Table of Contents

01 January 2011; volume 12, issue 1



  • Top Doc
    1. Howy Jacobs

    Whilst countries compete for recognition in life quality and social development, science and technology tend to take a back seat. Howy asks whether an index of scientific merit could help to raise standards worldwide.

    Howy Jacobs


  • Water
    1. Paul van Helden1
    1. 1 Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Health Science, Tygerberg, Cape Town, South Africa

    Water remains a scarce and valuable resource. Improving technologies for water purification, use and recycling should be a high priority for all branches of science.

    Paul van Helden

Hot off the Press

  • Evolutionary origins of oxygen sensing in animals
    1. Kalle T Rytkönen1 and
    2. Jay F Storz*,2
    1. 1 Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
    2. 2 School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln Nebraska, USA
    1. *Corresponding author. E‐mail: jstorz2{at}

    Oxygen is required for aerobic energy production but its levels have to be tightly regulated to avoid deleterious effects. Thus, animals have evolved mechanisms to monitor and respond to fluctuations in oxygen availability. Here, the evolution of the HIF system is discussed in light of a report that reveals its presence in the simplest animal.

    Kalle T Rytkönen, Jay F Storz

Meeting Point

  • Models to study ancient host–pathogen interactions: lessons from Crete
    1. Terry K Means1 and
    2. Alejandro Aballay2
    1. 1 Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases and Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, MA, USA
    2. 2 Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, NC, USA

    The first International Conference on Model Hosts was the first of its kind and gathered together international experts who are using range of hosts as models of infection, including worms, insects, mice, fish, rats, humans, squids, pigs, monkeys, protozoa, amoebae and ticks.

    Terry K Means, Alejandro Aballay
  • Yeast evolution and ecology meet genomics
    1. Maitreya J Dunham1 and
    2. Edward J Louis2
    1. 1 Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
    2. 2 Centre for Genetics and Genomics, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK

    The EMBO Conference on Experimental Approaches to Evolution and Ecology in Yeast covered a broad range of interests. The applications of genomic methods to ecological and evolutionary questions emphasize that the yeasts are poised to make significant contributions to these fields.

    Maitreya J Dunham, Edward J Louis

Science & Society





  • Regulation of protein function by ‘microProteins’
    1. Annica‐Carolin Staudt1 and
    2. Stephan Wenkel*,1
    1. 1 Centre for Plant Molecular Biology, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, D‐72076, Tübingen, Germany
    1. *Corresponding author. Tel: +49 7071 29 78852; Fax: +49 7071 295042; E‐mail: stephan.wenkel{at}

    Elegant post‐translational regulation is achieved by ‘microProteins’, which form homotypic dimers with their targets and act through the dominant–negative suppression of protein complex function. The recent identification of new microProteins suggests their role is general and has evolved in both the plant and animal kingdoms.

    • homotypic interactions
    • Id‐like proteins
    • protein–protein interaction
    • transcription factors
    • Received July 26, 2010.
    • Accepted November 17, 2010.
    Annica‐Carolin Staudt, Stephan Wenkel

Scientific Reports

  • Protein tyrosine kinase 7 has a conserved role in Wnt/β‐catenin canonical signalling
    1. Francesca Puppo1,2,3,
    2. Virginie Thomé4,
    3. Anne‐Catherine Lhoumeau1,2,3,
    4. Marie Cibois4,
    5. Akanksha Gangar1,2,3,
    6. Frédérique Lembo1,2,3,
    7. Edwige Belotti1,2,3,
    8. Sylvie Marchetto1,2,3,
    9. Patrick Lécine1,2,3,
    10. Thomas Prébet1,2,3,
    11. Michael Sebbagh1,2,3,
    12. Won‐Sik Shin5,
    13. Seung‐Taek Lee5,
    14. Laurent Kodjabachian4 and
    15. Jean‐Paul Borg1,2,3
    1. 1 Inserm, U891, Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Marseille, 27 Boulevard Lei Roure, Marseille, F‐13009
    2. 2 Institut Paoli‐Calmettes, 232 Boulevard Sainte Marguerite, Marseille, F‐13009
    3. 3 Université de la Méditerranée, 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, Marseille, F‐13005
    4. 4 Institut de Biologie du Développement de Marseille Luminy, UMR 6216, CNRS‐Université de la Méditerranée, Case 907, Marseille, 13288, France
    5. 5 Department of Biochemistry, College of Life Science and Biotechnology, Yonsei University, 262 Seongsanno, Seodaemun‐gu, Seoul, 120‐749, Republic of Korea
    1. Corresponding authors. Tel: +33 491 75 84 00; Fax: +33 491 26 03 64; E-mail: jean-paul.borg{at}
    1. These authors contributed equally to this work

    2. These authors managed the study equally

    • Present address: GlaxoSmithKline, 25–27 avenue du Québec, Les Ulis 91951, France

    • Present address: Baylor Institute for Immunology Research/Center for Human Vaccines/U899 3434 Live Oak Street, Dallas, Texas 75204, USA

    The tyrosine kinase receptor PTK7 implicated in planar cell polarity is shown here to play a role also in the Wnt canonical signaling pathway both during Xenopus embryo development and in mammalian cells.

