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This Week in Nature: Sep 18, 2008

Research led by Bill Hahn used genome-wide loss-of-function screens to look for genes that regulate beta-catenin activity in colon cancer. Comparing results with copy number alterations in colon cancer data, he identified CDK8, that when suppressed, inhibits proliferation in colon cancer cells.

Other work found that miR-134, miR-296, and miR-470, which are up-regulated in retinoic-acid-induced differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells, can target the coding regions of the mouse Nanog, Oct4, and Sox2 transcription factors.

Scientists have found that the hedgehog pathway promotes tumor growth not by affecting tumor cells themselves, but by secreting proteins in stromal cells that then activate the hedgehog pathway. Using a large-scale approach that tested hedgehog inhibitors in 125 human tumor cell lines, they found no correlation between drug sensitivity and hedgehog activity. Targeting the stroma “is an attractive concept, and one that points to alternative therapeutic targets,” a related News and Views article says.

Scripps scientists used bioinformatic analysis on 150 cell samples to create a database of gene expression profiles to classify human stem cells into pluripotent, multipotent, and differentiated cell types. They also identified a protein-protein network (PluriNet) that is shared by all the pluripotent cells, suggesting that "pluripotency and self-renewal are under tight control by specific molecular networks,' they write in the abstract.

 

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.