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author:("Wu, zhijiang")
1.  Are Differences in Genomic Data Sets due to True Biological Variants or Errors in Genome Assembly: An Example from Two Chloroplast Genomes 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0118019.
DNA sequencing has been revolutionized by the development of high-throughput sequencing technologies. Plummeting costs and the massive throughput capacities of second and third generation sequencing platforms have transformed many fields of biological research. Concurrently, new data processing pipelines made rapid de novo genome assemblies possible. However, high quality data are critically important for all investigations in the genomic era. We used chloroplast genomes of one Oryza species (O. australiensis) to compare differences in sequence quality: one genome (GU592209) was obtained through Illumina sequencing and reference-guided assembly and the other genome (KJ830774) was obtained via target enrichment libraries and shotgun sequencing. Based on the whole genome alignment, GU592209 was more similar to the reference genome (O. sativa: AY522330) with 99.2% sequence identity (SI value) compared with the 98.8% SI values in the KJ830774 genome; whereas the opposite result was obtained when the SI values in coding and noncoding regions of GU592209 and KJ830774 were compared. Additionally, the junctions of two single copies and repeat copies in the chloroplast genome exhibited differences. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted using these sequences, and the different data sets yielded dissimilar topologies: phylogenetic replacements of the two individuals were remarkably different based on whole genome sequencing or SNP data and insertions and deletions (indels) data. Thus, we concluded that the genomic composition of GU592209 was heterogeneous in coding and non-coding regions. These findings should impel biologists to carefully consider the quality of sequencing and assembly when working with next-generation data.
PMCID: PMC4320078  PMID: 25658309
2.  Decreased Levels of Serum Omentin-1 in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
Inflammation is involved in the mechanism of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Omentin, a newly discovered adipokine, is thought to play an anti-inflammatory role. This study aimed to determine whether serum levels of omentin-1 are associated with the presence and disease activity of IBD.
This study consisted of 192 patients with IBD: 100 with Crohn’s disease [CD], 92 with ulcerative colitis [UC], and 104 healthy subjects. Serum levels of omentin-1 were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Serum omentin-1 levels were significantly decreased in CD and UC patients compared with healthy controls. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that serum omentin-1 levels were inversely associated with the presence of CD and UC. Active CD and UC patients both had significantly decreased levels of serum omentin-1 compared with inactive CD and UC patients. In both CD and UC patients, serum omentin-1 levels were significantly associated with decreased levels of body mass index (BMI) and C-reactive protein (CRP).
Decreased serum omentin-1 levels could be considered as an independent predicting marker of the presence and disease activity of IBD.
PMCID: PMC4298282  PMID: 25576244
Adipokines; Inflammation; Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
3.  AGK enhances angiogenesis and inhibits apoptosis via activation of the NF-κB signaling pathway in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Oncotarget  2014;5(23):12057-12069.
High levels of angiogenesis and resistance to apoptosis are major clinical features of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a lethal disease with a high incidence worldwide. However, the precise mechanisms underlying these malignant properties remain unclear. Here, we demonstrated that acylglycerol kinase (AGK) is markedly overexpressed in HCC cell lines and clinical tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis of 245 clinical HCC specimens revealed patients with high levels of AGK expression had poorer overall survival compared to patients with low AGK expression. Furthermore, overexpressing AGK significantly enhanced angiogenesis and inhibited apoptosis in vitro and promoted the tumorigenicity of HCC cells in vivo; silencing endogenous AGK had the opposite effects. Importantly, AGK enhanced angiogenesis and inhibited apoptosis in HCC in part via activation of NF-κB signaling. Our findings provide new evidence that AGK plays an important role in promoting angiogenesis and providing resistance to apoptosis, thus AGK may represent a novel therapeutic target for HCC.
PMCID: PMC4323001  PMID: 25474138
AGK; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Angiogenesis; Apoptosis; NF-κB signaling
4.  MERS–Related Betacoronavirus in Vespertilio superans Bats, China 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(7):1260-1262.
