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1.  Association of Esophageal Inflammation, Obesity and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: From FDG PET/CT Perspective 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92001.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is associated with bothersome symptoms and neoplastic progression into Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. We aim to determine the correlation between GERD, esophageal inflammation and obesity with 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT).
We studied 458 subjects who underwent a comprehensive health check-up, which included an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, FDG PET/CT and complete anthropometric measures. GERD symptoms were evaluated with Reflux Disease Questionnaire. Endoscopically erosive esophagitis was scored using the Los Angeles classification system. Inflammatory activity, represented by standardized uptake values (SUVmax) of FDG at pre-determined locations of esophagus, stomach and duodenum, were compared. Association between erosive esophagitis, FDG activity and anthropometric evaluation, including body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue volumes were analyzed.
Subjects with erosive esophagitis (n = 178, 38.9%) had significantly higher SUVmax at middle esophagus (2.69±0.74 vs. 2.41±0.57, P<.001) and esophagogastric junction (3.10±0.89 vs. 2.38±0.57, P<.001), marginally higher at upper esophageal sphincter (2.29±0.42 vs. 2.21±0.48, P = .062), but not in stomach or duodenum. The severity of erosive esophagitis correlated with SUVmax and subjects with Barrett's esophagus had the highest SUVmax at middle esophagus and esophagogastric junction. Heartburn positively correlated with higher SUVmax at middle oesophagus (r = .262, P = .003). Using multivariate regression analyses, age (P = .027), total cholesterol level (P = .003), alcohol drinking (P = .03), subcutaneous adipose tissue (P<.001), BMI (P<.001) and waist circumference (P<.001) were independently associated with higher SUVmax at respective esophageal locations.
Esophageal inflammation demonstrated by FDG PET/CT correlates with endoscopic findings and symptomatology of GERD. Obesity markers, both visceral and general, are independent determinants of esophageal inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3958434  PMID: 24642729
2.  Pioglitazone Inhibits the Expressions of p22phox and p47phox in Rat Mesangial Cells In Vitro 
ISRN Endocrinology  2014;2014:601352.
Aim. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of pioglitazone on oxidative stress and the expressions of p22phox and p47phox, subunits of NADPH oxidase, in mesangial cells (MCs). Method. Rat mesangial cells were cultured and randomly divided into normal glucose (NG) group, high glucose (HG) group, and pioglitazone group. After 48 h exposure, the supernatants and cells were collected. The expressions of p22phox and p47phox in MCs were detected by RT-PCR and western blot. The levels of intracellular ROS were determined by flow cytometry. Coloimetry method was used to detect malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities. Results. Compared with the NG group, the expression levels of p22phox, p47phox and ROS significantly increased, the activity of SOD decreased in HG group, while the concentration of MDA greatly increased (P < 0.01). Pioglitazone significantly suppressed HG-induced p22phox and p47phox expressions and oxidative stress. The protein and gene expressions of p22phox and p47phox were markedly reduced after pioglitazone treatment, so did the ROS generation. The activities of SOD in MCs increased, while the concentrations of MDA in the supernatant decreased greatly by pioglitazone. Conclusions. Pioglitazone can inhibit HG-induced oxidative stress in MCs through suppressing p22phox and p47phox expressions.
PMCID: PMC3929998  PMID: 24639901
3.  Is Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Superior to Corpectomy and Fusion for Treatment of Multilevel Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy? A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87191.
Both anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF) and anterior cervical corpectomy with fusion (ACCF) are used to treat cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), however, there is considerable controversy as to whether ACDF or ACCF is the optimal treatment for this condition. To compare the clinical outcomes, complications, and surgical trauma between ACDF and ACCF for the treatment of CSM, we conducted a meta-analysis.
We conducted a comprehensive search in MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, Google Scholar and Cochrane databases, searching for relevant controlled trials up to July 2013 that compared ACDF and ACCF for the treatment of CSM. We performed title and abstract screening and full-text screening independently and in duplicate. A random effects model was used for heterogeneous data; otherwise, a fixed effect model was used to pool data, using mean difference (MD) for continuous outcomes and odds ratio (OR) for dichotomous outcomes.
Of 2157 citations examined, 15 articles representing 1372 participants were eligible. Overall, there were significant differences between the two treatment groups for hospital stay (M = −5.60, 95% CI = −7.09 to −4.11), blood loss (MD = −151.35, 95% CI = −253.22 to −49.48), complications (OR = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.35 to 0.73) and increased lordosis of C2–C7 (MD = 3.70, 95% CI = 0.96 to 6.45) and fusion segments angles (MD = 3.38, 95% CI = 2.54 to 4.22). However, there were no significant differences in the operation time (MD = −9.34, 95% CI = −42.99 to 24.31), JOA (MD = 0.24, 95% CI = −0.10 to 0.57), VAS (MD = −0.06, 95% CI = −0.81 to 0.70), NDI (MD = −1.37, 95% CI  = −3.17 to 0.43), Odom criteria (OR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.60 to 1.30) or fusion rate (OR = 1.17, 95% CI = 0.34 to 4.11).
