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1.  Ingredients of Huangqi decoction slow biliary fibrosis progression by inhibiting the activation of the transforming growth factor-beta signaling pathway 
Background
Huangqi decoction was first described in Prescriptions of the Bureau of Taiping People's Welfare Pharmacy in Song Dynasty (AD 1078), and it is an effective recipe that is usually used to treat consumptive disease, anorexia, and chronic liver diseases. Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1) plays a key role in the progression of liver fibrosis, and Huangqi decoction and its ingredients (IHQD) markedly ameliorated hepatic fibrotic lesions induced by ligation of the common bile duct (BDL). However, the mechanism of IHQD on hepatic fibrotic lesions is not yet clear. The purpose of the present study is to elucidate the roles of TGFβ1 activation, Smad-signaling pathway, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in the pathogenesis of biliary fibrosis progression and the antifibrotic mechanism of IHQD.
Methods
A liver fibrosis model was induced by ligation of the common bile duct (BDL) in rats. Sham-operation was performed in control rats. The BDL rats were randomly divided into two groups: the BDL group and the IHQD group. IHQD was administrated intragastrically for 4 weeks. At the end of the fifth week after BDL, animals were sacrificed for sampling of blood serum and liver tissue. The effect of IHQD on the TGFβ1 signaling pathway was evaluated by western blotting and laser confocal microscopy.
Results
Decreased content of hepatic hydroxyproline and improved liver function and histopathology were observed in IHQD rats. Hepatocytes, cholangiocytes, and myofibroblasts in the cholestatic liver injury released TGFβ1, and activated TGFβ1 receptors can accelerate liver fibrosis. IHQD markedly inhibited the protein expression of TGFβ1, TGFβ1 receptors, Smad3, and p-ERK1/2 expression with no change of Smad7 expression.
Conclusion
IHQD exert significant therapeutic effects on BDL-induced fibrosis in rats through inhibition of the activation of TGFβ1-Smad3 and TGFβ1-ERK1/2 signaling pathways.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-33
PMCID: PMC3419610  PMID: 22471627
Ingredients of Huangqi decoction; Cholestatic liver fibrosis; Transforming growth factor beta 1; Smad-signaling pathway, Extracellular signal-regulated kinase
2.  Effects of Garlic Oil on the Migration of Neutrophil-Like Cell Studied by Using a Chemotactic Gradient Labchip 
We have designed and fabricated a novel chemotactic gradient Labchip for studying cell migration quantitatively. Owing to the great potential of garlic and its preparations in developing antiinflammatory drugs, the aim of the present study is to investigate the effect of garlic oil on the locomotion of a neutrophil-like cell by measuring the dynamic features of cell migration including migration direction, average migration speed, chemotactic index (CI), and motility index (MI) with the newly designed Labchip. We found that garlic oil treatment lowered the values of CI and MI and reduced the average speed of cell migration from 13 to 8 μm/min. The results indicate that garlic oil is a potential inhibitor for neutrophil-like cell migration and chemotactic responsiveness. By comparing with the effects of nocodazole and cytochalasin B, we also suggest that the antiinflammatory activity exhibited by garlic oil was mainly through inhibiting the assembly-disassembly processes of the cytoskeleton.
doi:10.1155/2010/319059
PMCID: PMC2862952  PMID: 20454631
3.  Parity and pancreatic cancer risk: evidence from a meta-analysis of twenty epidemiologic studies 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5313.
Multiple studies have hypothesized parity is associated with pancreatic cancer risk but obtained conflicting results. We conducted a meta-analysis (including a dose-response approach) of current available epidemiologic studies to investigate the association between parity and risk of pancreatic cancer. Ten cohort studies and ten case-control studies including 8205 cases were eligible for inclusion. The combined RR (relative risk) of pancreatic cancer for the parous vs. nulliparous was 0.91 (95% CI, confidence interval = 0.85–0.97, I2 = 39.0%, Ph = 0.01). We observed an inverse association between giving birth to two children pancreatic cancer risk with RR of 0.86 (95% CI = 0.80–0.93, I2 = 8.7%, Ph = 0.36). And no evidence supported there was non-linear (P = 0.33) or linear relationship (P = 0.14) between number of parity and risk of pancreatic cancer. Findings from this meta-analysis indicate that giving birth to two children has the lowest pancreatic cancer risk, mechanism of this protective effect needs further investigation.
doi:10.1038/srep05313
PMCID: PMC4060503  PMID: 24936955
4.  Structure-Function Relationship of SW-AT-1, a Serpin-Type Protease Inhibitor in Silkworm 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99013.
