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1.  Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in Sporadic ALS 
To investigate oxidative stress biomarkers in a cross-sectional pilot study of 50 participants with sporadic ALS (sALS) compared to 46 control subjects.
We measured urinary 8-oxodeoxyguanosine (8-oxodG), urinary 15-F2t-isoprostane (IsoP), and plasma protein carbonyl by ELISA methods. We also determined if ELISA measurement of 8-oxodG could be validated against measures from high pressure liquid chromatography coupled with electrochemical detection, the current standard method.
8-oxodG and IsoP levels adjusted for creatinine were significantly elevated in sALS participants. These differences persisted after age and gender were controlled in regression analyses. These markers are highly and positively correlated with each other. 8-oxodG measured by the two techniques from the same urine sample were positively correlated (P < .0001). Protein carbonyl was not different between sALS participants and controls.
Using ELISA we confirmed that certain oxidative stress biomarkers were elevated in sALS participants. ELISA may be reliable and thus useful in epidemiology studies requiring large numbers of samples to determine the significance of increased oxidative stress markers in sALS. Further studies are required.
PMCID: PMC4332387  PMID: 18574762
epidemiology; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); biomarkers; oxidative stress; neurodegeneration
2.  Effect of Cycloplegia on the Refractive Status of Children: The Shandong Children Eye Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117482.
To determine the effect of 1% cyclopentolate on the refractive status of children aged 4 to 18 years.
Using a random cluster sampling in a cross-sectional school-based study design, children with an age of 4–18 years were selected from kindergardens, primary schools, junior and senior high schools in a rural county and a city. Auto-refractometry was performed before and after inducing cycloplegia which was achieved by 1% cyclopentolate eye drops.
Out of 6364 eligible children, data of 5999 (94.3%) children were included in the statistical analysis. Mean age was 10.0±3.3 years (range: 4–18 years). Mean difference between cycloplegic and non-cycloplegic refractive error (DIFF) was 0.78±0.79D (median: 0.50D; range: -1.00D to +10.75D). In univariate analysis, DIFF decreased significantly with older age (P<0.001;correlation coefficient r:-0.24), more hyperopic non-cycloplegic refractive error (P<0.001;r = 0.13) and more hyperopic cycloplegic refractive error (P<0.001;r = 0.49). In multivariate analysis, higher DIFF was associated with higher cycloplegic refractive error (P<0.001; standardized regression coefficient beta:0.50; regression coefficient B: 0.19; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.18, 0.20), followed by lower intraocular pressure (P<0.001; beta: -0.06; B: -0.02; 95%CI: -0.03, -0.01), rural region of habitation (P = 0.001; beta: -0.04; B: -0.07; 95%CI: -0.11, -0.03), and, to a minor degree, with age (P = 0.006; beta: 0.04; B: 0.009; 95%CI: 0.003, 0.016). 66.4% of all eyes with non-cycloplegic myopia (≤-0.50D) remained myopic after cycloplegia while the remaining 33.6% of eyes became emmetropic (18.0%) or hyperopic (15.7%) under cycloplegia. Prevalence of emmetropia decreased from 37.5% before cycloplegia to 19.8% after cycloplegia while the remaining eyes became hyperopic under cycloplegia.
The error committed by using non-cycloplegic versus cycloplegic refractometry in children with mid to dark-brown iris color decreased with older age, and in parallel manner, with more myopic cycloplegic refractive error. Non-cycloplegic refractometric measures lead to a misclassification of refractive error in a significant proportion of children.
PMCID: PMC4319948  PMID: 25658329
3.  Corneal Curvature Radius and Associated Factors in Chinese Children: The Shandong Children Eye Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117481.
To investigate the distribution of the (CCR) and its associated factors in children.
Using a random cluster sampling method, the school-based, cross-sectional Shandong Children Eye Study included children aged 4 to 18 years from the rural county of Guanxian and the city of Weihai in the province of Shandong in East China. CCR was measured by ocular biometry.
CCR measurements were available for 5913 (92.9%) out of 6364 eligible children. Mean age was 10.0±3.3 years, and mean CCR was 7.84±0.27 mm (range: 6.98 to 9.35 mm). In multivariate linear regression analysis, longer CCR (i.e. flatter cornea) was significantly associated with the systemic parameters of male sex (P<0001;standardized regression coefficient beta: -0.08;regression coefficient B:-0.04; 95% Confidence Interval (CI):-0.05,-0.03), younger age (P<0.001;beta:-0.37;B:-0.03;95%CI:-0.04,-0.03), taller body height (P = 0.002;beta:0.06;B:0.001;95%CI:0.000,0.001), lower level of education of the father (P = 0.001;beta:-0.04;B:-0.01;95%CI:-0.02,-0.01) and maternal myopia (P<0.001;beta:-0.07;B:-0.04;95%CI:-0.06,-0.03), and with the ocular parameters of longer ocular axial length (P<0.001;beta:0.59;B:0.13;95%CI:0.12,0.14), larger horizontal corneal diameter (P<0.001;beta:0.19;B:0.13;95%CI:0.11,0.14), and smaller amount of cylindrical refractive error (P = 0.001;beta:-0.09;B:-0.05;95%CI:-0.06,-0.04).
Longer CCR (i.e., flatter corneas) (mean:7.84±0.27mm) was correlated with male sex, younger age, taller body height, lower paternal educational level, maternal myopia, longer axial length, larger corneas (i.e., longer horizontal corneal diameter), and smaller amount of cylindrical refractive error. These findings may be of interest for elucidation of the process of emmetropization and myopization and for corneal refractive surgery.
