News & Comment

  • News & Views |

    IRE1α is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) transmembrane protein known for a crucial role in regulating the unfolding protein response. A study now shows that IRE1α interacts with the main ER Ca2+ channel InsP3Rs and facilitates the transfer of Ca2+ from the ER into mitochondria, thus driving cellular metabolism.

    • Roland Malli
    •  & Wolfgang F. Graier
  • News & Views |

    Yap signalling is crucial for intestinal regeneration, but its role is largely dispensable in homeostasis. Two studies now reveal Yap-dependent mechanisms of intestinal regeneration and tissue organization: transient expansion of a rare cell type after damage in vivo and Notch–Dll activation for symmetry breaking in organoid development.

    • Vivian S. W. Li
  • Editorial |

    RNA molecules are more than messengers between DNA and protein and exhibit rich regulatory functions in development and disease. In this issue, we present a Focus on regulatory RNAs with specially commissioned Review articles that discuss recent advances in this fast-growing area.

  • News & Views |

    Rag GTPases play a crucial role in mTORC1 activation by promoting its recruitment to the lysosomal surface in a nutrient-dependent manner. A study now identifies a family of lysosomal G-protein-coupled receptors as modulators of Rag GTPases localization and activation, adding one more component to the fast-growing mTOR regulatory network.

    • Rosa Puertollano
  • News & Views |

    Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are maintained in vivo by intrinsic programs and extrinsic niche signals. Ex vivo expansion of HSCs is limited, owing to reduced stem cell maintenance factors. A study now shows that rejuvenated niche cells can be obtained by transcriptional rewiring of specific genes that maintain and expand HSCs ex vivo.

    • Aparna Venkatraman
    •  & Linheng Li
  • News & Views |

    Components of the spliceosome are frequently mutated in haematopoietic malignancies. Identification of mis-spliced genes promoting transformation will uncover novel targeted therapies. Now, a long isoform of IRAK4 is shown to be upregulated in a subset of acute myeloid leukaemia patients, conferring susceptibility for IRAK4 inhibition therapy.

    • Maria Guillamot
    •  & Iannis Aifantis
  • News & Views |

    Osteoclasts are known for their role in bone resorption. A study now shows that a vascular–associated osteoclast subtype at the growth plate also regulates blood vessel growth in bone and is supported by type H endothelial cells. These type H capillaries, in turn, release proteinases that promote cartilage degradation.

    • Jameel Iqbal
    •  & Mone Zaidi
  • News & Views |

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) repress target mRNAs, often with exquisite tissue specificity. Wang et al. exploit the specific expression of miRNAs to regulate guide production for Cas9. Their method enables novel strategies to simultaneously measure the activity of multiple miRNAs and restrict Cas9 binding or genome editing to precisely defined cell types.

    • Karina Jouravleva
    •  & Phillip D. Zamore
  • News & Views |

    HIV particles incorporate host membrane proteins into their envelope to evade the immune system and infect other cells. A study now shows that Gag assembly on the host cell membrane produces a raft-like nanodomain favourable for protein partitioning due to a transbilayer coupling mechanism assisted by long saturated chain lipids and cholesterol.

    • Joanna Podkalicka
    •  & Patricia Bassereau
  • News & Views |

    Macrophages modulate mammary tumour response to chemotherapy. A new study shows that targeted elimination of macrophages elicits a type I interferon response in the tumour microenvironment that enhances the efficacy of platinum- but not taxane-based chemotherapy, underscoring complex regulatory roles for macrophages in chemotherapy-treated tumours.

    • Michele De Palma
    • , Sina Nassiri
    •  & Chiara Cianciaruso
  • News & Views |

    Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is crucial for development, and for dissemination and invasion of cancer cells. A study now identifies the apical–basolateral polarity status of epithelia as a checkpoint for EMT induction and tumour metastasis through aPKC–Par3-regulated degradation of the EMT transcription factor SNAI1.

