Volume 459 Issue 7247, 4 June 2009

This week’s Nature looks through new windows into life being generated by microscopists in recent years, beginning on page 629 with a collection of News Features on microscopic marvels. [Cover graphic: David Parkins.]



  • Editorial |

    Microscopes are changing the face of biology. Researchers should innovate and collaborate if they want to be part of the new vision.

  • Editorial |

    The draft NIH guidelines on stem-cell research are a good first step, but some revision is needed.

  • Editorial |

    The US president's delay in naming an NIH director is symptomatic of a widespread problem.

Research Highlights

Journal Club


News in Brief


  • Column |

    Deciding how to evaluate a cap-and-trade programme raises some thorny questions, says David Goldston.

    • David Goldston




  • Essay |

    The earliest microscopes shed light on a once-invisible world. But, Patricia Fara explains, microscopists were uncertain about how well the images reflected reality — just as they are today.

    • Patricia Fara

Books and Arts

  • Books & Arts |

    A journalistic account of the case of data manipulation by physicist Jan Hendrik Schön is rich in detail but draws the wrong conclusions about the self-correcting processes of science, argues Martin Blume.

    • Martin Blume
  • Books & Arts |

    Actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith has pioneered documentary theatre through her one-woman plays constructed from interviews. As she prepares to portray biologists Edward O. Wilson and James Watson at the World Science Festival in New York next week, Smith talks about life, death and the influence of science on her work.

    • Jascha Hoffman

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Semiconducting nanocrystals emit light in many different colours, but they blink on and off at random. The latest nanocrystals emit photons steadily, thanks to the blending of their cores into their outer shells.

    • Taekjip Ha
  • News & Views |

    Study of an under-appreciated subclass of stars that brighten and dim periodically brings to light their potential use as cosmic yardsticks — out to distances of a few hundred million light years.

    • Ofer Lahav
  • News & Views |

    Pore-forming proteins are deadly biological weapons that punch holes in target-cell membranes. The structure of the pore formed by a bacterial toxin suggests that diverse pore formers have similar assembly pathways.

    • Hagan Bayley
  • News & Views |

    The study of Earth's core is an exacting task that involves interpreting indirect evidence. An innovative approach to understanding decadal changes in the magnetic field provides a new probe of core dynamics.

    • Richard Holme
  • News & Views |

    A neat experiment shows that the mechanical vibration of two ion pairs separated by a few hundred micrometres is entangled — their motions are intrinsically and inseparably connected in a quantum way.

    • Rainer Blatt
  • News & Views |

    What factors direct the formation of heart muscle in the developing embryo? Unexpectedly, a chromatin-remodelling protein complex turns out to be a crucial determinant of cardiac-cell fate.

    • Fu-Sen Liang
    •  & Gerald R. Crabtree


  • Article | | open

    Candida species are the most common cause of opportunistic fungal infection worldwide. Here, the genomes of six Candida species are sequenced and compared with each other and with related pathogens and non-pathogens; providing insight into the genetic features that underlie the diversity of Candida biology, including pathogenesis and the architecture of mating and meiotic processes.