PMCID: PMC4319968  PMID: 25658095
4.  Associations of psychological capital, demographic and occupational factors with cigarette smoking among Chinese underground coal miners 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:20.
As a specific male occupational group, underground coal miners have been commonly found to have a high prevalence of cigarette smoking. It is of urgent need to explore some factors that could be intervened to reduce smoking from personal or internal perspective. The purpose of the present study was to examine the associations of psychological capital (PsyCap), demographic and occupational factors with smoking among Chinese underground coal miners.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a coal-mining population in northeast China. Twenty-five hundreds of male underground miners were sampled from six coal mines. Self-administered questionnaires involving current smoking status, specific scales to measure the levels of PsyCap, effort-reward imbalance (ERI) and perceived physical environment (PPE), and some demographic and occupational factors were completed anonymously after a day shift. Complete responses were obtained from 1,956 participants (response rate: 78.2%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the factors in relation to current smoking.
The overall smoking prevalence was 52.4%. After controlling for demographic and occupational variables, PsyCap was not associated with smoking. Compared with the miners in the lowest tertile of resilience, the odds ratios (ORs) of smoking for the miners in the intermediate tertile and highest tertile were 1.30 (95% confidence intervals (CI): 0.99–1.70) and 1.58 (95% CI: 1.13–2.20), respectively. Compared with the miners in the lowest tertile of optimism, the ORs of smoking for the miners in the intermediate tertile and highest tertile were 0.79 (95% CI: 0.61–1.03) and 0.69 (95% CI: 0.51–0.92), respectively. Low education and high PPE were the risk factors of smoking, whereas ERI had no association with smoking.
More than half of the underground coal miners were current smokers, which indicated that cigarette smoking might be a common health risk behavior in this occupational population. High resilience and PPE, together with low education were the risk factors of smoking, whereas high optimism was a protective factor. Consequently, PsyCap had mixed effects on cigarette smoking. Investment in resilience and optimism should be given more attention for the purposes of the prevention and reduction of smoking among occupational populations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1349-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4311445  PMID: 25604331
Smoking; Psychological capital; Effort-reward imbalance; Perceived physical environment; Underground coal miners
5.  An analysis of the association between a polymorphism of KCNJ11 and diabetic retinopathy in a Chinese Han population 
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have reported that the polymorphism rs5219 of the potassium inwardly rectifying channel, subfamily J, member 11 (KCNJ11) is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Given that diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the most common microvascular complications of T2DM, GWAS have identified a number of potential susceptibility genes for DR. However, only a fraction of them have been replicated in different studies and show consistent genetic associations with the occurrence of DR. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether common variants of KCNJ11 confer DR in a cohort of the Chinese Han population.
A case–control study of 580 T2DM patients, including 105 T2DM with DR and 475 T2DM without DR was performed. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of KCNJ11 (rs5219) was genotyped, and its association with DR was explored using a dominant genetic model. Genotyping was performed by iPLEX technology. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression (MLR) analysis controlling for confounders was conducted to evaluate the association between rs5219 and DR.
The A allele frequency of rs5219 was significantly higher in DR patients than that in the patients without DR (49.01% versus 38.68%, P <0.05). We found the minor A allele could increase the risk to develop DR (ORint = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.139 to 2.192 for allele and P = 0.006, ORint = 1.607, 95% CI: 1.267 to 2.038 for genotype and P <0.001) in the Chinese Han population.
Our findings provided evidence that KCNJ11 was associated with DR in Chinese Han patients with T2DM.
PMCID: PMC4301311  PMID: 25573672
KCNJ11; Polymorphism; Diabetic retinopathy; Chinese Han population
6.  Intracellular complexes of the early-onset torsion dystonia-associated AAA+ ATPase TorsinA 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:743.
A single GAG codon deletion in the gene encoding torsinA is linked to most cases of early-onset torsion dystonia. TorsinA is an ER-localized membrane-associated ATPase from the AAA+ superfamily with an unknown biological function. We investigated the formation of oligomeric complexes of torsinA in cultured mammalian cells and found that wild type torsinA associates into a complex with a molecular weight consistent with that of a homohexamer. Interestingly, the dystonia-linked variant torsinAΔE displayed a reduced propensity to form the oligomers compared to the wild type protein. We also discovered that the deletion of the N-terminal membrane-associating region of torsinA abolished oligomer formation. Our results demonstrate that the dystonia-linked mutation in the torsinA gene produces a protein variant that is deficient in maintaining its oligomeric state and suggest that ER membrane association is required to stabilize the torsinA complex.
