Review, News & Views, Perspectives, Hypotheses and Analyses

  • News & Views |

    During the deaths of some massive stars, a narrow beam called a jet is launched through the stellar envelope, leaving an imprint that is difficult to detect. Such an imprint has now been seen in unprecedented detail.

    • Ehud Nakar
  • News & Views |

    Fungal infection can affect crop yield. A plant protein found to counter fungal-induced interference with host metabolism illuminates antifungal defences and mechanisms that inhibit metabolic enzymes.

    • Mary C. Wildermuth
  • News & Views |

    Intron sequences are removed from newly synthesized RNA and usually rapidly degraded. However, it now seems that introns have a surprising role — helping yeast cells survive when nutrients are scarce.

    • Samantha R. Edwards
    •  & Tracy L. Johnson
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported the death of Theodore Roosevelt in 1919, and a collection of inventions in 1969.

  • News & Views |

    A tenet of elementary biology is that mitochondria — the cell’s powerhouses — and their DNA are inherited exclusively from mothers. A provocative study suggests that fathers also occasionally contribute.

    • Thomas G. McWilliams
    •  & Anu Suomalainen
  • News & Views |

    Polymeric gel particles have been used to make windows that highly effectively allow or block heat-generating wavelengths of sunlight in response to temperature. Such windows might increase the energy efficiency of buildings.

    • Michael J. Serpe
  • News & Views |

    A study shows that a multi-chromosomal hub assembles in mouse olfactory neurons to ensure that only one odour-sensing receptor is expressed in each neuron — a feature essential to odour discrimination.

    • François Spitz
  • News & Views |

    In roots, stem cells in the cambium region form vascular tissues needed for the long-distance transport of water and nutrients. How these stem cells are specified and regulated has now been illuminated.

    • Sebastian Wolf
    •  & Jan U. Lohmann
  • News & Views |

    A technique called reverberation mapping has previously been used to probe the structure of matter around supermassive black holes. Observations suggest that this technique can also be applied to much smaller black holes.

    • Daryl Haggard
  • News & Views |

    A technically challenging analysis has revealed the physical properties of a mineral at pressures and temperatures as high as those in Earth’s mantle. The findings have implications for our understanding of Earth’s deep interior.

    • Johannes Buchen
  • News & Views |

    A computational strategy has delivered a redesigned, more stable version of a cytokine protein that mimics the natural protein’s interactions with receptors, opening the way for designer cytokine-based therapeutics.

    • E. Yvonne Jones
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported psychometric testing in 1919, and its own hundredth anniversary in 1969.

  • News & Views |

    Scenarios have been discovered in which it is impossible to prove whether or not a machine-learning algorithm could solve a particular problem. This finding might have implications for both established and future learning algorithms.

    • Lev Reyzin
  • News & Views |

    Implants that electrically stimulate nerves continuously to treat disease can cause off-target effects and pain. An implant that uses light to modulate the activity of genetically modified nerve cells might offer a solution.

    • Ellen T. Roche
  • News & Views |

    In materials called Weyl semimetals, electrons form structures that have distinct topological properties. The discovery of an ultrafast switch between two of these structures could have many practical applications.

    • Young-Woo Son
  • News & Views |

    Methane produced in sediments beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet is released to the atmosphere by meltwater in the summer. This suggests that glacial melt could be an important global source of this greenhouse gas.

    • Lauren C. Andrews
  • News & Views |

    What determines whether genetic mutations lead to cancer? Analyses of healthy cells in the human oesophagus reveal that a high level of genetic alterations arises as people age, yet this doesn’t usually result in cancer.

    • Francesca D. Ciccarelli
  • News & Views |

    The GABAA-receptor family has a crucial role in neural inhibition in the human brain. New structures of a GABAA receptor highlight the mechanisms of crosstalk between its binding sites.

    • Michaela Jansen
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported the flu epidemic in 1919 and a threat to science funding in 1969.

  • News & Views |

    Observations reveal that a particular planetary nebula — the ejected envelope of an old star — is unusually enriched in rare carbon, nitrogen and oxygen isotopes. The finding could help to explain the origins of these isotopes.

    • Amanda Karakas
  • News & Views |

    Some fat cells convert energy into heat, so targeting them to induce weight loss is appealing. The discovery that a subset of the cells burns glucose, rather than both glucose and lipids, could improve our ability to do just that.

    • Wenfei Sun
    •  & Christian Wolfrum
  • News & Views |

    Almost half a century ago, it was predicted that the confinement of quantum fluctuations could induce mechanical rotation — the Casimir torque. This prediction has now been confirmed using liquid crystals.

    • Slobodan Žumer
  • News & Views |

    A study in mice identifies a brain adaptation that underlies the compulsive behaviour associated with drug addiction, and which might explain why some drug users behave compulsively whereas others do not.

