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1.  A Truncated NLR Protein, TIR-NBS2, Is Required for Activated Defense Responses in the exo70B1 Mutant 
PLoS Genetics  2015;11(1):e1004945.
During exocytosis, the evolutionarily conserved exocyst complex tethers Golgi-derived vesicles to the target plasma membrane, a critical function for secretory pathways. Here we show that exo70B1 loss-of-function mutants express activated defense responses upon infection and express enhanced resistance to fungal, oomycete and bacterial pathogens. In a screen for mutants that suppress exo70B1 resistance, we identified nine alleles of TIR-NBS2 (TN2), suggesting that loss-of-function of EXO70B1 leads to activation of this nucleotide binding domain and leucine-rich repeat-containing (NLR)-like disease resistance protein. This NLR-like protein is atypical because it lacks the LRR domain common in typical NLR receptors. In addition, we show that TN2 interacts with EXO70B1 in yeast and in planta. Our study thus provides a link between the exocyst complex and the function of a ‘TIR-NBS only’ immune receptor like protein. Our data are consistent with a speculative model wherein pathogen effectors could evolve to target EXO70B1 to manipulate plant secretion machinery. TN2 could monitor EXO70B1 integrity as part of an immune receptor complex.
Author Summary
Secretory pathways play an important role in the plant immune response by delivering antimicrobial compounds and metabolites to the site of infection. The evolutionarily conserved exocyst complex is involved in exocytosis, the final step in the secretory pathway. We showed that loss of the function of EXO70B1, a subunit of exocyst complex, results in activated defense responses, and enhanced resistance to a range of pathogens. We found that EXO70B1 associates with the SNARE complex protein SNAP33, which is involved in focal secretion of defense-related proteins. Enhanced disease resistance and cell death in the exo70B1 mutant are dependent on TIR-NBS2 (TN2), an atypical intracellular immune receptor-like protein that lacks leucine-rich repeats. TN2 physically associates with EXO70B1, and TN2 transcripts accumulate at much higher levels in the exo70B1 mutant. These data are consistent with a model where activation of a receptor pathway containing TIR-NBS2 is responsible for activated defense responses and cell death in exo70B1. Our data further suggest that this, and possibly other, exocyst components could be targets of effectors that are guarded by immune receptors.
PMCID: PMC4305288  PMID: 25617755
2.  Phenological Adaptations in Ficus tikoua Exhibit Convergence with Unrelated Extra-Tropical Fig Trees 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114344.
Flowering phenology is central to the ecology and evolution of most flowering plants. In highly-specific nursery pollination systems, such as that involving fig trees (Ficus species) and fig wasps (Agaonidae), any mismatch in timing has serious consequences because the plants must balance seed production with maintenance of their pollinator populations. Most fig trees are found in tropical or subtropical habitats, but the dioecious Chinese Ficus tikoua has a more northerly distribution. We monitored how its fruiting phenology has adapted in response to a highly seasonal environment. Male trees (where fig wasps reproduce) had one to three crops annually, whereas many seed-producing female trees produced only one fig crop. The timing of release of Ceratosolen fig wasps from male figs in late May and June was synchronized with the presence of receptive figs on female trees, at a time when there were few receptive figs on male trees, thereby ensuring seed set while allowing remnant pollinator populations to persist. F. tikoua phenology has converged with those of other (unrelated) northern Ficus species, but there are differences. Unlike F. carica in Europe, all F. tikoua male figs contain male flowers, and unlike F. pumila in China, but like F. carica, it is the second annual generation of adult wasps that pollinate female figs. The phenologies of all three temperate fig trees generate annual bottlenecks in the size of pollinator populations and for female F. tikoua also a shortage of fig wasps that results in many figs failing to be pollinated.
PMCID: PMC4256256  PMID: 25474008
3.  Diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic metastases in 22 patients: a retrospective study 
Pancreatic metastases (PMs) are rare and lack of guidelines for diagnosis and treatments .The aim of this study is to explore the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of pancreatic metastases.
Twenty-two patients with pancreatic metastases who had been hospitalized at the First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University from October 1980 to October 2012 were included in the present retrospective study. Seven patients had gastric cancer, five had colon cancer, two each had lung and liver cancer, and one each had bladder cancer, gallbladder cancer, breast cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and carcinoid.
No specific syndrome or imageological change was found for the pancreatic metastases. The most common symptoms were abdominal pain and jaundice. Hypo-echoic lesions with well-defined margins were found on ultrasonic examinations, and low-density lesions with heterogeneous enhancement were identified in CT images. Nineteen of the 22 received treatment. Three of the 8 patients (34.1%) that had undergone operation experienced complications, but all patients recovered after conventional treatment. Follow-up studies were performed for 17 patients (77.3%), and the median survival time from the diagnosis of pancreatic metastases was 13.2 months (range, 2 to 68 months). Of the five patients who underwent radical resection, one was lost to follow-up, one died at fifteen months postoperation, and the other three are still alive and free from disease (disease-free survival ranging from five to thirty-three months from the diagnosis of the pancreatic metastases).
