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1.  Arabidopsis Raf-Like Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinase Kinase Gene Raf43 Is Required for Tolerance to Multiple Abiotic Stresses 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0133975.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are critical signaling modules that mediate the transduction of extracellular stimuli into intracellular response. A relatively large number of MAPKKKs have been identified in a variety of plant genomes but only a few of them have been studied for their biological function. In the present study, we identified an Arabidopsis Raf-like MAPKKK gene Raf43 and studied its function in biotic and abiotic stress response using a T-DNA insertion mutant raf43-1 and two Raf43-overexpressing lines Raf43-OE#1 and Raf43-OE#13. Expression of Raf43 was induced by multiple abiotic and biotic stresses including treatments with drought, mannitol and oxidative stress or defense signaling molecule salicylic acid and infection with necrotrophic fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. Seed germination and seedling root growth of raf43-1 were significantly inhibited on MS medium containing mannitol, NaCl, H2O2 or methyl viologen (MV) while seed germination and seedling root growth of the Raf43-OE#1 and Raf43-OE#13 lines was similar to wild type Col-0 under the above stress conditions. Soil-grown raf43-1 plants exhibited reduced tolerance to MV, drought and salt stress. Abscisic acid inhibited significantly seed germination and seedling root growth of the raf43-1 line but had no effect on the two Raf43-overexpressing lines. Expression of stress-responsive RD17 and DREB2A genes was significantly down-regulated in raf43-1 plants. However, the raf43-1 and Raf43-overexpressing plants showed similar disease phenotype to the wild type plants after infection with B. cinerea or Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. Our results demonstrate that Raf43, encoding for a Raf-like MAPKKK, is required for tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses in Arabidopsis.
PMCID: PMC4519275  PMID: 26222830
2.  Identification of Leaf Proteins Differentially Accumulated between Wheat Cultivars Distinct in Their Levels of Drought Tolerance 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0125302.
The drought-tolerant ‘Ningchun 47’ (NC47) and drought-sensitive ‘Chinese Spring’ (CS) wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars were treated with different PEG6000 concentrations at the three-leaf stage. An analysis on the physiological and proteomic changes of wheat seedling in response to drought stress was performed. In total, 146 differentially accumulated protein (DAP) spots were separated and recognised using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. In total, 101 DAP spots representing 77 unique proteins were identified by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry. These proteins were allocated to 10 groups according to putative functions, which were mainly involved in carbon metabolism (23.4%), photosynthesis/respiration (22.1%) and stress/defence/detoxification (18.2%). Some drought stress-related proteins in NC47, such as enolase, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, Oxygen-evolving enhancer protein 2, fibrillin-like protein, 2-Cys peroxiredoxin BAS1 and 70-kDa heat shock protein, were more upregulated than those in CS. Multivariate principal components analysis revealed obvious differences between the control and treatments in both NC47 and CS, while cluster analysis showed that the DAPs displayed five and six accumulation patterns in NC47 and CS, respectively. Protein–protein interaction network analysis showed that some key DAPs, such as 2-Cys peroxiredoxin BAS1, RuBisCO large subunit-binding protein, 50S ribosomal protein L1, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase isoenzyme and 70-kDa heat shock protein, with upregulated accumulation in NC47, had complex interactions with other proteins related to amino acid metabolism, carbon metabolism, energy pathway, signal transduction, stress/defence/detoxification, protein folding and nucleotide metabolism. These proteins could play important roles in drought-stress tolerance and contribute to the relatively stronger drought tolerance of NC47.
PMCID: PMC4436182  PMID: 25984726
3.  Transcriptional events co-regulated by hypoxia and cold stresses in Zebrafish larvae 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):385.
Hypoxia and temperature stress are two major adverse environmental conditions often encountered by fishes. The interaction between hypoxia and temperature stresses has been well documented and oxygen is considered to be the limiting factor for the thermal tolerance of fish. Although both high and low temperature stresses can impair the cardiovascular function and the cross-resistance between hypoxia and heat stress has been found, it is not clear whether hypoxia acclimation can protect fish from cold injury.
Pre-acclimation of 96-hpf zebrafish larvae to mild hypoxia (5% O2) significantly improved their resistance to lethal hypoxia (2.5% O2) and increased the survival rate of zebrafish larvae after lethal cold (10°C) exposure. However, pre-acclimation of 96-hpf larvae to cold (18°C) decreased their tolerance to lethal hypoxia although their ability to endure lethal cold increased. RNA-seq analysis identified 132 up-regulated and 41 down-regulated genes upon mild hypoxia exposure. Gene ontology enrichment analyses revealed that genes up-regulated by hypoxia are primarily involved in oxygen transport, oxidation-reduction process, hemoglobin biosynthetic process, erythrocyte development and cellular iron ion homeostasis. Hypoxia-inhibited genes are enriched in inorganic anion transport, sodium ion transport, very long-chain fatty acid biosynthetic process and cytidine deamination. A comparison with the dataset of cold-regulated gene expression identified 23 genes co-induced by hypoxia and cold and these genes are mainly associated with oxidation-reduction process, oxygen transport, hemopoiesis, hemoglobin biosynthetic process and cellular iron ion homeostasis. The alleviation of lipid peroxidation damage by both cold- and hypoxia-acclimation upon lethal cold stress suggests the association of these genes with cold resistance. Furthermore, the alternative promoter of hmbsb gene specifically activated by hypoxia and cold was identified and confirmed.
