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Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Advanced Online Publications Articles

  • Current Issue of Nature

    Nature

  • Graduate students face alarming tax hike

  • Adding to PhD students’ woes will undermine US research and economy.

  • Chemists get faster on the draw

  • A Nature journals guide to drawing the structures of molecules should aid expert and casual chemists alike.

  • How China could make the most of its beamlines

  • More international collaboration could build capacity at big physics facilities especially in the south.

  • Immunization needs a technology boost

  • Tracking who receives vaccines is essential, but will be impossible without innovations in digital technologies, says Seth Berkley.

  • New Delhi smog, death-sentence appeal and a porpoise setback

  • The week in science: 11–16 November 2017.

  • Archaeologists say human-evolution study used stolen bone

  • Bizarre tale of theft and suspicious packages casts doubt on claims for early-human occupation in northern Europe.

  • Lab mice's ancestral‘Eve’ gets her genome sequenced

  • Effort aims to help scientists understand how generations of inbreeding have altered the genetics of research rodents.

  • UK government appoints next chief scientific adviser

  • A former pharmaceutical boss will help navigate the UK’s exit from the European Union.

  • Puerto Rico struggles to assess hurricane’s health effects

  • While dealing with their own losses, public-health researchers are regrouping to study the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

  • World’s carbon emissions set to spike by 2% in 2017

  • Increased coal use in China appears to be driving the first increase in global greenhouse-gas output since 2014.

  • China fires up next-generation neutron-science facility

  • Beam generator puts country in elite company for doing experiments in materials science and other fields.

  • Biology’s beloved amphibian — the axolotl — is racing towards extinction

  • Although abundant in captivity, the salamander has nearly disappeared from its natural habitat, and that’s a problem.

  • Chemists can help to solve the air-pollution health crisis

  • Learning more about how pollutants enter and damage the body would reduce disease and deaths, say Jos Lelieveld and Ulrich Pöschl.

  • Boycott products from states with dirty energy

  • Consumer pressure could encourage regions to switch from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of electricity, argues Christopher Kennedy.

  • Bioethics: Justice in genomics

  • Rosario Isasi examines a study on the societal impact of grand sequencing projects.

  • Economics: How science got a golden ticket

  • Ehsan Masood hails an account of the mixed implications of governments valuing research as an investment.

  • Computer science: Visionary of virtual reality

  • Aldo Faisal explores the immersive journey of technology pioneer Jaron Lanier.

  • Fires: fund research for citizen safety

  • Fires: degree courses for fire professionals

  • International funding: Empower Africa’s electricity sector

  • Preclinical research: Meet patients to sharpen up research

  • Research reports: An open market for scientific verbiage?

  • Survival stories: science endures

  • Scientists hit hard by powerful hurricanes in 2017 share tips for weathering future disasters.

  • Turning point: Gourmet investigator

  • Cross-cultural chef-turned-scientist cooks up recipe for diversity outreach.

  • Those who favour fire

  • A final farewell.

  • Planetary science: Haze cools Pluto's atmosphere

  • Modelling suggests that Pluto's atmospheric temperature is regulated by haze, unlike the other planetary bodies in the Solar System. The finding has implications for our understanding of exoplanetary atmospheres. See Letter p.352

  • Microbiology: Bacteria disarm host-defence proteins

  • Infection with Shigella flexneri bacteria is a major cause of infant death. It emerges that S. flexneri evades intracellular defences by releasing a protein that triggers the destruction of members of a key family of host enzymes. See Letter p.378

  • 50 aamp; 100 Years Ago

  • 50 Years AgoLast week's first Saturn V flight (called Apollo 4) may have helped NASA to catch up on the lagging timetable for landing two Americans on the Moon by 1970. By combining in one flight the first operational tests of several important components,

  • Biogeochemistry: Ocean hotspots of nitrogen loss

  • Microbial activity in the sea results in a loss of bioavailable nitrogen. It emerges that the climate phenomenon called the El Niño–Southern Oscillation has a surprisingly large effect on the size of this loss.

  • Gene therapy: Transgenic stem cells replace skin

  • The treatment of a patient affected by an incurable genetic skin disease demonstrates the efficacy, feasibility and safety of replacing almost the whole skin using genetically corrected stem cells. See Letter p.327

  • Geophysics: The buoyancy of Earth's deep mantle

  • The physical nature of two regions called large low-shear-velocity provinces at the base of Earth's mantle is uncertain. A measurement of their density has implications for our understanding of mantle dynamics. See Article p.321

  • Ecology: The effect of conservation spending

  • Statistical analysis of data on threatened species provides a model that can predict how rates of investment in conservation affect biodiversity under changing human population levels and agricultural and economic conditions. See Letter p.364

  • Influenza: A broadly protective antibody

  • A single antibody uses multiple antiviral mechanisms to block the replication of influenza B viruses in mice and ferrets. The development could inform research into improved flu vaccines.

  • Progress in and promise of bacterial quorum sensing research

  • This Review highlights how we can build upon the relatively new and rapidly developing field of research into bacterial quorum sensing (QS). We now have a depth of knowledge about how bacteria use QS signals to communicate with each other and to coordinate their activities.

  • Tidal tomography constrains Earth’s deep-mantle buoyancy

  • Earth’s body tide—also known as the solid Earth tide, the displacement of the solid Earth’s surface caused by gravitational forces from the Moon and the Sun—is sensitive to the density of the two Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs) beneath Africa and the Pacific. These

  • Regeneration of the entire human epidermis using transgenic stem cells

  • Junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB) is a severe and often lethal genetic disease caused by mutations in genes encoding the basement membrane component laminin-332. Surviving patients with JEB develop chronic wounds to the skin and mucosa, which impair their quality of life and lead to skin

  • A single-cell survey of the small intestinal epithelium

  • Intestinal epithelial cells absorb nutrients, respond to microbes, function as a barrier and help to coordinate immune responses. Here we report profiling of 53,193 individual epithelial cells from the small intestine and organoids of mice, which enabled the identification and characterization of previously unknown subtypes

  • Inflammation-induced IgA+ cells dismantle anti-liver cancer immunity

  • The role of adaptive immunity in early cancer development is controversial. Here we show that chronic inflammation and fibrosis in humans and mice with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is accompanied by accumulation of liver-resident immunoglobulin-A-producing (IgA+) cells. These cells also express programmed death

  • Dynamics of P-type ATPase transport revealed by single-molecule FRET

  • Phosphorylation-type (P-type) ATPases are ubiquitous primary transporters that pump cations across cell membranes through the formation and breakdown of a phosphoenzyme intermediate. Structural investigations suggest that the transport mechanism is defined by conformational changes in the cytoplasmic domains of the protein that are allosterically coupled

  • Haze heats Pluto’s atmosphere yet explains its cold temperature

  • Pluto’s atmosphere is cold and hazy. Recent observations have shown it to be much colder than predicted theoretically, suggesting an unknown cooling mechanism. Atmospheric gas molecules, particularly water vapour, have been proposed as a coolant; however, because Pluto’s thermal structure is expected to be in radiative–conductive equilibrium, the required water vapour would need to be supersaturated by many orders of magnitude under thermodynamic equilibrium conditions. Here we report that atmospheric hazes, rather than gases, can explain Pluto’s temperature profile. We find that haze particles have substantially larger solar heating and thermal cooling rates than gas molecules, dominating the atmospheric radiative balance from the ground to an altitude of 700 kilometres, above which heat conduction maintains an isothermal atmosphere. We conclude that Pluto’s atmosphere is unique among Solar System planetary atmospheres, as its radiative energy equilibrium is controlled primarily by haze particles instead of gas molecules. We predict that Pluto is therefore several orders of magnitude brighter at mid-infrared wavelengths than previously thought—a brightness that could be detected by future telescopes.