Pancreatic metastases are rare lesions with no specific symptoms. Radical resection should be performed if possible; however, aggressive treatment should be performed for unresectable pancreatic metastases.
PMCID: PMC4247693  PMID: 25256096
Pancreatic metastasis; Diagnosis; Treatment; Initial symptom; Retrospective analysis
4.  Neural Coding for Effective Rehabilitation 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:286505.
Successful neurological rehabilitation depends on accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and quantitative evaluation. Neural coding, a technology for interpretation of functional and structural information of the nervous system, has contributed to the advancements in neuroimaging, brain-machine interface (BMI), and design of training devices for rehabilitation purposes. In this review, we summarized the latest breakthroughs in neuroimaging from microscale to macroscale levels with potential diagnostic applications for rehabilitation. We also reviewed the achievements in electrocorticography (ECoG) coding with both animal models and human beings for BMI design, electromyography (EMG) interpretation for interaction with external robotic systems, and robot-assisted quantitative evaluation on the progress of rehabilitation programs. Future rehabilitation would be more home-based, automatic, and self-served by patients. Further investigations and breakthroughs are mainly needed in aspects of improving the computational efficiency in neuroimaging and multichannel ECoG by selection of localized neuroinformatics, validation of the effectiveness in BMI guided rehabilitation programs, and simplification of the system operation in training devices.
PMCID: PMC4167232  PMID: 25258708
5.  A Potent Small-Molecule Inhibitor of the MDM2-p53 Interaction (MI-888) Achieved Complete and Durable Tumor Regression in Mice 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2013;56(13):10.1021/jm4005708.
We previously reported the discovery of a class of spirooxindoles as potent and selective small-molecule inhibitors of the MDM2-p53 interaction (MDM2 inhibitors). We report herein our efforts to improve their pharmacokinetic properties and in vivo antitumor activity. Our efforts led to the identification of 9 (MI-888) as a potent MDM2 inhibitor (Ki = 0.44 nM) with a superior pharmacokinetic profile and enhanced in vivo efficacy. Compound 9 is capable of achieving rapid, complete, and durable tumor regression in two types of xenograft models of human cancer with oral administration and represents the most potent and efficacious MDM2 inhibitor reported to date.
PMCID: PMC3880646  PMID: 23786219
6.  Contrasting roles of E2F2 and E2F3 in endothelial cell growth and ischemic angiogenesis 
The growth of new blood vessels after ischemic injury requires endothelial cells (ECs) to divide and proliferate, and the E2F transcription factors are key regulators of the genes responsible for cell-cycle progression; however, the specific roles of individual E2Fs in ECs are largely unknown. To determine the roles of E2F2 and E2F3 in EC proliferation and the angiogenic response to ischemic injury, hind-limb ischemia was surgically induced in E2F2−/− mice, endothelial-specific E2F3-knockout (EndoE2F3Δ/Δ) mice, and their littermates with wild-type E2F2 and E2F3 expression. Two weeks later, laser-Doppler perfusion measurements, capillary density, and endothelial proliferation were significantly greater in E2F2−/− mice and significantly lower in EndoE2F3Δ/Δ mice than in their littermates, and EndoE2F3Δ/Δ mice also developed toe and limb necrosis. The loss of E2F2 expression was associated with increases in the proliferation and G1/S-phase gene expression of isolated ECs, while the loss of E2F3 expression led to declines in these parameters. Thus E2F2 impairs, and endothelial E2F3 promotes, the angiogenic response to peripheral ischemic injury through corresponding changes in EC cell-cycle progression.
PMCID: PMC3684263  PMID: 23603666
E2F; Endothelial cells; Proliferation; Angiogenesis; Ischemia
7.  Behavioral Effects of SQSTM1/p62 Overexpression in Mice: Support for a Mitochondrial Role in Depression and Anxiety 
Behavioural brain research  2013;248:94-103.
