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1.  Impairment of chaperone-mediated autophagy leads to selective lysosomal degradation defects in the lysosomal storage disease cystinosis 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2015;7(2):158-174.
Metabolite accumulation in lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs) results in impaired cell function and multi-systemic disease. Although substrate reduction and lysosomal overload-decreasing therapies can ameliorate disease progression, the significance of lysosomal overload-independent mechanisms in the development of cellular dysfunction is unknown for most LSDs. Here, we identify a mechanism of impaired chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) in cystinosis, a LSD caused by defects in the cystine transporter cystinosin (CTNS) and characterized by cystine lysosomal accumulation. We show that, different from other LSDs, autophagosome number is increased, but macroautophagic flux is not impaired in cystinosis while mTOR activity is not affected. Conversely, the expression and localization of the CMA receptor LAMP2A are abnormal in CTNS-deficient cells and degradation of the CMA substrate GAPDH is defective in Ctns−/− mice. Importantly, cysteamine treatment, despite decreasing lysosomal overload, did not correct defective CMA in Ctns−/− mice or LAMP2A mislocalization in cystinotic cells, which was rescued by CTNS expression instead, suggesting that cystinosin is important for CMA activity. In conclusion, CMA impairment contributes to cell malfunction in cystinosis, highlighting the need for treatments complementary to current therapies that are based on decreasing lysosomal overload.
PMCID: PMC4328646  PMID: 25586965
autophagy; CTNS; cystinosis; lysosomal storage disorder; lysosomal trafficking
2.  Study on the Antibacterial Activity of Bergenia Purpurascens Extract 
Bergenia purpurascens has tonic, haemostatic and anti-tussive actions. Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activities of Bergenia purpurascens have not been reported so far. The objective of this paper is to provide experimental basis for the clinical application of Bergenia purpurascens through the pharmacodynamic study on its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects.
Experimental models of xylene-induced ear edema in mice, cotton pellet granuloma in rats, and acetic acid-induced peritoneal capillary permeability in mice were used to investigate the anti-inflammatory effect of Bergenia purpurascens; bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects of Bergenia purpurascens extract on Staphylococcus aureus (SA), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and β-lactamase positive Staphylococcus aureus (ESBLs-SA), were observed in vitro.
The results show that Bergenia purpurascens extract could markedly inhibit xylene-induced mouse ear edema, cotton pellet granulation tissue hyperplasia, and increased capillary permeability. Bergenia purpurascens extract has an inhibitory effect on SA, MRSA and ESBLs-SA.
We conclude that Bergenia purpurascens extract has certain anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects.
PMCID: PMC4202658  PMID: 25435634
Bergenia purpurascens extract; anti inflammation; SA; MRSA; ESBLs-SA; antibacterial
3.  Studies on the Identification of Constituents in Ethanol Extract of Radix Glycyrrhizae and Their Anticancer Activity 
The main functions of Radix Glycyrrhizae include regulating middle warmer, moistening lung, relieving toxicity, harmonizing property of drugs which is a traditional Chinese medicine widely used in clinical settings. The objective of the paper is to isolate and identify the constituents in ethanol extract of Radix Glycyrrhizae, and to study their anticancer activity.
Materials and Methods
Column chromatography, ODS column chromatography, preparative thin layer chromatography and NMR spectroscopy techniques were used to isolate compounds from ethanol extract of Radix Glycyrrhizae; optical microscopy and flow cytometry were used to determine the anticancer effect of Radix Glycyrrhizae extract.
Four compounds were isolated from the ethanol extract of Radix Glycyrrhizae, namely oleanolic acid, isoliquiritin, glycyrrhetinic acid and licochalcone A. Optical microscopic observation showed that the growth of gastric cancer cell line SGC-7901 was inhibited in the experimental groups, and apoptotic morphological changes were observed in adherent cells; flow cytometry with PI staining showed that Radix Glycyrrhizae extract could induce SGC-7901 cell apoptosis within a concentration range of 0.5–1.5 mg/mL, compared with the control group, the apoptosis was positively correlated with the drug concentration, which exhibited an apparent dose-dependence.
We conclude Ethanol extract of Radix Glycyrrhizae has an anti-proliferative activity on SGC-7901 cells.
PMCID: PMC4202642  PMID: 25435618
Radix Glycyrrhizae; oleanolic acid; isoliquiritin; glycyrrhetinic acid; licochalcone A; SGC-7901 cell
4.  Association between PLCE1 rs2274223 A > G polymorphism and cancer risk: proof from a meta-analysis 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:7986.
