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1.  Involvement of autophagy inhibition in Brucea javanica oil emulsion-induced colon cancer cell death 
Oncology Letters  2015;9(3):1425-1431.
Brucea javanica oil emulsion (BJOE), the petroleum ether extract of B. javanica emulsified by phospholipid, is widely used in China as an anticancer agent. The extracts from B. javanica induce cancer cell death by various mechanisms; however, it is not known whether these mechanisms involve autophagy, which is an important process in cancer development and treatment. Thus, the current study aimed to investigate whether BJOE modulates autophagy in HCT116 human colon cancer cells and whether modulation of autophagy is an anticancer mechanism of BJOE. Immunoblotting was employed to analyze the protein expression levels of microtubule-associated protein light-chain 3 (LC3), a specific protein marker of autophagy, in HCT116 cancer cells following exposure to BJOE. The apoptosis rate of the HCT116 cancer cells was detected by performing an Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate/propidium iodide assay. According to the effect of BJOE administration on autophagy in the HCT116 cancer cells (induction or suppression), a functionally opposite agent (autophagy suppressor or inducer) was applied to counteract this effect, and the apoptosis rate of the cancer cells was detected again. The role of autophagy (pro-survival or pro-death) was demonstrated by comparing the rates of apoptotic cancer cells prior to and following the counteraction. The results revealed that BJOE suppressed the protein expression levels of LC3, including the LC3-I and LC3-II forms, and induced apoptosis in the HCT116 cancer cells with a high level of basal LC3. The apoptosis-inducing activity of BJOE was significantly attenuated when autophagy was induced by the administration of trehalose, an autophagy inducer. The data indicates that autophagy inhibition is involved in BJOE-induced cancer cell death, and that this inhibition may be a potential anticancer mechanism of BJOE.
PMCID: PMC4315055  PMID: 25663926
Brucea javanica oil emulsion; autophagy; apoptosis; colon cancer; light chain 3
2.  RKIP and HMGA2 regulate breast tumor survival and metastasis through Lysyl Oxidase and Syndecan-2 
Oncogene  2013;33(27):3528-3537.
Elucidating targets of physiological tumor metastasis suppressors can highlight key signaling pathways leading to invasion and metastasis. To identify downstream targets of the metastasis suppressor Raf Kinase Inhibitory Protein (RKIP/PEBP1), we utilized an integrated approach based upon statistical analysis of tumor gene expression data combined with experimental validation. Previous studies from our laboratory identified the architectural transcription factor and oncogene, HMGA2, as a target of inhibition by RKIP. Here we identify two signaling pathways that promote HMGA2-driven metastasis. Using both human breast tumor cells and an MMTV-Wnt mouse breast tumor model, we show that RKIP induces and HMGA2 inhibits expression of miR-200b; miR-200b directly inhibits expression of lysyl oxidase (LOX), leading to decreased invasion. RKIP also inhibits syndecan-2 (SDC2), which is aberrantly expressed in breast cancer, via down-regulation of HMGA2; but this mechanism is independent of miR-200. Depletion of SDC2 induces apoptosis and suppresses breast tumor growth and metastasis in mouse xenografts. RKIP, LOX, and SDC2 are coordinately regulated and collectively encompass a prognostic signature for metastasis-free survival in ER-negative breast cancer patients. Taken together, our findings reveal two novel signaling pathways targeted by the metastasis suppressor RKIP that regulate remodeling of the extracellular matrix and tumor survival.
PMCID: PMC4096871  PMID: 23975428
RKIP; HMGA2; LOX; SDC2; miR-200; breast; metastasis
3.  The Thellungiella salsuginea Tonoplast Aquaporin TsTIP1;2 Functions in Protection Against Multiple Abiotic Stresses 
Plant and Cell Physiology  2013;55(1):148-161.
Examination of aquaporin (AQP) membrane channels in extremophile plants may increase our understanding of plant tolerance to high salt, drought or other conditions. Here, we cloned a tonoplast AQP gene (TsTIP1;2) from the halophyte Thellungiella salsuginea and characterized its biological functions. TsTIP1;2 transcripts accumulate to high levels in several organs, increasing in response to multiple external stimuli. Ectopic overexpression of TsTIP1;2 in Arabidopsis significantly increased plant tolerance to drought, salt and oxidative stresses. TsTIP1;2 had water channel activity when expressed in Xenopus oocytes. TsTIP1;2 was also able to conduct H2O2 molecules into yeast cells in response to oxidative stress. TsTIP1;2 was not permeable to Na+ in Xenopus oocytes, but it could facilitate the entry of Na+ ions into plant cell vacuoles by an indirect process under high-salinity conditions. Collectively, these data showed that TsTIP1;2 could mediate the conduction of both H2O and H2O2 across membranes, and may act as a multifunctional contributor to survival of T. salsuginea in highly stressful habitats.
