Research integrity Smut Clyde

The Perennial Northern Blot of Lopez-Otin

Cancer researcher Carlos López-Otín published the same Northern blot no less than 23 times in 23 publications, between 1994 and 2006. Eventually Lopez-Otin et al even stopped caring what order of samples that original loading control had.

On the Iberian peninsula, there seems to be a tradition to give well-connected scientists suspected (or even convinced) of data fudging an award. In Spain, Carlos López-Otín, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Oviedo, was given a Mentoring Award from the elite journal Nature, on recommendation from Spanish academia and despite evidence of data irregularities in his papers. This prompted my readers, in particular the famous pseudonymous data integrity sleuth Clare Francis, to comment on on PubPeer and on my site (as “Zebedee”) with additional evidence, which made Lopez-Otin’s scientific credibility look progressively worse and worse, with each new post.

Eventually, an image of a Northern blot (showing expression of mRNAs which code for proteins) was found to appear recurrently across several papers from that Oviedo lab, where the authors pretended it was a newly produced analysis. In reality, it was a “library” loading control reused so the authors could re-run same RNA gel of human tissue lysates over the years and never check ever again what they have actually loaded on their gels. Eventually Lopez-Otin et al even stopped caring what order of samples that original loading control had.

Clare Francis was soon joined on his quest for the Perennial Northern Blot of Oviedo by Elisabeth Bik, famous microbiology blogger and image duplication detective, and my regular contributor (also pseudonymous) Smut Clyde, who now presents you the findings of no less than 23 appearances of that same northern blot in 23 publications from Lopez-Otin’s lab in the guest post below. It is just as convincing as if the Spanish actor Antonio Banderas appeared in 23 different films still dressed in same costume from his 1995 hit Desperado, carrying same guitar case. Incidentally, also Lopez-Otin’s Perennial Northern Blot made its first appearance at around that year.

screenshot-vimeo.com-2018-05-04-12-18-38
Celebrity friends. Still from a 2017 video by Fundació Princesa de Girona

The cancer researcher Lopez-Otin is an actual real-life celebrity in Spain. On 29 June 2017, he helped the King of Spain open the Princess of Girona Foundation Awards ceremony, together with another Spanish celebrity of the creative art of the pretend, Antonio Banderas. The Princess Foundation wrote about their 2017 gala host:

“Carlos Lopez-Otín is an academician of the European Academy and the Royal Academy of Sciences of Spain, and Doctor Honoris Causa by several Spanish and foreign universities. Throughout his scientific career he has received several awards such as the European FEBS Prize for Biochemistry, the DuPont Award for Life Sciences, the “Carmen and Severo Ochoa” Award, the Mexico Prize for Science and Technology, King Jaime I Prize Research and the National Research Award “Santiago Ramón y Cajal”

That multiple award winning research star is also EMBO member, just like some other of his Spain-based colleagues of questionable research integrity are: Maria Pia Cosma and Pura Munoz-Canoves. These two also regularly receive juicy research grants and recognition: Munoz-Canoves’ most recent was the “Vanguardia de la Ciencia” award, while Cosma was given in 2016 “Ciutat de Barcelona” award. Another Spanish researcher with shady data in his papers is Manel Esteller, he also gets awarded regularly, in 2016 it was the Catalonia International Prize from (now fugitive) President Puigdemont. In Portugal, Esteller’s former PhD student and now zombie scientist Sonia Melo was given a Prémio FAZ Ciência award from Fundação AstraZeneca, only two months ago. There are surely more of such questionable Iberic awardees, readers are welcome to salute these stars of Photoshop in the comment section.

Lopez-Otin’s data integrity issues involve also such obviously manipulated gels like this Northern Blot in Llano et al Cancer Research 1999. What was it the authors didn’t like that they had to duplicative parts of this gel and introduce other digital “modifications”?

