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Volume 587 Issue 7835, 26 November 2020

Catching the rays

The Sun generates the vast majority of its energy from the fusion of hydrogen to form helium in a process called the proton–proton chain. But a small amount of its energy was thought to come from a secondary fusion process catalysed by carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, known as the CNO cycle. In this week’s issue, the Borexino Collaboration presents results that offer the first direct experimental evidence for the CNO cycle occurring in the Sun. The researchers used the Borexino detector (pictured on the cover) at the INFN Gran Sasso National Laboratories near L’Aquila, Italy, to detect neutrinos emitted as a result of the cycle. The results allowed the team to confirm that the CNO cycle contributes to about 1% of the Sun’s energy, and could offer fresh ways to probe the elemental composition of the Sun’s core.

Cover image: Borexino Collaboration.

This Week

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News in Focus

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Books & Arts

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  • News & Views

    • The first detection of neutrinos produced by the Sun’s secondary solar-fusion cycle paves the way for a detailed understanding of the structure of the Sun and of the formation of massive stars.

      • Gabriel D. Orebi Gann
      News & Views
    • A genetic analysis reveals that some people who have severe reactions to the SARS-CoV-2 virus inherited certain sections of their DNA from Neanderthals. However, our ancestors can’t take all the blame for how someone responds to the virus.

      • Yang Luo
      News & Views
    • Many receptor proteins of the GPCR family exist in multiple isoforms. A comprehensive analysis of different combinations of GPCR isoforms that produce diverse signalling patterns in cells has implications for drug development.

      • Joshua C. Snyder
      • Sudarshan Rajagopal
      News & Views
  • Reviews

  • Articles

    • An atomic simulator formed of a few ultracold fermionic atoms trapped in a two-dimensional harmonic potential exhibits precursors of a quantum phase transition, revealing the onset of collective quantum many-body phenomena in a few-body system.

      • Luca Bayha
      • Marvin Holten
      • Selim Jochim
    • Lateral-flow in vitro diagnostic assays based on fluorescent nanodiamonds, in which microwave-based spin manipulation is used to increase sensitivity, are demonstrated using the biotin–avidin model and by the single-copy detection of HIV-1 RNA.

      • Benjamin S. Miller
      • Léonard Bezinge
      • Rachel A. McKendry
    • Human-generated noise and night lighting affect breeding habits and fitness in birds, implying that sensory pollutants must be considered alongside other environmental factors in assessing biodiversity conservation.

      • Masayuki Senzaki
      • Jesse R. Barber
      • Clinton D. Francis
    • In neonatal mice, scar-free healing after spinal cord injury is organized by microglia, and transplantation of neonatal microglia or peptidase-inhibitor-treated adult microglia into adult mice after injury improves healing and axon regrowth.

      • Yi Li
      • Xuelian He
      • Zhigang He
    • Mouse models of muscle injuries and ageing characterized by low levels of intra-tissue glutamine are ameliorated by macrophage-specific deletion or systemic pharmacological inhibition of glutamate dehydrogenase 1, which results in constitutively high activity of glutamine synthetase.

      • Min Shang
      • Federica Cappellesso
      • Massimiliano Mazzone
    • Argonaute protein from the bacterium C. butyricum targets multicopy genetic elements and functions in the suppression of plasmid and phage propagation, and there appears to be a DNA-mediated immunity pathway in prokaryotes.

      • Anton Kuzmenko
      • Anastasiya Oguienko
      • Andrey Kulbachinskiy
    • Structural and biochemical studies of influenza virus RNA polymerase in complex with host acidic nuclear phosphoprotein 32 (ANP32) show how ANP32-mediated polymerase dimerization enables the replication of influenza viral RNA in a host-dependent manner.

      • Loïc Carrique
      • Haitian Fan
      • Jonathan M. Grimes
    • Analysis of cis-regulatory chromatin interactions, open chromatin and transcriptomes for different cell types isolated from mid-gestational human cortex samples provides insights into gene regulation during development.

      • Michael Song
      • Mark-Phillip Pebworth
      • Yin Shen
    • Transcriptomics, proteomics, single-cell RNA sequencing, population-wide genetic association studies and structure–function analyses provide a picture of how the differential expression of G-protein-coupled receptor isoforms can diversify signalling in different tissues.

      • Maria Marti-Solano
      • Stephanie E. Crilly
      • M. Madan Babu
    • Biochemical, structural and functional studies on the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) papain-like protease PLpro reveal that it regulates host antiviral responses by preferentially cleaving the ubiquitin-like interferon-stimulated gene 15 protein (ISG15) and identify this protease as a potential therapeutic target for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

      • Donghyuk Shin
      • Rukmini Mukherjee
      • Ivan Dikic
    • A methyltransferase ribozyme, along with the small-molecule cofactor O6-methylguanine, is shown to catalyse the site-specific installation of 1-methyladenosine in various RNAs, providing insights into the catalytic abilities of RNA.

      • Carolin P. M. Scheitl
      • Mohammad Ghaem Maghami
      • Claudia Höbartner
    • Using cryo-electron microscopy, the authors determine the structure of cGAS bound to nucleosomes and present evidence for the mechanism by which nucleosome binding to cGAS prevents cGAS dimerization and its binding to free double-stranded DNA.

      • Ganesh R. Pathare
      • Alexiane Decout
      • Andrea Ablasser
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  • Until around 10 years ago, the prognosis for people with multiple myeloma was poor.

    Nature Outlook
  • Germany's position as a research giant is defined by its strong and steady science funding and long-term investment in basic research.

    Nature Index
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