The index below is a selection of new studies and review articles by researchers from across the HMS community. It represents a small sample of research at focushms.com.
A ceRNA Hypothesis: The Rosetta Stone of a Hidden RNA Language?
Salmena L, Poliseno L, Tay Y, Kats L, Pandolfi PP. Cancer Genetics Program and departments of Medicine and Pathology, Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center and HMS
The authors present a unifying hypothesis about how messenger RNAs, transcribed pseudogenes, and long noncoding RNAs “talk” to each other using microRNA response elements (MREs) as letters of a new language. They propose that this “competing endogenous RNA” (ceRNA) activity forms a large-scale regulatory network across the transcriptome, greatly expanding the functional genetic information in the human genome and playing important roles in pathological conditions, such as cancer. Cell. 2011 Aug 5;146(3):353-8.
Malpractice risk according to physician specialty
Jena AB, Seabury S, Lakdawalla D, Chandra A. Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, and HMS.
The authors analyzed malpractice data from 1991 through 2005 for all physicians who were covered by a large professional liability insurer. The proportion of physicians facing a claim each year ranged from 19.1% in neurosurgery, 18.9% in thoracic-cardiovascular surgery and 15.3% in general surgery to 5.2% in family medicine, 3.1% in pediatrics and 2.6% in psychiatry. It was estimated that by the age of 65 years, 75% of physicians in low-risk specialties had faced a malpractice claim as compared with 99% of physicians in high-risk specialties. New England Journal of Medicine. 2011 Aug 18;365(7):629-36.
Simultaneous visualization of the extracellular and cytoplasmic domains of the epidermal growth factor receptor.
Mi LZ, Lu C, Li Z, Nishida N, Walz T, Springer TA. Immune Disease Institute and Department of Pathology, HMS.
To authors’ knowledge, no structural study to date has characterized, in an intact receptor, the coupling of conformational change in extracellular domains through a single-pass transmembrane domain to conformational change in cytoplasmic domains. Here the authors examine such coupling, and its unexpected complexity, using nearly full-length epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and negative-stain EM. The coupling of one conformation of an activated receptor ectodomain to multiple kinase-domain arrangements reveals previously unanticipated complexity in transmembrane signaling and facilitates regulation of receptor function in the juxtamembrane and cytoplasmic environments. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. 2011 Aug 7 18(9):984-9.