PMCID: PMC4320221
Early-onset dystonia, TorsinA; AAA+ ATPase; Protein association
7.  Atorvastatin ameliorates myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury through attenuation of endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced apoptosis 
Endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) is known to play an important role in mediating myocardial ischemic/reperfusion (I/R) injury. Some previous studies have shown that atorvastatin alleviates myocardial I/R injury in animal models, but whether attenuation of ERS-induced apoptosis contributes to this effect remains to be elucidated. Therefore, in this study, we sought to investigate the modulatory effect of atorvastatin on myocardial I/R-induced ERS in rats. Myocardial I/R injury was induced in rats by occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) for 0.5 h followed by 2 h of reperfusion. Atorvastatin was administered at different dosages (10 mg/kg, 20 mg/kg, and 40 mg/kg) at the onset of reperfusion. The levels of the CK-MB and LDH were detected by ELISA. Myocardial ischemia and infarct size were evaluated by Evans blue and tetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) was used to investigate myocardial cell apoptosis. The expression levels of the genes encoding glucose-regulated protein-78 (GRP78, widely used as a marker of ERS), C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) and caspase-12 (widely used as markers of ERS-induced apoptosis) were assessed using RT-PCR. The expression levels of the ERS proteins GRP78, CHOP, caspase-12, c-Jun NH2 terminal kinase (JNK) and phosphorylated JNK (p-JNK) were detected by western blot. Our results showed that atorvastatin treatment (20 mg/kg and 40 mg/kg) significantly reduced myocardial infarct size and myocardial cell apoptosis, and decreased the plasma levels of CK-MB and LDH in I/R rats. This treatment also significantly modulated mRNA and protein levels, specifically down-regulating GRP78, CHOP and caspase-12 expression along with JNK activation. These results suggest that the attenuation of ERS-induced apoptosis may be involved in the cardioprotective mechanisms of atorvastatin in myocardial I/R injury.
PMCID: PMC4307435  PMID: 25663988
Atorvastatin; ischemia reperfusion injury; endoplasmic reticulum stress; apoptosis
8.  DNA double-strand break repair genotype and phenotype and breast cancer risk within sisters from the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry (BCFR) 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(12):2157-2168.
We previously observed that poor DNA repair phenotype is associated with increased breast cancer (BC) risk within families. Here, we examined whether genetic variation in double strand break repair (DSBR) genes is associated with BC risk and if genotypes are related to phenotype in unaffected women.
Using data from the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry, we investigated 25 SNPs involved in DSBR using biospecimens from 337 BC cases and 410 unaffected sister controls.
Genotypes in XRCC4 were associated with BC risk, with ORs of 1.67 (95% CI = 1.01–2.76) for the combined GA/AA of rs1805377 and 1.69 (95%CI=1.03–2.77) for rs1056503 TG/GG; these associations were no longer statistically significant in multivariable conditional logistic regression models. When examining the association of SNPs with phenotype, we found that genotypes of XRCC5 rs3834 and rs1051685, which were highly correlated with each other, were associated with end joining (EJ) capacity; women with the XRCC5 rs3834 GA genotype had better DNA repair as measured by higher levels of EJ capacity (37.8±14.1% for GA versus 27.9±11.8% for GG carriers (p=0.0006). Women with the AA genotype of BRCA1 rs799917 also had higher EJ capacity (35.1±9.2%) than those with GG (26.4±10.1%, p=0.02).
Overall we found that selected DSBR genotypes were associated with phenotype, although they were not associated with BC risk itself, suggesting that phenotypic measures are influenced by endogenous and exogenous factors across the lifecourse and may be better markers than genotypic measures for ascertaining BC risk.
PMCID: PMC3947831  PMID: 24062231
breast cancer; double-strand break; end-joining capacity; polymorphism
9.  Expression and prognostic value of CD97 and its ligand CD55 in pancreatic cancer 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(2):793-797.
CD97 is a member of the epidermal growth factor-seven transmembrane family. It affects tumor aggressiveness by binding its cellular ligand CD55 and exhibits adhesive properties. Previous studies have shown that CD97 and CD55 are involved in the dedifferentiation, migration, invasiveness and metastasis of tumors. However, little is known regarding the roles of CD97 and CD55 in pancreatic cancer. In this study, immunohistochemistry was used to analyze CD97 and CD55 protein expression in samples obtained from 37 pancreatic cancer patients. CD97 and CD55 were absent or only weakly expressed in the normal pancreatic tissues but strongly expressed in pancreatic cancer tissues (P<0.05), particularly in tissues with lymph node involvement, metastasis or vascular invasion (P<0.05). Notably, CD97 and CD55 were expressed consistently in pancreatic cancer tissues (r2=0.5422; P<0.05). In addition, CD97 and CD55 expression levels were found to significantly correlate with tumor aggressiveness (P<0.01). Multivariate analyses revealed that CD97 and CD55 expression levels were closely associated with prognosis (P<0.05). Taken together, these results indicated that CD97 and its ligand CD55 are upregulated in pancreatic cancers and are closely associated with lymph node involvement, metastasis and vascular invasion. Thus, analysis of both CD97 and CD55 expression may present potential prognostic value for pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4301556  PMID: 25624904
pancreatic cancer; CD97; CD55; prognosis; aggressiveness
10.  Molecular Characterization of Lactobacillus plantarum DMDL 9010, a Strain with Efficient Nitrite Degradation Capacity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113792.
