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1.  Caspase-1/ASC Inflammasome-Mediated Activation of IL-1β–ROS–NF-κB Pathway for Control of Trypanosoma cruzi Replication and Survival Is Dispensable in NLRP3−/− Macrophages 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111539.
In this study, we have utilized wild-type (WT), ASC−/−, and NLRP3−/− macrophages and inhibition approaches to investigate the mechanisms of inflammasome activation and their role in Trypanosoma cruzi infection. We also probed human macrophages and analyzed published microarray datasets from human fibroblasts, and endothelial and smooth muscle cells for T. cruzi-induced changes in the expression genes included in the RT Profiler Human Inflammasome arrays. T. cruzi infection elicited a subdued and delayed activation of inflammasome-related gene expression and IL-1β production in mφs in comparison to LPS-treated controls. When WT and ASC−/− macrophages were treated with inhibitors of caspase-1, IL-1β, or NADPH oxidase, we found that IL-1β production by caspase-1/ASC inflammasome required reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a secondary signal. Moreover, IL-1β regulated NF-κB signaling of inflammatory cytokine gene expression and, subsequently, intracellular parasite replication in macrophages. NLRP3−/− macrophages, despite an inability to elicit IL-1β activation and inflammatory cytokine gene expression, exhibited a 4-fold decline in intracellular parasites in comparison to that noted in matched WT controls. NLRP3−/− macrophages were not refractory to T. cruzi, and instead exhibited a very high basal level of ROS (>100-fold higher than WT controls) that was maintained after infection in an IL-1β-independent manner and contributed to efficient parasite killing. We conclude that caspase-1/ASC inflammasomes play a significant role in the activation of IL-1β/ROS and NF-κB signaling of cytokine gene expression for T. cruzi control in human and mouse macrophages. However, NLRP3-mediated IL-1β/NFκB activation is dispensable and compensated for by ROS-mediated control of T. cruzi replication and survival in macrophages.
PMCID: PMC4221042  PMID: 25372293
2.  Ursolic Acid Inhibits Superoxide Production in Activated Neutrophils and Attenuates Trauma-Hemorrhage Shock-Induced Organ Injury in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111365.
Neutrophil activation is associated with the development of organ injury after trauma–hemorrhagic shock. In the present study, ursolic acid inhibited the superoxide anion generation and elastase release in human neutrophils. Administration of ursolic acid attenuated trauma–hemorrhagic shock-induced hepatic and lung injuries in rats. In addition, administration of ursolic acid attenuated the hepatic malondialdehyde levels and reduced the plasma aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels after trauma–hemorrhagic shock. In conclusion, ursolic acid, a bioactive natural compound, inhibits superoxide anion generation and elastase release in human neutrophils and ameliorates trauma–hemorrhagic shock-induced organ injury in rats.
PMCID: PMC4216084  PMID: 25360589
3.  Serum-Free Medium Optimization Based on Trial Design and Support Vector Regression 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:269305.
The Plackett-Burman design and support vector machine (SVM) were reported to be used on many fields such as some feature selections, protein structure prediction, or forecasting of other situations. Here, with suspension adapted Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells as the object of study, a serum-free medium for the culture of CHO cells in suspension was optimized by this method. Support vector machine based on genetic algorithm was used to predict the growth rate of CHO and prove the results from the trial designs. Experimental results indicated that ZnSO4, transferrin, and bovine serum albumin (BSA) were important ones. The same conclusion was arrived at when the support vector regression model analyzed the experimental results. With the methods mentioned, the influence of 7 medium supplements on the growth of CHO cells in suspension was evaluated efficiently.
PMCID: PMC4212526  PMID: 25379507
4.  MyD88 controls human metapneumovirus-induced pulmonary immune responses and disease pathogenesis 
Virus research  2013;176(0):10.1016/j.virusres.2013.06.014.
Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is a common cause of lung and airway infections in infants and young children. Recently, we and others have shown that hMPV infection induces Toll-like receptor (TLR)-dependent cellular signaling. However, the contribution of TLR-mediated signaling in host defenses against pulmonary hMPV infection and associated disease pathogenesis has not been elucidated. In this study, mice deficient in MyD88, a common adaptor of TLRs, was used to investigate the contribution of TLRs to in vivo pulmonary response to hMPV infection. MyD88−/− mice have significantly reduced pulmonary inflammation and associated disease compared with wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 mice after intranasal infection with hMPV. hMPV-induced cytokines and chemokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and isolated lung conventional dendritic cells (cDC) are also significantly impaired by MyD88 deletion. In addition, we found that MyD88 is required for the recruitment of DC, T cells, and other immune cells to the lungs, and for the functional regulation of DC and T cells in response to hMPV infection. Taken together, our data indicate that MyD88-mediated pathways are essential for the pulmonary immune and pathogenic responses to this viral pathogen.
PMCID: PMC3819944  PMID: 23845303
hMPV; MyD88; Cytokines/chemokines; Pulmonary immune response
5.  Disrupted Functional Brain Connectivity and Its Association to Structural Connectivity in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96505.
Although anomalies in the topological architecture of whole-brain connectivity have been found to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), our understanding about the progression of AD in a functional connectivity (FC) perspective is still rudimentary and few study has explored the function-structure relations in brain networks of AD patients. By using resting-state functional MRI (fMRI), this study firstly investigated organizational alternations in FC networks in 12 AD patients, 15 amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) patients, and 14 age-matched healthy aging subjects and found that all three groups exhibit economical small-world network properties. Nonetheless, we found a decline of the optimal architecture in the progression of AD, represented by a more localized modular organization with less efficient local information transfer. Our results also show that aMCI forms a boundary between normal aging and AD and represents a functional continuum between healthy aging and the earliest signs of dementia. Moreover, we revealed a dissociated relationship between the overall FC and structural connectivity (SC) in AD patients. In this study, diffusion tensor imaging tractography was used to map the structural network of the same individuals. The decreased FC-SC coupling may be indicative of more stringent and less dynamic brain function in AD patients. Our findings provided insightful implications for understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms of brain dysfunctions in aMCI and AD patients and demonstrated that functional disorders can be characterized by multimodal neuroimaging-based metrics.
PMCID: PMC4013022  PMID: 24806295
6.  Lipid modulatory activities of Cichorium glandulosum Boiss et Huet are mediated by multiple components within hepatocytes 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4715.
To investigate a possible methodology of exploiting herbal medicine and design polytherapy for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), we have made use of Cichorium glandulosum Boiss et Huet (CG), a traditional Chinese herbal medicine that has been proven to be effective in treating hepatic diseases. Here, we report that the extract of CG effectively reduced lipid accumulation under conditions of lipid overloading in vivo and in vitro (in a rat high-fat diet model and a hepG2 cell model of free fatty acid treatment). CG extract also protected hepatocytes from injury and inflammation to aid its lipid-lowering properties (in a rat high-fat diet model and a L02 cell model of acetaminophen treatment). Serum chemistry analysis accompanied by in vitro drug screening confirmed that CG-4, CG-10 and CG-14 are the lipo-effective components of CG. Western blotting analysis revealed that these components can regulate key lipid targets at the molecular level, including CD36, FATP5 and PPAR-α, thus the lipid oxidation and lipid absorption pathways. Finally, we adopted the experimental design and statistical method to calculate the best combination proportion (CG-4: CG-10: CG-14 = 2.065: 1.782: 2.153) to optimize its therapeutic effect.
PMCID: PMC4010933  PMID: 24797163
7.  Spectrum of LKB1, EGFR, and KRAS Mutations in Chinese Lung Adenocarcinomas 
Somatic LKB1 mutations are found in lung adenocarcinomas at different frequencies in Caucasian and East Asian (Japanese and Korean) populations. This study was designed to characterize the frequency of LKB1 mutations, their relationship to EGFR and KRAS mutations, and their associated clinicopathologic characteristics in Chinese patients.
Two hundred thirty-nine lung adenocarcinomas consecutively collected from October 2007 to July 2009 were dissected into 3 to 4 small (3 mm) pieces for histopathological analyses of tumor content. Genomic DNA and/or cDNA from 86 samples with more than 70% tumor content were used for sequencing of LKB1 (exons 1–9), EGFR (exons 18–21), and KRAS (exon 2). LKB1 germline mutation status was determined by sequencing of genomic DNA from matched histologically distant lung tissues that are histologically normal.
