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  • Synaptic communication is triggered by action potentials, but neurons also talk to each other in between action potentials. Specific intracellular-calcium sensors regulate these conversations.

    • Ruth Heidelberger
    News & Views
  • The motor protein kinesin 'walks' by alternately advancing its two motor structural domains. A cutting-edge, single-molecule fluorescence technique reveals further details of this stepping mechanism.

    • Zeynep Ökten
    • Manfred Schliwa
    News & Views
  • Chemist, molecular biologist and pioneer in the study of the origins of life.

    • Gerald F. Joyce
    News & Views
  • The Sloan Digital Sky Survey represents the most ambitious attempt yet to map out a slice of the sky. In the first five years of its existence, it has revealed cosmic structures on every conceivable scale.

    • Robert C. Kennicutt Jr
    News & Views
  • The split personality of the conduction electrons in one high-temperature superconductor might indicate that periodic modulations of their spin and charge density are a general feature of these mystifying materials.

    • Christian Pfleiderer
    • Rudi Hackl
    News & Views
  • Researchers have achieved the testing goal of generating embryonic stem cells from the cells of an adult primate. The procedure used could provide insights into a variety of diseases, if it can be applied in humans.

    • Ian Wilmut
    • Jane Taylor
    News & Views
  • Before carbon nanotubes can fulfil their potential in device applications, better ways must be found to produce pure samples of them. A promising approach involves wrapping them up in a shell of polymer.

    • Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos
    • Sang-Yong Ju
    News & Views
  • Sudden collapses of the sea floor can generate oceanic sediment flows that dwarf the global annual sediment input from rivers. Such flows can travel great distances, and undergo transformation along the way.

    • Philip A. Allen
    News & Views
  • Termites digest wood with the help of their intestinal microorganisms. The first metagenomic analysis of the inhabitants of a termite gut provides insight into this feat of biomass-to-energy conversion.

    • Andreas Brune
    News & Views
  • The effect of increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide on carbon uptake in and export from the upper ocean is one of the big questions in environmental science. But it can be tackled experimentally.

    • Kevin R. Arrigo
    News & Views
  • Progress comes from the latest investigations into a long-standing question in immunology — the role of the immune system in maintaining small, potentially cancerous lesions in a state of dormancy.

    • Cornelis J. M. Melief
    News & Views
  • To set the scene for its replication, the bacterium Legionella pneumophila exploits its host cells' Rab1 protein. This pathogen seems to use minimal resources to mimic the normal cycle of Rab1 activity.

    • Suzanne Pfeffer
    News & Views
  • G-protein-coupled receptors govern many biological functions, yet little is known about the molecular basis of their activity. The structure of a prominent example of these receptors is now revealed.

    • Stephen R. Sprang
    News & Views
  • The most sensitive phase-measuring instrument yet uses quantum trickery and a scaled-down version of the notorious Schrödinger's cat. It means that more sensitive devices for metrology and imaging could be on the way.

    • Jonathan P. Dowling
    News & Views
  • The Moon could have been derived from a well-mixed disk of rock vapour that was produced after the early Earth collided with another planet. This persuasive idea offers a fresh perspective on the history of both bodies.

    • Alex N. Halliday
    News & Views
  • The amount of river-borne carbon that is buried upon reaching the sea affects Earth's atmospheric composition. A study of rivers draining the Himalaya shows that carbon burial may occur more efficiently than was thought.

    • Caroline A. Masiello
    News & Views
  • “Do not speak — unless it improves on silence” is generally wise advice, and is even vital for a subset of essential genes. New studies describe how, when appropriate, the silence of these genes is broken.

    • Richard S. Jones
    News & Views