Nitrites commonly found in food, especially in fermented vegetables, are potential carcinogens. Therefore, limiting nitrites in food is critically important for food safety. A Lactobacillus strain (Lactobacillus sp. DMDL 9010) was previously isolated from fermented vegetables by our group, and is not yet fully characterized. A number of phenotypical and genotypical approaches were employed to characterize Lactobacillus sp. DMDL 9010. Its nitrite degradation capacity was compared with four other Lactobacillus strains, including Lactobacillus casei subsp. rhamnosus 719, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricu 1.83, Streptococcus thermophilus 1.204, and lactobacillus plantarum 8140, on MRS medium. Compared to these four Lactobacillus strains, Lactobacillus sp. DMDL 9010 had a significantly higher nitrite degradation capacity (P<0.001). Based on 16S rDNA sequencing and sequence comparison, Lactobacillus sp. DMDL 9010 was identified as either Lactobacillus plantarum or Lactobacillus pentosus. To further identify this strain, the flanking regions (922 bp and 806 bp upstream and downstream, respectively) of the L-lactate dehydrogenase 1 (L-ldh1) gene were amplified and sequenced. Lactobacillus sp. DMDL 9010 had 98.92 and 76.98% sequence identity in the upstream region with L. plantarum WCFS1 and L. pentosus IG1, respectively, suggesting that Lactobacillu sp. DMDL 9010 is an L. plantarum strain. It was therefore named L. plantarum DMDL 9010. Our study provides a platform for genetic engineering of L. plantarum DMDL 9010, in order to further improve its nitrite degradation capacity.
PMCID: PMC4244150  PMID: 25423449
11.  The GLP-1 Analogue Exenatide Improves Hepatic and Muscle Insulin Sensitivity in Diabetic Rats: Tracer Studies in the Basal State and during Hyperinsulinemic-Euglycemic Clamp 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2014;2014:524517.
Objective. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues (e.g., exenatide) increase insulin secretion in diabetes but less is known about their effects on glucose production or insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in peripheral tissues. Methods. Four groups of Sprague-Dawley rats were studied: nondiabetic (control, C); nondiabetic + exenatide (C + E); diabetic (D); diabetic + exenatide (D + E) with diabetes induced by streptozotocin and high fat diet. Infusion of 3-3H-glucose and U-13C-glycerol was used to measure basal rates of appearance (Ra) of glucose and glycerol and gluconeogenesis from glycerol (GNG). During hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, glucose uptake into gastrocnemius muscles was measured with 2-deoxy-D-14C-glucose. Results. In the diabetic rats, exenatide reduced the basal Ra of glucose (P < 0.01) and glycerol (P < 0.01) and GNG (P < 0.001). During the clamp, Ra of glucose was also reduced, whereas the rate of disappearance of glucose increased and there was increased glucose uptake into muscle (P < 0.01) during the clamp. In the nondiabetic rats, exenatide had no effect. Conclusion. In addition to its known effects on insulin secretion, administration of the GLP-1 analogue, exenatide, is associated with increased inhibition of gluconeogenesis and improved glucose uptake into muscle in diabetic rats, implying improved hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC4279913  PMID: 25580440
12.  Cholesterol-Lowering Potentials of Lactic Acid Bacteria Based on Bile-Salt Hydrolase Activity and Effect of Potent Strains on Cholesterol Metabolism In Vitro and In Vivo 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:690752.
This study collected different probiotic isolates from animal and plant sources to evaluate the bile-salt hydrolase activity of probiotics in vitro. The deconjugation potential of bile acid was determined using high-performance liquid chromatography. HepG2 cells were cultured with probiotic strains with high BSH activity. The triglyceride (TG) and apolipoprotein B (apo B) secretion by HepG2 cells were evaluated. Our results show that the BSH activity and bile-acid deconjugation abilities of Pediococcus acidilactici NBHK002, Bifidobacterium adolescentis NBHK006, Lactobacillus rhamnosus NBHK007, and Lactobacillus acidophilus NBHK008 were higher than those of the other probiotic strains. The cholesterol concentration in cholesterol micelles was reduced within 24 h. NBHK007 reduced the TG secretion by 100% after 48 h of incubation. NBHK002, NBHK006, and NBHK007 could reduce apo B secretion by 33%, 38%, and 39%, respectively, after 24 h of incubation. The product PROBIO S-23 produced a greater decrease in the total concentration of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, TG, and thiobarbituric acid reactive substance in the serum or livers of hamsters with hypercholesterolemia compared with that of hamsters fed with a high-fat and high-cholesterol diet. These results show that the three probiotic strains of lactic acid bacteria are better candidates for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC4235975  PMID: 25538960
13.  Epitope Tags beside the N-Terminal Cytoplasmic Tail of Human BST-2 Alter Its Intracellular Trafficking and HIV-1 Restriction 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111422.
BST-2 blocks the particle release of various enveloped viruses including HIV-1, and this antiviral activity is dependent on the topological arrangement of its four structural domains. Several functions of the cytoplasmic tail (CT) of BST-2 have been previously discussed, but the exact role of this domain remains to be clearly defined. In this study, we investigated the impact of truncation and commonly-used tags addition into the CT region of human BST-2 on its intracellular trafficking and signaling as well as its anti-HIV-1 function. The CT-truncated BST-2 exhibited potent inhibition on Vpu-defective HIV-1 and even wild-type HIV-1. However, the N-terminal HA-tagged CT-truncated BST-2 retained little antiviral activity and dramatically differed from its original protein in the cell surface level and intracellular localization. Further, we showed that the replacement of the CT domain with a hydrophobic tag altered BST-2 function possibly by preventing its normal vesicular trafficking. Notably, we demonstrated that a positive charged motif “KRXK” in the conjunctive region between the cytotail and the transmembrane domain which is conserved in primate BST-2 is important for the protein trafficking and the antiviral function. These results suggest that although the CT of BST-2 is not essential for its antiviral activity, the composition of residues in this region may play important roles in its normal trafficking which subsequently affected its function. These observations provide additional implications for the structure-function model of BST-2.
