Groundwater depletion and water storage in reservoirs have led to a significant rise in global-mean sea level between 1961 and 2003, indicates a study published this week in Nature Geoscience. These estimated contributions, which result from changes in human terrestrial water storage, could help explain the magnitude of observed sea-level rise.
This press release contains:
• Summaries of newsworthy papers:
Geoscience: Human impact on terrestrial water storage
Nature and Nature Genetics: Understanding the genetic basis of prostate cancer
Medicine: Repurposing an old drug for amebiasis
Nanotechnology: Addressing the toxicity of quantum dots
Geoscience: Arctic escape
Nature: Calorie restriction and the gut
Medicine: Rerouting the gut to reduce blood glucose
Geoscience: Summertime mercury source
Immunology: Pathogen response interference
And finally…Chemical Biology: How plants get their skin
• Geographical listing of authors
 Geoscience: Human impact on terrestrial water storage
Groundwater depletion and water storage in reservoirs have led to a significant rise in global-mean sea level between 1961 and 2003, indicates a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience. These estimated contributions — which result from changes in human terrestrial water storage — are larger than those of previous assessments, and could help explain the magnitude of observed sea-level rise.
Yadu Pokhrel and colleagues used an integrated model of terrestrial water flows and stocks outside the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica to estimate the contribution of human activities on land to sea-level rise. They find that unsustainable use of groundwater comprises the largest contribution of such activities to the rise. In their model, groundwater consumption, together with reservoir operation, climate-driven changes in terrestrial water storage and the loss of water from closed basins like the Aral Sea, have contributed about 42% of the observed sea-level rise between 1961 and 2003.
Yadu Pokhrel (University of Tokyo, Japan)
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 &  Nature and Nature Genetics: Understanding the genetic basis of prostate cancer
Genetic mutations in prostate cancer, the second most common cancer in men, are reported in two independent studies published in Nature and Nature Genetics this week. The findings provide information that may help us to understand how specific genetic landscapes underlie disease progression and response to therapy. Both studies used a technique called exome sequencing (selective sequencing of the coding regions of the genome) to identify these mutations.
Levi Garraway and colleagues report in Nature Genetics the exome sequencing of 112 prostate cancer tumour and matched normal samples. They identify recurrent mutations in multiple genes in prostate cancer. The SPOP gene contained the most frequent recurrent mutations, present in 6–15% of tumours, and may define a new subtype of prostate cancers.
In the Nature paper, Arul Chinnaiyan and co-workers analyse autopsy samples from 61 patients with treated and non-treated metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer to investigate the role of mutations in this lethal disease subtype. Progression to this subtype occurs following heavy treatment with androgen deprivation therapy ― ‘chemical castration’ ― which reduces the effects of androgen hormones, on which many prostate cancers depend. The authors find a small number of mutations including in the genes affecting androgen receptors. The newly identified mutations reveal a novel mechanism that underlies deregulation of androgen signalling in prostate cancer. This is turn identifies a potential resistance mechanism to anti-androgen therapies.
Levi Garraway (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA) Autho paper 
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Arul Chinnaiyan (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA) Author paper 
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 Medicine: Repurposing an old drug for amebiasis
Auranofin, an approved drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, could serve as a potential new therapy for the treatment of Entamoeba histolytica infection, a common parasite worldwide. The finding appears online in Nature Medicine this week and highlights the utility of screening existing drugs for new purposes.
E. histolytica is an intestinal parasite that causes the potentially fatal infection amebiasis, killing around 70,000 people each year. In a screen for new antibiotics to treat this disease, Anjan Debnath and colleagues found that auranofin, a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, inhibited E. histolytica growth in vitro and in two animal models of this infection. The authors suggest that auranofin inhibits E. histolytica thioredoxin reductase – an enzyme involved in defense against damage caused by oxygen metabolism – making the parasite more susceptible to oxidative stress.
Based on the potential clinical utility of these findings, the FDA has awarded auranofin status to treat amebiasis in humans.
Anjan Debnath (University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA)
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Sharon Reed (University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA)
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 Nanotechnology: Addressing the toxicity of quantum dots
Quantum dots are used in biomedical research for imaging and sensing, but concerns have been raised about their toxicity because some constituents are heavy metals. In a pilot study, reported online in Nature Nanotechnology this week, quantum dots containing heavy metals were injected into a small number of non-human primates. Although the quantum dots seemed to cause no acute toxicity, chemical analysis revealed that much of the initial dose remained in the liver, spleen and kidneys after 90 days, suggesting that longer-term studies are needed to determine the ultimate fate of these heavy metals and their impact and persistence in primates.
Previous research gives conflicting information on the cytotoxicity of heavy-metal-containing quantum dots: in cell cultures toxicity is demonstrated but in small animals the effect is variable. In this pilot study, Paras N. Prasad and colleagues injected six rhesus macaques with cadmium–selenium, cadmium–sulphur and zinc–sulphur quantum dots that had been encapsulated in phospholipid micelles, at concentrations suitable for imaging techniques.
