Small RNAs regulate a multitude of cellular processes, including development, stress responses, metabolism, and maintenance of genome integrity, in a sequence-specific manner. Accumulating evidence reveals that host endogenous small RNAs and small RNA pathway components play important roles in plant immune responses against various pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, oomycetes, and viruses. Small-RNA-mediated defense responses are regulated through diverse pathways and the components of these pathways, including Dicer-like proteins, RNA-dependent RNA polymerases, Argonaute proteins, and RNA polymerase IV and V, exhibit functional specificities as well as redundancy. In this review, we summarize the recent insights revealed mainly through the examination of two model plants, Arabidopsis and rice, with a primary focus on our emerging understanding of how these small RNA pathway components contribute to plant immunity.
External guide sequences (EGSs) are RNA molecules that consist of a sequence complementary to a target mRNA and recruit intracellular ribonuclease P (RNase P), a tRNA processing enzyme, for specific degradation of the target mRNA. We have previously used an in vitro selection procedure to generate EGS variants that efficiently induce human RNase P to cleave a target mRNA in vitro. In this study, we constructed EGSs from a variant to target the overlapping region of the S mRNA, pre-S/L mRNA, and pregenomic RNA (pgRNA) of hepatitis B virus (HBV), which are essential for viral replication and infection. The EGS variant was about 50-fold more efficient in inducing human RNase P to cleave the mRNA in vitro than the EGS derived from a natural tRNA. Following Salmonella-mediated gene delivery, the EGSs were expressed in cultured HBV-carrying cells. A reduction of about 97% and 75% in the level of HBV RNAs and proteins and an inhibition of about 6,000- and 130-fold in the levels of capsid-associated HBV DNA were observed in cells treated with Salmonella vectors carrying the expression cassette for the variant and the tRNA-derived EGS, respectively. Our study provides direct evidence that the EGS variant is more effective in blocking HBV gene expression and DNA replication than the tRNA-derived EGS. Furthermore, these results demonstrate the feasibility of developing Salmonella-mediated gene delivery of highly active EGS RNA variants as a novel approach for gene-targeting applications such as anti-HBV therapy.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with numerous liver diseases and causes serious global health problems, but the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of HCV infections remain largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), and B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) are significantly stimulated in HCV-infected patients. We further show that HCV activates STAT3, MMP-2, Bcl-2, extracellular regulated protein kinase (ERK), and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) in infected Huh7.5.1 cells. Functional screening of HCV proteins revealed that nonstructural protein 4B (NS4B) is responsible for the activation of MMP-2 and Bcl-2 by stimulating STAT3 through repression of the suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3). Our results also demonstrate that multiple signaling cascades, including several members of the protein kinase C (PKC) family, JNK, ERK, and STAT3, play critical roles in the activation of MMP-2 and Bcl-2 mediated by NS4B. Further studies revealed that the C-terminal domain (CTD) of NS4B is sufficient for the activation of STAT3, JNK, ERK, MMP-2, and Bcl-2. We also show that amino acids 227 to 250 of NS4B are essential for regulation of STAT3, JNK, ERK, MMP-2, and Bcl-2, and among them, three residues (237L, 239S, and 245L) are crucial for this regulation. Thus, we reveal a novel mechanism underlying HCV pathogenesis in which multiple intracellular signaling cascades are cooperatively involved in the activation of two important cellular factors, MMP-2 and Bcl-2, in response to HCV infection.
