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1.  Novel function of a putative MOC1 ortholog associated with spikelet number per spike in common wheat 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:12211.
Axillary meristems play an important role in determining final plant architecture and floral structures. Tomato Ls, Arabidopsis LAS and rice MOC1 are orthologous genes regulating axillary meristem initiation and outgrowth. Their functions are generally conserved but the functional specificities are divergent among species. Obvious differences between rice panicles and wheat spikes suggest the divergent functions of MOC1 and its wheat ortholog. We show that TaMOC1 might be involved in wheat spikelet development. TaMOC1 is a typical nucleus localized protein with transcriptional activation abilities. The variable N-termini of TaMOC1 protein is necessary for transcriptional activation. TaMOC1 is highly expressed in ears with length of 2, 3 and 6 cm. Significant associations between the TaMOC1-7A haplotype and spikelet number per spike were observed in ten environments over 3 years and 2 sites. TaMOC1-7A HapH, a favored haplotype acquired during wheat polyploidization, may make a positive contribution to spikelet number per spike. Based on evolutionary analysis, geographic distribution and frequency changes, TaMOC1-7A HapH might be associated with wheat domestication and Chinese wheat breeding history. The pyramiding favorable alleles of TaMOC1-7A HapH and TaSnRK2.10 (C, associated with higher TGW) can improve both spikelet number per spike and TGW simultaneously.
PMCID: PMC4510493  PMID: 26197925
2.  Association of three 8q24 polymorphisms with prostate cancer susceptibility: evidence from a meta-analysis with 50,854 subjects 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:12069.
The 8q24 polymorphisms have been implicated in various cancers. Three 8q24 polymorphisms (rs1447295 C>A, rs16901979 C>A, and rs6983267 T>G) have been extensively investigated for their association with prostate cancer (PCa) susceptibility, yet conclusions are contradictory. We conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis to reevaluate the associations between those polymorphisms and PCa susceptibility, according to the latest meta-analysis guidelines (PRISMA). Eligible publications were searched from MEDLINE, EMBASE and CBM. False positive report possibility analysis was performed. We totally collected 20184 cases and 20439 controls from 20 studies for the rs1447295 C>A, 1850 cases and 2090 controls from 7 studies for the rs16901979 C>A, and 12233 cases and 7582 controls from 17 studies for the rs6983267 T>G. Overall, each of studied 8q24 polymorphisms was significantly associated with PCa risk individually. Significant associations were also observed in stratified analysis by ethnicity, source of control, and quality score. Interestingly, the effect of rs1447295 on PCa risk was observed among Caucasians and Asians, but not Africa-Americans. The effect of rs16901979 was more prominent among Africa-Americans than Asians. Likewise, rs6983267 conferred a higher Pca risk among Caucasians than Asians. Collectively, these 8q24 variant(s) may modulate PCa risk in an ethnic-specific manner.
PMCID: PMC4498192  PMID: 26159557
3.  Five Common Haplotype-Tagging Variants of Adiponectin (ADIPOQ) and Cancer Susceptibility: A Meta-Analysis 
Aims: The relationship between common haplotype-tagging polymorphisms (rs266729 [11365C>G], rs822395 [−4034A>C], rs822396 [−3964A>G], rs2241766 [45T>G], and rs1501299 [276G>T]) in the ADIPOQ gene and cancer risk has been investigated in different ethnic groups; however, these studies have yielded contradictory results. With this in mind, this meta-analysis was performed in an attempt to draw a more precise conclusion regarding the association between ADIPOQ polymorphisms and cancer risk. Results: In this study, with a total of 19 eligible articles consisting of 52 studies, the pooled odds ratios (ORs) for the association between ADIPOQ rs1501299 and cancer risk were statistically significant (dominant model, TT/GT vs. GG, OR=0.84, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.77–0.92; homozygous model, TT vs. GG, OR=0.80, 95% CI: 0.68–0.94). These results suggested that ADIPOQ rs1501299 might be a protection-associated polymorphism in cancer. The stratified analyses indicated that the variant T allele of ADIPOQ rs1501299 was associated with decreased risk of cancer in both Caucasian and Asian populations when compared with the G allele. No significant association for the rest of the polymorphisms was observed under any genetic model. Conclusions: This meta-analysis suggests that the ADIPOQ rs1501299 may be a protective factor for carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4043436  PMID: 24720830
4.  Structure Elucidation of the Metabolites of 2', 3', 5'-Tri-O-Acetyl-N6-(3-Hydroxyphenyl) Adenosine in Rat Urine by HPLC-DAD, ESI-MS and Off-Line Microprobe NMR 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0127583.
