Thrombocytopenia is common in severe sepsis and is associated with an increased risk of mortality. A new study shows that platelet pyroptosis initiated during infection promotes a feedforward loop of neutrophil-mediated inflammation that worsens outcomes during sepsis.
An analysis of floods or droughts that hit the same place twice shows that using risk management alone does not reduce the effect of extreme events. Addressing the social drivers of hazard impact, equitably, is essential. Repeated disasters reveal exposure inequity.
Risk management has reduced vulnerability to floods and droughts globally1,2, yet their impacts are still increasing³. An improved understanding of the causes of changing impacts is therefore needed, but has been hampered by a lack of empirical data4,5. On the basis of a global dataset of 45 pairs of events that occurred within the same area, we show that risk management generally reduces the impacts of floods and droughts but faces difficulties in reducing the impacts of unprecedented events of a magnitude not previously experienced. If the second event was much more hazardous than the first, its impact was almost always higher. This is because management was not designed to deal with such extreme events: for example, they exceeded the design levels of levees and reservoirs. In two success stories, the impact of the second, more hazardous, event was lower, as a result of improved risk management governance and high investment in integrated management. The observed difficulty of managing unprecedented events is alarming, given that more extreme hydrological events are projected owing to climate change³.
Additive manufacturing produces net-shaped components layer by layer for engineering applications1–7. The additive manufacture of metal alloys by laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) involves large temperature gradients and rapid cooling2,6, which enables microstructural refinement at the nanoscale to achieve high strength. However, high-strength nanostructured alloys produced by laser additive manufacturing often have limited ductility3. Here we use L-PBF to print dual-phase nanolamellar high-entropy alloys (HEAs) of AlCoCrFeNi2.1 that exhibit a combination of a high yield strength of about 1.3 gigapascals and a large uniform elongation of about 14 per cent, which surpasses those of other state-of-the-art additively manufactured metal alloys. The high yield strength stems from the strong strengthening effects of the dual-phase structures that consist of alternating face-centred cubic and body-centred cubic nanolamellae; the body-centred cubic nanolamellae exhibit higher strengths and higher hardening rates than the face-centred cubic nanolamellae. The large tensile ductility arises owing to the high work-hardening capability of the as-printed hierarchical microstructures in the form of dual-phase nanolamellae embedded in microscale eutectic colonies, which have nearly random orientations to promote isotropic mechanical properties. The mechanistic insights into the deformation behaviour of additively manufactured HEAs have broad implications for the development of hierarchical, dual- and multi-phase, nanostructured alloys with exceptional mechanical properties. An additive manufacturing strategy is used to produce dual-phase nanolamellar high-entropy alloys that show a combination of enhanced high yield strength and high tensile ductility.
Pressure-driven membranes is a widely used separation technology in a range of industries, such as water purification, bioprocessing, food processing and chemical production1,2. Despite their numerous advantages, such as modular design and minimal footprint, inevitable membrane fouling is the key challenge in most practical applications3. Fouling limits membrane performance by reducing permeate flux or increasing pressure requirements, which results in higher energetic operation and maintenance costs4–7. Here we report a hydraulic-pressure-responsive membrane (PiezoMem) to transform pressure pulses into electroactive responses for in situ self-cleaning. A transient hydraulic pressure fluctuation across the membrane results in generation of current pulses and rapid voltage oscillations (peak, +5.0/−3.2 V) capable of foulant degradation and repulsion without the need for supplementary chemical cleaning agents, secondary waste disposal or further external stimuli3,8–13. PiezoMem showed broad-spectrum antifouling action towards a range of membrane foulants, including organic molecules, oil droplets, proteins, bacteria and inorganic colloids, through reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and dielectrophoretic repulsion. The PiezoMem membrane responsive to hydraulic pressure is introduced, showing the ability to convert pressure pulses into electroactive responses for in situ self-cleaning and enabling broad-spectrum antifouling action towards a range of membrane foulants.
