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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 30, 2024
  2. Abstract Due to commonalities in pathophysiology, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) represents a uniquely accessible model to investigate therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, leading us to examine whether pathways of disease progression are shared across neurodegenerative conditions. Here we use single-nucleus RNA sequencing to profile lesions from 11 postmortem human retinas with age-related macular degeneration and 6 control retinas with no history of retinal disease. We create a machine-learning pipeline based on recent advances in data geometry and topology and identify activated glial populations enriched in the early phase of disease. Examining single-cell data from Alzheimer’s disease and progressive multiple sclerosis with our pipeline, we find a similar glial activation profile enriched in the early phase of these neurodegenerative diseases. In late-stage age-related macular degeneration, we identify a microglia-to-astrocyte signaling axis mediated by interleukin-1 β which drives angiogenesis characteristic of disease pathogenesis. We validated this mechanism using in vitro and in vivo assays in mouse, identifying a possible new therapeutic target for AMD and possibly other neurodegenerative conditions. Thus, due to shared glial states, the retina provides a potential system for investigating therapeutic approaches in neurodegenerative diseases. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  3. Skin homeostasis is maintained by stem cells, which must communicate to balance their regenerative behaviors. Yet, how adult stem cells signal across regenerative tissue remains unknown due to challenges in studying signaling dynamics in live mice. We combined live imaging in the mouse basal stem cell layer with machine learning tools to analyze patterns of Ca2+ signaling. We show that basal cells display dynamic intercellular Ca2+ signaling among local neighborhoods. We find that these Ca2+ signals are coordinated across thousands of cells and that this coordination is an emergent property of the stem cell layer. We demonstrate that G2 cells are required to initiate normal levels of Ca2+ signaling, while connexin43 connects basal cells to orchestrate tissue-wide coordination of Ca2+ signaling. Lastly, we find that Ca2+ signaling drives cell cycle progression, revealing a communication feedback loop. This work provides resolution into how stem cells at different cell cycle stages coordinate tissue-wide signaling during epidermal regeneration.

     
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  4. null (Ed.)