Reviews & Analysis

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  • 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
  • A genetically encoded real-time redox reporter reveals that H2O2-signaling peroxiredoxin (PRX) proteins couple yeast metabolic oscillations with the cell division cycle. This new PRX function suggests fresh avenues for exploring circadian regulation of cell division and cancer.

    • John S. O’Neill
    News & Views
  • High-throughput biochemical and biological analyses of disease-associated histone mutations reveal key residues in globular cores that affect chromatin remodeling, nucleosome stability, and stem cell pluripotency.

    • Kanishk Jain
    • Brian D. Strahl
    News & Views
  • Using an interdisciplinary approach, hydrogen-peroxide-induced phase separation in the intrinsically disordered regions of the TERMINATING FLOWER transcription factor proteins was shown to regulate the shoot apical meristem through repression of the floral identity gene called ANANTHA.

    • Christine H. Foyer
    News & Views
  • The cumbersome encoding of digital data to cellular DNA hinders the use of cells as living hard drives. A new approach transfers digital information directly into cellular DNA by converting electrical signals into stable and interpretable changes in the genomes of bacterial populations.

    • Santi Bhattarai-Kline
    • Sierra K. Lear
    • Seth L. Shipman
    News & Views
  • This Perspective summarizes the known types of ligand-controlled ribozymes and riboswitches and discusses the reasons why allosteric ribozymes formed by fusion of RNA enzymes and RNA aptamers are rare in today’s biological systems.

    • Shanker S. S. Panchapakesan
    • Ronald R. Breaker
  • Yin Yang 1 (YY1) is a transcription factor involved in gene regulation. A recent study has revealed G-quadruplex structures as novel binding targets of YY1, and their interactions regulate DNA looping and gene expression.

    • Haizhou Zhao
    • Chun Kit Kwok
    News & Views