Topological modes (TMs) are usually localized at defects or boundaries of a much larger topological lattice1,2. Recent studies of non-Hermitian band theories unveiled the non-Hermitian skin effect (NHSE), by which the bulk states collapse to the boundary as skin modes3–6. Here we explore the NHSE to reshape the wavefunctions of TMs by delocalizing them from the boundary. At a critical non-Hermitian parameter, the in-gap TMs even become completely extended in the entire bulk lattice, forming an ‘extended mode outside of a continuum’. These extended modes are still protected by bulk-band topology, making them robust against local disorders. The morphing of TM wavefunction is experimentally realized in active mechanical lattices in both one-dimensional and two-dimensional topological lattices, as well as in a higher-order topological lattice. Furthermore, by the judicious engineering of the non-Hermiticity distribution, the TMs can deform into a diversity of shapes. Our findings not only broaden and deepen the current understanding of the TMs and the NHSE but also open new grounds for topological applications. It is experimentally demonstrated that the non-Hermitian skin effect can convert localized topological modes into extended modes of unconventional shapes while preserving the topological characteristics, which presents opportunities for topological manipulations of waves and light.
Generation of silicic magmas leads to emplacement of granite plutons, huge explosive volcanic eruptions and physical and chemical zoning of continental and arc crust1–7. Whereas timescales for silicic magma generation in the deep and middle crust are prolonged8, magma transfer into the upper crust followed by eruption is episodic and can be rapid9–12. Ages of inherited zircons and sanidines from four Miocene ignimbrites in the Central Andes indicate a gap of 4.6 Myr between initiation of pluton emplacement and onset of super-eruptions, with a 1-Myr cyclicity. We show that inherited zircons and sanidine crystals were stored at temperatures <470 °C in these plutons before incorporation in ignimbrite magmas. Our observations can be explained by silicic melt segregation in a middle-crustal hot zone with episodic melt ascent from an unstable layer at the top of the zone with a timescale governed by the rheology of the upper crust. After thermal incubation of growing plutons, large upper-crustal magma chambers can form in a few thousand years or less by dike transport from the hot-zone melt layer. Instability and disruption of earlier plutonic rock occurred in a few decades or less just before or during super-eruptions. Analysis of inherited zircons and sanidines from Miocene ignimbrites in the Central Andes shows that plutons were emplaced for up to 4 million years prior to onset of volcanism and that disruption of plutonic rock occurs a few decades or less just before or during super-eruptions.
Indium gallium nitride (InGaN)-based micro-LEDs (μLEDs) are suitable for meeting ever-increasing demands for high-performance displays owing to their high efficiency, brightness and stability1–5. However, μLEDs have a large problem in that the external quantum efficiency (EQE) decreases with the size reduction6–9. Here we demonstrate a blue InGaN/GaN multiple quantum well (MQW) nanorod-LED (nLED) with high EQE. To overcome the size-dependent EQE reduction problem8,9, we studied the interaction between the GaN surface and the sidewall passivation layer through various analyses. Minimizing the point defects created during the passivation process is crucial to manufacturing high-performance nLEDs. Notably, the sol–gel method is advantageous for the passivation because SiO2 nanoparticles are adsorbed on the GaN surface, thereby minimizing its atomic interactions. The fabricated nLEDs showed an EQE of 20.2 ± 0.6%, the highest EQE value ever reported for the LED in the nanoscale. This work opens the way for manufacturing self-emissive nLED displays that can become an enabling technology for next-generation displays. Using a sol–gel passivation method, the fabrication of blue InGaN nanorod-LEDs with the highest external quantum efficiency value ever reported for LEDs in the nanoscale is demonstrated.
Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are powerful and widely used. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to use them, data scientists say. Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are powerful and widely used. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to use them, data scientists say.
Transplanting human cells into animal brains brings insights into development and disease along with new ethical questions. Transplanting human cells into animal brains brings insights into development and disease along with new ethical questions.
Some studies suggest that the risk of cardiovascular problems, such as a heart attack or stroke, remains high even many months after a SARS-CoV-2 infection clears up. Researchers are starting to pin down the frequency of these issues and what is causing the damage. Some studies suggest that the risk of cardiovascular problems, such as a heart attack or stroke, remains high even many months after a SARS-CoV-2 infection clears up. Researchers are starting to pin down the frequency of these issues and what is causing the damage.
Retraction Watch has witnessed a retraction boom since its founding 12 years ago. But the scientific community must do much more. Retraction Watch has witnessed a retraction boom since its founding 12 years ago. But the scientific community must do much more.
A metallochaperone protein that ensures that zinc ions are delivered to a crucial cellular enzyme has now been discovered. The finding underscores the subtleties of controlling cellular zinc allocation when the metal is scarce. Zng1 is an evolutionary conserved chaperone protein for zinc ions.