Affective spectrum and anxiety disorders have come to be recognized as the most prevalently diagnosed psychiatric disorders. Among a suite of potential causes, changes in mitochondrial energy metabolism and function have been associated with such disorders. Thus, proteins that specifically change mitochondrial functionality could be identified as molecular targets for drugs related to treatment for affective spectrum disorders. Here, we report generation of transgenic mice overexpressing the scaffolding and mitophagy related protein Sequestosome1 (SQSTM1/p62) or a single point mutant (P392L) in the UBA domain of SQSTM1/p62. We show that overexpression of SQSTM1/p62 increases mitochondrial energy output and improves transcription factor import into the mitochondrial matrix. These elevated levels of mitochondrial functionality correlate directly with discernible improvements in mouse behaviors related to affective spectrum and anxiety disorders. We also describe how overexpression of SQSTM1/p62 improves spatial learning and long term memory formation in these transgenic mice. These results suggest that SQSTM1/p62 provides an attractive target for therapeutic agents potentially suitable for the treatment of anxiety and affective spectrum disorders.
PMCID: PMC3678260  PMID: 23591541
Mitochondria; SQSTM1/p62; Animal models; Affective spectrum disorders; Depression; Anxiety
8.  Chaihuang-Yishen Granule Inhibits Diabetic Kidney Disease in Rats through Blocking TGF-β/Smad3 Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90807.
Increasing evidence shows that TGF-β1 is a key mediator in diabetic nephropathy (DN) and induces renal fibrosis positively by Smad3 but negatively by Smad7. However, treatment of DN by blocking the TGF-β/Smad pathway remains limited. The present study investigated the anti-fibrotic effect of a traditional Chinese medicine, Chaihuang-Yishen granule (CHYS), on DN.
Research Design and Methods
Protective role of CHYS in DN was examined in an accelerated type 1 DN induced by streptozotocin in uninephrectomized Wistar rats. CHYS, at a dose of 0.56 g/kg body weight, was administered by a daily gastric gavage for 20 weeks and the therapeutic effect and potential mechanisms of CHYS on diabetic kidney injury were examined.
Treatment with CHYS attenuated diabetic kidney injury by significantly inhibiting 24-h proteinuria and progressive renal fibrosis including glomerulosclerotic index, tubulointerstitial fibrosis index, and upregulation of extracellular matrix (collagen I, IV, and fibronectin), despite the same levels of blood glucose. Further studies revealed that inhibition of renal fibrosis in CHYS-treated diabetic rats was associated with inhibition of TGF-β1/Smad3 signaling as demonstrated by upregulation of Smad7 but downregulation of TGF-β1, TGF-β receptors, activation of Smad3, and expression of miRNA-21.
CHYS may be a therapeutic agent for DN. CHYS attenuates DN by blocking TGF-β/Smad3-mediated renal fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC3960111  PMID: 24646636
9.  A visual motion detection circuit suggested by Drosophila connectomics 
Nature  2013;500(7461):175-181.
Animal behavior arises from computations in neuronal circuits, but our understanding of these computations has been frustrated by the lack of detailed synaptic connection maps, or connectomes. For example, despite intensive investigations over half a century, the neuronal implementation of local motion detection in the insect visual system remains elusive. Here, we developed a semi-automated pipeline using electron microscopy to reconstruct a connectome, containing 379 neurons and 8,637 chemical synaptic contacts, within the Drosophila optic medulla. By matching reconstructed neurons to examples from light microscopy, we assigned neurons to cell types and assembled a connectome of the medulla's repeating module. Within this module, we identified cell types constituting a motion detection circuit and showed that the connections onto individual motion-sensitive neurons in this circuit were consistent with their direction selectivity. Our results identify cellular targets for future functional investigations, and demonstrate that connectomes can provide key insights into neuronal computations.
PMCID: PMC3799980  PMID: 23925240
10.  Biobutanol production in a Clostridium acetobutylicum biofilm reactor integrated with simultaneous product recovery by adsorption 
Clostridium acetobutylicum can propagate on fibrous matrices and form biofilms that have improved butanol tolerance and a high fermentation rate and can be repeatedly used. Previously, a novel macroporous resin, KA-I, was synthesized in our laboratory and was demonstrated to be a good adsorbent with high selectivity and capacity for butanol recovery from a model solution. Based on these results, we aimed to develop a process integrating a biofilm reactor with simultaneous product recovery using the KA-I resin to maximize the production efficiency of biobutanol.
KA-I showed great affinity for butanol and butyrate and could selectively enhance acetoin production at the expense of acetone during the fermentation. The biofilm reactor exhibited high productivity with considerably low broth turbidity during repeated batch fermentations. By maintaining the butanol level above 6.5 g/L in the biofilm reactor, butyrate adsorption by the KA-I resin was effectively reduced. Co-adsorption of acetone by the resin improved the fermentation performance. By redox modulation with methyl viologen (MV), the butanol-acetone ratio and the total product yield increased. An equivalent solvent titer of 96.5 to 130.7 g/L was achieved with a productivity of 1.0 to 1.5 g · L-1 · h-1. The solvent concentration and productivity increased by 4 to 6-fold and 3 to 5-fold, respectively, compared to traditional batch fermentation using planktonic culture.
