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author:("Liu, zhijiang")
1.  Synthesis, Preliminary Bioevaluation and Computational Analysis of Caffeic Acid Analogues 
A series of caffeic acid amides were designed, synthesized and evaluated for anti-inflammatory activity. Most of them exhibited promising anti-inflammatory activity against nitric oxide (NO) generation in murine macrophage RAW264.7 cells. A 3D pharmacophore model was created based on the biological results for further structural optimization. Moreover, predication of the potential targets was also carried out by the PharmMapper server. These amide analogues represent a promising class of anti-inflammatory scaffold for further exploration and target identification.
PMCID: PMC4057760  PMID: 24857914
anti-inflammatory; caffeic acid amides; synthesis; pharmacophore; target predication
2.  Reduced lignin content and altered lignin composition in the warm season forage grass Paspalum dilatatum by down-regulation of a Cinnamoyl CoA Reductase Gene 
Transgenic Research  2014;23(3):503-517.
C4 grasses are favoured as forage crops in warm, humid climates. The use of C4 grasses in pastures is expected to increase because the tropical belt is widening due to global climate change. While the forage quality of Paspalum dilatatum (dallisgrass) is higher than that of other C4 forage grass species, digestibility of warm-season grasses is, in general, poor compared with most temperate grasses. The presence of thick-walled parenchyma bundle-sheath cells around the vascular bundles found in the C4 forage grasses are associated with the deposition of lignin polymers in cell walls. High lignin content correlates negatively with digestibility, which is further reduced by a high ratio of syringyl (S) to guaiacyl (G) lignin subunits. Cinnamoyl-CoA reductase (CCR) catalyses the conversion of cinnamoyl CoA to cinnemaldehyde in the monolignol biosynthetic pathway and is considered to be the first step in the lignin-specific branch of the phenylpropanoid pathway. We have isolated three putative CCR1 cDNAs from P. dilatatum and demonstrated that their spatio-temporal expression pattern correlates with the developmental profile of lignin deposition. Further, transgenic P. dilatatum plants were produced in which a sense-suppression gene cassette, delivered free of vector backbone and integrated separately to the selectable marker, reduced CCR1 transcript levels. This resulted in the reduction of lignin, largely attributable to a decrease in G lignin.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11248-014-9784-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4010725  PMID: 24504635
C4 forage grass; Cinnamoyl-CoA reductase; Lignin; Paspalum dilatatum
3.  The Ubiquitin Specific Protease USP2a Prevents Endocytosis-Mediated EGFR Degradation 
Oncogene  2012;32(13):10.1038/onc.2012.188.
Ubiquitination of EGFR is required for down-regulation of the receptor by endocytosis. Impairment of this pathway results in constitutively active EGFR, which is associated with carcinogenesis, particularly in lung cancer. We previously demonstrated that the deubiquitinating enzyme USP2a has oncogenic properties. Here we show a new role for USP2a as a regulator of EGFR endocytosis. USP2a localizes to early endosomes and associates with EGFR, stabilizing the receptor, which retains active downstream signaling. HeLa cells transiently expressing catalytically active but not mutant USP2a show increased plasma membrane-localized EGFR, as well as decreased internalized and ubiquitinated EGFR. Conversely, USP2a silencing reverses this phenotype. Importantly, USP2a prevents the degradation of mutant in addition to wild type EGFR. Finally, we observed that USP2a and EGFR proteins are coordinately over-expressed in non-small cell lung cancers. Taken together, our data indicate that USP2a antagonizes EGFR endocytosis and thus amplifies signaling activity from the receptor. Our findings suggest that regulation of deubiquitination could be exploited therapeutically in cancers over-expressing EGFR.
PMCID: PMC3866888  PMID: 22710717
USP2a; DUB; EGFR; endocytosis
4.  The ubiquitin-specific protease USP2a enhances tumor progression by targeting cyclin A1 in bladder cancer 
Cell Cycle  2012;11(6):1123-1130.
