Objective: An imbalance in CD4+CD25+ regulatory T (Treg) cells and Th17 cells has been found to correlate to occurrence of acute coronary syndrome [ACS, including unstable angina (UA) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI)]. However, the mechanisms of Th17/Treg imbalance in ACS patients are still unclear. The purpose of this study is to investigate the possibility of differences in sensitivity of Th17 and Tregs to Fas-mediated apoptosis which could lead to Th17/Treg imbalance in ACS patients. Methods: We examined the apoptosis of Th17 and Treg cells, apoptosis-related Fas/Fas ligand(FasL) pathway, and inflammatory markers in patients with AMI, UA, stable angina (SA) and controls by Flow cytometry and ELISA. Then we analysed the correlation of inflammatory markers and sFasL to Treg apoptosis, and the effect of anti-FasL antibody on Treg apoptois in vitro. Results: Our study demonstrated that apoptotic Tregs, Fas and FasL expression, Caspase-3 activity of Tregs were significantly higher in ACS patients than those in NCA and SA patients (all P < 0.05). The percentage of apoptotic Tregs is positively correlated with the levels of inflammatory markers and sFasL. In vitro incubation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from ACS patients with anti-FasL antibody resulted in a markedly reduction of apoptotic Treg cells. However, there were no significant differences in apoptotic Th17 cells and in Fas and FasL expression for Th17 cells between the four groups (all P >0.05). Conclusions: Tregs, but not Th17 cells, become apoptotic through Fas/FasL pathway, which contributed to reduction of Tregs leading to an imbalance between Th17 and Treg cells. This could be the mechanism underlying Th17/Treg imbalance and occurrence of ACS.
Apoptosis; Fas; Fas ligand; T helper 17; regulatory T cells; acute coronary syndrome
Insect mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) are of great interest in exploring molecular evolution, phylogenetics and population genetics. Only two mitogenomes have been previously released in the insect group Aphididae, which consists of about 5,000 known species including some agricultural, forestry and horticultural pests. Here we report the complete 16,317 bp mitogenome of Cavariella salicicola and two nearly complete mitogenomes of Aphis glycines and Pterocomma pilosum. We also present a first comparative analysis of mitochondrial genomes of aphids. Results showed that aphid mitogenomes share conserved genomic organization, nucleotide and amino acid composition, and codon usage features. All 37 genes usually present in animal mitogenomes were sequenced and annotated. The analysis of gene evolutionary rate revealed the lowest and highest rates for COI and ATP8, respectively. A unique repeat region exclusively in aphid mitogenomes, which included variable numbers of tandem repeats in a lineage-specific manner, was highlighted for the first time. This region may have a function as another origin of replication. Phylogenetic reconstructions based on protein-coding genes and the stem-loop structures of control regions confirmed a sister relationship between Cavariella and pterocommatines. Current evidence suggest that pterocommatines could be formally transferred into Macrosiphini. Our paper also offers methodological instructions for obtaining other Aphididae mitochondrial genomes.
AIM: To investigate the effect of retinoblastoma protein-interacting zinc finger gene 1 (RIZ1) upregulation in gene expression profile and oncogenicity of human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) cell line TE13.
METHODS: TE13 cells were transfected with pcDNA3.1(+)/RIZ1 and pcDNA3.1(+). Changes in gene expression profile were screened and the microarray results were confirmed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Nude mice were inoculated with TE13 cells to establish ESCC xenografts. After two weeks, the inoculated mice were randomly divided into three groups. Tumors were injected with normal saline, transfection reagent pcDNA3.1(+) and transfection reagent pcDNA3.1(+)/RIZ1, respectively. Tumor development was quantified, and changes in gene expression of RIZ1 transfected tumors were detected by RT-PCR and Western blotting.
RESULTS: DNA microarray data showed that RIZ1 transfection induced widespread changes in gene expression profile of cell line TE13, with 960 genes upregulated and 1163 downregulated. Treatment of tumor xenografts with RIZ1 recombinant plasmid significantly inhibited tumor growth, decreased tumor size, and increased expression of RIZ1 mRNA compared to control groups. The changes in gene expression profile were also observed in vivo after RIZ1 transfection. Most of the differentially expressed genes were associated with cell development, supervision of viral replication, lymphocyte costimulatory and immune system development in esophageal cells. RIZ1 gene may be involved in multiple cancer pathways, such as cytokine receptor interaction and transforming growth factor beta signaling.
