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author:("Lu, liaoning")
1.  Meta-analysis of loci associated with age at natural menopause in African-American women 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(12):3327-3342.
Age at menopause marks the end of a woman's reproductive life and its timing associates with risks for cancer, cardiovascular and bone disorders. GWAS and candidate gene studies conducted in women of European ancestry have identified 27 loci associated with age at menopause. The relevance of these loci to women of African ancestry has not been previously studied. We therefore sought to uncover additional menopause loci and investigate the relevance of European menopause loci by performing a GWAS meta-analysis in 6510 women with African ancestry derived from 11 studies across the USA. We did not identify any additional loci significantly associated with age at menopause in African Americans. We replicated the associations between six loci and age at menopause (P-value < 0.05): AMHR2, RHBLD2, PRIM1, HK3/UMC1, BRSK1/TMEM150B and MCM8. In addition, associations of 14 loci are directionally consistent with previous reports. We provide evidence that genetic variants influencing reproductive traits identified in European populations are also important in women of African ancestry residing in USA.
PMCID: PMC4030781  PMID: 24493794
2.  A Rapid and Simple Method for Identification of Metallothionein Isoforms in Cultured Human Prostate Cells by MALDI-TOF/TOF Mass Spectrometry 
Analytical chemistry  2007;79(12):4433-4441.
The present paper describes a rapid method for identification and characterization of human metallothionein (MT) isoforms in complex cell cultures using high resolution Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF). In the proposed method, the sample preparation of MTs from cultured cells is both simple and fast. It is accomplished by trypsin cleavage of cell proteins into small peptide species, majority of which are subsequently removed by gel filtration using beads with an exclusion limit of 4000 Da. In contrast to most cell proteins, MTs remain intact (undigested) upon treated with trypsin, being excluded by the gel beads and thus recovered by low speed centrifugation. To identify the protein constitutes of the MT preparation, the MT sample is divided into two parts, one for intact protein accurate mass measurement; the other for tryptic digestion followed by MS and MS/MS analyses. In the latter case, the MT proteins are denatured by the addition of EDTA which strips of heavy metals from MTs and render them susceptible to tryptic digestion. The obtained accurate mass with the unique peptide sequences of each MT isoform allows for unambiguous identification of MT isoforms in the prepared mixture. The method has been applied to RWPE cells derived from normal human prostate epithelium. Four MT isoforms, 1E, 1G, 1X and 2A, have been confidently identified, being primarily acetylated at N-termini. These results are in agreement with the expression of MT mRNAs in RWPE cells determined by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction.
PMCID: PMC4276256  PMID: 17497826
metallothionein; isoforms; identification; prostate cells; MALDI-TOF/TOF
3.  Genome-wide association study of age at menarche in African-American women 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(16):3329-3346.
African-American (AA) women have earlier menarche on average than women of European ancestry (EA), and earlier menarche is a risk factor for obesity and type 2 diabetes among other chronic diseases. Identification of common genetic variants associated with age at menarche has a potential value in pointing to the genetic pathways underlying chronic disease risk, yet comprehensive genome-wide studies of age at menarche are lacking for AA women. In this study, we tested the genome-wide association of self-reported age at menarche with common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a total of 18 089 AA women in 15 studies using an additive genetic linear regression model, adjusting for year of birth and population stratification, followed by inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis (Stage 1). Top meta-analysis results were then tested in an independent sample of 2850 women (Stage 2). First, while no SNP passed the pre-specified P < 5 × 10−8 threshold for significance in Stage 1, suggestive associations were found for variants near FLRT2 and PIK3R1, and conditional analysis identified two independent SNPs (rs339978 and rs980000) in or near RORA, strengthening the support for this suggestive locus identified in EA women. Secondly, an investigation of SNPs in 42 previously identified menarche loci in EA women demonstrated that 25 (60%) of them contained variants significantly associated with menarche in AA women. The findings provide the first evidence of cross-ethnic generalization of menarche loci identified to date, and suggest a number of novel biological links to menarche timing in AA women.
PMCID: PMC3723312  PMID: 23599027
4.  EMMPRIN Regulates Cytoskeleton Reorganization and Cell Adhesion in Prostate Cancer 
The Prostate  2011;72(1):72-81.
Proteins on cell surface play important roles during cancer progression and metastasis via their ability to mediate cell-to-cell interactions and navigate the communication between cells and the microenvironment.
In this study a targeted proteomic analysis was conducted to identify the differential expression of cell surface proteins in human benign (BPH-1) vs. malignant (LNCaP and PC-3) prostate epithelial cells. We identified EMMPRIN (extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer) as a key candidate and shRNA functional approaches were subsequently applied to determine the role of EMMPRIN in prostate cancer cell adhesion, migration, invasion as well as cytoskeleton organization.
