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This Week in Nature: Dec 18, 2008

Nature this week looks back on 2008, with a number of "best of" articles. There's a story rounding up the best papers published in the journal this year, the most eye-popping news headlines, images, prizewinners, and the newsmaker of the year.

In early online publication, scientists measured the affinity of nucleosomes for 40,000 double-stranded 150 bp oligonucleotides. After building a computational model of nucleosome occupancy, they found that DNA sequence preferences of nucleosomes have a central role in determining the organization of nucleosomes in vivo.

In another study, researchers have characterized rat neural palmitoyl-proteomes, identifying most of the known ones plus more than 200 new ones. The new palmitoyl proteins include neurotransmitter receptors, transporters, adhesion molecules, scaffolding proteins, as well as SNAREs and other vesicular trafficking proteins, they say.

Stowers Institute for Medical Research scientists show that in S. pombe, telomerase RNA transcripts must be processed to generate functional telomerase. Unexpectedly, the spliceosome plays a role, with the first cleavage reaction generating the mature 3' end of telomerase RNA, TER1. Blocking the first step causes progressive telomere shortening, they write in the abstract.

UPenn scientists have found that activation of an enzyme involved in chemical modification of chromatin is a central point in the regulation of circadian metabolism. They show that disrupting the Ncor1-Hdac3 interaction in mice causes "aberrant regulation of clock genes and results in abnormal circadian behaviour." According to a related news story, "The interrelationship between circadian clock genes, metabolic genes and chromatin modification might have profound implications for cardiometabolic diseases and their treatment."


The Scan

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

TB Resistance Insights Gleaned From Genome Sequence, Antimicrobial Response Assays

Researchers in PLOS Biology explore M. tuberculosis resistance with a combination of sequencing and assays looking at the minimum inhibitory concentrations of 13 drugs.

Mendelian Disease Genes Prioritized Using Tissue-Specific Expression Clues

Mendelian gene candidates could be flagged for further functional analyses based on tissue-specific transcriptome and proteome profiles, a new Journal of Human Genetics paper says.

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.