CONCLUSION: The development and progression of esophageal cancer are related to the inactivation of RIZ1. Virus infection may also be an important factor.
Retinoblastoma protein-interacting zinc finger gene 1; Microarray; Nude mice; Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cells
Vertebrate 4.1 proteins have a spectrin-actin-binding (SAB) domain, which is lacking in all the invertebrate 4.1 proteins indentified so far, and it was therefore proposed that the SAB domain emerged with the advent of vertebrates during evolution. Here we demonstrated for the first time that amphioxus (an invertebrate chordate) protein 4.1, though lacking a recognizable SAB, was able to bind both spectrin and actin, with a binding capacity comparable to that of human protein 4.1. Detailed structure-activity analyses revealed that the unique domain U2/3 was a newly identified SAB-like domain capable of interacting with spectrin and actin, suggesting the presence of a “cryptic” SAB domain in amphioxus 4.1 protein. We also showed that amphioxus 4.1 protein gene was the common ancestor of vertebrate 4.1 protein genes, from which 4.1R, 4.1N, 4.1G, and 4.1B genes originated. This work will encourage further study on the structure-activity of invertebrate 4.1 protein and its interacting proteins.
Background and Aims
There is lack of a practical biomarker to predict sustained virological response (SVR) in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients undergoing peginterferon alfa-2a (PEG-IFN). The aim of this pilot study was to identify immunological features associated with SVR.
Consecutive 74 CHB patients receiving 24 weeks (for hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive) or 48 weeks (for HBeAg-negative) PEG-IFN, were prospectively enrolled. Serum HBV viral loads, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), CXCL9, IFN-γ-inducible protein 10 (IP-10), interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) were measured at baseline and week 12. SVR was defined as HBeAg seroconversion combined with viral load <2000 IU/mL in HBeAg-positive (n=36), and viral load <2000 IU/mL in HBeAg-negative patients (n=38) at 48 weeks after the end of treatment.
Nineteen patients (25.7%), 7 in HBeAg-positive and 12 in HBeAg-negative, achieved SVR. There were significant declines of HBV DNA, HBsAg, IP-10 and IFN-γ levels at week 12. In multivariate analysis, pre-treatment CXCL9 >80 pg/mL, HBV DNA <2.5 x 107 IU/mL and on-treatment HBV viral load, HBsAg decline >10% at week 12 were predictors of SVR. The performance of CXCL9 in predicting SVR was good in patients with HBV DNA <2.5 x 107 IU/mL, particularly in HBeAg-negative CHB cases (positive predictive value, PPV= 64.3%).
Pre-treatment CXCL9 level has the potential to select CHB patients who can respond to PEG-IFN, especially in HBeAg-negative patients with low viral loads.
The biological control of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cyanoHABs) is important to promote human health, environmental protection, and economic growth. Active algicidal compounds and algicidal mechanisms should be identified and investigated to control cyanoHABs. In this study, the algicidal actinobacterium Streptomyces sp. L74 was isolated from the soil of a nearby pond which located in the center lake of Guanghzou Higher Education Mega Center. Results showed that the algicidal activities of cyanoHABs are mainly achieved via an indirect attack by producing algicidal compounds. All active algicidal compounds are hydrophilic substances that are heat and pH stable. In the present study, an active compound (B3) was isolated and purified by high-performance liquid chromatography and identified as a type of triterpenoid saponin (2-hydroxy-12-oleanene-3, 28-O-D-glucopyranosyl) with a molecular formula of C42H70O13 as determined by infrared spectrometry, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance. Active algicidal compounds from Streptomyces sp. L74 were shown to disrupt the antioxidant systems of Microcystis aeruginosa cells.
Snapshots of three consecutive steps in the proteolytic reaction of HIV-1 protease (PR) were obtained in crystal structures at resolutions of 1.2 to 1.4 Å. Structures of wild type protease and two mutants (PRV32I and PRI47V) with substitutions of V32I and I47V, which are common in drug resistance, reveal the gem-diol tetrahedral intermediate, the separating N- and C-terminal products, and the C-terminal product of an autoproteolytic peptide. These structures represent three stages in the reaction pathway and shed light on the reaction mechanism. The near-atomic resolution geometric details include a short hydrogen bond between the intermediate and the outer carboxylate oxygen of one catalytic Asp25 that is conserved in all three structures. The two products in the complex with mutant PRI47V have 2.2 Å separation of the amide and carboxyl carbon of the adjacent ends suggesting partial cleavage prior to product release. The complex of mutant PRV32I with a single C-terminal product shows density for water molecules in the other half of the binding site, including a partial occupancy water molecule interacting with the product carboxylate end and the carbonyl oxygen of one conformation of Gly27, which suggests a potential role of Gly27 in recycling from the product complex to the ligand-free enzyme. These structural details at near atomic resolution enhance our understanding of the reaction pathway and will assist in design of mechanism-based inhibitors as antiviral agents.
