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1.  Oxidative stress induces gastric submucosal arteriolar dysfunction in the elderly 
AIM: To evaluate human gastric submucosal vascular dysfunction and its mechanism during the aging process.
METHODS: Twenty male patients undergoing subtotal gastrectomy were enrolled in this study. Young and elderly patient groups aged 25-40 years and 60-85 years, respectively, were included. Inclusion criteria were: no clinical evidence of cardiovascular, renal or diabetic diseases. Conventional clinical examinations were carried out. After surgery, gastric submucosal arteries were immediately dissected free of fat and connective tissue. Vascular responses to acetylcholine (ACh) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) were measured by isolated vascular perfusion. Morphological changes in the gastric mucosal vessels were observed by hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining and Verhoeff van Gieson (EVG) staining. The expression of xanthine oxidase (XO) and manganese-superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD) was assessed by Western blotting analysis. The malondialdehyde (MDA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content and the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) were determined according to commercial kits.
RESULTS: The overall structure of vessel walls was shown by HE and EVG staining, respectively. Disruption of the internal elastic lamina or neointimal layers was not observed in vessels from young or elderly patients; however, cell layer number in the vessel wall increased significantly in the elderly group. Compared with submucosal arteries in young patients, the amount of vascular collagen fibers, lumen diameter and media cross-sectional area were significantly increased in elderly patients. Ach- and SNP-induced vasodilatation in elderly arterioles was significantly decreased compared with that of gastric submucosal arterioles from young patients. Compared with the young group, the expression of XO and the contents of MDA and H2O2 in gastric submucosal arterioles were increased in the elderly group. In addition, the expression of Mn-SOD and the activities of SOD and GSH-Px in the elderly group decreased significantly compared with those in the young group.
CONCLUSION: Gastric vascular dysfunction and senescence may be associated with increased oxidative stress and decreased antioxidative defense in the aging process.
PMCID: PMC3882420  PMID: 24409074
Aging; Vascular dysfunction; Gastric blood flow; Oxidative stress; Human
2.  GABA stimulates human hepatocellular carcinoma growth through overexpressed GABAA receptor theta subunit 
AIM: To investigate the function of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and gamma-aminobutyric acid A receptor θ subunit (GABRQ) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: Semiquantitative polymerase chain reaction was used for detecting the expression of GABRQ receptor among HCC cell line HepG2, normal liver cell line L-02, non-malignant Chang’s liver cells, 8 samples of HCC tissues and paired non-cancerous tissues. HepG2 cells were treated with GABA at serial concentrations (0, 1, 10, 20, 40 and 60 μmol/L), and their proliferating abilities were analyzed with the methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium assay, cell cycle analysis and tumor implanted in nude mice. Small interfering RNA was used for knocking down the endogenous GABRQ in HepG2. Proliferating abilities of these cells treated with or without GABA were analyzed.
RESULTS: We identified the overexpression of GABRQ in HCC cell lines and half of the tested HCC tissues. Knockdown of endogenous GABRQ expression in HepG2 attenuated HCC cell growth, suggesting its role in HCC cell viability. We studied the effect of GABA in the proliferation of GABRQ-positive cell lines in vitro and in vivo, and found that GABA increased HCC growth in a dose-dependent manner. Notably, the addition of GABA into the cell culture medium promoted the proliferation of GABRQ-expressing HepG2 cells, but not GABRQ-knockdown HepG2 cells, which means that GABA stimulates HepG2 cell growth through GABRQ.
CONCLUSION: GABRQ play important roles in HCC development and progression and could be a promising molecular target for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies of HCC.
PMCID: PMC3370009  PMID: 22690081
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Proliferation; Gamma-aminobutyric acid; Gamma-aminobutyric receptor θ; small interfering RNA
3.  Bipolar loop-like non-volatile strain in the (001)-oriented Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3-PbTiO3 single crystals 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4591.
Strain has been widely used to manipulate the properties of various kinds of materials, such as ferroelectrics, semiconductors, superconductors, magnetic materials, and “strain engineering” has become a very active field. For strain-based information storage, the non-volatile strain is very useful and highly desired. However, in most cases, the strain induced by converse piezoelectric effect is volatile. In this work, we report a non-volatile strain in the (001)-oriented Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3-PbTiO3 single crystals and demonstrate an approach to measure the non-volatile strain. A bipolar loop-like S-E curve is revealed and a mechanism involving 109° ferroelastic domain switching is proposed. The non-volatile high and low strain states should be significant for applications in information storage.
PMCID: PMC3975321  PMID: 24699506
4.  Karyotype analysis in large-sample infertile couples living in Central China: a study of 14965 couples 
To explore that it is necessary to routinely detect chromosomes in fertile couples, we detected peripheral blood lymphocyte karyotype in 14965 infertile couples living in Central China and analyzed the incidence and type of chromosomal anomaly.
