Reviews & Analysis

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  • Analysis of data from astrophysical and terrestrial sources offers a promising way of narrowing the range of parameters that describe the extreme properties of neutron stars.

    • Jorge Noronha
    News & Views
  • The performance of lithium-ion batteries fades over time, but the underlying causes are not fully understood. Analysis of lithium- and manganese-rich cathodes now reveals how the lattice of atoms in these materials becomes strained, which releases oxygen and leads to battery failure. Resolving these lattice-strain problems should provide strategies to improve the performance of cathode materials.

    Research Briefing
  • Cancer-promoting mutations tend to result in tumours arising only in certain organs, but the reasons for this specificity are not fully understood. The analysis of human kidney cancer provides clues to solving this mystery.

    • Emily N. Arner
    • W. Kimryn Rathmell
    News & Views
  • The collective vibrations of atoms at the interface between two semiconducting materials have been imaged with nanometre-scale resolution. Their dynamics depends sensitively on the abruptness of the boundary.

    • Fredrik S. Hage
    News & Views
  • Parkinson’s disease causes slowness of movement, tremor and stiffness, along with mood symptoms such as depression. The brain’s parafascicular thalamus is shown to contain distinct neural circuits for locomotion, motor learning and depression-like states, and targeting these circuits alleviates some deficits in a mouse model of the disease.

    Research Briefing
  • The organizational principles of the eukaryotic cell cycle have yet to be pinned down, and two opposing models have been put forward. Genetic and proteomics analyses in a model eukaryote, fission yeast, reveal that the cell cycle is organized through a hybrid of both models, although the contribution of one strongly outweighs the other.

    Research Briefing
  • We identified a specific neuronal population in the mouse hypothalamus that senses immune signals during an infection and triggers multiple sickness symptoms, including fever and loss of appetite, through direct connections with dedicated homeostatic brain circuits.

    Research Briefing
  • High-quality genome sequences for 44 wild and cultivated potatoes will enable researchers to better study this essential crop’s evolution and develop varieties that can withstand heat and drought caused by climate change.

    • Juanita Gutiérrez-Valencia
    • Tanja Slotte
    News & Views
  • The highlights of a wide range of studies using data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton) are reviewed.

    • Belinda J. Wilkes
    • Wallace Tucker
    • Maria Santos-Lleo
    Review Article
  • The landmark synthesis of a xenon compound in the early 1960s dispelled a long-standing myth about the reactivity of the noble gases — and opened the door to the rich chemistry of these elements, studies of which continue today.

    • Felice Grandinetti
    News & Views
  • Synthetic receptor proteins can enable customized and flexible control of immune cells called T lymphocytes. A defined framework for the proteins’ design now improves their potential for use in cancer immunotherapy.

    • Mohamad Hamieh
    • Maria Themeli
    News & Views
  • A genome sequence for the flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea reveals a chromosome that might be primed to become a sex chromosome. The finding offers a remarkable chance to study the evolution of sex determination.

    • Yuying Lin
    • Judith E. Mank
    News & Views
  • A method has been developed for fabricating thin films of the 2D insulator hexagonal boron nitride with a uniform crystal orientation. The advance makes this material a key contender for replacing silica substrates in future electronics.

    • Soo Ho Choi
    • Soo Min Kim
    News & Views
  • Two studies of the mutations acquired by blood-forming cells over time provide insights into the dynamics of blood production in humans and its relationship to ageing.

    • Aswin Sekar
    • Benjamin L. Ebert
    News & Views
  • Carbon–carbon single bonds are found in most organic molecules. A new electrocatalytic method can create such bonds by uniting different alkyl carboxylic acids, substantially shortening synthetic routes to useful molecules. The reaction uses inexpensive reagents in a simple and scalable set-up, and allows the inclusion of many other functional groups.

    Research Briefing
  • Neurotransmitters have key roles in regulating the nervous system. To better understand these processes, researchers need tools to analyse neurotransmitter signalling in the organs of living animals. We have invented NeuroString, a soft sensor for monoamine neurotransmitters, which can be fitted to the brain or gut of animals without disturbing the organ’s natural functions.

    Research Briefing
  • Informing people once about physicians’ views on COVID-19 vaccination improves vaccination rates by 4 percentage points after 9 months. This finding suggests that light-touch educative nudges can have lasting positive effects.

    • Nina Mažar
    News & Views
  • Recent progress in computational enzyme design, active site engineering and directed evolution are reviewed, highlighting methodological innovations needed to deliver improved designer biocatalysts.

    • Sarah L. Lovelock
    • Rebecca Crawshaw
    • Anthony P. Green
    Review Article