  • Collective emission of matter-wave jets from driven Bose–Einstein condensates

  • Scattering is used to probe matter and its interactions in all areas of physics. In ultracold atomic gases, control over pairwise interactions enables us to investigate scattering in quantum many-body systems. Previous experiments on colliding Bose–Einstein condensates have revealed matter–wave interference, haloes of scattered atoms, four-wave mixing and correlations between counter-propagating pairs. However, a regime with strong stimulation of spontaneous collisions analogous to superradiance has proved elusive. In this regime, the collisions rapidly produce highly correlated states with macroscopic population. Here we find that runaway stimulated collisions in Bose–Einstein condensates with periodically modulated interaction strength cause the collective emission of matter-wave jets that resemble fireworks. Jets appear only above a threshold modulation amplitude and their correlations are invariant even when the number of ejected atoms grows exponentially. Hence, we show that the structures and atom occupancies of the jets stem from the quantum fluctuations of the condensate. Our findings demonstrate the conditions required for runaway stimulated collisions and reveal the quantum nature of matter-wave emission.

  • Granular materials flow like complex fluids

  • Granular materials such as sand, powders and foams are ubiquitous in daily life and in industrial and geotechnical applications. These disordered systems form stable structures when unperturbed, but in the presence of external influences such as tapping or shear they‘relax’, becoming fluid in nature. It is often assumed that the relaxation dynamics of granular systems is similar to that of thermal glass-forming systems. However, so far it has not been possible to determine experimentally the dynamic properties of three-dimensional granular systems at the particle level. This lack of experimental data, combined with the fact that the motion of granular particles involves friction (whereas the motion of particles in thermal glass-forming systems does not), means that an accurate description of the relaxation dynamics of granular materials is lacking. Here we use X-ray tomography to determine the microscale relaxation dynamics of hard granular ellipsoids subject to an oscillatory shear. We find that the distribution of the displacements of the ellipsoids is well described by a Gumbel law (which is similar to a Gaussian distribution for small displacements but has a heavier tail for larger displacements), with a shape parameter that is independent of the amplitude of the shear strain and of the time. Despite this universality, the mean squared displacement of an individual ellipsoid follows a power law as a function of time, with an exponent that does depend on the strain amplitude and time. We argue that these results are related to microscale relaxation mechanisms that involve friction and memory effects (whereby the motion of an ellipsoid at a given point in time depends on its previous motion). Our observations demonstrate that, at the particle level, the dynamic behaviour of granular systems is qualitatively different from that of thermal glass-forming systems, and is instead more similar to that of complex fluids. We conclude that granular materials can relax even when the driving strain is weak.

  • Reductions in global biodiversity loss predicted from conservation spending

  • Halting global biodiversity loss is central to the Convention on Biological Diversity and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, but success to date has been very limited. A critical determinant of success in achieving these goals is the financing that is committed to maintaining biodiversity; however, financing decisions are hindered by considerable uncertainty over the likely impact of any conservation investment. For greater effectiveness, we need an evidence-based model that shows how conservation spending quantitatively reduces the rate of biodiversity loss. Here we demonstrate such a model, and empirically quantify how conservation investment between 1996 and 2008 reduced biodiversity loss in 109 countries (signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity and Sustainable Development Goals), by a median average of 29% per country. We also show that biodiversity changes in signatory countries can be predicted with high accuracy, using a dual model that balances the effects of conservation investment against those of economic, agricultural and population growth (human development pressures). Decision-makers can use this model to forecast the improvement that any proposed biodiversity budget would achieve under various scenarios of human development pressure, and then compare these forecasts to any chosen policy target. We find that the impact of spending decreases as human development pressures grow, which implies that funding may need to increase over time. The model offers a flexible tool for balancing the Sustainable Development Goals of human development and maintaining biodiversity, by predicting the dynamic changes in conservation finance that will be needed as human development proceeds.

  • Parallel palaeogenomic transects reveal complex genetic history of early European farmers

  • Ancient DNA studies have established that Neolithic European populations were descended from Anatolian migrants who received a limited amount of admixture from resident hunter-gatherers. Many open questions remain, however, about the spatial and temporal dynamics of population interactions and admixture during the Neolithic period. Here we investigate the population dynamics of Neolithization across Europe using a high-resolution genome-wide ancient DNA dataset with a total of 180 samples, of which 130 are newly reported here, from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods of Hungary (6000–2900 bc, n = 100), Germany (5500–3000 bc, n = 42) and Spain (5500–2200 bc, n = 38). We find that genetic diversity was shaped predominantly by local processes, with varied sources and proportions of hunter-gatherer ancestry among the three regions and through time. Admixture between groups with different ancestry profiles was pervasive and resulted in observable population transformation across almost all cultural transitions. Our results shed new light on the ways in which gene flow reshaped European populations throughout the Neolithic period and demonstrate the potentialof time-series-based sampling and modelling approaches to elucidate multiple dimensions of historical population interactions.

  • Locomotor speed control circuits in the caudal brainstem

  • Locomotion is a universal behaviour that provides animals with the ability to move between places. Classical experiments have used electrical microstimulation to identify brain regions that promote locomotion, but the identity of neurons that act as key intermediaries between higher motor planning centres and executive circuits in the spinal cord has remained controversial. Here we show that the mouse caudal brainstem encompasses functionally heterogeneous neuronal subpopulations that have differential effects on locomotion. These subpopulations are distinguishable by location, neurotransmitter identity and connectivity. Notably, glutamatergic neurons within the lateral paragigantocellular nucleus (LPGi), a small subregion in the caudal brainstem, are essential to support high-speed locomotion, and can positively tune locomotor speed through inputs from glutamatergic neurons of the upstream midbrain locomotor region. By contrast, glycinergic inhibitory neurons can induce different forms of behavioural arrest mapping onto distinct caudal brainstem regions. Anatomically, descending pathways of glutamatergic and glycinergic LPGi subpopulations communicate with distinct effector circuits in the spinal cord. Our results reveal that behaviourally opposing locomotor functions in the caudal brainstem were historically masked by the unexposed diversity of intermingled neuronal subpopulations. We demonstrate how specific brainstem neuron populations represent essential substrates to implement key parameters in the execution of motor programs.