6.9% of lung adenocarcinomas harbored LKB1 somatic mutations. A total of 10.5% of patients had an LKB1 germline polymorphism, F354L. Interestingly, in two of these patients, tumors displayed loss of heterozygosity at this allele. EGFR kinase domain and KRAS mutations were found in 66.3% and 2.3% of Chinese lung adenocarcinomas, respectively. Concurrent LKB1 and EGFR somatic mutations were observed in one patient. Both KRAS-mutant tumors harbored LKB1 mutations.
These data provide important clinical and molecular characteristics of lung adenocarcinomas from Chinese patients.
PMCID: PMC4009449  PMID: 20559149
Chinese lung adenocarcinoma; LKB1; EGFR; KRAS; Mutation
9.  The RNA-Binding Protein QKI Suppresses Cancer-Associated Aberrant Splicing 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(4):e1004289.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Aberrant splicing has been implicated in lung tumorigenesis. However, the functional links between splicing regulation and lung cancer are not well understood. Here we identify the RNA-binding protein QKI as a key regulator of alternative splicing in lung cancer. We show that QKI is frequently down-regulated in lung cancer, and its down-regulation is significantly associated with a poorer prognosis. QKI-5 inhibits the proliferation and transformation of lung cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. Our results demonstrate that QKI-5 regulates the alternative splicing of NUMB via binding to two RNA elements in its pre-mRNA, which in turn suppresses cell proliferation and prevents the activation of the Notch signaling pathway. We further show that QKI-5 inhibits splicing by selectively competing with a core splicing factor SF1 for binding to the branchpoint sequence. Taken together, our data reveal QKI as a critical regulator of splicing in lung cancer and suggest a novel tumor suppression mechanism involving QKI-mediated regulation of the Notch signaling pathway.
Author Summary
Alternative pre-mRNA splicing is a key mechanism for increasing proteomic diversity and modulating gene expression. Emerging evidence indicates that splicing program is frequently deregulated during tumorigenesis, and cancer cells favor to produce protein isoforms that can promote growth and survival. Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers and the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Although a number of lung cancer-related splicing events have been detected in several genome-wide analyses, much less is known about how aberrant splicing takes place in lung cancer and how it contributes to tumor development. In this study, we characterized the RNA-binding protein QKI as a new critical regulator of alternative splicing in lung cancer and as a potential marker for prognosis. Genome-wide analysis of QKI-dependent splicing by RNA-Seq identified some cancer-associated splicing changes as its targets. Our results demonstrate that QKI-5 inhibits cancer cell proliferation and prevents inappropriate activation of the Notch signaling pathway by regulating its key target, NUMB. We further showed that QKI-5 represses the inclusion of NUMB alternative exon through competing with a core splicing factor SF1. In summary, our data indicate that down-regulation of QKI causes aberrant splicing in lung cancer and suggest a novel tumor suppression mechanism involving QKI-mediated repression of Notch signaling.
PMCID: PMC3983035  PMID: 24722255
10.  Two co-existing germline mutations P53 V157D and PMS2 R20Q promote tumorigenesis in a familial cancer syndrome 
Cancer letters  2013;342(1):36-42.
Germline mutations are responsible for familial cancer syndromes which account for approximately 5–10% of all types of cancers. These mutations mainly occur at tumor suppressor genes or genome stability genes, such as DNA repair genes. Here we have identified a cancer predisposition family, in which eight members were inflicted with a wide spectrum of cancer including one diagnosed with lung cancer at 22 years old. Sequencing analysis of tumor samples as well as histologically normal specimens identified two germline mutations co-existing in the familial cancer syndrome, the mutation of tumor suppressor gene P53 V157D and mismatch repair gene PMS2 R20Q. We further demonstrate that P53 V157D and/or PMS2 R20Q mutant promotes lung cancer cell proliferation. These two mutants are capable of promoting colony formation in soft agar as well as tumor formation in transgenic drosophila system. Collectively, these data have uncovered the important role of co-existing germline P53 and PMS2 mutations in the familial cancer syndrome development.
PMCID: PMC3981830  PMID: 23981578
P53 V157D; PMS2 R20Q; Germline mutation; Familial cancer syndrome; Co-existing
11.  Aqueous Extract of Gracilaria tenuistipitata Suppresses LPS-Induced NF-κB and MAPK Activation in RAW 264.7 and Rat Peritoneal Macrophages and Exerts Hepatoprotective Effects on Carbon Tetrachloride-Treated Rat 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86557.
