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1.  New Approach to Investigate the Cytotoxicity of Nanomaterials Using Single Cell Mechanics 
The journal of physical chemistry. B  2014;118(5):1246-1255.
Current in vitro methods to assess nanomaterial cytotoxicity involve various assays to monitor specific cellular dysfunction, such as metabolic imbalance or inflammation. Although high throughput, fast, and animal-free, these in vitro methods suffer from unreliability and lack of relevance to in vivo situations. New approaches, especially with the potential to reliably relate to in vivo studies directly, are in critical need. This work introduces a new approach, single cell mechanics, derived from atomic force microscopy-based single cell compression. The single cell based approach is intrinsically advantageous in terms of being able to directly correlate to in vivo investigations. Its reliability and potential to measure cytotoxicity is evaluated using known systems: zinc oxide (ZnO) and silicon dioxide (SiO2) nanoparticles (NP) on human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs). This investigation clearly indicates the reliability of single cell compression. For example, ZnO NPs cause significant changes in force vs relative deformation profiles, whereas SiO2 NPs do not. New insights into NPs–cell interactions pertaining to cytotoxicity are also revealed from this single cell mechanics approach, in addition to a qualitative cytotoxicity conclusion. The advantages and disadvantages of this approach are also compared with conventional cytotoxicity assays.
PMCID: PMC3980960  PMID: 24417356
2.  Genomic and transcriptomic analysis of the endophytic fungus Pestalotiopsis fici reveals its lifestyle and high potential for synthesis of natural products 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):28.
In recent years, the genus Pestalotiopsis is receiving increasing attention, not only because of its economic impact as a plant pathogen but also as a commonly isolated endophyte which is an important source of bioactive natural products. Pestalotiopsis fici Steyaert W106-1/CGMCC3.15140 as an endophyte of tea produces numerous novel secondary metabolites, including chloropupukeananin, a derivative of chlorinated pupukeanane that is first discovered in fungi. Some of them might be important as the drug leads for future pharmaceutics.
Here, we report the genome sequence of the endophytic fungus of tea Pestalotiopsis fici W106-1/CGMCC3.15140. The abundant carbohydrate-active enzymes especially significantly expanding pectinases allow the fungus to utilize the limited intercellular nutrients within the host plants, suggesting adaptation of the fungus to endophytic lifestyle. The P. fici genome encodes a rich set of secondary metabolite synthesis genes, including 27 polyketide synthases (PKSs), 12 non-ribosomal peptide synthases (NRPSs), five dimethylallyl tryptophan synthases, four putative PKS-like enzymes, 15 putative NRPS-like enzymes, 15 terpenoid synthases, seven terpenoid cyclases, seven fatty-acid synthases, and five hybrids of PKS-NRPS. The majority of these core enzymes distributed into 74 secondary metabolite clusters. The putative Diels-Alderase genes have undergone expansion.
The significant expansion of pectinase encoding genes provides essential insight in the life strategy of endophytes, and richness of gene clusters for secondary metabolites reveals high potential of natural products of endophytic fungi.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-014-1190-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4320822  PMID: 25623211
Genome; Endophyte; Pestalotiopsis fici; Secondary metabolite
3.  New Approach to Investigate the Cytotoxicity of Nanomaterials Using Single Cell Mechanics 
The Journal of Physical Chemistry. B  2014;118(5):1246-1255.
Current in vitro methods to assess nanomaterial cytotoxicity involve various assays to monitor specific cellular dysfunction, such as metabolic imbalance or inflammation. Although high throughput, fast, and animal-free, these in vitro methods suffer from unreliability and lack of relevance to in vivo situations. New approaches, especially with the potential to reliably relate to in vivo studies directly, are in critical need. This work introduces a new approach, single cell mechanics, derived from atomic force microscopy-based single cell compression. The single cell based approach is intrinsically advantageous in terms of being able to directly correlate to in vivo investigations. Its reliability and potential to measure cytotoxicity is evaluated using known systems: zinc oxide (ZnO) and silicon dioxide (SiO2) nanoparticles (NP) on human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs). This investigation clearly indicates the reliability of single cell compression. For example, ZnO NPs cause significant changes in force vs relative deformation profiles, whereas SiO2 NPs do not. New insights into NPs–cell interactions pertaining to cytotoxicity are also revealed from this single cell mechanics approach, in addition to a qualitative cytotoxicity conclusion. The advantages and disadvantages of this approach are also compared with conventional cytotoxicity assays.
