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1.  Improvement of cellulose catabolism in Clostridium cellulolyticum by sporulation abolishment and carbon alleviation 
Clostridium cellulolyticum can degrade lignocellulosic biomass, and ferment the soluble sugars to produce valuable chemicals such as lactate, acetate, ethanol and hydrogen. However, the cellulose utilization efficiency of C. cellulolyticum still remains very low, impeding its application in consolidated bioprocessing for biofuels production. In this study, two metabolic engineering strategies were exploited to improve cellulose utilization efficiency, including sporulation abolishment and carbon overload alleviation.
The spo0A gene at locus Ccel_1894, which encodes a master sporulation regulator was inactivated. The spo0A mutant abolished the sporulation ability. In a high concentration of cellulose (50 g/l), the performance of the spo0A mutant increased dramatically in terms of maximum growth, final concentrations of three major metabolic products, and cellulose catabolism. The microarray and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analyses showed that the valine, leucine and isoleucine biosynthesis pathways were up-regulated in the spo0A mutant. Based on this information, a partial isobutanol producing pathway modified from valine biosynthesis was introduced into C. cellulolyticum strains to further increase cellulose consumption by alleviating excessive carbon load. The introduction of this synthetic pathway to the wild-type strain improved cellulose consumption from 17.6 g/l to 28.7 g/l with a production of 0.42 g/l isobutanol in the 50 g/l cellulose medium. However, the spo0A mutant strain did not appreciably benefit from introduction of this synthetic pathway and the cellulose utilization efficiency did not further increase. A technical highlight in this study was that an in vivo promoter strength evaluation protocol was developed using anaerobic fluorescent protein and flow cytometry for C. cellulolyticum.
In this study, we inactivated the spo0A gene and introduced a heterologous synthetic pathway to manipulate the stress response to heavy carbon load and accumulation of metabolic products. These findings provide new perspectives to enhance the ability of cellulolytic bacteria to produce biofuels and biocommodities with high efficiency and at low cost directly from lignocellulosic biomass.
PMCID: PMC3936895  PMID: 24555718
Clostridium cellulolyticum; Sporulation; spo0A; Cellulose catabolism; Isobutanol
2.  A genetic program promotes C. elegans longevity at cold temperatures via a thermosensitive TRP channel 
Cell  2013;152(4):806-817.
Both poikilotherms and homeotherms live longer at lower body temperatures, highlighting a general role of temperature reduction in lifespan extension. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. One prominent model is that cold temperatures reduce the rate of chemical reactions, thereby slowing the rate of aging. This view suggests that cold-dependent lifespan extension is simply a passive thermodynamic process. Here, we challenge this view in C. elegans by showing that genetic programs actively promote longevity at cold temperatures. We find that TRPA-1, a cold-sensitive TRP channel, detects temperature drop in the environment to extend lifespan. This effect requires cold-induced, TRPA-1-mediated calcium influx and a calcium-sensitive PKC which signals to the transcription factor DAF-16/FOXO. Human TRPA1 can functionally substitute for worm TRPA-1 in promoting longevity. Our results reveal a new function for TRP channels, link calcium signaling to longevity, and importantly, demonstrate that genetic programs contribute to lifespan extension at cold temperatures.
PMCID: PMC3594097  PMID: 23415228
3.  LIN28 Is Involved in Glioma Carcinogenesis and Predicts Outcomes of Glioblastoma Multiforme Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86446.
LIN28, an evolutionarily conversed RNA binding protein which can bind to the terminal loops of let-7 family microRNA precursors and block their processing to maturation, is highly expressed in several subsets of tumors that carry poor prognoses, such as ovarian carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, colon carcinoma and germ cell carcinoma. However, there has been no study on the expression of LIN28 in glioma tissues or their importance as a prognostic predictor of glioma patients. This study aimed to examine the expression of LIN28 in glioma and correlate the results to patient outcome. We found that LIN28 expression was significantly higher in the group of patients with a poor prognosis compared to patients with a good prognosis by gene microarray. Log-rank analysis showed patients with higher LIN28 expression level in tumor had a shorter progression-free survival and overall survival times compared to those with lower LIN28 expression level. Similar results were also obtained from the tissue microarray analysis. Univariate and multivariate analyses showed high LIN28 expression was an independent prognostic factor for a shorter progression-free survival and overall survival in GBM patients. Furthermore in vitro experiments showed that down-regulation of LIN28 in U251 and U373 cells caused cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase, delayed cell proliferation, increased apoptosis, and resulted in fewer colonies compared to controls. Summarily, our data provides a potential target for cancer therapy as an approach to overcome the poor options currently available for GBM patients.