PMCID: PMC3894706  PMID: 24214268
Aquaporin; Channeling activity; Stress tolerance; Thellungiella salsuginea
4.  Dynamics of histone variant H3.3 and its coregulation with H2A.Z at enhancers and promoters 
Nucleus  2014;5(1):21-27.
In eukaryotes, genomic DNA is hierarchically packaged into chromatin by histones. A defined organization of the genome into chromatin with specific patterns of epigenetic modifications is crucial for transcriptional regulation, cell fate determination, and maintenance, in which the histone variant incorporation has been characterized as one of the most key players. The diversity of histone variants results in structural plasticity of chromatin and highlights functionally distinct chromosomal domains. Here we focus on the role of histone variant H3.3 and its coregulation with H2A.Z in chromatin dynamics at enhancers and promoters and transcriptional regulation.
PMCID: PMC4028350  PMID: 24637397
histone variant; H3.3; H2A.Z; chromatin dynamics; transcriptional regulation
5.  The responsive expression of a chitinase gene in the ridgetail white prawn Exopalaemon carinicauda against Vibrio anguillarum and WSSV challenge 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2014;19(4):549-558.
Chitinases are essential enzymes for crustaceans and participates in several biological processes, such as nutrient digestion, morphogenesis, pathogenesis, and pathogen defense. In the present study, the full-length cDNA of Chi (named EcChi) was cloned from the hemocytes of ridgetail white prawn Exopalaemon carinicauda by rapid amplification of cDNA ends methods. The full-length cDNA of EcChi was 1,319 bp, including contains a 5′-untranslated region (UTR) of 42 bp, 3′-UTR of 101 bp with a poly (A) tail, an open-reading frame of 1,176 bp, encoding a 391-amino acid polypeptide with the predicted molecular weight of 43.71 kDa and estimated isoelectric point of 4.78. Sequence analysis revealed that the conserved chitinases family 18 active site was predicted in the amino acid sequence of EcChi. BLAST analysis revealed that amino acids of EcChi shared high identity (61–77 %) with that of other crustaceans. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis indicated that EcChi could be detected in all the tested tissues, and strongly expressed in hepatopancreas of E. carinicauda. After challenged with Vibrio anguillarum and WSSV, EcChi transcripts both in hemocytes and hepatopancreas increased significantly in the first 3 h, respectively. These results indicated that EcChi might be involved in the innate immune responses to V. anguillarum and WSSV in E. carinicauda.
PMCID: PMC4041943  PMID: 24408604
Exopalaemon carinicauda; Chitinase (Chi); Vibrio anguillarum; White spot syndrome virus (WSSV); Immune response
6.  Modified laparoscopic splenectomy and azygoportal disconnection combined with cell salvage is feasible and might reduce the need for blood transfusion 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(48):18420-18426.
AIM: To investigate perioperative outcomes in patients undergoing modified laparoscopic splenectomy and azygoportal disconnection (MLSD) with intraoperative autologous cell salvage.
METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated outcomes in 79 patients admitted to the Clinical Medical College of Yangzhou University with cirrhosis, portal hypertensive bleeding and secondary hypersplenism who underwent MLSD without (n = 46) or with intraoperative cell salvage and autologous blood transfusion, including splenic blood and operative hemorrhage (n = 33), between February 2012 and January 2014. Their intraoperative and postoperative variables were compared. These variables mainly included: operation time; estimated intraoperative blood loss; volume of allogeneic blood transfused; visual analog scale for pain on the first postoperative day; time to first oral intake; initial passage of flatus and off-bed activity; perioperative hemoglobin (Hb) concentration; and red blood cell concentration.
RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of duration of surgery, estimated intraoperative blood loss and overall perioperative complication rate. In those receiving salvaged autologous blood, Hb concentration increased by an average of 11.2 ± 4.8 g/L (P < 0.05) from preoperative levels by the first postoperative day, but it had fallen by 9.8 ± 6.45 g/L (P < 0.05) in the group in which cell salvage was not used. Preoperative Hb was similar in the two groups (P > 0.05), but Hb on the first postoperative day was significantly higher in the autologous blood transfusion group (118.5 ± 15.8 g/L vs 102.7 ± 15.6 g/L, P < 0.05). The autologous blood transfusion group experienced significantly fewer postoperative days of temperature > 38.0 °C (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Intraoperative cell salvage during MLSD is feasible and safe and may become the gold standard for liver cirrhosis with portal hypertensive bleeding and hypersplenism.
