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1.  Graphene wrapped ordered LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 nanorods as promising cathode material for lithium-ion batteries 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11958.
LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 nanorods wrapped with graphene nanosheets have been prepared and investigated as high energy and high power cathode material for lithium-ion batteries. The structural characterization by X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy indicates the LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 nanorods prepared from β-MnO2 nanowires have ordered spinel structure with P4332 space group. The morphological characterization by scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy reveals that the LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 nanorods of 100–200 nm in diameter are well dispersed and wrapped in the graphene nanosheets for the composite. Benefiting from the highly conductive matrix provided by graphene nanosheets and one-dimensional nanostructure of the ordered spinel, the composite electrode exhibits superior rate capability and cycling stability. As a result, the LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4-graphene composite electrode delivers reversible capacities of 127.6 and 80.8 mAh g−1 at 0.1 and 10 C, respectively, and shows 94% capacity retention after 200 cycles at 1 C, greatly outperforming the bare LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 nanorod cathode. The outstanding performance of the LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4-graphene composite makes it promising as cathode material for developing high energy and high power lithium-ion batteries.
PMCID: PMC4493710  PMID: 26148558
2.  Resection of the main trunk of the superior mesenteric vein without reconstruction during surgery for giant pancreatic mucinous cystadenoma: A case report 
Pancreatic tumors, with peri-pancreatic main vascular invasion, especially the superior mesenteric vein (SMV) or the portal vein, are very common. In some cases, vascular resection and reconstruction are required for complete resection of pancreatic tumors. However, the optimum surgical method for venous management is controversial. Resection of the SMV without reconstruction during surgery for pancreatic tumors is rarely reported. Here we present the case of a 58-year-old woman with a giant pancreatic mucinous cystadenoma adhering to the SMV, who underwent an en bloc tumor resection, including the main trunk of the SMV and the spleen. No venous reconstruction was performed during surgery. No ischemic changes occurred in the bowel. The presence of several well-developed collateral vessels was shown by 3-dimensional computed tomography examination. The patient had an uneventful postoperative period and was discharged. This case indicated that the main trunk of the SMV can be resected without venous reconstruction if adequate collateralization has formed.
PMCID: PMC4481460  PMID: 26140011
Superior mesenteric vein; Pancreatic mucinous cystadenoma; Collateral vessel; Main trunk; Reconstruction
3.  P2X7 Receptor Regulates Internalization of Antimicrobial Peptide LL-37 by Human Macrophages That Promotes Intracellular Pathogen Clearance 
Bioactive peptide LL-37/hCAP18, the only human member of the cathelicidin family, plays important roles in killing various pathogens, as well as in immune modulation. We demonstrate that LL-37 is internalized by human macrophages in a time-, dose-, temperature-, and peptide sequence–dependent endocytotic process. Both clathrin- and caveolae/lipid raft–mediated endocytosis pathways are involved in LL-37 internalization. We find that the P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) plays an important role in LL-37 internalization by human macrophages because significantly less internalized LL-37 was detected in macrophages pretreated with P2X7R antagonists or, more specifically, in differentiated THP-1 cells in which the P2X7R gene had been silenced. Furthermore, this P2X7R-mediated LL-37 internalization is primarily connected to the clathrin-mediated endocytosis pathway. In addition, our results demonstrate that internalized LL-37 traffics to endosomes and lysosomes and contributes to intracellular clearance of bacteria by human macrophages, coinciding with increased reactive oxygen species and lysosome formation. Finally, we show that human macrophages have the potential to import LL-37 released from activated human neutrophils. In conclusion, our study unveils a novel mechanism by which human macrophages internalize antimicrobial peptides to improve their intracellular pathogen clearance.
PMCID: PMC4505952  PMID: 26116509
4.  Apoptosis-inducing factor and calpain upregulation in glutamate-induced injury of rat spiral ganglion neurons 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2015;12(2):1685-1692.