EMMPRIN was found to be highly expressed on the surface of prostate cancer cells compared to BPH-1 cells, consistent with a correlation between elevated EMMPRIN and metastasis found in other tumors. No significant changes in cell proliferation, cell cycle progression or apoptosis were detected in EMMPRIN knockdown cells compared to the scramble controls. Furthermore, EMMPRIN silencing markedly decreased the ability of PC-3 cells to form filopodia, a critical feature of invasive behavior, while it increased expression of cell-cell adhesion and gap junction proteins.
Our results suggest that EMMPRIN regulates cell adhesion, invasion and cytoskeleton reorganization in prostate cancer cells. This study identifies a new function for EMMPRIN as a contributor to prostate cancer cell-cell communication and cytoskeleton changes towards metastatic spread, and suggests its potential value as a marker of prostate cancer progression to metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3158271  PMID: 21563192
Prostate Cancer; EMMPRIN; Cytoskeleton; shRNA; Filopodia
5.  Genome-wide association study for serum urate concentrations and gout among African Americans identifies genomic risk loci and a novel URAT1 loss-of-function allele 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(20):4056-4068.
Serum urate concentrations are highly heritable and elevated serum urate is a key risk factor for gout. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of serum urate in African American (AA) populations are lacking. We conducted a meta-analysis of GWAS of serum urate levels and gout among 5820 AA and a large candidate gene study among 6890 AA and 21 708 participants of European ancestry (EA) within the Candidate Gene Association Resource Consortium. Findings were tested for replication among 1996 independent AA individuals, and evaluated for their association among 28 283 EA participants of the CHARGE Consortium. Functional studies were conducted using 14C-urate transport assays in mammalian Chinese hamster ovary cells. In the discovery GWAS of serum urate, three loci achieved genome-wide significance (P< 5.0 × 10−8): a novel locus near SGK1/SLC2A12 on chromosome 6 (rs9321453, P= 1.0 × 10−9), and two loci previously identified in EA participants, SLC2A9 (P= 3.8 × 10−32) and SLC22A12 (P= 2.1 × 10−10). A novel rare non-synonymous variant of large effect size in SLC22A12, rs12800450 (minor allele frequency 0.01, G65W), was identified and replicated (beta −1.19 mg/dl, P= 2.7 × 10−16). 14C-urate transport assays showed reduced urate transport for the G65W URAT1 mutant. Finally, in analyses of 11 loci previously associated with serum urate in EA individuals, 10 of 11 lead single-nucleotide polymorphisms showed direction-consistent association with urate among AA. In summary, we identified and replicated one novel locus in association with serum urate levels and experimentally characterize the novel G65W variant in URAT1 as a functional allele. Our data support the importance of multi-ethnic GWAS in the identification of novel risk loci as well as functional variants.
PMCID: PMC3177647  PMID: 21768215
6.  Genetic Association for Renal Traits among Participants of African Ancestry Reveals New Loci for Renal Function 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(9):e1002264.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an increasing global public health concern, particularly among populations of African ancestry. We performed an interrogation of known renal loci, genome-wide association (GWA), and IBC candidate-gene SNP association analyses in African Americans from the CARe Renal Consortium. In up to 8,110 participants, we performed meta-analyses of GWA and IBC array data for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), CKD (eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2), urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR), and microalbuminuria (UACR >30 mg/g) and interrogated the 250 kb flanking region around 24 SNPs previously identified in European Ancestry renal GWAS analyses. Findings were replicated in up to 4,358 African Americans. To assess function, individually identified genes were knocked down in zebrafish embryos by morpholino antisense oligonucleotides. Expression of kidney-specific genes was assessed by in situ hybridization, and glomerular filtration was evaluated by dextran clearance. Overall, 23 of 24 previously identified SNPs had direction-consistent associations with eGFR in African Americans, 2 of which achieved nominal significance (UMOD, PIP5K1B). Interrogation of the flanking regions uncovered 24 new index SNPs in African Americans, 12 of which were replicated (UMOD, ANXA9, GCKR, TFDP2, DAB2, VEGFA, ATXN2, GATM, SLC22A2, TMEM60, SLC6A13, and BCAS3). In addition, we identified 3 suggestive loci at DOK6 (p-value = 5.3×10−7) and FNDC1 (p-value = 3.0×10−7) for UACR, and KCNQ1 with eGFR (p = 3.6×10−6). Morpholino knockdown of kcnq1 in the zebrafish resulted in abnormal kidney development and filtration capacity. We identified several SNPs in association with eGFR in African Ancestry individuals, as well as 3 suggestive loci for UACR and eGFR. Functional genetic studies support a role for kcnq1 in glomerular development in zebrafish.
