Jane Gitschier interviews James Schwartz, author of In Pursuit of the Gene. After studying Mathematics and Biology as a graduate student, Schwartz turned his hand to science writing. This interview explores the psychological motivations behind great scientific discoveries, and the intricate politics of writing about living scientists.
It is widely accepted that transcriptional regulation of eukaryotic genes is intimately coupled to covalent modifications of the underlying chromatin template. Hesheng Zhang and colleagues present evidence that gene activation in the silent heterochromatin of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae can occur in the context of little, if any, covalent histone modification.
Over the last decade, bacterial genomics has revealed the presence of eukaryotic-type serine/threonine protein kinases (STKPs) in many bacteria. Aurore Fleurie and colleagues show that the ser/thr-kinase StkP and the two cell division paralogs GpsB and DivIVA of Streptococcus pneumoniae work together to finely tune peptidoglycan synthesis and achieve proper cell shape and division.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Aberrant splicing has been implicated in lung tumorigenesis. However, the functional links between splicing regulation and lung cancer are not well understood. Feng-Yang Zong and colleagues identify the RNA-binding protein QKI as a key regulator of alternative splicing in lung cancer.
Browse Articles in the Genetics and Genomics Subject AreaPLOS Biology; PLOS Medicine; PLOS Computational Biology; PLOS Genetics; PLOS Pathogens; PLOS ONE; PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases