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author:("Sun, xiaoi")
1.  Partner of Sld five 3: a potential prognostic biomarker for colorectal cancer 
Diagnostic Pathology  2014;9(1):217.
Partner of Sld five 3 (PSF3) is a member of the evolutionarily conserved heterotetrameric complex “Go-Ichi-Ni-San” (GINS), which consists of SLD5, PSF1, PSF2, and PSF3. Previous studies have suggested that some GINS complex members are upregulated in cancer, but the status of PSF3 expression in colorectal cancer has not been investigated.
We investigated the status of PSF3 expression in 137 consecutive resected colorectal caners by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Univariable and multivariable Cox regression analyses were performed to assess independent prognostic factors for overall survival in colorectal cancer.
In 137 restected colorectal cancer samples, median messenger RNA (mRNA) expression levels of PSF3 were significantly higher in tumor tissues (1.35 × 10−3, range 2.88 × 10−4 to 3.16 × 10−2) than in adjacent normal tissues (2.94 × 10−4, range 5.48 × 10−5 to 1.27 × 10−3) (P < 0.05). Moreover, high expression of PSF3 in tumor tissues was associated with shorter disease-free survival and overall survival. When analyzed with a Cox regression model, the PSF3 expression was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival. In addition, in patients with early stage (stage I and II) colorectal cancer, the overall survival rate of the high PSF3 expression group was significantly lower than that of the low PSF3 expression group (P < 0.001).
The PSF3 expression plays an important role in the progression of colorectal cancer and acts as a factor significantly affecting the prognosis of patients.
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PMCID: PMC4244056  PMID: 25403684
Partner of Sld five 3; Colorectal cancer; Overall survival
2.  Association between miR-27a genetic variants and susceptibility to colorectal cancer 
Diagnostic Pathology  2014;9(1):146.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate target genes. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in a miRNA sequence may alter miRNA expression and/or maturation, which was proposed to associate with the development and progression of cancer. The rs895819 polymorphism, located in the terminal loop of pre-miR-27a, has been reported to have relevance to several cancers. In this study, we investigated the possibility of association between polymorphism in rs895819 and susceptibility to colorectal cancer (CRC).
We identified a single SNP, rs895819 in pre-miR-27a, for further investigation, were determined in 205 CRC patients and 455 healthy controls.
When taking the AA genotype as a reference, we found that AG genotype was not statistically significantly associated with the risk of CRC (AG vs. AA, OR 1.245, 95% CI: 0.806 – 1.923). However, the GG genotype was significantly associated with risk of CRC (GG vs. AA, OR 1.599, 95% CI: 1.052 – 2.430). In the AG + GG vs GG group, no significant difference was detected (OR 1.424, 95% CI, 0.974 – 1.801). GG genotype and G allele was associated with an increased risk of metastasis in this study (P < 0.001 and P = 0.003, respectively).
This study found significant association between rs895819 polymorphism in pre-miR-27a and CRC risk. Population-based studies with large number of subjects and long-term follow-up are needed to verify the association of miR-27a polymorphism with CRC susceptibility and severity.
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PMCID: PMC4261532  PMID: 25078482
Single nucleotide polymorphism; Colorectal cancer; miR-27a; Risk factor
3.  Ectopic Expression of GsPPCK3 and SCMRP in Medicago sativa Enhances Plant Alkaline Stress Tolerance and Methionine Content 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89578.
