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1.  Aphrodisiac Use Associated with HIV Infection in Elderly Male Clients of Low-Cost Commercial Sex Venues in Guangxi, China: A Matched Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109452.
Background
Rising HIV infection rates have been observed among elderly people in Guangxi, China. Inexpensive aphrodisiacs are available for purchase in suburban and rural areas. This study aims to investigate the association between aphrodisiac use and increased HIV risk for middle-aged and elderly men in Guangxi.
Methods
A matched case-control study of aphrodisiac use-associated HIV infection was performed among male subjects over 50 years old who were clients of low-cost commercial sex venues in Guangxi. The cases were defined as clients who were HIV-positive and two controls were selected for each case. The cases and the controls were matched on the visited sex venue, age (±3 years), number of years of purchasing sex (±3 years), and educational attainment. Subjects were interviewed and tested for HIV. Paired t-test or McNemar Chi-squared test were used to compare the characteristics between the cases and controls. A stepwise conditional logistic regression was used to identify risk factors associated with HIV infection.
Findings
This study enrolled 103 cases and 206 controls. Aphrodisiac use (P = 0.02, odds ratio (OR) = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.08–3.04), never using condom during commercial sex encounter (P = 0.03, odds ratio (OR) = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.08–3.07), and lacking a stable partner (P = 0.03, odds ratio (OR) = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.05–2.98) were found to be risk factors for HIV infection among the study groups. For subjects reporting aphrodisiac use, the frequency of purchasing sex was positively correlated with the frequency of aphrodisiac use (r = 0.3; p = 0.02).
Conclusions
Aphrodisiac use was significantly associated with increased HIV infection risk in men over 50 years old who purchased commercial sex in the suburban and rural areas of Guangxi. Further research and interventions should address the links between aphrodisiac use, commercial sex work, condom use, and increased HIV transmission.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109452
PMCID: PMC4186863  PMID: 25286369
2.  S-1-Based versus Capecitabine-Based Preoperative Chemoradiotherapy in the Treatment of Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer: A Matched-Pair Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106162.
Objective
The aim of this paper was to compare the efficacy and safety of S-1-based and capecitabine-based preoperative chemoradiotherapy regimens in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer through a retrospective matched-pair analysis.
Materials and methods
Between Jan 2010 and Mar 2014, 24 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who received preoperative radiotherapy concurrently with S-1 were individually matched with 24 contemporary patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who received preoperative radiotherapy concurrently with capecitabine according to clinical stage (as determined by pelvic magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography) and age (within five years). All these patients performed mesorectal excision 4–8 weeks after the completion of chemoradiotherapy.
Results
The tumor volume reduction rates were 55.9±15.1% in the S-1 group and 53.8±16.0% in the capecitabine group (p = 0.619). The overall downstaging, including both T downstaging and N downstaging, occurred in 83.3% of the S-1 group and 70.8% of the capecitabine group (p = 0.508). The significant tumor regression, including regression grade I and II, occurred in 33.3% of S-1 patients and 25.0% of capecitabine patients (p = 0.754). In the two groups, Grade 4 adverse events were not observed and Grade 3 consisted of only two cases of diarrhea, and no patient suffered hematologic adverse event of Grade 2 or higher. However, the incidence of diarrhea (62.5% vs 33.3%, p = 0.014) and hand-foot syndrome (29.2% vs 0%, p = 0.016) were higher in capecitabine group. Other adverse events did not differ significantly between two groups.
Conclusions
The two preoperative chemoradiotherapy regimens were effective and safe for patients of locally advanced rectal cancer, but regimen with S-1 exhibited a lower incidence of adverse events.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106162
PMCID: PMC4152119  PMID: 25181318
3.  Characterization of the Intergenic Spacer rDNAs of Two Pig Nodule Worms, Oesophagostomum dentatum and O. quadrispinulatum 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:147963.
The characteristics of the intergenic spacer rDNAs (IGS rDNAs) of Oesophagostomum dentatum and O. quadrispinulatum isolated from pigs in different geographical locations in Mainland China were determined, and the phylogenetic relationships of the two species were reconstructed using the IGS rDNA sequences. The organization of the IGS rDNA sequences was similar to their organization in other eukaryotes. The 28S-18S IGS rDNA sequences of both O. dentatum and O. quadrispinulatum were found to have variable lengths, that is, 759–762 bp and 937–1128 bp, respectively. All of the sequences contained direct repeats and inverted repeats. The length polymorphisms were related to the different numbers and organization of repetitive elements. Different types and numbers of repeats were found between the two pig nodule species, and two IGS structures were found within O. quadrispinulatum. Phylogenetic analysis showed that all O. dentatum isolates were clustered into one clade, but O. quadrispinulatum isolates from different origins were grouped into two distinct clusters. These results suggested independent species and the existence of genotypes or subspecies within pig nodule worms. Different types and numbers of repeats and IGS rDNA structures could serve as potential markers for differentiating these two species of pig nodule worms.
