Accumulation of mutant proteins is a major cause of many diseases (collectively called proteopathies), and lowering the level of these proteins can be useful for treatment of these diseases. We hypothesized that compounds that interact with both the autophagosome protein microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B light chain 3 (LC3)(1) and the disease-causing protein may target the latter for autophagic clearance. Mutant huntingtin protein (mHTT) contains an expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) tract and causes Huntington's disease, an incurable neurodegenerative disorder(2). Here, using small-molecule-microarray-based screening, we identified four compounds that interact with both LC3 and mHTT, but not with the wild-type HTT protein. Some of these compounds targeted mHTT to autophagosomes, reduced mHTT levels in an allele-selective manner, and rescued disease-relevant phenotypes in cells and in vivo in fly and mouse models of Huntington's disease. We further show that these compounds interact with the expanded polyQ stretch and could lower the level of mutant ataxin-3 (ATXN3), another disease-causing protein with an expanded polyQ tract(3). This study presents candidate compounds for lowering mHTT and potentially other disease-causing proteins with polyQ expansions, demonstrating the concept of lowering levels of disease-causing proteins using autophagosome-tethering compounds.
Although copper oxide high-temperature superconductors constitute a complex and diverse material family, they all share a layered lattice structure. This curious fact prompts the question of whether high-temperature superconductivity can exist in an isolated monolayer of copper oxide, and if so, whether the two-dimensional superconductivity and various related phenomena differ from those of their three-dimensional counterparts. The answers may provide insights into the role of dimensionality in high-temperature superconductivity. Here we develop a fabrication process that obtains intrinsic monolayer crystals of the high-temperature superconductor Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+delta (Bi-2212; here, a monolayer refers to a half unit cell that contains two CuO2 planes). The highest superconducting transition temperature of the monolayer is as high as that of optimally doped bulk. The lack of dimensionality effect on the transition temperature defies expectations from the Mermin-Wagner theorem, in contrast to the much-reduced transition temperature in conventional two-dimensional superconductors such as NbSe2. The properties of monolayer Bi-2212 become extremely tunable; our survey of superconductivity, the pseudogap, charge order and the Mott state at various doping concentrations reveals that the phases are indistinguishable from those in the bulk. Monolayer Bi-2212 therefore displays all the fundamental physics of high-temperature superconductivity. Our results establish monolayer copper oxides as a platform for studying high-temperature superconductivity and other strongly correlated phenomena in two dimensions.
Organoboron reagents are important synthetic intermediates that have a key role in the construction of natural products, pharmaceuticals and organic materials(1). The discovery of simpler, milder and more efficient approaches to organoborons can open additional routes to diverse substances(2-5). Here we show a general method for the directed C-H borylation of arenes and heteroarenes without the use of metal catalysts. C7- and C4-borylated indoles are produced by a mild approach that is compatible with a broad range of functional groups. The mechanism, which is established by density functional theory calculations, involves BBr3 acting as both a reagent and a catalyst. The potential utility of this strategy is highlighted by the downstream transformation of the formed boron species into natural products and drug scaffolds.
Traditional technologies for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) create human experiences through visual and auditory stimuli that replicate sensations associated with the physical world. The most widespread VR and AR systems use head-mounted displays, accelerometers and loudspeakers as the basis for three-dimensional, computer-generated environments that can exist in isolation or as overlays on actual scenery. In comparison to the eyes and the ears, the skin is a relatively underexplored sensory interface for VR and AR technology that could, nevertheless, greatly enhance experiences at a qualitative level, with direct relevance in areas such as communications, entertainment and medicine(1,2). Here we present a wireless, battery-free platform of electronic systems and haptic (that is, touch-based) interfaces capable of softly laminating onto the curved surfaces of the skin to communicate information via spatio-temporally programmable patterns of localized mechanical vibrations. We describe the materials, device structures, power delivery strategies and communication schemes that serve as the foundations for such platforms. The resulting technology creates many opportunities for use where the skin provides an electronically programmable communication and sensory input channel to the body, as demonstrated through applications in social media and personal engagement, prosthetic control and feedback, and gaming and entertainment.