Acclimation responses to mild hypoxia and cold stress were found in zebrafish larvae and pre-acclimation to hypoxia significantly improved the tolerance of larvae to lethal cold stress. RNA-seq and bioinformatics analyses revealed the biological processes associated with hypoxia acclimation. Transcriptional events co-induced by hypoxia and cold may represent the molecular basis underlying the protection of hypoxia-acclimation against cold injury.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1560-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4432979  PMID: 25975375
Zebrafish; Hypoxia; Cold stress; RNA-seq; Gene expression
4.  Prenatal Exposure to Lipopolysaccharide Results in Myocardial Fibrosis in Rat Offspring 
The epigenetic plasticity hypothesis indicates that exposure during pregnancy may cause adult-onset disorders, including hypertension, myocardial infarction and heart failure. Moreover, myocardial fibrosis coincides with hypertension, myocardial infarction and heart failure. This study was designed to investigate the effects of prenatal exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on myocardial fibrosis. The result showed that at six and 16 weeks of age, the LPS-treated offspring exhibited increased collagen synthesis, an elevated cardiac index (CI), higher mRNA levels of TIMP-2 and TGFβ and a reduced mRNA level of MMP2. The protein levels corresponded to the mRNA levels. The offspring that were prenatally treated with pyrrolidine dithiocarbamic acid (PDTC), an inhibitor of NF-κB, displayed improvements in the CI and in collagen synthesis. Moreover, PDTC ameliorated the expression of cytokines and proteins associated with myocardial fibrosis. The results showed that maternal inflammation can induce myocardial fibrosis in offspring during aging accompanied by an imbalance of TIMP-2/MMP2 and TGFβ expression.
PMCID: PMC4463686  PMID: 26006233
myocardial fibrosis; lipopolysaccharide; pyrrolidine dithiocarbamic acid; pregnant
5.  Bilateral mammary duct ectasia induced by sulpiride-associated hyperprolactinemia: A case report 
Oncology Letters  2015;9(5):2181-2184.
A 32 year old female diagnosed with schizophrenia was treated with sulpiride, trihexyphenidyl and alprazolam for 6 years. A physical examination revealed bilateral nipple retraction and a non-tender mass in the left breast, with little nipple discharge. Tests revealed high levels of carbohydrate antigen 125, serum prolactin and testosterone levels, and ultrasound revealed a number of masses in the bilateral breasts; the largest mass (2.2×1.3 cm) was located in the left breast. A rich blood flow signal was identified around the nodule. The ducts in the bilateral breasts exhibited cystic ectasia. Multiple enlarged lymph nodes were found in the bilateral axillae. Mammography revealed thickened breast tissue without an evident mass, and calcification. A segmental mastectomy was performed and subsequent histological examination revealed multiple dilated ducts, the largest of which contained eosinophilic material. The pathological diagnosis was of breast duct dilatation. Bacterial culture and drug sensitivity analysis of the secretions from the cystic cavity revealed no bacterial growth, and an acid fast bacillus stain was negative. Extravasation of the surgical wound occurred 1 month later, and Staphylococcus epidermidis was observed using a bacterial culture. This was treated with moxifloxacin for 1 week. It was suggested that the patient should switch to a prolactin sparing antipsychotic in view of the hyperprolactinemia, however, the patient refused. After a clinical follow-up of 16 months, the wound had healed well and no palpable mass was found in the breast.
PMCID: PMC4467363  PMID: 26137036
mammary duct ectasia; sulpiride; hyperprolactinemia; schizophrenia
6.  Invasive cribriform carcinoma of the breast: A report of nine cases and a review of the literature 
Oncology Letters  2015;9(4):1753-1758.
Nine cases of infiltrating cribriform carcinoma (ICC) of the breast are reported and the clinicopathological features, particularly the imaging findings, are analyzed in the present study. Sonograms revealed that all masses exhibited a hypoechoic internal echo texture (9/9) and that a number of masses presented with an irregular shape (8/9), obscure boundary (5/9), partially microlobulated (5/9) or well-circumscribed (4/9) margins, and an inhomogeneous echo (8/9). Mammographic imaging revealed increased radiological density masses (6/8), and sand-like calcification was not observed in all patients. In two patients, the tumors were mammographically occult. Magnetic resonance imaging performed on one patient revealed a slightly high signal intensity on fat-saturated T1- and T2-weighted images. Following contrast enhancement, a homogeneous early enhancement was revealed with a quick ascent and quick descent time-density curve. Immunohistochemistry revealed that all ICCs expressed estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor, but that none were positive for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. The Ki-67 labeling index was 3.75% (range, 2–5%) in the tumor tissue. Four patients were treated with mastectomy and the others with breast-conserving surgery. Six clinically node-negative patients underwent sentinel lymph node biopsy; three then received axillary lymph node dissection. Following surgery, three patients received adjuvant chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal therapy, respectively. With a median follow-up time of 38 months (range, 4–70 months), one patient developed local recurrence following breast-conserving surgery; axillary lymph nodes and distant metastases were not observed. This study confirms that this type of carcinoma has unique biological characteristics and a favorable prognosis, but that it remains possible to experience local recurrence.
