Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (46)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  TCF-1 and LEF-1 act upstream of Th-POK to promote CD4+ T cell lineage choice and cooperate with Runx3 to silence the Cd4 gene in CD8+ T cells 
Nature immunology  2014;15(7):646-656.
TCF-1 and LEF-1 are essential for early T cell development, but their roles beyond the CD4+CD8+ double positive (DP) stage are unknown. By specific ablation in DP thymocytes, we demonstrated that deficiency in TCF-1 and LEF-1 diminished CD4+ T cell output and redirected CD4+ T cells to a CD8+ T cell fate. The role of TCF-1 and LEF-1 in CD4-CD8 lineage choice was partly mediated by direct positive regulation of Th-POK. Furthermore, loss of TCF-1 and LEF-1 unexpectedly caused CD4 derepression in CD8+ lineage-committed T cells without affecting the expression of Runx factors. Instead, TCF-1 physically interacted with Runx3 to cooperatively silence the Cd4 gene. Thus, TCF-1 and LEF-1 adopt distinct genetic wiring to program CD4+ fate decision and establish CD8+ T cell identity.
PMCID: PMC4064003  PMID: 24836425
2.  Normalization and extraction of interpretable metrics from raw accelerometry data 
Biostatistics (Oxford, England)  2013;15(1):102-116.
We introduce an explicit set of metrics for human activity based on high-density acceleration recordings from a hip-worn tri-axial accelerometer. These metrics are based on two concepts: (i) Time Active, a measure of the length of time when activity is distinguishable from rest and (ii) AI, a measure of the relative amplitude of activity relative to rest. All measurements are normalized (have the same interpretation across subjects and days), easy to explain and implement, and reproducible across platforms and software implementations. Metrics were validated by visual inspection of results and quantitative in-lab replication studies, and by an association study with health outcomes
PMCID: PMC4072911  PMID: 23999141
Activity intensity; Movelets; Movement; Signal processing; Time active; Tri-axial accelerometer
3.  Apical constriction drives tissue-scale hydrodynamic flow to mediate cell elongation 
Nature  2014;508(7496):392-396.
Epithelial folding mediated by apical constriction converts flat epithelial sheets into multilayered, complex tissue structures and is employed throughout the development in most animals1. Little is known, however, how forces produced near the apical surface of the tissue are transmitted within individual cells to generate the global changes in cell shape that characterize tissue deformation. Here we apply particle tracking velocimetry in gastrulating Drosophila embryos to measure the movement of cytoplasm and plasma membrane during ventral furrow (VF) formation2, 3. We find that cytoplasmic redistribution during the lengthening phase of VF formation can be precisely described by viscous flows that quantitatively match the predictions of hydrodynamics. Cell membranes move with the ambient cytoplasm, with little resistance to or driving force on the flow. Strikingly, apical constriction produces similar flow patterns in mutant embryos that fail to form cells prior to gastrulation (“acellular” embryos), such that the global redistribution of cytoplasm mirrors the summed redistribution occurring in individual cells of wild type embryos. Our results suggest that during the lengthening phase of VF formation, hydrodynamic behavior of the cytoplasm provides the predominant mechanism transmitting apically generated forces deep into the tissue and that cell individualization is dispensable.
PMCID: PMC4111109  PMID: 24590071
4.  Ablation of Coactivator Med1 Switches the Cell Fate of Dental Epithelia to That Generating Hair 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99991.
Cell fates are determined by specific transcriptional programs. Here we provide evidence that the transcriptional coactivator, Mediator 1 (Med1), is essential for the cell fate determination of ectodermal epithelia. Conditional deletion of Med1 in vivo converted dental epithelia into epidermal epithelia, causing defects in enamel organ development while promoting hair formation in the incisors. We identified multiple processes by which hairs are generated in Med1 deficient incisors: 1) dental epithelial stem cells lacking Med 1 fail to commit to the dental lineage, 2) Sox2-expressing stem cells extend into the differentiation zone and remain multi-potent due to reduced Notch1 signaling, and 3) epidermal fate is induced by calcium as demonstrated in dental epithelial cell cultures. These results demonstrate that Med1 is a master regulator in adult stem cells to govern epithelial cell fate.
PMCID: PMC4065011  PMID: 24949995
5.  Mucus Enhances Gut Homeostasis and Oral Tolerance by Delivering Immunoregulatory Signals 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;342(6157):447-453.
A dense mucous layer in the large intestine prevents inflammation by shielding the underlying epithelium from luminal bacteria and food antigens. This mucous barrier is organized around the hyperglycosylated mucin MUC2. Here we show that the small intestine has a porous mucous layer, which permitted the uptake of MUC2 by antigen-sampling dendritic cells (DCs). Glycans associated with MUC2 imprinted DCs with anti-inflammatory properties by assembling a galectin-3-Dectin-1-FcγRIIB receptor complex that activated β-catenin. This transcription factor interfered with DC expression of inflammatory but not tolerogenic cytokines by inhibiting gene transcription through nuclear factor-κB. MUC2 induced additional DC-conditioning signals via intestinal epithelial cells. Thus, mucus does not merely form a nonspecific physical barrier, but also constraints the immunogenicity of gut antigens by delivering tolerogenic signals.
PMCID: PMC4005805  PMID: 24072822
6.  XPF-673C>T Polymorphism Effect on the Susceptibility to Esophageal Cancer in Chinese Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94136.
