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1.  Predicting Drug-induced Hepatotoxicity Using QSAR and Toxicogenomics Approaches 
Chemical research in toxicology  2011;24(8):1251-1262.
Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (QSAR) modeling and toxicogenomics are used independently as predictive tools in toxicology. In this study, we evaluated the power of several statistical models for predicting drug hepatotoxicity in rats using different descriptors of drug molecules, namely their chemical descriptors and toxicogenomic profiles. The records were taken from the Toxicogenomics Project rat liver microarray database containing information on 127 drugs ( The model endpoint was hepatotoxicity in the rat following 28 days of exposure, established by liver histopathology and serum chemistry. First, we developed multiple conventional QSAR classification models using a comprehensive set of chemical descriptors and several classification methods (k nearest neighbor, support vector machines, random forests, and distance weighted discrimination). With chemical descriptors alone, external predictivity (Correct Classification Rate, CCR) from 5-fold external cross-validation was 61%. Next, the same classification methods were employed to build models using only toxicogenomic data (24h after a single exposure) treated as biological descriptors. The optimized models used only 85 selected toxicogenomic descriptors and had CCR as high as 76%. Finally, hybrid models combining both chemical descriptors and transcripts were developed; their CCRs were between 68 and 77%. Although the accuracy of hybrid models did not exceed that of the models based on toxicogenomic data alone, the use of both chemical and biological descriptors enriched the interpretation of the models. In addition to finding 85 transcripts that were predictive and highly relevant to the mechanisms of drug-induced liver injury, chemical structural alerts for hepatotoxicity were also identified. These results suggest that concurrent exploration of the chemical features and acute treatment-induced changes in transcript levels will both enrich the mechanistic understanding of sub-chronic liver injury and afford models capable of accurate prediction of hepatotoxicity from chemical structure and short-term assay results.
PMCID: PMC4281093  PMID: 21699217
Quantitative Structure Activity Relationship (QSAR) modeling; toxicogenomics; biological descriptors; hepatotoxicity
2.  Lin28 enhances tissue repair by reprogramming cellular metabolism 
Cell  2013;155(4):778-792.
Regeneration capacity declines with age, but why juvenile organisms show enhanced tissue repair remains unexplained. Lin28a, a highly-conserved RNA binding protein expressed during embryogenesis, plays roles in development, pluripotency and metabolism. To determine if Lin28a might influence tissue repair in adults, we engineered the reactivation of Lin28a expression in several models of tissue injury. Lin28a reactivation improved hair regrowth by promoting anagen in hair follicles, and accelerated regrowth of cartilage, bone and mesenchyme after ear and digit injuries. Lin28a inhibits let-7 microRNA biogenesis; however let-7 repression was necessary but insufficient to enhance repair. Lin28a bound to and enhanced the translation of mRNAs for several metabolic enzymes, thereby increasing glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos). Lin28a-mediated enhancement of tissue repair was negated by OxPhos inhibition, whereas a pharmacologically-induced increase in OxPhos enhanced repair. Thus, Lin28a enhances tissue repair in some adult tissues by reprogramming cellular bioenergetics.
PMCID: PMC3917449  PMID: 24209617
3.  AdaBoost Based Multi-Instance Transfer Learning for Predicting Proteome-Wide Interactions between Salmonella and Human Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110488.
Pathogen-host protein-protein interaction (PPI) plays an important role in revealing the underlying pathogenesis of viruses and bacteria. The need of rapidly mapping proteome-wide pathogen-host interactome opens avenues for and imposes burdens on computational modeling. For Salmonella typhimurium, only 62 interactions with human proteins are reported to date, and the computational modeling based on such a small training data is prone to yield model overfitting. In this work, we propose a multi-instance transfer learning method to reconstruct the proteome-wide Salmonella-human PPI networks, wherein the training data is augmented by homolog knowledge transfer in the form of independent homolog instances. We use AdaBoost instance reweighting to counteract the noise from homolog instances, and deliberately design three experimental settings to validate the assumption that the homolog instances are effective to address the problems of data scarcity and data unavailability. The experimental results show that the proposed method outperforms the existing models and some predictions are validated by the findings from recent literature. Lastly, we conduct gene ontology based clustering analysis of the predicted networks to provide insights into the pathogenesis of Salmonella.
PMCID: PMC4212833  PMID: 25330226
Identification of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals is one of the important goals of environmental chemical hazard screening. We report on the development of validated in silico predictors of chemicals likely to cause Estrogen Receptor (ER)-mediated endocrine disruption to facilitate their prioritization for future screening. A database of relative binding affinity of a large number of ERα and/or ERβ ligands was assembled (546 for ERα and 137 for ERβ). Both single-task learning (STL) and multi-task learning (MTL) continuous Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships (QSAR) models were developed for predicting ligand binding affinity to ERα or ERβ. High predictive accuracy was achieved for ERα binding affinity (MTL R2=0.71, STL R2=0.73). For ERβ binding affinity, MTL models were significantly more predictive (R2=0.53, p<0.05) than STL models. In addition, docking studies were performed on a set of ER agonists/antagonists (67 agonists and 39 antagonists for ERα, 48 agonists and 32 antagonists for ERβ, supplemented by putative decoys/non-binders) using the following ER structures (in complexes with respective ligands) retrieved from the Protein Data Bank: ERα agonist (PDB ID: 1L2I), ERα antagonist (PDB ID: 3DT3), ERβ agonist (PDB ID: 2NV7), ERβ antagonist (PDB ID: 1L2J). We found that all four ER conformations discriminated their corresponding ligands from presumed non-binders. Finally, both QSAR models and ER structures were employed in parallel to virtually screen several large libraries of environmental chemicals to derive a ligand- and structure-based prioritized list of putative estrogenic compounds to be used for in vitro and in vivo experimental validation.
