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See detailDiscovery of X-ray pulsations from a massive star
Oskinova, Lidia M.; Nazé, Yaël ULg; Todt, Helge et al

in Nature Communications (2014), 5

X-ray emission from stars much more massive than the Sun was discovered only 35 years ago. Such stars drive fast stellar winds where shocks can develop, and it is commonly assumed that the X-rays emerge ... [more ▼]

X-ray emission from stars much more massive than the Sun was discovered only 35 years ago. Such stars drive fast stellar winds where shocks can develop, and it is commonly assumed that the X-rays emerge from the shock-heated plasma. Many massive stars additionally pulsate. However, hitherto it was neither theoretically predicted nor observed that these pulsations would affect their X-ray emission. All X-ray pulsars known so far are associated with degenerate objects, either neutron stars or white dwarfs. Here we report the discovery of pulsating X-rays from a non-degenerate object, the massive B-type star ξ[SUP]1[/SUP] CMa. This star is a variable of β Cep-type and has a strong magnetic field. Our observations with the X-ray Multi-Mirror (XMM-Newton) telescope reveal X-ray pulsations with the same period as the fundamental stellar oscillations. This discovery challenges our understanding of stellar winds from massive stars, their X-ray emission and their magnetism. [less ▲]

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See detailConventional tree height-diameter relationships significantly overestimate aboveground carbon stocks in the Central Congo Basin
Kearsley, E; de Haulleville, Thalès ULg; Hufkens, K et al

in Nature Communications (2013), 4

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See detailEphrin-A5/EphA4 signalling controls specific afferent targeting to cochlear hair cells.
Defourny, Jean; Poirrier, Anne-Lise; Lallemend, Francois et al

in Nature Communications (2013), 4

Hearing requires an optimal afferent innervation of sensory hair cells by spiral ganglion neurons in the cochlea. Here we report that complementary expression of ephrin-A5 in hair cells and EphA4 receptor ... [more ▼]

Hearing requires an optimal afferent innervation of sensory hair cells by spiral ganglion neurons in the cochlea. Here we report that complementary expression of ephrin-A5 in hair cells and EphA4 receptor among spiral ganglion neuron populations controls the targeting of type I and type II afferent fibres to inner and outer hair cells, respectively. In the absence of ephrin-A5 or EphA4 forward signalling, a subset of type I projections aberrantly overshoot the inner hair cell layer and invade the outer hair cell area. Lack of type I afferent synapses impairs neurotransmission from inner hair cells to the auditory nerve. By contrast, radial shift of type I projections coincides with a gain of presynaptic ribbons that could enhance the afferent signalling from outer hair cells. Ephexin-1, cofilin and myosin light chain kinase act downstream of EphA4 to induce type I spiral ganglion neuron growth cone collapse. Our findings constitute the first identification of an Eph/ephrin-mediated mutual repulsion mechanism responsible for specific sorting of auditory projections in the cochlea. [less ▲]

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See detailTunable conductivity threshold at polar oxide interfaces
Reinle-Schmitt, M.L.; Cancellieri, C.; Li, D. et al

in Nature Communications (2012), 3

The physical mechanisms responsible for the formation of a two-dimensional electron gas at the interface between insulating SrTiO3 and LaAlO3 have remained a contentious subject since its discovery in ... [more ▼]

The physical mechanisms responsible for the formation of a two-dimensional electron gas at the interface between insulating SrTiO3 and LaAlO3 have remained a contentious subject since its discovery in 2004. Opinion is divided between an intrinsic mechanism involving the build-up of an internal electric potential due to the polar discontinuity at the interface between SrTiO3 and LaAlO3, and extrinsic mechanisms attributed to structural imperfections. Here we show that interface conductivity is also exhibited when the LaAlO3 layer is diluted with SrTiO3, and that the threshold thickness required to show conductivity scales inversely with the fraction of LaAlO3 in this solid solution, and thereby also with the layer’s formal polarization. These results can be best described in terms of the intrinsic polar-catastrophe model, hence providing the most compelling evidence, to date, in favour of this mechanism. [less ▲]

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See detailMicroorganisms from Aphid Honeydew Attract and Enhance the Efficacy of Natural Enemies
Leroy, Pascal ULg; Sabri, Ahmed ULg; Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg et al

in Nature Communications (2011), 2

Aphids are one of the most serious pests of crops worldwide, causing major yield and economic losses. To control aphids, natural enemies could be an option but their efficacy is sometimes limited by their ... [more ▼]

Aphids are one of the most serious pests of crops worldwide, causing major yield and economic losses. To control aphids, natural enemies could be an option but their efficacy is sometimes limited by their dispersal in natural environment. Here we report the first isolation of a bacterium from the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum honeydew, Staphylococcus sciuri, which acts as a kairomone enhancing the efficiency of aphid natural enemies. Our findings represent the first case of a host-associated bacterium driving prey location and ovipositional preference for the natural enemy. We show that this bacterium has a key role in tritrophic interactions because it is the direct source of volatiles used to locate prey. Some specific semiochemicals produced by S. sciuri were also identified as significant attractants and ovipositional stimulants. The use of this host-associated bacterium could certainly provide a novel approach to control aphids in field and greenhouse systems. [less ▲]

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See detailHeisenberg-limited sensitivity with decoherence-enhanced measurements
Braun, D.; Martin, John ULg

in Nature Communications (2011), 2(223), 1-9

Quantum-enhanced measurements use quantum mechanical effects to enhance the sensitivity of the measurement of classical quantities, such as the length of an optical cavity. The major goal is to beat the ... [more ▼]

Quantum-enhanced measurements use quantum mechanical effects to enhance the sensitivity of the measurement of classical quantities, such as the length of an optical cavity. The major goal is to beat the standard quantum limit (SQL), that is, an uncertainty of order 1/ N, where N is the number of quantum resources (for example, the number of photons or atoms used), and to achieve a scaling 1/N, known as the Heisenberg limit. So far very few experiments have demonstrated an improvement over the SQL. The required quantum states are generally highly entangled, difficult to produce, and very prone to decoherence. Here, we show that Heisenberg- limited measurements can be achieved without the use of entangled states by coupling the quantum resources to a common environment that can be measured at least in part. The method is robust under decoherence, and in fact the parameter dependence of collective decoherence itself can be used to reach a 1/N scaling. [less ▲]

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