Xeroderma pigmentsum group F (XPF) plays a pivotal role in DNA nucleotide excision repair and has been linked to the development of various cancers. This study aims to assess the association of XPF genetic variants with the susceptibility to esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in Chinese population.
This two-stage case-control study was conducted in a total of 1524 patients with ESCC and 1524 controls. Genotype of XPF -673C>T and 11985A>G variants were determined by polymerase chain reaction-based restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). Logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate odd ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).
Our case-control study showed that XPF -673TT genotype was associated with a decreased risk of ESCC compared with CC genotype in both case-control sets (Tangshan set: OR = 0.58; 95%CI = 0.34–0.99, P = 0.040; Beijing set: OR = 0.66; 95%CI = 0.46–0.95, P = 0.027). Stratified analyses revealed that a multiplicative interaction between -673C>T variant and age, sex or smoking status was evident (Gene-age: Pinteraction = 0.002; Gene-sex: Pinteraction = 0.002; Gene-smoking: Pinteraction = 0.002). For XPF 11985A>G polymorphism, there was no significant difference of genotype distribution between ESCC cases and controls.
These findings indicated that genetic variants in XPF might contribute to the susceptibility to ESCC.
PMCID: PMC3978021  PMID: 24709955
7.  Presence of intratumoral platelets is associated with tumor vessel structure and metastasis 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:167.
Platelets play a fundamental role in maintaining hemostasis and have been shown to participate in hematogenous dissemination of tumor cells. Abundant platelets were detected in the tumor microenvironment outside of the blood vessel, thus, platelet -tumor cell interaction outside of the bloodstream may play a role in regulating primary tumor growth and metastasis initiation. However, it is unclear that platelet depletion affects tumor vessel structure and dynamics.
Using thrombocytopenia induction in two different tumor-bearing mouse models, tumor tissues were performed by Westernblotting and immunohistochemical staining. Vascular permeability was evaluated by determination of intratumoral Evans blue and Miles vascular permeability assay. Furthermore, microdialysis was used to examining the intratumoral extracellular angiogenic growth factors (VEGF, TGF-β) by ELISA.
Platelet depletion showed no change in tumor growth and reduced lung metastasis. Platelet depletion led to reduced tumor hypoxia and Met receptor activation and was associated with a decreased release of MMP-2, 9, PAI-1, VEGF, and TGF-β. Tumor vessels in platelet-depleted mice showed impaired vessel density and maturation.
Our findings demonstrate that platelets within the primary tumor microenvironment play a critical role in the induction of vascular permeability and initiation of tumor metastasis.
PMCID: PMC4016490  PMID: 24606812
Platelets; Tumorigenesis; Metastasis; Hypoxia; Angiogenesis
8.  Optimized synthesis of glycyrrhetinic acid-modified chitosan 5-fluorouracil nanoparticles and their characteristics 
The nanoparticle drug delivery system, which uses natural or synthetic polymeric material as a carrier to deliver drugs to targeted tissues, has a broad prospect for clinical application for its targeting, slow-release, and biodegradable properties. Here, we used chitosan (CTS) and hepatoma cell-specific binding molecule glycyrrhetinic acid to synthesize glycyrrhetinic acid-modified chitosan (GA-CTS). The synthetic product was confirmed by infrared (IR) spectra and hydrogen-1 nuclear magnetic resonance. The GA-CTS/5-fluorouracil (5-FU) nanoparticles were synthesized by combining GA-CTS and 5-FU and conjugating 5-FU onto the GA-CTS nanomaterial. The central composite design was performed to optimize the preparation process as CTS:tripolyphosphate sodium (TPP) weight ratio =5:1, 5-FU:CTS weight ratio =1:1, TPP concentration =0.05% (w/v), and cross-link time =50 minutes. GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticles had a mean particle size of 193.7 nm, a polydispersity index of 0.003, a zeta potential of +27.4 mV, and a drug loading of 1.56%. The GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle had a protective effect on the drug against plasma degrading enzyme, and provided a sustained release system comprising three distinct phases of quick, steady, and slow release. Our study showed that the peak time, half-life time, mean residence time and area under the curve of GA-CTS/5-FU were longer or more than those of the 5-FU group, but the maximum concentration (Cmax) was lower. We demonstrated that the nanoparticles accumulated in the liver and have significantly inhibited tumor growth in an orthotropic liver cancer mouse model.
PMCID: PMC3908832  PMID: 24493926
liver cancer; targeted therapy; chemotherapy; pharmacokinetics efficacy
9.  mUbiSiDa: A Comprehensive Database for Protein Ubiquitination Sites in Mammals 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85744.
Protein ubiquitination is one of the important post-translational modifications by attaching ubiquitin to specific lysine (K) residues in target proteins, and plays important regulatory roles in many cell processes. Recent studies indicated that abnormal protein ubiquitination have been implicated in many diseases by degradation of many key regulatory proteins including tumor suppressor, oncoprotein, and cell cycle regulator. The detailed information of protein ubiquitination sites is useful for scientists to investigate the mechanism of many cell activities and related diseases.