  • Ubiquitination and degradation of GBPs by a Shigella effector to suppress host defence

  • Interferon-inducible guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs) mediate cell-autonomous antimicrobial defences. Shigella flexneri, a Gram-negative cytoplasmic free-living bacterium that causes bacillary dysentery, encodes a repertoire of highly similar type III secretion system effectors called invasion plasmid antigen Hs (IpaHs). IpaHs represent a large family of bacterial ubiquitin-ligases, but their function is poorly understood. Here we show that S. flexneri infection induces rapid proteasomal degradation of human guanylate binding protein-1 (hGBP1). We performed a transposon screen to identify a mutation in the S. flexneri gene ipaH9.8 that prevented hGBP1 degradation. IpaH9.8 targets hGBP1 for degradation via Lys48-linked ubiquitination. IpaH9.8 targets multiple GBPs in the cytoplasm independently of their nucleotide-bound states and their differential function in antibacterial defence, promoting S. flexneri replication and resulting in the death of infected mice. In the absence of IpaH9.8, or when binding of GBPs to IpaH9.8 was disrupted, GBPs such as hGBP1 and mouse GBP2 (mGBP2) translocated to intracellular S. flexneri and inhibited bacterial replication. Like wild-type mice, mutant mice deficient in GBP1–3, 5 and 7 succumbed to S. flexneri infection, but unlike wild-type mice, mice deficient in these GBPs were also susceptible to S. flexneri lacking ipaH9.8. The mode of IpaH9.8 action highlights the functional importance of GBPs in antibacterial defences. IpaH9.8 and S. flexneri provide a uniquesystem for dissecting GBP-mediated immunity.

  • BCAT1 restrictsαKG levels in AML stem cells leading to IDHmut-like DNA hypermethylation

  • The branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) pathway and high levels of BCAA transaminase 1 (BCAT1) have recently been associated with aggressiveness in several cancer entities. However, the mechanistic role of BCAT1 in this process remains largely uncertain. Here, by performing high-resolution proteomic analysis of human acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) stem-cell and non-stem-cell populations, we find the BCAA pathway enriched and BCAT1 protein and transcripts overexpressed in leukaemia stem cells. We show that BCAT1, which transfersα-amino groups from BCAAs to α-ketoglutarate (αKG), is a critical regulator of intracellular αKG homeostasis. Further to its role in the tricarboxylic acid cycle, αKG is an essential cofactor for αKG-dependent dioxygenases such as Egl-9 family hypoxia inducible factor 1 (EGLN1) and the ten-eleven translocation (TET) family of DNA demethylases. Knockdown of BCAT1 in leukaemia cells caused accumulation of αKG, leading to EGLN1-mediated HIF1α protein degradation. This resulted in a growth and survival defect and abrogated leukaemia-initiating potential. By contrast, overexpression of BCAT1 in leukaemia cells decreased intracellular αKG levels and caused DNA hypermethylation through altered TET activity. AML with high levels of BCAT1 (BCAT1high) displayed a DNA hypermethylation phenotype similar to cases carrying a mutant isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDHmut), in which TET2 is inhibited by the oncometabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate. High levels of BCAT1 strongly correlate with shorter overall survival in IDHWTTET2WT, but not IDHmut or TET2mut AML. Gene sets characteristic for IDHmut AML were enriched in samples from patients with an IDHWTTET2WTBCAT1high status. BCAT1high AML showed robust enrichment for leukaemia stem-cell signatures, and paired sample analysis showed a significant increase in BCAT1 levels upon disease relapse. In summary, by limiting intracellular αKG, BCAT1 links BCAA catabolism to HIF1α stability and regulation of the epigenomic landscape, mimicking the effects of IDH mutations. Our results suggest the BCAA–BCAT1–αKG pathway as a therapeutic target to compromise leukaemia stem-cell function in patients with IDHWTTET2WT AML.

  • A ubiquitin-dependent signalling axis specific for ALKBH-mediated DNA dealkylation repair

  • DNA repair is essential to prevent the cytotoxic or mutagenic effects of various types of DNA lesions, which are sensed by distinct pathways to recruit repair factors specific to the damage type. Although biochemical mechanisms for repairing several forms of genomic insults are well understood, the upstream signalling pathways that trigger repair are established for only certain types of damage, such as double-stranded breaks and interstrand crosslinks. Understanding the upstream signalling events that mediate recognition and repair of DNA alkylation damage is particularly important, since alkylation chemotherapy is one of the most widely used systemic modalities for cancer treatment and because environmental chemicals may trigger DNA alkylation. Here we demonstrate that human cells have a previously unrecognized signalling mechanism for sensing damage induced by alkylation. We find that the alkylation repair complex ASCC (activating signal cointegrator complex) relocalizes to distinct nuclear foci specifically upon exposure of cells to alkylating agents. These foci associate with alkylated nucleotides, and coincide spatially with elongating RNA polymerase II and splicing components. Proper recruitment of the repair complex requires recognition of K63-linked polyubiquitin by the CUE (coupling of ubiquitin conjugation to ER degradation) domain of the subunit ASCC2. Loss of this subunit impedes alkylation adduct repair kinetics and increases sensitivity to alkylating agents, but not other forms of DNA damage. We identify RING finger protein 113A (RNF113A) as the E3 ligase responsible for upstream ubiquitin signalling in the ASCC pathway. Cells from patients with X-linked trichothiodystrophy, which harbour a mutation in RNF113A, are defective in ASCC foci formation and are hypersensitive to alkylating agents. Together, our work reveals a previously unrecognized ubiquitin-dependent pathway induced specifically to repair alkylation damage, shedding light on the molecular mechanism of X-linked trichothiodystrophy.

  • Structure and assembly of the Ebola virus nucleocapsid

  • Ebola and Marburg viruses are filoviruses: filamentous, enveloped viruses that cause haemorrhagic fever. Filoviruses are within the order Mononegavirales, which also includes rabies virus, measles virus, and respiratory syncytial virus. Mononegaviruses have non-segmented, single-stranded negative-sense RNA genomes that are encapsidated by nucleoprotein and other viral proteins to form a helical nucleocapsid. The nucleocapsid acts as a scaffold for virus assembly and as a template for genome transcription and replication. Insights into nucleoprotein–nucleoprotein interactions have been derived from structural studies of oligomerized, RNA-encapsidating nucleoprotein, and cryo-electron microscopy of nucleocapsid or nucleocapsid-like structures. There have been no high-resolution reconstructions of complete mononegavirus nucleocapsids. Here weapply cryo-electron tomography and subtomogram averaging to determine the structure of Ebola virus nucleocapsid within intact viruses and recombinant nucleocapsid-like assemblies. These structures reveal the identity and arrangement of the nucleocapsid components, and suggest that the formation of an extended α-helix from the disordered carboxy-terminal region of nucleoprotein-core links nucleoprotein oligomerization, nucleocapsid condensation, RNA encapsidation, and accessory protein recruitment.