PMCID: PMC4277981  PMID: 25561811
Portal hypertension; Laparoscopy; Splenectomy; Azygoportal disconnection; Cell salvage
7.  Reconceptualizing the HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Needs of Female Sex Workers (FSW) in Swaziland 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115465.
HIV is hyperendemic in Swaziland with a prevalence of over 25% among those between the ages of 15 and 49 years old. The HIV response in Swaziland has traditionally focused on decreasing HIV acquisition and transmission risks in the general population through interventions such as male circumcision, increasing treatment uptake and adherence, and risk-reduction counseling. There is emerging data from Southern Africa that key populations such as female sex workers (FSW) carry a disproportionate burden of HIV even in generalized epidemics such as Swaziland. The burden of HIV and prevention needs among FSW remains unstudied in Swaziland.
A respondent-driven-sampling survey was completed between August-October, 2011 of 328 FSW in Swaziland. Each participant completed a structured survey instrument and biological HIV and syphilis testing according to Swazi Guidelines.
Unadjusted HIV prevalence was 70.3% (n = 223/317) among a sample of women predominantly from Swaziland (95.2%, n = 300/316) with a mean age of 21(median 25) which was significantly higher than the general population of women. Approximately one-half of the FSW(53.4%, n = 167/313) had received HIV prevention information related to sex work in the previous year, and about one-in-ten had been part of a previous research project(n = 38/313). Rape was common with nearly 40% (n = 123/314) reporting at least one rape; 17.4% (n = 23/314)reported being raped 6 or more times. Reporting blackmail (34.8%, n = 113/314) and torture(53.2%, n = 173/314) was prevalent.
While Swaziland has a highly generalized HIV epidemic, reconceptualizing the needs of key populations such as FSW suggests that these women represent a distinct population with specific vulnerabilities and a high burden of HIV compared to other women. These women are understudied and underserved resulting in a limited characterization of their HIV prevention, treatment, and care needs and only sparse specific and competent programming. FSW are an important population for further investigation and rapid scale-up of combination HIV prevention including biomedical, behavioral, and structural interventions.
PMCID: PMC4274078  PMID: 25531771
8.  Phosphoproteomic Profiling of Selenate-Treated Alzheimer's Disease Model Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113307.
The reversible phosphorylation of proteins regulates most biological processes, while abnormal phosphorylation is a cause or consequence of many diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD). One of the hallmarks of AD is the formation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), which is composed of hyperphosphorylated tau proteins. Sodium selenate has been recently found to reduce tau hyperphosphorylation and NFTs formation, and to improve spatial learning and motor performance in AD mice. In the current study, the phosphoproteomics of N2aSW cells treated with selenate were investigated. To avoid missing low-abundance phosphoproteins, both the total proteins of cells and the phosphor-enriched proteins were extracted and subjected to the two-dimensional gel electrophoresis with Pro-Q diamond staining and then LC-MS/MS analysis. A total of 65 proteins were altered in phosphorylation level, of which 39 were up-regulated and 26 were down-regulated. All identified phosphoproteins were bioinformatically annotated according to their physiochemical features, subcellular location, and biological function. Most of these significantly changed phosphoproteins are involved in crucial neural processes such as protesome activity, oxidative stress, cysteine and methionine metabolism, and energy metabolism. Furthermore, decreases were found in homocysteine, phosphor-tau and amyloid β upon selenate treatment. Our results suggest that selenate may intervene in the pathological process of AD by altering the phosphorylation of some key proteins involved in oxidative stress, energy metabolism and protein degradation, thus play important roles in maintaining redox homeostasis, generating ATP, and clearing misfolded proteins and aggregates. The present paper provides some new clues to the mechanism of selenate in AD prevention.
PMCID: PMC4259334  PMID: 25485856
9.  Treatment with retinoic acid and lens epithelial cell-conditioned medium in vitro directed the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells towards corneal endothelial cell-like cells 
Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have extensive self-renewal capacity and the potential to differentiate into all tissue-specific cell lineages, including corneal endothelial cells (CECs). They are a promising prospect for the future of regenerative medicine. The method of derivation of CECs from ESCs and iPSCs, however, remains to be elucidated. In this study, mouse ESCs and iPSCs were induced to differentiate into CECs using CEC embryonic development events as a guide. All-trans retinoic acid (RA) treatment during the embryoid body (EB) differentiation step was used to promote neural crest (NC) cell differentiation as first step and was followed by a second induction in CEC- or lens epithelial cell (LEC)-conditioned medium (CM) to ultimately generate CEC-like cells. During the corresponding differentiation stages, NC developmental markers and CEC differentiation markers were detected at the protein level using immunocytochemistry (ICC) and at the mRNA level by reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). During the first stage, the data indicated that 4 days of treatment with 1 μM RA starting on day 4 of EB formation favored NC cell differentiation and that plating on gelatin-coated plates led to cell migration out of the EBs. The second-stage differentiation results showed that the CM, particularly the LEC-CM, enhanced the yield of polygonal cells with CEC-specific marker expression shown by ICC and RT-qPCR. This study demonstrates that mouse ESCs and iPSCs were induced and expressed CEC differentiation markers when subjected to a two-step inducement process, suggesting that they are a promising resource for corneal endothelium failure replacement therapy in the future.
