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1.  Discovery of Highly Potent Tyrosinase Inhibitor, T1, with Significant Anti-Melanogenesis Ability by zebrafish in vivo Assay and Computational Molecular Modeling 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:7995.
Tyrosinase is involved in melanin biosynthesis and the abnormal accumulation of melanin pigments leading to hyperpigmentation disorders that can be treated with depigmenting agents. A natural product T1, bis(4-hydroxybenzyl)sulfide, isolated from the Chinese herbal plant, Gastrodia elata, is a strong competitive inhibitor against mushroom tyrosinase (IC50 = 0.53 μM, Ki = 58 ± 6 nM), outperforms than kojic acid. The cell viability and melanin quantification assay demonstrate that 50 μM of T1 apparently attenuates 20% melanin content of human normal melanocytes without significant cell toxicity. Moreover, the zebrafish in vivo assay reveals that T1 effectively reduces melanogenesis with no adverse side effects. The acute oral toxicity study evidently confirms that T1 molecule is free of discernable cytotoxicity in mice. Furthermore, the molecular modeling demonstrates that the sulfur atom of T1 coordinating with the copper ions in the active site of tyrosinase is essential for mushroom tyrosinase inhibition and the ability of diminishing the human melanin synthesis. These results evident that T1 isolated from Gastrodia elata is a promising candidate in developing pharmacological and cosmetic agents of great potency in skin-whitening.
doi:10.1038/srep07995
PMCID: PMC4303873  PMID: 25613357
2.  Tungsten-Catalyzed Asymmetric Epoxidation of Allylic and Homoallylic Alcohols with Hydrogen Peroxide 
A simple, efficient, and environmentally friendly asymmetric epoxidation of primary, secondary, tertiary allylic, and homoallylic alcohols has been accomplished. This process was promoted by a tungsten–bishydroxamic acid complex at room temperature with the use of aqueous 30% H2O2 as oxidant, yielding the products in 84–98% ee.
doi:10.1021/ja411379e
PMCID: PMC3985688  PMID: 24422626
3.  A pilot randomized controlled trial using EEG-based brain–computer interface training for a Chinese-speaking group of healthy elderly 
Background
There is growing evidence that cognitive training (CT) can improve the cognitive functioning of the elderly. CT may be influenced by cultural and linguistic factors, but research examining CT programs has mostly been conducted on Western populations. We have developed an innovative electroencephalography (EEG)-based brain–computer interface (BCI) CT program that has shown preliminary efficacy in improving cognition in 32 healthy English-speaking elderly adults in Singapore. In this second pilot trial, we examine the acceptability, safety, and preliminary efficacy of our BCI CT program in healthy Chinese-speaking Singaporean elderly.
Methods
Thirty-nine elderly participants were randomized into intervention (n=21) and wait-list control (n=18) arms. Intervention consisted of 24 half-hour sessions with our BCI-based CT training system to be completed in 8 weeks; the control arm received the same intervention after an initial 8-week waiting period. At the end of the training, a usability and acceptability questionnaire was administered. Efficacy was measured using the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS), which was translated and culturally adapted for the Chinese-speaking local population. Users were asked about any adverse events experienced after each session as a safety measure.
Results
The training was deemed easily usable and acceptable by senior users. The median difference in the change scores pre- and post-training of the modified RBANS total score was 8.0 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.0–16.0, P=0.042) higher in the intervention arm than waitlist control, while the mean difference was 9.0 (95% CI: 1.7–16.2, P=0.017). Ten (30.3%) participants reported a total of 16 adverse events – all of which were graded “mild” except for one graded “moderate”.
Conclusion
Our BCI training system shows potential in improving cognition in both English- and Chinese-speaking elderly, and deserves further evaluation in a Phase III trial. Overall, participants responded positively on the usability and acceptability questionnaire.
doi:10.2147/CIA.S73955
PMCID: PMC4296917  PMID: 25624754
cognitive training; neuro-feedback; memory; attention
4.  Associations of Two Common Genetic Variants with Breast Cancer Risk in a Chinese Population: A Stratified Interaction Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115707.