2', 3', 5'-tri-O-acetyl-N6-(3-hydroxyphenyl) adenosine (also known as WS070117) is a new adenosine analog that displays anti-hyperlipidemic activity both in vitro and in vivo experiments as shown in many preliminary studies. Due to its new structure, little is known about the metabolism of WS070117. Hence, the in vivo metabolites of WS070117 in rat urine following oral administration were investigated. Identification of the metabolites was conducted using the combination of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with diode array detector (DAD), ion trap electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), and off-line microprobe nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements. Seven metabolites were obtained as pure compounds at the sub-milligram to milligram levels. Results of structure elucidation unambiguously revealed that the phase I metabolite, N6-(3-hydroxyphenyl) adenosine (M8), was a hydrolysate of WS070117 by hydrolysis on the three ester groups. N6-(3-hydr-oxyphenyl) adenine (M7), also one of the phase I metabolites, was the derivative of M8 by the loss of ribofuranose. In addition to two phase I metabolites, there were five phase II metabolites of WS070117 found in rat urine. 8-hydroxy-N6-(3-hydroxy-phenyl) adenosine (M6) was the product of M7 by hydrolysis at position 8. The other four were elucidated to be N6-(3-O-β-D-glucuronyphenyl) adenine (M2), N8-hydroxy-N6-(3-O-sulfophenyl) adenine (M3), N6-(3-O-β-D-glucuronyphenyl) adenosine (M4), and N6-(3-O- sulfophenyl) adenosine (M5). Phase II metabolic pathways were proven to consist of hydroxylation, glucuronidation and sulfation. This study provides new and valuable information on the metabolism of WS070117, and also demonstrates the HPLC/MS/off-line microprobe NMR approach as a robust means for rapid identification of metabolites.
PMCID: PMC4451981  PMID: 26029929
5.  Efficacy of aliskiren, compared with angiotensin II blockade, in slowing the progression of diabetic nephropathy in db/db mice: should the combination therapy be a focus? 
Although the intensive use of angiotensin II blockade (ACEI or ARB), progression of diabetic nephropathy is common. A feedback increase in renin production often accompanies angiotensin II blockade. We therefore examined whether aliskiren, a direct renin inhibitor, confers better renoprotection than angiotensin II blockade and whether the addition of aliskiren to an ACEI or ARB would enhance the efficacy in slowing the progression of glomerulosclerosis in diabetes. Untreated db/db mice developed progressive mesangial matrix expansion and albuminuria between weeks 18 and 22, associated with reduction of WT-1 immunopositive podocytes and nephrin and podocin production and induction of desmin and B7-1 generation and renal expression of TGFß1, PAI-1, fibronectin and type IV collagen. Treatment with aliskiren at 30 mg/kg/d inhibited the increases in albuminuria and markers of renal fibrosis and the changes that are indicative of podocyte injury seen in the db/db mice. Notably, the therapeutic effect of aliskiren was similar to that of either enalapril or valsartan given alone at maximally effective doses. Combined therapy caused the loss of 10% ~ 16.6% of db/db mice, yielded no further reduction in renal fibrosis and podocyte injury but further reduced albuminuria and renal production of TNFα, Nox2 and p47phox and urine MCP-1 and malondialdehyde levels, the markers of renal inflammation and oxidative stress. These results suggest that aliskiren, enalapril and valsartan are equally effective in slowing the progression of diabetic nephropathy. The use of combination therapy with aliskiren and ACEI/ARB may not be strongly supported.
PMCID: PMC4494135  PMID: 26175845
Direct renin inhibitor (DRI); angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI); angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB); albuminuria; podocyte; renal fibrosis
6.  CD95 and CD95L promote and protect cancer stem cells 
Nature communications  2014;5:5238.
CD95 (APO-1/Fas) is a death receptor used by immune cells to kill cancer cells through induction of apoptosis. However, the elimination of CD95 or its ligand, CD95L, from cancer cells results in death induced by CD95R/L elimination (DICE), a type of cell death that resembles a necrotic form of mitotic catastrophe suggesting that CD95 protects cancer cells from cell death. We now report that stimulation of CD95 on cancer cells or reducing miR-200c levels increases the number of cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are more sensitive to induction of DICE than non-CSC, while becoming less sensitive to CD95 mediated apoptosis. In contrast, induction of DICE or overexpression of miR-200c reduces the number of cancer stem cells. We demonstrate that CSCs and non-CSCs have differential sensitivities to CD95-mediated apoptosis and DICE and that killing of cancer cells can be maximized by concomitant induction of both cell death mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4417339  PMID: 25366259
7.  Cleavage of tau by asparagine endopeptidase mediates the neurofibrillary pathology in Alzheimer’s disease 
Nature medicine  2014;20(11):1254-1262.
Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), composed of truncated and hyperphosphorylated tau, are a common feature of numerous aging-related neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the molecular mechanisms mediating tau truncation and aggregation during aging remain elusive. Here we show that asparagine endopeptidase (AEP), a lysosomal cysteine proteinase, is activated during aging and proteolytically degrades tau, abolishes its microtubule assembly function, induces tau aggregation, and triggers neurodegeneration. AEP is upregulated and active during aging, and is activated in tau P301S transgenic mice and human AD brain, leading to tau truncation in NFTs. Deletion of AEP from tau P301S transgenic mice substantially reduces tau hyperphosphorylation, alleviates the synapse loss and rescues impaired hippocampal synaptic function and the cognitive deficits. Infection of uncleavable tau N255AN368A mutant rescues tau P301S-induced pathological and behavioral defects. Together, these observations indicate that AEP acts as a crucial mediator of tau-related clinical and neuropathological changes in neurodegenerative diseases. Inhibition of AEP may be therapeutically useful for treating tau-mediated neurodegenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC4224595  PMID: 25326800
8.  Shikonin induces apoptosis in the human gastric cancer cells HGC-27 through mitochondria-mediated pathway 
Pharmacognosy Magazine  2015;11(42):250-256.
Gastric cancer (GC) is one of the most frequently occurring digestive tract cancers and fewer chemotherapeutic drugs for GC have shown promising results. In this study, we investigated the anti-tumor activity of shikonin, a natural compound isolated from the Chinese plant Lithospermum erythrorhizon, against the human GC cell line HGC-27.
Materials and Methods:
HGC-27 cells treated with shikonin at a concentration of 30μM or above showed significant growth inhibition compared to control cells. Shikonin-treated cells also underwent apoptosis as detected by flow cytometric analysis and microscopic examination of cellular morphology. Further investigation into the underlying mechanism of apoptosis by western blot showed that the shikonin promoted the activation of poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase, caspase-3 and caspase-9 following 24 h or 48 h of treatment time, as well as the activation of caspase-8, but only after 48 h of treatment time. Furthermore, the levels of mitochondrial membrane potential, B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) and Bcl-extra large were reduced following shikonin treatment while the level of Bax was increased. In addition, shikonin also caused a significant reduction of the protein Survivin, while having little effect on the expression on X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein.
Taken together, these results showed that the shikonin exhibited its anti-tumor activity against HGC-27 cells through inhibiting cell growth and promoting apoptosis by targeting mitochondrial-related signaling pathway. Our finding may represent a positive step in finding a natural and effective compound that could be important implication for future development of chemotherapeutic and/or chemopreventive agent against GC.
PMCID: PMC4378121  PMID: 25829762
Apoptosis; caspases; HGC-27 cells; mitochondrial pathway; shikonin
9.  The application of HPLC and microprobe NMR spectroscopy in the identification of metabolites in complex biological matrices 
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry  2015;407(12):3405-3416.
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolomics can be used directly to identify a variety of metabolites in biological fluids and tissues. Metabolite analysis is an important part of life science and metabolomics research. However, the identification of some metabolites using NMR spectroscopy remains a big challenge owing to low abundance or signal overlap. It is important to develop a method to measure these compounds accurately. Two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy, metabolite prediction software packages, and spike-in experiments with authentic standards are often used to solve these problems, but they are costly and time-consuming. In this study, methods were developed to identify metabolites in complex biological mixtures using both high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and off-line microprobe NMR spectroscopy. With use of these methods, 83 and 73 metabolites were identified in Sprague Dawley rat urine and feces, respectively. Among them, 40 and 45 metabolites, respectively, could not be identified with traditional NMR methods. Our research revealed that the combination of HPLC and NMR techniques could significantly improve the accuracy of trace and overlapped metabolite identification, while offering an effective and convenient approach to identify potential biomarkers in complex biological systems.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00216-015-8556-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4392169  PMID: 25814271
High-performance liquid chromatography; NMR; Urine; Feces; Metabolite identification
10.  Data in support of comparative analysis of strawberry proteome in response to controlled atmosphere and low temperature storage using a label-free quantification 
Data in Brief  2015;3:185-188.
To elucidate the mechanisms contributing to fruit responses to senescence and stressful environmental stimuli under low temperature (LT) and controlled atmosphere (CA) storage, a label-free quantitative proteomic investigation was conducted in strawberry (Fragaria ananassa, Duch. cv. ‘Akihime’). Postharvest volatile compounds were characterized following storage under different conditions. The observed post-storage protein expression profiles may be associated with delayed senescence features in strawberry [2]. A total of 454 proteins were identified in differentially treated strawberry fruits. Quantitative analysis, using normalized spectral counts, revealed 73 proteins common to all treatments, which formed three clusters in a hierarchical clustering analysis.
PMCID: PMC4510141  PMID: 26217742
11.  Health care professionals at risk of infection with Borna disease virus – evidence from a large hospital in China (Chongqing) 
Virology Journal  2015;12:39.
Human Borna disease virus (BDV) infections have recently been reported in China. BDV causes cognitive and behavioural disturbances in animals. The impact on human mental disorders is subject to debate, but previous studies worldwide have found neuropsychiatric patients more frequently infected than healthy controls. A few isolates were recovered from severely depressed patients, but contagiousness of BDV strain remains unknown.
