Reviews & Analysis

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  • The aquaporins are membrane channels that were originally identified as regulators of a cell's water balance. A member of the aquaporin family is now implicated as a central agent in controlling fat metabolism.

    • Gema Frühbeck
    News & Views
  • The electrical resistance of some manganese oxides takes a tumble when they become magnetic. Close examination confirms the interplay of conduction electrons and lattice vibrations that contributes to this effect.

    • Peter Littlewood
    • S̆imon Kos
    News & Views
  • Distinguishing self from non-self is the underlying basis of immunity. Intriguingly, the genetic system that governs a natural process akin to tissue transplantation in vertebrates has been characterized in an invertebrate.

    • Gary W. Litman
    News & Views
  • A quantum computer needs a constant supply of ‘qubits’ in a known state. A nuclear magnetic resonance experiment that cools qubits by pumping entropy into a heat bath is a step closer to that goal.

    • Leonard J. Schulman
    News & Views
  • Proteins are often produced at their site of action, but the RNAs from which they are made must be kept inactive until they reach the right spot. It seems this ‘silencing’ of RNA is linked to its transport around the cell.

    • Ralf Dahm
    • Michael Kiebler
    News & Views
  • Chaos, goes conventional wisdom, can only be a malign influence in telecommunications. But a technique that uses chaotically varying signals to transmit information more privately may help it shed that bad-boy image.

    • Rajarshi Roy
    News & Views
  • The perfect lens would immaculately reproduce an image of an object, with no light losses in the transition. The strange optical properties of a gold nanostructure bring the prospect of such a component into sharper focus.

    • Roy Sambles
    News & Views
  • In female mammals, one of two X chromosomes has to be shut down during early development. To what extent does this ‘imprinted X-chromosome inactivation’ involve the history of the chromosome?

    • Wolf Reik
    • Anne C. Ferguson-Smith
    News & Views
  • The movement of proteins through a cell's membrane requires a dedicated molecular machine. A glimpse of this apparatus in action shows that it has two channels, and hints at how these pores might be regulated.

    • Arnold J. M. Driessen
    News & Views
  • Analyses of contact-tracing data on the spread of infectious disease, combined with mathematical models, show that control measures require better knowledge of variability in individual infectiousness.

    • Alison P. Galvani
    • Robert M. May
    News & Views
  • There is an urgent need for new antimicrobial agents because antibiotic resistance has become so prevalent. But a promising class of such agents, known as RAMPs, may suffer from the same problem.

    • Angus Buckling
    • Michael Brockhurst
    News & Views