Low levels of social interaction across class lines have generated widespread concern 1–4 and are associated with worse outcomes, such as lower rates of upward income mobility 4–7 . Here we analyse the determinants of cross-class interaction using data from Facebook, building on the analysis in our companion paper ⁷ . We show that about half of the social disconnection across socioeconomic lines—measured as the difference in the share of high-socioeconomic status (SES) friends between people with low and high SES—is explained by differences in exposure to people with high SES in groups such as schools and religious organizations. The other half is explained by friending bias—the tendency for people with low SES to befriend people with high SES at lower rates even conditional on exposure. Friending bias is shaped by the structure of the groups in which people interact. For example, friending bias is higher in larger and more diverse groups and lower in religious organizations than in schools and workplaces. Distinguishing exposure from friending bias is helpful for identifying interventions to increase cross-SES friendships (economic connectedness). Using fluctuations in the share of students with high SES across high school cohorts, we show that increases in high-SES exposure lead low-SES people to form more friendships with high-SES people in schools that exhibit low levels of friending bias. Thus, socioeconomic integration can increase economic connectedness in communities in which friending bias is low. By contrast, when friending bias is high, increasing cross-SES interactions among existing members may be necessary to increase economic connectedness. To support such efforts, we release privacy-protected statistics on economic connectedness, exposure and friending bias for each ZIP (postal) code, high school and college in the United States at https://www.socialcapital.org .
Social capital—the strength of an individual’s social network and community—has been identified as a potential determinant of outcomes ranging from education to health1–8. However, efforts to understand what types of social capital matter for these outcomes have been hindered by a lack of social network data. Here, in the first of a pair of papers9, we use data on 21 billion friendships from Facebook to study social capital. We measure and analyse three types of social capital by ZIP (postal) code in the United States: (1) connectedness between different types of people, such as those with low versus high socioeconomic status (SES); (2) social cohesion, such as the extent of cliques in friendship networks; and (3) civic engagement, such as rates of volunteering. These measures vary substantially across areas, but are not highly correlated with each other. We demonstrate the importance of distinguishing these forms of social capital by analysing their associations with economic mobility across areas. The share of high-SES friends among individuals with low SES—which we term economic connectedness—is among the strongest predictors of upward income mobility identified to date10,11. Other social capital measures are not strongly associated with economic mobility. If children with low-SES parents were to grow up in counties with economic connectedness comparable to that of the average child with high-SES parents, their incomes in adulthood would increase by 20% on average. Differences in economic connectedness can explain well-known relationships between upward income mobility and racial segregation, poverty rates, and inequality12–14. To support further research and policy interventions, we publicly release privacy-protected statistics on social capital by ZIP code at https://www.socialcapital.org. Analyses of data on 21 billion friendships from Facebook in the United States reveal associations between social capital and economic mobility.
Invasive fungal pathogens are major causes of human mortality and morbidity1,2. Although numerous secreted effector proteins that reprogram innate immunity to promote virulence have been identified in pathogenic bacteria, so far, there are no examples of analogous secreted effector proteins produced by human fungal pathogens. Cryptococcus neoformans, the most common cause of fungal meningitis and a major pathogen in AIDS, induces a pathogenic type 2 response characterized by pulmonary eosinophilia and alternatively activated macrophages3–8. Here, we identify CPL1 as an effector protein secreted by C. neoformans that drives alternative activation (also known as M2 polarization) of macrophages to enable pulmonary infection in mice. We observed that CPL1-enhanced macrophage polarization requires Toll-like receptor 4, which is best known as a receptor for bacterial endotoxin but is also a poorly understood mediator of allergen-induced type 2 responses9–12. We show that this effect is caused by CPL1 itself and not by contaminating lipopolysaccharide. CPL1 is essential for virulence, drives polarization of interstitial macrophages in vivo, and requires type 2 cytokine signalling for its effect on infectivity. Notably, C. neoformans associates selectively with polarized interstitial macrophages during infection, suggesting a mechanism by which C. neoformans generates its own intracellular replication niche within the host. This work identifies a circuit whereby a secreted effector protein produced by a human fungal pathogen reprograms innate immunity, revealing an unexpected role for Toll-like receptor 4 in promoting the pathogenesis of infectious disease. Cryptococcus neoformans secretes CPL1 protein, which induces alternative activation of macrophages via Toll-like receptor 4 in mice and is essential for fungal virulence.