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a series of new genetic susceptibility loci for breast cancer (BC). However, the correlations between these variants and breast cancer are still not clear. In order to explore the role of breast cancer susceptibility variants in a Southeast Chinese population, we genotyped two common SNPs at chromosome 6q25 (rs2046210) and in TOX3 (rs4784227) in a case-control study with a total of 702 breast cancer cases and 794 healthy-controls. In addition, we also evaluated the multiple interactions among genetic variants, risk factors, and tumor subtypes. Associations of genotypes with breast cancer risk was evaluated using multivariate logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). The results indicated that both polymorphisms were significantly associated with the risk of breast cancer, with per allele OR = 1.35, (95%CI = 1.17–1.57) for rs2046210 and per allele OR = 1.24 (95%CI = 1.06–1.45) for rs4784227. Furthermore, in subgroup stratified analyses, we observed that the T allele of rs4784227 was significantly associated with elevated OR among postmenopausal populations (OR = 1.44, 95%CI 1.11–1.87) but not in premenopausal populations, with the heterogeneity P value of P = 0.064. These findings suggest that the genetic variants at chromosome 6q25 and in the TOX3 gene may play important roles in breast cancer development in a Chinese population and the underlying biological mechanisms need to be further elucidated.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115707
PMCID: PMC4274096  PMID: 25531440
5.  Ubiquitin-Activating Enzyme Activity Contributes to Differential Accumulation of Mutant Huntingtin in Brain and Peripheral Tissues 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(25):8411-8422.
Huntington's disease (HD) belongs to a family of neurodegenerative diseases caused by misfolded proteins and shares the pathological hallmark of selective accumulation of misfolded proteins in neuronal cells. Polyglutamine expansion in the HD protein, huntingtin (Htt), causes selective neurodegeneration that is more severe in the striatum and cortex than in other brain regions, but the mechanism behind this selectivity is unknown. Here we report that in HD knock-in mice, the expression levels of mutant Htt (mHtt) are higher in brain tissues than in peripheral tissues. However, the expression of N-terminal mHtt via stereotaxic injection of viral vectors in mice also results in greater accumulation of mHtt in the striatum than in muscle. We developed an in vitro assay that revealed that extracts from the striatum and cortex promote the formation of high-molecular weight (HMW) mHtt compared with the relatively unaffected cerebellar and peripheral tissue extracts. Inhibition of ubiquitin-activating enzyme E1 (Ube1) increased the levels of HMW mHtt in the relatively unaffected tissues. Importantly, the expression levels of Ube1 are lower in brain tissues than peripheral tissues and decline in the nuclear fraction with age, which is correlated with the increased accumulation of mHtt in the brain and neuronal nuclei during aging. Our findings suggest that decreased targeting of misfolded Htt to the proteasome for degradation via Ube1 may underlie the preferential accumulation of toxic forms of mHtt in the brain and its selective neurodegeneration.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0775-14.2014
PMCID: PMC4061386  PMID: 24948797
misfolding; neurodegneration; ubiquitin
6.  FGF12 is a candidate Brugada syndrome locus 
Heart rhythm : the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society  2013;10(12):10.1016/j.hrthm.2013.09.064.
BACKGROUND
Less than 30% of the cases of Brugada syndrome (BrS) have an identified genetic cause. Of the known BrS-susceptibility genes, loss-of-function mutations in SCN5A or CACNA1C and their auxiliary subunits are most common. On the basis of the recent demonstration that fibroblast growth factor (FGF) homologous factors (FHFs; FGF11–FGF14) regulate cardiac Na+ and Ca2+ channel currents, we hypothesized that FHFs are candidate BrS loci.
OBJECTIVE
The goal of this study was to test whether FGF12 is a candidate BrS locus.
METHODS
We used quantitative polymerase chain reaction to identify the major FHF expressed in the human ventricle and then queried a phenotype-positive, genotype-negative BrS biorepository for FHF mutations associated with BrS. We queried the effects of an identified mutant with biochemical analyses combined with electrophysiological assessment in a novel rat ventricular cardiomyocyte system in which we swapped the endogenous FHF with the identified mutant on multiple ionic currents in their native milieu and on the cardiac action potential.
RESULTS
We identified FGF12 as the major FHF expressed in the human ventricle. In 102 individuals in the biorepository, we identified a single missense mutation in FGF12-B (Q7R-FGF12). The mutant reduced binding to the NaV1.5 C terminus, but not to junctophilin-2, which mediates Ca2+ channel regulation. In rats, adult cardiac myocytes Q7R-FGF12, but not wild-type FGF12, reduced Na+ channel current density and availability without affecting Ca2+ channel function. Furthermore, the mutant, but not wild-type FGF12, reduced action potential amplitude, which is consistent with a mutant-induced loss of Na+ channel function.
