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1.  Laparoscopic Radical Resection of Low Rectal Carcinoma Integrating Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery: A Case Report 
The Indian Journal of Surgery  2012;75(Suppl 1):280-282.
A male patient with lower-segment rectal carcinoma underwent laparoscopic radical resection and regional lymph node dissection. The extracorporeal rectoanal anastomosis was completed using transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEMS) without requiring any additional abdominal incision. The pathological examination identified a clean margin. At the postoperative 6-month visit, the patient exhibited generally normal defecation, urination, and sexual function, but no sign of local recurrence or distant metastasis. TEMS integrating laparoscopy is a surgically and oncologically feasible, effective, and safe procedure for lower anterior resection.
PMCID: PMC3693365  PMID: 24426591
Rectal carcinoma; Lower segment; Transanal endoscopic microsurgery; Laparoscopy; Radical resection
2.  Predicting Survival of Patients with Hypocellular Myelodysplastic Syndrome: Development of a Disease Specific Prognostic Score System 
Cancer  2012;118(18):4462-4470.
While most patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) exhibit bone marrow hypercellularity, a subset of them presents with a hypocellular bone marrow. Specific factors associated with poor prognosis have not been investigated in patients with hypocellular MDS. We studied a cohort of 253 patients with hypocellular MDS diagnosed at MD Anderson Cancer Center between 1993 and 2007 and a cohort of 1725 patients with hyper/normocelluar MDS diagnosed during the same time period. Patients with hypocellular MDS presented more frequently with thrombocytopenia (p<0.019), neutropenia (p<0.001), low serum β-2 microglobulin (p<0.001), increased transfusion dependency (p<0.001), and intermediate-2/high risk disease (57% vs. 42%, p=0.02) compared to patients with hyper/normocellular MDS. However, no difference in overall survival was observed between the two groups (p=0.28). Multivariate analysis identified poor performance status (ECOG ≥2), low hemoglobin (<10 g/dl), unfavorable cytogenetics (−7/7q or complex), increased bone marrow blasts (≥5%) and high serum LDH (>600 IU/l) as adverse independent factors for survival. A new prognostic model based on these factors was built that segregated patients into three distinct risk categories independent of IPSS score. Such model is independent from IPSS, further refines IPSS-based prognostication, and may be used to develop of risk-adapted therapeutic approaches for patients with hypocellular MDS.
PMCID: PMC3913560  PMID: 22252728
Hypocellular; myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS); prognostic score; IPSS
3.  Mutation Inactivation of Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome Gene (NBS1) in Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82426.
Nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS) with NBS1 germ-line mutation is a human autosomal recessive disease characterized by genomic instability and enhanced cancer predisposition. The NBS1 gene codes for a protein, Nbs1(p95/Nibrin), involved in the processing/repair of DNA double-strand breaks. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a complex and heterogeneous tumor with several genomic alterations. Recent studies have shown that heterozygous NBS1 mice exhibited a higher incidence of HCC than did wild-type mice. The objective of the present study is to assess whether NBS1 mutations play a role in the pathogenesis of human primary liver cancer, including HBV-associated HCC and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC). Eight missense NBS1 mutations were identified in six of 64 (9.4%) HCCs and two of 18 (11.1%) ICCs, whereas only one synonymous mutation was found in 89 control cases of cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis B. Analysis of the functional consequences of the identified NBS1 mutations in Mre11-binding domain showed loss of nuclear localization of Nbs1 partner Mre11, one of the hallmarks for Nbs1 deficiency, in one HCC and two ICCs with NBS1 mutations. Moreover, seven of the eight tumors with NBS1 mutations had at least one genetic alteration in the TP53 pathway, including TP53 mutation, MDM2 amplification, p14ARF homozygous deletion and promoter methylation, implying a synergistic effect of Nbs1 disruption and p53 inactivation. Our findings provide novel insight on the molecular pathogenesis of primary liver cancer characterized by mutation inactivation of NBS1, a DNA repair associated gene.
PMCID: PMC3862623  PMID: 24349281
4.  Lnk deficiency partially mitigates hematopoietic stem cell aging 
Aging cell  2012;11(6):949-959.