Spiral ganglion neuron (SGN) damage and apoptosis can lead to noise-induced hearing loss, age-associated hearing loss and, in certain cases, auditory neuropathy. The apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF)-associated pathway may be important in this process. The present study aimed to investigate the expression levels of AIF and calpain in damaged SGNs. Glutamate (Glu) perfusion and cell culture in different concentrations of Glu were performed to damage the SGNs of Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats, with saline water used as a control Different concentrations (5, 10, 20 and 40 mM) of Glu were injected into the cochlear tympanic canal of 18 SD rats, and 10, 20 and 40 mM Glu were added to SGN cultures. Auditory brainstem responses (ABR) were measured prior to and 2 days following the injection of Glu. Immunofluorescent staining was used to detect the SGN damage and the expression levels of AIF and calpain in vivo and in in vitro. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to measure cell apoptosis and reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to analyse the gene expression levels of AIF and calpain in the damaged SGNs. The TEM identified mitochondrial vacuolisation, swelling of the SGN and hetero-chromatin formation. Injection of Glu reduced the number of SGNs and induced apoptosis. AIF was observed to translocate into the nuclei of the SGNs in the 20 and 40 mM Glu groups, and the expression levels of AIF and calpain were markedly upregulated in the modiolus of the Glu-damaged SGNs. The upregulation of AIF and calpain may be important in the process of SGN damage and apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4464299  PMID: 25891494
glutamate; perfusion; culture; cochlea; spiral ganglion neurons; apoptosis-inducing factor; calpain
5.  Calpain Inhibitor PD150606 Attenuates Glutamate Induced Spiral Ganglion Neuron Apoptosis through Apoptosis Inducing Factor Pathway In Vitro 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123130.
This research aimed to investigate whether glutamate induced spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) apoptosis through apoptosis inducing factor (AIF) pathway. And verify whether PD150606, a calpain inhibitor could prevent apoptosis by inhibiting cleaving and releasing AIF in mitochondrion.
SGNs of postnatal days 0-3 were harvested and cultured in dishes. 20 mM Glu, the caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK and calpain inhibitor PD150606 were added into cultured dishes separately. We used optical microscope and immunofluoresence staining to observe cell morphology and AIF distribution, RT-PCR and Westernblot to analyse AIF and calpain expression in SGNs. TUNEL assay was used to test cell apoptosis.
Cell morphology and nuclear translocation of AIF were altered in SGNs by 20 mM Glu treated in vitro. The axon of SGN shortened, more apoptosis SGN were observed and the expression of AIF and calpain were up-regulated in Glu-treated group than the normal one (P<0.05). The same experiments were conducted in 20 mM+PD150606 treated group and 20 mM+Z-VAD-FMK group. Obviously AIF were located from cytoplasm to the nuclear and the expressions of AIF and calpain were down-regulated by PD150606 (P<0.05). Positive cells in TUNEL staining decreased after PD150606 treating. However, Z-VAD-FMK had no influence on AIF, calpain expression or cell apoptosis.
The AIF-related apoptosis pathway is involved in the process of Glu-induced SGN injury. Furthermore, the inhibition of calpain can prevent AIF from releasing the nuclear or inducing SGN apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4398365  PMID: 25874633
6.  Correlation between metastatic lymph node ratio and prognosis in patients with extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma 
AIM: To investigate the prognostic value of metastatic lymph node ratio (MLNR) in extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ECC) patients undergoing radical resection.
METHODS: Seventy-eight patients with ECC were enrolled. Associations between various clinicopathologic factors and prognosis were investigated by Kaplan-Meier analyses. The Cox proportional-hazards model was used for multivariate survival analysis.
RESULTS: The overall three- and five-year survival rates were 47.26% and 23.99%, respectively. MLNR of 0, 0-0.2, 0.2-0.5, and > 0.5 corresponded to five-year survival rates of 28.59%, 21.60%, 18.84%, and 10.03%, respectively. Univariate analysis showed that degree of tumor differentiation, lymph node metastasis, MLNR, tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stage, and margin status were closely associated with postoperative survival in ECC patients (P < 0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that MLNR and TNM stage were independent prognostic factors after pancreaticoduodenectomy (HR = 2.13, 95%CI: 1.45-3.11; P < 0.01; and HR = 1.97, 95%CI: 1.17-3.31; P = 0.01, respectively). The median survival time for MLNR > 0.5, 0.2-0.5, 0-0.2, and 0 was 15 mo, 24 mo, 23 mo, and 35.5 mo, respectively. There were statistical differences in survival time between patients with different MLNR (χ2 = 15.38; P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: MLNR is an independent prognostic factor for ECC patients after radical resection and is useful for predicting postoperative survival.
PMCID: PMC4394087  PMID: 25892876
Cholangiocarcinoma; Metastatic lymph node; Prognosis; Surgery
7.  TLR4/NF-κB Signaling Contributes to Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress-Induced Atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- Mice 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123685.
