The global soil community and its influence on biogeochemistry ()
Soil organisms represent the most biologically diverse community on land and govern the turnover of the largest organic matter pool in the terrestrial biosphere. The highly complex nature of these communities at local scales has traditionally obscured efforts to identify unifying patterns in global soil biodiversity and biogeochemistry. As a result, environmental covariates have generally been used as a proxy to represent the variation in soil community activity in global biogeochemical models. Yet over the past decade, broad-scale studies have begun to see past this local heterogeneity to identify unifying patterns in the biomass, diversity, and composition of certain soil groups across the globe. These unifying patterns provide new insights into the fundamental distribution and dynamics of organic matter on land.
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Suicide--turning the tide ()

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News at a glance ()

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Arctic researchers prepare to go with the floes ()

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Canadian cannabis research hits licensing logjam ()

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Codemakers find algorithms immune to quantum hacks ()

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Financial crisis looms at Brazilian science agency ()

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Italian ministry aids animal rights groups ()

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Salmon-smeared notebooks reveal fisheries past bounty ()

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Paths out of darkness ()

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Geography of loss ()

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Reading an anguished brain ()

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Warning signs ()

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Pathways to prevention ()

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Probing an evolutionary riddle ()

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A tale of two trenches ()

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Genomic analysis informs malaria evolution ()

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A roadmap for malaria research ()

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CRISPR propels a smart hydrogel ()

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Reducing tropical deforestation ()

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The 200-year effort to see the embryo ()

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Calvin F. Quate (1923-2019) ()

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The case for strategic and managed climate retreat ()

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Sharing data ()

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CRISPR comes to the silver screen ()

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Venezuela's upheaval threatens Yanomami ()

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No inflation of threatened species ()

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Certification for gene-edited forests ()

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Landing on the surface of Ryugu ()

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Safe and effective gene delivery ()

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A CRISPR set of materials ()

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A reverse route into metastasis ()

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NAD depletion as pathogen response ()

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Keeping RNA processing contained ()

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Slow earthquake segmentation ()

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Robust memories through neuron networks ()

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Microbes' role in soil decomposition ()

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Think local when protecting forests ()

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Innovations in an ATPase/ATP synthase ()

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Seeing the embryo ()

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Mapping the malaria parasite ()

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An interacting topological phase ()

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Manifold destiny ()

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Ebb and flow of parasite populations ()

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Joining the laser welding club ()

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Paramo islands through the Pleistocene ()

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Super-old mantle plumes ()

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Linking development to metabolism ()

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Familial roots of an opioid epidemic ()

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Choosing male or female ()

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Spastin uses its network ()

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A gut check ()

