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1.  RNA-Binding Protein AUF1 Promotes Myogenesis by Regulating MEF2C Expression Levels 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(16):3106-3119.
The mammalian RNA-binding protein AUF1 (AU-binding factor 1, also known as heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein D [hnRNP D]) binds to numerous mRNAs and influences their posttranscriptional fate. Given that many AUF1 target mRNAs encode muscle-specific factors, we investigated the function of AUF1 in skeletal muscle differentiation. In mouse C2C12 myocytes, where AUF1 levels rise at the onset of myogenesis and remain elevated throughout myocyte differentiation into myotubes, RNP immunoprecipitation (RIP) analysis indicated that AUF1 binds prominently to Mef2c (myocyte enhancer factor 2c) mRNA, which encodes the key myogenic transcription factor MEF2C. By performing mRNA half-life measurements and polysome distribution analysis, we found that AUF1 associated with the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of Mef2c mRNA and promoted MEF2C translation without affecting Mef2c mRNA stability. In addition, AUF1 promoted Mef2c gene transcription via a lesser-known role of AUF1 in transcriptional regulation. Importantly, lowering AUF1 delayed myogenesis, while ectopically restoring MEF2C expression levels partially rescued the impairment of myogenesis seen after reducing AUF1 levels. We propose that MEF2C is a key effector of the myogenesis program promoted by AUF1.
PMCID: PMC4135590  PMID: 24891619
2.  Secondary Antifungal Prophylaxis in Hematological Malignancy Patients with Previous Invasive Fungal Disease: A Retrospective Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115461.
Invasive fungal disease (IFD) causes morbidity and mortality in patients with hematological malignancy. Recurrence of IFD after chemotherapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is associated with poor prognosis. The present study aimed to investigate the efficacy of different strategies of secondary antifungal prophylaxis (SAP) for IFD and choose an appropriate SAP regimen.
Clinical data of patients with previous IFD who underwent chemotherapy or HSCT between Jan 2008 and Jun 2013 were retrospectively reviewed and followed up to 180 days post-chemotherapy or HSCT. The clinical characteristics and diagnosis were analyzed according to the diagnostic criteria for IFD. The efficacy of different strategies for SAP and risk factors influencing the failure of SAP were evaluated.
Of the 164 patients enrolled, 121 patients received SAP regimen (73.78%), and IFD recurred in 40 patients: 16.5% (20/121) in SAP group and 46.5% (20/43) in non-SAP group. In SAP group, 58 received SAP agents which were proven effective for their previous IFD, while other 63 patients received other broad-spectrum antifungal agents. There was no significant difference in the recurrence rates between these two subgroups (13.8% (8/58) vs 19.0% (12/63), P = 0.437). The IFD recurrence rates were statistically significant between patients with allogeneic HSCT and chemotherapy or autologous HSCT (25% vs 8.2%, P = 0.013). Multivariate analysis indicated that allogeneic HSCT was the independent risk factor of IFD recurrence after SAP.
Secondary antifungal prophylaxis is necessary to prevent IFD recurrence in patients with hematological malignancy, especially for patients in the setting of allogeneic HSCT.
PMCID: PMC4274009  PMID: 25531544
3.  Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Treatment of Patients with Leukemia Concomitant with Active Tuberculosis Infection 
Currently, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is still an essential treatment approach for leukemia. However, patients with leukemia often have weakened immune function, especially more seriously compromised cellular immune response, and appear to be at greater risk for tuberculosis infection during the transplantation process. We aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for the treatment of patients with leukemia accompanying active tuberculosis infection.
We retrospectively analyzed records of 7 consecutive patients who were diagnosed with leukemia concomitant with active tuberculosis infection and who underwent hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in our hospital from January 2006 to December 2012.
Among these 7 patients (4 males and 3 females; median age: 38 years; range: 30–46 years), the mean duration of anti-TB treatment before transplantation was 3 months (range: 2–4.5 months). All patients acquired engraftment, with an implantation rate of 100%. After transplantation, the mean duration of anti-TB treatment was 12 months. All patients had response after receiving anti-TB treatment. One patient died of leukemia relapse 6 months after the transplantation, but no tuberculosis infection-related death was reported.
