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1.  Current practice of prostate biopsy in Australia and New Zealand: A survey 
Urology Annals  2015;7(3):315-319.
Prostate biopsy remains the gold standard for prostate cancer diagnosis. The field of prostate biopsy is undergoing a rapid change. This study aims to provide a snapshot of the current practice of prostate biopsy in the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ).
Materials and Methods:
A 31-question multiple-choice survey was constructed using a web-based provider and was distributed to 644 members of USANZ. The questionnaire addressed various aspects of prostate biopsy. Questionnaire results were collated and the data were analyzed statistically.
150 completed surveys were returned, with a response rate of 23.3%: 84.5% of those completing the survey were consultant urologists and 68% were working in a metropolitan setting. 98.6% of clinicians used prophylactic antibiotics before prostate biopsy, most commonly a quinolone. 30.6% had used intravenous (IV) carbapenems at least once. Peri-prostatic local anesthetic (LA) infiltration was used by 39.9% of clinicians with 73% using IV sedation or general anesthetic (GA). 38.4% of clinicians reported performing TPT biopsy of the prostate and 19.6% of clinicians had ordered a MRI of the prostate prior to an initial biopsy with 10.2% routinely ordering a MRI of the prostate before repeat biopsy.
Frequent prophylactic use of carbapenems suggests concern amongst clinicians about sepsis with quinolone-resistant bacteria. Almost 75% of TRUS biopsies were performed under IV sedation or GA indicating a heavy demand of health resources. TPT biopsy was used commonly and there was significant use of multiparametric MRI prior to prostate biopsy.
PMCID: PMC4518366  PMID: 26229317
Antibiotics; magnetic resonance; prostate biopsy; prostate cancer; transperineal template biopsy; transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy
2.  Expression of Cathepsins B, D, and G in Infantile Hemangioma 
Frontiers in Surgery  2015;2:26.
The role of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) in the biology of infantile hemangioma (IH) represents an emerging paradigm, particularly the involvement of renin, angiotensin converting enzyme, and angiotensin II. This study investigated the expression of cathepsins B, D, and G, enzymes that may modulate the RAS, in IH.
Materials and Methods
The expression of cathepsins B, D, and G was examined using immunohistochemistry, enzyme activity assays, mass spectrometry, and NanoString gene expression assay in IH samples at different phases of development.
Immunohistochemical staining showed the expression of cathepsins B, D, and G in proliferating and involuted IH samples. This was confirmed at the transcriptional level using NanoString gene expression assays. Mass spectrometry confirmed the identification of cathepsins D and G in all three phases of IH development, whereas cathepsin B was detected in 2/2 proliferating and 1/2 involuting lesions. Enzyme activity assays demonstrated the activity of cathepsins B and D, but not G, in all phases of IH development.
Our data demonstrated the presence of cathepsins B, D, and G in IH. Their role in modulating the RAS and the biology of IH offers potential novel targets for the management of this tumor.
PMCID: PMC4470331  PMID: 26137466
paracrine; renin–angiotensin system; infantile hemangioma; cathepsin; angiotensin converting enzyme
3.  Relationship between NOX4 level and angiotensin II signaling in Gitelman’s syndrome. Implications with hypertension 
Recent evidence showed that endogenous nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-oxidase 4 (NOX4) may exert a protective role on the cardiovascular system inducing vasodilation, reduction of blood pressure, and anti-proliferative actions. However, the functional significance of NOX4 in the cardiovascular system in humans remains elusive. Mononuclear cell levels of NOX4 were assessed by immunoblotting in 14 Gitelman’s patients (GS), a unique human model of endogenous Ang II signaling antagonism and activation of anti-atherosclerotic and anti-remodeling defenses, and compared to 11 untreated essential hypertensive patients as well as to 11 healthy normotensive subjects. The association between NOX4 and its effector heme oxygenase (HO-1) (sandwich immunoassay) was also evaluated. NOX4 protein levels were decreased in hypertensive patients as compared to both GS and healthy subjects (1.06±0.31 AU vs. 1.76±0.54, P=0.002 and vs. 1.61±0.54, P=0.018, respectively). NOX4 protein level did not differ between GS and healthy subjects. HO-1 levels were increased in GS patients as compared to both hypertensive patients and healthy subjects (8.65±3.08 ng/ml vs 3.70±1.19, P<0.0001, and vs 5.49±1.04, P=0.008, respectively. NOX4 levels correlate with HO-1 levels only in GS (r2=0.63; P=0.001), (r2=0.088; P=ns, in hypertensive patients and r2=0.082; P=ns, in healthy subjects). Our findings show that NOX4 and its effector HO-1 are reduced in hypertensive patients compared to GS patients, a human model opposite to hypertension. Although the functional significance of NOX4 needs further clarification, our preliminary data in a unique human model of anti-atherosclerotic and anti-remodeling defenses activation, highlight the potentially protective role of NOX4 in the human cardiovascular system.
