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1.  Solution-processed small-molecule solar cells: breaking the 10% power conversion efficiency 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:3356.
A two-dimensional conjugated small molecule (SMPV1) was designed and synthesized for high performance solution-processed organic solar cells. This study explores the photovoltaic properties of this molecule as a donor, with a fullerene derivative as an acceptor, using solution processing in single junction and double junction tandem solar cells. The single junction solar cells based on SMPV1 exhibited a certified power conversion efficiency of 8.02% under AM 1.5 G irradiation (100 mW cm−2). A homo-tandem solar cell based on SMPV1 was constructed with a novel interlayer (or tunnel junction) consisting of bilayer conjugated polyelectrolyte, demonstrating an unprecedented PCE of 10.1%. These results strongly suggest solution-processed small molecular materials are excellent candidates for organic solar cells.
PMCID: PMC3842540  PMID: 24285006
2.  Therapeutic potential of digitoflavone on diabetic nephropathy: nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2-dependent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:12377.
Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) has emerged as a therapeutic target in many diseases, because it can induce antioxidant enzymes and other cytoprotective enzymes. Moreover, some Nrf2 activators have strong anti-inflammatory activities. Oxidative stress and inflammation are major components involved in the pathology of diabetic nephropathy. In the present study, we evaluated the Nrf2-dependent anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of digitoflavone in streptozotocin-induced diabetic nephropathy. The molecular mechanisms of digitoflavone were investigated in vitro using SV40-transformed mouse mesangial cells (SV40-Mes13). For the in vivo experiment, diabetes was induced in Nrf2+/+ and Nrf2−/− mice by STZ injection, and digitoflavone was administered 2 weeks after the STZ injection. Digitoflavone induced Nrf2 activation and decreased oxidative damage, inflammation, TGF-β1 expression, extracellular matrix protein expression, and mesangial cell hyperplasia in SV40-Mes13 cells. Digitoflavone-treated Nrf2+/+ mice, but not Nrf2−/− mice, showed attenuated common metabolic disorder symptoms, improved renal performance, minimized pathological alterations, and decreased oxidative damage, inflammatory gene expression, inflammatory cell infiltration, TGF-β1 expression, and extracellular matrix protein expression. Our results show that the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of digitoflavone are mediated by Nrf2 activation and that digitoflavone can be used therapeutically to improve metabolic disorders and relieve renal damage induced by diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4513300  PMID: 26205695
3.  De Novo Assembly of the Donkey White Blood Cell Transcriptome and a Comparative Analysis of Phenotype-Associated Genes between Donkeys and Horses 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0133258.
Prior to the mechanization of agriculture and labor-intensive tasks, humans used donkeys (Equus africanus asinus) for farm work and packing. However, as mechanization increased, donkeys have been increasingly raised for meat, milk, and fur in China. To maintain the development of the donkey industry, breeding programs should focus on traits related to these new uses. Compared to conventional marker-assisted breeding plans, genome- and transcriptome-based selection methods are more efficient and effective. To analyze the coding genes of the donkey genome, we assembled the transcriptome of donkey white blood cells de novo. Using transcriptomic deep-sequencing data, we identified 264,714 distinct donkey unigenes and predicted 38,949 protein fragments. We annotated the donkey unigenes by BLAST searches against the non-redundant (NR) protein database. We also compared the donkey protein sequences with those of the horse (E. caballus) and wild horse (E. przewalskii), and linked the donkey protein fragments with mammalian phenotypes. As the outer ear size of donkeys and horses are obviously different, we compared the outer ear size-associated proteins in donkeys and horses. We identified three ear size-associated proteins, HIC1, PRKRA, and KMT2A, with sequence differences among the donkey, horse, and wild horse loci. Since the donkey genome sequence has not been released, the de novo assembled donkey transcriptome is helpful for preliminary investigations of donkey cultivars and for genetic improvement.
PMCID: PMC4514889  PMID: 26208029
4.  MAD1L1 Arg558His and MAD2L1 Leu84Met interaction with smoking increase the risk of colorectal cancer 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:12202.
