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1.  Unprotected sex with their clients among low-paying female sex workers in southwest China 
AIDS care  2012;25(4):503-506.
China has been experiencing a rapid increase in the HIV epidemic for decades. Commercial sex plays a critical role in heterosexual transmission of HIV. Limited studies suggested that low-paying female sex workers (FSWs) faced a higher risk of HIV infection. Low-paying FSWs are women who usually encounter their clients on the street or small establishments in rural or less-developed areas, or who charge low fees for each sexual service.
A total of 720 low-paying FSWs from 130 commercial sex venues/locations in southwest China were included in the data analysis. Multivariate regression models were employed to examine the associations of unprotected sex with a number of exploratory variables among the study sample.
About 33.9% and 61.5% of low-paying FSWs reported unprotected sex with clients in the last sex act and in the last month, respectively. After controlling for confounders, women’s HIV knowledge, risk perception, experience of police arrest, and venue types were significantly associated with unprotected sex among low-paying FSWs.
Low-paying FSWs are at an alarmingly high risk of HIV infection. HIV prevention programs are urgently needed to address risk factors posit in both individual and contextual levels among this most-at-risk population in order to curb the HIV epidemic in China.
PMCID: PMC3594428  PMID: 23062062
Low-paying FSWs; HIV risks; Unprotected sex; China
2.  Erythropoietin-Derived Nonerythropoietic Peptide Ameliorates Experimental Autoimmune Neuritis by Inflammation Suppression and Tissue Protection 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90942.
Experimental autoimmune neuritis (EAN) is an autoantigen-specific T-cell-mediated disease model for human demyelinating inflammatory disease of the peripheral nervous system. Erythropoietin (EPO) has been known to promote EAN recovery but its haematopoiesis stimulating effects may limit its clinic application. Here we investigated the effects and potential mechanisms of an EPO-derived nonerythropoietic peptide, ARA 290, in EAN. Exogenous ARA 290 intervention greatly improved EAN recovery, improved nerve regeneration and remyelination, and suppressed nerve inflammation. Furthermore, haematopoiesis was not induced by ARA 290 during EAN treatment. ARA 290 intervention suppressed lymphocyte proliferation and altered helper T cell differentiation by inducing increase of Foxp3+/CD4+ regulatory T cells and IL-4+/CD4+ Th2 cells and decrease of IFN-γ+/CD4+ Th1 cells in EAN. In addition, ARA 290 inhibited inflammatory macrophage activation and promoted its phagocytic activity. In vitro, ARA 290 was shown to promote Schwann cell proliferation and inhibit its inflammatory activation. In summary, our data demonstrated that ARA 290 could effectively suppress EAN by attenuating inflammation and exerting direct cell protection, indicating that ARA 290 could be a potent candidate for treatment of autoimmune neuropathies.
PMCID: PMC3946253  PMID: 24603865
3.  Theoretical Models of Parental HIV Disclosure: A Critical Review 
AIDS care  2012;25(3):326-336.
This review critically examined three major theoretical models related to parental HIV disclosure (i.e., the Four-Phase Model, the Disclosure Decision Making Model, and the Disclosure Process Model), and the existing studies that could provide empirical support to these models or their components. For each model, we briefly reviewed its theoretical background, described its components and or mechanisms, and discussed its strengths and limitations. The existing empirical studies supported most theoretical components in these models. However, hypotheses related to the mechanisms proposed in the models have not yet tested due to a lack of empirical evidence. This review also synthesized alternative theoretical perspectives and new issues in disclosure research and clinical practice that may challenge the existing models. The current review underscores the importance of including components related to social and cultural contexts in theoretical frameworks, and calls for more adequately designed empirical studies in order to test and refine existing theories and to develop new ones.
PMCID: PMC3508317  PMID: 22866903
Parental HIV infection; HIV disclosure; Parental HIV disclosure; Literature review; Theoretical model
4.  Socio-demographic and Behavioral Correlates for HIV and Syphilis Infections among Migrant Men Who Have Sex With Men in Beijing, China 
AIDS care  2012;25(2):249-257.
Migrant men who have sex with men (MSM) may be particularly vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. This study examines the rates of HIV and syphilis infections and associated socio-demographic and behavioral factors among migrant MSM in China. Data from 307 migrant MSM were collected in Beijing, China. Blood specimens were collected to test for HIV and syphilis infections. HIV and syphilis rates were 5.9% and 20.2%, respectively. Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that having ever been married, living a longer period in Beijing, having more sexual partners, and having a foreign MSM friend were significantly associated with HIV infection. Migrating from a rural area, experiencing one’s sexual debut at an older age, having a male as first sexual partner, having more sexual partners, and being recruited from peer outreach and social network were associated with syphilis infection. Migrant MSM in China are at high risk for HIV and syphilis infections. HIV prevention programs targeting rural migrant MSM who have been married are needed.