PMCID: PMC3980960  PMID: 24417356
4.  High-Resolution Imaging of Polyethylene Glycol Coated Dendrimers via Combined Atomic Force and Scanning Tunneling Microscopy 
Journal of Drug Delivery  2015;2015:535683.
Dendrimers have shown great promise as drug delivery vehicles in recent years because they can be synthesized with designed size and functionalities for optimal transportation, targeting, and biocompatibility. One of the most well-known termini used for biocompatibility is polyethylene glycol (PEG), whose performance is affected by its actual conformation. However, the conformation of individual PEG bound to soft materials such as dendrimers has not been directly observed. Using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), this work characterizes the structure adopted by PEGylated dendrimers with the highest resolution reported to date. AFM imaging enables visualization of the individual dendrimers, as well as the differentiation and characterization of the dendrimer core and PEG shell. STM provides direct imaging of the PEG extensions with high-resolution. Collectively, this investigation provides important insight into the structure of coated dendrimers, which is crucial for the design and development of better drug delivery vehicles.
PMCID: PMC4313004
5.  Acetylcholinesterase-Catalyzed Hydrolysis Allows Ultrasensitive Detection of Pathogens with the Naked Eye** 
Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)  2013;52(52):10.1002/anie.201307952.
This paper describes a rapid diagnostic platform for pathogen detection based on the acetylcholinesterase-catalyzed hydrolysis reaction. Owing to the signal amplification strategies, the sensitivity of this assay is comparable to that of PCR. In addition, the readout of this assay is based on the color change of solutions, which can be easily observed by the naked eye alone.
PMCID: PMC3874880  PMID: 24155243
acetylcholinesterase-catalyzed hydrolysis; pathogen detection; high-sensitivity; gold nanoparticle; clinical samples
6.  An NMR-Based Metabolomic Approach to Investigate the Effects of Supplementation with Glutamic Acid in Piglets Challenged with Deoxynivalenol 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113687.
Deoxynivalenol (DON) has various toxicological effects in humans and pigs that result from the ingestion of contaminated cereal products. This study was conducted to investigate the protective effects of dietary supplementation with glutamic acid on piglets challenged with DON. A total of 20 piglets weaned at 28 d of age were randomly assigned to receive 1 of 4 treatments (5 piglets/treatment): 1) basal diet, negative control (NC); 2) basal diet +4 mg/kg DON (DON); 3) basal diet +2% (g/g) glutamic acid (GLU); 4) basal diet +4 mg/kg DON +2% glutamic acid (DG). A 7-d adaptation period was followed by 30 days of treatment. A metabolite analysis using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR)-based metabolomic technology and the determination of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities for plasma, as well as the activity of Caspase-3 and the proliferation of epithelial cells were conducted. The results showed that contents of low-density lipoprotein, alanine, arginine, acetate, glycoprotein, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), glycine, lactate, and urea, as well as the glutamate/creatinine ratio were higher but high-density lipoprotein, proline, citrate, choline, unsaturated lipids and fumarate were lower in piglets of DON treatment than that of NC treatment (P<0.05). Compared with DON treatment, dietary supplementation with glutamic acid increased the plasma concentrations of proline, citrate, creatinine, unsaturated lipids, and fumarate, and decreased the concentrations of alanine, glycoprotein, TMAO, glycine, and lactate, as well as the glutamate/creatinine ratio (P<0.05). Addition glutamic acid to DON treatment increased the plasma activities of SOD and GSH-Px and the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) labeling indexes for the jejunum and ileum (P<0.05). These novel findings indicate that glutamic acid has the potential to repair the injuries associated with oxidative stress as well as the disturbances of energy and amino acid metabolism induced by DON.
