Nanoarchitectured electroactive materials can boost rates of Li insertion/extraction, showing genuine potential to increase power output of Li-ion batteries. However, electrodes assembled with low-dimensional nanostructured transition metal oxides by conventional approach suffer from dramatic reductions in energy capacities owing to sluggish ion and electron transport kinetics. Here we report that flexible bulk electrodes, made of three-dimensional bicontinuous nanoporous Cu/MnO2 hybrid and seamlessly integrated with Cu solid current collector, substantially optimizes Li storage behavior of the constituent MnO2. As a result of the unique integration of solid/nanoporous hybrid architecture that simultaneously enhances the electron transport of MnO2, facilitates fast ion diffusion and accommodates large volume changes on Li insertion/extraction of MnO2, the supported MnO2 exhibits a stable capacity of as high as ~1100 mA h g−1 for 1000 cycles, and ultrahigh charge/discharge rates. It makes the environmentally friendly and low-cost electrode as a promising anode for high-performance Li-ion battery applications.
Cytochrome P450 (CYP) 4Z1, a novel CYP4 family member, is over-expressed in human mammary carcinoma and associated with high-grade tumors and poor prognosis. However, the precise role of CYP4Z1 in tumor progression is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that CYP4Z1 overexpression promotes tumor angiogenesis and growth in breast cancer. Stable expression of CYP4Z1 in T47D and BT-474 human breast cancer cells significantly increased mRNA expression and production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, and decreased mRNA levels and secretion of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP-2), without affecting cell proliferation and anchorage-independent cell growth in vitro. Notably, the conditioned medium from CYP4Z1-expressing cells enhanced proliferation, migration and tube formation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells, and promoted angiogenesis in the zebrafish embryo and chorioallantoic membrane of the chick embryo. In addition, there were lower levels of myristic acid and lauric acid, and higher contents of 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (20-HETE) in CYP4Z1-expressing T47D cells compared with vector control. CYP4Z1 overexpression significantly increased tumor weight and microvessel density by 2.6-fold and 1.9-fold in human tumor xenograft models, respectively. Moreover, CYP4Z1 transfection increased the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and PI3K/Akt, while PI3K or ERK inhibitors and siRNA silencing reversed CYP4Z1-mediated changes in VEGF-A and TIMP-2 expression. Conversely, HET0016, an inhibitor of the CYP4 family, potently inhibited the tumor-induced angiogenesis with associated changes in the intracellular levels of myristic acid, lauric acid and 20-HETE. Collectively, these data suggest that increased CYP4Z1 expression promotes tumor angiogenesis and growth in breast cancer partly via PI3K/Akt and ERK1/2 activation.
Cytochrome P450; Angiogenesis; VEGF-A; TIMP-2; Breast cancer
This study documents the spatial and temporal distribution of Oct-4, Cdx-2 and acetylated H4K5 (H4K5ac) by immunocytochemistry staining using in-vivo-derived rabbit embryos at different stages: day-3 compact morulae, day-4 early blastocysts, day-4 expanded blastocysts, day-5 blastocysts, day-6 blastocysts and day-7 blastocysts. The Oct-4 signal was stronger in the inner cell mass (ICM)/epiblast cells than in the trophectoderm (TE) cells in all blastocyst stages except day-4 expanded blastocysts, where the signal was similarly weak in both the ICM and TE cells. The Cdx-2 signal was first detected in a small number of TE cells of day-4 early blastocysts, and became evident in the TE cells exclusively afterwards. A consistently strong H4K5ac signal was observed in the TE cells in all blastocyst stages examined. In particular, this signal was stronger in the TE than in the ICM cells in day-4 early blastocysts, day-4 expanded blastocysts and day-5 blastocysts. Double staining of H4K5ac with either Oct-4 or Cdx-2 on embryos at different blastocyst stages confirmed these findings. This work suggests that day 4 is a critical timing for lineage formation in rabbit embryos. A combination of Oct-4, Cdx-2 and H4K5ac can be used as biomarkers to identify different lineage cells in rabbit blastocysts.
Cdx-2; embryos; H4K5ac; in vivo; Oct-4; rabbit
To compare the measurements of drusen area from manual segmentation of color fundus photographs with those generated by an automated algorithm designed to detect elevations of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) on spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) images.
