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Trends in Cell Biology

Ling-Ling Chen, Li Yang
Alu elements belong to the primate-specific SINE family of retrotransposons and constitute almost 11% of the human genome. Alus are transcribed by RNA polymerase (Pol) III and are inserted back into the genome with the help of autonomous LINE retroelements. Since Alu elements are preferentially located near to or within gene-rich regions, they can affect gene expression by distinct mechanisms of action at both DNA and RNA levels. In this review we focus on recent advances of how Alu elements are pervasively involved in gene regulation...
February 10, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Ling Qi, Billy Tsai, Peter Arvan
Many human diseases are associated with mutations causing protein misfolding and aggregation in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). ER-associated degradation (ERAD) is a principal quality-control mechanism responsible for targeting misfolded ER proteins for cytosolic degradation. However, despite years of effort, the physiological role of ERAD in vivo remains largely unknown. Several recent studies have reported intriguing phenotypes of mice deficient for ERAD function in specific cell types. These studies highlight that mammalian ERAD has been designed to perform a wide-range of cell-type-specific functions in vivo in a substrate-dependent manner...
February 8, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Alexey V Zamaraev, Gelina S Kopeina, Evgeniia A Prokhorova, Boris Zhivotovsky, Inna N Lavrik
Apoptosis is a crucial program of cell death that controls development and homeostasis of multicellular organisms. The main initiators and executors of this process are the Cysteine-dependent ASPartate proteASES - caspases. A number of regulatory circuits tightly control caspase processing and activity. One of the most important, yet, at the same time still poorly understood control mechanisms of activation of caspases involves their post-translational modifications. The addition and/or removal of chemical groups drastically alters the catalytic activity of caspases or stimulates their nonapoptotic functions...
February 7, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Bramwell G Lambrus, Andrew J Holland
Cells have evolved certain precautions to preserve their genomic content during mitosis and avoid potentially oncogenic errors. Besides the well-established DNA damage checkpoint and spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), recent observations have identified an additional mitotic failsafe referred to as the mitotic surveillance pathway. This pathway triggers a cell cycle arrest to block the growth of potentially unfit daughter cells and is activated by both prolonged mitosis and centrosome loss. Recent genome-wide screens surprisingly revealed that 53BP1 and USP28 act upstream of p53 to mediate signaling through the mitotic surveillance pathway...
February 7, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Zhiqiang Deng, Kerry Purtell, Veronik Lachance, Mitchell S Wold, Shi Chen, Zhenyu Yue
Previously thought of as a nonselective digestion process, autophagy is now known to specifically degrade aggregated proteins and damaged cellular organelles through the action of autophagy receptors, which provides cellular quality control and maintains homeostasis. Autophagy receptors recognize and recruit specific cargoes to the autophagosome-lysosome pathway for degradation in ubiquitin-dependent and -independent manners, and their functions (in selective autophagy) are regulated by protein modifications, for example, phosphorylation and ubiquitination...
February 3, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Paul N Adler, John B Wallingford
Why some genes are more popular than others remains an open question, but one example of this phenomenon involves the genes controlling planar cell polarity (PCP), the polarization of cells within a plane of a tissue. Indeed, the so-called 'core' PCP genes such as dishevelled, frizzled, and prickle have been extensively studied both in animal models and by human genetics. By contrast, other genes that influence PCP signaling have received far less attention. Among the latter are inturned, fuzzy, and fritz, but recent work should bring these once obscure regulators into the limelight...
January 30, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Alfonso Fernández-Álvarez, Julia Promisel Cooper
The mammalian nuclear division cycle is coordinated with nuclear envelope breakdown (NEBD), in which the entire nuclear envelope (NE) is dissolved to allow chromosomes to access their segregation vehicle, the spindle. In other eukaryotes, complete NEBD is replaced by localized disassembly or remodeling of the NE. Although the molecular mechanisms controlling NE disassembly are incompletely understood, coordinated cycles of modification of specific NE components drive breakdown. Here, we review the current state of knowledge regarding NE disassembly and argue for a role of chromosome-NE contacts in triggering initiation of NE disassembly and thereby, cell division...
December 23, 2016: Trends in Cell Biology
Graeme Hewitt, Viktor I Korolchuk
(Macro)Autophagy is a catabolic pathway that delivers excess, aggregated, or damaged proteins and organelles to lysosomes for degradation. Autophagy is activated in response to numerous cellular stressors such as increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and low levels of cellular nutrients as well as DNA damage. Although autophagy occurs in the cytoplasm, its inhibition leads to accumulation of DNA damage and genomic instability. In the past few years, our understanding of the interplay between autophagy and genomic stability has greatly increased...
December 20, 2016: Trends in Cell Biology
Ayhan Atmanli, Ibrahim John Domian
The advent of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) biology has opened unprecedented opportunities for the use of tissue engineering to generate human cardiac tissue for in vitro study. Engineering cardiac constructs that recapitulate human development and disease requires faithful recreation of the cardiac niche in vitro. Here we discuss recent progress in translating the in vivo cardiac microenvironment into PSC models of the human heart. We review three key physiologic features required to recreate the cardiac niche and facilitate normal cardiac differentiation and maturation: the biochemical, biophysical, and bioelectrical signaling cues...
December 19, 2016: Trends in Cell Biology
Christian Siebold, Toshihide Yamashita, Philippe P Monnier, Bernhard K Mueller, R Jeroen Pasterkamp
Although originally discovered as neuronal growth cone-collapsing factors, repulsive guidance molecules (RGMs) are now known as key players in many fundamental processes, such as cell migration, differentiation, iron homeostasis, and apoptosis, during the development and homeostasis of many tissues and organs, including the nervous, skeletal, and immune systems. Furthermore, three RGMs (RGMa, RGMb/DRAGON, and RGMc/hemojuvelin) have been linked to the pathogenesis of various disorders ranging from multiple sclerosis (MS) to cancer and juvenile hemochromatosis (JHH)...
