Reviews & Analysis

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  • RNA knot-like structures function as an efficient physical barrier to RNA exoribonucleases. Single-molecule mechanical manipulation is used to unfold these structures and unravel the cause of their unusual mechanical resistance from a different direction.

    • Pan T. X. Li
    News & Views
  • Different ubiquitin chain types serve as distinct cellular signals. A new synthetic antigen-binding fragment, sAB-K29, specifically recognizes K29-linked diubiquitin and links K29 chains to proteotoxic stress and their accumulation in midbodies during mitosis.

    • Sven M. Lange
    • Yogesh Kulathu
    News & Views
  • Current antibody discovery technologies are limited in terms of their efficacy, accessibility, and scalability. The AHEAD system addresses these limitations by presenting an accelerated evolution workflow for antibody engineering that combines autonomous gene diversification with protein display technology.

    • Paul R. Sargunas
    • Jamie B. Spangler
    News & Views
  • This Review summarizes the recent technical advances in probing RNA secondary structures and discusses their connection with RNA regulatory functions in various biological processes and future directions in RNA structure-probing methods.

    • Xi-Wen Wang
    • Chu-Xiao Liu
    • Qiangfeng Cliff Zhang
    Review Article
  • A rationally designed class of mTORC1 inhibitors combines the selectivity of rapamycin with the potency of mTOR kinase inhibitors.

    • Carson C. Thoreen
    News & Views
  • Over the past two decades, inhibitors of the polycomb repressor complex (PRC) have been driven from bench to bedside. New chemical compounds targeting the RING1B in polycomb repressor complex 1 (PRC1) add important tools to regulate polycomb functions.

    • Joshua P. Plotnik
    News & Views
  • Heme-containing proteins support a broad range of cellular functions. A new crystal structure explains how an integral-membrane heme lyase attaches the hydrophobic heme to soluble proteins.

    • Breann L. Brown
    • T. M. Iverson
    News & Views
  • Extracellular peptidoglycan-linked polysaccharide modifications mediate cell morphology, division, and autolysis in some Gram-positive bacterial pathogens. A new study shows that the degree and location of a specific modification controls peptidoglycan hydrolysis and placement of the axis of cell division.

    • Malcolm E. Winkler
    News & Views
  • Liquid–liquid phase separation can increase the rate of enzyme activity by concentrating reactants together. A phase-separating SUMOylation cascade offers conceptual and quantitative insight into the mechanisms underlying the activity enhancement.

    • Brian G. O’Flynn
    • Tanja Mittag
    News & Views
  • Cell–cell interactions and resulting signaling events drive key biological processes. This Review discusses the deconvolution of this complex biology through the development of tools for visualizing, chemically tagging and functionally exploiting these interactions.

    • Tyler J. Bechtel
    • Tamara Reyes-Robles
    • Rob C. Oslund
    Review Article
  • This Review summarizes recent progress in small-molecule probes used to address questions in cell division and appraises some emerging techniques that can be adapted to cell division studies.

    • Geng-Yuan Chen
    • Michael A. Lampson
    Review Article
  • Autophagy has been widely implicated in human health and disease. The most recent advances in developing small molecule probes for autophagy are presented, as well as the potential to use this process for targeted protein degradation.

    • Thomas Whitmarsh-Everiss
    • Luca Laraia
    Review Article
  • The use of bacterial biofilms provides a bioplastic that is biodegradable, water processable, and coatable, opening new avenues for plastic alternatives.

    • Vamsi Kovelakuntla
    • Anne S. Meyer
    News & Views
  • N-Ras lipidation cycling is known to regulate its trafficking and function. A new S-depalmitoylation inhibitor induces N-Ras membrane mislocalization, providing insights into N-Ras function and laying the foundation for a new cancer therapeutic strategy.

    • Tian Qiu
    • Bryan C. Dickinson
    News & Views
  • Genome mining of Streptococcus mutans clinical samples led to the identification of a structurally unique polyketide/non-ribosomal peptide, mutanofactin-697, that promotes biofilm formation. This study highlights the unexplored functional potential of secondary metabolites and opens new avenues for inhibiting pathogenic processes.

    • Amber M. Scharnow
    • William M. Wuest
    News & Views
  • An approach based on enrichment of 5′ hydroxylated RNAs reveals a new self-cleaving ribozyme that maps to a very long non-protein-coding RNA in simians. The ribozyme is active only among hominin sequences, suggesting a recent acquisition of the activity.

    • Claire C. Chen
    • Andrej Lupták
    News & Views
  • YAP is a major downstream effector of the Hippo intracellular signaling pathway, with key roles in organ development, regeneration, and cancer biology. A small molecule that targets Annexin (ANX) acts through YAP to promote rapid epidermal tissue expansion.

    • Toshiro Moroishi
    News & Views
  • Acyl protein thioesterases are critical regulators of S-acylation, removing acyl chains from dynamically S-acylated proteins. A cytosolic deacylase, APT2, is S-acylated by zDHHC3 and zDHHC7 and is predicted to deform the lipid bilayer to extract acyl chains, capturing them within a hydrophobic pocket.

    • Jennifer Greaves
    News & Views
  • Characterization of cell death kinetics identifies new on- and off-target small-molecule modulators of ferroptosis and reveals a role of amino acid metabolism in regulating ferroptosis sensitivity.

    • Mariluz Soula
    • Kıvanç Birsoy
    News & Views