In this study we established mUbiSida for mammalian Ubiquitination Site Database, which provides a scientific community with a comprehensive, freely and high-quality accessible resource of mammalian protein ubiquitination sites. In mUbiSida, we deposited about 35,494 experimentally validated ubiquitinated proteins with 110,976 ubiquitination sites from five species. The mUbiSiDa can also provide blast function to predict novel protein ubiquitination sites in other species by blast the query sequence in the deposit sequences in mUbiSiDa. The mUbiSiDa was designed to be a widely used tool for biologists and biomedical researchers with a user-friendly interface, and facilitate the further research of protein ubiquitination, biological networks and functional proteomics. The mUbiSiDa database is freely available at
PMCID: PMC3894998  PMID: 24465676
10.  Activation of cellular immunity and marked inhibition of liver cancer in a mouse model following gene therapy and tumor expression of GM-SCF, IL-21, and Rae-1 
Molecular Cancer  2013;12:166.
Cancer is both a systemic and a genetic disease. The pathogenesis of cancer might be related to dampened immunity. Host immunity recognizes nascent malignant cells – a process referred to as immune surveillance. Augmenting immune surveillance and suppressing immune escape are crucial in tumor immunotherapy.
A recombinant plasmid capable of co-expressing granulocyte-macrophage colony- stimulating factor (GM-SCF), interleukin-21 (IL-21), and retinoic acid early transcription factor-1 (Rae-1) was constructed, and its effects determined in a mouse model of subcutaneous liver cancer. Serum specimens were assayed for IL-2 and INF-γ by ELISA. Liver cancer specimens were isolated for Rae-1 expression by RT-PCR and Western blot, and splenocytes were analyzed by flow cytometry.
The recombinant plasmid inhibited the growth of liver cancer and prolonged survival of tumor-loaded mice. Activation of host immunity might have contributed to this effect by promoting increased numbers and cytotoxicity of natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) following expression of GM-SCF, IL-21, and Rae-1. By contrast, the frequency of regulatory T cells was decreased, Consequently, activated CTL and NK cells enhanced their secretion of INF-γ, which promoted cytotoxicity of NK cells and CTL. Moreover, active CTL showed dramatic secretion of IL-2, which stimulates CTL. The recombinant expression plasmid also augmented Rae-1 expression by liver cancer cells. Rae-1 receptor expressing CTL and NK cells removed liver cancer.
The recombinant expression plasmid inhibited liver cancer by a mechanism that involved activation of cell-mediated immunity and Rae-1 in liver cancer.
PMCID: PMC3878360  PMID: 24350772
Gene therapy; Natural killer cells; Cytotoxic T lymphocytes; Liver cancer; Immune escape; Cell-mediated immunity
11.  Preliminary pharmacology of galactosylated chitosan/5-fluorouracil nanoparticles and its inhibition of hepatocellular carcinoma in mice 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2012;13(14):1407-1416.
Biodegradable polymer nanoparticle drug delivery systems are characterized by targeted drug delivery, improved pharmacokinetic and biodistribution, enhanced drug stability and lowered side effects; these drug delivery systems are widely used for delivery of cytotoxic agents. The galactosylated chitosan (GC)/5-fluorouracil (5-FU) nanoparticle is a nanomaterial made by coupling GC, a polymer known to have the advantages described above, and 5-FU. The GC/5-FU nanoparticle is a sustained release system, it was showed that the peak time, half-life time, mean residence time (MRT) and area of under curve (AUC) of GC/5-FU were longer or more than those of the 5-FU group, but the maximum concentration (Cmax) was lower. The distribution of GC/5-FU in vivo revealed the greatest accumulation in the hepatic cancer tissues, and the hepatic cell was the target of the nanoparticles. Toxicology research showed that the toxicity of GC-5-FU was lower than that of 5-FU in mice. In vivo experiments showed that GC/5-FU can significantly inhibit tumor growth in an orthotropic liver cancer mouse model. GC/5-FU treatment can significantly lower the tumor weight and increase the survival time of mice when compared with 5-FU treatment alone. Flow cytometry and the TUNEL assay revealed that compared with 5-FU, GC/5-FU caused higher rates of G0-G1 arrest and apoptosis in hepatic cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3542231  PMID: 22954702
galactosylated chitosan; nanoparticles; 5-fluorouracil; hepatocellular cancer; pharmacokinetics; apoptosis
12.  Discover context-specific combinatorial transcription factor interactions by integrating diverse ChIP-Seq data sets 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(4):e24.
Combinatorial interactions among transcription factors (TFs) are critical for integrating diverse intrinsic and extrinsic signals, fine-tuning regulatory output and increasing the robustness and plasticity of regulatory systems. Current knowledge about combinatorial regulation is rather limited due to the lack of suitable experimental technologies and bioinformatics tools. The rapid accumulation of ChIP-Seq data has provided genome-wide occupancy maps for a large number of TFs and chromatin modification marks for identifying enhancers without knowing individual TF binding sites. Integration of the two data types has not been researched extensively, resulting in underused data and missed opportunities. We describe a novel method for discovering frequent combinatorial occupancy patterns by multiple TFs at enhancers. Our method is based on probabilistic item set mining and takes into account uncertainty in both types of ChIP-Seq data. By joint analysis of 108 TFs in four human cell types, we found that cell–type-specific interactions among TFs are abundant and that the majority of enhancers have flexible architecture. We show that several families of transposable elements disproportionally overlap with enhancers with combinatorial patterns, suggesting that these transposable element families play an important role in the evolution of combinatorial regulation.
