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Volume 23 Issue 3, March 2022

‘Mechanics in the embryo’, inspired by the Review on p169.

Cover design: Vicky Summersby.


  • Olivier Voinnet proposes that movement of gene-silencing small RNAs (sRNAs) in plants can be regulated by intracellular sRNA biogenesis and activity factors expressed in silencing-signal emitting, traversed and recipient cells.

    • Olivier Voinnet


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Research Highlights

  • ‘Alpha helix’ was not Linus Pauling’s first choice of a name for the protein structural motif. Egli and Zhang recount what the original name was, why it was changed and what is between the alpha helix and the DNA double helix.

    • Martin Egli
    • Shuguang Zhang
    Journal Club
  • Mike Henne discusses the pioneering work of Jean Vance, which revealed that mitochonodria-associated membranes (MAMs) are sites for inter-organelle phospholipid exchange and step-wise synthesis reactions.

    • W. Mike Henne
    Journal Club
  • Rana et al. show that in the gut epithelium, gasdermin B has an inherent, non-pyroptotic function, supporting the maintenance of the epithelial barrier when challenged with inflammatory damage.

    • Paulina Strzyz
    Research Highlight
  • Pseudouridylation of pre-mRNA can broadly modulate alternative splicing in human cells.

    • Eytan Zlotorynski
    Research Highlight
  • A long non-coding RNA is found to enable the assembly of a glycolytic metabolon that contributes to cell adaptation to metabolic stress and cell survival.

    • Kim Baumann
    Research Highlight
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  • Cells in the embryo are subject to autonomous and external mechanical forces that help steer embryonic tissue patterning. Technical developments, such as in vitro models of early embryos, allow probing of the roles of mechanical forces in animal and human embryonic development.

    • Manon Valet
    • Eric D. Siggia
    • Ali H. Brivanlou
    Review Article
  • Small RNAs (microRNAs, siRNAs, piRNAs and others) function as agents of intercellular communication, particularly in development, reproduction, immunity and inheritance. Chen and Rechavi discuss mechanisms and roles of plant and animal small RNAs in the exchange of information between cells, organisms and even species.

    • Xuemei Chen
    • Oded Rechavi
    Review Article
  • Satellite cells are skeletal muscle stem cells that are largely quiescent. They are activated upon muscle damage and differentiate into muscle cells or return to quiescence. These processes are controlled by cell-intrinsic mechanisms and by signals from the niche, and are deregulated in ageing, leading to impaired muscle regeneration.

    • Pedro Sousa-Victor
    • Laura García-Prat
    • Pura Muñoz-Cánoves
    Review Article
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