The geology and geophysics of Kuiper Belt object (486958) Arrokoth

<p>The Cold Classical Kuiper Belt, a class of small bodies in undisturbed orbits beyond Neptune, is composed of primitive objects preserving information about Solar System formation. In January 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft flew past one of these objects, the 36-kilometer-long contact binary (486958) Arrokoth (provisional designation 2014 MU<SUB>69</SUB>). Images from the flyby show that Arrokoth has no detectable rings, and no satellites (larger than 180 meters in diameter) within a radius of 8000 kilometers. Arrokoth has a lightly cratered, smooth surface with complex geological features, unlike those on previously visited Solar System bodies. The density of impact craters indicates the surface dates from the formation of the Solar System. The two lobes of the contact binary have closely aligned poles and equators, constraining their accretion mechanism.</p>

The solar nebula origin of (486958) Arrokoth, a primordial contact binary in the Kuiper Belt

<p>The New Horizons spacecraft&rsquo;s encounter with the cold classical Kuiper Belt object (486958) Arrokoth (provisional designation 2014 MU<SUB>69</SUB>) revealed a contact-binary planetesimal. We investigated how Arrokoth formed and found that it is the product of a gentle, low-speed merger in the early Solar System. Its two lenticular lobes suggest low-velocity accumulation of numerous smaller planetesimals within a gravitationally collapsing cloud of solid particles. The geometric alignment of the lobes indicates that they were a co-orbiting binary that experienced angular momentum loss and subsequent merger, possibly because of dynamical friction and collisions within the cloud or later gas drag. Arrokoth&rsquo;s contact-binary shape was preserved by the benign dynamical and collisional environment of the cold classical Kuiper Belt and therefore informs the accretion processes that operated in the early Solar System.</p>

CRISPR-engineered T cells in patients with refractory cancer

<p>CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing provides a powerful tool to enhance the natural ability of human T cells to fight cancer. We report a first-in-human phase 1 clinical trial to test the safety and feasibility of multiplex CRISPR-Cas9 editing to engineer T cells in three patients with refractory cancer. Two genes encoding the endogenous T cell receptor (TCR) chains, TCR&alpha; (<I>TRAC</I>) and TCR&beta; (<I>TRBC</I>), were deleted in T cells to reduce TCR mispairing and to enhance the expression of a synthetic, cancer-specific TCR transgene (NY-ESO-1). Removal of a third gene encoding programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1; <I>PDCD1</I>), was performed to improve antitumor immunity. Adoptive transfer of engineered T cells into patients resulted in durable engraftment with edits at all three genomic loci. Although chromosomal translocations were detected, the frequency decreased over time. Modified T cells persisted for up to 9 months, suggesting that immunogenicity is minimal under these conditions and demonstrating the feasibility of CRISPR gene editing for cancer immunotherapy.</p>

Maternal gut microbiota in pregnancy influences offspring metabolic phenotype in mice

<p>Antibiotics and dietary habits can affect the gut microbial community, thus influencing disease susceptibility. Although the effect of microbiota on the postnatal environment has been well documented, much less is known regarding the impact of gut microbiota at the embryonic stage. Here we show that maternal microbiota shapes the metabolic system of offspring in mice. During pregnancy, short-chain fatty acids produced by the maternal microbiota dictate the differentiation of neural, intestinal, and pancreatic cells through embryonic GPR41 and GPR43. This developmental process helps maintain postnatal energy homeostasis, as evidenced by the fact that offspring from germ-free mothers are highly susceptible to metabolic syndrome, even when reared under conventional conditions. Thus, our findings elaborate on a link between the maternal gut environment and the developmental origin of metabolic syndrome.</p>

Pectin homogalacturonan nanofilament expansion drives morphogenesis in plant epidermal cells

<p>The process by which plant cells expand and gain shape has presented a challenge for researchers. Current models propose that these processes are driven by turgor pressure acting on the cell wall. Using nanoimaging, we show that the cell wall contains pectin nanofilaments that possess an intrinsic expansion capacity. Additionally, we use growth models containing such structures to show that a complex plant cell shape can derive from chemically induced local and polarized expansion of the pectin nanofilaments without turgor-driven growth. Thus, the plant cell wall, outside of the cell itself, is an active participant in shaping plant cells. Extracellular matrix function may similarly guide cell shape in other kingdoms, including Animalia.</p>