I personally have a theory that in this way the system of Iberian academia announces who is untouchable, in order to intimidate critics of research misconduct in their own ranks. Probably a pathetic left-over from the fascist past of Spain and Portugal. The subliminal message is: yes, we all know what these award-winners did to create those big papers and we don’t mind at all. The award-giving farce shows who the role models are and what Spanish and Portuguese scientists are expected to do with their silly notions of research integrity: shove it, start making big papers whatever it takes, or lose your job. In fact, not even the arch-zombie scientist Susana Gonzalez had to suffer unemployment, unlike masses of honest young Spanish scientists.


A Perennial Northern Blot, by Smut Clyde

The title of this post refers to the famously picaresque Western blot belonging to a Brazilian diabetes researcher. sinbt0jIn its protean versatility, Mario Saad‘s pentadecaplicating blot could transform itself into any protein — tubulin, actin, GLUT4, IRS1 — from any combination of source conditions. It thereby appeared in at least 15 versions, spread across 10 papers in “an intricate publishing web“, serving as the loading control in that many different experiments (that is, as a measure of the total level of extracted protein, for normalising the measurements of the protein of interest). In my imagination it spoke with the voice of Robin Williams. This site forwarded a report on the Wandering Western… the ensuing saga included editorial Expressions of Concern, lawsuits, an investigation by Saad’s university that saw no evidence of misconduct, and 13 retractions so far (RetractionWatch are keeping score).

The present case also concerns re-use of a loading control, but this time featuring a Northern blot. The compass-point tradition for naming gel-electrophoresis techniques began with Sir Edwin Southern, pioneer of Southern blotting, for this is how humor works in molecular biology. It has been explained to me that Northern blots do not directly measure the popularity of a protein in the cellular economy; instead, mRNA (encoding for a protein) is the chemical species, extracted from various sources (lanes), and spread out into bands according to molecular weight. Then transferred (blotted) from the electrophoresis gel to a filter for stability, and detected by inducing the mRNA to bind to a matching and radiotracing DNA probe.

So in this case, a team of researchers have a bank of 28 “cell smoothies”: two sets of eight tissue types, one set of eight cancer-cell lines, and four fetal-tissue samples. In a series of papers published over a decade, the team have characterised numerous proteins from within the self-organising complexity of the human cell — sequencing the DNA for each protein and specifying its chromosomal location, describing its role within that complexity, and checking which tissues express it (which depends on which genes remained active in each lineage of cells that differentiated and specialised and became a tissue). That is to say, the Northern Blots were just one aspect of the papers, and they are all outside my comfort grade and above my pay zone.

the future

Each study took a few drops from the stored samples, blotted it (“Filters containing about 2 µg of polyadenylated RNAs from the indicated human tissues”), and probed for the mRNA of choice. But there are limits to the precision that a pipette can provide — even in the hands of a trained gene-modified laboratory monkey — so the final stage is to wash the probe DNA out of the filter and probe it again for Actin (a background “housekeeping” protein, required by cells to maintain their architecture, unless they are dead) to correct for the actual aliquots that were used. Thus papers in this sequence typically include a phrase along these lines:

“Filters were subsequently hybridized with a human actin probe to ascertain differences in RNA loading”.

It is conceivable, however, that this phrase was repeated from the first paper, along with the loading blot itself. Comparing 23 papers, there appears to be one original blot for each bank: four blots, which are variously compressed and clipped according to the exigencies of publication, and varying also in exposure, rather than a separate measurement after each separate exercise in tissue localisation. The sources are ‘Zebedee’, commenting on threads at this site; anonymous contributors to PubPeer threads; Elisabeth Bik; and myself.

northern1-5

This comes to our notice because a 23-fold replication beats the 15-fold record of the Brazilian wanderer. Crucially, though the possible copies are consistently identified as Actin, and the authors have tried to label the sources of the lanes consistently. The reuse of a ‘loading library’ is deprecated, but this does not begin to approach the problematic level of the Brazilian Western: there was no attempt to mislead (other than the claim that the control in each study was specific to it, made subsequently to the data to be controlled). It is a perennial blot, always in the same place, rather than a wanderer or vagrant.

northern6-10

northern11-15

Regrettably, the labelling of lanes was not as consistent as was intended. In a 2003 appearance of the fetal-tissue blot, it was flipped horizontally relative to the lane labels, as marked with a red box in the Figures. Note that in some publications the lanes are listed in reverse order — from Leucocytes to Heart rather than vice versa — and in the Figures I have flipped each band and labels in such cases, to keep a single sequence of tissue types (hence the mirror-image text in places).

