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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

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.

Genome-Wide Analysis Sheds Light on Genetics of ADHD

A genome-wide association study meta-analysis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder appearing in Nature Genetics links 76 genes to risk of having the disorder.

MicroRNA Cotargeting Linked to Lupus

A mouse-based study appearing in BMC Biology implicates two microRNAs with overlapping target sites in lupus.

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.