G-banding karyotype analysis of peripheral blood lymphocytes was performed in 14965 couples who went to the outpatient department of our reproductive medical center for counseling on infertility between January 2004 and December 2011. Semen analysis was performed three times in all the men from the 14965 couples.
The rate of chromosomal anomaly in the 14965 infertile couples was 3.84 % (1150/29930). The rate of chromosomal anomaly in the men from 14965 couples was 6.84 % (1024/14965) and in the women 0.84 % (126/14965). The rates of chromosomal anomaly were 1.69 % in normal semen group, 11.82 % in light oligo-astheno-spermis group, 6.58 % in moderate to severe olig-astheno-spermia group and 17.26 % in azoospermia group.
Since the rates of chromosomal anomaly are 1.69 % and 11.82 % even in normal semen group and light oligo-astheno-spermia group, respectively, it is necessary to detect peripheral blood lymphocyte karyotype in all infertile couples.
PMCID: PMC3644124  PMID: 23474860
Infertility; Chromosomal anomaly; Cytogenetics; Karyotype; Assisted reproductive technology; Genetic screening
5.  Total Variation-Stokes Strategy for Sparse-View X-ray CT Image Reconstruction 
Previous studies have shown that by minimizing the total variation (TV) of the to-be-estimated image with some data and/or other constraints, a piecewise-smooth X-ray computed tomography image can be reconstructed from sparse-view projection data. However, due to the piecewise constant assumption for the TV model, the reconstructed images are frequently reported to suffer from the blocky or patchy artifacts. To eliminate this drawback, we present a total variation-stokes-projection onto convex sets (TVS-POCS) reconstruction method in this paper. The TVS model is derived by introducing isophote directions for the purpose of recovering possible missing information in the sparse-view data situation. Thus the desired consistencies along both the normal and the tangent directions are preserved in the resulting images. Compared to the previous TV-based image reconstruction algorithms, the preserved consistencies by the TVS-POCS method are expected to generate noticeable gains in terms of eliminating the patchy artifacts and preserving subtle structures. To evaluate the presented TVS-POCS method, both qualitative and quantitative studies were performed using digital phantom, physical phantom and clinical data experiments. The results reveal that the presented method can yield images with several noticeable gains, measured by the universal quality index and the full-width-at-half-maximum merit, as compared to its corresponding TV-based algorithms. In addition, the results further indicate that the TVS-POCS method approaches to the gold standard result of the filtered back-projection reconstruction in the full-view data case as theoretically expected, while most previous iterative methods may fail in the full-view case because of their artificial textures in the results.
PMCID: PMC3950963  PMID: 24595347
Low-dose computed tomography; total variation-stokes; sparse-view; image reconstruction
6.  The Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness of Cell Saver Use in Instrumented Posterior Correction and Fusion Surgery for Scoliosis in School-Aged Children and Adolescents 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e92997.
Posterior spinal instrumentation and fusion surgery in school-aged children and adolescents is associated with the potential for massive intraoperative blood loss, which requires significant allogeneic blood transfusion. Until now, the intraoperative use of the cell saver has been extensively adopted; however, its efficacy and cost-effectiveness have not been well established. Therefore, the aim of this study is to determine the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of intraoperative cell saver use. This study was a single-center, retrospective study of 247 school-aged and adolescent patients who underwent posterior spinal instrumentation and fusion surgery between August 2007 and June 2013. A cell saver was used intraoperatively in 67 patients and was not used in 180 patients. Matched case-control pairs were selected using a propensity score to balance potential confounders in baseline characteristics. Allogeneic red blood cell (RBC) and plasma transfusions as well as blood transfusion costs were analyzed. The propensity score matching produced 60 matched pairs. Compared to the control group, the cell saver group had significantly fewer intraoperative allogeneic RBC transfusions (P = 0.012). However, when the combined postoperative and total perioperative periods were evaluated for the use of allogeneic RBC transfusion, no significant differences were observed between the two groups (P = 0.813 and P = 0.101, respectively). With regard to the total cost of perioperative transfusion of all blood products (RBC and plasma), costs for the control group were slightly lower than those of the cell saver group, but this variance did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.095). The use of the cell saver in posterior spinal instrumentation and fusion surgery in school-aged children and adolescents was able to decrease the amount of intraoperative allogeneic RBC transfusion but failed to decrease total perioperative allogeneic RBC transfusion. Moreover, the use of the cell saver was not cost-effective.
PMCID: PMC3972210  PMID: 24691056
7.  Transperitoneal Approach versus Retroperitoneal Approach: A Meta-Analysis of Laparoscopic Partial Nephrectomy for Renal Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91978.
To compare the efficiency and safety of the transperitoneal approaches with retroperitoneal approaches in laparoscopic partial nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma and provide evidence-based medicine support for clinical treatment.
