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1.  Expression of BMP4 in myocardium and vascular tissue of obese mice 
Obesity is regarded as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) is a proinflammatory and profibrotic factor, and the reduced expression of this molecule in obese mice seems to be inconsistent with the known proinflammatory effects of obesity. Therefore, we studied BMP4 expression and inflammation in the myocardial tissue and aortas of obese mice.
Methods and Results
Four-week-old ob/ob mice were used as the experimental group, and C57BL/6 mice comprised the control group. Animals were sacrificed after a 12-week full diet, and then the blood, heart, abdominal aorta, and inguinal adipose tissue were collected. The expression of BMP4 mRNA and protein in the heart and aorta was significantly higher in the experimental group than in the control group, but expression was lower in adipose tissue. Inflammation measured by the expression of IL-1β and IL-9 mRNA and protein and Smad1 and phosphorylated Smad1/5/8 protein in the heart and aorta was higher in the experimental group than in the control group. In addition, the expression of BMP4 in the serum was significantly higher in the experimental group than in the control group.
BMP4 is significantly overexpressed in the myocardial tissue and aortas of obese mice, and mediates local inflammatory responses.
PMCID: PMC4326186
BMP4; Obesity; Inflammation; Cardiovascular disease
2.  Enhanced hepatic delivery of siRNA and microRNA using oleic acid based lipid nanoparticle formulations 
Many cationic lipids have been developed for lipid-based nanoparticles (LNPs) for delivery of siRNA and microRNA (miRNA). However, less attention has been paid to “helper lipids”. Here, we investigated several “helper lipids” and examined their effects on the physicochemical properties such as particle size and zeta potential, as well as cellular uptake and transfection efficiency. We found that inclusion of oleic acid (OA), an unsaturated fatty acid; into the LNP formulation significantly enhanced the delivery efficacy for siRNA and miRNA. For proof-of-concept, miR-122, a liver-specific microRNA associated with many liver diseases, was used as a model agent to demonstrate the hepatic delivery efficacy both in tumor cells and in animals. Compared to Lipofectamine 2000, a commercial transfection agent, OA containing LNPs delivered microRNA-122 in a more efficient manner with a 1.8-fold increase in mature miR-122 expression and a 20% decrease in Bcl-w, a target of microRNA-122. In comparison with Invivofectamine, a commercial transfection agent specifically designed for hepatic delivery, OA containing LNPs showed comparable liver accumulation and in vivo delivery efficiency. These findings demonstrated the importance of “helper lipid” components of the LNP formulation on the cellular uptake and transfection activity of siRNA and miRNA. OA containing LNPs are a promising nanocarrier system for the delivery of RNA-based therapeutics in liver diseases.
PMCID: PMC4307782  PMID: 24121065
Cationic lipid nanoparticles; Helper lipids; siRNA; microRNA; Hepatic delivery
3.  Regulation of cancer metastasis by microRNAs 
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous small non-coding RNAs that have been found highly conserved among species. MiRNAs are able to negatively regulate gene expression through base pairing of 3’ UTRs of their target genes. Therefore, miRNAs have been shown to play an important role in regulating various cellular activities. Over the past decade, substantial evidences have been obtained to show that miRNAs are aberrantly expressed in human malignancies and could act as “OncomiRs” or “Tumor suppressor miRs”. In recent years, increasing number of studies have demonstrated the involvement of miRNAs in cancer metastasis. Many studies have shown that microRNAs could directly target genes playing a central role in epithelia-mesenchymal-transition (EMT), a cellular transformation process that allows cancer cells to acquire motility and invasiveness. EMT is considered an essential step driving the early phase of cancer metastasis. This review will summarize the recent findings and characterization of miRNAs that are involved in the regulation of EMT, migration, invasion and metastasis of cancer cells. Lastly, we will discuss potential use of miRNAs as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers as well as therapeutic targets for cancer.
PMCID: PMC4318216  PMID: 25614041
miRNAs; Breast cancer; Metastasis; Migration; Invasion; EMT
4.  Photothermoelectric and photovoltaic effects both present in MoS2 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:7938.
As a finite-energy-bandgap alternative to graphene, semiconducting molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) has recently attracted extensive interest for energy and sensor applications. In particular for broad-spectral photodetectors, multilayer MoS2 is more appealing than its monolayer counterpart. However, little is understood regarding the physics underlying the photoresponse of multilayer MoS2. Here, we employ scanning photocurrent microscopy to identify the nature of photocurrent generated in multilayer MoS2 transistors. The generation and transport of photocurrent in multilayer MoS2 are found to differ from those in other low-dimensional materials that only contribute with either photovoltaic effect (PVE) or photothermoelectric effect (PTE). In multilayer MoS2, the PVE at the MoS2-metal interface dominates in the accumulation regime whereas the hot-carrier-assisted PTE prevails in the depletion regime. Besides, the anomalously large Seebeck coefficient observed in multilayer MoS2, which has also been reported by others, is caused by hot photo-excited carriers that are not in thermal equilibrium with the MoS2 lattice.
