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New Approach for Uncovering Tumors' Molecular Dependencies

A computational method for identifying how much cancer cells depend on specific proteins for survival is reported in PLOS Computational Biology this week, representing a potential new tool for cancer drug development. While chemical perturbations via bioactive compound screening in primary cancer cells represents an important tool for identifying such dependencies, mechanistic understanding of hits and further pharmaceutical development is often complicated by the fact that a chemical compound has affinities to multiple proteins. To overcome this challenge, a group led by scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory developed a framework, dubbed DepInfeR, that identifies tumor-specific dependencies on druggable proteins by integrating drug sensitivity assays and drug-protein affinity profiling. The researchers validated the approach by correctly identifying known kinase dependencies in acute myeloid leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), then used it with newly generated drug screening data on primary tumor samples to discover a previously unreported dependence on checkpoint kinase 1 by a molecular subgroup of high-risk CLL. Possible uses for DepInfeR include the discovery of novel disease stratifications by their characteristic dependencies on specific proteins and improved understanding of existing disease stratifications in terms of differential protein dependencies, the study's authors add.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.