PMCID: PMC4356388  PMID: 25789036
breast; invasive cribriform carcinoma; ultrasound; mammography; magnetic resonance imaging; prognosis
7.  Lipid-rich carcinoma of the breast: A report of two cases and a literature review 
Oncology Letters  2015;9(4):1729-1732.
Lipid-rich carcinoma of the breast is extremely rare with no standard guidelines for treatment with poor patient prognosis. In the present study, the clinical features, imaging results, pathology, immunohistochemistry, treatment and prognoses of two patients with lipid-rich carcinoma of the breast were analyzed. Two patients were admitted to the Yantai Yuhuangding Hospital Affiliated to the Medical College of Qingdao University (Yantai, Shandong, China) for examination of a palpable mass in the breast. Enlarged lymph nodes were found in the axilla of each patient. The results of mammography and echography imaging suggested the presence of malignancy. A modified radical mastectomy was performed in each patient, and pathological examination revealed atypical large vacuolated cells arranged in clusters and confirmed lipid-rich carcinoma and lymph node metastases. The tumor tissue of patient one was immunohistochemically positive for estrogen receptor (ER), p53, p120 and E-cadherin, and negative for progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), with a Ki-67 labeling index of 50%. The tumor tissue of patient two was immunohistochemically positive for p53, and negative for ER, PR, HER-2 and cytokeratin 5/6, with a Ki-67 labeling index of 30%. Post-surgery, patient one was administered chemotherapy for six cycles, radiotherapy and endocrine therapy in the form of anastrozole. Patient two was administered three cycles of chemotherapy without radiotherapy. Subsequent to being followed up for 25 months and 13 months, respectively, there was no evidence of recurrence or distant metastasis in patient one or two, respectively.
PMCID: PMC4356264  PMID: 25789031
breast; lipid-rich carcinoma; imaging; treatment; prognosis
8.  Tomato SlRbohB, a member of the NADPH oxidase family, is required for disease resistance against Botrytis cinerea and tolerance to drought stress 
NADPH oxidases (also known as respiratory burst oxidase homologs, Rbohs) are key enzymes that catalyze the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in plants. In the present study, eight SlRboh genes were identified in tomato and their possible involvement in resistance to Botrytis cinerea and drought tolerance was examined. Expression of SlRbohs was induced by B. cinerea and Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato but displayed distinct patterns. Virus-induced gene silencing based silencing of SlRbohB resulted in reduced resistance to B. cinerea but silencing of other SlRbohs did not affect the resistance. Compared to non-silenced plants, the SlRbohB-silenced plants accumulated more ROS and displayed attenuated expression of defense genes after infection with B. cinerea. Silencing of SlRbohB also suppressed flg22-induced ROS burst and the expression of SlLrr22, a marker gene related to PAMP-triggered immunity (PTI). Transient expression of SlRbohB in Nicotiana benthamiana led to enhanced resistance to B. cinerea. Furthermore, silencing of SlRbohB resulted in decreased drought tolerance, accelerated water loss in leaves and the altered expression of drought-responsive genes. Our data demonstrate that SlRbohB positively regulates the resistance to B. cinerea, flg22-induced PTI, and drought tolerance in tomato.
PMCID: PMC4477072  PMID: 26157450
tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.); respiratory burst oxidase homologs (Rbohs); Botrytis cinerea; defense response; drought stress tolerance
9.  Deletion of the low-molecular-weight glutenin subunit allele Glu-A3a of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) significantly reduces dough strength and breadmaking quality 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:367.
Low-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (LMW-GS), encoded by Glu-3 complex loci in hexaploid wheat, play important roles in the processing quality of wheat flour. To date, the molecular characteristics and effects on dough quality of individual Glu-3 alleles and their encoding proteins have been poorly studied. We used a Glu-A3 deletion line of the Chinese Spring (CS-n) wheat variety to conduct the first comprehensive study on the molecular characteristics and functional properties of the LMW-GS allele Glu-A3a.
The Glu-A3a allele at the Glu-A3 locus in CS and its deletion in CS-n were identified and characterized by proteome and molecular marker methods. The deletion of Glu-A3a had no significant influence on plant morphological and yield traits, but significantly reduced the dough strength and breadmaking quality compared to CS. The complete sequence of the Glu-A3a allele was cloned and characterized, which was found to encode a B-subunit with longer repetitive domains and an increased number of α-helices. The Glu-A3a-encoded B-subunit showed a higher expression level and accumulation rate during grain development. These characteristics of the Glu-A3a allele could contribute to achieving superior gluten quality and demonstrate its potential application to wheat quality improvement. Furthermore, an allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (AS-PCR) marker for the Glu-A3a allele was developed and validated using different bread wheat cultivars, including near-isogenic lines (NILs) and recombinant inbred lines (RILs), which could be used as an effective molecular marker for gluten quality improvement through marker-assisted selection.
