A planned database collating medical information for England’s population is a laudable exercise, with huge potential for research. But people’s right to opt out has been greatly downplayed.
Volume 505 Issue 7483, 16 January 2014
Books & Arts
News & Views
Rare copy-number variants (CNVs) conferring risk of schizophrenia or autism affect fecundity of carriers in Iceland, and carriers of these CNVs who do not suffer disease or have not been diagnosed with intellectual disability show phenotypes in brain structure and cognitive abilities between those of non-carrier controls and patients with schizophrenia.
Many DNA processes require chromosomes to be held together by a ring-shaped complex called cohesin, but despite the importance of this protein, its interaction with DNA has not been reproduced in vitro; here, using purified yeast proteins, cohesin loading is successfully recapitulated, offering mechanistic insight into how the loader complex mediates topological cohesin binding.
UvrD acts in nucleotide excision repair by using its helicase/translocase activity to induce RNA polymerase backtracking, enabling repair enzymes to access DNA lesions.
A black hole with mass 3.8 to 6.9 times that of the Sun is found to be orbiting the nearby Be-type star MWC 656; the black hole is encircled by an accretion disk and X-ray quiescent, implying that Be binaries with black-hole companions are difficult to detect in conventional X-ray surveys.
Strong, rapid adhesion between two hydrogels and even slices of animal tissue can be achieved at room temperature by using a silica nanoparticle solution as a ‘glue’.
A single-flask, catalytic enantioselective conversion of terminal alkenes into a number of chiral products is described: this tandem diboration/cross-coupling reaction works on a broad range of substrates, requires small amounts of commercially available catalysts, and provides products in high yield and high selectivity.
Rates of river incision into bedrock are thought to reflect rates of rock uplift as well as the strength of climatic forcing of erosion over time, but here incision rate is shown to depend on the measurement interval.
Global carbon budgets reveal that inland waters emit substantial amounts of carbon, which is believed to originate from the terrestrial biosphere; however, here the carbon emitted from the Amazon River system is shown to originate from temporary wetlands in the flooded area itself, such as flooded forests.
A full mitochondrial genome from a 400,000-year-old Middle Pleistocene hominin from Spain unexpectedly reveals a close relationship to Denisovans, a sister group to the Neanderthals, raising interesting questions about the origins of Neanderthals and Denisovans.
In mice, chronic stimulation by repetitive sounds, whisker deflection, motor activity or seizures during a postnatal developmental critical period, leads to permanent reductions in brain microvascular density, an effect that impairs oxygen delivery to neurons but can be prevented by blocking nitric oxide signalling.
The airway mucin Muc5b (but not Muc5ac) is required for mucociliary clearance, defence against bacterial infection in the airways and middle ear, and maintenance of immune homeostasis in the lungs; Muc5b deficiency causes accumulation of apoptotic macrophages, impairment of phagocytosis and reduced production of interleukin-23, leading to infection and inflammation.
The regularly spaced arrangement of plant organs around the stem known as phyllotaxis depends on auxin-based inhibitory fields; this study identifies another hormone-based inhibitory field downstream of auxin which is generated by movement of the cytokinin signalling inhibitor ARABIDOPSIS HISTIDINE PHOSPHOTRANSFER PROTEIN 6 and regulates the periodicity of organ production.
The crystal structures of three forms of Escherichia coli acyl carrier protein engaging LpxD, an acyltransferase in the lipid A biosynthetic pathway, are reported.
A highly specific chemical crosslinking method is used to trap a complex between an acyl carrier protein and a fatty acid dehydratase during fatty acid biosynthesis; subsequent X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations techniques enable the detailed study of this complex.
Here, the atomic structure of a virally encoded, cell-wall-spanning, DNA-translocating conduit from bacteriophage ΦX174 is described.
The regular Insight 'Frontiers in biology' highlights important advances in biology. This year, the Reviews discuss cancer predisposition genes, analysing brain function at the level of neural projections, the organization of interneurons, the haematopoietic stem-cell niche in bone marrow, mitochondrial research, endogenous RNA and the roles of piRNA.