A fundamental challenge in neuroscience is to understand how biologically salient motor behaviors emerge from properties of the underlying neural circuits. Crayfish, krill, prawns, lobsters, and other long-tailed crustaceans swim by rhythmically moving limbs called swimmerets. Over the entire biological range of animal size and paddling frequency, movements of adjacent swimmerets maintain an approximate quarter-period phase difference with the more posterior limbs leading the cycle. We use a computational fluid dynamics model to show that this frequency-invariant stroke pattern is the most effective and mechanically efficient paddling rhythm across the full range of biologically relevant Reynolds numbers in crustacean swimming. We then show that the organization of the neural circuit underlying swimmeret coordination provides a robust mechanism for generating this stroke pattern. Specifically, the wave-like limb coordination emerges robustly from a combination of the half-center structure of the local central pattern generating circuits (CPGs) that drive the movements of each limb, the asymmetric network topology of the connections between local CPGs, and the phase response properties of the local CPGs, which we measure experimentally. Thus, the crustacean swimmeret system serves as a concrete example in which the architecture of a neural circuit leads to optimal behavior in a robust manner. Furthermore, we consider all possible connection topologies between local CPGs and show that the natural connectivity pattern generates the biomechanically optimal stroke pattern most robustly. Given the high metabolic cost of crustacean swimming, our results suggest that natural selection has pushed the swimmeret neural circuit toward a connection topology that produces optimal behavior.
Members of the ETS transcription factor family have been implicated in several cancers, where they are often dysregulated by genomic derangement. ETS variant 1 (ETV1) is an ETS factor gene that undergoes chromosomal translocation in prostate cancers and Ewing sarcomas, amplification in melanomas, and lineage dysregulation in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Pharmacologic perturbation of ETV1 would be appealing in these cancers; however, oncogenic transcription factors are often deemed "undruggable" by conventional methods. Here, we used small-molecule microarray screens to identify and characterize drug-like compounds that modulate the biologic function of ETV1. We identified the 1,3,5-triazine small molecule BRD32048 as a top candidate ETV1 perturbagen. BRD32048 binds ETV1 directly, modulating both ETV1-mediated transcriptional activity and invasion of ETV1-driven cancer cells. Moreover, BRD32048 inhibits p300-dependent acetylation of ETV1, thereby promoting its degradation. These results point to a new avenue for pharmacologic ETV1 inhibition and may inform a general means to discover small molecule perturbagens of transcription factor oncoproteins.
Over 800 000 people in the UK are demented. Alzheimers disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, vascular dementia and frontotemporal lobar degeneration account for the majority. Although detailed clinical assessment forms the basis of evaluating a patient with cognitive impairment, structural and functional imaging techniques are increasingly being used. Neuroimaging can identify changes to supplement the clinical diagnosis and help to distinguish dementia subtypes. This may be important for treatment, prognosis and care planning. Furthermore, early changes on structural and functional imaging may have a role in preclinical detection, perhaps allowing people to start any treatments early. In this review, we explain the tools available to the neuroradiologist and examine the implications of imaging findings in assessing patients with cognitive impairment or dementia.
A high-throughput screen (HTS) of the MLPCN library using a homogenous fluorescence polarization assay identified a small molecule as a first-in-class direct inhibitor of Keap1-Nrf2 protein-protein interaction. The HTS hit has three chiral centers; a combination of flash and chiral chromatographic separation demonstrated that Keap1-binding activity resides predominantly in one stereoisomer (SRS)-5 designated as ML334 (LH601A), which is at least 100× more potent than the other stereoisomers. The stereochemistry of the four cis isomers was assigned using X-ray crystallography and confirmed using stereospecific synthesis. (SRS)-5 is functionally active in both an ARE gene reporter assay and an Nrf2 nuclear translocation assay. The stereospecific nature of binding between (SRS)-5 and Keap1 as well as the preliminary but tractable structure-activity relationships support its use as a lead for our ongoing optimization.
