Japan needs gender equality ()

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News at a glance ()

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Leaks put Italy's underground lab in jeopardy ()

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NASA's next Mars rover aims to explore two promising sites ()

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Replumbing the lymphatic system ()

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Protein evolution earns chemistry Nobel ()

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DNA printers poised to jump from paragraphs to pages ()

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A new leaf ()

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Vive la resistant vines! ()

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An alternative urban green carpet ()

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Next-generation self-healing materials ()

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Dimerization quality control via ubiquitylation ()

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A common trick for transferring bacterial DNA ()

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Treg cells--the next frontier of cell therapy ()

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Anti-CRISPRs on the march ()

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Easy access to elusive radical reactions ()

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Return of results and data to study participants ()

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The persistence of polio ()

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A Nobel laureate in exile ()

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Editor's note: Harassment policy ()

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PPR virus threatens wildlife conservation ()

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Preventing chemical release in hurricanes ()

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Circuits for care ()

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Building blocks of the human brain ()

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The effortless custody of automatism ()

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Mind-boggling brain development ()

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A fragile existence ()

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Neuronal specification in space and time ()
To understand how neurons assemble to form functional circuits, it is necessary to obtain a detailed knowledge of their diversity and to define the developmental specification programs that give rise to this diversity. Invertebrates and vertebrates appear to share common developmental principles of neuronal specification in which cascades of transcription factors temporally pattern progenitors, while spatial cues modify the outcomes of this temporal patterning. Here, we highlight these conserved mechanisms and describe how they are used in distinct neural structures. We present the questions that remain for a better understanding of neuronal specification. Single-cell RNA profiling approaches will potentially shed light on these questions, allowing not only the characterization of neuronal diversity in adult brains, but also the investigation of the developmental trajectories leading to the generation and maintenance of this diversity.
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Glia as architects of central nervous system formation and function ()
Glia constitute roughly half of the cells of the central nervous system (CNS) but were long-considered to be static bystanders to its formation and function. Here we provide an overview of how the diverse and dynamic functions of glial cells orchestrate essentially all aspects of nervous system formation and function. Radial glia, astrocytes, oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, oligodendrocytes, and microglia each influence nervous system development, from neuronal birth, migration, axon specification, and growth through circuit assembly and synaptogenesis. As neural circuits mature, distinct glia fulfill key roles in synaptic communication, plasticity, homeostasis, and network-level activity through dynamic monitoring and alteration of CNS structure and function. Continued elucidation of glial cell biology, and the dynamic interactions of neurons and glia, will enrich our understanding of nervous system formation, health, and function.
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Microglia and early brain development: An intimate journey ()
Cross-talk between the nervous and immune systems has been well described in the context of adult physiology and disease. Recent advances in our understanding of immune cell ontogeny have revealed a notable interplay between neurons and microglia during the prenatal and postnatal emergence of functional circuits. This Review focuses on the brain, where the early symbiotic relationship between microglia and neuronal cells critically regulates wiring, contributes to sex-specific differences in neural circuits, and relays crucial information from the periphery, including signals derived from the microbiota. These observations underscore the importance of studying neurodevelopment as part of a broader framework that considers nervous system interactions with microglia in a whole-body context.
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Homology, neocortex, and the evolution of developmental mechanisms ()
The six-layered neocortex of the mammalian pallium has no clear homolog in birds or non-avian reptiles. Recent research indicates that although these extant amniotes possess a variety of divergent and nonhomologous pallial structures, they share a conserved set of neuronal cell types and circuitries. These findings suggest a principle of brain evolution: that natural selection preferentially preserves the integrity of information-processing pathways, whereas other levels of biological organization, such as the three-dimensional architectures of neuronal assemblies, are less constrained. We review the similarities of pallial neuronal cell types in amniotes, delineate candidate gene regulatory networks for their cellular identities, and propose a model of developmental evolution for the divergence of amniote pallial structures.
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Keeping the doors open for symbiosis ()

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Modeling collapse with soaked cereal ()

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Explosive origin of a binary neutron star ()

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Cas12 inhibitors join the anti-CRISPR family ()

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Move over myelin ()

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Magnons propagating in graphene ()

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Pathologizing Staphylococcus, fast ()

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The twisted carbon nanotube story ()

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Mining immunotherapy clinical trials ()

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A way to prevent deadly interaction ()

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From DNA unwrapping to histone exchange ()

