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1.  Expression of a Vacuole-Localized BURP-Domain Protein from Soybean (SALI3-2) Enhances Tolerance to Cadmium and Copper Stresses 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98830.
The plant-specific BURP family proteins play diverse roles in plant development and stress responses, but the function mechanism of these proteins is still poorly understood. Proteins in this family are characterized by a highly conserved BURP domain with four conserved Cys-His repeats and two other Cys, indicating that these proteins potentially interacts with metal ions. In this paper, an immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC) assay showed that the soybean BURP protein SALI3-2 could bind soft transition metal ions (Cd2+, Co2+, Ni2+, Zn2+ and Cu2+) but not hard metal ions (Ca2+ and Mg2+) in vitro. A subcellular localization analysis by confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that the SALI3-2-GFP fusion protein was localized to the vacuoles. Physiological indexes assay showed that Sali3-2-transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings were more tolerant to Cu2+ or Cd2+ stresses than the wild type. An inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) analysis illustrated that, compared to the wild type seedlings the Sali3-2-transgenic seedlings accumulated more cadmium or copper in the roots but less in the upper ground tissues when the seedlings were exposed to excessive CuCl2 or CdCl2 stress. Therefore, our findings suggest that the SALI3-2 protein may confer cadmium (Cd2+) and copper (Cu2+) tolerance to plants by helping plants to sequester Cd2+ or Cu2+ in the root and reduce the amount of heavy metals transported to the shoots.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098830
PMCID: PMC4047006  PMID: 24901737
2.  Quantitation and Composition of Cutaneous Microbiota in Diabetic and Nondiabetic Men 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;207(7):1105-1114.
Background. Diabetic foot infections are a leading cause of lower extremity amputations. Our study examines the microbiota of diabetic skin prior to ulcer development or infection.
Methods. In a case-control study, outpatient males were recruited at a veterans hospital. Subjects were swabbed at 4 cutaneous sites, 1 on the forearm and 3 on the foot. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) with primers and probes specific for bacteria, Staphylococcus species, Staphylococcus aureus, and fungi were performed on all samples. High-throughput 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing was performed on samples from the forearm and the plantar aspect of the foot.
Results. qPCR analysis of swab specimens from 30 diabetic subjects and 30 control subjects showed no differences in total numbers of bacteria or fungi at any sampled site. Increased log10 concentrations of Staphylococcus aureus, quantified by the number of nuc gene copies, were present in diabetic men on the plantar aspect of the foot. High-throughput 16S rRNA sequencing found that, on the foot, the microbiota in controls (n = 24) was dominated by Staphylococcus species, whereas the microbiota in diabetics (n = 23) was more diverse at the genus level. The forearm microbiota had similar diversity in diabetic and control groups.
Conclusions. The feet of diabetic men had decreased populations of Staphylococcus species, increased populations of S. aureus, and increased bacterial diversity, compared with the feet of controls. These ecologic changes may affect the risk for wound infections.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jit005
PMCID: PMC3583274  PMID: 23300163
microbiota; microbiome; diabetic foot; cutaneous; Staphylococcus; Staphylococcus aureus
3.  AMP-ACTIVATED PROTEIN KINASE AS REGULATOR OF P2Y6 RECEPTOR-INDUCED INSULIN SECRETION IN MOUSE PANCREATIC β-CELLS 
Biochemical pharmacology  2013;85(7):991-998.
5’-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and its pharmacological modulators have been targeted for treating type 2 diabetes. Extracellular uridine 5’-diphosphate (UDP) activates P2Y6 receptors (P2Y6Rs) in pancreatic β-cells to release insulin and reduce apoptosis, which would benefit diabetes. Here, we studied the role of P2Y6R in activation of AMPK in MIN6 mouse pancreatic β-cells and insulin secretion. Treatment with a potent P2Y6R dinucleotide agonist MRS2957 (500 nM) activated AMPK, which was blocked by P2Y6R-selective antagonist MRS2578. Also, MRS2957 induced phosphorylation of acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase (ACC), a marker of AMPK activity. Calcium chelator BAPTA-AM, calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase (CaMKK) inhibitor STO-069 and IP3 receptor antagonist 2-APB attenuated P2Y6R-mediated AMPK phosphorylation revealing involvement of intracellular Ca2+ pathways. P2Y6R agonist induced insulin secretion at high glucose, which was reduced by AMPK siRNA. Thus, P2Y6R has a crucial role in β-cell function, suggesting its potential as a therapeutic target in diabetes.
doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2012.11.029
PMCID: PMC3594329  PMID: 23333427
nucleotides; G protein-coupled receptor; insulin; AMPK; diabetes; P2Y6 receptor
4.  G Protein Inactivator RGS6 Mediates Myocardial Cell Apoptosis and Cardiomyopathy Caused by Doxorubicin 
Cancer research  2013;73(6):1662-1667.