Chronic stress is an important risk factor for atherosclerotic diseases. Our previous studies have shown that chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) accelerates atherosclerosis and up-regulates TLR4/NF-κB expression in apoE-/- mice. However, TLR4/NF-κB signaling whether directly contributes to the development of atherosclerosis in CUMS mice is unclear. We hypothesized that the interference of TLR4/NF-κB can ameliorate CUMS-induced inflammation and atherosclerosis in apoE-/- mice.
ApoE-/- mice were exposed to 12 weeks CUMS. Ad-siRNA TLR4 was given by tail vein injection (10 μl/mouse, every 5 days), and PDTC (an inhibitor of NF-κB) was given by intraperitoneal injection (60 mg/kg, once a day). Plasma corticosterone concentrations were determined by solid-phase 125I radioimmunoassay. Atherosclerosis lesions in aortic sinuses were evaluated and quantified by IMAGEPRO PLUS. Western blotting was used to detect the expression of TLR4, NF-κB, and IL-1β in aortas of the mice. Plasma lipid profiles, IL-1β, TNF-α, and MCP-1 were measured by ELISA.
Our results indicated that CUMS apoE-/- mice treatment with siRNA TLR4 significantly decreased atherosclerosis and down-regulated TLR4, NF-κB, and inflammatory cytokines. PDTC also remarkably reduced atherosclerosis and the levels of IL-1β, TNF-α and MCP-1 in plasma. However, Treatment with siRNA TLR4 or PDTC had no effect on plasma corticosterone levels, and lipid profiles.
TLR4/NF-κB pathway may participate in CUMS-induced atherosclerosis through activation of proinflammatory cytokines in apoE-/- mice. Our data may provide a new potential therapeutic target for prevention of CUMS -induced atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC4393302  PMID: 25860573
8.  Melatonin Attenuates Noise Stress-induced Gastrointestinal Motility Disorder and Gastric Stress Ulcer: Role of Gastrointestinal Hormones and Oxidative Stress in Rats 
There are increasing evidences for gastrointestinal motility disorder (GIMD) and gastric stress ulcer induced by noise stress. The present study was to investigate the reversed effect of melatonin on GIMD and gastric stress ulcer induced by noise stress and potential mechanism.
Noise stress was induced on rats, and melatonin (15 mg/kg) was administered to rats by intraperitoneal injection. Differences were assessed in gastric residual rate (GRR), small intestine propulsion rate (SPR), Guth injury score, cortisol, gastrointestinal hormones (calcitonin-gene-related peptide and motilin) and oxidative stress markers (superoxide dismutase and malondialde hyde) in blood plasma as well as gastric mucosa homogenate with or without melatonin. The pathological examination of gastric mucosa was also performed.
The GRR and SPR were improved by noise stress compared with control (P < 0.05). The pathological examination and Guth injury score revealed gastric stress ulcer. Moreover, the levels of cortisol, motilin and malondialdehyde in blood plasma and malondialdehyde in gastric mucosa homogenate were increased by noise stress (P < 0.05). CGRP and superoxide dismutase activity in both of blood plasma and gastric mucosa homogenate were significantly decreased (P< 0.05). Furthermore, melatonin reversed changes in GRR, SPR, pathological examination, Guth injury score, cortisol, motilin, CGRP, superoxide dismutase activity and malondialdehyde (P < 0.05).
Melatonin is effective in reversing the GIMD and gastric stress ulcer induced by noise stress. The underlying mechanism may be involved in oxidative stress and gastrointestinal hormones.
PMCID: PMC4398253  PMID: 25537679
Gastrointestinal hormones; Gastrointestinal motility; Melatonin, Oxidative stress
9.  Spatiotemporal expression of BMP7 in the development of anorectal malformations in fetal rats 
The aim of this study was to determine the expression patterns of bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP7) during anorectal development in normal rat embryos and in embryos with anorectal malformations (ARM), and to investigate the possible role of BMP7 in the pathogenesis of ARM. ARM was induced by treating rat embryos with ethylenethiourea on the 10th gestational day (GD10). Embryos were harvested by Cesarean delivery and the spatiotemporal expression of BMP7 was evaluated in normal (n=168) and ARM embryos (n=171) from GD13 to GD16 using immunohistochemistry staining and western blot analysis. Immunohistochemical staining in normal embryos revealed that BMP7 was abundantly expressed on the epithelium of the urorectal septum (URS) and the hindgut on GD13, and BMP7-immunopositive cells were extensively detected in the URS, hindgut, and cloacal membrane by GD14. Increased positive tissue staining was noted on the fused tissue of the URS and the thin anal membrane on GD15. In ARM embryos, the epithelium of the cloaca, URS, and anorectum were negatively or only faintly immunostained for BMP7. BMP7 protein expression showed time-dependent changes in the developing hindgut according to western blotting, and reached a peak on GD15 during anus formation. BMP7 expression levels from GD14 to GD15 were significantly lower in the ARM group compared with the normal group (P<0.05). Spatiotemporal expression of BMP7 was disrupted in ARM embryos during anorectal morphogenesis from GD13 to GD16. These results suggest that downregulation of BMP7 at the time of cloacal separation into the primitive rectum and UGS might be related to the development of ARM.