Upon recognition of viral components by pattern recognition receptors, such as the toll-like receptors (TLRs) and retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I)-like helicases, cells are activated to produce type I interferon (IFN) and proinflammatory cytokines. These pathways are tightly regulated by the host to prevent an inappropriate cellular response, but viruses can modulate these pathways to proliferate and spread. In this study, we revealed a novel mechanism in which hepatitis C virus (HCV) evades the immune surveillance system to proliferate by activating microRNA-21 (miR-21). We demonstrated that HCV infection upregulates miR-21, which in turn suppresses HCV-triggered type I IFN production, thus promoting HCV replication. Furthermore, we demonstrated that miR-21 targets two important factors in the TLR signaling pathway, myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) and interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 (IRAK1), which are involved in HCV-induced type I IFN production. HCV-mediated activation of miR-21 expression requires viral proteins and several signaling components. Moreover, we identified a transcription factor, activating protein-1 (AP-1), which is partly responsible for miR-21 induction in response to HCV infection through PKCε/JNK/c-Jun and PKCα/ERK/c-Fos cascades. Taken together, our results indicate that miR-21 is upregulated during HCV infection and negatively regulates IFN-α signaling through MyD88 and IRAK1 and may be a potential therapeutic target for antiviral intervention.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV), a major cause of chronic hepatitis, end-stage cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma, has chronically infected 200 million people worldwide and 3–4 million more each year. When triggered by viral infection, host cells produce type I interferon (IFN) and proinflammatory cytokines to antagonize the virus. Despite extensive research, the mechanism underlying HCV immune system evasion remains elusive. Our results provided the first direct evidence that microRNA-21 (miR-21) feedback inhibits type I IFN signaling when cells are challenged with HCV, thus promoting the infection. MicroRNA is a kind of endogenous non-coding small RNA that regulates a wide range of biological processes and participate in innate and adaptive immune responses through complementarily pairing with target mRNA, which can regulate its expression or translation. Currently, miRNAs have intrigued many scientists as potent targets or therapeutic agents for diseases. In our study, the targets of miR-21, myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) and interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 (IRAK1), which are important for HCV-induced type I IFN production, have also been found. Moreover, we identified a transcription factor, AP-1, which is partly responsible for miR-21 induction in response to HCV infection. Taken together, our research has provided new insights into understanding the effects of miRNA on host-virus interactions, and revealed a potential therapeutic target for antiviral intervention.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical efficacy of extended resection with osteotomy, fenestration and conservation of muscle (tendon) insertion in the treatment of bone tumors.
A total of 15 patients with locally aggressive bone tumors (Enneking stage II) in the adjacent muscle (tendon) insertion of the proximal extremity were enrolled in the present study (mean age of 29 years). Extended curettage of lesions with osteotomy, fenestration and/or conservation of muscle (tendon) insertion and internal fixation with a bone graft or bone cement was performed at stage I. Postsurgical brace protection was used for 4 to 12 weeks and the patients were periodically followed-up by X-ray and functional assessment. Recurrence, postsurgical Enneking score and outcome rating were assessed.
Treated cases included 15 patients aged 29 ±7.75 years (range, 18 to 42) with a male to female ratio of 8:7. Six had a femoral tumor and nine had a humeral tumor. These tumors comprised three chondroblastomas, five giant-cell tumors and seven aneurysmal bone cysts. Follow-up for 48 ±12.95 months (range, 25 to 72) revealed that 13 of 15 (87%) patients exhibited no recurrence. Local recurrence was observed in a patient with an aneurysmal bone cyst (nine months) and one with a giant-cell tumor (12 months). Mean Enneking scores were 27 ±4.07 (range, 18 to 29). Except for the patient with the recurrent giant-cell tumor, all patients reported good (13%, 2 out of 15) or very good (80%, 12 out of 15) outcomes. Very good outcomes were reported in 92% of patients (12 out of 13) without recurrence.
The procedures used in this study achieved high clinical efficacy, complete lesion removal, reduced recurrence and good restoration of joint function in patients with primary locally aggressive Enneking stage II bone tumors of the proximal extremities.