    • Geraldine Butler
    • , Matthew D. Rasmussen
    • , Michael F. Lin
    • , Manuel A. S. Santos
    • , Sharadha Sakthikumar
    • , Carol A. Munro
    • , Esther Rheinbay
    • , Manfred Grabherr
    • , Anja Forche
    • , Jennifer L. Reedy
    • , Ino Agrafioti
    • , Martha B. Arnaud
    • , Steven Bates
    • , Alistair J. P. Brown
    • , Sascha Brunke
    • , Maria C. Costanzo
    • , David A. Fitzpatrick
    • , Piet W. J. de Groot
    • , David Harris
    • , Lois L. Hoyer
    • , Bernhard Hube
    • , Frans M. Klis
    • , Chinnappa Kodira
    • , Nicola Lennard
    • , Mary E. Logue
    • , Ronny Martin
    • , Aaron M. Neiman
    • , Elissavet Nikolaou
    • , Michael A. Quail
    • , Janet Quinn
    • , Maria C. Santos
    • , Florian F. Schmitzberger
    • , Gavin Sherlock
    • , Prachi Shah
    • , Kevin A. T. Silverstein
    • , Marek S. Skrzypek
    • , David Soll
    • , Rodney Staggs
    • , Ian Stansfield
    • , Michael P. H. Stumpf
    • , Peter E. Sudbery
    • , Thyagarajan Srikantha
    • , Qiandong Zeng
    • , Judith Berman
    • , Matthew Berriman
    • , Joseph Heitman
    • , Neil A. R. Gow
    • , Michael C. Lorenz
    • , Bruce W. Birren
    • , Manolis Kellis
    •  & Christina A. Cuomo
  • Article |

    Cortical gamma oscillations (20–80 Hz) predict increases in focused attention, and failure in gamma regulation is a hallmark of neurological and psychiatric disease; however, what induces this activity band is unclear. Here, by using a cell-type targeted optogenetic approach, it is revealed that gamma oscillations can be driven by specific activation of fast-spiking interneurons in vivo, and that sensory input relative to these oscillations can determine the extent of evoked cortical activity.

    • Jessica A. Cardin
    • , Marie Carlén
    • , Konstantinos Meletis
    • , Ulf Knoblich
    • , Feng Zhang
    • , Karl Deisseroth
    • , Li-Huei Tsai
    •  & Christopher I. Moore
  • Article |

    Amino acid mutations that alter a protein's function can affect the stability of the protein, but these mutations are believed to be 'buffered' by chaperones, or heat-shock proteins-potentially facilitating the acquisition of genetic diversity and the rate of adaptation. Here, the overexpression of bacterial GroEL/GroES chaperonins is found to double the number of accumulating mutations in four different enzymes in vitro.

    • Nobuhiko Tokuriki
    •  & Dan S. Tawfik


  • Letter |

    Theory suggests that stars with initial masses greater than 25–30 solar masses end up as Wolf-Rayet stars, which are deficient in hydrogen in their outer layers; subsequent supernova explosions should produce ejecta of low kinetic energy, a faint optical luminosity and a small mass fraction of radioactive nickel, but no weak, hydrogen-deficient, core-collapse supernovae have hitherto been see. Now, SN 2008ha is reported to be a faint hydrogen-poor supernova.

    • S. Valenti
    • , A. Pastorello
    • , E. Cappellaro
    • , S. Benetti
    • , P. A. Mazzali
    • , J. Manteca
    • , S. Taubenberger
    • , N. Elias-Rosa
    • , R. Ferrando
    • , A. Harutyunyan
    • , V. P. Hentunen
    • , M. Nissinen
    • , E. Pian
    • , M. Turatto
    • , L. Zampieri
    •  & S. J. Smartt
  • Letter |

    Clouds on Titan result from the condensation of methane and ethane and, at present, cloud activity mainly occurs in the southern hemisphere; general circulation models predict that this distribution should change with the seasons on a 15-year timescale. Now, global spatial cloud coverage on Titan is reported to be in general agreement with the models.

    • Sébastien Rodriguez
    • , Stéphane Le Mouélic
    • , Pascal Rannou
    • , Gabriel Tobie
    • , Kevin H. Baines
    • , Jason W. Barnes
    • , Caitlin A. Griffith
    • , Mathieu Hirtzig
    • , Karly M. Pitman
    • , Christophe Sotin
    • , Robert H. Brown
    • , Bonnie J. Buratti
    • , Roger N. Clark
    •  & Phil D. Nicholson
  • Letter |

    Superposition and entanglement are hallmarks of quantum mechanics. One system ubiquitous to nature where entanglement has not previously been shown is distinct mechanical oscillators, such as springs or pendula. Here, deterministic entanglement of separated mechanical oscillators—consisting of the vibrational states of two pairs of atomic ions held in different locations—is demonstrated.