The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) has been established as an important mechanism of driving aneuploidy, which occurs at a high frequency in the colorectal tumorigenesis. Two important components of SAC are MAD1L1 and MAD2L1, which function together in an interactive manner to initiate the checkpoint signal. We hypothesize that genetic variants in the binding domains of MAD1L1 and MAD2L1 may modulate protein structures and eventually contribute to CRC susceptibility. A case-control study including 710 CRC cases and 735 controls was performed to examine MAD1L1 Arg558His and MAD2L1 Leu84Met’s conferring susceptibility to CRC. Cytokinesis-block micronucleus cytome assays were applied to assess the effect of two functional variants on chromosomal instability (CIN). Significant associations with CRC risk were observed for MAD1L1 Arg558His (OR = 1.38,95% CI: 1.09–1.75) and MAD2L1 Leu84Met in a dominant model (OR = 1.48,95% CI: 1.09–2.01). Moreover, significant multiplicative gene-smoking interactions were found in MAD1L1 Arg558His (P = 0.019) and MAD2L184 Leu/Met (P = 0.016) to enhance CRC risk. Additionally, the frequencies of lymphocytic micro-nucleated binucleated cells for MAD1L1 Arg558His polymorphism were significantly different in the exposed group (P = 0.013), but not in the control group. The study emphasized that MAD1L1 Arg558His and MAD2L1 Leu84Met can significantly interact with smoking to enhance CRC risk, and the genetic effects of MAD1L1Arg558His on CIN need to be further clarified in follow-up studies.
PMCID: PMC4505328  PMID: 26183163
5.  Total Syntheses of Lyconadins: Finding Efficiency and Diversity 
Lyconadins A–C are important members of the Lycopodium alkaloid family with challenging structural features and interesting biological profile. Herein, various synthetic strategies and methods for their preparation are summarized with the focus on constructive bond formation and our efficient and divergent synthesis based on functional group pairing (FGP) strategy.
PMCID: PMC4389785  PMID: 25866447
alkaloid; total synthesis; natural product; cyclization; neurodegeneration
6.  Enhancement of Radiation Effects by Ursolic Acid in BGC-823 Human Adenocarcinoma Gastric Cancer Cell Line 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0133169.
Recent research has suggested that certain plant-derived polyphenols, i.e., ursolic acid (UA), which are reported to have antitumor activities, might be used to sensitize tumor cells to radiation therapy by inhibiting pathways leading to radiation therapy resistance. This experiment was designed to investigate the effects and possible mechanism of radiosensitization by UA in BGC-823 cell line from human adenocarcinoma gastric cancer in vitro. UA caused cytotoxicity in a dose-dependent manner, and we used a sub-cytotoxicity concentration of UA to test radioenhancement efficacy with UA in gastric cancer. Radiosensitivity was determined by clonogenic survival assay. Surviving fraction of the combined group with irradiation and sub-cytotoxicity UA significantly decreased compared with the irradiation group. The improved radiosensitization efficacy was associated with enhanced G2/M arrest, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), down-regulated Ki-67 level and improved apoptosis. In conclusion, as UA demonstrated potent antiproliferation effect and synergistic effect, it could be used as a potential drug sensitizer for the application of radiotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4503735  PMID: 26177078
7.  Glycan based Detection and Drug Susceptibility of Influenza Virus 
Analytical Chemistry  2014;86(16):8238-8244.
We have developed a panel of synthetic glycans as receptor mimics for the specific capture of influenza viruses. The glycans were printed onto commercial glass slides using a free amine at the end of a spacer to generate a small focused microarray. The microarray was evaluated for its ability to capture three different strains of influenza A virus, two H1N1, A/Brisbane/59/2007 and A/Solomon Islands/3/2006 and one H3N2, A/Aichi/2/1968. We observed an excellent detection ability with some compounds exhibiting clinically relevant (101 plaque forming units) limit of detection. We also tested the drug susceptibility of current antivirals, Zanamivir and Ostelamivir using this microarray and could determine antiviral resistance for these strains.
PMCID: PMC4139186  PMID: 25007351
8.  A Unique Human Norovirus Lineage with a Distinct HBGA Binding Interface 
PLoS Pathogens  2015;11(7):e1005025.
