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PLOS Papers on Collateral Mutations, Bacterial Surveillance, Ebolavirus Resequencing Microarrays

In PLOS Genetics, Hungarian researchers consider collateral mutations that arise incidentally due to DNA damage bypass pathways involving translesion polymerase enzymes. Using whole-genome sequencing analyses of human and chicken cell lines exposed to cisplatin or ultraviolet radiation, the team tracked new mutations near translesion DNA synthesis (TLS) events, uncovering collateral mutations within about 25 base pairs of lesions — patterns explored further with genome sequence data for 10 cutaneous melanoma tumor samples. Together with analyses on the genetic context of these alterations, the results suggest that "[d]epending on the mutagenicity of the bypass of the primary lesion, collateral mutagenesis may even be the major mutagenic effect of TLS," the authors report, "and appears to make an important contribution to base substitution mutagenesis in multiple settings."

A Danish team shares findings from a sequencing-based bacterial surveillance effort dubbed "One Day in Denmark" for a paper in PLOS One. The researchers' point-prevalence analysis incorporated insights gained from MALDI-TOF, bioinformatics, and whole-genome sequencing-based methods, and focused on more than 2,000 bacterial isolates reported to the country's clinical microbiology labs on the same day in early 2018. "The distribution of bacterial species throughout the country was not homogeneous," they write, though urine isolates of Escherichia coli were the most frequently detected bug. They also note that "there was a very high concordance between [whole-genome sequencing] and the current routine methods for species identification."

For a paper appearing in PLOS One, investigators at the US Food and Drug Administration and OpenBox Bio assess resequencing microarrays (RMA) as a method for characterizing clinical Ebolavirus isolates in the field. Such RMAs "are a targeted method to obtain genomic sequence on clinical specimens rapidly, and sensitively, overcoming the need for extensive bioinformatic analysis," they write, noting that the current RMA approach centers on genome sites linked to four forms of Ebolavirus linked to human disease. In particular, the authors note, "ability of the system to identify genetic drift in a replicating virus was achieved by sequencing the ebolavirus glycoprotein gene in a recombinant virus cultured under pressure from a neutralizing antibody."

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