This work demonstrated that the LMW-GS allele Glu-A3a encodes a specific LMW-i type B-subunit that significantly affects wheat dough strength and breadmaking quality. The Glu-A3a-encoded B-subunit has a long repetitive domain and more α-helix structures as well as a higher expression level and accumulation rate during grain development, which could facilitate the formation of wheat with a stronger dough structure and superior breadmaking quality.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0367-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4275963  PMID: 25524150
Wheat; Glu-A3a; Molecular cloning; Dough strength; Breadmaking quality
10.  iTRAQ-based quantitative proteome and phosphoprotein characterization reveals the central metabolism changes involved in wheat grain development 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):1029.
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is an economically important grain crop. Two-dimensional gel-based approaches are limited by the low identification rate of proteins and lack of accurate protein quantitation. The recently developed isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) method allows sensitive and accurate protein quantification. Here, we performed the first iTRAQ-based quantitative proteome and phosphorylated proteins analyses during wheat grain development.
The proteome profiles and phosphoprotein characterization of the metabolic proteins during grain development of the elite Chinese bread wheat cultivar Yanyou 361 were studied using the iTRAQ-based quantitative proteome approach, TiO2 microcolumns, and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Among 1,146 non-redundant proteins identified, 421 showed at least 2-fold differences in abundance, and they were identified as differentially expressed proteins (DEPs), including 256 upregulated and 165 downregulated proteins. Of the 421 DEPs, six protein expression patterns were identified, most of which were up, down, and up-down expression patterns. The 421 DEPs were classified into nine functional categories mainly involved in different metabolic processes and located in the membrane and cytoplasm. Hierarchical clustering analysis indicated that the DEPs involved in starch biosynthesis, storage proteins, and defense/stress-related proteins significantly accumulated at the late grain development stages, while those related to protein synthesis/assembly/degradation and photosynthesis showed an opposite expression model during grain development. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis of 12 representative genes encoding different metabolic proteins showed certain transcriptional and translational expression differences during grain development. Phosphorylated proteins analyses demonstrated that 23 DEPs such as AGPase, sucrose synthase, Hsp90, and serpins were phosphorylated in the developing grains and were mainly involved in starch biosynthesis and stress/defense.
Our results revealed a complex quantitative proteome and phosphorylation profile during wheat grain development. Numerous DEPs are involved in grain starch and protein syntheses as well as adverse defense, which set an important basis for wheat yield and quality. Particularly, some key DEPs involved in starch biosynthesis and stress/defense were phosphorylated, suggesting their roles in wheat grain development.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-1029) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4301063  PMID: 25427527
Wheat; Grain proteome; iTRAQ; Phosphoproteins; qRT-PCR
11.  Pharmacogenetic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of LDL cholesterol response to statins 
Postmus, Iris | Trompet, Stella | Deshmukh, Harshal A. | Barnes, Michael R. | Li, Xiaohui | Warren, Helen R. | Chasman, Daniel I. | Zhou, Kaixin | Arsenault, Benoit J. | Donnelly, Louise A. | Wiggins, Kerri L. | Avery, Christy L. | Griffin, Paula | Feng, QiPing | Taylor, Kent D. | Li, Guo | Evans, Daniel S. | Smith, Albert V. | de Keyser, Catherine E. | Johnson, Andrew D. | de Craen, Anton J. M. | Stott, David J. | Buckley, Brendan M. | Ford, Ian | Westendorp, Rudi G. J. | Eline Slagboom, P. | Sattar, Naveed | Munroe, Patricia B. | Sever, Peter | Poulter, Neil | Stanton, Alice | Shields, Denis C. | O’Brien, Eoin | Shaw-Hawkins, Sue | Ida Chen, Y.-D. | Nickerson, Deborah A. | Smith, Joshua D. | Pierre Dubé, Marie | Matthijs Boekholdt, S. | Kees Hovingh, G. | Kastelein, John J. P. | McKeigue, Paul M. | Betteridge, John | Neil, Andrew | Durrington, Paul N. | Doney, Alex | Carr, Fiona | Morris, Andrew | McCarthy, Mark I. | Groop, Leif | Ahlqvist, Emma | Bis, Joshua C. | Rice, Kenneth | Smith, Nicholas L. | Lumley, Thomas | Whitsel, Eric A. | Stürmer, Til | Boerwinkle, Eric | Ngwa, Julius S. | O’Donnell, Christopher J. | Vasan, Ramachandran S. | Wei, Wei-Qi | Wilke, Russell A. | Liu, Ching-Ti | Sun, Fangui | Guo, Xiuqing | Heckbert, Susan R | Post, Wendy | Sotoodehnia, Nona | Arnold, Alice M. | Stafford, Jeanette M. | Ding, Jingzhong | Herrington, David M. | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Launer, Leonore J. | Harris, Tamara B. | Chu, Audrey Y. | Giulianini, Franco | MacFadyen, Jean G. | Barratt, Bryan J. | Nyberg, Fredrik | Stricker, Bruno H. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Hofman, Albert | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Emilsson, Valur | Franco, Oscar H. | Ridker, Paul M. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Liu, Yongmei | Denny, Joshua C. | Ballantyne, Christie M. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Adrienne Cupples, L. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Palmer, Colin N. A. | Tardif, Jean-Claude | Colhoun, Helen M. | Hitman, Graham | Krauss, Ronald M. | Wouter Jukema, J | Caulfield, Mark J.
Nature Communications  2014;5:5068.
