Focus |

20 years of cell biology

2019 marks twenty years since the launch of Nature Cell Biology. To celebrate our 20th anniversary we present a Focus of specially commissioned Review and Perspective articles that discuss topics across the diverse areas covered by the journal. These pieces are accompanied by a Collection of research articles published in Nature Cell Biology over the last two decades. Although they are not intended to be comprehensive, these commissioned pieces and research articles highlight the rich history and diverse scope of the journal.

Focus Content

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the launch of Nature Cell Biology. We take this opportunity to reflect on the progress in cell biological research and the evolution of our journal, and to celebrate the start of our third decade with a special Focus on 20 years of cell biology.

Editorial | | Nature Cell Biology

This Review describes non-redundant functions of the core transcription factors that mediate the epithelial–mesenchymal transition, and discusses the conflicting results regarding their roles in this process.

Review Article | | Nature Cell Biology

In this Review, Schermelleh et al. give an overview of current super-resolution microscopy techniques and provide guidance on how best to use them to foster biological discovery.

Review Article | | Nature Cell Biology

In this Review, Horng and colleagues cover the emerging roles of cellular metabolism in guiding immune cell activation and cell fate decisions, and discuss how differential metabolic regulation allows for context specificity.

Review Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Moreno-Layseca et al. discuss how integrins, key receptors that mediate cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix, are endocytosed and recycled to the cell surface to modulate cell and tissue behaviour.

Review Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Lee and Schmitt discuss how the classical view of senescence as a static, terminally differentiated state has changed to that of a dynamic, reversible condition with diverse roles in tumour biology.

Review Article | | Nature Cell Biology

In this Review Article, Chunduri and Storchová discuss how aneuploidy, often seen in cancer cells, affects gene expression, proliferation, proteotoxic stress and genomic stability, and how these changes relate to those in cancer.

Review Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Cell & Molecular Biology Research Papers

A property of oncogene-induced senescence (OIS) is the induction of a secretory phenotype, termed the senescence-associated secretome (SASP). Gil and colleagues now provide evidence that senescence can be transmitted in a paracrine manner, by showing that induction of the SASP in cells undergoing OIS by inflammasome-mediated interleukin-1 signalling can promote senescence of normal neighbouring cells.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

D’Adda di Fagagna and colleagues observe that, after genotoxic treatment of cells and mice, unrepaired DNA-damage foci and DNA-damage signalling persist at telomeres. They show that introducing the telomeric protein TRF2 near a double-strand break elsewhere on the chromosomes prevents repair. Unrepaired foci are also observed at telomeres of ageing animals, suggesting a role for TRF2 in senescence establishment.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

In mammalian cells, long-range vesicular transport is thought to occur via microtubule tracks. However, Schuh reports the existence of an actin-based pathway for long-range trafficking in mouse oocytes by showing that Rab11a-positive vesicles are decorated with actin-nucleating formin proteins. She finds that these proteins assemble actin networks that guide vesicles to the cell surface.

Letter | | Nature Cell Biology

As focal adhesions mature in response to mechanical tension and contractility, their protein composition changes. A proteomics analysis of focal adhesions following changes in myosin II activity highlights a role for the Rac guanine exchange factor β-Pix in promoting cell migration and nascent focal adhesion turnover, thereby preventing their maturation.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Impaired turnover of the autophagy substrate p62 leads to liver injury. p62 inhibits the ubiquitin ligase Keap1, leading to stabilization of the transcription factor Nrf2. High levels of p62 in autophagy deficient animals leads to unusually high expression of Nrf2 targets genes and results in liver injury.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

The E3 ubiquitin ligase Parkin mediates the clearance of depolarized mitochondria through the autophagy pathway. PINK1 kinase activity is required for Parkin translocation to depolarized mitochondria where Parkin generates polyubiquitin chains on the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC1) to recruit the autophagic adaptor p62/SQSTM1.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Stem Cells & Development Research Papers

Differentiation of pluripotent cells into renal lineages has had limited success so far. Melissa Little and colleagues have used defined medium conditions that induce posterior primitive streak and intermediate mesoderm using growth factors used during normal embryogenesis. This results in the synchronous induction of both components of the kidney, the ureteric bud and metanephric mesenchyme, which form a self-organizing nephron structure in vitro.

Letter | | Nature Cell Biology

Reik and colleagues show that deletion of the large intergenic non-coding RNA H19 leads to unlimited placenta growth. They find that the H19 RNA contains a microRNA that targets the insulin-like growth factor receptor IGF-1R, and demonstrate that the RNA-binding protein HuR prevents miR-675 excision from H19 until miR-675 activity is required to halt placenta growth.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Physiology & Disease Research Papers

Brown adipose cells contribute to body temperature maintenance by converting lipids and glucose into heat, and can be found in white adipose tissue. Wolfrum and colleagues find a population of cells in white adipose tissue that can adopt brown or white characteristics in response to cold.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Sahai and colleagues report that YAP is required for the establishment and function of cancer-associated fibroblasts. They propose that matrix stiffening promotes Src-mediated activation of YAP in fibroblasts, which is necessary for the cancer-associated fibroblast phenotype and further promotes matrix stiffening in a positive feedback loop.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Werb and colleagues demonstrate that GATA3, a transcription factor that promotes luminal differentiation in the mammary gland, suppresses breast cancer metastasis to the lung by upregulating miR-29b. This microRNA suppresses pro-metastatic characteristics, including mesenchymal traits and the expression of microenvironmental factors involved in angiogenesis and extracellular matrix remodelling.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Bissell, Ghajar and colleagues use organotypic culture systems and in vivo mouse and zebrafish models to reveal the distinct effects of different microvascular niches on tumour cell dormancy. They report that although the stable microvasculature promotes cancer cell quiescence through the production of thrombospondin-1, cancer cells residing near neovascular tips are induced to grow through the action of TGF-β and periostin.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Del Sal and colleagues demonstrate that the YAP and TAZ effectors of the Hippo pathway are under the control of the mevalonate pathway. They show that mutant p53 and SREBP-dependent activation of mevalonate signalling activates YAP and TAZ and promotes tumour formation in mice, a growth phenotype also conserved in Drosophila.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

miRNAs can both promote and repress tumorigenesis, and directly control epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). miR-9 (which is upregulated in breast cancer cells) is activated by MYC and MYCN, and regulates EMT and metastasis through direct control of E-cadherin. In contrast, tumour angiogenesis is controlled indirectly through effects on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Administration of spermidine, a polyamine whose concentration declines during ageing, extends lifespan in yeast, flies, worms and in human immune cells. Spermidine prevents early oxidative stress and necrotic cell death and increases the expression of autophagy genes by inhibiting histone acetyltransferases action on histone H3.

Article | | Nature Cell Biology

Intracellular tau inclusions, a hallmark of several neurodegenerative diseases, propagate in the brain in an unknown fashion. Brain extracts prepared from mice expressing mutated human tau injected into mice expressing wild-type human tau induce the formation and spread of wild-type human tau inclusions.

Letter | | Nature Cell Biology

Human glioblastoma cells release microvesicles containing a diverse set of proteins, miRNAs and mRNAs, which can be taken up by normal host cells that translate the mRNA. Glioma-derived microvesicles carrying the specific tumour markers EGFRvIII and miRNA-21 promote cell proliferation and may serve as a diagnostic tool.

Letter | | Nature Cell Biology