Phospholipase C epsilon 1 (PLCE1) plays an important role in cell growth, differentiation and oncogenesis. An increasing number of individual studies have investigated the association between PLCE1 rs2274223 polymorphism and cancer risk, but the conclusions are inconclusive. To obtain a comprehensive conclusion, we performed a meta-analysis of 22 studies with 13188 cases and 14666 controls. The pooled results indicated that PLCE1 rs2274223 A > G polymorphism was associated with an increased risk of overall cancer (G vs. A: OR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.06–1.25; GG vs. AA: OR = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.10–1.55; GA vs. AA: OR = 1.18, 95% CI = 1.08–1.30; GG/GA vs. AA: OR = 1.20, 95% CI = 1.08–1.32; GG vs. GA/AA: OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.04–1.42). The stratification analysis showed the polymorphism was significantly associated with an increased risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) other than gastric cancer (GC), especially among the subgroups of Asian, high quality score, sample size > 1000 and the studies consistent with Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE). This meta-analysis demonstrated that PLCE1 rs2274223 A > G polymorphism may be associated with increased susceptibility to cancer, especially for ESCC. However, due to the substantial heterogeneities across the studies, the conclusion might be not conclusive that need more studies to confirm.
PMCID: PMC4303865  PMID: 25614244
5.  A multivalent vaccine for type 1 diabetes skews T cell subsets to Th2 phenotype in NOD mice 
Immunologic research  2011;50(0):213-220.
Previous studies by our group, using an experimental autoimmune thyroiditis (EAT) model in Strain 13 inbred guinea pigs, resulted in T cell-mediated delayed hypersensitivity; however, autoantibodies proved not to be cytotoxic to thyroid epithelial cells in the presence or absence of complement proteins. Albeit, T cell-mediated lymphocyte cytotoxicity began to diminish sharply concomitantly with increasing titers of circulating autoantibodies, indicating a skewing of the self-reactive response and amelioration of the EAT. Furthermore, immunization of guinea pigs with thyroglobulin in incomplete Freund’s adjuvant (IFA) generated a high titer of antithyroglobulin antibodies and proved to inhibit thyroiditis. These observations indicated that the shift in the immune response from Th1 to Th2 and the production of antibodies were likely responsible for ameliorating EAT. Based upon these results, we extrapolated our studies to design a multivalent vaccine, which shows promise in preventing/reversing T1D in NOD mice. A small pilot study was conducted in which a total of 34 mice, 20 non-immunized controls and 14 immunized with syngeneic islet lysate, were monitored for mean day to diabetes for a total of 28 weeks. Immunization of NOD animals with syngeneic islet lysates resulted in a significant delay in diabetes onset (P < 0.001) as compared to non-immunized controls. To further assess the vaccine’s efficacy, robustness, and delay of disease, a large-scale experiment was conducted and monitored for 32 weeks using 106 mice, 64 non-immunized controls and 42 immunized with syngeneic islet lysate. At the end of the study, 90% of the non-immunized group developed diabetes, while less than 25% of the immunized group became diabetic (P < 0.0001). The protective effect, as a result of vaccination, correlated with an increase in the levels of IL-10 and IL-4 cytokines as well as a skewing to Th2-dependent isotype antibodies in serum. Strikingly, adoptive transfer of spleen cells from immunized animals into NOD.scid recipients provided protection against transfer of diabetes by diabetogenic spleen cells. The results of this study provide evidence that vaccination with islet lysate leads to a Th2-dependent skewing of the immune response to islet beta cells as a possible mechanism of protection. This strategy may be implemented as a possible vaccination protocol for arresting and/or preventing T1D in patients.
PMCID: PMC4303903  PMID: 21717080
NOD mice; Type 1 diabetes; Autoimmunity; Vaccine; Th2
6.  The Association between NQO1 Pro187Ser Polymorphism and Bladder Cancer Susceptibility: A Meta-Analysis of 15 Studies 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0116500.
NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), an obligate two-electron reductase, plays an important role in reducing reactive quinones to less reactive and less toxic hydroquinones. Genetic variations in NQO1 gene that impede its enzyme function may be considered as putative risk factor for cancer. Numerous studies have been performed to investigate the association between NQO1 Pro187Ser polymorphism and bladder cancer risk; nevertheless, the results remain controversial.
We indentified eligible publications from PubMed, Embase and CBM databases. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used to access the strength of the associations. False-positive report probability (FPRP) analysis was also performed for all statistically significant findings.
We collected a total of 15 studies including 4298 cases and 4275 controls in the final meta-analysis. Overall, the NQO1 187Ser carriers were associated with an increased bladder cancer risk (homozygous: OR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.08-1.90; recessive: OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.03-1.72; dominant: OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.04-1.37, and allele comparing: OR = 1.18, 95% CI = 1.06-1.33). Stratification analyses showed a statistically significant association among Asians (homozygous: OR = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.39-2.38; recessive: OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.20-1.93, dominant: OR = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.05-1.88, and allele comparing: OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.15-1.58), never smokers (homozygous: OR = 2.30, 95% CI = 1.14-4.65; heterozygous: OR = 2.26, 95% CI = 1.43-3.56; dominant model: OR = 1.59, 95% CI = 1.14-2.21, and allele comparing: OR = 1.72, 95% CI = 1.27-2.33), hospital-based studies (homozygous: OR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.09-1.94; recessive: OR = 1.32, 95% CI = 1.02-1.69; dominant: OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.05-1.56, and allele comparing: OR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.07-1.43), studies with genotyping performed by PCR-RFLP under all genetic models, and studies with minor allele frequency >0.30 (homozygous: OR = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.25-2.27; recessive: OR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.10-1.95, and allele comparing: OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.04-1.51), respectively.
