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1.  Computational Replication of the Abnormal Secondary Kinetic Isotope Effects in a Hydride Transfer Reaction in Solution with a Motion Assisted H-Tunneling Model 
The Journal of Organic Chemistry  2014;79(5):1989-1994.
We recently reported abnormal secondary deuterium kinetic isotope effects (2° KIEs) for hydride transfer reactions from alcohols to carbocations in acetonitrile (Chem. Comm. 2012, 48, 11337). Experimental 2° KIE values were found to be inflated on the 9-C position in the xanthylium cation but deflated on the β-C position in 2-propanol with respect to the values predicted by the semi-classical transition-state theory. No primary (1°) isotope effect on 2° KIEs was observed. Herein, the KIEs were replicated by the Marcus-like H-tunneling model that requires a longer donor–acceptor distance (DAD) in a lighter isotope transfer process. The 2° KIEs for a range of potential tunneling-ready-states (TRSs) of different DADs were calculated and fitted to the experiments to find the TRS structure. The observed no effect of 1° isotope on 2° KIEs is explained in terms of the less sterically hindered TRS structure so that the change in DAD due to the change in 1° isotope does not significantly affect the reorganization of the 2° isotope and hence the 2° KIE. The effect of 1° isotope on 2° KIEs may be expected to be more pronounced and thus observable in reactions occurring in restrictive environments such as the crowded and relatively rigid active site of enzymes.
PMCID: PMC3985929  PMID: 24498946
2.  Changes in Follicular Helper T Cells in Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura Patients 
Background: Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a primary autoimmune disease with a decreased platelet count caused by platelet destruction mediated mainly by platelet antibodies. T follicular helper (TFH) cells have demonstrated important roles in autoimmune diseases. The aim of this study is to explore the might role of TFH cells in the patients of ITP.
Methods: Twenty-three ITP patients and 12 healthy controls (HC) were enrolled in this study. The frequency of circulating TFH cells in both the patients and HC was analyzed by flow cytometry. Serum interleukin (IL)-21 and IL-6 levels were measured using ELISA, and platelet antibodies were tested using a solid phase technique. Additionally, IL-21, IL-6, Bcl-6 and c-Maf mRNA expressions in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were detected using real-time PCR.
Results: The percentages of circulating CXCR5+ CD4+TFH cells with ICOShigh or PD-1high expression were significantly higher in the ITP patients than in the HC. Moreover, the frequencies of circulating CXCR5+ CD4+TFH cells with inducible costimulator (ICOS)high or programmed death-1 (PD-1)high expression were notably higher in ITP with platelet-antibody-positive ( ITP (+) ) patients than in ITP with platelet-antibody-negative ( ITP (-) ) patients and HC, as were the serum IL-21 and IL-6 levels (significant). Moreover, a positive correlation was found between the CXCR5+CD4+TFH cells with ICOShigh or PD-1high expression and the serum IL-21 levels of ITP (+) patients. Additionally, the mRNA expression levels of IL-21, IL-6, Bcl-6 and c-Maf were significantly increased in ITP patients, especially in ITP (+) patients.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated TFH cells and effector molecules might play an important role in the pathogenesis of ITP, which are possible therapeutic targets in ITP patients.
PMCID: PMC4279097  PMID: 25561904
platelet antibody; T follicular helper cell; idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura; autoimmune disease
3.  Ponicidin Induces Apoptosis via JAK2 and STAT3 Signaling Pathways in Gastric Carcinoma 
Ponicidin has a variety of biological effects such as immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory functions as well as anti-viral functions especially in the upper respiratory tract infection. This study was aimed to elucidate the antitumor effect of ponicidin in gastric carcinoma MKN28 cells and the possible molecular mechanism involved. Cell viability was measured by the Cell Count Kit-8 (CCK8). Cell apoptosis was assessed by flow cytometry as well as cell cycle and reactive oxygen species (ROS) analysis. Western blot analysis was used to detect the active form of caspase-3 as well as Bax and B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) expressions after cells were treated with different concentrations of ponicidin. The results revealed that ponicidin could inhibit the growth of MKN28 cells significantly in both a time- and dose-dependent manner. The cell cycle was blocked and ROS generation was increased after the cells were treated with ponicidin. Bcl-2 expression was down-regulated remarkably while Bax expression and the active form of caspase-3 were increased after apoptosis occurred. We therefore conclude that ponicidin exhibited significant growth inhibition of gastric carcinoma cell line MKN28 and induced apoptosis of MKN28 cells via the signaling pathway regulated by Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) and signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3). Ponicidin may serve as a potential therapeutic agent for gastric carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC4307321  PMID: 25588213
ponicidin; gastric carcinoma; MKN28 cells; apoptosis; JAK2; STAT3
4.  3-Bromopyruvate inhibits human gastric cancer tumor growth in nude mice via the inhibition of glycolysis 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(2):739-744.
