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Trends in Cell Biology

Achim Werner, Andrew G Manford, Michael Rape
The growth of a metazoan body relies on a series of highly coordinated cell-fate decisions by stem cells which can undergo self-renewal, reversibly enter a quiescent state, or terminally commit to a cell specification program. To guide their decisions, stem cells make frequent use of ubiquitylation, a post-translational modification that can affect the activity, interaction landscape, or stability of stem cell proteins. In this review we discuss novel findings that have provided insight into ubiquitin-dependent mechanisms of stem cell control and revealed how an essential and highly conserved protein modification can shape metazoan development...
May 18, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Catherine A Makarewich, Eric N Olson
Advances in computational biology and large-scale transcriptome analyses have revealed that a much larger portion of the genome is transcribed than was previously recognized, resulting in the production of a diverse population of RNA molecules with both protein-coding and noncoding potential. Emerging evidence indicates that several RNA molecules have been mis-annotated as noncoding and in fact harbor short open reading frames (sORFs) that encode functional peptides and that have evaded detection until now due to their small size...
May 18, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Eric B Taylor
The mitochondrial carrier system (MCS) transports small molecules between mitochondria and the cytoplasm. It is integral to the core mitochondrial function to regulate cellular chemistry by metabolism. The mammalian MCS comprises the transporters of the 53-member canonical SLC25A family and a lesser number of identified noncanonical transporters. The recent discovery and investigations of the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) illustrate the diverse effects a single mitochondrial carrier may exert on cellular function...
May 15, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Bethan Lloyd-Lewis, Olivia B Harris, Christine J Watson, Felicity M Davis
Adult mammary stem cells (MaSCs) drive postnatal organogenesis and remodeling in the mammary gland, and their longevity and potential have important implications for breast cancer. However, despite intense investigation the identity, location, and differentiation potential of MaSCs remain subject to deliberation. The application of genetic lineage-tracing models, combined with quantitative 3D imaging and biophysical methods, has provided new insights into the mammary epithelial hierarchy that challenge classical definitions of MaSC potency and behaviors...
May 6, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Matthias C Truttmann, Hidde L Ploegh
Protein AMPylation - the covalent attachment of an AMP residue to amino acid side chains using ATP as the donor - is a post-translational modification (PTM) increasingly appreciated as relevant for both normal and pathological cell signaling. In metazoans single copies of filamentation induced by cAMP (fic)-domain-containing AMPylases - the enzymes responsible for AMPylation - preferentially modify a set of dedicated targets and contribute to the perception of cellular stress and its regulation. Pathogenic bacteria can exploit AMPylation of eukaryotic target proteins to rewire host cell signaling machinery in support of their propagation and survival...
April 19, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Robert J Eddy, Maxwell D Weidmann, Ved P Sharma, John S Condeelis
Invadopodia are a subset of invadosomes that are implicated in the integration of signals from the tumor microenvironment to support tumor cell invasion and dissemination. Recent progress has begun to define how tumor cells regulate the plasticity necessary for invadopodia to assemble and function efficiently in the different microenvironments encountered during dissemination in vivo. Exquisite mapping by many laboratories of the pathways involved in integrating diverse invadopodium initiation signals, from growth factors, to extracellular matrix (ECM) and cell-cell contact in the tumor microenvironment, has led to insight into the molecular basis of this plasticity...
April 12, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Jacques Neefjes, Marlieke M L Jongsma, Ilana Berlin
The endosomal system constitutes a key negotiator between the environment of a cell and its internal affairs. Comprised of a complex membranous network, wherein each vesicle can in principle move autonomously throughout the cell, the endosomal system operates as a coherent unit to optimally face external challenges and maintain homeostasis. Our appreciation of how individual endosomes are controlled in time and space to best serve their collective purpose has evolved dramatically in recent years. In light of these efforts, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) - with its expanse of membranes permeating the cytoplasmic space - has emerged as a potent spatiotemporal organizer of endosome biology...
March 28, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Miling Wang, Timothy E Audas, Stephen Lee
Historically, amyloids were perceived as toxic/irreversible protein aggregates associated with neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Recent papers are challenging this perception by uncovering widespread cellular roles for physiological amyloidogenesis. These findings suggest that the amyloid-fold should be considered, alongside the native-fold and unfolded configurations, as a physiological and reversible protein organization.
March 27, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Ralf J Braun, Benedikt Westermann
Mitochondria are essential organelles because they have key roles in cellular energy metabolism and many other metabolic pathways. Several quality control systems have evolved to ensure that dysfunctional mitochondria are either repaired or eliminated. The activities of these pathways are crucial for cellular health because they maintain functional mitochondria. In addition, the cytosolic ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and the mitochondria-associated degradation pathway (MAD) share some of their core components, are functionally tightly interconnected, and mutually modulate their activities...
