Mitotic spindle in a human cell showing microtubules (green), chromosomes (blue), and kinetochores (red). IMAGE: AFUNGUY, WIKIMEDIA

1. New role for long noncoding RNA

By hitching a ride in loops formed by chromosomes, long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) can activate HOXA genes (a family of genes involved in cell patterning) over long ranges -- one of the few known examples of gene activation by lincRNAs.

K.C. Wang, et al., "A long noncoding RNA maintains active chromatin to coordinate homeotic gene expression," Nature, 472:120-4, 2011. Evaluated by W. Lee Kraus, Univ of Texas; Panagiotis Ntziachristos and Iannis Aifantis, HHMI/New York Univ School of Medicine; Leonie Ringrose, Inst of Molecular Biotechnology GmbH, Austria; Pamela Geyer, Univ of Iowa. Free F1000 Evaluation

2. Separating chromosomes

For chromosomes to properly segregate during cell division, the spindle microtubules must be properly attached to protein complexes called kinetochores. The cell regulates this process through the phosphorylation...

D. Liu, et al., "Regulated targeting of protein phosphatase 1 to the outer kinetochore by KNL1 opposes Aurora B kinase1," J Cell Biol, 188:809-20, 2011. Evaluated by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Univ of Dundee, UK; Stefan Westermann, Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Austria; Laura Trinkle-Mulcahy. Univ of Ottawa, Canada; Vincent Vanoosthuyse and Kevin Hardwick, Univ of Edinburgh, UK. Free F1000 Evaluation

3. Erasing stress in plants

When exposed to environmental stressors such as heat, plants activate mobile genetic elements known as retrotransposoons, which copy and insert themselves throughout the genome, inducing genetic changes that can help the plant cope. In Arabidopsis thaliana, small interfering RNA (siRNAs) suppress the transcription of retrotransposoons activated by heat stress, and remove their mark on the genome before sexual reproduction -- ensuring that the progeny have no genetic memory of the stress.

H. Ito, et al., "An siRNA pathway prevents transgenerational retrotransposition in plants subjected to stress," Nature, 6472:115-9, 2011. Evaluated by Robert Sablowski, John Innes Centre, UK; Renate Schmidt, IPK Gatersleben, Germany; Ian Henderson, Univ of Cambridge, UK. Free F1000 Evaluation

4. Golden rules for peer reviewing

In an editorial for Molecular Biology of the Cell, the editor-in-chief offers guidance on how to be a fair and constructive reviewer, with the #1 rule being "never accept an invitation to review a manuscript unless you can do so without bias."

DG Drubin, "Any jackass can trash a manuscript, but it takes good scholarship to create one (how MBoC promotes civil and constructive peer review)," Mol Biol Cell, 22:525-7, 2011. Evaluated by Etienne Joly, CNRS, France; Ferdinando Boero, Universita' del Salento, Italy; Gerald Zamponi, Univ of Calgary, Canada; Larry Kane, Univ of Pittsburgh. Free F1000 Evaluation

5. New role for GLRs

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. Michard, et al., "Glutamate receptor-like genes form Ca2+ channels in pollen tubes and are regulated by pistil D-serine," Science, 332:434-7, 2011. Evaluated by Heng-Cheng Hu and Caren Chang, Univ of Maryland; Wagner Araujo and Alisdair Fernie, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Germany; Wataru Sakamoto, Okayama Univ, Japan. Free F1000 Evaluation

6. Plant demethylation revealed

Active DNA demethylation, a poorly understood epigenetic process that involves the removal of a methyl group from cytosine bases, is induced by the over expression of the enzyme TET1, which adds a hydroxyl group to the methylated cytosine -- essentially flagging it for demethylation.

J.U. Guo, et al., "Hydroxylation of 5-methylcytosine by TET1 promotes active DNA demethylation in the adult brain," Cell, 145:423-34, 2011. Evaluated by Elisabetta Tabolacci and Giovanni Neri, Universit? Cattolica del S Cuore, Italy; Faraz Sultan and David Sweatt, Univ of Alabama at Birmingham. Free F1000 Evaluation

7. Death regulators in plants

Plant metacaspases, enzymes whose homologs in animals are well known to regulate apoptosis and inflammation, are also involved in regulating programmed cell death and innate immunity in Arabidopsis thaliana, suggesting these functions are highly conserved across the different lineages.

N.S. Coll, et al., "Arabidopsis type I metacaspases control cell death," Science, 330:1393-7, 2011. Evaluations by Daniel Gallie, Univ of California; Beno?t Lacroix and Vitaly Citovsky, SUNY at Stony Brook; Alexei Kurakin and Roya Khosravi-Far, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Free F1000 Evaluation

The F1000 Top 7 is a snapshot of the highest ranked articles from a 30-day period on Faculty of 1000 Genetics and Genomics, as calculated on May 20, 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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