doi:10.1155/2014/147963
PMCID: PMC4147281  PMID: 25197691
4.  Quantitative Analysis of Panax ginseng by FT-NIR Spectroscopy 
Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), a rapid and efficient tool, was used to determine the total amount of nine ginsenosides in Panax ginseng. In the study, the regression models were established using multivariate regression methods with the results from conventional chemical analytical methods as reference values. The multivariate regression methods, partial least squares regression (PLSR) and principal component regression (PCR), were discussed and the PLSR was more suitable. Multiplicative scatter correction (MSC), second derivative, and Savitzky-Golay smoothing were utilized together for the spectral preprocessing. When evaluating the final model, factors such as correlation coefficient (R2) and the root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) were considered. The final optimal results of PLSR model showed that root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) and correlation coefficients (R2) in the calibration set were 0.159 and 0.963, respectively. The results demonstrated that the NIRS as a new method can be applied to the quality control of Ginseng Radix et Rhizoma.
doi:10.1155/2014/741571
PMCID: PMC4026986  PMID: 24883224
5.  Using the Doubly Charged Selected Ion Coupled with MS/MS Fragments Monitoring (DCSI-MS/MS) Mode for the Identification of Gelatin Species 
In electrospray ionization (ESI) mode, peptides and proteins can be multiply charged ions; in this situation a doubly charged selected ion (DCSI) coupled with mass spectrometry (MS/MS) fragments monitoring (DCSI-MS/MS) method is the most suitable scanning mode to detect known peptides in complex samples when an ion-trap mass spectrometer is the instrument used for the analysis. In this mode, the MS detector is programmed to only select a doubly charged ion as a precursor and to perform continuous MS/MS on one or more of the selected precursors, either during a specific time interval or along the whole chromatographic run. Gelatin is a mixture of high molecular weight polypeptides from the hydrolysis of collagen. In this study, the DCSI-MS/MS monitoring mode was applied to the detection of previously characterized species-specific peptides from different gelatins. The proposed methodology makes use of tryptic digestion for sample preparation and peptide separation and identification by rapid resolution liquid chromatography coupled to an ion trap working in the DCSI-MS/MS mode for the analysis. This methodology was applied to the differential classification of five commercial, homological species of gelatins and proved to be an excellent tool for gelatin product authentication.
doi:10.1155/2014/764397
PMCID: PMC3976877  PMID: 24744960
6.  Prevalence of Sarcoptes scabiei Infection in Pet Dogs in Southern China 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:718590.
Little is known about the prevalence of Sarcoptes scabiei infection in pet dogs in China. In the present study, the prevalence of S. scabiei infection in pet dogs in Guangzhou, southern China, was investigated between January and December, 2009. A total of 3,977 pet dogs admitted to animal hospitals were examined for the presence of S. scabiei using a parasitological approach. The average prevalence of S. scabiei infection in pet dogs is 1.18% (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.85–1.52%). The prevalence of S. scabiei was higher in winter (1.42%; 95% CI: 0.29–2.55%), summer (1.39%; 95% CI: 0.83–1.96%), and autumn (1.1%; 95% CI: 0.53–1.68%) than in spring (0.63%; 95% CI: 0.02–1.25%). Furthermore, the prevalence of S. scabiei was the highest in Pekingese (21.88%; 95% CI: 7.55–36.2%), followed by Papillon (5.26%; 95% CI: 0–11.06%) and Bichon Frise (3.19%; 95% CI: 0–6.75%). The results of the present investigation indicate that S. scabiei infection is prevalent in pet dogs in Guangzhou, China, which provides relevant “baseline” data for conducting control strategies and measures against scabies in this region and elsewhere in China. To our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive report of S. scabiei prevalence in pet dogs in China.
doi:10.1155/2014/718590
PMCID: PMC3972830  PMID: 24741355
7.  Functional Fcgamma Receptor Polymorphisms Are Associated with Human Allergy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89196.
Objective
IgG Fc receptors (FcγRs) play important roles in immune responses. It is not clear whether FcγR receptors play a role in human asthma and allergy. The aim of current study was to investigate whether functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of FcγR genes (FCGR) are associated with human asthma and allergy.
Methods
Functional SNPs of FCGR2A (FcγRIIA-131His>Arg, rs1801274), FCGR2B (FcγRIIB-187Ile>Thr, rs1050501), FCGR2C (FcγRIIC-13Gln>Stop, rs10917661), FCGR3A (FcγRIIIA-158Val>Phe, rs396991), and FCGR3B variants (FcγRIIIB NA1 and NA2) were genotyped in an asthma family cohort including 370 atopy positive, 239 atopy negative, and 169 asthma positive subjects. The genotype and phenotype data (asthma, bronchial hyper-responsiveness, and atopy) of subjects were analyzed using family-based association tests (FBAT) and logistic regression adjusted for age and sex.
