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See detailAging mechanisms in amorphous phase-change materials
Raty, Jean-Yves ULg; Zhang, wei; Luckas, Jennifer et al

in Nature Communications (2015), 6(7467), 1-8

Aging is a ubiquitous phenomenon in glasses. In the case of phase-change materials, it leads to a drift in the electrical resistance, which hinders the development of ultrahigh density storage devices ... [more ▼]

Aging is a ubiquitous phenomenon in glasses. In the case of phase-change materials, it leads to a drift in the electrical resistance, which hinders the development of ultrahigh density storage devices. Here we elucidate the aging process in amorphous GeTe, a prototypical phase-change material, by advanced numerical simulations, photothermal deflection spectroscopy and impedance spectroscopy experiments. We show that aging is accompanied by a progressive change of the local chemical order towards the crystalline one. Yet, the glass evolves towards a covalent amorphous network with increasing Peierls distortion, whose structural and electronic properties drift away from those of the resonantly bonded crystal. This behaviour sets phase-change materials apart from conventional glass-forming systems, which display the same local structure and bonding in both phases [less ▲]

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See detailCochlear supporting cell transdifferentiation and integration into hair cell layers by inhibition of ephrin-B2 signalling
Defourny, Jean; Mateo Sanchez, Susana ULg; Schoonaert, Lies et al

in Nature Communications (2015)

In mammals, cochlear sensory hair cells that are responsible for hearing are postmitotic and are not replaced after loss. One of the most promising strategies to regenerate hair cells is to identify and ... [more ▼]

In mammals, cochlear sensory hair cells that are responsible for hearing are postmitotic and are not replaced after loss. One of the most promising strategies to regenerate hair cells is to identify and inhibit the factors preventing the conversion of adjacent non-sensory supporting cells into hair cells. Here we demonstrate that mammalian hair cells can be directly generated from supporting cells by inhibition of ephrin-B2 signalling. Using either ephrin-B2 conditional knockout mice, shRNA-mediated gene silencing or soluble inhibitors, we found that downregulation of ephrin-B2 signalling at embryonic stages results in supporting cell translocation into hair cell layers and subsequent switch in cell identity from supporting cell to hair cell fate. As transdifferentiation is here a result of displacement across boundary, this original finding presents the interest that newly generated hair cells directly integrate either hair cell layer, then would be likely more rapidly able to fit into functional circuitry. [less ▲]

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See detailREGg is critical for skin carcinogenesis by modulating the Wnt/b-catenin pathway
Lei Li; Yongyan Dang; Jishen Zhang et al

in nature communications (2015)

Here we report that mice deficient for the proteasome activator, REGg, exhibit a marked resistance to TPA (12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate)-induced keratinocyte proliferation, epidermal hyperplasia ... [more ▼]

Here we report that mice deficient for the proteasome activator, REGg, exhibit a marked resistance to TPA (12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate)-induced keratinocyte proliferation, epidermal hyperplasia and onset of papillomas compared with wild-type counterparts. Interestingly, a massive increase of REGg in skin tissues or cells resulting from TPA induces activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK/p38). Blocking p38 MAPK activation prevents REGg elevation in HaCaT cells with TPA treatment. AP-1, the downstream effector of MAPK/p38, directly binds to the REGg promoter and activates its transcription in response to TPA stimulation. Furthermore, we find that REGg activates Wnt/b-catenin signalling by degrading GSK-3b in vitro and in cells, increasing levels of CyclinD1 and c-Myc, the downstream targets of b-catenin. Conversely, MAPK/p38 inactivation or REGg deletion prevents the increase of cyclinD1 and c-Myc by TPA. This study demonstrates that REGg acts in skin tumorigenesis mediating MAPK/p38 activation of the Wnt/b-catenin pathway. [less ▲]

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See detailFerromagnetism induced by entangled charge and orbital orderings in ferroelectric titanate perovskites
Bristowe, Nicholas ULg; Varignon, Julien ULg; Fontaine, Denis et al

in Nature Communications (2015), 6

In magnetic materials, the Pauli exclusion principle typically drives anti-alignment between electron spins on neighbouring species resulting in antiferromagnetic behaviour. Ferromagnetism exhibiting ... [more ▼]

In magnetic materials, the Pauli exclusion principle typically drives anti-alignment between electron spins on neighbouring species resulting in antiferromagnetic behaviour. Ferromagnetism exhibiting spontaneous spin alignment is a fairly rare behaviour, but once materialized is often associated with itinerant electrons in metals. Here we predict and rationalize robust ferromagnetism in an insulating oxide perovskite structure based on the popular titanate series. In half-doped layered titanates, the combination of Jahn–Teller and oxygen breathing motions opens a band gap and creates an unusual charge and orbital ordering of the Ti d electrons. It is argued that this intriguingly intricate electronic network favours the elusive inter-site ferromagnetic (FM) ordering, on the basis of intra-site Hund's rules. Finally, we find that the layered oxides are also ferroelectric with a spontaneous polarization approaching that of ​BaTiO3. The concepts are general and design principles of the technologically desirable FM ferroelectric multiferroics are presented. [less ▲]

