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Preview: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences current issue

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences current issue



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In This Issue [This Week in PNAS]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Origin of rice domestication 3D image of rice bulliform phytolith from the Shangshan site. Researchers have previously reported that microscopic bodies of silica, called phytoliths, from rice (Oryza saliva L.) found at the Shangshan site in the Lower Yangtze of China might represent the earliest example of rice cultivation. However,...



Informational content of relative deprivation as a channel linking economic inequality to risk taking [Social Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

The evidence that economic inequality (or relative deprivation) increases risk taking, as presented in PNAS by Payne et al. (1), is an insightful addition to a broader literature that finds that relative deprivation has distinct effects on individuals, not the least of which is their happiness, in addition to any...



Reply to van Hoorn: Social comparisons of “enough” are an informational signal [Social Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

In response to our article (1), van Hoorn (2) suggests that our analysis focuses too narrowly on perceived need as the mechanism linking inequality to increased risk taking. The author does not dispute the evidence we present for the role of perceived need, but proposes an additional mechanism linking inequality...



Evidence of bias in assessment of fisheries management impacts [Biological Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Melnychuk et al.’s comments in PNAS (1) that successful fisheries management requires the “capacity to limit fishing pressure” and “scientists are generally unanimous in calling for stronger management” echo comments made in many earlier publications. However, their conclusions about specific fisheries and management approaches lack credibility. Their analysis relies on...



Reply to Slooten et al.: Viewing fisheries management challenges in a global context [Biological Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Slooten et al. (1) claim the survey respondents from New Zealand, one of 28 countries considered in our paper in PNAS (2), were strongly biased toward the fishing industry. The six survey responses comprised a range of background experience: three government/science respondents (added here as coauthors), including the National Institute...



Social determinants of health and the International Monetary Fund [Economic Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Education is considered an important social determinant of health (1, 2). Higher levels of educational attainment appear to be health-enhancing for those who have them (3), and provide intergenerational health benefits for their children (4) as well as their parents (5). Increased knowledge and skills leading to higher wages, as...



Sensory and cognitive adaptations to social living in insect societies [Evolution]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

A key question in evolutionary biology is to explain the causes and consequences of the so-called “major transitions in evolution,” which resulted in the progressive evolution of cells, organisms, and animal societies (1–3). Several studies, for example, have now aimed to determine which suite of adaptive changes occurred following the...



Stratospheric ozone over the United States in summer linked to observations of convection and temperature via chlorine and bromine catalysis [Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

We present observations defining (i) the frequency and depth of convective penetration of water into the stratosphere over the United States in summer using the Next-Generation Radar system; (ii) the altitude-dependent distribution of inorganic chlorine established in the same coordinate system as the radar observations; (iii) the high resolution temperature...



Modeling gene regulation from paired expression and chromatin accessibility data [Biophysics and Computational Biology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

The rapid increase of genome-wide datasets on gene expression, chromatin states, and transcription factor (TF) binding locations offers an exciting opportunity to interpret the information encoded in genomes and epigenomes. This task can be challenging as it requires joint modeling of context-specific activation of cis-regulatory elements (REs) and the effects...



Mitochondrial dysfunction induced by a SH2 domain-targeting STAT3 inhibitor leads to metabolic synthetic lethality in cancer cells [Cell Biology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

In addition to its canonical role in nuclear transcription, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is emerging as an important regulator of mitochondrial function. Here, we demonstrate that a novel inhibitor that binds with high affinity to the STAT3 SH2 domain triggers a complex cascade of events initiated...



Neurog2 and Ascl1 together regulate a postmitotic derepression circuit to govern laminar fate specification in the murine neocortex [Developmental Biology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

A derepression mode of cell-fate specification involving the transcriptional repressors Tbr1, Fezf2, Satb2, and Ctip2 operates in neocortical projection neurons to specify six layer identities in sequence. Less well understood is how laminar fate transitions are regulated in cortical progenitors. The proneural genes Neurog2 and Ascl1 cooperate in progenitors to...



Probabilistic model predicts dynamics of vegetation biomass in a desert ecosystem in NW China [Ecology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

The temporal dynamics of vegetation biomass are of key importance for evaluating the sustainability of arid and semiarid ecosystems. In these ecosystems, biomass and soil moisture are coupled stochastic variables externally driven, mainly, by the rainfall dynamics. Based on long-term field observations in northwestern (NW) China, we test a recently...



