Table Of Contents Page, PNAS Volume 113, Number 40

PNAS October 4, 2016

This Week in PNAS

Letters (Online Only)

Science and Culture

Core Concepts

Commentaries

PNAS Plus Significance Statements

Physical Sciences

Applied Physical Sciences

Graphene oxide (GO), the main precursor of graphene-based materials made by solution processing, is known to be very stiff. Indeed, it has a Young’s modulus comparable to steel, on the order of 300 GPa. Despite its very high stiffness, we show here that ...
The nuclear envelope is a unique topological structure formed by lipid membranes in eukaryotic cells. Unlike other membrane structures, the nuclear envelope comprises two concentric membrane shells fused at numerous sites with toroid-shaped pores that ...
Mechanical compliance has been demonstrated to be a key determinant of cell behavior, directing processes such as spreading, migration, and differentiation. Durotaxis, directional migration from softer to more stiff regions of a substrate, has been ...

Chemistry

Nitrogenase catalyzes the ATP-dependent reduction of dinitrogen (N2) to two ammonia (NH3) molecules through the participation of its two protein components, the MoFe and Fe proteins. Electron transfer (ET) from the Fe protein to the catalytic MoFe protein ...
The covalent linkage of supramolecular monomers provides a powerful strategy for constructing dynamic polymeric materials whose properties can be readily tuned either by the selection of monomers or the choice of functional linkers. In this strategy, the ...
The phenols 4-methylphenol, 4-methoxyphenol, and N-acetyl-tyrosine form hydrogen-bonded adducts with N-methyl-4, 4′-bipyridinium cation (MQ+) in aqueous solution as evidenced by the appearance of low-energy, low-absorptivity features in UV-visible ...
Structural polymorphism in dense carbon dioxide (CO2) has attracted significant attention in high-pressure physics and chemistry for the past two decades. Here, we have performed high-pressure experiments and first-principles theoretical calculations to ...
Nonequilibrium thermodynamics describes the rates of transport phenomena with the aid of various thermodynamic forces, but often the phenomenological transport coefficients are not known, and the description is not easily connected with equilibrium ...
Autocatalytic chemical reactions are widely studied as models of biological processes and to better understand the origins of life on Earth. Minimal self-reproducing amphiphiles have been developed in this context and as an approach to de novo “bottom–up” ...

Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

We performed laser-heated diamond anvil cell experiments combined with state-of-the-art electron microanalysis (focused ion beam and aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy) to study the distribution and valence of iron in Earth’s lower ...
The extent to which stratospheric intrusions on synoptic scales influence the tropospheric ozone (O3) levels remains poorly understood, because quantitative detection of stratospheric air has been challenging. Cosmogenic 35S mainly produced in the ...

Engineering

Hexagonal close-packed (hcp) metals such as Mg, Ti, and Zr are lightweight and/or durable metals with critical structural applications in the automotive (Mg), aerospace (Ti), and nuclear (Zr) industries. The hcp structure, however, brings significant ...

Physics

The complex and unusual high-pressure phase transition of III-A (i.e. Al, Ga, and In) metals have been investigated in the last several decades because of their interesting periodic table position between the elements having metallic and covalent bonding. ...
Optically transparent conducting materials are essential in modern technology. These materials are used as electrodes in displays, photovoltaic cells, and touchscreens; they are also used in energy-conserving windows to reflect the infrared spectrum. The ...
Vimentin intermediate filaments (IFs) are part of a family of proteins that constitute one of the three filament systems in the cytoskeleton, a major contributor to cell mechanics. One property that distinguishes IFs from the other cytoskeletal filament ...
The electronic and thermodynamic complexity of plutonium has resisted a fundamental understanding for this important elemental metal. A critical test of any theory is the unusual softening of the bulk modulus with increasing temperature, a result that is ...
Organisms can adapt to a randomly varying environment by creating phenotypic diversity in their population, a phenomenon often referred to as “bet hedging.” The favorable level of phenotypic diversity depends on the statistics of environmental variations ...

Social Sciences

Anthropology

In Western Europe, the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition is associated with the disappearance of Neandertals and the spread of anatomically modern humans (AMHs). Current chronological, behavioral, and biological models of this transitional period ...

Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

Do those who allocate resources know how much fairness will matter to those who receive them? Across seven studies, allocators used either a fair or unfair procedure to determine which of two receivers would receive the most money. Allocators consistently ...
In humans, the ability to reason about mathematical quantities depends on a frontoparietal network that includes the intraparietal sulcus (IPS). How do nature and nurture give rise to the neurobiology of numerical cognition? We asked how visual experience ...
Focal colors, or best examples of color terms, have traditionally been viewed as either the underlying source of cross-language color-naming universals or derived from category boundaries that vary widely across languages. Existing data partially support ...
Learning to read involves the acquisition of letter–sound relationships (i.e., decoding skills) and the ability to visually recognize words (i.e., orthographic knowledge). Although decoding skills are clearly human-unique, given they are seated in ...

Biological Sciences

Anthropology

In Western Europe, the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition is associated with the disappearance of Neandertals and the spread of anatomically modern humans (AMHs). Current chronological, behavioral, and biological models of this transitional period ...
Maritime adaptation was one of the essential factors that enabled modern humans to disperse all over the world. However, geographic distribution of early maritime technology during the Late Pleistocene remains unclear. At this time, the Indonesian ...

Applied Biological Sciences

There is a clinical need for new, more effective treatments for chronic wounds in diabetic patients. Lack of epithelial cell migration is a hallmark of nonhealing wounds, and diabetes often involves endothelial dysfunction. Therefore, targeting re-...
Sphingobium sp. SYK-6 is a soil bacterium boasting a well-studied ligninolytic pathway and the potential for development into a microbial chassis for lignin valorization. An improved understanding of its metabolism will help researchers in the engineering ...
Mechanical compliance has been demonstrated to be a key determinant of cell behavior, directing processes such as spreading, migration, and differentiation. Durotaxis, directional migration from softer to more stiff regions of a substrate, has been ...

Biochemistry

Nitrogenase catalyzes the ATP-dependent reduction of dinitrogen (N2) to two ammonia (NH3) molecules through the participation of its two protein components, the MoFe and Fe proteins. Electron transfer (ET) from the Fe protein to the catalytic MoFe protein ...
The motor function of vertebrate myosin-5a is inhibited by its tail in a Ca2+-dependent manner. We previously demonstrated that the calmodulin (CaM) bound to the first isoleucine-glutamine (IQ) motif (IQ1) of myosin-5a is responsible for the Ca2+-...
Vitamin B6 is indispensible for all organisms, notably as the coenzyme form pyridoxal 5′-phosphate. Plants make the compound de novo using a relatively simple pathway comprising pyridoxine synthase (PDX1) and pyridoxine glutaminase (PDX2). PDX1 is ...
Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) cause sporadic and epidemic gastroenteritis worldwide. They are classified into two major genogroups (GI and GII), with each genogroup further divided into multiple genotypes. Susceptibility to these viruses is influenced by ...
Proprotein convertases (PCs) are highly specific proteases required for the proteolytic modification of many secreted proteins. An unbalanced activity of these enzymes is connected to pathologies like cancer, atherosclerosis, hypercholesterolaemia, and ...
Defensins are cationic antimicrobial peptides that serve as important components of host innate immune defenses, often by targeting cell membranes of pathogens. Oligomerization of defensins has been linked to their antimicrobial activity; however, the ...

Biophysics and Computational Biology

For most cells, a sudden decrease in external osmolarity results in fast water influx that can burst the cell. To survive, cells rely on the passive response of mechanosensitive channels, which open under increased membrane tension and allow the release ...
In many proteins, especially allosteric proteins that communicate regulatory states from allosteric to active sites, structural deformations are functionally important. To understand these deformations, dynamical experiments are ideal but challenging. ...
In this work, we constructed a Collagen I–Matrigel composite extracellular matrix (ECM). The composite ECM was used to determine the influence of the local collagen fiber orientation on the collective intravasation ability of tumor cells. We found that ...
F1- and V1-ATPase are rotary molecular motors that convert chemical energy released upon ATP hydrolysis into torque to rotate a central rotor axle against the surrounding catalytic stator cylinder with high efficiency. How conformational change occurring ...
The ATP synthase (F-ATPase) is a highly complex rotary machine that synthesizes ATP, powered by a proton electrochemical gradient. Why did evolution select such an elaborate mechanism over arguably simpler alternating-access processes that can be reversed ...
Bin/Amphiphysin/Rvs (BAR) domain proteins control the curvature of lipid membranes in endocytosis, trafficking, cell motility, the formation of complex subcellular structures, and many other cellular phenomena. They form 3D assemblies that act as ...
Electrons, because of their strong interaction with matter, produce high-resolution diffraction patterns from tiny 3D crystals only a few hundred nanometers thick in a frozen-hydrated state. This discovery offers the prospect of facile structure ...

