Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in PLoS: Mar 14, 2011

In PLoS One this week, investigators at Harvard Medical School and elsewhere report on a microdroplet-based method they've developed to rapidly isolate viable single cells from heterogeneous solutions in order to obtain total RNA from them. The team says its method, performed on an automated platform, enables "high-throughput cell manipulation for subsequent genomic analysis" and requires "fewer handling steps compared to existing methods."

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and their collaborators this week describe their use of "factor analysis to obtain a unified gene expression measure from multiple platforms." By combining cross-platform gene expression data, the team says it obtained a more accurate estimate of expression levels, and its downstream analyses were simplified. The unified gene expression measure, the team writes, "is shown to perform well in terms of accuracy and precision." Further, the team says that the factor analysis "model produces parameter estimates that allow the assessment of the model fit."

In another PLoS One paper published this week, investigators at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine report their use of gene-trap mutagenesis to identify "mammalian genes contributing to intoxication by Clostridium perfringens ε-toxin." In particular, the team found that the hepatitis A virus cellular receptor gene is overexpressed in toxin-resistant kidney cell lines. "The results of this study indicate that HAVCR1 and the other genes identified through the use of gene-trap mutagenesis ... [are] important targets for investigation of the process by which ε-toxin induces cell death and new targets for potential therapeutic intervention," the authors write.

Over in PLoS Biology, an international team led by researchers at Cornell University presents its analysis of the three-gene APL1 locus in Anopheles gambiae, and its role in the mosquito's immune defense against malaria parasites. As the locus is "extremely polymorphic," it indicates adaptive evolutionary maintenance of genetic variation, the team writes. Furthermore, the researchers suggest that "this variability aids in defense against genetically diverse pathogens, including the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.