In response to hormones and growth factors, the class I phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) signalling network functions as a major regulator of metabolism and growth, governing cellular nutrient uptake, energy generation, reducing cofactor production and macromolecule biosynthesis1. Many of the driver mutations in cancer with the highest recurrence, including in receptor tyrosine kinases, Ras, PTEN and PI3K, pathologically activate PI3K signalling2,3. However, our understanding of the core metabolic program controlled by PI3K is almost certainly incomplete. Here, using mass-spectrometry-based metabolomics and isotope tracing, we show that PI3K signalling stimulates the de novo synthesis of one of the most pivotal metabolic cofactors: coenzyme A (CoA). CoA is the major carrier of activated acyl groups in cells4,5 and is synthesized from cysteine, ATP and the essential nutrient vitamin B5 (also known as pantothenate)6,7. We identify pantothenate kinase 2 (PANK2) and PANK4 as substrates of the PI3K effector kinase AKT8. Although PANK2 is known to catalyse the rate-determining first step of CoA synthesis, we find that the minimally characterized but highly conserved PANK49 is a rate-limiting suppressor of CoA synthesis through its metabolite phosphatase activity. Phosphorylation of PANK4 by AKT relieves this suppression. Ultimately, the PI3K–PANK4 axis regulates the abundance of acetyl-CoA and other acyl-CoAs, CoA-dependent processes such as lipid metabolism and proliferation. We propose that these regulatory mechanisms coordinate cellular CoA supplies with the demands of hormone/growth-factor-driven or oncogene-driven metabolism and growth. The PI3K–PANK4 axis regulates coenzyme A synthesis, the abundance of acetyl-CoA, and CoA-dependent processes such as lipid metabolism, and these regulatory mechanisms coordinate cellular CoA supplies with the demands of hormone and growth-factor-driven or oncogene-driven metabolism and growth.
Biological processes depend on the differential expression of genes over time, but methods to make physical recordings of these processes are limited. Here we report a molecular system for making time-ordered recordings of transcriptional events into living genomes. We do this through engineered RNA barcodes, based on prokaryotic retrons1, that are reverse transcribed into DNA and integrated into the genome using the CRISPR–Cas system2. The unidirectional integration of barcodes by CRISPR integrases enables reconstruction of transcriptional event timing based on a physical record through simple, logical rules rather than relying on pretrained classifiers or post hoc inferential methods. For disambiguation in the field, we will refer to this system as a Retro-Cascorder. Retro-Cascorder, a system for time-ordered recording of transcriptional output, uses retrons as a tag to mediate DNA barcode acquisition in a CRISPR array.
Multiple studies have established associations between human gut bacteria and host physiology, but determining the molecular mechanisms underlying these associations has been challenging1–3. Akkermansia muciniphila has been robustly associated with positive systemic effects on host metabolism, favourable outcomes to checkpoint blockade in cancer immunotherapy and homeostatic immunity4–7. Here we report the identification of a lipid from A. muciniphila’s cell membrane that recapitulates the immunomodulatory activity of A. muciniphila in cell-based assays8. The isolated immunogen, a diacyl phosphatidylethanolamine with two branched chains (a15:0-i15:0 PE), was characterized through both spectroscopic analysis and chemical synthesis. The immunogenic activity of a15:0-i15:0 PE has a highly restricted structure–activity relationship, and its immune signalling requires an unexpected toll-like receptor TLR2–TLR1 heterodimer9,10. Certain features of the phospholipid’s activity are worth noting: it is significantly less potent than known natural and synthetic TLR2 agonists; it preferentially induces some inflammatory cytokines but not others; and, at low doses (1% of EC50) it resets activation thresholds and responses for immune signalling. Identifying both the molecule and an equipotent synthetic analogue, its non-canonical TLR2–TLR1 signalling pathway, its immunomodulatory selectivity and its low-dose immunoregulatory effects provide a molecular mechanism for a model of A. muciniphila’s ability to set immunological tone and its varied roles in health and disease. Overall, this study describes the molecular mechanism of a druggable pathway that recapitulates in cellular assays the immunomodulatory effects associated with Akkermansia muciniphila, a prominent member of the gut microbiota.
