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This Week in PLoS: Oct 10, 2011

In PLoS One this week, and international team led by investigators at Germany's University of Duisburg-Essen report on the complete genome sequence of the hyperthermophilic Crenarchaeum Thermoproteus tenax (strain Kra1, DSM 2078T), a strictly anaerobic and sulfur-dependent Thermoproteales strain that grows optimally at 86°C and pH 5.6. Within its genome, the team identified "the presence of two proteins — ParA family ATPase, actin-like protein — that might be involved in cell division in Thermoproteales, where the ESCRT system is absent, and of genes involved in genetic competence — DprA, ComF — that is so far unique within Archaea."

Elsewhere, an international team led by researchers at Portugal's Instituto de Medicina Molecular reports on its ChIP-seq and miRNA-bases analyses to "uncover genome-wide interactions of α-synuclein," a molecule with a central role in Parkinson's disease. "Convergence of ChIP-seq and miRNomics data highlighted the glycosphingolipid biosynthesis and the ubiquitin proteasome system as key players in PD," the authors write, adding that their results suggest "several miRNAs may act as regulators of both known and novel biological processes leading to idiopathic PD."

Over in PLoS Genetics, researchers at Denmark's Aarhus University and elsewhere identify "CtIP as a disease gene for Seckel and Jawad syndromes, and [define] a new type of genetic disease mechanism in which a dominant negative mutation yields a recessively inherited disorder."

And in PLoS Computational Biology, the University of Cologne's Armita Nourmohammad and Michael Lässig "show that a large fraction of neighboring transcription factor binding sites in the fly genome have formed from a common sequence origin by local duplications," and that this mode of evolution produces regulatory information. In a statistical analysis of 346 cis-regulatory modules in the Drosophila melanogaster genome, Nourmohammad and Lässig found that "duplicate seeds evolve subsequently by point mutations, often towards binding a different factor than their ancestral neighbor sites."

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.