Despite some limitations, our meta-analysis provides sufficient evidence that NQO1 Pro187Ser polymorphism may contribute to bladder cancer risk. These findings need further validation in well-designed prospective studies with larger sample size and different ethnicities, especially for Asians.
PMCID: PMC4300190  PMID: 25602258
7.  Toward the de novo design of antimicrobial peptides: Lack of correlation between peptide permeabilization of lipid vesicles and antimicrobial, cytolytic or cytotoxic activity in living cells 
Biopolymers  2014;102(1):1-6.
We previously performed a lipid vesicle-based, high-throughput screen on a 26-residue combinatorial peptide library that was designed de novo to yield membrane permeabilizing peptides that fold into β-sheets. The most active and soluble library members that were identified permeabilized lipid vesicles detectably, but not with high potency. Nonetheless, they were broad-spectrum, membrane-permeabilizing antibiotics with minimum sterilizing activity at low μM concentrations. In an expansion of that work, we recently performed an iterative screen in which an active consensus sequence from that first generation library was used as a template to design a second generation library which was then screened against lipid vesicles at very high stringency. Compared to the consensus sequence from the first library, the most active second generation peptides are highly potent, equilibrium pore-formers in synthetic lipid vesicles. Here we use these first and second generation families of peptides to test the hypothesis that a large increase in potency in bacteria-like lipid vesicles will correlate with a large improvement in antimicrobial activity. The results do not support the hypothesis. Despite a 20-fold increase in potency against bacteria-like lipid vesicles, the second generation peptides are only slightly more active against bacteria, and at the same time, are also more toxic against mammalian cells. The results suggest that a “pipeline” strategy towards the optimization of antimicrobial peptides could begin with a vesicle-based screen for identifying families with broad-spectrum activity, but will also need to include screening or optimization steps that are done under conditions that are more directly relevant to possible therapeutic applications.
PMCID: PMC3995353  PMID: 23893525
8.  17β-estradiol suppresses lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury through PI3K/Akt/SGK1 mediated up-regulation of epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) in vivo and in vitro 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):159.
17β-estradiol can suppress acute lung injury (ALI) and regulate alveolar epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). However the relationship between these two functions remains unclear. This study is conducted to assess the role of ENaC and the PI3K/Akt/SGK1 signaling pathway in 17β-estradiol therapy in attenuating LPS-induced ALI.
ALI was induced in C57BL/J male mice by intratracheal administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Concurrent with LPS administration, 17β-estradiol or sterile saline was administered to ALI model with or without the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor wortmannin. The lung histological changes, inflammatory mediators in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), wet/dry weight ratio (W/D) and alveolar fluid clearance (AFC) were measured 4 hours after LPS challenge in vivo. For in vitro studies, LPS-challenged MLE-12 cells were pre-incubated with or without wortmannin for 30 minutes prior to 17β-estradiol treatment. Expression of ENaC subunits was assessed by reverse transcriptase PCR, western blot, cell surface biotinylation, and immunohistochemistry. The levels of phosphorylated Akt and SGK1 in lung tissue and lung cell lines were investigated by western blot.
17β-estradiol suppressed LPS-mediated ALI in mice by diminishing inflammatory mediators and enhancing AFC. 17β-estradiol promoted the expression and surface abundance of α-ENaC, and increased the levels of phosphorylated-Akt and phosphorylated-SGK1 following LPS challenge. This induction was abolished by the PI3K inhibitor wortmannin in vivo and in vitro.
17β-estradiol attenuates LPS-induced ALI not only by repressing inflammation, but also by reducing pulmonary edema via elevation of α-ENaC expression and membrane abundance. These effects were mediated, at least partially, via activation of the PI3K/Akt/SGK1 signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4299800  PMID: 25551628
Acute lung injury (ALI); 17β-estradiol; Epithelial sodium channel (ENaC); Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K); Akt; Serum and glucocorticoid-induced kinanse-1 (SGK1)
9.  β-catenin SUMOylation is involved in the dysregulated proliferation of myeloma cells 
Over-activation of SUMOylation is correlated with poor prognosis in multiple myeloma (MM), with the mechanism unclear. Wnt signaling is one of the aberrantly regulated pathways related to cancer tumorigenesis and progression. Whether SUMOylation is involved in regulating the activity of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, however, has not been reported in MM. Here we found that the TOPflash reporter activity and the expression of Wnt/β-catenin target genes can be down-regulated after interference with SUMOylation through SUMO-1 small interfering RNA (siRNA). SUMOylation inhibition down-regulated β-catenin at protein level via promotion of ubiquitin-proteasomal mediated degradation. Furthermore, over-expression of β-catenin rescued Wnt/β-catenin pathway activity and partially prevented increased apoptosis and growth inhibition induced by SUMOylation inhibition, indicating that β-catenin was responsible for the observed effect on Wnt/β-catenin pathway. To gain a clearer view, we exploited the inter-protein interactions of β-catenin and SUMO-1 in myeloma cell lines. Immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence assay proved that β-catenin is subjected to SUMOylation in vivo, which may, at least partially explain the impact of SUMOylation inhibition on β-catenin. The association of SUMO-1 and β-catenin was confirmed in myeloma patient samples. Taken together, our data proved that SUMOylation inhibition down-regulates Wnt/β-catenin pathway by promoting the ubiquitin-proteasomal mediated degradation of β-catenin. SUMOylation of β-catenin is part of the mechanisms involved in the dysregulated proliferation of myeloma cells.
