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1.  Tumors of the angle of Treitz: A single-center experience 
AIM: To explore the feasibility and oncologic outcomes of segmental jejunal resection on the left side of the mesenteric vessels in patients with tumors of the angle of Treitz using data from a single center.
METHODS: Thirteen patients with tumors of the angle of Treitz who underwent surgery at our institution were prospectively followed. A segmental jejunal resection on the left side of the mesenteric vessels was performed in all patients. Formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tumor samples were examined. The primary end point of this analysis was disease-free survival.
RESULTS: In this study, there were 8 males and 5 females (mean age, 50.1 years; range, 36-74 years). The mean tumor size was 8.1 cm (range, 3.2-15 cm). Histologic examination showed 11 gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) and 2 adenocarcinomas. Five of the GIST patients presented with potential low risk, and 6 presented with intermediate and high risk, according to the National Institutes of Health criteria. One potentially high-risk patient showed tumor progression at 46 mo and died 52 mo after surgery. One patient with locally advanced adenocarcinoma received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and adjuvant radiotherapy, but the disease progressed, and the patient died 9 mo after surgery. One GIST patient without progression died 16 mo after surgery because of a postoperative intestinal obstruction. The median overall survival rate was 84.6 mo, and the median disease-free survival rate was 94.5 mo.
CONCLUSION: The overall survival of patients with tumors of the angle of Treitz was encouraging even when the tumor size was relatively large. A segmental resection on the left side of the mesenteric vessels is considered to be a reliable and curative option for tumors of the angle of Treitz.
PMCID: PMC3974531
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor; Adenocarcinoma; Angle of Treitz; Surgical treatment; Prognosis
2.  Risk Factors for Acute Toxoplasma gondii Diseases in Taiwan: A Population-Based Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90880.
Although human toxoplasmosis is a notifiable disease in Taiwan since 2007, little is known about its risk factors. This study aimed to investigate the risk factors for acute Toxoplasma gondii diseases in Taiwan. We conducted a nationwide population-based case-control study. Cases of acute human toxoplasmosis notified to the Taiwan Centers for Diseases Control (Taipei, Taiwan) during 2008–2013 were compared with controls that were randomly selected from healthy T. gondii-seronegative blood donors who participated in a nationwide T. gondii seroepidemiologic study during 2009–2010. Cases and controls were matched according to age, gender and residency at an 1∶8 ratio. Structured questionnaires were used to gather information regarding risk factors. A total of 30 laboratory-confirmed acute T. gondii disease cases and 224 controls were enrolled. The most common clinical manifestation of the cases was flu-like symptoms (n = 20), followed by central nervous system disease (n = 4), ocular diseases (n = 3), abortion (n = 2), and congenital infection (n = 1). Multivariate conditional logistic regression showed that raw clam consumption (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 3.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.4–9.9) and having a cat in the household (adjusted OR = 2.9; 95% CI = 1.1–7.9) were two independent risk factors for acute T. gondii disease. We conclude that raw shellfish consumption and domestic cat exposure were risk factors for acquiring acute T. gondii diseases in Taiwan. This finding may guide future research and control policies.
PMCID: PMC3946628  PMID: 24609112
3.  The Self-Interaction of a Nodavirus Replicase Is Enhanced by Mitochondrial Membrane Lipids 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89628.
RNA replication of positive-strand (+)RNA viruses requires the protein-protein interactions among viral replicases and the association of viral replicases with intracellular membranes. Protein A from Wuhan nodavirus (WhNV), which closely associate with mitochondrial membranes, is the sole replicase required for viral RNA replication. Here, we studied the direct effects of mitochondrial membrane lipids (MMLs) on WhNV protein A activity in vitro. Our investigations revealed the self-interaction of WhNV protein A is accomplished via two different patterns (i.e., homotypic and heterotypic self-interactions via different interfaces). MMLs stimulated the protein A self-interaction, and this stimulation exhibited selectivity for specific phospholipids. Moreover, we found that specific phospholipids differently favor the two self-interaction patterns. Furthermore, manipulating specific phospholipid metabolism affected protein A self-interaction and the activity of protein A to replicate RNA in cells. Taken together, our findings reveal the direct effects of membrane lipids on a nodaviral RNA replicase.