PMCID: PMC4466941  PMID: 26097554
Anorectal malformation; BMP7; embryogenesis; development; rat
10.  Initiation of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in a murine 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide and alcohol carcinogenesis model 
Oncotarget  2015;6(8):6040-6052.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCCs) are very common, aggressive tumors, and are often associated with alcohol and tobacco abuse. Because ESCCs exhibit high recurrence rates and are diagnosed at late stages, identification of prognostic and drug targets for prevention and treatment is critical. We used the 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4-NQO) murine model of oral carcinogenesis and the Meadows-Cook model of alcohol abuse to assess changes in the expression of molecular markers during the initial stages of ESCC. Combining these two models, which mimic chronic alcohol and tobacco abuse in humans, we detected increased cellular proliferation (EGFR and Ki67 expression), increased canonical Wnt signaling and downstream elements (β-catenin, FoxM1, and S100a4 protein levels), changes in cellular adhesive properties (reduced E-cadherin in the basal layer of the esophageal epithelium), and increased levels of phosphorylated ERK1/2 and p38. Additionally, we found that treatment with ethanol alone increased the numbers of epithelial cells expressing solute carrier family 2 (facilitated glucose transporter, member 1) (SLC2A1) and carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX), and increased the phosphorylation of p38. Thus, we identified both 4-NQO- and ethanol-specific targets in the initial stages of esophageal carcinogenesis, which should lead to the development of potential markers and therapeutic targets for human ESCC.
PMCID: PMC4467420  PMID: 25714027
4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide; Meadows-Cook model of alcohol abuse; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; canonical and noncanonical Wnt signaling; cellular metabolism
11.  Genetic Variability and Phylogenetic Analysis of Han Population from Guanzhong Region of China based on 21 non-CODIS STR Loci 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8872.
In the present study, we presented the population genetic data and their forensic parameters of 21 non-CODIS autosomal STR loci in Chinese Guanzhong Han population. A total of 166 alleles were observed with corresponding allelic frequencies ranging from 0.0018 to 0.5564. No STR locus was observed to deviate from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and linkage disequilibriums after applying Bonferroni correction. The cumulative power of discrimination and probability of exclusion of all the 21 STR loci were 0.99999999999999999993814 and 0.999998184, respectively. The results of genetic distances, phylogenetic trees and principal component analysis revealed that the Guanzhong Han population had a closer relationship with Ningxia Han, Tujia and Bai groups than other populations tested. In summary, these 21 STR loci showed a high level of genetic polymorphisms for the Guanzhong Han population and could be used for forensic applications and the studies of population genetics.
PMCID: PMC4352849  PMID: 25747708
12.  BDNF-TrkB Pathway Mediates Neuroprotection of Hydrogen Sulfide against Formaldehyde-Induced Toxicity to PC12 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0119478.
