The polycystic kidney (PCK) rat is an animal model of Caroli’s disease as well as autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD). The signaling pathways involving the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) are aberrantly activated in ARPKD. This study investigated the effects of inhibitors for the cell signaling pathways including mTOR on cholangiocyte proliferation of the PCK rat. Cultured PCK cholangiocytes were treated with rapamycin and everolimus [inhibitors of mTOR complex 1 (mTOC1)], LY294002 [an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)] and NVP-BEZ235 (an inhibitor of PI3K and mTORC1/2), and the cell proliferative activity was determined in relation to autophagy and apoptosis. The expression of phosphorylated (p)-mTOR, p-Akt, and PI3K was increased in PCK cholangiocytes compared to normal cholangiocytes. All inhibitors significantly inhibited the cell proliferative activity of PCK cholangiocytes, where NVP-BEZ235 had the most prominent effect. NVP-BEZ235, but not rapamycin and everolimus, further inhibited biliary cyst formation in the three-dimensional cell culture system. Rapamycin and everolimus induced apoptosis in PCK cholangiocytes, whereas NVP-BEZ235 inhibited cholangiocyte apoptosis. Notably, the autophagic response was significantly induced following the treatment with NVP-BEZ235, but not rapamycin and everolimus. Inhibition of autophagy using siRNA against protein-light chain3 and 3-methyladenine significantly increased the cell proliferative activity of PCK cholangiocytes treated with NVP-BEZ235. In vivo, treatment of the PCK rat with NVP-BEZ235 attenuated cystic dilatation of the intrahepatic bile ducts, whereas renal cyst development was unaffected. These results suggest that the aberrant activation of the PI3K/mTOR pathway is involved in cystic proliferation of cholangiocytes of the PCK rat, and inhibition of the pathway can reduce cholangiocyte proliferation via the mechanism involving apoptosis and/or autophagy.
AIM: To investigate the roles of peribiliary glands around the bile ducts in the pathophysiology of the biliary tract.
METHODS: The expression of fetal pancreatic markers, pancreatic duodenal homeobox factor 1 (PDX1) and hairy and enhancer of split 1 (HES1) and endodermal stem/progenitor (S/P) cell markers [CD44s, chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4), SOX9 and epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)] were examined immunohistochemically in 32 normal adult livers (autopsy livers) and 22 hepatolithiatic livers (surgically resected livers). The latter was characterized by the proliferation of the peribiliary glands. Immunohistochemistry was performed using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections after deparaffinization. Although PDX1 and HES1 were expressed in both the nucleus and cytoplasm of epithelial cells, only nuclear staining was evaluated. SOX9 was expressed in the nucleus, while CD44s, CXCR4 and EpCAM were expressed in the cell membranes. The frequency and extent of the expression of these molecules in the lining epithelia and peribiliary glands were evaluated semi-quantitatively based on the percentage of positive cells: 0, 1+ (focal), 2+ (moderate) and 3+ (extensive).
RESULTS: In normal livers, PDX1 was infrequently expressed in the lining epithelia, but was frequently expressed in the peribiliary glands. In contrast, HES1 was frequently expressed in the lining epithelia, but its expression in the peribiliary glands was focal, suggesting that the peribiliary glands retain the potential of differentiation toward the pancreas and the lining epithelia exhibit properties to inhibit such differentiation. This unique combination was also seen in hepatolithiatic livers. The expression of endodermal S/P cell markers varied in the peribiliary glands in normal livers: SOX9 and EpCAM were frequently expressed, CD44s infrequently, and CXCR4 almost not at all. The expression of these markers, particularly CD44s and CXCR4, increased in the peribiliary glands and lining epithelia in hepatolithiatic livers. This increased expression of endodermal S/P cell markers may be related to the increased production of intestinal and gastric mucin and also to the biliary neoplasia associated with the gastric and intestinal phenotypes reported in hepatolithiasis.
CONCLUSION: The unique expression pattern of PDX1 and HES1 and increased expression of endodermal S/P cell markers in the peribiliary glands may be involved in biliary pathophysiologies.