  • Corrigendum: Superparamagnetic enhancement of thermoelectric performance

  • Nature549, 247–251 (2017); doi:10.1038/nature23667In the Methods subsection ‘Measure the Hall coefficient’ of this Letter, the equation μH = neσ should read μH = σ/(ne). This error has been corrected online.

  • Erratum: Non-homeostatic body weight regulation through a brainstem-restricted receptor for GDF15

  • Nature550, 255–259 (2017); doi:10.1038/nature24042Owing to an error during the production process, in Fig. 2c of this Letter, all four groups of mice were incorrectly labelled as ‘WT’ (wild type), but the two groups on the left

  • Corrigendum: High-throughput discovery of novel developmental phenotypes

  • Nature537, 508–514 (2016); doi:10.1038/nature19356In this Article, the author Wolfgang Wurst was erroneously omitted from the author list. They are associated with the affiliations: HelmholtzZentrum Munich, Institute of Developmental Genetics, 85764 Munich-Neuherberg, Germany; Technical University of Munich,

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    Nature -Advance Online Publications

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    Nature AOP

  • Archaeology: Inequality has deep roots in Eurasia

  • A study of 64 archaeological sites across four continents shows that the growth of agricultural and political systems provoked economic disparities, more so in Eurasia than in North America.

  • Cancer immunotherapy: The dark side of PD-1 receptor inhibition

  • Inhibiting the protein PD-1 can activate T cells that trigger immune responses against tumour cells. But it emerges that, in mice, this immunotherapy exacerbates a cancer that involves the T cells themselves.

  • Microbiota: A high-pressure situation for bacteria

  • Analyses in mice suggest that dietary salt increases blood pressure partly by affecting some of the microbes that inhabit the gut. The implications of this work for hypertension warrant further study in humans.

  • Visualization of chemical modifications in the human 80S ribosome structure

  • A high-resolution structure of the human ribosome determined by cryo-electron microscopy visualizes numerous RNA modifications that are concentrated at functional sites with an extended shell, and suggests the possibility of designing more specific ribosome-targeting drugs.

  • Salt-responsive gut commensal modulates TH17 axis and disease

  • High salt intake changed the gut microbiome and increased TH17 cell numbers in mice, and reduced intestinal survival of Lactobacillus species, increased the number of TH17 cells and increased blood pressure in humans.

  • Greater post-Neolithic wealth disparities in Eurasia than in North America and Mesoamerica

  • How wealth is distributed among households provides insight into the fundamental characters of societies and the opportunities they afford for social mobility. However, economic inequality has been hard to study in ancient societies for which we do not have written records, which adds to the challenge of placing current wealth disparities into a long-term perspective. Although various archaeological proxies for wealth, such as burial goods or exotic or expensive-to-manufacture goods in household assemblages, have been proposed, the first is not clearly connected with households, and the second is confounded by abandonment mode and other factors. As a result, numerous questions remain concerning the growth of wealth disparities, including their connection to the development of domesticated plants and animals and to increases in sociopolitical scale. Here we show that wealth disparities generally increased with the domestication of plants and animals and with increased sociopolitical scale, using Gini coefficients computed over the single consistent proxy of house-size distributions. However, unexpected differences in the responses of societies to these factors in North America and Mesoamerica, and in Eurasia, became evident after the end of the Neolithic period. We argue that the generally higher wealth disparities identified in post-Neolithic Eurasia were initially due to the greater availability of large mammals that could be domesticated, because they allowed more profitable agricultural extensification, and also eventually led to the development of a mounted warrior elite able to expand polities (political units that cohere via identity, ability to mobilize resources, or governance) to sizes that were not possible in North America and Mesoamerica before the arrival of Europeans. We anticipate that this analysis will stimulate other work to enlarge this sample to include societies in South America, Africa, South Asia and Oceania that were under-sampled or not included in this study.

  • Genome sequence of the progenitor of the wheat D genome Aegilops tauschii

  • Aegilops tauschii is the diploid progenitor of the D genome of hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum, genomes AABBDD) and an important genetic resource for wheat. The large size and highly repetitive nature of the Ae. tauschii genome has until now precluded the development of a reference-quality genome sequence. Here we use an array of advanced technologies, including ordered-clone genome sequencing, whole-genome shotgun sequencing, and BioNano optical genome mapping, to generate a reference-quality genome sequence for Ae. tauschii ssp. strangulata accession AL8/78, which is closely related to the wheat D genome. We show that compared to other sequenced plant genomes, including a much larger conifer genome, the Ae. tauschii genome contains unprecedented amounts of very similar repeated sequences. Our genome comparisons reveal that the Ae. tauschii genome has a greater number of dispersed duplicated genes than other sequenced genomes and its chromosomes have been structurally evolving an order of magnitude faster than those of other grass genomes. The decay of colinearity with other grass genomes correlates with recombination rates along chromosomes. We propose that the vast amounts of very similar repeated sequences cause frequent errors in recombination and lead to gene duplications and structural chromosome changes that drive fast genome evolution.

  • Structural basis of nucleotide sugar transport across the Golgi membrane

  • Glycosylation is a fundamental cellular process that, in eukaryotes, occurs in the lumen of both the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticulum. Nucleotide sugar transporters (NSTs) are an essential component of the glycosylation pathway, providing the diverse range of substrates required for the glycosyltransferases. NSTs are linked to several developmental and immune disorders in humans, and in pathogenic microbes they have an important role in virulence. How NSTs recognize and transport activated monosaccharides, however, is currently unclear. Here we present the crystal structure of an NST, the GDP–mannose transporter Vrg4, in both the substrate-free and the bound states. A hitherto unobserved requirement of short-chain lipids in activating the transporter supports a model for regulation within the highly dynamic membranes of the Golgi apparatus. Our results provide a structural basis for understanding nucleotide sugar recognition, and provide insights into the transport and regulatory mechanism of this family of intracellular transporters.

  • Quantitative microbiome profiling links gut community variation to microbial load

  • Current sequencing-based analyses of faecal microbiota quantify microbial taxa and metabolic pathways as fractions of the sample sequence library generated by each analysis. Although these relative approaches permit detection of disease-associated microbiome variation, they are limited in their ability to reveal the interplay between microbiota and host health. Comparative analyses of relative microbiome data cannot provide information about the extent or directionality of changes in taxa abundance or metabolic potential. If microbial load varies substantially between samples, relative profiling will hamper attempts to link microbiome features to quantitative data such as physiological parameters or metabolite concentrations. Saliently, relative approaches ignore the possibility that altered overall microbiota abundance itself could be a key identifier of a disease-associated ecosystem configuration. To enable genuine characterization of host–microbiota interactions, microbiome research must exchange ratios for counts. Here we build a workflow for the quantitative microbiome profiling of faecal material, through parallelization of amplicon sequencing and flow cytometric enumeration of microbial cells. We observe up to tenfold differences in the microbial loads of healthy individuals and relate this variation to enterotype differentiation. We show how microbial abundances underpin both microbiota variation between individuals and covariation with host phenotype. Quantitative profiling bypasses compositionality effects in the reconstruction of gut microbiota interaction networks and reveals that the taxonomic trade-off between Bacteroides and Prevotella is an artefact of relative microbiome analyses. Finally, we identify microbial load as a key driver of observed microbiota alterations in a cohort of patients with Crohn’sdisease, here associated with a low-cell-count Bacteroides enterotype (as defined through relative profiling).