Red boxes were also necessary in some cases where the cancer-cell blot was flipped relative to its lane labels, and for the #2 array of tissue cells in the 1999 paper. In addition, that blot was rotated through 180° from 2001 onwards (so that the Actin background for Thymus cells becomes that of Colon cells, and vice versa, while Testes and Ovary change places, and Spleen with Leucocytes). This is marked with orange boxes. One can only hope that these pictorial labelling issues did not extend into the measurements of Actin from the blots, as used in the quantitative results.

northern16-20

Finally, two blue arrows mark the omission of ‘Pancreas’ and ‘Skeletal muscle’ from one study each, with the loading band spliced to remove that lane.

I am going to play ‘good cop’ here, and propose that the corner-cutting absence of study-specific controls probably made little difference to the results. Corrigenda to the paper acknowledging the use of archival controls would be appropriate (along with correction of any flipped and rotated bands). Other issues have been raised about other figures in some of the papers, but I do not address those here.

Details of the 23 publications follow. We are still hopeful of finding a few more examples of the Perennial Northern Blot.

  1. 1994. “Human cathepsin O. Molecular cloning from a breast carcinoma, production of the active enzyme in Escherichia coli, and expression analysis in human tissues“, Velasco et al; J Biol Chem., 269(43):27136-42.
  2. 1995. “Cloning and expression analysis of a novel human serine hydrolase with sequence similarity to prokaryotic enzymes involved in the degradation of aromatic compounds“, Puente & López-Otín; Journal of Biological Chemistry 270, 12926-12932. DOI 10.1074/jbc.270.21.12926 Figure 5.
  3. 1996. “Cloning and Expression Analysis of Human Bleomycin Hydrolase, a Cysteine Proteinase Involved in Chemotherapy Resistance“, Ferrando et al.; Cancer Research 56: 1746-1750. PMID: 8620487
  4. 1996. “Molecular Cloning of a Novel Membrane-type Matrix Metalloproteinase from a Human Breast Carcinoma“, Puente et al; Cancer Research 56:944-949.
  5. 1997. “Identification and characterization of a novel human matrix metalloproteinase with unique structural characteristics, chromosomal location, and tissue distribution“, Pendás et al; J Biol Chem. 272(7):4281-6. doi: 10.1074/jbc.272.7.4281 Figure 7.
  6. 1998. “Cathepsin L2, a Novel Human Cysteine Proteinase Produced by Breast and Colorectal Carcinomas“, Santamaría et al; Cancer Res. 58(8):1624-30.
  7. 1998. “Cathepsin Z, a novel human cysteine proteinase with a short propeptide domain and a unique chromosomal location“, Santamaría et al; J Biol Chem. 273(27):16816-23. doi: 10.1074/jbc.273.27.16816 Figure 5.
  8. 1999. “Cloning and characterization of human MMP-23, a new matrix metalloproteinase predominantly expressed in reproductive tissues and lacking conserved domains in other family members“, Velasco et al; J Biol Chem. 274(8):4570-6. doi: 10.1074/jbc.274.8.4570 Figure 6.
  9. 1999. “Molecular cloning and structural and functional characterization of human cathepsin F, a new cysteine proteinase of the papain family with a long propeptide domain“, Santamaría et al; J Biol Chem. 274(20):13800-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.274.20.13800 Figure 6.
  10. 1999. “Identification and Chromosomal Location of Two Human Genes Encoding Enzymes Potentially Involved in Proteolytic Maturation of Farnesylated Proteins“, Freije et al; Genomics 58, 270–280. DOI: 10.1006/geno.1999.5834
  11. 2000. “Human MT6-matrix metalloproteinase: identification, progelatinase A activation, and expression in brain tumors“, Velasco et al; Cancer Research 60, 877–882. pubmed: 10706098
  12. 2001. “Identification, Characterization, and Intracellular Processing of ADAM-TS12, a Novel Human Disintegrin with a Complex Structural Organization Involving Multiple Thrombospondin-1 Repeats“, Cal et al; Journal of Biological Chemistry 276, 17932-17940. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M100534200 Figure 5.
