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1.  Apparent mtDNA sequence heterogeneity in single human blood CD34+ cells is markedly affected by storage and transport 
Mutation research  2013;0:36-41.
Single CD34+ cells from adult human peripheral blood show mtDNA sequence heterogeneity. In this study, we compared mtDNA sequence variation in single CD34+ cells from peripheral blood (PB) mononuclear cells (MNCs) from the same donors but under different conditions of storage and transport: group I, MNCs from heparinized PB that inadvertently required six days to be transported to the testing laboratory; group II, MNCs which were isolated from PB within a day of phlebotomy and frozen prior to transportation and storage. We observed more cell death for MNCs of group I than group II. Concordantly, group I CD34+ cells had a very low potential for hematopoietic colony formation in vitro compared with group II cells. CD34+ cells of group II showed an unexpectedly higher level of mtDNA sequence heterogeneity than was present group I cells. These observations suggest that reduced mtDNA sequence heterogeneity in single CD34+ cells of group I was likely due to elimination of cells harboring mutations. CD34+ cells that survive stress ex vivo may be more enriched in quiescent primitive hematopoietic stem cells, with fewer mtDNA mutations than committed progenitors. Technically, attention is required for conditions of preparation of human blood samples for single cell mtDNA analysis.
PMCID: PMC4200507  PMID: 24044942
mtDNA; single cell analysis; mutation; hematopoietic stem cell; committed progenitors
2.  Accumulation of mtDNA variations in human single CD34+ cells from maternally related individuals: effects of aging and family genetic background 
Stem cell research  2013;10(3):361-370.
Marked sequence variation in the mtDNA control region has been observed in human single CD34+ cells, which persist in vivo and are present also in differentiated hematopoietic cells. In this study, we analyzed 5071 single CD34+ cells from 49 individuals (including 31 maternally related members from four families and 18 unrelated donors) in order to determine the mutation spectrum within the mtDNA control region in single cells, as related to aging and family genetic background. Many highly mutated sites among family members were hypervariable sites in the mtDNA control region. Further, CD34+ cells from members of the same family also shared several unique mtDNA variants, suggesting pedigree-specific occurrence of these variants. Overall age-related accumulation of mtDNA mutations in CD34+ cells varied in different families, suggesting a specific accumulation pattern, which might be modulated by family genetic background. Our current findings have implications for the occurrence of mtDNA mutations in hematopoietic stem cells and progenitors.
PMCID: PMC4154056  PMID: 23455392
mtDNA; HSC; Somatic mutation; aging; genetic background; family
3.  Diverse Interleukin-7 mRNA Transcripts in Chinese Tree Shrew (Tupaia belangeri chinensis) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99859.
Interleukin-7 (IL7) is a pleiotropic cytokine that is actively involved in the immune system. The Chinese tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri chinensis) has been proposed as an alternative experimental animal to primates in biomedical research. However, there is a lack of biological knowledge about the immune system of the tree shrew. In this study, we cloned the IL7 gene (tIL7) in the Chinese tree shrew and quantified the expression of mRNA transcripts in eight tissues (heart, liver, spleen, lung, kidney, intestine, skeletal muscle and brain) from 20 individuals. Eleven tIL7 mRNA transcripts were identified in different tissues. The canonical form (tIL7c) had a length of 1817 bp and encoded a predicted gene product with 177 amino acids. Phylogenetic analyses based on the amino acid sequences revealed a considerably large genetic difference between tree shrew and human. Quantification of mRNA expression of transcripts tIL7c, tIL7-sv1, tIL7-sv2 and tIL7-sv3 showed that these transcripts were expressed in all tissues, albeit the expression levels varied in different tissues. Transcripts tIL7c, tIL7-sv1, and tIL7-sv2 had the lowest expression in brain, and tIL7-sv3 had a dramatically high mRNA expression in skeletal muscle and heart. The mRNA expression levels of tIL7c and tIL7-sv1 were significantly increased upon ploy(I:C) stimulation in tree shrew primary renal cells. As with human full-length IL7, tIL7c, tIL7-sv1, tIL7-sv2 and tIL7-sv3 showed similar a subcellular localization pattern. Our results identified diverse tIL7 transcripts in the Chinese tree shrew, which may play a potential role in modulating IL7-regulated biological effects.
PMCID: PMC4063794  PMID: 24945249
4.  Mutation p.G83R in the transthyretin gene is associated with hereditary vitreous amyloidosis in Han Chinese families 
Molecular Vision  2013;19:1631-1638.
