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Volume 573 Issue 7775, 26 September 2019

Brain tumours take root

Brain tumours are among the most lethal cancers. Primary brain tumours called malignant gliomas and brain metastases from other organs are particularly intractable. Three papers in this week’s issue probe the nature of brain tumour growth, shedding light on how the cancerous cells hijack and integrate into the brain’s neural network. Michelle Monje and her colleagues, and Frank Winkler and his team each find that cancerous glioma cells form functional synapses with neurons. Douglas Hanahan and his co-workers demonstrate that breast cancer cells metastatic to the brain participate in synaptic structures as a perisynaptic partner. The cancerous cells then use these synapses to promote their growth — the researchers find that activation of the synapses is associated with cancer colonization of the brain, malignant cell proliferation and tumour growth, emphasizing the role played by neuronal activity in brain cancer.

Cover image: Rob Dobi

This Week

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News in Focus

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  • Comment

    • Virtual models boost smart manufacturing by simulating decisions and optimization, from design to operations, explain Fei Tao and Qinglin Qi.

      • Fei Tao
      • Qinglin Qi
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Books & Arts

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  • News & Views

    • Kimberlites are volcanic rocks that derive from deep in Earth’s mantle, but the nature of their source is uncertain. A study of this source’s evolution over two billion years provides valuable information about its properties.

      • Catherine Chauvel
      News & Views
    • T-cell receptors orchestrate immune-system responses against infection and cancer. A structure of an entire T-cell receptor complex clarifies its assembly and signalling, and sheds light on its dynamic ligand recognition.

      • Ellis L. Reinherz
      News & Views
    • How Nature reported political support for European union in 1969, and early studies of the effects of sewage on fish from 1919.

      News & Views
    • Little was known about the properties of hydrogen under extreme pressure. Experiments now reveal key details about the arrangement of molecules in several of the element’s high-pressure phases.

      • Bartomeu Monserrat
      • Chris J. Pickard
      News & Views
  • Reviews

    • Progress in integrating atomically thin two-dimensional materials with silicon-based technology is reviewed, together with the associated opportunities and challenges, and a roadmap for future applications is presented.

      • Deji Akinwande
      • Cedric Huyghebaert
      • Frank H. L. Koppens
      Review Article
  • Articles

    • Multivalent anions are found to be capable of electron-doping polymer semiconductors to realize conductive films with very low work functions, which enable efficient electron injection into materials with low electron affinity.

      • Cindy G. Tang
      • Mazlan Nur Syafiqah
      • Peter K. H. Ho
    • A high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy structure of the human octameric T cell receptor–CD3 complex, including the complete extracellular and transmembrane domains, reveals the structural basis for TCR–CD3 assembly and provides insights into T cell receptor activation.

      • De Dong
      • Lvqin Zheng
      • Zhiwei Huang
  • Letters

    • Transmission of single-spin and entangled quantum states without the physical displacement of electrons is demonstrated in a quadruple quantum dot array using the Heisenberg exchange interaction and coherent SWAP gates.

      • Yadav P. Kandel
      • Haifeng Qiao
      • John M. Nichol
    • X-ray diffraction measurements of solid hydrogen provide crystallographic information for high-pressure phases of hydrogen and transitions between them, suggesting a series of isostructural transitions under compression before band closure and metallization.

      • Cheng Ji
      • Bing Li
      • Ho-Kwang Mao
    • A statistical forecast model using a deep-learning approach produces useful forecasts of El Niño/Southern Oscillation events with lead times of up to one and a half years.

      • Yoo-Geun Ham
      • Jeong-Hwan Kim
      • Jing-Jia Luo
    • A global dataset of river longitudinal profiles shows that river profiles become straighter with increasing aridity and numerical modelling suggests that this can be explained by rainfall–runoff regimes in different climate zones.

      • Shiuan-An Chen
      • Katerina Michaelides
      • Michael Bliss Singer
    • Mollisonia plenovenatrix, a small predatory arthropod from the Burgess Shale dated to about 508 million years ago, is morphologically close to horseshoe crabs, which suggests chelicerates arose as micropredators early during the Cambrian explosion.

      • Cédric Aria
      • Jean-Bernard Caron
    • Restoring the function of p53 in a mouse model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma leads to the accumulation of α-ketoglutarate, which increases levels of the 5-hydroxymethylcytosine chromatin modification and results in reduced tumour-cell fitness.

      • John P. Morris IV
      • Jossie J. Yashinskie
      • Scott W. Lowe
    • Structural and biophysical studies reveal that low-barrier hydrogen bonds enable long-range communication between the active sites of multimeric enzymes and synchronise catalysis.

      • Shaobo Dai
      • Lisa-Marie Funk
      • Kai Tittmann
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Amendments & Corrections

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Nature Outlook

  • There are now few areas of our lives that artificial intelligence (AI) does not touch. Not only is medicine no exception, but the potential for digital transformation of health care is especially striking.

    Nature Outlook
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