Fifty eyes with drusen secondary to nonexudative age-related macular degeneration were enrolled. All eyes were imaged with a high-definition OCT instrument using a 200 × 200 A-scan raster pattern covering a 6 mm × 6 mm area centered on the fovea. Digital color fundus images were taken on the same day. Drusen were traced manually on the fundus photos by graders at the Doheny Image Reading Center, whereas quantitative OCT measurements of drusen were obtained by using a fully automated algorithm. The color fundus images were registered to the OCT data set and measurements within corresponding 3- and 5-mm circles centered at the fovea were compared.
The mean areas (±SD [range]) for the 3-mm circles were SD-OCT = 1.57 (±1.08 [0.03–4.44]); 3-mm color fundus = 1.92 (±1.08 [0.20–3.95]); 5-mm SD-OCT = 2.12 (±1.55 [0.03–5.40]); and 5-mm color fundus = 3.38 (±1.90 [0.39–7.49]). The mean differences between color images and the SD-OCT (color − SD-OCT) were 0.36 (±0.93) (P = 0.008) for the 3-mm circle and 1.26 (±1.38) (P < 0.001) for the 5-mm circle measurements. Intraclass correlation coefficients of agreements for 3- and 5-mm measurements were 0.599 and 0.540, respectively.
There was only fair agreement between drusen area measurements obtained from SD-OCT images and color fundus photos. Drusen area measurements on color fundus images were larger than those with SD-OCT scans. This difference can be attributed to the fact that the OCT algorithm defines drusen in terms of RPE deformations above a certain threshold, and will not include small, flat drusen and subretinal drusenoid deposits. The two approaches provide complementary information about drusen.
Drusen area computed from OCT images using a fully automated algorithm underestimates drusen area measured manually by graders on digital fundus photographs. The OCT algorithm overlooks small, flat drusen as well as subretinal drusenoid deposits. The two approaches provide complementary information.
drusen; age-related macular degeneration; optical coherence tomography; color fundus photography; imaging
Numerous studies have demonstrated that targeting Ag to Fc receptors (FcR) on APCs can enhance humoral and cellular immunity. However, studies are lacking that examine both the use of FcR-targeting in generating immune protection against infectious agents and the use of FcRs in the induction of mucosal immunity. Francisella tularensis is a category A intracellular mucosal pathogen. Thus, intense efforts are underway to develop a vaccine against this organism. We hypothesized that protection against mucosal infection with F. tularensis would be significantly enhanced by targeting inactivated F. tularensis live vaccine strain (iFt) to FcRs at mucosal sites, via intranasal immunization with mAb-iFt complexes. These studies demonstrate for the first time that: 1) FcR-targeted immunogen enhances immunogen-specific IgA production and protection against subsequent infection in an IgA-dependent manner, 2) FcγR and neonatal FcR are crucial to this protection, and 3) inactivated F. tularensis, when targeted to FcRs, enhances protection against the highly virulent SchuS4 strain of F. tularensis, a category A biothreat agent. In summary, these studies show for the first time the use of FcRs as a highly effective vaccination strategy against a highly virulent mucosal intracellular pathogen.
Tuberculosis (TB) control in schools is a concern in low-income and middle-income countries with high TB burdens. TB knowledge is recognised as important for TB control in China, which has one of the highest TB prevalence in the world. Accordingly, National TB Control Guideline in China emphasised TB-health education in schools as one of the core strategies for improving TB knowledge among the population. It was important to assess the level of TB knowledge in schools following 5-year implementation of the guideline, to determine whether the information was reaching the targets.
A cross-sectional study.
Methods and study setting
This survey assessed TB knowledge and access to TB-health information by questionnaire survey with 1486 undergraduates from two medical universities in Southwest China.
