Nature Milestones in Crystallography Nature Milestones in Crystallography is a collaboration from Nature, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology and Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, and celebrates the International Year of Crystallography 2014. Access the Milestones supplement FREE online for six months.
Associated Society International Union of Crystallography Produced with support from the worldwide network of neutron and X-ray sources
Yongguang Yin, Yanbin Li, Chao Tai, Yong Cai and Guibin Jiang
Methyl iodide is a fumigant registered for use in many countries and its usage is increasing. Here, the authors identify a new pathway of mercury methylation via methyl iodide in sunlit water, suggesting the necessity for a more comprehensive risk assessment for the use of methyl iodide as a fumigant.
Mark Lipson, Po-Ru Loh, Nick Patterson, Priya Moorjani, Ying-Chin Ko, Mark Stoneking, Bonnie Berger and David Reich
Populations speaking Austronesian languages are numerous and widespread, but their history remains controversial. Here, the authors analyse genetic data from Southeast Asia and show that all populations harbour ancestry most closely related to aboriginal Taiwanese, while some also contain a component closest to Austro-Asiatic speakers.
C. Piltz, T. Sriarunothai, A.F. Varón and C. Wunderlich
Quantum computers require precise control and addressing of individual qubits in a register, but this is impeded by cross-talk between them. Here, in an eight-qubit trapped-ion register, Piltz et al. present an approach to obtain cross-talk of the order of 10-5, surpassing current thresholds for quantum gates.
Mamoona Khan, Wilfried Rozhon, Simon Josef Unterholzner, Tingting Chen, Marina Eremina, Bernhard Wurzinger, Andreas Bachmair, Markus Teige, Tobias Sieberer, Erika Isono and Brigitte Poppenberger
Brassinosteroid hormones control plant growth by regulating phosphorylation of a family of transcription factors. Here Khan et al. find that the stability and nuclear localization of the brassinosteroid-sensitive transcription factor CESTA is regulated by antagonistic SUMOylation and phosphorylation.
A Nicole Desch, Sophie L. Gibbings, Eric T. Clambey, William J. Janssen, Jill E. Slansky, Ross M. Kedl, Peter M. Henson and Claudia Jakubzick
Differentiation into cytotoxic lymphocytes requires T-cell instruction by appropriately activated dendritic cells (DCs). Here the authors show that two DC lineages in the lung are selectively activated by either Toll-like receptor 3 or 7 to induce cytotoxic T-cell function.
Nicolás Palacios-Prado, Sandrine Chapuis, Alejandro Panjkovich, Julien Fregeac, James I. Nagy and Feliksas F. Bukauskas
Electrical synaptic transmission is known to be modulated by intracellular magnesium. Here, Palacios-Prado et al. show that electrical synapses formed by connexin36 in the thalamic reticular nucleus are bidirectionally modulated by changes in magnesium concentration via pore-lining sensitive domains.
Andrew R. Bassett, Ghows Azzam, Lucy Wheatley, Charlotte Tibbit, Timothy Rajakumar, Simon McGowan, Nathan Stanger, Philip Andrew Ewels, Stephen Taylor, Chris P. Ponting, Ji-Long Liu, Tatjana Sauka-Spengler and Tudor A. Fulga
Identifying miRNA response elements (MREs) within target mRNAs can be done computationally but the functional validation of putative MREs remains challenging. Here, Bassett et al. describe applications of genome engineering to target and assess the functional significance of MREs in different organisms and stages of development.
P.Y. Bony, M. Guasoni, P. Morin, D. Sugny, A. Picozzi, H.R. Jauslin, S. Pitois and J. Fatome
Recent temporal cloaking schemes hid or revealed temporal events and data using spectral modifications in a continuous wave probe. Here, Bony et al. propose using reversible manipulation of the polarization state of transmitted data to perpetually copy or conceal data in a fibre-optic transmission system.
Thibaut Eguether, Maria A. Ermolaeva, Yongge Zhao, Marion C. Bonnet, Ashish Jain, Manolis Pasparakis, Gilles Courtois and Anne-Marie Tassin
Mutations in the deubiquitinase gene CYLD are associated with cylindromatosis, a disease characterized by the development of skin appendage tumours. Eguether et al. discover that CYLD localizes to centrosomes and is required for basal body migration and docking, providing insight into its tumour suppressor activity.
To date, covariance of carbonate and organic carbon isotope records has been assumed to denote fidelity of the original signal. This study shows that post-depositional alteration can create strong correlations, raising doubts about the use of correlated records to imply important changes in past global carbon cycling.
