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Article Released Wed-17th-September-2008 17:07 GMT
Contact: Ruth Institution: Nature Publishing Group
 Infectious disease: Invasion proteins target placenta

Summaries of newsworthy papers include Extremely warm year suppresses plants’ carbon dioxide uptake in the long term, Feature shared by two black hole counterparts, New approach for leukaemia treatment?, Colloids borrow a trick or two from DNA structure

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This press release is copyright Nature.

VOL.455 NO.7211 DATED 18 SEPTEMBER 2008

This press release contains:

· Summaries of newsworthy papers:

Infectious disease: Invasion proteins target placenta

Ecosystems: Extremely warm year suppresses plants’ carbon dioxide uptake in the long term

Astronomy: Feature shared by two black hole counterparts

Cancer: New approach for leukaemia treatment?

Nanotechnology: Colloids borrow a trick or two from DNA structure

· Mention of papers to be published at the same time with the same embargo

· Geographical listing of authors

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[1] Infectious disease: Invasion proteins target placenta (AOP)
DOI: 10.1038/nature07303

***This paper will be published electronically on Nature's website on 17 September at 1800 London time / 1300 US Eastern time (which is also when the embargo lifts) as part of our AOP (ahead of print) programme. Although we have included it on this release to avoid multiple mailings it will not appear in print on 18 September, but at a later date. ***

Researchers may have figured out how a disease-causing bacteria crosses the placenta from mother to baby. Their work, described in this week’s Nature, is important because infection with Listeria monocytogenes can result in miscarriage and sometimes stillbirth.

Using two new animal models, Marc Lecuit and colleagues show that two bacterial invasion proteins, InlA and InlB, are required for L. monocytogenes to target and cross the placental barrier. Understanding how the microbe is able to cross the host’s natural barrier could help in the development of inhibitory molecules for use as preventative therapies.

CONTACT
Marc Lecuit (Institut Pasteur, Paris, France)
Tel: +33 1 40 61 30 29; E-mail: mlecuit@pasteur.fr


[2] Ecosystems: Extremely warm year suppresses plants’ carbon dioxide uptake in the long term (pp 383-386)

The balance between photosynthesis and respiration determines whether an ecosystem releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere or sequesters it away. A paper in this week’s Nature reveals that, after exceptional warming, the uptake of carbon dioxide by a tallgrass prairie ecosystem suffered prolonged suppression.

John Arnone and colleagues used tallgrass prairie ecosystems in large controlled-environment chambers to measure the impact of a temperature anomaly on net ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange over several years. They collected data over four years, studying twelve 12,000-kg heavy grass monoliths.

They found that, in both the extreme year and the following year, net carbon dioxide exchange was reduced — probably because of drought interfering with plant growth and subsequently stimulating respiration by soil organisms; after the warming, the ecosystem’s net carbon sequestration was cut by a factor of three.

The team’s findings suggest that more frequent anomalously warm years could lead to a sustained decrease in carbon dioxide uptake by terrestrial ecosystems.

CONTACT
John Arnone (Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV, USA)
Tel: +1 775 673 7445; E-mail: jarnone@dri.edu


[3] Astronomy: Feature shared by two black hole counterparts (pp 369-371; N&V)

Black holes generated by collapsing celestial objects exert such a strong gravitational pull that not even light can escape. They can exist in ‘binary’ systems, where stars orbit round the black holes and dump gas into them, and in supermassive forms, for example in the Milky Way and much more distant galaxies. A paper in this week’s Nature has detected an important feature of supermassive black holes, culminating a long and painstaking search.

Marek Gierlinski and colleagues report the discovery of a quasi-periodicity in X-ray emission from the vicinity of a supermassive black hole in an active galaxy known as RE J1034+396. Such quasi-periodic oscillations are well known in binary black holes, but until now have not been detected in their supermassive counterparts.

Active galactic nuclei and distant quasars are powered by accretion of material spiralling into black holes. The team’s discovery emphasizes the universal properties of accretion onto objects of very different masses, and indicates that X-ray modulation may be a useful new tool for studying active galactic nuclei.

CONTACT
Marek Gierlinski (University of Durham, UK)
Tel: +44 191 334 3516; E-mail: Marek.Gierlinski@durham.ac.uk

Phil Uttley (University of Southampton, UK) N&V author
Tel: +44 23 8059 2083; E-mail: pu@phys.soton.ac.uk

This author will be travelling from 16 September and is best contacted by e-mail after this date.


