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26.  Aspirin and Age Related Macular Degeneration; the Possible Relationship 
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is becoming the leading cause of blindness in developed countries. The exact etiology and pathophysiology of AMD is still unclear. A number of risk factors of AMD have been recognized, such as cigarette smoking, a family history of AMD and being Caucasian. On the other hand, aspirin is a widespread medication, which is thought to be associated with the prevalence or the survival of myocardial infarction and cancers. However, the evidence from the epidemiological studies has been contradictory and no persuasive conclusions have been made. Several problems, such as the parameters of aspirin use, the inclusion and exclusion of the participants and the required long-term follow-up, made it hard to conclude a definite relationship between aspirin use and AMD. Aspirin, as an anti-inflammatory agent, could prevent the inflammation and decrease the inflammatory damage, and might act as a deterrent for the progression of AMD. However, aspirin is an anticoagulant which might increase the risk of ocular hemorrhage in AMD patients. Decades ago, the use of aspirin was reported associated with decreased rates of CNV among AMD patients nevertheless recently, the association between aspirin use and increased risk of neovascular AMD was identified. Therefore, these current results should be challenged and acknowledged by well-designed, large-scale and long term follow-up studies. A consultation might be needed when aspirin is used in the neovascular AMD patients.
PMCID: PMC3939755  PMID: 24600645
Aspirin; Age Related Macular Degeneration; Neovascularization
27.  Overexpression of WDR62 is associated with centrosome amplification in human ovarian cancer 
To assess the clinical significance of WD40 repeat containing 62 (WDR62), a novel centrosome abnormalities-associated gene, in ovarian cancer.
Materials and methods
In this study, WDR62 expression was assessed by western blot (6 ovarian cancer cell lines) and immunohistochemistry (primary epithelial ovarian cancer clinical specimens), and clinical variables were collected by retrospective chart review. Centrosome amplification was assessed by immunofluorescence staining in ovarian cancer cell lines, and by immunohistochemistry staining in ovarian cancer samples.
Six ovarian cancer cell lines exhibited significant WDR62 protein overexpression, and amplification of centrosome. High-grade ovarian cancer specimens exhibited significantly stronger nuclear staining of WDR62 than low-grade ovarian carcinoma specimens (80.4% vs 41.3%; P<0.012). High WDR62 expression was strongly associated with supernumerary centrosome count in tumor cells (P < 0.001).
Our findings suggest that WDR62 overexpression is related to centrosome amplification in ovarian cancer. It may be a novel useful differentiation biomarker and a potential therapy target for OC. Further assessment of WDR62 expression is highly warranted in large, prospective studies.
PMCID: PMC3737014  PMID: 23898938
Ovarian cancer; WDR62; Centrosome
28.  Grain Size Effects in Polycrystalline Gold Nanoparticles 
Nanoscale  2012;4(14):4228-4233.
We report a structure-property relationship in gold nanoparticles (NPs), grain-size effects, which not only allow material properties observed on different characteristic length scales to be engineered in a single NP but further enhance those properties due to the coupling among different-size grains. The grain size effects were achieved by creating polycrystalline gold NPs (pAuNPs) with two distinct grain-size populations (5 and 1 nm) comparable to electron mean free path and electron Fermi wavelength (EFW) respectively. Successful integration of molecular and plasmonic properties into a single nanostructure without additional fluorophores enables these highly polycrystalline AuNPs to serve as multimodal probes in a variety of optical microscopic imaging techniques.
PMCID: PMC3389155  PMID: 22456680
29.  Correction: Aspirin Use and Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):10.1371/annotation/bc36f952-ec0c-45d0-bedd-15429017791e.
PMCID: PMC3692953
30.  Incidence and Risk of Treatment-Related Mortality with mTOR Inhibitors Everolimus and Temsirolimus in Cancer Patients: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65166.
Two novel mammalian targets of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors everolimus and temsirolimus are now approved by regulatory agencies and have been widely investigated among various types of solid tumors, but the risk of fatal adverse events (FAEs) with these drugs is not well defined.
We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane library databases for relevant trials. Eligible studies included prospective phase II and III trials evaluating everolimus and temsirolimus in patients with all malignancies and data on FAEs were available. Statistical analyses were conducted to calculate the summary incidence, RRs and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) by using either random effects or fixed effect models according to the heterogeneity of the included studies.