Statins effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels in large studies and the observed interindividual response variability may be partially explained by genetic variation. Here we perform a pharmacogenetic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in studies addressing the LDL cholesterol response to statins, including up to 18,596 statin-treated subjects. We validate the most promising signals in a further 22,318 statin recipients and identify two loci, SORT1/CELSR2/PSRC1 and SLCO1B1, not previously identified in GWAS. Moreover, we confirm the previously described associations with APOE and LPA. Our findings advance the understanding of the pharmacogenetic architecture of statin response.
Statins are effectively used to prevent and manage cardiovascular disease, but patient response to these drugs is highly variable. Here, the authors identify two new genes associated with the response of LDL cholesterol to statins and advance our understanding of the genetic basis of drug response.
PMCID: PMC4220464  PMID: 25350695
12.  Associations of Candidate Genes to Age-related Macular Degeneration Among Racial/Ethnic Groups in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
American journal of ophthalmology  2013;156(5):10.1016/j.ajo.2013.06.004.
To describe the relationships of selected candidate genes to the prevalence of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a cohort of whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Chinese Americans.
Cross-sectional study.
Multicenter study.
Study Population
2456 persons aged 45–84 years with genotype information and fundus photographs.
Twelve of 2862 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 11 of 233 candidate genes for cardiovascular disease were selected for analysis based on screening with marginal unadjusted P value <0.001 within 1 or more racial/ethnic groups. Logistic regression models tested for association in case-control samples.
Main Outcome Measure
Prevalence of early AMD.
Early AMD was present in 4.0% of the cohort and varied from 2.4% in blacks to 6.0% in whites. The odds ratio increased from 2.3 for one to 10.0 for four risk alleles in a joint effect analysis of Age-Related Maculopathy Susceptibility 2 rs10490924 and Complement Factor H Y402H (P for trend=4.2×10−7). Frequencies of each SNP varied among the racial/ethnic groups. Adjusting for age and other factors, few statistically significant associations of the 12 SNPs with AMD were consistent across all groups. In a multivariate model, most candidate genes did not attenuate the comparatively higher odds of AMD in whites. The higher frequency of risk alleles for several SNPs in Chinese Americans may partially explain their AMD frequency approaching that of whites.
The relationships of 11 candidate genes to early AMD varied among 4 racial/ethnic groups, and partially explained the observed variations in early AMD prevalence among them.
PMCID: PMC3812928  PMID: 23938121
13.  Prenatal Exposure to Lipopolysaccharide Results in Local RAS Activation in the Adipose Tissue of Rat Offspring 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111376.
Adult metabolic syndrome may originate in part during fetal or early life. This study was designed to investigate the effects of prenatal exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on adipose development and local renin-angiotensin system (RAS) activation in rat offspring.
Pregnant rats were randomly divided into three groups (n = 8 in each), including an NS group (pregnant rats were only treated with 0.5 ml normal saline from the 8th to the 14th day of gestation); an LPS group (pregnant rats were injected intraperitoneally with 0.79 mg/kg LPS on the 8th, 10th and 12th days of pregnancy); and an LPS+pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) group (identical to the LPS group except that 100 mg/kg PDTC was administered from the 8th to the 14th day of gestation).
Prenatal exposure to LPS resulted in increased blood pressure, adipose coefficient and body weight in rat offspring. Specifically, during the infancy of the offspring rats, the LPS stimulus promoted the differentiation of adipose cells, diminishing their diameters and proportions while simultaneously increasing cell number. In contrast, once the rats were grown, adipose cell differentiation was inhibited, and the diameters and proportions of the cells were increased. Moreover, each component of the RAS was changed and was shown to be activated. PDTC, an inhibitor of NF-κB, could reverse the influence of the stimulus during pregnancy.
Prenatal exposure to LPS in rats results in increased blood pressure, adipose coefficient, body weight and activation of adipose RAS in offspring.
PMCID: PMC4216013  PMID: 25360670
14.  Tomato SR/CAMTA transcription factors SlSR1 and SlSR3L negatively regulate disease resistance response and SlSR1L positively modulates drought stress tolerance 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:286.
The SR/CAMTA proteins represent a small family of transcription activators that play important roles in plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Seven SlSR/CAMTA genes were identified in tomato as tomato counterparts of SR/CAMTA; however, the involvement of SlSRs/CAMTAs in biotic and abiotic stress responses is not clear. In this study, we performed functional analysis of the SlSR/CAMTA family for their possible functions in defense response against pathogens and tolerance to drought stress.
Expression of SlSRs was induced with distinct patterns by Botrytis cinerea and Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst) DC3000. Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS)-based knockdown of either SlSR1 or SlSR3L in tomato resulted in enhanced resistance to B. cinerea and Pst DC3000 and led to constitutive accumulation of H2O2, elevated expression of defense genes, marker genes for pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered immunity, and regulatory genes involved in the salicylic acid- and ethylene-mediated signaling pathways. Furthermore, the expression of SlSR1L and SlSR2L in detached leaves and whole plants was significantly induced by drought stress. Silencing of SlSR1L led to decreased drought stress tolerance, accelerated water loss in leaves, reduced root biomass and attenuated expression of drought stress responsive genes in tomato. The SlSR1 and SlSR3L proteins were localized in the nucleus of plant cells when transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana and had transcriptional activation activity in yeast.