[4] Cancer: New approach for leukaemia treatment? (AOP)
DOI: 10.1038/nature07284

***This paper will be published electronically on Nature's website on 17 September at 1800 London time / 1300 US Eastern time (which is also when the embargo lifts) as part of our AOP (ahead of print) programme. Although we have included it on this release to avoid multiple mailings it will not appear in print on 18 September, but at a later date. ***

Drugs that block the action of an enzyme called glycogen synthase kinase (GSK3) may prove useful in treating a particular type of poor prognosis leukaemia, suggests a study published online in Nature this week.

Michael Cleary and colleagues focused on a subtype of leukaemia characterized by alterations in the MLL gene, which accounts for up to 10% of sporadic leukaemias in adults and children. Mice with a version of the cancer and treated with the GSK3 inhibitor lithium carbonate lived significantly longer than placebo-treated controls. And in vitro, a different GSK3 inhibitor stopped MLL leukaemia cells from proliferating.

GSK3 is involved in many different signalling pathways, and GSK3 inhibitors are currently being tested as therapies for different diseases, including Alzheimer’s. The current findings are at odds with previous studies, which show that GSK3 can suppress cancer-linked signalling pathways. So the results highlight an unexpected and intriguing potential anti-cancer role for GSK3 inhibitors.

CONTACT
Michael Cleary (Stanford University School of Medicine, CA, USA)
Tel: +1 650 723 5471; E-mail: mcleary@stanford.edu


[5] Nanotechnology: Colloids borrow a trick or two from DNA structure (pp 380-382)

Colloids are intriguing conglomerations of particles that are neither properly in solution nor in suspension. They are used as building blocks in nanotechnology for fabrication of large-scale complex structures, but these are limited by the colloid's own simple structural set-up. A paper in this week's Nature describes a sophisticated colloidal system that can self-assemble into separate mirror-image structures, a key advance towards enhancing the functionality and versatility of colloids.

The DNA double helix is shaped by two competing forces along its length — one is set by the distance between sugar residues along its backbone and the other by vertical interactions between its internally stacked bases. Based on similar principles of competing length scales, Jerome Bibette and colleagues have been able to induce helical structures in magnetic colloids. They designed asymmetric colloidal 'dumbbells' linked by a magnetic belt at their waists: applying a magnetic field caused the belts to chain together and the chain to assume a coiled structure.

When the size ratio between the colloidal spheres is high enough, the coil assumes either right- or left-handedness. Adoption of a characteristic three-dimensional structure by a molecule helps tailor its specificity in chemical reactions — a facility that may now be open to colloidal chemistry as well.

CONTACT
Jerome Bibette (Ecole Superieure Physique et Chimie Industrielles, Paris, France)
Tel: +33 1 40 79 52 19; Mobile: +33 685 137 536; E-mail: jerome.bibette@espci.fr

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE…

[6] Unusual magnetic order in the pseudogap region of the superconductor HgBa2CuO4+δ (pp 372-375)

ADVANCE ONLINE PUBLICATION

***These papers will be published electronically on Nature's website on 17 September at 1800 London time / 1300 US Eastern time (which is also when the embargo lifts) as part of our AOP (ahead of print) programme. Although we have included them on this release to avoid multiple mailings they will not appear in print on 18 September, but at a later date. ***

[7] MicroRNAs to Nanog, Oct4 and Sox2 coding regions modulate embryonic stem cell differentiation
DOI: 10.1038/nature07299

[8] Acoel development indicates the independent evolution of the bilaterian mouth and anus
DOI: 10.1038/nature07309

[9] Self-renewal and expansion of single transplanted muscle stem cells
DOI: 10.1038/nature07384

GEOGRAPHICAL LISTING OF AUTHORS…

The following list of places refers to the whereabouts of authors on the papers numbered in this release. For example, London: 4 - this means that on paper number four, there will be at least one author affiliated to an institute or company in London. The listing may be for an author's main affiliation, or for a place where they are working temporarily. Please see the PDF of the paper for full details.

