The original version of this Article contained an error in the spelling of the author Manuela Gago-Dominguez, which was incorrectly given as Manuela G. Dominguez. This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.
Woody (lignocellulosic) plant biomass is an abundant renewable feedstock, rich in polysaccharides that are bound into an insoluble fiber composite with lignin. Marine crustacean woodborers of the genus Limnoria are among the few animals that can survive on a diet of this recalcitrant material without relying on gut resident microbiota. Analysis of fecal pellets revealed that Limnoria targets hexose-containing polysaccharides (mainly cellulose, and also glucomannans), corresponding with the abundance of cellulases in their digestive system, but xylans and lignin are largely unconsumed. We show that the limnoriid respiratory protein, hemocyanin, is abundant in the hindgut where wood is digested, that incubation of wood with hemocyanin markedly enhances its digestibility by cellulases, and that it modifies lignin. We propose that this activity of hemocyanins is instrumental to the ability of Limnoria to feed on wood in the absence of gut symbionts. These findings may hold potential for innovations in lignocellulose biorefining.
Chromosome 8q24 is a susceptibility locus for multiple cancers, including prostate cancer. Here we combine genetic data across the 8q24 susceptibility region from 71,535 prostate cancer cases and 52,935 controls of European ancestry to define the overall contribution of germline variation at 8q24 to prostate cancer risk. We identify 12 independent risk signals for prostate cancer (p
Satellite imagery reveals flowstripes on Foundation Ice Stream parallel to ice flow, and meandering features on the ice-shelf that cross-cut ice flow and are thought to be formed by water exiting a well-organised subglacial system. Here, ice-penetrating radar data show flow-parallel hard-bed landforms beneath the grounded ice, and channels incised upwards into the ice shelf beneath meandering surface channels. As the ice transitions to flotation, the ice shelf incorporates a corrugation resulting from the landforms. Radar reveals the presence of subglacial water alongside the landforms, indicating a well-organised drainage system in which water exits the ice sheet as a point source, mixes with cavity water and incises upwards into a corrugation peak, accentuating the corrugation downstream. Hard-bedded landforms influence both subglacial hydrology and ice-shelf structure and, as they are known to be widespread on formerly glaciated terrain, their influence on the ice-sheet-shelf transition could be more widespread than thought previously.
Dysregulation of the Hippo signaling pathway and the consequent YAP1 activation is a frequent event in human malignancies, yet the underlying molecular mechanisms are still poorly understood. A pancancer analysis of core Hippo kinases and their candidate regulating molecules revealed few alterations in the canonical Hippo pathway, but very frequent genetic alterations in the FAT family of atypical cadherins. By focusing on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), which displays frequent FAT1 alterations (29.8%), we provide evidence that FAT1 functional loss results in YAP1 activation. Mechanistically, we found that FAT1 assembles a multimeric Hippo signaling complex (signalome), resulting in activation of core Hippo kinases by TAOKs and consequent YAP1 inactivation. We also show that unrestrained YAP1 acts as an oncogenic driver in HNSCC, and that targeting YAP1 may represent an attractive precision therapeutic option for cancers harboring genomic alterations in the FAT1 tumor suppressor genes.
The incidence of Plasmodium vivax infection has declined markedly in Malaysia over the past decade despite evidence of high-grade chloroquine resistance. Here we investigate the genetic changes in a P. vivax population approaching elimination in 51 isolates from Sabah, Malaysia and compare these with data from 104 isolates from Thailand and 104 isolates from Indonesia. Sabah displays extensive population structure, mirroring that previously seen with the emergence of artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum founder populations in Cambodia. Fifty-four percent of the Sabah isolates have identical genomes, consistent with a rapid clonal expansion. Across Sabah, there is a high prevalence of loci known to be associated with antimalarial drug resistance. Measures of differentiation between the three countries reveal several gene regions under putative selection in Sabah. Our findings highlight important factors pertinent to parasite resurgence and molecular cues that can be used to monitor low-endemic populations at the end stages of P. vivax elimination.
