Secure data encryption increasingly needs large volumes of true random numbers. Linda Meiser et al. use the stochastic nature of DNA synthesis to obtain millions of gigabytes of unbiased randomness.
Subduction is the primary driver of plate tectonics, yet we still do not fully understand how subduction zones initiate or the budgets of life-supporting elements recycled via subduction. At Nature Communications, we advocate for more transdisciplinary initiatives and collaborative projects, which are essential if we are to continue to bring new dynamics to subduction research.
Our editors highlight articles they see as particularly interesting or important in these new pages spanning all research areas.
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Tuning the electronic structure of Ag-Pd alloys to enhance performance for alkaline oxygen reduction
Electrocatalyst development is key to improving the performance and viability of many electrochemical energy technologies. Here, the authors design Ag-Pd alloys with specifically tuned electronic structures to have enhanced oxygen reduction electrocatalysis and decreased precious metal content.
Chiral benzylamines are found in many pharmacologically active molecules. Here, the authors report an enantio- and regio-selective reductive hydroarylation of N-acyl enamines with a NiH/chiral bis-imidazoline catalytic system affording a range of enantioenriched benzylamines.
Liquid crystalline network (LCN) actuators switch reversibly between two states. Here, the authors report an asymmetrically processed LCN actuator which allows desynchronized actuation between three states using light and thermal stimuli.
Ubiquitous shadows cast from moving objects in hybrid energy-harvesting systems are undesirable as they degrade the performance of the photovoltaic cells. Here the authors report the shadow of the moving object in a hybrid energy-harvesting system shortens charging time to charge a self-charging power system.
Mechano-responsive hydrogen-bonding array of thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer captures both strength and self-healing
Self-healing materials strive to emulate curable and resilient biological tissue but their performance is often insufficient for commercial applications because self-healing and toughening are mutually exclusive properties. Here, the authors report a tough and strong carbonate-type thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer that self-heals at ambient temperature.
- Astronomy and planetary science
- Energy science and technology
- Materials science
- Mathematics and computing
- Nanoscience and technology
- Optics and photonics
Clays in soil impact atmospheric CO2 by stabilizing soil organic matter, yet the dynamics of this process under future climate conditions are unknown. Here the authors present a way to observe clay-carbon dynamics within micro-aggregates using 4D imaging and a customized microfluidic chip.
Greater fuel efficiency is potentially preferable to reducing NOx emissions for aviation’s climate impacts
The regulation of aircraft engine NOx emissions was introduced to improve local air quality and reduce NOx emissions at altitude. Here, the authors find that greater fuel efficiency of aircrafts, and therefore lower CO2 emissions, could be preferable to reducing NOx emissions in terms of the aviation industries future climate impacts.
Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet—a threat for sea level rise—is accelerated by ice algal blooms. Here the authors find a link between mineral phosphorus and glacier algae, indicating that dust-derived nutrients aid bloom development, thereby impacting ice sheet melting.
One of the most conspicuous features of a mountain belt is the main drainage divide. Here, the authors constrain the tectonic uplift and advection of a mountain belt from the location and migration direction of its main drainage divide.
Forest structure depends both on extrinsic factors such as climate and on intrinsic properties such as community composition and diversity. Here, the authors use a dataset of stand structural complexity based on LiDAR measurements to build a global map of structural complexity for primary forests, and find that precipitation variables best explain global patterns of forest structural complexity.
- Climate sciences
- Environmental sciences
- Environmental social sciences
- Natural hazards
- Ocean sciences
- Planetary science
- Solid Earth sciences
- Space physics
A synthetic BRET-based optogenetic device for pulsatile transgene expression enabling glucose homeostasis in mice
Pulsing cellular dynamics in genetic circuits have been shown to provide critical capabilities to cells in diverse cellular activities. Here the authors show a synthetic BRET-based transgene expression system that allows pulsatile and quantitative activation of gene expression both in live cells and in vivo.
Pioneer transcription factors access their DNA binding motifs in closed chromatin and often act in cell fate reprogramming. Here, Jin et al. present biochemical evidence for a pioneer factor in plants and show that LFY promotes floral cell fate and locally unlocks chromatin by displacing histone H1 and recruiting SWI/SNF chromatin remodelers.
