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Trends in Cell Biology

Bruce L Goode, Meredith O Sweeney, Julian A Eskin
Glia maturation factor (GMF) has recently been established as a regulator of the actin cytoskeleton with a unique role in remodeling actin network architecture. Conserved from yeast to mammals, GMF is one of five members of the ADF-H family of actin regulatory proteins, which includes ADF/cofilin, Abp1/Drebrin, Twinfilin, and Coactosin. GMF does not bind actin, but instead binds the Arp2/3 complex with high affinity. Through this association, GMF catalyzes the debranching of actin filament networks and inhibits actin nucleation by Arp2/3 complex...
May 18, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Pedro Madrigal, Kaur Alasoo
Recent studies involving induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) reprogramming in mice and monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation in humans have revealed a role for the transcription factor (TF) activator protein 1 (AP-1) in chromatin accessibility. Enhancer selection may be determined not only by cell type-specific sets of TFs but also by broadly expressed ones like AP-1.
May 16, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Cynthia J Sieben, Ines Sturmlechner, Bart van de Sluis, Jan M van Deursen
Damaged cells at risk of neoplastic transformation can be neutralized by apoptosis or engagement of the senescence program, which induces permanent cell-cycle arrest and a bioactive secretome that is implicated in tumor immunosurveillance. While from an evolutionary perspective senescence is beneficial in that it protects against malignancies, the accumulation of senescent cells in tissues and organs with aging and at sites of various pathologies is largely detrimental. Because induction of senescence in cancer cells is emerging as a therapeutic concept, it will be important to consider these detrimental effects, including tumor-promoting properties that may drive the formation of secondary tumors or cancer relapse...
May 15, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Ryan Rickels, Ali Shilatifard
Enhancers are distally located genomic cis-regulatory elements that integrate spatiotemporal cues to coordinate gene expression in a tissue-specific manner during metazoan development. Enhancer function depends on a combination of bound transcription factors and cofactors that regulate local chromatin structure, as well as on the topological interactions that are necessary for their activity. Numerous genome-wide studies concur that the vast majority of disease-associated variations occur within non-coding genomic sequences, in other words the 'cis-regulome', and this underscores their relevance for human health...
May 11, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Pin Li, Adekunle T Bademosi, Jincai Luo, Frederic A Meunier
Cellular communication relies on fusion of secretory vesicles with the plasma membrane, following dynamic events that change the micro- and nanoscale environment of the approaching vesicles in the vicinity of docking sites. Visualization of fine cortical actin network structures and their interactions with vesicle and plasma membrane has recently been facilitated by the development of new imaging technologies. Consequently, a greater understanding is emerging of the role of the cortical actin network on controlling secretory vesicles as they undergo docking, priming, and fusion in exocytic hot spots...
May 11, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Ilaria Elia, Ginevra Doglioni, Sarah-Maria Fendt
Metastasis to distant organs is a predictor of poor prognosis. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to understand the mechanisms that impinge on the different steps of the metastatic cascade. Recent work has revealed that particular metabolic pathways are rewired in cancer cells to support their transition through the metastatic cascade, resulting in the formation of secondary tumors in distant organs. Indeed, metabolic rewiring induces signaling pathways during initial cancer invasion, circulating cancer cells depend on enhanced antioxidant defenses, and cancer cells colonizing a distant organ require increased ATP production...
May 7, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Vassiliki Nikoletopoulou, Nektarios Tavernarakis
Genetic studies have demonstrated that conditional ablation of core autophagy genes in the neural lineage leads to progressive neurodegeneration, indicating that this catabolic pathway is indispensable for neuronal maintenance. However, accumulating evidence also indicates that autophagy is not merely a housekeeping process. Instead, autophagy may be dynamically regulated in different neuronal compartments and dictate the turnover of selected cargo in a time- and space-dependent manner and thus contribute to specialized neuronal functions...
May 3, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Gautier Follain, Jacky G Goetz
Endothelial cells can sense and respond to blood flow forces and signals, but the exact mechanisms employed remain poorly understood. A recent study describes how low-flow forces are sensed by primary cilia during development of the retinal vasculature, which sensitizes endothelial cells to BMP signaling.
May 2, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Luisa Cimmino, Benjamin G Neel, Iannis Aifantis
Vitamin C is an essential dietary requirement for humans. In addition to its known role as an antioxidant, vitamin C is a cofactor for Fe2+ - and α-ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases (Fe2+ /α-KGDDs) which comprise a large number of diverse enzymes, including collagen prolyl hydroxylases and epigenetic regulators of histone and DNA methylation. Vitamin C can modulate embryonic stem cell (ESC) function, enhance reprogramming of fibroblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and hinder the aberrant self-renewal of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) through its ability to enhance the activity of either Jumonji C (JmjC) domain-containing histone demethylases or ten-eleven translocation (TET) DNA hydroxylases...
April 30, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Varnesh Tiku, Adam Antebi
The nucleolus is a prominent membraneless organelle residing within the nucleus. The nucleolus has been regarded as a housekeeping structure mainly known for its role in ribosomal RNA (rRNA) production and ribosome assembly. However, accumulating evidence has revealed its functions in numerous cellular processes that control organismal physiology, thereby taking the nucleolus much beyond its conventional role in ribosome biogenesis. Perturbations in nucleolar functions have been associated with severe diseases such as cancer and progeria...