PMCID: PMC4263475  PMID: 25502722
7.  Asbestos-Induced Alveolar Epithelial Cell Apoptosis. The Role of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Response 
Asbestos exposure results in pulmonary fibrosis (asbestosis) and malignancies (bronchogenic lung cancer and mesothelioma) by mechanisms that are not fully understood. Alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) apoptosis is important in the development of pulmonary fibrosis after exposure to an array of toxins, including asbestos. An endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response and mitochondria-regulated (intrinsic) apoptosis occur in AECs of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease with similarities to asbestosis. Asbestos induces AEC intrinsic apoptosis, but the role of the ER is unclear. The objective of this study was to determine whether asbestos causes an AEC ER stress response that promotes apoptosis. Using human A549 and rat primary isolated alveolar type II cells, amosite asbestos fibers increased AEC mRNA and protein expression of ER stress proteins involved in the unfolded protein response, such as inositol-requiring kinase (IRE) 1 and X-box–binding protein-1, as well as ER Ca²2+ release ,as assessed by a FURA-2 assay. Eukarion-134, a superoxide dismutase/catalase mimetic, as well as overexpression of Bcl-XL in A549 cells each attenuate asbestos-induced AEC ER stress (IRE-1 and X-box–binding protein-1 protein expression; ER Ca²2+ release) and apoptosis. Thapsigargin, a known ER stress inducer, augments AEC apoptosis, and eukarion-134 or Bcl-XL overexpression are protective. Finally, 4-phenylbutyric acid, a chemical chaperone that attenuates ER stress, blocks asbestos- and thapsigargin-induced AEC IRE-1 protein expression, but does not reduce ER Ca²2+ release or apoptosis. These results show that asbestos triggers an AEC ER stress response and subsequent intrinsic apoptosis that is mediated in part by ER Ca²2+ release.
PMCID: PMC3931115  PMID: 23885834
alveolar epithelium; asbestos; mitochondria; endoplasmic reticulum; apoptosis
8.  Staphylococcal Enterotoxin H Induced Apoptosis of Bovine Mammary Epithelial Cells in Vitro 
Toxins  2014;6(12):3552-3567.
Staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) are powerful superantigenic toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). They can cause food poisoning and toxic shock. However, their impact on bovine mammary epithelial cells (bMECs) is still unknown. In this study, the distribution of SE genes was evaluated in 116 S. aureus isolates from bovine mastitis, and the most prevalent genes were seh (36.2%), followed by sei (12.1%), seg (11.2%), ser (4.3%), sec (3.4%), sea (2.6%) and sed (1.7%). To better understand the effect of staphylococcal enterotoxin H (SEH) on bMECs, the seh gene was cloned and inserted into the prokaryotic expression vector, pET28a, and transformed into Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3). The recombinant staphylococcal enterotoxin H (rSEH) was expressed and purified as soluble protein. Bioactivity analysis showed that rSEH possessed the activity of stimulating lymphocytes proliferation. The XTT assay showed that 100 μg/mL of rSEH produced the cytotoxic effect on bMECs, and fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry analysis revealed that a certain dose of rSEH is effective at inducing bMECs apoptosis in vitro. This indicates that SEs can directly lead to cellular apoptosis of bMECs in bovine mastitis associated with S. aureus.
PMCID: PMC4280547  PMID: 25533519
staphylococcal enterotoxin H; expression; bioactivity; bovine mammary gland epithelial cells; viability; apoptosis
9.  Plasmon resonance enhanced multicolour photodetection by graphene 
Nature communications  2011;2:579.
Graphene has the potential for high-speed, wide-band photodetection, but only with very low external quantum efficiency and no spectral selectivity. Here we report a dramatic enhancement of the overall quantum efficiency and spectral selectivity that enables multicolour photodetection, by coupling graphene with plasmonic nanostructures. We show that metallic plasmonic nanostructures can be integrated with graphene photodetectors to greatly enhance the photocurrent and external quantum efficiency by up to 1,500%. Plasmonic nanostructures of variable resonance frequencies selectively amplify the photoresponse of graphene to light of different wavelengths, enabling highly specific detection of multicolours. Being atomically thin, graphene photodetectors effectively exploit the local plasmonic enhancement effect to achieve a significant enhancement factor not normally possible with traditional planar semiconductor materials.
