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DNA self-assembly scaled up p.34

DNA can be designed to self-assemble into target shapes, but the size and quantity of objects that can be prepared have been limited. Methods to overcome these problems have now been found.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-017-07690-y


A tip of the hat to evolutionary change p.35

The relative roles of biological and environmental factors in driving evolutionary change have been unclear. Now fossil analysis shows that their action depends on where an animal group is in its evolutionary trajectory.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-017-07440-0


A steamy proposal for Martian clays p.37

Martian clays present a conundrum: the models proposed to explain their formation require conditions that are not predicted by computational climate simulations. Experiments now suggest an alternative scenario.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-017-07661-3


Vivid views of the PINK1 protein p.38

Structures of an unusual enzymatic domain in PINK1 provide insights into how this protein regulates the function of organelles called mitochondria, and how mutations in PINK1 contribute to Parkinson’s disease.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-017-07691-x


Two-dimensional tellurium p.40

Materials that consist of just one or a few layers of atoms could have a range of useful applications. Computer simulations now show that the element tellurium might form three such phases, and that they have potentially useful properties.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-017-07159-y


The dark side of PD-1 receptor inhibition p.41

Inhibiting the protein PD-1 can activate T cells that trigger immune responses against tumour cells. But it emerges that, in mice, this immunotherapy exacerbates a cancer that involves the T cells themselves. See Letter p.121

Aya Ludin & Leonard I. Zon

doi: 10.1038/nature24759


Quantum-teleportation experiments turn 20 p.42

In 1997, it was demonstrated that quantum states can be teleported from one location to a distant one. The discovery had huge consequences for the development of quantum communication and computing.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-017-07689-5



Structure of PINK1 in complex with its substrate ubiquitin p.51

Stabilization of a transient protein kinase–substrate complex using a nanobody provides molecular details about how the Parkinson’s disease-linked protein kinase PINK1 phosphorylates ubiquitin, and suggests new pharmacological strategies.

Alexander F. Schubert, Christina Gladkova, Els Pardon, Jane L. Wagstaff, Stefan M. V. Freund, Jan Steyaert, Sarah L. Maslen & David Komander

doi: 10.1038/nature24645

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A transfer-RNA-derived small RNA regulates ribosome biogenesis p.57

A 22-nucleotide fragment of a transfer RNA regulates translation by binding to the mRNA of a ribosomal protein and increasing its expression, and downregulation of the fragment in patient-derived liver tumour cells reduces tumour growth in mice.

Hak Kyun Kim, Gabriele Fuchs, Shengchun Wang, Wei Wei, Yue Zhang, Hyesuk Park, Biswajoy Roy-Chaudhuri, Pan Li, Jianpeng Xu, Kirk Chu + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature25005

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Gigadalton-scale shape-programmable DNA assemblies p.78

By using DNA sequence information to encode the shapes of DNA origami building blocks, shape-programmable assemblies can be created, with sizes and complexities similar to those of viruses.

Klaus F. Wagenbauer, Christian Sigl & Hendrik Dietz

doi: 10.1038/nature24651

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Biotechnological mass production of DNA origami p.84

All necessary strands for DNA origami can be created in a single scalable process by using bacteriophages to generate single-stranded precursor DNA containing the target sequences interleaved with self-excising DNA enzymes.

Florian Praetorius, Benjamin Kick, Karl L. Behler, Maximilian N. Honemann, Dirk Weuster-Botz & Hendrik Dietz

doi: 10.1038/nature24650

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Reconciling taxon senescence with the Red Queen’s hypothesis p.92

Focusing attention on the expansion of taxa, rather than their survival, resolves the apparent contradiction between seemingly deterministic patterns of waxing and waning of taxa over time and the randomness of extinction implied by the Red Queen’s hypothesis.

Indrė Žliobaitė, Mikael Fortelius & Nils C. Stenseth

doi: 10.1038/nature24656

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Genetic diversity of the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae p.96

Genome sequencing analyses from 765 specimens of Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles coluzzii from 15 locations across Africa characterize patterns of gene flow and variations in population size, and provide a resource for studying the evolution of natural malaria vector populations.

doi: 10.1038/nature24995

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Immune evasion of Plasmodium falciparum by RIFIN via inhibitory receptors p.101

Proteins expressed on the surfaces of erythrocytes infected with Plasmodium falciparum help the parasite to evade the host immune system by acting as ligands for immune inhibitory receptors and thereby downregulating the immune response.