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Thyroid hormone in color vision development ()

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An acid inaccessible to aldol products ()

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Simple routes to self-healing ()

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Iodine smooths the way to ketyl radicals ()

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The next step for cell therapy? ()

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Stabilizing the IL-17 response ()

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Brushing up on lung inflammation ()

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Plague, one lymph node at a time ()

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Rethinking aspirin use ()

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Making graphene useful for spintronics ()

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Deciphering atmospheric CO2 change ()

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Learning from diminutive ligand design ()

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The long reach of the gut ()

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Memory recirculation and integration ()

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A hot and fast ultra-stripped supernova that likely formed a compact neutron star binary ()
Compact neutron star binary systems are produced from binary massive stars through stellar evolution involving up to two supernova explosions. The final stages in the formation of these systems have not been directly observed. We report the discovery of iPTF 14gqr (SN 2014ft), a type Ic supernova with a fast-evolving light curve indicating an extremely low ejecta mass (0.2 solar masses) and low kinetic energy (2 x 1050 ergs). Early photometry and spectroscopy reveal evidence of shock cooling of an extended helium-rich envelope, likely ejected in an intense pre-explosion mass-loss episode of the progenitor. Taken together, we interpret iPTF 14gqr as evidence for ultra-stripped supernovae that form neutron stars in compact binary systems.
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Genome hypermobility by lateral transduction ()
Genetic transduction is a major evolutionary force that underlies bacterial adaptation. Here we report that the temperate bacteriophages of Staphylococcus aureus engage in a distinct form of transduction we term lateral transduction. Staphylococcal prophages do not follow the previously described excision-replication-packaging pathway but instead excise late in their lytic program. Here, DNA packaging initiates in situ from integrated prophages, and large metameric spans including several hundred kilobases of the S. aureus genome are packaged in phage heads at very high frequency. In situ replication before DNA packaging creates multiple prophage genomes so that lateral-transducing particles form during normal phage maturation, transforming parts of the S. aureus chromosome into hypermobile regions of gene transfer.
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Entropy-driven stability of chiral single-walled carbon nanotubes ()
Single-walled carbon nanotubes are hollow cylinders that can grow centimeters long via carbon incorporation at the interface with a catalyst. They display semiconducting or metallic characteristics, depending on their helicity, which is determined during their growth. To support the quest for a selective synthesis, we develop a thermodynamic model that relates the tube-catalyst interfacial energies, temperature, and the resulting tube chirality. We show that nanotubes can grow chiral because of the configurational entropy of their nanometer-sized edge, thus explaining experimentally observed temperature evolutions of chiral distributions. Taking the chemical nature of the catalyst into account through interfacial energies, we derive structural maps and phase diagrams that will guide a rational choice of a catalyst and growth parameters toward a better selectivity.
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Confined acids catalyze asymmetric single aldolizations of acetaldehyde enolates ()
Reactions that form a product with the same reactive functionality as that of one of the starting compounds frequently end in oligomerization. As a salient example, selective aldol coupling of the smallest, though arguably most useful, enolizable aldehyde, acetaldehyde, with just one partner substrate has proven to be extremely challenging. Here, we report a highly enantioselective Mukaiyama aldol reaction with the simple triethylsilyl (TES) and tert-butyldimethylsilyl (TBS) enolates of acetaldehyde and various aliphatic and aromatic acceptor aldehydes. The reaction is catalyzed by recently developed, strongly acidic imidodiphosphorimidates (IDPi), which, like enzymes, display a confined active site but, like small-molecule catalysts, have a broad substrate scope. The process is scalable, fast, efficient (0.5 to 1.5 mole % catalyst loading), and greatly simplifies access to highly valuable silylated acetaldehyde aldols.
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Key-and-lock commodity self-healing copolymers ()