So far, it has been suggested that phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylases (PEPCs) and PEPC kinases (PPCKs) fulfill several important non-photosynthetic functions. However, the biological functions of soybean PPCKs, especially in alkali stress response, are not yet well known. In previous studies, we constructed a Glycine soja transcriptional profile, and identified three PPCK genes (GsPPCK1, GsPPCK2 and GsPPCK3) as potential alkali stress responsive genes. In this study, we confirmed the induced expression of GsPPCK3 under alkali stress and investigated its tissue expression specificity by using quantitative real-time PCR analysis. Then we ectopically expressed GsPPCK3 in Medicago sativa and found that GsPPCK3 overexpression improved plant alkali tolerance, as evidenced by lower levels of relative ion leakage and MDA content and higher levels of chlorophyll content and root activity. In this respect, we further co-transformed the GsPPCK3 and SCMRP genes into alfalfa, and demonstrated the increased alkali tolerance of GsPPCK3-SCMRP transgenic lines. Further investigation revealed that GsPPCK3-SCMRP co-overexpression promoted the PEPC activity, net photosynthetic rate and citric acid content of transgenic alfalfa under alkali stress. Moreover, we also observed the up-regulated expression of PEPC, CS (citrate synthase), H+-ATPase and NADP-ME genes in GsPPCK3-SCMRP transgenic alfalfa under alkali stress. As expected, we demonstrated that GsPPCK3-SCMRP transgenic lines displayed higher methionine content than wild type alfalfa. Taken together, results presented in this study supported the positive role of GsPPCK3 in plant response to alkali stress, and provided an effective way to simultaneously improve plant alkaline tolerance and methionine content, at least in legume crops.
PMCID: PMC3934933  PMID: 24586886
4.  Ectopic Expression of a WRKY Homolog from Glycine soja Alters Flowering Time in Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e73295.
Flowering is a critical event in the life cycle of plants; the WRKY-type transcription factors are reported to be involved in many developmental processes sunch as trichome development and epicuticular wax loading, but whether they are involved in flowering time regulation is still unknown. Within this study, we provide clear evidence that GsWRKY20, a member of WRKY gene family from wild soybean, is involved in controlling plant flowering time. Expression of GsWRKY20 was abundant in the shoot tips and inflorescence meristems of wild soybean. Phenotypic analysis showed that GsWRKY20 over-expression lines flowered earlier than the wild-type plants under all conditions: long-day and short-day photoperiods, vernalization, or exogenous GA3 application, indicating that GsWRKY20 may mainly be involved in an autonomous flowering pathway. Further analyses by qRT-PCR and microarray suggests that GsWRKY20 accelerating plant flowering might primarily be through the regulation of flowering-related genes (i.e., FLC, FT, SOC1 and CO) and floral meristem identity genes (i.e., AP1, SEP3, AP3, PI and AG). Our results provide the evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of manipulating GsWRKY20 for altering plant flowering time.
PMCID: PMC3753250  PMID: 23991184
5.  S100P Expression in response to sex steroids during the implantation window in human endometrium 
S100P, a protein originally detected in the human placenta, has been found to play an important role in the development and invasion of tumors. Interestingly, we have recently discovered using data mining that S100P was considerably up-regulated during the window of implantation in the human endometrium, but little further information has been available.
Real-time PCR and immunofluorescence were performed to examine the expression and location of S100P in the human endometrium and endometrial cells. Estrogen and progesterone were added to the cultured cells to test the response of S100P to sex steroids.
A dramatic peak, approximately a 100-fold increase in comparison with the proliferative and early- and late-secretory phases, was observed in the endometrium during the mid-secretory phase, which corresponds to the time of embryo implantation. Progesterone regulated the expression of S100P in both primary endometrial epithelial and stromal cells, but estrogen had no significant effect.
The results indicate that S100P participates in the periodic change of the endometrium under the regulation of progesterone, may be used as a unique biomarker of the receptive endometrium and play an important role in embryo implantation.
PMCID: PMC3551790  PMID: 23216986
Calcium-binding protein S100P; Endometrial receptivity; Hormonal regulation
6.  Liuwei Dihuang (LWDH), a Traditional Chinese Medicinal Formula, Protects against β-Amyloid Toxicity in Transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43990.
