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Rapid trait evolution drives increased speed and variance in experimental range expansions

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

Range expansions are central to two ecological issues reshaping patterns of global biodiversity: biological invasions and climate change. Traditional theory considers range expansion as the outcome of the demographic processes of birth, death and dispersal, while ignoring the evolutionary implications of such processes. Recent research suggests evolution could also play a critical role in determining expansion speed but controlled experiments are lacking. Here we use flour beetles (Tribolium castaneum) to show experimentally that mean expansion speed and stochastic variation in speed are both increased by rapid evolution of traits at the expansion edge. We find that higher dispersal ability and lower intrinsic growth rates evolve at the expansion edge compared with spatially nonevolving controls. Furthermore, evolution of these traits is variable, leading to enhanced variance in speed among replicate population expansions. Our results demonstrate that evolutionary processes must be considered alongside demographic ones to better understand and predict range expansions.

IF:12.35

Proton pumping accompanies calcification in foraminifera

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

Ongoing ocean acidification is widely reported to reduce the ability of calcifying marine organisms to produce their shells and skeletons. Whereas increased dissolution due to acidification is a largely inorganic process, strong organismal control over biomineralization influences calcification and hence complicates predicting the response of marine calcifyers. Here we show that calcification is driven by rapid transformation of bicarbonate into carbonate inside the cytoplasm, achieved by active outward proton pumping. Moreover, this proton flux is maintained over a wide range of pCO(2) levels. We furthermore show that a V-type H+ ATPase is responsible for the proton flux and thereby calcification. External transformation of bicarbonate into CO2 due to the proton pumping implies that biomineralization does not rely on availability of carbonate ions, but total dissolved CO2 may not reduce calcification, thereby potentially maintaining the current global marine carbonate production.

IF:12.35

Deformation-resembling microstructure created by fluid-mediated dissolution-precipitation reactions

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

Deformation microstructures are widely used for reconstructing tectono-metamorphic events recorded in rocks. In crustal settings deformation is often accompanied and/or succeeded by fluid infiltration and dissolution-precipitation reactions. However, the microstructural consequences of dissolution-precipitation in minerals have not been investigated experimentally. Here we conducted experiments where KBr crystals were reacted with a saturated KCl-H2O fluid. The results show that reaction products, formed in the absence of deformation, inherit the general crystallographic orientation from their parents, but also display a development of new microstructures that are typical in deformed minerals, such as apparent bending of crystal lattices and new subgrain domains, separated by low-angle and, in some cases, high-angle boundaries. Our work suggests that fluid-mediated dissolution-precipitation reactions can lead to a development of potentially misleading microstructures. We propose a set of criteria that may help in distinguishing such microstructures from the ones that are created by crystal-plastic deformation.

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A-FABP mediates adaptive thermogenesis by promoting intracellular activation of thyroid hormones in brown adipocytes

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

The adipokine adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (A-FABP) has been implicated in obesity-related cardio-metabolic complications. Here we show that A-FABP increases thermogenesis by promoting the conversion of T4 to T3 in brown adipocytes. We find that A-FABP levels are increased in both white (WAT) and brown (BAT) adipose tissues and the bloodstream in response to thermogenic stimuli. A-FABP knockout mice have reduced thermogenesis and whole-body energy expenditure after cold stress or after feeding a high-fat diet, which can be reversed by infusion of recombinant A-FABP. Mechanistically, A-FABP induces the expression of type-II iodothyronine deiodinase in BAT via inhibition of the nuclear receptor liver X receptor alpha, thereby leading to the conversion of thyroid hormone from its inactive form T4 to active T3. The thermogenic responses to T4 are abrogated in A-FABP KO mice, but enhanced by A-FABP. Thus, A-FABP acts as a physiological stimulator of BAT-mediated adaptive thermogenesis.

IF:12.35

The immunoreceptor NKG2D promotes tumour growth in a model of hepatocellular carcinoma

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

Inflammation is recognized as one of the drivers of cancer. Yet, the individual immune components that possess pro- and anti-tumorigenic functions in individual cancers remain largely unknown. NKG2D is a potent activating immunoreceptor that has emerged as an important player in inflammatory disorders besides its well-established function as tumour suppressor. Here, we provide genetic evidence of an unexpected tumour-promoting effect of NKG2D in a model of inflammation-driven liver cancer. Compared to NKG2D-deficient mice, NKG2D-sufficient mice display accelerated tumour growth associated with, an increased recruitment of memory CD8+Tcells to the liver and exacerbated pro-inflammatory milieu. In addition, we show that NKG2D contributes to liver damage and consequent hepatocyte proliferation known to favour tumorigenesis. Thus, the NKG2D/NKG2D-ligand pathway provides an additional mechanism linking chronic inflammation to tumour development in hepatocellular carcinoma. Our findings expose the need to selectively target the types of cancer that could benefit from NKG2D-based immunotherapy.