    • J. D. Jost
    • , J. P. Home
    • , J. M. Amini
    • , D. Hanneke
    • , R. Ozeri
    • , C. Langer
    • , J. J. Bollinger
    • , D. Leibfried
    •  & D. J. Wineland
  • Letter |

    The usefulness of semiconductor nanocrystals is severely limited by the fact that they 'blink': they turn on and off intermittently under continuous excitation. Here, ternary core/shell CdZnSe/ZnSe nanocrystals are realized, in which the transition between CdZnSe and ZnSe seems to be radially graded rather than abrupt, and which show completely non-blinking behaviour and strong photoluminescence.

    • Xiaoyong Wang
    • , Xiaofan Ren
    • , Keith Kahen
    • , Megan A. Hahn
    • , Manju Rajeswaran
    • , Sara Maccagnano-Zacher
    • , John Silcox
    • , George E. Cragg
    • , Alexander L. Efros
    •  & Todd D. Krauss
  • Letter |

    The nature of initial glaciation on Antarctica about 34 million years ago is a mystery. Results from an intensive radar survey now show that the Gamburtsev mountains at Dome A, at the centre of the present ice sheet, were initially incised by rivers and then subsequently overdeepened by ice movement; this is suggestive of topographical development before 34 million years ago, when mean summer temperatures were about 3 °C.

    • Sun Bo
    • , Martin J. Siegert
    • , Simon M. Mudd
    • , David Sugden
    • , Shuji Fujita
    • , Cui Xiangbin
    • , Jiang Yunyun
    • , Tang Xueyuan
    •  & Li Yuansheng
  • Letter |

    The production of arc magmas at convergent plate margins is thought to involve the mantle wedge overlying subducting slabs, as well as fluids or melts from the subducting slab itself. However, the role of kinematic variables, such as slab dip and convergence rate, remains an open question. Here, a model is proposed to address how kinematic parameters of plate subduction relate to the location of mantle wedge melting and the position of arc volcanoes.

    • T. L. Grove
    • , C. B. Till
    • , E. Lev
    • , N. Chatterjee
    •  & E. Médard
  • Letter |

    Interneurons defined by the fast-spiking phenotype and expression of the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin are thought to be involved in gamma oscillations. Here, optogenetic technology is used in mice to selectively modulate parvalbumin interneurons in vivo, revealing that inhibition of these interneurons suppresses gamma oscillations, whereas driving them is sufficient to generate emergent gamma-frequency rhythmicity.

    • Vikaas S. Sohal
    • , Feng Zhang
    • , Ofer Yizhar
    •  & Karl Deisseroth
  • Letter |

    N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors have different opening probabilities and pharmacological profiles according to the type of NR2 subunit they possess (NR2A to NR2D). The region formed by the NR2 amino-terminal domain, and the short linker connecting this to the agonist-binding domain, are now shown to be responsible for controlling the subunit-specific gating of NMDA receptors.

    • Marc Gielen
    • , Beth Siegler Retchless
    • , Laetitia Mony
    • , Jon W. Johnson
    •  & Pierre Paoletti
  • Letter |

    The heart has little regenerative capacity after damage, so understanding the factors required to produce new cardiac myocytes is of great interest. The minimal requirements for transdifferentiation of mouse mesoderm to cardiac myocytes are now defined, with implications for the reprogramming of cardiomyocytes for regenerative purposes in the future.

    • Jun K. Takeuchi
    •  & Benoit G. Bruneau
  • Letter |

    A20 is a negative regulator of the NF-κB pathway and has a pivotal role in regulation of the immune response. Using a genome-wide analysis of genetic lesions in B-cell lymphomas, A20 is shown to be a common genetic target in B-lineage lymphomas, with uncontrolled NF-κB signalling caused by loss of A20 function implicated in the pathogenesis of subsets of these lymphomas.