Biliary tree; Peribiliary glands; Pancreatic duodenal homeobox factor 1; Stem cells; Differentiation; Pancreas
To successfully induce tissue repair or regeneration in vivo, bioengineered constructs must possess both optimal bioactivity and mechanical strength. This is because cell interaction with the extracellular matrix (ECM) produces two different but concurrent signaling mechanisms: ligation-induced signaling, which depends on ECM biological stimuli, and traction-induced signaling, which depends on ECM mechanical stimuli. In this report, we provide a fundamental understanding of how alterations in mechanical stimuli alone, produced by varying the viscoelastic properties of our bioengineered construct, modulate phenotypic behavior at the whole-cell level. Using a physiologically-relevant ECM mimic composed of hyaluronan and fibronectin, we found that adult human dermal fibroblasts modify their mechanical response in order to match substrate stiffness. More specifically, the cells on stiffer substrates had higher modulus and a more stretched and organized actin cytoskeleton (and vice versa), which translated into larger traction forces exerted on the substrate. This modulation of cellular mechanics had contrasting effects on migration and proliferation, where cells migrated faster on softer substrates while proliferating preferentially on the stiffer ones. These findings implicate substrate rigidity as a critical design parameter in the development of bioengineered constructs aimed at eliciting maximal cell and tissue function.
L. decemlineata is an exotic invasive insect pest, and invaded in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in China in the 1990s from Kazakhstan. It is a notorious defoliator of potato throughout most of the northern Xinjiang in current, and often causes extremely large yield losses of potato.
The expression stability of nine L. decemlineata house-keeping genes (Actin, ACT1 and ACT2; ADP-ribosylation factor, ARF1 and ARF4; TATA box binding protein, TBP1 and TBP2; ribosomal protein RP4 and RP18; translation elongation factor 1α EF1α) was evaluated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) in seven developmental stages, three larval tissues and two insecticide treatments. The results were analyzed using three software programs: geNorm, NormFinder and BestKeeper. Although there was no consistent ranking observed among the house-keeping genes across the samples, the overall analysis revealed that RP18, RP4, ARF1, and ARF4 were the four most stable house-keeping genes. In contrast, ACT1 and ACT2, two of the most widely used reference genes, had the least stability. Our results suggest that the combined use of the four most stably expressed genes may produce optimal normalization for qRT-PCR.
The expression stability of the house-keeping genes varies among different developing stages, in different tissues and under different experimental conditions. Our results will enable a more accurate and reliable normalization of qRT-PCR data in L. decemlineata.
L. decemlineata; Quantitative real-time PCR; Reference gene; Normalization
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16) are the causative agents of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). During recent epidemics of HFMD in China, medicinal herbals and preparations containing herbal extracts have demonstrated therapeutic efficacy with relative safety profiles. There have been no microbiological studies to validate their usefulness for HFMD. We selected 12 commonly used herbs for HFMD from government recommended guidelines as well as published reports and tested for their antiviral activity and anti-inflammatory activity. A water extract of Houttuynia cordata Thunb. (HCT) inhibited EV71 infection significantly and was marginally active against CVA16 infection. The IC50 (concentration to have 50% inhibitory effect) values of HCT against a Fuyang strain and a BrCr strain of EV71 were determined at 8.9 μg/mL and 20.6 μg/mL, respectively. Mentha haplocalyx Briq. (MHB) water extract was active against CVA16, with an IC50 value of 70.3 μg/mL. The extract did not exhibit activity against EV71 infection. Although the majority of the extracts showed no activity against viral infection, several extracts demonstrated activity in blocking proinflammatory response by viral infection. This study therefore validates the effectiveness of Chinese herbs for HFMD since some formulations containing the correct combination of the herbs can block viral replication as well as proinflammatory response of HFMD.