Tumor cells primarily depend upon glycolysis in order to gain energy. Therefore, the inhibition of glycolysis may inhibit tumor growth. Our previous study demonstrated that 3-bromopyruvate (3-BrPA) inhibited gastric cancer cell proliferation in vitro. However, the ability of 3-BrPA to suppress tumor growth in vivo, and its underlying mechanism, have yet to be elucidated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the inhibitory effect of 3-BrPA in an animal model of gastric cancer. It was identified that 3-BrPA exhibited strong inhibitory effects upon xenograft tumor growth in nude mice. In addition, the antitumor function of 3-BrPA exhibited a dose-effect association, which was similar to that of the chemotherapeutic agent, 5-fluorouracil. Furthermore, 3-BrPA exhibited low toxicity in the blood, liver and kidneys of the nude mice. The present study hypothesized that the inhibitory effect of 3-BrPA is achieved through the inhibition of hexokinase activity, which leads to the downregulation of B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) expression, the upregulation of Bcl-2-associated X protein expression and the subsequent activation of caspase-3. These data suggest that 3-BrPA may be a novel therapy for the treatment of gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC4301496  PMID: 25621044
3-bromopyruvate; hexokinase; nude mouse; apoptosis; treatment
5.  The Structure, Stability and Pheromone Binding of the Male Mouse Protein Sex Pheromone Darcin 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108415.
Mouse urine contains highly polymorphic major urinary proteins that have multiple functions in scent communication through their abilities to bind, transport and release hydrophobic volatile pheromones. The mouse genome encodes for about 20 of these proteins and are classified, based on amino acid sequence similarity and tissue expression patterns, as either central or peripheral major urinary proteins. Darcin is a male specific peripheral major urinary protein and is distinctive in its role in inherent female attraction. A comparison of the structure and biophysical properties of darcin with MUP11, which belongs to the central class, highlights similarity in the overall structure between the two proteins. The thermodynamic stability, however, differs between the two proteins, with darcin being much more stable. Furthermore, the affinity of a small pheromone mimetic is higher for darcin, although darcin is more discriminatory, being unable to bind bulkier ligands. These attributes are due to the hydrophobic ligand binding cavity of darcin being smaller, caused by the presence of larger amino acid side chains. Thus, the physical and chemical characteristics of the binding cavity, together with its extreme stability, are consistent with darcin being able to exert its function after release into the environment.
PMCID: PMC4184797  PMID: 25279835
6.  Elastic, Conductive, Polymeric Hydrogels and Sponges 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5792.
As a result of inherent rigidity of the conjugated macromolecular chains resulted from the delocalized π-electron system along the polymer backbone, it has been a huge challenge to make conducting polymer hydrogels elastic by far. Herein elastic and conductive polypyrrole hydrogels with only conducting polymer as the continuous phase have been simply synthesized in the indispensable conditions of 1) mixed solvent, 2) deficient oxidant, and 3) monthly secondary growth. The elastic mechanism and oxidative polymerization mechanism on the resulting PPy hydrogels have been discussed. The resulting hydrogels show some novel properties, e.g., shape memory elasticity, fast functionalization with various guest objects, and fast removal of organic infectants from aqueous solutions, all of which cannot be observed from traditional non-elastic conducting polymer counterparts. What's more, light-weight, elastic, and conductive organic sponges with excellent stress-sensing behavior have been successfully achieved via using the resulting polypyrrole hydrogels as precursors.
PMCID: PMC4107344  PMID: 25052015
7.  A Translocated Effector Required for Bartonella Dissemination from Derma to Blood Safeguards Migratory Host Cells from Damage by Co-translocated Effectors 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(6):e1004187.
Numerous bacterial pathogens secrete multiple effectors to modulate host cellular functions. These effectors may interfere with each other to efficiently control the infection process. Bartonellae are Gram-negative, facultative intracellular bacteria using a VirB type IV secretion system to translocate a cocktail of Bartonella effector proteins (Beps) into host cells. Based on in vitro infection models we demonstrate here that BepE protects infected migratory cells from injurious effects triggered by BepC and is required for in vivo dissemination of bacteria from the dermal site of inoculation to blood. Human endothelial cells (HUVECs) infected with a ΔbepE mutant of B. henselae (Bhe) displayed a cell fragmentation phenotype resulting from Bep-dependent disturbance of rear edge detachment during migration. A ΔbepCE mutant did not show cell fragmentation, indicating that BepC is critical for triggering this deleterious phenotype. Complementation of ΔbepE with BepEBhe or its homologues from other Bartonella species abolished cell fragmentation. This cyto-protective activity is confined to the C-terminal Bartonella intracellular delivery (BID) domain of BepEBhe (BID2.EBhe). Ectopic expression of BID2.EBhe impeded the disruption of actin stress fibers by Rho Inhibitor 1, indicating that BepE restores normal cell migration via the RhoA signaling pathway, a major regulator of rear edge retraction. An intradermal (i.d.) model for B. tribocorum (Btr) infection in the rat reservoir host mimicking the natural route of infection by blood sucking arthropods allowed demonstrating a vital role for BepE in bacterial dissemination from derma to blood. While the Btr mutant ΔbepDE was abacteremic following i.d. inoculation, complementation with BepEBtr, BepEBhe or BIDs.EBhe restored bacteremia. Given that we observed a similar protective effect of BepEBhe on infected bone marrow-derived dendritic cells migrating through a monolayer of lymphatic endothelial cells we propose that infected dermal dendritic cells may be involved in disseminating Bartonella towards the blood stream in a BepE-dependent manner.
