Reviews & Analysis

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  • Epidemic strains of the bacterium Clostridium difficile have now been found to grow on unusually low levels of the food additive trehalose, providing a possible explanation for C. difficile outbreaks since 2001.

    • Jimmy D. Ballard
    News & Views
  • Evidence has now been found that ribosomes — the cell’s translational apparatus — can pass beyond the main protein-coding region of messenger RNAs to form ‘traffic jams’ that inhibit protein expression.

    • Petra Van Damme
    News & Views
  • Mice can learn to overcome their naturally aggressive approach to conflict resolution, instead adopting a cooperative strategy. This discovery provides a simple animal model in which to investigate a complex social behaviour.

    • Scott M. Rennie
    • Michael. L. Platt
    News & Views
  • Gene editing can prevent inherited deafness in mice by disabling a mutant version of a gene that causes hearing loss. Is this a turning point on the path towards treating some types of human deafness?

    • Fyodor Urnov
    News & Views
  • A high level of expression of the growth-factor protein VEGF-C is associated with tumours that have extensive lymph vessels and poor prognosis. It emerges that such tumours are highly susceptible to immunotherapy.

    • Christine Moussion
    • Shannon J. Turley
    News & Views
  • Inflammatory cues trigger microglial cells to release the protein ASC. It emerges that specks of ASC promote a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease in the brains of mice — aggregation and deposition of amyloid-β protein.

    • Richard M. Ransohoff
    News & Views
  • Why did Mars lose so much of its surface water, whereas Earth retained its? Models of the evolution of minerals on the two planets suggest one explanation: the Martian water was drawn into the planetary interior.

    • Tomohiro Usui
    News & Views
  • Some chemotherapies block cancer growth by driving tumour cells into a state of cell-division arrest termed senescence. It emerges that such cells have a boosted capacity to drive tumour growth if they exit senescence.

    • Jan Paul Medema
    News & Views
  • Have the molecular mechanisms that are linked to the developmental organization of centralized nervous systems evolved once or multiple times? Evidence from nine animal species points to the latter.

    • Caroline B. Albertin
    • Clifton W. Ragsdale
    News & Views
  • A geological record reveals that the Aurora sector of the Antarctic Ice Sheet showed contrasting responses to past periods of atmospheric warmth. The findings might help to predict the ice sheet’s response to modern warming.

    • Sarah Greenwood
    News & Views
  • Memory T cells protect against previously encountered pathogens, but their origins are unclear. Two studies track DNA modifications over time and find that these cells arise from effector T cells.

    • Kyla D. Omilusik
    • Ananda W. Goldrath
    News & Views
  • Dense stellar remnants called white dwarfs are often found in binary star systems. Satellite observations suggest a previously unknown way in which a white dwarf can draw material from its companion star.

    • Thomas Marsh
    News & Views
  • In multiple sclerosis, the blood-coagulation factor fibrinogen can enter the brain. It emerges that fibrinogen inhibits the maturation of cells called oligodendrocytes that repair nerve-fibre insulation and maintain neuronal communication.

    • Klaus-Armin Nave
    • Hannelore Ehrenreich
    News & Views
  • DNA can be designed to self-assemble into target shapes, but the size and quantity of objects that can be prepared have been limited. Methods to overcome these problems have now been found.

    • Fei Zhang
    • Hao Yan
    News & Views
  • In 1997, it was demonstrated that quantum states can be teleported from one location to a distant one. The discovery had huge consequences for the development of quantum communication and computing.

    • Nicolas Gisin
    News & Views
  • Structures of an unusual enzymatic domain in PINK1 provide insights into how this protein regulates the function of organelles called mitochondria, and how mutations in PINK1 contribute to Parkinson’s disease.

    • Salima Daou
    • Frank Sicheri
    News & Views
  • Advanced genomic-analysis techniques now suggest that microbial communities in cold, nutrient-poor Antarctic soils can acquire their energy from the oxidation of trace gases, rather than by photosynthesis.

    • Don A. Cowan
    • Thulani P. Makhalanyane
    News & Views