Overall, the students had inadequate TB knowledge. Only 24.1%, 27.2% and 34.1% of the students had knowledge of TB symptoms of cough/blood-tinged sputum, their local TB dispensaries and free TB treatment policy, respectively. Very few (14.5%) had heard about the Directly Observed Therapy Short Course (DOTS), and only about half (54%) had ever accessed TB-health education information. Exposure to health education messages was significantly associated with increased knowledge of the five core TB knowledge as follows: classic TB symptoms of cough/blood-tinged sputum (OR (95% CI) 0.5(0.4 to 0.7)), TB modes of transmission (OR (95% CI) 0.4(0.3 to 0.5)), curability of TB (OR (95% CI) 0.6(0.5 to 0.7)), location and services provided by TB local dispensaries (OR (95% CI) 0.6(0.5 to 0.8)) and the national free TB treatment policy (OR (95% CI) 0.7(0.5 to 0.8)).
The findings pose the question of whether it is time for a rethink of the current national and global approach to TB-health education/promotion which favours promotion of awareness on World TB Days rather than regular community sensitisation efforts.
Natural products are frequently used for adjuvant chemotherapy in cancer treatment. 23-O-(1,4'-bipiperidine-1-carbonyl) betulinic acid (BBA) is a synthetic derivative of 23-hydroxybutulinic acid (23-HBA), which is a natural pentacyclic triterpene and the major active constituent of the root of Pulsatillachinensis. We previously reported that BBA could reverse P-glycoprotein (P-gp/ABCB1)-mediated multidrug resistance (MDR). In the present study, we investigated whether BBA has the potential to reverse multidrug resistance protein 7 (MRP7/ABCC10)-mediated MDR. We found that BBA concentration-dependently enhanced the sensitivity of MRP7-transfected HEK293 cells to paclitaxel, docetaxel and vinblastine. Accumulation and efflux experiments demonstrated that BBA increased the intracellular accumulation of [3H]-paclitaxel by inhibiting the efflux of [3H]-paclitaxel from HEK293/MRP7 cells. In addition, immunoblotting and immunofluorescence analyses indicated no significant alteration of MRP7 protein expression and localization in plasma membranes after treatment with BBA. These results demonstrate that BBA reverses MRP7-mediated MDR through blocking the drug efflux function of MRP7 without affecting the intracellular ATP levels. Our findings suggest that BBA has the potential to be used in combination with conventional chemotherapeutic agents to augment the response to chemotherapy.
The functional exercise capacity and its correlates in advanced cancer patients in stratified age groups were examined.
Materials and methods
A total of 105 patients with advanced lung cancer were recruited prospectively and stratified into young (≤50 years), middle (51–65 years), and old (>65 years) age groups. Respiratory performances, which included maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressure, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, and forced vital capacity were measured. The distance ambulated in a 6-minute walk test was used as an indicator for functional capacity.
The young age group had lowest baseline pulmonary function and performed worse on the 6-minute walk test among the three age groups. The risk factors for poor functional capacity were female, lower percent predicted maximal expiratory pressure, worse dyspnea, and lower hemoglobin in the young age group; lower percent predicated forced expiratory volume in 1 second and forced vital capacity, and greater weight loss in the middle age group; and only worse dyspnea in the old age group. The above identified risk factors accounted for 73.6%, 58.5%, and 42.1% variance in 6-minute walk distance for the young, middle, and old age group, respectively.
The impacts of these factors on functional exercise capacity should be carefully considered while designing exercise intervention according to age.
age; 6-minute walk test; advanced lung cancer; respiratory muscle strength; spirometry
Background and Purpose
Anti-inflammatory cytokine and its genetic variations may play an important role in the process of atherosclerosis. We assessed whether serum interleukin-10 (IL-10) and its genetic variations are associated with ischemic stroke in a Chinese general population.
An epidemiological survey on cardiovascular diseases and their risk factors was carried in a general population in Beijing in 2005. Serum IL-10, IL-6, p-selectin, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and C-reactive protein were analyzed using ELISA kits, while three IL-10 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) (rs1800872, rs1554286 and rs3021094) were genotyped in 1475 participants.
A high serum IL-10 (top tertile) was significantly associated with ischemic stroke (multivariable adjusted odds ratio (OR) =0.50; 95%CI 0.31-0.81). Rs1800872 (AA vs. AC+CC genotype, OR=1.60; 1.06-2.39), rs1554286(TT vs. CT+CC genotype, OR=1.59; 1.06-2.39), and rs3021094 (CC/CA vs. AA genotype, OR=1.64; 1.04-2.60) were all significantly associated with ischemic stroke even after controlling for age, sex, smoking, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, glucose, body mass index and serum IL-10. The SNP score (a summary index of these SNPs) and IL-10 (top tertile) together significantly improved the discriminative power in predicting ischemic stroke by 3.3% (95%CI: 0.2-6.4, p=0.0398) compared to predictions based on conventional risk factors alone.
