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PLOS Papers on Salmonella-Contaminated Pistachios, Cancer Interactomes, Insecticide-Resistant Mosquitoes

Using SNP profiling, whole-genome sequencing-based approaches, and food storage/bacterial survival experiments informed by metagenomics, a US Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition-led team saw signs of Salmonella contamination and persistence in pistachios, along with the supply chain for the nuts. "In this study, sequence data from Salmonella Senftenberg and Salmonella Montevideo [strain] isolates associated with pistachio outbreaks, recalls, and investigations over a nine-year period (2009-2018) were analysed to better understand evolutionary relationships among these isolates and, subsequently, to better evaluate their persistence in the pistachio growing and processing environment," the investigators report in PLOS One. Along with strains carrying heavy metal resistance-related sequences, they explain, the data pointed to "evidence of persistent Salmonella Senftenberg and Salmonella Montevideo strains in pistachio environments, some of which may be due to clonal resident strains and some of which may be due to preharvest contamination."

In PLOS Genetics, researchers from China and Germany consider protein-protein interaction (PPI) shifts found in cancer using a new network-based cancer-specific PPI prediction approach known as NECARE. The team tracked down potential cancer hub genes when it applied this analytical method to cancer interactomes. The authors went on to uncover apparent prognosis-related roles for such hub genes in the 32 cancer types considered, and used co-immunoprecipitation experiments to confirm interactions for a subset of protein pairs. "Many of these hub genes have already been well studied in previous cancer studies or served as drug targets," they write. "These findings indicated that our results can potentially provide the targets for future cancer studies."

For a paper in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a team from Soochow University, Cornell University, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases used RNA sequencing, nano-scale reverse phase chromatography, and tandem mass spec-based proteomic profiling to assess a strain of Aedes aegypti mosquito called CKR that is known for dodging pyrethroid-based insecticides with cytochrome P450 monooxygenase enzyme-based detoxification. The search flagged 10 CYPs with higher-than-usual messenger RNA and protein levels, along with dozens of transcription factor-coding genes and long non-coding RNAs suspected of regulating such CYPs. Such results suggest resistance may occur via regulatory changes that boost CYP expression, though the authors saw hints that resistance can arise through CYP protein stabilization as well.