Turning up the heat on terahertz lasers

Fibre circuits for electronic fabrics, From A and B to O: Towards universal red blood cells, Prostate cancer risk variants and Autoantibody production by perturbed B cells


For papers that will be published online on 01 April 2007

This press release is copyrighted to the Nature journals mentioned below.

This press release contains:

· Summaries of newsworthy papers:

Turning up the heat on terahertz lasers – Nature Physics

Fibre circuits for electronic fabrics – Nature Materials

From A and B to O: Towards universal red blood cells – Nature Biotechnology

Prostate cancer risk variants – Nature Genetics

Autoantibody production by perturbed B cells – Nature Immunology

· Mention of papers to be published at the same time with the same embargo

· Geographical listing of authors

PDFs of all the papers mentioned on this release can be found in the relevant journal’s section of http://press.nature.com. Press contacts for the Nature journals are listed at the end of this release.

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**********************************NATURE PHYSICS***********************************

[1] Turning up the heat on terahertz lasers

DOI: 10.1038/nphys577

Compact room-temperature terahertz lasers for medical imaging, airport security and many other applications could soon be available, suggests an article in the May issue of Nature Physics. Romain Terazzi and colleagues modified a quantum cascade laser (QCL) — one of the most promising compact sources of terahertz radiation — to operate in a qualitatively different way from that of most conventional lasers.

QCLs have been around for over a decade, but because of their electrically unstable nature, those that emit in the terahertz region have so far only been able to operate at temperatures of around -173°C. The new device uses an electrical pumping mechanism known as ‘Bloch gain’, which reduces the threshold at which lasing occurs, and enables the laser to be operated at lower electrical currents and, in turn, with greater stability at temperatures approaching room temperature.

Terahertz radiation lies in a difficult to reach part of the optical spectrum between microwaves and the infrared. It is non-ionizing, and so doesn't have the potential health risks associated with X-rays, and can pass through many everyday materials such as clothing, plastics and wood. These characteristics, combined with the unique absorption signature of most materials to terahertz radiation, make it particularly useful for detecting weapons, explosives, and drugs at air- and seaports.

Author contact:

Romain Terazzi (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland)

Tel +41 327 182 959; E-mail: [email protected]

Other papers from Nature Physics to be published online at the same time and with the same embargo:

[2] Mapping surface plasmons on a single metallic nanoparticle

DOI: 10.1038/nphys575

[3] Unified force law for granular impact cratering

DOI: 10.1038/nphys583

[4] Ultrafast evolution of photonic eigenstates in k-space

DOI: 10.1038/nphys576

*************************** NATURE MATERIALS ************************************** (http://www.nature.com/naturematerials)

[5] Fibre circuits for electronic fabrics

DOI: 10.1038/nmat1884

Electronic circuits that could be easily incorporated into fabrics are described online this week in Nature Materials. Wearable electronics open up many possibilities for exploiting new connections between humans and technology; the opportunities for health monitoring and diagnosis are of particular interest.

The fundamental building block of the electronic circuit - the transistor - is very difficult to make in a fabric-friendly way, particularly as most transistors need their dimensions to be finely tuned. Olle Inganäs and colleagues adapted the existing technology of electrochemical transistors, which require less precision in their fabrication, and created circuits from the fibres themselves. They coated the fibres with conducting polymer to create electrodes and joined them together at cross points to make transistors and resistors. The authors then used the arrays of fibres to demonstrate these components in fibre circuits that are capable of logic functions.

Author contact:

Olle Inganäs (Linköpings University, Sweden)
Tel: +46 13 28 12 31; Email: [email protected]

Additional contact for comment on paper:

Danilo De Rossi (University of Pisa, Italy)

Tel: +39 050 221 7053; E-mail: [email protected]

**************************NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY*********************************

[6] From A and B to O: towards universal red blood cells

DOI: 10.1038/nbt1298

A way of converting blood from groups A, B and AB into group O is described online this week in Nature Biotechnology. The method, which converts the blood using newly discovered enzymes, promises to make blood transfusions safer and relieve shortages of group O blood.

Blood groups A, B and AB can so far only be given only to select individuals, as opposed to group O blood, which can be given to anyone and is therefore considered ‘universal.’ Correct matching of donated blood according to the ABO blood group system is critical to ensuring the safety of blood transfusions. Rare mistakes in which an individual is transfused with an incompatible blood type continue to occur, leading to severe and even fatal reactions.

Henrik Clausen and colleagues describe newly isolated enzymes that allow group A, B and AB red blood cells to be converted into group O cells, as assessed by standard tests. The enzymes remove cell-surface sugar molecules that trigger and immune reaction against the cells in unmatched recipients. The next step in the development of this technology is clinical trials to determine whether universal blood produced by this method is safe and effective.