In addition to the previous investigations of bioactivity of aqueous extract of the edible Gracilaria tenuistipitata (AEGT) against H2O2-induced DNA damage and hepatitis C virus replication, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the potential therapeutic properties of AEGT against inflammation and hepatotoxicity using lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated mouse RAW 264.7 cells, primary rat peritoneal macrophages and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced acute hepatitis model in rats. AEGT concentration-dependently inhibited the elevated RNA and protein levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2, thereby reducing nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 levels, respectively. Moreover, AEGT significantly suppressed the production of LPS-induced proinflammatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α. These inhibitory effects were associated with the suppression of nuclear factor-kappa B activation and mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation by AEGT in LPS-stimulated cells. In addition, we highlighted the hepatoprotective and curative effects of AEGT in a rat model of CCl4-intoxicated acute liver injury, which was evident from reduction in the elevated serum aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels as well as amelioration of histological damage by pre-treatment or post-treatment of AEGT. In conclusion, the results demonstrate that AEGT may serve as a potential supplement in the prevention or amelioration of inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC3903563  PMID: 24475143
12.  An improved ChIP-seq peak detection system for simultaneously identifying post-translational modified transcription factors by combinatorial fusion, using SUMOylation as an example 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(Suppl 1):S1.
Post-translational modification (PTM) of transcriptional factors and chromatin remodelling proteins is recognized as a major mechanism by which transcriptional regulation occurs. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) in combination with high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) is being applied as a gold standard when studying the genome-wide binding sites of transcription factor (TFs). This has greatly improved our understanding of protein-DNA interactions on a genomic-wide scale. However, current ChIP-seq peak calling tools are not sufficiently sensitive and are unable to simultaneously identify post-translational modified TFs based on ChIP-seq analysis; this is largely due to the wide-spread presence of multiple modified TFs. Using SUMO-1 modification as an example; we describe here an improved approach that allows the simultaneous identification of the particular genomic binding regions of all TFs with SUMO-1 modification.
Traditional peak calling methods are inadequate when identifying multiple TF binding sites that involve long genomic regions and therefore we designed a ChIP-seq processing pipeline for the detection of peaks via a combinatorial fusion method. Then, we annotate the peaks with known transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) using the Transfac Matrix Database (v7.0), which predicts potential SUMOylated TFs. Next, the peak calling result was further analyzed based on the promoter proximity, TFBS annotation, a literature review, and was validated by ChIP-real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) and ChIP-reChIP real-time qPCR. The results show clearly that SUMOylated TFs are able to be pinpointed using our pipeline.
A methodology is presented that analyzes SUMO-1 ChIP-seq patterns and predicts related TFs. Our analysis uses three peak calling tools. The fusion of these different tools increases the precision of the peak calling results. TFBS annotation method is able to predict potential SUMOylated TFs. Here, we offer a new approach that enhances ChIP-seq data analysis and allows the identification of multiple SUMOylated TF binding sites simultaneously, which can then be utilized for other functional PTM binding site prediction in future.
PMCID: PMC4046823  PMID: 24564277
13.  Phyto-SERM Constitutes from Flemingia macrophylla 
The methanolic extract of Flemingia macrophylla roots exhibited significant estrogenic activity in the transgenic plant assay system which was comparable to the activity of soybean extract. Utilizing estrogenic activity-guided fractionation, one new compound, fleminigin, together with 23 known compounds were isolated from F. macrophylla roots’ methanolic extract. The structure of the new compound was identified based on intensive spectroscopic analysis and the full spectral data for one of the isolated compounds, flemichin E, was introduced for the first time in the current investigation. The estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activities of the isolated compounds were evaluated revealing that the isolated isoflavonoids may act as partial estrogen agonists, as well as antagonists. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory and the cytotoxic activities of the isolated compounds were studied. These results suggested the potential applications of F. macrophylla extract and its isolated compounds as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs).
PMCID: PMC3759874  PMID: 23896592
Flemingia macrophylla; menopausal; phytoestrogen; fleminigin; flemichin E; pER8:GUS
14.  Methylation levels at IGF2 and GNAS DMRs in infants born to preeclamptic pregnancies 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:472.
