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1.  Discovery of a New Class of Cathepsin K Inhibitors in Rhizoma Drynariae as Potential Candidates for the Treatment of Osteoporosis 
Rhizoma Drynariae (RD), as one of the most common clinically used folk medicines, has been reported to exert potent anti-osteoporotic activity. The bioactive ingredients and mechanisms that account for its bone protective effects are under active investigation. Here we adopt a novel in silico target fishing method to reveal the target profile of RD. Cathepsin K (Ctsk) is one of the cysteine proteases that is over-expressed in osteoclasts and accounts for the increase in bone resorption in metabolic bone disorders such as postmenopausal osteoporosis. It has been the focus of target based drug discovery in recent years. We have identified two components in RD, Kushennol F and Sophoraflavanone G, that can potentially interact with Ctsk. Biological studies were performed to verify the effects of these compounds on Ctsk and its related bone resorption process, which include the use of in vitro fluorescence-based Ctsk enzyme assay, bone resorption pit formation assay, as well as Receptor Activator of Nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclastogenesis using murine RAW264.7 cells. Finally, the binding mode and stability of these two compounds that interact with Ctsk were determined by molecular docking and dynamics methods. The results showed that the in silico target fishing method could successfully identify two components from RD that show inhibitory effects on the bone resorption process related to protease Ctsk.
PMCID: PMC5187916  PMID: 27999266
in silico target fishing; osteoporosis; Cathepsin K; Rhizoma Drynariae; Kushennol F; Sophoraflavanone G; RAW264.7 cells; osteoclasts; bone resorption
2.  The complete chloroplast genome sequence of Helwingia himalaica (Helwingiaceae, Aquifoliales) and a chloroplast phylogenomic analysis of the Campanulidae 
PeerJ  2016;4:e2734.
Complete chloroplast genome sequences have been very useful for understanding phylogenetic relationships in angiosperms at the family level and above, but there are currently large gaps in coverage. We report the chloroplast genome for Helwingia himalaica, the first in the distinctive family Helwingiaceae and only the second genus to be sequenced in the order Aquifoliales. We then combine this with 36 published sequences in the large (c. 35,000 species) subclass Campanulidae in order to investigate relationships at the order and family levels. The Helwingia genome consists of 158,362 bp containing a pair of inverted repeat (IR) regions of 25,996 bp separated by a large single-copy (LSC) region and a small single-copy (SSC) region which are 87,810 and 18,560 bp, respectively. There are 142 known genes, including 94 protein-coding genes, eight ribosomal RNA genes, and 40 tRNA genes. The topology of the phylogenetic relationships between Apiales, Asterales, and Dipsacales differed between analyses based on complete genome sequences and on 36 shared protein-coding genes, showing that further studies of campanulid phylogeny are needed.
PMCID: PMC5131622  PMID: 27917320
Asterids; Campanulidae; Phylogeny; Plastomes; Yunnan
3.  A self-assembling nanomedicine of conjugated linoleic acid-paclitaxel conjugate (CLA-PTX) with higher drug loading and carrier-free characteristic 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:36614.
The main objective of this study was to demonstrate the proof-of-principle for the hypothesis that conjugated linoleic acid-paclitaxel conjugate (CLA-PTX), a novel fatty acid modified anti-cancer drug conjugate, could self-assemble forming nanoparticles. The results indicated that a novel self-assembling nanomedicine, CLA-PTX@PEG NPs (about 105 nm), with Cremophor EL (CrEL)-free and organic solvent-free characteristics, was prepared by a simple precipitation method. Being the ratio of CLA-PTX:DSPE-PEG was only 1:0.1 (w/w), the higher drug loading CLA-PTX@PEG NPs (about 90%) possessed carrier-free characteristic. The stability results indicated that CLA-PTX@PEG NPs could be stored for at least 9 months. The safety of CLA-PTX@PEG NPs was demonstrated by the MTD results. The anti-tumor activity and cellular uptake were also confirmed in the in vitro experiments. The lower crystallinity, polarity and solubility of CLA-PTX compared with that of paclitaxel (PTX) might be the possible reason for CLA-PTX self-assembling forming nanoparticles, indicating a relationship between PTX modification and nanoparticles self-assembly. Overall, the data presented here confirm that this drug self-delivery strategy based on self-assembly of a CLA-PTX conjugate may offer a new way to prepare nanomedicine products for cancer therapy involving the relationship between anticancer drug modification and self-assembly into nanoparticles.