PMCID: PMC4509237  PMID: 26221292
Angiotensin II signaling; NOX4; Gitelman’s syndrome; hypertension; cardiovascular remodeling
4.  Low thyroid hormone levels improve survival in murine model for ocular melanoma 
Oncotarget  2015;6(13):11038-11046.
Uveal melanoma is highly metastatic, prognosis is poor and there are no effective treatments to extend survival. Accumulating evidence suggests that thyroid hormones have a mitogenic effect via binding to αvβ3 integrin. We aimed to examine the impact of thyroid status on survival in a murine B16F10 model for ocular melanoma, highly expressing the integrin. In two independent experiments oral propylthiouracil (PTU) was used to induce hypothyroidism (n=9), thyroxine to induce hyperthyroidism (n=11) and mice given plain water served as control (n=8). At day 21, the subretinal space was inoculated with 102 B16F10 cells. In non-inoculated mice (n=6 of each group) serum free T4 (FT4) levels were measured and additional non-inoculated mice (3 given PTU and 4 given thyroxine or water) served as internal control to demonstrate the impact of the dissolved substance. The PTU-inoculated mice showed clinical evidence of intraocular tumor growth significantly later than the thyroxine mice (P=0.003) and survival time was significantly longer (P<0.001). FT4 levels differed significantly between groups (P<0.001) and with no signs of illness in the internal control group. Our findings suggest that hyperthyroidism shortens survival, whereas relative hypothyroidism may have a protective role in metastatic ocular melanoma.
PMCID: PMC4484437  PMID: 25868390
integrin; uveal melanoma; thyroid
5.  Excitonic AND Logic Gates on DNA Brick Nanobreadboards 
ACS Photonics  2015;2(3):398-404.
A promising application of DNA self-assembly is the fabrication of chromophore-based excitonic devices. DNA brick assembly is a compelling method for creating programmable nanobreadboards on which chromophores may be rapidly and easily repositioned to prototype new excitonic devices, optimize device operation, and induce reversible switching. Using DNA nanobreadboards, we have demonstrated each of these functions through the construction and operation of two different excitonic AND logic gates. The modularity and high chromophore density achievable via this brick-based approach provide a viable path toward developing information processing and storage systems.
PMCID: PMC4370369  PMID: 25839049
DNA nanotechnology; DNA bricks; FRET; Boolean logic; nanophotonic devices
6.  Thyroid Hormone and P-Glycoprotein in Tumor Cells 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:168427.
P-glycoprotein (P-gp; multidrug resistance pump 1, MDR1; ABCB1) is a plasma membrane efflux pump that when activated in cancer cells exports chemotherapeutic agents. Transcription of the P-gp gene (MDR1) and activity of the P-gp protein are known to be affected by thyroid hormone. A cell surface receptor for thyroid hormone on integrin αvβ3 also binds tetraiodothyroacetic acid (tetrac), a derivative of L-thyroxine (T4) that blocks nongenomic actions of T4 and of 3,5,3′-triiodo-L-thyronine (T3) at αvβ3. Covalently bound to a nanoparticle, tetrac as nanotetrac acts at the integrin to increase intracellular residence time of chemotherapeutic agents such as doxorubicin and etoposide that are substrates of P-gp. This action chemosensitizes cancer cells. In this review, we examine possible molecular mechanisms for the inhibitory effect of nanotetrac on P-gp activity. Mechanisms for consideration include cancer cell acidification via action of tetrac/nanotetrac on the Na+/H+ exchanger (NHE1) and hormone analogue effects on calmodulin-dependent processes and on interactions of P-gp with epidermal growth factor (EGF) and osteopontin (OPN), apparently via αvβ3. Intracellular acidification and decreased H+ efflux induced by tetrac/nanotetrac via NHE1 is the most attractive explanation for the actions on P-gp and consequent increase in cancer cell retention of chemotherapeutic agent-ligands of MDR1 protein.