Clinical use of the widely used chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin is limited by life-threatening cardiotoxicity. The mechanisms underlying Dox-induced cardiomyopathy and heart failure remain unclear, but are thought to involve p53-mediated myocardial cell apoptosis. The tripartite G protein inactivating protein RGS6 has been implicated in reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, ATM/p53 activation and apoptosis in Dox-treated cells. Thus, we hypothesized that RGS6, the expression of which is enriched in cardiac tissue, might also be responsible for the pathological effects of Dox treatment in heart. In this study, we show that RGS6 expression is induced strongly by Dox in the ventricles of mice and isolated ventricular myocytes (VCM) via a post-transcriptional mechanism. While Dox-treated wild type (WT) mice manifested severe left ventricular dysfunction, loss of heart and body mass, along with decreased survival five days after Dox administration, mice lacking RGS6 were completely protected against these pathogenic responses. Activation of ATM/p53-apoptosis signaling by Dox in ventricles of WT mice was also absent in their RGS6−/− counterparts. Dox-induced ROS generation was dramatically impaired in both the ventricles and VCM isolated from RGS6−/− mice, and the apoptotic response to Dox in VCM required RGS6-dependent ROS production. These results identify RGS6 as an essential mediator of the pathogenic responses to Dox in heart, and they argue that RGS6 inhibition offers a rational means to circumvent Dox cardiotoxicity in human cancer patients.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-3453
PMCID: PMC3602152  PMID: 23338613
RGS6; doxorubicin cardiotoxicity; apoptosis; p53; reactive oxygen species
5.  Allosteric Modulation of A3 Adenosine Receptors by a Series of 3-(2-Pyridinyl)isoquinoline Derivatives 
Molecular pharmacology  2001;60(5):1057-1063.
Allosteric modulators of A1 and A2A adenosine receptors have been described; however, for the A3 adenosine receptor, neither an allosteric site nor a compound with allosteric effects has been described. In this study, the allosteric modulation of human A3 adenosine receptors by a series of 3-(2-pyridinyl)isoquinoline derivatives was investigated by examining their effects on the dissociation of the agonist radioligand, [125I]N6-(4-amino-3-iodobenzyl)-5′ -N-methylcarboxamidoadenosine (I-AB-MECA), from the receptor. Several 3-(2-pyridinyl)isoquinoline derivatives, including VUF5455, VUF8502, VUF8504, and VUF8507, slowed the dissociation of the agonist radioligand [125I]I-AB-MECA in a concentration-dependent manner, suggesting an allosteric interaction. These compounds had no effect on the dissociation of the radiolabeled antagonist [3H]PSB-11 from the A3 adenosine receptor, suggesting a selective enhancement of agonist binding. By comparison, compounds of similar structure (VUF8501, VUF8503, VUF8505), the classical adenosine receptor antagonist CGS15943 and the A1 receptor allosteric enhancer PD81723 did not significantly influence the dissociation rate of [125I]I-AB-MECA. The effect of agonist on forskolin-induced cAMP production was significantly enhanced by VUF5455. When the subtype-selectivity of the allosteric enhancement was tested the compounds had no effect on the dissociation of either [3H]N6-[(R)-phenylisopropyl]adenosine from the A1 adenosine receptor or [3H]CGS21680 from the A2A adenosine receptor. Probing of structure-activity relationships suggested that a carbonyl group is essential for allosterism but preferred only for competitive antagonism. The presence of a 7-methyl group decreased the competitive binding affinity without a major loss of the allosteric enhancing activity, suggesting that the structural requirements for allosteric enhancement might be distinct from those for competitive antagonism.
PMCID: PMC3953614  PMID: 11641434
6.  Selective Allosteric Enhancement of Agonist Binding and Function at Human A3 Adenosine Receptors by a Series of Imidazoquinoline Derivatives 
Molecular pharmacology  2002;62(1):81-89.
We have identified a series of 1H-imidazo-[4,5-c]quinolines as selective allosteric enhancers of human A3 adenosine receptors. Several of these compounds potentiated both the potency and maximal efficacy of agonist-induced responses and selectively decreased the dissociation of the agonist N6-(4-amino-3-[125I]iodobenzyl)-5′-N-methylcarboxamidoadenosine from human A3 adenosine receptors. There was no effect on the dissociation of the antagonist [3H]8-ethyl-4-methyl-2-phenyl-(8R)-4,5,7,8-tetrahydro-1H-imidazo[2.1-i]purin-5-one (PSB-11) from the A3 receptors, as well as [3H]N6-[(R)-phenylisopropy-l]adenosine from rat brain A1 receptors and [3H]2-[p-(2-carboxyethyl)phenyl-ethylamino]-5′-N-ethylcarboxamidoad-enosine from rat striatal A2A receptors, suggesting the selective enhancement of agonist binding at A3 receptors. The analogs were tested as antagonists of competitive binding at human A3 receptors, and Ki values ranging from 120 nM to 101 μM were observed; as for many allosteric modulators of G protein-coupled receptors, an orthosteric effect was also present. The most promising leads from the present set of analogs seem to be the 2-cyclopentyl-1H-imidazo[4,5-c]quinoline derivatives, of which the 4-phenylamino analog DU124183 had the most favorable degree of allosteric modulation versus receptor antagonism. The inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cyclic AMP accumulation in intact cells that express human A3 receptors was employed as a functional index of A3 receptor activation. The enhancer DU124183 caused a marked leftward shift of the concentration-response curve of the A3 receptor agonists in the presence of antagonist and, surprisingly, a potentiation of the maximum agonist efficacy by approximately 30%. Thus, we have identified a novel structural lead for developing allosteric enhancers of A3 adenosine receptors; such enhancers may be useful for treating brain ischemia and other hypoxic conditions.