Result
The FcγRIIA-131His>Arg SNP is significantly associated with atopy in a family-based association test (P = 0.00287) and in a logistic regression analysis (P = 0.0269, OR 0.732, 95% CI: 0.555–0.965). The FcγRIIA-131His (or rs1801274-A) allele capable of binding human IgG2 has a protective role against atopy. In addition, the rare FcγRIIB-187Thr (or rs1050501-C) allele defective for the receptor-mediated inhibitory signals is a risk factor for atopy (P = 0.0031, OR 1.758, 95% CI: 1.209–2.556) and IgE production (P<0.001). However, variants of activating FcγRIIIA (rs396991), and FcγRIIIB (NA1 and NA2), and FcγRIIC (rs10917661) are not associated with asthma, BHR, and atopy (P>0.05).
Conclusions
FcγRIIA and FcγRIIB functional polymorphisms may have a role in the pathogenesis of allergy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089196
PMCID: PMC3931680  PMID: 24586589
8.  Metaproteomic analysis of ratoon sugarcane rhizospheric soil 
BMC Microbiology  2013;13:135.
Background
The current study was undertaken to elucidate the mechanism of yield decline in ratoon sugarcane using soil metaproteomics combined with community level physiological profiles (CLPP) analysis.
Results
The available stalk number, stalk diameter, single stalk weight and theoretical yield of ratoon cane (RS) were found to be significantly lower than those of plant cane (NS). The activities of several carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus processing enzymes, including invertase, peroxidase, urease and phosphomonoesterase were found to be significantly lower in RS soil than in NS soil. BIOLOG analysis indicated a significant decline in average well-color development (AWCD), Shannon’s diversity and evenness indices in RS soil as compared to NS soil. To profile the rhizospheric metaproteome, 109 soil protein spots with high resolution and repeatability were successfully identified. These proteins were found to be involved in carbohydrate/energy, amino acid, protein, nucleotide, auxin and secondary metabolisms, membrane transport, signal transduction and resistance, etc. Comparative metaproteomics analysis revealed that 38 proteins were differentially expressed in the RS soil as compared to the control soil or NS soil. Among these, most of the plant proteins related to carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism and stress response were up-regulated in RS soil. Furthermore, several microbial proteins related to membrane transport and signal transduction were up-regulated in RS soil. These proteins were speculated to function in root colonization by microbes.
Conclusions
Our experiments revealed that sugarcane ratooning practice induced significant changes in the soil enzyme activities, the catabolic diversity of microbial community, and the expression level of soil proteins. They influenced the biochemical processes in the rhizosphere ecosystem and mediated the interactions between plants and soil microbes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-135
PMCID: PMC3687580  PMID: 23773576
CLPP; 2D-electrophoresis; Soil enzyme; Soil metaproteomics; Soil protein extraction; Sugarcane
9.  Protective Efficacy of a Toxoplasma gondii Rhoptry Protein 13 Plasmid DNA Vaccine in Mice 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2012;19(12):1916-1920.
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite infecting humans and other warm-blooded animals, resulting in serious public health problems and economic losses worldwide. Rhoptries are involved in T. gondii invasion and host cell interaction and have been implicated as important virulence factors. In the present study, a DNA vaccine expressing rhoptry protein 13 (ROP13) of T. gondii inserted into eukaryotic expression vector pVAX I was constructed, and the immune protection it induced in Kunming mice was evaluated. Kunming mice were immunized intramuscularly with pVAX-ROP13 and/or with interleukin-18 (IL-18). Then, we evaluated the immune response using a lymphoproliferative assay, cytokine and antibody measurements, and the survival times of mice challenged with the virulent T. gondii RH strain (type I) and the cyst-forming PRU strain (type II). The results showed that pVAX-ROP13 alone or with pVAX/IL-18 induced a high level of specific anti-T. gondii antibodies and specific lymphocyte proliferative responses. Coinjection of pVAX/IL-18 significantly increased the production of gamma interferon (IFN-γ), IL-2, IL-4, and IL-10. Further, challenge experiments showed that coimmunization of pVAX-ROP13 with pVAX/IL-18 significantly (P < 0.05) increased survival time (32.3 ± 2.7 days) compared with pVAX-ROP13 alone (24.9 ± 2.3 days). Immunized mice challenged with T. gondii cysts (strain PRU) had a significant reduction in the number of brain cysts, suggesting that ROP13 could trigger a strong humoral and cellular response against T. gondii cyst infection and that it is a potential vaccine candidate against toxoplasmosis, which provided the foundation for further development of effective vaccines against T. gondii.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00397-12
PMCID: PMC3535859  PMID: 23015648
10.  Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography-Based Metabonomic Study of Therapeutic Effect of the Surface Layer of Poria cocos on Adenine-Induced Chronic Kidney Disease Provides New Insight into Anti-Fibrosis Mechanism 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59617.