PMCID: PMC3901701  PMID: 24475120
4.  The Effect of Apigenin on Pharmacokinetics of Imatinib and Its Metabolite N-Desmethyl Imatinib in Rats 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:789184.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of apigenin on the pharmacokinetics of imatinib and N-desmethyl imatinib in rats. Healthy male SD rats were randomly divided into four groups: A group (the control group), B group (the long-term administration of 165 mg/kg apigenin for 15 days), C group (a single dose of 165 mg/kg apigenin), and D group (a single dose of 252 mg/kg apigenin). The serum concentrations of imatinib and N-desmethyl imatinib were measured by HPLC, and pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated using DAS 3.0 software. The parameters of AUC(0−t), AUC(0−∞), Tmax, Vz/F, and CLz/F for imatinib in group B were different from those in group A (P < 0.05). Besides, MRT(0−t) and MRT(0−∞) in groups C and D differed distinctly from those in group A as well. The parameters of AUC(0−t) and Cmax for N-desmethyl imatinib in group C were significantly lower than those in group A (P < 0.05); however, compared with groups B and D, the magnitude of effect was modest. Those results indicated that apigenin in the short-term study inhibited the metabolism of imatinib and its metabolite N-desmethyl imatinib, while in the long-term study the metabolism could be accelerated.
PMCID: PMC3863468  PMID: 24369535
5.  SAMSN1 Is Highly Expressed and Associated with a Poor Survival in Glioblastoma Multiforme 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e81905.
To study the expression pattern and prognostic significance of SAMSN1 in glioma.
Affymetrix and Arrystar gene microarray data in the setting of glioma was analyzed to preliminarily study the expression pattern of SAMSN1 in glioma tissues, and Hieratical clustering of gene microarray data was performed to filter out genes that have prognostic value in malignant glioma. Survival analysis by Kaplan-Meier estimates stratified by SAMSN1 expression was then made based on the data of more than 500 GBM cases provided by The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project. At last, we detected the expression of SAMSN1 in large numbers of glioma and normal brain tissue samples using Tissue Microarray (TMA). Survival analysis by Kaplan-Meier estimates in each grade of glioma was stratified by SAMSN1 expression. Multivariate survival analysis was made by Cox proportional hazards regression models in corresponding groups of glioma.
With the expression data of SAMSN1 and 68 other genes, high-grade glioma could be classified into two groups with clearly different prognoses. Gene and large sample tissue microarrays showed high expression of SAMSN1 in glioma particularly in GBM. Survival analysis based on the TCGA GBM data matrix and TMA multi-grade glioma dataset found that SAMSN1 expression was closely related to the prognosis of GBM, either PFS or OS (P<0.05). Multivariate survival analysis with Cox proportional hazards regression models confirmed that high expression of SAMSN1 was a strong risk factor for PFS and OS of GBM patients.
SAMSN1 is over-expressed in glioma as compared with that found in normal brains, especially in GBM. High expression of SAMSN1 is a significant risk factor for the progression free and overall survival of GBM.
PMCID: PMC3838348  PMID: 24278465
6.  The Detection of Orientation Continuity and Discontinuity by Cat V1 Neurons 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79723.
The orientation tuning properties of the non-classical receptive field (nCRF or “surround”) relative to that of the classical receptive field (CRF or “center”) were tested for 119 neurons in the cat primary visual cortex (V1). The stimuli were concentric sinusoidal gratings generated on a computer screen with the center grating presented at an optimal orientation to stimulate the CRF and the surround grating with variable orientations stimulating the nCRF. Based on the presence or absence of surround suppression, measured by the suppression index at the optimal orientation of the cells, we subdivided the neurons into two categories: surround-suppressive (SS) cells and surround-non-suppressive (SN) cells. When stimulated with an optimally oriented grating centered at CRF, the SS cells showed increasing surround suppression when the stimulus grating was expanded beyond the boundary of the CRF, whereas for the SN cells, expanding the stimulus grating beyond the CRF caused no suppression of the center response. For the SS cells, strength of surround suppression was dependent on the relative orientation between CRF and nCRF: an iso-orientation grating over center and surround at the optimal orientation evoked strongest suppression and a surround grating orthogonal to the optimal center grating evoked the weakest or no suppression. By contrast, the SN cells showed slightly increased responses to an iso-orientation stimulus and weak suppression to orthogonal surround gratings. This iso-/orthogonal orientation selectivity between center and surround was analyzed in 22 SN and 97 SS cells, and for the two types of cells, the different center-surround orientation selectivity was dependent on the suppressive strength of the cells. We conclude that SN cells are suitable to detect orientation continuity or similarity between CRF and nCRF, whereas the SS cells are adapted to the detection of discontinuity or differences in orientation between CRF and nCRF.
