Research articles

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  • The crystal structure of prolyl tRNA synthetase simultaneously bound to its substrate ATP and its inhibitor halofuginone, a derivative of a compound used to treat malaria, indicates that (through interactions with ATP) halofuginone occupies both the amino acid and tRNA binding sites on the synthetase, revealing a new model for developing synthetase inhibitors.

    • Huihao Zhou
    • Litao Sun
    • Paul Schimmel
  • Topologically distinct colloidal particles introduced into a nematic liquid crystal align and generate topology-constrained three-dimensional director fields and defects in the liquid crystal fluid that can be manipulated with a variety of methods, opening up a new area of exploration in the field of soft matter.

    • Bohdan Senyuk
    • Qingkun Liu
    • Ivan I. Smalyukh
  • To identify comprehensively factors involved in RNAi and microRNA-mediated gene expression regulation, this study performed a phylogenetic analysis of 86 eukaryotic species; the candidates this approach highlighted were subjected to Bayesian analysis with transcriptional and proteomic interaction data, identifying protein orthologues of already known RNAi silencing factors, as well as other hits involved in splicing, suggesting a connection between the two processes.

    • Yuval Tabach
    • Allison C. Billi
    • Gary Ruvkun
  • When an odour activates a fly′s antennae asymmetrically, more neurotransmitter is released from olfactory receptor neuron axon branches ipsilateral to the antenna than from contralateral branches. This causes ipsilateral central olfactory neurons to begin spiking earlier and at a higher rate than contralateral neurons, thereby enabling a walking fly to turn towards the odour.

    • Quentin Gaudry
    • Elizabeth J. Hong
    • Rachel I. Wilson
  • Lymphocyte migration in the spleen is visualized live in mice using a real-time two-photon laser-scanning microscopy approach revealing that marginal zone and follicular B cells are highly motile and can shuttle between compartments, and integrin adhesion is the key to cellular retention in the marginal zone.

    • Tal I. Arnon
    • Robert M. Horton
    • Jason G. Cyster
  • A thermal analogue of a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID, widely used to measure small magnetic fields) is realized, in which the flow of heat between the superconductors is dependent on the quantum phase difference between them.

    • Francesco Giazotto
    • María José Martínez-Pérez
  • Evaporative cooling of molecules has not been achieved so far, owing to unfavourable collision properties and trap losses; microwave-forced evaporative cooling of hydroxyl molecules loaded in a magnetic quadrupole trap is now reported.

    • Benjamin K. Stuhl
    • Matthew T. Hummon
    • Jun Ye
  • Globular clusters can be grouped into a few distinct families on the basis of the radial distribution of ‘blue stragglers’, stars with masses greater than those at the turn-off point on the main sequence; this grouping can yield a direct measure of the cluster’s dynamical age purely from observed properties.

    • F. R. Ferraro
    • B. Lanzoni
    • A. Mucciarelli
  • Neutron scattering measurements on single-crystal samples of the mineral herbertsmithite, which is a spin-1/2 kagome-lattice antiferromagnet, provide evidence of fractionalized spin excitations at low temperatures, indicating that the ground state of herbertsmithite may be a quantum spin liquid.

    • Tian-Heng Han
    • Joel S. Helton
    • Young S. Lee
  • Measurements of the viscous anisotropy of highly deformed polycrystalline olivine find it to be approximately an order of magnitude larger than that predicted by grain-scale simulations; the maximum degree of anisotropy is reached at geologically low shear strain, such that deforming regions of the Earth’s upper mantle should exhibit significant viscous anisotropy.

    • L. N. Hansen
    • M. E. Zimmerman
    • D. L. Kohlstedt
  • Nuclear genome transfer using unfertilized donor oocytes is performed and shown to be effective in preventing the transmission of mitochondrial DNA mutations; the swapped oocytes can develop to the blastocyst stage, and produce parthenogenetic embryonic stem-cell lines that show normal karyotypes and only mitochondrial DNA from the donor oocyte.

    • Daniel Paull
    • Valentina Emmanuele
    • Dieter Egli
  • An ex vivo primary culture assay is developed that recapitulates mouse embryonic mesodermal patterning and segment formation; using this approach, it is shown that oscillating gene activity is central to maintain stable proportions during development.

    • Volker M. Lauschke
    • Charisios D. Tsiairis
    • Alexander Aulehla
  • An analysis of staged hagfish embryos shows that the hagfish adenohypophysis is ectodermal in origin, revealing it to be a developmental quirk unique to hagfishes that was hitherto misleading; from this and other observations a ‘pan-cyclostome’ developmental pattern is derived, indicating that it was primitive for all vertebrates.

    • Yasuhiro Oisi
    • Kinya G. Ota
    • Shigeru Kuratani
  • The Gossypium genus is used to investigate emergent consequences of polyploidy in cotton species; comparative genomic analyses reveal a complex evolutionary history including interactions among subgenomes that result in genetic novelty in elite cottons and provide insight into the evolution of spinnable fibres.

    • Andrew H. Paterson
    • Jonathan F. Wendel
    • Jeremy Schmutz
    Letter Open Access
  • Presenilin, the catalytic component of γ-secretase, cleaves amyloid precursor protein into short peptides that form the plaques that are found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease; here the structure of a presenilin homologue is described, which will serve as a framework for understanding the mechanisms of action of presenilin and γ-secretase.

    • Xiaochun Li
    • Shangyu Dang
    • Yigong Shi