Patients with leukemia concomitant with active tuberculosis infection can be treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation if they receive an effective anti-TB treatment regimen. The anti-TB treatment regimen had no effect against hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and was well-tolerated. All post-transplanted patients experienced no relapse of tuberculosis during the immune-suppression period. The findings in the present investigation deserve further in-depth study.
PMCID: PMC4260619  PMID: 25433702
Adult Stem Cells; Leukemia, Biphenotypic, Acute; Mycobacterium Tuberculosis
4.  MNKs act as a regulatory switch for eIF4E1 and eIF4E3 driven mRNA translation in DLBCL 
Nature Communications  2014;5:5413.
The phosphorylation of eIF4E1 at serine 209 by MNK1 or MNK2 has been shown to initiate oncogenic mRNA translation, a process that favours cancer development and maintenance. Here, we interrogate the MNK-eIF4E axis in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and show a distinct distribution of MNK1 and MNK2 in germinal centre B-cell (GCB) and activated B-cell (ABC) DLBCL. Despite displaying a differential distribution in GCB and ABC, both MNKs functionally complement each other to sustain cell survival. MNK inhibition ablates eIF4E1 phosphorylation and concurrently enhances eIF4E3 expression. Loss of MNK protein itself downregulates total eIF4E1 protein level by reducing eIF4E1 mRNA polysomal loading without affecting total mRNA level or stability. Enhanced eIF4E3 expression marginally suppresses eIF4E1-driven translation but exhibits a unique translatome that unveils a novel role for eIF4E3 in translation initiation. We propose that MNKs can modulate oncogenic translation by regulating eIF4E1-eIF4E3 levels and activity in DLBCL.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a highly aggressive and heterogeneous type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Here the authors demonstrate that the differential regulation of eIF4E1 and eIF4E3 by the MAPK-interacting kinases is involved in DLBCL aetiology through modification of the cellular translatome.
PMCID: PMC4238046  PMID: 25403230
5.  Susceptibility Of Ph-Positive All To Tki Therapy Associated With Bcr-Abl Rearrangement Patterns: A Retrospective Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e110431.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have demonstrated success in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in patients that express BCR-ABL rearrangements (Philadelphia chromosome [Ph]). The current study aimed to assess the efficacy of TKIs and prognostic factors in the treatment of adults with Ph+-ALL.
In this multicenter retrospective study, the relationship between Ph+-ALL and treatment outcomes among Chinese patients receiving TKI-containing induction/consolidation chemotherapy was examined. A total of 86 Ph+-ALL patients were included and followed for 3.85 (0.43–9.30) years. Overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) were analyzed.
A total of 86 Ph+-ALL patients (40 females and 46 males; median age: 34.0 years) were enrolled, including those with BCR/ABL transcripts 190 (n = 52), 210 (n = 25), and 230 (n = 2); BCR/ABL isoform determination was not available for 7 patients. Mortality was influenced by variable BCR/ABL transcripts and TKI administration, and BCR/ABL transcripts, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), and TKI administration were associated with the occurrence of events. The OS rate in the TKI administration group during steady state was significantly higher compared with those patients who did not receive TKI administration (P = 0.008), the EFS rate in the TKI administration group during steady state was significantly higher compared with those patients who did not receive TKIs (P = 0.012), and also higher than those with TKI salvage administration (P = 0.004). BCR/ABL transcripts 210 showed preferable OS and EFS compared with BCR/ABL transcripts 190 and 230 (P<0.05 for each).
The susceptibility of Ph+-ALL to TKI associated with the patterns of BCR-ABL rearrangement is demonstrated for the first time, thus adding another risk-stratifying molecular prognostic tool for the management of patients with Ph+-ALL.
PMCID: PMC4240579  PMID: 25415187
6.  Age-associated changes in basal NF-κB function in human CD4+ T lymphocytes via dysregulation of PI3 kinase 
Aging (Albany NY)  2014;6(11):957-969.
Immune impairment and high circulating level of pro-inflammatory cytokines are landmarks of human aging. However, the molecular basis of immune dys-regulation and the source of inflammatory markers remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that in the absence of overt cell stimulation gene expression mediated by the transcription factor NF-κB is higher in purified and rested human CD4+ T lymphocytes from older compared to younger individuals. This increase of NF-κB-associated transcription includes transcripts for pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 and chemokines such as CCL2 and CXCL10. We demonstrate that NF-κB up-regulation is cell-intrinsic and mediated in part by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activity induced in response to metabolic activity, which can be moderated by rapamycin treatment. Our observations provide direct evidence that dys-regulated basal NF-κB activity may contribute to the mild pro-inflammatory state of aging.
