News & Comment

  • Research Highlight |

    Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology congratulates the winners of the 2018 Lasker Foundation Awards.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Journal Club |

    The introduction of DNA-chain terminators for sequencing by Fred Sanger enabled the early genome sequencing projects.

    • George G. Brownlee
  • Research Highlight |

    The kinase ATR senses the completion of DNA replication and controls the S/G2 cell-cycle transition.

    • Michelle Trenkmann
  • Research Highlight |

    Direct demonstration that mutations in intrinsically disordered regions modulate protein–protein interaction networks, which may cause disease.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Research Highlight |

    3′uridylation by TUT4 and TUT7 is shown as a post-transcriptional mechanism restricting retrotransposition of LINE-1 elements and also replication of animal RNA viruses.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Research Highlight |

    A study reports that CRISPR–Cas9 induces extensive on-target mutagenesis in mouse and human cells, calling for greater caution when using it in clinical contexts.

    • Kim Baumann
  • Research Highlight |

    Poly(dA:dT) tracts characterize strong DNA replication origins in mammals and cause replication-fork collapse and DNA breaks that underlie the expression of fragile sites.

    • Eytan Zlotorynski
  • Research Highlight |

    A new study in Nature identifies a molecular axis linking diabetes to cancer, whereby AMPK, which is inhibited in high glucose conditions, regulates the stability of TET2 DNA demethylase, thereby impacting DNA methylation and gene expression.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Journal Club |

    Ueli Schibler explains why the phenotype of a mutation in a codon of the ‘21st amino acid’ selenium cysteine was unexpectedly specific.

    • Ueli Schibler
  • Research Highlight |

    Eliminating senescent cells by administering senolytic drugs can improve healthspan and lifespan in mice.

    • Kim Baumann
  • Journal Club |

    Rebecca Taylor discusses the elegance and importance of early discoveries from the Walter laboratory on the unfolded protein response, and why they have become landmark studies.

    • Rebecca C. Taylor
  • Comment |

    G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) transmit a variety of signals, mostly by engaging G proteins, but G protein-independent signalling through arrestins has also been demonstrated. Based on recent experimental evidence, Gutkind and Kostenis argue that arrestins serve as important signal modulators instead of as independent signal transducers.

    • J. Silvio Gutkind
    •  & Evi Kostenis
  • Journal Club |

    Senescent cells secrete a multitude of factors that modulate their local environment — a phenomenon known as senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). David Bernard highlights that the SASP secretome can be flexibly regulated, resulting in different types of SASP, which contributes to the versatility of responses triggered by senescent cells.

    • David Bernard
  • Research Highlight |

    The chromatin remodelling complex NuRD fine-tunes gene expression by modulating nucleosome density at gene regulatory elements.

    • Anne Mirabella
  • Research Highlight |

    Many eukaryotic proteins, including key transcription regulators, contain intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs), which serve as flexible interaction platforms. The molecular understanding of IDR-based interactions is now emerging, providing new insights into how IDRs promote protein compartmentalization and/or phase separation and how these processes regulate gene expression.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Research Highlight |

    Two independent studies now show that polymerization of branched actin at DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) mediates chromatin dynamics associated with homology-directed repair and is required for a robust and error-free DSB repair process.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Research Highlight |

    The inner nuclear membrane is metabolically active and generates lipid droplets.

    • Kim Baumann
  • Research Highlight |

    MicroRNAs derived from a virus and teratocytes of a parasitic wasp are expressed in a host moth and delay its development by inhibiting the ecdysone receptor.

    • Eytan Zlotorynski
  • Research Highlight |

    Increased shortening of RNA 3′ untranslated regions associated with tumorigenic transformation interferes with competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) networks, which results in trans-repression of tumour suppressors through microRNA-mediated silencing.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Research Highlight |

    Muscle stem cells produce collagen V, which becomes a component of the niche that promotes their quiescence.

    • Kim Baumann
  • Comment |

    Biomolecules can phase separate and form condensates that have roles in diverse cellular processes and contexts. Michnick and Bergeron-Sandoval comment on this rapidly progressing field and envisage that the study of biological phase separation will bring new understanding of cell and developmental biology.

    • Stephen W. Michnick
    •  & Louis-Philippe Bergeron-Sandoval
  • Research Highlight |

    The spindle checkpoint complex BUB3–BUB1 facilitates telomere replication through recruitment of the helicase BLM, and the telomere capping protein TRF2 promotes replication at pericentromeres by recruiting the helicase RTEL1; both helicases resolve G-quadruplex structures.