PMCID: PMC3563352  PMID: 22788859
China; men who have sex with men; HIV; syphilis; unprotected anal intercourse; sexual partners
5.  Alcohol Use and Sexual Risks: Use of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) Among Female Sex Workers in China 
The association between alcohol use and sexual risks among female sex workers (FSWs) has been insufficiently studied. This article reports a cross-sectional study of the relationship between alcohol use risk, measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and sexual risk behaviors among 1,022 FSWs in Guangxi, China. Bivariate analysis showed that FSWs at higher AUDIT levels tended to have earlier sexual initiation, younger age of involvement in the sex trade and were more vulnerable to sex under the influence of alcohol. Multivariate analysis revealed an independent association of problem drinking with both unprotected sex and a history of sexually transmitted diseases. Alcohol use in commercial sex shall be considered as an occupational hazard that requires immediate intervention. Future longitudinal studies are needed to confirm the association between alcohol use and sexual risks among this most-at-risk population.
PMCID: PMC3563358  PMID: 23311906
6.  A Protection Motivation Theory-Based Scale for Tobacco Research among Chinese Youth 
Rates of tobacco use among adolescents in China and other lower and middle-income countries remain high despite notable prevention and intervention programs. One reason for this may be the lack of theory-based research in tobacco use prevention in these countries. In the current study, a culturally appropriate 21-item measurement scale for cigarette smoking was developed based on the core constructs of Protection Motivation Theory (PMT). The scale was assessed among a sample of 553 Chinese vocational high school students. Results from correlational and measurement modeling analysis indicated adequate measurement reliability for the proposed PMT scale structure. The two PMT Pathways and the seven PMT constructs were significantly correlated with adolescent intention to smoke and actual smoking behavior. This study is the first to evaluate a PMT scale for cigarette smoking among Chinese adolescents. The scale provides a potential tool for assessing social cognitive processes underlying tobacco use. This is essential for understanding smoking behavior among Chinese youth and to support more effective tobacco use prevention efforts. Additional studies are needed to assess its utility for use with Chinese youth in other settings.
PMCID: PMC3903136  PMID: 24478933
Protection Motivation Theory (PMT); Adolescents; Cigarette smoking
7.  Sexual Communication and Condom Use among Chinese MSM in Beijing 
Psychology, health & medicine  2012;18(1):98-106.
This study collected cross-sectional data from 307 young Chinese men who have sex with men (MSM) to explore the characteristics of sexual communications, including target of communication (stable partners, casual partners), topics of communication (condom use, HIV/ STDs prevention, and sexual history), and the associations between sexual communication characteristics and condom use. A variety of measures were employed to assess respondents’ condom use with different sexual partners over different recall periods. Chi-square tests were employed to examine the relationships between sexual communication characteristics and condom use. This study found that sexual communications with regular partners about topics such as condom use, HIV/STDs prevention, and current and past sexual relationship were associated with condom use with regular partners. Respondents who had sexual communications with both regular and casual partners were more likely to use condoms with their regular partners. The findings in the current study provided empirical evidence for the importance of frequent sexual communication between Chinese MSM and their sex partners.
PMCID: PMC3563354  PMID: 22676447
HIV; Sexual Communication; Condom Use; MSM; China
8.  Tricyclic GyrB/ParE (TriBE) Inhibitors: A New Class of Broad-Spectrum Dual-Targeting Antibacterial Agents 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84409.
Increasing resistance to every major class of antibiotics and a dearth of novel classes of antibacterial agents in development pipelines has created a dwindling reservoir of treatment options for serious bacterial infections. The bacterial type IIA topoisomerases, DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV, are validated antibacterial drug targets with multiple prospective drug binding sites, including the catalytic site targeted by the fluoroquinolone antibiotics. However, growing resistance to fluoroquinolones, frequently mediated by mutations in the drug-binding site, is increasingly limiting the utility of this antibiotic class, prompting the search for other inhibitor classes that target different sites on the topoisomerase complexes. The highly conserved ATP-binding subunits of DNA gyrase (GyrB) and topoisomerase IV (ParE) have long been recognized as excellent candidates for the development of dual-targeting antibacterial agents with broad-spectrum potential. However, to date, no natural product or small molecule inhibitors targeting these sites have succeeded in the clinic, and no inhibitors of these enzymes have yet been reported with broad-spectrum antibacterial activity encompassing the majority of Gram-negative pathogens. Using structure-based drug design (SBDD), we have created a novel dual-targeting pyrimidoindole inhibitor series with exquisite potency against GyrB and ParE enzymes from a broad range of clinically important pathogens. Inhibitors from this series demonstrate potent, broad-spectrum antibacterial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens of clinical importance, including fluoroquinolone resistant and multidrug resistant strains. Lead compounds have been discovered with clinical potential; they are well tolerated in animals, and efficacious in Gram-negative infection models.
