Table of Contents

Volume 541 Number 7637 pp259-430

19 January 2017

About the cover

Aerial view from hot-air balloon over a desert grassland in the NamibRand game reserve in Namibia. Desert grasslands in parts of Namibia are punctuated by regularly patterned patches of bare soil known as fairy circles, the origins of which have remained unclear. Corina Tarnita, Juan Bonachela and colleagues use theoretical modelling and image analysis to show that a combination of scale-dependent feedbacks between plants and territorial competition between subterranean social-insect colonies can explain these features. They conclude that multiple mechanisms of self-organization are probably at play in ecosystems across the world. Cover: Lee Frost/Robert Harding/Getty Images.

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insight: Frontiers in biology

Insight: Frontiers in biology



  • Asgard archaea illuminate the origin of eukaryotic cellular complexity

    • Katarzyna Zaremba-Niedzwiedzka
    • Eva F. Caceres
    • Jimmy H. Saw
    • Disa Bäckström
    • Lina Juzokaite
    • Emmelien Vancaester
    • Kiley W. Seitz
    • Karthik Anantharaman
    • Piotr Starnawski
    • Kasper U. Kjeldsen
    • Matthew B. Stott
    • Takuro Nunoura
    • Jillian F. Banfield
    • Andreas Schramm
    • Brett J. Baker
    • Anja Spang
    • Thijs J. G. Ettema

    This work describes the Asgard superphylum, an assemblage of diverse archaea that comprises Odinarchaeota, Heimdallarchaeota, Lokiarchaeota and Thorarchaeota, offering insights into the earliest days of eukaryotic cells and their complex features.

    See also
  • Genomic hallmarks of localized, non-indolent prostate cancer

    • Michael Fraser
    • Veronica Y. Sabelnykova
    • Takafumi N. Yamaguchi
    • Lawrence E. Heisler
    • Julie Livingstone
    • Vincent Huang
    • Yu-Jia Shiah
    • Fouad Yousif
    • Xihui Lin
    • Andre P. Masella
    • Natalie S. Fox
    • Michael Xie
    • Stephenie D. Prokopec
    • Alejandro Berlin
    • Emilie Lalonde
    • Musaddeque Ahmed
    • Dominique Trudel
    • Xuemei Luo
    • Timothy A. Beck
    • Alice Meng
    • Junyan Zhang
    • Alister D’Costa
    • Robert E. Denroche
    • Haiying Kong
    • Shadrielle Melijah G. Espiritu
    • Melvin L. K. Chua
    • Ada Wong
    • Taryne Chong
    • Michelle Sam
    • Jeremy Johns
    • Lee Timms
    • Nicholas B. Buchner
    • Michèle Orain
    • Valérie Picard
    • Helène Hovington
    • Alexander Murison
    • Ken Kron
    • Nicholas J. Harding
    • Christine P’ng
    • Kathleen E. Houlahan
    • Kenneth C. Chu
    • Bryan Lo
    • Francis Nguyen
    • Constance H. Li
    • Ren X. Sun
    • Richard de Borja
    • Christopher I. Cooper
    • Julia F. Hopkins
    • Shaylan K. Govind
    • Clement Fung
    • Daryl Waggott
    • Jeffrey Green
    • Syed Haider
    • Michelle A. Chan-Seng-Yue
    • Esther Jung
    • Zhiyuan Wang
    • Alain Bergeron
    • Alan Dal Pra
    • Louis Lacombe
    • Colin C. Collins
    • Cenk Sahinalp
    • Mathieu Lupien
    • Neil E. Fleshner
    • Housheng H. He
    • Yves Fradet
    • Bernard Tetu
    • Theodorus van der Kwast
    • John D. McPherson
    • Robert G. Bristow
    • Paul C. Boutros

    Genomic analyses of localized, non-indolent prostate cancer identify recurrent aberrations that can predict relapse, and also highlight differences between early prostate cancer and metastatic, castration-resistant disease.

  • Integration of temporal and spatial patterning generates neural diversity

    • Ted Erclik
    • Xin Li
    • Maximilien Courgeon
    • Claire Bertet
    • Zhenqing Chen
    • Ryan Baumert
    • June Ng
    • Clara Koo
    • Urfa Arain
    • Rudy Behnia
    • Alberto Del Valle Rodriguez
    • Lionel Senderowicz
    • Nicolas Negre
    • Kevin P. White
    • Claude Desplan

    Combinatorial inputs from temporal and spatial axes act together to promote medullary neural diversity in the optic lobes of Drosophila.

  • Reversible methylation of m6Am in the 5′ cap controls mRNA stability

    • Jan Mauer
    • Xiaobing Luo
    • Alexandre Blanjoie
    • Xinfu Jiao
    • Anya V. Grozhik
    • Deepak P. Patil
    • Bastian Linder
    • Brian F. Pickering
    • Jean-Jacques Vasseur
    • Qiuying Chen
    • Steven S. Gross
    • Olivier Elemento
    • Françoise Debart
    • Megerditch Kiledjian
    • Samie R. Jaffrey

    Fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO) preferentially demethylates m6Am, a modified adenosine that, when present at the 5′ end of certain mRNAs, positively influences mRNA stability by preventing DCP2-mediated decapping.

