Volume 532 Number 7597


Safety in neutrons p.5

To boost nuclear security, research reactors must eliminate highly enriched uranium.

doi: 10.1038/532005b

Viral complacency p.5

The first outbreak of yellow fever in Angola in almost 30 years illustrates the danger of a short attention span when confronting epidemic threats.

doi: 10.1038/532005a

Mind matters p.6

Mental illness is moving up the global agenda — but there is still much to do.

doi: 10.1038/532006a


News Features

There’s an app for that p.20

Smartphone apps claim to help conditions from addiction to schizophrenia, but few have been thoroughly tested.

doi: 10.1038/532020a

News & Views

Supernovae in the neighbourhood p.40

Detailed measurements of radioisotopes in deep-sea deposits, plus modelling of how they reached Earth, indicate that many supernovae have occurred near enough to have potentially influenced evolution. See Letters p.69 & p.73

doi: 10.1038/532040a

Fungus produces a toxic surprise p.41

A protein fragment released by filaments of the fungus Candida albicans destroys host cells. This is the first demonstration that human fungal pathogens other than moulds can release toxic peptides. See Article p.64

doi: 10.1038/nature17319

Shaped by sea-level shifts p.42

An analysis of changes in island topography and climate that have occurred since the last glacial maximum 21,000 years ago shows how sea-level change has influenced the current biodiversity of oceanic islands. See Letter p.99

doi: 10.1038/nature17880

Water's past revisited to predict its future p.44

A reconstruction of 1,200 years of water's history in the Northern Hemisphere, based on proxy data, fuels the debate about whether anthropogenic climate change affected twentieth-century precipitation. See Letter p.94

doi: 10.1038/532044a

Untangling autism p.45

A clever dissection of the roles of the Ptchd1 gene in the brains of mice demonstrates one way to untangle the complex relationships between the causes and symptoms of neurodevelopmental disorders. See Article p.58

doi: 10.1038/nature17311

Breaks in the brain p.46

A high-throughput approach has found clusters of DNA double-strand breaks in neural cells. Most of the clusters are in large genes that are associated with neural function, which suggests that the breaks may have tissue-specific roles.

doi: 10.1038/nature17316


Climate-smart soils p.49

The potential of soils to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions has not been exploited; here we discuss and recommend research and technology developments to implement mitigation practices.

doi: 10.1038/nature17174


Thalamic reticular impairment underlies attention deficit in Ptchd1Y/− mice p.58

PTCHD1 deletion in humans leads to attention deficits, intellectual disability, and autism spectrum disorders; mouse PTCHD1 is enriched in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) and TRN-restricted Ptchd1 deletion in mice led to attention-deficit hyperactivity, which could be rescued by modulating calcium-dependent potassium channel activity, suggesting that a TRN deficit may underlie core impairments associated with neurodevelopmental disorders and it may be possible to identify therapeutic targets for individuals with attention disorders.

doi: 10.1038/nature17427


Recent near-Earth supernovae probed by global deposition of interstellar radioactive 60Fe p.69

The rate of supernovae in our local Galactic neighbourhood within a distance of about 100 parsecs from Earth is estimated to be one every 2–4 million years, based on the total rate in the Milky Way (2.0 ± 0.7 per century). Recent massive-star and supernova activity in Earth’s vicinity may be traced by radionuclides with half-lives of up to 100 million years, if trapped in interstellar dust grains that penetrate the Solar System. One such radionuclide is 60Fe (with a half-life of 2.6 million years), which is ejected in supernova explosions and winds from massive stars. Here we report that the 60Fe signal observed previously in deep-sea crusts is global, extended in time and of interstellar origin from multiple events. We analysed deep-sea archives from all major oceans for 60Fe deposition via the accretion of interstellar dust particles. Our results reveal 60Fe interstellar influxes onto Earth at 1.5–3.2 million years ago and at 6.5–8.7 million years ago. The signal measured implies that a few per cent of fresh 60Fe was captured in dust and deposited on Earth. Our findings indicate multiple supernova and massive-star events during the last ten million years at distances of up to 100 parsecs.

doi: 10.1038/nature17196

The locations of recent supernovae near the Sun from modelling 60Fe transport p.73