PMCID: PMC4210262  PMID: 25347789
14.  Molecular self-assembly of nylon-12 nanorods cylindrically confined to nanoporous alumina 
IUCrJ  2014;1(Pt 6):439-445.
It has been revealed that in cylindrical nano-confinement, the hydrogen-bonding direction of nylon-12 crystals in the rod could self-assemble to be parallel to the long axis of the rod. The dominant growth direction and hydrogen-bonding direction of the γ-form crystal in the long axis of the rod has been revealed by TEM–SAED and WAXD.
Molecular self-assembly of nylon-12 rods in self-organized nanoporous alumina cylinders with two different diameters (65 and 300 nm) is studied with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) in symmetrical reflection mode. In a rod with a 300 nm diameter, the tendency of the hydrogen-bonding direction of a γ-form crystal parallel to the long axis of the rod is not clear because of weak two-dimensional confinement. In a rod with a diameter of 65 nm, the tendency of the hydrogen-bonding direction of a γ-form crystal parallel to the long axis of the rod is more distinct because of strong two-dimensional confinement. For the first time, selected-area electron diffraction (SAED) is applied in a transmission electron microscope to a polymer nanorod in order to determine the hydrogen-bond sheet and lamellar orientations. Results of TEM–SAED and WAXD showed that the crystals within the rod possess the γ-form of nylon-12 and that the b axis (stem axis) of the γ-form crystals is perpendicular to the long axis of the rod. These results revealed that only lamellae with 〈h0l〉 directions are able to grow inside the nanopores and the growth of lamellae with 〈hkl〉 (k ≠ 0) directions is stopped owing to impingements against the cylinder walls. The dominant crystal growth direction of the 65 nm rod in stronger two-dimensional confinement is in between the [−201] and [001] directions due to the development of a hydrogen-bonded sheet restricted along the long axis of the rod.
PMCID: PMC4224462  PMID: 25485124
molecular self-assembly; nanorods; selected-area electron diffraction; cylindrical confinement
15.  Identification of nucleotide sequence involved in Weissellicin L production 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:617.
Weissellicin L, a novel bacteriocin produced by Weissella hellenica 4–7, was previously characterized but its full amino acid sequence remain unknown. The draft genome sequencing analysis of Weissella hellenica 4–7 was performed and the open reading frame (ORF) encoding the weissellicin L was identified and clarified.
The obtained results indicated that the mature bacteriocin consists of 29 amino acid residues with a molecular weight of approximately 3205.64 Da. A conserved processing site of two glycine residues in positions -1 and -2 was observed in the leader peptides. The possibility that bacteriocin secretion depended on ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter was therefore suggested. Furthermore, primers were designed from 5’ and 3’ flanking sequences of the weissellicin L structural gene. PCR presented a single product and was useful to detect weissellicin L structural gene.
To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the full amino acid sequence of Weissellicin L. A rapid method to detect weissellicin L structural gene was also reported in this study.
PMCID: PMC4209004  PMID: 25392788
Weissellicin L; Weissella hellenica; Bacteriocin
16.  Listening to Mozart K.448 decreases electroencephalography oscillatory power associated with an increase in sympathetic tone in adults: a post-intervention study 
JRSM Open  2014;5(10):2054270414551657.
Listening to Mozart K.448 has been demonstrated to improve spatial task scores, leading to what is known as the Mozart Effect. However, most of these reports only describe the phenomena but lack the scientific evidence needed to properly investigate the mechanism of Mozart Effect. In this study, we used electroencephalography (EEG) and heart rate variability (HRV) to evaluate the effects of Mozart K.448 on healthy volunteers to explore Mozart Effect.
An EEG-based post-intervention analysis.
Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Twenty-nine college students were enrolled. They received EEG and electrocardiogram examinations simultaneously before, during and after listening to the first movement of Mozart K.448.
Main outcome measure
EEG alpha, theta and beta power and HRV were compared in each stage.
The results showed a significant decrease in alpha, theta and beta power when they listened to Mozart K.448. In addition, the average root mean square successive difference, the proportion derived by dividing NN50 by the total number of NN intervals, standard deviations of NN intervals and standard deviations of differences between adjacent NN intervals showed a significant decrease, while the high frequency revealed a significant decrease with a significantly elevated low-frequency/high-frequency ratio.
Listening to Mozart K.448 significantly decreased EEG alpha, theta and beta power and HRV. This study indicates that there is brain cortical function and sympathetic tone activation in healthy adults when listening to Mozart K.448, which may play an important role in the mechanism of Mozart Effect.
PMCID: PMC4221897  PMID: 25383198
Mozart Effect; Mozart K.448; electroencephalography power; heart rate variability
17.  Using ionic liquids in whole-cell biocatalysis for the nucleoside acylation 
Microbial Cell Factories  2014;13(1):143.
The use of biocatalysts has become an increasingly attractive alternative to traditional chemical methods, due to the high selectivity, mild reaction conditions and environmentally-friendly processes in nonaqueous catalysis of nucleosids. However, the extensive use of organic solvents may generally suffer from sever drawbacks such as volatileness and toxicity to the environment and lower activity of the biocatalyst. Recently, ionic liquids are considered promising solvents for nonaqueous biocatalysis of polyhydroxyl compounds as ILs are environmental-friendly.
In this research, we developed new IL-containing reaction systems for synthesis of long chain nucleoside ester catalyzed by Pseudomonas fluorescens whole-cells. Various ILs exerted significant but different effects on the bio-reaction. And their effects were closely related with both the anions and cations of the ILs. Use of 10% [BMI][PF6]/THF gave high reaction efficiency of arabinocytosine laurate synthesis, in which the initial rate, product yield and 5′-regioselectivity reached 2.34 mmol/L·h, 81.1% and >99%, respectively. Furthermore, SEM analysis revealed that ILs can alter the cell surface morphology, improve the permeability of cell envelopes and thus facilitate the mass transfer of substrates to the active sites of cell-bound enzymes.
Our research demonstrated the potential of ILs as promising reaction medium for achieving highly efficient and regioselective whole-cell catalysis.
PMCID: PMC4198771  PMID: 25273324
Biocatalysis; Whole-cells; Ionic liquid; Nucleoside ester; Regioselectivity
18.  Association and interaction analysis of PPARGC1A and serum uric acid on type 2 diabetes mellitus in Chinese Han population 
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1α (PPARGC1A/ PGC-1α) is a ligand-activated transcription factor belonging to the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily. The activity of PGC-1α or genetic variations in the gene encoding the enzyme may contribute to individual variations in mitochondrial function and insulin resistance or diabetes. The objective of this study was to assess the extent to which PPARGC1A (rs8192678) and serum uric acid (UA) and its interaction impact on T2DM susceptibility in Chinese Han population.
We conducted a study in a cohort that included 1166 T2DM patients and 1135 controls, and was genotyped for the presence of the PPARGC1A rs8192678 polymorphisms. Genotyping was performed by iPLEX technology. The association between rs8192678 or UA and T2DM was assessed by univariate and multivariate logistic regression (MLR) analysis controlling for confounders. The interaction between rs8192678 and UA for T2DM susceptibility was also assessed by MLR analysis.
The generalized linear regression analysis failed to show an association between the PPARGC1A rs8192678 polymorphisms and T2DM. Interestingly, the present study provided data suggesting that the minor A-allele of PPARGC1A (rs8192678) had a protective effect against T2DM in subjects with higher level of UA (ORint =1.50 95% CI: 1.06-2.12 for allele and P = 0.02, ORint =1.63 95% CI: 1.17-2.26 for genotype and P = 0.004).
The combination of higher level of UA and PPARGC1A (rs8192678) was an independent predictor for T2DM.
PMCID: PMC4190481  PMID: 25302081
PPARGC1A; Serum uric acid; Interaction; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Chinese Han population
19.  Arabidopsis thaliana Nfu2 accommodates [2Fe-2S] or [4Fe-4S] clusters and is competent for in vitro maturation of chloroplast [2Fe-2S] and [4Fe-4S] cluster-containing proteins† 
Biochemistry  2013;52(38):10.1021/bi4007622.
Nfu-type proteins are essential in the biogenesis of iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters in numerous organisms. A number of phenotypes including low levels of Fe-S cluster incorporation are associated with deletion of the gene encoding a chloroplast-specific Nfu-type protein, Nfu2 from Arabidopsis thaliana (AtNfu2). Here we report that recombinant AtNfu2 is able to assemble both [2Fe-2S] and [4Fe-4S] clusters. Analytical data and gel filtration studies support cluster/protein stoichiometries of one [2Fe-2S] cluster/homotetramer and one [4Fe-4S] cluster/homodimer. The combination of UV-visible absorption and circular dichroism, resonance Raman and Mössbauer spectroscopies has been employed to investigate the nature, properties and transfer of the clusters assembled on Nfu2. The results are consistent with subunit-bridging [2Fe-2S]2+ and [4Fe-4S]2+ clusters coordinated by the cysteines in the conserved CXXC motif. The results also provided insight into the specificity of Nfu2 for maturation of chloroplastic Fe-S proteins via intact, rapid and quantitative cluster transfer. [2Fe-2S] cluster-bound Nfu2 is shown to be an effective [2Fe-2S]2+ cluster donor for glutaredoxin S16, but not glutaredoxin S14. Moreover, [4Fe-4S] cluster-bound Nfu2 is shown to be a very rapid and efficient [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster donor for adenosine 5′-phosphosulfate reductase (APR1) and yeast two-hybrid studies indicate that APR1 forms a complex with Nfu2, but not with Nfu1 and Nfu3, the two other chloroplastic Nfu proteins. This cluster transfer is likely to be physiologically relevant and is particularly significant for plant metabolism as APR1 catalyzes the second step in reductive sulfur assimilation which ultimately results in the biosynthesis of cysteine, methionine, glutathione, and Fe-S clusters.
PMCID: PMC3819817  PMID: 24032747
20.  Role of cullin-elonginB-elonginC E3 complex in bovine immunodeficiency virus and maedi-visna virus Vif-mediated degradation of host A3Z2-Z3 proteins 
Retrovirology  2014;11(1):77.
All lentiviruses except equine infectious anemia virus (EIVA) antagonize antiviral family APOBEC3 (A3) proteins of the host through viral Vif proteins. The mechanism by which Vif of human, simian or feline immunodeficiency viruses (HIV/SIV/FIV) suppresses the corresponding host A3s has been studied extensively.
