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Current Opinion in Cell Biology

Aurélien Laguerre, Carsten Schultz
We present the latest advances in lipid tool development for studying cellular membrane trafficking and metabolism. We focus on chemical modifications that are introduced to natural lipid structures. The new functionalities are used to follow and interfere with lipid dynamics in intact cells.
July 14, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Deborah J Henderson, David A Long, Charlotte H Dean
The planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway controls a variety of morphological events across many species. During embryonic development, the PCP pathway regulates coordinated behaviour of groups of cells to direct morphogenetic processes such as convergent extension and collective cell migration. In this review we discuss the increasingly prominent role of the PCP pathway in organogenesis, focusing on the lungs, kidneys and heart. We also highlight emerging evidence that PCP gene mutations are associated with adult diseases...
July 13, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Rita Aires, André Dias, Moisés Mallo
The large display of body shapes and sizes observed among vertebrates ultimately represent variations of a common basic body plan. This likely results from the use of homologous developmental schemes, just differentially tinkered both in amplitude and timing by natural selection. In this review, we will revisit, discuss and combine old ideas with new concepts to update our view on how the vertebrate body is built. Recent advances, particularly at the molecular level, will guide our deconstruction of the individual developmental modules that sequentially produce head, neck, trunk and tail structures, and the transitions between them...
July 13, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Anna Czarkwiani, Maximina H Yun
Cellular senescence is a ubiquitous stress response that restricts the proliferative capacity of cells. During ageing, senescent cells accumulate in various tissues leading to a number of age-related pathologies and physiological decline. Previously thought to be a process restricted to adult organisms, cellular senescence has been recently demonstrated to occur during embryonic development of animals ranging from fish to mammals. Together, these studies suggest that developmentally programmed senescence is a transient but intrinsic biological process that contributes to the remodelling of developing structures by promoting immune-mediated cell clearance of particular cell populations or modifying the tissue microenvironment...
July 11, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Ozren Stojanović, Silas Kieser, Mirko Trajkovski
Adipose tissues play an essential role in regulating the metabolic homeostasis and can be found in almost all parts of the body. Excessive adiposity leads to obesity and can contribute to metabolic and other disorders. Adipocytes show remarkable plasticity in their function, which can be pushed toward energy storage, or energy expenditure-a `browning' of fat. Browning is controlled by the cellular milieu of the adipose tissue, with sympathetic innervation and by immune responses as key integrators of the signals that promote browning...
July 11, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Gabriella Clarke, Peter Harley, Ella-Louise Hubber, Teodora Manea, Luigi Manuelli, Emily Read, Fiona M Watt
Regenerative medicine is a diverse and rapidly evolving field, employing core expertise from biologists, engineers, and clinicians. Recently the field has made significant progress towards regenerating or replacing tissues lost to age, disease or injury. Current strategies include transplantation of adult or pluripotent stem cells to replace tissue or support tissue healing. Promising approaches for the future of regenerative medicine include stimulating endogenous stem cells for in situ repair, transplantation of organoids to repair minor tissue injury, and the use of interspecies chimerism to produce functional metabolic organs for transplantation...
July 11, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Alessio Paolini, Salim Abdelilah-Seyfried
Over a lifetime, rhythmic contractions of the heart provide a continuous flow of blood throughout the body. An essential morphogenetic process during cardiac development which ensures unidirectional blood flow is the formation of cardiac valves. These structures are largely composed of extracellular matrix and of endocardial cells, a specialized population of endothelial cells that line the interior of the heart and that are subjected to changing hemodynamic forces. Recent studies have significantly expanded our understanding of this morphogenetic process...
July 11, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Xosé R Bustelo, Piero Crespo, Isabel Fernández-Pisonero, Sonia Rodríguez-Fdez
Deregulated RAS signaling is associated with increasing numbers of congenital diseases usually referred to as RASopathies. The spectrum of genes and mutant alleles causing these diseases has been significantly expanded in recent years. This progress has triggered new challenges, including the origin and subsequent selection of the mutations driving these diseases, the specific pathobiological programs triggered by those mutations, the type of correlations that exist between the genotype and the clinical features of patients, and the ancillary genetic factors that influence the severity of the disease in patients...
July 11, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Michael Heide, Wieland B Huttner, Felipe Mora-Bermúdez
Since their recent development, organoids that emulate human brain tissue have allowed in vitro neural development studies to go beyond the limits of monolayer culture systems, such as neural rosettes. We present here a review of organoid studies that focuses on cortical wall development, starting with a technical comparison between pre-patterning and self-patterning brain organoid protocols. We then follow neocortex development in space and time and list those aspects where organoids have succeeded in emulating in vivo development, as well as those aspects that continue to be pending tasks...
July 10, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Kyra Campbell
The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays crucial roles during development, and inappropriate activation of EMTs are associated with tumor progression and promoting metastasis. In recent years, increasing studies have identified developmental contexts where cells undergo an EMT and transition to a partial-state, downregulating just a subset of epithelial characteristics and increasing only some mesenchymal traits, such as invasive motility. In parallel, recent studies have shown that EMTs are rarely fully activated in tumor cells, generating a diverse array of transition states...