Compared to the conventional process, the integrated process dramatically improved the productivity and reduced the energy consumption as well as water usage in biobutanol production. While genetic engineering focuses on strain improvement to enhance butanol production, process development can fully exploit the productivity of a strain and maximize the production efficiency.
PMCID: PMC3891980  PMID: 24401161
Biofilm reactor; Clostridium acetobutylicum; Simultaneous product recovery; Acetoin; Adsorption; Redox modulation
11.  The Gene Expression Profile of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from EV71-Infected Rhesus Infants and the Significance in Viral Pathogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83766.
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is the major pathogen responsible for fatal hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). Our previous work reported on an EV71-infected rhesus monkey infant model that presented with histo-pathologic changes of the central nervous system (CNS) and lungs. This study is focused on the correlated modulation of gene expression in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from EV71-infected rhesus monkey infants. The expression of more than 500 functional genes associated with multiple pathways was modulated. The expression of genes associated with immune inflammatory responses was up-regulated during the period from days 4 to 10 post-infection. The expression of two genes (TAC1 and IL17A), which play major roles in inflammatory reactions, was remarkably up-regulated during the infection period. Furthermore, a higher expression level of the TAC1 gene was identified in the CNS compared to the lungs, but a high expression level of the IL-17A gene was observed in the lungs and not in the CNS. The results of this study suggest at least two facts about EV71 infection, which are that: the TAC1 gene that encodes substance P and neurokinin-A is present in both PBMCs and the hypothalamus; and the up-regulation of IL-17A is sustained in the peripheral blood.
PMCID: PMC3879270  PMID: 24392094
12.  Huntingtin-associated protein 1 regulates postnatal neurogenesis and neurotrophin receptor sorting 
Defective neurogenesis in the postnatal brain can lead to many neurological and psychiatric disorders, yet the mechanism behind postnatal neurogenesis remains to be investigated. Huntingtin-associated protein 1 (HAP1) participates in intracellular trafficking in neurons, and its absence leads to postnatal death in mice. Here, we used tamoxifen-induced (TM-induced) Cre recombination to deplete HAP1 in mice at different ages. We found that HAP1 reduction selectively affects survival and growth of postnatal mice, but not adults. Neurogenesis, but not gliogenesis, was affected in HAP1-null neurospheres and mouse brain. In the absence of HAP1, postnatal hypothalamic neurons exhibited reduced receptor tropomyosin-related kinase B (TRKB) levels and decreased survival. HAP1 stabilized the association of TRKB with the intracellular sorting protein sortilin, prevented TRKB degradation, and promoted its anterograde transport. Our findings indicate that intracellular sorting of neurotrophin receptors is critical for postnatal neurogenesis and could provide a therapeutic target for defective postnatal neurogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3871224  PMID: 24355921
13.  Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor SAHA Attenuates TLR4 Signaling in LPS-Stimulated Mouse Macrophages 
The Journal of surgical research  2012;178(2):851-859.
We have previously demonstrated that pre- and post-treatment of animals with suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACI), can improve survival in a mouse model of lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-induced severe shock. This study was to assess whether SAHA affects LPS/Toll like receptor4 (TLR4) signaling through acetylation of HSP90 and degradation of its client protein interleukin-1 receptor associated kinase 1 (IRAK1).
Methods and Results
RAW264.7 cells were exposed to LPS (1 μg/ml) for two hours followed by treatment with SAHA (10 μM) or one of HSP90 inhibitors, geldanamycin (GA) (3 μM). Sham (no SAHA, no LPS) macrophages served as a control. The cells were harvested at different time points, and time zero served as the reference point. LPS dramatically increased protein expression of myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) and IRAK1, and stimulated nuclear translocation of nuclear factor kB (NF-kB), leading to increases of gene expression and protein production of TNF-α and IL-6. Treatment with SAHA significantly attenuated these LPS- stimulated alterations. LPS or SAHA did not change the levels of HSP90 protein, but immunoprecipitation studies demonstrated that SAHA treatment enhanced acetylation of HSP90, and increased the dissociation of IRAK1, compared to the LPS control.
SAHA suppresses LPS/TLR4 signaling in LPS-stimulated macrophages through multiple possible mechanisms. It inhibits the function of HSP90 through hyperacetylation of the chaperone protein, which results in dissociation and degradation of the client protein IRAK1 and, at least in part, leads to a resultant decrease in nuclear translocation of NF-κB and attenuation of key pro-inflammatory cytokine expression.