PMCID: PMC5095675  PMID: 27812039
4.  Spheres derived from the human SN12C renal cell carcinoma cell line are enriched in tumor initiating cells 
Recently, tumor initiating cells (TICs), which possess self-renewal and other stem cell properties, are regarded as the cause of tumor initiation, recurrence and metastasis. The isolation and identification of TICs could help to develop novel therapeutic strategies.
In this study, we isolated spheroid cells from human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cell line SN12C in stem cell-conditioned medium. The stemness characteristics of spheroid cells, including tumorigenicity, self-renewal, proliferation and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity were evaluated; the expression levels of stemness genes and related proteins were assessed. Furthermore, study examined the differentiation of TICs into endothelial cells and the relationship between TICs and EMT.
Our data demonstrated that spheroid cells cultured in defined serum-free medium possessed TIC properties, such as high tumorigenic capacity, upregulation of TIC-related genes and proteins, persistent self-renewal and extensive proliferation. Furthermore, spheroid cells were more aggressive in growth, invasion, scratch recovery, clonogenic survival and high aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity. Interestingly, a marked increase in tumor vascularity compared to adherent tumors in vivo, and spheroid cells can differentiate into functional endothelial-like cells in vitro suggesting a role of tumor initiating cells in tumor angiogenesis. The spheroid cells also demonstrated down-regulated E-cadherin and up-regulated Vimentin expression, which is the typical phenotype of EMT.
These results suggest that spheroid cells with tumor initiating cells-like characteristics contributed to tumor generation, progression, high tumorigenicity, pro-angiogenic capability and relationship with EMT. Further experiments using more refined selection criteria such as a combination of two or multiple markers would be useful to specifically identify and purify TICs.
PMCID: PMC5070383  PMID: 27756344
Renal cell carcinoma; Tumor initiating cells; Spheroid; Angiogenesis
5.  The Anoikis Effector Bit1 Inhibits EMT through Attenuation of TLE1-Mediated Repression of E-Cadherin in Lung Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0163228.
The mitochondrial Bcl-2 inhibitor of transcription 1 (Bit1) protein is part of an anoikis-regulating pathway that is selectively dependent on integrins. We previously demonstrated that the caspase-independent apoptotic effector Bit1 exerts tumor suppressive function in lung cancer in part by inhibiting anoikis resistance and anchorage-independent growth in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo. Herein we show a novel function of Bit1 as an inhibitor cell migration and epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) in the human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cell line. Suppression of endogenous Bit1 expression via siRNA and shRNA strategies promoted mesenchymal phenotypes, including enhanced fibroblastoid morphology and cell migratory potential with concomitant downregulation of the epithelial marker E-cadherin expression. Conversely, ectopic Bit1 expression in A549 cells promoted epithelial transition characterized by cuboidal-like epithelial cell phenotype, reduced cell motility, and upregulated E-cadherin expression. Specific downregulation of E-cadherin in Bit1-transfected cells was sufficient to block Bit1-mediated inhibition of cell motility while forced expression of E-cadherin alone attenuated the enhanced migration of Bit1 knockdown cells, indicating that E-cadherin is a downstream target of Bit1 in regulating cell motility. Furthermore, quantitative real-time PCR and reporter analyses revealed that Bit1 upregulates E-cadherin expression at the transcriptional level through the transcriptional regulator Amino-terminal Enhancer of Split (AES) protein. Importantly, the Bit1/AES pathway induction of E-cadherin expression involves inhibition of the TLE1-mediated repression of E-cadherin, by decreasing TLE1 corepressor occupancy at the E-cadherin promoter as revealed by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Consistent with its EMT inhibitory function, exogenous Bit1 expression significantly suppressed the formation of lung metastases of A549 cells in an in vivo experimental metastasis model. Taken together, our studies indicate Bit1 is an inhibitor of EMT and metastasis in lung cancer and hence can serve as a molecular target in curbing lung cancer aggressiveness.
PMCID: PMC5031426  PMID: 27655370
6.  Phytochemicals and potential health effects of Sambucus williamsii Hance (Jiegumu) 
Chinese Medicine  2016;11:36.