July 10, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Martin Franke, José Luis Gómez-Skarmeta
The organization of animal genomes into topologically associating domains (TADs) provides a structural scaffold in which cis-regulatory elements (CREs) operate on their target genes. Determining the position of CREs and genes relative to TADs has become instrumental to trace gene expression changes during evolution and in diseases. Here we will review recent studies and discuss TADs as structural units with respect to their conservation and stability during genome reorganization. Furthermore, we describe how TAD restructuring contributed to morphological novelties during evolution but also their deleterious effects associated with disease...
July 10, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Miguel Vicente-Manzanares, Francisco Sánchez-Madrid
Integrins comprise one of the most important families of cell-cell or cell-matrix adhesion receptors. Integrin interaction with their extracellular ligands is tunable by microenvironment signals, such as chemokines and growth factors, which modulate their interaction with other transmembrane proteins and cytoplasmic interactors. Integrins are important in different disease contexts, particularly inflammatory diseases and cancer. Clinical trials targeting integrins began in the early 2000s, leading to an increasingly clear picture: agents against integrins and their interactome control inflammatory diseases; whereas their efficacy as anti-cancer targets remains dubious...
July 10, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Anna Bigas, Lluis Espinosa
Notch is a well-conserved signaling pathway all through evolution that is crucial to specify different cell fates. Although there is a strong context dependent component in each decision, the basic mechanisms that originate from the interplay among ligands and receptors is greatly preserved. In this review we will cover the latest findings on the different mechanisms for Notch activation and signaling. The regulation of this pathway is essential to understand development, cell differentiation and disease.
July 10, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Anne Spang
In eukaryotic cells, various cellular functions are compartmentalized and performed by sophisticated and specialized organelles. However, the membrane-bounded organelles need to communicate with each other and with the cytoplasm, and sense the outside through the plasma membrane to coordinate various functions and to maintain cellular homeostasis. To maintain homeostasis, the information on the cellular state must be collected and appropriate responses initiated. The endoplasmic reticulum fulfils these functions...
July 9, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Sarah Cohen, Alex M Valm, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz
Eukaryotic cells are organized into membrane-bound organelles. These organelles communicate with one another through vesicular trafficking pathways and membrane contact sites (MCSs). MCSs are sites of close apposition between two or more organelles that play diverse roles in the exchange of metabolites, lipids and proteins. Organelle interactions at MCSs also are important for organelle division and biogenesis. For example, the division of several organelles, including mitochondria and endosomes, seem to be regulated by contacts with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)...
July 2, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Elina Ikonen
This review discusses advances in understanding how the controlled delivery of cholesterol between subcellular compartments is achieved and what novel experimental strategies are being employed to address this fundamental question. Recent work has focused on cholesterol-binding proteins that can facilitate directional cholesterol transfer between contacts of the ER and Golgi or late endosomal membranes. Increasing structural information on cholesterol-binding proteins, new modules engineered from them as well as improved imaging and gene editing techniques are providing valuable insights...
June 27, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Joel B Dacks, Mark C Field
From unicellular protists to the largest megafauna and flora, all eukaryotes depend upon the organelles and processes of the intracellular membrane trafficking system. Well-defined machinery selectively packages and delivers material between endomembrane organelles and imports and exports material from the cell surface. This process underlies intracellular compartmentalization and facilitates myriad processes that define eukaryotic biology. Membrane trafficking is a landmark in the origins of the eukaryotic cell and recent work has begun to unravel how the revolution in cellular structure occurred...
June 18, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Nan-Peng Chen, Zhiqi Sun, Reinhard Fässler
Integrin-mediated cell adhesion plays key roles for cell movement during development and tissue homeostasis. The dynamic life cycle of various integrin adhesions structures is required for the cell movements and regulated by the coordinated actions of both actomyosin and the microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton. The evolutionarily conserved Kank family proteins have emerged as regulators of adhesion dynamics by coordinating integrin-mediated force transmission with the recruitment of microtubules to integrins. These novel functions may play important roles in vivo and in human diseases...
June 14, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Michael E Todhunter, Rosalyn W Sayaman, Masaru Miyano, Mark A LaBarge
Aging is driven by unavoidable entropic forces, physicochemical in nature, that damage the raw materials that constitute biological systems. Single cells experience and respond to stochastic physicochemical insults that occur either to the cells themselves or to their microenvironment, in a dynamic and reciprocal manner, leading to increased age-related cell-to-cell variation. We will discuss the biological mechanisms that integrate cell-to-cell variation across tissues resulting in stereotypical phenotypes of age...
June 13, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Alicia M Salvi, Kris A DeMali
Throughout their lifetimes, all cells experience force. These forces are sensed by cell surface adhesion receptors, such as the cadherins and integrins. Much attention has focused on identifying how these adhesion receptors transmit force. In contrast, less is known regarding how these force-activated pathways are integrated with other cellular processes. In this review, we describe how cadherins and integrins transmit force, and discuss how these adhesion receptors are linked to cell metabolism. We focus on understanding this connection by highlighting how the cadherins and integrins interact with a master regulator of energy homeostasis, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and its upstream activator, Liver Kinase B1 (LKB1)...
June 11, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
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