The lower serum IL-10 concentration and its selected genetic variations were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of ischemic stroke in this cross-sectional study. Our results suggest that more prospective studies should be conducted to provide stronger evidence justifying the use of IL-10 and its SNPs as new biomarkers to identify a predisposition towards ischemic stroke.
To compare the outcomes of melphalan 200 mg/m2 (HDM200) and 8 Gy total marrow irradiation (TMI) delivered by helical tomotherapy plus melphalan 140 mg/m2 (HDM140 + TMI 8 Gy) in newly diagnosed symptomatic multiple myeloma (MM) Asian patients. Between 2007 and 2010, nine consecutive myeloma patients who were scheduled to undergo autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) were studied. The patients received three cycles of vincristine-adriamycin-dexamethasone (VAD) regimen as induction chemotherapy, and if they had a partial response, peripheral blood stem cells were collected by dexamethasone-etoposide-cyclophosphamide-cisplatin (DECP). In arm A, six patients received the HDM200. In arm B, three patients received HDM140 + TMI 8 Gy. In arm B, the neutropenic duration was slightly longer than in arm A (P = 0.048). However, hematologic recovery (except for neutrophils), transfusion requirement, median duration of hospitalization, and the dose of G-CSF were similar in both arms. The median duration of overall survival and event-free survival was similar in the two arms (P = 0.387). As a conditioning regiment, HDM140 + TMI 8 Gy provide another chance for MM Asian patients who were not feasible for HDM200.
New three-component domino reaction providing divergent approaches to multi-functionalized fused pyrroles with different substituted patterns have been established (40 examples). The direct C(sp3)–N bond formation was achieved through intermolecular allylic amination in a one-pot operation; and N-arylation of amines was realized by varying N-amino acid enaminones. The reaction is easy to perform simply by mixing three common reactants in acetic acid under microwave heating. The reaction proceeds at fast rates and can be finished within 30 min, which makes workup convenient to give good chemical yields.
microwave (MW)-irradiated reaction; multi-component domino reaction; allylic amination; N-arylation; fused pyrroles
Mammalian MANF and CDNF proteins are evolutionarily conserved neurotrophic factors that can protect and repair mammalian dopaminergic neurons in vivo. In Drosophila, the sole MANF protein (DmManf) is needed for the maintenance of dopaminergic neurites and dopamine levels. Although both secreted and intracellular roles for MANF and CDNF have been demonstrated, very little is known about the molecular mechanism of their action. Here, by using a transgenic rescue approach in the DmManf mutant background we show that only full-length MANF containing both the amino-terminal saposin-like and carboxy-terminal SAP-domains can rescue the larval lethality of the DmManf mutant. Independent N- or C-terminal domains of MANF, even when co-expressed together, fail to rescue. Deleting the signal peptide or mutating the CXXC motif in the C-terminal domain destroys the activity of full-length DmManf. Positively charged surface amino acids and the C-terminal endoplasmic reticulum retention signal are necessary for rescue of DmManf mutant lethality when DmManf is expressed in a restricted pattern. Furthermore, rescue experiments with non-ubiquitous expression reveals functional differences between the C-terminal domain of human MANF and CDNF. Finally, DmManf and its C-terminal domain rescue mammalian sympathetic neurons from toxin-induced apoptosis in vitro demonstrating functional similarity of the mammalian and fly proteins. Our study offers further insights into the functional conservation between invertebrate and mammalian MANF/CDNF proteins and reveals the importance of the C-terminal domain for MANF activity in vivo.
