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1.  Temporal Production of the Signaling Lipid Phosphatidic Acid by Phospholipase D2 Determines the Output of Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase Signaling in Cancer Cells 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(1):84-95.
The Ras-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) cascade is an important signaling module in cells. One regulator of the Ras-ERK cascade is phosphatidic acid (PA) generated by phospholipase D (PLD) and diacylglycerol kinase (DGK). Using a newly developed PA biosensor, PASS (phosphatidic acid biosensor with superior sensitivity), we found that PA was generated sequentially by PLD and DGK in epidermal growth factor (EGF)-stimulated HCC1806 breast cancer cells. Inhibition of PLD2, one of the two PLD members, was sufficient to eliminate most of the PA production, whereas inhibition of DGK decreased PA production only at the later stages of EGF stimulation, suggesting that PLD2 precedes DGK activation. The temporal production of PA by PLD2 is important for the nuclear activation of ERK. While inhibition of both PLD and DGK had no effect on the overall ERK activity, inhibition of PLD2 but not PLD1 or DGK blocked the nuclear ERK activity in several cancer cell lines. The decrease of active ERK in the nucleus inhibited the activation of Elk1, c-fos, and Fra1, the ERK nuclear targets, leading to decreased proliferation of HCC1806 cells. Together, these findings reveal that PA production by PLD2 determines the output of ERK in cancer cell growth factor signaling.
PMCID: PMC3911278  PMID: 24164897
2.  A Node Influence Based Label Propagation Algorithm for Community Detection in Networks 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:627581.
Label propagation algorithm (LPA) is an extremely fast community detection method and is widely used in large scale networks. In spite of the advantages of LPA, the issue of its poor stability has not yet been well addressed. We propose a novel node influence based label propagation algorithm for community detection (NIBLPA), which improves the performance of LPA by improving the node orders of label updating and the mechanism of label choosing when more than one label is contained by the maximum number of nodes. NIBLPA can get more stable results than LPA since it avoids the complete randomness of LPA. The experimental results on both synthetic and real networks demonstrate that NIBLPA maintains the efficiency of the traditional LPA algorithm, and, at the same time, it has a superior performance to some representative methods.
PMCID: PMC4066938  PMID: 24999491
3.  Premature Termination Codon Read-Through in the ABCC6 Gene: Potential Treatment for Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum 
The Journal of investigative dermatology  2013;133(12):10.1038/jid.2013.234.
Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is an autosomal recessive disorder manifesting with ectopic connective tissue mineralization, caused by mutations in the ABCC6 gene, ~35% of all mutations being premature termination mutations. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic potential of the nonsense codon read-through-inducing drug, PTC124, in treating PXE. The ability of this drug to facilitate read-through of nonsense mutations was examined in HEK293 cells transfected with human ABCC6 expression constructs harboring seven different PXE associated nonsense mutations, and evaluated by immunofluorescence and In-Cell ELISA. Our data demonstrated that PTC124 did not exhibit cell toxicity in concentrations up to 40 µg/ml, and the facilitated read-through was not only dose dependent but also sequence context dependent. Considering the redundancy of the genetic code, it was postulated that in case of the most common recurrent nonsense mutation, p.R1141X, the read-through may result in substitution of the arginine 1141 by either glycine, tryptophan or cysteine. Their potential pathogenicity was tested in a recently developed zebrafish mRNA rescue assay, and demonstrated that all three mRNA transcripts were able to rescue abcc6a morpholino-induced phenotype of zebrafish. Thus, our results suggest that read-through of nonsense mutations in ABCC6 by PTC124 may have potential for pharmacologic treatment of PXE.
PMCID: PMC3800235  PMID: 23702584
4.  Behavioral Choice-related Neuronal Activity in Monkey Primary Somatosensory Cortex in a Haptic Delay Task 
Journal of cognitive neuroscience  2012;24(7):1634-1644.
The neuronal activity in the primary somatosensory cortex was collected when monkeys performed a haptic–haptic DMS task. We found that, in trials with correct task performance, a substantial number of cells showed significant differential neural activity only when the monkeys had to make a choice between two different haptic objects. Such a difference in neural activity was significantly reduced in incorrect response trials. However, very few cells showed the choice-only differential neural activity in monkeys who performed a control task that was identical to the haptic–haptic task but did not require the animal to either actively memorize the sample or make a choice between two objects at the end of a trial. From these results, we infer that the differential activity recorded from cells in the primary somato-sensory cortex in correct performance reflects the neural process of behavioral choice, and therefore, it is a neural correlate of decision-making when the animal has to make a haptic choice.
PMCID: PMC4034389  PMID: 22452554
5.  Composition and Structure of Pinus koraiensis Mixed Forest Respond to Spatial Climatic Changes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97192.