  13. 2002. “Matriptase-2, a Membrane-bound Mosaic Serine Proteinase Predominantly Expressed in Human Liver and Showing Degrading Activity against Extracellular Matrix Proteins“, Velasco et al; J Biol Chem. 277(40):37637-46. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M203007200 Figure 8.
  14. 2002Cloning, expression analysis, and structural characterization of seven novel human ADAMTSs, a family of metalloproteinases with disintegrin and thrombospondin-1 domains“, Cal et al; Gene 283 49-62. doi: 10.1016/S0378-1119(01)00861-7
  15. 2003. “Polyserase-I, a human polyprotease with the ability to generate independent serine protease domains from a single translation product“, Cal et al; PNAS 100(16): 9185–9190. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1633392100 Figure 4.
  16. 2003. “Human Autophagins, a Family of Cysteine Proteinases Potentially Implicated in Cell Degradation by Autophagy“, Mariño et al; Journal of Biological Chemistry 278, 3671-3678. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M208247200 Figure 3.
  17. 2003. “Identification and Characterization of ADAMTS-20 Defines a Novel Subfamily of Metalloproteinases-Disintegrins with Multiple Thrombospondin-1 Repeats and a Unique GON Domain“, Llamazares et al; Journal of Biological Chemistry 278(15):13382-13389. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M211900200 Figure 4.
  18. 2004. “Identification and Characterization of Human and Mouse Ovastacin“, Quesada et al; JBC 279 (25) 26627-26634. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M401588200 Figure 3.
  19. 2004. “Cloning and enzymatic analysis of 22 novel human ubiquitin-specific proteases“, Queseda et al; Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 314, 54-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2003.12.050
  20. 2005. “Identification of Human Aminopeptidase O, a Novel Metalloprotease with Structural Similarity to Aminopeptidase B and Leukotriene A4 Hydrolase“, Díaz-Perales et al; Journal of Biological Chemistry 280, 14310-14317. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M413222200 Figure 4.
  21. 2005. “Human Polyserase-2, a Novel Enzyme with Three Tandem Serine Protease Domains in a Single Polypeptide Chain“, Cal et al; JBC 280, 1953-1961. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M409139200 Figure 3.
  22. 2005. “Identification and Characterization of Human Archaemetzincin-1 and -2, Two Novel Members of a Family of Metalloproteases Widely Distributed in Archaea“, Diaz-Perales et al; JBC 280(34):30367-30375. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M504533200 Figure 4.
  23. 2006. “Identification and characterization of human polyserase-3, a novel protein with tandem serine-protease domains in the same polypeptide chain“, Cal et al; BMC Biochemistry. doi: 10.1186/1471-2091-7-9 Figure 7.

Update 7.05.2018. Based on reader comment:

oviedo

 

 

 

 

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103 comments on “The Perennial Northern Blot of Lopez-Otin

  1. Zebedee

    Reply to Cartuli June 8, 2018 at 12:58

    “Specially when you’re talking about someone with over 400 publications.”
    That is the problem. Over 400 publications, but not over 400 separate pieces of scientific work.
    He has more publications than his data can support.
    The rule that you should only publish your data once is so that people can scrutinize the scientific record for data appearing more than once. It is not a pernickety rule, but the rule which allows scientific scrutiny of what is readily observable. Without scrutiny it is all worthless.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. More and more violation to NCB policy by Soria-Valles et al., 2015 from Lopez-Otin lab…

    Control bands of WB and EMSA assays are missing from author’s submitted raw blots.
    6 serial posts on Pubpeer pointed out each case of missing bands.

