1. Group invasion

Cancer cells invade en mass when actomyosin is downregulated at cell-cell contacts. Blocking that downregulation by depleting a cell matrix adhesion protein called DDR1 leads to increased actomyosin activity and poor cancer cell migration.

C. Hidalgo-Carcedo, et al., "Collective cell migration requires suppression of actomyosin at cell-cell contacts mediated by DDR1 and the cell polarity regulators Par3 and Par6," Nat Cell Bio, 13:49-58, 2011. Evaluations by Adi Dubash and Kathleen J Green, Northwestern Univ Med School; Roberto Mayor, Univ College London; Martin A Schwartz, Univ of Virginia; Michael Dohn and Albert Reynolds, Vanderbilt University; Richard Klemke, Univ of California, San Diego. Free F1000 Evaluation

2. Slime mold complexity

A simple slime mold may not be as dissimilar from complex multicellular creatures as previously assumed. When the single-celled organisms come together to form a...

D.J. Dickinson, et al., "A polarized epithelium organized by beta- and alpha-catenin predates cadherin and metazoan origins," Science, 331:1336-9, 2011. Evaluations by Mirna Perez-Moreno, Centro National de Investigaciones Oncologicas; Thomas Egelhoff, Cleveland Clinic Foundation; Barry Denholm, Susan Wan and Helen Skaer, Univ of Cambridge; Jeffrey Williams, Univ of Dundee; Cara Gottardi, Northwestern Univ. Free F1000 Evaluation

3. Neuron migration

Newborn neurons migrate throughout the brain with the help of a transcription factor, Ascl1, which regulates Rnd3, a GTPase that activates the actin cytoskeleton. Rnd3 is also involved in cell division, supporting the emerging concept that common pathways are used for multiple purposes in neuronal development.

E. Pacary, et al., "Proneural transcription factors regulate different steps of cortical neuron migration through Rnd-mediated inhibition of RhoA signaling," Neuron, 69:1069-84, 2011. Evaluations by Isabel Martinez-Garay and Ulrich Mueller, The Scripps Research Institute; Ryann Fame and Jeffrey Macklis, Massachusetts General Hospital. Free F1000 Evaluation

4. Sick science

In a review of the state of research, developmental biologist Peter Lawrence argues that current research is in crisis, and young scientists are suffering. Evaluators call the review "controversial," but say "the solutions really lie in our hands, making this a must-read for everyone."

P. Lawrence and J. Garwood. "The heart of research is sick," Lab Times, 2:24-31, 2011. Evaluations by Ferdinando Boero, Universita' del Salento; Helen Skaer, Univ of Cambridge. Free F1000 Evaluation

5. Patterning contradiction resolved

Two proposed mechanisms of vulval patterning in Caenorhabditis are not mutually exclusive: According to a computational model, variation in the interaction of two pathways can result in one of two different modes of cell patterning: sequential (cascade) signaling or a morphogen gradient, resolving a classical debate about vulval cell fate.

E. Hoyos, et al., "Quantitative variation in autocrine signaling and pathway crosstalk in the caenorhabditis vulval network," Curr Biol, 12:527-38, 2011. Evaluations by David Fitch, New York Univ; Benjamin Podbilewicz, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Free F1000 Evaluation

6. Neural switch

Neural stem cells generate motor neurons before switching to glia cell production. The de-phosphorylation of a single amino acid in the transcription factor OLIG2 regulates this developmental switch.

H. Li, et al., "Phosphorylation regulates OLIG2 cofactor choice and the motor neuron-oligodendrocyte fate switch," Neuron, 69:918-29, 2011. Evaluations by Danielle Harlow and Wendy Macklin, Lerner Research Institute; Jean-Francois Brunet, Institut de Biologie de l'Ecole normale superieure. Free F1000 Evaluation

7. Maintaining tension

Contraction forces between individual cells correlate directly with the forces between cells and the extracellular network (ECM), and remain stable regardless of significant changes in the shape and length of cell-cell contacts.

V. Maruthamuthu, et al., "Cell-ECM traction force modulates endogenous tension at cell-cell contacts," PNAS, 108:4708-13, 2011. Evaluations by Ana Tadeu and Valerie Horsley, Yale Univ; Deborah Leckband, Univ of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Free F1000 Evaluation

The F1000 Top 7 is a snapshot of the highest ranked articles from a 30-day period on Faculty of 1000 Developmental Biology, as calculated on May 5, 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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