The surface layer of Poria cocos (Fu-Ling-Pi, FLP) is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and its diuretic effect was confirmed in rat. Ultra performance liquid chromatography/quadrupole time-of-flight high-sensitivity mass spectrometry and a novel mass spectrometryElevated Energy data collection technique was employed to investigate metabonomic characteristics of chronic kidney disease (CKD) induced from adenine excess and the protective effects of FLP. Multiple metabolites are detected in the CKD and are correlated with progressive renal injury. Among these biomarkers, lysoPC(18∶0), tetracosahexaenoic acid, lysoPC(18∶2), creatinine, lysoPC (16∶0) and lysoPE(22∶0/0∶0) in the FLP-treated group were completely reversed to levels in the control group which lacked CKD. Combined with biochemistry and histopathology results, the changes in serum metabolites indicate that the perturbations of phospholipids metabolism, energy metabolism and amino acid metabolism are related to adenine-induced CKD and to the interventions of FLP on all the three metabolic pathways. FLP may regulate the metabolism of these biomarkers, especially their efficient utilization within the context of CKD. Furthermore, these biomarkers might serve as characteristics to explain the mechanisms of FLP.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059617
PMCID: PMC3608665  PMID: 23555727
11.  Cyclin D1 overexpression is associated with poor prognosis in oropharyngeal cancer 
Objectives
To determine the biological characteristics of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OpSCC) and related outcome.
Design
Retrospective study.
Methods
Patients (N=60) with primary OpSCC from 2000 to 2005 were retrospectively identified from Pathology database and the outcome was confirmed through chart review. Among these, 41 biopsy samples with enough tissues were retrieved to construct a tissue microarray for detection of the presence of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) using Chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH) as well as the expression of p16 and cyclin D1 using immunohistochemistry.
Main outcome measures
Disease-free survival.
Results
Among 60 patients, 39 (65%) patients had no recurrence or died without disease at the last follow-up (disease-free survival or Group 1), and 21 (35%) patients had persistent disease or died of disease (progression-free survival or Group 2). Although follow-up time was twice as long in group 1 (4.7 ± 2.2 vs. 2.0 ± 1.6 years; P < 0.0001), there was no difference between the 2 groups in age, gender, smoking/alcohol habits, TNM staging and treatment modalities. Among those 41 cases with available tumour tissues, there was no difference in HPV status and p16 expression between the 2 groups but a significant difference in cyclin D1 expression (P = 0.05). Using Kaplan-Meir survival analysis and log-rank test, cyclin D1 overexpression was highly associated with a poor prognosis when comparing time to outcome (P < 0.0001).
Conclusion
Cyclin D1 overexpression is a potential prognostic marker of OpSCC.
doi:10.1186/1916-0216-42-23
PMCID: PMC3651247  PMID: 23672832
Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OpSCC); Human papillomavirus (HPV); p16; Cyclin D1; Disease free survival; Prognosis
12.  Identity-by-Descent Mapping to Detect Rare Variants Conferring Susceptibility to Multiple Sclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e56379.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified around 60 common variants associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), but these loci only explain a fraction of the heritability of MS. Some missing heritability may be caused by rare variants that have been suggested to play an important role in the aetiology of complex diseases such as MS. However current genetic and statistical methods for detecting rare variants are expensive and time consuming. ‘Population-based linkage analysis’ (PBLA) or so called identity-by-descent (IBD) mapping is a novel way to detect rare variants in extant GWAS datasets. We employed BEAGLE fastIBD to search for rare MS variants utilising IBD mapping in a large GWAS dataset of 3,543 cases and 5,898 controls. We identified a genome-wide significant linkage signal on chromosome 19 (LOD = 4.65; p = 1.9×10−6). Network analysis of cases and controls sharing haplotypes on chromosome 19 further strengthened the association as there are more large networks of cases sharing haplotypes than controls. This linkage region includes a cluster of zinc finger genes of unknown function. Analysis of genome wide transcriptome data suggests that genes in this zinc finger cluster may be involved in very early developmental regulation of the CNS. Our study also indicates that BEAGLE fastIBD allowed identification of rare variants in large unrelated population with moderate computational intensity. Even with the development of whole-genome sequencing, IBD mapping still may be a promising way to narrow down the region of interest for sequencing priority.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056379
PMCID: PMC3589405  PMID: 23472070
13.  Subtemporal Transtentorial Petrosalapex Approach for Giant Petroclival Meningiomas: Analyzation and Evaluation of the Clinical Application* 
With the advent of microsurgery and surgical techniques, along with the improvement in neuroimaging techniques and the microanatomy in cadaver study, improvement in terms of surgical morbidity and mortality has been remarkable; however, controversy still exists regarding the optimal surgical strategies for giant petroclival meningiomas (GPMs). We report a study of clinical and radiological features as well as the surgical findings and outcomes for patients with GPM treated at our institution over the past 6 years. During a 6-year period (April 2004 to March 2010), 16 patients with GPM underwent surgery by subtemporal transtentorial petrosal apex approach during which electrophysiological monitoring of cranial nerves and brainstem function were reviewed. There were nine females and seven males with a mean age of 56.9 years (range from 32 to 78 years). The most frequent clinical manifestations were headache (93.7%) and dizziness (93.7%). Regions and directions of tumor extension include clivus, parasellar, and cavernous sinus, as well as compression of brainstem, and so on. The trochlear nerve was totally wrapped in nine cases (56.2%). The postoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score was 76.3 ± 13.1. Mean maximum diameter of the tumors on magnetic resonance imaging was 5.23 cm (range, 4.5 to 6.2 cm). Subtemporal transtentorial petrosalapex approach was performed in all 16 cases. Gross total resection was achieved in 14 cases (87.5%) and subtotal resection in 2 cases (12.5%) with no resultant mortality. Follow-up data were available for all 16 patients, with a mean follow-up period of 28.8 months (range from 4 to 69 months), of which 11 (68.75%) lived a normal life (KPS, 80–100). Our suggestion is that GPM could be completely resected by subtemporal transtentorial petrosalapex approach. The surgical strategy of GPM should be focused on survival and postoperative quality of life. Microneurosurgical technique plays a key role in tumor resection and preservation of nerve function. Intraoperative electrophysiological monitoring also contributes dramatically to the preservation of the nerve function. Complete resection of the tumor should be attempted at the first operation. Any remnant is treated by radiosurgery.