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Observation of a symmetry-protected topological phase of interacting bosons with Rydberg atoms ()
The concept of topological phases is a powerful framework for characterizing ground states of quantum many-body systems that goes beyond the paradigm of symmetry breaking. Topological phases can appear in condensed-matter systems naturally, whereas the implementation and study of such quantum many-body ground states in artificial matter require careful engineering. Here, we report the experimental realization of a symmetry-protected topological phase of interacting bosons in a one-dimensional lattice and demonstrate a robust ground state degeneracy attributed to protected zero-energy edge states. The experimental setup is based on atoms trapped in an array of optical tweezers and excited into Rydberg levels, which gives rise to hard-core bosons with an effective hopping generated by dipolar exchange interaction.
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Programmable CRISPR-responsive smart materials ()
Stimuli-responsive materials activated by biological signals play an increasingly important role in biotechnology applications. We exploit the programmability of CRISPR-associated nucleases to actuate hydrogels containing DNA as a structural element or as an anchor for pendant groups. After activation by guide RNA–defined inputs, Cas12a cleaves DNA in the gels, thereby converting biological information into changes in material properties. We report four applications: (i) branched poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels releasing DNA-anchored compounds, (ii) degradable polyacrylamide-DNA hydrogels encapsulating nanoparticles and live cells, (iii) conductive carbon-black–DNA hydrogels acting as degradable electrical fuses, and (iv) a polyacrylamide-DNA hydrogel operating as a fluidic valve with an electrical readout for remote signaling. These materials allow for a range of in vitro applications in tissue engineering, bioelectronics, and diagnostics.
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Exploring genetic interaction manifolds constructed from rich single-cell phenotypes ()
How cellular and organismal complexity emerges from combinatorial expression of genes is a central question in biology. High-content phenotyping approaches such as Perturb-seq (single-cell RNA-sequencing pooled CRISPR screens) present an opportunity for exploring such genetic interactions (GIs) at scale. Here, we present an analytical framework for interpreting high-dimensional landscapes of cell states (manifolds) constructed from transcriptional phenotypes. We applied this approach to Perturb-seq profiling of strong GIs mined from a growth-based, gain-of-function GI map. Exploration of this manifold enabled ordering of regulatory pathways, principled classification of GIs (e.g., identifying suppressors), and mechanistic elucidation of synergistic interactions, including an unexpected synergy between CBL and CNN1 driving erythroid differentiation. Finally, we applied recommender system machine learning to predict interactions, facilitating exploration of vastly larger GI manifolds.
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NAD+ cleavage activity by animal and plant TIR domains in cell death pathways ()
SARM1 (sterile alpha and TIR motif containing 1) is responsible for depletion of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide in its oxidized form (NAD+) during Wallerian degeneration associated with neuropathies. Plant nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) immune receptors recognize pathogen effector proteins and trigger localized cell death to restrict pathogen infection. Both processes depend on closely related Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domains in these proteins, which, as we show, feature self-association–dependent NAD+ cleavage activity associated with cell death signaling. We further show that SARM1 SAM (sterile alpha motif) domains form an octamer essential for axon degeneration that contributes to TIR domain enzymatic activity. The crystal structures of ribose and NADP+ (the oxidized form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) complexes of SARM1 and plant NLR RUN1 TIR domains, respectively, reveal a conserved substrate binding site. NAD+ cleavage by TIR domains is therefore a conserved feature of animal and plant cell death signaling pathways.
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TIR domains of plant immune receptors are NAD+-cleaving enzymes that promote cell death ()
Plant nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) immune receptors activate cell death and confer disease resistance by unknown mechanisms. We demonstrate that plant Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domains of NLRs are enzymes capable of degrading nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide in its oxidized form (NAD+). Both cell death induction and NAD+ cleavage activity of plant TIR domains require known self-association interfaces and a putative catalytic glutamic acid that is conserved in both bacterial TIR NAD+-cleaving enzymes (NADases) and the mammalian SARM1 (sterile alpha and TIR motif containing 1) NADase. We identify a variant of cyclic adenosine diphosphate ribose as a biomarker of TIR enzymatic activity. TIR enzymatic activity is induced by pathogen recognition and functions upstream of the genes enhanced disease susceptibility 1 (EDS1) and N requirement gene 1 (NRG1), which encode regulators required for TIR immune function. Thus, plant TIR-NLR receptors require NADase function to transduce recognition of pathogens into a cell death response.
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Ultrafast laser welding of ceramics ()
Welding of ceramics is a key missing component in modern manufacturing. Current methods cannot join ceramics in proximity to temperature-sensitive materials like polymers and electronic components. We introduce an ultrafast pulsed laser welding approach that relies on focusing light on interfaces to ensure an optical interaction volume in ceramics to stimulate nonlinear absorption processes, causing localized melting rather than ablation. The key is the interplay between linear and nonlinear optical properties and laser energy–material coupling. The welded ceramic assemblies hold high vacuum and have shear strengths comparable to metal-to-ceramic diffusion bonds. Laser welding can make ceramics integral components in devices for harsh environments as well as in optoelectronic and/or electronic packages needing visible-radio frequency transparency.
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The slow earthquake spectrum in the Japan Trench illuminated by the S-net seafloor observatories ()
Investigating slow earthquake activity in subduction zones provides insight into the slip behavior of megathrusts, which can provide important clues about the rupture extent of future great earthquakes. Using the S-net ocean-bottom seismograph network along the Japan Trench, we mapped a detailed distribution of tectonic tremors, which coincided with very-low-frequency earthquakes and a slow slip event. Compiling these and other related observations, including repeating earthquakes and earthquake swarms, we found that the slow earthquake distribution is complementary to the Tohoku-Oki earthquake rupture. We used our observations to divide the megathrust in the Japan Trench into three along-strike segments characterized by different slip behaviors. We found that the rupture of the Tohoku-Oki earthquake, which nucleated in the central segment, was terminated by the two adjacent segments.
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Major subpopulations of Plasmodium falciparum in sub-Saharan Africa ()
Understanding genomic variation and population structure of Plasmodium falciparum across Africa is necessary to sustain progress toward malaria elimination. Genome clustering of 2263 P. falciparum isolates from 24 malaria-endemic settings in 15 African countries identified major western, central, and eastern ancestries, plus a highly divergent Ethiopian population. Ancestry aligned to these regional blocs, overlapping with both the parasite’s origin and with historical human migration. The parasite populations are interbred and shared genomic haplotypes, especially across drug resistance loci, which showed the strongest recent identity-by-descent between populations. A recent signature of selection on chromosome 12 with candidate resistance loci against artemisinin derivatives was evident in Ghana and Malawi. Such selection and the emerging substructure may affect treatment-based intervention strategies against P. falciparum malaria.
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Images from the surface of asteroid Ryugu show rocks similar to carbonaceous chondrite meteorites ()
The near-Earth asteroid (162173) Ryugu is a 900-m-diameter dark object expected to contain primordial material from the solar nebula. The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) landed on Ryugu’s surface on 3 October 2018. We present images from the MASCOT camera (MASCam) taken during the descent and while on the surface. The surface is covered by decimeter- to meter-sized rocks, with no deposits of fine-grained material. Rocks appear either bright, with smooth faces and sharp edges, or dark, with a cauliflower-like, crumbly surface. Close-up images of a rock of the latter type reveal a dark matrix with small, bright, spectrally different inclusions, implying that it did not experience extensive aqueous alteration. The inclusions appear similar to those in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites.
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Persistence of neuronal representations through time and damage in the hippocampus ()
How do neurons encode long-term memories? Bilateral imaging of neuronal activity in the mouse hippocampus reveals that, from one day to the next, ~40% of neurons change their responsiveness to cues, but thereafter only 1% of cells change per day. Despite these changes, neuronal responses are resilient to a lack of exposure to a previously completed task or to hippocampus lesions. Unlike individual neurons, the responses of which change after a few days, groups of neurons with inter- and intrahemispheric synchronous activity show stable responses for several weeks. The likelihood that a neuron maintains its responsiveness across days is proportional to the number of neurons with which its activity is synchronous. Information stored in individual neurons is relatively labile, but it can be reliably stored in networks of synchronously active neurons.
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Phospho-dependent phase separation of FMRP and CAPRIN1 recapitulates regulation of translation and deadenylation ()
Membraneless organelles involved in RNA processing are biomolecular condensates assembled by phase separation. Despite the important role of intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDRs), the specific interactions underlying IDR phase separation and its functional consequences remain elusive. To address these questions, we used minimal condensates formed from the C-terminal disordered regions of two interacting translational regulators, FMRP and CAPRIN1. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of FMRP-CAPRIN1 condensates revealed interactions involving arginine-rich and aromatic-rich regions. We found that different FMRP serine/threonine and CAPRIN1 tyrosine phosphorylation patterns control phase separation propensity with RNA, including subcompartmentalization, and tune deadenylation and translation rates in vitro. The resulting evidence for residue-specific interactions underlying co–phase separation, phosphorylation-modulated condensate architecture, and enzymatic activity within condensates has implications for how the integration of signaling pathways controls RNA processing and translation.
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New Products ()