CONCLUSIONS
These multilevel investigations strongly suggest that Q7R-FGF12 is a disease-associated BrS mutation. Moreover, these data suggest for the first time that FHF effects on Na+ and Ca2+ channels are separable. Most significantly, this study establishes a new method to analyze effects of human arrhythmogenic mutations on cardiac ionic currents.
doi:10.1016/j.hrthm.2013.09.064
PMCID: PMC3870051  PMID: 24096171
Brugada syndrome; Na+ channels; Ca2+ channels; Electrophysiology
7.  QT Interval Prolongation Associated with Intramuscular Ziprasidone in Chinese Patients: A Case Report and a Comprehensive Literature Review with Meta-Analysis 
Case Reports in Psychiatry  2014;2014:489493.
Intramuscular (IM) ziprasidone has been associated with QTc interval prolongations in patients with preexisting risk factors. A 23-year-old male Chinese schizophrenia patient experienced an increase of QTc interval of 83 milliseconds (ms) after receiving 20 mg IM ziprasidone (baseline and increased QT/QTc were, respectively, 384/418 and 450/501). This was rated as a probable adverse drug reaction (ADR) by the Liverpool ADR causality assessment tool. A systematic review including all types of trials reporting the effect of IM ziprasidone on the QTc interval prolongation identified 19 trials with a total of 1428 patients. Mean QTc change from baseline to end of each study was −3.7 to 12.8 ms after IM ziprasidone. Four randomized trials (3 of 4 published in Chinese) were used to calculate a meta-analysis of QTc interval prolongation which showed no significant differences between IM ziprasidone and IM haloperidol groups (risk ratio 0.49 to 4.31, 95% confidence interval 0.09 to 19.68, P = 0.06 to 0.41). However, our review included two cases of patients who experienced symptoms probably related to QTc prolongation after IM ziprasidone. Thus, careful screening and close monitoring, including baseline ECG, should be considered in patients receiving IM ziprasidone for the first time.
doi:10.1155/2014/489493
PMCID: PMC4235192  PMID: 25530900
8.  Prospective Memory Performance in Non-Psychotic First-Degree Relatives of Patients with Schizophrenia: A Controlled Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111562.
Objective
We aimed at investigating prospective memory and its socio-demographic and neurocognitive correlates in non-psychotic, first-degree relatives (FDRs) of patients with schizophrenia compared to patients with first episode schizophrenia (FES), and healthy controls (HCs).
Methods
Forty-seven FES patients, 50 non-psychotic FDRs (23 offspring and 27 siblings) of patients with chronic schizophrenia (unrelated to the FES group) and 51 HCs were studied. The Chinese version of the Cambridge Prospective Memory Test (C-CAMPROMPT) was used to measure time-based prospective memory (TBPM) and event-based prospective memory (EBPM) performance. Other cognitive functions (involving respective memory and executive functions) were evaluated with standardized tests.
Results
After controlling for basic demographic characteristics including age, gender and educational level, there was a significant difference between FDRs, FES and HCs with respect to both TBPM (F(2,142) = 10.4, p<0.001) and EBPM (F(2,142) = 10.8, p<0.001). Multiple linear regression analyses revealed that lower scores of the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R) and the STROOP Word-Color Test (SWCT) contributed to TBPM impairment, while lower educational level and higher scores of the Color Trails Test-2 (CTT-2) contributed to EBPM deficit in FDRs.
Conclusions
FDRs share similar but attenuated prospective memory impairments with schizophrenia patients, suggesting that prospective memory deficits may represent an endophenotype of schizophrenia.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111562
PMCID: PMC4218767  PMID: 25365028
9.  Fluctuation between Fasting and 2-H Postload Glucose State Is Associated with Glomerular Hyperfiltration in Newly Diagnosed Diabetes Patients with HbA1c < 7% 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111173.
Objective
To investigate whether fluctuations between the fasting and 2-h postload glucose ([2-hPBG]-fasting blood glucose [FBG]) states are associated with glomerular hyperfiltration (GHF) in middle-aged and elderly Chinese patients with newly diagnosed diabetes.