PMCID: PMC4280952  PMID: 25574197
embryonic stem cell; induced pluripotent stem cell; corneal endothelium cell; retinoic acid; conditioned medium; differentiation
10.  Testin interacts with Vangl2 genetically to regulate inner ear sensory cell orientation and the normal development of the female reproductive tract in mice 
Planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling regulates the coordinated polarization of cells and is required for the normal development and function of many tissues. Previous studies have identified conserved PCP genes, such as Van gogh-like 2 (Vangl2) and Prickle (Pk), in the regulation of coordinated orientation of inner ear hair cells and female reproductive tract development. Testin shares a PET-LIM homology with Pk. It is not clear whether Testin acts in PCP processes in mammals.
We identified Testin as a Vangl2-interacting protein through a 2-hybrid screen with a cochlea cDNA library. Testin is enriched to cell-cell boundaries in the presence of Vangl2 in cultured cells. Genetic inactivation of Testin leads to abnormal hair cell orientation in the vestibule and cellular patterning defects in the cochlea. In addition, Testin genetically interacts with Vangl2 to regulate hair cell orientation in the cochlea and the opening of the vaginal tract.
Our findings suggested Testin as a gene involved in coordinated hair cell orientation in the inner ear and in female reproductive tract development. Furthermore, its genetic interaction with Vangl2 implicated it as a potential molecular link, responsible for mediating the role of Vangl2-containing membranous PCP complexes in directing morphologic polarization.
PMCID: PMC3999664  PMID: 23996638
Testin; Planar cell polarity; Vangl2; Inner ear; Female reproductive tract; Hair cells
11.  Gene expression profiling of craniofacial fibrous dysplasia reveals ADAMTS2 overexpression as a potential marker 
Fibrous dysplasia (FD) as an abnormal bone growth is one of the common fibro-osseous leasions (FOL) in oral and maxillofacial region, however, its etiology still remains unclear. Here, we performed gene expression profiling of FD using microarray analysis to explore the key molecule events in FD development, and develop potential diagnostic markers or therapeutic targets for FD. We found that 1,881 genes exhibited differential expression with more than two-fold changes in FD compared to normal bone tissues, including 1,200 upregulated genes and 681 downregulated genes. Pathway analysis indicated that obviously activated pathways are Ribosome and ECM-receptor interaction pathways; downregulated pathways are “Hepatitis C” and “cancer” signaling pathways. We further validated the expression of ADAMTS2, one of most differentiated expressed genes, by Immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 40 of FD cases. Results showed that ADAMTS2 was significantly overexpressed in FD tissues, but rarely expressed in normal bone tissues, suggesting that ADAMTS2 could be a potential biomarker for FD. Thus, this study uncovered differentially expressed candidate genes in FD, which provides pilot data for understanding FD pathogenesis, and developing novel biomarkers for diagnosis and targeting of FD.
PMCID: PMC4314047
Fibrous dysplasia; gene expression profiling; ADAMTS2; marker
12.  Genome Sequence of a Multidrug-Resistant Strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae, BAMC 07-18, Isolated from a Combat Injury Wound 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(6):e01230-14.
Klebsiella pneumoniae is an important infectious agent of surgical sites and combat wounds. Antibiotic resistance and tolerance are common impediments to the healing of chronic infections. Here, we report the genome sequence of a highly multidrug-resistant strain of K. pneumoniae, BAMC 07-18, isolated from a combat wound of a soldier.
PMCID: PMC4246167  PMID: 25428975
13.  Loss of MAP Function Leads to Hippocampal Synapse Loss and Deficits in the Morris Water Maze with Aging 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(21):7124-7136.
