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Article Released Sun-20th-December-2009 19:04 GMT
Contact: Ruth Institution: Nature Publishing Group
 Acidification increases ocean noise

Summaries of newsworthy papers: Variants associated with cleft lip with or without cleft palate, Socializing the amygdala, Inflammation and Type 2 Diabetes, Visualizing metastasis, Single-cycle laser pulses, Sticky sediments shape deltas, Wrapping up a ring, Chip-scale multiwavelength sources, Lenses that see it all


For papers that will be published online on 20 December 2009

This press release is copyrighted to the Nature journals mentioned below.

This press release contains:

· Summaries of newsworthy papers:

Geoscience: Acidification increases ocean noise

Genetics: Variants associated with cleft lip with or without cleft palate

Neuroscience: Socializing the amygdala

Immunology: Inflammation and Type 2 Diabetes

Medicine: Visualizing metastasis

Photonics: Single-cycle laser pulses

Geoscience: Sticky sediments shape deltas

Chemical Biology: Wrapping up a ring

Photonics: Chip-scale multiwavelength sources

And finally…Materials: Lenses that see it all

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

· Geographical listing of authors

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[1] Geoscience: Acidification increases ocean noise
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo719

The high-latitude oceans could become an increasingly noisy place to live this century, according to a study published online in Nature Geoscience. Increased noise levels could influence the behaviour and biology of marine organisms, for example causing the temporary loss of hearing in dolphins or the mass stranding of cetaceans.

Low-frequency sound in the ocean is produced by natural phenomena, such as rain, waves and marine life, and by human activities such as sonar systems, shipping and construction. The concentration of chemicals that absorb sound in the world’s oceans has declined as a result of ocean acidification, in turn caused by rising concentrations of carbon dioxide. Tatiana Ilyina and colleagues use model simulations to show that reductions in ocean pH could reduce seawater sound absorption by as much as 60% at high latitudes and in areas where deep water forms.

This could affect species at the top of the ocean food web – for example, baleen whales – by changing the spread of sound in the oceans.

Author contact:
Tatiana Ilyina (University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA)
Tel: +45 51 422 762; E-mail:

[2] Genetics: Variants associated with cleft lip with or without cleft palate
DOI: 10.1038/ng.506

Two common genetic variants that are associated with non-syndromic cleft lip which occurs with or without cleft palate (NSCL/P) have been identified in this week’s issue of Nature Genetics.

Clefts are gaps in structures of the body that result from the incomplete fusion of those structures during development. Cleft lip and cleft palate are common birth defects that occur within the range of 1 in 700 to 1 in 1000 births worldwide, and are correctable by carrying out surgery that connects the incomplete structures.

Elisabeth Mangold and colleagues scanned the genomes of several hundred cases of NSCL/P and found two new genetic variants on chromosome 17q22 and chromosome 10q25 that confer higher risk of developing NSCL/P. Combined with previous work, there are now 4 four known common susceptibility loci for NSCL/P.

Author contact:
Elisabeth Mangold (University of Bonn, Germany)
Tel: +49 228 287 22286; E-mail:

[3] Neuroscience: Socializing the amygdala
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2468

Personality differences which arise in relation to our feelings on inequality, modify activity in the amygdala – a brain region important for automatic emotional processing. The study, published online this week in Nature Neuroscience, contradicts previous ideas which suggest that such personality differences are due to prefrontal cortex differences.

How people prefer to divide resources between themselves and others is a stable personality trait. Prosocial individuals, who typically work in ways that benefit others, prefer to maximize resources for themselves, but also like that others have similar resources. Individualists, however, prefer to maximize resources for themselves, regardless of the amount available for others.

The way in which people reach these types of decision has been debated but one theory is that an automatic, ‘bottom up’ response only considers the reward for oneself, and ‘top-down’ control – thought to be exerted by the prefrontal cortex – is required to overcome this selfish impulse.

Masahiko Haruno and Chris Frith tested the idea of ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ processing during sharing tasks by looking at how the brains of prosocial and individualistic people respond to the desirability of a pair of rewards – one for themselves and one for a partner. They found that prosocial people did not like unfair scenarios and responded accordingly, whereas individualists’ choices were not influenced how fair things were. The teams noted that activity in the amygdala differed between these two groups of people, with greater reward inequality correlating with greater amygdala activation in the prosocials. They therefore conclude that the characteristic prosocial aversion to inequality is linked to activity in the amygdala, and does not depend on top-down control of selfish impulses.

Author contact:
Masahiko Haruno (Tamagawa University, Tokyo, Japan)
Tel: +81 427398948; E-mail:

[4] Immunology: Inflammation and Type 2 Diabetes
DOI: 10.1038/ni.1831

A newly identified protein involved in inflammation may be a key player in the induction of Type 2 diabetes (T2D), according to a report published online this week in Nature Immunology. Targeting the components of this inflammatory pathway may lead to new therapies for T2D – a metabolic disease with rising incidence in the developed world.

