In this week's Nature, an international team of researchers publish a study suggesting that monitoring microbes in the gut may help determine an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They developed and undertook a metagenome-wide association study based on deep shotgun sequencing of the gut microbial DNA from 345 Chinese individuals. They found that the natural ratio of gut microbes and pathogens in diabetes patients was unbalanced, and might be used to classify type 2 diabetes.
Over in Nature Biotechnology, German investigators from EMBL and the University Hospital and German Cancer Research Center report on a new method to improve secretome analysis, which has heretofore been hampered by technical limitations in detecting low-abundance proteins against a background of serum-containing media. The approach combines "click chemistry and pulsed stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture to selectively enrich and quantify secreted proteins." This allows cells to be studied irrespective of the complexity of the background proteins.