We addressed the risk of infection in health care settings at the first affiliated hospital of Chongqing Medical University (CQMU), located in downtown Chongqing, a megacity in Southwest China. Between February 2012 and March 2013, we enrolled 1529 participants, of whom 534 were outpatients with major depressive disorder (MDD), 615 were hospital personnel, and 380 were healthy controls who underwent a health check. Infection was determined through BDV-specific circulating immune complexes (CIC), RNA, and selective antibodies (blood).
One-fifth of the hospital staff (21.8%) were found to be infected (CIC positive), with the highest prevalence among psychiatry and oncology personnel, which is twice as many as were detected in the healthy control group (11.1%), and exceeds the prevalence detected in MDD patients (18.2%).
BDV circulates unnoticed in hospital settings in China, putting medical staff at risk and warranting clarification of infection modes and introduction of prevention measures.
PMCID: PMC4357222  PMID: 25888756
Borna disease virus; Risk of infection at hospital; Health care professionals; Major depressive disorder; Circulating immune complexes; RT-qPCR; China
12.  Clostridium butyricum Combined with Bifidobacterium infantis Probiotic Mixture Restores Fecal Microbiota and Attenuates Systemic Inflammation in Mice with Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:582048.
Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is one of the most common complications of most types of antibiotics. Our aim was to determine the efficacy of Clostridium butyricum, Bifidobacterium infantis, and their mixture for AAD treatment in mice. AAD models were administered with single probiotic strain and probiotic mixture for short term and long term to evaluate the changes of the composition and diversity of intestinal microbiota, histopathology of the colon, and the systemic inflammation. Our data indicated that long-term probiotic therapy, but not short-term course, exerted beneficial effects on the restoration of the intestinal microbiota, the recovery of the tissue architecture, and attenuation of systemic inflammation. All predominant fecal bacteria reached normal level after the long-term probiotic mixture treatment, while IL-10, IFN-γ, and TNF-α also returned to normal level. However, the efficacy for AAD was time dependent and probiotic strain specific. Short-term administration of probiotic strains or mixture showed no apparent positive effects for AAD. In addition, the beneficial effects of C. butyricum combined with B. infantis probiotic mixture were superior to their single strain. This research showed that supplementation with C. butyricum combined with B. infantis probiotic mixture may be a simple and effective method for AAD treatment.
PMCID: PMC4352745  PMID: 25802855
13.  Characterization of one sheep border disease virus in China 
Virology Journal  2015;12:15.
Border disease virus (BDV) causes border disease (BD) affecting mainly sheep and goats worldwide. BDV in goat herds suffering diarrhea was recently reported in China, however, infection in sheep was undetermined. Here, BDV infections of sheep herds in Jiangsu, China were screened; a BDV strain was isolated and identified from the sheep flocks in China. The genomic characteristics and pathogenesis of this new isolate were studied.
In 2012, samples from 160 animals in 5 regions of Jiangsu province of China were screened for the presence of BDV genomic RNA and antibody by RT-PCR and ELISA, respectively. 44.4% of the sera were detected positively, and one slowly grown sheep was analyzed to be pestivirus RNA positive and antibody-negative. The sheep kept virus positive and antibody negative in the next 6 months of whole fattening period, and was defined as persistent infection (PI). The virus was isolated in MDBK cells without cytopathic effect (CPE) and named as JSLS12-01. Near-full-length genome sequenced was 12,227 nucleotides (nt). Phylogenetic analysis based on 5'-UTR and Npro fragments showed that the strain belonged to genotype 3, and shared varied homology with the other 3 BDV strains previously isolated from Chinese goats. The genome sequence of JSLS12-01 also had the highest homology with genotype BDV-3 (the strain Gifhorn). Experimental infections of sheep had mild clinical signs as depression and short-period mild fever (5 days). Viremia was detected in 1–7 days post-infection (dpi), and seroconversion began after 14 dpi.
This study reported the genomic and pathogenesis characterizations of one sheep BDV strain, which confirmed the occurrence of BDV infection in Chinese sheep. This sheep derived BDV strain was classified as BDV-3, together with the goat derived strains in China. These results might be helpful for further understanding of BDV infection in China and useful for prevention and control of BDV infections in the future.
PMCID: PMC4329205  PMID: 25890073
BDV; Complete genome sequence; Phylogenetic analysis; Experimental infection
14.  Crude extract of maggots: Antibacterial effects against Escherichia coli, underlying mechanisms, separation and purification 
AIM: To investigate the antibacterial effects of a crude extract of maggots against Escherichia coli (E. coli) and the underlying mechanisms, and to separate and purify the crude extract of maggots to assess the antibacterial effects of the active ingredients in the crude extract.