PMCID: PMC4073873  PMID: 24960574
coronavirus; Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus; MERS-CoV; Vespertilio superans; bat; reservoir; sequencing; lineage; betacoronaviruses; viruses; MERS–related betacoronavirus; Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus–related betacoronavirus; China; lineage C betacoronavirus
5.  Novel Henipa-like Virus, Mojiang Paramyxovirus, in Rats, China, 2012 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(6):1064-1066.
PMCID: PMC4036791  PMID: 24865545
novel virus; henipa-like virus; henipavirus; paramyxovirus; Mojiang paramyxovirus; China; rats; Rattus flavipectus; viruses; zoonoses; rodents
6.  Thoracoscopic resection of a vagal schwannoma in the superior mediastinum: A case report 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(1):461-463.
Neurogenic tumors are the most common type of mediastinal tumor and constitute the majority of neoplasms of the posterior mediastinum. Schwannomas originating from the intrathoracic vagus nerve are extremely rare. The present study describes the case of a 58-year-old man with a large vagal schwannoma in the left superior mediastinum. A large tumor with a round shape was identified in the left superior mediastinum. The tumor originated from and encased the vagus nerve. Using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, the tumor was completely excised with amputation of the vagus nerve encased within in the tumor. One year post-surgery, the patient was free of recurrence with no symptoms other than hoarseness.
PMCID: PMC4063578  PMID: 24959296
thoracoscopic surgery; schwannoma; neurilemomas; vagus nerve; mediastinum
7.  Recombinant Human Coxsackievirus B3 from Children with Acute Myocarditis in China 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(9):3083-3086.
Recombination events were found in two human coxsackievirus B3 strains, Beijing0811 and SD2012CHN. The strains were isolated separately from five newborns diagnosed with severe hospital-acquired acute myocarditis in Beijing in 2008 and from two children diagnosed with hand, foot, and mouth disease with concurrent acute myocarditis in Shandong in 2012.
PMCID: PMC3754657  PMID: 23804378
8.  Novel SARS-like Betacoronaviruses in Bats, China, 2011 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2013;19(6):989-991.
To clarify the evolutionary relationships among betavoronaviruses that infect bats, we analyzed samples collected during 2010–2011 from 14 insectivorous bat species in China. We identified complete genomes of 2 novel betacoronaviruses in Rhinolophus pusillus and Chaerephon plicata bats, which showed close genetic relationships with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses.
PMCID: PMC3713832  PMID: 23739658
Coronavirus; Chiroptera; SARS virus; China; viruses; bats
9.  Virome Analysis for Identification of Novel Mammalian Viruses in Bat Species from Chinese Provinces 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(20):10999-11012.
Bats are natural hosts for a large variety of zoonotic viruses. This study aimed to describe the range of bat viromes, including viruses from mammals, insects, fungi, plants, and phages, in 11 insectivorous bat species (216 bats in total) common in six provinces of China. To analyze viromes, we used sequence-independent PCR amplification and next-generation sequencing technology (Solexa Genome Analyzer II; Illumina). The viromes were identified by sequence similarity comparisons to known viruses. The mammalian viruses included those of the Adenoviridae, Herpesviridae, Papillomaviridae, Retroviridae, Circoviridae, Rhabdoviridae, Astroviridae, Flaviridae, Coronaviridae, Picornaviridae, and Parvovirinae; insect viruses included those of the Baculoviridae, Iflaviridae, Dicistroviridae, Tetraviridae, and Densovirinae; fungal viruses included those of the Chrysoviridae, Hypoviridae, Partitiviridae, and Totiviridae; and phages included those of the Caudovirales, Inoviridae, and Microviridae and unclassified phages. In addition to the viruses and phages associated with the insects, plants, and bacterial flora related to the diet and habitation of bats, we identified the complete or partial genome sequences of 13 novel mammalian viruses. These included herpesviruses, papillomaviruses, a circovirus, a bocavirus, picornaviruses, a pestivirus, and a foamy virus. Pairwise alignments and phylogenetic analyses indicated that these novel viruses showed little genetic similarity with previously reported viruses. This study also revealed a high prevalence and diversity of bat astroviruses and coronaviruses in some provinces. These findings have expanded our understanding of the viromes of bats in China and hinted at the presence of a large variety of unknown mammalian viruses in many common bat species of mainland China.