PMCID: PMC3936738  PMID: 24217919
13.  Synthesis of liver-targeting dual-ligand modified GCGA/5-FU nanoparticles and their characteristics in vitro and in vivo 
Nanoparticle drug delivery systems using polymers hold promise for clinical applications. We synthesized dual-ligand modified chitosan (GCGA) nanoparticles using lactic acid, glycyrrhetinic acid, and chitosan to target the liver in our previous studies. We then synthesized the GCGA/5-FU nanoparticles by conjugating 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) onto the GCGA nanomaterial, which had a mean particle size of 239.9 nm, a polydispersity index of 0.040, a zeta potential of +21.2 mV, and a drug loading of 3.90%. GCGA/5-FU nanoparticles had good slow release properties, and the release process could be divided into five phases: small burst release, gentle release, second burst release, steady release, and slow release. Inhibitory effects of GCGA/5-FU on tumor cells targeted the liver, and were time and dose dependent. GCGA nanoparticles significantly prolonged the efficacy of 5-FU on tumor cells, and alleviated the resistance of tumor cells to 5-FU. GCGA/5-FU nanoparticles were mostly concentrated in the liver, indicating that the GCGA nanoparticles were liver targeting. GCGA/5-FU nanoparticles significantly suppressed tumor growth in orthotopic liver transplantation mouse model, and improved mouse survival.
PMCID: PMC3826867  PMID: 24232303
liver cancer; chemotherapy; targeted therapy; 5-fluorouracil
14.  Glycyrrhetinic acid-modified chitosan nanoparticles enhanced the effect of 5-fluorouracil in murine liver cancer model via regulatory T-cells 
Modified chitosan nanoparticles are a promising platform for drug, such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), gene, and vaccine delivery. Here, we used chitosan and hepatoma cell-specific binding molecule glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) to synthesize glycyrrhetinic acid-modified chitosan (GA-CTS). The synthetic product was confirmed by infrared spectroscopy and hydrogen nuclear magnetic resonance. By combining GA-CTS and 5-FU, we obtained a GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle, with a particle size of 193.7 nm, drug loading of 1.56%, and a polydispersity index of 0.003. The GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle provided a sustained-release system comprising three distinct phases of quick, steady, and slow release. In vitro data indicated that it had a dose- and time-dependent anticancer effect. The effective drug exposure time against hepatic cancer cells was increased in comparison with that observed with 5-FU. In vivo studies on an orthotropic liver cancer mouse model demonstrated that GA-CTS/5-FU significantly inhibited cancer cell proliferation, resulting in increased survival time. The antitumor mechanisms for GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle were possibly associated with an increased expression of regulatory T-cells, decreased expression of cytotoxic T-cell and natural killer cells, and reduced levels of interleukin-2 and interferon gamma.
PMCID: PMC3810199  PMID: 24187487
hepatic carcinoma; regulatory T cells; glycyrrhetinic acid; targeted therapy; 5-fluorouracil
15.  Nanoemulsion improves the oral bioavailability of baicalin in rats: in vitro and in vivo evaluation 
Baicalin is one of the main bioactive flavone glucuronides derived as a medicinal herb from the dried roots of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, and it is widely used for the treatment of fever, inflammation, and other conditions. Due to baicalin’s poor solubility in water, its absolute bioavailability after oral administration is only 2.2%. The objective of this study was to develop a novel baicalin-loaded nanoemulsion to improve the oral bioavailability of baicalin. Based on the result of pseudoternary phase diagram, the nanoemulsion formulation consisting of soy-lecithin, tween-80, polyethylene glycol 400, isopropyl myristate, and water (1:2:1.5:3.75:8.25, w/w) was selected for further study. Baicalin-loaded nanoemulsions (BAN-1 and BAN-2) were prepared by internal or external drug addition and in vivo and in vitro evaluations were performed. The results showed that the mean droplet size, polydispersity index, and drug content of BAN-1 and BAN-2 were 91.2 ± 2.36 nm and 89.7 ± 3.05 nm, 0.313 ± 0.002 and 0.265 ± 0.001, and 98.56% ± 0.79% and 99.40% ± 0.51%, respectively. Transmission electron microscopy revealed spherical globules and confirmed droplet size analysis. After dilution 30-fold with water, the solubilization capacity of BAN-1 and BAN-2 did not change. In vitro release results showed sustained-release characteristics. BAN-1 formulation was stable for at least 6 months and was more stable than BAN-2. In rats, the area under the plasma drug concentration-time curve value of BAN-1 was 1.8-fold and 7-fold greater than those of BAN-2 and free baicalin suspension after oral administration at a dose of 100 mg/kg. In conclusion, these results demonstrated that the baicalin-loaded nanoemulsion formulation, in particular BAN-1, was very effective for improving the oral bioavailability of baicalin and exhibited great potential for future clinical application.
PMCID: PMC3794992  PMID: 24124365
nanoemulsion; baicalin; oral bioavailability; pharmacokinetics
16.  Synthesis of Glycyrrhetinic Acid-Modified Chitosan 5-Fluorouracil Nanoparticles and Its Inhibition of Liver Cancer Characteristics in Vitro and in Vivo 
Marine Drugs  2013;11(9):3517-3536.
