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Volume 608 Issue 7922, 11 August 2022

Sticking points

Interfaces between cells are created when cells stick to each other, a process usually mediated by adhesion molecules called adhesins. Engineering the formation of cell–cell interfaces and programming subsequent patterning using synthetic adhesins has proved challenging. In this week’s issue, Ingmar Riedel-Kruse and his colleagues present such a system based on synthetic adhesins in the bacterium Escherichia coli. The researchers used the four-colour theorem to mathematically and experimentally show that just four adhesins are sufficient to construct a logic to create any arbitrary interface pattern. The cover shows one such tiling pattern. Each dot corresponds to a colony of outwardly growing E. coli, and the lines are the interfaces formed when two bacteria carrying complementary adhesins meet and stick together. The adhesin logic is illustrated by the coloured shapes overlaid on part of the image. The four-adhesin toolkit could help drive the engineering of biosensors and biomaterials as well as shedding light on the evolution of multicellular systems.

Cover image: Honesty Kim and Ingmar Riedel-Kruse

This Week

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News in Focus

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  • News & Views

    • The engineering of cells to express synthetic adhesion molecules creates a simple logic for patterning cell populations with visible boundaries. The approach paves the way for smart living materials and programmable biosensors.

      • Luis Ángel Fernández
      News & Views
    • What underpins how humans evolved the capacity to consume milk during adulthood? A look at the connection between health and the genetic changes needed to break down milk offers a surprising new perspective.

      • Shevan Wilkin
      News & Views
    • Soft magnetic materials can be magnetized and demagnetized by weak magnetic fields, but lack the strength, toughness and malleability needed for many applications. An alloy that solves this problem has now been developed.

      • Easo P. George
      News & Views
    • An analysis of ketamine and cocaine use in mice reveals that the drugs trigger release of the neurotransmitter dopamine through different mechanisms, and indicates that the risk of addiction to ketamine is low.

      • Rianne Campbell
      • Mary Kay Lobo
      News & Views
    • A modified method for delivering oxygen to the whole body can restore function in pig organs one hour after the animals have died. The achievement points to ways to improve transplants and the treatment of strokes and heart attacks.

      • Robert J. Porte
      News & Views
  • Reviews

    •  Analysis of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet response to past warm periods and current observations of change highlight the importance of satisfying the Paris Climate Agreement to avoid a multi-metre contribution to sea level over the next few centuries.

      • Chris R. Stokes
      • Nerilie J. Abram
      • Pippa L. Whitehouse
      Review Article
  • Articles

    • Stochastic cooling at optical frequencies is demonstrated in an experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s Integrable Optics Test Accelerator, substantially increasing the bandwidth of stochastic cooling compared with conventional systems.

      • J. Jarvis
      • V. Lebedev
      • A. Valishev
      Article Open Access
    • An optically coupled Bose–Einstein condensate of potassium atoms is used to engineer chiral interactions and perform the quantum simulation of a one-dimensional reduction of the topological Chern–Simons gauge theory.

      • Anika Frölian
      • Craig S. Chisholm
      • Leticia Tarruell
    • Slow nonlinearities of a free-running microresonator-filtered fibre laser are shown to transform temporal cavity solitons into the system’s dominant attractor, leading to reliable self-starting oscillation of microcavity-solitons that are naturally robust to perturbations.

      • Maxwell Rowley
      • Pierre-Henry Hanzard
      • Alessia Pasquazi
      Article Open Access
    • Fabrication of a low-dimensional metal halide perovskite superlattice by chemical epitaxy is reported, with a criss-cross two-dimensional network parallel to the substrate, leading to efficient carrier transport in three dimensions.

      • Yusheng Lei
      • Yuheng Li
      • Sheng Xu
    • A synthetic cell-cell adhesion logic using swarming E. coli with 4 bits of information is introduced, enabling the programming of interfaces that combine to form universal tessellation patterns over a large scale.

      • Honesty Kim
      • Dominic J. Skinner
      • Ingmar H. Riedel-Kruse
      Article Open Access
    • Oxygen isotope compositions of dated magmatic zircon show that the Pilbara Craton in Western Australia, Earth’s best-preserved Archaean continental remnant, was built in three stages initiated by a giant meteorite impact.

      • Tim E. Johnson
      • Christopher L. Kirkland
      • Michael I. H. Hartnady
    • Examination of archaeological pottery residues and modern genes suggest that environmental conditions, subsistence economics and pathogen exposure may explain selection for lactase persistence better than prehistoric consumption of milk.

      • Richard P. Evershed
      • George Davey Smith
      • Mark G. Thomas
    • To understand the contribution of variants to transcript expression regulation, long-read transcriptome data are generated from the GTEx resource, and a new software package to perform allele-specific analysis is developed.

      • Dafni A. Glinos
      • Garrett Garborcauskas
      • Beryl B. Cummings
    • Experiments in mice show that although ketamine has positive reinforcement properties, which are driven by its action on the dopamine system, it does not induce the synaptic plasticity that is typically observed with addiction.

      • Linda D. Simmler
      • Yue Li
      • Christian Lüscher
    • Distinct dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area respond to physiological fluid balance and nutrient cues at specific stages of ingestion, driving learning about the physiological effects of ingestion.

      • James C. R. Grove
      • Lindsay A. Gray
      • Zachary A. Knight
      Article Open Access
    • Experiments in mice alternating between a visual working memory task and a task that is independent of working memory provide insight into the neural representation of working memory and the distributed nature of its maintenance.

      • Ivan Voitov
      • Thomas D. Mrsic-Flogel
      Article Open Access
    • Systematic measurements of the interactions between proteins found on the surfaces of human leukocytes provides a global view of the way that immune cells are dynamically connected by receptors.

      • Jarrod Shilts
      • Yannik Severin
      • Gavin J. Wright
      Article Open Access
    • OrganEx—an extracorporeal pulsatile-perfusion system with cytoprotective perfusate for porcine whole-body settings—preserved tissue integrity, decreased cell death and restored selected molecular and cellular processes across multiple vital organs after 1 h of warm ischaemia in pigs.

      • David Andrijevic
      • Zvonimir Vrselja
      • Nenad Sestan
    • Mild cold exposure activates a substantial amount of brown adipose tissue (BAT) in a patient with cancer, reducing tumour-associated glucose uptake, and activation of BAT in mice inhibits the growth of tumours by decreasing blood glucose and impeding glycolysis-based metabolism in cancer cells.

      • Takahiro Seki
      • Yunlong Yang
      • Yihai Cao
      Article Open Access
  • Matters Arising

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Amendments & Corrections

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  • With the right building blocks, nanoscience can revolutionize industries, whether it’s driving a new era in computing, boosting crop resilience or advancing medical innovations.

    Nature Index
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