Science - issue
Adenosine monophosphate (AMP)–activated protein kinase (AMPK) regulates metabolism in response to the cellular energy states. Under energy stress, AMP stabilizes the active AMPK conformation, in which the kinase activation loop (AL) is protected from protein phosphatases, thus keeping the AL in its active, phosphorylated state. At low AMP:ATP (adenosine triphosphate) ratios, ATP inhibits AMPK by increasing AL dynamics and accessibility. We developed conformation-specific antibodies to trap ATP-bound AMPK in a fully inactive, dynamic state and determined its structure at 3.5-angstrom resolution using cryo–electron microscopy. A 180° rotation and 100-angstrom displacement of the kinase domain fully exposes the AL. On the basis of the structure and supporting biophysical data, we propose a multistep mechanism explaining how adenine nucleotides and pharmacological agonists modulate AMPK activity by altering AL phosphorylation and accessibility.
Plant nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat receptors (NLRs) regulate immunity and cell death. In Arabidopsis, a subfamily of "helper" NLRs is required by many "sensor" NLRs. Active NRG1.1 oligomerized, was enriched in plasma membrane puncta, and conferred cytoplasmic calcium ion (Ca2+) influx in plant and human cells. NRG1.1-dependent Ca2+ influx and cell death were sensitive to Ca2+ channel blockers and were suppressed by mutations affecting oligomerization or plasma membrane enrichment. Ca2+ influx and cell death mediated by NRG1.1 and ACTIVATED DISEASE RESISTANCE 1 (ADR1), another helper NLR, required conserved negatively charged N-terminal residues. Whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings demonstrated that Arabidopsis helper NLRs form Ca2+-permeable cation channels to directly regulate cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels and consequent cell death. Thus, helper NLRs transduce cell death signals directly.
The Crab Nebula is a bright source of gamma rays powered by the Crab Pulsar’s rotational energy through the formation and termination of a relativistic electron-positron wind. We report the detection of gamma rays from this source with energies from 5 x 10–4 to 1.1 peta–electron volts with a spectrum showing gradual steepening over three energy decades. The ultrahigh-energy photons imply the presence of a peta–electron volt electron accelerator (a pevatron) in the nebula, with an acceleration rate exceeding 15% of the theoretical limit. We constrain the pevatron’s size between 0.025 and 0.1 parsecs and the magnetic field to 110 microgauss. The production rate of peta–electron volt electrons, 2.5 x 1036 ergs per second, constitutes 0.5% of the pulsar spin-down luminosity, although we cannot exclude a contribution of peta–electron volt protons to the production of the highest-energy gamma rays.
Oocytes mature in a specialized fluid-filled sac, the ovarian follicle, which provides signals needed for meiosis and germ cell growth. Methods have been developed to generate functional oocytes from pluripotent stem cell–derived primordial germ cell–like cells (PGCLCs) when placed in culture with embryonic ovarian somatic cells. In this study, we developed culture conditions to recreate the stepwise differentiation process from pluripotent cells to fetal ovarian somatic cell–like cells (FOSLCs). When FOSLCs were aggregated with PGCLCs derived from mouse embryonic stem cells, the PGCLCs entered meiosis to generate functional oocytes capable of fertilization and development to live offspring. Generating functional mouse oocytes in a reconstituted ovarian environment provides a method for in vitro oocyte production and follicle generation for a better understanding of mammalian reproduction.