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See detailIron minerals within specific microfossil morphospecies of the 1.88Ga Gunflint Formation
Lepot, kevin; Addad, Ahmed; Knoll, Andrew H et al

in Nature Communications (2017), DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14890

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See detailMechanotransductive cascade of Myo-II-dependent mesoderm and endoderm invaginations in embryo gastrulation
Mitrossilis, Démosthène; Röper, Jens-Christian; Roy, Damien Le et al

in Nature Communications (2017), 8

Animal development consists of a cascade of tissue differentiation and shape change. Associated mechanical signals regulate tissue differentiation. Here we demonstrate that endogenous mechanical cues also ... [more ▼]

Animal development consists of a cascade of tissue differentiation and shape change. Associated mechanical signals regulate tissue differentiation. Here we demonstrate that endogenous mechanical cues also trigger biochemical pathways, generating the active morphogenetic movements shaping animal development through a mechanotransductive cascade of Myo-II medio-apical stabilization. To mimic physiological tissue deformation with a cell scale resolution, liposomes containing magnetic nanoparticles are injected into embryonic epithelia and submitted to time-variable forces generated by a linear array of micrometric soft magnets. Periodic magnetically induced deformations quantitatively phenocopy the soft mechanical endogenous snail-dependent apex pulsations, rescue the medio-apical accumulation of Rok, Myo-II and subsequent mesoderm invagination lacking in sna mutants, in a Fog-dependent mechanotransductive process. Mesoderm invagination then activates Myo-II apical accumulation, in a similar Fog-dependent mechanotransductive process, which in turn initiates endoderm invagination. This reveals the existence of a highly dynamic self-inductive cascade of mesoderm and endoderm invaginations, regulated by mechano-induced medio-apical stabilization of Myo-II. [less ▲]

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See detailNovel genetic loci associated with hippocampal volume.
Hibar, Derrek P.; Adams, Hieab H. H.; Jahanshad, Neda et al

in Nature Communications (2017), 8

The hippocampal formation is a brain structure integrally involved in episodic memory, spatial navigation, cognition and stress responsiveness. Structural abnormalities in hippocampal volume and shape are ... [more ▼]

The hippocampal formation is a brain structure integrally involved in episodic memory, spatial navigation, cognition and stress responsiveness. Structural abnormalities in hippocampal volume and shape are found in several common neuropsychiatric disorders. To identify the genetic underpinnings of hippocampal structure here we perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 33,536 individuals and discover six independent loci significantly associated with hippocampal volume, four of them novel. Of the novel loci, three lie within genes (ASTN2, DPP4 and MAST4) and one is found 200 kb upstream of SHH. A hippocampal subfield analysis shows that a locus within the MSRB3 gene shows evidence of a localized effect along the dentate gyrus, subiculum, CA1 and fissure. Further, we show that genetic variants associated with decreased hippocampal volume are also associated with increased risk for Alzheimer's disease (rg=-0.155). Our findings suggest novel biological pathways through which human genetic variation influences hippocampal volume and risk for neuropsychiatric illness. [less ▲]

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See detailArctic cut-off high drives the poleward shift of a new Greenland melting record
Tedesco, M.; Mote, T.; Fettweis, Xavier ULg et al

in Nature Communications (2016), 7(11723),

Large-scale atmospheric circulation controls the mass and energy balance of the Greenland ice sheet through its impact on radiative budget, runoff and accumulation. Here, using reanalysis data and the ... [more ▼]

Large-scale atmospheric circulation controls the mass and energy balance of the Greenland ice sheet through its impact on radiative budget, runoff and accumulation. Here, using reanalysis data and the outputs of a regional climate model, we show that the persistence of an exceptional atmospheric ridge, centred over the Arctic Ocean, was responsible for a poleward shift of runoff, albedo and surface temperature records over the Greenland during the summer of 2015. New records of monthly mean zonal winds at 500 hPa and of the maximum latitude of ridge peaks of the 5,700±50 m isohypse over the Arctic were associated with the formation and persistency of a cutoff high. The unprecedented (1948–2015) and sustained atmospheric conditions promoted enhanced runoff, increased the surface temperatures and decreased the albedo in northern Greenland, while inhibiting melting in the south, where new melting records were set over the past decade. [less ▲]