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Stand out as a speaker ()

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The Malaria Cell Atlas: Single parasite transcriptomes across the complete Plasmodium life cycle ()
Malaria parasites adopt a remarkable variety of morphological life stages as they transition through multiple mammalian host and mosquito vector environments. We profiled the single-cell transcriptomes of thousands of individual parasites, deriving the first high-resolution transcriptional atlas of the entire Plasmodium berghei life cycle. We then used our atlas to precisely define developmental stages of single cells from three different human malaria parasite species, including parasites isolated directly from infected individuals. The Malaria Cell Atlas provides both a comprehensive view of gene usage in a eukaryotic parasite and an open-access reference dataset for the study of malaria parasites.
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Response to Comment on "Legacy nitrogen may prevent achievement of water quality goals in the Gulf of Mexico" ()
Ballard et al. argue that our prediction of a 30-year or longer recovery time for Gulf of Mexico water quality is highly uncertain, and that much shorter time lags are equally likely. We demonstrate that their argument, based on the use of a two-component regression model, does not sufficiently consider fundamental watershed processes or multiple lines of evidence suggesting the existence of decadal-scale lags.
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Comment on "Legacy nitrogen may prevent achievement of water quality goals in the Gulf of Mexico" ()
Van Meter et al. (Reports, 27 April 2018, p. 427) warn that achieving nitrogen reduction goals in the Gulf of Mexico will take decades as a result of legacy nitrogen effects. We discuss limitations of the modeling approach and demonstrate that legacy effects ranging from a few years to decades are equally consistent with observations. The presented time scales for system recovery are therefore highly uncertain.
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Structure and conformational plasticity of the intact Thermus thermophilus V/A-type ATPase ()
V (vacuolar)/A (archaeal)-type adenosine triphosphatases (ATPases), found in archaea and eubacteria, couple ATP hydrolysis or synthesis to proton translocation across the plasma membrane using the rotary-catalysis mechanism. They belong to the V-type ATPase family, which differs from the mitochondrial/chloroplast F-type ATP synthases in overall architecture. We solved cryo–electron microscopy structures of the intact Thermus thermophilus V/A-ATPase, reconstituted into lipid nanodiscs, in three rotational states and two substates. These structures indicate substantial flexibility between V1 and Vo in a working enzyme, which results from mechanical competition between central shaft rotation and resistance from the peripheral stalks. We also describe details of adenosine diphosphate inhibition release, V1-Vo torque transmission, and proton translocation, which are relevant for the entire V-type ATPase family.
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