PMCID: PMC4300500  PMID: 25605348
5.  Inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation for enhancing citric acid production by Aspergillus niger 
The spore germination rate and growth characteristics were compared between the citric acid high-yield strain Aspergillus niger CGMCC 5751 and A. niger ATCC 1015 in media containing antimycin A or DNP. We inferred that differences in citric acid yield might be due to differences in energy metabolism between these strains. To explore the impact of energy metabolism on citric acid production, the changes in intracellular ATP, NADH and NADH/NAD+ were measured at various fermentation stages. In addition, the effects of antimycin A or DNP on energy metabolism and citric acid production was investigated by CGMCC 5751.
By comparing the spore germination rate and the extent of growth on PDA plates containing antimycin A or DNP, CGMCC 5751 was shown to be more sensitive to antimycin A than ATCC 1015. The substrate-level phosphorylation of CGMCC 5751 was greater than that of ATCC 1015 on PDA plates with DNP. DNP at tested concentrations had no apparent effect on the growth of CGMCC 5751. There were no apparent effects on the mycelial morphology, the growth of mycelial pellets or the dry cell mass when 0.2 mg L-1 antimycin A or 0.1 mg L-1 DNP was added to medium at the 24-h time point. The concentrations of intracellular ATP, NADH and NADH/NAD+ of CGMCC 5751 were notably lower than those of ATCC 1015 at several fermentation stages. Moreover, at 96 h of fermentation, the citric acid production of CGMCC 5751 reached up to 151.67 g L-1 and 135.78 g L-1 by adding 0.2 mg L-1 antimycin A or 0.1 mg L-1 DNP, respectively, at the 24-h time point of fermentation. Thus, the citric acid production of CGMCC 5751 was increased by 19.89% and 7.32%, respectively.
The concentrations of intracellular ATP, NADH and NADH/NAD+ of the citric acid high-yield strain CGMCC 5751 were notably lower than those of ATCC 1015. The excessive ATP has a strong inhibitory effect on citric acid accumulation by A. niger. Increasing NADH oxidation and appropriately reducing the concentration of intracellular ATP can accelerate glycolysis and the TCA cycle to enhance citric acid yield.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12934-015-0190-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4320542  PMID: 25592678
Citric acid; Aspergillus niger; Oxidative phosphorylation inhibitor; Uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation; Energy metabolism
6.  Genetic loci associated with circulating levels of very long-chain saturated fatty acids[S] 
Journal of Lipid Research  2015;56(1):176-184.
Very long-chain saturated fatty acids (VLSFAs) are saturated fatty acids with 20 or more carbons. In contrast to the more abundant saturated fatty acids, such as palmitic acid, there is growing evidence that circulating VLSFAs may have beneficial biological properties. Whether genetic factors influence circulating levels of VLSFAs is not known. We investigated the association of common genetic variation with plasma phospholipid/erythrocyte levels of three VLSFAs by performing genome-wide association studies in seven population-based cohorts comprising 10,129 subjects of European ancestry. We observed associations of circulating VLSFA concentrations with common variants in two genes, serine palmitoyl-transferase long-chain base subunit 3 (SPTLC3), a gene involved in the rate-limiting step of de novo sphingolipid synthesis, and ceramide synthase 4 (CERS4). The SPTLC3 variant at rs680379 was associated with higher arachidic acid (20:0 , P = 5.81 × 10−13). The CERS4 variant at rs2100944 was associated with higher levels of 20:0 (P = 2.65 × 10−40) and in analyses that adjusted for 20:0, with lower levels of behenic acid (P = 4.22 × 10−26) and lignoceric acid (P = 3.20 × 10−21). These novel associations suggest an inter-relationship of circulating VLSFAs and sphingolipid synthesis.
PMCID: PMC4274065  PMID: 25378659
arachidic acid; behenic acid; lignoceric acid; sphingolipids
7.  Transcriptome analysis and transient transformation suggest an ancient duplicated MYB transcription factor as a candidate gene for leaf red coloration in peach 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14(1):388.
Leaf red coloration is an important characteristic in many plant species, including cultivars of ornamental peach (Prunus persica). Peach leaf color is controlled by a single Gr gene on linkage group 6, with a red allele dominant over the green allele. Here, we report the identification of a candidate gene of Gr in peach.