Bone tumor; Conservation of muscle insertion; Extended curettage; Proximal extremity; Reconstruction; Resection
Using an in vitro selection procedure, we have previously isolated RNase P ribozyme variants that efficiently cleave an mRNA sequence in vitro. In this study, a variant was used to target the HIV RNA sequence in the tat region. The variant cleaved the tat RNA sequence in vitro about 20 times more efficiently than the wild type ribozyme. Our results provide the first direct evidence that combined mutations at nucleotide 83 and 340 of RNase P catalytic RNA from Escherichia coli (G83 -> U83 and G340 -> A340) increase the overall efficiency of the ribozyme in cleaving an HIV RNA sequence. Moreover, the variant is more effective in reducing HIV-1 p24 expression and intracellular viral RNA level in cells than the wild type ribozyme. A reduction of about 90% in viral RNA level and a reduction of 150 fold in viral growth were observed in cells that expressed the variant, while a reduction of less than 10% was observed in cells that either did not express the ribozyme or produced a catalytically inactive ribozyme mutant. Thus, engineered ribozyme variants are effective in inhibiting HIV infection. These results also demonstrate the potential of engineering RNase P ribozymes for anti-HIV application.
Plant phenological records are crucial for predicting plant responses to global warming. However, many historical records are either short or replete with data gaps, which pose limitations and may lead to erroneous conclusions about the direction and magnitude of change. In addition to uninterrupted monitoring, missing observations may be substituted via modeling, experimentation, or gradient analysis. Here we have developed a space-for-time (SFT) substitution method that uses spatial phenology and temperature data to fill gaps in historical records. To do this, we combined historical data for several tree species from a single location with spatial data for the same species and used linear regression and Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) to build complementary spring phenology models and assess improvements achieved by the approach. SFT substitution allowed increasing the sample size and developing more robust phenology models for some of the species studied. Testing models with reduced historical data size revealed thresholds at which SFT improved historical trend estimation. We conclude that under certain circumstances both the robustness of models and accuracy of phenological trends can be enhanced although some limitations and assumptions still need to be resolved. There is considerable potential for exploring SFT analyses in phenology studies, especially those conducted in urban environments and those dealing with non-linearities in phenology modeling.
Few studies have focused explicitly on the later stages of the fragmentation process, or “late-stage fragmentation”, during which habitat area and patch number decrease simultaneously. This lack of attention is despite the fact that many of the anthropogenically fragmented habitats around the world are, or soon will be, in late-stage fragmentation. Understanding the ecological processes and patterns that occur in late-stage fragmentation is critical to protect the species richness in these fragments. We investigated plant species composition on 152 islands in the Thousand Island Lake, China. A random sampling method was used to create simulated fragmented landscapes with different total habitat areas and numbers of patches mimicking the process of late-stage fragmentation. The response of the landscape-scale species-area relationship (LSAR) to fragmentation per se was investigated, and the contribution of inter-specific differences in the responses to late-stage fragmentation was tested. We found that the loss of species at small areas was compensated for by the effects of fragmentation per se, i.e., there were weak area effects on species richness in landscapes due to many patches with irregular shapes and high variation in size. The study also illustrated the importance of inter-specific differences for responses to fragmentation in that the LSARs of rare and common species were differently influenced by the effects of fragmentation per se. In conclusion, our analyses at the landscape scale demonstrate the significant influences of fragmentation per se on area effects and the importance of inter-specific differences for responses to fragmentation in late-stage fragmentation. These findings add to our understanding of the effects of habitat fragmentation on species diversity.
