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PLOS Papers on Host Responses to Candida, Drinking Water Microbiomes, Turner Syndrome MicroRNAs

In PLOS Pathogens, a team from the Netherlands and Romania explores host immune response to the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans. In an effort to better understand dangerous bloodstream infections involving Candida, the researchers brought together genetic clues from genome-wide association studies, RNA sequencing data on bulk immune cell samples, and single-cell RNA-seq data, uncovering related quantitative trait loci, key immune cell types, and genes such as LY86 that appear to contribute to infection susceptibility. "We expect that our approach can be generalized to other infectious diseases for which small patient group sizes have restricted our ability to unravel the disease mechanism in more detail," they report.

Researchers from the University of Maryland and elsewhere take a look at the microbial community members in various drinking water samples for a paper in PLOS One. With a combination of shotgun metagenomic sequencing, bioinformatic analyses, and heterotrophic plate counts, the team attempted to profile bacteria, protozoa, fungi, archaea, bacteria-infecting bacteriophage viruses, virulence factors, and antibiotic resistance genes in municipal tap water, water from a public drinking fountain, sparkling water, and bottled, non-mineral water. Though the microbial representatives were often found at relatively low abundance in the drinking water microbiome analysis, the authors report, "this preliminary study reports increased bacterial species diversity in [drinking water] compared to previous findings where amplicon-sequencing and culture-dependent methods were used."

A German team searches for symptom-related circulating microRNAs in individuals with a chromosomal disorder called Turner syndrome for another PLOS One paper. The researchers used microarrays and RT-qPCR validation to look at blood representation and levels of more than 2,500 miRNAs in 33 individuals with Turner syndrome and 14 age-matched, unaffected volunteer individuals. Along with miRNAs that appeared to be found at higher or lower levels in blood samples from the individuals with Turner syndrome, the team focused on miRNAs with altered representation in blood samples from Turner syndrome patients with accompanying congenital heart disease, in general, or with specific heart conditions. "The identified circulating miRNA signature … provide[s] new insights into the molecular mechanism of [Turner syndrome] that may guide the development of novel diagnostic approaches," the authors write.