PMCID: PMC3873466  PMID: 24386374
9.  Knockdown of glucose-regulated protein 78 abrogates chemoresistance of hypopharyngeal carcinoma cells to cisplatin induced by unfolded protein in response to severe hypoxia 
Oncology Letters  2013;7(3):685-692.
Hypoxia renders tumor cells with reduced sensitivity and increased resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. One of the possible mechanisms underlying this unfavorable status is activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) under hypoxic conditions, due to the upregulation of glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) expression. GRP78, an endoplasmic reticulum chaperone protein and a key regulator of the UPR, has been reported to be overexpressed in various types of cancer. However, the role of GRP78 in regulating the cell growth and apoptosis of hypopharyngeal carcinoma cells, with regard to the severity of hypoxia, remains unclear. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate whether, and under what circumstances, GRP78 is associated with hypoxia-induced chemoresistance in hypopharyngeal carcinoma. For this purpose, cells from the FaDu human hypopharyngeal carcinoma cell line were cultured under normoxic and hypoxic conditions for different time periods. No significant changes in GRP78 and C/EBP homology protein (CHOP) protein expression levels were revealed under moderately hypoxic conditions (oxygen concentration, 1%), but these levels were changed over time under severely hypoxic conditions (oxygen concentration, <0.02%). This indicated that severe hypoxia, rather than moderate hypoxia, leads to UPR activation in hypopharyngeal carcinoma cells. Knockdown of GRP78 with short hairpin RNA inhibited cell proliferation and promoted apoptosis under severely hypoxic conditions, even with cisplatin treatment, indicating that GRP78 confers FaDu cells resistant to chemotherapy in response to severe hypoxia. Furthermore, knockdown of GRP78 resulted in a significant increase in CHOP and Bax expression levels and a decrease in Bcl-2 expression levels with simultaneous increase in the levels of apoptosis under severely hypoxic conditions. It was concluded that severe hypoxia leads to UPR activation and elevation of GRP78 expression, promoting cell survival and inducing chemoresistance. Silencing of GRP78 may block the pro-survival arm of UPR, simultaneously promoting proapoptotic signaling through induction of CHOP. Downregulation of GRP78 may be a promising strategy for overcoming the resistance of hypopharyngeal cancer to chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3919852  PMID: 24527073
glucose-regulated protein 78; chemoresistance; hypopharyngeal neoplasms; hypoxia; unfolded protein response
10.  Transcript Assembly and Quantification by RNA-Seq Reveals Differentially Expressed Genes between Soft-Endocarp and Hard-Endocarp Hawthorns 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72910.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is an important pome with a long history as a fruit, an ornamental, and a source of medicine. Fruits of hawthorn are marked by hard stony endocarps, but a hawthorn germplasm with soft and thin endocarp was found in Liaoning province of China. To elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying the soft endocarp of hawthorn, we conducted a de novo assembly of the fruit transcriptome of Crataegus pinnatifida and compared gene expression profiles between the soft-endocarp and the hard-endocarp hawthorn varieties. De novo assembly yielded 52,673 putative unigenes, 20.4% of which are longer than 1,000 bp. Among the high-quality unique sequences, 35,979 (68.3%) had at least one significant match to an existing gene model. A total of 1,218 genes, represented 2.31% total putative unigenes, were differentially expressed between the soft-endocarp hawthorn and the hard-endocarp hawthorn. Among these differentially expressed genes, a number of lignin biosynthetic pathway genes were down-regulated while almost all the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway genes were strongly up-regulated, concomitant with the formation of soft endocarp. In addition, we have identified some MYB and NAC transcription factors that could potentially control lignin and flavonoid biosynthesis. The altered expression levels of the genes encoding lignin biosynthetic enzymes, MYB and NAC transcription factors were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. This is the first transcriptome analysis of Crataegus genus. The high quality ESTs generated in this study will aid future gene cloning from hawthorn. Our study provides important insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying soft endocarp formation in hawthorn.
