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1.  Functional modulation of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase underlies adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia in a Tibetan migratory locust 
Mitochondria are crucial to the hypoxia response of aerobic organisms. However, mitochondrial mechanisms for hypoxia adaptation remain largely unknown. We conducted a comparative study on the mitochondrial hypoxia response and adaptation of the Tibetan Plateau and North China lowland populations of migratory locusts, Locusta migratoria. Compared with lowland locusts, Tibetan locusts presented significantly higher hypoxia tolerance and a better-maintained mitochondrial structure in flight muscles under oxygen partial pressure of 1.6 kPa. The hypoxic treatment inhibited the NADH-linked oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) significantly in both locust populations, but to a less extent in Tibetan locusts. Among the critical components of OXPHOS, only cytochrome c oxidase (COX) exhibited significantly higher activity in Tibetan locusts under normoxia and hypoxia. Pharmacological interventions using NaN3 confirmed that COX activity inhibition reduced hypoxia tolerance by downregulating OXPHOS in both locust populations. The enhanced COX activity was caused not by protein content, but by elevated catalytic efficiency resulting from the increased ferrocytochrome c affinity of COX and the increased electron transport rate via catalytic redox centres. These findings reveal a novel mechanism that confers mitochondrial robustness against hypoxia by modulating the COX activity, which represents an adaptation to permanent hypoxia in the Tibetan Plateau.
PMCID: PMC3574369  PMID: 23390104
Tibetan plateau; mitochondria; hypoxia response; hypoxia adaptation; catalytic efficiency
2.  mhpT Encodes an Active Transporter Involved in 3-(3-Hydroxyphenyl)Propionate Catabolism by Escherichia coli K-12 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(20):6362-6368.
Escherichia coli K-12 utilizes 3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)propionate (3HPP) as a sole carbon and energy source. Among the genes in its catabolic cluster in the genome, mhpT was proposed to encode a hypothetical transporter. Since no transporter for 3HPP uptake has been identified, we investigated whether MhpT is responsible for 3HPP uptake. MhpT fused with green fluorescent protein was found to be located at the periphery of cells by confocal microscopy, consistent with localization to the cytoplasmic membrane. Gene knockout and complementation studies clearly indicated that mhpT is essential for 3HPP catabolism in E. coli K-12 W3110 at pH 8.2. Uptake assays with 14C-labeled substrates demonstrated that strain W3110 and strain W3110ΔmhpT containing recombinant MhpT specifically transported 3HPP but not benzoate, 3-hydroxybenzoate, or gentisate into cells. Energy dependence assays suggested that MhpT-mediated 3HPP transport was driven by the proton motive force. The change of Ala-272 of MhpT to a histidine, surprisingly, resulted in enhanced transport activity, and strain W3110ΔmhpT containing the MhpT A272H mutation had a slightly higher growth rate than the wild-type strain at pH 8.2. Hence, we demonstrated that MhpT is a specific 3HPP transporter and vital for E. coli K-12 W3110 growth on this substrate under basic conditions.
PMCID: PMC3811207  PMID: 23934492
3.  Identification of Differentially Expressed Serum Proteins in Infectious Purpura Fulminans 
Disease Markers  2014;2014:698383.
Purpura fulminans (PF) is a life-threatening hemorrhagic condition. Because of the rarity and randomness of the disease, no improvement in treatment has been made for a long time. In this study, we assessed the serum proteome response to PF by comparing serum proteins between healthy controls and PF patient. Liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) approach was used after depleting 6 abundant proteins of serum. In total, 262 proteins were confidently identified with 2 unique peptides, and 38 proteins were identified significantly up- (≥2) or downregulated (≤0.5) based on spectral counting ratios (SpCPF/N). In the 38 proteins with significant abundance changes, 11 proteins were previously known to be associated with burn or sepsis response, but 27 potentially novel proteins may be specifically associated with PF process. Two differentially expressed proteins, alpha-1-antitrypsin (SERPINA1) and alpha-2 antiplasmin (SERPINF2), were validated by Western blot. This is the first study where PF patient and healthy controls are compared in a proteomic study to elucidate proteins involved in the response to PF. This study provides an initial basis for future studies of PF, and the differentially expressed proteins might provide new therapeutic targets to decrease the mortality of PF.
PMCID: PMC3934775  PMID: 24659849
4.  Serum Soluble Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells-1 and Procalcitonin Can Reflect Sepsis Severity and Predict Prognosis: A Prospective Cohort Study 
Mediators of Inflammation  2014;2014:641039.