Design and Methods
In this study, we included 679 newly diagnosed diabetes patients who were ≥40 years old. All the subjects were divided into two groups; those with HbA1c<7% and ≥7%. The Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation was used to estimate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). GHF was defined as an eGFR ≥ the 90th percentile. First, a multiple linear regression analysis was used to estimate the association of 2-hPBG-FBG with eGFR. Then, a generalized additive model was used to explore the possible nonlinear relationship between 2-hPBG-FBG and eGFR. Next, the 2-hPBG-FBG values were divided into four groups as follows: 0–36, 36–72, 72–108 and ≥108 mg/dl. Finally, a multiple logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the association of 2-hPBG-FBG with the risk of GHF.
Results
For the group with HbA1c<7%, the eGFR and the percentage of GHF were significantly higher compared with the group with HbA1c≥7%. After adjusting for age, gender, body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (BP), diastolic BP, fasting insulin, cholesterol, triglycerides, smoking, drinking and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), 2-hPBG-FBG was significantly associated with increased eGFR and an increased risk of GHF (the GHF risk increased by 64.9% for every 36.0 mg/dl [2.0 mmol/L] 2-hPBG-FBG increase) only in those patients with HbA1c<7%. Additionally, 2-hPBG-FBG and eGFR showed a nonlinear association (P<0.001).
Conclusions
Increased fluctuations between the fasting and 2-h postload glucose states are closely associated with increased eGFR and an increased risk of GHF in newly diagnosed diabetes patients with HbA1c<7%.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111173
PMCID: PMC4216006  PMID: 25360521
10.  Allelic expression mapping across cellular lineages to establish impact of non-coding SNPs 
Molecular Systems Biology  2014;10(10):1-15.
Most complex disease-associated genetic variants are located in non-coding regions and are therefore thought to be regulatory in nature. Association mapping of differential allelic expression (AE) is a powerful method to identify SNPs with direct cis-regulatory impact (cis-rSNPs). We used AE mapping to identify cis-rSNPs regulating gene expression in 55 and 63 HapMap lymphoblastoid cell lines from a Caucasian and an African population, respectively, 70 fibroblast cell lines, and 188 purified monocyte samples and found 40–60% of these cis-rSNPs to be shared across cell types. We uncover a new class of cis-rSNPs, which disrupt footprint-derived de novo motifs that are predominantly bound by repressive factors and are implicated in disease susceptibility through overlaps with GWAS SNPs. Finally, we provide the proof-of-principle for a new approach for genome-wide functional validation of transcription factor–SNP interactions. By perturbing NFκB action in lymphoblasts, we identified 489 cis-regulated transcripts with altered AE after NFκB perturbation. Altogether, we perform a comprehensive analysis of cis-variation in four cell populations and provide new tools for the identification of functional variants associated to complex diseases.
doi:10.15252/msb.20145114
PMCID: PMC4299376  PMID: 25326100
allelic expression; cis-rSNPs; complex disease; NFκB; repressor
11.  Triglyceride Levels Are Closely Associated with Mild Declines in Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rates in Middle-Aged and Elderly Chinese with Normal Serum Lipid Levels 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e106778.
Objective
To investigate the relationship between lipid profiles [including total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C)] and a mild decline in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in subjects with normal serum lipid levels.
Design and Methods
In this study, we included 2647 participants who were ≥40 years old and had normal serum lipid levels. The Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation was used to estimate the GFR. A mildly reduced eGFR was defined as 60–90 mL/min/1.73 m2. First, multiple linear regression analysis was used to estimate the association of lipid profiles with the eGFR. Then, the levels of each lipid component were divided into four groups, using the 25th, 50th and 75th percentiles as cut-off points. Finally, multiple logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the association of different lipid components with the risk of mildly reduced eGFR.
Results
In the group with a mildly reduced eGFR, TG and LDL-C levels were significantly increased, but HDL-C levels were significantly decreased. After adjusting for age, gender, body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), smoking and drinking, only TC and TG were independently related to the eGFR. Additionally, only TG showed a linear relationship with an increased risk of a mildly reduced eGFR, with the highest quartile group (TG: 108–150 mg/dl [1.22–1.70 mmol/L]) having a significantly increased risk after adjusting for the above factors.
