Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) have so far been applied to disrupt protein-coding genes which constitute only 2–3% of the genome in animals. The majority (70–90%) of the animal genome is actually transcribed as non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), yet the lack of efficient tools to knockout ncRNA genes hinders studies on their in vivo functions. Here we have developed novel strategies using TALENs to achieve precise and inheritable large genomic deletions and knockout of ncRNA genes in zebrafish. We have demonstrated that individual miRNA genes could be disrupted using one pair of TALENs, whereas large microRNA (miRNA) gene clusters and long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) genes could be precisely deleted using two pairs of TALENs. We have generated large genomic deletions of two miRNA clusters (the 1.2 kb miR-17-92 cluster and the 79.8 kb miR-430 cluster) and one long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) gene (the 9.0 kb malat1), and the deletions are transmitted through the germline. Taken together, our results establish TALENs as a robust tool to engineer large genomic deletions and knockout of ncRNA genes, thus opening up new avenues in the application of TALENs to study the genome in vivo.
To clarify the role of previous lung diseases (chronic bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, and tuberculosis) in the development of lung cancer, the authors conducted a pooled analysis of studies in the International Lung Cancer Consortium. Seventeen studies including 24,607 cases and 81,829 controls (noncases), mainly conducted in Europe and North America, were included (1984–2011). Using self-reported data on previous diagnoses of lung diseases, the authors derived study-specific effect estimates by means of logistic regression models or Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age, sex, and cumulative tobacco smoking. Estimates were pooled using random-effects models. Analyses stratified by smoking status and histology were also conducted. A history of emphysema conferred a 2.44-fold increased risk of lung cancer (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.64, 3.62 (16 studies)). A history of chronic bronchitis conferred a relative risk of 1.47 (95% CI: 1.29, 1.68 (13 studies)). Tuberculosis (relative risk = 1.48, 95% CI: 1.17, 1.87 (16 studies)) and pneumonia (relative risk = 1.57, 95% CI: 1.22, 2.01 (12 studies)) were also associated with lung cancer risk. Among never smokers, elevated risks were observed for emphysema, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. These results suggest that previous lung diseases influence lung cancer risk independently of tobacco use and that these diseases are important for assessing individual risk.
bronchitis; chronic; emphysema; lung diseases; lung neoplasms; meta-analysis; pneumonia; pulmonary disease; chronic obstructive; tuberculosis
Preclinical data suggest an important role for the sarcoma proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase (SRC) in the oncogenesis of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) or primary peritoneal carcinoma (PPC). The Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) conducted a Phase II trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of dasatinib, an oral SRC-family inhibitor in EOC/PPC and explored biomarkers for possible association with clinical outcome.
Eligible women had measurable, recurrent or persistent EOC/PPC and had received one or two prior regimens which must have contained a platinum and a taxane. Patients were treated with 100 mg orally daily of dasatinib continuously until progression of disease or adverse effects prevented further treatment. Primary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS) ≥6 months and response rate. Serial plasma samples were assayed for multiple biomarkers. Circulating free DNA was quantified as were circulating tumor and endothelial cells.
Thirty-five (35) patients were enrolled in a two-stage sequential design. Of the 34 eligible and evaluable patients, 20.6% (90% confidence interval: 10.1%, 35.2%) had a PFS ≥6 months; there were no objective responses. Grade 3–4 toxicities were gastrointestinal (mostly nausea and emesis; n=4), pulmonary (dyspnea and/or pleural effusion; n=4) and pain (n=5), and infrequent instances of anemia, malaise, insomnia, rash, and central nervous system hemorrhage. Lack of clinical activity limited any correlation of biomarkers with outcome.