Cell Biology

The critical size for strong interaction of hydrophobic particles with phospholipid bilayers has been predicted to be 10 nm. Because of the wide spreading of nonpolar nanoparticles (NPs) in the environment, we aimed to reveal the ability of living ...
The Hedgehog cell–cell signaling pathway is crucial for animal development, and its misregulation is implicated in numerous birth defects and cancers. In unstimulated cells, pathway activity is inhibited by the tumor suppressor membrane protein, Patched. ...
Cytokinesis in animals, fungi, and amoebas depends on the constriction of a contractile ring built from a common set of conserved proteins. Many fundamental questions remain about how these proteins organize to generate the necessary tension for ...
Unconventional mRNA splicing on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane is the sole conserved mechanism in eukaryotes to transmit information regarding misfolded protein accumulation to the nucleus to activate the stress response. In metazoans, the ...
In response to pheromones, yeast cells activate a MAPK pathway to direct processes important for mating, including gene induction, cell-cycle arrest, and polarized cell growth. Although a variety of assays have been able to elucidate signaling activities ...
Macropinocytosis is an ancient mechanism that allows cells to harvest nutrients from extracellular media, which also allows immune cells to sample antigens from their surroundings. During macropinosome formation, bulk plasma membrane is internalized with ...
Zebrafish have a remarkable capacity to regenerate their heart. Efficient replenishment of lost tissues requires the activation of different cell types including the epicardium and endocardium. A complex set of processes is subsequently needed to support ...
BMI1 is a component of the Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 (PRC1), which plays a key role in maintaining epigenetic silencing during development. BMI1 also participates in gene silencing during DNA damage response, but the precise downstream function of ...

Developmental Biology

Pregnancy success and life-long health depend on a cooperative interaction between the mother and the fetus in the allocation of resources. As the site of materno-fetal nutrient transfer, the placenta is central to this interplay; however, the relative ...

Ecology

Invasive species threaten biodiversity globally, and invasive mammalian predators are particularly damaging, having contributed to considerable species decline and extinction. We provide a global metaanalysis of these impacts and reveal their full extent. ...

Evolution

Organisms can adapt to a randomly varying environment by creating phenotypic diversity in their population, a phenomenon often referred to as “bet hedging.” The favorable level of phenotypic diversity depends on the statistics of environmental variations ...
Learning to read involves the acquisition of letter–sound relationships (i.e., decoding skills) and the ability to visually recognize words (i.e., orthographic knowledge). Although decoding skills are clearly human-unique, given they are seated in ...

Genetics

Transposable elements (TEs) are mobile genetic elements, highly enriched in heterochromatin, that constitute a large percentage of the DNA content of eukaryotic genomes. Aging in Drosophila melanogaster is characterized by loss of repressive ...

Immunology and Inflammation

Leukocyte microvilli are flexible projections enriched with adhesion molecules. The role of these cellular projections in the ability of T cells to probe antigen-presenting cells has been elusive. In this study, we probe the spatial relation of microvilli ...

Medical Sciences

Acyl CoA Oxidase 2 (ACOX2) encodes branched-chain acyl-CoA oxidase, a peroxisomal enzyme believed to be involved in the metabolism of branched-chain fatty acids and bile acid intermediates. Deficiency of this enzyme has not been described previously. We ...
There are seven β-tubulin isotypes present in distinct quantities in mammalian cells of different origin. Altered expression of β-tubulin isotypes has been reported in cancer cell lines resistant to microtubule stabilizing agents (MSAs) and in human ...
Radiation therapy (RT), a major modality for treating localized tumors, can induce tumor regression outside the radiation field through an abscopal effect that is thought to involve the immune system. Our studies were designed to understand the early ...

