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1.  Cardiac Tissue Slice Transplantation as a Model to Assess Tissue-Engineered Graft Thickness, Survival, and Function 
Circulation  2014;130(11 0 1):S77-S86.
Cell therapies offer the potential to improve cardiac function after myocardial infarction. Although injection of single-cell suspensions has proven safe, cell retention and survival rates are low. Tissue-engineered grafts allow cell delivery with minimal initial cell loss and mechanical support to the heart. However, graft performance cannot be easily compared, and optimal construct thickness, vascularization, and survival kinetics are unknown.
Methods and Results
Cardiac tissue slices (CTS) were generated by sectioning mouse hearts (n=40) expressing firefly luciferase and green fluorescent protein into slices of defined size and thickness using a vibrating blade microtome. Bioluminescence imaging of CTS transplanted onto hearts of immunodeficient mice demonstrated survival of ≤30% of transplanted cells. Cardiac slice perfusion was re-established within 3 days, likely through anastomosis of pre-existing vessels with the host vasculature and invasion of vessels from the host. Immunofluorescence showed a peak in cell death 3 days after transplantation and a gradual decline thereafter. MRI revealed preservation of contractile function and an improved ejection fraction 1 month after transplantation of CTS (28±2% CTS versus 22±2% control; P=0.05). Importantly, this effect was specific to CTS because transplantation of skeletal muscle tissue slices led to faster dilative remodeling and higher animal mortality.
In summary, this is the first study to use CTS as a benchmark to validate and model tissue-engineered graft studies. CTS transplantation improved cell survival, established reperfusion, and enhanced cardiac function after myocardial infarction. These findings also confirm that dilative remodeling can be attenuated by topical transplantation of CTS but not skeletal muscle tissue grafts.
PMCID: PMC4353847  PMID: 25200059
cell transplantation; magnetic resonance imaging; myocardial infarction; tissue engineering
2.  Fluorescent Probes for Subcellular Localization during Osteclast Formation 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2014;5(8):911-914.
Labeling of a small bioactive molecule with fluorescent probe has been becoming an essential tool in cell biology to reveal the subcellular distribution and the location of a molecular target. QOA-8a is a novel molecule with potent antiosteoporotic effect in vivo. To investigate the molecular mechanism of QOA-8a, novel fluorescence-tagged chemical probes as bioactive as their parent molecule were designed and synthesized. The fluorescent compound 12 showed a more potent inhibitory activity on RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis at 2 μM compared with that of QOA-8a. Microscopy experiments revealed that almost all of probe 12 accumulated in the fusing region, with little in the osteoclast precursors or the mature osteoclasts during osteoclast formation. The result suggests the location of the binding target of QOA-8a, which might greatly narrow down the search field of the target protein(s).
PMCID: PMC4137367  PMID: 25147613
Fluorescent derivative probes; osteoclasts; subcellular localization
3.  YY1-MIR372-SQSTM1 regulatory axis in autophagy 
Autophagy  2014;10(8):1442-1453.
Autophagy is a self-proteolytic process that degrades intracellular material to enable cellular survival under unfavorable conditions. However, how autophagy is activated in human carcinogenesis remains largely unknown. Herein we report an epigenetic regulation of autophagy in human cancer cells. YY1 (YY1 transcription factor) is a well-known epigenetic regulator and is upregulated in many cancers. We found that YY1 knockdown inhibited cell viability and autophagy flux through downregulating SQSTM1 (sequestosome 1). YY1 regulated SQSTM1 expression through the epigenetic modulation of the transcription of MIR372 (microRNA 372) which was found to target SQSTM1 directly. During nutrient starvation, YY1 was stimulated to promote SQSTM1 expression and subsequent autophagy activation by suppressing MIR372 expression. Similar to YY1 depletion, MIR372 overexpression blocked autophagy activation and inhibited in vivo tumor growth. SQSTM1 upregulation and competent autophagy flux thus contributed to the oncogenic function of YY1. YY1-promoted SQSTM1 upregulation might be a useful histological marker for cancer detection and a potential target for drug development.
PMCID: PMC4203520  PMID: 24991827
autophagy; epigenetics; MIR372; SQSTM1; YY1
4.  Solubilisation of Phosphate and Micronutrients by Trichoderma harzianum and Its Relationship with the Promotion of Tomato Plant Growth 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130081.