Author Summary
Cell migration, a fundamental feature of eukaryotic cells, plays a crucial role in mounting an effective immune response. However, several pathogens subvert the migratory properties of infected host cells to their benefit, such as using them as Trojan horses to disseminate within the host. Bartonella effector proteins (Beps) are bona fide virulence factors indispensable for the colonization of mammalian target cells. However, their multiple interferences with host cellular signaling processes might culminate in deleterious secondary effects that require additional effectors to maintain the host cell integrity. A striking example is BepE, which is shown here to preserve endothelial cells (ECs) from fragmentation and to inhibit the defects of dendritic cell (DCs) migration caused by BepC and possibly other Beps. Moreover, BepE is essential for Bartonella dissemination from the dermal site of inoculation to the blood stream where bacteria establish long-lasting intraerythrocytic bacteremia as a hallmark of infection in the mammalian reservoir host. Migration of Bartonella-infected DCs through a monolayer of lymphatic ECs was also found to be dependent of BepE, suggesting that BepE is required to preserve the migratory capability of DCs, a candidate cell type for systemic dissemination from the dermal site of inoculation.
PMCID: PMC4063953  PMID: 24945914
8.  Decreased plasma neuroactive amino acids and increased nitric oxide levels in melancholic major depressive disorder 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:123.
Amino acid neurotransmitters and nitric oxide (NO) are involved in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). Here we want to establish whether changes in their plasma levels may serve as biomarker for the melancholic subtype of this disorder.
Plasma levels of glutamic acid (Glu), aspartic acid (Asp), glycine (Gly), gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and NO were determined in 27 medicine-naïve melancholic MDD patients and 30 matched controls. Seven of the MDD patients participated also in a follow-up study after 2 months’ antidepressant treatment. The relationship between plasma and cerebral-spinal fluid (CSF) levels of these compounds was analyzed in an additional group of 10 non-depressed subjects.
The plasma levels of Asp, Gly and GABA were significantly lower whereas the NO levels were significantly higher in melancholic MDD patients, also after 2 months of fluoxetine treatment. In the additional 10 non-depressed subjects, no significant correlation was observed between plasma and CSF levels of these compounds.
These data give the first indication that decreased plasma levels of Asp, Gly and GABA and increased NO levels may serve as a clinical trait-marker for melancholic MDD. The specificity and selectivity of this putative trait-marker has to be investigated in follow-up studies.
PMCID: PMC4036745  PMID: 24767108
Major depressive disorder; Glutamic acid; Aspartic acid; Glycine; Gamma - aminobutyric acid; Nitric oxide
9.  Serum level of DKK-1 and its prognostic potential in non–small cell lung cancer 
Diagnostic Pathology  2014;9:52.
The aim of the present study was to measure the serum level of dickkopf-1(DKK-1) in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and to determine the prognostic potential of serum DKK-1 in NSCLC.
Material and methods
The present study included a total of 150 patients with NSCLC and 150 healthy controls. Serum level of DKK-1 was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Numerical variables were recorded as means ± standard deviation (SD) and analyzed by independent t-tests. Categorical variables were presented as rates and analyzed by using the chi-square test or Fisher’s exact test. The overall survival was analyzed by log-rank test, and survival curves were plotted according to Kaplan–Meier.
We found that serum DKK-1 level was significantly higher in patients with NSCLC than healthy controls. Mean serum DKK-1 level was 31.42 ± 6.32 ng/ml in the NSCLC group and 14.12 ± 3.29 ng/ml in the healthy control group (p <0.01). Serum DKK-1 level expression level was significantly positively correlated with TNM stage (p = 0.009), lymph node involvement(p = 0.001), and distant metastases(p < 0.001).
In the multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis, high DKK-1 expression was independently associated with poor survival (P < 0.001; HR = 3.98; 95% CI =2.19-4.83).
In conclusion, our results showed that DKK-1 was overexpressed in NSCLC, and DKK-1 in serum was a good predictor of poor prognosis in patients with NSCLC. More researches are needed in the future to clarify the detailed mechanism of DKK-1 in the carcinogenesis and metastasis of NSCLC.
Virtual slides
The virtual slides for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC3975329  PMID: 24612589
Dickkopf-1; Non-small cell lung cancer; Prognosis
10.  Sox2 Cooperates with Inflammation-Mediated Stat3 Activation in the Malignant Transformation of Foregut Basal Progenitor Cells 
Cell stem cell  2013;12(3):304-315.