Author Summary
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an increasing global public health problem and disproportionately affects populations of African ancestry. Many studies have shown that genetic variants are associated with the development of CKD; however, similar studies are lacking in African ancestry populations. The CARe consortium consists of more than 8,000 individuals of African ancestry; genome-wide association analysis for renal-related phenotypes was conducted. In cross-ethnicity analyses, we found that 23 of 24 previously identified SNPs in European ancestry populations have the same effect direction in our samples of African ancestry. We also identified 3 suggestive genetic variants associated with measurement of kidney function. We then tested these genes in zebrafish knockdown models and demonstrated that kcnq1 is involved in kidney development in zebrafish. These results highlight the similarity of genetic variants across ethnicities and show that cross-species modeling in zebrafish is feasible for genes associated with chronic human disease.
PMCID: PMC3169523  PMID: 21931561
7.  Using Digital Crumbs from an Electronic Health Record to Identify, Study and Improve Health Care Teams 
We have developed a novel approach, the Digital Crumb Investigator, for using data collected as a byproduct of Electonic Health Record (EHR) use to help define care teams and care processes. We are developing tools and methods to utilize these routinely collected data to visualize and quantify care networks across acute care and ambulatory settings We have chosen a clinical care domain where clinicians use EHRs in their offices, on the maternity wards and in the neonatal intensive care units as a test paradigm for this technology. The tools and methods we deliver should readily translate to other health care settings that collect behind-the-scenes electronic metadata such as audit trails. We believe that by applying the methods of social networking to define clinical relationships around a patient’s care we will enable new areas of research into the usage of EHRs to promote patient safety and other improvements in care.
PMCID: PMC3243159  PMID: 22195103
8.  Mechanistic Studies on the Triggered Release of Liposomal Contents by Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2008;130(32):10633-10642.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a class of extracellular matrix degrading enzymes over-expressed in many cancers and contribute to the metastatic ability of the cancer cells. We have recently demonstrated that liposomal contents can be released when triggered by the enzyme MMP-9. Herein, we report our results on the mechanistic studies of the MMP-9 triggered release of the liposomal contents. We synthesized peptides containing the cleavage site for MMP-9 and conjugated them with fatty acids to prepare the corresponding lipopeptides. By employing Circular Dichroism spectroscopy, we demonstrate that the lipopeptides, when incorporated in liposomes, are de-mixed in the lipid bilayers and generate triple helical structures. MMP-9 cleaves the triple helical peptides, leading to the release of the liposomal contents. Other MMPs, which cannot hydrolyze triple helical peptides, failed to release the contents from the liposomes. We also observed that the rate and the extent of release of the liposomal contents depend on the mismatch between acyl chains of the synthesized lipopeptide and phospholipid components of the liposomes. Circular Dichroism spectroscopic studies imply that the observed differences in the release reflect the ability of the liposomal membrane to anneal the defects following the enzymatic cleavage of the liposome-incorporated lipopeptides.
PMCID: PMC2644422  PMID: 18642903
Triggered release; liposomes; matrix metalloproteinases; phase separation; triple helical lipopeptides
9.  Tube-Gel Digestion 
This study describes a new protein digestion protocol in which a variety of detergents can be used to solubilize membrane proteins and facilitate trypsin digestion with higher efficiency. In this protocol, proteins are dissolved in solutions containing various detergents and directly incorporated into a polyacrylamide gel matrix without electrophoresis. Detergents are subsequently eliminated from the gel matrix while proteins are still immobilized in the gel matrix. After in-gel digestion of proteins, LC-MS/MS is used to analyze the extracted peptides for protein identification. The uniqueness of the protocol is that it allows usage of a variety of detergents in the starting solution without interfering with LC-MS/MS analysis. We hereby demonstrate that different detergents, including ionic SDS, non-ionic Triton X-100 and n-octyl β-d-glucopyranoside, and zwitterionic CHAPS, can be used to achieve maximum solubilization of membrane proteins with minimal interference with LC-MS/MS analysis. Enhanced digestions, i.e. improved number and intensity of detected peptides, are also demonstrated for digestion-resistant proteins such as myoglobin, ubiquitin, and bacteriorhodopsin. An additional advantage of the Tube-Gel digestion protocol is that, even without electrophoresis separation, it allows high throughput analysis of complex protein mixtures when coupled with LC-MS/MS. The protocol was used to analyze a complex membrane protein mixture prepared from prostate cancer cells. The protocol involves only a single digestion and 2.5 h of LC-MS/MS analysis and identified 178 membrane proteins. In comparison, the same membrane fraction was resolved by SDS-PAGE, and 20 gel slices were excised and individually digested and analyzed by LC-MS/MS. The more elaborate effort demanded more than 50 h of LC-MS/MS analysis and identified 268 proteins. The new Tube-Gel digestion protocol is an alternative method for high throughput analysis of membrane proteins.
PMCID: PMC1360194  PMID: 16150870

Results 1-9 (9)