Reviews & Analysis

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  • The interior of the cell is organized with the help of dynamic structures that condense like droplets. A timing strategy ensures that cells maintain healthy function by avoiding uncontrolled growth of these condensates.

    • Guillaume Charras
    • Martin Lenz
    News & Views
  • An analysis of the distribution of the elementary particles that make up the proton provides evidence that it contains a type of quark known as an intrinsic charm quark — verifying a proposal made four decades ago.

    • Ramona Vogt
    News & Views
  • Variations in ocean oxygen levels during Earth’s history have been linked to evolution and mass extinctions. Simulations now suggest that the configuration of the continents has a substantial impact on ocean oxygenation.

    • Katrin J. Meissner
    • Andreas Oschlies
    News & Views
  • Activation of the RAF protein is key to the RAS–MAPK signalling pathway, and involves the SMP protein complex. Structures for SMP shed light on the process, and suggest fresh targets for anticancer drug discovery.

    • Hugo Lavoie
    • Marc Therrien
    News & Views
  • In 1987, two independent groups cloned a gene that encoded the potassium-ion-channel protein Shaker, enabling functional and structural studies that have transformed ion-channel research.

    • Crina M. Nimigean
    News & Views
  • Immune cells called monocytes have long been implicated in the killing of invading bacteria. However, a closer look reveals a surprising role for them: monocytes partner with a hormone to improve skin healing after bacterial infection.

    • Vishwa Deep Dixit
    News & Views
  • Soft magnetic materials can be magnetized and demagnetized by weak magnetic fields, but lack the strength, toughness and malleability needed for many applications. An alloy that solves this problem has now been developed.

    • Easo P. George
    News & Views
  • Myocardial infarction, or heart attack, is one of the world’s biggest killers. An analysis of spatial and single-cell changes to human tissue after a heart attack provides insights into disease mechanisms and builds a resource for the discovery of therapeutics.

    Research Briefing
  • Understanding the processes that affect carbon storage in tropical forests is crucial for assessing the effects of climate change. An experiment reveals that a nutrient shortfall is hampering such carbon capture.

    • S. Joseph Wright
    News & Views
  • Microglia are immune cells that regulate the function and activity of the nervous system. Detailed molecular and spatial studies in mice reveal that different types of neuron govern the density and states of nearby microglia, interactions that can shape local neural circuits.

    Research Briefing
  • The engineering of cells to express synthetic adhesion molecules creates a simple logic for patterning cell populations with visible boundaries. The approach paves the way for smart living materials and programmable biosensors.

    • Luis Ángel Fernández
    News & Views
  • Analysis of when and how fast temperate deciduous trees in North America grow suggests that the earlier onset of the growing season induced by climate change does not result in extra carbon sequestration from wood production.

    • Cyrille B. K. Rathgeber
    • Patrick Fonti
    News & Views
  • A newly discovered population of white-spruce trees is advancing northwards in Arctic Alaska, driven by ecological factors that are associated with climate change at this latitude — including stronger winter winds, deeper snow and greater nutrient availability in the soil.

    Research Briefing
  •  Analysis of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet response to past warm periods and current observations of change highlight the importance of satisfying the Paris Climate Agreement to avoid a multi-metre contribution to sea level over the next few centuries.

    • Chris R. Stokes
    • Nerilie J. Abram
    • Pippa L. Whitehouse
    Review Article
  • The global tsunami and atmospheric waves that followed the eruption of the Tongan volcano Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai were observed around the world. Analysing the data could reshape our understanding of such events.

    • Emily M. Lane
    News & Views
  • Electrons in a pure-carbon material display properties that are reminiscent of those in heavy-element compounds. A model inspired by this link hints at how a single-element material can exhibit complex electronic behaviour.

    • Aline Ramires
    News & Views
  • The identity of the enzyme that enables vitamin K to combat the adverse side effects of a drug called warfarin has been long sought. Analysis of a type of cell death called ferroptosis has now unexpectedly solved the mystery.

    • Nathan P. Ward
    • Gina M. DeNicola
    News & Views
  • Microscopic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have applications ranging from augmented-reality displays to large-screen products, but their brightness typically decreases as their size is reduced. A solution to this problem has now been found and used to manufacture bright blue nanoscale LEDs.

    Research Briefing