PMCID: PMC4235953  PMID: 22146398
10.  A systematic study of atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition growth of large-area monolayer graphene† 
Journal of materials chemistry  2012;22(4):1498-1503.
Graphene has attracted considerable interest as a potential material for future electronics. Although mechanical peel is known to produce high quality graphene flakes, practical applications require continuous graphene layers over a large area. The catalyst-assisted chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is a promising synthetic method to deliver wafer-sized graphene. Here we present a systematic study on the nucleation and growth of crystallized graphene domains in an atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition (APCVD) process. Parametric studies show that the mean size of the graphene domains increases with increasing growth temperature and CH4 partial pressure, while the density of domains decreases with increasing growth temperature and is independent of the CH4 partial pressure. Our studies show that nucleation of graphene domains on copper substrate is highly dependent on the initial annealing temperature. A two-step synthetic process with higher initial annealing temperature but lower growth temperature is developed to reduce domain density and achieve high quality full-surface coverage of monolayer graphene films. Electrical transport measurements demonstrate that the resulting graphene exhibits a high carrier mobility of up to 3000 cm2 V−1 s−1 at room temperature.
PMCID: PMC4235958  PMID: 25414547
11.  Dietary Glutamate Supplementation Ameliorates Mycotoxin-Induced Abnormalities in the Intestinal Structure and Expression of Amino Acid Transporters in Young Pigs 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112357.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that dietary supplementation with glutamic acid has beneficial effects on growth performance, antioxidant system, intestinal morphology, serum amino acid profile and the gene expression of intestinal amino acid transporters in growing swine fed mold-contaminated feed. Fifteen pigs (Landrace×Large White) with a mean body weight (BW) of 55 kg were randomly divided into control group (basal feed), mycotoxin group (contaminated feed) and glutamate group (2% glutamate+contaminated feed). Compared with control group, mold-contaminated feed decreased average daily gain (ADG) and increased feed conversion rate (FCR). Meanwhile, fed mold-contaminated feed impaired anti-oxidative system and intestinal morphology, as well as modified the serum amino acid profile in growing pigs. However, supplementation with glutamate exhibited potential positive effects on growth performance of pigs fed mold-contaminated feed, ameliorated the imbalance antioxidant system and abnormalities of intestinal structure caused by mycotoxins. In addition, dietary glutamate supplementation to some extent restored changed serum amino acid profile caused by mold-contaminated feed. In conclusion, glutamic acid may be act as a nutritional regulating factor to ameliorate the adverse effects induced by mycotoxins.
PMCID: PMC4236086  PMID: 25405987
12.  Growth and properties of Li, Ta modified (K,Na)NbO3 lead-free piezoelectric single crystals 
Li, Ta modified (K,Na)NbO3 single crystals with the size of 18 mm × 18 mm × 10 mm were successfully grown by top-seeded solution growth method, with orthorhombic–tetragonal phase transition temperature ~79 °C and Curie temperature ~276 °C. The electromechanical coupling factors k33 and kt were found to be ~88% and ~65%, respectively. The piezoelectric coefficient d33 for the [001]c poled crystals reached 255 pC/N. In addition, the electromechanical coupling factor exhibited high stability over the temperature range of −50 °C to 70 °C, making these lead free crystals good candidates for electromechanical applications.
PMCID: PMC4232956  PMID: 25404953
lead-free; KNN single crystals; electromechanical coupling factor; thermal stability
13.  Particle Lithography Enables Fabrication of Multicomponent Nanostructures 
Multicomponent nanostructures with individual geometries have attracted much attention because of their potential to carry out multiple functions synergistically. The current work reports a simple method using particle lithography to fabricate multicomponent nanostructures of metals, proteins, and organosiloxane molecules, each with its own geometry. Particle lithography is well-known for its capability to produce arrays of triangular-shaped nanostructures with novel optical properties. This paper extends the capability of particle lithography by combining a particle template in conjunction with surface chemistry to produce multicomponent nanostructures. The advantages and limitations of this approach will also be addressed.
PMCID: PMC3972815  PMID: 24707328
14.  The Complete Mitochondrial Genome of Aix galericulata and Tadorna ferruginea: Bearings on Their Phylogenetic Position in the Anseriformes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e109701.
