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1.  Mechanisms of Nerve Capping Technique in Prevention of Painful Neuroma Formation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93973.
Nerve capping techniques have been introduced as a promising treatment modality for the treatment of painful neuroma with varied outcomes; however, its exact mechanism is still unknown. RhoA is one of the members of the RAS superfamily of GTPases that operate as molecular switches and plays an important role in peripheral nerve regeneration. Our aim was to investigate the structural and morphologic mechanisms by which the nerve capping technique prevents the formation of painful neuromas after neuroectomy. We also hoped to provide a theoretical basis for this treatment approach. An aligned nanofiber conduit was used for the capping procedure and the sciatic nerve of Sprague-Dawley rats was selected as the animal model. Behavioral analysis, extent of neuroma formation, histological assessment, expressions of pain markers of substance P and c-fos, molecular biological changes as well as ultrastructural features were investigated and compared with the findings in a no-capping control group. The formation of traumatic neuromas was significantly inhibited in the capping group with relatively “normal” structural and morphological features and no occurrence of autotomy and significantly lower expression of pain markers compared to the no-capping group. The gene expression of RhoA was consistently in a higher level in the capping group within 8 weeks after surgery. This study shows that capping technique will alter the regeneration state of transected nerves and reduce painful neuroma formation, indicating a promising approach for the treatment of painful neuroma. The initiation of the “regenerative brake” induced by structural as well as morphological improvements in the severed nerve is theorized to be most likely a key mechanism for the capping technique in the prevention of painful neuroma formation.
PMCID: PMC3976365  PMID: 24705579
2.  DNA targeting specificity of RNA-guided Cas9 nucleases 
Nature biotechnology  2013;31(9):827-832.
The Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 (SpCas9) nuclease can be efficiently targeted to genomic loci by means of singleguide RNAs (sgRNAs) to enable genome editing1–10. Here, we characterize SpCas9 targeting specificity in human cells to inform the selection of target sites and avoid off-target effects. Our study evaluates >700 guide RNA variants and SpCas9-induced indel mutation levels at >100 predicted genomic off-target loci in 293T and 293FT cells. We find that SpCas9 tolerates mismatches between guide RNA and target DNA at different positions in a sequence-dependent manner, sensitive to the number, position and distribution of mismatches. We also show that SpCas9-mediated cleavage is unaffected by DNA methylation and that the dosage of SpCas9 and sgRNA can be titrated to minimize off-target modification. To facilitate mammalian genome engineering applications, we provide a web-based software tool to guide the selection and validation of target sequences as well as off-target analyses.
PMCID: PMC3969858  PMID: 23873081
3.  One-Step Generation of Mice Carrying Mutations in Multiple Genes by CRISPR/Cas-Mediated Genome Engineering 
Cell  2013;153(4):910-918.
Mice carrying mutations in multiple genes are traditionally generated by sequential recombination in embryonic stem cells and/or time-consuming intercrossing of mice with a single mutation. The CRISPR/Cas system has been adapted as an efficient gene-targeting technology with the potential for multiplexed genome editing. We demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas-mediated gene editing allows the simultaneous disruption of five genes (Tet1, 2, 3, Sry, Uty - 8 alleles) in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells with high efficiency. Coinjection of Cas9 mRNA and single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs) targeting Tet1 and Tet2 into zygotes generated mice with biallelic mutations in both genes with an efficiency of 80%. Finally, we show that coinjection of Cas9 mRNA/sgRNAs with mutant oligos generated precise point mutations simultaneously in two target genes. Thus, the CRISPR/Cas system allows the one-step generation of animals carrying mutations in multiple genes, an approach that will greatly accelerate the in vivo study of functionally redundant genes and of epistatic gene interactions.
PMCID: PMC3969854  PMID: 23643243
4.  Parvalbumin neurons and gamma rhythms enhance cortical circuit performance 
Nature  2009;459(7247):698-702.