    • Patricia Janak
  • News & Views |

    Clinical trials reveal that personalized vaccines can boost immune-cell responses to brain tumours that don’t usually respond to immunotherapy. The findings also point to how to improve such treatments.

    • Neeha Zaidi
    •  & Elizabeth M. Jaffee
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported a strange apparition in 1918, and the latest Christmas toys in 1968.

  • News & Views |

    Some samples of human growth hormone used as therapy until the mid-1980s contain amyloid-β peptide and cause genetically modified mice to develop amyloid-β deposits in the brain.

    • Tien-Phat V. Huynh
    •  & David M. Holtzman
  • News & Views |

    A catalytic process driven by visible light converts a mixture of mirror-image isomers of compounds called allenes to a single mirror-image isomer — opening up avenues of research for synthetic chemistry.

    • Cheng Yang
    •  & Yoshihisa Inoue
  • News & Views |

    Many enzymatic processes involve a mechanism in which reaction intermediates are covalently attached to the enzyme’s active site. A strategy has been devised that enables mimics of these intermediates to be visualized.

    • Andrew M. Gulick
  • News & Views |

    Attempts to boost the body’s antitumour immune responses can trigger a harmful inflammatory reaction called a cytokine storm. New insights into the mechanisms involved might help to prevent this problem.

    • Stanley R. RIddell
  • News & Views |

    After decades of uncertainty, it now seems clear that global warming will enhance both the amplitude and the frequency of climate phenomena known as eastern Pacific El Niño events, with widespread climatic consequences.

    • Yoo-Geun Ham
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported the Apollo space missions in 1968, and a proposed aerial survey of the British Isles in 1918.

  • News & Views |

    Antibodies have been engineered to recognize diverse strains of influenza, including both the A and B types of virus that cause human epidemics. Are we moving closer to achieving ‘universal’ protection against all flu strains?

    • Gary J. Nabel
    •  & John W. Shiver
  • News & Views |

    Magnetic materials can host a range of structures called spin textures. Two such textures — a meron and an antimeron — have been observed experimentally for the first time, in a material known as a chiral magnet.

    • Seonghoon Woo
  • News & Views |

    Bacteria can use specific protein-based strategies to defend individual cells against viruses. Evidence that bacterial small molecules also target viruses provides fresh insights into how bacteria thwart viral infection.

    • Martha R. J. Clokie
  • News & Views |

    A modified protocol has enabled baboons that received transplanted pig hearts to survive for more than six months. This improvement on previous efforts brings pig-to-human heart transplants a step closer.

    • Christoph Knosalla
  • News & Views |

    Ammonia emissions harm humans and the environment. An analysis shows that satellites can locate sources precisely, and could thus help to monitor compliance with international agreements to limit such emissions.

    • Mark A. Sutton
    •  & Clare M. Howard
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported innovative moving walkways in 1968, and a plea to ban gases as weapons in 1918.

  • News & Views |

    Intrinsic and extrinsic cues drive dynamic processes that control cell fate during organ development. A study of mouse and human cells reveals how these inputs affect cells that make the essential hormone insulin.

    • Francesca M. Spagnoli
  • News & Views |

    Astronomical objects called quasars have been difficult to study because of the limited spatial resolution of observations. An approach has been developed that allows the structure and dynamics of quasars to be investigated.

    • Erin Kara
  • News & Views |

    Viruses can insert a copy of their genetic sequence into a host cell’s genome. If the insertion fails, gene expression of unintegrated viral DNA in the nucleus is silenced. How this process occurs has now been uncovered.

    • Parinaz Fozouni
    •  & Melanie Ott
  • News & Views |

    The signalling molecule nitric oxide protects the kidneys by reprogramming metabolism, and its levels are regulated by a two-component system in mice. These findings identify new targets for drug discovery.

    • Charles J. Lowenstein
  • News & Views |

    What Nature said about an oil spill in 1968, and about the survival of science after the First World War.

  • News & Views |

    In the debate about how bacterial mutations arise, an experiment in 1943 showed that they can occur spontaneously and independently of a selection pressure. This study also popularized the use of maths-driven analysis of biological data.

    • Manoshi S. Datta
    •  & Roy Kishony
  • News & Views |

    A preference for mating with similar individuals can have a key role in speciation. Research on Darwin’s finches suggests that individuals might use the likeness of their parents as a guide for choosing mates.

    • Lewis G. Spurgin
    •  & Tracey Chapman
  • News & Views |

    A strategy for using organic free radicals to make light-emitting diodes circumvents the constraints that limit the efficiency with which other organic LEDs convert electric current into light.

    • Tetsuro Kusamoto
    •  & Hiroshi Nishihara