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Article Released Sun-5th-December-2010 18:29 GMT
Contact: Ruth Institution: Nature Publishing Group
 Mechanism underlying 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic

Summaries of newsworthy papers: Neuroscience: Linking deafness and cardiac arrhythmia; Geoscience: Deep burn; Neuroscience: Sizing up visual perception; Genetics: Variants associated with kidney cancer and Photonics: Taking off using light


For papers that will be published online on 05 December 2010

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

This press release contains:

· Summaries of newsworthy papers:

Medicine: Mechanism underlying 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic

Neuroscience: Linking deafness and cardiac arrhythmia

Geoscience: Deep burn

Neuroscience: Sizing up visual perception

Genetics: Variants associated with kidney cancer

And finally…Photonics: Taking off using light

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

· Geographical listing of authors

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[1] Medicine: Mechanism underlying 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic
DOI: 10.1038/nm.2262

The mechanism by which the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus caused more severe disease manifestation in middle-aged adults than elderly or young children is reported in this week’s issue of Nature Medicine.

The age distribution of severe cases of disease during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic was unusual since influenza viruses typically affect those with weaker immune systems—such as elderly and young children. Fernando Polack and colleague found severe cases in middle-aged adults—between 17 and 57 years of age—were caused when pre-existing antibodies against seasonal strains of influenza cross-reacted with the H1N1 strain. These antibodies do not protect against H1N1 but are associated with immune complex-mediated disease, whereby an aggregate of antibodies and viral proteins accumulate in organs, such as the kidneys or lung, leading to post-infection illness.

The team compared lung samples from middle-aged patients who died from the H1N1 virus to fatal cases from the 1957 H2N2 influenza, and found that that the mechanisms of immune complex disease were similar in both cases.

Author contact:

Fernando Polack (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA)
Tel: +1 615 343 6070; E-mail:

[2] Neuroscience: Linking deafness and cardiac arrhythmia
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2694

Loss of function of a calcium channel underlies human deafness and is also associated with cardiac arrhythmia, reports a study published online this week in Nature Neuroscience. These findings provide insight into hearing and deafness in humans and highlight the need for cardiac testing in cases of deafness where the cause is unknown.

A certain type of ion channel that allows calcium to enter cells, L-type calcium channel, is critical for both the function of auditory hair cells, which are critical for hearing, and the function of the sinoatrial node (SAN), which is critical for the heart’s rhythm.

Hanno Bolz and colleagues identified a mutation in CACNA1D, a gene that encodes the pore-forming part of the L-type calcium channel, in two families where many blood relatives were deaf. All deaf individuals also exhibited pronounced SAN dysfunction with abnormally slow heartbeat at rest. Further investigation of the mutant calcium channels revealed that the mutation resulted in calcium ions not being able to get through channel. The loss of function of the mutant calcium channels is consistent with altered electrical excitability in auditory and SAN cells and could underlie both the deafness and SAN dysfunction seen in these deaf individuals.

Author contact:
Hanno Bolz (University Hospital of Cologne, Germany)
Tel: +49 6132 781 206; E-mail:

[3] Geoscience: Deep burn
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1027

Wildfires have increased carbon emissions from Alaskan forests over the past decade, suggests a study published online in Nature Geoscience.

Climate change has increased the area affected by forest fires in boreal North America. Merritt Turetsky and colleagues examined the depth of ground-layer burning in Alaskan forests over the past three decades. The depth of burning increased as the fire season progressed, and was greater the larger the area burned. The team’s model simulations suggest that increases in combustion at the ground layer have accelerated regional carbon emissions over the past decade.

Author contact:
Merritt Turetsky (University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada)
Tel: +1 519 824 4120; E-mail:

[4] Neuroscience: Sizing up visual perception
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2706

The size of the primary visual cortex in the brain correlates with how people see two common visual illusions, reports a study published online this week in Nature Neuroscience. This brain area is known to be important for visual perception, but this work suggests its size also modulates conscious visual experience.