IF:12.35

Microwave photon Fock state generation by stimulated Raman adiabatic passage

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

The deterministic generation of non-classical states of light, including squeezed states, Fock states and Bell states, plays an important role in quantum information processing and exploration of the physics of quantum entanglement. Preparation of these non-classical states in resonators is non-trivial due to their inherent harmonicity. Here we use stimulated Raman adiabatic passage to generate microwave photon Fock states in a superconducting circuit quantum electrodynamics system comprised of a fixed-frequency transmon qubit in a three-dimensional microwave cavity at 20 mK. A two-photon process is employed to overcome a first order forbidden transition and the first, second and third Fock states are demonstrated. We also demonstrate how this all-microwave technique can be used to generate an arbitrary superposition of Fock states. Simulations of the system are in excellent agreement with the data and fidelities of 89%, 68% and 43% are inferred for the first three Fock states respectively.

IF:12.35

Rapid evolution of dispersal ability makes biological invasions faster and more variable

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

Genetic variation in dispersal ability may result in the spatial sorting of alleles during range expansion. Recent theory suggests that spatial sorting can favour the rapid evolution of life history traits at expanding fronts, and therefore modify the ecological dynamics of range expansion. Here we test this prediction by disrupting spatial sorting in replicated invasions of the bean beetle Callosobruchus maculatus across homogeneous experimental landscapes. We show that spatial sorting promotes rapid evolution of dispersal distance, which increases the speed and variability of replicated invasions: after 10 generations of range expansion, invasions subject to spatial sorting spread 8.9% farther and exhibit 41-fold more variable spread dynamics relative to invasions in which spatial sorting is suppressed. Correspondingly, descendants from spatially evolving invasions exhibit greater mean and variance in dispersal distance. Our results reveal an important role for rapid evolution during invasion, even in the absence of environmental filters, and argue for evolutionarily informed forecasts of invasive spread by exotic species or climate change migration by native species.

IF:12.35

Unravelling raked linear dunes to explain the coexistence of bedforms in complex dunefields

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

Raked linear dunes keep a constant orientation for considerable distances with a marked asymmetry between a periodic pattern of semi-crescentic structures on one side and a continuous slope on the other. Here we show that this shape is associated with a steady-state dune type arising from the coexistence of two dune growth mechanisms. Primary ridges elongate in the direction of the resultant sand flux. Semi-crescentic structures result from the development of superimposed dunes growing perpendicularly to the maximum gross bed-form- normal transport. In the particular case of raked linear dunes, these two mechanisms produces primary and secondary ridges with similar height but with different orientations, which are oblique to each other. The raked pattern develops preferentially on the leeward side of the primary ridges according to the direction of propagation of the superimposed bed-forms. As shown by numerical modelling, raked linear dunes occur where both these oblique orientations and dynamics are met.

IF:12.35

A Lin28 homologue reprograms differentiated cells to stem cells in the moss Physcomitrella patens

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

Both land plants and metazoa have the capacity to reprogram differentiated cells to stem cells. Here we show that the moss Physcomitrella patens Cold-Shock Domain Protein 1 (PpCSP1) regulates reprogramming of differentiated leaf cells to chloronema apical stem cells and shares conserved domains with the induced pluripotent stem cell factor Lin28 in mammals. PpCSP1 accumulates in the reprogramming cells and is maintained throughout the reprogramming process and in the resultant stem cells. Expression of PpCSP1 is negatively regulated by its 30-untranslated region (3'-UTR). Removal of the 3'-UTR stabilizes PpCSP1 transcripts, results in accumulation of PpCSP1 protein and enhances reprogramming. A quadruple deletion mutant of PpCSP1 and three closely related PpCSP genes exhibits attenuated reprogramming indicating that the PpCSP genes function redundantly in cellular reprogramming. Taken together, these data demonstrate a positive role of PpCSP1 in reprogramming, which is similar to the function of mammalian Lin28.

IF:12.35

Interfacial Ca2+ environments in nanocrystalline apatites revealed by dynamic nuclear polarization enhanced Ca-43 NMR spectroscopy

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

The interfaces within bones, teeth and other hybrid biomaterials are of paramount importance but remain particularly difficult to characterize at the molecular level because both sensitive and selective techniques are mandatory. Here, it is demonstrated that unprecedented insights into calcium environments, for example the differentiation of surface and core species of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles, can be obtained using solid-state NMR, when combined with dynamic nuclear polarization. Although calcium represents an ideal NMR target here (and de facto for a large variety of calcium-derived materials), its stable NMR-active isotope, calcium-43, is a highly unreceptive probe. Using the sensitivity gains from dynamic nuclear polarization, not only could calcium-43 NMR spectra be obtained easily, but natural isotopic abundance 2D correlation experiments could be recorded for calcium-43 in short experimental time. This opens perspectives for the detailed study of interfaces in nanostructured materials of the highest biological interest as well as calcium-based nanosystems in general.