aspartic protease; hydrolase; drug resistance; catalytic mechanism
Ossification of Ligamentum Flavum (OLF) is associated with serious neurologic symptoms including thoracic myelopathy and spinal stenosis. The pathogenesis of thoracic OLF is mainly due to the localized mechanical stress on the ligament induced enchondral ossification. However, despite numerous epidemiological and basic science studies, the mechanism of this process remains unclear. Studies have suggested that inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6, TNF-α, seem to play a crucial role in OLF. In this review, we summarise the mechanistic information on the roles of inflammation cytokines in OLF and discuss about several therapeutic methods for OLF. Further studies on the role of cytokines in OLF should provide important insights into the designation of therapeutic strategies in preventing human spinal stenosis caused by OLF.
Ossification of ligamentum flavum (OLF); cytokine; pathology
A deficiency of maternal thyroid hormones (THs) during pregnancy may have severe impacts on fetal brain development. However, the cellular targets of THs and their underlying mechanisms are still unclear. In this study, we found that maternal hypothyroidism during pregnancy in mice inhibited neurogenesis in the embryonic telencephalon and caused learning and memory impairment in the offspring. To explore the underlying mechanisms, we treated cultured mouse embryonic neural stem cells (eNSCs) with a physiological level of 3, 5, 3′-triiodo-L-thyronine (T3). We found that T3 promoted the neuronal differentiation of eNSCs, while inhibiting astrocytic differentiation. In addition, the proliferation and maintenance of eNSCs were inhibited by T3. Furthermore, the TH receptor alpha 1 (TRα1) was detected in the eNSCs both in vivo and in vitro. Silencing TRα1 protein expression with specific siRNA eliminated the effects of T3 on eNSCs. We also found that T3 decreased STAT3 phosphorylation and STAT3-DNA binding activity through TRα1. The over expression of STAT3 attenuated the promotive effects of T3 on neuronal differentiation of eNSCs. Taken together, these results suggest that T3 promotes the neuronal differentiation of eNSCs by inhibiting STAT3 signaling activity through TRα1 and contributes to early neurogenesis in the embryonic telencephalon. Our studies reveal the physiological effects of TH in regulating eNSCs differentiation and suggest that eNSCs are one of the major cellular targets in the central nervous system by which TH influences early brain development. These findings also provide new insights into the mechanisms of neurological deficits caused by TH deficiency during embryogenesis.
Human tissue kallikrein (hTK) plays an essential role in the physiological and pathological mechanisms of blood vessels. This study aimed to determine whether angiogenesis induced by endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) transduced with the adenovirus-mediated hTK gene could improve blood flow in rat hindlimb ischemia in vivo and to establish a promising mechanism in vitro.
EPCs transduced with adenovirus encoding hTK-162 (i.e., Ad/hTK-transduced EPCs or Ad/GFP-transduced EPCs) were administered to Wister rats with hindlimb ischemia through therapeutic neovascularization. Muscular capillary density (MCD), blood flow (BF), and the number of myofibers were measured at days 7, 14, and 21 after treatment. Expressions of integrin αvβ3 and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) were detected on the surface of EPCs.
MCD, BF, and the number of myofibers in rats with Ad/hTK-transduced EPCs remarkably increased at day 21 after treatment compared with rats with Ad/GFP-transduced EPCs or the control group (P<0.01). Expressions of integrin αvβ3 and eNOS protein on the surface of EPCs also increased in rats with Ad/hTK-transduced EPCs. The levels of integrin αvβ3 expression were reduced by PI3K and eNOS blockade, and the inhibitor of integrin αvβ3 abrogated the migration and adhesion of hTK-transduced EPCs (P<0.05).
hTK gene delivery in vivo improves the natural angiogenic response to ischemia. The ability of hTK gene-transduced EPCs can be enhanced in vitro, in which integrin αvβ3 plays a role in the process.