Trichoderma harzianum strain SQR-T037 is a biocontrol agent that has been shown to enhance the uptake of nutrients (macro- and microelements) by plants in fields. The objective of this study was to investigate the contribution of SQR-T037 to P and microelement (Fe, Mn, Cu and Zn) nutrition in tomato plants grown in soil and in hydroponic conditions. Inoculation with SQR-T037 significantly improved the biomass and nutrient uptake of tomato seedlings grown in a nutrient-limiting soil. So we investigated the capability of SQR-T037 to solubilise sparingly soluble minerals in vitro via four known mechanisms: acidification by organic acids, chelation by siderophores, redox by ferric reductase and hydrolysis by phytase. SQR-T037 was able to solubilise phytate, Fe2O3, CuO, and metallic Zn but not Ca3(PO4)2 or MnO2. Organic acids, including lactic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid and succinic acid, were detected by HPLC and LC/MS in two Trichoderma cultures. Additionally, we inoculated tomato seedlings with SQR-T037 using a hydroponic system with specific nutrient deficiencies (i.e., nutrient solutions deficient in P, Fe, Cu or Zn and supplemented with their corresponding solid minerals) to better study the effects of Trichoderma inoculation on plant growth and nutrition. Inoculated seedlings grown in Cu-deficient hydroponic conditions exhibited increases in dry plant biomass (92%) and Cu uptake (42%) relative to control plants. However, we did not observe a significant effect on seedling biomass in plants grown in the Fe- and Zn-deficient hydroponic conditions; by contrast, the biomass decreased by 82% in the P-deficient hydroponic condition. Thus, we demonstrated that Trichoderma SQR-T037 competed for P (phytate) and Zn with tomato seedlings by suppressing root development, releasing phytase and/or chelating minerals. The results of this study suggest that the induction of increased or suppressed plant growth occurs through the direct effect of T. harzianum on root development, in combination with indirect mechanisms, such as mineral solubilisation (including solubilisation via acidification, redox, chelation and hydrolysis).
PMCID: PMC4482446  PMID: 26110536
5.  Angiogenesis effect of therapeutic ultrasound on HUVECs through activation of the PI3K-Akt-eNOS signal pathway 
Therapeutic angiogenic effects of low-intensity ultrasound have been reported in endothelial cells and animal models of hind limb ischemia. It has been shown that the proliferation, migration, and tube formation of endothelial cells play critical roles in angiogenesis. The purpose of this study was to determine the underlying mechanism of low-intensity continuous therapeutic ultrasound on angiogenesis in endothelial cells. In the present study, human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were simulated of low-intensity therapeutic ultrasound (TUS, 1 MHz, 0.3 W/cm2, 9 minute per day) for 3 days, and we observed migration, tube formation, and expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and serine/threonine kinase (Akt) in HUVECs. Specific inhibitors of eNOS and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) were added to the culture medium and TUS-induced changes in the pathways that mediate angiogenesis were investigated. After exposure to TUS, HUVECs tube formation and migration were significantly promoted, which was blocked by the eNOS inhibitor Immunofluorescence assay and Western blotting analysis demonstrated that eNOS expression in the HUVECs was significantly increased after TUS exhibition. Proteins of phosphorylated eNOS and Akt were both up-regulated after TUS stimulation. However, the specific inhibitor of PI3K not only significantly decreased the expression of p-Akt, but also down-regulated the p-eNOS. This suggested that the PI3K/Akt signal pathway might participate in modulating the activity of eNOS. In short, TUS therapy promotes angiogenesis through activation of the PI3K-Akt-eNOS signal cascade in HUVECs.
PMCID: PMC4532743  PMID: 26279754
Therapeutic ultrasound; angiogenesis; migration; human umbilical vein endothelial cells
6.  Altered Fruit and Seed Development of Transgenic Rapeseed (Brassica napus) Over-Expressing MicroRNA394 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0125427.
Fruit and seed development in plants is a complex biological process mainly involved in input and biosynthesis of many storage compounds such as proteins and oils. Although the basic biochemical pathways for production of the storage metabolites in plants are well characterized, their regulatory mechanisms are not fully understood. In this study, we functionally identified rapeseed (Brassica napus) miR394 with its target gene Brassica napus LEAF CURLING RESPONSIVENESS (BnLCR) to dissect a role of miR394 during the fruit and seed development. Transgenic rapeseed plants over-expressing miR394 under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter were generated. miR394 over-expression plants exhibited a delayed flowering time and enlarged size of plants, leaf blade, pods and seed body, but developed seeds with higher contents of protein and glucosinolates (GLS) and lower levels of oil accumulation as compared to wild-type. Over-expression of miR394 altered the fatty acid (FA) composition by increasing several FA species such as C16:0 and C18:0 and unsaturated species of C20:1 and C22:1 but lowering C18:3. This change was accompanied by induction of genes coding for transcription factors of FA synthesis including LEAFY COTYLEDON1 (BnLEC1), BnLEC2, and FUSCA3 (FUS3). Because the phytohormone auxin plays a crucial role in fruit development and seed patterning, the DR5-GUS reporter was used for monitoring the auxin response in Arabidopsis siliques and demonstrated that the DR5 gene was strongly expressed. These results suggest that BnmiR394 is involved in rapeseed fruit and seed development.