Although some studies have indicated that climate changes can affect Pinus koraiensis mixed forest, the responses of composition and structure of Pinus koraiensis mixed forests to climatic changes are unknown and the key climatic factors controlling the composition and structure of Pinus koraiensis mixed forest are uncertain.
Methodology/principal findings
Field survey was conducted in the natural Pinus koraiensis mixed forests along a latitudinal gradient and an elevational gradient in Northeast China. In order to build the mathematical models for simulating the relationships of compositional and structural attributes of the Pinus koraiensis mixed forest with climatic and non-climatic factors, stepwise linear regression analyses were performed, incorporating 14 dependent variables and the linear and quadratic components of 9 factors. All the selected new models were computed under the +2°C and +10% precipitation and +4°C and +10% precipitation scenarios. The Max Temperature of Warmest Month, Mean Temperature of Warmest Quarter and Precipitation of Wettest Month were observed to be key climatic factors controlling the stand densities and total basal areas of Pinus koraiensis mixed forest. Increased summer temperatures and precipitations strongly enhanced the stand densities and total basal areas of broadleaf trees but had little effect on Pinus koraiensis under the +2°C and +10% precipitation scenario and +4°C and +10% precipitation scenario.
These results show that the Max Temperature of Warmest Month, Mean Temperature of Warmest Quarter and Precipitation of Wettest Month are key climatic factors which shape the composition and structure of Pinus koraiensis mixed forest. Although the Pinus koraiensis would persist, the current forests dominated by Pinus koraiensis in the region would all shift and become broadleaf-dominated forests due to the dramatic increase of broadleaf trees under the future global warming and increased precipitation.
PMCID: PMC4014611  PMID: 24810605
6.  Interspinous Spacer versus Traditional Decompressive Surgery for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97142.
Dynamic interspinous spacers, such as X-stop, Coflex, DIAM, and Aperius, are widely used for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. However, controversy remains as to whether dynamic interspinous spacer use is superior to traditional decompressive surgery.
Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register were searched during August 2013. A track search was performed on February 27, 2014. Study was included in this review if it was: (1) a randomized controlled trial (RCT) or non-randomized prospective comparison study, (2) comparing the clinical outcomes for interspinous spacer use versus traditional decompressive surgery, (3) in a minimum of 30 patients, (4) with a follow-up duration of at least 12 months.
Two RCTs and three non-randomized prospective studies were included, with 204 patients in the interspinous spacer (IS) group and 217 patients in the traditional decompressive surgery (TDS) group. Pooled analysis showed no significant difference between the IS and TDS groups for low back pain (WMD: 1.2; 95% CI: −10.12, 12.53; P = 0.03; I2 = 66%), leg pain (WMD: 7.12; 95% CI: −3.88, 18.12; P = 0.02; I2 = 70%), ODI (WMD: 6.88; 95% CI: −14.92, 28.68; P = 0.03; I2 = 79%), RDQ (WMD: −1.30, 95% CI: −3.07, 0.47; P = 0.00; I2 = 0%), or complications (RR: 1.39; 95% CI: 0.61, 3.14; P = 0.23; I2 = 28%). The TDS group had a significantly lower incidence of reoperation (RR: 3.34; 95% CI: 1.77, 6.31; P = 0.60; I2 = 0%).
Although patients may obtain some benefits from interspinous spacers implanted through a minimally invasive technique, interspinous spacer use is associated with a higher incidence of reoperation and higher cost. The indications, risks, and benefits of using an interspinous process device should be carefully considered before surgery.
PMCID: PMC4014612  PMID: 24809680
7.  Homologous mesenchymal stem cells promote the emergence and growth of pulmonary metastases of the rat osteosarcoma cell line UMR-106 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(1):127-132.
Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most frequent primary bone sarcoma and tends to develop pulmonary metastasis. Studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are involved in OS growth and metastasis, but the mechanism remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to identify whether homologous MSCs could promote the growth and metastasis of OS in rats with a normal immune system. The OS cell line, UMR-106, which originally derives from a Sprague-Dawley (SD) rat-transplantable osteogenic sarcoma with an osteoblastic phenotype, has a strong carcinogenic capability and a high lung metastasis. Xenotransplanted models of UMR-106 with or without MSCs injected through the tibia (IT) or caudal vein (IV) were established. SD rats were randomly divided into six groups: Control, UMR-106 (IT), MSCs (IV), UMR-106 (IT) + MSCs (IV), UMR-106 (IV) and UMR-106 (IV) + MSCs (IV). Following injection, all rats were sacrificed at week 5, and the volume and quantity of metastatic sarcoma and the serum alkaline phosphatase levels were measured. There was no metastatic sarcoma in the liver, spleen and kidney in all groups. The rats in the MSCs (IV) + UMR-106 (IV) group showed a significantly higher volume and number of pulmonary metastatic tumors than those of the UMR-106 (IV) group. In pulmonary metastatic tissues, MSCs were found in the MSCs (IV) + UMR-106 (IV) group, but not in the UMR-106 (IT) + MSCs (IV) group. Notably, the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was increased in the MSCs + UMR-106 cells co-culture system. The present study indicated that MSCs can significantly promote the pulmonary metastasis of the rat OS cell line, UMR-106, with a normal immune system, and VEGF was involved in MSC-promoted UMR-106 emergence and growth of pulmonary metastasis.
