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This Week in Science: Sep 4, 2015

In this week's Science, a trio of researchers discusses how the emergence of infectious diseases often results from interactions between multiple diverse species and the importance of studying ecological interactions in addressing such diseases. Community ecology can help identify "the factors governing complex assemblages of multiple hosts, parasites, and vectors, and reveal how processes link across scales from individual hosts to regions," and boost control strategies by uncovering what drives heterogeneities among individuals, species, and regions. The authors also offer examples of how community ecology has enhanced disease management.


And in Science Signaling, a team of US and Chinese scientists report new details on a pair of proteins involved in melanoma growth and drug resistance, showing how stimulating one or blocking the other might help combat resistant tumors. The researchers found that Cdh1, a protein involved in cell cycle regulation and a putative tumor suppressor, is downregulated in melanoma tumors, while a cell survival protein, PAX3, is upregulated. In cell culture experiments, the investigators found Cdh1 acts to suppress PAX3 to control skin cell growth. They then extended the findings to tumor-bearing mice, discovering that deleting Cdh1 in melanoma cells enhanced tumor growth, and that its restoration sensitized the cancer to chemotherapy. The study's authors suggest that increasing Cdh1 or blocking PAX3 may help in the treatment of drug-resistant melanoma.

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