Volume 525 Issue 7570


Power play p.425

The replacement of mitochondria does not signal ethical problems.

doi: 10.1038/525425b

In the name of beauty p.425

The ugly truth is that the plastic microbeads found in many skin scrubs and other personal-care products are a serious pollutant of the marine environment. They should be phased out rapidly.

doi: 10.1038/525425a

STAP revisited p.426

Reanalysis of the controversy provides a strong example of the self-correcting nature of science.

doi: 10.1038/525426a


News Features

News & Views

Crystals of a toxic core p.458

An ultra-high-resolution structure of the core segment of assembled α-synuclein — the protein that aggregates in the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease — has been determined. A neurobiologist and a structural biologist discuss the implications of this advance. See Article p.486

doi: 10.1038/nature15630

Storms bring ocean nutrients to light p.460

Ships and ocean-observing robots have been used to quantify the amount of nutrients that a storm brings up from the Stygian ocean depths to the sunlit surface — a first step in assessing how storms affect oceanic biomass production.

doi: 10.1038/525460a

A protein for healing infarcted hearts p.461

Human heart tissue has minimal ability to regenerate following injury. But the protein Fstl1, which is normally expressed in the heart's epicardial region, has now been shown to induce regeneration following heart attack. See Article p.479

doi: 10.1038/nature15217

Neutrons with a twist p.462

Neutrons do not normally have orbital angular momentum. But the demonstration that a beam of neutrons can acquire this property, 23 years after it was shown in photons, offers the promise of improved imaging technologies. See Letter p.504

doi: 10.1038/525462a

Infection elevates diversity p.464

Chromosomal shuffling in parental eggs or sperm can create new characteristics in the next generation. In fruit flies, it seems that mothers with a parasitic infection produce more such recombinant offspring than uninfected mothers.

doi: 10.1038/525464a

Monstrous galaxies unmasked p.465

The enigma of how the most luminous galaxies arise is closer to being solved. New simulations show that these are long-lived massive galaxies powered by prodigious gas infall and the recycling of supernova-driven outflows. See Letter p.496

doi: 10.1038/525465a

The karma of oil palms p.466

Despite their clonal origin, some oil palm trees develop fruits that give almost no oil. It emerges that the number of methyl groups attached to a DNA region called Karma determine which plants are defective. See Letter p.533

doi: 10.1038/nature15216


Hallmarks of pluripotency p.469

In response to the need for a defined set of criteria to assess stem-cell potency, this review proposes guidelines for the evaluation of newly derived pluripotent stem cells, from functional assays to integrative molecular analyses of transcriptional, epigenetic and metabolic states.

doi: 10.1038/nature15515


Epicardial FSTL1 reconstitution regenerates the adult mammalian heart p.479

The secreted factor follistatin-like 1 (FSTL1) becomes undetectable in the epicardium of infarcted hearts; when reconstituted using a collagen patch sutured onto an infarcted heart, FSTL1 can induce cell cycle entry and division of pre-existing cardiomyocytes, thus boosting heart function and survival in mouse and pig models of myocardial infarction.

doi: 10.1038/nature15372

Structure of the toxic core of α-synuclein from invisible crystals p.486

A short segment of α-synuclein called NACore (residues 68–78) is responsible for the formation of amyloid aggregates responsible for cytotoxicity in Parkinson disease; here the nanocrystal structure of this invisible-to-optical-microscopy segment is determined using micro-electron diffraction, offering insight into its function and simultaneously demonstrating the first use of micro-electron diffraction to solve a previously unknown protein structure.

doi: 10.1038/nature15368


The formation of submillimetre-bright galaxies from gas infall over a billion years p.496

Submillimetre-bright galaxies at high redshift are the most luminous, heavily star-forming galaxies in the Universe, but cosmological simulations of such galaxies have so far been unsuccessful; now a cosmological hydrodynamic galaxy formation simulation is reported that can form a submillimetre galaxy that simultaneously satisfies the broad range of observed physical constraints.

doi: 10.1038/nature15383

The diurnal cycle of water ice on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko p.500

Observations of water ice on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko show the ice appearing and disappearing in a cyclic pattern that follows local illumination conditions, providing a source of localized activity and leading to cycling modification of the ice abundance on the surface.

doi: 10.1038/nature14869

A sexually dimorphic hypothalamic circuit controls maternal care and oxytocin secretion p.519

Sexual dimorphism in neuronal circuits is proposed to underlie sex differences in behaviour, such as virgin female mice acting maternally toward alien pups, while males ignore or attack them; here the authors show that specific tyrosine hydroxylase-expressing neurons in the hypothalamus are more numerous in mothers than in virgin females and males, and that they control parental behaviour in a sex-specific manner.

doi: 10.1038/nature15378

Cell-fate determination by ubiquitin-dependent regulation of translation p.523

This study shows that a vertebrate-specific ubiquitin ligase modulates neural crest specification in Xenopus development and human embryonic stem-cell differentiation; a proteomics approach reveals that the CUL3KBTBD8 ligase modulates translation by targeting the modulators of ribosomes production NOLC1 and its paralogue TCOF1, which is mutated in a neural-crest-associated syndrome.

doi: 10.1038/nature14978

Neutrophil ageing is regulated by the microbiome p.528

Neutrophil ageing, which encourages inflammation and vaso-occlusion in a mouse model of sickle-cell disease, is shown to depend on the intestinal microbiota and activation of the TLR/Myd88 signalling pathways.

doi: 10.1038/nature15367

Loss of Karma transposon methylation underlies the mantled somaclonal variant of oil palm p.533

Somaclonal variation arises in plants and animals when differentiated somatic cells are induced into a pluripotent state, but the resulting clones differ from each other and from their parents. In agriculture, somaclonal variation has hindered the micropropagation of elite hybrids and genetically modified crops, but the mechanism responsible remains unknown. The oil palm fruit ‘mantled’ abnormality is a somaclonal variant arising from tissue culture that drastically reduces yield, and has largely halted efforts to clone elite hybrids for oil production. Widely regarded as an epigenetic phenomenon, ‘mantling’ has defied explanation, but here we identify the MANTLED locus using epigenome-wide association studies of the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis. DNA hypomethylation of a LINE retrotransposon related to rice Karma, in the intron of the homeotic gene DEFICIENS, is common to all mantled clones and is associated with alternative splicing and premature termination. Dense methylation near the Karma splice site (termed the Good Karma epiallele) predicts normal fruit set, whereas hypomethylation (the Bad Karma epiallele) predicts homeotic transformation, parthenocarpy and marked loss of yield. Loss of Karma methylation and of small RNA in tissue culture contributes to the origin of mantled, while restoration in spontaneous revertants accounts for non-Mendelian inheritance. The ability to predict and cull mantling at the plantlet stage will facilitate the introduction of higher performing clones and optimize environmentally sensitive land resources.

doi: 10.1038/nature15365

BET inhibitor resistance emerges from leukaemia stem cells p.538

BET inhibitors that target bromodomain chromatin readers such as BRD4 are being explored as potential therapeutics in cancer; here, in a MLL–AF9 mouse leukaemia model, resistance to BET inhibitors is shown to emerge from leukaemia stem cells, and be partly due to increased Wnt/β-catenin signalling.

doi: 10.1038/nature14888

Crystal structures of a double-barrelled fluoride ion channel p.548

Microorganisms can export toxic fluoride ions through highly selective channels of the Fluc family; here, the crystal structures of two bacterial Fluc homologues are presented, revealing that selectivity for small F− ions may arise from the proteins’ narrow pores and unusual anion coordination.

doi: 10.1038/nature14981