doi:10.1055/s-0032-1304557
PMCID: PMC3424020  PMID: 23372996
subtemporal transtentorial petrosalapex approach; petroclival areas; meningioma; surgical approach; electrophysiological monitoring
14.  Validation of the Oxford classification of IgA nephropathy for pediatric patients from China 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:158.
Background
The Oxford classification of IgA nephropathy (IgAN) provides a useful tool for prediction of renal prognosis. However, the application of this classification in children with IgAN needs validation in different patient populations.
Methods
A total of 218 children with IgAN from 7 renal centers in China were enrolled. The inclusion criteria was similar to the original Oxford study.
Results
There were 98 patients (45%) with mesangial proliferation (M1), 51 patients (23%) with endocapillary proliferation (E1), 136 patients (62%) with segmental sclerosis/adhesion lesion (S1), 13 patients (6%) with moderate tubulointerstitial fibrosis (T1 26-50% of cortex scarred), and only 2 patients (1%) with severe tubulointerstitial fibrosis (T2, >50% of cortex scarred). During a median follow-up duration of 56 months, 24 children (12.4%) developed ESRD or 50% decline in renal function. In univariate COX analysis, we found that tubular atrophy/interstitial fibrosis (HR 4.3, 95%CI 1.8-10.5, P < 0.001) and segmental glomerulosclerosis (HR 9.2 1.2-68.6, P = 0.03) were significant predictors of renal outcome. However, mesangial hypercellularity, endocapillary proliferation, crescents, and necrosis were not associated with renal prognosis. In the multivariate COX regression model, none of these pathologic lesions were shown to be independent risk factors of unfavorable renal outcome except for tubular atrophy/interstitial fibrosis (HR 2.9, 95%CI 1.0-7.9 P = 0.04).
Conclusions
We confirmed tubular atrophy/interstitial fibrosis was the only feature independently associated with renal outcomes in Chinese children with IgAN.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-13-158
PMCID: PMC3519602  PMID: 23181565
Glomerulonephritis; IgA nephropathy; Oxford classification; Children; Pediatrics
15.  Vaccination with a DNA Vaccine Coding for Perforin-Like Protein 1 and MIC6 Induces Significant Protective Immunity against Toxoplasma gondii 
Host cell invasion by Toxoplasma gondii is tightly related to microneme protein 6 (MIC6) and T. gondii perforin-like protein 1 (TgPLP1). In this study, we constructed a DNA vaccine expressing a TgPLP1/MIC6 fusion protein using the pIRESneo vector, and we evaluated the immune response induced by this vaccine in Kunming mice. Levels of IgG antibody, gamma interferon (IFN-γ), interleukin 2 (IL-2), IL-12, IL-4, and IL-10 were examined. Five mice were chosen randomly from every group (vaccinated groups or the nonvaccinated control group) and were challenged intragastrically with 80 cysts of T. gondii strain PRU (genotype II) in order to observe mortality daily. To analyze protection against a less-virulent challenge, eight mice of each group were orally infected with 20 cysts of strain PRU at the 14th day after the last immunization. The brain parasite load was evaluated 6 weeks after infection. The results demonstrated that immunization with pIRESneo/MIC6/PLP1 resulted in the lowest brain cyst count and prolonged the survival time of immunized mice. The levels of Toxoplasma-specific IgG, IFN-γ, IL-2, and IL-12 increased significantly, and the numbers of cysts in brains decreased more obviously, in the group immunized with plasmid pIRESneo/MIC6/PLP1 than in the other groups (P < 0.05). Compared with pIRESneo/MIC6/PLP1, coimmunization with pIRESneo/MIC6/PLP1 and adjuvant murine IL-18 promoted cellular and humoral immune responses but did not contribute significantly to cyst reduction (65.43% versus 61.60%) or the survival of immunized mice (45.0 ± 2.9 days versus 42.8 ± 2.9 days) (P > 0.05). Furthermore, the study also showed that the immune efficacy induced by pIRESneo/MIC6/PLP1 was better than that induced by pVAX/PLP1 or pVAX/MIC6 alone.