PMCID: PMC3934934  PMID: 24586921
4.  A novel reporter system for neutralizing and enhancing antibody assay against dengue virus 
BMC Microbiology  2014;14:44.
Dengue virus (DENV) still poses a global public health threat, and no vaccine or antiviral therapy is currently available. Antibody plays distinct roles in controlling DENV infections. Neutralizing antibody is protective against DENV infection, whereas sub-neutralizing concentration of antibody can increase DENV infection, termed antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). Plaque-based assay represents the most widely accepted method measuring neutralizing or enhancing antibodies.
In this study, a novel reporter virus-based system was developed for measuring neutralization and ADE activity. A stable Renilla luciferase reporter DENV (Luc-DENV) that can produce robust luciferase signals in BHK-21 and K562 cells were used to establish the assay and validated against traditional plaque-based assay. Luciferase value analysis using various known DENV-specific monoclonal antibodies showed good repeatability and a well linear correlation with conventional plaque-based assays. The newly developed assay was finally validated with clinical samples from infected animals and individuals.
This reporter virus-based assay for neutralizing and enhancing antibody evaluation is rapid, lower cost, and high throughput, and will be helpful for laboratory detection and epidemiological investigation for DENV antibodies.
PMCID: PMC3930823  PMID: 24548533
Dengue virus; Neutralizing antibody; Enhancing antibody; Luciferase assay
5.  Short-course bortezomib-based retreatment for patients with multiple myeloma who had received bortezomib-thalidomide-dexamethasone (VTD) as an initial therapy: A single-center case series 
Studies have shown that the bortezomib-based retreatment of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) may prolong control of the disease. The optimal duration of bortezomib-based retreatment in relapsed or refractory MM is unknown. The present retrospective study evaluated the efficacy and safety of short-course bortezomib-based retreatment in patients who had received bortezomib-thalidomide-dexamethasone (VTD) treatment for the initial therapy of newly diagnosed MM. The clinical records of 20 patients who had received short-course bortezomib-based retreatment in a single center were reviewed. Patients received a median of two cycles of bortezomib as the retreatment and the overall response rate was 90%. Six (30%), eight (40%) and four (20%) patients achieved a complete response (CR), a very good partial response and a partial response, respectively. Of the 10 patients who had achieved a CR during the initial VTD treatment, six experienced a repeat CR during the retreatment. The median duration of the response was nine months and the median time to progression was 10.5 months. The most common grade I and II adverse events were thrombocytopenia and neutropenia. The short-course bortezomib-based retreatment was well tolerated and the favorable response rates observed suggest that it may be an effective and convenient treatment option for certain patients, particularly elderly patients.
PMCID: PMC3964925  PMID: 24669261
bortezomib-based regimen; multiple myeloma; retreatment; resistance
6.  Induction of Neutralizing Antibodies against Four Serotypes of Dengue Viruses by MixBiEDIII, a Tetravalent Dengue Vaccine 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86573.
The worldwide expansion of four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV) poses great risk to global public health. Several vaccine candidates are under development. However, none is yet available for humans. In the present study, a novel strategy to produce tetravalent DENV vaccine based on envelope protein domain III (EDIII) was proposed. Tandem EDIIIs of two serotypes (type 1–2 and type 3–4) of DENV connected by a Gly-Ser linker ((Gly4Ser)3) were expressed in E. coli, respectively. Then, the two bivalent recombinant EDIIIs were equally mixed to form the tetravalent vaccine candidate MixBiEDIII, and used to immunize BALB/c mice. The results showed that specific IgG and neutralizing antibodies against all four serotypes of DENV were successfully induced in the MixBiEDIII employing Freund adjuvant immunized mice. Furthermore, in the suckling mouse model, sera from mice immunized with MixBiEDIII provided significant protection against four serotypes of DENV challenge. Our data demonstrated that MixBiEDIII, as a novel form of subunit vaccine candidates, might have the potential to be further developed as a tetravalent dengue vaccine in the near future.