Dasatinib has minimal activity as a single-agent in patients with recurrent EOC/PPC.
dasatinib; ovarian; cancer; SRC; inhibition
As prokaryotic models for multicellular development, Stigmatellaaurantiaca and Myxococcus xanthus share many similarities in terms of social behaviors, such as gliding motility. Our current understanding of myxobacterial grouped-cell motilities comes mainly from the research on M. xanthus, which shows that filamentous type IV pili (TFP), composed of type IV pilin (also called PilA protein) subunits, are the key apparatus for social motility (S-motility). However, little is known about the pilin protein in S. aurantiaca. We cloned and sequenced four genes (pilASa1~4) from S. aurantiaca DSM17044 that are homologous to pilAMx (pilA gene in M. xanthus DK1622). The homology and similarities among PilASa proteins and other myxobacterial homologues were systematically analyzed. To determine their potential biological functions, the four pilASa genes were expressed in M. xanthus DK10410 (ΔpilAMx), which did not restore S-motility on soft agar or EPS production to host cells. After further analysis of the motile behaviors in a methylcellulose solution, the M. xanthus strains were categorized into three types. YL6101, carrying pilASa1, and YL6104, carrying pilASa4, produced stable but unretractable surface pili; YL6102, carrying pilASa2, produced stable surface pili and exhibited reduced TFP-dependent motility in methylcellulose; YL6103, carrying pilASa3, produced unstable surface pili. Based on these findings, we propose that pilASa2 might be responsible for the type IV pilin production involved in group motility in S. aurantiaca DSM17044. After examining the developmental processes, it was suggested that the expression of PilASa4 protein might have positive effects on the fruiting body formation of M. xanthus DK10410 cells. Moreover, the formation of fruiting body in M. xanthus cells with stable exogenous TFPSa were compensated by mixing them with S. aurantiaca DSM17044 cells. Our results shed some light on the features and functions of type IV pilin homologues in S. aurantiaca.
Liver fibrogenesis is associated with the transition of quiescent hepatocytes and hepatic stellate cells (HSC) into the cell cycle. Exit from quiescence is controlled by E-type cyclins (CcnE1, CcnE2). Thus, the aim of the current study was to investigate the contribution of E-type cyclins for liver fibrosis in man and mice.
Expression of CcnE1, but not of its homologue CcnE2 was induced in fibrotic and cirrhotic livers from human patients with different etiologies and in murine wildtype (WT) livers after periodical administration of the pro-fibrotic toxin carbon tetrachloride (CCl4). To further evaluate the potential function of E-type cyclins for liver fibrogenesis, we repetitively treated constitutive CcnE1−/− and CcnE2−/− knockout mice with CCl4 to induce liver fibrosis. Interestingly, CcnE1−/− mice were protected against CCl4–mediated liver fibrogenesis as evidenced by reduced collagen type I α1 expression and lack of septum formation. In contrast, CcnE2−/− mice showed accelerated fibrogenesis following CCl4 treatment. We isolated primary HSC from WT, CcnE1−/− and CcnE2−/− mice and analyzed their activation, proliferation and survival in vitro. CcnE1 expression in WT HSC was maximal when they started to proliferate, but decreased after the cells transdifferentiated into myofibroblasts. CcnE1−/− HSC showed dramatically impaired survival, cell cycle arrest and strongly reduced expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin, indicating deficient HSC activation. In contrast, CcnE2-deficient HSC expressed elevated level of CcnE1 and showed enhanced cell cycle activity and proliferation compared to WT cells.
CcnE1 and CcnE2 have antagonistic roles in liver fibrosis. CcnE1 is indispensable for activation, proliferation and survival of HSC and thus promotes synthesis of extracellular matrix and liver fibrogenesis.
cell cycle; liver fibrosis; Carbon tetrachloride; Cyclin E2; cell cycle arrest; apoptosis
Aurora kinases are essential for regulation of chromosome segregation and cytokinesis during mitosis and play a role in growth and progression of human tumors, including ovarian cancer. Aurora A and Aurora B are frequently overexpressed in high-grade and low-grade ovarian cancers. Targeting Aurora kinases has great potential for improving the efficacy of chemotherapies of ovarian cancer. In this study, we investigated whether the Aurora kinase inhibitor, VE 465, can enhance the anti-tumor activity of carboplatin in human ovarian cancer cells. The antitumor activity of VE 465 was tested by MTT proliferative assay in multiple established human epithelial ovarian cancer cell lines of varying p53 status. VE 465 and carboplatin had a synergistic effect on cell viability in both platinum-sensitive and -resistant ovarian cancers. The growth-inhibitory effect was accompanied by reduction in expression of histone 3 and an increase in apoptosis. We conclude that VE 465 enhances the efficacy of carboplatin agents in ovarian carcinoma.