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See detailRevealing the role of network rigidity on the fragility evolution of glass-forming liquids
Yildirim, Can ULg; Raty, Jean-Yves ULg; Micoulaut, Mathieu

in Nature Communications (2016), 7(2016), 11086

If quenched fast enough, a liquid is able to avoid crystallization and will remain in a metastable supercooled state down to the glass transition, with an important increase in viscosity and relaxation ... [more ▼]

If quenched fast enough, a liquid is able to avoid crystallization and will remain in a metastable supercooled state down to the glass transition, with an important increase in viscosity and relaxation time towards equilibrium upon further cooling [1,2]. There are important differences in the way liquids relax as they approach the glass transition, rapid or slow variation in dynamic quantities under moderate temperature changes, and a simple means to quantify such variations is provided by the concept of "fragility". Here, we report molecular dynamics simulations of a typical network-forming glass, and find that the relaxation behaviour of the supercooled liquid is strongly correlated to the variation of rigidity with temperature and the spatial distribution of the corresponding topological constraints which, ultimately connect to fragility minima . This permits extending the fragility concept to aspects of topology/rigidity, and to the degree of homogeneity of the atomic-sale interactions for a variety of structural glasses. [less ▲]

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See detailExtinction of fish-shaped marine reptiles associated with reduced evolutionary rates and global environmental volatility
Fischer, Valentin ULg; Bardet, Nathalie; Benson, Roger et al

in Nature Communications (2016), 7(10825), 1-11

Despite their profound adaptations to the aquatic realm and their apparent success throughout the Triassic and the Jurassic, ichthyosaurs became extinct roughly 30 million years before the end-Cretaceous ... [more ▼]

Despite their profound adaptations to the aquatic realm and their apparent success throughout the Triassic and the Jurassic, ichthyosaurs became extinct roughly 30 million years before the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. Current hypotheses for this early demise involve relatively minor biotic events, but are at odds with recent understanding of the ichthyosaur fossil record. Here, we show that ichthyosaurs maintained high but diminishing richness and disparity throughout the Early Cretaceous. The last ichthyosaurs are characterized by reduced rates of origination and phenotypic evolution and their elevated extinction rates correlate with increased environmental volatility. In addition, we find that ichthyosaurs suffered from a profound Early Cenomanian extinction that reduced their ecological diversity, likely contributing to their final extinction at the end of the Cenomanian. Our results support a growing body of evidence revealing that global environmental change resulted in a major, temporally staggered turnover event that profoundly reorganized marine ecosytems during the Cenomanian. [less ▲]

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See detailLarge elasto-optic effect and reversible electrochromism in multiferroic BiFeO3
Sando, D.; Yang, Yurong; Bousquet, Eric ULg et al

in Nature Communications (2016), 7

The control of optical fields is usually achieved through the electro-optic or acousto-optic effect in single-crystal ferroelectric or polar compounds such as LiNbO3 or quartz. In recent years, tremendous ... [more ▼]

The control of optical fields is usually achieved through the electro-optic or acousto-optic effect in single-crystal ferroelectric or polar compounds such as LiNbO3 or quartz. In recent years, tremendous progress has been made in ferroelectric oxide thin film technology—a field which is now a strong driving force in areas such as electronics, spintronics and photovoltaics. Here, we apply epitaxial strain engineering to tune the optical response of BiFeO3 thin films, and find a very large variation of the optical index with strain, corresponding to an effective elasto-optic coefficient larger than that of quartz. We observe a concomitant strain-driven variation in light absorption—reminiscent of piezochromism—which we show can be manipulated by an electric field. This constitutes an electrochromic effect that is reversible, remanent and not driven by defects. These findings broaden the potential of multiferroics towards photonics and thin film acousto-optic devices, and suggest exciting device opportunities arising from the coupling of ferroic, piezoelectric and optical responses. [less ▲]

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See detailThermal and quantum depletion of superconductivity in narrow junctions created by controlled electromigration
Baumans, Xavier ULg; Cerbu, Dorin; Adami, Obaïd-Allah ULg et al

in Nature Communications (2016), 7

Superconducting nanowires currently attract great interest due to their application in single-photon detectors and quantum-computing circuits. In this context, it is of fundamental importance to ... [more ▼]