Fumiji Saito, Kouyuki Hirayasu, Takeshi Satoh, Christian W. Wang, John Lusingu, Takao Arimori, Kyoko Shida, Nirianne Marie Q. Palacpac, Sawako Itagaki, Shiroh Iwanaga + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature24994

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Maternal age generates phenotypic variation in Caenorhabditis elegans p.106

Maternal age is found to be a major source of phenotypic variation in isogenic C. elegans populations living in a controlled environment, with the progeny of young mothers impaired for multiple fitness traits.

Marcos Francisco Perez, Mirko Francesconi, Cristina Hidalgo-Carcedo & Ben Lehner

doi: 10.1038/nature25012

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IL-11 is a crucial determinant of cardiovascular fibrosis p.110

Fibroblast-specific IL-11 expression causes heart and kidney fibrosis and organ failure, whereas IL-11 inhibition prevents fibroblast activation and organ fibrosis, indicating that IL-11 inhibition is a potential therapeutic strategy to treat fibrotic diseases.

doi: 10.1038/nature24676

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Inactivation of DNA repair triggers neoantigen generation and impairs tumour growth p.116

The inactivation of DNA mismatch repair in cancer cells produces dynamic mutational profiles and generates neoantigens, which result in improved immune surveillance against these cells.

Giovanni Germano, Simona Lamba, Giuseppe Rospo, Ludovic Barault, Alessandro Magrì, Federica Maione, Mariangela Russo, Giovanni Crisafulli, Alice Bartolini, Giulia Lerda + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature24673

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PD-1 is a haploinsufficient suppressor of T cell lymphomagenesis p.121

Loss of the PD-1 receptor promotes the development of T cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas by modulating oncogenic signalling pathways, and blocking these pathways reduces tumourigenesis.

Tim Wartewig, Zsuzsanna Kurgyis, Selina Keppler, Konstanze Pechloff, Erik Hameister, Rupert Öllinger, Roman Maresch, Thorsten Buch, Katja Steiger, Christof Winter + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature24649

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Promoter-bound METTL3 maintains myeloid leukaemia by m6A-dependent translation control p.126

N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is an abundant internal RNA modification in both coding and non-coding RNAs that is catalysed by the METTL3–METTL14 methyltransferase complex. However, the specific role of these enzymes in cancer is still largely unknown. Here we define a pathway that is specific for METTL3 and is implicated in the maintenance of a leukaemic state. We identify METTL3 as an essential gene for growth of acute myeloid leukaemia cells in two distinct genetic screens. Downregulation of METTL3 results in cell cycle arrest, differentiation of leukaemic cells and failure to establish leukaemia in immunodeficient mice. We show that METTL3, independently of METTL14, associates with chromatin and localizes to the transcriptional start sites of active genes. The vast majority of these genes have the CAATT-box binding protein CEBPZ present at the transcriptional start site, and this is required for recruitment of METTL3 to chromatin. Promoter-bound METTL3 induces m6A modification within the coding region of the associated mRNA transcript, and enhances its translation by relieving ribosome stalling. We show that genes regulated by METTL3 in this way are necessary for acute myeloid leukaemia. Together, these data define METTL3 as a regulator of a chromatin-based pathway that is necessary for maintenance of the leukaemic state and identify this enzyme as a potential therapeutic target for acute myeloid leukaemia.

Isaia Barbieri, Konstantinos Tzelepis, Luca Pandolfini, Junwei Shi, Gonzalo Millán-Zambrano, Samuel C. Robson, Demetrios Aspris, Valentina Migliori, Andrew J. Bannister, Namshik Han + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature24678

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Genetically programmed chiral organoborane synthesis p.132

A genetically encoded platform can produce chiral organoboranes in bacteria with high turnover, enantioselectivity and chemoselectivity, and can be tuned and configured through DNA manipulation.

S. B. Jennifer Kan, Xiongyi Huang, Yosephine Gumulya, Kai Chen & Frances H. Arnold

doi: 10.1038/nature24996

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