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  • Cells rely on two main pathways to repair DNA lesions, homologous recombination and non-homologous end-joining, and how they decide to use one machinery over the other is not clear. A recent study identifies ASTE1 as a regulator controlling pathway choice.

    • Yizhou Joseph He
    • Dipanjan Chowdhury
    News & Views
  • LKB1 is frequently mutated in lung, cervical and other types of cancers. To determine how LKB1 inactivation contributes to lung cancer progression, Pierce et al. employed a chromatin accessibility assay to reveal Sox17 as a key transcription factor downstream of LKB1, promoting lung cancer metastasis.

    • Skirmantas Kriaucionis
    News & Views
  • Neuronal mitochondria perturbation elicits a mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) in peripheral tissues cell non-autonomously, dependent on the Wnt signalling pathway. A study now reveals that a Wnt-mediated increase in maternally inherited mitochondria DNA is responsible for transgenerational UPRmt induced by neuronal mitochondria perturbation.

    • Mooncheol Park
    • Meng C. Wang
    News & Views
  • Many endocytic uptake events depend on the ‘pinchase’ activity of dynamin. By measuring the orientation of single gold nanorods, a new study reveals that invaginated clathrin-coated endocytic pits undergo a strong rotational twist prior to or concomitant with their detachment.

    • Ludger Johannes
    • Cesar Augusto Valades-Cruz
    News & Views
  • A new study shows that the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein represses the antiviral type I interferon response through direct interaction with the signalling adaptor protein MAVS. Targeting this process might be a useful therapeutic strategy to boost immunity against COVID-19.

    • Alessia Zotta
    • Alexander Hooftman
    • Luke A. J. O’Neill
    News & Views
  • A form of programmed cell death, necroptosis, in intestinal epithelial cells initiates mucosal inflammation. A study now finds that prostanoid EP4 receptor signalling interferes with RIPK1–RIPK3-dependent MLKL activation, thereby inhibiting necroptosis and accelerating resolution of inflammation.

    • Nicole C. Kaneider
    • Arthur Kaser
    News & Views
  • Intestinal organoids have been used to model development of the crypt–villus axis and uncover signalling pathways that govern the stem-cell niche and induce differentiation. Two studies now take advantage of intestinal organoids to measure the mechanical forces that drive morphogenesis of the crypt and fate specification of its resident cells.

    • Celeste M. Nelson
    News & Views
  • Transcription-coupled repair of DNA lesions takes place across all domains of life. A transcription-elongation factor, ELOF1, highly conserved in eukaryotes, has now been shown to play a key role in this process. Importantly, these findings also include evidence of a second transcription-coupled repair pathway in mammalian cells.

    • Christopher J. Carnie
    • Stephen P. Jackson
    News & Views
  • COVID-19 has led to a global pandemic, but the long-term immunological effects of the infection are only partially understood. A new study now provides important new clues by describing the transcriptional and epigenetic processes behind the immune memory of both adaptive and innate immune cells in individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.

    • Mihai G. Netea
    • Yang Li
    News & Views
  • The vascular system, plastic and positioned in the vicinity of tissues, is an undervalued regulator of adult stem cells. Two studies now show that the vascular-like Drosophila trachea is reshaped after intestinal damage or tumour formation and that this remodelling is required for compensatory intestinal stem cell proliferation and tumour growth.

    • Louis Gervais
    • Allison J. Bardin
    News & Views
  • Monocytes, plasmacytoid and conventional dendritic cells are crucial for antiviral immune responses. A new study now compares severe and moderate cases of COVID-19 and links defects in viral sensing, interferon and antigen presentation pathways, associated with upregulated apoptosis and inflammatory pathways, to high COVID-19 severity.

    • Andreas Wack
    News & Views
  • The distribution of skin immune cells, namely Langerhans cells (LCs) and dendritic epidermal T cells (DETCs), is well-documented, but the mechanisms underlying their pattern maintenance remained obscure. A study now finds that LCs maintain their distribution patterns depending upon Rac1 and that the density of LCs and DETCs is regulated by the density of epithelial cells.

    • Chae Ho Lim
    • Mayumi Ito
    News & Views
  • Overcoming immune resistance mechanisms in patients with cancer is critical for successful immunotherapy. A new study now identifies LIMIT as an immunogenic long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) that intrinsically regulates anti-tumour immune responses, thereby highlighting the therapeutic potential of targeting lncRNAs to improve the outcome of cancer immunotherapy.

    • Jiakai Hou
    • Weiyi Peng
    News & Views
  • Epigenetic barriers need to be surmounted in order to increase the efficiency of cardiac reprogramming. A new study now reports that the histone reader PHF7 enhances cardiac reprogramming via recruiting the chromatin remodelling SWI/SNF complex and key transcription factors to the cardiac super enhancers.

    • Elif Eroglu
    • John P. Schell
    • Kenneth R. Chien
    News & Views
  • Chromosomal instability (CIN) is a hallmark of malignant evolution that underpins cancer progression and therapeutic evasion. There are few established experimental systems to study CIN and ultimately develop potential therapeutic options. A new study now identifies the MSL chromatin complex as a potential vulnerability against CIN in cancer cells.

    • Ali Motazedian
    • Mark A. Dawson
    News & Views
  • The conserved chromatin remodeller DECREASED IN DNA METHYLATION 1 (DDM1) has long been an enigma given its powerful but likely indirect effect in maintaining plant DNA methylation. In this issue of Nature Cell Biology, Osakabe et al. show that the direct action of DDM1 is deposition of the H2A.W histone variant to silence transposable elements.

    • Paul B. Talbert
    • Steven Henikoff
    News & Views
  • STING is a key player in the IFN response to cytosolic DNA, and its multimerization is commonly associated with activation of the pathway. A new study now shows that STING forms ‘puzzle’-like condensates to limit the IFN response and constrain antiviral immune activation.

    • Liudmila Andreeva
    • Hao Wu
    News & Views
  • Endocytosis is critical for regulating plasma membrane composition and function. The mechanisms that control the assembly and dynamic rearrangement of the endocytic protein network to enable endocytic vesicle formation have remained elusive. Two endocytic initiator proteins are now shown to form liquid-like condensates to initiate endocytosis.

    • Agata Witkowska
    • Volker Haucke
    News & Views
  • The transition of endothelial cells between quiescence and proliferation is essential for regulating the extent of the vasculature that supplies oxygen and nutrients to tissues. A study now shows that the FOXO1 transcription factor regulates endothelial cell proliferation by controlling levels of the metabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate.

    • Hilary A. Coller
    News & Views
  • In response to cold stress, mammals release norepinephrine from the sympathetic nervous system to elevate thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue (BAT) in order to maintain body temperature. This study reveals that the protein AIDA connects sympathetic input, reactive oxygen species, and uncoupling protein 1-mediated adaptive thermogenesis in BAT.

    • Evanna L. Mills
    • Haopeng Xiao
    • Edward T. Chouchani
    News & Views