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- 19/11/21 19:39
Understanding how novel complex traits originate is a foundational challenge in evolutionary biology. We investigated the origin of prothoracic horns in scarabaeine beetles, one of the most pronounced examples of secondary sexual traits in the animal kingdom. We show that prothoracic horns derive from bilateral source tissues; that diverse wing genes are functionally required for instructing this process; and that, in the absence of Hox input, prothoracic horn primordia transform to contribute to ectopic wings. Once induced, however, the transcriptional profile of prothoracic horns diverges markedly from that of wings and other wing serial homologs. Our results substantiate the serial homology between prothoracic horns and insects wings and suggest that other insect innovations may derive similarly from wing serial homologs and the concomitant establishment of structure-specific transcriptional landscapes.
Sensing and responding to signals is a fundamental ability of living systems, but despite substantial progress in the computational design of new protein structures, there is no general approach for engineering arbitrary new protein sensors. Here, we describe a generalizable computational strategy for designing sensor-actuator proteins by building binding sites de novo into heterodimeric protein-protein interfaces and coupling ligand sensing to modular actuation through split reporters. Using this approach, we designed protein sensors that respond to farnesyl pyrophosphate, a metabolic intermediate in the production of valuable compounds. The sensors are functional in vitro and in cells, and the crystal structure of the engineered binding site closely matches the design model. Our computational design strategy opens broad avenues to link biological outputs to new signals.
Controlling the crystal structure is a powerful approach for manipulating the fundamental properties of solids. In van der Waals materials, this control can be achieved by modifying the stacking order through rotation and translation between the layers. Here, we observed stacking-dependent interlayer magnetism in the two-dimensional (2D) magnetic semiconductor chromium tribromide (CrBr3), which was enabled by the successful growth of its monolayer and bilayer through molecular beam epitaxy. Using in situ spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy, we directly correlate the atomic lattice structure with the observed magnetic order. Although the individual monolayer CrBr3 is ferromagnetic, the interlayer coupling in bilayer depends on the stacking order and can be either ferromagnetic or antiferromagnetic. Our observations pave the way for manipulating 2D magnetism with layer twist angle control.
Lithium-ion batteries, which power portable electronics, electric vehicles, and stationary storage, have been recognized with the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry. The development of nanomaterials and their related processing into electrodes and devices can improve the performance and/or development of the existing energy storage systems. We provide a perspective on recent progress in the application of nanomaterials in energy storage devices, such as supercapacitors and batteries. The versatility of nanomaterials can lead to power sources for portable, flexible, foldable, and distributable electronics; electric transportation; and grid-scale storage, as well as integration in living environments and biomedical systems. To overcome limitations of nanomaterials related to high reactivity and chemical instability caused by their high surface area, nanoparticles with different functionalities should be combined in smart architectures on nano- and microscales. The integration of nanomaterials into functional architectures and devices requires the development of advanced manufacturing approaches. We discuss successful strategies and outline a roadmap for the exploitation of nanomaterials for enabling future energy storage applications, such as powering distributed sensor networks and flexible and wearable electronics.
We report a time-calibrated stratigraphic section in Colorado that contains unusually complete fossils of mammals, reptiles, and plants and elucidates the drivers and tempo of biotic recovery during the poorly known first million years after the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction (KPgE). Within ~100 thousand years (ka) post-KPgE, mammalian taxonomic richness doubled, and maximum mammalian body mass increased to near pre-KPgE levels. A threefold increase in maximum mammalian body mass and dietary niche specialization occurred at ~300 ka post-KPgE, concomitant with increased megafloral standing species richness. The appearance of additional large mammals occurred by ~700 ka post-KPgE, coincident with the first appearance of Leguminosae (the bean family). These concurrent plant and mammal originations and body-mass shifts coincide with warming intervals, suggesting that climate influenced post-KPgE biotic recovery.
The metabolic characteristics of tumors present considerable hurdles to immune cell function and cancer immunotherapy. Using a glutamine antagonist, we metabolically dismantled the immunosuppressive microenvironment of tumors. We demonstrate that glutamine blockade in tumor-bearing mice suppresses oxidative and glycolytic metabolism of cancer cells, leading to decreased hypoxia, acidosis, and nutrient depletion. By contrast, effector T cells responded to glutamine antagonism by markedly up-regulating oxidative metabolism and adopting a long-lived, highly activated phenotype. These divergent changes in cellular metabolism and programming form the basis for potent antitumor responses. Glutamine antagonism therefore exposes a previously undefined difference in metabolic plasticity between cancer cells and effector T cells that can be exploited as a "metabolic checkpoint" for tumor immunotherapy.
Aliphatic amines strongly coordinate, and therefore easily inhibit, the activity of transition-metal catalysts, posing a marked challenge to nitrogen-hydrogen (N–H) insertion reactions. Here, we report highly enantioselective carbene insertion into N–H bonds of aliphatic amines using two catalysts in tandem: an achiral copper complex and chiral amino-thiourea. Coordination by a homoscorpionate ligand protects the copper center that activates the carbene precursor. The chiral amino-thiourea catalyst then promotes enantioselective proton transfer to generate the stereocenter of the insertion product. This reaction couples a wide variety of diazo esters and amines to produce chiral α-alkyl α–amino acid derivatives.
The pleiotropic host resistance factor SLC11A1 (NRAMP1) defends against diverse intracellular pathogens in mammals by yet-unknown mechanisms. We compared Salmonella infection of coisogenic mice with different SLC11A1 alleles. SLC11A1 reduced Salmonella replication and triggered up-regulation of uptake systems for divalent metal cations but no other stress responses. SLC11A1 modestly diminished iron availability and acutely restricted Salmonella access to magnesium. Growth of Salmonella cells in the presence of SLC11A1 was highly heterogeneous and inversely correlated with expression of the crucial magnesium transporter gene mgtB. We observed superimposable single-cell patterns in mice lacking SLC11A1 when we restricted Salmonella access to magnesium by impairing its uptake. Together, these findings identify deprivation of the main group metal magnesium as the main resistance mechanism of SLC11A1 against Salmonella.