Recently, the leading academic journal Nature published the “10 outstanding papers for 2019” voted by editors and readers. The studies, published in the journal High Impact, have been reviewed by experts in this year’s News and Perspectives section of Nature.
Among them, we see papers in biomedical-related fields occupy half of the seats. Today, the Academic And Latitude team will join you in reviewing these important scientific advances for 2019.
Use of “small molecule glue” specifics to remove pathogenic proteins from Huntington’s disease
Huntington’s disease is caused by abnormal huntingtin protein (mHTT). A multidisciplinary team led by Professor Lu Bo- yu, Ding Wei and Researcher Fei Yiyan of Fudan University pioneered a strategy to remove mutated proteins, using the natural removal mechanism within cells, autophagy, to selectively degrade mHTT proteins by “autophagy mini-bodies”. The team identified multiple candidate compounds through small molecule screening and used wild HTT in anti-screening to exclude compounds bound to normal proteins. The Huntington’s disease model in three species showed that the four compounds obtained in the study could produce functional improvements that could lead to Sugon for clinical treatment. In addition, this treatment strategy is also expected to be used in some other diseases difficult to target pathogenic proteins.
A diagram of the cells degrading the disease-causing protein through the autophagy process (Photo: Fudan University)
CRISPR tool for precisely editing genomes
Great progress has been made in the development of gene editing tools. However, complex cellular processes limit the efficiency and accuracy of gene editing. Professor David Liu of the Broad Institute in the US led his team to develop a “prime editing” technique that could more precisely alter the genome by “searching and replacing”. In the process, a special wizard RNA guides a Cas9 protein into the target DNA region through the “search” section, cutting one of the DNA double strands. The reverse transcriptase then synthesizes complementary DNA sequences based on the “replacement” template, installing them into the genome, replacing the original DNA sequence. The technique promises to repair about 89 percent of known human disease-causing mutations and reduce the risk of off-targeting of gene editing.
Traditional CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, single base gene editing and pilot editing techniques (References.
Mitochondria from father’s
In a january paper published in PNAS, Nature found that in some cases, fathers could pass on their mitochondrial DNA to future generations, according to a study by scientists from the Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, Guangxi Maternal and Child Health Center, and the Mayo Clinic in the United States.
The DNA of eukaryotes such as animals, plants, fungi is stored in two areas of the cell: the vast majority in the nucleus, and a small number of in-line granules. It is generally believed that mitochondrial DNA comes only from the parent egg cells. In the study, Professor Huang Taosheng, Dr. Luo Shiyu and colleagues examined a boy suspected of having mitochondrial disease and found that the mitochondrial DNA of the boy and his sister and mother had great heterogeneity. The team eventually identified a total of 17 people from three families whose mitochondrial DNA came from both parents. The discovery rewrites the current rules of mitochondrial genetics or may change the way humans know themselves.
Click on the Compound Library
“Click Chemistry” has become a high-frequency word for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in recent years. If a reaction is simple to operate, has a high yield, is suitable for a wide range of compounds, and has a special selectivity, i.e. the chemical groups that react can only react with each other, then this reaction is defined as “click chemistry”. The CuAAC reaction, catalyzed by copper (Cu), was the first click chemical reaction and was used in many disciplines. If complex lysing nitride (containing N3 groups) can be used more widely as a reactor, its application will be more widely used.
Dong Jiajia, a researcher at the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, reported in Nature this year that when it mixed with almost all primary amines (compounds containing NH2 groups), it showed excellent heavy nitrogen transfer properties, resulting in the discovery of efficient methods for synthesizing a variety of different organic nitrides. They created a library of 1224 stacked nitrides, which are prepared for direct use in CuAAC reactions. This reaction meets the criteria of click chemistry in terms of speed, breadth and efficiency, and becomes a new member of the “click reaction” family.
The preparation of the organic stacked nitride and its participation in the CuAAC reaction (Image Source: Resources Resources)
Previously unknown human relatives found in Asia
The study was taken from a poll of nature readers. In April, Nature reported on an extraordinary discovery about the origins of humans, which will undoubtedly spark a great deal of scientific debate. An international team of researchers has discovered a new ancient human relative named Homo Luzonensis on the Philippine island of Luzon. These Luzons lived more than 50,000 years ago, and the fossilized physical features suggest that they are a previously unknown human species. LuZong’s discovery suggests that Homo erectus may not be the only early human in the world. New knowledge of the evolution of ancient humans in Asia has forced us to re-examine the idea that early ancient humans spread from Africa to Eurasia.
The other five studies selected for Nature’s top 10 papers for 2019:
Eating fish to address micronutrient deficiencies: The study assessed the nutritional content of 367 fish species worldwide, and the authors note that nutrients from fish help address micronutrient deficiencies in the local population. The paper was published in Nature. (Doi:1038/s41586-019-1592-6)
Neptune’s new satellite: Using special image processing technology, the Hubble Space Telescope has discovered Neptune’s 7th and largest inner most outer satellite. The paper was published in Nature. (Doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-0909-9)
Superconductor material sclose to room temperature: Hydrogen-rich niobium compounds become superconductors at 250K at pressure slower than 1 million times the Earth’s atmospheric pressure. The paper was published in Nature. (Doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1201-8)
Methane released from the Greenland ice: Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and the Greenland ice sheet releases large amounts of methane during melting. The paper was published in Nature. (Doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0800-0))
Running Robots: New RoboticSoftware Design Methods Can Improve Robot’s Motion Skills, paper published in Science Robotics. (DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.au5872)
In 2020, we look forward to more scientific progress!