PMCID: PMC4300696  PMID: 25628940
Multiple myeloma; SUMO-1; SUMOylation; Wnt/β-catenin
10.  Is concomitant radiotherapy necessary with gemcitabine-based chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer? 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(46):17648-17655.
AIM: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of gemcitabine (GEM) plus radiotherapy compared with GEM alone for pancreatic cancer (PC).
METHODS: A systematic search for eligible studies comparing gemcitabine plus radiotherapy with gemcitabine alone for PC was performed using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library. A quality assessment was performed in each study. Meta-analyses were performed to study the pooled effects of relative risk with 95% confidence interval (CI).
RESULTS: A total of 336 participants from four original studies were included. Gemcitabine plus radiotherapy resulted in comparable overall survival (HR = 0.84, 95%CI: 0.53-1.34, P = 0.48) and progress free survival (HR = 0.99, 95%CI: 0.97-1.01, P = 0.36) to gemcitabine alone. Moreover, concomitant radiotherapy was associated with a significantly higher incidence of severe (grade 3 or greater) toxicities, mainly anemia, leukocytopenia, thrombocytopenia, anorexia, nausea/vomiting, and asthenia/fatigue.
CONCLUSION: Radiotherapy is not beneficial with gemcitabine-based chemotherapy for PC. Further exploration for better radiotherapy approaches and therapeutic regimens for the treatment of PC is warranted.
PMCID: PMC4265627  PMID: 25516680
Pancreatic cancer; Radiotherapy; Chemotherapy; Gemcitabine; Meta-analysis
11.  Effects of Mulching Tolerant Plant Straw on Soil Surface on Growth and Cadmium Accumulation of Galinsoga parviflora 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114957.
Pot and field experiments were conducted to study the effects of mulching with straw of cadmium (Cd) tolerant plants (Ranunculus sieboldii, Mazus japonicus, Clinopodium confine and Plantago asiatica) on growth and Cd accumulation of Galinsoga parviflora in Cd-contaminated soil. In the pot experiment, mulching with M. japonicus straw increased the root biomass, stem biomass, leaf biomass, shoot biomass, plant height and activities of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, peroxidase and catalase) of G. parviflora compared with the control, whereas mulching with straws of R. sieboldii, C. confine and P. asiatica decreased these parameters. Straws of the four Cd-tolerant plants increased the Cd content in roots of G. parviflora compared with the control. However, only straws of M. japonicus and P. asiatica increased the Cd content in shoots of G. parviflora, reduced the soil pH, and increased the soil exchangeable Cd concentration. Straw of M. japonicus increased the amount of Cd extraction in stems, leaves and shoots of G. parviflora by 21.11%, 29.43% and 24.22%, respectively, compared with the control, whereas straws of the other three Cd-tolerant plants decreased these parameters. In the field experiment, the M. japonicus straw also increased shoot biomass, Cd content in shoots, and amount of Cd extraction in shoots of G. parviflora compared with the control. Therefore, straw of M. japonicus can be used to improve the Cd extraction ability of G. parviflora from Cd-contaminated soil.
PMCID: PMC4260941  PMID: 25490210
12.  Online Fault Detection of Permanent Magnet Demagnetization for IPMSMs by Nonsingular Fast Terminal-Sliding-Mode Observer 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(12):23119-23136.
To prevent irreversible demagnetization of a permanent magnet (PM) for interior permanent magnet synchronous motors (IPMSMs) by flux-weakening control, a robust PM flux-linkage nonsingular fast terminal-sliding-mode observer (NFTSMO) is proposed to detect demagnetization faults. First, the IPMSM mathematical model of demagnetization is presented. Second, the construction of the NFTSMO to estimate PM demagnetization faults in IPMSM is described, and a proof of observer stability is given. The fault decision criteria and fault-processing method are also presented. Finally, the proposed scheme was simulated using MATLAB/Simulink and implemented on the RT-LAB platform. A number of robustness tests have been carried out. The scheme shows good performance in spite of speed fluctuations, torque ripples and the uncertainties of stator resistance.
