The Nature paper that required three corrections
In baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out. In Nature, apparently, you can stay at the plate after three swings-and-misses.
That’s what we concluded from a Corrigendum in last week’s issue, for “CD95 promotes tumour growth,” originally published in May 2010 and now corrected not once, not twice, but three times.
Here was the first Corrigendum, from March 2011:
In this Letter, an experimental error affected the western blot analyses of mouse liver extracts shown in Fig. 4f and g. The secondary antibody cross-reacted with endogenous mouse IgG in the tissue lysates, resulting in incorrect bands. The experiments were repeated using different primary antibodies and a secondary antibody that showed no such cross-reactivity. Although there was a trend, the reduction of p-JNK and p-Jun in the livers of CD95-deficient mice in Fig. 4f was not statistically significant. In addition, although the increase in phosphorylated JNK and Jun in Jo2-injected mice was reproducible in Fig. 4g, Jun protein was also increased. Corrected versions of Fig. 4f and g are shown below. The Supplementary Methods have been updated to reflect the change in the use of antibodies, and Supplementary Fig. 8b has also been corrected. The corrected figures do not alter the overall conclusions of this Letter, and all other data still stand.
A June 2011 Corrigendum corrected that original Corrigendum:
In our recent Corrigendum (Nature 471, 254 (2011); doi:10.1038/nature09897), Fig. 4g inadvertently contained three incorrect panels. The corrected Fig. 4g is shown below. This mistake does not alter the overall conclusions of this Letter.
And here was the most recent Corrigendum, from last week:
In Fig. 1f of the original Letter, an incorrect actin blot was published: see the corrected panel in Fig. 1 of this Corrigendum. Also, in the original Supplementary Fig. 12c, some of the western blot data were either misinterpreted or raw data could not be located. We have now repeated the entire experiment: see Supplementary Information to this Corrigendum for the corrected Supplementary Fig. 12c. Although there are differences between the different experiments, the increase in phosphorylation of JNK and Jun was reproducible, confirming that stimulation of CD95 causes activation of JNK. All the conclusions of the original Letter are intact except for the data for the original Fig. 4f and g on the phosphorylation level of c-Jun and JNK in the livers of CD95-deficient mice, which have been corrected in two previous Corrigenda: Nature 471, 254 (2011); doi:10.1038/nature09897 and Nature 475, 254 (2011); doi:10.1038/nature10221. The results on the phosphorylation of JNK and Jun in mice injected with the murine CD95-specific agonistic antibody Jo2 under non-apoptotic conditions stand (both at the level of western blot and immunohistochemistry) and are not affected by the above changes; nor are any of the other figures. Further, the key findings of the Letter on the role of CD95 as a growth promoter in cell lines, in endometrioid, ovarian or liver cancer, and in liver regeneration are not affected by these corrections. For clarity, we now provide all the raw western blot data for the original figures and the corrected figures as Supplementary Information to this Corrigendum. A. Hadji and S. DeChant from Northwestern University generated data for the corrigenda. L.C. has declined to sign this Corrigendum.
It’s not clear why Lina Chen wouldn’t sign the Corrigendum, and we can’t seem to find Chen to ask. We did ask senior author Marcus E. Peter for comment, and will update with anything we learn.
In the meantime, if anyone can produce a flowchart or other graphic that explains what went right and wrong here, we’ll be happy to post it. The original paper has been cited 54 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.