Reviews & Analysis

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  • Robust quantitative analyses of asymmetric division in certain cells in flies identify the major molecular players and, most interestingly, define a simple equation to explain this complex cellular process. See Letter p.280

    • Cayetano Gonzalez
    News & Views
  • Catalysts that contain two types of active site split long hydrocarbon molecules into more-useful shorter ones. Research into controlling the nanoscale separation of the sites challenges accepted design rules for such catalysts. See Letter p.245

    • Roger Gläser
    News & Views
  • One hundred years after the first description of viruses that infect bacterial cells, the contribution of these bacteriophages to fundamental biology, biotechnology and human health continues unabated and deserves celebration.

    • Forest Rohwer
    • Anca M. Segall
    News & Views
  • Pollution from atmospheric nitrogen deposition is a major threat to biodiversity. The 160-year-old Park Grass experiment has uniquely documented this threat and demonstrated how nitrogen reductions lead to recovery. See Letter p.401

    • David Tilman
    • Forest Isbell
    News & Views
  • Standard planet-formation models have been unable to reconstruct the distributions of the Solar System's small, rocky planets and asteroids in the same simulation. A new analysis suggests that it cannot be done.

    • Kleomenis Tsiganis
    News & Views
  • A property called entanglement entropy helps to describe the quantum states of interacting particles, and it has at last been measured. The findings open the door to a deeper understanding of quantum systems. See Article p.77

    • Steven Rolston
    News & Views
  • Breakthrough calculations of collisions between two helium nuclei pave the way to a quantitative understanding of how the elements carbon and oxygen were made in stars — and to improved models of stellar evolution. See Letter p.111

    • Sofia Quaglioni
    News & Views
  • Two bi-specific protein constructs have been designed that direct the body's T cells to kill HIV-infected cells. The feat provides a step on the path to removing the latent virus reservoir that persists in patients on antiretroviral therapy.

    • Douglas D. Richman
    News & Views
  • Large-scale cultivation and genome sequencing of the bacteria that inhabit the leaves and roots of Arabidopsis plants have paved the way for probing how microbial communities assemble and function. See Article p.364

    • Gwyn A. Beattie
    News & Views
  • A molecular cascade involving the transcription factor SIX6 and its target gene p16INK4a causes the death of neurons that link the eye to the brain. This discovery deepens our understanding of a common form of blindness, glaucoma.

    • Andrew D. Huberman
    • Rana N. El-Danaf
    News & Views
  • Regulatory T cells help to prevent autoimmune responses. A new imaging technique reveals that activation of these cells requires clustering with self-reactive effector T cells and sensing of the signalling protein interleukin-2. See Article p.225

    • Esteban Carrizosa
    • Thorsten R. Mempel
    News & Views
  • The TOM complex guides precursor proteins from the cell's cytosolic fluid into organelles called mitochondria. Biochemical analyses reveal the architecture of this complex and show how precursor proteins pass through its narrow pores.

    • Dejana Mokranjac
    • Walter Neupert
    News & Views
  • By infusing blood vessels with gas-filled microbubbles and using rapid ultrasound imaging to detect the bubbles, super-resolution imaging of an entire vessel system has been achieved in a rat brain. See Letter p.499

    • Ben Cox
    • Paul Beard
    News & Views
  • West Africa's Ebola epidemic continues to reveal surprises. Although the animal species that originally passed the virus to people remains a mystery, a virus reservoir and persistent disease have been identified in some human survivors.

    • Jonathan L. Heeney
    News & Views
  • Three structures of the enzyme RNA polymerase III, which is responsible for the synthesis of abundant short RNAs, reveal the specializations that make it an adept terminator and reinitiator of transcription. See Article p.231

    • Richard J. Maraia
    • Keshab Rijal
    News & Views
  • The Moon's current orbit is at odds with theories predicting that its early orbit was in Earth's equatorial plane. Simulations now suggest that its orbit was tilted by gravitational interactions with a few large bodies. See Letter p.492

    • Robin Canup
    News & Views
  • Careful management of nitrogen fertilizer usage is required to ensure world food security while limiting environmental degradation; an analysis of historical nitrogen use efficiency reveals socio-economic factors and technological innovations that have influenced a range of past national trends and that suggest ways to improve global food production and environmental stewardship by 2050.

    • Xin Zhang
    • Eric A. Davidson
    • Ye Shen
  • Instead of containing stable and chemically unique ‘humic substances’, as has been widely accepted, soil organic matter is a mixture of progressively decomposing organic compounds; this has broad implications for soil science and its applications.

    • Johannes Lehmann
    • Markus Kleber