Objective. To investigate the prognostic significance of serum soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1 (sTREM-1), procalcitonin (PCT), N-terminal probrain natriuretic peptide (NT-pro-BNP), C-reactive protein (CRP), cytokines, and clinical severity scores in patients with sepsis. Methods. A total of 102 patients with sepsis were divided into survival group (n = 60) and nonsurvival group (n = 42) based on 28-day mortality. Serum levels of biomarkers and cytokines were measured on days 1, 3, and 5 after admission to an ICU, meanwhile the acute physiology and chronic health evaluation II (APACHE II) and sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) scores were calculated. Results. Serum sTREM-1, PCT, and IL-6 levels of patients in the nonsurvival group were significantly higher than those in the survival group on day 1 (P < 0.01). The area under a ROC curve for the prediction of 28 day mortality was 0.792 for PCT, 0.856 for sTREM-1, 0.953 for SOFA score, and 0.923 for APACHE II score. Multivariate logistic analysis showed that serum baseline sTREM-1 PCT levels and SOFA score were the independent predictors of 28-day mortality. Serum PCT, sTREM-1, and IL-6 levels showed a decrease trend over time in the survival group (P < 0.05). Serum NT-pro-BNP levels showed the predictive utility from days 3 and 5 (P < 0.05). Conclusion. In summary, elevated serum sTREM-1 and PCT levels provide superior prognostic accuracy to other biomarkers. Combination of serum sTREM-1 and PCT levels and SOFA score can offer the best powerful prognostic utility for sepsis mortality.
PMCID: PMC3941582  PMID: 24672147
5.  Naturally Occurring Hepatitis B Virus B-Cell and T-Cell Epitope Mutants in Hepatitis B Vaccinated Children 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:571875.
To control hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, a universal HBV vaccination program for infants was launched in Taiwan in 1984. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of B-cell and T-cell epitope variations of HBsAg and polymerase in HBV infection in vaccinated children. One hundred sixty-three sera from vaccinated children were enrolled randomly. HBV serum markers, including hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibodies to HBsAg (anti-HBs) and core antigen (anti-HBc), were detected by ELISA. Nucleotide sequences encoding the S and the pre-S regions of HBsAg were analyzed in all HBsAg positive sera. Five children were HBsAg positive. Sequence analysis of S, pre-S, and overlapped polymerase (P) genes showed that HBV isolates of HBsAg-positive vaccinees were variants; no G145R but G145A and other substitutions were found in the “a” determinant. Fifteen, six, and eight amino acid substitutions within B-cell and T-cell epitopes of S, pre-S, and P regions were detected, respectively. Several immune-epitope mutants, such as S45T/A, N131T, I194V, and S207N in S, were detected in all isolates. In conclusion, our results suggested that these naturally occurring immunoepitope mutants, which changed their immunogenicity leading to escape from immune response, might cause HBV infection.
PMCID: PMC3860134  PMID: 24379746
6.  Prime–Boost with Mycobacterium smegmatis Recombinant Vaccine Improves Protection in Mice Infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e78639.
The development of a new vaccine as a substitute for Bacillus Calmette–Guerin or to improve its efficacy is one of the many World Health Organization goals to control tuberculosis. Mycobacterial vectors have been used successfully in the development of vaccines against tuberculosis. To enhance the potential utility of Mycobacterium smegmatis as a vaccine, it was transformed with a recombinant plasmid containing the partial sequences of the genes Ag85c, MPT51, and HspX (CMX) from M. tuberculosis. The newly generated recombinant strain mc2-CMX was tested in a murine model of infection. The recombinant vaccine induced specific IgG1 or IgG2a responses to CMX. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from the lungs and spleen responded ex vivo to CMX, producing IFN-γ, IL17, TNF-α, and IL2. The vaccine thus induced a significant immune response in mice. Mice vaccinated with mc2-CMX and challenged with M. tuberculosis showed better protection than mice immunized with wild-type M. smegmatis or BCG. To increase the safety and immunogenicity of the CMX antigens, we used a recombinant strain of M. smegmatis, IKE (immune killing evasion), to express CMX. The recombinant vaccine IKE-CMX induced a better protective response than mc2-CMX. The data presented here suggest that the expression of CMX antigens improves the immune response and the protection induced in mice when M. smegmatis is used as vaccine against tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC3826754  PMID: 24250805
7.  Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity and Their Associations with Socioeconomic Status in a Rural Han Chinese Adult Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79946.