Based on this meta-analysis, although complications and increased lordosis are significantly better in the ACDF group, there is no strong evidence to support the routine use of ACDF over ACCF in CSM.
PMCID: PMC3905022  PMID: 24489868
4.  Allyl Isothiocyanate Increases MRP1 Function and Expression in a Human Bronchial Epithelial Cell Line 
Multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1), a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of transporters, plays an important role in normal lung physiology by protecting cells against oxidative stress and toxic xenobiotics. The present study investigates the effects of allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) on MRP1 mRNA and MRP1 protein expression and transporter activity in the immortalised human bronchial epithelial cell line 16HBE14o-. MRP1 mRNA and MRP1 protein expression in 16HBE14o- cells that were treated with allyl isothiocyanate were analysed by real-time PCR assay and Western blotting. The transport of carboxyfluorescein, a known MRP1 substrate, was measured by functional flow cytometry to evaluate MRP1 activity. Treatment with AITC at concentrations of 5–40 μM increased MRP1 protein levels in a concentration-dependent manner. AITC treatments at concentrations of 1–40 μM caused concentration-dependent increases in MRP1 mRNA levels that were up to seven times greater than the levels found in control cells. Finally, AITC treatment at concentrations of 5–40 μM significantly increased MRP1-dependent efflux in 16HBE14o- cells. These results suggest that AITC can increase the expression and activity of MRP1 in 16HBE14o- cells in a concentration-dependent manner. The upregulation of MRP1 activity and expression by AITC could produce therapeutic effects in the treatment of lung disease.
PMCID: PMC3942196  PMID: 24672635
5.  Trichostatin A Stabilizes the Expression of Pluripotent Genes in Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells during Ex Vivo Expansion 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e81781.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been considered as ideal cells for the treatment of a variety of diseases. However, aging and spontaneous differentiation of MSCs during culture expansion dampen their effectiveness. Previous studies suggest that ex vivo aging of MSCs is largely caused by epigenetic changes particularly a decline of histone H3 acetylation levels in promoter regions of pluripotent genes due to inappropriate growth environment.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study, we examined whether histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) could suppress the histone H3 deacetylation thus maintaining the primitive property of MSCs. We found that in regular adherent culture, human MSCs became flatter and larger upon successive passaging, while the expression of pluripotent genes such as Oct4, Sox2, Nanog, Rex-1, CD133 and TERT decreased markedly. Administration of low concentrations of TSA in culture significantly suppressed the morphological changes in MSCs otherwise occurred during culture expansion, increased their proliferation while retaining their cell contact growth inhibition property and multipotent differentiation ability. Moreover, TSA stabilized the expression of the above pluripotent genes and histone H3 acetylation levels in K9 and K14 in promoter regions of Oct4, Sox2 and TERT.
Our results suggest that TSA may serve as an effective culture additive to maintain the primitive feature of MSCs during culture expansion.
PMCID: PMC3842316  PMID: 24312356
6.  Phytochemical profiles, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of three Potentilla species 
Extracts from Potentilla species have been applied in traditional medicine and exhibit antioxidant, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory, antitumor and anti-ulcerogenic properties, but little has been known about the diversity of phytochemistry and pharmacology on this genus. This study investigated and compared the phytochemical profiles, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of leaf extracts from three Potentilla species (Potentilla fruticosa, Potentilla glabra and Potentilla parvifolia) in order to discover new resources for lead structures and pharmaceutical products.
Chemical composition and content of six phenolic compounds were evaluated and determined by RP-HPLC; Total phenolic and total flavonoid content were determined using Folin-Ciocalteau colourimetric method and sodium borohydride/chloranil-based method (SBC); Antioxidant activities were determined using DPPH, ABTS and FRAP assays; Antimicrobial properties were investigated by agar dilution and mycelial growth rate method.