Although SW-AT-1, a serpin-type trypsin inhibitor from silkworm (Bombyx mori), was identified in previous study, its structure-function relationship has not been studied. In this study, SW-AT-1 was cloned from the body wall of silkworm and expressed in E. coli. rSW-AT-1 inhibited both trypsin and chymotrypsin in a concentration-dependent manner. The association rate constant for rSW-AT-1 and trypsin is 1.31×10−5 M−1s−1, for rSW-AT-1 and chymotrpsin is 2.85×10−6 M−1s−1. Circular dichroism (CD) assay showed 33% α-helices, 16% β-sheets, 17% turns, and 31% random coils in the secondary structure of the protein. Enzymatic and CD analysis indicated that rSW-AT-1 was stable at wide pH range between 4–10, and exhibited the highest activity at weakly acidic or alkaline condition. The predicted three-dimensional structure of SW-AT-1 by PyMOL (v1.4) revealed a deductive reactive centre loop (RCL) near the C-terminus, which was extended from the body of the molecule. In addition to trypsin cleavage site in RCL, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight mass spectrometry indicated that the chymotrypsin cleavage site of SW-AT-1 was between F336 and T337 in RCL. Directed mutagenesis indicated that both the N- and C-terminal sides of RCL have effects on the activity, and G327 and E329 played an important role in the proper folding of RCL. The physiological role of SW-AT-1 in the defense responses of silkworm were also discussed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099013
PMCID: PMC4047069  PMID: 24901510
5.  Modulation of Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigen 2-Dependent Transcription by Protein Arginine Methyltransferase 5 
Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigen (EBNA) 2 features an Arg-Gly repeat (RG) domain at amino acid positions 335-360, which is a known target for protein arginine methyltransferaser 5 (PRMT5). In this study, we performed protein affinity pull-down assays to demonstrate that endogenous PRMT5 derived from lymphoblastoid cells specifically associated with the protein bait GST-E2 RG. Transfection of a plasmid expressing PRMT5 induced a 2.5- to 3-fold increase in EBNA2-dependent transcription of both the LMP1 promoter in AKATA cells, which contain the EBV genome endogenously, and a Cp-Luc reporter plasmid in BJAB cells, which are EBV negative. Furthermore, we showed that there was a 2-fold enrichment of EBNA2 occupancy in target promoters in the presence of exogenous PRMT5. Taken together, we show that PRMT5 triggers the symmetric dimethylation of EBNA2 RG domain to coordinate with EBNA2-mediated transcription. This modulation suggests that PRMT5 may play a role in latent EBV infection.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.12.032
PMCID: PMC4018761  PMID: 23261437
EBV; EBNA2-dependent transcription; PRMT5; Ariginine symmetric dimethylation
6.  Serum Levels of Interleukin-9 Correlate with Negative Prognostic Factors in Extranodal NK/T-Cell Lymphoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94637.
Interleukin-9 (IL-9) is more functionally diverse than previously expected, especially with regards to lymphomagenesis. However, the relationship between IL-9 and the clinicopathological features of extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma is less well established. Patients with this lymphoma in Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center between January 2003 and March 2013 were systematically reviewed in an intention-to-treat analysis. Baseline serum IL-9 levels were determined using sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. A total of seventy-four patients were enrolled in this study. The mean concentration of serum IL-9 for all patients was 6.48 pg/mL (range: 1.38–51.87 pg/mL). Age, B symptoms and local lymph node involvement were found to be related to high serum IL-9 levels. Patients with low IL-9 levels tended to have higher rates of complete remission. Notably, the median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were longer in the low IL-9 level group than in the high IL-9 level group (PFS: 68.7 months vs. 28.3 months, P<0.001; OS: 86 months vs. 42.8 months, P = 0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed independent prognostic factors for PFS. Similarly, high IL-9 levels (P = 0.003) and old age (P = 0.007) were independently predictive of shorter OS. Serum IL-9 is closely related to several clinical features, such as age, B symptoms and local lymph node involvement. It can also be a significant independent prognostic factor for extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma, which suggests a role for IL-9 in the pathogenesis of this disease and offers new insight into potential therapeutic strategies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094637
PMCID: PMC3983224  PMID: 24722378
7.  Cuticular differences associated with aridity acclimation in African malaria vectors carrying alternative arrangements of inversion 2La 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7:176.
Background
Principal malaria vectors in Africa, An. gambiae and An. coluzzii, share an inversion polymorphism on the left arm of chromosome 2 (2La/2L+a) that is distributed non-randomly in the environment. Genomic sequencing studies support the role of strong natural selection in maintaining steep clines in 2La inversion frequency along environmental gradients of aridity, and physiological studies have directly implicated 2La in heat and desiccation tolerance, but the precise genetic basis and the underlying behavioral and physiological mechanisms remain unknown. As the insect cuticle is the primary barrier to water loss, differences in cuticle thickness and/or epicuticular waterproofing associated with alternative 2La arrangements might help explain differences in desiccation resistance.
Methods
To test that hypothesis, two subcolonies of both An. gambiae and An. coluzzii were established that were fixed for alternative 2La arrangements (2La or 2L+a) on an otherwise homosequential and shared genetic background. Adult mosquitoes reared under controlled environmental conditions (benign or arid) for eight days post-eclosion were collected and analyzed. Measurements of cuticle thickness were made based on scanning electron microscopy, and cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) composition was evaluated by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry.