PMCID: PMC4383522  PMID: 25866761
7.  An extract of the medicinal plant Artemisia annua modulates production of inflammatory markers in activated neutrophils 
To investigate the ability of a commercial extract from the medicinal plant Artemisia annua to modulate production of the cytokine, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and the cyclooxygenase (COX) inflammatory marker, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in activated neutrophils.
Neutrophils were harvested from rat whole blood and cultured in the presence of plant extract or control samples. Neutrophils, except unactivated control cells, were activated with 10 μg/mL lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The cells were cultured with a range of different concentrations of the A. annua extracts (400–1 μg/mL) and artemisinin (200 and 100 μg/mL) and the supernatants were then tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the concentrations of TNF-α and PGE2. Each sample was assayed in triplicate. Positive controls with an inhibitor were assayed in triplicate: chloroquine 2.58 and 5.16 μg/mL for TNF-α, and ibuprofen 400 μg/mL for PGE2. An unsupplemented group was also assessed in triplicate as a baseline control.
Neutrophils were stimulated to an inflammatory state by the addition of LPS. A. annua extract significantly inhibited TNF-α production by activated neutrophils in a dose-dependent manner. There was complete inhibition by the A. annua extract at 200, 100, and 50 μg/mL (all P≤0.0003). At A. annua extract concentrations of 25, 10, and 5 μg/mL, TNF-α production was inhibited by 89% (P<0.0001), 54% (P=0.0002), and 38% (P=0.0014), respectively. A. annua 1 μg/mL did not significantly inhibit TNF-α production (8.8%; P>0.05). Concentrations of 400, 200, and 100 μg/mL A. annua extract significantly inhibited PGE2 production by 87% (P=0.0128), 91% (P=0.0017), and 93% (P=0.0114), respectively.
An extract of A. annua was shown to be a potent inhibitor of TNF-α and a strong inhibitor of PGE2 production in activated neutrophils at the concentrations tested. Further studies are warranted with this promising plant extract.
PMCID: PMC4298291  PMID: 25609991
in vitro; TNF-α; COX-2; PGE2; artemisinin; Arthrem
8.  Corrigendum: “Cancer Cell Gene Expression Modulated from Plasma Membrane Integrin αvβ3 by Thyroid Hormone and Nanoparticulate Tetrac” 
PMCID: PMC4460813  PMID: 26106368
integrin; thyroid hormone; tetraiodothyroacetic acid (tetrac); nano particle; gene expression; corrigendum
9.  A Novel Method for Simulating Insulin Mediated GLUT4 Translocation 
Biotechnology and bioengineering  2014;111(12):2454-2465.
Glucose transport in humans is a vital process which is tightly regulated by the endocrine system. Specifically, the insulin hormone triggers a cascade of intracellular signals in target cells mediating the uptake of glucose. Insulin signaling triggers cellular relocalization of the glucose transporter protein GLUT4 to the cell surface, which is primarily responsible for regulated glucose import. Pathology associated with the disruption of this pathway can lead to metabolic disorders, such as type II diabetes mellitus, characterized by the failure of cells to appropriately uptake glucose from the blood. We describe a novel simulation tool of the insulin intracellular response, incorporating the latest findings regarding As160 and GEF interactions. The simulation tool differs from previous computational approaches which employ algebraic or differential equations; instead, the tool incorporates statistical variations of kinetic constants and initial molecular concentrations which more accurately mimic the intracellular environment. Using this approach, we successfully recapitulate observed in vitro insulin responses, plus the effects of Wortmannin-like inhibition of the pathway. The developed tool provides insight into transient changes in molecule concentrations throughout the insulin signaling pathway, and may be employed to identify or evaluate potentially critical components of this pathway, including those associated with insulin resistance. In the future, this highly tractable platform may be useful for simulating other complex cell signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC4213344  PMID: 24917169
insulin; metabolism; computational modeling; GLUT4; queuing theory
10.  TRAMP Prostate Tumor Growth Is Slowed by Walnut Diets Through Altered IGF-1 Levels, Energy Pathways, and Cholesterol Metabolism 
Journal of Medicinal Food  2014;17(12):1281-1286.