Synchronized oscillations and inhibitory interneurons have important and interconnected roles within cortical microcircuits. In particular, interneurons defined by the fast-spiking phenotype and expression of the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin1,2 have been suggested to be involved in gamma (30–80 Hz) oscillations3–7, which are hypothesized to enhance information processing8,9. However, because parvalbumin interneurons cannot be selectively controlled, definitive tests of their functional significance in gamma oscillations, and quantitative assessment of the impact of parvalbumin interneurons and gamma oscillations on cortical circuits, have been lacking despite potentially enormous significance (for example, abnormalities in parvalbumin interneurons may underlie altered gamma-frequency synchronization and cognition in schizophrenia10 and autism11). Here we use a panel of optogenetic technologies12–14 in mice to selectively modulate multiple distinct circuit elements in neocortex, alone or in combination. We find that inhibiting parvalbumin interneurons suppresses gamma oscillations in vivo, whereas driving these interneurons (even by means of non-rhythmic principal cell activity) is sufficient to generate emergent gamma-frequency rhythmicity. Moreover, gamma-frequency modulation of excitatory input in turn was found to enhance signal transmission in neocortex by reducing circuit noise and amplifying circuit signals, including inputs to parvalbumin interneurons. As demonstrated here, optogenetics opens the door to a new kind of informational analysis of brain function, permitting quantitative delineation of the functional significance of individual elements in the emergent operation and function of intact neural circuitry.
PMCID: PMC3969859  PMID: 19396159
5.  Genome engineering using the CRISPR-Cas9 system 
Nature protocols  2013;8(11):2281-2308.
Targeted nucleases are powerful tools for mediating genome alteration with high precision. The RNA-guided Cas9 nuclease from the microbial clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) adaptive immune system can be used to facilitate efficient genome engineering in eukaryotic cells by simply specifying a 20-nt targeting sequence within its guide RNA. Here we describe a set of tools for Cas9-mediated genome editing via nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) or homology-directed repair (HDR) in mammalian cells, as well as generation of modified cell lines for downstream functional studies. to minimize off-target cleavage, we further describe a double-nicking strategy using the Cas9 nickase mutant with paired guide RNAs. This protocol provides experimentally derived guidelines for the selection of target sites, evaluation of cleavage efficiency and analysis of off-target activity. Beginning with target design, gene modifications can be achieved within as little as 1–2 weeks, and modified clonal cell lines can be derived within 2–3 weeks.
PMCID: PMC3969860  PMID: 24157548
6.  Apoptosis of THP-1 Derived Macrophages Induced by Sonodynamic Therapy Using a New Sonosensitizer Hydroxyl Acetylated Curcumin 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e93133.
Curcumin is extracted from the rhizomes of the traditional Chinese herb Curcuma longa. Our previous study indicated curcumin was able to function as a sonosensitizer. Hydroxyl acylated curcumin was synthesized from curcumin to eliminate the unstable hydroxy perssad in our group. The potential use of Hydroxyl acylated curcumin as a sonosensitizer for sonodynamic therapy (SDT) requires further exploration. This study investigated the sonodynamic effect of Hydroxyl acylated curcumin on THP-1 macrophage. THP-1 macrophages were cultured with Hydroxyl acylated curcumin at a concentration of 5.0 μg/mL for 4 hours and then exposed to pulse ultrasound irradiation (0.5 W/cm2 with 1.0 MHz ) for 5 min, 10 min and 15 min. Six hours later, cell viability decreased significantly by CCK-8 assay. After ultrasound irradiation, the ratio of apoptosis and necrosis in SDT group was higher than that in control, Hydroxyl acylated curcumin alone and ultrasound alone. Moreover, the apoptotic rate was higher than necrotic rate with the flow cytometry analysis. Furthermore, Hydroxyl acylated curcumin-SDT induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in THP-1 macrophages immediately after the ultrasound treatment while ROS generation was reduced significantly with the scavenger of singlet oxygen Sodium azide (NaN3). Hydroxyl acylated curcumin-SDT led to a conspicuous loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) compared with other groups, while MMP was increased significantly with the scavenger of singlet oxygen Sodium azide (NaN3), ROS inhibitor N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and Mitochondrial Permeability Transition Pore (MPTP) inhibitor Cyclosporin A (CsA). The cytochrome C, cleaved-Caspase-9, cleaved-Caspase-3 and cleaved-PARP upregulated after SDT through Western blotting. These findings suggested that Hydroxyl acylated curcumin under low-intensity ultrasound had sonodynamic effect on THP-1 macrophages via generation of intracellular singlet oxygen and mitochondria-caspase signaling pathway, indicating that Hydroxyl acylated curcumin could be used as a novel sonosensitizer in SDT for atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3968056  PMID: 24676101
7.  Nanoroughened Surfaces for Efficient Capture of Circulating Tumor Cells without Using Capture Antibodies 
ACS nano  2012;7(1):566-575.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) detached from both primary and metastatic lesions represent a potential alternative to invasive biopsies as a source of tumor tissue for the detection, characterization and monitoring of cancers. Here we report a simple yet effective strategy for capturing CTCs without using capture antibodies. Our method uniquely utilized the differential adhesion preference of cancer cells to nanorough surfaces when compared to normal blood cells and thus did not depend on their physical size or surface protein expression, a significant advantage as compared to other existing CTC capture techniques.