PMCID: PMC3457178  PMID: 22855479
10.  Complete Genome Sequence of a Human Coxsackievirus B3 from a Child with Myocarditis in Beijing, China 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(1):e00163-12.
A human coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3), designated strain Beijing0811, was isolated from a child diagnosed with hospital-acquired infectious acute myocarditis in Beijing, China, and propagated in human rhabdomyosarcoma cells. The complete genome sequence of this virus was 7,402 nucleotides, excluding the 3′ poly(A) tail, which encoded a large polyprotein with 2,185 amino acids. This report will help us to analyze the evolutionary and epidemic characteristics of CVB3.
PMCID: PMC3569342  PMID: 23405344
11.  Characterization of Adult α- and β-Globin Elevated by Hydrogen Peroxide in Cervical Cancer Cells That Play A Cytoprotective Role Against Oxidative Insults 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54342.
Hemoglobin (Hgb) is the main oxygen and carbon dioxide carrier in cells of erythroid lineage and is responsible for oxygen delivery to the respiring tissues of the body. However, Hgb is also expressed in nonerythroid cells. In the present study, the expression of Hgb in human uterine cervix carcinoma cells and its role in cervical cancer were investigated.
The expression level of Hgb in cervical cancer tissues was assessed by quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR (qRT-PCR). We applied multiple methods, such as RT-PCR, immunoblotting, and immunohistochemical analysis, to confirm Hgb expression in cervical cancer cells. The effects of ectopic expression of Hgb and Hgb mutants on oxidative stress and cell viability were investigated by cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) analysis and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) array, respectively. Both Annexin V staining assay by flow cytometry and caspase-3 activity assay were used, respectively, to evaluate cell apoptosis.
qRT-PCR analysis showed that Hgb-α- (HBA1) and Hgb-β-globin (HBB) gene expression was significantly higher in cervical carcinoma than in normal cervical tissues, whereas the expression of hematopoietic transcription factors and erythrocyte specific marker genes was not increased. Immunostaining experiments confirmed the expression of Hgb in cancer cells of the uterine cervix. Hgb mRNA and protein were also detected in the human cervical carcinoma cell lines SiHa and CaSki, and Hgb expression was up-regulated by hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress. Importantly, ectopic expression of wild type HBA1/HBB or HBA1, rather than mutants HBA1H88R/HBBH93R unable to bind hemo, suppressed oxidative stress and improved cell viability.
The present findings show for the first time that Hgb is expressed in cervical carcinoma cells and may act as an antioxidant, attenuating oxidative stress-induced damage in cervical cancer cells. These data provide a significant impact not only in globin biology but also in understanding of cervical cancer pathogenesis associated with oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC3547883  PMID: 23349856
12.  Quinacrine Impairs Enterovirus 71 RNA Replication by Preventing Binding of Polypyrimidine-Tract Binding Protein with Internal Ribosome Entry Sites 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e52954.
Since the 1980s, epidemics of enterovirus 71 (EV71) and other enteroviruses have occurred in Asian countries and regions, causing a wide range of human diseases. No effective therapy is available for the treatment of these infections. Internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) are indispensable for the initiation of translation in enteroviruses. Several cellular factors, as well as the ribosome, are recruited to the conserved IRES during this process. Quinacrine intercalates into the RNA architecture and inhibits RNA transcription and protein synthesis, and a recent study showed that quinacrine inhibited encephalomyocarditis virus and poliovirus IRES-mediated translation in vitro without disrupting internal cellular IRES. Here, we report that quinacrine was highly active against EV71, protecting cells from EV71 infection. Replication of viral RNA, expression of viral capsid protein, and production of virus were all strongly inhibited by quinacrine. Interaction of the polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB) with the conserved IRES was prevented by quinacrine. Coxsackieviruses and echovirus were also inhibited by quinacrine in cultured cells. These results indicate that quinacrine may serve as a potential protective agent for use in the treatment of patients with chronic enterovirus infection.