Formaldehyde (FA) is a common environmental contaminant that has toxic effects on the central nervous system (CNS). Our previous data demonstrated that hydrogen sulfide (H2S), the third endogenous gaseous mediator, has protective effects against FA-induced neurotoxicity. As is known to all, Brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), a member of the neurotrophin gene family, mediates its neuroprotective properties via various intracellular signaling pathways triggered by activating the tyrosine kinase receptor B (TrkB). Intriguingly, our previous data have illustrated the upregulatory role of H2S on BDNF protein expression in the hippocampus of rats. Therefore, in this study, we hypothesized that H2S provides neuroprotection against FA toxicity by regulating BDNF-TrkB pathway. In the present study, we found that NaHS, a donor of H2S, upregulated the level of BDNF protein in PC12 cells, and significantly rescued FA-induced downregulation of BDNF levels. Furthermore, we found that pretreatment of PC12 cells with K252a, an inhibitor of the BDNF receptor TrkB, markedly reversed the inhibition of NaHS on FA-induced cytotoxicity and ablated the protective effects of NaHS on FA-induced oxidative stress, including the accumulation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), 4-hydroxy-2-trans-nonenal (4-HNE), and malondialdehyde (MDA). We also showed that K252a abolished the inhibition of NaHS on FA-induced apoptosis, as well as the activation of caspase-3 in PC12 cells. In addition, K252a reversed the protection of H2S against FA-induced downregulation of Bcl-2 protein expression and upregulation of Bax protein expression in PC12 cells. These data indicate that the BDNF-TrkB pathway mediates the neuroprotection of H2S against FA-induced cytotoxicity, oxidative stress and apoptosis in PC12 cells. These findings provide a novel mechanism underlying the protection of H2S against FA-induced neurotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC4352058  PMID: 25749582
13.  Chitin Accelerates Activation of a Novel Haloarchaeal Serine Protease That Deproteinizes Chitin-Containing Biomass 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2014;80(18):5698-5708.
The haloarchaeon Natrinema sp. strain J7-2 has the ability to degrade chitin, and its genome harbors a chitin metabolism-related gene cluster that contains a halolysin gene, sptC. The sptC gene encodes a precursor composed of a signal peptide, an N-terminal propeptide consisting of a core domain (N*) and a linker peptide, a subtilisin-like catalytic domain, a polycystic kidney disease domain (PkdD), and a chitin-binding domain (ChBD). Here we report that the autocatalytic maturation of SptC is initiated by cis-processing of N* to yield an autoprocessed complex (N*-IWT), followed by trans-processing/degradation of the linker peptide, the ChBD, and N*. The resulting mature form (MWT) containing the catalytic domain and the PkdD showed optimum azocaseinolytic activity at 3 to 3.5 M NaCl, demonstrating salt-dependent stability. Deletion analysis revealed that the PkdD did not confer extra stability on the enzyme but did contribute to enzymatic activity. The ChBD exhibited salt-dependent chitin-binding capacity and mediated the binding of N*-IWT to chitin. ChBD-mediated chitin binding enhances SptC maturation by promoting activation of the autoprocessed complex. Our results also demonstrate that SptC is capable of removing proteins from shrimp shell powder (SSP) at high salt concentrations. Interestingly, N*-IWT released soluble peptides from SSP faster than did MWT. Most likely, ChBD-mediated binding of the autoprocessed complex to chitin in SSP not only accelerates enzyme activation but also facilitates the deproteinization process by increasing the local protease concentration around the substrate. By virtue of these properties, SptC is highly attractive for use in preparation of chitin from chitin-containing biomass.
PMCID: PMC4178621  PMID: 25002433
14.  Postoperative recurrence of desmoid tumors: clinical and pathological perspectives 
The clinical features and the pathological changes of desmoid tumors were studied to point out the key factors affecting the recurrence.
The clinical data and specimens of 56 patients who underwent desmoid tumor resection from 2003 to 2008 were reviewed. Possible clinical factors related to the postoperative recurrence were analyzed statistically. The specimens round the lesions were studied histopathologically.
The overall recurrence rate was 39.3%. The postoperative recurrence rate of the patients with negative surgical margins and no tumor invasion of the major vessels and nerves was low (P < 0.05). However, the desmoid tumors could destroy the cortical bone and invade the medullary cavity.
Desmoid tumors were pathologically benign, which could extensively invade tissues around the lesions. The invasion of major vessels and nerves and quality of surgical margins are the key factors for the high postoperative recurrence rate.
PMCID: PMC4329213  PMID: 25888954
Histopathology; Immunohistochemistry; Tumor resection
15.  ZBP-89 reduces histone deacetylase 3 by degrading IkappaB in the presence of Pin1 
Histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) is overexpressed in cancers and its inhibition enhances anti-tumor chemotherapy. ZBP-89, a transcription factor, can induce pro-apoptotic Bak and reduce HDAC3 but the mechanism is unknown. Pin1, a molecular switch that determines the fate of phosphoproteins, is known to interact with HDAC3. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism how ZBP-89 downregulated HDAC3.
In this study, liver cells, Pin1-knockout Pin1−/− and Pin1 wild-typed Pin+/+ cells were used to explore how ZBP-89 reduced HDAC3. The overexpression of ZBP-89 was achieved by infecting cells with Ad-ZBP-89, an adenoviral construct containing ZBP-89 gene. The role of NF-κB was determined using CAY10576, MG132 and SN50, the former two being inhibitors of IκB degradation and SN50 being an inhibitor of p65/p50 translocation. A xenograft tumor model was used to confirm the in vitro data.