Conclusions
Triglyceride levels are closely associated with a mildly reduced eGFR in subjects with normal serum lipid levels. Dyslipidemia with lower TG levels could be used as new diagnostic criteria for subjects with mildly reduced renal function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106778
PMCID: PMC4183470  PMID: 25275610
12.  Evaluating the Y chromosomal timescale in human demographic and lineage dating 
Y chromosome is a superb tool for inferring human evolution and recent demographic history from a paternal perspective. However, Y chromosomal substitution rates obtained using different modes of calibration vary considerably, and have produced disparate reconstructions of human history. Here, we discuss how substitution rate and date estimates are affected by the choice of different calibration points. We argue that most Y chromosomal substitution rates calculated to date have shortcomings, including a reliance on the ambiguous human-chimpanzee divergence time, insufficient sampling of deep-rooting pedigrees, and using inappropriate founding migrations, although the rates obtained from a single pedigree or calibrated with the peopling of the Americas seem plausible. We highlight the need for using more deep-rooting pedigrees and ancient genomes with reliable dates to improve the rate estimation.
doi:10.1186/2041-2223-5-12
PMCID: PMC4160915  PMID: 25215184
Y chromosome; Substitution rate; Demographic history; Lineage dating
13.  Enhancing mucosal immunity in mice by recombinant adenovirus expressing major epitopes of porcine circovirus-2 capsid protein delivered with cytosine-phosphate-guanosine oligodeoxynucleotides 
Journal of Veterinary Science  2014;15(3):399-407.
A recombinant replication-defective adenovirus expressing the major epitopes of porcine circovirus-2 (PCV-2) capsid protein (rAd/Cap/518) was previously constructed and shown to induce mucosal immunity in mice following intranasal delivery. In the present study, immune responses induced by intranasal immunization with a combination of rAd/Cap/518 and cytosine-phosphate-guanosine oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG ODN) were evaluated in mice. The levels of PCV-2-specific IgG in serum and IgA in saliva, lung, and intestinal fluids were significantly higher in the group immunized with rAd/Cap/518 and CpG ODN than animals immunized with rAd/Cap/518 alone. The frequencies of IL-2-secreting CD4+ T cells and IFN-γ-producing CD8+ T cells were significantly higher in the combined immunization group than mice immunized with rAd/Cap/518 alone. The frequencies of CD3+, CD3+CD4+CD8-, and CD3+CD4-CD8+ T cells in the combined immunization group were similar to that treated with CpG ODN alone, but significantly higher than mice that did not receive CpG ODN. PCV-2 load after challenge in the combined immunization group was significantly lower than that in the phosphate-buffered saline placebo group and approximately 7-fold lower in the group treated with CpG ODN alone. These results indicate that rAd/Cap/518 combined with CpG ODN can enhance systemic and local mucosal immunity in mice, and represent a promising synergetic mucosal vaccine against PCV-2.
doi:10.4142/jvs.2014.15.3.399
PMCID: PMC4178141  PMID: 24675838
cytosine-phosphate-guanosine oligodeoxynucleotides; mucosal immunity; porcine circovirus-2; rAd/Cap/518
14.  Y Chromosomes of 40% Chinese Descend from Three Neolithic Super-Grandfathers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105691.
Demographic change of human populations is one of the central questions for delving into the past of human beings. To identify major population expansions related to male lineages, we sequenced 78 East Asian Y chromosomes at 3.9 Mbp of the non-recombining region, discovered >4,000 new SNPs, and identified many new clades. The relative divergence dates can be estimated much more precisely using a molecular clock. We found that all the Paleolithic divergences were binary; however, three strong star-like Neolithic expansions at ∼6 kya (thousand years ago) (assuming a constant substitution rate of 1×10−9/bp/year) indicates that ∼40% of modern Chinese are patrilineal descendants of only three super-grandfathers at that time. This observation suggests that the main patrilineal expansion in China occurred in the Neolithic Era and might be related to the development of agriculture.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105691
PMCID: PMC4149484  PMID: 25170956
15.  Decreased expression of miR-133a correlates with poor prognosis in colorectal cancer patients 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(32):11340-11346.
AIM: To investigate microRNA-133a (miR-133a) expression in colorectal cancer (CRC) and its relationship with tumorigenesis and disease prognosis.
METHODS: Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to measure levels of miR-133a in tumor samples and adjacent non-cancerous tissues from 169 patients undergoing radical resection for CRC. The associations between miR-133a expression and patient age, sex, as well as clinicopathologic parameters, such as tumor size, differentiation, location, invasion depth, metastasis, tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stage and overall patient survival, were analyzed by Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis tests. The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were performed to estimate the prognostic factors for patient survival prediction.