Upon aging, the number of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the bone marrow increases while their repopulation potential declines. Moreover, aged HSCs exhibit lineage bias in reconstitution experiments with an inclination towards myeloid at the expense of lymphoid potential. The adaptor protein Lnk is an important negative regulator of HSC homeostasis, as Lnk deficiency is associated with a 10-fold increase in HSC numbers in young mice. However, the age-related increase in functional HSC numbers found in wild type (WT) HSCs was not observed in Lnk-deficient animals. Importantly, HSCs from aged Lnk null mice possess greatly enhanced self-renewal capacity and diminished exhaustion, as evidenced by serial transplant experiments. In addition, Lnk deficiency ameliorates the aging-associated lineage bias. Transcriptome analysis revealed that WT and Lnk-deficient HSCs share many aging-related changes in gene expression patterns. Nonetheless, Lnk null HSCs displayed altered expression of components in select signaling pathways with potential involvement in HSC self-renewal and aging. Taken together, these results suggest that loss of Lnk partially mitigates age-related HSC alterations.
PMCID: PMC3500428  PMID: 22812478
hematopoietic stem cells; hematopoiesis; cytokine; cell proliferation; self-renewal
5.  Thermal Stability of Glucokinases in Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:646539.
In the genome of Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis, three genes belonging to ROK (Repressor, ORF, and Kinase) family are annotated as glucokinases (GLKs). Using enzyme assays, the three GLKs were identified as ATP-dependent GLK (ATP-GLK), ADP-dependent GLK (ADP-GLK), and N-acetyl-glucosamine/mannosamine kinase (glu/man-NacK). The kinetic properties of the three GLKs such as Km, Vmax, optimal pH, and temperature were characterized, demonstrating that these enzymes performed the specific functions against varied substrates and under different temperatures. The abundance of ATP-GLK was attenuated when culture temperature was elevated and was almost undetectable at 80°C, whereas the ADP-GLK abundance was insensitive to temperature changes. Using degradation assays, ATP-GLK was found to have significantly faster degradation than ADP-GLK at 80°C. Co-immunoprecipitation results revealed that heat shock protein 60 (HSP60) could interact with ATP-GLK and ADP-GLK at 60 and 75°C, whereas at 80°C, the interaction was only effectively with ADP-GLK but not ATP-GLK. The functions of GLKs in T. tengcongensis are temperature dependent, likely regulated through interactions with HSP60.
PMCID: PMC3766608  PMID: 24058911
6.  Neonatal colon perforation due to anorectal malformations: Can it be avoided? 
Anorectal malformations (ARM) are common anomalies in neonates. Diagnostic and therapeutic delays in the management of ARM may lead to colonic perforation, and even death. Physical examination of the perineum is often sufficient to diagnose ARM in neonates. Notwithstanding, delayed diagnosis of ARM has become increasingly familiar to surgeons, as evidenced by the number of recent publications on this topic in the literature. In this commentary, we discuss spontaneous colonic perforation due to delayed diagnosis of ARM in neonates, and highlight the importance of early diagnosis in assuring good outcomes with surgical management. At this point, a thorough examination of the perineum during the initial newborn assessment is mandatory, particularly in those patients presenting with abdominal signs or symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3703177  PMID: 23840135
Anorectal malformation; Imperforate anus; Bowel perforation; Colon
7.  Signaling profiling at the single-cell level identifies a distinct signaling signature in murine hematopoietic stem cells 
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2012;30(7):1447-1454.
Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) function is tightly regulated by cytokine signaling. Although phospho-flow cytometry allows us to study signaling in defined populations of cells, there has been tremendous hurdle to carry out this study in rare HSCs due to unrecoverable critical HSC markers, low HSC number, and poor cell recovery rate. Here, we overcame these difficulties and developed a “HSC phospho-flow” method to analyze cytokine signaling in murine HSCs at the single-cell level and compare HSC signaling profile to that of multipotent progenitors (MPPs), a cell type immediately downstream of HSCs, and commonly used Lin− cKit+ cells (LK cells, enriched for myeloid progenitors). We chose to study signaling evoked from three representative cytokines, stem cell factor (SCF) and thrombopoietin (TPO) that are essential for HSC function, and granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) that is dispensable for HSCs. HSCs display a distinct TPO and GM-CSF signaling signature from MPPs and LK cells, which highly correlates with receptor surface expression. In contrast, although majority of LK cells express lower levels of cKit than HSCs and MPPs, SCF-evoked ERK1/2 activation in LK cells shows a significantly increased magnitude for a prolonged period. These results suggest that specific cellular context plays a more important role than receptor surface expression in SCF signaling. Our study of HSC signaling at the homeostasis stage paves the way to investigate signaling changes in HSCs under conditions of stress, aging, and hematopoietic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3438669  PMID: 22628264
hematopoietic stem cells; multipotent progenitors; TPO signaling; SCF signaling; phospho-flow cytometry
8.  A nonsynonymous LNK polymorphism associated with idiopathic erythrocytosis 
American journal of hematology  2011;86(11):962-964.
Idiopathic erythrocytosis (IE) comprises a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by hyperplasia of the erythroid lineage; however, in many cases, the molecular basis remains undetermined. Serum erythropoietin (EPO) levels can be raised, normal, or reduced, suggesting that there are at least two underlying etiologies involving either the control of EPO production or modulation of EPO-induced signaling. EPO production is regulated by the oxygen-sensing pathway via the hypoxia inducible transcription factor (HIF) complex. Proteasomal turnover of HIF is controlled by interactions with the von Hippel Lindau (VHL) and prolyl hydroxylase domain 2 (PHD2) proteins. Erythrocytosis-associated mutations have been detected in the oxygen sensing pathway indicating that EPO is regulated by the HIF-2alpha-PHD2-VHL axis (reviewed by McMullin [1]). Aberrant EPO-induced signaling in IE patients with subnormal serum EPO levels can arise from mutations in the EPO receptor (EpoR) gene which result in the receptor being hypersensitive to EPO with prolonged activation of the EPO-dependent signaling pathways (reviewed by Percy [2]).
PMCID: PMC3674579  PMID: 21990094
9.  A novel mutation in MPL (Y252H) results in increased thrombopoietin sensitivity in Essential Thrombocythaemia 
American Journal of Hematology  2012;87(5):532-534.
Essential Thrombocythaemia (ET) is a rare type of myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) characterized by clonal expansion of the megakaryocyte and platelet lineage. Here, we describe a novel mutation (Y252H) in the thrombopoietin (TPO) receptor, or MPL, in a JAK2 mutation-negative ET patient. The bone marrow examination revealed increased numbers of dysmorphic megakaryocytes with focal clustering. The x-inactivation pattern suggested clonal expansion of hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow. Furthermore we found that the patient’s bone marrow cells were hypersensitive to TPO in generating megakaryocyte colonies in vitro. More importantly, we demonstrated that this MPL Y252H mutant confers increased TPO/MPL-mediated cell growth and increased cell survival upon cytokine withdrawal in BaF3 cells, indicating it is a disease-driving mutation and may contribute to the development of ET in vivo. In summary, this is the first report describing a mutation in the extracellular domain of MPL underlying ET.
PMCID: PMC3388505  PMID: 22389068
10.  Superconductivity at 44 K in K intercalated FeSe system with excess Fe 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1216.
We report here that a new superconducting phase with much higher Tc has been found in K intercalated FeSe compound with excess Fe. We successfully grew crystals by precisely controlling the starting amount of Fe. Besides the superconducting (SC) transition at ~30 K, we observed a sharp drop in resistivity and a kink in susceptibility at 44 K. By combining thermodynamic measurements with electron spin resonance (ESR), we demonstrate that this is a new SC transition. Structural analysis unambiguously reveals two phases coexisting in the crystals, which are responsible respectively for the SC transitions at 30 and 44 K. The structural experiments and first-principles calculations consistently indicate that the 44 K SC phase is close to a 122 structure, but with an unexpectedly large c-axis of 18.10 Å. We further find a novel monotonic dependence of the maximum Tc on the separation of neighbouring FeSe layers.
PMCID: PMC3564023  PMID: 23386972
11.  Different Roles for Contracture and Calpain in Calcium Paradox-Induced Heart Injury 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52270.
