Quantum objects trapped on a chip; Bone crack down; Shining a light on ion channels; Boosting gene expression on the X

NATURE AND THE NATURE RESEARCH JOURNALS PRESS RELEASE For papers that are published online on 11 December 2005


For papers that will be published online on 11 December 2005

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

This press release contains:
* Summaries of newsworthy papers:
* Quantum objects trapped on a chip - Nature Physics
* Bone crack down - Nature Materials
* Shining a light on ion channels - Nature Chemical Biology
* Boosting gene expression on the X - Nature Genetics
* 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] Quantum objects trapped on a chip

DOI: 10.1038/nphys171

Single ions - atoms that have gained or lost electrons - emerged recently as
candidates for carrying the kind of information needed in a quantum
computer. In the January issue of Nature Physics, Christopher Monroe and
colleagues report that traps for ions can be hosted on a chip. This could
have implications for the construction of powerful systems for quantum
information processing.
The team trapped single ions in channels - made from semiconductors
- that are narrower than a tenth of a millimetre, and demonstrated that they
could be controllably manipulated. This technique could eventually allow
higher degrees of control of the ions than in the current devices, and the
traps might become the unit cell of a quantum information processor.
The authors make use of a technology called microelectromechanical systems
(MEMS) that is already established for the fabrication of micrometre-scale
devices. Unlike earlier approaches for constructing ion traps on a chip that
require manual assembly, this architecture is in principle suitable for
further miniaturization and for linking several traps together.

Author contact:
Christopher Monroe (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA)
Tel: +1 734 764 4437, E-mail: [email protected]

****************************NATURE MATERIALS**********************

[2] Bone crack down

DOI: 10.1038/nmat1545

Healthy bone is a strong material, but if hit at an odd angle it can break
with surprising ease. A paper by Peter Fratzl and colleagues published in
the January issue of Nature Materials explains why.
Prior studies have reported various distinct toughening mechanisms for bone,
and compared them with analogous phenomena observed in engineering materials
such as ceramics or reinforced plastics. Fratzl and co-workers reconciled
these different views by performing a controlled crack-extension experiment.
Their analysis reveals that a crack running in the same direction as the
collagen fibrils in the bone propagates easily, as in a brittle material.
But, if the crack path is at an angle (larger than 50ยบ) with the aligned
collagen fibrils the behaviour briskly changes to quasi-ductile and the
crack doesn't advance.
So the longitudinal orientation of the collagen fibrils in bone is the key
to understanding the different mechanical responses, and may account for
those cases - curious but not unfrequent in young people - of bone fracture
that is not caused by strong impact.

Author contact:
Peter Fratzl (Max Plank Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam,
Tel: +49 33 1 567 9401, E-mail: [email protected]

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

[3] Transfer printing by kinetic control of adhesion to an elastomeric stamp
DOI: 10.1038/nmat1532

[4] Unravelling the interplay of local structure and physical properties in
phase-change materials
DOI: 10.1038/nmat1539

********************NATURE CHEMICAL BIOLOGY*********************

[5] Shining a light on ion channels

DOI: 10.1038/nchembio756

Ion channels have been engineered so that they can be turned on and off by
light, in a manner similar to flipping a switch, according to a paper in the
January issue of Nature Chemical Biology. Ion channels - by opening and
closing in response to different signals - regulate the flow of ions into
and out of cells. Animals do not naturally contain ion channels that respond
directly to light. However, controlling channel activity with light would
provide a powerful approach for studying ion channel biology because both
the timing and location of a light beam can be very precisely controlled.
Glutamate is one of the most common neurotransmitters in the brain, and
glutamate receptors are ion channels that open in response to glutamate.
Dirk Trauner and Ehud Isacoff and colleagues have attached an agonist - a
chemical activator of glutamate receptors - to the outside of the channel.
The agonist is linked to the protein by a chemical that stretches out in
response to one wavelength of light, and bends into a hairpin in response to
a different wavelength of light. The authors show that when this chemical
linker is stretched, the channel is closed. But when the linker is bent, the
agonist binds to the channel and causes it to open and ions to flow.
These new 'light-sensitive' channels can now be used to investigate the
neurobiology of glutamate channels, and may also prove valuable for
designing nanotechnology devices to be used in biosensing or bioelectronics.

Author contact:
Dirk Trauner (University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA)
Tel: +1 510 643 5507; E-mail: [email protected]

Ehud Isacoff (University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA)
Tel: +1 510 642 9853; E-mail: [email protected]

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

[6] Actin microfilament aggregation induced by withaferin A is mediated by
annexin II
DOI: 10.1038/nchembio755

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

[7] Boosting gene expression on the X

DOI: 10.1038/ng1705

A study published in the January issue of Nature Genetics finds that genes
present on the X chromosome are expressed at approximately the same level as
those found on non-sex chromosomes (or autosomes).
Christine Disteche and Di Nguyen compared the expression levels of genes
present on the X chromosome to those found on autosomes. While only one
active copy of the X chromosome is present in individual cells, there are
two copies of autosomes. This work shows that there is functional dosage
compensation for the single copy of genes on the X chromosome, at the level
of expression of these genes. While regulation of expression of genes on the
X chromosome has been found previously in other animals, including
Drosophila, this is the first example of this occurring in mammals including