Hyperphosphorylation and accumulation of tau aggregates are prominent features in tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease, but the impact of loss of tau function on synaptic and cognitive deficits remains poorly understood. We report that old (19–20 months; OKO) but not middle-aged (8–9 months; MKO) tau knock-out mice develop Morris Water Maze (MWM) deficits and loss of hippocampal acetylated α-tubulin and excitatory synaptic proteins. Mild motor deficits and reduction in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the substantia nigra were present by middle age, but did not affect MWM performance, whereas OKO mice showed MWM deficits paralleling hippocampal deficits. Deletion of tau, a microtubule-associated protein (MAP), resulted in increased levels of MAP1A, MAP1B, and MAP2 in MKO, followed by loss of MAP2 and MAP1B in OKO. Hippocampal synaptic deficits in OKO mice were partially corrected with dietary supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and both MWM and synaptic deficits were fully corrected by combining DHA with α-lipoic acid (ALA), which also prevented TH loss. DHA or DHA/ALA restored phosphorylated and total GSK3β and attenuated hyperactivation of the tau C-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) while increasing MAP1B, dephosphorylated (active) MAP2, and acetylated α-tubulin, suggesting improved microtubule stability and maintenance of active compensatory MAPs. Our results implicate the loss of MAP function in age-associated hippocampal deficits and identify a safe dietary intervention, rescuing both MAP function and TH in OKO mice. Therefore, in addition to microtubule-stabilizing therapeutic drugs, preserving or restoring compensatory MAP function may be a useful new prevention strategy.
PMCID: PMC4028492  PMID: 24849348
Alzheimer's disease; knock-out; MAPs; Morris Water Maze; synaptic markers; tau
14.  Human RAD6 Promotes G1-S Transition and Cell Proliferation through Upregulation of Cyclin D1 Expression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113727.
Protein ubiquitinylation regulates protein stability and activity. RAD6, an E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, which that has been substantially biochemically characterized, functions in a number of biologically relevant pathways, including cell cycle progression. In this study, we show that RAD6 promotes the G1-S transition and cell proliferation by regulating the expression of cyclin D1 (CCND1) in human cells. Furthermore, our data indicate that RAD6 influences the transcription of CCND1 by increasing monoubiquitinylation of histone H2B and trimethylation of H3K4 in the CCND1 promoter region. Our study presents, for the first time, an evidence for the function of RAD6 in cell cycle progression and cell proliferation in human cells, raising the possibility that RAD6 could be a new target for molecular diagnosis and prognosis in cancer therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC4237501  PMID: 25409181
15.  Mineral status of non-anemic Peruvian infants taking an iron and copper syrup with or without zinc from 6 to 18 months of age: a randomized controlled trial 
To evaluate changes in iron, zinc and copper status of non-anemic Peruvian infants receiving daily supplements with 10 mg iron, 0.5 mg copper with or without 10 mg zinc from 6 to 18 months of age.
Overall, 251 infants were randomized to one of two daily supplements. Venous blood draws at 6, 12, and 18 months were taken to characterize hemoglobin, plasma ferritin, zinc and copper concentrations. Urinary excretion of zinc was also measured at each time point. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to evaluate changes over time and by supplement type.
Both hemoglobin and copper concentrations increased significantly, while plasma ferritin decreased from 6 to 12 months of age (P < 0.05). Mean plasma zinc concentrations in the zinc treatment group were maintained over time, while that in the control group declined; differences by treatment were found at 12 and 18 months (P < 0.05). Urinary zinc concentration was increased in the zinc group at 12 months only. There was evidence that zinc treatment improved hemoglobin at 18 months of age (P = 0.09). Compliance with supplementation was high, with 81% of the intended dose consumed over the 12-month period.
Daily mineral supplementation over one year appears feasible and acceptable in this population, and a combined supplement can improve iron, zinc and copper status of infants at the same time.
PMCID: PMC3794366  PMID: 24103510
Zinc; iron; copper; supplements; infancy
17.  Comparison of the Efficacy of Rosuvastatin versus Atorvastatin in Preventing Contrast Induced Nephropathy in Patient with Chronic Kidney Disease Undergoing Percutaneous Coronary Intervention 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111124.
We prospectively compared the preventive effects of rosuvastatin and atorvastatin on contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN) in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
We enrolled 1078 consecutive patients with CKD undergoing elective PCI. Patients in Group 1 (n = 273) received rosuvastatin (10 mg), and those in group 2 (n = 805) received atorvastatin (20 mg). The primary end-point was the development of CIN, defined as an absolute increase in serum creatinine ≥0.5 mg/dL, or an increase ≥25% from baseline within 48–72 h after contrast medium exposure.
CIN was observed in 58 (5.4%) patients. The incidence of CIN was similar in patients pretreated with either rosuvastatin or atorvastatin (5.9% vs. 5.2%, p = 0.684). The same results were also observed when using other definitions of CIN. Clinical and procedural characteristics did not show significant differences between the two groups (p>0.05). Additionally, there were no significant inter-group differences with respect to in-hospital mortality rates (0.4% vs. 1.5%, p = 0.141), or other in-hospital complications. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that rosuvastatin and atorvastatin demonstrated similar efficacies for preventing CIN, after adjusting for potential confounding risk factors (odds ratio = 1.17, 95% confidence interval, 0.62–2.20, p = 0.623). A Kaplan–Meier survival analysis showed that patients taking either rosuvastatin or atorvastatin had similar incidences of all-cause mortality (9.4% vs. 7.1%, respectively; p = 0.290) and major adverse cardiovascular events (29.32% vs. 23.14%, respectively; p = 0.135) during follow-up.