A total of 3322 patients with various advanced solid tumors from 12 trials were included. The overall incidence of mTOR inhibitors associated FAEs was 1.8% (95%CI: 1.3–2.5%), and the incidences of everolimus related FAEs were comparable to that of temsirolimus (1.7% versus 1.8%). Compared with the controls, the use of mTOR inhibitors was associated with an increased risk of FAEs, with a RR of 3.24 (95%CI: 1.21–8.67, p = 0.019). On subgroup analysis, a non-statistically significant increase in the risk of FAEs was found according to different mTOR inhibitors, tumor types or controlled therapy. No evidence of publication bias was observed.
With the present evidence, the use of mTOR inhibitors seems to increase the risk of FAEs in patients with advanced solid tumors. More high quality trials are still needed to investigate this association.
PMCID: PMC3681778  PMID: 23785409
31.  Identification of Proteasome Subunit Beta Type 6 (PSMB6) Associated with Deltamethrin Resistance in Mosquitoes by Proteomic and Bioassay Analyses 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65859.
Deltamethrin (DM) insecticides are currently being promoted worldwide for mosquito control, because of the high efficacy, low mammalian toxicity and less environmental impact. Widespread and improper use of insecticides induced resistance, which has become a major obstacle for the insect-borne disease management. Resistance development is a complex and dynamic process involving many genes. To better understand the possible molecular mechanisms involved in DM resistance, a proteomic approach was employed for screening of differentially expressed proteins in DM-susceptible and -resistant mosquito cells. Twenty-seven differentially expressed proteins were identified by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) and mass spectrometry (MS). Four members of the ubiquitin-proteasome system were significantly elevated in DM-resistant cells, suggesting that the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway may play an important role in DM resistance. Proteasome subunit beta type 6 (PSMB6) is a member of 20S proteasomal subunit family, which forms the proteolytic core of 26S proteasome. We used pharmaceutical inhibitor and molecular approaches to study the contributions of PSMB6 in DM resistance: the proteasome inhibitor MG-132 and bortezomib were used to suppress the proteasomal activity and siRNA was designed to block the function of PSMB6. The results revealed that both MG-132 and bortezomib increased the susceptibility in DM-resistant cells and resistance larvae. Moreover, PSMB6 knockdown decreased cellular viability under DM treatment. Taken together, our study indicated that PSMB6 is associated with DM resistance in mosquitoes and that proteasome inhibitors such as MG-132 or bortezomib are suitable for use as a DM synergist for vector control.
PMCID: PMC3677870  PMID: 23762443
32.  Genome-wide DNA Methylation Profiles in Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;55(6):1799-1808.
Alterations in DNA methylation frequently occur in hepatocellular cancer (HCC). We have previously demonstrated that hypermethylation in candidate genes can be detected in plasma DNA prior to HCC diagnosis. To identify with a genome-wide approach additional genes hypermethylated in HCC that could be used for more accurate analysis of plasma DNA for early diagnosis, we analyzed tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissues from 62 Taiwanese HCC cases using Illumina methylation arrays that screen 26,486 autosomal CpG sites. After Bonferroni adjustment, a total of 2,324 CpG sites significantly differed in methylation level, with 684 CpG sites significantly hypermethylated and 1,640 hypomethylated in tumor compared to non-tumor tissues. Array data were validated with pyrosequencing in a subset of 5 of these genes; correlation coefficients ranged from 0.92 to 0.97. Analysis of plasma DNA from 38 cases demonstrated that 37% to 63% of cases had detectable hypermethylated DNA (≥5% methylation) for these 5 genes individually. At least one of these genes was hypermethylated in 87% of cases, suggesting that measurement of DNA methylation in plasma samples is feasible. The panel of methylated genes indentified in the current study will be further tested in large cohort of prospectively collected samples to determine their utility as early biomarkers of hepatocellular carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3330167  PMID: 22234943
Genome-wide; DNA mehtylation; Hepatocellular Carcinoma
33.  Regional Coronary Endothelial Function is Closely Related to Local Early Coronary Atherosclerosis in Patients with Mild Coronary Artery Disease: A Pilot Study 
Coronary endothelial function (endoFx) is abnormal in patients with established coronary artery disease (CAD) and was recently shown by MRI to relate to the severity of luminal stenosis. Recent advances in MRI now allow the non-invasive assessment of both anatomic and functional (endoFx) changes that previously required invasive studies. We tested the hypothesis that abnormal coronary endoFx is related to measures of early atherosclerosis such as increased coronary wall thickness (CWT).