PMCID: PMC3496062  PMID: 22868051
Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid; Lipopolysaccharides; Toll-Like Receptor 4; HSP90; macrophages; inflammation; immune response; acetylation
14.  Targeting human CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells with anti-CD45 × anti-myosin light-chain bispecific antibody preserves cardiac function in myocardial infarction 
We have previously shown that targeting human CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) with a bispecific antibody (BiAb) directed against myosin light chain (MLC) increases delivery of cells to the injured hearts and improves cardiac performance in the nude rat. In this study, we have sought to validate our previous observations and to perform more detailed determination of ventricular function in immunocompetent mice with myocardial infarction (MI) that were treated with armed CD34+ HSC. We examined whether armed CD34+ HSC would target the injured heart following MI and restore ventricular function in vitro. MI was created by ligation of the left anterior descending artery. After 48 h, adult ICR mice received either 0.5 × 106 human CD34+ HSC armed with anti-CD45 × anti-MLC BiAb or an equal volume of medium through a single tail vein injection. Two weeks after stem cell administration, ventricular function of hearts from mice receiving armed CD34+ HSC was significantly greater compared with the same parameters from control mice. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the accumulation of CD34+ HSC in MI hearts infused with stem cells. Angiogenesis was significantly enhanced in CD34+ HSC-treated heart as determined by vascular density per area. Furthermore, histopathological examination revealed that the retained cardiac function observed in CD34+ HSC-treated mice was associated with decreased ventricular fibrosis. These results suggest that peripheral administration of armed CD34+ HSC results in localization of CD34+ HSC to injured myocardium and restores myocardial function.
PMCID: PMC3792713  PMID: 18292296
CD34+ hematopoietic stem cell; bispecific antibody; mouse; myocardium
15.  Optimization of enzyme-assisted extraction and characterization of collagen from Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sturio Linnaeus) skin 
Pharmacognosy Magazine  2013;9(Suppl 1):S32-S37.
Sturgeon (Acipenser sturio Linnaeus) skin contains high amount of nutrients including unsaturated fatty acids and collagen. A pepsin-assisted extraction procedure was developed and optimized for the extraction of collagen from Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sturio Linnaeus) skins.
To determine the optimum conditions with the maximum yield of the pepsin-soluble collagen (PSC) extraction.
Materials and Methods:
The conditions of the extraction were optimized using response surface methodology. The Box–Behnken design was used to evaluate the effects of the three independent variables (extraction time, enzyme concentration, and solid–liquid ratio) on the PSC yield of the sturgeon skin.
The optimal conditions were: solid–liquid ratio of 1:11.88, enzyme concentration of 2.42%, and extraction time of 6.45 h. The maximum yield of 86.69% of PSC was obtained under the optimal conditions. This value was not significantly different from the predicted value (87.4%) of the RSM (P < 0.05).
The results of this study indicated that the production of PSC from sturgeon skin is feasible and beneficial. The patterns of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic patterns (SDS-PAGE) indicated that the sturgeon skin contains type I collagen, which is made of α-chain and β-chain. The infrared spectra of the collagens also indicated that pepsin hydrolysis does not affect the secondary structure of collagen, especially triple-helical structure.
PMCID: PMC3798137  PMID: 24143042
Extraction; pepsin-soluble collagen; response surface methodology; sturgeon skin; SDS-PAGE
We have demonstrated that post-shock administration of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACI), can significantly improve early survival in a highly lethal model of hemorrhagic shock. As the primary insult in hemorrhagic shock is cellular hypoxia, and transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) controls pro-inflammatory gene expression in macrophages, we hypothesized that SAHA would attenuate the HIF-1α associated pro-inflammatory pathway in a hypoxic macrophage model.
Mouse macrophages were exposed to hypoxic conditions (0.5% O2, 10% CO2, and 89.5% N2) at 37°C in the presence or absence of SAHA (10 μmol/L). The cells and culture medium were harvested at 1hour, 4 hours and 8 hours. Sham (no hypoxia, no SAHA) served as a control. Western blots were performed to assess protein levels of prolyl hydroxylase 2 (PHD2), HIF-1α and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in the cells. Colorimetric biochemical assay and ELISA were utilized to analyze the release of nitric oxide (NO) and secretion of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) respectively in the cell culture medium.
Hypoxia significantly increased cellular level of HIF-1α (1 and 4 hours), gene transcription of iNOS (4 and 8 hours), iNOS protein (8 hours), NO production (8 hours), and TNF-α secretion (4 & 8 hours). SAHA treatment attenuated all of above hypoxia-induced alterations in the macrophages. In addition, SAHA treatment significantly increased cellular level of PHD2, one of the upstream negative regulators of HIF-1α, at 1 hour.