PMCID: PMC3536785  PMID: 23301007
13.  A MicroRNA Component of the Neoplastic Microenvironment: Microregulators with Far-Reaching Impact 
BioMed Research International  2012;2013:762183.
The interplay between tumor cells and their microenvironment plays a pivotal role in tumor development and progression. Although a growing body of evidence has established the importance of the tumor microenvironment, an understanding of the crosstalk between its components and cancer cells remains elusive. The pathways triggered by microenvironmental factors could modulate cancer-related gene transcription, also affecting small noncoding RNAs, microRNAs, which have emerged as key posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression, directly involved in human cancers. Although microRNAs regulate most biological mechanisms, their role in the tumor microenvironment has only recently become the focus of intense research. In this paper, we focus on the intertwined connection between the tumor microenvironment and aberrant expression of microRNAs involved in carcinogenesis. We also discuss the emerging roles of microRNAs in the tumor microenvironment as it relates to cancer progression. We conclude that microRNAs are critical for our understanding of the development of cancer, and that targeting microRNA signaling pathways in the microenvironment as well as in tumor cells opens new therapeutic avenues to the global control of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3591172  PMID: 23509776
14.  A Facile and Specific Assay for Quantifying MicroRNA by an Optimized RT-qPCR Approach 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46890.
The spatiotemporal expression patterns of microRNAs (miRNAs) are important to the verification of their predicted function. RT-qPCR is the accepted technique for the quantification of miRNA expression; however, stem-loop RT-PCR and poly(T)-adapter assay, the two most frequently used methods, are not very convenient in practice and have poor specificity, respectively.
We have developed an optimal approach that integrates these two methods and allows specific and rapid detection of tiny amounts of sample RNA and reduces costs relative to other techniques. miRNAs of the same sample are polyuridylated and reverse transcribed into cDNAs using a universal poly(A)-stem-loop RT primer and then used as templates for SYBR® Green real-time PCR. The technique has a dynamic range of eight orders of magnitude with a sensitivity of up to 0.2 fM miRNA or as little as 10 pg of total RNA. Virtually no cross-reaction is observed among the closely-related miRNA family members and with miRNAs that have only a single nucleotide difference in this highly specific assay. The spatial constraint of the stem-loop structure of the modified RT primer allowed detection of miRNAs directly from cell lysates without laborious total RNA isolation, and the poly(U) tail made it possible to use multiplex RT reactions of mRNA and miRNAs in the same run.
The cost-effective RT-qPCR of miRNAs with poly(A)-stem-loop RT primer is simple to perform and highly specific, which is especially important for samples that are precious and/or difficult to obtain.
PMCID: PMC3465266  PMID: 23071657
15.  TGF-β induces miR-182 to sustain NF-κB activation in glioma subsets 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(10):3563-3578.
The strength and duration of NF-κB signaling are tightly controlled by multiple negative feedback mechanisms. However, in cancer cells, these feedback loops are overridden through unclear mechanisms to sustain oncogenic activation of NF-κB signaling. Previously, we demonstrated that overexpression of miR-30e* directly represses IκBα expression and leads to hyperactivation of NF-κB. Here, we report that miR-182 was overexpressed in a different set of gliomas with relatively lower miR-30e* expression and that miR-182 directly suppressed cylindromatosis (CYLD), an NF-κB negative regulator. This suppression of CYLD promoted ubiquitin conjugation of NF-κB signaling pathway components and induction of an aggressive phenotype of glioma cells both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we found that TGF-β induced miR-182 expression, leading to prolonged NF-κB activation. Importantly, the results of these experiments were consistent with an identified significant correlation between miR-182 levels with TGF-β hyperactivation and activated NF-κB in a cohort of human glioma specimens. These findings uncover a plausible mechanism for sustained NF-κB activation in malignant gliomas and may suggest a new target for clinical intervention in human cancer.
