337 articles from THURSDAY 3.9.2020

New observations show planet-forming disc torn apart by its three central stars

A team of astronomers have identified the first direct evidence that groups of stars can tear apart their planet-forming disc, leaving it warped and with tilted rings. This new research suggests exotic planets, not unlike Tatooine in Star Wars, may form in inclined rings in bent discs around multiple stars. The results were made possible thanks to observations with the European Southern...

A defined structural unit enables de novo design of small-molecule-binding proteins

The de novo design of proteins that bind highly functionalized small molecules represents a great challenge. To enable computational design of binders, we developed a unit of protein structure—a van der Mer (vdM)—that maps the backbone of each amino acid to statistically preferred positions of interacting chemical groups. Using vdMs, we designed six de novo proteins to bind the drug...

A triple-star system with a misaligned and warped circumstellar disk shaped by disk tearing

Young stars are surrounded by a circumstellar disk of gas and dust, within which planet formation can occur. Gravitational forces in multiple star systems can disrupt the disk. Theoretical models predict that if the disk is misaligned with the orbital plane of the stars, the disk should warp and break into precessing rings, a phenomenon known as disk tearing. We present observations of the...

Can democracy work for the poor?

Millions of the world’s poorest people now live in middle-income democracies that, in theory, could use their resources to end extreme poverty. However, citizens in those countries have not succeeded in using the vote to ensure adequate progressive redistribution. Interventions aiming to provide the economically vulnerable with needed resources must go beyond assisting them directly, they...

Changes in regeneration-responsive enhancers shape regenerative capacities in vertebrates

Vertebrates vary in their ability to regenerate, and the genetic mechanisms underlying such disparity remain elusive. Comparative epigenomic profiling and single-cell sequencing of two related teleost fish uncovered species-specific and evolutionarily conserved genomic responses to regeneration. The conserved response revealed several regeneration-responsive enhancers (RREs), including an element...