Inflammatory monocytes play an important role in host defense against infections. Here the authors provide insights into the mechanism behind the recruitment of inflammatory monocytes to sites of infection by demonstrating the involvement of Toll-like receptor 4 and MAIR-II immunoreceptors in this process.
Yanhong Zheng, Joy S. Singarayer, Peng Cheng, Xuefeng Yu, Zhao Liu, Paul J. Valdes and Richard D. Pancost
Although it has been widely suggested that the mid-Holocene minimum methane emissions are associated with hydrological change, direct evidence is missing. Here, the authors present evidence from the Tibetan Plateau using tracers of methanogenesis and methanotrophy, in combination with climate simulations.
Ovarian cancer is common among women and is the leading cause of death from gynaecological malignancies. Here the authors identify two previously unknown genetic variants that increase the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer in Han Chinese women.
Katherine L. Eales, Oleg Palygin, Thomas O'Loughlin, Seyed Rasooli-Nejad, Matthias Gaestel, Jürgen Müller, Dawn R. Collins, Yuriy Pankratov and Sonia A.L. Corrêa
MK2/3 kinases are both highly expressed in the hippocampus and cortex of the brain, but their role is unclear. Here Eales et al. show that MK2/3 signalling regulates dendritic spine morphology and is required for synaptic plasticity via the regulation of AMPA receptor trafficking, and cognitive processes.
J. Li, A. Tan, K.W. Moon, A. Doran, M.A. Marcus, A.T. Young, E. Arenholz, S. Ma, R.F. Yang, C. Hwang and Z.Q. Qiu
Skyrmions—vortex-like spin textures—are conventionally only seen in materials that exhibit the right magnetic properties. Li et al. now create so-called artificial skyrmions using a cobalt disk embedded in a magnetized nickel film, thus presenting a platform for controlling skyrmions.
K. H. L. Zhang, P. V. Sushko, R. Colby, Y. Du, M. E. Bowden and S. A. Chambers
Oxygen vacancies can significantly influence the electronic and structural properties of complex oxides. Here, the authors find that by controlling the concentration of oxygen vacancy defects in SrCrO3 thin films, the crystal structure, oxygen diffusivity and electronic properties can be reversibly switched.
Sophia K. Bartenstein, Nadine Gerstenberg, Dieter Vanderelst, Herbert Peremans and Uwe Firzlaff
Echolocating bats possess an organized map of echo delay in the auditory cortex. Bartenstein et al. investigate the influence of echo-acoustic flow information on the organization of the cortical map, and find that dynamic adaptation of the map is dependent on situation-specific sensory input.
Daniela Annibali, Jonathan R. Whitfield, Emilia Favuzzi, Toni Jauset, Erika Serrano, Isabel Cuartas, Sara Redondo-Campos, Gerard Folch, Alba Gonzàlez-Juncà, Nicole M. Sodir, Daniel Massó-Vallés, Marie-Eve Beaulieu, Lamorna B. Swigart, Margaret M. Mc Gee, Maria Patrizia Somma, Sergio Nasi, Joan Seoane, Gerard I. Evan and Laura Soucek
Myc has been implicated in the development of multiple types of cancer. Here, the authors explore the therapeutic potential and mechanism of action of Myc inhibition in mouse and human models of glioblastoma, an aggressive type of tumour that is often resistant to conventional therapy.
H. Christopher Fry, Yuzi Liu, Nada M. Dimitrijevic and Tijana Rajh
Peptides can be used as templates for the synthesis of dye-sensitised semiconducting materials. Here, the authors design two peptides that give excellent and sequence specific control over the spatial arrangement of the semiconducting materials with respect to the dye molecule.
Myung-Geun Han, Matthew S.J. Marshall, Lijun Wu, Marvin A. Schofield, Toshihiro Aoki, Ray Twesten, Jason Hoffman, Frederick J. Walker, Charles H. Ahn and Yimei Zhu
Domain walls play an important role in the switching of ferroelectrics. Here, mapping out electric fields within ferroelectric thin films, the authors uncover electronic band bending as the origin of head-to-head domain walls that are difficult to switch and may hamper ferroelectric device performance.
Masahiro Yamashina, Yoshihisa Sei, Munetaka Akita and Michito Yoshizawa
Radical initiators are useful chemical reagents for synthesis, but rapidly decompose on exposure to light. Here, the authors report a supramolecular nanocapsule capable of encapsulating radical initiators and imparting excellent photochemical stability.