PMCID: PMC3836789  PMID: 24278163
7.  A Cell Cycle Phosphoproteome of the Yeast Centrosome 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2011;332(6037):10.1126/science.1205193.
Centrosomes organize the bipolar mitotic spindle, and centrosomal defects cause chromosome instability. Protein phosphorylation modulates centrosome function, and we provide a comprehensive map of phosphorylation on intact yeast centrosomes (18 proteins). Mass spectrometry was used to identify 297 phosphorylation sites on centrosomes from different cell cycle stages. We observed different modes of phosphoregulation via specific protein kinases, phosphorylation site clustering, and conserved phosphorylated residues. Mutating all eight cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk)–directed sites within the core component, Spc42, resulted in lethality and reduced centrosomal assembly. Alternatively, mutation of one conserved Cdk site within γ-tubulin (Tub4-S360D) caused mitotic delay and aberrant anaphase spindle elongation. Our work establishes the extent and complexity of this prominent posttranslational modification in centrosome biology and provides specific examples of phosphorylation control in centrosome function.
PMCID: PMC3825980  PMID: 21700874
8.  Concise Review: Chemical Approaches for Modulating Lineage-Specific Stem Cells and Progenitors 
This work summarizes recent progress in the use of small molecules for the expansion and generation of desirable lineage-restricted stem and progenitor cells in vitro and for selectively controlling cell fate of lineage-restricted stem and progenitor cells in vivo, thereby facilitating stem cell-based clinical applications. All of the examples listed suggest that small molecules can be used to facilitate the generation and expansion of desirable lineage-restricted stem and progenitor cells for various purposes, and selectively control the differentiation of lineage-restricted stem and progenitor cells in vitro and in vivo for therapeutics purposes.
Generation and manipulation of lineage-restricted stem and progenitor cells in vitro and/or in vivo are critical for the development of stem cell-based clinical therapeutics. Lineage-restricted stem and progenitor cells have many advantageous qualities, including being able to efficiently engraft and differentiate into desirable cell types in vivo after transplantation, and they are much less tumorigenic than pluripotent cells. Generation of lineage-restricted stem and progenitor cells can be achieved by directed differentiation from pluripotent stem cells or lineage conversion from easily obtained somatic cells. Small molecules can be very helpful in these processes since they offer several important benefits. For example, the risk of tumorigenesis is greatly reduced when small molecules are used to replace integrated transcription factors, which are widely used in cell fate conversion. Furthermore, small molecules are relatively easy to apply, optimize, and manufacture, and they can more readily be developed into conventional pharmaceuticals. Alternatively, small molecules can be used to expand or selectively control the differentiation of lineage-restricted stem and progenitor cells for desirable therapeutics purposes in vitro or in vivo. Here we summarize recent progress in the use of small molecules for the expansion and generation of desirable lineage-restricted stem and progenitor cells in vitro and for selectively controlling cell fate of lineage-restricted stem and progenitor cells in vivo, thereby facilitating stem cell-based clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3667559  PMID: 23580542
Stem/progenitor cell; Differentiation; Hematopoietic stem cells; Neural stem cell; Stem cell expansion; T cell; Induced pluripotent stem cells; Mesenchymal stem cells; Self-renewal; Cell fate conversion
9.  Risk factors for early postoperative cognitive dysfunction after non-coronary bypass surgery in Chinese population 
The present study was performed to investigate the incidence of early postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) after non-coronary bypass surgery and the potential risk factors in Chinese population.
We performed a prospective study in a teaching tertiary hospital from May 2012 to August 2012. One hundred and seventy-six adult patients undergoing non-coronary bypass surgery were recruited. Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score was evaluated before and 3 to 5 days after surgery. Patients with a MMSE score reduction of 2 was diagnosed with POCD.
The general incidence of POCD was 33.0%, with no significant difference between the types of surgeries. In the univariate analysis, POCD associated factors included age, duration of surgery, anesthesia, cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), cross-clamp and rewarming, and sevoflurane concentration. However, only age, cross-clamp duration and sevoflurane concentration were demonstrated to be independent risk factors for POCD.
Incidence of early POCD after non-coronary bypass surgery was relatively high in Chinese population. Advanced age, longer aortic cross-clamp duration and lower sevoflurane concentration was associated with a higher incidence of POCD.