doi:10.1128/CVI.05578-11
PMCID: PMC3346325  PMID: 22379063
16.  Clear Genetic Distinctiveness between Human- and Pig-Derived Trichuris Based on Analyses of Mitochondrial Datasets 
The whipworm, Trichuris trichiura, causes trichuriasis in ∼600 million people worldwide, mainly in developing countries. Whipworms also infect other animal hosts, including pigs (T. suis), dogs (T. vulpis) and non-human primates, and cause disease in these hosts, which is similar to trichuriasis of humans. Although Trichuris species are considered to be host specific, there has been considerable controversy, over the years, as to whether T. trichiura and T. suis are the same or distinct species. Here, we characterised the entire mitochondrial genomes of human-derived Trichuris and pig-derived Trichuris, compared them and then tested the hypothesis that the parasites from these two host species are genetically distinct in a phylogenetic analysis of the sequence data. Taken together, the findings support the proposal that T. trichiura and T. suis are separate species, consistent with previous data for nuclear ribosomal DNA. Using molecular analytical tools, employing genetic markers defined herein, future work should conduct large-scale studies to establish whether T. trichiura is found in pigs and T. suis in humans in endemic regions.
Author Summary
Trichuriasis is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) caused by parasitic nematodes of the genus Trichuris (Nematoda), causing significant human and animal health problems as well as considerable socio-economic consequences world-wide. Although Trichuris species are considered to be relatively host specific, there has been significant controversy as to whether Trichuris infecting humans (recognized as T. trichiura) is a distinct species from that found in pigs (recognized as T. suis), or not. In the present study, we sequenced, annotated and compared the complete mitochondrial genomes of Trichuris from these two hosts and undertook a phylogenetic analysis of the mitochondrial datasets. This analysis showed clear genetic distinctiveness and strong statistical support for the hypothesis that T. trichiura and T. suis are separate species, consistent with previous studies using nuclear ribosomal DNA sequence data. Future studies could explore, using mitochondrial genetic markers defined in the present study, cross-transmission of Trichuris between pigs and humans in endemic regions, and the population genetics of T. trichiura and T. suis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001539
PMCID: PMC3283558  PMID: 22363831
17.  Control of RNA Processing by A Large Noncoding RNA Over-expressed in Carcinomas 
FEBS letters  2011;585(4):671-676.
RNA processing is vital for the high fidelity and diversity of eukaryotic transcriptomes and the encoded proteomes. However, control of RNA processing is not fully established. Σ RNA is a class of conserved large noncoding RNAs (murine Hepcarcin; human MALAT-1) up-regulated in carcinomas. Using antisense technology, we identified that RNA post-transcriptional modification is the most significant global function of Σ RNA. Specifically, processing of the pre-mRNAs of genes including Tissue Factor and Endoglin was altered by hydrolysis of Σ RNA/MALAT-1. These results support the hypothesis that Σ RNA/MALAT-1 is a regulatory molecule exerting roles in RNA post-transcriptional modification.
doi:10.1016/j.febslet.2011.01.030
PMCID: PMC3065235  PMID: 21266177
Hepcarcin; Σ RNA/MALAT-1; RNA processing; alternative splicing
18.  Characterization of the Complete Mitochondrial Genome Sequence of Spirometra erinaceieuropaei (Cestoda: Diphyllobothriidae) from China 
Sparganosis, caused by the plerocercoid larvae of members of the genus Spirometra, can cause significant public health problem and considerable economic losses. In the present study, the complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence of Spirometra erinaceieuropaei from China was determined, characterized and compared with that of S. erinaceieuropaei from Japan. The gene arrangement in the mt genome sequences of S. erinaceieuropaei from China and Japan is identical. The identity of the mt genomes was 99.1% between S. erinaceieuropaei from China and Japan, and the complete mtDNA sequence of S. erinaceieuropaei from China is slightly shorter (2 bp) than that from Japan. Phylogenetic analysis of S. erinaceieuropaei with other representative cestodes using two different computational algorithms [Bayesian inference (BI) and maximum likelihood (ML)] based on concatenated amino acid sequences of 12 protein-coding genes, revealed that S. erinaceieuropaei is closely related to Diphyllobothrium spp., supporting classification based on morphological features. The present study determined the complete mtDNA sequences of S. erinaceieuropaei from China that provides novel genetic markers for studying the population genetics and molecular epidemiology of S. erinaceieuropaei in humans and animals.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.4096
PMCID: PMC3341605  PMID: 22553464
Spirometra erinaceieuropaei; sparganosis; mitochondrial genome; mitochondrial DNA; phylogenetic analyses.
19.  Human FasL Gene Is a Target of β-Catenin/T-Cell Factor Pathway and Complex FasL Haplotypes Alter Promoter Functions 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26143.