Structure of the secretory immunoglobulin A core

<p>Secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) represents the immune system&rsquo;s first line of defense against mucosal pathogens. IgAs are transported across the epithelium, as dimers and higher-order polymers, by the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR). Upon reaching the luminal side, sIgAs mediate host protection and pathogen neutralization. In recent years, an increasing amount of attention has been given to IgA as a novel therapeutic antibody. However, despite extensive studies, sIgA structures have remained elusive. Here, we determine the atomic resolution structures of dimeric, tetrameric, and pentameric IgA-Fc linked by the joining chain (JC) and in complex with the secretory component of the pIgR. We suggest a mechanism in which the JC templates IgA oligomerization and imparts asymmetry for pIgR binding and transcytosis. This framework will inform the design of future IgA-based therapeutics.</p>

Structural insights into immunoglobulin M

<p>Immunoglobulin M (IgM) plays a pivotal role in both humoral and mucosal immunity. Its assembly and transport depend on the joining chain (J-chain) and the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR), but the underlying molecular mechanisms of these processes are unclear. We report a cryo&ndash;electron microscopy structure of the Fc region of human IgM in complex with the J-chain and pIgR ectodomain. The IgM-Fc pentamer is formed asymmetrically, resembling a hexagon with a missing triangle. The tailpieces of IgM-Fc pack into an amyloid-like structure to stabilize the pentamer. The J-chain caps the tailpiece assembly and bridges the interaction between IgM-Fc and the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor, which undergoes a large conformational change to engage the IgM-J complex. These results provide a structural basis for the function of IgM.</p>

Ultrafast control of vortex microlasers

<p>The development of classical and quantum information&ndash;processing technology calls for on-chip integrated sources of structured light. Although integrated vortex microlasers have been previously demonstrated, they remain static and possess relatively high lasing thresholds, making them unsuitable for high-speed optical communication and computing. We introduce perovskite-based vortex microlasers and demonstrate their application to ultrafast all-optical switching at room temperature. By exploiting both mode symmetry and far-field properties, we reveal that the vortex beam lasing can be switched to linearly polarized beam lasing, or vice versa, with switching times of 1 to 1.5 picoseconds and energy consumption that is orders of magnitude lower than in previously demonstrated all-optical switching. Our results provide an approach that breaks the long-standing trade-off between low energy consumption and high-speed nanophotonics, introducing vortex microlasers that are switchable at terahertz frequencies.</p>

Aminoalkyl radicals as halogen-atom transfer agents for activation of alkyl and aryl halides

<p>Organic halides are important building blocks in synthesis, but their use in (photo)redox chemistry is limited by their low reduction potentials. Halogen-atom transfer remains the most reliable approach to exploit these substrates in radical processes despite its requirement for hazardous reagents and initiators such as tributyltin hydride. In this study, we demonstrate that &alpha;-aminoalkyl radicals, easily accessible from simple amines, promote the homolytic activation of carbon-halogen bonds with a reactivity profile mirroring that of classical tin radicals. This strategy conveniently engages alkyl and aryl halides in a wide range of redox transformations to construct sp<sup>3</sup>-sp<sup>3</sup>, sp<sup>3</sup>-sp<sup>2</sup>, and sp<sup>2</sup>-sp<sup>2</sup> carbon-carbon bonds under mild conditions with high chemoselectivity.</p>

Hidden fluid mechanics: Learning velocity and pressure fields from flow visualizations

<p>For centuries, flow visualization has been the art of making fluid motion visible in physical and biological systems. Although such flow patterns can be, in principle, described by the Navier-Stokes equations, extracting the velocity and pressure fields directly from the images is challenging. We addressed this problem by developing hidden fluid mechanics (HFM), a physics-informed deep-learning framework capable of encoding the Navier-Stokes equations into the neural networks while being agnostic to the geometry or the initial and boundary conditions. We demonstrate HFM for several physical and biomedical problems by extracting quantitative information for which direct measurements may not be possible. HFM is robust to low resolution and substantial noise in the observation data, which is important for potential applications.</p>

