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2.  Clinical significance of CDX2-positive circulating tumour cells in colorectal cancer patients 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;104(6):1000-1006.
Our recent work has shown the feasibility of using a refined immunomagnetic enrichment (IE) assay to detect cytokeratin 20-positive circulating tumour cells (CK20 pCTCs) in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. We attempted to improve the sensitivity for CRC by detecting another intestinal-type differentiation marker, CDX2 pCTCs, using the same methodology.
CDX2 pCTCs were detected in patients with CRC, colorectal adenoma (CAD), benign colorectal diseases (BCD), other common cancers (OCC) and normal subjects (NS). Statistical analysis was used to correlate CDX2 pCTCs to the clinicohistopathological factors, recurrence, metastasis and survival after follow-up for 42 months in CRC patients.
CDX2 pCTCs were detected in 81% CRC patients (73 out of 90, median number=21.5 CTCs), 7.5% CAD patients (3 out of 40), 0% patients with BCD (0 out of 90), 2.5% patients with OCC (2 out of 80) and 0% NS (0 out of 40). Furthermore, statistical analysis showed that CDX2 pCTC numbers were associated with tumour- node-metastasis stage and lymph node status. Using the median CDX2 pCTC numbers as the cutoff points, stratified groups of CRC patients had significant differences in their recurrence and survival.
This study showed that the refined IE assay can detect CDX2 pCTCs with high sensitivity and that CDX2 pCTCs can generate clinically important information for CRC patients.
PMCID: PMC3065272  PMID: 21364588
clinical significance; CDX2-positive circulating tumour cells; colorectal cancer
3.  MR Detection of Dilated Deep Medullary Veins in Intracranial Dural Arteriovenous Fistulas with retrograde Leptomeningeal Venous Drainage 
Interventional Neuroradiology  2004;8(3):265-272.
Patients with dural arteriovenous fistula (DAVF) are at higher risk of developing neurological deficits when there is retrograde leptomeningeal venous drainage. Our aim is to demonstrate the presence of dilated deep medullary veins in the brain on magnetic resonance imaging (MR) in this group of patients, and to assess their clinical significance. Nine patients with angiographically proven DAVF associated with leptomeningeal venous drainage who had MR before treatment were studied. MR was performed in at least two orthogonal planes before and after gadolinium administration. The dural fistula was located at the cavernous sinus in five patients, at the transverse-sigmoid sinus in three and at the tentorium in one. Dilated deep medullary veins were noted in six patients. Of these, four showed parenchymal abnormalities which included intracerebral haematoma, venous infarction, brain oedema and T2 hyperintensity in brainstem. Venous varix was present in one patient. No neurological complication or parenchymal change was observed in the three patients without dilated deep medullary veins. Therefore, in patients with intracranial DAVF associated with leptomeningeal venous recruitment, the MR finding of dilated deep medullary veins suggests a more severe degree of venous hypertension and congestion in the brain. This subgroup of patients has a much higher chance of neurological complications and warrants urgent intervention.
PMCID: PMC3572479  PMID: 20594484
dural arteriovenous fistula, intracranial, magnetic resonance imaging
4.  Large-Scale and Comprehensive Immune Profiling and Functional Analysis of Normal Human Aging 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0133627.
While many age-associated immune changes have been reported, a comprehensive set of metrics of immune aging is lacking. Here we report data from 243 healthy adults aged 40–97, for whom we measured clinical and functional parameters, serum cytokines, cytokines and gene expression in stimulated and unstimulated PBMC, PBMC phenotypes, and cytokine-stimulated pSTAT signaling in whole blood. Although highly heterogeneous across individuals, many of these assays revealed trends by age, sex, and CMV status, to greater or lesser degrees. Age, then sex and CMV status, showed the greatest impact on the immune system, as measured by the percentage of assay readouts with significant differences. An elastic net regression model could optimally predict age with 14 analytes from different assays. This reinforces the importance of multivariate analysis for defining a healthy immune system. These data provide a reference for others measuring immune parameters in older people.
