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This Week in Cell: Feb 16, 2012

In a recent Cell Reports article, a team led by investigators at the San Raffaele Institute in Milan, Italy, shows that endogenous microRNAs, like miR-511-3p, "may operate to establish thresholds for inflammatory cell activation in tumors." In its paper, team says that "miR-511-3p modulates genetic programs of tumor-associated macrophages," and identifies direct targets of the miRNA. "Enhancing miR-511-3p activity in TAMs [tumor-associated macrophages] may represent a therapeutic strategy to reprogram them from a protumoral to an antitumoral phenotype," the authors write.

Elsewhere in Cell Reports, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's Adrian Krainer and his colleagues show that "MYC and SRSF1 are significantly coexpressed in lung and breast cancers," and that the former directly targets the latter. The team also reports that "SRSF1 knockdown reduces MYC-mediated transformation," and hence its oncogenic activity.

Over in Molecular Cell, an international team led by investigators at Spain's University of Córdoba shows that in Arabidopsis, the "DNA phosphatase ZDP removes the blocking 3' phosphate, allowing subsequent DNA polymerization and ligation steps needed to complete the repair reactions" downstream of ROS1. As such, the Córdoba-led team says ZDP functions as part of an active DNA demethylation pathway in the model plant.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.