PMCID: PMC4276789  PMID: 25553802
CD4+ T cells; NF-κB; PI3K; human aging; gene expression
7.  SRT2104 extends survival of male mice on a standard diet and preserves bone and muscle mass 
Aging Cell  2014;13(5):787-796.
Increased expression of SIRT1 extends the lifespan of lower organisms and delays the onset of age-related diseases in mammals. Here, we show that SRT2104, a synthetic small molecule activator of SIRT1, extends both mean and maximal lifespan of mice fed a standard diet. This is accompanied by improvements in health, including enhanced motor coordination, performance, bone mineral density, and insulin sensitivity associated with higher mitochondrial content and decreased inflammation. Short-term SRT2104 treatment preserves bone and muscle mass in an experimental model of atrophy. These results demonstrate it is possible to design a small molecule that can slow aging and delay multiple age-related diseases in mammals, supporting the therapeutic potential of SIRT1 activators in humans.
PMCID: PMC4172519  PMID: 24931715
healthspan; inflammation; lifespan; muscle wasting; osteoporosis; sirtuins
8.  Calorie restriction in humans inhibits the PI3K/AKT pathway and induces a younger transcription profile 
Aging cell  2013;12(4):645-651.
Caloric restriction (CR) and down-regulation of the insulin/IGF pathway are the most robust interventions known to increase longevity in lower organisms. However, little is known about the molecular adaptations induced by CR in humans. Here we report that long-term CR in humans inhibits the IGF-1/insulin pathway in skeletal muscle, a key metabolic tissue. We also demonstrate that CR-induced dramatic changes of the skeletal muscle transcriptional profile that resemble those of younger individuals. Finally, in both rats and humans CR evoked similar responses in the transcriptional profiles of skeletal muscle. This common signature consisted of three key pathways typically associated with longevity: IGF-1/insulin signaling, mitochondrial biogenesis and inflammation. Furthermore, our data identifies promising pathways for therapeutic targets to combat age-related diseases and promote health in humans.
PMCID: PMC3714316  PMID: 23601134
human; caloric restriction; skeletal muscle; insulin/IGF-1 signaling
9.  Changes in mouse cognition and hippocampal gene expression observed in a mild physical- and blast-traumatic brain injury 
Neurobiology of disease  2013;54:1-11.
Warfare has long been associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in militarized zones. Common forms of TBI can be caused by a physical insult to the head-brain or by the effects of a high velocity blast shock wave generated by the detonation of an explosive device. While both forms of trauma are distinctly different regarding the mechanism of trauma induction, there are striking similarities in the cognitive and emotional status of survivors. Presently, proven effective therapeutics for the treatment of either form of TBI are unavailable. To be able to develop efficacious therapies, studies involving animal models of physical- and blast-TBI are required to identify possible novel or existing medicines that may be of value in the management of clinical events. We examined indices of cognition and anxiety-like behavior and the hippocampal gene transcriptome of mice subjected to both forms of TBI. We identified common behavioral deficits and gene expression regulations, in addition to unique injury-specific forms of gene regulation. Molecular pathways presented a pattern similar to that seen in gene expression. Interestingly, pathways connected to Alzheimer’s disease displayed a markedly different form of regulation depending on the type of TBI. While these data highlight similarities in behavioral outcomes after trauma, the divergence in hippocampal transcriptome observed between models suggests that, at the molecular level, the TBIs are quite different. These models may provide tools to help define therapeutic approaches for the treatment of physical- and blast-TBIs. Based upon observations of increasing numbers of personnel displaying TBI related emotional and behavioral changes in militarized zones, the development of efficacious therapies will become a national if not a global priority.
PMCID: PMC3628969  PMID: 23454194
Physical-traumatic brain injury; Blast-traumatic brain injury; Cognitive dysfunction; Gene expression; Molecular pathway(s); Neurodegeneration; Stem cells; Alzheimer’s disease
10.  Molecular characterization of the transition to mid-life in Caenorhabditis elegans 
Age  2012;35(3):689-703.