A systematic computer search of PUBMED, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library was executed to identify retrospective observational and prospective randomized controlled trials studies that compared the outcomes of the two approaches in laparoscopic partial nephrectomy. Two reviewers independently screened, extracted, and evaluated the included studies and executed statistical analysis by using software STATA 12.0. Outcomes of interest included perioperative and postoperative variables, surgical complications and oncological variables.
There were 8 studies assessed transperitoneal laparoscopic partial nephrectomy (TLPN) versus retroperitoneal laparoscopic partial nephrectomy (RLPN) were included. RLPN had a shorter operating time (SMD = 1.001,95%confidence interval[CI] 0.609–1.393,P<0.001), a lower estimated blood loss (SMD = 0.403,95%CI 0.015–0.791,P = 0.042) and a shorter length of hospital stay (WMD = 0.936 DAYS,95%CI 0.609–1.263,P<0.001) than TLPN. There were no significant differences between the transperitoneal and retroperitoneal approaches in other outcomes of interest.
This meta-analysis indicates that, in appropriately selected patients, especially patients with intraperitoneal procedures history or posteriorly located renal tumors, the RLPN can shorten the operation time, reduce the estimated blood loss and shorten the length of hospital stay. RLPN may be equally safe and be faster compared with the TLPN.
PMCID: PMC3962363  PMID: 24658032
8.  MIRAGE: The minimum information required for a glycomics experiment 
Glycobiology  2014;24(5):402-406.
The MIRAGE (minimum information required for a glycomics experiment) initiative was founded in Seattle, WA, in November 2011 in order to develop guidelines for reporting the qualitative and quantitative results obtained by diverse types of glycomics analyses, including the conditions and techniques that were applied to prepare the glycans for analysis and generate the primary data along with the tools and parameters that were used to process and annotate this data. These guidelines must address a broad range of issues, as glycomics data are inherently complex and are generated using diverse methods, including mass spectrometry (MS), chromatography, glycan array-binding assays, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and other rapidly developing technologies. The acceptance of these guidelines by scientists conducting research on biological systems in which glycans have a significant role will facilitate the evaluation and reproduction of glycomics experiments and data that is reported in scientific journals and uploaded to glycomics databases. As a first step, MIRAGE guidelines for glycan analysis by MS have been recently published (Kolarich D, Rapp E, Struwe WB, Haslam SM, Zaia J., et al. 2013. The minimum information required for a glycomics experiment (MIRAGE) project – Improving the standards for reporting mass spectrometry-based glycoanalytic data. Mol. Cell Proteomics. 12:991–995), allowing them to be implemented and evaluated in the context of real-world glycobiology research. In this paper, we set out the historical context, organization structure and overarching objectives of the MIRAGE initiative.
PMCID: PMC3976285  PMID: 24653214
9.  Texting to Increase Physical Activity Among Teenagers (TXT Me!): Rationale, Design, and Methods Proposal 
JMIR Research Protocols  2014;3(1):e14.
Physical activity decreases from childhood through adulthood. Among youth, teenagers (teens) achieve the lowest levels of physical activity, and high school age youth are particularly at risk of inactivity. Effective methods are needed to increase youth physical activity in a way that can be maintained through adulthood. Because teens text a great deal, text messages promoting walking, a low cost physical activity, may be an effective method for promoting sustainable physical activity.
The objective of our study was to determine the effect of pedometers, self selected step goals, and texts grounded in the self-determination theory (SDT) on physical activity among the teens.
“TXT Me!” was a 12 week intervention that texted 14-17 year olds to increase their daily physical activity by increasing the number of steps they take each day. The intervention was grounded in the SDT. Formative research with the teens helped construct the intervention and develop the texts. A total of 84 texts were developed (12 to set a step goal, and 72 promoting autonomy, competence, and relatedness). The pilot evaluation used a four group, randomized design (n=160). After baseline data collection, the participants were randomized to one of four conditions (no treatment control, pedometer only, pedometer + weekly prompts, pedometer + weekly prompts + SDT grounded texts). Data were collected at baseline and immediately upon completion of the study. The primary outcome was physical activity, measured by 7 days of accelerometry. Basic psychological needs, physical activity motivation, process evaluation, and program satisfaction data were also collected.
To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to explore the use of stand alone, SDT grounded texts, supported by pedometers and prompts to set a self selected step goal, as a method for increasing physical activity among teens.
This pilot study will contribute valuable information regarding whether theoretically grounded text messages show promise as an effective method to increase physical activity among teens.
Trial Registration NCT01482234; (Archived by WebCite at
PMCID: PMC3967196  PMID: 24622344
physical activity; pedometers; text messages; self-determination theory; adolescents
10.  Novel calcium hexaluminate/spinel-alumina composites with graded microstructures and mechanical properties 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4333.
