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This Week in Science: Sep 5, 2009

In Science this week, researchers show that a phospholipid that binds to nuclear enzymes modifies gene transcription in response to external stimuli. Sarah Spiegel at Virginia Commonwealth University is the senior author on work that found that the lipid sphingosine-1-phosphate can also bind to histone deacetylases 1 and 2. The enzyme that creates S1P, sphingosine kinase 2, is present in the nucleus in complexes with HDAC1 and HDAC2.

Australian scientists investigate the degree of genetic variation in fruit flies when it comes to tolerance for cold and desiccation. They found that, in Drosophila, species from the tropics have low variability for these traits, while flies from more temperate climates have higher levels of variation. "Specialist species may simply lack genetic variation in key traits, limiting their ability to adapt to conditions beyond their current range," they write.

In work led by scientists at Vanderbilt University, researchers used a combination of high-resolution mass spectrometric and nuclear magnetic resonance data to show that a sulfilimine bond cross-links hydroxylysine-211 and methionine-93 of adjoining promoters in collagen IV networks. The bond, they say, arose when sponge and cnidaria diverged.

The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.