    • Oana-Diana Persa
    •  & Carien M. Niessen
  • News & Views |

    Healthy and malignant haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) must overcome a variety of cell intrinsic and extrinsic stresses to maintain their functionality. Now, IRE1α –XBP1 signalling is shown to protect HSCs and to promote survival of, and confer competitive advantages to, NRAS-mutated pre-leukaemic cells.

    • Marina Scheller-Wendorff
    •  & Carsten Müller-Tidow
  • News & Views |

    Cell metabolism ensures that cell dynamics and continued renewal are supported by a constant flow of matter that consumes energy. A new study shows that cell metabolism is sensitive to mechanical cues, revealing that the level of cell contraction modulates the production and storage of lipids, which could serve as fuel for energy production.

    • Manuel Théry
    •  & Mario Pende
  • News & Views |

    Patients with diabetes could benefit from cell-based insulin therapy, but the supply of human islet tissue is limited. A study now reports an approach in which human-pluripotent-stem-cell-derived islet β-cells are purified and re-aggregated to generate cells that more closely resemble mature human β-cells.

    • Hans E. Hohmeier
    • , Jie An
    •  & Christopher B. Newgard
  • Editorial |

    Science thrives on the free exchange of ideas and collaboration between diverse groups, with researcher mobility greatly accelerating progress. With isolationist rhetoric increasingly dominating the political discourse in many countries, it is important to recognize the value of migration in science.

  • News & Views |

    AKT, also known as protein kinase B, is one of the most frequently dysregulated serine/threonine kinases in cancer, and its hyperactivity drives tumorigenesis and chemotherapy resistance. Two studies now find that AKT methylation by the methyltransferase SETDB1 is an early step in its oncogenic activation.

    • Amelia K. Luciano
    •  & David A. Guertin
  • News & Views |

    Stressed eukaryotic cells store mRNAs in protein-rich condensates called stress granules. Using single-molecule tracking techniques to examine how mRNAs enter stress granules, a new study shows that mRNAs make transient contacts with the granule surface before stable association, and become largely immobile after entry.

    • Chih-Yung Lee
    •  & Geraldine Seydoux
  • News & Views |

    It is commonly accepted that disseminated tumour cells survive cytotoxic chemotherapy because they are not proliferating. A new study now finds that, in contrast to this long-standing concept, both dormant and proliferative cancer cells can be protected from chemotherapy when they reside at the perivascular niche.

    • Melanie Werner-Klein
    •  & Christoph A. Klein
  • Editorial |

    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.

  • News & Views |

    Ancestral experience of mitochondrial stress is now found to render progeny of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans more resistant to the same insult for up to four generations. A DNA modification, N6-methyldeoxyadenine, is implicated in the inheritance of this stress adaptation.

    • Sarah-Lena Offenburger
    • , Marcos Francisco Perez
    •  & Ben Lehner
  • News & Views |

    RIPK1 plays a key role in several inflammatory and cell death signalling pathways. Understanding its regulation is pivotal for identifying diseases that might therapeutically benefit from RIPK1 inhibition. Recent studies now show that TBK1 and IKKε constitute a cell death checkpoint that restrains RIPK1 activation.

    • Klaus Heger
    •  & Vishva M. Dixit
  • News & Views |

    BAF is a heterogenous chromatin-remodelling complex, frequently mutated in cancer. A study now defines genome-wide localization patterns of three complexes, cBAF, PBAF and previously unknown ncBAF, and reveals the ncBAF complex as a specific vulnerability in synovial sarcoma and malignant rhabdoid tumours.

    • Divya Reddy
    •  & Jerry L. Workman
  • Editorial |

    Scientists are increasingly embracing social media in their professional lives. Here, we look at the different platforms available to researchers and how social media engagement can positively influence their day-to-day work and scientific communication.