PMCID: PMC4063563  PMID: 24959232
osteosarcoma; mesenchymal stem cells; vascular endothelial growth factor; metastasis; rat
8.  The Effect of miRNA-122 in Regulating fat Deposition in a Cell Line Model† 
Journal of cellular biochemistry  2014;115(5):839-846.
Accumulating evidence supports the role of miR-122 in fatty liver disease. We investigated miR-122 expression in a steatotic hepatocyte model, the effect of miR-122 over-expression and inhibition in the pathogenesis. Human hepatic cell line L02 was induced with oleic acid to establish the steatotic hepatocyte model. Intracellular lipid content was observed with laser scanning confocal microscope (LSCM), and triglyceride content was determined with kits. Total RNA was extracted and reversely transcribed into cDNA. miR-122 expression was measured using qRT-PCR. Subsequently, miR-122 mimic and miR-122 inhibitor were transfected into steatotic hepatocytes to observe their effect on intracellular lipid content. The lipid fluorescence intensity and triglyceride content within the steatotic hepatocytes were significantly higher than those in normal control(860.01±26.52 vs 257.77±29.69 and 3.47±0.12 vs 1.85±0.02 at 24 hours) (p<0.01). miR-122 expression in steatotic hepatocytes was down-regulated compared with that in control (2−ΔCt value: 0.0286±0.0078 vs 0.0075±0.0012) (p<<0.01). After transfection, miR-122 expression (2−ΔCt value) in the miR-122 mimic group increased 2.96-fold compared with that in control, and its lipid fluorescence intensity was significantly lower than that in control(790.92±46.72 vs 1022.16±49.66)(p<0.01). Nevertheless, miR-122 expression decreased 3.45-fold in the miR-122 inhibitor group compared with that in control, and its fluorescence intensity was significantly higher than that in control (1386.49±40.34 vs 1022.16±49.66)(p<<0.01). We concluded that miR-122 was down-regulated in steatotic hepatocytes model. The pathogenesis of hepatocyte steatosis was enhanced by miR-122 mimic and reduced with miR-122 inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC3991241  PMID: 24288170
miR-122; Hepatocyte; Steatosis; Fatty liver disease
9.  Uncemented allograft–prosthetic composite reconstruction of the proximal femur 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2014;48(3):289-295.
Allograft–prosthetic composite can be divided into three groups names cemented, uncemented, and partially cemented. Previous studies have mainly reported outcomes in cemented and partially cemented allograft–prosthetic composites, but have rarely focused on the uncemented allograft–prosthetic composites. The objectives of our study were to describe a surgical technique for using proximal femoral uncemented allograft–prosthetic composite and to present the radiographic and clinical results.
Materials and Methods:
Twelve patients who underwent uncemented allograft–prosthetic composite reconstruction of the proximal femur after bone tumor resection were retrospectively evaluated at an average followup of 24.0 months. Clinical records and radiographs were evaluated.
In our series, union occurred in all the patients (100%; range 5-9 months). Until the most recent followup, there were no cases with infection, nonunion of the greater trochanter, junctional bone resorption, dislocation, allergic reaction, wear of acetabulum socket, recurrence, and metastasis. But there were three periprosthetic fractures which were fixed using cerclage wire during surgery. Five cases had bone resorption in and around the greater trochanter. The average Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS) score and Harris hip score (HHS) were 26.2 points (range 24-29 points) and 80.6 points (range 66.2-92.7 points), respectively.
These results showed that uncemented allograft–prosthetic composite could promote bone union through compression at the host–allograft junction and is a good choice for proximal femoral resection. Although this technology has its own merits, long term outcomes are yet not validated.
PMCID: PMC4052029  PMID: 24932036
Bone tumor; uncemented allograft prosthetic composite; proximal femur
10.  Homocysteine and Carotid Plaque Stability: A Cross-Sectional Study in Chinese Adults 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94935.
Background and Purpose
This study aimed to explore the possible association of plasma total homocysteine with carotid plaque stability.
A cross-sectional study was conducted from 2010 to 2011. A stratified random sample of 2,919 Chinese participants aged 40 years or older was enrolled. Plasma total homocysteine levels were measured and carotid plaques were evaluated by ultrasonography. Logistic regression model was used to analyze the association of homocysteine levels to the progression of carotid plaque development, while adjusting for demographics and vascular risk factors.