The purpose of this study is to describe the prevalence of overweight, general obesity, and abdominal obesity and examine their associations with socioeconomic status in a rural Chinese adult population.
This cross-sectional study was performed on 15,236 participants ≥ 35 years of age (6,313 men [41.4%] and 8,923 women [58.6%]). Each participant’s weight, height, waist circumference (WC), and hipline circumference (HC) were measured, and demographic and socioeconomic data were collected using questionnaires.
The mean body mass index (BMI) values were 23.31 ± 2.96 and 23.89 ± 3.23 kg m-2 and the mean WC values were 79.13 ± 8.43 and 79.54 ± 8.27 cm for men and women, respectively. The age-standardized prevalence rates of overweight (BMI ≥ 24.0 kg m-2), general obesity (BMI ≥ 28.0 kg m-2), and abdominal obesity (WC ≥ 85 cm for men and ≥ 80 cm for women) were 32.0%, 6.7%, and 27.0% for men and 35.1%, 9.7%, and 48.3% for women, respectively. All gender differences were statistically significant (p < 0.001). In addition, the age-specific prevalence rates of general and abdominal obesity slowly decreased among men but sharply increased among women as age increased (p < 0.001). In subsequent logistic regression analysis, educational level was negatively associated with both general obesity and abdominal obesity among women but positively associated with abdominal obesity among men. No significant correlation was found between obesity and income.
These results suggest a high prevalence of obesity which might differ by gender and age, and an inverse association among women and a mixed association among men noted between education and obesity in our locality. Preventive and therapeutic programs are warranted to control this serious public health problem. The gender-specific characteristics of populations at high-risk of developing obesity should be taken into consideration when designing interventional programs.
PMCID: PMC3818265  PMID: 24224024
8.  The B7-1 Cytoplasmic Tail Enhances Intracellular Transport and Mammalian Cell Surface Display of Chimeric Proteins in the Absence of a Linear ER Export Motif 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75084.
Membrane-tethered proteins (mammalian surface display) are increasingly being used for novel therapeutic and biotechnology applications. Maximizing surface expression of chimeric proteins on mammalian cells is important for these applications. We show that the cytoplasmic domain from the B7-1 antigen, a commonly used element for mammalian surface display, can enhance the intracellular transport and surface display of chimeric proteins in a Sar1 and Rab1 dependent fashion. However, mutational, alanine scanning and deletion analysis demonstrate the absence of linear ER export motifs in the B7 cytoplasmic domain. Rather, efficient intracellular transport correlated with the presence of predicted secondary structure in the cytoplasmic tail. Examination of the cytoplasmic domains of 984 human and 782 mouse type I transmembrane proteins revealed that many previously identified ER export motifs are rarely found in the cytoplasmic tail of type I transmembrane proteins. Our results suggest that efficient intracellular transport of B7 chimeric proteins is associated with the structure rather than to the presence of a linear ER export motif in the cytoplasmic tail, and indicate that short (less than ~ 10-20 amino acids) and unstructured cytoplasmic tails should be avoided to express high levels of chimeric proteins on mammalian cells.
PMCID: PMC3779271  PMID: 24073236
9.  Estimation of Wheat Agronomic Parameters using New Spectral Indices 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72736.
Crop agronomic parameters (leaf area index (LAI), nitrogen (N) uptake, total chlorophyll (Chl) content ) are very important for the prediction of crop growth. The objective of this experiment was to investigate whether the wheat LAI, N uptake, and total Chl content could be accurately predicted using spectral indices collected at different stages of wheat growth. Firstly, the product of the optimized soil-adjusted vegetation index and wheat biomass dry weight (OSAVI×BDW) were used to estimate LAI, N uptake, and total Chl content; secondly, BDW was replaced by spectral indices to establish new spectral indices (OSAVI×OSAVI, OSAVI×SIPI, OSAVI×CIred edge, OSAVI×CIgreen mode and OSAVI×EVI2); finally, we used the new spectral indices for estimating LAI, N uptake, and total Chl content. The results showed that the new spectral indices could be used to accurately estimate LAI, N uptake, and total Chl content. The highest R2 and the lowest RMSEs were 0.711 and 0.78 (OSAVI×EVI2), 0.785 and 3.98 g/m2 (OSAVI×CIred edge) and 0.846 and 0.65 g/m2 (OSAVI×CIred edge) for LAI, nitrogen uptake and total Chl content, respectively. The new spectral indices performed better than the OSAVI alone, and the problems of a lack of sensitivity at earlier growth stages and saturation at later growth stages, which are typically associated with the OSAVI, were improved. The overall results indicated that this new spectral indices provided the best approximation for the estimation of agronomic indices for all growth stages of wheat.