PMCID: PMC4433277  PMID: 25978066
7.  Porous silicon microparticle potentiates anti-tumor immunity by enhancing cross-presentation and inducing type I interferon response 
Cell reports  2015;11(6):957-966.
Micro- and nano-meter size particles have become popular candidates for cancer vaccine adjuvants. However the mechanism by which such particles enhance immune responses remains unclear. Here we report a porous silicon microparticle (PSM)-based cancer vaccine that greatly enhances cross-presentation and activates type I interferon response in dendritic cells. PSM-loaded antigen exhibited prolonged early endosome localization and enhanced cross-presentation through both proteasome- and lysosome-dependent pathways. Phagocytosis of PSM by dendritic cells induced type I interferon responses through a TRIF- and MAVS-dependent pathway. Dendritic cells primed with PSM-loaded HER2 antigen produced robust CD8 T cell-dependent anti-tumor immunity in mice bearing HER2-positive mammary gland tumors. Importantly, this vaccination activated tumor immune microenvironment with elevated levels of intra-tumor type I interferon and MHC-II expression, abundant CD11c+ dendritic cell infiltration, and tumor-specific cytotoxic T cell responses. These findings highlight the potential for PSM as an immune adjuvant to potentiate dendritic cell-based cancer immunotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4431902  PMID: 25937283
8.  Alteration of gene expression profile following PPP2R5C knockdown may be associated with proliferation suppression and increased apoptosis of K562 cells 
We reported that knockdown of PPP2R5C by siRNA led to proliferation inhibition and apoptosis induction in K562 cells. In this study, we further characterized the gene expression profiles after PPP2R5C suppression by microarray analysis. Genes which participate in the MAPK, PI3K/AKT, and JAK/STAT pathways, were mainly altered in the K562 cells. We propose that the mechanism for proliferation inhibition and increased apoptosis of K562 cells following PPP2R5C suppression may be related to the alteration of expression profiles of BRAF, AKT2, AKT3, NFKB2 and STAT3 genes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13045-015-0125-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4414434  PMID: 25888193
PPP2R5C; CML; BCR-ABL; Gene expression profile
9.  LRIG1 enhances the radiosensitivity of radioresistant human glioblastoma U251 cells via attenuation of the EGFR/Akt signaling pathway 
The radiotherapy as a local and regional modality is widely applied in treatment of glioma, but most glioblastomas are commonly resistant to irradiation treatment. It remains challengeable to seek out efficient strategies to conquer the resistance of human glioblastoma cells to radiotherapy. Leucine-rich repeats and immunoglobulin-like domains protein 1 (LRIG1) is a newly discovered tumor suppressor which involved in regulation of chemosensitivity in various human cancer cells. In the present study, we established a radioresistant U251 cell line (U251R) to investigate the role of LRIG1 in regulation of radiosensitivity in human glioblastoma cells. Significantly decreased expression level of LRIG1 and enhanced expression of EGFR and phosphorylated Akt were detected in U251R cells compared with the parental U251 cells. U251R cells exhibited an advantage in colony formation ability, which accompanied by remarkably reduced X-ray-induced γ-H2AX foci formation and cell apoptosis. LRIG1 overexpression significantly inhibited the colony formation ability of U251R cells and obviously enhanced X-ray-inducedγ-H2AX foci formation and cell apoptosis. In addition, up-regulated expression of LRIG1 suppressed the expression level of EGFR and phosphorylated Akt protein. Our results demonstrated that LRIG1 expression was related to the radiosensitivity of human glioblastoma cells and may play an important role in the regulation of cellular radiosensitivity of human glioblastoma cells through the EGFR/Akt signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4466927  PMID: 26097540
LRIG1; glioblastoma; radiosensitivity; γ-H2AX; apoptosis; EGFR signaling
10.  Dysregulated CXCR4 expression promotes lymphoma cell survival and independently predicts disease progression in germinal center B-cell-like diffuse large B-cell lymphoma 
Oncotarget  2015;6(8):5597-5614.