ovarian cancer; Aurora kinases; Aurora kinase inhibitors; chemosensitization
Background & Aims
Lysosomal Acid Lipase (LAL) deficiency is a rare metabolic storage disease, caused by a marked reduction in activity of LAL, which leads to accumulation of cholesteryl esters (CE) and triglycerides (TG) in lysosomes in many tissues. We used 1H magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy to characterize the abnormalities in hepatic lipid content and composition in patients with LAL deficiency, and in ex vivo liver tissue from a LAL deficiency rat model. Secondly, we used MR spectroscopy to monitor the effects of an enzyme replacement therapy (ERT), sebelipase alfa (a recombinant human lysosomal acid lipase), on hepatic TG and CE content in the preclinical model.
Human studies employed cohorts of LAL-deficient patients and NAFLD subjects. Rat experimental groups comprised ex vivo liver samples of wild type, NAFLD, LAL-deficient, and LAL-deficient rats receiving 4 weeks of sebelipase alfa treatment. Hepatic 1H MR spectroscopy was performed using 3T (human) and 7T (preclinical) MRI scanners to quantify hepatic cholesterol and triglyceride content.
CE accumulation was identified in LAL deficiency in both human and preclinical studies. A significant decrease in hepatic CE was observed in LAL-deficient rats following treatment with sebelipase alfa.
We demonstrate an entirely non-invasive method to identify and quantify the hepatic lipid signature associated with a rare genetic cause of fatty liver. The approach provides a more favorable alternative to repeated biopsy sampling for diagnosis and disease progression / treatment monitoring of patients with LAL deficiency and other disorders characterised by increased free cholesterol and/or cholesteryl esters.
CESD, cholesteryl ester storage disease; LAL, lysosomal acid lipase; CE, cholesteryl ester; TG, triglyceride; ERT, enzyme replacement therapy; NAFLD, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Wolman disease; Cholesteryl ester storage disease; 1H MR spectroscopy; 13C MR spectroscopy; Liver fat; Lysosomal acid lipase; LIPA; LAL deficiency; Enzyme replacement therapy; Sebelipase alfa
In order to better investigate the cause/effect relationships of human mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE), we hereby describe a new non-human primate model of mTLE.
Ten macaques were studied and divided into 2 groups: saline control group (n = 4) and kainic acid (KA) injection group (n = 6). All macaques were implanted bilaterally with subdural electrodes over temporal cortex and depth electrodes in CA3 hippocampal region. KA was stereotaxically injected into the right hippocampus of macaques. All animals were monitored by video and electrocorticography (ECoG) to assess status epilepticus (SE) and subsequent spontaneous recurrent seizures (SRS). Additionally, in order to evaluate brain injury produced by SE or SRS, we used both neuroimaging, including magnetic resonance image (MRI) & magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and histological pathology, including Nissl stainning and glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP) immunostaining.
The typical seizures were observed in the KA-injected animal model. Hippocampal sclerosis could be found by MRI & MRS. Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining and GFAP immunostaining showed neuronal loss, proliferation of glial cells, formation of glial scars, and hippocampal atrophy. Electron microscopic analysis of hippocampal tissues revealed neuronal pyknosis, partial ribosome depolymerization, an abnormal reduction in rough endoplasmic reticulum size, expansion of Golgi vesicles and swollen star-shaped cells. Furthermore, we reported that KA was able to induce SE followed by SRS after a variable period of time. Similar to human mTLE, brain damage is confined to the hippocampus. Accordingly, hippocampal volume is in positive correlations with the neuronal cells count in the CA3, especially the ratio of neuron/glial cell.
The results suggest that a model of mTLE can be developed in macaques by intra-hippocampal injection of KA. Brain damage is confined to the hippocampus which is similar to the human mTLE. The hippocampal volume correlates with the extension of the hippocampal damage.