The histopathological and molecular heterogeneity of normal tissue adjacent to cancerous tissue (NTAC) and normal tissue adjacent to benign tissue (NTAB), and the availability of limited specimens make deciphering the mechanisms of carcinogenesis challenging. Our goal was to identify histogenetic biomarkers that could be reliably used to define a transforming fingerprint using RNA in situ hybridization.
We evaluated 15 tumor-related RNA in situ hybridization biomarkers using tumor microarray and samples of seven tumor-adjacent normal tissues from 314 patients. Biomarkers were determined using comprehensive statistical methods (significance of support vector machine-based artificial intelligence and area under curve scoring of classification distribution).
TP53 was found to be a most reliable index (P <10-7; area under curve >87%) for distinguishing NTAC from NTAB, according to the results of a significance panel (BCL10, BECN1, BRCA2, FITH, PTCH11 and TP53).
The genetic alterations in TP53 between NTAC and NTAB may provide new insight into the field of cancerization and tumor transformation.
Cancerization; Genetic biomarkers; Normal tissue adjacent to benign; Normal tissue adjacent to cancer; Tissue microarray
Integral membrane proteins constitute 25–30% of genomes and play crucial roles in many biological processes. However, less than 1% of membrane protein structures are in the Protein Data Bank. In this context, it is important to develop reliable computational methods for predicting the structures of membrane proteins. Here, we present the first application of random forest (RF) for residue-residue contact prediction in transmembrane proteins, which we term as TMhhcp. Rigorous cross-validation tests indicate that the built RF models provide a more favorable prediction performance compared with two state-of-the-art methods, i.e., TMHcon and MEMPACK. Using a strict leave-one-protein-out jackknifing procedure, they were capable of reaching the top L/5 prediction accuracies of 49.5% and 48.8% for two different residue contact definitions, respectively. The predicted residue contacts were further employed to predict interacting helical pairs and achieved the Matthew's correlation coefficients of 0.430 and 0.424, according to two different residue contact definitions, respectively. To facilitate the academic community, the TMhhcp server has been made freely accessible at http://protein.cau.edu.cn/tmhhcp.
Although in the past two decades, laparoscopic surgery, considered as a great revolution in the minimally invasive surgery field, has undergone major development worldwide, another dramatic surgical revolution has quietly appeared in recent years. Ever since Kalloo’s first report on transgastric peritoneoscopy in a porcine model in 2004, interest in a new surgical procedure named natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) has blossomed worldwide. Considering that a NOTES procedure could theoretically avoid any abdominal incision, operation-related pain and scarring, many surgeons and endoscopists have been enthusiastic in their study of this new technique. In recent years, several NOTES studies have been carried out on porcine models and even on humans, including transvaginal cholecystectomy, transgastric appendectomy, transvaginal appendectomy, and transvesical peritoneoscopy. So what is the current situation of NOTES and how many challenges do we still face? This review discusses the current research progress in NOTES.
Laparoscopic surgery; Natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery; Endoscopy
As one of the most important reversible protein post-translation modifications, ubiquitination has been reported to be involved in lots of biological processes and closely implicated with various diseases. To fully decipher the molecular mechanisms of ubiquitination-related biological processes, an initial but crucial step is the recognition of ubiquitylated substrates and the corresponding ubiquitination sites. Here, a new bioinformatics tool named CKSAAP_UbSite was developed to predict ubiquitination sites from protein sequences. With the assistance of Support Vector Machine (SVM), the highlight of CKSAAP_UbSite is to employ the composition of k-spaced amino acid pairs surrounding a query site (i.e. any lysine in a query sequence) as input. When trained and tested in the dataset of yeast ubiquitination sites (Radivojac et al, Proteins, 2010, 78: 365–380), a 100-fold cross-validation on a 1∶1 ratio of positive and negative samples revealed that the accuracy and MCC of CKSAAP_UbSite reached 73.40% and 0.4694, respectively. The proposed CKSAAP_UbSite has also been intensively benchmarked to exhibit better performance than some existing predictors, suggesting that it can be served as a useful tool to the community. Currently, CKSAAP_UbSite is freely accessible at http://protein.cau.edu.cn/cksaap_ubsite/. Moreover, we also found that the sequence patterns around ubiquitination sites are not conserved across different species. To ensure a reasonable prediction performance, the application of the current CKSAAP_UbSite should be limited to the proteome of yeast.
