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1.  Formins: Linking Cytoskeleton and Endomembranes in Plant Cells 
The cytoskeleton plays a central part in spatial organization of the plant cytoplasm, including the endomebrane system. However, the mechanisms involved are so far only partially understood. Formins (FH2 proteins), a family of evolutionarily conserved proteins sharing the FH2 domain whose dimer can nucleate actin, mediate the co-ordination between actin and microtubule cytoskeletons in multiple eukaryotic lineages including plants. Moreover, some plant formins contain transmembrane domains and participate in anchoring cytoskeletal structures to the plasmalemma, and possibly to other membranes. Direct or indirect membrane association is well documented even for some fungal and metazoan formins lacking membrane insertion motifs, and FH2 proteins have been shown to associate with endomembranes and modulate their dynamics in both fungi and metazoans. Here we summarize the available evidence suggesting that formins participate in membrane trafficking and endomembrane, especially ER, organization also in plants. We propose that, despite some methodological pitfalls inherent to in vivo studies based on (over)expression of truncated and/or tagged proteins, formins are beginning to emerge as candidates for the so far somewhat elusive link between the plant cytoskeleton and the endomembrane system.
PMCID: PMC4307232  PMID: 25546384
formin; actin; microtubules; endoplasmic reticulum; Golgi; fusion proteins; AtFH4; AtFH5; AtFH16
2.  Plasma Levels of Dimethylarginines in Preterm Very Low Birth Weight Neonates: Its Relation with Perinatal Factors and Short-Term Outcome 
Endogenously produced inhibitors of nitric oxide (NO) synthase, in particular asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), are currently considered of importance in various disease states characterized by reduced NO availability. We investigated the association between plasma levels of ADMA, symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA), l-arginine, and citrulline and perinatal factors and outcome in 130 preterm (gestational age ≤30 weeks) very low birth weight (VLBW, <1500 g) infants. Plasma samples were collected 6–12 h after birth. We did not find significant correlations between ADMA, SDMA, l-arginine, and citrulline levels and gestational age or birth weight. However, the arginine:ADMA ratio (AAR, a better indicator of NO availability than either arginine or ADMA separately) was positively correlated with gestational age. ADMA and arginine levels were not significantly different between males and females but males showed a negative correlation between ADMA levels and gestational age. Perinatal factors such as preeclampsia, chrorioamnionitis, prolonged rupture of membranes, or form of delivery did not significantly alter dimethylarginine levels or AAR. In contrast, the AAR was significantly reduced in the infants with respiratory distress, mechanical ventilation, and systemic hypotension Therefore, our data suggest that altered NO availability may play a role in the respiratory and cardiovascular adaptation in preterm VLBW infants.
PMCID: PMC4307233  PMID: 25546385
dimethylarginine; arginine; preterm infants; nitric oxide; preeclampsia; chrorioamnionitis; respiratory distress
3.  The Role of Autophagy as a Mechanism of Toxicity Induced by Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes in Human Lung Cells 
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are promising nanomaterials having unique physical and chemical properties, with applications in a variety of fields. In this review, we briefly summarize the intrinsic properties of highly purified multi-walled CNTs (MWCNTs, HTT2800) and their potential hazardous effects on intracellular and extracellular pathways, which alter cellular signaling and impact major cell functions such as differentiation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, apoptosis, and autophagy. A recent study suggested that the induction of autophagy by CNTs causes nanotoxicity. Autophagy was recently recognized as a critical cell death pathway, and autophagosome accumulation has been found to be associated with exposure to CNTs. Although autophagy is considered as a cytoprotective process, it is often observed in association with cell death, and the relationship between autophagy and cell death remains unclear. Our recent study suggests that the levels of autophagy-related genes (LC3B) and autophagosome formation are clearly up-regulated, along with an increase in numbers of autophagosome vacuoles. This review highlights the importance of autophagy as an emerging mechanism of CNT toxicity.
