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This Week in Nature: Jun 5, 2009

In the current issue of Nature, scientists at the Broad Institute, among others, looked at the evolution of pathogenicity in six Candida species and compared these and related pathogens and non-pathogens. They found that large genomic tracts are homozygous in three diploid species and, surprisingly, key components of the mating and meiosis pathways are missing from several species, they write. They also discovered that 99 percent of ancestral CUG codons were erased and new ones came about in other places.

Work done by a consortium of Japanese scientists found that A20 is a negative regulator of the NF-kappaB pathway and plays an important role in regulation of the immune response. Performing genome-wide analysis on 238 B-cell lymphomas, they found that A20 is often inactivated by somatic mutations and/or deletions in mucosa-associated tissue lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma of nodular sclerosis histology, and in other B-lineage lymphomas, they say. "The A20-deficient cells stably generated tumors in immunodeficient mice, whereas the tumorigenicity was effectively suppressed by re-expression of A20."

In Nature Genetics this week, a GWAS led by the International SAE Consortium found a major susceptibility gene for drug-induced liver injury (DILI) due to the common antibiotic flucloxacillin. Looking across 866,399 markers in 51 cases of flucloxacillin DILI and 282 controls, they found that carriers of the HLA-B*5701 allele in the MHC region have an 80-fold increased risk of developing the drug reaction.

Alexa Schmitz at Mass Gen and Harvard Medical School was first author on a paper appearing in the advanced online edition of Nature Methods that described a protein interaction platform to find interacting proteins in S. cerevisiae. The assay, they write, "relies on the reovirus scaffolding protein NS, which forms large focal inclusions in living cells." When the NS is fused to a protein and its potential interaction partners are fused to a fluorescent reporter, "interactors can be identified by screening for yeast that display fluorescent foci," they say in the abstract.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.