From the JCB Archive

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Local copy of links to historic papers from JCB.

  • Actin in non-muscle cells Howard Holtzer’s group uses heavy meromyosin as a probe to find actin filaments in non-muscle cells.
  • Actin in locomotion Ken Yamada, Brian Spooner and Norman Wessels use the newly discovered drug cytochalasin B to show that actin filaments drive cell locomotion.
  • Actin pushes in bizarre places Lewis Tilney discovers that actin polymerization is a means of force generation. His studies use unorthodox systems: the acrosomal reaction in both starfish and sea cucumber sperm and the cell-to-cell motility of the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium.
  • Powered by gel Thomas Stossel and John Hartwig nab the very first actin-binding protein, find that it spurs actin fibers in vitro to coalesce into a mesh, and tie this process to what happens in vivo during phagocytosis.
  • Actin and microtubules interact via MAP A viscometer allows Linda Griffith and Tom Pollard to demonstrate that actin and microtubules interact via MAPs.


  • The discovery of synaptic vesicles The visualization of the messengers of the synapse — synaptic vesicles — gives the hypothesis of quantal transmitter release a structural correlate.
  • Ribosomes, or the particles of Palade George Palade identifies particulate components of the cytoplasm, known initially as the particles of Palade and later as ribosomes.
  • Microsomes are the in vitro ER George Palade and Philip Siekevitz unite the fields of microscopy and fractionation in this work. They conclude that Albert Claude’s biochemical fraction called microsomes are the in vitro version of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) — a cytological feature first noted by Keith Porter.
  • Catching sight of lysosomes Lysosomes are identified by Christian deDuve when a membrane barrier gradually dissolves, thus yielding the tell-tale release of an enzyme activity over time.
  • The invention of freeze fracture EM and the determination of membrane structure Russell Steere introduces his home-made contraption for freeze fracture electron microscopy (EM), and Daniel Branton uses it to conclude that membranes are bilayers.
  • A pathway for secretion Radioactive proteins are followed after their synthesis as they progress towards their secretory fate; this allows the definition of not only trafficking pathways but of the organelles that lie along that pathway.
  • Cilia get arms for bending Björn Afzelius identifies cilia arms and comes up with the filament sliding model of cilia movement. The sliding is visualized first by Peter Satir and more directly by Ian Gibbons.
  • Heterochromatin is late Antonio Lima-de-Faria shows that heterochromatin replicates later than euchromatin.
  • How to spot a satellite cell Based on appearance alone, Alexander Mauro identifies satellite cells as a possible muscle stem cell.
  • The nucleolar origin of rRNA Base compositions and half-lives suggest to Jan-Erik Edström that the nucleolus is the source of rRNA.
  • How vessels become leaky Guido Majno and George Palade find that inflamed blood vessels leak when endothelial cells loosen their grip on one another.
  • Autophagy unveiled Autophagy is identified, given a function, and named.
  • There’s DNA in those organelles DNA is directly visualized in first chloroplasts and then mitochondria.
  • A cell line that is under control George Todaro and Howard Green establish the 3T3 cell line — the first well behaved, contact-inhibited cell line.
  • Defining junctional complexes A mess of nomenclature is sorted out by Marilyn Farquhar and George Palade, who use superb microscopy to define three of the four major types of cell–cell junctions in the polarized epithelial cells of vertebrates.
  • Microtubules get a name Microtubules are named, and recognized as a widespread phenomenon even outside of the spindle.
  • Coated pits bring in the yolk A study of yolk protein uptake leads Thomas Roth and Keith Porter to propose that endocytosis is specific to a particular cargo and that the vesicle coat might be functioning in both selection and mechanical molding.
  • The first supper Fritz Miller and George Palade carry out one of the first examples of combined cytochemistry and electron microscopy. They find that enzymes and substrates colocalize in lysosomes.
  • Were mitochondrial contractions driving the cellular energy cycle? In the days before Mitchell’s chemiosmotic hypothesis, Charles Hackenbrock and others are intrigued by the correlation of an in vitro mitochondrial structural change with oxidative phosphorylation function.
  • Excess secretory products fuse with lysosomes Robert Smith and Marilyn Farquhar find that excess secretory granules are not stored but fuse with multivesicular bodies (MVBs) that then mature and fuse with lysosomes.
  • Defining gap junctions Jean-Paul Revel and Morris Karnovsky unite the fields of adhesion and intercellular current transfer around a distinct, structural correlate called the gap junction.
  • Endothelial tight junctions form the blood–brain barrier What is the cellular correlate of the so called blood-brain barrier? Thomas Reese and Morris Karnovsky find that it is the junctions between endothelial cells in the brain vasculature. Their discovery comes thanks to three factors: high resolution electron microscopy; the development of sensitive tracer methods; and a fortuitous lunch date.
  • Microtubules shape the cell Based on cold treatment and correlation, Lewis Tilney and Keith Porter find evidence that microtubule polymerization is important for the development and maintenance of cell shape.
  • The discovery of tubulin Tubulin is isolated by Gary Borisy and Edwin Taylor as a colchicine-binding activity, and by Ian Gibbon’s group from cilia.