METHODS: Different concentrations of the crude extract of maggots were incubated with E. coli (O157:H7) and cultured. The optical density (OD) was measured at different time points to plot the OD-T curve. The effects of different concentrations of the crude extract on bacterial membrane permeability were determined by fluorescence probe technique. The effects of different concentrations of the crude extract on plasmid DNA replication were determined by agarose gel electrophoresis. DEAE-Sepharose ion exchange chromatography and Sephacryls-200HR gel filtration chromatography were used to separate and purify the crude extract of maggots. The molecular weight of proteins in the purified crude extract was determined by SDS-PAGD electrophoresis, and its antibacterial effects were determined by turbidimetric method.
RESULTS: The antibacterial effects of the crude extract of maggots at concentrations > 0.5 mg/mL were significant. The antibacterial effects of the crude extract at concentrations of 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 mg/mL did not differ significantly. Fluorescence probe analysis showed that the rate of membrane permeability change was 1223.1% in bacteria incubated with 2 mg/mL of the crude extract, and 1300.0% in those incubated with 80 mg/mL of the crude extract. Plasmid DNA was undetectable in E. coli incubated with 2 and 80 mg/mL of the crude extract. A low molecular weight protein band (about 15 kDa) was detected in the crude extract of maggots and eluent, but not in eluant, from DEAE-Sepharose ion exchange chromatography. The antibacterial effects of the crude extract of maggots and eluent were superior to those of eluant, with the antibacterial effects of eluents being better than those of the crude extract of maggots. Of 24 tubes of filtrates, the antibacterial effects of filtrates in tubes 4, 5 and 11 were significantly higher than those of the control. The molecular weight of the protein in filtrates in tubes 4, 5 and 11 was about 15 kDa.
CONCLUSION: The crude extract of maggots exhibits obvious, dose-dependent antibacterial effects. The crude extract exerts antibacterial effects by changing the bacterial membrane permeability and inhibiting plasmid DNA replication. The protein that has antibacterial effects in the crude extract of maggots has a molecular weight of about 15 kDa.
PMCID: PMC4316093  PMID: 25663770
Maggots; Antibacterial peptide; Antibacterial mechanism; Escherichia coli; Colorectal
15.  Acoustic radiation force impulse elastography, FibroScan®, Forns’ index and their combination in the assessment of liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis B, and the impact of inflammatory activity and steatosis on these diagnostic methods 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2015;11(6):4174-4182.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the combination of certain serological markers (Forns’ index; FI), FibroScan® and acoustic radiation force impulse elastography (ARFI) in the assessment of liver fibrosis in patients with hepatitis B, and to explore the impact of inflammatory activity and steatosis on the accuracy of these diagnostic methods. Eighty-one patients who had been diagnosed with hepatitis B were recruited and the stage of fibrosis was determined by biopsy. The diagnostic accuracy of FI, FibroScan and ARFI, as well as that of the combination of these methods, was evaluated based on the conformity of the results from these tests with those of biopsies. The effect of concomitant inflammation on diagnostic accuracy was also investigated by dividing the patients into two groups based on the grade of inflammation (G<2 and G≥2). The overall univariate correlation between steatosis and the diagnostic value of the three methods was also evaluated. There was a significant association between the stage of fibrosis and the results obtained using ARFI and FibroScan (Kruskal-Wallis; P<0.001 for all patients), and FI (t-test, P<0.001 for all patients). The combination of FI with ARFI/FibroScan increased the predictive accuracy with a fibrosis stage of S≥2 or cirrhosis. There was a significant correlation between the grade of inflammation and the results obtained using ARFI and FibroScan (Kruskal-Wallis, P<0.001 for all patients), and FI (t-test; P<0.001 for all patients). No significant correlation was detected between the measurements obtained using ARFI, FibroScan and FI, and steatosis (r=−0.100, P=0.407; r=0.170, P=0.163; and r=0.154, P=0.216, respectively). ARFI was shown to be as effective in the diagnosis of liver fibrosis as FibroScan or FI, and the combination of ARFI or FibroScan with FI may improve the accuracy of diagnosis. The presence of inflammatory activity, but not that of steatosis, may affect the diagnostic accuracy of these methods.
PMCID: PMC4394958  PMID: 25651500
acoustic radiation force impulse; transient elastography; liver fibrosis; inflammatory activity; steatosis
16.  Synchrotron based phase contrast X-ray imaging combined with FTIR spectroscopy reveals structural and biomolecular differences in spikelets play a significant role in resistance to Fusarium in wheat 
BMC Plant Biology  2015;15:24.
Fusarium head blight (FHB), a scab principally caused by Fusarium graminearum Schw., is a serious disease of wheat. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the potential of combining synchrotron based phase contrast X-ray imaging (PCI) with Fourier Transform mid infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to understand the mechanisms of resistance to FHB by resistant wheat cultivars. Our hypothesis is that structural and biochemical differences between resistant and susceptible cultivars play a significant role in developing resistance to FHB.
