A trans-regional research led by Prof. Yu HUANG of CUHK has revealed that YAP/TAZ, a transcriptional regulator in vascular endothelial cells, has close links to vascular inflammation and the formation of atherosclerosis. Based on the studies made on induced atherosclerotic mice, the research team has elucidated new therapeutic targets against atherosclerosis.
Researchers from HKU established a new animal model for studying the pathogenesis, treatments and vaccines for Zika virus. The team led by Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, Dr Jasper Chan Fuk-woo and Dr Anna Zhang Jinxia found that immunosuppressed mice developed disseminated infection and inflammation in multiple organs, including the testis. The mice were effectively treated by recombinant type 1 interferons. The work has been published in EBioMedicine.
A research team led by Prof Mingjie Zhang at HKUST, has achieved a breakthrough that provides mechanistic insights into the causes that lead to various neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism, intellectual disorders and schizophrenia. Their studies of the SynGAP/PSD-95 complex formation unexpectedly found physical phase transition in synaptic signaling activity of neurons. The research findings were published in Cell on August 25, 2016.
In most animal species, mitochondrial DNA is inherited solely from the mother, unlike the nuclear DNA that is inherited from both parents. Why and how fathers’ mitochondrial DNA disappears from the zygotes remains a mystery to biologists. To solve the mystery, Professor Byung-Ho Kang at CUHK and Prof. Ding Xue’s group at the University of Colorado Boulder examined the mitochondria in the sperm of C. elegans using electron tomography. They found that the sperm mitochondria started self-degradation once a sperm penetrates an egg.
Despite having been discovered in Uganda for almost 60 years, <20 human cases of Zika infection were reported before 2007. The massive epidemics in the Pacific islands associated with the ZIKV Asian lineage in 2007 and 2013 were followed by explosive outbreaks in Latin America in 2015.
Jasper Chan Fuk-woo, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, explained that the virus usually stays in the blood for around two weeks.
“The risk of an outbreak in Hong Kong is not particularly high at the moment, as it is not unexpected that we will have imported cases,” he said. “But it’s more if the city sees its first local case. The coming two to three weeks will be very critical.”