Curcuminoids are well known for their capabilities to combat risk factors that are associated with ageing and cellular senescence. Recent reports have demonstrated that curcuminoids can extend the lifespan of model organisms. However, the underlying mechanisms by which these polyphenic compounds exert these beneficial effects remain unknown. In this study, t-BHP-induced premature senescence model in human fibroblasts was chosen to explore the protective effects of a curcuminoid, bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC), on cellular senescence. The results demonstrated that BDMC attenuated oxidative stress-induced senescence-like features which include the induction of an enlarged cellular appearance, higher frequency of senescence-associated β-galactosidase staining activity, appearance of senescence-associated heterochromatic foci in nuclei, decrease in proliferation capability, and alteration in related molecules such as p16 and retinoblastoma protein. Notably, we found that BDMC treatment activated Sirt1/AMPK signaling pathway. Moreover, downregulating Sirt1 by the pharmacological inhibitor nicotianamine or small interfering RNA blocked BDMC-mediated protection against t-BHP-mediated decrease in proliferation. These results suggested that BDMC prevented t-BHP-induced cellular senescence, and BDMC-induced Sirt1 may be a mechanism mediating its beneficial effects.
Interferon-stimulated gene 56 (ISG56) family members play important roles in blocking viral replication and regulating cellular functions, however, their underlying molecular mechanisms are largely unclear. Here, we present the crystal structure of ISG54, an ISG56 family protein with a novel RNA-binding structure. The structure shows that ISG54 monomers have 9 tetratricopeptide repeat-like motifs and associate to form domain-swapped dimers. The C-terminal part folds into a super-helical structure and has an extensively positively-charged nucleotide-binding channel on its inner surface. EMSA results show that ISG54 binds specifically to some RNAs, such as adenylate uridylate (AU)-rich RNAs, with or without 5′ triphosphorylation. Mutagenesis and functional studies show that this RNA-binding ability is important to its antiviral activity. Our results suggest a new mechanism underlying the antiviral activity of this interferon-inducible gene 56 family member.
structure biology; ISG54
Synaptic vesicle dynamics play an important role in the study of neuronal and synaptic activities of neurodegradation diseases ranging from the epidemic Alzheimer’s disease to the rare Rett syndrome. A high-throughput assay with a large population of neurons would be useful and efficient to characterize neuronal activity based on the dynamics of synaptic vesicles for the study of mechanisms or to discover drug candidates for neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders. However, the massive amounts of image data generated via high throughput screening require enormous manual processing time and effort, restricting the practical use of such an assay. This paper presents an automated analytic system to process and interpret the huge data set generated by such assays. Our system enables the automated detection, segmentation, quantification, and measurement of neuron activities based on the synaptic vesicle assay. To overcome challenges such as noisy background, inhomogeneity, and tiny object size, we first employ MSVST (Multi-Scale Variance Stabilizing Transform) to obtain a denoised and enhanced map of the original image data. Then, we propose an adaptive thresholding strategy to solve the inhomogeneity issue, based on the local information, and to accurately segment synaptic vesicles. We design algorithms to address the issue of tiny objects-of-interest overlapping. Several post-processing criteria are defined to filter false positives. A total of 152 features are extracted for each detected vesicle. A score is defined for each synaptic vesicle image to quantify the neuron activity. We also compare the unsupervised strategy with the supervised method. Our experiments on hippocampal neuron assays showed that the proposed system can automatically detect vesicles and quantify their dynamics for evaluating neuron activities. The availability of such an automated system will open opportunities for investigation of synaptic neuropathology and identification of candidate therapeutics for neurodegeneration.
synaptic vesicle; neuron activity; detection and quantification; neurodegenerative disease; high throughput image screening
Autophagy is an important cellular catabolic process that plays a variety of important roles, including maintenance of the amino acid pool during starvation, recycling of damaged proteins and organelles, and clearance of intracellular microbes. Currently employed autophagy detection methods include fluorescence microscopy, biochemical measurement, SDS-PAGE and western blotting, but they are time consuming, labor intensive, and require much experience for accurate interpretation. More recently, development of novel fluorescent probes have allowed the investigation of autophagy via standard flow cytometry. However, flow cytometers remain relatively expensive and require a considerable amount of maintenance. Previously, image-based cytometry has been shown to perform automated fluorescence-based cellular analysis comparable to flow cytometry. In this study, we developed a novel method using the Cellometer image-based cytometer in combination with Cyto-ID® Green dye for autophagy detection in live cells. The method is compared with flow cytometry by measuring macroautophagy in nutrient-starved Jurkat cells. Results demonstrate similar trends of autophagic response, but different magnitude of fluorescence signal increases, which may arise from different analysis approaches characteristic of the two instrument platforms. The possibility of using this method for drug discovery applications is also demonstrated through the measurement of dose-response kinetics upon induction of autophagy with rapamycin and tamoxifen. The described image-based cytometry/fluorescent dye method should serve as a useful addition to the current arsenal of techniques available in support of autophagy-based drug discovery relating to various pathological disorders.