Rosuvastatin and atorvastatin have similar efficacies for preventing CIN in patients with CKD undergoing PCI.
PMCID: PMC4214705  PMID: 25357250
18.  Diversity Analysis in Cannabis sativa Based on Large-Scale Development of Expressed Sequence Tag-Derived Simple Sequence Repeat Markers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110638.
Cannabis sativa L. is an important economic plant for the production of food, fiber, oils, and intoxicants. However, lack of sufficient simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers has limited the development of cannabis genetic research. Here, large-scale development of expressed sequence tag simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers was performed to obtain more informative genetic markers, and to assess genetic diversity in cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.). Based on the cannabis transcriptome, 4,577 SSRs were identified from 3,624 ESTs. From there, a total of 3,442 complementary primer pairs were designed as SSR markers. Among these markers, trinucleotide repeat motifs (50.99%) were the most abundant, followed by hexanucleotide (25.13%), dinucleotide (16.34%), tetranucloetide (3.8%), and pentanucleotide (3.74%) repeat motifs, respectively. The AAG/CTT trinucleotide repeat (17.96%) was the most abundant motif detected in the SSRs. One hundred and seventeen EST-SSR markers were randomly selected to evaluate primer quality in 24 cannabis varieties. Among these 117 markers, 108 (92.31%) were successfully amplified and 87 (74.36%) were polymorphic. Forty-five polymorphic primer pairs were selected to evaluate genetic diversity and relatedness among the 115 cannabis genotypes. The results showed that 115 varieties could be divided into 4 groups primarily based on geography: Northern China, Europe, Central China, and Southern China. Moreover, the coefficient of similarity when comparing cannabis from Northern China with the European group cannabis was higher than that when comparing with cannabis from the other two groups, owing to a similar climate. This study outlines the first large-scale development of SSR markers for cannabis. These data may serve as a foundation for the development of genetic linkage, quantitative trait loci mapping, and marker-assisted breeding of cannabis.
PMCID: PMC4203809  PMID: 25329551
19.  Comparison of the Accuracy of Two Conventional Phenotypic Methods and Two MALDI-TOF MS Systems with That of DNA Sequencing Analysis for Correctly Identifying Clinically Encountered Yeasts 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109376.
We assessed the accuracy of species-level identification of two commercially available matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) systems (Bruker Biotyper and Vitek MS) and two conventional phenotypic methods (Phoenix 100 YBC and Vitek 2 Yeast ID) with that of rDNA gene sequencing analysis among 200 clinical isolates of commonly encountered yeasts. The correct identification rates of the 200 yeast isolates to species or complex (Candida parapsilosis complex, C. guilliermondii complex and C. rugosa complex) levels by the Bruker Biotyper, Vitek MS (using in vitro devices [IVD] database), Phoenix 100 YBC and Vitek 2 Yeast ID (Sabouraud's dextrose agar) systems were 92.5%, 79.5%, 89%, and 74%, respectively. An additional 72 isolates of C. parapsilosis complex and 18 from the above 200 isolates (30 in each of C. parapsilosis, C. metapsilosis, and C. orthopsilosis) were also evaluated separately. Bruker Biotyper system could accurately identify all C. parapsilosis complex to species level. Using Vitek 2 MS (IVD) system, all C. parapsilosis but none of C. metapsilosis, or C. orthopsilosis could be accurately identified. Among the 89 yeasts misidentified by the Vitek 2 MS (IVD) system, 39 (43.8%), including 27 C. orthopsilosis isolates, could be correctly identified Using the Vitek MS Plus SARAMIS database for research use only. This resulted in an increase in the rate of correct identification of all yeast isolates (87.5%) by Vitek 2 MS. The two species in C. guilliermondii complex (C. guilliermondii and C. fermentati) isolates were correctly identified by cluster analysis of spectra generated by the Bruker Biotyper system. Based on the results obtained in the current study, MALDI-TOF MS systems present a promising alternative for the routine identification of yeast species, including clinically commonly and rarely encountered yeast species and several species belonging to C. parapsilosis complex, C. guilliermondii complex, and C. rugosa complex.
PMCID: PMC4199611  PMID: 25330370
20.  The Influence of Monoamine Oxidase Variants on the Risk of Betel Quid-Associated Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:183548.
