1. Ribosomal regulation

Ribosomes may not be indiscriminate translation factories, but may actively select the mRNAs with which they interact. Loss of ribosomal protein Rpl38 in mice alters the expression of a specific subset of patterning mRNAs—resulting in tissue-patterning defects—but leaves global translation unchanged. The finding represents a potential new type of post-transcriptional gene regulation.

N. Kondrashov et al., “Ribosome-mediated specificity in hox mRNA translation and vertebrate tissue patterning,” Cell, 145:383-97, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

2. Maternal genes drive early plant development

Although genes from both parents contribute to embryonic development in plants, the maternal transcripts dominate at first, with paternal genes switching on later, settling a long-standing debate on the contribution of male and female alleles in plant development.

D. Autran et al., "Maternal epigenetic pathways control parental contributions to Arabidopsis early embryogenesis," Cell, 145:707-19, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

3. Relaying touch


S. Dupont et al., "Role of YAP/TAZ in mechanotransduction," Nature, 474:179-83, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

4. Negative feedback controls division

Early development is governed by the response of cells to a chemical gradient that signals cell division, but how a gradient could relay the tight control over development even under environmental fluctuations was unclear.  Researchers have now learned that the gradient initiates a feedback loop, activating cell division in a way that reduces the influence of the environment.

M. Paulsen et al., "Negative feedback in the bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) synexpression group governs its dynamic signaling range and canalizes development," PNAS, 108:10202-7, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

5. The single-cell Band-Aid

When cells are injured, their actomyosin filaments create a ring around the wound and contract to close the wound when exposed to the adhesion molecule E-cadherin, which presumably also helps anchor the contractile ring to the membrane.

M.T. Abreu-Blanco et al., "Cell wound repair in Drosophila occurs through three distinct phases of membrane and cytoskeletal remodeling," J Cell Biol, 193:455-64, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

6. Genetics of cellular youth

Every time a yeast cell buds, it produces progeny without any markers of aging. Researchers identified several genes that appear to play a role in process of resetting the age-clock.

E. Unal et al., "Gametogenesis eliminates age-induced cellular damage and resets life span in yeast," Science. 332:1554-57, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

7. Neuron migration

A new study describes the migration pattern of neuronal cells in mouse brain during development, identifying the genes involved in cell polarization, a process that contributes to their pattern of radial distribution in the part of the brain that will form the cerebral cortex.

Y Jossin J.A Cooper, "Rap1 and N-cadherin orient the migration of multipolar neurons in the developing neocortex," Nat Neurosci 14:697-703, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation

The F1000 Top 7 is a snapshot of the highest ranked articles from a 30-day period on Faculty of 1000 in Developmental Biology, as calculated on July 7, 2011. Faculty Members evaluate and rate the most important papers in their field. To see the latest rankings, search the database, and read daily evaluations, visit


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