Author contact:

Henrik Clausen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

Tel: +45 3532 7797; E-mail: [email protected]

Other papers from Nature Biotechnology to be published online at the same time and with the same embargo:

[7] High-throughput identification of transcription start sites, conserved promoter motifs and predicted regulons
DOI: 10.1038/nbt1294

**********************************NATURE GENETICS *****************************

[8], [9] & [10] Prostate cancer risk variants

DOI: 10.1038/ng1999

DOI: 10.1038/ng2015

DOI: 10.1038/ng2022

Several newly identified genetic variants on chromosome 8 are associated with increased risk of developing prostate cancer, according to three studies to be published online this week in Nature Genetics.

Last year scientists in Iceland reported that a variant on chromosome 8 is associated with elevated risk of prostate cancer. Three groups have now revisited this region on chromosome 8, and have found additional variants that independently contribute to prostate cancer susceptibility. One group, led by Kari Stefansson, reports that a second variant is associated with the disease in several populations. This variant is relatively uncommon in individuals of European descent, but quite common in African Americans, suggesting that it accounts for some of the higher risk for prostate cancer observed in individuals of African descent.

The second group, led by David Reich, identified this same variant, as well as five previously undescribed risk variants in populations representing five different ethnic backgrounds. Finally, the third group, led by Stephen Chanock, found one of the variants reported by the second study to be associated with elevated risk in five different populations.

According to David Reich and colleagues, combinations of these risk variants could account for up to two-thirds of prostate cancer cases in African Americans, and up to one-third of cases in European Americans. The variants do not map to a particular gene, but each group speculates that collectively they could promote amplification of this entire region of chromosome 8, an event that is commonly observed in prostate tumours.

Author contacts:

Kari Stefansson (deCODE Genetics, Reykjavik, Iceland)

Tel: +354 570 1900; E-mail: [email protected] Author paper [8]

Edward Farmer (Director of Corporate Communication, deCODE Genetics, Reykjavik , Iceland)

Tel: +1 646 417 4555; E-mail: [email protected]

David Reich (Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA)

Tel: +1 617 432 6548; E-mail: [email protected] Author paper [9]

Stephen Chanock (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA)

Tel: +1 301 435 7559; E-mail: [email protected] Author paper [10]

Other papers from Nature Genetics to be published online at the same time and with the same embargo:

[11] Impaired microRNA processing enhances cellular transformation and tumorigenesis

DOI: 10.1038/ng2003

****************************NATURE IMMUNOLOGY ************************************

[12] Autoantibody production by perturbed B cells

DOI: 10.1038/ni1452

Chronic low-level expression of a molecule called ‘thymic stromal lymphopoietin’ (TSLP) can greatly alter the development of antibody-producing B cells, according to a paper published online this week in Nature Immunology.

David Rawlings and colleagues show that low amounts of TSLP produced by epithelial tissues in skin and lung can accelerate the premature release of B cells from the bone marrow, bypassing normal mechanisms that ensure these cells do not attack ‘self’ tissues. Additionally, TSLP triggers an increase in a particular subset of B cells called B-1b B cells. Mice expressing an inducible form of the gene encoding TSLP had abundant autoantibodies, which were synthesized by B-1b cells and B cells from the spleen. These mice displayed early symptoms of renal disease owing to damage caused by the accumulation of these autoantibodies in kidney tissues.

TSLP expression is linked to inflammatory allergic responses. The authors’ findings suggest that chronic stimulation by TSLP might contribute to the development of antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases.

Author contact:

David J. Rawlings (University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA)
Tel: +1 206 987 7319; E-mail: [email protected]

Other papers from Nature Immunology to be published online at the same time and with the same embargo:

[13] Interaction of the selectin ligand PSGL-1 with chemokines CCL21 and CCL19 facilitates efficient homing of T cells to secondary lymphoid organs

DOI: 10.1038/ni1456


Items from other Nature journals to be published online at the same time and with the same embargo:

NATURE CHEMICAL BIOLOGY (http://www.nature.com/nchembio)

[14] Molecular imaging of hydrogen peroxide produced for cell signaling

DOI: 10.1038/nchembio871

[15] The Cfd1–Nbp35 complex acts as a scaffold for iron-sulfur protein assembly in yeast cytosol

DOI: 10.1038/nchembio872

NATURE NANOTECHNOLOGY (http://www.nature.com/nnano)

[16] Chemical modification of the electronic conducting states in polymer nanodevices

DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2007.75

[17] Solid-state nanopore channels with DNA selectivity

DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2007.78

Nature MEDICINE (http://www.nature.com/naturemedicine)

[18] Direct suppression of CNS autoimmune inflammation via the cannabinoid receptor CB1 on neurons and CB2 on autoreactive T cells

DOI: 10.1038/nm1561

[19] Angiogenic inhibition reduces germinal matrix hemorrhage

DOI: 10.1038/nm1558

[20] Helicobacter pylori infection triggers aberrant expression of activation-induced cytidine deaminase in gastric epithelium

DOI: 10.1038/nm1566

[21] The muscle-specific microRNA miR-1 regulates cardiac arrhythmogenic potential by targeting GJA1 and KCNJ2