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See detailStreptococcus agalactiae clones infecting humans were selected and fixed through the extensive use of tetracycline
Da Cunha, Violette; Davies, MR; Douarre, Pierre-Emmanuel et al

in Nature Communications (2014)

Streptococcus agalactiae (Group B Streptococcus, GBS) is a commensal of the digestive and genitourinary tracts of humans that emerged as the leading cause of bacterial neonatal infections in Europe and ... [more ▼]

Streptococcus agalactiae (Group B Streptococcus, GBS) is a commensal of the digestive and genitourinary tracts of humans that emerged as the leading cause of bacterial neonatal infections in Europe and North America during the 1960s. Due to the lack of epidemiological and genomic data, the reasons for this emergence are unknown. Here we show by com- parative genome analysis and phylogenetic reconstruction of 229 isolates that the rise of human GBS infections corresponds to the selection and worldwide dissemination of only a few clones. The parallel expansion of the clones is preceded by the insertion of integrative and conjugative elements conferring tetracycline resistance (TcR). Thus, we propose that the use of tetracycline from 1948 onwards led in humans to the complete replacement of a diverse GBS population by only few TcR clones particularly well adapted to their host, causing the observed emergence of GBS diseases in neonates. [less ▲]

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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 detailExtant diversity of bryophytes emerged from successive post-Mesozoic diversification bursts
Laenen, B.; Shaw, B.; Schneider, H. et al

in Nature Communications (2014), 5

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See detailAtomically precise interfaces from non-stoichiometric deposition
Nie, Y. F.; Zhu, Y.; Lee, C.-H. et al

in Nature Communications (2014), 5

Complex oxide heterostructures display some of the most chemically abrupt, atomically precise interfaces, which is advantageous when constructing new interface phases with emergent properties by ... [more ▼]

Complex oxide heterostructures display some of the most chemically abrupt, atomically precise interfaces, which is advantageous when constructing new interface phases with emergent properties by juxtaposing incompatible ground states. One might assume that atomically precise interfaces result from stoichiometric growth. Here we show that the most precise control is, however, obtained by using deliberate and specific non-stoichiometric growth conditions. For the precise growth of Srnþ1TinOnþ1 Ruddlesden–Popper (RP) phases, stoichiometric deposition leads to the loss of the first RP rock-salt double layer, but growing with a strontium-rich surface layer restores the bulk stoichiometry and ordering of the subsurface RP structure. Our results dramatically expand the materials that can be prepared in epitaxial heterostructures with precise interface control—from just the n¼N end members (perovskites) to the entire RP homologous series—enabling the exploration of novel quantum phenomena at a richer variety of oxide interfaces. [less ▲]

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See detailNF-kappaB-induced KIAA1199 promotes survival through EGFR signalling.
Shostak, Kateryna ULg; Zhang, Xin; Hubert, Pascale ULg et al

in Nature communications (2014), 5

Constitutive activation of EGFR- and NF-kappaB-dependent pathways is a hallmark of cancer, yet signalling proteins that connect both oncogenic cascades are poorly characterized. Here we define KIAA1199 as ... [more ▼]

Constitutive activation of EGFR- and NF-kappaB-dependent pathways is a hallmark of cancer, yet signalling proteins that connect both oncogenic cascades are poorly characterized. Here we define KIAA1199 as a BCL-3- and p65-dependent gene in transformed keratinocytes. KIAA1199 expression is enhanced on human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and is aberrantly expressed in clinical cases of cervical (pre)neoplastic lesions. Mechanistically, KIAA1199 binds Plexin A2 and protects from Semaphorin 3A-mediated cell death by promoting EGFR stability and signalling. Moreover, KIAA1199 is an EGFR-binding protein and KIAA1199 deficiency impairs EGF-dependent Src, MEK1 and ERK1/2 phosphorylations. Therefore, EGFR stability and signalling to downstream kinases requires KIAA1199. As such, KIAA1199 promotes EGF-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Taken together, our data define KIAA1199 as an oncogenic protein induced by HPV infection and constitutive NF-kappaB activity that transmits pro-survival and invasive signals through EGFR signalling. [less ▲]

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See detailAmiA is a penicillin target enzyme with dual activity in the intracellular pathogen Chlamydia pneumoniae
Klockner, Anna; Otten, Christian; Derouaux, Adeline ULg et al

in Nature Communications (2014)