ZBP-89 reduced HDAC3, and it could form a complex with IκB and induce IκB phosphorylation to inhibit IκB. Furthermore, ZBP-89-mediated HDAC3 reduction was suppressed by IκB degradation inhibitors CAY10576 and MG132 but not by p65/p50 translocation inhibitor SN50, indicating that IκB decrease rather than the elevated activity of NF-κB contributed to HDAC3 reduction. ZBP-89-mediated HDAC3 or IκB reduction was significantly less obvious in Pin1−/− cells compared with Pin1+/+ cells. In Ad-ZBP-89-infected Pin1+/+ cancer cells, Pin1 siRNA increased HDAC3 but decreased Bak, compared with cells without ZBP-89 infection. These findings indicate that Pin1 participates in ZBP-89-mediated HDAC3 downregulation and Bak upregulation. The cell culture result was confirmed by in vivo mouse tumor model experiments.
ZBP-89 attenuates HDAC3 by increasing IκB degradation. Such attenuation is independent of NF-κB activity but partially depends on Pin1. The novel pathway identified may help generate new anti-cancer strategy by targeting HDAC3 and its related molecules.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-015-0382-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4311446  PMID: 25623232
ZBP-89; HDAC3; Pin1; IκB; Hepatocellular carcinoma
16.  Exploring Valid Reference Genes for Quantitative Real-Time PCR Analysis in Sesamia inferens (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0115979.
The pink stem borer, Sesamia inferens, which is endemic in China and other parts of Asia, is a major pest of rice and causes significant yield loss in this host plant. Very few studies have addressed gene expression in S. inferens. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) is currently the most accurate and sensitive method for gene expression analysis. In qRT-PCR, data are normalized using reference genes, which help control for internal differences and reduce error between samples. In this study, seven candidate reference genes, 18S ribosomal RNA (18S rRNA), elongation factor 1 (EF1), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), ribosomal protein S13 (RPS13), ribosomal protein S20 (RPS20), tubulin (TUB), and β-actin (ACTB) were evaluated for their suitability in normalizing gene expression under different experimental conditions. The results indicated that three genes (RPS13, RPS20, and EF1) were optimal for normalizing gene expression in different insect tissues (head, epidermis, fat body, foregut, midgut, hindgut, Malpighian tubules, haemocytes, and salivary glands). 18S rRNA, EF1, and GAPDH were best for normalizing expression with respect to developmental stages and sex (egg masses; first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth instar larvae; male and female pupae; and one-day-old male and female adults). 18S rRNA, RPS20, and TUB were optimal for fifth instars exposed to different temperatures (−8, −6, −4, −2, 0, and 27°C). To validate this recommendation, the expression profile of a target gene heat shock protein 83 gene (hsp83) was investigated, and results showed the selection was necessary and effective. In conclusion, this study describes reference gene sets that can be used to accurately measure gene expression in S. inferens.
PMCID: PMC4293147  PMID: 25585250
17.  Characterization and Expression of Genes Encoding Three Small Heat Shock Proteins in Sesamia inferens (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) 
The pink stem borer, Sesamia inferens (Walker), is a major pest of rice and is endemic in China and other parts of Asia. Small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) encompass a diverse, widespread class of stress proteins that have not been characterized in S. inferens. In the present study, we isolated and characterized three S. inferens genes that encode members of the α-crystallin/sHSP family, namely, Sihsp21.4, Sihsp20.6, and Sihsp19.6. The three cDNAs encoded proteins of 187, 183 and 174 amino acids with calculated molecular weights of 21.4, 20.6 and 19.6 kDa, respectively. The deduced amino acid sequences of the three genes showed strong similarity to sHSPs identified in other lepidopteran insects. Sihsp21.4 contained an intron, but Sihsp20.6 and Sihsp19.6 lacked introns. Real-time quantitative PCR analyses revealed that Sihsp21.4 was most strongly expressed in S. inferens heads; Whereas expression of Sihsp20.6 and Sihsp19.6 was highest in eggs. The three S. inferens sHSP genes were up-regulated during low temperature stress. In summary, our results show that S. inferens sHSP genes have distinct regulatory roles in the physiology of S. inferens.