Nanoparticle drug delivery (NDDS) is a novel system in which the drugs are delivered to the site of action by small particles in the nanometer range. Natural or synthetic polymers are used as vectors in NDDS, as they provide targeted, sustained release and biodegradability. Here, we used the chitosan and hepatoma cell-specific binding molecule, glycyrrhetinic acid (GA), to synthesize glycyrrhetinic acid-modified chitosan (GA-CTS). The synthetic product was confirmed by Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR). By combining GA-CTS and 5-FU (5-fluorouracil), we obtained a GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle, with a particle size of 217.2 nm, a drug loading of 1.56% and a polydispersity index of 0.003. The GA-CTS/5-FU nanoparticle provided a sustained release system comprising three distinct phases of quick, steady and slow release. We demonstrated that the nanoparticle accumulated in the liver. In vitro data indicated that it had a dose- and time-dependent anti-cancer effect. The effective drug exposure time against hepatic cancer cells was increased in comparison with that observed with 5-FU. Additionally, GA-CTS/5-FU significantly inhibited the growth of drug-resistant hepatoma, which may compensate for the drug-resistance of 5-FU. In vivo studies on an orthotropic liver cancer mouse model demonstrated that GA-CTS/5-FU significantly inhibited tumor growth, resulting in increased survival time.
PMCID: PMC3806472  PMID: 24048270
hepatic carcinoma; regulatory T-cells; glycyrrhetinic acid; targeted therapy; 5-fluorouracil
17.  Exo70 Stimulates the Arp2/3 Complex-mediated Actin Branching for Lamellipodia Formation and Cell Migration 
Current biology : CB  2012;22(16):1510-1515.
Directional cell migration requires the coordination of actin assembly and membrane remodeling. The exocyst is an octameric protein complex essential for exocytosis and plasma membrane remodeling [1,2]. A component of the exocyst, Exo70, directly interacts with the Arp2/3 complex, a core nucleating factor for the generation of branched actin networks for cell morphogenesis and migration [3-9]. Using in vitro actin polymerization assay and time-lapse TIRF microscopy, we found Exo70 functions as a kinetic activator of the Arp2/3 complex that promotes actin filament nucleation and branching. We further found that the effect of Exo70 on actin is mediated by promoting the interaction of Arp2/3 complex with WAVE2, a member of the N-WASP/WAVE family of nucleation promoting factors (NPFs). At the cellular level, the stimulatory effect of Exo70 on Arp2/3 is required for lamellipodia formation and maintaining directional persistence of cell migration. Our findings provide a novel mechanism for regulating actin polymerization and branching for effective membrane protrusion during cell morphogenesis and migration.
PMCID: PMC3427469  PMID: 22748316
18.  Myo1e Impairment Results in Actin Reorganization, Podocyte Dysfunction, and Proteinuria in Zebrafish and Cultured Podocytes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72750.
Podocytes serve as an important constituent of the glomerular filtration barrier. Recently, we and others identified Myo1e as a key molecular component of the podocyte cytoskeleton.
Myo1e mRNA and protein was expressed in human and mouse kidney sections as determined by Northern blot and reverse transcriptase PCR, and its expression was more evident in podocytes by immunofluorescence. By specific knock-down of MYO1E in zebrafish, the injected larvae exhibited pericardial edema and pronephric cysts, consistent with the appearance of protein in condensed incubation supernate. Furthermore, specific inhibition of Myo1e expression in a conditionally immortalized podocyte cell line induced morphological changes, actin cytoskeleton rearrangement, and dysfunction in cell proliferation, migration, endocytosis, and adhesion with the glomerular basement membrane.
Our results revealed that Myo1e is a key component contributing to the functional integrity of podocytes. Its impairment may cause actin cytoskeleton re-organization, alteration of cell shape, and membrane transport, and podocyte drop-out from the glomerular basement membrane, which might eventually lead to an impaired glomerular filtration barrier and proteinuria.
PMCID: PMC3747079  PMID: 23977349
19.  Association Testing of Previously Reported Variants in a Large Case-Control Meta-analysis of Diabetic Nephropathy 
Diabetes  2012;61(8):2187-2194.
We formed the GEnetics of Nephropathy–an International Effort (GENIE) consortium to examine previously reported genetic associations with diabetic nephropathy (DN) in type 1 diabetes. GENIE consists of 6,366 similarly ascertained participants of European ancestry with type 1 diabetes, with and without DN, from the All Ireland-Warren 3-Genetics of Kidneys in Diabetes U.K. and Republic of Ireland (U.K.-R.O.I.) collection and the Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy Study (FinnDiane), combined with reanalyzed data from the Genetics of Kidneys in Diabetes U.S. Study (U.S. GoKinD). We found little evidence for the association of the EPO promoter polymorphism, rs161740, with the combined phenotype of proliferative retinopathy and end-stage renal disease in U.K.-R.O.I. (odds ratio [OR] 1.14, P = 0.19) or FinnDiane (OR 1.06, P = 0.60). However, a fixed-effects meta-analysis that included the previously reported cohorts retained a genome-wide significant association with that phenotype (OR 1.31, P = 2 × 10−9). An expanded investigation of the ELMO1 locus and genetic regions reported to be associated with DN in the U.S. GoKinD yielded only nominal statistical significance for these loci. Finally, top candidates identified in a recent meta-analysis failed to reach genome-wide significance. In conclusion, we were unable to replicate most of the previously reported genetic associations for DN, and significance for the EPO promoter association was attenuated.