The results showed hyperoside was the predominant phenolic compound in three Potentilla species by RP-HPLC assay, with the content of 8.86 (P. fruticosa), 2.56 (P. glabra) and 2.68 mg/g (P. parvifolia), respectively. The highest content of total identified phenolic compounds (hyperoside, (+)-catechin, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, rutin and ellagic acid) was observed in P. parvifolia (14.17 mg/g), follow by P. fruticosa (10.01 mg/g) and P. glabra (7.01 mg/g). P. fruticosa possessed the highest content of total phenolic (84.93 ± 0.50 mmol gallic acid equivalent/100 g) and total flavonoid (84.14 ± 0.03 mmol quercetin equivalent/100 g), which were in good correlation with its significant DPPHIC50 (16.87 μg/mL), ABTS (2763.48 μmol Trolox equivalent/g) and FRAP (1398.70 μmol Trolox equivalent/g) capacities. Furthermore, the effective methodology to distinguish the different species of Potentilla was also established by chromatographic fingerprint analysis for the first time. The results of antimicrobial activities showed P. fruticosa exhibited the strongest inhibition aganist Gram-positive bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans with MIC values of 0.78–6.25 mg/mL. P. parvifolia possessed antibacterial and antifungal activities against all the microorganisms tested, with EC50 and MIC values of 20.52–47.02 mg/mL and 0.78–50 mg/mL, respectively.
These results indicated that leaf extracts from three Potentilla species could become useful supplement for pharmaceutical products as a new antioxidant and antimicrobial agents.
PMCID: PMC3840622  PMID: 24252124
Potentilla spp; Phytochemicals; Antioxidant activity; Antimicrobial activity; RP-HPLC
7.  Genome Wide Analysis of Narcolepsy in China Implicates Novel Immune Loci and Reveals Changes in Association Prior to Versus After the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(10):e1003880.
Previous studies in narcolepsy, an autoimmune disorder affecting hypocretin (orexin) neurons and recently associated with H1N1 influenza, have demonstrated significant associations with five loci. Using a well-characterized Chinese cohort, we refined known associations in TRA@ and P2RY11-DNMT1 and identified new associations in the TCR beta (TRB@; rs9648789 max P = 3.7×10−9 OR 0.77), ZNF365 (rs10995245 max P = 1.2×10−11 OR 1.23), and IL10RB-IFNAR1 loci (rs2252931 max P = 2.2×10−9 OR 0.75). Variants in the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)- DQ region were associated with age of onset (rs7744020 P = 7.9×10−9 beta −1.9 years) and varied significantly among cases with onset after the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic compared to previous years (rs9271117 P = 7.8×10−10 OR 0.57). These reflected an association of DQB1*03:01 with earlier onset and decreased DQB1*06:02 homozygosity following 2009. Our results illustrate how genetic association can change in the presence of new environmental challenges and suggest that the monitoring of genetic architecture over time may help reveal the appearance of novel triggers for autoimmune diseases.
Author Summary
Narcolepsy-hypocretin deficiency results from a highly specific autoimmune attack on hypocretin cells. Recent studies have established antigen presentation by specific class II proteins encoded by (HLA DQB1*06:02 and DQA1*01:02) to the cognate T cell receptor as the main disease pathway, with a role for H1N1 influenza in the triggering process. Here, we have used a large and well-characterized cohort of Chinese narcolepsy cases to examine genetic architecture not observed in European samples. We confirmed previously implicated susceptibility genes (T cell receptor alpha, P2RY11), and identify new loci (ZNF365, IL10RB-IFNAR1), most notably, variants at the beta chain of the T cell receptor. We found that one HLA variant, (DQB1*03:01), is associated with dramatically earlier disease onset (nearly 2 years). We also identified differences in HLA haplotype frequencies among cases with onset following the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic as compared to before the outbreak, with fewer HLA DQB1*06:02 homozygotes. This may be the first demonstration of such an effect, and suggests that the study of changes in GWAS signals over time could help identify environmental factors in other autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC3814311  PMID: 24204295
8.  The tumor suppressing effects of QKI-5 in prostate cancer 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2013;15(1):108-118.
In recent years, the RNA-binding protein quaking 5 (QKI-5) has been recognized as a novel tumor suppressor in many cancers. To date, no studies have examined the role of QKI-5 in prostate cancer. The present study was designed to elucidate the correlation of QKI-5 expression with the clinical pathological features and prognosis of prostate cancer. In an overwhelming majority of the 184 cases of prostate cancer samples analyzed, the QKI-5 expression was significantly decreased, which was largely due to the high promoter methylation levels. Using lentiviral vectors, we established two stable prostate cancer cell lines with altered QKI-5 expression, including a QKI-5 overexpressing PC3 cell line and a DU145 cell line with knocked-down QKI-5 expression. The effects of the lentiviral-mediated QKI-5 knockdown on the PC3 cells and DU145 cells were assessed by cell growth curves, flow cytometry (FCM), and an invasion assay. The PC3 cells were transplanted into nude mice, and then, the tumor growth curves and TUNEL staining were determined. These results demonstrated that QKI-5 was highly expressed in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) tissues but not in carcinomatous tissues and that QKI-5 effectively inhibited prostate cancer cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. In addition, the decrease in QKI-5 expression was closely correlated with the prostate cancer Gleason score, poor differentiation, degree of invasion, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, TNM grading, and poor survival. These results indicate that the QKI-5 expression may be a novel, independent factor in the prognosis of prostate cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC3938513  PMID: 24153116
RNA binding protein QKI-5; prostatic carcinoma; lentivirus; methylation; prognosis; inhibition; survival
9.  A novel method for efficient delivery of stem cells to the ischemic brain 
Rat middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model is the most commonly used animal model in ischemic stroke studies. In the model, to increase the amount of stem cells or drugs to enter the brain after delivery into the internal carotid artery (ICA), the pterygopalatine artery (PPA) is occluded. However, PPA occlusion is a technically demanding procedure which often causes complications.