Methods and Results
Seventeen arteries in fourteen healthy adults and seventeen arteries in fourteen patients with non-obstructive CAD were studied. To measure endoFx, coronary MRI was performed before and during isometric handgrip exercise, an endothelial-dependent stressor and changes in coronary cross-sectional area (CSA) and flow were measured. Black blood imaging was performed to quantify CWT and other indices of arterial remodeling. The mean stress-induced change in CSA was significantly higher in healthy adults (13.5%±12.8%, mean±SD, n=17) than in those with mildly diseased arteries (-2.2±6.8%, p<0.0001, n=17). Mean CWT was lower in healthy subjects (0.9±0.2mm) than in CAD patients (1.4±0.3mm, p<0.0001). In contrast to healthy subjects, stress-induced changes in CSA, a measure of coronary endoFx, correlated inversely with CWT in CAD patients (r= -0.73, p=0.0008).
There is an inverse relationship between coronary endothelial function and local CWT in CAD patients but not in healthy adults. These findings demonstrate that local endothelial-dependent functional changes are related to the extent of early anatomic atherosclerosis in mildly diseased arteries. This combined MRI approach enables the anatomic and functional investigation of early coronary disease.
PMCID: PMC3665274  PMID: 22492483
coronary disease; endothelium; magnetic resonance imaging
34.  Glutathione S-Transferase of Brown Planthoppers (Nilaparvata lugens) Is Essential for Their Adaptation to Gramine-Containing Host Plants 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64026.
Plants have evolved complex processes to ward off attacks by insects. In parallel, insects have evolved mechanisms to thwart these plant defenses. To gain insight into mechanisms that mediate this arms race between plants and herbivorous insects, we investigated the interactions between gramine, a toxin synthesized by plants of the family Gramineae, and glutathione S transferase (GST), an enzyme found in insects that is known to detoxify xenobiotics. Here, we demonstrate that rice (Oryza sativa), a hydrophytic plant, also produces gramine and that rice resistance to brown planthoppers (Nilaparvata lugens, BPHs) is highly associated with in planta gramine content. We also show that gramine is a toxicant that causes BPH mortality in vivo and that knockdown of BPH GST gene nlgst1-1 results in increased sensitivity to diets containing gramine. These results suggest that the knockdown of key detoxification genes in sap-sucking insects may provide an avenue for increasing their sensitivity to natural plant-associated defense mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3659104  PMID: 23700450
35.  Mitochondrial transcription factor A regulated ionizing radiation-induced mitochondrial biogenesis in human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells 
Journal of Radiation Research  2013;54(6):998-1004.
Mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), the first well-characterized transcription factor from vertebrate mitochondria, is closely related to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance and repair. Recent evidence has shown that the ratio of mtDNA to nuclearDNA (nDNA) is increased in both human cells and murine tissues after ionizing radiation (IR). However, the underlying mechanism has not as yet been clearly identified. In the present study, we demonstrated that in human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells, expression of TFAM was upregulated, together with the increase of the relative mtDNA copy number and cytochrome c oxidase (COX) activity after α-particle irradiation. Furthermore, short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated TFAM knockdown inhibited the enhancement of the relative mtDNA copy number and COX activity caused by α-particles. Taken together, our data suggested that TFAM plays a crucial role in regulating mtDNA amplification and mitochondrial biogenesis under IR conditions.
PMCID: PMC3823773  PMID: 23645454
mitochondrial transcription factor A; ionizing radiation; mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial biogenesis
36.  The rs1142345 in TPMT Affects the Therapeutic Effect of Traditional Hypoglycemic Herbs in Prediabetes 
Therapeutic interventions in prediabetes are important in the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and its chronic complications. However, little is known about the pharmacogenetic effect of traditional herbs on prediabetes treatment. A total of 194 impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) subjects were treated with traditional hypoglycemic herbs (Tianqi Jiangtang) for 12 months in this study. DNA samples were genotyped for 184 mutations in 34 genes involved in drug metabolism or transportation. Multinomial logistic regression analysis indicated that rs1142345 (A > G) in the thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT) gene was significantly associated with the hypoglycemic effect of the drug (P = 0.001, FDR P = 0.043). The “G” allele frequencies of rs1142345 in the healthy (subjects reverted from IGT to normal glucose tolerance), maintenance (subjects still had IGT), and deterioration (subjects progressed from IGT to T2D) groups were 0.094, 0.214, and 0.542, respectively. Binary logistic regression analysis indicated that rs1142345 was also significantly associated with the hypoglycemic effect of the drug between the healthy and maintenance groups (P = 0.027, OR = 4.828) and between the healthy and deterioration groups (P = 0.001, OR = 7.811). Therefore, rs1142345 was associated with the clinical effect of traditional hypoglycemic herbs. Results also suggested that TPMT was probably involved in the pharmacological mechanisms of T2D.
