BioEssays

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Edited By: Andrew Moore

Online ISSN: 1521-1878

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Volume 38, Issue 9, September 2016


From defense against RNA pathogens to mRNA quality control
On pages 830–838, Fursham Hamid and Eugene Makeyev hypothesize that certain eukaryotic mRNA decay pathways – namely nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) and motif-specifi c transcript destabilization by CCCH-type zinc fi nger RNA-binding proteins – may have evolved from a cellular defense mechanism against RNA pathogens. They argue that eukaryotes have been exposed to a wide range of RNA pathogens throughout their evolutionary history, and these mechanisms might have improved the ability of the host to discriminate between “self” and “nonself”. Once “professional” immunity systems had evolved, these pathways may then have been repurposed for mRNA quality control and gene regulation in the host cell. – kb
Highlighted article : Exaptive origins of regulated mRNA decay in eukaryotes (pages 830–838), Fursham M. Hamid and Eugene V. Makeyev

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External stimulus and cellular response: How cells can be “fooled”
Amir Mitchell and Wendell Lim propose that cells use internal models and “learning” to respond to external stimuli in an adaptive way (see pages 845–849). However, this system is prone to errors if the external stimulus does not correspond to what the cell “expects”. The authors discuss several examples of this misperception, one of them involving the yeast osmotic pathway. In this case, osmotic oscillations are wrongly interpreted by the cells as a gradual increase in osmolarity leading to a harmful response. The authors speculate that studying such (incorrect) decoding of dynamic inputs might even have therapeutic implications as this might ultimately be used to drive certain cell types into desired states. – kb
Highlighted article : Cellular perception and misperception: Internal models for decision-making shaped by evolutionary experience (pages 845–849), Amir Mitchell and Wendell Lim.

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FKBP51 as a central protein for adaptation
On pages 894–902, Theo Rein reviews recent findings on the role of FK506 binding protein 51 (FKBP51). FKBP51 is a chaperone and also a co-chaperone of heat shock protein (HSP) 90, and is therefore involved in protein folding. The author discusses evidence that this protein is linked – via molecular feedback loops – to several different adaptive circuits including the stress hormone system, the immune system, autophagy and epigenetic mechanisms. – kb
Highlighted article : FK506 binding protein 51 integrates pathways of adaptation : FKBP51 shapes the reactivity to environmental change (pages 894–902), Theo Rein

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Coiled coils: Versatile domains for various functions
Linda Truebestein and Thomas Leonard provide a comprehensive overview over the structure, properties and biological functions of coiled coil domains (see pages 903–916). Coiled coils may act as molecular spacers and are thus able to, for example, tether transport vesicles to cellular structures at a predefi ned length. In their capacity as spacers, they may also position catalytic activities at fixed distances. Furthermore, as in the case of motor proteins such as kinesin and cytoplasmic dynein, these domains are capable of propagating conformational changes along their length to regulate cargo binding and motor processivity. – kb
Highlighted article : Coiled-coils: The long and short of it (pages 903–916), Linda Truebestein and Thomas A. Leonard

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