We present an initial molecular characterization of a morphological transition between two early aging states. In previous work, an age score reflecting physiological age was developed using a machine classifier trained on images of worm populations at fixed chronological ages throughout their lifespan. The distribution of age scores identified three stable post-developmental states and transitions. The first transition occurs at day 5 post-hatching, where a significant percentage of the population exists in both state I and state II. The temperature dependence of the timing of this transition (Q10 ~ 1.17) is too low to be explained by a stepwise process with an enzymatic or chemical rate-limiting step, potentially implicating a more complex mechanism. Individual animals at day 5 were sorted into state I and state II groups using the machine classifier and analyzed by microarray expression profiling. Despite being isogenic, grown for the same amount of time, and indistinguishable by eye, these two morphological states were confirmed to be molecularly distinct by hierarchical clustering and principal component analysis of the microarray results. These molecular differences suggest that pharynx morphology reflects the aging state of the whole organism. Our expression profiling yielded a gene set that showed significant overlap with those from three previous age-related studies and identified several genes not previously implicated in aging. A highly represented group of genes unique to this study is involved in targeted ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis, including Skp1-related (SKR), F-box-containing, and BTB motif adaptors.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-012-9401-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3636400  PMID: 22610697
Machine classifier; Biomarker of aging; Metastable aging state; Microarray analysis
11.  The SIRT1 activator SRT1720 extends lifespan and improves health of mice fed a standard diet 
Cell reports  2014;6(5):836-843.
The prevention or delay of the onset of age-related diseases prolongs survival and improves quality of life while reducing the burden on the health care system. Activation of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), an NAD+ deacetylase, improves metabolism and confers protection against physiological and cognitive disturbances in old age. SRT1720 is a specific SIRT1 activator that has health and lifespan benefits in adult mice fed a high-fat diet. We found extension in lifespan, delayed onset of age-related metabolic diseases, and improved general health in mice fed a standard diet after SRT1720 supplementation. Inhibition of pro-inflammatory gene expression both in the liver and muscle of SRT1720-treated animals was noted. SRT1720 lowered phosphorylation of NF-κB pathway regulators in vitro only when SIRT1 was functionally present. Combined with our previous work, the current study further supports the beneficial effects of SRT1720 on health across the lifespan in mice.
PMCID: PMC4010117  PMID: 24582957
SRT1720; healthspan; standard diet; mice; longevity; SIRT1
12.  Combined treatment of rapamycin and dietary restriction has a larger effect on the transcriptome and metabolome of liver 
Aging Cell  2013;13(2):311-319.
Rapamycin (Rapa) and dietary restriction (DR) have consistently been shown to increase lifespan. To investigate whether Rapa and DR affect similar pathways in mice, we compared the effects of feeding mice ad libitum (AL), Rapa, DR, or a combination of Rapa and DR (Rapa + DR) on the transcriptome and metabolome of the liver. The principal component analysis shows that Rapa and DR are distinct groups. Over 2500 genes are significantly changed with either Rapa or DR when compared with mice fed AL; more than 80% are unique to DR or Rapa. A similar observation was made when genes were grouped into pathways; two-thirds of the pathways were uniquely changed by DR or Rapa. The metabolome shows an even greater difference between Rapa and DR; no metabolites in Rapa-treated mice were changed significantly from AL mice, whereas 173 metabolites were changed in the DR mice. Interestingly, the number of genes significantly changed by Rapa + DR when compared with AL is twice as large as the number of genes significantly altered by either DR or Rapa alone. In summary, the global effects of DR or Rapa on the liver are quite different and a combination of Rapa and DR results in alterations in a large number of genes and metabolites that are not significantly changed by either manipulation alone, suggesting that a combination of DR and Rapa would be more effective in extending longevity than either treatment alone.
PMCID: PMC3989927  PMID: 24304444
dietary restriction; metabolome; rapamycin; transcriptome
13.  Metformin improves healthspan and lifespan in mice 
Nature communications  2013;4:2192.
Metformin is a drug commonly prescribed to treat patients with type 2 diabetes. Here we show that long-term treatment with metformin (0.1% w/w in diet) starting at middle age extends healthspan and lifespan in male mice, while a higher dose (1% w/w) was toxic. Treatment with metformin mimics some of the benefits of calorie restriction, such as improved physical performance, increased insulin sensitivity, and reduced LDL and cholesterol levels without a decrease in caloric intake. At a molecular level, metformin increases AMP-activated protein kinase activity and increases antioxidant protection, resulting in reductions in both oxidative damage accumulation and chronic inflammation. Our results indicate that these actions may contribute to the beneficial effects of metformin on healthspan and lifespan. These findings are in agreement with current epidemiological data and raise the possibility of metformin-based interventions to promote healthy aging.
