Animal models are essential for investigating the pathogenesis and developing the treatment of human diseases. Identification of genetic mutations responsible for neurodegenerative diseases has enabled the creation of a large number of small animal models that mimic genetic defects found in the affected individuals. Of the current animal models, rodents with genetic modifications are the most commonly used animal models and provided important insights into pathogenesis. However, most of genetically modified rodent models lack overt neurodegeneration, imposing challenges and obstacles in utilizing them to rigorously test the therapeutic effects on neurodegeneration. Recent studies that used CRISPR/Cas9-targeted large animal (pigs and monkeys) have uncovered important pathological events that resemble neurodegeneration in the patient’s brain but could not be produced in small animal models. Here we highlight the unique nature of large animals to model neurodegenerative diseases as well as the limitations and challenges in establishing large animal models of neurodegenerative diseases, with focus on Huntington disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Parkinson diseases. We also discuss how to use the important pathogenic insights from large animal models to make rodent models more capable of recapitulating important pathological features of neurodegenerative diseases.
Senescence, a stable state of growth arrest, affects many physiological and pathophysiological processes, especially aging. Previous work has indicated that transcription factors (TFs) play a role in regulating senescence. However, a systematic study of regulatory TFs during replicative senescence (RS) using multi-omics analysis is still lacking. Here, we generated time-resolved RNA-seq, reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) and ATAC-seq datasets during RS of mouse skin fibroblasts, which demonstrated that an enhanced inflammatory response and reduced proliferative capacity were the main characteristics of RS in both the transcriptome and epigenome. Through integrative analysis and genetic manipulations, we found that transcription factors E2F4, TEAD1 and AP-1 are key regulators of RS. Overexpression of E2f4 improved cellular proliferative capacity, attenuated SA-β-Gal activity and changed RS-associated differentially methylated sites (DMSs). Moreover, knockdown of Tead1 attenuated SA-β-Gal activity and partially altered the RS-associated transcriptome. In addition, knock-down of Atf3, one member of AP-1 superfamily TFs, reduced Cdkn2a (p16) expression in pre-senescent fibroblasts. Taken together, the results of this study identified transcription factors regulating the senescence program through multi-omics analysis, providing potential therapeutic targets for anti-aging.
The nuclear pore complex (NPC), one of the largest protein complexes in eukaryotes, serves as a physical gate to regulate nucleocytoplasmic transport. Here, we determined the 8 Å resolution cryo-electron microscopic (cryo-EM) structure of the outer rings containing nuclear ring (NR) and cytoplasmic ring (CR) from the Xenopus laevis NPC, with local resolutions reaching 4.9 Å. With the aid of AlphaFold2, we managed to build a pseudoatomic model of the outer rings, including the Y complexes and flanking components. In this most comprehensive and accurate model of outer rings to date, the almost complete Y complex structure exhibits much tighter interaction in the hub region. In addition to two copies of Y complexes, each asymmetric subunit in CR contains five copies of Nup358, two copies of the Nup214 complex, two copies of Nup205 and one copy of newly identified Nup93, while that in NR contains one copy of Nup205, one copy of ELYS and one copy of Nup93. These in-depth structural features represent a great advance in understanding the assembly of NPCs.