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Volume 588 Issue 7837, 10 December 2020

Mapping metastasis

Most deaths from cancer are related to tumours spreading to secondary sites in the body through metastasis, yet there are significant gaps in our knowledge of the underlying biology of this process. In this week’s issue Todd Golub and his colleagues report the MetMap, a barcoding system that they have used to determine the metastatic potential of human cancer cell lines. The system is based on an analysis of some 500 cell lines representing 21 solid cancer types. From their analyses, the researchers created petal plots, as illustrated on the cover, that relate to the metastatic pattern of the cancer cells. The team used the map to assess breast cancers that metastasize to the brain, finding that this process was linked to changes in lipid metabolism that could be a target for future therapies.

Cover image: Xin Jin, Mary O’Reilly, Lia Petronio and Andrew Tang.

This Week

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News in Focus

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Books & Arts

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  • News & Views

    • The fossil record traces the origin of the modern bird skull as birds evolved from their dinosaurian ancestors. Now the discovery of a bizarre fossil reveals a surprising diversion during this process of facial transformation.

      • Daniel J. Field
      News & Views
    • The discovery that the receptor protein LDLRAD3 is essential for infection of human cells by Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus could inform strategies to combat this potentially lethal infection.

      • James Zengel
      • Jan E. Carette
      News & Views
    • Computational models show that regionally varied prices for carbon emissions can greatly reduce the need for poor countries to receive financial assistance to tackle climate change, while still stabilizing global warming.

      • Wei Peng
      News & Views
  • Articles

    • Observations from the eROSITA telescope reveal soft-X-ray-emitting bubbles extending above and below the Galactic plane, which arose from energy injected into the Galactic halo from past activity in the Galactic centre.

      • P. Predehl
      • R. A. Sunyaev
      • J. Wilms
    • Correlations in momentum space between hadrons created by ultrarelativistic proton–proton collisions at the CERN Large Hadron Collider provide insights into the strong interaction, particularly the short-range dynamics of hyperons—baryons that contain strange quarks.

      • S. Acharya
      • D. Adamová
      • N. Zurlo
      Article Open Access
    • In the tiniest of capillaries, barely larger than a water molecule, condensation is surprisingly predictable from the macroscopic Kelvin condensation equation, a coincidence partially owing to elastic deformation of the capillary walls.

      • Qian Yang
      • P. Z. Sun
      • A. K. Geim
    • An integrated assessment model analysis shows that a moderately differentiated carbon price could achieve as much climate mitigation as a uniform carbon tax, avoiding concerns regarding equity between participating countries or sovereignty.

      • Nico Bauer
      • Christoph Bertram
      • Ottmar Edenhofer
    • In the geographically and taxonomically divided systems of vertebrates in the Living Planet Index, a small percentage of clusters showed extreme declines or increases, whereas most vertebrate populations across all systems showed no mean global trend.

      • Brian Leung
      • Anna L. Hargreaves
      • Robin Freeman
    • A crow-sized stem bird, Falcatakely forsterae, possesses a long and deep rostrum—a beak morphology that was previously unknown among Mesozoic birds and is similar to that of some crown-group birds, such as toucans.

      • Patrick M. O’Connor
      • Alan H. Turner
      • Lydia J. Rahantarisoa
    • Comparison of multiple genome assemblies from wheat reveals extensive diversity that results from the complex breeding history of wheat and provides a basis for further potential improvements to this important food crop.

      • Sean Walkowiak
      • Liangliang Gao
      • Curtis J. Pozniak
      Article Open Access
    • Chromosome-scale sequence assemblies of 20 diverse varieties of barley are used to construct a first-generation pan-genome, revealing previously hidden genetic variation that can be used by studies aimed at crop improvement

      • Murukarthick Jayakodi
      • Sudharsan Padmarasu
      • Nils Stein
      Article Open Access
    • A cell-surface fragment complementation strategy is used to identify the proteome at the junction of astrocytes and synapses in vivo, and shows that NRCAM expressed in astrocytes has a key role in regulating inhibitory synapse function.

      • Tetsuya Takano
      • John T. Wallace
      • Scott H. Soderling
    • Influence of the gut microbiome on the human immune system is revealed by systems analysis of vast clinical data from decades of electronic health records paired with massive longitudinal microbiome sequencing.

      • Jonas Schluter
      • Jonathan U. Peled
      • Joao B. Xavier
    • LDLRAD3 is a receptor for infection with Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, and in mouse models deletion of Ldlrad3 or treatment with a soluble LDLRAD3 decoy molecule abrogates infection and disease caused by this virus.

      • Hongming Ma
      • Arthur S. Kim
      • Michael S. Diamond
    • Male patients with COVID-19 have higher plasma levels of innate immune cytokines and chemokines such as IL-8, IL-18 and CCL5 and more non-classical monocytes than female patients, whereas female patients mount robust T cell activation maintained even in older age.

      • Takehiro Takahashi
      • Mallory K. Ellingson
      • Akiko Iwasaki
    • Antibody selection and maturation within B cells found in gut-associated germinal centres is stimulated by the gut microbiota, to a degree that depends on the presence and composition of the microbes.

      • Carla R. Nowosad
      • Luka Mesin
      • Gabriel D. Victora
    • A method in which pooled barcoded human cancer cell lines are injected into a mouse xenograft model enables simultaneous mapping of the metastatic potential of multiple cell lines, and shows that breast cancer cells that metastasize to the brain have altered lipid metabolism.

      • Xin Jin
      • Zelalem Demere
      • Todd R. Golub
      Article Open Access
    • A comprehensive map of transcriptomes, cis-regulatory elements, heterochromatin structure, the methylome and 3D genome organization in the zebrafish (Danio rerio) enables identification of species-specific and evolutionarily conserved regulatory features, and provides a foundation for modelling studies on human disease and development.

      • Hongbo Yang
      • Yu Luan
      • Feng Yue
  • Matters Arising

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Amendments & Corrections

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  • As investments and revenues soar year-on-year and nations vie for leadership in the field of artificial intelligence, research output continues its steep, upward trajectory. But there are significant ethical and technical challenges to overcome.

    Nature Index
  • Nature speaks to cell biologists working in industry to get their advice for academic researchers thinking of moving into the private sector.

    Career Guide
  • Large numbers of people are going hungry around the world and nutritional imbalances persist between low- and high-income nations. Not only are our food systems failing society but they are damaging the planet.

    Nature Outlook
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