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.
Lessons learnt from the current pandemic will be invaluable to tackle a potential second wave, however, gaps remain in our readiness to face future pandemics. At Nature Communications we wish to support further research providing insights into how national and international systems could be shaped for increased preparedness to both local or global epidemics.
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Complex interatomic interactions and diverse structures make computing the phase diagram of water very challenging. Here, a combination of machine learning and advanced free-energy methods at three levels of hybrid DFT enables the prediction of the phase diagram in close agreement with experiment.
Goto et al present a bolometer based around the heat generation in magnetic tunnel junctions under auto-oscillation conditions. Unlike superconducting bolometers, the presented device operates at room temperature and sub-GHz frequencies, opening possibilities for use in microwave devices.
The geometry dependence of the Casimir force could enable applications in nanomechanical systems if the effects can be enhanced. Here, the authors demonstrate that the Casimir force between two interpenetrating nanoscale gratings can exceed the proximity force approximation by a factor of 500.
Insights on forming N,O-coordinated Cu single-atom catalysts for electrochemical reduction CO2 to methane
Single-atom catalysts (SACs) are promising candidates to catalyze CO2 reduction for the formation of high value hydrocarbons but most of the reactions yield CO. Here, the authors show a low-temperature calcining process to fabricate a carbon-dots-based SAC to efficiently convert CO2 to methane.
Selective hydrogenation of 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural to 5-methylfurfural over single atomic metals anchored on Nb2O5
Selective hydrogenation of 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural (HMF) to 5-Methylfurfural using H2 as reductant is very attractive, but remains challenging. Here, the authors report that isolated single atomic catalysts can catalyze the reaction efficiently with selectivity >99% at complete conversion of HMF.
- Astronomy and planetary science
- Energy science and technology
- Materials science
- Mathematics and computing
- Nanoscience and technology
- Optics and photonics
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.
Globally, new particle formation represents a major source of cloud condensation nuclei. Here, the authors present evidence of frequent occurrence of new particle formation in the upper part of remote marine boundary layer following cold front passages.
- Climate sciences
- Environmental sciences
- Environmental social sciences
- Natural hazards
- Ocean sciences
- Planetary science
- Solid Earth sciences
- Space physics
Pyruvate kinase phosphorylates histone H3T11 (H3pT11) and represses gene expression by forming a large complex SESAME (Serine-responsive SAM-containing Metabolic Enzyme). Here the authors show that SESAME-catalyzed H3pT11 regulates telomere silencing by promoting Sir2 binding at telomeres and preventing autophagy-mediated Sir2 degradation.
Asymmetrizing an icosahedral virus capsid by hierarchical assembly of subunits with designed asymmetry
Viruses have been re-engineered for many applications but the ability to build asymmetric capsids in vitro has been lacking. Here, the authors report the design of asymmetric subunits with different growth rates leading to capsids with discrete patches and potential for distinct surface chemistries.
The trajectory of the emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) into the Americas remains unclear. Here, the authors find that four mutations originated before ZIKV introduction to the Americas are direct reversions of previous mutations that accompanied spread many decades ago from ZIKV’s native Africa to Asia, and show in experimental infections of mosquitoes, human cells, and mice that the original mutations reduced fitness for urban transmission, while the reversions restored fitness, likely increasing epidemic risk.
Synthetic biologists often co-opt heterologous parts to affect new functions in living cells, yet such an approach has rarely been extended to structural components of the ribosome. Here, the authors describe generalizable methods to express ribosomes from divergent microbes in E. coli and maximize their function.
The Bloom syndrome complex senses RPA-coated single-stranded DNA to restart stalled replication forks
The BLM helicase interacts with the topoisomerase TOP3A and RMI1 to form the BTR complex. Here, the authors reveal that this complex contains multiple binding sites for the single-stranded DNA-binding complex RPA, and that RPA-binding stimulates BLM recruitment to stalled replication forks to promote their restart after replication stress.
- Biological techniques
- Cell biology
- Chemical biology
- Computational biology and bioinformatics
- Developmental biology
- Drug discovery
- Molecular biology
- Plant sciences
- Stem cells
- Structural biology
- Systems biology
A population-based controlled experiment assessing the epidemiological impact of digital contact tracing
While Digital contact tracing (DCT) has been argued to be a valuable complement to manual tracing in the containment of COVID-19, no empirical evidence of its effectiveness is available to date. Here, the authors report the results of a 4-week population-based controlled experiment, where they assessed the impact of the Spanish DCT app.
Risk variants and polygenic architecture of disruptive behavior disorders in the context of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
ADHD is often found to be comorbid with disruptive behavior disorders, but the genetic loci underlying this comorbidity are unknown. Here, the authors have performed a GWAS meta-analysis of ADHD with disruptive behavior disorders, finding three genome-wide significant loci in Europeans, and replicating one in a Chinese cohort.
Caveolae-mediated Tie2 signaling contributes to CCM pathogenesis in a brain endothelial cell-specific Pdcd10-deficient mouse model
Animal models that fully recapitulate human CCM pathogenesis are not currently available. Here, the authors establish a novel CCM model and reveal that caveolae-Tie2 signaling is involved in CCMs formation at the level of venules, which is accompanied by gradual dissociation of pericytes.
Time-restricted feeding normalizes hyperinsulinemia to inhibit breast cancer in obese postmenopausal mouse models
Obesity and its associated metabolic changes, including hyperinsulinemia and aberrant circadian rhythms, increases the risk for a variety of cancers including postmenopausal breast cancer. Here, the authors show that restricting when mice eat, but not what or how much they eat, delays breast cancer initiation and reduces tumor growth in obese mice in addition to improving insulin sensitivity and restoring circadian rhythms.
Intrauterine growth restriction is associated with increased risk for chronic diseases in adults. Here the authors identify fetuin-A as a HIF target gene and describe its protective role in the kidney, counteracting disease mechanisms such as calcification, macrophage polarization, and fibrosis.
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.
It would be unwise to assume ‘conventional’ lithium-ion batteries are approaching the end of their era and so we discuss current strategies to improve the current and next generation systems, where a holistic approach will be needed to unlock higher energy density while also maintaining lifetime and safety. We end by briefly reviewing areas where fundamental science advances will be needed to enable revolutionary new battery systems.