April 27, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Axel T Brunger, Jeremy Leitz, Qiangjun Zhou, Ucheor B Choi, Ying Lai
Recent structural and functional studies of the synaptic vesicle fusion machinery suggest an inhibited tripartite complex consisting of neuronal soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs), synaptotagmin, and complexin prior to Ca2+ -triggered synaptic vesicle fusion. We speculate that Ca2+ -triggered fusion commences with the release of inhibition by Ca2+ binding to synaptotagmin C2 domains. Subsequently, fusion is assisted by SNARE complex zippering and by active membrane remodeling properties of synaptotagmin...
April 26, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Przemyslaw Sapieha, Frédérick A Mallette
In mitotic cells, cellular senescence is a permanent state of G1 arrest, that may have evolved in parallel to apoptosis, to limit proliferation of damaged cells and oncogenesis. Recent studies have suggested that postmitotic cells are also capable of entering a state of senescence, although the repercussions of postmitotic cellular senescence (PoMiCS) on tissue health and function are currently ill-defined. In tissues made largely of post-mitotic cells, it is evolutionary advantageous to preserve cellular integrity and cellular senescence of post-mitotic cells may prevent stressor-induced tissue degeneration and promote tissue repair...
April 25, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Jörg Höhfeld, Thorsten Hoppe
Conjugation of ubiquitin onto proteins generates a degradation signal or exerts degradation-independent regulatory functions. Ubiquitylation is governed by the antagonistic action of ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs). Several recent publications illustrate a balanced interplay of ligases and DUBs at signaling hubs that are central to longevity and protein homeostasis (proteostasis). In addition, stress-induced alterations of ubiquitin conjugation are emerging as key events that drive aging and contribute to the pathology of age-related diseases...
April 25, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Antonio Totaro, Martina Castellan, Daniele Di Biagio, Stefano Piccolo
How the behavior of cells in living tissues is orchestrated according to tissue needs, size, and developmental stage is still poorly understood. Advances in these directions are essential to understand morphogenesis, 'self-organization' phenomena, to build new tissues for regenerative medicine or to reverse the changes in deranged organs, such as in cancer or in genetic disorders. This review outlines a new scenario by which the crosstalk between the Yes-associated protein/transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (YAP/TAZ) transcription factors and Notch signaling influences cell self-renewal, stem cell differentiation, cell fate decisions, epithelial-stromal interactions, inflammation, morphogenesis, and large-scale gene oscillations...
April 14, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Shikha Laloraya
Meiotic drive is an enigmatic process that results from biased segregation of selfish genetic elements that enhance their own transmission and drive evolution. During asymmetric female meiotic divisions, selfish elements segregate preferentially towards the egg rather than polar bodies. Recent findings demonstrate that asymmetric spindle tyrosination helps selfish elements to cheat.
April 10, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Esther Jeong Yoon Kim, Ekaterina Korotkevich, Takashi Hiiragi
Self-organization guides robust, spatiotemporally ordered formation of complex tissues and ultimately whole organisms. While products of gene expression serve as building blocks of living matter, how these interact to give rise to tissues of distinct patterns and function remains a central question in biology. Tissue self-organization relies on dynamic interactions between constituents spanning a range of spatiotemporal scales with tuneable chemical and mechanical parameters. This review highlights recent studies dissecting mechanisms of these interactions...
March 28, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Steven Boeynaems, Simon Alberti, Nicolas L Fawzi, Tanja Mittag, Magdalini Polymenidou, Frederic Rousseau, Joost Schymkowitz, James Shorter, Benjamin Wolozin, Ludo Van Den Bosch, Peter Tompa, Monika Fuxreiter
Cellular compartments and organelles organize biological matter. Most well-known organelles are separated by a membrane boundary from their surrounding milieu. There are also many so-called membraneless organelles and recent studies suggest that these organelles, which are supramolecular assemblies of proteins and RNA molecules, form via protein phase separation. Recent discoveries have shed light on the molecular properties, formation, regulation, and function of membraneless organelles. A combination of techniques from cell biology, biophysics, physical chemistry, structural biology, and bioinformatics are starting to help establish the molecular principles of an emerging field, thus paving the way for exciting discoveries, including novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of age-related disorders...
March 27, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
György Csordás, David Weaver, György Hajnóczky
Interorganellar contacts are increasingly recognized as central to the control of cellular behavior. These contacts, which typically involve a small fraction of the endomembrane surface, are local communication hubs that resemble synapses. We propose the term contactology to denote the analysis of interorganellar contacts. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contacts with mitochondria were recognized several decades ago; major roles in ion and lipid transfer, signaling, and membrane dynamics have been established, while others continue to emerge...
March 24, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Maud Martin, Anna Akhmanova
Microtubule organization has a crucial role in regulating cell architecture. The geometry of microtubule arrays strongly depends on the distribution of sites responsible for microtubule nucleation and minus-end attachment. In cycling animal cells, the centrosome often represents a dominant microtubule-organizing center (MTOC). However, even in cells with a radial microtubule system, many microtubules are not anchored at the centrosome, but are instead linked to the Golgi apparatus or other structures. Non-centrosomal microtubules predominate in many types of differentiated cell and in mitotic spindles...
March 20, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
Zhiqiang Shu, Sarayu Row, Wu-Min Deng
To battle adverse internal and external conditions and maintain homeostasis, diploid organisms employ various cellular processes, such as proliferation and apoptosis. In some tissues, an alternative mechanism, endoreplication, is employed toward similar goals. Endoreplication is an evolutionarily conserved cell cycle program during which cells replicate their genomes without division, resulting in polyploid cells. Importantly, endoreplication is reported to be indispensable for normal development and organ formation across various organisms, from fungi to humans...
March 19, 2018: Trends in Cell Biology
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