We examine the phase response properties of half-center oscillators (HCOs) that are modeled by a pair of Morris-Lecar-type neurons connected by strong fast inhibitory synapses. We find that the two basic mechanisms for half-center oscillations, "release" and "escape", give rise to strikingly different phase response curves (PRCs). Release-type HCOs are most sensitive to perturbations delivered to cells at times when they are about to transition from the active to the suppressed state, and PRCs are dominated by a large negative peak (phase delays) at corresponding phases. On the other hand, escape-type HCOs are most sensitive to perturbations delivered to cells at times when they are about to transition from the suppressed to the active state, and PRCs are dominated by a large positive peak (phase advances) at corresponding phases. By analyzing the phase space structure of Morris-Lecar-type HCO models with fast synaptic dynamics, we identify the dynamical mechanisms underlying the shapes of the PRCs. To demonstrate the significance of the different shapes of the PRCs for the release-type and escape-type HCOs, we link the shapes of the PRCs to the different frequency modulation properties of release-type and escape-type HCOs, and we show that the different shapes of the PRCs for the release-type and escape-type HCOs can lead to fundamentally different phase-locking dynamics.
Synthetic lethal screening is a chemical biology approach to identify small molecules that selectively kill oncogene-expressing cell lines with the goal of identifying pathways that provide specific targets against cancer cells. We performed a high-throughput screen of 303,282 compounds from the National Institutes of Health-Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository (NIH-MLSMR) against immortalized BJ fibroblasts expressing HRAS(G12V) followed by a counterscreen of lethal compounds in a series of isogenic cells lacking the HRAS(G12V) oncogene. This effort led to the identification of two novel molecular probes (PubChem CID 3689413, ML162 and CID 49766530, ML210) with nanomolar potencies and 4-23-fold selectivities, which can potentially be used for identifying oncogene-specific pathways and targets in cancer cells.
We show constitutive activation of Rho kinase (ROCK) in cells bearing oncogenic forms of KIT, FLT3, and BCR-ABL, which is dependent on PI3K and Rho GTPase. Genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of ROCK in oncogene-bearing cells impaired their growth as well as the growth of acute myeloid leukemia patient-derived blasts and prolonged the life span of mice bearing myeloproliferative disease. Downstream from ROCK, rapid dephosphorylation or loss of expression of myosin light chain resulted in enhanced apoptosis, reduced growth, and loss of actin polymerization in oncogene-bearing cells leading to significantly prolonged life span of leukemic mice. In summary we describe a pathway involving PI3K/Rho/ROCK/MLC that may contribute to myeloproliferative disease and/or acute myeloid leukemia in humans.
Individually targeting B-cell antigens with monoclonal antibody therapeutics has improved the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). We examined if the antitumor activity of rituximab, CD20-specific antibody, could be improved by simultaneously targeting CD40 with the humanized monoclonal antibody dacetuzumab (SGN-40).
Activating K-RAS mutations are the most frequent oncogenic mutations in human cancer. Numerous downstream signaling pathways have been shown to be deregulated by oncogenic K-ras. However, to date there are still no effective targeted therapies for this genetically defined subset of patients. Here we report the results of a small molecule, synthetic lethal screen using mouse embryonic fibroblasts derived from a mouse model harboring a conditional oncogenic K-ras(G12D) allele. Among the >50,000 compounds screened, we identified a class of drugs with selective activity against oncogenic K-ras-expressing cells. The most potent member of this class, lanperisone, acts by inducing nonapoptotic cell death in a cell cycle- and translation-independent manner. The mechanism of cell killing involves the induction of reactive oxygen species that are inefficiently scavenged in K-ras mutant cells, leading to oxidative stress and cell death. In mice, treatment with lanperisone suppresses the growth of K-ras-driven tumors without overt toxicity. Our findings establish the specific antitumor activity of lanperisone and reveal oxidative stress pathways as potential targets in Ras-mediated malignancies.
We study the effects of passive dendritic properties on the dynamics of neuronal oscillators. We find that the addition of a passive dendrite can sometimes have counterintuitive effects on firing frequency. Specifically, the addition of a hyperpolarized passive dendritic load can either increase, decrease, or have negligible effects on firing frequency. We use the theory of weak coupling to derive phase equations for "ball-and-stick" model neurons and two-compartment model neurons. We then develop a framework for understanding how the addition of passive dendrites modulates the frequency of neuronal oscillators. We show that the average value of the neuronal oscillators phase response curves measures the sensitivity of the neurons firing rate to the dendritic load, including whether the addition of the dendrite causes an increase or decrease in firing frequency. We interpret this finding in terms of to the slope of the neuronal oscillators frequency-applied current curve. We also show that equivalent results exist for constant and noisy point-source input to the dendrite. We note that the results are not specific to neurons but are applicable to any oscillator subject to a passive load.