The deubiquitinating enzyme USP2a has shown oncogenic properties in many cancer types by impairing ubiquitination of FASN, MDM2, MDMX or Aurora A. Aberrant expression of USP2a has been linked to progression of human tumors, particularly prostate cancer. However, little is known about the role of USP2a or its mechanism of action in bladder cancer. Here, we provide evidence that USP2a is an oncoprotein in bladder cancer cells. Enforced expression of USP2a caused enhanced proliferation, invasion, migration and resistance to several chemotherapeutic reagents, while USP2a loss resulted in slower proliferation, greater chemosensitivity and reduced migratory/invasive capability compared with control cells. USP2a, but not a catalytically inactive mutant, enhanced proliferation in immortalized TRT-HU1 normal human bladder epithelial cells. USP2a bound to cyclin A1 and prevented cyclin A1 ubiquitination, leading to accumulation of cyclin A1 by a block in degradation. Enforced expression of wild-type USP2a, but not an inactive USP2a mutant, resulted in cyclin A1 accumulation and increased cell proliferation. We conclude that USP2a impairs ubiquitination and stabilizes an important cell cycle regulator, cyclin A1, raising the possibility of USP2a targeting as a therapeutic strategy against bladder tumors in combination with chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3335918  PMID: 22370483
USP2a; cyclin A1; bladder cancer; cisplatin resistance; deubiquitination
5.  Enantioselective Induction of a Glutathione-S-Transferase, a Glutathione Transporter and an ABC Transporter in Maize by Metolachlor and Its (S)-Isomer 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48085.
The metabolism of chiral herbicides in plants remains poorly understood. Glutathione conjugation reactions are one of the principal mechanisms that plants utilize to detoxify xenobiotics. The induction by rac- and S-metolachlor of the expression of three genes, ZmGST27, ZmGT1 and ZmMRP1, encoding respectively a glutathione-S-transferase, a glutathione transporter and an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter was studied in maize. The results demonstrate that the inducing effect of rac- and S-metolachlor on the expression of ZmGST27 and ZmGT1 is comparable. However, the inducing effect of rac-metolachlor on ZmMRP1 expression is more pronounced than that of S-metolachlor. Furthermore, vanadate, an ABC transporter inhibitor, could greatly reduce the difference in herbicidal activity between rac- and S-metolachlor. These results suggest that the ABC transporters may preferentially transport conjugates of rac-metolachlor, leading to a faster metabolism of the latter. Through comparing the expression of ZmGST27, ZmMRP1 and ZmGT1 after treatment by rac- and S-metolachlor, we provide novel insights into the metabolic processes of chiral herbicides in plants.
PMCID: PMC3483294  PMID: 23144728
6.  Co-Induction of a Glutathione-S-transferase, a Glutathione Transporter and an ABC Transporter in Maize by Xenobiotics 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40712.
Glutathione conjugation reactions are one of the principal mechanisms that plants utilize to detoxify xenobiotics. The induction by four herbicides (2,4-D, atrazine, metolachlor and primisulfuron) and a herbicide safener (dichlormid) on the expression of three genes, ZmGST27, ZmGT1 and ZmMRP1, encoding respectively a glutathione-S-transferase, a glutathione transporter and an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter was studied in maize. The results demonstrate that the inducing effect on gene expression varies with both chemicals and genes. The expression of ZmGST27 and ZmMRP1 was up-regulated by all five compounds, whereas that of ZmGT1 was increased by atrazine, metolachlor, primisulfuron and dichlormid, but not by 2,4-D. For all chemicals, the inducing effect was first detected on ZmGST27. The finding that ZmGT1 is activated alongside ZmGST27 and ZmMRP1 suggests that glutathione transporters are an important component in the xenobiotic detoxification system of plants.
PMCID: PMC3394700  PMID: 22792398
7.  Characterization of E3Histone, a Novel Testis Ubiquitin Protein Ligase Which Ubiquitinates Histones 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(7):2819-2831.
During spermatogenesis, a large fraction of cellular proteins is degraded as the spermatids evolve to their elongated mature forms. In particular, histones must be degraded in early elongating spermatids to permit chromatin condensation. Our laboratory previously demonstrated the activation of ubiquitin conjugation during spermatogenesis. This activation is dependent on the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2) UBC4, and a testis-particular isoform, UBC4-testis, is induced when histones are degraded. Therefore, we tested whether there are UBC4-dependent ubiquitin protein ligases (E3s) that can ubiquitinate histones. Indeed, a novel enzyme, E3Histone, which could conjugate ubiquitin to histones H1, H2A, H2B, H3, and H4 in vitro, was found. Only the UBC4/UBC5 family of E2s supported E3Histone-dependent ubiquitination of histone H2A, and of this family, UBC4-1 and UBC4-testis are the preferred E2s. We purified this ligase activity 3,600-fold to near homogeneity. Mass spectrometry of the final material revealed the presence of a 482-kDa HECT domain-containing protein, which was previously named LASU1. Anti-LASU1 antibodies immunodepleted E3Histone activity. Mass spectrometry and size analysis by gel filtration and glycerol gradient centrifugation suggested that E3Histone is a monomer of LASU1. Our assays also show that this enzyme is the major UBC4-1-dependent histone-ubiquitinating E3. E3Histone is therefore a HECT domain E3 that likely plays an important role in the chromatin condensation that occurs during spermatid maturation.
PMCID: PMC1061639  PMID: 15767685

Results 1-7 (7)