Kinetic pathways of ionic transport in fast-charging lithium titanate

<p>Fast-charging batteries typically use electrodes capable of accommodating lithium continuously by means of solid-solution transformation because they have few kinetic barriers apart from ionic diffusion. One exception is lithium titanate (Li<SUB>4</SUB>Ti<SUB>5</SUB>O<SUB>12</SUB>), an anode exhibiting extraordinary rate capability apparently inconsistent with its two-phase reaction and slow Li diffusion in both phases. Through real-time tracking of Li<sup>+</sup> migration using operando electron energy-loss spectroscopy, we reveal that facile transport in Li<SUB>4+</SUB><I><SUB>x</SUB></I>Ti<SUB>5</SUB>O<SUB>12</SUB> is enabled by kinetic pathways comprising distorted Li polyhedra in metastable intermediates along two-phase boundaries. Our work demonstrates that high-rate capability may be enabled by accessing the energy landscape above the ground state, which may have fundamentally different kinetic mechanisms from the ground-state macroscopic phases. This insight should present new opportunities in searching for high-rate electrode materials.</p>

Ecologically diverse clades dominate the oceans via extinction resistance

<p>Ecological differentiation is correlated with taxonomic diversity in many clades, and ecological divergence is often assumed to be a cause and/or consequence of high speciation rate. However, an analysis of 30,074 genera of living marine animals and 19,992 genera of fossil marine animals indicates that greater ecological differentiation in the modern oceans is actually associated with lower rates of origination over evolutionary time. Ecologically differentiated clades became taxonomically diverse over time because they were better buffered against extinction, particularly during mass extinctions, which primarily affected genus-rich, ecologically homogeneous clades. The relationship between ecological differentiation and taxonomic richness was weak early in the evolution of animals but has strengthened over geological time as successive extinction events reshaped the marine fauna.</p>

Polymerization in the actin ATPase clan regulates hexokinase activity in yeast

<p>The actin fold is found in cytoskeletal polymers, chaperones, and various metabolic enzymes. Many actin-fold proteins, such as the carbohydrate kinases, do not polymerize. We found that Glk1, a <I>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</I> glucokinase, forms two-stranded filaments with ultrastructure that is distinct from that of cytoskeletal polymers. In cells, Glk1 polymerized upon sugar addition and depolymerized upon sugar withdrawal. Polymerization inhibits enzymatic activity; the Glk1 monomer-polymer equilibrium sets a maximum rate of glucose phosphorylation regardless of Glk1 concentration. A mutation that eliminated Glk1 polymerization alleviated concentration-dependent enzyme inhibition. Yeast containing nonpolymerizing Glk1 were less fit when growing on sugars and more likely to die when refed glucose. Glk1 polymerization arose independently from other actin-related filaments and may allow yeast to rapidly modulate glucokinase activity as nutrient availability changes.</p>

Pulmonary surfactant-biomimetic nanoparticles potentiate heterosubtypic influenza immunity

<p>Current influenza vaccines only confer protection against homologous viruses. We synthesized pulmonary surfactant (PS)&ndash;biomimetic liposomes encapsulating 2',3'-cyclic guanosine monophosphate&ndash;adenosine monophosphate (cGAMP), an agonist of the interferon gene inducer STING (stimulator of interferon genes). The adjuvant (PS-GAMP) vigorously augmented influenza vaccine&ndash;induced humoral and CD8<sup>+</sup> T cell immune responses in mice by simulating the early phase of viral infection without concomitant excess inflammation. Two days after intranasal immunization with PS-GAMP&ndash;adjuvanted H1N1 vaccine, strong cross-protection was elicited against distant H1N1 and heterosubtypic H3N2, H5N1, and H7N9 viruses for at least 6 months while maintaining lung-resident memory CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells. Adjuvanticity was then validated in ferrets. When alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) lacked <I>Sting</I> or gap junctions were blocked, PS-GAMP&ndash;mediated adjuvanticity was substantially abrogated in vivo. Thus, AECs play a pivotal role in configuring heterosubtypic immunity.</p>

Vertebrate diapause preserves organisms long term through Polycomb complex members

<p>Diapause is a state of suspended development that helps organisms survive extreme environments. How diapause protects living organisms is largely unknown. Using the African turquoise killifish (<I>Nothobranchius furzeri</I>), we show that diapause preserves complex organisms for extremely long periods of time without trade-offs for subsequent adult growth, fertility, and life span. Transcriptome analyses indicate that diapause is an active state, with dynamic regulation of metabolism and organ development genes. The most up-regulated genes in diapause include Polycomb complex members. The chromatin mark regulated by Polycomb, H3K27me3, is maintained at key developmental genes in diapause, and the Polycomb member CBX7 mediates repression of metabolism and muscle genes in diapause. CBX7 is functionally required for muscle preservation and diapause maintenance. Thus, vertebrate diapause is a state of suspended life that is actively maintained by specific chromatin regulators, and this has implications for long-term organism preservation.</p>