PMCID: PMC3897746  PMID: 24466156
7.  Malignant extra-gastrointestinal stromal tumor of the pancreas: Report of two cases and review of the literature 
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are mesenchymal tumors that arise from the gastrointestinal tract. In rare cases, these tumors are found in intra-abdominal sites unrelated to the gastrointestinal tract, such as the mesentery, omentum and retroperitoneum. However, pancreatic extra-gastrointestinal stromal tumors are extremely rare, with only 14 previous cases reported. A 61-year-old man with no clinical symptoms had a routine check-up, during which an abdominal mass located in the pancreas tail was detected. Abdominal surgery was performed with resection of the pancreas tail and the spleen, and he was diagnosed with low-risk GISTs. Another 60-year-old man with no clinical symptoms underwent Computed tomography which revealed a well-demarcated tumor, 6 cm in diameter, in the head of the pancreas. He was diagnosed with pancreatic GISTs. Here, we describe two rare cases of pancreatic GISTs and review the cases previously reported in the literature.
PMCID: PMC3921496  PMID: 24574760
Gastrointestinal Stromal tumors; Extra-gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors; Pancreatic gastrointestinal stromal tumors
8.  A cypovirus VP5 displays the RNA chaperone-like activity that destabilizes RNA helices and accelerates strand annealing 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(4):2538-2554.
For double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) viruses in the family Reoviridae, their inner capsids function as the machinery for viral RNA (vRNA) replication. Unlike other multishelled reoviruses, cypovirus has a single-layered capsid, thereby representing a simplified model for studying vRNA replication of reoviruses. VP5 is one of the three major cypovirus capsid proteins and functions as a clamp protein to stabilize cypovirus capsid. Here, we expressed VP5 from type 5 Helicoverpa armigera cypovirus (HaCPV-5) in a eukaryotic system and determined that this VP5 possesses RNA chaperone-like activity, which destabilizes RNA helices and accelerates strand annealing independent of ATP. Our further characterization of VP5 revealed that its helix-destabilizing activity is RNA specific, lacks directionality and could be inhibited by divalent ions, such as Mg2+, Mn2+, Ca2+ or Zn2+, to varying degrees. Furthermore, we found that HaCPV-5 VP5 facilitates the replication initiation of an alternative polymerase (i.e. reverse transcriptase) through a panhandle-structured RNA template, which mimics the 5′-3′ cyclization of cypoviral positive-stranded RNA. Given that the replication of negative-stranded vRNA on the positive-stranded vRNA template necessitates the dissociation of the 5′-3′ panhandle, the RNA chaperone activity of VP5 may play a direct role in the initiation of reoviral dsRNA synthesis.
PMCID: PMC3936753  PMID: 24319147
9.  Novel cis-Acting Element within the Capsid-Coding Region Enhances Flavivirus Viral-RNA Replication by Regulating Genome Cyclization 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(12):6804-6818.
cis-Acting elements in the viral genome RNA (vRNA) are essential for the translation, replication, and/or encapsidation of RNA viruses. In this study, a novel conserved cis-acting element was identified in the capsid-coding region of mosquito-borne flavivirus. The downstream of 5′ cyclization sequence (5′CS) pseudoknot (DCS-PK) element has a three-stem pseudoknot structure, as demonstrated by structure prediction and biochemical analysis. Using dengue virus as a model, we show that DCS-PK enhances vRNA replication and that its function depends on its secondary structure and specific primary sequence. Mutagenesis revealed that the highly conserved stem 1 and loop 2, which are involved in potential loop-helix interactions, are crucial for DCS-PK function. A predicted loop 1-stem 3 base triple interaction is important for the structural stability and function of DCS-PK. Moreover, the function of DCS-PK depends on its position relative to the 5′CS, and the presence of DCS-PK facilitates the formation of 5′-3′ RNA complexes. Taken together, our results reveal that the cis-acting element DCS-PK enhances vRNA replication by regulating genome cyclization, and DCS-PK might interplay with other cis-acting elements to form a functional vRNA cyclization domain, thus playing critical roles during the flavivirus life cycle and evolution.