Fibronectin (FN) is required for embryogenesis, morphogenesis, and wound repair, and its Arg–Gly–Asp-containing central cell-binding domain (CCBD) is essential for mesenchymal cell survival and growth. Here, we demonstrate that FN contains three growth factor-binding domains (FN-GFBDs) that bind platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB), a potent fibroblast survival and mitogenic factor. These sites bind PDGF-BB with dissociation constants of 10–100 nm. FN-null cells cultured on recombinant CCBD (FNIII8–11) without a FN-GFBD demonstrated minimal metabolism and underwent autophagy at 24 hours, followed by apoptosis at 72 hours, even in the presence of PDGF-BB. In contrast, FN-null cells plated on FNIII8–11 contiguous with FN-GFBD survived without, and proliferated with, PDGF-BB. FN-null cell survival on FNIII8–11 and noncontiguous arrays of FN-GFBDs required these domains to be adsorbed on the same surface, suggesting the existence of a mesenchymal cell-extracellular matrix synapse. Thus, fibroblast survival required GF stimulation in the presence of a FN-GFBD, as well as adhesion to FN through the CCBD. The findings that fibroblast survival is dependent on FN-GFBD underscore the critical importance of pericellular matrix for cell survival and have significant implications for cutaneous wound healing and regeneration.
Caroli's disease belongs to a group of hepatic fibropolycystic diseases and is a hepatic manifestation of autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD). It is a congenital disorder characterized by segmental saccular dilatations of the large intrahepatic bile duct and is frequently associated with congenital hepatic fibrosis (CHF). The most viable theory explaining its pathogenesis suggests that it is related to ductal plate malformation. The development of the polycystic kidney (PCK) rat, an orthologous rodent model of Caroli's disease with CHF as well as ARPKD, has allowed the molecular pathogenesis of the disease and the therapeutic options for its treatment to be examined. The relevance of the findings of studies using PCK rats and/or the cholangiocyte cell line derived from them to the pathogenesis of human Caroli's disease is currently being analyzed. Fibrocystin/polyductin, the gene product responsible for ARPKD, is normally localized to primary cilia, and defects in the fibrocystin from primary cilia are observed in PCK cholangiocytes. Ciliopathies involving PCK cholangiocytes (cholangiociliopathies) appear to be associated with decreased intracellular calcium levels and increased cAMP concentrations, causing cholangiocyte hyperproliferation, abnormal cell matrix interactions, and altered fluid secretion, which ultimately result in bile duct dilatation. This article reviews the current knowledge about the pathogenesis of Caroli's disease with CHF, particularly focusing on studies of the mechanism responsible for the biliary dysgenesis observed in PCK rats.
In the structure of the title compound, C28H16O6·H2O [systematic name 3,11-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-4,12-dioxapentacyclo[188.8.131.52,5.013,17.09,18]octadeca-1(16),2,5(18),6,8,10,13(17),14-octaene-7,15-diol monohydrate], the hopeahainol C molecule lies about an inversion center with the solvent water molecule located on a crystallographic twofold axis. Hopeahainol C is an oligostillbenoid compound and was isolated from the bark of Shorea roxburghii G. Don. The five central fused rings are essentially planar with an r.m.s. deviation of 0.0173 (3) Å. The 4-hydroxyphenyl ring is twisted with respect to this plane, with the dihedral angle between the phenyl ring and the fused-ring system being 41.70 (10)°. The crystal features intermolecular O—H⋯O hydrogen bonds. These interactions link the hopeahainol C molecules into chains along the b axis. Water molecules are located interstitially between the hopeahainol C molecules linked by O(water)—H⋯O(hydroxy) and O(hydroxy)—H⋯O(water) hydrogen bonds. π–π interactions are also observed with centroid–centroid distances of 3.6056 (17) and 3.5622 (17) Å. Short O⋯O contacts [2.703 (2)–2.720 (3) Å] are also present in the crystal.