Sambucus williamsii Hance (Jiegumu) is traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat bone and joint diseases. The major phytochemicals in S. williamsii are lignans, terpenoids, and phenolic acids, together with trace amounts of essential oils, minerals, amino acids, and natural pigments. In this review, a database search for studies published from 1990 to November 2015 was conducted using PubMed, the China Academic Journals Full-Text Database, and Google Scholar with the keywords “Sambucus williamsii Hance”, “Sambucus williamsii”, “Sambucuswilliamsii + clinic”, “Sambucuswilliamsii + biology”, “Sambucuswilliamsii + chemicals”, and “Jiegumu”, which covered chemical studies, cell culture studies, animal experiments, and clinical studies. This article reviewed the compounds isolated from S. williamsii that may reduce the risk of cancer, and exert antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, bone fracture healing, and antiosteoporotic effects.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13020-016-0106-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4965893  PMID: 27478495
7.  The anti-tumor efficacy of 3-(2-Nitrophenyl) propionic acid-paclitaxel (NPPA-PTX): a novel paclitaxel bioreductive prodrug 
Oncotarget  2016;7(30):48467-48480.
Hypoxia is an important microenvironmental pressure present in the majority of solid tumors and, so, tumor hypoxia might be considered an attractive target for tumor therapy. One strategy for targeting hypoxia is to develop bioreductive prodrugs. In the present research, we synthesized a bioreductive paclitaxel prodrug, 3-(2-Nitrophenyl) propionic acid-paclitaxel (NPPA-PTX). The stability of NPPA-PTX in PBS and rat plasma was investigated. The anti-tumor activity of NPPA-PTX was also evaluated in vitro and in vivo. The results of our stability study indicated that NPPA-PTX was stable in PBS and rat plasma as well as in the blood circulation. The in vitro and in vivo anti-tumor activity of NPPA-PTX was confirmed in both KB cells and MDA-MB-231 cells. Our results also indicated that NPPA-PTX could completely convert to active PTX in tumor tissues and produced the anti-tumor activity in both KB and MDA-MB-231 tumor-bearing nude mice. We suggest that the dissociated PTX which converted from NPPA-PTX in tumor tissues played a key role in producing anti-tumor activity. Considering all our results, we suggest that NPPA-PTX is a novel bioreductive PTX prodrug which could undergo further evaluation.
PMCID: PMC5217032  PMID: 27366947
paclitaxel; 3-(2-Nitrophenyl) propionic acid; bioreductive prodrug; tumor hypoxia; anti-tumor efficacy
8.  Online interactive analysis of protein structure ensembles with Bio3D-web 
Bioinformatics  2016;32(22):3510-3512.
Summary: Bio3D-web is an online application for analyzing the sequence, structure and conformational heterogeneity of protein families. Major functionality is provided for identifying protein structure sets for analysis, their alignment and refined structure superposition, sequence and structure conservation analysis, mapping and clustering of conformations and the quantitative comparison of their predicted structural dynamics.
Availability: Bio3D-web is based on the Bio3D and Shiny R packages. All major browsers are supported and full source code is available under a GPL2 license from
Contact: or
PMCID: PMC5181562  PMID: 27423893
9.  Multi-targeting NGR-modified liposomes recognizing glioma tumor cells and vasculogenic mimicry for improving anti-glioma therapy 
Oncotarget  2016;7(28):43616-43628.
Like the anti-angiogenic strategy, anti-vascular mimicry is considered as a novel targeting strategy for glioma. In the present study, we used NGR as a targeting ligand and prepared NGR-modified liposomes containing combretastatin A4 (NGR-SSL-CA4) in order to evaluate their potential targeting of glioma tumor cells and vasculogenic mimicry (VM) formed by glioma cells as well as their anti-VM activity in mice with glioma tumor cells. NGR-SSL-CA4 was prepared by a thin-film hydration method. The in vitro targeting of U87-MG (human glioma tumor cells) by NGR-modified liposomes was evaluated. The in vivo targeting activity of NGR-modified liposomes was tested in U87-MG orthotopic tumor-bearing nude mice. The anti-VM activity of NGR-SSL-CA4 was also investigated in vitro and in vivo. The targeting activity of the NGR-modified liposomes was demonstrated by in vitro flow cytometry and in vivo biodistribution. The in vitro anti-VM activity of NGR-SSL-CA4 was indicated in a series of cell migration and VM channel experiments. NGR-SSL-CA4 produced very marked anti-tumor and anti-VM activity in U87-MG orthotopic tumor-bearing mice in vivo. Overall, the NGR-SSL-CA4 has great potential in the multi-targeting therapy of glioma involving U87-MG cells, and the VM formed by U87-MG cells as well as endothelial cells producing anti-U87-MG cells, and anti-VM formed by U87-MG cells as well as anti-endothelial cell activity.