    See also


  • Subcycle quantum electrodynamics

    • C. Riek
    • P. Sulzer
    • M. Seeger
    • A. S. Moskalenko
    • G. Burkard
    • D. V. Seletskiy
    • A. Leitenstorfer

    Few-femtosecond laser pulses are used to generate squeezed mid-infrared light transients and to detect distorted quantum fluctuations of the electric field directly in the time domain.

    See also
  • Kinetically E-selective macrocyclic ring-closing metathesis

    • Xiao Shen
    • Thach T. Nguyen
    • Ming Joo Koh
    • Dongmin Xu
    • Alexander W. H. Speed
    • Richard R. Schrock
    • Amir H. Hoveyda

    Ring-closing metathesis is a widely used chemical transformation that can generate organic macrocycle compounds; here, an approach is described by which the E-stereoisomer of a macrocycle is generated selectively, exemplified by synthesizing the antibiotic recifeolide and the anti-cancer drug pacritinib.

  • Evolution of the global phosphorus cycle

    • Christopher T. Reinhard
    • Noah J. Planavsky
    • Benjamin C. Gill
    • Kazumi Ozaki
    • Leslie J. Robbins
    • Timothy W. Lyons
    • Woodward W. Fischer
    • Chunjiang Wang
    • Devon B. Cole
    • Kurt O. Konhauser

    Low phosphorus burial in shallow marine sedimentary rocks before about 750 million years ago implies a change in the global phosphorus cycle, coinciding with the end of what may have been a stable low-oxygen world.

  • Hyoliths are Palaeozoic lophophorates

    • Joseph Moysiuk
    • Martin R. Smith
    • Jean-Bernard Caron

    Analysis of exceptionally preserved fossils of the Cambrian hyolith Haplophrentis leads to a proposed evolutionary relationship with Lophophorata, the group containing brachiopods and phoronids, on the basis of a newly described tentacular feeding apparatus.

  • A theoretical foundation for multi-scale regular vegetation patterns

    • Corina E. Tarnita
    • Juan A. Bonachela
    • Efrat Sheffer
    • Jennifer A. Guyton
    • Tyler C. Coverdale
    • Ryan A. Long
    • Robert M. Pringle

    Empirically validated mathematical models show that a combination of intraspecific competition between subterranean social-insect colonies and scale-dependent feedbacks between plants can explain the spatially periodic vegetation patterns observed in many landscapes, such as the Namib Desert ‘fairy circles’.

  • Genetic variants regulating expression levels and isoform diversity during embryogenesis

    • Enrico Cannavò
    • Nils Koelling
    • Dermot Harnett
    • David Garfield
    • Francesco P. Casale
    • Lucia Ciglar
    • Hilary E. Gustafson
    • Rebecca R. Viales
    • Raquel Marco-Ferreres
    • Jacob F. Degner
    • Bingqing Zhao
    • Oliver Stegle
    • Ewan Birney
    • Eileen E. M. Furlong

    The effects of genetic variation on transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation are systematically mapped across multiple stages of embryogenesis in eighty inbred Drosophila lines, identifying thousands of quantitative trait loci affecting approximately 17% of expressed genes, often with heteroalleic interactions.

  • Structural basis for nutrient acquisition by dominant members of the human gut microbiota

    • Amy J. Glenwright
    • Karunakar R. Pothula
    • Satya P. Bhamidimarri
    • Dror S. Chorev
    • Arnaud Baslé
    • Susan J. Firbank
    • Hongjun Zheng
    • Carol V. Robinson
    • Mathias Winterhalter
    • Ulrich Kleinekathöfer
    • David N. Bolam
    • Bert van den Berg

    The authors present structures of nutrient transport complexes of the commensal bacterium Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron and the mechanism by which it imports glycans.

  • Microenvironmental autophagy promotes tumour growth

    • Nadja S. Katheder
    • Rojyar Khezri
    • Fergal O’Farrell
    • Sebastian W. Schultz
    • Ashish Jain
    • Mohammed M. Rahman
    • Kay O. Schink
    • Theodossis A. Theodossiou
    • Terje Johansen
    • Gábor Juhász
    • David Bilder
    • Andreas Brech
    • Harald Stenmark
    • Tor Erik Rusten

    During early-stage tumour growth in Drosphila, tumour cells acquire necessary nutrients by triggering autophagy in surrounding cells in the tumour microenvironment.

  • The role of interfacial lipids in stabilizing membrane protein oligomers

    • Kallol Gupta
    • Joseph A. C. Donlan
    • Jonathan T. S. Hopper
    • Povilas Uzdavinys
    • Michael Landreh
    • Weston B. Struwe
    • David Drew
    • Andrew J. Baldwin
    • Phillip J. Stansfeld
    • Carol V. Robinson

    Membrane lipids such as cardiolipin act as molecular glue to preserve the oligomeric states of membrane proteins with low oligomeric stability.