PMCID: PMC3758323  PMID: 24023639
10.  Effects of radix curcumae-derived diterpenoid C on Helicobacter pylori-induced inflammation and nuclear factor kappa B signal pathways 
AIM: To study effect of diterpenoid C extracted from radix curcumae on Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)-infected inflammation, intestinal metaplasia, and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling pathway in vitro.
METHODS: We used I-type H. pylori to infect human gastric epithelial gastric epithelium cell line (GES-1) cell lines, and then H. pylori-infected GES-1 cells were treated with radix curcumae (RC)-derived diterpenoid C of different concentrations (5, 10, 20 μg/mL) and amoxicillin. The expression of p65, IκB kinase (IKK) α and IKKγ proteins was detected with Western blotting, and the expression of interleukin (IL)-8, IL-6 and IL-4 was determined with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method. Data were analyzed using SPSS software ver18.0. For comparisons between groups of more than two unpaired values, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used. If an ANOVA F value was significant, post hoc comparisons were performed between groups. If results were not normally distributed, the Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare two groups of unpaired values, whereas for comparisons between groups of more than two unpaired values, the Kruskal-Wallis H test was used. Statistical significance was established at P < 0.05.
RESULTS: The MTT assay results revealed the inhibited rate of GES-1, and indicated that the IC5 of RC-derived diterpenoid C and amoxicillin all were 5 μg/mL for gastric GES-1 cells. The expression of IL-8 was significantly increased, especially at 12 h time point; and the expression of IL-4 was decreased in H. pylori-infected GES-1 cells. After H. pylori-infected GES-1 cells were treated with RC-derived diterpenoid C of different concentrations and amoxicillin, the expression of IL-8 was decreased at 12, 24, 48, 72 h points (P < 0.01), especially in high-concentration diterpenoid C (20 μg/mL) group; and the expression of IL-4 was increased, especially in moderate and high-concentration diterpenoid C (10 and 20 μg/mL) groups. RC-derived diterpenoid C had the inhibitory effects on H. pylori-induced p65 translocation from cytoplasm into cell nucleus, H. pylori-stimulant IkBα degradation, the phosphorylation of p65 and IkBα, and the expression of IKKα and IKKβ proteins.
CONCLUSION: RC-derived diterpenoid C can block NF-κB signal pathway, effectively reducing the secretion of H. pylori-induced proinflammatory cytokine and increasing the secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokine.
PMCID: PMC3746380  PMID: 23964142
Radix curcumae-derived diterpenoid C; Helicobacter pylori; Nuclear factor-κB; Inflammatory cytokine
11.  Exposure Levels of Environmental Endocrine Disruptors in Mother-Newborn Pairs in China and Their Placental Transfer Characteristics 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62526.
There is a growing concern about the potential health effects of exposure to various environmental chemicals during pregnancy and infancy. The placenta is expected to be an effective barrier protecting the developing embryo against some endocrine disruptors (EDs) circulating in maternal blood. The current study was designed to assess in utero exposure levels of non-persistent organic pollutants (non-POPs) and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Chinese newborns and potential role of placenta barrier against fetal exposure to these commonly-used environmental endocrine disruptors. A total of 230 newborn-mother pairs were enrolled during 2010–2011, 201 pairs of which were recruited from Shanghai, and the other 29 pairs came from Wenzhou. Maternal blood, cord blood, and meconium specimens were collected in the subject population from Shanghai and analyzed for non-POPs, including mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP), octylphenol (OP) and 4-nonylphenol (4-NP). A total of 19 polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) congeners, which belong to POPs, were detected in maternal and cord blood specimens from the other 29 pairs. Fetal-maternal ratios (F-M ratios) and regression coefficients were presented to assess potential function of placenta on barricading the mother/fetal transfer of these EDs. Concentrations of the detected non-POPs in cord blood samples were approximately 20% lower than those in maternal blood, and regression coefficients of which were all over 0.80. In contrast, PBDEs levels in cord blood samples were significantly higher than those in maternal blood. MEHP levels in meconium were much higher than those in cord blood samples, and highly correlated. Therefore, observations demonstrated that the placental barrier slightly decreased the fetal exposure to most non-POPs, while PBDEs seemed to be totally transferred across the placenta and finally reached the fetus. For in utero exposure assessment of Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), MEHP level in meconium may be a useful biomarker.