Results
After removing the allometric effects of body weight, differences in mean cuticle thickness were found between alternative 2La karyotypes, but not between alternative environments. Moreover, the thicker cuticle of the An. coluzzii 2La karyotype was contrary to the known higher rate of water loss of this karyotype relative to 2L+a. On the other hand, quantitative differences in individual CHCs and overall CHC profiles between alternative karyotypes and environmental conditions were consistent with expectation based on previous physiological studies.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that alternative arrangements of the 2La inversion are associated with differences in cuticle thickness and CHC composition, but that only CHC composition appears to be relevant for desiccation resistance. Differences in the CHC composition were consistent with previous findings of a lower rate of water loss for the 2L+a karyotype at eight days post-eclosion, suggesting that CHC composition is an important strategy for maintaining water balance in this genetic background, but not for 2La. Despite a higher rate of water loss at eight days, higher body water content of the 2La karyotype confers a level of desiccation resistance equivalent to that of the 2L+a karyotype.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-7-176
PMCID: PMC3991895  PMID: 24721548
An. gambiae; An. coluzzii; Cuticular hydrocarbons; Chromosomal inversion; Cuticle; Desiccation resistance; GC-MS; M and S molecular forms
8.  Effects of Nitrogen Fertilizers on the Growth and Nitrate Content of Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) 
Nitrogen is an essential element for plant growth and development; however, due to environmental pollution, high nitrate concentrations accumulate in the edible parts of these leafy vegetables, particularly if excessive nitrogen fertilizer has been applied. Consuming these crops can harm human health; thus, developing a suitable strategy for the agricultural application of nitrogen fertilizer is important. Organic, inorganic, and liquid fertilizers were utilized in this study to investigate their effect on nitrate concentrations and lettuce growth. The results of this pot experiment show that the total nitrogen concentration in soil and the nitrate concentration in lettuce increased as the amount of nitrogen fertilizer increased. If the recommended amount of inorganic fertilizer (200 kg·N·ha−1) is used as a standard of comparison, lettuce augmented with organic fertilizers (200 kg·N·ha−1) have significantly longer and wider leaves, higher shoot, and lower concentrations of nitrate.
doi:10.3390/ijerph110404427
PMCID: PMC4025000  PMID: 24758896
inorganic fertilizer; lettuce; liquid fertilizer; nitrate; organic fertilizer
9.  TERT promoter mutations in renal cell carcinomas and upper tract urothelial carcinomas 
Oncotarget  2014;5(7):1829-1836.
TERT promoter mutations are identified in many malignancies including bladder cancer (BC) and upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC). In contrast, no mutations were found in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) as reported in a recent study. Because the mutant TERT promoter in urine DNA was recently tested as a marker for BC, it is important to ascertain whether these mutations are truly absent in RCCs. Here we determined TERT promoter mutations in 109 patients with RCC and 14 patients with UTUC. The mutations were found in 9/96 (9.3%) clear cell RCC (ccRCC) tumors and 1/8 (13%) chromophobe RCC tumors. Among ccRCC patients, the mutation was correlated with the advanced stages and metastasis, and higher TERT expression. Among UTUCs, the mutation was detected in tumors from 3/5 (60%) patients with renal pelvic cancer and 1/9 (11%) patients with ureter cancer. The mutation was also detected in 1 of 4 urine samples from patients with mutation+ UTUC. Collectively, TERT promoter mutations do occur in RCCs and are associated with aggressive disease. The mutation is more frequent in renal pelvic cancer. Thus, the mutant TERT promoter found in urine may come from not only BC, but also RCC or UTUC.
PMCID: PMC4039120  PMID: 24742867
Promoter mutation; RCC; TERT; Telomerase; UTUC
10.  Targeting the Intracellular WT1 Oncogene Product with a Therapeutic Human Antibody 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(176):176ra33.
The Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) oncoprotein is an intracellular, oncogenic transcription factor that is overexpressed in a wide range of leukemias and solid cancers. RMFPNAPYL (RMF), a WT1-derived CD8+ T cell human leukocyte antigen (HLA)–A0201 epitope, is a validated target for T cell–based immunotherapy. Using phage display technology, we discovered a fully human “T cell receptor–like” monoclonal antibody (mAb), ESK1, specific for the WT1 RMF peptide/HLA-A0201 complex. ESK1 bound to several leukemia and solid tumor cell lines and primary leukemia cells, in a WT1-and HLA-A0201–restricted manner, with high avidity [dissociation constant (Kd) = 0.1 nM]. ESK1 mediated antibody-dependent human effector cell cytotoxicity in vitro. Low doses of naked ESK1 antibody cleared established, disseminated, human acute lymphocytic leukemia and Philadelphia chromosome–positive leukemia in nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient γc−/− (NSG) mouse models. At therapeutic doses, no toxicity was seen in HLA-A0201 transgenic mice. ESK1 is a potential therapeutic agent for a wide range of cancers overexpressing the WT1 oncoprotein. This finding also provides preclinical validation for the strategy of developing therapeutic mAbs targeting intracellular oncogenic proteins.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3005661