The results suggest that acute toxicity of these quantum dots in vivo might be minimal, as indicated by the fact that blood and biochemical markers remained within the normal range during the experiment, and histology of major organs after 90 days showed no abnormalities. Further studies will be needed to determine their longer-term effect.
Paras N. Prasad (The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, USA)
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 Geoscience: Arctic escape
In the Arctic, methane seeps cluster along boundaries of glacier retreat and in regions of thawing permafrost, according to a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience.
Perennially-frozen ground and glaciers of the Arctic trap methane leaking from hydrocarbon reservoirs, restricting the flow to the atmosphere. Katey Walter-Anthony and colleagues examined the prevalence and distribution of natural methane seeps in Alaska and Greenland, using ground-based measurements and aerial surveys. They identified over 150, 000 seeps, the majority of which where found along boundaries of glacier and permafrost melt. They suggest that future disintegration of glaciers and permafrost could facilitate the expulsion of subsurface methane to the atmosphere.
In an accompanying News and Views article, Giuseppe Etiope writes “The findings emphasize the potential significance of solid Earth geophysical processes to the atmospheric greenhouse gas budget “.
Katey Walter-Anthony (University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA)
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Giuseppe Etiope (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy) N&V author
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 Nature: Calorie restriction and the gut
Calorie restriction increases the number of cells in the mammalian intestinal stem cell niche, enhancing regenerative capacity, according to research in mice published in Nature this week. The work suggests a mechanism behind the effects of calorie restriction on intestinal regeneration, and may have an application in improving this function in patients.
Reducing calorie intake while maintaining adequate nutrition promotes longevity in diverse organisms, possibly by preserving stem and progenitor cell function. The way in which adult tissue stem cells, and their surrounding niche, function in response to nutritional state is not well understood. David Sabatini and colleagues investigated the effect of calorie restriction in mice for between 4 and 28 weeks. They describe an increase in primitive intestinal progenitors and in stem-cell function and regeneration both in mice and in cell cultures. They show that calorie restriction regulates mTORC1 and increases the expression of Bst1 in cells of the stem-cell niche.
Although it is not yet clear why calorie restriction increases intestinal stem-cell number and function, the authors speculate that in low calorie conditions it may be advantageous for the cells to shift towards self-renewal rather than differentiation. This may better prepare the intestine for rapid regeneration once nutrients become available. They also argue that some approved drugs that inhibit mTORC1 or increase Bst1 may have an application in improving intestinal regeneration and function in patients, although the effect may not be the same.
David Sabatini (Whitehead Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA)
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 Medicine: Rerouting the gut to reduce blood glucose
The middle intestine, or jejunum, senses glucose and plays a part in a gut-brain-liver axis to regulate glucose production by the liver reports a paper published online this week in Nature Medicine.
A classic hallmark of diabetes is high blood glucose levels. This elevation occurs because insulin cannot signal to the liver to reduce its endogenous glucose production, either owing to insulin resistance, as in type 2 diabetes, or a lack of the necessary hormone, as in type 1 diabetes.
Tony Lam and his colleagues show that the jejunum can sense glucose levels and signal to the brain to order the liver to reduce glucose output through a neuronal relay. A surgical treatment for obesity consisting of duodenal-jejunal bypass surgery showed reduced blood glucose levels in two rat models of type 1 diabetes within two days of the surgery.
Although these results suggest a possible surgical correction of the increased serum glucose observed in type 1 diabetes, the bypass surgery used is still experimental, including in human patients. Also the effects on blood glucose levels were only examined in a narrow time frame, two weeks after surgery. How these effects occur still needs to be determined before any potential translation to human disease.
Tony Lam (University of Toronto, Canada)
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 Geoscience: Summertime mercury source
Circumpolar rivers deliver large quantities of mercury to the Arctic Ocean during summer, according to a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience. The researchers suggest mercury loads in the Arctic Ocean could prove highly sensitive to climate-induced changes in river flow and permafrost thaw.
Mercury concentrations in the Arctic Ocean peak during summer months, posing a health concern to indigenous peoples, who rely heavily on marine-based diets. Jenny Fisher and colleagues used a global model to pinpoint the summertime source of mercury in the Arctic Ocean. According to their simulations, circumpolar rivers supply large quantities of mercury to the Arctic Ocean during summer, and constitute the dominant mercury source on an annual basis.
Jenny Fisher (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA)
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 Immunology: Pathogen response interference
During viral infections, activation of the immune pathways that lead to production of interferon – a major mediator of the antiviral response – inhibits production of interleukin 12 (IL-12), a cytokine important for fighting bacterial infections, according to a report published in Nature Immunology.
Various classes of receptors activate immune mediators specifically tailored for the invading pathogen. The signaling pathways activated by these receptors are known to interact in a variety of ways, including cooperation, complementation and compensation. Tadatsugu Taniguchi and colleagues show that IRF3, a transcription factor induced during an antiviral response and essential for production of interferon, directly suppresses transcription of the gene encoding IL-12. Consistent with this observation, the authors note that virus infection attenuated the anti-bacterial response leading to increased mortality in mice at normally sublethal doses of bacteria. This inhibitory interaction might have the advantage of protecting the host from excessive inflammation during an antiviral response, but can have negative implications in co-infections with multiple pathogens.