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High-throughput automated microfluidic sample preparation for accurate microbial genomics

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

Low-cost shotgun DNA sequencing is transforming the microbial sciences. Sequencing instruments are so effective that sample preparation is now the key limiting factor. Here, we introduce a microfluidic sample preparation platform that integrates the key steps in cells to sequence library sample preparation for up to 96 samples and reduces DNA input requirements 100-fold while maintaining or improving data quality. The general-purpose microarchitecture we demonstrate supports workflows with arbitrary numbers of reaction and clean-up or capture steps. By reducing the sample quantity requirements, we enabled low- input (similar to 10,000 cells) whole-genome shotgun (WGS) sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and soil micro-colonies with superior results. We also leveraged the enhanced throughput to sequence similar to 400 clinical Pseudomonas aeruginosa libraries and demonstrate excellent single-nucleotide polymorphism detection performance that explained phenotypically observed antibiotic resistance. Fully-integrated lab-on-chip sample preparation overcomes technical barriers to enable broader deployment of genomics across many basic research and translational applications.

IF:12.35

Stimulated emission from nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

Stimulated emission is the process fundamental to laser operation, thereby producing coherent photon output. Despite negatively charged nitrogen-vacancy (NV-) centres being discussed as a potential laser medium since the 1980s, there have been no definitive observations of stimulated emission from ensembles of NV- to date. Here we show both theoretical and experimental evidence for stimulated emission from NV- using light in the phonon sidebands around 700 nm. Furthermore, we show the transition from stimulated emission to photoionization as the stimulating laser wavelength is reduced from 700 to 620 nm. While lasing at the zero-phonon line is suppressed by ionization, our results open the possibility of diamond lasers based on NV- centres, tuneable over the phonon sideband. This broadens the applications of NV- magnetometers from single centre nanoscale sensors to a new generation of ultra-precise ensemble laser sensors, which exploit the contrast and signal amplification of a lasing system.

IF:12.35

Cell-like pressure sensors reveal increase of mechanical stress towards the core of multicellular spheroids under compression

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

The surrounding microenvironment limits tumour expansion, imposing a compressive stress on the tumour, but little is known how pressure propagates inside the tumour. Here we present non-destructive cell-like microsensors to locally quantify mechanical stress distribution in three-dimensional tissue. Our sensors are polyacrylamide microbeads of welldefined elasticity, size and surface coating to enable internalization within the cellular environment. By isotropically compressing multicellular spheroids (MCS), which are spherical aggregates of cells mimicking a tumour, we show that the pressure is transmitted in a non-trivial manner inside the MCS, with a pressure rise towards the core. This observed pressure profile is explained by the anisotropic arrangement of cells and our results suggest that such anisotropy alone is sufficient to explain the pressure rise inside MCS composed of a single cell type. Furthermore, such pressure distribution suggests a direct link between increased mechanical stress and previously observed lack of proliferation within the spheroids core.

IF:12.35

A non-canonical mismatch repair pathway in prokaryotes

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

Mismatch repair (MMR) is a near ubiquitous pathway, essential for the maintenance of genome stability. Members of the MutS and MutL protein families perform key steps in mismatch correction. Despite the major importance of this repair pathway, MutS-MutL are absent in almost all Actinobacteria and many Archaea. However, these organisms exhibit rates and spectra of spontaneous mutations similar to MMR-bearing species, suggesting the existence of an alternative to the canonical MutS-MutL-based MMR. Here we report that Mycobacterium smegmatis NucS/EndoMS, a putative endonuclease with no structural homology to known MMR factors, is required for mutation avoidance and anti-recombination, hallmarks of the canonical MMR. Furthermore, phenotypic analysis of naturally occurring polymorphic NucS in a M. smegmatis surrogate model, suggests the existence of M. tuberculosis mutator strains. The phylogenetic analysis of NucS indicates a complex evolutionary process leading to a disperse distribution pattern in prokaryotes. Together, these findings indicate that distinct pathways for MMR have evolved at least twice in nature.

IF:12.35

Charge transfer to ground-state ions produces free electrons

期刊: Nature Communications, 2017; 8 ( )

Inner-shell ionization of an isolated atom typically leads to Auger decay. In an environment, for example, a liquid or a van der Waals bonded system, this process will be modified, and becomes part of a complex cascade of relaxation steps. Understanding these steps is important, as they determine the production of slow electrons and singly charged radicals, the most abundant products in radiation chemistry. In this communication, we present experimental evidence for a so-far unobserved, but potentially very important step in such relaxation cascades: Multiply charged ionic states after Auger decay may partially be neutralized by electron transfer, simultaneously evoking the creation of a low-energy free electron (electron transfer-mediated decay). This process is effective even after Auger decay into the dicationic ground state. In our experiment, we observe the decay of Ne2+ produced after Ne 1s photoionization in Ne-Kr mixed clusters.

IF:12.35

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