PMCID: PMC3953617  PMID: 12065758
7.  CaMKII effects on inotropic but not lusitropic force frequency responses require phospholamban 
Increasing heart rate enhances cardiac contractility (force frequency relationship, FFR) and accelerates cardiac relaxation (frequency-dependent acceleration of relaxation, FDAR). The positive FFR together with FDAR promotes rapid filling and ejection of blood from the left ventricle (LV) at higher heart rates. Recent studies indicate that the multifunctional Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is involved in regulating FFR and FDAR. We used isolated perfused mouse hearts to study the mechanisms of FFR and FDAR in different genetic models, including transgenic myocardial CaMKII inhibition (AC3-I) and phosphalamban knockout (PLN−/−). When the rate was increased from 360 beats/min to 630 beats/min in wild type mouse hearts, the LV developed pressure (LVDP) and the maximum rate of increase in pressure (dP/dt max) increased by 37.6 ± 4.7% and 77.0 ± 8.1%, respectively. However, hearts from AC3-I littermates showed no increase of LVDP and a relatively modest (20.4 ± 3.9 %) increase in dP/dt max. PLN−/− hearts had a negative FFR, and myocardial AC3-I expression did not change the FFR in PLN−/− mice. PLN−/− mouse hearts did not exhibit FDAR, while PLN−/−mice with myocardial AC3-I expression showed further frequency dependent reductions in cardiac relaxation, suggesting CaMKII targets in addition to PLN were critical to myocardial relaxation. We incubated a constitutively active form of CaMKII with chemically-skinned myocardium and found that several myofilament proteins were phosphorylated by CaMKII. However, CaMKII did not affect myofilament calcium sensitivity. Our study shows that CaMKII plays an important role in modulating FFR and FDAR in murine hearts and suggest that PLN is a critical target for CaMKII effects on FFR, while CaMKII effects on FDAR partially require PLN-alternative targets.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2012.06.019
PMCID: PMC3936404  PMID: 22796260
CaM kinase II; force-frequency relation; frequency-dependent acceleration of relaxation; phospholamban
8.  Genetic Inhibition of Na+-Ca2+ Exchanger Current Disables Fight or Flight Sinoatrial Node Activity Without Affecting Resting Heart Rate 
Circulation research  2012;112(2):309-317.
Rationale
The sodium-calcium exchanger 1 (NCX1) is predominantly expressed in the heart and is implicated in controlling automaticity in isolated sinoatrial nodal (SAN) pacemaker cells, but the potential role of NCX1 in determining heart rate in vivo is unknown.
Objective
Determine the role of Ncx1 in heart rate.
Methods and Results
We employed global myocardial and SAN-targeted conditional Ncx1 knockout (Ncx1−/−) mice to measure the effect of the NCX current (INCX) in pacemaking activity in vivo, ex vivo and in isolated SAN cells. We induced conditional Ncx1−/− using a Cre/loxP system. Unexpectedly, in vivo and ex vivo hearts and isolated SAN cells showed that basal rates in Ncx1−/− (retaining ~20% of control level INCX) and control mice were similar, suggesting that physiological NCX1 expression is not required for determining resting heart rate. However, heart rate and SAN cell automaticity increases in response to isoproterenol or the dihydropyridine Ca2+ channel agonist BayK8644 were significantly blunted or eliminated in Ncx1−/− mice, indicating that NCX1 is important for fight or flight heart rate responses. In contrast the ‘pacemaker’ current (If) and L-type Ca2+ currents were equivalent in control and Ncx1−/− SAN cells under resting and isoproterenol-stimulated conditions. Ivabradine, an If antagonist with clinical efficacy, reduced basal SAN cell automaticity similarly in control and Ncx1−/− mice. However, ivabradine decreased automaticity in SAN cells isolated from Ncx1−/− mice more effectively than in control SAN cells after isoproterenol, suggesting that the importance of INCX in fight or flight rate increases is enhanced after If inhibition.
Conclusion
Physiological Ncx1 expression is required for increasing sinus rates in vivo, ex vivo and in isolated SAN cells but not for maintaining resting heart rate.
doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.300193
PMCID: PMC3562595  PMID: 23192947
Na+-Ca2+ exchange; sinoatrial node; L-type Ca2+ channels; pacemaker current; ion channel
9.  Distinct cutaneous bacterial assemblages in a sampling of South American Amerindians and US residents 
The ISME Journal  2012;7(1):85-95.