PMCID: PMC3775906  PMID: 23707773
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals; Estrogen Receptor; Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships modeling; Multi-Task Learning; Docking; Virtual Screening
5.  Correlation between plasma renalase level and coronary artery disease 
Objective: To explore the correlation between the plasma renalase level of coronary artery disease (CAD) patients and the degree of coronary artery stenosis.
Methods: A total of 180 patients who received coronary angiography in our hospitals from August 2013 to October 2013 were selected as the CAD group, of which 164 were finally diagnosed as CAD. Another 140 healthy subjects were selected as the control group. The plasma renalase levels of the two groups were detected by ELISA to analyze CA-induced changes and to clarify the correlations with the number of branches with coronary artery stenosis and Syntax scores.
Results: The plasma renalase level of the CAD group was significantly lower than that of the control group (P<0.05). The plasma renalase levels of the multi-branch and two-branch stenosis subgroups were significantly lower than that of the subgroup with normal coronary angiography outcomes (P<0.05), while the levels of the single-branch stenosis and normal subgroups were similar (P>0.05). Besides, the plasma renalase level of the low-risk subgroup was significantly higher than those of the medium-risk and high-risk subgroups (P<0.05), and the level of the medium-risk subgroup was significantly higher than that of the high-risk subgroup (P<0.05). Multivariate Logistic regression analysis showed that renalase level was the risk factor of CAD (OR=1.12, 95%CI: 1.03-3.34).
Conclusion: Plasma renalase level was correlated with CAD, the changes of which may reflect the degree of coronary artery stenosis. Therefore, plasma renalase level can be used to indicate the progression of CAD.
PMCID: PMC4163213  PMID: 25225499
Coronary artery disease; Coronary artery stenosis; Renalase; Syntax score
6.  Computational reconstruction of proteome-wide protein interaction networks between HTLV retroviruses and Homo sapiens 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15(1):245.
Human T-cell leukemia viruses (HTLV) tend to induce some fatal human diseases like Adult T-cell Leukemia (ATL) by targeting human T lymphocytes. To indentify the protein-protein interactions (PPI) between HTLV viruses and Homo sapiens is one of the significant approaches to reveal the underlying mechanism of HTLV infection and host defence. At present, as biological experiments are labor-intensive and expensive, the identified part of the HTLV-human PPI networks is rather small. Although recent years have witnessed much progress in computational modeling for reconstructing pathogen-host PPI networks, data scarcity and data unavailability are two major challenges to be effectively addressed. To our knowledge, no computational method for proteome-wide HTLV-human PPI networks reconstruction has been reported.
In this work we develop Multi-instance Adaboost method to conduct homolog knowledge transfer for computationally reconstructing proteome-wide HTLV-human PPI networks. In this method, the homolog knowledge in the form of gene ontology (GO) is treated as auxiliary homolog instance to address the problems of data scarcity and data unavailability, while the potential negative knowledge transfer is automatically attenuated by AdaBoost instance reweighting. The cross validation experiments show that the homolog knowledge transfer in the form of independent homolog instances can effectively enrich the feature information and substitute for the missing GO information. Moreover, the independent tests show that the method can validate 70.3% of the recently curated interactions, significantly exceeding the 2.1% recognition rate by the HT-Y2H experiment. We have used the method to reconstruct the proteome-wide HTLV-human PPI networks and further conducted gene ontology based clustering of the predicted networks for further biomedical research. The gene ontology based clustering analysis of the predictions provides much biological insight into the pathogenesis of HTLV retroviruses.
The Multi-instance AdaBoost method can effectively address the problems of data scarcity and data unavailability for the proteome-wide HTLV-human PPI interaction networks reconstruction. The gene ontology based clustering analysis of the predictions reveals some important signaling pathways and biological modules that HTLV retroviruses are likely to target.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2105-15-245) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4133621  PMID: 25037487