Norovirus (NoV) causes epidemic acute gastroenteritis in humans, whereby histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) play an important role in host susceptibility. Each of the two major genogroups (GI and GII) of human NoVs recognizes a unique set of HBGAs through a distinct binding interface that is conserved within a genogroup, indicating a distinct evolutionary path for each genogroup. Here, we characterize a Lewis a (Lea) antigen binding strain (OIF virus) in the GII.21 genotype that does not share the conserved GII binding interface, revealing a new evolution lineage with a distinct HBGA binding interface. Sequence alignment showed that the major residues contributing to the new HBGA binding interface are conserved among most members of the GII.21, as well as a closely related GII.13 genotype. In addition, we found that glycerol inhibits OIF binding to HBGAs, potentially allowing production of cheap antivirals against human NoVs. Taken together, our results reveal a new evolutionary lineage of NoVs selected by HBGAs, a finding that is important for understanding the diversity and widespread nature of NoVs.
Author Summary
Human norovirus (huNoV) has diverged into two major lineages (GI and GII) selected by the host histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs). Both lineages further diverge into various sub-lineages (genotypes) that recognize different ABH and Lewis antigens through a common HBGA binding interface shared among strains within each genogroup. In this study, through X-ray crystallography of the P domain of a GII.21 huNoV (OIF) we identified a unique lineage in GII consisting of GII.13 and GII.21 genotypes that recognize HBGAs through a binding interface distinct from the GII conventional binding interface. While the mechanism remains unknown, our finding raises an alert on future emergence of new lineages by the same way via developing new receptor binding interfaces, as well as further divergence of this new lineage into more sub-lineages recognizing different HBGAs, which may impact future epidemiology and strategies for disease control and prevention against huNoVs.
PMCID: PMC4493018  PMID: 26147716
9.  The optoelectronic role of chlorine in CH3NH3PbI3(Cl)-based perovskite solar cells 
Nature Communications  2015;6:7269.
Perovskite photovoltaics offer a compelling combination of extremely low-cost, ease of processing and high device performance. The optoelectronic properties of the prototypical CH3NH3PbI3 can be further adjusted by introducing other extrinsic ions. Specifically, chlorine incorporation has been shown to affect the morphological development of perovksite films, which results in improved optoelectronic characteristics for high efficiency. However, it requires a deep understanding to the role of extrinsic halide, especially in the absence of unpredictable morphological influence during film growth. Here we report an effective strategy to investigate the role of the extrinsic ion in the context of optoelectronic properties, in which the morphological factors that closely correlate to device performance are mostly decoupled. The chlorine incorporation is found to mainly improve the carrier transport across the heterojunction interfaces, rather than within the perovskite crystals. Further optimization according this protocol leads to solar cells achieving power conversion efficiency of 17.91%.
Chlorine incorporation into CH3NH3PbI3 improves solar cell performance, but its optoelectronic role is still unclear. Here the authors present a strategy that decouples the morphological impact, to reveal that chlorine incorporation affects carrier transport across the heterojunction interface rather than within the perovskite crystal.
PMCID: PMC4490385  PMID: 26068804
10.  Adenosine Stress Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance With Variable Density Spiral Pulse Sequences Accurately Detects Coronary Artery Disease: Initial Clinical Evaluation 
Adenosine stress CMR perfusion imaging can be limited by motion-induced dark-rim artifacts (DRA), which may be mistaken for true perfusion abnormalities. A high-resolution variable-density spiral (VDS) pulse sequence with a novel density compensation strategy has been shown to reduce DRA in first-pass perfusion imaging. We aimed to assess the clinical performance of adenosine stress CMR using this new perfusion sequence to detect obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD).
Methods and Results
CMR perfusion imaging was performed during adenosine stress (140μg/kg-min) and at rest on a Siemens 1.5T Avanto scanner in 41 subjects with chest pain scheduled for coronary angiography (CA). Perfusion images were acquired during injection of 0.1mmol/kg Gd-DTPA at 3 short-axis locations using a saturation recovery (SR) interleaved VDS pulse sequence. Significant stenosis was defined as >50% by quantitative CA (QCA). Two blinded reviewers evaluated the perfusion images for the presence of adenosine-induced perfusion abnormalities and assessed image quality using a 5 point scale (1 – poor to 5- excellent). The prevalence of obstructive CAD by QCA was 68%. The average sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 89%, 85%, and 88% respectively with a positive predictive value and negative predictive value of 93% and 79% respectively. The average image quality score was 4.4±0.7 with only one study with more than mild DRA. There was good inter-reader reliability with a kappa statistic of 0.67.
