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author:("Zhang, xiaoi")
1.  Use of a Pollen-Based Diet to Expose the Ladybird Beetle Propylea japonica to Insecticidal Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85395.
A rape seed pollen-based diet was developed and found to be suitable for use in a dietary exposure assay for Propylea japonica. Using the diet, we established and validated a dietary exposure assay by using the protease inhibitor E-64 as positive control. Dose-dependent responses were documented for all observed life-table parameters of P. japonica including survival, pupation and eclosion rates, development time and adult weight. Results suggested that the dietary assay can detect the effects of insecticidal compounds on the survival and development of P. japonica. Using the established dietary assay, we subsequently tested the toxicity of Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac and Cry1F proteins that are expressed by transgenic maize, cotton or rice plants to P. japonica larvae. The diet containing E-64 was included as a positive control. Survival and development of P. japonica larvae were not adversely affected when the diet contained purified Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, or Cry1F at 500 µg/g diet representing a worst-case exposure scenario. In contrast, P. japonica larvae were adversely affected when the diet contained E-64. The bioactivity and stability of the Cry proteins in the diet and Cry protein uptake by the ladybird larvae were confirmed by bioassay with a Cry-sensitive insect species and by ELISA. The current study describes a suitable experimental system for assessing the potential effects of gut-active insecticidal compounds on ladybird beetle larvae. The experiments with the Cry proteins demonstrate that P. japonica larvae are not sensitive to Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac and Cry1F.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085395
PMCID: PMC3883695  PMID: 24409328
2.  The role of APP and BACE1 trafficking in APP processing and amyloid-β generation 
Neuritic plaques in the brain are a major neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. They are formed by the deposition and aggregation of extracellular amyloid-β protein (Aβ). Aβ is derived from the sequential cleavage of amyloid-β precursor protein (APP) by β-secretase and γ-secretase. β-Site APP cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) functions as the primary, if not sole, β-secretase in vivo and is essential for Aβ production. Regulation of APP processing is a major focus of research into AD pathogenesis. The trafficking systems of APP and its cleavage enzymes are complex. Transporting APP and secretases into the same subcellular organelles facilitates their interaction and favors APP processing. The role of APP and BACE1 trafficking in the amyloidgenic pathway and the underlying mechanisms for Aβ production are discussed in this review. In addition, the distinct mechanisms of amino- and carboxy-terminal Aβ generation are reviewed.
doi:10.1186/alzrt211
PMCID: PMC3978418  PMID: 24103387
3.  Von Willebrand Factor Inhibits Mature Smooth Muscle Gene Expression through Impairment of Notch Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75808.
Von Willebrand factor (vWF), a hemostatic protein normally synthesized and stored by endothelial cells and platelets, has been localized beyond the endothelium in vascular disease states. Previous studies have implicated potential non-hemostatic functions of vWF, but signaling mechanisms underlying its effects are currently undefined. We present evidence that vWF breaches the endothelium and is expressed in a transmural distribution pattern in cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). To determine the potential molecular consequences of vWF permeation into the vessel wall, we also tested whether vWF impairs Notch regulation of key smooth muscle marker genes. In a co-culture system using Notch ligand expressing cells to stimulate Notch in A7R5 cells, vWF strongly inhibited both the Notch pathway and the activation of mature smooth muscle gene promoters. Similar repressive effects were observed in primary human cerebral vascular smooth muscle cells. Expression of the intracellular domain of NOTCH3 allowed cells to bypass the inhibitory effects of vWF. Moreover, vWF forms molecular complexes with all four mammalian Notch ectodomains, suggesting a novel function of vWF as an extracellular inhibitor of Notch signaling. In sum, these studies demonstrate vWF in the vessel wall as a common feature of cerebral SVD; furthermore, we provide a plausible mechanism by which non-hemostatic vWF may play a novel role in the promotion of vascular disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075808
PMCID: PMC3781053  PMID: 24086636
4.  Genetics of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: an update 
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder involving both upper motor neurons (UMN) and lower motor neurons (LMN). Enormous research has been done in the past few decades in unveiling the genetics of ALS, successfully identifying at least fifteen candidate genes associated with familial and sporadic ALS. Numerous studies attempting to define the pathogenesis of ALS have identified several plausible determinants and molecular pathways leading to motor neuron degeneration, which include oxidative stress, glutamate excitotoxicity, apoptosis, abnormal neurofilament function, protein misfolding and subsequent aggregation, impairment of RNA processing, defects in axonal transport, changes in endosomal trafficking, increased inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction. This review is to update the recent discoveries in genetics of ALS, which may provide insight information to help us better understanding of the disease neuropathogenesis.