Dietary changes could potentially reduce prostate cancer morbidity and mortality. Transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) prostate tumor responses to a 100 g of fat/kg diet (whole walnuts, walnut oil, and other oils; balanced for macronutrients, tocopherols [α-and γ]) for 18 weeks ad libitum were assessed. TRAMP mice (n=17 per group) were fed diets with 100 g fat from either whole walnuts (diet group WW), walnut-like fat (diet group WLF, oils blended to match walnut's fatty acid profile), or as walnut oil (diet group WO, pressed from the same walnuts as WW). Fasted plasma glucose was from tail vein blood, blood was obtained by cardiac puncture, and plasma stored frozen until analysis. Prostate (genitourinary intact [GUI]) was weighed and stored frozen at −80°C. Plasma triglyceride, lipoprotein cholesterol, plasma multianalyte levels (Myriad RBM Rat Metabolic MAP), prostate (GUI), tissue metabolites (Metabolon, Inc., Durham, NC, USA), and mRNA (by Illumina NGS) were determined. The prostate tumor size, plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), high density lipoprotein, and total cholesterol all decreased significantly (P<.05) in both WW and WO compared to WLF. Both WW and WO versus WLF showed increased insulin sensitivity (Homeostasis Model Assessment [HOMA]), and tissue metabolomics found reduced glucose-6-phosphate, succinylcarnitine, and 4-hydroxybutyrate in these groups suggesting effects on cellular energy status. Tissue mRNA levels also showed changes suggestive of altered glucose metabolism with WW and WO diet groups having increased PCK1 and CIDEC mRNA expression, known for their roles in gluconeogenesis and increased insulin sensitivity, respectively. WW and WO group tissues also had increased MSMB mRNa a tumor suppressor and decreased COX-2 mRNA, both reported to inhibit prostate tumor growth. Walnuts reduced prostate tumor growth by affecting energy metabolism along with decreased plasma IGF-1 and cholesterol. These effects are not due to the walnut's N-3 fatty acids, but due to component(s) found in the walnut's fat component.
PMCID: PMC4259176  PMID: 25354213
chemoprevention; fat; insulin-like growth factor 1; prostate cancer; transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate model; walnut; whole foods
11.  Anti-proliferative and gene expression actions of resveratrol in breast cancer cells in vitro 
Oncotarget  2014;5(24):12891-12907.
We have used a perfusion bellows cell culture system to investigate resveratrolinduced anti-proliferation/apoptosis in a human estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer cell line (MDA-MB-231). Using an injection system to perfuse media with stilbene, we showed resveratrol (0.5 – 100 μM) to decrease cell proliferation in a concentration-dependent manner. Comparison of influx and medium efflux resveratrol concentrations revealed rapid disappearance of the stilbene, consistent with cell uptake and metabolism of the agent reported by others. Exposure of cells to 10 μM resveratrol for 4 h daily × 6 d inhibited cell proliferation by more than 60%. Variable extracellular acid-alkaline conditions (pH 6.8 – 8.6) affected basal cell proliferation rate, but did not alter anti-proliferation induced by resveratrol. Resveratrol-induced gene expression, including transcription of the most up-regulated genes and pro-apoptotic p53-dependent genes, was not affected by culture pH changes. The microarray findings in the context of induction of anti-proliferation with brief daily exposure of cells to resveratrol—and rapid disappearance of the compound in the perfusion system—are consistent with existence of an accessible initiation site for resveratrol actions on tumor cells, e.g., the cell surface receptor for resveratrol described on integrin αvβ3.
PMCID: PMC4350334  PMID: 25436977
stilbene; integrin αvβ3; apoptosis; anti-proliferation; breast cancer
12.  Site Specific Discrete PEGylation of 124I-Labeled mCC49 Fab′ Fragments Improves Tumor MicroPET/CT Imaging in Mice 
Bioconjugate chemistry  2013;24(11):1945-1954.