    NF-κB activation impairs somatic cell reprogramming in ageing
    Nature Cell Biology (2015) – 43 Comments
    doi: 10.1038/ncb3207 issn: 1465-7392 issn: 1476-4679 pubmed: 26214134

    Clara Soria-Valles , Fernando G. Osorio , Ana Gutiérrez-Fernández , Alejandro De Los Angeles , Clara Bueno , Pablo Menéndez , José I. Martín-Subero , George Q. Daley , José M. P. Freije , Carlos López-Otín

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#43

    “I need multiple posts to address elusive bands appearing from nowhere. In addition to missing b-actin bands in supplementary figure 6a, there are multiple cases where b-actin or Oct1 (control of EMSA assay) are missing.
    First, Figure 4i. H3K79Me2 bands are flipped. B-actin bands are missing from submitted raw blots from authors.”

    “Figure 5f. ATM bands are distorted. b-actin bands are missing from raw blots submitted by authors.”

    “Figure 7a.
    Never specified which Oct1 bands are used. 4 out of 15 lanes. P-ATM bands are flipped. B-actin bands are missing from raw blots submitted by authors.”

    “Supplementary figure 6e.
    NF-kB bands do not match. Oct1 (control) bands are missing from raw blots submitted by authors.”

    “Supplementary figure 8. Part 1 of 2.
    Oct1 (control) bands are missing from raw blots submitted by authors. 9 lanes shown in the panel, but only 4 can be found.”

    “Supplementary figure 8. Part 2 of 2.
    B-actin bands are missing from raw blots submitted by authors.”

    Like

  3. I did respect high standard of Nature Cell Biology journal. But now Soria-Valles (2015) paper from Lopez-Otin convinced me double standard of this journal. Really disappointing that control bands appeared from nowhere.

    Like

  4. Isn’t is weird that their perinnial blots are gone now, and even cannot show control bands in more recent paper…? Go to extremes… Finally their Clontech bots got expired after two decades. Or they got worried to show off their favorite “master-stock” of control bands on Nature Cell Biology?

    Like

    • Smut Clyde

      No, I have no problem with López-Otín and his colleagues shifting their focus to another research area. You go where the funding is, and if they received a grant to study a particular topic, earlier projects will not receive so much attention.

      Like

  5. Like the idea of lab stock of control bands that you can copy and paste on any paper. That’s a key to 400 publications…

    Like

  6. Lopez-Otin’s 2015 NCB paper (Soria-Valles et al.) lacks both cotrols and molecular size markers on blotts. Violation to NCB policy.

    NF-κB activation impairs somatic cell reprogramming in ageing
    Nature Cell Biology (2015) – 48 Comments
    doi: 10.1038/ncb3207 issn: 1465-7392 issn: 1476-4679 pubmed: 26214134

    Clara Soria-Valles , Fernando G. Osorio , Ana Gutiérrez-Fernández , Alejandro De Los Angeles , Clara Bueno , Pablo Menéndez , José I. Martín-Subero , George Q. Daley , José M. P. Freije , Carlos López-Otín

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#44

    “Policy of Nature Cell Biology on gel data deposition – “Positive and negative controls, as well as molecular size markers, should be included on each gel and blot”. The paper lacks both controls and molecular size markers. I wonder if the editor of Nature Cell Biology, Alexia-Ileana Zaromytidou, is aware of it?”

    Like

  7. More than band issue in Lopez-Otin 2015 NCB paper (Soria-Valles et al.). Problems in microscopic image processing.

    NF-κB activation impairs somatic cell reprogramming in ageing
    Nature Cell Biology (2015) – 48 Comments
    doi: 10.1038/ncb3207 issn: 1465-7392 issn: 1476-4679 pubmed: 26214134

    Clara Soria-Valles , Fernando G. Osorio , Ana Gutiérrez-Fernández , Alejandro De Los Angeles , Clara Bueno , Pablo Menéndez , José I. Martín-Subero , George Q. Daley , José M. P. Freije , Carlos López-Otín

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#48

    “My point is that the authors cannot depend on subjective colony counting. Unless conveyed machine and software-based counting, how could you be confident of the results…? I carefully looked for methods section in this paper, but never found any specific description regarding how the authors did counting. Indeed, counting from independent experiments did not correlate. Later posts argued that very different two samples ended up “same” number of colonies, supplementary figure 5 b and e (if machine-based count was done, it would never occurred).
    I also tried to do counting on their representative image on figure 5, and I have no idea how the authors could come to the exact number claimed in the bar graph (I saw apparently way more colonies in the image).
    Paraplanocera Oligoglena”

    Like

  8. Carlos should appreciate film deposit policy of Nature Cell Biology that revealed his lab master stock of control bands did not expire over 2 decades!