PMCID: PMC4307234  PMID: 25546386
autophagy; carbon nanotube; lung cell; cell death
4.  The Regulation of Nitric Oxide Synthase Isoform Expression in Mouse and Human Fallopian Tubes: Potential Insights for Ectopic Pregnancy 
Nitric oxide (NO) is highly unstable and has a half-life of seconds in buffer solutions. It is synthesized by NO-synthase (NOS), which has been found to exist in the following three isoforms: neuro nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). NOS activity is localized in the reproductive tracts of many species, although direct evidence for NOS isoforms in the Fallopian tubes of mice is still lacking. In the present study, we investigated the expression and regulation of NOS isoforms in the mouse and human Fallopian tubes during the estrous and menstrual cycles, respectively. We also measured isoform expression in humans with ectopic pregnancy and in mice treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Our results confirmed the presence of different NOS isoforms in the mouse and human Fallopian tubes during different stages of the estrous and menstrual cycles and showed that iNOS expression increased in the Fallopian tubes of women with ectopic pregnancy and in LPS-treated mice. Elevated iNOS activity might influence ovulation, cilia beats, contractility, and embryo transportation in such a manner as to increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. This study has provided morphological and molecular evidence that NOS isoforms are present and active in the human and mouse Fallopian tubes and suggests that iNOS might play an important role in both the reproductive cycle and infection-induced ectopic pregnancies.
PMCID: PMC4307235  PMID: 25546387
nitric oxide synthase; steroid hormones; Fallopian tube; ectopic pregnancy
5.  Exposure to Non-Extreme Solar UV Daylight: Spectral Characterization, Effects on Skin and Photoprotection 
The link between chronic sun exposure of human skin and harmful clinical consequences such as photo-aging and skin cancers is now indisputable. These effects are mostly due to ultraviolet (UV) rays (UVA, 320–400 nm and UVB, 280–320 nm). The UVA/UVB ratio can vary with latitude, season, hour, meteorology and ozone layer, leading to different exposure conditions. Zenithal sun exposure (for example on a beach around noon under a clear sky) can rapidly induce visible and well-characterized clinical consequences such as sunburn, predominantly induced by UVB. However, a limited part of the global population is exposed daily to such intense irradiance and until recently little attention has been paid to solar exposure that does not induce any short term clinical impact. This paper will review different studies on non-extreme daily UV exposures with: (1) the characterization and the definition of the standard UV daylight and its simulation in the laboratory; (2) description of the biological and clinical effects of such UV exposure in an in vitro reconstructed human skin model and in human skin in vivo, emphasizing the contribution of UVA rays and (3) analysis of photoprotection approaches dedicated to prevent the harmful impact of such UV exposure.
PMCID: PMC4307236  PMID: 25546388
ultraviolet; skin; UV daylight; daily ultraviolet radiation; solar exposure; human skin; reconstructed skin; photoprotection; sunscreen
6.  Transfer RNA Methyltransferases from Thermoplasma acidophilum, a Thermoacidophilic Archaeon 
We investigated tRNA methyltransferase activities in crude cell extracts from the thermoacidophilic archaeon Thermoplasma acidophilum. We analyzed the modified nucleosides in native initiator and elongator tRNAMet, predicted the candidate genes for the tRNA methyltransferases on the basis of the tRNAMet and tRNALeu sequences, and characterized Trm5, Trm1 and Trm56 by purifying recombinant proteins. We found that the Ta0997, Ta0931, and Ta0836 genes of T. acidophilum encode Trm1, Trm56 and Trm5, respectively. Initiator tRNAMet from T. acidophilum strain HO-62 contained G+, m1I, and m22G, which were not reported previously in this tRNA, and the m2G26 and m22G26 were formed by Trm1. In the case of elongator tRNAMet, our analysis showed that the previously unidentified G modification at position 26 was a mixture of m2G and m22G, and that they were also generated by Trm1. Furthermore, purified Trm1 and Trm56 could methylate the precursor of elongator tRNAMet, which has an intron at the canonical position. However, the speed of methyl-transfer by Trm56 to the precursor RNA was considerably slower than that to the mature transcript, which suggests that Trm56 acts mainly on the transcript after the intron has been removed. Moreover, cellular arrangements of the tRNA methyltransferases in T. acidophilum are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4307237  PMID: 25546389
RNA modification; tRNA methyltransferase; archaea
7.  Transmembrane Signal Transduction in Oocyte Maturation and Fertilization: Focusing on Xenopus laevis as a Model Animal 
Fertilization is a cell biological phenomenon of crucial importance for the birth of new life in a variety of multicellular and sexual reproduction species such as algae, animal and plants. Fertilization involves a sequence of events, in which the female gamete “egg” and the male gamete “spermatozoon (sperm)” develop, acquire their functions, meet and fuse with each other, to initiate embryonic and zygotic development. Here, it will be briefly reviewed how oocyte cytoplasmic components are orchestrated to undergo hormone-induced oocyte maturation and sperm-induced activation of development. I then review how sperm-egg membrane interaction/fusion and activation of development in the fertilized egg are accomplished and regulated through egg coat- or egg plasma membrane-associated components, highlighting recent findings and future directions in the studies using Xenopus laevis as a model experimental animal.