The animal-pathogenic oomycete Saprolegnia parasitica causes serious losses in aquaculture by infecting and killing freshwater fish. Like plant-pathogenic oomycetes, S. parasitica employs similar infection structures and secretes effector proteins that translocate into host cells to manipulate the host. Here, we show that the host-targeting protein SpHtp3 enters fish cells in a pathogen-independent manner. This uptake process is guided by a gp96-like receptor and can be inhibited by supramolecular tweezers. The C-terminus of SpHtp3 (containing the amino acid sequence YKARK), and not the N-terminal RxLR motif, is responsible for the uptake into host cells. Following translocation, SpHtp3 is released from vesicles into the cytoplasm by another host-targeting protein where it degrades nucleic acids. The effector translocation mechanism described here, is potentially also relevant for other pathogen-host interactions as gp96 is found in both animals and plants.
Coral reefs can provide significant coastal protection benefits to people and property. Here we show that the annual expected damages from flooding would double, and costs from frequent storms would triple without reefs. For 100-year storm events, flood damages would increase by 91% to $US 272 billion without reefs. The countries with the most to gain from reef management are Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico, and Cuba; annual expected flood savings exceed $400 M for each of these nations. Sea-level rise will increase flood risk, but substantial impacts could happen from reef loss alone without better near-term management. We provide a global, process-based valuation of an ecosystem service across an entire marine biome at (sub)national levels. These spatially explicit benefits inform critical risk and environmental management decisions, and the expected benefits can be directly considered by governments (e.g., national accounts, recovery plans) and businesses (e.g., insurance).
Prostate cancer is a polygenic disease with a large heritable component. A number of common, low-penetrance prostate cancer risk loci have been identified through GWAS. Here we apply the Bayesian multivariate variable selection algorithm JAM to fine-map 84 prostate cancer susceptibility loci, using summary data from a large European ancestry meta-analysis. We observe evidence for multiple independent signals at 12 regions and 99 risk signals overall. Only 15 original GWAS tag SNPs remain among the catalogue of candidate variants identified; the remainder are replaced by more likely candidates. Biological annotation of our credible set of variants indicates significant enrichment within promoter and enhancer elements, and transcription factor-binding sites, including AR, ERG and FOXA1. In 40 regions at least one variant is colocalised with an eQTL in prostate cancer tissue. The refined set of candidate variants substantially increase the proportion of familial relative risk explained by these known susceptibility regions, which highlights the importance of fine-mapping studies and has implications for clinical risk profiling.
A central question in stem cell biology is the relationship between stem cells and their niche. Although previous reports have uncovered how signaling molecules released by niche cells support stem cell function, the role of the extra-cellular matrix (ECM) within the niche is unclear. Here, we show that upon activation, skeletal muscle stem cells (satellite cells) induce local remodeling of the ECM and the deposition of laminin-α1 and laminin-α5 into the basal lamina of the satellite cell niche. Genetic ablation of laminin-α1, disruption of integrin-α6 signaling or blocking matrix metalloproteinase activity impairs satellite cell expansion and self-renewal. Collectively, our findings establish that remodeling of the ECM is an integral process of stem cell activity to support propagation and self-renewal, and may explain the effect laminin-α1-containing supports have on embryonic and adult stem cells, as well as the regenerative activity of exogenous laminin-111 therapy.
In 2020, 146,063 deaths due to pancreatic cancer are estimated to occur in Europe and the United States combined. To identify common susceptibility alleles, we performed the largest pancreatic cancer GWAS to date, including 9040 patients and 12,496 controls of European ancestry from the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium (PanScan) and the Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium (PanC4). Here, we find significant evidence of a novel association at rs78417682 (7p12/TNS3, P = 4.35 × 10-8). Replication of 10 promising signals in up to 2737 patients and 4752 controls from the PANcreatic Disease ReseArch (PANDoRA) consortium yields new genome-wide significant loci: rs13303010 at 1p36.33 (NOC2L, P = 8.36 × 10-14), rs2941471 at 8q21.11 (HNF4G, P = 6.60 × 10-10), rs4795218 at 17q12 (HNF1B, P = 1.32 × 10-8), and rs1517037 at 18q21.32 (GRP, P = 3.28 × 10-8). rs78417682 is not statistically significantly associated with pancreatic cancer in PANDoRA. Expression quantitative trait locus analysis in three independent pancreatic data sets provides molecular support of NOC2L as a pancreatic cancer susceptibility gene.