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-8-28
PMCID: PMC3766231  PMID: 23941283
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Disease-related gene mutations; Autophagy; Apoptosis; Oxidative stress; Glutamate excitotoxicity
5.  Oleanolic acid inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in NB4 cells by targeting PML/RARα 
Oncology Letters  2013;6(4):885-890.
Oleanolic acid (OA), a naturally occurring pentacyclic triterpenoid contained in a variety of plant species, exhibits broad biological properties, including anticancer effects. Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a distinct subtype of acute myeloid leukemia. APL has a unique and specific chromosomal aberration, t(15;17), which results in the formation of a fusion gene and protein PML/RARα, which is not only necessary for the diagnosis of APL, but is also critical for APL pathogenesis. In the present study, the cytotoxic effect of OA on NB4 cells was investigated. Cell viability was assessed via the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The expression levels of bax and bcl-2 mRNA were determined by quantitative PCR. Apoptosis was analyzed using DNA fragment analysis and cell cycle distributions were analyzed by flow cytometry. The activity of caspase-3 and caspase-9 was determined by colorimetric assays. The expression of the PML/RARα fusion protein was analyzed by western blotting. The MTT assay showed that OA inhibited the proliferation of the NB4 cells. The expression levels of pro-apoptotic bax mRNA were increased and the levels of anti-apoptotic bcl-2 mRNA were decreased following the treatment of the NB4 cells with OA at 80 μmol/l. Treatment of the NB4 cells with OA at 80 μmol/l induced apoptosis and G1 phase arrest, while caspase-9 and caspase-3 activity was significantly increased. Furthermore, the expression of the PML/RARα fusion protein was decreased. Together, these data suggest that OA exerts a cytotoxic effect that inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in NB4 cells by targeting PML/RARα, making it a potent therapeutic agent against leukemia.
doi:10.3892/ol.2013.1497
PMCID: PMC3796429  PMID: 24137431
oleanolic acid; acute promyelocytic leukemia; apoptosis; PML/RARα
6.  Von Willebrand Factor permeates small vessels in CADASIL and inhibits smooth muscle gene expression 
Translational stroke research  2011;3(1):138-145.
Background and Purpose
CADASIL (cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy) is a genetic disorder hallmarked by ischemic stroke and vascular dementia. Characteristic pathological changes in the vasculature include thickening of small arteries and accumulation of heterogeneous material within the vessel wall. We tested whether endothelial von Willebrand factor (vWF) accumulates in CADASIL vessels and whether exposure of smooth muscle cells to vWF alters the expression of smooth muscle gene expression.
Methods
Brain sections obtained at autopsy from six North American CADASIL patients were examined using immunohistochemistry for vWF and IgG. Rat aortic smooth muscle cells (A7R5 cells) were tested for binding to infrared-tag labeled vWF. Finally, A7R5 cells were exposed to vWF, and expression of mature smooth muscle marker genes was analyzed by quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR.
Results
vWF is expressed in the penetrating arterial walls in all CADASIL samples. IgG, a marker of serum extravasation, was present only in a minority of arterial walls. vWF binds to smooth muscle cells in vitro, and low concentrations of vWF rapidly activate c-fos, EGR, TSP1, and c-myc while specifically inhibiting RNA encoding smooth muscle actin, calponin, and SM22.
Conclusions
These data demonstrate that vWF, likely produced by the endothelium, permeates the vessel wall of CADASIL brains. Exposure of smooth muscle cells to vWF results in reduction of specific RNAs required for normal vascular homeostasis. This is the first report of accumulation of a protein within CADASIL vessels that inhibits vascular gene expression and implicates a role for vWF beyond hemostasis.
doi:10.1007/s12975-011-0112-2
PMCID: PMC3358806  PMID: 22639698
CADASIL; von Willebrand Factor (vWF); smooth muscle; small vessel disease; vascular permeability; immunoglobulin
7.  Ischemic Postconditioning Decreases Cerebral Edema and Brain Blood Barrier Disruption Caused by Relief of Carotid Stenosis in a Rat Model of Cerebral Hypoperfusion 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57869.
