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Current Opinion in Cell Biology

Robert Ernst, Stephanie Ballweg, Ilya Levental
Biological membranes are vital, active contributors to cell function. In addition to specific interactions of individual lipid molecules and lateral organization produced by membrane domains, the bulk physicochemical properties of biological membranes broadly regulate protein structure and function. Therefore, these properties must be homeostatically maintained within a narrow range that is compatible with cellular physiology. Although such adaptiveness has been known for decades, recent observations have dramatically expanded its scope by showing the breadth of membrane properties that must be maintained, and revealing the remarkable diversity of biological membranes, both within and between cell types...
May 19, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Anant K Menon
Cell organelles and the plasma membrane have unique lipid compositions. Consequently, there is a gradient of lipid-dependent properties along the secretory pathway. We focus here on the steep sterol gradients that exist between the endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane, as well as across the plasma membrane where sterols are found principally in the cytoplasmic leaflet. Recent progress in these areas has been remarkable, with new concepts and molecules to account for non-vesicular intracellular sterol transport, and an exciting new mechanism to explain the unexpected transbilayer distribution of sterols...
May 18, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
John Fadul, Jody Rosenblatt
Cell extrusion drives most epithelial cell death while maintaining a functional epithelial barrier. To extrude, a cell produces a lipid signal that triggers the neighboring cells to reorganize actin and myosin basally to squeeze the extruding cell out apically from the barrier. More studies continue to reveal other signals and mechanisms controlling apical extrusion. New developmental studies are uncovering mechanisms controlling basal extrusion, or ingression, which occurs when apical extrusion is defective or during de-differentiation in development...
May 1, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Yan G Zhao, Hong Zhang
Autophagy, a self-eating process conserved from yeast to mammals, is critical for maintaining cell homeostasis. It involves the formation of a double-membrane structure, called the autophagosome, and its subsequent delivery to lysosomes for degradation of sequestrated materials. Our knowledge about autophagy has greatly expanded over the last two decades, mainly due to studies of a set of autophagy-related (ATG) genes identified from yeast genetic screens. Autophagy in higher eukaryotes is far more complicated, because it involves steps that are not present in yeast...
May 1, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Aishwarya Payapilly, Angeliki Malliri
RAC1 signalling has been implicated in a variety of dynamic cell biological processes that are orchestrated through regulated localisation and activation of RAC1. As a small GTPase, RAC1 switches between active and inactive states at various subcellular locations that include the plasma membrane, nucleus and mitochondria. Once activated, RAC1 interacts with a range of effectors that then mediate various biological functions. RAC1 is regulated by a large number of proteins that can promote its recruitment, activation, deactivation, or stability...
April 30, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Patrick W Oakes
The integrated molecular interactions of proteins can create active biological networks whose material properties and actions can impact a variety of physiological processes. Chief among these is the ability to generate and respond to physical forces. The cytoskeleton plays a key role in this behavior, characterized by active self-reorganization to control a cell's shape and mediate its physical interactions. This review discusses our current understanding of how the material properties of the cytoskeleton and its physical interactions with the extracellular environment impact cell migration...
April 30, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Valérie Lallemand-Breitenbach, Hugues de Thé
PML nuclear bodies are nucleated by the PML protein, which polymerizes into spherical shells where it concentrates many unrelated partner proteins. Emerging data has connected PML bodies to post-translational control, notably conjugation by SUMOs. High concentrations of SUMO-bound proteins were proposed to condense into liquid-like droplets and such phase transition may occur within NBs. Many stress pathways modulate NB formation and recent findings have directly implicated PML in oxidative stress response in vivo...
April 30, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Anna Labernadie, Xavier Trepat
During development, the immune response and cancer, cells of different types interact mechanically. Here we review how such heterotypic mechanical interactions enable cell movements. We begin by analyzing the heterotypic forces that single cells use to adhere and squeeze through tight barriers, as in the case of leucocyte extravasation and cancer metastasis. We next focus on the different mechanisms by which adjacent tissues influence each other's movements, with particular emphasis on dragging forces during dorsal closure in Drosophila and shearing forces during gastrulation in zebrafish...
April 29, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Xudong Wu, Tom A Rapoport
Misfolded proteins of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are discarded by a conserved process, called ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD). ERAD substrates are retro-translocated into the cytosol, polyubiquitinated, extracted from the ER membrane, and ultimately degraded by the proteasome. Recent in vitro experiments with purified components have given insight into the mechanism of ERAD. ERAD substrates with misfolded luminal or intramembrane domains are moved across the ER membrane through a channel formed by the multispanning ubiquitin ligase Hrd1...
April 29, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Shiqi Hu, Brenda M Ogle, Ke Cheng
It is estimated that 18 Americans die every day waiting for an organ donation. And even if a patient receives the organ that s/he needs, there is still >10% chance that the new organ will not work. The field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine aims to actively use a patient's own cells, plus biomaterials and factors, to grow specific tissues for replacement or to restore normal functions of that organ, which would eliminate the need for donors and the risk of alloimmune rejection. In this review, we summarized recent advances in fabricating synthetic cells, with a specific focus on their application to cardiac regenerative medicine and tissue engineering...
