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Highly conductive and elastic nanomembrane for skin electronics

Skin electronics require stretchable conductors that satisfy metallike conductivity, high stretchability, ultrathin thickness, and facile patternability, but achieving these characteristics simultaneously is challenging. We present a float assembly method to fabricate a nanomembrane that meets all these requirements. The method enables a compact assembly of nanomaterials at the water–oil interface and their partial embedment in an ultrathin elastomer membrane, which can distribute the applied strain in the elastomer membrane and thus lead to a high elasticity even with the high loading of the nanomaterials. Furthermore, the structure allows cold welding and bilayer stacking, resulting in high conductivity. These properties are preserved even after high-resolution patterning by using photolithography. A multifunctional epidermal sensor array can be fabricated with the patterned nanomembranes.

RNA editing restricts hyperactive ciliary kinases

Protein kinase activity must be precisely regulated, but how a cell governs hyperactive kinases remains unclear. In this study, we generated a constitutively active mitogen-activated protein kinase DYF-5 (DYF-5CA) in Caenorhabditis elegans that disrupted sensory cilia. Genetic suppressor screens identified that mutations of ADR-2, an RNA adenosine deaminase, rescued ciliary phenotypes of dyf-5CA. We found that dyf-5CA animals abnormally transcribed antisense RNAs that pair with dyf-5CA messenger RNA (mRNA) to form double-stranded RNA, recruiting ADR-2 to edit the region ectopically. RNA editing impaired dyf-5CA mRNA splicing, and the resultant intron retentions blocked DYF-5CA protein translation and activated nonsense-mediated dyf-5CA mRNA decay. The kinase RNA editing requires kinase hyperactivity. The similar RNA editing–dependent feedback regulation restricted the other ciliary kinases NEKL-4/NEK10 and DYF-18/CCRK, which suggests a widespread mechanism that underlies kinase regulation.

Chimeric spike mRNA vaccines protect against Sarbecovirus challenge in mice

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in 2003 and SARS-CoV-2 in 2019 highlights the need to develop universal vaccination strategies against the broader Sarbecovirus subgenus. Using chimeric spike designs, we demonstrate protection against challenge from SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351, bat CoV (Bt-CoV) RsSHC014, and a heterologous Bt-CoV WIV-1 in vulnerable aged mice. Chimeric spike messenger RNAs (mRNAs) induced high levels of broadly protective neutralizing antibodies against high-risk Sarbecoviruses. By contrast, SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination not only showed a marked reduction in neutralizing titers against heterologous Sarbecoviruses, but SARS-CoV and WIV-1 challenge in mice resulted in breakthrough infections. Chimeric spike mRNA vaccines efficiently neutralized D614G, mink cluster five, and the UK B.1.1.7 and South African B.1.351 variants of concern. Thus, multiplexed-chimeric spikes can prevent SARS-like zoonotic coronavirus infections with pandemic potential.

Field-induced transition within the superconducting state of CeRh2As2

Materials with multiple superconducting phases are rare. Here, we report the discovery of two-phase unconventional superconductivity in CeRh2As2. Using thermodynamic probes, we establish that the superconducting critical field of its high-field phase is as high as 14 tesla, even though the transition temperature is only 0.26 kelvin. Furthermore, a transition between two different superconducting phases is observed in a c axis magnetic field. Local inversion-symmetry breaking at the cerium sites enables Rashba spin-orbit coupling alternating between the cerium sublayers. The staggered Rashba coupling introduces a layer degree of freedom to which the field-induced transition and high critical field seen in experiment are likely related.

Enterococcus peptidoglycan remodeling promotes checkpoint inhibitor cancer immunotherapy

The antitumor efficacy of cancer immunotherapy can correlate with the presence of certain bacterial species within the gut microbiome. However, many of the molecular mechanisms that influence host response to immunotherapy remain elusive. In this study, we show that members of the bacterial genus Enterococcus improve checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy in mouse tumor models. Active enterococci express and secrete orthologs of the NlpC/p60 peptidoglycan hydrolase SagA that generate immune-active muropeptides. Expression of SagA in nonprotective E. faecalis was sufficient to promote immunotherapy response, and its activity required the peptidoglycan sensor NOD2. Notably, SagA-engineered probiotics or synthetic muropeptides also augmented anti–PD-L1 antitumor efficacy. Taken together, our data suggest that microbiota species with specialized peptidoglycan remodeling activity and muropeptide-based therapeutics may enhance cancer immunotherapy and could be leveraged as next-generation adjuvants.

Identification of a quality-control factor that monitors failures during proteasome assembly

In eukaryotic cells, half of all proteins function as subunits within multiprotein complexes. Imbalanced synthesis of subunits leads to unassembled intermediates that must be degraded to minimize cellular toxicity. Here, we found that excess PSMC5, a subunit of the proteasome base, was targeted for degradation by the HERC1 ubiquitin ligase in mammalian cells. HERC1 identified unassembled PSMC5 by its cognate assembly chaperone PAAF1. Because PAAF1 only dissociates after assembly, HERC1 could also engage later assembly intermediates such as the PSMC4-PSMC5-PAAF1 complex. A missense mutant of HERC1 that causes neurodegeneration in mice was impaired in the recognition and ubiquitination of the PSMC5-PAAF1 complex. Thus, proteasome assembly factors can serve as adaptors for ubiquitin ligases to facilitate elimination of unassembled intermediates and maintain protein homeostasis.

Photomediated ring contraction of saturated heterocycles

Saturated heterocycles are found in numerous therapeutics and bioactive natural products and are abundant in many medicinal and agrochemical compound libraries. To access new chemical space and function, many methods for functionalization on the periphery of these structures have been developed. Comparatively fewer methods are known for restructuring their core framework. Herein, we describe a visible light–mediated ring contraction of α-acylated saturated heterocycles. This unconventional transformation is orthogonal to traditional ring contractions, challenging the paradigm for diversification of heterocycles including piperidine, morpholine, thiane, tetrahydropyran, and tetrahydroisoquinoline derivatives. The success of this Norrish type II variant rests on reactivity differences between photoreactive ketone groups in specific chemical environments. This strategy was applied to late-stage remodeling of pharmaceutical derivatives, peptides, and sugars.

Insolation triggered abrupt weakening of Atlantic circulation at the end of interglacials

Abrupt cooling is observed at the end of interglacials in many paleoclimate records, but the mechanism responsible remains unclear. Using model simulations, we demonstrate that there exists a threshold in the level of astronomically induced insolation below which abrupt changes at the end of interglacials of the past 800,000 years occur. When decreasing insolation reaches the critical value, it triggers a strong, abrupt weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and a cooler mean climate state accompanied by high-amplitude variations lasting for several thousand years. The mechanism involves sea ice feedbacks in the Nordic and Labrador Seas. The ubiquity of this threshold suggests its fundamental role in terminating the warm climate conditions at the end of interglacials.