Here, we determined that bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV) and maedi-visna virus (MVV) Vif proteins utilize the Cullin (Cul)-ElonginB (EloB)-ElonginC (EloC) complex (BIV Vif recruits Cul2, while MVV Vif recruits Cul5) to degrade Bos taurus (bt)A3Z2-Z3 and Ovis aries (oa)A3Z2-Z3, respectively, via a proteasome-dependent but a CBF-β-independent pathway. Mutation of the BC box in BIV and MVV Vif, C-terminal hydrophilic replacement of btEloC and oaEloC and dominant-negative mutants of btCul2 and oaCul5 could disrupt the activity of BIV and MVV Vif, respectively. While the membrane-permeable zinc chelator TPEN could block BIV Vif-mediated degradation of btA3Z2-Z3, it had minimal effects on oaA3Z2-Z3 degradation induced by MVV Vif, indicating that Zn is important for the activity of BIV Vif but not MVV Vif. Furthermore, we identified a previously unreported zinc binding loop [C-x1-C-x1-H-x19-C] in the BIV Vif upstream BC box which is critical for its degradation activity.
A novel zinc binding loop was identified in the BIV Vif protein that is important for the E3 ubiquination activity, suggesting that the degradation of btA3Z2-Z3 by BIV and that of oaA3Z2-Z3 by MVV Vif may need host factors other than CBF-β.
PMCID: PMC4172784  PMID: 25213124
E3 ubiquitin ligase; BIV Vif; MVV Vif; CCHC motif
21.  An Ultra-Sensitive Monoclonal Antibody-Based Competitive Enzyme Immunoassay for Sterigmatocystin in Cereal and Oil Products 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106415.
Sterigmatocystin (STG), a biosynthesis precursor of aflatoxin B1, is well known for its toxic and carcinogenic effects in humans and animals. STG derivatives and protein conjugates are needed for generation of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). This work describes a reliable and fast synthesis of novel STG derivatives, based on which novel STG bovine serum albumin conjugates were prepared. With the novel STG bovine serum albumin conjugates, three sensitive and specific mAbs against STG, named VerA 3, VerA 4, and VerA 6, were prepared by semi-solid hypoxanthine/aminopterin/thymidine (HAT) medium using a modified two-step screening procedure. They exhibited high affinity for STG and no cross-reactivity (CR) with aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, G2, and M1. Based on the most sensitive antibody VerA 3, an ultra-sensitive competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed for STG in wheat, maize, and peanuts. Assays were performed in the STG-GA-BSA-coated (0.5 µg·mL−1) ELISA format, in which the antibody was diluted to 1∶80,000. Several physicochemical factors influencing assay performance, such as pH, ionic strength, blocking solution, and diluting solution, were optimized. The final results showed that the assays had the detection limits of 0.08 ng·g−1 for wheat, 0.06 ng·g−1 for maize, and 0.1 ng·g−1 for peanuts, inter-assay and intra-assay variations of less than 10%, and recoveries ranging from 83% to 110%. These recoveries were in good agreement with those obtained by using HPLC-MS/MS method (90–104%), indicating the importance of the mAb VerA 3 in the study of STG in crude agricultural products.
PMCID: PMC4153633  PMID: 25184275
22.  Global DNA methylation in a population with aflatoxin B1 exposure 
Epigenetics  2013;8(9):962-969.
We previously reported that global DNA hypomethylation, measured as Sat2 methylation in white blood cells (WBC), and aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) exposure were associated with increased hepatocellular carcinoma risk. In this study, we assessed the association between AFB1 exposure and global DNA methylation. We measured LINE-1 and Sat2 methylation in WBC DNA samples from 1140 cancer free participants of the Cancer Screening Program (CSP) cohort. Blood and urine samples were used to determine the level of AFB1-albumin (AFB1-Alb) adducts and urinary AFB1 metabolites. In continuous models, we found reverse associations of urinary AFB1 with LINE-1 and Sat2 methylation. The odds ratio (OR) per 1 unit decrease were 1.12 (95%CI = 1.03–1.22) for LINE-1 and 1.48 (95%CI = 1.10–2.00) for Sat2 methylation. When compared with subjects in the highest quartile of LINE-1, we found that individuals in the 2nd and 3rd quartiles were less likely to have detectable AFB1-Alb adducts, with ORs (95%CI) of 0.61 (0.40–0.93), 0.61 (0.40-.94), and 1.09 (0.69–1.72), respectively. The OR for detectable AFB1-Alb was 1.81 (95%CI = 1.15–2.85) for subjects in the lowest quartile of Sat2 methylation. The OR for detection of urinary AFB1 for those with LINE-1 methylation in the lowest quartile compared with those in the highest quartile was 1.87 (95%CI = 1.15–3.04). The corresponding OR was 1.75 (95%CI = 1.08–2.82) for subjects in the lowest quartile of Sat2 methylation. The association between AFB1 exposure and global DNA methylation may have implications for the epigenetic effect of AFB1 on hepatocellular carcinoma development and also suggests that changes in DNA methylation may represent an epigenetic biomarker of dietary AFB1 exposure.
PMCID: PMC3883773  PMID: 23867725
DNA methylation; Hepatitis B virus; LINE-1; Sat2; aflatoxin B1; global DNA methylation; white blood cell
23.  Astragalosides from Radix Astragali benefits experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in C57BL /6 mice at multiple levels 
Radix Astragali is famous for its beneficial effect on inflammation associated diseases. This study was to assess the efficacy of astragalosides (AST) extracted from Radix Astragali, on the progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and explore its possible underlying molecular mechanisms.
