Reviews & Analysis

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  • 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
  • In this Review, Hurley and colleagues cover the most recent discoveries and the emerging molecular understanding of the mechanisms of autophagosome formation.

    • Chunmei Chang
    • Liv E. Jensen
    • James H. Hurley
    Review Article
  • 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
  • Legube and Marnef review the association between R-loops and DNA repair. They discuss how R-loops are formed near DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and how R-loops affect transcription near DSBs and DSB repair processes.

    • Aline Marnef
    • Gaëlle Legube
    Review Article
  • 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
  • TGF-β can antagonise or cooperate with WNT signalling, yet it is still unclear what mechanisms integrate the outcomes of these conserved pathways. A new study now reports that the formation of biomolecular condensates, dependent on the DACT1 protein, provides the spatial segregation needed for TGF-β to constrain WNT signalling.

    • Kiran D. Patel
    • Don X. Nguyen
    News & Views
  • Facultative heterochromatin occurs at regions that contain developmentally regulated genes. A study now reveals that the nutrient-sensitive TORC1 signalling pathway affects the RNA elimination machinery, thereby regulating the timely expression of meiotic genes embedded in facultative heterochromatic loci.

    • Ronit Weisman
    News & Views
  • Circular RNAs regulate a variety of biological processes. Now an unexpected pathway is revealed in which a translated circular RNA derived from E-cadherin pre-mRNA activates EGFR signalling in glioblastoma cancer stem cells and acts as a ligand for the EGFR mutant EGFRVIII, a common oncogenic variant.

    • Kelly Mitchell
    • Justin D. Lathia
    News & Views
  • Anorexia commonly develops in patients with advanced cancer and is closely associated with cachexia. A new study shows that anorexia emerges earlier than cachexia in both Drosophila and mouse tumour models and that tumour-derived humoral factors induce anorexia by systemically dysregulating neuropeptides in the brain.

    • Gang Wang
    • Haiying Zhang
    • David Lyden
    News & Views
  • Karoutas and Akhtar review the roles of the nuclear lamina in chromatin-related functions, including transcription, epigenetic regulation and chromatin architecture, and their abnormalities in diseases and ageing.

    • Adam Karoutas
    • Asifa Akhtar
    Review Article
  • Engineered, light-inducible artificial myosin motors enable selective and direct manipulation of filopodial extensions and provide refined tools to control intracellular cargo transport in vivo.

    • Burcu Erdogan
    • Jessica L. Whited
    News & Views
  • Prostate cancer is difficult to treat because of molecular, cellular and clinical heterogeneity. Using single-cell RNA sequencing, a recent study reveals unexpected transcriptomic reprograming in immune cells and non-immune components of the tumour microenvironment, which may lead to viable therapeutic approaches against prostate cancer.

    • Phillip Thienger
    • Mark A. Rubin
    News & Views
  • Amino acids are critical nutrients that contribute to metabolic and signalling pathways required to meet energy and biosynthetic demands in T cells. A new study now demonstrates that LCK can sense intracellular asparagine to support T cell receptor-mediated CD8+ T cell activation and effector responses to pathogens and tumours.

    • Jana L. Raynor
    • Hongbo Chi
    News & Views
  • Assembling egg cells involves cytoplasmic and nuclear processes that together enable embryonic development. A study now defines a set of transcription factors required for cytoplasmic, but not key nuclear, processes.

    • Richard M. Schultz
    • John J. Eppig
    News & Views