PMCID: PMC3764154  PMID: 24039819
11.  Secondary Disclosure of Parental HIV Status Among Children Affected by AIDS in Henan, China 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2012;26(9):546-556.
For children affected by AIDS, one psychological challenge is whether or how to disclose their parents' HIV status to others (secondary disclosure). The current study, utilizing data from 962 rural children affected by AIDS in central China, examines children's perceptions regarding secondary disclosure (intention of disclosure, openness, and negative feelings) and their association with children's demographic and psychosocial factors. The findings indicated that a high proportion of children preferred not to disclose parental HIV status to others, would not like to tell the truth to others in the situations of having to talk about parental HIV, and also had strong negative feelings about the disclosure. The study findings confirmed that keeping secrecy of parental HIV infection was associated with higher level of negative psychological outcomes (e.g., depression, loneliness, perceived stigma, and enacted stigma), and children's age was strongly associated with both their perceptions of secondary disclosure and psychological measures.
PMCID: PMC3426193  PMID: 22845686
12.  HPV and cervical cancer related knowledge, awareness and testing behaviors in a community sample of female sex workers in China 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:696.
Limited data suggested that the prevalence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) among female sex workers (FSW) is much higher than in the general female population. The current study aimed to examine the HPV and cervical cancer related awareness, knowledge, and behaviors among FSW in China.
A total of 360 FSW recruited from entertainment establishments in Beijing completed a self-administered survey including demographics, HPV related knowledge, and health-seeking and cervical cancer preventive behaviors.
Approximately 70.8% of the participants ever heard of cervical cancer, and as few as 22.1% and 13.3% ever heard of HPV and HPV vaccine, respectively. The mean score on a 7-item knowledge scale was 2.2 (SD = 2.4). Less than 10% of FSW perceived any risk of cervical cancer, and only 15.3% ever had a Pap smear. About 40.8% of FSW would accept HPV vaccine if it is free, and 21.8% would accept it even with a charge. Multivariate regression suggested that women with better knowledge of cervical cancer were more likely to have a Pap smear (aOR = 1.35); women who had tested for HIV were 11 times more likely to have a Pap smear, and women who had worked longer in commercial sex (aOR = 1.01) and had regular health check-ups (aOR = 1.95) were more likely to accept HPV vaccine.
Our study underscores the needs for effective cervical cancer prevention programs for FSW in China and other resource-limited countries. We specifically call for cervical cancer and HPV knowledge and awareness programs and regular screening as well as HPV risk-reduction programs for these vulnerable women.
PMCID: PMC3733604  PMID: 23898889
Cervical cancer; HPV; Female sex workers; Prevention
13.  Application of clinical PET imaging to human laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma xenografts 
Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with [F-18]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (18F-FDG) is extensively applied in clinical practice. However, in animal experiments, the application of clinical PET is difficult, due to limitations in sensitivity and spatial resolution. This study aimed to determine the potential of 18F-FDG PET with regard to the imaging of human laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) xenografts. Twenty-seven LSCC tumor-bearing nude mice were divided randomly into seven groups which were each handled differently; the anesthetization, fasting, warming and the time point at which scanning was initiated were varied. The size of each xenograft was measured prior to conducting the scan. Using the RAMLA 3D image reconstruction method, images were acquired. The region of interest (ROI) technology was adopted to calculate target and non-target (T/N) ratios. The results were subsequently analyzed by semiquantitative analysis. The analysis showed that there was no significant correlation between tumor size and PET image quality (r=0.381, P>0.05); however, the handling conditions of the mice had a greater influence on the tumor image quality. Fasting increased 18F-FDG uptake (T/N, 1.153±0.008) to a certain degree, although the effect was unstable. By contrast, combining warming and fasting increased 18F-FDG uptake significantly (T/N, 2.0±0.29; P<0.05). The acquisition time had no impact on the tumor image quality. The study demonstrated that the application of clinical PET scanning has potential in the study of human LSCC xenografts in nude mice, and that the quality of the image of the tumor is greatly influenced by the handling conditions of the animals.
