CNS injury often severs axons. Scar tissue that forms locally at the lesion site is thought to block axonal regeneration, resulting in permanent functional deficits. We report that inhibiting the generation of progeny by a subclass of pericytes led to decreased fibrosis and extracellular matrix deposition after spinal cord injury in mice. Regeneration of raphespinal and corticospinal tract axons was enhanced and sensorimotor function recovery improved following spinal cord injury in animals with attenuated pericyte-derived scarring. Using optogenetic stimulation, we demonstrate that regenerated corticospinal tract axons integrated into the local spinal cord circuitry below the lesion site. The number of regenerated axons correlated with improved sensorimotor function recovery. In conclusion, attenuation of pericyte-derived fibrosis represents a promising therapeutic approach to facilitate recovery following CNS injury.
Radial glia (RG) are embryonic neural stem cells (NSCs) that produce neuroblasts and provide fibers that act as a scaffold for neuroblast migration during embryonic development. Although they normally disappear soon after birth, here we found that RG fibers can persist in injured neonatal mouse brains and act as a scaffold for postnatal ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ)-derived neuroblasts that migrate to the lesion site. This injury-induced maintenance of RG fibers has a limited time window during post-natal development and promotes directional saltatory movement of neuroblasts via N-cadherin-mediated cell-cell contacts that promote RhoA activation. Transplanting an N-cadherin-containing scaffold into injured neonatal brains likewise promotes migration and maturation of V-SVZ-derived neuroblasts, leading to functional improvements in impaired gait behaviors. Together these results suggest that RG fibers enable postnatal V-SVZ-derived neuroblasts to migrate toward sites of injury, thereby enhancing neuronal regeneration and functional recovery from neonatal brain injuries.
The development of soluble envelope glycoprotein (Env) mimetics displaying ordered trimeric symmetry has ushered in a new era in HIV-1 vaccination. The recently reported native, flexibly linked (NFL) design allows the generation of native-like trimers from clinical isolates at high yields and homogeneity. As the majority of infections world-wide are of the clade C subtype, we examined responses in non-human primates to well-ordered subtype C 16055 trimers administered in soluble or high-density liposomal formats. We detected superior germinal center formation and enhanced autologous neutralizing antibodies against the neutralization-resistant (tier 2) 16055 virus following inoculation of liposome-arrayed trimers. Epitope mapping of the neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) indicated major contacts with the V2 apex, and 3D electron microscopy reconstructions of Fab-trimer complexes revealed a horizontal binding angle to the Env spike. These vaccine-elicited mAbs target the V2 cap, demonstrating a means to accomplish tier 2 virus neutralization by penetrating the dense N-glycan shield.