Jeremy E. Martin, Romain Amiot, Christophe Lécuyer and Michael J. Benton
The causes of crocodylomorphs extinction during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic remain unclear. Here, the authors show significant correlations between crocodylomorph diversity and Tethyan sea surface temperatures, which suggests that water temperature was a driver of marine crocodylomorph diversity.
Sara Palacio, José Azorín, Gabriel Montserrat-Martí and Juan Pedro Ferrio
Some minerals, such as gypsum, hold water in their crystalline structure. Palacio et al. show that shallow-rooted plants growing on gypsum are able to make use of this crystallization water, suggesting an alternative water source for plants under conditions of severe drought.
Youfeng Yue, Takayuki Kurokawa, Md Anamul Haque, Tasuku Nakajima, Takayuki Nonoyama, Xufeng Li, Itsuro Kajiwara and Jian Ping Gong
Photonic crystals used for many optical devices are the materials made of nanoscaled periodic structures that diffract light. Yue et al. design and fabricate a soft mechanochromic hydrogel that exhibits a fast colour switching rate at 0.1 ms in a full-colour band.
Jacob Torrejon, Junyeon Kim, Jaivardhan Sinha, Seiji Mitani, Masamitsu Hayashi, Michihiko Yamanouchi and Hideo Ohno
The Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction can be harnessed to generate chiral magnetic structures for spintronic applications. Here, the authors show that changing the heavy-metal layer adjacent to an ultrathin magnetic layer can influence the strength and sign of this interaction.
Nadine Ehmann, Sebastian van de Linde, Amit Alon, Dmitrij Ljaschenko, Xi Zhen Keung, Thorge Holm, Annika Rings, Aaron DiAntonio, Stefan Hallermann, Uri Ashery, Manfred Heckmann, Markus Sauer and Robert J. Kittel
Complex molecular interactions occur in the active zone cytomatrix (CAZ) within the presynaptic terminal to regulate synaptic plasticity. Here, the authors use imaging techniques to show that the CAZ is composed of units containing on average 137 Bruchpilot proteins, many of which are arranged into clusters.
Auxetic materials display a negative Poisson's ratio and are usually observed in engineered structures. Here, the authors observe intrinsic auxetic behaviour in unmodified two-dimensional black phosphorous by first-principles calculations, with the auxetic behaviour resulting from its puckered structure.
Seiji Tsuzuki, Hitoshi Matsumoto, Shunsuke Furihata, Masasuke Ryuda, Hirotoshi Tanaka, Eui Jae Sung, Gary S. Bird, Yixing Zhou, Stephen B. Shears and Yoichi Hayakawa
Insects combat infection using humoral and cellular immunity but it is not fully understood how these mechanisms are coordinated. Here, using Drosophila as a model, the authors show that the PDGF- and VEGF-receptor homologue (Pvr) can direct the nature of innate immune responses expressed by hematocytes.
Manuel Martínez-García, Fernando Santos, Mercedes Moreno-Paz, Víctor Parro and Josefa Antón
Identification of virus–host pairs requires cultivation, otherwise it is based on tentative assignment using genomic signatures. Here, the authors describe a method that can unambiguously assign viruses to hosts and does not require their cultivation.
Songqing Tang, Taoyong Chen, Zhou Yu, Xuhui Zhu, Mingjin Yang, Bin Xie, Nan Li, Xuetao Cao and Jianli Wang
Toll like receptors (TLRs) couple microbial sensing to initiation of immune responses, which are essential for defense against pathogens but may cause immunopathology when activated excessively. Here the authors show that RasGRP3 sets a threshold of TLR activation to prevent immunopathology.
Priyanka Sathe, Rebecca B. Delconte, Fernando Souza-Fonseca-Guimaraes, Cyril Seillet, Michael Chopin, Cassandra J. Vandenberg, Lucille C. Rankin, Lisa A. Mielke, Ingela Vikstrom, Tatiana B. Kolesnik, Sandra E. Nicholson, Eric Vivier, Mark J. Smyth, Stephen L. Nutt, Stefan P. Glaser, Andreas Strasser, Gabrielle T. Belz, Sebastian Carotta and Nicholas D. Huntington
Mcl-1 is an important survival factor for several hematopoietic lineages including B and T lymphocytes, but its role in the Natural Killer (NK) cells has not been previously tested. Here, the authors report that deletion of Mcl-1 in the NK cell lineage leads to the loss of NK cells from all tissues.