Abnormal expression of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 plays an essential role in tumor cell dissemination and disease progression. However, the significance of CXCR4 overexpression in de novo diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is unknown. In 743 patients with de novo diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) who received standard Rituximab-CHOP immunochemotherapy, we assessed the expression of CXCR4 and dissected its prognostic significance in various DLBCL subsets. Our results showed that CXCR4+ patients was associated with male, bulky tumor, high Ki-67 index, activated B-cell-like (ABC) subtype, and Myc, Bcl-2 or p53 overexpression. Moreover, CXCR4+ was an independent factor predicting poorer progression-free survival in germinal-center B-cell-like (GCB)-DLBCL, but not in ABC-DLBCL; and in patients with an IPI of ≤2, but not in those with an IPI>2. The lack of prognostic significance of CXCR4 in ABC-DLBCL was likely due to the activation of p53 tumor suppressor attenuating CXCR4 signaling. Furthermore, concurrent CXCR4+ and BCL2 translocation showed dismal outcomes resembling but independent of MYC/BCL2 double-hit DLBCL. Gene expression profiling suggested that alterations in the tumor microenvironment and immune responses, increased tumor proliferation and survival, and the dissemination of CXCR4+ tumor cells to distant organs or tissues were underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for the CXCR4+ associated poor prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4467389  PMID: 25704881
CXCR4; DLBCL; BCL2; Myc; TP53 mutation
11.  Pulsed electromagnetic field improves postnatal neovascularization in response to hindlimb ischemia 
Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) have been shown to promote proliferation and regeneration in the damaged tissue. Here, we examined whether PEMF therapy improved postnatal neovascularization using murine model of hindlimb ischemia, and the underlying cellular/molecular mechanisms were further investigated. Hindlimb ischemia was induced by unilateral femoral artery resection using 6-8 week-old male C57BL6 mice. Then, mice were exposed to extracorporeal PEMF therapy (4 cycles, 8min/cycle, 30 ± 3 Hz, 5 mT) every day until day 14. Our data demonstrated that PEMF therapy significantly accelerated wound healing, decreased prevalence of gangrene and increased postnatal neovascularization. Moreover, the levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and Akt phosphorylation in ischemic muscles were markedly enhanced following PEMF therapy. In vitro, PEMF inhibited the process of hypoxia-induced apoptosis and augmented tube formation, migration and proliferative capacities of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Additionally, PEMF exposure increased VEGF secretion, as well as the eNOS and Akt phosphorylation, and these benefits could be blocked by either phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) or eNOS inhibitor. In conclusion, our data indicated that PEMF therapy enhanced ischemia-mediated angiogenesis, through up-regulating VEGF expression and activating the PI3K-Akt-eNOS pathway. Therefore, PEMF should be a valuable treatment for the patients with critical limb ischemia.
PMCID: PMC4448185  PMID: 26045885
Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF); angiogenesis; hindlimb ischemia; VEGF; eNOS
12.  Characterization of Cellulase Secretion and Cre1-Mediated Carbon Source Repression in the Potential Lignocellulose-Degrading Strain Trichoderma asperellum T-1 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0119237.
Trichoderma asperellum, a traditional bio-control species, was demonstrated to be an excellent candidate for lignocellulose degradation in this work. Comparing to the representatively industrial strain of Trichoderma reeseiQM6a, T. asperellum T-1 showed more robust growth, stronger spore production, faster secretion of lignocellulose-decomposing enzymes and better pH tolerance. The reducing sugar released by strain T-1 on the second day of fermentation was 87% higher than that of strain QM6a, although the maximum reducing sugar yield and the cellulase production persistence of the strain T-1 were lower. Our experiment found that the cellulase secretion was strongly inhibited by glucose, suggesting the existence of carbon source repression pathway in T. asperellum T-1. The inhibiting effect was enhanced with an increase in glucose concentration and was closely related to mycelium growth. SDS-PAGE and secondary mass-spectrum identification confirmed that the expression of endo-1,4-β-xylanase I in T. asperellum T-1 was down-regulated when glucose was added. The factor Cre1, which plays an important role in the down-regulation of the endo-1,4-β-xylanase I gene, was investigated by bioinformatics methods. The protein structure of Cre1, analyzed using multiple protein sequence alignment, indicates the existence of the Zn-fingers domain. Then, the binding sites of Cre1 on the endo-1,4-β-xylanase I gene promoter were further elucidated. This study is the first report about Cre1-mediated carbon repression in the bio-control strain T. asperellum T-1. All of the above results provided good references for better understanding T. asperellum T-1 and improving its application for lignocellulose degradation.