The human skin harbors complex bacterial communities. Prior studies showing high inter-individual variation focused on subjects from developed countries. We therefore compared cutaneous bacterial communities of Amerindians in the Venezuelan Amazon with subjects in the United States. Forearm skin specimens were studied from healthy Amerindians in Platanillal village in Amazonas State, and from healthy persons in New York and Colorado. All skin sampling used similar swab/buffer techniques. Multiplexed V2-targeted 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing yielded high quality sequences from 112 samples. The results show 20 phyla, with three (Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria) predominating. US residents and Venezuelan Amerindians had significantly different forearm skin bacterial community compositions, with United States dominated by Propionibacterium. Among the Amerindians, there was a deep split based on bacterial community membership, with 30 and 42 samples, respectively, falling into each of the two groups, not associated with age, gender, or body mass index. One Amerindian group had diversity similar to the United States, but was dominated by Staphylococcus rather than Propionibacterium. The other Amerindian group was significantly more diverse and even than the US or the other Amerindian group, and featured a broad range of Proteobacteria. The results provide evidence that ethnicity, lifestyle and/or geography are associated with the structure of human cutaneous bacterial communities.
doi:10.1038/ismej.2012.81
PMCID: PMC3526177  PMID: 22895161
microbiome; cutaneous; microbial diversity; human; genetics
10.  Allosteric modulation and functional selectivity of G protein-coupled receptors 
Drug discovery today. Technologies  2012;10(2):e237-e243.
Agonists of a single G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) may activate distinct signaling pathways. Functional selectivity, an emerging concept with therapeutic relevance for GPCRs, may be due to conformational selection or stabilization with respect to particular agonists, receptor dimerization, variable expression levels of GPCRs and downstream signaling molecules, and allosteric modulation. Allosteric modulators may have potential advantages over orthosteric ligands, including greater selectivity and safety. This review focuses on functional selectivity resulting from allosteric modulation.
doi:10.1016/j.ddtec.2012.08.004
PMCID: PMC3653340  PMID: 23687514
allosteric modulation; functional selectivity; GPCR; adenosine receptor; muscarinic receptor; metabotropic glutamate receptor; calcium sensing receptor; CCR5
11.  Genome Wide Analysis of Narcolepsy in China Implicates Novel Immune Loci and Reveals Changes in Association Prior to Versus After the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(10):e1003880.
Previous studies in narcolepsy, an autoimmune disorder affecting hypocretin (orexin) neurons and recently associated with H1N1 influenza, have demonstrated significant associations with five loci. Using a well-characterized Chinese cohort, we refined known associations in TRA@ and P2RY11-DNMT1 and identified new associations in the TCR beta (TRB@; rs9648789 max P = 3.7×10−9 OR 0.77), ZNF365 (rs10995245 max P = 1.2×10−11 OR 1.23), and IL10RB-IFNAR1 loci (rs2252931 max P = 2.2×10−9 OR 0.75). Variants in the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)- DQ region were associated with age of onset (rs7744020 P = 7.9×10−9 beta −1.9 years) and varied significantly among cases with onset after the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic compared to previous years (rs9271117 P = 7.8×10−10 OR 0.57). These reflected an association of DQB1*03:01 with earlier onset and decreased DQB1*06:02 homozygosity following 2009. Our results illustrate how genetic association can change in the presence of new environmental challenges and suggest that the monitoring of genetic architecture over time may help reveal the appearance of novel triggers for autoimmune diseases.
Author Summary
Narcolepsy-hypocretin deficiency results from a highly specific autoimmune attack on hypocretin cells. Recent studies have established antigen presentation by specific class II proteins encoded by (HLA DQB1*06:02 and DQA1*01:02) to the cognate T cell receptor as the main disease pathway, with a role for H1N1 influenza in the triggering process. Here, we have used a large and well-characterized cohort of Chinese narcolepsy cases to examine genetic architecture not observed in European samples. We confirmed previously implicated susceptibility genes (T cell receptor alpha, P2RY11), and identify new loci (ZNF365, IL10RB-IFNAR1), most notably, variants at the beta chain of the T cell receptor. We found that one HLA variant, (DQB1*03:01), is associated with dramatically earlier disease onset (nearly 2 years). We also identified differences in HLA haplotype frequencies among cases with onset following the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic as compared to before the outbreak, with fewer HLA DQB1*06:02 homozygotes. This may be the first demonstration of such an effect, and suggests that the study of changes in GWAS signals over time could help identify environmental factors in other autoimmune diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003880
PMCID: PMC3814311  PMID: 24204295
12.  Functional characterization of protein 4.1 homolog in amphioxus: Defining a cryptic spectrin-actin-binding site 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2873.
