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1.  Investigation of the Interaction between Patulin and Human Serum Albumin by a Spectroscopic Method, Atomic Force Microscopy, and Molecular Modeling 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:734850.
The interaction of patulin with human serum albumin (HSA) was studied in vitro under normal physiological conditions. The study was performed using fluorescence, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis), circular dichroism (CD), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and molecular modeling techniques. The quenching mechanism was investigated using the association constants, the number of binding sites, and basic thermodynamic parameters. A dynamic quenching mechanism occurred between HSA and patulin, and the binding constants (K) were 2.60 × 104, 4.59 × 104, and 7.01 × 104 M−1 at 288, 300, and 310 K, respectively. Based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer, the distance between the HSA and patulin was determined to be 2.847 nm. The ΔG0, ΔH0, and ΔS0 values across various temperatures indicated that hydrophobic interaction was the predominant binding force. The UV-Vis and CD results confirmed that the secondary structure of HSA was altered in the presence of patulin. The AFM results revealed that the individual HSA molecule dimensions were larger after interaction with patulin. In addition, molecular modeling showed that the patulin-HSA complex was stabilized by hydrophobic and hydrogen bond forces. The study results suggested that a weak intermolecular interaction occurred between patulin and HSA. Overall, the results are potentially useful for elucidating the toxigenicity of patulin when it is combined with the biomolecular function effect, transmembrane transport, toxicological, testing and other experiments.
PMCID: PMC4119689  PMID: 25110690
2.  Genome-wide analysis of condensin binding in Caenorhabditis elegans 
Genome Biology  2013;14(10):R112.
Condensins are multi-subunit protein complexes that are essential for chromosome condensation during mitosis and meiosis, and play key roles in transcription regulation during interphase. Metazoans contain two condensins, I and II, which perform different functions and localize to different chromosomal regions. Caenorhabditis elegans contains a third condensin, IDC, that is targeted to and represses transcription of the X chromosome for dosage compensation.
To understand condensin binding and function, we performed ChIP-seq analysis of C. elegans condensins in mixed developmental stage embryos, which contain predominantly interphase nuclei. Condensins bind to a subset of active promoters, tRNA genes and putative enhancers. Expression analysis in kle-2-mutant larvae suggests that the primary effect of condensin II on transcription is repression. A DNA sequence motif, GCGC, is enriched at condensin II binding sites. A sequence extension of this core motif, AGGG, creates the condensin IDC motif. In addition to differences in recruitment that result in X-enrichment of condensin IDC and condensin II binding to all chromosomes, we provide evidence for a shared recruitment mechanism, as condensin IDC recruiter SDC-2 also recruits condensin II to the condensin IDC recruitment sites on the X. In addition, we found that condensin sites overlap extensively with the cohesin loader SCC-2, and that SDC-2 also recruits SCC-2 to the condensin IDC recruitment sites.
Our results provide the first genome-wide view of metazoan condensin II binding in interphase, define putative recruitment motifs, and illustrate shared loading mechanisms for condensin IDC and condensin II.
PMCID: PMC3983662  PMID: 24125077
3.  Characterization and Expression Analysis of a Retinoblastoma-Related Gene from Chinese Wild Vitis pseudoreticulata 
Retinoblastoma-related (RBR) genes, a conserved gene family in higher eukaryotes, play important roles in cell differentiation, development, and mammalian cell death; however, little is known of their function in plants. In this study, a RBR gene was isolated from the Chinese wild grape, Vitis pseudoreticulata W. T. Wang clone “Baihe-35-1”, and designated as VpRBR. The cDNA sequence of VpRBR was 3,030 bp and contained an open reading frame of 3,024 bp. Conceptual translation of this gene indicated a composition of 1,007 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 117.3 kDa. The predicted protein showed a retinoblastoma-associated protein domain A from amino acid residues 416 to 579, and domain B from residues 726 to 855. The result of expression analysis indicated that VpRBR was expressed in tissues, leaves, stem, tendrils, flower, and grape skin at different expression levels. Further quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) data indicated that VpRBR levels were higher in Erysiphe necator-treated “Baihe-35-1” and “Baihe-13-1”, two resistant clones of Chinese wild V. pseudoreticulata, than in E. necator-treated “Hunan-1”, a susceptible clone of V. pseudoreticulata. Furthermore, the expression of VpRBR in response to salicylic acid (SA), methyl jasmonate (MeJA), and ethylene (Eth) in grape leaves was also investigated. Taken together, these data indicate that VpRBR may contribute to some aspect of powdery mildew resistance in grape.