Aix galericulata and Tadorna ferruginea are two Anatidae species representing different taxonomic groups of Anseriformes. We used a PCR-based method to determine the complete mtDNAs of both species, and estimated phylogenetic trees based on the complete mtDNA alignment of these and 14 other Anseriforme species, to clarify Anseriform phylogenetics. Phylogenetic trees were also estimated using a multiple sequence alignment of three mitochondrial genes (Cyt b, ND2, and COI) from 68 typical species in GenBank, to further clarify the phylogenetic relationships of several groups among the Anseriformes. The new mtDNAs are circular molecules, 16,651 bp (Aix galericulata) and 16,639 bp (Tadorna ferruginea) in length, containing the 37 typical genes, with an identical gene order and arrangement as those of other Anseriformes. Comparing the protein-coding genes among the mtDNAs of 16 Anseriforme species, ATG is generally the start codon, TAA is the most frequent stop codon, one of three, TAA, TAG, and T-, commonly observed. All tRNAs could be folded into canonical cloverleaf secondary structures except for tRNASer (AGY) and tRNALeu (CUN), which are missing the "DHU" arm.Phylogenetic relationships demonstrate that Aix galericula and Tadorna ferruginea are in the same group, the Tadorninae lineage, based on our analyses of complete mtDNAs and combined gene data. Molecular phylogenetic analysis suggests the 68 species of Anseriform birds be divided into three families: Anhimidae, Anatidae, and Anseranatidae. The results suggest Anatidae birds be divided into five subfamilies: Anatinae, Tadorninae, Anserinae, Oxyurinae, and Dendrocygninae. Oxyurinae and Dendrocygninae should not belong to Anserinae, but rather represent independent subfamilies. The Anatinae includes species from the tribes Mergini, Somaterini, Anatini, and Aythyini. The Anserinae includes species from the tribes Anserini and Cygnini.
PMCID: PMC4222781  PMID: 25375111
15.  Draft Genome Sequence of Bacillus subtilis Strain NKYL29, an Antimicrobial-Peptide-Producing Strain from Soil 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(6):e01140-14.
Bacillus subtilis strain NKYL29 is an antimicrobial-peptide-producing strain isolated from the soil of Ranzhuang Tunnel in Hebei Province, China. Here, we present the draft genome of this strain, which provides the genetic basis for application of the antimicrobial peptide.
PMCID: PMC4223466  PMID: 25377715
16.  Thermally assisted electric field control of magnetism in flexible multiferroic heterostructures 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6925.
Thermal and electrical control of magnetic anisotropy were investigated in flexible Fe81Ga19 (FeGa)/Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) multiferroic heterostructures. Due to the large anisotropic thermal deformation of PVDF (α1 = −13 × 10−6 K−1 and α2 = −145 × 10−6 K−1), the in-plane uniaxial magnetic anisotropy (UMA) of FeGa can be reoriented 90° by changing the temperature across 295 K where the films are magnetically isotropic. Thus, the magnetization of FeGa can be reversed by the thermal cycling between 280 and 320 K under a constant magnetic field lower than coercivity. Moreover, under the assistance of thermal deformation with slightly heating the samples to the critical temperature, the electric field of ± 267 kV cm−1 can well align the UMA along the two orthogonal directions. The new route of combining thermal and electrical control of magnetic properties realized in PVDF-based flexible multiferroic materials shows good prospects in application of flexible thermal spintronic devices and flexible microwave magnetic materials.
PMCID: PMC4220272  PMID: 25370605
17.  Whole-cell biotransformation systems for reduction of prochiral carbonyl compounds to chiral alcohol in Escherichia coli 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6750.