The a.c. Josephson effect predicted in 19621 and observed experimentally in 19632 as quantized ‘voltage steps’ (the Shapiro steps) from photon-assisted tunnelling of Cooper pairs is among the most fundamental phenomena of quantum mechanics and is vital for metrological quantum voltage standards. The physically dual effect, the a.c. coherent quantum phase slip (CQPS), photon-assisted tunnelling of magnetic fluxes through a superconducting nanowire, is envisaged to reveal itself as quantized ‘current steps’3,4. The basic physical significance of the a.c. CQPS is also complemented by practical importance in future current standards, a missing element for closing the quantum metrology triangle5,6. In 2012, the CQPS was demonstrated as superposition of magnetic flux quanta in superconducting nanowires 7. However, the direct flat current steps in superconductors, the only unavailable basic effect of superconductivity to date, was unattainable due to lack of appropriate materials and challenges in circuit engineering. Here we report the direct observation of the dual Shapiro steps in a superconducting nanowire. The sharp steps are clear up to 26 GHz frequency with current values 8.3 nA and limited by the present set-up bandwidth. The current steps were theoretically predicted in small Josephson junctions 30 years ago5. However, unavoidable broadening in Josephson junctions prevents their direct experimental observation8,9. We solve this problem by placing a thin NbN nanowire in an inductive environment. Direct observation of the physical dual a.c. Josephson effect, a series of quantized current steps in a superconducting nanowire, is reported and may offer a way to establish new metrological standards for currents.
Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) regulates cell growth and metabolism in response to multiple nutrients, including the essential amino acid leucine1. Recent work in cultured mammalian cells established the Sestrins as leucine-binding proteins that inhibit mTORC1 signalling during leucine deprivation2,3, but their role in the organismal response to dietary leucine remains elusive. Here we find that Sestrin-null flies (Sesn−/−) fail to inhibit mTORC1 or activate autophagy after acute leucine starvation and have impaired development and a shortened lifespan on a low-leucine diet. Knock-in flies expressing a leucine-binding-deficient Sestrin mutant (SesnL431E) have reduced, leucine-insensitive mTORC1 activity. Notably, we find that flies can discriminate between food with or without leucine, and preferentially feed and lay progeny on leucine-containing food. This preference depends on Sestrin and its capacity to bind leucine. Leucine regulates mTORC1 activity in glial cells, and knockdown of Sesn in these cells reduces the ability of flies to detect leucine-free food. Thus, nutrient sensing by mTORC1 is necessary for flies not only to adapt to, but also to detect, a diet deficient in an essential nutrient. Fruitflies require Sestrin to regulate mTORC1 signalling in response to dietary leucine, survive a diet low in leucine, and control leucine-sensitive physiological characteristics, which establishes Sestrin as a physiologically relevant leucine sensor.
Circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) in blood plasma is an emerging tool for clinical cancer genotyping and longitudinal disease monitoring1. However, owing to past emphasis on targeted and low-resolution profiling approaches, our understanding of the distinct populations that comprise bulk ctDNA is incomplete2–12. Here we perform deep whole-genome sequencing of serial plasma and synchronous metastases in patients with aggressive prostate cancer. We comprehensively assess all classes of genomic alterations and show that ctDNA contains multiple dominant populations, the evolutionary histories of which frequently indicate whole-genome doubling and shifts in mutational processes. Although tissue and ctDNA showed concordant clonally expanded cancer driver alterations, most individual metastases contributed only a minor share of total ctDNA. By comparing serial ctDNA before and after clinical progression on potent inhibitors of the androgen receptor (AR) pathway, we reveal population restructuring converging solely on AR augmentation as the dominant genomic driver of acquired treatment resistance. Finally, we leverage nucleosome footprints in ctDNA to infer mRNA expression in synchronously biopsied metastases, including treatment-induced changes in AR transcription factor signalling activity. Our results provide insights into cancer biology and show that liquid biopsy can be used as a tool for comprehensive multi-omic discovery. Deep whole-genome sequencing of serial blood samples and matched metastatic tissue reveals that circulating tumour DNA profiling enables detailed study of treatment-driven subclone dynamics, epigenomics and genome-wide somatic evolution in metastatic human cancers.
