Summer reading edition: Great cell biology papers that I've read but haven't blogged about

I've been really busy of late. Over the summer I have been mentoring two students, Gloria who sadly left us for Danesh Moazed's lab (a great choice if you ask me) and Lesley who will be leaving next week to work in a lab at Duke. I have also been busy with the RNA Data Club - last week we had our first meeting outside of Harvard Med School, at the Whitehead Institute (thanks to Christina Mayr and other members of the Bartel lab). Next Month we'll be have over speakers from Pam Silver's group and our first Yalie, Navtej Toor from the Pyle Lab. Next week, Jenni and I are moving to a new apartment in Cambridgeport ... the crazy thing is that we'll be moving again next year ... most probably to Toronto! AND I have a hot new piece of data that I'm trying to work up. I want to have this result ready for a talk that I'll be giving at Columbia University on September 4th, but first I need to perform a couple of control experiments.

The result of all this activity has been a lack of posts. As a result I haven't been able to blog about all the great papers that have been coming out in the last few months. Unfortunately these exciting new discoveries have been ignored by most science bloggers who seem to have no knowledge concerning the fastest advancing area of science today, cell biology. I've given each paper a one line entry (below the fold).

One paper that I wanted to write on was from the Sabatini group (congats David for making HHMI!) The paper describes how amino acid starvation is sensed by cells and how this affects TOR signaling, one of the most ancient signaling cascades in eukaryotic cells and one that has deep implications for cancer. This connection is underlined by yet another couple of papers linking yet another component of TOR signaling, this time Rheb, to cancer. For more on TOR signaling, metabolism and cancer, click here.

I was also going to write about the paper that came out of the Blobel lab on a set of proteins that span the nuclear envelope to link cytoplasmic microtubules to regions of the chromosome containing heterochronic elements. Thus there is spatial coordiation between the cytoplasm and the nucleoplasm. Conceptually this is very important. In a related story (one that was discussed at our RNA Data club) there are many groups that have obtained data that link these same heterochronic regions to RNAi machinery. It looks like RNAi components, especially the Piwi family of proteins, play a direct role in inducing chromatin remodeling in these regions. This interaction seems to play a role in Meiosis and sperm germ cell development.

And in the last issue of Cell, the Wente group has a paper linking mRNA export factors, inositol signaling, and mRNA translation. A very strange tale that may get a surprising twist in an upcoming paper (if my inside sources are correct). In a related theme I was going to write another one of those "The Future of Cell Biology Posts" on my field, mRNA localization in eukaryotic cells. Expect this in the near future.

Then the other day I took a phone call from a reporter asking about "Science 2.0". I told him what I told other reporters, it's not happening. But now I have regrets about what I said. In my next post I'll try toi explain how the www is indeed changing the way we do science, but it is very different from what the Science 2.0 advocates had in mind.

Sancak Y, Peterson TR, Shaul YD, Lindquist RA, Thoreen CC, Bar-Peled L, Sabatini DM
The Rag GTPases bind raptor and mediate amino acid signaling to mTORC1
Science (08) 320:1496-501

Mavrakis KJ, Zhu H, Silva RL, Mills JR, Teruya-Feldstein J, Lowe SW, Tam W, Pelletier J, Wendel HG
Tumorigenic activity and therapeutic inhibition of Rheb GTPase
Genes Dev (08) 22:2178-88

Nardella C, Chen Z, Salmena L, Carracedo A, Alimonti A, Egia A, Carver B, Gerald W, Cordon-Cardo C, Pandolfi PP
Aberrant Rheb-mediated mTORC1 activation and Pten haploinsufficiency are cooperative oncogenic events.
Genes Dev (08) 22:2172-7

King MC, Drivas TG, Blobel G
A network of nuclear envelope membrane proteins linking centromeres to microtubules.
Cell (08) 134:427-38

Gross T, Siepmann A, Sturm D, Windgassen M, Scarcelli JJ, Seedorf M, Cole CN, Krebber H.
The DEAD-box RNA helicase Dbp5 functions in translation termination.
Science (07) 315:646-9

Bolger TA, Folkmann AW, Tran EJ, Wente SR
The mRNA Export Factor Gle1 and Inositol Hexakisphosphate Regulate Distinct Stages of Translation
Cell (08) 134:624-633

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