PMCID: PMC3786834  PMID: 24137257
laryngeal carcinoma; positron emission tomography; nude mice; xenograft; animal handling
14.  Liver Fat Content, Evaluated through Semi-Quantitative Ultrasound Measurement, Is Associated with Impaired Glucose Profiles: A Community-Based Study in Chinese 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e65210.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is closely associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus. We investigated whether the deposition of fat in the liver is associated with glycemic abnormalities and evaluated the contribution of the liver fat content (LFC) to the impaired glucose regulation. We conducted a community-based study among 2836 residents (1018 males and 1818 females) without prior known diabetes mellitus from the Changfeng Study who were at least 45 years old. A standard interview, anthropometrics and laboratory parameters were performed for each participant. The standardised ultrasound hepatic-renal echo-intensity and hepatic echo-intensity attenuation rate were used to assess the LFC. The cohort was stratified according to the quintiles for LFC. Two-hour glucose and fasting blood glucose increased across the LFC quintiles after adjustment for age and gender. LFC increased continuously among glucose categories after adjustment for age and gender (NGT: 7.7±0.3%, IFG: 10.0±0.8%, IGT: 11.8±0.5%, IFG+IGT: 11.7±0.9%, new- DM: 12.4±0.6%, P<0.001). By logistic regression analysis, 1% LFC increment independently predicted prediabetes and diabetes (OR 1.032, 1.019–1.045, P<0.001; 1.021, 1.005–1.037, P = 0.012, respectively) after adjustment for all potential confounders. Furthermore, participants with LFC higher than 10% had higher odds ratios of impaired glucose regulation as compared with those with LFC below 10% in fully adjusted logistic models. These results suggest that the LFC is strongly associated with impaired glucose regulation in the Chinese population, and that an even slightly elevated LFC is associated with increased glucose dysregulation.
PMCID: PMC3699589  PMID: 23843938
15.  Functional Groups Determine Biochar Properties (pH and EC) as Studied by Two-Dimensional 13C NMR Correlation Spectroscopy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65949.
While the properties of biochar are closely related to its functional groups, it is unclear under what conditions biochar develops its properties. In this study, two-dimensional (2D) 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) correlation spectroscopy was for the first time applied to investigate the development of functional groups and establish their relationship with biochar properties. The results showed that the agricultural biomass carbonized to biochars was a dehydroxylation/dehydrogenation and aromatization process, mainly involving the cleavage of O-alkylated carbons and anomeric O-C-O carbons in addition to the production of fused-ring aromatic structures and aromatic C-O groups. With increasing charring temperature, the mass cleavage of O-alkylated groups and anomeric O-C-O carbons occurred prior to the production of fused-ring aromatic structures. The regression analysis between functional groups and biochar properties (pH and electrical conductivity) further demonstrated that the pH and electrical conductivity of rice straw derived biochars were mainly determined by fused-ring aromatic structures and anomeric O-C-O carbons, but the pH of rice bran derived biochars was determined by both fused-ring aromatic structures and aliphatic O-alkylated (HCOH) carbons. In summary, this work suggests a novel tool for characterising the development of functional groups in biochars.
PMCID: PMC3686859  PMID: 23840381
16.  Relative importance of various measures of HIV-related stigma in predicting psychological outcomes among children affected by HIV 
Community Mental Health Journal  2011;48(3):275-283.
To assess the relative importance of four different measures of HIV-related stigma in predicting psychological problems among children affected by HIV in rural China.
Cross-sectional data were collected from 755 orphans (i.e., children who lost one or both of their parents to HIV), 466 vulnerable children (children who were living with HIV-infected parents), and 404 comparison children who were from the same community and did not have HIV-related illness or death in their families. Four HIV-related stigma measures include perceived public stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), perceived public stigma against children affected by HIV (orphans and vulnerable children), personal stigmatizing attitudes against PLWHA, and enacted stigma among children affected by HIV. Psychological problems included depression and adjustment problems.
Various measures of HIV-related stigma independently and differentially contribute to children psychological problems. Enacted stigma and children's perceived public stigma against PLWHA or children affected by HIV are generally stronger predictors of psychological problems than their own feelings or attitudes towards PLWHA.
Various aspects of HIV-related stigma are important for us to understand the perception, attitudes, and experience of children affected by HIV, including both children experiencing HIV-related parental illness and death in their own family and children who were living in the communities hardly hit by HIV. Future health promotion and psychological care efforts for children affected by HIV need to consider the effect of various forms of HIV-related stigma on these children's psychosocial well-being and mobilize the community resources to mitigate the negative effect of HIV-related stigma on PLWHA and their children.
PMCID: PMC3213319  PMID: 21681458
Perceived stigma; Personal stigma; Enacted stigma; HIV; Children; China
17.  Risk and Protective Factors for Depression Symptoms among Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in Rural China: A Structural Equation Modeling Analysis 
Social science & medicine (1982)  2012;74(9):1435-1443.