Target identification remains challenging for the field of chemical biology. We describe an integrative chemical genomic and proteomic approach combining the use of differentially active analogs of small molecule probes with stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture-mediated affinity enrichment, followed by subsequent testing of candidate targets using RNA interference-mediated gene silencing. We applied this approach to characterizing the natural product K252a and its ability to potentiate neuregulin-1 (Nrg1)/ErbB4 (v-erb-a erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene homolog 4)-dependent neurotrophic factor signaling and neuritogenesis. We show that AAK1 (adaptor-associated kinase 1) is a relevant target of K252a, and that the loss of AAK1 alters ErbB4 trafficking and expression levels, providing evidence for a previously unrecognized role for AAK1 in Nrg1-mediated neurotrophic factor signaling. Similar strategies should lead to the discovery of novel targets for therapeutic development.
Latent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection causes human lymphomas and carcinomas. EBV usually persists as an episome in malignant cells. EBV episome persistence, replication, and gene expression are dependent on EBNA1 binding to multiple cognate sites in oriP. To search for inhibitors of EBNA1- and oriP-dependent episome maintenance or transcription, a library of 40,550 small molecules was screened for compounds that inhibit EBNA1- and oriP-dependent transcription and do not inhibit EBNA1- and oriP-independent transcription. This screening identified roscovitine, a selective inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1), CDK2, CDK5, and CDK7. Based on motif predictions of EBNA1 serine 393 as a CDK phosphorylation site and (486)RALL(489) and (580)KDLVM(584) as potential cyclin binding domains, we hypothesized that cyclin binding to EBNA1 may enable CDK1, -2, -5, or -7 to phosphorylate serine 393. We found that Escherichia coli-expressed EBNA1 amino acids 387 to 641 were phosphorylated in vitro by CDK1-, -2-, -5-, and -7/cyclin complexes and serine 393 phosphorylation was roscovitine inhibited. Further, S393A mutation abrogated phosphorylation. S393A mutant EBNA1 was deficient in supporting EBNA1- and oriP-dependent transcription and episome persistence, and roscovitine had little further effect on the diminished S393A mutant EBNA1-mediated transcription or episome persistence. Immunoprecipitated FLAG-EBNA1 was phosphorylated in vitro, and roscovitine inhibited this phosphorylation. Moreover, roscovitine decreased nuclear EBNA1 and often increased cytoplasmic EBNA1, whereas S393A mutant EBNA1 was localized equally in the nucleus and cytoplasm and was unaffected by roscovitine treatment. These data indicate that roscovitine effects are serine 393 specific and that serine 393 is important in EBNA1- and oriPCp-dependent transcription and episome persistence.
dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome is the first identified parkinsonian disorder caused by genetic alterations of the dopamine transporter. We describe a cohort of children with mutations in the gene encoding the dopamine transporter (SLC6A3) with the aim to improve clinical and molecular characterisation, reduce diagnostic delay and misdiagnosis, and provide insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms.
Carboxylic acids with known central nervous system and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitory activities were converted to hydroxamic acids and tested using a suite of in vitro biochemical assays with recombinant HDAC isoforms, cell based assays in human cervical carcinoma Hela cells and primary cultures from mouse forebrain, and a whole animal (Xenopus laevis) developmental assay. Relative to the parent carboxylic acids, two of these analogs exhibited enhanced potency, and one analog showed altered HDAC isoform selectivity and in vivo activity in the Xenopus assay. We discuss potential uses of these novel hydroxamic acids in studies aimed at determining the utility of HDAC inhibitors as memory enhancers and mood stabilizers.
