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Researchers Define Regulatory Role for Stroke-Related Variants Between Genes

For a paper appearing in PNAS, a team from Canada, France, and the US dig into intergenic variants linked to stroke risk, demonstrating that they regulate a transcriptional enhancer that influences expression of the FOXF2 transcription factor linked to blood vessel stability. With a combination of in vitro and in vivo experiments in cell lines and zebrafish models, respectively, investigators narrowed in on binding sites for three FOXF2-related transcription factors in a stroke-associated region between the FOXF2 and FOXQ1 genes. "We identify critical enhancer regions for FOXF2 gene expression, including sites occupied by transcription factors ETS1, RBPJ, and CTCF," they report, noting that SNPs implicated in enhanced risk of ischemic stroke, small vessel stroke, and other conditions appears to dial down the function of this enhancer.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.