Previous research has revealed a negative impact of orphanhood and HIV-related stigma on the psychological well-being of children affected by HIV/AIDS. Little is known about psychological protective factors that can mitigate the effect of orphanhood and HIV-related stigma on psychological well-being. This research examines the relationships among several risk and protective factors for depression symptoms using structural equation modeling. Cross-sectional data were collected from 755 AIDS orphans and 466 children of HIV-positive parents aged 6–18 years in 2006–2007 in rural central China. Participants reported their experiences of traumatic events, perceived HIV-related stigma, perceived social support, future orientation, trusting relationships with current caregivers, and depression symptoms. We found that the experience of traumatic events and HIV-related stigma had a direct contributory effect on depression among children affected by HIV/AIDS. Trusting relationships together with future orientation and perceived social support mediated the effects of traumatic events and HIV-related stigma on depression. The final model demonstrated a dynamic interplay among future orientation, perceived social support and trusting relationships. Trusting relationships was the most proximate protective factor for depression. Perceived social support and future orientation were positively related to trusting relationships. We conclude that perceived social support, trusting relationships, and future orientation offer multiple levels of protection that can mitigate the effect of traumatic events and HIV-related stigma on depression. Trusting relationships with caregivers provides the most immediate source of psychological support. Future prevention interventions seeking to improve psychological well-being among children affected by HIV/AIDS should attend to these factors.
PMCID: PMC3327289  PMID: 22405505
China; AIDS orphans; experience of traumatic events; perceived HIV-related stigma; perceived social support; future orientation; trusting relationships; depression
18.  Aquareovirus protein VP6 colocalizes with NS80 protein in infected and transfected cells 
Virology Journal  2013;10:133.
Aquareovirus particle is comprised of central core and outer capsid, which is built by seven structural proteins (VP1-VP7). The protein VP6 has been identified to be a clamp protein of stabilizing inner core frame VP3, and bridging outer shell protein VP5. However, the biological properties of VP6 in viral life cycle remain unknown.
The recombinant VP6 (rVP6) of aquareovirus was expressed in E. coli, and the polyclonal antibody against VP6 was generated by using purified rVP6 in this study. Following the preparation of VP6 antibody, the VP6 component in aquareovirus infected cells and purified viral particles was detected by Immunoblotting (IB) assay. Furthermore, using Immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy, singly transfected VP6 protein was observed to exhibit a diffuse distribution mainly in the cytoplasm, while it appeared inclusion phenotype in infected cells. Meanwhile, inclusion structures were also identified when VP6 was coexpressed with nonstructural protein NS80 in cotransfected cells.
VP6 can be recruited by NS80 to its inclusions in both infected and transfected cells. The colocalization of VP6 and NS80 is corresponding to their homologous proteins σ2 and μNS in MRV. Our results suggest that VP6 may play a significant role in viral replication and particle assembly.
PMCID: PMC3660289  PMID: 23622425
Aquareovirus; Structural protein VP6; NS80; Colocalization
19.  Partner Violence and Psychosocial Distress among Female Sex Workers in China 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62290.
Despite recognized vulnerability of female sex workers (FSW), most data on this population are focused on their HIV and STI prevalence; studies on their experience of partner violence and psychosocial distress are limited, especially FSW in China.
Methods and Findings
A cross-sectional survey was administered among 1,022 FSW recruited from 9 different types of commercial sex venues in Southwest China. Partner violence scales were adapted from WHO's Women's Health and Domestic Violence scale and psychosocial distress was measured by five indicators, including alcohol intoxication, drug use, suicidal behavior, depression, and loneliness. Random effects modeling was used to control for cluster effects. Findings: About 58% of FSW ever experienced violence from their stable partners, and 45% suffered it from their clients. Partner violence was strongly associated with each of the five measures of psychosocial distress, even after controlling for potential confounders.
This study is one of the first to examine the association between partner violence and psychosocial distress among FSW in China. The high prevalence of violence experience and distress in this population suggests urgency for intervention. The public health programs targeting FSW should go beyond the focus on HIV/STI prevention and care for the fundamental health and human rights of millions of FSW in China.
PMCID: PMC3633849  PMID: 23626798
20.  Hyperthermia-Induced NDRG2 Upregulation Inhibits the Invasion of Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma via Suppressing ERK1/2 Signaling Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61079.