PMCID: PMC3646826  PMID: 23667484
12.  Peroxisome Proliferator–Activated Receptor-γ Coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) Enhances Engraftment and Angiogenesis of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Diabetic Hindlimb Ischemia 
Diabetes  2012;61(5):1153-1159.
To examine whether the peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α), a key regulator linking angiogenesis and metabolism, could enhance the engraftment and angiogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in diabetic hindlimb ischemia, we engineered the overexpression of PGC-1α within MSCs using an adenoviral vector encoding green fluorescent protein and PGC-1α, and then tested the survivability and angiogenesis of MSCs in vitro and in vivo. Under the condition of hypoxia concomitant with serum deprivation, the overexpression of PGC-1α in MSCs resulted in a higher expression level of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (Hif-1α), a greater ratio of B-cell lymphoma leukemia-2 (Bcl-2)/Bcl-2–associated X protein (Bax), and a lower level of caspase 3 compared with the controls, followed by an increased survival rate and an elevated expression level of several proangiogenic factors. In vivo, the MSCs modified with PGC-1α could significantly increase the blood perfusion and capillary density of ischemic hindlimb of the diabetic rats, which was correlated to an improved survivability of MSCs and an increased level of several proangiogenic factors secreted by MSCs. We identified for the first time that PGC-1α could enhance the engraftment and angiogenesis of MSCs in diabetic hindlimb ischemia.
PMCID: PMC3331776  PMID: 22266669
13.  Meta-Analysis of Randomised Clinical Trials Comparing Idarubicin + Cytarabine with Daunorubicin + Cytarabine as the Induction Chemotherapy in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukaemia 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60699.
To determine whether the use of idarubicin+cytarabine (IA) is more effective than the use of daunorubicin+cytarabine (DA) as induction chemotherapy for patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia.
A computer-based search was performed. Randomised trials comparing IA with DA as induction therapy for newly diagnosed AML were included in this meta-analysis. The primary outcome of interest for our analysis was survival (disease-free survival, event-free survival and overall survival); the secondary endpoint was complete remission.
Ten trials with 4,060 patients were eligible for this meta-analysis. Our pooled results suggest that IA is associated with a significant advantage in CR (RR = 1·23; 95% CI = 1·07–1·41, p = 0.004), EFS (HR = 0·64; 95% CI = 0·45–0·91, p = 0.013), and OS (HR = 0·88; 95% CI = 0·81–0·95, p = 0.02) but not in DFS (HR = 0·90; 95% CI = 0·80–1·00, p = 0.06). In the subgroup analysis, age had a significant interaction with OS and CR benefits.
Our analysis indicated that IA could improve the duration of overall survival compared to DA as induction therapy for young patients with newly diagnosed AML. Further study is needed to determine whether IA can produce clinical benefits in selected genetic or molecular subgroups of young AML patients.
PMCID: PMC3622517  PMID: 23593285
14.  Histological and mechanical properties of autologous living tissue biotubes 
The aim of this study was to explore and evaluate biotubes consisting of autologous tissues. The biotubes were prepared by intra-abdominally embedding silicon rods as moulds. The specimens were analyzed by mechanical tests, histological observation and superficial study. The intra-abdominal implantation of the silicone tubes readily stimulated the development of the biotubes. The biotubes consisted of collagen-rich extracellular matrices. Myofibroblasts appeared as elongated cells with circumferential or longitudinal orientations. Subsequent to one month of embedding, the thickness of the tube wall was 70–250 μm. The burst strength was 1100±187 mmHg and the suturability was excellent. Biotubes that have the ability to be widely variable in their shapes are composed of autologous cells and glomerular extracellular matrices. Biotubes are ideal grafts for tissue engineering as they are able to avoid immunological rejection and are of sufficient mechanical strength.