PMCID: PMC5190048  PMID: 27283987
NGR; combretastatin A4; vascular mimicry; glioma; anti-tumor activity
10.  Chloroplast genome structure in Ilex (Aquifoliaceae) 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:28559.
Aquifoliaceae is the largest family in the campanulid order Aquifoliales. It consists of a single genus, Ilex, the hollies, which is the largest woody dioecious genus in the angiosperms. Most species are in East Asia or South America. The taxonomy and evolutionary history remain unclear due to the lack of a robust species-level phylogeny. We produced the first complete chloroplast genomes in this family, including seven Ilex species, by Illumina sequencing of long-range PCR products and subsequent reference-guided de novo assembly. These genomes have a typical bicyclic structure with a conserved genome arrangement and moderate divergence. The total length is 157,741 bp and there is one large single-copy region (LSC) with 87,109 bp, one small single-copy with 18,436 bp, and a pair of inverted repeat regions (IR) with 52,196 bp. A total of 144 genes were identified, including 96 protein-coding genes, 40 tRNA and 8 rRNA. Thirty-four repetitive sequences were identified in Ilex pubescens, with lengths >14 bp and identity >90%, and 11 divergence hotspot regions that could be targeted for phylogenetic markers. This study will contribute to improved resolution of deep branches of the Ilex phylogeny and facilitate identification of Ilex species.
PMCID: PMC4932625  PMID: 27378489
11.  Penicimenolides A-F, Resorcylic Acid Lactones from Penicillium sp., isolated from the Rhizosphere Soil of Panax notoginseng 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:27396.
Five new 12-membered resorcylic acid lactone derivatives, penicimenolides A-E (1–5), one new ring-opened resorcylic acid lactone derivative penicimenolide F (6), and six known biogenetically related derivatives (7–12) were isolated from the culture broth of a strain of Penicillium sp. (NO. SYP-F-7919), a fungus obtained from the rhizosphere soil of Panax notoginseng collected from the Yunnan province of China. Their structures were elucidated by extensive NMR analyses, a modified Mosher’s method, chemical derivatization and single crystal X-ray diffraction analysis. Compounds 2–4 exhibited potent cytotoxicity against the U937 and MCF-7 tumour cell lines and showed moderate cytotoxic activity against the SH-SY5Y and SW480 tumour cell lines. The substitution of an acetyloxy or 2-hydroxypropionyloxy group at C-7 significantly increased the cytotoxic activity of the resorcylic acid lactone derivatives. Subsequently, the possible mechanism of compound 2 against MCF-7 cells was preliminarily investigated by in silico analysis and experimental validation, indicating compound 2 may act as a potential MEK/ERK inhibitor. Moreover, proteomics analysis was performed to explore compound 2-regulated concrete mechanism underlying MEK/ERK pathway, which is still need further study in the future. In addition, compounds 2–4 and 7 exhibited a significant inhibitory effect on NO production induced by LPS.
PMCID: PMC4897632  PMID: 27271722
12.  Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of an EV71 virus-like particle vaccine against lethal challenge in newborn mice 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2015;11(10):2406-2413.
Enterovirus 71(EV71) has caused severe epidemics of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in the Asia Pacific in recent years, particularly in infants and pre-school children. It has become a serious public health threat, as currently there are no approved vaccines or antiviral drugs for EV71 infection. Many EV71 vaccines have been under development worldwide, however the main focus is inactivated EV71 vaccines. For example, the inactivated EV71 vaccine has recently finished phase III clinical trial in Mainland China. There have been very few studies on EV71 virus like particles (VLPs). In this study, the immunogenicity and protective potency of the EV71 VLPs produced in insect cells were evaluated in mice with different dosages. Our results showed that EV71 VLPs could elicit high titers of neutralizing antibodies (NTAbs) in a dose-dependent manner and NTAbs were sustained after the second injection with an average GMT (geometric mean titer) level from 19 to 2960 in immunized mice. Survival rates were 100%, 100%, 85%, and 40% after challenge with 15 LD50 (median lethal dose) of EV71 in these newborn mice, respectively. ED50 (50% effective dose) of VLPs was 0.20 μg/dose in newborn mice, while NTAb titer under this dosage was about 50. Passive protection was determined with 2 methods and demonstrated that the survival rates were positively correlated with NTAb titers, which at 24 and 54 induced 50% survival rates in experimental animals. The ED50 of VLP vaccines and the passive NTAb titers were also analyzed. The maternal NTAb titer was similar as the passive NTAb titer in the mouse model challenged with our lethal mouse EV71 strain. Hence, our work has provided preliminary data on the protection potency of VLPs as a vaccine candidate and would facilitate future VLP vaccine development.
