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This Week in Cell : Jul 11, 2012

In Cell Reports this week, researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine discuss their bioinformatics-based search for structural elements in the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus genome, through which they found six expression and nuclear retention element-like elements. In turn, the identification of these elements "enabled the discovery of PAN RNA homologs in two additional gammaherpesviruses, RRV and EHV2," the researchers write, adding that their study shows "searching for structural elements can lead to rapid identification of lncRNAs."

Over in Molecular Cell, investigators at France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique — CNRS — describe their generation of knockout mice for MCM8 and MCM9 and show that "deficiency for these genes impairs homologous recombination-mediated DNA repair during gametogenesis and somatic cells cycles."

In a separate but related paper in the same journal, researchers at Japan's National Institute of Genetics show that the replicative helicase-related Mcm family of proteins, including Mcm8 and Mcm9, forms a complex required for homologous recombination repair induced by DNA interstrand crosslinks.

And in Trends in Molecular Medicine this week, Emory University School of Medicine's Chunhui Xu discusses recent studies reporting on the direct conversion of cardiac fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes in vivo. "This is accomplished by delivering transcription factors or microRNAs to the mouse heart and may represent a new avenue for regenerative cardiac therapy," Xu says.