Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in PLOS: May 22, 2017

In PLOS Genetics, an international team led by investigators at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia describes common variants that appear to influence neuroblastoma susceptibility and/or tumorigenesis. Using a genome-wide association study approach, the researchers compared genotype patterns in 2,101 individuals with neuroblastoma and more than 4,200 unaffected controls. Their search led to suspicious SNPs upstream of the chromosome 3 gene MLF1 and in the CPZ gene on chromosome 4 — associations that they subsequently validated in another 1,163 neuroblastoma cases and nearly 4,400 controls. "Based on initial functional studies," the authors note, "it is likely that germline susceptibility alleles at 3q25 play an important role in both initiation and disease progression."

Researchers from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the University of Ottawa explore rabies virus phylogeography for a study appearing in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, focusing on isolates obtained mainly from Myotis bats in Canada over two-and-a-half decades. Based on partial viral genome sequence data and bat barcode sequences in 149 samples from bats tested between the early 1990s and 2015, the team identified some bat species that appeared particularly prone to carrying the rabies virus. The sequence data also provided a look at variant clusters within viruses from different hosts across the country, along with clues to relationships between viral clades and bat host reservoirs in Canada.

Finally, a team from China and Australia takes a genomic and transcriptomic look at an extremophile bacterial species called Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans strain YL15, obtained from an alpine acid drainage site from a southwestern China copper mine. As they write in PLOS One, the researchers sequenced a draft genome for YL15 that spanned nearly 3 million base pairs and contained almost 2,800 protein-coding genes, including genes coding for proteins suspected of helping the bug adapt to its cold, harsh environment such as DNA repair enzymes. "The study represents the first to comprehensively unveil the adaptation mechanisms of an acidophilic bacterium to the acid mine drainage in alpine regions," the authors write.