughter cell fate maintenance.

doi: 10.1038/nature14553

Lanosterol reverses protein aggregation in cataracts p.607

Exploring the genetic basis of congenital cataracts in two families identifies a molecule, lanosterol, which prevents intracellular protein aggregation of various cataract-causing mutant crystallins, and which can reduce cataract severity and increase lens transparency in vivo in dogs.

doi: 10.1038/nature14650

Mitochondrial reticulum for cellular energy distribution in muscle p.617

Mitochondria are shown to form a conductive pathway throughout the cell in the form of a proton motive force, and throughout this network, mitochondrial protein localization seems to be varied, allowing optimized generation and utilization of the mitochondrial membrane potential; the rapid energy distribution network, which depends on conduction rather than diffusion, could explain how the muscle can rapidly respond to energy demands.

doi: 10.1038/nature14614