PMCID: PMC3963696  PMID: 23486779
11.  The Prognostic Value of CXCR4 in Ovarian Cancer: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92629.
Objective
Recent reports have shown that C-X-C chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) is expressed in ovarian cancer and plays an important role in metastasis. However, the prognostic value of CXCR4 in ovarian cancer remains controversial and has not been emphasized. The aim of this study is to evaluate the prognostic significance of CXCR4 in ovarian cancer by performing a meta-analysis.
Methods
We systematically searched for studies evaluating the relationship between CXCR4 expression and the outcome of ovarian cancer patients. Only articles in which CXCR4 expression was detected by immunohistochemical staining were included. Hazard ratios (HRs) and relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were pooled as effect size (ES) across studies for overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS).
Results
A total of 729 patients from 7 studies (6 articles) were included in this meta-analysis. Our results showed that high CXCR4 expression was significantly associated with poor prognosis in terms of OS (ES, 2.81; 95% CI, 1.16–6.80; p = 0.022) and PFS (ES, 8.48; 95% CI, 2.13–33.70; p = 0.002) in ovarian cancer patients. The association between high CXCR4 expression and poor ovarian cancer prognosis in OS was also statistically significant in subgroups of Asian and III-IV patients constituting 70%.
Conclusions
The present meta-analysis indicated that high CXCR4 expression was associated with poor prognosis in ovarian cancer. More studies, especially larger scale and well-matched researches, are warranted to clarify the prognostic effect of CXCR4 on the outcome of ovarian cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092629
PMCID: PMC3962452  PMID: 24658065
12.  Clinical Significance of Colonoscopy in Patients with Upper Gastrointestinal Polyps and Neoplasms: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91810.
Background
Some authors have studied the relationship between the presence of polyps, adenomas and cancers of upper gastrointestinal tract (stomach and duodenum) and risk of colorectal polyps and neoplasms; however, the results are controversial, which may be due to study sample size, populations, design, clinical features, and so on. No meta-analysis, which can be generalized to a larger population and could provide a quantitative pooled risk estimate of the relationship, of this issue existed so far.
Methods
We performed a meta-analysis to evaluate risk of colorectal polyps or neoplasms in patients with polyps, adenomas or cancers in upper gastrointestinal tract comparing with controls. A search was conducted through PubMed, EMBASE, reference lists of potentially relevant papers, and practice guidelines up to 27 November 2013 without languages restriction. Odd ratios (ORs) were pooled using random-effects models.
Results
The search yielded 3 prospective and 21 retrospective case-control studies (n = 37152 participants). The principal findings included: (1) OR for colorectal polyps was 1.15 (95% CI, 1.04–1.26) in the gastric polyps group comparing with control groups; (2) Patients with gastric polyps and neoplasms have higher risk (OR, 1.31 [95% CI, 1.06–1.62], and 1.72 [95% CI, 1.42–2.09], respectively) of colorectal neoplasms comparing with their controls; and (3) Positive association was found between the presence of colorectal neoplasms and sporadic duodenal neoplasms (OR, 2.59; 95% CI, 1.64–4.11).
Conclusions
Findings from present meta-analysis of 24 case-control studies suggest that the prevalence of colorectal polyps was higher in patients with gastric polyps than in those without gastric polyps, and the risk of colorectal neoplasms increases significantly in patients with gastric polyps, neoplasms, and duodenal neoplasms. Therefore, screening colonoscopy should be considered for patients with upper gastrointestinal polyps and neoplasms.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091810
PMCID: PMC3956699  PMID: 24637723
13.  Improving bgl1 gene expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae through meiosis in an isogenic triploid 
Biotechnology Letters  2014;36:1279-1285.
Introducing large numbers of target genes into the chromosome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae via δ-sequence-mediated integration is a good strategy for exploring the effects of gene dosage on expression and secretion of heterologous proteins. The expression of exogenous genes might be further improved through meiosis in an isogenic triploid. Here, a stable strain A-8 was screened from 35 sexual spore colonies obtained from an isogenic triploid integratively expressing bgl1 from Aspergillus aculeatus. The corresponding β-glucosidase activity in this strain was increased by ~120 % compared with the parent strain BGL-a. Measurement of doubling time, flow cytometry, and mating experiments further confirmed that A-8 was a spore-forming strain obtained from a triploid parent. Thus, combining δ-integration and meiosis in an isogenic triploid is a promising approach for improving the expression of exogenous proteins in S. cerevisiae.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10529-014-1471-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s10529-014-1471-z
PMCID: PMC4000627  PMID: 24563302
β-Glucosidase; δ-Integration; Meiosis; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Sexual spores; Triploid parent
14.  Motor Cortex-Periaqueductal Gray-Spinal Cord Neuronal Circuitry May Involve in Modulation of Nociception: A Virally Mediated Transsynaptic Tracing Study in Spinally Transected Transgenic Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89486.