PMCID: PMC3589141  PMID: 23006329
16.  Indehiscent sporangia enable the accumulation of local fern diversity at the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau 
Indehiscent sporangia are reported for only a few of derived leptosporangiate ferns. Their evolution has been likely caused by conditions in which promotion of self-fertilization is an evolutionary advantageous strategy such as the colonization of isolated regions and responds to stressful habitat conditions. The Lepisorus clathratus complex provides the opportunity to test this hypothesis because these derived ferns include specimens with regular dehiscent and irregular indehiscent sporangia. The latter occurs preferably in well-defined regions in the Himalaya. Previous studies have shown evidence for multiple origins of indehiscent sporangia and the persistence of populations with indehiscent sporangia at extreme altitudinal ranges of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP).
Independent phylogenetic relationships reconstructed using DNA sequences of the uniparentally inherited chloroplast genome and two low-copy nuclear genes confirmed the hypothesis of multiple origins of indehiscent sporangia and the restriction of particular haplotypes to indehiscent sporangia populations in the Lhasa and Nyingchi regions of the QTP. In contrast, the Hengduan Mountains were characterized by high haplotype diversity and the occurrence of accessions with and without indehiscent sporangia. Evidence was found for polyploidy and reticulate evolution in this complex. The putative case of chloroplast capture in the Nyingchi populations provided further evidence for the promotion of isolated but persistent populations by indehiscent sporangia.
The presented results confirmed the hypothesis that indehiscent sporangia promote the establishment of persistent population in different regions of the QTP. These results are consistent with the expectations of reproductive reassurance by promotion of self-fertilization that played a critical role in the assembly of populations in isolated locations and/or extreme habitats.
PMCID: PMC3560248  PMID: 22929005
Chloroplast capture; Chloroplast DNA; Himalaya; Incongruent phylogenetic hypotheses; Lepisorus clathratus; Phylogenetic analyses; Reticulate evolution; Self-fertilization; Low-copy nuclear genes; PgiC; LFY
17.  COPI Is Required for Enterovirus 71 Replication 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e38035.
Enterovirus 71 (EV71), a member of the Picornaviridae family, is found in Asian countries where it causes a wide range of human diseases. No effective therapy is available for the treatment of these infections. Picornaviruses undergo RNA replication in association with membranes of infected cells. COPI and COPII have been shown to be involved in the formation of picornavirus-induced vesicles. Replication of several picornaviruses, including poliovirus and Echovirus 11 (EV11), is dependent on COPI or COPII. Here, we report that COPI, but not COPII, is required for EV71 replication. Replication of EV71 was inhibited by brefeldin A and golgicide A, inhibitors of COPI activity. Furthermore, we found EV71 2C protein interacted with COPI subunits by co-immunoprecipitation and GST pull-down assay, indicating that COPI coatomer might be directed to the viral replication complex through viral 2C protein. Additionally, because the pathway is conserved among different species of enteroviruses, it may represent a novel target for antiviral therapies.
PMCID: PMC3360637  PMID: 22662263
18.  Unbiased Parallel Detection of Viral Pathogens in Clinical Samples by Use of a Metagenomic Approach▿‡ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(10):3463-3469.
Viral infectious diseases represent a major threat to public health and are among the greatest disease burdens worldwide. Rapid and accurate identification of viral agents is crucial for both outbreak control and estimating regional disease burdens. Recently developed metagenomic methods have proven to be powerful tools for simultaneous pathogen detection. Here, we performed a systematic study of the capability of the short-read-based metagenomic approach in the molecular detection of viral pathogens in nasopharyngeal aspirate samples from patients with acute lower respiratory tract infections (n = 16). Using the high-throughput capacity of ultradeep sequencing and a dedicated data interpretation method, we successfully identified seven species of known respiratory viral agents from 15 samples, a result that was consistent with results of conventional PCR assays. We also detected a coinfected case that was missed by regular PCR testing. Using the metagenomic data, 11 draft genomes of the abundantly detected viruses in the samples were reconstructed with 21.84% to 98.53% coverage. Our results show the power of the short-read-based metagenomic approach for accurate and parallel screening of viral pathogens. Although there are some inherent difficulties in applying this approach to clinical samples, including a lack of controls, limited specimen quantity, and high contamination rate, our work will facilitate further application of this unprecedented high-throughput method to clinical samples.