The red coloration of peach leaves is due to accumulation of anthocyanin pigments, which is regulated at the transcriptional level. Based on transcriptome comparison between red- and green-colored leaves, an MYB transcription regulator PpMYB10.4 in the Gr interval was identified to regulate anthocyanin pigmentation in peach leaf. Transient expression of PpMYB10.4 in tobacco and peach leaves can induce anthocyain accumulation. Moreover, a functional MYB gene PpMYB10.2 on linkage group 3, which is homologous to PpMYB10.4, is also expressed in both red- and green-colored leaves, but plays no role in leaf red coloration. This suggests a complex mechanism underlying anthocyanin accumulation in peach leaf. In addition, PpMYB10.4 and other anthocyanin-activating MYB genes in Rosaceae responsible for anthocyanin accumulation in fruit are dated to a common ancestor about 70 million years ago (MYA). However, PpMYB10.4 has diverged from these anthocyanin-activating MYBs to generate a new gene family, which regulates anthocyanin accumulation in vegetative organs such as leaves.
Activation of an ancient duplicated MYB gene PpMYB10.4 in the Gr interval on LG 6, which represents a novel branch of anthocyanin-activating MYB genes in Rosaceae, is able to activate leaf red coloration in peach.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0388-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4302523  PMID: 25551393
Prunus persica; Anthocyanin coloration; Gene duplication; Transcriptome analysis
8.  Incomplete Radiofrequency Ablation Enhances Invasiveness and Metastasis of Residual Cancer of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell HCCLM3 via Activating β-Catenin Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115949.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is one of the curative therapies for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), however, accelerated progression of residual HCC after incomplete RFA has been reported more frequently. The underlying molecular mechanism of this phenomenon remains to be elucidated. In this study, we used an incomplete RFA orthotopic HCC nude mouse model to study the invasive and metastatic potential of residual cancer as well as the correlated mechanism.
The incomplete RFA orthotopic nude mouse models were established using high metastatic potential HCC cell line HCCLM3 and low metastatic potential HCC cell line HepG2, respectively. The changes in cellular morphology, motility, metastasis and epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), and HCC cell molecular markers after in vitro and in vivo incomplete RFA intervention were observed.
Pulmonary and intraperitoneal metastasis were observed in an in vivo study. The underlying pro-invasive mechanism of incomplete RFA appeared to be associated with promoting EMT, including down-regulation of E-cadherin and up-regulation of N-cadherin and vimentin. These results were in accordance with the in vitro response of HCC cells to heat intervention. Further studies demonstrated that β-catenin was a pivotal factor during this course and blocking β-catenin reduced metastasis and EMT phenotype changes in heat-treated HCCLM3 cells in vitro.
Incomplete RFA enhanced the invasive and metastatic potential of residual cancer, accompanying with EMT-like phenotype changes by activating β-catenin signaling in HCCLM3 cells.
PMCID: PMC4277411  PMID: 25542041
9.  HIV Prevalence and Associated Factors among Foreign Brides from Burma in Yunnan Province, China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115599.
Many Burmese women have migrated to Yunnan Province and married local residents over the past few decades; however, limited information is available on their HIV prevalence and ability to cope with HIV. This study aims to assess the prevalence of HIV and knowledge related to AIDS, as well as to discover possible risk factors of HIV infection among foreign brides from Burma in Yunnan Province.
A cross-sectional study was taken of all Burmese cross-border wives residing in Tengchong County using standardized questionnaires. HIV and syphilis testing was conducted at the same time.
Among 600 Burmese brides, the HIV prevalence was 2.17%. Those aged 21–30, those with higher education levels and those who had resided in China less than one year had higher infection rates. The AIDS awareness rate of 39.50% was very low in this population. Only 28.67% of participants had ever been involved in prevention services. The rate of condom use was low. Classification by age, education, occupation, prior HIV testing and prior use of HIV prevention services showed a statistically significant association with mean knowledge score (p<0.05). Residing in China less than one year (OR = 3.86, 95% CI = 1.09–13.70) and having casual sex in the last year (OR = 10.49, 95% CI = 1.20–91.59) were risk factors for HIV infection.
Burmese brides in China are not only exposed to a high risk of HIV infection, but also seriously lack response capabilities. Educational interventions and control efforts are practical approaches that need to be strengthened among this population.
PMCID: PMC4275213  PMID: 25536087
10.  HIF-1α induces VE-cadherin expression and modulates vasculogenic mimicry in esophageal carcinoma cells 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(47):17894-17904.