7.  Spinal SIRT1 Activation Attenuates Neuropathic Pain in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100938.
Abnormal histone acetylation occurs during neuropathic pain through an epigenetic mechanism. Silent information regulator 1 (sir2 or SIRT1), a NAD-dependent deacetylase, plays complex systemic roles in a variety of processes through deacetylating acetylated histone and other specific substrates. But the role of SIRT1 in neuropathic pain is not well established yet. The present study was intended to detect SIRT1 content and activity, nicotinamide (NAM) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) in the spinal cord using immunoblotting or mass spectroscopy over time in mice following chronic constriction injury (CCI) or sham surgery. In addition, the effect of intrathecal injection of NAD or resveratrol on thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia was evaluated in CCI mice. Finally, we investigated whether SIRT1 inhibitor EX-527 could reverse the anti-nociceptive effect of NAD or resveratrol. It was found that spinal SIRT1 expression, deacetylase activity and NAD/NAM decreased significantly 1, 3, 7, 14 and 21 days after CCI surgery as compared with sham group. In addition, daily intrathecal injection of 5 µl 800 mM NAD 1 h before and 1 day after CCI surgery or single intrathecal injection of 5 µl 90 mM resveratrol 1 h before CCI surgery produced a transient inhibitory effect on thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia in CCI mice. Finally, an intrathecal injection of 5 µl 1.2 mM EX-527 1 h before NAD or resveratrol administration reversed the anti-nociceptive effect of NAD or resveratrol. These data indicate that the reduction in SIRT1 deacetylase activity may be a factor contributing to the development of neuropathic pain in CCI mice. Our findings suggest that the enhancement of spinal NAD/NAM and/or SIRT1 activity may be a potentially promising strategy for the prevention or treatment of neuropathic pain.
PMCID: PMC4069177  PMID: 24959710
8.  Profiling Animal Toxicants by Automatically Mining Public Bioassay Data: A Big Data Approach for Computational Toxicology 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99863.
In vitro bioassays have been developed and are currently being evaluated as potential alternatives to traditional animal toxicity models. Already, the progress of high throughput screening techniques has resulted in an enormous amount of publicly available bioassay data having been generated for a large collection of compounds. When a compound is tested using a collection of various bioassays, all the testing results can be considered as providing a unique bio-profile for this compound, which records the responses induced when the compound interacts with different cellular systems or biological targets. Profiling compounds of environmental or pharmaceutical interest using useful toxicity bioassay data is a promising method to study complex animal toxicity. In this study, we developed an automatic virtual profiling tool to evaluate potential animal toxicants. First, we automatically acquired all PubChem bioassay data for a set of 4,841 compounds with publicly available rat acute toxicity results. Next, we developed a scoring system to evaluate the relevance between these extracted bioassays and animal acute toxicity. Finally, the top ranked bioassays were selected to profile the compounds of interest. The resulting response profiles proved to be useful to prioritize untested compounds for their animal toxicity potentials and form a potential in vitro toxicity testing panel. The protocol developed in this study could be combined with structure-activity approaches and used to explore additional publicly available bioassay datasets for modeling a broader range of animal toxicities.
PMCID: PMC4064997  PMID: 24950175
9.  Fistular onion stalk extract exhibits anti-atherosclerotic effects in rats 
Fistular onion stalk is used as a traditional herbal medicine, and its extract exhibits certain beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. In this study, the effects of fistular onion stalk extract on the pathological features, circulating inflammatory cytokines, local renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and signaling pathway activities were examined using an in vivo model of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis of the aorta was induced by loading Sprague Dawley rats with a high-fat diet and vitamin D2. Fistular onion stalk extract administration began five weeks after the induction of atherosclerosis and continued for 12 weeks. Rats treated with fistular onion stalk extract showed a significant reduction in the pathological region compared with the vehicle-treated controls. Inhibition of atherosclerosis was associated with preservation of the vascular wall and immune cell infiltration. The extract also reduced the levels of the local inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and tumor necrosis factor-α. Furthermore, the extract downregulated the local activity of the RAAS. In addition, extract treatment inhibited several inflammatory signaling pathways by preventing phosphorylation, including the nuclear factor κB, Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways. These data indicate that fistular onion stalk extract may be useful for the attenuation of atherosclerosis, and the mechanism includes the regulation of the local inflammatory response.
PMCID: PMC4113633  PMID: 25120600
fistular onion stalk extract; atherosclerosis; inflammatory cytokine; renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system
10.  Research on the Interaction between Tubeimoside 1 and HepG2 Cells Using the Microscopic Imaging and Fluorescent Spectra Method 
The treatment of cancer draws interest from researchers worldwide. Of the different extracts from traditional Chinese medicines, Tubeimoside 1 (TBMS 1) is regarded as an effective treatment for cancer. To determine the mechanism of TBMS 1, the shape/pattern of HepG2 cells based on the microscopic imaging technology was determined to analyze experimental results; then the fluorescent spectra method was designed to investigate whether TBMS 1 affected HepG2 cells. A three-dimensional (3D) fluorescent spectra sweep was performed to determine the characteristic wave peak of HepG2 cells. A 2D fluorescent spectra method was then used to show the florescence change in HepG2 cells following treatment with TBMS 1. Finally, flow cytometry was employed to analyze the cell cycle of HepG2 cells. It was shown that TBMS 1 accelerated the death of HepG2 cells and had a strong dose- and time-dependent growth inhibitory effect on HepG2 cells, especially at the G2/M phase. These results indicate that the fluorescent spectra method is a promising substitute for flow cytometry as it is rapid and cost-effective in HepG2 cells.