Lactobacillus brevis alcohol dehydrogenase (Lb-ADH) catalyzes reduction of prochiral carbonyl compounds to chiral alcohol and meanwhile consumes its cofactor NADH into NAD+, while the cofactor regeneration can be catalyzed by Candida boidinii formate dehydrogenase (Cb-FDH). This work presents three different Escherichia coli whole-cell biocatalyst systems expressing recombinant ADH/FDH, FDH-LIN1-ADH and FDH-LIN2-ADH, respectively, all of which display very high efficacies of prochiral carbonyl conversion with respect to conversion rates and enantiomeric excess values. ADH/FDH represents co-expression of Lb-ADH and Cb-FDH under different promoters in a single vector. Fusion of Lb-ADH and Cb-FDH by a linker peptide LIN1 (GGGGS)2 or LIN2 (EAAAK)2 generates the two bifunctional enzymes FDH-LIN1-ADH and FDH-LIN2-ADH, which enable efficient asymmetric reduction of prochiral ketones in whole-cell biotransformation.
PMCID: PMC4208033  PMID: 25342633
18.  An Obligatory Role of NF-κB in Mediating Bone Marrow Derived Endothelial Progenitor Cell Recruitment and Proliferation Following Endotoxemic Multiple Organ Injury in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111087.
Recruitment of bone marrow derived endothelial progenitor cells (BMDEPCs) alleviates multiple organ injury (MOI) and improves outcomes. However, mechanisms mediating BMDEPC recruitment following septic MOI remain largely unknown. This study characterized the kinetics of BMDEPC recruitment and proliferation and defined the role of NF-κB in regulating BMDEPC recruitment and proliferation.
Methods and Main Findings
Chimeric mice with an intact or disrupted NF-κB p50 gene and BMDEPC-restricted expression of green fluorescent protein were created and injected with LPS (2 mg/kg, i.p.). BMDEPC recruitment and proliferation in multiple organs were quantified. BMDEPC recruitment and proliferation are highly organ-dependent. Lungs had the highest number of BMDEPC recruitment, whereas heart, liver and kidney had only a small fraction of the number of BMDEPCs in lungs. Number of proliferating BMDEPCs was several-fold higher in lungs than in other 3 organs. Kinetically, BMDEPC recruitment into different organs showed different time course profiles. NF-κB plays obligatory roles in mediating BMDEPC recruitment and proliferation. Universal deletion of NF-κB p50 gene inhibited LPS-induced BMDEPC recruitment and proliferation by 95% and 69% in heart. However, the contribution of NF-κB to these regulations varies significantly between organs. In liver, universal p50 gene deletion reduced LPS-induced BMDEPC recruitment and proliferation only by 49% and 35%. NF-κB activities in different tissue compartments play distinct roles. Selective p50 gene deletion either in stromal/parenchymal cells or in BM/blood cells inhibited BMDEPC recruitment by a similar extent. However, selective p50 gene deletion in BM/blood cells inhibited, but in stromal/parenchymal cells augmented BMDEPC proliferation.
BMDEPC recruitment and proliferation display different kinetics in different organs following endotoxemic MOI. NF-κB plays obligatory and organ-dependent roles in regulating BMDEPC recruitment and proliferation. NF-κB activities in different tissue compartments play distinct roles in regulating BMDEPC proliferation.
PMCID: PMC4205081  PMID: 25333282
19.  Advanced Tracers in PET Imaging of Cardiovascular Disease 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:504532.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Molecular imaging with targeted tracers by positron emission tomography (PET) allows for the noninvasive detection and characterization of biological changes at the molecular level, leading to earlier disease detection, objective monitoring of therapies, and better prognostication of cardiovascular diseases progression. Here we review, the current role of PET in cardiovascular disease, with emphasize on tracers developed for PET imaging of cardiovascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC4214169  PMID: 25389529
20.  Positive temperature coefficient of magnetic anisotropy in polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)-based magnetic composites 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6615.
The magnetic anisotropy is decreased with increasing temperature in normal magnetic materials, which is harmful to the thermal stability of magnetic devices. Here, we report the realization of positive temperature coefficient of magnetic anisotropy in a novel composite combining β-phase polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) with magnetostrictive materials (magnetostrictive film/PVDF bilayer structure). We ascribe the enhanced magnetic anisotropy of the magnetic film at elevated temperature to the strain-induced anisotropy resulting from the anisotropic thermal expansion of the β-phase PVDF. The simulation based on modified Stoner-Wohlfarth model and the ferromagnetic resonance measurements confirms our results. The positive temperature coefficient of magnetic anisotropy is estimated to be 1.1 × 102 J m−3 K−1. Preparing the composite at low temperature can enlarge the temperature range where it shows the positive temperature coefficient of magnetic anisotropy. The present results may help to design magnetic devices with improved thermal stability and enhanced performance.