CHINA
Changchun: 6

FRANCE
Gif-sur-Yvette: 6
Paris: 1, 5

GERMANY
Stuttgart: 6

SINGAPORE
Singapore: 7

SOUTH KOREA
Pusan: 6

UNITED KINGDOM
Durham: 3

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

California
Stanford: 4, 6, 9

Colorado
Boulder: 2

Connecticut
Groton: 9

Hawaii
Honolulu: 8

Massachusetts
Boston: 7

Nevada
Reno: 2

New Hampshire
Durham: 2

New York
New York: 5
Yorktown Heights: 7

Oklahoma
Norman: 2

Texas
Houston: 2

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Tel: +1 202 737 2355; E-mail: k.mcgoldrick@naturedc.com

From Japan, Korea, China, Singapore and Taiwan
Mika Nakano, Nature Tokyo
Tel: +81 3 3267 8751; E-mail: m.nakano@natureasia.com

From the UK/Europe/other countries not listed above
Jen Middleton, Nature London
Tel: +44 20 7843 4502; E-mail j.middleton@nature.com

About NPG

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd, dedicated to serving the academic, professional scientific and medical communities. NPG's flagship title, Nature, was first published in 1869. Other publications include Nature research journals, Nature Reviews, Nature Clinical Practice and a range of prestigious academic journals including society-owned publications. NPG also provides news content through news@nature.com. Scientific career information and free job postings are offered on Naturejobs.

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PRESS RELEASE FROM Nature Reviews MICROBIOLOGY
(www.nature.com/micro)

This press release is copyrighted to the journal Nature Reviews Microbiology, published with the Nature Publishing Group

VOL.6 NO.10 DATED October 2008

PLEASE CITE Nature Reviews MICROBIOLOGY AS THE SOURCE OF THE FOLLOWING ITEM. IF PUBLISHING ONLINE, PLEASE CARRY A HYPERLINK TO THE JOURNAL'S SITE: http://www.nature.com/micro

Warning: This document, and the Nature Reviews Journal paper to which it refers, may contain information that is price sensitive (as legally defined, for example, in the UK Criminal Justice Act 1993 Part V) with respect to publicly quoted companies. Anyone dealing in securities using information contained in this document or in advanced copies of Nature’s content may be guilty of insider trading under the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

AN EMBARGOED PDF COPY OF THIS PAPER IS NOW AVAILABLE ON THE REVIEWS JOURNALS SECTION OF: http://press.nature.com

Evolutionary ecology: Placing ourselves in the microbial world (pp 776-788)
DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro1978

Interactions with microbial communities almost certainly influenced animal evolution, according to a Review in the September issue of Nature Reviews Microbiology.

Armed with a new set of computational tools and gene sequences gathered from 180 different studies of microbial communities from diverse habitats, Jeff Gordon and colleagues identify selective forces that likely shaped the highly distinctive features of microbes in the gut. Their approach underscores the importance of placing the recently initiated International Human Microbiome Project in a broader context, embracing metagenomic studies of microbial communities in diverse environments, in animals, and in humans living in distinctive and changing cultures.

In the same issue of Nature Reviews Microbiology Nicole Dubilier, Christian Lott and Claudia Bergin describe the important symbioses between bacteria and marine invertebrates which were discovered just 30 years ago at hydrothermal vents on the Galapagos Rift. It took the discovery of these symbioses in the deep-sea for scientists to realize that such relationships occur worldwide in a wide range of habitats including cold seeps, whale and wood falls, shallow-water coastal sediments, and continental margins.

These articles form part of a collection of articles commissioned by Nature Reviews Microbiology to mark the recent progress in the field of symbiosis.

Author contacts:
Jeffrey Gordon (Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA)
Tel: +1 314 362 7243; E-mail: jgordon@wustl.edu

Nicole Dubilier (Max Planck Institute of Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany)
Tel: +49 421 2028 932; E-mail: ndubilie@mpi-bremen.de

Editorial contact:
Susan Jones (Chief Editor, Nature Reviews Microbiology, London, UK)
Tel: +44 20 7843 4651; E-mail: s.jones@nature.com

Media contacts:
Jen Middleton (Nature London)
Tel: +44 20 7843 4502; E-mail: j.middleton@nature.com

Katherine Anderson (Nature New York)
Tel: +1 212 726 9231; E-mail: k.anderson@natureny.com

About Nature Publishing Group

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd, dedicated to serving the academic, professional scientific and medical communities. NPG's flagship title, Nature, was first published in 1869. Other publications include Nature research journals, Nature Reviews, Nature Clinical Practice and a range of prestigious academic journals including society-owned publications. NPG also provides news content through news@nature.com and scientific career information through Naturejobs.

NPG is a global company with headquarters in London and offices in New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, Tokyo, Paris, Madrid, Munich, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Delhi, Buenos Aires and Basingstoke. For more information, please go to <www.nature.com>

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Keywords associated to this article: Infectious disease, Ecosystems, Astronomy, Cancer, Nanotechnology
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