Volume 536 Number 7615


A safe place for nuclear energy? p.125

Rewarding existing nuclear power plants for the value of their low-carbon power makes sense, but the nuclear industry has a lot of work to do if it is survive and thrive in the twenty-first century.

doi: 10.1038/536125a


News Features

News & Views

Fast track for silver p.150

A solid composite material has been made that conducts electricity through the rapid transport of silver ions, which diffuse faster than in some liquids. The material holds promise for applications in charge-storage devices. See Article p.159

doi: 10.1038/536150a

Nanocolumns at the heart of the synapse p.151

A nanocolumn spans the synaptic cleft between neurons, connecting regions of neurotransmitter molecule release and capture. This discovery informs on mechanisms of synaptic organization and regulation. See Letter p.210

doi: 10.1038/nature18917

A modern map of the human cerebral cortex p.152

An authoritative map of the modules that make up the cerebral cortex of the human brain promises to act as a springboard for greater understanding of brain function and disease. See Article p.171

doi: 10.1038/nature18914

Endothelial-cell killing promotes metastasis p.154

To migrate into the lungs, cancer cells in the bloodstream must cross the lung's endothelial-cell barrier. A study shows that cancer cells can achieve this feat by signalling to induce endothelial-cell death. See Letter p.215

doi: 10.1038/nature19465

The TORC1 pathway to protein destruction p.155

A study of the proteasome — a protein-degradation complex — reveals an evolutionarily conserved pathway that acts through the protein kinase TORC1 to adjust proteasome levels in response to cellular needs. See Letter p.184

doi: 10.1038/nature18919

Fat and the fate of pancreatic tumours p.157

In obese people with pancreatic cancer, the many interactions between fat cells and the inflammatory microenvironment surrounding the tumour leads to below-average prognosis and chemotherapy outcome.

doi: 10.1038/nature19419


A multi-modal parcellation of human cerebral cortex p.171

A detailed parcellation (map) of the human cerebral cortex has been obtained by integrating multi-modal imaging data, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and the resulting freely available resources will enable detailed comparative studies of the human brain in health, ageing and disease.

doi: 10.1038/nature18933

SAR11 bacteria linked to ocean anoxia and nitrogen loss p.179

Bacteria of the SAR11 clade constitute up to one half of all marine microbes and are thought to require oxygen for growth; here, a subgroup of SAR11 bacteria are shown to thrive in ocean oxygen minimum zones and to encode abundant respiratory nitrate reductases.

doi: 10.1038/nature19068

An evolutionarily conserved pathway controls proteasome homeostasis p.184

Proteasome abundance is crucial for cell survival, but how cells maintain adequate amounts of proteasome is unclear; an analysis in yeast identifies TORC1 and Mpk1 as central components of a pathway regulating proteasome homeostasis through the coordinated regulation of regulatory particle assembly chaperones and proteasome subunits—this pathway is evolutionarily conserved with mTOR and ERK5 regulating proteasome abundance in mammals.

doi: 10.1038/nature18943


Heating of Jupiter’s upper atmosphere above the Great Red Spot p.190

The upper atmosphere above Jupiter’s Great Red Spot—the largest storm in the Solar System—is hundreds of degrees hotter than anywhere else on the planet; the heating must come from below, suggesting coupling between Jupiter’s lower and upper atmospheres, probably the result of upwardly propagating acoustic or gravity waves.

doi: 10.1038/nature18940

Single-layer MoS2 nanopores as nanopower generators p.197

Blue energy is a desirable renewable resource, involving the osmotic transport of ions through a membrane from seawater to fresh water; here, nanopores have been created in two-dimensional molybdenum-disulfide membranes, and shown to generate a substantial osmotic power output.

doi: 10.1038/nature18593

Emergence of a Homo sapiens-specific gene family and chromosome 16p11.2 CNV susceptibility p.205

Genetic differences that specify unique aspects of human evolution have typically been identified by comparative analyses between the genomes of humans and closely related primates, including more recently the genomes of archaic hominins. Not all regions of the genome, however, are equally amenable to such study. Recurrent copy number variation (CNV) at chromosome 16p11.2 accounts for approximately 1% of cases of autism and is mediated by a complex set of segmental duplications, many of which arose recently during human evolution. Here we reconstruct the evolutionary history of the locus and identify bolA family member 2 (BOLA2) as a gene duplicated exclusively in Homo sapiens. We estimate that a 95-kilobase-pair segment containing BOLA2 duplicated across the critical region approximately 282 thousand years ago (ka), one of the latest among a series of genomic changes that dramatically restructured the locus during hominid evolution. All humans examined carried one or more copies of the duplication, which nearly fixed early in the human lineage—a pattern unlikely to have arisen so rapidly in the absence of selection (P < 0.0097). We show that the duplication of BOLA2 led to a novel, human-specific in-frame fusion transcript and that BOLA2 copy number correlates with both RNA expression (r = 0.36) and protein level (r = 0.65), with the greatest expression difference between human and chimpanzee in experimentally derived stem cells. Analyses of 152 patients carrying a chromosome 16p11.2 rearrangement show that more than 96% of breakpoints occur within the H. sapiens-specific duplication. In summary, the duplicative transposition of BOLA2 at the root of the H. sapiens lineage about 282 ka simultaneously increased copy number of a gene associated with iron homeostasis and predisposed our species to recurrent rearrangements associated with disease.

doi: 10.1038/nature19075

Global profiling of SRP interaction with nascent polypeptides p.219

Here, the selection of substrates by the protein–RNA complex known as the signal recognition particle (SRP) is investigated in the bacterium Escherichia coli, revealing that the SRP has a strong preference for hydrophobic transmembrane domains of inner membrane proteins.

doi: 10.1038/nature19070