Treatment with SAHA attenuates hypoxia- HIF-1α-inflammatory pathway in macrophages, and suppresses hypoxia-induced release of proinflammatory NO and TNF-α. SAHA also causes an early increase in cellular PHD2, which provides, at least in part, a new explanation for the decrease in the HIF-1α protein levels.
PMCID: PMC3782098  PMID: 22327976
Hypoxia; macrophages; SAHA; HIF-1α; PHD2
Surgery  2012;152(3):455-464.
We have recently demonstrated that treatment with suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, significantly improves survival in a rodent model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced endotoxic shock. However, the precise mechanisms have not been well defined. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of SAHA treatment on gene expression profiles at an early stage of shock.
Male C57B1/6J mice were treated with or without SAHA (50 mg/kg, i.p), followed by a lethal dose of LPS (20 mg/kg, i.p) and a second dose of SAHA. Lungs of the animals (LPS and SAHA+LPS groups, n=3/group) were harvested 3 hours post-LPS insult. Sham mice (no LPS and no SAHA) served as controls. RNA was isolated from the tissues and gene expression was analyzed using Affymatrix microarray (23,000 genes). A lower confidence bound (LCB) of fold change was determined for comparison of LPS vs. SAHA+LPS, and genes with LCB >2 were considered to be differentially expressed. RT-PCR, western blotting and tissue staining were performed to verify the key changes. Network graphs were used to determine gene interaction, and biological relevance.
The expression of many genes known to be involved in septic pathophysiology changed after the LPS insult. Interestingly, a number of genes not previously implicated in the septic response were also altered. SAHA treatment attenuated expression of several key genes involved in inflammation. It also reduced neutrophil infiltration in lungs and histological evidence of acute lung injury. Further analysis confirmed genes engaged in the cellular and humoral arms of innate immune system that were specifically inhibited by SAHA. Gene network analysis identified numerous molecules for the potential development of targeted therapies.
Administration of SAHA in a rodent model of LPS shock rapidly modulates gene transcription, with an attenuation of inflammatory mediators derived from both arms (cellular and humoral) of the innate immune system. This may be a novel mechanism responsible for the survival advantage seen with SAHA treatment.
PMCID: PMC3782099  PMID: 22938904
Endotoxic shock; microarray; immune; inflammation; suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid; lung
18.  Molecular Strategy to Reduce In Vivo Collagen Barrier Promotes Entry of NCX1 Positive Inducible Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCNCX1+) into Ischemic (or Injured) Myocardium 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70023.
The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of collagen composition on engraftment of progenitor cells within infarcted myocardium.
We previously reported that intramyocardial penetration of stem/progenitor cells in epicardial patches was enhanced when collagen was reduced in hearts overexpressing adenylyl cyclase-6 (AC6). In this study we hypothesized an alternative strategy wherein overexpression of microRNA-29b (miR-29b), inhibiting mRNAs that encode cardiac fibroblast proteins involved in fibrosis, would similarly facilitate progenitor cell migration into infarcted rat myocardium.
In vitro: A tri-cell patch (Tri-P) consisting of cardiac sodium-calcium exchanger-1 (NCX1) positive iPSC (iPSCNCX1+), endothelial cells (EC), and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) was created, co-cultured, and seeded on isolated peritoneum. The expression of fibrosis-related genes was analyzed in cardiac fibroblasts (CFb) by qPCR and Western blot. In vivo: Nude rat hearts were administered mimic miRNA-29b (miR-29b), miRNA-29b inhibitor (Anti-29b), or negative mimic (Ctrl) before creation of an ischemically induced regional myocardial infarction (MI). The Tri-P was placed over the infarcted region 7 days later. Angiomyogenesis was analyzed by micro-CT imaging and immunofluorescent staining. Echocardiography was performed weekly.
The number of green fluorescent protein positive (GFP+) cells, capillary density, and heart function were significantly increased in hearts overexpressing miR-29b as compared with Ctrl and Anti-29b groups. Conversely, down-regulation of miR-29b with anti-29b in vitro and in vivo induced interstitial fibrosis and cardiac remodeling.
Overexpression of miR-29b significantly reduced scar formation after MI and facilitated iPSCNCX1+ penetration from the cell patch into the infarcted area, resulting in restoration of heart function after MI.