Transposon mutagenesis identifies chromatin modifiers cooperating with Ras in thyroid tumorigenesis and detects ATXN7 as a cancer gene [Genetics]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Oncogenic RAS mutations are present in 15–30% of thyroid carcinomas. Endogenous expression of mutant Ras is insufficient to initiate thyroid tumorigenesis in murine models, indicating that additional genetic alterations are required. We used Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon mutagenesis to identify events that cooperate with HrasG12V in thyroid tumor development. Random...



An Exportin-1-dependent microRNA biogenesis pathway during human cell quiescence [Genetics]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

The reversible state of proliferative arrest known as “cellular quiescence” plays an important role in tissue homeostasis and stem cell biology. By analyzing the expression of miRNAs and miRNA-processing factors during quiescence in primary human fibroblasts, we identified a group of miRNAs that are induced during quiescence despite markedly reduced...



Treatment with diphenyl-pyrazole compound anle138b/c reveals that {alpha}-synuclein protects melanoma cells from autophagic cell death [Medical Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Recent epidemiological and clinical studies have reported a significantly increased risk for melanoma in people with Parkinson’s disease. Because no evidence could be obtained that genetic factors are the reason for the association between these two diseases, we hypothesized that of the three major Parkinson’s disease-related proteins—α-synuclein, LRRK2, and Parkin—α-synuclein...



Reconstitution of a minimal machinery capable of assembling periplasmic type IV pili [Microbiology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Type IV pili (Tfp), which are key virulence factors in many bacterial pathogens, define a large group of multipurpose filamentous nanomachines widespread in Bacteria and Archaea. Tfp biogenesis is a complex multistep process, which relies on macromolecular assemblies composed of 15 conserved proteins in model gram-negative species. To improve our...



High-mobility group box-1 as an autocrine trophic factor in white matter stroke [Neuroscience]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Maintenance of white matter integrity in health and disease is critical for a variety of neural functions. Ischemic stroke in the white matter frequently results in degeneration of oligodendrocytes (OLs) and myelin. Previously, we found that toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) expressed in OLs provides cell-autonomous protective effects on ischemic OL...



Dynamic changes in murine forebrain miR-211 expression associate with cholinergic imbalances and epileptiform activity [Neuroscience]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Epilepsy is a common neurological disease, manifested in unprovoked recurrent seizures. Epileptogenesis may develop due to genetic or pharmacological origins or following injury, but it remains unclear how the unaffected brain escapes this susceptibility to seizures. Here, we report that dynamic changes in forebrain microRNA (miR)-211 in the mouse brain...



Chemical probes to potently and selectively inhibit endocannabinoid cellular reuptake [Pharmacology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

The extracellular effects of the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol are terminated by enzymatic hydrolysis after crossing cellular membranes by facilitated diffusion. The lack of potent and selective inhibitors for endocannabinoid transport has prevented the molecular characterization of this process, thus hindering its biochemical investigation and pharmacological exploitation. Here, we...



Assessing elements of an extended evolutionary synthesis for plant domestication and agricultural origin research [Anthropology]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

The development of agricultural societies, one of the most transformative events in human and ecological history, was made possible by plant and animal domestication. Plant domestication began 12,000–10,000 y ago in a number of major world areas, including the New World tropics, Southwest Asia, and China, during a period of...



Dating rice remains through phytolith carbon-14 study reveals domestication at the beginning of the Holocene [Anthropology]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Phytolith remains of rice (Oryza sativa L.) recovered from the Shangshan site in the Lower Yangtze of China have previously been recognized as the earliest examples of rice cultivation. However, because of the poor preservation of macroplant fossils, many radiocarbon dates were derived from undifferentiated organic materials in pottery sherds....



Ambient nitrogen reduction cycle using a hybrid inorganic-biological system [Applied Biological Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

We demonstrate the synthesis of NH3 from N2 and H2O at ambient conditions in a single reactor by coupling hydrogen generation from catalytic water splitting to a H2-oxidizing bacterium Xanthobacter autotrophicus, which performs N2 and CO2 reduction to solid biomass. Living cells of X. autotrophicus may be directly applied as...