PMCID: PMC4635907  PMID: 26036916
ED50 (50% effective dose); enterovirus 71; hand foot and mouth disease; HFMD; VLP vaccine; immunogenicity
13.  Protective Effect of Ginsenoside Rg1 on Hematopoietic Stem/Progenitor Cells through Attenuating Oxidative Stress and the Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling Pathway in a Mouse Model of d-Galactose-induced Aging 
Stem cell senescence is an important and current hypothesis accounting for organismal aging, especially the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC). Ginsenoside Rg1 is the main active pharmaceutical ingredient of ginseng, which is a traditional Chinese medicine. This study explored the protective effect of ginsenoside Rg1 on Sca-1+ hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSC/HPCs) in a mouse model of d-galactose-induced aging. The mimetic aging mouse model was induced by continuous injection of d-gal for 42 days, and the C57BL/6 mice were respectively treated with ginsenoside Rg1, Vitamin E or normal saline after 7 days of d-gal injection. Compared with those in the d-gal administration alone group, ginsenoside Rg1 protected Sca-1+ HSC/HPCs by decreasing SA-β-Gal and enhancing the colony forming unit-mixture (CFU-Mix), and adjusting oxidative stress indices like reactive oxygen species (ROS), total anti-oxidant (T-AOC), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-px) and malondialdehyde (MDA). In addition, ginsenoside Rg1 decreased β-catenin and c-Myc mRNA expression and enhanced the phosphorylation of GSK-3β. Moreover, ginsenoside Rg1 down-regulated advanced glycation end products (AGEs), 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), phospho-histone H2A.X (r-H2A.X), 8-OHdG, p16Ink4a, Rb, p21Cip1/Waf1 and p53 in senescent Sca-1+ HSC/HPCs. Our findings indicated that ginsenoside Rg1 can improve the resistance of Sca-1+ HSC/HPCs in a mouse model of d-galactose-induced aging through the suppression of oxidative stress and excessive activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, and reduction of DNA damage response, p16Ink4a-Rb and p53-p21Cip1/Waf1 signaling.
PMCID: PMC4926383  PMID: 27294914
ginsenoside Rg1; hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSC/HPC); Wnt/β-catenin; oxidative stress; cellular senescence; d-galactose
14.  p53 status correlates with the risk of progression in stage T1 bladder cancer: a meta-analysis 
Published studies have yielded inconsistent results on the relationship between p53 status and the progression of stage T1 non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the prognostic value of p53 in T1 NMIBC.
We systematically searched for relevant literatures in MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science. Data were pooled together from individual studies, and meta-analysis was performed. Study quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Pooled risk ratios (RRs) and 95 % CI were calculated to estimate the effect sizes. Moreover, subgroup analyses were carried out.
A total of 12 studies comprising 712 patients were subjected to the final analysis. p53 overexpression was significantly associated with higher progression rate of T1 NMIBC (RR 2.32, 95 % CI 1.59–3.38). Moderate heterogeneity was observed across the studies (I2 = 39 %, P < 0.0001). In a subgroup analysis stratified by stage, p53 overexpression was a predictor of progression in T1 grade 3 NMIBC (RR 2.71, 95 % CI 1.31–5.64). In addition, in a subgroup analysis stratified by intravesical therapy, p53 overexpression was a predictor of progression in T1 NMIBC received Bacillus Calmette-Guérin intravesical therapy (RR 3.35, 95 % CI 1.89–5.93). Furthermore, after excluding the study that possibly contributed to the heterogeneity by the sensitivity analysis, the association p53 overexpression was significantly correlated with progression of T1 NMIBC (RR 2.74, 95 % CI 2.05–3.65) without evidence of heterogeneity (I2 = 0 %, P < 0.0001).