Samuel Schwarzkopf and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging in a group of volunteers to map out a set of visual areas, including the primary visual cortex (V1). They then worked out the V1 surface area of each person, and showed their volunteers two common visual illusions, where the size of simple geometrical shapes appears to be different from what it really is.

The researchers found that the larger the primary visual cortex in each individual, the smaller the magnitude of illusion. This correlation was specific to the primary visual cortex, and was not there for other visual areas tested. These results therefore suggest that the variability in conscious visual experience may partially be down to variability in the size of V1.

Author contacts:
Dietrich Samuel Schwarzkopf (University College London, UK)
Tel: +44 20 7833 7480; Email:

Geraint Rees (University College London, UK)
Tel: +44 20 7679 5496; Email:

[5] Genetics: Variants associated with kidney cancer
DOI: 10.1038/ng.723

Two genetic loci are associated with renal cell carcinoma (RCC), according to a new report published online this week in Nature Genetics. These are the first common genetic variants associated with this type of cancer.

Approximately 200,000 new cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed worldwide each year, with renal cell carcinoma accounting for 90% of all kidney cancer cases. High blood pressure, obesity and smoking are all risk factors for kidney cancer, although previously no common genetic variants were known to increase risk for the disease.

Paul Brennan, Stephen Chanock, and colleagues now report the first genome-wide analysis of 5,970 individuals with renal cell carcinoma. The study identifies two genetic loci that are associated with RCC risk.

Author contacts:
Paul Brennan (International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France)
Tel: +33 4 7273 8391; E-mail:

Stephen Chanock, (National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA)
Please contact this author through:
National Cancer Institute, Office of Media Relations
Tel: +1 301 496 6641; E-mail:

[6] And finally…Photonics: Taking off using light
DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2010.266

Light can lift a wing-shaped refractive object, in a concept comparable to aerodynamic lift reports a paper published online this week in Nature Photonics. The work will not only advance the control of microscopic particle transportation in liquids, but could potentially aid the design of solar sails for interstellar space travel.

Grover Swartzlander and co-workers found that a micrometre-scale object with differently shaped top and bottom surfaces experiences a transverse lift when illuminated by a uniform milliwatt-scale stream of light. Unlike aerodynamic lift, which is based on a pressure difference, this ‘lightfoil’ technique relies on refraction pressure resulting from a difference in the refracted and reflected rays of light.

The researchers achieved uniform motion of a few micrometres per second, and foresee that this technique could be extended to the macroscopic domain.

Author contact:
Grover Swartzlander (Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA)
Tel: +1 520 471 7785; E-mail:

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

Nature (

[7] Development of asymmetric inhibition underlying direction selectivity in the retina
DOI: 10.1038/nature09600

[8] Experimental niche evolution alters the strength of the diversity–productivity relationship
DOI: 10.1038/nature09592

[9] Noise correlations improve response fidelity and stimulus encoding
DOI: 10.1038/nature09570

[10] The mechanism of sodium and substrate release from the binding pocket of vSGLT
DOI: 10.1038/nature09580


[11] Toolkit for evaluating genes required for proliferation and survival using tetracycline-regulated RNAi
DOI: 10.1038/nbt.1720


[12] CDK1-dependent phosphorylation of EZH2 suppresses methylation of H3K27 and promotes osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cell
DOI: 10.1038/ncb2139

[13] Direct reprogramming of fibroblasts into epiblast stem cells
DOI: 10.1038/ncb2136


[14] Structural basis for regulation of the Crk signaling protein by a proline switch
DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.494


[15] A molybdenum complex bearing PNP-type pincer ligands leads to the catalytic reduction of dinitrogen into ammonia
DOI: 10.1038/nchem.906


[16] Mutations in genes encoding subunits of RNA Polymerases I and III cause Treacher Collins syndrome
DOI: 10.1038/ng.724

[17] CEP152 is a genome maintenance protein disrupted in Seckel syndrome
DOI: 10.1038/ng.725