PMCID: PMC3736576  PMID: 23900241
14.  Down-Regulation of eIF4GII by miR-520c-3p Represses Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma Development 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(1):e1004105.
Deregulation of the translational machinery is emerging as a critical contributor to cancer development. The contribution of microRNAs in translational gene control has been established however; the role of microRNAs in disrupting the cap-dependent translation regulation complex has not been previously described. Here, we established that elevated miR-520c-3p represses global translation, cell proliferation and initiates premature senescence in HeLa and DLBCL cells. Moreover, we demonstrate that miR-520c-3p directly targets translation initiation factor, eIF4GII mRNA and negatively regulates eIF4GII protein synthesis. miR-520c-3p overexpression diminishes cells colony formation and reduces tumor growth in a human xenograft mouse model. Consequently, downregulation of eIF4GII by siRNA decreases translation, cell proliferation and ability to form colonies, as well as induces cellular senescence. In vitro and in vivo findings were further validated in patient samples; DLBCL primary cells demonstrated low miR-520c-3p levels with reciprocally up-regulated eIF4GII protein expression. Our results provide evidence that the tumor suppressor effect of miR-520c-3p is mediated through repression of translation while inducing senescence and that eIF4GII is a key effector of this anti-tumor activity.
Author Summary
Control of gene expression on the translational level is critical for proper function of major cellular processes and deregulation of translation can promote cellular transformation. Emerging actors in this post-transcriptional gene regulation are small non-coding RNAs referred to as microRNAs (miRNAs). We established that miR-520c-3p represses tumor growth through the repression of eIF4GII, a major structural component of the translation initiation complex. Since translation of most cellular mRNAs is primarily regulated at the level of initiation, this node is becoming a potential target for therapeutic intervention. Identified in this study, tumor suppressor function of miR-520c-3p is mediated through the inhibition of translational factor eIF4GII, resulting in the repression of global translational machinery and induction of senescence in tumor cells. While aging and senescence has been shown to be associated with reduced translation the linkage between translational deregulation and senescence in malignant cells has not been previously described. Lending further clinical significance to our findings, we were able to demonstrate that primary DLBCL samples had elevated levels of eIF4GII while having reciprocally low miR-520c-3p expression.
PMCID: PMC3907297  PMID: 24497838
15.  Mice Fed Rapamycin Have an Increase in Lifespan Associated with Major Changes in the Liver Transcriptome 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83988.
Rapamycin was found to increase (11% to 16%) the lifespan of male and female C57BL/6J mice most likely by reducing the increase in the hazard for mortality (i.e., the rate of aging) term in the Gompertz mortality analysis. To identify the pathways that could be responsible for rapamycin's longevity effect, we analyzed the transcriptome of liver from 25-month-old male and female mice fed rapamycin starting at 4 months of age. Few changes (<300 transcripts) were observed in transcriptome of rapamycin-fed males; however, a large number of transcripts (>4,500) changed significantly in females. Using multidimensional scaling and heatmap analyses, the male mice fed rapamycin were found to segregate into two groups: one group that is almost identical to control males (Rapa-1) and a second group (Rapa-2) that shows a change in gene expression (>4,000 transcripts) with more than 60% of the genes shared with female mice fed Rapa. Using ingenuity pathway analysis, 13 pathways were significantly altered in both Rapa-2 males and rapamycin-fed females with mitochondrial function as the most significantly changed pathway. Our findings show that rapamycin has a major effect on the transcriptome and point to several pathways that would likely impact the longevity.
PMCID: PMC3883653  PMID: 24409289
16.  Interrogation of brain miRNA and mRNA expression profiles reveals a molecular regulatory network that is perturbed by mutant huntingtin 
Journal of neurochemistry  2012;123(4):477-490.
