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1.  Development of a two-step cultivation strategy for the production of vitamin B12 by Bacillus megaterium 
Vitamin B12 is a fascinating molecule which acts as a co-factor in the metabolism of many organisms, especially affecting DNA synthesis and regulation, fatty acid synthesis and energy production. The synthesis of vitamin B12 is limited to a few of bacteria and archaea. Therefore, industrial microbial fermentation is used to meet annual demands worldwide of vitamin B12 and as an alternative method to the chemical synthesis which requires at least 60 steps that is uneconomical. Bacillus megaterium is one of vitamin B12 producers and an ideal host for many biotechnology applications and being one of the best tools for the industrial production of several enzymes. Therefore, a two-step optimization strategy was established to produce high yield of vitamin B12 by B. megaterium through the provision of the production requirements and the suitable conditions for the biosynthesis of vitamin B12.
We achieved the optimum conditions for the fermentation process of B. megaterium to produce high yield of vitamin B12 in a practical way based on statistical design and analysis which allowed vitamin B12 production to increase up to 759-fold (204.46 μg/l) as compared with control without parameters (0.26 μg/L). High performance liquid chromatography coupled to variable wavelength detector and mass spectrometry has been used to identify vitamin B12 forms and confirm the results.
We developed the fermentation process of B. megaterium to enhance the production of vitamin B12 by providing the required supplements for the synthesis of vitamin B12 (CoCl2, δ-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) and 5,6-dimethylbenzimidazole (DMB)) and dividing the fermentation process into three stages. In addition, the optimum incubation times of the three fermentation stages were investigated and performed with reducing number of experimental and evaluated multiple parameters and their interactions by using statistical experimental design and analysis. All of these strategies has proven successful in enhancing the production of vitamin B12 up to 204.46 μg/l and demonstrated that B. megaterium could be a good candidate for the industrial production of vitamin B12.
PMCID: PMC4105875  PMID: 25023574
Vitamin B12; Bacillus megaterium; δ-Aminolevulinate (ALA); 5; 6-dimethylbenzimidazole (DMB)
2.  Histone Deacetylase HDAC4 Promotes Gastric Cancer SGC-7901 Cells Progression via p21 Repression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98894.
Gastric cancer (GC) is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the world. The role of histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) in specific cell and tissue types has been identified. However, its biological roles in the development of gastric cancer remain largely unexplored. Quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) and western blot were used to analyze the expression of HDAC4 in the clinical samples. siRNA and overexpression of HDAC4 and siRNA p21 were used to study functional effects in a proliferation, a colony formation, a adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) assay and reactive oxygen species(ROS) generation, cell cycle, cell apoptosis rates, and autophagy assays. HDAC4 was up-regulated in gastric cancer tissues and several gastric cancer cell lines. The proliferation, colony formation ability and ATP level were enhanced in HDAC4 overexpression SGC-7901 cells, but inhibited in HDAC4 knockdown SGC-7901 cells. HDAC4 knockdown led to G0/G1 phase cell arrest and caused apoptosis and ROS increase. Moreover, HDAC4 was found to inhibit p21 expression in gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells. p21 knockdown dramatically attenuated cell proliferation inhibition, cell cycle arrest, cell apoptosis promotion and autophagy up-regulation in HDAC4-siRNA SGC-7901 cells. We demonstrated that HDAC4 promotes gastric cancer cell progression mediated through the repression of p21. Our results provide an experimental basis for understanding the pro-tumor mechanism of HDAC4 as treatment for gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC4045860  PMID: 24896240
3.  High-yield novel leech hyaluronidase to expedite the preparation of specific hyaluronan oligomers 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4471.
Hyaluronidases (HAases), particularly leech HAases, have attracted intense attention due to their broad applications in medical treatments and great potential for the enzymatic production of hyaluronan oligosaccharides. However, little is known about this third interesting family of HAases. Here, we applied the random amplification of cDNA ends polymerase chain reaction (RACE-PCR) approach to identify the first leech HAase-encoding gene. By combining protein engineering and high-density culture, we achieved high-level production (8.42 × 105 U ml−1) in the yeast Pichia pastoris secretory expression system. Compared with the commercial bovine testicular HAase, the recombinant leech HAase exhibited superior enzymatic properties. Furthermore, analysis of the hydrolytic process suggested that this novel enzyme adopts a nonprocessive endolytic mode, yielding a narrow-spectrum of specific HA oligosaccharides with different incubation times. Large-scale production of this novel leech HAase will not only greatly promote medical applications but also facilitate the enzymatic production of specific HA oligosaccharides.
PMCID: PMC3966032  PMID: 24667183
4.  Rational Design of a Novel Propeptide for Improving Active Production of Streptomyces griseus Trypsin in Pichia pastoris 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(12):3851-3855.