Mumps virus (MuV) causes an acute infection in humans characterized by a wide array of symptoms ranging from relatively mild manifestations, such as parotitis, to more-severe complications, such as meningitis and encephalitis. Widespread mumps vaccination has reduced mumps incidence dramatically; however, outbreaks still occur in vaccinated populations. The V protein of MuV, when expressed in cell culture, blocks interferon (IFN) expression and signaling and interleukin-6 (IL-6) signaling. In this work, we generated a recombinant MuV incapable of expressing the V protein (rMuVΔV). The rescued MuV was derived from a clinical wild-type isolate from a recent outbreak in the United States (MuVIowa/US/06, G genotype). Analysis of the virus confirmed the roles of V protein in blocking IFN expression and signaling and IL-6 signaling. We also found that the rMuVIowa/US/06ΔV virus induced high levels of IL-6 expression in vitro, suggesting that V plays a role in reducing IL-6 expression. In vivo, the rMuVIowa/US/06ΔV virus was highly attenuated, indicating that the V protein plays an essential role in viral virulence.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic liver diseases worldwide, often leading to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Constitutive activation of the Ras/Raf/MEK pathway is responsible for approximately 30% of cancers. Here we attempted to address the correlation between activation of this pathway and HCV replication. We showed that knockdown of Raf1 inhibits HCV replication, while activation of the Ras/Raf/MEK pathway by V12, a constitutively active form of Ras, stimulates HCV replication. We further demonstrated that this effect is regulated through attenuation of the interferon (IFN)-JAK-STAT pathway. Activation of the Ras/Raf/MEK pathway downregulates the expression of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), attenuates the phosphorylation of STAT1/2, and inhibits the expression of interferon (alpha, beta, and omega) receptors 1 and 2 (IFNAR1/2). Furthermore, we observed that HCV infection activates the Ras/Raf/MEK pathway. Thus, we propose that during HCV infection, the Ras/Raf/MEK pathway is activated, which in turn attenuates the IFN-JAK-STAT pathway, resulting in stimulation of HCV replication.
Wide en bloc excision of proximal ulna sections is used to treat traumatic and pathological fractures of the ulna, though poor standardization of clinical treatment often results in long-term failure of such reconstructed biomechanical structures. In order to provide insight into effective ulnar reconstructive treatments, the case of an 80-year-old Chinese Han male presenting with pathological fracture caused by a proximal ulnar metastatic tumor concurrent with metastatic renal cancer complicated by occurrence in the brain and lungs is reported and contrasted with alternative treatment techniques. Wide resectioning of the proximal ulna and reconstruction with local radius neck-to-humerus trochlea transposition resulted in preservation of functionality, sensitivity, and biomechanical integrity after postsurgical immobilization, 6 weeks of passive- and active-assisted flexion, and extension with a hinged brace. The resultant Musculoskeletal Tumor Society rating score was 25 of 30 (83 %). Full sensitivity and mobility of the left hand and elbow (10° to 90° with minimally impaired supination and pronation) was restored with minimal discomfort. No evidence of local recurrence or other pathological complications were observed within a 1-year follow-up period. Efficient reconstruction of osseous and capsuloligamentous structures in the elbow is often accomplished by allografts, prosthesis, and soft tissue reconstruction, though wide variations in risk and prognosis associated with these techniques has resulted in disagreements regarding the most effective standards for clinical treatment. Current findings suggest that radius neck-to-humerus trochlea transposition offers a superior range of elbow movement and fewer complications than similar allograft and prosthetic techniques for patients with multiple metastatic cancers.
Proximal ulna; Metastatic tumor; Reconstructive procedures; Elbow reconstruction; Ulnar reconstruction
Co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is associated with faster progression of liver disease and an increase in HCV persistence. However, the mechanism by which HIV-1 accelerates the progression of HCV liver disease remains unknown.
HIV-1/HCV co-infection is associated with increased expression of interferon gamma-induced protein-10 (IP-10) mRNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). HCV RNA levels were higher in PBMCs of patients with HIV-1/HCV co-infection than in patients with HCV mono-infection. HIV-1 Tat and IP-10 activated HCV replication in a time-dependent manner, and HIV-1 Tat induced IP-10 production. In addition, the effect of HIV-1 Tat on HCV replication was blocked by anti-IP-10 monoclonal antibody, demonstrating that the effect of HIV-1 Tat on HCV replication depends on IP-10. Taken together, these results suggest that HIV-1 Tat protein activates HCV replication by upregulating IP-10 production.