Synchrotron based PCI images and FTIR absorption spectra (4000–800 cm−1) of the floret and rachis from Fusarium-damaged and undamaged spikes of the resistant cultivar ‘Sumai3’, tolerant cultivar ‘FL62R1’, and susceptible cultivar ‘Muchmore’ were collected and analyzed. The PCI images show significant differences between infected and non-infected florets and rachises of different wheat cultivars. However, no pronounced difference between non-inoculated resistant and susceptible cultivar in terms of floret structures could be determined due to the complexity of the internal structures. The FTIR spectra showed significant variability between infected and non-infected floret and rachis of the wheat cultivars. The changes in absorption wavenumbers following pathogenic infection were mostly in the spectral range from 1800–800 cm−1. The Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was also used to determine the significant chemical changes inside floret and rachis when exposed to the FHB disease stress to understand the plant response mechanism. In the floret and rachis samples, PCA of FTIR spectra revealed differences in cell wall related polysaccharides. In the florets, absorption peaks for Amide I, cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin were affected by the pathogenic fungus. In the rachis of the wheat cultivars, PCA underlines significant changes in pectin, cellulose, and hemicellulose characteristic absorption spectra. Amide II and lignin absorption peaks, persistent in the rachis of Sumai3, together with increased peak shift at 1245 cm−1 after infection with FHB may be a marker for stress response in which the cell wall compounds related to pathways for lignification are increased.
Synchrotron based PCI combined with FTIR spectroscopy show promising results related to FHB in wheat. The combined technique is a powerful new tool for internal visualisation and biomolecular monitoring before and during plant-microbe interactions to understand both the differences between cultivars and their different responses to disease stress.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0357-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4340487  PMID: 25628148
17.  Perceived Availability of Culturally and Demographically Diverse Photographs for Health Education Materials, Colorado, 2010 
An online survey was conducted with health educators in Colorado to ascertain their needs and ability to access relevant stock art photographs for their print and electronic educational media. Health educators were dissatisfied with the cultural and demographic diversity of photographs available from their own sources or from commercial stock art websites. There was a perceived need for more photographs that would better represent their target populations. The health educators believed, furthermore, that representative visual images can help improve their message effectiveness.
PMCID: PMC4344354  PMID: 25719214
18.  An updated role of microRNA-124 in central nervous system disorders: a review 
MicroRNA-124 (miR-124) is the most abundant miRNA in the brain. Biogenesis of miR-124 displays specific temporal and spatial profiles in various cell and tissue types and affects a broad spectrum of biological functions in the central nervous system (CNS). Recently, the link between dysregulation of miR-124 and CNS disorders, such as neurodegeneration, CNS stress, neuroimmune disorders, stroke, and brain tumors, has become evident. Here, we provide an overview of the specific molecular function of miR-124 in the CNS and a revealing insight for the therapeutic potential of miR-124 in the treatment of human CNS diseases.
PMCID: PMC4438253  PMID: 26041995
microRNA-124; CNS disorders; brain development; neurodegradation; CNS stress; neuroimmunity; brain tumor; stroke
19.  Mycobacterium tuberculosis 10-kDa co-chaperonin regulates the expression levels of receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand and osteoprotegerin in human osteoblasts 
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of recombinant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (r-Mt) 10-kDa co-chaperonin (cpn10) on the expression of osteoprotegerin (OPG) and receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) in third-generation cultured osteoblasts. The osteoblast-like cultures were isolated from bone fragments taken from patients undergoing surgery. Prior to stimulation with r-Mt cpn10, cells were incubated in serum-free medium for 24 h. r-Mt cpn10 was added into fresh serum-free medium, reaching final concentrations of 0.01–10 μg/ml. The levels of OPG were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) analysis was performed to determine the levels of RANKL and OPG mRNA. For measurement of the protein levels of OPG and RANKL, a western blotting assay was performed. r-Mt cpn10 downregulated the protein levels of OPG in the third generation cultured osteoblasts at a dose of 10 μg/ml. RT-qPCR revealed that the OPG mRNA level was decreased by 73% after 4 h and by 85.5% after 8 h following incubation with r-Mt cpn10 (10 μg/ml). Western blot analysis demonstrated similar results for the OPG protein level. In the third-generation cultured osteoblasts, the levels of RANKL mRNA and protein were increased by 2.6- and 1-fold, respectively, following incubation with r-Mt cpn10 (10 μg/ml). Furthermore, the RANKL/OPG ratio was markedly increased by r-Mt cpn10 (10 μg/ml) treatment. In conclusion, the results of the current study demonstrated that r-Mt cpn10 decreased the levels of OPG and increased the levels of RANKL in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Notably, the present study indicated that r-Mt cpn10 exerts its effect on osteoblastic cells by increasing the RANKL/OPG ratio.
PMCID: PMC4316961  PMID: 25667654
recombinant Mycobacterium tuberculosis 10-kDa co-chaperonin; osteoprotegerin; bone resorption; nuclear factor-κB ligand; osteoblast; bone tuberculosis
20.  Impacts of infection with different toxigenic Clostridium difficile strains on faecal microbiota in children 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7485.
Increasing evidence suggests that altered intestinal microbial composition and function result in an increased risk of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea (CDAD); however, the specific changes of intestinal microbiota in children suffering from CDAD and their associations with C. difficile strain toxigenicity are poorly understood. High-throughput pyrosequencing showed that reduced faecal bacterial diversity and dramatic shifts of microbial composition were found in children with CDAD. The Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio was increased significantly in patients with CDAD, which indicated that dysbiosis of faecal microbiota was closely associated with CDAD. C. difficile infection resulted in an increase in lactate-producing phylotypes, with a corresponding decrease in butyrate-producing bacteria. The decrease in butyrate and lactate buildup impaired intestinal colonisation resistance, which increased the susceptibility to C. difficile colonisation. Strains of C. difficile which were positive for both toxin A and toxin B reduced faecal bacterial diversity to a greater degree than strains that were only toxin B-positive, and were associated with unusually abundant Enterococcus, which implies that the C. difficile toxins have different impacts on the faecal microbiota of children. Greater understanding of the relationships between disruption of the normal faecal microbiota and colonisation with C. difficile that produces different toxins might lead to improved treatment.
PMCID: PMC4265774  PMID: 25501371
21.  Vitamin A Supplementation in Early Life Enhances the Intestinal Immune Response of Rats with Gestational Vitamin A Deficiency by Increasing the Number of Immune Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114934.
Vitamin A is a critical micronutrient for regulating immunity in many organisms. Our previous study demonstrated that gestational or early-life vitamin A deficiency decreases the number of immune cells in offspring. The present study aims to test whether vitamin A supplementation can restore lymphocyte pools in vitamin A-deficient rats and thereby improve the function of their intestinal mucosa; furthermore, the study aimed to identify the best time frame for vitamin A supplementation. Vitamin A-deficient pregnant rats or their offspring were administered a low-dose of vitamin A daily for 7 days starting on gestational day 14 or postnatal day 1, day 14 or day 28. Serum retinol concentrations increased significantly in all four groups that received vitamin A supplementation, as determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. The intestinal levels of secretory immunoglobulin A and polymeric immunoglobulin receptor increased significantly with lipopolysaccharide challenge in the rats that received vitamin A supplementation starting on postnatal day 1. The rats in this group had higher numbers of CD8+ intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes, CD11C+ dendritic cells in the Peyer's patches and CD4+CD25+ T cells in the spleen compared with the vitamin A-deficient rats; flow cytometric analysis also demonstrated that vitamin A supplementation decreased the number of B cells in the mesenteric lymph nodes. Additionally, vitamin A supplementation during late gestation increased the numbers of CD8+ intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes and decreased the numbers of B lymphocytes in the mesenteric lymph nodes. However, no significant differences in lymphocyte levels were found between the rats in the other two vitamin A supplement groups and the vitamin A-deficient group. In conclusion, the best recovery of a subset of lymphocytes in the offspring of gestational vitamin A-deficient rats and the greatest improvement in the intestinal mucosal immune response are achieved when vitamin A supplementation occurs during the early postnatal period.
PMCID: PMC4263713  PMID: 25503794
22.  Clinical significance of chromosome 1p/19q loss of heterozygosity and Sox17 expression in oligodendrogliomas 
Objective: To study chromosome 1p/19q loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and Sox17 protein expression in oligodendrogliomas and correlate this loss with clinicopathological features. Methods: This study included 100 cases of oligodendrogliomas at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University from 2003 to 2014. The cases included paraffin-embedded tissues from 50 low-grade oligodendrogliomas and 50 anaplastic oligodendrogliomas. Chromosome 1p/19q LOH was detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and Sox17 protein expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Clinicopathological characteristics of the oligodendrogliomas were compared and prognosis analyzed using Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier analyses. Results: The LOH positivity rate of 1p/19q was 52% in 50 cases of low-grade oligodendrogliomas and 68% in 50 cases of anaplastic oligodendrogliomas (P = 0.102). The rates of Sox17 expression were significantly different in oligodendrogliomas (82%) and anaplastic oligodendrogliomas (62%, P = 0.026). Single factor analysis determined that 1p/19q LOH (P = 0.000), Sox17 protein expression (P = 0.000), location (P = 0.001), chemotherapy (P = 0.000), and radiation therapy (P = 0.001) were associated with oligodendroglioma patient prognosis. Cox multiple factors regression analysis determined that 1p/19q LOH and Sox17 expression were independent prognostic factors of oligodendrogliomas. Conclusion: In this study, oligodendroglioma patients with 1p/19q LOH and Sox17 protein expression had a better prognosis. Thus, analysis of 1p/19q LOH and Sox17 protein expression could significantly enhance diagnostic accuracy, guide treatment, and improve the prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4313992  PMID: 25674225
Oligodendroglioma; 1p/19q LOH; Sox17; prognosis; clinical features
23.  Chronic intake of high fish oil diet induces myeloid-derived suppressor cells to promote tumor growth 
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids enriched fish oil exerts beneficial anti-inflammatory effects in animal models with acute and chronic inflammatory diseases. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), comprised of myeloid progenitors and precursors of myeloid cells, play vital roles in cancer. How fish oil affects the generation of MDSCs and the tumor development remains largely unexplored. Here, we show that dietary intake of high fish oil diet suppresses CD8+ T cells activation and proliferation in vivo via elevated levels of MDSCs. Mechanistically, high fish oil diet induces the expression of immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10 and promotes myelopoiesis in the spleen as well as other peripheral tissues. The immature myeloid cells in the spleen exhibit morphological and functional characteristics of MDSCs with the capability to downregulate CD8+ T cells activation. Depletion of MDSCs using anti-Gr-1 antibody decreases the growth of subcutaneously transferred B16 melanoma in mice on high fish oil diet. Interestingly, diet-induced production of MDSCs is not solely dependent of the spleen, as splenectomy has no effect on the tumor progress. Our data show that the liver functions as an alternative extramedullary hematopoiesis organ to support MDSCs differentiation and maintain tumor growth. Taken together, our study provides a novel insight into the physiological effects of fish oil and points to MDSCs as a possible mediator linking dietary fish oil intake and immunosuppression in cancer immunosurveillance.