Outer membrane proteins (OMPs) are frequently found in the outer membranes of gram-negative bacteria, mitochondria and chloroplasts and have been found to play diverse functional roles. Computational discrimination of OMPs from globular proteins and other types of membrane proteins is helpful to accelerate new genome annotation and drug discovery.
Based on the observation that almost all OMPs consist of antiparallel β-strands in a barrel shape and that their secondary structure arrangements differ from those of other types of proteins, we propose a simple method called SSEA-OMP to identify OMPs using secondary structure element alignment. Through intensive benchmark experiments, the proposed SSEA-OMP method is better than some well-established OMP detection methods.
The major advantage of SSEA-OMP is its good prediction performance considering its simplicity. The web server implements the method is freely accessible at http://protein.cau.edu.cn/SSEA-OMP/index.html.
Anatomical and physiological experiments in the lamprey reveal the neural circuit involved in transforming olfactory inputs into motor outputs, which was previously unknown in a vertebrate.
It is widely recognized that animals respond to odors by generating or modulating specific motor behaviors. These reactions are important for daily activities, reproduction, and survival. In the sea lamprey, mating occurs after ovulated females are attracted to spawning sites by male sex pheromones. The ubiquity and reliability of olfactory-motor behavioral responses in vertebrates suggest tight coupling between the olfactory system and brain areas controlling movements. However, the circuitry and the underlying cellular neural mechanisms remain largely unknown. Using lamprey brain preparations, and electrophysiology, calcium imaging, and tract tracing experiments, we describe the neural substrate responsible for transforming an olfactory input into a locomotor output. We found that olfactory stimulation with naturally occurring odors and pheromones induced large excitatory responses in reticulospinal cells, the command neurons for locomotion. We have also identified the anatomy and physiology of this circuit. The olfactory input was relayed in the medial part of the olfactory bulb, in the posterior tuberculum, in the mesencephalic locomotor region, to finally reach reticulospinal cells in the hindbrain. Activation of this olfactory-motor pathway generated rhythmic ventral root discharges and swimming movements. Our study bridges the gap between behavior and cellular neural mechanisms in vertebrates, identifying a specific subsystem within the CNS, dedicated to producing motor responses to olfactory inputs.
Animal behaviors, including locomotion, can be driven by olfactory cues, such as pheromones or food sources. The neural substrate (neuroanatomical connections and physiological signals) that permits the transformation of olfactory inputs into locomotor responses is still unknown in vertebrates. In the present study, we identify such a neural substrate in the lamprey. Here, olfactory signals from the outside world are transmitted to the reticulospinal neurons in the lower brainstem, which provide the descending locomotor command to the spinal cord. We found that this circuit originates in the medial portion of the olfactory bulb and that connections are made in the posterior tuberculum, a ventral diencephalic structure. These inputs are then conveyed to the mesencephalic locomotor region, known to project extensively to brainstem reticulospinal neurons and thereby activate locomotion. Our results illuminate a specific dedicated neural substrate in the brain of lampreys that underlies olfactory-motor responses, which is activated by both food-related or pheromonal olfactory cues. It will be of interest to determine whether such a pathway is preserved in all vertebrates.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a complex, multifactorial disease and a leading cause of mortality world wide. Over the past decades, great efforts have been made to elucidate the underlying genetic basis of CAD and massive data have been accumulated. To integrate these data together and to provide a useful resource for researchers, we developed the CADgene, a comprehensive database for CAD genes. We manually extracted CAD-related evidence for more than 300 candidate genes for CAD from over 1300 publications of genetic studies. We classified these candidate genes into 12 functional categories based on their roles in CAD. For each gene, we extracted detailed information from related studies (e.g. the size of case–control, population, SNP, odds ratio, P-value, etc.) and made useful annotations, which include general gene information, Gene Ontology annotations, KEGG pathways, protein–protein interactions and others. Besides the statistical number of studies for each gene, CADgene also provides tools to search and show the most frequently studied candidate genes. In addition, CADgene provides cumulative data from 11 publications of CAD-related genome-wide association studies. CADgene has a user-friendly web interface with multiple browse and search functions. It is freely available at http://www.bioguo.org/CADgene/.