Cellometer Vision; Cyto-ID® Green autophagy dye; autophagic flux; autophagy; chloroquine; image-based cytometry; rapamycin; tamoxifen
In this study, we examined the effectiveness of systemic subcutaneous delivery of recombinant Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I concurrently with primary cultured bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplant on fracture repair. We found that the fracture callus volume increased in mice with a stabilized tibia fracture that received IGF-I + MSC when compared with that in either untreated or MSC alone treated mice. In evaluating the callus tissue components, we found that the soft and new bone tissue volumes were significantly increased in IGF-I + MSC recipients. Histological and in-situ hybridization analyses confirmed a characteristic increase of newly forming bone in IGF-I + MSC recipients and that healing progressed mostly through endochondral ossification. The increase in soft and new bone tissue volumes correlated with increased force and toughness as determined by biomechanical testing. In conclusion, MSC transplant concurrent with systemic delivery of IGF-I improves fracture repair suggesting that IGF-I + MSC could be a novel therapeutic approach in patients who have inadequate fracture repair.
Insulin-like growth factor-I; mesenchymal stem cells; fracture healing; non-unions; endochondral ossification; regenerative medicine
Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis) is a member of one of the most important leaf vegetables grown worldwide, which has experienced thousands of years in cultivation and artificial selection. The entire Chinese cabbage genome sequence, and more than forty thousand proteins have been obtained to date. The genome has undergone triplication events since its divergence from Arabidopsis thaliana (13 to 17 Mya), however a high degree of sequence similarity and conserved genome structure remain between the two species. Arabidopsis is therefore a viable reference species for comparative genomics studies. Variation in the number of members in gene families due to genome triplication may contribute to the broad range of phenotypic plasticity, and increased tolerance to environmental extremes observed in Brassica species. Transcription factors are important regulators involved in plant developmental and physiological processes. The AP2/ERF proteins, one of the most important families of transcriptional regulators, play a crucial role in plant growth, and in response to biotic and abiotic stressors. Our analysis will provide resources for understanding the tolerance mechanisms in Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis.
In the present study, 291 putative AP2/ERF transcription factor proteins were identified from the Chinese cabbage genome database, and compared with proteins from 15 additional species. The Chinese cabbage AP2/ERF superfamily was classified into four families, including AP2, ERF, RAV, and Soloist. The ERF family was further divided into DREB and ERF subfamilies. The AP2/ERF superfamily was subsequently divided into 15 groups. The identification, classification, phylogenetic reconstruction, conserved motifs, chromosome distribution, functional annotation, expression patterns, and interaction networks of the AP2/ERF transcription factor superfamily were predicted and analyzed. Distribution mapping results showed AP2/ERF superfamily genes were localized on the 10 Chinese cabbage chromosomes. AP2/ERF transcription factor expression levels exhibited differences among six tissue types based on expressed sequence tags (ESTs). In the AP2/ERF superfamily, 214 orthologous genes were identified between Chinese cabbage and Arabidopsis. Orthologous gene interaction networks were constructed, and included seven CBF and four AP2 genes, primarily involved in cold regulatory pathways and ovule development, respectively.
The evolution of the AP2/ERF transcription factor superfamily in Chinese cabbage resulted from genome triplication and tandem duplications. A comprehensive analysis of the physiological functions and biological roles of AP2/ERF superfamily genes in Chinese cabbage is required to fully elucidate AP2/ERF, which provides us with rich resources and opportunities to understand crop stress tolerance mechanisms.