Calcium hexaluminate (CA6) was incorporated into the matrix of magnesio aluminate spinel-alumina (MA-A) via infiltration of a porous preform fabricated from α-Al2O3 and MgO powders with a saturated calcium acetate solution and subsequent firing, forming CA6/(MA-A) functionally composites with graded fracture toughness. Actually, the porous preform was partially and perpendicularly immersed (1/4 of its length) in the solution. Owing to the capillary action, the calcium acetate solution was absorbed into the porous preform, and the different absorption distance led to the graded solution concentration in the height direction of the porous preform. The in-situ formation of CA6 conferred graded microstructures, as well as improved mechanical properties on the resultant composites. The CA6 content decreased gradually along the solution absorption direction, i.e., from one end [CA6/(MA-A) region] immersed in solution to the other end [MA-A region], reducing evidently the formation of layered structure along the direction, while increasing gradually the formation of spherical alumina particles. The CA6/(MA-A) region had a better toughness that could prevent the crack propagation and improve the spalling resistance. Meanwhile, the MA-A region could provide structural support, because of the higher Vickers hardness and density.
PMCID: PMC3949302  PMID: 24614648
11.  Cyclic Marinopyrrole Derivatives as Disruptors of Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL Binding to Bim 
Marine Drugs  2014;12(3):1335-1348.
A series of novel cyclic marinopyrroles were designed and synthesized. Their activity to disrupt the binding of the pro-apoptotic protein, Bim, to the pro-survival proteins, Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL, was evaluated using ELISA assays. Both atropisomers of marinopyrrole A (1) show similar potency. A tetrabromo congener 9 is two-fold more potent than 1. Two novel cyclic marinopyrroles (3 and 4) are two- to seven-fold more potent than 1.
PMCID: PMC3967213  PMID: 24608970
cyclic marinopyrroles; protein-protein interaction disruptors; apoptosis; SAR
12.  rtM204Q May Serve as a Novel Lamivudine-Resistance-Associated Mutation of Hepatitis B Virus 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89015.
Background and Aims
Lamivudine (LAM) is still widely used for anti-HBV therapy in China. The study aimed to clarify whether a newly-found rtM204Q mutation from patients was associated with the drug resistance.
HBV complete reverse-transcriptase region was screened by direct sequencing and verified by clonal sequencing. Replication-competent plasmids containing patient-derived 1.1mer mutant or wild-type viral genome were constructed and transfected into HepG2 cells. After cultured with or without serially-diluted antiviral drugs, intracellular HBV replicative intermediates were quantitated for calculating the 50% effective concentration of drug (EC50).
A total of 12,000 serum samples of 9,830 patients with chronic HBV infection were screened. rtM204Q mutation was detected in seven LAM-refractory patients. By contrast, rtM204I/rtM204V mutations were detected in 2,502 patients' samples. The rtM204Q emerged either alone or in concomitance with rtM204I/rtM204V, and all were accompanied with virologic breakthrough in clinical course. Clonal sequencing verified that rtM204Q mutant was predominant in viral quasispecies of these samples. Phenotypic analysis showed that rtM204Q mutant had 89.9% of replication capacity and 76-fold increased LAM EC50 of the concomitant wild-type strain. By contrast, rtM204I mutant in the sample had lower replication capacity and higher LAM resistance (46.3% and 1396-fold increased LAM EC50 of the wild-type strain) compared to rtM204Q mutant. rtM204Q mutant was susceptible to adefovir dipivoxil (ADV) in vitro and ADV/ADV+LAM rescue therapy in clinic.
rtM204Q is suggested to be a novel LAM-resistance-associated mutation. It conferred a moderate resistance with higher competent natural replication capacity compared to rtM204I mutation.
PMCID: PMC3933355  PMID: 24586482
13.  The Ideal Cardiovascular Health Metrics Associated Inversely with Mortality from All Causes and from Cardiovascular Diseases among Adults in a Northern Chinese Industrial City 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89161.
Background and Aims
The American Heart Association has recently established seven ideal cardiovascular health metrics for cardiovascular health promotion and disease reduction (i.e., non-smoking, normal body mass index, physically active, healthy diet, and normal levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose). The present study seeks to evaluate how well these metrics predict mortality from all causes and cardiovascular diseases in adult Chinese living in a northern industrial city.
Methods and Results
Data of 95,429 adults who participated in the Kailuan cohort study from June 2006 to October 2007 was analyzed. All participants underwent questionnaire assessment, clinical examination, laboratory assessments and were followed up biannually. During a median follow-up of 4.02 years, 1,843 deaths occurred, with 597 deaths resulting from cardiovascular diseases. Lower mortality rates from all causes and cardiovascular diseases were observed among the subjects who met a higher number of the ideal health metrics. Compared to the participants who met none or one ideal health metric, those meeting ≥5 ideal health metrics had a lower risk of all-cause mortality by 30% (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.56–0.88) and a lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases by 39% (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% confidence interval, 0.41–0.89) . Four metrics (smoking status, physical activity, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose) were significantly associated with all-cause mortality. Three metrics (physical activity, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose) were significantly associated with mortality from cardiovascular diseases.