March 10, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Pragya Shah, Katarina Wolf, Jan Lammerding
The nuclear envelope safeguards the genetic material inside the nucleus by separating it from the cytoplasm. Until recently, it was assumed that nuclear envelope (NE) breakdown occurs only in a highly controlled fashion during mitosis when the chromatin is condensed and divided between the daughter cells. However, recent studies have demonstrated that adherent and migrating cells exhibit transient NE rupture during interphase caused by compression from cytoskeletal or external forces. NE rupture results in uncontrolled exchange between the nuclear interior and cytoplasm and leads to DNA damage...
March 9, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Wen Lu, Vladimir I Gelfand
In addition to their well-known role in transporting cargoes in the cytoplasm, microtubule motors organize their own tracks - the microtubules. While this function is mostly studied in the context of cell division, it is essential for microtubule organization and generation of cell polarity in interphase cells. Kinesin-1, the most abundant microtubule motor, plays a role in the initial formation of neurites. This review describes the mechanism of kinesin-1-driven microtubule sliding and discusses its biological significance in neurons...
March 8, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Teemu P Miettinen, Mikael Björklund
Allometric scaling of metabolic rate results in lower total mitochondrial oxygen consumption with increasing organismal size. This is considered a universal law in biology. Here, we discuss how allometric laws impose size-dependent limits to mitochondrial activity at the cellular level. This cell-size-dependent mitochondrial metabolic activity results in nonlinear scaling of metabolism in proliferating cells, which can explain size homeostasis. The allometry in mitochondrial activity can be controlled through mitochondrial fusion and fission machinery, suggesting that mitochondrial connectivity can bypass transport limitations, the presumed biophysical basis for allometry...
March 8, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Naoyuki Inagaki, Hiroko Katsuno
Actin filaments and associated proteins undergo wave-like movement in various cell types. Recent studies with cutting-edge analyses, including live-cell imaging, biophysical monitoring and manipulation, and mathematical modeling, have highlighted roles of 'actin waves' in cellular protrusion, polarization, and migration. The prevailing models to explain the wave-like dynamics of actin filaments involve an activator-inhibitor mechanism. In addition, axonal actin waves migrate by means of directional assembly and disassembly of membrane-anchored actin filaments, and thus represent a new type of machinery that translocates their component molecules to the cell edge...
March 7, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Olli Matilainen, Pedro M Quirós, Johan Auwerx
Through epigenetic mechanisms cells integrate environmental stimuli to fine-tune gene expression levels. Mitochondrial function is essential to provide the intermediate metabolites necessary to generate and modify epigenetic marks in the nucleus, which in turn can regulate the expression of mitochondrial proteins. In this review we summarize the function of mitochondria in the regulation of epigenetic mechanisms as a new aspect of mitonuclear communication. We focus in particular on the most common epigenetic modifications - histone acetylation and histone and DNA methylation...
March 5, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Jing Xie, Matthew Wooten, Vuong Tran, Xin Chen
Asymmetric cell division (ACD) gives rise to two daughter cells with distinct fates. ACD is widely used during development and by many types of adult stem cells during tissue homeostasis and regeneration. ACD can be regulated by extrinsic cues, such as signaling molecules, as well as by intrinsic factors, such as organelles and cortex proteins. The recent discovery of asymmetric histone inheritance during stem cell ACD has revealed another intrinsic mechanism by which ACD produces two distinct daughters. In this review we discuss these findings in the context of cell-cycle regulation, as well as other studies of ACD, to begin understanding the underlying mechanisms and biological relevance of this phenomenon...
March 4, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Janin Lautenschläger, Clemens F Kaminski, Gabriele S Kaminski Schierle
α-Synuclein is known as a presynaptic protein that binds to small synaptic vesicles. Recent studies suggest that α-synuclein is not only attracted to these tiny and therewith highly curved membranes, but that in fact the sensing and regulation of membrane curvature is part of its physiological function. Moreover, recent studies have suggested that α-synuclein plays a role in the endocytosis of synaptic vesicles, and have provided support for a function of α-synuclein during exo- and endocytosis in which curvature sensing and membrane stabilization are crucial steps...
March 1, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Giacomo Mancini, Tamas L Horvath
Despite the well-known role of chronic mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathophysiology of the brain, the impact of acute impairment of mitochondrial activity by cannabinoids on higher brain functions is unknown. In a recent paper in Nature, Hebert-Chatelain et al. elegantly uncovered the essential role that bioenergetic processes have in the regulation of higher brain functions, such as learning and memory.
May 6, 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
Zu-Hang Sheng
Mitochondria are key cellular power plants essential for neuronal growth, survival, function, and regeneration after injury. Given their unique morphological features, neurons face exceptional challenges in maintaining energy homeostasis at distal synapses and growth cones where energy is in high demand. Efficient regulation of mitochondrial trafficking and anchoring is critical for neurons to meet altered energy requirements. Mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired transport have been implicated in several major neurological disorders...
June 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...
June 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...
May 2017: Trends in Cell Biology
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