Schistosoma japonicum is a parasitic flatworm that causes human schistosomiasis, a significant cause of morbidity in China and the Philippines. Here we present a draft genomic sequence for the worm, which is the first reported for any flatworm, indeed for the superphylum Lophotrochozoa. The genome provides a global insight into the molecular architecture and host interaction of this complex metazoan pathogen, revealing that it can exploit host nutrients, neuroendocrine hormones and signaling pathways for growth, development and maturation. Having a complex nervous system and a well developed sensory system, S. japonicum can accept stimulation of the corresponding ligands as a physiological response to different environments, such as fresh water or the tissues of its intermediate and mammalian hosts. Numerous proteinases, including cercarial elastase, are implicated in mammalian skin penetration and haemoglobin degradation. The genomic information will serve as a valuable platform to facilitate development of new interventions for schistosomiasis control.
Gynecologic cancer is a major burden in both developed and developing countries. Almost a half million deaths from gynecologic cancer are reported each year. Understanding the molecular biology of cancer is a principle resource leading to the identification of new potential therapeutic targets, which may be parlayed into novel therapeutic options in gynecologic cancer. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, which plays a pivotal role in many aspects of malignant growth including cancer cell survival, migration, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis. Various human cancer tissues have demonstrated high expression of FAK or activated FAK, which has been correlated with survival of cancer patients. Among gynecologic cancers, reports have emerged demonstrating that FAK is involved in the pathogenesis of ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers. In addition, the polycomb group protein enhancer of Zeste homologue 2 (EZH2), Dll4/notch and EphA2 has also emerged as important regulators of endothelial cell biology and angiogenesis. Herein, we review the role of these new targets in tumor angiogenesis and the rationale for further clinical development.
Focal adhesion kinase; EZH2; Dll4/notch; ovarian cancer; uterine cancer; cervix cancer; angiogenesis; endothelial cells
Multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPC) are bone marrow-derived stem cells with a high growth rate suitable for therapeutical applications as three-dimensional (3D) aggregates. Combined applications of osteogenically differentiated MAPC (OD-MAPC) aggregates and adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV) in bone bioengineering are still deferred until information regarding expansion technologies, osteogenic potential, and AAV cytotoxicity and transduction efficiency is better understood. In this study, we tested whether self-complementary AAV (scAAV) can potentially be used as a gene delivery system in a OD-MAPC-based “in vivo” bone formation model in the craniofacial region. Both expansion of rat MAPC (rMAPC) and osteogenic differentiation with dexamethasone were also tested in 3D aggregate culture systems “in vitro” and “vivo”. Rat MAPCs (rMAPCs) grew as undifferentiated aggregates for 4 days with a population doubling time of 37h. After expansion, constant levels of Oct4 transcripts, and Oct4 and CD31 surface markers were observed, which constitute a hallmark of rMAPCs undifferentiated stage. Dexamethasone effectively mediated rMAPC osteogenic differentiation by inducing the formation of a mineralized collagen type I network, and facilitated the activation of the wnt/β-catenin, a crucial pathway in skeletal development. To investigate the genetic modification of rMAPCs grown as 3D aggregates prior to implantation, scAAV serotypes 2, 3, and 6 were evaluated. scAAV6 packaged with the enhanced green fluorescent protein expression cassette efficiently mediated long-term transduction (10 days) “in vitro” and “vivo”. The reporter transduction event allowed the tracing of OD-rMAPC (induced by dexamethasone) aggregates following OD-rMAPC transfer into a macro-porous hydroxyapatite scaffold implanted in a rat calvaria model. Furthermore, the scAAV6-transduced OD-rMAPC generated a bone-like matrix with a collagenous matrix rich in bone specific proteins (osteocalcin and osteopontin) in the scaffold macro-pores 10 days post-implantation. Newly formed bone was also observed in the interface between native bone and scaffold. The collective work supports future bone tissue engineering applications of 3D MAPC cultures for expansion, bone formation, and the ability to genetically alter these cells using scAAV vectors.
Most primary human ovarian tumors and peritoneal implants, as well as tumor vascular endothelial cells, express the CD44 family of cell surface proteoglycans, the natural ligand for which is hyaluronic acid (HA). Metronomic (MET) dosing, the frequent administration of chemotherapeutics at substantially lower than maximum tolerated doses (MTD), has been shown to result in reduced normal tissue toxicity and to minimize “off-treatment” exposure resulting in an improved therapeutic ratio.