PMCID: PMC3818927  PMID: 24175992
Postoperative cognitive dysfunction; Cardiovascular surgery; Risk factor; Sevoflurane
10.  Fabrication and evaluation of Bis-GMA/TEGDMA dental resins/composites containing halloysite nanotubes 
To investigate the reinforcement of Bis-GMA/TEGDMA dental resins (without conventional glass filler) and the corresponding composites (with conventional glass filler)containing vari ed mass fractions of halloysite nanotubes (HNTs).
Three dispersion methods were studied to separate the silanized halloysite as individual HNTs and to uniformly distribute them into dental matrices. Photopolymerization induced volumetric shrinkage was measured by using a mercury dilatometer. Real time near infrared spectroscopy was adopted to study the degree of vinyl double bond conversion and the photopolymerization rate. Mechanical properties of the composites were tested by a universal mechanical testing machine. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used for the statistical analysis of the acquired data. Morphologies of halloysite/HNTs and representative fracture surfaces of the reinforced dental resins/composites were examined by SEM and TEM.
Impregnation of small mass fractions (e.g., 1% and 2.5%) of the silanized HNTs in Bis-GMA/TEGDMA dental resins/composites improved mechanical properties significantly; however; large mass fractions (e.g., 5%) of impregnation did not further improve the mechanical properties. The impregnation of HNTs into dental resins/composites could result in two opposite effects: the reinforcing effect due to the highly separated and uniformly distributed HNTs, and the weakening effect due to the formation of HNT agglomerates/particles.
Uniform distribution of a small amount of well-separated silanized HNTs into Bis-GMA/TEGDMA dental resins/composites could result in substantial improvements on mechanical properties.
PMCID: PMC3432153  PMID: 22796038
Dental composites; Bis-GMA; TEGDMA; Halloysite nanotubes
11.  Relationship between birth size and coronary heart disease in China 
Annals of medicine  2010;42(8):596-602.
Clinical epidemiological studies suggested a link between fetal growth conditions and later coronary heart disease (CHD) in adult life. However, no such studies have been conducted in a Chinese population.
We investigated the association between various birth characteristics and CHD occurrence in a Chinese cohort.
Retrospective cohort study.
Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China.
A total of 2,033 subjects who were born at Peking Union Medical College Hospital between 1921 and 1954.
Neonatal birth-weight, placental weight, length from crown to heel, head circumference, and biparietal and occipitofrontal diameters were routinely recorded at the time of birth. All participants were followed up between May 2002 and April 2004 for the occurrence of CHD.
CHD was identified in 135 patients. The occurrence of CHD was inversely related to birth sizes, such as birth-weight, head circumference, placental weight (P < 0.05), but was not significantly related to birth length or ponderal index (birth-weight/birth length3). After multivariable logistic regression, the ratio of birth-weight to birth length was an independent predictor of CHD along with two other variables: obesity and age.
This was a single-center retrospective study.
In China low birth size or birth disproportion, which is suggestive of fetal growth retardation, has an effect on CHD occurrence during adulthood. This suggests that environmental factors operate in both the prenatal and postnatal periods with regard to the development of CHD.
PMCID: PMC3787846  PMID: 20828358
Birth size; coronary artery disease; fetal growth retardation; risk factors
12.  Recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a clinical dilemma and challenge 
Current Oncology  2013;20(5):e406-e419.
Recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which represents a small proportion of head-and-neck cancers, has a unique set of patho-clinical characteristics. The management of recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma remains a challenging clinical problem. Traditional treatments offer limited local control and survival benefits; more seriously, they frequently induce severe late complications. Recently, novel treatment techniques and strategies—including precision radiotherapy, endoscopic surgery or transoral robotic resection, third-generation chemotherapy regimens, and targeted therapies and immunotherapy—have provided new hope for patients with recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Some of these patients can potentially be cured with modern treatments. However, a lack of adequate evidence makes it difficult for clinicians to apply these powerful techniques and strategies. Individualized management guidelines, full evaluation of quality of life in these patients, and a further understanding of the mechanisms underlying recurrence are future directions for research into recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3805410  PMID: 24155638
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; recurrence; surgery; radiotherapy; chemotherapy; biotherapy
13.  Microarray and Degradome Sequencing Reveal MicroRNA Differential Expression Profiles and Their Targets in Pinellia pedatisecta 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75978.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small non-coding RNAs which play a critical role in gene regulation in plants. Pinelliapedatisecta is one of the most important herbs in traditional Chinese medicine, but there are no microRNAs of Pinelliapedatisecta were deposited in miRBase and the research of the related miRNA biological functions is still insufficient. To detect Pinelliapedatisecta miRNAs and discover their expression difference with Pinelliaternata, we carried out a microarray profiling. A total of 101 miRNAs belonging to 22 miRNA families were detected both in Pinelliapedatisecta and Pinelliaternata respectively, among them 21 miRNAs showed their differentially expression. GO (gene ontology) term enrichment analysis of the target genes of differential expression miRNAs reveal that these miRNAs mainly affect the reproduction, transcription factor activity and plant developmental process. To elucidate the target function of miRNAs, we constructed a degradome library from Pinellia pedatisecta leaf. The result showed that a total of 18 transcript were identified as targets of miRNAs and further analysis indicated that miR156 and miR529 may function together to repress SPL14.