PMCID: PMC3702706  PMID: 23837041
tissue engineering; autologous transplant; small caliber; biotube; collagen
15.  γ-Tocotrienol Induces Paraptosis-Like Cell Death in Human Colon Carcinoma SW620 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57779.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most serious illnesses among diagnosed cancer. As a new type of anti-cancer composition from tocotrienol-rich fraction of palm oil, γ-tocotrienol is widely used in anti-cancer research. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of γ-tocotrienol on human colon cancer SW620 and HCT-8 cells. We showed that treatment with different concentrations of γ-tocotrienol resulted in a dose dependent inhibition of cell growth. Cell death induced by γ-tocotrienol was mediated by a paraptosis-like cell death in SW620 and HCT-8 cells. Real-time RT-PCR and western blot analyses showed that γ-tocotrienol inhibited the expression level of β-catenin, cyclin D1 and c-jun. These data suggest that a paraptosis-like cell death induced by γ-tocotrienol in SW620 cells is associated with the suppression of the Wnt signaling pathway, which offers a novel tool for treating apoptosis-resistance colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC3585143  PMID: 23469066
16.  Einstein Contained Aerosol Pulmonizer (ECAP): Improved Biosafety for Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) and Extensively Drug Resistant (XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis Aerosol Infection Studies 
A new apparatus enhances the biosafety of containment (biosafety level 3 [BSL-3]) and provides experimental reproducibility for aerosol infection experiments with MDR and XDR Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The methods are generally applicable to the study of airborne pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3569622  PMID: 23413363
17.  The C-Kit Receptor-Mediated Signal Transduction and Tumor-Related Diseases 
As an important member of tyrosine kinase family, c-kit receptor causes specific expression of certain genes, regulates cell differentiation and proliferation, resists cell apoptosis, and plays a key role in tumor occurrence, development, migration and recurrence through activating the downstream signaling molecules following interaction with stem cell factor (SCF). The abnormality of SCF/c-kit signaling pathway is closely related to some certain tumors. The discovery of c-kit receptor-targeted drugs has promoted clinical-related cancer's diagnosis and treatment. In this paper, we review recent research progress on c-kit receptor-mediated signal transduction and its potential therapeutic application as a target in tumor-related diseases.
PMCID: PMC3654492  PMID: 23678293
c-kit receptor; signal transduction; tumor; targeted therapy
18.  Aortic Deceleration Injury Treated by Endograft: A Case Report with 11-Year Followup 
Aortic deceleration injury is a common and critical condition following automobile accident with high fatality. The survivors complicated with associated serious injuries are even rare and definitive treatment is required. A 37-year-old male patient had both aortic blunt injury and coronary artery injury after a frontal car collision. After failed coronary artery percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) and deteriorated aortic lesion, the ruptured aorta was subsequently successfully treated by us with a self-made individualized endograft. The endograft was well in position and the patient functioned well in 11-year followup. With the development of endograft and technique, the endovascular treatment may be an option for patients with complicated aortic blunt injury. Yet careful patient selection and the long-term followup are essential.
PMCID: PMC3540647  PMID: 23326752
19.  Efficacy and safety of live attenuated persistent and rapidly cleared Mycobacterium tuberculosis vaccine candidates in non-human primates 
Vaccine  2009;27(34):4709-4717.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a global health burden for which safe vaccines are needed. BCG has limitations as a TB vaccine so we have focused on live attenuated Mycobacterium tuberculosis mutants as vaccine candidates. Prior to human studies, however, it is necessary to demonstrate safety in non-human primates (NHP). In this study, we evaluate the safety and efficacy of two live attenuated M. tuberculosis double deletion vaccine strains mc26020 (ΔlysA ΔpanCD) and mc26030 (ΔRD1 ΔpanCD) in cynomolgus macaques. In murine models, mc26020 is rapidly cleared while mc26030 persists. Both mc26020 and mc26030 were safe and well tolerated in cynomolgus macaques. Following a high-dose intrabronchial challenge with virulent M. tuberculosis, mc26020-vaccinates were afforded a level of protection intermediate between that elicited by BCG vaccination and no vaccination. BCG vaccinates had reduced tuberculosis-associated pathology and improved clinical scores as compared to saline and mc26030 vaccinates, but survival did not differ among the groups.
PMCID: PMC3512200  PMID: 19500524
Vaccine; Mycobacteria; Mycobacterium; Tuberculosis; Non-human primate; BCG; Safety
20.  Antiretroviral Drug Resistance Mutations Among Treated and Treatment-Naive Patients in Pakistan: Diversity of the HIV Type 1 pol Gene in Pakistan 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2011;27(12):1277-1282.