Pancreatic beta-cell apoptosis is a critical event during the development of type-1 diabetes. The identification of small molecules capable of preventing cytokine-induced apoptosis could lead to avenues for therapeutic intervention. We developed a set of phenotypic cell-based assays designed to identify such small-molecule suppressors. Rat INS-1E cells were simultaneously treated with a cocktail of inflammatory cytokines and a collection of 2,240 diverse small molecules and screened using an assay for cellular ATP levels. Forty-nine top-scoring compounds included glucocorticoids, several pyrazole derivatives, and known inhibitors of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta. Two compounds were able to increase cellular ATP levels, reduce caspase-3 activity and nitrite production, and increase glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in the presence of cytokines. These results indicate that small molecules identified by this screening approach may protect beta cells from autoimmune attack and may be good candidates for therapeutic intervention in early stages of type-1 diabetes.
DNA damage checkpoints arrest cell cycle progression to facilitate DNA repair. The ability to survive genotoxic insults depends not only on the initiation of cell cycle checkpoints but also on checkpoint maintenance. While activation of DNA damage checkpoints has been studied extensively, molecular mechanisms involved in sustaining and ultimately inactivating cell cycle checkpoints are largely unknown. Here, we explored feedback mechanisms that control the maintenance and termination of checkpoint function by computationally identifying an evolutionary conserved mitotic phosphorylation network within the DNA damage response. We demonstrate that the non-enzymatic checkpoint adaptor protein 53BP1 is an in vivo target of the cell cycle kinases Cyclin-dependent kinase-1 and Polo-like kinase-1 (Plk1). We show that Plk1 binds 53BP1 during mitosis and that this interaction is required for proper inactivation of the DNA damage checkpoint. 53BP1 mutants that are unable to bind Plk1 fail to restart the cell cycle after ionizing radiation-mediated cell cycle arrest. Importantly, we show that Plk1 also phosphorylates the 53BP1-binding checkpoint kinase Chk2 to inactivate its FHA domain and inhibit its kinase activity in mammalian cells. Thus, a mitotic kinase-mediated negative feedback loop regulates the ATM-Chk2 branch of the DNA damage signaling network by phosphorylating conserved sites in 53BP1 and Chk2 to inactivate checkpoint signaling and control checkpoint duration.
The Cell Ontology (CL) aims for the representation of in vivo and in vitro cell types from all of biology. The CL is a candidate reference ontology of the OBO Foundry and requires extensive revision to bring it up to current standards for biomedical ontologies, both in its structure and its coverage of various subfields of biology. We have now addressed the specific content of one area of the CL, the section of the ontology dealing with hematopoietic cells. This section has been extensively revised to improve its content and eliminate multiple inheritance in the asserted hierarchy, and the groundwork has been laid for structuring the hematopoietic cell type terms as cross-products incorporating logical definitions built from relationships to external ontologies, such as the Protein Ontology and the Gene Ontology. The methods and improvements to the CL in this area represent a paradigm for improvement of the entire ontology over time.
Despite therapeutic advances, the long-term survival rates for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are estimated to be 10% or less, pointing to the need for better treatment options. AML cells express the myeloid marker CD33, making it amenable to CD33-targeted therapy. Thus, the in vitro and in vivo anti-tumor activities of lintuzumab (SGN-33), a humanized monoclonal anti-CD33 antibody undergoing clinical evaluation, were investigated. In vitro assays were used to assess the ability of lintuzumab to mediate effector functions and to decrease the production of growth factors from AML cells. SCID mice models of disseminated AML with the multi-drug resistance (MDR)-negative HL60 and the MDR(+), HEL9217 and TF1-alpha, cell lines were developed and applied to examine the in vivo antitumor activity. In vitro, lintuzumab significantly reduced the production of TNFalpha-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines by AML cells. Lintuzumab promoted tumor cell killing through antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and phagocytosis (ADCP) activities against MDR(-) and MDR(+) AML cell lines and primary AML patient samples. At doses from 3 to 30 mg/kg, lintuzumab significantly enhanced survival and reduced tumor burden in vivo, regardless of MDR status. Survival of the mice was dependent upon the activity of resident macrophages and neutrophils. The results suggest that lintuzumab may exert its therapeutic effects by modulating the cytokine milieu in the tumor microenvironment and through effector mediated cell killing. Given that lintuzumab induced meaningful responses in a phase 1 clinical trial, the preclinical antitumor activities defined in this study may underlie its observed therapeutic efficacy in AML patients.
