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Spread of a SARS-CoV-2 variant through Europe in the summer of 2020

Nature - issue - Po, 06/07/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 07 June 2021; doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03677-y

Spread of a SARS-CoV-2 variant through Europe in the summer of 2020

It takes a wood to raise a tree: a memoir

Nature - issue - Po, 06/07/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 07 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01512-y

An ecologist traces forests’ support networks — and finds parallels in her own life.

A light touch changes the strength of a single atomic bond

Nature - issue - Po, 06/07/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 07 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01479-w

A technique that uses an electric field to tighten the bond between two atoms can allow a game of atomic pick-up-sticks.

Babies with mystery illnesses benefit from genome sequencing

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01499-6

Rapid genomic sequencing on admission to hospital leads to more-precise care for sick infants.

Daily briefing: Microfossils reveal mysterious shark die-off

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01531-9

Up to 90% of the global shark population was wiped out around 19 million years ago. Plus, a nasal spray that could provide COVID-19 protection, and a Q&A with Biden’s new science adviser.

Education outreach can inspire the next generation of scientists

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01518-6

David Hiller finds that the joy of exploring maths and science with kids rivals his best days in the lab.

Coronapod: Uncertainty and the COVID 'lab-leak' theory

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01520-y

How doubt is fuelling the debate over the origin of coronavirus

Attraction and repulsion cooperate during brain-circuit wiring

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01502-0

Examination of the molecular interactions that govern the assembly of neural circuits in a brain region called the hippocampus reveals that neuronal projections are guided to their targets by both attractive and repulsive cues.

First science adviser in US president's cabinet talks COVID, spying and more

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01501-1

Eric Lander spoke to Nature during his first day as the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

A complete human genome sequence is close: how scientists filled in the gaps

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01506-w

Researchers added 200 million DNA base pairs and 115 protein-coding genes — but they’ve yet to entirely sequence the Y chromosome.

Antibody-laden nasal spray could provide COVID protection — and treatment

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01481-2

Scientists create a hybrid antibody that can sharply cut the amount of SARS-CoV-2 in the lungs of infected mice.

Six months of COVID vaccines: what 1.7 billion doses have taught scientists

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01505-x

At a pivotal moment in the pandemic, Nature explores key questions about the vaccines that countries are racing to deliver while viral variants spread around the globe.

More than one-third of heat deaths blamed on climate change

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01475-0

Warming resulting from human activities accounts for a high percentage of heat-related deaths, especially in southern Asia and South America.

How fit can you get? These blood proteins hold a clue

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01476-z

Scientists pinpoint almost 150 biomarkers linked to intrinsic cardiovascular fitness, and 100 linked to fitness gained from training.

WHO approval of Chinese CoronaVac COVID vaccine will be crucial to curbing pandemic

Nature - issue - Pá, 06/04/2021 - 00:00

Nature, Published online: 04 June 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01497-8

CoronaVac is one of two Chinese vaccines already sustaining vaccination campaigns in more than 70 nations. Both should soon be much more widely available to low-income countries.

Structures of the human Mediator and Mediator-bound preinitiation complex

Science - issue - Čt, 06/03/2021 - 19:40

The 1.3-megadalton transcription factor IID (TFIID) is required for preinitiation complex (PIC) assembly and RNA polymerase II (Pol II)–mediated transcription initiation on almost all genes. The 26-subunit Mediator stimulates transcription and cyclin-dependent kinase 7 (CDK7)–mediated phosphorylation of the Pol II C-terminal domain (CTD). We determined the structures of human Mediator in the Tail module–extended (at near-atomic resolution) and Tail-bent conformations and structures of TFIID-based PIC-Mediator (76 polypeptides, ~4.1 megadaltons) in four distinct conformations. PIC-Mediator assembly induces concerted reorganization (Head-tilting and Middle-down) of Mediator and creates a Head-Middle sandwich, which stabilizes two CTD segments and brings CTD to CDK7 for phosphorylation; this suggests a CTD-gating mechanism favorable for phosphorylation. The TFIID-based PIC architecture modulates Mediator organization and TFIIH stabilization, underscoring the importance of TFIID in orchestrating PIC-Mediator assembly.

Extensive pleiotropism and allelic heterogeneity mediate metabolic effects of IRX3 and IRX5

Science - issue - Čt, 06/03/2021 - 19:40

Whereas coding variants often have pleiotropic effects across multiple tissues, noncoding variants are thought to mediate their phenotypic effects by specific tissue and temporal regulation of gene expression. Here, we investigated the genetic and functional architecture of a genomic region within the FTO gene that is strongly associated with obesity risk. We show that multiple variants on a common haplotype modify the regulatory properties of several enhancers targeting IRX3 and IRX5 from megabase distances. We demonstrate that these enhancers affect gene expression in multiple tissues, including adipose and brain, and impart regulatory effects during a restricted temporal window. Our data indicate that the genetic architecture of disease-associated loci may involve extensive pleiotropy, allelic heterogeneity, shared allelic effects across tissues, and temporally restricted effects.

Household COVID-19 risk and in-person schooling

Science - issue - Čt, 06/03/2021 - 19:40

In-person schooling has proved contentious and difficult to study throughout the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Data from a massive online survey in the United States indicate an increased risk of COVID-19–related outcomes among respondents living with a child attending school in person. School-based mitigation measures are associated with significant reductions in risk, particularly daily symptoms screens, teacher masking, and closure of extracurricular activities. A positive association between in-person schooling and COVID-19 outcomes persists at low levels of mitigation, but when seven or more mitigation measures are reported, a significant relationship is no longer observed. Among teachers, working outside the home was associated with an increase in COVID-19–related outcomes, but this association is similar to that observed in other occupations (e.g., health care or office work). Although in-person schooling is associated with household COVID-19 risk, this risk can likely be controlled with properly implemented school-based mitigation measures.

Antarctic surface temperature and elevation during the Last Glacial Maximum

Science - issue - Čt, 06/03/2021 - 19:40

Water-stable isotopes in polar ice cores are a widely used temperature proxy in paleoclimate reconstruction, yet calibration remains challenging in East Antarctica. Here, we reconstruct the magnitude and spatial pattern of Last Glacial Maximum surface cooling in Antarctica using borehole thermometry and firn properties in seven ice cores. West Antarctic sites cooled ~10°C relative to the preindustrial period. East Antarctic sites show a range from ~4° to ~7°C cooling, which is consistent with the results of global climate models when the effects of topographic changes indicated with ice core air-content data are included, but less than those indicated with the use of water-stable isotopes calibrated against modern spatial gradients. An altered Antarctic temperature inversion during the glacial reconciles our estimates with water-isotope observations.

Antibody fucosylation predicts disease severity in secondary dengue infection

Science - issue - Čt, 06/03/2021 - 19:40

Although antiviral antibodies generally confer protective functions, antibodies against dengue virus (DENV) are associated with enhanced disease susceptibility. Antibodies can mediate DENV infection of leukocytes via Fc receptors, likely contributing to dengue disease pathogenesis. To determine if this mechanism accounts for variable disease severity, we examined Fab and Fc structures of anti-DENV antibodies from patients before and after infection and with variable disease outcomes. Neither antibody titers nor neutralizing activity correlated with disease severity in DENV-infected populations. Rather, DENV infection induced a specific increase in immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) afucosylation, and the levels of afucosylated IgG1 were predictive of dengue disease severity. Thus, the IgG1 fucosylation status represents a robust prognostic tool for dengue disease, highlighting the key role of the Fc glycan structure in dengue pathogenesis.

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