Revisting the past can help to inform ideas of the present.
Although the evidence suggests that the Olympic Games are safe to proceed, the global health community must not let the Zika virus fade from the research agenda until the threat is wiped out.
Governments need to tighten regulation if the sharing of clinical-trial data is to succeed.
A court ruling paves the way for disease-containment measures, but the risk of spread to other regions and nations remains.
New President Michel Temer ’ who replaces impeached Dilma Rousseff ’ is fusing the science and telecommunications ministries.
Ice-going vessels like Britain’s RRS Sir David Attenborough ’ named Boaty McBoatface by the Internet ’ are being built across the world.
Synthetic polymerase is a small step along the way to mirrored life forms.
Financial woes of leading biotech firm highlight challenges of developing innovative therapies.
Materials scientists are creating next-generation mixtures with remarkable properties.
Old-fashioned breeding techniques are bearing more fruit than genetic engineering in developing hyper-efficient plants.
News & Views
Neuroscientists are increasingly using virtual reality to facilitate studies of animal behaviour, but whether behaviour in the virtual world mimics that in real life is a matter for debate. Here, scientists discuss the strengths and limitations of the approach.
A synthetic strategy has been developed that provides easy access to structurally diverse analogues of naturally occurring antibiotics, providing a fresh means of attack in the war against drug-resistant bacteria. See Article p.338
Neutrinos come in three 'flavours', as do antineutrinos, and they all change flavour as they travel. New measurements of the mixing of different neutrinos may help to explain why our Universe is made of matter and not antimatter.
Salamanders can regenerate several of their organs, including amputated limbs. Analysis of a Mexican salamander shows that crosstalk between two signalling molecules regulates limb regeneration. See Letter p.407
Objects known as brown dwarfs are midway between stars and planets in mass. Observations of a hot brown dwarf irradiated by a nearby star will help to fill a gap in our knowledge of the atmospheres of fluid planetary objects. See Letter p.366
The enzyme RNA polymerase II, along with several transcription factors, initiates DNA transcription. Analyses reveal the structures involved in this process in human and yeast cells at high-resolution. See Articles p.353 & p.359
Large-scale analyses of the drug sensitivity of cancer cell lines have been previously reported to yield conflicting conclusions; this Analysis uses independently generated data to demonstrate that consistency can be achieved if key laboratory and data analysis practices are considered when future studies are undertaken.
A practical, fully synthetic route to macrolide antibiotics via the convergent assembly of simple chemical building blocks is described; more than 300 new macrolide antibiotic candidates have been synthesized using this approach, a number of which are active against bacterial strains that are resistant to currently used antibiotics.
A tour-de-force of structural biology solves the structure of the macromolecular injection machinery used to deliver a phage genome into a bacterium.
The cryo-electron microscopy structures of yeast initiation complexes containing the transcription factors TBP, TFIIA, TFIIB, TFIIE, and TFIIF and containing either closed or open promoter DNA are reported, providing mechanistic insights into DNA opening and template-strand loading.
Cryo-electron microscopy structural models of the human pre-initiation complex at all major steps of transcription initiation at near atomic-level resolution are presented, providing new mechanistic insights into the processes of promoter melting and transcription-bubble formation, as well as an almost complete proposed structural model of all of the pre-initiation complex components and their interactions with DNA.
Spectroscopic detection and characterization of an irradiated substellar donor planet in an accreting white-dwarf binary system reveals a donor mass of 0.055 ± 0.008 solar masses, an average spectral type of L1 ± 1 and an average irradiation-induced temperature difference between the dayside and nightside of 57 kelvin.
Mutants of the C4-symmetric protein RhuA were designed to self-assemble into two-dimensional crystalline lattices with precise spatial arrangements and patterns; the lattices of one of the variants are auxetic and deform perpendicularly to an applied force in a way that is contrary to what is generally expected in typical materials.
The olefin metathesis reaction of two unsaturated substrates is one of the most powerful carbon–carbon-bond-forming reactions in organic chemistry. Specifically, the catalytic olefin metathesis reaction has led to profound developments in the synthesis of molecules relevant to the petroleum, materials, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries. These reactions are characterized by their use of discrete metal alkylidene catalysts that operate via a well-established mechanism. While the corresponding carbonyl–olefin metathesis reaction can also be used to construct carbon–carbon bonds, currently available methods are scarce and severely hampered by either harsh reaction conditions or the required use of stoichiometric transition metals as reagents. To date, no general protocol for catalytic carbonyl–olefin metathesis has been reported. Here we demonstrate a catalytic carbonyl–olefin ring-closing metathesis reaction that uses iron, an Earth-abundant and environmentally benign transition metal, as a catalyst. This transformation accommodates a variety of substrates and is distinguished by its operational simplicity, mild reaction conditions, high functional-group tolerance, and amenability to gram-scale synthesis. We anticipate that these characteristics, coupled with the efficiency of this reaction, will allow for further advances in areas that have historically been enhanced by olefin metathesis.
A reconstruction of atmospheric CO2 concentration from boron isotopes recorded in planktonic foraminifera examines climate–carbon interactions over the past tens of millions of years and confirms a strong linkage between climate and atmospheric CO2.
The stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and its contribution to past sea-level rise are not well defined; in this paper, airborne geophysical data and ice-sheet models are used to show that the Totten Glacier has undergone large-scale retreats and advances, and that it could contribute several metres of sea-level rise in a fully retreated scenario.
Compared to other apes, humans live longer, reproduce faster and have larger brains; here, total energy expenditure is studied in humans and all species of great ape, and is shown to be significantly higher in humans, demonstrating that the human lineage has experienced an energy-boosting acceleration in metabolic rate.
Depth-dependent patterns in ocean species diversity can be explained by latitudinal variations in energy availability, with shelf and upper-slope diversity increasing with thermal energy availability, and deep-sea diversity increasing with chemical energy availability; the discovery of these distinct patterns could help to guide the conservation and management of these remote ecosystems.
Comprehensive genotype–phenotype mapping of the green fluorescent protein shows that the local fitness peak is narrow, shaped by a high prevalence of epistatic interactions, providing for the loss of fluorescence when the joint effect of mutations exceeds a threshold.
Activity in the direct and indirect basal ganglia pathways can bidirectionally control the speed of movements that underlie reward-seeking actions in mice without affecting motivation.
The long-standing puzzle of why salamander limb regeneration requires anterior and posterior tissue interaction has been solved by the demonstration that fibroblast growth factor 8 and sonic hedgehog are key anterior and posterior cross-inductive signals that drive regeneration.
Neurotensin, a peptide expressed in the enteroendocrine cells of the small intestine that is released upon fat ingestion, is shown to increase fatty acid absorption, with neurotensin-deficient mice being protected from obesity induced by a high-fat diet.
In the context of mitochondrial genome heteroplasmy that causes defective oxidative phosphorylation in C. elegans, the ATFS-1-mediated mitochondrial unfolded protein response maintains the deleterious mitochondrial DNA in an attempt to recover oxidative phosphorylation activity and avoid cellular dysfunction.
CRISPR/Cas9 DNA editing creates a double-stranded break in the target DNA, which can frequently generate random insertion or deletion of bases (indels); a new genome editing approach combining Cas9 with a cytidine deaminase is described here, which corrects point mutations more efficiently than canonical Cas9, while avoiding double-stranded breaks and indel formation.
The 3.7 Å cryo-electron microscopy structure of Zika virus is presented, revealing a typical flavivirus architecture; in contrast to the related flavivirus dengue virus, Zika virus is thermally stable at 40 °C, and this structural stability may be a feature that helps it to survive in semen, saliva and urine.