Spiral adenosine stress CMR results in high diagnostic accuracy for the detection of obstructive CAD with excellent image quality and minimal DRA.
PMCID: PMC4102611  PMID: 24759900
CMR; adenosine stress perfusion; coronary artery disease
11.  Semantic Processing Persists despite Anomalous Syntactic Category: ERP Evidence from Chinese Passive Sentences 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0131936.
The syntax-first model and the parallel/interactive models make different predictions regarding whether syntactic category processing has a temporal and functional primacy over semantic processing. To further resolve this issue, an event-related potential experiment was conducted on 24 Chinese speakers reading Chinese passive sentences with the passive marker BEI (NP1 + BEI + NP2 + Verb). This construction was selected because it is the most-commonly used Chinese passive and very much resembles German passives, upon which the syntax-first hypothesis was primarily based. We manipulated semantic consistency (consistent vs. inconsistent) and syntactic category (noun vs. verb) of the critical verb, yielding four conditions: CORRECT (correct sentences), SEMANTIC (semantic anomaly), SYNTACTIC (syntactic category anomaly), and COMBINED (combined anomalies). Results showed both N400 and P600 effects for sentences with semantic anomaly, with syntactic category anomaly, or with combined anomalies. Converging with recent findings of Chinese ERP studies on various constructions, our study provides further evidence that syntactic category processing does not precede semantic processing in reading Chinese.
PMCID: PMC4488374  PMID: 26125621
13.  Catheter Ablation of Right-Sided Accessory Pathways in Adults Using the Three-Dimensional Mapping System: A Randomized Comparison to the Conventional Approach 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0128760.
Three-dimensional (3D) mapping and navigation systems have been widely used for the ablation of atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia, but the applicability of these systems for the ablation of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) due to right-sided accessory pathways (RAPs) remains unknown. The goal of this prospective randomized study was to compare the safety, efficiency, and efficacy of nonfluoroscopic and conventional fluoroscopic mapping techniques in guiding catheter ablation of SVT due to RAPs. Of the 393 consecutive patients with SVT who were randomized to receive either conventional fluoroscopic or Ensite NavX mapping-guided ablation, 64 patients with RAPs were included for analysis. Endpoints for ablation were no evidence of RAP conduction and no inducible atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia (AVRT). The 3D group showed fewer ablation pulses and a shorter total ablation time compared to the conventional group, although the acute procedural success did not differ significantly between the two groups. Total procedure time, electrophysiological study time, total fluoroscopy time, and cumulative radiation doses were also significantly reduced in the 3D group. Patients in the conventional group with a right atrium diameter (RAD) ≥ 47 mm required a longer fluoroscopy time. There was no significant difference in the recurrence rates between the two groups over a follow-up period of 3 to 29 months. There were no permanent complications. The 3D mapping system may be a preferred alternative for patients with AVRT due to RAPs, especially for patients with a large RAD (≥ 47 mm).
PMCID: PMC4471277  PMID: 26083408
14.  The SNP rs931794 in 15q25.1 Is Associated with Lung Cancer Risk: A Hospital-Based Case-Control Study and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0128201.
Lung cancer is one of the most common human malignant diseases and the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The rs931794, a SNP located in 15q25.1, has been suggested to be associated with lung cancer risk. Nevertheless, several genetic association studies yielded controversial results.
Methods and Findings
A hospital-based case-control study involving 611 cases and 1062 controls revealed the variant of rs931794 was related to increased lung cancer risk. Stratified analyses revealed the G allele was significantly associated with lung cancer risk among smokers. Following meta-analysis including 6616 cases and 7697 controls confirmed the relevance of rs931794 variant with increased lung cancer risk once again. Heterogeneity should be taken into account when interpreting the consequences. Stratified analysis found ethnicity, histological type and genotyping method were not the sources of between-study heterogeneity. Further sensitivity analysis revealed that the study “Hsiung et al (2010)” might be the major contributor to heterogeneity. Cumulative meta-analysis showed the trend was increasingly obvious with adding studies, confirming the significant association.