PMCID: PMC4299055  PMID: 25490582
nonsingular fast terminal-sliding-mode observer (NFTSMO); interior permanent magnet synchronous motors (IPMSMs); permanent magnet (PM); demagnetization; fault detection; flux-weakening control
13.  Large malignant ovarian tumors during pregnancy: two cases 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:2121-2125.
The present study reports two cases of large ovarian malignancy during pregnancy, which is very rare. The two patients were received between Nov 2012 and Feb 2013 at Gynecological and Obstetrical Department, Women’s Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University (People’s Republic of China). Both cases present tumor sized more than 20 cm, with one case of 40 cm. Both patients underwent timely cesarean section, with survival of the Child, and successful removal of the tumor. All patients showed good outcome in the follow-up period. Therefore the large ovarian malignancy during pregnancy could be well treated after careful clinical evaluation.
PMCID: PMC4240190  PMID: 25484595
ovarian malignancy; pregnancy; incidence
14.  Drug susceptibility profile and pathogenicity of H7N9 influenza virus (Anhui1 lineage) with R292K substitution 
Neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) are the only available licensed therapeutics against human H7N9 influenza virus infections. The emergence of NAI-resistant variants of H7N9viruses with an NA R292K mutation poses a therapeutic challenge. A comprehensive understanding of the susceptibility of these viruses to clinically available NAIs, non-NAIs and their combinations is crucial for effective treatment. In this study, by using limited serial passage and plaque purification, an R292K variant of the Anhui1 lineage was isolated from a patient with clinical evidence of resistance to oseltamivir. In vitro and cell-based assays confirmed a high level of resistance conferred by the R292K mutation to oseltamivir carboxylate and a moderate level of resistance to zanamivir and peramivir. Non-NAI antivirals, such as T-705, ribavirin and NT-300, efficiently inhibited both the variant and the wild-type in cell-based assays. A combination of NAIs and non-NAIs did not exhibit a marked synergistic effect against the R292K variant. However, the combination of two non-NAIs (T-705 and ribavirin) exhibited significant synergism against the mutant virus. In experimentally infected mice, the variant showed delayed onset of symptoms, a reduced viral load and attenuated lethality compared with the wild-type. Our study suggested non-NAIs should be tested clinically for H7N9 patients with a sustained high viral load. Possible drug combination regimens, such as T-705 plus ribavirin, should be further tested in animal models. The pathogenicity and transmissibility of the R292K H7N9 variant should be further assessed with genetically well-characterized pairs of viruses and, most-desirably, with competitive fitness experiments.
PMCID: PMC4274890
H7N9; influenza virus; neuraminidase; oseltamivir; peramivir
15.  Wireless Sensor Networks for Heritage Object Deformation Detection and Tracking Algorithm 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(11):20562-20588.
Deformation is the direct cause of heritage object collapse. It is significant to monitor and signal the early warnings of the deformation of heritage objects. However, traditional heritage object monitoring methods only roughly monitor a simple-shaped heritage object as a whole, but cannot monitor complicated heritage objects, which may have a large number of surfaces inside and outside. Wireless sensor networks, comprising many small-sized, low-cost, low-power intelligent sensor nodes, are more useful to detect the deformation of every small part of the heritage objects. Wireless sensor networks need an effective mechanism to reduce both the communication costs and energy consumption in order to monitor the heritage objects in real time. In this paper, we provide an effective heritage object deformation detection and tracking method using wireless sensor networks (EffeHDDT). In EffeHDDT, we discover a connected core set of sensor nodes to reduce the communication cost for transmitting and collecting the data of the sensor networks. Particularly, we propose a heritage object boundary detecting and tracking mechanism. Both theoretical analysis and experimental results demonstrate that our EffeHDDT method outperforms the existing methods in terms of network traffic and the precision of the deformation detection.
PMCID: PMC4279500  PMID: 25365458
sensor networks; heritage object monitoring; deformation; detection and tracking
16.  Association of BRCA2 N372H polymorphism with cancer susceptibility: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6791.
BRCA2 gene plays an important role in homologous recombination. Polymorphic variants in this gene has been suggested to confer cancer susceptibility. Numerous studies have investigated association between BRCA2 N372H polymorphism and risk of several cancers, especially breast cancer. However, the results were inconsistent. We performed a comprehensive meta-analysis to provide a more precise assessment of the association between N372H and cancer risk, following the latest meta-analysis guidelines (PRISMA). Forty six studies involving 36299 cases and 48483 controls were included in our meta-analysis. The crude ORs and the 95% CIs were used to evaluate the strength of the association. The results indicated that the BRCA2 N372H variant was significantly associated with an increased risk of overall cancer (dominant model: OR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.01–1.13; recessive model: OR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.02–1.23). Moreover, stratified analyses by the cancer type and source of control observed significantly increased risk associated with BRCA2 N372H in subgroups with ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and population-based controls, but not breast cancer or hospital-based controls. We also found such association among Africans. Overall, the meta-analysis suggested that BRCA2 N372H may be a cancer susceptibility polymorphism. Well-designed and large-scale studies are needed to substantiate the association between BRCA2 N372H polymorphism and cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC4210867  PMID: 25348552
17.  Relevance of LIG4 gene polymorphisms with cancer susceptibility: Evidence from a meta-analysis 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6630.