PMCID: PMC3657408  PMID: 23737827
37.  Transcriptome Analysis of Acetyl-Homoserine Lactone-Based Quorum Sensing Regulation in Yersinia pestis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62337.
The etiologic agent of bubonic plague, Yersinia pestis, senses self-produced, secreted chemical signals in a process named quorum sensing. Though the closely related enteric pathogen Y. pseudotuberculosis uses quorum sensing system to regulate motility, the role of quorum sensing in Y. pestis has been unclear. In this study we performed transcriptional profiling experiments to identify Y. pestis quorum sensing regulated functions. Our analysis revealed that acyl-homoserine lactone-based quorum sensing controls the expression of several metabolic functions. Maltose fermentation and the glyoxylate bypass are induced by acyl-homoserine lactone signaling. This effect was observed at 30°C, indicating a potential role for quorum sensing regulation of metabolism at temperatures below the normal mammalian temperature. It is proposed that utilization of alternative carbon sources may enhance growth and/or survival during prolonged periods in natural habitats with limited nutrient sources, contributing to maintenance of plague in nature.
PMCID: PMC3631167  PMID: 23620823
38.  Aging, Culture, and Memory for Socially Meaningful Item-Context Associations: An East-West Cross-Cultural Comparison Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60703.
Research suggests that people in Eastern interdependent cultures process information more holistically and attend more to contextual information than do people in Western independent cultures. The current study examined the effects of culture and age on memory for socially meaningful item-context associations in 71 Canadians of Western European descent (35 young and 36 older) and 72 native Chinese citizens (36 young and 36 older). All participants completed two blocks of context memory tasks. During encoding, participants rated pictures of familiar objects. In one block, objects were rated either for their meaningfulness in the independent living context or their typicality in daily life. In the other block, objects were rated for their meaningfulness in the context of fostering relationships with others or for their typicality in daily life. The encoding in each block was followed by a recognition test in which participants identified pictures and their associated contexts. The results showed that Chinese outperformed Canadians in context memory, though both culture groups showed similar age-related deficits in item and context memory. The results suggest that Chinese are at an advantage in memory for socially meaningful item-context associations, an advantage that continues from young adulthood into old age.
PMCID: PMC3623964  PMID: 23593288
39.  Age-dependent microRNA control of synaptic plasticity in 22q11 deletion syndrome and schizophrenia 
The 22q11 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is characterized by multiple physical and psychiatric abnormalities and is caused by the hemizygous deletion of a 1.5–3Mb region of chromosome 22. 22q11DS constitutes one of the strongest known genetic risks for schizophrenia; schizophrenia arises in as many as 30% of patients with 22q11DS during adolescence or early adulthood. A mouse model of 22q11DS displays an age-dependent increase in hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP), a form of synaptic plasticity underlying learning and memory. The sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA2), which is responsible for loading Ca2+ into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), is elevated in this mouse model. The resulting increase in ER Ca2+ load leads to enhanced neurotransmitter release and increased LTP. However, the mechanism by which the 22q11 microdeletion leads to SERCA2 overexpression and LTP increase has not been determined. Screening of multiple mutant mouse lines revealed that haploinsufficiency of Dgcr8, a microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis gene in the 22q11DS disease-critical region, causes age-dependent, synaptic SERCA2 overexpression and increased LTP. We found that miR-25 and miR-185, regulators of SERCA2, are depleted in mouse models of 22q11DS. Restoration of these miRNAs to presynaptic neurons rescues LTP in Dgcr8+/− mice. Finally, we show that SERCA2 is elevated in the brains of patients with schizophrenia, providing a link between mouse model findings and the human disease. We conclude that miRNA-dependent SERCA2 dysregulation is a pathogenic event in 22q11DS and schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC3486522  PMID: 23055483
40.  Role of a Novel Functional Variant in the PPP2R1A Promoter on the Regulation of PP2A-Aalpha and the Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59574.