FasL expression on human immune cells and cancer cells plays important roles in immune homeostasis and in cancer development. Our previous study suggests that polymorphisms in the FasL promoter can significantly affect the gene expression in human cells. In addition to the functional FasL SNP -844C>T (rs763110), three other SNPs (SNP -756A>G or rs2021837, SNP -478A>T or rs41309790, and SNP -205 C>G or rs74124371) exist in the proximal FasL promoter. In the current study, we established three major FasL hyplotypes in humans. Interestingly, a transcription motif search revealed that the FasL promoter possessed two consensus T-cell factor (TCF/LEF1) binding elements (TBEs), which is either polymorphic (SNP -205C>G) or close to the functional SNP -844C>T. Subsequently, we demonstrate that both FasL TBEs formed complexes with the TCF-4 and β-catenin transcription factors in vitro and in vivo. Co-transfection of LEF-1 and β-catenin transcription factors significantly increased FasL promoter activities, suggesting that FasL is a target gene of the β-catenin/T-cell factor pathway. More importantly, we found that the rare allele (-205G) of the polymorphic FasL TBE (SNP -205C>G) failed to bind the TCF-4 transcription factor and that SNP -205 C>G significantly affected the promoter activity. Furthermore, promoter reporter assays revealed that FasL SNP haplotypes influenced promoter activities in human colon cancer cells and in human T cells. Finally, β-catenin knockdown significantly decreased the FasL expression in human SW480 colon cancer cells. Collectively, our data suggest that β-catenin may be involved in FasL gene regulation and that FasL expression is influenced by FasL SNP haplotypes, which may have significant implications in immune response and tumorigenesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026143
PMCID: PMC3191176  PMID: 22022540
20.  Prevalence of Clonorchis sinensis infection in dogs and cats in subtropical southern China 
Parasites & Vectors  2011;4:180.
Background
Clonorchiasis, caused by Clonorchis sinensis, is one of the major parasitic zoonoses in China, particularly in China's southern Guangdong province where the prevalence of C. sinensis infection in humans is high. However, little is known of the prevalence of C. sinensis infection in its reservoir hosts dogs and cats. Hence, the prevalence of C. sinensis infection in dogs and cats was investigated in Guangdong province, China between October 2006 and March 2008.
Results
A total of 503 dogs and 194 cats from 13 administrative regions in Guangdong province were examined by post-mortem examination. The worms were examined, counted, and identified to species according to existing keys and descriptions. The average prevalences of C. sinensis infection in dogs and cats were 20.5% and 41.8%, respectively. The infection intensities in dogs were usually light, but in cats the infection intensities were more serious. The prevalences were higher in some of the cities located in the Pearl River Delta region which is the most important endemic area in Guangdong province, but the prevalences were relatively lower in seaside cities.
Conclusions
The present investigation revealed a high prevalence of C. sinensis infection in its reservoir hosts dogs and cats in China's subtropical Guangdong province, which provides relevant "base-line" data for conducting control strategies and measures against clonorchiasis in this region.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-180
PMCID: PMC3183008  PMID: 21929783
21.  Toxoplasma gondii infection in humans in China 
Parasites & Vectors  2011;4:165.
Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic infection of humans and animals, caused by the opportunistic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite belonging to the phylum Apicomplexa. Infection in pregnant women may lead to abortion, stillbirth or other serious consequences in newborns. Infection in immunocompromised patients can be fatal if not treated. On average, one third of people are chronically infected worldwide. Although very limited information from China has been published in the English journals, T. gondii infection is actually a significant human health problem in China. In the present article, we reviewed the clinical features, transmission, prevalence of T. gondii infection in humans in China, and summarized genetic characterizations of reported T. gondii isolates. Educating the public about the risks associated with unhealthy food and life style habits, tracking serological examinations to special populations, and measures to strengthen food and occupational safety are discussed.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-165
PMCID: PMC3174123  PMID: 21864327
Toxoplasma gondii; Epidemiology; Human; Infection; China
22.  The Complete Mitochondrial Genome of the Asiatic Cavity-Nesting Honeybee Apis cerana (Hymenoptera: Apidae) 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23008.