Emerging evidence indicates that microRNAs (miRNAs) may play an important role in the pathogenesis of Huntington’s disease (HD). To identify the individual miRNAs that are altered in HD and may therefore regulate a gene network underlying mutant huntingtin-induced neuronal dysfunction in HD, we performed miRNA array analysis combined with mRNA profiling in the cerebral cortex from N171-82Q HD mice. Expression profiles of miRNAs as well as mRNAs in HD mouse cerebral cortex were analyzed and confirmed at different stages of disease progression; the most significant changes of miRNAs in the cerebral cortex were also detected in the striatum of HD mice. Our results revealed a significant alteration of miR-200 family members, miR-200a and miR-200c in the cerebral cortex and the striatum, at the early stage of disease progression in N171-82Q HD mice. We used a coordinated approach to integrate miRNA and mRNA profiling, and applied bioinformatics to predict a target gene network potentially regulated by these significantly altered miRNAs that might be involved in HD disease progression. Interestingly, miR-200a and miR-200c are predicted to target genes regulating synaptic function, neurodevelopment and neuronal survival. Our results suggest that altered expression of miR-200a and miR-200c may interrupt the production of proteins involved in neuronal plasticity and survival, and further investigation of the involvement of perturbed miRNA expression in HD pathogenesis is warranted, and may lead to reveal novel approaches for HD therapy.
PMCID: PMC3472040  PMID: 22906125
miRNA array; Huntington’s disease; gene array; miR-200; Trim2
17.  Response of microchip solid-state laser to external frequency-shifted feedback and its applications 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2912.
The response of the microchip solid-state Nd:YAG laser, which is subjected to external frequency-shifted feedback, is experimentally and theoretically analysed. The continuous weak response of the laser to the phase and amplitude of the feedback light is achieved by controlling the feedback power level, and this system can be used to achieve contact-free measurement of displacement, vibration, liquid evaporation and thermal expansion with nanometre accuracy in common room conditions without precise environmental control. Furthermore, a strong response, including chaotic harmonic and parametric oscillation, is observed, and the spectrum of this response, as examined by a frequency-stabilised Nd:YAG laser, indicates laser spectral linewidth broadening.
PMCID: PMC3793223  PMID: 24105389
18.  Age-related changes in microRNA levels in serum 
Aging (Albany NY)  2013;5(10):725-740.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression by targeting specific mRNAs. Altered expression of circulating miRNAs have been associated with age-related diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Although we and others have found an age-dependent decrease in miRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), little is known about the role of circulating miRNAs in human aging. Here, we examined miRNA expression in human serum from young (mean age 30 years) and old (mean age 64 years) individuals using next generation sequencing technology and real-time quantitative PCR. Of the miRNAs that we found to be present in serum, three were significantly decreased in 20 older individuals compared to 20 younger individuals: miR-151a-5p, miR-181a-5p and miR-1248. Consistent with our data in humans, these miRNAs are also present at lower levels in the serum of elderly rhesus monkeys. In humans, miR-1248 was found to regulate the expression of mRNAs involved in inflammatory pathways and miR-181a was found to correlate negatively with the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNFα and to correlate positively with the anti-inflammatory cytokines TGFβ and IL-10. These results suggest that circulating miRNAs may be a biological marker of aging and could also be important for regulating longevity. Identification of stable miRNA biomarkers in serum could have great potential as a noninvasive diagnostic tool as well as enhance our understanding of physiological changes that occur with age.
PMCID: PMC3838776  PMID: 24088671
circulating; miRNA; noncoding RNA; age; aging; biomarker; exRNA; extracellular RNA
19.  Genome-wide modeling of complex phenotypes in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:580.
The genetic and molecular basis for many intermediate and end stage phenotypes in model systems such as C. elegans and D. melanogaster has long been known to involve pleiotropic effects and complex multigenic interactions. Gene sets are groups of genes that contribute to multiple biological or molecular phenomena. They have been used in the analysis of large molecular datasets such as microarray data, Next Generation sequencing, and other genomic datasets to reveal pleiotropic and multigenic contributions to phenotypic outcomes. Many model systems lack species specific organized phenotype based gene sets to enable high throughput analysis of large molecular datasets.
Results and discussion
Here, we describe two novel collections of gene sets in C. elegans and D. melanogaster that are based exclusively on genetically determined phenotypes and use a controlled phenotypic ontology. We use these collections to build genome-wide models of thousands of defined phenotypes in both model species. In addition, we demonstrate the utility of these gene sets in systems analysis and in analysis of gene expression-based molecular datasets and show how they are useful in analysis of genomic datasets connecting multigenic gene inputs to complex phenotypes.