AIM: To investigate the effect of tectorigenin on proliferation and apoptosis of hepatic stellate cells (HSC)-T6 cells.
METHODS: HSC-T6 cells were incubated with tectorigenin at different concentrations, and their proliferation was assessed by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation assay. Apoptosis was detected by ﬂow cytometry assay with Hoechst 33342 staining. Also, generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), intracellular [Ca2+]i, potential of mitochondrial membrane, activities of cytochrome c and caspase-9 and -3 were investigated to explore a conceivable apoptotic pathway.
RESULTS: Tectorigenin suppressed the proliferation of HSC-T6 cells and induced apoptosis of HSC-T6 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Tectorigenin at the concentration of 100 μg/mL greatly inhibited the viability of HSC-T6 cells and induced the condensation of chromatin and fragmentation of nuclei. When treated for 48 h, the percentage of cell growth and apoptosis reached 46.3% ± 2.37% (P = 0.004) and 50.67% ± 3.24% (P = 0.003), respectively. Furthermore, tectorigenin-induced apoptosis of HSC-T6 cells was associated with the generation of ROS, increased intracellular [Ca2+]i, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, translocation of cytochrome c, and activation of caspase-9 and -3.
CONCLUSION: Tectorigenin inhibits proliferation of HSC-T6 cells and induces apoptosis of HSC-T6 cells.
Tectorigenin; Apoptosis; Hepatic stellate cells; Hepatic ﬁbrosis; Mitochondria; Proliferation
The triosephosphate isomerase (TIM)-barrel fold occurs frequently in the proteomes of different organisms, and the known TIM-barrel proteins have been found to play diverse functional roles. To accelerate the exploration of the sequence-structure protein landscape in the TIM-barrel fold, a computational tool that allows sensitive detection of TIM-barrel proteins is required.
To develop a new TIM-barrel protein identification method in this work, we consider three descriptors: a sequence-alignment-based descriptor using PSI-BLAST e-values and bit scores, a descriptor based on secondary structure element alignment (SSEA), and a descriptor based on the occurrence of PROSITE functional motifs. With the assistance of Support Vector Machine (SVM), the three descriptors were combined to obtain a new method with improved performance, which we call TIM-Finder. When tested on the whole proteome of Bacillus subtilis, TIM-Finder is able to detect 194 TIM-barrel proteins at a 99% confidence level, outperforming the PSI-BLAST search as well as one existing fold recognition method.
TIM-Finder can serve as a competitive tool for proteome-wide TIM-barrel protein identification. The TIM-Finder web server is freely accessible at http://184.108.40.206/TIM-Finder/.
Machine learning-based methods have been proven to be powerful in developing new fold recognition tools. In our previous work [Zhang, Kochhar and Grigorov (2005) Protein Science, 14: 431-444], a machine learning-based method called DescFold was established by using Support Vector Machines (SVMs) to combine the following four descriptors: a profile-sequence-alignment-based descriptor using Psi-blast e-values and bit scores, a sequence-profile-alignment-based descriptor using Rps-blast e-values and bit scores, a descriptor based on secondary structure element alignment (SSEA), and a descriptor based on the occurrence of PROSITE functional motifs. In this work, we focus on the improvement of DescFold by incorporating more powerful descriptors and setting up a user-friendly web server.