Structure of nucleosome-bound human BAF complex

<p>Mammalian SWI/SNF family chromatin remodelers, BRG1/BRM-associated factor (BAF) and polybromo-associated BAF (PBAF), regulate chromatin structure and transcription, and their mutations are linked to cancers. The 3.7-angstrom-resolution cryo&ndash;electron microscopy structure of human BAF bound to the nucleosome reveals that the nucleosome is sandwiched by the base and the adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) modules, which are bridged by the actin-related protein (ARP) module. The ATPase motor is positioned proximal to nucleosomal DNA and, upon ATP hydrolysis, engages with and pumps DNA along the nucleosome. The C-terminal &alpha; helix of SMARCB1, enriched in positively charged residues frequently mutated in cancers, mediates interactions with an acidic patch of the nucleosome. AT-rich interactive domain-containing protein 1A (ARID1A) and the SWI/SNF complex subunit SMARCC serve as a structural core and scaffold in the base module organization, respectively. Our study provides structural insights into subunit organization and nucleosome recognition of human BAF complex.</p>

Molecular mechanism of biased signaling in a prototypical G protein-coupled receptor

<p>Biased signaling, in which different ligands that bind to the same G protein&ndash;coupled receptor preferentially trigger distinct signaling pathways, holds great promise for the design of safer and more effective drugs. Its structural mechanism remains unclear, however, hampering efforts to design drugs with desired signaling profiles. Here, we use extensive atomic-level molecular dynamics simulations to determine how arrestin bias and G protein bias arise at the angiotensin II type 1 receptor. The receptor adopts two major signaling conformations, one of which couples almost exclusively to arrestin, whereas the other also couples effectively to a G protein. A long-range allosteric network allows ligands in the extracellular binding pocket to favor either of the two intracellular conformations. Guided by this computationally determined mechanism, we designed ligands with desired signaling profiles.</p>

Angiotensin and biased analogs induce structurally distinct active conformations within a GPCR

<p>Biased agonists of G protein&ndash;coupled receptors (GPCRs) preferentially activate a subset of downstream signaling pathways. In this work, we present crystal structures of angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) (2.7 to 2.9 angstroms) bound to three ligands with divergent bias profiles: the balanced endogenous agonist angiotensin II (AngII) and two strongly &beta;-arrestin&ndash;biased analogs. Compared with other ligands, AngII promotes more-substantial rearrangements not only at the bottom of the ligand-binding pocket but also in a key polar network in the receptor core, which forms a sodium-binding site in most GPCRs. Divergences from the family consensus in this region, which appears to act as a biased signaling switch, may predispose the AT1R and certain other GPCRs (such as chemokine receptors) to adopt conformations that are capable of activating &beta;-arrestin but not heterotrimeric G<SUB>q</SUB> protein signaling.</p>

Cooling of a levitated nanoparticle to the motional quantum ground state

<p>Quantum control of complex objects in the regime of large size and mass provides opportunities for sensing applications and tests of fundamental physics. The realization of such extreme quantum states of matter remains a major challenge. We demonstrate a quantum interface that combines optical trapping of solids with cavity-mediated light-matter interaction. Precise control over the frequency and position of the trap laser with respect to the optical cavity allowed us to laser-cool an optically trapped nanoparticle into its quantum ground state of motion from room temperature. The particle comprises 10<sup>8</sup> atoms, similar to current Bose-Einstein condensates, with the density of a solid object. Our cooling technique, in combination with optical trap manipulation, may enable otherwise unachievable superposition states involving large masses.</p>

Quantum anomalous Hall effect in intrinsic magnetic topological insulator MnBi2Te4