The tumor-associated glycoprotein-72 (TAG-72) antigen is highly overexpressed in various human adenocarcinomas and anti-TAG-72 monoclonal antibodies, and fragments are therefore useful as pharmaceutical targeting vectors. In this study, we investigated the effects of site-specific PEGylation with MW 2–4 kDa discrete, branched PEGylation reagents on mCC49 Fab′ (MW 50 kDa) via in vitro TAG72 binding, and in vivo blood clearance kinetics, biodistribution, and mouse tumor microPET/CT imaging. mCC49Fab′ (Fab′-NEM) was conjugated at a hinge region cysteine with maleimide-dPEG12-(dPEG24COOH)3 acid (Mal-dPEG-A), maleimide-dPEG12-(dPEG12COOH)3 acid (Mal-dPEG-B), or maleimide-dPEG12-(m-dPEG24)3 (Mal-dPEG-C), and then radiolabeled with iodine-124 (124I) in vitro radioligand binding assays and in vivo studies used TAG-72 expressing LS174T human colon carcinoma cells and xenograft mouse tumors. Conjugation of mCC49Fab′ with Mal-dPEG-A (Fab′-A) reduced the binding affinity of the non PEGylated Fab′ by 30%; however, in vivo, Fab′-A significantly lengthened the blood retention vs Fab′-NEM (47.5 vs 28.1%/ID at 1 h, 25.1 vs 8.4%/ID at 5 h, p < 0.01), showed excellent tumor to background, better microPET/CT images due to higher tumor accumulation, and increased tumor concentration in excised tissues at 72 h by 130% (5.09 ± 0.83 vs 3.83 ± 1.50%ID/g, p < 0.05). Despite the strong similarity of the three PEGylation reagents, PEGylation with Mal-dPEG-B or -C reduced the in vitro binding affinity of Fab′-NEM by 70%, blood retention, microPET/CT imaging tumor signal intensity, and residual 72 h tumor concentration by 49% (3.83 ± 1.50 vs 1.97 ± 0.29%ID/g, p < 0.05) and 63% (3.83 ± 1.50 vs 1.42 ± 0.35%ID/g, p < 0.05), respectively. We conclude that remarkably subtle changes in the structure of the PEGylation reagent can create significantly altered biologic behavior. Further study is warranted of conjugates of the triple branched, negatively charged Mal-dPEG-A.
PMCID: PMC4240220  PMID: 24175669
The Florida entomologist  2014;97(2):362-366.
The last 2 decades have produced a better understanding of insect-microbial associations and yielded some important opportunities for insect control. However, most of our knowledge comes from model systems. Thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) have been understudied despite their global importance as invasive species, plant pests and disease vectors. Using a culture and primer independent next-generation sequencing and metagenomics pipeline, we surveyed the bacteria of the globally important pest, Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood. The most abundant bacterial phyla identified were Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria and the most abundant genera were Propionibacterium, Stenotrophomonas, and Pseudomonas. A total of 189 genera of bacteria were identified. The absence of any vertically transferred symbiont taxa commonly found in insects is consistent with other studies suggesting that thrips primarilly acquire resident microbes from their environment. This does not preclude a possible beneficial/intimate association between S. dorsalis and the dominant taxa identified and future work should determine the nature of these associations.
PMCID: PMC4222051  PMID: 25382863
Next Generation Sequencing; Metagenomics; chilli thrips
14.  Recurrence of Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma During Full TSH Suppression: Is the Tumor Now Thyroid Hormone Dependent? 
Hormones & Cancer  2014;6:7-12.
Well-standardized primary treatment and long-term management of differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) include lowering or suppression of host thyrotropin (TSH) with exogenous L-thyroxine (T4). This treatment recognizes the trophic action of TSH on DTC cells. Suppression of endogenous TSH with T4 is continued in recurrent disease. However, T4 can induce proliferation of follicular and papillary thyroid carcinoma cell lines and of other human carcinoma cells. The proliferative mechanism is initiated at a cell surface receptor for T4 on integrin αvβ3, a receptor by which the hormone also inhibits p53-dependent apoptosis in tumor cells. In recurrent DTC with satisfactory suppression of endogenous TSH, we discuss here the possibility that the tumor is no longer TSH dependent and that T4 has become a critical growth factor for the cancer.
PMCID: PMC4309911  PMID: 25292307
15.  Tetraiodothyroacetic acid-conjugated PLGA nanoparticles: a nanomedicine approach to treat drug-resistant breast cancer 
Nanomedicine (London, England)  2013;8(12):10.2217/nnm.12.200.
The aim was to evaluate tetraiodothyroacetic acid (tetrac), a thyroid hormone analog of l-thyroxin, conjugated to poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles (T-PLGA-NPs) both in vitro and in vivo for the treatment of drug-resistant breast cancer.
Materials & methods
The uptake of tetrac and T-PLGA-NPs in doxorubicin-resistant MCF7 (MCF7-Dx) cells was evaluated using confocal microscopy. Cell proliferation assays and a chick chorioallantoic membrane model of FGF2-induced angiogenesis were used to evaluate the anticancer effects of T-PLGA-NPs. In vivo efficacy was examined in a MCF7-Dx orthotopic tumor BALBc nude mouse model.