Sox2 regulates the self-renewal of multiple types of stem cells. Recent studies suggest it also plays oncogenic roles in the formation of squamous carcinoma in several organs, including the esophagus where Sox2 is predominantly expressed in the basal progenitor cells of the stratified epithelium. Here, we use mouse genetic models to reveal a novel mechanism by which Sox2 cooperates with microenvironmental signals to malignantly transform epithelial progenitor cells. Conditional overexpression of Sox2 in basal cells expands the progenitor population in both the esophagus and forestomach. Significantly, carcinoma only develops in the forestomach where pathological progression correlates with inflammation and nuclear localization of Stat3 in progenitor cells. Importantly, co-overexpression of Sox2 and activated Stat3 (Stat3C) also transforms esophageal basal cells but not the differentiated suprabasal cells. These findings indicate basal stem/progenitor cells are the cells-of-origin of squamous carcinoma and that cooperation between Sox2 and microenvironment-activated Stat3 is required for Sox2-driven tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3594795  PMID: 23472872
11.  Dose-dependent inhibition of gastric injury by hydrogen in alkaline electrolyzed drinking water 
Hydrogen has been reported to relieve damage in many disease models, and is a potential additive in drinking water to provide protective effects for patients as several clinical studies revealed. However, the absence of a dose–response relationship in the application of hydrogen is puzzling. We attempted to identify the dose–response relationship of hydrogen in alkaline electrolyzed drinking water through the aspirin induced gastric injury model.
In this study, hydrogen-rich alkaline water was obtained by adding H2 to electrolyzed water at one atmosphere pressure. After 2 weeks of drinking, we detected the gastric mucosal damage together with MPO, MDA and 8-OHdG in rat aspirin induced gastric injury model.
Hydrogen-dose dependent inhibition was observed in stomach mucosal. Under pH 8.5, 0.07, 0.22 and 0.84 ppm hydrogen exhibited a high correlation with inhibitory effects showed by erosion area, MPO activity and MDA content in the stomach. Gastric histology also demonstrated the inhibition of damage by hydrogen-rich alkaline water. However, 8-OHdG level in serum did not have significant hydrogen-dose dependent effect. pH 9.5 showed higher but not significant inhibitory response compared with pH 8.5.
Hydrogen is effective in relieving the gastric injury induced by aspirin-HCl, and the inhibitory effect is dose-dependent. The reason behind this may be that hydrogen-rich water directly interacted with the target tissue, while the hydrogen concentration in blood was buffered by liver glycogen, evoking a suppressed dose–response effect. Drinking hydrogen-rich water may protect healthy individuals from gastric damage caused by oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC3944674  PMID: 24589018
Alkaline electrolyzed water; Dose–response; Gastric injury; Hydrogen; Oxidative stress
12.  Chondrocyte-specific Knockout of Cbfβ Reveals the Indispensable Function of Cbfβ in Chondrocyte Maturation, Growth Plate Development and Trabecular Bone Formation in Mice 
Despite years of research into bone formation, the mechanisms by which transcription factors specify growth plate development and trabecular bone formation remain unclear and the role of hypertrophic chondrocytes in trabeculae morphogenesis is controversial. To study the role of Core binding factor beta (Cbfβ) in postnatal cartilage development and endochondral bone formation, we generated chondrocyte-specific Cbfβ-deficient mice (Cbfβf/fCol2α1-Cre mice) using floxed alleles of Cbfβ (Cbfβf/f) and Cre driven by the Collagen 2α1 promoter (Col2α1-Cre). Cbfβf/fCol2α1-Cre mice evaded developmental and newborn lethality to survive to adulthood and displayed severe skeletal malformation. Cbfβf/fCol2α1-Cre mice had dwarfism, hypoplastic skeletons, defective bone mineralization, shortened limbs, shortened sternum bodies, and un-calcified occipital bones and hyoid bones. In the long bone cartilage, the resting zone was elongated, and chondrocyte proliferation and hypertrophy were impaired in Cbfβf/fCol2α1-Cre mice, which led to deformation of the growth plates. Primary spongiosa formation was delayed, diaphysis was shortened and trabecular bone formation was almost absent in the mutant mice. In addition, lamellar bone formation in the secondary spongiosa was also impaired. However, osteoclast formation in the trabecular bone was not affected. Cbfβ deficiency led to down-regulation of chondrocyte-regulating genes [i.e, patched (Ptc1), Cyclin D1 and Indian hedgehog (Ihh)] in the cartilage. Interestingly, the expression of Runx2 and Runx3 was not changed in the cartilage of the mutants. Collectively, the results revealed that Cbfβ is crucial for postnatal skeletal development and endochondral bone formation through its function in growth plate development and chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation. This study also revealed that chondrocyte maturation, mediated by Cbfβ, was critical to trabecular bone morphogenesis. Significantly, these findings provide insight into the role of Cbfβ in postnatal skeletogenesis, which may assist in the development of new therapies for osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC4147220  PMID: 25170300
Cbfβ; Runx; Indian hedgehog (Ihh); skeletal development; chondrocyte proliferation and hypertrophy; endochondral bone formation.