The original version of this Article contained an error in the third sentence of the abstract and incorrectly read "Here, using long-term plot monitoring records of up to half a century, we find that intact forests in Borneo gained 0.43 Mg C ha-1 year-1 (95% CI 0.14-0.72, mean period 1988-2010) above-ground live biomass", rather than the correct "Here, using long-term plot monitoring records of up to half a century, we find that intact forests in Borneo gained 0.43 Mg C ha-1 year-1 (95% CI 0.14-0.72, mean period 1988-2010) in above-ground live biomass carbon". This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.
Native species that forage in farmland may increase their local abundances thereby affecting adjacent ecosystems within their landscape. We used two decades of ecological data from a protected primary rainforest in Malaysia to illutrate how subsidies from neighboring oil palm plantations triggered powerful secondary 'cascading' effects on natural habitats located >1.3 km away. We found (i) oil palm fruit drove 100-fold increases in crop-raiding native wild boar (Sus scrofa), (ii) wild boar used thousands of understory plants to construct birthing nests in the pristine forest interior, and (iii) nest building caused a 62% decline in forest tree sapling density over the 24-year study period. The long-term, landscape-scale indirect effects from agriculture suggest its full ecological footprint may be larger in extent than is currently recognized. Cross-boundary subsidy cascades may be widespread in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems and present significant conservation challenges.
Less than half of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions remain in the atmosphere. While carbon balance models imply large carbon uptake in tropical forests, direct on-the-ground observations are still lacking in Southeast Asia. Here, using long-term plot monitoring records of up to half a century, we find that intact forests in Borneo gained 0.43 Mg C ha-1 per year (95% CI 0.14-0.72, mean period 1988-2010) above-ground live biomass. These results closely match those from African and Amazonian plot networks, suggesting that the world's remaining intact tropical forests are now en masse out-of-equilibrium. Although both pan-tropical and long-term, the sink in remaining intact forests appears vulnerable to climate and land use changes. Across Borneo the 1997-1998 El Niño drought temporarily halted the carbon sink by increasing tree mortality, while fragmentation persistently offset the sink and turned many edge-affected forests into a carbon source to the atmosphere.
The continuing development of improved capture-recapture (CR) modeling techniques used to study apex predators has also limited robust temporal and cross-site analyses due to different methods employed. We develop an approach to standardize older non-spatial CR and newer spatial CR density estimates and examine trends for critically endangered Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) using a meta-regression of 17 existing densities and new estimates from our own fieldwork. We find that tiger densities were 47% higher in primary versus degraded forests and, unexpectedly, increased 4.9% per yr from 1996 to 2014, likely indicating a recovery from earlier poaching. However, while tiger numbers may have temporarily risen, the total potential island-wide population declined by 16.6% from 2000 to 2012 due to forest loss and degradation and subpopulations are significantly more fragmented. Thus, despite increasing densities in smaller parks, we conclude that there are only two robust populations left with >30 breeding females, indicating Sumatran tigers still face a high risk of extinction unless deforestation can be controlled.
Metal nanoparticles prepared by exsolution at the surface of perovskite oxides have been recently shown to enable new dimensions in catalysis and energy conversion and storage technologies owing to their socketed, well-anchored structure. Here we show that contrary to general belief, exsolved particles do not necessarily re-dissolve back into the underlying perovskite upon oxidation. Instead, they may remain pinned to their initial locations, allowing one to subject them to further chemical transformations to alter their composition, structure and functionality dramatically, while preserving their initial spatial arrangement. We refer to this concept as chemistry at a point and illustrate it by tracking individual nanoparticles throughout various chemical transformations. We demonstrate its remarkable practical utility by preparing a nanostructured earth abundant metal catalyst which rivals platinum on a weight basis over hundreds of hours of operation. Our concept enables the design of compositionally diverse confined oxide particles with superior stability and catalytic reactivity.