PMCID: PMC4509650  PMID: 26197454
5.  Impaired TrkB receptor signaling underlies corticostriatal dysfunction in Huntington’s disease 
Neuron  2014;83(1):178-188.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder. The debilitating choreic movements that plague HD patients have been attributed to striatal degeneration induced by the loss of cortically supplied brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Here we show that in mouse models of early symptomatic HD, BDNF delivery to the striatum and its activation of tyrosine-related kinase B (TrkB) receptors were normal. However, in striatal neurons responsible for movement suppression, TrkB receptors failed to properly engage postsynaptic signaling mechanisms controlling the induction of potentiation at corticostriatal synapses. Plasticity was rescued by inhibiting p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) signaling or its downstream target phosphatase-and-tensin-homolog-deleted-on-chromosome-10 (PTEN). Thus, corticostriatal synaptic dysfunction early in HD is attributable to a correctable defect in the response to BDNF, not its delivery.
PMCID: PMC4131293  PMID: 24991961
6.  Compartment-Specific Modulation of GABAergic Synaptic Transmission by TRPV1 Channels in the Dentate Gyrus 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(50):16621-16629.
The transient receptor potential TRPV1 or vanilloid receptor is a nonselective ligand-gated channel highly expressed in primary sensory neurons where it mediates nociception. TRPV1 is also expressed in the brain where its activation depresses excitatory synaptic transmission. Whether TRPV1 also regulates inhibitory synapses in the brain is unclear. Here, using a combination of pharmacology, electrophysiology, and an in vivo knockdown strategy, we report that TRPV1 activation by capsaicin or by the endocannabinoid anandamide depresses somatic, but not dendritic inhibitory transmission in both rat and mouse dentate gyrus. The effect on somatic inhibition was absent in TRPV1 knock-out mice and was also eliminated by two different TRPV1 shRNAs expressed in dentate granule cells, strongly supporting a functional role for TRPV1 in modulating GABAergic synaptic function. Moreover, TRPV1-mediated depression occurs independently of GABA release, requires postsynaptic Ca2+ rise and activation of calcineurin, and is likely due to clathrin-dependent internalization of GABA receptors. Altogether, these findings reveal a novel form of compartment-specific regulation whereby TRPV1 channels can modify synaptic function in the brain.
PMCID: PMC4261091  PMID: 25505315
cannabinoid; endocytosis; feedforward inhibition; GABA; hippocampus; interneuron
7.  Mass cytometry as a platform for the discovery of cellular biomarkers to guide effective rheumatic disease therapy 
The development of biomarkers for autoimmune diseases has been hampered by a lack of understanding of disease etiopathogenesis and of the mechanisms underlying the induction and maintenance of inflammation, which involves complex activation dynamics of diverse cell types. The heterogeneous nature and suboptimal clinical response to treatment observed in many autoimmune syndromes highlight the need to develop improved strategies to predict patient outcome to therapy and personalize patient care. Mass cytometry, using CyTOF®, is an advanced technology that facilitates multiparametric, phenotypic analysis of immune cells at single-cell resolution. In this review, we outline the capabilities of mass cytometry and illustrate the potential of this technology to enhance the discovery of cellular biomarkers for rheumatoid arthritis, a prototypical autoimmune disease.
PMCID: PMC4436107  PMID: 25981462
8.  Cell type-specific plasticity of striatal projection neurons in parkinsonism and L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia 
Nature communications  2014;5:5316.
The striatum is widely viewed as the fulcrum of pathophysiology in Parkinson's disease (PD) and L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia (LID). In these disease states, the balance in activity of striatal direct pathway spiny projection neurons (dSPNs) and indirect pathway spiny projection neurons (iSPNs) is disrupted, leading to aberrant action selection. However, it is unclear whether countervailing mechanisms are engaged in these states. Here we report that iSPN intrinsic excitability and excitatory corticostriatal synaptic connectivity were lower in PD models than normal; L-DOPA treatment restored these properties. Conversely, dSPN intrinsic excitability was elevated in tissue from PD models and suppressed in LID models. Although the synaptic connectivity of dSPNs did not change in PD models, it fell with L-DOPA treatment. In neither case, however, was the strength of corticostriatal connections globally scaled. Thus, SPNs manifested homeostatic adaptations in intrinsic excitability and in the number but not strength of excitatory corticostriatal synapses.
PMCID: PMC4431763  PMID: 25360704
9.  New Roles for the External Globus Pallidus in Basal Ganglia Circuits and Behavior 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(46):15178-15183.
