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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

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.