Latest Reviews

  • Review Article |

    DNA methylation in plants mediates gene expression, transposon silencing, chromosome interactions and genome stability. It is therefore not surprising that the regulation of DNA methylation is important for plant development and for plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses.

    • Huiming Zhang
    • , Zhaobo Lang
    •  & Jian-Kang Zhu
  • Review Article |

    Ribosomes encounter obstacles during translation elongation that cause their stalling and can have a profound impact on protein yield. Ribosome stalling depends on the genetic code, amino acid availability, regulatory elements and mRNA context and can be resolved by resumption of translation or by ribosome rescue and recycling.

    • Anthony P. Schuller
    •  & Rachel Green
  • Review Article |

    Transcription elongation by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) involves pausing of Pol II at promoter-proximal regions. Pol II release into gene bodies (productive elongation) is controlled by many transcription-specific factors, enhancers and factors that are canonically associated with genome maintenance.

    • Fei Xavier Chen
    • , Edwin R. Smith
    •  & Ali Shilatifard
  • Review Article |

    The maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT) is defined as the transition from maternal gene expression in the oocyte to zygotic genome activation and embryonic-driven development. Recent studies have improved our understanding of the dynamics of the MZT, which is characterized by global DNA demethylation, chromatin remodelling, genome reorganization and substantial transcriptional changes.

    • Melanie A. Eckersley-Maslin
    • , Celia Alda-Catalinas
    •  & Wolf Reik
  • Review Article |

    Microtubules are highly dynamic tubulin polymers, and their dynamics are associated with a conformational cycle of individual tubulin subunits in the lattice. Recent evidence suggests that fine-tuning microtubule dynamics is enabled by the allosteric coupling of tubulin subunits, which propagates conformational changes through the lattice.

    • Gary J. Brouhard
    •  & Luke M. Rice
  • Review Article |

    Single-cell technologies are transforming our understanding of pre-implantation and early post-implantation development and of in vitro pluripotency. Specifically, single-cell transcriptomics and imaging and the accompanying bioinformatics methods have enabled precision interrogation of cell fate choices and cell lineage diversification, which occur at the level of the individual cell.

    • Blanca Pijuan-Sala
    • , Carolina Guibentif
    •  & Berthold Göttgens
  • Review Article |

    Cytoplasmic dynein is a minus-end-directed microtubule-based motor that transports a wide range of cargoes, including organelles, RNAs, protein complexes and viruses. How a single motor can interact with and traffic such different cargoes has been unclear. Recent studies indicate how adaptor proteins, which can both activate dynein and link it to cargo, play an important role in this process.

    • Samara L. Reck-Peterson
    • , William B. Redwine
    • , Ronald D. Vale
    •  & Andrew P. Carter
  • Review Article |

    Transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) family cytokines are important regulators of cell fate with pleiotropic roles in development, tissue homeostasis, regeneration and tumorigenesis. Recent studies revealed that this context dependency relies on the convergence between TGFβ signals and other contextual inputs, whereby transcription factors downstream of these pathways collaboratively act to regulate gene expression.

    • Charles J. David
    •  & Joan Massagué
  • Review Article |

    The selective degradation of cellular components via chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) functions to regulate a wide range of cellular processes, from metabolism to DNA repair and cellular reprogramming. Recent in vivo studies have enabled to dissect key roles of CMA in ageing and ageing-associated disorders such as cancer and neurodegeneration.

    • Susmita Kaushik
    •  & Ana Maria Cuervo
  • Review Article |

    Autophagy is a process of cellular self-consumption that promotes cell survival in response to stress. Various human pathologies, including cancer, neurodegeneration and inflammation, have been associated with aberrant autophagy, and recent studies of the mechanisms and regulation of autophagy in higher eukaryotes have suggested new therapeutic possibilities.

    • Ivan Dikic
    •  & Zvulun Elazar
  • Review Article |

    Clathrin-mediated endocytosis is the main mechanism for internalization of cell-surface molecules and surface-bound cargoes. Although the machineries that drive the formation of endocytic vesicle are intricate, an understanding of endocytosis is being unravelled at the molecular level.

    • Marko Kaksonen
    •  & Aurélien Roux
  • Review Article |

    Membrane lipids exhibit a remarkable diversity — they vary in structure and chemical properties, and their distribution between different membranes and their subcompartments is highly heterogeneous. Recent progress in studies of membrane lipids has broadened our understanding of how this diversity affects membrane properties and membrane-associated processes.

