PubPeer leads the way again: The authors of a paper about Parkinson’s disease in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) have retracted it, several months after a commenter highlighted the exact issue that led to the article’s demise.
The paper, originally published in September 2013, was called into question by a commenter on PubPeer in July 2014, who identified two of the paper’s figures as duplications:
The WB for H3 in Figure 4B is very similar to the WB in Fig. S3, but horizontally rotated. Please note that the blots represent different experimental conditions.
Here’s an annotated figure the commenter provided (post continues after the image):
And here’s the notice for “PINK1 regulates histone H3 trimethylation and gene expression by interaction with the polycomb protein EED/WAIT1:”
The authors wish to note the following: “We encountered a major problem in addressing the issue of duplication of panels in Fig. 4 and Figs. S2 and S3. We have been unable to find the original films from those experiments and new quantification for Fig. 4B renders different results from the published information. Without the original films we cannot rely on the certainty of the results shown in the paper and therefore we cannot maintain the conclusions. Accordingly, we request a retraction of the paper. We truly apologize to our colleagues for any detriment in their work caused by the conclusions from our paper.”
We got in touch with Alan Fersht, who edited the paper for PNAS and gave us a quick timeline:
The paper has been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. We’ve reached out to the authors and will update with any new information.