Table of Contents

Japanese Table of Contents

Volume 482 Number 7385 pp275-434

16 February 2012

About the cover

The channelrhodopsins are light-gated ion channels, found in algae, that have rapidly become familiar in the neuroscience lab as optogenetics reagents: the activities of neurons expressing channelrhodopsins can be optically controlled within systems as complicated as living mammals. The X-ray crystal structure of a chimaera of two channelrhodopsins has now been determined at 2.3 Å resolution. The structure reveals the molecular architecture of this ion channel, including the retinal-binding pocket and cation conduction pathway. This work paves the way for the design of new channelrhodopsin variants with enhanced properties. Cover image: Hiroshi M. Sasaki.

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World View


Seven Days

  • Seven days: 10–16 February 2012

    The week in science: Europe’s Vega rocket launches; US approves first new nuclear reactors for three decades; and this year’s schedule for the Large Hadron Collider is announced.

News in Focus


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    • Jeff Tollefson
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    Susan Lindquist has challenged conventional thinking on how misfolded proteins drive disease and may power evolution. But she still finds that criticism stings.

    • Bijal P. Trivedi


Books and Arts

  • Evolution: Custom built

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    • Review of Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind/The Natural History of Human Cooperation
      Mark Pagel
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    • Review of The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations
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Career Briefs


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Brief Communications Arising


Insight: Regulatory RNA

Insight: Regulatory RNA


  • Eutrophication causes speciation reversal in whitefish adaptive radiations

    • P. Vonlanthen
    • D. Bittner
    • A. G. Hudson
    • K. A. Young
    • R. Müller
    • B. Lundsgaard-Hansen
    • D. Roy
    • S. Di Piazza
    • C. R. Largiader
    • O. Seehausen

    Historical and contemporary data of whitefish radiations from pre-alpine European lakes and reconstruction of changes in whitefish genetic species differentiation through time show that species diversity may have evolved in response to ecological opportunity, and that eutrophication, by diminishing this opportunity, has driven extinctions through speciation reversal and demographic decline.

    See also
  • Prions are a common mechanism for phenotypic inheritance in wild yeasts

    • Randal Halfmann
    • Daniel F. Jarosz
    • Sandra K. Jones
    • Amelia Chang
    • Alex K. Lancaster
    • Susan Lindquist

    Previously thought to be rare laboratory artefacts or diseases of yeast, prions are actually found in one third of 700 wild strains; the prions give their hosts beneficial traits that can be transmitted epigenetically to the next generation, and then fixed in the genome.

  • Crystal structure of the channelrhodopsin light-gated cation channel

    • Hideaki E. Kato
    • Feng Zhang
    • Ofer Yizhar
    • Charu Ramakrishnan
    • Tomohiro Nishizawa
    • Kunio Hirata
    • Jumpei Ito
    • Yusuke Aita
    • Tomoya Tsukazaki
    • Shigehiko Hayashi
    • Peter Hegemann
    • Andrés D. Maturana
    • Ryuichiro Ishitani
    • Karl Deisseroth
    • Osamu Nureki

    Channelrhodopsins are light-gated cation channels used in optogenetics; here, the high-resolution crystal structure of a channelrhodopsin from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is determined.

    See also