HIV-1/HCV co-infection is associated with increased expression of IP-10 mRNA and replication of HCV RNA. Furthermore, both HIV-1 Tat and IP-10 activate HCV replication. HIV-1 Tat activates HCV replication by upregulating IP-10 production. These results expand our understanding of HIV-1 in HCV replication and the mechanism involved in the regulation of HCV replication mediated by HIV-1 during co-infection.
The molecular players of circadian clock oscillation have been identified and extensively characterized. The epigenetic mechanisms behind the circadian gene expression control has also been recently studied, although there are still details to be illucidated. In this review, we briefly summarize the current understanding of the mammalian clock. We also provide evidence for the lack of circadian oscillation in particular cell types. As the circadian clock has intimate interaction with the various cellular functions in different type of cells, it must have plasticity and specicity in its operation within different epigenetic environments. The lack of circadian oscillation in certain cells provide an unique opportunity to study the required epigenetic environment in the cell that permit circadian oscillation and to idenfify key influencing factors for proper clock function. How epigenetic mechansims, including DNA methylaiton and chromatin modifications, participate in control of clock oscillation still awaits future studies at the genomic scale.
The growth rate hypothesis (GRH) proposes that higher growth rate (the rate of change in biomass per unit biomass, μ) is associated with higher P concentration and lower C∶P and N∶P ratios. However, the applicability of the GRH to vascular plants is not well-studied and few studies have been done on belowground biomass. Here we showed that, for aboveground, belowground and total biomass of three study species, μ was positively correlated with N∶C under N limitation and positively correlated with P∶C under P limitation. However, the N∶P ratio was a unimodal function of μ, increasing for small values of μ, reaching a maximum, and then decreasing. The range of variations in μ was positively correlated with variation in C∶N∶P stoichiometry. Furthermore, μ and C∶N∶P ranges for aboveground biomass were negatively correlated with those for belowground. Our results confirm the well-known association of growth rate with tissue concentration of the limiting nutrient and provide empirical support for recent theoretical formulations.
The cellular circadian clock and systemic cues drive rhythmicity in the transcriptome of adult peripheral tissues. However, the oscillating status of the circadian clocks in fetal tissues, and their response to maternal cues, are less clear. Most clock genes do not cycle in fetal livers from mice and rats, although tissue level rhythms rapidly emerge when fetal mouse liver explants are cultured in vitro. Thus, in the fetal mouse liver, the circadian clock does not oscillate at the cellular level (but is induced to oscillate in culture). To gain a comprehensive overview of the clock status in the fetal liver during late gestation, we performed microarray analyses on fetal liver tissues. In the fetal liver we did not observe circadian rhythms of clock gene expression or many other transcripts known to be rhythmically expressed in the adult liver. Nevertheless, JTK_CYCLE analysis identified some transcripts in the fetal liver that were rhythmically expressed, albeit at low amplitudes. Upon data filtering by coefficient of variation, the expression levels for transcripts related to pancreatic exocrine enzymes and zymogen secretion were found to undergo synchronized daily fluctuations at high amplitudes. These results suggest that maternal cues influence the fetal liver, despite the fact that we did not detect circadian rhythms of canonical clock gene expression in the fetal liver. These results raise important questions on the role of the circadian clock, or lack thereof, during ontogeny.
Microarray transcriptome analyses of fetal mouse liver did not detect circadian expression rhythms of clock genes or clock-controlled genes, although some rhythmic transcripts that were likely not driven by endogenous cellular clocks were identified. This finding reveals a key distinction between the circadian oscillators in fetal and adult mouse livers. Thus, in this study, the transcriptomes of fetal and adult livers were systematically compared to identify differences in the gene expression profiles between these two developmental stages. Approximately 1000 transcripts were differentially enriched between the fetal and adult livers. These transcripts represent genes with cellular functions characteristic of distinct developmental stages. Clock genes were also differentially expressed between the fetal and adult livers. Developmental differences in liver gene expression might have contributed to the differences in oscillation status and functional states of the cellular circadian clock between fetal and adult livers.