Vertebrate 4.1 proteins have a spectrin-actin-binding (SAB) domain, which is lacking in all the invertebrate 4.1 proteins indentified so far, and it was therefore proposed that the SAB domain emerged with the advent of vertebrates during evolution. Here we demonstrated for the first time that amphioxus (an invertebrate chordate) protein 4.1, though lacking a recognizable SAB, was able to bind both spectrin and actin, with a binding capacity comparable to that of human protein 4.1. Detailed structure-activity analyses revealed that the unique domain U2/3 was a newly identified SAB-like domain capable of interacting with spectrin and actin, suggesting the presence of a “cryptic” SAB domain in amphioxus 4.1 protein. We also showed that amphioxus 4.1 protein gene was the common ancestor of vertebrate 4.1 protein genes, from which 4.1R, 4.1N, 4.1G, and 4.1B genes originated. This work will encourage further study on the structure-activity of invertebrate 4.1 protein and its interacting proteins.
doi:10.1038/srep02873
PMCID: PMC3791450  PMID: 24096627
13.  Structural Sweet Spot for A1 Adenosine Receptor Activation by Truncated (N)- Methanocarba Nucleosides: Receptor Docking and Potent Anticonvulsant Activity 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2012;55(18):8075-8090.
A1 adenosine receptor (AR) agonists display antiischemic and antiepileptic neuroprotective activity, but peripheral cardiovascular side effects impeded their development. SAR study of N6-cycloalkylmethyl 4′-truncated (N)-methanocarba-adenosines identified 10 (MRS5474, N6-dicyclopropylmethyl, Ki 47.9 nM) as a moderately A1AR-selective full agonist. Two stereochemically defined N6-methynyl group substituents displayed narrow SAR; larger than cyclobutyl greatly reduced AR affinity, and larger or smaller than cyclopropyl reduced A1AR selectivity. Nucleoside docking to A1AR homology model characterized distinct hydrophobic cyclopropyl subpockets, the larger “A” forming contacts with Thr270 (7.35), Tyr271 (7.36), Ile274 (7.39) and carbon chains of glutamates (EL2), and smaller subpocket “B” between TM6 and TM7. 10 suppressed minimal clonic seizures (6 Hz mouse model) without typical rotarod impairment of A1AR agonists. Truncated nucleosides, an appealing preclinical approach, have more drug-like physicochemical properties than other A1AR agonists. Thus, we identified highly restricted regions for substitution around N6 suitable for an A1AR agonist with anticonvulsant activity.
doi:10.1021/jm300965a
PMCID: PMC3463139  PMID: 22921089
G protein-coupled receptor; purines; molecular modeling; seizures; in vivo
14.  Structure-activity relationships and molecular modeling of 1,2,4-triazoles as adenosine receptor antagonists 
ACS medicinal chemistry letters  2012;3(9):715-720.
The structure-activity relationship (SAR) for a novel class of 1,2,4-triazole antagonists of the human A2A adenosine receptor (hA2AAR) was explored. Thirty-three analogs of a ligand that was discovered in a structure-based virtual screen against the hA2AAR were tested in hA1, A2A, and A3 radioligand binding assays and in functional assays for the A2BAR subtype. As a series of closely related analogs of the initial lead, 1, did not display improved binding affinity or selectivity, molecular docking was used to guide the selection of more distantly related molecules. This resulted in the discovery of 32, a hA2AAR antagonist (Ki 200 nM) with high ligand efficiency. In the light of the SAR for the 1,2,4-triazole scaffold, we also investigated the binding mode of these compounds based on docking to several A2AAR crystal structures.
doi:10.1021/ml300097g
PMCID: PMC3549271  PMID: 23342198
1,2,4-triazole; A2A adenosine receptor; antagonist; molecular docking; structure-activity relationship
15.  The Estimation of Prevalence, Incidence, and Residual Risk of Transfusion-Transmitted Human Hepatitis B Infection from Blood Donated at the Anhui Blood Center, China, from 2009 to 2011 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73472.
Background
The high prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) among the Chinese population poses a threat to blood safety; however, few studies have examined epidemiological data regarding HBV infection of Chinese blood donors. The present study investigated the demographic characteristics of blood donors at the Anhui blood center in China, the prevalence, incidence, and residual risk (RR) associated with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) expression in terms of transfusion transmitted HBV (TTHBV) infections.
Methods
The demographic characteristics and HBV status of people who donated blood at the Anhui blood center between 2009 and 2011 were retrospectively analyzed. The incidence of HBV was estimated through HBsAg yield approach. The window period model was then used to estimate the RR of TTHBV infection.
Results
The typical donor at the Anhui blood center was a first-time volunteer, aged less than 25 years, unmarried, of Han ethnicity, and with an education below high school level. The prevalence of HBV infection among repeat donors, first-time donors, and all donors was 28.9, 127.2 and 82.1 per 100,000, respectively. The incidence estimate was 333.9 per 105 person-years. Using an infectious window period of 59 days, the RR for HBV was estimated to be 1 in 1853 between 2009 and 2011.