Previously, we identified the genetic variant −241 (−/G) (rs11453459) in the PP2A-Aα gene (PPP2R1A) promoter and demonstrated that this variant influences the DNA-binding affinity of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB). In this study, we further confirmed that the transcriptional activity of PPP2R1A may be regulated by NF-κB through the functional genetic variant −241 (−/G). Moreover, we also demonstrated that the methylation status of CpG islands in the promoter of PPP2R1A influences the activity of this gene promoter. Few studies have examined the role of this −241 (−/G) variant in genetic or epigenetic regulation in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To investigate whether this functional variant in the PPP2R1A promoter is associated with the risk of HCC and confirm the function of the −241 (−/G) variant in the HCC population, we conducted a case-control study involving 251 HCC cases and 252 cancer-free controls from a Han population in southern China. Compared with the −241 (−−) homozygote, the heterozygous −241 (−G) genotype (adjusted OR  = 0.32, 95% confidence interval (CI)  = 0.17–0.58, P<0.001) and the −241 (−G)/(GG) genotypes (adjusted OR  = 0.38, 95% CI  = 0.22–0.67, P  = 0.001) were both significantly associated with a reduced risk of HCC. Stratification analysis indicated that the protective role of −241 (−G) was more pronounced in individuals who were ≤ 40 years of age, female and HBV-negative. Our data suggest that the transcriptional activity of PPP2R1A is regulated by NF-κB through the −241 (−/G) variant and by the methylation of the promoter region. Moreover, the functional −241 (−/G) variant in the PPP2R1A promoter contributes to the decreased risk of HCC. These findings contribute novel information regarding the gene transcription of PPP2R1A regulated by the polymorphism and methylation in the promoter region through genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in hepatocarcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3612049  PMID: 23555712
41.  Aspirin Use and Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58821.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the main cause of blindness and the curative options are limited. The objective of this meta-analysis was to determine the association between aspirin use and risk of AMD.
A comprehensive literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and reference lists. A meta-analysis was performed by STATA software.
Ten studies involving 171729 individuals examining the association between aspirin use and risk of AMD were included. Among the included studies, 2 were randomized-controlled trials (RCTs), 4 were case-control studies and 4 were cohort studies. The relative risks (RRs) were pooled using a random-effects model. Relative risks with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of aspirin use as a risk for AMD. The pooled RR of 10 included studies between the use of aspirin and risk of AMD was 1.09 (95% CI, 0.96–1.24). The same result was detected in early and late stage AMD subgroup analysis. In the subgroup analyses, the pooled RR of RCTs, case-control studies and cohort studies were 0.81 (95% CI, 0.64–1.02), 1.02 (95% CI, 0.92–1.14) and 1.08 (95% CI, 0.91–1.28), respectively.
The use of aspirin was not associated with the risk of AMD.
PMCID: PMC3597550  PMID: 23516561
42.  Non-Invasive Detection of Coronary Endothelial Response to Sequential Handgrip Exercise in Coronary Artery Disease Patients and Healthy Adults 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58047.
Our objective is to test the hypothesis that coronary endothelial function (CorEndoFx) does not change with repeated isometric handgrip (IHG) stress in CAD patients or healthy subjects.
Coronary responses to endothelial-dependent stressors are important measures of vascular risk that can change in response to environmental stimuli or pharmacologic interventions. The evaluation of the effect of an acute intervention on endothelial response is only valid if the measurement does not change significantly in the short term under normal conditions. Using 3.0 Tesla (T) MRI, we non-invasively compared two coronary artery endothelial function measurements separated by a ten minute interval in healthy subjects and patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).
Twenty healthy adult subjects and 12 CAD patients were studied on a commercial 3.0 T whole-body MR imaging system. Coronary cross-sectional area (CSA), peak diastolic coronary flow velocity (PDFV) and blood-flow were quantified before and during continuous IHG stress, an endothelial-dependent stressor. The IHG exercise with imaging was repeated after a 10 minute recovery period.
In healthy adults, coronary artery CSA changes and blood-flow increases did not differ between the first and second stresses (mean % change ±SEM, first vs. second stress CSA: 14.8%±3.3% vs. 17.8%±3.6%, p = 0.24; PDFV: 27.5%±4.9% vs. 24.2%±4.5%, p = 0.54; blood-flow: 44.3%±8.3 vs. 44.8%±8.1, p = 0.84). The coronary vasoreactive responses in the CAD patients also did not differ between the first and second stresses (mean % change ±SEM, first stress vs. second stress: CSA: −6.4%±2.0% vs. −5.0%±2.4%, p = 0.22; PDFV: −4.0%±4.6% vs. −4.2%±5.3%, p = 0.83; blood-flow: −9.7%±5.1% vs. −8.7%±6.3%, p = 0.38).
MRI measures of CorEndoFx are unchanged during repeated isometric handgrip exercise tests in CAD patients and healthy adults. These findings demonstrate the repeatability of noninvasive 3T MRI assessment of CorEndoFx and support its use in future studies designed to determine the effects of acute interventions on coronary vasoreactivity.