NIR was identified as an inhibitor of histone acetyltransferase and it represses transcriptional activation of p53. NIR is predominantly localized in the nucleolus and known as Noc2p, which is involved in the maturation of the 60S ribosomal subunit. However, how NIR functions in the nucleolus remains undetermined. In the nucleolus, a 47S ribosomal RNA precursor (pre-rRNA) is transcribed and processed to produce 18S, 5.8S and 28S rRNAs. The 18S rRNA is incorporated into the 40S ribosomal subunit, whereas the 28S and 5.8S rRNAs are incorporated into the 60S subunit. U3 small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) directs 18S rRNA processing and U8 snoRNA mediates processing of 28S and 5.8 S rRNAs. Functional disruption of nucleolus often causes p53 activation to inhibit cell proliferation.
Western blotting showed that NIR is ubiquitously expressed in different human cell lines. Knock-down of NIR by siRNA led to inhibition of the 18S, 28S and 5.8S rRNAs evaluated by pulse-chase experiment. Pre-rRNA particles (pre-rRNPs) were fractionated from the nucleus by sucrose gradient centrifugation and analysis of the pre-RNPs components showed that NIR existed in the pre-RNPs of both the 60S and 40S subunits and co-fractionated with 32S and 12S pre-rRNAs in the 60S pre-rRNP. Protein-RNA binding experiments demonstrated that NIR is associated with the 32S pre-rRNA and U8 snoRNA. In addition, NIR bound U3 snoRNA. It is a novel finding that depletion of NIR did not affect p53 protein level but de-repressed acetylation of p53 and activated p21.
We provide the first evidence for a transcriptional repressor to function in the rRNA biogenesis of both the 40S and 60S subunits. Our findings also suggested that a nucleolar protein may alternatively signal to p53 by affecting the p53 modification rather than affecting p53 protein level.
Lambda-1 interferon (IFN-λ1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) were reported to play an important role in host antiviral defense. However, the mechanism by which IFN-λ1 and COX2 are activated and modulated during viral infection remains unclear. In this study, we found that expression of both circulating IFN-λ1 and COX2-derived prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) was coordinately elevated in a cohort of influenza patients compared to healthy individuals. Expression of IFN-λ1 was blocked by a selective COX2 inhibitor during influenza A virus infection in A549 human lung epithelial cells but enhanced by overexpression of COX2, indicating that the production of IFN-λ1 is COX2 dependent. COX2 was able to increase IFN-λ1 expression by promoting NF-κB binding to the enhancer in the IFN-λ1 promoter. We found that epigenetic changes activate COX2 expression and PGE2 accumulation during viral infection. The expression of DNA methyltransferase 3a (DNMT3a) and DNMT3b, but not that of DNMT1, was downregulated following influenza A virus infection in both A549 cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). We showed that microRNA miR29 suppresses DNMT activity and thus induces expression of COX2 and PGE2. Furthermore, miR29 expression was elevated 50-fold in virally infected A549 cells and 10-fold in PBMCs from influenza patients, compared to expression after mock infection of A549 cells or in healthy individuals, respectively. Activation of the protein kinase A signaling pathway and phosphorylation of CREB1 also contributed to COX2 expression. Collectively, our work defines a novel proinflammatory cascade in the control of influenza A virus infection.
A family of palladium allyl complexes of the type bis(2-methylallyl)Pd(L) (L = PMe3 (1), PEt3 (2), PPh3 (3) or NHC (4); NHC = 1,3-Bis(2,6-diisopropylphenyl)-1,3-dihydro-2H-imidazol-2-ylidene) have been prepared through the reaction of bis(2-methylallyl)Pd with the appropriate free ligand. Compounds 1–4 contain one η1 and one η3-2-methylallyl ligand and 3 was characterized by X-ray crystallography. These complexes react rapidly with CO2 at low temperature to form well defined unidentate palladium carboxylates of the type (η3-2-methylallyl)Pd(OC(O)C4H7)(L) (L = PMe3 (6), PEt3 (7), PPh3 (8) or NHC (9). The structure of 9 was elucidated using X-ray crystallography. The mechanism of the reaction of 1–4 with CO2 was probed using a combination of experimental and theoretical (density functional theory) studies. The coordination mode of the allyl ligand is crucial and whereas nucleophilic η1-allyls react rapidly with CO2, η3-allyls do not react. We propose that the reaction of η1-palladium allyls with CO2 does not proceed via direct insertion of CO2 into the Pd-C bond but through nucleophilic attack of the terminal olefin on electrophilic CO2, followed by an associative substitution at palladium.