A defining feature of adaptive immunity is the development of long-lived memory T cells to curtail infection. Recent studies have identified a unique stem-like T-cell subset amongst exhausted CD8-positive T cells in chronic infection(1-3)', but it remains unclear whether CD4-positive T-cell subsets with similar features exist in chronic inflammatory conditions. Amongst helper T cells, T(H)17 cells have prominent roles in autoimmunity and tissue inflammation and are characterized by inherent plasticity'(4-7), although how such plasticity is regulated is poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that T(H)17 cells in a mouse model of autoimmune disease are functionally and metabolically heterogeneous; they contain a subset with stemness-associated features but lower anabolic metabolism, and a reciprocal subset with higher metabolic activity that supports transdifferentiation into T(H)1-like cells. These two T(H)17-cell subsets are defined by selective expression of the transcription factors TCF-1 and T-bet, and by discrete levels of CD27 expression. We also identify signalling via the kinase complex mTORC1 as a central regulator of T(H)17-cell fate decisions by coordinating metabolic and transcriptional programmes. T(H)17 cells with disrupted mTORC1 signalling or anabolic metabolism fail to induce autoimmune neuroinflammation or to develop into T(H)1-like cells, but instead upregulate TCF-1 expression and acquire stemness-associated features. Single-cell RNA sequencing and experimental validation reveal heterogeneity in fate-mapped T(H)17 cells, and a developmental arrest in the T(H)1 transdifferentiation trajectory upon loss of mTORC1 activity or metabolic perturbation. Our results establish that the dichotomy of stemness and effector function underlies the heterogeneous T(H)17 responses and autoimmune pathogenesis, and point to previously unappreciated metabolic control of plasticity in helper T cells.
The proteasome is an ATP-dependent, 2.5-megadalton molecular machine that is responsible for selective protein degradation in eukaryotic cells. Here we present cryo-electron microscopy structures of the substrate-engaged human proteasome in seven conformational states at 2.8-3.6 angstrom resolution, captured during breakdown of a polyubiquitylated protein. These structures illuminate a spatiotemporal continuum of dynamic substrate-proteasome interactions from ubiquitin recognition to substrate translocation, during which ATP hydrolysis sequentially navigates through all six ATPases. There are three principal modes of coordinated hydrolysis, featuring hydrolytic events in two oppositely positioned ATPases, in two adjacent ATPases and in one ATPase at a time. These hydrolytic modes regulate deubiquitylation, initiation of translocation and processive unfolding of substrates, respectively. Hydrolysis of ATP powers a hinge-like motion in each ATPase that regulates its substrate interaction. Synchronization of ATP binding, ADP release and ATP hydrolysis in three adjacent ATPases drives rigid-body rotations of substrate-bound ATPases that are propagated unidirectionally in the ATPase ring and unfold the substrate.
Aberrant cleavage of Notch by gamma-secretase leads to several types of cancer, but how gamma-secretase recognizes its substrate remains unknown. Here we report the cryo-electron microscopy structure of human gamma-secretase in complex with a Notch fragment at a resolution of 2.7 angstrom. The transmembrane helix of Notch is surrounded by three transmembrane domains of PS1, and the carboxyl-terminal beta-strand of the Notch fragment forms a beta-sheet with two substrate-induced beta-strands of PS1 on the intracellular side. Formation of the hybrid beta-sheet is essential for substrate cleavage, which occurs at the carboxyl-terminal end of the Notch transmembrane helix. PS1 undergoes pronounced conformational rearrangement upon substrate binding. These features reveal the structural basis of Notch recognition and have implications for the recruitment of the amyloid precursor protein by gamma-secretase.