This meta-analysis suggested that p53 overexpression may be associated with progression of T1 NMIBC patients. Because of the heterogeneity and other limitations, further studies with rigid criteria and large populations are still warranted to confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC4851770  PMID: 27129876
p53; Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer; Stage T1; Progression; Meta-analysis
15.  Genomic Landscape Survey Identifies SRSF1 as a Key Oncodriver in Small Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS Genetics  2016;12(4):e1005895.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive disease with poor survival. A few sequencing studies performed on limited number of samples have revealed potential disease-driving genes in SCLC, however, much still remains unknown, particularly in the Asian patient population. Here we conducted whole exome sequencing (WES) and transcriptomic sequencing of primary tumors from 99 Chinese SCLC patients. Dysregulation of tumor suppressor genes TP53 and RB1 was observed in 82% and 62% of SCLC patients, respectively, and more than half of the SCLC patients (62%) harbored TP53 and RB1 mutation and/or copy number loss. Additionally, Serine/Arginine Splicing Factor 1 (SRSF1) DNA copy number gain and mRNA over-expression was strongly associated with poor survival using both discovery and validation patient cohorts. Functional studies in vitro and in vivo demonstrate that SRSF1 is important for tumorigenicity of SCLC and may play a key role in DNA repair and chemo-sensitivity. These results strongly support SRSF1 as a prognostic biomarker in SCLC and provide a rationale for personalized therapy in SCLC.
Author Summary
SCLC patients are initially highly chemo-sensitive with response rates of greater than 80% in both limited and extensive diseases, but suffer uniform disease recurrence or progression in a very short period of time. In the absence of well-defined genomic biomarkers and insights into the resistance mechanism, many targeted treatments have yielded negative results in the last decade Using integrated next generation sequencing (NGS) technology in combination with a high quality surgical sample set with comprehensive clinical annotation, our study not only identified novel recurrent genetic alterations in genes such as CDH10 and DNA repair pathways which may influence outcomes in SCLC patients, but also discovered the expression of SRSF1, an RNA-splicing factor which can both regulate key oncogenic and survival pathways such as BCL2, and play a critical role in patient survival.
PMCID: PMC4836692  PMID: 27093186
16.  Short-Fragment DNA Residue from Vaccine Purification Processes Promotes Immune Response to the New Inactivated EV71 Vaccine by Upregulating TLR9 mRNA 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(4):e0153867.
To reduce potential oncogenic long genomic DNA in vaccines, nuclease treatment has been applied in the purification processes. However, this action increased the residue of short-fragment DNA and its effect on vaccine potency was still elusive. In this study, we found residual sf-DNA in an inactivated EV71 vaccine could enhance humoral immune response in mice. Ag stimulation in vitro and vaccine injection in vivo revealed that TLR9 transcription level was elevated, indicating that sf-DNA could activate TLR9. These new findings will help us to understand the molecular mechanism induced by vero-cell culture-derived vaccines.
PMCID: PMC4833324  PMID: 27082865
17.  Novel phthalide derivatives identified from Ligusticum chuanxiong (Chuanxiong) 
Chinese Medicine  2016;11:10.
Ligusticum chuanxiong Hort. (Chuanxiong) is a well-known Chinese medicine, and studies on its chemical constituents are important for explaining its mechanism of action and quality control. This study aims to investigate the chemical constituents of the dried rhizome of. L. chuanxiong.
The dried rhizome of L. chuanxiong was extracted with 60 % ethanol, and the concentrated extract was isolated by silica gel, octadecyl silane, and Sephadex LH-20 columns, followed by preparative/semipreparative high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to obtain the pure chemical constituents. The structures of the constituents were elucidated by HR-ESI-MS, UV, IR, 1D NMR, and 2D NMR methods. Enantiomeric separation was achieved by a chiral HPLC method. The absolute configuration was determined by the modified Mosher’s method.
Six novel phthalide derivatives, (+)/(−)-chuanxiongins A–F (1–6), together with four known phthalides (7–10) were isolated from Chuanxiong. All of the new compounds (1–6) were present as pairs of enantiomers. Enantiomeric separation of 1 was successfully achieved by HPLC on a chiral column. The absolute configuration of (−)-1 was determined by a modified Mosher’s method.
The six novel phthalide derivatives (1–6) isolated from Chuanxiong were phthalide fatty acid esters that were structurally analogous and characterized by fatty acid acylation at 6-OH or 7-OH.
PMCID: PMC4782370  PMID: 26958073
Ligusticum chuanxiong; Chuanxiong; Phthalide fatty acid esters; New subtype of phthalides; Chuanxiongins
18.  The compatibility of inactivated-Enterovirus 71 vaccination with Coxsackievirus A16 and Poliovirus immunizations in humans and animals 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2015;11(11):2723-2733.