To perform a systematic review of the utility of the Beck Depression Inventory for detecting depression in medical settings, this article focuses on the revised version of the scale (Beck Depression Inventory-II), which was reformulated according to the DSM-IV criteria for major depression. We examined relevant investigations with the Beck Depression Inventory-II for measuring depression in medical settings to provide guidelines for practicing clinicians. Considering the inclusion and exclusion criteria seventy articles were retained. Validation studies of the Beck Depression Inventory-II, in both primary care and hospital settings, were found for clinics of cardiology, neurology, obstetrics, brain injury, nephrology, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, oncology, and infectious disease. The Beck Depression Inventory-II showed high reliability and good correlation with measures of depression and anxiety. Its threshold for detecting depression varied according to the type of patients, suggesting the need for adjusted cut-off points. The somatic and cognitive-affective dimension described the latent structure of the instrument. The Beck Depression Inventory-II can be easily adapted in most clinical conditions for detecting major depression and recommending an appropriate intervention. Although this scale represents a sound path for detecting depression in patients with medical conditions, the clinician should seek evidence for how to interpret the score before using the Beck Depression Inventory-II to make clinical decisions.
Beck Depression Inventory; Depression; Medical Illness; Psychometric Scale; Screening; Validation Study
Although many studies have attempted to clarify the association between hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and fatty liver disease, no prior studies have emphasized the relationship of HBV and fatty liver regarding different demographics of age and body mass index (BMI).
To investigate the correlation of HBV and fatty liver in the different demographics of age and BMI.
We enrolled consecutive subjects who had received health check-up services at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital from 2002 to 2009 and ultrasonography was used to diagnose fatty liver according to the practice guidelines of the American Gastroenterological Association.
Among the 33,439 subjects enrolled in this study, fatty liver was diagnosed in 43.9% of the population and 38.9% of patients with chronic HBV infection. Multivariate analysis showed that BMI, age, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, cholesterol, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, and platelet counts were positively associated, while hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positivity was inversely associated with fatty liver, especially for subjects with BMI>22.4 kg/m2 and age>50 years. On the contrary, HBV infection was positively correlated with the presence of elevated serum ALT levels in subjects with fatty liver disease regardless of their age and BMI.
Metabolic factors are important determinants for the prevalence of fatty liver. Patients with HBV infection were inversely associated with fatty liver disease than the general population, especially in older and obese patients. Furthermore, metabolic factors and HBV infection were associated with elevated serum ALT levels in fatty liver disease.
Germline mutations in the RAS/ERK signaling pathway underlie several related developmental disorders collectively termed neuro-cardio-facial-cutaneous (NCFC) syndromes. Patients with these disorders manifest varying degrees of cognitive impairment, but the developmental basis of their brain abnormalities remains largely unknown. Among NCFC syndromes, neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is an exception, as it is caused by loss-of-function heterozygous mutations. Here, we show that bi-allelic Nf1 inactivation promotes Erk-dependent, ectopic Olig2 expression specifically in transit-amplifying progenitors, leading to increased gliogenesis at the expense of neurogenesis in neonatal and adult subventricular zone (SVZ). Nf1-deficient brains exhibit enlarged corpus callosum - a structural brain defect recently linked to severe learning deficits in NF1 patients. Strikingly, these NF1-associated developmental defects are rescued by transient treatment with an MEK/ERK pathway inhibitor during neonatal stages. These studies reveal a critical role for Nf1 in maintaining postnatal SVZ-derived neurogenesis, and identify a potential therapeutic window for treating NF1-associated brain abnormalities.
Neurofibromatosis type 1; NF1; tumor suppressor gene; neural stem cells; glial cells; subventricular zone (SVZ)
The deep rock masses show a different mechanical behavior compared with the shallow rock masses. They are classified into alternating fractured and intact zones during the excavation, which is known as zonal disintegration. Such phenomenon is a great disaster and will induce the different excavation and anchoring methodology. In this study, a 3D geomechanics model test was conducted to research the anchoring effect of zonal disintegration. The model was constructed with anchoring in a half and nonanchoring in the other half, to compare with each other. The optical extensometer and optical sensor were adopted to measure the displacement and strain changing law in the model test. The displacement laws of the deep surrounding rocks were obtained and found to be nonmonotonic versus the distance to the periphery. Zonal disintegration occurs in the area without anchoring and did not occur in the model under anchoring condition. By contrasting the phenomenon, the anchor effect of restraining zonal disintegration was revealed. And the formation condition of zonal disintegration was decided. In the procedure of tunnel excavation, the anchor strain was found to be alternation in tension and compression. It indicates that anchor will show the nonmonotonic law during suppressing the zonal disintegration.