Jürg Tschopp and colleagues found that TXNIP, a protein previously associated with insulin resistance, is intimately involved in switching on the NLRP3 inflammasome – a complex of proteins that mediates production of the immune messenger, IL-1beta, and inflammation. Various stress or danger signals, such as infection, were found to release TXNIP from its bound inactive state, making it available for the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and IL-1beta release. Hyperglycemia – an excess of sugar in the blood – induces IL-1beta release from certain cells in a way which is dependent on TXNIP and therefore could be responsible for the mild chronic inflammation observed in diabetes.

This study provides a link between hyperglycemia and inflammation, and could lead to new effective therapies for T2D and other inflammatory diseases if methods are found to target components of the NLRP3 inflammasome.

Author contact:
Jürg Tschopp (University of Lausanne, Epalinges, Switzerland)
Tel: +41 21 692 57 38; E-mail:

[5] Medicine: Visualizing metastasis
DOI: 10.1038/nm.2072

Using a specific laser scanning method, the establishment of metastasis during cancer can be visualized in the brain, reports in this week’s Nature Medicine.

Brain metastasis commonly occurs in patients with cancer and is often fatal. Frank Winkler and colleagues have now used a technique known as multiphoton laser scanning microscopy to see the single steps of metastasis formation in real time. They were able to track the fate of individual metastasizing cancer cells in relation to blood vessels deep in the mouse brain over minutes to months.

The scientists established a series of essential steps – arrest of the cancer cells at blood-vessel branching points, exit from the blood vessel, persistent contacts between the cell and capillaries and, finally, growth of the metastasis around the blood vessel.

The ability to visualize the establishment of brain metastases inside the living brain will provide new insights into their development and will enable scientists to measure response to therapies.

Author contact:
Frank Winkler (Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany)
Tel: +49 89 70950; E-mail:

[6] Photonics: Single-cycle laser pulses
DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2009.258

Extremely short laser pulses, containing just a single cycle of the electric field, have been generated at the wavelength used for telecommunications. The achievement, reported online this week in Nature Photonics, could be beneficial in the fields of frequency metrology and in ultrafast sciences, for example ultrafast optical imaging.

Obtaining short laser pulses is difficult because it requires extremely careful synchronization and manipulation of two sets of pulses that are then coherently combined. Any significant timing jitter – a time variation in signal – between the two pulse streams ruins the process.

Alfred Leitenstorfer and colleagues have solved this problem by deriving the two separate pulse trains from a single erbium-doped fibre laser source, which is an existing fibre technology. This approach using a single source dramatically reduces the timing jitter between the two pulse trains, allowing the generation of pulses that are just 4.3 femtoseconds long – close to the shortest possible value for a data bit of information transmitted in the telecoms wavelength of 1.5 micrometres.

Author contact:
Alfred Leitenstorfer (University of Konstanz, Germany)
Tel: +49 7531 88 3817; E-mail:

[7] Geoscience: Sticky sediments shape deltas
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo730

The shape and structure of deltas is influenced by the stickiness of their sediments, according to a paper online this week in Nature Geoscience. Sediment cohesion acts in conjunction with other processes, including river discharge, waves and tides

Douglas Edmonds and Rudy Slingerland use numerical models to simulate the effect of sediment cohesion on the development of river deltas. Holding all other factors constant, they found that the relative stickiness of the sediments determined whether the deltas developed into bird’s-foot deltas with complex floodplains, such as the Mississippi River Delta, or fan-shaped deltas with smooth shorelines, such the Nile River Delta.

Sediment cohesion is controlled in part by the amount and type of vegetation surrounding the river. Therefore, the authors suggest that before the widespread evolution of continental plant life —­ beginning about 420 million years ago — river deltas should have been predominantly fan-shaped, a finding that is consistent with the rock record.

Author contacts:
Douglas Edmonds (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA)
Tel: +1 814 360 3669; E-mail:

Rudy Slingerland (Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA)
Tel: +1 814 865 6892; E-mail:

[8] Chemical Biology: Wrapping up a ring
DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.285

A new enzyme function may have implications for HIV inhibitor discovery, suggests a study online this week in Nature Chemical Biology.

RK-682 is a potent inhibitor of HIV-1 proteinase, one of the enzymes necessary for HIV infectivity. This natural product found in some bacteria also contains an unusual ‘tetronate’ ring which is shared by several other compounds, but the pathway to make this structure is not known.

Peter Leadlay, Yuhui Sun and colleagues identify a single enzyme, RkD, as being responsible for stitching up two molecules at two sites to create a single compound containing the tetronate ring. Although it remains to be seen whether related enzymes will have exactly the same function, this work should provide new inspiration for the creation of potential HIV drugs.