PMCID: PMC3962680  PMID: 23194329
Cancer; circulating tumor cell; nanotopography; biomaterials; microfabrication
8.  RNF111-dependent neddylation activates DNA damage-induced ubiquitination 
Molecular cell  2013;49(5):897-907.
Ubiquitin-like proteins have been shown to be covalently conjugated to targets. However, the functions of these ubiquitin-like proteins are largely unknown. Here, we have screened most known ubiquitin-like proteins after DNA damage and found that NEDD8 is involved in the DNA damage response. Following various DNA damage stimuli, NEDD8 accumulated at DNA damage sites, and this accumulation was dependent on an E2 enzyme UBE2M and an E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF111. We further found that histone H4 was polyneddylated in response to DNA damage, and NEDD8 was conjugated to the N-terminal lysine residues of H4. Interestingly, the DNA damage-induced polyneddylation chain could be recognized by the MIU (Motif Interacting with Ubiquitin) domain of RNF168. Loss of DNA damage-induced neddylation negatively regulated DNA damage-induced foci formation of RNF168 and its downstream functional partners, such as 53BP1 and BRCA1, thus affecting the normal DNA damage repair process.
PMCID: PMC3595365  PMID: 23394999
9.  Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) Is a Candidate Signaling Molecule in the Mitochondria-to-Nucleus Retrograde Response Pathway 
Genes  2013;4(1):86-100.
Intracellular communication from the mitochondria to the nucleus is achieved via the retrograde response. In budding yeast, the retrograde response, also known as the RTG pathway, is regulated positively by Rtg1, Rtg2, Rtg3 and Grr1 and negatively by Mks1, Lst8 and two 14-3-3 proteins, Bmh1/2. Activation of retrograde signaling leads to activation of Rtg1/3, two basic helix-loop-helix leucine zipper transcription factors. Rtg1/3 activation requires Rtg2, a cytoplasmic protein with an N-terminal adenosine triphosphate (ATP) binding domain belonging to the actin/Hsp70/sugar kinase superfamily. The critical regulatory step of the retrograde response is the interaction between Rtg2 and Mks1. Rtg2 binds to and inactivates Mks1, allowing for activation of Rtg1/3 and the RTG pathway. When the pathway is inactive, Mks1 has dissociated from Rtg2 and bound to Bmh1/2, preventing activation of Rtg1/3. What signals association or disassociation of Mks1 and Rtg2 is unknown. Here, we show that ATP at physiological concentrations dissociates Mks1 from Rtg2 in a highly cooperative fashion. We report that ATP-mediated dissociation of Mks1 from Rtg2 is conserved in two other fungal species, K. lactis and K. waltii. Activation of Rtg1/3 upregulates expression of genes encoding enzymes catalyzing the first three reactions of the Krebs cycle, which is coupled to ATP synthesis through oxidative phosphorylation. Therefore, we propose that the retrograde response is an ATP homeostasis pathway coupling ATP production with ATP-mediated repression of the retrograde response by releasing Mks1 from Rtg2.
PMCID: PMC3899953  PMID: 24605246
retrograde response; mitochondria to nucleus signaling; Rtg2; Mks1; ATP sensing; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; K. lactis; K. waltii
10.  Optical Control of Mammalian Endogenous Transcription and Epigenetic States 
Nature  2013;500(7463):10.1038/nature12466.
The dynamic nature of gene expression enables cellular programming, homeostasis, and environmental adaptation in living systems. Dissection of causal gene functions in cellular and organismal processes therefore necessitates approaches that enable spatially and temporally precise modulation of gene expression. Recently, a variety of microbial and plant-derived light-sensitive proteins have been engineered as optogenetic actuators, enabling high precision spatiotemporal control of many cellular functions1-11. However, versatile and robust technologies that enable optical modulation of transcription in the mammalian endogenous genome remain elusive. Here, we describe the development of Light-Inducible Transcriptional Effectors (LITEs), an optogenetic two-hybrid system integrating the customizable TALE DNA-binding domain12-14 with the light-sensitive cryptochrome 2 protein and its interacting partner CIB1 from Arabidopsis thaliana. LITEs do not require additional exogenous chemical co-factors, are easily customized to target many endogenous genomic loci, and can be activated within minutes with reversibility3,4,6,7,15. LITEs can be packaged into viral vectors and genetically targeted to probe specific cell populations. We have applied this system in primary mouse neurons, as well as in the brain of awake mice in vivo to mediate reversible modulation of mammalian endogenous gene expression as well as targeted epigenetic chromatin modifications. The LITE system establishes a novel mode of optogenetic control of endogenous cellular processes and enables direct testing of the causal roles of genetic and epigenetic regulation in normal biological processes and disease states.