Hereditary vitreous amyloidosis (HVA) is a genetic ophthalmological disorder. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a mutation in the transthyretin (TTR) gene is associated with HVA in Han Chinese families.
We performed clinical evaluation of three Han Chinese families with HVA and sequenced the entire exon of the TTR gene in probands and normal individuals from the families. The identified mutation was further genotyped in 196 unrelated healthy controls. Evolutionary conservation analysis and structural prediction were used to infer the potential pathogenicity of the mutation.
Clinical penetrance of HVA varied in the three families (11/30 in Family A, 8/83 in Family B, and 7/47 in Family C). A comprehensive medical examination of the patients showed no signs of abnormality except ophthalmologic symptoms, in which floccular turbidity and high echo in both vitreous bodies were observed in all probands. Further histochemical examination of the vitrectomy specimen with Congo red staining identified amyloid deposits. A heterozygous mutation c.307G>C (p.G83R) in exon 3 of the TTR gene was identified in all patients, but not in some unaffected family members. Screening of 196 unrelated normal controls revealed no presence of this mutation. This mutation changed the highly conserved glycine to arginine in the 83rd position and altered the tertiary structure of the TTR protein.
Mutation p.G83R in the TTR protein is associated with HVA in Chinese families. The seemingly specific distribution of this mutation in Han Chinese may be used for clinical diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3724954  PMID: 23901247
5.  Sequence Characterization of the MC1R Gene in Yak (Poephagus grunniens) Breeds with Different Coat Colors 
Melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene plays a key role in determining coat color in several species, including the cattle. However, up to now there is no report regarding the MC1R gene and the potential association of its mutations with coat colors in yak (Poephagus grunniens). In this study, we sequenced the encoding region of the MC1R gene in three yak breeds with completely white (Tianzhu breed) or black coat color (Jiulong and Maiwa breeds). The predicted coding region of the yak MC1R gene resulted of 954 bp, the same to that of the wild-type cattle sequence, with >99% identity. None of the mutation events reported in cattle was found. Comparing the yak obtained sequences, five nucleotide substitutions were detected, which defined three haplotypes (EY1, EY2, and EY3). Of the five mutations, two, characterizing the EY1 haplotype, were nonsynonymous substitutions (c.340C>A and c.871G>A) causing amino acid changes located in the first extracellular loop (p.Q114K) and in the seventh transmembrane region (p.A291T). In silico prediction might indicate a functional effect of the latter substitution. However, all three haplotypes were present in the three yak breeds with relatively consistent frequency distribution, despite of their distinguished coat colors, which suggested that there was no across-breed association between haplotypes or genotypes and black/white phenotypes, at least in the investigated breeds. Other genes may be involved in affecting coat color in the analyzed yaks.
PMCID: PMC2704008  PMID: 19584942
6.  A genetic contribution from the Far East into Ashkenazi Jews via the ancient Silk Road 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8377.
Contemporary Jews retain a genetic imprint from their Near Eastern ancestry, but obtained substantial genetic components from their neighboring populations during their history. Whether they received any genetic contribution from the Far East remains unknown, but frequent communication with the Chinese has been observed since the Silk Road period. To address this issue, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation from 55,595 Eurasians are analyzed. The existence of some eastern Eurasian haplotypes in eastern Ashkenazi Jews supports an East Asian genetic contribution, likely from Chinese. Further evidence indicates that this connection can be attributed to a gene flow event that occurred less than 1.4 kilo-years ago (kya), which falls within the time frame of the Silk Road scenario and fits well with historical records and archaeological discoveries. This observed genetic contribution from Chinese to Ashkenazi Jews demonstrates that the historical exchange between Ashkenazim and the Far East was not confined to the cultural sphere but also extended to an exchange of genes.
PMCID: PMC4323646  PMID: 25669617
7.  IDH1 p.R132 mutations may not be actively involved in the carcinogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma 
Recent studies have identified prevalent isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) codon 132 mutations (p.R132) in gliomas and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The IDH1 mutations lead to a loss of its normal enzymatic activity and acquisition of neomorphic activity in production of α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) and 2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG), which finally cause alterations of multiple gene expression of tumorigenesis-associated α-KG-dependent enzymes. The aim of this study was to determine whether IDH1 p.R132 mutations are involved in the carcinogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma.
A total of 87 Han Chinese patients with primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were analyzed by direct DNA sequencing for IDH1 p.R132 mutations. The expression levels of multiple α-KG-dependent enzymes and associated genes were quantified in HepG2 cells overexpressing IDH1 p.R132 mutants by Western blotting and real-time PCR.