Offspring of pregnancy complicated with preeclampsia are at high risk for hypertension, stroke and possibly obesity. The mechanisms behind the association of intrauterine exposure to preeclampsia and high risk of health problems in the later life remain largely unknown. The aims of the current investigation were to determine the changes in DNA methylation at IGF2 and GNAS DMR in offspring of preeclamptic pregnancy and to explore the possible mechanisms underlying the association between maternal preeclampsia and high risk for health problems in the later life of their offspring.
Umbilical cord blood was taken from infants born to women of preeclampsia (n=56), gestational hypertension (n=23) and normal pregnancy (n=81). DNA methylation levels of IGF2 and GNAS DMR were determined by Massarray quantitative methylation analysis. Methylation levels at IGF2 DMR were significantly lower in preeclampsia than normal pregnancy. The average methylation level at IGF2 DMR was significantly correlated with preeclampsia even after birth weight, maternal age, gestational age at delivery and fetal gender were adjusted. The difference in methylation level was not significantly different between mild and severe preeclampsia. The methylation level at GNAS DMR was not significantly correlated with birth weight, maternal age, gestational age at delivery, fetal gender, preeclampsia or gestational hypertension.
We concluded preeclampsia induced a decrease in methylation level at IGF 2 DMR, and this might be among the mechanisms behind the association between intrauterine exposure to preeclampsia and high risk for metabolic diseases in the later life of the infants.
PMCID: PMC3723441  PMID: 23844573
Preeclampsia; Offspring; DNA methylation; IGF2; GNAS; Metabolic diseases
15.  Marine algal natural products with anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties 
For their various bioactivities, biomaterials derived from marine algae are important ingredients in many products, such as cosmetics and drugs for treating cancer and other diseases. This mini-review comprehensively compares the bioactivities and biological functions of biomaterials from red, green, brown, and blue-green algae. The anti-oxidative effects and bioactivities of several different crude extracts of algae have been evaluated both in vitro and in vivo. Natural products derived from marine algae protect cells by modulating the effects of oxidative stress. Because oxidative stress plays important roles in inflammatory reactions and in carcinogenesis, marine algal natural products have potential for use in anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory drugs.
PMCID: PMC3674937  PMID: 23724847
Algae; ROS; Antioxidant; Inflammation; Antinociceptive; Anti-cancer
16.  Golden Berry-Derived 4β-hydroxywithanolide E for Selectively Killing Oral Cancer Cells by Generating ROS, DNA Damage, and Apoptotic Pathways 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64739.
Most chemotherapeutic drugs for killing cancer cells are highly cytotoxic in normal cells, which limits their clinical applications. Therefore, a continuing challenge is identifying a drug that is hypersensitive to cancer cells but has minimal deleterious effects on healthy cells. The aims of this study were to evaluate the potential of 4β-hydroxywithanolide (4βHWE) for selectively killing cancer cells and to elucidate its related mechanisms.
Methodology and Principal Findings
Changes in survival, oxidative stress, DNA damage, and apoptosis signaling were compared between 4βHWE-treated oral cancer (Ca9-22) and normal fibroblast (HGF-1) cells. At 24 h and 48 h, the numbers of Ca9-22 cells were substantially decreased, but the numbers of HGF-1 cells were only slightly decreased. Additionally, the IC50 values for 4βHWE in the Ca9-22 cells were 3.6 and 1.9 µg/ml at 24 and 48 h, respectively. Time-dependent abnormal increases in ROS and dose-responsive mitochondrial depolarization can be exploited by using 4βHWE in chemotherapies for selectively killing cancer cells. Dose-dependent DNA damage measured by comet-nuclear extract assay and flow cytometry-based γ-H2AX/propidium iodide (PI) analysis showed relatively severer damage in the Ca9-22 cells. At both low and high concentrations, 4βHWE preferably perturbed the cell cycle in Ca9-22 cells by increasing the subG1 population and arrest of G1 or G2/M. Selective induction of apoptosis in Ca9-22 cells was further confirmed by Annexin V/PI assay, by preferential expression of phosphorylated ataxia-telangiectasia- and Rad3-related protein (p-ATR), and by cleavage of caspase 9, caspase 3, and poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP).
