Man's best friend bounds into genome club; Rainfall patterns maintain savannah lifestyle; Pleasure ensues without dopamine; A memory for light; Tumours prepare sites of metastasis formation; Stem cells found in fruitfly gut;

Summaries of newsworthy papers from Nature. VOL.438 NO.7069 including GbpA protein enables cholera to hijack gut and gutter; Greyhounds take bends better than humans

This press release is copyright Nature. VOL.438 NO.7069 DATED 08 DECEMBER 2005

This press release contains:
* Summaries of newsworthy papers:
* Genomics: Man's best friend bounds into genome club
* Ecology: Rainfall patterns maintain savannah lifestyle
* Neurobiology: Pleasure ensues without dopamine
* Quantum physics: A memory for light
* Cancer biology: Tumours prepare sites of metastasis formation
* Developmental biology: Stem cells found in fruitfly gut
* Infectious disease: GbpA protein enables cholera to hijack gut and gutter
* Locomotion: Greyhounds take bends better than humans
* Mention of papers to be published at the same time with the same embargo
* Advance Online Publication
* Geographical listing of authors

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[1] Genomics: Man's best friend bounds into genome club (pp 803-918; N&V)

Hunting partner, farmer's ally, trusted companion - and now genetic model.
Researchers have finished compiling the genome sequence of the dog (Canis
familiaris), bringing us a step closer to identifying the differences
between breeds, and potentially giving us an insight into the genetic causes
of common mammalian diseases. These findings are presented in this week's
The genomic data was supplied by Tasha, a female boxer that was selected
after a testing procedure designed to identify the most inbred dog from
those put forward after an appeal to breeding clubs and veterinary schools.
Tasha's high level of inbreeding means that she has fewer differences
between her chromosome pairs, allowing for quicker and easier sequencing.
Geneticists led by Kerstin Lindblad-Toh sequenced the 2.4 billion letters of
her DNA, representing 39 chromosome pairs, although her femaleness means
that the researchers did not get any Y-chromosome data.
The researchers took DNA samples from a further ten breeds in a bid to spot
the genetic differences between them. They also compiled a catalogue of 2.5
million 'single-nucleotide polymorphisms'- sites where single-letter changes
occur in the DNA sequence - which should help to identify the mechanisms
underlying complex traits such as behaviour, as well as congenital diseases.
"The hundreds of years of careful inbreeding to produce the various breeds
have delivered a geneticist's dream model for human genetic disease,"
comments Hans Ellegren in an accompanying News and Views article.

Kerstin Lindblad-Toh (Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA)
Tel: +1 617 252 1477; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

Hans Ellegren (Uppsala University, Sweden)
Tel: +46 18 471 6460; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

[2] Ecology: Rainfall patterns maintain savannah lifestyle (pp846-849)

Savannas - grasslands dotted with areas of woody tree cover - cover a fifth
of the planet's land surface and are home to the world's greatest diversity
of large animals. New research investigates the seemingly fragile
coexistence of trees and grass in these regions, and reveals that there are,
in fact, two different types of savanna.
Drier regions of savanna - those receiving 650 millimetres or less of
rainfall each year - are maintained because the arid conditions do not allow
tree species to take over entirely, report Mahesh Sankaran and colleagues in
this week's Nature. In these regions, dubbed 'stable' savannas, tree growth
is proportional to rainfall, meaning that the dry conditions hold the
balance between trees and grasses firmly in check.
In areas with more than 650 millimetres of annual rainfall - now christened
'unstable' savannas - conditions are wet enough for trees to dominate,
report the authors, who surveyed some 854 sites across Africa. In these
regions, the savanna ecosystem is maintained by plant-eating animals and
periodic fires, which hold tree species at bay. The researchers add that
future changes to rainfall patterns could alter the distribution of these
two savanna types.

Mahesh Sankaran (Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA)
Tel: +1 970 491 1964; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

[3] Neurobiology: Pleasure ensues without dopamine (pp854-857)

In this week's issue of Nature, scientists suggest that the signalling
molecule dopamine may not be necessary for the brain to register pleasure.
The finding is unexpected, as previous research has linked dopamine release
with pleasurable stimuli, such as food, sex and addictive drugs like
Thomas Hnasko and his colleagues administered morphine to dopamine-deficient
mice in a particular environment and measured how often the mice returned to
that place - a commonly used method that measures how much pleasure the
animal derives from the drug. The experiment revealed that even though the
rodents lacked the ability to synthesize dopamine, they spent a
significantly larger amount of time in the location associated with
receiving morphine doses. According to the authors, the results will change
the way that people think about dopamine and pleasure.