PMCID: PMC4351060  PMID: 25741694
13.  Goyazensolide Induces Apoptosis in Cancer Cells in vitro and in vivo. 
As part of the screening program for anticancer agents from natural sources, the sesquiterpene lactone goyazensolide (GZL) was identified as a potent NF-κB inhibitor. The hollow-fiber assay was used to evaluate the anti-tumor efficacy of GZL in vivo. The mechanistic effects of GZL were evaluated in the HT-29 colonic cell line to reveal the pathway through which GZL exerts its effects. NF-κB subunits p65 and p50 were inhibited, and the upstream mediator IκB kinase (IKKβ) was downregulated in a dose-dependent manner. Apoptosis was mediated by caspase-3, and cell cycle arrest was detected in G1-phase. Consequently, 96% of the cell population was in sub G1-phase after treatment with GZL (10 μM).The antitumor effect of GZL was observed at a dose of 12.5 mg/kg. Cell adhesion was affected as a result of NF-κB inhibition. GZL appears to selectively target the transcription factor NF-κB. In summary, GZL sensitizes HT-29 colon cancer cells to apoptosis and cell death in a dose-dependent manner both in vivo and in vitro, through NF-κB inhibition (IC50 = 3.8 μM). Thus, it is a new potent lead compound for further development into a new effective chemotherapeutic agent.
PMCID: PMC4303185  PMID: 25621077
Goyazensolide; NF-κB; apoptosis; caspase-3; ROS; adhesion
14.  Dichamanetin Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth by Affecting ROS-related Signaling Components through Mitochondrial-mediated Apoptosis 
Anticancer research  2013;33(12):5349-5355.
Dichamanetin is a C-benzylated flavanone isolated as a major secondary metabolite from Piper sarmentosum, a plant used as a spice in Southeast Asia. This studied aimed to understand the path through which dichamanetin exerts it antiproliferative effect.
Materials and Methods
The study of several signaling cellular components, namely, reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) transcription factor, mitochondrial membrane potential, DNA binding, poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP1) inhibition and proteasome inhibition was performed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) assay, cell sorting, and western blot.
Dichamanetin significantly reduced the cell viability of various types of human cancer cells (HT-29 colon, DU145 prostate, and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer) in a dose- and time-dependent manner and induced G1 arrest of the cell cycle. It was also demonstrated that the selective cytotoxic effect of dichamanetin in cancer cells is mediated by the induction of oxidative stress.
Our findings suggest that dichamanetin from an edible herb has cancer chemotherapeutic potential.
PMCID: PMC4281931  PMID: 24324069
Piperaceae; Piper sarmentosum; Dichamanetin; cytotoxicity; NF-κB inhibition; DNA binding; mitochondrial membrane potential; PARP-1; ROS
15.  Validation of an Alzheimer’s disease assessment battery in Asian participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease 
There is a lack of validated tools for assessing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) across Asia. This study evaluates the psychometric properties of the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog), Disability Assessment for Dementia (DAD), and Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB) in Asian participants. Participants with mild to moderate AD (n=251) and healthy controls (n=51) from Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea completed selected instruments at several time points. Test-retest reliability was better than 0.70 for all tests. AD participants performed significantly more poorly than controls on every score. Within the AD group, greater disease severity corresponded to significantly poorer performance. The AD group test performance worsened over time and there was a trend for worse performance in AD compared to healthy controls over time. The ADAS-Cog, DAD, and NTB are reliable, valid, and responsive measures in this population and could be used for clinical trials across Asian countries/regions.
PMCID: PMC4299719  PMID: 25628967
Alzheimer’s disease; validation
16.  Proteomic Identification of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy-Related Proteins in Bulky Stage IB-IIA Squamous Cervical Cancer 
Reproductive Sciences  2013;20(11):1356-1364.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) on the human squamous cervical cancer using proteomics profiling and to obtain related proteins to NAC exposure and response.
Paired samples of early-stage bulky squamous cervical cancer before and after NAC treatment from patients who responded to NAC were obtained and submitted to 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MS). The expression and localization of the interesting proteins in additional paired samples were confirmed by Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry.
The comparison of the proteins present before and after NAC revealed that 116 protein spots were significantly changed. In all, 31 proteins were analyzed by MS, and 15 proteins were upregulated in the cancer tissue after NAC relative to the level before NAC, whereas 16 proteins were downregulated after NAC. The significantly higher expression of peroxiredoxin 1 and significantly lower expression of galectin 1 after NAC treatment were confirmed by Western blot.
Proteomics can be used to identify the NAC-related proteins in squamous cervical cancer. The change in proteins may be associated with NAC exposure and response, but insight into their relevance requires further study.