    • Eytan Zlotorynski
  • Comment |

    Cellular organelles extensively communicate with each other by close interactions, known as membrane contact sites. Schuldiner and Bohnert comment on the progress of this rapidly developing field, highlighting that the complexity of interactions at membrane contact sites is only now starting to emerge.

    • Maria Bohnert
    •  & Maya Schuldiner
  • Journal Club |

    Kikuë Tachibana discusses some of the key findings of the seminal works of Sir John Gurdon on nuclear reprogramming and how, by being examples of scientific rigour, they have inspired her own research.

    • Kikuë Tachibana
  • Research Highlight |

    EpiTOF characterized the epigenetic landscape of various types of single immune cells and revealed that their heterogeneity increases with age.

    • Grant Otto
  • Research Highlight |

    Shieldin is a newly characterized protein complex that functions downstream of 53BP1 in promoting NHEJ

    • Eytan Zlotorynski
  • Research Highlight |

    The microRNA-induced silencing complex undergoes phase separation, which promotes the sequestration and deadenylation of target mRNAs.

    • Anne Mirabella
  • Comment |

    Synthetic biology is maturing into a true engineering discipline for model microorganisms, but remains far from straightforward for most eukaryotes. Here, we outline the key challenges facing those trying to engineer biology across eukaryota and suggest areas of focus that will aid future progress.

    • Francesca Ceroni
    •  & Tom Ellis
  • Research Highlight |

    The lysosomal degradation of protein aggregates declines with ageing in mammalian neural stem cells, reducing their capacity to transition from a quiescent to an active state.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Comment |

    The commonly used budding yeast strain W303 carries a mutant RAD5 gene (rad5-535), but numerous laboratories use a strain corrected for the mutation. This has resulted in different phenotypes of W303 cells in similar experiments. Here, we aim to raise awareness of the issue to ensure data reproducibility and interpretation.

    • Menattallah Elserafy
    •  & Sherif F. El-Khamisy
  • Comment |

    Fiona M. Watt at King’s College London Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (UK) discusses how gender balance in the scientific community is evolving.

    • Fiona M. Watt
  • Research Highlight |

    Ultraviolet radiation induces p38–MK2-dependent phosphorylation of NELFE, which causes its dissociation from chromatin and promotes transcription of damage-response genes.

    • Eytan Zlotorynski
  • Research Highlight |

    Oncogenes induce firing of replication origins at transcribed genes; this promotes transcription–replication conflicts and genome instability.

    • Eytan Zlotorynski
  • Research Highlight |

    The polyploidy of mammalian cardiomyocytes is a barrier to heart regeneration, but modification of the cardiomyocyte cell cycle can boost their regenerative potential.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Research Highlight |

    Myosin VI is recruited to ubiquitylated mitochondria and drives their encapsulation into actin cages to sequester them for mitophagy.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Research Highlight |

    Developmental enhancers can function in an additive manner and are regulated by RNA polymerase II pausing and by the directionality of transcription.

    • Eytan Zlotorynski
  • Research Highlight |

    Fatty acid oxidation and increased acetyl-CoA levels act to suppress endothelial–mesenchymal transition.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Research Highlight |

    By editing of endogenous mRNAs, the RNA editing enzyme ADAR1 prevents interferon-induced translation shutdown and cell death, and virus-independent interferon induction in neuronal cells.

    • Eytan Zlotorynski
  • Journal Club |

    Philip Cohen highlights how two studies from the laboratory of Zhijian Chen, published in 2000 and 2001, started a new era in the study of signal transduction pathways and the roles of ubiquitin chains.

    • Philip Cohen
  • Research Highlight |

    Perturbation of phospholipid composition in intestinal stem cells (ISCs) results in increased cholesterol biosynthesis; excess cholesterol is a driver of ISC hyperproliferation, and consequently of intestinal hypertrophy and cancer.

    • Paulina Strzyz
  • Journal Club |

    Eva Nogales looks back at the early days of structure determination of cytoskeletal components.

    • Eva Nogales
  • Research Highlight |

    AMPK phosphorylates EZH2 — the catalytic subunit of the Polycomb repressive complex 2, thereby inhibiting its gene suppression function and counteracting its tumorigenic effects.

    • Paulina Strzyz