    Like

  9. NF-kB blot is missing. Raw data submitted by Soria-Valles were irrelevant to presented figures. 2015 NCB paper from Lopez-Otin group.

    NF-κB activation impairs somatic cell reprogramming in ageing
    Nature Cell Biology (2015) – 50 Comments
    doi: 10.1038/ncb3207 issn: 1465-7392 issn: 1476-4679 pubmed: 26214134

    Clara Soria-Valles , Fernando G. Osorio , Ana Gutiérrez-Fernández , Alejandro De Los Angeles , Clara Bueno , Pablo Menéndez , José I. Martín-Subero , George Q. Daley , José M. P. Freije , Carlos López-Otín

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#49

    “The earlier posts argued that NF-kB blotts did not match with deposited raw data from Soria-Valles et al. Adding to this discussion, I point out that number of blotts were different between figures and deposited raw data. In Supplementary figure 6 and 8, one lane is missing from their raw data. Moreover, shape of bands and order of lanes indicated in deposited films did not correlate with figures. They seems to randomly cropped unrelated films.”

    Like

  10. Caroline

    I hope Nature Cell Biology editor Alexia-Ileana Zaromytidou has recogized and will react to this series of violation against its policy regarding raw data deposition, image manipulation and image quantification in the paper from Soria-Valles et al. This paper is getting 50 comments on pubpeer. https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#50

    Like

  11. 2015 NCB paper from Soria-Valles’s master stock of control bands had been slipped into the supplement.

    NF-κB activation impairs somatic cell reprogramming in ageing
    Nature Cell Biology (2015) – 53 Comments
    pubmed: 26214134 doi: 10.1038/ncb3207 issn: 1465-7392 issn: 1476-4679

    Clara Soria-Valles , Fernando G. Osorio , Ana Gutiérrez-Fernández , Alejandro De Los Angeles , Clara Bueno , Pablo Menéndez , José I. Martín-Subero , George Q. Daley , José M. P. Freije , Carlos López-Otín

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#52

    “Control Oct-1 bands came from scratch. Figure 7 shows 4 lanes of NF-kB and corresponding Oct-1 bands. However, Oct-1 bands were selected from irrelevant film with multiple lanes. Unspecified which lanes were chosen. Moreover, this Oct-1 film was serving as a stock of control bands in several different figures around the paper.”

    https://imgur.com/a/B94jiKR

    Like

    • Lopez-Otin’s practice in control bands continuing over 2 decades. Copied and pasted in many J. Biol. Chem. papers 90s to 00s. They have learned to have master stock of bands that usually hidden. Fortunately (unfortunate to him), Nature Cell Biology’s policy revelated their hidden master stock.

      Like

  12. New Pubpeer comments on 2015 NCB paper from Soria-Valles et al. regarding master stock of control bands.

    NF-κB activation impairs somatic cell reprogramming in ageing
    Nature Cell Biology (2015) – 55 Comments
    pubmed: 26214134 doi: 10.1038/ncb3207 issn: 1476-4679 issn: 1465-7392

    Clara Soria-Valles , Fernando G. Osorio , Ana Gutiérrez-Fernández , Alejandro De Los Angeles , Clara Bueno , Pablo Menéndez , José I. Martín-Subero , George Q. Daley , José M. P. Freije , Carlos López-Otín

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#54

    “I cannot spot NF-kB and Oct-1 lanes in figure 7a to the original films as slipped into the supplement. Indeed, there is a significant discrepancy both in bands width and shape.”

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#55

    “The policy of Nature Cell Biology regarding immunoblot. “Loading controls (e.g. GAPDH, actin) must be run on the same blot.” As pointed out by Volvatella Angeliniana, loading control (Oct-1) and sample (NF-kB) are not on the same blot (figure 7a).”