Conclusions
The incidence and RR of HBV in Chinese blood donors are much higher than those of donors in developed countries. This is because sensitive ELISAs and nucleic acid tests are not available in China. Further work is needed to improve both the safety and availability of blood products in China.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073472
PMCID: PMC3772943  PMID: 24058476
16.  Structure–Activity Relationships and Molecular Modeling of 1,2,4-Triazoles as Adenosine Receptor Antagonists 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2012;3(9):715-720.
The structure–activity relationship (SAR) for a novel class of 1,2,4-triazole antagonists of the human A2A adenosine receptor (hA2AAR) was explored. Thirty-three analogs of a ligand that was discovered in a structure-based virtual screen against the hA2AAR were tested in hA1, A2A, and A3 radioligand binding assays and in functional assays for the A2BAR subtype. As a series of closely related analogs of the initial lead, 1, did not display improved binding affinity or selectivity, molecular docking was used to guide the selection of more distantly related molecules. This resulted in the discovery of 32, a hA2AAR antagonist (Ki 200 nM) with high ligand efficiency. In light of the SAR for the 1,2,4-triazole scaffold, we also investigated the binding mode of these compounds based on docking to several A2AAR crystal structures.
doi:10.1021/ml300097g
PMCID: PMC3549271  PMID: 23342198
1,2,4-Triazole; A2A adenosine receptor; antagonist; molecular docking; structure−activity relationship
17.  In Situ Confocal Imaging in Intact Heart Reveals Stress-Induced Ca2+ Release Variability in a Murine CPVT Model of RyR2R4496C+/− Mutation 
Background
Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is directly linked to mutations in proteins (e.g., RyR2R4496C) responsible for intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis in the heart. However, the mechanism of Ca2+ release dysfunction underlying CPVT has only been investigated in isolated cells but not in the in situ undisrupted myocardium.
Methods and Results
We investigated in situ myocyte Ca2+ dynamics in intact Langendorff perfused hearts (ex vivo) from wildtype (WT) and RyR2R4496C+/− mice using laser scanning confocal microscopy. We found that myocytes from both WT and RyR2R4496C+/− hearts displayed uniform, synchronized Ca2+ transients. Ca2+ transients from beat to beat were comparable in amplitude with identical activation and decay kinetics in WT and RyR2R4496C+/− hearts, suggesting that excitation-contraction (EC) coupling between the sarcolemmal Ca2+ channels and mutated RyR2R4496C+/− channels remains intact under baseline resting conditions. Upon adrenergic stimulation, RyR2R4496C+/− hearts exhibited a high degree of Ca2+ release variability (CRV). The varied pattern of Ca2+ release was absent in single isolated myocytes, independent of cell cycle length, synchronized among neighboring myocytes, and correlated with CPVT. A similar pattern of action potential variability, which was synchronized among neighboring myocytes, was also revealed under adrenergic stress in intact hearts but not in isolated myocytes.
Conclusions
Our studies using in situ confocal imaging approach suggest that mutated RyR2s are functionally normal at rest but display a high degree of CRV upon intense adrenergic stimulation. CRV is a Ca2+ release abnormality resulting from electrical defects rather than the failure of the Ca2+ release response to action potentials in mutated ventricular myocytes. Our data provide important insights into Ca2+ release and electrical dysfunction in an established model of CPVT.
doi:10.1161/CIRCEP.111.969733
PMCID: PMC3421047  PMID: 22722659
arrhythmia (mechanisms); calcium; catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia; sarcoplasmic reticulum; ryanodine receptors
18.  A2B adenosine receptor blockade inhibits growth of prostate cancer cells 
Purinergic Signalling  2013;9(2):271-280.
The role of the A2B adenosine receptor (AR) in prostate cell death and growth was studied. The A2B AR gene expression quantified by real-time quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analysis was the highest among four AR subtypes (A1, A2A, A2B, and A3) in all three commonly used prostate cancer cell lines, PC-3, DU145, and LNCaP. We explored the function of the A2B AR using PC-3 cells as a model. The A2B AR was visualized in PC-3 cells by laser confocal microscopy. The nonselective A2B AR agonist NECA and the selective A2B AR agonist BAY60-6583, but not the A2A AR agonist CGS21680, concentration-dependently induced adenosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate (cyclic AMP) accumulation. NECA diminished lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, TNF-α-induced increase of caspase-3 activity, and cycloheximide (CHX)-induced morphological changes typical of apoptosis in PC-3 cells, which were blocked by a selective A2B AR antagonist PSB603. NECA-induced proliferation of PC-3 cells was diminished by siRNA specific for the A2B AR. The selective A2B AR antagonist PSB603 was shown to inhibit cell growth in all three cell lines. Thus, A2B AR blockade inhibits growth of prostate cancer cells, suggesting selective A2B AR antagonists as potential novel therapeutics.
doi:10.1007/s11302-012-9350-3
PMCID: PMC3646116  PMID: 23315335
Prostate cancer; Cancer; Adenosine receptor; A2B; G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); Cell proliferation
19.  Truncated Nucleosides as A3 Adenosine Receptor Ligands: Combined 2-Arylethynyl and Bicyclohexane Substitutions 
ACS medicinal chemistry letters  2012;3(7):596-601.