Tadatsugu Taniguchi (University of Tokyo, Japan)
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 And finally…Chemical Biology: How plants get their skin
The enzyme that makes cutin, a polymer found in plant skins, is reported in an article published online this week in Nature Chemical Biology. These findings will have an impact on plant research and could be useful in agriculture.
The plant cuticle, or skin, is needed to retain water and protect plants from external agents. A major component of the cuticle is the polymer cutin, but it has been unclear how this polymer is made. It was speculated that a family of enzymes, the GDSLs, might play a role in synthesizing the polymer, but the numerous and diverse functions of the GDSLs made identifying a specific enzyme challenging.
Jocelyn Rose and colleagues use a tomato mutant plant deficient in cutin production to track down the enigmatic enzyme, showing that it is indeed a GDSL. Loss of the enzyme leads to accumulation of the proposed substrate, and in vitro experiments show that the enzyme can make short chains of ester molecules in agreement with the expected function.
Jocelyn Rose (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA)
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Items from other Nature journals to be published online at the same time and with the same embargo:
 Crystal structure of an orthologue of the NaChBac voltage-gated sodium channel
 Covert skill learning in a cortical-basal ganglia circuit
 Atomic model of the type III secretion system needle
 Crystal structure of a voltage-gated sodium channel in two potentially inactivated states
 Inferring gene regulatory logic from high-throughput measurements of thousands of systematically designed promoters
NATURE CELL BIOLOGY
 PRR5L degradation promotes mTORC2-mediated PKC-d phosphorylation and cell migration downstream of Ga12
 Biosynthesis of the tunicamycin antibiotics proceeds via unique exo-glycal intermediates
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE
 Mediterranean seagrass vulnerable to regional climate warming
 Interactions between above- and belowground organisms modified in climate change experiments
 Communication of climate projections in US media amid politicization of model science
 Extremely low-coverage sequencing and imputation increases power for genome-wide association studies
 A model-based approach for analysis of spatial structure in genetic data
 Seagrass ecosystems as a globally significant carbon stock
 Notch–RBP-J signaling regulates the transcription factor IRF8 to promote inflammatory macrophage polarization
 Mechanical metamaterials with negative compressibility transitions
 Electrical control of the superconducting-to-insulating transition in graphene–metal hybrids
 Peroxiredoxin family proteins are key initiators of post-ischemic inflammation in the brain
 Beta-catenin confers resistance to PI3K and AKT inhibitors and subverts FOXO3a to promote metastasis in colon cancer
 2b-RAD: a simple and flexible method for genome-wide genotyping
 Facile backbone structure determination of human membrane proteins by NMR spectroscopy
 Persistence of engineered nanoparticles in a municipal solid-waste incineration plant
 Hydrogen stabilization of metallic vanadium dioxide in single-crystal nanobeams
 Hepatocyte growth factor mediates mesenchymal stem cell–induced recovery in multiple sclerosis models
 An unconventional role for miRNA: let-7 activates Toll-like receptor 7 and causes neurodegeneration
 Mapping coherence in measurement via full quantum tomography of a hybrid optical detector
 Chemically etched ultrahigh-Q wedge-resonator on a silicon chip
 An invisible metal–semiconductor photodetector
 Avalanche amplification of a single exciton in a semiconductor nanowire
 A micromachining-based technology for enhancing germanium light emission via tensile strain
 Optical codeword demodulation with error rates below the standard quantum limit using a conditional nulling receiver
 Visualization of the emergence of the pseudogap state and the evolution to superconductivity in a lightly hole-doped Mott insulator
 Efficient and long-lived quantum memory with cold atoms inside a ring cavity
 Probing an ultracold-atom crystal with matter waves
Nature STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
 Structure of mammalian poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase reveals a flexible tyrosine clasp as a substrate-binding element
GEOGRAPHICAL LISTING OF AUTHORS
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.
Toronto: 8, 9
Beijing: 5, 12
Shanghai: 11, 12
Lyngby: 11, 20
Bad Nauheim: 17
Berlin: 14, 35
Goettingen: 14, 20
Ramat Yishay: 11
Tel Aviv: 23
Saitama: 10, 42
Tokyo: 1, 10, 17, 28, 42
Tsukuba: 1, 10, 28
Mexico City: 4
Esporles: 19, 24
Zurich: 2, 31, 32
London: 29, 36
Oxford: 18, 36
St Andrews: 42
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Berkeley: 23, 45
La Jolla: 17, 31, 45
Los Angeles: 10, 23
San Diego: 4
San Francisco: 4, 13, 15, 31
Santa Clara: 16
Stanford: 38, 40
Fort Collins: 30
New Haven: 3, 17
Bethesda: 17, 25
Chevy Chase: 2, 29
Boston: 2, 7, 9, 12, 22
Cambridge: 2, 7, 9, 22, 35, 36, 41
Ann Arbor: 3
St Louis: 45
Ithaca: 11, 42
New York: 2, 12, 22, 25
Saratoga Spring: 11
Stony Brook: 44
Chapel Hill: 22
Salt Lake City: 4
Seattle: 2, 10, 14, 15
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