Results from our current case-control study and meta-analysis offered insight of association between rs931794 and lung cancer risk, suggesting the variant of rs931794 might be related with increased lung cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC4469418  PMID: 26079375
15.  The Associations between RNA Splicing Complex Gene SF3A1 Polymorphisms and Colorectal Cancer Risk in a Chinese Population 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130377.
Aberrant alternative splicing included alterations in components of the mRNA splicing machinery often occurred in colon cancer. However, the role of SF3A1, one key component of the mRNA splicing machinery, on colorectal cancer (CRC) risk was still not elucidated.
Method and Findings
We performed a hospital-based case-control study containing 801 CRC patients and 817 cancer-free controls to examine the association between SF3A1 polymorphisms and CRC risk in a Chinese population. Four candidate SNPs (rs10376, rs5753073, rs2839998 and rs2074733) were selected based on bioinformatics analysis and previous findings. The results showed no significant associations between these SNPs and CRC risk (P > 0.05). Besides, the stratified analysis based on the smoking and alcohol use status obtained no statistically significant results.
Our study was the first one to investigate the association between SF3A1 polymorphisms and CRC risk. The results suggested these four SNPs in SF3A1 were not associated with CRC risk in a Chinese population, however, further more studies are needed to confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC4469430  PMID: 26079486
16.  Quetiapine mitigates the ethanol-induced oxidative stress in brain tissue, but not in the liver, of the rat 
Quetiapine, an atypical antipsychotic, has been employed to treat alcoholic patients with comorbid psychopathology. It was shown to scavenge hydroxyl radicals and to protect cultured cells from noxious effects of oxidative stress, a pathophysiological mechanism involved in the toxicity of alcohol. This study compared the redox status of the liver and the brain regions of prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum of rats treated with or without ethanol and quetiapine. Ethanol administration for 1 week induced oxidative stress in the liver and decreased the activity of glutathione peroxidase and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) there. Coadministration of quetiapine did not protect glutathione peroxidase and TAC in the liver against the noxious effect of ethanol, thus was unable to mitigate the ethanol-induced oxidative stress there. The ethanol-induced alteration in the redox status in the prefrontal cortex is mild, whereas the hippocampus and cerebellum are more susceptible to ethanol intoxication. For all the examined brain regions, coadministration of quetiapine exerted effective protection on the antioxidants catalase and total superoxide dismutase and on the TAC, thus completely blocking the ethanol-induced oxidative stress in these brain regions. These protective effects may explain the clinical observations that quetiapine reduced psychiatric symptoms intensity and maintained a good level of tolerability in chronic alcoholism with comorbid psychopathology.
PMCID: PMC4474454  PMID: 26109862
ethanol; quetiapine; oxidative stress; antioxidant
17.  Dexmedetomidine Analgesia Effects in Patients Undergoing Dental Implant Surgery and Its Impact on Postoperative Inflammatory and Oxidative Stress 
The aim of the study was to determine whether or not dexmedetomidine- (DEX-) based intravenous infusion in dental implantation can provide better sedation and postoperative analgesia via suppressing postoperative inflammation and oxidative stress. Sixty patients were randomly assigned to receive either DEX (group D) or midazolam (group M). Recorded variables were vital sign (SBP/HR/RPP/SpO2/RR), visual analogue scale (VAS) pain scores, and observer's assessment of alertness/sedation scale (OAAS) scores. The plasma levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD), and the lipid peroxidation product malondialdehyde (MDA) were detected at baseline and after 2, 4, and 24 h of drug administration. The VAS pain scores and OAAS scores were significantly lower for patients in group D compared to group M. The plasma levels of TNF-α, IL-6, and MDA were significantly lower in group D patients than those in group M at 2 h and 4 h. In group M, SOD levels decreased as compared to group D at 2 h and 4 h. The plasma levels of TNF-α, IL-6, and MDA were positively correlated with VAS pain scores while SOD negatively correlated with VAS pain scores. Therefore, DEX appears to provide better sedation during office-based artificial tooth implantation. DEX offers better postoperative analgesia via anti-inflammatory and antioxidation pathway.