Self-healing materials are notable for their ability to recover from physical or chemical damage. We report that commodity copolymers, such as poly(methyl methacrylate)/n-butyl acrylate [p(MMA/nBA)] and their derivatives, can self-heal upon mechanical damage. This behavior occurs in a narrow compositional range for copolymer topologies that are preferentially alternating with a random component (alternating/random) and is attributed to favorable interchain van der Waals forces forming key-and-lock interchain junctions. The use of van der Waals forces instead of supramolecular or covalent rebonding or encapsulated reactants eliminates chemical and physical alterations and enables multiple recovery upon mechanical damage without external intervention. Unlike other self-healing approaches, perturbation of ubiquitous van der Waals forces upon mechanical damage is energetically unfavorable for interdigitated alternating/random copolymer motifs that facilitate self-healing under ambient conditions.
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Ketyl radical reactivity via atom transfer catalysis ()
Single-electron reduction of a carbonyl to a ketyl enables access to a polarity-reversed platform of reactivity for this cornerstone functional group. However, the synthetic utility of the ketyl radical is hindered by the strong reductants necessary for its generation, which also limit its reactivity to net reductive mechanisms. We report a strategy for net redox-neutral generation and reaction of ketyl radicals. The in situ conversion of aldehydes to α-acetoxy iodides lowers their reduction potential by more than 1 volt, allowing for milder access to the corresponding ketyl radicals and an oxidative termination event. Upon subjecting these iodides to a dimanganese decacarbonyl precatalyst and visible light irradiation, an atom transfer radical addition (ATRA) mechanism affords a broad scope of vinyl iodide products with high Z-selectivity.
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Electrical generation and detection of spin waves in a quantum Hall ferromagnet ()
Spin waves are collective excitations of magnetic systems. An attractive setting for studying long-lived spin-wave physics is the quantum Hall (QH) ferromagnet, which forms spontaneously in clean two-dimensional electron systems at low temperature and in a perpendicular magnetic field. We used out-of-equilibrium occupation of QH edge channels in graphene to excite and detect spin waves in magnetically ordered QH states. Our experiments provide direct evidence for long-distance spin-wave propagation through different ferromagnetic phases in the N = 0 Landau level, as well as across the insulating canted antiferromagnetic phase. Our results will enable experimental investigation of the fundamental magnetic properties of these exotic two-dimensional electron systems.
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Systemic control of legume susceptibility to rhizobial infection by a mobile microRNA ()
Nitrogen-fixing root nodules on legumes result from two developmental processes, bacterial infection and nodule organogenesis. To balance symbiosis and plant growth, legume hosts restrict nodule numbers through an inducible autoregulatory process. Here, we present a mechanism where repression of a negative regulator ensures symbiotic susceptibility of uninfected roots of the host Lotus japonicus. We show that microRNA miR2111 undergoes shoot-to-root translocation to control rhizobial infection through posttranscriptional regulation of the symbiosis suppressor TOO MUCH LOVE in roots. miR2111 maintains a susceptible default status in uninfected hosts and functions as an activator of symbiosis downstream of LOTUS HISTIDINE KINASE1–mediated cytokinin perception in roots and HYPERNODULATION ABERRANT ROOT FORMATION1, a shoot factor in autoregulation. The miR2111-TML node ensures activation of feedback regulation to balance infection and nodulation events.
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Systematic discovery of natural CRISPR-Cas12a inhibitors ()
Cas12a (Cpf1) is a CRISPR-associated nuclease with broad utility for synthetic genome engineering, agricultural genomics, and biomedical applications. Although bacteria harboring CRISPR-Cas9 or CRISPR-Cas3 adaptive immune systems sometimes acquire mobile genetic elements encoding anti-CRISPR proteins that inhibit Cas9, Cas3, or the DNA-binding Cascade complex, no such inhibitors have been found for CRISPR-Cas12a. Here we use a comprehensive bioinformatic and experimental screening approach to identify three different inhibitors that block or diminish CRISPR-Cas12a–mediated genome editing in human cells. We also find a widespread connection between CRISPR self-targeting and inhibitor prevalence in prokaryotic genomes, suggesting a straightforward path to the discovery of many more anti-CRISPRs from the microbial world.
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Discovery of widespread type I and type V CRISPR-Cas inhibitors ()
Bacterial CRISPR-Cas systems protect their host from bacteriophages and other mobile genetic elements. Mobile elements, in turn, encode various anti-CRISPR (Acr) proteins to inhibit the immune function of CRISPR-Cas. To date, Acr proteins have been discovered for type I (subtypes I-D, I-E, and I-F) and type II (II-A and II-C) but not other CRISPR systems. Here, we report the discovery of 12 acr genes, including inhibitors of type V-A and I-C CRISPR systems. AcrVA1 inhibits a broad spectrum of Cas12a (Cpf1) orthologs—including MbCas12a, Mb3Cas12a, AsCas12a, and LbCas12a—when assayed in human cells. The acr genes reported here provide useful biotechnological tools and mark the discovery of acr loci in many bacteria and phages.
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New Products ()