In this study, we developed an ICA injection needle to facilitate easy and efficient delivery of stem cells to the ischemic brain through the ICA without the need of PPA occlusion. We injected methylene blue and fluorescence dye DiI-labeled human mesenchymal stem cells (DiI-hMSCs) into the ICA in rats with the ICA injection needle (without PPA ligation) or the conventional micro-injection needle (with PPA ligation) and assessed their distributions.
When methylene blue was injected, evident blue stains were found in the brain of the injection side particularly the middle cerebral artery (MCA)-supplied areas but not in the PPA supplied areas. Similarly, when DiI-hMSCs were injected, the cells largely appeared in the MCA-supplied tissues, which were similar in quantity compared to conventional micro-injection needle injection with PPA occlusion. Moreover, hMSCs injected with the ICA needle or the micro-injection needle similarly improved the functional recovery of the infarcted brain.
Our results indicate that the ICA injection needle is easy to use and efficient in delivering cells to the ischemic brain tissue in rat MCAO model.
PMCID: PMC3854714  PMID: 24405845
Stroke; Acute cerebral infarction
10.  High-Incidence of Human Adenoviral Co-Infections in Taiwan 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75208.
Respiratory infections caused by adenovirus (HAdV) are common year round. Recently, a significant increase of adenoviral infections was observed in Taiwan.
To understand the prevalence and molecular epidemiology of respiratory adenovirus circulating in Taiwan for the past decade.
Study Design
One hundred and twenty-six human adenoviruses, isolated between 2002 to 2011, were characterized via DNA sequencing of the hexon and fiber genes. The nucleotide sequences were then compared by phylogenetic analysis.
HAdV-B3 accounted for 64.3% (81/126) and peaked almost every year, whereas the sequences of hexon and fiber genes of HAdV-B3 were highly conserved in different years. A high incidence of co-infection of adenoviruses was observed (19.0%, 24/126); HAdV-B3 co-infected with HAdV-C2 was the most common combination (58.3%, 14/24). An additional interesting finding of repeated infection was noted in 10 children, all of whom showed first infection with adenovirus species HAdV-C, followed by species HAdV-B or HAdV-E.
HAdV-B3 was the predominant type of respiratory adenovirus circulating in Taiwan over the past ten years. This merits further attention for vaccine development. Furthermore, the observed high-incidence of adenoviral co-infections along with repeated infections found in our study provides important epidemiological insights into adenovirus infections.
PMCID: PMC3779158  PMID: 24073254
11.  Fluorescent Magnetic Nanoparticles for Magnetically Enhanced Cancer Imaging and Targeting in Living Subjects 
ACS nano  2012;6(8):6862-6869.
Early detection and targeted therapy are two major challenges in the battle against cancer. Novel imaging contrast agents and targeting approaches are greatly needed to improve the sensitivity and specificity of cancer theranostic agents. Here, we implemented a novel approach using a magnetic micromesh and biocompatible fluorescent magnetic nanoparticles (FMN) to magnetically enhance cancer targeting in living subjects. This approach enables magnetic targeting of systemically administered individual FMN, containing a single 8 nm superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) core. Using a human glioblastoma mouse model, we show that nanoparticles can be magnetically retained in both the tumor neovasculature and surrounding tumor tissues. Magnetic accumulation of nanoparticles within the neovasculature was observable by fluorescence intravital microscopy in real time. Finally, we demonstrate that such magnetically enhanced cancer targeting augments the biological functions of molecules linked to the nanoparticle surface.
PMCID: PMC3601027  PMID: 22857784
12.  Reduced Expression of Enac in Placenta Tissues of Patients with Severe Preeclampsia Is Related to Compromised Trophoblastic Cell Migration and Invasion during Pregnancy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72153.