PMCID: PMC3187305  PMID: 21813714
19.  Crystal Structures of Enterovirus 71 3C Protease Complexed with Rupintrivir Reveal the Roles of Catalytically Important Residues▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(19):10021-10030.
EV71 is the primary pathogenic cause of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD), but an effective antiviral drug currently is unavailable. Rupintrivir, an inhibitor against human rhinovirus (HRV), has potent antiviral activities against EV71. We determined the high-resolution crystal structures of the EV71 3Cpro/rupintrivir complex, showing that although rupintrivir interacts with EV71 3Cpro similarly to HRV 3Cpro, the C terminus of the inhibitor cannot accommodate the leaving-group pockets of EV71 3Cpro. Our structures reveal that EV71 3Cpro possesses a surface-recessive S2′ pocket that is not present in HRV 3Cpro that contributes to the additional substrate binding affinity. Combined with mutagenic studies, we demonstrated that catalytic Glu71 is irreplaceable for maintaining the overall architecture of the active site and, most importantly, the productive conformation of catalytic His40. We discovered the role of a previously uncharacterized residue, Arg39 of EV71 3Cpro, that can neutralize the negative charge of Glu71, which may subsequently assist deprotonation of His40 during proteolysis.
PMCID: PMC3196404  PMID: 21813612
20.  Anti- Japanese-Encephalitis-Viral Effects of Kaempferol and Daidzin and Their RNA-Binding Characteristics 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30259.
New therapeutic tools and molecular targets are needed for treatment of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infections. JEV requires an α-1 translational frameshift to synthesize the NS1' protein required for viral neuroinvasiveness. Several flavonoids have been shown to possess antiviral activity in vitro against a wide spectrum of viruses. To date, the antiviral activities of flavonol kaempferol (Kae) and isoflavonoid daidzin (Dai) against JEV have not been described.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The 50% cytotoxic concentration (CC50) and 50% effective concentration (EC50) against JEV were investigated in BHK21 cells by MTS reduction. Activity against viral genomic RNA and proteins was measured by real-time RT-PCR and western blotting. The frameshift site RNA-binding characterization was also determined by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, isothermal titration calorimetry and autodocking analysis. EC50 values of Kae and Dai were 12.6 and 25.9 µM against JEV in cells pretreated before infection, whereas in cells infected before treatment, EC50 was 21.5 and 40.4 µM, respectively. Kae exhibited more potent activity against JEV and RNA binding in cells following internalization through direct inhibition of viral replication and protein expression, indicating that its antiviral activity was principally due to direct virucidal effects. The JEV frameshift site RNA (fsRNA) was selected as a target for assaying Kae and Dai. ITC of fsRNA revealed an apparent Kb value for Kae that was nine fold stronger than that for Dai. This binding was confirmed and localized to the RNA using ESI-MS and autodock analysis. Kae could form non-covalent complexes with fsRNA more easily than Dai could.
Kae demonstrates more potent antiviral activity against JEV than does Dai. The mode of action of Kae as an anti-JEV agent seems to be related to its ability to inactivate virus by binding with JEV fsRNA.
PMCID: PMC3262791  PMID: 22276167
21.  Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Activity of RNA Interference against Four Genotypes of Japanese Encephalitis Virus Based on Single MicroRNA Polycistrons 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26304.
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a neurotropic mosquito-borne flavivirus, causes acute viral encephalitis and neurologic disease with a high fatality rate in humans and a range of animals. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) is a powerful antiviral agent able to inhibit JEV replication. However, the high rate of genetic variability between JEV strains (of four confirmed genotypes, genotypes I, II, III and IV) hampers the broad-spectrum application of siRNAs, and mutations within the targeted sequences could facilitate JEV escape from RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated antiviral therapy. To improve the broad-spectrum application of siRNAs and prevent the generation of escape mutants, multiple siRNAs targeting conserved viral sequences need to be combined. In this study, using a siRNA expression vector based on the miR-155 backbone and promoted by RNA polymerase II, we initially identified nine siRNAs targeting highly conserved regions of seven JEV genes among strains of the four genotypes of JEV to effectively block the replication of the JEV vaccine strain SA14-14-2. Then, we constructed single microRNA-like polycistrons to simultaneously express these effective siRNAs under a single RNA polymerase II promoter. Finally, these single siRNAs or multiple siRNAs from the microRNA-like polycistrons showed effective anti-virus activity in genotype I and genotype III JEV wild type strains, which are the predominant genotypes of JEV in mainland China. The anti-JEV effect of these microRNA-like polycistrons was also predicted in other genotypes of JEV (genotypes II and IV), The inhibitory efficacy indicated that siRNAs×9 could theoretically inhibit the replication of JEV genotypes II and IV.
