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Current Opinion in Cell Biology

Dollie LaJoie, Katharine S Ullman
Each time a metazoan cell undergoes open mitosis, the nucleus is dismantled in order to partition DNA content to the daughter cells. After chromosomes separate, changes at the chromatin surface usher in reestablishment of nuclear architecture. Proteins destined for the nuclear envelope are attracted to chromatin and concomitantly recruit membrane. As nuclear envelope and protein constituents spread to coat chromatin, distinct regions emerge-some rich in rapid pore formation, others occupied by microtubules that remain attached to kinetochores...
February 8, 2017: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Stefano L Giandomenico, Madeline A Lancaster
Expansion of the neocortex is thought to underpin the higher cognitive abilities of a number of mammalian lineages, such as cetaceans, elephants, and primates, with humans exhibiting a particularly enlarged and dense cerebral cortex. However, the evolutionary and developmental mechanisms that led to this expansion are not well-understood and limited to correlative observations. Historically, this has been due to technical and ethical limitations owing to the intractability of various species for functional studies...
January 31, 2017: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Youssef Chebli, Anja Geitmann
Cell and organ morphogenesis in plants are regulated by the chemical structure and mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix, the cell wall. The two primary load bearing components in the plant cell wall, the pectin matrix and the cellulose/xyloglucan network, are constantly remodelled to generate the morphological changes required during plant development. This remodelling is regulated by a plethora of loosening and stiffening agents such as pectin methyl-esterases, calcium ions, expansins, and glucanases...
January 25, 2017: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Stephen Rush Fuhs, Tony Hunter
Histidine phosphorylation is crucial for prokaryotic signal transduction and as an intermediate for several metabolic enzymes, yet its role in mammalian cells remains largely uncharted. This is primarily caused by difficulties in studying histidine phosphorylation because of the relative instability of phosphohistidine (pHis) and lack of specific antibodies and methods to preserve and detect it. The recent synthesis of stable pHis analogs has enabled development of pHis-specific antibodies and their use has started to shed light onto this important, yet enigmatic posttranslational modification...
January 24, 2017: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Anne Brunet, Thomas A Rando
Aging is accompanied by a decline in tissue function, regeneration, and repair. A large part of this decline is caused by the deterioration of tissue stem cell function. Understanding the mechanisms that drive stem cell aging and how to counteract them is a critical step for enhancing tissue repair and maintenance during aging. Emerging evidence indicates that epigenetic modifiers and metabolism regulators interact to impact lifespan, suggesting that this mechanism may also affect stem cell function with age...
January 24, 2017: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Jori A Virtanen, Maria K Vartiainen
In addition to its essential roles as part of the cytoskeleton, actin has also been linked to many processes in the nucleus. Recent data has demonstrated the presence of both monomeric and polymeric actin in the nucleus, and implied distinct functional roles for these actin pools. Monomeric actin seems to be involved in regulation of gene expression through transcription factors, chromatin regulating complexes and RNA polymerases. In addition to cytoplasmic actin regulators, nuclear proteins, such as emerin, can regulate actin polymerization properties specifically in this compartment...
January 13, 2017: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Marcela Raices, Maximiliano A D'Angelo
Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs), are large multiprotein channels that penetrate the nuclear envelope connecting the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Accumulating evidence shows that besides their main role in regulating the exchange of molecules between these two compartments, NPCs and their components also play important transport-independent roles, including gene expression regulation, chromatin organization, DNA repair, RNA processing and quality control, and cell cycle control. Here, we will describe the recent findings about the role of these structures in the regulation of gene expression...
January 11, 2017: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Ming F Lye, Adrian R Wilkie, David J Filman, James M Hogle, Donald M Coen
Herpesviruses, like most DNA viruses, replicate and package their genomes into capsids in the host cell nucleus. Capsids then transit to the cytoplasm in a fascinating process called nuclear egress, which includes several unusual steps: Movement of capsids from the nuclear interior to the periphery, disruption of the nuclear lamina, capsid budding through the inner nuclear membrane, and fusion of enveloped particles with the outer nuclear membrane. Here, we review recent advances and emerging questions relating to herpesvirus nuclear egress, emphasizing controversies regarding mechanisms for capsid trafficking to the nuclear periphery, and implications of recent structures of the two-subunit, viral nuclear egress complex for the process, particularly at the step of budding through the inner nuclear membrane...
January 10, 2017: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Beatriz Dorado, Vicente Andrés
Lamin A is a nuclear intermediate filament protein with important structural and regulatory roles in most differentiated mammalian cells. Excessive accumulation of its precursor prelamin A or the mutant form called 'progerin' causes premature aging syndromes. Progeroid 'laminopathies' are characterized by severe cardiovascular problems (cardiac electrical defects, vascular calcification and stiffening, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, and stroke) and premature death. Here, we review studies in cell and mouse models and patients that are unraveling how abnormal prelamin A and progerin accumulation accelerates cardiovascular disease and aging...