Pakistan is experiencing a growing HIV epidemic. Antiretroviral drugs (ARV) have been smuggled into the country and available without prescription since the early 1990s, but are now provided free of cost by the government. We assessed the prevalence of HIV-1, drug resistance, and subtype distributions. Blood specimens were collected from HIV-1-infected participants registered in Sindh Province on dry blood spot (DBS) cards in 2008. Pol, protease, and partial reverse transcriptase regions were sequenced after reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR). HIV-1 subtype was assigned by phylogenetic analysis. Primary drug resistance was analyzed by the Calibrated Population Resistance (CPR) tool using the Stanford Surveillance Drug Resistance Mutation (SDRM) major mutation list. Out of 100 blood samples collected, 42 were suitable for testing. Out of 42, 11 were ARV-receiving and 31 ARV-naive patients. Among them, 24 were injection drug users (IDUs), four immigrants, two hijras (male transvestites), two men who have sex with men (MSM), four prisoners, one female sex workers, two spouses of HIV-infected persons, and four from the general population. ARV resistance among naive patients was 2/31 (6.5%) and 36.4% (4/11) among ARV-experienced patients making an overall resistance of 14.2%. HIV-1 subtype A1 was the predominant subtype found in 35/42 (83.3%) followed by CRF35_AD and C, 6.5% each. Subtype D and G were found in one (2.4%) each. A significant proportion of Pakistani HIV patients has ARV drug resistance. Physicians treating patients should consider the magnitude of drug resistance while selecting regimens, and address drug adherence aggressively.
PMCID: PMC3227241  PMID: 21591988
21.  Roles of microRNA on cancer cell metabolism 
Advanced studies of microRNAs (miRNAs) have revealed their manifold biological functions, including control of cell proliferation, cell cycle and cell death. However, it seems that their roles as key regulators of metabolism have drawn more and more attention in the recent years. Cancer cells display increased metabolic autonomy in comparison to non-transformed cells, taking up nutrients and metabolizing them in pathways that support growth and proliferation. MiRNAs regulate cell metabolic processes through complicated mechanisms, including directly targeting key enzymes or transporters of metabolic processes and regulating transcription factors, oncogenes / tumor suppressors as well as multiple oncogenic signaling pathways. MiRNAs like miR-375, miR-143, miR-14 and miR-29b participate in controlling cancer cell metabolism by regulating the expression of genes whose protein products either directly regulate metabolic machinery or indirectly modulate the expression of metabolic enzymes, serving as master regulators, which will hopefully lead to a new therapeutic strategy for malignant cancer. This review focuses on miRNA regulations of cancer cell metabolism,including glucose uptake, glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid cycle and insulin production, lipid metabolism and amino acid biogenesis, as well as several oncogenic signaling pathways. Furthermore, the challenges of miRNA-based strategies for cancer diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutics have been discussed.
PMCID: PMC3563491  PMID: 23164426
MicroRNA; Cell metabolism; MiRNA biomarker
22.  Correction: High-Dose Chemotherapy Followed by Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation as a First-Line Therapy for High-Risk Primary Breast Cancer: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):10.1371/annotation/928a7cff-1ae7-4ce5-908c-f765ea53663f.
PMCID: PMC3553191
23.  Zerumbone suppresses IKKα, Akt, and FOXO1 activation, resulting in apoptosis of GBM 8401 cells 
Zerumbone, a sesquiterpene compound isolated from subtropical ginger, Zingiber zerumbet Smith, has been documented to exert antitumoral and anti- inflammatory activities. In this study, we demonstrate that zerumbone induces apoptosis in human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM8401) cells and investigate the apoptotic mechanism.
We added a caspase inhibitor and transfected wild-type (WT) IKK and Akt into GBM 8401 cells, and measured cell viability and apoptosis by MTT assay and flow cytometry. By western blotting, we evaluated activation of caspase-3, dephosphorylation of IKK, Akt, FOXO1 with time, and change of IKK, Akt, and FOXO1 phosphorylation after transfection of WT IKK and Akt.
Zerumbone (10∽50 μM) induced death of GBM8401 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Flow cytometry studies showed that zerumbone increased the percentage of apoptotic GBM cells. Zerumbone also caused caspase-3 activation and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) production. N-benzyloxycarbonyl -Val-Ala-Asp- fluoromethylketone (zVAD-fmk), a broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor, hindered zerumbone-induced cell death. Transfection of GBM 8401 cells with WT IKKα inhibited zerumbone-induced apoptosis, and zerumbone significantly decreased IKKα phosphorylation levels in a time-dependent manner. Similarly, transfection of GBM8401 cells with Akt suppressed zerumbone-induced apoptosis, and zerumbone also diminished Akt phosphorylation levels remarkably and time-dependently. Moreover, transfection of GBM8401 cells with WT IKKα reduced the zerumbone-induced decrease in Akt and FOXO1 phosphorylation. However, transfection with WT Akt decreased FOXO1, but not IKKα, phosphorylation.