The development of methodology to identify specific cell populations and circuits within the basal ganglia is rapidly transforming our ability to understand the function of this complex circuit. This mini-symposium highlights recent advances in delineating the organization and function of neural circuits in the external segment of the globus pallidus (GPe). Although long considered a homogeneous structure in the motor-suppressing “indirect-pathway,” the GPe consists of a number of distinct cell types and anatomical subdomains that contribute differentially to both motor and nonmotor features of behavior. Here, we integrate recent studies using techniques, such as viral tracing, transgenic mice, electrophysiology, and behavioral approaches, to create a revised framework for understanding how the GPe relates to behavior in both health and disease.
PMCID: PMC4228126  PMID: 25392486
10.  Changes in procoagulants track longitudinally with insulin resistance: findings from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study 
To examine the association between changes in procoagulants (fibrinogen factors VII and VIII and von Willebrand factor) and the risk of insulin resistance.
Using data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, we followed 2398 black and white adults without diabetes, aged 25–37 years at year 7, to year 20. Levels of fibrinogen factors VII and VIII and von Willebrand factor were divided in tertiles (low/middle/high) at years 7 and 20 and four groups reflecting changes were defined: ‘low’ (low at years 7 and 20), ‘stable’ (low/middle at years 7 and 20, but not both low at years 7 and 20), ‘high’ (high at year 7 and low/middle at year 20; or low/middle at year 7 and high at year 20) and ‘highest’ (high at years 7 and 20). Linear regression models were used to evaluate 13-year changes (year 20–year 7) in fibrinogen level and factors VII, VIII and von Willebrand change groups in relation to insulin resistance measures.
Homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (year 20) and changes in log homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (year 20–year 7) were significantly associated with the 13-year increase in fibrinogen (P < 0.001). Compared with participants in the low group, those in the high group had significantly higher levels of homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (year 20) and changes in homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (year 20–year 7) for fibrinogen factor VII and von Willebrand factor (P < 0.017). No significant associations were observed between fibrinogen VIII and insulin resistance measures.
An increase in fibrinogen level and persistently high levels of factor VII and von Willebrand factor are significantly associated with increased risk of insulin resistance. These findings provide new insight into the mechanisms to explain the heightened risk for thrombosis in adults with insulin resistance/diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3959576  PMID: 24344794
11.  Rapid cycling as a feature of bipolar disorder and comorbid migraine 
Journal of Affective Disorders  2015;175:320-324.
Previous research has suggested the clinical profile of individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) differs according to the presence or absence of comorbid migraine. We aimed to determine the clinical characteristics that differentiate individuals with BD with and without comorbid migraine in a large, representative, clinically well-characterised UK sample.
The lifetime clinical characteristics of 1488 individuals with BD (BPI n=1120, BPII n=368) with and without comorbid migraine were compared (n=375 vs. n=1113 respectively).
Individuals with BD and comorbid migraine had a distinctive set of lifetime clinical characteristics. A multivariate model showed that consistent with previous studies those with comorbid migraine were significantly more likely to be female (OR=2.099, p=0.005) and have comorbid panic attacks (OR=1.842, p=0.004). A novel finding was that even after controlling for other differences, the individuals with BD and comorbid migraine were more likely to have a rapid cycling illness course (OR=1.888, p=0.002).
Presence of migraine was assessed using self report measures. Cross-sectional study design limits investigations of bidirectional associations between migraine and bipolar disorder.
Comorbid migraine in BD may represent a more homogenous subtype of BD with an unstable rapid cycling course. Identifying individuals with BD and comorbid migraine may be of use in a clinical setting and this subgroup could be the focus of future aetiological studies.
PMCID: PMC4366040  PMID: 25661398
Bipolar disorder; Migraine; Comorbidity; Rapid cycling
12.  Diffusivity of the uncinate fasciculus in heroin users relates to their levels of anxiety 
Translational Psychiatry  2015;5(4):e554-.
