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This Week in PNAS: Sep 7, 2010

In the PNAS Early Edition this week, investigators at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, investigate SUMOylated proteins from both non-stressed and heat- and oxidative-stressed Arabidopsis plants using tandem mass spectrometry. "The list of targets is enriched for factors that direct SUMOylation and for nuclear proteins involved in chromatin remodeling/repair, transcription, RNA metabolism, and protein trafficking," the authors write, adding that the target histone H2B is of "particular interest," since it affects genome-wide transcription.

A research team led by investigators at the University of Oklahoma, along with their colleagues at Brandeis University, describe "a genetic mosaic approach for neural circuit mapping in Drosophila." Specifically, the team reports their proof-of-principle analysis using the ET-FLP-induced intersectional GAL80/GAL4 repression — FINGR — method to map the circuitry behind wing inflation. They found that "the strategies and tactics underlying our FINGR system are also applicable to other genetically amenable organisms in which transgenes including the GAL4, UAS, GAL80, and FLP factors can be applied."

Scientists at MIT, the Joint Genome Institute, and other institutions show that "microbial community transcriptomes reveal microbes and metabolic pathways associated with dissolved organic matter turnover in the sea." In an effort to investigate DOM cycling, the team "analyzed genomic and transcriptional responses of microbial communities to high-molecular-weight DOM addition." They found that "transcripts significantly enriched in the HMWDOM treatment included those associated with two-component sensor systems, phosphate and nitrogen assimilation, chemotaxis, and motility." The authors write that their results suggest "that coordinated, cooperative activities of a variety of bacterial 'specialists may be critical in the cycling of marine DOM."

Also in PNAS this week, researchers in Canada and the US describe the role of MiniPromoter reporters. "Using single-copy, homologous-recombination 'knock-ins in embryonic stem cells, each MiniPromoter reporter is integrated immediately 5' of the Hprt locus in the mouse genome," they write, adding that "MiniPromoter expression profiles are characterized in differentiation assays of the transgenic cells or in mouse brains following transgenic mouse production." The authors note that the Pleiades MiniPromoter Project is a publicly available resource.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.