13.  Cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 1 mediates LTD4-induced activation of mouse microglial cells in vitro 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2013;35(1):33-40.
To investigate the roles of cysteinyl leukotriene receptors CysLT1R and CysLT2R in leukotriene D4 (LTD4)-induced activation of microglial cells in vitro.
Mouse microglial cell line BV2 was transfected with pcDNA3.1(+)-hCysLT1R or pcDNA3.1(+)-hCysLT2R. The expression of relevant mRNAs and proteins in the cells was detected using RT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Phagocytosis was determined with flow cytometry analysis. The release of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) from the cells was measured using an ELISA assay.
The expression of CysLT1R or CysLT2R was considerably increased in the transfected BV2 cells, and the receptors were mainly distributed in the plasma membrane and cytosol. Treatment of the cells expressing CysLT1R or CysLT2R with CysLT receptor agonist LTD4 (0.1–100 nmol/L) concentration-dependently enhanced the phagocytosis, and increased mRNA expression and release of IL-1β. Moreover, the responses of hCysLT1R-BV2 cells to LTD4 were significantly larger than those of hCysLT2R-BV2 or WT-BV2 cells. Pretreatment of hCysLT1R-BV2 cells with the selective CysLT1R antagonist montelukast (1 μmol/L) significantly blocked LTD4-induced phagocytosis as well as the mRNA expression and release of IL-1β, whereas the selective CysLT2R antagonist HAMI 3379 (1 μmol/L) had no such effects.
CysLT1R mediates LTD4-induced activation of BV2 cells, suggesting that CysLT1R antagonists may exert anti-inflammatory activity in brain diseases.
PMCID: PMC4075749  PMID: 24141567
leukotriene D4; cysteinyl leukotriene receptor; microglia; phagocytosis; IL-1β; montelukast; HAMI 3379; inflammation; brain ischemia
14.  Cerebral Ischemia Is Exacerbated by Extracellular Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase via a Non-Enzymatic Mechanism 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e85403.
Intracellular nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (iNAMPT) in neuron has been known as a protective factor against cerebral ischemia through its enzymatic activity, but the role of central extracellular NAMPT (eNAMPT) is not clear. Here we show that eNAMPT protein level was elevated in the ischemic rat brain after middle-cerebral-artery occlusion (MCAO) and reperfusion, which can be traced to at least in part from blood circulation. Administration of recombinant NAMPT protein exacerbated MCAO-induced neuronal injury in rat brain, while exacerbated oxygen-glucose-deprivation (OGD) induced neuronal injury only in neuron-glial mixed culture, but not in neuron culture. In the mixed culture, NAMPT protein promoted TNF-α release in a time- and concentration-dependent fashion, while TNF-α neutralizing antibody protected OGD-induced, NAMPT-enhanced neuronal injury. Importantly, H247A mutant of NAMPT with essentially no enzymatic activity exerted similar effects on ischemic neuronal injury and TNF-α release as the wild type protein. Thus, eNAMPT is an injurious and inflammatory factor in cerebral ischemia and aggravates ischemic neuronal injury by triggering TNF-α release from glia cells, via a mechanism not related to NAMPT enzymatic activity.
PMCID: PMC3877362  PMID: 24392007
15.  Control of non-apoptotic developmental cell death in C. elegans by a polyglutamine-repeat protein 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2012;335(6071):10.1126/science.1215156.
Death is a vital developmental cell fate. In Caenorhabditis elegans, programmed death of the linker cell, which leads gonadal elongation, proceeds independently of caspases and apoptotic effectors. To identify genes promoting linker-cell death, we performed a genome-wide RNA interference screen. We show that linker-cell death requires the gene pqn-41, encoding an endogenous polyglutamine-repeat protein. pqn-41 functions cell autonomously, and is expressed at the onset of linker-cell death. pqn-41 expression is controlled by the MAP kinase kinase SEK-1, which functions in parallel to the Zn-finger protein LIN-29 to promote cellular demise. Linker-cell death is morphologically similar to cell death associated with normal vertebrate development and polyglutamine-induced neurodegeneration. Our results may, therefore, provide molecular in-roads to understanding non-apoptotic cell death in metazoan development and disease.
PMCID: PMC3858082  PMID: 22363008
17.  Genome Wide Analysis of Narcolepsy in China Implicates Novel Immune Loci and Reveals Changes in Association Prior to Versus After the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(10):e1003880.