PMCID: PMC3856241  PMID: 23877069
11.  Replicative mechanisms of CNV formation preferentially occur as intrachromosomal events: evidence from Potocki–Lupski duplication syndrome 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;22(4):749-756.
Copy number variations (CNVs) in the human genome contribute significantly to disease. De novo CNV mutations arise via genomic rearrangements, which can occur in ‘trans’, i.e. via interchromosomal events, or in ‘cis’, i.e. via intrachromosomal events. However, what molecular mechanisms occur between chromosomes versus between or within chromatids has not been systematically investigated. We hypothesized that distinct CNV mutational mechanisms, based on their intrinsic properties, may occur in a biased intrachromosomal versus interchromosomal manner. Here, we studied 62 genomic duplications observed in association with sporadic Potocki–Lupski syndrome (PTLS), in which multiple mutational mechanisms appear to be operative. Intriguingly, more interchromosomal than intrachromosomal events were identified in recurrent PTLS duplications mediated by non-allelic homologous recombination, whereas the reciprocal distribution was found for replicative mechanisms and non-homologous end-joining, likely reflecting the differences in spacial proximity of homologous chromosomes during different mutational processes.
PMCID: PMC3554201  PMID: 23161748
12.  A TALEN genome editing system to generate human stem cell-based disease models 
Cell stem cell  2012;12(2):238-251.
Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) are a new class of engineered nucleases that are easier to design to cleave at desired sites in a genome than previous types of nucleases. We report the use of TALENs to rapidly and efficiently generate mutant alleles of 15 genes in cultured somatic cells or human pluripotent stem cells, the latter of which we differentiated both the targeted lines and isogenic control lines into various metabolic cell types. We demonstrate cell-autonomous phenotypes directly linked to disease—dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, hypoglycemia, lipodystrophy, motor neuron death, and hepatitis C infection. We find little evidence of TALEN off-target effects, but each clonal line nevertheless harbors a significant number of unique mutations. Given the speed and ease with which we were able to derive and characterize these cell lines, we anticipate TALEN-mediated genome editing of human cells becoming a mainstay for the investigation of human biology and disease.
PMCID: PMC3570604  PMID: 23246482
13.  Validating and Improving Interrill Erosion Equations 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88275.
Existing interrill erosion equations based on mini-plot experiments have largely ignored the effects of slope length and plot size on interrill erosion rate. This paper describes a series of simulated rainfall experiments which were conducted according to a randomized factorial design for five slope lengths (0.4, 0.8, 1.2, 1.6, and 2 m) at a width of 0.4 m, five slope gradients (17%, 27%, 36%, 47%, and 58%), and five rainfall intensities (48, 62.4, 102, 149, and 170 mm h−1) to perform a systematic validation of existing interrill erosion equations based on mini-plots. The results indicated that the existing interrill erosion equations do not adequately describe the relationships between interrill erosion rate and its influencing factors with increasing slope length and rainfall intensity. Univariate analysis of variance showed that runoff rate, rainfall intensity, slope gradient, and slope length had significant effects on interrill erosion rate and that their interactions were significant at p = 0.01. An improved interrill erosion equation was constructed by analyzing the relationships of sediment concentration with rainfall intensity, slope length, and slope gradient. In the improved interrill erosion equation, the runoff rate and slope factor are the same as in the interrill erosion equation in the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP), with the weight of rainfall intensity adjusted by an exponent of 0.22 and a slope length term added with an exponent of −0.25. Using experimental data from WEPP cropland soil field interrill erodibility experiments, it has been shown that the improved interrill erosion equation describes the relationship between interrill erosion rate and runoff rate, rainfall intensity, slope gradient, and slope length reasonably well and better than existing interrill erosion equations.
PMCID: PMC3916424  PMID: 24516624
14.  C1–2 transarticular screws combined with C1 laminar hooks fixation: a modified posterior atlantoaxial fixation technique and outcome in 72 patients 
European Spine Journal  2012;22(2):260-267.
To retrospectively evaluate the outcome of C1–2 transarticular screws combined with C1 laminar hooks fixation.
All patients underwent atlantoaxial fixation during a 5-year period. The surgical technique and treatment procedures were intensively reviewed and clinical symptoms, neurological function and imaging appearance were retrospectively evaluated.