None of 87 Han Chinese patients with HCC harbored any IDH1 p.R132 mutations. The protein levels of HIF-1α and histone methylation marker (H3K4me3 and H3K79me2) were determined in HepG2 cells overexpressing IDH1 p.R132 mutants, but we discerned no difference. Measurement of mRNA expression levels of VEGF, GLUT1, and HOXA genes also showed no significant difference between cells overexpressing IDH1 wild-type and p.R132 mutants.
Our negative results, together with some previous reports of the absence of IDH1 p.R132 mutations in HCC tissues, suggests that IDH1 p.R132 mutations are not actively involved in the development of HCC.
PMCID: PMC3930585  PMID: 24531386
Carcinoma; Hepatocellular; Mutation – genetics; Carcinogenesis; Histones
8.  Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup Confers Genetic Susceptibility to Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma in Chaoshanese from Guangdong, China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87795.
Recent studies have shown association of mtDNA background with cancer development. We analyzed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region variation of 201 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and of 201 normal controls from Chaoshan Han Chinese to discern mtDNA haplogroup effect on the disease onset. Binary logistic regression analysis with adjustment for gender and age revealed that the haplogroup R9 (P = 0.011, OR = 1.91, 95% CI = 1.16–3.16), particularly its sub-haplogroup F1 (P = 0.015, OR = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.18–5.00), were associated significantly with increased NPC risk. These haplogroups were further confirmed to confer high NPC risk in males and/or individuals ≥40 years of age, but not in females or in subjects <40 years old. Our results indicated that mtDNA background confers genetic susceptibility to NPC in Chaoshan Han Chinese, and R9, particularly its sub-haplogroup F1, is a risk factor for NPC.
PMCID: PMC3909237  PMID: 24498198
9.  BRG1 Is Required for Formation of Senescence-Associated Heterochromatin Foci Induced by Oncogenic RAS or BRCA1 Loss 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(9):1819-1829.
Cellular senescence is an important tumor suppression mechanism. We have previously reported that both oncogene-induced dissociation of BRCA1 from chromatin and BRCA1 knockdown itself drive senescence by promoting formation of senescence-associated heterochromatin foci (SAHF). However, the molecular mechanism by which BRCA1 regulates SAHF formation and senescence is unclear. BRG1 is a chromatin-remodeling factor that interacts with BRCA1 and pRB. Here we show that BRG1 is required for SAHF formation and senescence induced by oncogenic RAS or BRCA1 loss. The interaction between BRG1 and BRCA1 is disrupted during senescence. This correlates with an increased level of chromatin-associated BRG1 in senescent cells. BRG1 knockdown suppresses the formation of SAHF and senescence, while it has no effect on BRCA1 chromatin dissociation induced by oncogenic RAS, indicating that BRG1 functions downstream of BRCA1 chromatin dissociation. Furthermore, BRG1 knockdown inhibits SAHF formation and senescence induced by BRCA1 knockdown. Conversely, BRG1 overexpression drives SAHF formation and senescence in a DNA damage-independent manner. This effect depends upon BRG1's chromatin-remodeling activity as well as the interaction between BRG1 and pRB. Indeed, the interaction between BRG1 and pRB is enhanced during senescence. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that BRG1's association with the human CDKN2A and CDKN1A gene promoters was enhanced during senescence induced by oncogenic RAS or BRCA1 knockdown. Consistently, knockdown of pRB, p21CIP1, and p16INK4a, but not p53, suppressed SAHF formation induced by BRG1. Together, these studies reveal the molecular underpinning by which BRG1 acts downstream of BRCA1 to promote SAHF formation and senescence.
PMCID: PMC3624184  PMID: 23438604
10.  Genetic Polymorphisms of the CASP8 Gene Promoter May Not Be Associated with Colorectal Cancer in Han Chinese from Southwest China 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67577.
Caspase 8 (CASP8) plays a critical role in the apoptotic pathway and aberrant regulation of this pathway causes many diseases including cancers. Genetic variants rs3834129 (CTTACT/−) and rs3769821 (T/C) in the promoter region of the CASP8 gene were documented to be associated with multiple solid cancers and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), respectively, despite of some controversies. We aimed to discern potential association of these two variants and rs113686495 (CTGTCATT/−), as well as CASP8 mRNA and protein expression levels with colorectal cancer (CRC) in Han Chinese.