T-PLGA-NPs were restricted from entering into the cell nucleus, and T-PLGA-NPs inhibited angiogenesis by 100% compared with 60% by free tetrac. T-PLGA-NPs enhanced inhibition of tumor-cell proliferation at a low-dose equivalent of free tetrac. In vivo treatment with either tetrac or T-PLGA-NPs resulted in a three- to five-fold inhibition of tumor weight.
T-PLGA-NPs have high potential as anticancer agents, with possible applications in the treatment of drug-resistant cancer.
PMCID: PMC3825799  PMID: 23448245
angiogenesis; breast cancer; chick chorioallantoic membrane; MCF7 breast cancer cell; nanoparticle; tetrac; thyroid hormone
16.  De novo Assembly and Analysis of the Northern Leopard Frog Rana pipiens Transcriptome 
Journal of Genomics  2014;2:141-149.
The northern leopard frog Rana (Lithobates) pipiens is an important animal model, being used extensively in cancer, neurology, physiology, and biomechanical studies. R. pipiens is a native North American frog whose range extends from northern Canada to southwest United States, but over the past few decades its populations have declined significantly and is now considered uncommon in large portions of the United States and Canada. To aid in the study and conservation of R. pipiens, this paper describes the first R. pipiens transcriptome. The R. pipiens transcriptome was annotated using Gene Ontology (GO), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG), and Eukaryotic Orthologous Groups (KOG). Differential expression analysis revealed universal and tissue specific genes, and endocrine-related genes were identified. Transcriptome assemblies and other sequence data are available for download.
PMCID: PMC4218947  PMID: 25371763
Northern Leopard Frog; Rana pipiens; Transcriptome.
17.  Biology of Infantile Hemangioma 
Frontiers in Surgery  2014;1:38.
Infantile hemangioma (IH), the most common tumor of infancy, is characterized by an initial proliferation during infancy followed by spontaneous involution over the next 5–10 years, often leaving a fibro-fatty residuum. IH is traditionally considered a tumor of the microvasculature. However, recent data show the critical role of stem cells in the biology of IH with emerging evidence suggesting an embryonic developmental anomaly due to aberrant proliferation and differentiation of a hemogenic endothelium with a neural crest phenotype that possesses the capacity for endothelial, hematopoietic, mesenchymal, and neuronal differentiation. Current evidence suggests a putative placental chorionic mesenchymal core cell embolic origin of IH during the first trimester. This review outlines the emerging role of stem cells and their interplay with the cytokine niche that promotes a post-natal environment conducive for vasculogenesis involving VEGFR-2 and its ligand VEGF-A and the IGF-2 ligand in promoting cellular proliferation, and the TRAIL-OPG anti-apoptotic pathway in preventing cellular apoptosis in IH. The discovery of the role of the renin–angiotensin system in the biology of IH provides a plausible explanation for the programed biologic behavior and the β-blocker-induced accelerated involution of this enigmatic condition. This crucially involves the vasoactive peptide, angiotensin II, that promotes cellular proliferation in IH predominantly via its action on the ATIIR2 isoform. The role of the RAS in the biology of IH is further supported by the effect of captopril, an ACE inhibitor, in inducing accelerated involution of IH. The discovery of the critical role of RAS in IH represents a novel and fascinating paradigm shift in the understanding of human development, IH, and other tumors in general.
PMCID: PMC4286974  PMID: 25593962
infantile hemangioma; renin–angiotensin system; beta-blocker; angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor; propranolol; captopril; hemogenic endothelium; placenta
18.  Nanotetrac targets integrin αvβ3 on tumor cells to disorder cell defense pathways and block angiogenesis 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:1619-1624.
The extracellular domain of integrin αvβ3 contains a receptor for thyroid hormone and hormone analogs. The integrin is amply expressed by tumor cells and dividing blood vessel cells. The proangiogenic properties of thyroid hormone and the capacity of the hormone to promote cancer cell proliferation are functions regulated nongenomically by the hormone receptor on αvβ3. An L-thyroxine (T4) analog, tetraiodothyroacetic acid (tetrac), blocks binding of T4 and 3,5,3′-triiodo-L-thyronine (T3) by αvβ3 and inhibits angiogenic activity of thyroid hormone. Covalently bound to a 200 nm nanoparticle that limits its activity to the cell exterior, tetrac reformulated as Nanotetrac has additional effects mediated by αvβ3 beyond the inhibition of binding of T4 and T3 to the integrin. These actions of Nanotetrac include disruption of transcription of cell survival pathway genes, promotion of apoptosis by multiple mechanisms, and interruption of repair of double-strand deoxyribonucleic acid breaks caused by irradiation of cells. Among the genes whose expression is suppressed by Nanotetrac are EGFR, VEGFA, multiple cyclins, catenins, and multiple cytokines. Nanotetrac has been effective as a chemotherapeutic agent in preclinical studies of human cancer xenografts. The low concentrations of αvβ3 on the surface of quiescent nonmalignant cells have minimized toxicity of the agent in animal studies.