Several studies have shown that motor cortex stimulation provided pain relief by motor cortex plasticity and activating descending inhibitory pain control systems. Recent evidence indicated that the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) in the periaqueductal gray played an important role in neuropathic pain. This study was designed to assess whether MC4R signaling existed in motor cortex- periaqueductal gray- spinal cord neuronal circuitry modulated the activity of sympathetic pathway by a virally mediated transsynaptic tracing study. Pseudorabies virus (PRV)-614 was injected into the left gastrocnemius muscle in adult male MC4R-green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic mice (n = 15). After a survival time of 4–6 days, the mice (n = 5) were randomly assigned to humanely sacrifice, and spinal cords and brains were removed and sectioned, and processed for PRV-614 visualization. Neurons involved in the efferent control of the left gastrocnemius muscle were identified following visualization of PRV-614 retrograde tracing. The neurochemical phenotype of MC4R-GFP-positive neurons was identified using fluorescence immunocytochemical labeling. PRV-614/MC4R-GFP dual labeled neurons were detected in spinal IML, periaqueductal gray and motor cortex. Our findings support the hypothesis that MC4R signaling in motor cortex-periaqueductal gray-spinal cord neural pathway may participate in the modulation of the melanocortin-sympathetic signaling and contribute to the descending modulation of nociceptive transmission, suggesting that MC4R signaling in motor cortex- periaqueductal gray-spinal cord neural pathway may modulate the activity of sympathetic outflow sensitive to nociceptive signals.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089486
PMCID: PMC3929690  PMID: 24586817
15.  Synthesis and evaluation of the aldolase antibody-derived chemical-antibodies targeting alpha(5)beta(1) integrin 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2012;10(2):538-543.
Integrin α5β1 is an important therapeutic target that can be inhibited using an aldolase antibody (Ab)-derived chemical-Ab (chem-Ab) for the treatment of multiple human diseases, including cancers. A fairly optimized anti-integrin α5β1 chem-Ab 38C2-4e was obtained using an in situ convergent chemical programming (CP) approach, which minimized the time and efforts needed to develop a chem-Ab. Multiple Ab-programming agents (PAs) 4a-e could be prepared rapidly using the Cu-catalyzed alkyne-azide coupling (Cu-AAC) reaction of an α5β1 inhibitor 2 with multiple linkers 3a-e, either before or after conjugating the linkers into Ab 38C2 binding sites. In these two-steps processes, the products after step 1 can be used in next step without performing an extensive purification or analysis of the Ab-PAs or Ab-linker conjugates affording chem-Abs 38C2-(4a-e). Flow cytometry assay was used to determine binding of the chem-Abs to U87 human glioblastoma cells expressing α5β1 integrin, and identify 38C2-3e as the strongest binder. Further studies revealed that 38C2-3e strongly inhibited proliferation of U87 cells and tube formation of HUVEC in matrigel assay, as well as tumor growth and metastasis of 4T1 cells in vivo.
doi:10.1021/mp3004463
PMCID: PMC3596504  PMID: 23102054
Integrin alpha(5)beta(1); chemical programming; antibody 38C2; Aldolase antibody; cancer; chemical-antibody (chem-Ab); in-situ convergent strategy
16.  Interleukin-4-Mediated 15-Lipoxygenase-1 Trans-Activation Requires UTX Recruitment and H3K27me3 Demethylation at the Promoter in A549 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85085.
Arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase-1 (ALOX15) oxygenates polyunsaturated fatty acids and bio-membranes, generating multiple lipid signalling mediators involved in inflammation. Several lines of evidence indicate that ALOX15 activation in the respiratory tract contributes to asthma progression. Recent experimental data reveals that histone modification at the promoter plays a critical role in ALOX15 gene transcription. In the present study, we examined the status of histone H3 trimethyl-lysine 27 (H3K27me3) at the ALOX15 promoter by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay in human lung epithelial carcinoma A549 cells incubated with or without interleukin (IL)-4. We identified demethylation of H3K27me3 at the ALOX15 promoter after IL-4 treatment. Furthermore, we found that the H3K27me2/3-specific demethylase, ubiquitously transcribed tetratricopeptide repeat, X chromosome (UTX), mediates the H3K27me3 demethylation during ALOX15 transcriptional activation. When UTX expression was knocked down using siRNA, IL-4-mediated H3K27me3 demethylation and ALOX15 induction were significantly attenuated. The critical role of UTX in ALOX15 expression was confirmed in human monocytes and the Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) cell line L1236, but was in these cells not related to H3K27me3-demethylase activity. These results demonstrate that UTX is implicated in IL-4 mediated transcriptional activation of the ALOX15 gene.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085085
PMCID: PMC3896354  PMID: 24465480
17.  A comprehensive microRNA expression profile of the backfat tissue from castrated and intact full-sib pair male pigs 
BMC Genomics  2014;15:47.