PMCID: PMC3402313  PMID: 22721967
20.  Stromal endothelial cells establish a bidirectional crosstalk with chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells through the TNF-related factors BAFF, APRIL and CD40L 
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a clonal B cell disorder of unknown origin. Accessory signals from the microenvironment are critical for the survival, expansion and progression of malignant B cells. We found that the CLL stroma included microvascular endothelial cells (MVECs) expressing BAFF and APRIL, two TNF family members related to the T cell-associated B cell-stimulating molecule CD40 ligand (CD40L). Constitutive release of soluble BAFF and APRIL increased upon engagement of CD40 on MVECs by CD40L aberrantly expressed on CLL cells. In addition to enhancing MVEC expression of the CD40 receptor, leukemic CD40L induced cleavases that elicited intracellular processing of pro-BAFF and pro-APRIL proteins in MVECs. The resulting soluble BAFF and APRIL proteins delivered survival, proliferation, Ig gene-remodeling and differentiation signals by activating CLL cells through TACI, BAFF-R and BCMA receptors. BAFF and APRIL further amplified CLL cell survival by up-regulating the expression of leukemic CD40L. Inhibition of TACI, BCMA and BAFF-R expression on CLL cells, abrogation of CD40 expression in MVECs, or suppression of BAFF and APRIL cleavases in MVECs reduced the survival and diversification of malignant B cells. These data indicate that BAFF, APRIL and CD40L form a CLL-enhancing bidirectional signaling network linking neoplastic B cells with the microvascular stroma.
PMCID: PMC3370079  PMID: 22593611
Human; B cells; Antibodies; Cell Activation; Neoplasia
21.  A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Assessment of BMS-936558, a Fully Human Monoclonal Antibody to Programmed Death-1 (PD-1), in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63818.
Expression of the programmed death 1 (PD-1) receptor and its ligands are implicated in the T cell exhaustion phenotype which contributes to the persistence of several chronic viral infections, including human hepatitis C virus (HCV). The antiviral potential of BMS-936558 (MDX-1106) – a fully human anti-PD-1 monoclonal immunoglobulin-G4 that blocks ligand binding – was explored in a proof-of-concept, placebo-controlled single-ascending-dose study in patients (N = 54) with chronic HCV infection. Interferon-alfa treatment-experienced patients (n = 42) were randomized 5∶1 to receive a single infusion of BMS-936558 (0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1.0, 3.0 mg/kg [n = 5 each] or 10 mg/kg [n = 10]) or of placebo (n = 7). An additional 12 HCV treatment-naïve patients were randomized to receive 10 mg/kg BMS-936558 (n = 10) or placebo (n = 2). Patients were followed for 85 days post-dose. Five patients who received BMS-936558 (0.1 [n = 1] or 10 mg/kg) and one placebo patient achieved the primary study endpoint of a reduction in HCV RNA ≥0.5 log10 IU/mL on at least 2 consecutive visits; 3 (10 mg/kg) achieved a >4 log10 reduction. Two patients (10 mg/kg) achieved HCV RNA below the lower limit of quantitation (25 IU/mL), one of whom (a prior null-responder) remained RNA-undetectable 1 year post-study. Transient reductions in CD4+, CD8+ and CD19+ cells, including both naïve and memory CD4+ and CD8+ subsets, were observed at Day 2 without evidence of immune deficit. No clinically relevant changes in immunoglobulin subsets or treatment-related trends in circulating cytokines were noted. BMS-936558 exhibited dose-related exposure increases, with a half-life of 20–24 days. BMS-936558 was mostly well tolerated. One patient (10 mg/kg) experienced an asymptomatic grade 4 ALT elevation coincident with the onset of a 4-log viral load reduction. Six patients exhibited immune-related adverse events of mild-to-moderate intensity, including two cases of hyperthyroidism consistent with autoimmune thyroiditis. Further investigation of PD-1 pathway blockade in chronic viral disease is warranted.
Trial Registration NCT00703469 NCT00703469
PMCID: PMC3661719  PMID: 23717490
22.  A Remote Cis-Acting Variant at 3q Links Glomerular NCK1 to Diabetic Nephropathy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56414.
We have previously reported genetic association of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs1866813, at 3q locus with increased risk of diabetic nephropathy (DN). The SNP is located approximately 70 kb downstream of a cluster of four genes. This raises a question how the remote noncoding polymorphism affects the risk of DN. In this study, we tested a long-range regulatory potential of this variant by a series of experiments. In a luciferase assay, two alleles of the SNP showed differential effects on the luciferase activity in transfected cells in vitro. Using transgenic zebrafish, we further demonstrated in vivo that two alleles of the SNP differentially regulated GFP expression in zebrafish podocytes. Immunofluorescence staining and Western blotting verified that only Nck1 of the four nearby genes was predominantly expressed in mouse glomeruli as well as in podocytes. Furthermore, genotypes of the SNP rs1866813 were correlated with NCK1 expression in immortalized lymphocytes from diabetic patients. The risk allele was associated with increased NCK1 expression compared to the non-risk allele, consistent with the results of the reporter-based studies. Interestingly, differential expression of glomerular Nck1 between mouse strains carrying the nephropathy-prone 129/Sv allele and nephropathy-resistant C57BL/6 allele was also observed. Our results show that the DN-associated SNP rs1866813 is a remote cis-acting variant differentially regulating glomerular NCK1 expression. This finding implicates an important role for glomerular NCK1 in DN pathogenesis under hyperglycemia.