PMCID: PMC4284760  PMID: 25514417
Sesamia inferens; small heat shock protein; cloning; expression pattern
18.  Effects of Metal Ions on Stability and Activity of Hyperthermophilic Pyrolysin and Further Stabilization of This Enzyme by Modification of a Ca2+-Binding Site 
Pyrolysin is an extracellular subtilase produced by the marine hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus. This enzyme functions at high temperatures in seawater, but little is known about the effects of metal ions on the properties of pyrolysin. Here, we report that the supplementation of Na+, Ca2+, or Mg2+ salts at concentrations similar to those in seawater destabilizes recombinant pyrolysin but leads to an increase in enzyme activity. The destabilizing effect of metal ions on pyrolysin appears to be related to the disturbance of surface electrostatic interactions of the enzyme. In addition, mutational analysis of two predicted high-affinity Ca2+-binding sites (Ca1 and Ca2) revealed that the binding of Ca2+ is important for the stabilization of this enzyme. Interestingly, Asn substitutions at residues Asp818 and Asp820 of the Ca2 site, which is located in the C-terminal extension of pyrolysin, resulted in improvements in both enzyme thermostability and activity without affecting Ca2+-binding affinity. These effects were most likely due to the elimination of unfavorable electrostatic repulsion at the Ca2 site. Together, these results suggest that metal ions play important roles in modulating the stability and activity of pyrolysin.
PMCID: PMC3993279  PMID: 24561589
19.  The molecular features of tongue epithelium treated with the carcinogen 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide and alcohol as a model for HNSCC 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(11):2673-2681.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common type of cancer affecting humans worldwide. To determine the potential mechanisms by which chronic tobacco and alcohol abuse lead to HNSCC of the oral cavity, we have used both the 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4-NQO) murine oral carcinogenesis and the Meadows–Cook alcohol models. In this study, we treated mice with 4-NQO in drinking water for 10 weeks and then administered 20% (w:v) ethanol (EtOH) for another 10 weeks. We observed increased levels and/or activation of signaling proteins [p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), β-catenin and Erk 1/2] that are typically altered during HNSCC initiation in humans. We found that EtOH administration alone increased the expression of p38 MAPK but not Erk 1/2 MAPK. Total β-catenin levels in the tongues increased by 2- to 3-fold after 4-NQO treatment, with or without EtOH. However, EtOH combined with 4-NQO reduced phosphorylated β-catenin levels, whereas 4-NQO treatment alone did not. These data implicate EtOH as a regulator of β-catenin signaling in this HNSCC model. We also utilized K14-CreERTAM; ROSA26 mice to mark permanently stem/progenitor cells in the tongue epithelia. We found that 4-NQO alone and 4-NQO plus EtOH treatment resulted in massive, horizontal expansion of stem/progenitor cell populations arising from single stem cells in the basal layer of the epithelia. This expansion is consistent with carcinogen-associated, symmetric division of stem/progenitor cells. Our data suggest that specific therapeutic targets for prevention of HNSCC of the oral cavity associated with both alcohol and tobacco use are p38 MAPK and β-catenin.
PMCID: PMC3810837  PMID: 23784083
20.  Acute basophilic leukemia presenting with maculopapular rashes and a gastric ulcer: A case report 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(6):2513-2516.
Acute basophilic leukemia (ABL) is a rare and poorly characterized form of leukemia. The case of a 65-year-old male who complained of dizziness, maculopapular skin lesions and melena is described in the current report. A gastroscopy was conducted and indicated a gastric antral ulcer. The diagnosis of ABL was determined due to characteristic cytomorphological features, the myeloid immunophenotype of the blast cells (identified to be positive for cluster of differentiation [CD]25 and CD123) in addition to the absence of the Philadelphia chromosome and a c-kit D816V mutation. The patient initially demonstrated clinical improvement as a result of chemotherapy, however, subsequently deteriorated. The gastric and skin manifestations of ABL may be associated with excessive histamine release from basophilic cells. Thus, the administration of H1- and H2-receptor antagonists, proton pump inhibitors and steroids is proposed in order to minimize these associated complications.
PMCID: PMC4214495  PMID: 25364419
acute basophilic leukemia; maculopapular rashes; gastric ulcer
21.  Primary malignant melanoma of the lung: a case report 
Primary malignant melanoma of the lung is a very rare disease with about 40 cases reported in English literature. We report a 49-year-old female with history of 2 month chest pain who was revealed to have a peripheral lung mass in left upper lobe by chest CT scan. Left upper lobectomy was performed and post-operative pathology revealed to be primary malignant melanoma of the lung. 4 months after operation, a node in right breast was found by patient herself and needle aspiration biopsy revealed to be breast cancer. The patient refused any diagnostic and therapeutic procedure and died of extensive metastasis 3 months later. Primary malignant melanoma of the lung is highly malignant disease with poor prognosis in most patients.