PMCID: PMC3676100  PMID: 23576500
10.  Anti-Cancer Activity of an Osthole Derivative, NBM-T-BMX-OS01: Targeting Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor Signaling and Angiogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e81592.
Angiogenesis occurs during tissue growth, development and wound healing. It is also required for tumor progression and represents a rational target for therapeutic intervention. NBM-T-BMX-OS01 (BMX), derived from the semisynthesis of osthole, an active ingredient isolated from Chinese herb Cnidium monnieri (L.) Cuss., was recently shown to enhance learning and memory in rats. In this study, we characterized the anti-angiogenic activities of NBM-T-BMX-OS01 (BMX) in an effort to develop novel inhibitors to suppress angiogenesis and tumor growth. BMX inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced proliferation, migration and endothelial tube formation in human umbilical endothelial cells (HUVECs). BMX also attenuated VEGF-induced microvessel sprouting from aortic rings ex vivo and reduced HCT116 colorectal cancer cells-induced angiogenesis in vivo. Moreover, BMX inhibited the phosphorylation of VEGFR2, FAK, Akt and ERK in HUVECs exposed to VEGF. BMX was also shown to inhibit HCT116 cell proliferation and to suppress the growth of subcutaneous xenografts of HCT116 cells in vivo. Taken together, this study provides evidence that BMX modulates vascular endothelial cell remodeling and leads to the inhibition of tumor angiogenesis. These results also support the role of BMX as a potential drug candidate and warrant the clinical development in the treatment of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3842266  PMID: 24312323
11.  The Nonstructural Protein 2C of a Picorna-Like Virus Displays Nucleic Acid Helix Destabilizing Activity That Can Be Functionally Separated from Its ATPase Activity 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(9):5205-5218.
Picorna-like viruses in the Picornavirales order are a large group of positive-strand RNA viruses that include numerous important pathogens for plants, insects, and humans. In these viruses, nonstructural protein 2C is one of the most conserved proteins and contains ATPase activity and putative RNA helicase activity. Here we expressed 2C protein of Ectropis obliqua picorna-like virus (EoV; genus Iflavirus, family Iflaviridae, order Picornavirales) in a eukaryotic expression system and determined that EoV 2C displays ATP-independent nucleic acid helix destabilizing and strand annealing acceleration activity in a concentration-dependent manner, indicating that this picornaviral 2C is more like an RNA chaperone than like the previously predicted RNA helicase. Our further characterization of EoV 2C revealed that divalent metal ions, such as Mg2+ and Zn2+, inhibit 2C-mediated helix destabilization to different extents. Moreover, we determined that EoV 2C also contains ATPase activity like that of other picornaviral 2C proteins and further assessed the functional relevance between its RNA chaperone-like and ATPase activities using mutational analysis as well as their responses to Mg2+. Our data show that, when one of the two 2C activities was dramatically inhibited or almost abolished, the other activity could remain intact, showing that the RNA chaperone-like and ATPase activities of EoV 2C can be functionally separated. This report reveals that a picorna-like virus 2C protein displays RNA helix destabilizing and strand annealing acceleration activity, which may be critical for picornaviral replication and pathogenesis, and should foster our understanding of picorna-like viruses and viral RNA chaperones.
PMCID: PMC3624285  PMID: 23449794
12.  Rational Design of a Flavivirus Vaccine by Abolishing Viral RNA 2′-O Methylation 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(10):5812-5819.
