Imaging sugars in live animals

Latest news from Nature and the Nature journals 02 April 2012

This press release contains:

---Summaries of newsworthy papers:

Geoscience: The ocean’s role in North Atlantic storminess

Methods: Imaging sugars in live animals

Chemical Biology: Reversible covalent inhibitors

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

---Geographical listing of authors

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[1] Geoscience: The ocean’s role in North Atlantic storminess
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1438

The response of the North Atlantic storm track to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions is strongly affected by changes in ocean circulation, reports a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience. The findings indicate that a better understanding of the ocean circulation would help reduce uncertainties in the future evolution of the North Atlantic storm track — which has been projected to extend further towards western Europe.

Tim Woollings and colleagues analysed an ensemble of coupled climate model simulations for the twenty-first century. They found that the strengthening and eastward extension of the North Atlantic storm track in response to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions — markedly different from the poleward shift of storm tracks in other regions — is shaped by changes in the Atlantic overturning circulation. They conclude that the oceanic overturning circulation is closely linked to the North Atlantic storm track.

Author contact:

Tim Woollings (University of Reading, UK)
Tel: +44 118 378 6517; E-mail: [email protected]


[2] Methods: Imaging sugars in live animals
DOI 10.1038/nmeth.1945

A technique for visualizing specific sugars in living worms which provides insight into their biological function is published online this week in Nature Methods.

Visualization of non-genetically encoded molecules, such as sugars or lipids, within living organisms is challenging but important to understand the essential role these molecules play in development and disease. In the past scientists have used chemical compounds to attach a fluorescent dye to sugars, but this is a non-specific approach since it labels all sugars, irrespective of their modifications.

Hannes Bülow and his colleagues are especially interested in such modified sugars, particularly in heparan sulfates – linear polysaccharides displayed on the outside of a cell whose modification pattern determines their biological function. To follow particular heparan sulfates through the course of a worm’s development, the authors fused antibodies, that recognize the specific modifications on the sugar, to GFP (Green fluorescent protein) together with a secretion signal that ensured export of the antibodies to the outside of the cell where they bound their targets. The scientists identified the cell types that displayed the heparan sulfates at each key developmental stage.

This approach has the potential to easily be extended to other sugars, lipids or proteins with post translational modifications as long as specific antibodies for the modification exist.

Author contact:

Hannes Bülow (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY, USA)
Tel: +1 718 4303621; E-mail: [email protected]


[3] Chemical Biology: Reversible covalent inhibitors
DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.925

An unexpected chemical approach for engineering compounds that interact with their target via a reversible covalent mechanism is reported this week in Nature Chemical Biology.

Covalent drugs – which are used to treat many diseases including cancer – often interact with a particular amino acid residue in protein targets in a highly specific fashion and are irreversible so they can yield long-lasting effects. Some classes of covalent drugs are known to react with proteins in cells that are not the intended target, and these “off-target” interactions are also long lasting and can have detrimental consequences.

Jack Taunton and colleagues report a chemical approach to convert one common class of covalent drugs called acrylamides into reversible inhibitors. They demonstrate the utility of this approach by converting an irreversible covalent inhibitor for the kinase RSK2—important for cell division, growth and survival—into a reversible inhibitor. This chemical strategy may retain the specificity advantages gained through the covalent targeting of a certain amino acid residue while decreasing the potential negative consequences of irreversible off-target drug activity.

Author contact:

Jack Taunton (University of California at San Francisco, CA, USA)
Tel +1 415 514 2004; E-mail [email protected]


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

Nature (

[4] A novel ChREBP isoformin adipose tissue regulates systemic glucose metabolism
DOI: 10.1038/nature10986

[5] Sexual selection enables long-term coexistence despite ecological equivalence
DOI: 10.1038/nature10971

[6] Pathogen-induced human TH17 cells produce IFN-gamma or IL-10 and are regulated by IL-1beta
DOI: 10.1038/nature10957


[7] SPEECHLESS integrates brassinosteroid and stomata signalling pathways
DOI: 10.1038/ncb2471


[8] A combinatorial TIR1/AFB-Aux/IAA co-receptor system for differential sensing of auxin
DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.926


[9] Ion-paired chiral ligands for asymmetric palladium catalysis
DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1311

[10] Multiphase design of autonomic self-healing thermoplastic elastomers
DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1314


[11] Role of pH up-regulation in the resilience of coral calcification to ocean acidification and global warming
DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1473

[12] 135 years of global ocean warming between the Challenger expedition and the Argo Programme
DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1461


[13] Multiple apical plasma membrane constituents are associated with susceptibility to meconium ileus in individuals with cystic fibrosis
DOI: 10.1038/ng.2221

[14] Mutations in UVSSA cause UV-sensitive syndrome and destabilize ERCC6 in transcription-coupled DNA repair
DOI: 10.1038/ng.2228