AIM: To investigate whether hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α modulates vasculogenic mimicry (VM) by upregulating VE-cadherin expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
METHODS: Esophageal squamous cancer cell lines Eca109 and TE13 were transfected with plasmids harboring small interfering RNAs targeting HIF-1α or VE-cadherin. The proliferation and invasion of esophageal carcinoma cells were detected by MTT and Transwell migration assays. The formation of tubular networks of cells was analyzed by 3D culture in vitro. BALB/c nude mice were used to observe xenograft tumor formation. The relationship between the expression of HIF-1α and VE-cadherin, ephrinA2 (EphA2) and laminin5γ2 (LN5γ2) was measured by Western blot and real-time polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: Knockdown of HIF-1α inhibited cell proliferation (32.3% ± 6.1% for Eca109 cells and 38.6% ± 6.8% for TE13 cells, P < 0.05). Both Eca109 and TE13 cells formed typical tubular networks. The number of tubular networks markedly decreased when HIF-1α or VE-cadherin was knocked down. Expression of VE-cadherin, EphA2 and LN5γ2 was dramatically inhibited, but the expression of matrix metalloproteinase 2 had no obvious change in HIF-1α-silenced cells. Knockdown of VE-cadherin significantly decreased expression of both EphA2 and LN5γ2 (P < 0.05), while HIF-1α expression was unchanged. The time for xenograft tumor formation was 6 ± 1.2 d for Eca109 cells and Eca109 cells transfected with HIF-1α Neo control short hairpin RNA (shRNA) vector, and 8.4 ± 2.1 d for Eca109 cells transfected with an shRNA against HIF-1α. Knockdown of HIF-1α inhibited vasculogenic mimicry (VM) and tumorigenicity in vivo.
CONCLUSION: HIF-1α may modulate VM in ESCC by regulating VE-cadherin expression, which affects VM formation through EphA2 and LN5γ2.
PMCID: PMC4273139  PMID: 25548487
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; VE-cadherin; RNA interference; Vasculogenic mimicry
11.  Gastrointestinal symptom due to lupus peritonitis: a rare form of onset of SLE 
Serositis is commonly seen in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Approximately 16% of patients with SLE have pleural or pericardial involvement. However, peritoneal involvement is extremely rare, and SLE with ascites as the first manifestation is an even rarer condition. This is the case report of a 19-year old male with discoid lupus who evolved with gastrointestinal symptoms as the first manifestation of the disease, characterized by significant abdominal distension and pain, asthenia, vomiting, and signs of ascites. An abdominal CT scan demonstrated ascites and marked edematous thickening of the bowel wall, which appeared as “target sign”, and “double-track sign”. Laboratory tests showed that his serum complement levels decreased and that he was positive for anti-nRNP/Sm antibodies, anti-Sm antibodies, anti-SS-A antibody, and anti-nuclear antibodies. The patient was treated with prednisone and chloroquine, with substantial improvement of his condition.
PMCID: PMC4307580  PMID: 25664133
Systemic lupus erythematosus; serositis; ascites; lupus peritonitis; CT
12.  Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease associated with gallstones in females rather than males: a longitudinal cohort study in Chinese urban population 
BMC Gastroenterology  2014;14(1):213.
Whether non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a risk factor for gallstones remains uncertain. Few longitudinal or cohort studies have been used to identify this relationship. The aim of this study was to confirm the association between NAFLD and gallstones in a longitudinal cohort of urban dwellers in China.
To elucidate the association between NAFLD and gallstones, we fitted a generalized estimating equation (GEE) model in a large-scale longitudinal cohort over 6 years, which included 11,200 participants with at least three regular health check-ups.
A total of 498 cases of gallstones occurred during the 6-year follow-up, which resulted in a total incidence density of 12.73 per 1000 person-years (498/39, 135.5 person-years). The GEE analyses confirmed and clarified the association between NAFLD and gallstones (relative risk (RR) = 1.2381, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.003–1.528, P = 0.047) after adjusting for other potential confounding factors, especially in females (RR = 1.707, 95% CI = 1.245–2.341, P = 0.001).
NAFLD is associated with gallstones in an urban Chinese population from the middle to upper socioeconomic strata. Moreover, this association is more strongly apparent in females than in males. Further cohort studies must be conducted to confirm this association in the general population.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12876-014-0213-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4273434  PMID: 25496394
Gallstones; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); Longitudinal cohort study; Generalized estimated equation (GEE)
13.  Biochemical and transcriptome analyses of a novel chlorophyll-deficient chlorina tea plant cultivar 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14(1):352.
The tea plant (Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze) is one of the most economically important woody crops. Recently, many leaf color genotypes have been developed during tea plant breeding and have become valuable materials in the processing of green tea. Although the physiological characteristics of some leaf color mutants of tea plants have been partially revealed, little is known about the molecular mechanisms leading to the chlorina phenotype in tea plants.
The yellow-leaf tea cultivar Zhonghuang 2 (ZH2) was selected during tea plant breeding. In comparison with Longjing 43 (LJ43), a widely planted green tea cultivar, ZH2 exhibited the chlorina phenotype and displayed significantly decreased chlorophyll contents. Transmission electron microscopy analysis revealed that the ultrastructure of the chloroplasts was disrupted, and the grana were poorly stacked in ZH2. Moreover, the contents of theanine and free amino acids were significantly higher, whereas the contents of carotenoids, catechins and anthocyanin were lower in ZH2 than in LJ43. Microarray analysis showed that the expression of 259 genes related to amino acid metabolism, photosynthesis and pigment metabolism was significantly altered in ZH2 shoots compared with those of LJ43 plants. Pathway analysis of 4,902 differentially expressed genes identified 24 pathways as being significantly regulated, including ‘cysteine and methionine metabolism’, ‘glycine, serine and threonine metabolism’, ‘flavonoid biosynthesis’, ‘porphyrin and chlorophyll metabolism’ and ‘carotenoid biosynthesis’. Furthermore, a number of differentially expressed genes could be mapped to the ‘theanine biosynthesis’, ‘chlorophyll biosynthesis’ and ‘flavonoid biosynthesis’ pathways. Changes in the expression of genes involved in these pathways might be responsible for the different phenotype of ZH2.
