A previous report found an association of topic choice with race-based funding disparities among R01 applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health ('NIH') between 2011-2015. Applications submitted by African American or Black ('AAB') Principal Investigators ('PIs') skewed toward a small number of topics that were less likely to be funded (or 'awarded'). It was suggested that lower award rates may be related to topic-related biases of peer reviewers. However, the report did not account for differential funding ecologies among NIH Institutes and Centers ('ICs'). In a re-analysis, we find that 10% of 148 topics account for 50% of applications submitted by AAB PIs. These applications on 'AAB Preferred' topics were funded at lower rates, but peer review outcomes were similar. The lower rate of funding for these topics was primarily due to their assignment to ICs with lower award rates, not to peer-reviewer preferences.
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The authors conducted this work as part of their official US government duties.
- Cliff J Rosen, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, United States
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Assembly pathways of protein complexes should be precise and efficient to minimise misfolding and unwanted interactions with other proteins in the cell. One way to achieve this efficiency is by seeding assembly pathways during translation via the cotranslational assembly of subunits. While recent evidence suggests that such cotranslational assembly is widespread, little is known about the properties of protein complexes associated with the phenomenon. Here, using a combination of proteome-specific protein complex structures and publicly available ribosome profiling data, we show that cotranslational assembly is particularly common between subunits that form large intermolecular interfaces. To test whether large interfaces have evolved to promote cotranslational assembly, as opposed to cotranslational assembly being a non-adaptive consequence of large interfaces, we compared the sizes of first and last translated interfaces of heteromeric subunits in bacterial, yeast, and human complexes. When considering all together, we observe the N-terminal interface to be larger than the C-terminal interface 54% of the time, increasing to 64% when we exclude subunits with only small interfaces, which are unlikely to cotranslationally assemble. This strongly suggests that large interfaces have evolved as a means to maximise the chance of successful cotranslational subunit binding.
For the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, several drug classes with different mechanisms of action are available. Since only a limited set of dosing regimens and drug combinations can be tested in clinical trials, it is currently unclear whether common medication strategies achieve optimal bone mineral density gains or are outperformed by alternative dosing schemes and combination therapies that have not been explored so far. Here, we develop a mathematical framework of drug interventions for postmenopausal osteoporosis that unifies fundamental mechanisms of bone remodeling and the mechanisms of action of four drug classes: bisphosphonates, parathyroid hormone analogs, sclerostin inhibitors, and receptor activator of NF-κB ligand inhibitors. Using data from several clinical trials, we calibrate and validate the model, demonstrating its predictive capacity for complex medication scenarios, including sequential and parallel drug combinations. Via simulations, we reveal that there is a large potential to improve gains in bone mineral density by exploiting synergistic interactions between different drug classes, without increasing the total amount of drug administered.