In PLOS Genetics, a French- and American-led team reports on findings from its genome and transcriptome sequencing study of the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans from the grubii variety. As part of their annotation of the C. neoformans var. grubii genome, the researchers identified tens of thousands of intronic sequences, including more than 2,000 in untranslated regions. Along with other non-coding RNA, antisense transcription, and other patterns, the findings suggest that the meningoencephalitis-causing pathogen has complex methods for mediating its gene expression. Through re-sequencing on additional isolates, the group also tracked down shifts in virulence and stress response features in the yeast following growth in the lab.
In another PLOS Genetics study, researchers from the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, the Colon Cancer Family Registry, and elsewhere describe a genetic variant that appears to influence the risk of developing colorectal cancer after regularly consuming processed meat. The team narrowed in on the variant, which falls near the GATA3 gene on chromosome 10, through an analysis of gene and diet data for nearly 9,300 individuals with colorectal cancer and more than 9,100 unaffected controls. "Our results identify a novel gene-diet interaction with processed meat for colorectal cancer," study authors say, "highlighting that diet may modify the effect of genetic variants on disease risk, which may have important implications for prevention."
A PLOS Pathogens study finds muscle-related proteins at higher-than-usual levels amongst children infected with malaria who go on to develop complications. Using multiplex antibody suspension bead arrays, researchers from Sweden, the UK, and Nigeria looked at levels of more than 1,000 proteins in blood samples from 700 children with or without malaria. Dozens of the proteins were found at different levels in children infected with the disease. But there were also subtle differences in proteins present in plasma samples from children with severe malaria and those with cerebral malaria, offering hints about the underlying process involved. Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on the study.