We tested the hypothesis that HA conjugates of paclitaxel (TXL; HA-TXL) would exert strong anti-tumor effects with MET dosing and induce anti-angiogenic effects superior to those achieved with MTD administration or with free TXL. Female nude mice bearing SKOV3ip1 or HeyA8 ovarian cancer cells were treated intraperitoneally (ip) with MET HA-TXL regimens (or MTD administration to determine therapeutic and biological effects.
All MET HA-TXL-treated mice and the MTD group revealed significantly reduced tumor weights and nodules compared to controls (all p values < 0.05) in the chemotherapy-sensitive models. However, the MTD HA-TXL-treated mice showed significant weight loss compared to control mice, whereas body weights were not affected in the MET groups in HeyA8-MDR model, reflecting reduced toxicity. In the taxane-resistant HeyA8-MDR model, significant reduction in tumor weight and nodule counts was noted in the MET groups, whereas the response of the MTD group did not achieve significance. While both MTD and MET regimens reduced proliferation (Ki-67) and increased apoptosis (TUNEL), only MET treatment resulted in significant reductions in angiogenesis (CD31, microvessel density). Moreover, MET treatment resulted in substantial increases in thrombospondin-1 (Tsp-1), an inhibitor of angiogenesis.
This study demonstrated that MET HA-TXL regimens have substantial antitumor activity in ovarian carcinoma, likely via a predominant anti-angiogenic mechanism.
Ovarian carcinoma; metronomic chemotherapy; and CD44
Calcineurin B-like protein-interacting protein kinases (CIPKs) have been found to be responsive to abiotic stress. However, their precise functions and the related molecular mechanisms in abiotic stress tolerance are not completely understood, especially in wheat. In the present study, TaCIPK29 was identified as a new member of CIPK gene family in wheat. TaCIPK29 transcript increased after NaCl, cold, methyl viologen (MV), abscisic acid (ABA) and ethylene treatments. Over-expression of TaCIPK29 in tobacco resulted in increased salt tolerance, which was demonstrated by higher germination rates, longer root lengths and better growth status of transgenic tobacco plants compared to controls when both were treated with salt stress. Physiological measurements indicated that transgenic tobacco seedlings retained high K+/Na+ ratios and Ca2+ content by up-regulating some transporter genes expression and also possessed lower H2O2 levels and reduced membrane injury by increasing the expression and activities of catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD) under salt stress. Moreover, transgenic lines conferred tolerance to oxidative stress by increasing the activity and expression of CAT. Finally, TaCIPK29 was located throughout cells and it preferentially interacted with TaCBL2, TaCBL3, NtCBL2, NtCBL3 and NtCAT1. Taken together, our results showed that TaCIPK29 functions as a positive factor under salt stress and is involved in regulating cations and reactive oxygen species (ROS) homeostasis.
This scoping review analyzes the research gaps of three diseases: schistosomiasis japonica, malaria and echinococcosis. Based on available data in the P.R. China, we highlight the gaps between control capacity and prevalence levels, and between diagnostic/drug development and population need for treatment at different stages of the national control programme. After reviewing the literature from 848 original studies and consultations with experts in the field, the gaps were identified as follows. Firstly, the malaria research gaps include (i) deficiency of active testing in the public community and no appropriate technique to evaluate elimination, (ii) lack of sensitive diagnostic tools for asymptomatic patients, (iii) lack of safe drugs for mass administration. Secondly, gaps in research of schistosomiasis include (i) incongruent policy in the implementation of integrated control strategy for schistosomiasis, (ii) lack of effective tools for Oncomelania sp. snail control, (iii) lack of a more sensitive and cheaper diagnostic test for large population samples, (iv) lack of new drugs in addition to praziquantel. Thirdly, gaps in research of echinococcosis include (i) low capacity in field epidemiology studies, (ii) lack of sanitation improvement studies in epidemic areas, (iii) lack of a sensitivity test for early diagnosis, (iv) lack of more effective drugs for short-term treatment. We believe these three diseases can eventually be eliminated in mainland China if all the research gaps are abridged in a short period of time.