Together, the findings of this study, particularly the improved understanding of the selective killing mechanisms of 4βHWE, can be used to improve efficiency in killing oral cancer cells during chemoprevention and therapy.
PMCID: PMC3660349  PMID: 23705007
17.  Active Constituents from Liriope platyphylla Root against Cancer Growth In Vitro 
Liriope spicata is a well-known herb in traditional Chinese medicine, and its root has been clinically demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of metabolic and neural disorders. The constituents isolated from Liriope have also recently been shown to possess anticancer activity, although the mechanism of which remains largely unknown. Here, we illustrate the anticancer activity of LPRP-9, one of the active fractions we fractionated from the Liriope platyphylla root part (LPRP) extract. Treatment with LPRP-9 significantly inhibited proliferation of cancer cell lines MCF-7 and Huh-7 and down-regulated the phosphorylation of AKT. LPRP-9 also activates the stress-activated MPAK, JNK, p38 pathways, the p53 cell-cycle checkpoint pathway, and a series of caspase cascades while downregulating expression of antiapoptotic factors Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, and survivin. Such activities strongly suggest a role for LPRP-9 in apoptosis and autophagy. We further purified and identified the compound (−)-Liriopein B from LPRP-9, which is capable of inhibiting AKT phosphorylation at low concentration. The overall result highlights the anticancer property of LPRP-9, suggests its mechanism for inhibition of proliferation and promotion of cell death for cancer cells via regulation of multitarget pathways, and denotes the importance of purifying components of fraction LPRP-9 to aid cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3670517  PMID: 23762164
19.  ROS1 Rearrangements Define a Unique Molecular Class of Lung Cancers  
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(8):863-870.
Chromosomal rearrangements involving the ROS1 receptor tyrosine kinase gene have recently been described in a subset of non–small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). Because little is known about these tumors, we examined the clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes of patients with NSCLC with ROS1 rearrangement.
Patients and Methods
Using a ROS1 fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) assay, we screened 1,073 patients with NSCLC and correlated ROS1 rearrangement status with clinical characteristics, overall survival, and when available, ALK rearrangement status. In vitro studies assessed the responsiveness of cells with ROS1 rearrangement to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor crizotinib. The clinical response of one patient with ROS1-rearranged NSCLC to crizotinib was investigated as part of an expanded phase I cohort.
Of 1,073 tumors screened, 18 (1.7%) were ROS1 rearranged by FISH, and 31 (2.9%) were ALK rearranged. Compared with the ROS1-negative group, patients with ROS1 rearrangements were significantly younger and more likely to be never-smokers (each P < .001). All of the ROS1-positive tumors were adenocarcinomas, with a tendency toward higher grade. ROS1-positive and -negative groups showed no difference in overall survival. The HCC78 ROS1-rearranged NSCLC cell line and 293 cells transfected with CD74-ROS1 showed evidence of sensitivity to crizotinib. The patient treated with crizotinib showed tumor shrinkage, with a near complete response.
ROS1 rearrangement defines a molecular subset of NSCLC with distinct clinical characteristics that are similar to those observed in patients with ALK-rearranged NSCLC. Crizotinib shows in vitro activity and early evidence of clinical activity in ROS1-rearranged NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3295572  PMID: 22215748
20.  Bayesian Inference for Generalized Linear Mixed Model Based on the Multivariate t Distribution in Population Pharmacokinetic Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58369.
This article provides a fully Bayesian approach for modeling of single-dose and complete pharmacokinetic data in a population pharmacokinetic (PK) model. To overcome the impact of outliers and the difficulty of computation, a generalized linear model is chosen with the hypothesis that the errors follow a multivariate Student t distribution which is a heavy-tailed distribution. The aim of this study is to investigate and implement the performance of the multivariate t distribution to analyze population pharmacokinetic data. Bayesian predictive inferences and the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm schemes are used to process the intractable posterior integration. The precision and accuracy of the proposed model are illustrated by the simulating data and a real example of theophylline data.