Liuwei Dihuang (LWDH), a classic Chinese medicinal formula, has been used to improve or restore declined functions related to aging and geriatric diseases, such as impaired mobility, vision, hearing, cognition and memory. Here, we report on the effect and possible mechanisms of LWDH mediated protection of β-amyloid (Aβ) induced paralysis in Caenorhabditis elegans using ethanol extract (LWDH-EE) and water extract (LWDH-WE). Chemical profiling and quantitative analysis revealed the presence of different levels of bioactive components in these extracts. LWDH-WE was rich in polar components such as monosaccharide dimers and trimers, whereas LWDH-EE was enriched in terms of phenolic compounds such as gallic acid and paeonol. In vitro studies revealed higher DPPH radical scavenging activity for LWDH-EE as compared to that found for LWDH-WE. Neither LWDH-EE nor LWDH-WE were effective in inhibiting aggregation of Aβ in vitro. By contrast, LWDH-EE effectively delayed Aβ induced paralysis in the transgenic C. elegans (CL4176) model which expresses human Aβ1–42. Western blot revealed no treatment induced reduction in Aβ accumulation in CL4176 although a significant reduction was observed at an early stage with respect to β-amyloid deposition in C. elegans strain CL2006 which constitutively expresses human Aβ1–42. In addition, LWDH-EE reduced in vivo reactive oxygen species (ROS) in C. elegans (CL4176) that correlated with increased survival of LWDH-EE treated N2 worms under juglone-induced oxidative stress. Analysis with GFP reporter strain TJ375 revealed increased expression of hsp16.2::GFP after thermal stress whereas a minute induction was observed for sod3::GFP. Quantitative gene expression analysis revealed that LWDH-EE repressed the expression of amy1 in CL4176 while up-regulating hsp16.2 induced by elevating temperature. Taken together, these results suggest that LWDH extracts, particularly LWDH-EE, alleviated β-amyloid induced toxicity, in part, through up-regulation of heat shock protein, antioxidant activity and reduced ROS in C. elegans.
PMCID: PMC3431378  PMID: 22952840
7.  A pH-sensitive multifunctional gene carrier assembled via layer-by-layer technique for efficient gene delivery 
The success of gene therapy asks for the development of multifunctional vectors that could overcome various gene delivery barriers, such as the cell membrane, endosomal membrane, and nuclear membrane. Layer-by-layer technique is an efficient method with easy operation which can be used for the assembly of multifunctional gene carriers. This work describes a pH-sensitive multifunctional gene vector that offered long circulation property but avoided the inhibition of tumor cellular uptake of gene carriers associated with the use of polyethylene glycol.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was firstly condensed with protamine into a cationic core which was used as assembly template. Then, additional layers of anionic DNA, cationic liposomes, and o-carboxymethyl-chitosan (CMCS) were alternately adsorbed onto the template via layer-by-layer technique and finally the multifunctional vector called CMCS-cationic liposome-coated DNA/protamine/DNA complexes (CLDPD) was constructed. For in vitro test, the cytotoxicity and transfection investigation was carried out on HepG2 cell line. For in vivo evaluation, CMCS-CLDPD was intratumorally injected into tumor-bearing mice and the tumor cells were isolated for fluorescence determination of transfection efficiency.
CMCS-CLDPD had ellipsoidal shapes and showed “core-shell” structure which showed stabilization property in serum and effective protection of DNA from nuclease degradation. In vitro and in vivo transfection results demonstrated that CMCS-CLDPD had pH-sensitivity and the outermost layer of CMCS fell off in the tumor tissue, which could not only protect CMCS- CLDPD from serum interaction but also enhance gene transfection efficiency.
These results demonstrated that multifunctional CMCS-CLDPD had pH- sensitivity, which may provide a new approach for the antitumor gene delivery.
PMCID: PMC3289447  PMID: 22393290
layer-by-layer; multifunctional nanovector; pH-sensitivity; gene delivery
8.  Two-color STED microscopy in living cells 
Biomedical Optics Express  2011;2(8):2364-2371.