PMCID: PMC4307238  PMID: 25546390
fertilization; gamete interaction and fusion; membrane microdomains; oocyte maturation; signaling crosstalk; Src; uroplakin III
8.  Quantification of Drug Transport Function across the Multiple Resistance-Associated Protein 2 (Mrp2) in Rat Livers 
To understand the transport function of drugs across the canalicular membrane of hepatocytes, it would be important to measure concentrations in hepatocytes and bile. However, these concentration gradients are rarely provided. The aim of the study is then to measure these concentrations and define parameters to quantify the canalicular transport of drugs through the multiple resistance associated-protein 2 (Mrp2) in entire rat livers. Besides drug bile excretion rates, we measured additional parameters to better define transport function across Mrp2: (1) Concentration gradients between hepatocyte and bile concentrations over time; and (2) a unique parameter (canalicular concentration ratio) that represents the slope of the non-linear regression curve between hepatocyte and bile concentrations. This information was obtained in isolated rat livers perfused with gadobenate dimeglumine (BOPTA) and mebrofenin (MEB), two hepatobiliary drugs used in clinical liver imaging. Interestingly, despite different transport characteristics including excretion rates into bile and hepatocyte clearance into bile, BOPTA and MEB have a similar canalicular concentration ratio. In contrast, the ratio was null when BOPTA was not excreted in bile in hepatocytes lacking Mrp2. The canalicular concentration ratio is more informative than bile excretion rates because it is independent of time, bile flows, and concentrations perfused in portal veins. It would be interesting to apply such information in human liver imaging where hepatobiliary compounds are increasingly investigated.
PMCID: PMC4307239  PMID: 25547484
drug hepatic pharmacokinetics; bile excretion rates; drug hepatocyte concentrations; drug bile concentrations; isolated and perfused rat liver
9.  Systemic Delivery of Protein Nanocages Bearing CTT Peptides for Enhanced Imaging of MMP-2 Expression in Metastatic Tumor Models 
Matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2) in metastatic cancer tissue, which is associated with a poor prognosis, is a potential target for tumor imaging in vivo. Here, we describe a metastatic cancer cell-targeted protein nanocage. An MMP-2-binding peptide, termed CTT peptide (CTTHWGFTLC), was conjugated to the surface of a naturally occurring heat shock protein nanocage by genetic modification. The engineered protein nanocages showed a binding affinity for MMP-2 and selective uptake in cancer cells that highly expressed MMP-2 in vitro. In near-infrared fluorescence imaging, the nanocages showed specific and significant accumulation in tumor tissue after intravenous injection in vivo. These protein nanocages conjugated with CTT peptide could be potentially applied to a noninvasive near-infrared fluorescence detection method for imaging gelatinase activity in metastatic tumors in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4307240  PMID: 25547485
matrix metalloproteinase; protein nanocages; CTT peptides; metastatic tumor; in vivo fluorescence imaging
10.  Upregulation of TLRs and IL-6 as a Marker in Human Colorectal Cancer 
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) not only form an important part of the innate immune system but also serve to activate the adaptive immune system in response to cancer. Real-time PCR; immunohistochemical stain and Western blotting analyses were performed to clarify molecular alterations in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. We identified Toll-like receptor 1 (TLR1), TLR2, TLR4 and TLR8 gene expression levels and downstream gene, i.e., interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, interferon-α (IFN-α) and myeloid differentiation primary-response protein-88 (MyD88), expression levels in CRC patients and in cancer cell lines. CRC tissues have higher TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, TLR8, IL-6 and IL-8 gene expression levels than do the normal colon mucosa (p < 0.05). TLR2 expression varied in different cell types (mucosa and lymphocytes). There was no difference in the MyD88 and IFN-α gene expression levels between cancerous and normal colon mucosa. CRC patients had higher levels of IL-6 (p = 0.002) and IL-8 (p = 0.038) expression than healthy volunteers did; and higher IL-6 and IL-8 expression was also found to signify a higher risk of recurrence. CL075 (3M002) treatments can reduce the production of IL-8 in different cancer cell lines. The signaling pathway of TLRs in cancer tissue is different from that in normal cells; and is MyD88-independent. Higher expression levels of TLR1, TLR2, TLR 4 and TLR 8 mRNA were related to upregulation inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8 gene expression in tissue and to the upregulation of IL-6 in blood. The concentration of IL-6 in serum can be used as an indicator of the possibility of CRC recurrence. Treatment with 3M002 can reduce IL-6 production in vitro and may prevent CRC recurrence. Our findings provide evidence that TLR1, TLR2, TLR4 and TLR8 gene expression induce downstream IL-6 and IL-8 gene expression; detection of these expression levels can serve as a CRC marker.