Phenotypic based gene sets in both C. elegans and D. melanogaster are developed, characterized, and shown to be useful in the analysis of large scale species-specific genomic datasets. These phenotypic gene set collections will contribute to the understanding of complex phenotypic outcomes in these model systems.
PMCID: PMC3849582  PMID: 23984798
C. elegans; D. melanogaster; Worm; Fly; Aging; Gene set; Phenotype; Ontology; Network; Gene expression
20.  Estimate of nocturnal blood pressure and detection of non-dippers based on clinical or ambulatory monitoring in the inpatient setting 
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is regarded as the gold standard for monitoring nocturnal blood pressure (NBP) and is usually performed out of office. Currently, a novel method for monitoring NBP is indispensible in the inpatient setting. The widely used manual BP monitoring procedure has the potential to monitor NBP in the hospital setting. The feasibility and accuracy of manual sphygmomanometer to monitor NBP has not been explored widely.
A cross-sectional study was conducted at the cardiology department of a university-affiliated hospital to study patients with mild-to-moderate essential hypertension. One hundred and fifty-five patients were recruited to compare BP derived from a manual device and ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM). The manual BP measurement was performed six times at 22:00, 02:00, 06:00, 10:00, 14:00 and 18:00 h. The measurements at 22:00, 02:00 and 06:00 h were defined as night-time and the others as daytime. ABPM was programmed to measure at 30-min intervals between measurements.
All-day, daytime and night-time BP did not differ significantly from 24-h ambulatory systolic BP [all-day mean difference −0.52±4.67 mmHg, 95% confidence interval (CI) –1.26 to 0.22, P=0.168; daytime mean difference 0.24±5.45 mmHg, 95% CI −0.62 to 1.11, P=0.580; night-time mean difference 0.30±7.22 mmHg, 95% CI −0.84 to 1.45, P=0.601) rather than diastolic BP. There was a strong correlation between clinical and ambulatory BP for both systolic and diastolic BP. On the basis of ABPM, 101 (65%) patients were classified as non-dippers, compared with 106 (68%) by manual sphygmomanometer (P<0.001).
Traditional manual sphygmomanometer provides similar daytime and night-time systolic BP measurements in hospital. Moreover, the detection of non-dippers by manual methods is in good agreement with 24-h ABPM. Further studies are required to confirm the clinical relevance of these findings by comparing the association of NBP in the hospital ward assessed by manual monitoring with preclinical organ damage and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3665662  PMID: 23692688
Nocturnal blood pressure; Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring; Hypertension; Non-dipper
21.  Platelets contribute to the pathogenesis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis 
Circulation Research  2012;110(9):1202-1210.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) and its mouse model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), are inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). The function of platelets in inflammatory and autoimmune pathologies is thus far poorly defined.
Here we addressed the role of platelets in mediating CNS inflammation in EAE.
We found that platelets were present in human MS lesions as well as in the CNS of mice subjected to EAE but not in the CNS from control non-diseased mice. Platelet depletion at the effector-inflammatory phase of EAE in mice resulted in significantly ameliorated disease development and progression. EAE suppression upon platelet depletion was associated with reduced recruitment of leukocytes to the inflamed CNS, as assessed by intravital microscopy, and with a blunted inflammatory response. The platelet-specific receptor glycoprotein Ib alpha (GPIbα) promotes both platelet adhesion as well as inflammatory actions of platelets, and, targeting of GPIbα attenuated EAE in mice. Moreover, targeting another platelet adhesion receptor, glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GPIIb/IIIa) also reduced EAE severity in mice.
Thus, platelets contribute to the pathogenesis of EAE by promoting CNS inflammation. Targeting platelets may therefore represent an important new therapeutic approach for MS treatment.
PMCID: PMC3382058  PMID: 22456181
Platelets; EAE; inflammation; autoimmune disease
22.  Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs Decrease E2F1 Expression and Inhibit Cell Growth in Ovarian Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61836.