Previous studies in narcolepsy, an autoimmune disorder affecting hypocretin (orexin) neurons and recently associated with H1N1 influenza, have demonstrated significant associations with five loci. Using a well-characterized Chinese cohort, we refined known associations in TRA@ and P2RY11-DNMT1 and identified new associations in the TCR beta (TRB@; rs9648789 max P = 3.7×10−9 OR 0.77), ZNF365 (rs10995245 max P = 1.2×10−11 OR 1.23), and IL10RB-IFNAR1 loci (rs2252931 max P = 2.2×10−9 OR 0.75). Variants in the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)- DQ region were associated with age of onset (rs7744020 P = 7.9×10−9 beta −1.9 years) and varied significantly among cases with onset after the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic compared to previous years (rs9271117 P = 7.8×10−10 OR 0.57). These reflected an association of DQB1*03:01 with earlier onset and decreased DQB1*06:02 homozygosity following 2009. Our results illustrate how genetic association can change in the presence of new environmental challenges and suggest that the monitoring of genetic architecture over time may help reveal the appearance of novel triggers for autoimmune diseases.
Author Summary
Narcolepsy-hypocretin deficiency results from a highly specific autoimmune attack on hypocretin cells. Recent studies have established antigen presentation by specific class II proteins encoded by (HLA DQB1*06:02 and DQA1*01:02) to the cognate T cell receptor as the main disease pathway, with a role for H1N1 influenza in the triggering process. Here, we have used a large and well-characterized cohort of Chinese narcolepsy cases to examine genetic architecture not observed in European samples. We confirmed previously implicated susceptibility genes (T cell receptor alpha, P2RY11), and identify new loci (ZNF365, IL10RB-IFNAR1), most notably, variants at the beta chain of the T cell receptor. We found that one HLA variant, (DQB1*03:01), is associated with dramatically earlier disease onset (nearly 2 years). We also identified differences in HLA haplotype frequencies among cases with onset following the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic as compared to before the outbreak, with fewer HLA DQB1*06:02 homozygotes. This may be the first demonstration of such an effect, and suggests that the study of changes in GWAS signals over time could help identify environmental factors in other autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC3814311  PMID: 24204295
18.  Habitual Consumption of Soy Products and Risk of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma in Chinese Adults: A Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77822.
Background and Objectives
Many studies have shown a negative association between the consumption of soy products and the risk of some cancers, but little is known about the effect of soy consumption on nasopharyngeal carcinoma. We assessed the association between the consumption of soy products on nasopharyngeal carcinoma risk in Chinese individuals.
This case-control study included 600 (448 males and 152 females) incident cases of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and an equal number of controls, matched according to gender, age (± 3 y) and household type to the nasopharyngeal carcinoma cases. All subjects were recruited from hospitals in Guangzhou, China. A face-to-face interview was conducted with each study individual to collect general information and habitual dietary intake using a 78-item quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals were estimated using conditional logistic regression analyses.
The median intakes of soy foods (in protein) were 0.5/0.5, 1.4/1.7, 2.7/3.3 and 6.1/7.7 (male/female) g/d in the quartiles 1 to 4. Both univariate and multivariate analyses showed no significant association between the consumption of soy proteins or soy isoflavones and the risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) between extreme quartiles were 0.97 (0.66-1.45) for soy proteins and 0.97 (0.66-1.42) for total isoflavones. Null associations were also observed between intake of the individual isoflavones daidzein, genistein and glycitein and NPC risk, with adjusted odds ratios for the extreme quartiles ranging between 0.73 and 1.23.
Habitual consumption of soy products had no significant effect on the risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Chinese adults with a relatively low intake.
PMCID: PMC3796467  PMID: 24155974
19.  Composite diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma of the stomach: Case report and literature review 
The combination of classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cHL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma coexisting in the same patient is not common, especially in one extranodal location. Here we present a rare case of composite diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and cHL occurring simultaneously in the stomach of a 53-year-old female who presented with upper abdominal discomfort and gas pain. Surgery was performed and the disease was diagnosed pathologically as composite lymphoma of DLBCL and cHL using hematoxylin-eosin and immunohistochemical staining. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection was not detected by in situ hybridization for EBV-encoded RNA or immunohistochemistry for EBV latent membrane protein-1. Polymerase chain reaction analysis from the two distinct components of the tumor demonstrated clonal immunoglobulin κ light chain gene rearrangements. The patient died approximately 11 mo after diagnosis in spite of receiving eight courses of the CHOP and two courses of the rituximab-CHOP (RCHOP) chemotherapy regimen. This case report showed that the two distinct components, DLBCL and cHL, appeared to originate from the same clonal progenitor cell, and that EBV infection was not essential for transformation during the course of tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3787365  PMID: 24115832
Composite lymphoma; Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; Hodgkin’s lymphoma; Stomach
20.  Evidence for the Ubiquitin Protease UBP43 as an Antineoplastic Target 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2012;11(9):1968-1977.