The mean level of plasma homocysteine in the subjects was 14.9 µmol/l. Along with increase in homocysteine level, the risk of advanced carotid plaque elevated (odds ratio = 1.28; 95% confidence interval = 1.09–1.51) after adjusting for age, sex, and other potential confounders. Stratified by sex, higher homocysteine level was strongly associated with advanced carotid plaque in men (OR = 1.41; 95% confidence interval = 1.17–1.70), but not in women.
The findings suggest that plasma level of homocysteine may be associated with advanced carotid plaque, which constitutes high risks of stroke, in male Chinese adults.
PMCID: PMC3988131  PMID: 24736609
11.  Overexpression of OsSWEET5 in Rice Causes Growth Retardation and Precocious Senescence 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94210.
As a novel sugar transporter family, SWEETs play important roles in plant growth and development. Here, we characterized a SWEET gene named OsSWEET5 through its overexpression in rice. Heterologous expression assay indicated that OsSWEET5 encoded a galactose transporter in yeast. OsSWEET5-overexpressing plants displayed the phenotypes of growth retardation and precocious senescence at seedling stage. GC-MS analysis showed that the sugar levels were largely altered in the leaves of the OsSWEET5-overexpressing plants. Molecular analysis revealed that these phenotypes might be due to the transcriptional changes of the genes involved in sugar metabolism and transport. In addition, the transgenic plants showed a lower level of auxin with altered transcription of genes involved in auxin signaling and translocation pathways. However, no obvious phenotype was observed between the amiRNA-OsSWEET5 transgenic lines and WT plants, which could be a result of the functional redundancy of the galactose transporters in rice. Taken together, our findings suggest that OsSWEET5 plays a crucial role in regulating the crosstalk between sugar and auxin in rice.
PMCID: PMC3978035  PMID: 24709840
12.  Finite element analysis of the pelvis after modular hemipelvic endoprosthesis reconstruction 
International Orthopaedics  2013;37(4):653-658.
The aim of this study was to investigate the biomechanics of the pelvis reconstructed with a modular hemipelvic prosthesis using finite element (FE) analysis.
A three-dimensional FE model of the postoperative pelvis was developed and input into the Abaqus FEA software version 6.7.1. Mesh refinement tests were then performed and a force of 500 N was applied at the lamina terminalis of the fifth lumbar vertebra along the longitudinal axis of the normal pelvis and the postoperative pelvis for three positions: sitting, standing on two feet, and standing on the foot of the affected side. Stress distribution analysis was performed between the normal pelvis and postoperative pelvis at these three static positions.
In the normal pelvis, stress distribution was concentrated on the superior area of the acetabulum, arcuate line, sacroiliac joint, sacral midline and, in particular, the superior area of the greater sciatic notch. In the affected postoperative hemipelvis, stress distribution was concentrated on the proximal area of the pubic plate, the top of the acetabular cup, the connection between the CS-fixator and acetabular cup and the fixation between the prosthesis and sacroiliac joint.
Stress distribution of the postoperative pelvis was similar to the normal pelvis at three different static positions. Reconstruction with a modular hemipelvic prosthesis yielded good biomechanical characteristics.
PMCID: PMC3609974  PMID: 23318936
13.  Celecoxib regulates apoptosis and autophagy via the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in SGC-7901 gastric cancer cells 
Gastric cancer, one of the most common malignancies worldwide, typically has a poor prognosis and poor survival rate. Previous studies have investigated the chemopreventive effect of celecoxib. In the present study, the SGC-7901 human gastric cancer cell line was utilized to examine the chemopreventive mechanisms of celecoxib. The inhibition of cell proliferation was determined using MTT assay, cell apoptosis was monitored by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL) and flow cytometry, and cell ultrastructural changes were assessed via transmission electron microscopy. The mRNA expression of Akt, caspase-8 and -9 was examined using quantitative reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and p-Akt, procaspase-8 and -9 were analyzed via western blotting. The results showed that celecoxib inhibited the proliferation of SGC-7901 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Additionally, celecoxib induced apoptosis as substantiated by typical apoptotic bodies, autophagosomes and an increased apoptotic rate. It was found that following celecoxib treatment, Akt mRNA expression was not significantly altered, and that p-Akt protein levels decreased in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Additionally, caspase-8 and -9 mRNA expression was significantly increased, while procaspase-8 and -9 protein expression decreased relative to the time- and dose-dependent effects. These results demonstrated that celecoxib induced apoptosis and autophagy of gastric cancer cells in vitro through the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Moreover, our findings suggested that celecoxib induces apoptosis in gastric cancer cells through the mitochondrial and death receptor pathways, providing additional understanding regarding the chemopreventive behaviors of celecoxib and its uses in cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC4055439  PMID: 24676394
apoptosis; autophagy; celecoxib; cyclooxygenase 2; Akt; caspase-8; caspase-9; gastric carcinoma