Applying in silico simulations and in vitro experiments, the amino acid proline was proved to have a profound influence on Streptomyces griseus trypsinogen, and the hydrogen bond between H57 and D102 was found to be crucial for trypsin activity. By introducing an artificial propeptide, IVEF, the titer of trypsin was increased 6.71-fold.
PMCID: PMC3675915  PMID: 23563937
5.  4,9,12,15-Tetra­oxa-3,5,8,10,14,16-hexa­aza­tetra­cyclo­[,6.07,11]hexa­deca-1(16),2,5,7,10,13-hexaen-3-ium-3-olate monohydrate 
The organic mol­ecule in the title monohydrate, C6N6O5·H2O, presents an almost planar configuration, the greatest deviation from the least-squares plane through the atoms being 0.061 (1) Å for the O atom within the seven-membered ring. Each water H atom is bifurcated, one forming two O—H⋯N hydrogen bonds and the other forming O—H⋯N,O hydrogen bonds. The result of the hydrogen bonding is the formation of supra­molecular layers with a zigzag topology that stack along [001].
PMCID: PMC3297919  PMID: 22412722
6.  Resemblance of Symptoms for Major Depression Assessed at Interview versus from Hospital Record Review 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e28734.
Diagnostic information for psychiatric research often depends on both clinical interviews and medical records. Although discrepancies between these two sources are well known, there have been few studies into the degree and origins of inconsistencies.
Principal findings
We compared data from structured interviews and medical records on 1,970 Han Chinese women with recurrent DSM-IV major depression (MD). Correlations were high for age at onset of MD (0.93) and number of episodes (0.70), intermediate for family history (+0.62) and duration of longest episode (+0.43) and variable but generally more modest for individual depressive symptoms (mean kappa = 0.32). Four factors were identified for twelve symptoms from medical records and the same four factors emerged from analysis of structured interviews. Factor congruencies were high but the correlation of factors between interviews and records were modest (i.e. +0.2 to +0.4).
Structured interviews and medical records are highly concordant for age of onset, and the number and length of episodes, but agree more modestly for individual symptoms and symptom factors. The modesty of these correlations probably arises from multiple factors including i) inconsistency in the definition of the worst episode, ii) inaccuracies in self-report and iii) difficulties in coding medical records where symptoms were recorded solely for clinical purposes.
PMCID: PMC3256142  PMID: 22247760
7.  Complete PHB mobilization in Escherichia coli enhances the stress tolerance: a potential biotechnological application 
Poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) mobilization in bacteria has been proposed as a mechanism that can benefit their host for survival under stress conditions. Here we reported for the first time that a stress-induced system enabled E. coli, a non-PHB producer, to mobilize PHB in vivo by mimicking natural PHB accumulation bacteria.
The successful expression of PHB biosynthesis and PHB depolymerase genes in E. coli was confirmed by PHB production and 3-hydroxybutyrate secretion. Starvation experiment demonstrated that the complete PHB mobilization system in E. coli served as an intracellular energy and carbon storage system, which increased the survival rate of the host when carbon resources were limited. Stress tolerance experiment indicated that E. coli strains with PHB production and mobilization system exhibited an enhanced stress resistance capability.
This engineered E. coli with PHB mobilization has a potential biotechnological application as immobilized cell factories for biocatalysis and biotransformation.
PMCID: PMC2746179  PMID: 19719845
8.  Rice Dwarf Phytoreovirus Segment S6-Encoded Nonstructural Protein Has a Cell-to-Cell Movement Function 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(10):5382-5389.
Rice dwarf virus (RDV) is a member of the genus Phytoreovirus, which is composed of viruses with segmented double-stranded RNA genomes. Proteins that support the intercellular movement of these viruses in the host have not been identified. Microprojectile bombardment was used to determine which open reading frames (ORFs) support intercellular movement of a heterologous virus. A plasmid containing an infectious clone of Potato virus X (PVX) defective in cell-to-cell movement and expressing either β-glucuronidase or green fluorescent protein (GFP) was used for cobombardment with plasmids containing ORFs from RDV gene segments S1 through S12 onto leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana. Cell-to-cell movement of the movement-defective PVX was restored by cobombardment with a plasmid containing S6. In the absence of S6, no other gene segment supported movement. Identical results were obtained with Nicotiana tabacum, a host that allows fewer viruses to infect and spread within its tissue. S6 supported the cell-to-cell movement of the movement-defective PVX in sink and source leaves of N. benthamiana. A mutant S6 lacking the translation start codon did not complement the cell-to-cell movement of the movement-defective PVX. An S6 protein product (Pns6)-enhanced GFP fusion was observed near or within cell walls of epidermal cells from N. tabacum. By immunocytochemistry, unfused Pns6 was localized to plasmodesmata in rice leaves infected with RDV. S6 thus encodes a protein with characteristics identical to those of other viral proteins required for the cell-to-cell movement of their genome and therefore is likely required for the cell-to-cell movement of RDV.
PMCID: PMC400330  PMID: 15113917

Results 1-8 (8)