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This Week in Cell: Jun 8, 2011

In Cell Metabolism this week, researchers at the University of Iowa report two mRNA signatures of skeletal muscle atrophy — 63 mRNAs regulated by fasting in both human and mouse muscle, and 29 mRNAs regulated by both fasting and spinal cord injury in human muscle — which they applied to query the Broad Institute's Connectivity Map. In doing so, the Iowa team identified "ursolic acid as a compound whose signature was opposite to those of atrophy-inducing stresses," which, it says, reduces atrophy and stimulates hypertrophy in mouse muscle.

Researchers at the Sloan-Kettering Institute show in the current issue of Cell Stem Cell that miR-371-3 expression is induced by transduction of the gene that encodes the Kruppel-like factor 4 protein, KLF4, and that it "correlates negatively with neurogenic propensity." As such, miR-371-3expression predicts human pluriportent stem cells' inclination toward neural differentiation, the Sloan-Kettering team adds.

In the current issue of Cell, a team led by investigators at Baylor College of Medicine presents a "database of endogenous coregulator complexes containing [more than]10,000 unique proteins," which it generated using an integrative, mass spectrometry-based analysis of 3,290 affinity purifications. "By preserving weak protein interactions during complex isolation and utilizing high levels of reciprocity in the large dataset, we identified many unreported protein associations, such as a transcriptional network formed by ZMYND8, ZNF687, and ZNF592," the authors write, adding that some of these "protein complex units are hubs for diverse genomic alterations of polygenic diseases." Our sister publication ProteoMonitor has more on this study, here.

Researchers at France's Université de Montpellier and elsewhere show in the current issue of Cell that "the early Arabidopsis embryonic transcriptome has a dominant maternal contribution," and that its paternal contribution "increases gradually during early embryogenesis." The researchers also report that activation of the paternal contribution to the Arabidopsis transcriptome "requires maternal activity of [the] histone chaperone complex CAF1." Overall, the team says its study characterizes the maternal epigenetic pathways that control parental contributions that are "distinct from those regulating genomic imprinting" in the plant.

The Scan

Not Yet a Permanent One

NPR says the lack of a permanent Food and Drug Administration commissioner has "flummoxed" public health officials.

Unfair Targeting

Technology Review writes that a new report says the US has been unfairly targeting Chinese and Chinese-American individuals in economic espionage cases.

Limited Rapid Testing

The New York Times wonders why rapid tests for COVID-19 are not widely available in the US.

Genome Research Papers on IPAFinder, Structural Variant Expression Effects, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Markers

In Genome Research this week: IPAFinder method to detect intronic polyadenylation, influence of structural variants on gene expression, and more.