Editors' ChoiceCellular and Molecular Signaling

Papers of note in Nature 545 (7654)

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Sci. Signal.  23 May 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 480, eaan7895
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aan7895

This week’s articles highlight plant growth responses to nutrients; axonal pathfinding; an unexpected source of tumor niche cells; photosensation in the fly brain; the selectivity of GPCRs for specific G proteins; balancing mTORC signaling; and a connection between gut microbes and brain vasculature malformations.

BIOCHEMISTRY

How GPCRs couple to specific G proteins

Flock et al. identified patterns in the amino acid sequences of human G proteins that mediate their specific recognition by hundreds of different G protein–coupled receptors.

PLANT BIOLOGY

Nutrients coordinate shoot and root growth

Liu et al. showed that nitrate stimulates a specific calcium signaling pathway in plants that alters transcriptional responses to coordinate shoot and root growth.

HOST-MICROBE INTERACTIONS

Gut microbes affect brain vasculature

Tang et al. found that lipopolysaccharide from intestinal bacteria activates the pattern recognition receptor TLR4 in endothelial cells to promote the formation of abnormal vascular structures that contribute to stroke.

CELL BIOLOGY

Controlling mTORC2 activation

Wang et al. identified a molecular switch that determines the balance between activation of mTORC1 and mTORC2 in both physiological and pathological contexts.

CANCER

Self-sustaining tumors

Tammela et al. and Lim et al. demonstrated that lung tumors generate nonproliferating cells that contribute to the niche that sustains tumor growth (see also Huch and Rawlins).

CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS

Brain cells see the light

Ni et al. found that a rhodopsin enables photosensitive neurons in the fly brain to control the circadian clock even in dim light.

NEUROSCIENCE

Axon guidance model revised

Dominici et al. showed that netrin-1 may influence axon guidance not by acting as a chemoattractant but by promoting the adhesion of growth cones to their targets.

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