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The rapid evolution of durophagy in lungfish

Xindong Cui et al. describe exceptionally preserved fossils of lungfish (air-breathing fish) from the Early Devonian that show early adaptations to durophagy, or the consumption of hard-shelled prey.

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  • The causes of long-lasting behaviors of multi-year El Niño are still not fully understood. Here, the authors find that persistent two-way teleconnections between the North Pacific Oscillation and the tropical Pacific constitute a key source of multi-year El Niño.

    • Ruiqiang Ding
    • Yu‐Heng Tseng
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  • Shrub encroachment trends are widespread yet complex. Here the authors demonstrate that not considering dispersal and fire leads to overestimating shrub expansion in Arctic tundra and therefore its role as carbon sink.

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    • William J. Riley
    • Margaret S. Torn
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  • The relationship between new greenspaces and gentrification is an important one for urbanization. Here the authors show a positive relationship for at least one decade between greening in the 1990s–2000s and gentrification that occurred between 2000–2016 in 17 of 28 studied cities in North America and Europe.

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  • Sexual reproduction in eukaryotes involves gamete fusion, mediated by fusogenic proteins. Here, the authors identify fusogenic protein homologs encoded within mobile genetic elements in archaeal genomes, solve the crystal structure of one of the proteins, and show that its ectopic expression can fuse mammalian cells, suggesting potential roles in cell-cell fusion and gene exchange.

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    • Shunsuke Nishio
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  • AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a master regulator of cellular metabolism, but how AMPK activity is spatiotemporally regulated remains unclear. Here, Schmitt et al develop a sensitive biosensor for AMPK, which they use to uncover mechanisms for AMPK activity in the lysosome and nucleus.

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    • Stephanie D. Curtis
    • Jin Zhang
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  • Optimization of biological networks is often limited by wet lab labor and cost, and the lack of convenient computational tools. Here, aimed at democratization and standardization, the authors describe METIS, a modular and versatile active machine learning workflow with a simple online interface for the optimization of biological target functions with minimal experimental datasets.

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  • T cell receptors are generally thought to contact antigens presented in an end to end configuration. Here the authors show a geometrically alternate sideways mode of recognition of the antigen-presenting molecule CD1a by a γδ T cell receptor.

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  • Chemical probes are selective small-molecule modulators, usually inhibitors, of their target protein’s function, that can be used in cell or even animal studies to interrogate the functions of their target proteins. Cheryl Arrowsmith, the leader of a new initiative called Target 2035, which seeks to identify a pharmacological modulator for most human proteins by the year 2035, and Paul Workman, the Executive Director of the nonprofit Chemical Probes Portal, an online resource dedicated to chemical probes, talked to Nature Communications about chemical probes, their respective paths to leadership positions in the field, the online resources available to those interested in the topic and the promise and value of open — collaborative — science. The below material is a modified transcript of a long discussion, preserving the conversational tone, but streamlined and edited for clarity, and thus we do not attribute the particular parts to Cheryl or Paul specifically except for when they shared their personal experiences.

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  • Flooding is a pervasive natural hazard, with new research demonstrating that more than one in five people around the world live in areas directly exposed to 1-in-100 year flood risk. Exposure to such flood risk is particularly concentrated amongst lower income households worldwide.

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  • Habitability of exoplanet’s deepest oceans could be limited by the presence of high-pressure ices at their base. New work demonstrates that efficient chemical transport within deep planetary ice mantles is possible through significant salt incorporation within the high-pressure ice.

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    Comment Open Access
  • Diagonal integration of multimodal single-cell data emerges as a trending topic. However, empowering diagonal methods for novel biological discoveries requires bridging huge gaps. Here, we comment on potential risks and future directions of diagonal integration for multimodal single-cell data.

    • Yang Xu
    • Rachel Patton McCord
    Comment Open Access
  • A Global Forum on Synthetic Biology is needed to engage policymakers with practitioners across borders at the highest level. The international community needs a global confidence-building measure focused on discussing policy futures for the age of engineering biology.

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