We genotyped CASP8 genetic variants in 305 CRC patients and 342 healthy individuals from Kunming, Southwest China. Expression levels of CASP8 mRNA and protein were quantified in paired cancerous and paracancerous normal tissues by using real-time quantitative PCR and western blot, respectively. We compared the frequencies of alleles, genotypes, and haplotypes between the cases and controls. Correlation of CASP8 mRNA and protein expression levels in paired cancerous and paracancerous normal tissues from patients with different genotypes and clinical expression were also evaluated.
There was no association of the CASP8 genetic variants with CRC in our case-control study. The CASP8 gene mRNA expression levels in cancerous and paracancerous normal tissues were similar and there was no significant difference between subjects with different genotypes and clinical features. However, we found that CASP8 protein level was significantly lower in cancerous tissues than in paired paracancerous normal tissues.
Our results suggest that the three CASP8 genetic variants may not be associated with CRC risk in Han Chinese from southwest China. Aberrant CASP8 protein expression may play a role in the pathogenesis of CRC.
PMCID: PMC3699664  PMID: 23844036
11.  Asymptomatic oral yeast carriage and antifungal susceptibility profile of HIV-infected patients in Kunming, Yunnan Province of China 
Oral Candida colonization and its relation with predisposing factors in HIV-infected patients have received wide concerns during recent decades. In this study, we investigated asymptomatic oral Candida carriage rate, species distribution and antifungal susceptibility of 604 HIV-infected patients and 851 healthy individuals in Kunming, Yunnan Province of China.
Mucosal swab sampling was taken from each subject and CHROMagar Candida agar medium and API 20C AUX system were used to identify yeast isolates. In vitro antifungal susceptibility was tested by the broth microdilution method according to the M27-A2 document of the Clinical and Laboratory Standard Institute (CLSI).
The oral yeast colonization rate in HIV-infected patients (49.5%) was higher than that of healthy subjects (20.7%). Candida albicans constituted the most frequent species, accounting for 82.2% of yeast isolates. The remaining species were composed of C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. krusei, C. tropicalis, C. rugosa, C. norvegensis, Pichia ohmeri and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In HIV-infected patients, asymptomatic oral yeast colonization was associated with low CD4 cell count (<200 cells/mm3) and lack of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Different Candida species isolated from our samples presented different susceptibility to voriconazole, fluconazole and itraconazole. Amphotericin B had the best inhibiting effect for all isolates.
Oral yeast colonization in Han Chinese patients with HIV from Kunming had common and unique features and was associated with CD4 cell number and HARRT. Amphotericin B should be used with first priority in controlling Candida infection in Han Chinese patients from Kunming. Our results provide first hand information on monitoring oral yeasts colonization in HIV-infected patients from Kunming, China.
PMCID: PMC3641955  PMID: 23356471
Oral yeast; Colonization; Antifungal susceptibility; HIV; Chinese
12.  Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number, but Not Haplogroup, Confers a Genetic Susceptibility to Leprosy in Han Chinese from Southwest China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38848.
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, an unculturable pathogen with an exceptionally eroded genome. The high level of inactivation of gene function in M. leprae, including many genes in its metabolic pathways, has led to a dependence on host energy production and nutritional products. We hypothesized that host cellular powerhouse - the mitochondria - may affect host susceptibility to M. leprae and the onset of clinical leprosy, and this may be reflected by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) background and mtDNA copy number.
We analyzed the mtDNA sequence variation of 534 leprosy patients and 850 matched controls from Yunnan Province and classified each subject by haplogroup. mtDNA copy number, taken to be proportional to mtDNA content, was measured in a subset of these subjects (296 patients and 231 controls) and 12 leprosy patients upon diagnosis.
Comparison of matrilineal components of the case and control populations revealed no significant difference. However, measurement of mtDNA copy number showed that lepromatous leprosy patients had a significantly higher mtDNA content than controls (P = 0.008). Past medical treatments had no effect on the alteration of mtDNA copy number.
Our results suggested that mtDNA content, but not haplogroup, affects leprosy and this influence is limited to the clinical subtype of lepromatous leprosy.
PMCID: PMC3377694  PMID: 22719964
13.  Patrilineal Perspective on the Austronesian Diffusion in Mainland Southeast Asia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36437.
The Cham people are the major Austronesian speakers of Mainland Southeast Asia (MSEA) and the reconstruction of the Cham population history can provide insights into their diffusion. In this study, we analyzed non-recombining region of the Y chromosome markers of 177 unrelated males from four populations in MSEA, including 59 Cham, 76 Kinh, 25 Lao, and 17 Thai individuals. Incorporating published data from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), our results indicated that, in general, the Chams are an indigenous Southeast Asian population. The origin of the Cham people involves the genetic admixture of the Austronesian immigrants from Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) with the local populations in MSEA. Discordance between the overall patterns of Y chromosome and mtDNA in the Chams is evidenced by the presence of some Y chromosome lineages that prevail in South Asians. Our results suggest that male-mediated dispersals via the spread of religions and business trade might play an important role in shaping the patrilineal gene pool of the Cham people.