  • News & Views |

    During mitosis, the kinetochore connects chromosomes to spindle microtubules and enables chromosome segregation. A genetic study in vertebrate cells demonstrates phosphorylation-regulated plasticity of kinetochore assembly and highlights the role of the centromere protein T in load-bearing kinetochore–microtubule attachment.

    • Yang Yang
    •  & Hongtao Yu
  • News & Views |

    Newly synthesised lysosomal proteins are sorted from other cargo on the secretory pathway for delivery to endolysosomal compartments. A study now shows that the Batten disease protein, CLN8, acts as a recycling receptor to sort soluble lysosomal enzymes for export from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi.

    • J. Paul Luzio
  • News & Views |

    The cancer-suppressive mechanisms underlying a tissue’s response to spontaneous oncogenic mutations during homeostasis are largely unknown. A study now explores how clonal expansion of epidermal stem cells with specific oncogenic mutations might be restricted by their elimination through enforced differentiation.

    • Paola Kuri
    •  & Panteleimon Rompolas
  • News & Views |

    Classical actin-dependent, integrin-mediated cell–matrix adhesions disassemble before mitotic rounding. Yet, to transmit positional information and facilitate daughter-cell separation, dividing cells maintain connections to the matrix. A previously unidentified class of actin-independent integrin adhesions may fulfil this task.

    • Ronen Zaidel-Bar
  • News & Views |

    β-catenin regulates cell–cell adhesion and maintains stemness through Wnt signalling, but how these functions are mechanistically related is not fully understood. A study now identifies CRAD as the mechanistic link, providing insight into how dysregulation of epithelial adhesion contributes to Wnt-driven tumorigenesis.

    • George Eng
    • , Jonathan Braverman
    •  & Ömer H. Yilmaz
  • News & Views |

    Functional genetic screening of mice and other mammals is exceedingly challenging. A CRISPR-based mutagenesis screen in mice has successfully revealed amino acids vital for protein function of the DND1 gene, missense mutations of which lead to defects in primordial germ cell development.

    • Yevgeniy V. Serebrenik
    •  & Ophir Shalem
  • News & Views |

    The intestinal crypt has become the prototype compartment to investigate adult stem cell biology, and the list of identified intestinal stem cell (ISC) markers is already extensive. A comprehensive study now uncovers an additional layer in ISC regulation by introducing long noncoding RNA lncGata6 to the stem cell repertoire.

    • Pantelis Hatzis
    •  & Hugo J. G. Snippert
  • News & Views |

    Intra-tumour heterogeneity manifests both at the level of mutational burden, and at a functional level within genetically homogenous populations. A new modelling approach suggests stemness within colorectal tumours is defined by microenvironmental cues secreted from cancer-associated fibroblasts rather than cell-intrinsic properties.

    • D. J. Flanagan
    • , M. C. Hodder
    •  & O. J. Sansom
  • Editorial |

    We are often asked about various aspects of the editor’s job, and most frequently about the editorial process after submission. Here, we outline what happens after a manuscript is submitted to the journal and clarify some misconceptions about the editorial process.

  • News & Views |

    Paraspeckles are nuclear bodies built on the long noncoding RNA, NEAT1, that regulate cellular homeostasis, but how they sense and help under stress is unclear. A study now shows mitochondrial stress modulates paraspeckles by altering NEAT1 expression with a feedback loop that influences mitochondrial homeostasis.

    • Archa H. Fox
  • News & Views |

    Ferroptosis is a regulated non-apoptotic form of cell death and its functional role in tumorigenesis remains elusive. A study now shows that the tumour suppressor BAP1 enhances ferroptosis by modulating expression of the cystine transporter SLC7A11, leading to improved control of tumour growth.

    • Michael P. Murphy
  • News & Views |

    Rag GTPases facilitate mTORC1 activation by recruiting it to Rheb at the lysosome when amino acids are abundant. A study now shows that the amino acid-induced change in the GTP/GDP-binding state of the Rag heterodimer paradoxically increases its dynamic release from the Ragulator at the lysosome and may limit mTORC1 activation.