Catalytic-site design for inverse heavy-enzyme isotope effects in human purine nucleoside phosphorylase [Biochemistry]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Heavy-enzyme isotope effects (15N-, 13C-, and 2H-labeled protein) explore mass-dependent vibrational modes linked to catalysis. Transition path-sampling (TPS) calculations have predicted femtosecond dynamic coupling at the catalytic site of human purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP). Coupling is observed in heavy PNPs, where slowed barrier crossing caused a normal heavy-enzyme isotope effect...



Crystal structure of tubulin tyrosine ligase-like 3 reveals essential architectural elements unique to tubulin monoglycylases [Biochemistry]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Glycylation and glutamylation, the posttranslational addition of glycines and glutamates to genetically encoded glutamates in the intrinsically disordered tubulin C-terminal tails, are crucial for the biogenesis and stability of cilia and flagella and play important roles in metazoan development. Members of the diverse family of tubulin tyrosine ligase-like (TTLL) enzymes...



Characterization of the macrocyclase involved in the biosynthesis of RiPP cyclic peptides in plants [Biochemistry]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Enzymes that can catalyze the macrocyclization of linear peptide substrates have long been sought for the production of libraries of structurally diverse scaffolds via combinatorial gene assembly as well as to afford rapid in vivo screening methods. Orbitides are plant ribosomally synthesized and posttranslationally modified peptides (RiPPs) of various sizes...



Crystal structures of the Burkholderia multivorans hopanoid transporter HpnN [Biochemistry]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Strains of the Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) are Gram-negative opportunisitic bacteria that are capable of causing serious diseases, mainly in immunocompromised individuals. Bcc pathogens are intrinsically resistant to multiple antibiotics, including β-lactams, aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, and polymyxins. They are major pathogens in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) and can cause severe...



Phage display and kinetic selection of antibodies that specifically inhibit amyloid self-replication [Biophysics and Computational Biology]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

The aggregation of the amyloid β peptide (Aβ) into amyloid fibrils is a defining characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Because of the complexity of this aggregation process, effective therapeutic inhibitors will need to target the specific microscopic steps that lead to the production of neurotoxic species. We introduce a strategy for...



Entropy in molecular recognition by proteins [Biophysics and Computational Biology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Molecular recognition by proteins is fundamental to molecular biology. Dissection of the thermodynamic energy terms governing protein–ligand interactions has proven difficult, with determination of entropic contributions being particularly elusive. NMR relaxation measurements have suggested that changes in protein conformational entropy can be quantitatively obtained through a dynamical proxy, but the...



Manipulating the ABCs of self-assembly via low-{chi} block polymer design [Chemistry]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Block polymer self-assembly typically translates molecular chain connectivity into mesoscale structure by exploiting incompatible blocks with large interaction parameters (χij). In this article, we demonstrate that the converse approach, encoding low-χ interactions in ABC bottlebrush triblock terpolymers (χAC ≲ 0), promotes organization into a unique mixed-domain lamellar morphology, which we...



Stability of ferrous-iron-rich bridgmanite under reducing midmantle conditions [Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Our current understanding of the electronic state of iron in lower-mantle minerals leads to a considerable disagreement in bulk sound speed with seismic measurements if the lower mantle has the same composition as the upper mantle (pyrolite). In the modeling studies, the content and oxidation state of Fe in the...



Mio-Pliocene aridity in the south-central Andes associated with Southern Hemisphere cold periods [Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Although Earth’s climate history is best known through marine records, the corresponding continental climatic conditions drive the evolution of terrestrial life. Continental conditions during the latest Miocene are of particular interest because global faunal turnover is roughly synchronous with a period of global glaciation from ∼6.2–5.5 Ma and with the...



Consequences of rapid ice sheet melting on the Sahelian population vulnerability [Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

The acceleration of ice sheet melting has been observed over the last few decades. Recent observations and modeling studies have suggested that the ice sheet contribution to future sea level rise could have been underestimated in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. The ensuing freshwater discharge coming from...