PMCID: PMC3795422  PMID: 23599374
squamous cervical cancer; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; proteomics; peroxiredoxin 1; galectin 1
17.  Regulation of CRADD-caspase 2 cascade by histone deacetylase 1 in gastric cancer 
CRADD, also referred as RAIDD, is an adaptor protein that could interact with both caspase 2 and RIP that can promote apoptosis once activated. HDAC inhibitors are promising anti-cancer agents by inducing apoptosis of various cancer cells. In this study, we found that CRADD was induced by TSA (trichostatin A) to activate caspase 2-dependent apoptosis. CRADD was downregulated in gastric cancer and the restoration of its expression suppressed the viability of gastric cancer cells. HDAC1 was responsible for its downregulation in gastric cancer since HDAC1 siRNA upregulated CRADD expression and HDAC1 directly bound to the promoter of CRADD. Therefore, the high expression of HDAC1 can downregulate CRADD to confer gastric cancer cells the resistance to caspase 2-dependent apoptosis. HDAC inhibitors, potential anti-cancer drugs under investigation, can promote caspase 2-dependent apoptosis by inducing the expression of CRADD.
PMCID: PMC4212928  PMID: 25360218
CRADD; HDAC1; TSA; caspase 2; HDACi; gastric cancer
18.  Break CDK2/Cyclin E1 Interface Allosterically with Small Peptides 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109154.
Most inhibitors of Cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) target its ATP-binding pocket. It is difficult, however, to use this pocket to design very specific inhibitors because this catalytic pocket is highly conserved in the protein family of CDKs. Here we report some short peptides targeting a noncatalytic pocket near the interface of the CDK2/Cyclin complex. Docking and molecular dynamics simulations were used to select the peptides, and detailed dynamical network analysis revealed that these peptides weaken the complex formation via allosteric interactions. Our experiments showed that upon binding to the noncatalytic pocket, these peptides break the CDK2/Cyclin complex partially and diminish its kinase activity in vitro. The binding affinity of these peptides measured by Surface Plasmon Resonance can reach as low as 0.5 µM.
PMCID: PMC4188581  PMID: 25290691
19.  Differential Gene Expression Profiles of PPP2R5C-siRNA-Treated Malignant T Cells 
DNA and Cell Biology  2013;32(10):573-581.
Recently, alterations in the expression pattern of PPP2R5C associated with malignant transformation have been characterized, and PPP2R5C overexpression was demonstrated in leukemias. To confirm the role of PPP2R5C in proliferation and its molecular mechanism, three PPP2R5C-siRNAs and a scrambled nonsilencing siRNA control were used to treat Molt-4 and Jurkat T cells. After nucleofection, PPP2R5C expression and biological consequences based on a highly efficient and specific PPP2R5C-siRNA were demonstrated by qRT-PCR, CCK-8 assay, Annexin V/PI, and flow cytometry. The global gene expression profile of PPP2R5C-siRNA-treated Jurkat T cells was established. A significant reduction in the PPP2R5C mRNA level was observed at 24 to 72 h in Molt-4 and Jurkat T cells with all of the PPP2R5C-siRNAs. The proliferation rate of Molt-4 and Jurkat T cells transfected with different PPP2R5C-siRNAs was significantly decreased at 72 h compared with the control (p<0.05). However, the transfected cells did not show a significant increase in Annexin V/PI-positive cells (apoptosis). The highly efficient PPP2R5C-siRNA2 was used to treat Jurkat T cells for gene expression profile analysis. In total, 439 genes were upregulated, and 524 genes were downregulated at least twofold in PPP2R5C-siRNA-treated Jurkat T cells. Changes in signaling pathway genes closely related to the TCR, Wnt, calcium, MAPK, and p53 signaling pathways were observed. In conclusion, the suppression of PPP2R5C by RNA interference could effectively inhibit the proliferation of leukemic T cells, the PPP2R5C-siRNA treatment altered gene expression profiles, and the differential expression of the glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK-3β), ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), and Mdm2 p53 binding protein homolog (MDM2) genes may play an important role in the effects of PPP2R5C knockdown in Jurkat T cells.
Knocking down PPP2R5C using siRNA altered downstream gene expression, and was associated with decreased proliferation of Jurkat cells. Among the differentially expressed genes are GSK-3β, ATM, and Mdm2 p53 binding protein homolog.
PMCID: PMC3785212  PMID: 23941244
20.  Engineering Aspergillus oryzae A-4 through the Chromosomal Insertion of Foreign Cellulase Expression Cassette to Improve Conversion of Cellulosic Biomass into Lipids 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108442.
