PLoS Genetics Journal Impact Factor & Information

Publisher: Public Library of Science, Public Library of Science

Journal description

Genetics and genomics research has grown at a bewildering pace in the past 15 years. The techniques of these fields are being applied to a wealth of biological questions and experimental systems. PLoS Genetics reflects the full breadth and interdisciplinary nature of this research by publishing outstanding original contributions in all areas of biology. PLoS Genetics publishes human studies, as well as research on model organisms - from mice and flies, to plants and bacteria. Topics include (but are not limited to) gene discovery and function, population genetics, genome projects, comparative and functional genomics, medical genetics, cancer biology, evolution, gene expression, complex traits, chromosome biology, and epigenetics.

Current impact factor: 8.17

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2015
2013 / 2014 Impact Factor 8.167
2012 Impact Factor 8.517
2011 Impact Factor 8.694
2010 Impact Factor 9.543
2009 Impact Factor 9.532
2008 Impact Factor 8.883

Impact factor over time

Impact factor

Additional details

5-year impact 9.44
Cited half-life 3.40
Immediacy index 1.20
Eigenfactor 0.17
Article influence 4.97
Website PLoS Genetics website
Other titles PLOS genetics (Online), PLOS genetics, Public Library of Science genetics
ISSN 1553-7404
OCLC 57175810
Material type Document, Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Public Library of Science

