Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hot off the presses! Jul 01 Trends Cell Biol

The Jul 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 21(7):i (2011)
  • Rabs and the exocyst in ciliogenesis, tubulogenesis and beyond
    - Trends Cell Biol 21(7):383-386 (2011)
    The exocyst, an octameric protein complex mediating vesicle tethering at the plasma membrane for exocytosis, is a downstream effector of the Rab proteins Rab8 and Rab11, which are key regulators of membrane trafficking from the trans-Golgi network and recycling endosome to the plasma membrane. Rab11 and Rab8 coordinate their actions via Rabin8, the guanine nucleotide exchange factor of Rab8. A cascade of protein–protein interactions involving the Rabs and the exocyst complex couples the generation of secretory vesicles at donor compartments to their docking and fusion at the plasma membrane. Here, we discuss recent work implicating Rab proteins and the exocyst in primary ciliogenesis and epithelial lumenogenesis. In addition, we discuss early work in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which provided the initial insight into the molecular mechanisms of polarized exocytosis.
  • Autophagy and apoptosis: what is the connection?
    - Trends Cell Biol 21(7):387-392 (2011)
    The therapeutic potential of autophagy for the treatment cancer and other diseases is beset by paradoxes stemming from the complexity of the interactions between the apoptotic and autophagic machinery. The simplest question of how autophagy acts as both a protector and executioner of cell death remains the subject of substantial controversy. Elucidating the molecular interactions between the processes will help us understand how autophagy can modulate cell death, whether autophagy is truly a cell death mechanism, and how these functions are regulated. We suggest that, despite many connections between autophagy and apoptosis, a strong causal relationship wherein one process controls the other, has not been demonstrated adequately. Knowing when and how to modulate autophagy therapeutically depends on understanding these connections.
  • Checkpoint mechanisms: the puppet masters of meiotic prophase
    - Trends Cell Biol 21(7):393-400 (2011)
    The coordinated execution of cell cycle processes during meiosis is essential for the production of viable gametes and fertility. Coordination is particularly important during meiotic prophase, when nuclei undergo a dramatic reorganization that requires the precise choreography of chromosome movements, pairing interactions and DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. Analysis of the underlying regulatory mechanisms has revealed crucial and widespread roles for DNA-damage checkpoint proteins, not only in cell cycle surveillance, but also in controlling many processes uniquely characteristic of meiosis. The resulting regulatory network uses checkpoint machinery to provide an integral coordinating mechanism during every meiotic division and enables cells to safely maintain an error-prone event such as DSB formation as an essential part of the meiotic program.
  • Novel insights into epithelial polarity proteins in Drosophila
    - Trends Cell Biol 21(7):401-408 (2011)
    Apical–basal polarity is a basic organizing principle of epithelial cells. Consequently, defects in polarity are associated with numerous human pathologies, including many forms of cancer. Recent work in Drosophila has identified novel roles for, or has greatly enhanced our understanding of, functional modules within the epithelial polarity network. A series of recent papers have highlighted the key function of the scaffolding protein Bazooka/Par3 as an early polarity landmark, and its crucial role in dynamic segregation of the apical membrane from the adherens junction. Moreover, novel polarity modules have recently been discovered; the Yurt/Coracle group supports the basolateral membrane during a defined time window of development, while a second module, including the kinases LKB1 and AMP-activated protein kinase, is required for polarity when epithelial cells experience metabolic stress. These new findings emphasize unforeseen complexities in the regulation of epi! thelial polarity, and raise new questions about the mechanisms of epithelial tissue organization and function.
  • Formation of mammalian erythrocytes: chromatin condensation and enucleation
    - Trends Cell Biol 21(7):409-415 (2011)
    In all vertebrates, the cell nucleus becomes highly condensed and transcriptionally inactive during the final stages of red cell biogenesis. Enucleation, the process by which the nucleus is extruded by budding off from the erythroblast, is unique to mammals. Enucleation has critical physiological and evolutionary significance in that it allows an elevation of hemoglobin levels in the blood and also gives red cells their flexible biconcave shape. Recent experiments reveal that enucleation involves multiple molecular and cellular pathways that include histone deacetylation, actin polymerization, cytokinesis, cell–matrix interactions, specific microRNAs and vesicle trafficking; many evolutionarily conserved proteins and genes have been recruited to participate in this uniquely mammalian process. In this review, we discuss recent advances in mammalian erythroblast chromatin condensation and enucleation, and conclude with our perspectives on future studies.
  • Fusing a lasting relationship between ER tubules
    - Trends Cell Biol 21(7):416-423 (2011)
    Atlastin is an integral membrane GTPase localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In vitro and in vivo analyses indicate that atlastin is a membrane fusogen capable of driving membrane fusion, suggesting a role in ER structure and maintenance. Interestingly, mutations in the human atlastin-1 gene, SPG3A, cause a form of autosomal dominant hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). The etiology of HSP is unclear, but two predominant forms of the disorder are caused by mutant proteins that affect ER structure, formation and maintenance in motor neurons. In this review, we describe the current knowledge about the molecular mechanism of atlastin function and its potential role in HSP. Greater understanding of the function of atlastin and associated proteins should provide important insight into normal ER biogenesis and maintenance, as well as the pathology of disease.
  • Bcl-2 proteins in diabetes: mitochondrial pathways of β-cell death and dysfunction
    - Trends Cell Biol 21(7):424-431 (2011)
    Diabetes is a metabolic disease affecting nearly 300 million individuals worldwide. Both types of diabetes (1 and 2) are characterized by loss of functional pancreatic β-cell mass causing different degrees of insulin deficiency. The Bcl-2 family has a double-edged effect in diabetes. These proteins are crucial controllers of the mitochondrial pathway of β-cell apoptosis induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines or lipotoxicity. In parallel, some Bcl-2 members also regulate glucose metabolism and β-cell function. In this review, we describe the role of Bcl-2 proteins in β-cell homeostasis and death. We focus on how these proteins interact, their contribution to the crosstalk between endoplasmic reticulum stress and mitochondrial permeabilization, their context-dependent usage following different pro-apoptotic stimuli, and their role in β-cell physiology.

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