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This Week in PLoS: Aug 29, 2011

This week in PLoS Genetics, an international team led by investigators at the National Human Genome Research Institute reports evidence to suggest that loss-of-function mutations in Atad5 — the human ortholog of yeast Elg1 — "are sufficient to cause genomic instability and tumorigenesis." The NHGRI-led team found that the heterozygous Atad5+/m mice they generated "displayed high levels of genomic instability in vivo," while Atad5+/m mouse embryonic fibroblasts showed "molecular defects in PCNA deubiquitination in response to DNA damage, as well as DNA damage hypersensitivity and high levels of genomic instability, apoptosis, and aneuploidy," it writes.

Over in PLoS Pathogens, researchers at China's Peking University and elsewhere report their use of a deep sequencing approach "to characterize the small RNA profiles of rice plants affected by two distinct viruses, Rice dwarf virus (RDV, dsRNA virus) and Rice stripe virus (RSV, a negative sense and ambisense RNA virus), respectively, as compared with those from non-infected plants." The Peking-led team presents data that show RSV infection enhances the accumulation of some rice miRNA*s, "but not their corresponding miRNAs," while it also induces the expression of "novel miRNAs in a phased pattern from several conserved miRNA precursors." Overall, the team says its study has uncovered "new mechanisms and complexity of virus-host interactions that may have important implications for further studies on the evolution of cellular small RNA biogenesis that impact pathogen infection, pathogenesis, as well as organismal development."

And in PLoS One, the Centre for Genomic Regulation's Marco Constante, Raik Grünberg, and Mark Isalan present "a biobrick library for cloning custom eukaryotic plasmids," along with 52 biobricks — standard biological parts — they've developed, which "include multiple cloning sites and common protein tags, protein reporters and selection markers, amongst others." With its collection, the researchers built several model constructs — "including concatemers of protein binding-site motifs and a variety of plasmids for eukaryotic stable cloning and chromosomal insertion" — which they also report in their paper.

In another PLoS One paper, a public-private team led by researchers at Osaka Prefecture University and elsewhere in Japan this week reports its use of quantitative analysis and model simulation approaches to characterize the phase waves of Per2::Luciferase clock reporter gene expression of the rate suprachiasmatic nucleus — the master circadian clock — slice. The team says that, "to our knowledge, this is the first quantitative evaluation of the phase wave and further characterization of the SCN [suprachiasmatic nucleus] neuronal network features generating the wave (i.e., intercellular synchrony, phase fluctuation, strong local coupling, heterogeneous periodicity and robustness)."

The Scan

Another Resignation

According to the Wall Street Journal, a third advisory panel member has resigned following the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of an Alzheimer's disease drug.

Novavax Finds Its Vaccine Effective

Reuters reports Novavax's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

Can't Be Used

The US Food and Drug Administration says millions of vaccine doses made at an embattled manufacturing facility cannot be used, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Frozen Shoulder GWAS, Epstein-Barr Effects on Immune Cell Epigenetics, More

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of frozen shoulder, epigenetic patterns of Epstein-Barr-infected B lymphocyte cells, and more.