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Volume 580 Issue 7805, 30 April 2020

Molecular syringe

The cover shows an artist’s impression of an R-type bacteriocin protein complex from the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Bacteriocins are contractile molecular syringes — nanomachines produced by one bacterium that can puncture the cell membrane of another bacterium to deliver a lethal punch. In this week’s issue, Hong Zhou and his colleagues present high-resolution structures of the bacteriocin pyocin R2 from P. aeruginosa in both its pre- and post-contraction states. The results allow the researchers to suggest in detail how the molecular syringe works, offering insight into how R-type bacteriocins might be developed into a new class of antimicrobials.

Cover image: Dan Weisman

This Week

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  • News & Views

    • Tools have been developed to project inequalities in education around the world to 2030. They reveal that overall inequality will decline, but that all world regions will fall short of achieving universal secondary education.

      • Monica Grant
      News & Views
    • The addition of a methyl group to a drug molecule can greatly alter the drug’s pharmacological properties. A catalyst has been developed that enables this ‘magic methyl effect’ to be rapidly explored for drug discovery.

      • Emily B. Corcoran
      • Danielle M. Schultz
      News & Views
    • The mammalian gut must defend against a variety of infectious agents. Neurons, cells not usually thought of as first-responders during infection, are now found to aid the gut’s barrier function and stop bacteria from spreading elsewhere.

      • Romana R. Gerner
      • Manuela Raffatellu
      News & Views
    • A study of cancer-associated mutations in normal endometrial glands of the uterus has now been performed using whole-genome sequencing. The analysis sheds light on the early changes that lead to invasive disease.

      • Victoria L. Bae-Jump
      • Douglas A. Levine
      News & Views
  • Articles

    • Absorption lines of iron in the dayside atmosphere of an ultrahot giant exoplanet disappear after travelling across the nightside, showing that the iron has condensed during its travel.

      • David Ehrenreich
      • Christophe Lovis
      • Filippo Zerbi
    • Room-temperature electrical switching of a topological antiferromagnetic state in polycrystalline Mn3Sn thin films is demonstrated using the same protocol as that used for conventional ferromagnetic metals.

      • Hanshen Tsai
      • Tomoya Higo
      • Satoru Nakatsuji
    • An epitaxial growth strategy that improves the stability of two-dimensional halide perovskites by inhibiting ion diffusion in their heterostructures using rigid π-conjugated ligands is demonstrated, and shows near-atomically sharp interfaces.

      • Enzheng Shi
      • Biao Yuan
      • Letian Dou
    • A manganese-catalysed oxidative C(sp3)–H methylation method allows a methyl group to be selectively installed into medicinally important heterocycles, providing a way to improve pharmaceuticals and better understand the ‘magic methyl effect’.

      • Kaibo Feng
      • Raundi E. Quevedo
      • M. Christina White
    • Great progress toward the education-related SDG targets has been made; however, global estimates of within-country distributions of education reveal gender disparities and high levels of total inequality in many parts of the world.

      • Joseph Friedman
      • Hunter York
      • Emmanuela Gakidou
      Article Open Access
    • Whole-genome sequencing of normal human endometrial glands shows that most are clonal cell populations and frequently carry cancer driver mutations that occur early in life, and that parity has a protective effect.

      • Luiza Moore
      • Daniel Leongamornlert
      • Michael R. Stratton
    • Mutations in genes involved in immune signalling and vesicle trafficking cause defects in the leaf microbiome of Arabidopsis thaliana that result in damage to leaf tissues, suggesting mechanisms by which terrestrial plants control the level and diversity of endophytic phyllosphere microbiota.

      • Tao Chen
      • Kinya Nomura
      • Sheng Yang He


    • The authors report near-atomic resolution structures of the R-type bacteriocin from Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the pre-contraction and post-contraction states, and these structures provide insight into the mechanism of action of molecular syringes.

      • Peng Ge
      • Dean Scholl
      • Z. Hong Zhou
  • Matters Arising

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Amendments & Corrections

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Nature Index

  • The Nature Index 2020 Annual Tables highlight the institutions and countries that dominated high quality research in the natural sciences in 2019 as tracked by Nature Index.

    Nature Index
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