News & Comment

  • News & Views |

    Mitochondria contain their own circular mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which, over time, is subjected to mutations that may eventually result in functional defects. A study now describes genetic and metabolic selection processes during germ cell development that prevent accumulation of harmful mtDNA variants.

    • Di Chen
    •  & Amander T. Clark
  • Editorial |

    A strong relationship between mentor and mentee is a crucial part of the training and professional development of scientists. Here, we discuss the means of successful mentorship and debunk some myths surrounding mentoring.

  • News & Views |

    Intrinsic factors that regulate dormancy of disseminated tumour cells (DTCs) are predominantly unknown. Now, knockdown of MSK1 is shown to accelerate bone metastasis of luminal breast cancer cells. MSK1 acts through epigenetic mechanisms that enforce the luminal phenotype and promote steady-state maintenance of DTCs within bone.

    • Candice Alexandra Grzelak
    •  & Cyrus Michael Ghajar
  • News & Views |

    Elucidating regulation of mitochondrial mRNA translation will improve our understanding of mitochondrial function during homeostasis and disease. Ribonuclease EXD2 is now shown to be important for mitochondrial translation and oxidative phosphorylation, and its loss enhances ROS production, slows development and extends lifespan in flies.

    • Brian M. Zid
    •  & Pankaj Kapahi
  • News & Views |

    Selective autophagy is important for controlled degradation of cellular components. However, a selective autophagic degradation mechanism for ribosomes in mammals has remained unclear. A study now describes non-selective and selective ribosome degradation and a significant role for ‘bystander’ non-selective autophagy.

    • Christian Münch
    •  & Ivan Dikic
  • News & Views |

    The unfolded protein response (UPR) regulates cell metabolism and survival in response to stress, yet how the UPR is connected to other signalling pathways is poorly understood. PERK is now shown to regulate Bmal1 and Clock proteins to promote cancer cell survival, revealing a link between growth regulation and circadian rhythms.

    • Miguel Sanchez-Alvarez
    •  & Chris Bakal
  • News & Views |

    Previous work has highlighted the role of metabolic shifts in regulating the formation of memory T cells, which are generated during a primary infection to provide long-lasting immunity. A study now shows that memory T cells rely on a gluconeogenesis–glycogenolysis cycle to provide antioxidant defence and support their survival.

    • Joanna Olivas
    •  & Tiffany Horng
  • Editorial |

    Nature Cell Biology supports the wide dissemination of scientific findings both prior to and following publication of primary research manuscripts.

  • News & Views |

    To overcome the finite supply of muscle stem cells available for cell therapy, a study now describes a strategy for obtaining an unlimited source of myogenic progenitors derived from human pluripotent cells. Two neuronal cell surface receptors facilitate the selection of a population with enhanced regenerative potential.

    • Andrew T. V. Ho
    •  & Helen M. Blau
  • Editorial |

    Advances in stem cell research offer unprecedented insights into human biology and opportunities for clinical translation. They also raise many questions with social and ethical implications.

  • News & Views |

    Small RNAs generated at DNA break sites are implicated in mammalian DNA repair. Now, a study shows that following the formation of DNA double-strand breaks, bidirectional transcription events adjacent to the break generate small RNAs that trigger the DNA damage response by local RNA:RNA interactions.

    • Francesca Storici
    •  & Ailone E. Tichon
  • News & Views |

    Membrane trafficking specificity between distinct compartments ensures that cargo proteins and lipids are delivered to their target organelle. However, accurate recognition of cargo carriers by tethering factors on target membranes is poorly understood. TBC1D23 is now identified as an adaptor that links endosome-derived vesicles with golgins at the trans-Golgi.

    • J. Christopher Fromme
    •  & Mary Munson
  • News & Views |

    After mitosis, the nucleus must be rebuilt and chromatin decondensed to permit interphase genomic functions, but decondensation mechanisms are poorly understood. Now, the traditional cytoskeletal protein actin is shown to form transient nuclear filaments that are required for chromatin decondensation and nuclear expansion at mitotic exit.

    • Henna M. Moore
    •  & Maria K. Vartiainen
  • News & Views |

    PARP inhibitors (PARPi) kill BRCA1/2-mutated cancers, which become resistant when DNA repair functions are restored. Now, MUS81 nuclease inhibition due to EZH2 downregulation is found to restore DNA replication fork protection but not repair, leading to PARPi-resistance in mutant BRCA2 cells and patients. This challenges the DNA repair dominance in synthetic lethality.

    • Katharina Schlacher
  • News & Views |

    Organoids are a powerful tool to study both physiological and disease processes. A completely synthetic matrix assembled from exchangeable modular parts has been developed and not only supports proliferation of human intestinal organoids derived from pluripotent embryonic stem cells, but also augments subsequent ad vivo implantation into injured murine colon.

    • Jeffrey W. Brown
    •  & Jason C. Mills
  • News & Views |

    A variety of non-coding RNAs have been reported as endogenous sponges for cancer-modulating miRNAs. However, miRNA trapping by transcripts with protein-coding functions is less understood. The mRNA of TYRP1 is now found to sequester the tumour suppressor miR-16 on non-canonical miRNA response elements in melanoma, thereby promoting malignant growth.

    • Maria S. Soengas
    •  & Eva Hernando
  • News & Views |

    Recycling from endosomes to the plasma membrane is an important step in cell homeostasis. The retromer/SNX27/WASH complex recycles numerous receptors, but key ones are still unaccounted for. Now a related conserved heterotrimer, called retriever, has been identified that, together with SNX17, the CCC complex and WASH, mediates the recycling of α5β1 integrins.

    • Catherine Rabouille
  • News & Views |

    It is generally accepted that protein function depends on a defined 3D structure, with unfolding and aggregation dealing a final blow to functionality. A study now shows that the regulated exposure of an unstructured region in yeast pyruvate kinase triggers reversible aggregation to preserve protein function under stress.

    • Jörg Höhfeld
  • News & Views |

    During muscle development, nuclei travel from the centre of the myofibre to the periphery, a process defective in certain diseases. A new study reveals that this movement is due to centripetal forces imposed on nuclei by the crosslinking and contraction of myofibrils.

    • Jonathan N. Rosen
    •  & Mary K. Baylies
  • News & Views |

    Cancer cells preferentially metastasize to certain organs. A study in mouse models of breast cancer shows that the DKK1 negative regulator of WNT signalling inhibits tropism to the lung, but enhances tropism to the bone due to the differential regulation of canonical and non-canonical WNT signalling in the two microenvironments.

    • Wei Zheng
    •  & Jeffrey W. Pollard
  • News & Views |

    The cytokine tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and the toll-like receptors (TLRs) coordinate immune responses by activating inflammatory transcriptional programs, but these signals can also trigger cell death. Recent studies identify the MAP kinase substrate MK2 as a key player in determining whether cells live or die in response to TNF and TLR signalling.

    • Andrew Oberst
  • News & Views |

    Three-dimensional brain organoid models have come into the spotlight as in vitro tools to recapitulate complex features of the brain. Four recent papers now leverage current technologies to generate new flavours of brain organoids and address aspects of brain biology which, to date, have been challenging to explore.

    • Lin Yang
    •  & Huck-Hui Ng
  • News & Views |

    Cellular senescence, a cell-autonomous growth arrest program, also executes pleiotropic non-cell-autonomous activities through the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). The innate cGAS–STING DNA-sensing pathway is now shown to regulate senescence by recognizing cytosolic DNA and inducing SASP factors, uncovering an unexpected link between these two previously unrelated pathways.

    • Marina Ruiz de Galarreta
    •  & Amaia Lujambio