Future of fundamental discovery in US biomedical research [Economic Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Young researchers are crucially important for basic science as they make unexpected, fundamental discoveries. Since 1982, we find a steady drop in the number of grant-eligible basic-science faculty [principal investigators (PIs)] younger than 46. This fall occurred over a 32-y period when inflation-corrected congressional funds for NIH almost tripled. During...



Solitary bees reduce investment in communication compared with their social relatives [Evolution]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Social animals must communicate to define group membership and coordinate social organization. For social insects, communication is predominantly mediated through chemical signals, and as social complexity increases, so does the requirement for a greater diversity of signals. This relationship is particularly true for advanced eusocial insects, including ants, bees, and...



Recent evolution of extreme cestode growth suppression by a vertebrate host [Evolution]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Parasites can be a major cause of natural selection on hosts, which consequently evolve a variety of strategies to avoid, eliminate, or tolerate infection. When ecologically similar host populations present disparate infection loads, this natural variation can reveal immunological strategies underlying adaptation to infection and population divergence. For instance, the...



News Feature: Radiation redux [Immunology and Inflammation]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Could traditional radiation treatments work in concert with immunotherapy to mount a more effective assault on cancer? When Michael Postow started his fellowship training in medical oncology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in 2010, he wasn’t familiar with the term “abscopal.” Coined decades before he was born...



Functional proteogenomics reveals biomarkers and therapeutic targets in lymphomas [Medical Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Identification of biomarkers and therapeutic targets is a critical goal of precision medicine. N-glycoproteins are a particularly attractive class of proteins that constitute potential cancer biomarkers and therapeutic targets for small molecules, antibodies, and cellular therapies. Using mass spectrometry (MS), we generated a compendium of 1,091 N-glycoproteins (from 40 human...



Effect of water flow and chemical environment on microbiota growth and composition in the human colon [Microbiology]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

The human gut harbors a dynamic microbial community whose composition bears great importance for the health of the host. Here, we investigate how colonic physiology impacts bacterial growth, which ultimately dictates microbiota composition. Combining measurements of bacterial physiology with analysis of published data on human physiology into a quantitative, comprehensive...



Protein composition of the hepatitis A virus quasi-envelope [Microbiology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

The Picornaviridae are a diverse family of RNA viruses including many pathogens of medical and veterinary importance. Classically considered “nonenveloped,” recent studies show that some picornaviruses, notably hepatitis A virus (HAV; genus Hepatovirus) and some members of the Enterovirus genus, are released from cells nonlytically in membranous vesicles. To better...



Asymmetric distribution of type IV pili triggered by directional light in unicellular cyanobacteria [Microbiology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

The type IV pili (T4P) system is a supermolecular machine observed in prokaryotes. Cells repeat the cycle of T4P extension, surface attachment, and retraction to drive twitching motility. Although the properties of T4P as a motor have been scrutinized with biophysics techniques, the mechanism of regulation remains unclear. Here we...



Impact of nutrition on social decision making [Neuroscience]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Food intake is essential for maintaining homeostasis, which is necessary for survival in all species. However, food intake also impacts multiple biochemical processes that influence our behavior. Here, we investigate the causal relationship between macronutrient composition, its bodily biochemical impact, and a modulation of human social decision making. Across two...



Histamine modulation of the basal ganglia circuitry in the development of pathological grooming [Neuroscience]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Aberrant histaminergic function has been proposed as a cause of tic disorders. A rare mutation in the enzyme that produces histamine (HA), histidine decarboxylase (HDC), has been identified in patients with Tourette syndrome (TS). Hdc knockout mice exhibit repetitive behavioral pathology and neurochemical characteristics of TS, establishing them as a...



Sensorimotor integration on a rapid time scale [Neuroscience]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Sensing is fundamental to the control of movement: From grasping objects to speech production, sensing guides action. So far, most of our knowledge about sensorimotor integration comes from visually guided reaching and oculomotor integration, in which the time course and trajectories of movements can be measured at a high temporal...



Finally making sense of the double-slit experiment [Physics]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Feynman stated that the double-slit experiment “…has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality, it contains the only mystery” and that “nobody can give you a deeper explanation of this phenomenon than I have given; that is, a description of it” [Feynman R, Leighton R, Sands M (1965)...