PMCID: PMC3346718  PMID: 22586471
14.  Mitochondrial DNA mutation m.10680G > A is associated with Leber hereditary optic neuropathy in Chinese patients 
Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a mitochondrial disorder with gender biased and incomplete penetrance. The majority of LHON patients are caused by one of the three primary mutations (m.3460G > A, m.11778G > A and m.14484T > C). Rare pathogenic mutations have been occasionally reported in LHON patients.
We screened mutation m.10680G > A in the MT-ND4L gene in 774 Chinese patients with clinical features of LHON but lacked the three primary mutations by using allele specific PCR (AS-PCR). Patients with m.10680G > A were further determined entire mtDNA genome sequence.
The optimal AS-PCR could detect as low as 10% heteroplasmy of mutation m.10680G > A. Two patients (Le1263 and Le1330) were identified to harbor m.10680G > A. Analysis of the complete mtDNA sequences of the probands suggested that they belonged to haplogroups B4a1 and D6a1. There was no other potentially pathogenic mutation, except for a few private yet reported variants in the MT-ND1 and MT-ND5 genes, in the two lineages. A search in reported mtDNA genome data set (n = 9277; excluding Chinese LHON patients) identified no individual with m.10680G > A. Frequency of m.10680G > A in Chinese LHON patients analyzed in this study and our previous studies (3/784) was significantly higher than that of the general populations (0/9277) (P = 0.0005).
Taken together, we speculated that m.10680G > A may be a rare pathogenic mutation for LHON in Chinese. This mutation should be included in future clinical diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3372436  PMID: 22400981
LHON; mtDNA; m.10680G > A; Chinese; Rare primary mutation
15.  Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup Background Affects LHON, but Not Suspected LHON, in Chinese Patients 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27750.
Recent studies have shown that mtDNA background could affect the clinical expression of Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). We analyzed the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation of 304 Chinese patients with m.11778G>A (sample #1) and of 843 suspected LHON patients who lack the three primary mutations (sample #2) to discern mtDNA haplogroup effect on disease onset. Haplogroup frequencies in the patient group was compared to frequencies in the general Han Chinese population (n = 1,689; sample #3). The overall matrilineal composition of the suspected LHON population resembles that of the general Han Chinese population, suggesting no association with mtDNA haplogroup. In contrast, analysis of these LHON patients confirms mtDNA haplogroup effect on LHON. Specifically, the LHON sample significantly differs from the general Han Chinese and suspected LHON populations by harboring an extremely lower frequency of haplogroup R9, in particular of its main sub-haplogroup F (#1 vs. #3, P-value = 1.46×10−17, OR = 0.051, 95% CI: 0.016–0.162; #1 vs. #2, P-value = 4.44×10−17, OR = 0.049, 95% CI: 0.015–0.154; in both cases, adjusted P-value <10−5) and higher frequencies of M7b (#1 vs. #3, adjusted P-value = 0.001 and #1 vs. #2, adjusted P-value = 0.004). Our result shows that mtDNA background affects LHON in Chinese patients with m.11778G>A but not suspected LHON. Haplogroup F has a protective effect against LHON, while M7b is a risk factor.
PMCID: PMC3216987  PMID: 22110754
16.  Is Mitochondrial tRNAphe Variant m.593T>C a Synergistically Pathogenic Mutation in Chinese LHON Families with m.11778G>A? 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26511.
Mitochondrial transfer RNA (mt-tRNA) mutations have been reported to be associated with a variety of diseases. In a previous paper that studied the mtDNA background effect on clinical expression of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) in 182 Chinese families with m.11778G>A, we found a strikingly high frequency (7/182) of m.593T>C in the mitochondrially encoded tRNA phenylalanine (MT-TF) gene in unrelated LHON patients. To determine the potential role of m.593T>C in LHON, we compared the frequency of this variant in 479 LHON patients with m.11778G>A, 843 patients with clinical features of LHON but without the three known primary mutations, and 2374 Han Chinese from the general populations. The frequency of m.593T>C was higher in LHON patients (14/479) than in suspected LHON subjects (12/843) or in general controls (49/2374), but the difference was not statistically significant. The overall penetrance of LHON in families with both m.11778G>A and m.593T>C (44.6%) was also substantially higher than that of families with only m.11778G>A (32.9%) (P = 0.083). Secondary structure prediction of the MT-TF gene with the wild type or m.593T>C showed that this nucleotide change decreases the free energy. Electrophoretic mobility of the MT-TF genes with the wild type or m.593T>C transcribed in vitro further confirmed the change of secondary structure in the presence of this variant. Although our results could suggest a modest synergistic effect of variant m.593T>C on the LHON causing mutation m.11778G>A, the lack of statistical significance probably due to the relatively small sample size analyzed, makes necessary more studies to confirm this effect.