PMCID: PMC3594224  PMID: 23536782
43.  Prognostic significance of gene-specific promoter hypermethylation in breast cancer patients 
The association between promoter methylation status and survival was investigated in a large cohort of women with breast cancer, participants in the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project. Archived tumor tissues (n=839) were collected from women diagnosed with a first primary invasive or in situ breast cancer in 1996-1997. Vital status was followed through the end of 2005 with a mean follow up time of 8 years. Promoter methylation of 8 breast cancer-related genes was assessed by MethyLight. The frequencies of methylation for HIN1, RASSF1A, DAPK1, GSTP1, CyclinD2, TWIST, CDH1 and RARβ were 62.9%, 85.2%, 14.1%, 27.8%, 19.6%, 15.3%, 5.8% and 27.6%, respectively. Since survival rates of in situ and invasive breast cancers are substantially different, survival analyses were conducted within 670 invasive cases with complete data on all genes. Age-adjusted Cox-proportional hazards models revealed that GSTP1, TWIST and RARβ methylation was significantly associated with higher breast cancer-specific mortality. Methylation of GSTP1 and RARβ were significantly associated with higher all-cause mortality. To investigate the relationship between the number of methylated genes and breast cancer-specific mortality, we included previously published MethyLight data on p16 and APC methylation status. Breast cancer-specific mortality increased in a dose-dependent manner with increasing number of methylated genes (Ptrend = 0.002), although confidence intervals were wide. Our results suggest that promoter methylation, particularly for a panel of genes, has the potential to be used as a biomarker for predicting prognosis in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3576848  PMID: 21837480
Promoter methylation; Tumor suppressor gene; Breast cancer; Mortality
44.  Ceramide and glucosylceramide upregulate expression of the multidrug resistance gene MDR1 in cancer cells 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2007;1771(12):1407-1417.
In the present study we used human breast cancer cell lines to assess the influence of ceramide and glucosylceramide (GC) on expression of MDR1, the multidrug resistance gene that codes for P-glycoprotein (P-gp), because GC has been shown to be a substrate for P-gp. Acute exposure (72 h) to C8-ceramide (5 µg/ml culture medium), a cell-permeable ceramide, increased MDR1 mRNA levels by 3-and 5-fold in T47D and in MDA-MB-435 cells, respectively. Acute exposure of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells to C8-GC (10 µg/ml culture medium), a cell-permeable analog of GC, increased MDR1 expression by 2-and 4-fold, respectively. Chronic exposure of MDA-MB-231 cells to C8-ceramide for extended periods enhanced MDR1 mRNA levels 45-and 390-fold at passages 12 and 22, respectively, and also elicited expression of P-gp. High-passage C8-ceramide-grown MDA-MB-231 (MDA-MB-231/C8cer) cells were more resistant to doxorubicin and paclitaxel. Incubation with [1-14C]C6-ceramide showed that cells converted short-chain ceramide into GC, lactosylceramide, and sphingomyelin. When challenged with 5 µg/ml [1-14C]C6-ceramide, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-435, MCF-7, and T47D cells took up 31, 17, 21, and 13%, respectively, and converted 82, 58, 62, and 58% of that to short-chain GC. Exposing cells to the GCS inhibitor, ethylenedioxy-P4, a substituted analog of 1-phenyl-2-hexadecanoylamino-3-pyrrolidino-1-propanol, prevented ceramide’s enhancement of MDR1 expression. These experiments show that high levels of ceramide and GC enhance expression of the multidrug resistance phenotype in cancer cells. Therefore, ceramide’s role as a messenger of cytotoxic response might be linked to the multidrug resistance pathway.
PMCID: PMC3569095  PMID: 18035065
Multidrug resistance; Ceramide; Glucosylceramide; P-glycoprotein; Breast cancer
45.  In Vivo MR Imaging of Intraarterially Delivered Magnetically Labeled Mesenchymal Stem Cells in a Canine Stroke Model 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e54963.
This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of intraarterial (IA) delivery and in vivo MR imaging of superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO)-labeled mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in a canine stroke model.
MSCs harvested from beagles’ bone marrow were labeled with home-synthesized SPIO. Adult beagle dogs (n = 12) were subjected to left proximal middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion by autologous thrombus, followed by two-hour left internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusion with 5 French vertebral catheter. One week later, dogs were classified as three groups before transplantation: group A: complete MCA recanalization, group B: incomplete MCA recanalization, group C: no MCA recanalization. 3×106 labeled-MSCs were delivered through left ICA. Series in vivo MRI images were obtained before cell grafting, one and 24 hours after transplantation and weekly thereafter until four weeks. MRI findings were compared with histological studies at the time point of 24 hours and four weeks.