Heroin use is closely associated with emotional dysregulation, which may explain its high comorbidity with disorders such as anxiety and depression. However, the understanding of the neurobiological etiology of the association between heroin use and emotional dysregulation is limited. Previous studies have suggested an impact of heroin on diffusivity in white matter involving the emotional regulatory system, but the specificity of this finding remains to be determined. Therefore, this study investigated the association between heroin use and diffusivity of white matter tracts in heroin users and examined whether the tracts were associated with their elevated anxiety and depression levels. A sample of 26 right-handed male abstinent heroin users (25 to 42 years of age) and 32 matched healthy controls (19 to 55 years of age) was recruited for this study. Diffusion tensor imaging data were collected, and their levels of anxiety and depression were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Our findings indicated that heroin users exhibited higher levels of anxiety and depression, but the heroin use-associated left uncinate fasciculus was only related to their anxiety level, suggesting that association between heroin and anxiety has an incremental organic basis but that for depression could be a threshold issue. This finding improves our understanding of heroin addiction and its comorbid affective disorder and facilitates future therapeutic development.
PMCID: PMC4462611  PMID: 25918991
13.  Goos-Hänchen effect in epsilon-near-zero metamaterials 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8681.
Light reflection and refraction at an interface between two homogeneous media is analytically described by Snell's law. For a beam with a finite waist, it turns out that the reflected wave experiences a lateral displacement from its position predicted by geometric optics. Such Goos-Hänchen (G-H) effect has been extensively investigated among all kinds of optical media, such as dielectrics, metals, photonic crystals and metamaterials. As a fundamental physics phenomenon, the G-H effect has been extended to acoustics and quantum mechanics. Here we report the unusual G-H effect in zero index metamaterials. We show that when linearly polarized light is obliquely incident from air to epsilon-near-zero metamaterials, no G-H effect could be observed for p polarized light. While for s polarization, the G-H shift is a constant value for any incident angle.
PMCID: PMC4346791  PMID: 25731726
14.  Effect of Static Pre-stretch Induced Surface Anisotropy on Orientation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells 
Mechanical cues in the cellular environment play important roles in guiding various cell behaviors, such as cell alignment, migration, and differentiation. Previous studies investigated mechanical stretch guided cell alignment pre-dominantly with cyclic stretching whereby an external force is applied to stretch the substrate dynamically (i.e., cyclically) while the cells are attached onto the substrate. In contrast, we created a static pre-stretched anisotropic surface in which the cells were seeded subsequent to stretching the substrate. We hypothesized that the cell senses the physical environment through a more active mechanism, namely, even without external forces the cell can actively apply traction and sense an increased stiffness in the stretched direction and align in that direction. To test our hypothesis, we quantified the extent of pre-stretch induced anisotropy by employing the theory of small deformation superimposed on large and predicted the effective stiffness in the stretch direction as well as its perpendicular direction. We showed mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) aligned in the pre-stretched direction, and the cell alignment and morphology were dependent on the pre-stretch magnitude. In addition, the pre-stretched surface demonstrated an ability to promote early myoblast differentiation of the MSC. This study is the first report on MSC alignment on a statically pre-stretched surface. The cell orientation induced by the pre-stretch induced anisotropy could provide insight into tissue engineering applications involving cells that aligned in vivo in the absence of dynamic mechanical stimuli.
PMCID: PMC3963186  PMID: 24678348
Mesenchymal stem cells; Mechano-sensing; Static pre-stretch; Anisotropy, Orientation
15.  Manipulation of the polarization of Terahertz wave in subwavelength regime 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8306.
By generalizing the concept of spoof surface Plasmons (Science 305, 847), we analytically demonstrate that subwavelength quarter-wave and half-wave plates can be realized in a metal hole array (MHA) sandwiched by two thin-layer materials, whose optical responses can be characterized by their optical conductivities. These abilities of polarization conversion can be attributed to the novel eigenstates induced by the hybridization of the spoof surface plamsons with the current generated in the thin-layer. Due to this mechanism, the robustness of the system is promised. The analytic predictions are verified numerically by modeling the thin-layer material as an experimentally feasible topological-insulator/SiO2 multilayer. Moreover, the possibility of extending the principle to a broad range of materials is dicussed.