Background and Purpose
Complications due to brain edema and breakdown of blood brain barrier are an important factor affecting the treatment effects of patients with severe carotid stenosis. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of ischemic postconditioning on brain edema and disruption of blood brain barrier via establishing rat model of hypoperfusion due to severe carotid stenosis.
Methods
Wistar rat model of hypoperfusion due to severe carotid stenosis was established by binding a stainless microtube to both carotid arteries. Ischemic postconditioning procedure consisted of three cycles of 30 seconds ischemia and 30 seconds reperfusion. Brain edema was evaluated by measuring cerebral water content, and blood brain barrier permeability was assayed by examining cerebral concentration of Evans' Blue (EB) and fluorescein sodium (NaF). ELISA was used to analyze the expression of MMP-9, claudin-5 and occludin. The activity and location of MMP-9 was analyzed by gelatin zymography and in situ zymography, respectively. The distribution of tight junction proteins claudin-5 and occludin was observed by immunohistochemistry.
Results
The increased brain water content and cerebral concentration of EB and NaF were suppressed by administration of ischemic postconditioning prior to relief of carotid stenosis. Zymographic studies showed that MMP-9 was mainly located in the cortex and its activity was significantly improved by relief of carotid stenosis and, but the elevated MMP-9 activity was inhibited markedly by ischemic postconditioning. Immunohistochemistry revealed that ischemic postconditioning improved the discontinuous distribution of claudin-5 and occludin. ELISA detected that the expression of up-regulated MMP-9 and down-regulated claudin-5 and occludin caused by carotid relief were all attenuated by ischemic postconditioning.
Conclusions
Ischemic postconditioning is an effective method to prevent brain edema and improve BBB permeability and could be used during relief of severe carotid stenosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057869
PMCID: PMC3585273  PMID: 23469092
8.  Biochemical Characterization and Cellular Effects of CADASIL Mutants of NOTCH3 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44964.
Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is the best understood cause of dominantly inherited stroke and results from NOTCH3 mutations that lead to NOTCH3 protein accumulation and selective arterial smooth muscle degeneration. Previous studies show that NOTCH3 protein forms multimers. Here, we investigate protein interactions between NOTCH3 and other vascular Notch isoforms and characterize the effects of elevated NOTCH3 on smooth muscle gene regulation. We demonstrate that NOTCH3 forms heterodimers with NOTCH1, NOTCH3, and NOTCH4. R90C and C49Y mutant NOTCH3 form complexes which are more resistant to detergents than wild type NOTCH3 complexes. Using quantitative NOTCH3-luciferase clearance assays, we found significant inhibition of mutant NOTCH3 clearance. In coculture assays of NOTCH function, overexpressed wild type and mutant NOTCH3 significantly repressed NOTCH-regulated smooth muscle transcripts and potently impaired the activity of three independent smooth muscle promoters. Wildtype and R90C recombinant NOTCH3 proteins applied to cell cultures also blocked canonical Notch fuction. We conclude that CADASIL mutants of NOTCH3 complex with NOTCH1, 3, and 4, slow NOTCH3 clearance, and that overexpressed wild type and mutant NOTCH3 protein interfere with key NOTCH-mediated functions in smooth muscle cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044964
PMCID: PMC3445613  PMID: 23028706
9.  Identification and Sequence Analysis of Metazoan tRNA 3′-End Processing Enzymes tRNase Zs 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44264.
tRNase Z is the endonuclease responsible for removing the 3'-trailer sequences from precursor tRNAs, a prerequisite for the addition of the CCA sequence. It occurs in the short (tRNase ZS) and long (tRNase ZL) forms. Here we report the identification and sequence analysis of candidate tRNase Zs from 81 metazoan species. We found that the vast majority of deuterostomes, lophotrochozoans and lower metazoans have one tRNase ZS and one tRNase ZL genes, whereas ecdysozoans possess only a single tRNase ZL gene. Sequence analysis revealed that in metazoans, a single nuclear tRNase ZL gene is likely to encode both the nuclear and mitochondrial forms of tRNA 3′-end processing enzyme through mechanisms that include alternative translation initiation from two in-frame start codons and alternative splicing. Sequence conservation analysis revealed a variant PxKxRN motif, PxPxRG, which is located in the N-terminal region of tRNase ZSs. We also identified a previously unappreciated motif, AxDx, present in the C-terminal region of both tRNase ZSs and tRNase ZLs. The AxDx motif consisting mainly of a very short loop is potentially close enough to form hydrogen bonds with the loop containing the PxKxRN or PxPxRG motif. Through complementation analysis, we demonstrated the likely functional importance of the AxDx motif. In conclusion, our analysis supports the notion that in metazoans a single tRNase ZL has evolved to participate in both nuclear and mitochondrial tRNA 3′-end processing, whereas tRNase ZS may have evolved new functions. Our analysis also unveils new evolutionarily conserved motifs in tRNase Zs, including the C-terminal AxDx motif, which may have functional significance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044264
PMCID: PMC3433465  PMID: 22962606
10.  Single Endemic Genotype of Measles Virus Continuously Circulating in China for at Least 16 Years 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34401.
