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A molecular assembler p.336

The idea of nanometre-scale machines that can assemble molecules has long been thought of as the stuff of science fiction. Such a machine has now been built — and might herald a new model for organic synthesis. See Letter p.374

T. Ross Kelly & Marc L. Snapper

doi: 10.1038/549336a


Red alert about lipid's role in skin cancer p.337

Some versions of the MC1R protein are associated with red hair and an increased risk of developing a skin cancer called melanoma. It emerges that a lipid that binds MC1R might provide a target to reduce this risk. See Letter p.399

Ian J. Jackson & E. Elizabeth Patton

doi: 10.1038/nature23550


Long-lived electrodes for plastic batteries p.339

Organic materials are potential substitutes for the costly transition-metal oxides used in battery electrodes, but their stability is often poor. A polymer design that uses intermolecular interactions solves this problem.

Byungju Lee & Kisuk Kang

doi: 10.1038/549339a


From embryo mutation to adult degeneration p.340

Mutations in embryonic blood-cell precursors called erythro-myeloid progenitors cause abnormal activation of their descendants — immune cells called microglia — leading to neurodegeneration in mice. See Letter p.389

Stefan P. Tarnawsky & Mervin C. Yoder

doi: 10.1038/nature23547


No more tears for metal 3D printing p.342

3D printing could revolutionize manufacturing processes involving metals, but few industrially useful alloys are compatible with the technique. A method has been developed that might open up the 3D printing of all metals. See Letter p.365

Iain Todd

doi: 10.1038/549342a


The persistence of memory p.343

Live imaging reveals that whether or not a daughter cell proliferates is influenced by two molecular factors inherited from its mother, providing insight into how the behaviour of a newly born cell can be predetermined. See Letter p.404

Katarzyna M. Kedziora & Jeremy E. Purvis

doi: 10.1038/nature23549



The neuropeptide NMU amplifies ILC2-driven allergic lung inflammation p.351

Neuromedin receptor NMUR1 is specifically expressed by a subpopulation of type 2 innate lymphoid cells and promotes the inflammatory response of these cells in response to allergens, indicating the importance of neuro-immune crosstalk in allergic responses.

Antonia Wallrapp, Samantha J. Riesenfeld, Patrick R. Burkett, Raja-Elie E. Abdulnour, Jackson Nyman, Danielle Dionne, Matan Hofree, Michael S. Cuoco, Christopher Rodman, Daneyal Farouq + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature24029

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A binary main-belt comet p.357

Analysis based on high-resolution observations from the Hubble Space Telescope shows that the asteroid 288P is a binary main-belt comet, with properties unlike any known binary asteroid.

Jessica Agarwal, David Jewitt, Max Mutchler, Harold Weaver & Stephen Larson

doi: 10.1038/nature23892

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3D printing of high-strength aluminium alloys p.365

Zirconium nanoparticles introduced into aluminium alloy powders control solidification during 3D printing, enabling the production of crack-free materials with strengths comparable to the corresponding wrought material.

John H. Martin, Brennan D. Yahata, Jacob M. Hundley, Justin A. Mayer, Tobias A. Schaedler & Tresa M. Pollock

doi: 10.1038/nature23894

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Stereodivergent synthesis with a programmable molecular machine p.374

A molecular machine that can be programmed to position a substrate at one of two directing sites on a molecule, which control the stereochemistry of addition to the substrate, demonstrates complexity, precision and function previously only observed in nature.

Salma Kassem, Alan T. L. Lee, David A. Leigh, Vanesa Marcos, Leoni I. Palmer & Simone Pisano

doi: 10.1038/nature23677

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The Apostasia genome and the evolution of orchids OPEN p.379

Comparing the whole genome sequence of Apostasia shenzhenica with transcriptome and genome data from five orchid subfamilies permits the reconstruction of an ancestral gene toolkit, providing insight into orchid origins, evolution and diversification.

Guo-Qiang Zhang, Ke-Wei Liu, Zhen Li, Rolf Lohaus, Yu-Yun Hsiao, Shan-Ce Niu, Jie-Yu Wang, Yao-Cheng Lin, Qing Xu, Li-Jun Chen + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature23897

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A somatic mutation in erythro-myeloid progenitors causes neurodegenerative disease p.389

Braf V600E expression in resident macrophage progenitors leads to clonal expansion of ERK-activated microglia, which causes synaptic and neuronal loss in the brain and results in lethal neurodegenerative disease in adult mice.

Elvira Mass, Christian E. Jacome-Galarza, Thomas Blank, Tomi Lazarov, Benjamin H. Durham, Neval Ozkaya, Alessandro Pastore, Marius Schwabenland, Young Rock Chung, Marc K. Rosenblum + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature23672

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Palmitoylation-dependent activation of MC1R prevents melanomagenesis p.399

The protein modification palmitoylation increases the ability of variant forms of the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) to induce pigmentation, and this is linked to reduced development of melanomas.

Shuyang Chen, Bo Zhu, Chengqian Yin, Wei Liu, Changpeng Han, Baoen Chen, Tongzheng Liu, Xin Li, Xiang Chen, Chunying Li + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature23887

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Competing memories of mitogen and p53 signalling control cell-cycle entry p.404

Mother cells transmit mitogen-induced CCND1 mRNA and DNA damage-induced p53 protein to newly born daughter cells, where synthesized cyclin D1 and the p53-regulated CDK inhibitor p21 directly compete to decide between proliferation and quiescence.

Hee Won Yang, Mingyu Chung, Takamasa Kudo & Tobias Meyer

doi: 10.1038/nature23880

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Alternative evolutionary histories in the sequence space of an ancient protein p.409

Combining ancestral protein reconstruction with deep mutational scanning to characterize alternative histories in the sequence space around an ancient transcription factor reveals hundreds of alternative protein sequences that use diverse biochemical mechanisms to perform the derived function at least as well as the historical outcome.

Tyler N. Starr, Lora K. Picton & Joseph W. Thornton

doi: 10.1038/nature23902

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The cryo-electron microscopy structure of human transcription factor IIH p.414

The cryo-electron microscopy structure of the ten-subunit human transcription factor IIH, revealing the molecular architecture of the TFIIH core complex, the detailed structures of its constituent XPB and XPD ATPases, and how the core and kinase subcomplexes of TFIIH are connected.

Basil J. Greber, Thi Hoang Duong Nguyen, Jie Fang, Pavel V. Afonine, Paul D. Adams & Eva Nogales

doi: 10.1038/nature23903

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