A novel chlorophyll-deficient chlorina tea plant cultivar was identified. Biochemical characteristics were analyzed and gene expression profiling was performed using a custom oligonucleotide-based microarray. This study provides further insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the phenotype of the chlorina cultivar of Camellia sinensis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0352-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4276261  PMID: 25491435
Chlorina; Chlorophyll deficiency; Gene expression; Microarray; Tea plant (Camellia sinensis)
14.  Diagnostic and prognostic value of plasma microRNA deregulation in nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2013;14(12):1133-1142.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is uncommon worldwide but often highly invasive in late stages. Due to its special location and lack of specific symptoms, NPC is hardly detected in regular medical examination at the beginning. Development of sensitive and specific biomarkers should help to save lives against this type of disease. In the present report, we investigated the value of plasma miRNAs for diagnosis and prognosis of NPC. Using candidate approach, we selected 21 miRNAs from literature to compare their expression levels in the plasma of NPC patients and controls. As a result, 5 miRNAs showed diagnostic potentials (P < 0.01). Among them, miR-16, -21, -24, and -155 had increased levels in NPC patients, whereas the level of miR-378 was decreased. There was a negative correlation between plasma miRNA expression and cancer progression, where miR-21 was statistically significant in T and N staging and miR-16 and 24 were significant in N staging only. Combination of miR-16, -21, -24, -155, and -378 gives 87.7% of sensitivity and 82.0% of specificity for NPC diagnosis. Without miR-16, combination of the rest 4 miRNAs gives the same sensitivity but a slightly reduced specificity. After treatment, all 5 miRNAs were somewhat back to normal levels in patients without cancer recurrence but the prognostic value was not statistically significant. In conclusion, plasma miRNA expression is a useful biomarker for NPC diagnosis but not for its prognosis. More importantly, it is simple, effective, and non-invasive. Combination of several plasma miRNAs can increase both NPC diagnostic sensitivity and specificity.
PMCID: PMC3912036  PMID: 24025417
nasopharyngeal carcinoma; NPC; miRNA; plasma; biomarker; diagnosis; prognosis
15.  Effects of Fenofibrate on Adiponectin Expression in Retinas of Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2014;2014:540326.
Adiponectin has been associated with increased risks of microvascular complications in diabetes; however, its role in the development of diabetic retinopathy (DR) is unknown. Fenofibrate is a lipid-lowering agent that has been shown to be capable of preventing DR progression. We investigated the expression of adiponectin and its receptors in DR and evaluated the effects of fenofibrate on their expression. The mRNA and protein levels of adiponectin and its receptors were elevated in retinas of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats and were suppressed following fenofibrate treatment. Immunofluorescence staining demonstrated that adiponectin and adipoR1 were expressed in cells located within blood vessels, the retinal ganglion, and the inner nuclear layer. AdipoR1 was strongly expressed whereas adipoR2 was only weekly expressed in vascular endothelial cells. The in vitro experiments showed that adiponectin expression was induced by high glucose concentrations in RGC-5 and RAW264.7 cells and was suppressed following fenofibrate treatment. AdipoR1 and adipoR2 levels in RGC-5 cells were elevated in high glucose concentrations and suppressed by fenofibrate. Our results demonstrated that adiponectin may be a proinflammatory mediator in diabetic retinas and fenofibrate appears to modulate the expression of adiponectin and its receptors in diabetic retinas, effectively reducing DR progression.
PMCID: PMC4267464  PMID: 25525608
16.  Identification of KIF5B-RET and GOPC-ROS1 fusions in lung adenocarcinomas through a comprehensive mRNA-based screen for tyrosine kinase fusions 
The mutually exclusive pattern of the major driver oncogenes in lung cancer suggests that other mutually exclusive oncogenes exist. We performed a systematic search for tyrosine kinase (TK) fusions by screening all TKs for aberrantly high RNA expression levels of the 3′ kinase domain (KD) exons relative to more 5′ exons.
We studied 69 patients (including 5 never smokers and 64 current or former smokers) with lung adenocarcinoma negative for all major mutations in KRAS, EGFR, BRAF, MEK1, and HER2, and for ALK fusions (termed “pan-negative”). A NanoString-based assay was designed to query the transcripts of 90 TKs at two points: 5′ to the KD and within the KD or 3′ to it. Tumor RNAs were hybridized to the NanoString probes and analyzed for outlier 3′ to 5′ expression ratios. Presumed novel fusion events were studied by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and confirmatory RT-PCR and FISH.
