Monday, November 22, 2010

Hot off the presses! Dec 01 trends cell biol

The Dec 01 issue of the trends cell biol is now up on Pubget (About trends cell biol): if you're at a subscribing institution, just click the link in the latest link at the home page. (Note you'll only be able to get all the PDFs in the issue if your institution subscribes to Pubget.)

Latest Articles Include:

  • Editorial Board
    - trends cell biol 20(12):i (2010)
  • CellBio-X: celebrating the interface between Cell Biology and other disciplines
    - trends cell biol 20(12):689-690 (2010)
  • Finding the key – cell biology and science education
    - trends cell biol 20(12):691-694 (2010)
    No international research community, cell biology included, can exist without an educational community to renew and replenish it. Unfortunately, cell biology researchers frequently regard their work as independent of the process of education and see little reason to reach out to science teachers. For cell biology to continue to prosper, I argue that researchers must support education in at least three ways. First, we must view education and research as part of a single scientific community. Second, we should take advantage of new technologies to connect the research laboratory to the classroom. Finally, we must take the initiative in defending the integrity of science teaching, particularly when education is under attack for political or religious reasons.
  • Unconventional allies: interdisciplinary approaches to science policy and funding
    - trends cell biol 20(12):695-698 (2010)
    Scientific research is an often misunderstood, undervalued and yet essential activity. Many nonscientists think that research is quick and easy, and that science is a compilation of established facts rather than rigorous conclusions based on available evidence. In addition, many nonscientists, and perhaps many scientists as well, forget that our social and financial investment is small relative to the massive and expensive problems that we all want scientific research to solve. Using biomedical research in the United States as an example, I will argue that countering this underinvestment in science will require broadening perspectives in the scientific community as well as coupling expanded individual advocacy and education efforts to an interdisciplinary advocacy approach. This approach is in many ways analogous to the unique solutions that emerge when scientists working in different disciplines leave their intellectual silos and work together.
  • Animating the model figure
    - trends cell biol 20(12):699-704 (2010)
    In all branches of scientific inquiry, researchers build models that enable them to visualize, formulate and communicate their hypotheses to others. In cell biology, our conceptual understanding of a process is typically embodied in a model figure. These visual models should ideally represent pre-existing knowledge of molecular interactions, movement, structure and localization but, in reality, they often fall short. Cell biologists have begun to look to the use of three-dimensional animation to visualize and describe complex molecular and cellular events. In addition to aiding teaching and communication, animation is emerging as a powerful tool for providing researchers with insight into the processes that they study. Two case studies focusing on the structure/function of the motor protein dynein and the structure of the centriole are discussed.
  • Engineered materials and the cellular microenvironment: a strengthening interface between cell biology and bioengineering
    - trends cell biol 20(12):705-714 (2010)
    Cells constantly probe and respond to a myriad of cues that are present in their local surroundings. The effects of soluble cues are relatively straightforward to manipulate, yet teasing apart how cells transduce signals from the extracellular matrix and neighboring cells has proven to be challenging due to the spatially and mechanically complex adhesive interactions. Over the years, advances in the engineering of biocompatible materials have enabled innovative ways to study adhesion-mediated cell functions, and numerous insights have elucidated the significance of the cellular microenvironment. Here, we highlight some of the major approaches and discuss the potential for future advancement.
  • Stem cell-based biological tooth repair and regeneration
    - trends cell biol 20(12):715-722 (2010)
    Teeth exhibit limited repair in response to damage, and dental pulp stem cells probably provide a source of cells to replace those damaged and to facilitate repair. Stem cells in other parts of the tooth, such as the periodontal ligament and growing roots, play more dynamic roles in tooth function and development. Dental stem cells can be obtained with ease, making them an attractive source of autologous stem cells for use in restoring vital pulp tissue removed because of infection, in regeneration of periodontal ligament lost in periodontal disease, and for generation of complete or partial tooth structures to form biological implants. As dental stem cells share properties with mesenchymal stem cells, there is also considerable interest in their wider potential to treat disorders involving mesenchymal (or indeed non-mesenchymal) cell derivatives, such as in Parkinson's disease.
  • Transcription by the numbers redux: experiments and calculations that surprise
    - trends cell biol 20(12):723-733 (2010)
    The study of transcription has witnessed an explosion of quantitative effort both experimentally and theoretically. In this article we highlight some of the exciting recent experimental efforts in the study of transcription with an eye to the demands that such experiments put on theoretical models of transcription. From a modeling perspective, we focus on two broad classes of models: the so-called thermodynamic models that use statistical mechanics to reckon the level of gene expression as probabilities of promoter occupancy, and rate-equation treatments that focus on the temporal evolution of the activity of a given promoter and that make it possible to compute the distributions of messenger RNA and proteins. We consider several appealing case studies to illustrate how quantitative models have been used to dissect transcriptional regulation.
  • Diverse evolutionary paths to cell adhesion
    - trends cell biol 20(12):734-742 (2010)
    The morphological diversity of animals, fungi, plants, and other multicellular organisms stems from the fact that each lineage acquired multicellularity independently. A prerequisite for each origin of multicellularity was the evolution of mechanisms for stable cell-cell adhesion or attachment. Recent advances in comparative genomics and phylogenetics provide critical insights into the evolutionary foundations of cell adhesion. Reconstructing the evolution of cell junction proteins in animals and their unicellular relatives exemplifies the roles of co-option and innovation. Comparative studies of volvocine algae reveal specific molecular changes that accompanied the evolution of multicellularity in Volvox. Comparisons between animals and Dictyostelium show how commonalities and differences in the biology of unicellular ancestors influenced the evolution of adhesive mechanisms. Understanding the unicellular ancestry of cell adhesion helps illuminate the basic cell biolo! gy of multicellular development in modern organisms.

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