    • Motohiro Kato
    • , Masashi Sanada
    • , Itaru Kato
    • , Yasuharu Sato
    • , Junko Takita
    • , Kengo Takeuchi
    • , Akira Niwa
    • , Yuyan Chen
    • , Kumi Nakazaki
    • , Junko Nomoto
    • , Yoshitaka Asakura
    • , Satsuki Muto
    • , Azusa Tamura
    • , Mitsuru Iio
    • , Yoshiki Akatsuka
    • , Yasuhide Hayashi
    • , Hiraku Mori
    • , Takashi Igarashi
    • , Mineo Kurokawa
    • , Shigeru Chiba
    • , Shigeo Mori
    • , Yuichi Ishikawa
    • , Koji Okamoto
    • , Kensei Tobinai
    • , Hitoshi Nakagama
    • , Tatsutoshi Nakahata
    • , Tadashi Yoshino
    • , Yukio Kobayashi
    •  & Seishi Ogawa
  • Letter |

    Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common form of lymphoma in adulthood. Here, mutations in multiple genes that regulate the NK-κB pathway are shown to be present in DLBCL, with the most commonly affected being the A20 gene, which encodes a ubiquitin-modifying enzyme involved in termination of NK-κB responses.

    • Mara Compagno
    • , Wei Keat Lim
    • , Adina Grunn
    • , Subhadra V. Nandula
    • , Manisha Brahmachary
    • , Qiong Shen
    • , Francesco Bertoni
    • , Maurilio Ponzoni
    • , Marta Scandurra
    • , Andrea Califano
    • , Govind Bhagat
    • , Amy Chadburn
    • , Riccardo Dalla-Favera
    •  & Laura Pasqualucci
  • Letter |

    Upon DNA damage, eukaryotic cells initiate the DNA damage response, a complex signalling pathway which coordinates cell cycle arrest with DNA repair. Using a genome-wide RNA interference screen, the human F-box protein FBXO31 is shown to regulate the G1/S cell cycle transition in response to DNA damage by mediating degradation of cyclin D1, an important regulator of progression from G1 to S phase.

    • Manas K. Santra
    • , Narendra Wajapeyee
    •  & Michael R. Green
  • Letter |

    Pore-forming toxins are a class of potent virulence factors that convert from a soluble form to a membrane-integrated pore. The bacterial toxin cytolysin A is one such pore-forming toxin, and it is responsible for the haemolytic phenotype of several Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica strains. Here, the crystal structure of the assembled pore is reported, and a sequential mechanism for its assembly proposed.

    • Marcus Mueller
    • , Ulla Grauschopf
    • , Timm Maier
    • , Rudi Glockshuber
    •  & Nenad Ban
  • Letter |

    Co-evolution of enzymes for metabolic diversification is not well understood, especially at the biochemical level. Here, the biosynthetic pathways responsible for the synthesis of two natural products, curacin and jamaicamide, are examined; several domains are characterized to help determine how, although the two pathways have a high sequence identity, they are responsible for the production of two such dramatically different chemical motifs.

    • Liangcai Gu
    • , Bo Wang
    • , Amol Kulkarni
    • , Todd W. Geders
    • , Rashel V. Grindberg
    • , Lena Gerwick
    • , Kristina Håkansson
    • , Peter Wipf
    • , Janet L. Smith
    • , William H. Gerwick
    •  & David H. Sherman



  • Career Brief |

    US agencies gear up for spending stimulus funds.

  • Careers and Recruitment |

    The solar-energy industry is poised for a strong comeback from the rough patch it has hit, thanks to solid governmental and private investment. Kurt Kleiner investigates.

    • Kurt Kleiner




Brief Communications Arising

  • Brief Communications Arising |

    • Vaiva Vezys
    • , Andrew Yates
    • , Kerry A. Casey
    • , Gibson Lanier
    • , Rafi Ahmed
    • , Rustom Antia
    •  & David Masopust
Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing