Rhizoma Chuanxiong (RC) is the dried rhizome of Ligusticum chuanxiong Hort., and various types of processed Rhizoma Chuanxiong (PRC) are widely used in China. However, quality assurance and quality control of these processed medicines remain challenging. This study aims to investigate the chemical compositions of various PRC preparations by a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with diode array detection (DAD) method.
A HPLC-DAD method with validation was developed for PRC samples. Seven batches of plant samples from two processing methods, stir-frying and steaming, were analyzed by the HPLC-DAD method. Common peaks in PRC chromatograms were chosen to calculate their relative retention time (RRT) and relative peak area (RPA), and similarity analyses of the chromatographic fingerprints were conducted by Similarity Evaluation System for Chromatographic Fingerprint of Traditional Chinese Medicine software (Version 2004 A).
In the 24-h stability test, the relative standard deviation for the RRT and RPA was less than 0.07% and 2.57%, respectively. The precision was less than 0.08% for the RRT and 2.48% for the RPA. The repeatability for the RRT and RPA was less than 0.03% and 2.64%, respectively. The similarities between the seven PRC batches were range from 0.956 to 0.990. After stir-frying or steaming, the amount of ferulic acid in PRC was much higher than that in the raw material.
The fingerprint analysis of PRC by different processing methods was feasible by HPLC-DAD.
Rhizoma Chuanxiong; HPLC-DAD; Ligusticum chuanxiong; Fingerprint; Processing
Genomics has revolutionized the research on fungal secondary metabolite (SM) biosynthesis. To elucidate the molecular and enzymatic mechanisms underlying the biosynthesis of a specific SM compound, the important first step is often to find the genes that responsible for its synthesis. The accessibility to fungal genome sequences allows the bypass of the cumbersome traditional library construction and screening approach. The advance in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have further improved the speed and reduced the cost of microbial genome sequencing in the past few years, which has accelerated the research in this field. Here, we will present an example work flow for identifying the gene cluster encoding the biosynthesis of SMs of interest using an NGS approach. We will also review the different strategies that can be employed to pinpoint the targeted gene clusters rapidly by giving several examples stemming from our work.
filamentous fungi; secondary metabolites; gene clusters; next generation sequencing; genome mining
Despite the remarkable versatility displayed by flavin-dependent monooxygenases (FMOs) in natural product biosynthesis, one notably missing activity is the oxidative generation of carbonate functional groups. We describe a multifunctional Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase CcsB, which catalyzes the formation of an in-line carbonate in the macrocyclic portion of cytochalasin E. This study expands the repertoire of activities of FMOs and provides a possible synthetic strategy for transformation of ketones into carbonates.
The aim of present meta-analysis was to evaluate the effectiveness of tranexamic acid (TXA) use in reducing blood loss and the related thrombotic complications in spinal surgery.
Three databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library) were searched through October 2012 to identify the relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) regarding the TXA effective in spinal surgery. Mean differences (MDs) of blood loss, blood transfusions, and postoperative partial thromboplastic time (PTT), odds ratios (ORs) of blood transfusion and thrombotic complication in TXA-treated group compared to placebo group were extracted and combined using random-effect meta-analysis.
A total of 6 RCTs comprising 411 patients were included in the meta-analysis according to the pre-defined selection criteria. TXA-treated group had significantly less amount of blood loss and blood transfusions per patient, and had smaller proportion of patients who required a blood transfusion compared with the placebo group. The use of TXA can significantly reduce the postoperative PTT with weighted MD of -1.59 [(95% confidence interval (CI):-3.07, -0.10] There is a null association between thrombosis complications and the use of TXA.
We conclude that the use of TXA in patients undergoing spinal surgery appears to be effective in reducing the amount of blood loss, the volume of blood transfusion, the transfusion rate, and the postoperative PTT. However, data were too limited for any conclusions regarding safety. More high-quality RCTs are required before recommending the administered of TXA in spinal surgery.
Tranexamic acid; Spine; Surgery; Meta-analysis
Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL) is a unique subtype of peripheral T-cell lymphoma. POEMS syndrome is a rare paraneoplastic syndrome caused by an underlying plasma cell disorder (PCD). The occurrence of AITL with POEMS syndrome has rarely been reported in the literature. The current study presents the case of a 53-year-old male who presented with a rapidly proliferative lymph node on the left neck, which was identified as an AITL on biopsy. The patient also exhibited the complications of polyneuropathy, M-proteinemia, hepatosplenomegaly, left ventricular hypertrophy, endocrinopathy and skin changes, and was therefore diagnosed with POEMS syndrome. To the best of our knowledge, the present study is the first to report a case of AITL with POEMS syndrome. The findings in this case suggest that the aberrant clones of B cells can also be caused by AITL.
angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma; POEMS syndrome
Notch1-Delta-like 4 (Dll4) signaling controls vascular development by regulating endothelial cell (EC) targets that modulate vessel wall remodeling and arterial-venous specification. The molecular effectors that modulate Notch signaling during vascular development remain largely undefined. Here we demonstrate that the transcriptional repressor, Snail1, acts as a VEGF-induced regulator of Notch1 signaling and Dll4 expression. EC-specific Snail1 loss-of-function conditional knockout mice die in utero with defects in vessel wall remodeling in association with losses in mural cell investment and disruptions in arterial-venous specification. Snail1 loss-of-function conditional knockout embryos further display up-regulated Notch1 signaling and Dll4 expression that is partially reversed by inhibiting Ɣ-secretase activity in vivo with Dll4 identified as a direct target of Snail1-mediated transcriptional repression. These results document a Snail1-Dll4/Notch1 axis that controls embryonic vascular development.
Natural enzymes have evolved to perform their cellular functions under complex selective pressures, which often require their catalytic activities to be regulated by other proteins. We contrasted a natural enzyme, LovD, which acts on a protein-bound (LovF) acyl substrate, with a laboratory-generated variant that was transformed by directed evolution to accept instead a small free acyl thioester, and no longer requires the acyl carrier protein. The resulting 29-mutant variant is 1000-fold more efficient in the synthesis of the drug simvastatin than the wild-type LovD. This is the first non-patent report of the enzyme currently used for the manufacture of simvastatin, as well as the intermediate evolved variants. Crystal structures and microsecond molecular dynamics simulations revealed the mechanism by which the laboratory-generated mutations free LovD from dependence on protein-protein interactions. Mutations dramatically altered conformational dynamics of the catalytic residues, obviating the need for allosteric modulation by the acyl carrier LovF.
Poor executive function (EF) has been associated with a host of short- and long-term problems across the lifespan, including elevated rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, drug abuse, and antisocial behavior. Mindfulness-based interventions that focus on increasing awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions have been shown to improve specific aspects of EF, including attention, cognitive control, and emotion regulation. In this article, we apply a developmental neuroscience perspective to review research relevant to one specific mindfulness-based intervention, Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT). Randomized controlled trials of IBMT indicate improvements in specific EF components, and uniquely highlight the role of neural circuitry specific to the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the autonomic nervous system (ANS) as two brain-based mechanisms that underlie IBMT-related improvements. The relevance of improving specific dimensions of EF through short-term IBMT to prevent a cascade of risk behaviors for children and adolescents is described and future research directions are proposed.
mindfulness-based interventions; executive function; RCT; Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT); childhood; adolescent; adult
Dermatophytes belonging to the Trichophyton and Arthroderma genera cause skin infections in humans and animals. From genome sequencing data, we mined a conserved gene cluster among dermatophytes that are homologous to one that produces an immunosuppressive polyketide in Aspergillus fumigatus. Using a recombination-based cloning strategy in yeast, we constructed fungal heterologous expression vectors that encode the cryptic clusters. When integrated into the model Aspergillus nidulans host, a structurally related compound neosartoricin B was formed, suggesting a possible role of this compound in the pathogenesis of these strains.
natural products; polyketide; heterologous expression; prenyltransferase
Viridicatumtoxin (1) is a tetracycline-like fungal meroterpenoid with a unique, fused spirobicyclic ring system. Puzzlingly, no dedicated terpene cyclase is found in the gene cluster identified in Penicillium aethiopicum. The two cytochrome P450 enzymes VrtE and VrtK in the vrt gene cluster were shown to catalyze C5-hydroxylation and spirobicyclic ring formation, respectively. Feeding of acyclic previridicatumtoxin (2) to Saccharomyces cerevisiae expressing VrtK confirmed that VrtK is the sole enzyme required for cyclization of the geranyl moiety. Thus, VrtK is the first example of a P450 that can catalyze terpene cyclization, most likely via the initial oxidation of C17 to an allylic carbocation. Quantum chemical modeling revealed a possible new tertiary carbocation intermediate E that forms after the allylic carbocation formation. The intermediate E can readily undergo concerted 1,2-alkyl shift/1,3-hydride shift, either spontaneously or further aided by the active site configuration of VrtK, followed by C7 Friedel-Crafts alkylation to afford 1,. The most likely stereochemical course of the reaction was proposed based on the results of our computations.
Intramuscular (IM) ziprasidone has been associated with QTc interval prolongations in patients with preexisting risk factors. A 23-year-old male Chinese schizophrenia patient experienced an increase of QTc interval of 83 milliseconds (ms) after receiving 20 mg IM ziprasidone (baseline and increased QT/QTc were, respectively, 384/418 and 450/501). This was rated as a probable adverse drug reaction (ADR) by the Liverpool ADR causality assessment tool. A systematic review including all types of trials reporting the effect of IM ziprasidone on the QTc interval prolongation identified 19 trials with a total of 1428 patients. Mean QTc change from baseline to end of each study was −3.7 to 12.8 ms after IM ziprasidone. Four randomized trials (3 of 4 published in Chinese) were used to calculate a meta-analysis of QTc interval prolongation which showed no significant differences between IM ziprasidone and IM haloperidol groups (risk ratio 0.49 to 4.31, 95% confidence interval 0.09 to 19.68, P = 0.06 to 0.41). However, our review included two cases of patients who experienced symptoms probably related to QTc prolongation after IM ziprasidone. Thus, careful screening and close monitoring, including baseline ECG, should be considered in patients receiving IM ziprasidone for the first time.
We have shown that loss of ELF, a stem cell adaptor protein, disrupts TGF-β signaling through Smad3 and Smad4 localization. Notably elf+/−/smad4+/− mice develop gastric cancer presenting this as an important model for analyzing molecular event in gastric carcinogenesis. To gain further insight into the functional role of ELF in gastric cancer suppression, we carried out a detailed characterization of cell cycle events leading to gastric tumorigenesis. elf−/− cells and elf+/−/smad4+/− mice demonstrate a marked alteration of cell cycle regulators, such as Cdk4, K-Ras, and p21. Levels of Cdk4 increased compared to normal controls, suggesting loss of ELF results in functional abnormalities in cell cycle regulation. We further demonstrate that the elf−/− MEFs show a disruption of G1/S cell cycle transition and a significant reduction in senescence. Thus, in response to ELF deficiency, the abnormalities of G1/S checkpoint and senescence contribute their increment of susceptibility to malignant transformation.
ELF; Gastric cancer; Smad4; Cell cycle; Senescence
Training can induce changes in specific brain networks and changes in brain state. In both cases it has been found that the efficiency of white matter as measured by diffusion tensor imaging is increased, often after only a few hours of training. In this paper we consider a plausible molecular mechanism for how state change produced by meditation might lead to white matter change. According to this hypothesis frontal theta induced by meditation produces a molecular cascade that increases myelin and improves connectivity.