Intracellular Chlamydiaceae do not need to resist osmotic challenges and a functional cell wall was not detected in these pathogens. Nevertheless, a recent study revealed evidence for circular ... [more ▼]

Intracellular Chlamydiaceae do not need to resist osmotic challenges and a functional cell wall was not detected in these pathogens. Nevertheless, a recent study revealed evidence for circular peptidoglycan-like structures in Chlamydiaceae and penicillin inhibits cytokinesis, a phenomenon known as the chlamydial anomaly. Here, by characterizing a cell wall precursor-processing enzyme, we provide insights into the mechanisms underlying this mystery. We show that AmiA from Chlamydia pneumoniae separates daughter cells in an Escherichia coli amidase mutant. Contrary to homologues from free-living bacteria, chlamydial AmiA uses lipid II as a substrate and has dual activity, acting as an amidase and a carboxypeptidase. The latter function is penicillin sensitive and assigned to a penicillin-binding protein motif. Consistent with the lack of a regulatory domain in AmiA, chlamydial CPn0902, annotated as NlpD, is a carboxypeptidase, rather than an amidase activator, which is the case for E. coli NlpD. Functional conservation of AmiA implicates a role in cytokinesis and host response modulation. [less ▲]

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See detailFabrication and operation of a two-dimensional ion-trap lattice on a high-voltage microchip
Sterling, Robin C.; Rattanasonti, Hwanjit; Weidt, Sebastian et al

in Nature Communications (2014), 5

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See detailDifferential regulation of the REGγ–proteasome pathway by p53/TGF-β signalling and mutant p53 in cancer cells
Ali, Amjad ULg; wang, zhou; Fu, Junjiang et al

in Nature Communications (2013), 1(4), 1-16

Proteasome activity is frequently enhanced in cancer to accelerate metastasis and tumorigenesis. REGγ, a proteasome activator known to promote p53/p21/p16 degradation, is often overexpressed in cancer ... [more ▼]

Proteasome activity is frequently enhanced in cancer to accelerate metastasis and tumorigenesis. REGγ, a proteasome activator known to promote p53/p21/p16 degradation, is often overexpressed in cancer cells. Here we show that p53/TGF-β signalling inhibits the REGγ–20S proteasome pathway by repressing REGγ expression. Smad3 and p53 interact on the REGγ promoter via the p53RE/SBE region. Conversely, mutant p53 binds to the REGγ promoter and recruits p300. Importantly, mutant p53 prevents Smad3/N-CoR complex formation on the REGγ promoter, which enhances the activity of the REGγ–20S proteasome pathway and contributes to mutant p53 gain of function. Depletion of REGγ alters the cellular response to p53/TGF-β signalling in drug resistance, proliferation, cell cycle progression and proteasome activity. Moreover, p53 mutations show a positive correlation with REGγ expression in cancer samples. These findings suggest that targeting REGγ–20S proteasome for cancer therapy may be applicable to human tumours with abnormal p53/Smad protein status. Furthermore, this study demonstrates a link between p53/TGF-β signalling and the REGγ–20S proteasome pathway, and provides insight into the REGγ/p53 feedback loop. [less ▲]

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See detailDifferential regulation of the REGγ–proteasome pathway by p53/TGF-β signalling and mutant p53 in cancer cells
Ali, Amjad ULg; Wang, Zhuo; Fu, Junjiang et al

in Nature Communications (2013)

Proteasome activity is frequently enhanced in cancer to accelerate metastasis and tumorigenesis. REGγ, a proteasome activator known to promote p53/p21/p16 degradation, is often overexpressed in cancer ... [more ▼]

Proteasome activity is frequently enhanced in cancer to accelerate metastasis and tumorigenesis. REGγ, a proteasome activator known to promote p53/p21/p16 degradation, is often overexpressed in cancer cells. Here we show that p53/TGF-β signalling inhibits the REGγ–20S proteasome pathway by repressing REGγ expression. Smad3 and p53 interact on the REGγ promoter via the p53RE/SBE region. Conversely, mutant p53 binds to the REGγ promoter and recruits p300. Importantly, mutant p53 prevents Smad3/N-CoR complex formation on the REGγ promoter, which enhances the activity of the REGγ–20S proteasome pathway and contributes to mutant p53 gain of function. Depletion of REGγ alters the cellular response to p53/TGF-β signalling in drug resistance, proliferation, cell cycle progression and proteasome activity. Moreover, p53 mutations show a positive correlation with REGγ expression in cancer samples. These findings suggest that targeting REGγ–20S proteasome for cancer therapy may be applicable to human tumours with abnormal p53/Smad protein status. Furthermore, this study demonstrates a link between p53/TGF-β signalling and the REGγ–20S proteasome pathway, and provides insight into the REGγ/p53 feedback loop. [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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