PMCID: PMC4319153  PMID: 25655196
16.  Improving Drug Sensitivity Prediction Using Different Types of Data 
The algorithms and models used to address the two subchallenges that are part of the NCI-DREAM (Dialogue for Reverse Engineering Assessments and Methods) Drug Sensitivity Prediction Challenge (2012) are presented. In subchallenge 1, a bidirectional search algorithm is introduced and optimized using an ensemble scheme and a nonlinear support vector machine (SVM) is then applied to predict the effects of the drug compounds on breast cancer cell lines. In subchallenge 2, a weighted Euclidean distance method is introduced to predict and rank the drug combinations from the most to the least effective in reducing the viability of a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cell line.
PMCID: PMC4360670
17.  Molecular mechanisms of natural killer cell activation in response to cellular stress 
Protection against cellular stress from various sources, such as nutritional, physical, pathogenic, or oncogenic, results in the induction of both intrinsic and extrinsic cellular protection mechanisms that collectively limit the damage these insults inflict on the host. The major extrinsic protection mechanism against cellular stress is the immune system. Indeed, it has been well described that cells that are stressed due to association with viral infection or early malignant transformation can be directly sensed by the immune system, particularly natural killer (NK) cells. Although the ability of NK cells to directly recognize and respond to stressed cells is well appreciated, the mechanisms and the breadth of cell-intrinsic responses that are intimately linked with their activation are only beginning to be uncovered. This review will provide a brief introduction to NK cells and the relevant receptors and ligands involved in direct responses to cellular stress. This will be followed by an in-depth discussion surrounding the various intrinsic responses to stress that can naturally engage NK cells, and how therapeutic agents may induce specific activation of NK cells and other innate immune cells by activating cellular responses to stress.
PMCID: PMC3857624  PMID: 23579243
cellular stress; NK cells; therapy; cancer; immunogenic
18.  Diminished Adenosine A1 Receptor Expression in Pancreatic α-Cells May Contribute to the Pathology of Type 1 Diabetes 
Diabetes  2013;62(12):4208-4219.
Prediabetic NOD mice exhibit hyperglucagonemia, possibly due to an intrinsic α-cell defect. Here, we show that the expression of a potential glucagon inhibitor, the adenosine A1 receptor (Adora1), is gradually diminished in α-cells of NOD mice, autoantibody-positive (AA+) and overtly type 1 diabetic (T1D) patients during the progression of disease. We demonstrated that islet inflammation was associated with loss of Adora1 expression through the alternative splicing of Adora1. Expression of the spliced variant (Adora1-Var) was upregulated in the pancreas of 12-week-old NOD versus age-matched NOD.B10 (non–diabetes-susceptible) control mice and was detected in the pancreas of AA+ patients but not in control subjects or overtly diabetic patients, suggesting that inflammation drives the splicing of Adora1. We subsequently demonstrated that Adora1-Var expression was upregulated in the islets of NOD.B10 mice after exposure to inflammatory cytokines and in the pancreas of NOD.SCID mice after adoptive transfer of activated autologous splenocytes. Adora1-Var encodes a dominant-negative N-terminal truncated isoform of Adora1. The splicing of Adora1 and loss of Adora1 expression on α-cells may explain the hyperglucagonemia observed in prediabetic NOD mice and may contribute to the pathogenesis of human T1D and NOD disease.
PMCID: PMC3837064  PMID: 24264405
19.  FPR1 interacts with CFH, HTRA1 and smoking in exudative age-related macular degeneration and polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy 
Eye  2014;28(12):1502-1510.
To determine the genetic association of an inflammation-related gene, formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1), in exudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV).
The coding region of FPR1 gene was sequenced in 554 unrelated Chinese individuals: 155 exudative AMD patients, 179 PCV patients, and 220 controls. Interactions and combined effects of FPR1 with complement factor H (CFH), high temperature requirement factor A1 (HTRA1), and smoking were also investigated.