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is the key pathogen for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) and can result in severe neurological complications and death among young children. Three inactivated-EV71 vaccines have gone through phase III clinical trials and have demonstrated good safety and efficacy. These vaccines will benefit young children under the threat of severe HFMD. However, the potential immunization-related compatibility for different enterovirus vaccines remains unclear, making it hard to include the EV71 vaccine in Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI). Here, we measured the neutralizing antibodies (NTAbs) against EV71, Coxsackievirus A16 (CA16) and Poliovirus from infants enrolled in those EV71 vaccine clinical trials. The results indicated that the levels of NTAb GMTs for EV71 increased significantly in all 3 vaccine groups (high, middle and low dosages, respectively) post-vaccination. Seroconversion ratios and Geometric mean fold increase were significantly higher in the vaccine groups (≥7/9 and 8.9~228.1) than in the placebo group (≤1/10 and 0.8~1.7, P < 0.05). But no similar NTAb response trends were found in CA16 and 3 types of Poliovirus. The decrease of 3 types of Poliovirus NTAb GMTs and an increase of CA16 GMTs post-EV71-vaccination were found in vaccine and placebo groups. Further animal study on CA16 and poliovirus vaccine co-immunization or pre-immunization with EV71 vaccine in mice indicated that there was no NTAb cross-activity between EV71 and CA16/Poliovirus. Our research showed that inactivated-EV71 vaccine has good specific-neutralizing capacity and can be included in EPI.
PMCID: PMC4685687  PMID: 25715318
coxsackievirus A16 (CA16); enterovirus 71 (EV71); foot; and mouth disease (HFMD); hand; neutralizing antibody (NTAb); poliovirus; vaccine
19.  Interventions to reduce individual exposure of elderly individuals and children to haze: a review 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2016;8(1):E62-E68.
Given rapid economic developments and urbanization over the last few decades, China has experienced frequent haze episodes, which have adverse effects on public health. Children and elderly individuals are more susceptible than the general population to air pollution. In this study, we introduce interventions to reduce the exposure of elderly individuals and children to air pollution during hazy weather. These interventions include avoiding outdoor activities, wearing a dust mask, reducing burning biomass fuels, reducing frying and smoking at home, using an air filtration unit and taking supplemental antioxidants. However, the actual benefits of these measures remain unproven and are unlikely to be adequate. Sustained clean air policies remain the most important and efficient solution to reduce air pollution-related health effects.
PMCID: PMC4740117  PMID: 26904254
Haze; intervention; children; elderly
20.  TLE1 promotes EMT in A549 lung cancer cells through suppression of E-cadherin 
The Groucho transcriptional corepressor TLE1 protein has recently been shown to be a putative lung specific oncogene, but its underlying oncogenic activity in lung cancer has not been fully elucidated. In this report, we investigated whether TLE1 regulates lung cancer aggressiveness using the human lung adenocarcinoma cell line A549 as a model system. Through a combination of genetic approaches, we found that TLE1 potentiates Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) in A549 cells in part through suppression of the tumor suppressor gene E-cadherin. Exogenous expression of TLE1 in A549 cells resulted in heightened EMT phenotypes (enhanced fibroblastoid morphology and increased cell migratory potential) and in molecular alterations characteristic of EMT (downregulation of the epithelial marker E-cadherin and upregulation of the mesenchymal marker Vimentin). Conversely, downregulation of endogenous TLE1 expression in these cells resulted in reversal of basal EMT characterized by a cuboidal-like epithelial cell phenotype, reduced cell motility, and upregulated E-cadherin expression. Mechanistic studies showed that TLE1 suppresses E-cadherin expression at the transcriptional level in part by recruiting Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) activity to the E-cadherin promoter. Consistently, the HDAC inhibitor TSA partially reversed the TLE1-induced E-cadherin downregulation and cell migration, suggesting a role for HDACs in TLE1-mediated transcriptional repression of E-cadherin and EMT function. These findings uncover a novel role of TLE1 in regulating EMT in A549 cells through its repressive effect on E-cadherin and provide a mechanism for TLE1 oncogenic activity in lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC4258419  PMID: 25446087
21.  HERC5 is a prognostic biomarker for post-liver transplant recurrent human hepatocellular carcinoma 
Background and aims
Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) can be an effective treatment option for certain patients with early stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) meeting Milan, UCSF, or Hangzhou criteria. However, HCC recurrence rates post-OLT range from 20 to 40 %, with limited follow-up options. Elucidating genetic drivers common to primary and post-OLT recurrent tumors may further our understanding and help identify predictive biomarkers of recurrence—both to ultimately help manage clinical decisions for patients undergoing OLT.
Whole exome and RNA sequencing in matched primary and recurrent tumors, normal adjacent tissues, and blood from four Chinese HCC patients was conducted. SiRNA knockdown and both qRT-PCR and Western assays were performed on PLCPRF5, SNU449 and HEPG2 cell lines; immunohistochemistry and RNA Sequencing were conducted on the primary tumors of Chinese HCC patients who experienced tumor recurrence post-OLT (n = 9) or did not experience tumor recurrence (n = 12).