April 25, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Diego Krapf
The compartmentalization of the plasma membrane is essential for cells to perform specialized biochemical functions, in particular those responsible for intracellular and intercellular signaling pathways. Study of membrane compartmentalization requires state-of-the-art imaging tools that can reveal dynamics of individual molecules with high spatial and temporal resolution. In addition, quantitative analyses are employed to identify transient changes in molecule dynamics. In this review, membrane compartments are classified as stable domains, transient compartments, or nanodomains where proteins aggregate...
April 12, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Carolina González, Víctor Hugo Cornejo, Andrés Couve
Although translation of cytosolic proteins is well described in axons, much less is known about the synthesis, processing and trafficking of transmembrane and secreted proteins. A canonical rough endoplasmic reticulum or a stacked Golgi apparatus has not been detected in axons, generating doubts about the functionality of a local route. However, axons contain mRNAs for membrane and secreted proteins, translation factors, ribosomal components, smooth endoplasmic reticulum and post-endoplasmic reticulum elements that may contribute to local biosynthesis and plasma membrane delivery...
April 6, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Jacques Serizay, Julie Ahringer
Since the discovery of chromosome territories, it has been clear that DNA within the nucleus is spatially organized. During the last decade, a tremendous body of work has described architectural features of chromatin at different spatial scales, such as A/B compartments, topologically associating domains (TADs), and chromatin loops. These features correlate with domains of chromatin marking and gene expression, supporting their relevance for gene regulation. Recent work has highlighted the dynamic nature of spatial folding and investigated mechanisms of their formation...
April 6, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Altea Targa, Giulia Rancati
Pioneering studies described cancer as an evolutionary process and detailed its intratumor heterogeneity in patients' specimens. The development of unbiased single-cell sequencing technologies confirmed these early observations and neoplasms are now widely recognized as populations of genetically, chromosomally and epigenetically distinct cells in which clones carrying beneficial traits expand in presence of selection factors like chemotherapy treatment. In support of this view, intratumor heterogeneity, by providing a large pool of phenotypically distinct clones, was shown to correlate with poor prognosis, therapy failure and metastasis...
April 3, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Christopher J Stefan
It is well over half a century since contacts between organelles such as the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), mitochondria, and the plasma membrane (PM) were first observed in electron microscopy studies. Still, these early images of seemingly rare organelle interactions continue to capture the attention and curiosity of cell biologists even today. From seminal studies first proposing roles for organelle cross talk in excitable cells, the field has now expanded to cover nearly all aspects of eukaryotic cell biology, from calcium and membrane lipid transport to vesicular trafficking, cell signaling, metabolism, and homeostasis...
April 3, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Shashank Srivastava, Ewelina Zasadzińska, Daniel R Foltz
Accurate chromosome segregation is critical to ensure the faithful inheritance of the genome during cell division. Human chromosomes distinguish the location of the centromere from general chromatin by the selective assembly of CENP-A containing nucleosomes at the active centromere. The location of centromeres in most higher eukaryotes is determined epigenetically, independent of DNA sequence. CENP-A containing centromeric chromatin provides the foundation for assembly of the kinetochore that mediates chromosome attachment to the microtubule spindle and controls cell cycle progression in mitosis...
April 2, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Antonis Kourtidis, Panos Z Anastasiadis
The adherens junction has been historically considered an essential structural component of epithelial tissues. Although primarily discussed as targets of signaling pathways responsible for cell fate and tissue remodeling, they have also emerged as critical signaling regulators in developmental processes or in disease progression. The recent discovery of a functional localized RNA interference (RNAi) machinery at epithelial adherens junctions revealed a new layer of signaling regulation that is directly associated with the structure itself...
March 24, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Johanne M Murray, Antony M Carr
DNA is labile and constantly subject to damage. In addition to external mutagens, DNA is continuously damaged by the aqueous environment, cellular metabolites and is prone to strand breakage during replication. Cell duplication is orchestrated by the cell division cycle and specific DNA structures are processed differently depending on where in the cell cycle they are detected. This is often because a specific structure is physiological in one context, for example during DNA replication, while indicating a potentially pathological event in another, such as interphase or mitosis...
March 24, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Maxence V Nachury
Cilia are surface-exposed organelles that dynamically concentrate signaling molecules to organize sensory, developmental and homeostatic pathways. Entry and exit of signaling receptors is germane to the processing of signals and the molecular machines for entry and exit have started to emerge. The IFT-A complex and its membrane recruitment factor Tulp3 complex promotes the entry of signaling receptors into cilia while the BBSome and its membrane recruitment factor Arl6GTP ferry activated signaling receptors out of cilia...
March 23, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Amol Aher, Anna Akhmanova
Microtubules are polymeric tubes that switch between phases of growth and shortening, and this property is essential to drive key cellular processes. Microtubules are composed of protofilaments formed by longitudinally arranged tubulin dimers. Microtubule dynamics can be affected by structural perturbations at the plus end, such as end tapering, and targeting only a small subset of protofilaments can alter the dynamics of the whole microtubule. Microtubule lattice plasticity, including compaction along the longitudinal axis upon GTP hydrolysis and tubulin dimer loss and reinsertion along microtubule shafts can also affect microtubule dynamics or mechanics...
March 21, 2018: Current Opinion in Cell Biology
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