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This Week in Nature: Jun 11, 2009

In the current issue of Nature, scientists led by the University of Pennsylvania's Shelley Berger used chIP to study how Sir2 in yeast, which is known to deacetylate histone H4 lysine 16 and play a role in aging, affects cellular longevity. She found that in old yeast cells, a decrease in Sir2 was met by an increase in H4 lysine 16 acetylation and loss of histones at specific subtelomeric regions, resulting in "compromised transcriptional silencing at these loci."

In other work, Gang Wang at The Rockefeller University was first author on a paper that is the first to report that "deregulation of the PHD finger, an 'effector' of specific histone modification, perturbs the epigenetic dynamics on developmentally critical loci." In their work, they found that in some acute myeloid leukemia patients, a translocation causes the plant homeodomain (PHD) finger of a chromatin-binding protein to fuse with nucleoporin-98, which when bound to chromatin, turns on developmentally important genes and induces AML.

Caltech researchers have published in Nature Methods on the "high-throughput ethomics" in large groups of fruit flies. Using a camera-based method to quantify the behavior of Drosophila both individually and in interacting groups, they were able to predict gender and genotype. The data, they say, can be represented "as an ethogram that plots the time course of behaviors exhibited by each fly or as a vector that concisely captures the statistical properties of all behaviors displayed in a given period," they say in the abstract.

In Nature Reviews Cancer, scientists at NKI in Amsterdam have used high-throughput insertional mutagenesis screens in mice to identify oncogenic networks. In this review, they take a look at how the increased size of screens have enabled researchers to ask new questions and highlight the importance of the Sleeping Beauty and piggyBac DNA transposon systems.

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.