PMCID: PMC4052789  PMID: 24963337
11.  Anti-Inflammatory Effects of the Bioactive Compound Ferulic Acid Contained in Oldenlandia diffusa on Collagen-Induced Arthritis in Rats 
Objectives. This study aimed to identify the active compounds in Oldenlandia diffusa (OD) decoction and the compounds absorbed into plasma, and to determine whether the absorbed compounds derived from OD exerted any anti-inflammatory effects in rats with collagen induced arthritis (CIA). Methods. The UPLC-PDA (Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography Photo-Diode Array) method was applied to identify the active compounds both in the decoction and rat plasma. The absorbable compound was administered to the CIA rats, and the effects were dynamically observed. X-ray films of the joints and HE stain of synovial tissues were analyzed. The levels of IL-1β and TNF-α in the rats from each group were measured by means of ELISA. The absorbed compound in the plasma of CIA rats was identified as ferulic acid (FA), following OD decoction administration. Two weeks after the administration of FA solution or OD decoction, the general conditions improved compared to the model group. The anti-inflammatory effect of FA was inferior to that of the OD decoction (P < 0.05), based on a comparison of IL-1β TNF-α levels. FA from the OD decoction was absorbed into the body of CIA rats, where it elicited anti-inflammatory responses in rats with CIA. Conclusions. These results suggest that FA is the bioactive compound in OD decoction, and FA exerts its effects through anti-inflammatory pathways.
PMCID: PMC4026839  PMID: 24883069
12.  Protein Inhibitor of Activated STAT 1 (PIAS1) Is Identified as the SUMO E3 Ligase of CCAAT/Enhancer-Binding Protein β (C/EBPβ) during Adipogenesis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(22):4606-4617.
It is well recognized that PIAS1, a SUMO (small ubiquitin-like modifier) E3 ligase, modulates such cellular processes as cell proliferation, DNA damage responses, and inflammation responses. Recent studies have shown that PIAS1 also plays a part in cell differentiation. However, the role of PIAS1 in adipocyte differentiation remains unknown. CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein β (C/EBPβ), a major regulator of adipogenesis, is a target of SUMOylation, but the E3 ligase responsible for the SUMOylation of C/EBPβ has not been identified. The present study showed that PIAS1 functions as a SUMO E3 ligase of C/EBPβ to regulate adipogenesis. PIAS1 expression was significantly and transiently induced on day 4 of 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation, when C/EBPβ began to decline. PIAS1 was found to interact with C/EBPβ through the SAP (scaffold attachment factor A/B/acinus/PIAS) domain and SUMOylate it, leading to increased ubiquitination and degradation of C/EBPβ. C/EBPβ became more stable when PIAS1 was silenced by RNA interference (RNAi). Moreover, adipogenesis was inhibited by overexpression of wild-type PIAS1 and promoted by knockdown of PIAS1. The mutational study indicated that the catalytic activity of SUMO E3 ligase was required for PIAS1 to restrain adipogenesis. Importantly, the inhibitory effect of PIAS1 overexpression on adipogenesis was rescued by overexpressed C/EBPβ. Thus, PIAS1 could play a dynamic role in adipogenesis by promoting the SUMOylation of C/EBPβ.
PMCID: PMC3838193  PMID: 24061474
13.  Human intestinal transporter database: QSAR modeling and virtual profiling of drug uptake, efflux and interactions 
Pharmaceutical research  2012;30(4):996-1007.
Membrane transporters mediate many biological effects of chemicals and play a major role in pharmacokinetics and drug resistance. The selection of viable drug candidates among biologically active compounds requires the assessment of their transporter interaction profiles.
Using public sources, we have assembled and curated the largest, to our knowledge, human intestinal transporter database (>5,000 interaction entries for >3,700 molecules). This data was used to develop thoroughly validated classification Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (QSAR) models of transport and/or inhibition of several major transporters including MDR1, BCRP, MRP1-4, PEPT1, ASBT, OATP2B1, OCT1, and MCT1.
Results & Conclusions
QSAR models have been developed with advanced machine learning techniques such as Support Vector Machines, Random Forest, and k Nearest Neighbors using Dragon and MOE chemical descriptors. These models afforded high external prediction accuracies of 71–100% estimated by 5-fold external validation, and showed hit retrieval rates with up to 20-fold enrichment in the virtual screening of DrugBank compounds. The compendium of predictive QSAR models developed in this study can be used for virtual profiling of drug candidates and/or environmental agents with the optimal transporter profiles.
PMCID: PMC3596480  PMID: 23269503
membrane transport proteins; ADMET; drug transport; permeability; efflux
14.  The Discovery of Novel Antimalarial Compounds Enabled by QSAR-based Virtual Screening 
Quantitative structure–activity relationship (QSAR) models have been developed for a dataset of 3133 compounds defined as either active or inactive against P. falciparum. Since the dataset was strongly biased towards inactive compounds, different sampling approaches were employed to balance the ratio of actives vs. inactives, and models were rigorously validated using both internal and external validation approaches. The balanced accuracy for assessing the antimalarial activities of 70 external compounds was between 87% and 100% depending on the approach used to balance the dataset. Virtual screening of the ChemBridge database using QSAR models identified 176 putative antimalarial compounds that were submitted for experimental validation, along with 42 putative inactives as negative controls. Twenty five (14.2%) computational hits were found to have antimalarial activities with minimal cytotoxicity to mammalian cells, while all 42 putative inactives were confirmed experimentally. Structural inspection of confirmed active hits revealed novel chemical scaffolds, which could be employed as starting points to discover novel antimalarial agents.