A total of 28 polymorphisms in FPR1 were identified. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) rs78488639 increased the risk to exudative AMD (P=0.043) and PCV (P=0.016), whereas SNP rs867229 decreased the risk to exudative AMD (P=0.0026), but not PCV. Homozygous G allele of rs1042229 was associated with exudative AMD (P=0.0394, odds ratio (OR)=2.27, 95% confident interval: 1.08–4.74), but not with PCV. Exudative AMD, but not PCV, was associated with the heterozygous genotypes of rs2070746 (P=0.019, OR=0.57) and rs867229 (P=0.0082, OR=0.54). Significantly, interactions were identified among FPR1 rs78488639, CFH rs800292, and HTRA1 rs11200638 in both exudative AMD and PCV. Combined heterozygous risk alleles of CFH rs800292 GA and FPR1 rs78488639 CA were posed to PCV (P=2.22 × 10−4, OR=10.47), but not exudative AMD. Furthermore, FPR1 rs78488639 CA combining with HTRA1 rs11200638 and smoking was also predisposed risks to exudative AMD and PCV.
FPR1 is associated with exudative AMD and PCV in a Hong Kong Chinese cohort. FPR1 rs78488639 interacted with CFH rs800292, HTRA1 rs11200638, and smoking, enhancing risk to exudative AMD and PCV.
PMCID: PMC4268466  PMID: 25277308
20.  Phase II study of gemcitabine and bexarotene (GEMBEX) in the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;109(10):2566-2573.
Both gemcitabine and bexarotene are established single agents for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). We investigated the feasibility and efficacy of combining these drugs in a single-arm phase II study.
Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma patients who had failed standard skin-directed therapy and at least one prior systemic therapy were given four cycles of gemcitabine and concurrent bexarotene for 12 weeks. Responders were continued on bexarotene maintenance until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.
The median age was 65 years, stage IB (n=5), stage IIA (n=2), stage IIB (n=8), stage III (n=8) and stage IVA (n=12), 17 patients were erythrodermic, 17 patients were B1, and 10 patients were both erythrodermic and B1. Thirty (86%) patients completed four cycles of gemcitabine. In all, 80.0% of patients demonstrated a reduction in modified Severity-Weighted Assessment Tool (mSWAT) score although the objective disease response rate at 12 weeks was 31% (partial response (PR) 31%) and at 24 weeks 14% (PR 14%, stable disease (SD) 23%, progressive disease (PD) 54%, not evaluable 9%). Median progression-free survival was 5.3 months and median overall survival was 21.2 months.
The overall response rate of the combination did not reach the specified target to proceed further and is lower than that previously reported for gemcitabine as a single agent.
PMCID: PMC3833210  PMID: 24136145
cutaneous T-cell lymphoma; mycosis fungoides; bexarotene; gemcitabine
21.  Broadband focusing and collimation of water waves by zero refractive index 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6979.
It is always a challenge to realize extreme and unusual values of refractive index for a broad range of frequencies. We show that when water is covered by a thick, rigid and unmovable plate, it behaves like a medium with zero refractive index for water waves at any frequency. Hence, by covering water with a plate of a concave or rectangular shape, water waves can be focused or collimated in a broad range of frequencies. Experiments were conducted to demonstrate these effects and results are in excellent agreement with numerical simulations.
PMCID: PMC4225562  PMID: 25381845
22.  Contribution of SNRNP200 sequence variations to retinitis pigmentosa 
Eye  2013;27(10):1204-1213.
Mutations in the SNRNP200 gene have been reported to cause autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP). In this study, we evaluate the mutation profile of SNRNP200 in a cohort of southern Chinese RP patients.
Twenty adRP patients from 11 families and 165 index patients with non-syndromic RP with mixed inheritance patterns were screened for mutations in the mutation hotspots of SNRNP200. These included exons 12–16, 22–32, and 38–45, which covered the two helicase ATP-binding domains in DEAD-box and two sec-63 domains. The targeted regions were amplified by polymerase chain reaction and analyzed by direct DNA sequencing, followed by in silico analyses.
Totally 26 variants were identified, 18 of which were novel. Three non-synonymous variants (p.C502R, p.R1779H and p.I698V) were found exclusively in patients. Two of them, p.C502R and p.R1779H, were each identified in one simplex RP patient, whereas p.I698V occurred in one patient with unknown inheritance pattern. All three residues are highly conserved in SNRNP200 orthologs. Nevertheless, only p.C502R and p.R1779H were predicted to affect protein function by in silico analyses, suggesting these two variants are likely to be disease-causing mutations. Notably, all mutations previously identified in other study populations were not detected in this study.