PMCID: PMC3783389  PMID: 24086673
14.  Target Inhibition Networks: Predicting Selective Combinations of Druggable Targets to Block Cancer Survival Pathways 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(9):e1003226.
A recent trend in drug development is to identify drug combinations or multi-target agents that effectively modify multiple nodes of disease-associated networks. Such polypharmacological effects may reduce the risk of emerging drug resistance by means of attacking the disease networks through synergistic and synthetic lethal interactions. However, due to the exponentially increasing number of potential drug and target combinations, systematic approaches are needed for prioritizing the most potent multi-target alternatives on a global network level. We took a functional systems pharmacology approach toward the identification of selective target combinations for specific cancer cells by combining large-scale screening data on drug treatment efficacies and drug-target binding affinities. Our model-based prediction approach, named TIMMA, takes advantage of the polypharmacological effects of drugs and infers combinatorial drug efficacies through system-level target inhibition networks. Case studies in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer and BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer cells demonstrated how the target inhibition modeling allows systematic exploration of functional interactions between drugs and their targets to maximally inhibit multiple survival pathways in a given cancer type. The TIMMA prediction results were experimentally validated by means of systematic siRNA-mediated silencing of the selected targets and their pairwise combinations, showing increased ability to identify not only such druggable kinase targets that are essential for cancer survival either individually or in combination, but also synergistic interactions indicative of non-additive drug efficacies. These system-level analyses were enabled by a novel model construction method utilizing maximization and minimization rules, as well as a model selection algorithm based on sequential forward floating search. Compared with an existing computational solution, TIMMA showed both enhanced prediction accuracies in cross validation as well as significant reduction in computation times. Such cost-effective computational-experimental design strategies have the potential to greatly speed-up the drug testing efforts by prioritizing those interventions and interactions warranting further study in individual cancer cases.
Author Summary
Selective inhibition of specific panels of multiple protein targets provides an unprecedented potential for improving therapeutic efficacy of anticancer agents. We introduce a computational systems pharmacology strategy, which uses the concept of target inhibition networks to predict effective multi-target combinations for treating specific cancer types. The strategy is based on integration of two complementary information sources, drug treatment efficacies and drug-target binding affinities, which are readily available in drug screening labs. Compared to the cancer sequencing efforts, which often result in a huge number of non-targetable genetic alterations, the target combinations from our strategy are druggable, by definition, hence enabling more straightforward translation toward clinically actionable treatment strategies. The model predictions were experimentally validated using siRNA-mediated target silencing screens in three case studies involving MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer and BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer cells. In more general terms, the cancer cell-specific target inhibition networks provided additional insights into the drugs' mechanisms of action, for instance, how the cancer cell survival pathways can be targeted by synergistic and synthetic lethal interactions through multi–target perturbations. These results demonstrate that the principles introduced here offer the possibilities to move toward more systematic prediction and evaluation of the most effective drug target combinations.
PMCID: PMC3772058  PMID: 24068907
15.  Effects of Abscisic Acid, Gibberellin, Ethylene and Their Interactions on Production of Phenolic Acids in Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge Hairy Roots 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72806.
Salvia miltiorrhiza is one of the most important traditional Chinese medicinal plants because of its excellent performance in treating coronary heart disease. Phenolic acids mainly including caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid and salvianolic acid B are a group of active ingredients in S. miltiorrhiza. Abscisic acid (ABA), gibberellin (GA) and ethylene are three important phytohormones. In this study, effects of the three phytohormones and their interactions on phenolic production in S. miltiorrhiza hairy roots were investigated. The results showed that ABA, GA and ethylene were all effective to induce production of phenolic acids and increase activities of PAL and TAT in S. miltiorrhiza hairy roots. Effects of phytohormones were reversed by their biosynthetic inhibitors. Antagonistic actions between the three phytohormones played important roles in the biosynthesis of phenolic acids. GA signaling is necessary for ABA and ethylene-induced phenolic production. Yet, ABA and ethylene signaling is probably not necessary for GA3-induced phenolic production. The complex interactions of phytohormones help us reveal regulation mechanism of secondary metabolism and scale-up production of active ingredients in plants.