Polymorphisms of LIG4 gene may influence DNA repair ability, thus altering the genetic stability and resulting in carcinogenesis. A growing number of studies have investigated the relevance of LIG4 T9I (rs1805388) and D501D (rs1805386) polymorphisms with cancer risk, however, the results are conflicting. To obtain a comprehensive conclusion, we searched relevant literatures from PubMed, Web of Science, Ovid and Embase databases on May 15, 2014 and performed a meta-analysis. In this meta-analysis, a total of 17 articles were included. Of them, there were 15 studies with 5873 cases and 5771 controls for rs1805388 and 6 studies with 4161 cases and 4881 controls for rs1805386. Overall, our results suggested that there was no obvious relevance of LIG4 T9I polymorphism with cancer susceptibility. However, in subgroup analysis, we found the LIG4 T9I was associated with a slightly decreased cancer risk among Caucasians. As to the rs1805386, the genetic variant had no significant association with cancer risk. In conclusion, despite several limitations, this meta-analysis suggested that LIG4 T9I genetic variant is associated with a decreased risk of cancer among Caucasians, however, the rs1805386 gene polymorphism is not a risk factor of cancer.
PMCID: PMC4197418  PMID: 25314918
18.  Potentially functional polymorphisms in the ERCC2 gene and risk of Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Chinese populations 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6281.
ERCC2 is indispensable for nucleotide excision repair pathway, and its functional polymorphisms may be associated with cancer risk. In a large case-control study of 1126 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCC) patients and 1131 controls, we genotyped two SNPs in ERCC2 (rs238406 G > T and rs13181 T > G) and assessed their associations with ESCC risk. We found a significantly elevated ESCC risk associated with the rs238406 T variant genotypes (adjusted OR = 1.30 and 1.24, 95% CI = 1.02–1.66 and 1.03–1.49 for TG and TG/TT, respectively, compared with GG), particularly in the subgroup of those smoked more than 16 pack-years. Multivariate logistic regression analysis suggested a possible multiplicative gene-environment interaction between rs238406 genotypes and smoking (Pinteraction = 0.026) on ESCC risk. Although no significant risk associations were observed for rs13181, further mini meta-analysis with our and 18 other published studies of 5,012 cases and 8,238 controls found evidence of an association between the rs13181 variant G allele and esophageal cancer risk (TG/GG vs. TT, OR = 1.17; 95% CI = 1.02–1.33). Interestingly, we consistently found a significant correlation between variant genotypes of these two SNPs and ERCC2 mRNA expression. These findings suggest that potentially functional SNPs in ERCC2 may contribute to ESCC risk.
PMCID: PMC4160711  PMID: 25209371
19.  Antitumor activity of cobrotoxin in human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells and following transplantation in nude mice 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(5):1961-1965.
The aim of the present study was to investigate cobra neurotoxin (cobrotoxin) activity in A549 cell lines transplanted into nude mice, and to explore its molecular mechanism. The 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) method was used to detect the growth inhibition rate of cobrotoxin in human lung A549 adenocarcinoma cells and HFL1 lung fibroblasts. Cell colony formation assays were performed to determine the effect of cobrotoxin on A549 cell colony formation, and transmission electron microscopy was used to detect cobrotoxin autophagy. In addition, western blot analysis was performed to determine the effect of 3-methyl adenine (3-MA) activity on the inhibition of autophagy, SB203580 inhibition of the p38-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, and Beclin 1, LC3, p62, p38 and phosphorylated (p)-p38 protein expression. Nude mice were injected with human lung A549 cells, and intervention and control groups were compared with regard to tumor suppression. The MTT assay revealed that various concentrations of cobrotoxin inhibited growth of A549 cells, but not HFL1 cells. A549 cell colony formation decreased and autophagosome activity was significantly increased compared with the controls. Following 3-MA administration, SB203580 autophagosome activity decreased, and following cobrotoxin administration, Beclin 1, p-p38, and LC3-II protein expression significantly increased, whereas p62 expression significantly decreased. Following 3-MA inhibition of autophagy, Beclin 1, LC3-II and p62 expression increased. Furthermore, following SB203580 inhibition of the p38-MAPK pathway, Beclin 1, p-p38, LC3-II and p62 protein expression increased. Cobrotoxin exhibited inhibitory activity on the human lung cancer A549 cells transplanted into the nude mice, suppressing the tumor growth rate by 43.4% (cobrotoxin 40 μg/kg group). However, following the addition of 3-MA (10 mmol/kg) and SB203580 (5 mg/kg), the suppression of the tumor growth rate decreased significantly. Cobrotoxin inhibits the growth of human lung cancer A549 cells in vitro and A549 cells transplanted into nude mice. Furthermore, the induction of autophagy may be associated with the activation of the p38-MAPK pathway.