VIGS-based functional analyses demonstrate that both SlSR1 and SlSR3L in the tomato SlSR/CAMTA family are negative regulators of defense response against B. cinerea and Pst DC3000 while SlSR1L is a positive regulator of drought stress tolerance in tomato.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0286-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4219024  PMID: 25348703
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum); SR/CAMTA; Disease resistance response; Drought stress
15.  No Association of 9p21 with Arterial Elasticity and Retinal Microvascular Findings 
Atherosclerosis  2013;230(2):301-303.
How 9p21 variation affects risk of cardiovascular disease is unclear, so we assessed whether 9p21 variants are associated with arterial elasticity or retinal microvascular findings.
In the prospective Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) we assessed 378 SNPs in the 9p21 locus. Within four ethnic groups, we used an additive genetic model to relate the 9p21 SNPs to five vascular phenotypes: small and large elasticity derived from radial diastolic pulse contour analysis; Young’s elastic modulus from carotid artery ultrasound measurements; and the diameter of the central retinal arteries and veins.
In neither ethnic-specific nor pooled data was there any statistically significant association between any of the 9p21 SNPs and any of the five vascular phenotypes.
Our study does not support an association of 9p21 variation with arterial elasticity or retinal microvascular abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC3787319  PMID: 24075760
Prospective study; 9p21 SNP; retinal microvascular abnormalities; arterial elasticity
16.  Molecular cloning, phylogenetic analysis, and expression profiling of endoplasmic reticulum molecular chaperone BiP genes from bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:260.
The endoplasmic reticulum chaperone binding protein (BiP) is an important functional protein, which is involved in protein synthesis, folding assembly, and secretion. In order to study the role of BiP in the process of wheat seed development, we cloned three BiP homologous cDNA sequences in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum), completed by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE), and examined the expression of wheat BiP in wheat tissues, particularly the relationship between BiP expression and the subunit types of HMW-GS using near-isogenic lines (NILs) of HMW-GS silencing, and under abiotic stress.
Sequence analysis demonstrated that all BiPs contained three highly conserved domains present in plants, animals, and microorganisms, indicating their evolutionary conservation among different biological species. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) revealed that TaBiP (Triticum aestivum BiP) expression was not organ-specific, but was predominantly localized to seed endosperm. Furthermore, immunolocalization confirmed that TaBiP was primarily located within the protein bodies (PBs) in wheat endosperm. Three TaBiP genes exhibited significantly down-regulated expression following high molecular weight-glutenin subunit (HMW-GS) silencing. Drought stress induced significantly up-regulated expression of TaBiPs in wheat roots, leaves, and developing grains.
The high conservation of BiP sequences suggests that BiP plays the same role, or has common mechanisms, in the folding and assembly of nascent polypeptides and protein synthesis across species. The expression of TaBiPs in different wheat tissue and under abiotic stress indicated that TaBiP is most abundant in tissues with high secretory activity and with high proportions of cells undergoing division, and that the expression level of BiP is associated with the subunit types of HMW-GS and synthesis. The expression of TaBiPs is developmentally regulated during seed development and early seedling growth, and under various abiotic stresses.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0260-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4189733  PMID: 25273817
Wheat; BiP; Cloning; Expression; HMW-GS silencing; Drought stress
17.  Genome-Wide Meta-Analysis of Myopia and Hyperopia Provides Evidence for Replication of 11 Loci 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107110.
Refractive error (RE) is a complex, multifactorial disorder characterized by a mismatch between the optical power of the eye and its axial length that causes object images to be focused off the retina. The two major subtypes of RE are myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness), which represent opposite ends of the distribution of the quantitative measure of spherical refraction. We performed a fixed effects meta-analysis of genome-wide association results of myopia and hyperopia from 9 studies of European-derived populations: AREDS, KORA, FES, OGP-Talana, MESA, RSI, RSII, RSIII and ERF. One genome-wide significant region was observed for myopia, corresponding to a previously identified myopia locus on 8q12 (p = 1.25×10−8), which has been reported by Kiefer et al. as significantly associated with myopia age at onset and Verhoeven et al. as significantly associated to mean spherical-equivalent (MSE) refractive error. We observed two genome-wide significant associations with hyperopia. These regions overlapped with loci on 15q14 (minimum p value = 9.11×10−11) and 8q12 (minimum p value 1.82×10−11) previously reported for MSE and myopia age at onset. We also used an intermarker linkage- disequilibrium-based method for calculating the effective number of tests in targeted regional replication analyses. We analyzed myopia (which represents the closest phenotype in our data to the one used by Kiefer et al.) and showed replication of 10 additional loci associated with myopia previously reported by Kiefer et al. This is the first replication of these loci using myopia as the trait under analysis. “Replication-level” association was also seen between hyperopia and 12 of Kiefer et al.'s published loci. For the loci that show evidence of association to both myopia and hyperopia, the estimated effect of the risk alleles were in opposite directions for the two traits. This suggests that these loci are important contributors to variation of refractive error across the distribution.
PMCID: PMC4169415  PMID: 25233373
18.  The construction of hierarchical structure on Ti substrate with superior osteogenic activity and intrinsic antibacterial capability 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6172.