Microbiology

Microorganisms are the most abundant lifeform on Earth, mediating global fluxes of matter and energy. Over the past decade, high-throughput molecular techniques generating multiomic sequence information (DNA, mRNA, and protein) have transformed our ...
Diet is among the most important factors contributing to intestinal homeostasis, and basic functions performed by the small intestine need to be tightly preserved to maintain health. Little is known about the direct impact of high-fat (HF) diet on small-...
Influenza virus strain-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) provide protection independent of Fc gamma receptor (FcγR) engagement. In contrast, optimal in vivo protection achieved by broadly reactive mAbs requires Fc–FcγR engagement. Most strain-specific ...
Faithful cell cycle progression in the dimorphic bacterium Caulobacter crescentus requires spatiotemporal regulation of gene expression and cell pole differentiation. We discovered an essential DNA-associated protein, GapR, that is required for ...
Sequence analyses of pathogen genomes facilitate the tracking of disease outbreaks and allow relationships between strains to be reconstructed and virulence factors to be identified. However, these methods are generally used after an outbreak has ...

Neuroscience

Voltage-gated proton (Hv1) channels are involved in many physiological processes, such as pH homeostasis and the innate immune response. Zn2+ is an important physiological inhibitor of Hv1. Sperm cells are quiescent in the male reproductive system due to ...
The cerebral nuclei form the ventral division of the cerebral hemisphere and are thought to play an important role in neural systems controlling somatic movement and motivation. Network analysis was used to define global architectural features of ...
Olfactory transduction in vertebrate olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) involves primarily a cAMP-signaling cascade that leads to the opening of cyclic-nucleotide–gated (CNG), nonselective cation channels. The consequent Ca2+ influx triggers adaptation but ...
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Profile of King-Wai Yau

The dopamine systems of the brain powerfully influence movement and motivation. We demonstrate that striatonigral fibers originating in striosomes form highly unusual bouquet-like arborizations that target bundles of ventrally extending dopamine-...
Remodeling of cytoskeleton structures, such as microtubule assembly, is believed to be crucial for growth cone initiation and regrowth of injured axons. Autophagy plays important roles in maintaining cellular homoeostasis, and its dysfunction causes ...
Hyperactive mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is a shared molecular hallmark in several neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by abnormal brain cytoarchitecture. The mechanisms downstream of mTORC1 that are responsible for these ...
A stressful event results in secretion of glucocorticoid hormones, which bind to mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs) and glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) in the hippocampus to regulate cognitive and affective responses to the challenge. MRs are already highly ...

Physiology

The ability to sense heat is crucial for survival. Increased heat tolerance may prove beneficial by conferring the ability to inhabit otherwise prohibitive ecological niches. This phenomenon is widespread and is found in both large and small animals. For ...

Plant Biology

Brassinosteroids (BRs) are growth-promoting plant hormones that play a role in abiotic stress responses, but molecular modes that enable this activity remain largely unknown. Here we show that BRs participate in the regulation of freezing tolerance. BR ...
Cellulose, often touted as the most abundant biopolymer on Earth, is a critical component of the plant cell wall and is synthesized by plasma membrane-spanning cellulose synthase (CESA) enzymes, which in plants are organized into rosette-like CESA ...
Auxin-regulated transcription pivots on the interaction between the AUXIN/INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID (Aux/IAA) repressor proteins and the AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR (ARF) transcription factors. Recent structural analyses of ARFs and Aux/IAAs have raised questions ...
Plant cell walls are a composite material of polysaccharides, proteins, and other noncarbohydrate polymers. In the majority of plant tissues, the most abundant polysaccharide is cellulose, a linear polymer of glucose molecules. As the load-bearing ...

Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

Language is classically thought to be supported by perisylvian cortical regions. Here we provide intracranial evidence linking the hippocampal complex to linguistic processing. We used direct recordings from the hippocampal structures to investigate ...

Correction (Online Only)

View the cover image for PNAS Vol.113; No.40
View the cover image for PNAS Vol.113; No.40

Cover image: Pictured are flowers of an apple tree experiencing a late freeze in South Tyrol, Italy. Marina Eremina et al. genetically altered levels of brassinosteroids (BRs), hormones involved in regulating plant growth, in Arabidopsis thaliana to study freeze tolerance in plants. Plants deficient in BRs experienced hypersensitivity to freezing stress, while plants with BRs exhibited increased freeze tolerance linked to BR-directed activation of protective molecular regulatory circuits. See the article by Eremina et al. on pages E5982–E5991. Image courtesy of Dietmar Mitterer-Zublasing (Compusol, Mühlgasse, Italy).

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