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Creative Commons Attribution License
    • Eligible UK authors may deposit in OpenDepot
    • Publisher's version/PDF may be used
    • All titles are open access journals
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Active DNA demethylation plays crucial roles in the regulation of gene expression in both plants and animals. In Arabidopsis thaliana, active DNA demethylation is initiated by the ROS1 subfamily of 5-methylcytosine-specific DNA glycosylases via a base excision repair mechanism. Recently, IDM1 and IDM2 were shown to be required for the recruitment of ROS1 to some of its target loci. However, the mechanism(s) by which IDM1 is targeted to specific genomic loci remains to be determined. Affinity purification of IDM1- and IDM2- associating proteins demonstrated that IDM1 and IDM2 copurify together with two novel components, methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 7 (MBD7) and IDM2-like protein 1 (IDL1). IDL1 encodes an α-crystallin domain protein that shows high sequence similarity with IDM2. MBD7 interacts with IDM2 and IDL1 in vitro and in vivo and they form a protein complex associating with IDM1 in vivo. MBD7 directly binds to the target loci and is required for the H3K18 and H3K23 acetylation in planta. MBD7 dysfunction causes DNA hypermethylation and silencing of reporter genes and a subset of endogenous genes. Our results suggest that a histone acetyltransferase complex functions in active DNA demethylation and in suppression of gene silencing at some loci in Arabidopsis.
    PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005210. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005210
  • PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005139. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005139
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    ABSTRACT: Human cancer is caused by the interplay of mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes and inherited variations in cancer susceptibility genes. While many of the tumor initiating mutations are well characterized, the effect of genetic background variation on disease onset and progression is less understood. We have used C. elegans genetics to identify genetic modifiers of the oncogenic RAS/MAPK signaling pathway. Quantitative trait locus analysis of two highly diverged C. elegans isolates combined with allele swapping experiments identified the polymorphic monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene amx-2 as a negative regulator of RAS/MAPK signaling. We further show that the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), which is a product of MAOA catalysis, systemically inhibits RAS/MAPK signaling in different organs of C. elegans. Thus, MAOA activity sets a global threshold for MAPK activation by controlling 5-HIAA levels. To our knowledge, 5-HIAA is the first endogenous small molecule that acts as a systemic inhibitor of RAS/MAPK signaling.
    PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005236. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005236
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    ABSTRACT: Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs) catalyze the transfer of multiple poly(ADP-ribose) units onto target proteins. Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation plays a crucial role in a variety of cellular processes including, most prominently, auto-activation of PARP at sites of DNA breaks to activate DNA repair processes. In humans, PARP1 (the founding and most characterized member of the PARP family) accounts for more than 90% of overall cellular PARP activity in response to DNA damage. We have found that, in contrast with animals, in Arabidopsis thaliana PARP2 (At4g02390), rather than PARP1 (At2g31320), makes the greatest contribution to PARP activity and organismal viability in response to genotoxic stresses caused by bleomycin, mitomycin C or gamma-radiation. Plant PARP2 proteins carry SAP DNA binding motifs rather than the zinc finger domains common in plant and animal PARP1 proteins. PARP2 also makes stronger contributions than PARP1 to plant immune responses including restriction of pathogenic Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato growth and reduction of infection-associated DNA double-strand break abundance. For poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase (PARG) enzymes, we find that Arabidopsis PARG1 and not PARG2 is the major contributor to poly(ADP-ribose) removal from acceptor proteins. The activity or abundance of PARP2 is influenced by PARP1 and PARG1. PARP2 and PARP1 physically interact with each other, and with PARG1 and PARG2, suggesting relatively direct regulatory interactions among these mediators of the balance of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation. As with plant PARP2, plant PARG proteins are also structurally distinct from their animal counterparts. Hence core aspects of plant poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation are mediated by substantially different enzymes than in animals, suggesting the likelihood of substantial differences in regulation.
    PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005200. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005200
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    ABSTRACT: Cells respond to their environment by modulating protein levels through mRNA transcription and post-transcriptional control. Modest observed correlations between global steady-state mRNA and protein measurements have been interpreted as evidence that mRNA levels determine roughly 40% of the variation in protein levels, indicating dominant post-transcriptional effects. However, the techniques underlying these conclusions, such as correlation and regression, yield biased results when data are noisy, missing systematically, and collinear---properties of mRNA and protein measurements---which motivated us to revisit this subject. Noise-robust analyses of 24 studies of budding yeast reveal that mRNA levels explain more than 85% of the variation in steady-state protein levels. Protein levels are not proportional to mRNA levels, but rise much more rapidly. Regulation of translation suffices to explain this nonlinear effect, revealing post-transcriptional amplification of, rather than competition with, transcriptional signals. These results substantially revise widely credited models of protein-level regulation, and introduce multiple noise-aware approaches essential for proper analysis of many biological phenomena.
    PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005206. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005206
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    ABSTRACT: The genetic cause for approximately 80% of familial breast cancer patients is unknown. Here, by sequencing the entire exomes of nine early-onset familial breast cancer patients without BRCA1/2 mutations (diagnosed with breast cancer at or before the age of 35) we found that two index cases carried a potentially deleterious mutation in the RECQL gene (RecQ helicase-like; chr12p12). Recent studies suggested that RECQL is involved in DNA double-strand break repair and it plays an important role in the maintenance of genomic stability. Therefore, we further screened the RECQL gene in an additional 439 unrelated familial breast cancer patients. In total, we found three nonsense mutations leading to a truncated protein of RECQL (p.L128X, p.W172X, and p.Q266X), one mutation affecting mRNA splicing (c.395-2A>G), and five missense mutations disrupting the helicase activity of RECQL (p.A195S, p.R215Q, p.R455C, p.M458K, and p.T562I), as evaluated through an in vitro helicase assay. Taken together, 9 out of 448 BRCA-negative familial breast cancer patients carried a pathogenic mutation of the RECQL gene compared with one of the 1,588 controls (P = 9.14×10-6). Our findings suggest that RECQL is a potential breast cancer susceptibility gene and that mutations in this gene contribute to familial breast cancer development.
    PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005228. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005228
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    ABSTRACT: While circadian dysfunction and neurodegeneration are correlated, the mechanism for this is not understood. It is not known if age-dependent circadian dysfunction leads to neurodegeneration or vice-versa, and the proteins that mediate the effect remain unidentified. Here, we show that the knock-down of a regulator (spag) of the circadian kinase Dbt in circadian cells lowers Dbt levels abnormally, lengthens circadian rhythms and causes expression of activated initiator caspase (Dronc) in the optic lobes during the middle of the day or after light pulses at night. Likewise, reduced Dbt activity lengthens circadian period and causes expression of activated Dronc, and a loss-of-function mutation in Clk also leads to expression of activated Dronc in a light-dependent manner. Genetic epistasis experiments place Dbt downstream of Spag in the pathway, and Spag-dependent reductions of Dbt are shown to require the proteasome. Importantly, activated Dronc expression due to reduced Spag or Dbt activity occurs in cells that do not express the spag RNAi or dominant negative Dbt and requires PDF neuropeptide signaling from the same neurons that support behavioral rhythms. Furthermore, reduction of Dbt or Spag activity leads to Dronc-dependent Drosophila Tau cleavage and enhanced neurodegeneration produced by human Tau in a fly eye model for tauopathy. Aging flies with lowered Dbt or Spag function show markers of cell death as well as behavioral deficits and shortened lifespans, and even old wild type flies exhibit Dbt modification and activated caspase at particular times of day. These results suggest that Dbt suppresses expression of activated Dronc to prevent Tau cleavage, and that the circadian clock defects confer sensitivity to expression of activated Dronc in response to prolonged light. They establish a link between the circadian clock factors, light, cell death pathways and Tau toxicity, potentially via dysregulation of circadian neuronal remodeling in the optic lobes.
    PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005171. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005171
  • PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005173. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005173
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    ABSTRACT: Pigmentation varies within and between species and is often adaptive. The amount of pigmentation on the abdomen of Drosophila melanogaster is a relatively simple morphological trait, which serves as a model for mapping the genetic basis of variation in complex phenotypes. Here, we assessed natural variation in female abdominal pigmentation in 175 sequenced inbred lines of the Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel, derived from the Raleigh, NC population. We quantified the proportion of melanization on the two most posterior abdominal segments, tergites 5 and 6 (T5, T6). We found significant genetic variation in the proportion of melanization and high broad-sense heritabilities for each tergite. Genome-wide association studies identified over 150 DNA variants associated with the proportion of melanization on T5 (84), T6 (34), and the difference between T5 and T6 (35). Several of the top variants associated with variation in pigmentation are in tan, ebony, and bric-a-brac1, genes known to affect D. melanogaster abdominal pigmentation. Mutational analyses and targeted RNAi-knockdown showed that 17 out of 28 (61%) novel candidate genes implicated by the genome-wide association study affected abdominal pigmentation. Several of these genes are involved in developmental and regulatory pathways, chitin production, cuticle structure, and vesicle formation and transport. These findings show that genetic variation may affect multiple steps in pathways involved in tergite development and melanization. Variation in these novel candidates may serve as targets for adaptive evolution and sexual selection in D. melanogaster.
    PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005163. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005163
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    ABSTRACT: Recent reports have questioned the accepted dogma that mammalian mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is strictly maternally inherited. In humans, the argument hinges on detecting a signature of inter-molecular recombination in mtDNA sequences sampled at the population level, inferring a paternal source for the mixed haplotypes. However, interpreting these data is fraught with difficulty, and direct experimental evidence is lacking. Using extreme-high depth mtDNA re-sequencing up to ~1.2 million-fold coverage, we find no evidence that paternal mtDNA haplotypes are transmitted to offspring in humans, thus excluding a simple dilution mechanism for uniparental transmission of mtDNA present in all healthy individuals. Our findings indicate that an active mechanism eliminates paternal mtDNA which likely acts at the molecular level.
    PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005040. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005040
  • PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005179. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005179
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    ABSTRACT: A diverse subset of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) detects pathogen-associated nucleic acids to initiate crucial innate immune responses in host organisms. Reflecting their importance for host defense, pathogens encode various countermeasures to evade or inhibit these immune effectors. PRRs directly engaged by pathogen inhibitors often evolve under recurrent bouts of positive selection that have been described as molecular 'arms races.' Cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) was recently identified as a key PRR. Upon binding cytoplasmic double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) from various viruses, cGAS generates the small nucleotide secondary messenger cGAMP to signal activation of innate defenses. Here we report an evolutionary history of cGAS with recurrent positive selection in the primate lineage. Recent studies indicate a high degree of structural similarity between cGAS and 2'-5'-oligoadenylate synthase 1 (OAS1), a PRR that detects double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), despite low sequence identity between the respective genes. We present comprehensive comparative evolutionary analysis of cGAS and OAS1 primate sequences and observe positive selection at nucleic acid binding interfaces and distributed throughout both genes. Our data revealed homologous regions with strong signatures of positive selection, suggesting common mechanisms employed by unknown pathogen encoded inhibitors and similar modes of evasion from antagonism. Our analysis of cGAS diversification also identified alternately spliced forms missing multiple sites under positive selection. Further analysis of selection on the OAS family in primates, which comprises OAS1, OAS2, OAS3 and OASL, suggests a hypothesis where gene duplications and domain fusion events result in paralogs that provide another means of escaping pathogen inhibitors. Together our comparative evolutionary analysis of cGAS and OAS provides new insights into distinct mechanisms by which key molecular sentinels of the innate immune system have adapted to circumvent viral-encoded inhibitors.
    PLoS Genetics 05/2015; 11(5):e1005203. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005203