Diffraction-unlimited resolution provided by Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) microscopy allows for imaging cellular processes in living cells that are not visible by conventional microscopy. However, it has so far not been possible to study dynamic nanoscale interactions because multicolor live cell STED microscopy has yet to be demonstrated and suitable labeling technologies and protocols are lacking. Here we report the first realization of two-color STED imaging in living cells. Using improved SNAPf and CLIPf technologies to label epidermal growth factor (EGF) and EGF receptor (EGFR), we report resolutions of 78 nm and 82 nm for 22 sequential two-color scans in living cells.
PMCID: PMC3149534  PMID: 21833373
(170.3880) Medical and biological imaging; (180.2520) Fluorescence microscopy; (350.5730) Resolution
9.  Exo-endocytic trafficking and the septin-based diffusion barrier are required for the maintenance of Cdc42p polarization during budding yeast asymmetric growth 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(5):624-633.
The small GTPase Cdc42p is a master regulator of cell polarity. We analyzed Cdc42p localization using yeast mutants and found that endo-exocytic trafficking and septin-based diffusion barrier synergistically control Cdc42p polarization during asymmetric cell growth.
Cdc42p plays a central role in asymmetric cell growth in yeast by controlling actin organization and vesicular trafficking. However, how Cdc42p is maintained specifically at the daughter cell plasma membrane during asymmetric cell growth is unclear. We have analyzed Cdc42p localization in yeast mutants defective in various stages of membrane trafficking by fluorescence microscopy and biochemical fractionation. We found that two separate exocytic pathways mediate Cdc42p delivery to the daughter cell. Defects in one of these pathways result in Cdc42p being rerouted through the other. In particular, the pathway involving trafficking through endosomes may couple Cdc42p endocytosis from, and subsequent redelivery to, the plasma membrane to maintain Cdc42p polarization at the daughter cell. Although the endo-exocytotic coupling is necessary for Cdc42p polarization, it is not sufficient to prevent the lateral diffusion of Cdc42p along the cell cortex. A barrier function conferred by septins is required to counteract the dispersal of Cdc42p and maintain its localization in the daughter cell but has no effect on the initial polarization of Cdc42p at the presumptive budding site before symmetry breaking. Collectively, membrane trafficking and septins function synergistically to maintain the dynamic polarization of Cdc42p during asymmetric growth in yeast.
PMCID: PMC3046059  PMID: 21209323
10.  Biodegradable Tri-Block Copolymer Poly(lactic acid)-poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(l-lysine)(PLA-PEG-PLL) as a Non-Viral Vector to Enhance Gene Transfection 
Low cytotoxicity and high gene transfection efficiency are critical issues in designing current non-viral gene delivery vectors. The purpose of the present work was to synthesize the novel biodegradable poly (lactic acid)-poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(l-lysine) (PLA-PEG-PLL) copolymer, and explore its applicability and feasibility as a non-viral vector for gene transport. PLA-PEG-PLL was obtained by the ring-opening polymerization of Lys(Z)-NCA onto amine-terminated NH2-PEG-PLA, then acidolysis to remove benzyloxycarbonyl. The tri-block copolymer PLA-PEG-PLL combined the characters of cationic polymer PLL, PLA and PEG: the self-assembled nanoparticles (NPs) possessed a PEG loop structure to increase the stability, hydrophobic PLA segments as the core, and the primary ɛ-amine groups of lysine in PLL to electrostatically interact with negatively charged phosphate groups of DNA to deposit with the PLA core. The physicochemical properties (morphology, particle size and surface charge) and the biological properties (protection from nuclease degradation, plasma stability, in vitro cytotoxicity, and in vitro transfection ability in HeLa and HepG2 cells) of the gene-loaded PLA-PEG-PLL nanoparticles (PLA-PEG-PLL NPs) were evaluated, respectively. Agarose gel electrophoresis assay confirmed that the PLA-PEG-PLL NPs could condense DNA thoroughly and protect DNA from nuclease degradation. Initial experiments showed that PLA-PEG-PLL NPs/DNA complexes exhibited almost no toxicity and higher gene expression (up to 21.64% in HepG2 cells and 31.63% in HeLa cells) than PEI/DNA complexes (14.01% and 24.22%). These results revealed that the biodegradable tri-block copolymer PLA-PEG-PLL might be a very attractive candidate as a non-viral vector and might alleviate the drawbacks of the conventional cationic vectors/DNA complexes for gene delivery in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3083711  PMID: 21541064
PLA-PEG-PLL; nanoparticles; non-viral gene vector; gene transfection; tri-block copolymer
11.  Cyclical Regulation of the Exocyst and Cell Polarity Determinants for Polarized Cell Growth 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(3):1500-1512.