Viruses that replicate in the cytoplasm cannot access the host nuclear capping machinery. These viruses have evolved viral methyltransferase(s) to methylate N-7 and 2′-O cap of their RNA; alternatively, they “snatch” host mRNA cap to form the 5′ end of viral RNA. The function of 2′-O methylation of viral RNA cap is to mimic cellular mRNA and to evade host innate immune restriction. A cytoplasmic virus defective in 2′-O methylation is replicative, but its viral RNA lacks 2′-O methylation and is recognized and eliminated by the host immune response. Such a mutant virus could be rationally designed as a live attenuated vaccine. Here, we use Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), an important mosquito-borne flavivirus, to prove this novel vaccine concept. We show that JEV methyltransferase is responsible for both N-7 and 2′-O cap methylations as well as evasion of host innate immune response. Recombinant virus completely defective in 2′-O methylation was stable in cell culture after being passaged for >30 days. The mutant virus was attenuated in mice, elicited robust humoral and cellular immune responses, and retained the engineered mutation in vivo. A single dose of immunization induced full protection against lethal challenge with JEV strains in mice. Mechanistically, the attenuation phenotype was attributed to the enhanced sensitivity of the mutant virus to the antiviral effects of interferon and IFIT proteins. Collectively, the results demonstrate the feasibility of using 2′-O methylation-defective virus as a vaccine approach; this vaccine approach should be applicable to other flaviviruses and nonflaviviruses that encode their own viral 2′-O methyltransferases.
PMCID: PMC3648161  PMID: 23487465
13.  The Brassica rapa FLC homologue FLC2 is a key regulator of flowering time, identified through transcriptional co-expression networks 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(14):4503-4516.
The role of many genes and interactions among genes involved in flowering time have been studied extensively in Arabidopsis, and the purpose of this study was to investigate how effectively results obtained with the model species Arabidopsis can be applied to the Brassicacea with often larger and more complex genomes. Brassica rapa represents a very close relative, with its triplicated genome, with subgenomes having evolved by genome fractionation. The question of whether this genome fractionation is a random process, or whether specific genes are preferentially retained, such as flowering time (Ft) genes that play a role in the extreme morphological variation within the B. rapa species (displayed by the diverse morphotypes), is addressed. Data are presented showing that indeed Ft genes are preferentially retained, so the next intriguing question is whether these different orthologues of Arabidopsis Ft genes play similar roles compared with Arabidopsis, and what is the role of these different orthologues in B. rapa. Using a genetical–genomics approach, co-location of flowering quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and expression QTLs (eQTLs) resulted in identification of candidate genes for flowering QTLs and visualization of co-expression networks of Ft genes and flowering time. A major flowering QTL on A02 at the BrFLC2 locus co-localized with cis eQTLs for BrFLC2, BrSSR1, and BrTCP11, and trans eQTLs for the photoperiod gene BrCO and two paralogues of the floral integrator genes BrSOC1 and BrFT. It is concluded that the BrFLC2 Ft gene is a major regulator of flowering time in the studied doubled haploid population.
PMCID: PMC3808329  PMID: 24078668
Brassica rapa; candidate gene mapping; expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL); FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC).; flowering time; gene expression networks; genome triplication.
15.  HLA-DRB1 Shared Epitope-Dependent DR-DQ Haplotypes Are Associated with Both Anti-CCP–Positive and –Negative Rheumatoid Arthritis in Chinese Han 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71373.
