A new forum promises to bring deserved prestige to outstanding African researchers, and demonstrates the continent’s untapped potential.
Growing urbanization is heralding a new era of science in the city.
The promise of DNA origami shows signs of coming to fruition a decade after its debut.
Electrical stimulation seems to boost endurance in preliminary studies.
AlphaGo’s techniques could have broad uses, but moving beyond games is a challenge.
Sequence of 430,000-year-old DNA pushes back divergence of humans and Neanderthals.
Mathematician receives coveted award for solving three-century-old problem in number theory.
Joint ExoMars mission launches lander and orbiter — a rover is planned for 2018.
Plan to postpone launch of InSight probe will cost agency an extra US$150 million.
Scientists are searching for an unseen world at the fringes of the solar system.
A controversial study has suggested that the neurodegenerative disease might be transferred from one person to another. Now scientists are racing to find out whether that is true.
News & Views
Microscopy reveals how nanowires of a widely used semiconductor grow during preparation. The findings will allow the crystal phases of such nanowires to be engineered — a crucial advance for materials science. See Article p.317
Stem-cell engineering has allowed successful cornea transplantations in rabbits and the regeneration of transparent lens tissue in children, demonstrating the therapeutic potential of this approach. See Article p.323 & Letter p.376
Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel use in China have grown dramatically in the past few decades, yet it emerges that the country's relative contribution to global climate change has remained surprisingly constant. See Letter p.357
Scientists have created soft microrobots whose body shapes can be controlled by structured light, and which self-propel by means of travelling-wave body deformations similar to those exhibited by swimming protozoa.
The HBx protein of hepatitis B virus has been found to co-opt a host-cell enzyme that targets the Smc5/6 protein complex for degradation. The finding identifies Smc5/6 as a cellular antiviral factor. See Letter p.386
An in situ experiment finds that reducing the acidity of the seawater surrounding a natural coral reef significantly increases reef calcification, suggesting that ocean acidification may already be slowing coral growth. See Letter p.362
Crystal phase switching between zinc-blende and wurtzite phases during the growth of gallium arsenide nanowires is observed experimentally, and explained via changes in the geometry of the catalytic droplet sitting on top of the growing nanowire.
A new procedure for cataract removal that preserves lens epithelial progenitor cells in mammals, which require Pax6 and Bmi1 for their self-renewal, achieves lens regeneration in rabbits, macaques and in infants with cataracts.
Here the authors use in crystallo enzymology to obtain structural snapshots of a complete cellulose biosynthesis cycle and reveal the mechanism by which the bacterial cellulose synthase BcsA–BcsB translocates the nascent cellulose polymer.
X-ray crystal structures of the M1 and M4 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, revealing differences in the orthosteric and allosteric binding sites that help to explain the subtype selectivity of drugs targeting this family of receptors.
Observations of γ-ray emission from the microquasar V404 Cygni during a recent period of strong flaring activity show spectral features at around 511 kiloelectronvolts, which are clear signatures of variable positron annihilation, implying a high rate of positron production.
By calculating the rotational figure of Mars and its surface topography before the Tharsis volcanic region caused true polar wander, it is shown that Tharsis formed during the Noachian and Hesperian periods at about the same time as the valley networks; early Mars climate simulations suggest icy precipitation in a latitudinal band in the southern hemisphere.
Magnetic molecules are candidates for solid-state spin qubits from which a quantum computer might be constructed, but the magnetic interactions between such molecules typically lead to unwanted decoherence; now magnetic molecules have been designed in such a way that their spin dynamics are energetically protected against the decoherence-inducing interactions.
Chiral nematic liquid crystals are self-organized helical superstructures in which the helices can stand or lie, and lie in either a uniform or a random way; here, the helices are reversibly driven from a standing arrangement to a uniform lying arrangement and then rotated in-plane—solely by light.
Using a global coupled biogeochemistry–climate model and a chemistry and transport model reveals that China’s present-day global radiative forcing is about ten per cent of the current global total, made up of both warming and cooling contributions; if in the future China reduces the cooling forcings, global warming could accelerate.
A manipulative experiment in which a reef is alkalinized in situ shows that calcification rates are likely to be lower already than they were in pre-industrial times because of acidification.
Vocalizations were recorded for over eight distinct whale species as they converged on a shoal of herring to feed; the predators divided the shoal into overlapping but species-specific foraging sectors and the activities of the whales changed between day and night.
Igf1 is identified in mice as an experience-induced gene that functions cell-autonomously to increase inhibitory input onto a disinhibitory subtype of GABAergic neurons in the cortex, affecting the downstream excitation–inhibition balance within circuits that regulate visual acuity, and providing a novel example of experience modulating neural plasticity.
A protocol has been developed to use human induced pluripotent stem cells to obtain a self-formed ectodermal autonomous multizone, which includes distinct cell lineages of the eye, including the ocular surface ectoderm, lens, neuro-retina, and retinal pigment epithelium that can be expanded to form a functional corneal epithelium when transplanted to an animal model of corneal visual impairment.
The discovery is reported of a small molecule drug, GS-5734, which has antiviral activity against Ebola virus and other filoviruses, and is capable of providing post-exposure therapeutic protection against lethal disease in 100% of drug-treated nonhuman primates infected with Ebola virus; the drug targets viral RNA polymerase and can distribute to sanctuary sites (such as testes, eyes and brain), suggesting that it may be able to clear persistent virus infection.
Hepatitis B virus X protein stimulates transcription from the viral DNA episome by hijacking the host ubiquitin machinery to target the Smc5/6 complex for degradation.
Maternal mRNAs are tethered within the Drosophila germ plasm via base-pairing interactions between mRNAs and piRNPs containing the Aub Piwi protein; the preference for certain mRNAs to be tethered appears to be related to their longer length, which provides more potential piRNP-binding sites, and the results suggest a new role for piRNAs in germ-cell specification independent of their role in transposon silencing.
The crystal structure of a substrate-engaged SecY channel and the SecA ATPase, which provides molecular insight into the process of protein translocation across membranes.