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Edited By: Andrew Moore

Online ISSN: 1521-1878

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Volume 38, Issue 10, October 2016

A new type of binding site for p53
Recently, binding sites for the tumor suppressor protein p53 were discovered in retrotransposon-derived elements. On pages 943–949, Paul Lieberman hypothesizes that these binding sites in subtelomeric regions are important for the maintenance of genome stability. Upon activation by genotoxic stress, p53 binds to these sites leading to altered local chromatin structure, the expression of telomere-repeat encoding RNA (TERRA) and ultimately to DNA-damage protection at the adjacent telomere repeat. – kb
Highlighted article : Retrotransposonderived p53 binding sites enhance telomere maintenance and genome protection. Paul M. Lieberman

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Out of order: Is aging caused by a loss of correct phase separation?
Simon Alberti and Anthony Hyman present an interesting hypothesis on why cells age (see pages 959–968). Rather than being homogenous, the cytoplasm is organized into membrane-less compartments via a process called phase separation. The authors argue that the progressive loss of these phase-separated compartments contributes to cellular aging. Recent studies on neurons already suggest that agerelated neurodegenerative diseases are linked to aberrant phase transitions lending support to this hypothesis. – kb
Highlighted article : Are aberrant phase transitions a driver of cellular aging? Simon Alberti and Anthony A. Hyman

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How to classify neurons
On pages 969–976, Giorgio Ascoli and Diek Wheeler propose a classification system to distinguish different neuron types. This classification system takes into account the presence or absence of axons and dendrites as well as the identity of the main neurotransmitter. For the axons and dendrites also the anatomical location is considered. As morphological features are rather robust to experimental conditions, this core classification system may provide a valuable tool to not only (re)organize already existing data but to also use this as a basis to integrate further information such as molecular and electrophysiological data. – kb
Highlighted article : In search of a periodic table of the neurons: Axonal-dendritic circuitry as the organizing principle. Giorgio A. Ascoli and Diek W. Wheeler

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Oxidized 5-methylcytosine bases: Expanding the pool of functional modi? ed DNA bases
Jikui Song and Gerd Pfeifer review recent findings on oxidized 5-methylcytosine (5mC) bases (see pages 1038–1047). They not only discuss their potential biological functions but also take a closer look at the roles of presumed reader proteins. Oxidation of 5mC by TET proteins leads to DNA demethylation and, remarkably, the reaction products (5-hydroxymethylcytosine, 5-formylcytosine and 5-carboxylcytosine) proved to be rather stable. On the one hand, these oxidized bases may prevent the binding of proteins that would otherwise bind to 5mC. On the other hand, they may allow the binding of specific reader proteins of which only very few have been identified until now. – kb
Highlighted article : Are there specific readers of oxidized 5-methylcytosine bases? Jikui Song and Gerd P. Pfeifer

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