Our results reveal a distinct mutation profile of the SNRNP200 gene in a southern Chinese cohort of RP patients. The identification of two novel candidate mutations in two respective patients affirmed that SNRNP200 contributes to a proportion of overall RP.
PMCID: PMC3806570  PMID: 23887765
retinitis pigmentosa; SNRNP200; mutation
23.  The bromodomain and extra-terminal inhibitor CPI203 enhances the antiproliferative effects of rapamycin on human neuroendocrine tumors 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(10):e1450-.
Endogenous c-MYC (MYC) has been reported to be a potential pharmacological target to trigger ubiquitous tumor regression of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs) and lung tumors. Recently inhibitors of bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) family proteins have shown antitumor effects through the suppression of MYC in leukemia and lymphoma. In this paper, we investigated the antitumor activity of a BET protein bromodomain inhibitor (BETi) CPI203 as a single agent and in combination with rapamycin in human PanNETs. We found that exposure of human PanNET cell lines to CPI203 led to downregulation of MYC expression, G1 cell cycle arrest and nearly complete inhibition of cell proliferation. In addition, overexpression of MYC suppressed the growth inhibition caused by CPI203 and knockdown of MYC phenocopied the effects of CPI203 treatment. These findings indicate that suppression of MYC contributed to the antiproliferative effects of BETi inhibition in human PanNET cells. Importantly, CPI203 treatment enhanced the antitumor effects of rapamycin in PanNET cells grown in monolayer and in three-dimensional cell cultures, as well as in a human PanNET xenograft model in vivo. Furthermore, the combination treatment attenuated rapamycin-induced AKT activation, a major limitation of rapamycin therapy. Collectively, our data suggest that targeting MYC with a BETi may increase the therapeutic benefits of rapalogs in human PanNET patients. This provides a novel clinical strategy for PanNETs, and possibly for other tumors as well.
PMCID: PMC4237236  PMID: 25299775
24.  Negative Optical Torque 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6386.
Light carries angular momentum, and as such it can exert torques on material objects. Applications of these opto-mechanical effects were limited initially due to their smallness in magnitude, but later becomes powerful and versatile after the invention of laser. Novel and practical approaches for harvesting light for particle rotation have since been demonstrated, where the structure is always subjected to a positive optical torque along a certain axis if the incident angular momentum has a positive projection on the same axis. We report here an interesting phenomenon of “negative optical torque”, meaning that incoming photons carrying angular momentum rotate an object in the opposite sense. Surprisingly this can be realized quite straightforwardly in simple planar structures. Field retardation is a necessary condition and discrete rotational symmetry of material object plays an important role. The optimal conditions are explored and explained.
PMCID: PMC4165981  PMID: 25226863
25.  Molecular Imaging of Phosphorylation Events for Drug Development 
Protein phosphorylation mediated by protein kinases controls numerous cellular processes. A genetically encoded, generalizable split firefly luciferase (FL)-assisted complementation system was developed for noninvasive monitoring phosphorylation events and efficacies of kinase inhibitors in cell culture and in small living subjects by optical bioluminescence imaging.
An Akt sensor (AST) was constructed to monitor Akt phosphorylation and the effect of different PI-3K and Akt inhibitors. Specificity of AST was determined using a non-phosphorylable mutant sensor containing an alanine substitution (ASA).
The PI-3K inhibitor LY294002 and Akt kinase inhibitor perifosine led to temporal- and dose-dependent increases in complemented FL activities in 293T human kidney cancer cells stably expressing AST (293T/AST) but not in 293T/ASA cells. Inhibition of endogenous Akt phosphorylation and kinase activities by perifosine also correlated with increase in complemented FL activities in 293T/AST cells but not in 293T/ASA cells. Treatment of nude mice bearing 293T/AST xenografts with perifosine led to a 2-fold increase in complemented FL activities compared to that of 293T/ASA xenografts. Our system was used to screen a small chemical library for novel modulators of Akt kinase activity.
This generalizable approach for noninvasive monitoring of phosphorylation events will accelerate the discovery and validation of novel kinase inhibitors and modulators of phosphorylation events.
PMCID: PMC4154800  PMID: 19048345
Phosphorylation; Kinases; Noninvasive; Repetitive imaging in living subjects; Optical bioluminescence imaging in living subjects; Drug development; Akt

Results 1-25 (193)