PMCID: PMC3196537  PMID: 22028851
22.  miR-18a Impairs DNA Damage Response through Downregulation of Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM) Kinase 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e25454.
The DNA damage response (DDR) encompasses multi-step processes by which cells evolve to sense DNA damage, transduce the signal and initiate the repair of damaged DNA. Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM) Kinase, which functions as the primary sensor and transducer of DNA damage signal, has been demonstrated to play an important role in the DDR and cancer prevention. Hence, understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of ATM has received much attention. Here, we found that miR-18a was upregulated in both cell lines and patients' tissue samples of breast cancer. Furthermore, we demonstrated that ectopically expressing miR-18a downregulated ATM expression by directly targeting the ATM-3′-UTR and abrogated the IR-induced cell cycle arrest. Similar to the effect of ATM siRNA, overexpressing miR-18a in breast cancer cells reduced the DNA damage repair ability and the efficiency of homologous recombination-based DNA repair (HRR) and sensitized cells to γ-irradiation (IR) treatment. However, inhibition of miR-18a led to augmentation of DNA damage repair, increase of HRR efficiency and reduced cellular radiosensitivity. Moreover, we showed that the phorsphorylation level and nuclear foci formation of H2AX and 53BP1, the downstream substrates of ATM kinase, were significantly deceased in miR-18a overexpressing cells. Taken together, our results uncover a new regulatory mechanism of ATM expression and suggest that miR-18a might be a novel therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC3181320  PMID: 21980462
23.  LRP16 Integrates into NF-κB Transcriptional Complex and Is Required for Its Functional Activation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e18157.
Nuclear factor κB (NF-κB)-mediated pathways have been widely implicated in cell survival, development and tumor progression. Although the molecular events of determining NF-κB translocation from cytoplasm to nucleus have been extensively documented, the regulatory mechanisms of NF-κB activity inside the nucleus are still poorly understood. Being a special member of macro domain proteins, LRP16 was previously identified as a coactivator of both estrogen receptor and androgen receptor, and as an interactor of NF-κB coactivator UXT. Here, we investigated the regulatory role of LRP16 on NF-κB activation.
GST pull-down and coimmunoprecipitation (CoIP) assays assessed protein-protein interactions. The functional activity of NF-κB was assessed by luciferase assays, changes in expression of its target genes, and its DNA binding ability. Annexin V staining and flow cytometry analysis were used to evaluate cell apoptosis. Immunohistochemical staining of LRP16 and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based evaluation of active NF-κB were performed on primary human gastric carcinoma samples.
We demonstrate that LRP16 integrates into NF-κB transcriptional complex through associating with its p65 component. RNA interference knockdown of the endogenous LRP16 in cells leads to impaired NF-κB activity and significantly attenuated NF-κB-dependent gene expression. Mechanistic analysis revealed that knockdown of LRP16 did not affect tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α)-induced nuclear translocation of NF-κB, but blunted the formation or stabilization of functional NF-κB/p300/CREB-binding protein transcription complex in the nucleus. In addition, knockdown of LRP16 also sensitizes cells to apoptosis induced by TNF-α. Finally, a positive link between LRP16 expression intensity in nuclei of tumor cells and NF-κB activity was preliminarily established in human gastric carcinoma specimens.
Our findings not only indicate that LRP16 is a crucial regulator for NF-κB activation inside the nucleus, but also suggest that LRP16 may be an important contributor to the aberrant activation of NF-κB in tumors.