Principal Findings
Home-synthesized SPIO was useful to label MSCs without cell viability compromise. MSCs scattered widely in the left cerebral hemisphere in group A, while fewer grafted cells were observed in group B and no cell was detected in group C at one hour after transplantation. A larger infarction on the day of cell transplantation was associated with more grafted cells in the brain. Grafted MSCs could be tracked effectively by MRI within four weeks and were found in peri-infarction area by Prussian blue staining.
It is feasible of IA MSCs transplantation in a canine stroke model. Both the ipsilateral MCA condition and infarction volume before transplantation may affect the amount of grafted cells in target brain. In vivo MR imaging is useful for tracking IA delivered MSCs after SPIO labeling.
PMCID: PMC3567107  PMID: 23408953
46.  Genome Sequence of Klebsiella pneumoniae Ecl8, a Reference Strain for Targeted Genetic Manipulation 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(1):e00027-12.
We report the genome sequence of Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. pneumoniae Ecl8, a spontaneous streptomycin-resistant mutant of strain ECL4, derived from NCIB 418. K. pneumoniae Ecl8 has been shown to be genetically tractable for targeted gene deletion strategies and so provides a platform for in-depth analyses of this species.
PMCID: PMC3569361  PMID: 23405357
47.  NBR1-Mediated Selective Autophagy Targets Insoluble Ubiquitinated Protein Aggregates in Plant Stress Responses 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(1):e1003196.
Plant autophagy plays an important role in delaying senescence, nutrient recycling, and stress responses. Functional analysis of plant autophagy has almost exclusively focused on the proteins required for the core process of autophagosome assembly, but little is known about the proteins involved in other important processes of autophagy, including autophagy cargo recognition and sequestration. In this study, we report functional genetic analysis of Arabidopsis NBR1, a homolog of mammalian autophagy cargo adaptors P62 and NBR1. We isolated two nbr1 knockout mutants and discovered that they displayed some but not all of the phenotypes of autophagy-deficient atg5 and atg7 mutants. Like ATG5 and ATG7, NBR1 is important for plant tolerance to heat, oxidative, salt, and drought stresses. The role of NBR1 in plant tolerance to these abiotic stresses is dependent on its interaction with ATG8. Unlike ATG5 and ATG7, however, NBR1 is dispensable in age- and darkness-induced senescence and in resistance to a necrotrophic pathogen. A selective role of NBR1 in plant responses to specific abiotic stresses suggest that plant autophagy in diverse biological processes operates through multiple cargo recognition and delivery systems. The compromised heat tolerance of atg5, atg7, and nbr1 mutants was associated with increased accumulation of insoluble, detergent-resistant proteins that were highly ubiquitinated under heat stress. NBR1, which contains an ubiquitin-binding domain, also accumulated to high levels with an increasing enrichment in the insoluble protein fraction in the autophagy-deficient mutants under heat stress. These results suggest that NBR1-mediated autophagy targets ubiquitinated protein aggregates most likely derived from denatured or otherwise damaged nonnative proteins generated under stress conditions.
Author Summary
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process that sequestrates and delivers cytoplasmic macromolecules and organelles to the vacuoles or lysosomes for degradation. In plants, autophagy is involved in supplying internal nutrients during starvation and in promoting cell survival during senescence and during biotic and abiotic stresses. Arabidopsis NBR1 is a homolog of mammalian autophagy cargo adaptors P62 and NBR1. Disruption of Arabidopsis NBR1 caused increased sensitivity to a spectrum of abiotic stresses but had no significant effect on plant senescence, responses to carbon starvation, or resistance to a necrotrophic pathogen. NBR1 contains an ubiquitin-binding domain, and the compromised stress tolerance of autophagy mutants was associated with increased accumulation of NBR1 and ubiquitin-positive cellular protein aggregates in the insoluble protein fraction under stress conditions. Based on these results, we propose that NBR1 targets ubiquitinated protein aggregates most likely derived from denatured and otherwise damaged nonnative proteins for autophagic clearance under stress conditions.
PMCID: PMC3547818  PMID: 23341779
48.  Arabidopsis aux1rcr1 mutation alters AUXIN RESISTANT1 targeting and prevents expression of the auxin reporter DR5:GUS in the root apex 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(4):921-933.