Mahdi Hosseini, Giovanni Guccione, Harry J. Slatyer, Ben C. Buchler and Ping Koy Lam
Light can cool and control the motion of nanoscale resonators to the point that they oscillate with only a single quantum of vibrational energy. Hosseini et al. now demonstrate a technique for optically cooling four mechanical modes of a nanowire that enables highly sensitive force measurements.
Fumihiko Nakamura, Mia Song, John H. Hartwig and Thomas P. Stossel
Biosensors designed to respond to mechanical force in cells have provided insights into the force landscape within a cell. Here, Nakamura et al. design a FRET probe in the actin crosslinking protein filamin A and show that it unfolds under force only in newly protruding regions of the cell.
Ying Chen, Dongqi Wang, Pingping Duan, Rong Ben, Lu Dai, Xiaoru Shao, Mei Hong, Jing Zhao and Yong Huang
Cascade reactions are a powerful route to rapidly increase molecular complexity. Here, the authors show how a C–H activation step can lead to intermediates capable of partaking in cascade reactions, giving easy access to a number of heterocyclic products.
Shreyas Gokhale, K. Hima Nagamanasa, Rajesh Ganapathy and A. K. Sood
It remains a matter of debate whether the glass transition is thermodynamic or dynamic in nature. Here Gokhale et al. examine slow dynamics in a binary colloidal liquid and provide support for the dynamical facilitation approach–a purely dynamic theory of the glass transition.
Few-layer graphene offers a number of attractive electronic properties, but studying shear modes via Raman is hampered by low vibrational energy and low signal strength. Here, the authors are able to detect enhanced shear modes, via suitable folding of the sample, allowing their full characterization.
Yasuhito Sakuraba, Jinkil Jeong, Min-Young Kang, Junghyun Kim, Nam-Chon Paek and Giltsu Choi
In plants, light levels are sensed by phytochromes, and prolonged light deprivation triggers leaf senescence. Here, Sakuraba et al. show that the phytochrome-interacting transcription factors, PIF4 and PIF5, connect light sensing pathways with transcriptional networks that regulate leaf senescence in Arabidopsis.
Cheng-Chang Chen, Marco Keller, Martin Hess, Raphael Schiffmann, Nicole Urban, Annette Wolfgardt, Michael Schaefer, Franz Bracher, Martin Biel, Christian Wahl-Schott and Christian Grimm
Mucolipidosis type IV is a lysosomal storage disorder caused by mutations in the endolysosomal cation channel TRPML1 and results in progressive neurodegeneration. Here, Chen et al. demonstrate that small molecules can be used to restore TRPML1 mutant channel function and rescue disease-associated symptoms.
Takahiko Sato, Takuya Yamamoto and Atsuko Sehara-Fujisawa
Skeletal muscle stem cells are in a state of cell cycle arrest in adult skeletal muscles and are stimulated to proliferate and differentiate in response to injury or pathology. Here the authors identify two microRNAs, miR-195 and miR-497, which induce cell cycle arrest in the stem cells and suppress myogenesis.
Ludwig Feigl, Petr Yudin, Igor Stolichnov, Tomas Sluka, Konstantin Shapovalov, Mahamudu Mtebwa, Cosmin S. Sandu, Xian-Kui Wei, Alexander K. Tagantsev and Nava Setter
In magnets and ferroelectrics, domains of regions with different ferroic orientation play an important role for the performance of devices based on these materials. Here, the authors create and control ultrafine domains in a ferroelectric that are only 10 nm wide and extend for tens of micrometres.
Claire L. Smith, Paul Dickinson, Thorsten Forster, Marie Craigon, Alan Ross, Mizanur R. Khondoker, Rebecca France, Alasdair Ivens, David J. Lynn, Judith Orme, Allan Jackson, Paul Lacaze, Katie L. Flanagan, Benjamin J. Stenson and Peter Ghazal
Infection remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in neonates worldwide. Here the authors report disproportionate immune stimulatory, co-inhibitory and metabolic pathway responses that specifically mark bacterial infection and can be used to predict sepsis in neonatal patients at the first clinical signs of infection.
Yoshihiro Honmou, Shuzo Hirata, Hideaki Komiyama, Junya Hiyoshi, Susumu Kawauchi, Tomokazu Iyoda and Martin Vacha
Polyfluorenes emit blue light in organic light-emitting diodes, but their colour purity is always degraded by accompanied green emission band. Here, the authors investigate the physical origin of the green emission using electroluminescence and photoluminescence spectroscopy on a single-molecular level.