New pharmacologic targets are needed for lung cancer. One candidate pathway to target is composed of the E1-like ubiquitin-activating enzyme (UBE1L) that associates with interferon-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15), which complexes with and destabilizes cyclin D1. Ubiquitin protease 43 (UBP43/USP18) removes ISG15 from conjugated proteins. This study reports that gain of UBP43 stabilized cyclin D1, but not other D-type cyclins or cyclin E. This depended on UBP43 enzymatic activity; an enzymatically inactive UBP43 did not affect cyclin D1 stability. As expected, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that reduced UBP43 expression also decreased cyclin D1 levels and increased apoptosis in a panel of lung cancer cell lines. Forced cyclin D1 expression rescued UBP43 apoptotic effects, which highlighted the importance of cyclin D1 in conferring this. Short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated reduction of UBP43 significantly increased apoptosis and reduced murine lung cancer growth in vitro and in vivo after transplantation of these cells into syngeneic mice. These cells also exhibited increased response to all-trans-retinoic acid (RA), interferon (IFN), or cisplatin treatments. Notably, gain of UBP43 expression antagonized these effects. Normal-malignant human lung tissue arrays were examined independently for UBP43, cyclin D1, and cyclin E immunohistochemical expression. UBP43 was significantly (P < 0.01) increased in the malignant versus normal lung. A direct relationship was found between UBP43 and cyclin D1 (but not cyclin E) expression. Differential UBP43 expression was independently detected in a normal-malignant tissue array with diverse human cancers. Taken together, these findings uncovered UBP43 as a previously unrecognized anti-neoplastic target.
PMCID: PMC3438286  PMID: 22752428
UBP43/USP18; cyclin D1; lung cancer
21.  “Two novel DEG/ENaC channel subunits expressed in glia are needed for nose touch sensitivity in C. elegans” 
Neuronal DEG/ENaC Na+ channels have been implicated in touch sensation. For example, MEC-4 is expressed in touch neurons in C. elegans and mediates gentle touch response. Similarly, homologous mammalian ASIC2 and ASIC3 are expressed in sensory neurons and produce touch phenotypes when knocked out in mice. Here, we show that novel DEG/ENaC subunits DELM-1 and DELM-2 are expressed in glia associated with touch neurons in C. elegans and that their knock-out causes defects in mechanosensory behaviors related to nose touch and foraging, which are mediated by OLQ and IL1 sensory neurons. Cell-specific rescue supports that DELM-1 and DELM-2 are required cell-autonomously in glia to orchestrate mechanosensory behaviors. Electron microscopy reveals that in delm-1 knockouts, OLQ and IL1 sensory neurons and associated glia are structurally normal. Furthermore, we show that knockout of DELM-1 and DELM-2 does not disrupt the expression or cellular localization of TRPA-1, a TRP channel needed in OLQ and IL1 neurons for touch behaviors. Rather, rescue of the delm-1 nose-touch insensitive phenotype by expression of a K+ channel in socket glia and of a cationic channel in OLQ neurons suggests that DELM channels set basal neuronal excitability. Taken together, our data show that DELM-1 and DELM-2 are expressed in glia associated with touch neurons where they are not needed for neuronal structural integrity or cellular distribution of neuronal sensory channels, but rather for their function.
PMCID: PMC3711640  PMID: 23325233
22.  In Vitro Activity of Sodium New Houttuyfonate Alone and in Combination with Oxacillin or Netilmicin against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68053.
Staphylococcus aureus can cause severe infections, including bacteremia and sepsis. The spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) highlights the need for novel treatment options. Sodium new houttuyfonate (SNH) is an analogue of houttuynin, the main antibacterial ingredient of Houttuynia cordata Thunb. The aim of this study was to evaluate in vitro activity of SNH and its potential for synergy with antibiotics against hospital-associated MRSA.
A total of 103 MRSA clinical isolates recovered in two hospitals in Beijing were evaluated for susceptibility to SNH, oxacillin, cephalothin, meropenem, vancomycin, levofloxacin, minocycline, netilmicin, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole by broth microdilution. Ten isolates were evaluated for potential for synergy between SNH and the antibiotics above by checkerboard assay. Time-kill analysis was performed in three isolates to characterize the kill kinetics of SNH alone and in combination with the antibiotics that engendered synergy in checkerboard assays. Besides, two reference strains were included in all assays.
Principal Findings
SNH inhibited all test strains with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) ranging from 16 to 64 µg/mL in susceptibility tests, and displayed inhibition to bacterial growth in concentration-dependent manner in time-kill analysis. In synergy studies, the combinations of SNH-oxacillin, SNH-cephalothin, SNH-meropenem and SNH-netilmicin showed synergistic effects against 12 MRSA strains with median fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) indices of 0.38, 0.38, 0.25 and 0.38 in checkerboard assays. In time-kill analysis, SNH at 1/2 MIC in combination with oxacillin at 1/128 to 1/64 MIC or netilmicin at 1/8 to 1/2 MIC decreased the viable colonies by ≥2log10 CFU/mL.
SNH demonstrated in vitro antibacterial activity against 103 hospital-associated MRSA isolates. Combinations of sub-MIC levels of SNH and oxacillin or netilmicin significantly improved the in vitro antibacterial activity against MRSA compared with either drug alone. The SNH-based combinations showed promise in combating MRSA.
PMCID: PMC3699466  PMID: 23844154
23.  Higher rate of skin rash in a phase II trial with weekly nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel and cisplatin combination in Chinese breast cancer patients 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:232.