PMCID: PMC4307241  PMID: 25547486
Toll-like receptors; real-time PCR; immunohistochemical stain; Western blotting; colorectal cancer
11.  Increased ARPP-19 Expression Is Associated with Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
The cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein 19 (ARPP-19) plays a key role in cell mitotic G2/M transition. Expression of ARPP-19 was increased in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) compared to adjacent non-tumorous liver tissues in 36 paired liver samples, and the level of ARPP-19 in HCC tissues was positively correlated with the tumor size. To determine the interrelationship between ARPP-19 expression and HCC, we silenced ARPP-19 expression in the human hepatocarcinoma HepG2 and SMMC-7721 cells using lentivirus encoding ARPP-19 siRNA. HepG2 and SMMC-7721 cells with ARPP-19 knockdown displayed lowered cell growth rate, retarded colony formation and increased arrest at the G2/M phase transition. Silencing ARPP-19 in HCC cells resulted in decreased protein levels of phospho-(Ser) CDKs substrates and increased levels of inactivated cyclin division cycle 2 (Cdc2). Therefore, ARPP-19 may play a role in HCC pathogenesis through regulating cell proliferation.
PMCID: PMC4307242  PMID: 25547487
hepatocellular carcinoma; ARPP-19; cell proliferation; cell cycle
12.  Oxidative Stress and Its Significant Roles in Neurodegenerative Diseases and Cancer 
Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species have been implicated in diverse pathophysiological conditions, including inflammation, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Accumulating evidence indicates that oxidative damage to biomolecules including lipids, proteins and DNA, contributes to these diseases. Previous studies suggest roles of lipid peroxidation and oxysterols in the development of neurodegenerative diseases and inflammation-related cancer. Our recent studies identifying and characterizing carbonylated proteins reveal oxidative damage to heat shock proteins in neurodegenerative disease models and inflammation-related cancer, suggesting dysfunction in their antioxidative properties. In neurodegenerative diseases, DNA damage may not only play a role in the induction of apoptosis, but also may inhibit cellular division via telomere shortening. Immunohistochemical analyses showed co-localization of oxidative/nitrative DNA lesions and stemness markers in the cells of inflammation-related cancers. Here, we review oxidative stress and its significant roles in neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
PMCID: PMC4307243  PMID: 25547488
oxidative stress; neurodegenerative diseases; cancer; lipid peroxidation; oxysterol; carbonyl proteins; protein damage; DNA damage; stem cells
13.  Compartmentalization Role of A-Kinase Anchoring Proteins (AKAPs) in Mediating Protein Kinase A (PKA) Signaling and Cardiomyocyte Hypertrophy 
The Beta-adrenergic receptors (β-ARs) stimulation enhances contractility through protein kinase-A (PKA) substrate phosphorylation. This PKA signaling is conferred in part by PKA binding to A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs). AKAPs coordinate multi-protein signaling networks that are targeted to specific intracellular locations, resulting in the localization of enzyme activity and transmitting intracellular actions of neurotransmitters and hormones to its target substrates. In particular, mAKAP (muscle-selective AKAP) has been shown to be present on the nuclear envelope of cardiomyocytes with various proteins including: PKA-regulatory subunit (RIIα), phosphodiesterase-4D3, protein phosphatase-2A, and ryanodine receptor (RyR2). Therefore, through the coordination of spatial-temporal signaling of proteins and enzymes, mAKAP controls cyclic-adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels very tightly and functions as a regulator of PKA-mediated substrate phosphorylation leading to changes in calcium availability and myofilament calcium sensitivity. The goal of this review is to elucidate the critical compartmentalization role of mAKAP in mediating PKA signaling and regulating cardiomyocyte hypertrophy by acting as a scaffolding protein. Based on our literature search and studying the structure–function relationship between AKAP scaffolding protein and its binding partners, we propose possible explanations for the mechanism by which mAKAP promotes cardiac hypertrophy.