<p>In a magnetic topological insulator, nontrivial band topology combines with magnetic order to produce exotic states of matter, such as quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) insulators and axion insulators. In this work, we probe quantum transport in MnBi<SUB>2</SUB>Te<SUB>4</SUB> thin flakes&mdash;a topological insulator with intrinsic magnetic order. In this layered van der Waals crystal, the ferromagnetic layers couple antiparallel to each other; atomically thin MnBi<SUB>2</SUB>Te<SUB>4</SUB>, however, becomes ferromagnetic when the sample has an odd number of septuple layers. We observe a zero-field QAH effect in a five&ndash;septuple-layer specimen at 1.4 kelvin, and an external magnetic field further raises the quantization temperature to 6.5 kelvin by aligning all layers ferromagnetically. The results establish MnBi<SUB>2</SUB>Te<SUB>4</SUB> as an ideal arena for further exploring various topological phenomena with a spontaneously broken time-reversal symmetry.</p>

Intrinsic quantized anomalous Hall effect in a moire heterostructure

<p>The quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) effect combines topology and magnetism to produce precisely quantized Hall resistance at zero magnetic field. We report the observation of a QAH effect in twisted bilayer graphene aligned to hexagonal boron nitride. The effect is driven by intrinsic strong interactions, which polarize the electrons into a single spin- and valley-resolved moir&eacute; miniband with Chern number <I>C</I> = 1. In contrast to magnetically doped systems, the measured transport energy gap is larger than the Curie temperature for magnetic ordering, and quantization to within 0.1% of the von Klitzing constant persists to temperatures of several kelvin at zero magnetic field. Electrical currents as small as 1 nanoampere controllably switch the magnetic order between states of opposite polarization, forming an electrically rewritable magnetic memory.</p>

Disassembling 2D van der Waals crystals into macroscopic monolayers and reassembling into artificial lattices

<p>Two-dimensional materials from layered van der Waals (vdW) crystals hold great promise for electronic, optoelectronic, and quantum devices, but technological implementation will be hampered by the lack of high-throughput techniques for exfoliating single-crystal monolayers with sufficient size and high quality. Here, we report a facile method to disassemble vdW single crystals layer by layer into monolayers with near-unity yield and with dimensions limited only by bulk crystal sizes. The macroscopic monolayers are comparable in quality to microscopic monolayers from conventional Scotch tape exfoliation. The monolayers can be assembled into macroscopic artificial structures, including transition metal dichalcogenide multilayers with broken inversion symmetry and substantially enhanced nonlinear optical response. This approach takes us one step closer to mass production of macroscopic monolayers and bulk-like artificial materials with controllable properties.</p>

Old carbon reservoirs were not important in the deglacial methane budget

<p>Permafrost and methane hydrates are large, climate-sensitive old carbon reservoirs that have the potential to emit large quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, as the Earth continues to warm. We present ice core isotopic measurements of methane (<sup>14</sup>C, <sup>13</sup>C, and D) from the last deglaciation, which is a partial analog for modern warming. Our results show that methane emissions from old carbon reservoirs in response to deglacial warming were small (&lt;19 teragrams of methane per year, 95% confidence interval) and argue against similar methane emissions in response to future warming. Our results also indicate that methane emissions from biomass burning in the pre-Industrial Holocene were 22 to 56 teragrams of methane per year (95% confidence interval), which is comparable to today.</p>

Bumble bees display cross-modal object recognition between visual and tactile senses

<p>Many animals can associate object shapes with incentives. However, such behavior is possible without storing images of shapes in memory that are accessible to more than one sensory modality. One way to explore whether there are modality-independent internal representations of object shapes is to investigate cross-modal recognition&mdash;experiencing an object in one sensory modality and later recognizing it in another. We show that bumble bees trained to discriminate two differently shaped objects (cubes and spheres) using only touch (in darkness) or vision (in light, but barred from touching the objects) could subsequently discriminate those same objects using only the other sensory information. Our experiments demonstrate that bumble bees possess the ability to integrate sensory information in a way that requires modality-independent internal representations.</p>

Ancient origins of allosteric activation in a Ser-Thr kinase

<p>A myriad of cellular events are regulated by allostery; therefore, evolution of this process is of fundamental interest. Here, we use ancestral sequence reconstruction to resurrect ancestors of two colocalizing proteins, Aurora A kinase and its allosteric activator TPX2 (targeting protein for Xklp2), to experimentally characterize the evolutionary path of allosteric activation. Autophosphorylation of the activation loop is the most ancient activation mechanism; it is fully developed in the oldest kinase ancestor and has remained stable over 1 billion years of evolution. As the microtubule-associated protein TPX2 appeared, efficient kinase binding to TPX2 evolved, likely owing to increased fitness by virtue of colocalization. Subsequently, TPX2-mediated allosteric kinase regulation gradually evolved. Surprisingly, evolution of this regulation is encoded in the kinase and did not arise by a dominating mechanism of coevolution.</p>