PMCID: PMC3644566  PMID: 23252936
Antimalarial activity; quantitative structure–activity relationships; virtual screening; experimental confirmation
15.  Transactivation of Atg4b by C/EBPβ Promotes Autophagy To Facilitate Adipogenesis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(16):3180-3190.
Autophagy is a highly conserved self-digestion pathway involved in various physiological and pathophysiological processes. Recent studies have implicated a pivotal role of autophagy in adipocyte differentiation, but the molecular mechanism for its role and how it is regulated during this process are not clear. Here, we show that CCAAT /enhancer-binding protein β (C/EBPβ), an important adipogenic factor, is required for the activation of autophagy during 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation. An autophagy-related gene, Atg4b, is identified as a de novo target gene of C/EBPβ and is shown to play an important role in 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation. Furthermore, autophagy is required for the degradation of Klf2 and Klf3, two negative regulators of adipocyte differentiation, which is mediated by the adaptor protein p62/SQSTM1. Importantly, the regulation of autophagy by C/EBPβ and the role of autophagy in Klf2/3 degradation and in adipogenesis are further confirmed in mouse models. Our data describe a novel function of C/EBPβ in regulating autophagy and reveal the mechanism of autophagy during adipocyte differentiation. These new insights into the molecular mechanism of adipose tissue development provide a functional pathway with therapeutic potential against obesity and its related metabolic disorders.
PMCID: PMC3753907  PMID: 23754749
16.  Fetal deficiency of Lin28 programs life-long aberrations in growth and glucose metabolism 
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2013;31(8):1563-1573.
LIN28A/B are RNA binding proteins implicated by genetic association studies in human growth and glucose metabolism. Mice with ectopic over-expression of Lin28a have shown related phenotypes. Here we describe the first comprehensive analysis of the physiologic consequences of Lin28a and Lin28b deficiency in knockout (KO) mice. Lin28a/b-deficiency led to dwarfism starting at different ages, and compound gene deletions showed a cumulative dosage effect on organismal growth. Conditional gene deletion at specific developmental stages revealed that fetal but neither neonatal nor adult deficiency resulted in growth defects and aberrations in glucose metabolism. Tissue-specific KO mice implicated skeletal muscle-deficiency in the abnormal programming of adult growth and metabolism. The effects of Lin28b KO can be rescued by Tsc1 haplo-insufficiency in skeletal muscles. Our data implicate fetal expression of Lin28a/b in the regulation of life-long effects on metabolism and growth, and demonstrate that fetal Lin28b acts at least in part via mTORC1 signaling.
PMCID: PMC3775935  PMID: 23666760
Lin28a; Lin28b; dwarfism; growth; glucose metabolism; diabetes; let-7; mTOR
Journal of statistical research  2012;46(2):157-186.
We introduce the Interactive Decision Committee method for classification when high-dimensional feature variables are grouped into feature categories. The proposed method uses the interactive relationships among feature categories to build base classifiers which are combined using decision committees. A two-stage or a single-stage 5-fold cross-validation technique is utilized to decide the total number of base classifiers to be combined. The proposed procedure is useful for classifying biochemicals on the basis of toxicity activity, where the feature space consists of chemical descriptors and the responses are binary indicators of toxicity activity. Each descriptor belongs to at least one descriptor category. The support vector machine, the random forests, and the tree-based AdaBoost algorithms are utilized as classifier inducers. Forward selection is used to select the best combinations of the base classifiers given the number of base classifiers. Simulation studies demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms a single large, unaggregated classifier in the presence of interactive feature category information. We applied the proposed method to two toxicity data sets associated with chemical compounds. For these data sets, the proposed method improved classification performance for the majority of outcomes compared to a single large, unaggregated classifier.
PMCID: PMC3887560  PMID: 24415822
Chemical toxicity; Decision committee method; Ensemble; Ensemble feature selection; QSAR modeling; Statistical learning
18.  Krüppel-Like Factor 6 Rendered Rat Schwann Cell More Sensitive to Apoptosis via Upregulating FAS Expression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82449.
Krüppel-like factor 6 (KLF6) is a tumor suppressor gene and play a role in the regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis. After the peripheral nerve injury (PNI), the microenvironment created by surrounding Schwann cells (SCs) is a critical determinant of its regenerative potential. In this study, we examined the effects of KLF6 on SCs responses during PNI. Both KLF6 mRNA and protein expression levels were upregulated in the injured sciatic nerve, and immunofluorescence results showed that many KLF6-positive cells simultaneously expressed the SC markers S-100 and p75NTR. The apoptosis inducers TNFα and cisplatin upregulated KLF6 expression in primary cultured SCs and the SC line RSC96. Although KLF6 overexpression exacerbated cisplatin- and TNFα-induced apoptosis, expression levels of the apoptosis regulators Bcl2 and Bax were not significantly affected in either KLF6-overexpressing or KLF6-depleted RSC96 cells. Realtime PCR arrays and qRT-PCR demonstrated that KLF6 overexpression upregulated four pro-apoptotic genes, FAS, TNF, TNFSF12, and PYCARD, and inhibited expression of the anti-apoptotic IL10 gene expression. Further analysis revealed that FAS protein expression was positively correlated with KLF6 expression in SCs. These data suggest that KLF6 upregulation may render SCs more vulnerable to apoptosis after injury via upregulating FAS expression.