PMCID: PMC4186617  PMID: 25295079
cobrotoxin; human lung A549 cells; autophagy; p38; mitogen-activated protein kinase
20.  The genus Codonopsis (Campanulaceae): a review of phytochemistry, bioactivity and quality control 
Codonopsis, in the family Campanulaceae, is a genus containing 42 species of dicotyledonous herbaceous perennial plants, predominantly found in Central, East and South Asia. Several Codonopsis species are widely used in traditional medicine and are considered to have multiple medicinal properties. Among the Codonopsis species, Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf. and C. lanceolata (Sieb. et Zucc.) Benth. & Hook. f. ex Trautv. are more popular than others according to the findings, especially phytochemical and bioactive studies. Phytochemical research shows that Codonopsis species contain mainly polyacetylenes, phenylpropanoids, alkaloids, triterpenoids and polysaccharides, which contribute to multiple bioactivities. However, the mechanisms of their bioactivities need to be further elucidated. The less popular Codonopsis species remain to be studied and exploited. In addition, although a series of methods for the quality evaluation of Codonopsis species have been developed, a feasible and reliable approach to the efficacious and safe use of various Codonopsis species is still needed, with considering botanical origin, chemical constituents and bioactive effects. This review aims to provide up-to-date and comprehensive information on the phytochemistry, bioactivity and quality control of medicinal plants in the genus Codonopsis and to highlight current gaps in knowledge, which is useful for the wider development of the Codonopsis genus.
PMCID: PMC4287686  PMID: 25099952
Codonopsis; Phytochemistry; Bioactivity; Quality control
21.  Intensity-Based Skeletonization of CryoEM Gray-Scale Images Using a True Segmentation-Free Algorithm 
Cryo-electron microscopy is an experimental technique that is able to produce 3D gray-scale images of protein molecules. In contrast to other experimental techniques, cryo-electron microscopy is capable of visualizing large molecular complexes such as viruses and ribosomes. At medium resolution, the positions of the atoms are not visible and the process cannot proceed. The medium-resolution images produced by cryo-electron microscopy are used to derive the atomic structure of the proteins in de novo modeling. The skeletons of the 3D gray-scale images are used to interpret important information that is helpful in de novo modeling. Unfortunately, not all features of the image can be captured using a single segmentation. In this paper, we present a segmentation-free approach to extract the gray-scale curve-like skeletons. The approach relies on a novel representation of the 3D image, where the image is modeled as a graph and a set of volume trees. A test containing 36 synthesized maps and one authentic map shows that our approach can improve the performance of the two tested tools used in de novo modeling. The improvements were 62 and 13 percent for Gorgon and DP-TOSS, respectively.
PMCID: PMC4104753  PMID: 24384713
Image processing; graphs; modeling techniques; volumetric image representation
22.  Prognosis of lymph node-negative breast cancer: Association with clinicopathological factors and tumor associated gene expression 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(4):1717-1724.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between the prognosis of lymph node-negative breast cancer patients and clinicopathological factors, as well as the association between tumor-associated gene expression and prognosis. Clinical data and survival information was collected for 341 patients with lymph node-negative breast cancer, admitted to the Cancer Hospital of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (Beijing, China) from 1995 to 1999. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Log-rank tests were used to evaluate the association of clinical parameters and prognosis. In addition, the gene expression of HER2, TOP2A and CCND1 in patients with good [disease-free survival (DFS), ≥5 years] and poor (DFS, <5 years) prognoses was analyzed. The clinicopathological factors of the 341 lymph node-negative breast cancer patients were determined. The 5-year DFS and overall survival rate (OS) in patients >35 years old was higher as compared with those of patients under the age of 35. Tumor size significantly affected the 5-year DFS. Patients with smaller tumors (≤2 cm) had a significantly higher DFS rate as compared with patients with larger tumors (>2 cm). Estrogen receptor (ER)-positive patients had a significantly higher 5-year DFS and OS rate as compared with ER-negative patients. By contrast, there were no significant differences in the 5-year DFS and OS rates between progesterone receptor-positive and -negative patients. The 5-year DFS and OS rates were significantly higher in patients treated with adjuvant hormone therapy, as compared with patients without hormone therapy. The expression of HER2 protein was higher in patients with a poor prognosis as compared with those with a good prognosis; however, there were no differences in the protein expression of CCND1 and TOP2A between patients with a good and poor prognosis. The results of quantitative polymerase chain reaction showed that the gene expression of HER2 and CCND1 was higher in patients with a poor prognosis as compared with that in patients with a good prognosis. TOP2A gene expression was not significantly different between patients with a poor and good prognosis. The age at diagnosis, tumor size, ER status and hormone therapy were associated with prognosis in patients with lymph node-negative breast cancer. The molecular biomarker, HER2, but not CCND1 or TOP2A, may be a critical factor for predicting prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4156224  PMID: 25202398
lymph node-negative breast cancer; prognosis; HER2; TOP2A; CCND1
23.  SUMO-2 Promotes mRNA Translation by Enhancing Interaction between eIF4E and eIF4G 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100457.
