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SPECIAL ISSUE: 3D Cell Biology





Summary: At implantation, attachment of embryonic trophectoderm alters epithelial polarity and invasive trophoblast differentiates. We describe cellular and molecular events during the epithelial phase in rodent and human.


Summary: This Commentary provides an overview of the imaging technologies currently available for performing cell biology in vivo.

Summary: We discuss microtubule functions that control cell shape and motility in 3D matrices, and the differences of microtubule involvement in cell morphogenesis and motility between 2D and 3D environments.

Summary: Cells are sensitive to some biophysical aspects of the environment. This Commentary reviews how bio-functionalized substrates can be used to analyze how cells sense and interact with their environment.

Summary: Engineered 3D cultures of cells have mainly focused on epithelial tissues. In this Commentary, advances in engineered microtissue systems to model fibrous tissues under mechanical load are discussed.

Summary: In this Commentary, the roles of cell and tissue mechanics in brain development, homeostasis and neural degeneration, as well as in brain cancer, are reviewed.


Summary: The power of new 3D imaging technologies, and optimal preservation of tissue samples, has helped to identify previously uncharacterized Golgi structures that sequester cytoplasmic material in neurons.

Summary: Regulated cell shedding is important for epithelial tissue turnover, but the signals controlling it are poorly understood. This study shows that epidermal growth factor suppresses shedding through MAPK activation.

Summary: Non-muscle myosin II (NMII) is the key regulator for the control of border cell behaviours. Positively regulated by EGFR, NMII induces the switch of border cell movement from linear to rotational.

Summary: A dynamic 3D model of HG-PIN was created using immortalized human prostate epithelial cells with a basal cell defect. The model can be used to test molecular events that disrupt cancer progression.

Summary: EphA2 was used as a prototypical receptor tyrosine kinase to map a signaling protein interaction network in 2D and 3D stratified epithelial tissue cultures composed of primary human skin cells.


Summary: By modulating tight junctions, cell-cycle-dependent interactions among the TGFβ, BMP and apicobasal polarity pathways create a dynamic neural epithelium that can be shaped to form a closed neural tube.

Summary: The unique 3D architecture of podocytes is difficult to visualize by conventional SEM. In this study, the developmental process of podocytes was investigated by block-face SEM imaging.

Summary: 3D imaging methods identify three structural and functional domains within β-cells in islets: apical, lateral and basal.

Summary: Tension applied through 3D matrices directs invasion of tumor cells along the tensional axis. Rap1 senses the tension and polarizes the cytoskeletal and subsequent adhesion remodeling.

Summary: As shown by focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy, the cytostome–cytopharynx complex of T. cruzi epimastigotes disassembles in mitosis, to assemble again in each daughter cell at the end of cell division.

Summary: Fluorescence and electron microscopy analysis of HMECs grown in 3D reveals deep nuclear invaginations and tunnels that wrap around cytoskeleton cables, thus connecting the microenvironment to the nucleus.

Summary: Increased ROS levels contribute to the disruption of polarized acinar structures and induce monocyte recruitment through induction of the NF-κB pathway and cytokine expression.

Summary: Colon cancer spheroids have decreased AKT–mTOR–S6K activity, spatial differences in signaling intensity as well as differing responses upon inhibition of the AKT–mTOR–S6K or MAPK axes in comparison with 2D cultures.

Summary: Using a 3D culture model of thyroid morphogenesis, it is revealed that thyroid follicular cell polarity depends on the Pax8 transcription factor and is linked to the β1-integrin–laminin pathway through Cdh16.

Summary: Acoustic patterning techniques provide a non-invasive method to direct the spatial organization of endothelial cells within 3D collagen hydrogels and, in turn, control microvessel morphogenesis.

Summary: ZO-1–occludin interactions provide signals that are required for polarization and 3D morphogenesis; these results elucidate the contributions of tight junction structural proteins to 3D epithelial organization.


Summary: Study of virus and cell functions by molecular mapping and three-dimensional imaging of a viral replication complex using a clonable tag for electron microscopy analysis.

Summary: Here we introduce tools to easily track, ablate or monitor subsets of cells in the developing zebrafish epidermis, providing an excellent in vivo model system to study a living epithelium.

Summary: A new workflow for 3D correlative light and electron microscopy of cell monolayers, applied to studies of M.-tuberculosis-infected cells, HIV-1-infected cells and entotic cell-in-cell structures.

Summary: Use of a non-direct-contact platform for measurement of the spatiotemporal dynamics of matrix elasticity when remodeled by cells cultured in three-dimensional contexts.


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