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This Week in PLOS: Jan 22, 2018

A team from Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina describes gene expression signatures identified in mouse models of breast cancer. As they explain in PLOS Genetics, the investigators began by using publicly available array-based gene expression profiles for histologically annotated mouse mammary tumors, identifying and eventually validating signatures representing genes that were recurrently up- or down-regulated in various breast cancer histological subtypes. "[W]e show that despite differences in the tumor initiating oncogene," the authors write, "histological subtypes in mouse mammary tumors are unified in their transcriptomic profiles and activation of cell signaling pathways."

In PLOS Pathogens, researchers from the US, Tanzania, and Zambia report on results of an RNA sequencing study on Kaposi's sarcoma — a cancer caused by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) that is more common in countries with high HIV-1 infection rates. Using RNA sequencing, the team compared viral and host gene expression patterns in Kaposi's sarcoma and matched normal samples from four HIV-1-infected individuals from Zambia and Tanzania who received anti-retroviral therapy, uncovering differences in KSHV expression from one patient to the next. The analysis also highlighted the consequences of KSHV infection on the expression of genes in the host cell, particularly those from lipid and glucose metabolism pathways.

Members of the Pediatric Cardiac Genomics Consortium (PCGC) present current findings from a large study of congenital heart defects — known as the Congenital Heart Disease Genetic Network study (CHD GENES) — for a paper appearing in PLOS One. The PCGC cohort includes interview and medical record data for more than 9,700 cases enrolled at 10 sites between 2010 and 2014, along with their parents, the researchers reported. Just 11 percent of the congenital heart disease cases came with a genetic diagnosis, they explained, noting that "genotype array, exome sequence, whole genome sequence, and RNA sequence data from CHD GENES participants have been and will continue to be posted to dbGAP."