14.  Antidepressant-like effects of auraptenol in mice 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4433.
Depression is a major psychiatric disorder affecting nearly 21% of the world population and imposes a substantial health burden on society. Current available antidepressants are not adequate to meet the clinical needs. Here we report that auraptenol, an active component of the traditional Chinese medicine, angelicae dahuricae radix, had antidepressant-like effects in mice models of depression. In mouse forced swimming test and tail suspension test, two validated models of depression, auraptenol dose-dependently decreased the immobility duration within the dose range of 0.05–0.4 mg/kg. In addition, the antidepressant-like effects of auraptenol was significantly averted by a selective serotonin 5-HT1A receptor antagonist WAY100635 (1 mg/kg). These doses that affected the immobile response did not affect locomotor activity. In summary, this study for the first time identified an active component from the herbal medicine angelicae dahuricae radix that possesses robust antidepressant-like efficacy in mice. These data support further exploration for the possibility of developing auraptenol as a novel antidepressant agent in the treatment of major depression disorders.
PMCID: PMC3963063  PMID: 24658501
15.  Structural characteristics of an insect group I chitinase, an enzyme indispensable to moulting 
The first crystal structure of an insect chitinase that is indispensable to moulting is revealed.
Insects possess a greater number of chitinases than any other organisms. This work is the first report of unliganded and oligosaccharide-complexed crystal structures of the insect chitinase OfChtI from Ostrinia furnacalis, which is essential to moulting. The obtained crystal structures were solved at resolutions between 1.7 and 2.2 Å. A structural comparison with other chitinases revealed that OfChtI contains a long substrate-binding cleft similar to the bacterial chitinase SmChiB from Serratia marcescens. However, unlike the exo-acting SmChiB, which has a blocked and tunnel-like cleft, OfChtI possesses an open and groove-like cleft. The complexed structure of the catalytic domain of OfChtI (OfChtI-CAD) with (GlcNAc)2/3 indicates that the reducing sugar at subsite −1 is in an energetically unfavoured ‘boat’ conformation, a state that possibly exists just before the completion of catalysis. Because OfChtI is known to act from nonreducing ends, (GlcNAc)3 would be a hydrolysis product of (GlcNAc)6, suggesting that OfChtI possesses an endo enzymatic activity. Furthermore, a hydrophobic plane composed of four surface-exposed aromatic residues is adjacent to the entrance to the substrate-binding cleft. Mutations of these residues greatly impair the chitin-binding activity, indicating that this hydrophobic plane endows OfChtI-CAD with the ability to anchor chitin. This work reveals the unique structural characteristics of an insect chitinase.
PMCID: PMC3975886  PMID: 24699639
chitinase; glycosyl hydrolase; insects; Ostrinia furnacalis
16.  New Insights into the Pathogenesis and Treatment of IPF: An Update 
Drugs  2011;71(8):981-1001.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the most common and lethal of the idiopathic interstitial pneumonias. There are currently no effective pharmacological therapies approved for the treatment of IPF. Despite the focus on targeting fibrogenic pathways, recent clinical trials have been largely disappointing. Progress is being made in elucidating key cellular processes and molecular pathways critical to IPF pathogenesis, and this should facilitate the development of more effective therapeutics for this recalcitrant disease. Emerging pathobiological concepts include the role of aging and cellular senescence, oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress, cellular plasticity, microRNAs, and mechanotransduction. Therapeutic approaches that target molecular pathways to modulate aberrant cellular phenotypes and promote tissue homeostasis in the lung must be developed. Heterogeneity in biological and clinical phenotypes of IPF warrants a personalized medicine approach to diagnosis and treatment of this lung disorder.
PMCID: PMC3955181  PMID: 21668038
17.  Silencing of ETS1 reverses adriamycin resistance in MCF-7/ADR cells via downregulation of MDR1 
Clinical resistance to chemotherapeutic agents is one of the major hindrances in the treatment of human cancers. Erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog 1 (ETS1) is involved in the drug resistance of various cancer cells, and is overexpressed in drug-resistant human breast cancer cell lines. In this study, we investigated the effects of ETS1 on adriamycin resistance in MCF-7/ADR cells.
siRNAs against ETS1 or negative control siRNAs was transfected to MCF-7/ADR breast cancer cells. Reverse transcription-PCR and Western blotting were used to determine the mRNA and protein expression of ETS1 and MDR1. The cytotoxicity of adriamycin was assessed using the MTT assay. Drug efflux was investigated by flow cytometry using the Rhodamine 123 intracellular accumulation assay.