PMCID: PMC3575385  PMID: 23441190
23.  Galactosylated chitosan/5-fluorouracil nanoparticles inhibit mouse hepatic cancer growth and its side effects 
AIM: To observe the curative effect of galactosylated chitosan (GC)/5-fluorouracil (5-FU) nanoparticles in liver caner mice and its side effects.
METHODS: The GC/5-FU nanoparticle is a nanomaterial made by coupling GC and 5-FU. The release experiment was performed in vitro. The orthotropic liver cancer mouse models were established and divided into control, GC, 5-FU and GC/5-FU groups. Mice in the control and GC group received an intravenous injection of 200 μL saline and GC, respectively. Mice in the 5-FU and GC/5-FU groups received 200 μL (containing 0.371 mg 5-FU) 5-FU and GC/5-FU, respectively. The tumor weight and survival time were observed. The cell cycle and apoptosis in tumor tissues were monitored by flow cytometry. The expression of p53, Bax, Bcl-2, caspase-3 and poly adenosine 50-diphosphate-ribose polymerase 1 (PARP-1) was detected by immunohistochemistry, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot. The serum blood biochemical parameters and cytotoxic activity of natural killer (NK) cell and cytotoxicity T lymphocyte (CTL) were measured.
RESULTS: The GC/5-FU nanoparticle is a sustained release system. The drug loading was 6.12% ± 1.36%, the encapsulation efficiency was 81.82% ± 5.32%, and the Zeta potential was 10.34 ± 1.43 mV. The tumor weight in the GC/5-FU group (0.4361 ± 0.1153 g vs 1.5801 ± 0.2821 g, P < 0.001) and the 5-FU (0.7932 ± 0.1283 g vs 1.5801 ± 0.2821 g, P < 0.001) was significantly lower than that in the control group; GC/5-FU treatment can significantly lower the tumor weight (0.4361 ± 0.1153 g vs 0.7932 ± 0.1283 g, P < 0.001), and the longest median survival time was seen in the GC/5-FU group, compared with the control (12 d vs 30 d, P < 0.001), GC (13 d vs 30 d, P < 0.001) and 5-FU groups (17 d vs 30 d, P < 0.001). Flow cytometry revealed that compared with the control, GC/5-FU caused a higher rate of G0-G1 arrest (52.79% ± 13.42% vs 23.92% ± 9.09%, P = 0.014 ) and apoptosis (2.55% ± 1.10% vs 11.13% ± 11.73%, P < 0.001) in hepatic cancer cells. Analysis of the apoptosis pathways showed that GC/5-FU upregulated the expression of p53 at both the protein and the mRNA levels, which in turn lowered the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax expression; this led to the release of cytochrome C into the cytosol from the mitochondria and the subsequent activation of caspase-3. Upregulation of caspase-3 expression decreased the PARP-1 at both the mRNA and the protein levels, which contributed to apoptosis. 5-FU increased the levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, and decreased the numbers of platelet, white blood cell and lymphocyte and cytotoxic activities of CTL and NK cells, however, there were no such side effects in the GC/5-FU group.
CONCLUSION: GC/5-FU nanoparticles can significantly inhibit the growth of liver cancer in mice via the p53 apoptosis pathway, and relieve the side effects and immunosuppression of 5-FU.
PMCID: PMC3496884  PMID: 23155336
Galactosylated chitosan; Nanoparticles; 5-fluorouracil; Hepatocellular cancer; Targeted therapy; Apoptosis
24.  5-Fluorouracil Nanoparticles Inhibit Hepatocellular Carcinoma via Activation of the p53 Pathway in the Orthotopic Transplant Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47115.
Biodegradable polymer nanoparticle drug delivery systems provide targeted drug delivery, improved pharmacokinetic and biodistribution, enhanced drug stability and fewer side effects. These drug delivery systems are widely used for delivering cytotoxic agents. In the present study, we synthesized GC/5-FU nanoparticles by combining galactosylated chitosan (GC) material with 5-FU, and tested its effect on liver cancer in vitro and in vivo. The in vitro anti-cancer effects of this sustained release system were both dose- and time-dependent, and demonstrated higher cytotoxicity against hepatic cancer cells than against other cell types. The distribution of GC/5-FU in vivo revealed the greatest accumulation in hepatic cancer tissues. GC/5-FU significantly inhibited tumor growth in an orthotropic liver cancer mouse model, resulting in a significant reduction in tumor weight and increased survival time in comparison to 5-FU alone. Flow cytometry and TUNEL assays in hepatic cancer cells showed that GC/5-FU was associated with higher rates of G0–G1 arrest and apoptosis than 5-FU. Analysis of apoptosis pathways indicated that GC/5-FU upregulates p53 expression at both protein and mRNA levels. This in turn lowers Bcl-2/Bax expression resulting in mitochondrial release of cytochrome C into the cytosol with subsequent caspase-3 activation. Upregulation of caspase-3 expression decreased poly ADP-ribose polymerase 1 (PARP-1) at mRNA and protein levels, further promoting apoptosis. These findings indicate that sustained release of GC/5-FU nanoparticles are more effective at targeting hepatic cancer cells than 5-FU monotherapy in the mouse orthotropic liver cancer mouse model.