Superconducting nanowires currently attract great interest due to their application in single-photon detectors and quantum-computing circuits. In this context, it is of fundamental importance to understand the detrimental fluctuations of the superconducting order parameter as the wire width shrinks. In this paper, we use controlled electromigration to narrow down aluminium nanoconstrictions. We demonstrate that a transition from thermally assisted phase slips to quantum phase slips takes place when the cross section becomes less than 150 nm2 . In the regime dominated by quantum phase slips the nanowire loses its capacity to carry current without dissipation, even at the lowest possible temperature. We also show that the constrictions exhibit a negative magnetoresistance at low-magnetic fields, which can be attributed to the suppression of superconductivity in the contact leads. These findings reveal perspectives of the proposed fabrication method for exploring various fascinating superconducting phenomena in atomic-size contacts. [less ▲]

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See detailJack-of-all-trades effects drive biodiversity-ecosystem multifunctionality relationships in European forests.
van der Plas, Fons; Manning, Peter; Allan, Eric et al

in Nature communications (2016), 7

There is considerable evidence that biodiversity promotes multiple ecosystem functions (multifunctionality), thus ensuring the delivery of ecosystem services important for human well-being. However, the ... [more ▼]

There is considerable evidence that biodiversity promotes multiple ecosystem functions (multifunctionality), thus ensuring the delivery of ecosystem services important for human well-being. However, the mechanisms underlying this relationship are poorly understood, especially in natural ecosystems. We develop a novel approach to partition biodiversity effects on multifunctionality into three mechanisms and apply this to European forest data. We show that throughout Europe, tree diversity is positively related with multifunctionality when moderate levels of functioning are required, but negatively when very high function levels are desired. For two well-known mechanisms, 'complementarity' and 'selection', we detect only minor effects on multifunctionality. Instead a third, so far overlooked mechanism, the 'jack-of-all-trades' effect, caused by the averaging of individual species effects on function, drives observed patterns. Simulations demonstrate that jack-of-all-trades effects occur whenever species effects on different functions are not perfectly correlated, meaning they may contribute to diversity-multifunctionality relationships in many of the world's ecosystems. [less ▲]

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See detailCircadian regulation of human cortical excitability
LY, Julien ULg; Gaggioni, Giulia ULg; Chellappa, Sarah et al

in Nature Communications (2016)

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See detailMultidimensional heritability analysis of neuroanatomical shape.
Ge, Tian; Reuter, Martin; Winkler, Anderson ULg et al

in Nature Communications (2016), 7

In the dawning era of large-scale biomedical data, multidimensional phenotype vectors will play an increasing role in examining the genetic underpinnings of brain features, behaviour and disease. For ... [more ▼]

In the dawning era of large-scale biomedical data, multidimensional phenotype vectors will play an increasing role in examining the genetic underpinnings of brain features, behaviour and disease. For example, shape measurements derived from brain MRI scans are multidimensional geometric descriptions of brain structure and provide an alternate class of phenotypes that remains largely unexplored in genetic studies. Here we extend the concept of heritability to multidimensional traits, and present the first comprehensive analysis of the heritability of neuroanatomical shape measurements across an ensemble of brain structures based on genome-wide SNP and MRI data from 1,320 unrelated, young and healthy individuals. We replicate our findings in an extended twin sample from the Human Connectome Project (HCP). Our results demonstrate that neuroanatomical shape can be significantly heritable, above and beyond volume, and can serve as a complementary phenotype to study the genetic determinants and clinical relevance of brain structure. [less ▲]

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See detailAllelic variation contributes to bacterial host specificity
Yue, Min; Han, Xiangan; De Masi, Leon et al

in Nature Communications (2015)

Understanding the molecular parameters that regulate cross-species transmission and host adaptation of potential pathogens is crucial to control emerging infectious disease. Although microbial pathotype ... [more ▼]

Understanding the molecular parameters that regulate cross-species transmission and host adaptation of potential pathogens is crucial to control emerging infectious disease. Although microbial pathotype diversity is conventionally associated with gene gain or loss, the role of pathoadaptive nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) has not been systematically evaluated. Here, our genome-wide analysis of core genes within Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium genomes reveals a high degree of allelic variation in surface-exposed molecules, including adhesins that promote host colonization. Subsequent multinomial logistic regression, MultiPhen and Random Forest analyses of known/suspected adhesins from 580 independent Typhimurium isolates identifies distinct host-specific nsSNP signatures. Moreover, population and functional analyses of host-associated nsSNPs for FimH, the type 1 fimbrial adhesin, highlights the role of key allelic residues in host-specific adherence in vitro. Together, our data provide the first concrete evidence that functional differences between allelic variants of bacterial proteins likely contribute to pathoadaption to diverse hosts. [less ▲]

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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 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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