Schistosomiasis; Malaria; Echinococcosis; Epidemiology; Diagnosis; Chemotherapy; Research capacity building
Avenin-like b proteins are a small family of wheat storage proteins, each containing 18 or 19 cysteine residues. The role of these proteins, with high numbers of cysteine residues, in determining the functional properties of wheat flour is unclear. In the present study, two transgenic lines of the bread wheat overexpressing avenin-like b gene were generated to investigate the effects of Avenin-like b proteins on dough mixing properties. Sodium dodecyl sulfate sedimentation (SDSS) test and Mixograph analysis of these lines demonstrated that overexpression of Avenin-like b proteins in both transgenic wheat lines significantly increased SDSS volume and improved dough elasticity, mixing tolerance and resistance to extension. These changes were associated with the increased proportion of polymeric proteins due to the incorporation of overexpressed Avenin-like b proteins into the glutenin polymers. The results of this study were critical to confirm the hypothesis that Avenin-like b proteins could be integrated into glutenin polymers by inter-chain disulphide bonds, which could help understand the mechanism behind strengthening wheat dough strength.
APOBEC3 proteins inhibit HIV-1 replication in experimental systems and induce hypermutation in infected patients; however, the relative contributions of several APOBEC3 proteins to restriction of HIV-1 replication in the absence of the viral Vif protein in human primary CD4+ T cells and macrophages are unknown. We observed significant inhibition of HIV-1Δvif produced in 293T cells in the presence of APOBEC3DE (A3DE), APOBEC3F (A3F), APOBEC3G (A3G), and APOBEC3H haplotype II (A3H HapII) but not APOBEC3B (A3B), APOBEC3C (A3C), or APOBEC3H haplotype I (A3H HapI). Our previous studies showed that Vif amino acids Y40RHHY44 are important for inducing proteasomal degradation of A3G, whereas amino acids 14DRMR17 are important for degradation of A3F and A3DE. Here, we introduced substitution mutations of 40YRHHY44 and 14DRMR17 in replication-competent HIV-1 to generate vif mutants NL4-3 YRHHY>A5 and NL4-3 DRMR>A4 to compare the antiviral activity of A3G to the combined antiviral activity of A3F and A3DE in activated CD4+ T cells and macrophages. During the first 15 days (round 1), in which multiple cycles of viral replication occurred, both the NL4-3 YRHHY>A5 and NL4-3 DRMR>A4 mutants replicated in activated CD4+ T cells and macrophages, and only the NL4-3 YRHHY>A5 mutant showed a 2- to 4-day delay in replication compared to the wild type. During the subsequent 27 days (round 2) of cultures initiated with peak virus obtained from round 1, the NL4-3 YRHHY>A5 mutant exhibited a longer, 8- to 10-day delay and the NL4-3 DRMR>A4 mutant exhibited a 2- to 6-day delay in replication compared to the wild type. The NL4-3 YRHHY>A5 and NL4-3 DRMR>A4 mutant proviruses displayed G-to-A hypermutations primarily in GG and GA dinucleotides as expected of A3G- and A3F- or A3DE-mediated deamination, respectively. We conclude that A3G exerts a greater restriction effect on HIV-1 than A3F and A3DE.
Complex environmental conditions can significantly affect bacterial genome size by unknown mechanisms. The So0157-2 strain of Sorangium cellulosum is an alkaline-adaptive epothilone producer that grows across a wide pH range. Here, we show that the genome of this strain is 14,782,125 base pairs, 1.75-megabases larger than the largest bacterial genome from S. cellulosum reported previously. The total 11,599 coding sequences (CDSs) include massive duplications and horizontally transferred genes, regulated by lots of protein kinases, sigma factors and related transcriptional regulation co-factors, providing the So0157-2 strain abundant resources and flexibility for ecological adaptation. The comparative transcriptomics approach, which detected 90.7% of the total CDSs, not only demonstrates complex expression patterns under varying environmental conditions but also suggests an alkaline-improved pathway of the insertion and duplication, which has been genetically testified, in this strain. These results provide insights into and a paradigm for how environmental conditions can affect bacterial genome expansion.