    Like

  13. Spaniard

    It is just crazy how Lopez-Otin can just get out of this issue unharmed.

    Like

  14. The authors of a 1999 J Biol Chem paper retracted it in 2016 after image duplication was pointed out.
    So it can happen.

    https://retractionwatch.com/2016/09/23/author-asks-to-retract-nearly-20-year-old-paper-over-figure-questions-lack-of-data/

    2016 retraction notice.
    http://www.jbc.org/content/291/44/23364.long
    “This article has been withdrawn by the authors. Several features in Fig. 6, B and C, were duplicated.”

    Quite a few of the flagged Lopez-Otin papers are in J Biol Chem.

    Like

  15. Will see if J Biol Chem data integrity manager Carol Sakabe and Nature Cell Biol editor Alexia-Ileana Zaromytidou would take any action or comments. Most of comments on Lopez-Otin’s work are flagged on thse 2 journals.

    Like

  16. With 2015 NCB paper, Lopez-Otin’s tried to sucessfully switch the field from degradome to stem cell biology. And indeed high impact study on stem cell reprogramming. Salute his new life in more carnivorous field!

    Like

    • Teodoro

      So probably Lopez-Otin wanted to switch to field where more research funding is, but he forgot to renew his old stock of bands…

      Like

  17. Apparently they have unexpectedly shown off their stock film of control bands in 2015 Nature Cell Biology paper, Soria-Valles et al. I see they have made patchwork of bands.
    https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#56

    Like

  18. Patchwork of bands were revealed in 2015 NCB paper from Soria-Valles et al.

    NF-κB activation impairs somatic cell reprogramming in ageing
    Nature Cell Biology (2015) – 60 Comments

    Clara Soria-Valles , Fernando G. Osorio , Ana Gutiérrez-Fernández , Alejandro De Los Angeles , Clara Bueno , Pablo Menéndez , José I. Martín-Subero , George Q. Daley , José M. P. Freije , Carlos López-Otín

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#60

    “Oct-1 bands were randomely chosen from one film, and slipped into 3 independent experiments (figures 3c, 6b, 7a). A stock of control bands on donor film were repeatedly used in irrelevant samples and experiments throughout entire paper.”

    “NF-kB bands came from scratch. Number of lanes and shapes of bands do not match with deposited raw blots. As noted before, corresponding control bands were chosen from irrelevant pile of Oct-1 bands.”

    “In supplementary figure 8 c and d, Oct-1 bands were chosend from one film, and slipped into 2 irrelevant experiments. It is against the policy of Nature Cell Biology “Loading controls (e.g. GAPDH, actin) must be run on the same blot.” Moereover, This Oct-1 film as well ther other one were used as a stock of bands slipped into irrelevant experiments through out paper.”

    “In addition to Oct-1, NF-kB bands and lanes do not match with original blots. 2 lanes were randomely chosen from film and slipped into independent experiments respectively.”

    Like

  19. Caroline

    I believe Nature Cell Biology editor Alexia-Ileana Zaromytidou has been aware of this series of violation against its policy regarding raw data in the paper from Soria-Valles et al. Their “misrepresentation” of blots is not acceptable. This paper is getting 60 comments on pubpeer now… https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#60

    Like

  20. Perennial Northern blots captured on Soria-Valles et al., 2015 NCB?

    NF-κB activation impairs somatic cell reprogramming in ageing
    Nature Cell Biology (2015) – 71 Comments
    pubmed: 26214134 doi: 10.1038/ncb3207 issn: 1465-7392 issn: 1476-4679

    Clara Soria-Valles , Fernando G. Osorio , Ana Gutiérrez-Fernández , Alejandro De Los Angeles , Clara Bueno , Pablo Menéndez , José I. Martín-Subero , George Q. Daley , José M. P. Freije , Carlos López-Otín

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/836AB3A8AB4FD562A2D4CBFBF8ED18#65

    “Figure 3c. There are some smears on the WB film of P-IKK2. They seems to be certain blots such as Nothern blot of unrelated samples. It is difficult to understand how WB and Nothern blots can be on the same film.
    And there is no molecular size marker. How the authors tell the size of bands?”

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