PMCID: PMC3198432  PMID: 22039503
17.  Inland post-glacial dispersal in East Asia revealed by mitochondrial haplogroup M9a'b 
BMC Biology  2011;9:2.
Archaeological studies have revealed a series of cultural changes around the Last Glacial Maximum in East Asia; whether these changes left any signatures in the gene pool of East Asians remains poorly indicated. To achieve deeper insights into the demographic history of modern humans in East Asia around the Last Glacial Maximum, we extensively analyzed mitochondrial DNA haplogroup M9a'b, a specific haplogroup that was suggested to have some potential for tracing the migration around the Last Glacial Maximum in East Eurasia.
A total of 837 M9a'b mitochondrial DNAs (583 from the literature, while the remaining 254 were newly collected in this study) pinpointed from over 28,000 subjects residing across East Eurasia were studied here. Fifty-nine representative samples were further selected for total mitochondrial DNA sequencing so we could better understand the phylogeny within M9a'b. Based on the updated phylogeny, an extensive phylogeographic analysis was carried out to reveal the differentiation of haplogroup M9a'b and to reconstruct the dispersal histories.
Our results indicated that southern China and/or Southeast Asia likely served as the source of some post-Last Glacial Maximum dispersal(s). The detailed dissection of haplogroup M9a'b revealed the existence of an inland dispersal in mainland East Asia during the post-glacial period. It was this dispersal that expanded not only to western China but also to northeast India and the south Himalaya region. A similar phylogeographic distribution pattern was also observed for haplogroup F1c, thus substantiating our proposition. This inland post-glacial dispersal was in agreement with the spread of the Mesolithic culture originating in South China and northern Vietnam.
PMCID: PMC3027199  PMID: 21219640
18.  Common promoter variants of the NDUFV2 gene do not confer susceptibility to schizophrenia in Han Chinese 
The NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase flavoprotein gene (NDUFV2), which encodes a 24 kD mitochondrial complex I subunit, has been reported to be positively associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in different populations.
We genotyped the promoter variants of this gene (rs6506640 and rs1156044) by direct sequencing in 529 unrelated Han Chinese schizophrenia patients and 505 matched controls. Fisher's Exact test was performed to assess whether these two reported single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) confer susceptibility to schizophrenia in Chinese.
Allele, genotype and haplotype comparison between the case and control groups showed no statistical significance, suggesting no association between the NDUFV2 gene promoter variants and schizophrenia in Han Chinese.
The role of NDUFV2 played in schizophrenia needs to be further studied. Different racial background and/or population substructure might account for the inconsistent results between studies.
PMCID: PMC3022841  PMID: 21190551
19.  Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation and Haplogroup Distribution in Chinese Patients with LHON and m.14484T>C 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13426.
Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON, MIM 535000) is one of the most common mitochondrial genetic disorders caused by three primary mtDNA mutations (m.3460G>A, m.11778G>A and m. 14484T>C). The clinical expression of LHON is affected by many additional factors, e.g. mtDNA background, nuclear genes, and environmental factors. Hitherto, there is no comprehensive study of Chinese LHON patients with m.14484T>C.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study, we analyzed the mtDNA sequence variations and haplogroup distribution pattern of the largest number of Chinese LHON patients with m.14484T>C to date. We first determined the complete mtDNA sequences in eleven LHON probands with m.14484T>C, to discern the potentially pathogenic mutations that co-segregate with m.14484T>C. We then dissected the matrilineal structure of 52 patients with m.14484T>C (including 14 from unrelated families and 38 sporadic cases) and compared it with the reported Han Chinese from general populations. Complete mtDNA sequencing showed that the eleven matrilines belonged to nine haplogroups including Y2, C4a, M8a, M10a1a, G1a1, G2a1, G2b2, D5a2a1, and D5c. We did not identify putatively pathogenic mutation that was co-segregated with m.14484T>C in these lineages based on the evolutionary analysis. Compared with the reported Han Chinese from general populations, the LHON patients with m.14484T>C had significantly higher frequency of haplogroups C, G, M10, and Y, but a lower frequency of haplogroup F. Intriguingly, we also observed a lower prevalence of F lineages in LHON subjects with m.11778G>A in our previous study, suggesting that this haplogroup may enact similar role during the onset of LHON in the presence of m.14484T>C or m.11778G>A.