The incidence of measles in China from 1991 to 2008 was reviewed, and the nucleotide sequences from 1507 measles viruses (MeV) isolated during 1993 to 2008 were phylogenetically analyzed. The results showed that measles epidemics peaked approximately every 3 to 5 years with the range of measles cases detected between 56,850 and 140,048 per year. The Chinese MeV strains represented three genotypes; 1501 H1, 1 H2 and 5 A. Genotype H1 was the predominant genotype throughout China continuously circulating for at least 16 years. Genotype H1 sequences could be divided into two distinct clusters, H1a and H1b. A 4.2% average nucleotide divergence was found between the H1a and H1b clusters, and the nucleotide sequence and predicted amino acid homologies of H1a viruses were 92.3%–100% and 84.7%–100%, H1b were 97.1%–100% and 95.3%–100%, respectively. Viruses from both clusters were distributed throughout China with no apparent geographic restriction and multiple co-circulating lineages were present in many provinces. Cluster H1a and H1b viruses were co-circulating during 1993 to 2005, while no H1b viruses were detected after 2005 and the transmission of that cluster has presumably been interrupted. Analysis of the nucleotide and predicted amino acid changes in the N proteins of H1a and H1b viruses showed no evidence of selective pressure. This study investigated the genotype and cluster distribution of MeV in China over a 16-year period to establish a genetic baseline before MeV elimination in Western Pacific Region (WPR). Continuous and extensive MeV surveillance and the ability to quickly identify imported cases of measles will become more critical as measles elimination goals are achieved in China in the near future. This is the first report that a single endemic genotype of measles virus has been found to be continuously circulating in one country for at least 16 years.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034401
PMCID: PMC3332093  PMID: 22532829
11.  Stromal LRP1 in lung adenocarcinoma predicts clinical outcome 
Purpose
LRP1 is a broadly-expressed receptor that binds multiple extracellular ligands and participates in protein clearance. LRP1 is expressed numerous cancers, but its role in lung cancer has not been characterized. Here, we investigate the relationship between LRP1 and lung cancer.
Experimental Design
LRP1 mRNA levels were determined in lung tumors from several large, multicenter studies. LRP1 protein localization was determined by immunohistochemical analysis of lung tumor microarrays. Normal fibroblasts, fibroblasts treated with the LRP1 inhibitor RAP, and LRP1 null fibroblasts were co-cultured with three independent lung cancer cell lines to investigate the role of LRP1 on tumor cell proliferation.
Results
LRP1 mRNA levels are significantly decreased in lung tumors relative to non-tumorous lung tissue. Lower expression of LRP1 in lung adenocarcinomas correlates with less favorable clinical outcome in a cohort of 439 patients. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrates that LRP1 is primarily expressed in stromal cells in 94/111 lung cancers, with very little protein found in cancer cells. A growth suppressive function of mouse embryonic fibroblast cells (MEF) was observed in three lung cancer cell lines tested (H460, H2347, and HCC4006 cells); growth suppression was blocked by the LRP1 inhibitor, RAP. LRP1 deletion in fibroblasts reduced the ability of MEF cells to suppress tumor cell mitosis. In a validation set of adenocarcinomas, we confirmed a significant positive correlation between both LRP1 mRNA and protein levels and favorable clinical outcomes.
Conclusions
LRP1 expression is associated with improved lung cancer outcomes. Mechanistically, stromal LRP1 may non-cell autonomously suppress lung tumor cell proliferation.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-2385
PMCID: PMC3079007  PMID: 21325077
12.  Hypoxia-Induced Down-Regulation of Neprilysin by Histone Modification in Mouse Primary Cortical and Hippocampal Neurons 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e19229.
Amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) accumulation leads to neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Aβ metabolism is a dynamic process in the Aβ production and clearance that requires neprilysin (NEP) and other enzymes to degrade Aβ. It has been reported that NEP expression is significantly decreased in the brain of AD patients. Previously we have documented hypoxia is a risk factor for Aβ generation in vivo and in vitro through increasing Aβ generation by altering β-cleavage and γ-cleavage of APP and down-regulating NEP, and causing tau hyperphosphorylation. Here, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of hypoxia-induced down-regulation of NEP. We found a significant decrease in NEP expression at the mRNA and protein levels after hypoxic treatment in mouse primary cortical and hippocampal neurons. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays and relative quantitative PCR (q-PCR) revealed an increase of histone H3-lysine9 demethylation (H3K9me2) and a decrease of H3 acetylation (H3-Ace) in the NEP promoter regions following hypoxia. In addition, we found that hypoxia caused up-regulation of histone methyl transferase (HMT) G9a and histone deacetylases (HDACs) HDAC-1. Decreased expression of NEP during hypoxia can be prevented by application with the epigenetic regulators 5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-Aza), HDACs inhibitor sodium valproate (VA), and siRNA-mediated knockdown of G9a or HDAC1. DNA methylation PCR data do not support that hypoxia affects the methylation of NEP promoters. This study suggests that hypoxia may down-regulate NEP by increasing H3K9me2 and decreasing H3-Ace modulation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019229
PMCID: PMC3084787  PMID: 21559427
13.  Localization of blood proteins thrombospondin1 and ADAMTS13 to cerebral corpora amylacea 
Corpora amylacea (CA) have long been described in aging brains and in patients with neurodegenerative conditions, but their origins have been debated. It has been proposed that CA represent collections of nervous system breakdown products that accumulate within astrocytic cytoplasm. In support of this, studies have shown that CA include glycosylated material, ubiquitin, and an assortment of proteins derived from neuronal cytoplasm. On the other hand, many of these proteins are not specifically localized to neurons or astrocytes; some components of CA, such as complement proteins, are most abundantly expressed outside the central nervous system. The characteristic predilection for CA to accumulate near vessels and ependyma suggests that proteins extravasated from blood or transudated from CSF may form a component of these structures. In this study, we report the immunohistochemical localization of blood and platelet proteins thrombospondin1 and ADAMTS13 in CA from aged individuals and patients with vascular dementia. Thrombospondin1 localized to neurons, but was most prominently localized to CA. An independent serum and platelet expressed protein, ADAMTS13, was found in CA in the same brain regions. In vitro analysis shows that thrombospondin1 and ADAMTS13 form complexes together in cells and in direct protein binding assays. We speculate that CA could result from a conglomeration of interacting proteins from degenerating neurons and from extravasated blood elements released after transient breakdown of the blood–brain barrier.
doi:10.1111/j.1440-1789.2009.01024.x
PMCID: PMC2871975  PMID: 19422532
ADAMTS13; corpora amylacea; thrombospondin; vascular dementia; vascular proteins
14.  Platelet-derived or soluble CD154 induces vascularized allograft rejection independent of cell-bound CD154 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2006;116(3):769-774.
CD154 is a cell surface molecule expressed on activated T cells that binds to CD40, an activating molecule on APCs. Its blockade has been shown to prevent allograft rejection, presumably by interrupting interactions between T cells and APCs. It is known that activated human platelets express and shed CD154 and can induce APC activation and other immune processes in vitro. Here we show that platelet-derived CD154 is sufficient to initiate cardiac allograft rejection independent of any cellular source of this molecule. CD154-KO mice reject cardiac allografts after receiving CD154-expressing human platelets or recombinant CD154 (rCD154) trimers. Treatment with the human CD154-specific mAb 5c8 specifically prevents this induced rejection. Soluble trimers, but not platelets, induce rejection when infused temporally remote from the surgical procedure, suggesting that surgically induced platelet activation is required for CD154 release. Allograft rejection can thus be instigated by activated platelets through CD154. These data implicate platelets as a proximal component of acquired alloimmunity, providing insight into the mechanisms of allograft rejection and the physiological response to trauma in general.
doi:10.1172/JCI27155
PMCID: PMC1378189  PMID: 16498500

Results 1-14 (14)