PMCID: PMC3069058  PMID: 21483817
24.  Overexpression of sphingosine kinase 1 is associated with salivary gland carcinoma progression and might be a novel predictive marker for adjuvant therapy 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:495.
Overexpression of sphingosine kinase-1 (SPHK1) has been demonstrated to be associated with the development and progression in various types of human cancers. The current study was to characterize the expression of SPHK1 in salivary gland carcinomas (SGC) and to investigate the association between SPHK1 expression and progression of SGC.
The expression of SPHK1 was examined in 2 normal salivary gland tissues, 8 SGC tissues of various clinical stages, and 5 pairs of primary SGC and adjacent salivary gland tissues from the same patient, using real-time PCR and western blot analysis. Furthermore, the SPHK1 protein expression was analyzed in 159 clinicopathologically characterized SGC cases by immunohistochemistry. Statistical analyses were performed to determine the prognostic and diagnostic associations.
SPHK1 expression was found to be markedly upregulated in SGC tissues than that in the normal salivary gland tissues and paired adjacent salivary gland tissues, at both mRNA and protein levels. Statistical analysis revealed a significant correlation of SPHK1 expression with the clinical stage (P = 0.005), T classification (P = 0.017), N classification (P = 0.009), M classification (P = 0.002), and pathological differentiation (P = 0.013). Patients with higher SPHK1 expression had shorter overall survival time, whereas patients with lower SPHK1 expression had better survival. Importantly, patients in the group without adjuvant therapy who exhibited high SPHK1 expression had significantly lower overall survival rates compared with those with low SPHK1 expression. Moreover, multivariate analysis suggested that SPHK1 expression might be an independent prognostic indicator for the survival of SGC patients.
Our results suggest that SPHK1 expression is associated with SGC progression, and might represent as a novel and valuable predictor for adjuvant therapy to SGC patients.
PMCID: PMC2949806  PMID: 20846391
25.  Keratin 18 attenuates estrogen receptor α-mediated signaling by sequestering LRP16 in cytoplasm 
BMC Cell Biology  2009;10:96.
Oncogenesis in breast cancer is often associated with excess estrogen receptor α(ERα) activation and overexpression of its coactivators. LRP16 is both an ERα target gene and an ERα coactivator, and plays a crucial role in ERα activation and proliferation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells. However, the regulation of the functional availability of this coactivator protein is not yet clear.
Yeast two-hybrid screening, GST pulldown and coimmunoprecipitation (CoIP) identified the cytoplasmic intermediate filament protein keratin 18 (K18) as a novel LRP16-interacting protein. Fluorescence analysis revealed that GFP-tagged LRP16 was primarily localized in the nuclei of mock-transfected MCF-7 cells but was predominantly present in the cytoplasm of K18-transfected cells. Immunoblotting analysis demonstrated that the amount of cytoplasmic LRP16 was markedly increased in cells overexpressing K18 whereas nuclear levels were depressed. Conversely, knockdown of endogenous K18 expression in MCF-7 cells significantly decreased the cytoplasmic levels of LRP16 and increased levels in the nucleus. CoIP failed to detect any interaction between K18 and ERα, but ectopic expression of K18 in MCF-7 cells significantly blunted the association of LRP16 with ERα, attenuated ERα-activated reporter gene activity, and decreased estrogen-stimulated target gene expression by inhibiting ERα recruitment to DNA. Furthermore, BrdU incorporation assays revealed that K18 overexpression blunted the estrogen-stimulated increase of S-phase entry of MCF-7 cells. By contrast, knockdown of K18 in MCF-7 cells significantly increased ERα-mediated signaling and promoted cell cycle progression.
K18 can effectively associate with and sequester LRP16 in the cytoplasm, thus attenuating the final output of ERα-mediated signaling and estrogen-stimulated cell cycle progression of MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Loss of K18 increases the functional availability of LRP16 to ERα and promotes the proliferation of ERα-positive breast tumor cells. K18 plays an important functional role in regulating the ERα signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC2804594  PMID: 20035625

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