PMCID: PMC3592804  PMID: 23520504
21.  Aqueous Extract of the Edible Gracilaria tenuistipitata Inhibits Hepatitis C Viral Replication via Cyclooxygenase-2 Suppression and Reduces Virus-Induced Inflammation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57704.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an important human pathogen leading to hepatocellular carcinoma. Using an in vitro cell-based HCV replicon and JFH-1 infection system, we demonstrated that an aqueous extract of the seaweed Gracilaria tenuistipitata (AEGT) concentration-dependently inhibited HCV replication at nontoxic concentrations. AEGT synergistically enhanced interferon-α (IFN-α) anti-HCV activity in a combination treatment. We found that AEGT also significantly suppressed virus-induced cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression at promoter transactivation and protein levels. Notably, addition of exogenous COX-2 expression in AEGT-treated HCV replicon cells gradually abolished AEGT anti-HCV activity, suggesting that COX-2 down-regulation was responsible for AEGT antiviral effects. Furthermore, we highlighted the inhibitory effect of AEGT in HCV-induced pro-inflammatory gene expression such as the expression of tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β, inducible nitrite oxide synthase and COX-2 in a concentration-dependent manner to evaluate the potential therapeutic supplement in the management of patients with chronic HCV infections.
PMCID: PMC3585194  PMID: 23469054
22.  Whole-genome sequencing and identification of Morganella morganii KT pathogenicity-related genes 
BMC Genomics  2012;13(Suppl 7):S4.
The opportunistic enterobacterium, Morganella morganii, which can cause bacteraemia, is the ninth most prevalent cause of clinical infections in patients at Changhua Christian Hospital, Taiwan. The KT strain of M. morganii was isolated during postoperative care of a cancer patient with a gallbladder stone who developed sepsis caused by bacteraemia. M. morganii is sometimes encountered in nosocomial settings and has been causally linked to catheter-associated bacteriuria, complex infections of the urinary and/or hepatobiliary tracts, wound infection, and septicaemia. M. morganii infection is associated with a high mortality rate, although most patients respond well to appropriate antibiotic therapy. To obtain insights into the genome biology of M. morganii and the mechanisms underlying its pathogenicity, we used Illumina technology to sequence the genome of the KT strain and compared its sequence with the genome sequences of related bacteria.
The 3,826,919-bp sequence contained in 58 contigs has a GC content of 51.15% and includes 3,565 protein-coding sequences, 72 tRNA genes, and 10 rRNA genes. The pathogenicity-related genes encode determinants of drug resistance, fimbrial adhesins, an IgA protease, haemolysins, ureases, and insecticidal and apoptotic toxins as well as proteins found in flagellae, the iron acquisition system, a type-3 secretion system (T3SS), and several two-component systems. Comparison with 14 genome sequences from other members of Enterobacteriaceae revealed different degrees of similarity to several systems found in M. morganii. The most striking similarities were found in the IS4 family of transposases, insecticidal toxins, T3SS components, and proteins required for ethanolamine use (eut operon) and cobalamin (vitamin B12) biosynthesis. The eut operon and the gene cluster for cobalamin biosynthesis are not present in the other Proteeae genomes analysed. Moreover, organisation of the 19 genes of the eut operon differs from that found in the other non-Proteeae enterobacterial genomes.
This is the first genome sequence of M. morganii, which is a clinically relevant pathogen. Comparative genome analysis revealed several pathogenicity-related genes and novel genes not found in the genomes of other members of Proteeae. Thus, the genome sequence of M. morganii provides important information concerning virulence and determinants of fitness in this pathogen.
PMCID: PMC3521468  PMID: 23282187
23.  Cognitive impairment and the associated risk factors among the elderly in the Shanghai urban area: a pilot study from China 
Our study aimed to investigate the prevalence of cognitive impairment(CI) and the associated risk factors among elderly people in Shanghai urban area, China.
A population-based survey was conducted among people aged 55 years or older in urban areas of Shanghai. Face-to-face interviews were carried out to collect information including demographic characteristics, medical history, and medication use, etc. The validated Chinese version of the Mini-Mental State Examination(MMSE) was used to screen subjects with CI, and the criteria of CI were adjusted for education levels.
A total of 3,176 home-living residents (≥55 years old) were included in the study. Among them, 266 people (102 men and 164 women) were identified as cognition impaired, with a prevalence of 8.38% (266/3,176, 95% CI: (8.26, 8.49)) for both genders, 9.21% (102/1,107,95% CI: (9.18, 9.33)) for men and 7.93% (164/2,069, 95% CI: (7.80, 8.09)) for women, respectively. Furthermore, we found that several significant risk factors, including social factors(education, number of children, marriage status, and family structure), physiological factors (age, blood glucose level, and obesity), factors on living styles(physical exercise, diet & chronic diseases), and genetic factor(ApoE), associated with CI onset.