C2-Arylethynyladenosine-5′-N-methyluronamides containing a bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane ((N)-methanocarba) ring are selective A3 adenosine receptor (AR) agonists. Similar 4′-truncated C2-arylethynyl-(N)-methanocarba nucleosides containing alkyl or alkylaryl groups at the N6 position were low-efficacy agonists or antagonists of the human A3AR with high selectivity. Higher hA3AR affinity was associated with N6-methyl and ethyl (Ki 3–6 nM), than with N6-arylalkyl groups. However, combined C2-phenylethynyl and N6-2-phenylethyl substitutions in selective antagonist 15 provided a Ki of 20 nM. Differences between 4′-truncated and nontruncated analogues of extended C2-p-biphenylethynyl substitution suggested a ligand reorientation in AR binding, dominated by bulky N6 groups in analogues lacking a stabilizing 5′-uronamide moiety. Thus, 4′-truncation of C2-arylethynyl-(N)-methanocarba adenosine derivatives is compatible with general preservation of A3AR selectivity, especially with small N6 groups, but reduced efficacy in A3AR-induced inhibition of adenylate cyclase.
doi:10.1021/ml300107e
PMCID: PMC3491360  PMID: 23145215
G protein-coupled receptor; purines; molecular modeling; structure activity relationship; radioligand binding; adenosine receptor
20.  Truncated Nucleosides as A3 Adenosine Receptor Ligands: Combined 2-Arylethynyl and Bicyclohexane Substitutions 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2012;3(7):596-601.
C2-Arylethynyladenosine-5′-N-methyluronamides containing a bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane [(N)-methanocarba] ring are selective A3 adenosine receptor (AR) agonists. Similar 4′-truncated C2-arylethynyl-(N)-methanocarba nucleosides containing alkyl or alkylaryl groups at the N6 position were low-efficacy agonists or antagonists of the human A3AR with high selectivity. Higher hA3AR affinity was associated with N6-methyl and ethyl (Ki = 3–6 nM) than with N6-arylalkyl groups. However, combined C2-phenylethynyl and N6-2-phenylethyl substitutions in selective antagonist 15 provided a Ki of 20 nM. Differences between 4′-truncated and nontruncated analogues of extended C2-p-biphenylethynyl substitution suggested a ligand reorientation in AR binding, dominated by bulky N6 groups in analogues lacking a stabilizing 5′-uronamide moiety. Thus, 4′-truncation of C2-arylethynyl-(N)-methanocarba adenosine derivatives is compatible with general preservation of A3AR selectivity, especially with small N6 groups, but reduced efficacy in A3AR-induced inhibition of adenylate cyclase.
doi:10.1021/ml300107e
PMCID: PMC3491360  PMID: 23145215
G protein-coupled receptor; purines; molecular modeling; structure−activity relationship; radioligand binding; adenosine receptor
21.  Novel Fluorescent Antagonist as a Molecular Probe in A3 Adenosine Receptor Binding Assays Using Flow Cytometry 
Biochemical Pharmacology  2012;83(11):1552-1561.
The physiological role of the A3 adenosine receptor (AR) was explored in cardiac ischaemia, inflammatory diseases and cancer. We report a new fluorophore-conjugated human (h) A3AR antagonist for application to cell-based assays in ligand discovery and for receptor imaging. Fluorescent pyrazolo[4,3-e][1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidin-5-ylamine (pyrazolo-triazolo-pyrimidine, PTP) and triazolo[1,5-c]quinazolin-5-yl)amine (triazolo-quinazoline, TQ) AR antagonists were compared. A chain-extended and click-conjugated Alexa Fluor-488 TQ derivative (MRS5449) displayed a radioligand binding Ki value of 6.4 ± 2.5 nM in hA3AR-expressing CHO cell membranes. MRS5449 antagonized hA3AR agonist-induced inhibition of cyclic AMP accumulation in a concentration-dependent manner (KB 4.8 nM). Using flow cytometry (FCM), MRS5449 saturated hA3ARs with very high specific-to-nonspecific binding ratio with an equilibrium binding constant 5.15 nM, comparable to the Kd value of 6.65 nM calculated from kinetic experiments. Ki values of known AR antagonists in inhibition of MRS5449 binding in whole cell FCM were consistent with radioligand binding in membranes, but agonist binding was 5–20 fold weaker than obtained with agonist radioligand [125I]I-AB-MECA. Further binding analysis of MRS5549 suggested multiple agonist binding states of the A3AR. Molecular docking predicted binding modes of these fluorescent antagonists. Thus, MRS5449 is a useful tool for hA3AR characterization.
doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2012.02.019
PMCID: PMC3322254  PMID: 22402302
purines; fluorescence; G protein-coupled receptor; A3 adenosine receptor; flow cytometry
22.  Structure-Guided Design of A3 Adenosine Receptor-Selective Nucleosides: Combination of 2-Arylethynyl and Bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane Substitutions 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2012;55(10):4847-4860.