December 19, 2016: Trends in Cell Biology
Jonathan S Coravos, Frank M Mason, Adam C Martin
The actomyosin cytoskeleton is responsible for many changes in cell and tissue shape. For a long time, the actomyosin cytoskeleton has been known to exhibit dynamic contractile behavior. Recently, discrete actomyosin assembly/disassembly cycles have also been observed in cells. These so-called actomyosin pulses have been observed in a variety of contexts, including cell polarization and division, and in epithelia, where they occur during tissue contraction, folding, and extension. In epithelia, evidence suggests that actomyosin pulsing, and more generally, actomyosin turnover, is required to maintain tissue integrity during contractile processes...
December 15, 2016: Trends in Cell Biology
Roshni Basu, Morgan Huse
T and B lymphocytes communicate by forming immunological synapses with antigen-presenting target cells. These highly dynamic contacts are characterized by continuous cytoskeletal remodeling events, which not only structure the interface but also exert a considerable amount of mechanical force. In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that synaptic forces influence information transfer both into and out of the lymphocyte. Here, we review our current understanding of synapse mechanics, focusing on its role as an avenue for intercellular communication...
December 13, 2016: Trends in Cell Biology
Reiner A Veitia, Diddahally R Govindaraju, Samuel Bottani, James A Birchler
Aging involves a progressive decline of metabolic function and an increased incidence of late-onset degenerative disorders and cancer. To a large extent, these processes are influenced by alterations affecting the integrity of genome architecture and, ultimately, its phenotypic expression. Despite the progress made towards establishing causal links between genomic and epigenomic changes and aging, mechanisms underlying metabolic dysregulation and age-related phenotypes remain obscure. Here, we present a model linking genome-wide changes and their age-related phenotypic consequences via the alteration of macromolecular complexes and cellular networks...
December 8, 2016: Trends in Cell Biology
Katia Cosentino, Ana J García-Sáez
Bax and its homolog Bak are key regulators of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. On cell stress Bax and Bak accumulate at distinct foci on the mitochondrial surface where they undergo a conformational change, oligomerize, and mediate cytochrome c release, leading to cell death. The molecular mechanisms of Bax and Bak assembly and mitochondrial permeabilization have remained a longstanding question in the field. Recent structural and biophysical studies at several length scales have shed light on key aspects of Bax and Bak function that have shifted how we think this process occurs...
December 5, 2016: Trends in Cell Biology
Patrick A Eyers, Karen Keeshan, Natarajan Kannan
The Tribbles (TRIB) pseudokinases control multiple aspects of eukaryotic cell biology and evolved unique features distinguishing them from all other protein kinases. The atypical pseudokinase domain retains a regulated binding platform for substrates, which are ubiquitinated by context-specific E3 ligases. This plastic configuration has also been exploited as a scaffold to support the modulation of canonical MAPK and AKT modules. In this review, we discuss the evolution of TRIBs and their roles in vertebrate cell biology...
November 28, 2016: Trends in Cell Biology
Catherine Rabouille
Secretory proteins are conventionally transported through the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi and then to the plasma membrane where they are released into the extracellular space. However, numerous substrates also reach these destinations using unconventional pathways. Unconventional protein secretion (UPS) is complex and comprises cargos without a signal peptide or a transmembrane domain that can translocate across the plasma membrane, and cargos that reach the plasma membrane by bypassing the Golgi despite entering the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)...
March 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Nawal Bendris, Sandra L Schmid
Sorting nexin (SNX)9 was first discovered as an endocytic accessory protein involved in clathrin-mediated endocytosis. However, recent data suggest that SNX9 is a multifunctional scaffold that coordinates membrane trafficking and remodeling with changes in actin dynamics to affect diverse cellular processes. Here, we review the accumulated knowledge on SNX9 with an emphasis on its recently identified roles in clathrin-independent endocytic pathways, cell invasion, and cell division, which have implications for SNX9 function in human disease, including cancer...
March 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Sybren L N Maas, Xandra O Breakefield, Alissa M Weaver
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a heterogeneous collection of membrane-bound carriers with complex cargoes including proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. While the release of EVs was previously thought to be only a mechanism to discard nonfunctional cellular components, increasing evidence implicates EVs as key players in intercellular and even interorganismal communication. EVs confer stability and can direct their cargoes to specific cell types. EV cargoes also appear to act in a combinatorial manner to communicate directives to other cells...
March 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Mourad Ferdaoussi, Patrick E MacDonald
Within cells the regulated exocytosis of secretory granules controls multiple physiological functions, including endocrine hormone secretion. Release of the glucose-regulating hormone insulin from pancreatic islet β cells is critical for whole-body metabolic homeostasis. Impaired insulin secretion appears early in the progression to type 2 diabetes (T2D). Key mechanisms that control the β-cell exocytotic response, mediating the long-known but little understood metabolic amplification of insulin secretion, are becoming clearer...
March 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Nihal Altan-Bonnet
Positive-strand RNA viruses are the largest group of RNA viruses on Earth and cellular membranes are critical for all aspects of their life cycle, from entry and replication to exit. In particular, membranes serve as platforms for replication and as carriers to transmit these viruses to other cells, the latter either as an envelope surrounding a single virus or as the vesicle containing a population of viruses. Notably, many animal and human viruses appear to induce and exploit phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate/cholesterol-enriched membranes for replication, whereas many plant and insect-vectored animal viruses utilize phosphatidylethanolamine/cholesterol-enriched membranes for the same purpose; and phosphatidylserine-enriched membrane carriers are widely used by both single and populations of viruses for transmission...
March 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
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