Scientists take the bold step of saying phenomena wouldn’t have happened without global warming.
DIY scientists in Germany can bring techniques out of the lab and help the country learn to love the field.
Mysterious traveller from afar highlights a seasonal greeting.
More than 2 million newly digitized images extend the history of the bottom of the ice sheet.
Technique to knock out mutant gene relies on fatty molecules to deliver CRISPR components to inner-ear cells.
Blockchain could lend security measures to the scientific process, but the approach has its own risks.
It’s good news for neutron scientists in the region.
A giant iceberg, a quantum-entanglement experiment and the death of a spacecraft are among the year’s top stories.
A spectacular total eclipse, hitch-hiking octopus, nanoscale fireworks and more.
Ten people who mattered this year.
News & Views
Advanced genomic-analysis techniques now suggest that microbial communities in cold, nutrient-poor Antarctic soils can
acquire their energy from the oxidation of trace gases, rather than by photosynthesis.
Memory T cells protect against previously encountered pathogens, but their origins are unclear. Two studies track DNA modifications over time and find that these cells arise from effector T cells.
Why did Mars lose so much of its surface water, whereas Earth retained its? Models of the evolution of minerals on the two planets suggest one explanation: the Martian water was drawn into the planetary interior.
A high level of expression of the growth-factor protein VEGF-C is associated with tumours that have extensive lymph vessels and poor prognosis. It emerges that such tumours are highly susceptible to immunotherapy.
Inflammatory cues trigger microglial cells to release the protein ASC. It emerges that specks of ASC promote a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease in the brains of mice — aggregation and deposition of amyloid-β protein.
Includes African storms, a star that wouldn’t die, and the winning story from a readers’ poll.
An approach for the synthesis of E- and Z- trisubstituted alkenes in high stereoisomeric purity is developed by merging catalytic cross-metathesis and cross-coupling processes.
The spreading of pathology within and between brain areas is a hallmark of neurodegenerative disorders. In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, deposition of amyloid-β is accompanied by activation of the innate immune system and involves inflammasome-dependent formation of ASC specks in microglia. ASC specks released by microglia bind rapidly to amyloid-β and increase the formation of amyloid-β oligomers and aggregates, acting as an inflammation-driven cross-seed for amyloid-β pathology. Here we show that intrahippocampal injection of ASC specks resulted in spreading of amyloid-β pathology in transgenic double-mutant APPSwePSEN1dE9 mice. By contrast, homogenates from brains of APPSwePSEN1dE9 mice failed to induce seeding and spreading of amyloid-β pathology in ASC-deficient APPSwePSEN1dE9 mice. Moreover, co-application of an anti-ASC antibody blocked the increase in amyloid-β pathology in APPSwePSEN1dE9 mice. These findings support the concept that inflammasome activation is connected to seeding and spreading of amyloid-β pathology in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
In vivo deuterium labelling reveals a quiescent population of long-lived human virus-specific memory CD8 T cells that maintain the epigenetic landscape of effector cells, which facilitates rapid responses to pathogen re-exposure.
The cryo-electron microscopy and crystal structures of several mTORC1 complexes, and accompanying biochemical analyses, shed light on how mTORC1 is regulated and how cancer mutations lead to its hyperactivation.
The spectral variability of the blazar CTA 102 during a recent extreme outburst could be explained by a twisted, inhomogeneous jet containing regions of different orientations that vary in time.
The first interstellar object to be detected in the Solar System is asteroidal in nature and has a shape unlike any Solar System body, with a length about ten times its width.
Electrons derived from cosmic rays become trapped in the radiation belts that surround Earth, but how the electrons are generated has been uncertain; new measurements confirm the involvement of neutron decay.
Cosmic-ray muon radiography has been used to non-invasively visualize the voids in the Great Pyramid (Khufu’s Pyramid), revealing a large void situated above the Grand Gallery.
Modelling the reactions of water with the crusts of early Earth and Mars sheds light on how water was transported through their crusts to give the surfaces we see today.
The recently discovered theropod Halszkaraptor escuillei reveals a novel basal dromaeosaurid clade, and its adaptations that suggest a semi-aquatic predatory lifestyle add an additional ecomorphology to those developed by non-avian maniraptorans.
Metagenomic and biochemical analyses of soil samples from Antarctic desert regions provides evidence that bacteria in these soils derive carbon and energy from atmospheric CO, H2 and CO2.
DNA methylation profiling of virus-specific T cells during acute viral infection in mice provides evidence that a fate-permissive subset of effector CD8 T cells dedifferentiates into long-lived memory T cells.
‘Coincidence-detecting’ phosphoinositide sensors are used to study changes in the phosphoinositide lipid species found in membranes during the development and maturation of endocytic clathrin-coated vesicles.
Computationally designed icosahedral protein-based assemblies can protect their genetic material and evolve in biochemical environments, suggesting a route to the custom design of synthetic nanomaterials for non-viral drug delivery.
Cryo-electron microscopy mapping of the calcium-activated chloride channel TMEM16A combined with functional experiments reveals that calcium ions interact directly with the pore to activate the channel.
Calcium-activated chloride channels (CaCCs) encoded by TMEM16A control neuronal signalling, smooth muscle contraction, airway and exocrine gland secretion, and rhythmic movements of the gastrointestinal system. To understand how CaCCs mediate and control anion permeation to fulfil these physiological functions, knowledge of the mammalian TMEM16A structure and identification of its pore-lining residues are essential. TMEM16A forms a dimer with two pores. Previous CaCC structural analyses have relied on homology modelling of a homologue (nhTMEM16) from the fungus Nectria haematococca that functions primarily as a lipid scramblase, as well as subnanometre-resolution electron cryo-microscopy. Here we present de novo atomic structures of the transmembrane domains of mouse TMEM16A in nanodiscs and in lauryl maltose neopentyl glycol as determined by single-particle electron cryo-microscopy. These structures reveal the ion permeation pore and represent different functional states. The structure in lauryl maltose neopentyl glycol has one Ca2+ ion resolved within each monomer with a constricted pore; this is likely to correspond to a closed state, because a CaCC with a single Ca2+ occupancy requires membrane depolarization in order to open (C.J.P. et al., manuscript submitted). The structure in nanodiscs has two Ca2+ ions per monomer and its pore is in a closed conformation; this probably reflects channel rundown, which is the gradual loss of channel activity that follows prolonged CaCC activation in 1 mM Ca2+. Our mutagenesis and electrophysiological studies, prompted by analyses of the structures, identified ten residues distributed along the pore that interact with permeant anions and affect anion selectivity, as well as seven pore-lining residues that cluster near pore constrictions and regulate channel gating. Together, these results clarify the basis of CaCC anion conduction.