[15] Mutations in UVSSA cause UV-sensitive syndrome and impair RNA polymerase IIo processing in transcription-coupled nucleotide-excision repair
DOI: 10.1038/ng.2229

[16] UV-sensitive syndrome protein UVSSA recruits USP7 to regulate transcription-coupled repair
DOI: 10.1038/ng.2230


[17] Terrestrial carbon isotope excursions and biotic change during Palaeogene hyperthermals
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1427


[18] Intrathymic programming of effector fates in three molecularly distinct gamma-delta T cell subtypes
DOI: 10.1038/ni.2247

[19] Transcriptional profiling of stroma from inflamed and resting lymph nodes defines immunological hallmarks
DOI: 10.1038/ni.2262

[20] The development and fate of follicular helper T cells defined by an IL-21 reporter mouse
DOI: 10.1038/ni.2261


[21] Sparsity-based single-shot subwavelength coherent diffractive imaging
DOI: 10.1038/nmat3289

[22] Gradient-index meta-surfaces as a bridge linking propagating waves and surface waves
DOI: 10.1038/nmat3292


[23] Nuclear accumulation of HDAC4 in ATM deficiency promotes neurodegeneration in ataxia telangiectasia
DOI: 10.1038/nm.2709

[24] RBM20, a gene for hereditary cardiomyopathy, regulates titin splicing
DOI: 10.1038/nm.2693

[25] Editing T cell specificity towards leukemia by zinc finger nucleases and lentiviral gene transfer
DOI: 10.1038/nm.2700


[26] Integrated genetic and computation methods for in planta cytometry
DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1940

[27] Quantitative fluorescent labeling of aldehyde-tagged proteins for single-molecule imaging
DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1954

[28] Segregation of molecules at cell division reveals native protein localization
DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1955


[29] A nanomechanical mass sensor with yoctogram resolution
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2012.42

[30] The emergence of multifrequency force microscopy
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2012.38


[31] Oscillatory dynamics in the hippocampus support dentate gyrus–CA3 coupling
DOI: 10.1038/nn.3081

[32] An evolutionary recent cell adhesion function for huntingtin in neuroepithelial cells implicates ADAM10-Ncadherin
DOI: 10.1038/nn.3080

Nature PHYSICS (

[33] Phonon-cavity electromechanics
DOI: 10.1038/nphys2277

[34] Experimental observation of the optical spin transfer torque
DOI: 10.1038/nphys2279


[35] Discovery of an archetypal protein transport system in bacterial outer membranes
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.2261

[36] NEDD8 links cullin-RING ubiquitin ligase function to the p97 pathway
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.2269

[37] p53-mediated heterochromatin reorganization regulates its cell fate decisions
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.2271



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.

Buenos Aires: 7

Brisbane: 35
Clayton: 35
Crawley: 11
Parkville: 20, 35
Sydney: 26

Laxenburg: 5
Vienna: 7

Ghent: 7

Sofia: 7

Toronto: 13
Vancouver: 5

Shanghai: 22

Prague: 34

Copenhagen: 3

Evry: 13
Gif-sur-Yvette: 11
Montpellier: 26
Paris: 13

Berlin: 24
Cologne: 1
Darmstadt: 32
Halle: 8
Heidelberg: 26
Jena: 21
Karlsruhe: 4
Leipzig: 4

Athens: 16

Haifa: 21
Tel Aviv: 15

Bologna: 11
Genoa: 6
Milan: 25, 32
Pavia: 15

Hiroshima: 14
Kanagawa: 33
Kumamoto: 15
Nagasaki: 15
Nagoya: 9
Odawara: 15
Osaka: 14
Sendai: 14
Tokyo: 14, 15

Nijmegen: 2
Rotterdam: 16
Utrecht: 17, 25
Wageningen: 7

Lisbon: 31, 32

Barcelona: 29
Madrid: 30

Bellinzona: 6
Zurich: 6

Taipei: 22

Brighton: 15
Cambridge: 26, 34
Dundee: 26
Edgbaston: 35
Exeter: 1
Glasgow: 35
Leeds: 8
Liverpool: 8
London: 31
Nottingham: 34
Reading: 1
Southampton: 12

Berkeley: 5
Irvine: 10
La Jolla: 8, 12
Pasadena: 36
Richmond: 25
San Francisco: 3
Stanford: 31
Colorado Springs: 17
Urbana: 27
West Lafayette: 17
Iowa City: 3
Baltimore: 13
Chevy Chase 3, 36
Amherst: 28
Boston: 4, 8, 14, 18, 19, 28, 32
Cambridge: 19, 28
Charlestown: 24, 37
Worcester: 18
Ann Arbor: 17, 37
St Louis: 4
New Hampshire
Durham: 17
New Jersey
Piscataway: 23
New York
Bronx: 2
New York: 3, 37
Palisades: 11
North Carolina
Chapel Hill: 13
Cleveland: 13
University Park: 18
Charlottesville: 32
Seattle: 8, 25
Madison: 24



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Published: 01 Apr 2012

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