DOI: 10.1038/nm1569

Nature NEUROSCIENCE (http://www.nature.com/natureneuroscience)

[22] TRPC channels promote cerebellar granule neuron survival
DOI: 10.1038/nn1870

[23] The proprioceptive representation of eye position in monkey primary somatosensory cortex
DOI: 10.1038/nn1878

[24] Human visual cortex responds to invisible chromatic flicker
DOI: 10.1038/nn1879

[25] Memory consolidation or transformation: context manipulation and hippocampal representations of memory
DOI: 10.1038/nn1880

NATURE CELL BIOLOGY (http://www.nature.com/naturecellbiology)

[26] C. elegans mitochondrial factor WAH-1 promotes phosphatidylserine externalization in apoptotic cells through phospholipid scramblase SCRM-1

DOI: 10.1038/ncb1574

Nature STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY (http://www.nature.com/natstructmolbiol)

[27] Potent effect of target structure on microRNA function

DOI: 10.1038/nsmb1226

[28] Structural basis for autoinhibition of Notch

DOI: 10.1038/nsmb1227

NATURE METHODS (http://www.nature.com/nmeth)

[29] Image-based multivariate profiling of drug responses from single cells

DOI: 10.1038/nmeth1032

[30] RNA visualization in live bacterial cells using fluorescent protein complementation

DOI: 10.1038/nmeth1023

[31] Imaging dynamics of endogenous mitochondrial RNA in single living cells

DOI: 10.1038/nmeth1030



The following list of places refers to the whereabouts of authors on the papers numbered in this release. 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.

Namur: 2


Montreal: 21

Peterborough: 25

Toronto: 25

Vancouver: 13

Beijing: 24, 26
Heilongjiang: 21
Shanghai: 22


Copenhagen: 6


Helsinki: 10


Marseille: 6

Orsay: 2

Paris: 10


Mainz: 18

Marburg: 15

Reykjavik: 8


Aichi: 13

Fukuoka: 3

Ibaraki: 4

Kobe: 20

Kyoto: 20

Shiga: 20

Saitama: 31

Tokyo: 1, 18, 26, 31


Amsterdam: 4

Enschede: 4

Nijmegen: 8


Madrid: 2

Vigo: 2

Zaragoza: 8


Linkoping: 5

Lund: 6


Neuchâtel: 1


Aberdeen: 18

Bristol: 4

Cambridge: 10

Lancaster: 10

London: 18



Berkeley: 7, 14

Fremont : 9

Los Angeles: 9

Pomona: 18

San Diego: 30

San Francisco: 13

Stanford: 7, 9


Boulder: 26


Atlanta: 10


Honolulu: 9


Chicago: 8


West Lafayette: 17


Baltimore: 8

Bethesda: 10

Frederick: 10

Gaithersburg: 10


Beverley: 6

Boston: 6, 9, 10, 11, 13, 28, 30

Cambridge: 6, 9, 11

Wellesley: 28


Ann Arbor: 9


Minneapolis: 24


St Louis: 8, 10

New Jersey

Murray Hill: 16

Princeton: 7, 26

New Hampshire

Durham: 6

Hanover: 27

New York

Albany: 27

New York: 10, 23

Valhalla: 19


Philadelphia: 3


Dallas: 26, 29


Charlottesville: 13


Seattle: 12


Milwaukee: 18


For media inquiries relating to embargo policy for all the Nature Research Journals:

Katherine Anderson (Nature London)

Tel: +44 20 7843 4502; E-mail: [email protected]

Ruth Francis (Senior Press Officer, Nature, London)

Tel: +44 20 7843 4562; E-mail: [email protected]

For media inquiries relating to editorial content/policy for the Nature Research Journals, please contact the journals individually:

Nature Biotechnology (New York)

Peter Hare

Tel: +1 212 726 9284; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Cell Biology (London)

Bernd Pulverer

Tel: +44 20 7843 4892; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Chemical Biology (Boston)

Andrea Garvey

Tel: +1 617 475 9241, E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Genetics (New York)

Orli Bahcall

Tel: +1 212 726 9311; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Immunology (New York)

Laurie Dempsey

Tel: +1 212 726 9372; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Materials (London)

Maria Bellantone

Tel: +44 20 7843 4556; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Medicine (New York)

Juan Carlos Lopez

Tel: +1 212 726 9325; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Methods (New York)

Allison Doerr

Tel: +1 212 726 9393; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Nanotechnology (London)

Peter Rodgers
Tel: +44 20 7014 4019; Email: [email protected]

Nature Neuroscience (New York)

Sandra Aamodt (based in California)

Tel: +1 530 795 3256; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Physics (London)

Alison Wright

Tel: +44 20 7843 4555; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (New York)

Michelle Montoya

Tel: +1 212 726 9326; E-mail: [email protected]

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Published: 01 Apr 2007

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