The purpose of the study is to investigate the expression of epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) in normal pregnancy and severe preeclampsia placenta and to explore the underlying mechanism of the relationship between the altered ENaC expression and onset of preeclampsia. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blot were used to check epithelial sodium channel subunits expression in mRNA and protein level in first term and full term placental tissue. ENaCα specific RNAi were used to knockdown ENaC expression and cell invasion and migration assay were used to check whether reduced expression of ENaC can compromise trophoblast cell function. The result showed that ENaCα was highly expressed in first term placental trophoblast cells; while EnaCβ was highly expressed in full term placenta. Knockdown ENaCα expression by using small interfering RNA reduced the invasive and migration abilities of HTR-8/SVneo cell. Real time-PCR and Western blot analysis showed that the expression levels of ENaCβ were also significantly lower in severe preeclampsia compared with normal pregnancy. It is concluded that the ENaC played an important role in trophoblast cell invasion and migration. Reduced expression and activity of epithelial sodium channel in trophoblast cells may be involved in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia.
PMCID: PMC3747050  PMID: 23977235
13.  N-methylpurine DNA glycosylase inhibits p53-mediated cell cycle arrest and coordinates with p53 to determine sensitivity to alkylating agents 
Cell Research  2012;22(8):1285-1303.
Alkylating agents induce genome-wide base damage, which is repaired mainly by N-methylpurine DNA glycosylase (MPG). An elevated expression of MPG in certain types of tumor cells confers higher sensitivity to alkylation agents because MPG-induced apurinic/apyrimidic (AP) sites trigger more strand breaks. However, the determinant of drug sensitivity or insensitivity still remains unclear. Here, we report that the p53 status coordinates with MPG to play a pivotal role in such process. MPG expression is positive in breast, lung and colon cancers (38.7%, 43.4% and 25.3%, respectively) but negative in all adjacent normal tissues. MPG directly binds to the tumor suppressor p53 and represses p53 activity in unstressed cells. The overexpression of MPG reduced, whereas depletion of MPG increased, the expression levels of pro-arrest gene downstream of p53 including p21, 14-3-3σ and Gadd45 but not proapoptotic ones. The N-terminal region of MPG was specifically required for the interaction with the DNA binding domain of p53. Upon DNA alkylation stress, in p53 wild-type tumor cells, p53 dissociated from MPG and induced cell growth arrest. Then, AP sites were repaired efficiently, which led to insensitivity to alkylating agents. By contrast, in p53-mutated cells, the AP sites were repaired with low efficacy. To our knowledge, this is the first direct evidence to show that a DNA repair enzyme functions as a selective regulator of p53, and these findings provide new insights into the functional linkage between MPG and p53 in cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3411163  PMID: 22801474
MPG; p53; cell cycle arrest; base excision repair; alkylating agents
14.  Nanosensor dosimetry of mouse blood proteins after exposure to ionizing radiation 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2234.
Giant magnetoresistive (GMR) nanosensors provide a novel approach for measuring protein concentrations in blood for medical diagnosis. Using an in vivo mouse radiation model, we developed protocols for measuring Flt3 ligand (Flt3lg) and serum amyloid A1 (Saa1) in small amounts of blood collected during the first week after X-ray exposures of sham, 0.1, 1, 2, 3, or 6 Gy. Flt3lg concentrations showed excellent dose discrimination at ≥ 1 Gy in the time window of 1 to 7 days after exposure except 1 Gy at day 7. Saa1 dose response was limited to the first two days after exposure. A multiplex assay with both proteins showed improved dose classification accuracy. Our magneto-nanosensor assay demonstrates the dose and time responses, low-dose sensitivity, small volume requirements, and rapid speed that have important advantages in radiation triage biodosimetry.
PMCID: PMC3715761  PMID: 23868657
15.  Genistein promotes cell death of ethanol-stressed HeLa cells through the continuation of apoptosis or secondary necrosis 
Apoptosis is a major target and treatment effect of multiple chemotherapeutical agents in cancer. A soybean isoflavone, genistein, is a well-studied chemopreventive agent and has been reported to potentiate the anticancer effect of some chemotherapeutics. However, its mechanistic basis of chemo-enhancement effect remains to be fully elucidated.
Apoptotic features of low concentration stressed cancer cells were studied by microscopic method, western blot, immunostaining and annexin V/PI assay. Genistein’s effects on unstressed cells and recovering cells were investigated using MTT cell viability assay and LDH cytotoxicity assay. Quantitative real-time PCR was employed to analyze the possible gene targets involved in the recovery and genistein’s effect.
