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This Week in PNAS: Jun 8, 2010

In the PNAS Early Edition this week, researchers in Israel report that initiator-tRNA can function as a pre-mRNA splicing regulator. They show that alternative splicing events "induced by mutations in the translation initiation AUG codon can be suppressed by expressing initiator-tRNA constructs carrying anticodon mutations that compensate for the AUG mutations," and that their results suggest a novel role for initiator-tRNA as a splicing regulator, separate from its documented role in protein translation.

Investigators at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases report their simultaneous analysis of vaccinia virus and host HeLa cell transcriptomes using deep RNA-sequencing in PNAS this week. "The high resolution permitted determination of the precise boundaries of many mRNAs including read-through transcripts and location of mRNA start sites and adjacent promoters," the authors write.

Research published online in advance in PNAS this week reports that "RNA polymerase complexes cooperate to relieve the nucelosomal barrier and evict histones." Specifically, researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School examined "the encounter between multiple complexes of RNA polymerase and a nucleosome was analyzed in vitro," and found that "closely spaced complexes of transcribing Pol II can induce displacement of all core histones along the gene."

A team of investigators from France discusses E. coli-induced DNA damage, and how it triggers genomic instability in mammalian cells. "E. coli strains of phylogenetic group B2 harbor a genomic island called 'pks' that codes for the production of a polyketide-peptide genotoxin, Colibactin," the authors write, which can induce a "transient DNA damage response followed by cell division with signs of incomplete DNA repair, leading to anaphase bridges and chromosome aberrations." The team suggests that "colon colonization with these E. coli strains harboring the pks island could contribute to the development of sporadic colorectal cancer."

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.