    • β‐catenin
    • PTK7
    • Wnt
    • Xenopus
    • Received March 19, 2010.
    • Revision received October 16, 2010.
    • Accepted October 19, 2010.
    Francesca Puppo, Virginie Thomé, Anne‐Catherine Lhoumeau, Marie Cibois, Akanksha Gangar, Frédérique Lembo, Edwige Belotti, Sylvie Marchetto, Patrick Lécine, Thomas Prébet, Michael Sebbagh, Won‐Sik Shin, Seung‐Taek Lee, Laurent Kodjabachian, Jean‐Paul Borg
  • Chromatin modification acts as a memory for systemic acquired resistance in the plant stress response
    1. Michal Jaskiewicz1,2,
    2. Uwe Conrath*,2 and
    3. Christoph Peterhänsel1
    1. 1 Department of Botany, Rheinisch‐Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen University, Aachen, 52056, Germany
    2. 2 Department of Plant Physiology, Rheinisch‐Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen University, Aachen, 52056, Germany
    1. *Corresponding author. Tel: +49 241 8026540; Fax: +49 241 8022181; E-mail: uwe.conrath{at}bio3.rwth-aachen.deTel: +49 511 7622632; Fax: +49 511 76219262; E‐mail: cp{at}
    • Present address: Botanisches Institut, Leibniz Universitaet Hannover, Hannover 30419, Germany

    Plants can acquire systemic resistance to stress or infection after a first localized exposure. The paper provides evidence that histone modifications provide a memory that sensitizes defense genes for stronger responses.

    • chromatin
    • systemic acquired resistance
    • plant promoter control
    • systemic signalling
    • Received March 19, 2010.
    • Revision received October 23, 2010.
    • Accepted October 26, 2010.
    Michal Jaskiewicz, Uwe Conrath, Christoph Peterhänsel
  • miR‐146a and Krüppel‐like factor 4 form a feedback loop to participate in vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation
    1. Shao‐guang Sun1,
    2. Bin Zheng1,
    3. Mei Han1,
    4. Xin‐mei Fang1,
    5. Hui‐xuan Li1,
    6. Sui‐bing Miao1,
    7. Ming Su1,
    8. Yi Han1,
    9. Hui‐jing Shi1 and
    10. Jin‐kun Wen*,1
    1. 1 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Key Laboratory of Neural and Vascular Biology, China Administration of Education, Hebei Medical University, No. 361, Zhongshan East Road, Shijiazhuang, 050017, China
    1. *Corresponding author. Tel: +86 311 86265563; Fax: +86 311 86266180; E-mail: wjk{at}
    1. These authors contributed equally to this work

    miR‐146a and KLF4 negatively regulate each other?s expression and miR‐146a thereby promotes vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation. Depletion of miR‐146a in injured rat carotid arteries decreases hyperplasia and this might have therapeutic implications for proliferative vascular diseases.

    • Krüppel‐like factor 4
    • microRNA
    • miR‐146a
    • proliferation
    • vascular smooth muscle cells
    • Received May 16, 2010.
    • Revision received October 6, 2010.
    • Accepted October 11, 2010.
    Shao‐guang Sun, Bin Zheng, Mei Han, Xin‐mei Fang, Hui‐xuan Li, Sui‐bing Miao, Ming Su, Yi Han, Hui‐jing Shi, Jin‐kun Wen
  • The hypoxia‐inducible transcription factor pathway regulates oxygen sensing in the simplest animal, Trichoplax adhaerens
    1. Christoph Loenarz1,
    2. Mathew L Coleman2,
    3. Anna Boleininger1,
    4. Bernd Schierwater3,
    5. Peter W H Holland4,
    6. Peter J Ratcliffe2 and
    7. Christopher J Schofield*,1
    1. 1 Chemistry Research Laboratory and the Oxford Centre for Integrative Systems Biology, University of Oxford, Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TA, UK
    2. 2 Henry Wellcome Building for Molecular Physiology, University of Oxford, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford, OX3 7BN, UK
    3. 3 Institut für Tierökologie und Zellbiologie, Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, Bünteweg 17d, Hannover, 30559, Germany
    4. 4 Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PS, UK
    1. *Corresponding author. Tel: +44 1865 275625; Fax: +44 1865 275674; E-mail: christopher.schofield{at}
    1. These authors contributed equally to this work

    Schofield and colleagues demonstrate that a functional HIF system is present in the simplest animal, Trichoplax adhaerens. Their results imply that the HIF system is conserved in all animals, and reveal conservation of biochemical properties in the oxygen‐sensing machinery

