For those interested — here is the Spring 2020 NewsLetter from the HUGO-based Human Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC), located in London. Their web site is https://www.genenames.org/ and should be bookmarked by every scientist who is dealing with any gene or any RNA or protein product from that gene. Using standardized nomenclature helps cut down on the confusion created in the scientific literature by the use of so many trivial and jargon names. 😊
Spring newsletter 2020
HGNC, VGNC, Newsletters · 28 May 2020
Progress on replacing placeholder symbols
Here is a selection of placeholder symbols that we have managed to update while working from home:
C15orf41 to CDIN1, CDAN1 interacting nuclease 1
C11orf88 to HOATZ, HOATZ cilia and flagella associated protein
C12orf49 to SPRING1, SREBF pathway regulator in golgi 1
C1orf61 to MIR9-1HG, MIR9-1 host gene
Note that this final rename was triggered following an agreement of a change in locus type for the gene between the RefSeq and Havana manual annotation groups and the HGNC. The locus type changed from protein coding to long non-coding RNA and was based on a lack of conservation across species and lack of support for the predicted protein in mass spectrometry data. The new symbol and name reflect the fact that the lncRNA gene hosts the microRNA gene MIR9-1 within one of its introns.
New HGNC gene groups
We have curated several new gene groups for genenames.org within the past few months as part of our ongoing curation work. Highlights include:
Nuclear factor I family (NFI)
Ras related GTP binding proteins (RRAG)
HIRA histone chaperone complex subunits
Linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton complex subunits
Gene Symbols in the News
The coronavirus pandemic has dominated our lives and the news in recent times. We couldn’t include this regular newsletter section without mentioning the following genes that have recently appeared in many more news articles than we can possibly feature due to their association with COVID-19. We are pleased to see that all of these genes are being referred to by their approved symbols, allowing unambiguous communication about them.
The product of the ACE2 gene was immediately a prime suspect as a SARS-CoV-2 receptor following its previous association with the SARS-CoV virus. Early reports suggested that SARS-CoV-2 could be more infectious than SARS-CoV due to its possible enhanced binding to ACE2. There have since been reports linking levels of this ACE2 protein to differences in the severity of Covid-19 between males and females and across age groups. There are now many drug trials going ahead that aim to disrupt the association of SARS-CoV-2 with ACE2, as mentioned in this CORDIS report and on this news site for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The involvement of a number of proteases, needed for activation of the virus upon cell entry, have been reported. The most regularly mentioned is the enzyme encoded by TMPRSS2, and there is hope that a pre-existing drug that can inhibit this protease may block viral entry. Although TMPRSS2 has been found to be the major protease for infection in nasal cells, TMPRSS4 encodes a protease that has been identified as potentially playing a role in the infection of digestive tissues. It has also been suggested that the FURIN cleavage site in the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus could be linked to its high transmission rates because this cleavage site does not exist in the SARS-CoV virus.