Chinese cabbage; AP2/ERF; Stress tolerance; Gene expression; Interaction network; Protein annotation
The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling pathway has a pivotal role in tumor suppression and yet, paradoxically, in tumor promotion. Functional context dependent insights into the TGF-β pathway are crucial in developing TGF-β-based therapeutics for cancer.
This review discusses the molecular mechanism of the TGF-β pathway and describes the different ways of tumor suppression by TGF-β. It is then explained how tumors can evade these effects and how TGF-β contributes to further growing and spreading of some of the tumors. In the last part of the review, the data on targeting TGF-β pathway for cancer treatment is assessed. This review focuses on anti-TGF-β based treatment and other options targeting activated pathways in tumors where the TGF-β tumor suppressor pathway is lost. Pre-clinical as well up to date results of the most recent clinical trials are given.
Targeting the TGF-β pathway can be a promising direction in cancer treatment. However, several challenges still exist, the most important are differentiating between the carcinogenic effects of TGF-β and its other physiological roles, and delineating the tumor suppressive versus the tumor promoting roles of TGF-β in each specific tumor. Future studies are needed in order to find safer and more effective TGF-β-based drugs.
cancer; TGF-β; tumor promotion; tumor suppression
The disease burden of children with laboratory-confirmed influenza in China has not been well described. The aim of this study was to understand the epidemiology and socio-economic burden of influenza in children younger than 5 years in outpatient and emergency department settings.
A prospective study of laboratory-confirmed influenza among children presenting to the outpatient settings in Soochow University Affiliated Children's Hospital with symptoms of influenza-like illness (ILI) was performed from March 2011 to February 2012. Throat swabs were collected for detection of influenza virus by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay. Data were collected using a researcher administered questionnaire, concerning demographics, clinical characteristics, direct and indirect costs, day care absence, parental work loss and similar respiratory illness development in the family.
Among a total of 6,901 children who sought care at internal outpatient settings, 1,726 (25%) fulfilled the criteria of ILI and 1,537 were enrolled. Influenza was documented in 365 (24%) of enrolled 1,537 ILI cases. Among positive patients, 52 (14%) were type A and 313 (86%) were type B. About 52% of influenza outpatients had over-the-counter medications before physician visit and 41% visited hospitals two or more times. Children who attended daycare missed an average of 1.9 days. For each child with influenza-confirmed disease, the parents missed a mean of 1.8 work days. Similar respiratory symptoms were reported in 43% of family contacts of influenza positive children after onset of the child's illness. The mean direct and indirect costs per episode of influenza were $123.4 for outpatient clinics and $134.6 for emergency departments, and $125.9 for influenza A and $127.5 for influenza B.
Influenza is a common cause of influenza-like illness among children and has substantial socio-economic impact on children and their families regarding healthcare seeking and day care/work absence. The direct and indirect costs of childhood influenza impose a heavy financial burden on families. Prevention measures such as influenza vaccine could reduce the occurrence of influenza in children and the economic burden on families.
Musclin is a novel skeletal muscle-derived secretory factor found in the signal sequence trap of mouse skeletal muscle cDNAs. Musclin possesses a region homologous to the natriuretic peptide family. Thus, musclin is found to bind with the natriuretic peptide clearance receptors. However, the role of musclin in vascular regulation remains unclear. In this study, we aim to investigate the direct effect of musclin on vascular tone and to analyze its role in hypertension using the spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). In aortic strips isolated from SHR, musclin induced contractions in a dose-dependent manner. We found that the musclin-induced vasoconstriction was more marked in SHR than in normal rats (WKY). Moreover, this contraction was reduced by blockade of natriuretic peptide receptor C using the ab14355 antibody. Therefore, mediation of the natriuretic peptide receptor in musclin-induced vasoconstriction can be considered. In addition, similar to the natriuretic peptide receptor, expression of the musclin gene in blood vessels was higher in SHR than in WKY. Injection of musclin markedly increased the blood pressure in rats that can be inhibited by anti-musclin antibodies. Musclin-induced vasoconstriction was more pronounced in SHR than in WKY as in its expression. Taken together, these results suggest that musclin is involved in blood pressure regulation. The higher expression of musclin in hypertension indicates that musclin could be used as a new target for the treatment of hypertension in the future.