EAE was induced by subcutaneous immunization of MOG35–55. Infiltration of inflammatory cells was examined by HE staining. ROS level was detected by measuring infiltrated hydroethidine. Leakage of blood brain barrier (BBB) was assessed using Evan’s blue dye extravasation method. Levels of inflammatory cytokines were measured using ELISA kits. Activities of total-SOD, GSH-Px, and iNOS and MDA concentration were measured using biochemical analytic kits. Gene expression was detected using real-time PCR method. Protein expression was assayed using western blotting approach.
AST administration attenuated the progression of EAE in mice remarkably. Further studies manifested that AST treatment inhibited infiltration of inflammatory cells, lessened ROS production and decreased BBB leakage. In peripheral immune-systems, AST up-regulated mRNA expression of transcriptional factors T-bet and Foxp3 but decreased that of RORγt to modulate T cell differentiation. In CNS, AST stopped BBB leakage, reduced ROS production by up-regulation of T-SOD, and reduced neuroinflammation by inhibition of iNOS and other inflammatory cytokines. Moreover, AST inhibited production of p53 and phosphorylation of tau by modulation of the Bcl-2/Bax ratio.
AST orchestrated multiple pathways, including immuno-regulation, anti-oxidative stress, anti-neuroinflammation and anti-neuroapoptosis involved in the MS pathogenesis, to prevent the deterioration of EAE, which paves the way for the application of it in clinical prevention/therapy of MS.
PMCID: PMC4155103  PMID: 25150364
Astragalosides; Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; Multiple sclerosis; Neuroinflammation; Oxidative stress; Apoptosis
24.  Influence of Organic Solvents on Catalytic Behaviors and Cell Morphology of Whole-Cell Biocatalysts for Synthesis of 5′-Arabinocytosine Laurate 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104847.
A whole-cell based method was developed for the regioselective synthesis of arabinocytosine laurate. Among the seven kinds of bacteria strains tested in the acylation reaction, Pseudomonas fluorescens gave the highest productivity and a higher 5′-regioselectivity than 99%. Compared with pure organic solvents, the use of organic solvent mixtures greatly promoted the yield of the whole-cell catalyzed reaction, but showed little influence on the 5′-regioselectivity. Of all the tested solvent mixtures, the best reaction result was found in isopropyl ether/pyridine followed by isopentanol/pyridine. However, the whole-cells showed much lower thermostability in isopropyl ether/pyridine than in THF-pyridine. To better understand the toxic effects of the organic solvents on P. fluorescens whole-cells and growing cells were further examined. Significant influences of organic solvents on the biomass of the cells were found, which differed depending on the type of solvents used. SEM analysis visually revealed the changes in the surface morphology of whole-cells and growing cells cultured in media containing various organic solvents, in terms of surface smoothness, bulges and changed cell sizes. Results demonstrated that organic toxicity to cell structure played an important role in whole-cell mediated catalysis.
PMCID: PMC4138074  PMID: 25136983
25.  Overexpression of Rsf-1 correlates with pathological type, p53 status and survival in primary breast cancer 
Aim: The incidence of breast cancer in developing countries still increasing, to identify novel molecular markers associated with carcinogenesis and prognosis of breast cancer still being implemented. The largest subunit of Remodeling and spacing factor (RSF), Rsf-1, mediates ATPase-dependent chromatin remodeling. Its oncogenic properties have been demonstrated in certain carcinomas. The aim of this study was to examine the prognostic value of Rsf-1 in patients with primary breast carcinoma. Methods: A total of 537 patients with primary breast cancer, and 54 with benign breast hyperplasia, were performed resection surgery in the same period were enrolled. Rsf-1 immunoexpression was retrospectively assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). As well as, it relationship with clinicopathological factors and patient survival (LRFS, DFS and OS) was investigated. Results: Compared with benign breast hyperplasia tissues, higher percentage of Rsf-1 positive expression was detected in malignant breast carcinomas. Based on IHC staining extent × intensity scores and ROC analysis, 278 of 526 cancers (52.9%) had high-expression (cut-off values 2.5) of Rsf-1, which correlated significantly to pathologic subtypes of breast cancer (DCIS vs. IDC, P < 0.001; ILC vs. IDC, P = 0.036), bigger tumor size (P = 0.030), higher TNM stage (P = 0.044), and p53-positive expression. In addition, there was a trend that high-expression of Rsf-1 associated with younger age (P = 0.053). We further prove that combined positive-expression of Rsf-1 and p53 (Rsf-1 (+)/p53 (+)) was correlated with the bigger tumor size (P = 0.018), and higher TNM stage (P = 0.024). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that Rsf-1 high-expression and combined positive-expression of Rsf-1 and p53 (Rsf-1 (+)/p53 (+)) exhibited a significant correlation with poor overall survival of patients with primary breast cancer, and no association has been identified in relation to LRFS or DFS. Especially, Univariate and multivariate survival analysis demonstrated Rsf-1 expression is an independent prognostic parameter for the overall survival of patients with breast cancer. Conclusions: High-expression of Rsf-1 is associated with pathologic subtypes of breast cancer, aggressive phenotype, p53 positive and poor clinical outcome, which confers tumor aggressiveness through chromatin remodeling, and targeting Rsf-1 gene and the pathway it related may provide new therapeutic avenues for treating breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4203172  PMID: 25337201
Rsf-1; p53; breast cancer; chromatin remodeling; prognosis

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