WRKY transcription factors are reported to be involved in defense regulation, stress response and plant growth and development. However, the precise role of WRKY transcription factors in abiotic stress tolerance is not completely understood, especially in crops. In this study, we identified and cloned 10 WRKY genes from genome of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). TaWRKY10, a gene induced by multiple stresses, was selected for further investigation. TaWRKY10 was upregulated by treatment with polyethylene glycol, NaCl, cold and H2O2. Result of Southern blot indicates that the wheat genome contains three copies of TaWRKY10. The TaWRKY10 protein is localized in the nucleus and functions as a transcriptional activator. Overexpression of TaWRKY10 in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) resulted in enhanced drought and salt stress tolerance, mainly demonstrated by the transgenic plants exhibiting of increased germination rate, root length, survival rate, and relative water content under these stress conditions. Further investigation showed that transgenic plants also retained higher proline and soluble sugar contents, and lower reactive oxygen species and malonaldehyde contents. Moreover, overexpression of the TaWRKY10 regulated the expression of a series of stress related genes. Taken together, our results indicate that TaWRKY10 functions as a positive factor under drought and salt stresses by regulating the osmotic balance, ROS scavenging and transcription of stress related genes.
The ecological safety of transgenic organisms is an important issue of international public and political concern. The assessment of ecological risks is also crucial for realizing the beneficial industrial application of transgenic organisms. In this study, reproduction of common carp (Cyprinus carpio, CC) in isolated natural aquatic environments was analyzed. Using the method of paternity testing, a comparative analysis was conducted on the structure of an offspring population of “all-fish” growth hormone gene-transgenic common carp (afgh-CC) and of wild CC to evaluate their fertility and juvenile viability. Experimental results showed that in a natural aquatic environment, the ratio of comparative advantage in mating ability of afgh-CC over wild CC was 1∶1, showing nearly identical mating competitiveness. Juvenile viability of afgh-CC was low, and the average daily survival rate was less than 98.00%. After a possible accidental escape or release of transgenic CC into natural aquatic environments they are unable to monopolize resources from eggs of natural CC populations, leading to the extinction of transgenic CC. Transgenic CC are also unlikely to form dominant populations in natural aquatic environments due to their low juvenile viability. Thus, it is expected that the proportion of afgh-CC in the natural environment would remain low or gradually decline, and ultimately disappear.
Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by parasitic worms and more than 200 million people are infected worldwide. The emergence of resistance to the most commonly used drug, praziquantel (PZQ), makes the development of novel drugs an urgent task. 3-oxoacyl-ACP reductase (OAR), a key enzyme involved in the fatty acid synthesis pathway, has been identified as a potential drug target against many pathogenic organisms. However, no research on Schistosoma japonicum OAR (SjOAR) has been reported. The characterization of the SjOAR protein will provide new strategies for screening antischistosomal drugs that target SjOAR.
After cloning the SjOAR gene, recombinant SjOAR protein was purified and assayed for enzymatic activity. The tertiary structure of SjOAR was obtained by homology modeling and 27 inhibitor candidates were identified from 14,400 compounds through molecular docking based on the structure. All of these compounds were confirmed to be able to bind to the SjOAR protein by BIAcore analysis. Two compounds exhibited strong antischistosomal activity and inhibitory effects on the enzymatic activity of SjOAR. In contrast, these two compounds showed relatively low toxicity towards host cells.
The work presented here shows the feasibility of isolation of new antischistosomal compounds using a combination of virtual screening and experimental validation. Based on this strategy, we successfully identified 2 compounds that target SjOAR with strong antischistosomal activity but relatively low cytotoxicity to host cells.
Several lines of evidence support an important role for Snail, a transcriptional factor, in breast cancer. Overexpression of Snail has been associated with breast cancer metastasis, although the specific role of Snail in the process remains unclear. To address this issue, the expression levels of Snail, RhoA and fibronectin, as well as MMP-2, were reduced in the breast tumor cell lines MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-435S, and their biological responses were studied in vitro and in vivo. For the first time, it was observed that downregulated Snail expression is correlated with a significant inhibition of the expression and activity of RhoA GTPase, as well as MMP-2. The present data provide evidence that Snail promotes tumor cell motility and angiogenesis which is mainly mediated through the regulation of RhoA activity. In conclusion, the present findings demonstrate a key regulatory role for Snail in breast tumor growth and progression.