In the present study, we determined the complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence of Apis cerana, the Asiatic cavity-nesting honeybee. We present here an analysis of features of its gene content and genome organization in comparison with Apis mellifera to assess the variation within the genus Apis and among main groups of Hymenoptera. The size of the entire mt genome of A. cerana is 15,895 bp, containing 2 ribosomal RNA genes, 13 protein-coding genes, 22 transfer RNA (tRNA) genes and one control region. These genes are transcribed from both strands and have a nucleotide composition high in A and T. The contents of A+T of the complete genomes are 83.96% for A. cerana. The AT bias had a significant effect on both the codon usage pattern and amino acid composition of proteins. There are a total of 3672 codons in all 13 protein-coding genes, excluding termination codons. The most frequently used amino acid is Leu (15.52%), followed by Ile (12.85%), Phe (10.10%), Ser (9.15%) and Met (8.96%). Intergenic regions in the mt genome of A. cerana are 705 bp in total. The order and orientation of the gene arrangement pattern is identical to that of A. mellifera, except for the position of the tRNA-Ser(AGN) gene. Phylogenetic analyses using concatenated amino acid sequences of 13 protein-coding genes, with three different computational algorithms (NJ, MP and ML), all revealed two distinct groups with high statistical support, indicating that A. cerana and A. mellifera are two separate species, consistent with results of previous morphological and molecular studies. The complete mtDNA sequence of A. cerana provides additional genetic markers for studying population genetics, systematics and phylogeographics of honeybees.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023008
PMCID: PMC3155526  PMID: 21857981
23.  Protective Immunity Induced by Toxoplasma gondii Rhoptry Protein 16 against Toxoplasmosis in Mice ▿  
Toxoplasma gondii can infect a large variety of domestic and wild animals and human beings, sometimes causing severe pathology. Rhoptries are involved in T. gondii invasion and host cell interaction and have been implicated as important virulence factors. In this study, we constructed a DNA vaccine expressing rhoptry protein 16 (ROP16) of T. gondii and evaluated the immune responses it induced in Kunming mice. The gene sequence encoding ROP16 was inserted into the eukaryotic expression vector pVAX I. We immunized Kunming mice intramuscularly. After immunization, we evaluated the immune response using a lymphoproliferative assay, cytokine and antibody measurements, and the survival times of mice challenged lethally. The results showed that mice immunized with pVAX-ROP16 developed a high level of specific antibody responses against T. gondii ROP16 expressed in Escherichia coli, a strong lymphoproliferative response, and significant levels of gamma interferon (IFN-γ), interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-4, and IL-10 production compared with results for other mice immunized with either empty plasmid or phosphate-buffered saline, respectively. The results showed that pVAX-ROP16 induces significant humoral and cellular Th1 immune responses. After lethal challenge, the mice immunized with pVAX-ROP16 showed a significantly (P < 0.05) prolonged survival time (21.6 ± 9.9 days) compared with control mice, which died within 7 days of challenge. Our data demonstrate, for the first time, that ROP16 triggers a strong humoral and cellular response against T. gondii and that ROP16 is a promising vaccine candidate against toxoplasmosis, worth further development.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00312-10
PMCID: PMC3019779  PMID: 21106780
24.  Genetic characterization, species differentiation and detection of Fasciola spp. by molecular approaches 
Parasites & Vectors  2011;4:101.
Liver flukes belonging to the genus Fasciola are among the causes of foodborne diseases of parasitic etiology. These parasites cause significant public health problems and substantial economic losses to the livestock industry. Therefore, it is important to definitively characterize the Fasciola species. Current phenotypic techniques fail to reflect the full extent of the diversity of Fasciola spp. In this respect, the use of molecular techniques to identify and differentiate Fasciola spp. offer considerable advantages. The advent of a variety of molecular genetic techniques also provides a powerful method to elucidate many aspects of Fasciola biology, epidemiology, and genetics. However, the discriminatory power of these molecular methods varies, as does the speed and ease of performance and cost. There is a need for the development of new methods to identify the mechanisms underpinning the origin and maintenance of genetic variation within and among Fasciola populations. The increasing application of the current and new methods will yield a much improved understanding of Fasciola epidemiology and evolution as well as more effective means of parasite control. Herein, we provide an overview of the molecular techniques that are being used for the genetic characterization, detection and genotyping of Fasciola spp..
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-101
PMCID: PMC3121690  PMID: 21658284
25.  Comparative Metaproteomic Analysis on Consecutively Rehmannia glutinosa-Monocultured Rhizosphere Soil 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e20611.
Background
The consecutive monoculture for most of medicinal plants, such as Rehmannia glutinosa, results in a significant reduction in the yield and quality. There is an urgent need to study for the sustainable development of Chinese herbaceous medicine.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Comparative metaproteomics of rhizosphere soil was developed and used to analyze the underlying mechanism of the consecutive monoculture problems of R. glutinosa. The 2D-gel patterns of protein spots for the soil samples showed a strong matrix dependency. Among the spots, 103 spots with high resolution and repeatability were randomly selected and successfully identified by MALDI TOF-TOF MS for a rhizosphere soil metaproteomic profile analysis. These proteins originating from plants and microorganisms play important roles in nutrient cycles and energy flow in rhizospheric soil ecosystem. They function in protein, nucleotide and secondary metabolisms, signal transduction and resistance. Comparative metaproteomics analysis revealed 33 differentially expressed protein spots in rhizosphere soil in response to increasing years of monoculture. Among them, plant proteins related to carbon and nitrogen metabolism and stress response, were mostly up-regulated except a down-regulated protein (glutathione S-transferase) involving detoxification. The phenylalanine ammonia-lyase was believed to participate in the phenylpropanoid metabolism as shown with a considerable increase in total phenolic acid content with increasing years of monoculture. Microbial proteins related to protein metabolism and cell wall biosynthesis, were up-regulated except a down-regulated protein (geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthase) functioning in diterpenoid synthesis. The results suggest that the consecutive monoculture of R. glutinosa changes the soil microbial ecology due to the exudates accumulation, as a result, the nutrient cycles are affected, leading to the retardation of plant growth and development.
Conclusions/Significance
Our results demonstrated the interactions among plant, soil and microflora in the proteomic level are crucial for the productivity and quality of R. glutinosa in consecutive monoculture system.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020611
PMCID: PMC3105091  PMID: 21655235

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