Nature Biological Sciences Research

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Evolution of a designed protein assembly encapsulating its own RNA genome

The challenges of evolution in a complex biochemical environment, coupling genotype to phenotype and protecting the genetic material, are solved elegantly in biological systems by the encapsulation of nucleic acids. In the simplest examples, viruses use capsids to surround their genomes. Although these naturally occurring systems have been modified...

Activation mechanism of the calcium-activated chloride channel TMEM16A revealed by cryo-EM

The calcium-activated chloride channel TMEM16A is a ligand-gated anion channel that opens in response to an increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration. The protein is broadly expressed and contributes to diverse physiological processes, including transepithelial chloride transport and the control of electrical signalling in smooth muscles and certain...

Effector CD8 T cells dedifferentiate into long-lived memory cells

Memory CD8 T cells that circulate in the blood and are present in lymphoid organs are an essential component of long-lived T cell immunity. These memory CD8 T cells remain poised to rapidly elaborate effector functions upon re-exposure to pathogens, but also have many properties in common with naive cells, including pluripotency and the ability to migrate...

Mechanisms of mTORC1 activation by RHEB and inhibition by PRAS40

The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) controls cell growth and metabolism in response to nutrients, energy levels, and growth factors. It contains the atypical kinase mTOR and the RAPTOR subunit that binds to the Tor signalling sequence (TOS) motif of substrates and regulators. mTORC1...

Origin and differentiation of human memory CD8 T cells after vaccination

The differentiation of human memory CD8 T cells is not well understood. Here we address this issue using the live yellow fever virus (YFV) vaccine, which induces long-term immunity in humans. We used in vivo deuterium labelling to mark CD8 T cells that proliferated in response to the virus and then assessed cellular turnover and longevity by quantifying...

Cryo-EM structures of the TMEM16A calcium-activated chloride channel

Calcium-activated chloride channels (CaCCs) encoded by TMEM16A control neuronal signalling, smooth muscle contraction, airway and exocrine gland secretion, and rhythmic movements of the gastrointestinal system. To understand how CaCCs mediate and control anion permeation to fulfil these physiological functions, knowledge of the mammalian TMEM16A structure...

Dynamics of phosphoinositide conversion in clathrin-mediated endocytic traffic

Vesicular carriers transport proteins and lipids from one organelle to another, recognizing specific identifiers for the donor and acceptor membranes. Two important identifiers are phosphoinositides and GTP-bound GTPases, which provide well-defined but mutable labels. Phosphatidylinositol and its phosphorylated...

Convergent evolution of bilaterian nerve cords

It has been hypothesized that a condensed nervous system with a medial ventral nerve cord is an ancestral character of Bilateria. The presence of similar dorsoventral molecular patterns along the nerve cords of vertebrates, flies, and an annelid has been interpreted as support for this scenario. Whether these similarities are generally found across...

An electric-eel-inspired soft power source from stacked hydrogels

Progress towards the integration of technology into living organisms requires electrical power sources that are biocompatible, mechanically flexible, and able to harness the chemical energy available inside biological systems. Conventional batteries were not designed with these criteria in mind. The electric organ of the knifefish Electrophorus electricus...

KAT2A coupled with the α-KGDH complex acts as a histone H3 succinyltransferase

Histone modifications, such as the frequently occurring lysine succinylation, are central to the regulation of chromatin-based processes. However, the mechanism and functional consequences of histone succinylation are unknown. Here we show that the α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (α-KGDH) complex is localized...

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