The Ca2+ paradox represents a good model to study Ca2+ overload injury in ischemic heart diseases. We and others have demonstrated that contracture and calpain are involved in the Ca2+ paradox-induced injury. This study aimed to elucidate their roles in this model. The Ca2+ paradox was elicited by perfusing isolated rat hearts with Ca2+-free KH media for 3 min or 5 min followed by 30 min of Ca2+ repletion. The LVDP was measured to reflect contractile function, and the LVEDP was measured to indicate contracture. TTC staining and the quantification of LDH release were used to define cell death. Calpain activity and troponin I release were measured after Ca2+ repletion. Ca2+ repletion of the once 3-min Ca2+ depleted hearts resulted in almost no viable tissues and the disappearance of contractile function. Compared to the effects of the calpain inhibitor MDL28170, KB-R7943, an inhibitor of the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, reduced the LVEDP level to a greater extent, which was well correlated with improved contractile function recovery and tissue survival. The depletion of Ca2+ for 5 min had the same effects on injury as the 3-min Ca2+ depletion, except that the LVEDP in the 5-min Ca2+ depletion group was lower than the level in the 3-min Ca2+ depletion group. KB-R7943 failed to reduce the level of LVEDP, with no improvement in the LVDP recovery in the hearts subjected to the 5-min Ca2+ depletion treatment; however, KB-R7943 preserved its protective effects in surviving tissue. Both KB-R7943 and MDL28170 attenuated the Ca2+ repletion-induced increase in calpain activity in 3 min or 5 min Ca2+ depleted hearts. However, only KB-R7943 reduced the release of troponin I from the Ca2+ paradoxic heart. These results provide evidence suggesting that contracture is the main cause for contractile dysfunction, while activation of calpain mediates cell death in the Ca2+ paradox.
PMCID: PMC3527529  PMID: 23284963
12.  A Novel Role of Human Holliday Junction Resolvase GEN1 in the Maintenance of Centrosome Integrity 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49687.
The maintenance of genomic stability requires accurate genome replication, repair of DNA damage, and the precise segregation of chromosomes in mitosis. GEN1 possesses Holliday junction resolvase activity in vitro and presumably functions in homology driven repair of DNA double strand breaks. However, little is currently known about the cellular functions of human GEN1. In the present study we demonstrate that GEN1 is a novel centrosome associated protein and we characterize the various phenotypes associated with GEN1 deficiency. We identify an N-terminal centrosome localization signal in GEN1, which is required and sufficient for centrosome localization. We report that GEN1 depletion results in aberrant centrosome numbers associated with the formation of multiple spindle poles in mitosis, an increased number of cells with multi-nuclei, increased apoptosis and an elevated level of spontaneous DNA damage. We find homologous recombination severely impaired in GEN1 deficient cells, suggesting that GEN1 functions as a Holliday junction resolvase in vivo as well as in vitro. Complementation of GEN1 depleted cells with various GEN1 constructs revealed that centrosome association but not catalytic activity of GEN1 is required for preventing centrosome hyper-amplification, formation of multiple mitotic spindles, and multi-nucleation. Our findings provide novel insight into the biological functions of GEN1 by uncovering an important role of GEN1 in the regulation of centrosome integrity.
PMCID: PMC3500319  PMID: 23166748
13.  Quantum Tunneling of Magnetization in Ultrasmall Half-Metallic V3O4 Quantum Dots: Displaying Quantum Superparamagnetic State 
Scientific Reports  2012;2:755.
Quantum tunneling of magnetization (QTMs), stemming from their importance for understanding materials with unconventional properties, has continued to attract widespread theoretical and experimental attention. However, the observation of QTMs in the most promising candidates of molecular magnets and few iron-based compounds is limited to very low temperature. Herein, we first highlight a simple system, ultrasmall half-metallic V3O4 quantum dots, as a promising candidate for the investigation of QTMs at high temperature. The quantum superparamagnetic state (QSP) as a high temperature signature of QTMs is observed at 16 K, which is beyond absolute zero temperature and much higher than that of conventional iron-based compounds due to the stronger spin-orbital coupling of V3+ ions bringing high anisotropy energy. It is undoubtedly that this ultrasmall quantum dots, V3O4, offers not only a promising candidate for theoretical understanding of QTMs but also a very exciting possibility for computers using mesoscopic magnets.