Author contacts:
Peter Leadlay (University of Cambridge, UK)
Tel: +44 1223 766041; E-mail:

Yuhui Sun (University of Cambridge, UK)
Tel: +44 1223 333658; E-mail:

[9] & [10] Photonics: Chip-scale multiwavelength sources
DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2009.236
DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2009.259

The fabrication of ultrafast chip-to-chip optical data communications is a step closer, thanks to two independent studies published online this week in Nature Photonics. Both studies report multiple-wavelength light sources integrated onto a silicon chip. These results will not only be useful for improving computing power, but also other applications such as sensing and metrology.

As computer processing power continues to increase, new methods for efficiently passing vast amounts of data around circuit boards are required. Metallic tracks, which are currently used, struggle to keep up with these needs.

The on-chip light sources developed by David Moss and Michal Lipson, and their respective colleagues, can simultaneously transmit multiple data channels in a single optical fibre, each using a different wavelength. Though sources giving multiple wavelengths are already known, these two teams have developed them on a chip that, in principle, can not only be integrated with silicon computer chips, but can be also fabricated using the same methods.

Both devices are based on the similar technology, though each uses different materials to create the multiple wavelengths; Moss’s uses a special silica glass, whereas Lipson’s uses silicon nitride.

Author contacts:
David Moss (University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) Author paper [9]
Tel: +61 416 427 363; E-mail:

Michal Lipson (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA) Author paper [10]
Tel: +1 607 255 7877; E-mail:

[11] And finally…Materials: Lenses that see it all
DOI: 10.1038/nmat2610

The creation of a lens that can image light from an entire hemisphere onto a flat surface is reported online this week in Nature Materials. The finding could in future prove useful in the development of detectors and cameras.

Optical lenses, by design, can only magnify light coming in from one direction. However, through careful engineering of light propagation through an artificial medium — a metamaterial — this restriction has been overcome. Metamaterials allow the complete and deliberate control of light propagation, and therefore considerably expand the capabilities of optical instruments beyond what is possible with glasses.

Nathan Kundtz and David Smith created a metamaterial lens that captures light from angles up to 180° and projects it onto a surface. Combined with a camera chip attached to this flat surface, such a lens can image and transmit an entire hemisphere with a single camera shot. The present lens is designed to work in the microwave region, although the design can in future be scaled down so as to be used with visible light.

Author contact:
David Smith (Duke University, Durham, NC, USA)
Tel: +1 919 660 8258; E-mail:

Items from other Nature journals to be published online at the same time and with the same embargo:

Nature (

[12] Deubiquitinase USP9X stabilizes MCL1 and promotes tumour cell survival
DOI: 10.1038/nature08646

[13] Innate production of TH2 cytokines by adipose tissue-associated c-Kit+Sca-1+ lymphoid cells
DOI: 10.1038/nature08636

[14] Crystal structure of DNA-PKcs reveals a large open-ring cradle comprised of HEAT repeats
DOI: 10.1038/nature08648


[15] Chimeric mouse tumor models reveal differences in pathway activation between ERBB family– and KRAS-dependent lung adenocarcinomas
DOI: 10.1038/nbt.1595


[16] GM1 structure determines SV40-induced membrane invagination and infection
DOI: 10.1038/ncb1999

[17] HERC2 coordinates ubiquitin-dependent assembly of DNA repair factors on damaged chromosomes
DOI: 10.1038/ncb2008


[18] Chemoselective small molecules that covalently modify one lysine in a non-enzyme protein in plasma
DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.281

[19] Chemical reprogramming of Caenorhabditis elegans germ cell fate
DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.282


[20] A versatile approach to high-throughput microarrays using thiol-ene chemistry
DOI: 10.1038/nchem.478

[21] A synthetic small molecule that can walk down a track
DOI: 10.1038/nchem.481


[22] Mutations in the formin protein INF2 cause focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
DOI: 10.1038/ng.505

[23] Wt1 is required for mesenchymal cardiovascular progenitor cell formation in epicardium and ES cells through direct transcriptional control of Snail and E-cadherin
DOI: 10.1038/ng.494


[24] Ecohydrologic separation of water between trees and streams in a Mediterranean climate
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo722

[25] High Earth-system climate sensitivity determined from Pliocene carbon dioxide concentrations
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo724


[26] The activating receptor NKp46 is essential for the development of type 1 diabetes


[27] Dynamic display of biomolecular patterns through an elastic creasing instability of stimuli-responsive hydrogels
DOI: 10.1038/nmat2606

[28] Three-dimensional imaging of strain in a single ZnO nanorod
DOI: 10.1038/nmat2607