(N)-Methanocarba adenosine 5′-methyluronamides containing known A3 AR (adenosine receptor)-enhancing modifications, i.e. 2-(arylethynyl)adenine and N6-methyl or N6-(3-substituted-benzyl), were nanomolar full agonists of human (h) A3AR and highly selective (Ki ~0.6 nM, N6-methyl 2-(halophenylethynyl) analogues 13, 14). Combined 2-arylethynyl-N6-3-chlorobenzyl substitutions preserved A3AR affinity/selectivity in the (N)-methanocarba series (e.g. 3,4-difluoro full agonist MRS5698 31, Ki 3 nM, human and mouse A3) better than for ribosides. Polyaromatic 2-ethynyl N6-3-chlorobenzyl analogues, such as potent linearly extended 2-p-biphenylethynyl MRS5679 34 (Ki hA3 3.1 nM; A1, A2A: inactive) and fluorescent 1-pyrene adduct MRS5704 35 (Ki hA3 68.3 nM) were conformationally rigid; receptor docking identified a large, mainly hydrophobic binding region. The vicinity of receptor-bound C2 groups was probed by homology modeling based on recent X-ray structure of an agonist-bound A2AAR, with a predicted helical rearrangement requiring an agonist-specific outward displacement of TM2 resembling opsin. Thus, X-ray structure of related A2AAR is useful in guiding design of new A3AR agonists.
doi:10.1021/jm300396n
PMCID: PMC3371665  PMID: 22559880
G protein-coupled receptor; purines; molecular modeling; structure activity relationship; radioligand binding; adenylate cyclase
23.  Modulation of G protein-coupled adenosine receptors by strategically functionalized agonists and antagonists immobilized on gold nanoparticles 
Purinergic Signalling  2012;9(2):183-198.
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) allow the tuning of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties by active or passive targeting of drugs for cancer and other diseases. We have functionalized gold nanoparticles by tethering specific ligands, agonists and antagonists, of adenosine receptors (ARs) to the gold surface as models for cell surface interactions with G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The AuNP conjugates with chain-extended AR ligands alone (PEGylated nucleosides and nonnucleosides, anchored to the Au via thioctic acid) were found to be insoluble in water due to hydrophobic entities in the ligand. Therefore, we added a second, biologically inactive pendant moiety to increase the water solubility, consisting of a PEGylated chain terminating in a carboxylic or phosphate group. The purity and stability of the immobilized biologically active ligand were examined by ultrafiltration and HPLC. Pharmacological receptor binding studies on these GPCR ligand-derivatized AuNPs (2–5 nm in diameter), performed using membranes of mammalian cells stably expressing human A1, A2A, and A3ARs, showed that the desired selectivity was retained with Ki values (nanomolar) of A3AR agonist 21b and A2AAR antagonists 24 and 26a of 14 (A3), 34 (A2A), and 69 (A2A), respectively. The corresponding monomers displayed Ki values of 37, 61, and 1,420 nM, respectively. In conclusion, we have synthesized stable, water-soluble AuNP derivatives of tethered A3 and A2AAR ligands that retain the biological properties of their monomeric ligands and are intended for therapeutic and imaging applications. This is the first prototypical application to gold carriers of small molecule (nonpeptide) GPCR ligands, which are under investigation for treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11302-012-9338-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11302-012-9338-z
PMCID: PMC3646115  PMID: 23179047
G protein-coupled receptor; Nanoparticle; Nucleoside; Adenosine; Radioligand binding
25.  CONSTITUTIVE ACTIVATION OF A3 ADENOSINE RECEPTORS BY SITE-DIRECTED MUTAGENESIS 
The objective of this study was to create constitutively active mutant human A3 adenosine receptors (ARs) using single amino acid replacements, based on findings from other G protein-coupled receptors. A3 ARs mutated in transmembrane helical domains (TMs) 1, 3, 6, and 7 were expressed in COS-7 cells and subjected to agonist radioligand binding and phospholipase C (PLC) and adenylyl cyclase (AC) assays. Three mutant receptors, A229E in TM6 and R108A and R108K in the DRY motif of TM3, were found to be constitutively active in both functional assays. The potency of the A3 agonist Cl-IB-MECA (2–chloro-N6-(3–iodobenzyl)adenosine-5′-N-methyluronamide) in PLC activation was enhanced by at least an order of magnitude over wild type (EC50 951 nM) in R108A and A229E mutant receptors. Cl-IB-MECA was much less potent (>10-fold) in C88F, Y109F and Y282F mutants or inactive following double mutation of the DRY motif. The degree of constitutive activation was more pronounced for the AC signaling pathway than for the PLC signaling pathway. The results indicated that specific locations within the TMs proximal to the cytosolic region were responsible for constraining the receptor in a G protein-uncoupled conformation.
doi:10.1006/bbrc.2001.5027
PMCID: PMC3626079  PMID: 11396942
purines; G protein-coupled receptor; phospholipase C; adenylyl cyclase; radioligand binding; nucleosides

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