PMCID: PMC3759372  PMID: 24023778
16.  Arginylation regulates myofibrils to maintain heart function and prevent dilated cardiomyopathy 
Protein arginylation mediated by arginyltransferase (ATE1) is essential for heart formation during embryogenesis, however its cell-autonomous role in cardiomyocytes and the differentiated heart muscle has never been investigated. To address this question, we generated cardiac muscle-specific Ate1 knockout mice, in which Ate1 deletion was driven by α-myosin heavy chain promoter (αMHC-Ate1 mouse). These mice were initially viable, but developed severe cardiac contractility defects, dilated cardiomyopathy, and thrombosis over time, resulting in high rates of lethality after 6 months of age. These symptoms were accompanied by severe ultrastructural defects in cardiac myofibrils, seen in the newborns and far preceding the onset of cardiomyopathy, suggesting that these defects were primary and likely underlay the development of the future heart defects. Several major sarcomeric proteins were arginylated in vivo. Moreover, Ate1 deletion in the hearts resulted in a significant reduction of active and passive myofibril forces, suggesting that arginylation is critical for both myofibril structural integrity and contractility. Thus, arginylation is essential for maintaining the heart function by regulation of the major myofibril proteins and myofibril forces, and its absence in the heart muscle leads to progressive heart failure through cardiomyocyte-specific defects.
PMCID: PMC3418387  PMID: 22626847
arginylation; dilated cardyomyopathy; myofibrils
17.  Overexpression of a novel osteopetrosis-related gene CCDC154 suppresses cell proliferation by inducing G2/M arrest 
Cell Cycle  2012;11(17):3270-3279.
Osteopetrosis, a disorder of skeletal bone, can cause death during childhood. We previously described a new spontaneous autosomal recessive osteopetrosis mouse mutant, “new toothless” (ntl). In this study, we reported for the first time the identification, cloning and characterization of the coiled-coil domain-containing 154 (CCDC154), a novel gene whose deletion of ~5 kb sequence including exons 1–6 was completely linked to the ntl mutant. The CCDC154 was conserved between mouse and human and is wildly expressed in mouse tissues. The cellular localization of CCDC154 was in the early endosomes. Overexpression of CCDC154 inhibited cell proliferation of HEK293 cells by inducing G2/M arrest. CCDC154 also inhibited tumor cell growth, and the soft agar assay revealed a significant decrease of the colony size of Hela cells upon transfection of CCDC154. Our results indicate that CCDC154 is a novel osteopetrosis-related gene involved in cell cycle regulation and tumor suppression growth.
PMCID: PMC3466526  PMID: 22895184
CCDC154; osteopetrosis; cellular localization; cell proliferation; G2/M arrest
18.  Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms of PIN1 Promoter Region and Cancer Risk: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70990.
Peptidylprolyl cis/trans isomerase NIMA-interacting 1 (PIN1) is involved in the process of tumorigenesis. The two single nucleotide polymorphisms (−677T>C, −842G>C) in the PIN1 promoter region have been suspected of being associated with cancer risk for years, but the conclusion is still inconclusive.
Eligible case-control studies were retrieved by searching databases and references of related reviews and studies. Genotype distribution data, adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence (CIs) intervals were extracted to calculate pooled ORs.
A total of 4619 cancer cases and 4661 controls were included in this meta-analysis. Overall, the PIN1 −667T>C polymorphism was not associated with cancer risk, while the −842C allele was significantly associated with reduced cancer risk (CC+GC vs. GG, OR = 0.725, 95% CI: 0.607–0.865; Pheterogeneity = 0.012 and GC vs. GG: OR = 0.721, 95% CI: 0.591–0.880; Pheterogeneity = 0.003). Results from genotype distribution data were in agreement with those calculated with adjusted ORs and 95% CIs. No publication bias was detected.
Results of this meta-analysis suggest that the PIN1 −842G>C polymorphism is associated with decreased cancer risk, but that the −667T>C polymorphism is not.
