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This Week in Cell: Jul 29, 2015

A Harvard University-led team presents a resource for those interested in investigating the human interactome. The researchers established a set of nearly 7,700 interacting proteins, known as the BioPlex Network, with the help of high-throughput, affinity purification, mass spectrometry (AP-MS) experiments involving almost 2,600 bait proteins in a human embryonic kidney cell line. All told, the current networks includes more than 23,700 protein interactions that cluster into hundreds of functionally-informative communities, the study's author say, noting that BioPlex "represents the first phase of a long-term effort to profile the entire human ORFEOME collection via AP-MS and generate a comprehensive map of human protein interactions." GenomeWeb has more on this here.

Researchers from the Wistar Institute, the University of Pennsylvania and elsewhere used reverse genetics to search for clues about the mismatch between the influenza H3N2 strains circulating in the recent flu season and the vaccines intended to ward them off. The researchers relied on a screen that involved peppering samples of antigen-containing blood from ferrets, sheep, and humans who received the 2014-2015 H3N2 flu vaccine with a panel of H3N2 flu viruses that contained various mutations to the virus' hemagglutinin-coding gene. The search led to mutations in the hemagglutinin antigenic site B that seemed to help the virus dodge detection by antibodies in the blood of vaccinated animals.

Using an RNA interference screen in the Caenorhabditis elegans model organism, University of Toronto researchers delve into the roots of mutant phenotype variability found in organisms of the same species from different genetic backgrounds. Based on loss-of-function mutations involving some 1,400 C. elegans genes, coupled with RNA sequencing data from several of the worm's life cycles, the team argues that differences in gene expression found in distinct genetic backgrounds can impact the severity of many mutations. GenomeWeb also covers this here.