The main object of the present study was to explore the effect on thyroidal proteins following mild iodine deficiency (ID)-induced maternal hypothyroxinemia during pregnancy and lactation. In the present study, we established a maternal hypothyroxinemia model in female Wistar rats by using a mild ID diet. Maternal thyroid iodine content and thyroid weight were measured. Expressions of thyroid-associated proteins were analyzed. The results showed that the mild ID diet increased thyroid weight, decreased thyroid iodine content and increased expressions of thyroid transcription factor 1, paired box gene 8 and Na+/I− symporter on gestational day (GD) 19 and postpartum days (PN) 21 in the maternal thyroid. Moreover, the up-regulated expressions of type 1 iodothyronine deiodinase (DIO1) and type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase (DIO2) were detected in the mild ID group on GD19 and PN21. Taken together, our data indicates that during pregnancy and lactation, a maternal mild ID could induce hypothyroxinemia and increase the thyroidal DIO1 and DIO2 levels.
mild iodine deficiency; hypothyroxinemia; gestation; lactation; thyroid
The present study investigated the clinical significance of transmembrane protease, serine 4(TMPRSS4) and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 (Erk1) in the development, progression and metastasis of gastric cancer.
Immunohistochemistry was employed to analyze TMPRSS4 and Erk1 expression in 436 gastric cancer cases and 92 non-cancerous human gastric tissues.
Protein levels of TMPRSS4 and Erk1 were up-regulated in gastric cancer lesions compared with adjacent noncancerous tissues. High expression of TMPRSS4 correlated with age, size, Lauren’s classification, depth of invasion, lymph node and distant metastases, regional lymph node stage and TNM stage, and also with expression of Erk1. In stages I, II and III, the 5-year survival rate of patients with high TMPRSS4 expression was significantly lower than in patients with low expression. Further multivariate analysis suggests that up-regulation of TMPRSS4 and Erk1 were independent prognostic indicators for the disease, along with depth of invasion, lymph node and distant metastasis and TNM stage.
Expression of TMPRSS4 in gastric cancer is significantly associated with lymph node and distant metastasis, high Erk1 expression, and poor prognosis. TMPRSS4 and Erk1 proteins could be useful markers to predict tumor progression and prognosis of gastric cancer.
To date, the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group of western Liaoning, China has yielded five monotypic genera of anurans, including Liaobatrachus grabaui, Callobatrachus sanyanensis, Mesophryne beipiaoensis, Dalianbatrachus mengi, and Yizhoubatrachus macilentus. However, the validity and distinctness of these taxa have been questioned.
We provide a comprehensive analysis of the Jehol frogs that includes a re-examination of the published taxa as well as an examination of a number of new specimens that have been collected over the past 10 years. The results show that the five previously named taxa can be referred to three species of one genus–Liaobatrachus grabaui, L. beipiaoensis comb. nov. and L. macilentus comb. nov.. The diagnosis of Liaobatrachus is revised, and a new diagnosis is provided for each species of this genus. We also establish Liaobatrachus zhaoi sp. nov., on the basis of a dozen well-preserved specimens from a new locality. This taxon is distinguished by a unique combination of characteristics, including relatively long hind limbs, a rounded rather than triangular acetabulum, and a gradually-tapering cultriform process of the parasphenoid. In addition, an unnamed frog from a higher horizon, which has narrow sacral diapophyses and particularly long legs, is different from Liaobatrachus and represents another form of anuran in the Jehol Biota.
Comparisons with other Mesozoic and extant anurans and the primary phylogenetic analysis both suggest that Liaobatrachus is a member of the anuran crown-group and forms a polytomy with leiopelmatids (Ascaphus and Leiopelma) and the remaining crown-group anurans (Lalagobatrachia).