Betel quid (BQ) and areca nut (AN) (major BQ ingredient) are group I human carcinogens illustrated by International Agency for Research on Cancer and are closely associated with an elevated risk of oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMDs) and cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx. The primary alkaloid of AN, arecoline, can be metabolized via the monoamine oxidase (MAO) gene by inducing reactive oxygen species (ROS). The aim of this study was to investigate whether the variants of the susceptible candidate MAO genes are associated with OPMDs and oral and pharyngeal cancer. A significant trend of MAO-A mRNA expression was found in in vitro studies. Using paired human tissues, we confirmed the significantly decreased expression of MAO-A and MAO-B in cancerous tissues when compared with adjacent noncancerous tissues. Moreover, we determined that MAO-A single nucleotide polymorphism variants are significantly linked with oral and pharyngeal cancer patients in comparison to OPMDs patients [rs5953210 risk G-allele, odds ratio = 1.76; 95% confidence interval = 1.02-3.01]. In conclusion, we suggested that susceptible MAO family variants associated with oral and pharyngeal cancer may be implicated in the modulation of MAO gene activity associated with ROS.
PMCID: PMC4214165  PMID: 25389533
21.  Meta analysis of olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation promoting functional recovery of motor nerves in rats with complete spinal cord transection 
Neural Regeneration Research  2014;9(20):1850-1858.
To evaluate the effects of olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation on functional recovery of rats with complete spinal cord transection.
A computer-based online search of Medline (1989–2013), Embase (1989–2013), Cochrane library (1989–2013), Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (1989–2013), China National Knowledge Infrastructure (1989–2013), VIP (1989–2013), Wanfang databases (1989–2013) and Chinese Clinical Trial Register was conducted to collect randomized controlled trial data regarding olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation for the treatment of complete spinal cord transection in rats.
Randomized controlled trials investigating olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation and other transplantation methods for promoting neurological functional recovery of rats with complete spinal cord transection were included in the analysis. Meta analysis was conducted using RevMan 4.2.2 software.
Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan scores of rats with complete spinal cord transection were evaluated in this study.
Six randomized controlled trials with high quality methodology were included. Meta analysis showed that Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan scores were significantly higher in the olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation group compared with the control group (WMD = 3.16, 95% CI (1.68, 4.65); P < 0.00001).
Experimental studies have shown that olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation can promote the functional recovery of motor nerves in rats with complete spinal cord transection.
PMCID: PMC4239777  PMID: 25422649
nerve regeneration; olfactory ensheathing cells; cell transplantation; spinal cord injury; complete transection; BBB scores; meta analysis
22.  Physiological reactivity of pregnant women to evoked fetal startle 
Journal of psychosomatic research  2013;75(4):321-326.
The bidirectional nature of mother-child interaction is widely acknowledged during infancy and childhood. Prevailing models during pregnancy focus on unidirectional influences exerted by the pregnant woman on the developing fetus. Prior work has indicated that the fetus also affects the pregnant woman. Our objective was to determine whether a maternal psychophysiological response to stimulation of the fetus could be isolated.
Using a longitudinal design, an airborne auditory stimulus was used to elicit a fetal heart rate and motor response at 24 (n = 47) and 36 weeks (n = 45) gestation. Women were blind to condition (stimulus versus sham). Maternal parameters included cardiac (heart rate) and electrodermal (skin conductance) responses. Multilevel modeling of repeated measures with 5 data points per second was used to examine fetal and maternal responses.
As expected, compared to a sham condition, the stimulus generated a fetal motor response at both gestational ages, consistent with a mild fetal startle. Fetal stimulation was associated with significant, transient slowing of maternal heart rate coupled with increased skin conductance within 10 s of the stimulus at both gestational ages. Nulliparous women showed greater electrodermal responsiveness. The magnitude of the fetal motor response significantly corresponded to the maternal skin conductance response at 5, 10, 15, and 30 s following stimulation.
Elicited fetal movement exerts an independent influence on the maternal autonomic nervous system. This finding contributes to current models of the dyadic relationship during pregnancy between fetus and pregnant woman.
PMCID: PMC3796734  PMID: 24119937
pregnancy; psychophysiology; fetal heart rate; fetal movement; maternal-infant interaction
23.  Transcription factor Achaete-Scute homologue 2 initiates T follicular helper cell development 
Nature  2014;507(7493):513-518.