The signature of 60Fe in deep-sea crusts indicates that one or more supernovae exploded in the solar neighbourhood about 2.2 million years ago. Recent isotopic analysis is consistent with a core-collapse or electron-capture supernova that occurred 60 to 130 parsecs from the Sun. Moreover, peculiarities in the cosmic ray spectrum point to a nearby supernova about two million years ago. The Local Bubble of hot, diffuse plasma, in which the Solar System is embedded, originated from 14 to 20 supernovae within a moving group, whose surviving members are now in the Scorpius–Centaurus stellar association. Here we report calculations of the most probable trajectories and masses of the supernova progenitors, and hence their explosion times and sites. The 60Fe signal arises from two supernovae at distances between 90 and 100 parsecs. The closest occurred 2.3 million years ago at present-day galactic coordinates l = 327°, b = 11°, and the second-closest exploded about 1.5 million years ago at l = 343°, b = 25°, with masses of 9.2 and 8.8 times the solar mass, respectively. The remaining supernovae, which formed the Local Bubble, contribute to a smaller extent because they happened at larger distances and longer ago (60Fe has a half-life of 2.6 million years). There are uncertainties relating to the nucleosynthesis yields and the loss of 60Fe during transport, but they do not influence the relative distribution of 60Fe in the crust layers, and therefore our model reproduces the measured relative abundances very well.

doi: 10.1038/nature17424

Coherent feedback control of a single qubit in diamond p.77

A feedback-control algorithm implemented using a solid-state spin qubit system associated with the nitrogen vacancy centre in diamond is demonstrated; the algorithm uses coherent feedback to overcome the limitations of measurement-based feedback and protects the qubit against intrinsic dephasing noise, making it stable for milliseconds.

doi: 10.1038/nature17404

Northern Hemisphere hydroclimate variability over the past twelve centuries p.94

A very large set of proxy data is used to reconstruct Northern Hemisphere hydroclimate variability over the past twelve centuries, to benchmark climate model simulations of hydroclimate; the twentieth-century intensification of hydroclimate extremes seen in the model simulations is not supported by the proxy reconstruction.

doi: 10.1038/nature17418

Late Quaternary climate change shapes island biodiversity p.99

Changes in island area, isolation and connectivity observed since the Last Glacial Maximum have had measurable effects on present-day biodiversity, with formerly larger and less well connected islands having a greater number of endemic species.

doi: 10.1038/nature17443

Derivation and differentiation of haploid human embryonic stem cells p.107

Haploid human embryonic stem cells have been derived from haploid oocytes, the cells maintain a normal haploid karyotype as pluripotent cells and, unexpectedly, as differentiated cells — loss-of-function genetic screens previously performed with haploid embryonic stem cells in mice can now be performed in humans.

doi: 10.1038/nature17408

Structural basis of lenalidomide-induced CK1α degradation by the CRL4CRBN ubiquitin ligase p.127

Thalidomide and its derivatives, lenalidomide and pomalidomide, are immune modulatory drugs (IMiDs) used in the treatment of haematologic malignancies. IMiDs bind CRBN, the substrate receptor of the CUL4–RBX1–DDB1–CRBN (also known as CRL4CRBN) E3 ubiquitin ligase, and inhibit ubiquitination of endogenous CRL4CRBN substrates. Unexpectedly, IMiDs also repurpose the ligase to target new proteins for degradation. Lenalidomide induces degradation of the lymphoid transcription factors Ikaros and Aiolos (also known as IKZF1 and IKZF3), and casein kinase 1α (CK1α), which contributes to its clinical efficacy in the treatment of multiple myeloma and 5q-deletion associated myelodysplastic syndrome (del(5q) MDS), respectively. How lenalidomide alters the specificity of the ligase to degrade these proteins remains elusive. Here we present the 2.45 Å crystal structure of DDB1–CRBN bound to lenalidomide and CK1α. CRBN and lenalidomide jointly provide the binding interface for a CK1α β-hairpin-loop located in the kinase N-lobe. We show that CK1α binding to CRL4CRBN is strictly dependent on the presence of an IMiD. Binding of IKZF1 to CRBN similarly requires the compound and both, IKZF1 and CK1α, use a related binding mode. Our study provides a mechanistic explanation for the selective efficacy of lenalidomide in del(5q) MDS therapy. We anticipate that high-affinity protein–protein interactions induced by small molecules will provide opportunities for drug development, particularly for targeted protein degradation.

doi: 10.1038/nature16979