Snail; RhoA GTPase; metastasis; breast cancer
Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease with high morbidity and mortality in the world. Currently, the treatment of this disease depends almost exclusively on praziquantel (PZQ); however, the emergence of drug resistance to PZQ in schistosomes makes the development of novel drugs an urgent task. Aldose reductase (AR), an important component that may be involved in the schistosome antioxidant defense system, is predicted as a potential drug target.
The tertiary structure of Schistosoma japonicum AR (SjAR) was obtained through X-ray diffraction method and then its potential inhibitors were identified from the Maybridge HitFinder library by virtual screening based on this structural model. The effects of these identified compounds on cultured adult worms were evaluated by observing mobility, morphological changes and mortality. To verify that SjAR was indeed the target of these identified compounds, their effects on recombinant SjAR (rSjAR) enzymatic activity were assessed. The cytotoxicity analysis was performed with three types of human cell lines using a Cell Counting Kit-8.
We firstly resolved the SjAR structure and identified 10 potential inhibitors based on this structural model. Further in vitro experiments showed that one of the compounds, renamed as AR9, exhibited significant inhibition in the activity of cultured worms as well as inhibition of enzymatic activity of rSjAR protein. Cytotoxicity analysis revealed that AR9 had relatively low toxicity towards host cells.
The work presented here bridges the gap between virtual screening and experimental validation, providing an effective and economical strategy for the development of new anti-parasitic drugs. Additionally, this study also found that AR9 may become a new potential lead compound for developing novel antischistosomal drugs against parasite AR.
Schistosoma japonicum; Aldose reductase (AR); Structure; Virtual screening; Drug target
Gut microbiota has shown tight and coordinated connection with various functions of its host such as metabolism, immunity, energy utilization, and health maintenance. To gain insight into whether gut microbes affect the metabolism of fish, we employed fast-growing transgenic common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) to study the connections between its large body feature and gut microbes. Metagenome-based fingerprinting and high-throughput sequencing on bacterial 16S rRNA genes indicated that fish gut was dominated by Proteobacteria, Fusobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, which displayed significant differences between transgenic fish and wild-type controls. Analyses to study the association of gut microbes with the fish metabolism discovered three major phyla having significant relationships with the host metabolic factors. Biochemical and histological analyses indicated transgenic fish had increased carbohydrate but decreased lipid metabolisms. Additionally, transgenic fish has a significantly lower Bacteroidetes:Firmicutes ratio than that of wild-type controls, which is similar to mammals between obese and lean individuals. These findings suggest that gut microbiotas are associated with the growth of fast growing transgenic fish, and the relative abundance of Firmicutes over Bacteroidetes could be one of the factors contributing to its fast growth. Since the large body size of transgenic fish displays a proportional body growth, which is unlike obesity in human, the results together with the findings from others also suggest that the link between obesity and gut microbiota is likely more complex than a simple Bacteroidetes:Firmicutes ratio change.
The combined predictive value of plasma uric acid and primary tumor volume in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients receiving intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has not yet been determined.
In this retrospective study, plasma uric acid level was measured after treatment in 130 histologically-proven NPC patients treated with IMRT. Tumor volume was calculated from treatment planning CT scans. Overall (OS), progression-free (PFS) and distant metastasis-free (DMFS) survival were compared using Kaplan-Meier analysis and the log rank test, and Cox multivariate and univariate regression models were created.
Patients with a small tumor volume (<27 mL) had a significantly better DMFS, PFS and OS than patients with a large tumor volume. Patients with a high post-treatment plasma uric acid level (>301 μmol/L) had a better DMFS, PFS and OS than patients with a low post-treatment plasma uric acid level. Patients with a small tumor volume and high post-treatment plasma uric acid level had a favorable prognosis compared to patients with a large tumor volume and low post-treatment plasma uric acid level (7-year overall OS, 100% vs. 48.7%, P <0.001 and PFS, 100% vs. 69.5%, P <0.001).
Post-treatment plasma uric acid level and pre-treatment tumor volume have predictive value for outcome in NPC patients receiving IMRT. NPC patients with a large tumor volume and low post-treatment plasma uric acid level may benefit from additional aggressive treatment after IMRT.
Intensity-modulated radiotherapy; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Plasma uric acid; Tumor volume; Prognosis