  • PD-1 is a haploinsufficient suppressor of T cell lymphomagenesis

  • T cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas are a heterogeneous group of highly aggressive malignancies with poor clinical outcomes. T cell lymphomas originate from peripheral T cells and are frequently characterized by genetic gain-of-function variants in T cell receptor (TCR) signalling molecules. Although these oncogenic alterations are thought to drive TCR pathways to induce chronic proliferation and cell survival programmes, it remains unclear whether T cells contain tumour suppressors that can counteract these events. Here we show that the acute enforcement of oncogenic TCR signalling in lymphocytes in a mouse model of human T cell lymphoma drives the strong expansion of these cells in vivo. However, this response is short-lived and robustly counteracted by cell-intrinsic mechanisms. A subsequent genome-wide in vivo screen using T cell-specific transposon mutagenesis identified PDCD1, which encodes the inhibitory receptor programmed death-1 (PD-1), as a master gene that suppresses oncogenic T cell signalling. Mono- and bi-allelic deletions of PDCD1 are also recurrently observed in human T cell lymphomas with frequencies that can exceed 30%, indicating high clinical relevance. Mechanistically, the activity of PD-1 enhances levels of the tumour suppressor PTEN and attenuates signalling by the kinases AKT and PKC in pre-malignant cells. By contrast, a homo- or heterozygous deletion of PD-1 allows unrestricted T cell growth after an oncogenic insult and leads to the rapid development of highly aggressive lymphomas in vivo that are readily transplantable to recipients. Thus, the inhibitory PD-1 receptor is a potent haploinsufficient tumour suppressor in T cell lymphomas that is frequently altered in human disease. These findings extend the known physiological functions of PD-1 beyond the prevention of immunopathology after antigen-induced T cell activation, and have implications for T cell lymphoma therapies and for current strategies that target PD-1 in the broader context of immuno-oncology.

  • Erratum: The neuropeptide NMU amplifies ILC2-driven allergic lung inflammation

  • A Jurassic gliding euharamiyidan mammal with an ear of five auditory bones

  • The fossil of a gliding mammal from the Jurassic period sheds light on both the evolution of gliding and the development of the middle ear, as it has a previously unseen five-ossicle auditory system.

  • Solar abundance ratios of the iron-peak elements in the Perseus cluster

  • The metal abundance of the hot plasma that permeates galaxy clusters represents the accumulation of heavy elements produced by billions of supernovae. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy of the intracluster medium provides an opportunity to investigate the nature of supernova explosions integrated over cosmic time. In particular, the abundance of the iron-peak elements (chromium, manganese, iron and nickel) is key to understanding how the progenitors of typical type Ia supernovae evolve and explode. Recent X-ray studies of the intracluster medium found that the abundance ratios of these elements differ substantially from those seen in the Sun, suggesting differences between the nature of type Ia supernovae in the clusters and in the Milky Way. However, because the K-shell transition lines of chromium and manganese are weak and those of iron and nickel are very close in photon energy, high-resolution spectroscopy is required for an accurate determination of the abundances of these elements. Here we report observations of the Perseus cluster, with statistically significant detections of the resonance emission from chromium, manganese and nickel. Our measurements, combined with the latest atomic models, reveal that these elements have near-solar abundance ratios with respect to iron, in contrast to previous claims. Comparison between our results and modern nucleosynthesis calculations disfavours the hypothesis that type Ia supernova progenitors are exclusively white dwarfs with masses well below the Chandrasekhar limit (about 1.4 times the mass of the Sun). The observed abundance pattern of the iron-peak elements can be explained by taking into account a combination of near- and sub-Chandrasekhar-mass type Ia supernova systems, adding to the mounting evidence that both progenitor types make a substantial contribution to cosmic chemical enrichment.

  • Gene therapy: Transgenic stem cells replace skin

  • The treatment of a patient affected by an incurable genetic skin disease demonstrates the efficacy, feasibility and safety of replacing almost the whole skin using genetically corrected stem cells.

  • Identification of unique neoantigen qualities in long-term survivors of pancreatic cancer

  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is a lethal cancer with fewer than 7% of patients surviving past 5 years. T-cell immunity has been linked to the exceptional outcome of the few long-term survivors, yet the relevant antigens remain unknown. Here we use genetic, immunohistochemical and transcriptional immunoprofiling, computational biophysics, and functional assays to identify T-cell antigens in long-term survivors of pancreatic cancer. Using whole-exome sequencing and in silico neoantigen prediction, we found that tumours with both the highest neoantigen number and the most abundant CD8+ T-cell infiltrates, but neither alone, stratified patients with the longest survival. Investigating the specific neoantigen qualities promoting T-cell activation in long-term survivors, we discovered that these individuals were enriched in neoantigen qualities defined by a fitness model, and neoantigens in the tumour antigen MUC16 (also known as CA125). A neoantigen quality fitness model conferring greater immunogenicity to neoantigens with differential presentation and homology to infectious disease-derived peptides identified long-term survivors in two independent datasets, whereas a neoantigen quantity model ascribing greater immunogenicity to increasing neoantigen number alone did not. We detected intratumoural and lasting circulating T-cell reactivity to both high-quality and MUC16 neoantigens in long-term survivors of pancreatic cancer, including clones with specificity to both high-quality neoantigens and predicted cross-reactive microbial epitopes, consistent with neoantigen molecular mimicry. Notably, we observed selective loss of high-quality and MUC16 neoantigenic clones on metastatic progression, suggesting neoantigen immunoediting. Our results identify neoantigens with unique qualities as T-cell targets in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. More broadly, we identify neoantigen quality as a biomarker for immunogenic tumours that may guide the application of immunotherapies.

  • A neoantigen fitness model predicts tumour response to checkpoint blockade immunotherapy

  • Checkpoint blockade immunotherapies enable the host immune system to recognize and destroy tumour cells. Their clinical activity has been correlated with activated T-cell recognition of neoantigens, which are tumour-specific, mutated peptides presented on the surface of cancer cells. Here we present a fitness model for tumours based on immune interactions of neoantigens that predicts response to immunotherapy. Two main factors determine neoantigen fitness: the likelihood of neoantigen presentation by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and subsequent recognition by T cells. We estimate these components using the relative MHC binding affinity of each neoantigen to its wild type and a nonlinear dependence on sequence similarity of neoantigens to known antigens. To describe the evolution of a heterogeneous tumour, we evaluate its fitness as a weighted effect of dominant neoantigens in the subclones of the tumour. Our model predicts survival in anti-CTLA-4-treated patients with melanoma and anti-PD-1-treated patients with lung cancer. Importantly, low-fitness neoantigens identified by our method may be leveraged for developing novel immunotherapies. By using an immune fitness model to study immunotherapy, we reveal broad similarities between the evolution of tumours and rapidly evolving pathogens.