The clinical and radiology follow-up indicated a stable arthrodesis and clinical relief from symptoms for all patients. All patients with neurological defects improved an average of 1.33 grade at their most recent clinical assessment, P < 0.05; their average admission ASIA motor score, pin prick score and light touch score improved to an average follow-up ASIA score of 99.80 (99.83 ± 0.38), 111.83 (111.83 ± 0.45), and 111.89 (111.89 ± 0.32), respectively. No neurovascular impairment and case of implant failure were observed.
The C1–2 transarticular screws combined with C1 laminar hooks fixation is a reliable technique for atlantoaxial instability.
PMCID: PMC3555612  PMID: 22903257
Cervical spine; Atlantoaxial articulation; Instability; Spinal fusion
15.  Suggestion of GLYAT gene underlying variation of bone size and body lean mass as revealed by a bivariate genome-wide association study 
Human genetics  2012;132(2):189-199.
Bone and muscle, two major tissue types of musculoskeletal system, have strong genetic determination. Abnormality in bone and/or muscle may cause musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoporosis and sarcopenia. Bone size phenotypes (BSPs), such as hip bone size (HBS), appendicular bone size (ABS), are genetically correlated with body lean mass (mainly muscle mass). However, the specific genes shared by these phenotypes are largely unknown. In this study, we aimed to identify the specific genes with pleiotropic effects on BSPs and appendicular lean mass (ALM).
We performed a bivariate genome-wide association study (GWAS) by analyzing ~690,000 SNPs in 1,627 unrelated Han Chinese adults (802 males and 825 females) followed by a replication study in 2,286 unrelated US Caucasians (558 males and 1728 females).
We identified 14 interesting single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that may contribute to variation of both BSPs and ALM, with p values <10−6 in discovery stage. Among them, the association of three SNPs (rs2507838, rs7116722, and rs11826261) in/near GLYAT (glycine-N-acyltransferase) gene was replicated in US Caucasians, with p values ranging from 1.89×10−3 to 3.71×10−4 for ALM-ABS, from 5.14×10−3 to 1.11×10−2 for ALM-HBS, respectively. Meta-analyses yielded stronger association signals for rs2507838, rs7116722, and rs11826261, with pooled p values of 1.68×10−8, 7.94×10−8, 6.80×10−8 for ALB-ABS and 1.22×10−4, 9.85×10−5, 3.96×10−4 for ALM-HBS, respectively. Haplotype allele ATA based on these three SNPs were also associated with ALM-HBS and ALM-ABS in both discovery and replication samples. Interestingly, GLYAT was previously found to be essential to glucose metabolism and energy metabolism, suggesting the gene’s dual role in both bone development and muscle growth.
Our findings, together with the prior biological evidence, suggest the importance of GLYAT gene in co-regulation of bone phenotypes and body lean mass.
PMCID: PMC3682481  PMID: 23108985
Bivariate GWAS; Bone size; Lean mass; GLYAT
16.  Stability and cytotoxicity of angiotensin-I-converting enzyme inhibitory peptides derived from bovine casein*  
This study investigated the effect of heat treatment combined with acid and alkali on the angiotensin-I-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory activity of peptides derived from bovine casein. The free amino group content, color, and cytotoxicity of the peptides were measured under different conditions. When heated at 100 °C in the pH range from 9.0 to 12.0, ACE inhibitory activity was reduced and the appearance of the peptides was significantly darkened. After thermal treatment in the presence of acid and alkali, the free amino group content of ACE inhibitory peptides decreased markedly. High temperature and prolonged heating also resulted in the loss of ACE inhibitory activity, the loss of free amino groups, and the darker coloration of bovine casein-derived peptides. However, ACE inhibitory peptides, within a concentration range of from 0.01 to 0.2 mg/ml, showed no cytotoxicity to Caco-2 and ECV-304 cell lines after heat treatment. This indicated that high temperature and alkaline heat treatment impaired the stability of bovine casein-derived ACE inhibitory peptides.