Recent outbreaks of human enterovirus 71 (EV71) infection and EV71-associated hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in China have affected millions and potentially lead to life-threatening complications in newborns. Furthermore, these outbreaks represent a significant global public health issue in the world. Understanding the epidemiology of HFMD and EV71 infection and their transmission patterns in China is essential for controlling outbreaks. However, no studies on the outbreaks of HFMD and EV71 infection in China during 2010 have been reported. In this report, we carried out an epidemiological analysis to study an outbreak of HFMD and EV71 infection in 2010 in the city of Nanchang in the Jiangxi province of People's Republic of China. From April 7 to May 11, 2010, a total of 109 HFMD cases were reported, and in this report the HFMD cases were studied by both epidemiological and laboratory analyses. The epidemiological study indicates that children aged younger than 8 years old represented more than 90% of the reported cases, with the age group of 1–3 years containing the highest number of cases. Laboratory studies detected a high prevalence of EV71 amongst the cases in our study, suggesting EV71 as a common enterovirus found in HFMD cases in Nanchang. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequence of the VP1 region of four EV71 isolates indicated that the Nanchang strains belong to the C4 subgenotype commonly found in China during outbreaks in 2008 but contain distinct variations from these strains. Our study for the first time characterizes the epidemiology of HFMD and EV71 infection in China in 2010 and furthermore, provides the first direct evidence of the genotype of EV71 circulating in Nanchang, China. Our study should facilitate the development of public health measures for the control and prevention of HFMD and EV71 infection in at-risk individuals in China.
RNA silencing, mediated by small RNAs including microRNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), is a potent antiviral or antibacterial mechanism, besides regulating normal cellular gene expression critical for development and physiology. To gain insights into host small RNA metabolism under infections by different viruses, we used Solexa/Illumina deep sequencing to characterize the small RNA profiles of rice plants infected by two distinct viruses, Rice dwarf virus (RDV, dsRNA virus) and Rice stripe virus (RSV, a negative sense and ambisense RNA virus), respectively, as compared with those from non-infected plants. Our analyses showed that RSV infection enhanced the accumulation of some rice miRNA*s, but not their corresponding miRNAs, as well as accumulation of phased siRNAs from a particular precursor. Furthermore, RSV infection also induced the expression of novel miRNAs in a phased pattern from several conserved miRNA precursors. In comparison, no such changes in host small RNA expression was observed in RDV-infected rice plants. Significantly RSV infection elevated the expression levels of selective OsDCLs and OsAGOs, whereas RDV infection only affected the expression of certain OsRDRs. Our results provide a comparative analysis, via deep sequencing, of changes in the small RNA profiles and in the genes of RNA silencing machinery induced by different viruses in a natural and economically important crop host plant. They uncover new mechanisms and complexity of virus-host interactions that may have important implications for further studies on the evolution of cellular small RNA biogenesis that impact pathogen infection, pathogenesis, as well as organismal development.