Binary expression systems have revolutionised genetic research by enabling delivery of loss-of-function and gain-of-function transgenes with precise spatial-temporal resolution in vivo. However, at present, each existing platform relies on a defined exogenous transcription activator capable of binding a unique recognition sequence. Consequently, none of these technologies alone can be used to simultaneously target different tissues or cell types in the same organism. Here, we report a modular system based on programmable transcription activator-like effector (TALE) proteins, which enables parallel expression of multiple transgenes in spatially distinct tissues in vivo. Using endogenous enhancers coupled to TALE drivers, we demonstrate multiplexed orthogonal activation of several transgenes carrying cognate variable activating sequences (VAS) in distinct neighbouring cell types of the Drosophila central nervous system. Since the number of combinatorial TALE-VAS pairs is virtually unlimited, this platform provides an experimental framework for highly complex genetic manipulation studies in vivo.
Multi-layer structure of functional materials often involves the integration of different crystalline phases. The film growth orientation thus frequently exhibits a transformation, owing to multiple possibilities caused by incompatible in-plane structural symmetry. Nevertheless, the detailed mechanism of the transformation has not yet been fully explored. Here we thoroughly probe the heteroepitaxially grown hexagonal zinc oxide (ZnO) films on cubic (001)-magnesium oxide (MgO) substrates using advanced scanning transition electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and first principles calculations, revealing two distinct interface models of (001) ZnO/(001) MgO and (100) ZnO/(001) MgO. We have found that the structure alternatives are controlled thermodynamically by the nucleation, while kinetically by the enhanced Zn adsorption and O diffusion upon the phase transformation. This work not only provides a guideline for the interface fabrication with distinct crystalline phases but also shows how polar and non-polar hexagonal ZnO films might be manipulated on the same cubic substrate.
Modern mangroves are among the most carbon-rich biomes on Earth, but their long-term (≥106 years) impact on the global carbon cycle is unknown. The extent, productivity and preservation of mangroves are controlled by the interplay of tectonics, global sea level and sedimentation, including tide, wave and fluvial processes. The impact of these processes on mangrove-bearing successions in the Oligo-Miocene of the South China Sea (SCS) is evaluated herein. Palaeogeographic reconstructions, palaeotidal modelling and facies analysis suggest that elevated tidal range and bed shear stress optimized mangrove development along tide-influenced tropical coastlines. Preservation of mangrove organic carbon (OC) was promoted by high tectonic subsidence and fluvial sediment supply. Lithospheric storage of OC in peripheral SCS basins potentially exceeded 4,000 Gt (equivalent to 2,000 p.p.m. of atmospheric CO2). These results highlight the crucial impact of tectonic and oceanographic processes on mangrove OC sequestration within the global carbon cycle on geological timescales.
The spatial scaling of stability is key to understanding ecological sustainability across scales and the sensitivity of ecosystems to habitat destruction. Here we propose the invariability-area relationship (IAR) as a novel approach to investigate the spatial scaling of stability. The shape and slope of IAR are largely determined by patterns of spatial synchrony across scales. When synchrony decays exponentially with distance, IARs exhibit three phases, characterized by steeper increases in invariability at both small and large scales. Such triphasic IARs are observed for primary productivity from plot to continental scales. When synchrony decays as a power law with distance, IARs are quasilinear on a log-log scale. Such quasilinear IARs are observed for North American bird biomass at both species and community levels. The IAR provides a quantitative tool to predict the effects of habitat loss on population and ecosystem stability and to detect regime shifts in spatial ecological systems, which are goals of relevance to conservation and policy.