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This Week in Science: Aug 21, 2015

In Science this week, a group of Chinese researchers presents the 3D structure of a yeast spliceosome at near-atomic resolution, providing a framework for investigating the mechanisms that underlie mRNA splicing. Using single particle, cryo-electron microscopy, the researchers revealed the overall structure of the spliceosome and its protein components. In an accompanying article, the team discusses the structural basis of pre-miRNA splicing and how the protein components of the spliceosome evolved to deliver critical RNA molecules next to each other at the right time to enable splicing.

And in Science Translational Medicine, a multi-institute team reports data indicating that targeting two different inflammatory pathways that drive asthma may be more effective than blocking one or the other. In their study, the scientists examined the gene expression patterns in the airways of 51 people with asthma, focusing on two signaling pathways believed to promote airway inflammation. They discovered that most patients exhibited strong regulation of one or the other pathway, while experiments in a mouse model showed that blocking one pathway boosts the activity of the other in a compensatory response. Combination therapies targeting both pathways, however, proved highly effecting in reducing asthma symptoms.