Low-concentration ethanol stressed cancer cells showed apoptotic features and could recover after stress removal. In stressed cells, genistein at sub-toxic dosage promoted the cell death. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed the up-regulation of anti-apoptotic genes MDM2 and XIAP during the recovery process in HeLa cells, and genistein treatment suppressed their expression. The application of genistein, MDM2 inhibitor and XIAP inhibitor to the recovering HeLa cells caused persistent caspase activity and enhanced cell death. Flow cytometry study indicated that genistein treatment could lead to persistent phosphatidylserine (PS) externalization and necrotic events in the recovering HeLa cells. Caspase activity inhibition shifted the major effect of genistein to necrosis.
These results suggested two possible mechanisms through which genistein promoted cell death in stressed cancer cells. Genistein could maintain the existing apoptotic signal to enhance apoptotic cell death. It could also disrupt the recovering process in caspase-independent manner, which lead to necrotic events. These effects may be related to the enhanced antitumor effect of chemotherapeutic drugs when they were combined with genistein.
PMCID: PMC3700853  PMID: 23800022
Genistein; HeLa Cell; Stress Recovery; Apoptosis; Necrosis
16.  Effects of Early or Overexpression of the Autographa californica Multiple Nucleopolyhedrovirus orf94 (ODV-e25) on Virus Replication 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65635.
odv-e25(e25) is one of the core genes of baculoviruses. To investigate how it functions in the replication cycle of a baculovirus, a number of Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus recombinants with e25 under control of the promoter of immediate early gene ie1, or the promoter of the very late hyperexpressed gene p10, were constructed using a bacmid system, and the effects of early expression or overexpression of e25 on replication of the virus were evaluated. Microscopy and titration assays demonstrated that bacmids with e25 under control of ie1 promoter were unable to produce budded viruses; and that the recombinant viruses with e25 under control of p10 promoter generated budded virus normally, but formation of occlusion bodies were dramatically reduced and delayed in the infected cells. Electron microscopy showed that there were no mature virions or intact nucleocapsids present in the cells transfected with a recombinant bacmid with e25 under control of ie1 promoter. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis demonstrated that alteration of the e25 promoter did not affect viral DNA synthesis. The reporter gene expression from the promoter of the major capsid protein gene vp39 was reduced 63% by early expression of e25. Confocal microscopy revealed that E25 was predominantly localized in nuclei by 24 hours post infection with wild-type virus, but it remained in the cytoplasm in the cells transfected with a recombinant bacmid with e25 under control of the ie1 promoter, suggesting that the transport of E25 into nuclei was regulated in a specific and strict time dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC3688825  PMID: 23825525
17.  A Role for the Nucleosome Assembly Proteins TAF-Iβ and NAP1 in the Activation of BZLF1 Expression and Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63802.
The reactivation of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) from latent to lytic infection begins with the expression of the viral BZLF1 gene, leading to a subsequent cascade of viral gene expression and amplification of the EBV genome. Using RNA interference, we show that nucleosome assembly proteins NAP1 and TAF-I positively contribute to EBV reactivation in epithelial cells through the induction of BZLF1 expression. In addition, overexpression of NAP1 or the β isoform of TAF-I (TAF-Iβ) in AGS cells latently infected with EBV was sufficient to induce BZLF1 expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments performed in AGS-EBV cells showed that TAF-I associated with the BZLF1 promoter upon lytic induction and affected local histone modifications by increasing H3K4 dimethylation and H4K8 acetylation. MLL1, the host protein known to dimethylate H3K4, was found to associate with the BZLF1 promoter upon lytic induction in a TAF-I-dependent manner, and MLL1 depletion decreased BZLF1 expression, confirming its contribution to lytic reactivation. The results indicate that TAF-Iβ promotes BZLF1 expression and subsequent lytic infection by affecting chromatin at the BZLF1 promoter.
PMCID: PMC3653829  PMID: 23691099
18.  Transcriptome Sequencing of Zhikong Scallop (Chlamys farreri) and Comparative Transcriptomic Analysis with Yesso Scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63927.
Bivalves play an important role in the ecosystems they inhabit and represent an important food source all over the world. So far limited genetic research has focused on this group of animals largely due to the lack of sufficient genetic or genomic resources. Here, we performed de novo transcriptome sequencing to produce the most comprehensive expressed sequence tag resource for Zhikong scallop (Chlamys farreri), and conducted the first transcriptome comparison for scallops.
In a single 454 sequencing run, 1,033,636 reads were produced and then assembled into 26,165 contigs. These contigs were then clustered into 24,437 isotigs and further grouped into 20,056 isogroups. About 47% of the isogroups showed significant matches to known proteins based on sequence similarity. Transcripts putatively involved in growth, reproduction and stress/immune-response were identified through Gene ontology (GO) and KEGG pathway analyses. Transcriptome comparison with Yesso scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) revealed similar patterns of GO representation. Moreover, 38 putative fast-evolving genes were identified through analyzing the orthologous gene pairs between the two scallop species. More than 46,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 350 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were also detected.