We identified 1 case each of aberrant 3′ to 5′ ratios in ROS1 and RET. RACE isolated a GOPC-ROS1 (FIG-ROS1) fusion in the former and a KIF5B-RET fusion in the latter, both confirmed by RT-PCR. The RET rearrangement was also confirmed by FISH. The KIF5B-RET patient was one of only 5 never smokers in this cohort.
The KIF5B-RET fusion defines an additional subset of lung cancer with a potentially targetable driver oncogene enriched in never smokers with “pan-negative” lung adenocarcinomas. We also report for the first time in lung cancer the GOPC-ROS1 fusion previously characterized in glioma.
PMCID: PMC4234119  PMID: 23052255
lung cancer; kinase; gene fusion; RET; ROS1; ALK
17.  A recurrent neomorphic mutation in MYOD1 defines a clinically aggressive subset of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma associated with PI3K/AKT pathway mutations 
Nature genetics  2014;46(6):595-600.
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a cancer of skeletal muscle lineage, is the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in children [1]. Major subtypes of RMS include alveolar (ARMS) and embryonal (ERMS).[2, 3] Whereas ARMS typically contain translocations generating the PAX3-FOXO1 or PAX7-FOXO1 aberrant transcription factors which block terminal myogenic differentiation [4-6], no functionally comparable genetic event has been found in ERMS. Here, we report the discovery, through whole exome sequencing, of a recurrent somatic point mutation Leu122Arg in the myogenic transcription factor, MYOD1, in a distinctive subset of ERMS with poor outcomes that also often contain PI3K/AKT pathway mutations. Previous mutagenesis studies had shown that MYOD1 Leu122Arg can block wild-type MYOD1 function and bind to MYC consensus sequences [7], suggesting a possible switch from differentiation to proliferation. Our functional data now confirm this prediction. RMS with MYOD1 Leu122Arg represents a molecularly defined subset of RMS eligible for high risk protocols and targeted therapeutic development.
PMCID: PMC4231202  PMID: 24793135
18.  Brief exposure to copper induces apoptosis and alters mediators of olfactory signal transduction in coho salmon 
Chemosphere  2013;93(10):10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.08.044.
Pacific salmon are particularly susceptible to copper (Cu)-induced olfactory injuries that can ultimately inhibit neurobehaviors critical to survival. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying Cu-mediated olfactory impairment remain poorly understood. In the present study, we conducted a short-term Cu exposure at levels relevant to urban runoff, and investigated the roles of impaired olfactory signal transduction and induced apoptosis as underlying mechanisms of olfactory injury. Increased cell death in the olfactory epithelium was evident in coho receiving 4 h exposures to 25 and 50 ppb Cu. Expression of olfactory marker protein (omp), a marker of mature olfactory sensory neurons, also decreased at 50 ppb Cu. Immunohistochemical analysis of coho olfactory epithelium demonstrated a loss of type 3 adenylate cyclase (ACIII) in the apical olfactory epithelium cilia at all levels of Cu exposure, suggesting an inhibitory effect of Cu in olfactory signaling. Accompanying the loss of ACIII in Cu-exposed coho were reduced intracellular cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) levels in the olfactory rosettes. Collectively, these results support a linkage among the initial steps of olfactory signaling in Cu-induced salmon olfactory injury, and suggesting that monitoring olfactory cGMP levels may aid in the assessment of salmon olfactory injury.
PMCID: PMC3840796  PMID: 24050714
copper; coho salmon; olfactory injury; apoptosis; olfactory signal transduction
19.  First In-human Intraoperative Imaging of HCC using Fluorescence Goggle System and Transarterial Delivery of Near-infrared Fluorescent Imaging Agent: a Pilot Study 
Surgical resections remain the primary curative interventions for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, lack of real-time intraoperative image guidance confines surgeons to subjective visual assessment of the surgical bed, leading to poor visualization of small positive nodules and the extension of diffuse HCC. To address this problem, we developed a wearable fluorescence imaging and display system (fluorescence goggle) for intraoperative imaging of HCCs in human patients. In this pilot study, both intravenous (i.v.) and transarterial hepatic (TAH) delivery of indocyanine green (ICG) were explored to facilitate fluorescence goggle-mediated HCC imaging. The results show that all primary tumors in patients (n=4) who received TAH delivery of ICG were successfully identified by the fluorescence goggle. In addition, 6 satellite tumors were also detected by the goggle, 5 of which were neither identifiable in pre-operative MRI and CT images nor by visual inspection and palpation. In the group (n=5) that received ICG by i.v., only 2 out of 6 tumors visible in the pre-operative MRI or CT images were identified with the fluorescence goggle, demonstrating the limitation of this delivery route for a non-tumor selective imaging agent. Comparative analysis shows that the HCC-to-liver florescence contrast detected by the goggle was significantly higher in patients that received TAH than i.v. delivery of ICG (P=0.013). This pilot study demonstrates the feasibility of using the fluorescence goggle to identify multifocal lesions and small tumor deposits using TAH ICG delivery in HCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3805674  PMID: 23747795
20.  Intractable hiccup caused by spinal cord lesions in demyelination disease 
This study aimed to summarize the clinical features of patients who presented intractable hiccup (IH) without brain and medulla oblongata (MO) lesions.