Social affiliation emerges from individual-level behavioural rules that are driven by conspecific signals1–5. Long-distance attraction and short-distance repulsion, for example, are rules that jointly set a preferred interanimal distance in swarms6–8. However, little is known about their perceptual mechanisms and executive neural circuits3. Here we trace the neuronal response to self-like biological motion9,10, a visual trigger for affiliation in developing zebrafish2,11. Unbiased activity mapping and targeted volumetric two-photon calcium imaging revealed 21 activity hotspots distributed throughout the brain as well as clustered biological-motion-tuned neurons in a multimodal, socially activated nucleus of the dorsal thalamus. Individual dorsal thalamus neurons encode local acceleration of visual stimuli mimicking typical fish kinetics but are insensitive to global or continuous motion. Electron microscopic reconstruction of dorsal thalamus neurons revealed synaptic input from the optic tectum and projections into hypothalamic areas with conserved social function12–14. Ablation of the optic tectum or dorsal thalamus selectively disrupted social attraction without affecting short-distance repulsion. This tectothalamic pathway thus serves visual recognition of conspecifics, and dissociates neuronal control of attraction from repulsion during social affiliation, revealing a circuit underpinning collective behaviour. A tectothalamic pathway for social affiliation in developing zebrafish dissociates neuronal control of attraction from repulsion during affiliation, revealing a circuit underpinning of collective behaviour
Memory formation involves binding of contextual features into a unitary representation1–4, whereas memory recall can occur using partial combinations of these contextual features. The neural basis underlying the relationship between a contextual memory and its constituent features is not well understood; in particular, where features are represented in the brain and how they drive recall. Here, to gain insight into this question, we developed a behavioural task in which mice use features to recall an associated contextual memory. We performed longitudinal imaging in hippocampus as mice performed this task and identified robust representations of global context but not of individual features. To identify putative brain regions that provide feature inputs to hippocampus, we inhibited cortical afferents while imaging hippocampus during behaviour. We found that whereas inhibition of entorhinal cortex led to broad silencing of hippocampus, inhibition of prefrontal anterior cingulate led to a highly specific silencing of context neurons and deficits in feature-based recall. We next developed a preparation for simultaneous imaging of anterior cingulate and hippocampus during behaviour, which revealed robust population-level representation of features in anterior cingulate, that lag hippocampus context representations during training but dynamically reorganize to lead and target recruitment of context ensembles in hippocampus during recall. Together, we provide the first mechanistic insights into where contextual features are represented in the brain, how they emerge, and how they access long-range episodic representations to drive memory recall. Longitudinal imaging and functional perturbations during behaviour identified a brain region that represents constituent features of a contextual memory and enables feature-mediated memory recall.
DNA is naturally well suited to serve as a digital medium for in vivo molecular recording. However, contemporary DNA-based memory devices are constrained in terms of the number of distinct ‘symbols’ that can be concurrently recorded and/or by a failure to capture the order in which events occur¹. Here we describe DNA Typewriter, a general system for in vivo molecular recording that overcomes these and other limitations. For DNA Typewriter, the blank recording medium (‘DNA Tape’) consists of a tandem array of partial CRISPR–Cas9 target sites, with all but the first site truncated at their 5′ ends and therefore inactive. Short insertional edits serve as symbols that record the identity of the prime editing guide RNA² mediating the edit while also shifting the position of the ‘type guide’ by one unit along the DNA Tape, that is, sequential genome editing. In this proof of concept of DNA Typewriter, we demonstrate recording and decoding of thousands of symbols, complex event histories and short text messages; evaluate the performance of dozens of orthogonal tapes; and construct ‘long tape’ potentially capable of recording as many as 20 serial events. Finally, we leverage DNA Typewriter in conjunction with single-cell RNA-seq to reconstruct a monophyletic lineage of 3,257 cells and find that the Poisson-like accumulation of sequential edits to multicopy DNA tape can be maintained across at least 20 generations and 25 days of in vitro clonal expansion.
Insects, unlike vertebrates, are widely believed to lack male-biased sex steroid hormones¹. In the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae, the ecdysteroid 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) appears to have evolved to both control egg development when synthesized by females² and to induce mating refractoriness when sexually transferred by males³. Because egg development and mating are essential reproductive traits, understanding how Anopheles females integrate these hormonal signals can spur the design of new malaria control programs. Here we reveal that these reproductive functions are regulated by distinct sex steroids through a sophisticated network of ecdysteroid-activating/inactivating enzymes. We identify a male-specific oxidized ecdysteroid, 3-dehydro-20E (3D20E), which safeguards paternity by turning off female sexual receptivity following its sexual transfer and activation by dephosphorylation. Notably, 3D20E transfer also induces expression of a reproductive gene that preserves egg development during Plasmodium infection, ensuring fitness of infected females. Female-derived 20E does not trigger sexual refractoriness but instead licenses oviposition in mated individuals once a 20E-inhibiting kinase is repressed. Identifying this male-specific insect steroid hormone and its roles in regulating female sexual receptivity, fertility and interactions with Plasmodium parasites suggests the possibility for reducing the reproductive success of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes.