In immune responses, activated T cells migrate to B cell follicles and develop to T follicular helper (Tfh) cells, a new subset of CD4+ T cells specialized in providing help to B lymphocytes in the induction of germinal centers 1,2. Although Bcl6 has been shown to be essential in Tfh cell function, it may not regulate the initial migration of T cells 3 or the induction of Tfh program as exampled by C-X-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CXCR5) upregulation 4. Here, we show that Achaete-Scute homologue 2 (Ascl2), a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor 5, is selectively upregulated in its expression in Tfh cells. Ectopic expression of Ascl2 upregulates CXCR5 but not Bcl6 and downregulates C-C chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7) expression in T cells in vitro and accelerates T cell migration to the follicles and Tfh cell development in vivo. Genome-wide analysis indicates that Ascl2 directly regulates Tfh-related genes while inhibits expression of Th1 and Th17 genes. Acute deletion of Ascl2 as well as blockade of its function with the Id3 protein in CD4+ T cells results in impaired Tfh cell development and the germinal center response. Conversely, mutation of Id3, known to cause antibody-mediated autoimmunity, greatly enhances Tfh cell generation. Thus, Ascl2 directly initiates Tfh cell development.
PMCID: PMC4012617  PMID: 24463518
24.  Efficacy of immunosuppression monotherapy after liver transplantation: A meta-analysis 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(34):12330-12340.
AIM: To assess the advantages and disadvantages of immunosuppression monotherapy after transplantation and the impact of monotherapy on hepatitis C virus (HCV) recurrence.
METHODS: Articles from Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group Controlled Trials Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials in The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Science Citation Index Expanded, including non-English literature identified in these databases, were searched up to January 2013. We included randomized clinical trials comparing various immunosuppression monotherapy and prednisone-based immunosuppression combinations for liver transplantation. The modified Jadad scale score or the Oxford quality scoring system was used. Meta-analyses were performed with weighted random-effects models.
RESULTS: A total of 14 randomized articles including 1814 patients were identified. Eight trials including 1214 patients compared tacrolimus monotherapy (n = 610) vs tacrolimus plus steroids or triple therapy regarding acute rejection and adverse events (n = 604). Five trials, including 285 patients, compared tacrolimus monotherapy (n = 143) vs tacrolimus plus steroids or triple therapy regarding hepatitis C recurrence (n = 142). Four trials including 273 patients compared cyclosporine monotherapy (n = 148) vs cyclosporine and steroids regarding acute rejection and adverse events (n = 125). Two trials including 170 patients compared mycophenolate mofetil monotherapy (n = 86) vs combinations regarding acute rejection (n = 84). There were no significant differences in the acute rejection rates between tacrolimus monotherapy (RR = 1.04, P = 0.620), and cyclosporine monotherapy (RR = 0.89, P = 0.770). Mycophenolate mofetil monotherapy had a significant increase in the acute rejection rate (RR = 4.50, P = 0.027). Tacrolimus monotherapy had no significant effects on the recurrence of hepatitis C (RR = 1.03, P = 0.752). More cytomegalovirus infection (RR = 0.48, P = 0.000) and drug-related diabetes mellitus (RR = 0.54, P = 0.000) were observed in the immunosuppression combination therapy groups.
CONCLUSION: Tacrolimus and cyclosporine monotherapy may be as effective as immunosuppression combination therapy. Mycophenolate mofetil monotherapy was not considerable. Tacrolimus monotherapy does not increase recurrence of HCV.
PMCID: PMC4161820  PMID: 25232269
Liver transplantation; Immunosuppression monotherapy; Cytomegalovirus; Diabetes; Meta-analysis
25.  Excretion of Urinary Orosomucoid 1 Protein Is Elevated in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107550.
Easily screening markers for early detection of chronic heart failure (CHF) are lacking. We identified twenty differently expressed proteins including orosomucoid 1(ORM1) in urine between patients with CHF and normal controls by proteomic methods. Bioinformatics analyses suggested ORM1 could be used for further analysis. After verification by western blotting, the urinary levels of ORM1 were quantified with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) by correcting for creatinine expression. The ORM1-Cr was significantly elevated in CHF patients than normal controls (6498.83±4300.21 versus 2102.26±1069.24 ng/mg). Furthermore, a Spearman analysis indicated that the urinary ORM1 levels had a high positive correlation with the classification of CHF, and the multivariate analysis suggested that the urinary ORM1 content was associated with the plasma amino-terminal pro- brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) (OR: 2.106, 95% CI: 1.213–3.524, P = 0.002) and the New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification (OR: 3.019, 95% CI: 1.329–4.721, P<0.001). In addition, receiving operating curve (ROC) analyses suggested that an optimum cut-off value of 2484.98 ng/mg with 90.91% sensitivity and 85.48% specificity, respectively, could be used for the diagnosis of CHF. To sum up, our findings indicate that ORM1 could be a potential novel urinary biomarker for the early detection of CHF.
PMCID: PMC4162620  PMID: 25215505

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