A genetic modification scheme was designed for Aspergillus oryzae A-4, a natural cellulosic lipids producer, to enhance its lipid production from biomass by putting the spotlight on improving cellulase secretion. Four cellulase genes were separately expressed in A-4 under the control of hlyA promoter, with the help of the successful development of a chromosomal genetic manipulation system. Comparison of cellulase activities of PCR-positive transformants showed that these transformants integrated with celA gene and with celC gene had significantly (p<0.05) higher average FPAase activities than those strains integrated with celB gene and with celD gene. Through the assessment of cellulosic lipids accumulating abilities, celA transformant A2-2 and celC transformant D1-B1 were isolated as promising candidates, which could yield 101%–133% and 35.22%–59.57% higher amount of lipids than the reference strain A-4 (WT) under submerged (SmF) conditions and solid-state (SSF) conditions, respectively. Variability in metabolism associated to the introduction of cellulase gene in A2-2 and D1-B1 was subsequently investigated. It was noted that cellulase expression repressed biomass formation but enhanced lipid accumulation; whereas the inhibitory effect on cell growth would be shielded during cellulosic lipids production owing to the essential role of cellulase in substrate utilization. Different metabolic profiles also existed between A2-2 and D1-B1, which could be attributed to not only different transgene but also biological impacts of different integration. Overall, both simultaneous saccharification and lipid accumulation were enhanced in A2-2 and D1-B1, resulting in efficient conversion of cellulose into lipids. A regulation of cellulase secretion in natural cellulosic lipids producers could be a possible strategy to enhance its lipid production from lignocellulosic biomass.
PMCID: PMC4177402  PMID: 25251435
21.  Let-7d suppresses growth, metastasis, and tumor macrophage infiltration in renal cell carcinoma by targeting COL3A1 and CCL7 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13:206.
MicroRNAs are endogenous small noncoding RNAs that are functionally involved in numerous critical cellular processes including tumorigenesis. Data mining using a microRNA array database suggested that let-7d microRNA may be associated with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) malignant progression. Here, we performed further analyses to determine whether let-7d is functionally linked to RCC malignancy.
Quantitative real-time PCR was used to determine the level of mature let-7d in RCC clinical specimens and its correlation with clinicopathological data. Immunohistochemical staining was conducted to characterize the stroma of RCC. Let-7d overexpressing RCC cell lines combined with mouse models bearing cell-derived xenografts and patient-derived xenografts were used to assess the functional role of let-7d in vitro and in vivo.
Downregulation of let-7d in clinical RCC samples was associated with advanced tumor grade and T stage and increased vascular invasion. An inverse relationship between let-7d expression and macrophage infiltration was found in clinical RCC samples. Functional studies indicated that ectopic expression of let-7d significantly inhibited RCC cell proliferation, migration, and peripheral blood monocyte (PBMC) recruitment in vitro, as well as tumor growth, metastasis, and tumor macrophage infiltration in vivo. In silico analysis and subsequent experimental validation confirmed collagen, type III, alpha 1 (COL3A1) and C-C subfamily chemokine member CCL7 as direct let-7d target genes. The addition of COL3A1 and CCL7 counteracted the inhibitory effects of let-7d on RCC cell proliferation, migration, and PBMC recruitment. The inhibition of let-7d increased cell proliferation, migration, and PBMC recruitment by the enhanced expression of COL3A1 and CCL7 genes in vitro. The mRNA levels of COL3A1 and CCL7 were inversely correlated with let-7d level in RCC clinical specimens.
These results suggest that let-7d may suppress RCC growth, metastasis, and tumor macrophage infiltration at least partially through targeting COL3A1 and CCL7.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1476-4598-13-206) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4168121  PMID: 25193015
Renal cell carcinoma; MicroRNA; Let-7
22.  Genetic engineering of microorganisms for biodiesel production 
Bioengineered  2012;4(5):292-304.
Biodiesel, as one type of renewable energy, is an ideal substitute for petroleum-based diesel fuel and is usually made from triacylglycerides by transesterification with alcohols. Biodiesel production based on microbial fermentation aiming to establish more efficient, less-cost and sustainable biodiesel production strategies is under current investigation by various start-up biotechnology companies and research centers. Genetic engineering plays a key role in the transformation of microbes into the desired cell factories with high efficiency of biodiesel production. Here, we present an overview of principal microorganisms used in the microbial biodiesel production and recent advances in metabolic engineering for the modification required. Overexpression or deletion of the related enzymes for de novo synthesis of biodiesel is highlighted with relevant examples.