  • Erratum: Probabilistic reanalysis of twentieth-century sea-level rise

  • Corrigendum: Widespread movement of meltwater onto and across Antarctic ice shelves

  • Structure of the human MHC-I peptide-loading complex

  • The peptide-loading complex (PLC) is a transient, multisubunit membrane complex in the endoplasmic reticulum that is essential for establishing a hierarchical immune response. The PLC coordinates peptide translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum with loading and editing of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) molecules. After final proofreading in the PLC, stable peptide–MHC-I complexes are released to the cell surface to evoke a T-cell response against infected or malignant cells. Sampling of different MHC-I allomorphs requires the precise coordination of seven different subunits in a single macromolecular assembly, including the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP1 and TAP2, jointly referred to as TAP), the oxidoreductase ERp57, the MHC-I heterodimer, and the chaperones tapasin and calreticulin. The molecular organization of and mechanistic events that take place in the PLC are unknown owing to the heterogeneous composition and intrinsically dynamic nature of the complex. Here, we isolate human PLC from Burkitt’s lymphoma cells using an engineered viral inhibitor as bait and determine the structure of native PLC by electron cryo-microscopy. Two endoplasmic reticulum-resident editing modules composed of tapasin, calreticulin, ERp57, and MHC-I are centred around TAP in a pseudo-symmetric orientation. A multivalent chaperone network within and across the editing modules establishes the proofreading function at two lateral binding platforms for MHC-I molecules. The lectin-like domain of calreticulin senses the MHC-I glycan, whereas the P domain reaches over the MHC-I peptide-binding pocket towards ERp57. This arrangement allows tapasin to facilitate peptide editing by clamping MHC-I. The translocation pathway of TAP opens out into a large endoplasmic reticulum lumenal cavity, confined by the membrane entry points of tapasin and MHC-I. Two lateral windows channel the antigenic peptides to MHC-I. Structures of PLC captured at distinct assembly states provide mechanistic insight into the recruitment and release of MHC-I. Our work defines the molecular symbiosis of an ABC transporter and an endoplasmic reticulum chaperone network in MHC-I assembly and provides insight into the onset of the adaptive immune response.

  • Microbiology: Crowdsourcing Earth's microbes

  • A large-scale study has been assessing microbial diversity by analysing DNA sequences from samples submitted by scientists around the globe. The initial results are now being used to create an open-access resource.

  • Chemical biology: Organic dyes for deep bioimaging

  • Small-molecule organic dyes that fluoresce in the short-wave infrared region of the spectrum could improve the resolution of in vivo bioimaging methods. Such dyes have now been made by adapting those that fluoresce visible light.

  • Cell biology: Bulky tether proteins aid membrane fusion

  • The energy source that drives vesicle fusion with a target organelle in vivo has been unclear. It emerges that proteins that tether fusing structures together also decrease the energy needed for the final fusion step.

  • Creation of forest edges has a global impact on forest vertebrates

  • Fragmentation of forest ecosystems produces forest edges, which affect the distribution of many analysed vertebrate species; smaller-bodied amphibians, larger reptiles and medium-sized mammals experience a larger reduction in suitable habitat than other forest-core species.

  • Structures of transcription pre-initiation complex with TFIIH and Mediator

  • Cryo-electron microscopy structures of the yeast pre-initiation complex (PIC) and its complex with core Mediator provide insights into the opening of promoter DNA and the initiation of transcription.

  • A communal catalogue reveals Earth’s multiscale microbial diversity

  • As phase 1 of the Earth Microbiome Project, analysis of 16S ribosomal RNA sequences from more than 27,000 environmental samples delivers a global picture of the basic structure and drivers of microbial distribution.

  • A tethering complex drives the terminal stage of SNARE-dependent membrane fusion

  • Membrane fusion in eukaryotic cells mediates the biogenesis of organelles, vesicular traffic between them, and exo- and endocytosis of important signalling molecules, such as hormones and neurotransmitters. Distinct tasks in intracellular membrane fusion have been assigned to conserved protein systems. Tethering proteins mediate the initial recognition and attachment of membranes, whereas SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) protein complexes are considered as the core fusion engine. SNARE complexes provide mechanical energy to distort membranes and drive them through a hemifusion intermediate towards the formation of a fusion pore. This last step is highly energy-demanding. Here we combine the in vivo and in vitro fusion of yeast vacuoles with molecular simulations to show that tethering proteins are critical for overcoming the final energy barrier to fusion pore formation. SNAREs alone drive vacuoles only into the hemifused state. Tethering proteins greatly increase the volume of SNARE complexes and deform the site of hemifusion, which lowers the energy barrier for pore opening and provides the driving force. Thereby, tethering proteins assume a crucial mechanical role in the terminal stage of membrane fusion that is likely to be conserved at multiple steps of vesicular traffic. We therefore propose that SNAREs and tethering proteins should be considered as a single, non-dissociable device that drives fusion. The core fusion machinery may then be larger and more complex than previously thought.

  • Kctd13 deletion reduces synaptic transmission via increased RhoA

  • Copy-number variants of chromosome 16 region 16p11.2 are linked to neuropsychiatric disorders and are among the most prevalent in autism spectrum disorders. Of many 16p11.2 genes, Kctd13 has been implicated as a major driver of neurodevelopmental phenotypes. The function of KCTD13 in the mammalian brain, however, remains unknown. Here we delete the Kctd13 gene in mice and demonstrate reduced synaptic transmission. Reduced synaptic transmission correlates with increased levels of Ras homolog gene family, member A (RhoA), a KCTD13/CUL3 ubiquitin ligase substrate, and is reversed by RhoA inhibition, suggesting increased RhoA as an important mechanism. In contrast to a previous knockdown study, deletion of Kctd13 or kctd13 does not increase brain size or neurogenesis in mice or zebrafish, respectively. These findings implicate Kctd13 in the regulation of neuronal function relevant to neuropsychiatric disorders and clarify the role of Kctd13 in neurogenesis and brain size. Our data also reveal a potential role for RhoA as a therapeutic target in disorders associated with KCTD13 deletion.

  • Drug-tolerant persister cancer cells are vulnerable to GPX4 inhibition

  • Acquired drug resistance prevents cancer therapies from achieving stable and complete responses. Emerging evidence implicates a key role for non-mutational drug resistance mechanisms underlying the survival of residual cancer‘persister’ cells. The persister cell pool constitutes a reservoir from which drug-resistant tumours may emerge. Targeting persister cells therefore presents a therapeutic opportunity to impede tumour relapse. We previously found that cancer cells in a high mesenchymal therapy-resistant cell state are dependent on the lipid hydroperoxidase GPX4 for survival. Here we show that a similar therapy-resistant cell state underlies the behaviour of persister cells derived from a wide range of cancers and drug treatments. Consequently, we demonstrate that persister cells acquire a dependency on GPX4. Loss of GPX4 function results in selective persister cell ferroptotic death in vitro and prevents tumour relapse in mice. These findings suggest that targeting of GPX4 may represent a therapeutic strategy to prevent acquired drug resistance.