January 10, 2017: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Aline Marnef, Gaëlle Legube
In the past decade, large-scale movements of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) have repeatedly been identified following DNA damage. These mobility events include clustering, anchoring or peripheral movement at subnuclear structures. Recent work suggests roles for motion in homology search and in break sequestration to preclude deleterious outcomes. Yet, the precise functions of these movements still remain relatively obscure, and the same holds true for the determinants. Here we review recent advances in this exciting area of research, and highlight that a recurrent characteristic of mobile DSBs may lie in their inability to undergo rapid repair...
January 6, 2017: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Daniel Jost, Cédric Vaillant, Peter Meister
Over the past decade, advances in molecular methods have strikingly improved the resolution at which nuclear genome folding can be analyzed. This revealed a wealth of conserved features organizing the one dimensional DNA molecule into tridimensional nuclear domains. In this review, we briefly summarize the main findings and highlight how models based on polymer physics shed light on the principles underlying the formation of these domains. Finally, we discuss the mechanistic similarities allowing self-organization of these structures and the functional importance of these in the maintenance of transcriptional programs...
December 29, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Kanako Ikami, Nafisa Nuzhat, Lei Lei
During mammalian oogenesis, germ cells undergo oocyte differentiation and oocyte development to form mature oocytes that contain essential components for supporting early embryogenesis. However, only a small fraction of germ cells become mature oocytes and the mechanism of this massive germ cell loss has been unclear. Our recent studies suggested that the formation of functional oocytes and germ cell loss are interlinked by a 'nursing' process in germline cysts during oocyte differentiation in mouse fetal ovaries...
December 27, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Melanie D White, Jennifer Zenker, Stephanie Bissiere, Nicolas Plachta
During preimplantation development, cells of the mammalian embryo must resolve their shape and position to ensure the future viability of the fetus. These initial changes are established as the embryo expands from one to thirty-two cells, and a group of originally spherical cells is transformed into a more polarized structure with distinct cell geometries and lineages. Recent advances in the application of non-invasive imaging technologies have enabled the discovery of mechanisms regulating patterning of the early mammalian embryo...
December 26, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Marino Arroyo, Xavier Trepat
The animal body is largely made of water. A small fraction of body water is freely flowing in blood and lymph, but most of it is trapped in hydrogels such as the extracellular matrix (ECM), the cytoskeleton, and chromatin. Besides providing a medium for biological molecules to diffuse, water trapped in hydrogels plays a fundamental mechanical role. This role is well captured by the theory of poroelasticity, which explains how any deformation applied to a hydrogel causes pressure gradients and water flows, much like compressing a sponge squeezes water out of it...
December 6, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Cedric Blanpain, Erwin F Wagner
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Alessandra Pasut, Akinobu Matsumoto, John G Clohessy, Pier Paolo Pandolfi
The expansive dimension of non-coding genes is by now a well-recognized feature of eukaryotes genomes. Over the past decades, in vitro functional studies and in vivo manipulation of non-coding genes through Genetically Engineered Mouse Models (GEMMs) have provided compelling evidence that almost every biological phenomenon is regulated, at some level, by non-coding RNA transcripts or by coding RNAs with non-coding functions. In this opinion article, we will discuss how recent discoveries in the field of non-coding RNAs are contributing to advance our understanding of evolution and organismal complexity and its relevance to human diseases...
December 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Julien Muffat, Yun Li, Rudolf Jaenisch
In vitro differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells provides a systematic platform to investigate the physiological development and function of the human nervous system, as well as the etiology and consequence when these processes go awry. Recent development in three-dimensional (3D) organotypic culture systems allows modeling of the complex structure formation of the human CNS, and the intricate interactions between various resident neuronal and glial cell types. Combined with an ever-expanding genome editing and regulation toolkit such as CRISPR/Cas9, it is now a possibility to study human neurological disease in the relevant molecular, cellular and anatomical context...
December 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Gloria Mas, Luciano Di Croce
Polycomb-group proteins maintain embryonic stem cell identity by repressing genes that encode for developmental regulatory factors. Failure to properly control developmental transcription programs by Polycomb proteins is linked to disease and embryonic lethality. Recent technological advances have revealed that developmentally repressed genes tend to cluster in the three-dimensional space of the nucleus. Importantly, spatial clustering of developmental genes is fundamental for the correct regulation of gene expression during early development...
December 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Victoria Moignard, Berthold Göttgens
Many assumptions about the way cells behave are based on analyses of populations. However, it is now widely recognized that even apparently pure populations can display a remarkable level of heterogeneity. This is particularly true in stem cell biology where it hinders our understanding of normal development and the development of strategies for regenerative medicine. Over the past decade technologies facilitating gene expression analysis at the single cell level have become widespread, providing access to rare cell populations and insights into population structure and function...
December 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Thomas Höfer, Hans-Reimer Rodewald
The hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) compartment must be maintained life-long, while being replenishable only from within. HSC proliferation can compensate for cell loss by differentiation, by cell death, or by mobilization from the bone marrow niches, but the relative use of proliferation to compensate for these distinct depletion sources is unclear. Classifications of HSC states (e.g., as active, dormant, quiescent or parsimonious) have mostly been based on HSC proliferation rather than on actual differentiation arising from HSC...
December 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
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