Coronavirus disease 2019 , caused by the novel human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is currently a major threat to public health worldwide. The viral spike protein binds the host receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) via the receptor-binding domain (RBD), and thus is believed to be a major target to block viral entry. Both SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV share this mechanism.Here we functionally analyzed the key amino acid residues located within receptor binding motif of RBD that may interact with human ACE2 and available neutralizing antibodies. The in vivo experiments showed that immunization with either the SARS-CoV RBD or SARS-CoV-2 RBD was able to induce strong clade-specific neutralizing antibodies in mice; however, the cross-neutralizing activity was much weaker, indicating that there are distinct antigenic features in the RBDs of the two viruses. This finding was confirmed with the available neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2. It is worth noting that a newly developed SARS-CoV-2 human antibody, HA001, was able to neutralize SARS-CoV-2, but failed to recognize SARS-CoV. Moreover, the potential epitope residues of HA001 were identified as A475 and F486 in the SARS-CoV-2 RBD, representing new binding sites for neutralizing antibodies. Overall, our study has revealed the presence of different key epitopes between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, which indicates the necessity to develop new prophylactic vaccine and antibody drugs for specific control of the COVID-19 pandemic although the available agents obtained from the SARS-CoV study are unneglectable.
Grid cells in layer II of the medial entorhinal cortex form a principal component of the mammalian neural representation of space. The firing pattern of a single grid cell has been hypothesized to be generated through attractor dynamics in a network with a specific local connectivity including both excitatory and inhibitory connections. However, experimental evidence supporting the presence of such connectivity among grid cells in layer II is limited. Here we report recordings from more than 600 neuron pairs in rat entorhinal slices, demonstrating that stellate cells, the principal cell type in the layer II grid network, are mainly interconnected via inhibitory interneurons. Using a model attractor network, we demonstrate that stable grid firing can emerge from a simple recurrent inhibitory network. Our findings thus suggest that the observed inhibitory microcircuitry between stellate cells is sufficient to generate grid-cell firing patterns in layer II of the medial entorhinal cortex.
Insulin resistance and diabetes might promote neurodegenerative disease, but a molecular link between these disorders is unknown. Many factors are responsible for brain growth, patterning, and survival, including the insulin-insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-signaling cascades that are mediated by tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate (IRS) proteins. Irs2 signaling mediates peripheral insulin action and pancreatic beta-cell function, and its failure causes diabetes in mice. In this study, we reveal two important roles for Irs2 signaling in the mouse brain. First, disruption of the Irs2 gene reduced neuronal proliferation during development by 50%, which dissociated brain growth from Irs1-dependent body growth. Second, neurofibrillary tangles containing phosphorylated tau accumulated in the hippocampus of old Irs2 knock-out mice, suggesting that Irs2 signaling is neuroprotective. Thus, dysregulation of the Irs2 branch of the insulin-Igf-signaling cascade reveals a molecular link between diabetes and neurodegenerative disease.
Little is currently known about the alterations in the topological organization of the white matter (WM) structural networks in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). In the present study, we used diffusion tensor imaging and deterministic tractography to map the WM structural networks in 39 MS patients and 39 age- and gender-matched healthy controls. Graph theoretical methods were applied to investigate alterations in the network efficiency in these patients. The MS patients and the controls exhibited efficient small-world properties in their WM structural networks. However, the global and local network efficiencies were significantly decreased in the MS patients compared with the controls, with the most pronounced changes observed in the sensorimotor, visual, default-mode, and language areas. Furthermore, the decreased network efficiencies were significantly correlated with the expanded disability status scale scores, the disease durations, and the total WM lesion loads. Together, the results suggest a disrupted integrity in the large-scale brain systems in MS, thus providing new insights into the understanding of MS connectome. Our data also suggest that a topology-based brain network analysis can provide potential biomarkers for disease diagnosis and for monitoring the progression and treatment effects for patients with MS.
Fsp27, a member of the Cide family proteins, was shown to localize to lipid droplet and promote lipid storage in adipocytes. We aimed to understand the biological role of Fsp27 in regulating adipose tissue differentiation, insulin sensitivity and energy balance. Fsp27 −/− mice and Fsp27/lep double deficient mice were generated and we examined the adiposity, whole body metabolism, BAT and WAT morphology, insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial activity, and gene expression changes in these mouse strains. Furthermore, we isolated mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) from wildtype and Fsp27 −/− mice, followed by their differentiation into adipocytes in vitro. We found that Fsp27 is expressed in both brown adipose tissue (BAT) and white adipose tissue (WAT) and its levels were significantly elevated in the WAT and liver of leptin-deficient ob/ob mice. Fsp27 −/− mice had increased energy expenditure, lower levels of plasma triglycerides and free fatty acids. Furthermore, Fsp27 −/− and Fsp27/lep double-deficient mice are resistant to diet-induced obesity and display increased insulin sensitivity. Moreover, white adipocytes in Fsp27 −/− mice have reduced triglycerides accumulation and smaller lipid droplets, while levels of mitochondrial proteins, mitochondrial size and activity are dramatically increased. We further demonstrated that BAT-specific genes and key metabolic controlling factors such as FoxC2, PPAR and PGC1α were all markedly upregulated. In contrast, factors inhibiting BAT differentiation such as Rb, p107 and RIP140 were down-regulated in the WAT of Fsp27 −/− mice. Remarkably, Fsp27 −/− MEFs differentiated in vitro show many brown adipocyte characteristics in the presence of the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3). Our data thus suggest that Fsp27 acts as a novel regulator in vivo to control WAT identity, mitochondrial activity and insulin sensitivity.
We used a combined optogenetic-electrophysiological strategy to determine the functional identity of entorhinal cells with output to the place-cell population in the hippocampus. Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) was expressed selectively in the hippocampus-targeting subset of entorhinal projection neurons by infusing retrogradely transportable ChR2-coding recombinant adeno-associated virus in the hippocampus. Virally transduced ChR2-expressing cells were identified in medial entorhinal cortex as cells that fired at fixed minimal latencies in response to local flashes of light. A large number of responsive cells were grid cells, but short-latency firing was also induced in border cells and head-direction cells, as well as cells with irregular or nonspatial firing correlates, which suggests that place fields may be generated by convergence of signals from a broad spectrum of entorhinal functional cell types.
Secretion of triacylglycerol-enriched very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs) from the liver is vital for maintaining plasma lipid homeostasis. However, the process of VLDL assembly and lipidation is not well characterized. Here, we observed that liver of Cideb null mice had higher levels of triacylglycerols accompanied by low level of VLDL secretion. Furthermore, VLDL particles secreted from hepatocytes of Cideb null mice have low levels of triacylglycerols but normal levels of apoB. We also observed that Cideb is localized to endoplasmic reticulum and lipid droplets. Importantly, we have identified apoB as a Cideb-interacting protein. By infecting adenoviruses expressing various Cideb truncations into hepatocytes of Cideb null mice, we found that Cideb requires both its apoB-binding and lipid droplet association domains to restore the secretion of triacylglycerol-enriched VLDL particles. Our data suggest that Cideb promotes the formation of triacylglycerol-enriched VLDL particles and provides a molecular insight into VLDL lipidation and maturation in hepatocytes.
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