PMCID: PMC4196102  PMID: 25311047
21.  Effects of crowding and sex on fecal cortisol levels of captive forest musk deer 
Biological Research  2014;47(1):48.
Restricted space and close contact with conspecifics in captivity may be stressful for musk deer, as they are highly territorial and solitary in the wild. So we tested the effects of crowding on stress of forest musk deer (Moschus berezovskii) in heterosexual groups, using fecal cortisol analysis as a non-invasive method. 32 healthy adults during non-breeding seasons were chose as our experimental objects. Group 1 was defined as higher crowding condition, with 10-15 m2/deer (6 enclosures, 10♀ and 6♂); group 2 was defined as lower crowding condition, with 23-33 m2/deer (6 enclosures, 10♀ and 6♂). Every enclosure contained 1 male and 3 female. These patterns had been existed for years.
The results showed that females in lower crowding condition (217.1 ± 9.5 ug/g) had significantly higher fecal cortisol levels than those in higher crowding condition (177.2 ± 12.1 ug/g). Interestingly, crowding seemed have no effect on male fecal cortisol levels (148.1 ± 9.1 ug/g and 140.5 ± 13.3 ug/g, respectively). At both groups, cortisol was significantly lower in males than in females.
These results showed that chronic crowding may affect stress status of captive forest musk deer. The captive environment should consider the space need for musk deer.
PMCID: PMC4222733  PMID: 25418206
Captivity; M. berezovskii; Fecal cortisol; Chronic stress; Crowding
22.  DNAJB13, a type II HSP40 family member, localizes to the spermatids and spermatozoa during mouse spermatogenesis 
Hundreds of HSP40s derived from various species have been identified, of which several proteins are involved in spermatogenesis. DNAJB13 is a type II HSP40/DnaJ protein. In a previous study, we cloned mouse Dnajb13, which is up-regulated in cryptorchidism. To date, however, little is known about the localization and functions of DNAJB13 during spermatogenesis. This study intends to identify the expression pattern of DNAJB13 during mammalian spermatogenesis.
RT-PCR and western blot revealed that the Dnajb13 gene and DNAJB13 protein were expressed not only in the testis but also in several other ciliated cell-containing tissues like the trachea, lung and oviduct. Quantitative PCR showed that the expression of Dnajb13 mRNA in testis was detectable as early as postnatal week 1, and sharply increased from postnatal week 3. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry determined that the DNAJB13 protein, which was located in the cytoplasm of spermatids and the sperm flagellum, was detectable from postnatal week 4.
Based on the spatiotemporal expression observed in the cytoplasm of spermatids and sperm flagella, we suggest that DNAJB13 participates in spermiogenesis and the motility of mature spermatozoa.
PMCID: PMC4236558  PMID: 25233908
Dnajb13; Spermatid; Flagella; Spermiogenesis; Motility
23.  Malignant transformation of sinonasal inverted papilloma: A retrospective analysis of 32 cases 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(6):2637-2641.
