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Written by leading cell biologists and curated by Cell Press editors, reviews in the Cell Press Reviews: Core Concepts in Cell Biology publication informs, inspires, and connects cell biologists at all stages in their careers with timely, comprehensive insight into the most recent exciting developments across cell biology and hot topics within core areas of the field including: Signaling mechanisms and membrane biologyCytoskeletal self-organization and cell polarityOrganelle dynamics and biogenesisMorphogenesis and cell motilityChromatin and genome organization in nuclear function

Contributions come from leading voices in cell biology, who are defining the future of their field, including: - Tom Misteli, National Cancer Institute - Galit Lahav, Harvard Medical School - Scott D. Emr, Cornell University - David G. Drubin, University of California, Berkeley - Tom Rapoport, Harvard Medical School - Anthony A. Hyman, Max Planck Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Dresden

This publication is part of the Cell Press Reviews series, which features reviews published in Cell Press primary research and Trends reviews journals.

Provides timely, comprehensive coverage across a broad range of cell biological topicsOffers foundational knowledge and expert insights to students and others new to the fieldFeatures reviews from leaders in cell biology research and discussion of future directions for the fieldIncludes articles originally published in Cell, Current Biology, Developmental Cell, and Trends in Cell Biology
Much of the recent spectacular progress in the biological sciences can be at tributed ot the ability to isolate, analyze, and structurally characterize proteins and peptides which are present in cells and cellular organelles in only very small amounts. Recent advances in protein chemistry and in particular the application of new micromethods have led to fruitful advances in the understanding of basic cellular processes. Areas where protein-chemical studies have resulted in interest ing discoveries include the peptide hormones and their release factors, growth factors and oncogenes, bioenergetics, proton pumps and ion pumps and chan nels, topogenesis and protein secretion, molecular virology and immunology, membrane protein analysis, and receptor research. In fact, the key methods are now on hand to unravel many of the major outstanding problems of molecular biology and in particular questions of fundamental interest which relate to devel opmental biology and specificity in cell-cell interaction. In this volume we have assembled descriptions of procedures which have re cently been shown to be efficaceous for the isolation, purification, and chemical characterization of proteins and peptides that are only available in minute amounts. Emphasis is placed on well-established micromethods which have been tested and found useful in many laboratories by experienced investigators. The chapters are written by specialists, and describe a range of sensitive techniques which can be used by researchers working in laboratories with only modest resources and equipment.
The aim of "The Adhesive Interaction of Cells" has been to assemble a series of reviews by leading international experts embracing many of the most important recent developments in this rapidly expanding field. The purpose of all biological research is to understand the form and function of living organisms and, by comprehending the normal, to find explanations and remedies for the abnormal and for disease conditions. The molecules involved in cell adhesion are of fundamental importance to the structure and function of all multicellular organisms. In this book, the contributors focus on the systems of vertebrates, especially mammals, since these are most relevant to human disease. It would have been equally possible to concentrate on developmental processes and adhesion in lower organisms.
A major function of adhesion molecules is to bind cells to each other or to the extracellular matrix, but they are much more than "glue". Adhesions in animal tissues must be dynamic-forming, persisting, or declining in regulated fashion- to facilitate the mobility and turnover of tissue cells. Moreover, the majority of adhesion molecules are transmembrane molecules and thus provide links between the cells and their surroundings. This gives rise to another major function of adhesion molecules, the capacity to transduce signals across the hydrophobic barrier imposed by the plasma membrane. Such signal transduction is crucially important to many aspects of cellular function including the regulation of cell motility, gene expression, and differentiation.
The work in this book progresses through four sections. Part I discusses the four major families of adhesion molecules themselves, the integrins (Green and Humphries), the cadherins (Stappert and Kemler), the selectins (Tedder et al.) and the immunoglobulin superfamily (Simmons); part 2 considers junctional complexes involved in cell interactions: focal adhesions and adherens junctions (Ben Ze'ev), desmosomes (Garrod et al.), and tight junctions (Citi and Cordenonsi). The signaling role of adhesion molecules is the focus of part 3, through integrins and the extracellular matrix (Edwards and Streuli), through platelet adhesion (Du and Ginsberg), and in the nervous system (Hemperley). In part 4, the aim is to show how adhesive phenomena contribute to important aspects of cell behavior and human health. Leukocyte trafficking (Haskard et al.), cancer metastasis (Marshall and Hart), cell migration (Paleck et al.), and implantation and placentation (Damsky et al.) are the topics considered in depth.
The different sections are, of course, not mutually exclusive: it is both undesirable and impossible to separate structure from function when considering cell adhesion. Each chapter has its unique features, but some overlap is both invevitable and valuable since it provides different perspectives on closely related topics. We hope that the whole contributes a valuable and stimulating consideration of this important topic.