PMCID: PMC3881572  PMID: 24415838
Vitis pseudoreticulata; Retinoblastoma-related gene; Powdery mildew; Expression analysis
4.  Characterization of Erysiphe necator-Responsive Genes in Chinese Wild Vitis quinquangularis 
Powdery mildew (PM), caused by fungus Erysiphe necator, is one of the most devastating diseases of grapevine. To better understand grapevine-PM interaction and provide candidate resources for grapevine breeding, a suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) cDNA library was constructed from E. necator-infected leaves of a resistant Chinese wild Vitis quinquangularis clone “Shang-24”. A total of 492 high quality expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were obtained and assembled into 266 unigenes. Gene ontology (GO) analysis indicated that 188 unigenes could be assigned with at least one GO term in the biological process category, and 176 in the molecular function category. Sequence analysis showed that a large number of these genes were homologous to those involved in defense responses. Genes involved in metabolism, photosynthesis, transport and signal transduction were also enriched in the library. Expression analysis of 13 selected genes by qRT-PCR revealed that most were induced more quickly and intensely in the resistant material “Shang-24” than in the sensitive V. pseudoreticulata clone “Hunan-1” by E. necator infection. The ESTs reported here provide new clues to understand the disease-resistance mechanism in Chinese wild grapevine species and may enable us to investigate E. necator-responsive genes involved in PM resistance in grapevine germplasm.
PMCID: PMC3472759  PMID: 23109867
Chinese wild Vitis quinquangularis; Erysiphe necator; SSH; EST; qRT-PCR
5.  Relationships between Membrane Binding, Affinity and Cell Internalization Efficacy of a Cell-Penetrating Peptide: Penetratin as a Case Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24096.
Penetratin is a positively charged cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) that has the ability to bind negatively charged membrane components, such as glycosaminoglycans and anionic lipids. Whether this primary interaction of penetratin with these cell surface components implies that the peptide will be further internalized is not clear.
Using mass spectrometry, the amount of internalized and membrane bound penetratin remaining after washings, were quantified in three different cell lines: wild type (WT), glycosaminoglycans- (GAGneg) and sialic acid-deficient (SAneg) cells. Additionally, the affinity and kinetics of the interaction of penetratin to membrane models composed of pure lipids and membrane fragments from the referred cell lines was investigated, as well as the thermodynamics of such interactions using plasmon resonance and calorimetry.
Principal Findings
Penetratin internalized with the same efficacy in the three cell lines at 1 µM, but was better internalized at 10 µM in SAneg>WT>GAGneg. The heat released by the interaction of penetratin with these cells followed the ranking order of internalization efficiency. Penetratin had an affinity of 10 nM for WT cells and µM for SAneg and GAGneg cells and model membrane of phospholipids. The remaining membrane-bound penetratin after cells washings was similar in WT and GAGneg cells, which suggested that these binding sites relied on membrane phospholipids. The interaction of penetratin with carbohydrates was more superficial and reversible while it was stronger with phospholipids, likely because the peptide can intercalate between the fatty acid chains.
These results show that accumulation and high-affinity binding of penetratin at the cell-surface do not reflect the internalization efficacy of the peptide. Altogether, these data further support translocation (membrane phospholipids interaction) as being the internalization pathway used by penetratin at low micromolecular concentration, while endocytosis is activated at higher concentration and requires accumulation of the peptide on GAG and GAG clustering.
PMCID: PMC3167814  PMID: 21915283

Results 1-5 (5)