[18] CCDC39 is required for assembly of inner dynein arms and the dynein regulatory complex as well as normal ciliary motility in human and dogs
DOI: 10.1038/ng.726

[19] The coiled-coil domain containing protein CCDC40 is essential for motile cilia function and left-right axis formation
DOI: 10.1038/ng.727


[20] Preservation of Inner Gorges Through Repeated Alpine Glaciations
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1030

[21] Expression of the bipolar seesaw in Antarctic climate records during the last deglaciation
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1026


[22] Control of the differentiation of regulatory T cells and TH17 cells by the DNA-binding inhibitor Id3
DOI: 10.1038/ni.1965

[23] The enhancer HS2 critically regulates GATA-3-mediated Il4 transcription in TH2 cells
DOI: 10.1038/ni.1966

[24] HLA-DM captures partially empty HLA-DR molecules for catalyzed removal of peptide
DOI: 10.1038/ni.1967

[25] Lysine methylation of the NF-kappaB subunit RelA by SETD6 couples activity of the histone methyltransferase GLP at chromatin to tonic repression of NF-kappaB signaling
DOI: 10.1038/ni.1968


[26] Engineering spin propagation across a hybrid organic-inorganic interface with a polar layer
DOI: 10.1038/nmat2912

[27] Mechanics and contraction dynamics of single platelets and implications for clot stiffening
DOI: 10.1038/nmat2903

[28] Near room-temperature formation of skyrmion crystal in a helimagnet FeGe: sample-dimensional variation of skyrmion stability
DOI: 10.1038/nmat2916


[29] MicroRNA-124 promotes microglia quiescence and suppresses EAE by deactivating macrophages via the C/EBP-alpha–PU.1 pathway
DOI: 10.1038/nm.2266


[30] Shotgun Glycomics: A Microarray Strategy for Functional Glycomics
DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1540

[31] SAINT: Probabilistic Scoring of Affinity Purification - Mass Spectrometry Data
DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1541

[32] Enhanced zinc-finger nuclease activity with improved obligate heterodimeric architectures
DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1539


[33] Freestanding palladium nanosheets with plasmonic and catalytic properties
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2010.235


[34] ftz-f1 and Hr39 opposing roles on EcR expression during Drosophila mushroom body neuron remodeling
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2700

[35] Perinatal photoperiod imprints the circadian clock
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2699

[36] Retinoid X receptor gamma signaling accelerates CNS remyelination
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2702

[37] Transient neuronal inhibition reveals opposing roles of indirect and direct pathways in sensitization
DOI: 10.1038/nn.2703

Nature PHYSICS (

[38] Quantum interference between charge excitation paths in a solid state Mott insulator
DOI: 10.1038/nphys1831

[39] Observation of High-order Harmonic Generation in a Bulk Crystal
DOI: 10.1038/nphys1847

[40] Disentangling Cooper-pair formation above Tc from pseudogap state in the cuprates
DOI: 10.1038/nphys1851

[41] Antibunching of Microwave Frequency Photons observed in Correlation Measurements using Linear Detectors
DOI: 10.1038/nphys1845


[42] An assessment of histone-modification antibody quality
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1972

[43] Beta2-microglobulin forms 3D domain-swapped amyloid fibrils with disulfide linkages
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1948

[44] CtIP promotes microhomology-mediated alternative end-joining during class switch recombination
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1942

[45] An essential role for CtIP in chromosomal translocation formation through an alternative end-joining pathway
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1940

[46] The three-dimensional folding of the alpha-globin gene domain reveals formation of chromatin globules
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1936

[47] Transcription of functionally related constitutive genes is not coordinated
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1934


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.