PMCID: PMC3853331  PMID: 24324791
19.  ANRIL/CDKN2B-AS shows two-stage clade-specific evolution and becomes conserved after transposon insertions in simians 
Many long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) genes identified in mammals have multiple exons and functional domains, allowing them to bind to polycomb proteins, DNA methyltransferases, and specific DNA sequences to regulate genome methylation. Little is known about the origin and evolution of lncRNAs. ANRIL/CDKN2B-AS consists of 19 exons on human chromosome 9p21 and regulates the expression of three cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (CDKN2A/ARF/CDKN2B).
ANRIL/CDKN2B-AS originated in placental mammals, obtained additional exons during mammalian evolution but gradually lost them during rodent evolution, and reached 19 exons only in simians. ANRIL lacks splicing signals in mammals. In simians, multiple transposons were inserted and transformed into exons of the ANRIL gene, after which ANRIL became highly conserved. A further survey reveals that multiple transposons exist in many lncRNAs.
ANRIL shows a two-stage, clade-specific evolutionary process and is fully developed only in simians. The domestication of multiple transposons indicates an impressive pattern of “evolutionary tinkering” and is likely to be important for ANRIL’s structure and function. The evolution of lncRNAs and that of transposons may be highly co-opted in primates. Many lncRNAs may be functional only in simians.
PMCID: PMC3831594  PMID: 24225082
20.  A network of heterochronic genes including Imp1 regulates temporal changes in stem cell properties 
eLife  2013;2:e00924.
Stem cell properties change over time to match the changing growth and regeneration demands of tissues. We showed previously that adult forebrain stem cell function declines during aging because of increased expression of let-7 microRNAs, evolutionarily conserved heterochronic genes that reduce HMGA2 expression. Here we asked whether let-7 targets also regulate changes between fetal and adult stem cells. We found a second let-7 target, the RNA binding protein IMP1, that is expressed by fetal, but not adult, neural stem cells. IMP1 expression was promoted by Wnt signaling and Lin28a expression and opposed by let-7 microRNAs. Imp1-deficient neural stem cells were prematurely depleted in the dorsal telencephalon due to accelerated differentiation, impairing pallial expansion. IMP1 post-transcriptionally inhibited the expression of differentiation-associated genes while promoting the expression of self-renewal genes, including Hmga2. A network of heterochronic gene products including Lin28a, let-7, IMP1, and HMGA2 thus regulates temporal changes in stem cell properties.
eLife digest
Stem cells are found throughout the body, and play key roles in promoting tissue growth during fetal development, and in maintaining tissues in the adult. When stem cells divide, they can either give rise to more stem cells, or they can generate specialized cells required for tissue function. However, the properties of stem cells must change over time to match the changing growth and regeneration demands of tissues.
A previous study by Nishino et al. has shown that expression of a micro RNA molecule called let-7 increases throughout adulthood, and this reduces the activity of stem cells in older animals. Now, Nishino et al. report that let-7, and other genes it regulates, also control the dramatic changes that occur in the properties of stem cells between fetal development and adulthood. Whereas stem cells in the fetal forebrain undergo rapid division and are capable of generating many different cell types, stem cells in the adult forebrain divide less often and can generate only a few specific types of cell. While Nishino et al. performed their study on stem cells in the brain, their results are likely to apply also to stem cells in other tissues.
Nishino et al. show that let-7 regulates the production of an RNA binding protein called IMP1. Mice with stem cells that lack IMP1 have a smaller cerebral cortex than normal mice because their stem cells undergo fewer rounds of division before committing to become brain cells. Additional experiments revealed that IMP1 inhibits the expression of genes that trigger stem cells to commit to specific fates and promotes the expression of genes related to self-renewal.
These results indicate that the gene that encodes IMP1 is expressed in fetal neural stem cells, but not in adult neural stem cells, and that the reduced production of this protein contributes to the developmental switch from highly proliferative neural stem cells in the fetus to the more quiescent stem cells found in adults. Further studies are likely to identify many more targets of let-7 that enable stem cells to adapt their properties to the changing needs of the organism over time.
These results are interesting because let-7-regulated networks were first discovered based on their ability to regulate the timing of developmental transitions in worms. This suggests that the mechanisms employed by mammalian tissue stem cells to regulate changes in their properties over time, are at least partly evolutionarily conserved mechanisms inherited from invertebrates.
PMCID: PMC3817382  PMID: 24192035
neural stem cell; heterochronic gene; cortical development; Mouse
21.  A liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry assay for the analysis of atomoxetine in human plasma and in vitro cellular samples 
Biomedical chromatography : BMC  2012;26(11):1364-1370.