    • Aaron M. Hosios
    •  & Brendan D. Manning
  • Turning Points |

    Serena is a Cancer Research UK Advanced Clinician Scientist at the University of Cambridge. She studies mutation patterns in human DNA and finds ways to make it applicable in a clinical setting. Serena is a mother of two, loves music and being outdoors, and fights the forties with kung fu.

    • Serena Nik-Zainal
  • Editorial |

    Open discourse to identify challenges and devise solutions is essential to abolish gender inequalities globally and in science. In our ‘Focus on Women in Science’, we celebrate the achievements and consider the concerns of women researchers from around the world, who share some of the turning points of their scientific careers.

  • News & Views |

    Maintaining plasma membrane tension is important for eukaryotic cells. How altered membrane tension is sensed and relayed to downstream factors, such as the target of rapamyin complex 2 (TORC2), is poorly understood. Reorganization of a signalling lipid into discrete membrane domains is now shown to inactivate TORC2 in yeast.

    • Michael Ebner
    •  & Volker Haucke
  • Turning Points |

    Melissa Little is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and Cell Biology Theme Director at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. She also leads Stem Cells Australia, University of Melbourne. She studies kidney morphogenesis and regeneration using pluripotent stem cells.

    • Melissa Little
  • Turning Points |

    Melina Schuh did her PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory with Jan Ellenberg. She became group leader at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, in 2009, and was appointed Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, in 2016.

    • Melina Schuh
  • Turning Points |

    Shubha Tole obtained her BSc in Life Sciences and Biochemistry from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, India, in 1987. After a PhD from the California Institute of Technology in 1994, she did her postdoc at the University of Chicago. In 1999, she joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, in Mumbai, as a faculty member.

    • Shubha Tole
  • Turning Points |

    M. Celeste Simon is Scientific Director of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute and Arthur H. Rubenstein, MBBCh Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies tumour and stromal cell responses to variable oxygen and nutrient levels and is a devoted mentor of biomedical trainees.

    • M. Celeste Simon
  • Turning Points |

    Anne Simonsen is a Professor at the Department of Molecular Medicine at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences of the University of Oslo, Norway. Her work focuses on lipid-binding proteins in membrane trafficking and autophagy, and their links to disease.

    • Anne Simonsen
  • Turning Points |

    Asifa Akhtar is Director at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics. Her lab focuses on chromatin and epigenetic regulation. A member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation, she received the European Life Science Organization award in 2008 and the Wilhelm Feldberg Prize in 2017.

    • Asifa Akhtar
  • Turning Points |

    Nancy Y. Ip is Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, the Morningside Professor of Life Science, and Director of the State Key Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China. Her career in the field of neuroscience spans over three decades.

    • Nancy Y. Ip
  • Turning Points |

    Professor Kum Kum Khanna heads the Signal Transduction Laboratory at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia. She studies the role of the DNA damage response in tissue homeostasis and disease, including how to exploit its dysregulation in breast cancer to develop targeted therapeutic approaches.

    • Kum Kum Khanna
  • Turning Points |

    Mayana Zatz is Professor of Genetics and Director of the Human Genome and Stem-Cell Research Center at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. She works on neuromuscular disorders, ageing and, more recently, Zika virus and cancer. She has a prolific publication record and is actively involved in ethical aspects of genetic research.

    • Mayana Zatz
  • Turning Points |

    Sandrine Etienne-Manneville investigates the molecular mechanisms underlying cell migration in health and disease. She is Head of the Cell Polarity, Migration and Cancer laboratory, Director of the CNRS UMR3691 unit at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, a professor of cell biology and a mother of four.

    • Sandrine Etienne-Manneville
  • Turning Points |

    Maho Hamasaki is an associate professor at Osaka University, Japan. Maho’s laboratory focuses on investigating the mechanistic underpinnings of autophagy and the role of the autophagic process in disease.

    • Maho Hamasaki