Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Volume 520 Issue 7547, 16 April 2015

Cultured cell lines, including many cancer cell lines, are essential tools not only in biological research but also other areas of science. Unfortunately, it has been long known that many cell lines are contaminated, mislabelled or incorrectly annotated. Richard Neve and colleagues now present an analysis providing unambiguous authentication and annotation for more than 3,500 cell lines. This resource offers a reference point for both short tandem repeats (STR) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) profiles as genetic methods of cell annotation, combined with suggested standards for nomenclature using a controlled vocabulary. In a parallel development, we present on page 307 a new publication policy designed to increase the scrutiny around cell line identity problems. Cover: AXS Biomedical Animation Studio


World View

Research Highlights

Social Selection

Seven Days

  • Seven Days |

    The week in science: Protests delay telescope construction, Brazil approves GM eucalyptus; and African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention takes shape.


News Feature

  • News Feature |

    Thirty years of pursuit have failed to yield a drug to take on one of the deadliest families of cancer-causing proteins. Now some researchers are taking another shot.

    • Heidi Ledford


  • Comment |

    Twenty-five years after launch, the wild success of the space telescope argues for a new era of bold exploration in the face of tight budgets, says Mario Livio.

    • Mario Livio

Books & Arts

  • Books & Arts |

    Barbara Kiser reviews five of the week's best science picks.

    • Barbara Kiser
  • Books & Arts |

    The first geological map of a nation was made 200 years ago by British surveyor William Smith; the rediscovery of a first-edition copy in the archives of the Geological Society of London was announced last month (see ). As researchers gather for a conference to celebrate the anniversary of the 1815 chart of England and Wales, John Henry, chair of the society's history group, talks about the map and its pioneering creator.

    • Alexandra Witze


News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Analyses of prostate-cancer metastases reveal a complex cellular architecture, and show that secondary sites can be seeded by multiple cell populations derived from both the primary tumour and other metastases. See Letter p.353

    • Michael M. Shen
  • News & Views |

    Experimental results suggest that if Earth initially grew by the accumulation of highly chemically reduced material, its core could contain enough uranium to drive the planet's magnetic field throughout Earth's history. See Letter p.337

    • Richard W. Carlson
  • News & Views |

    Molecular tracing of populations of breast-cancer cells in a primary tumour in mice reveals that two proteins, Serpine2 and Slpi, enable tumour cells to form vascular-like networks, facilitating perfusion and metastasis. See Letter p.358

    • Mary J. C. Hendrix
  • News & Views |

    Drug manufacture can benefit from flow synthesis, in which raw materials are fed into a sequence of reactors, producing the drug as a continuous output. A flow strategy that capitalizes on solid catalysts has now been realized. See Letter p.329

    • Joel M. Hawkins
  • News & Views |

    The neutron–proton mass difference, one of the most consequential parameters of physics, has now been calculated from fundamental theories. This landmark calculation portends revolutionary progress in nuclear physics.

    • Frank Wilczek
  • News & Views |

    An analysis of fish declines in coral reefs shows that simple fishing limits and implementation of marine protected areas can be enough to support recovery of coral ecosystem resilience. See Letter p.341

    • Nicholas K. Dulvy
    • Holly K. Kindsvater



  • Article |

    The crystal structures of the human adiponectin receptors AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 are solved at 2.9 and 2.4 Å resolution, respectively; the structural and functional information may aid the development and optimization of adiponectin receptor agonists for the treatment of obesity-related diseases.

    • Hiroaki Tanabe
    • Yoshifumi Fujii
    • Shigeyuki Yokoyama
  • Article |

    Two X-ray crystal structures are presented of the human P2Y1 G-protein-coupled receptor, which is an important target for anti-thrombotic drugs; the structures unexpectedly reveal two ligand-binding sites.

    • Dandan Zhang
    • Zhan-Guo Gao
    • Beili Wu


  • Letter |

    Observations of CK Vulpeculae reveal that it is surrounded by molecular gas and dust whose large mass and chemical composition cannot have come from a nova; the best explanation is that this object is the remnant of the merger of two stars.

    • Tomasz Kamiński
    • Karl M. Menten
    • Alexander Kraus
  • Letter |

    An aluminium-ion battery is reported that can charge within one minute, and offers improved cycle life compared to previous devices; it operates through the electrochemical deposition and dissolution of aluminium at the anode, and the intercalation/de-intercalation of chloroaluminate anions into a novel graphitic-foam cathode.

    • Meng-Chang Lin
    • Ming Gong
    • Hongjie Dai
  • Letter |

    A delay between surface cooling and the arrival of ice-rafted debris at a site southwest of Iceland over the past four glacial cycles implies that icebergs typically arrived too late to have triggered cooling, although the freshwater derived from melting icebergs may provide a positive feedback for cold stadial conditions.

    • Stephen Barker
    • James Chen
    • David Thornalley
  • Letter |

    A study of the recovery potential of over 800 of the world's coral reefs shows that 83% of fished reefs are missing more than half their expected biomass, with severe consequences for key ecosystem functions; protection from fishing would allow full recovery in 35 years on average, but in 59 years for the most degraded reefs.

    • M. Aaron MacNeil
    • Nicholas A. J. Graham
    • Tim R. McClanahan


  • Letter |

    Initially weak episodic memories in humans can be selectively enhanced and consolidated following later emotional learning involving conceptually related information, suggesting a mechanism for how we can remember initially inconsequential information after a relevant later experience.

    • Joseph E. Dunsmoor
    • Vishnu P. Murty
    • Elizabeth A. Phelps
  • Letter |

    The subclonal composition of human prostate tumours and their metastases has been mapped by whole-genome sequencing, thus establishing the evolutionary trees behind the development and spread of these cancers; an important observation was that metastases could be re-seeded multiple times, and spread from one tumour to another was frequently seen.

    • Gunes Gundem
    • Peter Van Loo
    • G. Steven Bova
  • Letter |

    Different clones of a mammary tumour cell line possess differential abilities to contribute to the formation of metastasis; the expression of Serpine2 and Slp1 proteins drives vascular mimicry and metastasis to the lung, with similar associations observed in human data sets, and these proteins also function as anticoagulants, thus further promoting extravasation of tumour cells.

    • Elvin Wagenblast
    • Mar Soto
    • Simon R. V. Knott
  • Letter |

    Tumour cells respond to an effective, targeted drug treatment with BRAF, ALK or EGFR kinase inhibitors by inducing a complex network of secreted signals that promote tumour growth, dissemination and metastasis of drug-resistant cancer cell clones, and increase the survival of drug-sensitive tumour cells, potentially contributing to incomplete tumour regression.

    • Anna C. Obenauf
    • Yilong Zou
    • Joan Massagué
  • Letter |

    Parasites of the Theileria genus infect cattle and transform their host cells, a transformation that can be reversed by treatment with the drug buparvaquone; here, a Theileria homologue of the peptidyl-prolyl isomerase PIN1 is shown to be secreted into the host cell, where it promotes transformation and can be directly inhibited by buparvaquone.

    • J. Marsolier
    • M. Perichon
    • J. B. Weitzman



Technology Feature

  • Technology Feature |

    Sometimes a drug causes a tumour to completely recede, but only in a tiny percentage of people. Scientists want to decipher such outlier responses for the benefit of all patients.

    • Vivien Marx




  • Q&A |

    A structural biologist explains why now is a good time for scientists to return to India.

    • Virginia Gewin


  • Futures |

    Share and share alike.

    • Ananyo Bhattacharya

Brief Communications Arising

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing


Quick links