The deficient osseointegration and implant-associated infections are pivotal issues for the long-term clinical success of endosteal Ti implants, while development of functional surfaces that can simultaneously overcome these problems remains highly challenging. This study aimed to fabricate sophisticated Ti implant surface with both osteogenic inducing activity and inherent antibacterial ability simply via tailoring surface topographical features. Micro/submciro/nano-scale structure was constructed on Ti by three cumulative subtractive methods, including sequentially conducted sandblasting as well as primary and secondary acid etching treatment. Topographical features of this hierarchical structure can be well tuned by the time of the secondary acid treatment. Ti substrate with mere micro/submicro-scale structure (MS0-Ti) served as a control to examine the influence of hierarchical structures on surface properties and biological activities. Surface analysis indicated that all hierarchically structured surfaces possessed exactly the same surface chemistry as that of MS0-Ti, and all of them showed super-amphiphilicity, high surface free energy, and high protein adsorption capability. Biological evaluations revealed surprisingly antibacterial ability and excellent osteogenic activity for samples with optimized hierarchical structure (MS30-Ti) when compared with MS0-Ti. Consequently, for the first time, a hierarchically structured Ti surface with topography-induced inherent antibacterial capability and excellent osteogenic activity was constructed.
PMCID: PMC4141259  PMID: 25146099
19.  Dynamic development of starch granules and the regulation of starch biosynthesis in Brachypodium distachyon: comparison with common wheat and Aegilops peregrina 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:198.
Thorough understanding of seed starch biosynthesis and accumulation mechanisms is of great importance for agriculture and crop improvement strategies. We conducted the first comprehensive study of the dynamic development of starch granules and the regulation of starch biosynthesis in Brachypodium distachyon and compared the findings with those reported for common wheat (Chinese Spring, CS) and Aegilops peregrina.
Only B-granules were identified in Brachypodium Bd21, and the shape variation and development of starch granules were similar in the B-granules of CS and Bd21. Phylogenetic analysis showed that most of the Bd21 starch synthesis-related genes were more similar to those in wheat than in rice. Early expression of key genes in Bd21 starch biosynthesis mediate starch synthesis in the pericarp; intermediate-stage expression increases the number and size of starch granules. In contrast, these enzymes in CS and Ae. peregrina were mostly expressed at intermediate stages, driving production of new B-granules and increasing the granule size, respectively. Immunogold labeling showed that granule-bound starch synthase (GBSSI; related to amylose synthesis) was mainly present in starch granules: at lower levels in the B-granules of Bd21 than in CS. Furthermore, GBSSI was phosphorylated at threonine 183 and tyrosine 185 in the starch synthase catalytic domain in CS and Ae. peregrina, but neither site was phosphorylated in Bd21, suggesting GBSSI phosphorylation could improve amylose biosynthesis.
Bd21 contains only B-granules, and the expression of key genes in the three studied genera is consistent with the dynamic development of starch granules. GBSSI is present in greater amounts in the B-granules of CS than in Bd21; two phosphorylation sites (Thr183 and Tyr185) were found in Triticum and Aegilops; these sites were not phosphorylated in Bd21. GBSSI phosphorylation may reflect its importance in amylose synthesis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0198-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4256708  PMID: 25095703
Brachypodium Bd21; B-granules; Starch biosynthesis; Expression profiling; GBSSI; Phosphorylation
20.  Drug-gene interactions and the search for missing heritability: a cross-sectional pharmacogenomics study of the QT interval 
The pharmacogenomics journal  2013;14(1):6-13.
Variability in response to drug use is common and heritable, suggesting that genome-wide pharmacogenomics studies may help explain the “missing heritability” of complex traits. Here, we describe four independent analyses in 33,781 participants of European ancestry from ten cohorts that were designed to identify genetic variants modifying the effects of drugs on QT interval duration (QT). Each analysis cross-sectionally examined four therapeutic classes: thiazide diuretics (prevalence of use=13.0%), tri/tetracyclic antidepressants (2.6%), sulfonylurea hypoglycemic agents (2.9%), and QT prolonging drugs as classified by the University of Arizona Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics (4.4%). Drug-gene interactions were estimated using covariable adjusted linear regression and results were combined with fixed-effects meta-analysis. Although drug-SNP interactions were biologically plausible and variables were well-measured, findings from the four cross-sectional meta-analyses were null (Pinteraction>5.0×10−8). Simulations suggested that additional efforts, including longitudinal modeling to increase statistical power, are likely needed to identify potentially important pharmacogenomic effects.
PMCID: PMC3766418  PMID: 23459443
QT interval; pharmacogenomics; gene-environment interaction
21.  Lipopolysaccharide Exposure during Pregnancy Leads to Aortic Dysfunction in Offspring Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102273.
Prenatal exposure to Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) produces hypertension in adult offspring rats. The present study was to explore the effects of prenatal inflammation on morphological and functional changes in the aorta from offspring rats and to further assess its susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases.
