Short reviews, long-term impacts: nuclear receptors and molecular heart beats

The Journal of Biological Chemistry’s thematic minireview series aim to round up the best of cutting-edge research and present it in an approachable format, establishing guideposts for scientists in near and far fields.

In 2010, the journal published nine thematic minireview series. Just a few short months into 2011, the JBC associate editors already have an equal number of series in the publication pipeline.

The year was kicked off with a series coordinated by Jerry B Lingrel called “Nuclear receptors in biology and disease,” and last month marked the online launch of Jim Stull’s series, which is titled “Signaling in cardiac sarcomeres in health and disease.”

Lingrel’s nuclear receptor series so far contains five minireviews covering the steroid receptor coactivator family, estrogen signaling via estrogen receptor β, small molecule inhibitors as probes for estrogen and androgen receptor action, cellular processing of the glucocorticoid receptor gene and protein, and the exploration of endogenous ligands for nuclear receptors. Lingrel says in his prologue, co-written with Sohaib Khan, that today, more than 50 years after the discovery of the estrogen receptor, “the scientific community owes … founding members of the nuclear receptor family much gratitude, for they have taken us through a remarkable expedition filled with eureka moments to understand how hormones and other ligands function!”

The mission of Stull’s series, he says in a prologue co-written with R. John Solaro, is to help “identify new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies guided by our understanding of the role of sarcomeric proteins in cardiac disorders.” The minireviews included cover the cardiac Z-disc signaling network, the giant protein titin, proteolysis in the cardiac sarcomere, signaling and myosin binding protein C, signaling pathways of myosin regulatory light chain, protein phosphorylation and signal transduction in cardiac thin filaments, and redox signaling and cardiac sarcomeres. Seeing as how Stull’s series reports on matters of the heart, it seems fitting that his wife and collaborator, Kristine E. Kamm, is a co-author of one of the minireviews.

Several other series already are rounding the bend to completion, including “Computational systems biology,” which is being organized by Joan Conaway and guest editor Arcady Mushegian, and another series tentatively titled “Biochemistry in medicine: asthma” that was conceived by the late Dale Benos and is now being shepherded by Luke O’Neill. 

For more information about the JBC’s stand-alone and thematic minireviews, visit the JBC website. If you have an idea for a future JBC minireview or series, contact Angela Hopp.

Angela Hopp ( is managing editor for special projects of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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