There is a well-documented gap in the observed number of scientific works produced by women and men in science, with clear consequences for the retention and promotion of women in science1. The gap might be a result of productivity differences2-5, or it might be due to women’s contributions not being acknowledged6,7. This paper finds that at least part of this gap is due to the latter: women in research teams are significantly less likely to be credited with authorship than are men. The findings are consistent across three very different sources of data. Analysis of the first source - large scale administrative data on research teams, team scientific output, and attribution of credit - show that women are significantly less likely to be named on any given article or patent produced by their team relative to their peers. The gender gap in attribution is found across almost all scientific fields and career stages. The second source – an extensive survey of authors – similarly shows that women’s scientific contributions are systematically less likely to be recognized. The third source – qualitative responses – suggests that the reason is that their work is often not known, not appreciated, or ignored. At least some of the observed gender gap in scientific output may not be due to differences in scientific contribution, but to differences in attribution.
The heart, the first organ to develop, undergoes complex morphogenesis that when defective results in congenital heart disease (CHD). With current therapies, more than 90% of CHD patients survive into adulthood but often suffer premature death from heart failure (HF) and non-cardiac causes 1. To gain insight into poorly understood disease progression, we performed single nuclear RNA sequencing (snRNA-seq) and analyzed 157,273 nuclei from donors and CHD patients, including hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) and Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), two common forms of cyanotic CHD lesions, as well as, dilated (DCM) and hypertrophic (HCM) cardiomyopathies. We observed CHD specific cell states in cardiomyocytes (CMs) which had evidence of insulin resistance and increased FOXO and CRIM1 expression. Cardiac fibroblasts (CFs) in HLHS had enrichment for a low HIPPO and high YAP cell state characteristic of activated CFs. Imaging Mass Cytometry (IMC) uncovered the spatially resolved perivascular microenvironment consistent with an immunodeficient state in CHD. Peripheral immune cell profiling suggested deficient monocytic immunity in CHD in agreement with CHD predilection to infection and cancer 2. Our comprehensive CHD phenotyping provides a roadmap for future personalized medicine in CHD.
Heart failure encompasses a heterogeneous set of clinical features that converge on impaired cardiac contractile function1,2 and presents a growing public health concern. Previous work has highlighted changes in both transcription and protein expression in failing hearts3,4, but may overlook molecular changes in less prevalent cell types. Here we identify extensive molecular alterations in failing hearts at single-cell resolution by performing single-nucleus RNA sequencing of nearly 600,000 nuclei in left ventricle samples from 11 hearts with dilated cardiomyopathy and 15 hearts with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as well as 16 non-failing hearts. The transcriptional profiles of dilated or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy hearts broadly converged at the tissue and cell-type level. Further, a subset of hearts from patients with cardiomyopathy harbour a unique population of activated fibroblasts that is almost entirely absent from non-failing samples. We performed a CRISPR-knockout screen in primary human cardiac fibroblasts to evaluate this fibrotic cell state transition; knockout of genes associated with fibroblast transition resulted in a reduction of myofibroblast cell-state transition upon TGFβ1 stimulation for a subset of genes. Our results provide insights into the transcriptional diversity of the human heart in health and disease as well as new potential therapeutic targets and biomarkers for heart failure.
