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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

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.