This study included six patients who were diagnosed with inflammatory demyelinating myelitis, categorized as neuromyelitis optica (NMO), multiple sclerosis (MS), and myelitis. Patients who presented IH with cervical lesions but without MO lesions were also included. Clinical profiles, laboratory data, and magnetic resonance imaging findings were analyzed.
Three out of six patients were diagnosed with NMO, whereas the remaining three were diagnosed with acute myelitis, recurrent myelities, and MS, respectively. The duration of hiccup was from 2 to 23 days (average = 9.33 ± 8.64 days). Five patients (83.33%, patients 1–5) had long segmental lesions and one had a patchy lesion. None of these patients had any MO lesions. Half of them were successfully treated with high-dose methylprednisolone combined with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibitor.
IH occurred in patients without MO lesion. However, the mechanism remained unclear. Immune factors of demyelinating neuropathy stimulated the hiccup reflex arch. Cervical cord lesions may activate the hiccup center. In general, IH can be controlled by IVMP combined with GABA inhibitor. Unilateral phrenic nerve block may elicit no effect.
PMCID: PMC3831336  PMID: 24090474
Intractable hiccup; Demyelinating disease; Myelitis; Multiple Sclerosis; Neuromyelitis optica
21.  Spatial Analysis on Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Mainland China: From 2005 to 2011 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110861.
The burden of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has become more and more considerable in China. A macroscopic spatial analysis of HCV infection that can provide scientific information for further intervention and disease control is lacking.
All geo-referenced HCV cases that had been recorded by the China Information System for Disease Control and Prevention (CISDCP) during 2005–2011 were included in the study. In order to learn about the changes of demographic characteristics and geographic distribution, trend test and spatial analysis were conducted to reflect the changing pattern of HCV infection.
Over 770,000 identified HCV infection cases had specific geographic information during the study period (2005–2011). Ratios of gender (Male/Female, Z-value  = −18.53, P<0.001), age group (≤30 years old/≥31 years old, Z-value  = −51.03, P<0.001) and diagnosis type (Clinical diagnosis/Laboratory diagnosis, Z-value  = −130.47, P<0.001) declined. HCV infection was not distributed randomly. Provinces Henan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Xinjiang, and Jilin reported more than 40,000 HCV infections during 2005 to 2011, accounting for 43.91% of all cases. The strength of cluster of disease was increasing in China during the study period. Overall, 11 provinces had once been detected as hotspots during 7 years, most of which were located in the central or border parts of China. Tibet, Qinghai, Jiangxi were the regions that had coldspots.
The number of clustering of HCV infection among older adults increased in recent years. Specific interventions and prevention programs targeting at main HCV epidemic areas are urgently in need in mainland China.
PMCID: PMC4214689  PMID: 25356554
22.  Absence of Gamma-Interferon-Inducible Lysosomal Thiol Reductase (GILT) Is Associated with Poor Disease-Free Survival in Breast Cancer Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109449.
Tumor immunosurveillance is known to be of critical importance in controlling tumorigenesis and progression in various cancers. The role of gamma-interferon-inducible lysosomal thiol reductase (GILT) in tumor immunosurveillance has recently been studied in several malignant diseases, but its role in breast cancer remains to be elucidated. In the present study, we found GILT as a significant different expressed gene by cDNA microarray analysis. To further determine the role of GILT in breast cancer, we examined GILT expression in breast cancers as well as noncancerous breast tissues by immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR, and assessed its association with clinicopathologic characteristics and patient outcome. The absence of GILT expression increased significantly from 2.02% (2/99) in noncancerous breast tissues to 15.6% (34/218) in breast cancer tissues (P<0.001). In accordance with its proliferation inhibiting function, GILT expression was inversely correlated with Ki67 index (P<0.05). In addition, absence of GILT was positively correlated with adverse characteristics of breast cancers, such as histological type, tumor size, lymph nodes status, and pTNM stage (P<0.05). Consistently, breast cancers with reduced GILT expression had poorer disease-free survival (P<0.005). Moreover, significantly decreased expression of GILT was found in both primary and metastatic breast cancer cells, in contrast to normal epithelial cells. These findings indicate that GILT may act as a tumor suppressor in breast cancer, in line with its previously suggested role in anti-tumor immunity. Thus, GILT has the potential to be a novel independent prognostic factor in breast cancer and further studies are needed to illustrate the underlying mechanism of this relationship.