Epidemiological studies have shown that the regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs is associated with a reduced risk of various cancers. In addition, in vitro and experiments in mouse models have demonstrated that NSAIDs decrease tumor initiation and/or progression of several cancers. However, there are limited preclinical studies investigating the effects of NSAIDs in ovarian cancer. Here, we have studied the effects of two NSAIDs, diclofenac and indomethacin, in ovarian cancer cell lines and in a xenograft mouse model. Diclofenac and indomethacin treatment decreased cell growth by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. In addition, diclofenac and indomethacin reduced tumor volume in a xenograft model of ovarian cancer. To identify possible molecular pathways mediating the effects of NSAID treatment in ovarian cancer, we performed microarray analysis of ovarian cancer cells treated with indomethacin or diclofenac. Interestingly, several of the genes found downregulated following diclofenac or indomethacin treatment are transcriptional target genes of E2F1. E2F1 was downregulated at the mRNA and protein level upon treatment with diclofenac and indomethacin, and overexpression of E2F1 rescued cells from the growth inhibitory effects of diclofenac and indomethacin. In conclusion, NSAIDs diclofenac and indomethacin exert an anti-proliferative effect in ovarian cancer in vitro and in vivo and the effects of NSAIDs may be mediated, in part, by downregulation of E2F1.
PMCID: PMC3634839  PMID: 23637916
23.  Single-round of antigen receptor signaling programs naïve B cells to receive T cell help 
Immunity  2010;32(3):355-366.
To simulate transient B cell activation that is the likely initiator of T-dependent responses, we examined the molecular and functional consequences of a single-round of immunoglobulin M (IgM) signaling. This form of activation triggered early cytosolic signaling and the transcription factor NF-κB activation indistinguishably from conventional continuous IgM cross-linking, but did not induce G1 progression. However, single-round IgM signaling changed the expression of chemokine and chemokine receptor genes implicated in initiating T-dependent responses, as well as accentuated responsiveness to CD40 signaling. Several features of single-round IgM signaling in vitro were recapitulated in B cells after short-term exposure to antigen in vivo. We propose that transient BCR signals prime B cells to receive T cell help by increasing the probability of B-T encounter and creating a cellular environment that is hyper-responsive to CD40 signaling.
PMCID: PMC3607434  PMID: 20226693
24.  Long Noncoding RNA MALAT1 Controls Cell Cycle Progression by Regulating the Expression of Oncogenic Transcription Factor B-MYB 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003368.
The long noncoding MALAT1 RNA is upregulated in cancer tissues and its elevated expression is associated with hyper-proliferation, but the underlying mechanism is poorly understood. We demonstrate that MALAT1 levels are regulated during normal cell cycle progression. Genome-wide transcriptome analyses in normal human diploid fibroblasts reveal that MALAT1 modulates the expression of cell cycle genes and is required for G1/S and mitotic progression. Depletion of MALAT1 leads to activation of p53 and its target genes. The cell cycle defects observed in MALAT1-depleted cells are sensitive to p53 levels, indicating that p53 is a major downstream mediator of MALAT1 activity. Furthermore, MALAT1-depleted cells display reduced expression of B-MYB (Mybl2), an oncogenic transcription factor involved in G2/M progression, due to altered binding of splicing factors on B-MYB pre-mRNA and aberrant alternative splicing. In human cells, MALAT1 promotes cellular proliferation by modulating the expression and/or pre-mRNA processing of cell cycle–regulated transcription factors. These findings provide mechanistic insights on the role of MALAT1 in regulating cellular proliferation.
Author Summary
The mammalian genome encodes large number of long non protein-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). These lncRNAs are suggested to regulate key biological processes (including cellular proliferation and differentiation), and aberrant expression of these is associated with cancer. However, only a few of these lncRNAs have been functionally validated in biological or disease processes. MALAT1, an abundant nuclear-retained lncRNA, is overexpressed in several cancers, and its elevated expression has been associated with hyper-proliferation and metastasis. However, the underlying mechanism behind this deregulation and its association with cancer is poorly understood. Here, we establish the role of MALAT1 in the cell cycle pathway and propose the molecular mechanism of its function during normal cell cycle progression. MALAT1 RNA levels are differentially regulated and critical for normal cell cycle progression. Depletion of MALAT1 results in cell cycle arrest with significantly reduced cellular proliferation, simultaneously leading to activation of p53 and its target genes. Further, the accurate levels of MALAT1 in the cell are extremely crucial for expression and activity of the oncogenic transcription factor B-MYB, which is involved in G2/M progression. Our data indicates that the cancer-associated MALAT1 RNA regulates cellular proliferation by modulating the expression and/or pre-mRNA processing of cell cycle–regulated transcription factors.
PMCID: PMC3605280  PMID: 23555285

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