  • Granular materials flow like complex fluids

  • Granular materials such as sand, powders and foams are ubiquitous in daily life and in industrial and geotechnical applications. These disordered systems form stable structures when unperturbed, but in the presence of external influences such as tapping or shear they‘relax’, becoming fluid in nature. It is often assumed that the relaxation dynamics of granular systems is similar to that of thermal glass-forming systems. However, so far it has not been possible to determine experimentally the dynamic properties of three-dimensional granular systems at the particle level. This lack of experimental data, combined with the fact that the motion of granular particles involves friction (whereas the motion of particles in thermal glass-forming systems does not), means that an accurate description of the relaxation dynamics of granular materials is lacking. Here we use X-ray tomography to determine the microscale relaxation dynamics of hard granular ellipsoids subject to an oscillatory shear. We find that the distribution of the displacements of the ellipsoids is well described by a Gumbel law (which is similar to a Gaussian distribution for small displacements but has a heavier tail for larger displacements), with a shape parameter that is independent of the amplitude of the shear strain and of the time. Despite this universality, the mean squared displacement of an individual ellipsoid follows a power law as a function of time, with an exponent that does depend on the strain amplitude and time. We argue that these results are related to microscale relaxation mechanisms that involve friction and memory effects (whereby the motion of an ellipsoid at a given point in time depends on its previous motion). Our observations demonstrate that, at the particle level, the dynamic behaviour of granular systems is qualitatively different from that of thermal glass-forming systems, and is instead more similar to that of complex fluids. We conclude that granular materials can relax even when the driving strain is weak.

  • Detecting evolutionary forces in language change

  • Both language and genes evolve by transmission over generations with opportunity for differential replication of forms. The understanding that gene frequencies change at random by genetic drift, even in the absence of natural selection, was a seminal advance in evolutionary biology. Stochastic drift must also occur in language as a result of randomness in how linguistic forms are copied between speakers. Here we quantify the strength of selection relative to stochastic drift in language evolution. We use time series derived from large corpora of annotated texts dating from the 12th to 21st centuries to analyse three well-known grammatical changes in English: the regularization of past-tense verbs, the introduction of the periphrastic‘do’, and variation in verbal negation. We reject stochastic drift in favour of selection in some cases but not in others. In particular, we infer selection towards the irregular forms of some past-tense verbs, which is likely driven by changing frequencies of rhyming patterns over time. We show that stochastic drift is stronger for rare words, which may explain why rare forms are more prone to replacement than common ones. This work provides a method for testing selective theories of language change against a null model and reveals an underappreciated role for stochasticity in language evolution.

  • History-independent cyclic response of nanotwinned metals

  • Nearly 90 per cent of service failures of metallic components and structures are caused by fatigue at cyclic stress amplitudes much lower than the tensile strength of the materials involved. Metals typically suffer from large amounts of cumulative, irreversible damage to microstructure during cyclic deformation, leading to cyclic responses that are unstable (hardening or softening) and history-dependent. Existing rules for fatigue life prediction, such as the linear cumulative damage rule, cannot account for the effect of loading history, and engineering components are often loaded by complex cyclic stresses with variable amplitudes, mean values and frequencies, such as aircraft wings in turbulent air. It is therefore usually extremely challenging to predict cyclic behaviour and fatigue life under a realistic load spectrum. Here, through both atomistic simulations and variable-strain-amplitude cyclic loading experiments at stress amplitudes lower than the tensile strength of the metal, we report a history-independent and stable cyclic response in bulk copper samples that contain highly oriented nanoscale twins. We demonstrate that this unusual cyclic behaviour is governed by a type of correlated‘necklace’ dislocation consisting of multiple short component dislocations in adjacent twins, connected like the links of a necklace. Such dislocations are formed in the highly oriented nanotwinned structure under cyclic loading and help to maintain the stability of twin boundaries and the reversible damage, provided that the nanotwins are tilted within about 15 degrees of the loading axis. This cyclic deformation mechanism is distinct from the conventional strain localizing mechanisms associated with irreversible microstructural damage in single-crystal, coarse-grained, ultrafine-grained and nanograined metals.

  • Synaptotagmin 7 confers frequency invariance onto specialized depressing synapses

  • At most synapses in the brain, short-term plasticity dynamically modulates synaptic strength. Rapid frequency-dependent changes in synaptic strength have key roles in sensory adaptation, gain control and many other neural computations. However, some auditory, vestibular and cerebellar synapses maintain constant strength over a wide range of firing frequencies, and as a result efficiently encode firing rates. Despite its apparent simplicity, frequency-invariant transmission is difficult to achieve because of inherent synaptic nonlinearities. Here we study frequency-invariant transmission at synapses from Purkinje cells to deep cerebellar nuclei and at vestibular synapses in mice. Prolonged activation of these synapses leads to initial depression, which is followed by steady-state responses that are frequency invariant for their physiological activity range. We find that synaptotagmin 7 (Syt7), a calcium sensor for short-term facilitation, is present at both synapses. It was unclear why a sensor for facilitation would be present at these and other depressing synapses. We find that at Purkinje cell and vestibular synapses, Syt7 supports facilitation that is normally masked by depression, which can be revealed in wild-type mice but is absent in Syt7 knockout mice. In wild-type mice, facilitation increases with firing frequency and counteracts depression to produce frequency-invariant transmission. In Syt7-knockout mice, Purkinje cell and vestibular synapses exhibit conventional use-dependent depression, weakening to a greater extent as the firing frequency is increased. Presynaptic rescue of Syt7 expression restores both facilitation and frequency-invariant transmission. Our results identify a function for Syt7 at synapses that exhibit overall depression, and demonstrate that facilitation has an unexpected and important function in producing frequency-invariant transmission.

  • The m1A landscape on cytosolic and mitochondrial mRNA at single-base resolution

  • Modifications on mRNA offer the potential of regulating mRNA fate post-transcriptionally. Recent studies suggested the widespread presence of N1-methyladenosine (m1A), which disrupts Watson–Crick base pairing, at internal sites of mRNAs. These studies lacked the resolution of identifying individual modified bases, and did not identify specific sequence motifs undergoing the modification or an enzymatic machinery catalysing them, rendering it challenging to validate and functionallycharacterize putative sites. Here we develop an approach that allows the transcriptome-wide mapping of m1A at single-nucleotide resolution. Within the cytosol, m1A is present in a low number of mRNAs, typically at low stoichiometries, and almost invariably in tRNA T-loop-like structures, where it is introduced by the TRMT6/TRMT61A complex. We identify a single m1A site in the mitochondrial ND5 mRNA, catalysed by TRMT10C, with methylation levels that are highly tissue specific and tightly developmentally controlled. m1A leads to translational repression, probably through a mechanism involving ribosomal scanning or translation. Our findings suggest that m1A on mRNA, probably because of its disruptive impact on base pairing, leads to translational repression, and is generally avoided by cells, while revealing one case in mitochondria where tight spatiotemporal control over m1A levels was adopted as a potential means of post-transcriptional regulation.