A simple, rapid and sensitive method for quantification of atomoxetine by liquid chromatography- tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was developed. This assay represents the first LC-MS/MS quantification method for atomoxetine utilizing electrospray ionization. Deuterated atomoxetine (d3-atomoxetine) was adopted as the internal standard. Direct protein precipitation was utilized for sample preparation. This method was validated for both human plasma and in vitro cellular samples. The lower limit of quantification was 3 ng/ml and 10 nM for human plasma and cellular samples, respectively. The calibration curves were linear within the ranges of 3 ng/ml to 900 ng/ml and 10 nM to 10 μM for human plasma and cellular samples, respectively (r2 > 0.999). The intra- and inter-day assay accuracy and precision were evaluated using quality control samples at 3 different concentrations in both human plasma and cellular lysate. Sample run stability, assay selectivity, matrix effect, and recovery were also successfully demonstrated. The present assay is superior to previously published LC-MS and LC-MS/MS methods in terms of sensitivity or the simplicity of sample preparation. This assay is applicable to the analysis of atomoxetine in both human plasma and in vitro cellular samples.
PMCID: PMC3391541  PMID: 22275222
Atomoxetine; LC-MS/MS; human plasma; in vitro; protein precipitation
22.  UPLC-PDA determination of paeoniflorin in rat plasma following the oral administration of Radix Paeoniae Alba and its effects on rats with collagen-induced arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disabling autoimmune disease with characteristics of chronic, progressive inflammatory joint synovial damage, which mainly encroaches upon the synovium of the joint. The use of traditional medicine to treat RA slows the development of RA to a certain extent; however, it often has numerous side-effects. Therefore, the focus of RA research is the identification of a new, safe and effective medicine. The aim of the present study was to use an ultra performance liquid chromatography and photo diode array (UPLC-PDA) method to detect the paeoniflorin component in a Radix Paeoniae Alba decoction and in rat plasma following the oral administration of Radix Paeoniae Alba decoction. In addition, the effects of paeoniflorin on collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in rats were investigated. The results indicate that a UPLC-PDA method for determining the presence of paeoniflorin in the Radix Paeoniae Alba decoction was successfully established. The method was fast, simple, sensitive, precise and valid. Paeoniflorin was shown to be a bioactive component of the Radix Paeoniae Alba decoction that was absorbed into rat plasma. Paeoniflorin significantly improved the disease resistant ability of RA rats and reduced the levels of the inflammatory cytokines, IL-1β and TNF-α, thereby inhibiting inflammation and bone erosion in the rats with CIA. The observations are likely to lay the foundation for further study of the mechanism of paeoniflorin in the treatment of RA.
PMCID: PMC3861030  PMID: 24348792
ultra performance liquid chromatography; Radix Paeoniae Alba; paeoniflorin; collagen-induced arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; bizhongxiao decoction
23.  An Interactive Association of Advanced Glycation End-Product Receptor Gene Four Common Polymorphisms with Coronary Artery Disease in Northeastern Han Chinese 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76966.
Growing evidence indicates that advanced glycation end-product receptor (RAGE) might play a contributory role in the pathogenesis of coronary artery disease (CAD). To shed some light from a genetic perspective, we sought to investigate the interactive association of RAGE gene four common polymorphisms (rs1800625 or T-429C, rs1800624 or T-374A, rs2070600 or Gly82Ser, and rs184003 or G1704A) with the risk of developing CAD in a large northeastern Han Chinese population.
Methodology/Principal Findings
This was a hospital-based case-control study incorporating 1142 patients diagnosed with CAD and 1106 age- and gender-matched controls. All individuals were angiographically confirmed. Risk estimates were expressed as odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI). Overall there were significant differences in the genotype and allele distributions of rs1800625 and rs184003, even after the Bonferroni correction. Logistic regression analyses indicated that rs1800625 and rs184003 were associated with significant risk of CAD under both additive (OR = 1.20 and 1.23; 95% CI: 1.06–1.37 and 1.06–1.42; P = 0.006 and 0.008) and recessive (OR = 1.75 and 2.39; 95% CI: 1.28–2.40 and 1.47–3.87; P<0.001 and <0.001) models after adjusting for confounders. In haplotype analyses, haplotypes C-T-G-G and T-A-G-T (alleles in order of rs1800625, rs1800624, rs2070600 and rs184003), overrepresented in patients, were associated with 52% (95% CI: 1.19–1.87; P = 0.0052) and 63% (95% CI: 1.14–2.34; P = 0.0075) significant increases in adjusted risk for CAD. Further interactive analyses identified an overall best multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR) model including rs1800625 and rs184003. This model had a maximal testing accuracy of 0.6856 and a cross-validation consistency of 10 out of 10 (P = 0.0016). The validity of this model was substantiated by classical Logistic regression analysis.
Our findings provided strong evidence for the potentially contributory roles of RAGE multiple genetic polymorphisms, especially in the context of locus-to-locus interaction, in the pathogenesis of CAD among northeastern Han Chinese.
PMCID: PMC3796558  PMID: 24155913
24.  Interaction of organic cation transporter 3 (SLC22A3) and amphetamine 
Journal of neurochemistry  2010;114(1):142-149.