PMCID: PMC3813529  PMID: 23222170
genetic engineering; microorganisms; biodiesel; fatty acids; de novo synthesis
23.  Mouse mammary tumor virus-like virus infection and the risk of human breast cancer: a meta-analysis 
Despite a large number of molecular epidemiological studies, the association of Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus-Like Virus (MMTV-LV) infection with the risk of human breast cancer remains inconclusive mainly due to the heterogeneity in populations involved. We performed a systematic search of multiple bibliographic databases, up to October 2013, to identify all studies on detection of MMTV-LV DNA in human breast cancer using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and conducted the first comprehensive meta-analysis of published literature to explore the relevance of MMTV-LV to human breast cancer. As a result, meta-analysis of twelve case-control studies identified from the systematic search revealed a significantly increased risk for breast cancer development after MMTV-LV infection (OR=15.20; 95% CI: 9.98-23.13). However, there was no significant correlation between MMTV-LV infection and the transformation from ductal carcinoma in situ to invasive ductal carcinoma (OR=1.16; 95% CI: 0.27-4.97). In addition, MMTV-LV infection was not associated with the expression of estrogen receptor (ER) (OR=0.89; 95% CI: 0.48-1.65), progesterone receptor (PR) (OR=0.73; 95% CI: 0.22-2.42), HER-2 (OR=0.65; 95% CI: 0.30-1.43) or p53 (OR=1.47; 95% CI: 0.79-2.73). Finally, we found that the prevalence of MMTV-LV in breast carcinoma was significantly higher in patients from Western countries (prevalence=40.4%, 95% CI: 28.9%-51.9%) than in Asian patients (prevalence: 8.5%; 95% CI: -7.1%-24.1%) in a subgroup and meta-regression analysis (p=0.015). In summary, the meta-analysis of published studies revealed a significantly increased risk for breast cancer development after MMTV-LV infection. In addition, the prevalence of MMTV-LV is much higher in breast cancer patients from Western countries than Asian patients.
PMCID: PMC4058307  PMID: 24936218
Human breast cancer; mouse mammary tumor virus-like virus; MMTV-LV
24.  Sonic Hedgehog Improves Redifferentiation of Dedifferentiated Chondrocytes for Articular Cartilage Repair 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88550.
Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is involved in the induction of early cartilaginous differentiation of mesenchymal cells in the limb. We investigated whether Shh could promote redifferentiation of dedifferentiated chondrocytes and have a favorable effect on the regeneration of cartilage. Articular chondrocytes of rats were separated and cultured. The redifferentiation of dedifferentiated chondrocytes transfected with Shh was evaluated using monolayer and pellet culture system. The signaling molecules (Ptc 1, Gli 1 and Sox9) of the hedgehog pathway were investigated. A rat model of articular cartilage defect was used to evaluate cartilage repair after transplantation with dedifferentiated chondrocytes. After Shh gene transfer, the hedgehog pathway was upregulated in dedifferentiated chondrocytes. Real time-PCR and western blot analysis verified the stronger expression of Ptc1, Gli1 and Sox9 in Shh transfected cells. Shh upregulates the Shh signaling pathway and multiple cytokines (bone morphogenetic protein 2 and insulin-like growth factor 1) in dedifferentiated chondrocytes. After transplantation in the joint, histologic analysis of the regenerative tissues revealed that significantly better cartilage repair in rats transplanted with Shh transfected cells. These data suggest that Shh could induce redifferentiation of dedifferentiated chondrocytes through up-regulating Shh signaling pathway, and have considerable therapeutic potential in cartilage repair.
PMCID: PMC3922882  PMID: 24533105
25.  A Noise Level Prediction Method Based on Electro-Mechanical Frequency Response Function for Capacitors 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81651.
The capacitors in high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) converter stations radiate a lot of audible noise which can reach higher than 100 dB. The existing noise level prediction methods are not satisfying enough. In this paper, a new noise level prediction method is proposed based on a frequency response function considering both electrical and mechanical characteristics of capacitors. The electro-mechanical frequency response function (EMFRF) is defined as the frequency domain quotient of the vibration response and the squared capacitor voltage, and it is obtained from impulse current experiment. Under given excitations, the vibration response of the capacitor tank is the product of EMFRF and the square of the given capacitor voltage in frequency domain, and the radiated audible noise is calculated by structure acoustic coupling formulas. The noise level under the same excitations is also measured in laboratory, and the results are compared with the prediction. The comparison proves that the noise prediction method is effective.
PMCID: PMC3857221  PMID: 24349105

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