Review, News and Views, Perspectives, Hypotheses and Analyses

  • News and Views |

    Have the molecular mechanisms that are linked to the developmental organization of centralized nervous systems evolved once or multiple times? Evidence from nine animal species points to the latter.

    • Caroline B. Albertin
    •  & Clifton W. Ragsdale
  • News and Views |

    A geological record reveals that the Aurora sector of the Antarctic Ice Sheet showed contrasting responses to past periods of atmospheric warmth. The findings might help to predict the ice sheet’s response to modern warming.

    • Sarah Greenwood
  • News and Views |

    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.

    • Kyla D. Omilusik
    •  & Ananda W. Goldrath
  • News and Views |

    Dense stellar remnants called white dwarfs are often found in binary star systems. Satellite observations suggest a previously unknown way in which a white dwarf can draw material from its companion star.

    • Thomas Marsh
  • News and Views |

    In multiple sclerosis, the blood-coagulation factor fibrinogen can enter the brain. It emerges that fibrinogen inhibits the maturation of cells called oligodendrocytes that repair nerve-fibre insulation and maintain neuronal communication.

    • Klaus-Armin Nave
    •  & Hannelore Ehrenreich
  • News and Views |

    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.

    • Fei Zhang
    •  & Hao Yan
  • News and Views |

    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.

    • Nicolas Gisin
  • News and Views |

    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.

    • Salima Daou
    •  & Frank Sicheri
  • News and 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.

    • Don A. Cowan
    •  & Thulani P. Makhalanyane
  • News and Views |

    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.

    • Laura Schaefer
  • News and Views |

    The molecule 19,20-dihydroxydocosapentaenoic acid, formed by the metabolism of a fatty acid involved in normal brain function, promotes the development of a diabetes-associated form of blindness in a mouse model.

    • Keisuke Yanagida
    •  & Timothy Hla
  • News and Views |

    ​​​​​​​Manipulation of host-cell metabolism is an essential aspect of viral replication cycles. Viral co-option of a cellular long non-protein-coding RNA has now been found to be a key step in this process.

    • Nicholas S. Heaton
    •  & Bryan R. Cullen
  • News and Views |

    Quantum-computing devices can be more powerful than their classical counterparts, but controlling large quantum systems is difficult. Two studies report work that overcomes this challenge.

    • Christine Muschik
  • News and Views |

    As pluripotent stem cells become primed to give rise to all bodily cell types, they begin to form the amniotic cavity in which the mammalian fetus will grow. A checkpoint that gates this transition has now been identified.

    • Julien G. Dumortier
    •  & Jean-Léon Maître
  • News and Views |

    The way in which chromosomes come together within a single nucleus after cell division has now been shown to involve a small DNA-binding protein named BAF, which might help to join chromosomes with one another.

    • Tejas Dharmaraj
    •  & Katherine L. Wilson
  • News and Views |

    Rhodium catalysts have been developed that can be tuned to produce two different products from methane. The findings could aid the development of industrial processes that exploit this abundant resource.

    • Ive Hermans
  • News and Views |

    The evolutionarily conserved enzyme RNA polymerase III is a driver of protein synthesis and cell growth. It emerges that partial suppression of this essential enzyme extends lifespan in yeast, roundworms and flies.

    • Bruce A. Edgar
    •  & Savraj S. Grewal
  • News and Views |

    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.

    • Charles R. Marshall
  • News and Views |

    A system for monitoring a person’s vital signs — such as their blood pressure and heart rate — offers many advantages over currently used technologies, including enhanced sensing capabilities, comfort and convenience.

    • Leena Ukkonen
    •  & Lauri Sydänheimo
  • News and Views |

    Modification of messenger RNAs through a process called m6A methylation facilitates dynamic temporal regulation of RNA levels in neural precursor cells, enabling fine-tuning of developing neuronal circuits in the brain. 

    • J. David Sweatt
  • News and Views |

    Immunotherapy can reawaken T cells to destroy tumour cells. Modelling of tumour and T-cell interactions suggests why certain tumour cells are targeted and improves predictions of immunotherapy outcome.

    • Siranush Sarkizova
    •  & Nir Hacohen
  • News and Views |

    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.

    • Evan J. Reed
  • News and Views |

    Carbon–hydrogen bonds in organic molecules can be cut to install other chemical groups on the carbon atom, but these reactions have been limited. A catalytic palladium complex opens up fresh opportunities.

    • Joanna Wencel-Delord
    •  & Françoise Colobert