The aberrant activation of tyrosine kinases represents an important oncogenic mechanism, and yet the majority of such events remain undiscovered. Here we describe a bead-based method for detecting phosphorylation of both wild-type and mutant tyrosine kinases in a multiplexed, high-throughput and low-cost manner. With the aim of establishing a tyrosine kinase-activation catalog, we used this method to profile 130 human cancer lines. Follow-up experiments on the finding that SRC is frequently phosphorylated in glioblastoma cell lines showed that SRC is also activated in primary glioblastoma patient samples and that the SRC inhibitor dasatinib (Sprycel) inhibits viability and cell migration in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. Testing of dasatinib-resistant tyrosine kinase alleles confirmed that SRC is indeed the relevant target of dasatinib, which inhibits many tyrosine kinases. These studies establish the feasibility of tyrosine kinome-wide phosphorylation profiling and point to SRC as a possible therapeutic target in glioblastoma.
We examine the effects of dendritic filtering on the existence, stability, and robustness of phase-locked states to heterogeneity and noise in a pair of electrically coupled ball-and-stick neurons with passive dendrites. We use the theory of weakly coupled oscillators and analytically derived filtering properties of the dendritic coupling to systematically explore how the electrotonic length and diameter of dendrites can alter phase-locking. In the case of a fixed value of the coupling conductance ([Formula: see text]) taken from the literature, we find that repeated exchanges in stability between the synchronous and anti-phase states can occur as the electrical coupling becomes more distally located on the dendrites. However, the robustness of the phase-locked states in this case decreases rapidly towards zero as the distance between the electrical coupling and the somata increases. Published estimates of [Formula: see text] are calculated from the experimentally measured coupling coefficient ([Formula: see text]) based on a single-compartment description of a neuron, and therefore may be severe underestimates of [Formula: see text]. With this in mind, we re-examine the stability and robustness of phase-locking using a fixed value of [Formula: see text], which imposes a limit on the maximum distance the electrical coupling can be located away from the somata. In this case, although the phase-locked states remain robust over the entire range of possible coupling locations, no exchanges in stability with changing coupling position are observed except for a single exchange that occurs in the case of a high somatic firing frequency and a large dendritic radius. Thus, our analysis suggests that multiple exchanges in stability with changing coupling location are unlikely to be observed in real neural systems.
Macrocyclic Hedgehog (Hh) pathway inhibitors have been discovered with improved potency and maximal inhibition relative to the previously reported macrocycle robotnikinin. Analogues were prepared using a modular and efficient build-couple-pair (BCP) approach, with a ring-closing metathesis step to form the macrocyclic ring. Varying the position of the macrocycle nitrogen and oxygen atoms provided inhibitors with improved activity in cellular assays; the most potent analogue was 29 (BRD-6851), with an IC(50) of 0.4 ?M against C3H10T1/2 cells undergoing Hh-induced activation, as measured by Gli1 transcription and alkaline phosphatase induction. Studies with Patched knockout (Ptch(-/-)) cells and competition studies with the Smoothened (Smo) agonists SAG and purmorphamine demonstrate that in contrast to robotnikinin, select analogues are Smo antagonists.
The mechanism by which cells decide to skip mitosis to become polyploid is largely undefined. Here we used a high-content image-based screen to identify small-molecule probes that induce polyploidization of megakaryocytic leukemia cells and serve as perturbagens to help understand this process. Our study implicates five networks of kinases that regulate the switch to polyploidy. Moreover, we find that dimethylfasudil (diMF, H-1152P) selectively increased polyploidization, mature cell-surface marker expression, and apoptosis of malignant megakaryocytes. An integrated target identification approach employing proteomic and shRNA screening revealed that a major target of diMF is Aurora kinase A (AURKA). We further find that MLN8237 (Alisertib), a selective inhibitor of AURKA, induced polyploidization and expression of mature megakaryocyte markers in acute megakaryocytic leukemia (AMKL) blasts and displayed potent anti-AMKL activity in vivo. Our findings provide a rationale to support clinical trials of MLN8237 and other inducers of polyploidization and differentiation in AMKL.
