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This Week in PLOS: Nov 13, 2017

Researchers from the US, South Africa, and Kenya search for genetic variants linked to enhanced HIV-1 infection risk through sexual exposure in a paper appearing in PLOS Pathogens. In an effort to tap into phenotypes at either end of the infection risk spectrum, the team compared whole-genome sequence data for 50 HIV-negative individuals from sub-Saharan Africa with high HIV-1 exposure and 50 individuals with low exposure but apparent seroconversion. The search unearthed missense variants in or around the CD101 and UBE2V1 inflammatory pathway genes that appeared to dial up HIV-1 infection risk in women or in both men and women, respectively.

Chronic infection with the Schistosoma haematobium may lead to proteomic changes in human urine that could provide schistosomiasis detection clues, according to a team from Nigeria and South Africa. As they report in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the researchers used a combination of liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to compare levels of more than 1,300 proteins and 9,701 peptides in urine samples from dozens of individuals from a schistosomiasis-affected community in southwestern Nigeria. After screening for the parasite, examining individuals' bladder structure, and quantifying S. haematobium eggs in urine samples using microscopy, they identified 54 possible protein biomarkers from human urine and three-dozen potential protein markers from parasites.

In PLOS One, researchers from Poland and the UK present findings from a whole-genome DNA methylation profiling study of pediatric precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or BCP ALL. Using methylation microarrays, the team analyzed DNA methylation profiles in diagnostic bone marrow samples from 38 children with BCP ALL and bone marrow samples from four unaffected children. Along with methylation differences between children with or without BCP ALL, the authors uncovered a handful of methylated sites suspected of differentiating BCP ALL cases deemed high risk by existing classification criteria.