Our current study provided a comprehensive profile regarding the mtDNA variation and background of Chinese patients with LHON and m.14484T>C. Matrilineal background might affect the expression of LHON in Chinese patients with m.14484T>C.
PMCID: PMC2956641  PMID: 20976138
20.  Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup distribution in Chaoshanese with and without myopia 
Molecular Vision  2010;16:303-309.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups affect the clinical expression of Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, age-related macular degeneration, and other diseases. The objective of this study is to investigate whether an mtDNA background is associated with myopia.
Blood DNA was obtained from 192 college students, including 96 individuals with moderate-to-high myopia and 96 controls without myopia. All the subjects were from a well-known isolated population living in the Chaoshan area of east Guangdong Province and speaking one of the four major dialects in southern China. The mtDNA haplogroups in the 192 subjects were determined by sequencing the mtDNA control region and partial coding regions as well as by analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Each mtDNA was classified according to the updated version of the Eastern Asian haplogroup system.
Sixteen mtDNA haplogroups were recognized in the 192 subjects. The overall matrilineal structures of the samples with and without myopia were similar and had genetic imprints showing their ethno-origin. There was no statistical difference in frequencies of haplogroup distribution between subjects with and without myopia (χ2 test, p=0.556).
We failed to identify clues that suggest an involvement of mtDNA background in the predisposition to myopia.
PMCID: PMC2830021  PMID: 20208987
21.  Identification and association of the single nucleotide polymorphisms in calpain3 (CAPN3) gene with carcass traits in chickens 
BMC Genetics  2009;10:10.
The aim of this study is to screen single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of chicken Calpain3 (CAPN3) gene and to analyze the potential association between CAPN3 gene polymorphisms and carcass traits in chickens. We screened CAPN3 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in 307 meat-type quality chicken from 5 commercial pure lines (S01, S02, S03, S05, and D99) and 4 native breeds from Guangdong Province (Huiyang Huxu chicken and Qingyuan Ma chicken) and Sichuan Province (Caoke chicken and Shandi Black-bone chicken), China.
Two SNPs (11818T>A and 12814T>G) were detected by single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) method and were verified by DNA sequencing. Association analysis showed that the 12814T>G genotypes were significantly associated with body weight (BW), carcass weight (CW), breast muscle weight (BMW), and leg muscle weight (LMW). Haplotypes constructed on the two SNPs (H1, TG; H2, TT; H3, AG; and H4, AT) were associated with BW, CW (P < 0.05), eviscerated percentage (EP), semi-eviscerated percentage (SEP), breast muscle percentage (BMP), and leg muscle percentage (LMP) (P < 0.01). Diplotype H1H2 was dominant for BW, CW, and LMP, and H2H2 was dominant for EP, SEP, and BMP.
We speculated that the CAPN3 gene was a major gene affecting chicken muscle growth and carcass traits or it was linked with the major gene(s). Diplotypes H1H2 and H2H2 might be advantageous for carcass traits.
PMCID: PMC2656522  PMID: 19265533
22.  A homogenous nature of native Chinese duck matrilineal pool 
China, with around 30 unique breeds, has a diverse duck genetic pool. Currently, there is no systematic report which investigates the genetic diversity, phylogenetic relationship, and matrilineal genetic structure of these domestic breeds and wild mallards (Anas platyrhynchos).
In this study, we sequenced the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region segments in 278 domestic ducks (Anas platyrhynchos domestica) from 19 indigenous breeds/populations and 70 wild mallard samples and analyzed them together with the 101 control region sequences from published sources. Fifty-two samples were then sequenced for a cytochrome b (Cyt b) gene fragment to solidify the pattern emerged from the control region sequences. All domestic duck and wild mallard haplotypes were essentially indistinguishable and were clustered together in the phylogenetic tree. There was no geographic differentiation and breed/population-specific distribution of duck lineages.
Our results showed that unlike other domesticated farm animals in China such as chicken, cattle, goat, and yak with multiple matrilineal components, the matrilineal pool of Chinese ducks was homogenous.
