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This Week in PLoS: Jan 10, 2011

In PLoS Genetics this week, investigators at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai report a comparative analysis of the model entomopathogenic fungi Metarhizium anisopliae and M. acridum. The team shows that both species "have a strikingly larger proportion of genes encoding secreted proteins than other fungi," which may suggest "hitherto unsuspected interactions between fungal pathogens and insects." In its transcriptomic profiling studies of the fungi throughout early infection processes, the team identified "genes and pathways involved in infectivity and specificity."

Over in PLoS One, a public-private research collaboration among researchers at the University of Copenhagen and Exiqon presents miRNA expression profiles of the porcine developing brain. Using microarrays and qPCR, the team found differential expression of specific miRNAs in the pig brain that appears to occur in a developmentally stage-specific manner; the authors suggest that these miRNAs "likely play an important role in the regulation of developmental and physiological processes during brain development," which, they add, "supports the notion that microRNAs act as post-transcriptional switches which may regulate gene expression when required."

In a paper that recently appeared online in PLoS Biology, investigators at the University of Edinburgh describe "the gene regulatory cascade linking proneural specification with differentiation in Drosophila sensory neurons." Using high-resolution temporal gene expression profiling techniques, the Edinburgh team identified "genes required for construction of the ciliary dendrite," including atonal, Rfx, and fd3F. Overall, the authors say that their study "demonstrates how early cell fate specification factors can regulate structural and physiological differentiation of neuronal cell types."

Researchers at the University of British Columbia discuss in PLoS Computational Biology this week "relationships between gene expression and brain wiring in the adult rodent brain." By applying statistical approaches to rat "connectome" data from the Brain Architecture Management System, the researchers related "gene expression signatures of 17,530 genes in 142 anatomical regions" to regions described in the Allen Brain Atlas. "Our analysis shows that adult gene expression signatures have a statistically significant relationship to connectivity," the authors conclude.

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.