    • Takeshi Harayama
    •  & Howard Riezman
  • Review Article |

    Most eukaryotic cells contain a single centrosome with a pair of centrioles, which duplicate before mitosis. Defects in duplication lead to aberrant numbers of centrioles and centrosomes. Recent insights into mechanisms of centriole biogenesis and centriole number control are helping us to better understand the links between aberrant centrosome number and human disease.

    • Erich A. Nigg
    •  & Andrew J. Holland
  • Review Article |

    Recent studies that combine cell biology, structural and proteomic approaches have unravelled how ubiquitin is conjugated to damaged mitochondria through the PINK1–parkin pathway to promote mitophagy. The findings have revealed links between PINK1–parkin, antigen presentation and neuronal survival and have implications for the understanding of neurological disorders.

    • J. Wade Harper
    • , Alban Ordureau
    •  & Jin-Mi Heo
  • Review Article |

    Recent proteome-wide studies have uncovered hundreds of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that lack conventional RNA-binding domains. These RBPs instead use intrinsically disordered regions, protein–protein interaction interfaces and enzymatic cores to bind RNA. Interestingly, some RBPs are regulated by RNA rather than regulate RNA.

    • Matthias W. Hentze
    • , Alfredo Castello
    • , Thomas Schwarzl
    •  & Thomas Preiss
  • Review Article |

    Cells produce a wide variety of extracellular vesicles (subdivided into exosomes and microvesicles), which carry a multitude of cargoes, including proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. These vesicles have emerged as important means of cell–cell communication in physiology and disease, and their use in the clinic is now being explored.

    • Guillaume van Niel
    • , Gisela D'Angelo
    •  & Graça Raposo
  • Review Article |

    The assembly and maintenance of heterochromatin are carried out by distinct mechanisms that include factors that bind nascent transcripts to recruit chromatin-modifying enzymes. The resulting post-translational modifications on heterochromatic histones contribute to the regulation of development by restricting lineage-specific gene expression.

    • Robin C. Allshire
    •  & Hiten D. Madhani
  • Review Article |

    The evolutionarily conserved mediator of RNA polymerase II transcription (Mediator) complex is a general regulator of transcription. Recent structural and functional studies have provided important insights into the mechanisms of transcription activation by Mediator and have also revealed a new function of this complex in genome organization and suggested that it could be therapeutically targeted in disease.

    • Julie Soutourina
  • Review Article |

    Gene expression programmes that are induced by inflammatory or oncogenic signals are controlled by shared chromatin regulators. Such chromatin dependencies are known to regulate oncogenes and inflammation-promoting genes and can be leveraged to combine and increase the effectiveness of immune-cell-based therapies with epigenetic therapies.

    • Ivan Marazzi
    • , Benjamin D. Greenbaum
    • , Diana H. P. Low
    •  & Ernesto Guccione
  • Review Article |

    Cells activate a transcriptional response known as the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) when mitochondrial integrity and function are impaired to promote their recovery. Recent insights into the regulation, mechanisms and functions of the UPRmt have uncovered important links to ageing and ageing-associated diseases.

    • Tomer Shpilka
    •  & Cole M. Haynes
  • Review Article |

    Structures in 5′ untranslated regions of eukaryotic mRNAs contribute to gene regulation by controlling cap-dependent and cap-independent translation initiation through diverse mechanisms. New structure probing technologies coupled with techniques such as compensatory mutagenesis will likely identify new structured RNA elements and help elucidate their function.

    • Kathrin Leppek
    • , Rhiju Das
    •  & Maria Barna
  • Review Article |

    Sphingolipids are a major class of lipids, comprising various species with diverse functions. In addition to being structural elements of membranes, many sphingolipids are bioactive and regulate a myriad of cellular processes. Recent advances have shed new light on the complexity of sphingolipid metabolism and their various roles in physiology and disease.

    • Yusuf A. Hannun
    •  & Lina M. Obeid
  • Review Article |

    Long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) do not overlap protein-coding genes, although some lincRNA genes have minimal coding potential and can include small open reading frames that encode functional peptides. lincRNA functions include RNA stabilization and transcription regulation and the remodelling of chromatin and genome architecture. Recent insights suggest that lincRNAs broadly serve to fine-tune the expression of neighbouring genes with remarkable tissue specificity.

    • Julia D. Ransohoff
    • , Yuning Wei
    •  & Paul A. Khavari