PMCID: PMC4307244  PMID: 25547489
hypertrophy; protein kinase A (PKA); A kinase anchoring protein (AKAP); contractility
14.  The Potential of Liposomes with Carbonic Anhydrase IX to Deliver Anticancer Ingredients to Cancer Cells in Vivo 
Drug delivery nanocarriers, especially targeted drug delivery by liposomes are emerging as a class of therapeutics for cancer. Early research results suggest that liposomal therapeutics enhanced efficacy, while simultaneously reducing side effects, owing to properties such as more targeted localization in tumors and active cellular uptake. Here, we highlight the features of immunoliposomes that distinguish them from previous anticancer therapies, and describe how these features provide the potential for therapeutic effects that are not achievable with other modalities. While a large number of studies has been published, the emphasis here is placed on the carbonic anhydrase IX (CA-IX) and the conjugated liposomes that are likely to open a new chapter on drug delivery system by using immunoliposomes to deliver anticancer ingredients to cancer cells in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4307245  PMID: 25547490
immunoliposomes; anticancer ingredients; in vivo delivery; carbonic anhydronase IX (CA-IX); cancer cell penetrating peptides
15.  Molecular Targets of Antihypertensive Peptides: Understanding the Mechanisms of Action Based on the Pathophysiology of Hypertension 
There is growing interest in using functional foods or nutraceuticals for the prevention and treatment of hypertension or high blood pressure. Although numerous preventive and therapeutic pharmacological interventions are available on the market, unfortunately, many patients still suffer from poorly controlled hypertension. Furthermore, most pharmacological drugs, such as inhibitors of angiotensin-I converting enzyme (ACE), are often associated with significant adverse effects. Many bioactive food compounds have been characterized over the past decades that may contribute to the management of hypertension; for example, bioactive peptides derived from various food proteins with antihypertensive properties have gained a great deal of attention. Some of these peptides have exhibited potent in vivo antihypertensive activity in both animal models and human clinical trials. This review provides an overview about the complex pathophysiology of hypertension and demonstrates the potential roles of food derived bioactive peptides as viable interventions targeting specific pathways involved in this disease process. This review offers a comprehensive guide for understanding and utilizing the molecular mechanisms of antihypertensive actions of food protein derived peptides.
PMCID: PMC4307246  PMID: 25547491
antihypertensive peptides; spontaneously hypertensive rats; hypertension; angiotensin converting enzyme; endothelin; nitric oxide
16.  The Anticancer Drug Ellipticine Activated with Cytochrome P450 Mediates DNA Damage Determining Its Pharmacological Efficiencies: Studies with Rats, Hepatic Cytochrome P450 Reductase Null (HRN™) Mice and Pure Enzymes 
Ellipticine is a DNA-damaging agent acting as a prodrug whose pharmacological efficiencies and genotoxic side effects are dictated by activation with cytochrome P450 (CYP). Over the last decade we have gained extensive experience in using pure enzymes and various animal models that helped to identify CYPs metabolizing ellipticine. In this review we focus on comparison between the in vitro and in vivo studies and show a necessity of both approaches to obtain valid information on CYP enzymes contributing to ellipticine metabolism. Discrepancies were found between the CYP enzymes activating ellipticine to 13-hydroxy- and 12-hydroxyellipticine generating covalent DNA adducts and those detoxifying this drug to 9-hydroxy- and 7-hydroellipticine in vitro and in vivo. In vivo, formation of ellipticine-DNA adducts is dependent not only on expression levels of CYP3A, catalyzing ellipticine activation in vitro, but also on those of CYP1A that oxidize ellipticine in vitro mainly to the detoxification products. The finding showing that cytochrome b5 alters the ratio of ellipticine metabolites generated by CYP1A1/2 and 3A4 explained this paradox. Whereas the detoxification of ellipticine by CYP1A and 3A is either decreased or not changed by cytochrome b5, activation leading to ellipticine-DNA adducts increased considerably. We show that (I) the pharmacological effects of ellipticine mediated by covalent ellipticine-derived DNA adducts are dictated by expression levels of CYP1A, 3A and cytochrome b5, and its own potency to induce these enzymes in tumor tissues, (II) animal models, where levels of CYPs are either knocked out or induced are appropriate to identify CYPs metabolizing ellipticine in vivo, and (III) extrapolation from in vitro data to the situation in vivo is not always possible, confirming the need for these animal models.