Small RNA-mediated RNA silencing is a widespread antiviral or antibacterial mechanism in different organisms. Although the host and pathogen factors involved in this mode of host defense and pathogen counter-defense have been extensively investigated, much less is known about how a pathogen alters the small RNA metabolism in a host. To help fill this knowledge gap, we first used deep sequencing to characterize the miRNA and siRNA profiles of rice plants infected by two distinct viruses, Rice dwarf virus (RDV) and Rice stripe virus (RSV), respectively. Our analyses showed that these two viruses had distinct impacts on rice small RNA metabolism. More significantly, RSV infection, but not RDV infection, enhanced the accumulation of some rice miRNA*s from conserved miRNA precursors and accumulation of phased siRNAs from a particular precursor. Furthermore, RSV infection also induced the expression of novel phased miRNAs from several conserved miRNA precursors. While RSV infection significantly elevated the expression of certain OsDCLs and OsAGOs, RDV infection only affected the expression of certain OsRDRs. These data uncover new mechanisms of virus-host interactions that affect host small RNA metabolism.
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare cutaneous tumor and cases located in the eyelid have been described, but still its rarity may lead to difficulty in diagnosis and delay in treatment. A 51-year-old female patient that presented with large lesions in the eyelid underwent surgery after the diagnosis of acute chalazion. Following respiratory distress secondary to pulmonary metastasis, the patient's condition deteriorated and was not fit for complete excision treatment. Histopathological investigation of the biopsies, taken from the tumor, revealed that it was undifferentiated small cell carcinoma. Our aim with this paper is to point out that more cases should be reported for more effective diagnosis, histopathological study, clinical investigation, treatment and prognosis of this specific neoplasm.
Merkel cell carcinoma; eyelid tumor; diagnosis; histopatholog
Numerous studies have shown that nitrogen (N) deposition decreases biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems. To explain the N-induced species loss, three functionally based hypotheses have been proposed: the aboveground competition hypothesis, the belowground competition hypothesis, and the total competition hypothesis. However, none of them is supported sufficiently by field experiments. A main challenge to testing these hypotheses is to ascertain the role of shoot and root competition in controlling plant responses to N enrichment. Simultaneously examining both aboveground and belowground responses in natural ecosystems is logistically complex, and has rarely been done.
In a two-year N addition experiment conducted in a natural grassland ecosystem, we investigated both above- and belowground responses of plants at the individual, species, and community levels. Plants differed significantly in their responses to N addition across the different organizational levels. The community-level species loss was mainly due to the loss of perennial grasses and forbs, while the relative abundance of plant species was dependent mainly on individual-level responses. Plasticity in biomass allocation was much smaller within a species than between species, providing a biological basis for explaining the functionally based species loss. All species increased biomass allocation to aboveground parts, but species with high belowground allocations were replaced by those with high aboveground allocations, indicating that the increased aboveground competition was the key process responsible for the observed diversity loss after N addition in this grassland ecosystem.
Our findings shed new light on the validity of the three competing hypotheses concerning species loss in response to N enrichment. They also have important implications for predicting the future impacts of N deposition on the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. In addition, we have developed a new technique for ascertaining the roles of aboveground and belowground competition in determining plant responses to N fertilization.
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major etiological factor of inflammation and damage to the liver resulting in hepatocellular carcinoma. Transcription factors play important roles in the disordered gene expression and liver injury caused by HBV. However, the molecular mechanisms behind this observation have not been defined.
In this study, we observed that circulating prostaglandin (PGE) 2 synthesis was increased in patients with chronic hepatitis B infection, and detected elevated cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression in HBV- and HBx-expressing liver cells. Likewise, the association of HBx with C/EBPβ contributed to the induction of COX-2. The COX-2 promoter was hypomethylated in HBV-positive cells, and specific demethylation of CpG dinucleotides within each of the two NF-AT sites in the COX-2 promoter resulted in the increased binding affinity of NF-AT to the cognate sites in the promoter, followed by increased COX-2 expression and PGE2 accumulation. The DNA methylatransferase DNMT3B played a key role in the methylation of the COX-2 promoter, and its decreased binding to the promoter was responsible for the regional demethylation of CpG sites, and for the increased binding of transcription factors in HBV-positive cells.
Our results indicate that upregulation of COX-2 by HBV and HBx is mediated by both demethylation events and recruitment of multiple transcription factors binding to the promoter.