PMCID: PMC4172128  PMID: 25258542
integrin; thyroid hormone; thyroxine; antiangiogenesis; proapoptosis
19.  Thyroid hormone regulates adhesion, migration and matrix metalloproteinase 9 activity via αvβ3 integrin in myeloma cells 
Oncotarget  2014;5(15):6312-6322.
Thyroid hormone (3,5,3′-triiodothyronine, T3; L-thyroxine, T4) enhances cancer cell proliferation, invasion and angiogenesis via a discrete receptor located near the RGD recognition site on αvβ3 integrin. Tetraiodothyroacetic acid (tetrac) and its nanoparticulate formulation interfere with binding of T3/T4 to the integrin. This integrin is overexpressed in multiple myeloma (MM) and other cancers. MM cells interact with αvβ3 integrin to support growth and invasion. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of enzymes active in tissue remodeling and cancer. The association between integrins and MMPs secretion and action is well established. In the current study, we examined the effects of thyroid hormone on myeloma cell adhesion, migration and MMP activity.
We show that T3 and T4 increased myeloma adhesion to fibronectin and induced αvβ3 clustering. In addition, the hormones induced MMP-9 expression and activation via αvβ3 and MAPK induction. Bortezomib, a standard myeloma treatment, caused a decrease in activity/quantity of MMPs and thyroid hormone opposed this effect. RGD peptide and tetrac impaired the production of MMP-9 in cell lines and in primary BM cells from myeloma patients.
In conclusion, thyroid hormone-dependent regulation via αvβ3 of myeloma cell adhesion and MMP-9 production may play a role in myeloma migration and progression.
PMCID: PMC4171632  PMID: 25071016
Integrin; myeloma; thyroid hormone; MMP-9; adhesion
The objectives of the present study were to determine 1) if temporal variability influenced the toxicity of Elkhorn River water and 2) if the toxic effect was consistent between two sentinel organisms, the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) and the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens). During spring 2012, atrazine indicator strips were used to document the occurrence of agrichemical pulses in the Elkhorn River. Polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) were deployed for 14 d during both a pulse and post-pulse period as indicated by the atrazine strips. Pesticide concentrations detected in the POCIS extracts ranged from 1.6 to 281 fold higher during the pulse period compared to the post-pulse period. Fish and frog bioassays were conducted for 7 d, and hepatic mRNA expression of vitellogenin (Vtg) and estrogen receptor-α (ERα) was determined by quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR). Compared to lab water controls, fish exposed to water collected during an agrichemical pulse experienced significant reductions in Vtg and ERα, whereas exposed female frogs did not. Male leopard frogs, in contrast experienced significant increases in the expression of ERα, whereas pulse exposed male minnows did not. The significant effects observed following agrichemical pulse exposure demonstrate 1) that episodic agrichemical runoff adversely impacts sentinel organisms, and 2) that the adverse impacts observed depends upon the sex and species of the sentinel organism.
PMCID: PMC3683351  PMID: 23504772
Agricultural runoff; POCIS; Northern leopard frog; Fathead minnow; Gene expression
21.  Diversity and Expression of MicroRNAs in the Filarial Parasite, Brugia malayi 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96498.
Human filarial parasites infect an estimated 120 million people in 80 countries worldwide causing blindness and the gross disfigurement of limbs and genitals. An understanding of RNA-mediated regulatory pathways in these parasites may open new avenues for treatment. Toward this goal, small RNAs from Brugia malayi adult females, males and microfilariae were cloned for deep-sequencing. From ∼30 million sequencing reads, 145 miRNAs were identified in the B. malayi genome. Some microRNAs were validated using the p19 RNA binding protein and qPCR. B. malayi miRNAs segregate into 99 families each defined by a unique seed sequence. Sixty-one of the miRNA families are highly conserved with homologues in arthropods, vertebrates and helminths. Of those miRNAs not highly conserved, homologues of 20 B. malayi miRNA families were found in vertebrates. Nine B. malayi miRNA families appear to be filarial-specific as orthologues were not found in other organisms. The miR-2 family is the largest in B. malayi with 11 members. Analysis of the sequences shows that six members result from a recent expansion of the family. Library comparisons found that 1/3 of the B. malayi miRNAs are differentially expressed. For example, miR-71 is 5–7X more highly expressed in microfilariae than adults. Studies suggest that in C.elegans, miR-71 may enhance longevity by targeting the DAF-2 pathway. Characterization of B. malayi miRNAs and their targets will enhance our understanding of their regulatory pathways in filariads and aid in the search for novel therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC4019659  PMID: 24824352
22.  Single molecular weight discrete PEG compounds: emerging roles in molecular diagnostics, imaging and therapeutics 
“The use of PEGylation has subsequently become commonplace in the development and modification of numerous biopharmaceuticals and has led to many advancements in molecular diagnostics, imaging and therapeutics.”