PMCID: PMC4204821  PMID: 25333930
23.  The Relation of Acculturation to Overweight, Obesity, Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes Among US Mexican-American Women and Men 
Ethnicity & disease  2012;22(1):58-64.
To estimate and compare the prevalences of overweight, obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes among a nationally representative sample of Mexican-American, non-Latino White and Black adults, and by acculturation for Mexican-Americans.
Design, settings and participants
The NHANES 1999–2008 data sets were used. Binomial regression models were used to compute prevalence ratios and their respective 95% confidence intervals to assess the relationships of race/ethnicity and acculturation with obesity, overweight, pre-diabetes and diabetes.
Main outcome measures
overweight, obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes.
Mexican Americans had a higher prevalence of overweight than White non-Latinos and Black non-Latinos. Obesity was significantly more prevalent among the most acculturated Mexican Americans but not the least acculturated. In contrast, the least acculturated Mexican Americans had the highest prevalence of overweight. The prevalence of pre-diabetes was higher among Mexican Americans than White non-Latinos and Black non-Latinos. The most acculturated Mexican Americans had a higher prevalence of diabetes and the prevalence of pre-diabetes was elevated in less acculturated Mexican Americans. In both unadjusted and adjusted models, the less acculturated were significantly more likely to be overweight and significantly less likely to be obese, compared to more acculturated Mexican Americans, and acculturation was not associated with diabetes or pre-diabetes in adjusted models.
Our results suggest that obesity was less prevalent among the least acculturated Mexican-Americans but, overweight was more prevalent.
PMCID: PMC4203316  PMID: 22774310
acculturation; Mexican Americans; diabetes status; body mass index status
24.  The Association between Bile Salt Export Pump Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Susceptibility and Ursodeoxycholic Acid Response 
Disease Markers  2014;2014:350690.
Background. Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic and progressive cholestasis liver disease. Bile salt export pump (BSEP) is the predominant bile salt efflux system of hepatocytes. BSEP gene has been attached great importance in the susceptibility of PBC and the response rate of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) treatment of PBC patients. Methods. In this study, TaqMan assay was used to genotype four variants of BSEP, and the Barcelona criteria were used for evaluating the response rate of UDCA treatment. Results. Variant A allele of BSEP rs473351 (dominant model, OR = 2.063; 95% CI, 1.254–3.393; P = 0.004) was highly associated with PBC susceptibility. On the contrary, variant A allele of BSEP rs2287618 (dominant model, OR = 0.617; 95% CI, 0.411–0.928; P = 0.020) provided a protective role and Barcelona evaluation criterion indicated that the frequency of variant allele at BSEP rs2287618 was significantly decreased in UDCA-responsive PBC patients (P = 0.021). Conclusion. These results suggested that BSEP rs473351 was closely associated with the susceptibility of PBC and if people with BSEP rs2287618 were diagnosed as PBC, the UDCA treatment was not satisfactory. Larger studies with mixed ethnicity subjects and stratified by clinical and subclinical characteristics are needed to validate our findings.
PMCID: PMC4216684  PMID: 25392597
25.  Population-Based Incidence and Prevalence of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
To estimate the incidence and prevalence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in a sociodemographically diverse southeastern Michigan source population of 2.4 million people.
SLE cases fulfilling the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria (primary case definition) or meeting rheumatologist-judged SLE criteria (secondary definition) and residing in Wayne or Washtenaw Counties during 2002–2004 were included. Case finding was performed from 6 source types, including hospitals and private specialists. Age-standardized rates were computed, and capture–recapture was performed to estimate underascertainment of cases.
The overall age-adjusted incidence and prevalence (ACR definition) per 100,000 persons were 5.5 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 5.0–6.1) and 72.8 (95% CI 70.8–74.8). Among females, the incidence was 9.3 per 100,000 persons and the prevalence was 128.7 per 100,000 persons. Only 7 cases were estimated to have been missed by capture–recapture, adjustment for which did not materially affect the rates. SLE prevalence was 2.3-fold higher in black persons than in white persons, and 10-fold higher in females than in males. Among incident cases, the mean ± SD age at diagnosis was 39.3 ± 16.6 years. Black SLE patients had a higher proportion of renal disease and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) (40.5% and 15.3%, respectively) as compared to white SLE patients (18.8% and 4.5%, respectively). Black patients with renal disease were diagnosed as having SLE at younger age than white patients with renal disease (mean ± SD 34.4 ± 14.9 years versus 41.9 ± 21.3 years; P = 0.05).
SLE prevalence was higher than has been described in most other population-based studies and reached 1 in 537 among black female persons. There were substantial racial disparities in the burden of SLE, with black patients experiencing earlier age at diagnosis, >2-fold increases in SLE incidence and prevalence, and increased proportions of renal disease and progression to ESRD as compared to white patients.
PMCID: PMC4198147  PMID: 24504809

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