ETS1 mRNA and protein was significantly overexpressed in MCF-7/ADR cells, compared to MCF-7 cells. ETS1 siRNA successfully silenced ETS1 mRNA and protein expression. Silencing of ETS1 also significantly reduced the mRNA and protein expression levels of MDR1 (multidrug resistance 1; also known as ABCB1, P-glycoprotein/P-gp), which is a major ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter linked to multi-drug resistance in cancer cells. Silencing of ETS1 significantly increased the sensitivity of MCF-7/ADR cells to adriamycin, compared to cells transfected with negative control siRNA. In addition, intracellular accumulation of Rhodamine 123 significantly increased in MCF-7/ADR cells transfected with ETS1 siRNA, indicating that silencing of ETS1 may reduce drug efflux.
This study demonstrates that drug resistance can be effectively reversed in adriamycin-resistant breast carcinoma cells through delivery of siRNAs targeting ETS1.
PMCID: PMC3995875  PMID: 24602286
ETS1; Adriamycin; Multidrug resistance; MDR1; Drug efflux; Breast cancer
18.  Pten regulates homeostasis and inflammation-induced migration of myelocytes in zebrafish 
Loss of the tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is frequently observed in hematopoietic malignancies. Although PTEN has been implicated in maintaining the quiescence of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), its role in hematopoiesis during ontogeny remains largely unexplored.
The expression of hematopoietic marker genes was analyzed via whole mount in situ hybridization assay in ptena and ptenb double mutant zebrafish. The embryonic myelopoiesis was characterized by living imaging and whole mount in situ immunofluorescence with confocal microscopy, as well as cell-specific chemical staining for neutrophils and macrophages. Analyses of the involved signaling pathway were carried out by inhibitor treatment and mRNA injection.
Pten-deficient zebrafish embryos exhibited a strikingly increased number of myeloid cells, which were further characterized as being immune deficient. In accordance with this finding, the inhibition of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) or the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) corrected the expansive myelopoiesis in the pten-deficient embryos. Further mechanistic studies revealed that the expression of cebpa, a critical transcription factor in myeloid precursor cells, was downregulated in the pten-deficient myeloid cells, whereas the injection of cebpa mRNA markedly ameliorated the dysmyelopoiesis induced by the loss of pten.
Our data provide in vivo evidence that definitive myelopoiesis in zebrafish is critically regulated by pten via the elevation of cebpa expression.
PMCID: PMC4015859  PMID: 24598081
pten; cebpa; Myeloid cells; Definitive myelopoiesis; Zebrafish
19.  Ampelopsin Induces Cell Growth Inhibition and Apoptosis in Breast Cancer Cells through ROS Generation and Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89021.
Ampelopsin (AMP), a major bioactive constituent of Ampelopsis grossedentata, exerts a number of biological effects. In this study, we investigated its anti-cancer activity in human breast cancer cell lines, and explored the underlying mechanism of this action. Our results showed that treatment with AMP dose-dependently inhibited cell viability and induced apoptosis in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells without cytotoxicity in human normal breast epithelial cells MCF-10A. Meanwhile, AMP dose- dependently triggered reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in both breast cancer cells. The ROS scavenger N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) strongly attenuated AMP-induced ROS production, along with cell growth inhibition and apoptosis. Furthermore, AMP was observed to activate endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, as evidenced by the up-regulation of ER stress-related proteins, including GRP78, p-PERK, p-elF2α, cleaved ATF6α and CHOP, while knockdown of ATF6α or PERK markedly down-regulated AMP-induced CHOP expression. Blocking ER stress using 4-phenylbutyric acid not only down-regulated AMP-induced GRP78 and CHOP expression, but also significantly decreased AMP-induced cell growth inhibition and apoptosis, whereas ER stress inducer thapsigargin played opposing effects. Additionally, NAC inhibited AMP-induced ER stress by down-regulating GRP78 and CHOP expression. Conversely, blocking ER stress using CHOP siRNA decreased AMP-induced ROS production and cell apoptosis. Taken together, these results demonstrate that AMP has anti-tumor effects against breast cancer cells through ROS generation and ER stress pathway, which therefore provide experimental evidences for developing AMP as a new therapeutic drug for breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3923868  PMID: 24551210
20.  Single-molecule analysis reveals self assembly and nanoscale segregation of two distinct cavin subcomplexes on caveolae 
eLife  2014;3:e01434.