PMCID: PMC2586638  PMID: 18957137
23.  Distilling Artificial Recombinants from Large Sets of Complete mtDNA Genomes 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(8):e3016.
Large-scale genome sequencing poses enormous problems to the logistics of laboratory work and data handling. When numerous fragments of different genomes are PCR amplified and sequenced in a laboratory, there is a high immanent risk of sample confusion. For genetic markers, such as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which are free of natural recombination, single instances of sample mix-up involving different branches of the mtDNA phylogeny would give rise to reticulate patterns and should therefore be detectable.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We have developed a strategy for comparing new complete mtDNA genomes, one by one, to a current skeleton of the worldwide mtDNA phylogeny. The mutations distinguishing the reference sequence from a putative recombinant sequence can then be allocated to two or more different branches of this phylogenetic skeleton. Thus, one would search for two (or three) near-matches in the total mtDNA database that together best explain the variation seen in the recombinants. The evolutionary pathway from the mtDNA tree connecting this pair together with the recombinant then generate a grid-like median network, from which one can read off the exchanged segments.
We have applied this procedure to a large collection of complete human mtDNA sequences, where several recombinants could be distilled by our method. All these recombinant sequences were subsequently corrected by de novo experiments – fully concordant with the predictions from our data-analytical approach.
PMCID: PMC2515346  PMID: 18714389
24.  Population phylogenomic analysis of mitochondrial DNA in wild boars and domestic pigs revealed multiple domestication events in East Asia 
Genome Biology  2007;8(11):R245.
A fine-grained mitochondrial DNA phylogenomic analysis was conducted in domestic pigs and wild boars, revealing that pig domestication in East Asia occurred in the Mekong and the middle and downstream regions of the Yangtze river.
Previously reported evidence indicates that pigs were independently domesticated in multiple places throughout the world. However, a detailed picture of the origin and dispersal of domestic pigs in East Asia has not yet been reported.
Population phylogenomic analysis was conducted in domestic pigs and wild boars by screening the haplogroup-specific mutation motifs inferred from a phylogenetic tree of pig complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences. All domestic pigs are clustered into single clade D (which contains subclades D1, D2, D3, and D4), with wild boars from East Asia being interspersed. Three haplogroups within D1 are dominant in the Mekong region (D1a2 and D1b) and the middle and downstream regions of the Yangtze River (D1a1a), and may represent independent founders of domestic pigs. None of the domestic pig samples from North East Asia, the Yellow River region, and the upstream region of the Yangtze River share the same haplogroup status with the local wild boars. The limited regional distributions of haplogroups D1 (including its subhaplogroups), D2, D3, and D4 in domestic pigs suggest at least two different in situ domestication events.
The use of fine-grained mtDNA phylogenomic analysis of wild boars and domestic pigs is a powerful tool with which to discern the origin of domestic pigs. Our findings show that pig domestication in East Asia mainly occurred in the Mekong region and the middle and downstream regions of the Yangtze River.
PMCID: PMC2258183  PMID: 18021448
25.  External Contamination in Single Cell mtDNA Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(8):e681.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in single hematopoietic cells, muscle fibers, oocytes, and from tiny amount of tumor tissues and degraded clinical specimens has been reported in many medical publications. External DNA contamination, notoriously difficult to avoid, threatens the integrity of such studies.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Employing a phylogenetic approach, we analyzed the geographic origins of mtDNA sequence anomalies observed during multiple studies of mtDNA sequence variation in a total of 7094 single hematopoietic cells. 40 events with irregular mtDNA patterns were detected: eight instances (from seven different haplotypes) could be traced to laboratory personnel; six cases were caused by sample cross-contamination. The sources of the remaining events could not be identified, and the anomalous sequence variation referred to matrilines from East Asia, Africa, or West Eurasia, respectively. These mtDNA sequence anomalies could be best explained by contamination.
Using the known world mtDNA phylogeny, we could distinguish the geographic origin of the anomalous mtDNA types, providing some useful information regarding the source of contamination. Our data suggest that routine mtDNA sequence analysis of laboratory personnel is insufficient to identify and eliminate all contaminants. A rate of 0.6% of external contamination in this study, while low, is not negligible: Unrecognized contaminants will be mistaken as evidence of remarkable somatic mutations associated with the development of cancer and other diseases. The effective contamination rate can increase by a factor of more than an order of magnitude in some studies that did not institute high standards. Our results are of particular relevance to mtDNA research in medicine, and such an approach should be adopted to maintain and improve quality control in single-cell analyses.
PMCID: PMC1930155  PMID: 17668059

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