PMCID: PMC4307247  PMID: 25547492
anticancer drug ellipticine; cytochrome P450 mediated DNA-damage; covalent DNA adducts; enzymes metabolizing ellipticine in vitro and in vivo
17.  USP22 Promotes NSCLC Tumorigenesis via MDMX Up-Regulation and Subsequent p53 Inhibition 
Increasing evidence suggests that ubiquitin-specific protease 22 (USP22) has great clinicopathologic significance in oncology. In this study, we investigated the role of USP22 in human NSCLC tumorigenesis along with the underlying mechanisms of action. First, we determined the expression of USP22 in human NSCLC, as well as normal tissues and cell lines. We then studied the effects of USP22 silencing by shRNA on NSCLC cell growth in vitro and tumorigenesis in vivo, along with the effect on the p53 pathway. We found that USP22 is overexpressed in human NSCLC tissues and cell lines. USP22 silencing by shRNA inhibits proliferation, induces apoptosis and arrests cells at the G0/G1 phases in NSCLC cells and curbs human NSCLC tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model. Additionally, USP22 silencing downregulates MDMX protein expression and activates the p53 pathway. Our co-immunoprecipitation analysis shows that USP22 interacts with MDMX in NSCLC cells. Furthermore, MDMX silencing leads to growth arrest and apoptosis in NSCLC cells, and over-expression of MDMX reverses the USP22 silencing-induced effects. Taken together, our results suggest that USP22 promotes NSCLC tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo through MDMX upregulation and subsequent p53 inhibition. USP22 may represent a novel target for NSCLC treatment.
PMCID: PMC4307248  PMID: 25547493
18.  tRNAs as Antibiotic Targets 
Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are central players in the protein translation machinery and as such are prominent targets for a large number of natural and synthetic antibiotics. This review focuses on the role of tRNAs in bacterial antibiosis. We will discuss examples of antibiotics that target multiple stages in tRNA biology from tRNA biogenesis and modification, mature tRNAs, aminoacylation of tRNA as well as prevention of proper tRNA function by small molecules binding to the ribosome. Finally, the role of deacylated tRNAs in the bacterial “stringent response” mechanism that can lead to bacteria displaying antibiotic persistence phenotypes will be discussed.
PMCID: PMC4307249  PMID: 25547494
tRNA; protein translation; antibiotics; stringent response; biogenesis
19.  Stable Hydrogen Production from Ethanol through Steam Reforming Reaction over Nickel-Containing Smectite-Derived Catalyst 
Hydrogen production through steam reforming of ethanol was investigated with conventional supported nickel catalysts and a Ni-containing smectite-derived catalyst. The former is initially active, but significant catalyst deactivation occurs during the reaction due to carbon deposition. Side reactions of the decomposition of CO and CH4 are the main reason for the catalyst deactivation, and these reactions can relatively be suppressed by the use of the Ni-containing smectite. The Ni-containing smectite-derived catalyst contains, after H2 reduction, stable and active Ni nanocrystallites, and as a result, it shows a stable and high catalytic performance for the steam reforming of ethanol, producing H2.