Our study provides the most comprehensive transcriptomic resource currently available for C. farreri. Based on this resource, we performed the first large-scale transcriptome comparison between the two scallop species, C. farreri and P. yessoensis, and identified a number of putative fast-evolving genes, which may play an important role in scallop speciation and/or local adaptation. A large set of single nucleotide polymorphisms and simple sequence repeats were identified, which are ready for downstream marker development. This transcriptomic resource should lay an important foundation for future genetic or genomic studies on C. farreri.
PMCID: PMC3646770  PMID: 23667690
19.  Prevalence of Heterotypic Tumor/Immune Cell-In-Cell Structure In Vitro and In Vivo Leading to Formation of Aneuploidy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59418.
Cell-in-cell structures refer to a unique phenomenon that one living cell enters into another living cell intactly, occurring between homotypic tumor cells or tumor (or other tissue cells) and immune cells (named as heterotypic cell-in-cell structure). In the present study, through a large scale of survey we observed that heterotypic cell-in-cell structure formation occurred commonly in vitro with host cells derived from different human carcinomas as well as xenotypic mouse tumor cell lines. Most of the lineages of human immune cells, including T, B, NK cells, monocytes as well as in vitro activated LAK cells, were able to invade tumor cell lines. Poorly differentiated stem cells were capable of internalizing immune cells as well. More significantly, heterotypic tumor/immune cell-in-cell structures were observed in a higher frequency in tumor-derived tissues than those in adjacent tissues. In mouse hepatitis models, heterotypic immune cell/hepatocyte cell-in-cell structures were also formed in a higher frequency than in normal controls. After in vitro culture, different forms of internalized immune cells in heterotypic cell-in-cell structures were observed, with one or multiple immune cells inside host cells undergoing resting, degradation or mitosis. More strikingly, some internalized immune cells penetrated directly into the nucleus of target cells. Multinuclear cells with aneuploid nucleus were formed in target tumor cells after internalizing immune cells as well as in situ tumor regions. Therefore, with the prevalence of heterotypic cell-in-cell structures observed, we suggest that shielding of immune cells inside tumor or inflammatory tissue cells implies the formation of aneuploidy with the increased multinucleation as well as fine-tuning of microenvironment under pathological status, which may define distinct mechanisms to influence the etiology and progress of tumors.
PMCID: PMC3610684  PMID: 23555668
20.  Effect of Magnetic Field Gradient on Effectiveness of the Magnetic Sifter for Cell Purification 
IEEE transactions on magnetics  2013;49(1):316-320.
In our experiments with NCI-H1650 lung cancer cell lines labeled with magnetic nanoparticles via the Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule (EpCAM) antigen, we demonstrate capture efficiencies above 90% even at sample flow rates of 5 ml/h through our microfabricated magnetic sifter. We also improve the elution efficiencies from between 50% and 60% to close to 90% via optimization of the permanent magnet size and position used to magnetize the sifter. We then explain our observations via the use of finite element software for magnetic field and field gradient distributions, and a particle tracing algorithm, illustrating the impact of magnetic field gradients on the performance of the magnetic sifter. The high capture and elution efficiencies observed here is especially significant for magnetic separation of biologically interesting but rare moieties such as cancer stem cells for downstream analysis.
PMCID: PMC3600415  PMID: 23515873
Cell separation; magnetic devices; magnetic forces; magnetic microspheres; magnetic nanoparticles; magnetic separation
21.  Creation of Lung-Targeted Dexamethasone Immunoliposome and Its Therapeutic Effect on Bleomycin-Induced Lung Injury in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58275.
Acute lung injury (ALI), is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, which is routinely treated with the administration of systemic glucocorticoids. The current study investigated the distribution and therapeutic effect of a dexamethasone(DXM)-loaded immunoliposome (NLP) functionalized with pulmonary surfactant protein A (SP-A) antibody (SPA-DXM-NLP) in an animal model.
DXM-NLP was prepared using film dispersion combined with extrusion techniques. SP-A antibody was used as the lung targeting agent. Tissue distribution of SPA-DXM-NLP was investigated in liver, spleen, kidney and lung tissue. The efficacy of SPA-DXM-NLP against lung injury was assessed in a rat model of bleomycin-induced acute lung injury.
The SPA-DXM-NLP complex was successfully synthesized and the particles were stable at 4°C. Pulmonary dexamethasone levels were 40 times higher with SPA-DXM-NLP than conventional dexamethasone injection. Administration of SPA-DXM-NLP significantly attenuated lung injury and inflammation, decreased incidence of infection, and increased survival in animal models.