Background
It is widely known that castration has a significant effect on the accumulation of adipose tissue. microRNAs (miRNAs) are known to be involved in fat deposition and to be regulated by the androgen-induced androgen receptor (AR). However, there is little understanding of the relationship between miRNAs and fat deposition after castration. In this study, the high-throughput SOLiD sequencing approach was used to identify and characterize miRNA expression in backfat from intact and castrated full-sib male 23-week-old pigs. The patterns of adipogenesis and fat deposition were compared between castrated and intact male pigs.
Results
A total of 366 unique miRNA genes were identified, comprising 174 known pre-miRNAs and 192 novel pre-miRNAs. One hundred and sixty-seven pre-miRNAs were common to both castrated (F3) and intact (F4) male pig small RNA libraries. The novel pre-miRNAs encoded 153 miRNAs/miRNA*s and 141 miRNAs/miRNA*s in the F3 and F4 libraries, respectively. One hundred and seventy-seven miRNAs, including 45 up- and 132 down-regulated, had more than 2-fold differential expression between the castrated and intact male pigs (p-value < 0.001). Thirty-five miRNAs were further selected, based on the expression abundance and differentiation between the two libraries, to predict their targets in KEGG pathways. KEGG pathway analyses suggested that miRNAs differentially expressed between the castrated and intact male pigs are involved in proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, migration, adipose tissue development and other important biological processes. The expression patterns of eight arbitrarily selected miRNAs were validated by stem-loop reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction. These data confirmed the expression tendency observed with SOLiD sequencing. miRNA isomiRs and mirtrons were also investigated in this study. Mirtrons are a recently described category of miRNA relying on splicing rather than processing by the microprocessor complex to generate the RNAi pathway. The functions of miRNAs important for regulating fat deposition were also investigated in this study.
Conclusions
This study expands the number of fat-deposition-related miRNAs in pig. The results also indicate that castration can significantly affect the expression patterns of fat-related miRNAs. The differentially expressed miRNAs may play important roles in fat deposition after castration.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-47
PMCID: PMC3901342  PMID: 24443800
Male pig; MicroRNA; Fat deposition; Castration
18.  Sex-specific Association of the Zinc Finger Protein 259 rs2075290 Polymorphism and Serum Lipid Levels 
Background: Little is known about the association of ZNF259 rs2075290 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and serum lipid levels in the Chinese population. This study aimed to detect the association of ZNF259 rs2075290 SNP and environmental factors with serum lipid levels between males and females in the Mulao and Han populations.
Methods and Results: Genotyping of ZNF259 rs2075290 SNP was performed in 788 of Mulao and 778 of Han participants using polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism. The genotype frequencies were significantly different between Mulao and Han populations (AA, 50.1% Vs 58.9%; AG, 42.3% Vs 35.7%; GG, 7.6% Vs 5.4%, P = 0.002) and between Han males and females (AA, 64.5% Vs 55.2%; AG, 28.3% Vs 40.6%; GG, 7.2% Vs 4.2%, P = 0.001). Serum levels of triglyceride (TG) in Mulao males, and total cholesterol (TC), TG and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in Mulao females were different between the AA and AG/GG genotypes (P < 0.05-0.001). Serum TC, LDL-C and apolipoprotein (Apo) A1 levels in Han males, and TG and ApoB levels and ApoA1/ApoB ratio in Han females were different between the AA and AG/GG genotypes (P < 0.05-0.001). An interaction between ZNF259 rs2075290 polymorphism and male gender on serum TC, LDL-C, and ApoA1 levels was noted in Han population (P < 0.05-0.01) but not in Mulao's.
Conclusions: The subjects with AG/GG genotype in Mulao males and females and Han females have less favorable lipid profiles than those with AA genotype. In contrast, the subjects with AG/GG genotype in Han males have more favorable lipid profiles than those with AA genotype. These findings suggest that the association between ZNF259 rs2075290 SNP and serum lipid levels might have ethnic- and/or sex-specificity.
doi:10.7150/ijms.8489
PMCID: PMC3970100  PMID: 24688311
lipids; sex-specific association; zinc finger protein 259 (ZNF259); single nucleotide polymorphism; environmental factors.
19.  Suppression of KIF3B Expression Inhibits Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Proliferation 
Background
Human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common fatal cancers and an important health problem worldwide, but its mechanism is still unclear. Microtubule (MT) kinesin motor proteins orchestrate a variety of cellular processes (e.g. mitosis, motility and organelle transportation) and have been involved in human carcinogenesis. KIF3B, the kinesin superfamily of proteins (KIFs), plays an important role in the regulation of mitotic progression.
