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Nature Papers Report on Host Factors Needed for SARS-CoV-2 Infection, Genomic Chromatin Architecture of Yeast

A series of genome-wide CRISPR screens reveals a collection of coronavirus host factors that could potentially serve as targets for treating SARS-CoV-2 infection. In the study, which appears in this week's Nature Genetics, scientists from KU Leuven performed screens focused on identifying host factors required for infection by SARS-CoV-2 and a coronavirus responsible for the common cold. They discover both virus-specific and shared host factors including TMEM106B, a lysosomal protein required by SARS-CoV-2 to infect human cell lines and primary lung cells. RNA sequencing of airway cells from COVID-19 patients further demonstrates that TMEM106B expression correlates with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The findings, the authors write, form a basis for future studies into the cellular pathways hijacked by coronaviruses and provide targets for medicinal chemistry efforts to counter SARS-CoV-2. GenomeWeb has more on this study, here.

A comprehensive, high-resolution view of the genomic chromatin architecture of the budding yeast genome is reported in Nature this week. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation, exonuclease digestion, and DNA sequencing, a Pennsylvania State University-led research group defined the architecture of chromatin-associated proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, identifying 21 meta-assemblages consisting of roughly 400 different proteins that are related to DNA replication, centromeres, subtelomeres, transposons, and transcription by RNA polymerase I, II and III. These and other findings stemming from the work "should provide a better context for understanding how it integrates with other layers of gene regulation that occur during RNA processing, transport and translation," the investigators write. "Moreover, as most of the key proteins examined here are evolutionarily conserved, their architectural themes are likely to exist in other eukaryotes."