April, 2005

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First Line of Embryonic Stem Cells from Cloned Cattle Embryos Jointly Established by China and USA

The Research Groups led separately by Dr. Duan Enkui of the Institute of Zoology, CAS and by Dr. Yang Xiangzhong and Dr. Tian Xiuchun from the University of Connecticut have jointly established a stable line of embryonic stem cells from the cloned cattle embryos for the first time, which can make unlimited copies of themselves and can morph into cells for nearly all bovine body tissues and organs of cattle. Biology of Reproduction published their achievements on the Internet on March 2.

New Ways to Interrupt AIDS Virus' Replication Found

On March 25, the University of Science and Technology of China announced that, through cooperation with foreign institutions, the research staff of the university have found a new way to interrupt replication of AIDS virus, and thus providing a new way for research and development of anti-AIDS medicine.

Prof. Wang Zhiyong briefed: according to recent fundamental research, to "spread" in human body, the AIDS virus must first attach to a normal cell, then trying to "penetrate" the cell to finalize replication. This is a process of vital importance. "Our idea is to find something that takes the position on the cell where the virus attaches itself to before the virus come. In this way, the virus will not gain access to the cell, and will not harm the human body naturally," said Prof. Wang. After three years' concerted effort, the researchers with the university and their coworkers have finally found the "excellent position taker", a type of small chemical compound, which can hopefully interrupt replication and spread of the AIDS virus in human body and brings about a new idea for developing AIDS drugs.

At present, the preliminary research result was published in American Chemical Society£¬which was highly commented.

New Discovery on Mechanism of Cell Membrane TRPC Channel
By Scientists of CAS Published in Nature

On March 10, Nature published an article about the discovery on the new mechanism guiding the direction of nerve growth by the Chinese scientists. A research team headed by Yuan Xiaobing and Wang Yizheng, research fellows of the Institute of Neurosciences of the Shanghai Academy of Biological Science, CAS, made the discovery for the first time in the world: at the cell membrane of the nerve growth cones there exists a positive ion channel called TRPC, which plays an essential role in sending signals of nerve growth directions.

In the research, Yuan Xiaobing, Wang Yizheng, with their students made the first observation of extracellular guiding factors, or a protein named brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), using a method to change the direction of growth cones. The researchers found that BDNF is able to open up a TRPC channel, in the course of sending signals to cell membranes, which elevates Ca2+ concentration within axonal growth cones. Ca2+ is an essential material to promote the growth of nerve cells. The elevated concentration tends to guide nerve fibers to grow in a direction toward the BDNF of a higher concentration and thus influences the nerve growth direction.

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