PMCID: PMC4132140  PMID: 25126176
Primary malignant melanoma of the lung (PMML); lobectomy; pathology; metastasis
22.  Placental mesenchymal dysplasia: a case of a normal-appearing fetus with intrauterine growth restriction 
In this paper, we described a placenta with vesicular lesions in a 23-year-old woman (1-gravid) who visited our hospital at 13 weeks of gestation on prenatal routine examination. Ultrasound findings showed multiple vesicular lesions which gradually increased as the pregnancy advanced, and a live normal-appearing fetus which was confirmed of IUGR at 30 weeks of gestation in her uterus. Throughout gestation, the maternal serum β-human chorionic gonadotropin level keeps normal, but the serum alpha-fetoprotein was higher than average. The patient delivered an 1800-g female without obvious anomalies at 35 weeks 5 days of gestation due to premature rupture of membrane. The diagnosis of placental mesenchymal dysplasia was determined on the pathological examination and androgenetic/biparental mosaicism in the placenta was identified by immunohistochemical staining of p57kip2.
PMCID: PMC4152104  PMID: 25197414
Placental mesenchymal dysplasia; molar pregnancy; Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
23.  Fecal lactoferrin in discriminating inflammatory bowel disease from Irritable bowel syndrome: a diagnostic meta-analysis 
BMC Gastroenterology  2014;14:121.
To perform a meta-analysis evaluating the diagnostic ability of fecal lactoferrin (FL) to distinguish inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The Medline, EMBASE, Web of Science, Cochrane library and CNKI databases were systematically searched for studies that used FL concentrations to distinguish between IBD and IBS. The sensitivity, specificity, and other diagnostic indexes of FL were pooled using a random-effects model.
Seven studies, involving 1012 patients, were eligible for inclusion. In distinguishing IBD from IBS, FL had a pooled sensitivity of 0.78 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.75, 0.82), a specificity of 0.94 (95% CI: 0.91, 0.96), a positive likelihood ratio of 12.31 (95% CI: 5.93, 29.15), and a negative likelihood ratio of 0.23 (95% CI: 0.18, 0.29). The area under the summary receiver-operating characteristic curve was 0.94 (95% CI: 0.90, 0.98) and the diagnostic odds ratio was 52.65 (95% CI: 25.69, 107.91).
FL, as a noninvasive and simple marker, is useful in differentiating between IBD and IBS.
PMCID: PMC4105129  PMID: 25002150
Fecal lactoferrin; Inflammatory bowel disease; Irritable bowel syndrome; Meta-analysis
24.  Zymomonas mobilis: a novel platform for future biorefineries 
Biosynthesis of liquid fuels and biomass-based building block chemicals from microorganisms have been regarded as a competitive alternative route to traditional. Zymomonas mobilis possesses a number of desirable characteristics for its special Entner-Doudoroff pathway, which makes it an ideal platform for both metabolic engineering and commercial-scale production of desirable bio-products as the same as Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae based on consideration of future biomass biorefinery. Z. mobilis has been studied extensively on both fundamental and applied level, which will provide a basis for industrial biotechnology in the future. Furthermore, metabolic engineering of Z. mobilis for enhancing bio-ethanol production from biomass resources has been significantly promoted by different methods (i.e. mutagenesis, adaptive laboratory evolution, specific gene knock-out, and metabolic engineering). In addition, the feasibility of representative metabolites, i.e. sorbitol, bionic acid, levan, succinic acid, isobutanol, and isobutanol produced by Z. mobilis and the strategies for strain improvements are also discussed or highlighted in this paper. Moreover, this review will present some guidelines for future developments in the bio-based chemical production using Z. mobilis as a novel industrial platform for future biofineries.
PMCID: PMC4094786  PMID: 25024744
Zymomonas mobilis; platform; biorefinery; biofuel; building block chemical
25.  Early Public Response to Influenza A(H7N9) Virus, Guangzhou, China, May 30–June 7, 2013 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(7):1238-1240.
PMCID: PMC4073867  PMID: 24964006
public; influenza; influenza virus; influenza A(H7N9) virus; subtype H7N9; live poultry markets; China; Guangzhou; behaviors; attitudes; urban; semirural; viruses; chickens

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