PMCID: PMC3924390  PMID: 24510707
Angiotensin-I-converting enzyme inhibitory peptide; Heat treatment; Stability; Cytotoxicity
17.  The Potential and Flux Landscape Theory of Ecology 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86746.
The species in ecosystems are mutually interacting and self sustainable stable for a certain period. Stability and dynamics are crucial for understanding the structure and the function of ecosystems. We developed a potential and flux landscape theory of ecosystems to address these issues. We show that the driving force of the ecological dynamics can be decomposed to the gradient of the potential landscape and the curl probability flux measuring the degree of the breaking down of the detailed balance (due to in or out flow of the energy to the ecosystems). We found that the underlying intrinsic potential landscape is a global Lyapunov function monotonically going down in time and the topology of the landscape provides a quantitative measure for the global stability of the ecosystems. We also quantified the intrinsic energy, the entropy, the free energy and constructed the non-equilibrium thermodynamics for the ecosystems. We studied several typical and important ecological systems: the predation, competition, mutualism and a realistic lynx-snowshoe hare model. Single attractor, multiple attractors and limit cycle attractors emerge from these studies. We studied the stability and robustness of the ecosystems against the perturbations in parameters and the environmental fluctuations. We also found that the kinetic paths between the multiple attractors do not follow the gradient paths of the underlying landscape and are irreversible because of the non-zero flux. This theory provides a novel way for exploring the global stability, function and the robustness of ecosystems.
PMCID: PMC3907570  PMID: 24497975
18.  Genome-wide CNV analysis in mouse induced pluripotent stem cells reveals dosage effect of pluripotent factors on genome integrity 
BMC Genomics  2014;15:79.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from somatic cells have enormous potential for clinical applications. Notably, it was recently reported that reprogramming from somatic cells to iPSCs can induce genomic copy number variation (CNV), which is one of the major genetic causes of human diseases. However it was unclear if this genome instability is dependent on reprogramming methods and/or the genetic background of donor cells. Furthermore, genome-wide CNV analysis is technically challenging and CNV data need to be interpreted with care.
In order to carefully investigate the possible CNV instability during somatic reprogramming, we performed genome-wide CNV analyses with 41 mouse iPSC lines generated from the same parental donor; therefore, the donor’s genetic background can be controlled. Different reprogramming factor combinations and dosages were used for investigating potential method-dependent effects on genome integrity. We detected 63 iPSC CNVs using high-resolution comparative genomic hybridization. Intriguingly, CNV rates were negatively associated with the dosages of classic factor(s). Furthermore, the use of high-performance engineered factors led to less CNVs than the classic factor(s) of the same dosage.
Our observations suggest that sufficient reprogramming force can protect the genome from CNV instability during the reprogramming process.
PMCID: PMC3912500  PMID: 24472662
CNV; Genome integrity; Induced pluripotent stem cell; Reprogramming factor; Reprogramming kinetics
19.  Identification of Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium) Self-Incompatibility 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:625658.
There has been a heated argument over self-incompatibilityof chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium) among chrysanthemum breeders. In order to solve the argument, we investigated pistil receptivity, seed set, and compatible index of 24 chrysanthemum cultivars. It was found that the 24 cultivars averagely had 3.7–36.3 pollen grains germinating on stigmas at 24 hours after self-pollination through the fluorescence microscope using aniline blue staining method. However, only 10 of them produced self-pollinated seeds, and their seed sets and compatible indexes were 0.03–56.50% and 0.04–87.50, respectively. The cultivar “Q10-33-1” had the highest seed set (56.50%) and compatible index (87.50), but ten of its progeny had a wide range of separation in seed set (0–37.23%) and compatible index (0–68.65). The results indicated that most of chrysanthemum cultivars were self-incompatible, while a small proportion of cultivars were self-compatible. In addition, there is a comprehensive separation of self-incompatibility among progeny from the same self-pollinated self-compatible chrysanthemum cultivar. Therefore, it is better to emasculate inflorescences during chrysanthemum hybridization breeding when no information concerning its self-incompatibility characteristics is available. However, if it is self-incompatible and propagated by vegetative methods, it is unnecessary to carry out emasculation when it is used as a female plant during hybridization breeding.
PMCID: PMC3925557  PMID: 24592176
20.  Has Pollination Mode Shaped the Evolution of Ficus Pollen? 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86231.
The extent to which co-evolutionary processes shape morphological traits is one of the most fascinating topics in evolutionary biology. Both passive and active pollination modes coexist in the fig tree (Ficus, Moraceae) and fig wasp (Agaonidae, Hymenoptera) mutualism. This classic obligate relationship that is about 75 million years old provides an ideal system to consider the role of pollination mode shifts on pollen evolution.