PMCID: PMC4307250  PMID: 25547495
hydrogen; steam reforming; ethanol; nickel; smectite
20.  High Levels of KAP1 Expression Are Associated with Aggressive Clinical Features in Ovarian Cancer 
KAP1 is an universal corepressor for Kruppel-associated box zinc finger proteins in both normal and tumor cells. In this study, the biological function and clinical significance of KAP1 expression in ovarian cancer were investigated. Immunohistological staining of KAP1 was evaluated in 111 patients with ovarian epithelial cancer, 15 with ovarian borderline tumor, and 20 normal ovarian tissue. The correlations of KAP1 expression with clinicopathological features were studied. Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazard modeling were used to assess overall survival to analyze the effect of KAP1 expression on the prognosis of ovarian cancer. The positive rates of KAP1 were significantly higher in ovarian epithelial cancer (55.7%) and borderline tumor (20.0%) than in normal ovarian tissue (5.0%) (all p < 0.01). KAP1 expression correlated significantly with clinical stage (χ2 = 14.57, p < 0.0001), pathological grade (χ2 = 6.06, p = 0.048) and metastases (χ2 =10.38, p = 0.001). Patients with high KAP 1 levels showed poor survival (p < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis showed that KAP1 high expression was an independent predictor for ovarian cancer patients (hazard ratio = 0.463; 95% confidence interval = 0.230–0.9318, p = 0.031). Functionally, depletion of KAP1 by siRNA inhibited ovarian cancer cell proliferation, cell migration. KAP1 expression correlated with aggressive clinical features in ovarian cancer. High KAP1 expression was a prognostic factor of ovarian cancer.
PMCID: PMC4307251  PMID: 25548895
KAP1; ovarian cancer; prognostic factor
21.  Oxidative Stress in Obesity: A Critical Component in Human Diseases 
Obesity, a social problem worldwide, is characterized by an increase in body weight that results in excessive fat accumulation. Obesity is a major cause of morbidity and mortality and leads to several diseases, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular, fatty liver diseases, and cancer. Growing evidence allows us to understand the critical role of adipose tissue in controlling the physic-pathological mechanisms of obesity and related comorbidities. Recently, adipose tissue, especially in the visceral compartment, has been considered not only as a simple energy depository tissue, but also as an active endocrine organ releasing a variety of biologically active molecules known as adipocytokines or adipokines. Based on the complex interplay between adipokines, obesity is also characterized by chronic low grade inflammation with permanently increased oxidative stress (OS). Over-expression of oxidative stress damages cellular structures together with under-production of anti-oxidant mechanisms, leading to the development of obesity-related complications. The aim of this review is to summarize what is known in the relationship between OS in obesity and obesity-related diseases.
PMCID: PMC4307252  PMID: 25548896
obesity; oxidative stress; adipocytokines; human diseases; adipose tissue
22.  Lipoprotein-Associated Oxidative Stress: A New Twist to the Postprandial Hypothesis 
Oxidative stress is recognized as one of the primary processes underlying the initiation and progression of atherosclerotic vascular disease. Under physiological conditions, the balance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and ROS scavenging is tightly controlled. As part of normal cellular metabolism, regulated oxidative stress is responsible for a variety of cellular responses. Excess generation of ROS that could not be compensated by antioxidant system has been suggested to be responsible for a number of pathological conditions. Due to their short biological half-lives, direct measurement of ROS is not available and surrogate measures are commonly used. Plasma lipoproteins, by virtue of their close interactions with endothelial cells in the vasculature and the susceptibility of their surface lipids to oxidative modification, are perfect biological sensors of oxidative stress in the arterial wall. In particular, with each consumed meal, triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, secreted by the intestine into the circulation, are responsible for the delivery of 20–40 grams of fat to the peripheral tissues. This flux of dietary lipids is accompanied by concomitant increases in glucose, insulin and other meal-associated metabolites. The contribution of postprandial lipemia to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis has been previously suggested by several lines of investigation. We have extended this hypothesis by demonstrating the acute generation of oxidative epitopes on plasma lipoproteins as well as transient changes in the oxidative susceptibility of plasma lipoproteins.