Thomas Hnasko (University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA)
Tel: +1 206 543 6090; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

[4], [5] & [6] Quantum physics: A memory for light (pp833-836; pp837-841 &
pp828-832; N&V)

A single particle of light - a photon - can be generated by a cloud of
atoms, transmitted to another atomic cloud and stored and retrieved there
without losing its quantum character, according to two research papers
published in this week's Nature. This marks a significant step towards
realising a quantum communication or computation network, which would store
and process information using atoms and photons.
Classical light pulses are already used to carry information through optical
fibres. But these signals must be periodically boosted using a 'repeater',
which would destroy any quantum information carried by individual photons of
Kuzmich and colleagues, and Matthew Eisaman and colleagues, have effectively
created a basis for a 'quantum repeater', potentially allowing quantum
information to be carried over long distances without significant
"The advance is potentially highly significant for the field of quantum
cryptography," comments Philippe Grangier in a related News and Views
article. The technique could be used to distribute the code keys used by a
recipient to unlock a secure message, for example. Any external interference
renders that key useless, thus safeguarding the message's content from
In a third paper on quantum information, Jeff Kimble and colleagues report
progress in the storage and distribution of entangled states, where two or
more physically separated systems share the same quantum information. They
show that two samples of about 100,000 atoms held 2.8 metres apart can
jointly store one quantum bit of information.

Alex Kuzmich (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA) paper no:
Tel: +1 404 385 4507; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

Matthew Eisaman (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA) paper no: [5]
Tel: +1 617 384 8068; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

Jeff Kimble (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA) paper
no: [6]
Tel: +1 626 395 8340; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

Philippe Grangier (Centre Universitaire d'Orsay, France)
Tel: +33 1 69 35 87 66; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

[7] Cancer biology: Tumours prepare sites of metastasis formation
(pp820-827; N&V)

Tumours help prepare remote sites in the body for the formation of
metastases, a study has found. The tumours send out proteins, which induce
the target tissue to produce fibronectin, a protein outside cells that binds
to receptors on various cells, including certain bone marrow cells that are
progenitors of blood cells. The authors showed that in mice bearing tumours,
these bone marrow cells enter the bloodstream to go to the future metastatic
target tissue, where they form clusters to support and stabilize the tumour
cells that arrive later.
What's more, the bone marrow cells are required for tumours to form
metastases, at least in mice, David Lyden and colleagues report in this
week's Nature. They also show that different tumour types generate different
factors, which direct the bone marrow cells to different target tissues.
These findings suggest that inhibiting the process whereby the tumour
prepares future metastatic sites could keep metastases from spreading in
cancer patients.
"Inhibitors of the pathway would be of tremendous interest for possibly
blocking metastasis," writes Patricia S. Steeg in an accompanying News and
Views article.

David Lyden (Cornell University, New York, NY, USA)
Tel: +1 212 746 3941; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

Patricia S. Steeg (National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA)
Tel: +1 301 402 2732; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

[8] & [9] Developmental biology: Stem cells found in fruitfly gut (AOP)

***These papers will be published electronically on Nature's website on 7
December at 1800 London time / 1300 US Eastern time (which is also when the
embargo lifts) as part of our AOP (ahead of print) programme. Although we
have included them on this release to avoid multiple mailings they will not
appear in print on 8 December, but at a later date.***

[8] DOI: 10.1038/nature04333 &
[9] DOI: 10.1038/nature04371

Scientists have identified stem cells in the midgut of Drosophila
fruitflies. Allan Spradling and Benjamin Ohlstein used lineage labelling to
demonstrate the existence of such cells in the insect's digestive system.
They note, in a paper published online by Nature this week, that unlike
other stem cells, these ones from the fly intestine do not attach to a
partner stromal cell.

Vertebrate and invertebrate digestive systems show extensive developmental
similarities. The researchers suggest that studying the stem cells in the
gut system of the fruitflies could help provide clues about what goes wrong
in humans who suffer from some common digestive diseases and cancer.
In a second paper, published online by Nature, Craig A. Micchelli and
Norbert Perrimon also identify stem cells in the midgut of Drosophila, the
existence of which has been controversial. They agree with Spradling and
Ohlstein that these are regulated by Notch signalling. The teams believe
that the ability to identify, manipulate and genetically trace cell lineages
in the midgut should lead to the discovery of additional genes that regulate
stem and progenitor cell biology in the gastrointestinal tract.

Allan Spradling (Carnegie Institution of Washington and HHMI, Baltimore, MA,
USA) paper no: [8]
Tel: +1 410 246 3015; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

Craig A. Micchelli (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA) paper no: [9]
Tel: +1 617 792 5575; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

[10] Infectious disease: GbpA protein enables cholera to hijack gut and
gutter (pp863-866)

The bacterium responsible for causing cholera, Vibrio cholerae, uses the
same protein to colonize the human gut as it does to survive in water
systems. Ronald Taylor and his colleagues show in this week's Nature that
the microbe uses the GbpA protein to do both. The authors say that to their
knowledge this is only the second example demonstrating that the molecular
basis that enables a microbe to cause human disease also helps it to survive
in a natural environment.
According to the new study, GbpA appears to help the bacterium attach both
to the surfaces of gut cells and to chitin, which forms the exoskeleton of
zooplankton in aquatic ecosystems. The identification of GbpA's role should
help medical experts develop new drugs to fight cholera.