Methods and Main Findings
Twenty-five fig species, which cover all six Ficus subgenera, and are native to the Xishuangbanna region of southwest China, were used to investigate pollen morphology with scanning electron microscope (SEM). Pollination mode was identified by the Anther/Ovule ratio in each species. Phylogenetic free regression and a correlated evolution test between binary traits were conducted based on a strong phylogenetic tree. Seventeen of the 25 fig species were actively pollinated and eight species were passively pollinated. Three pollen shape types and three kinds of exine ornamentation were recognized among these species. Pollen grains with ellipsoid shape and rugulate ornamentation were dominant. Ellipsoid pollen occurred in all 17 species of actively pollinated figs, while for the passively pollinated species, two obtuse end shapes were identified: cylinder and sphere shapes were identified in six of the eight species. All passively pollinated figs presented rugulate ornamentation, while for actively pollinated species, the smoother types - psilate and granulate-rugulate ornamentations - accounted for just five and two among the 17 species, respectively. The relationship between pollen shape and pollination mode was shown by both the phylogenetic free regression and the correlated evolution tests.
Three pollen shape and ornamentation types were found in Ficus, which show characteristics related to passive or active pollination mode. Thus, the pollen shape is very likely shaped by pollination mode in this unique obligate mutualism.
PMCID: PMC3900511  PMID: 24465976
21.  Quantitative Assessment of the Influence of TP63 Gene Polymorphisms and Lung Cancer Risk: Evidence Based on 93,751 Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87004.
Several genome-wide association studies on lung cancer (LC) have reported similar findings of a new susceptibility locus, 3q28. After that, a number of studies reported that the rs10937405, and rs4488809 polymorphism in chromosome 3q28 has been implicated in LC risk. However, the studies have yielded contradictory results.
PubMed, ISI web of science, EMBASE and the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure databases were systematically searched to identify relevant studies. Data were abstracted independently by two reviewers. A meta-analysis was performed to examine the association between rs10937405, rs4488809 polymorphism at 3q28 and susceptibility to LC. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated. Heterogeneity and publication bias were also tested.
A total of 9 studies including 35,961 LC cases and 57,790 controls were involved in this meta-analysis. An overall random-effects per-allele OR of1.19 (95% CI: 1.14–1.25; P<10−5) and 1.19 (95% CI: 1.13–1.25; P<10−5) was found for the rs10937405 and rs4488809 polymorphism respectively. Similar results were also observed using dominant or recessive genetic model. After stratified by ethnicity, significant associations were found among East Asians (per-allele OR = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.17–1.27; P<10−5); whereas no significant associations were found among Caucasians for rs10937405. In the sub-group analysis by sample size, significantly increased risks were found for these polymorphisms in all genetic models. When analyzed according to histological type, the effects of rs10937405, and rs4488809 at 3q28 on the risk of lung cancer were significant mostly for lung adenocarcinoma.
Our findings demonstrated that rs10937405-G allele and rs4488809-G allele might be risk-conferring factors for the development of lung cancer, especially for East Asian populations.
PMCID: PMC3900682  PMID: 24466311
22.  Critical Amino Acids within the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Envelope Glycoprotein V4 N- and C-Terminals Contribute to Virus Entry 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86083.
The importance of the fourth variable (V4) region of the human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein (Env) in virus infection has not been well clarified, though the polymorphism of this region has been found to be associated with disease progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). In the present work, we focused on the correlation between HIV-1 gp120 V4 region polymorphism and the function of the region on virus entry, and the possible mechanisms for how the V4 region contributes to virus infectivity. Therefore, we analyzed the differences in V4 sequences along with coreceptor usage preference from CCR5 to CXCR4 and examined the importance of the amino acids within the V4 region for CCR5- and CXCR4-tropic virus entry. In addition, we determined the influence of the V4 amino acids on Env expression and gp160 processing intracellularly, as well as the amount of Env on the pseudovirus surface. The results indicated that V4 tended to have a shorter length, fewer potential N-linked glycosylation sites (PNGS), greater evolutionary distance, and a lower negative net charge when HIV-1 isolates switched from a coreceptor usage preference for CCR5 to CXCR4. The N- and C-terminals of the HIV-1 V4 region are highly conserved and critical to maintain virus entry ability, but only the mutation at position 417 in the context of ADA (a R5-tropic HIV-1 strain) resulted in the ability to utilize CXCR4. In addition, 390L, 391F, 414I, and 416L are critical to maintain gp160 processing and maturation. It is likely that the hydrophobic properties and the electrostatic surface potential of gp120, rather than the conformational structure, greatly contribute to this V4 functionality. The findings provide information to aid in the understanding of the functions of V4 in HIV-1 entry and offer a potential target to aid in the development of entry inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3897638  PMID: 24465884
23.  Hand-Schüller-Christian Disease and Erdheim-Chester Disease: Coexistence and Discrepancy 
The Oncologist  2013;18(1):19-24.
Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) and Erdheim-Chester disease share similar clinical features and mechanisms; very rarely, the two diseases coexist in the same patient. This case report presents such a patient, who was first diagnosed with Hand-Schüller-Christian disease (HSC), a type of LCH.