The number of ideal health metrics is negatively associated with mortality rates from all causes and cardiovascular diseases among adults in a Northern Chinese industrial city. The data supports the AHA recommendation of ideal health metrics for adults from Northern China.
PMCID: PMC3933417  PMID: 24586562
14.  Associations of retinol-binding protein 4 with oxidative stress, inflammatory markers, and metabolic syndrome in a middle-aged and elderly Chinese population 
Retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), a novel adipokine secreted by adipocytes and the liver, has elevated levels in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, its association with human metabolic diseases remains controversial. The present study was designed to investigate the associations of plasma RBP4 levels with oxidative stress, inflammatory markers, and metabolic syndrome (MetS) in a Chinese population.
We evaluated plasma RBP4 levels in a cross-sectional sample of 1748 Chinese men and women aged 50 to 70 years in Guangzhou using an in-house developed and validated sandwich ELISA. Plasma glucose, insulin, lipid profile, serum adiponectin, adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (A-FABP), 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α (8-iso PGF2α), 13-(S)-hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid (13-HODE), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), interleukin 6 (IL6), monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP1) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) were all measured. MetS was defined according to the updated National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria for Asian Americans.
Circulating RBP4 levels were positively correlated with A-FABP (r = 0.104, P < 0.001), 8-iso PGF2α (0.236, P < 0.001), and 13-HODE (0.204, P < 0.001) and were inversely correlated with HDL cholesterol (r = −0.072, P = 0.004). After multivariable adjustment, the RBP4 levels were strongly associated with MetS and its components. The ORs (95% CIs) for the comparisons of the extreme quartiles of RBP4 were 3.46 (2.87, 4.42) for MetS, 5.92 (4.47, 8.02) for hypertriglyceridemia, 1.42 (1.11, 1.68) for reduced HDL cholesterol, 1.87 (1.48, 2.36) for central obesity and 2.74 (2.15, 3.36) for hyperglycemia (all P < 0.001). When we further controlled for adipokines, markers of oxidative stress and proinflammatory response, the association of RBP4 with central obesity was abolished but not the association with other MetS components.
Plasma RBP4 levels are associated with an adverse profile of oxidative stress and inflammatory markers and an increased risk of MetS in this Chinese population. These associations are independent of conventional risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3938900  PMID: 24559154
RBP4; Oxidative stress; Inflammatory markers; Diabetes mellitus
15.  Performance Enhancement of a Web-Based Picture Archiving and Communication System Using Commercial Off-the-Shelf Server Clusters 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:657417.
The rapid development of picture archiving and communication systems (PACSs) thoroughly changes the way of medical informatics communication and management. However, as the scale of a hospital's operations increases, the large amount of digital images transferred in the network inevitably decreases system efficiency. In this study, a server cluster consisting of two server nodes was constructed. Network load balancing (NLB), distributed file system (DFS), and structured query language (SQL) duplication services were installed. A total of 1 to 16 workstations were used to transfer computed radiography (CR), computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance (MR) images simultaneously to simulate the clinical situation. The average transmission rate (ATR) was analyzed between the cluster and noncluster servers. In the download scenario, the ATRs of CR, CT, and MR images increased by 44.3%, 56.6%, and 100.9%, respectively, when using the server cluster, whereas the ATRs increased by 23.0%, 39.2%, and 24.9% in the upload scenario. In the mix scenario, the transmission performance increased by 45.2% when using eight computer units. The fault tolerance mechanisms of the server cluster maintained the system availability and image integrity. The server cluster can improve the transmission efficiency while maintaining high reliability and continuous availability in a healthcare environment.
PMCID: PMC3950496
16.  Proteomic Analysis of the Ehrlichia chaffeensis Phagosome in Cultured DH82 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88461.
Ehrlichia chaffeensis is an obligately intracellular bacterium that resides and multiplies within cytoplasmic vacuoles of phagocytes. The Ehrlichia-containing vacuole (ECV) does not fuse with lysosomes, an essential condition for Ehrlichia to survive inside phagocytes, but the mechanism of inhibiting the fusion of the phagosome with lysosomes is not clear. Understanding the ECV molecular composition may decipher the mechanism by which Ehrlichia inhibits phagosome-lysosome fusion. In this study, we obtained highly purified ECVs from E. chaffeensis-infected DH82 cells by sucrose density gradient centrifugation and analyzed their composition by mass spectrometry-based proteomics. The ECV composition was compared with that of phagolysosomes containing latex beads. Lysosomal proteins such as cathepsin D, cathepsin S, and lysosomal acid phosphatase were not detected in E. chaffeensis phagosome preparations. Some small GTPases, involved in membrane dynamics and phagocytic trafficking, were detected in ECVs. A notable finding was that Rab7, a late endosomal marker, was consistently detected in E. chaffeensis phagosomes by mass spectrometry. Confocal microscopy confirmed that E. chaffeensis phagosomes contained Rab7 and were acidified at approximately pH 5.2, suggesting that the E. chaffeensis vacuole was an acidified late endosomal compartment. Our results also demonstrated by mass spectrometry and immunofluorescence analysis that Ehrlichia morulae were not associated with the autophagic pathway. Ehrlichia chaffeensis did not inhibit phagosomes containing latex beads from fusing with lysosomes in infected cells. We concluded that the E. chaffeensis vacuole was a late endosome and E. chaffeensis might inhibit phagosome-lysosome fusion by modifying its vacuolar membrane composition, rather than by regulating the expression of host genes involved in trafficking.