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Technology Feature | Replacing the replacements: Animal model alternatives ()

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A normal student parent ()

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Response to Comment on "U-Th dating of carbonate crusts reveals Neandertal origin of Iberian cave art" ()
Slimak et al. challenge the reliability of our oldest (>65,000 years) U-Th dates on carbonates associated with cave paintings in Spain. They cite a supposed lack of parietal art for the 25,000 years following this date, along with potential methodological issues relating to open-system behavior and corrections to detrital or source water 230Th. We show that their criticisms are unfounded.
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Pan-tumor genomic biomarkers for PD-1 checkpoint blockade-based immunotherapy ()
Programmed cell death protein–1 (PD-1) and programmed cell death ligand–1 (PD-L1) checkpoint blockade immunotherapy elicits durable antitumor effects in multiple cancers, yet not all patients respond. We report the evaluation of >300 patient samples across 22 tumor types from four KEYNOTE clinical trials. Tumor mutational burden (TMB) and a T cell–inflamed gene expression profile (GEP) exhibited joint predictive utility in identifying responders and nonresponders to the PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab. TMB and GEP were independently predictive of response and demonstrated low correlation, suggesting that they capture distinct features of neoantigenicity and T cell activation. Analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas database showed TMB and GEP to have a low correlation, and analysis by joint stratification revealed biomarker-defined patterns of targetable-resistance biology. These biomarkers may have utility in clinical trial design by guiding rational selection of anti–PD-1 monotherapy and combination immunotherapy regimens.
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Thyroid hormone signaling specifies cone subtypes in human retinal organoids ()
The mechanisms underlying specification of neuronal subtypes within the human nervous system are largely unknown. The blue (S), green (M), and red (L) cones of the retina enable high-acuity daytime and color vision. To determine the mechanism that controls S versus L/M fates, we studied the differentiation of human retinal organoids. Organoids and retinas have similar distributions, expression profiles, and morphologies of cone subtypes. S cones are specified first, followed by L/M cones, and thyroid hormone signaling controls this temporal switch. Dynamic expression of thyroid hormone–degrading and –activating proteins within the retina ensures low signaling early to specify S cones and high signaling late to produce L/M cones. This work establishes organoids as a model for determining mechanisms of human development with promising utility for therapeutics and vision repair.
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Erratum for the Research Article "Saturns magnetic field revealed by the Cassini Grand Finale" by M. K. Dougherty, H. Cao, K. K. Khurana, G. J. Hunt, G. Provan, S. Kellock, M. E. Burton, T. A. Burk, E. J. Bunce, S. W. H. Cowley, M. G. Kivelson, C. T. Russell, D. J. Southwood ()

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Structure and dynamics of the yeast SWR1-nucleosome complex ()
The yeast SWR1 complex exchanges histone H2A in nucleosomes with Htz1 (H2A.Z in humans). The cryo–electron microscopy structure of the SWR1 complex bound to a nucleosome at 3.6-angstrom resolution reveals details of the intricate interactions between components of the SWR1 complex and its nucleosome substrate. Interactions between the Swr1 motor domains and the DNA wrap at superhelical location 2 distort the DNA, causing a bulge with concomitant translocation of the DNA by one base pair, coupled to conformational changes of the histone core. Furthermore, partial unwrapping of the DNA from the histone core takes place upon binding of nucleosomes to SWR1 complex. The unwrapping, as monitored by single-molecule data, is stabilized and has its dynamics altered by adenosine triphosphate binding but does not require hydrolysis.
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Dimerization quality control ensures neuronal development and survival ()
Aberrant complex formation by recurrent interaction modules, such as BTB domains, leucine zippers, or coiled coils, can disrupt signal transduction, yet whether cells detect and eliminate complexes of irregular composition is unknown. By searching for regulators of the BTB family, we discovered a quality control pathway that ensures functional dimerization [dimerization quality control (DQC)]. Key to this network is the E3 ligase SCFFBXL17, which selectively binds and ubiquitylates BTB dimers of aberrant composition to trigger their clearance by proteasomal degradation. Underscoring the physiological importance of DQC, SCFFBXL17 is required for the differentiation, function, and survival of neural crest and neuronal cells. We conclude that metazoan organisms actively monitor BTB dimerization, and we predict that distinct E3 ligases similarly control complex formation by other recurrent domains.
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