PMCID: PMC3477649  PMID: 23091695
14.  The Temperature Dependent Proteomic Analysis of Thermotoga maritima 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46463.
Thermotoga maritima (T. maritima) is a typical thermophile, and its proteome response to environmental temperature changes has yet to be explored. This study aims to uncover the temperature-dependent proteins of T. maritima using comparative proteomic approach. T. maritima was cultured under four temperatures, 60°C, 70°C, 80°C and 90°C, and the bacterial proteins were extracted and electrophoresed in two-dimensional mode. After analysis of gel images, a total of 224 spots, either cytoplasm or membrane, were defined as temperature-dependent. Of these spots, 75 unique bacterial proteins were identified using MALDI TOF/TOF MS. As is well known, the chaperone proteins such as heat shock protein 60 and elongation factor Tu, were up-regulated in abundance due to increased temperature. However, several temperature-dependent proteins of T. maritima responded very differently when compared to responses of the thermophile T. tengcongensis. Intriguingly, a number of proteins involved in central carbohydrate metabolism were significantly up-regulated at higher temperature. Their corresponding mRNA levels were elevated accordingly. The increase in abundance of several key enzymes indicates that a number of central carbohydrate metabolism pathways of T. maritima are activated at higher temperatures.
PMCID: PMC3465335  PMID: 23071576
15.  A distinct response to endogenous DNA damage in the development of Nbs1-deficient cortical neurons 
Cell Research  2012;22(5):859-872.
Microcephaly is a clinical characteristic for human nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS, mutated in NBS1 gene), a chromosomal instability syndrome. However, the underlying molecular pathogenesis remains elusive. In the present study, we demonstrate that neuronal disruption of NBS (Nbn in mice) causes microcephaly characterized by the reduction of cerebral cortex and corpus callosum, recapitulating neuronal anomalies in human NBS. Nbs1-deficient neocortex shows accumulative endogenous DNA damage and defective activation of Ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR)-Chk1 pathway upon DNA damage. Notably, in contrast to massive apoptotic cell death in Nbs1-deficient cerebella, activation of p53 leads to a defective neuroprogenitor proliferation in neocortex, likely via specific persistent induction of hematopoietic zinc finger (Hzf) that preferentially promotes p53-mediated cell cycle arrest whilst inhibiting apoptosis. Moreover, Trp53 mutations substantially rescue the microcephaly in Nbs1-deficient mice. Thus, the present results reveal the first clue that developing neurons at different regions of brain selectively respond to endogenous DNA damage, and underscore an important role for Nbs1 in neurogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3343649  PMID: 22212482
DNA damage response; Nbs1; microcephaly; p53; Hzf
16.  14-3-3 regulates the LNK/JAK2 pathway in mouse hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(6):2079-2091.
Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) functions are governed by intricate signaling networks. The tyrosine kinase JAK2 plays an essential role in cytokine signaling during hematopoiesis. The adaptor protein LNK is a critical determinant of this process through its inhibitory interaction with JAK2, thereby limiting HSPC self-renewal. LNK deficiency promotes myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) development in mice, and LNK loss-of-function mutations are found in human MPNs, emphasizing its pivotal role in normal and malignant HSPCs. Here, we report the identification of 14-3-3 proteins as LNK binding partners. 14-3-3 interfered with the LNK-JAK2 interaction, thereby alleviating LNK inhibition of JAK2 signaling and cell proliferation. Binding of 14-3-3 required 2 previously unappreciated serine phosphorylation sites in LNK, and we found that their phosphorylation is mediated by glycogen synthase kinase 3 and PKA kinases. Mutations of these residues abrogated the interaction and augmented the growth inhibitory function of LNK. Conversely, forced 14-3-3 binding constrained LNK function. Furthermore, interaction with 14-3-3 sequestered LNK in the cytoplasm away from the plasma membrane-proximal JAK2. Importantly, bone marrow transplantation studies revealed an essential role for 14-3-3 in HSPC reconstitution that can be partially mitigated by LNK deficiency. We believe that, together, this work implicates 14-3-3 proteins as novel and positive HSPC regulators by impinging on the LNK/JAK2 pathway.