PMCID: PMC3928192  PMID: 24558391
17.  Mutations in DSTYK and Dominant Urinary Tract Malformations 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;369(7):10.1056/NEJMoa1214479.
Congenital abnormalities of the kidney and the urinary tract are the most common cause of pediatric kidney failure. These disorders are highly heterogeneous, and the etiologic factors are poorly understood.
We performed genomewide linkage analysis and whole-exome sequencing in a family with an autosomal dominant form of congenital abnormalities of the kidney or urinary tract (seven affected family members). We also performed a sequence analysis in 311 unrelated patients, as well as histologic and functional studies.
Linkage analysis identified five regions of the genome that were shared among all affected family members. Exome sequencing identified a single, rare, deleterious variant within these linkage intervals, a heterozygous splice-site mutation in the dual serine–threonine and tyrosine protein kinase gene (DSTYK). This variant, which resulted in aberrant splicing of messenger RNA, was present in all affected family members. Additional, independent DSTYK mutations, including nonsense and splice-site mutations, were detected in 7 of 311 unrelated patients. DSTYK is highly expressed in the maturing epithelia of all major organs, localizing to cell membranes. Knockdown in zebrafish resulted in developmental defects in multiple organs, which suggested loss of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling. Consistent with this finding is the observation that DSTYK colocalizes with FGF receptors in the ureteric bud and metanephric mesenchyme. DSTYK knockdown in human embryonic kidney cells inhibited FGF-stimulated phosphorylation of extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK), the principal signal downstream of receptor tyrosine kinases.
We detected independent DSTYK mutations in 2.3% of patients with congenital abnormalities of the kidney or urinary tract, a finding that suggests that DSTYK is a major determinant of human urinary tract development, downstream of FGF signaling. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)
PMCID: PMC3846391  PMID: 23862974
18.  Molecular Evidence of RNA Editing in Bombyx Chemosensory Protein Family 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e86932.
Chemosensory proteins (CSPs) are small scavenger proteins that are mainly known as transporters of pheromone/odor molecules at the periphery of sensory neurons in the insect antennae and in the producing cells from the moth female pheromone gland.
Sequencing cDNAs of RNA encoding CSPs in the antennae, legs, head, pheromone gland and wings from five single individual adult females of the silkworm moth Bombyx mori showed that they differed from genomic sequences by subtle nucleotide replacement (RDD). Both intronless and intronic CSP genes expressed RDDs, although in different rates. Most interestingly, in our study the degree of RDDs in CSP genes were found to be tissue-specific. The proportion of CSP-RDDs was found to be significantly much higher in the pheromone gland. In addition, Western blot analysis of proteins in different tissues showed existence of multiple CSP protein variant chains particularly found in the pheromone gland. Peptide sequencing demonstrated the occurrence of a pleiad of protein variants for most of all BmorCSPs from the pheromone gland. Our findings show that RNA editing is an important feature in the expression of CSPs and that a high variety of RDDs is found to expand drastically thus altering the repertoire of CSP proteins in a tissue-specific manner.
PMCID: PMC3923736  PMID: 24551045
19.  Analysis of Hepatitis B Virus Intrahepatic Covalently Closed Circular DNA and Serum Viral Markers in Treatment-Naive Patients with Acute and Chronic HBV Infection 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89046.
This study aimed to investigate the relationships of intrahepatic cccDNA with serum HBsAg and with HBV DNA in treatment-naive patients throughout acute and chronic HBV infection.
A total of 120 patients who had a liver biopsy were enrolled, including 19 with acute hepatitis B (AHB), and 101 patients with chronic HBV infection (CHB) of whom were 10 in immune-tolerant (IT) phase, 59 in immune-clearance (IC) phase, 8 in low-replicative (LR) phase, and 24 in HBeAg-negative hepatitis (ENH) phase. Intrahepatic cccDNA, serum HBsAg and serum HBV DNA levels were comparatively analyzed.