This study confirms the high prevalence of CI among the elderly population in the Shanghai urban in China, similar to previous epidemiologic studies in Western countries. The putative risk factors associated with CI merit further investigated.
PMCID: PMC3546888  PMID: 23210893
Cognitive impairment; Prevalence; Risk factors
24.  Anti-proliferative effect of methanolic extract of Gracilaria tenuistipitata on oral cancer cells involves apoptosis, DNA damage, and oxidative stress 
Methanolic extracts of Gracilaria tenuistipitata (MEGT) were obtained from the edible red algae. Previously, we found that water extract of G. tenuistipitata was able to modulate oxidative stress-induced DNA damage and its related cellular responses.
In this study, the methanol extraction product MEGT was used to evaluate the cell growth inhibition in oral cancer cells and its possible mechanism was investigated.
The cell viability of MEGT treated Ca9-22 oral cancer cell line was significantly decreased in a dose–response manner (p < 0.05). The sub-G1 population and annexin V intensity of MEGT-treated Ca9-22 cancer cells were significantly increased in a dose–response manner (p < 0.0005 and p < 0.001, respectively). The γH2AX intensities of MEGT-treated Ca9-22 cancer cells were significantly increased in a dose–response manner (p < 0.05). The reactive oxygen species (ROS) and glutathione (GSH)-positive intensities of MEGT-treated Ca9-22 oral cancer cells were significantly increased and decreased, respectively, in a dose–response manner (p < 0.05). The DiOC2(3) intensity for mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) of MEGT-treated Ca9-22 cancer cells was significantly decreased in a dose–response manner (p < 0.05).
These results indicated that MEGT had apoptosis-based cytotoxicity against oral cancer cells through the DNA damage, ROS induction, and mitochondrial depolarization. Therefore, MEGT derived from the edible algae may have potential therapeutic effects against oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).
PMCID: PMC3495219  PMID: 22937998
Red algae; Oral cancer; Apoptosis; γ-H2AX; ROS; Mitochondrial membrane potential; Glutathione
25.  The Interaction between IL-18 and IL-18R Limits the Magnitude of Protective Immunity and Enhances Pathogenic Responses Following Infection with Intracellular Bacteria 
The binding of IL-18 to IL-18Rα induces both pro-inflammatory and protective functions during infection, depending on the context in which it occurs. IL-18 is highly expressed in the liver of wild type (WT) C57BL/6 mice following lethal infection with highly virulent Ixodes Ovatus Ehrlichia (IOE), an obligate intracellular bacterium that causes acute fatal toxic shock-like syndrome. In this study, we found that IOE infection of IL-18Rα-/- mice resulted in significantly less host cell apoptosis, decreased hepatic leukocyte recruitment, enhanced bacterial clearance and prolonged survival compared to infected WT mice, suggesting a pathogenic role of IL-18/IL-18Rα in Ehrlichia-induced toxic shock. Although lack of IL-18R decreases the magnitude of IFN-γ producing type-1 immune response, enhanced resistance of the IL-18Rα-/- mice against Ehrlichia correlated with increased pro-inflammatory cytokines at sites of infection, decreased systemic IL-10 production, increased frequency of protective natural killer T (NKT) cells producing TNF-α and IFN-γ and decreased frequency of pathogenic TNF-α-producing CD8+ T cells. Adoptive transfer of immune wild type CD8+ T cells increased bacterial burden in IL-18Rα-/- mice following IOE infection. Furthermore, rIL-18 treatment of WT mice infected with mildly virulent Ehrlichia muris (EM) impaired bacterial clearance and enhanced liver injury. Finally, lack of IL-18R signal reduced dendritic cells (DCs) maturation and their TNF-α production, suggesting that IL-18 possibly promote the adaptive pathogenic immune responses against Ehrlichia via influencing T cell priming functions of DCs Together, these results suggest that the presence or absence of IL-18R signals governs the pathogenic versus protective immunity in a model of Ehrlichia-induced immunopathology.
PMCID: PMC3140540  PMID: 21715688
IL-18; IL-18 receptor alpha; Ehrlichiosis

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