Awardees' Articles

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Romain Levayer and colleagues

Thursday 25th February 2016

Cell growth, proliferation and death rates need to be adjusted to tissue scale parameters in order to maintain tissue size and shape. Using the Drosophila pupal notum (a single layer epithelium), we found that local crowding in the epithelium is sufficient to trigger caspase activation and cell delamination. The same mechanism drives the preferential elimination of cells neighboring fast growing clones resistant to apoptosis. This work suggests that competition for space may participate in tissue...


HFSP Young Investigator Grant holders Pietro Cicuta and Marco Cosentino-Lagomarsino and colleagues

Monday 22nd February 2016

The mean size from populations of cells of the bacterium E. coli varies greatly with nutrient conditions, with cells getting larger in richer nutrients, where they also divide more frequently. As the authors discover, individual cells picked from such populations typically have a fairly wide range of interdivision times, but when one compares how fast they divide with their size, they do not follow the same trends of the means. A joint theoretical and experimental approach shows that this observation...


HFSP Young Investigator Grant holders Frank Bosmans and Filip Van Petegem and colleagues

Friday 19th February 2016

The human body runs on electrical signals that are conveyed through neurons into and out of the central nervous system. These small signals are generated by ions moving through specialized protein complexes that are found in the cell membrane. One of these complex members is a "sodium channel", through which sodium ions move down their electrochemical gradient. Miniscule changes in the 3D structure of the sodium channel can cause severe diseases such as epilepsy and cardiac arrhythmias...


HFSP Program Grant holders Ken Duffy and Ton Schumacher and colleagues

Thursday 11th February 2016

The production of blood cells is more complicated than scientists have assumed until now. The stem cells for all blood and immune cells branch into a series of different types of precursor cells, instead of the two that scientists had previously identified.


HFSP Young Investigator Grant holder Rafael Carazo Salas and colleagues

Friday 22nd January 2016

Though it is clear that cellular shape results from a combination of biochemical regulation and mechanical forces, how both control layers actually cooperate to generate specifically-shaped cellular domains is not clear. Using biophysical modeling and quantitative microscopy we show that in fission yeast, a unicellular eukaryote, the shape of growth domains in cells can be quantitatively predicted by the mechanical properties of the cell wall and the pattern of exocytic vesicle delivery.


HFSP Career Development Award holder Aurélien Roux and colleagues

Thursday 21st January 2016

Cell membranes are very elastic. They can be bent and stretched as required, when the cell divides, or when a virus detaches itself from the cell. In both cases, the membrane is deformed by a protein complex called ESCRT-III. Up until now, we did not understand how this complex works. Swiss and French researchers say that this protein complex forms a molecular spring at the surface of the cell, and operates like a watch spring.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Emmanuel Derivery and colleagues

Monday 18th January 2016

During asymmetric cell division, fate determinants contained in signaling endosomes segregate unequally into one of the two daughter cells, thereby initiating asymmetric cell fate determination. Here, we found that this unequal endosome partitioning relies on the symmetry breaking of the central spindle.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Huan Bao and colleagues

Friday 15th January 2016

Secretion of neurotransmitters via exocytotic fusion pores is essential for synaptic transmission. However, the ephemeral nature of fusion pores has severely limited previous efforts to study their composition and structure. Here, we developed an in vitro system to probe the biochemical properties of fusion pores.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Matthias Heidenreich and colleagues

Thursday 14th January 2016

Novel genome engineering tools based on the CRISPR-Cas system enable a broad range of applications from basic biology to biotechnology and medicine. The tremendous power of this technology for studying the complexity of the nervous system has now been highlighted in a recent article published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience.


HFSP Long-Term Fellows Magor Lőrincz and Eran Lottem and colleagues

Tuesday 12th January 2016

Involved in the regulation of mood, perception and some pathological conditions, serotonin is a key neuromodulator substance, yet its exact role in sensory processing has remained elusive. Specific activation of serotonin containing neurons in the brain using optogenetic tools caused a suppression of spontaneous but not sensory stimulation evoked activity in the olfactory cortex. Our results show for the first time that serotonin regulates the balance between signals generated internally and sensory...