The median intrahepatic cccDNA levels were 0.18 4.80, 3.81, 0.22 and 0.97 copies/cell for patients with AHB, CHB-IT, CHB-IC, CHB-LR, and CHB-ENH, respectively. In AHB patients, intrahepatic cccDNA was positively correlated with serum HBsAg (r = 0.665, P = 0.003), as well as serum HBV DNA (r = 0.536, P = 0.022). In CHB patients, intrahepatic cccDNA was positively correlated with serum HBsAg in the IC phase (r = 0.392, P = 0.005), and with serum HBV DNA in the IC phase (r = 0.301, P = 0.036) and ENH phase (r = 0.588, P = 0.013). HBV replicative efficiency, defined as the ratio of serum HBV DNA to intrahepatic cccDNA, was obviously lower in AHB and CHB-LR patients than in CHB-IT, CHB-IC and CHB-ENH patients (0.70 and 0.53 vs. 1.12, 1.09 and 0.99, P<0.001, values were logarithmic transformed for analysis). In CHB-IC patients, HBV replicative efficiency was positively correlated with histological activity index of liver inflammation (r = 0.308, P = 0.009).
Serum HBsAg and HBV DNA levels may reflect the amount of active intrahepatic cccDNA in treatment-naive AHB and CHB-IC patients. Reduced intrahepatic cccDNA and HBV replicative efficiency may imply effective immune control of HBV infection.
PMCID: PMC3923869  PMID: 24551214
20.  Draft Genome Sequence of Serratia marcescens Strain LCT-SM166, a Space Flight Strain with a Specific Carbon Source Utilization Pattern 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(1):e00069-14.
Serratia marcescens has been detected in space habitats. To explore the influence of the space flight environment on this bacterium, we investigated the genome sequence of LCT-SM166, which was isolated after space flight and has a specific carbon source utilization pattern.
PMCID: PMC3924376  PMID: 24526644
21.  Effects of resveratrol on apoptosis in a rat model of vascular dementia 
Resveratrol is a natural polyphenol widely present in plants, particularly in the skin of red grapes and in wine. It possesses a wide range of biological effects and exhibits neuroprotective effects in numerous diseases. However, data evaluating the effects of resveratrol in vascular dementia (VaD) are lacking. In the present study, the permanent, bilateral common carotid artery occlusion rat model was used to study the effects of resveratrol on VaD. The Morris water maze was used to test the spatial learning and memory performance of the rats. The expression levels of Bax, Bcl-2, cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) in the hippocampus were measured. The results showed that resveratrol inhibited memory impairment in the VaD rat model, and attenuated the increases in the expression levels of Bax, cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP and the reductions in the expression levels of Bcl-2 that were induced by VaD. These results provide a novel insight into the neuroprotective effects of resveratrol and its possible therapeutic role in VaD.
PMCID: PMC3961111  PMID: 24660032
vascular dementia; resveratrol; apoptosis; caspase-3; poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase
22.  Overexpression of Evi-1 Oncoprotein Represses TGF-β Signaling in Colorectal Cancer 
Molecular carcinogenesis  2011;52(4):255-264.
Human colorectal cancer (CRC) cells are resistant to the anti-proliferative effect of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), suggesting that disruption of TGF-β signaling plays an important role in colorectal carcinogenesis. Ecotropic virus integration site-1 (Evi-1) oncoprotein represses TGF-β signaling by interacting with Smads, but its role in CRC has not been established. The purpose of this study is to determine whether Evi-1 plays role(s) in CRCs and to characterize Evi-1 transcript(s) in CRCs. Evi-1 was overexpressed in 53% of human CRC samples, 100% of colon adenoma samples, and 100% of human colon cancer cell lines tested. Using 5′ RACE, we cloned a novel Evi-1 transcript (Evi-1e) from a human CRC tissue and found that this novel transcript was expressed at a higher level in CRC tissues than in normal tissues and was the major Evi-1 transcript in CRCs. Transient Evi-1 transfection inhibited TGF-β-induced transcriptional activity and reversed the growth inhibitory effect of TGF-β in MC-26 mouse colon cancer cells. In conclusion, we have identified overexpression of Evi-1 oncoprotein as a novel mechanism by which a subset of human CRCs may escape TGF-β regulation. We have also identified a novel Evi-1 transcript, Evi-1e, as the major Evi-1 transcript expressed in human CRCs.
PMCID: PMC3922648  PMID: 22161860
colorectal cancer; ecotropic virus integration site-1; transforming growth factor-β; Smad proteins; rapid amplification of cDNA ends; growth inhibition
23.  The clinical value of the quantitative detection of four cancer-testis antigen genes in multiple myeloma 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13:25.
Cancer-testis (CT) antigen genes might promote the progression of multiple myeloma (MM). CT antigens may act as diagnostic and prognostic markers in MM, but their expression levels and clinical implications in this disease are not fully understood. This study measured the expression levels of four CT antigen genes in Chinese patients with MM and explored their clinical implications.
Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was used to quantify the expression of MAGE-C1/CT7, MAGE-A3, MAGE-C2/CT10 and SSX-2 mRNA in 256 bone marrow samples from 144 MM patients.
In the newly diagnosed patients, the positive expression rates were 88.5% for MAGE-C1/CT7, 82.1% for MAGE-C2/CT10, 76.9% for MAGE-A3 and 25.6% for SSX-2. The expression levels and the number of co-expressed CT antigens correlated significantly with several clinical indicators, including the percentage of plasma cells infiltrating the bone marrow, abnormal chromosome karyotypes and the clinical course.
MAGE-C1/CT7, MAGE-A3, MAGE-C2/CT10 and SSX-2 expression levels provide potentially effective clinical indicators for the auxiliary diagnosis and monitoring of treatment efficacy in MM.
PMCID: PMC3922338  PMID: 24499297
Cancer-testis antigen gene; Multiple myeloma; Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction
24.  Heterogeneous Effect of Two Selectin Gene Polymorphisms on Coronary Artery Disease Risk: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88152.
The selectins play important roles in the inflammatory process of coronary artery disease (CAD) and myocardial infarction (MI). Previous studies have shown ambiguous findings regarding a possible association between the selectin genes and CAD. The E-selectin Ser128Arg polymorphism and the P-selectin Thr715Pro polymorphism have been investigated widely but with inconsistent results. We performed a comprehensive meta-analysis to shed light on this issue.
Data were extracted by searches of MEDLINE, Embase, CNKI, Wanfang, Google Scholar, PORTA, GeNii, CiNii, J-STAGE, Nurimedia and Koreanstudies Information Service System [Kiss] up to October 2013, in which 10 studies on the Ser128Arg polymorphism with 3369 cases and 2577 controls and 10 studies on the Thr715Pro polymorphism with 5886 cases and 18345 controls. A random-effects model was used to calculate the combined odds ratios. The between-study heterogeneity and publication bias were addressed.
The 128Arg carriers had a significant increased risk of CAD (allele comparison: P = 0.02, OR = 1.33, 95%CI 1.04–1.69, Pheterogeneity = 0.01); The 715Pro conferred a non-significant risk reduction relative to the 715Thr (allele comparison: P = 0.40, OR = 0.94, 95%CI 0.82–1.08, Pheterogeneity = 0.03).Subgroup analyses demonstrated that the 128Arg carriers had a significant increased risk of CAD among Asians (allele comparison: P = 0.001, OR = 2.07, 95%CI 1.33–3.24, Pheterogeneity = 0.77) but not among Caucasians (allele comparison: P = 0.33, OR = 1.13, 95%CI 0.88–1.45, Pheterogeneity = 0.08). Carrier status for the 715Pro was significantly associated with reduced risk of MI (allele comparison: P = 0.04, OR =  0.81, 95%CI 0.67–0.99, Pheterogeneity = 0.14). The asymmetric funnel plot and the Egger's test (P = 0.041) suggested the presence of publication bias for the Ser128Arg polymorphism.
Our results suggested there is an increase in the risk of CAD conferred by the Ser128Arg polymorphism and the thr715Pro polymorphism may be a protective factor of MI.
PMCID: PMC3912165  PMID: 24498435
25.  Trs130 participates in autophagy through GTPases Ypt31/32 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2012;14(2):233-246.
Trs130 is a specific component of the TRAPP II (Transport protein particle II) complex, which functions as a guanine exchange factor (GEF) for Rab GTPases Ypt31/32. Ypt31/32 is known to be involved in autophagy, although the precise mechanism has not been thoroughly studied. In this study, we investigated the potential involvement of Trs130 in autophagy and found that both the cytoplasm-to-vacuole targeting (Cvt) pathway and starvation-induced autophagy were defective in a trs130ts (trs130 temperature-sensitive) mutant. Mutant cells could not transport Atg8 and Atg9 to the preautophagosomal structure/ phagophore assembly site (PAS) properly, resulting in multiple Atg8 dots and Atg9 dots dispersed in the cytoplasm. Some dots were trapped in the trans-Golgi. Genetic studies showed that the effect of the Trs130 mutation was downstream of Atg5 and upstream of Atg1, Atg13, Atg9 and Atg14 on the autophagic pathway. Furthermore, overexpression of Ypt31 or Ypt32, but not of Ypt1, rescued autophagy defects in trs130ts and trs65ts (Trs130-HA Trs120-myc trs65Δ) mutants. Our data provide mechanistic insight into how Trs130 participates in autophagy and suggest that vesicular trafficking regulated by GTPases/GEFs is important in the transport of autophagy proteins from the trans-Golgi to the PAS.
PMCID: PMC3538905  PMID: 23078654
TRAPP II; GEF complex; Ypt31/32; Rab GTPases; autophagy

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