PMCID: PMC4485522  PMID: 26171113
18.  AutoGate: automating analysis of flow cytometry data 
Immunologic research  2014;58(0):218-223.
Nowadays, one can hardly imagine biology and medicine without flow cytometry to measure CD4 T cell counts in HIV, follow bone marrow transplant patients, characterize leukemias, etc. Similarly, without flow cytometry, there would be a bleak future for stem cell deployment, HIV drug development and full characterization of the cells and cell interactions in the immune system. But while flow instruments have improved markedly, the development of automated tools for processing and analyzing flow data has lagged sorely behind. To address this deficit, we have developed automated flow analysis software technology, provisionally named AutoComp and AutoGate. AutoComp acquires sample and reagent labels from users or flow data files, and uses this information to complete the flow data compensation task. AutoGate replaces the manual subsetting capabilities provided by current analysis packages with newly defined statistical algorithms that automatically and accurately detect, display and delineate subsets in well-labeled and well-recognized formats (histograms, contour and dot plots). Users guide analyses by successively specifying axes (flow parameters) for data subset displays and selecting statistically defined subsets to be used for the next analysis round. Ultimately, this process generates analysis “trees” that can be applied to automatically guide analyses for similar samples. The first AutoComp/AutoGate version is currently in the hands of a small group of users at Stanford, Emory and NIH. When this “early adopter” phase is complete, the authors expect to distribute the software free of charge to .edu, .org and .gov users.
PMCID: PMC4464812  PMID: 24825775
Multiparameter flow cytometry; Automating fluorescence compensation; Automatic cell subsets identification; Guiding gating strategy
19.  Image-guided percutaneous renal cryoablation for stage 1 renal cell carcinoma with high surgical risk 
This study was undertaken to evaluate the feasibility, safety, and therapeutic effects of percutaneous renal cryoablation under local anesthesia with conscious sedation for patients who have unresectable stage 1 (T1NoMo) renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in high surgical risk.
Eighteen patients who were not candidates for surgery underwent primary cryosurgery guided by gray-scale ultrasound. Contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS) and contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) were performed to evaluate treatment at completion.
The mean follow-up period was 26.8 months (range, 12–56 months). All tumors were biopsied before cryosurgery. Seventeen tumors remained free of enhancement during follow-up period. No major complications associated with cryoablation procedures were found though two instances of subcapsular hematomas, one of retroperitoneal errhysis and one of nausea, were seen after cryoablation. One patient had a local recurrence of tumor and received additional cryoablation. Local tumor control rate was 100 % of T1NoMo tumors including the recurrence case who underwent additional cryoablation.
Percutaneous cryoablation can be recommended as a feasible, safe, and promising therapy for the treatment of renal tumor, especially those unresectable stage 1 RCC, with a low risk of complications.
PMCID: PMC4468960  PMID: 26059547
Cryoablation; Renal cell carcinoma; Local anesthesia
20.  KLF13 promotes porcine adipocyte differentiation through PPARγ activation 
Cell & Bioscience  2015;5:28.
Adipogenesis is tightly controlled by a complex network of transcription factors acting at different stages of differentiation. Kruppel-like factors (KLFs) as a family of zinc-finger transcription factors play diverse roles during cell differentiation and development in mammals.
In the present study, we showed that KLF13 acts as a key regulator regulating porcine adipocyte differentiation. The expression of KLF13 was markedly up-regulated during the early stage of porcine adipocyte differentiation, which was followed by expression of PPARγ. Porcine adipocyte differentiation was significantly attenuated by the addition of siRNA against KLF13, whereas overexpression of KLF13 resulted in enhanced porcine adipocyte differentiation. Using promoter deletion and mutation analysis, we identified a KLF13-binding site within −593/-577 region of the porcine PPARγ proximal promoter, indicating that KLF13 directly interacts with porcine PPARγ promoter. However, inhibition of KLF13 by siRNA did not impair mouse adipocyte differentiation. In addition, knockdown and/or overexpression of KLF13 in 3 T3-L1 cells all did not influence expression of PPARγ2.