[29] Biofilm-like extracellular viral assemblies mediate HTLV-1 cell-to-cell transmission at virological synapses
DOI: 10.1038/nm.2065

[30] Generation of stable monoclonal antibody–producing B cell receptor–positive human memory B cells by genetic programming
DOI: 10.1038/nm.2071


[31] Electrically controlled DNA adhesion
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2009.377

[32] Switching binary states of nanoparticle superlattices and dimer clusters by DNA strands
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2009.378

[33] Electrostatic focusing of unlabelled DNA into nanoscale pores using a salt gradient
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2009.379

[34] Large-area spatially ordered arrays of gold nanoparticles directed by lithographically confined DNA origami
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2009.450

[35] Colloidal lenses allow high-temperature single-molecule imaging and improve fluorophore photostability
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2009.452

[36] New modes for sub-surface atomic force microscopy through nanomechanical coupling
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2009.454


[37] State dependence of olfactory perception as a function of taste cortical inactivation
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2463

[38] Control of hippocampal gamma oscillation frequency by tonic inhibition and excitation of interneurons
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2464

[39] The relationship between visual resolution and cone spacing in the human fovea
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2465

[40] A robust and high-throughput Cre reporting and characterization system for the whole mouse brain
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2467

[41] Inactivation of primate superior colliculus impairs covert selection of signals for perceptual judgments
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2470

[42] Parallel pathways for vocal learning in basal ganglia of songbirds
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2472


[43] Generation of molecular hot electroluminescence by resonant nanocavity plasmons
DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2009.257

Nature PHYSICS (

[44] Nanoscale non-equilibrium dynamics and the fluctuation–dissipation relation in an ageing polymer glass
DOI: 10.1038/nphys1482

[45] Normal-state spin dynamics and temperature-dependent spin-resonance energy in optimally doped BaFe1:85Co0:15As2
DOI: 10.1038/nphys1483

[46] Role of column density in the formation of stars and black holes
DOI: 10.1038/nphys1484


[47] An intramembrane aromatic network determines pentameric assembly of Cys-loop receptors
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1721

[48] The opening of the two pores of the Hv1 voltage-gated proton channel is tuned by cooperativity
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1738

[49] Strong cooperativity between subunits in voltage-gated proton channels
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1739

[50] Enzymatic and structural insights for substrate specificity of a family of jumonji histone lysine demethylases
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1753


The following list of places refers to the whereabouts of authors on the papers numbered in this release. 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.

Parkville: 12
Sydney: 9

Antwerp: 2

Varennes: 9

Anhui: 43
Hong Kong: 25

Aarhus: 3
Copenhagen: 17

Gif-sur-Yvette: 45
Paris: 16, 29

Aachen: 47
Berlin: 2, 30, 31
Bonn: 2, 16
Cologne: 2
Darmstadt: 47
Dresden: 16, 45
Essen: 2
Frankfurt: 47
Garching: 45
Goettingen: 2, 45
Hamburg: 2
Heidelberg: 16
Kiel: 2
Konstanz: 6
Leipzig: 2
Magdeburg: 2
Martinsried: 5
Munich: 2, 5
Neuherberg: 2
Stuttgart: 45

Jerusalem: 16, 26
Negev: 26
Ramat-Gan: 33

Ferrara: 2
Pavia: 9

Kanagawa: 13
Kyoto: 3
Osaka: 13, 22, 23
Saitama: 8
Tokyo: 13

Amsterdam: 30
Bilthoven: 30
Nijmegen: 2
Rotterdam: 2
Utrecht: 30

Moscow: 47

Taejon: 4

Malaga: 23

Epalinges: 4
Zurich: 16

Aberdeen: 24
Cambridge: 8, 14
Dundee: 2
Edinburgh: 21, 23
Guildford: 28
Harrow: 16
London: 3, 28
Oxford: 28


Berkeley: 16, 39, 48
Irvine: 48
La Jolla: 18, 34, 41
Los Angeles: 38, 42
Moss Landing: 1
Palo Alto: 30
San Francisco: 12
San Jose: 34
Santa Barbara: 20
Santa Cruz: 25
Stanford: 35

New Haven: 15, 25, 46

District of Columbia
Washington: 34

Miami: 49

Atlanta: 50

Honolulu: 1

Argonne: 28
Urbana: 34

Annapolis: 9

Amherst: 27
Boston: 15, 22, 33, 44, 50
Cambridge: 15
Waltham: 37

Minneapolis: 7

New Hampshire
Hanover: 22

New York
Ithaca: 10
New York: 33
Syracuse: 32
Upton: 32

North Carolina
Durham: 11

Corvallis: 24

University Park: 7

Knoxville: 36
Oak Ridge: 36

Burlington: 30

Seattle: 40

Madison: 19


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