The association between Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) class II and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been extensively studied, but few reported DR-DQ haplotype. Here we investigated the association of HLA-DRB1, DQA1, DQB1, and DR-DQ haplotypes with RA susceptibility and with anti-CCP antibodies in 281 RA patients and 297 control in Han population. High-resolution genotyping were performed. The HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE)-encoding allele *0405 displayed the most significant RA association (P = 1.35×10−6). The grouped DRB1 SE alleles showed great association with RA (P = 3.88×10−13). The DRB1 DRRAA alleles displayed significant protective effects (P = 0.021). The SE-dependent DR-DQ haplotype SE-DQ3/4/5 remained strong association with both anti-CCP -positive (P = 3.71×10−13) and -negative RA (P = 3.89×10−5). Our study revealed that SE alleles and its haplotypes SE-DQ3/4/5 were highly associated with RA susceptibility in Han population. The SE-DQ3/4/5 haplotypes were associated with both anti-CCP positive RA and -negative RA.
PMCID: PMC3741114  PMID: 23951149
16.  Rational Design of a Live Attenuated Dengue Vaccine: 2′-O-Methyltransferase Mutants Are Highly Attenuated and Immunogenic in Mice and Macaques 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(8):e1003521.
Dengue virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and infects at least 100 million people every year. Progressive urbanization in Asia and South-Central America and the geographic expansion of Aedes mosquito habitats have accelerated the global spread of dengue, resulting in a continuously increasing number of cases. A cost-effective, safe vaccine conferring protection with ideally a single injection could stop dengue transmission. Current vaccine candidates require several booster injections or do not provide protection against all four serotypes. Here we demonstrate that dengue virus mutants lacking 2′-O-methyltransferase activity are highly sensitive to type I IFN inhibition. The mutant viruses are attenuated in mice and rhesus monkeys and elicit a strong adaptive immune response. Monkeys immunized with a single dose of 2′-O-methyltransferase mutant virus showed 100% sero-conversion even when a dose as low as 1,000 plaque forming units was administrated. Animals were fully protected against a homologous challenge. Furthermore, mosquitoes feeding on blood containing the mutant virus were not infected, whereas those feeding on blood containing wild-type virus were infected and thus able to transmit it. These results show the potential of 2′-O-methyltransferase mutant virus as a safe, rationally designed dengue vaccine that restrains itself due to the increased susceptibility to the host's innate immune response.
Author Summary
The four serotypes of dengue virus cause severe outbreaks globally in tropical countries with thousands of patients requiring hospitalization. The health care and indirect economic cost of dengue in endemic countries is huge. Despite this, no clinically approved vaccine or antiviral treatment is currently available. Dengue transmission could be stopped with a vaccine that provides full protection to all serotypes. Dengue afflicts many developing countries and a vaccine should therefore be cost-effective and should provide protection with ideally a single injection. Here we present a novel dengue vaccine approach that harbours mutation(s) in the 2′-O-methyltransferase (MTase), a viral enzyme that methylates viral RNA as a strategy to escape the host immune response. Non-methylated RNA is recognized as “foreign” and triggers an interferon response in the cell. The MTase mutant virus is immediately recognized by the host's immune response and hardly has a chance to spread in the organism while an immune response is efficiently triggered by the initially infected cells. Mice and monkeys infected with the mutant virus developed an immune response that fully protected them from a challenge with wild-type virus. Furthermore, we show that MTase mutant dengue virus cannot infect Aedes mosquitoes. Collectively, the results suggest 2′-O-MTase mutant dengue virus as a safe, highly immunogenic vaccine approach.
PMCID: PMC3731252  PMID: 23935499
17.  Global Transcriptomic Analysis of Human Neuroblastoma Cells in Response to Enterovirus Type 71 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e65948.
Human enterovirus type 71 (EV71) is the major pathogen of hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) and has been associated with severe neurological disease and even death in infants and young children. The pathogenesis of EV71 infection in the human central nervous system remains unclear. In this study, human whole genome microarray was employed to perform transcriptome profiling in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells infected with EV71. The results indicated that EV71 infection lead to altered expression of 161 human mRNAs, including 74 up-regulated genes and 87 down-regulated genes. Bioinformatics analysis indicated the possible roles of the differentially regulated mRNAs in selected pathways, including cell cycle/proliferation, apoptosis, and cytokine/chemokine responses. Finally, the microarray results were validated using real-time RT-PCR with high identity. Overall, our results provided fundamental information regarding the host response to EV71 infection in human neuroblastoma cells, and this finding will help explain the pathogenesis of EV71 infection and virus-host interaction.