Author Contact:
Christine Disteche (University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA)
Tel: +1 206 543 0716, E-mail: [email protected]

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

[8] Defective planar cell polarity in polycystic kidney disease
DOI: 10.1038/ng1701

[9] Genetic analysis of cavefish reveals molecular convergence in the
evolution of albinism
DOI: 10.1038/ng1700

[10] Deletion of Peg10, an imprinted gene acquired from a retrotransposon,
causes early embryonic lethality
DOI: 10.1038/ng1699

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

Nature (<http://www.nature.com/nature>)

[11] Antiviral treatment is more effective than smallpox vaccination upon
lethal monkeypox virus infection
DOI: 10.1038/nature04295

[12] GABA regulates synaptic integration of newly generated neurons in the
adult brain
DOI: 10.1038/nature04404

[13] Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy in mice overexpressing FRG1
DOI: 10.1038/nature04422

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

[14] Lipid microarrays identify key mediators of autoimmune brain
DOI: 10.1038/nm1344

[15] Hypoxia-inducible factor determines sensitivity to inhibitors of mTOR
in kidney cancer
DOI: 10.1038/nm1337

[16] Glycogen synthase kinase-3 is an in vivo regulator of hematopoietic
stem cell repopulation
DOI: 10.1038/nm1339

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

[17] The claw paw mutation reveals a role for Lgi4 in peripheral nerve
DOI: 10.1038/nn1598

[18] CaM kinase II phosphorylation of slo T107 regulates activity and
ethanol responses of BK channels
DOI: 10.1038/nn1602

[19] Axons and dendrites originate from neuroepithelial-like processes of
retinal bipolar cells
DOI: 10.1038/nn1615

[20] Development of shared information in communication despite hippocampal
DOI: 10.1038/nn1601

[21] ROBO directs axon crossing of segmental boundaries by suppressing
responsiveness to relocalized Netrin
DOI: 10.1038/nn1612

[22] Coherent spontaneous activity accounts for trial-to-trial variability
in human evoked brain responses
DOI: 10.1038/nn1616

[23] Inactivation of the central thalamus delays self-timed saccades
DOI: 10.1038/nn1617

Nature IMMUNOLOGY (<http://www.nature.com/natureimmunology>)

[24] Intracellular localization of Toll-like receptor 9 prevents recognition
of self DNA but facilitates access to viral DNA
DOI: 10.1038/ni1280

[25] The thymus exports long-lived fully committed T cell precursors that
can colonize primary lymphoid organs
DOI: 10.1038/ni1293

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

[26] Histone acetylation by Trrap-Tip60 modulates loading of repair proteins
and repair of DNA double-strand breaks
DOI: 10.1038/ncb1343

[27] The tumour-suppressor genes NF2/Merlin and Expanded act through Hippo
signalling to regulate cell proliferation and apoptosis
DOI: 10.1038/ncb1339

[28] Cdk5 phosphorylates and stabilizes p27kip1 contributing to actin
organization and cortical neuronal migration
DOI: 10.1038/ncb1338

[29] Flotillin-1 defines a clathrin-independent endocytic pathway in
mammalian cells
DOI: 10.1038/ncb1342


[30] The human SWI/SNF subunit Brm is a regulator of alternative splicing
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb1030

[31] An mRNA-rRNA base-pairing mechanism for translation initiation in
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb1031

[32] Structure of an RNA polymerase II-RNA inhibitor complex elucidates
transcription regulation by noncoding RNAs
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb1032

[33] Crystal structure and functional analysis of Dcp2p from
Schizosaccharomyces pombe
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb1033


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.

Vienna: 2

Edmonton: 14
Hamilton: 16
London: 16

Prague: 11

Lyon: 26
Paris: 8, 25, 30

Aachen: 4
Bonn: 32
Hamburg: 9
Julich: 4
Martinsried: 32
Munich: 32
Potsdam: 2
Tuebingen: 27

Milan: 13
Modena: 13
Pavia: 13

Tsukuba: 10
Isehara: 10
Niigata: 10
Yokohama: 10
Mishima: 21
Sapporo: 23
Kyoto: 28
Tokyo: 5, 10
Kawaguchi: 10, 21, 28

Rotterdam: 11

Singapore City: 33

Cambridge: 29

Tucson: 6
Berkeley: 5, 24,
La Jolla: 31
Los Angeles: 15
Palo Alto: 14
Stanford: 14
New Haven: 24
Champaign: 20
Urbana: 3, 20
Iowa City: 20
Baltimore: 12
College Park: 1, 9
Boston: 9
Worcester: 13
Ann Arbor: 1
Rochester: 8
St. Louis: 17, 19, 22
Great Falls: 17
New York
New York: 9
Philadelphia: 19
Memphis: 18
Houston: 27, 33
Seattle: 7, 16


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

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

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Kathy Aschheim
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Nature Cell Biology (London)
Bernd Pulverer
Tel: +44 20 7843 4892; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Chemical Biology (Boston)
Beatrice Chrystall

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 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)
Ed Feng
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Published: 11 Dec 2005

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