Discovered decades ago, the quantum Hall effect remains one of the most studied phenomena in condensed matter physics and is relevant for research areas such as topological phases, strong electron correlations and quantum computing(1-5). The quantized electron transport that is characteristic of the quantum Hall effect typically originates from chiral edge states-ballistic conducting channels that emerge when two-dimensional electron systems are subjected to large magnetic fields(2). However, whether the quantum Hall effect can be extended to higher dimensions without simply stacking two-dimensional systems is unknown. Here we report evidence of a new type of quantum Hall effect, based on Weyl orbits in nanostructures of the three-dimensional topological semimetal Cd3As2. The Weyl orbits consist of Fermi arcs (open arc-like surface states) on opposite surfaces of the sample connected by one-dimensional chiral Landau levels along the magnetic field through the bulk(6,7). This transport through the bulk results in an additional contribution (compared to stacked two-dimensional systems and which depends on the sample thickness) to the quantum phase of the Weyl orbit. Consequently, chiral states can emerge even in the bulk. To measure these quantum phase shifts and search for the associated chiral modes in the bulk, we conduct transport experiments using wedge-shaped Cd3As2 nanostructures with variable thickness. We find that the quantum Hall transport is strongly modulated by the sample thickness. The dependence of the Landau levels on the magnitude and direction of the magnetic field and on the sample thickness agrees with theoretical predictions based on the modified Lifshitz-Onsager relation for the Weyl orbits. Nanostructures of topological semimetals thus provide a way of exploring quantum Hall physics in three-dimensional materials with enhanced tunability.
Proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are attractive next-generation power sources for use in vehicles and other applications(1), with development efforts focusing on improving the catalyst system of the fuel cell. One problem is catalyst poisoning by impurity gases such as carbon monoxide (CO), which typically comprises about one per cent of hydrogen fuel(2-4). A possible solution is on-board hydrogen purification, which involves preferential oxidation of CO in hydrogen (PROX)(3-7). However, this approach is challenging(8-15) because the catalyst needs to be active and selective towards CO oxidation over a broad range of low temperatures so that CO is efficiently removed (to below 50 parts per million) during continuous PEMFC operation (at about 353 kelvin) and, in the case of automotive fuel cells, during frequent cold-start periods. Here we show that atomically dispersed iron hydroxide, selectively deposited on silica-supported platinum (Pt) nanoparticles, enables complete and 100 per cent selective CO removal through the PROX reaction over the broad temperature range of 198 to 380 kelvin. We find that the mass-specific activity of this system is about 30 times higher than that of more conventional catalysts consisting of Pt on iron oxide supports. In situ X-ray absorption fine-structure measurements reveal that most of the iron hydroxide exists as Fe-1(OH)(x) clusters anchored on the Pt nanoparticles, with density functional theory calculations indicating that Fe-1(OH)(x)-Pt single interfacial sites can readily react with CO and facilitate oxygen activation. These findings suggest that in addition to strategies that target oxide-supported precious-metal nanoparticles or isolated metal atoms, the deposition of isolated transition-metal complexes offers new ways of designing highly active metal catalysts.
Confining photons in a finite volume is highly desirable in modern photonic devices, such as waveguides, lasers and cavities. Decades ago, this motivated the study and application of photonic crystals, which have a photonic bandgap that forbids light propagation in all directions(1-3). Recently, inspired by the discoveries of topological insulators(4,5), the confinement of photons with topological protection has been demonstrated in two-dimensional (2D) photonic structures known as photonic topological insulators(6-8), with promising applications in topological lasers(9,10) and robust optical delay lines(11). However, a fully three-dimensional (3D) topological photonic bandgap has not been achieved. Here we experimentally demonstrate a 3D photonic topological insulator with an extremely wide (more than 25 per cent bandwidth) 3D topological bandgap. The composite material (metallic patterns on printed circuit boards) consists of split-ring resonators (classical electromagnetic artificial atoms) with strong magneto-electric coupling and behaves like a 'weak' topological insulator (that is, with an even number of surface Dirac cones), or a stack of 2D quantum spin Hall insulators. Using direct field measurements, we map out both the gapped bulk band structure and the Dirac-like dispersion of the photonic surface states, and demonstrate robust photonic propagation along a non-planar surface. Our work extends the family of 3D topological insulators from fermions to bosons and paves the way for applications in topological photonic cavities, circuits and lasers in 3D geometries.