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway regulates cell proliferation, differentiation, and survival, and is frequently dysregulated in esophageal and gastric cancers. Few studies have comprehensively examined the association between germline genetic variants in the EGFR pathway and risk of esophageal and gastric cancers. Based on a genome-wide association study in a Han Chinese population, we examined 3443 SNPs in 127 genes in the EGFR pathway for 1942 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCCs), 1758 gastric cancers (GCs), and 2111 controls. SNP-level analyses were conducted using logistic regression models. We applied the resampling-based adaptive rank truncated product approach to determine the gene- and pathway-level associations. The EGFR pathway was significantly associated with GC risk (P = 2.16×10−3). Gene-level analyses found 10 genes to be associated with GC, including FYN, MAPK8, MAP2K4, GNAI3, MAP2K1, TLN1, PRLR, PLCG2, RPS6KB2, and PIK3R3 (P<0.05). For ESCC, we did not observe a significant pathway-level association (P = 0.72), but gene-level analyses suggested associations between GNAI3, CHRNE, PAK4, WASL, and ITCH, and ESCC (P<0.05). Our data suggest an association between specific genes in the EGFR signaling pathway and risk of GC and ESCC. Further studies are warranted to validate these associations and to investigate underlying mechanisms.
Strongly alkaline electrolyzed water (SAEW) was prepared by electrolysis of tap water in a laboratory-made water electrolyzer. The pH of stored SAEW was stable for more than one month. The hardness of the electrolyzed water was 30% lower and the Na+ concentration was 18% higher than those of the tap water. Silkworm cocoon shells were boiled in pH 11.50 SAEW at a ratio of 1∶40∼80 (W/V) for 20 min and the sericin layers around the silk fibroin fibers were removed completely. The tensile properties and thermal decomposition temperature of a single filament of silk fibroin obtained by the SAEW method were almost the same as those for the fiber obtained by the neutral soap, and much higher than those for the fiber obtained by Na2CO3 degumming. The results demonstrate that SAEW is an environmentally friendly and pollution-free silk degumming agent that allows highly efficient, low cost recovery of sericin.
Prodigiosins (PGs) are a family of natural red pigments with anticancer activity, and one member of the family has entered clinical phase II trials. However, the anticancer mechanisms of PGs remain largely unclear. This study was designed to investigate the molecular basis of anticancer activity of UP, a derivative of PGs, in P388 cells. By introducing pharmacological inhibitors and utilizing a variety of analytical approaches including western blotting, flow cytometry and confocal laser microscopy, we found that UP inhibited proliferation of P388 via arresting cells at G2/M phase and inducing cells apoptosis, which was related to the activation of P38, JNK rather than ERK1/2 signaling. ROS regeneration and acidification in cells appear not involved in UP induced apoptosis. Furthermore, utilizing mass spectrometry, sucrose density gradient fractionation and immunofluorescence staining, we discovered that UP was apparently located at ribosome. These results together indicate that ribosome may be the potential target of UP in cancer cells, which opened a new avenue in delineating the anticancer mechanism of PGs.
DNA methylation is an essential epigenetic mechanism involved in transcriptional control. However, how genes with different methylation patterns are assembled in the protein-protein interaction network (PPIN) remains a mystery.
In the present study, we systematically dissected the characterization of genes with different methylation patterns in the PPIN. A negative association was detected between the methylation levels in the brain tissues and topological centralities. By focusing on two classes of genes with considerably different methylation levels in the brain tissues, namely the low methylated genes (LMGs) and high methylated genes (HMGs), we found that their organizing principles in the PPIN are distinct. The LMGs tend to be the center of the PPIN, and attacking them causes a more deleterious effect on the network integrity. Furthermore, the LMGs express their functions in a modular pattern and substantial differences in functions are observed between the two types of genes. The LMGs are enriched in the basic biological functions, such as binding activity and regulation of transcription. More importantly, cancer genes, especially recessive cancer genes, essential genes, and aging-related genes were all found more often in the LMGs. Additionally, our analysis presented that the intra-classes communications are enhanced, but inter-classes communications are repressed. Finally, a functional complementation was revealed between methylation and miRNA regulation in the human genome.
We have elucidated the assembling principles of genes with different methylation levels in the context of the PPIN, providing key insights into the complex epigenetic regulation mechanisms.
Targeted delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) has been regarded as one of the most important technologies for the development of siRNA therapeutics. However, the need for safe and efficient delivery systems is a barrier to further development of RNA interference therapeutics. In this work, a nontoxic and efficient siRNA carrier delivery system of low molecular weight polyethyleneimine (PEI-600 Da) cross-linked with 2-hydroxypopyl-β-cyclodextrin (HP-β-CD) and folic acid (FA) was synthesized for biomedical application.
The siRNA carrier was prepared using a simple method and characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The siRNA carrier nanoparticles were characterized in terms of morphology, size and zeta potential, stability, efficiency of delivery, and gene silencing efficiency in vitro and in vivo.