Collectively, our results suggest that KLF13 exist as a key pro-adipogenic transcription factor through transactivating PPARγ expression in porcine adipocyte differentiation, whereas no such effect was detected in mouse adipocyte differentiation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13578-015-0016-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4469396  PMID: 26085920
KLF13; Adipocyte differentiation; PPARγ; Transcriptional regulation; Porcine; Mouse
21.  Terminal-Area Aircraft Intent Inference Approach Based on Online Trajectory Clustering 
The Scientific World Journal  2015;2015:671360.
Terminal-area aircraft intent inference (T-AII) is a prerequisite to detect and avoid potential aircraft conflict in the terminal airspace. T-AII challenges the state-of-the-art AII approaches due to the uncertainties of air traffic situation, in particular due to the undefined flight routes and frequent maneuvers. In this paper, a novel T-AII approach is introduced to address the limitations by solving the problem with two steps that are intent modeling and intent inference. In the modeling step, an online trajectory clustering procedure is designed for recognizing the real-time available routes in replacing of the missed plan routes. In the inference step, we then present a probabilistic T-AII approach based on the multiple flight attributes to improve the inference performance in maneuvering scenarios. The proposed approach is validated with real radar trajectory and flight attributes data of 34 days collected from Chengdu terminal area in China. Preliminary results show the efficacy of the presented approach.
PMCID: PMC4479131  PMID: 26171417
22.  Acoustic asymmetric transmission based on time-dependent dynamical scattering 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:10880.
An acoustic asymmetric transmission device exhibiting unidirectional transmission property for acoustic waves is extremely desirable in many practical scenarios. Such a unique property may be realized in various configurations utilizing acoustic Zeeman effects in moving media as well as frequency-conversion in passive nonlinear acoustic systems and in active acoustic systems. Here we demonstrate a new acoustic frequency conversion process in a time-varying system, consisting of a rotating blade and the surrounding air. The scattered acoustic waves from this time-varying system experience frequency shifts, which are linearly dependent on the blade’s rotating frequency. Such scattering mechanism can be well described theoretically by an acoustic linear time-varying perturbation theory. Combining such time-varying scattering effects with highly efficient acoustic filtering, we successfully develop a tunable acoustic unidirectional device with 20 dB power transmission contrast ratio between two counter propagation directions at audible frequencies.
PMCID: PMC4454088  PMID: 26038886
23.  Development of maizeSNP3072, a high-throughput compatible SNP array, for DNA fingerprinting identification of Chinese maize varieties 
Molecular Breeding  2015;35(6):136.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are abundant and evenly distributed throughout the maize (Zea mays L.) genome. SNPs have several advantages over simple sequence repeats, such as ease of data comparison and integration, high-throughput processing of loci, and identification of associated phenotypes. SNPs are thus ideal for DNA fingerprinting, genetic diversity analysis, and marker-assisted breeding. Here, we developed a high-throughput and compatible SNP array, maizeSNP3072, containing 3072 SNPs developed from the maizeSNP50 array. To improve genotyping efficiency, a high-quality cluster file, maizeSNP3072_GT.egt, was constructed. All 3072 SNP loci were localized within different genes, where they were distributed in exons (43 %), promoters (21 %), 3′ untranslated regions (UTRs; 22 %), 5′ UTRs (9 %), and introns (5 %). The average genotyping failure rate using these SNPs was only 6 %, or 3 % using the cluster file to call genotypes. The genotype consistency of repeat sample analysis on Illumina GoldenGate versus Infinium platforms exceeded 96.4 %. The minor allele frequency (MAF) of the SNPs averaged 0.37 based on data from 309 inbred lines. The 3072 SNPs were highly effective for distinguishing among 276 examined hybrids. Comparative analysis using Chinese varieties revealed that the 3072SNP array showed a better marker success rate and higher average MAF values, evaluation scores, and variety-distinguishing efficiency than the maizeSNP50K array. The maizeSNP3072 array thus can be successfully used in DNA fingerprinting identification of Chinese maize varieties and shows potential as a useful tool for germplasm resource evaluation and molecular marker-assisted breeding.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11032-015-0335-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4449932  PMID: 26052247
Maize variety; Variety identification; Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP); DNA fingerprinting; Molecular breeding
24.  Sensitivity of spiral ganglion neurons to damage caused by mobile phone electromagnetic radiation will increase in lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in vitro model 
With the increasing popularity of mobile phones, the potential hazards of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) on the auditory system remain unclear. Apart from RF-EMR, humans are also exposed to various physical and chemical factors. We established a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in vitro model to investigate whether the possible sensitivity of spiral ganglion neurons to damage caused by mobile phone electromagnetic radiation (at specific absorption rates: 2, 4 W/kg) will increase.