Hyperthermia (HT) has been proven to be able to alter the invasion capacity of cancer cells. However, the detailed mechanisms responsible for the anti-metastasis effects of HT have not been elucidated. N-myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (NDRG2), as a member of the NDRG family, has been suggested to be highly responsive to various stresses and is associated with tumor suppression. The present study aimed to investigate the biological role of NDRG2 in the invasion of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells exposed to HT. We found that NDRG2 could be induced by HT at 45°C. In addition, NDRG2 overexpression inhibited the expression of matrix metallo proteinases-2 (MMP-2) and MMP-9 as well as the invasion of HCC cells, whereas knockingdown NDRG2 reversed the anti-invasion effect of HT in vivo. Further investigation revealed that the phosphorylation level of ERK1/2, but not that of JNK and p38MAPK, was reduced in NDRG2 overexpressing cells. Moreover, the knockdown of NDRG2 expression resulted in increased cell invasion, which was rescued by treating the HepG2 cells with the ERK1/2 inhibitor PD98059, but not with the p38MAPK inhibitor SB203580 or the JNK inhibitor SP600125. Finally, the synergistic cooperation of HT at 43°C and NDRG2 expression effectively reduced cytotoxicity and promoted the anti-invasion effect of HT at 45°C. Taken together, these data suggest that NDRG2 can be induced by HT and that it mediates the HT-caused inhibition of invasion in HCC cells by suppressing the ERK1/2 signaling pathway. The combined application of constitutive NDRG2 expression with HT may yield an optimized therapeutic benefit.
PMCID: PMC3632536  PMID: 23630579
21.  Effect of a grade 6 HIV risk reduction intervention four years later among students who were and were not enrolled in the study trial 
The Journal of Adolescent Health  2011;50(3):243-249.
To assess the long-term impact of HIV-prevention interventions delivered to youth before sexual initiation and the effects of interventions delivered in non-study settings.
A five-group comparison of HIV knowledge, and condom-use skills, self-efficacy, intentions and practice among 1997 grade 10 youth attending one of the eight government high schools in Nassau, The Bahamas. Group 1 received an HIV-prevention intervention, Focus on youth in the Caribbean (FOYC), in Grade 6 as part of a randomized trial; Group 2 received FOYC as part of the regular school curriculum but outside of the trial; Group 3 received the control condition as part of the trial; Group 4 received the control condition as part of the school curriculum but outside of the trial; and, Group 5 (Naïve Controls) were not enrolled in a school receiving FOYC or the control and did not participate in the trial.
FOYC youth compared to control youth and Naive Controls had higher HIV knowledge, condom-use skills and self-efficacy four years later. By subgroups, Group 1 demonstrated higher HIV/AIDS knowledge than all groups except Group 2, higher condom skills than all groups, and higher condom self-efficacy than Naïve Controls. Youth in Group 2 demonstrated higher HIV knowledge than youth in Groups 3 to 5. Behavioral effects were not found.
FOYC delivered to grade 6 students continued to have protective effects four years later. Positive effects are present among youth who received FOYC as part of the school curriculum but were not enrolled in the trial.
PMCID: PMC3279702  PMID: 22325129
HIV Prevention; pre-adolescents; long-term follow-up; testing effect
22.  Lysosomal disruption preferentially targets acute myeloid leukemia cells and progenitors 
Despite efforts to understand and treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML), there remains a need for more comprehensive therapies to prevent AML-associated relapses. To identify new therapeutic strategies for AML, we screened a library of on- and off-patent drugs and identified the antimalarial agent mefloquine as a compound that selectively kills AML cells and AML stem cells in a panel of leukemia cell lines and in mice. Using a yeast genome-wide functional screen for mefloquine sensitizers, we identified genes associated with the yeast vacuole, the homolog of the mammalian lysosome. Consistent with this, we determined that mefloquine disrupts lysosomes, directly permeabilizes the lysosome membrane, and releases cathepsins into the cytosol. Knockdown of the lysosomal membrane proteins LAMP1 and LAMP2 resulted in decreased cell viability, as did treatment of AML cells with known lysosome disrupters. Highlighting a potential therapeutic rationale for this strategy, leukemic cells had significantly larger lysosomes compared with normal cells, and leukemia-initiating cells overexpressed lysosomal biogenesis genes. These results demonstrate that lysosomal disruption preferentially targets AML cells and AML progenitor cells, providing a rationale for testing lysosomal disruption as a novel therapeutic strategy for AML.
PMCID: PMC3533286  PMID: 23202731
23.  Complete sequence of heterogenous-composition mitochondrial genome (Brassica napus) and its exogenous source 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:675.