PMCID: PMC4246012  PMID: 24691944
Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Fish oil; MDSCs; CD8+ T cell; Liver; Cancer
24.  Molecular Characterization and Expression Analysis of Triticum aestivum Squamosa-Promoter Binding Protein-Box Genes Involved in Ear Development 
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is one of the most important crops in the world. Squamosa-promoter binding protein (SBP)-box genes play a critical role in regulating flower and fruit development. In this study, 10 novel SBP-box genes (TaSPL genes) were isolated from wheat ((Triticum aestivum L.) cultivar Yanzhan 4110). Phylogenetic analysis classified the TaSPL genes into five groups (G1–G5). The motif combinations and expression patterns of the TaSPL genes varied among the five groups with each having own distinctive characteristics: TaSPL20/21 in G1 and TaSPL17 in G2 mainly expressed in the shoot apical meristem and the young ear, and their expression levels responded to development of the ear; TaSPL6/15 belonging to G3 were upregulated and TaSPL1/23 in G4 were downregulated during grain development; the gene in G5 (TaSPL3) expressed constitutively. Thus, the consistency of the phylogenetic analysis, motif compositions, and expression patterns of the TaSPL genes revealed specific gene structures and functions. On the other hand, the diverse gene structures and different expression patterns suggested that wheat SBP-box genes have a wide range of functions. The results also suggest a potential role for wheat SBP-box genes in ear development. This study provides a significant beginning of functional analysis of SBP-box genes in wheat.
PMCID: PMC4239008  PMID: 24386921
Expression profile; grain yield; squamosa-promoter binding protein-box genes; Triticum aestivum
25.  TrkC expression predicts favorable clinical outcome in invasive ductal carcinoma of breast independent of NT-3 expression 
Background: TrkC, a member of neurotrophin receptor family, functions not only as an oncogene, but also act as a tumor suppressor via a manner of dependence receptor in human malignant tumors. Little is known on the action of TrkC for the clinical prognosis and the progression of breast cancer according to the availability of its ligand NT-3. We sought to investigate the prognostic relevance of NT-3-TrkC axis in breast cancer and estimate its role during the process of breast cancer progression. Methods: 236 cases of invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), 60 pure ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and 30 normal breast tissue (NBT) between 2004 and 2005 were included in the study. Spearman’s rank correlation test was used to analyze the association of NT-3-TrkC expression and breast cancer progression. The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards model were performed to identify the relevant prognostic factors. Results: 50.4% IDC tumors displayed absent or low TrkC expression, while 49.6% was high TrkC expression. TrkC expression was negatively associated with lymph node metastasis (P = 0.029) and tumor proliferation (P = 0.015). Patients with lower TrkC expressing tumors had a higher risk of recurrence (odds ratio, 0.401; 95% confidence interval, 0.207-0.778; P = 0.007). The layered analysis indicated that patients with high TrkC expression tumors had a favor disease-free survival whether NT-3 and TrkC were co-expressed or solitarily expressed in the tumor (P = 0.000). NT-3 was demonstrated to be not a predictor of IDC patients’ prognosis. But NT-3 expression was inversely correlated with the progression of breast cancer (r = -0.341, P = 0.000), since more IDC tumors showed high NT-3 expression than DCIS tumors (51.7% vs. 25.9%), while no NBT showed high NT-3 expression, as well. Conclusion: The study indicates TrkC expression reduces tumor relapse independent of NT-3 availability in the IDC. Elevated NT-3 expression contributes to the progression of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4266714  PMID: 25520870
TrkC; NT-3; invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC); breast; prognosis; progression; dependence receptor (DR)

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