The siRNA carrier was synthesized successfully. It showed good siRNA binding capacity and ability to protect siRNA. Further, the toxicity of the carrier measured in vitro and in vivo appeared to be negligible, probably because of degradation of the low molecular weight PEI and HP-β-CD in the cytosol. Flow cytometry and confocal microscopy confirmed that the FA receptor-mediated endocytosis of the FA-HP-β-CD-PEI/siRNA complexes was greater than that of the HP-β-CD-PEI/siRNA complexes in FA receptor-enriched HeLa cells. The FA-HP-β-CD-PEI/siRNA complexes also demonstrated excellent gene silencing efficiency in vitro (in the range of 90%), and reduced vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein expression in the presence of 20% serum. FA-HP-β-CD-PEI/siRNA complexes administered via tail vein injection resulted in marked inhibition of tumor growth and reduced VEGF protein expression in the tumors.
Our results suggest that the FA-HP-β-CD-PEI complex is a nontoxic and highly efficient gene carrier with the potential to deliver siRNA for cancer gene therapy effectively in vitro and in vivo.
polyethyleneimine; 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin; folic acid; siRNA carrier; vascular endothelial growth factor; gene silencing
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) play critical roles in cancer initiation, progression, and therapeutic refractoriness. Although many studies have focused on the genes and pathways involved in stemness, characterization of the factors in the tumor microenvironment that regulate CSCs is lacking. In this study, we investigated the effects of stromal fibroblasts on breast cancer (BC) stem cells. We found that compared to normal fibroblasts, primary cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and fibroblasts activated by co-cultured BC cells produce higher levels of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2), which stimulates the stem cell-specific, sphere-forming phenotype in BC cells and CSC self-renewal. Increased CCL2 expression in activated fibroblasts required STAT3 activation by diverse BC-secreted cytokines, and in turn, induced NOTCH1 expression and the CSC features in BC cells, constituting a “cancer-stroma-cancer” signaling circuit. In a xenograft model of paired fibroblasts and BC tumor cells, loss of CCL2 significantly inhibited tumorigenesis and NOTCH1 expression. In addition, upregulation of both NOTCH1 and CCL2 was associated with poor differentiation in primary BCs, further supporting the observation that NOTCH1 is regulated by CCL2. Our findings therefore suggest that CCL2 represents a potential therapeutic target that can block the cancer-host communication that prompts CSC-mediated disease progression.
breast cancer; cancer stem cells; chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2; tumor microenvironment; stromal fibroblasts
We have developed an indocyanine green-loaded perfluorocarbon (ICG/PFCE) nanoemulsion as a multifunctional theranostic nanomedicine which enables not only 19F magnetic resonance (MR)/near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) bimodal imaging but also subsequent photodynamic/photothermal dual therapy of cancer. The hydrodynamic size of ICG/PFCE nanoemulsions was 164.2 nm. The stability of indocyanine green (ICG) in aqueous solution was significantly improved when loaded on perfluorocarbon nanoemulsions. In addition, ICG/PFCE nanoemulsions showed good dispersion stability in aqueous media containing 10% fetal bovine serum, for at least 14 days.
19F-MRI of ICG/PFCE nanoemulsions showed that the signal intensity increased with increasing nanoemulsion concentration with no signal observed from the surrounding background. Using NIRF imaging with perfluorocarbon nanoemulsion alone, without ICG, did not produce NIRF, while clear and bright fluorescent images were obtained with ICG/PFCE nanoemulsions at 10-µM ICG equivalent. The capacity of ICG-loaded nanoemulsions to generate heat following light irradiation by using an 810-nm laser was comparable to that of free ICG, while singlet oxygen generation of ICG-loaded nanoemulsions was significantly better than that of free ICG.
In vitro cytotoxicity tests and fluorescence microscopy confirmed biocompatibility of the nanoemulsion. Upon light irradiation, U87MG glioblastoma cells incubated with ICG/PFCE nanoemulsions underwent necrotic cell death. The therapeutic mechanism during light illumination appears to be mainly due to the photodynamic effect at lower ICG concentrations, whilst the photothermal effect became more obvious at increased ICG concentrations, enabling combined photodynamic/photothermal therapy of cancer cells.
Indocyanine green; perfluorocarbon; 19F-magnetic resonance imaging; near-infrared fluorescence imaging; photodynamic therapy; photothermal therapy