Multilevel interactions of the plant hormones ethylene and auxin coordinately and synergistically regulate many aspects of plant growth and development. This study isolated the AUXIN RESISTANT1 (AUX1) allele aux1rcr1 (RCR1 for REVERSING CTR1-10 ROOT1) that suppressed the root growth inhibition conferred by the constitutive ethylene-response constitutive triple response1-10 (ctr1-10) allele. The aux1rcr1 mutation resulted from an L126F substitution at loop 2 of the plasma membrane-associated auxin influx carrier protein AUX1. aux1rcr1 and the T-DNA insertion mutant aux1-T were both defective in auxin transport and many aspects of the auxin response. Unexpectedly, expression of the auxin-response reporter DR5:GUS in the root apex was substantially prevented by the aux1rcr1 but not the aux1-T mutation, even in the presence of the wild-type AUX1 allele. Following treatment with the synthetic auxin 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), DR5:GUS expression in aux1rcr1 and aux1-T occurred mainly in the root apex and mature zone. NAA-induced DR5:GUS expression in the root apex was markedly prevented by ethylene in genotypes with aux1rcr1 but not in aux1-T genotypes and the wild type. The effect of aux1rcr1 on DR5:GUS expression seemed to be associated with AUX1-expressing domains. Green fluorescence protein-fused aux1rcr1 was localized in the cytoplasm and probably not to the plasma membrane, indicating important roles of the Lys126 residue at loop 2 in AUX1 targeting. The possible effects of aux1rcr1 on DR5:GUS expression are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3580809  PMID: 23293348
AUX1; Arabidopsis; DR5:GUS; auxin; ethylene; root gravitropism
49.  Alterations in Regional Homogeneity of Spontaneous Brain Activity in Late-Life Subthreshold Depression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53148.
The early detection of major depression in elderly individuals who are at risk of developing the disease is of prime importance when it comes to the prevention of geriatric depression. We used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine changes in regional homogeneity (ReHo) of spontaneous activity in late-life subthreshold depression (StD), and we evaluated the sensitivity/specificity performance of these changes. Nineteen elderly individuals with StD and 18 elderly controls underwent a resting-state fMRI scan. The ReHo approach was employed to examine whether StD was related to alterations in resting-state neural activity, in the form of abnormal regional synchronization. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis and the Fisher stepwise discriminant analysis were used to evaluate the sensitivity/specificity characteristics of the ReHo index in discriminating between the StD subjects and normal controls. The results demonstrated that, compared to controls, StD subjects display lower ReHo in the right orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), left postcentral gyrus (PCG), and left middle frontal and inferior temporal gyri, as well as higher ReHo in the bilateral insula and right DLPFC. The left PCG and the right DLPFC, OFC, and posterior insula, together reported a predictive accuracy of 91.9%. These results suggest that the regional activity coherence was changed in the resting brain of StD subjects, and that these alterations may serve as potential markers for the early detection of StD in late-life depression.
PMCID: PMC3534624  PMID: 23301035
50.  Dracorhodin Perchlorate Induced Human Breast Cancer MCF-7 Apoptosis through Mitochondrial Pathways 
Objective: Dracorhodin perchlorate (DP) was a synthetic analogue of the antimicrobial anthocyanin red pigment dracorhodin. It was reported that DP could induce apoptosis in human prostate cancer, human gastric tumor cells and human melanoma, but the cytotoxic effect of DP on human breast cancer was not investigated. This study would investigate whether DP was a candidate chemical of anti-human breast cancer.
Methods: The MTT assay reflected the number of viable cells through measuring the activity of cellular enzymes. Phase contrast microscopy visualized cell morphology. Fluorescence microscopy detected nuclear fragmentation after Hoechst 33258 staining. Flowcytometric analysis of Annexin V-PI staining and Rodamine 123 staining was used to detect cell apoptosis and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP). Real time PCR detected mRNA level. Western blot examined protein expression.
Results: DP dose and time-dependently inhibited the growth of MCF-7 cells. DP inhibited MCF-7 cell growth through apoptosis. DP regulated the expression of Bcl-2 and Bax, which were mitochondrial pathway proteins, to decrease MMP, and DP promoted the transcription of Bax and inhibited Bcl-2. Apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and cytochrome c which localized in mitochondrial in physiological condition were released into cytoplasm when MMP was decreased. DP activated caspase-9, which was the downstream of mitochondrial pathway. Therefore DP decreased MMP to release AIF and cytochrome c into cytoplasm, further activating caspase 9, lastly led to apoptosis.
Conclusion: Therefore DP was a candidate for anti-breast cancer, DP induced apoptosis of MCF-7 through mitochondrial pathway.
PMCID: PMC3714391  PMID: 23869191
dracorhodin perchlorate; apoptosis; mitochondrial pathway

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