The aim of this sub-study is to explore the incidence of skin rash among advanced breast cancer(ABC) patients in a phase II trial treated with weekly nab-paclitaxel and cisplatin combination.
Nab-paclitaxel(125 mg/m2) was administered on days 1, 8, 15, followed by cisplatin(75 mg/m2) on day 1 every 28 day cycle until disease progression, intolerable toxicities or the maximum of 6 cycles. Patients who received at least one injection of the study drug were included in this analysis of the incidence of skin rash among Chinese patients. Toxicity was graded using the CTCAE4.0 criteria. Statistical analysis was carried out by using SPSS 16.0 (SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL).
Seventy three patients were enrolled and eligible for analysis. A total of 384 cycles were administered at the time of this analysis. Rash was presented in 27 patients (37.0%). The most common sites involved were face (14/27), neck (14/27), limbs (18/27) and frictional parts of the trunk (10/27). Macular and papular rash with pruritus commonly occurred 2 (95% CI: 1–7) days after the first day of chemotherapy. Only one patient developed Grade 3 skin toxicity with generalized erythroderma and disfigurement of the face requiring dose reduction. The rash gradually regressed 2 (95% CI: 1–10) days after antihistamines used, but pigmentation remained in 13/27 cases. The incidence rate of skin rash was significantly higher than what has been described for western patients (approximate 4%, P < 0.0001).
A higher rate of maculo-papular rash occurred in Chinese breast cancer patients treated with weekly nab-paclitaxel compared to western patients. The albumin component of nab-paclitaxel might be the cause of the skin disorder.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3658926  PMID: 23659317
Phase II study; Albumin-bound paclitaxel; Cisplatin; Rash
24.  Repression of exogenous gene expression by the retinoic acid target gene G0S2 
International Journal of Oncology  2013;42(5):1743-1753.
The G0/G1 switch gene 2 (G0S2) is rapidly induced by all-trans-retinoic acid (RA)-treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) and other cells. G0S2 regulates lipolysis via inhibition of adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL). This study found that retinoic acid receptor (RAR), but not retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonists induced G0S2 expression in APL cells. Novel G0S2 functions were uncovered that included repression of exogenous gene expression and transcriptional activity. Transient G0S2 transfection repressed the activities of multiple reporter constructs (including the retinoid-regulated species RARβ, UBE1L and G0S2); this occurred in diverse cell contexts. This inhibition was antagonized by siRNA-mediated G0S2 knockdown. To determine the inhibitory effects were not due to transient G0S2 expression, G0S2 was stably overex-pressed in cells without appreciable basal G0S2 expression. As expected, this repressed transcriptional activities. Intriguingly, transfection of G0S2 did not affect endogenous RARβ, UBE1L or G0S2 expression. Hence, only exogenously expressed genes were affected by G0S2. The domain responsible for this repression was localized to the G0S2 hydrophobic domain (HD). This was the same region responsible for the ability of G0S2 to inhibit ATGL activity. Whether an interaction with ATGL accounted for this new G0S2 activity was studied. Mimicking the inhibition of ATGL by oleic acid treatment that increased lipid droplet size or ATGL siRNA knockdown did not recapitulate G0S2 repressive effects. Engineered gain of ATGL expression did not rescue G0S2 transcriptional repression either. Thus, transcriptional repression by G0S2 did not depend on the ability of G0S2 to inhibit ATGL. Subcellular localization studies revealed that endogenous and exogenously-expressed G0S2 proteins were localized to the cytoplasm, particularly in the perinuclear region. Expression of a mutant G0S2 species that lacked the HD domain altered cytosolic G0S2 localization. This linked G0S2 subcellular localization to G0S2 transcriptional repression. The potential mechanisms responsible for this G0S2 repression are examined.
PMCID: PMC3661193  PMID: 23546556
retinoic acid; G0/G1 switch gene 2; transcriptional repression
25.  Severe hepatic necrosis of unknown causes following ABO-incompatible liver transplantation 
Emergency ABO-incompatible (ABO-I) liver transplantations (LTx) have been performed increasingly to treat severe liver failure. Herein, we report a case of severe hepatic necrosis after ABO-I LTx. A 53-year-old man with blood group O was diagnosed as having severe hepatitis B and acute-on-chronic liver failure, and underwent an emergency liver transplantation implanting a blood-group-B liver from a cardiac-death donor. A routine anti-rejection, anti-infection and anti-virus therapy was given after operation. On post-operative day (POD) 16, the recipient had fever and erythra. Laboratory and radiographic examinations suggested a severe hepatic necrosis of unknown causes. The patient was managed with a 10-d methylprednisolone pulse therapy. He was discharged on POD 35 with stable condition, and no recurrent disease was found during the follow-up.
PMCID: PMC3574898  PMID: 23430106
Liver transplantations; ABO-incompatible; Hepatic necrosis; Graft rejection; Pulse therapy

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