Biocatalytic synthesis of planar chiral macrocycles

<p>Macrocycles can restrict the rotation of substituents through steric repulsions, locking in conformations that provide or enhance the activities of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, aroma chemicals, and materials. In many cases, the arrangement of substituents in the macrocycle imparts an element of planar chirality. The difficulty in predicting when planar chirality will arise, as well as the limited number of synthetic methods to impart selectivity, have led to planar chirality being regarded as an irritant. We report a strategy for enantio- and atroposelective biocatalytic synthesis of planar chiral macrocycles. The macrocycles can be formed with high enantioselectivity from simple building blocks and are decorated with functionality that allows one to further modify the macrocycles with diverse structural features.</p>

How mycorrhizal associations drive plant population and community biology

<p>Mycorrhizal fungi provide plants with a range of benefits, including mineral nutrients and protection from stress and pathogens. Here we synthesize current information about how the presence and type of mycorrhizal association affect plant communities. We argue that mycorrhizal fungi regulate seedling establishment and species coexistence through stabilizing and equalizing mechanisms such as soil nutrient partitioning, feedback to soil antagonists, differential mycorrhizal benefits, and nutrient trade. Mycorrhizal fungi have strong effects on plant population and community biology, with mycorrhizal type&ndash;specific effects on seed dispersal, seedling establishment, and soil niche differentiation, as well as interspecific and intraspecific competition and hence plant diversity.</p>

A cell atlas of human thymic development defines T cell repertoire formation

<p>The thymus provides a nurturing environment for the differentiation and selection of T cells, a process orchestrated by their interaction with multiple thymic cell types. We used single-cell RNA sequencing to create a cell census of the human thymus across the life span and to reconstruct T cell differentiation trajectories and T cell receptor (TCR) recombination kinetics. Using this approach, we identified and located in situ CD8&alpha;&alpha;<sup>+</sup> T cell populations, thymic fibroblast subtypes, and activated dendritic cell states. In addition, we reveal a bias in TCR recombination and selection, which is attributed to genomic position and the kinetics of lineage commitment. Taken together, our data provide a comprehensive atlas of the human thymus across the life span with new insights into human T cell development.</p>

Genome-wide identification of interferon-sensitive mutations enables influenza vaccine design

<p>In conventional attenuated viral vaccines, immunogenicity is often suboptimal. Here we present a systematic approach for vaccine development that eliminates interferon (IFN)&ndash;modulating functions genome-wide while maintaining virus replication fitness. We applied a quantitative high-throughput genomics system to influenza A virus that simultaneously measured the replication fitness and IFN sensitivity of mutations across the entire genome. By incorporating eight IFN-sensitive mutations, we generated a hyper&ndash;interferon-sensitive (HIS) virus as a vaccine candidate. HIS virus is highly attenuated in IFN-competent hosts but able to induce transient IFN responses, elicits robust humoral and cellular immune responses, and provides protection against homologous and heterologous viral challenges. Our approach, which attenuates the virus and promotes immune responses concurrently, is broadly applicable for vaccine development against other pathogens.</p>

A self-assembled nanoscale robotic arm controlled by electric fields

<p>The use of dynamic, self-assembled DNA nanostructures in the context of nanorobotics requires fast and reliable actuation mechanisms. We therefore created a 55-nanometer&ndash;by&ndash;55-nanometer DNA-based molecular platform with an integrated robotic arm of length 25 nanometers, which can be extended to more than 400 nanometers and actuated with externally applied electrical fields. Precise, computer-controlled switching of the arm between arbitrary positions on the platform can be achieved within milliseconds, as demonstrated with single-pair Fo&#x0308;rster resonance energy transfer experiments and fluorescence microscopy. The arm can be used for electrically driven transport of molecules or nanoparticles over tens of nanometers, which is useful for the control of photonic and plasmonic processes. Application of piconewton forces by the robot arm is demonstrated in force-induced DNA duplex melting experiments.</p>