In three independent HCC studies of patients undergoing transplantation (n = 21) or surgical resection (n = 242, n = 44) of primary tumors (total n = 307), HERC5 mRNA under-expression correlated with shorter: time to tumor recurrence (p = 0.007 and 0.02) and overall survival (p = 0.0063 and 0.023), even after adjustment for relevant clinical variables. HERC5 loss drives CCL20 mRNA and protein over-expression and associates with regulatory T cell infiltration as measured by FOXP3 expression. Further, matched primary and recurrent tumors from the 4 HCC patients indicated clonal selection advantage of Wnt signaling activation and CDKN2A inactivation.
HERC5 plays a crucial role in HCC immune evasion and has clinical relevance as a reproducible prognostic marker for risk of tumor recurrence and survival in patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-015-0743-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4676172  PMID: 26653219
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Orthotopic liver transplantation; Whole exome; HERC5
22.  pH-responsive glycol chitosan-cross-linked carboxymethyl-β-cyclodextrin nanoparticles for controlled release of anticancer drugs 
Carboxymethyl-β-cyclodextrin (CMβ-CD)-modified glycol chitosan (GCS) nanoparticles (GCS-CMβ-CD NPs) were synthesized, and their pH-sensitive drug-release properties were investigated. GCS-CMβ-CD NPs could encapsulate doxorubicin hydrochloride (DOX), and the encapsulation efficiency and loading capacity increased with the amount of CMβ-CD. Drug-release studies indicate that DOX released was greater in acidic medium (pH 5.0) than in weakly basic medium (pH 7.4). The mechanism underlying the pH-sensitive properties of the carrier was analyzed. Finally, the MCF-7 (human breast cancer) and SW480 cell lines (human colon cancer) were used to evaluate the cytotoxicity of the NPs. The drug-loaded carriers show good inhibition of the growth of cancer cells compared with free DOX, and the carriers have good biocompatibility. In addition, the drug-loaded NPs have sustained drug-release properties. All these properties of the newly synthesized GCS-CMβ-CD NPs suggest a promising potential as an effective anticancer drug-delivery system for controlled drug release.
PMCID: PMC4677651  PMID: 26677325
MCF-7; SW480; surface plasmon resonance; encapsulation efficiency; loading capacity; cell viability
23.  Circulating miR-122-5p as a potential novel biomarker for diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction 
Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play key roles in cardiac development, and the expression of miRNAs is altered in the diseased heart. The aim of this study was to explore the value of circulating microRNA-122-5p (miR-122-5p) as a potential biomarker for acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Methods: Plasma samples from 50 patients with AMI and 39 healthy adults (non-AMI controls) were collected. The abundance of circulating miR-122-5p was measured using quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). The cTnI concentrations of these samples were analyzed by ELISA. Results: Our findings revealed that circulating miR-122-5p expression were increased in AMI patients at 4 h, 8 h, 12 h, and 24 h by contrast to those non-AMI controls and displayed similar trends to that of cTnI concentrations in AMI patients. Further study showed that there is a high correlation between circulating miR-122-5p and cTnI concentrations. At last, the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was performed and showed that circulating miR-122-5p had considerable diagnostic accuracy for AMI with an area under curve (AUC) of 0.855. Conclusions: Our results implied that circulating miR-122-5p could be a potential biomarker for AMI.
PMCID: PMC4730090  PMID: 26884877
Acute myocardial infarction; biomarker; diagnosis; miR-122-5p
24.  Pericolactines A–C, a New Class of Diterpenoid Alkaloids with Unusual Tetracyclic Skeleton 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:17082.
Fusicoccane diterpenoids usually possess a fused 5-8-5 tricyclic ring system, which are biogenetically generated from geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGDP). In our report, three novel diterpenoid alkaloids with fusicoccane skeleton, pericolactines A–C (1–3), were isolated from Periconia sp.. Their structures with absolute configurations were determined by spectroscopic analyses and quantum chemical ECD calculation. Pericolactines A–C (1–3) are a new class of diterpenoid alkaloids with an unusual fused 5-5-8-5 tetracyclic ring system, which derive from a geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGDP) and serine conjugated biosynthesis. They belong to the atypical diterpenoid alkaloids.
PMCID: PMC4661464  PMID: 26611465

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