PMCID: PMC3749126  PMID: 23990893
19.  Human apolipoprotein E peptides inhibit hepatitis C virus entry by blocking virus binding 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(2):484-491.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) entry is a multiple-step process involving a number of host factors and hence represents a promising target for new antiviral drug development. In search of novel inhibitors of HCV infection, we found that a human apolipoprotein E (apoE) peptide, hEP, containing both a receptor binding fragment and a lipid binding fragment of apoE, specifically blocked the entry of cell culture grown HCV (HCVcc) at sub-micromolar concentrations. hEP caused little cytotoxicity in vitro and remained active even if left 24 hours in cell culture. Interestingly, hEP inhibited neither HIV-HCV pseudotypes (HCVpp) nor HIV and Dengue virus (DENV) infection. Further characterization mapped the anti-HCV activity to a 32-residue region that harbors the receptor binding domain of apoE, but this fragment must contain a cysteine residue at the N-terminus to mediate dimer formation. The anti-HCV activity of the peptide appears to be dependent on both its length and sequence and correlates with its ability to bind lipids. Finally, we demonstrated that the apoE-derived peptides directly blocked the binding of both HCVcc and patient serum-derived virus to hepatoma cells as well as primary human hepatocytes.
apoE peptides potently inhibit HCV infection and suggest a direct role of apoE in mediating HCV entry. Our findings also highlight the potential of developing apoE mimetic peptides as novel HCV entry inhibitors by targeting HCV-host interactions.
PMCID: PMC3362681  PMID: 22334503
apolipoprotein E; viral hepatitis; viral entry; peptide inhibitor; virus binding
20.  Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Derived From Limb Bud Can Differentiate into All Three Embryonic Germ Layers Lineages 
Cellular Reprogramming  2012;14(4):324-333.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been isolated from many sources, including adults and fetuses. Previous studies have demonstrated that, compared with their adult counterpart, fetal MSCs with several remarkable advantages may be a better resource for clinical applications. In this study, we successfully isolated a rapidly proliferating cell population from limb bud of aborted fetus and termed them “human limb bud–derived mesenchymal stem cells” (hLB-MSCs). Characteristics of their morphology, phenotype, cell cycle, and differentiation properties were analyzed. These adherent cell populations have a typically spindle-shaped morphology. Flow cytometry analysis showed that hLB-MSCs are positive for CD13, CD29, CD90, CD105, and CD106, but negative for CD3, CD4, CD5, CD11b, CD14, CD15, CD34, CD45, CD45RA, and HLA-DR. The detection of cell cycle from different passages indicated that hLB-MSCs have a similar potential for propagation during long culture in vitro. The most novel finding here is that, in addition to their mesodermal differentiation (osteoblasts and adipocytes), hLB-MSCs can also differentiated into extramesenchymal lineages, such as neural (ectoderm) and hepatic (endoderm) progenies. These results indicate that hLB-MSCs have a high level of plasticity and can differentiate into cell lineages from all three embryonic layers in vitro.
PMCID: PMC3411339  PMID: 22775353
21.  Awareness of and Willingness to Use Oral Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention among HIV-Serodiscordant Heterosexual Couples: A Cross-Sectional Survey in Xinjiang, China 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67392.
We aimed to investigate the awareness of and willingness to use oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention among HIV-negative partners in HIV-serodiscordant heterosexual couples in Xinjiang, China and determine factors that predict willingness to use oral PrEP.
Between November 2009 and December 2010, a cross-sectional survey was carried out among 351 HIV-negative partners in HIV-serodiscordant heterosexual couples from three cities in Xinjiang, China. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire to assess their awareness of and willingness to use oral PrEP. Additionally, blood samples were collected to test for HIV infection. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of willingness to use oral PrEP.
Only 10 participants (2.8%) reported having heard of PrEP, and only two reported ever using PrEP. However, 297 (84.6%) reported that they were willing to use oral PrEP if it was proven to be both safe and effective. Results of multivariate analysis revealed the following independent predictors of willingness to use oral PrEP: monthly household income (adjusted odds ratio = 2.78, <1000 RMB vs. ≥1000 RMB, 95% confidence interval: 1.36–5.69), perceived likelihood of contracting HIV from HIV-positive partner (adjusted odds ratio = 2.63, likely vs. unlikely, 95% confidence interval: 1.12–6.19), and worrying about being discriminated against by others due to oral PrEP use (adjusted odds ratio  = 9.43, No vs. Yes, 95% confidence interval: 3.78–23.50).
Our results showed HIV-negative partners in HIV-serodiscordant heterosexual couples in China had low awareness of oral PrEP but high willingness to use oral PrEP for HIV prevention. Cost of oral PrEP should be taken into consideration in future PrEP prevention strategy. In addition, efforts should be made to reduce stigma attached to oral PrEP use, which may increase its acceptability among potential users.
PMCID: PMC3712999  PMID: 23874417
22.  Correction: HDAC Inhibition Elicits Myocardial Protective Effect through Modulation of MKK3/Akt-1 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):10.1371/annotation/29be7977-2e22-40cd-8a71-b3fbb99de9d5.
