• Perspective |

    Opportunities for the application of fibrillated cellulose materials—which can be extracted from renewable resources—and broader manufacturing issues of scale-up, sustainability and synergy with the paper-making industry are discussed.

    • Tian Li
    • , Chaoji Chen
    •  & Liangbing Hu
  • Article |

    A jigsaw-style configuration of interlocking structures identified in the elytra of the remarkably tough diabolical ironclad beetle, Phloeodes diabolicus, is used to inspire crush-resistant multilayer composites for engineering joints.

    • Jesus Rivera
    • , Maryam Sadat Hosseini
    •  & David Kisailus
  • Article |

    Miniature gut tubes grown in vitro from mouse intestinal stem cells are perfusable, can be colonized with microorganisms and exhibit a similar arrangement and diversity of specialized cell types to intestines in vivo.

    • Mikhail Nikolaev
    • , Olga Mitrofanova
    •  & Matthias P. Lutolf
  • Article |

    The building blocks of the nanostructures observed on Drosophila corneas are determined, and then used to create artificial nanostructures with anti-reflective and anti-adhesive properties.

    • Mikhail Kryuchkov
    • , Oleksii Bilousov
    •  & Vladimir L. Katanaev
  • Article |

    Hydroxylapatite crystallites in human dental enamel show gradients in chemical composition, with a layer of magnesium enrichment on each side of a core rich in sodium, fluoride and carbonate ions.

    • Karen A. DeRocher
    • , Paul J. M. Smeets
    •  & Derk Joester
  • Article |

    Inhibitor pairs that suppress the crystallization of haematin, which is a part of malaria parasites’ physiology, show unexpected antagonism due to attenuation of step pinning by kink blockers.

    • Wenchuan Ma
    • , James F. Lutsko
    •  & Peter G. Vekilov
  • Article |

    A new strong, biocompatible and biodegradable double-sided tape can adhere to wet tissues and devices through a mechanism involving rapid water removal from the surface, swift hydrogen and electrostatic interactions, and covalent bonding.

    • Hyunwoo Yuk
    • , Claudia E. Varela
    •  & Xuanhe Zhao
  • Letter |

    The formation of cellular adhesion complexes is important in normal and pathological cell activity, and is determined by the force imposed by the combined effect of the distribution of extracellular matrix molecules and substrate rigidity.

    • Roger Oria
    • , Tina Wiegand
    •  & Pere Roca-Cusachs
  • Letter |

    Rotary molecular machines, activated by ultraviolet light, are able to perturb and drill into cell membranes in a controllable manner, and more efficiently than those exhibiting flip-flopping or random motion.

    • Víctor García-López
    • , Fang Chen
    •  & James M. Tour
  • Letter |

    Nanometre-scale columnar structures in tooth enamel inspire novel nanocomposites containing layers of vertically aligned nanowires, produced by layer-by-layer fabrication and combining high values of both storage modulus and energy dissipation.

    • Bongjun Yeom
    • , Trisha Sain
    •  & Nicholas A. Kotov
  • Letter |

    The computational design of an extremely stable icosahedral self-assembling protein nanocage is presented; the icosahedron should be useful for applications ranging from calibrating fluorescence microscopy to drug delivery.

    • Yang Hsia
    • , Jacob B. Bale
    •  & David Baker
  • Letter |

    The self-assembly of colloidal particles into hollow micrometre-scale capsules is achieved through the combination of anisotropic particle morphology, deformable surface ligands that re-distribute on binding and the mutual attraction between particles, suggesting a design strategy for colloidal self-assembly

    • Chris H. J. Evers
    • , Jurriaan A. Luiken
    •  & Willem K. Kegel
  • Letter |

    Mutants of the C4-symmetric protein RhuA were designed to self-assemble into two-dimensional crystalline lattices with precise spatial arrangements and patterns; the lattices of one of the variants are auxetic and deform perpendicularly to an applied force in a way that is contrary to what is generally expected in typical materials.

    • Yuta Suzuki
    • , Giovanni Cardone
    •  & F. Akif Tezcan
  • Letter |

    Insects are captured by the carnivorous plant Nepenthes alata when they ‘aquaplane’ on the wet rim, or ‘peristome’, of the plant’s pitcher organ; here it is shown that unidirectional water flow is crucial to the complete wetting of the peristome, and that the underlying mechanism involves multiscale structural features.

    • Huawei Chen
    • , Pengfei Zhang
    •  & Lei Jiang
  • Letter |

    Electronic implants are often used in diagnosing and treating human illness, but permanent implants come with problems; here, devices are described that can sense temperature, pressure, pH or thermal characteristics, and—crucially—are fully resorbable by the body.

    • Seung-Kyun Kang
    • , Rory K. J. Murphy
    •  & John A. Rogers
  • Letter |

    Some peptoids—synthetic structural relatives of polypeptides—can assemble into two-dimensional nanometre-scale sheets; simulations and experimental measurements show that these nanosheets contain a motif unique to peptoids, namely zigzag Σ-strands, which interlock and enable the nanosheets to extend in two dimensions only.

    • Ranjan V. Mannige
    • , Thomas K. Haxton
    •  & Stephen Whitelam
  • Letter |

    An efficient and scalable strategy with robust error correction is reported for encoding a record amount of information (including images, text and audio files) in DNA strands; a ‘DNA archive’ has been synthesized, shipped from the USA to Germany, sequenced and the information read.

    • Nick Goldman
    • , Paul Bertone
    •  & Ewan Birney
  • Letter |

    A bilayer material comprising catalyst-bearing microstructures embedded in a responsive gel and actuated into and out of a reactant-containing ‘nutrient’ layer continuously interconverts chemical, thermal and mechanical energy and thereby shows autonomous, self-sustained homeostatic behaviour, which regulates the temperature of the system in a narrow range.

    • Ximin He
    • , Michael Aizenberg
    •  & Joanna Aizenberg
  • Letter |

    Many biomineralized tissues (such as teeth and bone) are hybrid inorganic–organic materials whose properties are determined by their convoluted internal structures. Now, using a chiton tooth as an example, this study shows how the internal structural and chemical complexity of such biomaterials and their synthetic analogues can be elucidated using pulsed-laser atom-probe tomography.

    • Lyle M. Gordon
    •  & Derk Joester
  • Letter |

    Here, artificial proteins are described that mimic the molecular architecture of titin — a protein that helps to govern the passive elastic properties of muscle. The new artificial proteins combine structured and unstructured domains, and can be photochemically crosslinked into a solid biomaterial that is resilient at low strains and extensible and tough at high strains. This provides an example of tailoring the macroscopic properties of a material through engineering at the single-molecule level.

    • Shanshan Lv
    • , Daniel M. Dudek
    •  & Hongbin Li