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This Week in PNAS: Apr 17, 2018

A team of Chinese researchers used a bioinformatics-based approach to examine splicing patterns within triple-negative breast cancer. In their report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers write that they uncovered a unique splicing pattern within basal-like breast cancer that is mediated by TDP43, the expression of which is linked to poor prognosis in triple-negative breast cancer. Its loss, they report, inhibits tumor progression. The researchers add that TDP43 and SRSF3, which it forms a complex with, could be a therapeutic target for triple-negative breast cancer.

Also in PNAS, Swiss researchers examine the robustness of gene regulation through both transcription factors and RNA binding proteins. Using binding data on 172 human and fruit fly transcription factors and RNA binding proteins, they developed two genotype-phenotype maps, which they used to assess the evolvability of transcription factors and RNA binding proteins. While they found similarities between the two maps, the researchers also noted architectural differences, which they said reflected the lower evolvability of RNA-mediated gene regulation, as compared to transcriptional regulation.

Lastly, researchers from the US and China report on a new CRISPR/Cas9-based transcriptional activation tool they developed dubbed flySAM. According to the researchers, their tool, which only relies on one sgRNA, is easier to use, allows for scalability, and outperforms the dCas9-VPR tool. "Given these improvements, we anticipate that flySAM will be widely useful to the Drosophila community for overexpressing specific genes in an inducible, tissue-specific manner, as well as in performing screens," the researchers say.