PMCID: PMC3366400  PMID: 22546852
17.  Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling of chronic lymphocytic leukemia allows identification of epigenetically repressed molecular pathways with clinical impact 
Epigenetics  2010;5(6):499-508.
We performed a genome-wide analysis of aberrant DNA methylation in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) using methylated CpG island amplification (MCA) coupled with a promoter microarray. We identified 280 potential targets of aberrant DNA methylation in CLL. These genes were located more frequently in chromosomes 19 (16%, p = 0.001), 16 (11%, p = 0.001), 17 (10%, p = 0.02) and 11 (9%, p = 0.02) and could be grouped in several functional networks. Methylation status was confirmed for 22 of these genes (SOX11, DLX1, FAM62C, SOX14, RSPO1, ADCY5, HAND2, SPOCK, MLL, ING1, PRIMA1, BCL11B, LTBP2, BNC1, NR2F2, SALL1, GALGT2, LHX1, DLX4, KLK10, TFAP2 and APP) in 78 CLL patients by pyrosequencing. As a proof of principle, we analyzed the expression of 2 genes, PRIMA1 and APP, in primary cells and of GALGT2, TFAP2C and PRIMA1 in leukemia cells. There was an inverse association between methylation and gene expression. This could be reversed by treatment with 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine in cell lines. Treatment in a clinical trial with 5-azacitidine resulted in decreased methylation of LINE, DLX4 and SALL1 in the peripheral blood B-cells of patients with CLL. IgVH mutational status or ZAP-70 expression were not associated with specific methylation profiles. By multivariate analysis, methylation of LINE and APP was associated with shorter overall survival (p = 0.045 and 0.0035, respectively). This study demonstrates that aberrant DNA methylation is common and has potential prognostic and therapeutic value in CLL.
PMCID: PMC3322493  PMID: 20484983
chronic lymphocytic leukemia; DNA methylation; MCA/promoter microarray; epigenetics
18.  Effects of autonomic nerve stimulation on colorectal motility in rats 
Several disease processes of the colon and rectum, including constipation and incontinence, have been associated with abnormalities of the autonomic nervous system. However, the autonomic innervation to the colon and rectum are not fully understood. The aims of this study were to investigate the effect of stimulation of vagus nerves, pelvic nerves (PN) and hypogastric nerves (HGN) on colorectal motility in rats.
Four strain gauge transducers were implanted on the proximal colon, mid colon, distal colon and rectum to record circular muscle contractions in rats. Electrical stimulation was administered to the efferent distal ends of the cervical vagus nerve, PN and HGN. Motility index (MI) was evaluated before and during stimulation.
Key Results
Electrical stimulation (5–20 Hz) of the cervical vagus elicited significant contractions in the mid colon and distal colon, whereas less pronounced contractions were observed in the proximal colon. PN stimulation elicited significant contractions in the rectum as well as the mid colon and distal colon. Atropine treatment almost completely abolished the contractions induced by vagus nerve and PN stimulation. HGN stimulation caused relaxations in the rectum, mid colon and distal colon. The relaxations in response to HGN stimulation were abolished by propranolol.
Conclusions & Inferences
Vagal innervation extends to the distal colon, while the PN has projections in the distribution of the rectum through the mid colon. This suggests a pattern of dual parasympathetic innervation in the left colon. Parasympathetic fibers regulate colorectal contractions via muscarinic receptors. The HGN mainly regulates colorectal relaxations via beta-adrenoceptors.
PMCID: PMC2952396  PMID: 20067587
gastrointestinal motility; vagus nerve; pelvic nerve; sympathetic nerve; electrical stimulation
19.  Regulation of Galactose Metabolism through the HisK:GalR Two-Component System in Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(17):4311-4316.
Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis could utilize galactose as a carbon source via the enzymes encoded by a novel gal operon, whose regulation mechanism has yet to be elucidated. We propose here that the gal operon in T. tengcongensis is regulated through a HisK:GalR two-component system. By using radioactive isotope assay and genetic analysis, we found that the kinase of this system, HisK, is phosphorylated by ATP, and the regulator, GalR, accepts a phosphoryl group during phosphorelay, in which the phosphoryl group at HisK-His-259 is transferred to GalR-Asp-56. Two-dimensional electrophoresis, followed by Western blotting, revealed that phosphorylation status of GalR is uniquely dependent on the galactose stimulus in vivo. Furthermore, DNA pulldown assays demonstrated that the phosphorylated GalR prefers binding to the operator DNA O2, whereas the unphosphorylated GalR to O1. A model of HisK:GalR is proposed to explain how galactose mediates the expression of the gal operon in T. tengcongensis.
PMCID: PMC2937391  PMID: 20581213
20.  Characterisation of prostate cancer lesions in heterozygous Men1 mutant mice 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:395.
Mutations of the MEN1 gene predispose to multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome. Our group and others have shown that Men1 disruption in mice recapitulates MEN1 pathology. Intriguingly, rare lesions in hormone-dependent tissues, such as prostate and mammary glands, were also observed in the Men1 mutant mice.
To study the occurrence of prostate lesions, we followed a male mouse cohort of 47 Men1+/- mice and 23 age-matched control littermates, starting at 18 months of age, and analysed the prostate glands from the cohort.
Six Men1+/- mice (12.8%) developed prostate cancer, including two adenocarcinomas and four in situ carcinomas, while none of the control mice developed cancerous lesions. The expression of menin encoded by the Men1 gene was found to be drastically reduced in all carcinomas, and partial LOH of the wild-type Men1 allele was detected in three of the five analysed lesions. Using immunostaining for the androgen receptor and p63, a basal epithelial cell marker, we demonstrated that the menin-negative prostate cancer cells did not display p63 expression and that the androgen receptor was expressed but more heterogeneous in these lesions. Furthermore, our data showed that the expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor CDKN1B (p27), a Men1 target gene known to be inactivated during prostate cell tumorigenesis, was notably decreased in the prostate cancers that developed in the mutant mice.
Our work suggests the possible involvement of Men1 inactivation in the tumorigenesis of the prostate gland.
PMCID: PMC2920881  PMID: 20663219
21.  JAK2 Exon 12 Mutations in Polycythemia Vera and Idiopathic Erythrocytosis 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;356(5):459-468.
The V617F mutation, which causes the substitution of phenylalanine for valine at position 617 of the Janus kinase (JAK) 2 gene (JAK2), is often present in patients with polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and idiopathic myelofibrosis. However, the molecular basis of these myeloproliferative disorders in patients without the V617F mutation is unclear.
We searched for new mutations in members of the JAK and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) gene families in patients with V617F-negative polycythemia vera or idiopathic erythrocytosis. The mutations were characterized biochemically and in a murine model of bone marrow transplantation.
We identified four somatic gain-of-function mutations affecting JAK2 exon 12 in 10 V617F-negative patients. Those with a JAK2 exon 12 mutation presented with an isolated erythrocytosis and distinctive bone marrow morphology, and several also had reduced serum erythropoietin levels. Erythroid colonies could be grown from their blood samples in the absence of exogenous erythropoietin. All such erythroid colonies were heterozygous for the mutation, whereas colonies homozygous for the mutation occur in most patients with V617F-positive polycythemia vera. BaF3 cells expressing the murine erythropoietin receptor and also carrying exon 12 mutations could proliferate without added interleukin-3. They also exhibited increased phosphorylation of JAK2 and extracellular regulated kinase 1 and 2, as compared with cells transduced by wild-type JAK2 or V617F JAK2. Three of the exon 12 mutations included a substitution of leucine for lysine at position 539 of JAK2. This mutation resulted in a myeloproliferative phenotype, including erythrocytosis, in a murine model of retroviral bone marrow transplantation.
JAK2 exon 12 mutations define a distinctive myeloproliferative syndrome that affects patients who currently receive a diagnosis of polycythemia vera or idiopathic erythrocytosis.
PMCID: PMC2873834  PMID: 17267906
22.  Lnk constrains myeloproliferative diseases in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2010;120(6):2058-2069.
Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) expansion is regulated by intrinsic signaling pathways activated by cytokines. The intracellular kinase JAK2 plays an essential role in cytokine signaling, and activating mutations in JAK2 are found in a number of hematologic malignancies. We previously demonstrated that lymphocyte adaptor protein (Lnk, also known as Sh2b3) binds JAK2 and attenuates its activity, thereby limiting HSPC expansion. Here we show that loss of Lnk accelerates and exacerbates oncogenic JAK2-induced myeloproliferative diseases (MPDs) in mice. Specifically, Lnk deficiency enhanced cytokine-independent JAK/STAT signaling and augmented the ability of oncogenic JAK2 to expand myeloid progenitors in vitro and in vivo. An activated form of JAK2, unable to bind Lnk, caused greater myeloid expansion than activated JAK2 alone and accelerated myelofibrosis, indicating that Lnk directly inhibits oncogenic JAK2 in constraining MPD development. In addition, Lnk deficiency cooperated with the BCR/ABL oncogene, the product of which does not directly interact with or depend on JAK2 or Lnk, in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) development, suggesting that Lnk also acts through endogenous pathways to constrain HSPCs. Consistent with this idea, aged Lnk–/– mice spontaneously developed a CML-like MPD. Taken together, our data establish Lnk as a bona fide suppressor of MPD in mice and raise the possibility that Lnk dysfunction contributes to the development of hematologic malignancies in humans.
PMCID: PMC2877957  PMID: 20458146
23.  Pivotal role for glycogen synthase kinase–3 in hematopoietic stem cell homeostasis in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2009;119(12):3519-3529.
Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) homeostasis depends on the balance between self renewal and lineage commitment, but what regulates this decision is not well understood. Using loss-of-function approaches in mice, we found that glycogen synthase kinase–3 (Gsk3) plays a pivotal role in controlling the decision between self renewal and differentiation of HSCs. Disruption of Gsk3 in BM transiently expanded phenotypic HSCs in a β-catenin–dependent manner, consistent with a role for Wnt signaling in HSC homeostasis. However, in assays of long-term HSC function, disruption of Gsk3 progressively depleted HSCs through activation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). This long-term HSC depletion was prevented by mTOR inhibition and exacerbated by β-catenin knockout. Thus, GSK-3 regulated both Wnt and mTOR signaling in mouse HSCs, with these pathways promoting HSC self renewal and lineage commitment, respectively, such that inhibition of Gsk3 in the presence of rapamycin expanded the HSC pool in vivo. These findings identify unexpected functions for GSK-3 in mouse HSC homeostasis, suggest a therapeutic approach to expand HSCs in vivo using currently available medications that target GSK-3 and mTOR, and provide a compelling explanation for the clinically prevalent hematopoietic effects observed in individuals prescribed the GSK-3 inhibitor lithium.
PMCID: PMC2786808  PMID: 19959876
24.  1-(3-Chloro­benz­yloxy)urea 
The asymmetric unit of the crystal structure of the title compound, C8H9ClN2O2, contains four independent mol­ecules. The dihedral angles between the urea N—(C=O)—N planes and the benzene rings are 83.3 (3), 87.8 (1), 89.1 (1) and 17.5 (2)° in the four mol­ecules. Extensive N—H⋯O hydrogen bonding is present in the crystal structure.
PMCID: PMC2972183  PMID: 21578723
25.  Angiopoietin-like proteins stimulate ex vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem cells 
Nature medicine  2006;12(2):240-245.
Successful ex vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) would greatly benefit the treatment of disease and the understanding of crucial questions of stem cell biology. Here we show, using microarray studies, that the HSC-supportive mouse fetal liver CD3+ cells specifically express the proteins angiopoietin-like 2 (Angptl2) and angiopoietin-like 3 (Angptl3). We observed a 24- or 30-fold net expansion of long-term HSCs by reconstitution analysis when we cultured highly enriched HSCs for 10 days in the presence of Angptl2 or Angptl3 together with saturating levels of other growth factors. The coiled-coil domain of Angptl2 was capable of stimulating expansion of HSCs. Furthermore, angiopoietin-like 5, angiopoietin-like 7 and microfibril-associated glycoprotein 4 also supported expansion of HSCs in culture.
PMCID: PMC2771412  PMID: 16429146

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