The bacterial strain Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense MSR-1 does not produce siderophores, but it absorbs a large amount of ferric iron and synthesizes magnetosomes. We demonstrated previously the presence of six types of ferric reductase isozymes (termed FeR1 through FeR6) in MSR-1. Of these isozymes, FeR5 was the most abundant and FeR6 showed the highest ferric reductase activity. In the present study, we cloned the fer5 and fer6 genes from MSR-1 and expressed them separately in Escherichia coli. FeR5 and FeR6 were shown to be bifunctional enzymes through analysis of amino acid sequence homologies, structural predictions (using data from GenBank), and detection of enzyme activities. FeR5 is a thioredoxin reductase and FeR6 is a flavin reductase, in addition to being ferric reductases. To elucidate the functions of the enzymes, we constructed two single-gene-deletion mutant strains (Δfer5 and Δfer6 mutants) and a double-gene-deletion mutant strain (Δfer5 Δfer6 [Δfer5+6] mutant) along with its complemented strains (C5 and C6). An evaluation of phenotypic and physiological properties did not reveal significant differences between the wild-type and single-gene-deletion strains, whereas the double-gene-deletion strain showed reduced iron absorption and no magnetosome synthesis. Complementation of the double-gene-deletion strain using either fer5 or fer6 resulted in the partial recovery of magnetosome synthesis. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis of fer5 and fer6 transcriptional levels in the wild-type and complemented strains demonstrated consistent transcription of the two genes and confirmed that FeR5 and FeR6 are bifunctional enzymes that play complementary roles during the process of magnetosome synthesis in MSR-1.
Microglia are the primary immune cells in the brain. Under pathological conditions, they become activated and participate in scavenging, inflammation and tissue repair in response to brain injury. While the function and underlying mechanism of activated microglia have been intensively studied in the past decades, physiological functions of resting microglia remain largely underestimated. In our recent work, by simultaneously monitoring both the motility of resting microglial processes and the activity of surrounding neurons in intact zebrafish optic tectum, we examined the interaction between resting microglia and neurons. Local increase in neuronal activity attracts resting microglial processes and drives them to contact neurons with high levels of activity. This process is mediated by neuronal release of “find-me” signals such as ATP via pannexin-1 hemichannels and requires small Rho GTPase Rac in microglia. Reciprocally, the microglia-neuron contact reduces both the spontaneous and visually evoked activities of contacted neurons. We here summarize and explain the key results in the context of our previous work.
resting microglia; neuronal activity; microglia-neuron contact; pannexin-1 hemichannel; optic tectum; glutamate uncaging; in vivo two-photon imaging; calcium imaging; in vivo whole-cell recording; zebrafish
Among dopamine receptors, the expression and function of the D3 receptor subtype is not well understood. The receptor has the highest affinity for dopamine and many drugs that target dopamine receptors. In this paper, we examined, at the single cell level, the characteristics of D3 receptor-expressing cells isolated from different brain regions of male and female mice that were either 35 or 70 days old. The brain regions included nucleus accumbens, Islands of Calleja, olfactory tubercle, retrosplenial cortex, dorsal subiculum, mammillary body, amygdala and septum. The expression analysis was done in the drd3-enhanced green fluorescent protein transgenic mice that report the endogenous expression of D3 receptor mRNA. Using single cell reverse transcriptase PCR, we determined if the D3 receptor-expressing fluorescent cells in these mice were neurons or glia and if they were glutamatergic, GABAergic or catecholaminergic. Next, we determined if the fluorescent cells co-expressed the four other dopamine receptor subtypes, adenylate cyclase V (ACV) isoform, and three different isoforms of G protein-coupled inward rectifier potassium (GIRK) channels. The results suggest that D3 receptor is expressed in neurons, with region-specific expression in glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons. The D3 receptor primarily co-expressed with D1 and D2 dopamine receptors with regional, sex and age-dependent differences in the co-expression pattern. The percentage of cells co-expressing D3 receptor and ACV or GIRK channels varied significantly by brain region, sex and age. The molecular characterization of D3 receptor-expressing cells in mouse brain reported here will facilitate the characterization of D3 receptor function in physiology and pathophysiology.
Expression; Structure and function; Working memory; Limbic; Reward; Addiction; Anxiety; Periadolescent