Unlike maternal inheritance of mitochondria in sexual reproduction, somatic hybrids follow no obvious pattern. The introgressed segment orf138 from the mitochondrial genome of radish (Raphanus sativus) to its counterpart in rapeseed (Brassica napus) demonstrates that this inheritance mode derives from the cytoplasm of both parents. Sequencing of the complete mitochondrial genome of five species from Brassica family allowed the prediction of other extraneous sources of the cybrids from the radish parent, and the determination of their mitochondrial rearrangement.
We obtained the complete mitochondrial genome of Ogura-cms-cybrid (oguC) rapeseed. To date, this is the first time that a heterogeneously composed mitochondrial genome was sequenced. The 258,473 bp master circle constituted of 33 protein-coding genes, 3 rRNA sequences, and 23 tRNA sequences. This mitotype noticeably holds two copies of atp9 and is devoid of cox2-2. Relative to nap mitochondrial genome, 40 point mutations were scattered in the 23 protein-coding genes. atp6 even has an abnormal start locus whereas tatC has an abnormal end locus. The rearrangement of the 22 syntenic regions that comprised 80.11% of the genome was influenced by short repeats. A pair of large repeats (9731 bp) was responsible for the multipartite structure. Nine unique regions were detected when compared with other published Brassica mitochondrial genome sequences. We also found six homologous chloroplast segments (Brassica napus).
The mitochondrial genome of oguC is quite divergent from nap and pol, which are more similar with each other. We analyzed the unique regions of every genome of the Brassica family, and found that very few segments were specific for these six mitotypes, especially cam, jun, and ole, which have no specific segments at all. Therefore, we conclude that the most specific regions of oguC possibly came from radish. Compared with the chloroplast genome, six identical regions were found in the seven mitochondrial genomes, which show that the Brassica family has a stable chloroplast-derived source.
PMCID: PMC3561098  PMID: 23190559
24.  A comparison of four sampling methods among men having sex with men in China: implications for HIV/STD surveillance and prevention 
AIDS care  2011;23(11):1400-1409.
Sample representativeness remains one of the challenges in effective HIV/STD surveillance and prevention targeting MSM worldwide. Although convenience samples are widely used in studies of MSM, previous studies suggested that these samples might not be representative of the broader MSM population. This issue becomes even more critical in many developing countries where needed resources for conducting probability sampling are limited. We examined variations in HIV and Syphilis infections and sociodemographic and behavioral factors among 307 young migrant MSM recruited using four different convenience sampling methods (peer outreach, informal social network, Internet, and venue-based) in Beijing, China in 2009. The participants completed a self-administered survey and provided blood specimens for HIV/STD testing. Among the four MSM samples using different recruitment methods, rates of HIV infections were 5.1%, 5.8%, 7.8%, and 3.4%; rates of Syphilis infection were 21.8%, 36.2%, 11.8%, and 13.8%; rates of inconsistent condom use were 57%, 52%, 58%, and 38%. Significant differences were found in various sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., age, migration history, education, income, places of employment) and risk behaviors (e.g., age at first sex, number of sex partners, involvement in commercial sex, and substance use) among samples recruited by different sampling methods. The results confirmed the challenges of obtaining representative MSM samples and underscored the importance of using multiple sampling methods to reach MSM from diverse backgrounds and in different social segments and to improve the representativeness of the MSM samples when the use of probability sampling approach is not feasible.
PMCID: PMC3202036  PMID: 21711162
HIV; MSM; Migrant workers; Sampling methods; China
25.  The Efficacy of a Peer-Assisted Multi-Component Behavioral Intervention among Female Entertainment Workers in China: An Initial Assessment* 
AIDS care  2011;23(11):1509-1518.
Women working in China’s entertainment industry are at increased risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV/STIs. Efforts to develop effective risk-reduction interventions for female entertainment workers remain limited. We conducted a randomized controlled trial of a theory-based risk-reduction intervention among female entertainment workers in Shanghai. The intervention condition consisted of small group, peer-assisted sessions integrating information, motivation, and behavioral skills (IMB) training with social influences of behavior change. The control condition was an attention-matched HIV and health education and counseling. At 3-month post-intervention, participants in the intervention condition reported greater reductions in unprotected sex with a stable partner than participants in the control condition. However, participants in the control condition reported greater reductions in unprotected sex with a non-stable partner than participants in the intervention condition. Some aspects of the study design may have diluted the effects of the intervention. Future intervention studies need to pay more attention to social influences of behavior change and the particular challenges of risk-reduction with stable partner(s).
PMCID: PMC3205424  PMID: 22022855
HIV behavioral intervention; intervention efficacy; female entertainment worker; unprotected sex; China

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