Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in Nature: Aug 4, 2011

In a paper published online in advance in Nature this week, a team led by investigators at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory presents what it calls "a non-biased approach to probe epigenetic vulnerabilities in acute myeloid leukemia," which is often associated with aberrant chromatin states. Using this approach — which involves "screening a custom library of small hairpin RNAs targeting known chromatin regulators in a genetically defined AML mouse model" — the team identified the protein bromodomain-containing 4 [Brd4] as a critical requirement of disease maintenance. Supported by their subsequent experimental results, the researchers say that small-molecule inhibition of Brd4 could be a "promising therapeutic strategy in AML and, potentially, other cancers."

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine show that the transcription factor T-cell factor 1, or TCF-1, "is a critical regulator in T-cell specification." In its Nature paper published online in advance this week, the Pennsylvania-based team reports evidence to suggest a model in which "Notch signals induce TCF-1, and TCF-1 in turn imprints the T-cell fate by upregulating expression of T-cell essential genes."

In two papers recently published online in advance in Nature Genetics, two teams report asthma-associated susceptibility loci. The RIKEN research institute's Tomomitsu Hirota et al. report five asthma-susceptibility loci they identified in a Japanese population, while the University of Chicago's Dara Torgerson et al. present their "meta-analysis of North American genome-wide association studies of asthma … including individuals of European American, African American or African Caribbean, and Latino ancestry," through which they also identified five susceptibility loci for asthma.

Over in Nature Reviews Genetics, Stanford University's Mildred Cho and her colleagues consider the ethical implications of "the GI genome" — sequencing members of the armed forces. Specifically, Cho et al. dicuss the recent JASON Defense Advisory Panel report that recommends the US Department of Defense develop the infrastructure necessary to perform genomics research on military personnel.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.