The results suggest that inactivation of IKKα, followed by Akt and FOXO1 phosphorylation and caspase-3 activation, contributes to zerumbone-induced GBM cell apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3502293  PMID: 23035900
Zerumbone; IKK; Akt; FOXO1; Glioblastoma multiforme
24.  MiR-125b orchestrates cell proliferation, differentiation and migration in neural stem/progenitor cells by targeting Nestin 
BMC Neuroscience  2012;13:116.
The emerging concept is that microRNAs (miRNAs) play a central role in controlling stem cell self-renewal and fate determination by regulating the expression of stem cell regulators. miR-125b, one of neuronal miRNAs, recently was found to be necessary for neural differentiation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs). However, the other specific biological role of miR-125b in NS/PCs is little known. We used rat NS/PCs as a model system to study the role of miR-125b in governing the behavior of NS/PCs.
We report here the transfection of exogenous miR-125b inhibited proliferation of NS/PCs but promoted differentiation and migration. Whereas anti-miR-125b had the opposite effect. Similar results were observed when Nestin was knocked down by siRNA. Subsequently, we demonstrated that Nestin was a direct functional target of miR-125b. MiR-125b downregulates the expression of luciferase through Nestin 3’untranslated region (3’-UTR), and the regulation was abolished by mutations in the miR-125b binding site. MiR-125b targeted the 3'-UTR of Nestin and reduced the abundance of Nestin at both mRNA and protein levels.
The results provided new insight into the function by which miR-125b modulates NS/PCs proliferation, differentiation and migration. The data also indicated the regulatory role of miR-125b in NS/PCs might through the suppression of Nestin expression.
PMCID: PMC3507862  PMID: 23016664
Neural stem/progenitor cells; MiR-125b; Nestin
25.  In vitro removal of toxic heavy metals by poly(γ-glutamic acid)-coated superparamagnetic nanoparticles 
Chelation therapy involving organic chelators for treatment of heavy metal intoxication can cause cardiac arrest, kidney overload, mineral deficiency, and anemia.
In this study, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) modified with an edible biopolymer poly(γ-glutamic acid) (PGA) were synthesized by coprecipitation method, characterized and evaluated for their removal efficiency of heavy metals from a metal solution, and simulated gastrointestinal fluid (SGIF).
Instrumental characterization of bare- and PGA-SPIONs revealed 7% coating of PGA on SPIONs with a spherical shape and an iron oxide spinel structure belonging to magnetite. The particle sizes as determined from transmission electron microscopy images were 8.5 and 11.7 nm for bare- and PGA-SPIONs, respectively, while the magnetization values were 70.3 and 61.5 emu/g. Upon coating with PGA, the zeta potentials were shifted from positive to negative at most of the environmental pH (3–8) and biological pH (1–8), implying good dispersion in aqueous suspension and favorable conditions for heavy metal removal. Batch studies showed rapid removal of lead and cadmium with the kinetic rates estimated by pseudo-second-order model being 0.212 and 0.424 g/mg·min, respectively. A maximum removal occurred in the pH range 4–8 in deionized water and 5–8 in SGIF corresponding to most gastrointestinal pH except for the stomach. Addition of different ionic strengths (0.001–1 M sodium acetate) and essential metals (Cu, Fe, Zn, Mg, Ca, and K) did not show any marked influence on lead removal by PGA-SPIONs, but significantly reduced the binding of cadmium. Compared to deionized water, the lead removal from SGIF was high at all pH with the Langmuir monolayer removal capacity being 98.70 mg/g for the former and 147.71 mg/g for the latter. However, a lower cadmium removal capacity was shown for SGIF (23.15 mg/g) than for deionized water (31.13 mg/g).
These results suggest that PGA-SPIONs could be used as a metal chelator for clinical treatment of metal poisoning.
PMCID: PMC3420602  PMID: 22927758
superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; poly(γ-glutamic acid); heavy metals; chelation therapy; gastrointestinal pH; kinetics

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