    • evolution
    • HIF
    • hypoxia
    • oxygen sensing
    • Trichoplax
    • Received May 17, 2010.
    • Revision received October 5, 2010.
    • Accepted October 6, 2010.
    Christoph Loenarz, Mathew L Coleman, Anna Boleininger, Bernd Schierwater, Peter W H Holland, Peter J Ratcliffe, Christopher J Schofield
  • Macrophages recognize streptococci through bacterial single‐stranded RNA
    1. Sachin D Deshmukh1,
    2. Bernhard Kremer1,
    3. Marina Freudenberg2,
    4. Stefan Bauer3,
    5. Douglas T Golenbock4 and
    6. Philipp Henneke*,1,5
    1. 1 Centre of Chronic Immunodeficiency, Medical Centre, University Freiburg, Breisacherstrasse 117, Freiburg, 79106, Germany
    2. 2 Max‐Planck‐Institut für Immunbiologie, Stübeweg 51, Freiburg, 79108, Germany
    3. 3 Institute of Immunology, BMFZ, Philipps University Marburg, Hans Meerwein Strasse 2, Marburg, 35043, Germany
    4. 4 Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, 01605, USA
    5. 5 Centre for Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Medical Centre, University Freiburg, Breisacherstrasse 117, Freiburg, 79106, Germany
    1. *Corresponding author. Tel: +1 49 761270 7764; Fax: +1 49 761270 7760; E-mail: philipp.henneke{at}

    Recognition of streptococci and other Gram‐positive bacteria by macrophages and monocytes is shown here to rely on bacterial ssRNA. SsRNA interacts with a signaling complex, which comprises the TLR adapters MyD88 and UNC‐93B, but not the established MyD88‐dependent ssRNA sensors.

    • bacterial infection
    • RNA
    • phagocytosis
    • signal transduction
    • Received June 4, 2010.
    • Accepted October 25, 2010.
    Sachin D Deshmukh, Bernhard Kremer, Marina Freudenberg, Stefan Bauer, Douglas T Golenbock, Philipp Henneke
  • Cyclic‐AMP‐dependent protein kinase A regulates apoptosis by stabilizing the BH3‐only protein Bim
    1. Diane Moujalled1,2,
    2. Ross Weston1,
    3. Holly Anderton1,
    4. Robert Ninnis1,
    5. Pranay Goel1,
    6. Andrew Coley1,2,
    7. David CS Huang3,
    8. Li Wu3,
    9. Andreas Strasser3 and
    10. Hamsa Puthalakath*,1,2
    1. 1 Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, 3086, Australia
    2. 2 The Cooperative Research Centre for Biomarker Translation, Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, 3086, Australia
    3. 3 The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, 1G Royal Parade, Parkville, Victoria, 3050, Australia
    1. *Corresponding author. Tel: +61 3 94795226; Fax: +61 3 94792467; E-mail: h.puthalakath{at}

    Phosphorylation of the proapoptotic BH‐3 only protein Bim usually leads to Bim degradation by the proteasome. Here, the authors show that phosphorylation of Bim by the cAMP dependent protein kinase A (PKA) instead leads to Bim protein stabilization and to apoptosis.

    • apoptosis
    • Bim
    • cAMP
    • PKA
    • Received June 24, 2010.
    • Revision received October 28, 2010.
    • Accepted October 29, 2010.
    Diane Moujalled, Ross Weston, Holly Anderton, Robert Ninnis, Pranay Goel, Andrew Coley, David CS Huang, Li Wu, Andreas Strasser, Hamsa Puthalakath
  • Yox1 links MBF‐dependent transcription to completion of DNA synthesis
    1. Blanca Gómez‐Escoda1,
    2. Tsvetomira Ivanova1,
    3. Isabel A Calvo1,
    4. Isabel Alves‐Rodrigues1,
    5. Elena Hidalgo1 and
    6. José Ayté*,1
    1. 1 Oxidative Stress and Cell Cycle Group, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, C/Doctor Aiguader 88, Barcelona, 08003, Spain
    1. *Corresponding author. Tel: +34 93 316 0847; Fax: +34 93 316 0901; E-mail: jose.ayte{at}

    This study shows that the transcriptional repressor Yox1 is phosphorylated upon activation of the DNA synthesis checkpoint in fission yeast, which alleviates the Yox1‐mediated repression of MBF complex‐controlled transcription of S‐phase genes. Yox1 therefore couples the DNA synthesis checkpoint with the G1‐S transcription machinery.

    • DNA synthesis checkpoint
    • HU
    • MBF
    • S‐phase transcription
    • Received July 8, 2010.
    • Revision received October 14, 2010.
    • Accepted October 29, 2010.
    Blanca Gómez‐Escoda, Tsvetomira Ivanova, Isabel A Calvo, Isabel Alves‐Rodrigues, Elena Hidalgo, José Ayté