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This Week in Nature: Mar 22, 2013

In this week’s Nature Biotechnology, a multi-institute team describes a new in vitro method for mapping the physical interactions between proteins and other molecules. Called PLATO, the technique involves affinity enrichment of a library of full-length open reading frames displayed on ribosomes, followed by massively parallel analysis using DNA sequencing. Using PLATO, the scientists identified known and previously undiscovered interacting partners of LYN kinase, patient autoantibodies, and two small molecule cancer drugs.

Meanwhile, in Nature Genetics, an international groups of researchers reported on the identification of a susceptibility locus for pulmonary arterial hypertension, or PAH, from a genome-wide association analysis. The investigators conducted the study based on two independent case-control studies for idiopathic and familial PAH, including 625 patients and more than 1,500 healthy individuals, and found an allele associated with two-fold greater risk of the disease.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.