In seeking more powerful descriptors, the profile-profile alignment score generated from the COMPASS algorithm was first considered as a new descriptor (i.e., PPA). When considering a profile-profile alignment between two proteins in the context of fold recognition, one protein is regarded as a template (i.e., its 3D structure is known). Instead of a sequence profile derived from a Psi-blast search, a structure-seeded profile for the template protein was generated by searching its structural neighbors with the assistance of the TM-align structural alignment algorithm. Moreover, the COMPASS algorithm was used again to derive a profile-structural-profile-alignment-based descriptor (i.e., PSPA). We trained and tested the new DescFold in a total of 1,835 highly diverse proteins extracted from the SCOP 1.73 version. When the PPA and PSPA descriptors were introduced, the new DescFold boosts the performance of fold recognition substantially. Using the SCOP_1.73_40% dataset as the fold library, the DescFold web server based on the trained SVM models was further constructed. To provide a large-scale test for the new DescFold, a stringent test set of 1,866 proteins were selected from the SCOP 1.75 version. At a less than 5% false positive rate control, the new DescFold is able to correctly recognize structural homologs at the fold level for nearly 46% test proteins. Additionally, we also benchmarked the DescFold method against several well-established fold recognition algorithms through the LiveBench targets and Lindahl dataset.
The new DescFold method was intensively benchmarked to have very competitive performance compared with some well-established fold recognition methods, suggesting that it can serve as a useful tool to assist in template-based protein structure prediction. The DescFold server is freely accessible at http://220.127.116.11/DescFold/index.html.
Biomarkers of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection, aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) exposure and oxidative stress were detected in 71 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients and 694 controls from southern China. Plasma level of AFB1-Albumin-Adducts (AAA) and protein carbonyl content (PCC) were significantly higher in the 71 HCC cases than in any age/gender matched HBV sero-status groups (P<0.001). HCC patients positive for the p53-249 G-T mutation had a marginally higher level of PCC than those negative for the mutation (p=0.077). HBV infection had a prominent influence on the association between AFB1 exposure and oxidative stress biomarkers in the controls. Our study indicates a significant contribution from HBV infection to oxidative stress in a population with AFB1 exposure which might substantially increase risk for HCC in this region.
HBV; Aflatoxin; oxidative stress; hepatocellular carcinoma
Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a cardiac disorder characterized by prolonged QT intervals on electrocardiograms (ECG), ventricular arrhythmias, and sudden death. Clinically, two inherited forms of LQTS have been defined: autosomal dominant LQTS or Romano-Ward syndrome (RWS) not associated with deafness and autosomal recessive LQTS or Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome (JLNS) associated with deafness.
A Chinese family with both RWS and JLNS was identified. Family members were diagnosed based on the presence of a prolonged QT interval as seen on a 12-lead ECG and a medical history of syncope, palpitation, and deafness. Mutational studies in the KCNQ1 potassium channel gene were performed using direct DNA sequence analysis and restriction length polymorphism analysis.
The proband in the Chinese family and her brother had previously been diagnosed with JLNS, and two other members were affected with RWS. The proband was also affected with atrial fibrillation. A single nucleotide substitution of C to T at nucleotide 965 of KCNQ1 was identified, and the mutation resulted in the substitution of a threonine residue at codon 322 by a methionine residue (T322M). The novel heterozygous T322M mutation was identified in two patients with RWS, one member with borderline QTc, and two normal family members. The two JLNS patients in the family carried the homozygous T322M mutation. The T322M mutation was not found in 200 Chinese normal controls.
Our results suggest that T322M is a novel mutation that caused RWS with high intrafamilial variability in the heterozygous carriers and typical JLNS in the homozygous carriers within this Chinese family. The T322M mutation is the first mutation identified for JLNS in the Chinese population.
AIM: To evaluate the preventive effects of phosphorus-32 glass microspheres (P32-GMS) in the recurrence of massive hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) after tumor resection.
METHODS: Twenty-nine patients with massive HCCs received local P32-GMS implantation after liver tumors were removed, while the other 38 patients with massive HCCs were not treated with P32-GMS after hepatectomies. The radioactivity of the blood, urine and liver were examined. The complications, HCC recurrence and overall survival rates in the patients were analyzed.