PMCID: PMC3471936  PMID: 23077553
25.  New Susceptibility Loci Associated with Kidney Disease in Type 1 Diabetes 
Sandholm, Niina | Salem, Rany M. | McKnight, Amy Jayne | Brennan, Eoin P. | Forsblom, Carol | Isakova, Tamara | McKay, Gareth J. | Williams, Winfred W. | Sadlier, Denise M. | Mäkinen, Ville-Petteri | Swan, Elizabeth J. | Palmer, Cameron | Boright, Andrew P. | Ahlqvist, Emma | Deshmukh, Harshal A. | Keller, Benjamin J. | Huang, Huateng | Ahola, Aila J. | Fagerholm, Emma | Gordin, Daniel | Harjutsalo, Valma | He, Bing | Heikkilä, Outi | Hietala, Kustaa | Kytö, Janne | Lahermo, Päivi | Lehto, Markku | Lithovius, Raija | Österholm, Anne-May | Parkkonen, Maija | Pitkäniemi, Janne | Rosengård-Bärlund, Milla | Saraheimo, Markku | Sarti, Cinzia | Söderlund, Jenny | Soro-Paavonen, Aino | Syreeni, Anna | Thorn, Lena M. | Tikkanen, Heikki | Tolonen, Nina | Tryggvason, Karl | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Wadén, Johan | Gill, Geoffrey V. | Prior, Sarah | Guiducci, Candace | Mirel, Daniel B. | Taylor, Andrew | Hosseini, S. Mohsen | Parving, Hans-Henrik | Rossing, Peter | Tarnow, Lise | Ladenvall, Claes | Alhenc-Gelas, François | Lefebvre, Pierre | Rigalleau, Vincent | Roussel, Ronan | Tregouet, David-Alexandre | Maestroni, Anna | Maestroni, Silvia | Falhammar, Henrik | Gu, Tianwei | Möllsten, Anna | Cimponeriu, Danut | Ioana, Mihai | Mota, Maria | Mota, Eugen | Serafinceanu, Cristian | Stavarachi, Monica | Hanson, Robert L. | Nelson, Robert G. | Kretzler, Matthias | Colhoun, Helen M. | Panduru, Nicolae Mircea | Gu, Harvest F. | Brismar, Kerstin | Zerbini, Gianpaolo | Hadjadj, Samy | Marre, Michel | Groop, Leif | Lajer, Maria | Bull, Shelley B. | Waggott, Daryl | Paterson, Andrew D. | Savage, David A. | Bain, Stephen C. | Martin, Finian | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Godson, Catherine | Florez, Jose C. | Groop, Per-Henrik | Maxwell, Alexander P.
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(9):e1002921.
Diabetic kidney disease, or diabetic nephropathy (DN), is a major complication of diabetes and the leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) that requires dialysis treatment or kidney transplantation. In addition to the decrease in the quality of life, DN accounts for a large proportion of the excess mortality associated with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Whereas the degree of glycemia plays a pivotal role in DN, a subset of individuals with poorly controlled T1D do not develop DN. Furthermore, strong familial aggregation supports genetic susceptibility to DN. However, the genes and the molecular mechanisms behind the disease remain poorly understood, and current therapeutic strategies rarely result in reversal of DN. In the GEnetics of Nephropathy: an International Effort (GENIE) consortium, we have undertaken a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of T1D DN comprising ∼2.4 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) imputed in 6,691 individuals. After additional genotyping of 41 top ranked SNPs representing 24 independent signals in 5,873 individuals, combined meta-analysis revealed association of two SNPs with ESRD: rs7583877 in the AFF3 gene (P = 1.2×10−8) and an intergenic SNP on chromosome 15q26 between the genes RGMA and MCTP2, rs12437854 (P = 2.0×10−9). Functional data suggest that AFF3 influences renal tubule fibrosis via the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β1) pathway. The strongest association with DN as a primary phenotype was seen for an intronic SNP in the ERBB4 gene (rs7588550, P = 2.1×10−7), a gene with type 2 diabetes DN differential expression and in the same intron as a variant with cis-eQTL expression of ERBB4. All these detected associations represent new signals in the pathogenesis of DN.
Author Summary
The global prevalence of diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, constituting a major health care problem worldwide. Diabetic kidney disease, or diabetic nephropathy (DN)—the major long term microvascular complication of diabetes—is associated with excess mortality among patients with type 1 diabetes. Even though DN has been shown to cluster in families, the underlying genetic and molecular pathways remain poorly defined. We have undertaken the largest genome-wide association study and meta-analysis to date on DN and on its most severe form of kidney disease, end-stage renal disease (ESRD). We identified new loci significantly associated with diabetic ESRD: AFF3 and an intergenic locus on chromosome 15q26 residing between RGMA and MCTP2. Our functional analyses suggest that AFF3 influences renal tubule fibrosis, a pathological hallmark of severe DN. Another locus in ERBB4 was suggestively associated with DN and resides in the same intronic region as a variant affecting the expression of ERBB4. Subsequent pathway analysis of the genes co-expressed with ERBB4 indicated involvement of fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC3447939  PMID: 23028342

Results 1-25 (46)