Cytokine-induced beta-cell apoptosis is important to the etiology of type-1 diabetes. Although previous reports have shown that general inhibitors of histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity, such as suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid and trichostatin A, can partially prevent beta-cell death, they do not fully restore beta-cell function. To understand HDAC isoform selectivity in beta cells, we measured the cellular effects of 11 structurally diverse HDAC inhibitors on cytokine-induced apoptosis in the rat INS-1E cell line. All 11 compounds restored ATP levels and reduced nitrite secretion. However, caspase-3 activity was reduced only by MS-275 and CI-994, both of which target HDAC1, 2, and 3. Importantly, both MS-275 and genetic knockdown of Hdac3 alone were sufficient to restore glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in the presence of cytokines. These results suggest that HDAC3-selective inhibitors may be effective in preventing cytokine-induced beta-cell apoptosis.
A high-throughput screen (HTS) with the National Institute of Health-Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository (NIH-MLSMR) compound collection identified a class of acyl hydrazones to be selectively lethal to breast cancer stem cell (CSC) enriched populations. Medicinal chemistry efforts were undertaken to optimize potency and selectivity of this class of compounds. The optimized compound was declared as a probe (ML239) with the NIH Molecular Libraries Program and displayed greater than 20-fold selective inhibition of the breast CSC-like cell line (HMLE_sh_Ecad) over the isogenic control line (HMLE_sh_GFP).
Under the instruction of cell-fate-determining, DNA-binding transcription factors, chromatin-modifying enzymes mediate and maintain cell states throughout development in multicellular organisms. Currently, small molecules modulating the activity of several classes of chromatin-modifying enzymes are available, including clinically approved histone deacetylase (HDAC) and DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitors. We describe the genome-wide expression changes induced by 29 compounds targeting HDACs, DNMTs, histone lysine methyltransferases (HKMTs), and protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) in pancreatic ?- and ?-cell lines. HDAC inhibitors regulate several hundred transcripts irrespective of the cell type, with distinct clusters of dissimilar activity for hydroxamic acids and orthoamino anilides. In contrast, compounds targeting histone methyltransferases modulate the expression of restricted gene sets in distinct cell types. For example, we find that G9a/GLP methyltransferase inhibitors selectively up-regulate the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway in pancreatic but not liver cells. These data suggest that, despite their conservation across the entire genome and in different cell types, chromatin pathways can be targeted to modulate the expression of selected transcripts.
In the rd1 mouse model for retinal degeneration, the loss of photoreceptors results in oscillatory activity (?10–20 Hz) within the remnant electrically coupled network of retinal ON cone bipolar and AII amacrine cells. We tested the role of hyperpolarization-activated currents (I(h)), voltage-gated Na(+) channels and gap junctions in mediating such oscillatory activity. Blocking I(h) (1 mm Cs(+)) hyperpolarized the network and augmented activity, while antagonizing voltage-dependent Na(+) channels (1 ?m TTX) abolished oscillatory activity in the AII amacrine-ON cone bipolar cell network. Voltage-gated Na(+) channels were only observed in AII amacrine cells, implicating these cells as major drivers of activity. Pharmacologically uncoupling the network (200 ?m meclofenamic acid (MFA)) blocked oscillations in all cells indicating that Na(+) channels exert their influence over multiple cell types within the network. In wt retina, occluding photoreceptor inputs to bipolar cells (10 ?m NBQX and 50 ?m l-AP4) resulted in a mild (?10 mV) hyperpolarization and the induction of oscillatory activity within the AII amacrine-ON cone bipolar cell network. These oscillations had similar properties to those observed in rd1 retina, suggesting that no major degeneration-induced network rewiring is required to trigger spontaneous oscillations. Finally, we constructed a simplified computational model that exhibited Na(+) channel-dependent network oscillations. In this model, mild heterogeneities in channel densities between individual neurons reproduced our experimental findings. These results indicate that TTX-sensitive Na(+) channels in AII amacrine cells trigger degeneration-induced network oscillations, which provide a persistent synaptic drive to downstream remnant neurons, thus appearing to replace photoreceptors as the principal drivers of retinal activity.
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