Sinonasal inverted papillomas (SNIPs) are derived from the benign tumors of the epithelial cells and have the potential to recur and exhibit malignant characteristics. The aim of the present study was to investigate the clinicopathological features and prognosis of patients with malignant transformation of SNIP. A total of 32 consecutive cases, who were patients at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Tianjin Huanhu Hospital from January 1991 to January 2008, were retrospectively reviewed. Survival rates and prognostic factors were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method and multivariate Cox model survival analysis. The malignancy accounted for 8.99% of all types of SNIP. There were 25 males and seven females, and the median age of onset was 56.5 years. The sites of tumor included 22 in the nasal cavity and ethmoid sinuses, and 10 in the maxillary sinus. The tumors included 21 high-grade tumors, eight intermediate-grade tumors and three low-grade tumors. The number of patients with T1, T2, T3 and T4 stage disease was three, 10, 16 and three, respectively, according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging method. Based on the percentage of malignant cells in the entire tumor tissue, five patients had grade I tumors, five had grade II, eight had grade III and14 had grade IV. Among the 32 patients, three cases exhibited distant metastasis, and 19 patients underwent surgery plus postoperative radiotherapy, 10 underwent surgery alone and three underwent radiotherapy alone. The 5-year survival rate was 72.5% and the median overall survival time was 62.2 months. Kaplan-Meier univariate survival analysis indicated that the clinical stage and treatment method were prognostic factors, and multivariate Cox model survival analysis confirmed that the clinical stage and treatment method were independent factors for overall survival (relative risk: 4.211 and 0.312, respectively; P<0.05 for both). T3 and T4 staging and mono-treatment were associated with poor patient survival. Overall, the present study identified that the morbidity of SNIP-associated malignancy was low, the clinicopathological features were not specific, and the prognosis was improved compared with other types of sinonasal squamous cell carcinoma. The clinical stage and treatment method were found to affect the prognosis, and surgery plus postoperative radiotherapy was the predominant form of treatment. The present study may improve the understanding of the prognosis for patients with malignant SNIP in the future.
PMCID: PMC4214400  PMID: 25360173
sinonasal tumor; inverted papilloma; malignancy; squamous cell carcinoma
24.  Gadolinium embedded iron oxide nanoclusters as T1-T2 dual-modal MRI-visible vectors for safe and efficient siRNA delivery 
Nanoscale  2013;5(17):8098-8104.
This report illustrates a new strategy in designing a T1-T2 dual-modal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-visible vector for siRNA delivery and MRI. Hydrophobic gadolinium embedded iron oxide (GdIO) nanocrystals are self-assembled into nanoclusters in water phase with the help of stearic acid modified low molecular weight polyethylenimine (stPEI). The resulting water-dispersible GdIO-stPEI nanoclusters possess good stability, monodispersity with narrow size distribution and competitive T1-T2 dual-modal MR imaging properties. The nanocomposite system is capable of binding and delivering siR-NA for knockdown of a gene of interest while maintaining magnetic properties and biocompatibility. This new gadolinium embedded iron oxide nanocluster provides an important platform for safe and efficient gene delivery with non-invasive T1-T2 dual-modal MRI monitoring capability.
PMCID: PMC3775844  PMID: 23884164
25.  The lost intrinsic fragmentation of MAT1 protein during granulopoiesis promotes the growth and metastasis of leukemic myeloblasts 
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2013;31(9):1942-1953.
MAT1, an assembly factor and targeting subunit of both cyclin-dependent kinase-activating kinase (CAK) and general transcription factor IIH (TFIIH) kinase, regulates cell cycle and transcription. Previous studies show that expression of intact MAT1 protein is associated with expansion of human hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), whereas intrinsically programmed or retinoic acid (RA)-induced MAT1 fragmentation accompanies granulocytic differentiation of HSC or leukemic myeloblasts. Here we determined that, in humanized mouse microenvironment, MAT1 overexpression resisted intrinsic MAT1 fragmentation to sustain hematopoietic CD34+ cell expansion while preventing granulopoiesis. Conversely, we mimicked MAT1 fragmentation in vitro and in a mouse model by overexpressing a fragmented 81-aa MAT1 polypeptide (pM9) that retains the domain for assembling CAK but cannot affix CAK to TFIIH-core. Our results showed that pM9 formed ΔCAK by competing with MAT1 for CAK assembly to mimic MAT1 fragmentation-depletion of CAK. This resulting ΔCAK acted as a dominant negative to inhibit the growth and metastasis of different leukemic myeloblasts, with or without RA-resistance, by concurrently suppressing CAK and TFIIH kinase activities to inhibit cell cycle and gene transcription. These findings suggest that the intrinsically programmed MAT1 expression and fragmentation regulate granulopoiesis by inversely coordinating CAK and TFIIH activities, whereas pM9 shares a mechanistic resemblance with MAT1 fragmentation in suppressing myeloid leukemogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3795903  PMID: 23765726
C-terminal fragmentation of MAT1; retinoid signaling; CAK-coordinated cell cycle and transcription; TFIIH kinase; myeloid leukemia

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