Buenos Aires: 1

Parkville: 24

Innsbruck: 2

Leuven: 18
Liege: 18

Guelph: 3
Quebec: 8
Sherbrooke: 41
Toronto: 31, 42

Xiamen: 33

Bogota: 8

Brno: 5
Olomouc: 5
Prague: 5

Aarhus: 5
Copenhagen: 18, 19

Helsinki: 5

Aix-en-Provence: 21
Creteil: 18
Evry: 5, 18
Gif-sur-Yvette: 21
Hendaye: 16
Illkirch: 36
Lyon: 5
Martin d’Heres: 21
Montpellier: 2, 8, 34
Paris: 18, 36
Saint-Etienne: 18
Strasbourg: 17
Villejuif: 5
Villeurbanne: 8

Berlin: 24, 38
Bremerhaven: 21
Cologne: 2, 17, 19
Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen: 19
Erlangen: 16
Essen: 16, 17
Freiburg: 18, 19
Hamburg: 38
Hannover: 18
Heidelberg: 5, 17, 18
Ingelheim: 2
Leipzig: 17
Monchengladbach: 16
Munich: 5, 16
Munster: 13, 18, 19
Nuthetal: 5
Potsdam: 20
Regensburg: 16
Saar: 2
Tubingen: 2, 19

Athens: 5

Budapest: 5, 19

Haifa: 18
Safed: 18

Florence: 5
Milan: 5, 21, 38
Naples: 5
Parma: 21
Ragusa: 5
Rome: 21
Sesto Fiorentino: 21
Trieste: 21
Turin: 5
Venice: 21

Chiba: 22
Fukuoka: 22
Kashiwa: 38
Nagoya: 40
Sapporo: 38
Tokyo: 15, 22, 28, 36, 38
Tsukuba: 28, 38
Wako: 28
Yokohama: 22

Bilthoven: 5
Leiden: 16
Nijmegen: 5, 16, 17
Rotterdam: 16
The Hague: 16
Utrecht: 5

Bergen: 5
Oslo: 5
Tromso: 5
Trondheim: 5

Faisalabad: 2
Peshawar: 2

Lodz: 5
Szczecin: 5
Warsaw: 5

Bucharest: 5

Moscow: 5

Singapore: 38

Banska Bystrica: 5

Johannesburg: 17

Seoul: 13

Barcelona: 5
Murcia: 5
Oviedo: 5, 16
Pamplona: 5
San Sebastian: 5
Valencia: 46

Umea: 5

Bern: 21
Davos: 20
Fribourg: 26
Villigen: 26
Zurich: 11, 17, 41

Taichung: 12

Istanbul: 17
Trabzon: 17

Cambridge: 5, 17, 21, 36, 42
Didcot: 26
Edinburgh: 17, 31, 36
Leeds: 5
London: 4, 5, 17, 26
Manchester: 16
Oxford: 5, 8, 38
Sheffield: 26
Stevenage: 25


Birmingham: 35

Berkeley: 7, 27, 42
La Jolla: 42
Los Angeles: 10, 18, 43
Menlo Park: 3, 39
Palo Alto: 25
Richmond: 31
San Francisco: 27
Santa Cruz: 42
Stanford: 25, 39

Aurora: 19

District of Columbia
Washington: 19

Atlanta: 5, 25, 30, 31

Chicago: 5

Ames: 40

Bethesda: 5, 23
College Park: 3
Frederick: 5

Boston: 5, 24, 29, 42
Cambridge: 24
Watertown: 24
Worcester: 46

Ann Arbor: 31
Detroit: 5
Houghton: 3

St Louis: 5, 42

New Jersey
Newark: 14
Piscataway: 14, 42
Princeton: 19, 25

New York
Bronx: 47
Cold Spring Harbor: 11
New York: 5, 19, 25, 44, 45
Rochester: 6
Upton: 40

North Carolina
Chapel Hill: 37, 42
Durham: 18, 23

Columbus: 39

Pittsburgh: 10

Nashville: 1, 35

Houston: 5, 12, 18, 25
Smithville: 25

Manassas: 23

Pullman: 37
Seattle: 3, 9, 20, 37


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Tel: +44 20 7843 4658; E-mail:

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Tel: +44 20 7843 4562; E-mail:

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Keywords associated to this article: medicine, neuroscience, geoscience, genetics, photonics
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