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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
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
Purushothama Rao Tata, Jayaraj Rajagopal
Cell identity is a fundamental feature of cells. Tissues are often organized into cellular hierarchies characterized by progressive differentiation and developmental commitment. However, it is been historically evident that the cells of many organisms of various phyla, especially in the context of injury, exhibit remarkable plasticity in terms of their ability to convert into other cell types. Recent modern studies, using genetic lineage tracing, have demonstrated that many mature functional cells retain a potential to undergo lineage reversion (dedifferentiation) or to convert into cells of other more distant lineages (transdifferentiation) following injury...
July 30, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Steffen Rulands, Benjamin D Simons
The coordination of cell proliferation and differentiation is central to the development and maintenance of tissues, while its dysregulation underlies the transition to diseased states. By combining lineage tracing with transcriptional profiling and marker-based assays, statistical methods are delivering insights into the dynamics of stem cells and their developmental precursors. These studies have provided evidence for molecular heterogeneity and fate priming, and have revealed a role for stochasticity in stem cell fate, refocusing the search for regulatory mechanisms...
July 27, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Sangbum Park, Valentina Greco, Katie Cockburn
Stem cells are essential for both tissue maintenance and injury repair, but many aspects of stem cell biology remain incompletely understood. Recent advances in live imaging technology have allowed the direct visualization and tracking of a wide variety of tissue-resident stem cells in their native environments over time. Results from these studies have helped to resolve long-standing debates about stem cell regulation and function while also revealing previously unanticipated phenomena that raise new questions for future work...
July 27, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Pawel J Schweiger, Kim B Jensen
Reliable disease models are needed in order to improve quality of healthcare. This includes gaining better understanding of disease mechanisms, developing new therapeutic interventions and personalizing treatment. Up-to-date, the majority of our knowledge about disease states comes from in vivo animal models and in vitro cell culture systems. However, it has been exceedingly difficult to model disease at the tissue level. Since recently, the gap between cell line studies and in vivo modeling has been narrowing thanks to progress in biomaterials and stem cell research...
July 27, 2016: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Bartomeu Colom, Philip H Jones
Tracking the fate of individual cells and their progeny by clonal analysis has redefined the concept of stem cells and their role in health and disease. The maintenance of cell turnover in adult tissues is achieved by the collective action of populations of stem cells with an equal likelihood of self-renewal or differentiation. Following injury stem cells exhibit striking plasticity, switching from homeostatic behavior in order to repair damaged tissues. The effects of disease states on stem cells are also being uncovered, with new insights into how somatic mutations trigger clonal expansion in early neoplasia...
July 27, 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
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