Aim
The expression of KIF3B and its involvement in HCC was investigated.
Methods
Western blot and immunohistochemistry were used to measure the expression of KIF3B protein in HCC and adjacent non-tumorous tissues in 57 patients and Cell Counting Kit-8 to analyze the effects of growth and interference of KIF3B in the cell cycle process.
Results
KIF3B protein level was increased in HCC tissues compared with the adjacent non-tumorous tissues. It was significantly associated with histological differentiation, tumor size, the level of alpha fetal protein (AFP) and proliferation marker Ki-67. Over-expression of KIF3B was correlated with poor survival. Following release of HepG2 cells from serum starvation, the expression of KIF3B was up-regulated. Furthermore, suppression of KIF3B not only decreased cancer cell growth but also induced apoptosis of cells.
Conclusions
Our results suggested that KIF3B expression was upregulated in HCC tumor tissues and proliferating HCC cells, and an increased KIF3B expression was associated with poor overall survival. KIF3B over-expression is involved in the pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma and may serve as a potential therapeutic target for human HCC.
doi:10.1007/s10620-013-2969-2
PMCID: PMC3958719  PMID: 24368420
Human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); KIF3B; Cell proliferation; Pathogenesis
20.  Electroacupuncture-Induced Neuroprotection against Cerebral Ischemia in Rats: Role of the Dopamine D2 Receptor 
Background. Cerebral ischemia is known to produce brain damage and related behavioural deficits, including memory deficits and motor disorders. Evidence shows that EA significantly promotes recovery of neurological function and thus improves quality of life. Objective. Evidence exists for the involvement of catecholamines in human neuroplasticity. A better understanding of dopaminergic (DAergic) modulation in this process will be important. Methods. A total of 72 adult male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were divided into 6 groups: normal, model, EA, spiperone group, EA + spiperone group, and pergolide. The middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model was used in all 6 groups except the normal group. A behavioural assessment was conducted at 1, 3, 5, and 7 days after MCAO. The percent of brain infarct area was also determined 7 days after MCAO. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and growth-associated protein 43 (GAP-43) fluorescence double labeling was performed in the striatum. Results. In this study, we found that EA at Fengchi (GB20) acupoints resulted in marked improvements based on a behavioural assessment. Both TTC staining and GAP-43 immunofluorescence labeling results showed that EA treatment reduced ischemia injury and promoted neuroplasticity compared with the model group. The D2R-selective agonist, pergolide, showed similar results, but these results were reversed by the D2R-selective antagonist, spiperone. We also found that there were more colocalization and expression of GAP-43 and TH in the EA and pergolide groups than those in the other groups. Conclusion. These results suggest that the neuroplasticity induced by EA was mediated by D2 autoreceptors in DAergic neurons.
doi:10.1155/2013/137631
PMCID: PMC3856151  PMID: 24348687
21.  A Functional Variant rs1820453 in YAP1 and Breast Cancer Risk in Chinese Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79056.
Background
To investigate the association between rs1820453 which located in the promoter region of yes-associated protein 1 (YAP1) gene and breast cancer (BC) risk.
Method and Findings
We conducted a hospital-based case-control study including a total of 480 BC cases and 545 cancer-free controls in Chinese population. Then the expression quantitative trait locus (e-QTL) analysis was performed to explore the possible function of rs1820453 to the YAP1 gene expression. The association between rs1820453 and BC risk was significantly identified with the odds ratio (OR) was 1.27 (95 % confidence interval (CI) =1.03-1.57) under allelic model when adjusted by age and menopausal status. In addition, the correlation analysis of rs1820453 and YAP1 expression level found that this variant was significantly associated with the gene expression in Chinese population. When compared with level of mRNA expression of the AA genotype (6.011±0.046), the mRNA expression level in CC genotype (5.903±0.026) was statistically lower (P=0.024).
Conclusion
The results from this study suggested that rs1820453 A>C change may affect the gene expression and contribute to the risk of developing BC in Chinese population though larger sample-size studies along with functional experiments were anticipated to warrant the results.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079056
PMCID: PMC3815349  PMID: 24223879
22.  Tuning interactions between zeolite and supported metal by physical-sputtering to achieve higher catalytic performances 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2813.