Structures of the archaerhodopsin-3 transporter reveal that disordering of internal water networks underpins receptor sensitization
Archaerhodopsin-3 (AR3) mutants are commonly used in optogenetics for neuron silencing and membrane voltage sensing. High-resolution crystal structures show that desensitization of the AR3 photoreceptor occurs when internal hydrogen-bonded water networks are modified in response to changes in chromophore isomerization.
Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are characterized by their self-renewal potential and associated dormancy. Here the authors show that niche produced netrin-1 preserves HSC quiescence and self-renewal via neogenin-1, and that decline of netrin-1 production during ageing leads to decreased Neo1 mediated HSC self-renewal.
Mutualists benefit their partners by providing resources that would be difficult to obtain independently. Here, the authors show in a bacterial community and with mathematical modeling how a mutualist can promote coexistence between competitors by providing them with different limiting resources.
- Biological techniques
- Cell biology
- Chemical biology
- Computational biology and bioinformatics
- Developmental biology
- Drug discovery
- Molecular biology
- Plant sciences
- Stem cells
- Structural biology
- Systems biology
Integrating deep learning CT-scan model, biological and clinical variables to predict severity of COVID-19 patients
The SARS-COV-2 pandemic has put pressure on intensive care units, so that predicting severe deterioration early is a priority. Here, the authors develop a multimodal severity score including clinical and imaging features that has significantly improved prognostic performance in two validation datasets compared to previous scores.
Murine liver repair via transient activation of regenerative pathways in hepatocytes using lipid nanoparticle-complexed nucleoside-modified mRNA
When severely or chronically injured, the liver loses ability to regenerate. Here, the authors utilize transient lipid nanoparticle-enclosed HGF and EGF-encoding mRNA delivery to induce hepatocyte proliferation and harness recovery of liver function in murine acute and chronic liver injury models.
Cryo-EM structures of the SARS-CoV-2 endoribonuclease Nsp15 reveal insight into nuclease specificity and dynamics
Nsp15 is a uridine specific endoribonuclease present in all coronaviruses. Here, the authors determine the cryo-EM structures of SARS-CoV-2 Nsp15 in the apo and UTP-bound states, which together with biochemical experiments, mass spectrometry and molecular dynamics simulations provide insights into the catalytic mechanism of Nsp15 and its conformational dynamics.
A CD8+ NK cell transcriptomic signature associated with clinical outcome in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis
A better understanding of how multiple sclerosis (MS) can relapse and remit is needed for the identification of biomarkers and better therapeutics. Here the authors identify a CD8 + NK cell population in patients with relapsing remitting MS and validate its association with clinical outcome.
The understanding of altered lipid metabolism by isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) mutations in gliomas at a compartment-specific level is limited. Here, the authors use Raman spectroscopy to monitor organelle-specific metabolic changes and report that IDH1 mutations induce phospholipid imbalances which lead to ER and Golgi dilation.
Neural recording technologies increasingly enable simultaneous measurement of neural activity from multiple brain areas. To gain insight into distributed neural computations, a commensurate advance in experimental and analytical methods is necessary. We discuss two opportunities towards this end: the manipulation and modeling of neural population dynamics.
Writing in Nature communications, Zhu and collaborators reported the development of a genetically encoded sensor for the detection of formaldehyde in cells and tissues. This tool has great potential to transform formaldehyde research; illuminating a cellular metabolite that has remained elusive in live structures.
Many newly-discovered microbial phyla have been studied solely by cultivation-independent techniques such as metagenomics. Much of their biology thus remains elusive, because the organisms have not yet been isolated and grown in the lab. Katayama et al. lift the curtain on some intriguing biology by cultivating and studying bacteria from the elusive OP9 phylum (Atribacterota).
The publication of a paper on mentorship, now retracted, led us to reflect on our editorial processes and strengthened our determination in supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in research.
Dr Nicolas Mano is a Senior Researcher at Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, France. His research interests include (bio)electrochemistry, biosensors, biofuel cells, enzymes engineering, and the use of carbonaceous materials for electrodes. His aim is to develop approaches where biochemical fuels can be converted into electricity and applied into bioelectrochemical applications. In this conversation, he is discussing the advancements in the field of biofuel cells in the past ten years and look ahead at future developments.
Synthetic biology will transform how we grow food, what we eat, and where we source materials and medicines. Here I have selected six products that are now on the market, highlighting the underlying technologies and projecting forward to the future that can be expected over the next ten years.