In mammalian cells three closely related cavin proteins cooperate with the scaffolding protein caveolin to form membrane invaginations known as caveolae. Here we have developed a novel single-molecule fluorescence approach to directly observe interactions and stoichiometries in protein complexes from cell extracts and from in vitro synthesized components. We show that up to 50 cavins associate on a caveola. However, rather than forming a single coat complex containing the three cavin family members, single-molecule analysis reveals an exquisite specificity of interactions between cavin1, cavin2 and cavin3. Changes in membrane tension can flatten the caveolae, causing the release of the cavin coat and its disassembly into separate cavin1-cavin2 and cavin1-cavin3 subcomplexes. Each of these subcomplexes contain 9 ± 2 cavin molecules and appear to be the building blocks of the caveolar coat. High resolution immunoelectron microscopy suggests a remarkable nanoscale organization of these separate subcomplexes, forming individual striations on the surface of caveolae.
eLife digest
If you could look closely enough at the surface of some animal cells, especially fat or muscle cells, you would see that they are covered with pocket-like indents called ‘caveolae’. These structures are thought to help the cells communicate with the outside world, but they can also be used by viruses to gain entry into living cells.
Examining these caveolae even closer would reveal that these pockets contain proteins called caveolins that bind to each other—and also to cholesterol and fatty acids—to form a scaffold that help to maintain the shape of the caveolae from inside the cell. Each caveolae in a mammalian cell typically contains over 100 caveolin proteins. Caveolar coat proteins, or cavins for short, are also important building blocks for caveolae: however, we know relatively little about the interactions between caveolins and cavins.
Now, Gambin et al. have used powerful new single-molecule techniques to study these interactions. These experiments looked at the three main types of cavin proteins that associate with caveolae, and by tracking individual protein molecules they showed that cavin1 can interact with either cavin2 or cavin3, but that cavin2 and cavin3 do not interact with each other. Furthermore, cavin2 and cavin3 exist in separate stripes on a caveolae. Gambin et al. also stretched the cell membrane by forcing cells to take in extra water, and showed that this caused the cavin coat to peel away from the caveolae and break down into distinct cavin1-cavin2 and cavin1-cavin3 building blocks.
Faulty versions of caveolins and cavins have both been associated with several diseases in humans, including heart disease and muscle disorders. As such, an improved understanding of the formation and break down of caveolae may prove useful for developing treatments for these conditions.
PMCID: PMC3903133  PMID: 24473072
caveolae; single-molecule; cell-free protein expression; human
21.  miR-33a is up-regulated in chemoresistant osteosarcoma and promotes osteosarcoma cell resistance to cisplatin by down-regulating TWIST 
miRNAs are involved in osteosarcoma (OS) chemoresistance, and TWIST reportedly enhances cisplatin-induced OS cell apoptosis by inhibiting multiple signaling pathways. In this study, we profiled miRNAs differentially expressed in chemoresistant OS, with a focus to identify miRNAs that regulate TWIST expression and OS chemoresistance.
OS patients who showed <90% tumor necrosis after neochemotherapy were defined as poor responders (chemoresistant), and those who showed ≥90% tumor necrosis were defined as good responders (control). miRNA microarray analysis was carried out with a discovery cohort (n = 12) of age-, sex- and tumor stage-matched chemoresistant and control OS patients.
Among the up-regulated miRNAs in chemoresistant OS samples, miR-33a was verified to down-regulate TWIST expression, which was supported by an inverse miRNA-33a/TWIST expression trend in the validation cohort (n = 70), target-sequence-specific inhibition of TWIST-3′ untranslated region-luciferase reporter activity by miR-33a, and alteration of TWIST expression by overexpression or inhibition of miR-33a in human OS cell lines. In Saos-2 cells treated with cisplatin, inhibition of miR-33a by antagomir-33a markedly increased cell apoptosis, which was enhanced by overexpression of TWIST. The apoptosis-inducing effect of TWIST overexpression was reversed by overexpression of miR-33a. In MG-63 cells, overexpression of miR-33a significantly decreased cisplatin-induced cell apoptosis, which was enhanced by knockdown of TWIST. Antagomir-33a significantly increased cisplatin-induced cell apoptosis, which was reversed by knockdown of TWIST.
We have demonstrated in this study that miR-33a is up-regulated in chemoresistant OS and that the miR-33a level is negatively correlated with the TWIST protein level in OS. Our in vitro data indicate that miR-33a promotes OS cell resistance to cisplatin by down-regulating TWIST; on the other hand, inhibition of miR-33a by antagomir-33a enhances cisplatin-induced apoptosis in OS cells by up-regulating TWIST expression. The findings suggest that inhibition of miR-33a/TWIST signaling could be a potential new strategy to enhance neoadjuvant chemotherapy for OS.
PMCID: PMC3974149  PMID: 24468065
microRNA; miR-33a; TWIST; Osteosarcoma; Chemoresistance; Apoptosis
22.  Absolute Photoacoustic Thermometry in Deep Tissue 
Optics letters  2013;38(24):5228-5231.