PMCID: PMC3745411  PMID: 23976970
19.  Prevalence of hyperuricemia and its related risk factors in healthy adults from Northern and Northeastern Chinese provinces 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:664.
Hyperuricemia (HUA) is a potential risk factor for developing insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, we studied the prevalence of HUA and associated risk factors in the population of two provinces in northern China.
Based on the research of Chinese Physiological Constant and Health Conditions conducted in 2008–2010, we enrolled 29,639 subjects in a randomized, stratified study in four sampling areas in Heilongjiang Province and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. We collected 13,140 serum samples to determine biochemical indicators including uric acid(UA), glucose, blood lipids, liver function, and renal function, and finally a representative sample of 8439 aged 18 years and older was determined. We also defined and stratified HUA, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and lipid abnormalities according to international guidelines.
There were significant differences in the UA levels between different genders and regions. The total prevalence of HUA is 13.7%. Men had a higher prevalence of HUA than women (21% vs. 7.9%; P < 0.0001). As age increased, HUA prevalence decreased in men but rose in women. The suburbs of big cities had the highest HUA prevalence (18.7%), and in high-prevalence areas the proportion of women with HUA also increased. A stepwise logistic regression model was used to filter out twelve HUA risk factors, including age, gender, residence, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, impaired fasting glucose, hypertension, obesity, abdominal obesity, CKD, drinking and sleeping. After adjusting for these factors, the odds ratio of HUA was 1.92 times higher in men than in women. Compared with agricultural and pastoral areas, the odds ratio of having HUA was 2.14 for participants in the suburbs of big cities and 1.57 in the center of big cities.
The prevalence of HUA is high in northern China. The differences in HUA prevalence by geographic region suggested that unbalanced economic development and health education, therefore HUA prevention measures should be strengthened to improve quality of life and reduce health care costs.
PMCID: PMC3722003  PMID: 23866159
Prevalence; Hyperuricemia; Risk factors
20.  MicroRNA-326 Functions as a Tumor Suppressor in Glioma by Targeting the Nin One Binding Protein (NOB1) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68469.
Malignant glioma is the most common type of primary brain tumor in adults, characterized by rapid tumor growth and infiltration of tumor cells throughout the brain. Alterations in the activity of the 26S proteasome have been associated with malignant glioma cells, although the specific defects have not been identified. Recently, microRNA-326 (miR-326) was shown to play an important role in glioblastoma and breast cancer, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. In the present study, the human Nin one binding protein (NOB1) was identified as a direct target of miR-326 and a potential oncogene in human glioma. Similar to NOB1 silencing by shRNA, overexpression of miR-326 in human glioma cell lines (A172 and U373) caused cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase, delayed cell proliferation and enhanced apoptosis. MiR-326 inhibited colony formation in soft agar and decreased growth of a xenograft tumor model, suggesting that miR-326 and NOB1 are required for tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, these processes were shown to involve the MAPK pathway. NOB1 overexpression in human glioma samples was detected by Affymetrix array analysis, and NOB1 mRNA and protein levels were shown to be increased in high-grade glioma compared to low-grade glioma and normal brain tissue. Furthermore, high levels of NOB1 were associated with unfavorable prognosis of glioma patients. Taken together, these results indicate that miR-326 and NOB1 may play an important role in the development of glioma.
PMCID: PMC3711818  PMID: 23869222
21.  High Cytoplasmic FOXO1 and pFOXO1 Expression in Astrocytomas Are Associated with Worse Surgical Outcome 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69260.
FOXO1 is at a convergence point of receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling, which is one of the three core pathways implicated in glioblastoma. It was recently shown that FOXO1 can effectively induce glioma cell death and inhibit tumor growth through cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. We therefore evaluated FOXO1 and pFOXO1 protein expression in 181 primary astrocytoma samples and 16 normal brain samples. Astrocytoma samples expressed higher cytoplasmic FOXO1 and pFOXO1 than normal brain samples. Nuclear pFOXO1 level was significantly higher than nuclear FOXO1 in astrocytomas. High cytoplasmic FOXO1 expression was associated with older onset age (P = 0.001) and higher WHO grade (P = 0.001). The trend was also observed between cytoplasmic pFOXO1 expression and WHO grade although not significant. Univariate survival analysis showed that both high cytoplasmic FOXO1 and pFOXO1 expression indicated a significantly shorter median overall survival and progression-free survival. Multivariate survival analysis revealed cytoplasmic FOXO1 expression, cytoplasmic pFOXO1 expression, WHO grade, gender, extent of resection and radiotherapy to be independent prognostic factors for overall survival and progression-free survival. Thus, our data suggested that cytoplasmic FOXO1 and pFOXO1 expression may serve as valuable prognostic variables in astrocytomas and may have significant implications for the development and application of targeted therapy.