RESULTS: The expression of miR-133a was significantly downregulated in CRC tissues compared with adjacent non-cancerous tissues (P < 0.05). This reduction was associated with the depth of the local invasion, poor differentiation, lymph node metastasis and advanced disease (P < 0.05). Moreover, Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated that patients with low miR-133a expression had poorer overall survival (OS) than those with high miR-133a expression (P < 0.001). Univariate analysis revealed statistically significant correlations between OS and miR-133a level, tumor local invasion, lymph node metastasis and TNM stage (P < 0.001). Furthermore, miR-133a levels and TNM stage were independently associated with OS (HR = 0.590, 95%CI: 0.350-0.995, P < 0.05; and HR = 6.111, 95%CI: 1.029-36.278, P < 0.05, respectively).
CONCLUSION: The downregulation of miR-133a may play an important role in the progression of CRC and can be used as an independent factor to determine CRC prognosis.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i32.11340
PMCID: PMC4145774  PMID: 25170220
Colorectal cancer; Biomarker; MicroRNA-133a; Prognosis; Real-time polymerase chain reaction
17.  Analysis of POFUT1 Gene Mutation in a Chinese Family with Dowling-Degos Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104496.
Dowling-Degos disease (DDD) is an autosomal dominant genodermatosis characterized by reticular pigmented anomaly mainly affecting flexures. Though KRT5 has been identified to be the causal gene of DDD, the heterogeneity of this disease was displayed: for example, POFUT1 and POGLUT1 were recently identified and confirmed to be additional pathogenic genes of DDD. To identify other DDD causative genes, we performed genome-wide linkage and exome sequencing analyses in a multiplex Chinese DDD family, in which the KRT5 mutation was absent. Only a novel 1-bp deletion (c.246+5delG) in POFUT1 was found. No other novel mutation or this deletion was detected in POFUT1 in a second DDD family and a sporadic DDD case by Sanger Sequencing. The result shows the genetic-heterogeneity and complexity of DDD and will contribute to the further understanding of DDD genotype/phenotype correlations and to the pathogenesis of this disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104496
PMCID: PMC4144801  PMID: 25157627
18.  Genetic Structure of Qiangic Populations Residing in the Western Sichuan Corridor 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103772.
The Qiangic languages in western Sichuan (WSC) are believed to be the oldest branch of the Sino-Tibetan linguistic family, and therefore, all Sino-Tibetan populations might have originated in WSC. However, very few genetic investigations have been done on Qiangic populations and no genetic evidences for the origin of Sino-Tibetan populations have been provided. By using the informative Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers, we analyzed the genetic structure of Qiangic populations. Our results revealed a predominantly Northern Asian-specific component in Qiangic populations, especially in maternal lineages. The Qiangic populations are an admixture of the northward migrations of East Asian initial settlers with Y chromosome haplogroup D (D1-M15 and the later originated D3a-P47) in the late Paleolithic age, and the southward Di-Qiang people with dominant haplogroup O3a2c1*-M134 and O3a2c1a-M117 in the Neolithic Age.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103772
PMCID: PMC4121179  PMID: 25090432
19.  Fluctuation between Fasting and 2-H Postload Glucose State Is Associated with Chronic Kidney Disease in Previously Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes Patients with HbA1c ≥ 7% 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102941.
Objective
To investigate how the glucose variability between fasting and a 2-h postload glucose state (2-h postload plasma glucose [2hPG]-fasting plasma glucose [FPG]) is associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in middle-aged and elderly Chinese patients previously diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Design and Methods
This cross-sectional study included 1054 previously diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients who were 40 years of age and older. First, the subjects were divided into two groups based on a glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) value of 7%. Each group was divided into two subgroups, with or without CKD. The Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation was used to estimate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). CKD was defined as eGFR<60 mL/min/1.73 m2. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to estimate the association between the 2hPG-FPG and eGFR. The 2hPG-FPG value was divided into four groups increasing in increments of 36 mg/dl (2.0 mmol/L): 0–72, 72–108, 108–144 and ≥144 mg/dl, based on the quartiles of patients with HbA1c levels ≥7%; then, binary logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the association between 2hPG-FPG and the risk of CKD.
Results
In the patients with HbA1c levels ≥7%, the 2hPG-FPG was significantly associated with decreased eGFR and an increased risk of CKD independent of age, gender, body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (BP), diastolic BP, smoking, and drinking, as well as fasting insulin, cholesterol, triglyceride, and HbA1c levels. The patients with 2hPG-FPG values ≥144 mg/dl showed an increased odds ratio (OR) of 2.640 (P = 0.033). Additionally, HbA1c was associated with an increased risk of CKD in patients with HbA1c values ≥7%.