CME Learning Objectives
Distinguish Erdheim-Chester disease from Langerhans cell histiocytosis.Cite the keys to diagnosis of Hand-Schüller-Christian disease in a patient with only central diabetes insipidus.List the signs linking a Hand-Schüller-Christian disease patient to coexisting ECD.
Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) and Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD) share similar clinical features and mechanisms. In very rare circumstances, the two diseases coexist in the same patient. Here we report such a patient, who was first diagnosed with Hand-Schüller-Christian disease (HSC), a type of LCH. Several years later, the patient presented with severe exophthalmos and osteosclerosis on radiograph. New biopsy revealed ECD. We also analyze 54 cases of LCH and 6 cases of ECD diagnosed in our hospital, as well as their progression during a follow-up period of 8 years. In five cases of HSC (9.3% of LCH), a triad of central diabetes insipidus, hyperprolactinemia, and pituitary stalk thickening on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) preceded the typical bone lesions by 4–9 years. In addition, LCH was featured as elevated plasma alkaline phosphatase (ALP), which was normal in ECD. Combined with a literature review, several features are summarized to differentiate ECD from HSC. In patients with diabetes insipidus, concomitant hyperprolactinemia and pituitary stalk thickening on MRI indicate a possible HSC. Additionally, if osteosclerosis is observed in a patient with LCH, the coexistence of ECD should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3556249  PMID: 23299772
Langerhans cell histiocytosis; Erdheim-Chester disease; Hand-Schüller-Christian disease; Central diabetes insipidus
24.  ATP induces mild hypothermia in rats but has a strikingly detrimental impact on focal cerebral ischemia 
Ischemic stroke is a devastating condition lacking effective therapies. A promising approach to attenuate ischemic injury is mild hypothermia. Recent studies show that adenosine nucleotides can induce hypothermia in mice. The purpose of the present study was to test the hypothesis that adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) induces mild hypothermia in rats and reduces ischemic brain injury. We found that intraperitoneal injections of ATP decreased core body temperature in a dose-dependent manner; the dose appropriate for mild hypothermia was 2 g/kg. When ATP-induced hypothermia was applied to stroke induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion, however, a neuroprotective effect was not observed. Instead, the infarct volume grew even larger in ATP-treated rats. This was accompanied by an increased rate of seizure events, hemorrhagic transformation, and higher mortality. Continuous monitoring of physiologic parameters revealed that ATP reduced heartbeat rate and blood pressure. ATP also increased blood glucose, accompanied by severe acidosis and hypocalcemia. Western blotting showed that ATP decreased levels of both phospho-Akt and total-Akt in the cortex. Our results reveal that, despite inducing hypothermia, ATP is not appropriate for protecting the brain against stroke. Instead, we show for the first time that ATP treatment is associated with exaggerated ischemic outcomes and dangerous systemic side effects.
PMCID: PMC3597371  PMID: 23072747
acidosis; ATP; brain ischemia; hyperglycemia; hypothermia
25.  Emerging Roles of Nrf2 and Phase II Antioxidant Enzymes in Neuroprotection 
Progress in neurobiology  2012;100:30-47.
Phase II metabolic enzymes are a battery of critical proteins that detoxify xenobiotics by increasing their hydrophilicity and enhancing their disposal. These enzymes have long been studied for their preventative and protective effects against mutagens and carcinogens and for their regulation via the Keap1 (Kelch-like ECH associated protein 1) / Nrf2 (Nuclear factor erythroid 2 related factor 2) / ARE (antioxidant response elements) pathway. Recently, a series of studies have reported the altered expression of phase II genes in postmortem tissue of patients with various neurological diseases. These observations hint at a role for phase II enzymes in the evolution of such conditions. Furthermore, promising findings reveal that overexpression of phase II genes, either by genetic or chemical approaches, confers neuroprotection in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, there is a need to summarize the current literature on phase II genes in the central nervous system (CNS). This should help guide future studies on phase II genes as therapeutic targets in neurological diseases. In this review, we first briefly introduce the concept of phase I, II and III enzymes, with a special focus on phase II enzymes. We then discuss their expression regulation, their inducers and executors. Following this background, we expand our discussion to the neuroprotective effects of phase II enzymes and the potential application of Nrf2 inducers to the treatment of neurological diseases.
PMCID: PMC3623606  PMID: 23025925
phase II genes; Keap1/Nrf2/ARE; inducers; effectors; acute neurological diseases; neurodegenerative diseases

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