Spiral ganglion neurons (SGN) were obtained from neonatal (1- to 3-day-old) Sprague Dawley® (SD) rats. After the SGN were treated with different concentrations (0, 20, 40, 50, 100, 200, and 400 μg/ml) of LPS, the Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) and alkaline comet assay were used to quantify cellular activity and DNA damage, respectively. The SGN were treated with the moderate LPS concentrations before RF-EMR exposure. After 24 h intermittent exposure at an absorption rate of 2 and 4 W/kg, DNA damage was examined by alkaline comet assay, ultrastructure changes were detected by transmission electron microscopy, and expression of the autophagy markers LC3-II and Beclin1 were examined by immunofluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was quantified by the dichlorofluorescin-diacetate assay.
LPS (100 μg/ml) induced DNA damage and suppressed cellular activity (P < 0.05). LPS (40 μg/ml) did not exhibit cellular activity changes or DNA damage (P > 0.05); therefore, 40 μg/ml was used to pretreat the concentration before exposure to RF-EMR. RF-EMR could not directly induce DNA damage. However, the 4 W/kg combined with LPS (40 μg/ml) group showed mitochondria vacuoles, karyopyknosis, presence of lysosomes and autophagosome, and increasing expression of LC3-II and Beclin1. The ROS values significantly increased in the 4 W/kg exposure, 4 W/kg combined with LPS (40 μg/ml) exposure, and H2O2 groups (P < 0.05, 0.01).
Short-term exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation could not directly induce DNA damage in normal spiral ganglion neurons, but it could cause the changes of cellular ultrastructure at special SAR 4.0 W/kg when cells are in fragile or micro-damaged condition. It seems that the sensitivity of SGN to damage caused by mobile phone electromagnetic radiation will increase in a lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in vitro model.
PMCID: PMC4458026  PMID: 26022358
Lipopolysaccharide; Spiral ganglion neurons; Sensitivity; Damage; Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation
25.  MicroRNA-217 functions as a prognosis predictor and inhibits colorectal cancer cell proliferation and invasion via an AEG-1 dependent mechanism 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:437.
Recent studies have indicated the possible function of miR-217 in tumorigenesis. However, the roles of miR-217 in colorectal cancer (CRC) are still largely unknown.
We examined the expression of miR-217 and AEG-1 in 50 CRC tissues and the corresponding noncancerous tissues by qRT-PCR. The clinical significance of miR-217 was analyzed. CRC cell lines with miR-217 upregulation and AEG-1 silencing were established and the effects on tumor growth in vitro and in vivo were assessed. Dual-luciferase reporter gene assays were also performed to investigate the interaction between miR-217 and AEG-1.
Our data demonstrated that miR-217 was significantly downregulated in 50 pairs of colorectal cancer tissues. MiR-217 expression levels were closely correlated with tumor differentiation. Moreover, decreased miR-217 expression was also associated with shorter overall survival of CRC patients. MiR-217 overexpression significantly inhibited proliferation, colony formation and invasiveness of CRC cells by promoting apoptosis and G0/G1 phase arrest. Interestingly, ectopic miR-217 expression decreased AEG-1 expression and repressed luciferase reporter activity associated with the AEG-1 3′-untranslated region (UTR). AEG-1 silencing resulted in similar biological behavior changes to those associated with miR-217 overexpression. Finally, in a nude mouse xenografted tumor model, miR-217 overexpression significantly suppressed CRC cell growth.
Our findings suggest that miR-217 has considerable value as a prognostic marker and potential therapeutic target in CRC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-015-1438-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4446846  PMID: 26016795
miR-217; AEG-1; colorectal cancer; proliferation; invasion

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