Conclusions
The short-term glucose variability expressed by 2hPG-FPG is closely associated with decreased eGFR and an increased risk of CKD in patients with poor glycemic control (HbA1c≥7%).
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102941
PMCID: PMC4105498  PMID: 25047354
20.  Inflammatory Stress Increases Hepatic CD36 Translational Efficiency via Activation of the mTOR Signalling Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103071.
Inflammatory stress is an independent risk factor for the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Although CD36 is known to facilitate long-chain fatty acid uptake and contributes to NAFLD progression, the mechanisms that link inflammatory stress to hepatic CD36 expression and steatosis remain unclear. As the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway is involved in CD36 translational activation, this study was undertaken to investigate whether inflammatory stress enhances hepatic CD36 expression via mTOR signalling pathway and the underlying mechanisms. To induce inflammatory stress, we used tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) stimulation of the human hepatoblastoma HepG2 cells in vitro and casein injection in C57BL/6J mice in vivo. The data showed that inflammatory stress increased hepatic CD36 protein levels but had no effect on mRNA expression. A protein degradation assay revealed that CD36 protein stability was not different between HepG2 cells treated with or without TNF-α or IL-6. A polysomal analysis indicated that CD36 translational efficiency was significantly increased by inflammatory stress. Additionally, inflammatory stress enhanced the phosphorylation of mTOR and its downstream translational regulators including p70S6K, 4E-BP1 and eIF4E. Rapamycin, an mTOR-specific inhibitor, reduced the phosphorylation of mTOR signalling pathway and decreased the CD36 translational efficiency and protein level even under inflammatory stress resulting in the alleviation of inflammatory stress-induced hepatic lipid accumulation. This study demonstrates that the activation of the mTOR signalling pathway increases hepatic CD36 translational efficiency, resulting in increased CD36 protein expression under inflammatory stress.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103071
PMCID: PMC4105654  PMID: 25048611
21.  The Study of Fetal Rat Model of Intra-Amniotic Isoproterenol Injection Induced Heart Dysfunction and Phenotypic Switch of Contractile Proteins 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:360687.
To establish a reliable isoproterenol induced heart dysfunction fetal rat model and understand the switches of contractile proteins, 45 pregnant rats were divided into 15 mg/kg-once, 15 mg/kg-twice, sham-operated once, sham-operated twice, and control groups. And 18 adult rats were divided into isoproterenol-treated and control groups. H&E staining, Masson staining, and transmission electron microscope were performed. Apoptotic rate assessed by TUNEL analysis and expressions of ANP, BNP, MMP-2, and CTGF of hearts were measured. Intra-amniotic injections of isoproterenol were supplied on E14.5 and E15.5 for fetuses and 7-day continuous intraperitoneal injections were performed for adults. Then echocardiography was performed with M-mode view assessment on E18.5 and 6 weeks later, respectively. Isoproterenol twice treated fetuses exhibited significant changes in histological evaluation, and mitochondrial damages were significantly severe with increased apoptotic rate. ANP and BNP increased and that of MMP-2 increased in isoproterenol twice treated group compared to control group, without CTGF. The isoforms transition of troponin I and myosin heavy chain of fetal heart dysfunction were opposite to adult procedure. The administration of intra-amniotic isoproterenol to fetal rats could induce heart dysfunction and the regulation of contractile proteins of fetuses was different from adult procedure.
doi:10.1155/2014/360687
PMCID: PMC4127273  PMID: 25136580
22.  Characterization and expression profiles of MaACS and MaACO genes from mulberry (Morus alba L.)*  
1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase (ACS) and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid oxidase (ACO) are encoded by multigene families and are involved in fruit ripening by catalyzing the production of ethylene throughout the development of fruit. However, there are no reports on ACS or ACO genes in mulberry, partly because of the limited molecular research background. In this study, we have obtained five ACS gene sequences and two ACO gene sequences from Morus Genome Database. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis of MaACO1 and MaACO2 showed that their amino acids are conserved compared with ACO proteins from other species. MaACS1 and MaACS2 are type I, MaACS3 and MaACS4 are type II, and MaACS5 is type III, with different C-terminal sequences. Quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) expression analysis showed that the transcripts of MaACS genes were strongly expressed in fruit, and more weakly in other tissues. The expression of MaACO1 and MaACO2 showed different patterns in various mulberry tissues. MaACS and MaACO genes demonstrated two patterns throughout the development of mulberry fruit, and both of them were strongly up-regulated by abscisic acid (ABA) and ethephon.
doi:10.1631/jzus.B1300320
PMCID: PMC4097371  PMID: 25001221
Mulberry fruit; MaACS; MaACO; Gene expression; Abscisic acid; Ethephon
23.  The Regulatory Role of Activating Transcription Factor 2 in Inflammation 
Mediators of Inflammation  2014;2014:950472.