PMCID: PMC3738718
23.  Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and protective effects in cardiovascular disease: a new therapeutic approach for myocardial protection 
Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a member of the proglucagon incretin family implicated in the control of appetite and satiety. GLP-1 has insulinotropic, insulinomimetic, and glucagonostatic effects, thereby exerting multiple complementary actions to lower blood glucose in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. A major advantage over conventional insulin is the fact that the insulinotropic actions of GLP-1 are dependent upon ambient glucose concentration, mitigating the risks of hypoglycemia. Recently, the crucial role of GLP-1 in cardiovascular disease has been suggested in both preclinical and clinical studies. The experimental data indicate GLP-1 and its analogs to have direct effects on the cardiovascular system, in addition to their classic glucoregulatory actions. Clinically, beneficial effects of GLP-1 have also been demonstrated in patients with myocardial ischemia and heart failure. GLP-1 has recently been demonstrated to be a more effective alternative in treating myocardial injury. This paper provides a review on the current evidence supporting the use of GLP-1 in experimental animal models and human trials with the ischemic and non-ischemic heart and discusses their molecular mechanisms and potential as a new therapeutic approach.
PMCID: PMC3700838  PMID: 23777457
GLP-1; Insulin resistance; Heart; Cardiovascular disease; Diabetes
24.  HDAC Inhibition Elicits Myocardial Protective Effect through Modulation of MKK3/Akt-1 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65474.
We and others have demonstrated that HDAC inhibition protects the heart against myocardial injury. It is known that Akt-1 and MAP kinase play an essential role in modulation of myocardial protection and cardiac preconditioning. Our recent observations have shown that Akt-1 was activated in post-myocardial infarction following HDAC inhibition. However, it remains unknown whether MKK3 and Akt-1 are involved in HDAC inhibition-induced myocardial protection in acute myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury. We sought to investigate whether the genetic disruption of Akt-1 and MKK3 eliminate cardioprotection elicited by HDAC inhibition and whether Akt-1 is associated with MKK3 to ultimately achieve protective effects. Adult wild type and MKK3−/−, Akt-1−/− mice received intraperitoneal injections of trichostatin A (0.1mg/kg), a potent inhibitor of HDACs. The hearts were subjected to 30 min myocardial ischemia/30 min reperfusion in the Langendorff perfused heart after twenty four hours to elicit pharmacologic preconditioning. Left ventricular function was measured, and infarct size was determined. Acetylation and phosphorylation of MKK3 were detected and disruption of Akt-1 abolished both acetylation and phosphorylation of MKK3. HDAC inhibition produces an improvement in left ventricular functional recovery, but these effects were abrogated by disruption of either Akt-1 or MKK3. Disruption of Akt-1 or MKK3 abolished the effects of HDAC inhibition-induced reduction of infarct size. Trichostatin A treatment resulted in an increase in MKK3 phosphorylation or acetylation in myocardium. Taken together, these results indicate that stimulation of the MKK3 and Akt-1 pathway is a novel approach to HDAC inhibition -induced cardioprotection.
PMCID: PMC3677871  PMID: 23762381
25.  Rosuvastatin Enhances Angiogenesis via eNOS-Dependent Mobilization of Endothelial Progenitor Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63126.
Circulating endothelial progenitor cells (circEPCs) of bone marrow (BM) origin contribute to postnatal neovascularization and represent a potential therapeutic target for ischemic disease. Statins are beneficial for ischemia disease and have been implicated to increase neovascularization via mechanisms independent of lipid lowering. However, the effect of Statins on EPC function is not completely understood. Here we sought to investigate the effects of Rosuvastatin (Ros) on EPC mobilization and EPC-mediated neovascularization during ischemic injury. In a mouse model of surgically-induced hindlimb ischemia (HLI), treatment of mice with low dose (0.1 mg/kg) but not high dose (5 mg/kg) significantly increased capillary density and accelerated blood flow recovery, as compared to saline-treated group. When HLI was induced in mice that had received Tie2/LacZ BM transplantation, Ros treatment led a significantly larger amount of endothelial cells (ECs) of BM origin incorporated at ischemic sites than saline. After treatment of mice with a single low dose of Ros, circEPCs significantly increased from 2 h, peaked at 4 h, declined until 8 h. In a growth-factor reduced Matrigel plug-in assay, Ros treatment for 5 d induced endothelial lineage differentiation in vivo. Interestingly, the enhanced circEPCs and post-HLI neovascularization stimulated by Ros were blunted in mice deficient in endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), and Ros increased p-Akt/p-eNOS levels in EPCs in vitro, indicating these effects of Ros are dependent on eNOS activity. We conclude that Ros increases circEPCs and promotes their de novo differentiation through eNOS pathway.
PMCID: PMC3660394  PMID: 23704894

Results 1-25 (48)