theta rhythm; myelination; diffusion tensor imaging; meditation; fractional anisotropy (FA)
Griseofulvin (1) is a spirocyclic fungal natural product used in treatment of fungal dermatophytes. Formation of the spirocycle, or the grisan scaffold, from a benzophenone precursor is critical for the activity of 1. In this study, we have systematically characterized each of the biosynthetic enzymes related to the biogenesis of 1, including the characterization of a new polyketide synthase GsfA that synthesize the benzophenone precursor and a cytochrome P450 GsfF that performs oxidative coupling between the orcinol and the phloroglucinol rings to yield the grisan structure. Notably, the finding of GsfF is in sharp contrast to the copper-dependent dihydrogeodin oxidase that performs a similar reaction in the geodin biosynthetic pathway. The biosynthetic knowledge enabled the in vitro total biosynthesis of 1 from malonyl-CoA using all purified enzyme components. This work therefore completely maps out the previously unresolved enzymology of the biosynthesis of a therapeutically relevant natural product
Antifungal; polyketides; cytochrome P450
We describe here the use of an immunomagnetic separation enrichment process coupled with a modified real-time cellular analysis (RTCA) system (RTCA version 2) for the detection of C. difficile toxin (CDT) in stool. The limit of CDT detection by RTCA version 2 was 0.12 ng/ml. Among the consecutively collected 401 diarrheal stool specimens, 53 (13.2%) were toxin-producing C. difficile strains by quantitative toxigenic culture (qTC); bacterial loads ranged from 3.00 × 101 to 3.69 × 106 CFU/ml. The RTCA version 2 method detected CDT in 51 samples, resulting in a sensitivity of 96.2%, a specificity of 99.7%, and positive and negative predictive values of 98.1% and 99.4%, respectively. The positive step time ranged from 1.43 to 35.85 h, with <24 h for 80% of the samples. The CDT concentrations in stool samples determined by RTCA version 2 correlated with toxigenic C. difficile bacterial load (R2 = 0.554, P = 0.00002) by qTC as well as the threshold cycle (R2 = 0.343, P = 0.014) by real-time PCR. A statistically significant correlation between the CDT concentrations and the clinical severity of CDI was observed (P = 0.015). The sensitivity of the RTCA version 2 assay for the detection of functional toxins in stool specimens was significantly improved when the immunomagnetic separation enrichment process was incorporated. More than 80% positive results can be obtained within 24 h. The stool specimen CDT concentration derived using the RTCA version 2 assay correlates with clinical severity and may be used as a marker for monitoring the status of CDI.
The use of meditation to improve emotion and attention regulation has a long history in Asia and there are many practitioners in Western countries. Much of the evidence on the effectiveness of meditation is either anecdotal or a comparison of long-term meditators with controls matched in age and health. Recently, it has been possible to establish changes in self-regulation in undergraduate students after only 5 days of meditation practice, allowing randomized trials comparing effects of meditation with other self-control methods such as relaxation training. Early studies took place in Chinese universities; however, similar effects have been obtained with U.S. undergraduates, and with Chinese children aged 4.5 years and older Chinese participants aged 65 years. Studies using neuroimaging techniques have shown that meditation improves activation and connectivity in brain areas related to self-regulation, and these findings may provide an opportunity to examine remediation of mental disorders in a new light.
meditation; IBMT; self-regulation; life span
Dioscorea is a genus of flowering plants, and some Dioscorea species are known and used as a source for the steroidal sapogenin diosgenin. To screen potential resource from Dioscorea species and related medicinal plants for diosgenin extraction, a rapid method to compare the contents of diosgenin in various plants is crucial.
An ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled with diode array detection (DAD) and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) method was developed for identification and determination of diosgenin in various plants. A comprehensive validation of the developed method was conducted. Twenty-four batches of plant samples from four Dioscorea species, one Smilax species and two Heterosmilax species were analyzed by using the developed method.
The present method presented good sensitivity, precision and accuracy. Diosgenin was found in three Dioscorea species and one Heterosmilax species, namely D. zingiberensis, D. septemloba, D. collettii and H. yunnanensis.
The method is suitable for the screening of diosgenin resources from plants. D. zingiberensis is an important resource for diosgenin harvesting.