Ronald Taylor (Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH, USA)
Tel: +1 603 650 1632; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

[11] Locomotion: Greyhounds take bends better than humans (pp753-754)

Greyhounds' finely honed running style allows them to attack banked bends in
the track without compromising on speed, say the authors of a Brief
Communication in this week's Nature. The effect is due to the fact that the
animals' sprinting style is more akin to that of a human on a bicycle than
to a human runner.
Human sprinters taking a banked curve alter their running style - each foot
spends longer in contact with the ground to cope with the fact that the body
is experiencing centripetal as well as gravitational force. The effect is so
marked that those on the inside lane, who face the tightest curve, are at a
distinct disadvantage, and as a result the International Association of
Athletics Federations has now abandoned indoor sprint events that feature
such bends.
Greyhounds do not encounter this problem, report James Usherwood and Alan
Wilson, who analysed the gaits of some 40 greyhounds running along the
straight and on banked bends. Their running is powered by the 'cycling'
action of their back legs, with most force being absorbed by their front
legs. As a result, the muscles that provide the power do not have to cope
with the resulting forces, so the dogs power into a bend without changing
their action, much as a cyclist might.

James Usherwood (The Royal Veterinary College, Hatfield, Herts, UK)
Tel: +44 1707 666327; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>


[12] A lithospheric instability origin for Columbia River flood basalts
and Wallowa Mountains uplift in northeast Oregon (pp842-845)

[13] BMP inhibition-driven regulation of six-3 underlies induction of
newt lens regeneration (pp858-862)

[14] Casein kinase 1 g couples Wnt receptor activation to cytoplasmic
signal transduction (pp867-872)

[15] A dual-kinase mechanism for Wnt co-receptor phosphorylation and
activation (pp873-877)

[16] The importance of sequence diversity in the aggregation and
evolution of proteins (pp878-881)

[17] Is a doomsday catastrophe likely? (p754)


***This paper will be published electronically on Nature's website on 7
December at 1800 London time / 1300 US Eastern time (which is also when the
embargo lifts) as part of our AOP (ahead of print) programme. Although we
have included it on this release to avoid multiple mailings it will not
appear in print on 8 December, but at a later date.***

[18] Structural mechanism of plant aquaporin gating
DOI: 10.1038/nature04316


The following list of places refers to the whereabouts of authors on the
papers numbered in this release. For example, London: 4 - this means that
on paper number four, there will be at least one author affiliated to an
institute or company in London. 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.

Wembley: 2

Maun: 2

Toronto: 15

Heidelberg: 14
Paris: 2
Rennes: 1
Toulouse: 2
Villeurbanne: 2

Kaiserslautern: 5
Leipzig: 2
Potsdam: 2

Nagoya: 13

Nairobi: 2

Wageningen: 2

Moscow: 5

Dakar: 2

Port Elizabeth: 2
Pretoria: 2
Rondesbosch: 2
Skukuza: 2

Goteborg: 18
Lund: 2, 18

Dar es Salaam: 2

Cambridge: 16
Hinxton: 1
North Mymms: 11
Oxford: 1, 17
Stanmore: 11

Los Angeles: 1
Oakland: 1
Pasadena: 6
Fort Collins: 2
Springfield: 2
Atlanta: 4
Urbana: 18
Baltimore: 8
Bethesda: 1
Rockville: 1
Boston: 1, 9, 15
Beverly: 1
Cambridge: 1, 5, 15, 17
New Hampshire
Hanover: 10
New Jersey
Murray Hill: 6
Piscataway: 15
Princeton: 2
New York
New York: 7
North Carolina
Raleigh: 1
Dayton: 13
Oxford: 13
Eugene: 12
Philadelphia: 7, 10
Rhode Island
Providence: 12
Charlottesville: 2
Seattle: 3
Madison: 2

For North America and Canada
Katie McGoldrick, Nature Washington
Tel: +1 202 737 2355; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

For Japan, Korea, China, Singapore and Taiwan
Rinoko Asami, Nature Tokyo
Tel: +81 3 3267 8751; E-mail: [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

For the UK/Europe/other countries not listed above
Ruth Francis, Nature London
Tel: +44 20 7843 4562; E-mail [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>

Katharine Mansell, Nature London
Tel: +44 20 7843 4658; E-mail: [email protected]

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Published: 07 Dec 2005

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