Small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) proteins regulate many important eukaryotic cellular processes through reversible covalent conjugation to target proteins. In addition to its many well-known biological consequences, like subcellular translocation of protein, subnuclear structure formation, and modulation of transcriptional activity, we show here that SUMO-2 also plays a role in mRNA translation. SUMO-2 promoted formation of the active eukaryotic initiation factor 4F (eIF4F) complex by enhancing interaction between Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 4E (eIF4E) and Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 4G (eIF4G), and induced translation of a subset of proteins, such as cyclinD1 and c-myc, which essential for cell proliferation and apoptosis. As expected, overexpression of SUMO-2 can partially cancel out the disrupting effect of 4EGI-1, a small molecule inhibitor of eIF4E/eIF4G interaction, on formation of the eIF4F complex, translation of the cap-dependent protein, cell proliferation and apoptosis. On the other hand, SUMO-2 knockdown via shRNA partially impaired cap-dependent translation and cell proliferation and promoted apoptosis. These results collectively suggest that SUMO-2 conjugation plays a crucial regulatory role in protein synthesis. Thus, this report might contribute to the basic understanding of mammalian protein translation and sheds some new light on the role of SUMO in this process.
PMCID: PMC4074059  PMID: 24971752
24.  Oridonin induces NPM mutant protein translocation and apoptosis in NPM1c+ acute myeloid leukemia cells in vitro 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2014;35(6):806-813.
Skewed cytoplasmic accumulation of NPM mutant protein (NPM1c+) is close related to leukemia pathogenesis. The aim of this study was to investigate whether oridonin, a diterpenoid isolated from the Chinese traditional medicine Rabdosia rubescens, was able to interfere with NPM1c+ protein trafficking and induce apoptosis in NPM1c+ acute myeloid leukemia cells in vitro.
OCI-AML3 cell line harboring a NPM1 gene mutation was examined. Cell growth was detected by MTT assay. Cell apoptosis was evaluated using flow cytometry and Hoechst 33258 staining. The expression and subcellular localization of relevant proteins were detected by Western blot and immunofluorescent staining. The mRNA expression was detected by RT-PCR.
Oridonin (2–12 μmol/L) dose-dependently inhibited the viability of OCI-AML3 cells (the IC50 value was 3.27±0.23 μmol/L at 24 h). Moreover, oridonin induced OCI-AML3 cell apoptosis accompanied by activation of caspase-3 and nuclear translocation of NPM1c+ protein. Oridonin did not change the expression of Crm1 (the export receptor for nuclear export signal-containing proteins), but induced nuclear translocation of Crm1. Oridonin markedly increased the expression of nucleoporin98 (Nup98), which had an important role in Crm1-mediated nuclear protein export, and induced nuclear accumulation of Nup98. Furthermore, oridonin markedly increased the expression of p14arf and p53.
In NPM1c+ leukemia cells, oridonin induces NPM1c+ protein translocation into the nucleus possibly via nuclear accumulation of Crm1; the compound markedly increases p53 and p14arf expression, which may contribute to cell apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4086383  PMID: 24902788
oridonin; acute myeloid leukemia; NPM mutation; protein trafficking; Crm1; nucleoporin98; apoptosis; p53; p14arf
25.  Dynamic expression patterns of ATF3 and p53 in the hippocampus of a pentylenetetrazole-induced kindling model 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2014;10(2):645-651.
Epilepsy is a common and often deleterious neurological condition. Emerging evidence has demonstrated the roles of innate immunity and the associated inflammatory processes in epilepsy. In a previous study, we found that Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are upregulated and promote mossy fiber sprouting (MFS) in an epileptic model. As downstream effectors of TLRs, the activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) and p53 proteins were shown to be involved in neurite outgrowth. In the present study, we hypothesized that ATF3 and p53 participate in the process of epilepsy and can affect MFS. To investigate this hypothesis, we examined the expression of ATF3 and p53 in hippocampal tissues of rats kindled by pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) using immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry and western blotting. MFS was evaluated by Timm staining in the hippocampus. Results from these experiments revealed that expression of ATF3 and p53 is significantly higher (p<0.05) in the CA3 area of the hippocampus in the PTZ-treated group compared to the control group. ATF3 expression gradually increased from 3 days to 4 weeks, peaked at 4 weeks and decreased slightly at 6 weeks in the PTZ group, while the expression of p53 was maintained at similar levels at different time-points following PTZ treatment. No obvious difference in the expression of these proteins was observed between the PTZ and the control group in the dentate gyrus (DG) area (p>0.05). The degree of MFS in the PTZ group peaked at 4 weeks and was maintained at a high level until 6 weeks post-PTZ treatment. In conclusion, ATF3 and p53 may be involved in the occurrence of seizure and play critical roles in MFS in the PTZ kindling model.
PMCID: PMC4094765  PMID: 24859284
epilepsy; activating transcription factor 3; p53; axon growth; MFS

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