PMCID: PMC3702535  PMID: 23861741
18.  Simultaneous removal of cadmium and sulfamethoxazole from aqueous solution by rice straw biochar*  
The simultaneous sorption behavior and characteristics of cadmium (Cd) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX) on rice straw biochar were investigated. Isotherms of Cd and SMX were well modeled by the Langmuir equation (R 2>0.95). The calculated maximum adsorption parameter (Q) of Cd was similar in single and binary systems (34 129.69 and 35 919.54 mg/kg, respectively). However, the Q of SMX in a binary system (9 182.74 mg/kg) was much higher than that in a single system (1 827.82 mg/kg). The presence of Cd significantly promoted the sorption of SMX on rice straw biochar. When the pH ranged from 3 to 7.5, the sorption of Cd had the characteristics of a parabola pattern with maximum adsorption at pH 5, while the adsorption quantity of SMX decreased with increasing pH, with maximum adsorption at pH 3. The amount of SMX adsorbed on biochar was positively correlated with the surface area of the biochar, and the maximum adsorption occurred with d 250 biochar (biochar with a diameter of 150–250 μm). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) showed that the removal of Cd and SMX by rice straw biochar may be attributed to precipitation and the formation of surface complexes between Cd or SMX and carboxyl or hydroxyl groups. The results of this study indicate that rice straw biochar has the potential for simultaneous removal of Cd and SMX from co-contaminated water.
PMCID: PMC3709069  PMID: 23825150
Biochar; Rice straw; Simultaneous sorption; Cadmium (Cd); Sulfamethoxazole (SMX)
19.  Screening and Improving the Recombinant Nitrilases and Application in Biotransformation of Iminodiacetonitrile to Iminodiacetic Acid 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67197.
In this study, several nitrilase genes from phylogenetically distinct organisms were expressed and purified in E. coli in order to study their ability to mediate the biotransformation of nitriles. We identified three nitrilases: Acidovorax facilis nitrilase (AcN); Alcaligenes fecalis nitrilase (AkN); and Rhodococcus rhodochrous nitrilase (RkN), which catalyzed iminodiacetonitrile (IDAN) to iminodiacetic acid (IDA). AcN demonstrated 8.8-fold higher activity for IDAN degradation as compared to AkN and RkN. Based on homology modeling and previously described ‘hot spot’ mutations, several AcN mutants were screened for improved activity. One mutant M3 (F168V/L201N/S192F) was identified, which demonstrates a 41% enhancement in the conversion as well as a 2.4-fold higher catalytic efficiency towards IDAN as compared to wild-type AcN.
PMCID: PMC3695085  PMID: 23826231
20.  Complete Genome Sequence of Dengue Virus Serotype 2 Cosmopolitan Genotype Strain in Guangdong, China 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(24):13808-13809.
Here we report the complete genome sequence of a dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) strain, GZ40, isolated in Guangdong, China, in 2010. A phylogenetic analysis classified GZ40 into the Cosmopolitan genotype, while previous Chinese DENV-2 isolates belong to the Asian I genotype. The reemergence of the Cosmopolitan genotype of DENV-2 in China deserves further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3503049  PMID: 23166230
21.  Complete Genome Sequence of an Amur Virus Isolated from Apodemus peninsulae in Northeastern China 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(24):13816-13817.
Amur virus was recently identified as the causative agent of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. Here we report the complete genome sequence of an Amur virus isolated from Apodemus peninsulae in Northeastern China. The sequence information provided here is critical for the molecular epidemiology and evolution of Amur virus in China.
PMCID: PMC3503078  PMID: 23166234
22.  Complete Genome Sequence Analysis of Human Echovirus Type 30 Isolated in China 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(24):13856-13857.