The identification of general and efficient methods for the construction of oligosaccharides stands as one of the great challenges for the field of synthetic chemistry1,2. Selective glycosylation of unprotected sugars and other polyhydroxylated nucleophiles is a particularly significant goal, requiring not only control over the stereochemistry of the forming bond but also differentiation between similarly reactive nucleophilic sites in stereochemically complex contexts3,4. Chemists have generally relied on multi-step protecting-group strategies to achieve site control in glycosylations, but practical inefficiencies arise directly from the application of such approaches5–7. We describe here a new strategy for small-molecule-catalyst-controlled, highly stereo- and site-selective glycosylations of unprotected or minimally protected mono- and disaccharides using precisely designed bis-thiourea small-molecule catalysts. Stereo- and site-selective galactosylations and mannosylations of a wide assortment of polyfunctional nucleophiles is thereby achieved. Kinetic and computational studies provide evidence that site selectivity arises from stabilizing C–H/π interactions between the catalyst and the nucleophile, analogous to those documented in sugar-binding proteins. This work demonstrates that highly selective glycosylation reactions can be achieved through control of stabilizing noncovalent interactions, a potentially general strategy for selective functionalization of carbohydrates.
Glucose uptake is essential for cancer glycolysis and is involved in non-shivering thermogenesis of adipose tissues1–6. Most cancers use glycolysis to harness energy for their infinite growth, invasion and metastasis2,7,8. Activation of thermogenic metabolism in brown adipose tissue (BAT) by cold and drugs instigates blood glucose uptake in adipocytes4,5,9. However, the functional effects of the global metabolic changes associated with BAT activation on tumour growth are unclear. Here we show that exposure of tumour-bearing mice to cold conditions markedly inhibits the growth of various types of solid tumours, including clinically untreatable cancers such as pancreatic cancers. Mechanistically, cold-induced BAT activation substantially decreases blood glucose and impedes the glycolysis-based metabolism in cancer cells. The removal of BAT and feeding on a high-glucose diet under cold exposure restore tumour growth, and genetic deletion of Ucp1—the key mediator for BAT-thermogenesis—ablates the cold-triggered anticancer effect. In a pilot human study, mild cold exposure activates a substantial amount of BAT in both healthy humans and a patient with cancer with mitigated glucose uptake in the tumour tissue. These findings provide a previously undescribed concept and paradigm for cancer therapy that uses a simple and effective approach. We anticipate that cold exposure and activation of BAT through any other approach, such as drugs and devices either alone or in combination with other anticancer therapeutics, will provide a general approach for the effective treatment of various cancers.
Dividing eukaryotic cells package extremely long chromosomal DNA molecules into discrete bodies to enable microtubule-mediated transport of one genome copy to each of the newly forming daughter cells1–3. Assembly of mitotic chromosomes involves DNA looping by condensin4–8 and chromatin compaction by global histone deacetylation9–13. Although condensin confers mechanical resistance to spindle pulling forces14–16, it is not known how histone deacetylation affects material properties and, as a consequence, segregation mechanics of mitotic chromosomes. Here we show how global histone deacetylation at the onset of mitosis induces a chromatin-intrinsic phase transition that endows chromosomes with the physical characteristics necessary for their precise movement during cell division. Deacetylation-mediated compaction of chromatin forms a structure dense in negative charge and allows mitotic chromosomes to resist perforation by microtubules as they are pushed to the metaphase plate. By contrast, hyperacetylated mitotic chromosomes lack a defined surface boundary, are frequently perforated by microtubules and are prone to missegregation. Our study highlights the different contributions of DNA loop formation and chromatin phase separation to genome segregation in dividing cells.
The human immune system is composed of a distributed network of cells circulating throughout the body, which must dynamically form physical associations and communicate using interactions between their cell-surface proteomes¹. Despite their therapeutic potential², our map of these surface interactions remains incomplete3,4. Here, using a high-throughput surface receptor screening method, we systematically mapped the direct protein interactions across a recombinant library that encompasses most of the surface proteins that are detectable on human leukocytes. We independently validated and determined the biophysical parameters of each novel interaction, resulting in a high-confidence and quantitative view of the receptor wiring that connects human immune cells. By integrating our interactome with expression data, we identified trends in the dynamics of immune interactions and constructed a reductionist mathematical model that predicts cellular connectivity from basic principles. We also developed an interactive multi-tissue single-cell atlas that infers immune interactions throughout the body, revealing potential functional contexts for new interactions and hubs in multicellular networks. Finally, we combined targeted protein stimulation of human leukocytes with multiplex high-content microscopy to link our receptor interactions to functional roles, in terms of both modulating immune responses and maintaining normal patterns of intercellular associations. Together, our work provides a systematic perspective on the intercellular wiring of the human immune system that extends from systems-level principles of immune cell connectivity down to mechanistic characterization of individual receptors, which could offer opportunities for therapeutic intervention.