Activating transcription factor 2 (ATF2) is a member of the leucine zipper family of DNA-binding proteins and is widely distributed in tissues including the liver, lung, spleen, and kidney. Like c-Jun and c-Fos, ATF2 responds to stress-related stimuli and may thereby influence cell proliferation, inflammation, apoptosis, oncogenesis, neurological development and function, and skeletal remodeling. Recent studies clarify the regulatory role of ATF2 in inflammation and describe potential inhibitors of this protein. In this paper, we summarize the properties and functions of ATF2 and explore potential applications of ATF2 inhibitors as tools for research and for the development of immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory drugs.
doi:10.1155/2014/950472
PMCID: PMC4090481  PMID: 25049453
24.  Pathogenicity of Shigella in Chickens 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100264.
Shigellosis in chickens was first reported in 2004. This study aimed to determine the pathogenicity of Shigella in chickens and the possibility of cross-infection between humans and chickens. The pathogenicity of Shigella in chickens was examined via infection of three-day-old SPF chickens with Shigella strain ZD02 isolated from a human patient. The virulence and invasiveness were examined by infection of the chicken intestines and primary chicken intestinal epithelial cells. The results showed Shigella can cause death via intraperitoneal injection in SPF chickens, but only induce depression via crop injection. Immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopy revealed the Shigella can invade the intestinal epithelia. Immunohistochemistry of the primary chicken intestinal epithelial cells infected with Shigella showed the bacteria were internalized into the epithelial cells. Electron microscopy also confirmed that Shigella invaded primary chicken intestinal epithelia and was encapsulated by phagosome-like membranes. Our data demonstrate that Shigella can invade primary chicken intestinal epithelial cells in vitro and chicken intestinal mucosa in vivo, resulting in pathogenicity and even death. The findings suggest Shigella isolated from human or chicken share similar pathogenicity as well as the possibility of human-poultry cross-infection, which is of public health significance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100264
PMCID: PMC4064985  PMID: 24949637
25.  Voltage-gated sodium channels were differentially expressed in human normal prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer cells 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(1):345-350.
Voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) are expressed not only in excitable cells but also in numerous metastatic cells, particularly in certain types of cancer cells. In some types of cancer, including prostate cancer, the expression of VGSCs is associated with cancer migration, invasion and metastasis in vivo. However, the detailed expression profiles of VGSC α subunits in normal human prostate, in prostatic hyperplasia and prostatic cancer remain controversial. In the present study, quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to systematically detect all subtypes of VGSC α subunits in normal human prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer cells. The expression profile of VGSC α subunits was observed to differ between these cell types. Nav1.5 was the major isoform expressed in normal human prostate tissue, while Nav1.5 and Nav1.2 were the predominant isoforms in BPH tissue. However, in PC-3 and LNCaP cells, two typical prostate cancer cell lines, Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 were abundantly expressed. By comparing the relative expression levels of Nav1.5, Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 in these cells, the mRNA levels of Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 were identified to be 6- to 27-fold higher in PC-3 and LNCaP cells than in either normal or BPH samples (P<0.05); however, Nav1.5 mRNA levels were relatively lower compared with those of Nav1.6 or Nav1.7 in all cells analyzed. To confirm whether Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 expression in cancer cells was functional, a patch-clamp technique was used to record whole-cell currents. A tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium current was successfully recorded in PC-3 cells, but not in LNCaP cells. It was concluded that although all types of VGSC α subunits exhibited low expression levels in normal prostate and BPH cells, both Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 were significantly upregulated in the prostate cancer cell lines, suggesting these subtypes may be potential diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets for certain types of prostate cancer in humans.
doi:10.3892/ol.2014.2110
PMCID: PMC4063587  PMID: 24959274
voltage-gated sodium channel; mRNA; prostate; cancer; benign prostatic hyperplasia

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