To substitute for petroleum, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) is an environmentally benign process to produce synthetic diesel (n-paraffin) from syngas. Industrially, the synthetic gasoline (iso-paraffin) can be produced with a FTS process followed by isomerization and hydrocracking processes over solid-acid catalysts. Herein, we demonstrate a cobalt nano-catalyst synthesized by physical-sputtering method that the metallic cobalt nano-particles homogeneously disperse on the H-ZSM5 zeolite support with weak Metal-Support Interactions (MSI). This catalyst performed the high gasoline-range iso-paraffin productivity through the combined FTS, isomerization and hydrocracking reactions. The weak MSI results in the easy reducibility of the cobalt nano-particles; the high cobalt dispersion accelerates n-paraffin diffusion to the neighboring acidic sites on the H-ZSM5 support for isomerization and hydrocracking. Both factors guarantee its high CO conversion and iso-paraffin selectivity. This physical-sputtering technique to synthesize the supported metallic nano-catalyst is a promising way to solve the critical problems caused by strong MSI for various processes.
doi:10.1038/srep02813
PMCID: PMC3788372  PMID: 24085106
23.  Tissue Inhibitor of Matrix Metalloproteinase-3 or Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Transfection of Aged Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Enhances Cell Therapy after Myocardial Infarction 
Rejuvenation Research  2012;15(5):495-506.
Abstract
Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation has been proposed as a potential therapeutic approach for ischemic heart disease, but the regenerative capacity of these cells decreases with age. In this study, we genetically engineered old human MSCs (O-hMSCs) with tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-3 (TIMP3) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and evaluated the effects on the efficacy of cell-based gene therapy in a rat myocardial infarction (MI) model. Cultured O-hMSCs were transfected with TIMP3 (O-TIMP3) or VEGF (O-VEGF) and compared with young hMSCs (Y-hMSCs) and non-transfected O-hMSCs for growth, clonogenic capacity, and differentiation potential. In vivo, rats were subjected to left coronary artery ligation with subsequent injection of Y-hMSCs, O-hMSCs, O-TIMP3, O-VEGF, or medium. Echocardiography was performed prior to and at 1, 2, and 4 weeks after MI. Myocardial levels of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP2), MMP9, TIMP3, and VEGF were assessed at 1 week. Hemodynamics, morphology, and histology were measured at 4 weeks. In vitro, genetically modified O-hMSCs showed no changes in growth, colony formation, or multi-differentiation capacity. In vivo, transplantation with O-TIMP3, O-VEGF, or Y-hMSCs increased capillary density, preserved cardiac function, and reduced infarct size compared to O-hMSCs and medium control. O-TIMP3 and O-VEGF transplantation enhanced TIMP3 and VEGF expression, respectively, in the treated animals. O-hMSCs genetically modified with TIMP3 or VEGF can increase angiogenesis, prevent adverse matrix remodeling, and restore cardiac function to a degree similar to Y-hMSCs. This gene-modified cell therapy strategy may be a promising clinical treatment to rejuvenate stem cells in elderly patients.
doi:10.1089/rej.2012.1325
PMCID: PMC3482878  PMID: 22950427
24.  Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Police Dogs in Shenyang, Northeastern China 
In recent years, worldwide surveys of Toxoplasma gondii infection in dogs have been reported. However, only limited surveys of T. gondii infection in police dogs have been available, including China. In the present study, we report the seroprevalence of T. gondii in police dogs in Shenyang, northeastern China. Sera from 291 police dogs were examined for T. gondii antibodies with the modified agglutination test (MAT), and 30.9% animals were tested seropositive. The results of the present study indicated a relatively high prevalence of T. gondii infection in police dogs in Shenyang, China.
doi:10.3347/kjp.2013.51.5.579
PMCID: PMC3857508  PMID: 24327786
Toxoplasma gondii; police dog; modified agglutination test; seroprevalence; Shenyang; China
25.  Andrographis paniculata Extract and Andrographolide Modulate the Hepatic Drug Metabolism System and Plasma Tolbutamide Concentrations in Rats 
Andrographolide is the most abundant terpenoid of A. paniculata which is used in the treatment of diabetes. In this study, we investigated the effects of A. paniculata extract (APE) and andrographolide on the expression of drug-metabolizing enzymes in rat liver and determined whether modulation of these enzymes changed the pharmacokinetics of tolbutamide. Rats were intragastrically dosed with 2 g/kg/day APE or 50 mg/kg/day andrographolide for 5 days before a dose of 20 mg/kg tolbutamide was given. APE and andrographolide reduced the AUC0–12 h of tolbutamide by 37% and 18%, respectively, compared with that in controls. The protein and mRNA levels and enzyme activities of CYP2C6/11, CYP1A1/2, and CYP3A1/2 were increased by APE and andrographolide. To evaluate whether APE or andrographolide affected the hypoglycemic action of tolbutamide, high-fat diet-induced obese mice were used and treated in the same manner as the rats. APE and andrographolide increased CYP2C6/11 expression and decreased plasma tolbutamide levels. In a glucose tolerance test, however, the hypoglycemic effect of tolbutamide was not changed by APE or andrographolide. These results suggest that APE and andrographolide accelerate the metabolism rate of tolbutamide through increased expression and activity of drug-metabolizing enzymes. APE and andrographolide, however, do not impair the hypoglycemic effect of tolbutamide.
doi:10.1155/2013/982689
PMCID: PMC3753754  PMID: 23997806

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