Photoacoustic (PA) thermography is a promising tool for temperature measurement in deep tissue. Here, we propose an absolute temperature measurement method based on the dual temperature dependences of the Grüneisen parameter and the speed of sound in tissue. By taking ratiometric measurements at two adjacent temperatures, we can eliminate the factors that are temperature irrelevant but difficult to correct for in deep tissue. To validate our method, absolute temperatures of blood-filled tubes embedded ~9 mm deep in chicken tissue were measured in a biologically relevant range from 28 °C to 46 °C. The temperature measurement accuracy was ~0.6 °C. The results suggest that our method can be potentially used for absolute temperature monitoring in deep tissue during thermotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3901074  PMID: 24322224
23.  A Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification Assay for Rapid Detection of Cyprinid Herpesvirus 2 in Gibel Carp (Carassius auratus gibelio) 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:716413.
A rapid and sensitive loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay for Cyprinid herpesvirus 2 (CyHV-2) detection in gibel carp was developed. Following cloning and sequencing of the putative DNA helicase gene of CyHV-2 isolate from China, a set of four specific primers was designed based on the sequence. The MgCl2 concentration and the reaction temperature were optimized to 6 mM, 64°C, respectively. LAMP products were detected by visual inspection of a color change due to addition of SYBR Green I stain. The specificity and sensitivity of the LAMP assay were determined. No cross-reaction was observed with other fish DNA viruses including eel herpesvirus, koi herpesvirus, and Chinese giant salamander iridovirus. The LAMP assay was found to be equally sensitive as nested PCR. A comparative evaluation of 10 fish samples using LAMP and nested PCR assays showed an overall correlation in positive and negative results for CyHV-2. These results indicate that the LAMP assay is simple, sensitive, and specific and has a great potential use for CyHV-2 detection in the laboratory and field.
PMCID: PMC3916102  PMID: 24574914
24.  Correction: Asymptomatic Polyvascular Abnormalities in Community (APAC) Study in China: Objectives, Design and Baseline Characteristics 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):10.1371/annotation/0b52d557-24d9-4b49-a5a4-75f32b117afc.
PMCID: PMC3888476
25.  Comparison of concurrent chemoradiotherapy followed by radical surgery and high-dose-rate intracavitary brachytherapy: a retrospective study of 240 patients with FIGO stage IIB cervical carcinoma 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:91-100.
The aim of this study was to compare the long-term survival outcome and late toxicity in patients with FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) stage IIB cervical carcinoma after two treatment modalities, ie, concurrent chemoradiotherapy followed by radical surgery and concurrent chemoradiotherapy followed by high-dose-rate intracavitary brachytherapy.
Between November 2004 and November 2011, 240 patients with FIGO stage IIB cervical carcinoma were analyzed, comprising 119 patients treated with concurrent chemoradiotherapy followed by radical surgery (group 1) and 121 patients treated with concurrent chemoradiotherapy followed by high-dose-rate intracavitary brachytherapy (group 2). Local control, overall survival, progression-free survival, and treatment-related complications were compared between the two groups.
The median follow-up duration was 36 months. Concurrent chemoradiotherapy followed by radical surgery showed a survival benefit when comparing group 1 and group 2 (3-year overall survival, 94.9% versus 84.6%, P=0.011; 3-year progression-free survival, 91.0% versus 81.8%, P=0.049, respectively). Three-year local pelvic control was 94.6% in group 1 and 93.3% in group 2 (P=0.325). Prognostic factors in group 1 were: age (≤35 years versus >35 years), 3-year progression-free survival (74.1% versus 90.9%, P=0.037); tumor diameter (≥6 cm versus <6 cm); and 3-year progression-free survival, (60.6% versus 92.9%, P=0.004). Prognostic factors in group 2 were: tumor diameter (≥4 cm versus <4 cm); 3-year overall survival (78.0% versus 94.8%, P=0.043); tumor diameter (≥6 cm versus <6 cm); 3-year progression-free survival (42.9% versus 84.2%, P=0.032); and 3-year overall survival (42.9% versus 87.1%, P=0.013). Further, 50 patients (42.02%) in group 1 and 46 patients (38.02%) in group 2 suffered from late complications. Analysis of the difference in composition of late complications showed that the rate of leg edema was higher in group 1 (35.29% versus 4.96%, P=0.000) while the rate of radiation enteritis was higher in group 2 (30.58% versus 5.04%, P=0.000).
In patients with FIGO stage IIB cervical carcinoma, concurrent chemoradiotherapy followed by radical surgery achieved higher overall survival and progression-free survival rates in comparison with radical radiotherapy associated with concurrent chemotherapy. Tumor diameter could be a common prognostic factor in these two groups of patients.
PMCID: PMC3888351  PMID: 24421644
cervical carcinoma; preoperative concurrent chemoradiotherapy; radical radiotherapy; prognostic factors; late toxicity

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