Polarized exocytosis is important for morphogenesis and cell growth. The exocyst is a multiprotein complex implicated in tethering secretory vesicles at specific sites of the plasma membrane for exocytosis. In the budding yeast, the exocyst is localized to sites of bud emergence or the tips of small daughter cells, where it mediates secretion and cell surface expansion. To understand how exocytosis is spatially controlled, we systematically analyzed the localization of Sec15p, a member of the exocyst complex and downstream effector of the rab protein Sec4p, in various mutants. We found that the polarized localization of Sec15p relies on functional upstream membrane traffic, activated rab protein Sec4p, and its guanine exchange factor Sec2p. The initial targeting of both Sec4p and Sec15p to the bud tip depends on polarized actin cable. However, different recycling mechanisms for rab and Sec15p may account for the different kinetics of polarization for these two proteins. We also found that Sec3p and Sec15p, though both members of the exocyst complex, rely on distinctive targeting mechanisms for their localization. The assembly of the exocyst may integrate various cellular signals to ensure that exocytosis is tightly controlled. Key regulators of cell polarity such as Cdc42p are important for the recruitment of the exocyst to the budding site. Conversely, we found that the proper localization of these cell polarity regulators themselves also requires a functional exocytosis pathway. We further report that Bem1p, a protein essential for the recruitment of signaling molecules for the establishment of cell polarity, interacts with the exocyst complex. We propose that a cyclical regulatory network contributes to the establishment and maintenance of polarized cell growth in yeast.
PMCID: PMC551511  PMID: 15647373
12.  Development of SNAP-Tag Fluorogenic Probes for Wash-Free Fluorescence Imaging 
Chembiochem  2011;12(14):2217-2226.
The ability to specifically attach chemical probes to individual proteins represents a powerful approach to the study and manipulation of protein function in living cells. It provides a simple, robust and versatile approach to the imaging of fusion proteins in a wide range of experimental settings. However, a potential drawback of detection using chemical probes is the fluorescence background from unreacted or nonspecifically bound probes. In this report we present the design and application of novel fluorogenic probes for labeling SNAP-tag fusion proteins in living cells. SNAP-tag is an engineered variant of the human repair protein O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (hAGT) that covalently reacts with benzylguanine derivatives. Reporter groups attached to the benzyl moiety become covalently attached to the SNAP tag while the guanine acts as a leaving group. Incorporation of a quencher on the guanine group ensures that the benzylguanine probe becomes highly fluorescent only upon labeling of the SNAP-tag protein. We describe the use of intramolecularly quenched probes for wash-free labeling of cell surface-localized epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) fused to SNAP-tag and for direct quantification of SNAP-tagged β-tubulin in cell lysates. In addition, we have characterized a fast-labeling variant of SNAP-tag, termed SNAPf, which displays up to a tenfold increase in its reactivity towards benzylguanine substrates. The presented data demonstrate that the combination of SNAPf and the fluorogenic substrates greatly reduces the background fluorescence for labeling and imaging applications. This approach enables highly sensitive spatiotemporal investigation of protein dynamics in living cells.
PMCID: PMC3213346  PMID: 21793150
cell imaging; covalent labeling; fluorescent probes; fluorogenic substrates; protein modifications

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