PMCID: PMC4307253  PMID: 25548897
oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species; lipoproteins; postprandial lipemia
23.  Effects of Different Sera Conditions on Olfactory Ensheathing Cells in Vitro 
Transplantation of olfactory ensheathing cells (OEC) is a promising therapy in spinal cord injury (SCI) treatment. However, the therapeutic efficacy of this method is unstable due to unknown reasons. Considering the alterations in the culture environment that occur during OEC preparation for transplantation, we hypothesize that these changes may cause variations in the curative effects of this method. In this study, we compared OEC cultured in medium containing different types and concentrations of serum. After purification and passage, the OEC were cultured for 7 days in different media containing 5%, 10%, 15% or 20% fetal bovine serum (FBS) or rat serum (RS), or the cells were cultured in FBS-containing medium first, followed by medium containing RS. In another group, the OEC were first cultured in 10% FBS for 3 days and then cultured with rat spinal cord explants with 10% RS for another 4 days. An MTT assay and P75 neurotrophin receptor immunofluorescence staining were used to examine cell viability and OEC numbers, respectively. The concentration of neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), which is secreted by OEC into the culture supernatant, was detected using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RT-PCR was applied to investigate the NT-3 gene expression in OEC according to different groups. Compared with FBS, RS reduced OEC proliferation in relation to OEC counts (χ2 = 166.279, df = 1, p < 0.01), the optical density (OD) value in the MTT assay (χ2 = 34.730, df = 1, p < 0.01), and NT-3 concentration in the supernatant (χ2 = 242.997, df = 1, p < 0.01). OEC cultured with spinal cord explants secreted less NT-3 than OEC cultured alone (F = 9.611, df = 5.139, p < 0.01). Meanwhile, the order of application of different sera was not influential. There was statistically significant difference in NT-3 gene expression among different groups when the serum concentration was 15% (χ2 = 64.347, df = 1, p < 0.01). In conclusion, different serum conditions may be responsible for the variations in OEC proliferation and function.
PMCID: PMC4307254  PMID: 25548898
rat serum; fetal bovine serum; olfactory ensheathing cells; concentration; culture
24.  Connexin 43 Suppresses Tumor Angiogenesis by Down-Regulation of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor via Hypoxic-Induced Factor-1α 
Previous work showed that connexin 43 (Cx43) reduced the expression of hypoxic-induced factor-1α (HIF-1α) in astrocytes. HIF-1α is a master transcription factor for angiogenesis in tumor. Angiogenesis is essential for tumor progression. Here, we investigated the role of Cx43 in vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production and angiogenesis in murine tumor. In the study, mouse B16F10 and 4T1 cells were overexpressed or knockdown with Cx43. The expression profiles as well as activity of the treated cells were examined. Furthermore, reduced Cx43 expression in B16F10 and 4T1 cells causes increased expression of VEGF and enhanced the proliferation of endothelial cells. On the contrary, the expression of VEGF and the proliferation of endothelial were increased in the conditioned medium of Cx43-knockdown tumor cells. We subcutaneously transplanted Cx43-overexpressing B16F10 cells into mice to evaluate the roles of Cx43 in the tumor angiogenesis. Both tumor size and the number of vessels growing in the tumor were markedly decreased compare with control group. Our findings suggest that Cx43 inhibited tumor growth by reducing angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4307255  PMID: 25548899
connexin 43 (Cx43); vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); hypoxic-induced factor-1α (HIF-1α); angiogenesis
25.  Alternative RNA Structure-Coupled Gene Regulations in Tumorigenesis 
Alternative RNA structures (ARSs), or alternative transcript isoforms, are critical for regulating cellular phenotypes in humans. In addition to generating functionally diverse protein isoforms from a single gene, ARS can alter the sequence contents of 5'/3' untranslated regions (UTRs) and intronic regions, thus also affecting the regulatory effects of these regions. ARS may introduce premature stop codon(s) into a transcript, and render the transcript susceptible to nonsense-mediated decay, which in turn can influence the overall gene expression level. Meanwhile, ARS can regulate the presence/absence of upstream open reading frames and microRNA targeting sites in 5'UTRs and 3'UTRs, respectively, thus affecting translational efficiencies and protein expression levels. Furthermore, since ARS may alter exon-intron structures, it can influence the biogenesis of intronic microRNAs and indirectly affect the expression of the target genes of these microRNAs. The connections between ARS and multiple regulatory mechanisms underline the importance of ARS in determining cell fate. Accumulating evidence indicates that ARS-coupled regulations play important roles in tumorigenesis. Here I will review our current knowledge in this field, and discuss potential future directions.
PMCID: PMC4307256  PMID: 25551597
gene regulation; alternative splicing; alternative promoter usage; alternative cleavage and polyadenylation; untranslated region; nonsense-mediated decay; upstream open reading frame; internal ribosome entry site; microRNA; tumorigenesis

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