The administration of SPA-DXM-NLP to animal models resulted in increased levels of DXM in the lungs, indicating active targeting. The efficacy against ALI of the immunoliposomes was shown to be superior to conventional dexamethasone administration. These results demonstrate the potential of actively targeted glucocorticoid therapy in the treatment of lung disease in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3597622  PMID: 23516459
22.  A Magneto-Nanosensor Immunoassay for Sensitive Detection of Aspergillus Fumigatus Allergen Asp f 1 
IEEE transactions on magnetics  2012;48(11):3266-3268.
We report a magneto-nanosensor biochip for fungal detection. The chip is made of arrays of giant magnetoresistive (GMR) spin-valve sensors, and is able to detect protein biomarkers at low concentrations in solutions. As a demonstration, a standard curve for fungal pathogen Asp f 1 was obtained by measuring signals from various concentrations of Asp f 1 spiked in PBS solutions, indicating a detection limit of ~100 pg/ml. Five positive and negative Asp f 1 solution samples were discriminated correctly in blind experiments. Our data suggest that the magneto-nanosensor biochips are very promising as sensitive diagnostic devices for fungal pathogens. Given the generality of the detection scheme used in the magneto-nanosensor, we anticipate that the platform will be very useful for the detection of many types of biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3594507  PMID: 23494403
magneto-nanosensor; biochip; immunoassay; magnetic nanoparticles
24.  FCHSD1 and FCHSD2 Are Expressed in Hair Cell Stereocilia and Cuticular Plate and Regulate Actin Polymerization In Vitro 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56516.
Mammalian FCHSD1 and FCHSD2 are homologous proteins containing an amino-terminal F-BAR domain and two SH3 domains near their carboxyl-termini. We report here that FCHSD1 and FCHSD2 are expressed in mouse cochlear sensory hair cells. FCHSD1 mainly localizes to the cuticular plate, whereas FCHSD2 mainly localizes along the stereocilia in a punctuate pattern. Nervous Wreck (Nwk), the Drosophila ortholog of FCHSD1 and FCHSD2, has been shown to bind Wsp and play an important role in F-actin assembly. We show that, like its Drosophila counterpart, FCHSD2 interacts with WASP and N-WASP, the mammalian orthologs of Drosophila Wsp, and stimulates F-actin assembly in vitro. In contrast, FCHSD1 doesn’t bind WASP or N-WASP, and can’t stimulate F-actin assembly when tested in vitro. We found, however, that FCHSD1 binds via its F-BAR domain to the SH3 domain of Sorting Nexin 9 (SNX9), a well characterized BAR protein that has been shown to promote WASP-Arp2/3-dependent F-actin polymerization. FCHSD1 greatly enhances SNX9’s WASP-Arp2/3-dependent F-actin polymerization activity. In hair cells, SNX9 was detected in the cuticular plate, where it colocalizes with FCHSD1. Our results suggest that FCHSD1 and FCHSD2 could modulate F-actin assembly or maintenance in hair cell stereocilia and cuticular plate.
PMCID: PMC3577914  PMID: 23437151
25.  Phylogeographic Evidence for a Link of Species Divergence of Ephedra in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and Adjacent Regions to the Miocene Asian Aridification 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56243.
The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) has become one of the hotspots for phylogeographical studies due to its high species diversity. However, most previous studies have focused on the effects of the Quaternary glaciations on phylogeographical structures and the locations of glacial refugia, and little is known about the effects of the aridization of interior Asia on plant population structure and speciation. Here the chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) trnT-trnF and trnS-trnfM sequences were used to investigate the differentiation and phylogeographical history of 14 Ephedra species from the QTP and northern China, based on a sampling of 107 populations. The phylogeographical analysis, together with phylogenetic reconstruction based on combined four cpDNA fragments (rbcL, rpl16, rps4, and trnS-trnfM), supports three main lineages (eastern QTP, southern QTP, and northern China) of these Ephedra species. Divergence of each lineage could be dated to the Middle or Late Miocene, and was very likely linked to the uplift of the QTP and the Asian aridification, given the high drought and/or cold tolerance of Ephedra. Most of the Ephedra species had low intraspecific variation and lacked a strong phylogeographical structure, which could be partially attributed to clonal reproduction and a relatively recent origin. In addition, ten of the detected 25 cpDNA haplotypes are shared among species, suggesting that a wide sampling of species is helpful to investigate the origin of observed haplotypes and make reliable phylogeographical inference. Moreover, the systematic positions of some Ephedra species are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3571962  PMID: 23418542

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