Shenghui Liang, Quanyi Wang, Weiwei Zhang, Hailin Zhang, Shengjiang Tan, Asif Ahmed and Yuchun Gu
Following myocardial infarction, patients are at risk for reperfusion-induced ventricular fibrillation, a life-threatening condition. Here, Liang et al. show that the known ventricular fibrillation preventive effects of carbon monoxide are mediated through the inhibition of a subset of inward-rectifying potassium channels.
Yijun Gao, Wenjing Zhang, Xiangkun Han, Fuming Li, Xujun Wang, Rui Wang, Zhaoyuan Fang, Xinyuan Tong, Shun Yao, Fei Li, Yan Feng, Yihua Sun, Yingyong Hou, Zhongzhou Yang, Kunliang Guan, Haiquan Chen, Lei Zhang and Hongbin Ji
Lung adenocarcinomas can convert to squamous cell carcinomas, which is associated with cancer progression and therapy resistance. Here, Gao et al. identify YAP as an essential barrier for this phenotypic conversion through ZEB2-mediated DNP63 repression.
Solar water splitting is a promising approach for harvesting solar energy but is hindered by sluggish water oxidation. Here, the authors report a hybrid material containing natural photosystem II and an inorganic photocatalyst and evaluate its overall water splitting performance.
J. -M. Ménard, C. Poellmann, M. Porer, U. Leierseder, E. Galopin, A. Lemaître, A. Amo, J. Bloch and R. Huber
Exciton–polaritons are bosonic quasi-particles resulting from strong coupling of excitons and photons but so far only their photon component had been resolved. Here, Menard et al. monitor the intra-excitonic transitions and study how a reservoir of optically dark excitons forms and feeds the degenerate state.
Peng Zou, Yongxin Zhao, Adam D. Douglass, Daniel R. Hochbaum, Daan Brinks, Christopher A. Werley, D. Jed Harrison, Robert E. Campbell and Adam E. Cohen
Genetically encoded voltage sensors are useful tools for the analysis of membrane potential and its influence on cell function. Here, the authors present a range of these sensors with varying colours for rapid and sensitive neuronal voltage imaging.
Skyrmions and domain walls are both nanoscale magnetic entities that could be useful for processing and storing information. Here, the authors propose a device that could convert between these two magnetic objects using a junction between a thick and a thin nanowire.
S. Saeed, E. M. L. D. de Jong, K. Dohnalova and T. Gregorkiewicz
The thermalization of high-energy photons limits the efficient conversion of photon energy in photovoltaic applications. Here, Saeed et al. consider optical extraction of the excess energy of hot carriers by emission of infrared photons, using erbium ions in combination with silicon nanocrystals.
Calum T. Robb, Elisabeth A. Dyrynda, Robert D. Gray, Adriano G. Rossi and Valerie J. Smith
The process of controlled chromatin release from the nuclei of inflammatory cells to entrap and kill bacteria, termed ETosis, is important in innate immunity in vertebrates. Here the authors demonstrate that ETosis, mediated by hematocytes, also contributes to defence mechanisms in invertebrates.
Omar Garcia Gonzalez, Robin Assfalg, Sylvia Koch, Adrian Schelling, Jitendra K. Meena, Johann Kraus, Andre Lechel, Sarah-Fee Katz, Vladimir Benes, Karin Scharffetter-Kochanek, Hans A. Kestler, Cagatay Günes and Sebastian Iben
Several recent studies suggest that telomerase has key physiologic functions beyond its well-known role telomere maintenance. Here, Garcia Gonzalez et al. implicate telomerase in the regulation of ribosomal DNA transcription by RNA polymerase I.
A. Dubrouil, O. Hort, F. Catoire, D. Descamps, S. Petit, E. Mével, V. V. Strelkov and E. Constant
Complex spatio-spectral structures are characteristic of high order harmonics generated with ultrashort high intensity pulses. Here, Dubrouil et al. demonstrate the structures originate from strong spatio-temporal coupling in the generating medium associated to the high nonlinearity of extreme UV generation.
Sergey A. Babin, Evgeniy V. Podivilov, Denis S. Kharenko, Anastasia E. Bednyakova, Mikhail P. Fedoruk, Vladimir L. Kalashnikov and Alexander Apolonski
Stimulated Raman scattering limits the energy of dissipative solitons by converting excess energy into noisy Raman pulses. Using delay compensation, Babin et al. demonstrate that these noisy pulses can become coherent Raman dissipative solitons leading to the formation of multicolour bound dissipative soliton complexes.
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