Diosgenin; UPLC-DAD-MS; Dioscorea; Medicinal plants; Quality evaluation
Our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of pancreatic cancer has been greatly advanced. However, the molecular events involved in the initiation and development of pancreatic cancer remain inscrutable. None of the present medical technologies have been proven to be effective in significantly improving early detection or reducing the mortality/morbidity of this disease. Thus, a better understanding of the molecular basis of pancreatic cancer is required for the identification of more effective diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets. Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), generally including microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs, have recently been found to be deregulated in many human cancers, which provides new opportunities for identifying both functional drivers and specific biomarkers of pancreatic cancer. In this article, we review the existing literature in the field documenting the significance of aberrantly expressed and functional ncRNAs in human pancreatic cancer, and discuss how oncogenic ncRNAs may be involved in the genetic and epigenetic networks regulating functional pathways that are deregulated in this malignancy, particularly of the ncRNAs’ role in drug resistance and epithelial-mesenchymal transition biological phenotype, with the aim of analyzing the feasibility of clinical application of ncRNAs in the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.
MicroRNAs; Long non-coding RNAs; Pancreatic cancer; Diagnosis; Treatment
The bimodular 276 kDa nonribosomal peptide synthetase AspA from Aspergillus alliaceus, heterologously expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, converts tryptophan and two molecules of the aromatic β-amino acid anthranilate (Ant) into a pair of tetracyclic peptidyl alkaloids asperlicin C and D in a ratio of 10:1. The first module of AspA activates and processes two molecules of Ant iteratively to generate a tethered Ant-Ant-Trp-S-enzyme intermediate on module two. Release is postulated to involve tandem cyclizations, in which the first step is the macrocyclization of the linear tripeptidyl-S-enzyme, by the terminal condensation (CT) domain to generate the regioisomeric tetracyclic asperlicin scaffolds. Computational analysis of the transannular cyclization of the 11-membered macrocyclic intermediate shows that asperlicin C is the kinetically favored product due to the high stability of a conformation resembling the transition state for cyclization, while asperlicin D is thermodynamically more stable.
A strategy for introducing structural diversity into polyketides by exploiting the promiscuity of an in-line methyltransferase domain in a multidomain polyketide synthase in reported. In vitro investigations using the highly-reducing fungal polyketide synthase CazF revealed that its methyltransferase domain accepts the nonnatural cofactor propargylic Se-adenosyl-L-methionine and can transfer the propargyl moiety onto its growing polyketide chain. This propargylated polyketide product can then be further chain-extended and cyclized to form propargyl-α pyrone, or be processed fully into the alkyne-containing 4′-propargyl-chaetoviridin A.
Many vital ecosystem processes take place in the soils and are greatly affected by the increasing active nitrogen (N) deposition observed globally. Nitrogen deposition generally affects ecosystem processes through the changes in soil biochemical properties such as soil nutrient availability, microbial properties and enzyme activities. In order to evaluate the soil biochemical responses to elevated atmospheric N deposition in bamboo forest ecosystems, a two-year field N addition experiment in a hybrid bamboo (Bambusa pervariabilis × Dendrocalamopsis daii) plantation was conducted. Four levels of N treatment were applied: (1) control (CK, without N added), (2) low-nitrogen (LN, 50 kg N ha−1 year−1), (3) medium-nitrogen (MN, 150 kg N ha−1 year−1), and (4) high-nitrogen (HN, 300 kg N ha−1 year−1). Results indicated that N addition significantly increased the concentrations of NH4+, NO3−, microbial biomass carbon, microbial biomass N, the rates of nitrification and denitrification; significantly decreased soil pH and the concentration of available phosphorus, and had no effect on the total organic carbon and total N concentration in the 0–20 cm soil depth. Nitrogen addition significantly stimulated activities of hydrolytic enzyme that acquiring N (urease) and phosphorus (acid phosphatase) and depressed the oxidative enzymes (phenol oxidase, peroxidase and catalase) activities. Results suggest that (1) this bamboo forest ecosystem is moving towards being limited by P or co-limited by P under elevated N deposition, (2) the expected progressive increases in N deposition may have a potential important effect on forest litter decomposition due to the interaction of inorganic N and oxidative enzyme activities, in such bamboo forests under high levels of ambient N deposition.
We evaluated the performance characteristics of the FilmArray respiratory panel and the eSensor respiratory viral panel on clinical and spiked lower respiratory tract specimens (LRTS). The overall agreement between the two methods was 89.5% (51/57). The lower limit of detection of both assays for all targets in LRTS was comparable to that for nasopharyngeal swab specimens.