Dapagliflozin suppresses glucagon signaling in rodent models of diabetes [Physiology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are a class of antidiabetic drug used for the treatment of diabetes. These drugs are thought to lower blood glucose by blocking reabsorption of glucose by SGLT2 in the proximal convoluted tubules of the kidney. To investigate the effect of inhibiting SGLT2 on pancreatic hormones,...



Phosphorylation and negative regulation of CONSTITUTIVELY PHOTOMORPHOGENIC 1 by PINOID in Arabidopsis [Plant Biology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

CONSTITUTIVELY PHOTOMORPHOGENIC 1 (COP1) plays crucial roles in various cellular processes via its E3 ubiquitin ligase activity in organisms, ranging from fungi to humans. As a key component in regulating various biological events, COP1 itself is precisely controlled at multiple layers. Here, we report a negative regulator of COP1, PINOID...



Establishment of a vernalization requirement in Brachypodium distachyon requires REPRESSOR OF VERNALIZATION1 [Plant Biology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

A requirement for vernalization, the process by which prolonged cold exposure provides competence to flower, is an important adaptation to temperate climates that ensures flowering does not occur before the onset of winter. In temperate grasses, vernalization results in the up-regulation of VERNALIZATION1 (VRN1) to establish competence to flower; however,...



Temperature variability is integrated by a spatially embedded decision-making center to break dormancy in Arabidopsis seeds [Plant Biology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Plants perceive and integrate information from the environment to time critical transitions in their life cycle. Some mechanisms underlying this quantitative signal processing have been described, whereas others await discovery. Seeds have evolved a mechanism to integrate environmental information by regulating the abundance of the antagonistically acting hormones abscisic acid...



Impact of International Monetary Fund programs on child health [Population Biology]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Parental education is located at the center of global efforts to improve child health. In a developing-country context, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) plays a crucial role in determining how governments allocate scarce resources to education and public health interventions. Under reforms mandated by IMF structural adjustment programs, it may...



Dynamics of avian haemosporidian assemblages through millennial time scales inferred from insular biotas of the West Indies [Population Biology]

2017-06-20T09:04:17-07:00

Although introduced hemosporidian (malaria) parasites (Apicomplexa: Haemosporida) have hastened the extinction of endemic bird species in the Hawaiian Islands and perhaps elsewhere, little is known about the temporal dynamics of endemic malaria parasite populations. Haemosporidian parasites do not leave informative fossils, and records of population change are lacking beyond a...



Offspring of parents who were separated and not speaking to one another have reduced resistance to the common cold as adults [Psychological and Cognitive Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Exposure to parental separation or divorce during childhood has been associated with an increased risk for physical morbidity during adulthood. Here we tested the hypothesis that this association is primarily attributable to separated parents who do not communicate with each other. We also examined whether early exposure to separated parents...



Language from police body camera footage shows racial disparities in officer respect [Psychological and Cognitive Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Using footage from body-worn cameras, we analyze the respectfulness of police officer language toward white and black community members during routine traffic stops. We develop computational linguistic methods that extract levels of respect automatically from transcripts, informed by a thin-slicing study of participant ratings of officer utterances. We find that...



Secular rise in economically valuable personality traits [Psychological and Cognitive Sciences]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Although trends in many physical characteristics and cognitive capabilities of modern humans are well-documented, less is known about how personality traits have evolved over time. We analyze data from a standardized personality test administered to 79% of Finnish men born between 1962 and 1976 (n = 419,523) and find steady...



Adaptive self-organization of Bali’s ancient rice terraces [Sustainability Science]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

Spatial patterning often occurs in ecosystems as a result of a self-organizing process caused by feedback between organisms and the physical environment. Here, we show that the spatial patterns observable in centuries-old Balinese rice terraces are also created by feedback between farmers’ decisions and the ecology of the paddies, which...



Ecosystem-based management and the wealth of ecosystems [Sustainability Science]

2017-06-20T09:04:16-07:00

We merge inclusive wealth theory with ecosystem-based management (EBM) to address two challenges in the science of sustainable management of ecosystems. First, we generalize natural capital theory to approximate realized shadow prices for multiple interacting natural capital stocks (species) making up an ecosystem. These prices enable ecosystem components to be...