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诺奖得主Jack Szostak主动撤稿两篇论文为哪般?

2017/12/10 来源:BioArt
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日前,Retraction Watch网站报道了2009年诺贝尔生理学或医学奖得主Jack Szostak最近撤回了在Nature Chemistry杂志上发表的题为“Oligoarginine peptides slow strand annealing and assist non-enzymatic RNA replication”的研究论文。


本文转载自“BioArt”。

Jack Szostak做出撤稿决定,起因于他的现任实验室成员Tivoli Olsen无法重复一篇发表于2016年的论文。

了解Szostak的同行应该知道,近年来他一直执着于在“RNA世界”理论下研究早期生命中RNA是如何在不依赖于蛋白酶的条件下进行复制的问题,试图解释地球生命起源的根本性问题。而发表在Nature Chemistry上的这篇论文主要报道了一种富含寡聚精氨酸的多肽,它能够帮助非酶依赖性的RNA复制,这一发现有力地支持了原始RNA自我复制的可能性。

非酶依赖的RNA复制之前存在一个理论缺陷,那就是RNA在复制过程中退火阶段需要有个限速的过程,否则RNA的多轮复制就变得不太可能。正好Nature Chemistry论文报道有一种富含精氨酸的肽段能够大大降低RNA链退火的速度(several thousand-fold),可以说解决了一个很关键的理论问题。然而撤稿声明中显示,后续的实验并不支持这一结果,并表示有可能是人为原因造成的,详见下述摘引的内容:

“Subsequent experiments suggested that arginine-rich peptides may not slow the reannealing of complementary strands (Fig. 3), and that what we had previously interpreted as a decrease in annealing rate was actually an artefact due to slow coalescence or strand exchange between droplets of RNA–peptide coacervate, as well as droplet coalescence and settling that led to decreased fluorescence intensity. ”

Szostak表示这些错误“绝对令人尴尬”(definitely embarrassing)。“回想起来,我们完全被信念所遮蔽,而没有按照原本应该的那样进行严格仔细的分析去解释实验结果”,Szostak说道(In retrospect, we were totally blinded by our belief [in our findings]…we were not as careful or rigorous as we should have been (and as Tivoli was) in interpreting these experiments.)

然后,Szostak还补充道:“唯一的可取之处是我们自己发现并纠正了自己所犯的错误”(The only saving grace is that we are the ones who discovered and corrected our own errors, and figured out what was going on.)

鉴于上述问题,Szostak主动要求撤回发表在Nature Chemistry的论文。


值得注意的是,这不是Szostak第一次撤稿了。早在2009年,Szostak就撤回了2008年发表在PNAS上的一篇题为“Retraction for Litovchick and Szostak, Selection of cyclic peptide aptamers to HCV IRES RNA using mRNA display”的论文。


2009年的撤稿事件又是为何呢?

起因是加州大学伯克利分校的Jennifer Doudna实验室的Katherine Berry读到Szostak组的论文时很感兴趣,于是联系Szostak组准备进行合作,Szostak组还提供了一些实验所需的肽段。然而在重复2008年这篇PNAS论文时出现了问题。最后,当Szostak得知自己实验室的博后也重复不出来的时候,果断对该文进行了撤稿处理。撤稿信息详情如下:

The authors wish to note the following: “After thorough efforts by K. Berry in the laboratory of Jennifer Doudna to reproduce our reported IRES-specific translational inhibition were unsuccessful, we initiated an extensive effort to reproduce the IRES-specific peptide binding. These experiments, carried out with the assistance of Y. Guillen in the laboratory of J. W. Szostak, also failed to confirm our previously published results. Therefore, we retract the paper. We sincerely apologize for any confusion that the publication of this study may have caused.”


Jack Szostak

引用资料:

http://retractionwatch.com/2017/12/05/definitely-embarrassing-nobel-laureate-retracts-non-reproducible-paper-nature-journal/

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