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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...
November 16, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Meredith L Weck, Nathan E Grega-Larson, Matthew J Tyska
Unconventional myosins are actin-based molecular motors that serve a multitude of roles within the cell. One group of myosin motors, the MyTH4-FERM myosins, play an integral part in building and maintaining finger-like protrusions, which allow cells to interact with their external environment. Suggested to act primarily as transporters, these motor proteins enrich adhesion molecules, actin-regulatory proteins and other factors at the tips of filopodia, microvilli, and stereocilia. Below we review data from biophysical, biochemical, and cell biological studies, which implicate these myosins as central players in the assembly, maintenance and function of actin-based protrusions...
November 8, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Julien Aureille, Néjma Belaadi, Christophe Guilluy
As the largest and stiffest organelle in the cell, the nucleus can be subjected to significant forces generated by the cytoskeleton to adjust its shape and position, and accommodate the cellular machinery during cell migration, differentiation or division. As it was anticipated, recent work showed that mechanosensitive mechanisms exist in the nucleus and regulate its structure and function in response to mechanical force. While the molecular mechanisms that mediate this response are only beginning to be elucidated, the nuclear envelope seems to play a central role in this process...
October 26, 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...
October 18, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Steffen Werner, Hanh Thi-Kim Vu, Jochen C Rink
Self-organization of cells is a fundamental design principle in biology, yet the inherent non-linearity of self-organizing systems often poses significant challenges in deciphering the underlying mechanisms. Here, we discuss recent progress in this respect, focusing on examples from development, regeneration and organoid differentiation. Together, these three paradigms emphasize the active material properties of tissues that result from the functional coupling between individual cells as active units. Further, we discuss the challenge of obtaining reproducible outcomes on the basis of self-organizing systems, which development and regeneration, but not the current organoid culture protocols, achieve...
October 5, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Divya Pathak, Roop Mallik
Intracellular transport of organelles can be driven by multiple motor proteins that bind to the lipid membrane of the organelle and work as a team. We review present knowledge on how lipids orchestrate the recruitment of motors to a membrane. Looking beyond recruitment, we also discuss how heterogeneity and local mechanical properties of the membrane may influence function of motor-teams. These issues gain importance because phagocytosed pathogens use lipid-centric strategies to manipulate motors and survive in host cells...
September 30, 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...
September 28, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Ariana D Sanchez, Jessica L Feldman
The process of cellular differentiation requires the distinct spatial organization of the microtubule cytoskeleton, the arrangement of which is specific to cell type. Microtubule patterning does not occur randomly, but is imparted by distinct subcellular sites called microtubule-organizing centers (MTOCs). Since the discovery of MTOCs fifty years ago, their study has largely focused on the centrosome. All animal cells use centrosomes as MTOCs during mitosis. However in many differentiated cells, MTOC function is reassigned to non-centrosomal sites to generate non-radial microtubule organization better suited for new cell functions, such as mechanical support or intracellular transport...
September 22, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Jesse Goyette, Katharina Gaus
Due to recent technical developments in microscopy, huge advances have been made in our understanding of the architecture of the cell membrane. It is now well appreciated that nanoscale clustering is a common feature of membrane proteins. Many of these clusters have been implicated in signal initiation and integration platforms. However, the mechanisms that mediate the dynamic nanoscale arrangement of membrane proteins are not fully understood and could involve lipid domains, electrostatic interactions between proteins and lipid, protein scaffolding as well as purely mechanical processes...
September 22, 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...
September 22, 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...
September 10, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Kenneth M Yamada, Roberto Mayor
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Vania Braga
The characteristic tall and elongated shape of epithelial cells requires specialized adhesive structures and a distinct organization of cytoskeletal filaments. Cytoskeletal networks coordinate a precise organization of adhesive and signalling complexes along cell-cell contacts and enable exquisite strong cohesion among epithelial cells. E-cadherin, a calcium-dependent adhesion receptor, is an essential adhesive system in epithelia and its dynamic regulation and pathways that stabilize cell-cell adhesion have been extensively studied...
October 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Lacy J Barton, Michelle G LeBlanc, Ruth Lehmann
Embryonic germ cell migration is a vital component of the germline lifecycle. The translocation of germ cells from the place of origin to the developing somatic gonad involves several processes including passive movements with underlying tissues, transepithelial migration, cell adhesion dynamics, the establishment of environmental guidance cues and the ability to sustain directed migration. How germ cells accomplish these feats in established model organisms will be discussed in this review, with a focus on recent discoveries and themes conserved across species...
October 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Fevzi Demircioglu, Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke
Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, is thought to enhance tumour growth and these blood vessels can act as conduits of tumour cell metastasis. Integrins, the family of cell surface extracellular matrix receptors, can promote endothelial cell migration and survival, both essential features of angiogenesis, and were thus considered good targets for anti-angiogenic therapy. This sparked the development of agents to block integrin function as new cancer therapies. Here, we review the current status of αvβ3-integrin in tumour angiogenesis...
October 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Iván M Moya, Georg Halder
We have a limited ability to stimulate cells in damaged tissues to regenerate properly patterned and functional organs. Excitingly, however, recent work shows that experimental modulation of the Hippo pathway can promote the regeneration of several organs in mice. The Hippo pathway plays pivotal and specific roles in organ growth, cellular plasticity, and stem cell biology, which are all important for regeneration. In this review we survey and compare the effects of experimental manipulation of Hippo signaling in mouse on the development, homeostasis, and regeneration of the heart, liver, intestine, and other organs...
September 1, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Wen Yih Aw, Danelle Devenport
Many tissues develop coordinated patterns of cell polarity that align with respect to the tissue axes. This phenomenon refers to planar cell polarity (PCP) and is controlled by multiple conserved PCP modules. A key feature of PCP proteins is their asymmetric localization within the tissue plane, whose orientation is guided by global directional cues. Here, we highlight current models and recent findings on the role of tissue-level gradients, local organizer signals, and mechanical forces in establishing the global patterns of PCP...
August 26, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Marina Pesic, Florian R Greten
Unresolved chronic inflammation is implicated in all stages of cancer development and an inflammatory tumor microenvironment is considered a hallmark of cancer. Signaling pathways involved in normal tissue regeneration and repair are dysregulated both in chronic inflammation and cancer. Here, we review some of the recently identified signaling cascades and unexpected functions of stromal cells that affect both tissue regeneration and tumorigenesis in colon and pancreatic cancer, which may pave the way for the development of novel therapeutic strategies...
August 10, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Pedro Carvalho, Davis Ng
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
John P McCutcheon
Mitochondria and chloroplasts are now called organelles, but they used to be bacteria. As they transitioned from endosymbionts to organelles, they became more and more integrated into the biochemistry and cell biology of their hosts. Work over the last 15 years has shown that other symbioses show striking similarities to mitochondria and chloroplasts. In particular, many sap-feeding insects house intracellular bacteria that have genomes that overlap mitochondria and chloroplasts in terms of size and coding capacity...
August 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
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