The organic cation transporter (OCT) 3 is widely expressed in various organs in humans, and involved in the disposition of many exogenous and endogenous compounds. Several lines of evidence have suggested that OCT3 expressed in the brain plays an important role in the regulation of neurotransmission. Relative to wild-type (WT) animals, Oct3 knockout (KO) mice have displayed altered behavioral and neurochemical responses to psychostimulants such as amphetamine (AMPH) and methamphetamine. In the present study, both in vitro and in vivo approaches were utilized to explore potential mechanisms underlying the disparate neuropharmacological effects observed following AMPH exposure in Oct3 KO mice. In vitro uptake studies conducted in OCT3 transfected cells indicated that dextroamphetamine (d-AMPH) is not a substrate of OCT3. However, OCT3 was determined to be a high-capacity and low-affinity transporter for the neurotransmitters dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE), and serotonin (5-HT). Inhibition studies demonstrated that d-AMPH exerts relatively weak inhibitory effects on the OCT3-mediated uptake of DA, NE, 5-HT, and the model OCT3 substrate 4-(4-(dimethylamino)styryl)-N-methylpyridinium iodide. The IC50 values were determined to be 41.5 ± 7.5 and 24.1 ± 7.0 μM for inhibiting DA and 5-HT uptake, respectively, while 50% inhibition of NE and 4-(4-(dimethylamino)styryl)-N-methylpyridinium iodide uptake was not achieved by even the highest concentration of d-AMPH applied (100 μM). Furthermore, the disposition of d-AMPH in various tissues including the brain, liver, heart, kidney, muscle, intestine, spleen, testis, uterus, and plasma were determined in both male and female Oct3 KO and WT mice. No significant difference was observed between either genotypes or sex in all tested organs and tissues. Our findings suggest that OCT3 is not a prominent factor influencing the disposition of d-AMPH. Additionally, based upon the inhibitory potency observed in vitro, d-AMPH is unlikely to inhibit the uptake of monoamines mediated by OCT3 in the brain. Differentiated neuropharmacological effects of AMPHs noted between Oct3 KO and WT mice appear to be due to the absence of Oct3 mediated uptake of neurotransmitters in the KO mice.
PMCID: PMC3775896  PMID: 20402963
amphetamine; inhibitor; monoamine neurotransmitters; organic cation transporter 3; substrate
25.  Reversal Effects of Pantoprazole on Multidrug Resistance in Human Gastric Adenocarcinoma Cells by Down-Regulating the V-ATPases/mTOR/HIF-1α/P-gp and MRP1 Signaling Pathway In Vitro and In Vivo 
Journal of cellular biochemistry  2012;113(7):2474-2487.
To investigate reversal effects of pantoprazole (PPZ) on multidrug resistance (MDR) in human gastric adenocarcinoma cells in vivo and in vitro. Human gastric adenocarcinoma cell SGC7901 was cultured in RPMI-1640 medium supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum and antibiotics in a humidified 5% CO2 atmosphere at 37°C. Adriamycin (ADR)-resistant cells were cultured with addition of 0.8 μg/ml of ADR maintaining MDR phenotype. ADR was used to calculate ADR releasing index; CCK-8 Assay was performed to evaluate the cytotoxicity of anti-tumor drugs; BCECF-AM pH-sensitive fluorescent probe was used to measure intracellular pH (pHi) value of cells, whereas pH value of medium was considered as extracellular pH (pHe) value; Western blotting and immunofluorescent staining analyses were employed to determine protein expressions and intracellular distributions of vacuolar H+-ATPases (V-ATPases), mTOR, HIF-1α, P-glycoprotein (P-gp), and multidrug resistant protein 1 (MRP1); SGC7901 and SGC7901/ADR cells were inoculated in athymic nude mice. Thereafter, effects of ADR with or without PPZ pretreatment were compared by determining the tumor size and weight, apoptotic cells in tumor tissues were detected by TUNEL assay. At concentrations greater than 20 μg/ml, PPZ pretreatment reduced ADR releasing index and significantly enhanced intracellular ADR concentration of SGC7901 (P <0.01). Similarly, PPZ pretreatment significantly decreased ADR releasing index of SGC7901/ADR dose-dependently (P <0.01). PPZ pretreatment also decreased cell viabilities of SGG7901 and SGC7901/ADR dose-dependently. After 24-h PPZ pretreatment, administration of chemotherapeutic agents demonstrated maximal cytotoxic effects on SGC7901 and SGC7901/ADR cells (P < 0.05). The resistance index in PPZ pretreatment group was significantly lower than that in non-PPZ pretreatment group (3.71 vs. 14.80). PPZ at concentration >10 μg/ml significantly decreased pHi in SGC7901 and SGC7901/ADR cells and diminished or reversed transmembrane pH gradient (P < 0.05). PPZ pretreatment also significantly inhibited protein expressions of V-ATPases, mTOR, HIF-1α, P-gp, and MRP1, and alter intracellular expressions in parent and ADR-resistant cells (P < 0.05). In vivo experiments further confirmed that PPZ pretreatment could enhance anti-tumor effects of ADR on xenografted tumor of nude mice and also improve the apoptotic index in xenografted tumor tissues. PPZ pretreatment enhances the cytotoxic effects of anti-tumor drugs on SGC7901 and reverse MDR of SGC7901/ADR by downregulating the V-ATPases/mTOR/HIF-1α/P-gp and MRP1 signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC3762681  PMID: 22396185

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