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'p53 is Seeing a Shrink!'

A short story by the Weizmann Institute of Science's Peter Tsvetkov and Tel-Aviv University's Sharon Dekel posted at LabLit this week details a personified p53's visit with a "gene therapist." The transcription factor, it seems, is at odds with his roles in cancer and apoptosis. "When I was first discovered they accused me of being oncogenic, accused me of supporting cancer. It took them many years to understand that I am the good guy, that I'm a tumor suppressor. But since then I have been under tight surveillance: every little thing I do is watched ... like anyone, I have my weak spots," a distressed p53 tells his therapist. "From hearing your story, what sounds especially difficult for you is how to handle these transitions from being the guardian of the genome to the cause of cancer," the therapist says, adding that "there's a lot of work ahead" to determine the motivations behind the transcription factor's behavior.

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.