PMCID: PMC3706417  PMID: 23874926
22.  Digestion and depletion of abundant proteins improves proteomic coverage 
Nature methods  2012;10(1):54-56.
Two major challenges in proteomics are the large number of proteins and their broad dynamic range within the cell. We exploited the abundance-dependent Michaelis-Menten kinetics of trypsin digestion to selectively digest and deplete abundant proteins with a method we call DigDeAPr. We validated the depletion mechanism with known yeast protein abundances and observed greater than 3-fold improvement in low abundance human protein identification and quantitation metrics. This methodology should be broadly applicable to many organisms, proteases, and proteomic pipelines.
PMCID: PMC3531578  PMID: 23160281
23.  Curcumin analogue T83 exhibits potent antitumor activity and induces radiosensitivity through inactivation of Jab1 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:323.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an Epstein-Barr virus–associated malignancy that is most common in East Asia, Africa, and Alaska. Radiotherapy is the main treatment option; unfortunately, disease response to concurrent radiotherapy and chemotherapy varies among patients with NPC, and in many cases, NPC becomes resistant to radiotherapy. Our previous studies indicated that Jab1/CSN5 was overexpressed and plays a role in the pathogenesis and radiotherapy resistance in NPC. Therefore, it is important to seek for innovative therapeutics targeting Jab1/CSN5 for NPC. In this study, we explored the antitumor effect of a curcumin analogue T83 in NPC, and found T83 exhibits antitumor activity and induces radiosensitivity through inactivation of Jab1 in NPC.
NPC cell viability and proliferation were detected by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and colony formation assays. Cell cycle distribution was detected with use of flow cytometry. Apoptosis was examined by using the Annexin V/propidium iodide staining assay and cleavage poly(ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) and cleavage caspase-3 expression. Jab1 expression was examined by Western blotting.
A growth inhibitory effect was observed with T83 treatment in a dose- and time-dependent manner. T83 significantly induced G2/M arrest and apoptosis in NPC. In addition, T83 inhibited Jab1 expression and sensitized NPC cells to radiotherapy.
Our data indicate that T83 exhibits potent inhibitory activity in NPC cells and induces radiotherapy sensitivity. Thus, T83 has translational potential as a chemopreventive or therapeutic agent for NPC.
PMCID: PMC3706359  PMID: 23815987
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Tumorigenesis; Epstein-Barr virus–associated malignancy; Jab1/CSN5; Curcumin
24.  Synthesis and Characterization of Fe10BO3/Fe3O4/SiO2 and GdFeO3/Fe3O4/SiO2: Nanocomposites of Biofunctional Materials 
ChemistryOpen  2013;2(3):88-92.
PMCID: PMC3703812  PMID: 24551544
biofunctional materials; gel combustion techniques; nanocomposites; neutron capture therapy
25.  Single-step inline hydroxyapatite enrichment facilitates identification and quantitation of phosphopeptides from mass-limited proteomes with MudPIT 
Journal of Proteome Research  2012;11(5):2697-2709.
Herein we report the characterization and optimization of single-step inline enrichment of phosphopeptides directly from small amounts of whole cell and tissue lysates (100 – 500 μg) using a hydroxyapatite (HAP) microcolumn and Multidimensional Protein Identification Technology (MudPIT). In comparison to a triplicate HILIC-IMAC phosphopeptide enrichment study, ~80% of the phosphopeptides identified using HAP-MudPIT were unique. Similarly, analysis of the consensus phosphorylation motifs between the two enrichment methods illustrates the complementarity of calcium-and iron-based enrichment methods and the higher sensitivity and selectivity of HAP-MudPIT for acidic motifs. We demonstrate how the identification of more multiply phosphorylated peptides from HAP-MudPIT can be used to quantify phosphorylation cooperativity. Through optimization of HAP-MudPIT on a whole cell lysate we routinely achieved identification and quantification of ca. 1000 phosphopeptides from a ~1 hr enrichment and 12 hr MudPIT analysis on small quantities of material. Finally, we applied this optimized method to identify phosphorylation sites from a mass-limited mouse brain region, the amygdala (200 – 500 μg), identifying up to 4000 phosphopeptides per run.
PMCID: PMC3365658  PMID: 22509746
Hydroxyapatite; MudPIT; phosphopeptide enrichment; whole cell lysate; mouse amygdala; phosphorylation cooperativity

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