Methods and Results
Pregnant rats were treated intraperitoneally on gestation Days 8, 10 and 12 with saline, LPS (0.79 mg/kg), or pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC, 100 mg/kg)+LPS, respectively. Aortic ring reactivity and histopathological alteration were analyzed in offspring at the age of 12 weeks. The detections of connexin (Cx) 37, Cx40, Cx43, and Cx45, including immunofluorescent patterns, protein levels and mRNA expression in the aorta, were performed as well. Furthermore, the expressions of Nuclear factor (NF)-κB (p65), IκBα, phospho-IκBα and IκBβ were determined. The results showed that prenatal LPS exposure leads to morphological abnormalities and impaired aortic reactivity in offspring. Prenatal LPS exposure also decreased the protein and mRNA expression of Cx37 in the aorta from offspring rats. NF-κB and phospho-IκBα levels were both increased, IκBα level, however, was decreased in the aorta of offspring from the maternal LPS exposure compared to the controls. Simultaneously, PDTC treatment markedly reversed the action of LPS.
Decreased expression of Cx37 contributed to the aortic dysfunction of prenatal LPS exposure offspring, which should be associated with NF-κB activation.
PMCID: PMC4099131  PMID: 25025169
22.  Tomato NAC Transcription Factor SlSRN1 Positively Regulates Defense Response against Biotic Stress but Negatively Regulates Abiotic Stress Response 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102067.
Biotic and abiotic stresses are major unfavorable factors that affect crop productivity worldwide. NAC proteins comprise a large family of transcription factors that play important roles in plant growth and development as well as in responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. In a virus-induced gene silencing-based screening to identify genes that are involved in defense response against Botrytis cinerea, we identified a tomato NAC gene SlSRN1 (Solanum lycopersicum Stress-related NAC1). SlSRN1 is a plasma membrane-localized protein with transactivation activity in yeast. Expression of SlSRN1 was significantly induced by infection with B. cinerea or Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst) DC3000, leading to 6–8 folds higher than that in the mock-inoculated plants. Expression of SlSRN1 was also induced by salicylic acid, jasmonic acid and 1-amino cyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid and by drought stress. Silencing of SlSRN1 resulted in increased severity of diseases caused by B. cinerea and Pst DC3000. However, silencing of SlSRN1 resulted in increased tolerance against oxidative and drought stresses. Furthermore, silencing of SlSRN1 accelerated accumulation of reactive oxygen species but attenuated expression of defense genes after infection by B. cinerea. Our results demonstrate that SlSRN1 is a positive regulator of defense response against B. cinerea and Pst DC3000 but is a negative regulator for oxidative and drought stress response in tomato.
PMCID: PMC4092073  PMID: 25010573
23.  Relationship of Sex to Diabetes Risk in Statin Trials 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(7):e100-e101.
PMCID: PMC3687308  PMID: 23801803
24.  Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in five cohorts reveals common variants in RBFOX1, a regulator of tissue-specific splicing, associated with refractive error 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(13):2754-2764.
Visual refractive errors (REs) are complex genetic traits with a largely unknown etiology. To date, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of moderate size have identified several novel risk markers for RE, measured here as mean spherical equivalent (MSE). We performed a GWAS using a total of 7280 samples from five cohorts: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS); the KORA study (‘Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg’); the Framingham Eye Study (FES); the Ogliastra Genetic Park-Talana (OGP-Talana) Study and the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Genotyping was performed on Illumina and Affymetrix platforms with additional markers imputed to the HapMap II reference panel. We identified a new genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 16 (rs10500355, P = 3.9 × 10−9) in a combined discovery and replication set (26 953 samples). This single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) is located within the RBFOX1 gene which is a neuron-specific splicing factor regulating a wide range of alternative splicing events implicated in neuronal development and maturation, including transcription factors, other splicing factors and synaptic proteins.
PMCID: PMC3674806  PMID: 23474815
25.  Tomato SlMKK2 and SlMKK4 contribute to disease resistance against Botrytis cinerea 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:166.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are highly conserved signaling modules that mediate the transduction of extracellular stimuli via receptors/sensors into intracellular responses and play key roles in plant immunity against pathogen attack. However, the function of tomato MAPK kinases, SlMKKs, in resistance against Botrytis cinerea remains unclear yet.
A total of five SlMKK genes with one new member, SlMKK5, were identified in tomato. qRT-PCR analyses revealed that expression of SlMKK2 and SlMKK4 was strongly induced by B. cinerea and by jasmonic acid and ethylene precursor 1-amino cyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid. Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS)-based knockdown of individual SlMKKs and disease assays identified that SlMKK2 and SlMKK4 but not other three SlMKKs (SlMKK1, SlMKK3 and SlMKK5) are involved in resistance against B. cinerea. Silencing of SlMKK2 or SlMKK4 resulted in reduced resistance to B. cinerea, increased accumulation of reactive oxygen species and attenuated expression of defense genes after infection of B. cinerea in tomato plants. Furthermore, transient expression of constitutively active phosphomimicking forms SlMKK2DD and SlMKK4DD in leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana plants led to enhanced resistance to B. cinerea and elevated expression of defense genes.
VIGS-based knockdown of SlMKK2 and SlMKK4 expression in tomato and gain-of-function transient expression of constitutively active phosphomimicking forms SlMKK2DD and SlMKK2DD in N. benthamiana demonstrate that both SlMKK2 and SlMKK4 function as positive regulators of defense response against B. cinerea.
PMCID: PMC4094914  PMID: 24930014
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum); MAPK cascade; MPK kinase; SlMKK2/SlMKK4; Botrytis cinerea; Defense response

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