  • How to make a lysosome Daniel Friend and Marilyn Farquhar find that transport pathways intersect: synthesized enzyme meets endocytosed protein in the lysosome.
  • Seeing peroxisomes Christian de Duve’s group isolates and characterizes peroxisomes.
  • Not actin, not myosin, but intermediate They are neither thick nor thin: Howard Holtzer identifies intermediate filaments as a completely new kind of filament.
  • Tension gets chromosomes oriented Using grasshopper cells in meiosis, Bruce Nicklas and Carol Koch show that attachments of mono-oriented chromosomes can be stabilized using a glass needle to pull on one of the chromosomes. Thus tension between two kinetochores, generated only in the bi-oriented state, might discriminate between correct and incorrect attachments.
  • Actin in non-muscle cells Howard Holtzer’s group uses heavy meromyosin as a probe to find actin filaments in non-muscle cells.
  • Growth cones make proteins, too The recent discovery that elongating axons can synthesize proteins locally is pre-dated by 30 years by Virginia Tennyson’s discovery that growth cones have ribosomes.
  • Actin in locomotion Ken Yamada, Brian Spooner and Norman Wessels use the newly discovered drug cytochalasin B to show that actin filaments drive cell locomotion.
  • Spectrin is peripheral S. Jonathan Singer, Garth Nicolson, and Vincent Marchesi use red cell ghosts to provide strong evidence for the existence of peripheral membrane proteins.
  • A macrophage mystery leads to dendritic discovery In the days before MHC function is defined, digestion of antigens in macrophages is mistakenly taken as evidence against the cells’ role in antigen presentation. But the study leads Ralph Steinman and Zanvil Cohn to their vital discovery of dendritic cells.
  • Curbside recycling at the synapse When John Heuser and Thomas Reese visualize neurotransmitter 'quanta' being released, they also catch sight of endocytic recycling that forms new synaptic vesicles. Ralph Steinman confirms that significant plasma membrane recycling must also be occurring in other cell types.
  • Actin pushes in bizarre places Lewis Tilney discovers that actin polymerization is a means of force generation. His studies use unorthodox systems: the acrosomal reaction in both starfish and sea cucumber sperm and the cell-to-cell motility of the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium.
  • Lost in translation: the signal hypothesis Günter Blobel and Bernhard Dobberstein use a Rube Goldberg concoction of mouse RNA, rabbit ribosomes, and dog ER to reconstruct cell biology's version of the ship in the bottle: how proteins a cell intends to secrete end up in the endoplasmic reticulum.
  • Powered by gel Thomas Stossel and John Hartwig nab the very first actin-binding protein, find that it spurs actin fibers in vitro to coalesce into a mesh, and tie this process to what happens in vivo during phagocytosis.
  • EGF is internalized and degraded Occupied growth factor receptors do not remain statically at the cell surface, say Graham Carpenter and Stanley Cohen, but are internalized to allow continued signaling or downregulation.
  • Contacting the matrix Can the extracellular matrix (ECM) act as an inducer? Using an ingenious combination of biochemistry and tissue culture on Nucleopore filters, Elizabeth Hay and Stephen Meier show that direct contact with ECM is necessary for corneal epithelium to differentiate.
  • Myosin powers cytokinesis Issei Mabuchi and Makoto Okuno, in the first use of antibodies as protein inhibitors in live cells, show that myosin interacts with actin to provide the force behind cell cleavage.
  • The sticky business of discovering cadherins A change in the recipe for a trypsin solution allows Masatoshi Takeichi to distinguish calcium-dependent adhesion.
  • Basal lamina instructs innervation Joshua Sanes and Jack McMahan show that regenerating nerve axons take their cues for new synapse formation from the extracellular matrix (ECM) of muscle cells and not from the muscle cells themselves.
  • Isolating SRP Walter, Blobel, Warren and Dobberstein pin down the proteins (and RNA) that grab onto signal sequences.
  • Roll-your-own endothelial tubes Tom Maciag and Michael Stemerman find the critical factor that keeps endothelial cells alive and controls their tube formation.
  • More than one way to attach Wen-Tien Chen and S. Jonathan Singer define different connections between membrane receptors and extracellular matrix.
  • Dishing up bone formation Hiroaki Kodama establishes a cell line of osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) that mineralize in vitro.
  • Yeast becomes a cell biologist Adams, Pringle, and Kilmartin introduce new antibody techniques, and budding yeast makes its debut as a cell biology workhorse.
  • MAP1c is a motor Bryce Paschal and Richard Vallee show that dynein is the other motor.
  • Making tendons David Birk and Robert Trelstad discover how the cell manipulates collagen to form a tendon.
  • Passenger proteins check in Carol Cooke and William Earnshaw identify the first passenger proteins and catalog their strange movements.
  • Centrosome choreography Tony Hyman investigates how centrosome movements are choreographed, and how they determine the division axis.
  • Active neuronal death Eugene Johnson shows that neurons lacking trophic factors actively kill themselves.

Damsky and Zena Werb show that changes in ECM interaction change expression of ECM-modifying enzymes.

  • Skeleton crew Anne Ridley and Alan Hall find that rho and its relatives control actin dynamics.
  • ECM determines fate Streuli and Bissell find that extracellular matrix can tell a cell what to do and what to become.
  • Dying On Cue Yuri Lazebnik and William Earnshaw create a system for in vitro apoptosis.
  • Hold on for dear life Steve Frisch and Hunter Francis find that epithelial cells that lose touch with the extracellular matrix kill themselves by anoikis.