We report here the complete genome sequence of a human echovirus type 30 strain ECV30/GX10/05 isolated in Guangxi, China, in 2010. Phylogenetic analysis showed that ECV30/GX10/05 was closely related to a Korean strain isolated in 2008. The sequence information will help in an understanding of the molecular epidemiology and evolution of echovirus.
PMCID: PMC3503087  PMID: 23166258
23.  Complete Genome Sequence of Seoul Virus Isolated from Rattus norvegicus in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(24):13853.
Seoul virus (SEOV) is responsible for 25% of cases of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Asia. Here we report the complete genome of strain DPRK08. The sequence information provided here is useful for understanding the molecular character of SEOV in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the circulation of SEOV in East Asia.
PMCID: PMC3503101  PMID: 23166256
24.  Human IgG Subclasses against Enterovirus Type 71: Neutralization versus Antibody Dependent Enhancement of Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64024.
The emerging human enterovirus 71 (EV71) represents a growing threat to public health, and no vaccine or specific antiviral is currently available. Human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is clinical used in treating severe EV71 infections. However, the discovery of antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) of EV71 infection illustrates the complex roles of antibody in controlling EV71 infection. In this study, to identify the distinct role of each IgG subclass on neutralization and enhancement of EV71 infection, different lots of pharmaceutical IVIG preparations manufactured from Chinese donors were used for IgG subclass fractionation by pH gradient elution with the protein A-conjugated affinity column. The neutralization and ADE capacities on EV71 infection of each purified IgG subclass were then assayed, respectively. The neutralizing activity of human IVIG is mainly mediated by IgG1 subclass and to less extent by IgG2 subclass. Interestingly, IgG3 fraction did not have neutralizing activity but enhanced EV71 infection in vitro. These results revealed the different roles of human IgG subclasses on EV71 infection, which is of critical importance for the rational design of immunotherapy and vaccines against severe EV71 diseases.
PMCID: PMC3659118  PMID: 23700449
25.  Beclin 1 and nuclear factor-κBp65 are upregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Oncology Letters  2013;5(6):1813-1818.
There are no sensitive and specific biomarkers that aid in the clinical diagnosis and prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The aim of the present study was to determine the mRNA and protein expression levels of beclin 1 (BECN1) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB)p65 in patients with HCC, to evaluate their value as potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization were used to detect the expression of hepatic BECN1 and NF-kBp65 in patients with HCC, hepatitis B virus (HBV) or cirrhosis, as compared with the expression levels in healthy subjects. The expression level of the BECN1 protein in the HCC tissue was significantly high compared with that in the cirrhotic, hepatitis and normal tissues. The expression of the BECN1 protein in the hepatitis tissue was significantly high compared with that of the cirrhotic and normal tissues. The expression of the BECN1 mRNA in the cancer tissue was significantly high compared with that of the cirrhotic and normal tissues, and the expression of the BECN1 mRNA in the hepatitis tissue was significantly higher than that of the cirrhotic and normal tissues. The expression of the NF-κBp65 protein in the cancer tissue was significantly high compared with that of the cirrhotic, hepatitis and normal tissues. The expression of the NF-κBp65 mRNA in-the cancer tissue was significantly high compared with that of the cirrhotic, hepatitis and normal tissues. BECN1 expression was positively correlated with NF-κBp65 expression in HCC. The abnormal expression of BECN1 and NF-κBp65 was closely associated with the development of HCC. Finally, a search in GeneGo pathway database observed a link between BECN1 and NF-κBp65 through multiple proteins. These results indicate that BECN1 and NF-κBp65 are upregulated in HCC, and that they may serve as useful biomarkers for HCC.
PMCID: PMC3700917  PMID: 23833647
beclin 1; nuclear factor-κB; immunohistochemistry; in situ hybridization; hepatocellular carcinoma

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