PMCID: PMC3748965  PMID: 23638813
branched; linear; PEG; PEG conjugation; PEG length; PEGylated antibodies; PEGylated peptides; PEGylated protein; PEGylation; polyethylene glycol
23.  Characterization of the Asian Citrus Psyllid Transcriptome 
Journal of Genomics  2014;2:54-58.
The Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) is a vector for the causative agents of Huanglongbing, which threatens citrus production worldwide. This study reports and discusses the first D. citri transcriptomes, encompassing the three main life stages of D. citri, egg, nymph and adult. The transcriptomes were annotated using Gene Ontology (GO) and insecticide-related genes within each life stage were identified to aid the development of future D. citri insecticides. Transcriptome assemblies and other sequence data are available for download at the International Asian Citrus Psyllid Genome Consortium website [] and at NCBI [].
PMCID: PMC3914308  PMID: 24511328
Asian Citrus Psyllid; Diaphorina citri Kuwayama
24.  Characterization of the Asian Citrus Psyllid Transcriptome 
Journal of genomics  2014;2:54-58.
The Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) is a vector for the causative agents of Huanglongbing, which threatens citrus production worldwide. This study reports and discusses the first D. citri transcriptomes, encompassing the three main life stages of D. citri, egg, nymph and adult. The transcriptomes were annotated using Gene Ontology (GO) and insecticide-related genes within each life stage were identified to aid the development of future D. citri insecticides. Transcriptome assemblies and other sequence data are available for download at the International Asian Citrus Psyllid Genome Consortium website [] and at NCBI [].
PMCID: PMC3914308  PMID: 24511328
Asian Citrus Psyllid; Diaphorina citri Kuwayama
25.  Design, Assessment, and in vivo Evaluation of a Computational Model Illustrating the Role of CAV1 in CD4+ T-lymphocytes 
Caveolin-1 (CAV1) is a vital scaffold protein heterogeneously expressed in both healthy and malignant tissue. We focus on the role of CAV1 when overexpressed in T-cell leukemia. Previously, we have shown that CAV1 is involved in cell-to-cell communication, cellular proliferation, and immune synapse formation; however, the molecular mechanisms have not been elucidated. We hypothesize that the role of CAV1 in immune synapse formation contributes to immune regulation during leukemic progression, thereby warranting studies of the role of CAV1 in CD4+ T-cells in relation to antigen-presenting cells. To address this need, we developed a computational model of a CD4+ immune effector T-cell to mimic cellular dynamics and molecular signaling under healthy and immunocompromised conditions (i.e., leukemic conditions). Using the Cell Collective computational modeling software, the CD4+ T-cell model was constructed and simulated under CAV1+/+, CAV1+/−, and CAV1−/− conditions to produce a hypothetical immune response. This model allowed us to predict and examine the heterogeneous effects and mechanisms of CAV1 in silico. Experimental results indicate a signature of molecules involved in cellular proliferation, cell survival, and cytoskeletal rearrangement that were highly affected by CAV1 knock out. With this comprehensive model of a CD4+ T-cell, we then validated in vivo protein expression levels. Based on this study, we modeled a CD4+ T-cell, manipulated gene expression in immunocompromised versus competent settings, validated these manipulations in an in vivo murine model, and corroborated acute T-cell leukemia gene expression profiles in human beings. Moreover, we can model an immunocompetent versus an immunocompromised microenvironment to better understand how signaling is regulated in patients with leukemia.
PMCID: PMC4257089  PMID: 25538703
caveolin-1; CD4+ T-lymphocyte; the cell collective; adult T-cell leukemia; immunosuppression; immunotherapy; computational biology; logical models

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