  • Locomotor speed control circuits in the caudal brainstem

  • Locomotion is a universal behaviour that provides animals with the ability to move between places. Classical experiments have used electrical microstimulation to identify brain regions that promote locomotion, but the identity of neurons that act as key intermediaries between higher motor planning centres and executive circuits in the spinal cord has remained controversial. Here we show that the mouse caudal brainstem encompasses functionally heterogeneous neuronal subpopulations that have differential effects on locomotion. These subpopulations are distinguishable by location, neurotransmitter identity and connectivity. Notably, glutamatergic neurons within the lateral paragigantocellular nucleus (LPGi), a small subregion in the caudal brainstem, are essential to support high-speed locomotion, and can positively tune locomotor speed through inputs from glutamatergic neurons of the upstream midbrain locomotor region. By contrast, glycinergic inhibitory neurons can induce different forms of behavioural arrest mapping onto distinct caudal brainstem regions. Anatomically, descending pathways of glutamatergic and glycinergic LPGi subpopulations communicate with distinct effector circuits in the spinal cord. Our results reveal that behaviourally opposing locomotor functions in the caudal brainstem were historically masked by the unexposed diversity of intermingled neuronal subpopulations. We demonstrate how specific brainstem neuron populations represent essential substrates to implement key parameters in the execution of motor programs.

  • Disorder in convergent floral nanostructures enhances signalling to bees

  • Disordered nanoscale striations on petals, tepals and bracts have evolved multiple times among flowering plants and provide a salient visual signal to foraging bumblebees (Bombus terrestris).

  • Inflammatory memory sensitizes skin epithelial stem cells to tissue damage

  • After acute inflammation, epithelial stem cells retain a memory that accelerates restoration of the skin barrier during subsequent tissue damage, and this enhancement is dependent on the AIM2 inflammasome and its downstream effectors.

  • Molecular basis of USP7 inhibition by selective small-molecule inhibitors

  • Small molecules are identified that inhibit the ubiquitin-specific protease USP7 with high affinity and specificity as explained by co-crystal structures, and are shown to reduce tumour growth in mice.

  • Indirect effects drive coevolution in mutualistic networks

  • Ecological interactions have been acknowledged to play a key role in shaping biodiversity. Yet a major challenge for evolutionary biology is to understand the role of ecological interactions in shaping trait evolution when progressing from pairs of interacting species to multispecies interaction networks. Here we introduce an approach that integrates coevolutionary dynamics and network structure. Our results show that non-interacting species can be as important as directly interacting species in shaping coevolution within mutualistic assemblages. The contribution of indirect effects differs among types of mutualism. Indirect effects are more likely to predominate in nested, species-rich networks formed by multiple-partner mutualisms, such as pollination or seed dispersal by animals, than in small and modular networks formed by intimate mutualisms, such as those between host plants and their protective ants. Coevolutionary pathways of indirect effects favour ongoing trait evolution by promoting slow but continuous reorganization of the adaptive landscape of mutualistic partners under changing environments. Our results show that coevolution can be a major process shaping species traits throughout ecological networks. These findings expand our understanding of how evolution driven by interactions occurs through the interplay of selection pressures moving along multiple direct and indirect pathways.

  • Single-molecule imaging reveals receptor–G protein interactions at cell surface hot spots

  • G-protein-coupled receptors mediate the biological effects of many hormones and neurotransmitters and are important pharmacological targets. They transmit their signals to the cell interior by interacting with G proteins. However, it is unclear how receptors and G proteins meet, interact and couple. Here we analyse the concerted motion of G-protein-coupled receptors and G proteins on the plasma membrane and provide a quantitative model that reveals the key factors that underlie the high spatiotemporal complexity of their interactions. Using two-colour, single-molecule imaging we visualize interactions between individual receptors and G proteins at the surface of living cells. Under basal conditions, receptors and G proteins form activity-dependent complexes that last for around one second. Agonists specifically regulate the kinetics of receptor–G protein interactions, mainly by increasing their association rate. We find hot spots on the plasma membrane, at least partially defined by the cytoskeleton and clathrin-coated pits, in which receptors and G proteins are confined and preferentially couple. Imaging with the nanobody Nb37 suggests that signalling by G-protein-coupled receptors occurs preferentially at these hot spots. These findings shed new light on the dynamic interactions that control G-protein-coupled receptor signalling.

  • Transitional basal cells at the squamous–columnar junction generate Barrett’s oesophagus

  • In several organ systems, the transitional zone between different types of epithelium is a hotspot for pre-neoplastic metaplasia and malignancy, but the cells of origin for these metaplastic epithelia and subsequent malignancies remain unknown. In the case of Barrett’s oesophagus, intestinal metaplasia occurs at the gastro-oesophageal junction, where stratified squamous epithelium transitions into simple columnar cells. On the basis of a number of experimental models, several alternative cell types have been proposed as the source of this metaplasia but in all cases the evidence is inconclusive: no model completely mimics Barrett’s oesophagus in terms of the presence of intestinal goblet cells. Here we describe a transitional columnar epithelium with distinct basal progenitor cells (p63+KRT5+KRT7+) at the squamous–columnar junction of the upper gastrointestinal tract in a mouse model. We use multiple models and lineage tracing strategies to show that this squamous–columnar junction basal cell population serves as a source of progenitors for the transitional epithelium. On ectopic expression of CDX2, these transitional basal progenitors differentiate into intestinal-like epithelium (including goblet cells) and thereby reproduce Barrett’s metaplasia. A similar transitional columnar epithelium is present at the transitional zones of other mouse tissues (including the anorectal junction) as well as in the gastro-oesophageal junction in the human gut. Acid reflux-induced oesophagitis and the multilayered epithelium (believed to be a precursor of Barrett’s oesophagus) are both characterized by the expansion of the transitional basal progenitor cells. Our findings reveal a previously unidentified transitional zone in the epitheliumof the upper gastrointestinal tract and provide evidence that the p63+KRT5+KRT7+ basal cells in this zone are the cells of origin for multi-layered epithelium and Barrett’s oesophagus.

  • Erratum: Strains, functions and dynamics in the expanded Human Microbiome Project

  • Erratum: Genome editing reveals a role for OCT4 in human embryogenesis

  • Erratum: Strong constraints on aerosol–cloud interactions from volcanic eruptions

  • Addendum: Editorial Expression of Concern: Asia’s glaciers are a regionally important buffer against drought

  • Corrigendum: Lhx6-positive GABA-releasing neurons of the zona incerta promote sleep

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