A large number of newly-synthesized polypeptides must cross one or several intracellular membranes to reach their functional locations in the eukaryotic cell. The mechanisms of protein trafficking, in particular the post-translational targeting and membrane translocation of proteins, are of fundamental biological importance and are the focus of intensive research world-wide. For more than 15 years, mitochondria have served as the paradigm organelle system to study these processes. Although key questions, such as how precisely proteins cross a membrane, still remain to be answered, exciting progress has been made in understanding the basic pathways of protein import into mitochondria and the components involved. In addition to a fascinating richness and complexity in detail, the analysis of mitochondrial protein import has revealed mechanistic principles of general significance: Major discoveries include the demonstration of the requirement of an unfolded state for translocation and of the essential role of molecular chaperones on both sides of the membranes in maintaining a translocation-competent conformation and in protein folding after import. It is becoming clear how a polypeptide chain is "reeled" across the membrane in an ATP-dependent process by the functional cooperation of membrane proteins, presumably constituting part of a transmembrane channel, with peripheral components at the trans-side of the membrane.
In this volume, eminent experts in the field take the time to review the central aspects of mitochondrial biogenesis. The logical order of the 16 chapters is determined by the sequence of steps during protein import, starting with the events taking place in the cytosol, followed by the recognition of targeting signals, the translocation of precursor proteins across the outer and inner membranes, their proteolytic processing and intramitochondrial sorting, and finally their folding and oligomeric assembly. In addition, the mechanisms involved in the export of mitochondrially encoded proteins as well as recent advances in understanding the division and inheritance of mitochondria will be discussed.
What is life? Fifty years after physicist Erwin Schrodinger posed this question in his celebrated and inspiring book, the answer remains elusive. In The Way of the Cell, one of the world's most respected microbiologists draws on his wide knowledge of contemporary science to provide fresh insight into this intriguing and all-important question. What is the relationship of living things to the inanimate realm of chemistry and physics? How do lifeless but special chemicals come together to form those intricate dynamic ensembles that we recognize as life? To shed light on these questions, Franklin Harold focuses here on microorganisms--in particular, the supremely well-researched bacterium E. coli--because the cell is the simplest level of organization that manifests all the features of the phenomenon of life. Harold shows that as simple as they appear when compared to ourselves, every cell displays a dynamic pattern in space and time, orders of magnitude richer than its elements. It integrates the writhings and couplings of billions of molecules into a coherent whole, draws matter and energy into itself, constructs and reproduces its own order, and persists in this manner for numberless generations while continuously adapting to a changing world. A cell constitutes a unitary whole, a unit of life, and in this volume one of the leading authorities on the cell gives us a vivid picture of what goes on within this minute precinct. The result is a richly detailed, meticulously crafted account of what modern science can tell us about life as well as one scientist's personal attempt to wring understanding from the tide of knowledge.
The incentive for putting together Volume 4 of this series was to review the wealth of new information that has become available in prokaryotic organisms in protein export and membrane biogenesis. Just in the last several years, protein translocation has now been efficiently reconstituted using defined components and the mechanism by which proteins are moved across membrane bilayers is now being examined at a higher resolution. In addition, because of a new technical breakthrough using osmolytes, it is now possible to reconstitute a number of channel proteins, ATPase, receptors, and transporters. In many cases, it is possible to successfully predict the membrane topology of these types of proteins using both "hydrophobicity analysis" and the "positive inside" rule.
In this volume, two chapters focus on protein translocation across membranes (Biochemical Analyses of Components Comprising the Protein Translocation Machinery of E. Coli; Protein Translocation Genetics), while several others on how proteins assemble into the ineer membrane of E. Coli (Membrane Protein Assembly; Membrane Insertion of Small Proteins: Evolutionary and Functional Aspects; Pigment-Protein Complex Assembly in Rhodobacter sphaeroides and Rhodobacter Capsulatus). Other sections review recent progress on transporters (Identification and Reconstitution of Anion Exchange Mechanisms in Bacteria; Helic Packing in the C-Terminal Half of Lactose Permease) and signal transduction (Mechanism of Transmembrane Signaling in Osmoregulation) as well as the assembly of prints into the outer membrane (Export and Assembly of Outer Membrane Proteins in E. coli). Although the emphasis of the book is on proteins, the role of phospholipids in controlling various cell surface processes is reviewed (Role of Phospholipids in coli Cell Function). I should point out the reason for the rapid progress in bacteria research is because of the possibility to apply biochemistry and genetics in this organism.
“A beautifully written journey into the mechanics of the world of the cell, and even beyond, exploring the analogy with computers in a surprising way” (Denis Noble, author of Dance to the Tune of Life).
 
How does a single-cell creature, such as an amoeba, lead such a sophisticated life? How does it hunt living prey, respond to lights, sounds, and smells, and display complex sequences of movements without the benefit of a nervous system? This book offers a startling and original answer.
 
In clear, jargon-free language, Dennis Bray taps the findings from the discipline of systems biology to show that the internal chemistry of living cells is a form of computation. Cells are built out of molecular circuits that perform logical operations, as electronic devices do, but with unique properties. Bray argues that the computational juice of cells provides the basis for all distinctive properties of living systems: it allows organisms to embody in their internal structure an image of the world, and this accounts for their adaptability, responsiveness, and intelligence.
 
In Wetware, Bray offers imaginative, wide-ranging, and perceptive critiques of robotics and complexity theory, as well as many entertaining and telling anecdotes. For the general reader, the practicing scientist, and all others with an interest in the nature of life, this book is an exciting portal to some of biology’s latest discoveries and ideas.
 
“Drawing on the similarities between Pac-Man and an amoeba and efforts to model the human brain, this absorbing read shows that biologists and engineers have a lot to learn from working together.” —Discover magazine
 
“Wetware will get the reader thinking.” —Science magazine
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