RESULTS: P32-GMS implanted in the liver did not cause systemic absorption of P32. There were no significant differences of postoperative complications between the patients with and without P32-GMS treatment. The short-term (six months and 1 year) and long-term (2, 3 and over 3 years) recurrence rates in patients who received P32-GMS radiotherapy were significantly decreased, and the overall survival rates in this group were significantly improved.
CONCLUSION: P32-GMS implantation in the liver can significantly decrease the postoperative recurrence and improve the overall survival in HCCs patients after hepatectomy. This therapy may provide an innovative method in prevention of HCC recurrence after operation.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Recurrence; Phosphorus-32 glass microspheres; Hepatectomy
Hypokalemic periodic paralysis (HypoPP) is an autosomal dominant disorder which is characterized by periodic attacks of muscle weakness associated with a decrease in the serum potassium level. The skeletal muscle calcium channel α-subunit gene CACNA1S is a major disease-causing gene for HypoPP, however, only three specific HypoPP-causing mutations, Arg528His, Arg1,239His and Arg1,239Gly, have been identified in CACNA1S to date. In this study, we studied a four-generation Chinese family with HypoPP with 43 living members and 19 affected individuals. Linkage analysis showed that the causative mutation in the family is linked to the CACNA1S gene with a LOD score of 6.7. DNA sequence analysis revealed a heterozygous C to G transition at nucleotide 1,582, resulting in a novel 1,582C→G (Arg528Gly) mutation. The Arg528Gly mutation co-segregated with all affected individuals in the family, and was not present in 200 matched normal controls. The penetrance of the Arg528Gly mutation was complete in male mutation carriers, however, a reduced penetrance of 83% (10/12) was observed in female carriers. No differences were detected for age-at-onset and severity of the disease (frequency of symptomatic attacks per year) between male and female patients. Oral intake of KCl is effective in blocking the symptomatic attacks. This study identifies a novel Arg528Gly mutation in the CACNA1S gene that causes HypoPP in a Chinese family, expands the spectrum of mutations causing HypoPP, and demonstrates a gender difference in the penetrance of the disease.
Hypokalemic periodic paralysis; Skeletal muscle calcium channel; Mutation; CACNA1S; Ion channel; CACNA1S: Skeletal muscle voltage-gated calcium channel α-subunit; HyperPP: Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis; HypoPP: Hypokalemic periodic paralysis; KCNE3: Voltage-gated potassium channel β subunit gene; PCR: Polymerase chain reaction; RFLP: Restriction fragment length polymorphism; SCN4A: Skeletal muscle voltage-gated sodium channel α-subunit
Cell-mediated immunity depends in part on appropriate migration and localization of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), a process regulated by chemokines and adhesion molecules. Many viruses, including human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), encode chemotactically active proteins, suggesting that dysregulation of immune cell trafficking may be a strategy for immune evasion. HIV-1 gp120, a retroviral envelope protein, has been shown to act as a T-cell chemoattractant via binding to the chemokine receptor and HIV-1 coreceptor CXCR4. We have previously shown that T cells move away from the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) in a concentration-dependent and CXCR4 receptor-mediated manner. Here, we demonstrate that CXCR4-binding HIV-1 X4 gp120 causes the movement of T cells, including HIV-specific CTL, away from high concentrations of the viral protein. This migratory response is CD4 independent and inhibited by anti-CXCR4 antibodies and pertussis toxin. Additionally, the expression of X4 gp120 by target cells reduces CTL efficacy in an in vitro system designed to account for the effect of cell migration on the ability of CTL to kill their target cells. Recombinant X4 gp120 also significantly reduced antigen-specific T-cell infiltration at a site of antigen challenge in vivo. The repellant activity of HIV-1 gp120 on immune cells in vitro and in vivo was shown to be dependent on the V2 and V3 loops of HIV-1 gp120. These data suggest that the active movement of T cells away from CXCR4-binding HIV-1 gp120, which we previously termed fugetaxis, may provide a novel mechanism by which HIV-1 evades challenge by immune effector cells in vivo.